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First Day of School ’17

Summer came to an abruppppppppt halt last Tuesday.   This was one of the best summers of our entire lives, ever, and the few days before it ended, I felt in shock.  “Nooooooooooo….” I kept thinking.  I contemplated homeschooling once again (like always, even though I have tried it, more than once, lol, heaven help me)

Elijah would be starting Kindergarten for the second time after a rough go at it last year, and Finley would be starting first grade, but his first year for a FULL day, and Maria would be starting High School, and The Queen is sticking in her preschool for pre k.

We spent the entire Monday before school getting reading, doing chores, taking baths, packing lunches, organizing, doing some last minute workbook prep (as IF that would even help them, but they were nice to my worried heart and worked on it like, “Ok mom 😉 )”

That morning we were up early, my body protesting, “This is an ungodly hour…” which I totally agreed with, but alas, this was serious.

We had our smoothies, zipped up packs, took our photos, Andrew read to them from the Jesus Storybook bible about Naaman and how he thought he needed something fancy from God to heal him, but all he actually needed was God himself and to allow Him to do the work…  The kids were like, “Yeah, awesome, thumbs up,” but Andrew and I were the ones breathing the most relief.  As much as I think and want them to need just me, and our cozy, kind, safe little home, and all that we provide so diligently, what they really actually need is God.  And they have him, want him and love him already.  “I can’t be there with you guys each second, but you know who can and will and is, and the moment you speak and ask, He’s right there?”

Elijah knowing it is someone from the bible, smiled and nodded confidently to us peasants, “Joshua”

“Um, no,” I laughed.

“Christ Jesus?”

“Christ Jesus?  When did you turn old school,” all of us laughing, “Guess again.”

Then he smiled, “the Holy Spirit.”

“That’s it buddy!”

We talked about what happens if we meet someone rude or mean, and if they say something rude or mean, that it isn’t a reflection of us but what’s happening in their own hearts, and we don’t need to velcro ideas of shame to ourselves because of it.  And we can imagine a glass wall where their words can hit it, and slide down the side, never even touching our bodies or hearts.  That we can’t even control anyone else, but we can be and are responsible for our own feelings and actions and how to handle them in a healthy way by talking about them in a real way.

We loaded up and  got in the car.  For Finley, my sensitive homebody, this is his first year going to the same school more than one year, he saw his friends instantly.  His best friends at school are the Spanish speakers, and their moms are the kindest.


We watched them go in, Elijah was brave and marched into the classroom that he couldn’t handle the year before, but this year we told him, “This is your year, and I already know you will do great.  This year, you will probably be the helper to many, the kind friend.”  He nodded silently with his big brown eyes on us, “I think you’re right,” with his whisper soft voice.


Elijah gets out of school a hour earlier than the other two, so I walked up to greet him.  Last year he was hurting, running, hiding, overall just freaking out.

“How did he do?”  I asked his teachers.

When she saw it was me, she smiled, “Perfect.”

Elijah was up by then, standing next to me wearing a paper crown, looking down at his folded hands.

“Elijah was a model student.

Elijah couldn’t keep straight faced, his little grin beamed at me.

“I’m so proud of you, I knew you could do it!”

“Yeah,” he whispered.  “I did it, I think God helped me.”

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We went and used his froyo gift card from his bday.

The next week when there was a new student, he raised his hand and said, “Can I please sit next to him in class?” to make him feel good, and ate lunch with him.

He’s learning and growing.


When I picked up Finley after the long day, I felt sad, ‘ALL DAY!?’  Didn’t seem right.  But when I pulled up, he was standing with Maria and a girl who lived with us for 6 weeks last year who is like family to him, laughing and having fun with his two big girls.  Then I realized he was with his family (k-12 school) at school just as much as here.  He was ok, he’d fly with his little wings, just like this world needs.  He has all he needs, now it’s up to me to be ok too, ask God for wisdom and discernment, be fully ready for them when they get home to be distraction free and give them my all, true connection.

And although I sort of still wish they were just doing this:IMG_2093 IMG_2095 IMG_2101 IMG_2105 (1) IMG_2153 IMG_2157

I know and see that they are ready for and loving this:

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Because they have everything they need.


Morning Family Ritual

About a year ago, I read a book called The Beauty Detox Solution.  I had followed the author for some time on social media, and she described a way of eat that was easy on the digestive system, so your body had extra energy–loads of it.  That’s truly what sold me on it, not the beauty aspect, but I wound’t be mad at it…  So, not just energy in the day to be a living, functioning person, but internal energy your body can also then use to improve skin, hair, etc because it’s not being over taxed digesting (Think about how you feel after a huge meal.)  She said that when you think about what takes the most energy in a day, you may think of a workout, BUT no!   (This part was news to me): Actually digestion takes 80% of our daily energy, and our body will cut off anything else because we need it to live, and on top of that, we eat in such abundant ways that our bodies aren’t designed for, with improper food pairing, which can leave us tired and fatigued most of the day.  


So, I finally went on Amazon and just bought it.  I had put it off forever, and it was only about $11, so I made the purchase.  If I try to overhaul everything and try to be perfect, I’ll not only give up, but go the opposite way, I like baby steps and they really work for me!   I am the kind of person who can be totally excited about very small steps of improvement.  


So, there is this smoothie, she talks about it always, and I wanted to start with just that.  She was trying to debunk the commonly believed thought that big breakfasts give us a lot of energy.  (WHAT!?)  She said that actually, it takes our energy because our digestive tract has to kick into overdrive to digest it, and any caloric energy we would derive from it won’t be available for hours later once it’s in the intestine.  That’s why this smoothie was supposed to be incredible; predigested, light, but packed in nutrients.  I told Andrew we’d try the smoothie FIRST, but then still eat our reg breakfast, and just see what we think.


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The smoothie was totally awesome, sweet even with the green color.  After at least a week of this, we decided on a weekend to try JUSTTTT the smoothie without any extra breakfasty foods (We weren’t sure we trust her digestion idea yet 😉 and see how we felt.  


Spoiler alert, we felt great…. Not hungry, and then big time energized.  Energy was the main reason I even wanted the book, the smoothie, the ‘solution.’  As a mom of four, I wanted to feel empowered, and not bleary eyes on the couch.


Next phase we added hot lemon water for the very first thing, then a large glass of water with a probiotic, THEN the smoothie.  We were feeling all kinds of perky, hydrated, full, light, energized each morning.


We had and currently have our kids drink this smoothie first thing every day.  We rotate the greens, bring in stuff from the garden if we have it, we’ll swap our fruit if we feel like it or if we have something on hand, but mostly stick straight to the original recipe.  “How do you get your kids to drink it?”


I know everyone is different, but we do put a high value in our family on health and gratitude.  It’s something we train them in, just as you’d train them to brush their teeth or learn math problems, or have manners.  The older three kids liked it from the first moment (It’s actually really good), Poppy had to get used to it, but taste buds change over time.  They adapt.  I’ve heard people say things like, “Oh I’d never force my kid to eat something they didn’t like!”  Oh really?  What about bed times, what about going to school?  Wearing clothes?  Walking with you in parking lots?  At times we all ask our kids to do things they aren’t going to cry happy tears about, until it becomes routine.  And their health is something I’m willing to put the effort into at the front end of.  My kids ask for it now, they help me make it, they are sad if we’re somewhere and can’t have it in the morning (Seriously, although we do make it while on vacations when possible, which is most of the time)


Every family is different, and this is what works for us.  I feel at peace giving it to them, knowing that at the start of the day, they’ve had their greens and veggies, their bodies are at an alkaline state meaning inflammation and disease will have a hard time sticking around.  Once the smoothie is gone, they can then have whatever they like; cereal, oatmeal, etc etc.  Andrew and I just have the smoothie.


When people start the smoothie, it does some heavy duty ‘cleaning’ of the intestine of old built up junk.  So as you go on, and drink them more and more, your body is able to absorb more of the nutrients with more access to intestinal lining.  I have noticed a difference in my skin and nails as well, which is secondary to how great I feel, and how empowered I feel to do whatever I want in the day without needing to lay down dead.


I have given it to homeless mothers and children.  We used to have a homeless boy stay with us one night a week.  The first morning when I kindly told him he’d be having the smoothie, he balked.  I paid him a dollar to have a large spoonful, that was it.  The next week I asked him to drink half a glass for the dollar, then the whole thing, then no more money, but we asked him to drink it before other breakfast.  We started noticing the dark circles under his eyes going away, his skin tone more even.  He said he was more alert in glass.  I’d give it to his mother each time she was over, knowing too that it built up a taste tolerance and even desire for vegetables in other meals.  She laughed after the first time, “That thing cleaned me out!”  I laughed and told her it was temporary, and that there may be some junk to clear out, she nodded and said, “Oh yeah!”


So, here we are!  All winter when some of our dear friends battled sickness and flus, we thankfully did not.  Which is why I’m writing this!  I don’t think my 4 biologically unrelated children have super genes, but they are prepared each day with a delicious smoothie that you don’t have to sign up for some MLM, costly powder ‘nutrition system.’  Every single item can be bought at the grocery store, or grown for free in your yard.  The exact recipe in this photo serves all six of us each morning.  We drink them with glass straws we got off Amazon, and love it.  Even if you were to try it one time, you’d be doing your body a huge favor!  Even if your kids want to fist fight you, but you are able to make it a priority and they have a tiny scoopful one day, that is a huge success!  HUGE!  Kids need to try things 10 times before they like them, and it’s true, you’d be one time down.  Imagine them soon liking slurping down greens and fruit.  The smoothie is a hard working smoothie and you could geek out and look up the multitude of good things it’s doing inside of you for hours.

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Oh, and by the by, Kimberly Snyder is not a name dropper, but she works with lot of celebrities.  Like Owen Wilson, who drinks this smoothie, and brings it on set and gets everyone into them.  Reece Witherspoon, Fergie, Drew Barrymore, they ALL drink it.  They got that glow.  So what I am TRYING to say is that I basically have celebrity skin…so, wear shades around me next time, k?  

I’ll talk about the rest of the story and the food transformation we’ve been through and how it’s affected how we feel and what we can now do that we weren’t able to before, but I’ll save it for another post.  Nothing, nothing beats how we feel.


So, if you try this smoothie, please let me know!  I’d love to hear what you think, especially if you have one for some days in a row and how it makes you look and feel on the inside and outside, so keep in touch!  I also love Kimberly’s Podcast, Beauty InsideOut.


GGS when it’s trying to be Extra





Elijah is 6

Elijah recently turned 6 years old.  I made this little video to document the part of his life we have been able to be a part of, and gosh–even though I’ve been there through it myself, it was still so overwhelming to see him so small and sad at the start of it all.  It’s absolutely no joke that children are suffering in this world.


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