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To Our Health

Let’s just say we’re groovin’ right now.  Like, who are all these happy, healthy, English speaking children who are on par with their peers?  And, like, playing piano songs, while, learning to do a back bend?

The year of the adoption was beautiful, a time of need, a time of God’s provision so clearly, on every level.

The year when our kids were first home, healing, pouring, growth.

This year feels breezy, times of lingering, and joy.  Of new found time and areas to be able to invest.

This year we have decided to take this ‘down time’ to proactively focus on health.  In one aspect it is an effort to prepare ourselves in this time for whatever God would have for us in the future, to be prepared and ready to give love freely and openly again, a joy.

One area is the food we eat.  We don’t fall under any category, we’re not gluten free or paleo or vegetarian, but, we have been researching and deciding on making slow and steady changes, not all at once.

First thing we did, was pour all our canola and vegetable oils down the sink.  That stuff is nasty, and we use coconut oil.  Totally better.

We started brewing our own Kombucha.

Our garden is really starting to produce.  We pulled out decorative plants in other areas and planted more food, grow food not lawns, I suppose, sprinklers already in place.

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This month we started harvesting and cooking and storing what our garden produces.  It is a slower method of living, washing the leaves, breaking stalks, washing dirt, cutting up, but it’s a very enjoyable slower, and we actually see a big difference in our food budget, less trips to the store.  No stress about affording organic, or all the hoopla of health concerns if we can’t.  Talk about local, AmIRight?



Try not to flip out about how cute this next picture is, Ok?



Their only rule in the garden is “Don’t eat the green tomatoes, dangit!”  Suffice to say, they are getting better…

We pulled out all our sickly corn, the one crop that didn’t do well, and fed it to the chickens, and planted new tomatoes, live and learn.  We’re all about learning as we go.  Chickens eat ALL our scraps, all our weeds, all our leftovers, and give us free fertilizer, those little hens are so great.


The other night, I made dinner for the family with 5 Kohlrabi from the garden.  And, that was it. I cooked in the crock pot with some lemon and turmeric, served over rice with sour cream.  I kept wondering if this was really going to fly, but they all loved it.  (Pray for them…that’s so weird)



I save all the broccoli and kohlrabi leaves, wash them, freeze some, and put them in our green smoothies each morning, the stalks go to the chickens.


Pretty sure they haven’t been constipated one day in their lives, which is mostly good, but let’s just say I am thanking my lucky stars Finley is potty trained now.


We are using this year to invest our time in growth, too.  We put all the kids in gymnastics, I can’t believe how good it has been for them.  We also decided for this year to be the year of counseling.  We have a good friend who was recently studying to become a counselor, something I didn’t know much about, and speaking to her about it was incredible, she was so eloquent, knew so much about people, and how to help them with the specifics in their lives, unlocking their past, tools for their future, it was so inspiring, so exciting to hear.   She said some of the healthiest people she knew had seen a counselor.  Looking back earlier this year, it’s funny because it was up in the air, like, “counseling or chiropractor?” we thought, and because of our friend, we chose counselor, “Why not?”  And, oh my gosh, it has been the best investment!  Just beautiful.  We are staggering it, this spring is one of us, we’re hoping for Maria in the summer, then the other in the fall, pure beauty, unlocking things you never knew were there to become so much stronger and able to love that much deeper.  Counseling in my mind always had a stigma, like, there has to be a specific reason to go, something to work out, but now I know that’s not the case, it’s such a beautiful tool for anyone.

We’re loving this year, two months in.


We set up a gym in our garage.  What?  Who am I?   Did I mention that we found a really high quality bike machine and elliptical on the side of the road?  Got some weights, found that huge gym ball rolling around somewhere and have a little area.  We try to workout after bed time or me at nap time.  Get a little show on the iPad and do maybe 20 minutes, nothing crazy, but I want my energy up, I want to be strong to play with the kids all day.  We’ve been loving it so far.


Something I just don’t know if we can do, is the whole new “Not Shampoo’ing Thing.”  Andrew is and has been forever, he’s like, “Done.  Been doin’ it for ages.” We’ll see if I can hang, I think no.  I NEED to shower, everyday.  And shampoo, that’s just how it is.  “N0-poo’ing,” do you do it?  No, right?

Started washing my face with coconut oil–obsessed.

Took my creaky old lady body to yoga last week.  Oh man, I wanted to hug the teacher for making me stretch for so long, it was magical.

I started wearing natural deodorant.  {I just admitted to natural deodorant with yoga…don’t hang out with me…}

Switched from peanut butter to almond, something about soft shell problems…

Probiotics all up in here.


We spent the weekend getting an area of our yard ready for the next stage of healthy living/a step towards becoming a little more self sustaining.  Can you guess what it will be?

Working in the yard with us is our kid’s delight.  The boys grab their trucks and shovels, find bugs with us.


This is Elijah’s, “I’m fly and I know it,” face.



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Maria put special toys in the box she decorated for the boys and surprised them with it.  I can’t wait for summer when she can be home more, we love weekends.  Also…surfing lessons 🙂



Also, we ate In’N Out last night, just sayin’.

What are some areas of health you are focusing on?  Have you tried not shampooing?  Eating only kohlrabi for dinner?  Having your own milk source?


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  • arelyn February 24, 2014, 5:06 pm

    I’ve been using lemon juice and baking soda on my hair since I was pregnant with my first so…seven years now. It works great. No one can tell, not even my mom and she’s the sort who would tell me all about it!

    Was starting counceling awkward? There is a stigma and most folks do think you “have” to have something wrong to do go. How does it work going without a big scary issue to fix?

    And I’ve just got to say you folks are just way too awesome. Usually I stop following an adoption blog after the kiddos seem settled in but you guys are just way too much fun. And your yard rocks too.

    • tinyteam February 24, 2014, 6:44 pm

      Oh my gosh, I am SO glad you said that, ‘awkwardness.’ Literally, the thing that almost kept us back, haha! The whole, “But what will I talk about!?” then you get there…
      That’s totally what they are good at. In fact, they are SO good at it, it’s the reason we feel like we will send Maria this summer. At first I was worried she wouldn’t know what to say, or language, or whatever, now, I’m like, jk, she’ll LOVE IT!!

      Lemon juice, eh? Oh man…Ok…I am not ruling it out…

  • Jen @ Go Green February 24, 2014, 6:52 pm

    I can’t wait for this 3 feet of snow to thaw so I can plant my garden again. Yours looks amazing!

    Don’t worry about the No Poo method – read this http://blog.kanelstrand.com/2014/01/baking-soda-destroyed-my-hair.html

    Personally no-poo never worked for me so I use a natural shampoo and apple cider vinegar.

    • tinyteam February 25, 2014, 2:37 pm

      Ahhh, thank you for sharing!!

  • Colleen February 24, 2014, 8:15 pm

    I dont like that society has a “stigma” with counselors. They provide a great service for the soul. I feel like seeing one has helped me grow and learn how to deal with struggles I face in a healthy manner. Good for you on having a friend that is a great resource to your family! Also congrats on the book drive, it looks like a lot of people have stepped up. I hope you’ll be able to post a picture of all the new books in the case one day so I can share it 🙂

    • tinyteam February 25, 2014, 2:43 pm

      Yeah, right!? I wish more people knew about it, it’s been so beautiful! Such a gift, good for you going! <3

  • anna February 24, 2014, 10:42 pm

    Yay, health!!!!

    I went “no-poo” a few years ago, and struggled a bit with it. I’m in the natural deodorant, oil-to-cleanse-face, etc. camp, but my thick curly hair just did not do well with the baking soda/vinegar method. (The site Jen @ Go Green posted is fantastic!! Luckily I stopped using BS/ACV before my hair got too damaged, but I’m glad to read the science behind why!) There are LOTS of healthy ways to clean hair, many different methods and opinions, everything from eggs to honey to oil to chamomile tea. I’ll say, after about two years no-pooing, I’m now happier using the occasional natural shampoo and no-silicone conditioner. The experiment is worth it, though. Less dependence on manufactured product?! YAY! Good luck!!

    • tinyteam February 25, 2014, 2:38 pm

      Oh thank you! I am so glad for the feedback, I’m def thinking no Baking Soda now.

  • Alicia February 24, 2014, 11:39 pm

    Love this post. We are slowly making changes over here too. I switched all of my girls’ soaps and shampooos over to healthy brands, no more veggie oils, just started using natural deodorant last week (although I’m not sure I’m loving it, I think I need to try a different method), found a local farm that we are buying produce for and while we have a tiny backyard we’re researching square foot gardening and hope to start gardening in the next month or so. I am really curious about this oil facial cleansing. I hear great stuff about it. I think you’ve convinced me to give it a go. 🙂 I’ve been interested in kombucha as well but I’m still a little nervous…maybe you should do a post on that. 😉

    • tinyteam February 25, 2014, 2:40 pm

      I was totally stinky for like 2 weeks on the natural stuff, but now I am not! I wonder if you body has to adjust for a bit?

      Yes, try the coconut oil on the face, it’s SO great! It dissolves all makeup, and I sort of rinse it off, but then sleep on it and wake up very moisturized 🙂

      Will totally post about kombucha!

  • Ally February 25, 2014, 6:45 am

    I am a long time reader of your blog- I think you guys are amazing and inspire me to want to adopt one day.

    Just wanted to share this since you’re talking about changing your diet. This speech is the most worthwhile, eye-opening, life changing thing I have ever seen. I watched it 1.5 years ago and my life hasn’t been the same since, and I am so much healthier for it.

    • tinyteam February 25, 2014, 2:54 pm

      Uh oh…I don’t know if Andrew should watch it, he LOVES animals so much! This is good, thanks for sharing!

  • Linda Benham February 25, 2014, 8:02 am

    I’m LOVING all the changes you are making!! I am vowing that once my stock of shampoo is gone (it’s a pretty big stock) I’m going to make my own coconut milk shampoo. I found a recipe for it on pinterest! It’s kinda like a compromise for the people who are not all excited about apple cider vinegar. http://diycozyhome.com/homemade-coconut-milk-shampoo/

    • tinyteam February 25, 2014, 2:44 pm

      Awesome! We are totally making coconut oil soap, this might be a good next step….

  • Beth February 25, 2014, 9:27 am

    I have said for years that every teenager should have quality counseling available to them. My daughter (special needs) Went to counseling off and on for 5 years. After the sudden death of my mom last summer, I went to a grief counselor. Best money spent. My biggest concern was finding a good one but with referrals from doctors, friends, clergy you can find the right one for your family. I love to read the updates on your family. You guys are really the perfect example of what family should be.

    • tinyteam February 25, 2014, 2:50 pm

      I totally agree with you on that, we have a special place in our hearts for hurting teens. Our church has a whole counseling department, so far, just amazing.

      So glad you found people who were good fits for your family, what a blessing. So sorry for your mom passing.

  • Alexis February 25, 2014, 11:13 am

    Oh girl! I love all of this! We’ve tried growing our own little patio garden the past two years, and it’s been more work than it has been fruitful. What’s your secret to getting such a healthy growing crop? I love all things natural (I spent a few summers guiding trips with some lovely hippies) so I switched to natural deodorant a few years back and love it. I swear that I don’t sweat any more than I did when I used Secret. I’m a big fan of the Alba brand for natural deodorant. It seems to last the longest. I also tried the no-poo thing and HATED IT! My hair was crunchy and completely impossible to run a comb through. It just wasn’t for me. Instead I use Acure shampoos and conditioners. They are organic and sulphate free and I swear that they are the best products I’ve ever used in my hair. I can now go almost 5 days between washings, too, thanks to the lack of sulfates stripping my hair so it feels like a huge success. I’ll have to try washing my face with coconut oil. What’s that all about?

    • tinyteam February 25, 2014, 2:53 pm

      We set up a drip system and use chicken fertilizer and mulch, those are our only ‘secrets’ 🙂

      Washing with oil is great! It dissolves make-up and dirt, and it’s a built in moisturizer. And yes, I totally agree about the natural deodorant, it takes a little while to adjust, then it’s just right!


  • K D February 25, 2014, 1:33 pm

    I started going to yoga classes about a year ago and I love it.

    I have switched to coconut oil.

    I am planning to order a few fruit trees when winter ends in the mid-Atlantic region.

    I failed at no-poo a few years ago, now I am buying organic shampoo.

    What a great family life you have.

    • tinyteam February 25, 2014, 2:53 pm

      Ahhh, looks like we are on the same page! Which fruit trees do you have in mind?

  • Trish February 25, 2014, 4:12 pm

    I tried No-Poo for a few weeks this summer… I just couldn’t get past the texture my hair adopted after using it for a few weeks, haha. I stuck it out for about a month and a half, but I finally caved and went back to regular shampoo. Hope you have better luck than me! 🙂

  • Kimmie February 28, 2014, 6:31 pm

    Kohlrabi –

    Fritters – shredded then mixed with egg and flour, drop on small mounds into hot oil in a skillet, flatten slightly, flip after a few mins and serve when both sides are crispy. As an addition to soup. Roasted in the oven the outside caramelizes. Cubed and roasted with potatoes and eggplant tossed in dried herbs/oil makes a nice side dish. An addition to stir-fries, pasta dishes, frittatas. Steamed then topped with sour cream or a creamy sauce. Kohlrabi is found in a lot of Indian dishes so Indian type spices work well. I have seen recipes for Kohlrabi used as the stuffing in calzones and empanadas.

  • Kimberly February 28, 2014, 7:31 pm

    Your garden looks great. A lizard ate all of the lettuce and broccoli we had growing. Our tomatoes from last year are still growing strong, too. Gardening is so much fun and so fulfilling. We put in our heirloom seed order a few days ago and expect to be doing lots of planting next week. Woohoo.

    On the corn, how many plants did you have? With corn, you really have to plant a larger number of plants in order for them to grow due to necessary cross-pollination.