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Earth Day Fun

earth

Earth Day is this Sunday. I know that it’s typically a holiday that gets overlooked. I like to make it a little bit special. I want to teach my girls to care for the planet that God has given us.

So far this week, everyone is sick. Addi was holding strong, but she is the sickest one today. If everyone is well, we will be going to a local conservation center for their Earth Day celebration. They are going to clean up the river, do tours, wagon rides, ponies, and canoeing. I will be so sad if everyone is still sick and we have to miss out.

If we are stuck at home, I think I will pick up some bird seed. We can make toilet paper roll bird feeders.

Some other fun activities we may try are:

Recycled paper.

Plant seed paper

Earth Day lap books

Earth sign

Earth paper plate

 

Probably the most exciting thing we plan to do this weekend is set up our garden space. We have to put up fencing to keep Rocci away from the garden. I picked up the supplies yesterday, so we can block off the space and start working the soil. Right now, I’m so run down from the stress of taking care of sick kids and all of the laundry and cleaning. I just want to lay in bed all weekend. ha!

 

Here are some links to other “Earth Day” posts:

Sustainable kitchen

Sustainable baby/toddler

Earth Day Favorite Things

Janssen’s favorite Earth Day Picture Books

 

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April Showers

Mid- April always feels a little heavy.

During my Senior year of high school, a mutual friend of my younger sister and I passed away. A freak car accident, and she was gone from this world forever. What do you do with that as a teenager? I clung to my sister and those I loved. I cried buckets of tears. Scott got in his car and drove home from college to spend the weekend with me. Admittedly, Kaitlin was a closer friend of Amanda’s. I loved her, too. It was hard not to. Amanda’s grief was much heavier than mine. I know that.

I always made it a point to call my sister on April 17th each year. Except this year. I was dealing with very sick kids, and the day got away from me. We talked today.

I don’t remember the last thing I said to Kaitlin. It was probably something silly about squirrels. Myspace was a big deal back in 2006. I do remember the last thing she posted on Myspace. I copied it the way she typed it and saved it, because it was so profound.

Always tell someone how you feel.mean what you say and say what you mean even when its hard ’cause opportunities are lost in a blink of an eye and the regrets can last a lifetime

How true those words are. Life is nothing more than a vapor.

This morning, I was awakened early by crying and coughing kids. Once they got settled back down, I jumped on the computer. I saw the news that a friend of mine was tragically killed in a car accident. A senseless car accident. Some selfish person hit a pedestrian in a parking lot, fled, and slammed into her car. In the blink of an eye, a young mother and wife was taken. She has two young children at home and a husband that are grieving. I cannot even imagine. I sat and cried. I just keep hoping that she will say “IT WASN’T ME! I’m safe!”

Life is so short. You don’t know when your life is going to be over. It doesn’t matter your age. A 17 year old high school student, a 31 year old mom, or my 80 year old father-in-law. It. Does. Not. Matter. Live every day like it could  be your last. Hug people tight and a little longer. Love them. Pray for them. Pray with them. If you don’t know Jesus, get to know Him before it’s too late. Don’t let yourself have any regrets.

Please keep her family in your prayers.

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garden, home, natural living, Uncategorized

Gardening Gear

 

Garden Gear

\\ harvesting basket \\ watering can | tools and bag // boots // hat // kneeler //

\\ gloves | gnome light //

 

This is the less practical side of gardening. Obviously you need seeds or starter plants, soil, shovels, and other obvious things. I figured I’d put together some of the things that I have purchased, or have on my wishlist, for our garden this year.

The basket is front and center because I am believing that the garden will be successful. I’ll need something to carry the “fruits” of my labor in. I love these fair trade baskets. A hat is a must so that you can protect your face and neck from the sun! Ankle rain boots are great. You can keep your feet dry without your legs sweating to death. A garden gnome is obviously needed; especially when it doubles as a light. haha!!

I am not a gardening pro, so I am certain there are more important things that should go on this list. Let me know what you’d add!!

Happy Spr-inter!

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Savoring Saturday

Winter has wintered again.. I am not bitter.

Harper got sicker and was up most of Friday night with the worst croup she has ever had. I was actually terrified this time. Saturday morning, after sleeping until 11 (!!!!) Scott told me to go somewhere and have a quiet day.

Guess where I went?

If you guessed Target, you’d be right. Their new Opal House line is amazing. I want it all. It reminds me of the cool vibe that Anthropologie has, but at a price point within my frame of affordability. I bought a towel and napkin basket. I’ve been wanting a basket for my napkins because we use cloth 95% of the time, and it’s hard to fit them into a standard napkin holder. They are harder to find than I expected. I really want this mug also.

I went to Panera for lunch. It was my last day before starting to eat AIP. So, I made sure I’d feel really miserable to start off. I did get a superfruit smoothie, so that counts for something, right? Probably not. I am obsessed with their broccoli cheddar soup and bread bowls. I got the baguette to take home for Scott.

I also found this gem at a garage sale. I love these vintage dishes. I am always on the hunt for pyrex bowls. This is Coringware, but I still really love it.

Harper ended up getting worse, so I took her to urgent care. She has an ear infection and strep throat on top of her croup. This poor girl. She fell asleep on the couch with her shoes on when we got home. We could barely wake her up enough to take her antibiotic.

We all stayed home on Sunday to prevent spreading the illness any more. We took it slow. I got my seeds started inside and prepped some meals for myself for the week. I laid on the couch with Scott while we binge watched a show we like. The girls had their Kindles (on sale!) for longer than our usual time limit. No regrets. Sometimes it’s good to slow down, especially after a busy week that kept us running.

The next couple of weeks are going to be physically rough as my body detoxes from all of the garbage. I’m still drinking coffee right now. Honestly, there is no way that I’d give that up with sick kids in the house. I’m using a paleo creamer, so that counts for something.

 

I hope that  wherever you are, it is NOT STINKING SNOWING. Stay warm, friends.

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Uncategorized

Spring Springing Again

Spring came back yesterday. Winter will probably storm her moody self back in soon. For now, we are soaking up as much sunshine as we can.

It was almost 80 degrees! We love hanging out on the deck during meal times when it’s nice out. The only tricky part is making sure the breeze doesn’t catch your plate and send it flying.

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I told the girls that once we finished school work, we would go for a walk. We were leaving to take Scott’s mom out to dinner as soon as he got home from work, so where we went was dependent upon how much time school took. It ended up taking long enough that the park wasn’t a good option. We loaded up and walked to Family Video instead. It was beautiful outside. I love that they have free kids rentals, so each of the girls got to pick their own movie.

I was thinking how silly it was to get movies when the weather is perfect. It ended up working out because Harper spiked a fever and is miserable today. It’s supposed to storm tomorrow. So, we were ahead of the game.

I will take every spring day that we can get. My mood instantly improves when I open the windows and feel the breeze.

In Michigan, it was normal for Winter to hang around until May. This isn’t typical for Illinois.  Is it Spring where you live?

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Uncategorized

Health Update and AIP Prep

Yesterday was THE doctor’s appointment. I have researched and learned over the last three years about my thyroid and what could be the cause of my problems. I was ready for my appointment. I was prepared for a doctor with no personality, because I was warned about that by everyone who knows him. I wasn’t prepared for a rude doctor that was unwilling to listen.

He walked in assuming that I only cared that my neck looks fat, just like every other male doctor has done. He mocked me because my blood work is fine, and obviously my thyroid is not the problem. I asked him about the possibility of Hashimoto’s, and he said he would do an ultrasound and know immediately if that was it or not. He slapped it down on my neck in one spot and said that the previous radiologist was incorrect in their findings and mine was just fine- only a few little spots. He told me I didn’t need to see him again and to bark up another tree as to why I don’t feel well. So, big help. Big jerk. I’m glad we spent money to see him for 3 minutes.

I don’t trust his conclusion from the ultrasound considering I have had two in depth ultrasounds, and both drew the same conclusions. He put it in one location and declared they were wrong. The only reason I started “barking up” the thyroid tree is because I was told my thyroid was chronically diseased. Maybe it’s not my thyroid. Maybe something else is wrong that is unrelated to my thyroid. But, something IS wrong. It is NOT normal for someone my age to feel so lousy and have hormones so messed up that menopause is near. I refuse to accept that. I know that autoimmune diseases can cause your hormones to get out of whack, so it could be something farther down that path. I don’t know the answers. I do know that I’m not going to give up on feeling well.

I am going to continue with my plan of starting the Autoimmune Protocol next week. I know that I will feel better once I get going. I’ve been preparing by purchasing a lot of the items that get used frequently. Some of those are:

coconut flour
coconut butter (coconut manna)
coconut aminos
coconut milk
Wild Planet tuna  (for easy meals)
Flaked Coconut
Coconut chips (snack)
AIP “ketchup”
AIP “BBQ”

 

I’ve also been planning what I will eat for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner along with snacks in between. Snacks are NECESSARY when eating this way, or you will starve. Prep work is necessary in order to succeed. If you wake up without a game plan or food prepped, you WILL fail. I learned that the last time I did this diet. This cookbook has two four week meal plans if you want to make it extra easy on yourself.

It is NOT easy. It requires a lot of work and patience. It requires working through a two week detox period where you feel MISERABLE from going off of sugar and all of the garbage that your body has become addicted to. It requires being an adventurous eater and being willing to try new things.

 

My 30th birthday is next month; only 29 days away! (What?!) I am thinking that this Raspberry Coconut “Cheesecake” is what I will be eating. Yum!

 

If you are searching for answers. Don’t give up. Not every doctor will LISTEN, so find one that does. Find a support system that will cheer you on. I’m cheering you on.

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Uncategorized

Wedding Weekend

Goodness, this was a full weekend. Family and friends filled the weekend, which is glorious. We spent most of Saturday at Scott’s nephew’s wedding. (I think nephew, I honestly cannot keep track! haha!) My incredible mom watched the girls all day so that we could go and enjoy ourselves. I have always had to bring the kids along to weddings. Usually I am keeping the girls occupied solo while Scott officiates the wedding. It was so nice to just go and cry during the sweet parts, eat good food, and dance.

*gasp! A Baptist pastor’s wife was dancing at a wedding*

Look at these wonderful in-laws of mine! I always hear talk of out-laws instead of in-laws. I’m so glad that I never feel that way.

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The ladies! This woman raised three boys (a set of twins included) and a husband that was probably more trouble than all three of them combined. She has carried herself with so much grace through all that she has been through. She is incredible, and I’m not sure if I could ever adequately say how much I love her. My new sister-in-law is the best. I am blessed to have so many brothers-in-law that are wonderful, but I was ready for another sister!

This man. I really don’t think I could love him more. I say that, and tomorrow I will love him even more. Life with him just gets better and better. We celebrate 10 years of marriage in June! I’ve been obsessed with him for nearly half of my life!

The wedding was so beautiful, and I am so happy for Brad and Michelle!

 

This is my dress– I got mine from TJ Maxx for a FRACTION of that cost. Wowza. It is stretchy and the perfect length. These are the shoes I wore. They were also on sale because I am frugal.

homeschool, recommendations

Plum Paper Homeschool Planner Review

plum paper

I am so excited to share this Plum Paper planner with you! These planners are completely customizable! I LOVE that they offer a homeschooling version, as the options are incredibly limited for those of us who homeschool.

Let’s start with the cover. They offer so many options for prints and colors on the front cover- florals, stripes, geometric prints, teacher quotes, etc. The year, name, and school name are all optional. It is free to customize however you want. There are so many different shapes, colors, and fonts to choose from when it comes to the customization. The cover is tear proof, water resistant, and super sturdy.

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You also get to choose what month your 12 month planner will start at. Mine is set up to start in August of this year, since our first day of school is August 13th. I love how colorful everything is!

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This is what the first page of each month looks like. I love that we can set goals for each month, and have all of the important information all together on one page.

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Each month also has the usual monthly layout. This is great for keeping track of field trips and special activities, along with holidays and school breaks. Then, it’s broken down into weekly planning. We use Abeka homeschool curriclum, and it is easy to write which lesson we will be doing each day. I like to color code things, so I use the girls’ favorite colors for their lesson plan. There is room for 6 subjects each week, along with a place for checklists and notes.

Now, for the homeschool pages:

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Isn’t that beautiful! All for homeschooling families! I added an extra homeschool section to mine for an additional $2, so I have a section for each of the girls. There is also an attendance record page, which is really great for those of you who live in a state where you have to log your hours. I love that this is a planner and grade book in one.

There are also sections for notes and checklists, which you can add more pages to if you’d like for a few extra dollars.

Plum Paper planners are incredible. You can go to their website and see just how many options are available. They also have this planner for teachers, and offer normal planners for those of you who just love to be organized.

If you are wanting to purchase something, leave your e-mail in the comments section (or shoot me an email at myfourarrowsblog@gmail.com) and I can send you a 10% discount!

 

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I was given a slight discount in exchange for my honest review. All opinions and photos are my own.

health, natural living, Uncategorized

A little Light Reading

We are here again. Seeking a diagnosis. Seeking feeling well.

I just want to feel like a normal 29 year old that has the energy to play with her kids. If I don’t have Hashimoto’s, I really don’t know what else could be wrong. That scares me a bit. Hashimoto’s scares me, too. I see a new doctor next Tuesday. I am going to push to have a biopsy done. Maybe he will check my antibody levels also. From what I have read, it is possible for autoimmune diseases to go dormant for a period of time, so my negative test could have been false a couple of years ago.

If you don’t know, I have an enlarged thyroid and some chronic “mystery” thyroid disease. The last two ultrasounds that I have had done have shown that it has a heterogeneous echogenicity texture. Basically, there is a texture on all of my thyroid that shows them that chronic disease is present (how my first doctor explained it). This specific texture is almost always caused by autoimmune disease, which was NOT explained to me before.

My doctor wanted to kill my thyroid, which according to blood work was functioning just fine, before it kills itself. That didn’t sit well with me, so I resisted. I had no idea what an autoimmune disease was. Maybe if I had been given more information, I wouldn’t have hesitated as much? Instead, I did the Autoimmune Protocol and overhauled the way I ate. I started avoiding all endocrine disrupters that I am aware of.  Unfortunately, I had to stop doing AIP when I ended up in the ER with all of the symptoms of a heart attack. After a lot of tests, it was determined that my body was starving. I was doing AIP and breastfeeding at the same time. I ate ALL DAY, and made sure to add in plenty of calories, but it just wasn’t enough. I had to quit, and eventually gave up on finding answers.  I don’t regret not going along with the doctors original plan. She seemed so unsure of it herself and kept saying that it was not guaranteed to make me feel better or work. If the doctor isn’t confident, why would I be?

If my new doctor doesn’t find any answers, I plan to start the Autoimmune Protocol again and work toward wellness on my own.  I want to walk into my appointment prepared with all questions and ready to face any solution that my doctor suggests. Last time, I was blindsided and not given a lot of information. This time, I want to be informed. I know people act like your thyroid is useless. It’s not. It controls every system in your body. It could be why I ended up having epilepsy. It could possibly be the cause of my miscarriage 5 years ago. I don’t know that for sure, but it is possible. What I do know is that I have all of the symptoms, and I am tired of it. Literally, so exhausted.

These are the books I have checked out from the library that have helped me learn a lot:

Why do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms?   This is a great book that is full of medical information. It has great explanations for why your blood work may be normal while you still have miserable symptoms of disease.

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Lifestyle Interventions for Finding the Root Cause  This is another great book written by someone with a lot of knowledge on Hashimoto’s. She was diagnosed at 27 years old with it, and went on a quest to find what her “root cause” was. Medicine doesn’t help most people feel completely better, and diet always has to be altered. She found what she needed to eliminate in order to fully get rid of her symptoms.

Hashimoto’s Protocol  I haven’t opened this one yet, but will update when I have read it.

The Autoimmune Wellness Handbook This is a great book to pick up if you have, or suspect you have, an autoimmune disease. This covers all aspects of your health that can help you heal. There are many different eating plans if the AIP diet is too overwhelming. This is a book I would really like to buy and have on my shelf all the time.

The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook This is one that I actually did end up purchasing. It is FULL of recipes for salad dressings, sauces, main dishes, sides, snacks, and desserts. If you have done AIP before, you know that it is SO overwhelming. There are two different four week meal plans already written out for you WITH shopping lists. They give you lists of items that you will want to have on hand in your pantry to make the protocol easier. Even when not doing AIP, it is full of really delicious and healthy recipes. You can’t lose.

 

I wanted to share this so that others in similar situations won’t feel so alone. When I found out what I may be up against, I was terrified and overwhelmed. I found a friend who had gone through something similar; though her situation was far worse than mine. I asked her what I could do. How can I take control of this? Is that even possible? She set me up with a lot of information and checked in with me often. She prayed for me. Her husband dropped to his knees in prayer when I was at the hospital. Her whole family encouraged me. I am forever grateful to her.

I will continue to write updates as we go along again. I would appreciate your prayers that answers can be found. My thyroid has been in question since I was pregnant with Addison, and I would love to have answers.

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Uncategorized

It takes a Village

Nothing ever goes as planned, does it?

Yesterday, I was trucking through my to-do list, just minutes from getting our school day started. I was scrubbing our bathroom, cleaning the sink. I pulled my hand back and hit it on the mirror that hangs above the sink. I looked at it because it felt strange. I realized that there was a split in my skin and I was seeing white in between. I just kept looking at it in shock trying to figure out if I was really seeing what I thought I was. When I realized that I was in fact seeing something I shouldn’t be able to see, I lifted my hand above my head and called my sister. More than once because she didn’t answer the first time and the shock of how gross it was had me feeling panicky.

I called my mom to see if she happened to be off of work. Nope. My sister had tried calling me back while I was on with my mom. I called her again. She was across town, and said she would be right there. She dropped everything for her whole day to drive me to the ER (Urgent care said they couldn’t do stitches on knuckles). It took a lot of shuffling kids around, because there are six kids and one minivan.

The ER was PACKED. There were a lot of people with sore throats and coughs… I hid on the opposite side of the waiting room to avoid all of the germs the best I could. A second triage nurse called me back and said she was going to make sure no X-rays were needed and see if there was anything they could do to help speed things along. When she looked, she realized it wasn’t bone exposed, but a ligament. She said that the ligament didn’t appear to be damaged, and she would be able to glue it, put steri strips on, and send me on my way. Praise Jesus! Stitches are miserable, plus my last scar from stitches keloid and it is not small and dainty like they expected.

This honestly makes it look worse than it is. The glue is blue, which makes it look like I have a big bruise. I don’t. It actually didn’t hurt at all when it happened. It was throbbing a little bit by the time I got to the ER, but still not bad. It definitely hurt by the time the girls were in bed for the night, and I took an advil and felt much better once that kicked in. They made me take my rings off because it was swelling. (?? I think my fingers are just fat now) I feel so naked without them. It actually is swollen today, so I’ll have to leave them off for another day. Boo.

That mirror has apparently been broken on the bottom since before we moved in, and we never knew it. Harper frequently leans on the sink right there, and I am so thankful that her arm never got cut! I’ve cleaned the sink many times, and have no idea how it took this long for an injury! haha! Scott took it down when he got home, and we’ll be putting an actual medicine cabinet up instead of a mirror. It’s much more functional for a family.

It was so wild, and such a freak thing that happened.

We didn’t get a full school day in. I already had dinner in the crock pot, and was in the process of making sweet tea when it happened. Priorities, y’all. I finished that tea because I am dedicated. My village really rallied together to help me yesterday, and I am very grateful. It wasn’t life threatening. It wasn’t a huge deal, and still many people came together to help me. I am blessed.

I hope that your Tuesday is dull and uneventful. haha! J/K. I hope mine is. I hope yours is fabulous!

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