Later, y'all!

Taking a break to say good-bye to summer and hello to a new school year!
I'll be back soon!


Smoothie Moves

When grains are not on the menu, breakfasts can require you to think out of the box!
(Haha, get it? "out of the (cereal) box"?!)

My middle son, Benji, has been tested on and off sensitive to eggs. Not a full blown allergy, but sensitive. If you persist in giving/eating a food that you are sensitive to, there is a really good chance that a big, nasty allergy will develop. So...we really don't do scrambled eggs, omelets, etc.

Cereal, oatmeal, toast, french toast, scrambled eggs, pancakes, waffles and omelets are all a no-no for us right now. So what's for breakfast??

Kefir Smoothies!

Kefir is basically fermented/cultured milk. At our house, we use raw milk from grass fed cows to make a variety of cultured dairy products. Why raw? Dairy products that are pasteurized (that you find in the grocery store) are from grain fed, CAFO cows, and are only a source of calories and allergies!
(more on this here, here, and here-don't forget; if you are doing research make sure you find similar information in three or more places!)

Raw, grass fed milk is a natural immune builder! It is rich in the vitamin B's, is a great source of probiotics for intestinal health, and has tons of enzymes (which fight inflammation). All of this is destroyed completely when the milk is pasteurized.
(more on this here, here and here!)

OK, so back to Kefir!

Kefir is a powerful probiotic beverage. It is made by placing kefir "grains" (not really grain, it just looks like grain!) in milk and letting it stand on your counter for up to 48 hours. It looks kind of like runny yogurt when it's finished.
It can be strained, also, to make kefir cheese (similar consistency to cream cheese).

I make a 1/2 gallon of kefir at a time, and we use 2-3 C each morning in our smoothies.
Since we've been drinking kefir daily and using kombucha (more on that in a later post!), we've hardly been sick at all! In fact, I can't remember the last time I was sick since my flu back in October of last year. Proper intestinal flora (friendly bacteria) is of utmost importance to a healthy immune system. In fact, I would almost say that it's the single most valuable area of your body that you can work on being super healthy.

So, here's my recipe...sort of! I'm not really a by the books recipe kind of gal, I just cook with a little of this and a pinch of that. I'll attempt to quantify what I use!

Daily Breakfast Smoothies

2-3 C fresh homemade kefir
1-2 C frozen fruit
raw honey to taste

Blend, drink immediately!

That's the basic recipe that I always add or subtract from. I've been known to throw an avocado in (which makes it super creamy and satisfying), some raw egg yolks, aloe vera juice, kombucha, vanilla, a pinch of salt, some raw spinach, cinnamon, or whey. Not necessarily all at once!!

I will say that kefir is an acquired taste. It's a bit sour, similar to plain yogurt. At first, we had to do the "I'm sorry you don't like this, honey. It's good for your body and you need to be obedient to Mom and Dad and drink it" speech. After a while, maybe a week or so, the kids actually were asking for smoothies and my pickiest child was begging me to add avocado!
Don't give up when you are trying to introduce new, whole foods to your kids! Keep trying...sometimes it's just the "newness" that freaks them out!


my MYnd

I had my first really mean, negative comment on here recently. The commenter (anonymous of course, aren't they all?) said something about hoping that my kids would develop minds of their own. Even though the comment was just an ignorant, idle insult, it got me thinking about the true definition of an independent mind and how we, as Christian parents, define that for our children.

What does "having a mind of your own" mean, really? Does it mean what it says, having a mind that is only full of your own ideas, ideals, plans, concerns, and ambitions? If you break it down that way, it sounds pretty selfish, doesn't it!

Or, does "having a mind of your own" simply mean being able to think for yourself, above influence? I think this definition is more accurate, and fits our personal goals as Christian parents much better than the first.

As followers of Christ, and as parents, we are solely responsible for the training of our children's minds and hearts. We are raising up the next generation of believers, the next leaders of our nation, the next missionaries, the next pastors. If we give in to "our own minds", we are inherently going against every command that Jesus has given us regarding how we are to live.

"Our own minds" are full of sinful, selfish desires! Not how we want our children to turn out, right? I'm sure you've seen your share of spoiled children, individuals who demand that the world revolve around them, and are horrified if they don't get everything they desire, WHEN they desire it. That, truly, is allowing your child to "have a mind of their own"!

Our goal (my husband's and mine) is to raise independent children who can think for themselves, above worldly influence, and who have keenly trained ears to the Lord's voice. We are working towards this by choosing to do several things.

First, our goal is immediate obedience. If our children can't listen and obey our voices, how can they listen to and obey the voice of the Lord? Obedience is required in ALL areas. And yes, that does include mealtimes, as I addressed in a previous post. We are obeying our heavenly Father to the best of our ability, and model obedience with a cheerful heart for our children.

Secondly, we choose to educate them here in our home. We believe that home education goes way far and above any other type of education in preparing our children for the real world. It allows them to learn how to focus during real life distractions. It allows them to learn the intricacies of relating to people outside their peer group. They are able to watch Mommy and Daddy navigating through bumpy situations regarding home repairs, or money issues, or family problems and how we deal with them. They get one on one time with their teacher, me! The list goes on and on but I'll stop now because this post is not about why we homeschool!!

Thirdly, we model for them daily prayer, Bible reading, serving others (with a good attitude!!), and other life skills that they will need when they are adults.

Fourthly, we don't help them. Yep! Not a typo. Parents who do EVERYTHING for their children are not being kind. Where will your sweet darling be when she walks out the door to college and Mommy is not there with a plate of hot eggs in the morning, or to put her freshly washed clothes away in the drawer for her? Hungry and dirty, that's where! We teach our kids life skills so they can ultimately  be independent, but learn how before they step out into the wide world by themselves. After giving them the tools, we encourage them to solve quarrels between themselves on their own, or cook something on their own, or clean the bathroom by themselves, etc.

These are just a few examples of how our family is raising up independent, well-equipped children, who cling to Jesus and follow His word.

It is very prideful to say that you have only your own thoughts and ideas and follow no one's input but your own. Like it or not, the truth is that everyone will be influenced by someone, or something sooner or later in their lives.  Home schooled or not. The choice is ours, then, as parents, to choose who we want to be the powerful influence in our children's lives. Who will direct their minds and hearts? A stranger? Their peers? Cartoon Newtork? Or us?

We know that we are human, and aside from the Lord's redemption and grace, are fallen sinners. If left to their own devices, children's minds will belong to the world, and the prince of darkness. Because, in reality, our minds have never been our own, and never will be! So, we choose to  raise children with the mind and heart of Christ, who can think for themselves, above influence and follow the voice of Jesus.

I urge you, Christian parents, be vigilant! Seek daily to turn your children's hearts and minds towards yourself and thus towards Jesus! Be obedient and seek obedience from those precious souls entrusted to you for this short time on earth. Their minds are a battleground and the Prince of Peace must prevail.



a LONG drive...

stripey fields...

getting sort of lost...




slightly tired...

getting treats...

good friends...

and our kids...

{a few days later}
cutting and soaking...

a sea of jars...

someone who has done this before...

in and out...



What I know...and don't!

::About homeschooling::

I know

We will do it forever

God made me to be the perfect teacher for my children

I never feel adequate, but cling to that truth on a daily basis

There is not a single curriculum out there that will make you a better teacher, or make your child a better

All curriculum websites make them look like they might be THE ONE

Most likely they're not

Our first year I used an already-planned-out curriculum in a box

I hated it

Our second year we went eclecctic. Completely and totally off on our own.

I loved it.

Except for one thing...
Being accountable to only myself for lesson plans probably is not the best idea here, for us!

While I enjoy doing my own thing, and always change up everything, I do need someone to hold my hand for the tough bits, like buckling down each week and planning the next one!

I am writing this because I"m about to send in my notifications and book list for the year and need to organize my thoughts...

I don't know

What the coming year will hold for our family in terms of location or lifestyle

If one child needs some dramatic reading intervention
When or how to make that decision

Which direction our studies will take us
If I want to school out of a box again or not

Conversely, if I want to spend oodles of time planning or not

How to squeeze in outreach ministry efforts into our already crowded schedule. Or if I should even try.

How to make more time for myself to exercise and read my Bible

How I could be so deserving of such an amazing husband and wonderful children...but somehow here they are!

Looking forward to another great year teaching...and learning!!


in our {school} room...

Ava tries hard to be like momma

Alec reads...(and plays!)

Benji works hard to learn new things...

And I {love} my turquoise table!



I was recently having a conversation with someone about a meal we were planning and the topic came up of whether or not my kids liked a particular food. This person happens to have similar ideas and beliefs about food that I do, but it brought to mind a pet peeve of mine that has been growing rapidly.

In our house here is what we teach the kids about food:

God gives us food

Food does not need to taste good, but it must be healthful

Whole food is the only healthy choice
we need to eat our food as close to it's natural state as possible

By making healthy choices, we are honoring God with our bodies

By making healthy choices because we are told to, not necessarily because we want to, we are being obedient to our parents

This translates occasionally into some mild mealtime battles. For most children, regardless of how aware of whole foods they are raised, trying a new food can be quite challenging. Since we are very firm in our lifestyle choice of eating whole food, we do not allow complaining, whining, or refusal to try new things.

The phrase "But I don't like it!" does not hold any currency at our table. We gently say, "I'm sorry you don't like that food. You need to eat it anyway because it's good for your body and because you need to obey your mommy and daddy."

Because we eat the way we do (which is not the norm in our country), we frequently have friends come over with children who are curious about what's on the table. Often, this scenario has played itself out in front of me:

guest child,"Mommy? What's that?"
parent, "Oh, it's such and such"
guest child, "Oh! I want to taste it!"
parent, "Oh NO, you won't like it."
"Oh, I don't think you should, you've never had that before."

What? "you won't like it"???!!! I really and truly can't even wrap my head around that mentality. Why in the world would you not only discourage your child's natural curiosity but also squash their desire to try WHOLE, NUTRITIOUS FOOD??

I could probably understand if it were the other way around, if I was serving up a big helping of processed grain, refined sugar, msg and high fructose corn syrup, and the parent, bless their heart, was trying to discourage tasting that. But this? Really?

(when I say "food" here, I'm referring to whole, traditional, nutritious foods)
It frustrates me and saddens me to no end to see parents putting their preconceived notions about food, or personal dislikes of a food onto their children. For example, my husband hates tomatoes. Since boys always want to be like Daddy, we are very careful not to let the boys know just how much Daddy hates tomatoes so that they will try them and develop their own opinion. All three of the kids actually don't like tomatoes right now, their choice, but we serve tomato stuff anyway and I just tell them, "Well, you're not old enough to like them, but you will when you are more grown up."

At the end of the day, our goal with our children is to accomplish the realization of a new meaning of the word "like".

Like: the ability to enjoy and eat whole, nutritious, traditional foods because they are the best choice, and God's choice, for a healthy body.

Conversely, the word "dislike" or phrase "I don't like that" translates to this:
the sinful flesh refusing to be obedient to God's design for the body, an ungrateful spirit rearing it's ugly head

So, when my children are served something they object to, their thought processes should run something like this:
Oh, this is not my favorite thing to eat. But I'll eat it anyway with a happy heart because I like foods that Mommy and Daddy tell me are healthy, and because I want to be obedient.

I do not believe in coddling, or cooking for, the appetite of my children. Occasionally we will allow them to participate in meal planning, or have a favorite meal for a special occasion. Largely speaking, though, I cook and serve what I deem to be the best, and healthiest foods for the
family, and fully expect cheerful obedience and "liking" of what I serve!

Our goal is raising kids with a grateful heart, and a taste for simple, nutritious, life-giving foods.


Grain Free Delicious!

We've been grain free here since May. This post is not to share why, although I will eventually, but to share one FABULOUS recipe that will make you so delighted!

These are grain free cupcakes. The original recipe is for a nut butter muffin, and then for chocolate avocado pudding. Since I am the way I am, and can't leave anything as it is, I changed everything up a bit and made these tasty cupcakes.

I honestly can't remember where the recipes came from, so if you are reading this and it is your recipe, please leave a comment!!

Ok, so moving right along...

One thing I will say before I share the recipes is that nut butter is expensive. We generally don't use peanut butter here because of a couple family members being sensitive, and because most peanut butters contain aflatoxins, a type of toxic mold. Instead, we use almond butter or sunflower seed butter, both raw if we can find them. For us, they are healthier choices, and the extra cost is worth it.

(you can read more on this here and find healthy peanut butter here)

So are you ready? Drumroll please...

Nut Butter Cupcakes
(you can use half of the sweetner and they can just be nice, neutral muffins)
1 jar nut butter
1/2 C raw honey
3 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
2T raw apple cider vinegar or lemon juice

That's all! 
Yep, that's all the ingredients! I was totally amazed the first time I made these!

Combine all ingredients except for the vinegar and mix well. You can use a whisk and some elbow grease or an electric mixer. Add vinegar or lemon juice and mix well, then pour into muffin cups or greased muffin pan. This makes 12 good sized muffins. Almond butter makes poofier muffins than peanut butter, not sure why.
Bake at 350 for around 15 min. They are done when a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool completely and then frost with...

Chocolate Avocado Frosting

2 ripe avocados
1/2 C raw honey
1/2 C organic cocoa powder
2 T fat (coconut oil or butter, melted)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Add ingredients to food processor and blend. I ended up adding a tad extra cocoa (maybe 1/4 C?) because it still tasted a bit avocado-y to me. This is super thick and is very satisfying because of the fatty avocados.

Personally, I stored these in the refrigerator. Nut butter can go rancid, and we've all seen what avocados to when exposed to air for any period of time. I just put them in an airtight container and they were fine and just as tasty right out of the fridge. Of course there weren't many left to refrigerate after my kids realized how yummy they were!

If you make this, please comment and let me know how you liked it, or if you changed it up at all!

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