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I Remember

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“Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot shake the foundation of America.” 

-President George W. Bush September 11, 2001

I know where I was. I know how I felt. I remember the fear and uncertainty.. the confusion. I didn’t understand. I don’t think I ever will. I wept.

I still weep.

Do you remember? Do you remember how we were a nation that was standing hand in hand? We were united.

I’m going to share this link full of images and videos. Look at it and remember. Don’t ever forget how you felt.

 

 

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family life, kids, Ramblings, story telling, Uncategorized, Weekending

Our Weekend in Pictures

Alternate title: Our Sunday in pictures.

Saturday, Scott and his brother left at 3 AM to go to Michigan to watch the football game in Ann Arbor. This left the girls and I solo all day. I invited my parents over for breakfast. I made biscuits and burnt scrambled eggs (lucky them) and my dad made bacon and gravy. It was so much fun having them over. We played a couple games of clue before they headed back home. Then, we loaded up and went to Target to walk around and get out of the house. I typically spend 6 days a week without a vehicle and trapped at home, so when I have it I am GONE. When we got home, I spent HOURS helping the big girls clean their room. Seriously, no one is allowed to bring any toys into this house unless they are a birthday or Christmas gift. I’m sick of spending hours with the junk my kids accumulate. Anyone else? That was our Saturday, and I didn’t take any pictures.

Sunday, we got up and went to church. I love my church family. I am so thankful that God brought us here to be with these people during this time in our lives.

The place that my mom works for throws a big family picnic each year. It was originally scheduled for Saturday, but the heavens opened up and INCHES of rain fell. It obviously was rescheduled. As soon as church was over, we headed home to change and go to the picnic. Unlimited fair food. Heck yes! Bounce houses for the kids to wear themselves out in were available. There were so many crafts and games. The girls got more than one pony ride.

 

 

I asked Chloe if she wanted to go play BINGO with me. She came so close to winning, but neither of us did.

Glitter tattoos and face paint may have been the favorite part. For some reason, Addi always gets super nervous and never wants to have it done. I don’t push it, so that’s why you don’t see her in these. Gah! They are so cute!! We spent ALL DAY here playing and having fun.

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I love days like this. They had a fireworks show once it got dark, and of course everyone loved that.

 

I hope that you had a wonderful weekend as well. Now, it’s back to the grind.

family life, story telling, travel, Uncategorized

Lincoln’s New Salem: a Step Back in Time

Lincoln's New Salem

Over the weekend, we spontaneously decided to go to Lincoln’s New Salem. This was always my favorite field trip when I was growing up, so it was fun to take a field trip with the kids. When we got there, we were told that it was Bicentennial weekend at the park. All but one of the cabins was open for the public to walk through. There were people dressed in period costumes to tell you about the former owners of the homes/stores/shops. There was live music and poetry readings. It was such a fun day, and I’m so thankful that we got to see so much more than we thought.

 

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They love posing by statues. When we first got there, we went into the visitor’s center. There is a small museum inside where you can see different artifacts and learn more about New Salem. Next to the visitor’s center is a small cafe and gift shop. Then, you walk down the path in between a thick group of trees. It opens up, and you can see the homes.

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(Harper was refusing to carry her hat, so Scott put it on top of his own. He doesn’t usually wear this hat. 😉 ) I loved getting to go inside and see how people used to live in the 1830s.  I’ll apologize now for the quality of some of these pictures. It’s hard to get good pictures in dark places.

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Everything is so beautiful.

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Harper really loved the beds. Most of these beds have a trundle bed underneath where the children’ would sleep– often 2-3 children on each.img_9114

The girls were so fascinated by all of the candles everywhere. It was hard for them to imagine life without lights. img_9111

The Cooper shop (building in the picture above) is the only structure that is original to the town. The rest have all been reconstructed. It was taken apart and moved to Petersburg where it stayed until 1922. Then, it was carefully taken apart and rebuilt in it’s original home of New Salem.

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The beds and furniture are all so beautiful. I am so thankful for our modern-day mattresses though. I can’t imagine sleeping on straw.

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Chloe and Addi loved seeing the spinning wheel. They were talking about Sleeping Beauty the whole time.

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This is the inside of a wool mill. The technology of their day was really incredible. This machine was powered by two oxen walking on another machine outside. (see below picture)

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That little high chair is so cute. Can you imagine having a baby in this time? Look at those floors.

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We really wished they had a sign telling about this barn above. Most of the cabins have gardens in the yard. Some have the barns. img_9138

This table is from the tavern. There was a huge fireplace with tons of cooking tools hanging from the mantle. I told Chloe and Addi about how they used to cook over the fire. This is where travelers would come for a meal. Through the doorway was a large room with several beds where they would sleep for the night. img_9119They all took turns pretending to lift buckets of water from the well.

 

 

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It felt like the temperature was a million degrees outside. In reality, it was over 90 degrees. We were so hot, and I can’t imagine how the period costume “characters” felt. We had so much fun despite the heat. img_9134

If you are ever looking for something to do in Illinois, I cannot recommend this place enough! Behind the visitor center is a campground. Across the road is a state park with a playground and hiking trails. It’s a quiet area, but It’s not far outside of Springfield. You can go into the town and there is a lot to see there also.

 

If you want to check out more information about New Salem, you can go here to this interactive map.

Uncategorized

Labor Day

We had big Labor Day plans. Huge, really.

Biscuits.

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This recipe is from Magnolia Table. (This is my baking sheet and I’m obsessed with it.)It was the first time I’d ever made biscuits from scratch. They’ve always been intimidating to me for some reason, so I’ve never tried. I decided to be ambitious and make them. I also cooked up some scrambled eggs and maple sausage to go with them– along with a small batch of country gravy for me. Everyone else prefers jelly or butter on their biscuits. How long can I talk about biscuits?

We also had plans to relax all day. The library was having a used book sale, so we went towards the end. You could fill a paper bag for only $5. While we were looking, they announced that they were cutting the price to $2.50 for a bag. I found Thumbelina from 1961 and some other beautiful vintage childrens books. By then, most things had been picked over, but we still filled our bag.

Then everyone lost their minds and the day turned sour. While we were driving home, we decided to stop at the video rental store. Everyone (of the kids) picked a movie and a candy. We went to the basement, watched every movie, ate popcorn/candy, and turned the day back around.

Sometimes it’s just really nice to snuggle up as a family to watch a movie or read “one more” bedtime story.

I hope that your long weekend was wonderful and full of delicious biscuits.

health, natural living, sponsored, Uncategorized

Breaking Down Gut Health

drohhiras 2

I received this product for free from Moms Meet (momsmeet.com) to use and post my honest opinions. Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links.

There is no better time to start taking probiotics! So much of our overall health lies in our gut health. So often, our digestive systems are overrun with too much of the bad bacteria, which results in bloating, stomach pain, and illness. Dr. Ohhira’s probiotics are so great at balancing out our gut health. As soon as I started taking this probiotic, I noticed a huge difference. I have taken probiotics in the past, but honestly have never noticed a difference and ultimately stopped taking them. That is not the case with Dr. Ohhira’s brand.

I’m going to just go for it. My stomach is often messed up. I experience bloating, discomfort, and yes– constipation. Listen, it makes me nauseous just thinking about sharing this with the world. But, it’s miserable, so if I can help you feel better then I’m going to share. As soon as I started taking this probiotic, all of those symptoms were gone. Regularity, something that I never thought I’d have, is now part of my life. My skin looks and feels healthier. You can even CHEW this small tab for immediate relief from upset stomach or indigestion. I haven’t personally had to do that yet, but just letting you know that it is an option!

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Dr. Ohhira’s probiotics come in unique blister packs. You take one in the morning and one in the evening. If you are traveling, you can break off how many days you need so that you are aren’t traveling with the whole box. They don’t have to be refrigerated, which is a HUGE plus when you are limited on fridge space. I used to think that the only good probiotics had to be stored in the fridge. I was so wrong.

Back to School Time and Fall Immunity

It is not just germs that cause kids (and grown ups!) to get sick. A significant factor is the strength of their immune response. That starts in the digestive tract where over 70% of immune system cells reside. You guys, SEVENTY PERCENT of your immune system is in your digestive tract. Probiotics, the beneficial bacteria that live in the gut, help support the production and function of these immune cells. These beneficial bacteria can be an ally when it comes to fighting off back-to-school bugs. Because Dr. Ohhira’s is such a small capsule containing the naturally fermented paste a child can easily swallow it in a spoonful of applesauce or yogurt.

Research and Facts: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 22 million school days are lost annually due to the common cold, with the average child contracting 6.5 colds a year. What many parents don’t know, science has proven that some probiotics can be one of the parent’s most useful tools for keeping kids healthy. A study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics showed that kids who were supplemented with probiotics were three times less likely to experience fever, coughs, and runny noses than their classmates who did not receive the probiotics.

Halloween Sugar: The Ghastly Ghoul That Will Scare Your Guts And Petrify Your Probiotics!

How Sugar Affects the Gut: Friendly bacteria aid the metabolism of nutrients and help certain compounds get into the bloodstream. A diverse population of health-promoting flora protects the gut from the less helpful strains. In contrast, an outsize number of less-beneficial flora—which proliferate with a diet high in sugar, fat, and processed food—can cause gas, discomfort, bloating, and inflammation. How many of you live in this state? The flora can also emit chemicals that compromise the intestinal lining according to The Human Microbiome Project at the National Institutes of Health. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition states probiotics work with your good gut bacteria to reduce sugar cravings and help keep your blood glucose in the healthy range if you do eat sweets.

The Holidays: The Eating Season

Many conventionally prepared Thanksgiving and Holiday menus, albeit delicious, are hard on your stomach. Greasy ham, fried turkey, mashed potatoes loaded with milk and butter, yams with sugary marshmallows, decadent desserts, not to mention the increased alcohol intake for some people. Even if you eat healthy the rest of the year, sometimes your digestive system just isn’t prepared for the onslaught of rich fare. Bloating, indigestion, and a sour stomach are not only triggered by how much you eat, but also by eating certain foods that are difficult to digest. These undigested substances then pass into your colon producing the gas bubbles that make your stomach swell up and create uncomfortable gas. Probiotics, when taken consistently, repopulate the gut with health-promoting bacteria for better digestion, increased absorption of nutrients, and less gas and bloating. Basically, adding a probiotic to your routine may help you avoid or lessen the complete misery that you feel after eating your delicious holiday meals.

What makes Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics different from any other probiotic?

Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics are not cultured or grown in a laboratory like most other probiotic products. Natural crops and spring water are fermented* for three years with 12 distinctive probiotic strains that encourage your body’s innate ability to grow its own friendly bacteria. This rich culture medium (PRE-BIOTICS) is then encapsulated along with the beneficial lactic acid bacteria (PRO-BIOTICS) that have grown together over the three-year period and the resulting nutrients from this fermentation* process (POST-BIOTICS.) All three of these working together help to result in the ultimate gut health.

*Fermentation maximizes the natural health-promoting properties of each ingredient. The final result is an organic, living fusion that merges and encourages the evolution of your own exclusive internal bacteria. This, in turn, supports a healthy immune system and digestion of crucial micronutrients that your body needs to thrive and flourish. Hand-made in Japan with a sincere respect for nature and reverence for science, Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics will transform your health with the assurance you are in harmony with the environment.

 

All of this to say, your gut health is SO important. Investing in a good probiotic makes such a difference in your overall health and wellness. The miserable flu season is coming up, and now is the perfect time to start taking care of your health. Cut out or reduce your intake of sugars. Add a great probiotic to the mix with your daily multivitamins. You can purchase Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics here. While you are there, pick up some of this moisturizer. It’s so good!

 

Please let me know if you give it a try and what you think. You can also head over to MomsMeet.com and check out what other people are saying about Dr. Ohhira’s probiotics.

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Uncategorized

Friday Favorites

I thought yesterday was the last day of August. Imagine my surprise when I woke up and it’s still August. Just building that anticipation for September, I guess.

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I hit up the local bakery and snagged the last unicorn cookie. Thankfully we didn’t have a world war amongst the girls and the other two were happy with roses. I feel like these cookies are too pretty to eat, even though that is clearly what they were made for. Kids don’t care. haha! I want to learn this skill.

My favorite of all favorites– Scott FINALLY has a Saturday off. Plus, he is taking Labor Day off instead of working it. I am so stinking excited. The only Saturdays that he isn’t working, we always have jam packed plans. There are no plans. I asked him if we could just rent tons of movies and lay around watching them all weekend. I wouldn’t turn down a date either. We are so tired.

We have made a couple of recipes from Magnolia Table this week, and they are all so tasty. I love comfort food, and these all fit the bill. I can’t wait to make all of the cozy foods with Fall coming up.

My sister has a black cat (yes, he is named Thackary Binx) and I think she would love this doormat. I’m not a fan of cats, but do love black cat things.

Tuesday, my sister text me telling me she was stopping by with something. I opened the door and she was holding a delicious coffee drink from the local coffee shop. She said she heard that I was having a hard week and wanted to brighten it. Almost immediately after, my mom asked if I had made lunch yet. I said no, and she told me not to. She was bringing lunch. She showed up with food for the kiddos and told me to get out by myself for a bit and she’d finish school with the kids. (She also showed up with a container of iced coffee. They know me well.) I had to fight tears the whole time. I ended up running to the grocery store to pick up some things I needed for our dinner. I ran into my sister and had lunch with her. It was so nice.

I’m not sure what has caused this week to be so rough. Every day it has been a struggle. Harper has gotten really destructive and was making huge messes every day while I would do school with the big girls. We rearranged half of the rooms in the house to make it so that I can easily keep my eyes on all of them at once. It has helped some, and I am going to just pray that it gets better with time. It’s all a balancing act.

Next week will be better!!

Happy Labor Day weekend, friends!!

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Glimpses of Autumn

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Stroller (the best ever) // purse

I had told my mom that we should meet at the candy place when they put out their first caramel apples, which they had a sign saying it would be September 1st. I saw on Facebook that they made their first caramel apples yesterday. I tagged my mom with loads of excitement!!

The girls and I walked there and met her. Somewhere between my front door and the front door of the candy shop, my kids lost their minds. The candy store is a frequent stop when we go for long walks because it’s close. This wasn’t my first rodeo. Maybe it was seeing Mimi, and the extra excitement there… Wowza. After a lot of “Put that down! Stop touching EVERYTHING! You can pick ONE! WHY DID YOU BREAK A SUCKER THAT COSTS $2.50?!?!?!” Ugh.. I refuse to be the person that breaks things and doesn’t pay for them. Anyone want a big sucker that’s shattered inside of the package? Anyone?

I picked two caramel apples– one that is covered in bacon and one covered in M & Ms. I know, you are so glad I cleared that up.

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We found really beautiful maple leaves on our walk home. I am so excited that I can officially start decorating for Fall tomorrow. I mean, I have two pumpkins and a gnome out already.. but that’s beside the point. Why do I love fall so much? It’s the little things that bring me joy; especially when it’s been a rough week.

 

I have been reading old posts on some of my favorite blogs. It made me think about how much I miss the old style of blogging. I loved catching glimpses into other peoples’  lives. It was just fun and relaxed. Now, everything tends to feel SO curated. Don’t get me wrong. I love that we can bring in income by sharing on our blogs or social media. I am SO incredibly grateful for every sponsored post that I get, because they help our family out. Plus, I get to share something that I already love with you all. But, I still miss the simplicity of the way it used to be. The way it still is for me. haha!

Tangent over.

I hope that you made time to do something fun this week. I think we’re all on the struggle bus after a couple of weeks of school being back in session. Happy last day of August, friends!

AIP, health, recipes, Uncategorized

Paleo Gravy

Probably the most difficult thing about switching to a healthier lifestyle is missing your favorite comfort foods. For me, gravy is life. But, most gravy made from scratch is not clean and contains refined flour. Over the weekend, I decided to play around and find a recipe that works and was thrilled when it worked out! Creating my own recipes is always a bit terrifying, but always worth it. (I say creating my own recipes understanding that someone somewhere has probably created a similar one. If so, I didn’t find it.)

paleo gravy

 

Ingredients:
1/4 cup Ghee
1/3 cup cassava flour
3 cups of bone broth
salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions:

1. Melt the ghee in a medium sauce pan. Slowly whisk in the cassava flour until combined and smooth.
2. Slowly pour in bone broth while you are still whisking. You want to be sure you keep whisking so that your gravy does not become lumpy.
3. Continue cooking until your gravy is bubbly and thickened.
4. Add salt and pepper to taste.

**You could make this AIP by omitting the pepper and being certain that you didn’t add any off-limits spices to your bone broth.**

 

Making gravy from scratch is so simple. I think people often get intimidated by it because of the fear of lumpy gravy with a funky texture. Give it a try! If I do end up with lumpy gravy made from broth or pan drippings, I use my immersion blender to smooth it out.

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Let’s Explore

We finally went on a hike this year. Finally. Scott works almost every Saturday, and if he’s not working it’s only because there is something planned. We decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather and go after Scott got off of work.

We took a different trail this time. We ended up stumbling into this grove of pine trees. It was so beautiful and still beneath the shade. Well, it was still until our three banshee children went running in to play hide and seek.

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We also found this fun “teepee” in the midst of the pine trees. It’s such a fun thing to find, and apparently has been there for a VERY long time. It’s so beautiful in the woods. We found out later that this grove of pine trees was actually a Christmas tree farm that was planted in 1957. Most of the trees were never harvested, so now we get this magical place to explore.

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Another part of the trail went down by this pond. Harper was so cute in her little floppy hat. The water is a magical place. There is something so peaceful about watching water.

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When we finished our hike, we went into the building that sits at the entrance of the conservation center. Inside, they have all sorts of fun activities for kids to do to learn about conservation efforts, the animals they see, and how we learn about the past. It’s such a fun place to explore.

When we came home, Scott grilled dinner and we ate on the back deck. We are hoping to have more days like this now that the weather is cooling off.

 

BEST SIGNATURE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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deals and steals, holiday, home, recommendations, Uncategorized

Fall Favorites

 

Fall Favorites

\\ Hello Pumpkin Mug // blanket scarf // knit throw // slippers // nail polish //

twinkle lights // buffalo check rug // wreath // Pumpkin spice coffee // knit pillow //

socks // pumpkin //

 

I know, I know. Someone will say it’s too early for fall. Get that negativity out of here. You have to shop in advance, right? Preparedness is key. I love all things cozy in the fall. There are so many warm colors and cozy textures. I just love it all.

Today feels like the perfect day to share these favorites. My windows are open. There is a cool breeze blowing through. My kids are sitting quietly at the table doing school work. I’m drinking a cup of pumpkin spice coffee. Scott brought me a gift for the first day of school…  pumpkin spice coffee creamer. He speaks my language and I love him for it.

So, lets dive in. I love twinkle lights. I don’t really burn candles anymore because they are full of toxins. (I saw you roll your eyes.) I miss the cozy light though, so twinkle lights take their place. You can put them just about anywhere to get the cozy light. Wrap them around a wreath. Put them inside of a wicker pumpkin. Put them inside of a pretty glass vase. I also put Thieves oil or any other spice oil (clove, nutmeg, cinnamon) in the diffuser to get that wonderful scent.

Cozy slippers, socks, blankets, and pillows are also key for fall. Big chunky scarfs are a great way to layer some warmth without adding too much. Some people really struggle with blanket scarfs, so any cozy scarf will do. I also really love the buffalo check rug. You can layer your normal welcome mat over the top and it is so pretty. I want one in every room.

I also love a good fall mug and pretty nail polish. I can’t wait to have some real pumpkins decorating our house as well. We try to save those for closer to the actual season of fall though.

What are some of your favorite fall items or activities? Is it too early to even think about fall for you?