We Are What We Eat!

Just thinking of all the questions that people love to ask on an everyday basis….. A few that always stick out to me is “how do you make dinner” or “how do you cook for that many people” or “what do you make”? The answer is pretty simple actually. I usually find a recipe or something that is just a regular recipe that I make and just get the ingredients and spend some time in the kitchen preparing and cooking and then serve my family! No..all kidding aside. But, the answer is simple enough. We make dinner just like anyone else just with a lot more of the ingredients.
We NEVER just make a single meal without doubling or tripling the recipe on something. We usually have at least a couple of the kids in the kitchen that love to help make the meals. This is one reason we choose to eat what we do so that hopefully our children will learn that good foods that are good for you are fun to work with and we can be creative. And YES, we do pasta just lots of it!
We have chosen to live more of lifestyle that has lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, along with other good things. 🙂 Although the kids do eat eggs and some dairy.
Because of our youngest son, he has lots of severe food allergies, it is our job to make sure that he and all our children eat a lot of good healthy foods because that’s what our bodies crave. Our bodies don’t want all the junk and processed foods.
My husband and I have done some research on “healthy living” and we have decided that an organic and plant based way of eating is best for our family.
Which “healthy” can mean a variety of different things or ways for a lot of us. I am just sharing what we have decided is best for us.
Lots of people will say “Eating healthy is too expensive”. Well, I get it. Although think of it like this…. If you go to the market and buy Oreo’s for 2 for $5, why can’t you go to the market and buy 2 packages of blueberries or strawberries or even a bag of apples for $5? The thing is, you need to eliminate all the “bad” stuff and replace it with “good” stuff. So when people say they can’t afford it, it really comes down to NOT buying any junk at all and not buying the good and the bad stuff but rather just the good stuff. Does that make sense? Anyway, we try to teach the kids that healthy eating can be fun and doesn’t have to seem daunting. Don’t get me wrong Oreo’s are yummy but without any nutritional value at all. So if we get a sweet tooth we will make things homemade and have some fun in the kitchen!
We don’t eat out very much except for the occasional pizza which we will regret later with our stomachs. 🙁
God has given us everything that we need in this so called world. So why do we need processed foods? We don’t! It will just come back to get us eventually. So I am not telling you how to eat but rather just giving advice of what I know.
Think of it like this… Our bodies are a vessel and we need to take care of them right? Well would you put regular gas into a diesel vehicle? No you wouldn’t so why would you put some synthetic food into your body? It is NOT going to be running properly and you will begin to wonder why you feel the way you do. Believe me, I get lots of people asking why they feel the way they do and the first question is always how and what they are eating.
I am no expert or nutritionist but I do care about nutrition for sure. And after finding out about my son’s allergies it has been amazing to me how my eyes have opened to finding out more about our foods and supplements that we consume daily.
I could continue to go on and on about this and other health related issues but you know where to reach me if you have questions. 🙂
A few of our favorites!:
Bean Tacos
(recipe for the large family of course)
1 can black beans
1 can pinto beans
2 cans kidney beans
(or whatever beans you like)
(mash these up in a pot on the stove)
chili powder
(mixed these all in with the beans and heat)
chop up all your fixings
lettuce, tomato, onion, avocado, black olives
(the kids will sometimes use sour cream and cheese)
heat up shells in oven and enjoy!
Garlic White Wine Pasta

boil 2lbs pasta (we use brown rice pasta from Trader Joe’s)
saute brocoli, peas, red pepper (or any other veggies) in olive oil or avocado oil
add about 1/2 cup white wine, minced garlic, salt and pepper
toss and your done!
super yummy!!!
Garlic Green Beans

3lbs of green beans
minced garlic
red onion
avocado or olive oil
saute altogether until beans are soft and that’s it!
Little Man eating some breakfast!
Apple Cinnamon Pancakes

2 cups brown rice flour (we use this due to allergies)
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup cinnamon applesauce ( we also use apple cinnamon butter from Trader Joe’s)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
stir altogether and cook on oiled skillet and enjoy! I know this little guy did 🙂
drizzle with real maple syrup or agave

The Everyday Hustle

Your husband walks through the door, you want to just feel some relief. You want to tell him so much about your crazy day. You want to let him know about everything that possibly could have gone wrong or just didn’t happen right. You want to ask him a million and one questions before he even has a chance to put his two tired feet into the doorway. Your kids are running around and acting as if all you did was give them candy all day long. They are so eager to get your husbands attention but all he want to do is just walk in, take a deep breath and relax from his day. Does that sound familiar?
Now if you’re anything like me… which I am not comparing how many children I have then you. But man, sometimes the days are so crazy and so long that I can’t wait for my husband to walk through that door and greet me with a kiss and start my novel of the day, because I always have a list of things to say. I know how much he loves that I could go on and on for hours. Ya right!
For all you homeschooling Mama’s out there and even if you are a stay at home Mama, you know what I am talking about right? You have a long day and you barely even know what you are making for dinner and there’s a pile of laundry just waiting to be folded that you will eventually get to.
It’s almost like your husband goes off to work for the day and then comes home and they are done. Well….not happening for us Mama’s that are exhausted and ready to just put our feet up and call it a day.
This is something so crazy to say but sometimes even though we have the most hardest, stressful and most rewarding job there is out there, we still consider ourselves quite lonely at times. Don’t you agree? We need that adult conversation and that’s one of the reasons I can’t wait for my husband to just get home everyday.
It’s kind of crazy that our husbands don’t want to hear about the million spills that we cleaned up that day, or how someone didn’t want to listen with their “listening ears”or how about how many times you had to tell your child that we just don’t do something or hurt somebody, or throw things in the house. Not only are we Mom’s but we are also referees, maids, teachers and so much more. My list could go on forever about the things that go on in our house on a daily basis, but I will spare you the truth.
Our husbands want to hear about how their children were awesome today, or someone learned to read or the baby is starting to walk and all the “fun” things that us parents get to experience.
Sometimes I really would love to erase all the negative things that we have to go through, but then again I don’t think we would be as good of parents if we didn’t suffer and deal with somethings. We need to learn and going through things is the only way to learn sometimes.
Sometimes we need “adult” talk to just feel like we are some sort of importance.
I have learned that being a Mom of a large family in these days has a lot of benefits actually. I get to watch each one of my children grow into these adults and hope and pray that they continue to follow God.
Don’t you just wish that when your child was born God sent a manual along with them? That would be amazing!
I think lots of you probably think that just because I have a large family that I have all the answers. I know this is going to shock you, but I DON’T! I am still an apprentice parent just like most of you. I learn each and everyday with my children and as a matter of fact, just when I think I know it all…here comes another child with another issue or something different that I thought I had already conquered! Man this parenting thing can be soooo hard. But at the end of the day I look at them and realize what an incredible blessing that I have right before me. It’s ok not to be a “perfect” parent and it’s ok to get frustrated sometimes at the whole learning process of everything…. as I just stopped because my 3 year old always has something to tell me or he’s getting into something!
So you need to know…. Don’t do this parenting thing alone. Reach out and ask for help. Don’t be ashamed that you need help because we ALL do! Make sure not to try to be that poster parent and think that you need to match up to what everyone else is doing because that’s NOT what your kids need. They require a few things Love, Attention, Guidance, Trust, and parents who set a good example!!
So don’t beat yourself up over how your day didn’t go according to your plan. Don’t stress that you didn’t get all the housework or schoolwork done. We need to support one another and be there if we need a hand. We are never too busy for another Mama!
Tomorrow is a new day Mama’s! So hug them tight and kiss them goodnight and then go talk your husband’s ear off and then give him a kiss goodnight! 🙂

Techno – Logical World

We have the access right in the palm of our hands. Thinking back to the first time becoming a Mom almost 24 years ago to now the way that technology has evolved is crazy to say the least. So if you are in your 30’s, 40’s, or older you know exactly what I am talking about! The 20 year olds well….they remember having dial-up for internet when they were little and being kicked off of the computer just incase someone was to call. But for us that are older we actually had to use a “house phone” to call and make plans or just to talk to someone. Now….we know every thing and almost too much of what others are doing. We have access with us 24/7.
Somedays I think about how life was so much more simple. We would sit there with our children and play “toys” and read books for hours and hours. Life was just so much more laid back wouldn’t you agree? Now that we has so much technology with our phones we find that even young kids have the advantage of having a phone even at such young ages. Not here though. We make a rule that the kids are not allowed a phone unless they can pay their part of the bill. We homeschool so things are a little different. But just thinking of the avenues that can open up with all the social media sites is rather scary. Kids thinking that their “friends” are people that they don’t even know or maybe people that claim to be someone or something they are not!
We need to stay on top of our children and ask them continuously what they are doing and who they are talking to. I never imagined the crazy world of being having to talk to cyber friends! I remember just taking with someone face to face and getting to know someone in “real” life to become your friend.
Some of the new apps that are out there it’s just insane. Why do kids need to feel acceptable and “popular” through social media? Why do they need to feel as if they fit in with the cyber world? What happened to the innocence of these kids? What happened with going to the movies, taking a bike ride, going out for ice cream, going shopping, just having a simple conversation and just being a kids WITHOUT A CELL PHONE???
It’s not just the kids but its everyone now a days. We rely so much on our phones and social media to feel that we are accepted. Which is really a sad thing for this generation. Sometimes we see all that people are doing and unless you know that person it could all be NOT REAL. We are always trying to keep up with the next person when before it was just trying to keep up with your neighbor. Where can you be where you don’t see at least someone starring at their phone or talking a selfie?
So anyway I thought of this word more in depth and thought ok… techno means art or or technique and logical means reasonable or
understandable. So I guess that it means a reasonable art or technique! So I guess we can say it’s logical right?
Yes, I know…we need the internet! I know I would be lost without it. My children even do some of their schoolwork on the internet. We have google at the touch of a button!! Who would have ever thought that we would be using a computer for all our answers? When we used to have to use our home phones (does anyone that is under 10 know what that even is?) to give someone a call to get an answer. What about Pinterest? Oh how I love Pinterest! Recipes, DIY’s, how to make just about everything. I mean how cool is that! Then there’s YouTube! Do you want to know how to fix things just go to YouTube. My husband just fixed our washing machine recently thanks to YouTube!
So, yes the internet and technology can be amazing and we really do need it. Just a matter of what you use it for. It’s going to be crazy to see what the next 10 years will bring with technology. Not sure about you, but I could never live without the internet. If I didn’t have internet I wouldn’t be writing this next blog post right now. So from 24 years ago to now it has been a complete change for sure! Can you imagine if we just took a step back in time to only about 200 years ago? Geez people that lived that long ago were probably predicting what we would have been like! Now we look towards the future and only one can imagine what the future holds. Although God has had it all figured out for years and years which is why we can’t outsmart Him.
Not sure about you, but I could never live without the internet. If I didn’t have internet I wouldn’t be writing this next blog post right now.

Sleepless Nights

We all have that one time or other with our kids when we talk about our sleepless nights and how exhausted we are as parents. The newborn babies that wake multiple times in the night to the older ones that have a nightmare and just want some snuggle time in their parents bed. Some of us co sleep and others just get woken up.
The sick kids , the sleepwalkers, the kids that have night terrors, or just the kids that just don’t sleep ….PERIOD! Now of course we love our children and believe it or not, I can remember being almost excited for my babies to fully sleep through the night and then when that happens…I miss it in a strange sort of way. We all love the snuggling and watching your children slowly drift off to dreamland, but sometimes we just want our own bed back. Don’t you agree? I mean come on, no one told me about all these sleepless nights before having kids, especially when they get older!
So, I have a story to share that is kind of crazy. I have a son (well, lots of them! But one in particular) who is now 5 years old. When I tell you that we had sleepless nights I am not lying. As a matter of fact, he didn’t sleep through the night until he was 4 years old! So every night when I would go to bed I knew for sure he would be in there at some point. I was exhausted and burnt out most days and found that I just wasn’t functioning at my full potential. I didn’t know exactly how I was going to make it through the day, but now I can look back at this and talk about it.
Even going to preschool was a struggle not only for him due to his behavior, but he was such a distraction to the rest of the class.
Our pediatrician recommended Melatonin. So that’s just what we did. I have to tell you that after doing extensive research I realized that Melatonin is NOT the answer! So for all you parents please do your research. It is not a supplement but rather a hormone that comes for animals! Ya kind of gross right. Anyway… I could go on and on about this subject so maybe that will be another blog post.
Anyway, I started doing some major research and realized that my son had SPD (sensory processing disorder). He seeked sensory and needed to be close with other people. He would be constantly squeezing my arms and had to be right next to someone all the time. His behavior was out of control most days due to not sleeping. Now you can imagine when you don’t sleep well, but for a little guy, he was really struggling.
It was a LONG 4 years with him not sleeping for sure.
He had some sleep apnea issues that were addressed with specialists in Boston and we all agreed that his tonsils and adenoids would have to be removed to give him the best chance of sleeping.
His energy always seemed to be great unless it was night time, and then he would be asking to go to bed. We did go through with the surgery and he did amazing, although the recovery was awful! Although that didn’t cure the sleeping issues.
So I started with my research on how I could help him just get some sleep. I found out that lavender diffused in his room would help him, so that’s exactly what we started to do. Everynight we would diffuse lavender and it got to the point he was asking for it. Anyway, it helped but we knew that something else had to be added. So we found out that a weighted blanket might just do the trick. So I ordered him one of these heavy blankets in hopes that we would all get some sleep and he would feel secure and not need me in the middle of the night. I prayed so hard for my son to just be able to sleep through the night because we all just became sleep deprived and couldn’t even function normally anymore. I would always say that after I had him my “hobbies” came to a halt.
Well, between both the lavender and the weighted blanket I thought I had things figured out but still he was waking up but not as many times in the middle of the night. I am telling you it was almost like we were playing tag in the middle of the night.
So I heard of this amazing Chiropractor that specialized with pregnant woman and children, which was so up my alley because not only do I have lots of children, but I am a Birth Doula also. She works with all people! 🙂
My first reaction was, “why would I bring him to a Chiropractor when he wasn’t even hurt”? Why do I want someone to “crack” my son? I just didn’t understand all the benefits of a Chiropractor at that time. I even mentioned to my pediatrician that I was bringing him to see one and see was a little hesitant. This is where I should add that you are the parent and God gave you the wisdom to know what is best for your children. We know them best.
I still didn’t understand until I started to do some more research and found so many benefits of having a Chiropractor. I thought what do we have to lose right? So I called and made and appointment to take him in. We went to Harmony Chiropractic and when I tell you that the Chiropractor is amazing…that’s just an understatement! She was so welcoming of us and loved my son to pieces. Well the first night he seemed to be a little more relaxed when we got home which was nice. Then by the end of the first week we implemented all three things including the weighted blanket, the lavender in the diffuser, and the Chiropractor and guess what?…..we had a 4 year old little boy that slept through the night!!!! Can you imagine how happy we were? Even more so I was so excited to have my son get a good night sleep and be able to function the way that he deserved.
We prayed for that day to come. My husband was so exhausted having to go to work everyday and I was dragging with one eye open on most days. I was overwhelmed and stressed out and definitely NOT myself.
So for all you thinking that there’s no end in sight and your family is not functioning due to lack of sleep go find yourself an amazing Chiropractor! You are not alone in this. Hang in there and keep praying.

A New Season Is Upon Us

No matter the phase of life you are in, it’s just for a short amount of time just like a season. It’s hard to actually believe that before you know it, you are already into the next phase of this so called life and there’s no turning back but moving forward can be almost scary but exciting at the same time. Almost when a tree loses its leaves in the Fall you can’t put them back on, but you know in the Spring they will be more beautiful then you could ever imagine right?
Well lets talk about the everyday family life around here with our tribe…
The baby almost walking, the teething, the 3 year old (which is a whole ‘nuther story)! The “middles” that are all learning to read and get a little sassy in between, the teenagers that are just trying to figure out life, and yes the “adult” kids, do I need to say more? Oh and the sweet grandchildren phase, which is all new to us right now.
This is the season of my house right now. Just learning each and everyday what this season is all about.
Think of it like this…. we can use a tree as an example. Sometimes we will have a big beautiful blooming tree and other times we will have a tree that is just full of branches and looks lonely out there in the world waiting for some attention.
We need to go through these seasons as a learning process and to figure out what our next step will be to get to the next season.
Whether we face challenges, new job changes, parenting issues, good times, bad times, new babies, grieving, challenges, moves, or even just the everyday obstacles that we face each and everyday, our seasons will always tell a story.
We will not always have a Spring and we will not always have a Fall, but that’s why there’s Summer and Winter to balance us out cause fire and ice will make things a fresh slate. Almost like a time to think about where our next season will be heading.

There’s always hope of change coming. Everything has a cycle and that makes life interesting for sure. The experiences that we get to have and see change right before our eyes is amazing!
I love to think about just how crazy in the almost past 24 years of becoming a Mother for the first time, how many seasons that we have actually gone through.
We need to accept the season that we are in and not just thank God for the good seasons but also the seasons that we may think are terrible. Be thankful for all seasons of life because it may be hard when you are faced with that season, but there’s a reason and a purpose that you are going through it. Not sure about you, but I look forward to each and every season although I might not of said that when going through a few a while ago.
So….. ask yourself this question…”Are you happy with your season, or would you just say that you are content?”
It’s like we have chapters in our lives and before we open a new one we have to finish what we started. To me that’s exciting.
Watching my children grow through these seasons has given me joy and hope to a future that will mold and form them.

A New Day….. (at least the way it was planned).

Well well, where do I begin? So you want to know how in the world is it even possible with having that many kids and homeschooling on top of the daily agenda that needs to get done? Well quite honestly… not always how I would have hoped.
We all have these amazing plans and how we want to get things done in a day right? We have our “to do lists” on the fridge, our cozi app on our phones (which is awesome by the way), we have sticky notes just plastered everywhere (maybe), or just a mental note (that’s if you still have some sort of a brain left)!
So I am going to give you a recap of our day the way it was intended anyway, but just remember…. it doesn’t always go so smoothly.

The Mask of a little boy

Well I think it is about time that I share something with you all that I know has been affecting lots of people now a days. It one of those things that no one ever really talks about before becoming a parent until it happens to someone you know. It’s called allergies! Didn’t think I was going to say that did ya?
I can not believe how many people that I have actually had conversations with that their children have food allergies. I don’t remember hearing so much about it years ago. Maybe once in a while you would hear of the child at school or camp sitting there by themselves because they were the only one that had a food allergy, and most of the time it was peanuts. That’s why it was called the “peanut – free” table.
Anyway, on to our story…..

Our baby boy Zayn was just shy of 2 months old when he broke out with a rash from head to toe. I called the pediatrician multiple times and they never seemed that concerned, but if you saw my little guy you would have felt so bad for him. We brought him in several times to only be told that it was eczema. I didn’t want to use steroids on his little tiny body.
As time went on it was something that we just needed to except that he just had bad eczema and that all we could do was wait it out.
We began using everything “dye – free” including bath washes and laundry detergent. I actually hated it because I wanted my baby to smell like a baby and he really didn’t.
He constantly had a rash all over his face. Almost like he had on a mask. It would get so bad that at times it would ooze and get infected. I was almost starting to feel embarrassed that some would think that he was just not clean or something. I remember going to the pharmacy because at one point it got infected and the woman at the pharmacy commented saying “oh poor baby, I hope he is going to be ok”. Talk about a jab. I had to say to her “that’s why we are here”. I recall another time when I was standing at the register and Zayn started to cry and so I picked him up out of his stroller and thank God he had a hoodie on because I was literally hiding his checks so no one would even look at him. (I know… but it was not how I wanted people to see my baby). My heart would break and it was a very emotional and stressful feeling. My anxiety would overcome me just thinking about him having another flare up and how I was going to help him heal.
I began an elimination diet and began to eat Paleo. We even tried do salt baths and breastmilk lotions because I had heard that would help also. Although he was still reacting to something that I couldn’t figure out. I did question the pediatrician a couple times about nuts and she didn’t think that would have anything to do with it. I knew something still was lurking. Well turns out it most certainly did along with eggs. Those were the last two things that I cut out of my diet.

As time went on I keep pressing the issue of getting his blood drawn for allergy testing. So at 6 months we found out that he was allergic to soy, wheat, peanut, tree nuts, egg white, egg yolk, and all dairy!! Yikes!!! I was breastfeeding and I felt horrible that I thought I was poisoning my son.

So I eliminated all of that in that time and began doing more research on my own. (anyone that knows me, knows that I will research anything)! I also began taking a probiotic and giving him one as well. I knew that eczema comes from gut healing and so do allergies. I found out that against what doctors will tell you about bathing too much, his skin actually craved the hydration from the water. He began to clear up and I could finally see that adorable little boy and his beautiful cheeks once again. It was crazy though because I needed to be watching everything that I was eating but knew that infant formula wasn’t the answer as it is milk based or soy based.
By the time he was 8 months old he saw a pediatric allergist at Boston Children’s Hospital to have some skin testing and figure out a plan of action. Sure enough everything was positive.
At 10 months he went back for a follow up and was tested again for wheat (due to a reaction and being the lowest positive before), sesame, sunflower, and banana and was tested positive for each and every one of those on top of the others!

So here we stand at almost 11 months old and he hasn’t had any major flare ups lately, but his diet is very restricted. Although he is a healthy 23lbs at not even quite 11 months! Basically we eat a very healthy with a lot of fruits and veggies and have to be very creative!

Here’s Zayn a happy little guy at 10 months old! Cleared up and Mommy being creative with brown rice flour pancakes with apples and cinnamon!

So what have I learned so far in this journey with Zayn?….
1.) it can be very overwhelming as a parent to not know what is going on with your child and feeling like you are alone.
2.) do your own research
3.) it’s not so bad to eat healthy
4.) how many children are affected with food allergies
5.) how to get creative with food
Stay tuned for some recipes that we use that are allergy free!!!

For the fear of the world

Fear, worry, grief
Are you afraid??

As my family finished dinner and everyone helped with the cleanup process because it is quite the process you know! My husband sitting across the table from me, the baby cruising along the bench in the kitchen and laughing at himself in the dining room mirror, some of the other children playing a card game not even realizing that this will be just a small start to competition in this crazy world. But the laughter that filled the room and the smiles are always so priceless. I found myself thinking about the world we call home. With all that has happened with natural disasters and now what has been plastered all over the news with Las Vegas. No wonder why over half of the world has anxiety, stress and are just plain scared. We now have these fears of leaving our home. Can’t even go to public events, malls, schools or now even concerts. So how one earth am I supposed to be this mom that doesn’t have a fear when her children are not in sight? I know a lot of you are probably thinking, oh this is why she homeschools her children. Well… not exactly! Nine years ago things were different even then. So that decision was something that wasn’t based on what’s happening in the world today. I found myself and my mind just whirling with what is going to happen tomorrow? And what will this world be in 30 years from now? Think about what this world was 30 years ago and how things have changed so much. It really has become something that I could have never imagined. Although it has all been written out for us many many years ago to have some sort of a heads up.Teaching the kids that we shouldn’t be cruel to one another has been a moto in our home for a long time now. There’s so much hatred in this world that if that’s one thing to eliminate in our home then that’s what needs to be done. Nursing my little guy to bed tonight and thinking of all of what has and will happen in this place we call home can be extremely overwhelming. We need to know and realize that God does not want us to worry and doesn’t want us to be so overwhelmed that we are not enjoying life. “Do not fear for I am with you”Enjoy every laugh and smile, enjoy life even when things don’t seem to be going according to your plan. As their mother I need to teach them compassion, love and to spread the love of Jesus. To not live in fear but have confidence to stand up in any situation that may come their way. I fear their future… yes but I know that they have big dreams that they will need to fulfill. I will provide them with the best knowledge and support that I know how to give them.My hope and prayer for my children is to not have a fear of the world but conquer the world with integrity, and give others confidence to have the strength and courage to face fear. I cry in silence for the world and for all my babies. People wake up and start to pray. Pray for your family, your neighbors near and far. Pray for the person behind you in the market, pray for the impatient person on the road, pray for the world because we are gonna need it.Do you know that the phrase “do not be afraid” is written in the Bible 365 times? That’s your daily reminder friends.