Hashimotos Powder Mix!

I shared in my stories on Instagram today about my Hashimotos and a big ‘ol concoction of goodness to help boost my wellness. Many of you asked for the mix. Here’s the “recipe”. I use that term loosely as this is 100% my own mix that I put together. Now, you will see that if you buy all of these things for the first time together, it will be SUPER expensive! The mix will last months and months because you are only putting in a little bit a day. If I had to pick 3 things, it would be collagen, MCT oil, and Rose Hip powder as the main purpose of this mix is to help with inflammation and restore brain function. Fuzzy brain has been a symptom of my Hashimotos.

1. 12 oz Baobab Powder Powdered baobab contains many important nutrients but is especially high in vitamin C, vitamin B6, niacin, iron and potassium. It has 50 calories in 2TBS

2. 6 oz Rose Hip Powder  Researchers identify tiliroside, an active ingredient in Rosehips, to be responsible for the fat-reducing properties of the fruit. This compound accelerates fat metabolism and improves the body’s utilisation of glucose, which prevents fat from building up in the tissue and triggers fat burning. In addition, tiliroside also possesses anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties. (source here)

3. 24 oz Collagen  Collagen protein responsible for skin elasticity. It also plays a role in joint and bone health.  (source here)

4. 6 oz Sunflower Lecithin Many of the phospholipids that combine to make sunflower lecithin play a key role in brain health, helping your body to produce and strengthen brain and nerve cells, plus the fatty acids in sunflower lecithin support nerve tissue and neurotransmitter function. Lecithin is also known as a fat emulsifier, which the body can use to remove excess fats from the bloodstream, supporting healthy cholesterol levels. -Amazon description (but Trim Healthy Mama talks about it a lot)

5. 16 oz Beet Root Powder -lowers blood pressure, improves workouts, fights inflammation, high in fiber, Interestingly, the nitrates in beets may improve mental and cognitive function by promoting the dilation of blood vessels and thus increasing blood flow to the brain (source here)

6. MCT Oil I add 1 Tablespoon in drink when making it daily. (if you are new to MCT oil, start with a tsp)

7. Stevia to sweeten the drink.

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  1. Mix all these together into one big container.
  2. Put 1.5 to  2  scoops of into any drink (bigger drink, I add a little more). The scoop I use is from the collagen container.
  3. I brew 2 raspberry tea bags in 4 oz of boiling water.  Remove tea bags.
  4. Pour powder mix into hot water to allow it to dissolve.
  5. Pour hot liquid/powder mix over ice to make an iced tea.
  6. ‘Add cold water to desired strength.

 

 

The Six Best Steps to Simplify Your Digital Life

I recently cleaned up my digital life and I can’t tell you how freeing it is! The first time you clean things up online may take a lot of time, but it is SO worth it! Most of these things are self explanatory and not that mind blowing, however, when was the last time you did all of these things?! 🙂

Here’s what I did to regain time in my day.

1. Set phone to do not disturb during school hours.

If there is one piece of advice, this is it! I can’t believe how much smoother our day goes having do not disturb on until 2 pm every day.  I set the expectation for my friends and clients by letting them know of my schedule. My custom voice message on my phone says “I am doing school until 2 pm and will call you back after that time”.  My official office hours are 2pm-8pm. As a wedding photographer, my clients like that they can call me at night after work, so the schedule works well. There are still plenty of times that I check my phone and connect with people before 2 pm,  but it’s at MY discretion when I know it won’t interfere with our school rhythm.

2. Remove yourself from Facebook groups. Even groups you are semi-active in.
That’s right. You heard me. Remove yourself from the drama. I have a major confession: I removed myself from the Classical Conversations Facebook group. dun-dun-duuuuuhn! I realized that I spent more time confused by the thousands of different opinions than getting actual help. I would give my two cents, but it was lost in the crowd. I was neither being served or serving others in a way that was constructive conversation. The same five Q&As would go round and round every other week with little admin help; so I left the group. Just because it didn’t serve me, doesn’t mean it won’t be useful to you. Just like certain things in life are hepful for a time and then you move on, so it goes for Facebook Groups. Remove the temptation to get emotionally involved or mindlessly scrolling.

I encourage you to take time to look through every single group you are in and ask yourself these questions:

  1. What is my emotional state after 10 minutes in the group?
  2. How has my participation in this group benefited my life?
  3. Am I a helpful and useful contributor to the group? Do people value my opinion here?

After asking myself these questions, I left a total of 15 groups.  A couple of the groups I knew would be obvious that I left. I let the admin know “hey, I love you guys, but I am slimming down my online presence! All the best!”. It was a little longer than that, but I felt good about leaving some local groups after connecting with the main person. They were all very understanding.
I am still a member of 20 groups!

3. Unsubscribe from email lists. It’s more than just because it’s time consuming.
This takes a lot of time to unsubscribe, but the last thing you need is a notification of another sale at Old Navy. More than it being time consuming and a distraction to your day, more often than not, a cluttered inbox means important emails gets missed. Don’t let junk email from things you subscribed to clutter up your inbox so you miss the important emails. I used to be the President of a co-op. I can’t tell you how often a mom didn’t see an important email about co-op… but every time a mom was upset that she didn’t know something, sure enough, she’d email back saying she found the email amidst the clutter.

4. Mute Stories or Posts from people you still want to follow but don’t want to see every time you get online.

Did you know you can mute stories or posts on Instagram just like you can unfollow but still be friends with people? I have a few accounts that I want to look at now and then, but don’t need to see aalllll their stuff. It’s hard to want want to watch entertaining or beautiful things, but I had to stop the scrolling madness. Some people I follow because of stories and others I follow because of their posts. Decide which one serves you and mute the other!

5. Unfollow Instagram and Facebook accounts to allow social media to get boring in the best way possible!

You are probably saying “Well, duh. Of course unfollow accounts.” and yet I see my friends are following over a thousand accounts!! Think about it: if you visited each account for 30 seconds one day a week, that’s 500 minutes/8.3 HOURS a week, over an hour a day of purely consuming social media.   I know you are never going to watch every single account you follow every week, but it’s just another thing that adds up. It reminds me of the 10 pairs of jeans in my closet that I think I will wear again some day. ha!

Getting rid of all those accounts will make your feed “boring” after a while and make you want to get offline. Why boring? Because you’ve seen all the new stuff you wanted to see. I follow 300 accounts at the moment and that’s about three times the amount I’d like to. However, I don’t have a personal Instagram account. My account is for this Modern Homeschooler Page. Most of those 315 are businesses that I am networking with or an account that specifically helps me in my homeschooling day.  Every  few months I go through who I am following and unfollow. This keeps things fresh and applicable.

6. Set phone to only get emails twice a day or when you manually check it.

I used to have my email auto refresh every 15 minutes. I was worried that I would need to respond right away to something. I think it was the new business owner in me. I’d respond, but sometimes it would send me down a trail as I tried to help a bride find a vendor she was looking for or whatever. I now know that responding same working day- even if it’s five hours later is still professionally acceptable. If you are a working mom, you may need to set your emails to  more frequently than twice a day. Make sure to do what is professionally acceptable in your industry. If you don’t work, it’s still socially acceptable to wait a day to respond to an email. If they wanted a quicker answer, they would have text.

I hope these tips help you simplify your social life! Do you have any to add?

On Being Unique

Can I get real with you tonight? It involves this white Christmas tree.
About 5 years ago we decided to do a fake Christmas tree. I said “If it’s going to be fake, it needs to LOOK fake”. I am not a fake person in any capacity and that includes not making something fake look real- like a Christmas tree. We went all out and found an all white tree. It’s the best kind of ridiculous. I’ve also enjoyed the uniqueness of it.

Until last week.
While perusing the Hobby Lobby aisle, I came across my tree. In porcelain form. “What?!” I thought I was the only one who had thought of an all-white tree with colored lights?! Ok, maybe not the *only* one, but to see it in uber mass marketed form was both fun (clearly, I bought the tchotchke) and annoyed.

I’ve been wrestling with my pride since that day. I am not unique in the way I thought I was. I feel even stupider that I am annoyed to the point of writing a post about it, having to hash out these odd feelings publicly.

It’s hard to not hear world’s mantra in my ears that “we are all special and different”. God has knit us together in our mother’s womb (Psalm 127) which makes us precious in His sight; but it doesn’t say we are all made uniquely. It’s a weird desire to want to not be like everyone else. Isn’t it a good thing to live at peace with all men? Wouldn’t I want to desire to be like people?

I reminds me of homeschooling. Every one of our daily school lives are different and that’s just the way we all like it. But then we roll our eyes, argue in Facebook groups, or complain to our husbands about how Sally down the street has chosen to do homeschooling.

I guess I’ve said all this to say: learning to not be prideful in wanting to be totally different than everyone else while also loving my neighbor who is different than me is a weird emotional battle. Have you had experience with this? What helped you?

How To Do The Ark Encounter: Tips for Family Vacation

We’ve all read Noah and the Ark, but after experiencing the rich story telling of the exhibits at The Ark Encounter, I have a renewed reverence to this part of humanity’s history. Classical educators talk about living books; this is a living experience!  The artistry, craftsmanship, and clear desire to share Biblical truth is inspiring.

Here’s some tips to making your trip to the Ark Encounter the best ever!

If you would like to watch the recap video of this trip, go click here to view it on our YouTube Channel!

  1. Come in September! There were so few people there, it was remarkable! We could linger as long as we wanted all along the way without fear of people waiting behind us.
  2. It’s quite a journey to get to The Ark. Once you have arrived on the property, there’s parking, a required shuttle ride by bus, then another 5 minute walk to get to the entrance of the Ark. So don’t accidentally leave something in your car! Even on a super light day, this process took 25 minutes.
  3. When you first step off the shuttle, there is a big building to the left that serves as a meeting place, but also has a lot of souvenirs. Many of these items are the exact same as what you can buy in the Ark gift shops. Take a look inside this building and make a mental note of what they have for sale. Plan to buy what you can there in your way back to your car. There is usually a wait for the shuttle, so it will give you something to do and  will save your arms from carrying around your new treasures throughout the rest of the attractions, which includes a petting zoo, zip line, gem dig, playground, and food huts.
  4. You enter the Ark in what I would call the belly of the ship. There are beautifully maintained flowers and plenty of shade, so don’t worry about standing in the hot sun.
  5. Once you are inside, there are 3 full floors to visit. The most stunning feature was looking up into the skylight in between the floors. Every inch inside the Ark is filled with life size exhibits of animals, what their cages may have looked like, potential ideas for how Noah’s family lived inside the ark; including food storage, a ventilation system, work areas, a kitchen, and bedrooms. There were gift shops on every level. Some of them to hold unique items, but for the most part, everything can be bought in the main gift shop on the bottom floor- many of these gift shops support those in need in 3rd world countries.
  6. There is so much to see inside the Ark, that I would suggest allotting a full day to be there.
  7. We were encouraged and thankful for how important it is to Answers in Genesis that the Gospel message be shared. They had a large museum style exhibit of a comic strip telling a story of redemption. At the end of it, they had Gospel tracks free for people to take.
  8. Part 2! The outside stuff! Once you have had your fill of the Ark, there are all the other things to do. Take note: The outside activities close a full hour before the Ark does. We weren’t aware of this and had to rush through to do the few things we had told the kids we would spend money on. Petting the animals is free, but camel rides, digging for geodes, and the zip line are not.

 

 

 

 

Creation Museum Tips

This past September we ventured to the great unknown of Kentucky. There aren’t a lot of reasons for us to visit this beautiful state; however it is home to what is becoming the most popular attraction for Christians: The Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter. This is a brief synopsis of our time just at the Creation Museum.  Although they are owned by the same company, Answers in Genesis, and have the same mission to share the gospel message through Creation and the Fall, I wanted to make sure that you know they are very much two different places separated by 43 miles of highway.

We went Wednesday, September 16- what seems to be the most ideal day to go. There were zero lines, it was pleasantly hot, and all of the attractions within the museum were still running (nothing was down for off season maintenance- this did happen to us at other places along our road trip.)

The most impressive part of this museum is the palpable desire for the world to understand how deeply sin has affected humanity and how much they want people to know the love of Jesus.

Be prepared: there’s A LOT to do. Bookstore, zip line, feeding animals, and other little places to buy things. The location is somewhat remote, so if you plan to eat, bring your own food or be prepared to eat at the café. It has decent prices, but not as cheap as McDonalds.  You can spend some serious cash here!  Homeschool moms- the curriculum is not cheaper in the bookstore than it is online, so no need to save luggage space for next year’s science curriculum.

There are exhibits of all kinds: butterflies, dinosaurs of course, and other animals, and artifacts. I wasn’t prepared for some of what, I would consider, mature content. When we first walked into the exhibit, there were large posters of the Holocaust and 9/11. These are great representations of sin, but for a 6-year-old, they might be alarming- and right at their eye level. Also, Adam and Eve could have been covered a little more.

The outdoor gardens are beautiful. You could spend a full afternoon here if you choose. If you want to enjoy your time at the Creation Museum and all of it has to offer, you need to plan to be there from open until closing. We didn’t have time to spend two full days in Kentucky, so we chose to make our visit a quick 2 hours.  To see a 4 minute highlight video visiting the Creation Museum, check out our YouTube Channel here.

We will have a review of the Ark Encounter up next!

Also, there is a fun little zoo not too far from here if you want to dig deeper into the animal kingdom! It’s called the Down Under Zoo. You can pet kangaroos and all sorts of animals from Australia. They also have a mini-cave on the groups. If you want get a feel for the caves in Kentucky, you can get it here without dealing with the crowds and costs at the more well known cave places nearby.

 

 

My Top 6 Homeschooling Books of 2019

If there is one homeschool mom stereotype that I have no quarrel with owning, it is that I am a book lover! My goal was to read 40 books this year. So far, I have read 32. I have 5 weeks to read 8 books. IT’S GOING TO HAPPEN! Ha! I can not complete my goal. I am half way though about 20 books, so if I just focus for a hot second, I can do this!
In the meantime, I am here to share with you my favorite books that I read this year. These books are for you, not your kiddos. Your kids could read these, but I have this list in mind to you encourage your reading!

1. Defying Jihad. Step inside the Muslim world of Pakistan and read about one woman’s conversion to Christianity. This book is so interesting that I don’t want to spoil anything for you. I was convicted in my 1st-world-probelms bad attitude and inspired to seek out those in need.  You will not regret reading this book. Read this book with your kids and have them appreciate their cushy life they lead and how blessed they are to have you as their parent.

2.  Mama Bear Apologetics. If you aren’t a theologian, don’t be overwhelmed by the term “apologetics”. This book takes moms through the modern core world views of today and how to combat them with the Gospel. It also have activities and discussion questions to do with your kids. This is good for all ages of kids. I will keep this book on my shelf and come back to it frequently. When my kids are slightly older, I plan to have them read it with me and to do more of the exercises. The conversation that will happen because of this book will be the best modern world information, prepping them for the real world.

3.Dryer’s English In all honesty, I haven’t finished this book, but I think most moms can attest to being fearful of nurtring more than just competent writing in their kids. This book is written by Benjamin Dreyer, who is vice president, executive managing editor and copy chief, of Random House. He knows his stuff! I know it’s going to be an encouragement and helpful guide. I consider it a living book, written by someone who is passionate about great writing; without having to be constrained to making it a curriculum.

4. Homeschooling for College Credit. If you have a child that is in 6th grade or older, read this book! This will demystify the high school years for you! You may have a dual enrollment program in your state, but read this book anyway. It will give you practical help and open your options to more than just the one everyone talks about!  I am so thankful I stumbled upon the author’s Facebook group and that book!!

5.Personality Brokers  People seem to be obsessed with personality tests. If you are someone who is all about them, I highly recommend you study the history of the tests. Did you know that Myer’s Briggs is based off of Carl Young’s teachings? Kinda crazy! This book gets a little wordy in the middle, but it’s worth it to finish it to the end.

6. Homeschool Bravely This is a practical book that will encourage you to press on in your homeschooling day. There are helpful tools and spiritual advice. It’s a quick read too!

 

Book Review: The Grumble Free Year

I was happy to read this advance copy of The Grumble Free Year by @triciagoyer . The Goyer Family spent a year focusing on not grumbling! Talk about a challenge! This book is super easy to read with practical questions and application and the end of each chapter. Either read the book all the way through in a week or take your time slowly working through the chapters, implementing change as you feel lead. I enjoyed reading what they learned through the year-long process. I have been looking at life differently this past week after reading this book and a few of the most random things popped into my head demanding change. Isn’t weird how God works sometimes?
This book comes at the perfect time as we head into Christmas season. I tend to buy a lot of make-up around Black Friday. I have never made it all the way to the end of a single lipstick or eye shadow. Usually I get bored of something and hand it off to Adelaide to play make-up. At it’s core, I grumble because I am discontent. I’ve decided I will not buy any make-up at until I actually run out of it. This may take 17 years. We shall see. 😂There’s no reason wasting money on something that is usually expensive when I have so much already!
I started reading this book to see how I could make my kids not be whiners. But somehow I am out new make up this season. Ha! I am making some other changes too and I hope my example will aid in my kid’s behavior.
I totally recommend this book for anyone wanting a little nudge in the contentment department! It’s available for pre-order on Amazon!

Working Homeschool Moms: A Tip for Keeping Things Running Smoothly!

I can’t tell you how many weird or slightly dangerous positions I’ve been in to get the angle I want  I am constantly amazed and grateful for all of the places photography has taken us: Normandy, the Antonov, and even off-roading it up a dusty trail to a mountain peak

I have work stuff coming up this Thursday-Saturday; so we did school this morning. I drove 2.5 hours from Seattle, walked into the house and immediately started quizzing Adelaide on Memory Masters work as Harrison grabbed his Qizzlet app to practice Latin. They knew Saturday school was coming. They knew we had limited time between Mom being home and mom off again for a photo shoot.
Here’s my working mom tip of the week: have a sit down chat at the beginning of each week to prepare them for that week’s schedule. It makes the transition between school and work and back again almost seamless. There’s no “whaaa? School? Now?” You can’t have enough communication about the schedule and your expectations for them. Last Monday I told them Saturday school was happening. I came home, we got er done and all was well in the world! Our schedule is posted on the dinning room wall- so they are told verbally and have a visual reminder. We also have synced calendars on our phones that will alert them.

Have an action plan, be intentional with your time (both with your kids and for work) and be clear with your kids on expectations. This makes for a better work/life balance! .

Change Happens to the Best of Us

Isn’t it weird how much a person can change? How what used to be comfortable is now so…not comfortable?

I went to a fundraising event for my cousin who is a director at a foster/adoption company tonight. When I walked into the upscale hotel in the heart of downtown Seattle I realized I had been here before: 18 years ago for homecoming dinner. We had eaten here before the main event that night. I spent many Friday nights of my high school years going to and around Pike Place with friends. I worked 4 blocks from this hotel my senior year. I remember my 18 year old self feeling so cool and sophisticated as I ate my cheesecake and drank coffee in my fancy dress in this fancy hotel, dreaming of what I was going to be and do later in life-clearly something metropolitan.

My college years were spent in even fancier Montecito, California and then I I moved to Geneva, Switzerland. You don’t get more city socialite than being in the Geneva-Paris crowd!
But then I married a man who was living in Hicksville, USA 😂 It is a town of 7k people and a Walmart (we now live in a town an hour from that small town, and it’s bigger) I knew he would keep me grounded and pull me back down out of the clouds and to keep my eyes on the eternal and not temporal. Next thing I knew, I was loving my 2-stoplight drive for my shopping trips at Walmart. I exchanged my heels for Flip flips and my transformation was complete 🤣 I spent my early 20s in Geneva. Those are formative years for adulthood-so a part of me will always feel European.
My married life is so different from how I grew up. I walked into my old self’s world tonight in my $19 dress from Ross and a pair of heels that are 7 years old- the ones I wear once a year around Christmas time 😂 I enjoyed reminiscing about old times (to myself lol) but it’s just not me anymore.

I like Birkenstocks. Ok. There. I said it! I homeschool and I wear Birkenstocks. Hahaha.

Have you ever had a revelatory moment like that, that slaps you in the face?

Don’t get me wrong, there’s still a lot of city girl in me, but I don’t revel in it like I used to. You know what I mean?