My Natural Medicine Cabinet


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Previously, I discussed that our family’s only chance of overcoming sickness quickly on our vaction in Florida, was my natural medicine cabinet that I brought with us.  Below are the products that I am thankful were packed in my travel bag for both adults and children. A little homeopathy also helped us recover and is listed below with an (*).  I will be real folks, that this illness was so bad I even resorted to taking Mucinex along with below arsenal. Usually at home, I would have had my entire get better center.   I was afraid we would miss our flight home if I didn’t do something available at drugstore too.


Vita-Lea with Iron: Instead of Centrum or Costco brands

This multi-vitamin is an activator of new cells (it is included in the Vitalizer 30 day supply pack, but you can buy it individually as well). It is whole, concentrated food grown organically. It is proven to increase bone density. Has no added preservatives, artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners. 100% of RDA of biotin.  Makes protein more

 four-foods-300x226 02.26.2014

efficient with 29 vitamins and minerals to activate body cells to rebuild and be strong and healthy.

Garlic: (Instead of Sudafed)

  • I’m not talking about the garlic you find at your local grocery store.  Not only is it powerful, but is so warming on your chest when swallowed because of the spearmint oil and rosemary extract it contains.  I can’t live without this if I feel I’m getting sick in the least, and especially – as was the case for us – if a cough is coming on.
  • Did you know that garlic is sometimes referred to as “Nature’s Wonder Drug?” It is a powerful antibiotic that fights off bacteria, parasites, fungi, and viruses.  Studies have even shown it is more effective than penicillin in some cases.  It offers aid as a decongestant and expectorant and as an anti-diarrheal.

Instead of Airborne, Cold Eeze 

  • Active Ingredients:  Echinacea to take care of bacteria and Larch tree extract to attack viruses
  • Use as a preventative when flying or in large gatherings of people during cold and flu season or anytime you come in contact with allergy activators

Sustained Release Vita-C:

Shaklee Sustained Release Vitamin C has a patented release system on it so that it releases C slowly over a period of 6 hours so that your body can absorb and utilize all of it.  In other words, it is like eating 1 1/2 oranges every hour for 6 hours!!!  That is some good immune boosting!!

You can get the Sustained Release Vitamin C individually (I have a bottle on hand at all times).  I just learned that whenever sickness is coming on, taking 2 every 2 hours till it passes, will quickly heal.  Or you can also get it in a foundational nutrition pack that is a 30 day supply of all the Vitamins and Minerals you need called Vitalizer.  There is Vitalizer for men, women, and 50+.



Shakleekids Incredivites™ is the first kids’ chewable multivitamin in the U.S. to feature lactoferrin, a scientifically backed, immune-supporting nutrient present in breast milk and researched for its role in activating components of the immune system. (Stay tuned for more on this amazing nutrient and how studies are revealing more about the benefits of lactoferrin for adults too!)

Chewable Vita-C:

Both my 1-year-old and my 7-year-old take these Chewable Vita-C. We love them!

    • Important Note:  Vitamin C cannot be made or stored by the body.  It is a water soluble vitamin, which means you need to get it every day and in the right amount.  A cheap vitamin brand will boast of large quantities of vitamin C per tablet, but the problem is that your body can only absorb so much C at a time (you can “train” it to absorb more and more at a time the longer you take it).  This means that when you take these type of vitamins, you are getting a little of the C, but the rest is passing right through, unabsorbed.  So basically you are paying for really expensive urine!

Adults and Children:

Defend and Resist: Instead of Airborne, Cold-Eeze

  • Every person in my family took this from my 1-year old to my husband.  Great for that first tickle.  Elderberry and zinc are both present to knock the germs out.
  • Active Ingredients:  Echinacea to take care of bacteria and Larch tree extract to attack viruses.
  • Use as a preventative when flying or in large gatherings of people during cold and flu season or anytime you come in contact with allergy activators.

Zinc: Instead of Cold-Eeze

  • For most of my life in the winter, I had woken up every morning with a sore throat, as a result of congestion.  However, I learned how to eliminate this and nearly the ability to avoid sickness by simply crushing up the zinc tablet and placing it in a spoonful of honey every night before I go to bed.  The tablet is easily swallowed whole, however I have found that the crushed up version leaves a thin coating of protection on my throat so that I wake up without any sore throat or drainage problems at all.
  • Zinc is involved in the production of every hormone in the body.  This is another reason why I take zinc every night.  It aids the body in fighting auto-immune disorders, such as my underactive thryoid disease, Hashimoto’s.

Vita-D3 – Instead of Costco or Walmart Vitamin D

  • Study after study has shown that Vitamin D is not only necessary, but it only works at its optimum when presented as cholicalciferol, as Shaklee does.  My own testimony with Vitamin D is that I took the Costco brand and was finding no improvement in my bloodwork to move to the normal range.  Within 2 weeks on Shaklee Vita-D3, my numbers moved to normal.
  • Further studies have shown that Vita-D3 also plays a role preventing the flu and may be as effective as receiving a flu vaccine.
  • Children may also take this by simply smashing it into a powder and put in applesauce.

*Homeopathy also helped us recover.  For a sore throat where the pain is felt in the ears, Boiron’s Roxalia Tablets help.  For our 1-year-old, I had not packed anything at all and used Hyland’s Baby Cough Syrup. I was very pleased at how it worked.

What is the Shaklee difference?

Here’s a 2-minute video explaining how our products compare:

You can feel comfortable giving these products to your children. Because for over 50 years, generations of families have counted on us to do what no other company can do quite like Shaklee–made products that are naturally safe AND proven effective.

Now, is the BEST time ever to become a Shaklee member!

Any person who joins by February 28th, 2014 with an order of 50 PV or more not only gets their membership fee waived ($19.95 value) but also receives a free can of smoothee ($45 retail value!).

Simply go to my store below:

$67.95 value 02.26.2014


Offer valid through Feb. 28, 2014. An order with 50 PV (Point Value) must be placed at the time you join. Applies to join orders placed online and at the Shaklee Sales and Training Center in Los Angeles, CA. Join orders placed through the call center. This offer is not retroactive. Free product available while supplies last. Free product subject to change without notice.


God Intended It For Good.

i have redeemed you 02.29.2014

Just look at the lush ocean and peaceful scenery of the picture above.  Looks relaxing, huh?  That’s what I thought too when we arrived in sunny Florida a week ago.  2013 was a year that I will treasure in a lot of ways, but by the end of the year, I could tell both my husband and I were really exhausted and we needed a break.  We both did everything we could to prepare for this trip.  I made sure the kids were healthy.  We took all our vitamins.  I secured every last detail to make sure my kids would absorb the excitement of Disney World.  And yet… we got sick.  My poor husband had been at a business conference the week before and picked up a horrible coughing/fever illness… that he came down with the very first day of our trip.  As I looked at him rapidly deteriorating at Animal Kingdom on this day, I managed to remain cool.  He was going to go back to the hotel and rest and he’d be okay.  This was not a problem. Just a setback.  We’d all be just fine.

Well… I was sort of right.  I was able to have a nice day swimming with the kids while I let him get better at the hotel the next day.  But then the most dreaded thing happened – our 21 month old son came down with the same fever and coughing that evening.  Now I was mad.  How could this be?  I did EVERYTHING right to protect him.  We were all COMPLETELY healthy before we left.  All. Doing. Great.  Then my husband saw me losing it and reminded me to remain calm.  (This is why I married him, folks!)

All seemed manageable and we still had 5 days left of our vacation.  Maybe something could change, right?  Not.  I, too, came down with the same fever/cough symptoms.  I was thankful that I did pack my Shaklee medicine cabinet to get each of us better quickly.  But the timing of us all dropping like flies, one by one… it was REALLY a bummer.

Genesis 50:20 in the Bible speaks about how Joseph had been betrayed by his brothers who sold him into slavery.  He had endured so much trouble, that when his brothers learned that he was alive and had the power to inflict revenge on them, he told them, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good.”

I am convinced that this was one experience that The Enemy had intended to completely ruin us for the whole year.  To tear us apart in arguments as a family.  To leave us sulking and dwelling on the vacation “we could have had.”  Instead, God was SO FAITHFUL to us.  It was a time to teach our daughter that everything happens for a reason.  Do we know why God allows some events to happen in our lives?  No.  Does the fact that we experience these things make Him a liar and that He will not fulfill His promises in our lives?  No.  Even a television show came on in our hotel room where another family went on vacation and they had some pitfalls and learned that these things can become “problem-tunities.”  That is, a problem + opportunity = opportunities to solve the problem.

Make no mistake of it.  The Enemy is out to kill and destroy us.  I was so impressed by my husband who told our daughter that maybe God was protecting us from something worse.

As a matter of fact, throughout the generations of my family, Satan thought he was doing pretty great job in stopping my family from becoming what God intended.  All of my grandparents were taken way before their time was ready.  Some people might say that we’ll never understand why God chose “their time.”  It wasn’t their time.  At all.  It was Satan trying to rip our family apart down through generations to come… and hoping we’d blame it on God.  He crossed a line that threw us for a loop and led me to a battle of depression in college.  He filled my mind with lies I would never succeed in life.

Stop the Burglar in his tracks.

How can we stop this theft, you ask?  We serve Christ, the Redeemer.  He is not only fixes what was lost, he RESTORES us to a place that is even better than before the problem happened.  I am so thankful for where God has brought me today.  I am in a better place than when our family tragedies happened.

But did you know the Bible promises, that when something is stolen from us, it must be repaid:  SEVENFOLD?

People do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy his hunger when he is starving. 31 Yet if he is caught, he must pay sevenfold, though it costs him all the wealth of his house. ~Proverbs 6:30-31

My friend, Lynn, brought this verse to my attention today and here’s what she says she’s doing about theft in her family line.  She shows us in her post, “I am Taking the Devil to Court,” that ‘God’s heavenly courts are open for us to petition and demand justice.’ [We can] petition [our] Righteous Father to restore to [us] the years stolen and the pain of this loss.”

[We can] ask the Lord to replace those lost years by restoring health to others here on earth now. I want to see people, even terminal, healed and whole in Jesus name.

In Jesus name.

So many of my friends are experiencing sickness and death of loved ones, that it makes my crazy vacation seem like nothing.  So I’ve decided, I will pray with you.  Please let me know how I can pray with you!

Most of all, Don’t be afraid.  He has already redeemed your situation by His blood on the cross.  You belong to Him.

fear not 02.19.2014

Have Faith.  Trust that the Lord will make good what was intended to harm you.

It’s okay to be mad.  But not for long.  Be so mad that you can ‘look the devil in the eye and say, “Game on.  My God is so much bigger than you’ll ever be.”  (

Trust.  That He IS ALREADY avenging on your behalf.

What has been stolen from you?  What are you going to do about it?

trust 02.19.2014

Valentine’s Day and 100th Day of School Celebration

Whew!  Today was a relaxing sort of day… but with a lot of extra fun!  Little Miss and Little Mister enjoyed a fun Valentine’s Day/100th Day of School Party at home while it snowed the most gigantic flakes outside I have seen in awhile.  Here’s how it played out:

We woke up and both kids enjoyed their very own breakfast in the shape of “100.”

100-days-of-school-breakfast-2 02.15.2014

Then at Little Mister’s naptime, we had some extra fun girl bonding by making our own chocolate fudge (from a box – I promise, Aunt Gladys, I will get our actual family recipe down before too long!).  I think the heart molds came out the best, but we also made animal-shaped fudge.  I had a bunch of little heart molds that I had thought would be fun to make 100 of… but it didn’t look good enough to spend our afternoon down that road.  And, of course, Valentine’s Day is not complete without Chocolate Covered Strawberries!  Let me tell you… yum!


My favorite part of the day came next.  Little Miss sat at her desk and drew a picture of her as a 7-year-old and a picture of her when she will be 100 years old (in the year 2106.. actually, mom made an error that it would actually be 2107).  I find it hilarious that the old version of herself still has brown hair.  She informed me that, even at 100, she will still be coloring her hair.  She is not a girl who wants to go gray

100 year old avelyn 02.15.2016 100 year old 2 02.15.2014

While she drew her pictures, we read on Wikipedia about what happened 100 years ago in our world.  We discovered that in 1914, President Woodraw Wilson issued the first official Mother’s Day in America.  This was also the first year that World War I was declared in the world.  Automobile workers were paid a daily wage of $5 daily (that is not per hour!).

We then read through some names of famous people who were born in 1914.  Amazingly, a few of them are still alive and about to turn 100!  The person who interested us most is a man named Karl Otto Gotz. He will turn 100 on February 22nd! A German, Gotz loved drawing while he was still in school.  His gift began making abstract paintings… which were banned in Nazi Germany from being displayed.  So, to survive as a professional artist, he was only permitted to paint landscapes.  His work transformed to spreading thick paint and then raking it off.  He was also known for enlarging computer images to the point of only seeing pixels, then hand painting the pixels to make a giant mosaic.

We thought this was cool, so I showed Little Miss what pixels are on Adobe Photoshop.  She thought it was neat that pictures on computers are nothing more than pixels up close and, how, when zoomed out.. they become a normal looking picture.  This was a great opportunity to explain to her that pixels are a lot like our lives.  That each decision we make in life is like a pixel.  We can’t see the big picture until after we’ve lived our life and can see what God did with our lives.  Sometimes we can’t even understand our lives until we are 100!  I didn’t even know if she could grasp this concept, but sure enough later she told my mom all about what she learned on the phone.  Here is her pixelated drawing she made on Paint.


Math was a continuation of adding numbers over 100.  And to end the day, we co-authored a story of her choosing that was 100 sentences long.

I had no idea we’d learn so much today and have so much fun.  What was your 100th day of school and/or Valentine’s Day like?

Prepare Him Room!


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Is it Christmas already?  I can’t believe my favorite time of year is here.  Last year, our first homeschooling Christmas, I learned not to over-plan my days and tried to make the most of our days.  This year, I am thankful that I actually am (somewhat) accomplishing this – so far.  Some of you may have noticed I have not posted for quite some time now.  Out of nowhere, actually, we encountered some educational hurdles.  Hurdles, which I am happy to report, are mostly working themselves out because of today’s freebie I am offering you a few days late – an Advent Calendar.

I don’t know about you, but somewhere between Thanksgiving and Christmas, sometimes I get so overwhelmed about my to-do list or the issues I see my family needing to overcome, that what I’d really rather do is take a Mommy vacation rather than plan for the holiday.  To just let someone else plan it for me and I show up.  I quickly find myself shifting from an abundantly thankful heart on Thanksgiving Day and then the next day can brace myself with worries of how to plan the upcoming weeks for the “perfect” Christmas.  Every year it is so cool to me to see my kids understanding something new about Christmas.  I have to remind myself that it is usually not because of my planning this happens, but because Christ is making moments happen for their lives and making Himself known to them on his supernatural timing.

My anticipation completely changed from being buried underneath plans, when I stumbled upon this freebie Advent Calendar idea at from pinterest.  With a 7-year-old and a 19-month-old, I needed something fast to create.  I wanted my Advent Calendar NOT to be a mere countdown to Christmas where we get a piece of chocolate or toy and forget that day.  Because attitude has been the issue at large at our house, I wanted each day to lead up to Christ’s birth and to invite an enticing attitude toward learning.’s blog provided just that.  Isn’t it pretty?

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I thought it would be more fun for my kids if I printed each day on Christmas contrasting red and green colors.  But wait!  You were wanting a Christmas devotional, you say?  I was floored to find out the simplicity of this advent that she has a single scripture passage for each day to be read right on each day of advent.  Simple is what we need over here.  My 7-year-old has LOVED going to the calendar to see what scripture will be for the day, then she looks it up in her Bible, and practices reading aloud.  Even my 19-month-old knows the routine and can’t wait to go to it each morning.  It begins our day with devotions.  It is a beautiful decoration in and of itself.

If you are an involved parent or a homeschooling parent like me; however, you might want to take it to the next level.  Many families also choose to do an activity for the day with their advent calendar.  It could be something as simple as baking cookies or watching a Christmas movie together.  On the back of each day, I wrote the theme word or activity for our daughter to find when she pulled it down.  THEN, we don’t do the activity until AFTER our studies are done as a reward for her good behavior.  This makes our studies sooooo much more enjoyable as we both eagerly await the most fun part of the day that also ties Christ’s theme for the day.

When I first read each verse on my calendar, I was suddenly filled with the wonder of the Christmas story.  How AWESOME IS GOD that the very birth of Christ was spoken into existence in Genesis!  How GREAT is our God who is faithful in our lives today – EVEN when we are hopeless.  Like Abraham and Sarah who were in their old age and couldn’t fathom having God do what He said – making their descendants as numerous as the stars.  And How GOOD HE HAS BEEN in my life alone!  If I were just to think on the ways He has provided for me without even considering my family members… wow!

As I read each scripture, then, I decided I wanted to pick out a “key” word out of each passage and do a craft or activity to convey God’s amazing ways.  I have been amazed so far at how she “gets” it.  I’m soooo excited that “my” anticipation of hearing Christ’s birth is now becoming “our” anticipation.  It is addicting too.  I cannot stop anticipating how God will move on our behalf and the plans He has for us to do in 2014.

Here is a list and links of our 25 days of crafts/activities.  For each I have listed a single word that spoke the theme of the verse and then found an activity that went along with this word.  Feel free to share and find your own theme word.  I hope you feel just as inspired.  What activites will you be doing this Advent season?

Day #1: Prepare.  We made paintings welcoming God to our hearts.  We also talked about how we prepare for guests by cleaning the house, so we need to open the door to Jesus so that HE can be the one to clean our hearts, if we will just prepare a place for Him.  Also, in Isaiah, they were preparing for the birth of a Savior.  Today, we are preparing for the same baby, our now resurrected Messiah, to return.

Day #2: Sing for Joy.   There are many Christmas songs that fit this.  Joy to the World.  You could even pick Ode to Joy.  Over Thanksgiving, a friend told me that Seeds of Praise was offering a free download.  And what was the title of the song that I now LOVE?  You got it!  The theme I had picked!  “Sing for Joy.”  I thought they were only offering through Thanksgiving day.  But it still seems available and the whole album is awesome and helps your little ones memorize scripture to beautiful song.

Day #3: Jesus’ Strong Hand.  I have nothing against Santa and think this is adorable.  Thought it would be fitting to somehow turn this clay creation into either Jesus’ hand or into Abraham.  Love it.


Day #4: We sinned.  I saw in this melted snowman how we feel after we mess up and wish we could go back to being our normal smiling selves.  You can find the original artist and other snowmen to choose from on my pinterest board.

melted snowman


Day #5:  Abraham and Sarah.  Trust God and believe Him.  This activity is to make some cardboard cutouts of stars and to wrap them in foil and hang to see. Pretty fun to illustrate how Abraham’s descendants are indeed as numerous as the stars and that Jesus was born under the star of Bethlehem.  I found this wonderful site describing it here.

At our house this year, we don’t have time to decorate with a Christmas tree, but I found this AMAZING “Jesse Tree” craft.  It could actually be an advent calendar or activity to do all alone.  But I will use it along with my own advent calendar.  The ornament listed in this free downloadable .pdf goes wonderfully with the lesson.  All of the historical figures mentioned in this craft all illustrate the root of Christ’s lineage and the people surrounding the birth of Christ.  It is so neat to see how the prophecy we are reading comes alive from the Old to New Testament readings through the week. Later we actually make the tree, but here is the info for printing the ornament here.

Day #6: Listening to God.  We will be playing the song, “Do you Hear What I Hear?” making the Isaiah ornament from Jesse tree and creating the following crafts.  Listening and following directions are my main goals for my 7-year-old.  She’s a good listener in public, but at home… we are working on it.  Since she has Chinese heritage, she loves learning her characters.  I love how the characters portray listening as from the heart!  All found on pinterest.

{Update:  It was so fun! }              good listeners 12.06.2013



Day #7. Believing God’s promises activity.  As in Day #5, this activity is found at the bottom to remind us not to just hear God’s promises, but to believe Him.

Day #8. Root of jesse tree and ornament.

Day #9. HIS Name is The BRANCH.  We will be making a special Jesus branch on our Jesse tree.

Day #10.  Daughter and son of the King craft.  I found this on pinterest also.  You can buy it.  I thought we could make one of our own.

daughter_of_king 12.06.2013



Day #11. Jesus is fire.  Fire of the Lord Hats.  Again, something you can buy but we will make our own… found on pinterest.



Day #12. Jesus was there with God when the earth was made.  I just found this amazing site on pinterest called “Calendar Connections.” We are learning about the months of the year.  Basically, this site can take any occasion or learning topic you can think of and print out corresponding images to illustrate on a calendar for your child.  I love the Christmas one they have provided to teach kids about Christmases around the world!



Day #13. Jesus is the Light and the Bible in the flesh.  Candlelight craft



Day #14. John the Baptist prepared for Jesus Mark 1:1-3.  In our Jesse Tree, the ornament for the day representing John the Baptist is a sea shell.  When I was a little girl, my grandma lived in Florida.  She was always bringing sea shells, horseshoe crabs, and sand dollars home for all of the grandchildren to hold.  My favorite item she would bring was the sand dollar because of its story about Jesus.  If you’ve never heard the story, please check it out here.  I can’t wait to see my kid’s faces when they find the tiny doves inside the sand dollars I found at!

sand-dollar 12.06.2013


Day #15. Luke 1:5-13 Zechariah and Elizabeth ornament on Jesse Tree.

Day #16. Luke 1:14-17 John was pure and not rebellious.  Grow a borax snowflake

borax-snowflake 12.06.2013

Day # 17. More on Zechariah’s transformation when John the Baptist is born. Watch The Nativity Story.  If you haven’t seen this, you MUST watch it.  It is now a tradition in our house and is one of the most awe-inspiring, biblically sound versions I have ever seen.

Day #18. Names of Jesus.  Choose one advent ornament for the Names of Jesus.


Day #19. Mary gives glory to God for blessing her.  Sing songs such as “Gabriel’s Message” by Sting.  Or “10,000 reasons” by Matt Redman.

Write what God has done for you.

Day #20. Zecharias gave his son the name the angel had spoken, “John.”  He was not named after his father and this was unheard of.  What name does God call you by?

Day #21. Zechariah proclaims over his son after not believing.  Make another ornament from day #18, “The Highest”.

Day #22 Make ornament from Day #18, “Immanuel” ornament
Day #23 Mary hears from Gabriel.  We will be making cookies and gingerbread houses to spread Christmas cheer.

Day #24. More names of Jesus!

Day #25. The angel tells Joseph it is ok to take Mary as his wife.  We need to believe God.  He has come!  Hooray, Christmas is here!

Merry Christmas!  Please let me know what you loved the most and ideas of your own!

Easing into It (08/12/13) Week 1, Day 1




Whether you are just starting your first week of homeschool this week or this is your child’s third week of school, I’m sure you are as blown away as I am at how the summer feels suddenly behind you.  It is weird.  It is still so hot out, yet today as I write this in September looking back at our first week of school in August, I am floored at how quickly the night is coming again and I can finally put my kids to bed at an appropriate time again!  The sun just gradually kept setting earlier, and so getting up earlier for school has just naturally begun to get better.

I had not planned to “ease” into my homeschooling as much as I ended up doing.  But am I ever glad that I accidentally did!  This year has been so enjoyable!  Previously, I wrote how “enjoying” is my theme for the year.  My goals began simply for us to understand that we wake early so that we can enjoy the day rather than rushing.  That we need to understand math is not an enemy, but is a cool way to make life easier.

So, on our first day of school, this is how our day unfolded:

*Scavenger Hunt
*History – Charlemagne
*Cursive – Letters A-F
*History Sentence Week 1 Copywork
*Go to Library

For me, the most exciting part of the day was to see how much quality time was spent on such few things and how great an impact it made rather than rushing through review.

For my daughter, she was thrilled about having the scavenger hunt and that we went to the library and found a book about rocks and inside was a picture of rocks forming the word “JOY” (Yes!  She totally saw my theme about enjoying!  Double Bonus:  I didn’t see it as a coincidence that we just learned about glorifying God and here, normally silent rocks, are in a book shouting “joy” to us just like in Luke 19:40 when Jesus spoke, “I tell you, if these [people] be silent, the stones will cry out!”)

Also cool, is that we will be learning about birds this year.  And in another book she found at the library,  she found a book about a thrasher bird and we were able to go right to our materials and find out more about the bird right then and there.

But let’s be real here.  All of the day was awesome., but ice cream always seals the deal for a back-to-school celebration!  I had energy and was not stressed out.  So much so, we all went to Chick-Fil-A for dinner and then had Graeter’s ice cream for dessert.  It was y-u-m-m-y and a day I will never forget. mammo_09.13.2013

The most common question I get asked is, what curriculum am I using at home and what am I doing that can be done to supplement a child who already attends school.  While I don’t know how to answer the second question just yet, I have listed below a condensed version of my books for the year. Have something you’re thrilled with that helps your kids learn? Leave a comment and let me know!

Language Arts:

Grammar School Grammar – An Analytical Approach to English Grammar
PreScripts Cursive Words and Drawing
PreScripts Cursive Sentences and Art Lessons
The Original McGuffey’s Eclectic First and Second Readers
The Original McGuffey’s Eclectic Progressive Spelling Book
The Writing Road to Reading and Thinking by Myrna McCulloch
Rod and Staff Bible Nurture and Reader Series, Grade 2 and Reading Workbooks
McCall-Crabbs: Standard Test Lessons in Reading, A & B

Age and skill appropriate readers


Classical Conversations Geography
Geography Songs Sing Around the World by Kathy Troxel


Story of the World, The Middle Ages, Volume II
Classical Conversations History  Ben’s Guide to U.S. Government for Kids

Related readers and projects aka “living” books


Age appropriate library books including How the US Government Works by Syl Sobel


RightStart™ Mathematics Level B
Math-U-See Alpha
Singapore Math
Spectrum Math

Related activities and math games


God’s Design for Life science curriculum World of Plants and World of Animals Classical Conversations science curriculum including science experiments
Apologia Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology


Age appropriate books and activities related to nutrition and self care. Cooking projects.

Physical Ed.:

Geopalz Fitness Tracking

Other formal and informal sports and games

Fine Arts:

Classical Conversations fine arts curriculum which includes famous artist study, art
projects, basic music theory, and basic music appreciation.
Discovering Great Artists: Hands-on Art for Children in the Styles of the Great Masters
The Art Chest Teacher’s Manual.  Televised Art and Craft Lessons by Dan Mihuta.
Piano Lessons
Violin Lessons

First Aid, Safety, Fire Prevention:!

Age appropriate library books including Fireboy to the Rescue! by Edward Miller and Home Safety by Lucia Raatma
Fire station field trip



In Your Presence, There is Fullness of Joy! / Second Homeschool Year, Second Grade


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August 12, 2013

Update: Please note changes providing a better glimpse of how our school days actually come about.  🙂

first-day-of-homeschool-08.12_08.22.2013.jpgOur second year of homeschool has begun! I give all the Glory to God for every part of the day, because, had I actually enforced all the work I had planned in my mind, my children (almost 7 and 16 months), would have had a major fit. (Not to mention, I would have been exhausted beyond belief to survive AFTER school!)

Last year, the lesson that I learned was to stop comparing myself to the overflowing bin of projects and work that my daughter brought home from preschool and kindergarten and to realize that quality, not quantity was better. And on that note, I realized at the end of our year while preparing for the end-of-the year portfolio assessment, that our 1st grade bin WAS pretty full with a lot of great things. Not only that… but it was a bin that naturally happened by God’s grace.  He gave me all of my plans and gave me the clarity of mind to line up a wonderful curriculum with a three month old baby.  And on those days that I *thought* I planned something wonderful… it ended up even better things were orchestrated than I could plan.  It was a great learning curve how to teach while managing a household with a growing baby boy and being a part of our Classical Conversations community.  An added bonus was that even in amidst this unchartered territory, my daughter tried for Memory Master for her Timeline from Creation to the present day, History, Science, Latin, Math, Geography, and Presidents.  She did not earn the complete title.. but nailed Timeline, U.S. Presidents, History, and Science… and that was good enough for us!  My hope of a great education has been blessed!

I literally even now look back with goosebumps and thankfulness that God provided. I was even surprised that the teacher who performed our assessment could see how God arranged teachable moments that I did not plan. I mean, who can plan a week on fire safety and then lightning strikes a neighbor’s house and the whole roof and interior is burned up? How was it that I had a blood work appointment and our science lesson for the day ended up being on all the components of what makes up blood? This teacher was so encouraging and I realized that relaxing made a better mom and teacher for us all and kids who were better students (except for Math, which is another story in progress). She explained to me that school outside the home cannot be fully compared to school within the home. Her analogy was that outside school has so many demands made on teachers that it has become like microwave cooking – so much done quickly, but not the same freedom to explore different topics like when home cooking. A home cooked meal takes much more work and careful adding of ingredients… but the outcome is wonderful and ingredients can be changed to enhance a “dish” anytime. I loved this metaphor.

The truth is, though, that I went through mountains and valleys my first year. I am so thankful for the enormous other classical homeschool moms who came around me to encourage me and spur me on.

As we entered summer, I realized that even with all that I learned as a teacher and how much growth I saw in our daughter, I had no clue what teaching the Second Grade would look like with a toddler into everything while running my health and wellness business from home.  I simply could not imagine what my life would be like.  Then I remember one day, I just realized that feeling like this was okay.  It hit me like a ton of bricks, that if God had made our year so wonderful last year, I could jump out into uncharted territory just the same again.

Even still, I planned.  Slowly but surely, I carefully arranged our curriculum for the year.  There was just one problem.  What would our schedule look like for each day?  I thought and I thought.  Weeks I went over different scenarios in my head.  Even after all of this pondering, I STILL could not figure it out!

Suddenly, August 12th, the day I had picked for so long to start our first day of Second Grade, was tomorrowI worked feverishly ’till 2 a.m. trying to comprehend my material and what I would teach and exactly how it would look.  You may be thinking how I could be such a procrastinator to wait until the day before… but truly I did not wait… the mass weight of the school year just crept up on my mind!  I was looking for that theme, that glue, that would catapult us into a positive mindset for a great year.  Last year I had done a scavenger hunt for our daughter to search the house high and low for a gold coin.  And we learned about how searching for Wisdom is worth far more than gold.  She loved it!  Our theme was Wisdom for the entire year.  I knew I had to do some sort of hunt again, but for what?

And then… I found it!  I opened up the book to our first day of our devotions and the word literally jumped out at me.  The question of the week was, “What is man’s primary purpose?”

Answer:  “Man’s primary purpose is to glorify God and to ENJOY Him forever!

ENJOY!  I could hear it in my heart at 2 a.m. that this is God’s will for our year!  Why did He even create us?  To glorify HIM, which brings us to ENJOY him!  How much better is it to be around our friends when we edify them?  As a result of thinking highly of them, we begin to see all of their wonderful qualities even more and we ENJOY THEM!

At 2 a.m. in the morning, it became clear to me that in giving Him the Glory for our year before it even began, He would come near to us and bring JOY to our year!  How did I know this?  Our memory work for our first day of school “coincidentally” was:

“You make known to me the path of life; In Your presence there is FULLNESS OF JOY In Your Right Hand, there are pleasures forever.” ~ Psalm 16:11

Wow!  I quickly realized, He would be faithful to make each school day KNOWN to me!  I am merely a translator.  I don’t need to know everything.  He knows it all and will make it known to me!!  He might guide a whole year’s worth my planning, but He always has surprises that show us all who is actually The Teacher in our house.  It all goes back to Him.  Which is the Classical Conversations mission statement.  Why do we homeschool?  To know Him and to make Him known.  At CC orientation last night, even the pastor commented that we, as homeschoolers, have an awesome opportunity.  We can go out into our communities and bring joy to others.

Pondering more about what “enjoying” meant for our homeschool meant for me that I did not need to stay up past 2 a.m. anymore and could trust that a wonderful first day of school would take place. I could use the theme in every part of our day.  We are gonna throw bad attitudes out (like when Math begins) and learn to enjoy it.  We can go outside and enjoy the day.  It is God’s will for us to enjoy each other.  So just like that, my theme for the first day’s scavenger hunt and the year was made:  ENJOY.

You might be wondering how our day went.  I can tell you easing into the day made it enjoyable to the utmost and I will share the details in my next post.

Below are pics of her discovering the fun and what I wrote on each scavenger card she had to find.  Reading it will not make total sense until I share the meaning next time… so stay tuned!  For now, I will go enjoy my bed!  🙂


I’m not sure if you can see that each card has a letter on it.  After she got them all, she had to scramble to find our word for the year, “ENJOY.”

1st card (Blank on Back):

Welcome to the 2nd grade!  Can you guess and find the prize and solve the word that cuts our thoughts and heart like a blade?  (Hint: Check the mail!) (Note: She was looking for an “e”nvelope.  Words, you find in a letter, was the word I was looking for that cuts like a blade.)


E is for early.  Waking up early gets us ready for the day so we can do anything and be prepared to go anywhere!

Follow the noise to where you hear the sound to find the letter N! (Hint: It is round and silver!) ( Note: Inside was a nickel hidden by the TV making the sound to lure her.)


scavenger_08.22.2013 N is for Nickel.  We use it to buy thing.  We can’t pay unless we can add and subtract.  We only have fun after it is bought!

See if you can find the next clue in the spinning cupboard next to the dishwasher

(Hint: It is something you eat!)  (Note: The clue was found on top of the “J”elly in our lazy susan)


J is for Jelly.  It comes from fruit.  We can’t do our work without it.  It’s something God gave to us.  The come from His Spirit.  One of the yummiest ones also starts with J.  Do you know what it is? (I was getting her to think of “Joy”)

Where is the next clue?  It starts with “O”!  Put on your shoes and go! (Note: “O” is for “o”utside.)


O is for outside.  We will be out here a lot.  Loving God’s creatures and exploring His earth!

The next clue is a color.  Look up in Heaven with your eyes.  I’ll give you a hint, the color starts with “Y.” (Note:  The color was Yellow.)


Y is for yellow.  It is the color of the sun.  In second grade we will learn all about the heavens, the stars, the sun, and the moons.  Did you know it was all made to give praise to God’s Son?

Y is also for you.  God made YOU so He could smile.  So we must thank Him by doing everything to praise Him!  🙂


When she unscrambled them, she found the card with the word spelled out and on the other side, a picture of an ice cream cone.  Hooray!  Enjoying Ice Cream at the end of our first day!

Remember to enjoy your day!

Freedom from the Seasonal Allergy Curse Forever!


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This picture reminds me of so many this year in Cincinnati who are telling me that their seasonal allergies are so bad that they want to claw their eyes out.  It is awful!  The sneezing, the congestion, and literally rubbing your eyes raw. If this is you, my heart goes out to each and every one of you!

If you have tried allergy shots, Claritin, Flonase… and the list goes on and on – and you’re still finding only temporary relief – there is hope for you!

My dad has horrible seasonal allergies.  You can hear him sneeze a mile away.  His eyes get soooo red.  One day my mom was using her Shaklee Purifying Toner* and wondered if the integral ingredient called Beta Glucan would help his eyes if she poured it onto a cotton pad and laid it on his eyes as a compress.  My dad was desperate and tried it.  Within 15 minutes, his itch was relieved!  Sometimes he would have to reapply the compress, but every time the itch would be gone!

My husband also has the exact same red eye problem.  He was skeptical that this could really make that much of difference, but my mom insisted.  He also could not believe the relief!

Really stopping allergies from appearing at all, however, requires internal treatment.  All allergies stem from a basic malfunction of the immune system.  If you feed and restore the immune system naturally to a balanced state, the allergies will diminish and disappear completely.

But don’t take my word for it!  Please take a moment to read my friend, Stan’s, testimony:

“I grew up with severe allergies and consequent chronic sinus infections.  I stuffed every pocket full of Kleenex every day before I went to school.  Sometimes I would run out before lunch be traumatized for the rest of the day because I was too shy to raise my hand and ask the teacher for some Kleenex.

Over the years, at one time or another, I’ve used every OTC drug you buy that ended in “-aid” or “-off.”  Sine-aid, Sine-off, Alleraid, Alleroff, and the like.

When I was a sophomore in college in 1971-72, my mother took me to an ear, eye, nose, and throat specialist every single month.  He put me on tetracycline for the chronic sinus infections, which I took continuously for almost 3 years.  Today they say you shouldn’t take it for more than 3 months.  I ultimately just stopped it because I couldn’t see that it was doing anything for me.

The one thing the tetracycline DID do was permanently damage my immune system so that I developed a severe allergy to cats which I did not have before.  I can just sit down by someone in church who owns a cat and start having a severe allergic reaction.

In April 1993, during the annual explosion of dogwoods and azaleas in Athens when I would usually be suffering tremendously, I providentially discovered the secret to eliminating any allergic reaction at all during most days — which for me was an absolute miracle.  In subsequent experimentation, I discovered how to stop an allergic reaction in its tracks.

I took 3-4 Immunity Formula I all at the same time in the morning with my Shaklee protein for breakfast.  This greatly reduced my tendency to have a reaction during the day.

But when I did feel an allergic reaction coming on, I immediately took 3-4 more Immunity Formula I.  This usually knocked my allergic reaction out within 5 minutes, especially if I took it as soon as I felt the twinge of a reaction coming on.

It is that simple.  But I personally found that it was important that I took 3-4 all at once in the morning and then 3-4 more anytime I was having a reaction.  Spreading it out didn’t work for me.

Our youngest daughter is the only one of our children who inherited my tendency toward allergic reactions.  When she was just 3 years old, she’d be sitting in the high chair eating breakfast  and eat something that caused her to start having an allergic reaction (we generally eat only fruit, Shaklee protein and supplements, and whole grain toast for breakfast).  It was usually fresh pineapple that would sometimes cause her to react.  Her eyes would start itching and turning bloodshot, her nose would start running, and she’d start sneezing.

I would give her 1 Formula I, and it would knock the allergic reaction completely out in less than 5 minutes.  She couldn’t swallow supplements yet, so she’d have to chew it.  It is extremely vile tasting, but she’d chew it real fast and I’d give her something to wash it down quickly.  Even though it was extremely vile, she could see at 3 years of age what it was doing for her, and if she was having a reaction, she come say, “Dad, I need a Formula I!”

JoAnn carries a little bag of Immunity Formula I for me in her purse at all times in case I get into a situation where I start having a reaction.  I can just sit down beside someone at church who happens to own a cat and start having a severe allergic.

But the effects of taking 4 Formula I every morning for years has had a cumulative effect, and after about 3 years I hardly ever had any tendency allergic reaction anymore — except to cats.  But for 14 years now, the severe sinus allergies that traumatized my childhood, teen years, and young adulthood have been no more!

There is something unique about Formula I.  I also take lots of Vita-Lea and other supplements and get lots all the things listed on the Formula I label from other places.  But NOTHING did what Formula I did for my allergies!”

Stan and JoAnn Pullium

*Update 3/14/2019:  Unfortunately, Shaklee has discontinued the Shaklee Purifying Toner.  There has been a replacement toner for skin, which is amazing!  However, this toner is not effective in the treatment of seasonal allergies as the previous one.  It IS WONDERFUL for the skin, however.  If you are interested you can check it out here.





‘Appy Wednesday – B.U.R.S.T. Workouts Wherever You Go! (180 App; Part 2)

It’s been awhile since I posted.  Sorry folks.  Been working really hard getting back in shape and changed directions at home with our goals in homeschooling (speaking of which, will be a great post later this week!).  My workout goals got pushed way back to the burner.  Hang with me to the end of this post to see how I got my groove back.

Today I will focus on part two of a three-part series on the new Shaklee180 app.  If you missed, Part 1, click here.  Last time, I summed up why this app is a must have.  It is free and it rewards you every step of the way for managing your health!

What can you expect from this app after purchasing the corresponding Turnaround or Shaklee 180 Starter Kit?  The first thing I noticed was the sleek, but simple dashboard design upon logging in.  First, you are greeted and guided to input your name, goal, current and ideal weights.  You can even put a picture you would like to use as your “before” picture.  I don’t know about you, but I was not so worried about my before picture, but I can’t wait to see what my after-after picture looks like!  One feature I absolutely LOVED because I am a very goal-oriented person, was the ability to put a picture of my choice in the “My Goal” view.  For me, I quickly found a picture of my two children to be “My Goal” photo.  It has worked too!  When I see the picture of my kids set behind the number of days left I have to achieve my goal, it totally motivates me to go ahead with my workout rather than making an excuse.

The app is divided into 7 different areas that will keep track of everything for you (picture below): Logs, Dashboard, Progress, Awards, Profile & Goals, Resources, and 3 For Free.  Today I will focus on the exercise portion and next week I will go into the food component of the program.


After setting up your information, you are given an entry to win a prize for the week and are offered an additional prize entry for sharing your goal with your friends on facebook.  I thought this usage of social accountability was smart.  It does make sense that telling friends about your goal is another motivator for finishing what was started.

Are you still with me?  Good!  My goal for this blog was to share with people how my life really is.  I want to make sure I am honest with whatever I share.  I never want to appear like I have it all together (I don’t). I need help! (Especially with exercising.)  I hate exercising.  I don’t just hate it, but I haven’t done it in nearly four years.  Yes, my health has been great nutritionally… but in terms of my endurance in a workout?  Not so much.  Ever since my daughter was born she has constantly interrupted my workouts or I’ve never found the time.  Why couldn’t I make the time?  Really, I guess I could have.  But I was lazy.  I had to turn on the T.V. and find the DVD or Wii game I wanted to workout to.  This could take 15 minutes in itself and by then my daughter could have discovered something new to interrupt my workout with.  Oh!  There it went!  Any last bit of determination I had.

Now, I not only have an ancy little girl, but I now have a baby boy.  I was really wondering if this app could *actually* get me moving.  This is how my first experience went.  After changing my son’s clothes in his room, I found myself totally exhausted from the day and it was not even dinner time yet.  I had my smartphone in the room with me, and my two children looking at me for some signal of what was next.  Truthfully, I wanted to lay on the floor and rest and watch them play around me.  Actually, that is what I started out doing and then decided to look at the Shaklee 180 app again.  I got to looking at the B.U.R.S.T. (Body’s Ultimate Response System Training) workout and decided if it it really only took 10 minutes, I could close both me and the kids in my son’s room so they couldn’t escape or cause any trouble and go for it!  That’s just what I did.  I went to the Resources page (picture below) and selected the Shaklee 180 Workouts.  I watched the How To Video


and then began by watching the 3 exercise videos.   Each video alternates with 20 second bursts to 20 second rests and then rests for one minute.  My kids had such a great time laughing at me and having great fun.  My daughter was watching how to do it and even joined in!  The music was great and the moves were easy to do.  Most of all, I loved that fact that my good friends from Tennessee, Jenni and Nathan Oates, are leading my workout!  Even though they were not in the room with me, I felt encouraged and not overwhelmed by their instruction.  How did I feel afterward?  Great!  The rest of the day I had a spring in my step but I could also feel a burn in my shoulders.

I am looking forward to my next workout!  No two workouts are the same.  New muscles are worked in every session and new music to keep you inspired.

It was awesome folks!  But the most awesome part was after I was done, and realized I had just worked out in my SON’S room, WITHOUT a T.V., WITHOUT the 15 minutes of preparing for a workout.  I did not even have the mindset to workout or the time to make an excuse.  I just turned the app on and chose the workout and DID it.  Then I logged it for more rewards!


What kind of exercise are you doing?


‘Appy Wednesday – 180 App


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Every Wednesday, I will write a review on a new App that I find either necessary or that has dramatically changed the quality of my life or has made a difference in the education of our children.  Each app posted here MUST be either 1) free 2) cheaper than dirt or 3) its price is worth more than gold.

Today, I am going to talk about the new Shaklee 180 App that is FREE with either the Shaklee 180 Turnaround or Lean and Healthy Kits.  shaklee-180-app

This app contains so much that I won’t be able to cover it in one post.  So here, I will give a general review of what is inside and how it is effective.  I will go into greater depth in future posts on each area.

First and foremost, the app provides a way for you create a customized nutritional plan, serve as a food recorder.  Secondly, it also contains progress logs to keep you at your goal – but also awesome – will win you prizes!  But perhaps the coolest part, is that when viewed on either a smartphone or a tablet, you can workout LIVE, right there!  No need to turn on the t.v. and waste time or go to a gym.  Wherever you are at, you can turn it on right there and be done with a workout in 3 minutes.

Shaklee has done a great job to make this an app that you will truly use 24/7 and won’t just be an icon taking up space.  It will track eating, inspire you to reach 180 days of health, and help you get there with an exercise plan too.  What drove them to create such a tool?  Shaklee understands that a healthy life most often begins with a healthy weight.  Whether your goal is to lose weight or not, this app is for you.


Protein and Preventing Heart Disease (and how to make Almond Milk!)


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Yesterday, I posted on the many ways we can maintain a healthy lifestyle to prevent Heart Disease.  However, there is a little extra secret not many people know about – studies have shown that soy protein is involved in preventing heart disease.

Susan Potter, Ph.D at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found in her testing various soy products, that isolated soy protein worked best.  Her results showed that there was a 12 percent drop in total cholesterol and an 11.5 percent drop in the “bad cholesterol” (LDL).  Researchers then concluded:

The fact that a significant reduction was obtained by consuming only 50 grams a day of soy protein sets a practical and achievable goal that would be beneficial in the treatment of high blood cholesterol and coronary artery disease

Subsequent studies by Dr. Potter’s group further revealed that even 25 grams (approximately 1/2 cup) of soy protein daily “could result in significant reduction of cholesterol levels in those with elevated levels.”  In addition, The New England Journal summarized the findings of 38, well-controlled studies on soy protein and cholesterol.  They saw a nine-percent reduction of total cholesterol and nearly a 13-percent reduction of the bad LDL cholesterol.

Isn’t it refreshing that there can actually be a snack that is GOOD for you?  At the start of 2013, Shaklee launched its latest, greatest tasting soy protein shake.  This yummy drink contains all the 23 amino acids that our bodies need, but often don’t get every day.  Think of Amino Acids as links of protein on a bracelet.  They are all essential for the functions of your body.  Eight of these 23 are called Essential, because your body can not produce them on its own. You have to get them from an outside source.  These 8 are so crucial, because if you don’t get them, your body won’t make the other 15!  Our bodies NEED protein!

Make yourself a shake first thing in the morning, at lunch or for an evening snack.  Shaklee has two types of shakes to choose from: Energizing Soy Protein, or Shaklee Life Shakes.  All Shaklee shakes contain all 23 amino acids.
You might be wondering what is the best way to drink a Smoothee?  Here is a recipe for a “Wow Smoothee:”

Wow Smootheeshaklee-180-picture_2_2013

1/2 – 1 cup Soy or Almond Milk (I drink Silk Unsweetened Original, but I just found out you can make it yourself!  Recipe below)

1 or 2 scoops of a Shaklee Life Shake (one if having as a snack, two if a meal)

1 cup peach or pear, or 1 apple, cut into pieces (seeds removed)

1 frozen ripe banana

1 1/2 cups frozen broccoli (or kale or spinach)

Sprinkle of flax or chia seeds

Place all ingredients in a blender in the order listed, and mix until creamy.  Tip:  Serve to kids in a colored cup so they won’t be scared by the green!  The riper the banana, the more the broccoli taste is canceled.

DIY Almond Milk

This is a complete money saver and so easy!  I found this courtesy of Every Day with Rachael Ray Magazine.

Serving Size:  4 cups of milk

Step 1  Soak 2 Cups of raw almonds and 5 cups of water in a bowl for at least 2 hours overnight

Step 2 Mix the almonds and water in a blender on high until frothy and smooth, about 5 minutes.  (Sounds like forever, but keep blending!)

Step 3 Line a strainer with 4 layers of cheesecloth; place over a bowl.  Add half of the almond mixture; let sit 10 minutes, then squeeze out the liquid.  Discard the solids.  Repeat with second half.

It tastes great with a Smoothee, it gives me energy, and best of all the price is right.  I used to love going to Jamba Juice when I would visit California and would come back home so sad there was none where I lived.  Now I don’t have to be sad because I can make an even healthier shake for half the price – at home!