Friday, June 27, 2014

Our Change Is Here! + Goodbye

I feel a sense of great relief that I can finally share our family's long-time-coming, very big change. I feel like I've been keeping a juicy secret from so many people for so long that this is going to feel very good to get off my chest.

You know that our house has been under contract and that a move is in our eminent future. But what you don't know (and what most other people didn't know either) is that our move is not going to be in-town. We are leaving the Texas Panhandle!

The short version is that, about six months ago, David and I both experienced a change in heart and mind about where we live and what we're doing. We came to realize that, if we kept going the same direction, we were only focusing on the short-term of our family. And what we were doing short-term was not in any form or fashion the vision that we had for our family long-term.

It's not that our lives are awful or anything. We live in a beautiful home. David has a great-paying job. But, that just wasn't enough. Or maybe it was too much? Basically, the way we've been living day-to-day doesn't match the vision we have in our hearts. Does that make any sense at all????

When we had dream sessions (which I highly recommend for you married couples and families!), neither of us dreamed about living in the Panhandle, where the wind blows and there is never enough rain, where it's difficult to source local Real Food, and where the sense of community even in the small towns seems to be coming undone. Even the geography of West Texas isn't in our vision--we envision a place with water, trees, green grass, rain, and rolling hills. Those things just aren't here.

The Lord made the farm on 10 acres unavailable to us, and we knew why. It's not that the farm wasn't a great place; it just wasn't our vision.

So, we began making plans. It's very interesting and somewhat impossible for the inner planner to attempt to plan something that's completely beyond her control. But that's exactly what I started doing. I couldn't make my house sell. I couldn't find David a new job. I couldn't make our extended family and friends OK with the decision we were making. So everyday, we thought and dreamed and made little plans as best as we could realistically do.

We lowered the price of our house to entice buyers. We started browsing online and making connections elsewhere in an attempt to make job-hunting more efficient. We began preparing our kids mentally and emotionally for a change, a move, and a different place. We told our parents and siblings and closest friends our plans. We started packing our stuff.

Little things that made our decision real.

When our house finally went under contract, it was almost surreal. And very scary, because I mentally and emotionally prepared myself for something to go wrong. I had a feeling that it would. And it did. Our buyers weren't approved for financing right away because they had a home somewhere else that was waiting to sell. We walked around on thin ice for weeks, hoping for the best. Then their house did close, and we're still waiting for the final word that the bank is approving their loan. Until then, we can't get a survey, an appraisal, or anything, but we continue to hope for the best.

We are still moving forward, though. We are so certain in what we're doing that we wouldn't even change our minds if they called us tomorrow and backed out on the whole deal. We would stick the sign right back in the yard and believe that it would sell lightning fast!

We're heading to East Texas, about 90 minutes from the Louisiana border! Yes, it's muggy, but there are also trees, water, rain, green grass, and rolling hills. Coincidentally, my mom moved there back in April, not knowing that we were considering the move ourselves. Her being there makes it that much easier for us to go.

Our vision to live on a farm? Still alive and kicking. Kicking even harder this time. That desire never left us, and I doubt it ever will. Country living is at the heart of our vision, but this time the scenery matches the one in our dreams.

As of today, most of our stuff is in storage. We have thrown away, given away, and sold about 25% of our belongings, and I have a hunch that even more will be discarded once we arrive at our destination. We are living out of suitcases, sleeping on mattresses on the floor, and experiencing the challenge of figuring out what to eat when the fridge is bare.

We move out of our house on Monday, June 30. We're going to spend a week traveling to and from various family members' homes, in part to spend a few days with those we probably won't see for a while, and also so we won't be homeless. ;) We're headed out of the Panhandle on July 10!

For now, we have rented an apartment. It only made sense to familiarize ourselves with the area before settling on a more permanent location. Plus, after cleaning, organizing, and maintaining 3,200 square feet, we're looking forward to less space and no maintenance responsibilities!

And now I have another announcement, not quite as big as the bombshell I just dropped, but pretty big to me personally. I have decided to give up this blog. I will continue to guest post monthly at GNOWFGLINS (taking off June and July for moving), but I am saying goodbye to Today in Dietzville for now.

I don't want to write about our lives; I just want to soak it all in and enjoy our lives. My blogging has been pretty scarce for a while, and I think my heart knew all along what my mind wouldn't acknowledge until recently: that this place isn't as much of a priority or as much fun to me as it used to be.

With selling our home, switching jobs, and moving over 400 miles away, this chapter of our lives is ending. It seemed only natural to end my blogging journey here as well.

We'll still be homeschooling, cooking and eating healthy, nourishing foods, reading lots of good books, and living life together, but I'm going to store these memories in my heart and cherish them, and yes, keep them to myself for a while. If you really want to know what's going on with us, you can follow me on Instagram. @lindseydietz

I can't believe that I'm finally giving it up after six years of writing here. But it's time, and my heart is content with the decision. Thanks to all five of you faithful readers out there! Thanks for the sympathy comments! It's been fun!

I hope you'll pray for our family on our new adventure. And, who knows? Maybe I'll pick up where I left off one day, and you'll find me living my country dream on a few acres.

Over and out,

Thursday, May 29, 2014

What About the Farm? + Hiccups + The Unknown

----What About the Farm?----

Oops. I skipped one small detail, didn't I? Sorry about that.

The question I've gotten since posting that our home is under contract is: What about the farm?

So, what about it? Here's the 
Ugh nevermind. I can't speak gangster, let alone spell it.

Some wonderful friends decided they were going to sell their home on 10 acres to buy another, larger home on 20 acres up the road. They knew how badly we desired to live in the country and offered their home to us for a steal of a deal. We couldn't pass it up! 

The owners of the larger home on 20 acres gave our friends three months to get their home under contract, otherwise they were going to go public with selling their house. And, trust me, this place would not have lasted long because the home is gorgeous and there's a ton of land to go along with it, and land is a hot commodity around here right now.

Basically, we had until March 31 to get a contract on our house. 
Obviously, that didn't happen. 

Before the end of March, David and I were feeling strongly that God was trying to send us a message that we weren't supposed to buy "the farm" (as you have all come to call it). We didn't have any serious buyers for our home, so we met with our friends and told them that we released them from holding on to their place for us. We wanted them to sell it to someone else without being afraid that we would be upset or offended. And we told them that we felt their asking price was way too low and that they should try to get more. We hugged, they left our house, and stuck their home on Facebook that evening. 

Within a week they had a buyer! And we still didn't have a contract on our home. So, it just wasn't meant to be. And we're ok with that. 

Long story short, they were a week out from closing on the sale of their house, and the buyer's financing wouldn't go through. Such a bummer! But our friends were kinda feeling the same way we were: that God was obviously closing the door for them to buy their dream place. They prayed about it and decided to just go ahead and stay right where they're at. And that's what they're doing! They are going to live debt-free in their current home, make some improvements and updates, and enjoy the huge blessing that God had already given them. David and I couldn't be happier for them because this means we still get to go out to their place and enjoy cookouts and gardening and stuff with them!


Our home remains under contract, but our buyers have also had some unpredicted financing issues. They have assured us that they absolutely do not want to break our contract, and they are working hard to get those issues resolved ASAP. In the meantime, this means our closing date is now unknown.

We are working with them to come up with a solution that works for all of us. I suppose things like this are pretty common with house-buying. And I'm trying really, really hard to stay positive and look at this as nothing more than a hiccup, a small bump in the road that won't amount to much in the end.

It's so frustrating and nerve-wracking though! GRRRRRRR!!!

----The Unknown----

Despite having our home under contract for almost a month now, my answer to your inevitable next question is: No, we don't know where we're moving yet.

Being the Type A/Planning-My-Life-Out Sort, this is not comfortable territory I'm walking in here. It goes against everything in me to be, potentially, 3-4 weeks away from closing on our home and not having the foggiest idea where I'm supposed to live next. 

Seriously, I am excited about it. I know that everything's gonna be alright.

Ending on that high note, here's the complete Shawn Mullins music video from, here we go--1998--for your listening/viewing/throwback Thursday pleasure. Enjoy. And really, everything's gonna be alright.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Washing Produce & Homemade Pesto! My Latest Guest Posts

I've been guest posting over at GNOWFGLINS for a full YEAR! I can't even believe how quickly the time has flown by! I'm doing a little happy dance because it was one of my small dreams coming true to be able to write for such a well-known Real Food blog.

Believe it or not, water's not enough! 

And I remembered that I completely forgot to share April's post with you here! Sorry about that! Hypothyroidism, heavy metals, and blogging, apparently, do not a good combination make.

So, here it is--a month late! It's a yummy recipe for homemade, nut-free pesto! I'm making this all the time now, and my favorite use for it is to slather it all over a chicken breast and bake.

Thanks for supporting my blogging adventures over at GNOWFGLINS! It's one of the main reasons I'm not posting here as much. I really want to write good, informative, slightly humorous content with great photos over there since there are thousands of folks around the world who are learning how to prepare, store, and cook Real Food, thanks to Wardeh and the awesome site she runs!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Good Stuff For Sale!

All books, unless otherwise noted, are in new/like new condition and are free of writing, highlighting, and other markings. As far as I know, all DVDs and CD-Roms are free of scratches and other defects. Shipping IS included in all pricing. PayPal is the preferred payment method. Any other payments (check, cash in the mail, etc.) subject to approval.

Items pictured as a set will not be sold separately, unless noted. To purchase or ask a question about an item, e-mail me at lindseyryon (@) gmail (dot) com





Math-U-See Alpha Instruction Manual w/ DVD. Instruction Manual was never used.

Math-U-See Beta Instruction Manual w/ DVD. Instruction Manual was never used.

These are Teaching Textbooks CD-Rom sets. Sold Separately.

Total Money Makeover + 15-disc set Financial Peace University (audio)


Other History Resources:

Growing Up in Ancient Rome by Mike Corbishley: excellent, like new condition; paperback: $4

Michelangelo's World by J. Patrick Lewis: very good, used condition; ex-library book; hardback: $5

Cleopatra by Diane Stanley: good, used condition; ex-library book w/ dust jacket; hardback: $5

SOLD! The World of Columbus and Sons by Genevieve Foster: very good, used condition; paperback: $10

Miscellaneous Resources:

Mommy, Was Santa Born on Christmas Too? by Barbara Knoll: good, used condition; paperback: $3

Mommy, Why Don't We Celebrate Halloween? by Linda Hacon Winwood: good, used condition; paperback: $3

Grammar Resources: 

SOLD! Simply Grammar: An Illustrated Primer by Charlotte Mason and Karen Andreola: brand-new/never used; paperback: $10

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Under Contract!

We've been so busy lately with baseball, piano lessons, and the recent fire in our neighboring town that I haven't had time to even think about blogging! Alas, I see where it lies on my priority's pretty far down there. Sigh.

Anyway, our big news is that our house, after being on the market for a little over four months, is FINALLY under contract! We are scheduled to close on or before June 17. I'm not getting my hopes up too much because I know that there are almost always bumps along the way and sometimes sales don't get to closing, so I'm holding my breath and taking it a day at a time. Every day that passes is an answer to prayer and gets us that much closer to finalizing this process.

We haven't even had a chance to start packing yet because we've been swamped with all this other stuff. Our family isn't usually busy, so this is very new to us.

I'm sure you're wondering, "Where are you moving?"

The answer to that is that I don't know. We've been following the local real estate market for four months, and frankly, there is nothing on the market that we would like to buy. The rental market is also scarce. If we had to move tomorrow, we have a two choices: to move in with David's grandmother or to move into the RV that some friends have offered us! HA!

No matter what, I'm positive it's going to be an adventurous ride! Stay tuned!

And please, pray for the community of Fritch. There are many people who have lost everything and won't be getting insurance checks to help them start over. Churches, pastors, community members, and people from the surrounding area are mobilizing to assist here like I've never seen before. It's been a blessing in the midst of sadness and chaos.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Entrepreneurial Spirit Lives On

Yesterday was gorgeous. My peeps were happily playing with a bucket of water and some rocks while I laid, bare-belly to get some sun, on our outdoor swing with my eyes closed for a few precious minutes.

Then I heard planning.

Addie: "Let's sell our rocks!"
Ryan: "Yeah! A rock stand!"
Addie: "How much should they cost?"
Ryan: "Uhhhhh, I think $2 is good."
Addie: "No. Let's make them $10. $10 is better. People buy things for $10 usually."
Ryan: {sighs} "Ok."
Addie: "You take the rocks over there {points to front yard} and I'll go make the sign! Oh, and Ryan?"
Ryan: "Yes?"
Addie: "Get a box too. We need a table!"

So Ryan grabs a moving box from the garage and takes their rocks to the sidewalk in front of our house. Meanwhile, Addie is inside making a sign to tape on the box stating that they have "Rocks for Sale $10 each".

Meanwhile....I'm over on the swing, trying as hard as I can to keep from busting out laughing.

You see, as my children are having this hysterical conversation and are working up their excitement over all the money they're going to make selling brown rocks from behind our garage, a certain memory from my own childhood arose in my mind. At about the same ages (8 & 10), my brother Brandon and I got the brilliant idea one summer day that we needed to sell empty rifle casings as "bullet whistles" to the people driving down our road. We just knew people would think it ingenious to use the metal rifle casings and blow into them like a coke bottle to make a whistle and that everyone who drove by was sure to buy from us. (Granted, our bullet whistles were 50 cents apiece, I think; not $10 like my children's overpriced rocks.)

Brandon and I gathered up our bullet whistles, some lawn chairs, and our sign and hauled them down our country lane to where our lane met the road. In the miserable summer heat, we sat there for hours, just waiting for a car to pass by.

We sold one whistle and quit.

After Ryan and Addie quickly sold their first rock for $2 (not $10), they became discouraged after a while for lack of business.

Ever the optimist, Addie tries to up their business by offering their customers an incentive: free water for washing their rocks.

Grabbing the mop bucket they were using before opening their rock stand, she fills it with new water and then goes back in the house to make yet another sign to tape onto the bucket: "Free water for washing rocks!"

She set this up next to Ryan and the rocks on the sidewalk and they continued to wait.

They never sold another rock. With long faces, they came inside to get ready for supper. They were so sure this get-rich-quick plan was going to work. I did, however, encourage them that they were each $1 richer than when they started, which seemed to ease the pain a bit. ;)

What is it about our children that makes them want to earn something the way their parents do? As a young girl, my mother was probably rolling in the floor, laughing at my brother and I for believing we could turn a profit selling bullet whistles. She knew the idea was ridiculous, yet she didn't try to stop us, just as I kept my mouth shut and didn't even attempt to tell my kids that selling rocks, clean or not, was not going to take them very far.

But why? Why do children want to do what they can to earn money? Lemonade stands, rock stands, bullet whistle stands...all are a means to what our children see (and we as children saw) as fantastic ideas of owning our their businesses and making their way in the world.

Entrepreneurialism and the free market live on.

Friday, March 28, 2014

For Sale By Owner Frustrations

We've had our house on the market for three months today. Three long months.

We're doing a For Sale By Owner, and we're first-timers at this. I just want to say that selling your house by yourself is no easy undertaking, and I'm not even talking about the paperwork and contracts involved! 

I think we romanticized this experience a bit going into it. We have a beautiful home in a fantastic, quiet, historical neighborhood. 

We thought selling it would be a cake walk. 

Boy, we were wrong! 

In case you're thinking about selling your home yourself, let me tell you what we've encountered so far that has been frustrating, angering, and just plain annoying. (I'm trying to help you make an educated decision here.)

  • No-shows. We had someone make an appointment to see the house last Saturday at 3:00. We busted our hineys to have the house spic-and-span by the showing time. They never showed. And they wouldn't answer our phone calls or texts to find out if they were just running late or what. I'm sure realtors deal with this too, but when it's your home, it makes you feel like you at least deserve an explanation.
  • Curious people. We've had more than a handful of people look at our house, and it is so obvious that they're really not in the market to buy a home. They're just curious to see what the inside of your house looks like! Apparently, this is a common occurrence in our neighborhood since all the homes are nice and well-kept, and they're very unique inside and out. It really feels like a bunch of wasted time to show people around your house, knowing they really won't (or can't) buy it.
  • Silence. In the three months our home has been for sale, we've experienced weeks at a time without a single phone call or showing. Hopelessness begins to invade your thoughts. It's not a fun place to be. 
  • Rude people. One lady called and asked how much we were selling the house for. When I told her, she immediately said, "That's really expensive!" Let's just say that conversation was very awkward after that. Another woman wanted to know if the house was totally move-in ready because she didn't want to spend money on the inside, but had big plans for the outside. She grilled me for over 10 minutes over the phone, asking tons of questions about our wood floors, paint colors, bathroom tile, and more. We were having an open house the next day, so I invited her to come and see for herself. She never showed. 
  • Interesting people. One person looked at the back of the house in the alley, which has a concrete retaining wall with some paint chipping off of it. Of everything she saw, this seemed to be her biggest concern because it wasn't "pretty". It's an alley, dang it! What's interesting about this is that she didn't seem to be the type who would really care about if the alley part of a retaining wall is pretty or not. She reeked of cigarette smoke and spent the entire time slurping a Big Gulp. It was just...interesting.
  • People who get your hopes up. This is probably the hardest. We've had four couples who have told us that they REALLY want to buy our house. They come look and go on and on about how much they love it and can't wait to move in, and "Just let me talk to the bank tomorrow, and I'll get back to you." And then they never call back. Or they go to the bank and don't qualify for financing. Or they look two or three times and talk about how they're ready to move in, and then you never hear from them again. Big let-down every time. 
Sooooooo, if it's so frustrating, why don't you list it with a real estate agent?

Well, after speaking with two realtors, we feel that listing it really wouldn't get us very far. Home sales have been at an all-time low around here. In fact, one realtor I spoke to earlier this week told me that our county has an average of 35 sold homes by this point in the year. Right now, it's sitting at 13 sold homes. We don't think a realtor can do much for us at this point, and the realtors we've talked to happen to agree with us.

Also, our main reason for wanting to sell ourselves is purely motivated by money. I mean, why else do people sell houses, right???

We're looking at a savings of $6,000-$11,000 by selling it ourselves since we won't be paying a realtor a commission. That's huge! And, we'd rather have the headaches of being let down, frustrated, silence, and rude people over letting go of that much of our profits. We feel like, after all the blood, sweat, and tears we've put into this place, that we deserve every penny out of it that we can get!

Selling your home yourself is definitely motivated primarily by the moolah. There's no way around that.  So if you're considering selling your house yourself, just be aware that that big profit doesn't come without a cost. 

And, knowing that our home will eventually sell and we eventually won't have to deal with this anymore makes us keep on believing that this is all going to be worth it. 

Right??? Tell me it's gonna be worth it.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

My Son's Book Recommendations + 7 Ways to Get Young'uns to Read

Sometimes it's hard to get boys interested in reading. I've heard from many of my friends that their boys simply aren't readers--not because they don't know how to read well, but because they just don't care about it. They'd rather be playing sports or video games, building with Legos, or having Nerf gun wars. I'm thankful I don't have this problem, but I do want to encourage those of you with boys who could care less about reading.

My son is the most avid reader I know. He has spent thousands of hours pouring over books, books, and more books. I am certain he has read more books in his 10 years than I have read in 30. We have a hard time keeping him supplied with books because he goes through them so quickly. He has over 100 books on his personal bookshelf in his room, plus he frequently snags books off his sister's shelves or our living room shelves. Don't let this cocky smirk fool you; this kid LOVES to read.

I've asked him to compile a list of his 21 favorite books and/or series of all time. If you have a boy ages 8-12, he might enjoy reading some of the selections from another boy's list, and it might save you the effort of trying to find books for your young men that you know they'll enjoy.

1. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien (These are at a high school reading level. Make sure your boys are capable of that level of reading before turnin' 'em loose.)
2. Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
3. The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks
4. Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis
5. Old Yeller by Fred Gipson
6. Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss
7. Stuart Little by E.B. White
8. The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis
9. Crispin: The End of Time by Avi (Last in a series of 3; goes well with a study of the Middle Ages)
10. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
11. The Spy and General Washington by William Wise
12. The Dragons of Blueland by Ruth Stiles Gannett (last in the My Father's Dragon series of 3)
13. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
14. The Railway Children by E. Nesbit
15. The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle
16. The Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Chandler Warner (My son read these when he was 6, but they work well for younger readers or those who are just starting to enjoy chapter books.)
17. Hank the Cowdog series by John R. Erickson
18. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
19. The Vikings by Clyde Robert Bulla
20. Heidi by Joanna Spyri
21. Augustus Goes South by Le Grand

Additionally, if you're looking for ways to encourage your young'uns to read, here are six suggestions:

1. Get them their very own e-reader, such as a Kindle or Nook. A boy who wouldn't naturally jump at picking up a paperback might be very willing to go for a book that is contained in a piece of technology. We gave our son a regular Kindle (no bells or whistles) for Christmas, and he has downloaded over 100 books on it for free! Having the freedom to download and read books on their own can really encourage reluctant readers to enjoy reading. (Our son isn't allowed to purchase books on his Kindle without permission, and every time he downloads something, my husband gets an e-mail, so we know exactly what he has access to.)

2. Limit technology, TV, and video games. I know, I just recommended e-readers and now I'm telling you to limit technology. We have always had pretty strict restrictions on the amount of TV/movies our children have been able to watch, and we have severely limited their access to video games. (We used to own a Wii, but they only played on it every few weeks. Now it's packed away in a box and may never see the light of day again, I hope.) This has worked to our advantage. If a screen isn't trying to lure them in, a book is a very appealing choice.

3. Get them familiar with the library. A shelf of books that doesn't look appetizing at home might seem like the greatest thing ever somewhere else, like the library. Kids have the freedom to choose (ok, some freedom) their books based upon what interests them and not just what you hand them. You'll have to set guidelines ahead of time for what they're allowed to bring home. For example, as much as my son may want to read it, Diary of a Wimpy Kid isn't allowed in our home. Your child's choices are up to you.

4. Entice them with a book-based movie. I realize this won't work with every book, but it's great fun to watch an approved movie after finishing a well-loved book. When our son wanted to watch The Lord of the Rings movies, the requirement was that he read the books first. He couldn't wait! He finished The Hobbit in less than two weeks and got to enjoy a movie day with Daddy watching both Hobbit movies. Other books-turned-movies we love: Old Yeller. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; Prince Caspian; and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Black Beauty. Charlotte's Web. Unfortunately, there are some wonderful books that have been ruined (in my opinion) with poorly made movies. You're going to have to determine what works for your family.

5. Create a fun and cozy reading space. My children's favorite place to read is in their beds. But your kids may associate their bed with sleeping and not a comfy activity like reading. If you have an unused corner in your home, try creating a "Reading Corner". Make it cozy with bean bag chairs or floor pillows, a cute lamp, and maybe a soft blanket. Then leave a selection of adventurous books lying around for your children to pick up and get lost in! I absolutely love this idea to turn a dormer space into a fun reading nook!

6. Let them see you reading. You can't very well expect your children to be avid readers if you don't read yourself, can you? Let your children see you engrossed in the pages of a book, not wanting to put it down. This will show them that reading is fun no matter what your age and that they, too, can take part in adventures on the pages of books.  

7. Read to them often. This is probably the most important suggestion I can give to anyone. Start reading good, living books to your children from the time they are in the womb. Make reading a priority, and they'll grow up with books being at the center of their childhoods. No matter how old your children are, always keep reading to them. Give characters special voices and accents, do whatever you can to make it fun and interesting. One of the best experiences of my life was reading the last chapter of C.S. Lewis' The Last Battle to my children. We all cried together for joy at the ending! When you read to your children, you are making literature come alive to them and creating lasting memories together; and I promise you they'll crave more.

Do your kids LOVE reading? How have you generated interest in books at your house? I'd love to know!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Teach Your Kids to Work, Part 2

If you're just joining me on this series, you'll want to catch up by reading part 1 of Teach Your Kids to Work. If you've already read it and have been anxiously (yeah, right) waiting on me to post about what my peeps do around Dietzville, today isn't the day. Sorry!

Unfortunately, the computer with the PDF of my peeps' responsibility schedules is still sick. And, in what may be the first time in history, my tech-genius husband has yet to be able to fix it.

I'm still holding out hope that he'll be able to access my files somehow, but until then, I'll give you some more of my thoughts on teaching your children to work and be responsible.

Instruct and Follow Through
Determine what you want done, your children's abilities, and when you want it done. That's your first step. Teaching your child to wash dishes, fold the laundry, and/or dust the living room is NOT your first step. You'll both get overwhelmed after a few days and just like that, you're back into the habit of NOT teaching your children to work because you've determined that it's just easier to do it yourself.

If your child is 7, and you believe him capable of making his bed, unloading the dishwasher, and cleaning out the car, pick one and start with ONE.

I hear more complaints from moms about their children not doing what they want them to do, but when I ask if they're present and following up on the assigned job, the answer I almost always get is, "Well, no. I tell them what I want them to do and then I go back to (__fill in the blank___)."

Well, Momma, if you expect the room to get cleaned, but you don't first instruct and then check back to make sure it's getting done correctly, I hate to tell ya, but that's not your kid's fault. It's yours. (Ouch. Sorry.)

Let's say you've picked "Clean Your Room" as the first responsibility to learn--and naturally so. You need to start by explaining your expectations.

"Suzy, you've grown to be such a big girl, and now it's time for you to take care of some of your own things. You're going to start with your room and everything that belongs in it. Every night before bed, it's going to be your job to make sure your room is nice and tidy. I'm going to teach you how to do that today."

Then you proceed with the instructing. Have Suzy help you as you pick up her room and watch her. Have you provided places for her to store her things? If not, you need to. If so, make sure she knows that her stuffed animals belong on this shelf, the books belong on that shelf, and that bin is for dress-up clothes. You get the idea. Children will consistently put things in the same places if you've provided storage options that are simple and make sense to them.

For the first few evenings, you're going to help Suzy clean her room before bed. Keep a close eye on her and instantly point her in the right direction if she puts something in the wrong place or begins to dawdle. After the first few times, have Suzy do it herself, but remain present the ENTIRE time she's doing it. This tells her that you're available to help if she forgets something and that you're also going to correct her if she gets off-track and starts to play instead of putting her things away. When she can consistently and correctly pick up her things and put them where they belong in a timely fashion, she's ready to do it without you present! This can take as little as a week to establish, which is not long!

From now on, you're going to expect her to pick up her room the very way you've instructed her to do so, but you can go back to the kitchen and wash dishes or whatever you would normally do. BUT, you WILL inspect Suzy's work each time to insure that she stays in the habit of completing the job the way you've taught her.

Don't EXPECT what you don't INSPECT. Make sense, Momma?

Once you've gotten Suzy into the routine of cleaning her room efficiently and correctly, it's time to start the whole process over again with another job. You continue to expect Suzy to clean her room, and you continue to inspect her work all the while. It probably won't be long before you can give up inspecting her room every day, and just do it randomly, providing small corrections here and there.

Following a predictable daily routine is going to be your biggest ally when it comes to teaching your children to help out around the house, be responsible, and learn valuable life skills. If you have a set time everyday that they know they have a certain job to do, it quickly becomes routine and results in much less complaining, whining, arguing, and forgetfulness.

If your child knows that he's supposed to clean and tidy his room every night before bed, it becomes part of his evening routine. If he knows that he's expected to unload the dishwasher every morning, he is able to do it without complaining because it has become part of his day.

If your children have certain responsibilities or jobs to accomplish at set times every day, your home will run much more smoothly. Of course, every new job assigned requires YOUR time and effort to give instruction and follow-through. Or, older children can inspect the work of younger children if they know how the job is supposed to be done.

Our family absolutely thrives on our routine. We joke a lot that we're like old people who are stuck in their same ol', same ol'! It's quite hilarious! But it works. We have happy kiddos who almost always know what's coming next and what to do. We don't have any bedtime problems--praise the Lord! We started a routine with our peeps when they were teeny tiny, and it's one thing I can say we have been rock stars at. (Maybe the only thing. Eeeek!)

And remember: a schedule or routine does NOT mean following the clock. It doesn't matter what time we wake up or how long it takes us to do school, our day follows a regular rhythm regardless of the time on the clock. Even if we wake up at 10:00 (psh, I wish!), our day will still have the same flow: make beds, unload dishwasher, eat breakfast, school, lunch, afternoon chores, free time, etc. It may all happen two hours later than usual, but it's still the same, predictable routine.

Make A List
Once you've given your children proper instruction in several responsibilities, you can list those out for the children so that they know exactly what they're supposed to do and when they're to do it. This is where you have a lot of creative license.

They can do all of their chores in the afternoon. You can break it up so that they have certain things to do at different, predictable times during the day (what we do). You can make a list for them to check off or a chart for them to put stickers on. The sky is the limit!

Having it written or typed for them in a permanent place keeps you from having to constantly remind them what they're supposed to be doing and when. And I don't know about you, but my 30-something brain can't remember anything anymore without me writing it down. I have a lot more grace for my peeps now that I've experienced true brain fog!

My final post in this series will go into more detail about creating a visible prompt for your children to take responsibility for their own tasks around the home. If my hubby can save my file, I'll even have a PDF for you to download and tweak to work in your own home!

What does all this accomplish?
By giving your children thorough instruction, following through, re-directing, correcting, setting up a predictable daily routine, and writing it down for them, you're setting them up for SUCCESS! You're giving them the tools, skills, and abilities they need to become responsible people.

Children are capable of so much more than we give them credit for. It's also a bonus that most children--especially the younger ones--are eager to learn and help. That's why it's to your benefit to start all this early! But even if you're late to this game, you can still reap the benefits of teaching your older children how to be responsible.

After all, we're not raising kids, are we? We're raising adults!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Nutritional Balancing: Month 1

I know I said I was going to post about my peeps' responsibility schedules, but honestly, the computer with that file on it has crashed, and there doesn't seem to be any hope for recovering it yet.

So I thought I'd post about this instead since my one-month "anniversary" of heavy metals diagnosis and treatment plan has come and gone just a few days ago.

I can't believe I've been on my Nutritional Balancing (NB) program for a month already! Time has literally (said like Chris Trager from Parks and Rec) flown by this past month. 

When I see or talk to people, most of them don't wait long before asking me how I feel--which makes me feel so special, by the way. It's nice that people remember when you're going through a difficult time and make an effort to ask how you're doing with it. I also like to think that those people are also praying for me often, which is another encouragement. 

So what's it been like to take over 20 pills a day, eat nothing but meat and veggies, have not an ounce of fruit or sugar of any kind, and detox from heavy metals??

I'm a list person, so I'm going to break it up into a positive and negative list. I believe this whole thing has been the best thing for me, so I even see the negatives as being necessary and steps in the right direction. Just some of it isn't "fun" right now.


  • As simple as I felt my life was before all this, having a real excuse to take life at a slower pace and generally do less overall has been amazing. I feel ZERO pressure to do or accomplish a whole lot outside my home or my family's immediate needs. This may sound selfish to you, but for me, it's been absolutely freeing.
  • I have grace for myself. This is a very new thing for me. I am able to look at myself and not feel like such a failure for not getting 472 things done in one day. I realize that it'll keep til tomorrow. Or next week. And I'm really OK with that.
  • My family has been super amazing. Not that they weren't before, but they're just as "in this" as I am. We're all eating the same foods, and no one has complained about too many veggies (of which there have been many) or not enough treats (of which there have been none). It's been wonderful to see them just as proactive about this as I have been.
  • Cooking this way is the easiest thing ever. No complicated recipes to follow. No crazy ingredients. I just pick what meat I need to thaw out for the next day and then choose my veggies, and I'm all set. The longest part of meal prep now is waiting for veggies to cook in the oven. It's so hands-off and uninvolved and simple. I don't even have to plan a menu anymore because these are meals I can plan a few hours before. 
  • I'm sleeping a full eight (or more!) hours every night!!! Glory, glory, hallelujah!
  • I am having detox symptoms. No, they're not much fun, but they mean that something is working and things are a-changin' in this body of mine, which is a very good thing.
  • No eating out! I really hate eating out, but sometimes we would anyway just because I didn't want to cook or we were running low on food. But I now have a really good reason to NOT eat out, and I love it. 
  • No cravings. I almost can't believe this myself. I thought for sure that going this long without any sweets at all would have me drooling over every sweet recipe on Pinterest, but most of it doesn't even look good to me. No joke. For those who know me really well, this is probably a shock. But seriously, this is the first time in my life that I can say I am craving NOTHING.
  • I am trying new veggies to add more variety to my diet, and I'm actually loving many of them. Parsnips are my new favorite food! Oh my heavens, they are so yummy! 
  • I'm having detox symptoms. Yes, this is a good thing, but it also means that I feel pretty crummy a lot of the time. So far I've experienced morning nausea, headaches, fatigue, more brain fog, eye floaters, muscle weakness, and weird dreams. All completely normal and expected, but still not fun.
  • Taking 10 pills when I wake up in the morning is not easy. I already feel nauseated when I wake up until about 10:00 a.m., so forcing 10 pills down isn't so great on my gag reflex. The rest of the day, taking my supps is cake. But the morning? Ugh.
  • It's expensive. There's no way around it. I think we spent nearly $800 on food last month. That's $300 more than we normally spend. Ouch.
  • I'm having some digestive issues that my doc and I haven't been able to figure out. He thinks that I need a full intestinal/bowel cleanse, which I'm fine with. But, things in the tummy department haven't been working normally. Well, technically, they weren't normal before either, but I can actually tell there's something wrong now, and I'm anxious to get it resolved.
  • Social awkwardness. The truth is that I don't like explaining to every person on this planet what's wrong with me and why I can't eat the donuts at church or go out for dessert. This is forcing me to be creative with ways to hang out with people that aren't centered around food/drink. I don't want to come across as picky or snobby about food, and that's hard when I can have almost nothing at any restaurant in our town. 
  • People trying to get me to think that they might have a better solution that the one I'm currently pursuing. I have had many--very well-intentioned--people tell me that doing this, that, and the other would be faster and easier than what I'm already doing. I've probably been guilty of this very thing in the past, and now that the tables have turned, I have vowed to be more sensitive of the choices other people are making for themselves and their families. I may not agree with them, and if they ask my opinion, I'll definitely tell them. But if they don't, it's probably because they feel confident in their choices and don't want to be bombarded with conflicting opinions. Trust me, I know that chelation, cleanse-in-a-box detoxes, essential oils, and herbs are all great and probably work really well. If I thought those were the best option for me, I would be using them. 
  • Meditating is hard, and I don't like it. There. I've said it. This isn't Zen/NewAge/Buddhist meditation I'm talking about. It's simply clearing the mind. There's no trances, hypnosis, magic words, crazy breathing, or funky poses involved. But for a person whose mind runs 90 mph even in her sleep, getting it to be still for five minutes is no easy task. And I don't enjoy trying.
My doctor is amazing. What I love most about him is that he's a team player. He really listens to my questions and concerns and even my suggestions. He doesn't sit on a pedestal and tell me how much more he knows than I do and that his way is best. He recommended a certain brand of fish oil, and when I told him I wanted to continue taking my Green Pastures FCLO/HVBO instead, he was totally fine with it. When I asked if taking activated charcoal or bentonite clay orally would help with detox symptoms, he was completely honest and said he didn't know. I really admire a doctor who can tell his patient that he doesn't know something. Dr. C. is seriously a godsend, and in my opinion, so is nutritional balancing!

Besides all the positives and negatives, I am truly happy with this program. I feel that it is the most holistic approach and that it is really affecting my entire body and mind in a positive way.