Not again with these shenanigans

About 6 months ago, I finally was able to move my position from part-time to a PRN position at the hospital I work at. This decision was motivated to focus more on my business of coaching people to health, and allowing more time with my family (my work hours ran from 9:30-8pm and every other weekend). Along with that, we forfeited our health insurance. So we found a health share group that was a bit more expensive, but I loved the concept. Basically, you pay a monthly share (ours for a family came to about $440/month, which included vision and dental). When signing up, you have to fill out a health questionnaire and people are expected to lead a healthy lifestyle. I was happy to be in a group of health conscious people and felt great that I was helping someone in need for their medical costs when something arose because of a need. They cover a free wellness exam every year, which included labs, if needed.

After several months went by, my family decided it was time to start our adoption process. I’m sure you can imagine how costly adoptions are (usually between $10,000-$50,000) so we have been finding ways to cut out extra costs in every area of our life. With all of the Obama care advertisements, I decided I’d see if we could save some money replacing our health share with another insurance company.


looks enticing…

Man, was that a BIG mistake! While there were some options on savings, we found that we had a better deal by jumping on my husband’s insurance through his employer. So… the big mistake? Giving out my phone number to the Obama care website for comparing insurance companies! Shortly after I filled out the pre-application online, I got numerous calls throughout the day. I thought, wow, this isn’t going to take long to find an affordable plan. The annoying thing, was that they didn’t stop after the first couple of days. Still, months after politely telling the different companies and callers that they need to stop calling because we had found insurance, the calls still come in. I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t answer my phone if it’s an unknown number, which isn’t the greatest thing considering I’m a business owner. I ALSO, put my number on the National Do Not Call Registry, yet the calls still remain. They are getting less frequent, yet they are still a nuisance! Every time that I actually answer the call, I choose the option to take me off their call list.

Ever since I was little, I remember getting telemarketing calls and how they drove my family crazy. With the technology of cellphones that seemed to drastically help… then, I asked for it and it returned… Lesson learned universe! I’m not saying, don’t shop around for better deals. With our economy, I think it’s a very good idea to shop around for the things you truly need. I just don’t recommend putting your number into a computer generated application, unless you are prepared to the numerous phone calls long after you have made a decision.

Have you ever been bombarded by these companies? What have you done to regain some sanity?

My Community… what a blessing!

It’s finally come! The Pancake Feed that we have been planning for about 2 months now, is finally this Saturday, April 23 (read all the way to the bottom for more info)! We originially had it scheduled for the first Saturday in April, but my mom wasn’t able to come help and believe me, if you know my mom you’ll understand, but if you don’t I’ll tell ya, you want her on your team! She’s a huge asset when it comes to helping in any way she can. She’s the one person I’ve never had a hard time with asking for help. Other than that, asking for help is something that I’ve always struggled with. Which brings me to our adoption fundraiser. Unless you have thousands and thousands of dollars laying around, I’ve found that asking for others help is a necessity when it comes to affording an adoption. I’m not saying we are poor. We have, unfortunately not been able to save as much money as we’d like.

Our daughter is getting to the age where we want another child soon so they don’t have a huge age gap. We have decided that rather than bringing another child into the world, why not adopt a child that is already here and NEEDS a loving and supportive home? There are over 143 MILLION children who are orphaned. These children typically suffer from various types of trauma and most of the time it starts in the womb. It’s a tragedy that this happens to so many children! And it’s unfortunate that the cost is one reason it drives so many people away. We were originally going to do a Second Chance adoption, because these kids are in high need of a family. After talking with our social worker with Bethany Adoption services, we decided this wasn’t the safest option for our daughter.

It has always been my dream to adopt a child. Since I was a little kid myself, I was determined that when I got older, I was going to give a child in need what I always had – a loving and supportive family. Yes, our family wasn’t perfect. My parents got divorced when I was 6 and it was a very hard and difficult time, but I still had a family. A group of people  who I was and still am, very close with and I couldn’t imagine how awful it would be to not have them in my life.

And now, we are finally on this journey of adoption. We are now going through the China program. This program is another area in high need for adoptive parents, plus it will allow us to keep birth order and decrease safety concerns with our biological child. For the China program, we are looking at spending around $25,000-$35,000, plus we will need to make a 2 week trip to China prior to picking up our new baby. Thankfully, my husband has paid time off accruing, but with my PRN position, I will not have this benefit. Then, when we get home, we will need to take time off for bonding with our child, similar to when we brought home my daughter after her birth.

Needless to say, we need help. And I have had to put my ego aside and really ASK. It hasn’t been easy and it has been a lot of work. Calling different people, sending out letters, driving around handing out fliers and asking for help. Planning everything out and losing sleep because I am tring to make sure I haven’t forgot something, asking friends and family to donating their time or making things for the benefit we are working on. But it alwasy comes back to the child, our child. The beautiful baby we haven’t met yet. Our child who is crying out their needs and most of the time their needs aren’t being met. Remembering this has reallygiven me the strength to ask for help. Knowing that every person I ask might bring our child home to us sooner, drives me to calm my fear of asking for help.

I have had comments from people about how if we have to go “hat in hand to pay for our adoption, maybe we should wait until we can afford it.” This makes me feel both sad and upset, because we aren’t forcing anyone to do anything to help us. We are respectfully asking for any one who is willing to either donate their time, or help us in monetary ways. If you feel that is’nt true, please let me know. Plus, if we decided to have another biological child we would be able to use our insurance and it would be exponentially less expensive than to adopt.

The problems that come from having so many orphans are not just felt by a handful of people, it ripples across the world. These children are forced to adapt to their surroundings by stealing, cheating, lying, and in some cases killing to survive. Could you imagine what the world would be like if every single child grew up knowing they were loved and wanted and appreciated and trusted and heard? When they aren’t, this effects every single person, whether you like to believe it or not. When a child grows up unwanted or unloved and their needs are not being met, this effects the whole world. The saying, “It takes a village” is close, but I like to think of it even bigger and say “It takes the world.” We are all connected and one. I believe if we all took care of each other, than we wouldn’t have the problems we do in the world. We all want the same thing, ultimately, so why not help us all get there?

The community that I live in has been SOOOO supportive!! We have been blessed to get donations from various businesses around town and are so thankful for the love we’ve been shown from complete strangers! The donations we’ve gotten on our GoFundMe site has mostly been donations from people I either don’t know or barely know, with one exception (one of my great friends). The Fairmont Diner donated a gallon of syrup, the Millstone gave us two $15 gift certificates to raffle off, Main Street Market gave us $10, The Breadroot Co-op is donating bananas and napkins, Staple and Spice a gift bag full of goodies, and She’s Nuts donated 3 jars of her almond butters! We have had a couple of more businesses donate as well and we are just so grateful! I’m so excited to see the other members of the community who join in our festivities and our adoption journey! I hope you can make it too!


bottlemagGreat ideas for mother’s/father’s day gift

Would you like to join in on our adoption journey? Jump out of bed and come to PJ’s and Pancakes (Gluten-free pancakes available upon request)this Saturday, April 23 from 7-1pm at On Common Ground – 610 St Francis Street, Rapid City. We are having face painting for the kids from 9-11, a bake walk, and music. Plus, my husband has made some awesome bottle openers and coasters. We’ll have other hand made items, like my homemade beauty products, and yard yatzee dice. Suggested donations for the pancake breakfast $10/single or $30/family.

Say ‘ello to my cheezy friend

Ever since I was little, I LOVED cheese (but who doesn’t?). It was the only way my mom could get me to eat brocoli when I was 4ish. I still remember her giving me brocoli and I refused until she put the cheese on top. Now, I absolutely love brocoli, but cheese doesn’t really love me. And that’s okay! Once I discovered more about the dairy industry, I am more and more glad that I found out it was wreaking havoc on my body because it’s not an industry I want to support. You can read more here.

When I was 15, I started getting pretty nasty side effects from the garbage I was trying to fuel my body with. One of those things was cheese. After getting a biofeedback test which was done to test any food or environmental allergies and sensitivities. Well, guess what… dairy came back, among some others, as being highly sensitive to. I decided to research more about this whole dairy dilema, and found all of my symptoms could be affected if one is allergic or highly sensitive to it. So, I begrudgingly took it out of my diet. And guess what happened! My symptoms started to disappear! It took a while and a lot of persistance, but it worked!

I’m sure you are wondering, what I do when I need my cheese fix… Well “they” have come a long way with cheese substitues and I have to say, when I’m feeling lazy, I opt for Daiya cheese, which you can get at the Breadroot Coop. This is the best tasting, and closest resembance to cheese for me. When I’m feeling a bit creative and adventurous, I make my own. There are many different ways of doing this and I made my favorite list of cheese substitutes and added the recipes I have used to make them.

Life Without Cheese Cheeze

  1. Cheeze Sauce– this uses the very flexible and forgiving vegetable known as the cauliflower. I pour this over noodles, zoodles (zuchini noodles or any other veggie noodle), or speggheti squash
  2. Veggie Cheeze– another vegetable based cheeze
  3. Nutritional yeast– Quick and fast cheeze – my favorite quick and highly beneficial addition to popcorn, mac n cheeze, throw it on a baked sweet potato, salads, soups, kale chips
  4. Nut cheeze– mmmm this can be made into a probiotic cheese with herbs
  5. Sour Creme– quick and easy for all your sour needs
  6. Yogurt– mix with some berries and nuts and you’ve got a sweet treat

A lot of the recipes, I’m sure you noticed, have nutritional yeast. This yummy and cheesy ingredient is packed with energy boosing B vitamins like B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B9(folate), B12 (cobalamin), plus in just 2 tablespoons you get 8 grams of protein! While it’s low in sodium, the levels of magnesium, manganese, and zinc are not. You can see here, all of it’s nutritional info.

Are you cheese free? What are your favorite dairy free treats? I’d love to hear what your tips and tricks are!


Jump! Dream! Play!

I wasn’t sure exactly what this weeks topic would be, although I knew it would be a personal post because I had some fun plans made for last week. Read on to see what exciting things me and my family got to experience…

So first thing, my daughter has absolutely loved trampolines ever since she started going to her current babysitter (about a year and a half). Since then she has been on a couple of other tramps, but nothing compared to what she expected on Thursday. My husbands work schedule recently changed from four ten hour days to five 9 hour days and his last week day off we decided to take our trampoline lovin’ kiddo to an indoor trampoline park. The music was very inappropriate… I don’t know about you, but the last thing I would think to play around a group of mainly children under the age of six would be “Gin and Juice” by Snoop Dog… And it continued that way for about a half hour. Regardless, we had a blast! I didn’t sleep well the night prior so it only took me 15 minutes to get to the point where I was needing a little break. The whole time my little one hopped all around the building and jumped in the foam pits, threw the balls in the dodgeball court (no games were taking place) and went down the slides formed from trampoline ramps. My husband finished up with a couple of backflips, which was pretty impressive. After an hour of jumping my daughter was still not ready to leave and she hopes one day we will have a trampoline in our small yard. I’m still trying to convince my husband we could fit one in. Seems to be working because he said we may be able to fit one in our backyard!

The second things that happened was the Breadroot Co-op decided to sell my lotion bars and deodorant, which are organic and non-toxic. I’m so proud to have a product line with things that I completely stand by and use every day. My hope is that someone else will find them useful, while keeping them and those around them safe from toxins. Plus, I held a class on fermented vegetables on Saturday for a group of friends and coworkers. (I’ll be teaching another class in May, click here for upcoming classes).

Finally, the last thing that made my week, and was a perfect ending to it, was the event at Naked Winery. Ever since I fell in love with the board game Clue and found out there was such a thing called a murder mystery theater I wanted to go to one and I finally did! Better yet, it was set as a 1920’s speakeasy theme. I ordered my dress on Amazon for me and my best friend, and borrowed some shoes from a friend (I’m starting to build up a variety of zero gravity shoes and got rid of my shoes that hurt my body in one way or another. I threw that aside for a few hours and wore some actually pretty comfortable chunky heels. Thank goodness my other friend let borrow her flats!)

What a night we had! Our group consisted of my husband and I, my sister and her boyfriend, and my best friend. And I gotta say, we looked awesome! My husband and I got so into it that the other guests thought we were part of the cast…multiple times! Naked Winery was very accommodating to our dietary needs and they have delicious spiced wine!

If you are into the game Clue and like to socialize, then I urge you to go to one of these events in the future! I would definitely do another one and might check out the company who put on the show, Seraphim. They do improv shows, musicals, and plays and it’s something I’ve missed since my days of high school theater and speech.

What was great about your week? Have you ever been to a murder mystery event? If so, how was your experience?

Bring on books and blacklist the boob tube!

Did you know children from age 2-5 clock in around 32 hours of television a week! And babies even younger, who shouldn’t be getting any screen time, are watching it during this crucial time of development and interaction with family and friends.

For the first two years of my daughter’s life, we decided, after researching, that we were going to keep the TV off when she was around. My husband and I love movies, so this was pretty difficult when she was no longer a newborn and would actually turn her head to view the tube. It was at that point, when the television was only used when she was sleeping. At first, this was tough because it was my habit to watch shows and movies frequently. Now, I’m grateful for this decision for so many reasons. One being, it allowed me to bond better with my child, rather than being distracted from less important things. Instead, I was able to focus more on watching my little girl grow and learn. Another benefit, it helped break my habit of my need to be in front of the television.

When my daughter turned two, my husband and I decided that it was time to share our love for movies and started watching Pixar and other animated shows when we felt like a family movie. Also, we approved Sesame Street when we needed to get things done around the house. Daycare, also allowed the TV to be on when my daughter was two as per our request, yet I think she was getting in some TV time prior to this. Gratefully, our sitter takes advantage of beautiful weather and has the kids outside as much as possible.

Then, about 3 months ago, things changed at daycare and instead of having just my sitters children there, another two-year old little girl started coming to our sitters a couple of times a week. At first, nothing had changed, but slowly, my daughter started becoming more and more aggressive. Mostly, we noticed this with directed attacks of yelling and screaming from her to my husband and I. Yes, we saw this a little bit before, but it really increased after this new arrival at the sitters. When we noticed this, I started researching again after one of my momma friends said she saw something about it being related. And what I found, was that the television (and also changes- like a new kid on the block) can cause increased aggression. Looking even further, we found there were many reasons to not let toddlers watch TV (I’ll get to those soon) and really any kids under age 8.

Before my daughter was born, I always read to wait until age 2 to let children watch television… I never saw anything about waiting even longer! I guess, I wasn’t looking hard enough and two years isn’t so bad when it comes to my limited television viewing. So I held out for the two year window and went for it when she reached this age. I’m so thankful for her early side-effects to present themselves, because it seems like we will be regressing back to  almost zero television, with very rare special exceptions, due to the negative effects from early TV viewing.

When I first started researching this and then after we found out my daughter was being aggressive to the little girl at daycare, I decided we were going to do an experiment. Yes, another one, where we wouldn’t allow the TV for my daughter at our home for a month. I also, talked with my sitter and let her know of this experiment so she was on board too. She questioned whether the program had anything to do with it, as she makes sure what the kids are watching is “okay”. I told her it didn’t matter what program she allowed them to watch, any screen time could lead to aggression and other impacts. Thinking back at the shows that we have allowed her to watch though, makes me think almost always, there is some sort of undesirable characters portraying either aggression, or name calling, or belittling, etc. Children this young may not understand the complexities of these dynamics. Sometimes, I feel like even at my age, I have a difficult time as well. Take a horror movie, for example. Not only is my body in a stressed state during the one-and-a-half to two-hour time frame of the movie, but the images and dialect that I’m absorbing may have an impact on my subconscious brain creating things that I can’t comprehend.

“The American Psychological Association Help Center reveals that children’s TV programming alone contains about 20 violent acts an hour.”

The first things I noticed when we stopped watching TV was the increased aggression. She wanted to watch something and she wanted to watch it now! Screaming outbursts were the first thing to come, but I already said above, that we were having these anyway. They were just a bit worse, but I’m glad to say, they didn’t last long. Shortly after our decision of no TV, I noticed not only a reduction in aggression, but I noticed how her imagination and free play returned. Before we introduced the TV, her free play and imagination were so beautiful and with the ever-increasing addition that TV played it had the opposite effect on her independence. Seems like that would be backward, right?

One of the few reasons we added some TV was because it was supposed to keep her busy, while we got something done, yet it had the reverse effect! I couldn’t believe how quick her independence returned! Then, her love of reading returned and now I’ve noticed she is snacking less.

One night, when I went out with a friend for some much-needed best friend time, I noticed how much Genevieve had started to scream again. My husband fessed up to letting her watch “The Lego” movie when I was out and he too was a believer that less TV = less aggression. It certainly didn’t take long for the ill effects to return. This show definitely has aggressive content, although it’s not the worst thing she could watch. Studies have shown that a child under age 8 can not determine reality from fantasy, so even if you tell your child, “this isn’t real, it’s pretend” they won’t be able to distinguish between the two. When I researched this topic, not only was aggression a cause from early childhood on-screen time, but so were:

1. Childhood obesity due to evil advertisements aimed at children  and increased snacking- now, I’m not the perfect person when it comes to no distraction while eating. I’m definitely a multitasker and anytime that I sit down, I feel like I should be productive as well. This feeling came after I became a mom. It’s not a smart choice, as it just increases stress -if I decide to have a snack while preoccupied by watching a movie or something else, this distraction takes away the body’s ability to focus on digesting foods and it makes it harder for us to clue in on the message that our body is full. It’s something that I am continually working on, but we’re all on our own journey to health, so I try not to beat myself up about it and just try to remember to do better.

2. Lack of focus and increased difficulty with learning , especially in terms of math. With so many behavioral problems in school these days, it makes me wonder if this is one of the reasons why our children are having so many difficulties in school or daycare settings. Even if the child isn’t in the classroom, I can see how distracting these devices are with even adults. And that’s not just the television, cellphones are a huge contributor also. I can’t say how irritated I get when technology is used and one of us is ignored in the process. Mainly, my daughter is a victim to this, and I can’t say I’m not to blame. Something will come up where I need to return an email or so forth and she needs me and I push it off and tell her I’m busy. I’m not saying I think I have to drop everything every time that my daughter wants my attention. I believe she needs to learn the value of patience, yet I think nowadays this balance has shifted.

3. Less bonding with family and friends. This, along with my no cell phone use for 30 days, was a big benefit I noticed with my family. I see how beautiful her free play is and we have been reading and playing more as a family also. She also has been playing outside more, which the nice weather we’ve been having has helped.

4. Disrupted sleep behavior. This goes for anyone at any age. If we are allowing ourselves or our children to watch TV up to their bedtime, or even worse-falling asleep with the TV on, this is disrupting our circadian rhythm. How? Well, from the blue light that is emitted from any electronic device with a screen. This blue light tricks our brain and sends signals that tell our brain that it’s 12 in the afternoon. See how this could throw off the circadian rhythm? With this it won’t let us sleep a restful, undisturbed 7-9 hours. Plus, if you are watching something that increases the stress hormones in your body like a scary movie or suspenseful program, it will take you longer to fall asleep and may affect your quality of deep REM sleep by giving you nightmares and so forth.

Like I said before, I know it’s not realistic for my daughter to have zero interaction with the TV, but I know that it will be a special occasion for us.  When the occasion for a family movie day returns, I will also make it a point to pre-watch movies and communicate anything that may be confusing.

So what can you possibly do to wean out the screen time? Here are my family favorites…

    1. Read books. I love books! And I love that my daughter loves listening to them. She also interacts with them as well by asking questions about the story or pointing out certain characters. This makes it fun and keeps her engaged. Sometimes she will “read” them back to us when the story is finished. Some of the stories she can actually remember enough to say the right words so I’m going to venture a guess that reading increases memory.
    2. Go outside. The benefits for outside play are many. Some include exposure to fresh air, playing in the dirt increases the immune system, and the much-needed vitamin D from the sun. This also, helps get our circadian rhythm back on track from the exposure of the sun throughout the day.
    3. Play a game my mom always made it a point to get us games every year for Christmas as a family gift. So this year, we started this tradition with my daughter and bought “Memory.” My little one is actually really good at it! Also, for her birthday, one of our best friends bought her a puzzle and it is so awesome seeing my little one pick up a piece and then figure out the exact place it fits. The look on her face when she has figured it out is priceless
    4. Art time– another gift for Christmas this year, were art supplies. We bought my tot a coloring book, non-toxic markers, non-toxic paints, etc. She has made so many pictures and feels so proud when she decides to give them away to family and friends. It’s something we do as a family and it’s a wonderful bonding experience. Our fridge is getting really full of masterpieces
    5. Make a meal/snack. If you know me at all, you know that I love food! Best of all, I love making and experimenting with new recipes. Recently, Genevieve has been stepping up more and asks more to help me. She is a wonderful help! I believe this is one of the most important things you can teach a child, to make their own food
    6. Make up a story together. We all do our part in our family to make up stories. Most of the time it’s my husband who makes them up and I like to tell her about when I was pregnant with her and the day she was born. She is starting to tell her own stories and it’s pretty exciting to see what and how it all unfolds.
    7. Play date. Meet up with other moms/dads with their kids. It allows you to get in some adult time for the parents and it creates learning moments for the kids. Make sure your parenting styles are similar to make sure no one is going to leave offended. Want to raise a child that doesn’t grow up to be a passive communicator, then I highly suggest you being open to reading a book called, “It’s Okay Not to Share
    8. Mirroring – The most important thing to remember is to be a good roll model by being the adult you would like to see them grow into. if you want kids who yell, then yell and scream, and let them watch inappropriate things when they can’t understand the context. Eat unhealthy meals and they’ll do the same. Instead, respect them as the person they are and show them compassion and how to grow into a wonderful person and I bet you they will. I think too many people think of kids as inferior and thus treat them so. This is an absolute shame! Children deserve the same respect as anyone else, if not, more because of learned behavior.  Lets do right by those who will someday be taking care of us and leading the world.

Did any of this resonate with you? If so, I’d love hear about it!

For more tips, you can visit this website.


Let’s Get Down to Business

American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Public Education. Media violence.  Pediatrics. 2001 Nov;108(5):1222-6.