Goodbye, Hello

Looking forward to seeing what adventures await in 2015. I pray it is good.

Happy New Year!


A Christmas Prayer

We have had some Christmas fun already and much more is to come starting bright and early tomorrow morning. Our daughter excitedly awaits. I know she wants to see what is placed for her under the Christmas tree, but I hope she will always remember the most important part of the Christmas season. It is not the gifts, things are so temporary, I pray I can show her that this time is so much more. A time of giving, not just gifts but love. It is a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus... the birth of our Savior that gave us so much more than we deserve. I am not a big fan of gifts. Sure I like to get some little things to see the delight in another person's eyes, but most of all I like time together, laughter, just being close to those I love and doing things together we enjoy. I pray that my daughter will always know what is the most important in life... it isn't the material things. I pray that her amazing faith will continue to grow and that she will never hide it and that she will celebrate Jesus this holiday season and every day to come.
A friend of mine contacted me a few days ago and told me her two year old daughter was just diagnosed with stage 3 or 4 cancer. That kind of news just makes you want to grab your loved ones even closer and let them know how much you love them. Life on earth is short. I pray God will heal my friends sweet girl; He is so much bigger than any sickness/disease. I pray that all those struggling with health issues will ask God for help and He will guide them to becoming restored and renewed in both body and mind.
Jesus lived the perfect life that no one else could. He paid the price for all our sin and left the Holy Spirit to dwell inside of us. So much is possible within each and every one of us. How will you impact the world in 2015? I pray it will be for the good. I pray that I can do something that will make God proud. I pray that we will all be open to God working in and through us. What is to come is a mystery but with God I believe life can only get better.

Merry Christmas Family & Friends!


Shop Unglued for last minute Christmas gifts!

My sister-in-law said it perfectly, "I've been running around with my hair on fire." Ha! Surely feels that way! So much to still be done... David finished up with finals last week so we were able to get out and do more Christmas shopping this past Saturday. Yes, we are those people that wait til the last minute. Turned out to be beautiful temps in the 50's which is crazy for SD in December! (Weather drastically changed yesterday though ~ rain + ice + wind + snow = no electricity, not so fun! Some are still out, luckily ours came back at 1am.) Anyway, while in Sioux Falls, we were finally able to make it to Unglued's pop up shop. So fun! Here's a couple quick snaps...

They did such an awesome job at putting this together so quickly! Seriously, amazing. So many fun and unique gifts. We got some fun stuff! The store was constantly buzzing with people while we were there too. Unglued has also been keeping their artists/crafters busy with restocking so there will be plenty of awesome creative gifts to choose from through Christmas Eve... so hurry and get in your last minute shopping before they are gone!
Off I go before the fire consumes me entirely. :)


Thankful + Blessed

{We took our own family photos this year! More to come next month.}
So, so thankful for my amazing husband and beautiful daughter. They are such a blessing in my life. I don't know what I would do without them! Kaelyn is so creative and great at making us laugh daily.
Here are just a couple of her Thanksgiving drawings that I got a kick out of. I was busy cooking when she was working on them and was so surprised to see what she came up with...

{Drawings by Kaelyn ~ age 6}
 The second one made me laugh! I thought it was awesome and had to share. :)

Looking forward to getting together with lots of family, eating good food and relaxing.
I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving!


Shop Unglued Now for Creative Gifts! { two locations! }

Unglued is open today in Sioux Falls, South Dakota! They will only be open at this location through Christmas Eve so be sure to stop by the shop as soon as possible to find unique holiday gifts for your family and friends.
If you are unable to make it to Unglued's pop-up shop in Sioux Falls, check out their year round location in Fargo, ND. David and I were able to getaway a couple months ago to check out their Fargo shop and take part in one of their fun events. We had a blast! Here are just a few photos from our shop visit...

{Ashley (the redhead above) owns the shop along with her husband}
 It is so fun seeing our handmade items in an actual shop! Like a dream come true. :)

{Love necklace holder built my husband from Wisp Woods, how perfect that a bicycle necklace is hanging from it!}

The whole Unglued crew has done such an amazing job at putting the shop together and running everything smoothly. So many fun, creative treasures!
Hopefully soon we can make it to their Sioux Falls shop! Can't wait to check it out!


Lately { Art & Snow }

Here is a glimpse of just a few things going on around here...
{drawing in progress ~ hoping to get this finished at the next painting group day}
A custom request came in for this prayer and I thought it was pretty cute, so changed up the colors and made it into an art block for my Godson's baptismal birthday. It was a fun project!

Loving my extended work space! Unglued is opening a pop-up shop on November 20 in Sioux Falls SD! I can't wait to check it out. I am sure it will be just as amazing as their Fargo shop which is filled with lots of amazing and unique handmade gifts! More info to come.

In other news, the weather has changed significantly. A few flakes came this past Sunday,
more came Monday. This photo was taken before K headed to school Monday morning. School was dismissed at noon since it started getting nasty out and we had blizzard conditions. What kid doesn't like a snow day especially when friends get to come over? :)
 Little B didn't want to leave and instead of putting on his snow gear, put on David's shoes. Such a cutie!

While I was waiting for K to get done with Holy COW yesterday, I was watching the most beautiful snowflakes fall on our vehicle. When I arrived home I had to try to capture the detail.
Aren't snowflakes amazing!?! The intricate details in each one... love it! God did so good! :)


A Beautiful Fall

We have been blessed with beautiful fall weather here in South Dakota. I don't remember a time when we haven't had snow before Halloween, but this year it hasn't arrived yet and we are now well into November! We have been enjoying the fall colors, fallen leaves and Halloween festivities...
 The simple natural beauty surrounding me makes me happy. Love the bursts of color! :)

Every year before the temps get too cool, dragonflies fly all around our house. There are two days where you can literally see hundreds of them in flight. It is quite a sight!

 K LOVES the annual pumpkin carving party!
She's not big on the pumpkin guts though, she prefers to stick with drawing faces and painting. :)


What we ate Wednesday { for Health }

{gluten, dairy, egg, nut and yeast free pizza}
I have so much I would love to share on here... just need more hours in the day.
Since I didn't get our menu up last week, I'll share what we ate the last two weeks. With pheasant season going on we had a new option available in our menu planning. Sorry vegans, we totally live off the land. I tried the vegetarian diet for a short time when I was real sick and oh my goodness I thought I was going to starve to death. I could eat a whole 9x13 pan of a bunch of veggies, quinoa, coconut oil, avocado and sauerkraut and still not be full! My body requires meat to feel full and just better overall. I also enjoy clean meats from the wild. I know everyone's body is different and our requirements are all different, so I just encourage everyone to eat what works for them and what makes them feel good. :)

Anyway, here is our food list that works well for our fight against Candida, Celiac Disease, Leaky Gut*, multiple food allergies and intolerances:

Tuesday: walleye, asparagus

Wednesday: Lunch-walleye, green beans, Supper-goose, sauteed brussel sprouts in garlic
Thursday: 100% grass fed beef roast, creamed spinach
Friday: roast leftovers
Saturday: Breakfast-pancakes, Lunch-liver with onions, sauerkraut and avocado, Supper-creamed veggie broccoli soup
Sunday: Breakfast-leftover pancakes, Lunch-hubby grilled turkey and 100% grass fed hamburgers, Supper-Soup leftovers and homemade bread
Monday: ground turkey in zucchini/broccoli/onions/kale/garlic
Tuesday: homemade pizza (like pictured above topped with lettuce)
Wednesday: pheasant, creamed spinach and swiss chard
Thursday: Lunch-homemade chicken sausage with sauerkraut and avocado, Supper-chicken breast and asparagus
Friday: beef roast, candied green beans
Saturday: Breakfast-teff porridge, Lunch-liver with onions, sauerkraut and avocado, Supper-leftover roast & beans
Sunday: Breakfast-teff porridge, Lunch-hubby grilled hamburgers and turkey like previous Sunday, Supper-turkey with sauteed beet greens, zucchini, onion and garlic
Monday: "cheese"burger soup (to create a fake cheese I use blended cauliflower, nutritional yeast, turmeric and a bit of fresh squeezed lemon juice)
Tuesday: ground chicken sausage with sauerkraut, candied green beans

Like the previous What we ate Wednesday posts our breakfast usually consisted of goat kefir or goat yogurt, homemade chicken sausage and veggies, or meat/veggie leftovers. K likes to have certified gluten free oatmeal a few mornings out of the week. Lunch for Kaelyn and I consists of leftovers reheated on the stove. I heat Kaelyns before school and she takes it in a thermos. The days after we have pheasant and turkey, Kaelyn often enjoys the meat in a lettuce salad for her school lunch.

*I have to say teff porridge (which is a newly added food to our diet, original friendly food list found HERE) doesn't seem like the best option for us yet. Our body is still struggling with digesting the tiny grains. So if you are struggling with several health issues I would suggest leaving it out. I don't believe your body will get any benefit from it if it can't be digested properly.

Hope this list inspires you in the kitchen for the remainder of the week!


Happy Halloween!

Kaelyn was unrecognizable this year as a vampire. She thoroughly enjoyed trying to scare people. :)
You would think a kid with extreme food allergies would dislike Halloween, but not this kiddo. It didn't bother her at all. She was fine with her own special treats at school and had LOTS of fun handing out candy to other kids.
Hope you had a great Halloween!


Quick Self Allergy Test

Sorry, this is a wordy post, but had to share my experience. In the last post I touched on the subject that I found I had even more allergies than I previously knew about. I started the day by feeling the size of the lump in my neck. I do this regularly. I've had it for about a year and a half. The doctors wanted to cut it out and biopsy it but I had the strong feeling that I could overcome it naturally. The doctor who wanted to cut it out was clueless about gut health and how the whole body works together, so it was an easy decision for me to not return. After getting real strict with my diet and only eating Candida friendly foods that I believed were safe I really felt like I could heal myself. Well on this particular morning I still felt the lump there, yes, it has gone down significantly in size, (it used to be like the size of a gumball and now was about pea size) but I was frustrated it was still there after working so hard. I openly said, "God, why is this lump still there? What am I doing wrong? Please show me!!!" Then I went on with my day. That afternoon I was making a loaf of bread that I thought was working really well for my daughter and I. It was egg, dairy (cow), gluten, wheat, nut, nightshade and yeast free. When I was scooping the batter into the pan I decided to try a dab to see how it tasted. Who doesn't like to try dough/batter when they are baking? :) Anyway, I guess I was being messy and the batter dripped down my lip and went onto the skin below my lip. Not thinking much of it and I just wiped my lip and continued getting the bread dough in the oven. Not long after I felt my lip/skin getting itchy. A few minutes go by, and it is still bothering. I go to the bathroom and see that my skin is red, inflamed and it is still itchy. It hits me that something in the batter does not like me. Oh no! What can it be? I thought everything was safe that I was using. I do not like bland food. When I make food, I tend to go spice happy and add other foods that will give bursts of flavor. So my bread is no plain bread. My first thought was it was the goat yogurt I put in this batch (a newish food brought back) so I decided to put a dab of it on my lip/skin area that hadn't been inflamed by the dough batter. Nothing happened, so I proceeded to try the rest of the ingredients I had used. I gave plenty of time between each item to see if something would happen. Sure enough, when I came to ginger, my lip stung like crazy and my skin turned red. It didn't stop until I washed it off. When my skin returned to normal I continued with testing to see if there was anything else. (the gluten free flours, onion, garlic, other seasonings...) Cinnamon and oregano also reacted. I use oregano in EVERYTHING! I love it for flavor. I was not happy at all. At first I was thinking, God, I've already taken out soooo many foods and now this?! I gave up sugar, my seasonings were my replacement to get by and now I have to take these out too??? I felt like breaking down. I started to think if I had one more reaction to food I would completely lose it. It is NO easy task giving up all your favorite foods (favorite foods back then anyway) and then when you find out you react to things that are supposedly healthy, it isn't easy to take. My daughter was freaked out when she came home and saw I had an allergic reaction to cinnamon. She loves cinnamon and uses it often and we were both worried she would react the same way since we have so many of the same health problems. But praise the Lord she didn't react!!! To be honest I had a small pity party for myself. Then I realized God had answered my prayer that I had spoke that morning. When I asked why my neck lump was still there. He showed me! He had guided me to figure it out! How amazing was that?! I was filled with hope pretty quickly. The next day when Kaelyn asked if I was still sad and upset about the seasonings I couldn't have, I said no. I really felt like everything was going to be fine. I had a sense of peace that came over me and I didn't have any more negative feelings about it. God is good!
I had been shown a pretty simple way to test for allergies. Not sure why I didn't think of it sooner as when Kaelyn was a baby she would also break out in rashes from foods she ate that got on her skin first. We should have known right away to remove milk and egg from her diet right away when we saw those signs, but silly us, I think we were in a bit of denial and waited for official tests from the doctors that ended up showing what we already knew.
A ways into my own health struggles I really wanted my doctor to do allergy tests on me. She wouldn't. She said they are unreliable, that doing your own elimination food tests are a better route to go. I wasn't too happy at the time, because I wanted something fast and simple to tell me what I couldn't/shouldn't have. I had already done my own 2 week elimination diet of main food categories and knew several foods I responded poorly to. My doctor wanted me to retest all foods again but leave them out for 3 weeks and gradually reintroduce one at a time again. Well I got the same results by doing just the 2 week elimination and then gradually adding one back at a time. I can go into more depth on that process in another post if someone is interested.
Back to the easiest test we found, not saying it will work for everyone or for all kinds of allergy testing but it is certainly an easy one to try for a first stage test. Just mix a dry ingredient with a tiny bit of water and put on your lip and down into the skin below, no need to add water if it is a liquid. If you get a stinging and itching sensation that won't go away with red inflammation, you aren't reacting well to it and should remove the food for a good amount of time. Your body can heal itself so the good news is if it is a good healthy food that you are reacting to, in time you should be able to bring it back into your diet. Your gut health just needs time to restrengthen and heal.
Here is a picture of me about an hour and a half after one of my reactions, I think this one was from the oregano...
The inflammation had looked quite a bit worse but I didn't think to take a photo until it was going away. This is me in the all natural by the way, no editing, no make up... I hadn't even done my hair that day. Who has time for that? :) Really I don't care what I look like in the photo I just wanted to share my experience in hopes it will help someone else figure out their offending foods.

My learning doesn't end there. After my allergy testing experience I was a little worried about other foods I may be eating that I may be allergic to and not know it. Well, thank the Lord for his nudging in my life because he led me to the most amazing revelation. After Jesus died for us, he gave us His Holy Spirit to live in each and every one of us, right? And I guess I was originally thinking that was how He guides us, which is true but the part I was missing is just how powerful He is and ALL the things He can help us do. God is the most powerful, the number one HEALER and He lives in ME and you!!! It really hit me, I don't need to take anymore evil going on in my body. The Lord lives in me and can overcome it! I just have to believe, trust, and remember what all Jesus did for me (and everyone else) on the cross. I can allow my body to let the Holy Spirit overcome any sickness, disease, or other negativity in my body.  I don't know about you but that sure got me excited! And guess what, my neck lump is almost gone!!! So, so thankful! I strongly encourage you to turn to the Lord when you think a struggle in your life is too strong. Give it up to Him to overcome. I will go into more depth on my revelation soon.


What we ate Wednesday { for Health }

{ beet greens and stems }
It wasn't very long ago my mom called and asked if I could eat beet greens. I had never tried them before and when I looked up information on them it looked like I should be able to. So I decided to make a veggie dish by sauteing them with zucchini, yellow summer squash, kale, fresh parsley, garlic and onion. It turned out so good! Even my six year old loved the dish! That is one good thing about all our health issues/allergies, it pushes us to try new foods, to eat veggies we normally wouldn't and for the most part we end up really enjoying them. Beet greens and stems will definitely stay on our menu list. :) Thank you mom for sharing your veggies!

So onto what we ate this last week; hope it inspires you in the kitchen:

Wednesday: Lunch-homemade ground chicken sausage and bone broth soup, Supper-goose and gravy on homemade bread
Thursday: fresh caught goose (from my dad) with sauteed greens veggie dish (liked described above)
Friday: cooked veggie mix with bone broth in creamed zucchini soup, homemade bread
Saturday: Breakfast-teff porridge (second attempt on making this, this one turned out good!), Lunch-opened face homemade bread with chunks of goose and veggie cream sauce, Supper-chicken breasts, sauteed broccoli with a drizzle of lemon juice
Sunday: Breakfast-K had leftover teff porridge, I had homemade chicken sausage with avocado and sauerkraut, Lunch- Salmon grilled on cedar (by hubby) with lemon drizzle and browned asparagus, Supper-opened face homemade bread with chunks of goose and veggie cream sauce leftovers
Monday: chicken, cooked cauliflower/spinach/fresh parsley mix
Tuesday: creamed spinach with ground turkey

Like last week, breakfast usually consisted of goat kefir or goat yogurt, homemade chicken sausage and veggies, or meat/veggie leftovers. I had salmon and veggies a few mornings which was delicious! Love Hubby's Sunday grilling! K likes to have certified gluten free oatmeal a few mornings out of the week. Lunch for Kaelyn and I consists of leftovers reheated on the stove. I heat Kaelyns before school and she takes it in a thermos.

My crazy health journey continues as I found out I have even more allergies. Seriously!?! You probably are thinking what else is left to take out after the long list of foods I already can't have. Well seasonings, ginger, cinnamon and oregano are all out for me. I'll admit I was NOT a happy camper when I found that out... the hard way. More to come about that in the next post. I keep on learning, not always willingly...



for so much. Praise the Lord for all He has done and is doing!
{Grandma Shari grew a little pumpkin patch and let Kaelyn pick one for Halloween. She chose the biggest.}
Fall ~ Welcoming the change of seasons. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE summer and the heat but I'm also enjoying the colorful trees, the crisp fallen leaves, and the brisk fresh air. Kaelyn is also getting excited for the quickly approaching holidays.

Sunday Morning Bible Study ~ We are working through Lifeguide's Forgiveness, Making Peace with the Past by Douglas Connelly which is really pushing me to think differently about situations and is opening my heart. It is GOOD.

Healing ~ I've been feeling so much better. I'm seeing some of my health prayers being answered which is sooo exciting. For most it would be little things taken for granted but in my world they are big improvements and I am so thankful! Praying they continue and there aren't more setbacks.

Growth ~ Kaelyn has grown up so much. She helps cut and peel veggies in the kitchen, is taking BB target shooting lessons with her dad, reading complicated stories for a first grader and is loving and doing so well in school. So proud of my kiddo. :)

Holy COW ~ K started attending church school on Wednesdays and is loving it. She wishes it was everyday. I understand why Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." Mathew 19:14 It is fun watching her faith grow.

Apple picking ~ Great mother/daughter time together and we get to visit Kaelyn's great grandma and spend time with her. There was a negative that came when I was throwing a fallen apple and got stung by a bee. I hadn't seen the bee in the apple but K did. At first I thought Buggers! I am not thankful for that happening to me, but after thinking about it a bit, I was. I was thankful it hadn't stung Kaelyn or my grandma who is 91 and allergic to them. She is regularly picking up the fallen apples with bees in them. This was the first time being stung and boy did the sting last a long time. Maybe part of the stinger is still in me? Oh well, we all learned to be more careful around the fallen apples. None of us thought the funny looking bees would actually sting. Another lesson learned, ANYTHING is possible.

Kite Flying ~ We had nice fall weather this last weekend. It was windy but that made for great kite flying. What age doesn't like flying kites??? K was delighted!

{daddy daughter time}

{She would get so excited to see how well she shot.}

What are you thankful for?