I Disappeared

Hey friends!! I hope you are all doing well! I just wanted to make a post letting everyone know that I haven’t forgotten about the blog. We are deeply in the thick of it getting prepared to leave Florida. So much is going on that I haven’t had the time or energy necessary to keep the blog updated……

But don’t worry 😉

I have been taking lots of pictures and videos as we go so that once we get stabilized I can get everyone caught up to speed.

I have been able to make small updates on our Instagram page as well as our Facebook page, so if you want to check that out there is a link to that on the right side bar (if you are using a table top computer) or on the bottom of page (if you are using a smaller device such as a phone or tablet). Hit “like” to be updated on what we post.

We are so excited! Every day we get closer and closer to the Great Florida Exodus. Things are getting so real!

Our house will hit the market this coming week. Please join us in prayer that everything will go smoothly and that we get the profit we need to get settled in Virginia.

A huge thank you and a hug to all of you who are supporting us with love, prayers and encouragement. We appreciate each one of you.

Much Love,

Brandy and Kris

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Homeschool Under Government Threat

If you are a fellow homeschooling family, I urge you to keep your eye on this situation. I am not a Illinois or Idaho resident, but laws like this one being proposed are a threat to all of us. I completely understand the heart behind this is safety of the children, and I wholeheartedly support efforts to keep children safe, however treating parents as criminals with no reason behind it completely goes against the grain of freedom that our great country stands for. How can the government be allowed to require welfare checks from social services 4 times a year for families that have never been inquired upon as being neglectful or abusive? An even bigger question is how can we protect children who are being abused under the false flag of homeschooling while also protecting the freedom of legitimate homeschooling families? Please let me know your thoughts below.

Check out this new legislation.

www.lifesitenews.com/mobile/news/state-lawmakers-target-homeschoolers-for-intrusive-in-house-visits-without

Moving update #3

The past two weeks have been a whirlwind of crazy! Last weekend we had our painting party. We were able to get about half of our home painted on the inside as well as prepared the kids’ bedrooms for new floors. (Check out The Painting Party Here) There is still so much to do!

A Break in Progress

Taking it day by day is difficult for me sometimes. I’m such a dreamer and can get lost in the clouds as I live in the future. Following the painting party I was hit with reality. Pretty much this whole week I’ve been stuck in bed recovering from the physical excursion from the weekend. It can be hard for people with fibromyalgia to accept that we aren’t normal anymore and to become frustrated with our situation. (Read more about my struggle with this here) This week was one of those weeks. Every day I woke up feeling like I was ran over with a Mack Truck, as I looked around at everything still to be done. How to rest has truly become the hardest lesson for me to learn! If you are a praying person please keep us in your prayers through this transition.

Culling……. AGAIN

Yesterday and today we culled our belongings once again. This is the third time we have purged, and still I was able to get a van FULL of stuff to take to Goodwill!

We are getting down to the nitty-gritty now!

This coming week I will be slowly cleaning the rv and preparing it to begin moving stuff in and getting it organized.

Next weekend we will be having another painting party to try to get the rest of the house finished and Kris will begin putting in the new floors in the last two bedrooms. If you’d like to come help PLEASE reach out to us so we can give you info!

The Good News

On Wednesday our realtors came to look at the progress and to assess where we are and what still remains. We signed all the agreements and did a walk-through.

They (realtors) gave us information on houses near us that are similar in size and date that have recently sold as a way to gauge our selling point. I’m happy to announce that their assessment will give us enough out of the equity (after all fees and commissions!) to start our new life. PRAISE GOD!!!!

Breakdown:

$35,000

-$6000 for the well to be dug

-$15,000 for the yurt kit

-$12,000 to pay off the rv

The remaining will go towards the septic and the driveway and clearing the land to put the rv/yurt.

Our tax refund will cover the gap from house selling.

I’m so excited. Everything is coming together! Everyday it becomes more and more real- THIS IS HAPPENING!

God’s Perfect Timing

I also want to share with you some hard truth. Please don’t get the idea that we are wealthy and that’s how we are able to do this. No, it’s quite the opposite. We are on a time crunch because of our financial situation. Every month since December we are getting further and further into trouble. I am at the point now that each month I can only pay certain bills, while others go unpaid. For example, last month I couldn’t pay our vehicles because I was behind on the mortgage. This month I couldn’t pay the mortgage because I had to make double payments to the vans. Right now I have less than $50 to make it the rest of February for gas and groceries.

BUT…… not to worry. The Lord is faithful and has always and will always take care of us!

That’s what makes this move so much more exciting. We are trusting God and walking in faith, making a huge leap into the vast unknown! The day we pull into our new life we will free up almost $1500 in our budget each month and can begin paying off the vans and getting our self-sustaining life set up.

It’s getting there that is the adventure.

Much Love,

Brandy

“Easy Dinner Series For Large Families”- Easy Street Tacos with Refried Beans/ (Cooking with Fibromyalgia)

As I sit in bed this morning, I can feel the effects of Saturday’s work seeping down into my muscles. It’s as if I just picked myself up after being beat with a baseball bat. My head is foggy, each arm and leg feels like it weighs 10 times it’s normal weight. My muscles are aching and tender. My feet are tingling and burning, and the big joints in my feet and legs (and now my fingers) feel like they are full of peanut butter.

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Photo by Kat Jayne on Pexels.com

One of the big lessons I’ve learned through this trial living with chronic illnesses, is that we all just need to SLOW.DOWN. Maybe you are like I used to be: 100 miles an hour, all day, every day.

Taking kids here and there, always in a rush.

“What’s for dinner?”

“Did I remember to send that paper in for the rehearsal?”

“Oh shoot! I knew I would forget Bambi’s bag next to the front door! Ugggggh. It’s been sitting there all week for me to bring today!”

I know I can’t be the only one out there that was running myself ragged just trying to be a mythological hero named ‘SuperMom’.

No one is worse than ourselves when it comes to criticism. Sometimes I have to tell myself to shut up!

Living with autoimmune and fibromyalgia has taught me a valuable lesson in resting and not being so hard on myself . And believe me, it’s not a pretty sight to get dragged, kicking and screaming, down that path by the Good Lord! Learning how to rest has been the hardest test of my life.

Rest is so important….. so why do I feel like I don’t need it?

I think deep down it’s about pride and trust.

Do I trust that it’s ok for me to take a break?

Can my family handle things without me?

Can my husband take care of the kids without me micromanaging?

I got to the point that I relied too much in my own strength. An empty cup can’t pour out for others something that it doesn’t have. We have to get ourselves filled up.

So, today, I urge you fellow SAHMs, Moms of multiple, and all of you struggling with perfectionism-find some rest today. Get somewhere quiet and private for a little while. Do some things to take care of yourself: take a bath, read some uplifting articles, spend time in prayer… whatever you feel like you should do to rest your mind and body, today.

In going along with taking it easy, here is another meal in my “Easy Dinner Series For Large Families”.

Easy Street-Tacos and Refried Beans

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In preparing for the health repercussions of the painting party, I wanted to be real with you all so that you can see into how I think and deal with fibromyalgia from day-to-day.

Living with chronic illness can be tricky that’s for sure, but it doesn’t have to derail your life.

It just takes a little pre-planning! The day of the painting party I slow cooked a big batch of pinto beans in the crock pot. That night I stored the beans in the refrigerator. I knew from past experiences that anytime I have a large physical output (or deal with a stressful situation) that the next couple of days after will be the roughest on me. In preparation I try to make a few easy meal plans ahead of time. This is one of our favorites! It’s easy, cheap, and delicious!

You Will Need

A large family pack of boneless skinless chicken breasts (6-7 breasts)

Olive oil

Cumin seeds and cumin powder

Chili powder

1 lb of dry pinto beans *(precooked, see explanation below)*

hot sauce

cilantro

radishes

Avocado (3-4)

salt and pepper

tortilla shells (bought or homemade work well- here’s a link to the recipe I use for homemade flour tortilla shells. This will make the recipe more labor intensive, so either make ahead or skip it and pick up a pack at the grocery)

 

 

What To Do

First I get the pan heated well on medium-high, then add the oil. While the pan is heating up I cut the chicken breasts into long thin slices.

I used a large family pack of boneless skinless breasts for this, but you could also use a bag or two of the Tyson fajita chicken that is precooked and just skip the chicken parts of this recipe (I like to use fresh instead of precooked as much as possible to avoid all the extra preservatives and fillers)

* BEAN NOTE: Once the chicken is going I got my beans from the fridge that I had cooked the day before. I froze half of the portion for another quick meal later and used half for this recipe. (making more than necessary and freezing half for later is a big secret I use for cooking for a big family)*

Add the beans into a pot, coating the bottom well with olive oil, and set the heat to medium.

Next, I added the seasonings cumin seeds, cumin powder, chili powder, and salt and pepper to taste to the chicken.

Cumin powder and chili powder, plus salt and pepper to taste in the beans.

Keep stirring both dishes until everything is well combined, stirring frequently during the cooking process, until the beans are well heated and mushy and the chicken has cooked out most of the liquid..

While everything is cooking, I prepare the toppings. Wash cilantro and radishes well. Chop up the cilantro and slice the radishes. I usually serve this meal with sliced avocado as well, but didn’t have any this time…..so add avocado to yours 🙂

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At this point I tasted everything and decided to add more cumin and chili powder to both dishes, and I stirred in hot sauce to the beans.

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And that’s it!

A 30 minute meal, made from fresh whole ingredients for a large family.

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Painting Party!- Moving Update #2

Yesterday we had our painting party. I am so grateful to the wonderful friends that showed up to help! It was definitely a big job that needed many hands.

Last week we spent time preparing each room by clearing them out, filling any holes in the drywall and putting a coat of primer wherever it was needed.

Then on Saturday we got everyone together to paint.

I’d like to thank Trayce for being our photographer this weekend to help me out 🙂

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Above is the master bedroom during that process as we got all the furniture cleared out and sold/given away and began priming the walls. And below- Gone are the days of my Moroccan-style gold and red bedroom.

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The kids all worked on doing the same with Michael and Daelynn’s room

They got all of the blinds down, walls puttied, primed and painted. Everyone worked really hard and got the job done.

Don and Robert helped to get the green carpet removed in both of the kids bedrooms to prepare the floors for Kris to lay the vinyl floors that match the living room. You can check out that progress by clicking here. 

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I helped as much as I could. Slapping a new coat of paint on the bedroom baseboards was a great job for me.

And most importantly…

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Kris got the yummy lunch for us all

He also helped in each room, of course, and he has more work to do this week putting in the new floors for the bedrooms.

Everything just got real folks! 

As I lay in my bed last night looking around at the progress and thinking about the busy day, it hit me……..This is really happening. We are really moving. We are taking a huge leap of faith into the vast unknown. To be truthful with you, I’ve been dreaming about the future alot and how I want it to be. BUT, sometimes terror strikes my heart as I take it all in and realize what a huge decision this is. I am not questioning that decision at all, just processing here with you, I guess. We have never lived a status-quo life and so it is not such a shock that we have gotten here. In fact, most of our close friends completely get what we are doing….. though our family has some reservations about it since it is such a big life changing decision and I get that as well.

In all it comes down to this. We have looked at our lives and tried to figure out what to do. With not enough money to stay in our current situation, you can only do two things: either make more money or reduce your overhead. Kris already works so much and so hard that adding anymore would mean he would never rest, never get to spend time with us and his whole life would consist of work to pay for everything he’s missing. This did not coincide with what is a priority for us.

For us family is most important, EVERY TIME.

So what is the logical conclusion?-To reduce the overhead. Everything else, besides our relationships, are just stuff. Just things. They don’t matter.

So where are we now and how does the timeline look?

Well, we are not going to meet our deadline of February 14 to put the house up for sale. We are very close though! We have to finish the painting and the floors. We need some help with what to do in the kitchen, so if you would like to help in anyway, please reach out to us. And this coming up weekend we will be working on painting and floors if you would like to stop by to give a hand.

Thank you all so much for your continued support and prayers. We thank everyone who have helped us in this leg of the journey and hope that you will continue to walk with us as we go forward.

Much Love,

Brandy

 

Easy Dinner Series For Large Families: #1 Lemon-Garlic Pasta with Spinach

I make this dish on a regular basis. It’s a great recipe for those busy nights when you want a quick meal, but still want it to be on the healthy side. We are total foodies, so one thing that I don’t like to skimp on is a homemade fresh meal. In reality, that doesn’t always happen (pb&j night anybody?). Having fibromyalgia has greatly changed the way I have to deal with dinner. Cooking has always been a huge hobby for me, but I have had to make some adjustments. I am most definitely not “Betty Crocker”, but planning ahead of time can make a dinner a success instead of a burden.

I like to have a list of cheap, easy meals that I can make that everyone enjoys but doesn’t take a lot of effort. That’s a tall order for a family of 6 on busy nights or if you struggle with chronic illness.

I would like to share some of those quick, healthy, cheap, and easy dinners with you in a series called “Easy Dinners For Large Families”. If you enjoy this, please make sure that you subscribe so that you will get notified each time I post something new..And keep your eye out for #2 coming next week!

Lemon Garlic Pasta with Spinach

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What You Need:

2 lemons (juice and zest)

5 tsp Italian Seasoning

2 lbs of pasta (spaghetti noodles)

8 TBSP Salted Butter

2 TBSP Olive oil

1 tsp pepper

2-3 heaping TBSP of minced garlic

2 tsp sea salt

1/4 cup water (held back from noodles after draining)

4 pinches of crushed red pepper  (2 if you don’t like a little kick)

24 oz Spinach (1.5 bags)

Start your water on high for the pasta and add some salt. While you wait for the water to boil go ahead and prepare your lemons- wash and then juice each lemon and collect the lemon zest

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Once your water is boiling add the pasta and the oil (2 TBSP). Turn the heat down to medium and make sure to stir the noodles occasionally as they cook.

Now to start the base- Get a big skillet or pan, on medium heat and add your butter. Once the butter is about halfway melted add the garlic and the lemon zest. Cook this for a couple of minutes while moving around the butter and garlic/zest in the pan. Next add the red pepper flakes, Italian seasonings, lemon pepper, salt, and pepper.

 

Drain the pasta once finished, adding 1/4 cup of the water into the seasoning pan, along with half of the spinach and lemon juice.      (Note: I always have spinach frozen in our freezer, whether from our garden or from the grocery. The easiest way to store kale and spinach is to freeze it. I just pull it out to defrost when I begin preparing for the recipe)

Stir the spinach until wilted and add the pasta. Cover, stirring every 5 minutes and adding the remaining spinach by the handful, until everything is well combined and the spinach is wilted.

Serve immediately with olive oil and Parmesan cheese on the side, as desired.

I usually serve this with a side salad (Italian) and buttered/garlic bread or broccoli and grapes. Either of those go quite nicely.

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This serves about 10 people with leftovers.

 

A Natural Antibiotic

On Saturday Elijah started sneezing and sniffling. Last night my nose was feeling a little stuffy. I am pretty sure it’s due to the high allergen counts from spring being sprung here in Florida.

Today I whipped up a new batch of my elderberry syrup and put together my first line of defense for the sniffles—

Homemade antibiotic blend

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Why Garlic?

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Garlic has been found to have anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-septic properties.

Richard S. Rivlin wrote in the Journal of Nutrition that the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates (circa. 460-370 BC), known today as “the father of Western medicine,” prescribed garlic for a wide range of conditions and illnesses. Hippocrates promoted the use of garlic for treating respiratory problems, parasites, poor digestion, and fatigue. – check out this article from MedicalNewsToday

Garlic has been used around the world to treat various illnesses and problems for thousands of years. I must caution you on this though, DO NOT use garlic as an antibiotic for serious ongoing infections that truly need medical care.

Why Honey?

According to an article from the US National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, honey is a powerful antibiotic as well. “Indeed, medicinal importance of honey has been documented in the world’s oldest medical literatures, and since the ancient times, it has been known to possess antimicrobial property as well as wound-healing activity. The healing property of honey is due to the fact that it offers antibacterial activity, maintains a moist wound condition, and its high viscosity helps to provide a protective barrier to prevent infection. Its immunomodulatory property is relevant to wound repair too.” You can read this article in depth here.

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Photo by Three-shots on Pexels.com

How to use it:

I try to use raw local honey, but I haven’t made it to my local produce market yet, hence the store-bought honey and garlic in the picture. 😦 You gotta do what you gotta do, don’t judge me 🙂

Anyway, I take a few tablespoons of minced garlic and cover it in honey. Throughout the day I take 3-4 tablespoons of the mixture. The honey really helps make the garlic palatable. It’s much easier just to gulp it down than trying to chew, unless of course you just love chomping on garlic bits…you do you boo.

We give this to everyone in our house, even the 5 year old. Yes it was a battle at first, but now everyone knows the drill. Just try singing “A Spoon Full of Sugar Helps the Medicine Go Down” 🙂

At the first sign of sniffles, cough, or runny nose go ahead and start this regimen. We have noticed that in the case of the common cold it helps to alleviate symptoms and reduce the duration of the sickness by a few days. Combine this with the Elderberry Syrup Recipe and you’ve got a knock-out punch for the mucus gobblins!

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Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

I pray that this helps you take the plunge into natural treatment for you and your family. If you have any questions let me know in the comments!

Much Love,

Brandy

 

Note: This is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any diseases. Please seek medical attention when necessary. I am not a Dr. My comments have not been evaluated by the FDA…and I don’t think they ever will. You do you, boo.