Thursday, December 15, 2011

NDAA Passes the House

An update from Shawn:

Ironically, on the 220th anniversary of the Bill of Rights, the House of Representatives passed the National Defense Authorization Act 283-136. Obama has announced he will sign it into law.
Even the mainstream media, including CBS News, admit the bill allows the detention of "terror suspects" within the U.S. without trial. As with the old Soviet Union, North Korea and Cuba, enemies of the state will be taken away during the dark of night, never to be seen again.
Of course, 99% of people are too concerned with what Betty Sue posted on Facebook or the stats of their favorite sports team to worry about secret detention camps and government authorized political assassination of citizens.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Prepare Yourselves -- NDAA passes in Senate

(My husband has some things to share with you, so here's another post from Shawn. --Janice)

On Thursday, December 1, 2011, the U.S. Senate voted 93-7 to pass the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act). This bill basically expands the battlefield of the “war on terror” to include U.S. soil. Here is a brief description of some of the provisions of this bill:

• Explicitly authorize the federal government to indefinitely imprison without charge or trial American citizens and others picked up inside and outside the United States;

• Mandate military detention of some civilians who would otherwise be outside of military control, including civilians picked up within the United States itself; and

• Transfer to the Department of Defense core prosecutorial, investigative, law enforcement, penal, and custodial authority and responsibility now held by the Department of Justice.

What does this mean? Under this bill, the U.S. military has the authority to use its own discretion to determine if any American citizen is a threat to national security, use whatever force necessary to take that person into custody, hold them without a trial or due process and impose any sentence or punishment they deem appropriate. In other words, if someone in the military or government declares you to be a threat to their agenda, you will be placed in a detention camp or killed if you resist. We are facing complete and total martial law.

Not since the days of Reconstruction following the Civil War has the U.S. seen troops patrolling the streets of America. Not since the Japanese internment camps during World War II have concentration camps operated within the United States. I believe it will soon be common to see soldiers going door-to-door rounding up citizens, tanks and armored vehicles patrolling our neighborhoods and razor-wired concentration camps. The type of operations you’ve seen on television in Iraq and Afghanistan will now be in your neighborhood if this legislation is signed into law.

Senator Diane Feinstein expressed her concern for this bill, stating: “I will stop reading here, but again, I want to emphasize this point. We are talking about the indefinite detention of American citizens without charge or trial. We have not done this at least since World War II when we incarcerated Japanese Americans. This is a very serious thing we are doing. People should understand its impact.”

Some of you may have heard of “FEMA camps”. For years, there have been reports of concentration camps being built across the United States for the purpose of housing thousands of American citizens in the event of civil unrest. Many politicians have denied the existence of these camps. Civil liberties advocates such as radio talk show host Alex Jones and former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura have conducted detailed investigations to prove these camps do exist.

The debate over FEMA concentration camps is over. With the passage of the NDAA, the Senate is no longer hiding its intention to detain Americans without trial. No matter what name is given to them (such as a “residential center” or “shelter”) these military prison camps are nothing more than concentration camps. Under the NDAA, any American citizen can be placed into these camps at the will of our military. Senator Rand Paul proposed an amendment to remove this part of the bill, but his amendment was rejected 67-30.

Are you worried about the military rounding up citizens and placing them into concentration camps? Does it concern you that you no longer have any due process rights if the federal government declares you a threat to national security? Will the sight of military vehicles patrolling your neighborhood frighten or offend you? Unfortunately, most people are more concerned about the new video game, smart phone or entertainment system they want for Christmas. We can’t be bothered with trivial issues such as concentration camps and martial law when we have all these forms of entertainment to distract us.

I feel like I’m in a time machine, transported back to Nazi Germany in the early days of World War II, desperately trying to warn Jews about the approaching holocaust. Wake up! Turn off the video game, stop looking at Facebook and pay attention to the wolves who are about to devour you and your family.

The media is doing its part to support the passage of this legislation. Most mainstream news articles suggest that only Americans who belong to groups such as al Qaeda would be detained as terrorists. The media ignores the broad, general terms used in the bill such as “associated forces” and committing a “belligerent act” that would “aid enemy forces”. As with the Patriot Act, the government will exploit every aspect of this bill against anyone it chooses. Of course, we already know that ordinary Americans who have organic farms, own guns, homeschool or practice certain religions have been labeled as terrorists by our government. If you are reading this blog, you most likely fall within the current, broad definition of a domestic terrorist.

I hope that President Obama will veto this bill. Even if he does, the writing is on the wall. Our government clearly supports martial law, an end to due process and the establishment of concentration camps. It is clear that major changes must be made in Washington if we hope to restore our Constitutional liberties.

UPDATE: In a compromise to ensure more support for the bill, an amendment was added that states it is not the bill's intent to be used to detain citizens indefinitely. Oh, I feel much better now. These are the same folks that promised the Patriot Act would only be used against foreign terrorists. They also promised that TSA would only conduct non-invasion searches and only at airports. What if the military held you for 20 years without a trial? That is not "indefinite". Bottom line, I know what their goals are, their track record and where we are headed. Don't be fooled!

For a detailed list of who voted YEA and who voted NAY, check out this link:

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Five Gallon Bucket of Lard

I spent a couple days this week rendering lard. We had a 1/2 beef coming and I had to make room in my deep freeze. I had accumulated a pretty good supply of pig fat so rendering it was no small task. When it was all said and done I ended up with six gallons of lard!

So I now have this five gallon bucket of lard sitting in my kitchen. As I look at it I can't help but remember the big 5 gallon bucket of lard that was sitting in my mom's kitchen when I was little. We lived in an old, PINK farm house. Has anyone else reading this lived in a PINK house? The kitchen was the main room of the house. From it there was a doorway leading to the living room, another leading to my brothers' bedroom, and yet another leading to the front porch. Also, there were two closed doors: one leading downstairs to the basement and the other leading upstairs where my sister and I slept. I very distinctly remember mom having a 5 gallon bucket of lard sitting in front of the basement door. Now that I'm older I've figured out that there were probably TWO reasons for mom having that bucket of lard sitting there. First, it was likely convenient just to have it sitting nearby to use in cooking. Secondly, it was a heavy barrier that kept us children from opening up the basement door! That thought had never crossed my mind until I sat looking at (and lifting!) my own bucket of lard.

Angie, do you remember mom's bucket of lard? I wonder if mom even remembers that bucket sitting there in the kitchen floor. I'm sure a bucket of rendered pig fat was insignificant in mom's mind.

I can't help but wonder, what objects in our family's home will my own daughter remember as an adult? What items do I consider insignificant that Sarah will look back on as a memorable part of her childhood?

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Lost Tooth & Another Sam Update (10 months on GAPS Intro)

Not too long ago I received a comment on another post:

Erin said...
I was wondering if you could do an update on Sam's autism. I'm assuming he's still improving. I've shown the videos to some people, and for some reason people don't want to believe it. One lady said, "Any kid will differ from day to day..."

Erin, thank you for your question. Yes..Sam continues to improve! The healing is extremely slow, but that's not surprising. Dr. McBride's book is very up-front about the fact that this is a lengthy healing process. I guess, to some extent, the comment that you overheard is true. Yes, any kid will differ from day to day and that holds true for Sam. There are still some days that he hums and claps more than others. There are still some days that he recites passages from books. HOWEVER, Sam's worst day now is so much better than his best day before the diet.

A couple weeks ago we invited our property's previous owners out to visit. Mr. G commented, "You know, you all are doing a great job with Sam. When we first met him two years ago it was obvious that something wasn't right. Now I don't know if most people would even realize that there's something different about him." Those kinds of comments just make my day!

Last night Sam lost his 3rd tooth. Here's a video of him explaining what happened. He doesn't make eye contact all the time, but he is very capable of answering my questions. He's keeping up with our conversation. He's able to tell what his FEELINGS were. That right there is huge! He used to have such a difficult time identifying people's feelings, even his own.

There are still certain times when Sam struggles to control himself. If we are away from home I can tell that he still gets a little overstimulated. Even if it's a place that he's accustomed to I will notice a slight difference in behavior compared to when we're home. Of course, if we're somewhere out of the ordinary, the difference in his behavior is even more noticeable. I've also noticed that he gets overstimulated anytime he watches electronic media. We have no TV service in our home and we've even stopped watching movies. However, we do still allow the children to watch some YouTube videos from time to time. I've noticed that Sam has more difficulty controlling himself after watching those videos.

However, having said all the above, I want to stress again that when you compare his behavior now to his behavior pre-GAPS (or even early post-GAPS) there is obvious improvement. His worst behavior now after watching a YouTube video is dramatically better than his best behavior a year ago.

I get really frustrated when people make comments like the one you overheard. In my experience, those comments are usually made by people that are looking for an excuse not to make dietary changes. They are from people that are so devoted to their processed food and fast food drive-thru convenience that they'll look for any reason to quickly dismiss the diet. I know that parent's don't actually say this, but this is what I hear when they quickly dismiss a dietary change:

"I choose Twinkies over my child's health."
"I choose birthday parties over my child's health."
"I choose convenient fast food over my child's health."
"I'm too busy to devote the time it takes to recover my child."

I cannot wrap my mind around this way of thinking. Prior to starting the GAPS diet, Sam's behavior was so out of control that I was willing to try almost anything. I was worn down and exhausted (both physically and emotionally) from constantly arguing and disciplining my son. I didn't care if a dietary change only gave us one HOUR of peace a day. Even if it gave us the most minimal improvement, then it was worth it. I actually have a lot more respect for someone that dismisses the diet by saying, "I'm glad it's working for them and I'll keep it in mind for us later, but I think we're going to try something different right now."

I don't know if what I'm about to say is right or wrong, but it's how I feel:

I don't have the time or the patience to go out and "convert" everyone. I am more than willing and happy to spend time helping someone recover their child from autism...IF they are truly interested in doing what it takes to recover their child. For all the others, I simply try to shake the dust from my feet and walk away. So Erin, based on my own experience my advice would be to: Move on and make yourself accessible to those that are interested in listening and then acting.

If there's anyone out there that I can help by sharing our family's experiences, then PLEASE don't hesitate to contact me at

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Affording the GAPS Diet Grocery Bill

Today I received this comment on my post about Sam's Autism Improvement on Video:

Anonymous said...
Hi Janice.

I have just seen this link posted on a Facebook page. I'm really curious about how this works.

My son is 6 and he has Aspergers. I have tried homeopathy but it didn't work.

He has a good diet but due to his condition I am unable to work, and we live on just my partners wage, therefore don't have money to buy organic etc foods...

I'd love some advice on how to get started xx

I figured I would just put my answer in its own blog post since it's likely to get a little lengthy!

First of all, like yours, our family is a one-income family. So, I hope that our family's experience will be useful to you.

I know this is obvious, but I'm going to point it out anyway. The first thing our family did to free up funds for increased food costs was to look at other areas of our budget. We had to figure out what areas could be decreased so that our grocery budget could increase. For instance, we do not pay for any TV service whatsoever. Doing without a cable/satellite bill and other things like trash service have freed up money that can now go towards good quality foods. So, first of all I'd look to find other areas of your budget that can be reassigned.

After analyzing and making changes to the budget, we had to go through and define our priorities. While I would love to eat only all organic fruits and vegetables and only pastured meat and only grass-fed dairy and only local raw honey get the idea. Realistically I purchase my fruits and vegetables SOME organic and SOME conventional. For our meat I purchase SOME pastured and SOME conventional. I have to make some concessions because we just can't afford to do everything perfect. So, I would suggest that your family decide what is your highest priority and make decisions accordingly.

Here's were I currently acquire our foods:

I purchase chicken in bulk once a year from a farm that raises pastured poultry. I buy one year's worth all at once because there's a huge cost savings by buying in bulk.

I purchase conventionally-raised local pork from a local butcher. I buy 1/2 a pig at a time, again for the cost savings. (Would love to have pastured pork, but it's very hard to find and also very expensive. Priorities..)

I purchase hormone/antibiotic free beef that is grass/hay fed (no grain) from a friend. I purchase 1/2 a cow at a time, again for the cost savings.

We raise our own rabbits and butcher them ourselves for meat.

My husband will be deer hunting this year and will (Lord willing) get one or two deer.

Whenever we purchase our beef and pork, I always ask to be given the fat from the animal. Then I render the fat myself in order to get a lot of good lard and tallow. The processors that I use don't charge any extra for providing the fat.

I purchase my pure olive oil and extra virgin olive oil from Sam's Club. It's not organic, but it's what we can afford. (Obviously, this is lower on my list of priorities.)

I bought my coconut oil in bulk from Nutiva. I think I purchased something like 10 or 12 gallons last time in order to get the best discounts and free shipping.

Finally, whenever I cook any meats, I always save the fats. We make burger patties and I save the fat to add to mashed cauliflower. We cook bacon and I save the fat to season green beans. We bake a pork loin roast and I save the fat to scramble eggs in the next morning. I roast a chicken and I save the fat to add into soups. Nothing gets wasted.

Fruits and Vegetables
Oh, there's so many sources for these foods. Of course we grow some of our own in our garden and orchard. However, we don't yet come anywhere near providing all of our own fruits and vegetables. I still purchase a lot.

I purchase non-organic avocados ($0.69 each), lemons ($0.25 each), and cauliflower ($1.99 each) from Aldi. They have great, low prices on their conventionally grown produce.

I purchase organic carrots from Kroger. I can get 5 pounds for $4.99 usually, but this week they were on sale for $3.99! I haven't found anyone else that beats their prices on organic carrots.

I purchase non-organic brussel sprouts ($4.97 for 2 pounds) and mushrooms ($3.98 for 24 ounces) from Sam's Club. I also get organic baby carrots ($3.98 for 3 pounds) and organic spinach ($3.97 for 1 pound) from Sam's Club.

Each month I place an order with Azure Standard. Having them deliver locally has been a huge blessing for our family. Every month I purchase all of my organic frozen green beans, broccoli, and peas in bulk. I also get organic onions and organic miniature pickling cucumbers for all the fermented pickles we consume. This next month they have a great deal on butternut squash. It's not perfect quality so it's sold at a discounted rate. I don't care if my squash looks pretty or not, so I'm stocking up by buying 40 pounds. Keeping an eye out on those good deals and stocking up then really does save our family quite a bit of money.

I also utilize our local Farmer's Market. This summer I was able to purchase a lot of organic green peppers. It's so difficult to find organic green peppers in stores, so I snatched up whatever I could find at the Farmer's Market. Then I dehydrated the green peppers. I now have enough organic green peppers to last our family until next year's growing season.

I know there are other foods that I haven't listed, but you get the idea. Basically, I make a point to keep track of food prices so I can recognize a good deal. Whenever I run across a good deal, I stock up. Yes, it costs more one time, but then you don't have to buy any more for quite a while. Also, our family has found that buying good quality food motivates us to learn to provide it for ourselves. I see how much money I spend each month on produce and it spurs me on to produce a larger, more successful garden.

It also takes time to research and find new sources for good quality foods. You may have to settle for conventionally-raised beef until you can find a source for good quality beef. Networking with other like-minded families can be beneficial. I've come across many resources this way that I wouldn't have discovered myself. It's great when friends contact me to let me know that they've found a good sale. Oftentimes, a group of friends can make a bulk purchase together in order to receive a discount and then divide everything up amongst themselves.

Ultimately, I think the best thing is just to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Small, continuous improvements will eventually get you somewhere. At least you're moving in the right direction.

Anyway...Anonymous, I hope that helps get you started. If I can help in any way, please don't hesitate to contact me.

(This post is proud to be part of Real Food Wednesday.)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Shawn's New "Farm" Truck

I have a happy husband today. After two years living on our homestead, Shawn finally has a farm truck. Up until this point he has hauled hay bales, chickens, rabbits, and every other farm-related item in the back of his Ford Explorer.

We purchased the truck from a young man in town. Besides being useful, it's also all decked out with pretty chrome extras and big, bad tires that my brothers would describe as "beefy." The previous owner even added stereo speakers behind the seats. I've teased Shawn that he must be going through a mid-life crisis. He just turned 40 and now has the truck of a 20-something year old.

I think he's secretly excited to go to the local lumber store. The workers there have been teasing him for two years saying, "WHEN are you going to get a truck?!?"

The only reason we were able to get this truck now was because Shawn's mom sent an unexpected check to, Colette THANK YOU for helping us out with this!

Friday, October 28, 2011

David's First Tooth!

Can you believe that this little bitty baby already has his first tooth!?! I couldn't believe it today when I discovered it. I know that he's been drooling and gnawing on things a lot lately, but I figured it would still be quite a while before he actually got a tooth. The other children didn't get theirs until they were 7-9 months old. David isn't even 5 months old yet! He's growing up so fast..too fast!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Welcome to America! Land of Assassinations and Checkpoints

(Ooops! Editing to add that this is yet another thought-provoking post from my dear husband. --Janice)

I scanned the news stories today and was horrified by what I read. U.S. backed assassinations, warrantless searches on our highways, and an insult to our World War II veterans caught my attention. I want to share my thoughts on today’s headlines.

Everyone is talking about the death of Qaddafi. Let’s begin with that. In February 2011, Islamic fundamentalists began the process of seizing control of Libya. Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi was removed from power so that Al Qaeda could take over the country. It wasn’t enough to remove him from power, but this week he was hunted down and murdered. It has been widely reported that a U.S. predator drone fired on his convoy at which time Qaddafi took cover in a drainage ditch. Rebels dragged him out as he begged for his life and Qaddafi was shot in the head by his American-backed Al Qaeda terrorist captors. He yelled, “Don’t shoot!” and asked, “What did I ever do to you?” as he was shot point blank in the head.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Barak Hussein Obama then went to the Rose Garden of the White House and praised the assassination. This is the same president who, just days earlier, expressed outrage over an alleged assassination plot by a used car salesman in Texas who supposedly was planning to attack the Saudi and Israeli embassies under the direction of Iran. So Iran is evil for planning assassinations but we are noble and justified when we kill leaders of other sovereign nations.

We don’t just kill foreign leaders; we also assassinate Americans. Last month, American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki was assassinated by the American C.I.A. for his alleged terrorist connections. Simply being labeled a terrorist is a modern day Bill of Attainder where you are declared guilty without a trial. Just months following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Awlaki dined with top officials at the Pentagon. If he was such a threat, why not arrest him when he arrived for dinner? As an American citizen, wasn’t he entitled to due process? I’m disturbed at how few people even question his assassination.

Before you celebrate the assassinations of these terrorists, remember how many Americans fall under the definition of a domestic terrorist according to this administration. In the past few years, homeschoolers, raw milk purchasers, gun owners, libertarians and returning veterans have been labeled potential domestic terrorists. How long until a predator drone attacks your home and you are dragged out and shot when you fall under the criteria to be killed on sight? By the way, these drones are already being used to conduct surveillance within the United States.

This madness began earlier this year when Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was overthrown with U.S. assistance so that the Muslim Brotherhood could control Egypt. Then we decided that Muammar Qaddafi in Libya had to go as well. Mubarak and Qaddafi, as bad as they were, at least could be dealt with. Mubarak attempted to cooperate with the U.S. and Qaddafi had been successfully scared into submission over the past few years. Egypt and Libya were of little threat to American interests. But now, with radical terrorists controlling those countries, we now have a serious problem. Egypt, the Suez Canal and the large oil reserves in Libya are now under the control of complete lunatics due mostly from our actions. This was not an act of stupidity, but rather an intentional further destabilization of the Middle East by Obama.

In news closer to home, the era of TSA checkpoints on highways has begun. The Transportation Security Administration will now be conducting random searches of vehicles on U.S. highways. The TSA VIPR Teams are currently operating in Tennessee. We’ve surrendered to the notion that boarding an airplane voluntarily suspends our Fourth Amendment rights. Now, simply driving down the highway may result in the same level of warrantless searches. As with air travel, the American public will moan and groan for a few weeks, then sheepishly submit and accept their fate. Based on the treatment of Qaddafi, raising your hands and declaring surrender at one of these checkpoints may not save you from roadside execution.

In other news, the U.S. Forest Service has ordered the removal of a World War II memorial monument from Big Mountain in Montana because it includes a statue of Jesus. The monument has stood for 60 years in the park with no complaint. We side with known terrorist groups in the overthrow of Egypt and Libya while destroying monuments to an entire generation who sacrificed so much to free the world from evil.

Our government openly assassinates foreign leaders and American citizens. We have suspended the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures if we dare travel by airplane and even automobile. We are offended by a 60-year-old monument to our World War II veterans, but not offended by the actions of our government which are very reflective of the tyranny those WWII veterans fought so bravely against. Do most of us care? Sadly, no. We are much more interested in the World Series and Dancing With the Stars. We can't be bothered with such trivial issues when the big ballgame is on.

I don’t even recognize the United States anymore. Shame on those who are behind this tyranny and shame on the rest of us who do nothing about it.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Wisconsin Judge Ruling: No Right to Raise, Grow or Consume Food of Your Choice

(Another thought-provoking post from my dear husband. --Janice)

Earlier this month, Wisconsin Judge Patrick J. Fiedler issued a response to the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund regarding the Constitutionality of food rights. In his response, Judge Fiedler stated “Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to consume the milk from their own cow.” He then went further stating, “Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to produce and consume the foods of their choice.”

So, what does this mean? You have NO right (according to Judge Fiedler) to raise animals, crops or even an orchard or backyard garden. You have NO right to choose what food you eat. The government has the right to mandate or prohibit the consumption of any food.

What would motivate Judge Fiedler to issue such a shocking ruling against food rights? Well, a quick Internet search reveals some clues. Within days of his ruling against food rights, Judge Fiedler announced he has decided to retire and will resign his position as judge September 30. He will go into private practice, as an attorney for the Axel Brynelson Law Firm.

I did some research on the Axel Brynelson Law Firm and found that in May 2010, the firm represented Monsanto in a lawsuit concerning a DNA patent. So, within days of ruling that Americans have no right to produce and consume the foods of their choice, Judge Fiedler is hired by a law firm that represents Monsanto. What a coincidence!

We Had An Earthquake Here!

Yesterday was an exciting day. Around 6:30 last night I was in the living room folding laundry and talking to Shawn. Shawn was holding David. All of a sudden we heard a loud sonic boom. I said, "What was that?" Immediately the house started to shake. I started screaming at the children to "Come here!" (They were playing in Sam's bedroom.) Shawn started yelling, "This is it! This is it!" (He thought the New Madrid fault was finally going.)

Then it was over. It really only lasted a matter of seconds, but that was plenty for me. Sarah's little heart was racing when we all congregated in the kitchen.

Shawn immediately called my parents (who live closer to the New Madrid fault) to see if they were all right. They said they hadn't felt anything. Then I called a girlfriend to see if she had felt it. She hadn't felt anything either. Then we started second-guessing ourselves..Could something have crashed out in the pasture? Why didn't anyone else seem to feel this thing that was so very, very noticeable to us?!?

We finally discovered that we did, in fact, have a 3.6 magnitude earthquake. The epicenter was only about 8 miles away from us.

When Shawn went outside last night to put up the animals he noticed a few things that were out of place in the barn. The previous homeowner had used the barn's rafters as a place to store old plastic pipe and boards. Shawn noticed that some plastic pipe had been shaken out of the rafters. He also noticed that some firewood and a stack of plastic buckets had been knocked over. The only evidence that we found inside the house was that one picture frame had fallen over in our bedroom.

Exciting, scary times. One good thing does force Shawn and I to revisit our earthquake preparedness. What do we need to improve upon? Are we adequately prepared if this quake had been larger and more damaging? Are you adequately prepared if your area starts shaking?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

20 Incredible Colleges for Special Needs Students

College is still a long way off for our children, but I've been asked to place a link here about "20 Incredible Colleges for Special Needs Students." I hope this is helpful for some that read my blog.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Great Sunflower Seed Incident

So...yesterday Andrew was at an event with other children. Of course I took a GAPS-friendly snack for him to eat, but the other children there had their snack of apples and sunflower seeds. Immediately after snacktime, Andrew started breaking out in a rash and his left ear started swelling up. His behavior was fine and he wasn't having any difficulty breathing..he just looked awful.

My first thought was, "Oh no, what did he eat?!?!" However, I was assured that he didn't put anything in his mouth other than the food that I had brought. So, next I started to wonder if he had possibly been stung by something on the ear. However, he was indoors the entire time and not one of the many adults there had noticed him crying out at any point as if he had been stung. I even asked him if a bug bit him and he told me no.

So, this is what we've finally decided is the most likely explanation...

Even though the other children were eating a healthy snack of apples and sunflower seeds, the sunflower seeds were store-bought and processed. This means that the ingredients included a lot more than just sunflower seeds. I found this list of common ingredients online:


Anyhow, the theory is that some of the artificial ingredients/oil were transferred to a toy by another child. Andrew must have somehow picked up the residue on his hands. Then he proceeded to scratch his ear, which immediately began to swell, turn red/purple, and get hot. Shortly after that exposure his face, neck, and torso began breaking out in whelps.

I took these photos about 2 hours after the exposure. The rash had actually improved a bit on his face and neck. At 5 hours after exposure his ear was still just as hot and red and swollen as before and the rash had continued to spread to his feet. He was obviously itchy, but otherwise acted normal. This morning, however, everything is fine. His ear and body look absolutely normal.

Sometimes I get so focused on making sure that the children don't consume processed foods. It's easy to forget that these foods can still harm sensitive children in other ways. I'm glad it wasn't any more serious, but it was a good reminder as to why we are doing what we are doing. There are very valid reasons why we avoid processed foods.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

SAHM earning $165 to use at via SwagBucks

I may not be out in the workforce earning an income, but this is my stay-at-home mom way of helping to support our family. Likewise, I think that SwagBucks would be helpful to many of those that read my blog.

Search & Win

I've been using SwagBucks for 10 months now and in that time I've accumulated $165 in Amazon gift cards. I've been able to purchase books, food, and gifts with that money. It's really come in handy. I wanted to take some time today to show you how I did this so you can see if it's something you might utilize. I started off slowly..only getting $5-$10 per month, but the past few months I've been getting $25 in gift cards each month.

When I first started using SwagBucks I installed their toolbar into my internet browser. It's just a thin little strip at the top of my screen that provides a search engine and shows my current SwagBucks total. Now, each morning when I open up my internet browser I automatically get 1 Swagbuck just for having the toolbar installed.

I utilize the toolbar's search engine as I'm on the internet throughout the day. For instance, if I want to check my email I will use SwagBuck's toolbar to search instead of directly typing it in. Several times throughout the day I'll receive SwagBucks for utilizing their search engine. I've gotten anywhere from 7-29 SwagBucks just for searching the internet. Also, you don't just get this reward once a day. If you search often enough, you can get SwagBucks for searching numerous times throughout the day.

Every day they have a different Daily Poll available. I place my vote in the poll and get 1 SwagBuck each day.

Each day I visit their No Obligation Special Offers page (NOSO). It gives a couple pages of offers and I always hit "Skip" because I'm not interested in any of the offers. After I've looked at all the offers and "skipped" them I receive 2 SwagBucks. Looking at the offers takes less than a's not very time consuming at all.

Then I go to their Trusted Surveys page. They usually have several surveys available. I usually don't meet the demographic that they're looking for so I don't qualify for most of the surveys. However I do receive 1 SwagBuck for each survey I attempt to qualify for. A time or two each week I will usually qualify for one of the surveys and I will receive anywhere from 50-200 SwagBucks for completing the survey.

SwagBucks has internet-printable coupons available as well. If you print off their coupons and redeem them at a store, you will get 10 SwagBucks for each coupon you redeem. I don't use this all that often since we don't use many of the commercial products. I have however used the coupons for things like toilet paper and facial tissue. I like it because I save money and get SwagBucks at the same time.

Finally, they have an area on their site called SwagBucks TV. It's an area that has short little (approximately 1 minute) video clips preceded by an advertisement. I get 3 SwagBucks for every 10 videos that I watch. I keep our laptop on the kitchen counter and, throughout the day as I'm working, I will keep the little video clips running. There are all kinds of different types of videos: entertainment, news, food, health, etc. I always run the Pets & Nature videos because I don't mind if the children see videos of animals on the computer.

There are other ways to acquire SwagBucks, but I don't utilize them. You can check into those yourself and see if they'd be beneficial to you.

Here's their official site on how to use SwagBucks:

Anyhow, for every 450 SwagBucks you accumulate you can redeem it for $5 to use towards a purchase at Amazon. Of course, there are other places you can redeem your SwagBucks (Barnes & Noble, Home Depot, Paypal, CVS, etc), but I've found that Amazon is the best value for us. You can get just about anything on Amazon and the credit doesn't expire in case you want to keep accumulating credit for a more expensive item. You also receive free shipping if your order is over $25. Free merchandise (using SwagBucks credit) and free shipping is a great deal for us.

So, now I'm going to shamelessly ask that, if you are interested in joining SwagBucks, you use my name as a reference. You see, I acquire SwagBucks by referring people to the site and having them utilize it. If you are interested, please use this link to sign up:

Also, if this is confusing to you, please don't hesitate to ask me to clarify.

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Walk on the Property

Friday evening we went on a family walk around the property. We did this a lot last year, but haven't been as good about doing it since David came along. It was really nice to get back out there.

The first thing we discovered was a young buck that was dead out by our pond. It was still fresh enough to be stinky. That gave the children a lot to talk about for the next day or two.

Remember my last post about making elderberry tincture? Well, I'm not 100% certain, but I'm thinking that we just might have elderberries growing on our property. I need to research this some more, but I suspect that this might be elderberry. If anyone can shed some light on this, I'd appreciate the input!

Walking back to the Forbidden Meadow was especially pretty because the entire pasture there was full of these pretty yellow flowers.

I'm still really excited about having Passionfruit (Maypops) on our property. However, I have yet to actually harvest any for our own use. It seems that the deer have taken possession of them so all I ever get to see are small green fruits.

Out in the woods we were surprised to see that a tree had fallen right in the middle of the path we normally walk.

It couldn't have happened too long ago because the leaves are still green. Looks like God is providing next year's firewood!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Making Elderberry Tincture

This was my first time attempting to make elderberry tincture. It was really easy and I wanted to share it with you.

Elderberry tincture is said to be effective in treating colds and flu. There are even commercial drugs, like Sambucol, made with elderberry. However, since we try to avoid commercially-sold drugs, I made my own medicine using God's provision..the elderberry.

First, I purchased a big bottle of vodka and 1 pound of dried elderberries. The instructions I had said to split the pound of elderberries between three quart jars. Then fill the jars with vodka. (Of course, I ended up not buying enough vodka, so I could only fill two jars until we went back to the store to buy more.)

Then you place the jars in a cool, dark area and let it sit for 7-10 days, shaking the jars every day or so. Now, I found lots of different sources that say lots of different things on the amount of time the mixture should sit. I've read everywhere from 7 days to 6 weeks. I chose to let mine soak for a little over 2 weeks. Really the only reason I let it go that long was because my third jar was started at a later time and I wanted to finish all three jars at the same time. (Remember, I had to go buy more vodka...) So, my first two jars actually soaked for 16 days and that third jar only soaked for 10 days.

I kept my jars in my cabinet with our drinking glasses. It was dark and cool in that cabinet, and I opened it often enough that I would remember to shake the jars whenever I went to get glasses out of the cabinet. So, yesterday I finished the elderberry tincture. (I guess my camera date is wrong because I know that I took these next pictures yesterday, Thursday the 8th.)

Anyhow, first I put my colander over a bowl and poured out the contents of the three jars. Then I placed the strained liquid into clean jars. The strained liquid only filled up two jars since the berries were no longer taking up space.

Finally, I added labels to my jars and put them in our medicine cabinet.

If I need to use this for the children I intend to place the recommended dosage in a glass of water and maybe even add a little honey to it if the children don't want to take it.

We're very rarely ever sick so these two jars of elderberry tincture should last us a while. The vodka will keep it useful for years.

I encourage you to do some research on elderberry tincture and see if it's something you'd be interested in providing for your family.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Farm Clothes vs. Town Clothes

I was looking through some of my posts from the summer and I realized that my children are pretty much wearing the same clothing in every picture! Instead of leaving everyone to believe that I let my children wear dirty clothes day after day, I thought I would do a post on Farm Clothes vs. Town Clothes.

When we lived at our other home I had a couple pair of "play clothes" for each of the children, but the majority of their wardrobe was made up of nice little outfits. After moving out to our property though our wardrobe changed. Now the majority of the whole family's wardrobe consists of stained and ripped clothing that you probably couldn't give away at a yard sale. We all rotate through 2-3 outfits out here on the farm. What's the saying..."One to wash, one to wear, and one to spare." I just don't see the purpose in dressing everyone in decent clothing so they can get ruined by getting mud-stained or ripped on a fence. So, we look like a raggedy mess out here on the farm. Also, I will absolutely hang onto Sam's rough-looking farm clothes so that they'll be there when Andrew grows into them. I'm not going to dispose of perfectly battered and well-worn farm clothes!

Anyhow, the kids get excited when they get to put on "town clothes." Since the kids and I only leave the property about once or twice a week, it's a real treat to get "dressed up." I'll leave you with a picture of the children in their town clothes. I know I'm biased, but I think they clean up nice!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Cheating on GAPS

It's a bad day. A really bad, bad day.

Last night our family went to a meeting. After the meeting there were refreshments: fruit, cake, cookies, punch, water. I watched Shawn eat his little plate of goodies and I was tempted. So I told him that I would just go look at the food table. Of course I ended up coming back with some of the fruit and a few non-GAPS treats. When the meeting wrapped up, the ladies started cleaning up and asked if anyone wanted to take any of the extra refreshments home. I grabbed a small plate for Shawn to take into work with him today.

I woke up this morning after Shawn had already left for work. Do you know what he did??? He left three of the cookies sitting on the kitchen counter! He actually left some of those things home for me to eat. So I ate them...all of them. I dunked those chocolate chip cookies in my coffee this morning and I scarfed it all down eagerly. I enjoyed it. They tasted so good. I miss cookies.

Now I hurt. My head is absolutely throbbing. I have no energy. I do not want to cook. I do not want to clean. I do not want ANY noise. I have no patience. I feel like I am barely functioning through a mental fog. My vision is literally a bit foggy too. I also feel engorged today (which is not normal) and David isn't nursing well. Apparently he doesn't care for cookie-infected milk.

Was it the grain from the cookies..or the sugar...or the artificial additives? I don't have a clue what exactly in the cookies is bothering me, but it has hit me hard. What's even worse is that I KNEW that I would be paying for giving into the cookie temptation, but I did it anyway.

I don't know if this post will do any good for others on GAPS, but it is something I need to go back and read each time I'm faced with temptation. Cheating on GAPS makes me hurt. It's not worth it.

This post is linked up to Real Food Wednesday with Kelly the Kitchen Kop.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Our New Rabbit Shelter

I don't know about you, but our family spent Labor Day weekend by doing an immense amount of labor on the farm. This weekend we completed a lot of projects.

The first thing Shawn wanted to complete was our new permanent rabbit shelter in the garden. We previously had the rabbits in the chicken run with a tarp set up over them for shade. The tarp was a very temporary solution though. It shredded quickly, so Shawn went to work building an actual shed to house the rabbits. We decided to put it in the garden so that their droppings were right where they would do the most good.

The rabbit cages that Shawn built were extremely heavy. So this is the way that he came up with to move them. Sam was a big help to Shawn.

Here's the new rabbit shed out in the garden. The only part to complete is that small bit of guttering on the end.

This is the water catchment system that Shawn set up at the far end of the shed. It'll be nice having that water nearby for the rabbits and some garden usage.

We also managed to rebreed on of the does this weekend and clean up the barn and chicken run area where the rabbits used to be. Then we spent the rest of the weekend weeding the garden.

Since I was busy being pregnant and dealing with a newborn, I really let the garden go this summer. This weekend was when we made up for lost time. It felt so good to be working outside again! We found that our carrots managed to survive their weed-infestation and we picked the first of our green beans. I'm pleased to see that our green pepper and tomato plants look like thet're actually going to produce something. I had almost given up hope that we'd get anything from them.

The weather was absolutely perfect for working outside. It was hard work, but it was also very enjoyable.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Jimmy Hoffa Openly Calls For Violence

(Another post from Shawn today...See what happens when he gets a three-day weekend! --Janice)

Are there any union members living near your home or at your place of work? If so, I’d suggest you watch your back around them and be sure not to divulge any personal information to them. Their Marxist mobster leader Jimmy Hoffa has declared war on us, literally.

While delivering an opening speech for Obama at a Labor Day union rally in Detroit, Teamster President Jimmy Hoffa declared that union members are at “war” with the Tea Party (a common name now given to Americans who want smaller government). His thirst for violence and plans for the future were revealed in this speech.

“President Obama, this is your army,” stated Hoffa. “We are ready to march. Let’s take these sons of bitches out!” Of course, "taking a person out" is the common mafia term for murder. The socialists attending the rally cheered at his declaration of war. As you can see, complete government domination of our lives is not enough for them. They must eliminate anyone who does not support their socialist agenda.

Obama then took the stage, stating he was proud of Hoffa and called for “shared prosperity.” Of course, “shared prosperity” is just another way of calling for redistribution of wealth, a founding principle of socialism.

We are living in very dangerous and frightening times. I encourage every freedom-loving American to prepare for what is coming. The socialists are no longer behind closed doors plotting away and working behind the scenes to destroy our freedoms. They are now in the open. They have a president who publicly supports their agenda and they are admitting they are declaring war on us.

It will be up to us to win this war and protect the Constitutional liberties so many have fought and died for over the past 235 years. The union thugs should be careful what they wish for, because there are millions of Americans who will not lie down and be "taken out." If this army of Chicago mobsters marches up to the gates of my farm, the next gates they will enter will be the gates of Hell.

I’d suggest Hoffa and his band of thugs rethink their ill-conceived suicide mission. The mafia should stay in Chicago and continue shaking down local business owners for protection money. They may control certain cities in this country, but the mob doesn’t have the numbers to declare war on the entire United States population.

“If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun”. Isn’t that what you mobsters like to say? Well, fine. You’ve set the rules for this war, you better be prepared to live (or die) by them. Hoffa, you have called on your army to take my family out. You have my attention. You are a coward who calls on others to do your dirty work. May God have mercy on any fool who comes to my home following your orders!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Wood Is Now Illegal In The United States

(Shawn was inspired to write a post today...enjoy! -Janice)

Just when I thought the government controlled every single aspect of our lives imaginable, a new shocker comes along. The government has yet a new enemy, people who have property made of wood. There are already cases of people having wooden guitars seized if they can’t produce documentation proving the origin of every piece of wood within the instrument. The feds are even conducting SWAT raids to seize contraband wood. Hitler and Stalin didn’t even seize wood from the people.

Henry Juszkiewicz, CEO of Gibson Guitar, reports that his manufacturing plants in Nashville and Memphis were raided by federal agents on August 24, 2011. The feds are claiming Gibson violated an Indian law that requires wood from that country to be assembled there. However, Gibson has written authorization from the government of India to export their wood to American to be manufactured in Tennessee.

Interestingly, only Gibson Guitar, owned by a Republican, has been raided. Other guitar manufacturers using the same wood, owned by Democrats, have not been raided. This follows the Obama Justice Department’s track record of targeting political enemies. The feds even had the nerve to inform Gibson Guitar, in writing, that their company should leave the United States and suggested they move their manufacturing to Madagascar. Apparently the Obama Administration is actively supporting job growth in Madagascar, while working to eliminate American jobs.

This story is so bizarre, you have to see it for yourself. Please visit the website below and view an interview with the CEO of Gibson Guitar as he describes the SWAT raid and the government’s war against personal property made of wood:

If you own ANYTHING made of wood (which we all do), then you need to take this VERY seriously. Of course, this actually has nothing to do with wood. The government is finding every excuse to dominate our lives and bully us into submission. Since everyone owns furniture, guns, tools, crafts, and even the materials which make up your home that contain wood, this is another justification to raid your home, seize your property, and levy fines against you when Big Brother decides you need to be reminded who owns you.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Amazed at the Blog Visits

I continue to be amazed at the number of people that are visiting my blog in order to see the videos of Sam's autism improvement. Just yesterday I had visitors come here from:

British Columbia, Canada
Newfoundland, Canada
Alabama, U.S.
Illinois, U.S.
Makkah, Saudi Arabia
Georgia, U.S.
Ar Riyad, Saudi Arabia
Virginia, U.S.
Ash Sharqiyah, Saudi Arabia
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Buskerud, Norway
Gullbringusysla, Iceland
Texas, U.S.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Wisconsin, U.S.
New Hampshire, U.S.
Budapest, Hungary

All of the above visitors looked at the posts of Sam's autism videos. In addition to that, in the past week I've had visitors from Brazil, Denmark, India, Australia, Netherlands, Poland, Philippines, Hong Kong, London, California, Washington, Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Ohio come here looking for GAPS recipes and autism resources.

It's neat to see the international autism sites that have posted Sam's videos. The only words I can read on the sites are "autism" and "SAHMville," but then I see Sam's smiling face on there as well. He doesn't realize how big of an impact he's having on people around the world.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Some Cuteness for Grandma Colette

Sarah and Andrew like to dress up in their police officer costume. Here they are with the costume split between the two of them.

Here's David doing some cute baby talk. He's babbling so much nowadays.

I think Sam has asked me about five times so far today, "Is it October yet?" He's really looking forward to you and Papa Mac visiting.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Homemade Sausage Seasoning

Since we don't produce our own pork yet I still have to find an outside source to purchase it. Obviously, with our GAPS diet, I'm not purchasing sausage from the store. However, I'm also not even able to purchase it from our local butcher because of the seasonings that are used. I don't trust that the seasonings are GAPS-friendly, so I choose to make my own sausage seasoning. Actually, it works out better because I can get plain ground pork from our local Mennonite butcher cheaper than purchasing ready-made sausage from the same business.

Our family likes the following recipe:

6-1/2 Tbsp. sage
2 Tbsp. sea salt
5 tsp. pepper
5 tsp. red pepper flakes
5 tsp. fennel
5 tsp. marjoram
2-1/2 tsp. ground mustard
2 tsp. garlic powder

Place all ingredients in a small jar and shake until well blended. This recipe makes enough to season about 10 pounds of ground pork. For each pound of pork used, add 1-1/2 Tbsp. of sausage seasoning. It is a bit on the spicy side, so if I were going to alter the recipe I would definitely put in fewer red pepper flakes instead of more!

Monday, August 29, 2011

YouTube Video Recommendations

In the past Shawn and I have enjoyed watching some BBC television shows that recreate life in different time periods. Each series has actual archaeologists and historians living the life of that time period for a full year. These shows are available for free on YouTube. So far we have watched Victorian Farm, which is about life in the mid-19th Century.

We've also watched Edwardian Farm, which is about life just after the turn of the 20th Century.

We have enjoyed both of these series immensely. They're delightful to watch while being educational at the same time.

We've also been wanting to see a third series that was made using the same historians/archaeologists, but it hasn't been available on YouTube. Well, this week Shawn just happened to check again and we were excited to find that it's available! So, we're now in the process of watching Tales from the Green Valley. It is about life in the year 1620.

I can't recommend these enough. What's especially nice is that these are made with actual historians...professionals that are enthralled with life in the past. Other shows that we have watched have had more of a drama-filled "reality tv" feel to them and we just simply do not care to watch that kind of show. This is a wonderful change from the norm. If you do get to watch them, let me know what you think!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Fix To Blogger Troubles

I posted earlier about my technical difficulties with Blogger. In order to publish a new post I had to first save it as a draft and then publish it from a separate page. I wasn't able to edit my posts. I also wasn't able to comment on my own posts.

Well, Shawn and I figured out the problem. Apparently Internet Explorer doesn't work well with Blogger. If I use Google Chrome I can do everything I need to with Blogger. So, in case anyone else has the same problem...switch from Internet Explorer and see if that helps!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Canning Applesauce

I don't like canning. However, I'm very grateful for all the yummy fruit we have growing in our orchard and I refuse to see it go to waste. So...yesterday I canned.

We still have more apples to pick, but here's the first picking from one of the trees.

Those are some of our pears in the jars. I ended up with 18 quart jars of dehydrated pear slices. Also, see that beautiful apple! That's the biggest apple that we harvested this year. It was too pretty to turn into applesauce, so it was set aside for eating fresh.

As much as I dislike canning, I will admit that this year was easier than last year. Over the past year I have acquired several tools that made canning easier. Last year I used my big pressure canner as a water bath canner. However this year I was able to use a real water bath canner with a rack and that made it much easier. I also acquired a handy apple peeler/corer/slicer since last year. It made things go so much faster!

I had to fiddle with the appropriate thickness for the peeler blade, but once I got everything set correctly it was a little bit fun to use this tool.

First you just push the apple onto the three-pronged rod and spin the handle. The apple is then peeled, cored, and sliced all at the same time.

Then you just slide the finished apple away from the core.

The kids loved the sliced apples. Sarah kept calling them "yo-yo apples."

From that basket I ended up with 13 pints of applesauce. (In the back is some salsa that I'm fermenting for Shawn.)

Whooo, I am so glad that's done! I wish I would have taken a picture of my kitchen after the canning process was finished. It looked like a bomb had gone off. Just one of the reasons why I dislike the canning process, but really like the feeling after it's all said and done.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Resource For Autism Information

This morning I checked my email and had a request to make this online resource available to those that check my blog. I'm not a user of Twitter so I don't know how exactly this works, but I was impressed with the amount of links available and the descriptions of the links. I do hope that a visitor to my blog might find some help through this link:

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Won't You Be My Neighbor?

Recently I read the book Surviving Off Off-Grid by Michael Bunker. In his book, Mr. Bunker urges readers to look at the benefits of living an agrarian life free from modern "conveniences." I especially liked that he used Scripture to point out why an agrarian lifestyle is pleasing to God.

I don't think anyone would be too surprised to find out that I'm drawn to an agrarian lifestyle. Perhaps I get that from my Dad. He farms. However, he farms for a living which includes things like combines and tractors that cost more than our house! I'm still interested in working the land, but on a much smaller scale than my Dad. I'm not looking to feed the entire world. I just want to produce enough from our land to feed our own family. I strive to be self-sufficient. For those reasons, it shouldn't be surprising that I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I'm all set to start up a Christian Agrarian Separatist community now. Mr. Bunker's book is very motivating.

I just want to casually mention...the home closest to our property is for sale. Anyone want to buy it and help start up a Christian Agrarian Separatist community? We're good neighbors...I promise!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

GAPS-Friendly Spanish Squash

I recently stumbled across a yummy recipe on Of course I changed it up a little bit to fit our diet. We really liked it so I thought I'd share it today.

My version calls for:
2 pounds of ground beef
2-3 Tbsp. of fat (tallow or lard)
3 yellow squash, sliced
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced (I also added 3 small sweet peppers from our garden this time.)
3 medium tomatoes, diced
1 Tbsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
Sea salt and pepper to taste

1. In large skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef.

2. While beef is cooking, place fat in another large skillet. When fat is melted and hot, add squash, onion, and green pepper. Saute until tender. **See note below**

3. When vegetables are tender, add them to the ground beef. Then also add tomatoes and spices to ground beef.

4. Mix together and cook for 5-10 minutes until tomatoes are soft and everything is heated through.

**This can easily be a one-pot meal. It's not really necessary to cook the vegetables separately. The first time I made this I cooked everything together in one skillet. It still tasted great. However, the squash got very "smooshy" when it cooked with the beef. By cooking the vegetables in a separate skillet, the "smooshiness" is avoided.**


This post is part of Real Food Wednesday.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Blogger Problems and a Response to Pam

I have problems with Blogger. I can no longer edit previous posts. I can't even publish a post without first saving it as a draft and then publishing it from the "Saved Drafts" page. Also, I cannot respond in comments to anyone that has posted a comment to me. So...with all that said, I received an amazing comment from Pam in my previous post. Since I can't comment on my own posts for some reason I decided to make my comment to Pam its own separate post. Here's the comment from Pam:

Hi Janice,

What a fantastic coincidence. I'm visiting your blog to thank you for sharing your story and videos of your son Sam. I had learned about GAPS a few months before seeing your videos on Cheeseslave, but it wasn't until watching those videos and reading about your family's experience that I finally ordered the book.

Now we are on it as a family, and our 4 year old son, who has an autism diagnosis and seems(seemed) to share so many similarities with Sam, is emerging from the fog. He is 19 days on the diet. A month ago he wasn't conversational. Today he asked "why" questions, asked me how I was doing, shared and played with friends, told us all the things he wanted to do today, played with his younger sister, and kept us up to date on his feelings. And that was just today! We can get out of the car in a parking lot and not worry about him running off; he waits to hold our hands instead. The other day I noticed he was upset and when I told him he looked upset, he told me he was and what had upset him. He didn't tantrum. Instead, he showed self-control and expressed himself verbally. We still have a good ways to go, but my goodness, we are getting somewhere!

Even though we don't know you, we talk about you and Sam and how you have inspired us. Our family thanks you and Sam so much. Thank you for sharing your story and thank you for having the courage to never stop looking for answers.

God bless,

Pam...I am so happy that you are finally getting to know your son! Isn't this an amazing time!?! Seeing that much change in NINETEEN days! I'm so excited for your family.

Before starting GAPS I remember several times when I asked God why MY child had to be created with autistic traits. I remember having a breakdown at my friend's home because I was so overwhelmed dealing with Sam's meltdowns and antisocial behavior. I remember sobbing, "I don't even know my own son!" I couldn't understand why Shawn and I were chosen to parent this child...we were so underqualified. I never thought I would ever look back and actually be THANKFUL that Sam was created with all his difficulties. However, whenever I get comments or emails like yours, it makes me very proud. Instead of Sam's difficulties being a trial for our family, I now see them as a path to help many other families.

Thank you for your comment and thank you for sharing your son's healing with me. I would really like to keep in touch with you. Please keep me updated as your son continues to heal. I'm so excited for your family!

Take care,

Oh...on a sidenote...if anyone can tell me how to fix my Blogger issues, please let me know. I'm getting really frustrated with it!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

An Awesome Email I Received

I received this in my inbox today:

Hi Janice,

I wanted to thank you SO much for posting the videos of your son Sam before and after GAPS. When I saw the before ones they were so familiar to me especially the body movements and perseveration. I had previously thought there was no way we could do GAPS due to him having food allergies to about half of the approved foods. Your videos were so amazing that I read a little more on it, realized those allergies may heal and started the next morning. I really did, :) I knew about making broth as something we had done in moderation in addition to so many other things to try and heal him. Other than that I had no idea what I was doing and stayed up late every night cooking and trying to figure it out until my book arrived. On the 2nd day, my son woke up a completely different child. No sensory issues, no hyperactivity, talking calmly and having 2 way conversation. It has been 12 weeks now and he is so much improved that nearly everyone notices the difference. We still have a long road to healing but I am so hopeful that he will fully recover.

Even better, I shared my journey on an online community called Gentle Christian Mothers and to date about 20 other families most from that board but several I knew elsewhere have started their journeys to healing on GAPS!!!!! From so many things, autism, food allergies, autoimmune disorders.... the list is just endless. So thank you from all of us for sharing your journey so that others can find healing. I often wonder how Sam is doing and hope that you post an update soon.


This message from Amy gave me happy tears. I love hearing that other parents have taken this diet seriously and seen healing in their children. Like Amy said, the GAPS diet can be helpful in resolving so many different health problems. I'm glad Sam's videos have been helpful to others. Oh...and I promise to get another Sam-post up soon. I should take some more video of him...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Homestead Happenings

Recently our family met a wonderful couple at the Farmers Market. They were nice enough to invite us out to their homestead so the children could visit with their sheep and goats. We had a great time. It's so nice to find like-minded individuals that live so close! They're interested in organizing a group of locals that desire to live self-sufficiently and sustainably. It would be so, SO nice to have that resource available locally.

Also, we recently discovered that we have Passion Fruit (sometimes called Maypops) growing on our property. Shawn found this unripe fruit when he was out mowing trails. I love finding wild edibles on our property! Of course the fruit is edible, but I've also read that the leaves and vine make a great tea.

Finally, we've been **cough** fortunate to have acquired another kitten. Apparently someone dumped the little thing off at our gate. Also, we're not certain if it can walk or not since Sarah has decided it must be carried around everywhere she goes. So, this now brings our kitten-count up to seven. Anybody want a kitten..or two?

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Oops, I Almost Forgot!

(Blogger's not acting right and won't let me edit the previous post, so I have to add this in on a post by itself.)

Shawn butchered two of our roosters all by himself. Even though he's helped others with butchering, this is the first time that he butchered any of our own flock. I was able to use the feet to make super-nutritious gelatin-filled chicken stock. The kids got a kick out of eating "Rooster Soup" for several days after the butchering.

Now scroll on down and read the rest of what we've been up to the past two months!

So, It's Been Almost TWO Months!!

I bet you thought we'd gone into the Witness Protection Program or something, huh? Actually, I've just been really overwhelmed lately. Who'd have thought that homesteading would be difficult with a 6 year old, 4 year old, 2 year old, and newborn?

I'll just give a synopsis of what's been going on around the homestead.

We have a new baby chick!

The pears are being harvested. (This is just what could be reached on ONE tree. We still have to pick the top of that tree and another tree.) Looks like I'll be canning and dehydrating a lot next week.

Shortly after David was born I dehydrated 2 quarts of cherries from our cherry trees. We're also starting to get apples from our trees. I harvested the peaches, but we dealt with brown rot again this year, so I was only able to harvest about 25 peaches. I've got to figure out how to eliminate brown rot.

We have rabbits that need to be butchered starting next week.

Shawn has set up the first of our water collection barrels.

And he just recently got our outhouse completed.

We also managed to obtain a nice collection of old farm tools.

On the not-so-great end of things...Shawn now has his first experience with poison ivy. He says that he used to be able to roll in the stuff and not get a rash, but this week he developed his first rash. Apparently he got into some while clearing out the weeds near the barn while he put in the water collection barrel. Also, we recently purchased a 55" LCD flat-screen TV....but not for us. While visiting my parents, Shawn was attempting to show Sam how to work their Wii game. Since neither Shawn nor Sam have any experience with the gaming system, they managed to actually hit Mom and Dad's TV with the controller. After doing research online we now know more than we ever wanted to about the TV's very fragile liquid crystals and that Wii's wriststraps are there as a safety feature. We've also learned that our family is just not cut out for fancy gaming systems or electronics.

So, next week we'll be busy butchering rabbits, preserving pears, and putting in the Fall garden. We'll also be starting to homeschool the kids starting tomorrow. Always something to do...

I'll end the post with pictures of some cute kids!