The Finish Line? Adventures In Detoxing.

We have come to the end of our 21 day family-wide detox. It’s crazy how time flies, even during a time like this one when you’re looking forward to the end. I suppose working to raise 5 kids, homeschooling 2 and keeping a handle on the house will keep anyone busy enough to make time seem to speed by.

As I mentioned when I laid out our Detox Plan, my Hubby was going to do a 21 day intensive detox, while the kids and I participated in a more gentle one. The protocol for the one I’m on lasts much longer- at least 2 months, and it doesn’t actually include any diet modification. It’s just supplements that I continue to take that help my body rid itself of the stored toxins.  We decided to add a major diet modification during the 21 day period that my husband was doing his; that way we’d be doing similar things at the same time.  Of course, the more raw and the less junk I eat, the better my body will be able to use the special stuff I’m putting in, and not have its energy diverted to deal with new toxins. We also decided that the kids would take the supplements for only the 21 days.

So now, we’ve come to the finish line. Or have we?

My body is still getting toxins out. I can tell. I have certain body signals that show up usually only when I’ve been eating a lot of junk, and they’re here now. Or rather, they never went away. I know that my diet has been exceptionally clean in my choice of food, so they should be gone, but they’re not. Which is proof to me that my body is cleaning itself up, but is not finished.

Now that we’ve come to the goal of our 21 day detox, what do we do? Just cross the finish line and go gorge ourselves?

Not exactly.

If there’s one thing I’ve seen over the past several years of learning to manage a household, it’s the importance of establishing habits. Flylady teaches you to practice one habit each day for one month. And the habits repeat each year. You’ve heard that it takes 21 days to make a habit; there is much wisdom in the concept of focusing on one thing till you “own it” and not move on until it becomes part of who you are and what you do.

These are the healthy habits I plan for our family to continue. They are nothing new or revolutionary, but we’ve been practicing them for the past 21 days so I’ve seen that it is possible to do them.

  1. Serve a salad with dinner MOST NIGHTS instead of only a couple of nights a week. When the main course is cooked, there must be some raw. No exceptions.
  2. Grind fresh flour and make bread myself. I’ve always known it’s better to do this, but my lack of time, paired with how quickly we went through a loaf of bread, I thought made this completely impractical. So I would make bread once in a while but certainly not every week and definitely not for daily consumption of sandwiches. Now that we’ve gone through this purposeful plan of cleaning up our bodies, I want to make sure we fill it with things that will be useful and life-giving, and not gunk it up with “fillers”. So, I’m going to make bread. At least twice a week. I did it for the past 2 weeks, and it really wasn’t that hard or time consuming. We only had a little at a time, which allowed it to last much longer. That brings me to number 3.
  3. Eat less bread. It is easy to get into the mindset that eating a sandwich is the best thing to do for lunch, especially when you are packing a lunch to send with a child to school. But I’ve re-evaluated that idea. Two whole slices of (store-bought whole wheat) bread is a lot for one meal, especially for a little body, especially when it’s repeated several times throughout the week. In fact, I realized that most of the calories and tummy space of the entire meal was made up bread. Bread that didn’t have much nutrition in it, either, because it was not made with freshly ground flour. No more “bread with every meal”, especially since I need to make it all myself. One slice with some veggies or a salad is plenty, and many meals are complete without it. It’s really just a habit.
  4. Find non-food “treats”. I give my kids a “treat” every Friday. Since we’ve always restricted “bad” sugar, it became the tradition that their treat took the form of  real candy, pudding, etc. But during these past 3 weeks, it was not an option. We talked about shifting our focus off of food as a treat. This past week, they each got to pick a special activity to do, something I hadn’t made the time to allow on regular days. One of them wanted to play with play-dough, and so on. I’m not saying we’ll never allow candy, but changing the definition of a treat is important.

So, while we may be crossing the finish line of our official detox time, we’re not stopping the race entirely.   We have established some valuable habits and I hope to add to them, one babystep at a time.

What new healthy habits have you/will you start to practice?

Back To School

We start school tomorrow. As in, I begin to school at home my two oldest sons (7&6) while the 4 year old goes to preschool (to help him learn Hebrew) and the 2 1/2 & 1 year old are here. At home. While we do school and prep food and keep house and….OK, I’m tired now.

I get one question frequently. It comes both from moms with fewer children than I have and also from moms who don’t have their kids home during the day.

How do you do it? I can barely manage with my ( fill in appropriate number of children or situation).

Well, I’ll tell you. I don’t know. But, I do have a secret weapon, or rather, two of them.

The first one you may have heard me mention before. It is Flylady gives lots of very helpful and totally do-able tips and tricks to help you stay on top of your housework and even make it sorta fun.

The second is Managers Of Their Homes.  This book shows you how to make a daily schedule, especially for homeschooling. It has lots of real-life schedules from many families of all different sizes and ages of kids to see for example and is filled with practical advice. It’s the first book I’ve found of its kind and has been extremely helpful.

Some main tips I’ve picked up from these sources include:

  1. Use a timer set for not more than 15 minutes to get a job done. Make it a race and see the progress.
  2. Get kids involved with meal prep. I have an assigned dinner helper for each week day.
  3. Assign play times and play partners in 1/2 hr blocks of time. This helps them build relationships and keeps them busy while you do school one on one or tend to another task.
  4. Have your daily schedule be the same each day. A certain block of time might have a rotating activity but it always happens at the same time each day or on that day each week.
  5. When you get off schedule for any reason, do not try to catch up. Just jump in where you are!
  6. Do not let the schedule or routine ruin the time. It’s there to help you, not to boss you around!

I have my daily schedule for this school year created. Will it work? I have no idea. But we’ll find out soon enough!

Now, off to that lesson planning…

A Different Kind Of Body Clutter

I recently shared that we live on a poisoned planet, and the environment plus our living habits (especially our diets) are slowly poisoning US. Adding a yuck factor to our bodies that leave us feeling sluggish,  and generally unwell, and are actually beginning disease processes that we may not find out about for years.

So, what can we do about this?

In Flylady terms, we need to declutter. We already know about clutter in our houses. It just grows and grows as we bring it in, and ends up preventing us from enjoying our homes.  I’ve also heard the Flylady refer to two different types of body clutter: excess weight and clutter between your ears, or “stinkin’ thinkin‘ ”

I suggest that there is another type of Body Clutter: Toxins. They’re not just theoretical; they’re very real. And to make your body work right so that you can feel well and enjoy your life better, you need to get them out. You need to declutter. You need to DETOX.

Sounds like a huge big deal that’s only for health nuts, right? Well, it might sound that way, but it’s not. It’s actually very easy to do, and you can do it too, just by taking some babysteps.

How do you know if you need to detox?

Do you:

  • *get headaches (they may be common, but they’re not normal!)
  • *feel tired even when you’ve gotten what should be enough sleep
  • *get “indigestion” (constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating, heartburn, etc.)
  • *have allergies
  • *get sick more than a couple of times a year
  • *have a general feeling of blah for no apparent reason
  • *live on the same poisoned planet that I do 🙂

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then read on. Steps to declutter your toxins are coming up.

My entire family and I are going to do a detox program beginning next week (August 15) for 21 days.  It will involve taking certain supplements (that are completely natural and safe for us all-even the little guys) and modifying our diets to assist our bodies to do what they already know how to do: take out the garbage. I’ll share more details  of our plans in an upcoming post.

But what about YOU? Do you feel that maybe, just maybe, you could use a little bit of “body de-cluttering?” Even without taking supplements, you could make great changes.

Detoxing is not an “all or nothing” kind of thing. Any little step you take will help you.

Commit to ONE of these for three weeks beginning on August 15, 2010:

  1. Say NO to soda and/or coffee, and drink ONLY WATER.  Leanne Ely of Saving Dinner posted a great “No Soda for Me” essay on her Facebook page. If you still don’t believe that soda’s bad for you, read my post on What Happens To Your Body Within An Hour of Drinking a Coke. Note: “drinking water”  means drinking 1/2 your body weight in ounces of WATER each day (not juice, crystal light, or anything else.
  2. Say NO to artificial sweeteners, MSG, and/or high fructose corn syrup. You can read my post on Aspartame’s New Name and why corn syrup is NOT a sweet surprise.
  3. Say NO to processed grains. This means only WHOLE wheat bread, pasta, whole grain rice.  For more info on why whole wheat is important, see Is Wonderbread Making You Sterile?
  4. Say NO to meat of any kind more than 3 times total in one week. Or cut it down to once. Or not at all. In other words, how ever much meat you are eating now, eat much LESS of it. Wondering what you’ll serve for dinner? Check out some of my non-meat recipes including beans.
  5. Say NO to dairy. Or cut it down dramatically. Whatever would be a big change for you; none is best if you want to be able to see how you feel without it. Why? Read my post on milk and how to get your calcium from other places. And don’t forget: you can make your own almond milk anytime!
  6. Say NO to processed sugar. This includes white and brown sugar and also honey if it’s pasteurized. What does that leave you with? Raw honey, sucanat, or stevia. Dried dates and raisins can be used to sweeten, but try getting along without indulging that sweet tooth. And yes…this means no chocolate! Unless you can get chocolate without sugar. If so, then go for it! 🙂
  7. Say NO to animal products. In other words, go vegan. Avoid all meats, milk/cheese and eggs. Eat only things that might have been growing in the Garden of Eden, hopefully in a form close to their original.
  8. Say NO to cooked foods. Go for LIVE foods that still have their enzymes in them. If you do this, your body will absolutely jump for joy, and the level of healing and detoxing it can accomplish will soar.  I’ve mentioned going more raw in these posts: When Your Child Is Unwell: Attitudes Toward Illness and Sick And Tired of Feeling Sick And Tired. If going completely raw is not something you’d consider, try it for two or at least one meal each day.

Do any ONE of these for 21 days (3 weeks), and you will notice changes!

Choose the one that works for YOU.

I can’t wait to see how great our family feels after our detox. Join us.

Make a commitment to ONE of the above choices for 3 weeks. Which one is right for you? Leave a comment. Accountability is very powerful, and I’d love for us to share this journey together.

What’s for Dinner? Day 27 of Babystep Challenge To A Peaceful Home

What’s For Dinner?

Do those words fill you with dread? What about when it’s 5 o’clock and you still have no idea what the answer is as you’re standing in front of the refrigerator just hoping something will assemble itself and jump out at you? Now do you feel stressed out?

At this point, many of us would feel tempted to pick up a phone and order in. Or tell the kids to hop in the car for a “treat”. These choices will cost LOTS more money and give you much less nutrition, and much more chemicals and fat. Which you know you don’t want to do.

3 Reasons to Make a Menu Plan

1. Save Your Brain

I don’t know about you, but my brain is……hibernating. It started with my first pregnancy. You know: Pregnancy Brain. And then it was New Mommy Brain. And then it was Living With Little Children Brain, then more Pregnancy Brain, and so on. So while I used to consider myself an intelligent, thinking person, that person has been sliiiiippppiiing away, and I want to conserve whatever intelligence I have left so that I might be able to write coherent blog posts. In other words, the fewer decisions I must make on a daily basis, the better! It’s much easier to decide in one sitting what we will be having for dinner each night than to have to do it every day. And in doing so, I can plan to actually have the ingredients when I go to make the meal. Who would’ve thunk it?

2. Save Your Money

    We’d all like to save money and use it for more important things. When you eat out, you spend MUCH more money than you do when you eat home. When you buy last minute items at the corner convenience store, you also spend much more money than you would for those same items at the supermarket, if you’d known you would want them. And when you buy random things at the grocery store, things spoil because you don’t have a plan to use them. What a waste!

    3. Eat More Healthfully

      When you make your own food at home, you are (hopefully) not going to fill it with MSG and other poisonous preservatives. You can be sure that convenience foods are toxic to your bodies, and with a little bit of planning, you can avoid these and know you are helping your family to be healthier. And it’s really easy!

      So Here’s What You Need To Do.

      1. Pick an amount of time you’d like to plan. I usually do 1 or 2 weeks at a time, but if you’re new to this and it seems too much, try 3 days.
      2. Write down a dinner meal for each of the days you are planning for. Dinner is the most important meal to plan, so focus on that meal first. Remember to include side dishes.
      3. On your shopping list, write down each of the ingredients you’ll need to make your meal. $ has some nice printable planning sheets for menus and grocery lists.
      4. Go shopping and save money because you’re not buying things you don’t need or won’t use.

      It really is that simple.

      And if you really don’t want to do all of this, you can go to and buy their menus, complete with grocery lists. They’re very inexpensive and will still save you lots of time and money.

      What’s For Dinner is the theme of Day 27 of the Flylady’s babysteps. I’m so glad I’ve made this a habit because it’s really helped me. I even aspire to plan a whole month at a time and get into more freezer cooking….but I’m not there yet. One step at a time!

      I usually post my weekly menu on Mondays. Doing this has helped me be accountable for getting it done. I love linking up to others’ menus; if you post one, let me know!

      Do you menu plan? Why or why not? How long? I want to know what works for you.

      Swish ‘n Swipe. Day 24 of Babystep Challenge To A Peaceful Home

      Day 24 of the Flylady’s babysteps is when we meet the Swish ‘n Swipe, which is a fabulous tool for my bag of tricks in my quest for a peaceful home. Ya want another tool? Check this out.

      The “swish” means you take a toilet brush which you keep upright in a container next to your toilet and do a quick once around your toilet bowl. No need to get out the cleaner–just keep some old shampoo or liquid soap in the bottom of the brush holder. It takes about 10 seconds.

      The “swipe” means you take a rag of some kind and rub the spots off of the mirror (not “clean the mirror; just the spots!), wipe the counter off (after putting away whatever you’ve left out there), and wipe out the sink. It takes about 10 seconds.

      Because I have little boys, I also take another 10 seconds and use a baby wipe to wipe down the toilet seat, top & rim, and base and floor around the toilet. When needed, I’ll spray this area with a bleach spray and wipe with a paper towel.

      The whole thing leaves your bathroom nice and fresh (the shampoo makes the whole thing smell good), ready for company, in 30 seconds. It’s simple and part of my morning routine. Yes, that means I do it every day, and don’t wait until it gets stinky. I do my bathroom when I use it first thing in the morning, the boys’ bathroom when I do the laundry (it’s also the laundry room), and the downstairs the first time I use it later on.

      If you have any tips for easily keeping your bathroom nice, please share!

      My Afternoon Routine

      One of my favorite tools from the Flylady is the concept of routines. A routine is something you do every day, and putting it in a specific order helps you to remember and learn it until you don’t have to think about it. And having a little checklist, either on a post it or in your Control Journal can help.

      In my recent post about keeping up with the laundry, I shared my morning routine. It looks like this:

      1. Make my bed
      2. Get dressed to shoes
      3. Feed baby
      4. Wake other kids
      5. Start a load of laundry
      6. Prep & drink smoothies (hubby usually does this)
      7. Prep school lunches (hubby usually does this)
      8. Cleanup kitchen/empty dishwasher
      9. Baby to nap
      10. HANG CLOTHES OUT TO DRY/laundry “reboot”

      My late morning routine looks like this:

      1. Cleanup kitchen if it’s not already done
      2. blog post/computer work/desk work 1/2 hr
      3. declutter 15 minutes
      4. daily mission/detail cleaning/weekly home blessing as needed
      5. outside time or other activity with children
      6. prep lunch

      And my afternoon routine (babystep #23), looks like this:

      1. Serve lunch/feed baby/eat lunch myself
      2. Lunch cleanup
      3. prep snacks for school children
      4. put toddler to nap
      5. welcome school kids home/give snacks
      6. story time with 4 year old (and anyone else who wants to join us)
      7. put baby & 4 year old to nap/bigger boys to quiet reading
      8. MY QUIET TIME! computer/reading/nap if I want.

      It really is helpful to do it the same way every day; it helps me to not forget anything. Since I’ve been doing it for a while, it does come automatically so I don’t consult my control journal, but if I were new to this or found myself leaving things out, I certainly would.

      Flylady gives her routines as examples
      . Use any of these to give you ideas; just remember that you need to make it work for YOU.

      Making My Bed. Day 15 of Babystep Challenge To A Peaceful Home

      Babystep 15 is to make your bed.

      I have had this habit (regularly) for more than a year now. I love the way it makes my room look; even if other things are out, the bed being made sets the tone.

      When I bought my first down comforter for the winter here (I’m from Miami; I never had one before), I was introduced to the concept of having a duvet cover for the comforter, and not using a top sheet. Using one of these makes making the bed so much easier. I used to pull the top sheet up under the bedspread, and then fold both over, exposing the top sheet. Yes, it looked very pretty, but it made making the bed take much longer than it should and therefore I didn’t do it so much.

      Now I use the duvet cover even in the summertime (with a lightweight blanket, or even empty if it’s hot enough) and all I have to do is pull it up to the top of the bed before putting the pillows on.

      That first duvet cover was white with eyelet. Very pretty and elegant. But, after a while, I realized that I was very bored with the lack of color and was not motivated to keep it nice.

      So, I went and bought this pretty happy one. It makes me smile and that’s the best motivation to keeping your room neat. If you don’t like your bedclothes, go buy new ones! They really do not cost much and are so worth it. I have one set for the spring and fall and a different one for the summer and winter. That way I don’t get bored.

      If you don’t have the habit of making your bed, keep this in mind: you have to do it IMMEDIATELY when you get up. If you wait, it doesn’t get done. That was the most important thing to learn.

      Enjoy your beautiful bedroom!

      I Can’t Catch Up. Day 14 of Babystep Challenge To A Peaceful Home

      You Can’t Catch Up. It’s impossible.

      This is a very important concept in life. Things keep moving, and it’s almost certain that you won’t keep up with everything. But what you do when you realize you’re “behind”, and more importantly how you feel about it will make all the difference in what you do next.

      I’m struggling with these flylady babysteps. I’m falling back into the same habits I had before I began them again: I haven’t done the 15 minutes of decluttering every day. In fact, I haven’t done 15 minutes since I posted my success with it. That was days ago. Two minute hotspot, yes. Room rescue, yes, sort of(if you count me delegating it, but not if I do one myself). Daily mission, not so much.

      I think my very favorite concept of Flylady’s is “You are not behind. Don’t try to catch up. Just jump in where you are.”

      I’m never going to catch up. I really need to just do what I can today. It’s a new day, a fairly new week (we have Sunday as a work day here, so Monday is the second day for me). I’m going to ditch the guilt I feel and jump in where I am.

      I’m also going to prioritize those things I seem to have a very difficult time getting done. I’m going to call my 15 minutes today my frog and eat it as soon as I can. I’d say “first”, but with other household things that must happen in the morning, it’s not possible. If you aren’t familiar with the “eat the frog” concept, enjoy this short (1 minute) video. I wanted to embed the player but it won’t let me. Very worthwhile.

      I’m glad that today’s babystep is to read an essay about calendars and how/why to use them properly. I can handle doing that while still focusing on my frog.

      What’s your frog today? What are you procrastinating on?

      Your Mission For Today: Day 13 of Babystep Challenge To A Peaceful Home

      On Day 13 of Flylady’s babysteps, we are to choose one of Kelly’s missions and do it.

      I love the way this is done. Each day, Kelly sends out one “mission” to accomplish. It’s something in the current zone, and usually will take less than 15 minutes. By dividing the house up into 5 zones and focusing a little extra time in it each day for the week, our houses can stay reasonably clean without much effort.

      I need help with this. Just like regularly doing the 15 minutes of decluttering, I struggle to get it done, even though it really only takes a few minutes.

      But they really do work.

      This is a link to Kelly’s missions; they are posted daily and remain for the week.

      This past week we were in the Kitchen zone. My favorite mission from that zone is the deep wipedown of the counter. I have a large countertop and need to spend most of that time putting things away that seem to collect there (beyond regular putting away kind of stuff), so I’ll usually do 15 mins + a little. And it might not all get done, but that’s ok.

      I won’t get blown up if I don’t get it done!

      The Kitchen Hangover

      Sometimes I don’t shine my sink. I don’t finish all of the cleanup at night. Most days I do, but on Saturday night, after a full day of relaxing and spending time with my family (which causes lots of extra dishes & stuff), my hubby and I like to have a movie night. And when it’s already late and we don’t want it to get any later, I leave things out.

      Oh, I’ll pack my dishwasher, and put away any food that’s out. And even do an extra 5 minutes on top of that.

      This is where I found this funny photo.

      I woke up to this today. I call it my Kitchen Hangover.

      It’s a good thing I know how to use my timer. I’ll go as fast as I can for 15 minutes and see what a difference I can make.

      15 minutes really does a lot.