40 Year Old Utah Mormon Vegan Homeschool Mom with Large Family Trying to Get to a Healthy Weight

I have a large family. I have a large family for a Utah Mormon (not just for a city-dwelling New-York City resident or Hollywood movie star, because their definitino of a large family is not mine). I am vegan. I have been pregnant and breatfeeding for what feels like half of my life. I am 40. I wake up early, not to excercise, but to take my daughter to her early morning homeschool seminary class.

I try hard to eat right. I just barely skim the surface of having a habit of eating breakfast, lunch and dinner on time. I try to eat healthy foods, but it is tough to find time to prepare something healthy when our lives are so busy.

I try to find time to exercise. I just cannot find it. O.k., so I know where it is. It is right there when my husband gets home, gives me the chance to go to the gym, and I hear my preschooler bawling at the top of his lungs about his hunger, my husband says to ignore him, and I make him something to eat, following which my husband leaves and my was-gonna-be-tending-while-I-went-to-the-gym son throws a fit, begging me to let off on the homeschool assignments for the week so that he can play on the wii. The screaming, throwing things and bawling from the torture of the immensity of the assignments is so great that I do not go to the gym. I stay home and my husband gets back and tries go help us through the rough patch. Then I make a vegan dinner for only myself and am too exhausted (and it is too late at night) to go to the gym.

This is just one day in the life of the Utah Mormon Vegan Homeschool Mom with a Large Family who is trying to lose 30 lbs. and thus reach a healthy weight. I tell you, I am sick to death of all the blog posts and youtube videos I find with women who have 2 kids and send them to school during the day, then tell me how they lost all the baby weight in 6 weeks.  am also sick of all the “you need animal protein” lies out there, written by weight-loss gurus who are not vegan!

“Thou shalt not covet” the women who lose baby weight in under a year. Seriously, the toughest commandment out there. Arghhhhh!

I seriously cannot be the only one! I hate feeling alone. I do not expect to find someone just exactly in my situation, but a bunch of groupies close to it would be nice. A support group would help immensely. There have to be vegan homeschool moms out there with large families, and who also large bellies like mine that have not gone away when the baby is a preschooler!

If you are one and have found this post, please comment. I need a support network of women who know what I am going through! Advice about exercise would be appreciated. Thanks in advance!

De-Cluttering: State What You Want A Space to Become!

Yesterday my mom said to me, “I need this to be a play area for the grandkids for Thanksgiving!” She started out by stating what dreams she had for that particular space. That is a big thing I learned from her. Instead of just de-junking, I need to envision what I really want to do wit my house and with each room and with each space. This will help me to turn this into the house and life I love and what we need for this time in our lives.

I was at my mom’s and helped her de-junk one large corner of one room. One thing she said was she just has to get rid of “just a little” or “just a few” at a time because then my dad (who likes to keep everything) will not notice. I have to do this in my home, too. I think the more you have, the less each bag dejunked, will be missed. However, my mom really only got rid of about four feet cubed of stuff. She knows she cannot eliminate more than that in a day, or it will be noticed. I know that I can eliminate about a bag from each room each time I do ot and it will not get noticed. We have many rooms though, so I cannot do more than about two rooms in each session of decluttering.

We also discussed our strategies of getting it done fast and taking it away from the house (to charity or something) immediately and before our husbands get home so that they will not know or notice. She said at one point, “He won’t know becuase he doesn’t even know these things exist.” Amen to that. It is the same way here. She also said at one point, “Look, I gained this much space!” Isn’t that inspirational!

This helping my mom was very inspirational and motivational for me. I got rid of two bags today and took them to charity. I feel so inspired that I want to find more to get rid of. 

The Federal Reserve Was Created By Congress, Can End By Congress, but is Not Controlled by or Owned by the U.S. Federal Government 

I know this title comes as a shock to the majority of people, but it is true. Many private banking corporations and corporate investors back up the lending of money to you when you get a loan from your bank or credit union.

Please read more about it here.

About the Federal Reserve

Homeschooling is the Road Less Travelled By. How has our choice to homeschool our children “made all the difference?”

My child showed me a video about choices called “Leave the Party.” It is from an LDS General Conference Talk by Bishop Gary E. Stevenson called, “Be Valiant in Courage, Strength and Activity.” He talked about a choice made by a young man at a party in Japan. Then he said that the choices each of us make now will make a difference in what happens in our life, in who we become. Every choice helps to shape our lives. It is so true. I pondered it, and thought about our choice to homeschool our children years ago.

It also reminded me of this poem many of us love by Robert Frost called, “The Road Not Taken.” I have it in a book which has the poems illustrated with beautiful watercolor paintings. I really love these 3 lines the most:

“…. long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;”

     These lines are touching to me. I like to put it into my life and my soul. “Long I stood” in 2011, pondering, studying, consulting and deciding. Long I stood then, next to my husband, in 2011 and 2012, he travelling beside me on the path. Should we homeschool? And (in January 2012, we) looked down as far as (we) could, to where (the path of homeschooling) bent in the undergrowth (at that time, that point was, until the next school year started. We just wanted to try it for the rest of that academic year, and be ready to put the kids back in school in August of 2012).

Now to go over these famous lines:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

     For sure, Homeschooling is the Road Less Travelled By. How has our choice to homeschool our children “made all the difference?”

  • Homeschooling helped our children to be happier, get along better with each other, and has brought more of the Gospel of Jesus Christ into our home.
  • Homeschooling has helped others, who have followed us down this path, they seeing that someone they knew was tredding on that path.
  • Homeschooling has given me a more thorough education, as I get to review and teach the things my children must learn. I learn (or review) things along with them and prove my basic education, giving me a stronger foundational education.
  • Homeschooling has led me to learn more about the U.S. Constitution and what is going on in politics in my county, state and country. I had been involved in politics and in learning about the U.S. Constitution, but not as much as I am involved in it now.
  • Homeschooling has led me to meet people whom I never would have met had I not started down its path. These people have helped to shape my life.
  • Homeschooling has helped me to become closer to Heavenly Father because it is so tough and I cannot do it without His help. I have learned and relearned that lesson.
  • Homeschooling has helped me to learn more about the Old Testament because in Life School and in Discover the Old Testament, we have been studying the Old Testament.
  • Homeschooling has made me happier, personally an has improved my health.
  • Homeschooling forces me to improve, as I have children whom I have taught, constantly encouraging me to be a better example to them.
  • Homeschooling helps me know my children on a deeper level. Because I spend more time with them than I would if I sent them to public school, I know more about them. (They also know more about me than they would the other way).
  • Homeschooling has influenced my childrens’ lives immensely, as, for one, they are exposed to completely different learning than they would be were they sent to school. I am not only talking about academic learning, but social learning, also. 
  • Homeschooling gave me and my children more chances to know more about my Grandma Preece and my Uncle Steven, who have now passed into post-mortality. Much of the time we spent with them was during what would have been otherwise, time with them away at school.
  • I have had more time during the days, day after day, to teach my children life skills which they should not have to wait for adulthood and free daytime hours, to learn.
  • I believe my children are closer to Havenly Father and love the Bible and Book of Mormon more than they would otherwise.
  • I truly believe that the choices my children make are better choices than they would have been had they been sent to school all these years.

“The Road Not Taken,” by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

Ask Permission to Hug

I came across this. I have not been doing this but I will from now on. I do think it is important. I remember teaching one of my kids to do this when someone at school reacted to being hugged by my child.

Chileans always hug. It happens constantly. Everyone hugs everyone. Sister missionaries only hug the girls and women, of course. There is always a hug goodbye for everyone in the room (or for sister missionaries, for every girl or woman in the room).

Now I am not in Chile. I am in the U.S.A. I need to remember to ask permission. It is a good way for kids to know that they get to give or not give permission. This will help prevent kids from being groomed by sexual predators by using physical touch.

I am very compassionate, but I need to first feel compassion and then ask the person if he or she would like a hug. On a personal self-note, I must not hug someone if I feel uncomfortable with it.  I must say that I do not want a hug, and move away. I must stand up for myself.

So must you. If you feel uncomfortable with any physical touch, you must stand up for yourself and tell them you do not like it. If you feel comfortable with it but it it is inappropriate, then you should still tell them to stop. If your conscience pricks you or your gut instinct says it is not good, listen to that instinct or conscience. Trust that feeling and say no.
Always Ask Permission to Give Someone a Hug

What to Tell Your Child About Getting Lost (And Finding You)

A police officer told me about how one of the guidelines widely shared with children for getting lost, is wrong! Many parents tell their kids, “Look for an employee, security guard, or police officer,” or they tell their kids, “look for a mom or grandma with kids.”

     The officer told me if your child is lost, he or she should find the first adult he sees and say, “I am lost. Please help me find my (guardian).” He said they have found that the worst state for a lost child to be in is one wherein the child has a lost puppy look on his or her face and is crying, frustrated because he or she cannot find a “security person” or “police officer.” Likewise, looking specifically for “a mom or a grandma with kids” is almost as tough. What if that day your child gets lost is a day when you are at a store where mostly men shop? What if the day your child gets lost is a day wherein every child is in school and the people there are just senior citizens walking around shopping?

     It is best for the first person the child sees to aid the child in getting to the police officer, employee or security person. This way, the child feels confident immediately and can likely find you faster. The child is with an adult and is not afraid, crying and frustrated. This officer told me that 99% of the time, the first person the child sees will be a good person who would never harm a child. He said, if the child looks like a scared puppy and is crying, he or she will be lost for a longer time and, refusing to talk to strangers that would help, will have a greater chance of being spotted by a bad person with ill-intent. THAT person will be good at gaining the trust of the child because he or she is skilled and practiced. However, the child’s confidence in that person will be mal-placed.

     I think if your child has a photo of you and your name with him or her, that will increase the speed at which you will be found again. I also like to snap  a photo of each of my kids when we go to a crowded place. That way, if my child becomes lost, I have a photo to show people and say, “Have you seen this child?” Sometimes people ask, “What was he wearing?” You should be able to pull uo your cell ohone with the photo so they cna immediately have a visual of what he was wearing. As a mother of a larger family, I have lost my kids a few times. Every time, (with the help of prayer, my family and others) I find them within a couple minutes. This is relieving. By way of note, the child I find has not felt lost yet and is just enjoying life. It really takes quite some time for a child to look around and realize he or she cannot see mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, aunt or uncle.     

     One thing a parent should keep in mind when not being able to spot a child is that the parent must not be embarrassed to tell other parents around him or her. If I were embarrassed, I would not enlist immediate help from others and this would slow the time in finding my child. If you are shouting your child’s name, other people around you will immediately offer help in finding your lost child. If you are in a place like a playplace for kids with employees, the employees will all help together and more quickly. After all, they do not want their place to have a bad reputation.

     One time, we wereat Boondocks. I could not see my daughter. I am always looking around making sure I can see all my kids. I immediately told my family and started calling her name. A very young man asked me what she looked like and began looking. I found an employee and told her. She had a walkie talkie and told the security guard in the watchroom, who could see the whole place with cameras. Befor the team of employees could even get started, the first young man I mentioned had found her. It was wonderful of him. I am forever grateful. I hope God blessed him for it!

     It is a beautiful thing. People do not want a child to get lost or hurt. They will help quickly. I love that about people!

     God bless you never to lose your child for over 2 minutes! (Because losing your child at all will be a common thing).

Keywords: kidnapping, stranger danger, child safety

We Just Refinanced for Less Total Interest On Our Home Mortgage! 

Listening to and watching Rachel Cruze and Dave Ramsey live from Rachel’s Youtube channel was amazing and got me emotionally excited again, but there is something else I am emotionally excited about financially, too.

Today we signed papers to refinance our mortgage in order to be paying a 1% lower interest rate and in order to take 8 years off of our mortgage loan! 8 years. There were no fees except the cost of the escrow account and we will be getting roughly $1,500 to 2,000 back from different sources. (We will put it into our emergency fund). That really rocks big time! 

When we bought this, our second house, we had some equity from our other house which we sold. That was nice. It helped. We were at just 11 years left on that mortgage before buying this, our second home. Then, sadly, with a newer, bigger home, we were at a 30 year mortgage AGAIN. That was upsetting. Now we are down to a 20 year mortgage. Yay! It feels good to have less time left to be paying interest!

Dave Ramsey recommends not buying a home at all until you have 3 to 6 months liquid expenses in savings for emergencies and all your debts paid off. We did not do that. He also recommends not getting more than a 15 year mortgage loan. I want really bad to get down to a 15 year from a 20 RIGHT NOW, but we have been working at it and doing the best we can.

We aren’t big spenders. This Christmas, for the first time, we may possibly be able to spend more than last year’s $600 on Christmas for our whole extended family, our friends, our neighbors and our little immediate family. Most people would think that is not very much for a family as large as ours (and I will not tell you of its size because I do not trust the internet). Last year that is what we spent and it has been getting bigger every year. That means it was smaller the year before that and smaller the year before that one! When we were newlyweds, I had $5 that I could spend on my husband. I got him a mug with candy in it. It was all we could afford! Our second year, I had a canvas. I made him a painting of Portugal, where he served his LDS Mission.

We just went on our first ever traveling (not stay-cation) family vacation to a place 3 hours away, on a one night stay. It was a two day and one night fairly local vacation. Some people have told us that because we are not taking our kids on family vacations yearly, we are not building memories with them. That does make me sad, but I am also happy for the following: We have not had big fights over money. I am a mom who does not earn any money. This does not cause our family any stress. We are able to afford the expenses of homeschooling. We have a very nice house in a very nice area. We are living within our means. 

I know money does not create happiness, but I believe that doing our best to live within our means and be financially as smart as we can does bring us happiness!

If you are not acquainted with Dave Ramsey or Rachel Cruze, please check them out. They are amazing. They teach me many new things. They are also very good at motivating millions of people, including me! Go get some motivation!