frugal, real life, imperfectly perfect ideas

Life Stealing Disease Strikes 14 Year Old Girl, but What She Does Will Amaze You.

  Lizzie was Dx on Nov 5.2015 at 14 years old, with AE (Autoimmune Encephalitis). Her onset was 7 months earlier in the form of a TIA. Then migraines, seizures, blurry vision, lack of muscle memory, body pain, electrical feelings in her limbs, major fatigue, hair fell out, dizzy spells, loss of memory, loss of abilities… But she looks normal & healthy. 

After Dx on Nov 5 with AE, Lizzie has had to many medications and changes to count. At one point she took 32 pills a day. She has endured countless lab draws. 4 MRI’s. 3 X-rays. 2 CT scans. 1 EKG and one ECHO. 5 short EEG’s. One 72 hour video EEG. She has had 5 infusions of a very high dose steroids that last around 5 hours each. 5 IVIg infusions that are also around 5 hours each. Two chemo infusions that lasted 8 hours each. And one lumbar puncture for spinal fluid. I have yet to count up the number of Dr visits, I’m guessing around 20. She is still waiting to get into some specialists that are just way over booked. 

THIS is her journey. Her life. Her reality! This is HER story! It’s REAL. It exists! 

Support her journey. 



Tuna Salad – S

My obsession right now is Tuna Salad.  Simple, easy, throw together and eat out of one bowl, tuna salad.  This is loaded with protein, low fat, low carb and easy.  Did I say that already?

What you need:

One can tuna in water

1 tsp or more of Mayo of choice  (I prefer low fat or light mayo, pre-made, store bought.)


Green onions, Chopped Cucumbers, Pink Himalayan SaltBlack Pepper, Ginger, Turmeric, Garlic Powder and/or Onion Powder


Throw tuna and mayo in one bowl, add optional ingredients of your choice and mix it up!

Normally I would add a picture of the finished product, but it really was not that pretty.  If I get a great pic, I’ll post it at a later date.


I like to throw in a handful or two of fresh spinach or kale to make a salad! Or place the tuna salad on top of some greens!YUMMMMMMM!

THAT’S IT!  Enjoy!

This is is S territory for Trim Healthy Mama’s.  If you have not heard about this wonderful eating way of life, check it out here or look at the books here!  I cannot say enough about this wonderful, life changing way of eating!

This is the easiest meal!  I eat this almost everyday for lunch through out the week. You cannot beat one bowl clean up!

Try this our and let me know how you combine seasonings!  I love to see pics too!  tag me #mamaof6blog!

Happy Eating!!!

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Day 1 AIP

So day one of AIP.  How hard can this be?

Well, right off the bat, we messed up.  Yip. Day 1. Meal 1. Screwed up.  I made Oatmeal.  Oatmeal is not AIP., but I added cinnamon, vanilla & stevia … Oatmeal & stevia = no no list.  WHOOPS!  I did warn you it would be ups & downfalls.  There you have it, the first downfall.blueberries-531209_640

WAIT! No oatmeal?  Oh no. What in the world we will have for breakfast that is fast, easy & AIP?  Back to the drawing board!  Do you have any ideas?

My mix ups did not end with breakfast.  Through out the day I used mayo and butter.  Both are non-compliant. I will need to figure out how to be compliant.

Even with the mess up(s), here are our meals for Day 1 on AIP.

Breakfast (E)


  • 1 serving old fashioned oats
  • A squirt of pure vanilla
  • A Tablespoon of PYURE brand stevia. (This is the only brand of stevia that I find sweet, without the bitter aftertaste.)
  • Cinnamon to taste
  • Water (I didn’t measure, I know how much water is needed to make the visits envy my family likes. Somewhere between paste & school glue.)

Put in pan on cook top, bring to boil then turn back the heat to med-low. Stir. Keep stirring or it will stick. Remove from heat when consistency it ache iced. (Again, I did not time it. If you don’t know how to cook oatmeal, read the instructions on the box.)

That’s it. Served it.  They had no clue it was suppose to be AIP.

My Lunch (S)

Tuna Salad

  • Tuna (in water)
  • Mayo (face palm. Not AIP)
  • 1/2 a cucumber chopped
  • Onion powder, garlic powder to taste.
  • Mix together and eat.

My girls Lunch (E)

  • Grilled chicken breast
  • Fresh fruit


  • Fresh fruit (E)


Dinner (S)

IMG_4190Pork Roast. (S) You can find my recipe here. This is the BEST roast you will ever eat!  DELISH! If you don not eat pork, try the method and seasonings with any type of meat. Make sure you comment about how much you love it, and tag me #mamaof6 with pictures.

I served with boiled cabbage & butter (UGH! Butter is not AIP.)

Oh!  I am also trying to incorporate the THM (Trim Healthy Mama) principles into my AIP journey. Or maybe it is the AIP principles into my THM journey. Either way, I could afford to drop a few … ok, a lot of pounds. I purchased my THM books through Amazon. You can find all of those books here that will walk you through the THM journey.  If you want more info about THM ways you can find that here at their web site.

In case you are a THM follower, all meals for today, that I ate, are all THM friendly.  (Although pork is not a recommended meat, I found a steal on it at .99#, so we will be eating pork for a while.)

  • Breakfast is an E meal.
  • My lunch was an S.
  • My girls lunch was an E, depending on your serving size of fruit.
  • Our dinner was an S.

AHHHHH!  Well day 1.  I thought I had it together.  I guess I need more practice!  I nailed the THM part, but need work on the AIP part.

So if you drop the oatmeal for an AIP food for breakfast, eat what the girls ate for lunch & cut the butter at dinner, you will be eating AIP. Right? (Rechecking….) Yes!  You will be eating AIP!

So much for Day 1, but Day 2 will be better!

If you have any suggestions, let me know! (I need a mayo and butter substitute. Ideas?)


Tag me on social media #mamaof6blog.

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For a few years I have toyed with the idea of going AIP (Autoimmune Paleo), but the decision was never made until …

I have heard and read all of those blogs and articles telling me how great AIP is.  How it will benefit my inflammation.  How night shades were bad for me.  (GASP … no tomato sauce?  What?  How can I eat pizza?)  I continued to read how much better my health would be if I just followed the few simple rules of AIP. But …. I never dedicated myself to it, until this year.  I decided it was time to switch to AIP.

tomatoes, peppers and potatoes … all night shades.

I need to back up a little…

On November 5, 2015, my daughter was diagnosed with Hashimotos Autoimmune Encephalopathy. In laymen terms, this is a very rare disease, in which her own body was attacking her brain and causing swelling. The swelling, reeks havock on a persons brain and causes brain damage. (I will soon start a blog about her journey.) She began treatment immediately, but I couldn’t help but wonder what effect an AIP way of life would have on her brain swelling.

Sums up how she feels.  On a bad day, she has electrical shocks traveling though her body as one of her symptoms.

I could not find a single article or research paper on brain swelling and AIP, but I found plenty on how AIP helps inflammation in the body and heals the gut, plus improves your health.  Swelling IS inflammation.  What could eating this way hurt, right?  So that is why I decided that we would switch to AIP.

This blog will follow our daily and weekly struggles and success with the AIP way of eating.  I will share our meals, our improvements or downfalls. The groceries purchased on a budget.  The “Why cant I have that?” fit. This will be an inside look at my family’s journey through this AIP switch. Hold on for the ride!

Here’s to a life style change, that hopefully will improve our health along the way.

If you would like to hear how a week of AIP improved my arthritis symptoms, You can find daily and weekly posts starting  here.

Have you been on the AIP journey?  I would love to hear our tips and tricks.  Feel free to tag me #mamaof6blog on social media.

Sharing is appreciated.


How I stopped my arthritis pain

Arthritis pain.  OUCH!  If you have had arthritis in any form, in any joint, I sympathize with you.  I’m not sure how to describe the pain other than a burning knife, being dug down deep into the joint and twisted back and forth.  It’s a pain all of its own. A pain nobody should feel.

Over the last year or so, my left hip became more and more of a pain.  It was plain painful on most days.  Some days, it was stiff.  Like that feeling of it just needed to be “cracked”. Other days, it would take me a few minutes to stand and start walking.  Some days a little pain, some days more.  I’m sure you know what I mean.

After having to quit my exercise routine of jogging (OK, I ran on the treadmill off and on for 3 miles a few times a week,  Don’t laugh.) I finally broke down and went to the Doctor. (Not for my hip pain, but lower leg pain.)

It was discovered through x-rays, with my general Physician, that my hip pain and stiffness is from Arthur himself. Mr. Arthritis. (He is not a friend.)  WHAT?  I’m only in my 40’s.  Arthritis?  Yup.  Stinking ole arthritis.

I have a very mild case of arthritis, in the early or beginning stages of development in my left hip. I did receive a shot in my hip that same day of diagnosis (not sure what it was called).  That gave me a little relief for a few months. I also took some anti-inflammation meds. But when that shot wore off… YOUCH!  Now, remember mine arthritis is very mild.  I cant imagine what a sever case feels like.  I just knew if I was in this much pain, and medication was not helping, I needed an alternative.  I turned to the AIP way of eating.

AIP is Auto Immune Paleo or Protical.  This is a restricted form of the Paleo way of eating.  Hold on just a minute, the restrictions are temporary.  Or at lest most are temporary.

Like the sister way of eating, Paleo, AIP is a no grain way of life.  AIP, however, goes further to restrict foods for the first 30 days.  (After 30 days you get to reintroduce foods.)

This way of eating helps you reduce inflammation, heal the lining of the intestines, calms down the immune system and promotes healing.

I can personally testify that this way of eating works.  After one week of eating the AIP way, my hip hardly bothered me.  The stiffness was so much better. I no longer woke in the middle of the night with pain. It works.

Follow my family’s journey with AIP here.

Here is what I did…

I eliminated these …


  • No grains
  • No nuts or seeds
  • No Night Shades
  • No Dairy
  • No Legumes (included soy and peanuts)
  • No eggs
  • No sugar or replacement sugars
  • No alcohol

That lists seems restrictive, but this is what you CAN eat.

These were the foods on the included list that I used when I made my grocery list.


  • All lean meats
  • All fruits
  • All vegetables, except night shades
  • All natural fats (Avocado, Olive, Coconut)
  • Fermented foods
Some common nightshades .. not included in AIP protical.

Remember, the avoidance of foods is for the first 30 days.  After 30 days, you get to reintroduce foods one at a tie and take not of how you feel.  If there are no issues with the foods, then you may continue to enjoy them. (Keep an eye out for a future post about reintroducing foods.) Thirty days.  Not a big deal when you are looking at the big picture.

I know it seems like a culture shock eating this way, but it has been proven that AIP works to help with inflammation.

An added bonus was the weigh loss I experienced over the first two weeks.  A total of 13#.  Yes, THIRTEEN!  Can you say inflamed?  I still, after another week, have not been swollen or gained that weight back.  In fact, I dropped another 2#. I do need to be honest and tell you I paired the AIP menu with the THM way of eating.  If you are unfamiliar,r or if you would like to learn more about THM (Trim Healthy Mama) here is a link to the THM website.  I purchased my copy of THM books off of Amazon, like these books here.

Follow my family’s journey with AIP, beginning here.

I hope this helped you breakdown what the basics of AIP way of eating is and how is can help your arthritis pain.  I would love to hear how this helped you.  Tag me on social media #mamaof6blog.

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Your Favorite Roast


I have received questions asking me where I found my little roaster and what skillet I use. If you are interested, I found my roasting pan here for under $10.  I guess, I have had my ceramic skillet for years. I was unable to find the exact one I have, but this skillet is very close to what I use.

I am telling you, THIS is THE BEST [pork] roast recipe EVER! It is also AIP!

You can follow my families AIP journey here.

I am as frugal as it gets. If I find meat on a great special, I stock the freezer.  This last week, I was lucky enough to find pork roasts for .99 a pound.  I KNOW!  I bought 12, maybe 13, 4 pound roasts.  With that many pork roasts in the house, we will be having a lot of pork for sometime to come.  Roasted pork. Pulled pork. Braised pork,  I feel like Forest Gump.  Remember when he listed off all the ways to cook shrimp?  OK, not as funny as I thought.

My family gets bored very easy with the same thing over and over, so I need something creatively different.  Or, at least not the same ole  salt, pepper, onions, carrots, potatoes.  We don’t eat white potatoes anyways. (You can read more about that is my post about AIP.)

With a little searching, I found a recipe for the base recipe.  I would have to tweak it to meet our AIP way of eating, but I just knew this roast would be different and it would end up being the BEST pork roast we have ever had!  Really, THE BEST!

I cannot take credit for the original recipe that I tweaked.  I found that recipe here. It is a great recipe, I just did not have some of the ingredients.  If you have the special ingredients on hand, try that version. I also changed several steps that I think enhance the flavor of the roast.

If you are following Trim Healthy Mama (THM) this is considered an S meal.  For more information about THM, click HERE.  Or head over to Amazon for the THM books.

Your Favorite Roast

Ingredients ~

  • 1 – 4 pound Roast. (Beef, Pork or other of your choice.) Rinsed, patted dry and stings removed.
  • 2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil (I used refined)
  • 3 Tablespoons Poultry Seasoning (gluten free)
  • 1 Tablespoon Onion Powder (gluten free)
  • 1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder (gluten free)
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon (Do not skip this!)
  • 1 Tablespoon Pink Himalayan Salt
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 4 Tablespoons  honey
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon  mustard (gluten free)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Directions ~

  1. Preheat your oven to 350
  2. At the same time heat your skillet on high on your cook top to smoking hot.
  3. While that is heating, Mix all dry ingredients together.
  4. Rub dry ingredients generously into the roast.
  5. Add coconut oil to skillet.
  6. Once the coconut oil is heated you will sear each side of the roast. I turn the heat down to med-high at this time. Don’t forget the ends of the roast.

    This is what my roast looked like after it was seared, and before I added the “juices”. Remember, color equals flavor!
  7. Meanwhile mix in another bowl and set aside: 4 Tablespoons honey , ½ cup apple cider vinegar and 1 Tablespoon  mustard
  8. Once your roast is seared, place it into a roasting pan. (Searing locks in the juices.)
  9. In the original skillet, add the chopped onion and cook until the onion is translucent.
  10. Add garlic and stir.
  11. Immediately, add water.  Now, you will begin to scrape all the stuck on flavors off the bottom of the skillet.  This is where the flavor is!  Do not skip this step. This mixture will reduce, but do not let it boil away completely.  You want “juice”.
  12. Pour the water, onion and garlic mixture over the roast in the roasting pan.
  13. Now pour the honey, apple cider vinegar and mustard mixture over the roast.
  14. Cover and place in preheated oven.
  15. Cook at 350 for 30 minutes, then reduce heat to 275. I like to cook this for about 4 hours, but use common sense to make sure the roast is completely done. (Use a meat thermometer if you are unsure.  Be sure it reaches the proper temperature recommended on the meat packaging.)
  16. Remove roast from oven and let it rest for about 30 minutes then using two forks, pull the meat apart, while it is sitting in all its juices and serve.

    I added a side of cabbage with butter to this wonderful roast. (Yes, we use disposable plates.  Its easy clean up.)

I’m telling you, this roast is THE BEST!

Give it a try. You wont regret it.  Let me know if you love it as much as I do! Tag me on social media #mamaof6blog.


I have received questions asking me where I found my little roaster and what skillet I use. If you are interested, I found my roasting pan here for under $10.  I guess, I have had my ceramic skillet for years. I was unable to find the exact one I have, but this skillet is very close to what I use.

If you love it, share it!



Get your child to nap with this with one easy trick

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Oh, how I wish I had this advice 25 years ago.  Maybe, just maybe my oldest may have had a nap time of some sort.

I’m sure you can relate … His afternoons consisted of one of two things. 1. Absolute uncontrolled, hyper active, bouncing off the walls chaos. or 2. Hysterical crying over EV ER Y THING!  It did not matter which of the two scenarios developed, each was as tragic for me as it was for him.

Yes. THAT hysterical crying with snot and tears soaking him down to his belly.

Fast forward now 25 years … Nap time happens each and everyday!  YES!  EACH and EVERY day! OK, not usually on the weekends, now that my youngest is able to [sometimes] sleep in and skip a nap, but every weekday, nap time happens.

We, as caregivers, need as much of a break as do our kiddos.  Having a child lay down and nap so they can regenerate is not a punishment.  Napping is a necessity. As far as I’m concerned, it is as necessary as food and water. I could go into the statistics of why we need sleep and how much we need at each age but I am sure you already have an idea, since you are reading this.  Personally, my kiddos need naps to save MY sanity! I’ve also told myself, if raising kiddos is my job, I deserve a break just like every other paid job gets. Right?

Yeah, Right.  My rest time is usually catching up on dishes, laundry, etc.

So how do we do we get them to nap? Lets quit the chit-chat and get down to the nitty-gritty of how to get your kiddo to nap.


Yip, that’s it!  That is all it takes. Have a great nap and  …. JUST KIDDING!

Of course I will share with you how I have managed to have my three youngest and probably 50 other children, that I have watched over the years, to nap. Each and every day.

Routine … THE most important step! In fact, the main step.  The only thing you need is routine. Never changing, routine. You do not have to be scheduled to the minute, but set a daily routine.  Kids thrive with a routine.  They know what is next and have sense of security with a routine.


This is our nap time routine: Lunch, Potty break, wash hands and face, lay down, movie time then nap time.  And we stick to it.  This routine may start at 11:30 or 12:00 or even 1:00, but we stick to the routine. The exact same [boring] steps each day. Everyday. Nobody even asks what is next,  They know the routine.


While the kiddos are eating lunch, I prepare their napping spots.  Each child has their own spot and that does not change. That means if you lay on the chaise, you always lay on the chaise. If you lay on the floor between the couch and chaise, that exact spot between the couch and chaise is yours and only yours.

I lay out their napping mat.  I use the cloth ones made for beds.  These absorb accidents, protect the floor or furniture and I can throw them into the washer immediately.If you do not have these and are still using those plastic mats, give these a shot.  You will not regret it. It will make your job so much easier! Oh, and make sure you have at least two per child.

I then lay out their pillow and their blanket. I use simple fleece blankets that are warm and easily washable. They are just the right size and dry super fast.  If you are like me, saving a half hour of dryer time is a bonus. As for the pillows, I pick out an inexpensive throw pillow for each child.  Each pillow is different and special to the child. You can find the pillows here and blankets here.  Although each child only has one pillow (BTW all my little ones are over the age of three.) each child has 2 blankets, just in case there is an accident. That way one can be washed without ruining the consistency of our routine. Have you ever witnessed the “I NEED MY BLANKET!” tantrum?  That’s why we have more than one per child.

Set the mood

I then turn out the lights, shut the curtains and prepare the movie.

The room is heated or cooled to a comfy, 68 degrees,  It’s not hot or cold and yes, the room remains very dim. The movie is nothing special.  Just grab a Disney movie and toss it in the DVR. Make sure you keep the sound at a level just loud enough to hear, but not to loud.

Calming Down

Once they are finished eating and cleaning up, they each lay down, quietly,in their spot and they then may watch a movie.

Oh, let me back up, I do make sure each child has had a drink, went potty and washed up.  I ask them and double check on their answer. That simple step, eliminates “I’m thirsty.”, “I have to go potty.” … I am sure you have heard as many excuses as I have.  The answer if they do ask for one of the above, is no. OOOOOH, believe me, they will try many excuses, but you are in charge, not them. simply remind them the went potty or had their drink and they will get anouther drink after rest time.  AHHH, see that?  I called it rest time.  Don’t call it nap time. Kids hate nap time.

Close your eyes

Back to the movie.  It only plays for 45 minutes.  After 45 minutes, I tell them “Movie time is over.  Roll over and close your eyes.”, The TV is turned off. More days than not,at least one kiddo needs a second or third reminder, but, that is it.  The end. Good night.

Awe, Such a sweet sight.

Now, I’m not sure what exactly works here, but it does.  They sleep. This has worked for me for over 20 years and it still works today.

The one questions the kiddos do ask is “Do I have to sleep?”  NO!  But you must lay down quietly and close your eyes … and guess what?  They sleep!  IT works.

So there you go. Start your own routine.  Whatever works for you. Give it a try and let me know how it works for you. Tag me with #mamaof6blog

Happy napping.

Oh I almost forgot.  A friend recommended this book.  I have not read it, but she swears it will help you understand why and how to set a sleeping routine.  You can get it here. Its called Night Time Routine.

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