Rancho Burrito Farm

Life as it happens on a farm

What You Can Do to Reduce Your Risk of the Flu Virus

January 17, 2014 Category: Family, Health Print This Post Print This Post


My husband shared an article with me this morning about the relationship between indoor relative humidity levels and the ability of viruses to survive.


The articles suggests that keeping the indoor relative humidity level above 43 percent will reduce the viruses ability to survive.

My sister and her husband gave us a really nice thermometer with a screen that gives you information about outdoor temps and humidity and indoor temps and humidity. This will definitely come in handy for me as I try and watch the indoor humidity and keep it above 43 percent! This is the one they gave us. It works great and was very easy to set up!

Stay well this flu season!


My Thyroid Journey-Finding a Doctor

January 07, 2014 Category: Family, Health, Thyroid Print This Post Print This Post


We searched the list of doctors provided on the thyroid-info web site and found one in our area. The description sounded like he would be one that would be open to different treatments and would also treat the whole body, not just one set of symptoms.

We called and scheduled an appointment one month later, July, 2002. He was not on our insurance. We would have to pay cash to get in to see him.

He did a check of all my vital signs. My blood pressure was 118/82, pulse 80. I was upset and nervous about seeing a new doctor and finding out more about my diagnosis. I was overweight, 156 pounds, still hanging on to pregnancy pounds. We looked over the journal that I had been keeping. He made recommendations for how to change my diet and start eating better. He also ordered some blood work and he ordered an ultrasound of my thyroid. We documented all of my current symptoms so that we could keep check on how they improved.

I started trying to eat better, more whole foods and less processed foods. I paid attention to the calories that I was getting from what I was drinking as well. I started taking a good multi-vitamin. It contained iodine, which I read would help support my thyroid. It also contained L-Tyrosine, which is also supposed to help support a healthy thyroid. I started some liquid Kelp also, hoping that it would help.

A week later, I received the results from the thyroid ultrasound. There were no nodules, no goiter, and no noted enlargement of the thyroid. All of that was good!

Here are the results from the blood work:

  • TSH: 81.16 This was even higher than the labs just a month ago!
  • Free T4: Below the normal range
  • Free T3: Below the normal range
  • Total cholesterol: 277 Normal: Below 200
  • LDL: Above the normal range
  • HDL: Within the normal range
  • Thyroid Antibodies were high. He said pregnancy could have triggered that and that it might return resolve in 6-9 months
  • Tests for diabetes: all showed normal
  • At this point, I did not start on any medication. I worked on my diet and taking supplements. By June of 2003, 11 months later, my TSH was 6.31 and I had lost down to 139 pounds. I was eating better and felt better, although my TSH was still above the normal range, indicating that my thyroid still was not functioning well.

    This is when I found out that I was pregnant. The OB/GYN felt strongly that I should start taking some thyroid hormone for the sake of the baby and pregnancy. I started taking Armour thyroid hormone.

    *Note: If you are just joining us and are interested in the entire thyroid story, start here “My Thyroid Journey”.


    Disclaimer: This information is based solely on my own personal experience. Please use the information here as such. It is not intended to be medical advice. I am not a doctor. Please use the information as something to consider and discuss with your own personal physician.

    Free Home School Materials

    January 06, 2014 Category: Family, Kid's Corner Print This Post Print This Post


    There is a web site that offers daily home school materials for free. I have used it over the years for some great free books and ideas.

    The site is www.homeschoolfreebieoftheday.com

    You can sign up to receive exclusive emails with special offers and also they send out an email weekly listing what the free resources will be each day. This helps to be able to go out and see what days you want to make sure you download the materials.

    Occasionally, they will put together a package of ebooks or sell some curriculum that someone has created. The prices are always very reasonable and the materials are high quality and really great.

    It is definitely worth being a part of and sharing with your friends.

    2014 Olympics Unit Study

    I wanted to pass this along. With the Winter Olympics just about a month away, if you are interested in a Unit Study with your children, Amanda Bennett has hers right now marked down to only $5 through 1/11/14. Regular price is $10.95. Click here to purchase this wonderful resource now! (I am not a part of an affiliate program for this. I am only passing along a very wonderful resource!)

    Have a great day!


    My Thyroid Journey – After the Diagnosis

    January 05, 2014 Category: Family, Health, Thyroid Print This Post Print This Post


    After the initial diagnosis of hypothyroidism, I really wasn’t sure where to begin. I knew nothing about the thyroid, how it worked, or how a non-functioning thyroid could affect your body.

    My husband began researching online and came across Mary Shomon and her web site, thyroid.about.com

    I went to a bookstore in the mall and purchased several books.

    1. “Thyroid Power” by Richard L. Shames, M.D. and Karilee Halo Shames, R.N., PH.D.
    2. “The Thyroid Solutions” by Ridha Arem, M.D. (Newly Revised)
    3. “Living Well With Hypothyroidism, What Your Doctor Doesn’t Tell You…That You Need to Know” by Mary J. Shomon

    I also started keeping a journal in a notebook. I included the following:

  • Date
  • Weight
  • Temperature upon waking
  • Symptoms
  • Items that I ate and drank that day
  • Medications/Vitamins/Supplements
  • Doctor Visits/Discussions/Diagnosis/Blood Work
  • Activities/Exercise
  • Sleeping Patterns
  • Bowel Activity
  • End of Day Notes/Night Time Symptoms
  • This journal proved to be very helpful in my diagnosis and treatment.

    We called several endocrinologists in our area and they all stated that they prescribed Synthroid for their patients and were not open to natural or alternative treatments for thyroid dysfunction.

    My husband found a directory of Doctors online that were noted as being able to treat thyroid dysfunction and that are open to various forms of treatment. Here is the link http://www.thyroid-info.com/topdocs.htm I wanted a doctor that would be open to all forms of treatment. I knew that different things work for different people.

    Gotta end this post for now. Little ones are calling. More on this topic to follow!


    My Thyroid Journey-My Diagnosis

    January 04, 2014 Category: Family, Health, Thyroid Print This Post Print This Post


    I wanted to start a series on thyroid issues. This will be an ongoing series about my thyroid issues. I have seen lots of new books, sites, and Facebook pages on dealing with thyroid issues. I thought I would share my personal experience here, just in case it helps someone else.

    The information that I am sharing here is just from my experiences. I am definitely not qualified to diagnose and treat thyroid issues. You should always use information that you read on sites as something to consider and then take the information to your doctor and make your own informed decision.

    My thyroid journey started about 12 years ago, after my daughter was born. It was June of 2002. I was still breastfeeding and I was up during the night for feedings. My daughter was 6 months old when I started experiencing symptoms. It felt like I was pregnant again. I went to my OB/GYN and told her what I was experiencing.

    My symptoms were:

  • Weight gain
  • Frequent urination
  • Hair loss
  • Heartburn
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Really tired during the day
  • Pain in my wrist, like carpal tunnel
  • Back pain
  • Leg cramps
  • Low body temperature in the morning-97 degrees was my normal
  • Swollen feet and hands
  • Excessive sweating
  • Headaches
  • Heart racing, kind of felt like a pounding feeling
  • Bowel movements two to three times a day
  • I told her that I had already taken a pregnancy test at home and it showed negative. She ran some blood work to make sure that I was not pregnant, which did come back negative. She told me that she suspected that I had something going on with my thyroid. I am so thankful that she recognized the symptoms right away. I know women who have gone years without getting a diagnosis. She ordered blood work, testing my TSH levels only, and told me that she would get in touch with me in a few days with the results.

    We went out of town to visit family. While we were there, the doctor called and wanted to talk to me. She said that my TSH was sky high! I had no idea what she was talking about. The normal range for TSH, for the lab that was used, was .3 – 5.0. My TSH was 55! Yes, fifty-five, not 5.5. I asked her just to make sure that she was reading it correctly. She said that based on that level, she was surprised that I had energy to even get out of bed! I just thought I was tired from taking care of two small children, then 2 years old and 6 months old. I was up nursing the baby during the night and just thought I wasn’t getting enough sleep. I was still preparing meals daily, cleaning the house, and we had traveled several times to visit out of state family. I didn’t think that my energy levels were THAT low. I just thought I was tired.

    I was so surprised and overwhelmed. I had no idea what to do with this diagnosis. I did not know anything about thyroid function, symptoms, or medication for treating it. The information about blood work and what to test for was foreign to me.

    I remember sitting at my parents’ house where we were visiting, talking to my husband about it, and using my mother’s computer to search the internet for any information that might help me to understand what was happening.

    The next “My Thyroid Journey” post will have information on what we did next. Please follow along in this series. I hope that you will find something helpful, especially if you or someone you love is struggling with symptoms of thyroid issues.


    New Year’s Resolutions

    December 30, 2013 Category: Family, Health, Holidays Print This Post Print This Post


    With the New Year fast approaching, I have been thinking about resolutions. I was wondering why we think we have to wait until the New Year to make a resolution to change something or start something new.

    Why not start now?

    With that in mind, I started reading a new book about health and nutrition.

    So far, he is talking about how hard it is to start something new if you are not motivated and if you are not skilled in how to do it. I think that applies to everything new. When we started the garden, I was very motivated but not very skilled. I had to read on how to grow things here, when to plant them, how to care for them, and if they would even grow. Some things grew without any problems, while others things would not even come up. The more I read and learned, the more equipped I was to make the garden work.

    As you begin this New Year, think about the resolutions that you want to make. Ask yourself, are you motivated to do it and do you have the necessary skills and equipment to make it happen. These things need to be in place to make the resolution lasting and successful!

    Happy New Year!


    Reece’s Rainbow Christmas Warrior Update – A Successful Campaign

    December 09, 2013 Category: Family, Holidays, Updates Print This Post Print This Post


    I wanted to give an update on our fundraising efforts for Carol at Reece’s Rainbow. The goal of a Christmas Warrior is to raise $1,000 for the adoption fund of your child. This money goes directly to the family that commits to adopt the child to help pay for adoption expenses.

    Our child this year is named Carol. Here is her picture…

    As of today, we have raised a little over $1,117.00 towards Carol’s adoption fund!! That is amazing! I am so thankful to those of you that donated money for Carol.

    We have been praying now that God will send a family that would be willing to adopt her. We have done this the last two years and both of the children that we have prayed for were adopted into wonderful families!

    This is the information that was provided to us from Reece’s Rainbow about Carol.

    Girl, born Sept 2010
    Down syndrome

    Carol loves sitting and rocking on her hobby horse! She is enjoys listening to music and rocking on her horse. She can sit on the bed steadily and can stand with hands holding onto the bed rails. Sometimes when she sees other children take her favorite toy she will try and take it back.

    Update Aug 2013:
    Every day starting at 9:00 teachers of special education will take her and other children to the class room to do physical exercise and play. She receives special education in the institute. No other training/therapy. She walks pretty well but cannot speak, except for making some “yee-yah” voices. She will cooperate when a caregiver brushes her teeth. Her teeth are very healthy.
    She can eat solid foods. She needs her caregiver’s help when the food contains bones or too hard to break. She needs to be fed by a caregiver. She is close to her caregivers.

    If you would like to make a donation to Carol’s adoption fund, click on the button at the top or bottom of this post, or the one in the sidebar. Your donation is totally hidden from us and is handled directly through Reece’s Rainbow.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this information and we hope that you are already making big holiday plans with your family!


    Happy Thanksgiving and Some Holiday Games

    November 28, 2013 Category: Family, Holidays Print This Post Print This Post


    We hope that you all are taking time this weekend to enjoy your family!

    We plan on having a Thanksgiving meal with family and playing games. We always enjoy this. We recently purchased some new games. Tenzi and Spot it are the names, if you are looking for some fun family games.

    We hope that you have a very Happy Thanksgiving!


    Organizing Tips for a Large Family-Keeping up with Winter Apparel

    November 27, 2013 Category: Family, Planning Print This Post Print This Post


    We have been trying to find ways to organize our home and help things run more efficiently.

    My Aunt has reminded me that if you are dealing with a situation over and over again, find a solution to it!

    So, with winter setting in, these last two weeks have brought up something in our home that I am dealing with over and over again. I knew I needed a solution!

    The children go out and do their chores in the morning and evening. With the cold weather, this means looking for gloves, hats, scarves, and needing a coat twice a day. Three times a day if we are going somewhere. We were spending LOTS of time looking for the matching glove that a younger sibling walked off with. Or a hat that was wet and hung somewhere, we don’t know where, to dry. This was taking way too much time.

    We have a coat closet, but it is at the front of the house. We use the side entry through the garage to store our shoes and come in and out. So, the coats and winter apparel needed to be in this area.

    I talked to the children about this problem and we talked about different options. My oldest daughter came up with an idea of hanging hooks. The room off the garage where we come in is our school room. It has lots of windows. So we decided to hang the hooks in the frames between each window.

    We drilled holes in each one and screwed in a large screw with a large hook attached. The hook is large enough to hold their coat, scarf, gloves, and a hat. This allows for wet items to dry while hung up before needing to be used again. It also keeps the winter items together, in one area, and convenient to the door that we use.

    It has worked great! It has really motivated me to think of other ways to organize and come up with solutions to these kinds of things! It is amazing how much time is saved too!



    If you have any organization tips, please share! I’m very interested!

    Wishing you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving.


    Learning to Play the Ukulele

    November 20, 2013 Category: Instruments, Kid's Corner Print This Post Print This Post


    Last Christmas, we purchased our son, then almost 6 years old, a Ukulele. He had expressed an interest in learning to play.

    We wanted to get him one that was more than just a toy, thinking it would have a better sound and encourage him more to play.

    We purchased everything needed on Amazon. We bought the Ukulele, which came with a tuner, case, and cleaning cloth), and a DVD on how to play. Here are the links to what we bought…

    He played with it a little at first. When school started, we decided to make it a part of his regular studies. We got out the DVD. I would watch it with him and create a practice schedule to go along with that lesson. This way, he knew what to practice every day.

    I did not pressure him to practice. I wanted this to be something that he did on his own and I wanted him to enjoy it and want to learn.

    He started practicing for about 15 minutes a day. We started with learning the sounds and notes of each string. By doing this, he can play each string and tell if the Ukulele is in tune or not.

    Then he learned how to tune it using a tuner.

    Next, we added some chords that he practiced every day. The Ukulele course is great at teaching the chords and they learn a song from the beginning. This helps to motivate them to keep at it! They are not just playing exercises, but really playing something that they recognize from the beginning.

    After the week of practice, he would play the practice sheet for me and then if he was playing those chords and songs without problems, then we went to the next lesson and the practice sheet for that week listed things that he needed to continue to work on from the previous lesson and then we added chords and songs from the new lesson.

    By lesson 6, he was searching for Ukulele songs on YouTube and teaching himself chords and songs!

    It is amazing to see how far he has come and so fast. Now, he wants to learn the Harmonica!

    If you decide to purchase the Ukulele Course DVD listed here, email me at support@ranchoburritofarm.com and let me know and I will share my lesson plans that I created to go along with the course.