Category Archives: entrepreneurialism

Oh to Unschool: The Genius of Autism Education

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My six year old Bliss Burger is sitting next to me right now at the breakfast table yumming it up on a sweet potato. He slept so well last night. Like he does every night- sometimes between his dad and me, and sometimes in his own bed.

Waking him up for school last year, holding hands on the way to the $10,000 preschool was a dream of mine. Not his. To be honest, we sought out that school for their child-focused  learning, natural, outdoor setting, and amazing diet. The children helped raise chickens, bunnies, and plants. They cooked.  climbed. Did puppet shows. It was oh so cute, but the little man kept telling me he didn’t like it.

Here’s the thing. I was seeking a  school that would help nurture the values we have at home, allow Dougie to socialize, and um — give me a break from being his only caregiver, teacher, mommy and medicine woman. I felt  he  needed to explore. And boy was I right. But, the truth is that  even in their open-mindendness, that school we chose was way too rigid for Dougie.

His teacher didn’t really understand him, and always had issues with what he was saying (like when he would talk about Buzz Lightyear). She falsely “accused” us of owning a TV (oh no!). As if that mattered! Our boy was talking and trying to make friends. We were ecstatic.  If he’d had an awesome teacher, we may still be at that school. So, I’m stoked it  worked out this way.

Ask Dougie now how much he loves his Toy Story School (which he named our at-home un-learning), and he probably won’t be able to stop talking. In fact, he’s reading this now and tells me that he wants me to invite you to join him here.

I grew up in a world that said school was necessary. I learned that education is what is necessary. I grew up in a world that said “choose a career.” I learned to choose a journey and experience many careers. I was molded by a system that said we can’t teach our kids at home, lest they turn into hermit weirdos who wear corduroy in summer. And, I learned to say,  “Whatevha!”

Unschooling is peeling away at what the system has taught us for centuries. And, now is the time for re-awakening anyway. The old systems are no longer working.

But,  I gotta admit, regardless of how well I know my purpose here to help others and blah blah blah –the decision to  home school my son was all about him. I worried about the socialization thing first, as he was once diagnosed with autism, and well — the system tells me to worry about socialization. Then, I worried he would resent me, or he wouldn’t have enough challenge, fun, activities, friends– all that. I spent weeks and months considering this and researching my buns off.

This is what Dougie wants and needs now, and this is what’s best for him now. We all have our purposes, and those of us with children who require unschooling or home schooling have the balls and the guts to do it. Worried about socialization? Your kids will lead you. Worried about teaching subjects that you don’t know too well? Goodness, you will be surprised at how amazing new brains are. Dougie is typing, writing, spelling and reading. He can count money, pay for things at the store, make scrambled eggs, and pretty much run the place if we need him to.

We’ve been bitten by the adventure bug again, and are taking this Unschooling organic life of ours on the road. We can’t wait to spread the bliss with all of you. Take a gander at this blog for more info on our upcoming tour de love.

Gina

Blissing Out to Wish: The Raw Divas’ Amazing Production for Women Across the Universe

WISH | Women's International Summit for HealthSex, Food, Mood, Family, Spirit –YOU! They’ve Got it all covered.

OOOOOOOOOOOH my oh my. I cannot believe that I waited until now to tell you this.

The Raw Divas have put out this Fantastic Online Summit, WISH for women around the world (and you men who totally dig us). WISH stands for Women’s International Summit for Health.

But it is so much more than just that. Much like The Raw Mom Summit, WISH is full of experts and real people sharing their experiences in order to inspire and lift us.

Shannon Leone and Tera Warner interview gracious storytellers from every corner of the Health and Wellness spectrum.

I fell asleep to the inspiring vibe of Marianne Williamson, and literally closed my eyes feeling more sure of myself. She talked about how much easier life would be if we took the time to pray or meditate before taking on our challenges. Sounds simple, right? But how many of us actually do that?

If you want to  be successful in life and love and health, I think being coached and inspired is a MUST.

WISH is just like that. Like life coaching mixed with a big pow-wow and slumber party. Its the advice you WISH you wrote down years ago. Its finally giving yourself the chance to sit back and absorb the blessings you have and understand how to move forward.

WISH lays it all out there…. and makes you start believing in your own beauty again.

You Must hear it for yourself. You can still listen in on the calls for FREE. And, even if you just feel attracted to one speaker or one subject — I assure you that by the end of the hour you will be hooked!

Where can one REALLY get such heartfelt knowledge and experience in one place FOR FREE?

Shannon and Tera I love you for sharing this. Just that one call has changed my life. I will be listening in on as many as I can and will be purchasing the complete set to keep close to my heart forever.

The Summit runs free until March 19, and you can still hear  more than 20 wonderful speakers at no cost. Just sign up through this link and the Divas will send you email links to the calls.

Visions to Life: Make A Vision Board and Watch Your Dreams Come True

Do you write down your dreams, place your orders with the universe, believe that what you want  is already yours? These are the best ways I know of to REALLY succeed in what you want to do. Whether you desire a night on the town, relief from physical pain or a complete shift in life — you’ve got it!

How do I know? Because Its happening in my life every day!

The Vision Board

I made the vision board (above) last week. I filled it with everything I knew I needed to do in order to get healthy, pay my bills, and feel at peace. Some of the stuff I put on there felt silly, like “Be a Money Magnet.”  But hey, I figured, why not?

Then things just started happening. I’m one of those people who catches on quickly. I knew I had to make myself believe that I already owned everything on my vision board (such as healthy kidneys, better eyesight, meditation time).

It’s only been a week and I’ve gotten huge glimpses of everything on my vision board. I’ve attracted more grateful clients, I’ve attracted an awesome yoga class and so much more.

What do you want? Do you think you can benefit from having a clearer focus on your goals?

Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich” first inspired me to visualize myself in the place I wanted to be, doing what I love. And here I am. Less than a year after I read that book, I have moved across country, and found my true home and health.  A little vision goes a really long way.

Hope you enjoy this video from Abraham Hicks.

In Gratitude


Thanksgiving is a day away. But today is my Favorite Holiday of all. Today, my husband Doug and I celebrate nine years together.  So, even though I’ve got like two million gallons of gratitude running through my veins, I’ve got to make this blog quick so that I can go cuddle with the love of all my lifetimes.

We moved across the country last month, and were welcomed to Los Angeles by an amazing group of loving friends—both old and new. The abundance of love and support that we have experienced has been beyond my expectations. Two of our best buds shared their home with us for two weeks, an old man (and I mean old) carried huge palm trees up to our apartment for us, friends offered their car when ours died, people gave us beds to sleep on, the teachers and parents at Dougie’s  new school have been EXTREMELY warm and flexible, the administration at my new school have been EXTREMELY accommodating, we’ve been invited out, greeted on the street, and given daily reminders that we have definitely moved to the right place.

Sure, there is a ghostly spirit residing in our apartment. Probably more than one.  But thank goodness for the message I received from one them last week. As Doug and I sat atop my massage table (the closest thing we had to a couch) eating a delish kale salad – I looked over and saw my grandfather, Papa Joe, sitting in the corner of our living room. He passed a year ago, but I see him once in a while. This time he showed me a vivid scene from my father’s childhood. He showed me how he lifted my dad from bed and got all the kids into the car during the middle of the night because there was a gas leak in the house. I sat staring at Papa, and Doug sat staring at me. All I could do was laugh though. I couldn’t really tell him that I saw Papa. And I didn’t know why I couldn’t stop laughing.

Soon, Doug was infected with laughter and we were both literally rolling on the floor – when it hit me. Dougie had been awfully calm and sleepy that night, which was unlike him. We couldn’t stop laughing and I was feeling really dizzy and confused. THERE WAS A GAS LEAK IN OUR APARTMENT.

I don’t know exactly how we escaped that because I was so weak and delirious that we took forever to actually get out the door. But, as soon as I realized what Papa was trying to tell me, I said “We have a gas leak. Get Dougie.”  And we got out. In a blur — but we got out.

Thank You Papa you continue to protect and fill me with love even from your new world.

So, I’m alive. And living in a sunny new place where it’s super easy to find friendly smiles and gluten free treats. I’m sure you can understand my gratitude.

So, now it’s time to pass along this goodness to you.

In honor of Thanksgiving and the upcoming holiday season I am offering tons of gifts of love.

The holidays tend to be times that many of us dread. There’s the relatives, the expectation for present buying, and the food. Oh the food! Why do the holidays seem to carry this negative food vibe with them? Either we feel tempted to eat what is bad for us, we over eat, we try to satisfy too many people, or if you’re like me – we struggle to find what we can eat in the midst of the sugar-filled, double-stuffed, deep-fried frenzy.

Either way, the holidays are a time when balance is key and money is most often saved for others.  I don’t know many people who treat themselves this season, but perhaps if we did – we’d all be much happier and healthier.

I’d love for your holidays to be as peaceful and relaxing as mine have recently been.

Reiki, Intuitive Energy Healings, Body Ecology and Raw Food Wellness Coachings can be had by you for the simple price of whatever you can pay.

Enjoy Donation-Based Reiki, Energy Healings and Wellness Coaching sessions through December 2009.

Come —  let me help you find balance, health and relaxation. Reiki Energy Healings are a great way to help recover from pain, illness, stress and confusion. Body Ecology and Raw Foods can offer great nutritional healing.

I will design a session that is personalized to fit your needs.

Come see me at my new location in Santa Monica and you will also receive a free surprise gift to take home.

Free Bottles of Bio Superfood when you join Heal Artfully: 12 weeks of Healing

If you know that you are in need of deep healing from serious illness, consider this 12 Week program. In it I share each and every step I took to heal my son form autism and my family from candida/yeast, bacterial and fungal infections as well as a toxic overload of metals and chemicals which caused pain, depression, fatigue, seizures and more. Bio Superfood is a smart blend of micro algae (look up http://www.bioage.com). It is a product that has brought great healing to my family.  You will receive a free bottle for your family when signing up for Heal Artfully.

How Can I serve you best? Let me know! Gina LaVerde:  773-540-9328 or gina@healartfully.com

And Finally, The Recipes!

Here are some of the things on our menu this year. Many of them are inspired by traditional recipes that my family always had at Thanksgiving.

Everything is or can be made Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan, Nut Free, and sometimes Raw.

Green Bean Corn Casserole (can be raw/semi-raw or cooked)

Ingredients:

1 1lb green beans

2 lbs corn

1 large onion sliced very thin

1-2 cloves garlic chopped

½ cup cranberry juice

1/2 – 1 cup flax meal

Juice of ½-1 lemon

Olive oil, oregano, sage, thyme, sea salt, to taste

Process:

Marinate green beans, onions and garlic in glass or clay baking dish with lemon juice, cranberry juice, olive oil and the spices. Let sit for up to 1 day. Blend 1 lb of corn in your blender with ½ cup of flax meal. Mix green bean mixture with corn/flax in casserole dish. Add the 1 lb whole pieces of corn. Taste and add more spices to your liking. Top casserole dish with more flax meal and then bake at 100-200 until warm and crisp.  I do it for about 4 hours.

Cranberry Salad: (raw or semi raw)

Ingredients:

2 lbs raw cranberries

2-3 stalks celery chopped fine

1 cup walnuts chopped

2 cups pineapple chunks

Water and agar agar to make gelatin

Lakanto or xylitol

Process

Fill a pretty glass pie dish with whole cranberries and sprinkle with sweetener of choice (stevia, lakanto, xylitol etc.) I use aprox. 1 cup of lakanto. Use potato masher or fork to break them open a bit. Add a splash of lemon juice or water and let marinate for a few hours in the fridge. Add chopped celery, walnuts and pineapple to your cranberry mixture and mix well. Blend 1 lb cranberries and add enough water to create a juice. Boil that cranberry juice and follow directions on agar agar (seaweed) pkg. to make into gelatin. Pour the warm cranberry juice over your cranberry salad and let sit until firm.

Variations

For an all raw version, just stir in some cultured coconut meat pudding and forget the agar agar.

For an extra treat you can add cultured coconut pudding, raw cream, tofutti cream cheese to the mix. It’s delish either way!

I also like to add ginger!

Butternut Squash/Quinoa stuffing (cooked)

Ingredients:

2 lbs butternut squash cubed (buy already cubed at stores like Trader Joes and Whole Foods)

2 bunches kale chopped

4 cups cooked quinoa

4 stalks celery chopped

1 onion

2 cloves garlic

Sage, thyme, poultry seasonings, sea salt, pepper

Coconut oil for sautéing

Process:

Saute’ onions, garlic, celery, squash until almost caramelized. Add kale and sauté just a minute longer. Add all of your seasonings (you can use any seasonings you would use in your traditional stuffing) add cooked quinoa. Spread thin layer onto long baking dish and bake at 300 until toasty. YUM!

Cherry Crisp and Raw Mint Ice Cream

Crisp (Raw or cooked)

This dessert can be made with green apples, berries or cherries. I am using cherries

Ingredients:

2 cups flaked coconut

1 cup chia seeds

1 cup sesame seeds

1 cup hemp seeds

1 cup soaked goji berries

1-2 cups almonds

Cherries (or fruit of choice)

Lakanto, pumpkin pie spices, pinch sea salt,

Optional: dates are optional (may be too sweet)

Coconut oil for blending

Process:

Soak cherries, gojis, and any fruits in a bit of kefir overnight. Blend all of the dry ingredients with a bit of coconut oil. Mix the fruit with your dry ingredients and add spices and sweetener. Bake or dehydrate until crisp. I bake at low temp for about an hour.

Variations: to satisfy a crowd you can add all kinds of nuts and some raw honey to this. YUM!

Peppermint Ice Cream (Raw)

Ingredients:

3 Cups Coconut Milk (meat and water from a couple young Thai coconuts) you can used canned coconut milk as transition.
¼ cup lakanto sweetener or Zero sweetener from Whole Foods (xylitol or stevia can also be used)

2 Teaspoons Peppermint Extract (or a handful of mint leaves.
1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil

Process:

Blend all ingredients in a vita-mix or high speed blender for about 1-2 minutes. Pour the mixture into the ice cream maker (according to the manufacturer’s directions). It should be done in about 20-25 minutes, or until it looks like it’s really thick. Or you can freeze in a freezer safe container and put back in the blender to make it creamy before you eat it.

Variations: add any extract for the flavor you like.

Happy Holidays Friends

Xoxo Gina