Jennifer: Today, I have a very special guest. Her name is Vicky Lashenko and I’m gonna go ahead and read her bio. Then we’re just gonna jump in and get started.
She is a wife and mama of two boys. We’re kind of kindred spirits there. I have boys and she has boys. She and her family just moved from Portland, Oregon to South Carolina in search of a more natural and self reliant lifestyle. Besides being a business coach and running her own Facebook Live shows, she does this on her own as well, she has a passion for natural and healthy living. She believes that raising healthy children is a gift of a strong healthy foundation and will keep on giving for the rest of a child’s life. Hello, Vicky.
Vicky: Hi, Jennifer. Thank you so much for having me.
Jennifer: I am so thrilled that you are here today. Your attitude and your positivity is so infectious. I just want to share it with everyone. It’s something you can’t keep bottled up. Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get to this philosophy of being a natural mama?
Vicky: Oh, thank you so much for your kind words, Jennifer. I very recently became a natural mama just maybe a couple of years ago. It wasn’t always like this, but if you ask about my background, I came from Ukraine. I was born and lived in Ukraine for eight years and we lived on a piece of land where we grew our own food. We had chickens, we bought milk from a farmer not far away. I grew up in that natural living. I ran around barefoot, we ran around and played in fields of grass.
So I really have that gift of natural living, but when we immigrated here as refugees to America with my parents, I was only eight years old. We left our natural lifestyle behind. We started buying milk from conventional stores, we went back to white bread. My mom still kept making her own bread and things like that, but mostly we converted to a very Americanized lifestyle. Then when my kids are growing up, and I think my kids were the reason behind my natural living, I started researching a lot of things like, why do my child’s teeth start rotting? That was the biggest thing for me. That was my reason to start investigating natural living. It’s like, oh my goodness, he’s so young and he already has teeth that are rotting. That really is what started my natural journey.
Jennifer: Wow. Yeah, that is a question. You think, why should a child’s teeth rot? They’re young and that shouldn’t happen. Besides all this, before we get into all of your wonderful knowledge that you want to share with us about being a natural mama, let’s just step back a second. You do that, but you also have your own business and you help your family by being an entrepreneur or, as you like to call yourself, a “mompreneur.” Could you talk about that for just a second so we see the full picture there?
Vicky: Yeah, absolutely. I used to have a day job. I was an accountant and I really wanted to be home with my children. That’s where it started, is I really wanted to spend more time with them. Then as I started exploring, I started with network marketing, and then I was like, “No, I want to be my own boss, I want to do my own stuff.” That’s when I started my own business, called Small Business Gal. At that time, I started with these services and then went to website design, social media management.
I just think for moms who are watching right now, it doesn’t always happen like, “Oh, I have a business idea,” all of a sudden, you put it out there and you’re successful and you do it for the rest of your life. It happens in increments. That’s what happened to me, step by step, one thing at a time. That’s what led me to starting the show, but I’m very grateful to start with services. I think starting with services is the best thing in the world because you get to exchange what you do, what you’re good at, for money. That is the fastest way to start your own business.
I think that for my family, it has created a huge impact on my family. I do not bring in a full-time income yet and I’m still working towards that. I just want to be clear, but I know that what I do bring in is helpful for our family. It actually helped us survive the whole trip to South Carolina. I know we’ll talk about that more, but it’s a huge blessing. I encourage any mom watching to explore that area.
Jennifer: Let’s start talking about that, how you balance all this stuff. You’ve just developed a routine with your boys. You called it a vitamin regimen. Let’s talk about that for a second, and how it’s helped you balance everything, and what it’s done for your boys. Let’s start there.
Vicky: As a mom, I care a lot about my boys. You know from the education they need vitamins, but they hate taking vitamins or hated, I should say, taking vitamins. It was always at the spur of the moment whenever I remember. I focused a lot of it in the mornings when they’re cranky and they haven’t woken up yet. I was like, “Oh my gosh, how can I make my morning a little bit more easier, a little bit more relaxed?” As we all know, mornings start from evening. I started from the evening. What do I want? What do I envision my evening to look like? I started working from the evening routine. I just want to say that you cannot go from zero to a perfect evening and morning, perfect day, all at once. It takes one step at a time. Even though I started with the evening routine, it took one step at a time. I added on things as we went.
How I started it is I started with an alarm, literally an alarm on my phone. At 7:00 p.m., my alarm rings and it says, “Give kids magnesium and probiotics.” Literally, I’m not even joking. I will forget and we get so involved with our kids, and our days, and our evenings with the family that we oftentimes lose track of time. The alarm rings and tells me to do that. I take out the vitamins, I give them Natural Calm magnesium. I mix it with water and oftentimes, they take the probiotics and they would just swallow the pill with drinking magnesium, swallowing with that. I give them that and they usually say, “Mom, but I’m hungry.” They’d have an after dinner snack and then at 7:15 my alarm rings again that tells me to tell my kids to brush their teeth. It’s been going on so long that they already know when the second alarm rings that it’s time to brush their teeth.
They go brush their teeth, change into pajamas and then I do my evening routine. Maybe moms will be interested, it’s not a natural thing but it’s something that I’ve developed that my kids absolutely love. We say our prayers, and I tuck them into bed, and I read them a book. It’s usually a chapter book. We’re currently reading Boxcar Children, Treasure Island I think. They love it so much. After that, we read a chapter or two and then I play them the guitar with either their favorite song or a worship song. They absolutely love that.
It has actually been a New Year’s resolution or goal of mine to learn how to play the guitar. I recently read a book called The Power of Habit and it talks about stacking habits on habits. Oh my gosh, that rung a bell for me on such a deep level because I’m already doing this routine with the kids. Might as well stack on another habit that I want to implement on top of that current habit. My kids keep me accountable. They’re like, “Mama, you’ll play the guitar, right?” I’m like, “Well, of course.” It has been amazing with the whole alarm thing and then they know everything that follows. There’s no more crazy screaming and fits, which happened so much more often than they do now. Our mornings are much easier because the kids go to bed on time so it’s been wonderful.
Jennifer: So setting a routine is basically how you’re able to balance work, and kids, and nutrition it sounds like as well. That’s wonderful. How did you figure out what supplements to give your kids? Did you do research? Were you worried they weren’t getting enough in their diet? How did that come about?
Vicky: I’m so sorry. I completely did not fully answer your first question about how I balance it all. It’s all part of routine. Themed days, what I do on certain days, like Friday is my family day. I don’t do any business work. I really focus on food prep, grocery shopping, things like that that will help me prepare for the family while the kids are at school. I used to homeschool them but they’re at school for now in this season of our life. The way I learned about vitamins is a lot of research. I know it takes so much time and effort to really find the perfect thing that works for you, but I heavily rely on women like you, Jennifer. You talk about this on the show a lot, you have recommendations, and I know, like, and trust you. I will do literally what you tell me to do.
For example, you recommended this CreaClip and I was like, “I know, like, and trust Jennifer. I will do everything that she does.” Literally, I’m not even kidding. I went on Amazon right there and then and I bought this, even from your affiliate link. The thing is, I’m so thankful for people like you. Again, I have to stress this. I know I can trust you and I know that what you use and what you share with us is good, and it’s been researched, and it will work for me as well.
Another woman that I like to follow is Wellness Mama from wellnessmama.com. She’s actually one of the first women that I got to know who introduced me to this whole natural lifestyle because of the kids’ teeth. When I started searching, she was one of the first ones that came up. She recommends the calm, she recommends some of the vitamins that I use. I oftentimes rely on that and also, Amazon reviews have been a huge resource for me. If I’m looking for a certain vitamin, I will go and search, for example, an item that has four or more stars.
First of all, I want the item to be highest rated and then I go and read through the reviews what people are saying. I usually go first through the helpful reviews, not necessarily the five star reviews, but really helpful that people really authentically talk about like, “This has worked for me, this hasn’t.” Oftentimes, I find the answer to my question in those reviews like, “This is what I dealt with where my kids did not like it but actually, I do this.” There’s a lot of tips and information there too. Amazon is my favorite store in the whole entire world and Amazon reviews has been a life saver for me because it’s full of information.
Jennifer: There’s nothing like hearing from real people instead of somebody who has an ulterior motive. There’s nothing like hearing from real people and what they did. Yeah, the CreaClip. It was tested on this hair.
Vicky: This too.
Jennifer: Yes it was, and it is a really cool thing. Kathy is asking what that is. I’m sorry, I get carried away ’cause I’ll just talk, and talk, and talk. Vicky is one of those people. I’m talking to her, it’s so cool. What that is is, how do you want to explain it? It’s a little gadget that help you cut your hair. Explain how it works, Vicky, ’cause you have it right there.
Vicky: Yes. It’s a clip that opens up like that and has these little ridges on here that will hold your hair into place. Some people literally just stand and they clip their hair like this in front of a mirror. They pull it down and then they just clip it so it’s all straight. So you don’t have to worry about holding it straight or holding it in a certain way. Usually, it’s used by flipping your head upside down, and then clipping your hair while your hair’s down like this, and then getting a really nice straight cut. It works so good ’cause you don’t have to rely on anybody else. You can do it yourself.
I used to go to the salon and get my haircut. The lady takes like 15 minutes literally. I usually just do trims, nothing crazy. She spends 15 minutes and she charges me $20, $25 depending to who you go and where you live. In Portland, that’s what they charged me. It’s like, goodness, just buy this. I think it’s $15 or something. It will save you for the rest of your life, seriously. That’s what I think, Jennifer, you talk about this on the show, is being self reliant. Really being someone who can count on yourself for taking care of you and not having to go somewhere and getting help with anything. Just you, your own self, and you take care of yourself, everything DIY at home. I love that about your show and I love about our lifestyle. I can give my kids, my husband haircuts. It’s been amazing.
Jennifer: Yeah. Thank you for your kind words. That just means so much to me. You can use that by yourself or you can have somebody if you want to have somebody do the actual cut in the back. I’ve had help. My husband and my older son have actually helped me do that with the CreaClip. Anyway, yeah. I have a story really quick. My boys, I’ve always cut their hair. My boys are getting older now and I’m not a professional. I do an okay job ’cause I’ve been doing it for a lot of years but I don’t have a lot of styles in my repertoire. I can just do a couple.
They’re at the age where they want it styled in a certain way. My middle son went and he had it done, paid for it and everything. He came home, he goes, “Mom, they did such a terrible job. You should’ve done it.” My youngest child, his hair, I need to cut it ’cause it’s just all over the place right now. He has this beautiful curly hair. I’m so jealous of him but he needs to have it cut. He says, “Mom, I want you to do it ’cause I don’t want anybody else to do it.”
Vicky: That’s so sweet.
Jennifer: That totally warms my heart, yeah. So let’s talk about healthy snacks. What kind of snacks do you give your kiddos? You give them these supplements already so that makes you feel good as well. Then you come up with some snack ideas ’cause you have younger ones. I have teenagers but you have younger ones. So what do you do for snacks?
Vicky: Snacks has been a really big struggle for me because they were used to really conventional snacks before we went natural. I want to stress this, it did not happen overnight. It was very incremental, day by day, one step at a time. My kids, they’re used to cereal as snack or a piece of bread as snack. It was very high in carbohydrates and sugar. I wanted to start with something sweet that they could still eat, something healthy but sweet. One of the very first snacks that I started giving my kids is slices of banana with almond butter on top. That is their favorite thing in the whole entire world. My youngest has such a sweet tooth and he likes some honey drizzled on top but honey, I absolutely don’t mind.
Another one, and I grew up on this, is a piece of sourdough bread. I’m still working on the sourdough bread. I’ve been buying it for now but a piece of sourdough bread with a nice layer of grass fed butter, and I really like the Kerry Gold brand, and then honey drizzled on top with tea. That is like the best breakfast in the world. I know it might not be considered a very balanced breakfast but really, that’s what I grew up on in Ukraine. I think it’s the best of both worlds. You get the fats, you get the nutrients from the honey, from the bread, and you get some tea. It’s so perfect. That’s one they love a lot.
Slices of raw cheese with nuts, they love almonds, they love walnuts, any type of nuts. We actually drove by … We were at our lawyer’s office signing documents for our house and there was a tree full of nuts. We were like, “What kind of nuts are these?” We started looking at them, I Googled it, and my husband Peter is like, “Babe, I think these are,” oh my gosh, I completely forgot the name of them. Seriously. They’re like walnuts but they are not walnuts. They are pecans. So funny, everyone calls them differently, everyone, anywhere, anyone you talk to.
Anyway, I Googled it. I was like, “Honey, are you sure?” He’s like, “Yes, it’s pecans.” So I Googled it and there it was, it was pecans. We collected some, ate some, and then we came back a week later. We went with the kids and just collected a ton of nuts. We have a whole box of them drying. It’s such a great way ’cause they’re on the tree, nobody’s property. Nobody’s taking them except the squirrels, so might as well. I think that’s where we’re going towards is really, what’s that word? There’s a specific word for going out in the wild and collecting nuts.
Vicky: Forage. I love foraging and it’s been such a blessing. Anyway, nuts and then my most recent super awesome snack that got my kids telling me that I’m the best mom in the whole entire world is marshmallows. Who would’ve thought? Marshmallows is such a sugary product that’s not good for you. A lot of times, that’s what I thought and I’ve never purchased marshmallows for them except before we went the healthy route. They’re like, “Mom, please buy us marshmallows. We want to roast them on the fire,” ’cause we started doing a lot of fires out in the backyard.
One day I was like, “Poor kids. They’ve been asking for marshmallows. There is no way I’m going to buy store bought.” I Googled marshmallows and Wellness Mama’s recipe came up. Oh my gosh, the easiest thing in the whole entire world to make, I promise you. You probably have all the ingredients in your house already, literally, water, honey, and gelatin. I think that’s all I used. It was amazing. So we made marshmallows, and roasted them on the fire, and had s’mores.
Jennifer: Oh wow. Yum, that’s wonderful.
Vicky: One thing that I totally forgot, one of my kids’ favorite and most regular snack is jello. Jello, I have stayed away from for a long time because of the color they have. You know, you buy the little packets? I grew up on it here in America. My mom always made that, but all the sugar and all the color, they’re just not good for you at all. Wellness Mama has a great recipe on how to make jello and you literally buy organic juice or sometimes I make kompot. It’s a Russian word for juice. You take a pot of filtered water, you put in some berries, fresh or frozen, and some apples, pears, whatever you want, and then just boil it for 15 minutes, close the lid, let it cool down, and then pour it into bottles. I find I have to sweeten it a little extra to make it jello because I feel like when you make it a jello it loses the sweetness. My kids didn’t like it last time.
I literally use that, put two tablespoons of gelatin into the four cups of the juice, mix it around, heat it up a little bit so it all melts, and then pour it into a Pyrex dish, stick it in the fridge, and oh my gosh, they love it. They literally take the square Pyrex dish. They can eat it by sitting down twice and it’s gone. They love it so much and it’s so good for their bones, oh my goodness.
Jennifer: Yeah, it is. So over here on YouTube, we have Patricia. Hello, Patricia. James is still with us over there and we have some other people as well. If you are on YouTube, please comment and let me know you are there. Oh my gosh, Vicky, I just love talking about this stuff. This is just great. You were talking about the snacks, which we could talk about forever. I would love to get some of those recipes from you so we can put them in the show notes ’cause that would be perfect.
Jennifer: Tell me about your move. You did this really cross-country kind of move. Why did you do that with your family? What was the reasoning behind that? Tell us how it went.
Vicky: The reason behind it was we wanted a more natural lifestyle for our kids. We lived in a very small rental that had, I think it was a 10×10 backyard that had no sun because of the way it was positioned. My kids would play out there and it was summer but it was cold because it was in the shade. My husband and I just started talking, how can we make it work so that we live outside of the city limits, out in the country where the kids can have chickens, and a dog, and run around barefoot? We started looking for land outside of Portland, Oregon, and we looked for years. I’m not even kidding, actively putting offers on houses and as we were doing that, the house market was growing more rapidly and houses were more expensive.
We’re like, “We already got burnt. We already purchased a house above our means and we had to rent it out and then sell it. We are not going to do this again.” We made a decision to move out somewhere, but we weren’t sure where. So we started doing our research. I remember Googling, “Ten most cheapest cities to live in,” or places to live in in the United States. Although we didn’t necessarily make our decision based on that, but we did write out a few places where we can move to that will substantially decrease our lifestyle expenses. I think that’s one of the biggest things that was a huge benefit that we did for our family, that we really substantially decrease our living expenses.
Moving here was the reason for it. We wanted to get a house that we were able to pay off in a couple of years instead of a 30-year mortgage. We wanted to be able to buy that land that is within our budget. That’s why we chose South Carolina. The housing market is booming but it’s in the very beginning stages. We were able to buy a very affordable home where, in Portland, we couldn’t even dream of prices like that. We sold everything and we made the cross-country move. They’re literally opposite sides.
My husband and I planned it out in a way so we did not want to spend money on hotels during the trip. Since we had a trailer, we didn’t want to make sightseeing stops. Our kids just turned eight and five at that time. They’re still fairly young so we’re thinking let’s just shoot one way non-stop to our final destination. We were able to do that by tag teaming. I would drive during the day, my husband would sleep during the day, and he would drive during the night and I would sleep with the kids during the night. It was pretty crazy, but we mentally prepared ourselves. We’re going to drive non-stop, we will stop when we have to.
We took a ton of food with us, we took snacks, we took our little cooler, we put little salamis, it’s like a Russian kielbasa, a little bit different than salami, but we got that, we got cheese, we got water. We got everything from home or from my mom’s home. So we didn’t have to make a lot of stops. For about a day and a half, we didn’t have to really buy anything because we were driving and we already had the food. I don’t remember how many hours it took us, but I think it took us, I’ve got to look back, but I think it was 50 something hours or something like that. Really, we got from one end to another really quickly because we were able to plan and really set our minds to do that. We didn’t have to spend any money on the hotel nights or on the food. We did stop a few times at a restaurant, but it was very minimal. It was a great experience.
Jennifer: That’s amazing Vicky. I cannot believe that you guys did that. First of all, I’m sad that you didn’t come to Texas but we’ll move past that. This was so important to you that your husband left his job and you were just supporting everybody with your business until he got to your destination and then found another job? How did that work?
Vicky: This is the tricky part. I feel like people, we make a lot of our decisions based on a job. I feel like sometimes we have to do that, but sometimes it holds us back more than we can ever imagine. Someone wants to move here from Portland but they’re like, “We’re not gonna move because I have a job here.” That’s a really silly reason not to move, although I understand. It’s a financial risk, but my husband has his own business at the time so he wasn’t working. He quit his job a year prior to us moving and we didn’t even dream of moving at that time. It was very quick. It happened very quickly, within months, literally.
My husband opened his own business so he was running his own business. When he opened his own business, we were like, “Oh my gosh, it’s a huge risk to start your own business.” It was a physical location, it was a used car dealership. We were like, “We’re taking this huge risk. We need to minimize our living expenses.” So we moved in with his parents, which was so sweet, ’cause they were like, “Hey, why don’t you guys move with us?” They gave us two rooms. It was amazing. We lived there for over a year. I think it was a year and three months. That’s when my husband was working in his business and we saved up some money. That’s when we’re like, “But we’re not really moving forward. We’re looking for a house, everything is falling through. We’re not moving forward,” and that’s one of the key catapults for us for moving.
My husband, he’s like, “I had this great experience. I’m not super crazy about having this huge car dealership. I can just close it and walk away from it, no problem.” He and his partner decided on closing it and as far as my business, a lot of it has to do with service business. I know I have the Mompreneur Show, but Mompreneur Show is a very long-term strategy. A lot of times people ask me, “How do you make money with the Mompreneur Show?” It’s not always like that. My Mompreneur Show didn’t start making money right off the bat. Now, a year later, it’s making money by sponsorships. I have a few sponsors that sponsored a show and by the word. People look at me and they’re like, “Oh my gosh, here’s this mom, I want to be like her, I want to have a business like her,” and they buy coaching from me. That’s another way that I monetize the show, but mainly, honestly, it’s service based.
I’m still a lot of times service based. I have a big client that I’m still working with from Portland. That client has really helped me be able to take us through this crazy season in our life where my husband left his job and we made this crazy move. We purchased a house so my husband just recently started working. He wasn’t working for probably over six months and my online income really helped keep our family afloat. I feel so blessed to be able to bless my family. Now my husband and I, we don’t plan on me being the sole provider. He feels really fulfilled by providing for our family and I love that, but I feel like the season that we’re in, my skills, my business has really helped our family.
Jennifer: Wow. What a story. Thank you for sharing that. This is awesome. It doesn’t end there though because when you got there, you went ahead and did a bunch of DIY in terms of remodeling where you’re living now. Can you talk us through a little bit about that? I don’t think I even have to ask what made you think you could do that because obviously, if you’re moving from one side of the country to the next, and you did it non-stop and all that, you’ve got this spirit of “I can do anything.” I love that, but tell us about your remodeling and how it turned out.
Vicky: Thank you so much, Jennifer. You’re so sweet. I just really want to tell your listeners that I’m telling this story and it sounds exciting and amazing and oh my gosh, they did this, but in the mix of it all, there are so many tears, there’s so many arguments. There were so much things that really stressed me out, stressed my husband out, just really caused tension in our relationship, and it’s part of life. I don’t want you to look at me and say, “Oh my gosh, she has this perfect life, they have this perfect unity with her husband.”
Of course, we strive for that but it’s not always like that. We don’t always think the same and act the same. We definitely strive for that and we work really, really hard. I don’t want you to think that I have this perfect life where my husband and I are always on the same page where we have like, “Hey honey, let’s move.” “Okay, let’s move,” and everything was perfect. It sounds really perfect, what I’m saying, but it was really hard. When we moved here, we house sat my uncle’s house for about a month, which worked out perfectly because he had chickens and dogs. We took care of his garden and everything so we got really great practice, but then we had nowhere to go. Not that we were like, “Oh my gosh, where do we live,” but we’re saying that we didn’t have a place of our own.
Our cousins were so kind. They’re like, “Hey, come and live with us.” They just bought a big house. “Come and live with us while we figure out your next step.” So we lived with my cousins for, I want to say, three to four months before we even purchased our house but even then we were like, “Oh my gosh, what are we gonna do? Are we gonna rent? Are we gonna buy a house?” Rent here was almost the same as it was in Portland so it was really risky and scary for us because we’re like, “What’s the point then?” What’s the point of getting rent if we’re going to fork out the same amount of money as we did in Portland? That was a really, really hard time for us.
We’re Christians and with a lot of prayer and trust and faith, we found this really ugly/awesome house that was within our budget and that was literally a gift from God. When we came in, I was literally walking around like this with the realtor because it was so gross. It was so gross. There was nasty disgusting carpet walls that seemed like were pooped on, just really, really gross. Right away, we were so desperate at that time but yet so like, “Oh my gosh, this is it.” It was amazing. We told the realtor, “We want it right now. We’re gonna put an offer on it,” but the problem was that there was a gazillion other people putting offers on it at the same time. I think it was just God’s hand that literally just helped us through it. They took our offer, which I’m sure was not the highest offer, but God works in mysterious ways.
So we got this house and we got to work. We folded up our sleeves and we got to work. My husband had previous construction experience, so he had already an idea of what to do. We built our previous house years before so we had some experience, but even if you don’t have any experience, Google is your best friend. We oftentimes search Google. How do you do this, how do you do this? If you think about it, oh my gosh it’s really hard and how did we do it, but really it’s nothing crazy. We ripped up the floors, put in the floors, painted everything white. We didn’t even replace our kitchen. We just painted our kitchen white, just very, very minimal. We still have our old floor in the bathroom that’s old tile. Maybe eventually we’ll replace it, but for now it’s very basic. I think a lot of times, especially in our house previously back in Portland, we’re like, “Let’s get the best this, and the best that, and the prettiest this.” It’s not even worth it.
We’re very basic, very simple, just painted everything one color. That’s the color, off whitish grayish brownish. You really have to tell yourself you can do this and it’s a lot more cheaper to go this route than if we would buy a house already ready. We wouldn’t be able to buy a ready house. It would be twice as much at least if we bought a house already ready, but with our own labor, with our own strength, we did it and it turned out way more cheaper than if we would hire someone else or buy a house that’s already ready. So you can do it.
Jennifer: I love that you are telling people that they can do it and it doesn’t have to be perfect. That’s okay. It doesn’t have to be perfect. That is so true because so many people get hung up on that. It’s not the way I had envisioned it or that’s not the way a professional would do it or whatever, but if it’s functional, it’s okay.
Vicky: Yeah. We had so many people come in saying like, “Oh yeah, you have to replace the sheet rock,” ’cause it was so bad. There was dents everywhere. We decided, you know what, we’re just gonna prime it with a really nasty primer, which is called Kilz, which kills all the nasty stuff and then we’ll patch it up. Patching took us a week and it was horrible. It was the worst, patching and sanding, patching and sanding, but you know what? That was a way easier route than ripping everything off and replacing it. If you rip the sheet rock off, you have to replace the insulation. Oh my gosh, it’s just one thing after another. We just really kept it simple.
Jennifer: That’s great. Yes, I know about those house projects ’cause we have been through one or two for ourselves.
Vicky: That’s awesome.
Jennifer: In our previous house, my husband Bill, he just did the whole master bathroom. He did all the tile, and took out the tub, and all that. Yeah, we have been through those projects. They’re great when they’re finished but they’re a little stressful when you’re going through them.
Vicky: I agree, they are.
Jennifer: So tell us, you’re building a chicken coop? Tell us about your chickens that you’re gonna have.
Vicky: This is all still in the planning process but I’m so excited about it because we always dreamt of having a chicken coop, always, even in Portland. I always loved farm fresh eggs. I always ordered farm fresh eggs from people in the area. The farm fresh egg aspect is very important to me. My husband is working on a side project right now for somebody else and he’s working outside the home. As soon as he’s done, we’re gonna build the house, a chicken coop, out of, what are those things called? That forklifts use.
Vicky: Yes, thank you so much. Pallets are often thrown away by companies and they’re often free. If they are not treated, I mean even if they’re treated, I don’t see why you couldn’t use them, and there’s so many tutorials on YouTube. It’s insane. I think we’re so blessed to live in this day and age. We have no excuse to say, “I don’t know how to do that,” because all the information is on YouTube, on Google, and you can do it.
For me, it’s very important to get eggs or chickens that are no GMO chickens. I know a website called eatwild.com. It’s a really great resource where you can find resources for raw milk, local chickens, grass fed beef. It’s all in one place. You just put in your zip code and it’ll give you all these farms who have signed up. The website doesn’t go out and check the farms. They just sign up, kind of like Craigslist, like, “Hey, this is what we do and you can come here and check it out.” I know that’s how I found some of the resources in Portland to get chickens and stuff. There are some people on Eat Wild that literally grow chickens for sale so they can be laying hens. That’s the route we’re gonna go into.
Jennifer: That’s exciting. When are you going to start getting them? Is it really soon or are you gonna plan for it? How does the timeline look there?
Vicky: In the next month because it’s getting a lot warmer here in South Carolina. Oh my gosh, the weather is incredible here so we love it. In the next month or two, we also have a pool in the house, an inground pool, which was icing on the cake. We did not even expect it, so we have to work on that too. There’s a lot of projects that come with this house, but the chicken coop is on top of the list. The kids are begging for a dog but I have to say something, Jennifer.
I recently watched a video. I don’t even remember what video it was. It was about a child who was adopted who had some kind of neurological dysfunction, something that when he was born, something. Anyway, the guy mentions that the doctor recommended him to be around animals and water so he can heal his frontal lobe. I’m not saying this based on research. I just heard that little tiny bit. The video was not even about that, it was just a side thing that I was like, “Oh my gosh, that’s crazy.” He said they bought a farm, and the kids were around chickens, and water, these natural resources, and the child completely changed his attitude, his behavior.
I’m just like, yes, there’s so much power in natural living. There’s so much power in going back to our roots, back to how our great grandparents lived, around chickens, around water, around dirt, around these natural resources, around sun that we have been given as a gift that we take for granted all the time. I feel like when we moved here, my kids are always outside. My husband gave them hammer and nails and they’re literally always building something, breaking it down, building something else, climbing trees, running around, playing cards, little trucks in the dirt. I look at them and I’m like, “Thank you God so much for this opportunity,” because they would’ve never been able to do this in Portland. This is where kids need to grow up, is digging in the dirt, running around barefoot, and being out in the sun and in the nature.
Jennifer: I love that, that’s great. How about your husband? Talk a little bit more about how he supported this lifestyle. Obviously he’s supportive ’cause he wanted to move across country, but how does he help the day to day things with your kids and raising them naturally?
Vicky: He has not always been like that. When I started researching the natural living, I went to organic store and I bought a $6 gallon of milk that said “organic” on it. I started with organic milk and he would say, “Babe, that’s such a fad. It’s not true. You’re just getting the same exact milk as a $3, $2 milk.” I’m like, “No, but organic, that’s the way to go.” He was not very supportive at that time. In a way, he was absolutely right. What’s the point of buying $6 milk that’s homogenized, that’s called organic? It’s absolutely contradicting itself because real organic milk is what you buy from the farmer that has not been pasteurized and has not been homogenized. So he had a point there.
As time went on, we watched videos like Fed Up and Forks Over Knives, videos like that that really helped build our opinion and our dreams together. We’d watch them together as a little movie night, just put the kids to sleep and watch these kind of documentaries. I think that really helped us become on the same page. It wasn’t me watching these documentaries and telling my husband, but we were doing it together. As life went on, as months went on, we just really aligned ourselves together.
I think that wives have to be more understanding of their husbands because at that time when my husband wasn’t super supportive, I would get upset. Why can’t you understand me? Really, you have to give him time, you have to give him grace. It’s not that you’re always right. It’s not that I was always right. You have to understand that and there might be that, “I’m not right,” or you have to give him time. Oftentimes I would find a really good article about something or research or something and I would just text it to him like, “Oh wow, this is really interesting.” Little by little, we would just get slowly on the same page. It’s such an amazing feeling because I know the difference.
Jennifer: Yeah. I think the biggest thing there is not giving up and finding a way that is not a conflict way, something that avoids conflict, that is.
Vicky: Exactly. We grew together and we grew in support of each other. Whenever he would say, “Let’s move, oh my gosh, that would be so cool. Hey, I was thinking Missouri.” “No, not Missouri.” He’d be like, “Okay, why not?” It was always a constant conversation, for sure, just really trying to see things from their point of view I think is important.
Jennifer: Oh yeah, definitely. I totally agree. If somebody is totally new to this lifestyle and they want to be able to do better for their family, what sort of advice would you give to them?
Vicky: Start small. I would say start small because you can’t go from where you are to being where you are, Jennifer. You can’t go from zero to 60 in a day. You really have to take one step at a time. You have to start with something that you can do today maybe. Maybe it’s starting a sourdough starter, or maybe it’s starting a conversation with your husband about it. I think that for me, what was my very first thing, how I started going towards this lifestyle is soaking my oatmeal overnight.
I would give my kids oatmeal every single morning. They loved it but I noticed my kids’ teeth were growing really bad. I was like, “That’s so weird. I’m feeding them this healthy stuff like oatmeal with raw milk. Why is this happening?” It’s because I needed to cancel out the acid in the oatmeal. I needed to soak the grains. That’s when I learned, I think it was from Wardee that I learned to soak the grains. I had to put it in water, put some apple cider vinegar, let it soak overnight, and then cook it for the kids in the morning. That’s what I started with in the beginning. It’s not like I went and ordered a ton of vitamins at the same time.
Although, I have to say about the vitamins, when I was starting to make money, I remember I got this really big website deal and I did the website. I got paid for it and I was like, “Oh my gosh, what do I do with the money?” I remember going into this website, Radiant Life Catalog, and ordering cod liver oil. Cod liver oil is so expensive. I remember ordering cod liver oil and vitamin C from Radiant Life and it was using my business card. Of course I didn’t write it off, but I used my business account and that was the coolest feeling in the world. We didn’t have a budget for these insanely expensive vitamins. I actually bought two different flavors for my kids because one likes orange and one likes mint. It feels so rewarding to be able to work hard when the kids are napping, when the kids are sleeping, and contribute into the family in such an impactful way.
Jennifer: Yeah. Let’s talk about that for just a second. We’re running on an hour but gosh, I love talking to you so much. I want to get some of this in. I want you to talk a little bit more about your show because your show is inspirational as well because it teaches moms how to become entrepreneurs. Could you talk about that, and the format of it, and the kind of guests that you have on your show?
Vicky: Thank you so much, Jennifer, for asking that. That means a lot to me. I am very, very passionate about the show. I feel like this is my life’s mission, is really bringing successful mom entrepreneurs to a spotlight and have them teach me and my audience on how to run a business. This is not only business, business, business. For me, my mission is to help mom entrepreneurs not only win in business but also win at home at the same time. The slogan for the show is, “Helping mom entrepreneurs win in business without losing at home” because as I was growing my business, it was really hard for me to balance my marriage, my children, and my business at the same time. It was really hard.
I found that a lot of mom entrepreneurs around me were creating these incredibly successful businesses and then they were getting divorced. I literally sobbed. I reached out to a few moms in my community and I was like, “How is this even possible? Is that what’s awaiting me?” I have these incredible plans, I have this vision to make an impact on the world, to help all these people, but I don’t want to do it if that’s what it’s gonna cost me. I want to grow this multi-million dollar business only to lose my marriage. That’s not what I want to do. That’s where the show came from. I’m very careful in who I have on the show. It has to be a mom, it has to be a wife, a devoted loyal wife, and it has to be someone who is two steps ahead of me who is running an incredible business, or who wrote a book, or someone who is somehow not only impacting their family but is impacting people around them as well.
Jennifer: Wow. That’s wonderful. I love your show and I watch it as much as I can ’cause I love to be inspired. Talk about a guest or two that has inspired you on your show.
Vicky: This is such a good question and very timely as well. This Monday, I had an incredible guest on the show. Her name is Mindee Hardin and she was the inventor of Boogie Wipes. As a mom, I think a lot of moms, especially of little kids, know what Boogie Wipes are. They’re just saline wipes for kids noses. She invented that and created that business, I think, back in 2011 and grew this multi-million dollar business. I heard about her three years ago. I spoke to a friend of mine, like I mentioned before, about my fear of really having it all but losing my marriage. It was an intense conversation with tears. She took my hand and she said, “Vicky, there’s this amazing woman. Her name is Mindee, the inventor of Boogie Wipes, and she talks about this,” because she lost her marriage because she was trying to have it all.
She was trying to have this incredibly successful business, her kids, and then the husband, and she couldn’t do it. She lost it all. Jennifer, I’m telling you, all. She not only lost her marriage, she lost her business. The business sold for a lot of millions of dollars. She got nothing. She lost everything, including her car. A tow truck came and repo-ed her car. She shares her story very openly and she says, “You guys, you can do this business differently.” I feel like I heard about her and I kept dreaming of having her on the show, but I wasn’t sure if she was open to talking about this because it’s a very touchy subject. Not a lot of people go out into the world and say, “Hey guys, these are all my mistakes. These are all the things that I’ve done wrong. Learn from me.” Mindee is that person. We had this really deep conversation with her on Monday and that is the core message of the show. Yes, have this business. Yes, make an impact, but always remember who is the most important people in your life.
Jennifer: Oh my gosh, that’s very powerful. That’s great. Yeah, it’s really scary to come on a show and say, “I made this mistake and that mistake.” That’s a very strong person to do that. Along those lines, we’re talking about heroes. Other than the people that have been on your show, who are your heroes? It could be anybody from history, present day, whatever. Who are people that you look up to? Where do you get all this positive energy from?
Vicky: Oh my gosh, it’s so funny. You sent me a list of questions. I ran down the list and I did not get to answer this question in my head or think about it very much. I feel like in the beginning, I put a lot of people on a pedestal all the time like, “Oh my gosh, here’s so and so, she wrote a book,” or, “Oh my gosh, this businessman,” like go crazy because he or she has attained so much success or whatever. My friend called me out on that. She said, “Vicky, you need to stop idolizing people. You’re idolizing people. You’re putting them above yourself. They are just like you, they are made from the same stuff you’re made out of. Stop doing that.” Her lesson for me was like, this is so important.
You and I are the same, me and my guests are the same. They’re just a little bit further in their journey. I look up to so many women. Jennifer, you were on my show and I invited you on because I look up to you. You have teams, you have a successful business, and you’re happily married. What else could you ask for in life? I really look up to you and women like you who have been there, done that, and are coming out of it alive and happy and successful in all areas of their life. I wouldn’t say I have anybody specific, but I do want to encourage your audience to know that just because I’m here on the show doesn’t mean I’m better than you. No, I’m not. I’m just like you, I’m just as human, I’m just as flawed. I’m not always this positive and jolly. There are times that life sinks me down but really, I even did this in my Instagram story today, shared this message where you choose happiness. No matter what you’re going through, it’s a choice and it’s a mind game. It’s what you focus on. Really focus on the good that’s in your life and you too will be happy.
Jennifer: Yeah, I love that. Thank you so much for being so sweet. I love what you said about people being at a different part in their journey. The other thing I think is that some people just have a different journey as well and that’s maybe not for you all the time. I know it’s hard to look at people that are successful and say, “I’m not sure if that’s for me or not,” ’cause of course you want that. You want to be successful and you want to do everything right or do everything that they’re doing, but it’s not always the way that you should go. That’s not always your path. That’s big for me at least. I’m always looking at people going, “I should do that,” and sometimes I really shouldn’t.
Vicky: It’s so true. I struggle with that so much, especially with the day and age that we live in, Instagram and Facebook. Everybody’s posting. I’m gonna pause this. Everyone is posting their best moments. Everyone is posting their best moments and mostly only their best moments. Nobody’s gonna post a pile of laundry that’s been sitting there on the couch for three days. Nobody’s gonna do that, but it’s reality. It really happens to us moms and there’s no way around it. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t. I think that we really need to focus on that girl on Instagram who has that perfect feed is only posting her perfect moments, which is fine. It’s good, but you just have to know that in the back of your head. It’s okay, she doesn’t have a perfect life, she’s just posting the perfect moments. I even have the slogan on my Instagram. It’s like, “Just posting perfect moments of my imperfect life.” It’s the same for everyone.
Jennifer: Yeah. I think it’s fine to look at those pictures and say, “Isn’t that inspirational,” but like you said, know in the back of your mind that that’s not every moment. That’s just one moment in time. I love that, Vicky. I love having you here to talk to. It’s just been so wonderful. Where can people find you and connect with you? Twitter, Facebook, all of those things?
Vicky: Yeah. I’m on Twitter @VickyLashenko, on Facebook, just search Mompreneur Show, on a website where you can find all the previous episodes of the Mompreneur Show, it’s just mompreneurshow.com, and on Instagram, which is my favorite social network, instagram/mompreneurshow.
Jennifer: Wonderful. Thank you so much for being here, Vicky.
Vicky: Jennifer, thank you so much for having me on. It was so much fun.
Jennifer: If you were just joining us in the middle of this show or just now, I’ve been talking to Vicky Lashenko and she is from the Mompreneur Show. She has her own live show that airs every Monday. Definitely check her out because she has the most inspirational guests and she herself is an inspiration. Again, that’s mompreneurshow.com, if you would like to go check her out. Remember, being self reliant is not about being selfish and just about yourself. It’s about taking care of yourself so you can take care of the ones that you love. Take care.