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Community Spotlight: The Rucker Family
Sophie Gil
By Sophie Gil
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Meet the Rucker Family, eight inspiring members of the Brandless community. They are one of our founding families. And by this, we mean that they have been our strongest supporters since the first day we launched Brandless.

The best part? They are a family of EIGHT people. Quote of the day? “TEAMWORK to make our family dreams work!” Read on to learn about their exciting, bright life as they raise six kids.

Brandless: Tell us! When we met you there were 7 children and now there are 8. How do you do it?!

 

Sherri Rucker: Well there were actually EIGHT kids total! 5 younger ones at home with us and 3 older ones living in Detroit going to school. So we were Rucker Party of 7 originally. This summer our oldest son Jordan’s daughter Jaliyah came to live with us. So that made six little people and two big people making us Rucker Party of EIGHT!

Sherri Rucker: How do we do it? Honestly, we amaze ourselves sometimes! There’s never a dull moment around our house and there’s always something to do. We are busy busy BUSY! ALL OF THE TIME! It may seem chaotic to others but we wouldn’t have it any other way. It takes a lot of patience, a lot of prayers and a lot of LOVE! (I was going to say wine but that might be frowned upon. Lol!) We just try to do the best we can with what we have and raise happy little souls that want to make the world a better place.

 

Scottlin and I also believe in TEAMWORK to make our family dreams work! With six kiddos to care for, feed, clothe, guide, entertain, drive everywhere, etc., it definitely takes two parents giving 100%! We couldn’t do all of this without our faith, our family, our friends and most importantly, each other! At our house everyone has chores, even the 3-year-old! It’s important to teach kids responsibility and service. Having a task to complete helps the entire family makes our kids feel great about themselves when they complete it. We are proud of their confidence and willingness to help out around the house and to help with the baby. Laughter is also at the heart of our home! All of our kids are little comedians in their own way and as a family we laugh and spend time together as much as possible!

Brandless: Can you tell us a little more about how it’s been to help raise Jaliyah? She seems like a firecracker!

 

Sherri Rucker: She is definitely a FIRECRACKER! Although it’s been such a joy to raise our granddaughter it’s been a challenge we never imagined. Scottlin and I prayed on it and knew that God had brought her to our home for a reason. Before she arrived we didn’t have any background on her first year of life. Her parents have had some difficulty raising her on their own. They are very young parents trying to further their education and career goals and it’s hard for them. 

Sherri Rucker: We don’t like to see our kids struggle with our granddaughter so we offered to take Jaliyah in. We just knew that we had to make it work and it needed to happen immediately! We explained it to our kids and they were excited and on board with having her with us from the start! It’s been a such a blessing and we’ve all grown so much closer! 

Our youngest Trinitee is only 3 and when Jaliyah arrived, she was having none of it! She was the baby for so long she didn’t understand why Jaliyah was taking her place. We encouraged her to help take care of Jaliyah and she realized this was her chance to be a BIG sister! After that she was hooked! She protects her and plays with her and reads to her and loves her so much. It’s been a joy to watch the whole family adjust to life with Jaliyah. We wouldn’t have it any other way!

Brandless: What is the most rewarding part of growing your family?

Sherri Rucker: Watching these little souls grow up together and laugh and play together is so awesome! We love watching them teach each other new things and lean on each other when they need help. It’s so rewarding to know that they will always have each other and they will never be alone!

Brandless: Okay, I have to ask. With growing teens and little tots, how do you feed all of them?

 

Sherri Rucker: It’s a lot like feeding a bunch of kids at summer camp! We cook four meals a day then they’re on their own for snacks in between. We try to keep the pantry stocked with healthy snacks that we don’t mind them bingeing on. We always have to make soooooo much food for each meal and serve everyone at the same time because we eat all of our meals together. It’s a big job, but we have a blast! The teens started preparing meals for the whole family once a week and that’s been so fun! Our oldest daughter cooks a lot on her own too! She likes to try new recipes and use healthy ingredients. Everyone likes to help at mealtime and everyone has a job to do. And to be honest we just recently started eating healthier and buying organic products.

 

Brandless has helped us with this a lot. We used to eat at McDonalds and Del Taco a lot more than we should. We used to pay no attention to the ingredients in what we put into and on our bodies. We used to eat at unhealthy times with no schedule and no planning. All of that led to weight gain, whining kids, frustrated parents and unhealthy attitudes. No bueno for a house with eight people! We decided to make a change and we’ve all been better for it! It’s still hard to get the kids to cut the sugar and embrace whole wheat pasta with a smile, etc., but we know we are doing what’s best for our family. They’ll get used to it!

Brandless: We’ve heard about how Alexa has a new passion for cooking (including yummy gluten-free meals)! And the family has decided to eat healthier and adopt the keto lifestyle. How have you been able to invite the rest of the family into this new lifestyle?

 

Sherri Rucker: Honestly for the adults, it’s been amazing! But for the kids, it’s been a challenge, to say the least! The teenagers really miss the sugar and pasta A LOT! I’ve found some great alternatives for them that they like and when the teens noticed that their skin was getting clearer and they had more energy they stopped complaining! There are times when I make two meals at a time to accommodate everyone’s tastes. But for the most part, everyone eats the same thing at the same time and we make it work!

Brandless: So Mom, you’ve made some other big moves. What inspired this move and what does it mean for your family?

 

Sherri Rucker: It means more happiness!  

I’ve been a dance teacher for the past 20 years. I was in my last position in the same school district for over 13 years. I was definitely in a rut. I wasn’t inspired. My administration wasn’t supportive of the arts. I felt like I wasn’t making a difference anymore. Scottlin and I have been dreaming of living by the ocean for quite a while and it just never seemed attainable. We have a large family living on one income (a teacher’s salary at that!) and some freelance work from home income from Scottlin (when let’s face it, how much work can you get done at home with two little girls under 3 running around?!) so needless to say, THE STRUGGLE IS REAL! The financial strain and working a job that I didn’t enjoy was a recipe for disaster. That’s exactly what it was, a disaster. We prayed on it and a position in Carlsbad (by the BEACH) opened up and I ran across it by accident. The position was only part time but the dancers and the administration are a dream! I am creating my very own dance program at La Costa Canyon HS and I am so thrilled we decided as a family to take this step forward. We still live in Riverside which is 75 miles away from my job but since it’s part time I only have to go to work twice a week so the commute isn’t that bad. Now that the little girls can go to preschool and daycare and since I’m at home three days a week Scott can get back into corporate world again! We are all so excited for him to get back work again! Baby steps. We’ll get to where we want to be soon!

 

I think our decision as a family for me to take the position in Carlsbad shows that we value what’s important in life. It’s not a ton of money or a big house or nice cars or designer clothes that are important. It’s happy healthy kids, parents with fulfilling careers and living clean while helping others. We believe you choose your happiness and you have to follow through and make the best of what you have while being 100% THANKFUL!

Brandless: We’ve loved having you in our community. It seems like you’ve been with us since day 1. How did you find out about Brandless in the beginning?

 

Sherri Rucker: I found it by accident! It was when Scott and I first decided to live healthier and we were looking for easy ways to grocery shop for healthier foods. We were spending hours in the grocery store and spending a lot of money and it was frustrating. We wanted to find a better way to shop. So I Googled healthy/keto/organic/grocery/health and beauty/cost effective/home delivery …. and BRANDLESS was the first site to pop up! I saw that everything was three bucks and I was hooked! We’ve been hooked ever since!

Brandless:   Does each of your family members have a favorite Brandless product?

 

Sherri Rucker: Besides the fact that the four little ones will fight each other and take no prisoners for the whole wheat animal crackers….. We all have our favorites!

Mom: The coconut lemon creme cookies are to die for!!!

Dad: The cashews!!! To Dad, $3 cashews are the best thing ever!

Isaiah: He loves the sea salt pita chips. When we got our first bag he was the first to try them so the rest of us never had a chance! He ate the entire bag and nearly caused a riot amongst us! He loves to dip them in the pineapple jalapeño salsa. So yummy!

Alexa: She loves the entire skin care line. Bye-bye expensive face products! HELLO to full day self care time with about 11 products to use on your face, hands, feet and body that smell amazing and work like a charm! I’m still trying to get her to post a video on one of her teen spa nights she likes to have with her best friend Summer. They do facials and mani pedis with all Brandless items and it’s awesome!

Onyx: He loves the coco butter because he can put it on by himself without making a mess. We all love the smell and how nicely it absorbs. It’s hard for black people to find skin care products that are nourishing enough for our skin (Sorry. Not sorry! It’s TRUE! There I said it!). Brandless nailed it with this one!

Isis: She loves all of the stationery products. Isis is our little artist and she loves drawing and creating things. The colored pencils and writing notebooks are her favorite. There’s a place to write her name on everything (so that no one messes with her stuff!) and it’s simple and clean looking.

Trinitee: She’s a snacker and she likes allllll of the snacks and organic candies! If she had it her way she would snack her way through the day if we’d allow it. So the fact that Brandless has organic and healthy options is a huge win in our house!

Jaliyah: The Grandbaby loves the applesauce pouches. At 18 months old she goes into the pantry on her own and grabs one when she wants to. It’s pretty funny. She loves being able to do it herself!

 

Brandless: As you might have been able to tell, we’re pretty big on intentions here. What’s your family’s intention as you move?

 

Sherri Rucker: We started this year with a family motto (found to the left).

It’s really helpful to come back to this and remind ourselves of what our purpose is. Even the little ones can understand these concepts, and we all try to live this way every day.

Brandless: What’s your biggest challenge?

 

Sherri Rucker: Our biggest challenge is definitely living on a very tight budget with a very large family. We make it work and we’ve learned some really great tips on how to save money from other families like ours. It’s helpful to know that there are other huge families like ours out there just making the best of what they have and doing the best they can to provide a happy and healthy life for their loved ones. We may not get to go to Disneyland and vacation every summer but we have more love, laughter, and security in our home than we could ever imagine! We don’t dwell on what we don’t have. We are so THANKFUL for what we have and feel blessed to have such a strong and faithful family unit.

Spending quality time together is what keeps us going as a family. Eating our meals together, watching movies, playing games and having dance parties in the kitchen… that’s the good stuff! We try to make the best of the time we have together!

Brandless: What mantra or daily practice gets you through the week?

 

Sherri Rucker: We taught the twins a mantra to help them with focusing on their homework. “First you do what you HAVE TO to do so that you can do what you WANT to do.” All of us working harder on focusing on the important and mandatory tasks first. Then we have space to enjoy what we love doing what we want to do together.

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