Search This Blog

Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Great Plate Giveaway


lol! How do you like that title? I have a new set of dishes I collected when I was still in school that I have never used. I believe it's a service for 4. If you want them let me know. I have one person in line who wanted to see pix first. So...here you go:)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Shoppers Guide For Pollutant Free Products

Fresh, raw, pesticide free fruits and vegetables are key to good health. Here you will find some amazing articles, charts and more to help guide you to make better choices on the food you purchase regardless of your budget.

Food News has a lovely printable form you can take right with you to the grocery store. It lists the top fruits and veggies you should try to never purchase unless they are organic, followed by ones that are safer to purchase either way. If I absolutely cannot buy organic, I do make sure to use a veggie wash on my fruits and vegetables. But again, organic is always better. If you absolutely cannot go organic, at least try to go local.

The Environmental Group has a great listing of the top 10 things you can do to cut down every day pollution.

Cloves


Clove trees are native to the Spice Islands but now can also be found in other parts of the eastern world. You can information about the Spice Islands here. If you happen to be a homeschooler, I have also come across a unit study for the Spice Islands which can be found here. Last but not least, here is a guide I found online that tells about how long a spice will last in your cupboard.

Cloves have been dated back to at least the year 207 B.C. in China where it is said that the emperor required visitors to chew on cloves to freshen their breath. In 1552, an explorer named Ferdinand Megallan was the first to bring cloves back to his home in Spain which were highly coveted for their medicinal properties. That sure was a long time for the rest of the world to wait to use this wonderful spice.

The active ingredient in cloves is eugenol which is a very effective painkiller. It also acts to kill bacteria, fungis and virus’s. The eugenol in this plant gives the cloves amazing antiseptic properties.

Here are some helpful medicinal uses for cloves -

1.treating skin infections as well as athletes foot
2.kills several strains of bacteria
3.stimulating and aiding in digestion
4.used to treat intestinal gas, nausea and heartburn
5.helps prevent traveler’s diarrhea
6.quick cure for a toothache
7.kills parasite eggs

While battling a parasitic infection I started doing lots of research trying to find out what we could do to naturally get rid of these nasty little vermin's. I came across a site where it mentioned cloves being the only thing that would actually kill parasite eggs. I was super excited to say the least. So I started eating a couple cloves a day. I must admit the first couple times I did it, I had a hard time with all the spice. It’s definitely one of those acquired tastes. Apparently it is best to not use the powder but to instead put a whole bud in the mouth and grind between the teeth for maximum health benefits, so that’s what I did. However, this is not the only use for cloves besides their wonderful taste in holiday foods. Be prepared to be amazed at the wonderful benefits of a well known spice - it’s not just for baking.

As you saw from above there are many advantages to using whole cloves as clove essential oil. Below are a couple recipes for homemade mouthwash using cloves. One of them uses rosemary which is the one I hope to make very soon. Rosemary is highly recommended by Juliette De Bairacli Levy. While I do not agree with some of her ideals of God and the earth, this woman has so much wisdom when it comes to herbal remedies. I would highly encourage anyone seeking herbal wisdom to view her movie - Juliette of the Herbs if you can find it available.

Homemade Clove Mouthwash - from recipezaar.

Homemade, Alcohol Free Mouthwash

I hope you have enjoyed your mini lesson on cloves. Enjoy this wonderful spice as it has so many wonderful healing properties.

Honey and It's Healing Properties


Once we started homeschooling, I really started looking at things differently. We ended up purchasing a Moody Bible VHS on bees which is incredibly fascinating. Here it talked about how there is nothing in the world engineered so well as the bees hive. How the worker bees act as a heater in the winter by doing various things and in the summer act as an air conditioner. Everyone knows their job and does it very effectively. God gave them exactly what they needed in order to survive.

Ok I’m getting a little off subject. Let’s proceed onto the benefits of honey.

First of all, all honey is not created equal. The honey you find in your local grocery store is more than likely not a good supply of honey. What you want to look for is locally grown honey which is very easy to find once you know where to look. It has wonderful nutritional value and is not watered down or sugar added. We get raw honey as we feel this gives the most benefits in it’s very natural state.
Honey acts as an antibacterial and antifungal agent and helps disinfect and speed the healing process in wounds, scrapes and burns. Simply apply a small amount of honey to a clean wound.

Honey speeds up the healing process by stimulating wound tissues.

Honey may also be good for your skin. It has the ability to attract water. You can use honey instead of alpha hydroxy masks because if its high content of the acid. It is also safe for sensitive skin. I have used this many times and have incredibly sensitive skin. When I was finished, my skin glowed. I love using honey as a facial mask.

Daily consumption of honey raises blood levels of protective antioxidant compounds in humans, according to research presented at the 227th meeting of the American Chemical Society in Anaheim, CA, March 28, 2004. Biochemist Heidrun Gross and colleagues from the University of California, Davis, gave 25 study participants each about four tablespoons buckwheat honey daily for 29 days in addition to their regular diets, and drew blood samples at given intervals following honey consumption. A direct link was found between the subjects' honey consumption and the level of polyphenolic antioxidants in their blood.

I will once again say that when we consume things in their natural state, the benefits are overwhelming. I have just shown you a few of the wonderful benefits of using honey. You can visit here as well as search online for honey farms near you. If you live in Michigan, I try to always get our honey from Turtlebee Farms. Not only is the honey the best I’ve had, but the family is absolutely wonderful to deal with.

One more thing to mention that I almost forgot about. Because of the antibacterial properties, it’s actually great for your teeth regardless of the natural sugars in it. So eat up....God has given us liquid gold to sweeten our food. Throw away the bleached yuck and start using honey.

Apple Cider Vinegar


I had heard of people using this in the past - Folk Remedies is what they were called. It was touted to heal/cure all kinds of ailments from A - Z and then some. I’ll have to admit I am one of the worlds biggest skeptics on things like this. I will try it and if it works, great and if not then I let the world know. lol!


I picked up a bottle of Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar from my local health food store. It is very low expense considering I only use 1 Tablespoon per day. I had taken a drink of 8 oz warm water, 1 tablespoon of raw honey and 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (ACV) for almost 2 weeks. In that time here’s what I found.


- My appetite actually decreased . On top of that which I don’t know if it has any baring on this or not but I didn’t crave junk foods. I can actually see acv being a part of this because it kills yeast and yeast is what makes us crave sweets and breads.


- My skin first broke out but that was because all the toxins were coming out. I think another week and I’ll be all cleared up.


- I have more energy in the morning and throughout the day.


- I had a bladder infection coming on so I sat in a bath with 1/2 cup acv in the tub. I also drank more than usual of my above concoction. All was well within a day.


- 1 week ago I had a horrible sore throat and drank my above mixture throughout the day and not just in the morning. I expelled lots of mucus and felt much better the next day.


Coincidence - I think not.


Here is the site of the maker of Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar.


Here is a site where people are talking of all kinds of remedies used to cure bladder infections. One remedy being acv.


Earth Clinic has a very good article on the healing properties of acv and ailments that it’s useful for curing.


BellaOnline has a lovely article on acv as well as a recipe on how you can make your own. How cool is that!


Care2 has an article on lovely skin using acv.


So now that you have read through my brief article and are looking at all the links, I hope this helps you with your health. Have a lovely day and lets have a drink to our health - an ACV drink that is.

Our Medicine Cabinet


If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little, and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health.
by the Father of Medicine, Hippocrates

Come on in and take a peek into our medicine cabinet. We used to have cough medicines of all kinds, pain relievers galore, pms pills, throat sprays and more. What we have come to find out is they don’t actually work (most of the time that is). Here is a list of wonderful remedies and cures we keep on hand at all times if possible.


Colds:
Hylands Sniffles and Sneezes homeopathic remedy - we use this for kids and adults alike.


Diarrhea:
White Oak Bark from Nature’s Sunshine to slow down the bowels.
Priobiotic Eleven from Nature’s Sunshine to repopulate the gut with good bacteria.


Ear Infections:
Ear candles made by my dear friend which can be found for sale here.
Garlic/Mullein oil which we apply to the ear after we use the candles.


Female Issues:
Emerita’s Progesterone Cream - menopause formula for keeping cysts from forming and keeping pregnancy when hormone levels are low.

Red Raspberry capsules by Nature’s Sunshine One taken a daily helps with periods as well as having a healthy pregnancy and labor.

General Infections:
Silver Shield by Nature’s Sunshine has been an answer to prayer. This is truly an anti-biotic alternative now being used in several hospitals. This also works well for yeast infections.


Immune support - which is useful for all problems listed on this page.
Sweet Echinacea Tincture by Herbs for Kids - used for infants and children.

Trigger Immune by Nature’s Sunshine

Astragalus - This actually regulates the immune system. If it's over working it will slow it down, if it's not working well it will speed it up. I would recommend everyone have this around for when the Bird Flu comes to their area.



Throat infections:
Myrrh tincture which we gargle with then swallow. Very nasty tasting but works great.

Raw Honey has amazing healing properties. Simply take a spoon of this 3 times or so per day.

Brag Apple Cider Vinegar - I take this in 8oz warm water with 2T. honey and 2T. ACV. Some people need to start with that same amount of water and 1T. each of honey and acv till they work their way up.


Toxin Flush
Chlorophyl by Nature’s Sunshine is a lovely product I never again want to be without.


Yeast Infections in Women:
Priobiotic Eleven by Nature’s Sunshine

Silver Shield by Nature's Sunshine


Yeast Infection in Children and Babies:
L Reuteri by Nature’s Sunshine for good bacteria. This is chewable.

VS-C - by Nature’s Sunshine. I’ll be honest, I don’t know all the properties of this herbal tincture. I do know that a horrible yeast infection my son had didn’t start clearing up till we used this.

Lavender essential oil by Aura Cacia - 4-5 drops in bath water.

Cornstarch based baby powder, put on diaper area to keep dry.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

My Garden Updates





First of all I must say I'm incredibly pleased with the seeds companies I went with this year. I purchased heirloom organic seeds which in my opinion is the only way to go. Anyway, the main thing I'm harvesting currently is basil, tomatoes, chives and my other herbs. Oh yes, and Matt's banana peppers which I have no idea what to do with. lol.

Below in the pix you will see our squash which we have vining up on a cage. This is working very well. Despite the weight of the squash, the stem is holding it well. The pix you see is not at all the biggest. My tomatoes are finally ripening. That is my fault due to very, very late planting. Lastly what I'd like to draw your attention to is the bee. Yes there are still bees in my garden and he's currently pollinating! How cool is that. I have two female flowers that I hope he pollinated yesturday since it was their pollination day. We'll see how he's doing soon. If the bulb at the base of the flower keeps growing and doesn't fall off, he did his job well.

So excited!!

Matt has been working as a supervisor for many months now. We had no idea he'd be doing this just out of school since he had held an engineering position for so long. This job has taken it's toll on all of us. Generally, Matthew works 12-14 hour days and sometimes longer. He's so tired when he gets home that he really doesn't have the energy for us:( Thankfully he's back into his engineering position next week for good!!! We're so incredibly excited as is he. I can't imagine all the men who put in hours like that and have no time for their families. It was such an eye opener for us. So yeah, only 3 more days to go!!! Friday his employees are going to throw him a party and they'll prob. get out early since it's labor day weekend. Woo hoo! My honey will be home.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Please, let the whiskers stay on my sink...

My mom is coming today and when she comes over I feel I need to clean like crazy. Anyway, I was in the bathroom grumbling to myself like crazy on how I needed to clean up my husbands whiskers. Then I realized, the alternative would be to not have him here which means not having to clean up whiskers. I would much rather have the whiskers all over my sink and floor if it means he's still here with me.

So yeah, just some more musings for today. The rain is falling and it's so refreshing after such a long, hot day. Mom and dad should be here very soon with our little Lyshie. Yeah!

The FDA is literally killing our food supply.

I don't even have the words for this. This is why it's so important that everyone have their own garden and grow ONLY organic heirloom plants to ensure you are not getting genetically modified crops. This article is not speaking of gm food but instead, about irradiating food. Most very alarming since this will destroy the nutrients and minerals found in our foods. Yes - destroy it.

http://www.naturalnews.com/023945.html

We are coming into a new age where the FDA and Big Pharma are seeing how people are taking control of their health and they are losing money. So what do you do - go after the food supply. You cannot say you didn't know about this now that I have posted about it. You can choose to do what you can or ignore it. I hope your choice is not the latter.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Just One

I have had just one child at home for the past several days - almost a week. My daughter went to visit her grandma for a week just before we start school. It's amazing how quiet the house is with just one. When Jon isn't talking or making noise - it's quite. With two that NEVER happens.

With just one home I get so much more done and i'm able to actually think about something for more than 2 seconds. lol!

Please don't take this wrong - I love my daughter dearly and would never trade her for anything in the world. It was nice to just have some time apart. She loved being with grandma and I was able to re-evaluate just how precious she is to me and lighten her work load seeing how much she really does do.

I can't wait to have her back but the alone time that I got with my son I would never trade either. First children really have it made - they get all kinds of alone time with mom. Any children after that do not unless the time is scheduled.

Just some ponderings of today.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My First Green Smoothie!


I had my first green smoothie today with my son and it was quite palatable. You can find more information out about my green smoothie at this link. It's so hard to get the amount of greens we should be having. This is the easy and painless way to do it in my opinion. I hope to do this every day for 14 days at least and see if I have any results.

Controversey Over Fluoridation in Canada

The article can bhttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gife found at this link. Below is a video from Australia.

Quote taken from the following video.

"It's a most unusual way to deliver medicine - to use the public water supply. Think about it, you can't control the dose the people are getting, you're forcing it on people that don't want it, you're giving it to everyone whether they are very young, very old..."



Monday, August 18, 2008

The Organized Homeschool




I know some of us naturally are not organized. If you are not, I would challenge you to work on it. I have found how important it is to be organized while homeschooling. We have boughten 3-5 of the same books in the past and not even realize it. The same thing with crayons, glue sticks and so on. If you are organized you not only know where things are when you need them, but you also save money by not purchasing the same things over and over.

It did take us awhile to purchase these items. With the bookcases and organizing bins that we have, you're looking at spending about $180. While that may seem like a lot of money to most of us (it does to me), realize that we only bought one bookcase per month or every 2 months and the same with the organizers. Now we have a good system that works well and our items are easy to find.

As far as the desks - we got the smaller desk my son is sitting in on freecycle and we recycled the black desk. The black desk was in my daughters room taking up too much space. We went out and got some primer and paint as well as handles and had a brand new desk for the kids. The computer was only $25.00 at a school sale. They were getting all new computers and had this lovely little mac which will suite our kids needs just fine.

All in all our whole set up including desks, computer, bookcases and storage areas cost under $250.00. This just goes to show that a little at a time truly goes a long way. Below are some links that can help you find items cheaper for your homeschool area. There's also resale stores like Goodwill, Salvation Army and your independently owned resale shops. Happy Organizing!

http://www.freecycle.org/
http://www.craigslist.com
http://www.habitat.org/env/restores.aspx

The Richness of Books

“You must get into the habit of looking intensely at words, and assuring yourself of their meaning...you might read all the books in the British Museum (if you could live long enough) and remain utterly “illiterate,” un-educated person; but if you read ten pages of a good book...you are forever more in some measure an educated person.” by John Ruskin (1819-1900)

As a child, my grandmother instilled a love for reading within me. She was and is still such a saintly woman. We always knew we were of importance to her. Strolling down memory lane, here is what I remember of my dear Grandma Good.

Grandma would always make us our favorite breakfast as soon as we awoke in the morning. Even if it was a package of Ramen Noodles. I personally picked ham, onion and cheese omelets and boy were they good. We would make sawdust “cakes” with mud frosting and use some of our grandmother’s happy violets for the decorations. Grandma always had on hand extra clothes for us to wear if we forgot play clothes or jammies. She even put bags with tape around our shoes so we could play out in the rain or snow. Grandma always has a smile on her face and a kiss for every rosey cheek that enters her humble little home. Grandma never had a television which was rare for any household. However, instead of being glued to the tube, we made beautiful artwork with stencils, water paints, markers, colored pencils and old outdated magazines. All of which were beautifully framed on grandma’s fridge. To this day you will still see updated pictures on grandma’s fridge from the younger grandchildren and great grandchildren. My grandmother made gorgeous dresses and night outfits for my favorite baby doll named Allysha. I would awaken to a newly clothed Allysha doll. I thought my grandma was a magic worker.

I could write so much more about my grandmother and all the wonderful times we shared together, but I will move on to the topic at hand. One of the most important things grandma did with me was help me learn to read, then give me gifts of wonderful books. My first book I remember receiving from grandma, was Treasures in Grandma’s Attic which I have to this day. It was followed by Mandie books which I also still have and have added to the collection. What a wonderful series for young girls. It’s paired with God, and morals. Not to mention lots of mystery's. When I was about 12 or 13 my grandmother gave me the book The Velveteen Rabbit paired with a stuffed rabbit she had made to go with the book. To this day, that is still one of my most cherished gifts.

Fast forward to the present. You will see my house is bursting with books. Our many bookcases cannot contain them. They are piled up high onto my dresser, scattered on my desk and found here and there throughout our entire house. I simply cannot get enough of the pages in each one of these adventurous books. From cooking, to cleaning; health and home. Our learning goes on through fiction and biographies. Learning about our precious saviour and getting simple encouragement from others before us. Reading about the adventures of explorers and hearing of past and present martyrs and missionaries. Books are not just fun for reading and putting away. They are wisdom and knowledge that last for a lifetime. They are something we can take with us in our minds on a daily basis. They broaden our understanding of life, love, hope, and adventure. Below is a quote I recently came upon which really spoke to me.

"The world of books is the most remarkable creation of man. Nothing else that he builds ever lasts. Monuments fall, nations perish, civilizations grow old and die out; and, after an era of darkness, new races build others. But in the world of books are volumes that have seen this happen again and again, and yet live on, still young, still as fresh as the day they were written, still telling men's hearts of the hearts of men centuries dead." By Clarence Day

From Mark Twain to Jane Austen; Strobel to Grisham, the world of reading is so diverse. I would recommend when looking for books, check out your local library for book sales. Try to find unabridged versions. It seems like today everyone is working so hard to make everything simple to understand, that we have lost some of the old and beautiful languages of the past. Let’s bring them back. Let’s open up our children’s minds in this wonderful world of reading. Sadly enough, children are given toys, video games and more that take up most of their time.

“The state of literacy in the United States today is declining so precipitously, while video and computer technologies are becoming so powerful, that the act of reading itself may well be on the way to obsolescence.” by Janet E. Healy

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Apple Doesn't Fall From the Tree

Standing on the other side of this commonly heard phrase - now being a parent - those words ring horribly true at times.

My daughters attitude had become increasingly bad. She didn't smile nearly as much anymore and her joy seemed to be fading away. My son started yelling at his sister and getting very whiny. I could understand for those several weeks why people want to send their children to school in the fall - to get away from them. I hated feeling this way and always said that it was so sad that people wanted to just send their children away.

What could be causing the problem? Could it be me?

While attending the Bright Lights Conference with my daughter, it was confirmed that I was to blame for the chaos in my home; in our home. I am willing to bet that at least 9 out of 10 times, when there is immense attitude, discontentment, and discord in a home, the parents are to blame. Now please don't get me wrong, when a child gets older and is old enough to make their own decisions - the fault is not on the parent. However, I'm speaking of young toddler and school age children.

I don't know how it happened, but slowly and unnoticeably to me, my heart and mind changed. I slipped out of reading my bible every day and talking to the Lord on and off during the day. My instant reaction to the pressures of every day life was no longer first and foremost, looking towards my Father. Because of this, my attitude had grown worse, my compassion waned, my voice was more often than not raised and my attitude stunk. I was not just hurting myself, I was starting a horrible cycle in my children as well - and it showed.

Why you ask, am I laying it all out on this blog? If I can help just one person see how truly important it is to be a good example to our children, I have succeeded.

So how are we doing? My time with the Lord is getting better, my reponse to my children is getting softer again. My voice is lowered, and my temper is not so quick to fly. God is good - Amen! God is so patient with us and I'm so thankful for that. As for my children, they are doing better too. My daughter is such a joy and is no longer making excuses for her mistakes. My son is starting to act like his normal, busy self. I love being around my children again and would never want to 'send them away' to school.

If you have children that drive you crazy - may I suggest you look in the mirror. Children live what they learn. You have nothing to lose from improving yourself for your family. However, you have so much to lose if you do not get yourself in check - our kids are not worth sacrificing because something might take hard work on our part.

ABC's - felt


I realized I had worked so much more with Allysha by the time she was two than what I am with Jon. So....I decided to start getting very serious about making time for his school every day too. In the picture below it shows what his sister, Allysha, and I have been making for him. We cut out two of each letter from felt. We then matched them together and quickly whip-stitched around them. Yes you can tell it's quickly. lol. We figured since we already had the felt and thread at home it'd be essentially free to make verses going out and getting something from the store.

We have watched a few youtube videos with the alphabet including a youtube movie entitled Chicka, Chicka, Boom, Boom, which is taken from a book. Very cute!

We'll also be using letter of the week for some of our teaching. I will soon have lesson plans up on homeschool.mandikaake.com for teaching basic letter recognition. Within just a couple times of showing him the felt letter A, he is already able to recognize it. How exciting!

Have fun teaching your little ones. I know I do.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Schoolhouse Planner and the Old Schoolhouse Magazine

***The Schoolhouse Planner***
Upon first glance at the Schoolhouse Planner, I had a feeling it would be like every other planner out there. Same information, same sheets I would not use and same lack of important document worksheets. After flipping through the first several sections of this ebook, I realized I was definitely mistaken.

The Schoolhouse Planner has a large array of teaching tools that no homeschool family should be without. This information alone would make this a lovely ebook, however, there's much more. I love the variety of legal documents for those needing or wanting to keep homeschool records. In the past I have searched online extensively to find free printable worksheets for this purpose alone, and had still not found what I wanted. This book has all of what I have been looking for in this area.

The recipes in this book are very delightful. For my family, I try hard to make most of our meals at home. Simple to prepare recipes, recipes that don't take too long and that don't require special ingredients are a must for us. This is why I love the recipes in this book so much.

Most importantly, the Christian perspective in this ebook is very refreshing. I love how the basis of the book is built around scripture. It is so nice to have that reaffirmation in a book such as this.

There are only two things that I think could improve this book tremendously, making it more user friendly - this is the month by month area. By simply adding a page that says "January" then having a picture of a snow covered house, for instance would help make the transition to the calendar much smoother. Maybe even a lovely short poem on the first page as well. I felt almost confused when I'd get to each new monthly section. I also very much love the recipes but think it'd be neat to make menu's from recipes that coordinate with the months. Warm comfort food in the winter months, fresh foods that are in season for the summer, etc..

In conclusion I feel this is a must-have for every homeschooling parent. I am a fairly organized person and was shocked to see this was something new and fun we could use. For any home to be run smoothly there has to be some form of organization. I feel that The Schoolhouse Planner has done a very effective job in helping us as parents find the areas in our lives that need more time and work. There has been nothing left out of this book. From gardening, health, finances, biblical structure, homeschooling and so much more; this book is truly the best planning book I have come across to date.

***The Old Schoolhouse Magazine***
I have read through many homeschooling magazines in the past several years. The Old Schoolhouse Magazine is by far my favorite and only subscribed to magazine.

A few years back, I was still under the impression that I had to set up my homeschool like a public school building. Within the first few years, our homeschool had become very dry. My daughter started to lose her love for learning. It was from reading articles in the Old Schoolhouse about the Charlotte Mason learning style that I started looking into alternate ways to teach my child. It has not only saved our homeschool, it has brought a love for learning back to my daughter. This is just one way this lovely magazine has been so helpful to our family.

I love how I can find reviews to many different curriculum's, books and multi-media. Most of them also have discount codes which is very helpful to the homeschooling family on a budget.

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine now has 2 different ways to purchase this magazine - paper copy or digital. While I love having a paper copy to hold in my hands, we're running out of room in our home when it comes to shelf space. This has offered me a great alternative.

While I could write all day on how I love this magazine, I think it's worth it to see for oneself how enchanting this homeschooling magazine truly is by visiting the link below.

http://www.thehomeschoolmagazine.com/

Felted Butterfly


So while this is by no means perfect, this is my first felted creation. I made it in about 1/2 hour - 45 minutes for my little Lyshie. For the children's together gift (for Christmas), I plan to make them a felted nativity. Just the cave, Mary, Joseph and Jesus this year - then more things to add each year. I supposed when I'm done with that I'll have to make an ark. I know that's a bit more ambitious. lol.

Anyway, it's such a fun thing to do - although if you plan on taking up this hobby, make sure not to prick your finger. The needles for this are barbed and will not come out so easily. Eek!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Bright Lights Conference



My Lysha and I went to a Bright Lights Conference yesturday. It was wonderful! Such a lovely, godly conference. She asked why they didn't have it every day. lol. As a parent of a young girl, living in the world today, I think this is something every parent should do for their girls. As a Christian we have enough polluting influences in their lives, even if we're careful with what and who they are around. This was very refreshing. To find a Bright Lights conference near you visit here.

God's Promise - The Rainbow



Lysha, and I had gone out to run some errands. The sky was awful cloudy - I had never seen clouds so low before. I was concerned of a tornado since some of the rain was almost verticle. We arrived home from our trip and to my astonishment, there was a rainbow, right over our sub!!! As you can see, I took a picture with Lyshie in it to show where it was.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Pollination by Hand

With the bee problem this year some of us have to resort to pollinating our crops by ourselves. It's very easy, just a little time consuming. For my squash I got a new painting brush - just a small one - and first got pollen from the male plant, then rubbed the brush on the female plant. If you don't know how to tell the difference in a female and male plant of a squash, here are some pictures.




Above is the male flower.



Here is the female flower. Notice the difference?

href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_hc7HGyc-4Xk/SJyKtV2jjoI/AAAAAAAAAPg/VoWEa4-bfHY/s1600-h/IMG_1375.jpg">
Here is an easy way to tell if the flower is female. It has a little bulb at the base of the flower.

Now that you know what to look for, happy pollinating:)

Mmmm! Basil




I just went out in the garden today to harvest some basil. How lovely! I came in with more than I was expecting. I decided to make pesto and freeze it as well as some basil flavored vinegar. It was such a delight. Now, who wants to come and clean up my kitchen? lol!

I also have some tomatoes right on the verge of being ready as you can see above. Can anyone guess what the blue flowers are from? It's flax - apparantly good for the soil:) I unfortunately only had one plant survive due to either a rodent, a neighbors dog or my children. Who knows.

Back to the basil, when I made the pesto I didn't add the parm. cheese because I read it might not freeze well. I'll just add it in later. I put a generous tablespoon each in a small ziplock bag. I then will put all the little bags into a larger freezer bag and pop them in the freezer. I usually don't use more than a tablespoon at a time so this will be perfect. Below are the recipes if you're interested in making pesto or vinegar yourself.

Basil Pesto
3 cups fresh, washed basil
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil

Place basil, garlic and pine nuts into the food processor and process till nuts are chopped well.

Add in the olive oil and lemon juice and process till smooth.


Basil Vinegar
fresh basil leaves
white distilled vinegar

Fill a jar loosely with basil leaves (or any other fresh herb of choice). Next fill with vinegar. Close lid and keep in a cool, dark place for 3 weeks, occasionally shaking to incorporate flavors.

Strain and put vinegar in new, clean jar. You can add a sprig of fresh herb for eye appeal if desired.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The No Shampoo Challenge!

I have been shampoo free for almost a month (a few days shy). My first response "ew gross!". However, the more I thought about it, the more it makes sense. We condition our hair to need to replenish it's oil with frequent washings. I had already gotten my hair to the point where I only needed to shampoo 2 days per week to keep the oils down. Any other time I was in the shower I would just rinse well to loosen any dirt. Well, this is just one step above that. Check out the links below. This is for all - yes all hair types. It's not only better for your health but super cheap!

http://babyslime.livejournal.com/174054.html#gel

http://www.naturemoms.com/no-shampoo-alternative.html

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

My little man




Here's pix of my handsome little man with a dirty face. lol. It was so hot and humid out yesturday. I couldn't bear having him be in anything but his diaper to run out and get a treat from the drive through. He thought he needed his hat. lol.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Living out old dreams without a college education.

I'm not at all degrading having a college education. I am however stating that it is not for everyone. When I was younger I had a dream of getting my writings published in a book or magazine - something someone would actually read. Well, today I got a final copy of my submission for an article that will be put into an actual ebook. The magazine doing this is The Old Schoolhouse - only my favorite homeschooling magazine ever! I didn't realize till I was talking to my husband that here I have done something I had wanted to do years ago and not even realized I had attained it without seeking it out. God is good isn't He? I'll update you complete with links to this ebook when it is finished and ready to sell.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Goodwill shopping!

The kids and I picked up Matthew from a friends home after the retreat. We went to a nice dinner at Ruby Tuesday then went to Meijer to find something I had been watching to go on sale even further. It had the last time I was there but I didn't get it. Well, it was gone and I was really bummed. Matt told me that it's ok and that something better would come along.

Fast forward 20 minutes later. I decided to go to Goodwill to see if I could find any linens, wool sweaters to recycle or anything else fun. Not quite 2 weeks ago I found the most beautiful picture with an old, antique frame. It was only 24.99 but I still didn't want to spend that on it. I had gotten my items to purchase and while in line looked across the other side of the room and there it was! I had looked earlier but it wasn't in the same place it was before. Since I knew I couldn't reach it and it was closing time, I asked the cashier if someone could see if it had a purple tag since purple tags were 1/2 off. The 30 seconds it took them to get it down seemed like minutes. Then I heard these beautiful words "it has a purple tag". Needless to say I was incredibly excited. So for a total of just over $23.00 I got the following:

The gorgeous picture
2 Pottery Barn shams - gorgeous dark colored floral - vintage looking
1 full sized sheet(like new) to complete my set for making my daughter a futon cover
1 gorgeous hair scarf - black background with floral design
2 dvd's for Matt
1 vhs for Matt

Needless to say I'm so excited! Now I'm off to get the camera and take a picture of my newly boughten picture so you can see it for yourself.


On the left side is a floral and striped print in reds. Those are the shams. Up on the top center/right is the sheet for Lyshie's futon cover I'll be making. The other sheet we have here to use for the cover is plain lavender.

Sorry about the flash - I still haven't cleaned it either. Isn't it gorgeous!

Blessings of a new day and friends.

God knew just what I needed when I needed it. My friend Jen called me last night and we talked for probably over 1 hour. We rarely get the chance to do it but it was much needed - for me anyway. I was able to totally calm down and be ok for the remainder of the evening.

Today is a whole new day and while the kids are still coming down from being little stinkers, things are going well. I have been able to re-organize our books downstairs and am now getting ready to finish cleaning the den and take some books in my bedroom, downstairs. I also made some cookies last night. Something I have not done since at least 1 year ago - maybe 2. I never did before because they're not healthy. However, now that I'm teaching my daughter to cook it would just seem wrong if she didn't know how to make cookies. However, I did forget one batch (the last batch) in the oven. We were upstairs watching a movie and I smelled that all too familiar burnt smell. I ran downstairs and sure enough the cookies were totally black. Thankfully I used a cookie stone so it wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been. Praise the Lord! We left the oven closed and opened windows and doors to make sure it didn't set off our smoke alarm. If it does that - the whole house goes off and I have no idea how to get it to stop with Matt being gone. The only way I've been able to do it before is to say "Hey Matt, could you fix that". lol.

So yeah, today is going much better thankfully. As my friend pointed out, Praise God we're in good health and my family is safe regardless of some of the hard times.

May you too have a blessed day.

Friday, August 1, 2008

It's been one of those days

I'm sure you all know what I'm talking about. One of those days you'd just love to forget and get over as soon as possible so a new one can start. So for those of you who think I've got it all together, have perfect, easy kids, etc.... (which people have said), know that I have these days too. Matt headed out for a men's retreat this weekend which is so hard because we never see him anymore. Even when he's home he's eating or sleeping. In the past several months we've prob. had only one day at home together on Saturday. While I'm glad he has a job I'll be glad when it's over. It's too hard on any family when their husband has to work 65 hours a week and that doesn't count his drive to and from work.

Tonight Jon started choking really bad because he got a hair tie stuck in his throat. I was so scared cause usually he'll just cough something up but this time he started turning color before he did. By the time I got to him it was out - thank the Lord! I got him in trouble for eating something he shouldn't have and out came this pathetic cry in which he said "dada, dada," He misses his daddy so badly and needs him home. I'm just trying to pass away time till Matt gets home tomorrow evening.

So yeah, say some prayers for me today and the coming weeks till Matt is back in his supervisor job. I'm really on the edge and just need a break. And just in case you're wondering, to de-stress I need to not have any company. I like to be alone, in my bed being waited on by only my family. So yeah...just in case you thought of visiting, please don't - no offense. Just pray. Thanks!