Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Fun Nature Activity

We have been having spring like weather where we live lately and boy does it feel great!  So all the girls made nectar pots to hang outside.  This is an easy and simple thing. 

You will need cotton balls, one plastic cup per person, string and a sugar syrup for the nectar.

1.  Make sugar water syrup.  1:1 ratio is good.
2.  Poke a hole in the bottom of a plastic cup and insert a cotton ball to where it sticks out slightly.
3. Poke holes in the sides of the cup for the string to go through and thread the string through and tie onto the cup.
4.  Put some of the sugar syrup into the bottom of the cup and go hang it up outside to feed the butterflies.

Enjoy!  Thanks to my oldest daughter at home for leading this activity!

Sunday, February 18, 2018

When You've Been Sickly

Sometimes when you have been sickly, things just have a way of running together and you end up not knowing what day it is along the way.  When you add in several kids to that mix, you just try to keep your head, and heart, above the water!  That is where we have been since November!  This year sickness hit our home and has not left, despite our efforts of natural remedies and even doctor visits with prescriptions!

I have bleached, lysoled, cleaned every inch of this house.  Seemingly to no avail!

We have continued to take vitamins and added herbal teas and remedies.  We have some on prescriptions that seem to cost more than they help out!  We have bought tons of garlic for eating and cooking with.  I have exhausted my herbal remedies cabinet and ideas and still.

Time is all it will take.  I have had the windows open for the past week to air out the house.  I know this helps!  I just wish it would help sooner!  

If you have managed to stay well or mostly well this winter, share what you know!  Leave a comment and let me know what your favorite herbal, oil, home remedy you like to use to keep your family healthy.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Six Tips for Sibling Rivalry I Have Learned as a Mom of Many

Dwelling together in unity month is half way over and I am just sitting down to write the first piece I have for the blog.  I was stricken down with a nasty cold virus as I alluded to in my last post that still hasn't left me.  While I was sickly and bed ridden, the kids all got along swell!  No, really, they did and it was great and peaceful for much of the time.  Did we arrive here overnight?  Nope!  It has taken some time to cultivate peace in our family, but I have learned some things over the years that I have decided to share today.

Sibling rivalry doesn't have to be a thing in your household!  Here are six tips I want to share with you on how to curtail it.

Cultivate friendship among the children.  When they try to bicker or argue I have two things that I always tell them and then make them stop and move on.  The first thing I remind them of is, "we will always be a family, you must get along together..."  And also, "friends come and go but you'll always have your family/brothers/sisters..."  This makes them understand that one of the greatest relationships in their lives are that of those which they live with and sets them up for success in the future!  I will pair them up for special things, set teams to play games together during playtime, and other things to cultivate the sibling relationships that do not seem to be naturally occurring. I admit, there are sometimes two that do seem to get on each others nerves and sometimes rub each other the wrong way, so those get extra time to do things together. 

Make and concentrated effort to build sibling relationships over nearly any other earthly relationship, in the earlier years especially.  Friends are fine to have but family should and often is the very first best friend you make!  Do things together as a family within other groups.  Invite other families over to spend times together.  Teach them never to treat strangers better than their own family as often the case.  All should be treated equally as well! 

If fighting and bickering ever occurs, reprimand BOTH parties!  Don't let one play the victim!  One is always apt to do this, in every family!  Don't allow it.  Then require both of them to ask forgiveness for their actions.  I don't play referee, I tend to become a peacemaker instead!

Teach peace.  Be an example of a peaceable person.  Remember that what comes out of your mouth is a reflection of your heart.  If you want a peaceful home, make sure you are the first to step towards that peace!  Of course, we all have bad days, but make sure, sure, sure that your good days are far more than your bad!

Memorize, use and talk about scripture on this issue.  Memorize ahead of time and remind them of what is said.  Little children are fully capable of memorizing large portions of scripture!  
  • Romans 12:18 -   If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
  • Philipians 2:3-4 -  Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.  Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
  • Matthew 7:12 -  Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.  (This is also known as the "Golden Rule" and ever little person should be taught to know this!)
  • Galatians 6:7 -  Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
  • Matthew 22:39 -  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Read and discuss stories in the Bible of examples of sibling rivalry and their consequences!
Cain and Abel,  Issac and Ishmael - We are still feeling the consequence of this to this very day!  Joseph and his brothers, the Prodigal son, Jacob and Esau.

I have used these same ways over the past three decades of parenting and I will continue to use them right along with you!  I am more of the persuasion to make less work, you work on things proactively instead of reactively!  Work on this before it is needed!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Modest Monday - Pink

Today I thought I would share an outfit with you all.  I was sick all last week and I am finally coming around to feeling better.  It is pretty bad when Mama is sick and in the bed for a week, but we survived! 

The weather is dreary and warm and there is so much work to be done so I donned my tennis shoes with awesome arch support and this outfit....

Shirt - Old Navy
Skirt - Express 
Shoes - Keds

And as usual, when mama gets a pic, baby girl wants to show off her outfit too...

Sweater with the big heart on it - Carter's
Pink polka dot leggings - Carter's

I can't wait until the grass greens up and we can get out into the garden!

Shared today with Caroline over at the Modest Mom!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Food Allergies - Tips

Here are the tips and ideas I promised from last time!  These are what we do, please feel free to ask questions and also give your own ideas that maybe I haven't thought about.

  1. When I cook, we use substitutes for allergens.  For example:  applesauce and coconut oil in place of butter for cookies or baking.  Use it one for one to butter.  I use 3/4th applesauce and 1/4th coconut oil.  Rice milk for dairy like in a cream soup or other soup.
  2. Sometimes, we cook two of each dish we are preparing.  For example:  potato soup or creamy soups with one of them being cooked with their milk or water.  Or when we make fried rice or Chinese dishes at home, we leave out the soy sauce and egg from one pan of it.  Casseroles with cheese, theirs just doesn't have any in or on top.
  3. I am an avid label reader!  So much so that my teen handed my baby a candy bar the other day and she mimicked me by flipping it over and looked as if she was reading the label!  If I can't read the label, I don't buy it.
  4. We hardly ever eat out.  If and when we do I already know what they can have and if there is absolutely nothing that passes, I will take my allergy guy his own meal in and explain he has life threatening allergies.  We never have any problems and only ever had respect.
  5. I always take things I know they can eat to family gatherings or pot luck meals as my contribution.  
  6. I also dip their plates and serve them at these kinds of things or buffets!  
  7. I buy in bulk and make our snacks and baked goods at home.  Along with making other things at home too.
  8. I don't replace, say, cheese for vegan cheese or ice cream with IceDream.  That can become even more expensive and chances are, some of the ingredients in the replacements my children cannot eat either.  (I do buy them this "butter" for their bread or potatoes though, which I just started doing.)
  9. I try to stick to protein, vegetables, fruits and whole grains.  I also rotate grains so allergies do not develop further.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Food Allergies - Our Story

Let it be known that several of my family members have life threatening, epi-pen carrying food allergies!  Which is why some of my recipes or shopping lists do not mirror normal non-food allergy families.  For instance, I have 5 children plus myself who are allergic to dairy so our milk needs come from other sources and maybe I do not need a gallon of cow milk a day for our family!  With that in mind, I wanted to take a moment and share some tips and ideas and a little story on large family food allergies.

The first time I learned of food allergies was when my 11 year old was 2 weeks old.  She was having weird diapers for a breastfed baby so I took her into the pediatrician's office and she was tested and ended up her colon was bleeding and inflamed.  She told me to take all dairy out of my diet so I did and she cleared up and started having normal diapers.

The next time I was in the hospital with my 8 year old.  He was only a few hours old and had only had nursed colostrum of course but ended up spitting that up.  He also had not normal diapers so the pediatrician had him tested at three days old and he ended up being allergic to dairy as well.  His bowels were beginning to bleed from the milk in my diet so I took all dairy out of my diet.  He spit up a lot and had trouble gaining weight, he had severe reflux.  They kept telling me, "he will outgrow it by a year..."  He didn't.  He was on medications and there was talk about feeding tubes as well!

Then one day, when he was 4, I heard about GMOs in our foods and so I studied and researched and took all GMOs  out of our diet.  Which meant we ate a LOT of organic food and my grocery bill doubled and I had to begin to search out the best places to buy food.  He stopped spitting up!!  He became more energized and aware of things whereas before, he had been showing signs of "being on the spectrum".  In those months though, all of it went away!

It dawned on me to take them in for allergy testing with the pediatric allergist.  So, I did.  They tested them and gave me an epi-pen for him before I even left out of the office!  For "just in case".  We had to learn to take their allergens out of our house.  They are allergic to two or more of the following:
dairy (cow)
almonds (stay away from treenuts too)
eggs (yolk and white)

The little girls are allergic to one or two things.  My son is allergic to everything on that list except shellfish.  When we completely removed this from their diet, they began to feel better and do better!
For us, it is important we keep him away from his allergens to keep him healthy.  Any little bit is a bit too much!

Next time, I plan to share tips and ideas on how we deal with this in our family.  Does your family have any allergens?

Thursday, February 1, 2018

How to Make Money from Home Writing - Book Review

Have you ever wondered is there some little way, without MLM (multilevel marketing), that I can make money?  If so, this little gem of a book is for you. 

How to Make Money from Home Writing by Janine Roberts is a book full of insider ideas and cautions on writing for profit online.  I enjoyed the candid and honest look at what to look out for and how to get started.  She gives a good review of her favorite and higher paying jobs she has written for and even delves into writing for a person instead of a company.

As a personal plus, she gives some tips on writing articles that are very helpful and goes over some rules that you probably haven't thought of since high school.

As of right now, it is 2.99 on amazon.  I highly recommend this ebook!  It was very helpful to me.

The link is an affiliate link, but I was bought this copy with my own money and the review is my own thoughts and no one paid me to review it!  I encourage you to check it out even just for help in writing better!

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Mornings Matter

“It is well to be up before daybreak,
for such habits contribute to health, wealth, and wisdom.”

Sometimes I am asked how I homeschool with pregnancies, babies, and preschoolers "happening" all the time. Well, I have a little secret....by the Grace of God! He is the One who gets me through all the good times and bad times!

Every morning I try to get up earlier than my children and have a quiet time of reading the Word and praying. I also listen for little rhemas of God during this time and focus on that little rhema for the day. My children know that if they get up early and come into the living area and Mommy is in the chair with the Bible, that they must be quiet and wait for her to finish "talking to God" before they ask me for anything to eat or drink. They have learned to wait patiently for a few minutes for Mommy. Now if there is an emergency, they know they can speak up and I will take care of it. 

I always greet them in the morning with a smile and loving hugs, cuddles and kisses. They need that reconnection to start their day. All ages! Sometimes I will have a little snack waiting on the littles because they are so hungry, they can't wait for breakfast to come. They eat the snack (muffins, biscuts or a piece of toast) and then they are ready to take on the rest of the morning.

Sometimes they do wake before me but they know what comes next.  My 8 year old greeted the day and Daddy with a bright smile and some energy. 
Daddy said, "why don't you go get back in your bed where it is warm?" 
He said, "because Mommy will get up and read her Bible and talk to Jesus in just a minute!"  "I will wait on her...."
So, he sat in the recliner for about five minutes and I roused myself up out of the bed. If you get into a routine, the children usually know what is to come and feel comfortable and ready for it.

Mornings matter.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Homemade Sausage - Recipe

Sometimes, you just want to eat something that is a comfort!  Breakfast for dinner is one of those things for our family.  This recipe came about back when we raised pigs and had an abundance of pork, but it can also be used with ground turkey, chicken, or deer even!  It makes for a delicious sausage patty or crumble.

I hope you enjoy it.  Let me know if you try it or if you have anything to add.

Homemade turkey sausage  (you can do pork or other meat too)

2 lb ground meat
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp dried sage
2 tsp salt
2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp dried majoram  (I usually omit)
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
(If you want it hotter, add more pepper flakes)

Mix together. Chill for an hour or not if you're like me and don't have the time.
Shape into patties and cook until done. (Depending on the fat of your meat, you may have to add oil to the pan.)
It's so good fried up and in a gravey!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

In the Care and Keeping of Little Ladies and a Recipe

“If parents wish their daughters to grow up with good domestic habits,
they should have, as one means of securing this result, a neat and cheerful kitchen.”
-Harriet Beecher Stowe, The American Woman’s Home

So many times I have lived in the kitchen for days, it seems.  At first, I would not let my children in the kitchen while I cooked.  I couldn't handle the talking and messes while I was busy working.  When my oldest was well over 18 years old, I finally let the girls in with me for helping and training them.  By this time, I had 9 children under my roof.  Eventually though, I realized I needed to also train the boys to cook because it would serve them well, whether on a college campus or as husbands if their wives were down for the count!

This training has served me well.  My younger daughters now help and run the kitchen as much as I do!  Which is a good thing.  This past week end and weekend I was down with the cold that has been living with our family for a month!  I was able to have my menu plan in place and food stocked for the children to help my husband and I.  Thank goodness they were well taught ahead of this time!

My oldest daughter at home decided to take it upon herself to make some delicious cookies for us with the three year old in tow!  What a blessing to me to see the fruit of my labor in training, be used in a way that was unrequested by me but by her own idea.

"Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children." -Chuck Swindoll

Loaded Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup softened butter
1/3 cup peanutbutter
1 1/2 cup sucanant (or sugar)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cup flour (we used whole grain, fresh ground wheat)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups rolled oats
2 cups chocolate chip cookies
(add raisins if you'd like to)

Preheat oven 375*
Cream butter, peanutbutter and sugar,
Add eggs and vanilla until smooth.
In a second bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda and oats.
Add to butter and sugar mixture.
Stir to make a goo, thick cookie dough.
Place by tablespoon fulls on greased cookie sheets.
Bake 375* for 10-12 minutes, until done.

These are excellent!

Monday, January 22, 2018

Picky Eaters

Do you have a picky eater?  I have had quite a few!  One fellow would only eat our fresh baked, homemade bread and no other bread for years!  Another one would not eat potatoes, pasta or rice and still doesn't to this day!  Right now we are dealing with a little one who just hates to eat anything but fruit and carrots!  So, I have been delving into more research on how to best help that child and I am pleased to say, there is hope yet!

Since my little person is low weight, and honestly, I was as a child and have another couple of family members who were as well!  And since this little one is small to begin with, I wanted to make a tracking chart to go along with the weight chart to track dietary needs and to see how much food was being consumed!

There is also food allergies we are dealing with.  Multiple ones which we are figuring out as we go along so that was a tedious job to fit meals around what she would eat and what she could eat!  Phew!

I created this chart based on other charts I have seen.  It is tweaked to a 1400 calorie dietary need for a 2-5 year old.  It lists milk substitute as milk, but that is actually dairy or calcium count.  I used several books mentioned in the recent video and post.  This is now hanging on our fridge for checking off for a few weeks to reassess the dietary needs and make sure that I am feeding the little one as she needs to get optimum nutrition!

This is sideways but the link provided will print a landscape chart.
Here is the chart so you can print your own!

If you have a picky eater here are some things I have to share that will possibly help them.
  • Make sure that you aren't dealing with a true food allergy before proceeding.  God created our bodies to know what we need and don't need oftentimes before we begin to figure it out!
  • Let the child help prepare the food you intend to serve them or let them help in the kitchen.  Sometimes, the anticipation of getting to eat what you have prepared works wonders.
  • Be sure to provide snacks if they need them!  Make sure these snacks are optimal in nutrition and not just empty calories and junk!  Fruits, nuts/seeds as age appropriate, and vegetables are good choices.  Two snacks a day should be fine for a little one but for older ones, just one will suffice.
  • Serve their food on a brightly colored tray or place mat that would engage their senses.  Oftentimes this helps.
  • Serve them a bite of everything while their tastes are forming and require they at least try it before moving onto their favorite foods.
  • Don't make mealtimes a fight.  Offer the foods, if they won't eat, put it away until they say their hungry, then offer the plate again.  I get mine to eat this way if I mean what I say, they know it and I am happy and they are happy to eat what was served at the next meal.  Most of the time!
  • Make meals pleasant!  Nice upbeat music, candles - they sell battery operated ones at the dollar store if you are worried about a fire, a tablecloth and flowers help if you can do it.  Set your table ahead of time and you'll have no trouble pulling it off!
  • Lastly, don't fight it.  State what you want them to do, expect them to do it, and follow through.  "Everyone, it's time for dinner...I want everyone to clear their plate so they can grow big and strong like daddy/grandpa/Jesus/superman!  If you don't like something, take a thank you bite and don't say a word about it.  That is good manners to not complain about the food you are served.  We all want to have good manners!  Now, lets pray....."

You don't have to get this fancy, this was at a birthday party!

Meal times can be fun even for picky eaters and their parents.  Just make sure they are getting what they need and growing well by weighing and measuring them on occasion.  Do you have anything to add?