Homemaking: Teaching our Daughters

Came across a great post today that really affirms all we do as mothers, and equally important, how important it is that we teach our daughters all they need to know to equip them to run their own homes some day. I think you’ll enjoy it. It’s at the Girl Talk blog, and titled, Homemaking IGirl Sewing in an Interiornternship.

Even if your daughters are preschool aged, it’s never too early to start. At 3, 4 and 5, they’re still full of enthusiasm when it comes to helping around the house. For instance…my four year old responds eagerly when I call, “Oh Laundry Girl…where oh where is my Laundry Girl?” *smile* She can transfer wet clothes into the dryer, adjust the dials, toss a dryer sheet in and get the load going with no help from mom.  She’s pretty happy about it too.

However, I know there are MANY areas of improvement in our home when it comes to my passing along the baton of homemaking. So this post was a blessing and a great reminder to me that my time is short with my girls…and homemaking is definitely part of a well-rounded education, if you consider how crucial it can be not only for our living environments but also to maintaining healthy marriages, children and bank accounts!

What homemaking skills do you think are important, that maybe you feel you wish you’d known more about when you got married?

Mothers and Dresses

Madame Monet and Her SonSo the other day my eleven year old daughter comes up, hugs me hard and long and says, “You are just so lovable when you wear dresses!”

Hmm. I began to wonder if wearing dresses produced a similar magic to that of apron wearing, which never fails to make me want to bake bread and clean house. Not a bad thing.

I’ve always loved the femininity of dresses and skirts, and even once did a “dresses only” experiment on myself for about a year’s time, at the end of which I decided it was being taken wrong by certain family members. Long story. Anyway, my husband always preferred me in jeans, etc, but he’s even come around to saying that he appreciates a certain femininity in a woman that is lacking when they’re never seen in a dress or skirt.

Well, the cute part of this story began with my daughter’s hug and has not ended yet. That same day as I went to prepare supper, I started finding little pink “I love you” notes in out-of-the-way, yet strategically appointed  spots.

  • In the microwave next to the thawed hamburger for the night’s meal.
  • In the silverware drawer, next to the forks, a pink square stating: “Super Mom!”
  • At the top of the black pepper grinder, beneath the clear plastic lid: “I (heart) you”…
  • In the bathroom shower, folded compactly, beneath the lid on the conditioner bottle. *Smile*

Yes, my oldest daughter was supposedly making Valentines for her friends with her little sisters in the kitchen, but must have been wanting to love me instead!

I think I need to wear dresses at home more often!

Have you ever thought of the impact our choice of clothing has on not only us, but those around us?

Drum roll…your thoughts, please!

Winter Hike

ndnlodge8Got a fair-weather day up and coming? Grab it and go on a hike! We’d been waiting for just such a day to whisk my hubby off and show him some cool stuff we’d discovered with Farmer John and his two apprentices on just such an adventure hike a couple weeks ago…finally, Saturday arrived and by one o’clock, the temps reached 47 degrees! Wonderful!

Not far from home are some Indian trails…trails that we’d never bothered to explore. Do you have areas of interest that only seem to be interesting to the tourists? Find out! I’m sure glad we did.

ndnlodge2The main attraction on our hike, and the part that we kept a secret from my dh, was a fabulous full-size replica of an Indian wood lodge. Evidently, there used to be 20-some of them along the creek in this wooded area, but they’ve long since disappeared. Recently, a group decided to generate interest by reconstructing one…and it’s become a magnet to our climbingfamily, we can’t wait to take homeschooling friends there next spring!

I’ve interspersed this post with pics from both our visits…it was a grand adventure BOTH times!

PIC #1–approaching the wood lodge

PIC #2–looking down into it from above…this is the “smoke hole”burnedouttree

PIC #3–adventures along the trail…climbing a huge downed tree

elevatordown2

PIC #4–checking out a burned out tree

PIC#5–playing “elevator down” with daddy, you know, climb up a tall tree, and grab the “bendy” tree next door and “down you gooooo…”

Remedies for Hormonal Headaches

I’ve been getting some behind-the-scenes email queries about certain health issues. I think there is a real desire to go natural when possible, and I have to admit, even *I’ve* been somewhat surprised, and as a result, highly excited by how well all of my herbal experiments have turned out on my family and loved ones! Just last week my own four year old daughter woke up with a full-blown cold, miserable head congestion, sore throat, cough. So I consulted my 10 Essential Herbs book and began giving her the recommended mixture of Slippery Elm Powder and powdered Ginger in apple juice, and would you believe, four days later she was 100%? I also gave her a couple of doses of Super Tonic every day, but that’s it.

But enough on colds, today we’re talking headaches. First, I did my homework, studying up in the above mentioned herb book, and here are a few handy and, er, *interesting* things I found out to aid in getting the upper hand on headaches:

  • Drink fresh Ginger Root tea…if you don’t have fresh ginger root, powdered ginger (again, fresh so it’s nice and potent) works good too, mix 3/4-1 teaspoon into hot water and add honey.
  • Soak your feet in a strong Ginger decoction made by simmering 8 oz finely chopped fresh ginger or 1/4 cup powdered Ginger in a quart or so of water for 20 minutes. Add this concentrate to a washtub of water and soak feet.
  • Try Peppermint oil rubbed into the temples or forehead, behind the ears or in the big “dent” at the base of your skull.

Going to add that for me personally, when I feel a slight headache coming on, I get down my baggie of dried yarrow blossoms (from Farmer John) and make myself some tea. It fixes me right up. Good stuff. Not available at your typical health food store, but widely available when foraged outdoors, so I’m told! Can’t wait till next June so I can learn to recognize it myself!

So last Friday, John and his wife invited me over to talk health, and I mentioned the quest I was on for natural help for hormonal headaches, griefs and pains. They showed me this great foam product in a pump called “Progesta Cream”, made by the Life-Flo company. It’s to be rubbed into the abdomen, inner thighs, inner arms, etc on the three “good” weeks, and skipped altogether during your period. They really recommended it for PMS issues of all kinds, including the hormonal headache, and also for post-menopausal stuff.

Good info to know!

Any other tips out there? Inquiring minds…yadda yadda yadda…*wink*

Casualties of the American Dream

Pioneer Woman Collecting Cattle Dung, Kansas, c.1880Every dream has its price.

Some of the costs are obvious, while others sneak up on you, gradually.

In the name of progress, as Henry would say. That would be the Henry of Henry and the Great Society, which I highly encourage you and your families to read online. (simply follow the above link)

Just what is the American Dream about these days?  Material prosperity is a thin reflection masking a sorry fact–the bigger your house/car/TV, the more hours you’ll slave paying them off so that you can upgrade to even bigger homes, bigger cars and bigger HDTVs.

Is this truly “the American Dream”? Having “House Beautiful” and Pioneer Woman Getting Water from a Well Near Her Log Cabin, Carolinanever being on the premises to enjoy it? How about working two jobs just to sustain this poor substitute of “what really matters”?

Henry’s story tells it all. How contented he was before progress swept him along its mad rush nowhere…forever erasing life as he’d known it before electricity, plumbing, paved roads and cars, telephones and TV dinners.

If you’ve ever wanted to plant yourself in the lives of your grandparents, get a taste of the “good ole days” by reading Henry’s story. What must it have been like to upgrade and go “electric”, to be done with “outhouses”, wells, draft horse farming–to buy into the promise of having “more time” as a result, but in the end, having no time at all. It all sounds so good–time-saving appliances, tractors and cars, the world at your very fingertips via radio, television and telephones…and it benefited Henry’s wife and children right out of his life.

What really arrested my attention near the end of the book, was this statement:

“Society’s way of life…killed him with kindness; liberated him into slavery; prospered him into poverty; freed him into bondage. They reduced him to a tool of his tools; a beast of burden in his own carefully created harness.”

Hopefully I haven’t ruined the book for you, because it is a must read. I actually borrowed Farmer John’s copy, completely intrigued by his comment that it was the only book, other than the Bible, that he’d ever read to his congregation in its entirety, from the pulpit! Great essay potential for your children at the very least.

There’s more to life and it’s. not. worth. missing. So slow down and enjoy it. Or can you? Slow down?

Monday Mornings

Woman Placing Her WashI love Monday mornings! Sundays are busy for us, so having a day at home is always something to look forward to!

Plus, my children are usually over-tired from a busy Awana club meeting the night before, so they sleep in a little bit, allowing me more time. I’m usually fired up about getting the house in shape after letting it go over the weekend, so starting a load of clothes is first on my list, and if there’s time, I get our lesson plans for the week all written in before the girls wake up.

Seeing to the chicken chores is another welcome morning routine, necessitating a trip through the brisk morning air–revving up my lungs and heart and putting the final touch on “waking me up” to a brand new week!

How do you feel about Mondays?

The wind is howling today, we’re almost done with schoolwork, 4 year old is napping…and I’m thinking about supper tonight…we had steaming, oven baked sweet potatoes for lunch, slathered in real butter and sprinkled with ground cloves…most delicious, nutritious and filling lunch in the world.

Hope your Monday is going great!

Herbal Helps for Coughs and Colds

Drying HerbsRubbing my hands together with glee…this is such a fascinating subject! I’ve mentioned here before what an education I’ve received from the book, 10 Essential Herbs by Lalitha Thomas. Farmer John gave me this book–FYI, to those of you who might not know, he’s my knowledgeable CSA farmer-neighbor who has, along with his sweetheart of a wife, taken me under his wing and taught me much in the past two or three months!

I devoured this book in two or three sittings, and immediately ordered myself a supply of six of the harder-to-find herbs showcased in the books. I was that impressed.

If you have even a passing interest in taking control of your family’s health via natural methods, you must have this book! It’s a fascinating read, an educational smorgasbord about herbs and their many uses in maintaining or regaining optimum health within a limited budget.

For instance, my mom has bronchitis–undiagnosed, but she’s had it so many times in life, she should know, right? So I looked up bronchitis in this book, and it led me to the chapter on Slippery Elm Powder.  Evidently, Slippery Elm is excellent for any “itis”, including bronchitis, but also arthritis, colitis, prostatitus, tendonitis, conjunctivitis, etc.

You stir a teaspoon of Slippery Elm Powder into juice or tea, preferably room temperature–so it will dissolve better, 3-5 times a day while bronchitis persists. It’s a demulcent and a mucilaginous herb…which means:

“…it has soothing, softening, buffering and poison-drawing qualities as well as contains significant amounts of mucilage, a slippery, sticky and soothing substance of high nutritional value that coats, protects, and rejuvenates an area from infection, inflammation and other irritants.” (emphasis mine)

Now, I couldn’t force these herbs upon my poor mom without trying them myself first. Imagine my relief to find that Slippery Elm Powder is  tasty, with almost a nutty flavor! Lalitha recommends mixing it with 1/4-1/2 parts powdered ginger (a good carrier herb that complements SEP) to ramp up the action of Slippery Elm in your system. I put these two herbs in the recommended portions (1 tsp SEP to 1/2 tsp ginger) in a cup of apple cider and it was delicious.

Now here is a home-made recipe for cough syrup, also utilizing Slippery Elm Powder.

Cough Syrup

~Slippery Elm helps “collect and expel mucus, acts against inflammations, and serves to soothe and nourish…it really shines as a cough syrup”

  • 4 TB Slippery Elm Powder
  • 1 cup raw honey
  • 1 raw onion, chopped (optional)

Simmer and stir gently on stove top for twenty minutes. Store in refrigerator. Feel free to add a little water to bring it to a more runny consistency. You can add ginger to this, a few drops of an essential oil such as clove oil for its antiseptic and pain-numbing qualities.  For maximum potency, store in refrigerator for only a few weeks before starting with a fresh batch.Sweet and Low

This book simplifies herbistry…it’s down-to-earth information even children can absorb and utilize. I’m hoping my family will stay reasonably healthy, but if not, I’m looking forward to putting this great knowledge to the test by making herbal honeyballs, medicinal teas, decoctions, tinctures and even “people paste”–an incredible alternative to stitches!

And it’s one more step towards being more self-sufficient in a world going crazy.

Anyway, Slippery Elm in its dried inner bark form is worth pursuing! It’s a great defense against many conditions including constipation, gall bladder, vaginitis, urinary tract infections, athlete’s foot, hemorrhoids, etc. I’ve shared only a trace amount of the info on this one herb available in Lalitha’s book. Another great reason to buy this book? The author breaks down dosage information for each herb for the different age groups: Infants to 3 years; Children 4 years to 10 years; and Children 11 years to Adults.

Remember, I’m no certified health guru…I’m just a mom, passing along some info for you to have if you want it. Of course you need to use good judgment and common sense when following any home-remedy directives. So buy the book, or do your own research before taking my word for it!

Get proactive about your family’s health!

What’s for Lunch?

Mean Green Tortilla Soup! Mmm!

Picture a bowl with a handful of cheese, some oven-toasted corn tortilla strips, two or three slices of avacado and a delicious chicken-corn-salsa verde soup poured over all of the above…that’s what we’re having for lunch today. Fridays are our Bible study-luncheon dates with my parents, and this will be our first one back after all the holidays. Tempting sides will include our time-honored favorites: Beef Enchiladas and green salad.

Who’s hungry?

P.S. #1 Keep my mom’s health in your prayers, she’s battling bronchitis, not good! Thanks!

P.S.#2 Did you know that Tricia Goyer has been on Focus on the Family? Yesterday and today, in fact! Catch the broadcast if you can, it’s so neat hearing her in person, and she’s got such a testimony!

Start the New Year off right with daily Bible reading

baby-in-old-persons-handsHappy New Year!

January first is, to many people, a fresh slate. Why not take advantage of a brand new year to spur your children, your mate and even…yourself…into making daily time in God’s word a priority?

Here’s a novel idea. If reading through the entire Bible in a year sounds daunting, how about just the New Testament? Perhaps you have a young reader who can’t handle the typical “3 chapters a day and 5 on Sunday” approach to reading the entire Bible through in one year…or maybe dyslexia or hectic schedules makes it difficult for you to comprehend reading that much each day…think about this New Testament reading schedule, courtesy of my mom. The rest of this post is in her words. (Thanks, Mom!)

There are 260 chapters in the New Testament…reading one chapter a day would get you into September (if I figured right!) before you finish the book of Revelation.  That would leave you with 105 days left to start over again.  With each reading, God’s message becomes clearer.

When you read a portion that is mostly names, don’t worry about their pronunciation.  Here’s what to look for as you read:

1.  Passages that help you understand just who God is and how He thinks about various things

2.  Instructions from God about living a godly life

3.  Facts about the events happening in the passage

4.  What God says (He’s the author of the whole book) about sin

5.  What He says about prayer

This will become second nature to you as you read.  Just as you focus on various areas of interest as you read about training horses or dogs or whatever subject fascinates you, so you will see that this becomes second nature to look for various ideas as you read each chapter.

When reading any of the Word of God you must remember that the words you read are ‘God-breathed’.  (In the original giving of the words by the Holy Spirit).  Let the following Scriptures become truth to you for they are truth.

1.  2 Timothy 3:16-17

2.  2 Peter 1:20-21

You can see where faith comes in.  Faith is just believing that what God says, IS SO.

As you read through the New Testament you will find verses you want to remember.  They might be promises God makes and you want to claim.  They might be verses that tell how important the Bible is and that it is truly the Word of God.  Make a note of them and read them again.

Here is the plan:

January 1-31,        read Matthew 1-28 (Note chapter 4:4)  Matthew tells the story of Jesus and emphasizes how He fulfills all the Old Testament prophecies.  Jesus is portrayed in this book as the King.

Mark 1-3       (one chapter per day)  Mark also tells the story of Jesus and presents Him as the conquering Servant.  The miracles spotlight His power as God.

February 1-28        read Mark 4-16

and Luke 1-16   Luke gives us another aspect of the life of Jesus.  He is presented in this book as the Son of Man.

March 1-31            read Luke 17-24

and John 1-21 and Acts 1-3  In the Gospel of John Jesus is presented as the Son of God.

April 1-30                read Acts 4-28

and Romans 1-5  (Important verse in this portion  3:23)

May 1-31                read Romans 6-16 ( note 6:23 and 10:5)

and 1 Corinthians 1-16

and 2 Corinthians 1-5

June 1-30               read 2 Corinthians 6-13

Galatians 1-6

Ephesians 1-6

Philippians 1-4

Colossians 1-4

1 Thessalonians 1-3

July 1-31                1 Thessalonians 4-5 (4:13-18 tell us about the rapture of believers when He comes again)

2 Thessalonians 1-3

1 Timothy 1-6

2 Timothy 1-4

Titus 1-3

Philemon (only 1 chapter)

Hebrews 1-9

August 1-31             Hebrews 10-13

James 1-5

1 Peter 1-5

2 Peter 1-3

1 John 1-5 (Chapter 5:10-13 is where God assures us of our salvation)

2 John

3 John

Jude

Revelation 1-6

September 1-30       Revelation 7-22

Begin at Matthew again.