Cooking and Food Health

What to do with Ginger? Homemade Ginger Tea

If you’re like me, you’ve often wondered just what all you could do with ginger root.¬† I had some leftover after making my Super Tonic, and there it sat on my kitchen counter until one fine–er, actually, brisk and chilly–day found me and my daughters at Farmer John’s place again. After spending a couple hours weighing and packaging broilers, we retreated indoors to warm up with hot tea. Mrs. Farmer John showed me how simple it is to make a cup of ginger tea! And is it ever tasty, or I wouldn’t be sharing it here!

She took a “hand” of ginger root and cut 5 small slices from it, peel included. These went into our mugs, followed by boiling water and a teaspoon of honey. Mmm. This tea has a spicy, fragrant taste, even my girls like it. As I was enjoying my tea, my hostess explained that these chunks of ginger are even good for another cup of tea–joy!

So today after an hour of being outdoors in 35 degree weather, we came indoors to ginger tea and cookies. We let our tea steep covered for ten minutes, and I had to test the recycling theory of reusing my ginger–yes, it worked! Now, don’t let the light color of this tea fool you, it’s rich and flavorful.

Here are some more *good things* to know about ginger:

  • Ginger can be found in the produce section of your grocery store, and you should consider checking out your health food store for the organic option. Look for smooth skins and buy the ones with the least amount of branches/knots. Your ginger root should feel heavy and firm.
  • Googling the storage of ginger gave me several options. Some sources say to store unpeeled ginger wrapped in a paper towel, and sealed in a baggie in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. Others say it will be good for a week only, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap. I kept mine on the kitchen counter for a week before discovering it made delicious tea…and it was a little wrinkled and less firm, but still worked just fine. I’ll probably store my future purchases in the refrigerator.
  • Ginger is said to be excellent for gastrointestinal upsets, such as morning sickness, motion sickness, and nausea. I even read at one site that Ginger tea is recommended for use in alleviating nausea in chemotherapy patients, because its natural properties don’t interfere in a negative way with other medications. And by the way, it’s safe for use with morning sickness, it won’t harm your unborn baby.
  • Farmer John and his wife, and even his apprentices (we were all “taking tea” together) overwhelmingly recommended chewing a sliver of ginger root to alleviate sore throat pain. It’s a bit spicy-hot, but not unbearable.

I just love learning new things, especially when they are simple to implement into my daily life and for the better health of my loved ones. I hope you’ll all chime in with how you use ginger, and if there is another easy-to-make, good-for-you tea, do tell in comments!

And if you want to know more, this article on how to use Ginger has some good info.

Health Home

Some interesting reads for you…

I apologize for the lack of *me* around this neglected blog lately. Just for fun, here’s some good stuff:

Are you writing up your Christmas shopping lists? Mine will be simple this year, hopefully! My hubby’s family does the traditional Christmas gift exchange, while my family just gets together for the pleasure of it and the good eats! My eight yo daughter wants a Bible with larger print–she said she’d be happy if that’s all she gets. Aw. Isn’t that awesome? (Should I test that theory?)

How is everyone? I’d love to hear how things are going…

Cooking and Food Family Farm Life Health

Making Super-tonic in the Great Outdoors

That’s right, super-tonic. I’ll get around to explaining it in a second.

I knew the minute my hand left the back porch door knob this morning that *this* day was going to be a hum-dinger! I couldn’t make myself go inside after letting the chickens out…thankfully only my oldest daughter was awake, so I reveled in the clear morning unfolding around me, restocking the chicken feed and cleaning/refilling their waterer, clucking right back at my beautiful hens who are sometimes giving us 19 eggs a day by noon! Ahh…the gift of living this country life.

All weekend long I’ve been wishing for time to put together this super-tonic recipe our herb-savvy neighbors gave us…but between caring for a sick child and getting some garden and yard work done, I just didn’t have time, nor all the ingredients on hand to get it done. So this afternoon, I and my older girls set up an outdoor “kitchen” complete with camp chairs, cutting boards, knives, veggie peelers, a food chopper and a makeshift “sink”. Okay, so it was just a hose with a sprayer nozzle and a bucket, but it worked! Why outside? Well, firstly, because of the gorgeous weather! Secondly, because of the fumey ingredients in this here tonic!

Here’s how it works. Oh, it’s for good health, by the way. You knew that, didn’t you? *Wink*

You take five equal parts of the following diced fine, say one cup each which is what I did:

  • horseradish
  • garlic
  • onion
  • ginger
  • jalapeno peppers or cayenne peppers or other hot pepper

My oldest scrubbed and peeled the horseradish, which I then sliced into chunks and diced fine in my food chopper. Worked slick! While she was scrubbing horseradish (and tossing the stems to her eight puppies to chew) my 8 year old nimbly broke apart garlic buds, peeled the cloves and took her turn at the food chopper. I sat and removed seeds from peppers with my rubber gloves on of course! Onions came next, and last, the ginger. Mmm, ginger smells good! I just peeled it with my knife, hoping that was the “way to do” and then into the chopper it went. By this time we had a bowl almost brimful of knock you off your camp chair strong smelling stuff! I was so glad we’d done it outside with nary a tear or sniffle from fumes. The breezes outside were extra delicious today, I soon realized exactly *how* welcome they were when I went inside to fill my gallon jar with the ingredients. Whew-ee did my cheeks burn from jalapeno osmosis or what? Anyway, onto the next important step of this recipe.

  • 2.5-3 quarts Apple Cider Vinegar, the kind from the health food store that has the “mother” in it

Once you’ve filled your gallon jar with the five chopped ingredients (or 4 quart sized jars with equal portions) take your ACV and finish filling the jar(s) to the top. Put your lids on and store in a dark place, such as a cupboard or closet. Mine are in my canner. Take the super-tonic out twice a day and shake it good. After two weeks of this, strain the liquid out and keep it in a glass jar. If you have any glass medicine bottles, the kind with the droppers, that would be an excellent keeper for easy handling. One dropperful in apple juice for a child, two for an adult. This can be used daily for a good immunity builder, or when needed for nipping colds and flu in the bud.

Our neighbors shared a bottle with us last week, and I can promise you that diluted in juice, you hardly notice the taste. But by evening, my daughter and I both had clear heads and no sniffles! Good-bye head colds. I know a good thing when I smell see it.

Do you have any home-brewed health goodies to share? Btw, this super-tonic recipe is all over the net, but my neighbor’s good instructions aren’t. Let me know if you make this!

Hat tip to my friends, Farmer John and his wife!


Okay, so it’s Poison Sumac

Hello, me here! My mil came and got the girls and I’m going stir crazy walking around with every appendage swollen and oozing. Decided to share the joy with you all and document this lovely process with pictures!

What a mercy though, that this poisonous process held off pretty much long enough for me to enjoy my visit with friends on Monday, because by Monday evening all bets for an easy recovery were OFF! Tuesday morning I was dying (yes, I know it could be a lot worse!) and called the pharmacist to ask him about a couple of products I’d heard could help me out. Zanfel and Technu. Apparently, Zanfel is a great product to quickly get you over poison ivy, etc, but according to the pharmacist, you have to start it right away, as soon as you break out with the rash. So much for that, then. (**EDITED TO ADD: I found out in the comments section below, from someone at the Zanfel laboratories, that Zanfel is proven to be effective at ANY time after outbreak!) Technu is a soap that removes the oils, again, you have to use it pretty much right after exposure. One of my friends recommended Burt’s Bees poison ivy wash…something I think I’m going to have to keep on hand after this…

So the pharmacist told me my only hope this far in the game would be to get a steroid shot. Normally I would tough this out, but my eyes were swollen shut Tuesday morning…everything affected was hot and in pain. With school about to start, I just could not imagine walking around holding my eyelids up with my fingers to see things! Add to that the fact that the pharmacist predicted this could last anywhere from 7 days to a month, and I was about to bawl! So I wasted no time dialing up our medical clinic to see if I could get lined up fast for the shot.

Thankfully I came to my senses. I mean, steroids are serious, have serious side effects…but–whine–I really didn’t care, so I set up an appt for that afternoon. Then I remembered our nutritionist and decided to call and see if she had any magic cures for poison ivy. But she’s on maternity leave, the receptionist reminds me. Within minutes of hanging up the phone, it rings. It’s Dr. T, the nutritionist, calling me from home–her receptionist had passed along my minor emergency. And Dr. T told me she’d meet me at the office at 2 pm and do a poison ivy/sumac treatment on me. And it would only cost $20! Cool! I called and canceled my appointment with the steroids and hoped for the best.

Hubby got home early to drive me to the appointment–trust me, I didn’t even bother to take my glasses along, can’t see anything anyway, right? Walked into Dr. T’s exam room and she first had to determine whether I had poison ivy or poison sumac. I’d told her I wasn’t sure, as I hadn’t seen any poison ivy, and I *do* know what it looks like after having been plagued by it for years and years!!!

Let me remind you that Dr. T is an applied kinesiologist. She determines, through muscle testing, what internal ailments her patients have. We’ve had great success with her before this…so back to the story…

She tested me with the poison ivy that she keeps in the office, and I resisted it with no problem, but when she had me hold a glass canning jar with poison sumac during the muscle testing…I had no strength to resist the muscle pressure… Bingo, guess I have poison sumac. This info was clinched when she asked if I’d pulled any reddish leaves on a vine up during my weeding. Um, yep, sure did. Boy, I wondered what that stuff was. What an unforgettable lesson!

So the desensitization process began. I held the jar of poison sumac to my forehead while she worked on my spine, then I rolled over and she worked on my hands and shoulders…hard to describe what she did, but it all felt great. I admit, I wondered how on earth this could do any good, but I guess we’ll see, huh. I’m supposed to start healing up w/in 24-48 hours of this treatment. By last night my eyes were less swollen, I could open both of them and actually attempt to read emails, my book, etc. (I’m not one that can stand to sleep the day away, and sitting around with my eyes closed was driving me crazy!)

In some ways, I’m worse. It seems like the sores in between all my fingers have gotten worse and are oozing more–and the backs of my thighs look like someone thrashed me with the leaves of this torturous weed. Nighttime is the worst…laying there, only able to sleep on your back b/c of all the sores on your face and arms. A cold wet washcloth is my best friend…I sleep with one draped on my neck and across my eyes, and everything else is slathered with Aveeno’s anti-itch lotion.

So I’ll keep you posted. Hopefully I make a turn for the better sometime today. The good thing is, my attitude has remained hopeful. I know that’s because of all your prayers. When I start to get down, a praise song comes to my mind, or I think about how much worse it could be, and how THIS TOO SHALL PASS!

I tried to get pictures of myself this morning…I think I look worse in real life, but I’ll let you be the judge! I should have taken pics yesterday when I could barely open my eyes, but you can probably get the idea from these…yes, it’s on my lips, feels like a thick callus of dried on food…just contrast that picture to the one in my header…you can see how distorted and swollen my eyes/nose/jawline, etc are. All these pics were taken after a lukewarm oatmeal bath followed by a cold shower…so nothing was actually oozing, which makes it a more palatable picture journey…believe me! Well, enough “poor me”…lol, I’m already planning on coming back to this post in the future when I’m tempted to groan that things are bad…reviewing these pics should put me in a great mood, don’t ya think? Enjoy your smooth skin, folks!

Farm Life Health

Poison Ivy

Growing up, I was the only kid I knew to get poison ivy practically once a month. Not funny. If you’ve ever had it, you know that there’s nothing like the feel of that scaly, oozing nastiness that you just can’t wash away. Not to mention the intense itching misery of the whole experience.

Well, I could sure use your prayers. Apparently I got into poison ivy or oak (I know what poison ivy looks like, so we’re thinking it’s poison oak). This morning one of my eyelids is very swollen up on one side, and the other eyelid is red, inflamed and itchy. I can feel it starting down the side of my nose, my neck, between all my fingers and completely covering the insides and backs of both arms from the wrist to the elbow.

Confession…I knew that I might be exposed to it, but I weeded anyway. It’s an area of my yard that has been bothering me all summer b/c of all the nasty weeds, and our weed-eater has been needing a part, so I tackled it night before last…pride had me wanting it done before several of my friends come over for lunch on Monday. Well, I’ll be amazed if I can even SEE my guests on Monday. I do hope and pray that I don’t get the crusty, seeping stuff on my eyes.

The good news is that I have had touches of poison oak/ivy off and on for the past 4 years and it hasn’t gotten to the weepy crusty stage, and it hasn’t really been intensely itchy either. My husband and I have the theory that since I pretty much had a bad case of poison ivy every month during my growing up years, my body has built up a weird immunity/ability to deal with it better.

So please pray for me to survive this, and not be scary to look at on Monday! And please God, let this be a mild case, b/c if it isn’t, from the looks of it now, it’s going to be really bad!

Thanks, friends!



Ear Infection Notes

FYI, I’m mostly writing this post for my own retrieval, if (hopefully not!) at some future time I need a refresher course in what to do for earaches, etc. I’m notoriously forgetful…and it helps to catalog dates and health stuff here on the blog…

Thursday evening my 7 yo complained of having had an earache all day…and by night she was hurting so badly that this mama even relented and administered Tylenol for the pain. There’s no pain like that of an earache…except perhaps, a toothache. (When considering common childhood maladies, that is!) My dear girl couldn’t even bear for us to touch her jaw, ear or the area around her ear…and she’s a pretty tough cookie normally.

I keep Similiason on hand, a natural ear pain reliever that you warm up in your hand and then administer several drops in the ear…but it wasn’t giving a lasting relief. Last week she had a short lived earache, most likely “swimmer’s ear” and Similiason did the trick, but this week, it wasn’t helping enough. I tried the Hydrogen Peroxide treatment, to no avail. She had a pretty miserable night as the Tylenol wore off, despite the hot washcloths, elevating her head on pillows, etc, that we tried.

So here’s what I did the next morning…I looked up ear infections in my favorite child health book: Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child, A Practical A-Z Reference of Natural and Conventional Treatments For Infants and Children. I’ve blogged about this book before, if you want a bit more on why I’m sold on it as my #1 resource, follow this link.

While reading all their great suggestions, I was acutely aware that it was Friday. Why do children succumb to illness on Fridays, as a rule? Maybe clinics have them wired that way, so that moms, like me–who really resist taking their children into the doctors for every little boo-boo–will panick about the looming weekend, a potential trip to the ER, etc, ETC! Of course, I wondered if she could possibly have a teensy tick in her ear, or some other DANG-ER-OUS affliction since, as a rule, none of our children have ever had a proclivity toward recurrent ear infections.

However, I survived ear pain in childhood with nary a trip to the doctor, so I figured we would try to weather this storm at home. So hard!


In my smart medicine book, there is a very detailed section with a diagram of all the acupressure points on a child, and how to help them fight off various ailments by applying pressure to those places…so we really gave it a shot. And you know, it worked! I applied pressure to the “four gates” and the pressure points for common colds, and it put my daughter into a relaxed, sleepy mode. She napped after each session and would awake feeling somewhat better, until she stood up to go to the bathroom and shook things up again. I did the acupressure four or five times throughout the day…the point being to promote drainage of the lymph glands. For more info, by the Smart Medicine author, follow this link!

GARLIC CAPSULES and other supplements

The Smart Medicine book recommended garlic capsules, which I happened to have, so I started giving them to 7 yo…she wasn’t into chewing or eating anything due to the extreme pain, but I convinced her to take some of the Standard Process supplements I keep on hand for building up her immune defenses… namely, Allerplex and a Multi-Immune product put out by Nutri-West. I used my food-chopper to reduce a handful of Multi-Immune tablets to powder and gave her a half teaspoon of powder mixed in applesauce four times that day. She hates swallowing pills, so I emptied the Allerplex capsule into her applesauce as well.

If my pastor’s wife were reading this, she’d be sure to tell you how well a garlic clove taped into your ear helps with cold and flu symptoms…but with my daughter, there was no way we could even touch her ear, much less tape something to it!


One thing about my 7 yo, is that she is wonderful about drinking a lot when she is sick. I just kept a cup with a lid and a straw at her couch/bedside throughout the day and night and she kept drinking it dry. Her favorite beverage is Sunny D.


I really drag my feet when it comes to giving Tylenol or Motrin…b/c of all the studies showing how hard it is on children’s systems…so when my mother-in-law suggested we put a steaming hot washcloth inside a sandwich baggie and have 7 yo lie down on it, we loved the idea…and it brought such relief to my daughter, not to mention, probably helped promote drainage…

She had a great night’s sleep and woke up Saturday feeling 100%!

And this mama is SO relieved!

I think I’ve mentioned here before that we’ve had MD’s tell us that¬†antibiotics are over-prescribed for ear infections, which can cause a whole host of new problems…one RN even told me over the phone that having an eardrum burst isn’t that big of a deal. Yeah, my eyebrows raised a bunch on that one! My Smart Medicine book claims what I’ve read elsewhere, that studies have been done within groups of children with ear infections, in which one group was given antibiotics and another group placebos. Both groups had the same rate of getting back to good health. And recently, our MD told me that when his younger children began getting recurrent ear infections, instead of going the tube route, he simply got them a temporary hearing aid…and in time they outgrew their problems. He followed this info up with the fact that fewer and fewer MD’s are recommending tubes nowadays, instead they are going the hearing aid route as he did. Interesting…don’t you wish the medical community would quit experimenting on our children?

Anyhow. I know many of you have had to go the tube route…and that your children are very sensitive to ear infections, and my heart goes out to you. This simplified way of treating earaches worked for us, probably because we’ve not been plagued by die-hard infections…I can’t imagine having to watch your child go through that kind of pain on a regular basis. I may play stern when it comes to conventional treatments, but when push comes to shove, if I can’t find the CAUSE of the infection, and no relief is in sight, then you bet I’m going to try meds, tubes, surgery, etc. And I’d thank God for modern technology.

That said, I’m sure glad to have this bout behind us!


Head’s Up, Moms: Dry Drowning

This is so scary! Juli emailed me this link today, and I felt it was worth alerting all of you. A young boy died hours after swimming, even after walking home with his mom and sister…later his mom found him in bed, his face covered with a ‘spongy white material’…

Read the article for more details and signs to watch for.


Eating Less, Moving More

That’s what it’s been about at my house this past couple weeks. Hubby and I finally purchased our dream exercise equipment, after watching eBay carefully for the perfect deals. I’ve wanted a Gazelle Supertrainer for years, and he’s wanted a Total Gym…you know, the kind Chuck Norris endorses? Well, I couldn’t get to town to utilize a gym membership, so we brought the gym to me! And I’m loving it, especially when dh works out with me!

And all this exercising is really making me aware of the foods I’m eating. After all, who wants to spend 45 minutes burning fat to put it back on again during a ten minute snack fest? So I’ve been cutting my meals in half, and the first week I lost a whopping 9 pounds! I’ve lost two more since then, and it’s blowing my mind how much food I used to eat. In trying to analyze it, I think “eating more” during my years of pregnancy and breastfeeding (I bf my girls more than a year when possible) became a habit that I never realized. I’m not a big snacker, but I do love real food. In becoming cognizant of eating only until I’m satisfied–not quite full, but not hungry, I’ve noticed that I’m losing the familiar “urge” to eat more. It’s great stuff!  

I’ve also been reading helpful weight loss tips, some from magazines, some from the net, and have gleaned some from friends. Here are the ones I’ve found helpful:

Paul McKenna’s 4 Golden Rules

I knew nothing about this man before a friend began talking about some of his techniques and “golden rules” of weight loss. So I looked him up online and began reading his site, and the forum comments. Gleaned a bunch of goodies. I really liked his tip of squeezing the thumb and forefinger of your left hand together and thinking nasty thoughts about the foods you’re craving when those inevitable desires arise! It works! We ate at Pizza Hut after church this past week, and I opted for salad bar only…watching my family eat slice after slice was hard until I tried this and my stomach actually ceased growling at me! For motivation, and more on these ‘rules’, definitely visit

The Maker’s Diet

My friend Deborah perked my interest in this one, and I immediately got my hands on a copy of the book. You can check Jordan S. Rubin’s book and testimony out at this link: The Maker’s Diet. It’s based on Biblical guidelines for eating, cleansing, etc. I just finished the book, and highly recommend it. Jordan Rubin was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and after seeing over 70 doctors and health practitioners, he looked like a concentration camp survivor…definitely at death’s door. He regained his health 180% by in-depth study of the Bible and following God’s prescription for diet and health. Fascinating reading! And an especially informative Appendix at the book’s end contains simple and delicious sounding recipes, resources (books and websites) for places to purchase organic foods, essential oils (Biblical ones!!), sweeteners, grains and flours, popcorn…non-toxic household cleaners and odor removers…it’s unbelievable what’s available out there. Informative read!

Don’t Get Distracted

Savor each bite. We’re aiming for chewing this a few more times (25-30 or more) than your normal mom-in-a-hurry bite-and-gulp routine. Concentrate on your meal, and on stopping when you feel satisfied. This has really worked for me. That and drinking a ton of lemon-water if I don’t quite feel satisfied when I’m determined to stop!

Get Distracted

Sometimes you just have to let a little time go by and your common sense will overtake those cravings. Get busy doing something else. I REALLY wanted one of the homemade biscuits I’d made to go with supper the other night. I reasoned that I’d skipped the mashed potatoes and gravy, and only had half a piece of the chicken fried steak, so one little biscuit wouldn’t hurt anything, right? Well, I put it off, thinking it would be a nice treat after we’d cleaned up the kitchen, but I kept eyeing the ziplock bag of leftovers, wondering if it was really worth it. By the time we finished clean-up, I was glad I hadn’t gone for it. There are still biscuits in the bag two days later, untouched by yours truly! (Can you tell I don’t feel at all deprived?)

Be Too Smart to Be Tricked

Foods with the appealing titles of “Home-style Fried Chicken” or “Grandma’s Sticky Buns” tempt us, saying that the food must “taste better”…nah, probably not. Think how long you’d have to work out to burn those calories that you’ll forget minutes after having consumed them!

Keep Track of What You Put in Your Mouth

I haven’t been doing this, but I think it’s a great idea to help us be more aware of how much mindless consumption we’re guilty of. One article I read advised to write down every food before you put it in your mouth.

I’ve never been a calorie counter either, but my Gazelle keeps track of how many calories I’ve burned and a 30 minute workout on there says I’ve burned 160-300 calories (depending on how fast and furious I’m going!) so I got online and started researching some of the foods I’d been eating at Yikes! Go get educated…the bottom line is that most fruits and veggies have barely any calories, while the hamburgers hubby fixed for us the other night each contained 218 calories, plus the 70 calorie slice of cheese, the 1 calorie leaf of romaine lettuce, two slices of tomato at 3 calories each…equals an almost 300 calorie meal. I skipped the bun and ketchup, but had a little mustard at 0 cals. Think I’m obsessed? Well, it’s been interesting correlating the two, burning calories and consuming them. (Yeah, I’ve never seriously dieted before!)

Keep Healthy Snacks Around

I’m snacking more diligently to keep from “starving” between meals. Baby carrots, watermelon cubes, celery sticks, bell pepper, broccoli, two or three tablespoons of tuna fish with lime juice and garlic (as a veggie dip), 6 oz of V-8 Juice…things under 35 calories per serving. They’ve really taken the edge off.

Stay Away From Fat-free and Sugar-free Products

I just read a very informative book called Sweet Poison on the dangers of Aspartame. Really wanted to review it on the blog but ran out of time. If you or anyone you know likes diet pop, or diet/sugar-free/fat-free anything, you need to read this book. Really. It could save your/their life. Did you know that Aspartame is even in children’s Tylenol? It’s in most of the available yogurts, sugar-free gum (both things we consumed prior to reading this book), etc. The author’s  compelling testimony of being diagnosed with a fatal thyroid disorder, Grave’s Disease; she was about to have her thyroid destroyed by doctors (irradiated) when she did her own research and found that her devastating health problems (hair loss, vision problems, migraines, weight gainall tracked back to her daily diet pops and overuse of Aspartame. Within 30 days of giving up Aspartame products (de-toxing, essentially) she was back on the road to good health, and her doctor eventually announced her cured of Grave’s disease, which is uncurable. Anyway, visit the link, it’s much more convincing than I am! (My girls are mourning the loss of sugar-free gum…b/c we don’t chew gum otherwise!)

Well, there’s a lot of “thought for food” to keep ya’ll busy! I do want to stress that it’s not about starving yourself, it’s about moderation! There are SO many ways to cut back, as I’m discovering. I’d love to hear your favorite tips in comments!!


No Surgery

Hello all!

I thought I better update you friends on our situation with my seven year old daughter’s upcoming foot surgery. In case the details are fuzzy, here’s the quick long rundown:

In October she got a splinter in her foot from sliding down in our hallway–in sock feet even. Evidently there was a slivered section in our wood floor–argh! I got out an immense one-inch sliver here at home, and took her to the doctor to have him dig around for the rest of it. He thought he got it all. About a month later, she developed two purplish cysts further down on the bottom of her foot. So back to the doctor we went. Second painful experience with the doctor. He lanced the cysts and drained them, didn’t see anything to worry about. Hmm.

When the cysts refilled, we took her two different places. First to a podiatrist who ran a lot of expensive tests. A sonogram finally showed us that she still had over an inch long splinter in her foot. He recommended surgery.

For a more natural approach, we went to a Chiropractor who practices applied kinesiology and prescribes nutritional whole food supplement regimens. She assured us over and over that leaving the splinter in would be no big deal. It was walled off, encapsulated in the cysts, and this doc thought our daughter’s body was putting up a big enough fight against it on her own. So she put our daughter on a rigorous nutritional supplement routine to build her immune system up.

Still, that’s one big splinter and we weren’t feeling led strongly either way. So we kept asking for our friends and family to pray for wisdom and scheduled the surgery eight weeks out. Buying decision making time, essentially. I kept thinking about how sometimes you just have to step out and trust God to shut the door if you’re making the wrong move.

So this last Tuesday we had our second pre-op appointment, this time with the podiatrist. He went over the what-to-expects of surgery and we left feeling very unsettled. First, he didn’t think the hospital would allow one of us to stay with our daughter during surgery. Ha. Did they really think they could keep us out? Yeah right. Second, the anesthesia plan was to use general anesthesia, which means the whole tube in her throat route and someone pumping oxygen into her at the bedside. Oh, and he kept emphasizing that we would have no idea how she would react to the anesthetic, and talked about the possibility of death…right in front of our 7 year old!

Now, hubby was really getting second thoughts. Of the two of us, he’d been more inclined to choosing surgery. So he lined me out to make several phone calls to “trusted medical” friends…translated: they have the same natural philosophy that we do, while yet being well versed in the medical field. These people all advised us against surgery. They felt the scar tissue and nerve damage weren’t worth the risk, especially as the splinter isn’t causing our daughter any pain whatsoever.

So we’re following their advice. One of them was the MD that delivered our first two girls. She left the family practice clinic to pursue alternative health. Would you believe that she told me a story of a girl who stepped on a toothpick, and after digging around on the girl’s foot a few times, they decided to let it be. A few months passed and the toothpick worked its way out the top of the girl’s foot.

Thank you all for your prayers and for all your previous comments and emails concerning our daughter’s situation. We’d appreciate continued prayers for protection and eventual resolution of this stubborn splinter!


The Long-Awaited Shampoo Update

I apologize that it’s taken me so long…but the fact is, I am not completely sold out to the baking soda &vinegar hair wash theory.

For any newbies to the blog, here’s the link to my first post on the subject. It outlines the basic how-to’s and whys of going “no poo”. If you check it out, don’t miss the great comments from others who gave it a try. And read on here, because I haven’t completely given up on the idea!

I gave it a go for almost a month, and one night I just went berserk. We’d been invited over to play cards with friends and a quick glance in the mirror at my hair left me feeling sick. I grabbed a small mirror and looked at the back of my head, and my hair just looked lank and iron gray. Ugh. In a frenzy I bent over the tub and sold out to bubbly shampoo. Within minutes my baking soda & vinegar experiment was washing down the drain.

But! I discovered that giving my hair a long rest from shampoo really restored it! My hair, after the quick shampoo, dried so soft and silky–it was amazing. So I left the soda and vinegar in the bathroom and still use it twice a week with great results. I’m also experimenting with natural shampoos, unwilling to go back to typical Wal-Mart brands that leave my scalp itchy and are full of chemicals.

My oldest daughter loves the baking soda and vinegar wash. Her waist-length hair is thick and unmanageable, and as long as we brush it out before washing, it combs out as if it had a coat of conditioner on it. Best of all, it’s so gentle on her flake-prone scalp. She’s the real reason I realized going cheap on shampoo isn’t smart. (Unless you’re talking baking soda & vinegar–b/c nothing is cheaper!)

Right now we’re trying out a brand called Naked Naturals. I happened to see it in Walgreens for a buy one get one free special. It smells of citrus and boasts of the following:

  • No Lauryl or Laureth Sulfates
  • No DEA or TEA
  • No animal by-products
  • No artificial colors
  • No synthetic fragrance
  • No harsh chemicals
  • PH-balanced
  • Not tested on animals

We like it!

Have any of the rest of you been more faithful to the “no poo” experiment than I have? Would love to hear about it in comments, and also if you’ve found a favorite alternative to take the place of the typical shampoos and conditioners.

And what’s the big deal anyway? Well, check out the ingredients in your toothpaste and baby wipes (and shampoo) among other things. See anything called “Propylene Glycol”? It happens to be the main ingredient in antifreeze and hydraulic fluids and is commonly used as solvent! It’s a toxic chemical, and so is Sodium Laureth Sulfate. Want to know more? Here’s an article that tells exactly what these two toxins are in, what health problems they cause, and why we should avoid them.