Thursday, July 31, 2008

Lemon Balm - Help With Allergies AND hyper active kids

Lemon Balm Leaf Steeping in the French Press God Blessed us with!

My daughter (EE) has pretty bad environmental allergies that came out of no where this year. A friend on the local homeschool group told me about Lemon Balm. She used to have to take Clartin if she planned to survive the day, but since drinking lemon balm tea, she has not had to take a single Clartin pill!!

Fill a pot of water 3/4 full and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add enough Lemon Balm Leaf to cover the bottom, and then some. Cover and steep a minimum of 20 minutes. The longer you steep the more nutrients are drawn from the herb. Dip into and serve in cups throughout the day. Of course by the end of the day, you have more of an infusion than a tea because the herb has steeped for so long (which is a good thing, it means more nutrients)! :)

We add local honey as local honey is really good to help with environmental allergies. EE has to have a minimum of 3 cups (one with each meal) or she still has sneezing and itchy nose/eyes. But as long as she drinks her three cups, there are no signs of allergies whatsoever! :)

We had been on the lookout for a french press to help with the tea. I had been asking at garage sales for three weeks. Either they were not selling theirs OR it had just sold. I never gave up though and believed if God wanted us to have one, He would provide one. 

Well, a couple weeks ago, I asked at another garage sale. He was talking about how I need to look for a certain brand because it is the best. He was so thankful he had bought one because the one he had previously bought was not very good and did not work very well. I told him that I was on the lookout for one for herbs to help my daughter with her allergies and if he might be interested, since he isn't using the other one, getting rid of it. He went it, brought it out, and when I asked how much, he said just take it! FREE!!! I could not believe it. And while it may not work well with coffee, it works WONDERFULLY well with herbs!!!! :)

Shortly after we started giving EE the tea, we noticed an added benefit. You see, while EE is not ADHD, she can get pretty hyper at times and lose self-control quite easily. We noticed that she was much calmer and able to regain control of her self much more often since starting the tea! Turns out that is because lemon balm leaf has a calming effect!!!

It is perfectly safe for children, and even recommended for infants who need calming.

So what better, and more fun way, to get some lemon balm into the kids than with popsicles!!
Pictorial How To Make Lemon Balm Popsicles

I hope you enjoy the benefits as much as we have!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Current Web Readings

A Day Redeemed
I got there when Merideth pointed me to this great blog. On the side bar it said "losing my temper." I thought, man I do that way too much with my children. So I clicked. I am glad I did. I LOVE how God uses our children to teach us! And I am so glad that another mom shared what her children taught her about our relationship with the Lord.

Best Stain Remover Ever
I LOVE this tip, and the tip that you can get this from the DOLLAR STORE! :) THANK YOU FOR SHARING!

July Is NO Spend Month
Can a family of three spend less than $250 this month or better yet, not spend anything at all? This is the first of some weekly posts sharing some VERY thought provoking ideas on why and how we spend and how to avoid spending so much. REALLY good stuff!!!

Ten Things That Don't Make Sense To Me
A very thought provoking post for such a simple one! I have printed out this list and put it up in my home.

Paper Rooms
HOW CUTE ARE THESE?? They are a bit more complicated than a five year old can do, but WOW WHAT FUN!!! Pretty sure I need to thank How About Orange for this link (but I honestly cannot remember)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Live in this moment, for this moment is your life.
Click image for credits and to read journaling.

Monday, July 28, 2008

PLEASE Read This...

Today we went to the zoo and right near the otters, where it is easy for the parents to become preoccupied watching a cute otter play with a stick, there was a strange young man (20-30) who was eyeing my girls. When my girls went over into the cave next to the otters, he bent down to go inside with them. THERE IS NO REASON FOR AN ADULT to go into that small kids cave. Right before he was about to go in, he looked around to see if anyone was watching. **I** was watching. I called my kids out and we left the area, but he followed us. We went into the hut (where the new Rocky Mountain Exhibit is). He waited outside, and I stayed INSIDE WITH THE KIDS until he was got bored waiting and left. I mentioned to one of the staff about the incident. They asked me a few more questions and then broadcasted it to the other employees over the walkie-talkies to be on the lookout for a man following the description I gave them.

They then gave me the zoo phone number to put into my cell phone so I can call them (they said to press 0 to get to the operator right away) if I saw him again (or for future visits if something similar happened).

I am kicking myself that I had my camera and did not take a picture of the creep! I did not even THINK about it! And the zoo staff did not even ask (they didn't think about it either).

Just a warning to keep an eye on your kids when you go anywhere. It is a good idea to put the main number to the park in your cell phone just in case there is a creep who is eyeing your children. Take a picture of him with your camera (your cell phone if you have to), in order to help identify the creep. (Still kicking myself for not thinking to a picture).

Better safe than sorry (but don’t be paranoid)!!

TWO wonderful sites to see

As I wrote that title, I realized that it can be taken two ways. Site, as in web site (which is what this post started out to be), or site as in some wonderful spot in nature, creation of God.

I was recently looking back over pictures of our trip to the Grand Canyon. I am awestruck every time we go there. Gods hand and majesty can be seen at every step and around every corner. But I must admit, that there is something about the canyon at sunset that really leaves you breathless and truly in awe of God. It truly IS a site to see!

And then there is the whole state of Colorado. With the beautiful mountains and the gorgeous wildflowers and lakes and ... OH, that too is a wonderful site to see.

I think it is sad that we can trivialize something as awesome as God's creation by saying that something as simple as a web site is something to see. I was totally convicted as I wrote out the title, that I have been spending too much time on web sites and not enough time on God's sites. I have been wanting for a couple of years now to goto the local garden and take pictures of the girls (now CHILDREN because we have our boy JJ). But it seems that something is always getting in the way. No more. I am going to call and set up a time to take the girls...ugh, still after 2 years I forget to say CHILDREN...and get some pictures of them.

And depending on beloved's back (which the doctor said was healing, thank you for your prayers and please continue them as she said he still has about 4-6 more months of healing), we might try to get some camping in too.

What about you? What are some God sites that you love to see? Have you been spending too much time on other sites? Can you make a time to go and see some local God sites soon??

Friday, July 25, 2008

CIJ: The Presents

I have always been good and gotten my presents WAY ahead of time. There have a few RARE times where this was not the case, but being a frugal mom, you learn that if you do not doing your shopping throughout the year, you end up overspending. Sometimes I overspend because you are trying to compensate for the fact that it is so late in the holiday season before I am thinking of the person I am shopping for, and part of the reason I overspend is because I have no idea what to get the person (which is why it is taking so long to get their gift).

But as I said, I almost ALWAYS have presents before Christmas, and most always before the end of October. My biggest problem is in getting them wrapped and sent out on time.

So for the rest of the month, I will be getting presents wrapped and sorted out. Especially the gifts for the kids. All the girls have the same interests and don't mind their gifts being from garage sales (I HAVE THE BEST KIDS!). So I buy and buy and wait until the night before Christmas to sort out. Not this year. This year I am wrapping ALL gifts before hand. Stocking stuffers will be sorted out so I will know if I need more DAYS before and night the night before Christmas. And all the gifts will be ready to be packed in the car and brought over for Christmas (instead of shipped out, we are driving down early this year and will be brining the gifts with us)! WOOHOO!

All in all, I have really enjoyed CIJ and think I will do this yearly. I know it has helped me be more prepared for Christmas this year than in years past.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


My MIL makes the BEST treats and brings them out from the day after Thanksgiving all the way through New Year's. I don't know HOW she does it, but BOY I LOVE spending the holiday's at her house.

I always have the best of intentions to do the same, as it is important and meaningful to my beloved. But time always gets away from me. Partly because the kids cannot eat most of the treats (because of dietary restriction). Yes, I am lazy enough to use that as an excuse. :( BUT NOT LAZY ENOUGH TO DO CIJ! :D

I am going to gather up a few recipes. Some for the kids and some for the adults. That way I have them ALL READY when the time comes to make them. I am also going to write out an ingredients list to take with me. HOPEFULLY, with my stockpiling, I will have most if not ALL of the ingredients! :)

Beloved really enjoys giving goodie baskets to the neighbors, so I will be sure to make that happen this year (especially since I am planning SO EARLY!). :) This will allow me to find baskets at garage sales (MUCH cheaper than thrift stores) as well as pretty linens to line them! :) It feels good to know that my beloved will be pleased we were able to give baskets instead of being silently disappointed that another year went by that we didn't do goodie gift baskets.

I am also going to make a menu up so that way I am not rushed the week before Christmas. :)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

CIJ: Books!

I LOVE to read.

And I love to read books on simplifying life (and Christmas). It is kind of an oxymoron that I want to simplify Christmas and yet have over 45 books in my library just on how to celebrate Christmas (crafts, focusing on Christ, finances and Christmas, simplifying Christmas, and on and on). And yet because I do have SO MANY books, I get completely overwhelmed and don't read any of them! :) LOL!

So this year, I have pulled out a small handful of books to read through in the coming months. And I do mean a handful. I have a habit of biting off more than I can chew. And I see my children doing the same. AA, who became a bookworm out of nowhere, has now fallen into the bad habit of beginning to read one book, only to pick up another book and not really finish either. Unless it is either a SMALL book or very interesting. I am the same way. But hopefully by starting EARLY, she will see that I can finish a book before starting another. :)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

CIJ: Thanksgiving

SO yeah, I am throwing in Thanksgiving here. Why? Because for of all, Christmas in July sounds so much better than Thanksgiving in July. And secondly, because it seems that Thanksgiving gets rushed through just as much if not MORESO than Christmas. Of course come Thanksgiving time, I will share links with games and tradition and such.

But for NOW.....

this link from Family Life Today has some GREAT resources, including articles to read, recipes, and audios. But the cool thing is I got the Time To Remember Audio Book at a garage sale a few weeks back! This is TWO CD's: one is a dramatized version of why we celebrate Thanksgiving, and the other is hymns for Thanksgiving. Today, I am putting it onto the computer so we can listen to it around and on Thanksgiving!

We also found The Legend of Squanto by Focus on the Family. I LOVE FOTF's Radio Broadcast dramatizations! And this one does NOT disappoint. It has been GREAT to use with our history (we are reading The Light and the Glory right now). But I want to make sure we have this one on our computer as well to listen to as we get closer to Thanksgiving.

Check and check! :) Ready for the children to have some good LISTENING time (away from the TV and computer and all that) as well as learn why we truly should and do celebrate Thanksgiving. Plus it will be nice to have some THANKSGIVING music/stories, not just CHRISTMAS music, to help us focus on being thankful while we do all that cooking! :)

Monday, July 21, 2008

CIJ: Christmas in July - Newsletter

Seems that Christmas is always here before I am ready. And I wonder how things got SO RUSHED again. I bring out all the books about simplifying Christmas RIGHT after Thanksgiving. But the stores are already filled with Christmas and once again, I get sucked in. The hustle and the bustle keep me from getting presents out on time (even though I had them all bought months before). And most importantly keep me from getting a newsletter done! ARGH!


This week I am making it Christmas in July. I am going to get things done that need to get done in order to make the season a simpler one. One where I am able to focus my AND my family's attention on the reason for the season.

And it starts with the newsletter. Not only am I MAKING the newsletter, but I will be SENDING IT OUT too. Yes, a bit early, BUT it will be a nice catch up for everyone. AND, considering that no one is rushing about this time of year, they will have time to sit and ENJOY the newsletter! :)
Click image for credits and to make larger.
Names have been changed to protect privacy.
Template can be found here. It is 8.5x11 PERFECT for printing!

Yes, I have gotten comments on where is MY picture. I am the one usually TAKING the photos, the one behind the camera. :) And the template only had five bottom pictures (and yes, that IS an excuse). ;)

I like this so much that we might make this an annual tradition of sending newsletters in July rather than December! :D Any thoughts??

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Extreme Frugality

Crystal asked over at Money Saving Mom a question that had been asked by Jeana at Days to Come:

"What is the next thing I would give up or do differently if I had to lower costs?"

I had to think about what changes I have already made, as we have been making a lot this year, and what changes we would make in the future if we had to.

So what have I done so far:
  • stopped just buying what I wanted in the grocery store. I am doing more stockpiling and less buying what I feel on a whim.
  • turned off the water to the backyard. Yes, I know, our grass is dead. VERY dead. We still water the trees by hand. And the bordering neighbors water gives our bordering tress their fair share. The backyard is going to be totally redone in the future and we would be tearing up the whole lawn at that time. Why water a lawn we will be tearing up in a year or two?
  • walk to the park instead of driving to the mall
  • I have a pot underneath the faucet to catch all dripping water which is used to water the tree in the middle of the backyard (which does not get run off from the neighbor's watering.
  • stopped shopping online and started using PaperBack Swap to support my book addiction. :) I have saved over $200!
  • stopped shopping at Goodwill. True, this only happened two weeks ago, but it is still something I am currently doing so I am putting it in this part of the list rather than the latter part. The prices there (and at most brand name thrift stores like ARC and Salvation Army) have gotten outrageous! Instead I am trying to get everything I need at garage sales where you can bargain!!
  • I have sought out other local thrift stores. I have found two REALLY nice ones. One really close AND it is a church so all the money goes to missions! SCORE! I will also only goto the Salvation Army (brand name thrift store) on the third Saturday of the month (when they have half off and 99 cents day on the same day).
  • growing my own tomatoes
  • learning herbal remedies. I am learning to make my own. This is helping us save money on the herbal remedies we used to buy. It is also saving on other things. For example, I am no longer buying shampoo but doing a vinegar rinse (which makes my hair feel so nice, my grays are lightening naturally!, and I am saving money not buying shampoo and all the other hair care products!) I also have remedies for body/face care. So this is saving me money on only on health, but on beauty as well. True, I am paying $10 a month for a forum of mentors, but I am saving WAY more than that not only with what I am learning but...
  • no cable TV. No satellite. The only TV we have are DVD's/VHS we already own OR ...
  • rent movies from the library! Our library is even closer than the local Red Box (yes, I know you can find coupons for free rental so you don't even have to pay the low low price of $1), so it makes sense to save money on gas AND the rental. :)
  • We OWN (fully paid) and drive only ONE car (a mini van)
  • Went from paper scrapping to all digital scrapping. A digital kit costs WAY less than it's paper equivalent.
  • we no longer use sponges, but use re-useable clothes (either crocheted or previously bought).
  • Hang the comforters to dry instead of drying them in the dryer. I also hang tablecloths to dry instead of drying in the dryer. I read that if you just hang one load of laundry instead of drying in the dryer, you can save quite a bit of money in a year. (Can't remember exact amount.)
  • Instead of filling a kiddie pool with water for the kids to play in, we let them run through the sprinklers. Kill two birds with one stone, water the lawn AND have some water fun on a hot day.
  • Just like in the good 'ole days, we fill the tub once (and not even half full) for baths and all four take their baths two at a time.
What would I do in the future:
  • walk to the grocery store, not drive
  • I would not go garage SAILING. I would search out Craigslist and make a circular plan that would not take me too far away and then back to the house. If there were any sales along the way, I would check them out. But no more driving aimlessly. Especially on days where the sales are few and far between.
  • make sure the fans (we do not have A/C) are turned off in the rooms where people are not currently. I would turn them on about ten minutes before we were to goto bed (which is really the only time we are in the rooms).
  • do a more full garden the ALL NEW SFG way (where you can have produce all season with a small garden) Gardening with the kids is so fun!
  • do more canning and preserving and freezing during the summer while prices are still good at the farmer's markets instead of having to pay full price at the grocery store.
  • drop my cell phone. I would keep it for an emergency (I have heard that you can reach 911 even on an unactive phone).
  • Turn off the sprinklers on one side of the front lawn (the smaller side on the other side of the driveway) and water it with water from the children's bath.
  • Limit TV to only ONE movie and not turn it on in the evening (a bad habit beloved and I have fallen back into) and limit computer time. Right now the computer is on during the day even though no one is there. Sometimes the TV is on in the background in the evening - that is just NOT necessary. :)
  • I would go around and unplug ALL vampire appliances. We have a few done right now, but there are a few more that could be unplugged.
  • No more store bought treats (like cookies and ice cream). Those would be made from scratch. Unless of course it is cheaper to buy than to make (doesn't happen over here, at least not HEALTHILY).
  • find ways to bring more money in. I would declutter even more and SELL it. I would be better about selling things on eBay and not just holding on to it for "someday"
  • turn up the temp on the programmable fans (you can tell it what temp to keep it out but not by time). Right now they are at 68. I would prolly change it to 71.
  • I would go to cloth diapers and make my own wipes.
  • I would also hang all towels to dry. Right now the only reason I don't is because of time.
  • give up the forum of herbal mentors and just hope I got enough information from them (and titles of books for resources) that I can learn on my own.
After writing out my list for other ways I can save money, I realize that I CAN DO MOST OF THOSE NOW! I feel so silly. I think it is just I am lazy and so have not been doing ALL I could. But it also felt good and helped me to realize that I CAN DO THIS by writing out all I have already done. This was a good exercise for me!! :D

Saturday Sweethearts: Pictures of Love

I LOVE taking pictures of my beloved. Unfortunately in most of them, he is a goof! LOL! But that just captures the joy he brings me and this family EVERY DAY! I recently made a layout to let him know just ten of the things I love most about him.

Click image for credits and to enlarge.

Side note to my readers: A LOT you are also photographers. While you might not be into digital scrpabooking, or even paper scrapping, it would be so nice of you to make some sort of collage and frame it as a gift for him. To let him know just how much you love him!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Fridays Fun: When Mother Let Us Cook

The kids and I have SO MUCH FUN in the kitchen cooking together. In fact, when we were looking for a new house, a big kitchen that the girls and I could all gather and cook/bake in without running into each other was a must.

Today (FRIDAY JULY 18) ONLY, When Mother Let Us Cook is the freebie of the day. It is a book from 1908!! HOW EXCITING!

Friday is also our pizza movie night. We get out pizza crusts and all the toppings and the girls each make their own pizza. SO MUCH FUN! Sorry this is short, but there is a lot to do today. Go grab that freebie!!!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

We were robbed three nights ago

True, it was only two CamelBack packs (together worth over $90). But I still feel violated. Worst of all, those backpacks were kept in the garage just three feet away from the door to our house, which was unlocked. If the police had not happen to be driving by, I wonder if they would have stayed in there longer and taken more. OR WORSE, they would have come inside. :(

Thankfully I had read about how Meredith's purse was stolen out of her car months ago and so I began taking mine out of the car when I went in the house. I used to leave it in the car (I meant the car WAS in the garage so it was safe inside the car, right?) Then two weeks ago, our neighbor's car was broken into in the middle of the day and her purse was stolen right out of the backseat. WE LIVE IN A REALLY GOOD NEIGHBORHOOD on a GOOD SIDE OF TOWN!

So a few nights ago, the cops were called to a nearby house when a neighbor called and said there was someone in the garage across the street. So the cops were just driving around looking to see who else had left their garage doors open. Sadly, the girls had opened the garage door and forgot to close it. The cops called us at 3:23AM and my beloved and I walked downstairs and outside to two cop cars, lights flashing, right outside our garage.

We did not realize anything was missing at first. Of course, even though the car was unlocked, I ran inside to check and make sure my purse was indeed brought in. I went into the house through the garage and unlocked door into the house. Of course the cops commented that we need to make sure to lock that door.

Now I lock the door from the house to the garage. And I make sure to always bring in my purse instead of leaving it in the car like I used to.

It wasn't until a few days later (yesterday) that the girls wanted to go on a hike and I reached for the CamelBacks and they were gone. Our garage is such a mess, I have no idea if they stole anything else. But I do know they did not steal any other BIG items (my husband's camera had been left in the garage just under the CamelBacks).

I just hope that this keeps someone else from making the same mistake. SO THANKFUL that they did not come in the house. SOOOOO thankful!

Brian prayed for the people who stole from us. He prayed a blessing upon them. I felt like Corrie Ten Boom when her sister prayed to thank God for the bed bugs. Of course God used those bed bugs for His glory. Corrie and her sister were able to share Jesus with several people in the concentration camp AND hold Bible studies because the overseers refused to come into the room because of the bugs. I know that Corrie did not realize that was God's provision at the time, and of course regretted not thanking God earlier.

So I prayed that God would use this for His glory. I thanked God for protecting us (they were SO CLOSE to coming into the house, if they wanted to, they could have, who knows, maybe for kicks they just opened the door and peeked in). We don't have our CamelBacks back, and never will. We can't afford new ones. At least not at this time. But if something had happened to the children... I am just thankful that all this happened in the way that it did. For now we lock the door and take more precautions. And our children are safe.

Teaching Children To Serve

I really do believe that serving begins at home serving each other. I think it is hypocritical to serve others and not serve your own family.

I have worked really hard to teach my children to be servants. That serving is a GOOD thing. I want them to believe that before the world view of serving is low and demeaning gets to them. It is fun to watch my girls serve others who come to visit. Getting them drinks, covering them with blankets (they will SMOOTHER you with blankets if you don't say stop), and getting them any other things they want or need.

But I must admit that my heart is most blessed when I see my children serving each other. Giving up their own bed for a sister who is throwing up. Making the couch comfortable for a sister who is ill. Reading a book to your brother. MM (5yr) loves to do acts of service and then tell me that she is a servant. I LOVE IT!

Today my heart is overflowing with joy and blessing. EE (6yr) got a cut on her finger. While I was bandaging the finger, JJ (26 months old) went into the freezer, grabbed the ice pack (we have several children's ice packs in the fridge), and brought one to EE, who was sitting, crying on the stairs. No one asked or told him to. He was just serving his sister.

I have prayed that each of my children would learn what it means to be a servant for Christ. By prayer and example (mine and each others) my children are in training to be servants to the Most High! :) And while they have their fighting moments, it is moments like this that fill my heart so full of joy that I think it will burst! I am so blessed and so thankful. So very very thankful.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Beautiful You

Usually my 8yr, while precious and very beautiful, is not very photogenic. Sad but true. But on this day, as she observed a dead butterfly (she is fascinated with nature right now and I love how she gives God the glory and credit for it all!), she was so photogenic that I could not stop taking pictures! Here is my favorite shot from that day.

Click image for credits and to make larger

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The One Up Rule

This is a WONDERFUL way to encourage your children (and your self) to do a better job.

My husband was telling me about one of the secrets to Walt Disney's success in making movies was to encourage his cartoonists to one up themselves.

So they would bring Mr. Disney a completed set, and Mr. Disney, without even looking at it, would ask them to one up themselves. They were to look and find one thing that they could improve or make better. After one uping themselves until they really could not one up one more time, Mr. Disney would then look at the product, and RARELY would he have to give any input.

I am not sure if there is any truth to that, or if it is just another urban legend. But I do know that doing this has REALLY helped make my children and myself better.

Whenever my children say they are done cleaning their zone, I tell them to one up themselves. I keep saying this until they say there is nothing left to one up. Usually their one-ups consist of picking up a piece of trash that they had overlooked in their rush to get things done.

As they get older, on-ups may consist of things like: changing the napkins at the table to be fresh, cutting some flowers from the garden for the table, changing the sheets on a bed, fluffing the pillows, lighting a candle.... well you get the idea.

I usually try to do this with everything I do. I will re-read and re-write blog posts and emails several times before they are actually posted/sent. Even when I use a public restroom, I will grab a paper towel and wipe down the counter if it is messy. You'll never know what an example for Christ you can be doing that.

We have been doing this for a while, and as soon as my oldest (8yr daughter) was done sweeping the floor, I heard her muffle to herself "What can I do to one up this?" :D She then proceeded to straighten the chairs at the table. :D

Monday, July 14, 2008

Going No-Poo

Sounds funny, I know. I am such a kid. I smirk every time I hear that term. And yet, I have seen the benefit of going no-poo. Well, at least pooing a lot less.

SO what in the world am I talking about??

Shampooing your hair. Or I guess I should say NOT shampooing your hair. I have gone to shampooing VERY little and while your hair does have this ... phase it goes through, once you get through the phase, it is like the other side of the rainbow!! My hair is looking and feeling so GREAT!

I recently read in Aromatherapy by Valerie Cooksley, that a strong rosemary infusion can cover gray hair in brown/dark hair. WOOHOO! I can hardly wait to see the results. I will let you know.

I just did my first vinegar rinse and my hair feels so nice! I used apple cider vinegar as that is best for the hair, but it does smell strong. I read that adding a few drops of essential oil will help with that. It is VERY faint smell of vinegar. Next time I will remember to add the essential oil drops. :)

And to end, a quote from Rosemary Gladstar's Family Herbal (a MUST read):
Have you ever noticed how few people over 50 have shinny, healthy hair...? There are not many of them. Though it may be part of the natural aging process to lose some of your crowning glory, it is not a natural process for it to lose it's gleam and glow. What we often see if hair that hasn't weathered well. This lack of life is almost always due not to aging but to unhealthy practices of overwashing, blow-drying, and using chemical products such as sprays, perms and gels.
This is followed by some really good recipes for healthy herbal hair care. I have one of her vinegar hair rinses going right now. AA and I made it, and now we are just waiting for it to ... stew, I guess (for lack of a better word). She is so excited, and it was neat seeing her hands on with herbs and learning what was what wand what it is good for. :)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Friday's Fun: Homemade Popsicles

Popsicles are a GREAT way to cool down. They are so easy and fun (not to mention inexpensive) to make, that there is no reason why NOT to make them at home YOURSELF (well, with the KIDS of course!!

Right now, you should have some GREAT luck at all the garage sales finding some molds!! :)

Here is a two part article on popsicles, the green way:
Make Homemade Popsicles
32 Unique Homemade Popsicle Recipes

It is also fun to put some treats in them - like freshly picked blueberries, or pieces of grapes. Oh grapes are so fun and yummy frozen! :) Another great way to cool down on a hot summer day.

My favorite way to eat homemade popsicles is to eat them on a hot summer day and then run through the sprinklers afterwards (to clean up of course)!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Gardening: Tomatoes -- From harvesting seeds, to seedlings, to transplanting

While it is a bit late in the season for some of this, I am including here for NEXT season.

You can start harvesting your seeds as soon as you have good healthy ripe tomatoes!

This is THE EASIEST way to save your heirloom tomato seeds! And it is a GREAT way to save money rather than buying them! You can do this with the organic ones you get from the farmer's market if you are not already growing your own!! :) But be sure to buy a GOOD one as you want to grow your plants next summer from good stock.

Pick a GOOD HEALTHY RIPE tomato to harvest your seeds from.. Cut off the bottom part and SQUEEZE the tomato to get the seeds out. You want some of the juice with it. A little bit of pulp is OK, but if you have a lot of pulp, you will want to remove it before continuing.

Put into a container (like a canning jar) and lightly cover. Put on the counter or out into the sun for a week to FERMENT. You want some mold (or what's called "the mother") to grow on it. Sounds gross, I know. But it really is a GOOD thing. It will kill off any seed borne diseases that might be in the seed.

Rinse off the seeds. Pour the seeds into a glass of water. The good seeds will sink to the bottom. Scrape off the bad seeds from the top, and drain the water and remaining good seeds. Dry the seeds well.

Store in freezer or a dry cool place until next spring. :D

A good video as well as a GREAT tip in here about planting seedlings:

Banana peels are GREAT for tomato plants! They contain phosphorus and potash which are valuable to the tomato plant. Especially before they are flowering. So chop a few up and bury in the soil when you transplant your seedlings! :) You can do it throughout the growing season as well.

Tomatoes that ripen in full sun have more vitamin C than those grown in the shade of their leaves. An easy way to remember that when pruning is to ask yourself "Are you growing leaves or are you growing tomatoes?" :D It might not look very pretty, but you will have some of the sweetest tasting tomatoes!

Digital Scrapbooking

Oh how I love love LOVE digital scrapbooking! You can see lots of info about it by clicking the Digital Scrapbooking link under this post.

For those of you who want to advance and become a better scrapper, there is a WONDERFUL site called Digital Scrapbook Artisan Guild. A friend of mine, a true Christian, started up the site and WOW! You really don't want to miss it.

You do not have to become a member to access the awesome tutorials as well as just look around.

But if you want more bang for your buck, join the Guild. It is a paid membership, but what you get with the membership is worth SO MUCH MORE than just under $6 a month you pay for it. I cancelled my subscription to the digital scrapbook magazine because I get so much MORE for my money with the guild membership.

The kits are awesome, but I must admit that my favorite, and what I cannot find anywhere else, is the Artisan Notebook. This magazine is JAM PACKED with more information than you would get in a $30 class from most places! AND there are challenges to help you put into practice what you are learning. Try to get that from another magazine! :) PLUS there is usually a freebie download (sometimes TWO). :)

Head over now and sign up at least to look around. That is free. (Use my username lvg4him). But I do hope that you will see the value in what is being offered at Digital Scrapbook Artisan Guild.

Here is a layout I made with last months kit:
Click for larger image and credits.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

One more, from Michael Pollan, on Food Farming and Genetics, also an hour long:

While these are all really good, this will be the last one, for now, of videos like this. It is SO IMPORTANT to teach our children the value of organics. God gave us charge over the earth and to care for it. Our bodies are temples for the Spirit of God, and we need to take care of them too. We need to teach our children these things and not take them for granted.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Continuing With Our Food

I have LOVED teaching my children what REAL food is. There used to be a law that was instituted in the 1930's that said that if you made anything like a real food, you HAD to call it IMITATION. But in the early 1970's, food companies want to "improve" on foods. So they convinced the FDA to get rid of that law, so now, even though a food is NOTHING like the original and so totally twisted from the original and very BAD for you health wise, they can call it the name of the REAL food, so you THINK you are eating REAL food.

My kids know what real foods are. I like the fact that they know that fake foods are not healthy for you. Although the more fake foods they eat, the more their tastes change towards wanting MORE of that food than real food. With more and more fake and unhealthy foods coming out on the market, I feel it is SO IMPORTANT to teach our children what real foods are. Taking them to the farmer's market, allowing them to help in the kitchen, and gardening with the children are all GREAT ways to help them to see, touch, smell and taste real foods. Getting a good knowledge of real foods.

Here is another seminar by Michael Pollan on The Omnivore's Dilemma. It is an hour long.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Layout: Blessed

Click the layout for credits and to see it larger.
This is from the month of our hospital stay. A very sad time,
BUT God can use all things for HIS glory! And while this was a very
stressful and sad time, we are thankful for all that happened because it
has brought us to where we are today. If it were not for the misdiagnosis
we received in the hospital, we would not have sought out specialists.
JJ is now thriving! Glory be to God! We are so blessed!

What's Up With Our Food?

Dr. Kay Toomey is known nationwide, and her feeding program is used nationwide. She is a specialist in feeding and has even helped Gerber (yes, the baby food company) create foods that help toddlers develop proper oral motor skills. I had the pleasure of meeting with her (JJ was seen by her) and took the opportunity to ask her about what book would she recommend we read. She said ANYTHING by Michael Pollan.

He has written two books that I have peeked through. In Defense of Food and Omnivore's Dilemma.

I was able to find some videos that I will be sharing over the next few days.

The first, is a four part interview with presentations thrown in of him talking about In Defense of Food. If you have read Marketing Of Evil (and if you haven't it is a MUST MUST MUST read to protect your children! MUST read!), these two books are the same about food that Markeingt of Evil is about morals.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Saturday Sweethearts: Love Notes

My beloved sent me the link to this video with the words:
"Just thinking of you like this makes me want to coddle you again!":

So I had to make my own sign for him:

Let me explain the smelling part. Smells are SO VERY important to me. My beloved puts on just enough of his cologne that I have to stick my nose in the nape of his neck to smell it. OH it is HEAVEN to me! I am the ONLY one who can smell him because I am the only one who can get that close to him. I have NO IDEA how he does it.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Being Good Steward Saves You Money On TRASH!

I just got our newest bill for trash service. It went up $2 a month. Understandable as the price of fuel is going up. I noticed that I am paying for two cans and two bags of trash to be picked up.

At the time we signed up for the trash service, I was going through a LOT of trash. But as we have become better stewards (use it up, make it do, etc.), as well as more cooking for scratch. I have a LOT less trash. And once we start composting, we will have even less trash.

So I called just to make sure that the rising cost was fuel related. It was. I then asked if there was a cheaper plan I could get on. She mentioned that they do have a 1 can trash pick up and asked my address.

She then laughed and said that I was getting such a great discount that if I were to switch to the 1 can, I would actually be paying MORE! :) Well THAT made me feel GOOD! It pays to be a loyal customer!

But for those of you shopping around for a trash service, or think you might be able to get away with just a trash can instead of two, you might try asking your trash company if there is a cheaper plan for you!

Recipes Using Lavender as Food!

I never knew you could cook using lavender, but I found a page with recipes for things like Lavender Ice Cream, Harvest Lavender Fudge and Lavender Lemonade. I thought of you Rebecca when I saw these!! :)

Lavender Recipes

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Finances: Update on June

OH last month was HORRIBLE! We got back into a bad habit of spending on the credit card and spent way more than we should have. Not only that, but we were driving by the bank and grabbing cash for garage sales. YIKES!

We also got out of the habit of talking at least MONTHLY together about our finances, how things are going, if anything needs to be changed, etc. That was really bad, and we both really missed it the past few months (which is prolly how we ended up failing MISERABLY during the month of June).

And I am sure part of it was due to JJ and testing and his throwing up getting really really sick and all the worrying about him. I know that sadly, we let that allow us to get off track.

But now we are back on track and it feels so GOOD! I was able to put money into our emergency fund again! I am looking for ways to save money. And am finding more and more ways where I thought there were none before.

I will admit that I still need to remember that once a cash envelope is empty, it is EMPTY and I cannot just goto the bank and refill it. That is NOT a good example to the girls.

Speaking of the girls, AA is saving up with a goal in mind. She saw a book that she really wanted and felt that it was worth the $7.50 (with tax) it would cost for the book. So she has been doing extra services (we no longer call them chores, because we are acting in service to one another and to God by doing our part in keeping the house clean) in order to earn extra money. It is wonderful to see her learning the value of money.

We will be out and she will see something she wants, and ask me to buy it. I will say sure, you have money. It always makes her think about whether or not she REALLY wants it. It is so funny to hear her say "Two Dollars!! I can get a lot more for $2 at the dollar store!" LOL!!! It is also, prayerfully, establishing a habit of NOT always getting what you want. I know I have that bad habit and it has cost our family a lot of money. I don't want that habit to develop in my children.


CONGRATS TO kamewh, the winner (chosen by my beautiful assistant AA)!! I have contacted you by email and need your address to send you the book!! :) I cannot believe there were only THREE entries for that AWESOME cookbook!!

This video is AWESOME!!!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Gardening: Composting

I am really wanting to have our own compost pile going. I want a wooden one with wooden slats. Like the one in this video.

In the book All New Square Foot Gardening (if you have the old version, or the old version discouraged you, get the NEW version, SO MUCH EASIER!), he teaches you how to make your own compost pile. In fact, he teaches you how to make your own soil! :) Composting making up 1/3 of that, as well as being a topdressing throughout the growing season.

When composting, you want to use what is considered green organic material (like your fruit and veggie peelings,fresh grass clipping, green leaves, etc.) and brown organic material (dried grass clippings, twigs, coffee grounds, straw, newspaper, etc.). You want this to be a 1 part greens to 2 parts brown.

This video (below) while annoying to parents, is a GREAT introduction to the kids (who will not stop singing about composting) about composting!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Gardening Tip About Soil


A neat tip that I learned on in their interview with Tammi Harting, author of Growing 101 Herbs That Heal:

If you have bad soil, before you start your garden, plant a spring crop of organic oats (this is pretty inexpensive). It is considered a green manure crop and is a GREAT way to rebuild the soil. Allow the oats to get 1 1/2 feet tall and then till them in with the rototiller. This adds a lot of good green matter to the soil.

In the winter, spread manure on and allow to soak in through winter. Dig up and turn up soil in the spring and plant.

This tip continues on from above, but is great for all gardening:

Fertilize once a month by topdressing starting in the spring using green organic material (like fresh grass clippings, fruit/veggie peels, etc.). Apply about 1/4 inch deep and rake in and around with hand rake. It will be absorbed through the watering and bring a lot of nutrition to the soil.

Soil MUST have organic material!

Although you want to put organic materials into the soil, one thing you don't want to put directly into the soil itself is brown organic material like straw or wood mulch. The brown organic material takes nitrogen and nutrition from the soil in order to break and down and compost it. It is better to use that on the top of he soil as a mulch to keep moisture in the ground. Brown materials are also great for composting, but don't turn them directly into the ground until they have completely composted in your composting bin.