Thursday, June 30, 2011

Why I love having a "Mother's helper"

When I was little, a sweet girl from my church named Kim often came over to help my mom. She would play with my brother and me and help my mom around the house. She did this for several years. I think she was around ten years old when she started, but as she grew older, my mom gave her more responsibility and she quickly became my favorite babysitter! I vividly remember begging my Mom to ask her to babysit us because I loved her so much. It made me feel so special to have a teenager take interest in me and she was just so much fun! We are still friends to this day and enjoy keeping up with each other through Facebook.

When I gave birth to my own daughter many years later, my Mom started encouraging me to find someone to come over and help me. But I was too prideful and didn't want to inconvenience anyone. And I had my own little routine going on at home and wasn't eager to mess it up.

Thankfully, after my second daughter was born, a kind lady at church came up to me and said that her daughter (12 years old) really wanted to get some experience with younger children and she wondered if Lindsay could come play with my girls every other week. By this time, I was sleep deprived and gratefully accepted her offer. I had no idea how much I would enjoy getting to know this young lady!

Lindsay has been coming over to my house every other Monday for about a year and a half now and oh, how I look forward to those Mondays! Here are some reasons:

1. I get so much done -- My girls are totally enamored with Lindsay and I can actually cross things off my to-do list without being interrupted every other minute with questions or arguing or "helping" that prolongs the chore(Don't get me wrong; I LOVE to do things with my girls and thoroughly enjoy teaching them how to be homemakers, but it sure is nice to get a break twice a month to accomplish things in record time :) I'm always available in case they need me, but she pretty much entertains them all by herself. A lot of times, I do my baking or meat-seasoning/cooking for the month when she is here because I know that I will actually have time to focus on what I am doing without interruption.

2. I enjoy her company -- I stay at home with my little ones most of the week and I really enjoy chatting with another girl. She may be young, but is very perceptive and I truly enjoy our conversations. Sometimes we just chat about my girls or upcoming activities at church, but we often also have insightful conversations about things like relationships, nutrition, future plans, etc.

3. She makes my girls feel special -- They talk about her all week long, hope that she will be at every church activity, and proudly show off the crafts they make with her.

4. She is a great role model for my girls -- Karis watches every one of the youth very closely at church; she is often telling me things that they did or said throughout the week. She looks up to all of them, but especially to Lindsay, and I am grateful that Lindsay is a godly example for her to follow.

5. My girls enjoy different learning techniques and educational toys -- Lindsay has compiled a bag full of some special toys -- books, puzzles, games, etc, that she always brings and they really look forward to doing them with her. She often brings a special snack or craft for the girls to enjoy also, which they absolutely love!

6. She often helps out at church as well -- Our church is small and the kids stay in the service with us. I love having my girls with us, but sometimes (especially when my husband is leading the teaching time and I'm trying to rock my baby to sleep), they can be quite a handful. Since Lindsay has such a great relationship with my girls, she notices when they get restless and will often come sit with them and color, do stickers, etc, so that Mark and I can focus on the teaching. Such a blessing!

7. Not only is she helping me and my girls, but I have the opportunity to mentor her as well -- After studying Titus 2:3-5, I am convinced that it is my duty (and joy!) to encourage younger girls to be godly wives and mothers. This is an easy and fun way to do that. Over the past year and a half, I have seen Lindsay grow in confidence and ability in taking care of my girls and I am so excited for her.

What about you? Have you been blessed with a special "mother's helper" or even been one yourself? If you have little children, I would greatly encourage you to look around your church and find one of the young girls who takes interest in your kids and invite her into your lives. You will both be blessed by the experience! And if you have older girls, ask them if they would like to get more experience with children by helping a Mama a few times a month. They will learn a lot and be a blessing at the same time!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

More natural remedies!

I recently stumbled upon THIS GREAT ARTICLE while researching something else and was excited to find some other great traditional remedies for childhood illnesses to add to my list. The article is a good read and I highly recommend it. I decided to summarize a few of the suggestions here, but you really ought to read the whole article.

1. Ear infections: greatly related to diet; cut out pasteurized milk which is the greatest culprit -- A warm wheat bag on the ear provides enormous pain relief. A warm wheat bag is made of fabric filled with plain unground wheat kernels—you can make your own if you want. You put it in the microwave with 1/2 cup of water for a minute or two so that it becomes just hot to the touch. These are really comforting for the child.

2. Headaches -- Again, related to diet --Headaches often occur when blood sugar is low, so three solid meals a day, with adequate animal protein and plenty of fat, form the basis of prevention. Avoid sugar and MSG—both will cause headaches. Headaches also occur when dehydrated—often after playing soccer. Coconut water, kombucha and other fermented drinks are the best way to rehydrate; they are much better than plain water. We use canned coconut water at sporting events. If none of these types of beverages is available, have your child drink plain water, but not more than two four-ounce drinks every 30 minutes; otherwise it will just go to the kidneys.

3. Fevers -- Don't use Tylenol or other drugs to bring it down! Why do our bodies produce fever? One reason is that fevers slow down pathogens. The germ, bacteria or virus causing the child’s distress wants to replicate every few minutes and the fever slows this process down. It slows down the spread and severity of the illness. So when you bring the fever down you are giving free license to the virus or bacteria to run amuck. And don’t panic if your child’s temperature gets to 102-103 degrees—this is the ideal range for a fever.

Food will naturally drop a fever within about 20 minutes and this drop will last for an hour or two. Just a few bites of scrambled egg or a few sips of broth can bring that fever down a bit. It will not make the fever go away but will manage it hopefully within the 102-103 degree range.

If over 103 degrees—then you need to take steps to bring it down. A cool water enema is one good way to do this. Just get a thick beach towel and put it in the tub. Lay your child on his side without taking clothes off. Slide their pajamas down a little. Place 1/2 to 1 quart warm filtered water in the bag and insert the enema nozzle. Your child will start to feel pressure and will want to go to the bathroom—the water usually doesn’t run out. Then gently put him on the toilet and let him go. This will usually bring the fever down by a degree or two.

High fevers—those that range between 104 and 105 degrees—are not dangerous in themselves, but they make the metabolism run very fast and increase the risk of dehydration. Blood sugar often drops, which can lead to convulsions. Your child can sip 50 percent diluted fresh fruit juice to keep tissues hydrated and blood sugar levels in the normal range. If your child will not take anything, you can administer about 4 ounces diluted fruit juice rectally using a bulb syringe. The body will absorb it rectally. It won’t run out. This may save your child a trip to the emergency room.

4. Tummy aches -- Use slippery elm tincture. Give a few drops in a little water and the tummy ache is gone in about 10 minutes. You can purchase a glycerin-based, non-alcohol tincture of slippery elm at the health food store. Follow the directions on the bottle for the dose. Also, a wheat bag on the stomach or a warm bath will do wonders for a tummy ache.

5. Vomiting -- once your child starts vomiting, don’t give him food, water or liquids for two hours. The stomach wants to rest and if you give food or liquids, it will prolong the vomiting.

6. Diarrhea - Nothing works better than broth for stopping diarrhea— a few tablespoons at a time and very frequently. Broth works because the gelatin in broth binds up the liquid in the colon. It gives bulk and helps to stop the loss of fluids. With really severe diarrhea, you can give an enema to counteract dehydration.

7. Pink Eye -- Place a drop or two of raw milk or colostrom in each eye—this works wonders. Frequent pink eye may be a sign of vitamin A deficiency, so pay attention to the daily dose of cod liver oil.

8. Chicken Pox -- Let the illness run its course; and let any fever do its work. The main thing is to relieve itching, which can be done with baking soda baths. Use a one-pound box per bath.

9. Sore Throat --The best remedy for sore throat is a fever; help her generate a fever by giving her a fever bath. Put her in the tub. Fill it with water as hot as she can stand. You can get it hotter for them if you put them in it while you are filling it. You want it pretty hot, but still comfortable. Leave her in the bath for 10-12 minutes, then get her out, dry her quickly and wrap her up tight. Put her into bed, well covered up.