Friday, January 29, 2016

Honey-Ginger-Lemon-ACV-Elderberry tea for Great Health!

Several days a week I make this tea and I really enjoy it!  I started with just lemon and ginger and raw honey because I read how it could help a sore throat.  Then I realized that it made my raw apple cider vinegar much more tolerable and I began adding that (because ACV is truly one of the the most beneficial things you can drink but boy, does it have a strong taste!)  Then my Mom gave me an awesome berry tea for Christmas that contained elderberries and I thought to add those to the mix.  And now I have a super healthy drink that I love! It is so simple to make also!

1.  Set water in teapot to boil
2.  Cut a slice of lemon and place in mug
3.  Cut a slice of fresh ginger and add to mug
4. Place some dried elderberries in a re-usable muslin tea-bag and add to mug
5.  Pour boiling water over lemon, ginger, and elderberries
6.  After cooling a bit, add raw honey and as much apple cider vinegar as you can handle.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Natural Remedies for Constipation in Children

Constipation is one of the most common and most miserable childhood problems.  If a child has a difficult time staying dry through the night, it is highly likely that the child is constipated.  Two of my children have dealt with constipation.  My second child went through a stage where she needed to avoid dairy and gluten in order to heal her gut.  Anytime she ate one of those foods, she would get constipated.  Through an elimination diet, chiropractic care, and probiotics, we were able to heal her gut and now she can eat whatever she wants.   My 4th child, on the other hand, is a stubborn toddler who does not have a food sensitivity.  She became prone to constipation during potty training.  She simply does not like to have a bowel movement and will stubbornly hold it until it is very painful.  She is incredibly strong willed and this has become a major health problem for her.  One pediatrician recommended that I give her a half of a chocolate Ex-lax and another recommended Mirolax.  No thank you!  Those options can destroy the digestive system and cause health problems in the long run.  I did my own research and found several more gentle, natural options that have helped my daughter.

1.  Mommy's Bliss Constipation Ease -- this is a very gentle, natural medicine that my toddler actually loves to take.  It has no stimulant but gentle herbs and prune juice to make a bowel movement easier as well as prebiotics.  We use this more than anything else and I give it to her at the first sign that she is getting constipated.

2.  EZ Move Constipation Support Herbal Organic Remedy from Trilight Health. -- this one is more expensive but works well and my daughter loves the taste also.  I kind of take turns with these first two so she is receiving different herbs to help her.

3.  Slippery Elm bark -- This soothes and lubricates her digestive system so her bowel movements are easier and it has many valuable minerals in it as well.  I get this in a capsule that I can open and pour into anything I think she will eat.  Usually I add it to her applesauce or tea.  This is something I give to her on a regular basis as often as I can.  It has no negative side effects or stimulants and is completely natural.

4. LB Extract -- This one is much stronger and I only use it if she is really miserable and only until things get going easily again.  But it is natural and really works!

5.  Epsom salt bath -- I know it sounds simple, but nearly every time my child is constipated and I give her a bath with Epsom salts, within minutes she is jumping out to go potty.  The magnesium plus the feeling of water seems to stimulate her immediately.

6.  Raw Apple Cider Vinegar -- This is hard to stomach on it's own, but adding ACV to juice or tea can really help to keep someone regular.  I make a tea by pouring boiling water over ginger (also good for digestion!) and lemon and then adding raw honey and some ACV to it after it cools slightly.  It really helps my daughter.  I also sometimes add it to my diluted Kombucha and my daughter will drink it.

7.  Avoiding dairy and processed foods with white flour.  My daughter is not allergic to these foods, but they simply stop up the digestive system.  My daughter's constipation always flares up when traveling because I am not as careful about what she eats.  She can eat as much of my homemade bread (made from freshly ground spelt berrries and soaked for better digestion) as she likes without any problem.  But every time she goes to church and eats goldfish or crackers or other processed food, I have to give her some of the above remedies or she will have a major problem
 for the next week.  Too much dairy makes a huge noticeable difference as well.

8.  Baby food prunes mixed in with unsweetened applesauce -- When my daughter first had problems with constipation, I gave her lots of prunes to keep things moving.  But she quickly grew tired of them.  I finally thought of adding the pureed prunes to her applesauce, which she loves!  I also add in Slippery Elm bark powder and probiotics,  She loves it!

9. Chiropractic care -- we can't afford to take her as often as I would like, but nearly every time we do, she comes home and has a bowel movement.  It really makes a difference to be properly aligned!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Homemade liquid laundry detergent

I was recently given a used but like-new HE washing machine!  Such a blessing!  The only downfall is that HE detergent can be pretty expensive, particularly since I like to buy natural, chemical free detergent.  Now, I still like to use my soap nuts and they work fine in an HE washer.  The only problem is that they need warm or hot water to work well.  With my old washer, I would start the water on hot to get them working and then switch it to cold when I threw in my clothes.  But my new HE washer doesn't work that way.  So I like to have an alternative for when I wash a cold load of laundry.  I found this recipe and was pretty pleased with it.  I love that I can use whatever essential oils or scent of castle soap that I want my clothes to smell like!  Also, most recipes contain Borax and I've read many debates on whether that is truly good for you so I liked this particular recipe because it didn't contain Borax.  I ended up using 4 half gallon containers to store it in and it works nicely.  I put my  re-cap for pouring on whichever one I am currently using and it cuts down on spills.  With my family of 6, I have been using up about one of the half gallon jars a week.  This recipe was a bit messy to make, but not expensive and it lasts almost a month.  I highly recommend checking out the original recipe for the first time because she has great pictures and tips.

  • 2 gallon bucket
  • 2 gallons water
  • 1/2 cup Super Washing Soda (found at any grocery store I believe!)
  • 1/2 cup Baking Soda
  • 3/4 cup castile soap 
  • 30 drops of your favorite essential oils
  • Large wooden/plastic spoon to stir (not pictured)
  • 2 1-gallon glass containers

First, measure out 1/2 cup of the Super Washing Soda and pour into a 2 gallon bucket.  Add just enough hot tap water to cover the washing soda, and stir well to dissolve.  Measure out and pour 1/2 cup of Baking Soda into the water/washing soda mixture, and stir well to dissolve. Fill up your bucket all the way to the top with hot tap water, only leaving about 1/2 inch of room on top. Make sure you do this BEFORE adding in your castile soap, or you’ll have a bubbly mess! Measure and pour into the bucket 3/4 cup of castile soap.  Pour in 30 drops of your favorite essential oils. Carefully stir everything together until well mixed.  Pour the detergent into jars or bottles

Pour 1/3 cup of the detergent in with your dirty clothes and wash as normal. Contents might settle to bottom or clump, but just give the bottle a good shake before you use it.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

A more simplified preschool approach

I LOVE teaching preschool!  I am now homeschooling my 3rd preschooler and I have learned a lot. Mainly, I don't do as much as I did with my first two.  I have learned what is the most beneficial and that is all I do. I don't worry about teaching all the subjects.  Preschoolers need time to play and imagine and pretend and listen to stories! Yes, preschoolers can learn a ridiculous amount of information.  But they don't have to do it right away.  And they can learn a ton in just a short amount of time each day.  Reading to a preschooler is absolutely the most important part of their education.  It covers all subjects and gives them a love for learning.  Honestly, I think if you did no other schoolwork but read to a preschooler for at least an hour each day, it would be fine.  Everything else can be learned easily in Kindergarten.  With that said, I pretty much waited to start any preschool work til after Christmas with my little girl.  She turns 5 in February and I really don't think children need to do much tablework before 5 years old.  Yes, we read TONS of books everyday and did puzzles and used math manipulatives that she thought were all games.  But I didn't do anything really structured until after Christmas.

Here is what our preschool day now looks like:
1.  While eating breakfast, I go over our phonics cards.  I have the lovely phonics cards from The Writing Road to Reading and I introduce a new one each day if I feel like she has mastered the previous ones.  She thinks this is a game and enjoys telling me the 3 sounds that the letter "y" can make or all 4 sounds that "ou" can make.  Then we do a few math flashcards from Rod and Staff.  She isn't doing any math worksheets yet because I don't like her to have to write much because it is still hard work for her and I want her to enjoy math.  But she likes these flash cards that ask what number comes before or after or which number is greater or smaller.  And we use math manipulatives to count things (and she really likes to tell stories with our colored bears and pattern blocks).  We also practice whatever poem we are currently memorizing over breakfast.

2.  She pretty much plays for the next hour and a half.  If the weather is good, we go outside and if not she just plays inside with her two-year old sister.  Lots of imagining and pretending and cutting and coloring going on.  It makes me smile!  I wish I could say that I prepare crafts for them but my life is too crazy.  I don't.

3.  We read picture books for about 45 minutes (or until the 2 year old gets restless).

4.  We practice our CC memory work songs for about 10 minutes.  This is the only structured history, geography, english, etc that she gets.  But don't forget about all the reading we do.  It covers all the subjects. :)

5.  We have lunch and then go outside (unless it is raining).

6. Naptime for the 2 year old and handwriting practice for my preschooler.  We only write for about 10 minutes and she also colors the answers in her Explode the Code book at this time.  I don't make her write in her Explode the Code.  The only writing she does is handwriting practice.  After this quick tablework, we take turns reading.  I read her a chapter from whatever chapter book we are enjoying  It is currently Besty-Tacy.  Then she reads me a lesson from her reading lesson book or Language lesson book or a story from Dick and Jane or her McGuffy Primer.  We go back and forth as I read a chapter and then she reads something short to me until her sister wakes up from her nap.  Then school is over and she plays the rest of the day.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Beating the stomach bug quickly (and other natural remedies for an upset stomach)

There are very few things as miserable as the stomach bug.  However, there is a solution for beating it quickly.  Activated charcoal works wonders!  And it is inexpensive!  It is great for both food poisoning and for the dreaded stomach virus.  The last few times my family has gotten a stomach bug, the members of my family willing to take activated charcoal only threw up once, while the rest were sick many times over and over.  It is tasteless and can easily be added to a drink or applesauce.  It turns the beverage or food black, however, so two of my children refuse to take it and then are sick much longer than the rest of us.  The last two times, I have used it as soon as the threat was obvious and I had nothing more than stomach cramps for a bit.  It works!

Activated charcoal is hands-down the best remedy for a stomach bug or food poisoning, but there are other things that can help with tummy trouble as well:

Redmond clay: This works in a similar manner as charcoal, but doesn't look as dreadful when mixed in with applesauce :)  We use it for a simple upset stomach as well.

Papaya Enzymes -- These were my best friend when I was pregnant as it helped tremendously with heartburn and acid reflux!  It aids in digestion and always works to help settle a stomach that might be queasy from eating too much or something too spicy or too fatty.  My husband and children all ask for them if they have an unsettled stomach.

Nux Vomica -- I'm still learning about homeopathy, but this has been quite helpful as well.

Tummy Aid Essentail Oil roll on -- I love Plant Therapy's kidsafe line!  I'm still learning about essential oils so I appreciate thse ready-made roll-ons that I can put on my children's feet and bellies.  They carry the regular oil you can diffuse as well, but I love the roll-ons to put in my purse to whip out as the first whimper of tummy pain.

Tummy Plus Tincture from Trilight Health --- I love all the tinctures from Trilight Health!  They don't taste badly so my kids will take them and they really work.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Our Favorite Meals

These are the meals that I regularly cook for my family:

Our top 6 favorites (can you tell we like Mexican?):
Sweet n Sour Chicken Tacos or over quinoa or rice

Baked Spaghetti
Baked Turkey and Gravy
Baked Ziti
Barbeque Chicken (on rice/Sand/or w/ bacon and cheese)
BarBQ beef cups
Chicken, grilled, with lime and cilantro
Chicken Parmesan
Chicken/Turkey Pot Pie
Chicken Salad
Chicken Mexican Crockpot Dinner
Chicken Taquitos
Chicken Tortilla Soup
Chicken Divane
Chicken-Apple-Cheese Bake
Chili -- over spaghetti, chips, or potatoes
Corn and Cheese Chowder with grilled ham and cheese sand.
Cranberry Chicken
Creamy Chicken Spinach Pasta
Cream Cheese Chicken Chili
Crockpot Roast with veggies
Grilled Chicken Salad with strawberries/grapes/almonds/whatever in fridge :)
Shepherd's Pie
Sloppy Joes
Stirfry w/ onions, peppers, and other veggies-- chicken or beef
Spaghetti Squash Casserole
Smothered Cheesy Roasted Club Sandwich
Stromboli (just using my pizza dough)
Steak Fajitas
Stuffed Mexican Peppers
Sweet Chicken Tacos or over quinoa or rice
Sweet N Sour Chicken
Taco Bake
Amazing Taco Salad
Taco Soup