Wednesday, November 30, 2016


The Winner of the Festive Christmas Salve IS:



Be watching your mailbox for your free gift complements of the easy shop SerenityScents23!!!!

Visit the website here for many other great, natural products to stock your medicine cabinets with!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Ear Infection Remedies

Fine one moment. 

20 minutes later fever of 103.4.

Elias is prone to Febrile seizures and of course when this boy get's a fever, it's a REALLY high one that comes on REALLY fast.

After another hour his fever was 104.3.

I decided to give him some Tylenol at this point (not a big fan, but hey...)

His fever reduced to 101.0.

3 hours later it spiked back up to 104.5. 

He started hallucinating seeing Captain Hook behind me and Bears walking around the house. 

I asked Alex to take him into the ER and get him looked at. 

After 5 1/2 hours there (getting home at 5:30am), they sent my son home with two HUGE bottles of thick, pink, industrial-smelling Amoxacillian. 

After a few hours of sleep, Elias woke up screaming (he was sleeping in our bed) and hallucinating again. His temperature was 103.1. We hadn't started the antibiotics yet.

Fear set into my heart. 
Alex and I measured out the first dose of antibiotics. 
Then we hesitated. 

But the doctor recommended this...

We prayed. 
We felt the Lord tell us to wait. 
We called Elias' pediatrician (he's one of the rarest pediatricians who is ALL FOR alternative medicine) and we scheduled something at 6pm to get him looked at and discuss if we thought antibiotics were necessary. 

In the meantime, I am putting some herbal salves on him, giving him some chamomile tincture and starting him on some tea tree oil ear drops. 
His fever dropped to just above normal. 
He started to get up and walk around. 
He even ate a banana and some rice. 

After meeting with his doctor, we learned he had a SEVERE right ear infection and some fluid in the left ear, probably set on from a strange virus. I guess quite a few ear infections are viral and don't even need, or get better with antibiotics.

We agreed to get him on some garlic ear drops. 

Man am I glad I have these experiences! 

And Man am I glad we didn't give those antibiotics!
They would have wiped out my son's immune system and all his good gut bacteria. 
It would have taken us a LONG time to repair his system after that. 
It probably would have resulted in recurring infections and virus like I've seen so many times. 

Now, I'm not a scientist... BUT...
It seems like if you treat with antibiotics, your sick over and over and over again requiring more and more and more antibiotics. 
It also seems that when a child is treated with antibiotics for something, they are prone to getting it again (at least from my experience).

I know what it feels like to have that fear set in as a parent.

You want to do what's best for your child.
And going against the doctor's recommendations seems like such a taboo thing.

I also know what it feels like to just want to do the antibiotics because it's EASIER.
But so is fast food, having the television distract your kids instead of parenting them, and kicking those ice cubes under the fridge to melt instead of bending over to pick them up.
(Obviously I have a little experience...)
That doesn't mean it's the best thing for them

It seems like anything is true, as long as a doctor tells you it.

Oh, you have some cysts on your ovaries?!? 

You're forever infertile, less likely to find a sole mate, and will probably die...
Well, if the doctor told me so....

Oh, you have endometriosis??!

You'll live a life strung out on Oxycodone, you're more likely to get hit by lightening, and if you do have kids, they'll definitely be nephilim ...
The doctor said it, it must be true.

Oh, you have strep throat?!?

If you DON'T take these antibiotics it will infect your whole body, you'll get a brain infection, a hemorrhoid and you'll die...
The doctor know's best. 

Although, some cases are rare and can be severe, most are not.

Don't get me twisted...
I LOVE medicine.

I am SO THANKFUL for the IVIG treatments and blood transfusions available to my daughter that saved her life.

I am so grateful I got my wisdom teeth removed while being asleep and drugged with pain killers.

However, I think there's a time and place for every part of medicine.

I long so badly to bring a long-lost art and culture of homemaking back.

For women to be growing herbs and making oils, salves, tinctures, and teas in their kitchens to heal the wounds of their families and of others.

So here's some great remedies I have for Ear Infections:

(1) Garlic Infused Olive Oil - you can add a few herbs such as Calendula flower, St John's Wort, Mullein Flower. Keep this in a dropper and it can last for up to 10 years. With kids, you'll probably use it up faster then that! I usually treat 10 days.

(2) Salve - Anything cooling, Immune Stimulating or Anti-inflammatory feels nice.

(3) Fever Reducing Tincture -  This could include peppermint, echinacea, fever few, catnip, yarrow, black elder, or ginger. TempAssure is one that I know of but have not tried. Mariah and I will be experimenting with some recipes to sell in our Etsy shop

Elias is right as rain and completely healed after 10 days of garlic ear drops  and NO antibiotics :)

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Glimpses of Grey-Haired Glory: Those Mom's

It seems that once you have more then 3 children in this country, you get "the stare".
You know what I'm talking about...
You get automatically stereotyped as one of those mom's.

When we had 3 children, people would occasionally stop and say, "Oh what beautiful kids you have!".

Then we had 4 children. It seemed like everyone would stare while walking by. I would get nervous that someone was going to run head first into a pole sometimes!!

Then 5 children came along. Now people STOP and stare. Every third person feels they need to make comment, verbally or unverbally. Whether it's a smile, a wide-eyed sneer, a snide remark like, "I DO NOT envy you!", to a curious comment, "How do you do it?!?"

You DO know how that happens right?
Are you going to have MORE?
They must be one of those families that don't believe in birth control.

There are some people who get frustrated by these comments.
DON'T! Take it as an opportunity to show others the long-lost joy in being a mother! Our culture has lost this joy.

A really close and dear friend of mine has 6 children. My 5th and her 6th were due the same day! I can only imagine the comments and stares she gets strutting through stores with her half a dozen blonde babies waddling along side her. 

This is such an opportunity for large families to really shine. 

My husband and I LOVE large families. Not just large families for large families sake, but large families being raised by godly, Bible-believing Christians. True talk, I see these Muslim families having 5, 6, 9 kids and raising them according to the standards of the Quran! I think if this continues, we'll lose our culture to this people group. They simply move into a country, have children, raise their children, and then the next generation does the same thing and pretty soon one family turned into a whole city's population changing culture, changing morals, changing laws!

Now, the chaos of a large family is rather entertaining! 

And it's all about perspective (you hear me say that a lot)

A mother of a large family can choose to get overwhelmed, or choose to step back and realize how hilarious the chaos can be. 

Here's a 2 minute window into the life of a large family, homeschooling mom:

There's one child (#1) trying to finish reading their chapter out loud to you in their chapter book. You're frying bacon, while chopping potatoes and pulling eggs out of fridge, all simultaneously.  In the background, the baby's screaming because he wants to be held. Then the shrieks of #3 (You know the one. Everyone has that one. My #3 is more like a #2 since she follows the twins very closely in age - the overly dramatic, thumb-sucking, sweet, yet emotional #3). #4 (THAT boy....) decided he wanted something #3 had and thought, using that analytical boy mind of his, that the only logical way to get it would be to bite her (of course!)Really?!? I thought we were past this... NOPE! Now she's freaking out and no amount of reason can get through to her.  

Meanwhile, #2 (real #2), decided that the smell of bacon is just too much for her to handle so she's sneaking in the kitchen and nibbling off the bacon you just cooked.

Here's mom: 
Consoling and trying to calm #3 down, 
instructing #4 to wait for her in the bathroom (he's stomping away screaming so mom reminds him to go with a good attitude to the bathroom), 
still listening to #1 reading and struggling with a word and somehow guessing what word it is and prompting her to sound it out, 
whispering to #5 to calm down and that mommy will be available to play soon, and then 
reprimanding #2 for not being patience and exercising self-control.  

The next two minutes displayed an entirely new, colorful array of the daily complexities of large family life. These two minutes included #1 having a melt-down over the hard words she's struggling with, #4 immediately going from getting disciplined to violently spinning #5 around in his swing, causing him to scream even louder, #2 doing front hand springs across the living room and accidentally kicking #3 in the chest causing her to continue down her downward spiral of misery... 

Oh yes, this is just 45 minutes ago. 

So we freak out sometimes, we calmly keep a higher perspective sometimes and gracefully (By God's Great Grace) have patience and raise our children the best we are able. :)

I'm remembering reading a blog over the last few years of a mother of 6 children. I so badly wanted to be a "fly on her wall" and watch her work through each situation that arose in her home. I had so many questions and wanted to take so many notes. I would just devour every word on her blog. I want to emulate this woman! 

Any book that has "Large Family" in it, I buy. I want the wisdom. I want the practical examples. I want the encouragement. 

My favorite movie when I was little was "Cheaper By the Dozen". I would tell my siblings, "that's going to be my family one day!" (It was the type of family I grew up in, having, at the time, 3 other siblings and several other people living in our house - total of 10 people).

I look at those moms
with their scars, 
their stretch marks, 
their baggy eyes, 
and their wrinkles.
Those moms who have raised several children, 
pouring their wisdom, 
and their all into each of those kids, 
and I want to give them purple hearts and badges of honor! 
Every one of those grey hairs has such an awesome story encrypted on them! 

I want to read their books. 
I want to hear their stories.
I want to just listen to them talk.

SO CHEERS to all those moms. 
Haha Aryeh looks very concerned.

I love to be a mom to a large family. And I hope you're encouraged whether you have two crazy kids or a dozen! The beautiful complexities of your family are God-ordained and beautiful. Walk through this time with God's Grace, being an example, and earning every grey hair and wrinkle that you acquire along the way!

This is a new health technique. Instead of icing your sore muscles, you just get freshly brewed Dunn Brother's Coffee and wrap two pounds around your neck while you inhale deeply. It's amazing and extremely therapeutic. 

Thursday, November 17, 2016


This is an exciting day!

My sister and I just made a batch of special FESTIVE HOLIDAY SALVE for her Etsy shop.

You can check out her shop here:

In honor of you, my readers, I have one of these salves that I want to give away!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here is the products description:

The Holidays are upon us!
The festive scents of gingerbread cookies, pumpkin pies, and roasted turkey warm our homes and our hearts! However, along with all that baking and cooking often comes sore, cracked, weary hands and feet. 
Sage and Clove infused Olive Oil was combined with Organic Coconut Oil and Organic Beeswax and then accompanied with the Essential Oils of Frankinsence and Wintergreen to create a warm, spicy, indulgent salve that is perfect for those weary, hard-working hands and feet! Heck, rub some on your face, neck, abdomen while you're at it! After all, Sage is a wonderful herb for skin and is known to help with ezema, psoriasis, and acne.
This salve is a LIMITED EDITION! Once it's gone, it's gone! FIRST COME, FIRST SERVE!!
This salve comes in a 2oz food-grade tin with a screw on lid so it's easy to slip into your purse, diaper bag or brief case. For best results, please store your salve at room temperature and avoid extreme hot and cold. We also recommend testing this salve on a small patch of skin before you go all out. 
To find bits of herbs in your salve is normal, and actually a good thing! Because we infused the olive oil with herbs before we made the salve, they have extra nutrients and healing powers! 
This salve includes: Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Beeswax, Sage, Clove, Frankincense Essential Oil, Wintergreen Essential Oil
*The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

This will be a fun experience as my first give away!! 

Hopefully it works... ;)

Please check out the other products Mariah McDowell offers.
Her customer service is incredible and she LOVES to customize people's orders. 

Exposing Imperfection

I've yelled one to many times today.
I didn't wake up when I wanted to and slept right through my alarm.
I never spent time in my Bible before I decided to dive right into the tasks that awaited me.

It's too late now, it's 11am and we're half way through school.Lord! What do I do?

Looking back at this day not too many mornings ago, I meditated on how the frustration unfolded. I paid heed to how I allowed the overwhelming arguments, the rambunctious 3-year old, and the unsatisfied baby get under my skin. I allowed that anger rising from the pit of my stomach to bubble out of my mouth. The flesh reared it's ugly head!

You know how it's not dead? 
It groans when you kick it. 

So looking back, I came up with a plan of action for next time this happens.

Psalm 46:10Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

I am going to stop.
I am going to sit all my children down.
We are going to pray.
I am going to pick up my guitar and we are going to spend time worshipping our Jesus.
It doesn't matter if school doesn't get done. 
It doesn't matter if dishes don't get scrubbed. 
It IS critically important that I teach my children how to turn a bad day around.

Can I get an Amen??

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Cultivating a Devotional Life in Your Children

My Pastor taught me:

When discipling someone, never lower the bar for them. Expect out of them what you expect out of yourself.

My husband and I applied this to our children when it comes to devotional life.

First off, what is a devotional life exactly?
We can get "religious" about things and follow man made traditions sometimes without even investigating what the Bible actually says about a devotional life.

Psalm 1:2 says, 

"But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night."

Acts 17:11 says, 

"These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness and searched the scripture daily to find out whether these things were so."

The definition of Devotion is:

  • The state of being dedicated, consecrated, or solemnly set apart for a particular purpose
  • A solemn attention to the Supreme Being in worship; a yielding of the heart and affections to God, with reverence, faith, piety, in religious duties, particularly in prayer and meditation; devoutness
  • External worship; acts of religion; performance of religious duties

So how do my husband and I do our devotions?
  1. We have our daily (usually morning and/or evening) time of reading God's Word and praying and talking to Him (applying Psalm 1:2 and Psalm 119)
  2. We read ahead for what our pastor is going to be teaching through on Sunday and Thursday (applying Acts 17:11)
  3. We have our weekly Home Fellowship meeting where we meet with other like-minded delivers and share how we applied God's Word, and share what He's doing in our lives. During this time we pray and worship together (Hebrews 10:24-25; Colossians 3:16; 1 Corinthians 14:26; Acts 13:2).

So, we hold our children to the same standards.

  1. Morning Devotions: Each child finishes their morning chores and then heads down into the living room and finds a cozy spot with a blanket or pillow and their Bible, notebook, and CKC book. During this time they get to spend precious moments reading through their age-appropriate Bible, they spend time drawing a picture or writing a few things the Holy Spirit taught them, they get to spend a few minutes praying and talking to Jesus, and they get to practice their CKC verse of the week or do their weekly application such as pray for someone they're having a hard time with every day for a week.
  2. Every night Alex sits down with the kids and does a short reading through the passages that they will be learning in their Sunday and Thursday class since our church's children's ministry goes right through the Bible just like we do in the "adult class".
  3. Sunday evenings we strive to have a mini Homefellowship with the kids where we implement worship, prayer, and a time of sharing what the Lord's been teaching us and how we've been applying it. We just started implementing this recently and REALLY look forward to it at the end of the week!

So here's a short breakdown of what their personal devotions look like:

9 months - 3 years old
This age needs some assistance and guidance on how to do devotions. You can put a younger child in the high chair with a board book Bible and let them just look at the pictures. You can go through some of the stories with them. We usually start preschool around 2 years old and I go through the whole Bible in a year with each preschooler.

2-3 years old

3-4 years old - This is the Bible my preschooler and I are currently working through.

At this age I believe you are simply training them for self-discipline as well as for routine or habit.  This is what we do every morning. This is how you sit still while we study or pray. Memorization also can start young! 2-year olds can recite the pledges to the flags and start memorizing scripture. Having a weekly goal of memorizing a verse get's them down the right path! CKC (Calvary Kids Club) at our church is what we use for memorizing scripture as well as teaching the kids to get into the thinking of "who do I apply this?"

4 years old - 5 years old
We start teaching our children to read around 3 - 4years old. By the time they are around 4 they usually can read pretty well on their own. At this point we try to get them reading independently and get them this Bible:

At this age I expect them to be able to draw a picture of the story they are on, maybe write a few key words or the title of the story in their devotions notebook, as well as verbalize to me a main theme or short application from the what they read. For example Hayven tells me this afternoon,

"I read about Moses parting the Red Sea and learned that I should obey God because He takes care of me."

5-6 Years Old:
They've been through the Bible with you a few times, they've read through the above Bible a few times on their own, now they move to this Bible:

At this age I expect more in depth application and note taking. I like to still se pictures in their notebooks (simply because I think they're awesome!), but I want a small paragraph on what they read and how it applies to them.

"The Israelites were wandering in the desert. They were hungry. God fed them with quail. They were thirsty. Moses asked God what to do. God said, 'Hit the rock.' Water came out. God is almighty and powerful and can do anything."

Discussion can take them further into exploring how this applies to a specific situation they're facing. 

Since our children aren't past the age of 6 yet, I can't really comment on where to go from there, but we are planning on getting them Bible's of their own next year and looking into what kind of studies they will be taking. I am VERY excited for that!!!

Bible Studies and Devotionals
We've gone through a few devotionals together in the morning over breakfast. Whether it's an ABC devotional according to what letter my current preschooler is on to studying through certain character traits or focusing on a specific passage someone is memorizing like 1 Corinthians 13. There are seasons we do this and seasons we don't.

If there is one thing I want to leave my children with it's a relationship with God. I want them to:
(1) LOVE God's Word
(2) know His voice, and 
(3) see Him in their life.

Getting them excited about God's Word and equipping them with the wisdom on how to apply it and not just know it is key.
I hope this encourages you on how to spur on a devotional life in your children!
What do YOU do with YOUR kids?
Or what do you do in YOUR walk with Jesus?
I'd LOVE to hear from you!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The Hardheaded, Determined, Into Everything Child

We're sitting on the couch watching a show together as a family when we noticed that our son was no where to be seen...

"Elias! Where are you?!"
"Right here!" He proudly exclaims with a large grin across his face and two pairs of scissors, one in each hand, being simultaneously opened and closed in his little grasp!

The scissors got taken away. However, the next morning, there was a period of quietness. 
Too quiet... 
I went to search for the boy... 
oh, I found him alright. 

He was crouched in the corner of the entry way with the same two pairs of scissors and one of his sister's necklaces. He was strategically cutting her necklace into small pieces that he figured he could reconstruct into a weapon of some sort later I'm sure.

That afternoon, Elias was yelling for me from the bathroom, 
"Mommy! Come wipe my booty!!" 

Reminding myself that I am thankful he doesn't try to wipe his won butt... anymore... I climb the stair case. As I approached him, I realized this was his 4th time going poop that day. And these were not normal poops. Maybe he was getting sick? I thought.

I followed him into his bedroom to tuck him in for a nap and as I lifted up his covers, I saw my small tin of xylitol candies. The tin says to only eat 1-2 pieces a day since it can cause diarrhea. Low and behold, 1/3 of my container was missing. Like a movie, just on cue, my son says, 
"Oh mama. My tummy doesn't feel so good."
 ... wonder why son... wonder why...

That night, my husband puts Elias to bed. As him and I are watching our television show together, we hear little footsteps running back and forth from the bathroom above our heads. Both of us wanted to ignore the inevitable, but I decided to be the brave one and venture up to see what horror beheld us. Hair Conditioner greased my son's hair back, an empty spray bottle lay on the ground with the nozzle hanging out of his mouth, there was green crafting glitter leading all the way to his bed and all over his mattress, but that's not all! The mattress has a large oil stain on it! I lifted up his pillow and my little bottle of vitamin E oil was open and nearly empty.

The following morning, I was asleep because it was an ungodly hour of the morning, before 6am, and I hear a noise. It was like a bang and then what sounded like rain pounding against the window.  
Funny how that was my first thought...

Anyways, I stumble into the kitchen and there is popcorn all. over. the. floor. 


I instructed Elias to pick it up, knowing this was going to be a 2-hour-long, uphill battle at this ungodly hour of the morning, but I also knew that I needed to go through this to teach him a lesson. I watch him and continue to discipline him while he painstakingly picks up one unpopped kernel at a time. I walked away for a few minutes and come back. (Always a mistake...)

As I approached the kitchen I ask,
"Elias? Are you still picking up?"
"Yes mom!" He convincingly replies.

I enter the kitchen and see my son with a large tub of homemade granola (his favorite breakfast food - so much so "granola" was one of his first words, pronounced "ko-wa-wa) between his legs and his hand digging into it and stuffing his face with the cereal! Popcorn still EVERYWHERE and NOW granola EVERYWHERE...

This is just a 12-hour documentation of what goes on in a day. 

If I sat down every day and wrote down all the stories.... you wouldn't read my blog anymore...

Do you have one of these kids?
So far, I have one... but I am thinking my newest boy is going to be similar to his older brother.

I was one of these children.
I was going to do what I wanted, when I wanted, how I wanted, despite the cost.

Here are some tips I've learned in dealing with these types of children:

(1) He needs specific tasks: My son needs chores, he needs a set toy with boundaries in order to exist without flushing matchbox cars down the toilet... again... He needs a blanket on the floor with a box of marbles and marble tracks and a good 30-minute timer that will ding when he can move onto his next task

(2) He needs intensive training: We usually start preschool around 18 months - 2 years old, but for my son, we waited until this year - 3 years old. He needed some serious character training before he could even sit down and receive any sort of instruction from me. He needed to learn to finish a chore in a timely manner and thoroughly. He needs to learn to think before he does something. He needs to know that what mom/dad says, MOM/DAD MEANS! He needs to be able to sit still, occupy himself with a given task, understand that "no" means "no", and follow directions.

(3) Encouragement: He needs to be encouraged to channel those God-given qualities into an activity that will produce something instead of destruct something. Maybe give this child their own tool set and wood so they can build, hammer, paint and contract. Maybe give them a small engine they can pull apart. Maybe a remote control car that they can drive around a specific room of the house. Maybe a marble track they can build and run marbles through.

(4) Twice as Much Love as Disciple: This is easy to forget and hard to apply when it feels like all you do is discipline this child. This is the child that is the first to be handed over to your husband when he steps foot through the door onto the property! But we need to make times to snuggle with this child and take interest in something they're doing when they're not getting into trouble!

Take a Breath.
These qualities are GOOD!
This child is just in need of instruction.
I tell myself:
"You would rather a child that you have to tell to slow down, then a child you have to tell, 'Get up and do SOMETHING!'"

 So maybe lock up the scissors for a time (we all know a top shelf isn't sufficient enough for this child... maybe a gun safe?), don't you dare sweep up that popcorn, and add vitamin E oil to your toiletry list again this month...

But remember, God made this child this way for a reason. Ask Him how to parent them :)