Saturday, February 24, 2018

My Beta Graduates :)

Our school years a little wonkey. We don't really have a start or stop time. We take November and December off as our "summer break". Once my kids finish a certain curriculum they simply move to the next one. 

We celebrated after a trip to the Science Museum with some sliced apples, home made whipped cream, and healthy home made chocolate syrup. The kids thought this was the BEST treat in the world! 

I love that we do this because my kids can work ahead,  take their time, grades don't restrain them, time doesn't pressure them, learning becomes fun and self-motivating.

Yesterday our beautiful 7-year-old twins graduated Math-U-See's Beta Program! Woo hoo!

They actually finished it in about 6 months AND we took a 2 month "winter break" in the middle of this time. 

Look at Ahavah's face!! :)

Alex and I are so proud of them and their endurance, hard work, and motivation to do their very best. 

The girls will be focusing on refining their speed in their math facts before we move onto Gamma by Math-U-See :)

Great Job Girls!!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Fermentools Review!!

Fermenting food has been around for a LONG TIME!
Before refrigerators were around, fermenting food was one of the ways that food was preserved.
We now know the health benefits that come along with fermenting food.

I'm not going to explain all those benefits (you can read about them online), but I am going to talk about how and why we ferment as a family as well as some pretty cool simple equipment from Fermentools that has become a regular part of our lives!!

We ferment foods primarily because it's a cheap way to get probiotics into our diet. I cannot afford to put all my 6 children on probiotics so fermenting foods right on our counter top is the next best solution. All it takes is salt and water!

We also ferment food because I garden and don't want all the food I get to go to waste. When I have a large harvest of bell peppers, carrots, hot peppers, cucumbers ect, fermenting these fresh vegetables adds an extra kick to them that simply canning or freezing doesn't do. It captures the freshness and adds to the health value. 

We ferment foods because it adds depth and flavor to basic meals. Fermented habanero sauce, fermented tomato salsas, fermented raw milk sour cream, fermented spicy sauerkraut and so many more all add something different when placed on the dish at hand. 

We ferment foods because it's an incredible learning/home-educating experience. My kids get to see the changes food goes through when the natural bacteria in the environment start to break down the sugars and starches in our food. They get to physically see a loaf of sourdough bread rise, a glass of milk cultivate into kefir, and cucumbers turn into probiotic rich pickles!

We ferment foods because it brings culture to my children. Something American's have lost tremendously is our culture and roots when it comes to so many things including our knowledge and appreciation of real, living food. All our food is so processed and tastes so different then it used to. We aren't concerned with preserving foods and think it's just too much work to take that extra step to freshness and health. I really want my children to appreciate working the ground, growing the food, preserving the food and creating some amazing dishes to share with friends and family. 

Fermentools is a resource that got our family excited about fermenting about a year ago. We were gifted their 6-pack kit as well as a couple packs of the Himalayan Powder Salt. We've been experimenting and using these resources over the last six months and I must say, these tools (as far as our experience goes) guarantees a perfect ferment every single time!

A simple starter kit from Fermentools includes the following elements:

(1) Stainless Steel Lid: this lid fits all wide mouth mason jars perfectly.

(2) Glass Fermenting weight: This is by FAR my favorite part of this kit! It weighs whatever you're fermenting down perfectly keeping your produce well below the brine and ensuring you don't have any mold growth on the top of your ferment!

(3) Air Lock System with Gasket and Rubber Stoppers: This allows gasses to escape your jar, but keeps everything else from entering your ferment.

(4) Hymalain Posder Salt: a specifically chosen salt for it's high mineral content. 

Here you can see all the products we received:

Fermentools also offers a blog that has lots of recipes, tips, and encouragement in your fermenting journey. 

Fermenting is truly an art as well as a science. The combinations and flavors are endless. There are so many more tastes, sauces, side dishes, beverages, and desserts that you have to discover!! 

So check out Fermentool and order your first kit of tools and get started!!
It's become a part of our daily lives. 

Monday, February 19, 2018

Wulf the Saxon Audio Review!

It's not a wintery snow land in Minnesota and -12 degrees outside... it's 1605 and we're all together in England right along side Wulf the Saxon! Oh, how I LOVE our Monday mornings (my husband has Monday's off) when we snuggle up on the couch and get lost in a world so different then our own! When we transport through time and learn of heroic, honorable and courageous men such as Wulf the Saxon in the amazing Heirloom Audio Productions Wulf the Saxon, which we had the absolute honor of indulging in and reviewing, are the moments where memories are made and I will forever hold onto them!

Always known for and keeping such a high standard of thrilling adventure, professional actors, and engaging script, Heirloom Audio Productions did not disappoint us one bit as we followed the young Wulf from his zeal-filled yet maturity-lacking youth into his respectful and trustworthy adulthood.

Wulf and his friend, Harold the Earl, get shipwrecked in Normandy and this leads to events of anger, revenge, distrust, war, and love. Friendships are made (namely with one Baron De Burg) and so are some enemies. England is in turmoil and being split in two. The impending theme through the story is "Fortunate are the few who marry for love." 

We compare two relationships, one between Edith and William (who becomes king of England) that ends due to the political tension amidst England, and Agnus and Wulf who patiently wait to marry each other and fall in love over the course of the story. We see how much of a blessing it is to marry the one you love, though not all are quite this fortunate.  

In a final, historical battle, England is lost, and some of our main characters along with it. However, we see the faithfulness of Wulf and his companions Osgod and Beorn stand true to their God, their country, and their king until the bitter end. 

Even the youngest listener enjoys listening :)

We use audio books quite often in our home life. Those afternoons when school and chores are done, but dinner isn't, and the noise level is more then I can bear, instead of turning to a mind-numbing television program, I LOVE to turn on audio books such as this one. They are historically rich, build character in my children, allow them to use their imagination, infiltrate their play time with concepts that are new to them, and wet their appetite for biographies and historical fiction!

Other great applications of audio books such as Wulf the Saxon is to listen to it while doing chores such as laundry (which we did while finishing up this one)! Road trips or trips to and from the grocery store become educational and productive when you have Wulf the Saxon in the car to accompany you.  

Here we are snuggled up enjoying Wulf the Saxon

This type of entertainment allows for great conversation. My children and I talked about the differences between an Earl and a Duke in England (something I admittedly didn't know before listening to Wulf the Saxon) as well as arranged marriages and how they were more political then what they're used to. Topics such as self-sacrifical choices, revenge, hate, poicital scrimmages for power and so many more topics could be studied and explained as you listen to this amazing audio adventure.

When we finished Wulf the Saxon as a family, my kids all in unison exclaimed, "Mom! We LOVED that! Can we keep it?! PLEASE!" It makes me so happy and fulfilled to hand my children over to be entertained by such a rich, beneficial audio resource such as Wulf the Saxon by Heirloom Audio Productions!


Friday, February 16, 2018

33, 34 & 35 Week Update - Labor??


33 weeks and 1 day Evelyn dropped. It was a Monday night and I felt miserable. Tuesday morning I noticed how low she was. I was very nauseated and uncomfortable the next few days.

34 Weeks and 2 days I lost my mucus plug and started getting some Braxton Hicks every night 5-10 minutes apart. 

35 Weeks - the kids are sick and that's keeping me pretty preoccupied. I'm LONGING to walk! Like I NEED TO WALK!

This morning (35 weeks 5 days) I have been having contractions every 10 minutes on the DOT since ... well it must have been since last night. I had a dream I was in hard labor and having STRONG contractions and kept waking up through the night as if they were real.

There's a LOT of pressure in my pelvis today. I've rested, walked, drank water, taken a bath... nothing is haunting these contractions. Unfortunately, I'm not yet 36 weeks so I'd have to go to a hospital to deliver if it happens today or tomorrow. :(

Of course... 

My twins were born today (35 weeks and 5 days) and this is when my labor started with Hayven (born 36 weeks). With Hayven I had contractions 10 minutes apart the first day, 5 minutes apart the next day, then I had her right on 36 week mark. 

My girls just cook really fast it appears... 

I'll keep you updated.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Febrile Seizure, Pneumonia, Ear Infection, 18 month old :(

My eldest son, Elias, had a febrile seizure when he was little and it was a pretty scary event. I think seeing him convulsing the way he was will be an image in my head the rest of my life.

Having been through that, I recognized the same trend in my son Aryeh the other day. He has been fighting a cold/virus for a week or more. He woke up from nap and was acting very lethargic and his fever had spiked. We canceled our plans for the evening and I told my husband to watch him since I had a feeling he was going to have a seizure like Elias did.

I did not treat his fever since he didn't feel very hot to the touch at all. He was acting normal, just more lethargic then normal. He was even watching a show with his brother eating a cracker when it happened. 

One of my girls noticed him shaking. I ran over to him, placed my hand on his face and my other on his hip and reassured him, "It's okay, I'm right here." I calmly told Alex to call 911, asked the girl who is living with us to start timing the seizure, and explained to the kids he's going to be fine and this is not dangerous it just looks scary. 

Aryeh got very blue in the face, which was a bit frightening. But after 5 minutes he snapped right out of it and regained consciousness, was breathing quickly, but normally. The ambulance showed up.

As we were being escorted to the hospital, the EMT was telling me that they usually don't even bring kids to the ER who have these seizures because they are a normal part of fevers. Far more common and far less dangerous then people think. He explained he would much rather families keep their sick child at home and comfort them instead of bringing them to the ER to be around other sick kids. This is all as long as they come out of the seizure okay and it doesn't last too long. 

Aryeh was diagnosed at this point with an ear infection, probably the influenza, is popping TWO molars, and seems to be developing a yeast infection (his tongue is white and he is holding his pee like it hurts to pee).

Even the ER doctor told me febrile seizures are normal, non-dangerous, and can happen again, but I don't need to be alarmed. She explained that she recommends giving Aryeh Tylenol and Ibprophin to comfort him, however, this protocol will actually NOT prevent a febrile seizure, which is misunderstood by many people.

We went home and Aryeh's fever stayed between 104 & 105 which was WAY to high for my comfort. We treated his fever with a dose of ibuprofen to get through the night or to get him to drink some fluids when he hadn't for a long time. I then called his pediatrician and asked them what they thought about letting the fever run it's course, the risk of another seizure ect. 

Well... after about 5 days his fever skyrocketed at 105.5! 

We took him into his pediatrician who found out he was developing pneumonia and did NOT have influenza or strep. We immediately started him on antibiotics and his fever finally left after only the second dose! PRAISE THE LORD!

He's still recovering, but doing fantastic now considering all he's been through!

We're all still recovering since I have been up through the night every single night holding him and rocking him to sleep making sure he's elevated and able to breathe and not having another seizure. 

So here are some things we're using/have been using regularly to comfort him and support his body:

*Coconut water

*Fever Cold and Flu Tincture (every 2 hours)
*Garlic Tincture (3 times a day orally and in ears)
*Onion, Honey syrup (homemade 2-3 times a day or more)
*Elberberry syrup (homemade 2-3 times a day or more)
*Breathe Easy Salve 
*Warm baths
*Cold Rags
*Cool Rags
*Diet: Ezekiel bread or brown rice with Kerrigold butter, chicken bone stock, or a banana when he had an appetite 
* Adult robotics (1/2 capsulsle twice a day) to help with the antibiotics
*Tylonol and Ibprophin when we got nervous, but sparingly

I totally understand the fear that comes with all the differing opinions thrown your way when it comes to scary medical events like this one. 

I understand the pressure of being seen as "negligent" or being "misunderstood" by those when you explain you're NOT going to treat an ear infection or a fever with the "recommended" procedure.

I also am SO THANKFUL for antibiotics when they are truly needed! 

I get seeing your baby miserable and there's not much you can do about it.

I think the best thing in these situations is:

(1) PRAY! God knows what your child needs and will give you the strength and your child the comfort you both need.

(2) DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH: I'm talking medical journals and reports, not blog posts and mother forums - then you have something to fall back on!

(3) REPAIR AND RESTORE your child if and when you do NEED to do a harsh medical treatment such as antibiotics.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Naturally Treating Warts - PHOTOS!

So apparently warts are simply growths on the skin from exposure to the HPV virus. They're harmless, but irritating and... well... ugly. 

I had terrible warts when I was little and remember seeing several specialists to try to get rid of them. We burnt them, froze them, took over-the-counter medicine, tried "sweating the wart out"... none of these treatments helped me with my warts. 

So here I am, a mom who LOVES simple remedies for my family, thinking, well, if warts are viral or bacterial then garlic should do the trick! Pretty simple!

So I take the Garlic Tincture from Ancient Medicine Cabinet (which I ALWAYS keep on hand), placed several drops onto a bandaid and placed the bandaid on my girl's warts twice a day for a little over a week. 

I'll let the photos speak for themselves: :)

Before Treatment with Garlic Tincture:

12 Days Into Treatment:

18 Days After Beginning Treatment:

Comparing the Photos:


Remember as my reader, you can get 10 % off your order from Ancient Medicine Cabinet by using the promo code: NOGREATERJOY2018 when you check out!

Friday, January 19, 2018

Hello Trimester 3 :)

Wow! Flying by that's for sure! Being pregnant during this time of year is FANTASTIC! IT's so busy and eventful, yet a restful couple months off school for the holidays, time just flys by and my mind is occupied with things other then the usual pregnancy misery. 

Weight Gain: As for my 29th week I have gained 22lbs total. Starting at 150lbs and currently at 172lbs. I feel pretty good about my weight. 

Exercise: Very consistent. 4-6 times a week for 20-30 minutes a day. Whether climbing my stairs, going for walks, or lifting weights, I have stayed very active I think. 

Diet: VERY healthy and on track I would say. I let up on my sugar intake a little during the holiday season, but won't allow myself to go crazy. Choosing high protein, lower carb options with a salad pretty much every single day. I just started Bran cereal every morning instead of my usual Larabar since I know the last trimester digestion issues are sure to come. 

Emotions: This is when I remembered I am in my last trimester! They've been a little cray-cray. Oh my patient family is so good to me! Some chocolate, exercise, an herbal bath and time to myself usually does the trick. 

Pain: I did have a week of incredible cramping and pressure in my back so much so I went to the ER Christmas Night just to make sure everything was okay. They were picking up lots of contractions, but everything looked great. I went home assured that I was probably just having glorious goring pains. 

Cool tools and tricks from this pregnancy:
* Found this sweet app called See How You Eat which allows you to snap photos of what you eat and have a visual reminder of what you've taken in. Oh man! I haven't had any vegetables yet! Dinner better be veggie filled! or I've done great the last few days! I can partake in this slice of cheesecake!

* Lifting Weights. What a difference! I can't believe I didn't lift weights more often before now?!? I am definitely going to continue this through this last trimester.

* Just embracing the Insomnia and plowing through all my new Lamplighter Publishing books as well as kicking my "read through the Bible in a year" plan being several books ahead and having just started January.