June 28, 2014 by Katie
Here we are, in the thick of summer already. So far this season, our family has traveled to the sunny shores of Lake Michigan, spent many days at the pool for swim practice, many evenings at baseball games, and enjoyed the new Grand Slam Baseball Slip-N-Slide in the yard a few times. I have to admit, that last one was a little more than I wanted to spend on a piece of plastic, but the kids absolutely LOVE it! All in the name of summer…
I have noticed the last few days the mosquitoes are back with a vengeance, and I wanted to share a few tips for dealing with those delightful insects.
First, of course, is prevention. I have used a few different natural bug sprays this season, and these are my top two picks. The first I have used for a few years now, and I really like that the smell isn’t overpowering, and does a decent job getting the critters away. It is Jason’s Quit Bugging Me bug spray.
The second is a new one I’ve tried this season, Beat IT! Bug Spray. I’ve only tried it once, and it did a nice job, also with a light scent that wasn’t horrible, but the real test will be our camping trip coming up soon. Details to come…
So, you forgot to use your awesome natural bug spray, and you get attacked by a swarm of blood-thirsty mosquitoes. What to do? First, go to your homeopathy cabinet, because you all have one, right? Well, you should… Take out your Hyland’s Bug Bite Ointment stick and apply a small amount to your bite. It will soothe the itch away almost instantly.
I LOVE this stick, and as I seem to be a member of the population that attracts these lovely insects, I carry one in my purse. I actually used it this morning at my son’s t-ball game when I noticed I was getting attacked by mosquitoes and didn’t have my bug spray. Perhaps THAT is what I should carry in my purse…
If you really get attacked by mosquito, tic, or spider bites, stung by a bee, bit by an animal or snake, or acquire a wound like stepping on something that punctures the skin, homeopathic Ledum is usually the remedy to help, especially if the area becomes cold and then pale, and feels better with cold applications and ice.
So, go out there, and enjoy your summer, and bid those pesky little bugs adieu!
May 19, 2014 by Katie
I made this dressing for our Mother’s Day gathering, and it was delicious! I found it on Shrinking Kitchen, and I will definitely be making it again very soon!
May 12, 2014 by Katie
We made it.
Homeschooling was something out of left field for my husband and I, but it was so clear that God had led us to it and we knew that we needed to obey that prompting. When we started on this journey nine months ago we had made the decision that we would take homeschooling year by year, and follow God and his guidance in the matter.
The first thing I want to say is that if you know that God is prompting you to do something, and you know it is totally impossible for you to do it, then you are right in the middle of God’s will for you. You absolutely will have to depend on Him for EVERYTHING, because you know that you are NOTHING without His help in the matter.
This is what homeschooling has been for me. I am not a teacher. I wasn’t an exceptional student, but I had my strengths. Math was not one of them… My son excels in math. This can’t end well, right? I never had a dream of homeschooling my children. How could I possibly do this?
Also, I am currently starting the second year of a three year program of study to become a homeopath. The MD that teaches the course expects us to attend class via webinar and participate. The classes last 6+ hours every other week, followed by lots of reading and practice in between. I admit it. The thought of having my kids away at school for part of the day was appealing so that I can do my thing.
But, I know two things… God called me to homeschool, and God called me to become a homeopath. At the same time. I know I can’t do either one of these things in my own strength, yet here they are. Together. I obeyed and took on both, and amazing things happened.
It actually makes things dramatically easier when you know you can’t do them without God being apart of it. I knew I had no idea what I was doing with homeschooling, so I depended on Him for everything. And you know what? Everything I needed to succeed was provided for me without having to research, figure, spend lots of money, etc. Curriculum that worked for us was presented early on, a homeschool group that has provided endless support and friendship for both my children and I was brought before us without having to search for it, the structure and guidance I needed was provided by our local Classical Conversations campus, etc. I could go on and on with how God has provided what we needed without even knowing what it was we needed beforehand.
As for my homeopathy schooling, God worked in a wild way to get me to my instructor and school, and while I thought it would be crazy to take this on while homeschooling, I knew God was saying this was the time. I did it, and I would have never dreamed it, but there are four other homeschooling moms in my class of about twenty people. We are from all over the country, and even the world, and yet we have found support in each other that we can do both of these huge tasks.
So, how did this first year go? Amazingly well! My son rocked first grade. Not only did he complete his reading, writing, and arithmetic, he was also Memory Master at our Classical Conversations campus, which means he could recite all of the memory work from the entire school year in one setting. Here is the list of items he had to know:
- Over 160 points on a timeline from Creation to Modern America (this alone takes about 10 minutes to recite)
- Naming all 44 presidents in order
- Math skip counting numbers up to 15×15, conversions of liquids, linear equivalents, metric measurements, formulas for areas of shapes, and algebraic laws.
- 24 history sentences including information about Charlemagne, William the Conqueror, the Renaissance, World Wars I and II, the Korean, Vietnam, Cold, and Gulf Wars and the fall of communism.
- Locating 122 geographical locations on a world map.
- 24 science facts on ecology, astronomy, and physical science including Newton’s Laws of Motion and the Laws of Thermodynamics.
- Definitions for the parts of speech and naming 65 pronouns by grouping (Possessive Adjectives, Indefinite Pronouns, etc)
He went through four proofings, and in question and answer format showed his mastery of the entire years worth of work with three different adults, and then a final spot check proofing with our director. This is a big accomplishment! The parents had an opportunity to test for memory master, and honestly, I don’t know if any of us did…
Both children also learned about fine art and artists, music theory and tin whistle, music appreciation and classical composers, and participated in weekly group science experiments and recited a presentation in front of their classmates. We had an awesome year.
God gifted my son with an amazing mind that often has me sitting back in awe when I hear the things he “gets” and the connections his mind makes. This incredible gift of memorizing things quickly and cementing them in his brain is there for a purpose. It isn’t so that we can boast or brag and say “look what he can do!” but there is a divine purpose for his life, and I know that this will be put to use for God. I dream of what that might look like when he is grown, but I know that God’s dream for him will far surpass my own. I am very proud of my son and his work this year, but even more amazed at God and the blessings he has already poured in to him.
And to think that God has chosen me of all people, to be his teacher. God does have a sense of humor.. He has a history of choosing the unlikely to do big things. Those stories are also throughout the bible- think Rahab the prostitute, Saul the persecutor, and even his own son, Jesus. All were from unlikely situations to do great things for God, yet God had equipped each one of them for their task. Each one had the opportunity to say, “No, thanks!” and walk away, but since they chose to obey, they experienced the blessings of obedience.
Every child (and every adult for that matter) is gifted in some way by God. There is no exception. My talents aren’t as obvious, but I’ve learned through the years what they are. Now I am focusing on those things I know I do well that God planted in me for a purpose, and am seeking wisdom as to how to use them in a way that glorifies Him. That is our purpose here on earth: to use what gifts we have to point others toward the One that gave them. As I look at my son, I see the gift knowledge and wonder how he will use it to glorify God. I also see many other gifts that aren’t so obvious that he has, and I know that all of these talents will come together for a purpose.
This year has been a lesson on Proverbs 3:5-8:
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
The words “I trust You” have been my mantra these past few months. I realize that as long as I have trust in God, I can approach my day without fear of what is to come, and peace in everything that comes my way. It is not always easy, and sometimes I say those words 100 times a day under my breath, but I have seen the truth in these words repeatedly.
When you trust God with everything you have, and take your opinions and beliefs out of the equation, he leads your path to right where you need to be. It may seem confusing and difficult, and against your natural inclination to do what God is leading you to do, but I can tell you from my experiences this year, He WILL take care of you right down to the very last detail if you let Him. He is a Father who loves to take care of His children.
When I started this post, I said, “We made it.” God and I made it through this year, and as I start this day, I again say the words, “I trust You with today and all it brings.”
May 5, 2014 by Katie
Today I want to highlight a few remedies that may come in handy in the event a stomach virus takes hold of your household. If you are eating, you may want to save this post for later. You’ve been warned…
This is a must-have remedy to keep in your homeopathic tool belt when it comes to diarrhea. Sufferers will have a noisy stomach and you will hear the gurgling before the “great evacuation” occurs. The person will run to the bathroom and have profuse, noisy, offensively smelly diarrhea. Interestingly, during the event there will be no pain, but between episodes there may be great cramping in the abdomen and the person may want to curl up in a ball. They may also have that not so pleasant, “Am I going to vomit or have diarrhea?” feeling.
An interesting (and gross) keynote to this remedy, is that the sufferer will pass gas, and stool will sneak out. I had a child needing Aloe, and we went through many underwear changes that day, as just a little loose stool would stain his underwear. The stool itself was a jelly like consistency, and would be also be preceded by a noisy, gurgling stomach and send him running for the bathroom.
There are many, many other remedies for diarrhea, but I wanted to spotlight these two for their unique symptoms so that you can know that in these instances you do have options. A good book to have on hand to have at home to determine the proper remedy is The Complete Homeopathy Handbook which helps distinguish between the various remedies for a given symptom.
April 28, 2014 by Katie
I wrote a post about a year ago about why we were diving into the world of homeschooling. To recap, it was never on my radar, I never dreamed I would be a homeschooling teacher of my children, and I still don’t feel qualified a lot of the time to do what I do. So how did the year go? I thought I would share three unexpected lessons I learned through this experience.
When you obey God’s leading, he will bless you beyond belief.
I knew without a doubt that God was leading me to homeschool, and while I could justify 95 reasons why I was not equipped, why I didn’t want to homeschool, and how it would be better for my children if I didn’t, I just knew deep inside that God was asking me to do this. And if He was, then He would also take care of me through the process. A year in, I can say he has done that over and over again.
I learned that if I would have done things my own way and sent my kids to school, I would have missed out on some awesome moments, some incredible friendships, quality time with my kids, and giving my children the personalized education they need. Each day was not always sunshine and roses, and I have plenty of those stories, but as I look back and see all that we did together, I see all of the blessings that came out of obedience.
It is actually easier to do something you feel you are incredibly unequipped for if God is leading than if you are doing something you feel you can handle and you are doing it on your own.
I cannot tell you all of the times when I said, “I have no idea how to do this, so God, help me!” and then the answer came within a short period of time. If we would just get out of the way and let God take over, we would never have to worry, never stress, never over-research problems for the right answer, etc. The answer would always be right before us in His timing.
This was such a cool thing to see happen over and over again. I realized that I need to be applying this to areas of life where I think I’ve got things under control and don’t ask God for help. How much better would my life run if I just surrendered it all to Him daily? When I absolutely know I can’t do something in my own power, I quickly see the need for God’s help. When I feel like I can do it on my own, I am much slower to ask for help. But, without God, I know I can really do nothing of value. That is kind of a big theme in the Bible, it just took me a long time to understand it, and I’m sure I will have many lessons in this area!
As I depend on God, things become much easier. But if I get a false confidence because of this, and stop depending on God and depend on myself, He can no longer help me.
God loves us so much, and is such a loving Father, that He really wants to help us in everything, even the most minute details of life! But if we don’t ask, He can’t help. Another lesson I need to be applying in other areas of my life, and to continue to do with homeschooling especially as it becomes easier!
I typed a draft of this post Sunday morning, and ironically that day at church our pastor told some humorous stories about his personal life experience in regards to the old testament king, Saul. Saul was called by God to be the king, but he didn’t want to, so he hid. He finally obeyed God and accepted his role, and was a good king, for awhile. Then he saw all the great things God had done and took the credit, even building a monument to himself. God removed His blessing, because Saul was no longer seeking Him for help.
These are the three main lessons that are on my mind these days as I look back on our year. Perhaps you are wondering how the actual schooling went, and I’m happy to report, it went well. I really enjoyed teaching and spending one on one time with my children in this way. I loved seeing them get something for the first time, or watching the excitement as a lightbulb went off, or seeing them apply something they learned in history as it related to math or science or another subject. Being a part of their learning process has been an unexpected joy I never knew I could have!
As this year comes to a close, I am thankful for the ways God has grown me and that I have seen His presence in this process. I love knowing that I am not homeschooling out of my own doing, but out of obedience. I look forward to seeing the fruits of this labor of love come forth through the years, and know that God is blessing our family along the journey.
Shared with: A Mama’s Story, Mom’s The Word, Modest Mom, Unite, Growing Homemakers, Trivium Tuesdays, Wholehearted Home, Homemaking Link Up, Raising Homemakers, Essential Fridays, Friendship Friday, Make Saturday Sweet
April 19, 2014 by Katie
This journey began at the start of the Lenten season, and finishes today on Easter Sunday. This process reminded me how much we have materially, and how these things can get in the way of living our lives to the fullest. If we have a home, we have to clean it, maintain it, fill it with furniture and stuff to make it look nice, take care of the yard, etc. and that all just takes up time we could be living our lives to the fullest.
I sometimes dream of downsizing to a condo perhaps, with no yard work and not so much stuff to take care of. But, at this point in our lives we have taken on home ownership and have boys who love to play in our yard and like having space to homeschool and having a basement retreat for the boys. Maybe it is just the responsibility I want to run away from. I’ve decided that I need to be thanking God each day for this home, the things that he has blessed me with, and continually be searching for ways to bless others with the things I do have.
This 40 days journey has also made me very aware of what I bring into this house. Do I really want to take care of it? How long will it be useful or wanted until I’m stuck trying to find another home for it? I’ve noticed I haven’t bought much this Lent, except that HVAC system which might be another reason I haven’t bought much! But really, when we take a good look at all that we have and physically go through the process of purging items it does make you much more aware of every purchase you make and every item you pick up and bring into your home. Here are my items for the final week.
Collected some more clothes my son outgrew.
Listed a big space-sucker from our garage on Craigslist. The boys have outgrown it.
Purged paint used paint cans on Craigslist on the free page. Have I mentioned that people will take anything for free?
Cleaned garage and donated a box of odds and ends
Sold our old lawn mower
Donated a box of old text books and other various books
Donated old trophies to Trophy Recycling Program
Total Awards & Promotions
6686 Odana Rd. Madison, WI 53719
April 3, 2014 by Katie
If you’ve been keeping up with this series, you may have noticed I’m a week off. Last week our furnace died (R.I.P) and it happened to have gotten down to 17 degrees in these parts, so the temperature inside our house got down to 46 degrees. We ended up being out of our house for 5 days, so I wasn’t able to get my stuff together. I’m back at it now!
Went through the kiddos clothes and collected a bag of outgrown clothing.
We have many boxes filling our garage from the Frontier co-op, and someone happened to post in our homeschool forum that they needed boxes for a move, so I gladly offered them!
We collected two bags of shoes we either are not wearing or are too small for the kids for Soles for Jesus.
Day 4 and 5
Cleaned out the homeschool closet. Gave away some books, threw away a trashcan full of junk, and got organized!
My hubby got in on the action and cleared out some of his old clothing from our closet.
Sorted through the miscellaneous CDs floating around our house and put them all in our CD binder, threw away obsolete ones, and gave away about 20 CDs. I also added a bunch of CDs to our iTunes library to have them all in one digital location.
For more information on the 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge, visit White House Black Shutters.
Shared with : Friendship Friday, Moms the Word, Growing Home Blog, A Mamas Story, Modest Mom Blog, UNITE, Road to 31, Wholehearted Home, Walking Redeemed, Raising homemakers, Welcome Home Wednesday, Lamberts Lately, Life as We Know It,
March 24, 2014 by Katie
I can’t tell you how much fun I’m having with the 40 Bags in 40 Days decluttering project. I thought it would be hard, but so far, it has been really easy, and I’m doing spring cleaning I probably wouldn’t otherwise have done. Here is what was purged this week.
I cleaned out our bathroom closet, and threw away a lot of old stuff that was expired, worn, or just needed to go.
Next, I cleaned out our closet. This was my favorite part of the week, as now I enjoy walking in my closet and seeing that it is actually organized! One bag was shoes that I donated, the fancy ones to Cinderella’s Closet, the others to Goodwill.
Days 3 and 4
The closet was a multi-day event, and I ended up with two large bags of clothes to donate.
The closet undertaking resulted in many, many extra hangers. They were put on Craigslist for free. Gone in moments. I’m telling you, people will take anything if you list it for free!
My husband went on two week long work trips last month, and used one bottle of the shampoo they give at the hotel for the whole week, and brought home the rest. A shelter in our community loves these individual sized shampoos and we donated them along with some sample toothpaste from the dentist and a few other sample sizes I found during the Day 1 bathroom closet cleaning.
I get my eggs from a local farmer, and the cartons have been piling up. I returned them to him so he could reuse them.
March 20, 2014 by Katie
4 Ingredient Carrot Ginger Soup
I love recipes that have five or less ingredients. That means fast prep, which is key for me! This one packs a lot of flavor in just four (or an optional fifth) ingredients. I found this one in the cookbook Robin Takes 5, which has 500 recipes with 5 ingredients each.
- 1 lb chopped carrots
- 3 cups bone broth
- 1.5 inches ginger, chopped
- 1 cloves garlic, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- optional-1/4 cup cream or canned coconut milk
Peel and chop carrots. Boil in the bone broth with ginger and garlic. Once carrots are soft, use an immersion blender or standard blender to puree until smooth. You may add cream or coconut milk before pureeing. I forgot to add it, and it was still delicious, but am looking forward to trying it again with the coconut.
I also had more than a pound of carrots, so decided to add them all. This is why the soup in the picture looks thick. I enjoyed this texture, but if you make the recipe as directed it will be thinner in consistency.
Serves four as a side dish. This recipe is easily doubled for left-overs or feeding more people.
March 16, 2014 by Katie
I had a very productive week of purging items! Here was what my week looked like.
My first task was a pantry cleaning, and here was the winner for the item I found that was “most expired.” My 4 1/2 year old was an infant when this expired, and we moved when he was four days old which means I moved this from my last home… Yikes! My pantry looks great now.
I went through my clothes and found a bunch to donate. There was actually a second bag to this collection.
My bag of bags… It was eye opening to me that our family has collected this many plastic bags in just a few months, and none of them are grocery store or produce bags, as we bring our own. Most of them are the bags from cereal, bread, and bulk produce. I took them to our grocery store that has a recycling bin for all types of plastic bags.
Peanuts! Get your peanuts! I run a Frontier co-op and each month I am left with a ginormous box of packing peanuts when our order arrives. Usually I take them to the FedEx store and they reuse them. Then I thought, why not just list them for free on Craigslist? And sure enough, I had four responses in the hour and they were gone by the end of the day without having to drive them anywhere. I will definitely be doing this monthly.
I realized that I have a lot of collections (batteries, plastic bags, egg cartons..) Next is my burned out light bulb collection. There are several easy places to recycle these, such as Home Depot and Ikea, so I finally made the effort to actually take them to the store when I needed to go.
Gave away two hanging closet storage units I wasn’t using anymore.
I’m in the process of trying to find a home for this large scanner…
For more information on the 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge, visit White House Black Shutters.
Shared with: Nourishing Joy, Moms the Word, A Mama’s Story, Growing Home Blog, Unite, Road to 31, Raising Arrows, Things I Can’t Say, Raising Homemakers, Walking Redeemed, Whole Hearted Home, Essential Fridays, Anything Goes