Thursday, February 26, 2009

Name that photo!

In keeping with my last post, here is a little giveaway:

I will send one box of fresh, tree-ripened, hand-picked lemons from the tree in my backyard to the person who comes up with the best title for the photo below. Simply leave your title in a comment. I will be using a USPS Priority Mail flat rate box, to give you an idea of the size, which ships to anywhere in the country in 2-3 days.

Rules: (1) Your entry is void if your comment is rejected because it is inappropriate or links to a website with questionable content. (2) You must have a US mailing address to receive the lemons, although entries from all countries are permitted. If someone from overseas wins, they will have the honorary title, but the lemons will go to the next closest US runner-up. (3) Multiple entries are permitted. (4) Contest closes on Sunday night, March 1st, at 11PM mountain standard time. (5) Winner will be notified on this blog and asked to email me their mailing address. (6) Entries made via email are not accepted. (7) You don't have to like me to enter :)


Monday, February 23, 2009

Homemade happiness in 5 minutes

Cast of characters: a pitcher, some lemons, sugar, and Lipton Cold Brew iced tea.


Simply steep 2 or 3 of the tea bags in some cold water for a few minutes.


Pick a couple of lemons from the tree in your back yard and juice straight into the pitcher. Oh, sorry, I forgot everyone doesn't live in the perfect climate that we enjoy here in Arizona. ;) Store-bought lemons or bottled lemon juice will work just as well.


Add some sugar to taste, and serve over ice. You may notice there is no picture of the finished product. That's because the kids started chugging the stuff the second it was done - and who wants to see a picture of an empty pitcher?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Through the eyes of my son

Several months ago, Solomon asked to stay up after the other kids had gone to bed for the night because he wanted to make a special gift for me. He got out some modeling clay and worked and toiled for almost an hour. At the end of it all, he was close to tears because his project just would not turn out the way he had imagined it.

He was trying to make a miniature replica of me, and I think this is one of the sweetest gifts I have ever received. In fact, the only other thing I can think of that I have liked equally well is a matching necklace pendant and bracelet he made out of polymer clay for Mother's Day last year. My pink-dress-clad, winged, pixie-stick carrying image has been gracing my kitchen windowsill ever since, which means that I get to look at it many times every day. It always makes me smile. One day he will be a grown man, but I will still be able to remember that as a little boy, he thought of me as a fairy who could do anything.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

My husband, the poet

No, seriously. Rhyming is one of my husbands strange but lovable talents. While he usually reserves this quirk to make up silly rhymes for the kids, once (and I mean ONLY once) he wrote a poem about me. Only because it was a project he had to do in Bible college almost four years ago. And if you come back to my blog and find this post has been removed, it will only be because my husband made me do it. Are you ready?


To my wife

Long ago, I met a girl
For whom my heart did pine,
With hair of gold and eyes of blue;
I married this fräulein.

She left her fatherland to be
My dear and closest friend.
Oh, love of mine, you captivate me,
Such wit and charm you blend.

And without you, what would I do?
How could I live without,
The cordon bleu and tiramisu,
The schnitzel, chops, and kraut?

And now our love has multiplied,
With fair-haired sons all three.
Your beauty hath not waned one wit,
Nor hath my love for thee.


Edited to add:

My husband's reaction upon finding out that his cunning poetic piece has been exploited on my blog and shared with the whole world via the internet: "I can't believe you did that! How embarrassing!"

Friday, February 20, 2009

Photos, as promised

First off, I'd like to say that Becca is doing much better. She was still running a high fever all morning, but then took a nap for several hours and woke up with almost no fever at all. Looking back, I'm thinking she had some sort of gastrointestinal bug since she threw up a couple of times, had diarrhea (as did Miriam), and has a really bad diaper rash. She is asleep right now, and it is the first night this entire week that she is sleeping without being held. The last two nights have been nothing short of torture, with her waking every half hour or so, crying and wanting to be held and walked. My husband and I took turns caring for her, but still, it was very hard. Looks like we will finally get a good night's rest tonight. Thank you to all who prayed for my little girl. It's so nice to see her smiling again today!

Play with your food

I made these for breakfast last week, and they were surprisingly quick and easy. There is a dog, a butterfly, and a flower. The kids had a lot of fun with this, too.





Sisters

Miriam LOVES Rebecca. She is always trying to mother her, sometimes a little bit too much so. Here they are lying together in my bed. I love how Becca's little foot is sticking out from under the sheets. Miriam picked her own outfit. She loves the little jumper that her Grandma made for her, so much so that she wants to wear it every day, even if it clashes with the striped shirt she also loves to wear.




My lemonade stand

Not quite, but almost. The tree on the right is our lemon tree, and it is one good reason why I love our house. Right now, it has about 200 or more lemons on it, and it's so nice to be able to walk out, pick a few, juice them and make fresh lemonade, ice-tea, lemon bars, or whatever other yummy treat. The lemons keep on the tree for months, in fact, I am hoping they will last until next winter when the new crop will be ripe. We'll see how they do over the summer in the heat. My "lawn", on the other hand, is in bad shape. It always dies in the winter, since I don't put out "winter grass". Ah well.



Benny Hinn

This is John, dressed up as Benny Hinn. Don't ask me why he did it, he's just weird like that. Not sure what's up with the safety goggles and the cook's hat, either.


Sweet, sweet, sweet baby

I've said it before, I will say it again: Rebecca is the perfect baby. Not that all our kid's aren't perfect, but she is perfect AND easy. And always so happy. She even smells sweet. Awww, I hope we can have many more babies, especially if they are all like her.





John's belated birthday cake

John's birthday was in December. I forget why, but I never got around to making a cake for his birthday, something he has been reminding me of ever since. Last week I finally made the rocket cake he had requested, to go with the astronaut costume that he got as a present.



Trip to the Arizona Science Center

My husband and I took the kids on a field trip to the Arizona Science Center last Wednesday. We were having so much fun I forgot to take pictures, but I did take these of my husband playing house with Miriam. It was too cute the way that they were pretending to be washing and eating the vegetables. My husband truly is such a wonderful Dad, and I am so happy for our children that they have him. At age 27, he is a father of five, the pastor of a church, the owner of a company, and in general a very smart and successful guy, but he can get right on the kids' level and act like one of them. Besides all that, I think he is also very handsome and funny. And I am one very lucky, happy, and spoilt wife.


Quick update

Sorry I have not been posting much or responding to comments. I am hoping to do so tonight after the kids are in bed.

Rebecca, who is 4 months old today, seems to have caught the virus that's been going around our family for the last couple of weeks. She started running a high fever on Wednesday night, and was very miserable all day yesterday, but just today seems to be coming around and getting better. Isaac had it pretty bad about a week ago, I ended up having to take him to the doctor because he sounded so bad I was afraid it had developed into pneumonia. Thankfully, it turned out it was "just" asthma (the illness-induced kind) and bronchitis.

At any rate, I moved Isaac's birthday party from tomorrow to next Saturday. He is totally well by now, but with the baby being ill I haven't had time to prepare for it. Which is nice in a way because my Dad is coming for a visit from Hungary, and this way he will be able to be at the party, too. My Dad is getting here next Tuesday and staying for three weeks, and we are all very excited about his visit.

I'll post more tonight - hopefully!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Miriam's birthday

Miriam turned 2 last Saturday, which also happened to be Valentine's Day. In our family we never celebrate V-Day because, as my husband puts it, he doesn't see why we would honor a day named after a Catholic priest who was (statistically speaking) probably a pedophile. It's nice that one of our children was born on that day, it gives us such a better reason to celebrate.

Her presents from us were a tricycle, a tutu, and a stroller for her baby dolls. She loved all the gifts and immediately wanted to play with all of them.





I made a birthday cake that looked like an underwater scene, complete with candy rocks, gummy fish/octopus/shark, and seaweed made from shoestring licorice.



Later on Saturday, I was packing up stuff to take to church the next day for the little party that we were going to have after the morning service. The boys saw me pulling out the face paints, and of course asked to have their faces painted immediately.




On Sunday, we had some food and cake after the morning service in honor of Miriam's birthday, where she got some more gifts from people at our church, all of which she absolutely loved. I had decorated everything in a "teddy" theme. We all had such a wonderful time, and stayed and chatted for hours after the service. It was a great day!









This week, I am busy with Isaac's birthday, which is tomorrow. My husband, the kids, and I will go buy a few more presents later on tonight. Isaac's party will be on Saturday, and I still have a lot to get ready for that. I love planning our kids' birthday parties! Isaac had asked for a construction theme, and I got ideas for it from several books and the internet. I think it will be really fun. I'll be sure to post the pictures of it here next week.

P.S. All photos on my blog are my personal property, and are NOT public domain. You may not download, copy, or otherwise use them without my express, written permission.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day




To see more funny clips, click here.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Octuplet Controversy

So much has been discussed about this subject already, I really did not want to add to the whole hoopla. I think it was 100% wrong and selfish of a single mother on welfare to get pregnant, and to do so though IVF (which kills dozens of babies for every living one).

But I would like to set the record straight on some things the media has been portraying negatively:

It was not wrong for someone with 6 kids to want to have more. Of course, there is a big difference between a married mom of 6 becoming pregnant by her husband and a single woman on welfare using IVF for the 6th time. Still, the news media acts as if anyone with 6 children must be crazy for wanting another baby.

I do not think that it is impossible to give enough love and attention to 14 children. That is, if they are conceived and born under normal circumstances, i.e. children that are spaced naturally. Most parents who have 14 children will have some who are about to leave the home or have already left. They are much less needy than a newborn (let alone eight newborns). Furthermore, many large families homeschool, and practically all of them have a stay-at-home mom. A homeschooled child in a large family gets much more individual, one-on-one attention than a child who only has one sibling but goes to school gets. True, the kid in the large family has to share his parents with his siblings 24/7, but kids in small families who are in school have to share their teacher (not even a parent) for the majority of their awake time with about 25 other kids (who are not even their siblings).

"Octo-Mom" has 10 children under the age of 2, something that is not normally possible, hence she will not be able to care for them as God and nature had intended. Hopefully, there will be people to volunteer and help her out, since the mistakes have already been made and the effort now should be to make the best out of the situation.

I believe that with God's blessing and hard work, anyone can support any size family that God gives them. Again, the emphasis here is children that are given by God, rather than artificially conceived. Stealing from God sounds like a sure way for parents to forfeit the blessings of God.

I do not think that this mom should have "reduced" the pregnancy, i.e. selectively aborted some of her babies in the womb. The mistake was using IVF in the first place, let alone with 6 babies (she said 2 of the eggs split, hence 8 babies).

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Population control

“Throughout history, different cultures have celebrated birth as a unique moment signifying the joy of life. The reinterpretation of birth as a form of greenhouse-unfriendly behaviour speaks to today’s degraded imagination, where carbon-reduction becomes the supreme moral imperative. Once every newborn baby is dehumanised in this way, represented as a professional polluter who is a potent source of greenhouse gas emissions, it becomes increasingly difficult to feel anything other than apprehension about the growth of the human race.” (Frank Furedi in the "Australian")

Click here to read a great article on this subject.

And baby makes how many?

Thank you to one of my readers for sending me the link to the following interesting article:

And Baby Makes How Many?

Published: February 6, 2009

THE comment from the photographer at Sears was typical. “Are these all yours?” she asked, surveying Kim Gunnip’s 12 children.

“No,” Mrs. Gunnip replied, “I picked some up at the food court.”

But it was harder to find a retort for the man in line at the supermarket, who said within earshot of her youngest children, “You must have a great sex life.”

Now her family, like other larger families, as they call themselves, is facing endless news coverage of the octuplets born in California and a new round of scorn, slack jaws and stupid jokes.

Back when the average woman had more than three children, big families were the Kennedys of Hickory Hill and Hyannis Port, “Cheaper by the Dozen,” the Cosbys or “Eight is Enough” — lovable tumbles of offspring as all-American in their scrapes as in their smiles.

But as families have shrunk, and parents helicopter over broods tinier yet more precious, a vanload of children has taken on more of a freak show factor. The families know the stereotypes: they’re polygamists, religious zealots, reality-show hopefuls or Québécois in it for the per-child government bonus. And isn’t there something a little obsessive about Angelina Jolie’s quest for her own World Cup soccer team?

“Look at the three shows on TLC that have bigger families,” said Meagan Francis, the 31-year-old author of “Table for Eight,” which stems from her experience raising four children (she is expecting her fifth next month). “One is about religious fundamentalists, one has sextuplets, the other is a family of little people,” she said, referring to, respectively, the Duggars of “17 Kids and Counting,” “Jon and Kate Plus Eight” and “Little People, Big World,” about two dwarfs raising four children, three of average stature, on a pumpkin farm in Oregon.

“You get the feeling,” Ms. Francis added, “that anybody who has more than three kids is either doing it for bizarre reasons or there’s a medical anomaly.”

In the last several days, the British government’s environmental adviser declared it “irresponsible” to have more than two children. And Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House, asserted that including contraception in the stimulus package could reduce government spending. Ms. Pelosi, herself the mother of five, was arguing against unwanted pregnancies, not families who choose to have big broods. But no matter — larger families see the attacks piling up.

On Internet forums and blogs, like lotsofkids.com and largerfamilies.com, the mothers defend themselves against the accusations that they can’t possibly give each child enough love or that they are hogging the earth’s scarce resources. They resist, and resent, efforts to lump them with the Duggars, the Jon and Kates and the octuplets.

Many mothers, in fact, shared the revulsion and the ethical questions about the in vitro fertilization that led to the birth of the eight babies by the unwed and unemployed California mother. Yet they also say that the reaction to her turned harsh only when it was revealed that she had six additional children. Octuplets were amazing; 14 is gross.

Referring to a news show correspondent who seemed “disgusted” by the story, one mother on lotsofkids.com wrote, “I wanted to bounce her judgmental little head off a wall.”

Ms. Francis, the founder of largerfamilies.com, said, “I can’t imagine having 14 children, but I do think it’s possible to raise 14 and do a great job.”

She continued: “People feel like they have some say or some ownership over your kids or the way kids are being raised. It’s this symbol of who you are and your values.”

If large families are the stuff of spectacle, it is partly because they have become rarer.

In 1976, census data show, 59 percent of women ages 40 to 44 had three or more children, 20 percent had five or more and 6 percent had seven or more.

By 2006, four decades after the Supreme Court declared a constitutional right to use birth control (and the last year available from census studies), 28 percent of women ages 40 to 44 had three or more children, 4 percent had five or more and just 0.5 percent had seven or more.

“Three is still O.K.,” said Michelle Lehmann, the founder of lotsofkids.com and a mother of eight children who lives outside Chicago. “When you have four, people start raising eyebrows. When you go to five, people are like, ‘No way.’ ”

Beyond 10? “They think you are lying,” said Mrs. Gunnip, who also writes two blogs for so-called mega-families, those with eight or more children.

Leslie Leyland Fields, a mother of six in Kodiak, Alaska, recalled her boss’s response when she announced she was pregnant with her fifth child and resigning as a professor at a state college: “This is what, your 9th or 10th?”

Ms. Fields, who had four children and then two unexpected but welcome pregnancies in her 40s, said, “Inevitably, people would come up to me in a patronizing way, sidle me away and whisper, ‘Let me tell you how this happens.’ ”

In a 2006 article, “The Case for Kids,” in Christianity Today, Ms. Fields lamented new social norms that assume that multiple children burden the goals of educated, professional women: “The smart, ambitious, fully realized 21st-century woman chooses career. The ambitionless woman has children.”

In an interview, Ms. Fields added: “Choosing to have a large domestic life is often seen as negating the professional and the public. I think it’s very healthy and wonderful to have a foot in both worlds.”

With more children, she had to change jobs, but her career, she said, has become more fulfilling: she teaches graduate students instead of undergraduates now, requiring less time in the classroom, which has allowed her to write three more books.

“The criticism feels elitist,” she said. “It’s coming from educated people, which makes me think, You have no excuse for thinking in such stereotypes.”

The article in Christianity Today unleashed a flood of hate mail. One reader wrote in all capital letters: “Did it ever occur to you that if you really want to serve God you should have less children so you’d have more time to serve God?” (“You can’t enter into debate with people who have that kind of rage,” Ms. Fields said.)

With anecdotes of a boomlet in larger families in places like the Upper East Side of Manhattan and select pockets of suburbia, large families are presumed to be either really rich, having children as status symbols, or really poor, living off the dole and completely devoid of culture.

The hayseed assumption prompts a howl from Barbara Curtis, mother of 12, ages 8 to 39, in Loudoun County, Va. “They expect me to come crawling in from Appalachia or something,” she said. In fact, she is a Montessori teacher, and her husband is a commercial accounts manager for an auto company. One son is entering a graduate program in opera, and another was in New York last week auditioning for a theater touring company. Her sixth son was the only National Merit Scholar finalist in his high school class, she said.

Mrs. Curtis illustrates one of the many ways that families grow so large: she had two children from her first marriage, then, with her second husband, seven in 10 years. One of those children had Down syndrome, so they adopted another Down syndrome child, believing two would grow up happier together. Since then, they have twice accepted requests to adopt another child with Down syndrome.

“Children are a kind of wealth,” Mrs. Curtis said. “Just not the kind of wealth our society tends to focus on.”

Still, for many mega-families, existence is hard. Their homes are usually cramped; college often means community college. Parents work long hours on top of the demands of raising so many children. And while the census does not break out income statistics for larger families, women without a high school diploma have about one more child on average than women with graduate or professional degrees.

Mrs. Gunnip is a homemaker in upstate New York, and her husband works as a supervisor in a county sewer department. She says they could qualify for public assistance but choose not to apply, believing others need it more. “I can’t say how we do it, and on paper it looks like we don’t do it, but there’s always a way,” she said. “My kids never go hungry. They do activities they want to do, we go on vacation. We don’t go to Disney, but we go camping.”

Many large families are religious, and some follow the QuiverFull movement, which takes encouragement for big families in Psalm 127: children are the gift of the Lord, “as arrows are in the hand of a mighty man,” and “happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them.”

Those beliefs can run headlong into environmental concerns. At 6.8 billion people, the world population has more than tripled in the last century, and demographers expect it to exceed 9 billion by midcentury.

“Every single person has multiple impacts on multiple environmental resources,” said Alan Weisman, the author of “The World Without Us,” which advocates a one-child policy to return the world to early 20th century population levels. “It’s a no-brainer that the more people there are, the more stress there is on an ecosystem that doesn’t get any bigger.”

Parents of large families counter that they have an economy of scale: a light bulb lights a room whether there are 4 people or 14. Their children learn not to take long showers, to share space, to appreciate hand-me-down toys, clothes and books.

“Large families are some of the greenest families,” Mrs. Gunnip said. “They don’t tend to have a lot of money, so they make sure things go as far as they can.”

And besides, they say, the birth rate in the United States is barely at the level needed to replace the population. Total fertility rate, which predicts the number of children an average woman will have in her lifetime, reached 2.1, considered replacement level, in 2006, but it was the first time it had been that high since 1971. A small percentage of large families, they say, is not enough to tip the balance.

As for whether their children suffer a poverty of time and attention, parents of large families say they make better parents. For while spending time with each child individually is possible, hovering is not.

“You have to let go of a lot of the ideas of the kind of parent you wanted to be,” Ms. Francis said. “That’s not a bad thing. If you hold on to the idea that you can control everything, well, you can’t. They become their own people. With big families, it gets beaten out of you.”

As for the other pointed questions about large families, defenders have developed standard comebacks, lists of which circulate on the Internet.

How can you afford so many? “Lifestyles are expensive, not kids.”

Don’t you know what causes that? “Oh, yes, I now wash my husband’s underwear separately.”

Do you get any time for yourselves? “Obviously, or we wouldn’t have six kids.”

Friday, February 6, 2009

Unschooling

or: The Lazy Mother's Approach to Educating Her Children

"Unschooling" is a term used by parents, most notably mothers, who supposedly homeschool their children without ever actually teaching them much. A favorite catchphrase of unschoolers is "Learning happens at all times."

In essence, unschoolers think that using any sort of curriculum (purchased or designed yourself) and having the child do book work or worksheets is at best useless and at worst stifles the child's natural love for learning. Instead, they believe children learn best by simply tagging along with a parent throughout the day, and then making their own observations. They will use the example of baking, and how it teaches the child about fractions while whipping up a treat, rather than having to sit down with a math book and practice adding/subtracting/multiplying/reducing fractions.

Among homeschoolers, it is very easy to spot an "unschooler" a mile away. In the general population, they may be mistaken for the product of public schooling, which tends to leave weak students behind. Some telltale signs that someone is an "unschooler" are:

- When asked about what grade level their child's studies are, they cannot give a simple answer.
- The parent neither buys any worksheets, nor makes up their own or prints them off the internet for free.
- Both parent and child are painfully compromised in the areas of spelling, grammar, punctuation, composition, etc.
- The child only has basic reading skills.
- The child has very limited knowledge of basic historical and scientific facts, and what they do know is self-taught.
- They are out and about most of the day, rather than staying home.
- When they are home, the child is mostly left to him/herself to play, watch TV, surf the web, etc.
- Unschooling parents often also fail in other areas of their responsibilites, such as keeping up with the housework.

First off, the Bible commands parents to diligently teach their children:

Deuteronomy 6:7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

Deuteronomy 11:19 And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

Since "unschooling" fails to fulfill these commands, it is an unscriptural concept.

There are several reasons why parents "unschool", such as:

- The parent has poor education themselves.
- The parent was duped into believing "unschooling" works.
- The parent believes it is their obligation to teach their child rather than put them in a traditional school, but they are too lazy/unorganized/unmotivated to do it.
- A lack of discipline on the part of the parent.
- In the case of daughters, parents often mistakenly believe that they do not need an education because their daughter will grow up to "just" get married and have children, and never pursue an outside career.
- A fear that educating the child will take up too much time and interfere with the child's spiritual growth, or make the child hate learning.

I do think that the main root of all these is laziness. Even an uneducated person could learn with their child as they teach him/her. Educating a child can be tedious work. It takes motivation, patience, self-discipline, time, and more patience. In the short run, it is not as much fun as bargain hunting at the thrift store, baking cookies, or going on a trip. But in the long run, you owe it to your children to give them a solid foundation for a love for lifelong learning.

It is not true that unschooled children love learning more than a child who is forced to finish their work even on days that they don't feel like it. Just the opposite is true. An unschooled child will be acutely aware of the fact that they have huge gaps in their education, which will make them feel inferior, and thereby even less motivated to learn. People tend to love what they are good at.

Children naturally are somewhat lazy, and will try to get by with doing as little work as possible. This is normal, and the child simply has to be taught to love to work much like they are taught everything else by their parents. Unschooling may lead to children who lack self-discipline like their parents.

Even girls need a solid education that extends past an elementary level. For one, just because they will "only" be homemakers doesn't mean their mind should be wasted. Mathematics is a wonderful subject that trains the mind unlike anything else, regardless of what your life's calling is. The same is true for science, history, and other subjects. Anyone sounds stupid when they have horrible spelling and don't know the first thing about punctuation. Nobody ever learned calculus by studying measuring spoons and cups while baking. Besides, said daughters will grow up one day, get married, and have children that she in turn will have to educate herself. What if she has a son, who will need to have the abilities to earn a living to support his family in today's world, but his unschooled mom never taught him anything because she herself had not been educated?

Nor does a good education stand in the way of one's spiritual growth. When Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon took Judah captive, he wanted the finest and brightest of the children at his court:

Daniel 1:4 Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king's palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.

Later, the only people who stood for God and refused to bow down to the king's image were these same children. Hence, getting a solid education did not hinder their spiritual walk.

As far as the "learning happens at all times" goes, I would like to submit that yes, it does, which is exactly why making a child sit down to do his worksheets will not be detrimental to his schooling. I would think that if kids can learn without being actively taught, how much more would they learn if someone took the time and effort to educate them?

Summary: Parents are obligated by the Bible to teach their children themselves. Unschooling does not fulfill this command, and is therefore a wrong concept. Unschooled children more often than not will grow up to be uneducated.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

What do you think?

For some time now, I have been toying with the idea of giving my blog a facelift. My main goal was being able to better categorize posts for easier website navigation. Only problem is, I have no clue how to make a fancy website that contains a blog.
With much help from my husband, I came up with this. Well, he did all the work, but it was my ideas that got him started.
The main benefit of the new layout would be that it categorizes posts by topic. I am not done categorizing the old posts, so many of them are not on the tab that they are supposed to be on -yet. One disadvantage, however, is that the widgets in the sidebar are much more limited than on Blogger. For example, the blogroll is not updated based on most recent posts. Also, comments left on my previous posts do not have a backlink, but will have one for new comments left on that blog directly if the person commenting choses to enter their URL.
Please tell me what you think of it - do you prefer the old blog (the one you are looking at right now) or the new version? Right now, I am undecided on whether to stick with this one or make the switch.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Simple remedy for pinkeye

This works for pinkeye, or eyes that are just sore and itchy from allergies, dust, or whatever.

Put 1 tbsp chamomile flowers, 1 tbsp chickweed, and 1/4 tsp goldenseal powder in a mug. If you can find eyebright, add some of that as well. Add boiling water and steep for a few minutes. Strain carefully. Add enough cold water to make the tea a comfortable temperature. Dab a fresh cotton ball in the tea, then lay it on one eye. Repeat with another cotton ball on the other eye. Do this as often as you like.

Important: Use a fresh cotton ball every time on each eye. Do not contaminate the tea.

This remedy is an adaptation of what I found in here, my first go-to reference for 80% of illnesses in our family or ones I get asked about. If you don't have a copy, you should seriously think about buying one. There is a section on how to have an herbal medicine cabinet. I bought what was on the list, and it has served me well in the middle of the night on several occasions. The last thing I'd want to do with a sick child is drag them to the herb store, which is also never open when I need the stuff.


I keep all other "meds" in another kitchen cupboard: the bottom shelf holds our vitamins and supplements, the second shelf from the bottom holds herbal remedies, extracts, and other all-natural "meds", the third shelf holds conventional stuff such as band-aids, hydrogen peroxide, cough drops, boric acid, etc. The top shelf holds some of my health and homeopathy books.


I think that Moms would do well to research natural remedies for common illnesses, and be prepared to treat them rather than running their child to the ER in the middle of the night for indigestion or the sniffles.

Besides not wasting the money that my husband had to work hard to earn, our children also enjoy great health without the side effects of conventional drugs or the mistakes of doctors.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

New Photos

We got the idea for these funny snowmen from the Family Fun magazine:





Another night, we made dirt cupcakes. I realized too late that we did not have gummy worms in the house, so we made do with jelly beans. There were enough cupcakes to fill every tier on this cupcake stand, but the kids were starting to pick them off immediately and I decided to snap a picture as quickly as I could.


Solomon reading with Isaac. It's great having him help on days when I am too busy to listen to Isaac read. Isaac's reading has really taken off and he is almost to the point where I can just assign him his daily reading pages and simply ask him comprehension questions rather than having to sit down with him helping and making sure he reads every word correctly.


The boys playing a favorite board game. This is made by a great company, I highly recommend them. We have a good dozen of their games, and they are perennial favorites with the kids. Board games are such a wonderful alternative to watching TV.


Ah, it's that time of the year again... taxes! BTW, I would like to use this opportunity to point out that our family does NOT receive any government assistance whatsoever, including subsidized medical care. I get asked about/accused of this a lot. For one, we don't qualify, because my husband is the old-fashioned kind who likes to work for a living rather than take money out of someone else's pocket. But even if our income were low enough to qualify (as it has been in the past), we would refuse financial assistance from Big Daddy (as we have done in the past).




Miriam loves her boots, and likes to take them to bed with her:



Last Friday, we went on a field trip with another homeschooling family from our church to "Out of Africa Wildlife Park". It was really very unique. One of the attractions was a safari tour through the animal habitat, where we got to hand-feed a giraffe, zebras, ostriches, and a camel. This park had many tigers, lions, and other big cats, some of which performed in their animal shows. We also followed the keepers around as they fed the animals over 800 lbs of fresh, raw meat. It was pretty impressive.













(Miriam got into the boys' pixie stick)




Not much else new is going on. We found a stray puppy in our driveway yesterday morning, it looks like a chihuahua, possibly a mix. Very cute, which is a problem because the kids immediately fell in love with it. I have listed it in the "Lost & Found" section on Craigslist and in the local paper, and we posted signs all over our neighborhood about it. So far, nobody has called, which seems strange because it is such a cute puppy and looks like it has been well taken care of. Today, I took it to the vet to see if it was microchipped, but it wasn't. We'll have to wait and see, I guess. The longer that goes by, the sadder the kids will be to see it go if the owner does turn up. I told the kids that if nobody has claimed it by next Monday, we can talk about possibly keeping it. The puppy is not housebroken, which keeps me on my toes a lot these days...