Little Helpers

“What are you doing?” I asked sternly, as my son walked up to me, soaking wet and holding a child-sized broom.

“Cleaning the bathroom,” was the short reply. I hustled upstairs, leaving my daughter to tend to her schoolwork, and surveyed the “clean” bathroom with dismay. The sink was filled to the brim with murky, greenish water, which I later decided was from the natural bristles of the broom being dipped repeatedly. Almost every square inch of the bathroom—the floor, the vanity, even the mirror—was dripping. I was upset.

“Markus, this is NOT okay,” I said, and grabbed him a rag to begin wiping up. After a full change of clothes, he was put down for a nap with a hug but without a story. Later that evening, as I moved a lotion bottle and found water pooled beneath it, the Holy Spirit nudged my heart. “He was trying to help; he didn’t mean to make a mess.”

I repented. So often I assume my children are making messes, throwing tantrums, or fighting with each other just to get to me, just to make my day harder. This is usually not so. They are just being kids. Sinners. Like me.

1 Corinthians 13 comes to mind, two parts:
“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.”
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (ESV)

Part of their behavior is just that: childishness. I resolved next time to ask questions before getting mad.
“Can you tell me what you were trying to do, Markus?”
“What is making you so upset?”
“What is causing you to treat your sister in this way?”
In seeking to understand my children’s heart motivations better, I think I will find that they often ARE trying to please me, but they just have trouble processing the outcome of their “helping” until they find themselves in a big mess. I will be much better able to show them love, to not be irritable, resentful or rude, to endure all things, if I remember that I am in the same humble place: dependent on God’s mercy.
Lord, help me to have the same grace with them that You daily have with my messes.

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Natural Remedies

Anyone who knows me probably thinks I’m a bit crunchy. Not all-the-way crunchy (no cloth diapers yet), but at least a little. As a result, I get into homeopathic remedies for our family’s little aches and pains and colds and flus. Since some of them have proven to be quite useful this past year, I thought I’d share!

Homemade Cough Syrup

Homemade VapoRub

Homemade Neosporin – for this I have just used tea tree oil slightly diluted with water or coconut oil.

Homemade Cold Remedy (My kids even drink it! Seen below…sorry for the bad pic.)

Some that I haven’t yet tried but are on the list just in case are:

Homemade Pedialyte

Natural Strep Throat Cures

Homemade Head Lice Remedy


Our Fish

If you can look at this series and not crack a smile, you’ve got one up on me. I heart bath time with this boy. Husband gives him most of his baths, so every time I get the chance to bathe him I’m amazed at how much he loves water.

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Hammy face.
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Rinsing himself.
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Sunday Sunshine 04.24.11

Happy Easter!  May your joy in the risen Christ be full today!

Here are a few good things from this week:

Video by Robyn O’Brien (author of “The Unhealthy Truth: How Our Food Is Making Us Sick and What We Can Do About It.”).  This is great basic info on food allergies and insensitivities.  (Mom, WATCH THIS.)

The Case for Once A Month CleaningSimple Homeschool

Now Is All We HaveKisses from Katie

Meal Planning – Seasonal Suggestions

I had an epiphany while I prepared supper last night.  While I am a huge proponent of meal planning, and there are many methods to it (this being closest to what I do), I realized that I rarely prepare a meal more than once or twice per year.  I have a binder that is full of favorite recipes I’ve pulled from magazines, websites, blogs, and as it has grown, I have so many “favorites” (meaning I’ve prepared it more than once and we’ve all liked it) that we eat a very wide array of dishes.

There are a couple of stand-bys that use ingredients I always have in my pantry, meals I can whip up on a moment’s notice or put into the rotation on a busy week.  Those dishes I will make probably once every month or two.  They include:

  • Pasta with red sauce and italian cheeses
  • Pancakes and eggs with fruit/veggies
  • Eggbake (breakfast-for-supper is just so easy!)
  • Chef salad
  • Chicken and biscuits (comfort food)

Another idea that I think is fabulous if you are just learning to meal plan is having “theme nights.”  I’ve never done this, but I feel like it would limit choices, thereby making it easier.  For instance, Monday is Mexican night, Tuesday is Crock Pot night, Wednesday is pasta, Thursday is salads, and so on.  Plus then you will usually have a pantry well-stocked for these themes.

If you are a seasoned meal planner and looking to shake things up a bit and add some new ideas to your routine, I thought I’d post a few of our seasonal favorites here, ones from my binder.  Some of the recipes could easily be included in multiple seasons, so go for what is local, fresh, seasonal and incorporate it.  Enjoy!





Simple Woman’s Daybook 02.16.11

Outside my window…the birdfeeder that, last week, lay on a huge drift of snow, today lies on the deck!

I am thinking…about giving thanks.

I am thankful for…creativity in its many forms.  I love to marvel at the beauty of what God has created and all that I see others creating.

From the kitchen…Black Bean and Yam Quesadillas.
I am wearing…jeans, a sky blue camisole and a brown long-sleeve top.
I am creating…a big mess, mostly.
I am going…a little bit crazy trying to catch up with all that I got behind in while I was sick.
I am reading…Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson and One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  Still.
I am hoping…for an early spring.  I am sick of the snow, but I don’t want things to get flooded up north.  So whatever God wills.

I am hearing…Markus yelling at his new truck toy in the other room.
Around the house…is mostly that mess I was talking about.  And some new Valentine stuff I got for the kids.
One of my favorite things…is soft hair.

A few plans for the rest of the week: work, library field trip, chiropractor, small gropu, more work, a possibly visit from family?

Here is picture for thought I am sharing…another old one from the files!

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For more entries, read here.

Simple Woman’s Daybook 02.08.11

I found this idea via Esther, and I just love it.  So I think I’ll play along today!

Outside my window…crusty snow and icicles lie in wait. Highs are in the single digits until the weekend.
I am thinking…about how I need to be working.  🙂
I am thankful for…healthy kids.  After a bout of the ick this weekend for Anja, I am glad that a bad day or two is all I have to deal with at this point.
From the kitchen…potato-leek pizza, salad, and Valentine cut-out cookies.
I am wearing…sweat pants and a long-sleeve tee from concert band tour in college.  Fancy.
I am creating…a felt valentine garland (that I started last year…sigh…).
I am going…to pick Anja up from preschool later.
I am reading…Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson and One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.
I am hoping…for a great first “back in the saddle” photo shoot this weekend of a friend’s little girl.
I am hearing…a small voice whispering (my daughter, not God).  🙂
Around the house…I have a new paper heart garland and a big stack of boxes for the move.
One of my favorite things…is feeling valued.
A few plans for the rest of the week: MOPS, Small Group, and helping Anja paint nails and do hair for a daddy-daughter dance this weekend!  I am so excited for them!
Here is picture for thought I am sharing…an oldie but goodie of my girl, taken over 2 years ago!

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Join the fun or read more entries here.

Taking Care of Cut Roses

With Valentine’s Day coming up, thought I’d share a few tips I learned from my brother, who worked at a floral shop one summer.

When your friend/husband/significant other comes home with that fabulous bouquet in hand, here’s a step-by-step of what to do:

  1. Kiss them and say thanks.  🙂
  2. Unwrap the flowers.
  3. Find that little packet of plant food and empty it into an appropriately-sized vase/jar/bowl and fill with tepid water (tepid for roses–some plants prefer cold).
  4. Run some water in the sink.  Hold the stems under the water and cut them at an angle (so they have more surface area through which to absorb water and nutrients), plunging them immediately into the prepared receptacle after the cut.
  5. Once you’ve got them all cut, peel the outer, more yucky- or odd-looking petals off.  These “guard petals” are actually quite necessary to the health of the rose, but once they are safely in a container can be removed.
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  7. Arrange to your liking.
  8. Enjoy!

Rose Leaves

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