Archive | January, 2009

Natural Diaper Rash Solutions

babyWho likes to see their baby suffering with a diaper rash? We have been plagued with frequent diaper rashes on my little Karis’ bottom for a long time. I have been determined to find a natural solution to this issue. I have tried a lot of various natural cremes (Weleda, Burt’s Bees, etc) without too much success…

UPDATE: Why look for a natural alternative in the first place? Your traditional Desitin and other store brands (including dusting powders) contains methylparaben, talc and fragrance (which is a friendly alternative word for phthalates). Studies link these ingredients with bioaccumulation in humans and wildlife, cancer, endocrine disruption and hormone mimicry, allergies and skin toxicity, tissue irritation, and toxicity to various organs, to name a few. Talc especially is known for being commonly contaminated with asbestos, a known carcinogen.

Two keys I have found to avoiding and dealing with rashes is to change diapers frequently, and making sure the bottom is dry completely after changing. I recommend having a hair dryer near your changing table to speed up this process!

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Homemade Pregnancy Tea

img_5250Red raspberry leaf tea has been used for centuries as a folk medicine to treat canker sores, cold sores, and gingivitis in persons of all ages and anemia, leg cramps, diarrhea, and morning sickness in pregnant women, and as a uterine relaxant. Brewed as a tea it is the best known, most widely used, and safest of all uterine/pregnancy tonics. It tones the muscles of the pelvic region. It also contains vitamins A and B complex and many minerals, including phosphorus and potassium. It can increase fertility, prevent miscarriage and hemorrhage, ease morning sickness, reduce pain during and after birth, and also increase milk supply.

For a delightful and frugal homemade pregnancy tea, try this simple recipe:

Fill a quart size glass jar with boiling water and 1 ounce  (which is approx. 2 handfuls) of red raspberry leaf. Cover and allow to steep for 4 hours. Strain the leaves, sweeten as desired, and enjoy! Refrigerate the remaining tea for future use. Recommended dosage is usually 2-3 cups per day.

Another helpful herb that you can add to the above combination or to alternative with would be nettle leaves. It is known to have more chlorophyll than any other herb. The list of vitamins and minerals in this herb includes nearly every one known to be necessary for human health and growth. Nettle is beneficial in aiding the functionality of the kidneys,  nourishing mother and fetus, easing leg cramps and other muscles spasms, preventing hemorrhage after birth and reducing hemorrhoids, in addition to increasing the richness and amount of breast milk. According to the Wise Woman Herbal, “some pregnancy women alternate weeks of nettle and raspberry leaf brews; others drink Raspberry until the last month and then switch to Nettles to insure large amounts of vitamin K in the blood for the birth.” Nettle leaves can be brewed in the same manner as raspberry leaf described above or try a combination of 1 handful nettle and 1 handful raspberry leaf.

You can find quality organic red raspberry leaf and nettle leaf in bulk through Mountain Rose Herbs.

It works for me!

Thanks to my friend Mandy, and the excellent resource of Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year by Susun Weed. This book has some wonderful ideas for all natural brews and remedies for pregnancy issues, before and after, and natural remedies for infant related problems.

Other Homemade Varieties:

Tammy’s Pregnancy Tea

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Sucessful Homemade Bread – the soaked way!


I am excited to annouce that I have finally had some great success with making homemade whole wheat bread while including the benefits of soaking the flour (why soak? read here).  It worked for a while but then in the last few months it has been sinking terribly and rather dense (cold weather may have been contributing to this as well). I have been doing further experimenting and believe I have finally solved the problems (but don’t take my word on that!). I am absolutely thrilled! It was so light and delicious! My husband, who is really not a bread fan as I am, said it tasted very good (which is a first!). Check out my updated bread recipe here. This recipe includes both methods – soaking and not soaking as you prefer. It also includes options for dairy intolerant folks that still want the benefits of soaking!

A few helpful keys I have learned lately:

1. Less yeast is better to avoid over rising (thus I revised the recipe so!).

2. Dough enhancer is a excellent conditioner to make a more moist dough. (I love this dough enhancer sold by Urban Homemaker)

3.Your choice of bread pans is really important! According to Urban Homemaker, “Wider pans are often a source of “fallen” loaves as the heavier whole wheat dough cannot support itself over a wider surface area.” Your traditional store bought loaf pans or glass pans run wide. I have two of the pans recommended by Urban Homemaker here and they work great! They are approximately 10” long by 3” wide, but I believe the 8” size might be a better option.

UPDATED: Some may be concerned with the materials that these pans are made of. Is tinware safe? I inquired of Urban Homemaker as to the safety of these pans, and this was the response I received:

“The pans are tinware.  They do have a very light non-stick coating on them, but they are not like teflon that peels.  They should only be used for bread, greased with each use, and wiped out with a paper towel after each use.  Tinware is NOT aluminum.

I have had mine for years and years and been very satisfied (about 15 years).  I like the dark exterior finish which cuts the baking time, and I like the shape. I know that non-stick coatings have received a lot of bad press, but I think it is more applicable to when used as a skillet and there is stirring going on. Since the pan really just is like a mold, I don’t have the same concerns, but I don’t have any scientific research on this.” – Marilyn Moll

4. Rising in the oven is very beneficial to avoid contact with cold air – but don’t let it rise too high – just above the edges of the pan is important!

For a yummy homemade whole grain bread recipe, check it out here.

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Practical Theology for Women

We women are practical, aren’t we? I have recently completed reading Practical Theology for Women: How Knowing God Makes a Difference in Our Daily Lives by Wendy Horgen Alsup and I cannot recommend it more highly. It is a short easy read and yet very meaty and rich with sound theological truth for every day life addressed specifically for women. Studying theology (which basically means the study of God) is not just for seminary students, pastors, or the men in our lives, it is practical for every Christian who desires to know Christ and have wisdom and discernment to walk it out in our lives.

Wendy shares: “God has both called you and equipped you to know him. We have no excuse to remain ignorant of his character. Seek God’s face. Understand his character. Pursue knowledge of him, for apart from the ‘fear of the Lord’ and the ‘knowledge of the Holy One’ (Proverbs 9:10) we have no hope for being a wise mother, sister, wife, or friend.”

As a mother, I need to be studying the Word and theology in order that I might be prepared to teach and train my children in the truth of God. As a homemaker and ambassador for Christ, I need to be equipped with biblical understanding in order to share the love of Christ with others. And above all, I need to be storing up sound doctrine in my heart so I have a firm foundation upon which to stand when the worries and fears of this life battle in my soul. Christ is the only firm foundation upon which I can stand and if I do not know Him and study His Word, I will become a wimpy women. As John Piper says, “Wimpy theology makes wimpy women.”

An excellent read!

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Entertaining Littles with a New Baby

Amber asked:

I am expecting a new baby girl in May and I also have a daughter that will be two years next month.  I am trying to think of some things that will keep my older daughter busy and not bored for those couple months after the new baby’s arrival when it will be hard for us to get out of the house and my attention can’t be on her 100%.  Any suggestions?

Sounds like you are in the same boat I am, Amber. For me, I am always seeking to give my daughter plenty of time to explore and learn how to entertain herself.  I think this is a place to start, removing ourselves from the mindset that we must provide them with entertainment. Karis has lately been entertained for quite some time with the large cardboard box that we received in the mail the other day. This may just very well be a new season to allow them to explore and develop their creative abilities.

 I am thinking it may be wise to have a good supply of books and crafty things (simple paper, crayons, playdough, etc) on hand that she can explore with without much supervision. I would imagine they will also just want to spend a lot of time with the new baby, so it may not be so necessary to find other entertainment. Knowing my Karis, she absolutely loves babies and I want her to have time to really nuture her sisterly and motherly instincts. I have no doubt she will want to be near me when we change diapers and take care of our baby. 

We would love to hear from our readers on this one! I would love to hear thoughts on how to remain on top of being consistent with discipline as well during this new baby season? 

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Women as Homebuilders: Full-Time Ministry

home24In conclusion to our series on being workers at home, I wanted to share some resources and final thoughts on this all important topic.  I wish to thank all the ladies who have shared their thoughts on our panel and amidst the discussion over the past week.

As we have seen, being a worker at home, as described in Titus 2:4-5, means that we are called to be first and foremost homeward oriented, whatever season we are in (whether single, married, children grown, etc). We must never loss sight of this orientation even when different seasons may open up various outside opportunities. We are guardians, protectors, managers of this domain. We are to passionately seek the well-being of our husbands/father’s, children and home, prior to any other pursuit. Home building is ministry. It is our mission field. As Mark Driscoll challenges, home building is full-time ministry, why look elsewhere? This is the beautiful domain that God has placed women since creation. Nurturing and building our homes is a high and holy calling!

I personally can testify to the joys of being a worker at home. It may require sacrifice in material things, but what does that matter in eternity? Seek first the Kingdom of God, the Word commands, and all our essential needs will be supplied (Matt. 6:33). Giving up future security in retirement in order to invest in eternal souls of those of your children and others around you is worth the sacrifice. There is eternal treasures stored up for those who are willing to give up extra comforts in the present, in order to store up future treasures in heaven (Matt. 6:19-21).

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Workers at Home: Thriving on One Income

micheleI invited Michele @ Frugal Granola to share further ideas and encouragement on how she has creatively sought to live well on one income. You can read more about her story and journey through her husband’s unemployment here. Thank you Michele! This is part of our Titus 2 Talk on the topic of being workers at home.

One of the biggest steps toward staying home, was realizing how little we really need.  We didn’t need the two cars, large home, or new purchases.  God’s blessings abound when we learn to be content with what we have.

One example as a way we have saved money on living expenses, is by renting a one-bedroom apartment.  We use a futon for sleeping in the living room (the bedroom has always been for our daughter.)  I have a friend with a couple children, who has a similar living arrangement.

In order to live well on a one-income budget, we strive to eliminate unnecessary costs and activities, in order to promote a better quality of life.

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Workers at Home: Testimony from a SAHM

rosellaThis is such a sweet testimony from an 80 year old woman who mothered 20 children. It is a beautiful picture of a family that trusted the Lord to supply all their needs. May this provide encouragement to those who might be struggling financially during this current economic downturn. We serve a mighty God! Thanks to Rosie (whose testimony we shared here, for interviewing Rosella). This is part of our Titus 2 Talk on the topic of being workers at home.

Rosella, an 80 year old mother of 20 children

Rosella’s white hair framed her kind eyes.  She leaned forward in her favorite rocking chair and gave a dimpled smile when I asked her about being a stay-at-home mom.  I was eager to hear the advice of this “seasoned” saint, who, with her husband Jesse, had raised 20 children (eleven biological and nine adopted).

“I believe that as a mother, staying at home was the best means for me to teach my children about God and invest in them in order that they would grow up knowing about God and strong in the Lord. Sometimes women work when they need money for necessities like food.  (Once, I did some ironing in my home to bring in some extra money.)  But lots of times, women work for ‘things’.   I mean stylish clothing and new toys for the children for example. You don’t have to have the best of everything.

“There’s a lot of joy in teaching your children to pray for things, then watching God provide.

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Titus2Talk: Workers at Home – Part 4

home23Welcome back for part 4 in our panel discussion on being workers at home. Make sure to read part 1, part 2 & part 3, if you haven’t already.

4. Do you have any encouragement or advice for stay at home moms who have husbands that have lost their jobs? What are your thoughts on how we can still serve as mothers and wives in a Christ honoring way in this position?

Michele: Dear sister, I want to encourage you!  God’s provision is abundant.  Do not waver from the tasks He has set before you.  Focus only on what He has given you to do, and notice all that He has blessed you with.  Don’t compare yourself to others, or to what they have received.  God is faithful, and He will be with you during this challenging season.

If I try to “do my husband’s job for him,” by providing for our family, I am robbing him of the blessings he would receive in fulfilling his role as the head of our family. As I fervently seek to learn how to do my roles as wife and mother, he too, is learning how to be a husband and father. God is faithful to provide wisdom, when we seek after His will.

Instead of rushing to “fill a need,” by applying for jobs myself during my husband’s unemployment, I sought to pray fervently for my husband, and to increase my efforts at home.  I didn’t try to “swap roles” with him.

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Nutritious Freezer Meal Carnival is coming!


Just a quick reminder that our nutritious freezer meal carnival is coming up this next Tuesday, January 20th! Let’s spread the word and have a full array of recipes lined up to share with one another.

With the use of Mr. Linky, come and link up to all your healthy family recipes that freeze well and any freezing tips that you would like to share. Here is an oppor­tu­nity to start off the new year with a great list of nutri­tious meals to stock your freezer! The only request is that the recipes should ide­ally use whole and nat­ural ingre­di­ents (we’re thinking healthy!), nat­ural sweet­en­ers and the like, but the carnival will be open to all submissions, as we are all in different stages of this journey to living more healthy. You can share any recipe from a main dish, soup or dessert that freeze well. Please also include clear freez­ing and defrost­ing instruc­tions.

If you don’t have your own blog from which to share a recipe, feel free to come and post a comment during the carnival with your favorite recipe or two. Spread the word by using the banner! Looking forward to it!

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