Archive | November, 2007

Diaper Rash Salve & Other Products

Northern Essence is a wonderful online store for all your natural body care needs, including facial, scrubs, soaps, baby products, pregnant mommy items, etc. Northern Essence is re-opening their doors today after a two month transition while moving. I have been anticipating this greatly as I am completely out of my products!

They make the best natural diaper rash salve I have tried! It is an excellent combination of fresh beeswax, calendula infused olive oil, avacado oil, emu oil, cocoa butter, shea butter, tea tree & lavender essential oils. I love the sweet smell that it provides for my girl’s little bum. She had been plagued since birth with repeated diaper rashes, and this creme has been the only one to solve that problem completely! Being a cloth diaper mommy, I was having to use disposables at night just to keep the rashes away. I tried many others cremes including desitin, meleda, nature’s gate, and vasaline. I love the texture of it too. No more sticky, hard to scrub off, white stuff. It is a clear and fragrant salve. Now I can’t give any guarantees, as every baby might be different, but this salve is well worth the try! Safe with cloth diapers as well. Plus one 2oz container ($4.95) lasted around 3 months for us. For more reviews click here.

By the way, if you are concerned about the lavender oil for your little guy, you can also purchase a version without this addition.

For my fellow cloth diapering mommy’s, I have also really enjoyed the diaper wipe solution. I have made my own in the past without much success. Karis’ little bum was always reacting to them. I tried this product out and was pleasantly surprised.

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More Soup!

Lylah over at Money Making Mamas shares this highly recommended soup recipe from Nourishing Traditions. I like hearing her review and will definitely be trying it now. The recipe and her notes are included below.

Squash and Sun Dried Tomato Soup serves 6
1 butternut squash
2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
3 TB butter
1 cup sun dried tomatoes, packed in oil. I only had sun dried tomatoes in a bag, so, I added a bit of olive oil to the cup and let it sit for a tad.
1 quart chicken stock (I used Trader Joes Chicken Broth and actually I used more than what it called for – it seemed to need to be more brothy.)
1/4 tsp. red chili flakes
2 Tb finely chopped basil (I used fresh from my garden.)Cut squash in half lengthwise and place, cut sides down, in a glass baking pan with about 1/2 inch of water. I chose to liberally douse my squash with olive oil instead. Bake at 350 degrees until tender, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, sauté onions gently in butter until tender. Add tomatoes, broth and chili flakes. Bring to a boil and skim. Scoop squash out of skin and add to the soup. Simmer for about 1/2 hour. Puree soup with a handheld blender. I didn’t do this – I chose to leave it as it was. Thin with water (I added more chicken broth.) Add basil and season to taste. Simmer gently about 5 minutes, ladle into heated bowls.

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Book Review: Simplify Your Spiritual Life by Donald Whitney

Simplify Your Spiritual Life by Donald Whitney-  I think I would say this has been my top favorite read for the year 2007, for it contains such valuable encouragement and advice on simplifying your spiritual life, of strengthening your walk with the Lord through simple and practical ways. He does not mean simplify in the sense of “doing less” as most people would take it. It is not as much about doing fewer things as it is about doing the right things. The theme verse is encouraging his readers to return to the “simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ” (2 Cor. 11:3).

Each chapter is roughly two pages in length and is the perfect amount for anyone, no matter your time limitations. It is a quick and refreshing read when you catch a moment between responsibilities. It covers all different topics of spiritual disciples including: devotions, prayer, journaling, Sabbath rests, simplifying your heart, mind and time, etc. How can we incorporate time to do the right things and dwell in the simplicity of devotion to Christ? This book answers that question.

One encouraging point from the chapter titled, “Do What You Can”, he tells the story of a woman named Jean Fleming. She was a dedicated servant of the Lord throughout her single years in missions, etc, devoted in seeking the Lord, and growing in the disciplines. Then she was married and had three children in diapers.

He tells the story:

“Caring for their most basic needs eliminated almost every moment of the time she used to devote to caring for her soul. Her longings for the things of God reached as high as ever, but her time and energy had new and severe limits. On at least three occasions I’ve eavesdropped as Jean addressed young moms in similar situation. In effect, she’s told them, ‘At this time in your life, you can’t do what you’re used to doing. You don’t have time for all your heart desires to experience in your spiritual life. Nevertheless, do what you can do, even though it’s precious little. Just don’t deceive yourself by thinking that you can put off a devotional life until you have more time. Because when the years roll around and you finally do have more time, your spiritual habits will be so ingrained that you won’t give more attention to your devotional life at all.”

Jean kept Bibles open in several rooms –in the kitchen, nursery, bathroom –and look at them when she could. She may have only read one verse, but the discipline kept the Word in her heart and the presence of God in her awareness.

“Like Jean with three in diapers, you may be in a situation that curtails many of your spiritual activities. You may be looking at months or years of limitations. Do what you can. God does not love us more when we do more, or less when we do less. He accepts us, not because of what we do for Him, but because of what He’s done for us in Christ…Love God, and within the limitations He has sovereignly placed in your life at this time, do what you can.”

Visit Donald Whitney’s site to read free sample chapters from this book.

More quotes and encouragement from this book to come…

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Health Booster: Garlic!

Garlic! Upon our recent discovery that my husband may have high cholesterol levels, I have been doing research on how to solve the problem. I came across the valuable addition of garlic into our diet for lowering cholesterol. A month previous to this I had purchased a garlic press, and now I am going to use it significantly more.

A diet rich in garlic can have significant health benefits, according to the New York Times. It seems that garlic increases the production of hydrogen sulfide in your blood, which—in the short term—relaxes your blood vessels and increases blood flow. In the long term:

The power to boost hydrogen sulfide production may help explain why a garlic-rich diet appears to protect against various cancers, including breast, prostate, and colon cancer, say the study authors. Higher hydrogen sulfide might also protect the heart, according to other experts.

The downside (if you can call it that)? Benefits from garlic consumption in studies required an equivalent of two medium-sized cloves of garlic per day, and while some countries—namley Italy, Korea, and China—average as high as eight to twelve cloves a day—it may be a lot of garlic by your standards.

Another tip:

To maximize the health benefits, you should crush the garlic at room temperature and allow it to sit for about 15 minutes. That triggers an enzyme reaction that boosts the healthy compounds in garlic.

One person commented the following:

Garlic is extremely easy to grow. It does reasonably well even in Oregon’s mixed weather. Just stick some individual cloves in the ground anywhere on your property this fall and dig them up next summer when their foliage has turned mostly brown.

Read the whole article here.

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Woman and Ministry

If you haven’t read Crystal’s post and all the lovely comments on the topic of woman doing ministry, check it out here. I think it is so important to see the value of our role as wives and mothers, and that this is a season for us to focus in our training up our children and serving our husbands. I also like to balance that with looking for opportunities to serve others together from our homes, especially as they get older. That is why I have been posting ideas in our Blessing Others section (and I need your help, as I am running out of ideas!). Our first priority and mission field is definitely our husbands and children, but there are small ways that we can seek to bless those around us. Keeping our priorities in balance is the key. If we don’t have that right than we should go no further. God bless you sisters as you are pursuing your mission field!

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Growing in Christ Together: Prayer

This is my final post in the Growing in Christ Together series. To view part 2 click here, part 1 click here.

Acts 2:41-46
“So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer…[they] had all things in common…sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. Day by dad continuing with one mind in the temple, breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart.”


The apostles and the brethren of the early church were devoted to prayer. Devoted means: zealous or ardent in attachment, loyalty, or affection. They were wholehearted in their love for praying together and individually. They refused to give up on the discipline because they fully understand the benefit and value of it. That is a zeal I long for! How do we grow in our love for prayer? I think it takes the discipline of just doing it and asking the Lord to remind and prompt us of its importance. Just like as we read the Word, if we continue in prayer, our love and joy for it is ever increased.

Here are a few ideas for becoming more purposeful in prayer:

  1. Pray during those minimal tasks you do around the house: driving, doing dishes, washing the floor, etc. Or you could use prayer prompts: every time you put your make-up on you pray for your husband, every time you wash the dishes you pray for our country. Whatever works for you! You can see what works for me here.
  2. Pray immediately with someone who mentions a prayer need over the phone or face-to-face. Don’t put it off by saying, “I’ll be praying for you”. Nine times out of ten we forget about it when we get home or get off the phone. This takes a lot more thoughtful effort, but aren’t we all so much more encouraged and blessed when we are finished?
  3. Pray a blessing over your guests as they leave your home.
  4. Make a weekly prayer list that you could post in a specific place with needs of those in the church or friends. Maybe in the bathroom, over the sink, in the car, over the changing table.

Prayer is a powerful way we can serve our family and the church body, being used for the furthance of the kingdom without even leaving our home (that is, unless you are doing it while driving ;) !


Individuals were fully and willingly sharing of their resources with others as needs came up. No one was lacking anything! Before we were married, we were encouraged to write out a marriage purpose statement. In it the Lord encouraged us to set aside a certain percentage of our monthly income for the express purpose of giving to a family in the church who had a need. This has been one of the greatest blessings! Each month we pray that the Lord would show us who we could give this money to, and every time we are able to give a gift of love along with a note letting them know we are praying on their behalf. We are having so much fun we can’t stop doing it even when our budget has changed up and down over our marriage.


The world was seeing such a beautiful witness and the early church was flourishing! If the body of Christ was more deliberate in these manners in our day, would we see more new believers coming into the fold? Only the Lord is sovereign over that, but I believe we need a renewed vision as families for the world to see a movement of love, prayer, devotion to the Word, hospitality, and giving to others for the growth of the church and the kingdom of God!

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Blessing Others: Gift to Jesus

Several years ago, my family decided to renew our heart for giving and the true meaning of Christmas during the holiday season by giving a special gift to a needy family. There was a family suffering in the church at that time with a newborn girl that had several serious physical problems and therefore, they were suffering greatly. We decided we wanted to give a physical outpouring of blessing upon this family. We went out together and picked out Christmas gifts for each of the other several children and surprised them with these gifts on Christmas Eve. It was such a wonderful time together to serve this family with the love of Christ and the body. From then on our families became very close friends. I treasure this experience as one of our most purposeful and meaningful Christmas traditions growing up. We received the true joy of giving!

How can we treasure the gift of Jesus’ coming this Christmas? Consider giving a gift to Jesus in a similar way, especially as Christmas is the celebration of Jesus’ birthday. Noel Piper says in her book, Treasuring God in Our Traditions, “One of the unusual things about Jesus is that when we give a gift to him, other people benefit.” Consider how you can refocus on the true meaning of Christmas by setting aside some of your budgeted Christmas funds as a gift for Jesus. With children, they can participate by doing extra chores to earn money/wages for the Jesus gift.

‘And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’” (Matt. 25:40)

Decide now if there is a needy family, relief agency, missionary, or local ministry that your family could give to. Start praying on their behalf. Get creative. Maybe you could serve them in a particular way if you do not have funds to give. We can all seek to give a gift to the Giver of Life and receive great blessing and joy in return!

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One Awful Dinner

Have you ever made a dinner that you couldn’t even eat? Now, I have made some very healthy meals that I would not necessarily enjoy but because I knew their health benefits, I would force myself to enjoy it and encourage my husband likewise. Well my dinner last night was far worse. I am actually surprised this hasn’t happened before, as I don’t believe myself to be all that of an experienced cook. It was quite the experience though. Let’s just say we decided we do not like collard greens.

My awful dinner took 1.5 hours to make (that’s probably the worst part!), and included BBQ chicken marinated in my own homemade teriyaki sauce, collard greens with bacon and spices (a recipe that received great reviews from , and couscous. Doesn’t sound too bad, right? Well, it wouldn’t have been that bad, except for the fact that my teriyaki sauce didn’t work out like it had before…too salty and disgusting, marinated far too long, and the collard greens smelled so bad after they were done simmering (which took over 45 minutes), that I could only take two bites and then I had to get that dish off my table asap! I couldn’t eat anything else and felt sick to my stomach.

We quickly disposed of all remaining food items down the disposal and fled out of the house without another word. We drove immediately to our local Baja Fresh for a dinner replacement. Wow! That sure was good compared to that one awful dinner! (I just wish I had a picture to share…it did look awful as well ;( )

Maybe the collard greens were too old and overly bitter, or maybe I simmered it for too long, but alas my desire to eat this nutritious vegetable failed miserably. I don’t think it will be entering my house for awhile.

Got an awful meal story to share? Share a laugh with me!


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Bosch Mixer Review

I have found the Bosch Mixer to be my all time favorite kitchen appliance! Not only is it great for making my own bread with its dough hook (you can make up to 6 loaves of bread at one time!), but it has a whisk attachment too for speedy whipping up of ingredients for homemade goodies. Excellent large capacity bowl. It also comes with an awesome blender, the most frequently used item on this machine in my house (plastic blender so no worries of breaking). I have found the blender to be the best around for making smoothies with all those frozen fruits and stuff (you can’t beat 700 watts). Works like a charm with 3 different speeds. They have a really good warranty as well (lifetime on the motor, three years on the parts).

Now this is a spendy item. I believe it is a high quality mixer, bread machine, and blender all in one! If you think about it, the cost is actually significantly less than if you purchased those items separately.

I recommend the purchase of a Bosch mixer through Paula’s Bread, a Christian family run small business. They have excellent resources and customer service. Although the Bosch mixer is spendy, it has been worth every penny! Maybe something you can ask for Christmas? Now your husband may not be up for it at first as mine was but I have definitely won him over with the usefulness of this machine. He has been very impressed!

By the way, my mom bought this machine at least 15 years ago and it is still working awesome for her. We made homemade bread with it regularly growing up.

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Homemade Pizza Crust


This is a wonderful recipe to make ahead and freeze. But it can be used at any time! Whenever I am planning my weekly menu and ask my husband for some requests, without fail I can rely on him to request pizza. We make it every two or so weeks at our place.

Homemade Pizza Crust

2 Tbls Yeast
3 1/2 cups water 110F, divided
3 Tablespoons acid medium, for soaking (whey, kefir, yogurt, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar)
1 tsp honey
¼ cup honey
1 Tbls salt
8-10 cups whole wheat flour (or combination with kamut flour)


Soaking Step (optional, if you want to skip soaking, proceed with the instructions below the line)

To receive the full nutrients and break down the phytates, try soaking the whole wheat flour in advance, otherwise, skip this step.

Combine 10 cups of flour, 3 cups of water requested in the recipe, substituting some of the water with about 3 Tablespoons of whey, kefir, yogurt, apple cider vinegar, or lemon juice (no need to be exact), and 1/4 cup honey. Allow to soak for 12-24 hours. After soaking, activate the yeast in a small container with the remaining 1/2 cup of warm water and 1 tsp of honey. Allow to foam up for about 5 minutes. Add the proofed yeast mixture to the soaked flour, along with the salt. Knead for 5-10 minutes. If recipe is still sticky, add a little more flour as needed until it is able to be kneaded. Continue with recipe below.


Preheat over to 500 degrees (if you are baking right away). Combine yeast, 2 cups of warm water, and a teaspoon of sugar or honey in a bowl, cover and let sit for 7-10 minutes. Add water, honey, and salt. Mix thoroughly. After dissolved, add flour bit by bit, beating thoroughly. After all flour is beated in; knead 5-10 minutes. Let rise for thicker pizza dough. Divide into four sections for four crusts. Bake for 10-15 minutes.

This works wonderful with all whole wheat flour (hard white or red wheat) or with a combination with kamut flour (provides a lighter texture). Whole wheat pastry flour makes it very crumbly. Great easy recipe and tastes fabulous!

Here are some topping recommendations (these are my hubby’s favorites!): Pepperoni, cheese, Italian sausage, green peppers, garlic salt, Italian seasoning, Parmesan cheese


For the Freezer

Mix dough completely as instructed and then divide into 4 portions. Freeze the dough in individual Ziploc bags. You do not have to pre-bake the dough – simply put the dough immediately into the freezer. When you are ready to use, thaw in the refrigerator for several hours, bring to a room temperature and then roll out and assemble as desired.

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