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Homeschooling is always full of surprises. This morning after breakfast, the kids had a little bit of free time before lessons, while they were waiting for me to finish something I was doing on the computer. While most of the kids were playing with the baby or dragging out every blanket in the house, Andrew, our oldest at age 11, decided to write some poetry.

I was quite surprised, since I never taught him to write poetry. In fact, we don’t really do any type of formal grammar lessons at all, except for the little bit that is included in his Latin lessons; we instead focus mainly on reading good literature, both aloud and each child on their own. We do plan to get to the more formal grammar lessons someday, lest you should think that I just don’t care about grammar at all, but, with several children to teach I have chosen to put off some of the more detailed lessons until more of the children are old enough to grasp them.

I was even more surprised after I read the poem. I thought that it was fairly good for a first venture. So, for anyone who is interested, here are the verses.

The Apple and the Blueberry
by Andrew H. Meng

How do you do Mr. Blueberry, Mr. Blueberry
How do you do in these days?
How do you do when the fruit grows ripe and
the harvest is near?
How do you do when the river is clear and
the garden is fair?

I do very well Mr. Apple, Mr. Apple
I do very well in these days.
I do very well when the fruit grows ripe and
the harvest is near.
I do very well when the river is clear and
the garden is fair.

He was definitely paying attention when we read all of those nursery rhymes when he was little.

You’ll notice that I published this post under kitchen because that’s where this memorable dialogue took place!

The kids and I were having leftover tacos, from last night’s dinner, for our lunch today.  We ended up running out of the meat filling, but, the kids were still hungry.  But, we also had some leftover beans and rice.  So, I told the kids that they could put the beans and rice on their taco shells and add their topping to that.  Andrew, our oldest, was quite excited with this idea.  After reloading his plate, he said, “This is a feast!  It’s like feeding the tacos to the five thousand!”  To make it even better, he clarified, “What I mean is that we eat like we’re five thousand people.”

I’m often surprised at the funny things that kids come up with.  And, sometimes embarrassed too, when the say the wrong thing at the wrong time.  But, I thought I would share this with you while it was fresh in my mind and see if any of you had any similar stories that you would like to share?

I read this poem last week and thought it was good food for thought and reflection.  Especially since we are in the middle of the school year and all cooped up together in the house during the winter cold.  It can be tempting to try and steal a precious moment alone.  I never thought of this in the context of our relationship with our Heavenly Father before.  It quickly changed my perspective.

At the Door

by Eugene Field

 

I thought myself indeed secure,

So fast the door, so firm the lock;

But, lo! he toddling comes to lure

My parent ear with timorous knock.

 

My heart were stone could it withstand

The sweetness of my baby’s plea,—-

That timorous baby knocking and

“Please let me in,–it’s only me.”

 

I threw aside the unfinished book,

Regardless of its’ tempting charms,

And opening wide the door, I took

My laughing darling in my arms.

 

Who knows but in Eternity,

I, like a truant child, shall wait,

The glories of a life to be,

Beyond the Heavenly Father’s gate.

 

And will that Heavenly Father heed

The truant’s supplicating cry,

As at the outer door I plead,

” ‘Tis I, O Father! only I?”

Of course, I don’t think for a moment that God would linger to admit His own children into His presence.  But, it does put into perspective how loving and kind our Heavenly Father is always to us.  How can we then ignore the pleads of a child who wishes to be in the presence of his earthly parents?

The kids and I have been reading a commentary on Leviticus written for children in our morning bible study.  A couple of days ago we read about the Feast of Trumpets.  In this section the book is explaining the Old Testament celebrations and how they point to Christ.  Since the New Year is almost upon us I thought I would share this section with you.  I had not contemplated the Feast of Trumpets before and wouldn’t have come to this wonderful conclusion on my own.  What a wonderful blessing to live in this modern age where commentaries for children are being written.  And even more wonderful of a blessing to be able to teach my children and learn along with them in a straight forward, simple manner! 

The Feast of Trumpets was on the first day of the seventh month–New Year’s Day.  The blowing of the trumpets on that day was, however, just a shadow of another day, a greater day, the Day of the Lord, on which the trumpet blasts of angels would usher in, not a new year, but a new age.  “Blow the trumpet…sound the alarm…Let all who live in the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming.  It is close at hand” (Joel 2:1) “Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts” (Revelation 8:13), the trumpet blasts sounded by the angels.   “At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.  And He will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect…No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven…Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come” (Matthew 24:30-42)  On that last day, the Day of the Lord, those who believe in Him “will all be changed– in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.  For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised…and we will be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:52).  On that day “the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.  After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.  And so we will be with the Lord forever” (1 Thessalonians 4:16).  The Feast of Trumpets was just a shadow of the reality of the great and terrible Day of the Lord and the return of Christ, when the angels will blast trumpets which will shake the heavens and the earth (see Revelation 8&9).

 

I’m sure I’m very slow and dull at grasping these pictures of Christ in the Old Testament.  And so, I am very glad when I come across one of these shadows of Christ and am able to see it.  I hope you will be blessed by it too!

I know I’m a little slow at getting around to it, but I’m finally adding one of my favorite pumpkin recipes to the mix.  I found this recipe on another blog called MoneySavingMom and then adapted it to suit our allergies and preferences.  I will give you my version as I believe it to be slightly more healthy and therefore I feel better about making it more often.  Just one little way that I justify adding chocolate to our everyday diet!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

4 Tbs. milled flax seed + 1 C. water (or 4 large eggs)

1 C. Sucanant or  other form of sugar as you prefer

1- 15oz. can of pumpkin puree

3/4 C. of oil

Mix together and then add:

3 C. of whole wheat flour

2 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

1- 12oz. package of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Mix thoroughly and drop into muffin pans fill about 2/3 full.  Bake @ 400* for 16-20 minutes.  Makes about 2 dozen.  These freeze really well for those of you who may not eat two dozen in a sitting!!  I sometimes freeze a batch and pull them out two at a time to put in Ben’s breakfast in the morning.  He eats on the go!  I’ll try to post a picture when the next batch comes out of the oven.

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This is just a quick post to share with you my method of preparing herbal teas in a bulk form versus one cup at a time. I find this useful when my son is having allergy problems and I know he will need to be drinking his tea for a few days, or when I have multiple sick ones in the house. I begin by getting out the necessary dry herbs that I will be using, which will vary depending on the cause for use of the herbs. Next, I place the desired herbs into a mixing bowl or other large vessel making sure to use enough herbs to make a whole pitcher.

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Then I boil my water using a full teapot. While the water is boiling, I get out the pitcher that will hold the herbs after they have steeped. I place a large strainer over the mouth of the pitcher to catch the herbs so that only the tea ends up in the pitcher. When the water is ready, pour contents of teapot into mixing bowl with the herb mixture in it. Let steep for the necessary amount of time and then pour contents of mixing bowl into the prepared pitcher.

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Next, you would add some sweetening agent if desired. We usually add a little honey or stevia since sugar tends to slow down the immune system. Then whenever a cup is needed, simply pour into a cup and enjoy!

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I came across this adaptation of 1 Corinthians 13 on another blog, and I thought since Mother’s Day is coming up it would be appropriate to share.  It is called “1 Corinthians 13 for Mothers.” Even if you’re not a mother, I think the biblical role of women in the home, caring for our husbands and whoever else falls into our daily care, is addressed in this adaptation also.

If I live in a house of spotless beauty with everything in its place,
but have not love,
I am a housekeeper, not a homemaker.

If I have time for waxing, polishing, and decorative achievements,
but have not love,
my children learn cleanliness, ­not godliness.

If I scream at my children for every infraction,
and fault them for every mess they make,
but have not love,
my children become people-pleasers, not obedient children.

Love leaves the dust in search of a child’s laugh.
Love smiles at the tiny fingerprints on a newly cleaned window.
Love wipes away the tears before it wipes up the spilled milk.
Love picks up the child before it picks up the toys.

Love accepts the fact that I am the ever-present “mommy,”
the taxi-driver to every childhood event,
the counselor when my children fail or are hurt.

Love crawls with the baby, walks with the toddler, and runs with the child,
then stands aside to let the youth walk into adulthood.

Before I became a mother I took glory in my house of perfection.
Now I glory in God’s perfection of my child.

All the projections I had for my house and my children
have faded away into insignificance,
And what remain are the memories of my kids.

Now there abides in my home scratches on most of the furniture,
dishes with missing place settings,
and bedroom walls full of stickers, posters and markings,
But the greatest of all is the Love
that permeates my relationships with my children.

-Adapted by Jim Fowler

I have been reading a book by Joel Beeke entitled, ‘Walking as He Walked,’ which is teaching me afresh what is means to be a disciple of Christ in my everyday life.  It very vividly and accurately describes the life Christ when he was here on earth, as well as what he is now doing for us in heaven.  There was one section which particularly moved me called, ‘Christ’s Cross-Bearing and Ours.’  After reading about Christ’s tears of blood shed in the garden, his betrayal by Judas, being forsaken by all of the disciples, and later completely denied by Peter, falsely accused and condemned, whipped and mocked, we read of Christ bearing his cross alone to the place where he would die an undeserving death.

It struck me that in his hour of greatest need he had no one to speak an encouraging word to him to help him through his sufferings.  I had also been feeling in need of an encouraging word.  In our modern day of blogs and facebook, it often seems that no one speaks face to face anymore.  Old friends begin to seem so distant.  I’m sure that everyone has gone through some difficult time in their life and just wished that some one would come along a give them a simple word of encouragement.  Sometimes a small act of kindness or a word in season can mean so much to a suffering friend, who feels as if they are carrying their cross alone.

I came to the conclusion that some of my friends were most likely feeling the same way.  I felt that I couldn’t really expect to hear these words of encouragement  if , I myself, wasn’t distributing any.  The Lord laid it upon my heart to send a simple e-mail to a friend that I had reason to believe was in need of such a word of encouragement.  I just wanted to let her know that I had truly missed her fellowship in her absence and that she and her family were in our prayers.  The  Lord sure did bless this simple act of kindness.  It was truly an encouragement to me to hear her telling me that she had really appreciated it and that it had come at just the right time.  And so we both received an encouraging word, one from another, and were able to help each other to bear one another’s burdens’.  And the burdens seem so much lighter when they are carried together.  In fact, sometimes it is hard to remember at all that the burden is there, when it is carried with the fellowship of a good friend.

I have heard several people quote the verse lately, “I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me.”  I am glad that Christ gave us this example of cross-bearing, and that he always helps us to carry our burdens.  I am also blessed that he showed me the temptation to focus so much on myself during these difficult times in my life, and that he taught me to look around and take notice of the needs of others.

“A friend loveth at all times.”  How blessed we are to have the King of Kings as ‘our friend that sticketh closer than a brother.’  I hope that you will speak a word of encouragement to someone today.

For those of you who like to use dried herbs to make your own teas or herbal health remedies, I thought I would pass along this resource I recently found.  It is called the Bulk Herb Store.  The prices for bulk dried herbs are the best I have seen.  I just placed an order today for some of the herbs that I have been needing to order.  I will let you know when they arrive how the quality is.  They don’t claim to be organic.  Just bulk herbs.

http://www.bulkherbstore.com/index

I also came across another company that sells herb blends in bulk for making a quicker herbal tea.  The company is called More Than Alive.  They have herbal teas ranging from Citrusmint Tea to The Immune Booster.  I have not tried any of their teas yet, but I have read great reviews and will likely try them in the future.  Their prices also seemed a lot more reasonable than your average health food store.

http://www.morethanalive.com/

The Citrusmint Tea looks like it would be a good blend for a suntea with the warmer weather around the corner!

I know I have been greatly neglecting my participation in this blog for some time.  So, I thought I would share with you a quick home remedy that we have come across.

My husband, Ben, has been having some trouble with moderately high blood pressure over about the last two years.  He hasn’t gone to the doctor for it, but has kept tabs on it himself by taking his blood pressure at local drug store machines.  He was having more frequent headaches and sometimes swelling and irritability.  Neither of us is big on pharmacueticals and prefer to use more natural methods of preventing or healing sickness.  But, we couldn’t figure out what was going on.  We try to eat as healthy as possible.  I make most things from scratch.  We try to avoid artificial ingredients.

One day I finally recalled that some years ago, when Ben ended up going to the E.R. for chest pains and difficulty breathing, one of the staff at the E.R. mentioned that his potassium was a little low.  But, since the doctors also sent him in for further cardiac testing, we never really considered the potassium issue very much afterwards.

Also, another time when I was having some trouble with swelling during pregnancy a friend mentioned that I should eat a banana.  There was something about the potassium in the banana that would help you flush excess salt and thus reduce the water retention.  I tried it and it worked.  Since high salt levels can elevate blood pressure, I started to wonder if maybe part of Ben’s problem was that he wasn’t processing his salt properly.

Anyway, to make a long story short, I told Ben about my suspicions and he graciously submitted to my proposed experiment with his health.  :-) I gave him a banana every day to take to work with his lunch.  After about two weeks of a banana every day, I asked him if he would go out and check his blood pressure to see if there had been any change so far.  He did. And when he came back he had good news.  He was safely back in the normal range!

Everyone has heard that an apple a day, keeps the doctor away.  But, what about a banana?

June 2017
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