Our poor little Joseph had so many health issues as a little one. As soon as he was able to chew the JuicePlus+ Chewables I got him started on them. His health got so much better! His pediatrician was amazed at how much healthier he was since he went from sick ALL the time to virtually never being sick. After a year of constant doctor appointments we suddenly stopped needing to see the doctor every week! Then one day I ran out of the purple chewables about a week before my next deliver was coming. Since the purple ones are the ones that help with immune resistance I really should have been more on top of these because the next day he got the flu! We went back to our pediatrician while I anxiously waited for the deliver of chewables to come in. She couldn’t understand how he got so sick so suddenly when he had been doing so well. As soon as the chewables came in I got him started back on a double dose and shocked his pediatrician with how quickly he recovered! Her comments to me was “I’ve never heard of this JuicePlus+ before but if it works that well for him don’t ever let him run out again!”
Even though Daniel stays home with me he does go to the church nursery and every time there is a child with a runny nose he comes home with it. Isn’t it great how they share? Well it would take weeks for him to get over it and no sooner would he be feeling better than another runny nose would show up in nursery and the whole cycle would start over again. I heard that Juice Plus+ had Gummy’s for kids and since we had such good experiences taking it ourselves we decided to try them for Daniel. He had a runny nose when I started him on them and it cleared up right away. After a month on them he had still not gotten a cold. We had a cold snap and he started to get a little runny nose, that morning he immediately brought me his Juice Plus+ & asked “Bitamins, Mommy?” He knew they were helping him feel better! He took his Juice Plus+ and the runny nose was gone in a day, instead of two weeks!
When I was pregnant with Daniel we had many problems with my prenatals. Not only was my body not absorbing the nutrients I needed during the pregnancy but the prenatals werecausing additional medical problems for me to the point I was actually hospitalized because of how my body reacted to my prenatal pills. Finally my doctor told me it was safer to stop taking the pills altogether since we weren’t able to find one that worked well for me. When I became pregnant with Joseph I asked her if it was safe to take Juice Plus+. She had been trying to find a prenatal that we hadn’t already ruled out during my last pregnancy and was so happy to hear that I was considering Juice Plus+. She said Juice Plus+ was wonderful and better than any prenatal she could prescribe for me. She advised me to take it regularly as my prenatal. I had none of the issues I had with Daniel and was much healthier overall. Also, Daniel was born with very weak and gnarly nails but Joseph’s nails were strong, health, and perfectly shaped which they also linked to the Juice Plus+ I had been taking.
A few years ago my husband was diagnosed with IBS and put on the FODMAP diet. While this diet helped his digestive problems tremendously it also severely limited the amount of fruits and vegetables that he was able to eat because his body could not digest the natural sugars in them. Only being able to eat meats and rice with only about 3 vegetables and a few berries began to compromise his immune system. He was missing about 3-5 days of work each month because of getting whatever sickness was going around the office. We found the solution to be starting him on Juice Plus+. Juice Plus+ has all the nutrients from Fruits and Veggies that we don’t normally get from our regular diets and since all the sugars are removed his body had no trouble digesting them. And since he started taking them he hardly ever gets the office colds.
Essential oils are great but most of them can’t be used at full strength. I’ve learned this the hard way; (ask me sometime about putting full strength frankincense on a fresh c-section scar). One of the ways I get them to a usable strength is to make rollerballs filled with a carrier oil mixed with the essential oils.
These rollerballs are available from amazon for about $1 each.
Making a rollerball is so simple.
- Add 10-20 drops of essential oil to the rollerball tube.
- Fill the rest of the tube with a carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil
How many drops of essential oil is determined by how strong the oil is and how strong you want the final product to be. A mild oil like lavender you could use 20 drops and still apply it to a baby with no issues. A strong oil like oregano can burn your skin at full strength so use a few less drops especially if you will be using the rollerball on children.
Daniel helped me refill our OnGuard rollerball. Watch how simple it is.
Rollerballs are great to have on hand for quick application. And they are safe for the children to put on themselves. Joseph LOVES to put his oils on each morning.
My current top 4 to always have on hand are
Oregano – immune system support, we apply to our feet twice a day
Lavender – Great for EVERYTHING! My latest favorite use is to take the sting out of bug bites. It will also repel mosquitoes. It really has hundreds of uses though.
OnGuard – This is a proprietary blend that helps support the immune system, we also apply this twice a day along with the oregano
DigestZen – another proprietary blend that helps support digestive function. IT got us over the flu! I recommend every Mama keep this on hand.
Just for fun here is one last video of Joseph applying the DigestZen to his tummy.
If for any reason you don’t want to make a rollerball but you still want the benefits of essential oils in a convenient roll on format you can always get them premixed here.
I LOVE essential oils, because they work! When nothing else works, the oils work. Simple as that. And my kids love oils, because they know they work. They know that oils make boo-boos feel better, upset tummies stop hurting and get them over colds faster. Usually I apply oils topically but today I decided to try a little aromatherapy as a solution to a new issue we’ve been having. For several nights now Daniel has been waking up with nightmares that monsters and shadows are chasing him in his room. Today he even had the same nightmare during nap time. So I decided to chase away those monsters with a combination of aromatherapy and mom psychology. We made Monster Spray! and while we were at it we made a sachet for baby sister to sleep with too!
It’s easy, Here’s how we did it.
First you need a couple things.
For both projects:
For Monster Spray:
- A small spray bottle
- Optional: Monster stickers
For the Sachet:
- Small organza draw string bags (I got 8 at the dollar store for $1)
- cotton balls
- Optional: Stuffed animal -This one was given to me with a little zipper pocket in it’s back or you can open a hole in the back of your kids favorite stuffed animal and sew it back up after putting the sachet in.
Add water to your spray bottle:
Add a few drops of lavender oil to the bottle:
Put cap on and decorate with monster stickers. Or in this case dinosaur stickers since we didn’t have monster stickers:
And most importantly. Spray on the pillow before bed and (if your child is old enough) place the bottle somewhere they can use it incase of monster nightmares, like with a favorite stuffed animal:
For the sachet for little sister we attempted a video of our little guys creating it.
Here are the basic instructions:
- Stuff the organza bags with cotton balls (These could also be made with rice, or dried lavender flowers but I wanted something that was going to be safe if the bag accidentally got opened)
- Add a few drops of lavender oil.
- Close the bag up and insert in the back of a stuffed animal if using.
Miss Abigail approves (And her whole room smells great!)
These little sachets are great for placing in drawers or closets to make them smell great, too. And if you want to make a pretty gift for a friend use dried lavender flowers in the bag instead of the cotton balls.
I recently had my third child, a girl! Isn’t she cute? Her brothers love cuddling her.
Since I’ve had so much trouble with breastfeeding and had to supplement more than half of the feedings with the last baby I do anything I can to increase my production and if it tastes good so much the better, right? When one of my friends brought me lactation cookies I was intrigued. I’d never heard of such a thing. Did it really work or was it just an excuse to eat cookies? Well, since I’d been craving chocolate chip cookies I didn’t really care. I just ate them.🙂 But then when they ran out I noticed my little one was more fussy and demanding to eat more frequently. Could they actually be making a difference? I decided to try making a batch and see if that helped. Well, finding a recipe that didn’t taste like cardboard was harder than expected so I asked my friend for her recipe. She shared the link to the ones she made. Then I couldn’t find time to make them. So my sweet husband offered to make them for me. And then because he can’t help it he made adjustments to the recipe and doubled it.
The result is a freezer stocked with several weeks worth of lactation cookies that taste AMAZING! And theses are good for the whole family. They will be the best oatmeal cookies you ever ate. In case you are curious they really do make a difference in milk production. I’m in the midst of struggling with thrush and have to pump in order to keep feeding her breastmilk. I can pump 1/4 to 1/3 more milk on the days when I have two of these cookies than on the days when I don’t.
Because he loves me and our daughter my husband sets aside time once a month to make up a huge batch of these. Today I took photos of the process and got him to share his adjustments to the recipe so I could share it here.
Start by assembling all the ingredients (This is a double batch, you can cut it in half if you like but we stock our freezer so I have enough for a month.)
- 6 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1.5 cups unbleached organic all-purpose flour
- 1.5 cups white whole wheat
- 2/3 cups brewers yeast
- 1/3 cups ground flaxseed
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1.5 cups organic unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup unrefined organic virgin coconut oil
- 1.5 cups organic cane sugar
- 1.5 cups special dark brown sugar
- 2 large egg
- 2 large egg yolk
- 2 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1.5 cups dark chocolate chips/chunks (I like Ghirardelli) – OR use jumbo raisins instead
- 1.5 cups nuts
Mix the dry ingredients together in one bowl.
Cream the liquid ingredients.
Then add the dry ingredients to the creamed ingredients.
Then add the nuts and chocolate or raisins and use an ice cream scoop to scoop batter.I scoop it directly onto a shelf in my freezer covered in wax paper. Then after about an hour I can put them into a freezer bag. When I want to make them I take two-four cookies out of the oven, place them on a baking sheet and when they soften up (after about 10 minutes) I flatten them and bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Nice warm cookies….
I’ve a pile of laundry sitting next to me that I should be folding but I keep getting distracted by what my little guy has done. This post is begging to be written down, if only to preserve this moment for his future.
I started noticing it a few months ago. We were walking into doctor’s appointment and he noticed a landscaper weeding a flower bed. “What’s he doing, Mommy?” he asked. “He’s making it look pretty.” I responded. “I have to say ‘Thank you’.” He quickly ran over and thanked the shocked worker for helping to make things pretty. Later that day we were walking into the mall and he spotted a custodian cleaning one of the directories.
“Wait, Mom. I have to say, ‘Thank you’.” and he quickly ran over and said. “Thank you for cleaning up the messes.” a few minutes later he spotted a security guard and ran up to him saying “Thank you for being a helper!” I was very pleased with him but not really sure what was going on or where he had learned this. While I try to make sure he says “Thank you” at home when someone serves him I’ve never pointed out all the sometimes invisible people who serve us in public.
When I mentioned it to my husband he quietly said “Honey, I do that.” Suddenly it all clicked. He’s right. My husband is an extremely wonderful about thanking people. In restaurants he calls the manager over to thank them for their service (even if we only received mediocre service) he says they hear enough complaints that a simple “Thank you.” can make their night. He always thanks the custodian and security guards at his office and inquires about their families. He stops and thanks police officers for their service. He always remembers the administrative assistants birthdays, even though no one else does; and he always thanks them with a small gift or card if they assist him on a project. As a former nearly invisible admin, I know just how huge that can be.
No wonder my little guy has been saying “I want to be like Daddy.” He is a pretty terrific guy. Apparently, the things daddy thought no one noticed were being observed and mimicked by his oldest son. So I just smiled and allowed him to run up to the policemen on security duty at the church nursery and thank them for helping. Then a couple weeks ago he elevated his thankfulness with an action that nearly made me burst with pride.
We had been at the park playing and it was HOT. We had decided that it was time to head home and have a rare treat of ice cream. When we pulled into our development we noticed the lawn crew was there working quite hard in the blistering South Florida summer heat. My little two-year-old sweetheart wanted to do something for them so he went into the freezer and pulled out a box of novelty ice cream cones we had bought with a coupon at our local warehouse store. The box was nearly big enough for him to climb into but he drug it out onto the front lawn and them pulled ice cream cones out of it and walked up to each gentleman on the crew and offered them an ice cream cone. It was an extremely cute scene and I was a very proud mama.
Today was lawn day again. When we got home from dropping Daddy off we saw the lawn trucks pulling in to start another day of hard work in the summer heat. As soon as he got out of the car my little guy ran in and filled the bottom shelf of our freezer with water & Gatorade bottles. Then when he heard the lawn equipment in front of our house he filled a little basket with the last of the ice cream cones, water and Gatorade and carried it out. There was only one person in front of our house at the time so he started walking around the complex offering every worker he could find a drink and ice cream. It took several trips back to our house for refills because he could only carry a few at a time but he was determined that ever worker should be offered ice cream and a drink. I followed behind with his little brother and kept an eye on him but this was his project and he was so delighted to do it. An I just watched as hard working men got smiles on their faces, tears in their eyes and bend down to hug a little boy who had just touched their heart by saying thank you in a tangible way.
What really got me thinking was when one of the workers stopped me and said. “Of all the work we do, you guys are the only ones who ever say ‘Thank you’.” WOW! There are so many people who live in our complex and none of them say “Thank you.”? And what about all the other complexes that they manage? How many hundreds of people do they serve every day who never say “Thank you.”? But then, how many times have I neglected to say “Thank you.”? How many times have I been so wrapped up in my own world that the people around me who are serving me have been completely invisible? I’ve started taking a lesson from my two-year-old and I’m looking out for someone I can thank for their invisible service. Will you?
I’ve also decided that encouraging this attitude of gratitude in my boys is well worth the cost of keeping my freezer stocked with a box of ice cream novelties and plenty of water and Gatorade in the pantry. We emptied out our stock today but when we returned home from our last trip he called his daddy and asked if he would take him back to the warehouse store tomorrow to get more ice cream and drinks for next time the workers are here. A pretty proud daddy had no problem agreeing with that!
I’ve had several people ask me what we do to be intentional in teaching the meaning of Christmas to my little ones. I realized that we actually do a lot of different things that I hadn’t focused on until people started asking me. So I decided to list out all the things I could think of and share them here.
Some ideas we do consistently every year, others we choose based on the year and some I haven’t tried yet but they are in my files to attempt either this year or next. I hope some of the ideas will help you to have an intentional Christmas.
- The Legend of the Candy Cane
This sweet little book tells the story of the candy cane and why it is such a special Christmas Candy. If you look at a candy cane upside down it is a “J” for “Jesus” who was born on Christmas day. Turn it right side up and it is a Shepard staff, the first people to worship Jesus. The red strips represent the strips of Christ blood shed for our sins and the white strips show that he can wash our sins clean. I have always loved this book and now my kids love it too. At the beginning of the Christmas season I find red & white, peppermint mini candy canes (mini’s help me limit the sugar intake). Each time we read “Candy Cane Book” the boys are allowed one mini candy cane. Joseph eats his up while we read but Daniel will hold his and follow along with each part of the story before eating his. And my two year old can tell you each aspect of the candy cane and what it represents! This is a great way for even a child to be able to share the gospel at Christmas time.
I’ve even found these little poems you can print out and attach to candy canes to pass out with a short explanation of the candy cane on it.
- Adornments – Barbara Rainey’s Ever Thine Home collection
I love Barbara’s vision to make your home an embassy. We are ambassadors for Christ and our homes are a reflection of that. She is so wonderful about providing beautiful items that help intentionally share the message of the holiday (I actually stole the idea of intentionality from her several years ago). As a mother of six she know what will be safe around children. None of her adornments are glass or breakable but they are all extremely beautiful!
I’ve included a photo of out tree where we use the “Savior Names of Christ”, the “Christmas Names” and the “Adore Hymns” collections.
- The Christmas Key
When we were first married my husband found these Christmas keys. They are three decorative keys; the shepherd key, the Magi Key and the Christ Key. A little poem accompanied them that we read each year as we hang the keys. It’s a simple tradition but it explains the “Key” to Christmas as Christ coming to die for our sins.
- Crown of thorns
Another tradition my husband started, (I think because he was tired of fusing with angels and stars that wouldn’t stay on the tree correctly), was to hang a crown of thorns from the top of our tree. We still have angels and stars just in different locations because these do hold special significance in the Christmas story. However, we use the crown of thrones as yet another reminder that Christ’s ultimate purpose in being born was to die for our sins. When we hang it Daniel will find a picture of Jesus were a crown of thorns in one of his picture books and tell us that it was used to hurt Jesus but that his blood took away our sins. It’s a simple symbol we can use in teach that even our two year old can grasp.
- Why do they call it Christmas – Buck Denver
This video by Veggie Tales Creator Phil Visor is so educational even Bible college graduates will learn something new but it is presented in a way that is interesting for the whole family and, once again, even a two year old can grasp the concepts. Some of the symbols and Christmas traditions that are explained are Why is it called “Christmas?”, Why do we celebrate on Dec. 25th?,What year was Jesus really born?, What do Christmas trees have to do with Jesus?, What about Santa Claus? Where did he come from? (Don’t worry it doesn’t spoil anything if you choose to allow your kids to believe in Santa), Which came first – Christmas or Hanukkah? And which one did Jesus celebrate?, What are the “12 Days of Christmas?”, How does the name “Emmanuel” explain the real meaning of Christmas?
- When Christmas Came – Barbara Rainey
I love Barbara’s books because she designs them to be used from toddlers up through teens. I have her Thanksgiving, Easter and Christmas books and in each one she uses various font sizes. The idea is when you children are toddlers you just read the LARGE font and as they grow older you add in the smaller sized font. When Christmas Came uses John 3:16 to explain the meaning of Christmas one phrase at a time. Christmas is about: God, Love, the World, Giving, Jesus, Choice, Hope, Eternal Life, & Promise
- Fisher Price Little People nativity
This was an idea I got from my cousin. Children learn by doing so why not give them a way to act out the Christmas story? We got the Fisher Price Little People Nativity from Family Christian and the boys love when I pack up most of their regular toys after Thanksgiving and bring out the nativity for them to play with during the Christmas season. They love arranging and rearranging the characters and especially love it when I allow them to listen to Luke 2 being read aloud from my Bible app while they play.
- The 12 names of Christmas who Jesus is to me
This little book comes with 12 ornaments. Each with a picture symbolizing a name of Christ on one side and a verse on the other. Each ornament has a corresponding devotional in the book that can be read all at once when decorating the tree or one each day for the twelve days of Christmas.
Here are a few of the ornaments hanging on our tree.
- Advent Calendar
In the interest of full disclosure I don’t have the advent calendar I am recommending. We got a late start this year so I’m modifying a simple grocery store version for this year. But my boys response has been so positive that I am already planning to purchase this more advance calendar next year. It comes with 24 magnetic figures representing different characters in the Christmas story. In each little door you can also place a small piece of candy and a bible verse to read with each character. It’s a great way to refocus our attention back to the reason for the season each day.
- Service Outreaches
I can’t express enough how important service out reaches have been. From the time Daniel was 6 months old I have taken him to buy items for Operation Christmas Child’s shoeboxes. We have also taken bakery treats to the local public service departments. Purchased items for refuges and meals and gifts for single mom’s and their kids. I make sure to have him fully involved in choosing the items and delivering them. He has been able to show a good grasp of what is needed and what would be enjoyable and he doesn’t ask for things for himself when we are on these trips because I explain how blessed we have been and this is a time to bless others.
Here is my favorite story from this year’s trip:
Every year I do a little project with the boys and usually the talk before hand goes like this “We are going to go buy some things for little boys and girls who don’t have nice things.” Daniel says “Ok” and then picks out some things he thinks another little boy would like. This year the conversation wasn’t as easy. He asked a lot of “why” and “what happened?” questions that required a lot more thought and explanation on my part. Since we were doing a project for single mom’s and their kids I explained that God had given us a good daddy and given daddy a good job so he could provide nice things for his family but not everyone has a daddy or they might not have a job so they don’t have money to buy nice things. This seemed to satisfy him until we got to the store and I asked him what he wanted to pick out for the little boys and girls and he said “I want to buy them a Daddy to take care of them.”
- Nativity picture books
This one is pretty simple, each week we make a library trip and get at least one new “Christmas Story Book.” The pictures might change a little but the basic message is still the same and it helps reinforce the message of Christmas each time they bring me the book and ask me to read. Which happens about 20 times a day. That is another reason we use the library for this…the variety keeps mom sane.
- A Birthday Cake for Jesus
This is another idea I took from a family member. When her children were little she had a happy birthday to Jesus Cake each year. I think we are going to try it. It will help drive home the point that we are celebrating Jesus birthday.
Enjoy your intentional Christmas!
In our quest to learn more about nutrition we have learned that we need to eat foods in each color of the rainbow because each color contains a different nutrient that our body needs. This was also reinforced by Daniel’s new pre-school curriculum that had a lesson about rainbow salad. In the lesson a little boy helps his mom make rainbow salad. We decided to do the same thing, so I got my trusty list of FodMap friendly foods to make sure everything we got was okay for Dad to eat and we headed to the Farmers Market.
It was lots of fun finding fruits in each color of the rainbow. We found
- Red – Raspberries
- Orange – Seedless Oranges
- Yellow – Pineapple
- Green – Kiwi
- Blue – Blueberries
- Purple – Grapes
When we got home Daniel pulled up his step stool and climbed up to make rainbow salad. I gave him a safety/butter knife and let him cut on a slice of pineapple while I diced the rest of it into bite-sized pieces.
I peeled the orange and let him separate the segments and add them to the bowl. He pulled the grapes of the stem and added them to the bowl. He got to push down on the slicer I have that sliced the kiwi.
Finally we added the raspberries and blueberries and he drizzled the tiniest bit of honey over the top.
YUMMY rainbow salad, beautiful and nutritious and made almost entirely by an 18 month old!