October Musings

Last week was saturated with work. (As though there’s many weeks that aren’t!) And now this week is chucked full with something going almost every night. I randomly bake cinnamon rolls and pumpkin pies to sell and had wanted to do that this week again. Wednesday evening I gave that up. I’ve been too busy and snappy with my children, besides not spending enough time with them. Thursday I decided to not be in a hurry. It felt lovely.

I needed a few groceries in town, so decided we’ll all go to the store and then stop at a few little shops in search of a candle, because I really needed one. Reece woke early, so that meant mom’s night was finished too, even if it wasn’t. So I thought, Ok, I’ll get a good start to my day, get the laundry going and surely we can get left for town by 9. Josie was trying to brush out her own hair, the wash needed changed and Reece had another pooped diaper, credit to a case of diarrhea this week. But I thought he was over it. (This was also the reason for waking mom early because his bottom needed assistance) Every time I’m by myself trying to get all of my two children out the door I give a mental sigh of how it must be to get, say, four or five children out the door! Would I even be able to get left before lunch?! Ok that’s a bit exaggerated but you get the idea. Eventually we got left, but not at 9. Sun-mart was not busy, for which I was grateful. If you want to exacerbate the events of shopping with children, go to the store when it’s rush hour.

I’ve been inwardly lamenting that it’s fall and I don’t even have any nice smelling candles to burn! I usually burn soy candles because their not toxic like the average synthetic ones. But those are hard to find and I forgot I was out of my favorite kind, until I went to pull it out and discovered it wasn’t there! Now, the second reason for getting a candle is embarrassing. You know those little gray critters that seek for shelter in cold weather? One or two invaded our house and then just up and died behind closed doors. No, he missed the traps, and definitely hid well, because it smells like he’s behind the dishwasher or under the cabinets where it’s nigh to impossible to get to! And oh what a smelly predicament! I threatened to Jerald I’ll pull out the dishwasher myself to get it out! Unfortunately it only remains a threat because I of course, am not a carpenter. So I succumbed to fresh air and, yes, a candle! The mice know just when to die without being embalmed- usually just before company comes, which was Thursday night. Fresh air? Yes! Essential oils diffused? Yes! Candle burning? Yes! Mouse corps? Uhh… yes still kind of….😤

But it was still a good day! Someone told me this new coffee shop in town has candles. So we trotted down the street to check it out. I immediately decided we would take time to get drinks too. I explained to the lady I’m not big on coffee so she kindly offered to put in half of the usual espresso. That really helped out my taste buds and I enjoyed a salted caramel latte. It’s been my history of getting flopped drinks at coffee shops and feeling disgruntled at the money spent but not enjoyed, so this was an exceptional accomplishment. The children shared a hot chocolate which she only warmed, instead of steaming hot. A second kind gesture. Hey, I believe I’ll patronize this place some more! I also had the chance to visit with an older couple who was in there. Would I have taken time for this if I had been going at the top notch speed I often do?? They loved the children…. Don’t children often make for good conversation?! I also invited them to church for the evening service because we had a chorus group coming to give a program. Oh. And yes, I even found a candle! No, it’s not soy wax as I normally get but since it was direly needed, I made an exception.

Late afternoon the children and I also made a small batch of healthy No Bake cookies. Of course we had a mess because there was chocolate, oatmeal and 20 little fingers involved. Remember: pictures don’t do justice.

This was supper one night this week. Love fall!! Carmalized sweet potatoes and apples and fresh salad with greens off the tower garden! Josie chopped the lettuce and prepped our salads. She felt important and thoroughly enjoys helping make food.

Carmalized Sweet Potatoes and Apples

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

2 – 3 apples, diced

2 T. coconut oil

1/2 t. salt

2 t. cinnamon

2 T. coconut sugar or brown sugar

Using a cast iron skillet, melt oil and fry potatoes till about soft. Add in apples, stir and cover pan for a few minutes. When both are soft, stir in remaining ingredients. I like using a crisp apple like Fuji or Honeycrisp. I’ll often sprinkle in a little stevia too, if I think it’s not quite sweet enough. Feel free to adjust the salt and cinnamon too, to suit your own taste because that’s how I cook! In fact, I find it a little hard to write out recipes exactly like I make them because its very likely to vary a bit from one time to the next!

This is our aeroponic tower garden. In the winter we keep it inside and grow greens all winter long, using grow lights. If your interested in one, just email me! Because we can certainly get you one!

Some simple fall center piece ideas…

Cinnamon sticks glued onto a candle looks really fallish. I actually used masking tape inside out, just so the cinnamon sticks stuck a bit, then tied jute cord around to hold it on. I topped it off by glueing on a whole anise star. A dried orange or apple slice would look pretty too! It would probably be best to use cinnamon sticks on a battery operated candle, since it could be fire hazardous when the candle burns. But if you just want it to decorate, it’s fine and dandy! I haven’t burned this candle yet. And by the way, these are only the simple, unscented pillar candles.

Isn’t Autumn a wonderful time of the year? Go on a brisk walk and enjoy the brilliant leaves. Breathe deeply and thank God for lungs to breathe fresh air, for eyes to behold the beauty, and for the sense of smell to sniff that unique autumn scent! Savor a drink in the dark quiet of an early morning. Ok. Really. I need all this advice myself. This time, your welcome to listen in on my mind’s lecture. Other times, not welcome. I tend to have whispered sermons when I go on my strolls, discussing with myself and God about whatever concerns me at the moment.

We’re having weekend meetings and I was reminded again in last night’s message of the importance of slowing down! We can’t hear God when we’re going 100 miles an hour in our mind and work! Be still and know that I am God…. Psalm 46:10

A Peek In My Herb Cabinet

With cold weather coming on and winter being a typical time for flu bugs to sail around visiting homes, I thought this would be a good time to share on some things I like to use and keep on hand. Throughout the winter I regularly give my children herbal calcium, silver and an elderberry syrup or immune booster. Juice Plus chewables are another staple for my children! (At a later date I will blog about Juice Plus, which is an incredibly good product!)

I like to have my cabinets stocked with herbal tinctures especially in winter so I can feel ready for any cough or bug that might creep our way. If you want to use herbal tinctures and remedies, you must jump right on it at the first sign of sniffles, aches or flu. Don’t wait till you have that “ugh” feeling, to place an order of herbs! Keep some on hand so you can begin taking them immediately or sooner! Taking a few droppers full every hour or two is usually a good, safe guideline. You must be consistent if you want results! Once or twice a day isn’t enough if your battling sickness.

Also getting fresh air daily and occasionally fresh air into your house is a real good idea to help battle the germs! (I have a certain set of “fresh air” beliefs) Maintaining a healthy diet will help much in escaping many of those winter flues. Don’t expect to eat a diet void of fresh foods, and then think a few herbs will help you get better in a jiff!

When my children are sick I like to put all the tinctures, essential oils and thermometer in a basket or plate, then I can carry it to the couch or bed and have everything at my fingertips. If the children have fever, I rub peppermint, lavender and lemon essential oils on their spine and feet. Then also, soak a rag in apple cider vinegar and swab or lay it on their foreheads. Of course getting them to drink cold juice or water or suck on ice is also helpful. When I was a little girl, my mom gave me the egg white remedy to bring down fever. Beat one egg white and mix in a little sugar or sweetner and vanilla to make it palatable. Drink down as much as possible. It’s a gaggy texture but it does help bring down fever pretty quick. I haven’t used this on my children but would if they’re fever went pretty high. So far I don’t think mine have had 103 or above and I’ve been able to have success with natural remedies. Did you know it’s beneficial for a child to have several good fevers before they’re 5 or 6 years old? It kills cancer sells and helps the body build immunity to infection/fever. Many people are quick to give Tylenol or something similar as soon as their children have fever. But that’s not good for the body in the long run. However, I don’t mean to carelessly let a fever go too high because it could be dangerous. I keep an eye on their fevers and do all I can but if it would soar too high, then I would give something else.

I used to use a lot of the Doterra brand of essential oils and still really like those, but because of price, I’ve gotten on to using more of the “now” brand. I think they work great but if you want to take it internally, I would recommend the Doterra brand. I really like Doterra’s oil blend called Onguard. It’s a strong combat against germs and sicknesses. I’ve found another place (Ann’s Naturals) carries something very similar, which is called Combat oil. This is a blend of cloves, lemon, rosemary, eucalyptus and cinnamon. You will see this Combat oil right up front in my pictures. I love that oil! I like to rub it on chests or on the bottoms of feet or along the spine. The smell is lovely to diffuse too!

Something I do for myself when I feel like I’m getting sick is drink fire water. Boil a half cup water and stir in 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper and 1 teaspoon sea salt. Then add a half cup apple cider vinegar. Use Braggs brand or one ‘with the mother’. Take one Tablespoon every 20 minutes or half hour throughout the day, or until you feel better. This really burns so don’t give it to children. I don’t mind it too much because I know it works and is good for me. I can take most anything icky- probably because I had to when I was a little girl sick with cancer. Just pinch your nose shut and swig it down! I mean if it’s good for you, why not?! Jerald doesn’t like to take this but if he’s feeling pretty bad he gives in and shivers it down!

One of my favorite places to order health products from is Sun Lite Herbs in Belle Center Ohio. You can call them for a catalog at 937-464-9099. They have reasonable prices and ship quickly! They carry a lot of products for moms/birthing/prenatals etc. as well as for babies and children and much more! Their Infant Tummy Relief works great for baby, but we also keep it on hand for anyone’s bellyaches and it works wonderfully! I also like their Ear oil for ear aches. Side note here, Basil oil is really good for ear ache too. I rub it around the outside of ear, and place a few drops of the Ear oil in the ear. I also like the Horehound Blend that Sun Lite Herbs carries. It works good and is safe for babies with congestion. To give you an idea on their prices, a lot of their 4 oz tinctures are $19.95. And they carry the Be Your Own Doctor books by Rachel Weaver. Very highly recommended to add to your library if you want to learn about caring for your own health! Be Your Child’s Pediatrician is another one she wrote. She covers vaccines and the dangers of them in this book. Very helpful to look up many ailments. I have all of these books and love them!

Another favorite is Ann’s Naturals in Horse Cave, Kentucky. This is a small family business with the best prices I have found! A 4 oz. tincture is $11, an 8 oz. is $19.50, or you can order as large as 16 oz for $38. You can call Annabelle at 270-524-4680. Not a big catalog but yet has a good variety of the normal echinacea, elderberry, cough syrups, immune booster and more. Also, essential oil blends, diffusers and salves. I love her garlic salve and am quick to use that on my children. It works for chest congestion, ear ache, or even just rubbing on their back for extra benefits when fighting any sickness. The Deep Tissue Healing Oil Salve is also a must have for us! It really helps when rubbed in on sore backs, shoulders or any muscles. It could also be used as a salve for congestion. Or if your child falls and gets a goose egg bump, rub on a bit of this deep tissue salve. The second ingredient is arnica oil, which is good for pain and swelling in bruises and speeds up healing. Don’t use on any open wounds because it would burn.

Many of you are likely familiar with Nature’s Warehouse. But in case your not, their number is 800-215-4372. A large catalog with oodles of health and body products, even carrying health foods and THM products. They print informative health articles to read, among their products in their catalog. They send out a catalog four times a year. Any orders over $25 ship free.

New Light Health from Elliottsburg, PA also has a large catalog with many products, as well as printing interesting health articles. It is similar to Nature’s Warehouse. Their number is 855-692-3500.

If you have interest in making your own tinctures and saving money, contact Walnut Creek Botanicals at 320-585-4372. They offer a variety of kits to make your own tinctures! Very nice kits that include specific directions and all you need to make your own, except for the vegetable glycerin or vodka that you will add to preserve your tinctures. I have gotten and made their herbal calcium kit several times. Super easy and heaps cheaper than buying small 4 oz size tinctures! It made approximately one quart of calcium, and the kit then was $19! I haven’t ordered just real recently so I’m not certain if that’s the current price, but it’s definitely affordable!

I hope this has been informative and helpful in your quest to keeping your family healthy!

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live”

“It costs money to stay healthy, but it’s expensive to get sick”

Guest Post- Life in Ukraine

The following blog post is written by my sister-in-law Kaylene Rhodes who is currently serving as a missionary in Ukraine.

Welcome to the beautiful land of Ukraine! This country has earned the title “Breadbasket of Europe” because of it’s rich, fertile soil. Much wheat is grown here. There are also many sunflower and canola fields. When the flowers are blooming it is a spectacular sight!

I’m serving at the Shipintsi mission under MIM. My job description is teaching. This doesn’t consume all my time because I have only a few students.  There are many things around though to help with, so sometimes I’m a cook, hostess, or seamstress. I find my life very fulfilling!

This year I have 2 full time students, Nastya and Katya, in grade 9.  They are learning English, and also have some lessons with a Ukrainian teacher in Ukrainian language and history. Last year was their first here, and they started in CLE language and reading. They knew some English and were able to rapidly work their way up. This year they started in 304.  Their sister Anya is starting in level 500, and does her work at home. She comes to school to have me check her work and then do her tests and quizzes. Their brothers, Misha and Bogdan, come as it works in their schedule.

One day a week 2 preschoolers come. Our interpreter is sending his little girl, Solomiya. He sees the need of a Christian education, but their Baptist church doesn’t have a private school. She came knowing basically no English (her mother doesn’t know it well) but is picking it up quickly. Makayla comes from a mission family and doesn’t know Ukrainian. They aren’t able to communicate much with words, but actions and gestures can speak volumes!  We all enjoy the days they come, it adds spice to our small school.

First day for the preschoolers!

I will give you a little glimpse into our village and location. We’re in southwestern Ukraine, only about an hour from the Romanian border. The gorgeous Carpathian mountains are close to us, and we often take drives and enjoy picnics in the fresh mountain air!

Our village is a typical Eastern European one. Village sounds include barking dogs, crowing roosters, cargo and passenger trains rumbling down the tracks multiple times a day, and cathedral bells ringing to announce a death or holiday.  Weddings and parties can last far into the night, and if you happen to be a neighbor sleep may elude you until things settle down.

There are many interesting sights as well. Every so often a funeral procession will go by school on their way to the cathedral. Special assigned people will go first carrying crosses and other Orthodox emblems. Singers chant mournful songs, the hearse drives slowly, and the people walk behind it.

If it’s a nice day you will probably see a farmer taking his cow to fresh green grass. It may be in some field on the edge of the village , or a patch of grass by the road works as well. They lead the cow by a chain or rope that’s tied around her horns. I’ve never seen one tied around the neck.

Mama goat has access to the road as well as pedestrians and drivers! The kids weren’t tied up, I’m supposing the owners thought they won’t wander too far from mom.

The garbage ‘truck’ goes through the village 2 times a month. They drive a tractor pulling a wagon, and have several men on the back to load and arrange the trash.

The culture is somewhat different than ours. I will give you some examples. In doing this I’m not trying to belittle either culture, I only want to give you some interesting insights.

It’s considered very rude to blow your nose in public.  They will sniff and sniff, but not blow their nose until they can get away to the bathroom.

People aren’t very friendly with strangers, neither are they quick to smile. On the flip side, they are very loyal to their friends. Hugging, kissing, and walking arm in arm are very common sights.

Smoking and drinking are chronic problems. If you know a man who doesn’t do either, you can pretty much assume he is a believer. Woman do less, but it’s not at all uncommon for them. There are a number of drunkards in the village who live from day to day, and drink to drink. Their families suffer from hunger, unheated houses, and other discomforts.

Folks take life in stride and are laid back. Time doesn’t mean as much to them as it does to we Americans. That’s something I have to constantly try to adapt to, as I’m more of a scheduled person.

Gardens consume much time and energy. Every one who is able, plants a garden. And they aren’t small either. They harvest and store loads of potatoes. Fruits and vegetables are canned or dried. Every property has multiple fruit or nut trees. They rarely plant trees just for shade or beauty.

Properties are not large. They may use most of their front yard for a garden if they don’t enough room elsewhere. Each house and its outbuildings are surrounded by a fence and gate. An open gate is a sign that someone has died. I’m guessing most natives know by now they can’t figure that for the Americans!  We leave our gates open frequently, it’s much easier to quickly come and go.

There are no such things as personal space bubbles. People cram into buses (before corona virus came on the scene), stand right behind you in line, etc. It took me awhile to get used to this, but I soon learned you can’t leave a big space between you and the next person in line. Otherwise you’ll lose your spot! Now when I go home on furlough I have to remind myself not to ‘tailgate’ people.

Our region is the most religious one in Ukraine. There are a number of Pentecostals, Baptists, and Seventh Day Adventists. But by far most people are Orthodox. There are two cathedrals in our village, and a number of little shrines on the corners of properties. They will cross themselves whenever they go by any of these. Some will even cross themselves in front of Mennonite ladies because they think they’re nuns.

Orthodox cathedrals are often extravagant.

The elderly are highly respected and cared for. Most often the parents will live with one of the children or maybe in a small house in the same yard. If their children are drunkards or died before the parents, the neighbors will step in and help care for them.

Here are a few other ideas and customs that are deep rooted. Women aren’t supposed to sit on concrete, especially if it is cold, because it will hinder them from having children. Opening windows in the winter time is taboo, even if it’s stifling hot. Air drafts (even in the summer) and cold water will make you sick. You must never give a bouquet with an even amount of flowers, unless it is for a funeral. Recently there was a holiday to remember the day John the Baptist was killed. You aren’t supposed to cut an apple or onion on that day, because it is round like a head.

This past Sunday we had our annual Harvest service. This is a Ukrainian Evangelical Christian custom. People bring fruits, vegetables, and flowers to church. We set up a display. There are 3 other important things to include on the display; the Bible, a pitcher of water, and bread. We have a special service of thanksgiving and singing.  There is a fellowship meal and more singing. The display is then taken apart and the items distributed among the people.

My older girl students posing at the harvest display. Some of the items had been taken away before we got the photo taken.

Kaylene sends out email newsletters once or twice a month, and every so often a Ukrainian recipe. If you would enjoy getting the newsletter, recipes, or if you wish to reply to this blog post, you can send her an email at theonlysister1985@gmail.com