May 012012
 

Seven years ago today… was a LOOONG day!

We had planned a home birth, and things progressed rapidly in the morning. But just before we expected her to come any minute, progress stopped (but the painful contractions didn’t).

After trying everything known to, well, woman, our midwife transferred us to the hospital (a 30+ minute drive). Thank God that her backup doc was the one on the floor, so we were not immediately confronted with a C-section battle.

People may see me as “opposed to medical intervention in birth,” but what I am opposed to is “UNNECESSARY medical intervention.” Medical intervention saved one or both of us from a very bad outcome seven years ago, and allowed me to give birth to my beautiful daughter, Jewel.

Her grandma (my mom) caught her, we nursed right away, and a few hours later we were home with our whole family cuddled up in bed.

  • Thank you, Lord, for the medical knowledge and help that was there when we desperately needed it.
  • Thank you for my husband, Wolf, an amazing partner and father.
  • And thank you for Jewel, who is a blessing beyond measure…

Happy 7th Birthday, Jewel!

Mar 312012
 


Follow along from conception to birth and beyond in this delightful book (and companion DVD series) from Shoshanna (Pearl) Easling of the Bulk Herb Store. (Don’t miss yesterday’s review and giveaway of the DVDs!)

It’s the FIFTH and FINAL DAY of the As For My House Holy Week Giveaway Bonanza!

So you say a bunch of blog giveaways aren’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of “holy” or “Easter”?

Me, either. But I wanted to share my joy with you at this blessed time of year, and share gifts in honor of the Greatest Gift of All that Christ gave us.

There are five giveaways, each lasting for a week, leading up to Easter Sunday.

Like the DVD Series, this book is AMAZING

The book is GORGEOUS! It would make a fabulous coffee-table book, just to flip through and look at the gorgeous pictures of food, herbs, and kids.

The book is HUGE! More healthy recipes than your average cookbook (including a good number of gluten free and casein free options), more herbal concoctions than your average herbal book, more pregnancy information and exercises than your average pregnancy book… Just, WOW!

Look at all this stuff:

  • The first three section of the book are direct companions to the DVD Series – containing the recipes, exercises, and herbal goodies mentioned in each section.
  • My Pregnancy Cookbook – a bunch more recipes!
  • Did You Know? – basically an FAQ section with at-a-glance information on everything from “tips for morning sickness” to “mercury in fish”
  • Grandma’s Remedies – everything from soothing tea, to toothpaste, to treatment for diaper rash
  • Baby Diary – a journal framework for you to records the details of your pregnancy journey
  • Resources, Glossary, and Index


For my regular readers, I will comment that while I had no problem with yoga pants for exercise segments [since you are presumably at home alone (or with your husband) while doing these moves], I was disappointed to see her wearing pants about as often as skirts in the rest of the photos, as well.

There is one thing (as in the DVDs) that I found, frankly, both disturbing and entirely out of place: Shoshanna recommends circumcising your baby boy. Not only does this seem quite contradictory to the expressed views of “natural”, “simplistic” and “organic”, and the implied view that God knew what He was doing when He created us — it also flies in the face of current medical research, and even practice.

The 2009 national circumcision rate was just 32.5%, and less than 25% in some states — a far cry from the 55% – 65% she claims in the book. A concise collection of the basic facts and figures (including debunking the myth, which Shoshanna’s second-hand experience of eveidently led to her decision, that circumcision is “cleaner”) – can be found at the Circumcision Resource Center.

Although I find that quite a serious issue, it is still only one item out of literally hundreds. Let us not lose sight of the big, wonderful, picture.

You can purchase your own Making Babies Book directly from the Bulk Herb Store. Or, as of this writing, Amazon.com has it for the same price, with Free Super Saver Shipping!


And one lucky As For My House reader is going to win a copy!

Enter with the RaffleCoptor form below to win a Making Babies Book!

I received a copy of the book for review purposes. I was not compensated in any way for this review. This review has not been approved or edited by anyone. Bulk Herb Store is providing the prize for this giveaway, shipped directly to the winner.
I was “disclosing” before it was cool. See my Review Policy for the full scoop.


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Mar 302012
 


Isn’t she adorable?

That’s Penelope Jane Easling, the actual baby that was followed from conception to birth and beyond in this delightful DVD series (and companion book) from Shoshanna (Pearl) Easling of the Bulk Herb Store.

Today’s review and giveaway are for the DVD Series, but stay tuned tomorrow for a review and giveaway of the incredible book!

Welcome to Day FOUR of the As For My House Holy Week Giveaway Bonanza!

What? A bunch of blog giveaways aren’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of “holy” or “Easter”?

I know… But I wanted to share my joy with you at this time of year, and share gifts in honor of the Greatest Gift of All that Christ gave us.

There will be five giveaways, each lasting for a week, leading up to Easter Sunday.

This DVD Series is … Incredible!

Making Babies DVD Volume I follows Shoshanna through the first trimester of her pregnancy. There are countless recipes, remedies, and herb concoctions, as well as a wealth of information about fertility, conception, morning sickness and pregnancy.

Making Babies DVD Volume II covers Shoshanna’s second and third trimester – along with plenty more healthy recipes, remedies, and herb concoctions. It also includes exercises, birth preparation, information on the birth experience and much more.

Making Babies DVD Volume III begins with Shoshanna’s wonderful natural birth, then covers the postpartum period as she stays healthy with her new baby. Making Babies Vol 3. is also full of deliciously healthy recipes, remedies and herb concoctions. Because of the sensitivities of little Penelope (and a blessing to many others like myself), she includes many recipes that are gluten free and casein free. It includes information about birth, nursing, postpartum, losing weight and getting in shape, and much more.

There are also interviews with several professionals throughout the series, lending their wisdom in specific areas (a chiropractor, a doctor, a midwife, etc.).

I will admit right here that I have not had a chance to watch all the DVDs. There is OVER SEVEN HOURS of material in this series! I wanted to make sure to get this giveaway up for you, so I just watched bits and pieces from Volume I and II, and most of Volume III.

I do fully intend to watch it all – even with no intention of ever having another child. I think that (a) many of the recipes and remedies have broad application, and (b) someone I care about may one day be pregnant – you just can’t have too much good information.

Each DVD is visually pleasing, with very professional film-making, and lovely sets. There is a spacious kitchen for the cooking segments, an outdoor setting where she prepares her herbal concoctions, and several other locations where she presents a wide array of tips and ideas.

One of the true highlights of the DVDs, though, is Shoshanna herself. Her cheerful, bubbly personality is guaranteed to make you smile. She gives you a ton of valuable information, but in a lighthearted and un-self-conscious manner that makes it very enjoyable viewing.

For my regular readers, I will comment that while I had no problem with yoga pants for exercise segments [since you are presumably at home alone (or with your husband) while doing these moves], I was disappointed to see her wearing tight jeans in the kitchen segments of Volume III.

There is one thing in Volume III that I found, frankly, both disturbing and entirely out of place: Shoshanna recommends circumcising your baby boy. Not only does this seem quite contradictory to the expressed views of “natural”, “simplistic” and “organic”, and the implied view that God knew what He was doing when He created us — it also flies in the face of current medical research, and even practice.

The 2009 national circumcision rate was 32.5%, less than 25% in some states; 80% of the men in the world are intact (and most of those circumcised are Muslims!). A concise collection of the basic facts and figures (including debunking the myth, which Shoshanna’s second-hand experience of eveidently led to her decision, that circumcision is “cleaner”) – can be found at the Circumcision Resource Center.

Although I find that quite a serious issue, it is still only one item out of literally hundreds – 2 minutes out of over 7 hours. Let us not lose sight of the big, wonderful, picture.

Here’s a preview:

You can purchase your own Making Babies DVD Series directly from the Bulk Herb Store. Or, as of this writing, Amazon.com has it for the same price, with Free Super Saver Shipping!

$75 does sound like a lot of money – but really, when you break it down it’s not at all out of line. $10/hour for a professional lecture series? $25 for a single DVD? Reasonable. And besides, you just can’t put a price on your health, and your baby’s…

But one lucky As For My House reader is going to win a set!

Enter with the RaffleCoptor form below to win a Making Babies DVD Series!

I received a copy of the DVDs for review purposes. I was not compensated in any way for this review. This review has not been approved or edited by anyone. Bulk Herb Store is providing the prize for this giveaway, shipped directly to the winner.
I was “disclosing” before it was cool. See my Review Policy for the full scoop.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Mar 232012
 

Sometime last Fall, we decided to make a concerted effort to make sure each child had some one-on-one time with Papa, on a regular basis.

The idea we came up with was that each Saturday morning was Papa’s “data time”, and the person who has claim to him rotates.

R.T., Jewel, and Nick each get one Saturday each month, in that order. The Air Force claims one Saturday each month, as well, and its choice displaces all others and moves the schedule back a week for all remaining children.

On those months when there is a fifth Saturday, it’s mine. One of these days we’ll figure out a way to have more “date night” time, but that’s a topic for another day.

With suggestions, and the occasional veto, the kids are allowed to choose what they want to do with Papa.

As a general rule, they must leave the house (to avoid distractions); we also try to minimize the cost (of course). It’s not often they have trouble coming up with something that sounds exciting to them – as long as they get their time with Papa!

Dates so far have included:

  • Swimming (at the base pool)
  • Playing at the beach / Sandcastles
  • Visiting the Children’s Museum
  • Seeing a movie (not our favorite, but allowed for the teen as long as a meal and discussion followed)
  • Bouncing on the giant bungee trampoline at the mall
  • Mini golf
  • Bowling
  • Used-car shopping (and car buying lessons)
  • Flying a kite
  • Fishing
  • Board Games (while I make sure they’re left alone, the teen and Papa enjoy the occasional game of ‘Risk’ or other non-Family-Game-Night type games)
  • Watching a video together at home (also for the teen, also structured to facilitate engagement, a particular well-known older movie that Papa and he has talked about extensively but he had never seen)


I imagine we will come up with many more ideas, as well as revisiting some of the favorites again and again.

The important thing is that we are committed to this. Wolf doesn’t spend an inordinate amount of time on his work, nor do his hobbies take him away from the family much. (What a great Papa!)

But the kids really cherish having this one-on-one time time with him that they can look forward to, rather than having to share him all the time.

Mar 162012
 

The first quarter of 2012 is almost over.

And we’re just now getting to the point where we feel like human beings around here, after prolonged and repeated bouts of illness. So far, 2012 has been pretty much a washout.

Today the Littles and I tried to ease back into schooling. We’re wrapping up the end of a week we started months ago, interrupted by the beginning of “the plague.”

This is Week 17 of our curriculum. If we manage to complete Week 18 next week, we will reach The Halfway Point.

If the first half of the school year took us seven months, that doesn’t bode well for our end date.

Of course, the freedom to take the time off is one of the important benefits of homeschooling. As is the freedom to take as long as we’d like to finish this “year” of curriculum, thank you very much.

But, for me, I would like to finish this year at some reasonable time, enjoy swim lessons and summer fun, and be able to start fresh on a new school year after Labor Day.

Which brings us to the realm of choices. The kind that, while appearing simple, require some real thought about philosophies and priorities.

Say my goal is to get through 1.5 weeks of the scheduled schooling each week.

(A) Do I just do a little more school every day?

(B) Or do I leave some things out (more than what I might normally skip), so that we can get through more in the same amount of time?

Or is that a silly goal to begin with, and do I need to re-think my plan for starting next year in September?

It probably makes a difference to understand that my daughter is in 1st grade. We’re not really learning things daily in the “schooling” part of our day that are of drastic lasting import, nor anything that can’t easily be caught up when we see the topic again down the road.

Working my way up to that statement seems to have pretty well clarified how I actually feel about it, doesn’t it?

I guess CHOICE B (above) is probably the right choice for us.

This time.


Carnival of Homeschooling

“Worry” image from the Health Freedom Alliance, a website about which I know nothing further.

Feb 142012
 

Love isn’t a warm, fuzzy feeling. We’re not talking about teenage infatuation, or overactive hormones, here.

Love is a verb. Love is the commitment you make, and the action you take. Love is much more than whether you “feel like it” or not on any given day.

People homeschool for different reasons, but it seems to universally boil to down to the fact the we love our children (and in many cases, including ours, we love our Lord).

Your child has special needs that won’t be addressed in a traditional school setting? Your child is working ahead of or behind the “grade level” the schools would box them into? School teach values with which you disagree?

Of course… But you wouldn’t care if you didn’t love your child, and in some cases the Lord.

So we do “love” (the emotion) our children, of course.

How do we “love” (the committed action) them, as homeschoolers? Let me count the ways…

We Love them enough to continue homeschooling in spite of whatever hurdles life throws at us.

A Pilgrim’s Heart shares the solutions she’s found during a year of travel and travail, in Pulling An Education Together on the Road.

The Why Homeschool blog is right on my wavelength today, exploring the question of Can only the privileged few homeschool?

Sometimes the “hurdle” is nasty winter weather. Sage Parnassus offers a wonderful perspective in Fertile Observations and Family Diaries.

We Love them enough to do what is best for them, even when it doesn’t feel like the best for us.

Everyday Snapshots shares a treat: Beat the Yellow Bus Blues: Combat Homeschooling Burnout

Okay, I only have one Carnival submission that fits this heading, but it’s such an important one for me right now. When they are ill, they would be home from school anyway… But when I am ill, it is easy to feel the longing for an easier path!

We Love them enough to give them the true education we feel they need, as well as providing for the world’s requirements to ease their future.

7 Sisters Innovative Homeschool Helps discusses how to “package” your fine arts learning into a format that will be recognized by colleges and other interested parties, in Fine Arts on the Homeschool Transcript.

Team Gray! ponders on What Is Education?

The Itchy Homeschooler is reciting Shakespeare, in the Merchant of Venice.

Practical Pages has some advice for our growing children venturing out into the world, in 10 Tips for 1st-Time Employees.

We love them enough to push and challenge them. To push and challenge authority, when necessary. To push and challenge ourselves.

Golden Grasses shares her musings on life and learning in Length and Width.

MomSCHOOL discusses the challenge in Homeschool Scheduling – Routine or Rut?

My Domestic Church offers hope with A surprising success with my right brained reader!

We love them enough to explore new territory, expand our horizons, and keep trying to find the best resources for each situation.

Tea Time with Annie Kate describes learning through The Great Backyard Bird Count.

Home School VS Public School discusses ways to look at life, via Why Should Home School Students Take Pictures.

The About.com Homeschooling Blog shares a co-operative idea in Meals and Moms: Meal Exchange Homeschool Group.

MomFITNESS shares some ideas for teaching Lessons on Health and Nutrition.

Dimes2Vines reviews some helpful resources in Home Education – Reading and Spelling.

We love them enough to…

Share a laugh with Our Curious Home, who shares Stream of Consciousness Homeschooling.

Lifelong Learning is very much on the same page as I am today, and shares a wonderful reminder about the role of LOVE in Homeschooling, with If I Knew Then, What I Know Now.

Thank you for reading… Naturally, please let me know if you find any errors or broken links.

I want to thank each of the bloggers who shared with us today. As always, it has been a joy to read through them all while putting this together (I confess I don’t typically get to read through an entire carnival!).

Please take a moment to post a link to the carnival on your blog, your Facebook page, your Twitter feed… help spread the word about homeschooling, and the carnival, and send some traffic to all these terrific folks!

And of course, good Carnival manners includes the hope that everyone will link their submitted post to this Carnival post, as well as possibly including one of the adorable COH Graphics. Thank you!

Don’t forget to send in your post for next week’s carnival! Just visit Why Homeschool for all the details, and email the info anytime before next Monday.

Image credits: Heart pencil from the Thinking Kids blog, which I discovered for that purpose, but actually looks pretty cool. LOVE from contributor LifeLong Learning. Heart Hands from Lifetips by Coach Cat, a website about which I know nothing further.

Until next time… Happy Homeschooling!

Dec 202011
 

A friend shared this on her Facebook page, and after reading it I decided it was something I needed to do, as well. Click the graphic to read the original post over at Hannah’s Harvest.

This is my modification of the explanation my friend posted:

I have spent an indecent amount of time on Facebook, and other various websites, during 2011. Only a small percentage of that time was truly nourishing to my soul. With the intention of reconnecting to my kids and husband, and to the soul-nourishing activities here in my home, I am going to come online only once a day, for 30 minutes, to check Facebook, email, blogs, etc., from December 20th – 31st.

If you need me, call or text me. I’m not turning off my phone. :)

I am practically twitching already just making the decision. What will I be like tomorrow?? But I believe that this ‘Reset’ is necessary for me, and will end up feeling very much a gift.

Would you like to join me in this Reset? I double-dog dare you! :)

Blogging will continue. Although that is technically “online” as well, it is not a significant amount of time, nor is it a mindless waste of my time and energy.

I have made various decisions to “spend less time online” and so forth. But somehow, with no specifics, and no accountability, it has never really taken hold.

Rather than going off Facebook altogether, which I have debated, this seems like a good way to, well, reset my thinking and behavior patterns. And it comes at a perfect time, when we are celebrating the birth of Christ, and enjoying time with family and friends.

Merry Christmas!

Dec 132011
 


(A follow up to my earlier post, Advent Begins!)

NOTE: If you haven’t started an Advent activity yet, I’d still recommend grabbing a copy of Truth in the Tinsel: An Advent Experience for Little Hands (it’s only $4.99!) — there are a couple of great options for condensed schedules that let you get in all the most important elements.

We are on the full 24 day schedule, although we have fallen a couple of days behind. I am hoping/planning to at least get/stay caught up to within one day, so that we can finish on Christmas.

The kids have had a lot of fun cutting, coloring, gluing, and painting.

Most of the projects have been fairly flat, so it was simple to just glue them onto pages for their Advent Books. Some required a bit of creativity… And tools.

Luckily, I have a handy helper. Wolf took two of the contour clothespins and sliced them down into four flat “person forms” (plus some scrap). These were then gleefully decorated as Mary (Day #5) and Joseph (Day #9).

These turned out to be the kids’ favorite projects so far.

We’re having a great time reading through the story of Christ in child-size bites, and the crafts have been enjoyed by all – even the craft-phobic mama.

Dec 042011
 


Today did not start off well.

I had a raging migraine. After two doses of my migraine prescription, and assorted home remedies, I had barely reached the stage where I felt like I wasn’t going to keel over.

The kids were scheduled to go to the Build and Grow clinic at Lowe’s. Normally I would have just cancelled the outing, but during the first three weekends in December they do a three-part train project. So missing today would have meant losing out on that whole series.

Conscripting Nick to drive, we packed up and went.

As always, the kids had a fabulous time building their project. And of course they enjoyed the face-painting and balloon sculptures by the resident clown, Scoops.

Afterwards, we were swinging by WalMart for some glue.

Now, going to WalMart on a Saturday is high on my “forbidden” list. And with a migraine, it was even less appealing. But we needed glue for our Advent projects (yeah, I have some somewhere, but it must still be packed), and I didn’t want to fall three more days behind by waiting until Monday.

As Nick drove past the first set of doors, we noticed the Salvation Army bell-ringer. Since they are so ubiquitous, and I don’t have any particular emotional attachment to the Salvation Army, they are pretty easy to ignore.

The we pulled up towards the second set of doors. We saw two very young Marines, and two equally young Sailors, standing in their dress uniforms.

They are harder to ignore. (See my post about Matt Broehm)

Nick waited in the car as the Littles and I went up to the store. As we approached, one of the Marines was explaining their Toys for Tots collection to a woman who had just come out of WalMart.

I asked him if he would mind explaining it to my kids.

He crouched down to their level, and told them in a simple and caring way that they were collecting toys to give to little boys and girls who didn’t have a mom and dad to get presents for them at Christmas.

As he finished, the other woman turned to me and asked if we were going into the store. When I said that we were, she held out $20, and asked if I would be willing to buy some toys for the collection while we were shopping.

I agreed, and had Jewel take charge of the money.

We had a great time inside, shopping for things that were a good value, so that the needy children could get as much as possible. With the $20 we were able to get two multi-packs of Hot Wheels cars, and a nice set of mini dolls and clothes in a case. The kids were delighted to put the toys in the collection box (and pose with the young military men) as we left.

Personally, I kept getting teary-eyed over the fact that a complete stranger would hand me $20 and a charge like that. Really, at WalMart, do people often hand cash to strangers?

What a blessing!

I’m sure part of her trust was simply the fact that I had two little kids, and we were showing interest in the Toys for Tots. But combined with past experiences, I tend to think that my manner of dress also contributed to her level of comfort.

Our silent witness makes an impact when we least expect it.

Migraine or no, I wouldn’t have missed that experience for the world.