Berries, Birthdays, Books, and More!

We managed to get a few walks in on hot summer days to pick berries, before these recent days of summer rains and thunderstorms set in. On these rainy nights, we joyfully listen to the sounds of the storms and enjoy date nights at home after the kids are in bed. For our evenings together, we have been enjoying reading aloud Madeline L’Engle’s “Wrinkle in Time” series (currently on “A Swiftly Tilting Planet“).

We’ve been enjoying fresh summer tomatoes from local farms, especially in my favorite Caprese Salad. The Kale, White Beans & Cheddar dish from the Whole Foods Market Cookbook has been a regular staple on our menu, too. (I purchased that cookbook on our honeymoon with a precious $20 gift from a friend right after it was published, and it has been a staple for me over the years!)

Our summer homeschooling typically consists of lots of read-alouds, which makes room for other activities in the fall. The Parables from Nature and missionary stories have been our favorites this month. Our dining room wall is filled with kids’ paintings hung up for display, and the floor is regularly covered with paper dolls!

I started coursework for my midwifery program this past week, and am looking forward to the days of learning ahead! (It was fun to see that one of my favorite “cultural” books off my bookshelf is on the required reading list for midwifery.) As nice as summer has been, I am eagerly anticipating cool fall days. I was eyeing discounted jeans and sweaters on Twice the other day. (If you purchase through my link, we each earn a $10 credit.)

I have a birthday cake to make today, since we will have a new 5-year-old in the house this weekend! He asked for a “doughnut cake,” so I will be making the fun gluten-free recipe out of “Baked Doughnuts for Everyone” with some blueberries mixed in. He really wanted sprinkles on top, and I finally tracked down some “healthy” ones on Vitacost without the chemical additives (along with a fabulous deal on liquid Castile soap to restock our bathroom!). He has also figured out that a new bicycle is in store… Daddy wasn’t too subtle about tracking one down on Craigslist! (Nana has helped us be sneaky about the helmet he wants, though; he is still afraid we have forgotten it!)

We made a big batch of homemade ice cream last night, but then realized our freezer was so full of summer berries that we didn’t have enough room to store it all! Oops! So, we enjoyed half the batch early last night, and managed to squeeze a container of the remainder into the freezer for our weekend celebration.

How are you savoring these summer days?

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An Update

Thank you, dear friends, for your patience as I took a long break from this space. Those of who have kept in touch through social media or email (and in person) have truly been a blessing and encouragement through an incredible season of change.

The past year has been full, with completing my prerequisites for midwifery school, Calvin starting a new EMT job, and relocating our family to the city. While we miss the small rural community of friends, we are thankful to be closer to specialists for our children with some special needs, along with Calvin’s work and my school. I have been accepted to the Masters of Midwifery program at Bastyr University. My parents also recently relocated to the same area, so we have been able to enjoy some family time as well.

We are savoring a summer of quiet afternoons, with baking pies and browsing libraries, weekly gatherings with a local Missional Community, exploring local parks and playgrounds in the cool mornings, and hiking trails around mountain passes and coastal beaches on Calvin’s days off.

Homeschooling has consisted of many read-alouds, lots of field guides and animal encyclopedias, practicing our new address and phone numbers, and math calculations for groceries from local farms and thrift store treasures. We will be utilizing educational resources through the public school system this year as well.

I have enjoyed receiving our organic produce delivered by Terra Organics, and dairy from Smith Brothers (not raw dairy, but I mostly use the milk to make yogurt or bake with). We also have a small garden, which has given us some greens, radishes and peas, but it doesn’t meet all of our produce needs, so we are thrilled to support local farmers. We have enjoyed incredible apricots, cherries, mushrooms, and other fun summer treats. And the kids love greeting the milkman every week!

With the moving, I have appreciated the chance to unpack and declutter items that have been in storage for years. We have taken a few loads to the thrift store donation site, and finally hung up special family photos which had been in boxes.

I am enjoying utilizing Twice to clean out my closet and find some quality new clothes (now that I don’t need maternity sizes). That is my referral code link, so you & I can each earn a $10 credit with your purchase and/or sale. They also offer coupons/credits if you download their apps, get emails, etc. I was able to get $157 worth of clothes for $9!

I have been using plenty of our herbal remedies this summer on our adventures, namely the bee sting paste after yesterday’s scary discovery of a nest in the ground! Everyone is fine, and the paste quickly soothed all the stings. It is about time for me to restock supplies from Mountain Rose Herbs, and start preparing remedies for the winter ahead, I think.

What projects and fun have you been enjoying this summer? I’d love to hear!

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Naturally Soothing Winter Ailments

A couple weeks ago, I knew it was time to mix up a fresh bottle of our earache-soother oil, when one of our little ones was fussing over an earache that seemed to be getting worse instead of better.  (Sometimes viral ear infections will go away on their own, so. I just kept an eye on it at first.)

We had tackled the cold/cough that had run through our home, and were especially thankful for my little jar of homemade herbal cough syrup. It seemed to do the trick of soothing those wee morning hour coughs when nothing else did. However, the earache was the final symptom.

Thankfully, I had the necessary three ingredients on hand (Mountain Rose Herbs is my favorite source for medicinal herbs). I poured some oil in the pot on the stove, added a couple ingredients, and let it simmer while I worked through our read-alouds for the day. Afterward, I let the oil cool, strained it, and poured it into a repurposed dropper bottle.

After a day or two of administering a few drops into the ear, the pain was gone! We were thrilled that it worked faster than a round of antibiotics, and we were able to work on boosting the immune system instead of hindering it with potentially depleting medications. (Our pediatrician is completely supportive of our use of herbal remedies.)  Plus, we were able to avoid an expensive and time-consuming trip out of town for a doctor/pharmacy visit.

The flu is hitting our community early this year, so next on my to-do list is mixing up a fresh batch of immune-booster syrup! (It’s tasty enough that the kids actually ask for it, so it’s not a challenge to get them to take their small spoonful in the mornings, or drizzle it over pancakes.)

You can find the complete recipes and instructions for the above-mentioned remedies in my ebook, “Herbal Nurturing.” If you’re working on pursuing some new health goals for the new year, my ebooks can be a helpful place to start. (A supplemental edition is also available with “Herbal Adventures.”) If you’re looking for resources to help you naturally promote relaxation, immunity, and healing, choose from a wide variety of suggestions in our printable versions of recipes and tips.

This week only, you can get any of the ebooks for 50% off! (They are sent to you as a printable/downloadable PDF file.) Use code NEWYEAR50 though 1/25/14 for your discount!

What are your health goals for the new year?

This post may contain affiliate links, and I may earn a small commission from your purchase. Thank you so much for your support!
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Frugal & Simple Behavior Incentives

Awhile ago, I shared about a change we made as a family to ditch the chore charts for our children, in order to refocus our efforts and establish tools that fit our family values. In case you missed it, visit Keeper of the Home to read the full post, to see what we’re doing

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Festive Oatmeal Bake

Post by Contributing Writer, Katie

Cool mornings call for special treats like mugs of pumpkin pie lattes, chai tea, pumpkin cake and romps in piles of leaves. Recently I have been enjoying this festive oatmeal bake. This seasonal breakfast takes a few minutes to make the night before. All you need to

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Weekend Links {11.9}

In between midterm exams, I was able to do a bit of reading this week. Here are some of my favorite links. I hope you have a fabulous weekend!

An Open Letter to the Online Community: Let Kindness Reign at Keeper of the Home Leaf Stars- Craft from Autumn Leaves at 5

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Managing a Limited Grocery Budget & Food Allergies

People regularly ask me how I feed our family affordably, while still accommodating food allergies. We’ve had various seasons of health where individuals have needed to avoid dairy, eggs, or nuts, in addition to gluten. We also have one individual that has been very sensitive to sweeteners. Right now, most of our

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Thoughts on Screen Time for Children

A couple months ago, a friend and I were chatting about our hearts’ musings over “screen time” for our little ones. As homeschooling mamas, we’ve discovered many helpful aspects for learning, such as educational apps, informational videos, and online teaching resources. And yet, we wonder, how do electronics fit with the wholesome,

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Resources for Healthy Family Choices

Have you been wanting to maybe get your family eating just a little healthier, feeling a little better, go a little more natural, or save a little on your expenses?

I love sharing bits of my life and resources here on the blog with you, dear readers. I don’t like the sales stuff

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Cranberry-Orange Muffins {Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free}

One of my favorite flavors of autumn is the tartness of fresh cranberries from our local Pacific Northwest! I followed one of the cranberry trucks while traveling down the highway last week, and it reminded me to make a batch of these muffins.

If you don’t have Teff Flour, you can probably

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