4/27/2010

Works for us!

Eczema has been part of our lives ever since our first born was only a few months old. He was born in the spring, so as the days grew hotter and hotter I thought he was having heat rashes from riding in the car and being too hot in his car seat. I started putting a big cold pack that came with one of my casserole dishes behind the infant pad in his car seat which made for a nice cool ride. But he still had a rash! It was mostly on his back, but would sometimes come up on his belly and chest, too. So finally I asked the doctor about it. He said my son had eczema and that he might out grow it. His eczema would flare up in the heat of summer and during the dry winter days. It would itch and burn and it looked aweful! The ointment our doc prescribed was a steroid cream with lots of warning labels about using a very tiny amount and washing your hands after applying it. I was not too sure about putting in on my infant son, but I hated to see him suffer, too, and the cream really did work to soothe the flare up. None of the oatmeal baths or over the counter creams did any good.

>>Fast forward 8 years>> to the birth of my third child. Much to our sorrow, she, too, began to have flare ups of eczema. Hers were mostly on her feet and ankles. Sometimes the patches of eczema were so inflamed they would keep her awake. The areas were always dry and scaley even when there was no flare up. So we began to use the ointment on her also.

I would very much prefer a natural remedy to a chemical treatment, but I had no idea how to help my eczema sufferers. I tried taking them off of gluten for a few weeks to see if that might have been the problem. It wasn't. They have always taken a mulit-vitamin and they drink lots of water, but still the eczema flared on.

Recently I happened across a sweet bit of info on the web. I read that adding omega-3 fatty acids to the diet can cure eczema and dry skin! I was excited to give it a try. My children take a liquid multi and I began mixing in a teaspoon of lemon flavored cod liver oil with their daily vitamin dose. Two out of three LOVE to take their dose and the third is just picky. After a few weeks I noticed their skin was looking much better AND so far we have had no flare ups! :-)

P.S. I have been taking a teaspoon everyday, too, and my dry skin is gone!

4/19/2010

Monday

We're back at it today, working hard in our schoolroom. Only 3 more weeks left until summer break! Now that there is a light at the end of the tunnel we're unstoppable! The children have worked hard this year, learned a lot, and are ready to have a nice break and then move up to the next grade. Eliana is ready for them to start their summer break, too, so she will have someone to play with all day long. It's getting harder to keep her occupied while bubba and sissy finish up their work.

During this time of year we are counting down the days in the Biblical Feast of Weeks. It is so hard to believe we are almost half way to Pentecost already! Time has been slipping by so quickly. It seems like we just started the month of April, but somehow it is already more than half over. Hopefully the summer will be a little more lazy and last a little longer. Hopefully.

4/16/2010

Our Crew at the Zoo

My mom, my sister, and I packed up a picnic lunch and took all nine kids to the zoo. We had such a fun and tiring day. The only exhibits we missed were the tigers and the pandas, but we got to see all manner of wildlife and even got to pet and brush some goats and sheep! We had two 10 year olds, one 8 year old, one 7 year old, one 4 year old, two 2 year olds, one 1 year old, and one newborn. They were all worn out by the time we left. I love fun days like this!

I've Got To Move It, Move It

People who like to exercise baffle my mind. Even when I was a kid I did not like to get hot and sweaty. Things I did not like to do included relay races at Awana, walking home from school everyday, p.e. class (especially when it took place outside in the hot sun), running, and yard work. I don't think it is the actual moving about that was so bad because I loved to go swimming. I think I just hated to get hot and sweaty. Still do! Okay, so I guess I'm not an out doors type of girl and I never have been.

Recently I have begun jogging for 15 minutes twice per day. At first I didn't like it and I was checking the timer every 30 seconds. But the more I do it the less I dread it. My sister-in-law loaned me her little exercise trampoline and that is what I have been jogging on. It is supposed to be way better for your joints and it is even a little fun. I'm starting slow as I try to make friends with exercise. It is so good and healthy and I feel better afterwards. Who knows, maybe one day I'll even venture outside and find other ways to get my cardio on. Baby steps...

4/04/2010

Counting the Omer





When we celebrate the biblical Feast of Weeks we are counting 7 weeks up to the feast of Shavuot (also known as Pentecost). The first few years we had trouble keeping track of the days, so my bff and I got together and made this handy craft to help us visualize. The children take turns moving the bread from one day to the next. We sewed little pockets and numbered them. Then, we made bread out of craft clay which you bake in the oven. We made a piece of matzah to use during the feast of unleavened bread and then we made a loaf of challah to use after that. Also, for day 50, we made a second loaf of challah as 2 loaves are to be presented on that day. This is a fun way to help us count the omer during the Feast of Weeks.
*Update: We must admit that, in years past, we have been forgetful to move the bread on some days. So- this year we are employing a new addition to our Omer Counter. It makes it even more fun to remember! Each pocket holds a lollipop. Whomever's turn it is to move the bread gets the treat. Viola! Memory restored, just like that! :-)

4/02/2010

Lottsa Matzah


One of the children's favorite time of year is during the feast of unleavened bread. They love the home made matzah. Here is my first and only recipe that I have used for the last 5 years. It is easy to make and tastes great.
Unleavened Bread
3/4 cup scalded milk*
1 egg
1/2 cup softened butter
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon salt
3-4 cups all purpose flour

Combine milk, egg, butter, and honey in mixer and combine well. Mix in salt. Add flour until smooth dough forms. With buttered hands, remove from mixer and press out onto greased cookie sheet. Pierce and stripe with a fork. Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes or until lightly golden. Cut with a pizza wheel.

OR

Put out dough on floured surface. Roll out to desired thickness. Pierce and stripe with a fork. Cut into pieces with a pizza wheel. Place pieces on cookie sheet and bake at 375 for 10-15 minutes until lightly golden.
*The first time I made this recipe I did not know what scalded milk was. It just means heated to a near boil.

Today we decided to try a different kind of matzah. It turned out so delicious I just had to share the recipe!

Cinnamon Raisin Matzah

2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup softened butter
1 beaten egg
1 teaspoon orange zest
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup milk
1 cup plumped raisins**
1 cup chopped cranberries (optional)

In your Kitchen Aid mixer combine flour, sugar, and salt. Mix in butter until crumbly. Add egg, orange zest, juice, and milk. Stir until evenly moist dough forms. Fold in plumped raisins and optional cranberries. Put dough out onto greased cookie sheet and press out to the edges. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and brush with butter then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
**To plump raisins- place them in about a cup of hot water and let them soak for 10 minutes or until plump and juicy. Drain off soak water.

This scrumptious matzah reminds me of a cross between coffee cake and scones. It is perfect for breakfast! I hope someone enjoys these recipes as much as we do.

My Sunny Girl

Eight years ago today I was in labor with my second child. A repeat c-section was scheduled for April 3rd, but I woke up in the wee hours of the 2nd to labor pains. Sometime during the process I decided to go ahead and skip the c-section and my daughter was born that evening at a whopping 9 lbs. 12.3 oz. She was the most beautiful baby I had ever seen.

One reason she is so special is because we had it in our heads that we would have only boys. My husband is one of 3 boys and we both thought we would have all sons too. I wanted a daughter so badly and she has been more precious than I could have imagined.

She was the easiest baby. She is kind and usually gets along with everyone. The outdoors is her playground and her imagination takes her wherever she wants to go. Although she loves fancy dress-ups, she prefers comfort over style any day and would wear raggedy play clothes all the time if possible. On a daily basis she must be told to wash her dirt-stained hands and brush her hair since these are not priorities in her life. She loves to be silly and make others laugh. If playing a game, she loves to win and absolutely hates to lose. She is loyal, kind hearted, and sensitive to other people's feelings. She loves animals. Usually we can depend on her to do her chores. She is her big brother's perfect side kick and her little sister's second mom. Learning usually does not come fast or easy to her, but she is diligent and tries until she gets it. Rarely does she share what she is thinking and if asked, she has a hard time putting her thoughts into words. She is even tempered- usually in a good mood. She is a heart stealer and has been ever since she was born. The one word that describes her the best is lovable.