Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Life And Limb

My Hard-Working Guy!

You'll have to excuse the blog title...my lame attempt at humour!  So, this week my husband is taking a week holiday from work.  It is only Tuesday, and yet we have enjoyed so much quality time together!  What can I say, he is just a great guy to be around!

Things have still been as busy as ever, and the rest of the week only looks like it will get busier, BUT we are having huge amounts of fun!  My husband has to be the most productive and self-motivated person I know...even on his "holidays" he has been clearing the edges of our garden, by cutting off old tree limbs and planting rows of beech hedging. 

Our Beech Hedging

The kids and I have been kept busy with our usual chores and school work, plus extra fun and chores with Dad!  As the evenings are more relaxed we have had lots of time to read, do board games, talk and (okay, okay, I snuck a bit of craft in too!) just hang out together!  Brian and I also have a nice treat planned for later on this week, which should be very nice...but for now we are keeping it secret, so you'll just have to wait and see!

Happy Dyl

Hope You Are All Enjoying Your Week!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Meg's Magicream!

Since our sweet Meg was just a couple of months old, she has suffered with mild/moderate eczema.  It began on her cheeks, and has since appeared other places for either long or short spells, before moving somewhere else on her body.   For the last few months she has had a large patches on either side of her face and large red, scaly patches on her hands as well as small dry patches on her legs.  My poor girl! 

We knew that it could be one of many things, or indeed a couple combined, that were causing this reaction in our daughter...so we set out on a process of elimination that went on for months!

  • I began to only bathe her (water only) 2-3 times per week, so as not to dry out her skin. 

  • Next we assessed her dietary intake.  Cutting out both cow's milk and eggs (the usual suspects).
  • I changed my laundry detergent to a natural one.
  • I believe that vaccinations can often cause allergic reactions such as eczema and asthma in children...but seeing how Meg has never had any, we could rule this one out immediately.
  • I changed her shampoo to a soap-free brand.
    Nothing we did helped at all!

    One thing that I constantly beat myself up over, was breast-feeding.  I have struggled terribly with breast-feeding each of my children.  It is something that causes me great distress, as I know it is what is best for their health and mine.  I do express my milk for a time, until I'm unable to continue.  So I have to acknowledge that perhaps Meg's eczema is for lack of mama's milk, and having to make-do with a far inferior substitute? 

    Next came the ointments!  We have tried everything...no, not just a lot...I mean EVERYTHING!   We have rubbed, dabbed and smeared the poor child with every lotion and potion known to man-kind!  Nothing really seemed to help much, but "Aveeno" lotion did help flare-ups to appear less red.

    I even used a totally natural salve that I make myself.  I only use natural ingredients (beeswax, almond oil...etc) and nothing that you would expect a reaction from...but it made the eczema flare up!  I was so surprised by that!

    Then just recently, we have had a break-through! 

    I was visiting with a friend of mine who commented on Meg's skin.  She asked me had I heard of Magicream...I admitted that I had.  A few months earlier I had come across it on the internet, but it was expensive and to be very honest I was skeptical.  My friend had a small tub that she had used on her own son and asked me to try it right then.  I rubbed a small amount onto one of Meg's cheeks (which had flared up that very day) and again just before we left.

    Within hours it looked less red, and over the next two days the scaly patch looked almost fully healed and stayed like that!  We couldn't believe it!  Brian was so impressed he asked me to check it out again online.  We ordered a pot for Meg just a few days later.
    This cream has totally transformed our daughter's skin, so much so that I wanted to share it with you all.  We have applied it also to a partially healed nappy rash last night, (Meg's skin had blistered on her bottom a few days ago on account of teething) and this morning her whole bottom looks great again!

    **Please note that I am NOT AFFILIATED with this company...I just really liked their product**

    Thursday, February 23, 2012

    Little Is Much...

    So, normally I like to share at least one GREAT sermon with you guys, but this month I have more to share.  Listening to this pastor preach God's word, has benefited our family so much.  We find these sermons to be convicting, encouraging and challenging; we just love to be able to share them with you too!

    This sermon "Little Is Much When God Is In It" was enjoyed by all of our family.  Our children know that even at their tender ages, God can use them for His work and glory!  From a tiny mustard seed...

    Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, 
    The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed,
     which a man took, and sowed in his field:
    Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown,
     it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree,
     so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof. 
    ~ Matthew 13:31-32


    If you haven't already entered our GIVEAWAY, click here.  
    Deadline is Saturday!

    Tuesday, February 21, 2012

    In The School Room

     Sweet Miss Meg!

    Firstly, can I just say, "I LOVE homeschooling!  I honestly am in amazement sometimes, at the way some people recoil in horror, at the mere mention of the word!  Who wouldn't LOVE to be surrounded by your own precious children all day, every day; learning, loving and laughing!  That, and the fact that God doesn't want us sending our sweet blessings away, to be taught to hate Him, by a governmental education system.

    Dylan's New Workbooks

    Our children learn so much every week that isn't even on our "schedule".  It amazes me to watch them learn new things...just for FUN!  For example, just two weeks ago Amy picked up a "Teach Yourself Japanese" pack from our local library.  The pack itself was pretty basic, having just a booklet and two audio Cd's...but Amy got stuck into it straight away!  Many times over the coming week she would address/answer me with a simple word or two.  "Arigatou, Mama-san!"

    Amy really does have quite a flair for languages: at the moment she is learning both French and Gaelige (Irish) during school time.  Personally I dislike the Irish language (oh, don't get all offended), it is quite a difficult language to pick up, and it doesn't really have a pleasant sound.  Brian, Amy and I have discussed dropping Irish for a few months at some point, and beginning either basic German or Spanish.  I would love to teach the kids some Spanish, because I love it!  I studied the basics for a few years at school, and found it to be a beautiful language; both easy to speak, spell and understand!

     Fun With Octagons

    Dylan loves to do his school work!  For about a week he was a little stuck, because he had finished his phonics workbook (we were waiting for more in the post) and his Bible worksheets for that month...so he just worked ahead in his maths and handwriting practice!  Seriously, nothing can take his focus from his school...well, except farming!  It is a joy to witness!  The only thing he despises (I do not use this word lightly) is...wait...for...it...colouring!!!  He really does hate it!  I suppose to a busy boy who is trying to complete his school, and has a gazillion farm chores waiting for him outside...colouring is just pure tedious!  I mean, who cares about colouring in, when there is "ploughing" to be done...right?

     Dylan Helping...

    As for the kids music lessons...Amy is now beginning to learn her three exam pieces for this year.  She has chosen to skip a grade and go straight from grade 1 to grade 3.  Her teacher is confident that she can pass grade 3, so long as she is careful to practice, often and long enough!  You might also remember that last year we purchased Amy a violin as a gift.  Well, just a few months in, I had left it on top of the piano...and wouldn't you just know it?  Dylan dropped a football onto it from upstairs and the whole thing bounced off right onto the tiled floor!  We at first thought it was just a scratch...but on closer inspection we realised that the one of the tuning keys was cracked all the way through.  So now it cannot be tuned on that string, until we have it mended.  Brian hopes to take it in to be looked at, over the next few weeks so Amy can begin practicing again!

    Dylan is also learning violin!  He has about ten minutes with Amy's music teacher at the end of her lesson.  He loves it!  His violin was second-hand and is pretty beat up...but we figure it's plenty good for him to learn on, while he is still so young.  He has had about 3-4 lessons at this stage, and loves to show Daddy what he learned! 

    "Here...You Try!"

    Seen as I've just gushed about the educational achievements of our oldest children for the last few minutes (seems longer, I know!)  it wouldn't be right for me to bring this post to a close, without mentioning cutie-pie Meg!  What a sweet girl she is!  Also, she is very often the reason, why Amy takes her school work into another room to complete!  Ha!  Meg really likes to be the centre of attention...so she often makes as much noise as possible, while the rest are trying to get their school done!  Such a little fox!  Though often, I see her watching Dylan as he is working hard at his school.  I just know that inside her little brain, she is seeing this as something she really wants to do when she is a big girl! 

    Saturday, February 18, 2012

    Hot Potatoes!

     The Potato Cookers!

    As you'll probably remember; Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder is Dylan's FAVOURITE book!  We are actually about mid-way reading it through for the third time!  Just the other night my husband were putting Dylan to bed and reading the chapter in which Almanzo and Alice put potatoes in a fire.  The very next evening after my husband came home from work...he said he had a great idea for some fun after dinner!

    Yes you guessed it...he wanted to cook potatoes in the fire!  Dylan was so excited.  So after dinner Daddy, Dylan and Amy lit a wood fire and once it was hot enough they pierced a few potatoes and wrapped them in baking foil (save one...just to see) so they wouldn't get dirty!


     Mmmm...Fire-Roasted Spuds!

    About half an hour later, we ate the delicious potatoes with lots of butter!  Dylan agreed that eating potatoes Almanzo's way was best!

    Wednesday, February 15, 2012

    Reams Of Ribbons And A GIVEAWAY!

    Edited to add more photographs! :)

    Example Of Winning Set!
    Click To Enlarge...

    In "Irish" Flower Loop Clippie!

    Just recently Amy and I have been learning a new craft.  Making hair ribbons!  So yes, this is what I have been doing instead of blogging!  It is such a fun activity and fairly simple to do...as long as you don't mind some minor frustration and glue burns!  A fellow blogger shared some wonderful resources with me, to help get us started.  I then asked my kind and generous hubby to allow me to purchase some supplies, which he did! 

    I was so surprised at how inexpensive the ribbons are to buy from the US!  I estimated, that I would have cost us at least double the cost of the materials, if we were to buy them here in Ireland.  Amy was choosing our supplies with me, and we just liked ever so many, that it was hard to stop at our budget!



    So, with all this in-mind, I have decided to host my third giveaway!   

    I'd love for you to enter below, to win a set of 10 hair ribbons/pretties and a holder, all handmade by yours-truly! 

    **Note** Styles and colours will vary to those shown.

    Here are all of the ways in which you can enter:

    • Leave a comment below.
    • Leave another comment, with a link to your favourite ribbon making resource.
    • Become a follower of  my blog and leave me a separate comment letting me know you did so.   If you already follow my blog, you're out of luck on this third option.  Sorry!
    • Post about this giveaway on your blog, and leave a comment letting me know that you did so.
    • Share this post on facebook, and leave me a comment letting me know that you did so.
    That means you could get as many as FIVE entries, but you MUST leave a separate comment for each entry. The deadline to enter is: Saturday, March 3rd, 2012!  

    As in past give-aways: if their are lots of entries I will give away one set per 50 entries, so everyone will have a good chance of winning a set!  Good luck! :)

    Friday, February 10, 2012

    Start 'Em Early!

    Did you ever just wonder how I do it all?  You know...cook from scratch, clean my home, mother three children, craft, home educate, read, use cloth nappies, crochet, spend time with my husband, blog...etc. 

    Well wonder no more, because this is secretly how it all gets done...

    I just "Start 'Em Early"  Ha!  

    Sweet Meg Helping To Load The Dishes!  ;)

    Thursday, February 9, 2012

    What Are You "Entitled" To?

    A few weeks ago, my husband and I watched a brilliant sermon, entitled "The Entitlement Mentality".  Wow!  After watching, my husband joked that we could take our laptop down to the local welfare office for a "public screening"! 

    "The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: 
    but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep." 
    ~ Ecclesiastes 5:12

    Saturday, February 4, 2012

    Advertising Abortion...

    I was contact a few weeks ago by an old school friend, who wanted to bring some recent news to my attention.  To our absolute disgust it has been announced, that as of April, profit making abortion clinics in the UK, can now freely advertise on television!  I know that in some countries this has been so for years, but this should still shock and upset all of us, because if it doesn't, something is surely wrong with us!

    I have re-posted the following article from the Guardian.

    Private clinics that charge for pregnancy services, including abortions, will be able to advertise on television and radio under new regulations.

    Clinics offering a range of "post-conception advice services" (PCAS), including counselling and terminations, will be free to advertise in broadcast media because there is no justification to prevent it as long as they are not harmful, offensive or misleading, the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) said.

    Not-for-profit pregnancy services are already allowed to advertise on television and radio and for-profit clinics can already advertise in all other media, including newspapers.

    Under new rules clinics will have to make it clear in all advertising if they do not offer referral for termination.  This was because of strong public health grounds, BCAP said.

    The new rules will take effect on 30 April.

    A statement from BCAP said: "BCAP decided to remove the television rule, which effectively prevents commercial PCAS offering personal advice from advertising, and the radio rule which effectively prevents only PCAS with local authority or NHS approval from advertising.

    "BCAP understood that the removal of these restrictions would allow legally available PCAS to advertise, while maintaining robust protection for general audiences through existing rules which prevent broadcast advertising from causing harm or offence."

    It added: "We held a full public consultation in summer 2011 and invited the Department for Culture Media and Sport and the Department of Health to respond. We did not receive any response."

    Matt Wilson, a spokesman for BCAP, said: "There is not going to be some sort of free-for-all saying 'come to us to get an abortion'. They are not there to promote abortion, they have to promote an array of services. It is about being responsible and commercial pro-life pregnancy services will now be able to advertise too."

    All at BCAP are seriously deluded.  Why is this idea not abhorrent to everyone?  All this will achieve is to desensitise more people, to what abortion actually is.  Young girls will now, more than ever, think it is completely okay to abort ones own child. 

    Imagine if the "advertisement" was to show what actually happened to the precious child during the abortion "service", how long would it take before people switched off, and realised that they were witnessing a murder?  One minute...two?  Or perhaps when the baby's brain had been vacuumed out, and his arms and legs had been torn off?  When will people see that this is not a "choice" to be "opted" for?

    I think ALL people considering aborting their child, should be shown photographs of aborted children.  This, I believe would reduce abortion rates greatly.  You see, women just don't know what happens during an abortion.  Perhaps some don't wish to know, but it is my opinion that the monsters who carry out these "procedures" everyday, don't want people to know the truth!  If people were more aware of the horrors of abortion those "doctors" would be seriously out of pocket.  Expose their lies and save precious lives.

    I have posted the following video to expose the lies of the "pro-choice" movement, and to offer the truth to those who wish to know it.  It tells how an abortion is performed on a 10-12 week baby.  It is upsetting because of the information we receive, but this video does not show graphic scenes of abortion.  Please take the time to watch it.

    Now please consider giving your voice to those who 
    cannot speak for themselves.  Help protect precious unborn lives; join your local or nation pro-life organisation.

    **Edited To Remove Inactive Link**

    Thursday, February 2, 2012

    We're Still Here!

    Meg's "Pineapple" Hair-Do!

    No, I haven't fallen off the edge of the world, but we have been very busy, just keeping up with our daily schedules!  It feels like it's been a looooooooong time, since I posted with family update...so here you go!

    • Our commitment to living more chemically free has been going great!  Our homemade antiperspirant deodorant is still working brilliantly, and we have also switched to this (see below) toothpaste.  I'm not sure why, but the picture below lists "green tea" as it's added ingredient...but ours has tea tree oil?  It took a little getting used to at first, BUT now, I couldn't imagine going back to our old toxic one!  

      • Speaking of teeth, Meg cut her third tooth (a front top tooth) just this week!  It seemed for a while, that she would enter into adulthood with just two teeth!  The other tooth beside it, seems just about ready to cut too...so we might still have a cranky little lady, for a while yet!

        • Last week I received my copy of Above Rubies.  After I had finished pouring over it, I saw an advertisement for the following movie on the back page.  I think I remember someone blogging about it before...but can't remember where?  So, I checked out the trailer on the internet, and even though it obviously focused public schools in America, we thought it looked very interesting!  My husband wanted to buy the full movie for our family to watch, and so it should arrive within the next two weeks.  Can't wait!

            • Over the last week or two God has been reminding me that I can do all things through Him.  He will be my strength.  Of course, we may all go through times were our resolve is tested, but we go forth in faith and trust, not because we think we are able.  God is good, and I will trust in Him!  :)
            • Dylan is doing so brilliantly with his school over these last few weeks!  It is truly amazing to witness his learning.  He literally begs to be allowed, to complete more pages in his work book most days.  Most times I allow him to work ahead, but I do stop him before he becomes bored, and loses his thirst for it.

                • You might also remember in this post, I mentioned that Amy and I were trying to memorize the books of the Old Testament in order.  Well last week I was finally able to manage this!  It took longer than expected, simply because I kept forgetting to do it, and those minor prophets can be very tricky to remember.  But now I can do it, I am so thrilled!  It has already been immensely helpful in my Bible reading.  Now for  the New Testament!

                  I Hope You Have A Blessed Weekend!