Saturday, May 29, 2010
How are your gardens doing? What have been your gardening challenges?
Posted by Christine at 10:22 AM
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Courtney's blog is such a source of inspiration for mothers! I encourage you to watch some of her videos; you will be inspired in your walk.
Posted by Christine at 10:06 AM
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
My goal is to make home education a natural part of life, in my home.I try to home educate in a Charlotte Mason/classical manner. One of the greatest pieces of advice that I received from a home educating mama is to relax! I tend to be a perfectionist, so those words of wisdom were a blessing to me! Here are the materials that we are going to use in our homeschool, this year:
Adventures in My Father's World I will be using this as a core curriculum for Lily (7 years) and Stephen (5 years). This will cover Bible, science, history, geography, literature, copy work, and more. I love combining those subjects for siblings who are close in age. Learning together is definitely one of the joys of homeschooling! I am very excited about trying My Father's World, this year. (The picture above shows some of the resources we will be using in our studies.)
Lifepac Language Arts I love how these combine phonics, spelling, grammar, writing, etc.. Many other curriculas require multiple books for learning these topics. The more children I have, the more I see the need to simplify!
Lifepac Math I will tutor Lily and Stephen individually in language arts and math. They will join together for learning the other subjects in My Father's World.
Phonics Pathways A wonderful supplement/stand alone phonics program.
Phonics readers These are a fantastic price, and cover a broad spectrum of reading.
Five in a Row Booklist This is especially for my nearly three year old!
Homemade Alphabet/Phonics Notebook
Activity Bags This is perfect for keeping a preschooler productively occupied during school time.
Teach them to your Children All of my children adore this book. It contains a beautiful picture, a moral teaching lesson, and a verse for learning each letter of the alphabet.
Polished Cornerstones Lily and I will be using this to do Bible studies and projects together.
We also will be using many read alouds, doing art projects, going on field trips, and exploring outside. Learning together is so much fun!
My favorite home education inspirations are Teaching the Trivium: Christian Homeschooling in a Classical Style and A Charlotte Mason Companion.
What tools are you using in your homeschool this year?
Posted by Christine at 9:58 AM
Friday, May 21, 2010
More than Alive graciously sent me 1/4 pound of Daily Nourishment Tea and 1/4 pound of CitrusMint tea. I was very impressed with how large a bag 1/4 lb of tea is! My children and I had a delightful time sipping the Daily Nourishment Tea, while I read aloud a chapter from Little Town on the Prairie. (Reading aloud is definitely my favorite part of home education!) We all enjoyed the Daily Nourishment tea, which is a nice blend of chamomile, oatstraw, red clover, and nettles. Adding just a dash of honey made it quite tasty, either iced or hot. We sipped the tea right before bed, and the chamomile helped us to relax and to fall asleep, rather quickly. The CitrusMint Tea, on the other hand, gives a minty boost and pep, so it is an ideal morning or afternoon tea. I am very pleased with the quality of the herbal blends from More than Alive.
Bulk Herb Winner
The winner of one pound of bulk herbs is Brynna ! Brynna, please e-mail me your address and herb blend/herb preference at firstname.lastname@example.org . Thank you to More than Alive for hosting this giveaway!
More than Alive gratuitously gave me samples of their teas. They also hosted this giveaway. My review consists of my honest opinions.
Posted by Christine at 1:10 PM
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Dear readers, I could really use some of your expertise about cloth diapering. Though I had cloth diapered Anastasia for several months, just the other day, she started getting a bad rash while wearing cloth. I have been scouring cloth diapering forums to troubleshoot this problem. I stripped the diapers on Tuesday, and she still has a rash. I need to pick up some more disposables for her until the rash is completely healed. I have a front loader, so I am learning that I need to do some extra rinse cycles. I just received the prefolds and covers for Olivia, and I am a bit hesitant to even try them on her. From what I have read, it could be too much detergent, not enough detergent, not enough rinses, or detergent brand issues. Only recently have I started using a natural detergent on some of our other clothing, so I guess switching back and forth can cause problems. If you have any experience with these issues, I would really appreciate your help! I wish there was a "one size fits all" answer to this solution, but all of my researching has left me even more confused that I was before. Blessings!
Posted by Christine at 8:34 AM
Saturday, May 15, 2010
I became quite concerned after I heard about the supposed chemical burns and painful rashes that infants have gotten while wearing Pampers swaddlers and cruisers with dry max technology. After some research, I learned that many disposables contain dioxin (a carcinogenic by-product of bleaching), petroleum, polyethylene, polypropylene, and perfume (to disguise the chemical smell). I decided to dig out the Fuzzi Bunz that we own, for my two year old.( I had stopped cloth diapering Anastasia during my pregnancy.) I really enjoy cloth diapering, especially during the spring and summer, when I can line dry the diapers. Cloth diapers only take about fifteen minutes to dry in the NC sun.
The only type of cloth diapers that I have tried are Fuzzi Bunz, mainly because a few friends had recommended them. Though I like Fuzzi Bunz, they came at a pretty steep price tag, so that is why I only purchased mediums. They have fit Anastasia from about 5 months till present. I wish I hadn't been afraid of prefolds and diaper covers back then, as they are a much more affordable option. My absolute favorite website for
My favorite places to buy cloth diapers:
Green Mountain Diapers This is a Christian company with excellent customer service. Karen was very helpful in answering my plethora of questions via e-mail. Within a few hours of placing my order, Karen shipped my package out. I cannot wait to receive it!
Cottonbabies Cottonbabies is a Christian company, with a variety of diapering products. They give free cloth diapers to missionaries through their diaper grant. One of my friends received 15 free Bumgenius diapers from Cottonbabies, through that program.They also offer free economy shipping, regardless of order size.
How to Wash Cloth Diapers:
I put soiled diapers into a dry diaper pail, and wash them every other day.
No Soak Method
1. Cold wash/rinse - with baking soda if desired.
2. Hot wash- add detergent and wash in hot water.
3. Rinse- rinse in cold water. (and vinegar if desired)
4. Rinse- rinse in cold water.
For more information about washing cloth diapers, visit here.
A few interesting posts about cloth diapering:
Cloth Diapering? But Why?
How to Start Cloth Diapering
I Want to Cloth Diaper but...
I would love to hear what types of cloth diapers you love, or would love to try. Do you prefer all in ones, or prefolds/fitteds and covers?
Posted by Christine at 5:22 PM
Friday, May 14, 2010
I have wanted to try the bulk herbs at More than Alive, for quite a while, now. They graciously sent me two herbal blends to try, Daily Nourishment Tea and Citrusmint Tea. I am very excited and cannot wait to try them. One herb that I would highly recommend for any woman of childbearing age is Red Raspberry leaf. It can help with a broad spectrum of things, from helping tone the uterus for labor, to increasing milk supply, to regulating the uterus after birth.
More than Alive has also graciously offered to giveaway one pound of bulk herb blends or bulk herbs, to one of my blog readers! To enter, visit their website, and let me know what you would like to know which type of bulk herb blends or bulk herbs, that you would like to receive.
Additional Entries: (leave one comment per additional entry)
1. Follow my blog or let me know that you already are a follower.
2. Blog, twitter, or share on facebook about this giveaway.
3. Become a facebook fan of Lily of the Valley.
This contest will end May 21, 2010 at 2 pm, and is open to US residents only.
Posted by Christine at 7:28 AM
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Disturbing. Going out in general with more than two children brings forth some pretty disturbing comments from the general public. I am used to hearing a comment here or there from people, every time I go out. The other day, we went to visit my husband at work, and one particular lady went on for over fifteen minutes interrogating me about my family size. I tried to smile and answer her calmly and graciously, but it really was challenging. Here are a few of her remarks in bold:
"Come here, come here, everybody, and meet the Brady bunch."
She said this over and over again to everyone who walked down the hallway. Brady Bunch....umm...no. Three girls from one marriage, and three boys from another marriage.....I don't see how we qualify. We are one husband, one wife, four children (all of them both of our's).
"Are you done, or are you crazy?"
To which, I replied, "We aren't done, and we aren't crazy." She said, "No, if you are having more, you are crazy."
"I have just never seen such a thing. No one does that nowadays. College is so expensive."
Yes, college is expensive. I do not think everyone is meant for college. There are many entrepreneurial ways to succeed in life without a college degree. For our children which want a college degree, we have found a much cheaper option than the traditional four years in a brick and mortar building. 10 children could get accredited college degrees for the same price as one child graduating from a private, four year college.
"You must have so much energy; four children!"
I cannot raise even one child by my own strength. I am very thankful to have the grace and strength of an all powerful Lord!( Phil 4:13) Also, in many ways, four is easier than one or two. You definitely get "into a groove" by the time you have a few children. When they are relatively close in age, you don't get out of practice. The oldest ones can be very helpful when properly trained.
"They become teenagers, you know. Then they won't do anything to help you."
This was what she said to me after I told her that my oldest two are very helpful. I mentioned how they sweep, help with dishes, hang laundry, etc.. I believe that if a child is raised correctly, he/she will continue to want to help when they are teens.
"Ugh. You homeschool? She doesn't even get a break."
Home education is such a wonderful way to spend time with your children. I find that it gives me ample time to train them....so they will be a blessing to others.
It is sad and disheartening that antagonizing large families is common in our society. I encourage you, dear friends, who face similar remarks, to persevere. It is obvious that the Evil One cannot stand families and in particular, the precious blessing of children. May the Lord give us the grace to keep smiling, despite what the world says about us.
Posted by Christine at 9:13 AM
Saturday, May 08, 2010
Pear Tree Greetings is giving away 24 free address labels. Pop over to their website to custom create your labels.
Order a free nursing cover at Udder Covers. Select the product that you would like, and $32 will come off of the product total, when you enter the code: "Family2010". Note: you will still have to pay for shipping, which is about $10. These appear to be the really nice udder covers with the boning inside, so this is a really great deal. This promo code may be used once per transaction, and can be used as many times as you would like. These are wonderful to stock up on for baby showers, or to put on in your diaper bag.
Thank you so much, Freida, for passing along these wonderful Mother's Day freebies! I am very thrilled for Freida, as she recently found out that she is expecting a precious little one.
Free Mothering magazine digital subscription is available; check out the details here.
Cotton Babies is hosting a contest to win a $100 gift certificate in their I'm Glad You Were Born giveaway.
I hope each and every one of you have a very blessed Mother's Day!
Posted by Christine at 7:55 AM
Friday, May 07, 2010
During the hot North Carolina summers, my family and I love to eat cooler meals, or suppers that do not require the whole house to be heated while cooking them. My list of favorite summer suppers can be found here.
What do you and your family like to eat for supper during the summer?
Posted by Christine at 9:00 AM
Thursday, May 06, 2010
The Victorious Daughters Collection includes:
- The Return of the Daughters (DVD Documentary)
- So Much More (Book)
- Raising Maidens of Virtue (Book)
- Sleeping Beauty and the Five Questions (Audio Message)
- Strength and Dignity for Daughters (Audio Message)
- The Journey of Daughterhood (Audio Message)
Now, until midnight, on May 8th, receive all six of these amazing resources for only $44.
Posted by Christine at 6:05 PM
My most successful homeschooling days occur when I take the time to meet my two year old's needs first. Otherwise, I tend to have to stop working with my oldest two, to find out what my two year old may be getting "into". To prevent this, I have found that spending time working with Annie, first, seems to help prevent problems. Annie loves doing schoolwork just like her siblings, and she feels very special when mommy works with her, one on one.
What does home educating a two year old look like? Well, if you had asked me that a few years ago, I would have emphasized workbooks first and foremost. Now, I see the importance of many hands on learning activities and the necessity of play, over completing a series of workbooks. It is amazing to see how many skills are developed while a little one plays house or completes a puzzle.
Here are a few materials/activities that we like to use:
Puzzles- Melissa and Doug puzzles are terrific learning tools.
Measuring Cups and Bucket of Water
Playdoh- Sculpting helps to hone fine motor skills and improves dexterity.
Preschool Activity Bags Check out their website here.
Alphabet Notebook- Each of my little ones are making alphabet notebooks, with one page dedicated to each letter of the alphabet. While we focus on each letter, we scour magazines and newspapers to find pictures of things that begin with the appropriate letter. We have a blast learning together in this way, and it is suitable for preschoolers through elementary students.
Cookie Sheet with Cornmeal- Spread cornmeal on a cookie sheet and demonstrate each letter of the alphabet for your preschooler to copy with his finger in the cornmeal. This is so much fun for any kind of learner!
Sort and Count - Count and sort colored bears, wacky mac pasta, or dried beans.
Book Basket- During nap/rest time set a basket of books by your little one, for them to peruse.
Coloring Books and Watercolors
My Father's World preschool or a cheaper version
Signing Times dvds
Leap Frog Videos
Moon Sand / Delta Sand / Make Your Own
My philosophy is that workbooks for the preschool crowd can be a handy tool, but are not absolutely necessary. Learning via hands on tools and free play is, quite often, much more efficient and important, in my book. I think workbooks work best for little siblings who want to be like their older siblings. If you are interested in decent, quality workbooks for the preschool crowd, these are my recommendations:
Rod and Staff for 3-4 year olds
Rod and Staff for 5 year olds
Read, Read, Read!
A few good reading lists include Ambleside Online and Five in a Row.
Ten things to do with your child before ten- This is such an amazing resource, that I constantly go to, to help hone my home education priorities. Keeping these ten goals in mind really helps me to focus on the most important things in educating my little ones, including service work. That way, I can focus on the best and forget about the rest!
What are your favorite learning resources for the younger crowd?
Posted by Christine at 5:11 PM
Sunday, May 02, 2010
With all of the noted health benefits of breast milk, it amazes me that scientists are still making new discoveries about this "liquid gold". Scientists have now found a substance in breast milk, that kills 40 types of cancer cells.
Protection from Illness
Recently, my three oldest children were ill, and I was quite concerned about my little Olivia becoming ill, as well. At the time, I was reading The Breastfeeding Book by Dr. Sears, which gave me a lot of encouragement.I had always heard that it is important to breastfeed, even if mama is sick, as the baby receives important antibodies via beast milk.One drop of breast milk contains 1,000,000 white blood cells! The way the body creates antibodies via breast milk is that when the baby nurses, if he has been exposed to a germ, he exposes the mother's breast to that germ, while breastfeeding. Within eight hours, the mother's breast produces antibodies to that specific germ, and offers them to the baby via breast milk. What was amazing to me is that the only person in our entire family who didn't become ill was my nursling, little Olivia. This was surprising to me, as she was in contact with a lot of germs, especially from 2 year old Anastasia, who kissed her every chance she could get. After reading about how the baby is protected from illness, it all made sense to me. More information about nursing baby when mom is sick, can be found here.
Breastfeeding and Fertility
In The Breastfeeding Book, it states that frequent breastfeeding during the first three months usually leads to plenty of milk supply until weaning. With each of my four babies, I have found that cue feeding has helped to build up an ample milk supply. Frequent feedings also helps to keep mother's prolactin levels high. Prolactin is the "milk producing hormone".
So far, in my nearly 8 years of marriage, I have nursed for roughly 67 months, been pregnant for 36 months, had four monthly cycles, and had four babies.(Some of those months are overlapping, as I have nursed during two pregnancies.) All of my babies have been spaced naturally, through breastfeeding. There have been times when I have been breastfeeding, and have desperately wanted to be pregnant, but was not able to do so. (My husband and I are always desiring the blessings that the Lord bestows upon us; with each child He sends, we are that much more in awe of His gifts! I also see the wisdom in His design for naturally spacing children via breastfeeding.)
According to Dr. Sears, the milk making hormones that suppress ovulation are highest at night, between the hours of 1 am and 6 am. The Creator, in His infinite wisdom, designed it so that most women will not conceive, if their infant is nursing, at least occasionally, during those wee hours of the night. This way, a woman is able to tend to her little one, and her body can be at rest, until she has recovered from childbirth, and is nutritionally ready to sustain and support a new, precious life. So many in our culture do not understand the beauty of this, so it is quite typical to hear "Is your baby sleeping through the night?" when the baby is only a couple of weeks old. It is only normal for an infant to wake to nurse, at night. If you are interested in learning more about the link between breastfeeding and fertility, this is an excellent and thorough article.
Breastfeeding hasn't always been easy for me. I find the first month to be especially challenging. I am thankful for my husband's encouragement to persevere, even when it is difficult. I really enjoy breastfeeding when my little one is several months old!
I would love to hear about your breastfeeding experiences. What have been your challenges and how did you over come them? What is your favorite thing about nursing?
Posted by Christine at 8:13 PM