Beating Fatigue: What My Lab Tests Revealed and the Odd Valentine’s Food my Hubby Cooked to Correct It.

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I took the chance this winter to follow up on my thyroid panel with my doctor.  On this visit, one test particularly struck me as interesting - ferritin

What is ferritin?  The amount of iron your body stores away in your bone marrow.

My lab results stated that my Ferritin result was 41.4.  The range for a normal ferritin result is between 80 and 150.

This was both good news and bad news to me.  Good, because this was not my lowest ferritin result I’ve ever had.  In fact, it was one of my best.  But bad, because I had still been tired an hour till my next dose of vitamins/meds and my hair was falling out, so if 80 is the minimum… HOW was I going to get it up and WHY was this number NOT going up if both the foods I eat and the supplements I take include a lot of iron?  Strangely, the last time I had my iron checked, my iron was high and yet my ferritin was lowOdd sounding to you?  It was to me too.

iron deficiency checklist

So I asked my doctor and I was amazed at her response.

She asked if I have suffered from heavy menstrual periods in my life.  My response was a resounding “yes!”  She explained that this condition makes it very difficult to keep iron reserves stored up.  She compared it to getting a bath running for my toddler and leaving the room for the bath to fill.  Except, when I got back, I realized that I had forgotten to plug the drain and all the water I had hoped was plugged was now down the drain.  In the same way, this is what happens to the iron I take all month long…. it pretty much goes down the drain each month during my cycle.  No doctor I’ve ever had has ever known how to get ferritin up or shared this knowledge with me.  In fact, I learned just a few consecutive heavy periods can cause iron losses that are difficult to reverse without supplementation.


This made me scratch my head.  What could I do to prevent my iron from draining each month?  My doctor recommended several methods to eliminate my cycle all together.  After researching this, I realized I am not ready for that.  Secondly, she informed me that it is not the milligrams of iron that I receive every month that increases the storage of ferritin – it is the number of milligrams of elemental iron received.  As long as I received 29 grams of ELEMENTAL iron a day, then this would boost my ferritin significantly.  Lastly, she suggested that if I didn’t up my elemental iron by supplementing, the only other option would be for me to increase my organ meat consumption.  Gulp… if you haven’t guessed by now, this means eating liver.

Okay y’all.  I have NEVER eaten liver in my life.  But the look on my doctor’s face said to me that it really would help.  Naturally, I turned to the best person I knew who was knowledgeable about eating organ meat – my husband.  In his Chinese culture, eating most parts of the animal is perfectly normal and acceptable.  In fact, pork liver is his mom’s favorite kind of soup.  Not only is it something they enjoy eating, but the Chinese believe that if there is a part of your body that is ill, it is very beneficial for you to eat that part of the animal to help your own body to heal.  After I thought about it, I realized that one of the greatest places my Hashimoto’s disease afflicts me, is the liver.  The liver is where the thyroid hormones are converted to bring energy throughout the body.

After talking with my hubby about “Operation Increase Ferritin”, I had totally forgotten about it.  I didn’t think he remembered our conversation either.  But lo and behold, at our next trip to the Chinese grocery store, my husband spotted the pork liver and encouraged me to get my courage up to give it a try.  I felt so loved by him and sick just thinking about eating it all at once.  I found myself agreeing to try…

Totally coincidentally, on Valentine’s Day, my thoughtful hubby very patiently and thoroughly made me his pork liver soup.  On this day, 12 years prior, my husband asked my hand in marriage with a filet mignon dinner he personally torched for me.  How ironic is it that now we have two kids and he’s lovingly making me pork LIVER soup???  I would have never believed you folks, if you had told me!  You’re probably wondering if I ate it.  Yes, I ate every bite. My kids did too!  My daughter, who eats barely anything, liked it.  My son GOBBLED it and asked for seconds.  Me?  Not so much.  The aftertaste is something I can’t handle… though I actually thought the texture is what would get me.  That wasn’t bad at all.  I thought it was going to be a regular meal I could incorporate into our routine…

Well then?  What to do?  I was happy to discover that the VitaLea I have already been taking is the most excellent source of ELEMENTAL iron that is out there – ferrous fumarate, which is 33% elemental iron (see below). I just needed to take more of it.  I also discovered that Shaklee has another iron pill that stands alone to add to the VitaLea I also take.  I have now been taking my doubled dose for several weeks.  And guess what?  My menstrual cycle was not filled with horrible PMS and was NOT as heavy!  I am very excited!  I have also noticed that my brain has been clearer and I have had more energy.

Having Hashimoto’s Disease displays symptoms like extreme fatigue and weakness, memory loss, and poor immune system function.  But did you know that low iron is also related to proper brain, muscle and immune system function?  Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding are also particularly in need of proper iron.

That was last month.  Since then, I have doubled my iron dose.  And who would’ve guessed it?  My cycle was more normalized and I wasn’t smacked down like I often am every month!  I am so thankful for Shaklee’s Vita-Lea and the extra Iron Plus C-Complex that I’ve added to my normal routine.

Be sure you check out the PERCENTAGES of iron below.  It is very important that the scientific name of your iron is listed below.  You’ll want your iron to be at least 33% elemental iron, (Shaklee does).  For instance, there is a product called Floradix that sells for $36 at the Vitamin Shoppe and Whole Foods.  But when you look closer, you can clearly see the iron inside their product is only 12% elemental.  Shaklee’s scientists have intentionally chosen Ferrous Fumarate as the iron in Vitalizer, Vita-Lea, and Iron Plus C-Complex because it is the most absorbable form of elemental iron.

For Iron to properly be absorbed, please know that you MUST have Vitamin C with it – to take without food.  Thankfully, not only has Shaklee created their iron with the greatest amount of elemental iron – they have taken the guess work out of remembering to take your Vitamin C at the same time and have included it already in the same pill.  It’s also inexpensive.  If you already have a multivitamin, then the
Iron Plus C-Complex might be for you at the low member’s price of $8.65!

You will feel better.  That’s a promise or your money back. Any purchase of Vitalizer comes with *free* membership and a 15% lifetime discount. 

If you are still unsure about taking iron because of usual side effects, don’t worry!  Check out the list below.  The best part about any of the 3 products is that there are NO side effects.  You only feel great! NO gas.  NO bad aftertaste.  NO constipation. 

Why Shaklee’s Iron? What’s the difference?

    • non-constipating
    • no aftertaste
    • does not cause belching
    • free of artificial colors and flavors
    • Always Safe
    • Always Works or your money back, no questions asked.
    • Always Green & Non-GMO
    • Formulated for Maximum Absorption with C to properly absorb
    • 33% Elemental Iron in the from of Ferrous Fumarate 
    • Vegetarian Formulated
    • Gluten Free, Certified Kosher

I hope you choose Shaklee.  Your support means so much to me as I am working while homeschooling.  Click on the above links and go to my store.  Please subscribe to my blog, TheWholeDeel, by clicking on the envelope icon on the top right.   Also be sure to like me on Facebook by clicking on the FB icon or here:  https://www.facebook.com/TheWholeDeel

 

 

H O W   M U C H  ELEMENTAL I R O N  I S  I N   T H I S   P I L L ?

To calculate how much elemental iron is in an iron supplement:

Ferrous fumarate = 33% elemental iron

(i.e., 100mgs contain only 33mgs elemental iron)

Ferrous gluconate = 12% elemental iron

Ferrous sulfate = 20% elemental iron

Ferrous sulfate, exsiccated = 32% elemental iron

Ferric ammonium citrate = 18% elemental iron

Ferrous bisglycinate = 20% elemental iron

Heme-iron polypeptide= 100% elemental iron

Polysaccharide-iron complex = 100% elemental iron

Carbonyl iron = 100% elemental iron

Some Other Tips:

 

  • Stomach antacids and reflux medicines reduce iron absorption. If you need them, take them separately.
  • Foods rich in tannic acid (e.g., black coffee, black or green tea), or in phytates (e.g., bran, sesame seeds), reduce iron absorption. Don’t use them at the same time as iron supplements.
  • It is okay to also increase iron-rich foods in your diet: organic organ meats, whole grains, organic dried fruits, and acidic foods cooked in cast-iron pans (e.g., tomato-based sauces).
  • Dark leafy greens contain iron, but their oxalic acid content can make it too hard to absorb iron, so they may not be the best source of iron.
  • (Note: Iron tinctures and homeopathic iron preparations do not contain elemental iron.)

 

 

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the most advanced multinutrient supplement pack in the marketplace today.
Start your journey to a healthier life
today with Vitalizer. More than just a
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convenient daily serving.



 

St. Patrick – More than Shamrocks and Leprechauns

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St. Patrick's DayHappy St. Patrick’s Day!  I was so tickled to create these cute pots of gold for my 2-year-old class I teach every Monday at my Classical Conversations group.  These kids have been so cute all year long and really soaking up every subject we’ve been learning about.  So I really wanted this year to be a time where I could teach them who St. Patrick REALLY was and what the day really signifies.  Whether you are Irish or not, chances are you might now know that the holiday is more than being pinched if you don’t wear green and that it is not about luck.

To explain this, I “read” by summarizing the pictures of this book I found from Voice of the Martyrs called, “St. Patrick: More than Shamrocks and Leprachauns.” I never realized how much his story parallels Joseph in the Bible who was captured and sold as a slave.  Except that St. Patrick was sold as a slave, escaped to return to his family, and obeyed God to go BACK to the land where he could have been hurt for his faith just to tell them to “trust in the Lord with all their heart” and that “nothing is impossible with God.”  Wow!  I know there is more to his story than even this.  But to convey just this much to 2-year-olds is awesome.  They get it.  My 8-year-old was all over it too.

After the story, we talked about how God wants us to store our treasures in heaven.  So we made pots of gold with each child’s treasures: Jesus and each of their family members… people they will all see again in heaven.  But I really loved one girl treasured “learning”… and I think that’s a treasure to totally store in heaven!

I got the idea for these cute pots with a combination of these bloggers.  For the pot, I just took the template from Christianpreschoolprintables.com.  For the back of the pot, I glued a printable that you can also download free from the link above that quoted Matthew 6:20, “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven.”

 

matthew 6.20 click here to get these FREE printables for the pot and Matthew 6:20 quote from ChristianPreschoolPrintables.com.

You can see my idea from happyhomefairy.com.  For the coins, I just traced a circular bottle and cut them out.

I think the part the kids in my class liked the most, was the “stickers” I made them from the .pdf file available at Made2BCreative.com’s blog.  Her whole blog is filled with great printables.

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Of course, this post would not be complete without mentioning the AMAZING corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, and carrots my husband brought home from Cracker Barrel tonight!  All of us kept saying, “YUM!”  Gluten-Free.  The kids easily understood that the wee bit of Irish in them from my side of the family is equally as fun as it is delicious.  How does it get better than that?

Have a Blessed St. Patty’s Day!

 

Spring Cleaning: The Non-Toxic, Cheap, Easy Way

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kids cleaning
 
A friend recently asked me how I have time to clean my house when I homeschool a second-grader and a toddler entering the terrible twos.
 

The answer?

I don’t have time to clean.  I DO NOT LIKE cleaning.  But I have learned to make time.

This past school year has been a roller coaster of schedule changes.

1. The first quarter I literally did not know how to clean because I was so overwhelmed by so much.

2. The second and third quarters, I decided that we would clean during the mornings and then I would teach my daughter during my son’s nap time.  This worked okay for me.  Except we couldn’t be consistent with keeping the house cleaned AFTER school.  Which means, this method was not really working for anybody.

3. The fourth quarter (now), we have decided we are going to have a better bedtime and wake up schedule in this house.

We have been waking up and getting ready for the day, and reading our devotions during breakfast.  Then school begins and is over before 11:30 a.m.  Lunch is at 11:30 a.m.  Any remaining school is finished.  By 12:30 p.m. we are done and ready for cleaning.   Nap time for the Mister is around 1:30-2.  During his nap, Mommy and daughter time commences along with any other things we need to pick up.  Snacks.  Dinner.  Baths. Bed.

If you know me, you know that cleaning is a constant struggle for me.  That’s why I was delighted to find Shaklee’s GET CLEAN line in 2010.  I was overcoming extreme fatigue at the time.  How would I clean when I was so tired?  When I finally got to cleaning, my lungs would react horribly to the fumes while cleaning my shower.  I had to literally wear a face mask just to do the job.  Since using the entire GET CLEAN line, I can even feel comfortable having my toddler help me with the laundry and dust my counters.  I love the fact that stains from blood, to grape juice, to grass – all come out of our clothes with minimal effort.  I love that I can get mildew off my shower without holding my breath with Basic-G and that Basic-H does everything else from cleaning my vegetables, to getting silly putty out of kids clothes, to cleaning my counters…. and I’ve had the SAME 16oz. bottle for 4 YEARS!!!!  FOUR YEARS!  That part seals the deal for me, not to mention it would take $3,400 to get the same clean from other products that make my lungs feel like they’re crumbling.  Or the thought of how many bottles I would be wasting.  Or, more importantly, my time being wasted just going down the cleaning aisle of the store to replace a bottle.  When, at home, I just make a new bottle whenever I need it.

Shaklee_vs._leading_brands

I was also amazed by how many kids are affected in our schools by these cleaners constantly around them.  So many cleaners today are directly related to allergies, asthma, autism, ADHD, and more.  

Shocking too, was the fact that stay-at-home-moms were the most likely to develop cancers due to the fact of toxic cleaner usage alone.

Please leave a comment and tell me how cleaners have affected you.  I am so accustomed to green cleaning now, my nose will detect Windex from the other side of the room and make me cough.  I am constantly changing how I clean my house, but am thankful I can always rely on Shaklee.

 

6 Tips for Weaning Your Toddler Gently & Meal Supplements for All Ages

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weaning

Last week, I shared our family nightmare story how our Disney vacation was pretty much not what we intended and how I relied on my natural medicine cabinet to get us through.  Unfortunately, the severity of my symptoms combined with the fact that I was determined not to have what was in my chest, move to my head, convinced me that I had to also resort to a Mucinex tablet.  Ugh.  I was bummed.

Ironically, I was praying and wondering about when would be the right time to remove my 21-month old toddler from his last weaning.  I just didn’t think it would be during vacation.  At least not the way it did.  There were a few nights in the month where he had gone to sleep without nursing.  So I knew the time was coming near.  I realized that there was really not much of a nutritional benefit for him to keep nursing, he just depended on the time to get drowsy.

Being sick in a hotel was not the time I was thinking about completely ending our nighttime routine.  I was sad because he was sick too… and wanted his only nursing to help him get better.  The more I thought about it though, the more I realized that I would be suffering and would delay my recovery.  Sigh, if mom is not well – it delays the recovery of everyone else too.  What a vicious cycle.

So I felt I had no choice.  This it how it went.

On the first night, I nursed him for 3-5 minutes when I was due for my next Mucinex dose.  By the second night, I found that the same instrumental music that helps my 7-year-old to sleep, might soothe him, if I bounced him on the bed.  (This is dreamy music folks, and a lot of it is in Latin.  Ties in well with the Latin with our Classical Conversations community, but anyone would love it.)  Surprising though, was that not only did he like the music – he was SINGING along with me in his Latin toddler mumble until he drifted off to sleep!  It was BETTER than nursing!  He even slept all night long in the hotel without waking up… something he doesn’t do at home.

If you are having difficulty weaning your baby, don’t panic.  I had never planned to nurse this child past 13 months.  With my daughter, I planned to nurse through one year old and succeeded in going to 13 months.  However, my son LOVED nursing.  I didn’t mind because he is my last baby.  But by the time he turned 18 months, with no signs of him weaning… I started to freak out.  Family started questioning why I was still nursing, which didn’t bother me.  But when I could feel the health of my thyroid begin to suffer, I knew.  It was time.

If you are wondering how to begin weaning your baby/toddler, here are…

My Top 6 Tips:

1. Understand there is no rush.  Your toddler won’t be nursing until college.  Just like you knew that nursing was the best source of nutrition for your child, you’ll know when to stop. Don’t feel pressured by family who do not understand your extended nursing.  It is perfectly normal to nurse into toddlerhood.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO):

Breastfeeding is one of the most effective ways to ensure child health and survival.  If every child was breastfed within an hour of birth, given only breast milk for their first six months of life, and continued breastfeeding up to the age of two years, about 800,000 child lives would be saved every year.

2.  To Wait or Not to Wait.  Deciding when to start weaning can be tough.  Until your family schedule is free from major trips, holidays – anything that is stressful in your life – wait – so that you can be consistent with your decision to wean.  For me, I would find that if something stressful was happening in the week and my son’s very loud cry increased my stress, that I would cave in and nurse him just to make life calm for me.  Due to my son’s overpowering personality, I knew I had to be ready to get my game on and be ready to stick to my guns no matter how he acted.

On the other hand, perhaps you have a child who is so easily distracted that a weekend away may make the whole process easier and quicker for you.

You will know what is best for the personalities of you and your child.  One sign my son gave me was that he was able to point to himself and say his name.  And then point to me and say, “Mommy.”  This showed me he understood we are two separate beings.  He is not another part of my body.  He is his own person.  He is a big boy.

3.  Take One Feeding out at a time... even if it is over a period of months.  I recall that around April 2013, when my son turned one, I was still at five feedings a day: Waking, Morning Nap, Afternoon nap, Bedtime, and Middle of the Night feedings.  I actually thought he wouldn’t notice if I just cut out the first three and just kept bedtime.  Oh boy.  He was not happy.  Neither was… *ahem*, my body.  We naturally moved to three feedings after his morning nap phased out.  How to cut the others was harder for me.

4.  Replace missing feeding with a Shaklee Meal Shake or a Shaklee 180 Smoothee.

I realized the main reason why I was having a difficult time was that I didn’t know WHAT I would use to replace my son’s nursings.  I found out that my daughter was lactose intolerant when she was 2.5 years old.  I did not want to even try to wean him with cow’s milk.  I was able to get him to like Almond Milk if I flavored it with vanilla extract.  But I was bummed that the Almond Milk was nowhere near the calories for the amount of breastmilk he had at a feeding.  There was no way I wanted to use formula from the stores.  The amount of protein they offered was laughable. It was also unlikely he would take to it because breastmilk is so sweet.

It then dawned on me.  The Shaklee Meal Shake would be a great replacement (please also see below about other options as well)!  Coming in Vanilla and Cocoa flavors, they are whey protein and no artificial anything and Gluten Free.  They are as yummy as a McDonald’s milkshake.  And it offers 19 essential vitamins and minerals and 7 grams of protein.

I tried it the next day with his almond milk.  My son LOVED IT!  I then immediately tried having him drink one before his afternoon nap and just sing him to sleep.  Bingo!  It worked!

Now is a great time to try.  Any 50 PV purchase made with The Whole Deel gets FREE lifetime membership pricing AND will receive a FREE canister of the Cafe Latte Smoothee listed below.  Offer has been extended to March 31st, 2014.image

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5.  Set a schedule.

I was down to three feedings by December.   Waking, Bedtime, and Middle of the Night.  His sleeping patterns were horrible and he wasn’t eating well during the day.  I suddenly realized that this was because he was eating all night long,  so of course he wasn’t hungry during the day!  Middle of the Night feedings were the next to go.  (Stay tuned for this description when I post about overcoming poor sleep habits).

Setting a schedule seemed the best way to cut his middle of the night cravings and prepared for my next elimination:  waking.  If he went to bed no later than 8pm, then he would do better lasting through the night until breakfast.  If he woke up at the same time every morning, he would eat a better breakfast and forget about wanting to nurse.  You may choose to cut bedtime first.  It all depends on your child.

6. Distraction

It took about a week for him to accept no more nursings upon waking.  How I did it was I immediately told him it was time to eat as I changed his morning diaper.  I made him breakfast immediately and he ate an entire egg he was so hungry!  Wow.  Another sign to me that he was ready for this.  So encouraging for a mom.  If he did show signs of wanting to nurse, I would just distract him to look at toys.  Or tell him, “Milk all gone!”

This tactic I also had to use when we cut out our final bedtime weaning.  I explained to him that Mommy had a “boo boo” while pointing to my chest.  He seemed to understand.  As mentioned earlier, music is also a great distraction – especially at bedtime.

My kids love all four flavors of the Shaklee 180 protein.  And it’s great even for kids because it signals their body to build and retain lean muscle.

YOU DID IT!

Now that your baby is weaned, it wasn’t that bad, was it?  Please tell me your stories. If you are confused at the order of my eliminations, I listed clearly at the end of this post.  I am happy to have more energy and feel I can be consistent again in the rest of my life.

ALTERNATIVE MEAL REPLACEMENTS:

We have loved the Meal Shakes by Shaklee to transition from breastmilk.  However, currently, we are transitioning to the Shaklee 180 Smoothees because of their higher protein content and the complete 9 amino acids that our bodies need.  My kids like both the Soy and the Whey.

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Soy is a controversial topic.  I am one to agree not to buy soy unless it is completely pure.  It comes in Chocolate, Vanilla, Strawberry, and Caffe Latte.  Also available this season are Vanilla Chai and Mango.  With Shaklee, you can be 100% sure the soy is safe.  It offers:

  • 24 grams of hunger fighting protein
  • 6 grams of fiber
  • Powered by LeucineTM
  • 23 vitamins and minerals
  • Non-GMO soy protein
  • Low glycemic. GI Value: 37
  • No artificial flavors, sweeteners, or preservatives added
  • Gluten free, lactose free

Note: Although this is in Shaklee Weight Management line, there is no need to fear for kids! It is all natural and the main reason it helps you to lose weight is because when you have more lean muscle, your metabolism works better! So if there is no fat to burn, you will just maintain lean muscle. My kids are strong and healthy and this is in no way a “weight loss” or management shake for them, but more of a way to get a high protein and fiber in them that is helping them build muscle – even at a young age!

The Whey Smoothee offers:

  • 24 grams of hunger fighting protein
  • 5 grams of fiber
  • Powered by LeucineTM
  • 23 vitamins and minerals
  • Soy-free, for those who are sensitive to soy
  • Low glycemic. GI Value: 32
  • No artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, or preservatives added
  • Gluten free, 99% lactose free.

RECAP of the order of my Feeding Eliminations (Yours may differ):

1. Naps.

2. Middle of the Night.

3. Morning.

4. Bedtime.

 

 

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

Today was a Snow Day here in Ohio for the local schools.  Which meant a snow day for our Classical Conversations community as well.  It was bittersweet to miss our extended family of friends – but we had an unexpectedly fun day in our home school instead!

Our Math lesson today covered how to visualize what 1/4 looks like.  We had four, equally sized, clear, empty containers.  I filled one whole jar to the brim with liquid and asked my daughter to fill the other jar halfway (which would cause her original jar to be half).  The lesson brought home how 1/4 is simply half of a half and that all four quarters come together to create a whole.  We are just about finished with this RightStart Mathematics Level B course.  It will take a whole other post to sing my praise about it.  Let me just emphasize, for now, that it is a recurring theme throughout the book that numbers are related.  We do not just add numbers for the sake of adding.  All numbers have a relationship of which are either part or whole.  The way they repeatedly drive this home, visually and kinesthetically, empowers me with the tools I need to teach my daughter, who cried during math last year with a different curriculum.  She can now mentally add double digit numbers plus double digit numbers in her head.

After Math and lunch, a quick browsing of my e-mails reminded me that March 2nd was Theodore Geisel’s birthday.  Who’s that you ask?  The one, the only – Dr. Seuss!  So I continued the day in his honor.  We looked at Pinterest for ways to celebrate.  We found out my almost two-year-old son recognized the Cat in the Hat, and referred to him as the “Go-Guy” (made sense to us after the PBS song the Cat in the Hat sings about “go go go – on an adventure!)  So, we printed coloring pages for him of the “Go-Guy.”

My 7-year-old daughter found images of the famous oobleck and begged to make it.  So we got to it.  Here is a recipe for oobleck if you’ve never heard of it, from Dr. Seuss’ famous story:  Bartholomew and the Oobleck.  This was my son’s first experience with gooey stuff.  At first he was horrified, but you can see his delight below.  My daughter was also curious as to the science behind the mixture.  How did it feel so solid and then turn so liquid the next instant?  Preschool Powol Packets defined the reason is “Oobelck is a suspension (a liquid mixture that has particles large enough to eventually settle out of the mixture).”  This means it operates like quicksand.  The long starch polymers press together when thrown or rolled on the table.  My daughter had fun slapping it on the counter as a ball and then watching it ooze back to its liquid state.  This happens because the polymers in the oobleck easily trap the water when pressed together and then behave like a solid.  But when you let it go, no force, causes it to relax.  The water then flows within the mixture and it behaves like a liquid.  I was impressed she actually repeated this back to me after I explained it to her.  Thank you Preschool Powol Packets!

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A Dr. Seuss birthday didn’t seem quite complete without including the Lorax.  So, while  I was boiling an egg for the Lorax creation she wanted to replicate, she drew her own version of Mr. Lorax.

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Here is the finished hard-boiled egg version of The Lorax.  Isn’t he loveable? So easy to make.  We used a blank sticker page for the eyes and stuck them on.  Pipe cleaners for the arms.  And we used cotton balls for his eyebrows and bushy mustache.  We tried using yellow food coloring to color the cotton.  That did not work at all.  So she ended up coloring with a marker.  And no, this was not my idea.  It turned out just like what I found on Pinterest.

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NIK_1973

This was so fun, we are gonna be celebrating all week long.  I found a great site on pinterest that brought creative writing and copywork into the mixture.  Inallyou.com posted GREAT FREE printables for both younger and higher elemetary grades.  We finished the day with great prompts to get our own story juices flowing!

Did you celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday?  Join us this week and tell us what you did.

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to

get better. It’s not.” ~Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

Campbell’s to the Rescue for Dinner? New! Slow Cooker Sauce: Mexican Red Chili Taco

slow cooker slow cooker

Couldn’t wait to share that Campbell’s gets an A+++ on their NEW Slow Cooker Sauce that makes delicious tacos!  I was skeptical when purchasing because a) I have very picky eaters in my house.  We can’t have things too spicy or too sweet. b) I have hypoglycemia and wondered if I would have any type of reaction to the ingredients.  c) It just seemed too good to be true.  Really? All I had to do was add the beef and I was a good to go?

I was courageous enough to buy it because NO MSG was in the package and only 2 g of sugar was listed.  I was craving tacos and hoping my family could handle something new.

I tried it last night.  At 10 a.m. yesterday morning, my kids were hollering about something and I had no time to thaw my meat.  So I dumped it in frozen and set it in with the sauce.  The only thing I did add, was some corn and black beans – per suggestion on the back of the bag about 10 minutes before serving.  When dinner arrived, I cut up some tomatoes, set out the sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese and announce it was dinner.

THEY LOVED IT.  Even my pickiest eater.  I was SO HAPPY.  I then chowed down my tacos.  I would say they are as good as the fajitas at Chili.  The only thing I would do differ would be to cut up the meat into large chunks before cooking for extra tender meat.

Oh wow.  Thank you LORD that I have a new meal that I can use it in my dinner rotations.

 

My Natural Medicine Cabinet

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Previously, I discussed that our family’s only chance of overcoming sickness quickly on our vaction in Florida, was my natural medicine cabinet that I brought with us.  Below are the products that I am thankful were packed in my travel bag for both adults and children. A little homeopathy also helped us recover and is listed below with an (*).  I will be real folks, that this illness was so bad I even resorted to taking Mucinex along with below arsenal. Usually at home, I would have had my entire get better center.   I was afraid we would miss our flight home if I didn’t do something available at drugstore too.

Adults:

Vita-Lea with Iron: Instead of Centrum or Costco brands

This multi-vitamin is an activator of new cells (it is included in the Vitalizer 30 day supply pack, but you can buy it individually as well). It is whole, concentrated food grown organically. It is proven to increase bone density. Has no added preservatives, artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners. 100% of RDA of biotin.  Makes protein more efficient with 29 vitamins and four-foods-300x226minerals to activate body cells to rebuild and be strong and healthy.

Garlic: Instead of Sudafed

  • I’m not talking about the garlic you find at your local grocery store.  Not only is it powerful, but is so warming on your chest when swallowed because of the spearmint oil and rosemary extract it contains.  I can’t live without this if I feel I’m getting sick in the least, and especially – as was the case for us – if a cough is coming on.
  • Did you know that garlic is sometimes referred to as “Nature’s Wonder Drug?” It is a powerful antibiotic that fights off bacteria, parasites, fungi, and viruses.  Studies have even shown it is more effective than penicillin in some cases.  It offers aid as a decongestant and expectorant and as an anti-diarrheal.

Instead of Airborne, Cold Eeze 

  • Active Ingredients:  Echinacea to take care of bacteria and Larch tree extract to attack viruses
  • Use as a preventative when flying or in large gatherings of people during cold and flu season or anytime you come in contact with allergy activators

Sustained Release Vita-C:

Shaklee Sustained Release Vitamin C has a patented release system on it so that it releases C slowly over a period of 6 hours so that your body can absorb and utilize all of it.  In other words, it is like eating 1 1/2 oranges every hour for 6 hours!!!  That is some good immune boosting!!

You can get the Sustained Release Vitamin C individually (I have a bottle on hand at all times).  I just learned that whenever sickness is coming on, taking 2 every 2 hours till it passes, will quickly heal.  Or you can also get it in a foundational nutrition pack that is a 30 day supply of all the Vitamins and Minerals you need called Vitalizer.  There is Vitalizer for men, women, and 50+.

Children:

Incredivites: 

Shakleekids Incredivites™ is the first kids’ chewable multivitamin in the U.S. to feature lactoferrin, a scientifically backed, immune-supporting nutrient present in breast milk and researched for its role in activating components of the immune system. (Stay tuned for more on this amazing nutrient and how studies are revealing more about the benefits of lactoferrin for adults too!)

Chewable Vita-C:

Both my 1-year-old and my 7-year-old take these Chewable Vita-C. We love them!

    • Important Note:  Vitamin C cannot be made or stored by the body.  It is a water soluble vitamin, which means you need to get it every day and in the right amount.  A cheap vitamin brand will boast of large quantities of vitamin C per tablet, but the problem is that your body can only absorb so much C at a time (you can “train” it to absorb more and more at a time the longer you take it).  This means that when you take these type of vitamins, you are getting a little of the C, but the rest is passing right through, unabsorbed.  So basically you are paying for really expensive urine!

Adults and Children:

Defend and Resist:  Instead of Airborne, Cold-Eeze

  • Every person in my family took this from my 1-year old to my husband.  Great for that first tickle.  Elderberry and zinc are both present to knock the germs out.
  • Active Ingredients:  Echinacea to take care of bacteria and Larch tree extract to attack viruses.
  • Use as a preventative when flying or in large gatherings of people during cold and flu season or anytime you come in contact with allergy activators.

Zinc:  Instead of Cold-Eeze

  • For most of my life in the winter, I had woken up every morning with a sore throat, as a result of congestion.  However, I learned how to eliminate this and nearly the ability to avoid sickness by simply crushing up the zinc tablet and placing it in a spoonful of honey every night before I go to bed.  The tablet is easily swallowed whole, however I have found that the crushed up version leaves a thin coating of protection on my throat so that I wake up without any sore throat or drainage problems at all.
  • Zinc is involved in the production of every hormone in the body.  This is another reason why I take zinc every night.  It aids the body in fighting auto-immune disorders, such as my underactive thryoid disease, Hashimoto’s.

Vita-D3 – Instead of Costco or Walmart Vitamin D

  • Study after study has shown that Vitamin D is not only necessary, but it only works at its optimum when presented as cholicalciferol, as Shaklee does.  My own testimony with Vitamin D is that I took the Costco brand and was finding no improvement in my bloodwork to move to the normal range.  Within 2 weeks on Shaklee Vita-D3, my numbers moved to normal.
  • Further studies have shown that Vita-D3 also plays a role preventing the flu and may be as effective as receiving a flu vaccine.
  • Children may also take this by simply smashing it into a powder and put in applesauce.

*Homeopathy also helped us recover.  For a sore throat where the pain is felt in the ears, Boiron’s Roxalia Tablets help.  For our 1-year-old, I had not packed anything at all and used Hyland’s Baby Cough Syrup. I was very pleased at how it worked.

What is the Shaklee difference?

Here’s a 2-minute video explaining how our products compare:

You can feel comfortable giving these products to your children. Because for over 50 years, generations of families have counted on us to do what no other company can do quite like Shaklee–made products that are naturally safe AND proven effective.

Now, is the BEST time ever to become a Shaklee member!

Any person who joins by February 28th, 2014 with an order of 50 PV or more not only gets their membership fee waived ($19.95 value) but also receives a free can of smoothee ($45 retail value!).

Simply go to my store below:
http://therealdeel.myshaklee.com/us/en/

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OFFER DETAILS

Offer valid through Feb. 28, 2014. An order with 50 PV (Point Value) must be placed at the time you join. Applies to join orders placed online and at the Shaklee Sales and Training Center in Los Angeles, CA. Join orders placed through the call center. This offer is not retroactive. Free product available while supplies last. Free product subject to change without notice.

 

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God Intended It For Good.

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Just look at the lush ocean and peaceful scenery of the picture above.  Looks relaxing, huh?  That’s what I thought too when we arrived in sunny Florida a week ago.  2013 was a year that I will treasure in a lot of ways, but by the end of the year, I could tell both my husband and I were really exhausted and we needed a break.  We both did everything we could to prepare for this trip.  I made sure the kids were healthy.  We took all our vitamins.  I secured every last detail to make sure my kids would absorb the excitement of Disney World.  And yet… we got sick.  My poor husband had been at a business conference the week before and picked up a horrible coughing/fever illness… that he came down with the very first day of our trip.  As I looked at him rapidly deteriorating at Animal Kingdom on this day, I managed to remain cool.  He was going to go back to the hotel and rest and he’d be okay.  This was not a problem. Just a setback.  We’d all be just fine.

Well… I was sort of right.  I was able to have a nice day swimming with the kids while I let him get better at the hotel the next day.  But then the most dreaded thing happened – our 21 month old son came down with the same fever and coughing that evening.  Now I was mad.  How could this be?  I did EVERYTHING right to protect him.  We were all COMPLETELY healthy before we left.  All. Doing. Great.  Then my husband saw me losing it and reminded me to remain calm.  (This is why I married him, folks!)

All seemed manageable and we still had 5 days left of our vacation.  Maybe something could change, right?  Not.  I, too, came down with the same fever/cough symptoms.  I was thankful that I did pack my Shaklee medicine cabinet to get each of us better quickly.  But the timing of us all dropping like flies, one by one… it was REALLY a bummer.

Genesis 50:20 in the Bible speaks about how Joseph had been betrayed by his brothers who sold him into slavery.  He had endured so much trouble, that when his brothers learned that he was alive and had the power to inflict revenge on them, he told them, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good.”

I am convinced that this was one experience that The Enemy had intended to completely ruin us for the whole year.  To tear us apart in arguments as a family.  To leave us sulking and dwelling on the vacation “we could have had.”  Instead, God was SO FAITHFUL to us.  It was a time to teach our daughter that everything happens for a reason.  Do we know why God allows some events to happen in our lives?  No.  Does the fact that we experience these things make Him a liar and that He will not fulfill His promises in our lives?  No.  Even a television show came on in our hotel room where another family went on vacation and they had some pitfalls and learned that these things can become “problem-tunities.”  That is, a problem + opportunity = opportunities to solve the problem.

Make no mistake of it.  The Enemy is out to kill and destroy us.  I was so impressed by my husband who told our daughter that maybe God was protecting us from something worse.

As a matter of fact, throughout the generations of my family, Satan thought he was doing pretty great job in stopping my family from becoming what God intended.  All of my grandparents were taken way before their time was ready.  Some people might say that we’ll never understand why God chose “their time.”  It wasn’t their time.  At all.  It was Satan trying to rip our family apart down through generations to come… and hoping we’d blame it on God.  He crossed a line that threw us for a loop and led me to a battle of depression in college.  He filled my mind with lies I would never succeed in life.

Stop the Burglar in his tracks.

How can we stop this theft, you ask?  We serve Christ, the Redeemer.  He is not only fixes what was lost, he RESTORES us to a place that is even better than before the problem happened.  I am so thankful for where God has brought me today.  I am in a better place than when our family tragedies happened.

But did you know the Bible promises, that when something is stolen from us, it must be repaid:  SEVENFOLD?

People do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy his hunger when he is starving. 31 Yet if he is caught, he must pay sevenfold, though it costs him all the wealth of his house. ~Proverbs 6:30-31

My friend, Lynn, brought this verse to my attention today and here’s what she says she’s doing about theft in her family line.  She shows us in her post, “I am Taking the Devil to Court,” that ‘God’s heavenly courts are open for us to petition and demand justice.’ [We can] petition [our] Righteous Father to restore to [us] the years stolen and the pain of this loss.”

[We can] ask the Lord to replace those lost years by restoring health to others here on earth now. I want to see people, even terminal, healed and whole in Jesus name.

In Jesus name.

So many of my friends are experiencing sickness and death of loved ones, that it makes my crazy vacation seem like nothing.  So I’ve decided, I will pray with you.  Please let me know how I can pray with you!

Most of all, Don’t be afraid.  He has already redeemed your situation by His blood on the cross.  You belong to Him.

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Have Faith.  Trust that the Lord will make good what was intended to harm you.

It’s okay to be mad.  But not for long.  Be so mad that you can ‘look the devil in the eye and say, “Game on.  My God is so much bigger than you’ll ever be.”  (findingheaventoday.com)

Trust.  That He IS ALREADY avenging on your behalf.

What has been stolen from you?  What are you going to do about it?

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Valentine’s Day and 100th Day of School Celebration

Whew!  Today was a relaxing sort of day… but with a lot of extra fun!  Little Miss and Little Mister enjoyed a fun Valentine’s Day/100th Day of School Party at home while it snowed the most gigantic flakes outside I have seen in awhile.  Here’s how it played out:

We woke up and both kids enjoyed their very own breakfast in the shape of “100.”

100 days of school breakfast100 days of school breakfast 2

Then at Little Mister’s naptime, we had some extra fun girl bonding by making our own chocolate fudge (from a box – I promise, Aunt Gladys, I will get our actual family recipe down before too long!).  I think the heart molds came out the best, but we also made animal-shaped fudge.  I had a bunch of little heart molds that I had thought would be fun to make 100 of… but it didn’t look good enough to spend our afternoon down that road.  And, of course, Valentine’s Day is not complete without Chocolate Covered Strawberries!  Let me tell you… yum!

valentine fudge

My favorite part of the day came next.  Little Miss sat at her desk and drew a picture of her as a 7-year-old and a picture of her when she will be 100 years old (in the year 2106.. actually, mom made an error that it would actually be 2107).  I find it hilarious that the old version of herself still has brown hair.  She informed me that, even at 100, she will still be coloring her hair.  She is not a girl who wants to go gray

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While she drew her pictures, we read on Wikipedia about what happened 100 years ago in our world.  We discovered that in 1914, President Woodraw Wilson issued the first official Mother’s Day in America.  This was also the first year that World War I was declared in the world.  Automobile workers were paid a daily wage of $5 daily (that is not per hour!).

We then read through some names of famous people who were born in 1914.  Amazingly, a few of them are still alive and about to turn 100!  The person who interested us most is a man named Karl Otto Gotz. He will turn 100 on February 22nd! A German, Gotz loved drawing while he was still in school.  His gift began making abstract paintings… which were banned in Nazi Germany from being displayed.  So, to survive as a professional artist, he was only permitted to paint landscapes.  His work transformed to spreading thick paint and then raking it off.  He was also known for enlarging computer images to the point of only seeing pixels, then hand painting the pixels to make a giant mosaic.

We thought this was cool, so I showed Little Miss what pixels are on Adobe Photoshop.  She thought it was neat that pictures on computers are nothing more than pixels up close and, how, when zoomed out.. they become a normal looking picture.  This was a great opportunity to explain to her that pixels are a lot like our lives.  That each decision we make in life is like a pixel.  We can’t see the big picture until after we’ve lived our life and can see what God did with our lives.  Sometimes we can’t even understand our lives until we are 100!  I didn’t even know if she could grasp this concept, but sure enough later she told my mom all about what she learned on the phone.  Here is her pixelated drawing she made on Paint.

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Math was a continuation of adding numbers over 100.  And to end the day, we co-authored a story of her choosing that was 100 sentences long.

I had no idea we’d learn so much today and have so much fun.  What was your 100th day of school and/or Valentine’s Day like?

Prepare Him Room!

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Is it Christmas already?  I can’t believe my favorite time of year is here.  Last year, our first homeschooling Christmas, I learned not to over-plan my days and tried to make the most of our days.  This year, I am thankful that I actually am (somewhat) accomplishing this – so far.  Some of you may have noticed I have not posted for quite some time now.  Out of nowhere, actually, we encountered some educational hurdles.  Hurdles, which I am happy to report, are mostly working themselves out because of today’s freebie I am offering you a few days late – an Advent Calendar.

I don’t know about you, but somewhere between Thanksgiving and Christmas, sometimes I get so overwhelmed about my to-do list or the issues I see my family needing to overcome, that what I’d really rather do is take a Mommy vacation rather than plan for the holiday.  To just let someone else plan it for me and I show up.  I quickly find myself shifting from an abundantly thankful heart on Thanksgiving Day and then the next day can brace myself with worries of how to plan the upcoming weeks for the “perfect” Christmas.  Every year it is so cool to me to see my kids understanding something new about Christmas.  I have to remind myself that it is usually not because of my planning this happens, but because Christ is making moments happen for their lives and making Himself known to them on his supernatural timing.

My anticipation completely changed from being buried underneath plans, when I stumbled upon this freebie Advent Calendar idea at Handmaden.com from pinterest.  With a 7-year-old and a 19-month-old, I needed something fast to create.  I wanted my Advent Calendar NOT to be a mere countdown to Christmas where we get a piece of chocolate or toy and forget that day.  Because attitude has been the issue at large at our house, I wanted each day to lead up to Christ’s birth and to invite an enticing attitude toward learning.  Handmaden.com’s blog provided just that.  Isn’t it pretty?

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I thought it would be more fun for my kids if I printed each day on Christmas contrasting red and green colors.  But wait!  You were wanting a Christmas devotional, you say?  I was floored to find out the simplicity of this advent that she has a single scripture passage for each day to be read right on each day of advent.  Simple is what we need over here.  My 7-year-old has LOVED going to the calendar to see what scripture will be for the day, then she looks it up in her Bible, and practices reading aloud.  Even my 19-month-old knows the routine and can’t wait to go to it each morning.  It begins our day with devotions.  It is a beautiful decoration in and of itself.

If you are an involved parent or a homeschooling parent like me; however, you might want to take it to the next level.  Many families also choose to do an activity for the day with their advent calendar.  It could be something as simple as baking cookies or watching a Christmas movie together.  On the back of each day, I wrote the theme word or activity for our daughter to find when she pulled it down.  THEN, we don’t do the activity until AFTER our studies are done as a reward for her good behavior.  This makes our studies sooooo much more enjoyable as we both eagerly await the most fun part of the day that also ties Christ’s theme for the day.

When I first read each verse on my calendar, I was suddenly filled with the wonder of the Christmas story.  How AWESOME IS GOD that the very birth of Christ was spoken into existence in Genesis!  How GREAT is our God who is faithful in our lives today – EVEN when we are hopeless.  Like Abraham and Sarah who were in their old age and couldn’t fathom having God do what He said – making their descendants as numerous as the stars.  And How GOOD HE HAS BEEN in my life alone!  If I were just to think on the ways He has provided for me without even considering my family members… wow!

As I read each scripture, then, I decided I wanted to pick out a “key” word out of each passage and do a craft or activity to convey God’s amazing ways.  I have been amazed so far at how she “gets” it.  I’m soooo excited that “my” anticipation of hearing Christ’s birth is now becoming “our” anticipation.  It is addicting too.  I cannot stop anticipating how God will move on our behalf and the plans He has for us to do in 2014.

Here is a list and links of our 25 days of crafts/activities.  For each I have listed a single word that spoke the theme of the verse and then found an activity that went along with this word.  Feel free to share and find your own theme word.  I hope you feel just as inspired.  What activites will you be doing this Advent season?

Day #1: Prepare.  We made paintings welcoming God to our hearts.  We also talked about how we prepare for guests by cleaning the house, so we need to open the door to Jesus so that HE can be the one to clean our hearts, if we will just prepare a place for Him.  Also, in Isaiah, they were preparing for the birth of a Savior.  Today, we are preparing for the same baby, our now resurrected Messiah, to return.

Day #2: Sing for Joy.   There are many Christmas songs that fit this.  Joy to the World.  You could even pick Ode to Joy.  Over Thanksgiving, a friend told me that Seeds of Praise was offering a free download.  And what was the title of the song that I now LOVE?  You got it!  The theme I had picked!  “Sing for Joy.”  I thought they were only offering through Thanksgiving day.  But it still seems available and the whole album is awesome and helps your little ones memorize scripture to beautiful song.

Day #3: Jesus’ Strong Hand.  I have nothing against Santa and think this is adorable.  Thought it would be fitting to somehow turn this clay creation into either Jesus’ hand or into Abraham.  Love it.

santa salt dough handprint

Day #4: We sinned.  I saw in this melted snowman how we feel after we mess up and wish we could go back to being our normal smiling selves.  You can find the original artist and other snowmen to choose from on my pinterest board.

 

Day #5:  Abraham and Sarah.  Trust God and believe Him.  This activity is to make some cardboard cutouts of stars and to wrap them in foil and hang to see. Pretty fun to illustrate how Abraham’s descendents are indeed as numerous as the stars and that Jesus was born under the star of Bethlehem.  I found this wonderful site describing it here.

At our house this year, we don’t have time to decorate with a Christmas tree, but I found this AMAZING “Jesse Tree” craft.  It could actually be an advent calendar or activity to do all alone.  But I will use it along with my own advent calendar.  The ornament listed in this free downloadable .pdf goes wonderfully with the lesson.  All of the historical figures mentioned in this craft all illustrate the root of Christ’s lineage and the people surrounding the birth of Christ.  It is so neat to see how the prophecy we are reading comes alive from the Old to New Testament readings through the week. Later we actually make the tree, but here is the info for printing the ornament here.

Day #6: Listening to God.  We will be playing the song, “Do you Hear What I Hear?” making the Isaiah ornament from Jesse tree and creating the following crafts.  Listening and following directions are my main goals for my 7-year-old.  She’s a good listener in public, but at home… we are working on it.  Since she has Chinese heritage, she loves learning her characters.  I love how the characters portray listening as from the heart!  All found on pinterest.

{Update:  It was so fun! }              L1060084

earschinese earowl listener

 

Day #7. Believing God’s promises activity.  As in Day #5, this activity is found at the bottom to remind us not to just hear God’s promises, but to believe Him.

Day #8. Root of jesse tree and ornament.

Day #9. HIS Name is The BRANCH.  We will be making a special Jesus branch on our Jesse tree.

Day #10.  Daughter and son of the King craft.  I found this on pinterest also.  You can buy it.  I thought we could make one of our own.

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Day #11. Jesus is fire.  Fire of the Lord Hats.  Again, something you can buy but we will make our own… found on pinterest.

 

Day #12. Jesus was there with God when the earth was made.  I just found this amazing site on pinterest called “Calendar Connections.” We are learning about the months of the year.  Basically, this site can take any occasion or learning topic you can think of and print out corresponding images to illustrate on a calendar for your child.  I love the Christmas one they have provided to teach kids about Christmases around the world!

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Day #13. Jesus is the Light and the Bible in the flesh.  Candlelight craft

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Day #14. John the Baptist prepared for Jesus Mark 1:1-3.  In our Jesse Tree, the ornament for the day representing John the Baptist is a sea shell.  When I was a little girl, my grandma lived in Florida.  She was always bringing sea shells, horseshoe crabs, and sand dollars home for all of the grandchildren to hold.  My favorite item she would bring was the sand dollar because of its story about Jesus.  If you’ve never heard the story, please check it out here.  I can’t wait to see my kid’s faces when they find the tiny doves inside the sand dollars I found at orientaltrading.com!

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Day #15. Luke 1:5-13 Zechariah and Elizabeth ornament on Jesse Tree.

Day #16. Luke 1:14-17 John was pure and not rebellious.  Grow a borax snowflake

Borax Snowflake

Day # 17. More on Zechariah’s transformation when John the Baptist is born. Watch The Nativity Story.  If you haven’t seen this, you MUST watch it.  It is now a tradition in our house and is one of the most awe-inspiring, biblically sound versions I have ever seen.

Day #18. Names of Jesus.  Choose one advent ornament for the Names of Jesus.

rock of ages

Day #19. Mary gives glory to God for blessing her.  Sing songs such as “Gabriel’s Message” by Sting.  Or “10,000 reasons” by Matt Redman.

Write what God has done for you.

Day #20. Zecharias gave his son the name the angel had spoken, “John.”  He was not named after his father and this was unheard of.  What name does God call you by?

Day #21. Zechariah proclaims over his son after not believing.  Make another ornament from day #18, “The Highest”.

Day #22 Make ornament from Day #18, “Immanuel” ornament
Day #23 Mary hears from Gabriel.  We will be making cookies and gingerbread houses to spread Christmas cheer.

Day #24. More names of Jesus!

Day #25. The angel tells Joseph it is ok to take Mary as his wife.  We need to believe God.  He has come!  Hooray, Christmas is here!

Merry Christmas!  Please let me know what you loved the most and ideas of your own!