Hospitality, Friendship, Encouragement

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday Morning Thoughts

This little beauty came to visit yesterday.  She has grown so much lately!  It is fun because every time we see her we can see visible change.  She smiles alot and coos...she laughs...she sometimes cries...but even that is precious isn't it?

Sometimes I have to remind myself that I am a Grandmother!  A new generation has been started in our family.  I was telling her of all the fun things she will get to do at Grandma's house as she gets bigger.  

Playing with Aunties and Uncle Kyle

Riding in the wagon behind the tractor



Playing in the creek

Riding horses

picking garden produce

chasing dogs

playing doll house

riding bikes

We also pray that this sweet girl will get to come to church with us and spend Sundays will all our friends.  We pray that she will love Jesus at a young age....

Kamryn comes from a Godly heritage, not a perfect one.  Her great great great grandfather, prayed for her generations ago - he prayed everyday for his children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and "all the many generations," that they would know the Lord and walk in His ways.

The little girls are still suffering with poison something....Sarah started last night, though hers seemed more like hives, that seems to be how her body deals with this stuff.  Rachel is swollen again in the face.  I likely will be calling in the morning to see what is up.  Her itching is still there though not as terrible as it was.  Today will mark 48 hours on the prednisone and that is supposed to be a big change time - we'll see.

I am home today with the little is a quiet morning here.  I miss being with our church family, but it is important to care for the girls.  Sometimes when they don't feel great there is much emotional care that needs to take place as well.  I am thankful to be there mama and to give them the love and support they need.

We as a family have been reading Psalm 119.  It is very long, but we have been doing 2 sections a day.  It is such a great reminder of how important the Word is and how it is life changing...Psalm 119:105 "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path."  The Lord will show us where to walk as we continue in His word - this is so encouraging to me.  I just need to look to His word to show me where to walk...

I trust that your day will be spent walking with the Lord in paths laid out for you by Him....

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Poison Something...

Rachel, Sarah and Kyle were out in the pasture Thursday evening with Lindsay.  A few hours later Rachel said that her eyes were itchy (not uncommon with seasonal allergies) so she took her allergy medication.

She awoke around 1:30 red in the face, it was warm to the touch, and itchy.  I looked it over no rash, but a reaction to something, so I had her use some topical anti itch gel and she finally went back to sleep.  When she woke Friday morning, her face was swollen.  I couldn't believe it!  She looked so different!

I gave her liquid benadryl and waited to see what would happen.  Nothing.  Still itching and miserable and puffy!

I got an afternoon appointment for her with the doctor.  He walks in and says "poison ivy!" I mention no rash, he shows me lines on her arms that are a sign of poison plant of some sort.  She had mentioned carrying 'ferns' on Thursday evening but when we looked at photos in our book of poison sumac (she actually looked it up) she said that she didn't touch any of that stuff.  She didn't see any poison ivy or oak either.  hmmm

Well, she is on steroids and the swelling decreased so quickly.  But the itching is still driving her nuts.  Can't sleep kind of nuts.  Which means Momma can't sleep either.  Tim worked overtime so I called him at 4:00 am this morning to ask that he stop and get more liquid benadryl and other anti itch stuff.

She awoke this morning still miserable.

Emily came home from work with itchy rashy (she who was not out in the pasture on Thursday evening).  It was on her face around her mouth, and it being the weekend...I called the doctor.  She prescribed steroids for her too.  She seems much better today.  

Lindsay tells me in my groggy lack of sleep state this morning "I have poison ivy on my hands."  She got jewel weed, chopped it up, pour boiling water over it, waited until it was cooler and then plunged her hand into it.  She said it 'burned' where the poison was, but that it felt much better.

The jewel weed has been hard to use on Rachel - we chopped some yesterday and infused it into coconut oil - because she doesn't have a 'rash'.  She is red and itchy though.  


Pray for us will you?  

ps - both Rachel and Emily are on steroids because of it being on their faces.  For Rachel her swelling was causing the skin around her eyes to swell shut.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Four Plants Found In The Wild

This one is Burdock.  The root is a good blood cleanser,  liver tonic and a mild diuretic.  You can use the leaves cut and layered on cuts, has anti bacterial properties.  It also is used as a digestive stimulant and blood purifier.  It is considered a very gentle and cleansing herb.  The leaves can be used on burns.

This is what the flowers look like.

You can buy the root in a tea form.

This is Purslane.  It grows everywhere around here!  It is mild to the taste and was a great addition to the wild salad we ate today!  It is the best leafy source of Omega 3, 6, 9.  It is also high in beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, magnesium, and potassium. It is surprisingly high in carbohydrates as well as protein.  It has a high iron content.  It is high in all the nutrients that prevent cataracts.  You can eat it raw in salads or saute lightly and put it into soups and stews.

I am delighted to have found out about Jewel Weed.  It grows very well here and is an antidote to poison ivy and poison sumac, probably all the 'poison' plants.  In the spring you can split the stems and apply to the affected area.  Or you can make a "tea" of the leaves and use it to soak the affected area.  Also you can drink the tea and it will be a protection against getting poison for 24 hours.

This is Stinging Nettle.  Don't touch it with your bare hands.  It hurts...I would buy it in tincture form while a novice at this herb stuff.  It is super nutrient rich, it supports the body in times of trauma and provides minerals etc, to aid in healing and rebuilding tissue and bone.  It's cleansing and stimulating effect benefit the whole body.  It is good for fatigue and exhaustion, liver, gallbladder and spleen disorders, headaches, anemia, blood disorders, colds/flu, allergies, faulty circulation, eczema, blood cleansing and building, stimulates the bowel and urinary tract, helps the pancreas.

It does a lot and it seems as if that is crazy, but so many of these issues are tied to the same type of need - cleansing the body of toxins and building it up to strength.

We learned about many more plants on our Wild Herb Walk at an Amish farm today.  I will share more in the up coming days.

I just am reminded every week of what Genesis 1:29-31 - "And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed , which is upon the face of the earth,...And God saw everything that He had made and behold, it was very good."  

God gave all these wonderful plants he made to us for food and for nourishment to our bodies.  He is so wise and so awesome!

images:Google images

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

An Ordinary Life....

Dogs underfoot at all times - thinking they are children.  Children learning lessons, playing outside in the sunshine,  or even cooler weather.  Older ones going to their part time jobs at a local corn maze, going to help a family at church, welcoming people into our home.  All of this accomplished by the Grace of God and what He is doing in our lives.

 Riding lessons for horse loving students...she knows their hearts so well!  Making videos, for fun and for co-op purposes, driving her siblings to run errands....she is a hero to many children.

Loving relationships with Grandparents...overnights, playing wii, lots of hugs and kisses!

Last year of high school work, continuing to grow and learn.  A loyal friend, a fun sister.

Growing so fast, turning into a young lady.  A lover of babies and animals - daily checking the garden and baking up delicious treats!

A cheerful and delightful spirit!  Loving her friends and family, loving to pretend and play.  Such an imagination!

We are so blessed to live such an ordinary life...How about you?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

My Garden In August

Our garden has done well in spite of the heat and the lack of rain this summer.

The Black-eyed Susan's and the Purple Cone Flowers have been the mainstay of the garden this year.  They have just bloomed and bloomed all summer.

The wee yellow finches just love our coneflowers...they sit on the seed heads and eat away...

This is feverfew, though it looks like chamomile!  This stem is laying on it's side.

The bird bath was dry but by evening the Lord sent the rain and it is full now...

I am having a brain freeze at the moment and cannot remember what this plant is!  It looks very nice planted below my Zephirine Drouhin Rose.

I have this white hibiscus in the front garden.  It grows so big, that I keep it trimmed so it is like a standard with the branches coming up and over the front walk...

Aren't they lovely blooms?

My chair has enjoyed being red this has added so much to the garden.

The Aster is beginning to bloom....a reminder that Autumn is on it's way.  With the cooler temperatures that are expected this week, it will be easy to believe!

My goldmound spira is happy in the garden.  This lovely chartreuse colored shrub, blooms several times in the spring and summer! 

The boxwood has really grown this year - I will be doing a bit of shaping when the holidays roll around!

There are a few daisy hanging on around here...they bloom and bloom all summer.

Can you see the butterfly hanging on the bloom of the Butterfly bush?  If you want to have butterflies, and hummingbirds around your home, plant one of these easy to grow bushes.  You can cut the blossoms and use them in 'country' flower bouquets!

This jungle is our tomato plants!  Let me tell you we have learned that they need a lot more room next year!  But they are giving us wonderful tomatoes to eat, and make salsa and to use in salad and on burgers and to share!

In Sarah's basket are Brandywine, Lemon Boy, Tiny Tim, Sweet 100's, some other kind that has a German name and grows in grapelike clusters!

The Lemon Boy's are low acid type can also see yellow squash in her basket!

It has been wonderful for our whole family to have this garden this year.  We are going to make it bigger next year, and we have learned to plant things sooner rather than later!  

How is your garden growing?

Friday, August 20, 2010


A tincture is a solution of a plant extract or chemical in alcohol.  Only one of these bottles meets the definition of a tincture.  It is the tall, dark one.  That is a black walnut tincture, it's ingredients are black walnut, comfrey root, white oak bark, glycerin and 80 proof (40%) vodka. This is good for tooth problems and for using for it's anti-fungal properties.  You put your ingredients in the bottle and then shake it well, every day for two weeks.  You then strain it and put the liquid into a smaller bottle for use.

Our instructor Rosanna, also made an Echinacea tincture.  She used the folk method for making her tincture:

1. Chop fresh plant into small pieces and stuff into a canning jar, filling it to the top.  If using a dried herb or root fill 1/2 or 3/4 full.  Dried herbs should first be ground, using a coffee grinder, food processor or blender.

2. Pour menstruum (alcohol) over herb, covering completely.

3. Stir well, so all the herb is wet. (If using fresh herbs, dump everything in the blender and macerate then pour back into the jar.)  This works with some dried herbs too.

4. Add sufficient alcohol so herb is covered. (at least 1/4 inch over the herb)

5. Cap jar tightly.

6. Check the jar in 12 hours, add additional alcohol if needed.

7. Shake the tincture frequently (at least once a day) for 14 days, then let it sit one more day.

8.  Pour off (decant) the clear tincture from the top, press the remaining wet pulp, using a cheese cloth and then combine the two liquids.  Squeeze the herb residue thoroughly, with a regular juice press, or wring out by hand through cloth, canvas, muslin, etc.  Cloth is the least effective as it absorbs much of the liquid.

9. Filter if desired.  Some tinctures are more effective with some herb residue, and it is practically impossible to filter all herb particles out.

10. Bottle in dark or painted bottles, tightly cap and label.  Store in a cool, dark place.

* Do not use plastic, metal or any other type of container that your base (alcohol or vinegar) may react with undesirably. 

Rosanna said that it is important to use grain alcohol that has not had any flavorings etc, added and that is why vodka is good to use. By law it can only be grain alcohol and water.

I am not an  expert and I make no claims about the success of treating common ailments with these tinctures.  I do know that these ladies have bought and used these kinds of herbal medicines for years and were eager to learn to make their own.  They believe in them.

We also made a deep tissue massage oil, with essential oils and oils made from garlic, calendula, and a few others.  It is healing and gives off the warmth that nice massage oils do.  It smells good as it has peppermint in it.  

The small green jar has a healing salve in it - you use if for cuts, but not puncture wounds. It has beeswax and herbs in it, hence the green color. Rosanna said if we had just put the calendula in it, the color would have been golden.  I have been using it on a dry skin split I have on my finger and it is healing well. I also have used lanolin on it.

If you get the chance to take classes like these, I encourage you to do so.  They are full of helpful information on how you can use plants that you grow or that are growing in the 'wild' to treat common health issues.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

I Am Learning So Much...

not just about herbs and how these plants that God made at creation, for food for both mankind and animals, are healthy and healing for our bodies. 

 I am learning about sharing and community from the Plain women that attend this class.

First of all I have to say that these women are not "plain" in their looks.  Unadorned by make up or even a wedding ring, these ladies are beautiful.  They radiate good health.  They are women, who for most of them, formal education stopped at 8th grade.  They are full of useful knowledge and skills, and are interested in learning more.  One of the ladies at today's class was likely 60 years old or so...Malinda was her name.  She was spry and interested in how Rosanna (our teacher) made her tinctures.  Did she use the root or the flowers and leaves?  What proof vodka did she use and could you use another kind of liquor other than vodka?  Malinda even brought the bottle of the kind of vodka she had used to make some kind of tincture at home!  I chuckled inside when she came into class with her basket and purse and sat beside me and I got a glimpse of that empty vodka bottle!

This lead to the discussion of where did Rosanna buy her alcohol for the tincture.  "At the liquor store," was the answer.  This lead to a lot of laughing as they all pictured themselves going into the state run liquor store to buy vodka!  Can you imagine what the employees of a liquor store would think to be selling 80-100 proof vodka to Amish and Mennonite women?!  Too funny - they thought so too!

These women are used to a kind of community spirit that we just don't have, even if we have good friends.  They don't email each other or talk on the phone together, but they love to be together and share knowledge.  The talk today was about when the next "Women's Day" was going to be.  They were all looking forward to it.  It is big doings for these women who work making their homes and families a priority.  Malinda passed around a magazine of had started out as a 'circle letter' among friends in Ohio and grew to a multipage quarterly newsletter that ladies contribute articles on subjects of interest to them all.  Those who had never seen it before were eagerly writing down the address to send for it.

I was so happy to have Lindsay with me to share all this.  My daughters and I have community with each other.  And in many ways I have it with some of my fellow home educating Moms.  It is just different.  I think it is because these ladies grow up with it - knowing it's importance in their lives.  We 'English' (non-Amish), we western cultured women, are taught to value individualism, independence, self reliance. They are taught the value of needing each other, helping each other, the value of what everyone can contribute.  

It is interesting at these classes that no one will be the first to grab a jar and start filling it or anything, unless Rosanna specifically asks them to get it started.  They learn young to not put themselves first.

Another of the Amish women who has come both weeks is named Emma.  She is probably not yet 40.  She is beautiful, with Irish coloring, red hair, fair skin, lovely eyes.  She brings 3 children with her, whom I assume are her youngest children.  They are so well behaved.  The boy about 5 or 6 helps with the younger sister and the baby.  Emma has an interest in all of these things we are learning...they all do.  For they know the value of their work on behalf of their families.  They are the caregivers, the healers of boo boo's and coughs.  They like knowing the old remedies, the natural ones.  

I will be sad when our classes are over.  I will miss seeing them, and learning from them.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

This and That

It's time for one of those posts when you don't really have any "one" thing to say but lots of bits so here goes....

Our Mom's meeting went fantastically!  We changed up somethings, and let Moms come early to sign up the kids before the meeting started.  We started at 7:15 pm and I couldn't not believe it when I looked up and the clock said 8:15 pm and we were done!  Everyone was so thrilled!  Including me!  Of course part of my work was just beginning, talking with ladies and trying to encourage them!  We home educating Moms get discouraged sometimes or sometimes we just need to share how are kids are doing and can you believe that people just "don't get how great this homeschooling thing is?"   That is my favorite part of my 'job'.

The contractor is coming over bright and early this morning, okay, at 9:00 am to discuss changes to the plan that my parents want to make and then to start the ball rolling with our township for approval.  This will be a big hurdle as it is in any project but it is vital to being able to do this inlaw quarters here on our property.

Tim's cousins are here one more day, they go to see Joseph!  We are so excited that it worked out for them to be able to see it!  Soon they will be headed back to Africa where they head up a college for Christian students.

Tomorrow the girls and I will be taking a herb class and learning to make tinctures.  It should be interesting!

Psalm 90:12 - So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.

The Lord has shown me that in learning to number our days, we must learn to focus on the things that will bring us wisdom for our lives - how to love our spouses, our children, how to care for others, show hospitality, to learn it is not all about me!

That is my prayer.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Much To Do Today...

We have cousins of my husband visiting today, from Canada.  We will be taking them around a bit and to lunch before they go to see "The Psalms of David."  

Our co-op has our big Parents Meeting tonight.  This is the first meeting of the year, we start next month with classes, and takes a lot of preparation.  We are always relieved when the first meeting is done.  Aahhh.....

May God bless you richly in all your work you teach your children, work at your job, wipe a runny nose, cook meals, is all of such value...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Dawdi Haus

A dawdi (dah-dee) haus (house) is a small house built on to the main house on an Amish farm.  This is how they care for their parents.

In years past it was not unusual for grandparents to be living in the home with the family.  Think "The Walton's".  

For many years now we have talked with my parents about doing this very thing.  In fact Lindsay used to always say that they could come live on her farm when they got old.  She had it all planned out - grandma and grandpa's bedroom would overlook the pond with pretty flowers and trees all around.  Even as young children they were learning to care for others, down to what would be a pleasing view out of the window.

My parents are not 'elderly', nor are they in bad health, praise the Lord!  However, their big house and yard are getting to be quite a lot to take care of.  More and more my dad says "We'll have to have someone come do that," rather than "I'll take care of that."  

Also it is just the two of them poking around that large house, unless we drop in or they have some of the grandkids over to spend the night.

I mentioned some months back that they had a contractor friend come out and draw up plans for adding on to our house.  They really liked them and with just a few minor adjustments the plans are perfect for them.  It seemed as if they were satisfied with the plans and waiting a while before going a head with everything.  Then my Dad put the ball in play - he had a realtor from their church come do a comparable market analysis and a few days ago they put the house up for sale!  The realtor told them that serious buyers in their price range would want to move quickly - 30 to 60 days for escrow.  When the house is sold they will put the things they are keeping into storage, and moving in with us until construction is done.  

They will be living in the master bedroom suite (which is huge), and will allow them to have a sitting area of their own.  Lindsay and Emily who currently live in that room will move to the basement.

This means that everything is getting into high gear.  We need to sort through all our old stuff and purge it!  This is a good thing.  We don't know when the house will sell so we must get ready now.  

Our portion of the house will remain relatively unchanged except for moving the staircase, which will actually open up our kitchen more!  

This is a big change for us all, scary for my parents, exciting, wonderful all at the same time!

We are excited for them and for us.  It is such a blessing to be able to do this.   

Friday, August 13, 2010

About My Class....

The class I am taking on Medicinal Herbs is located at a Natural Foods Store called "Miller's Natural Foods, " in Bird-in-Hand.  This link is to a nice write up about it from PA Dutch Country Blog.

Rosanna is our teacher, she is Mennonite and there are two other Mennonite ladies, an Amish lady, an "English" lady and we Rabe women! The Amish lady and one of the Mennonite lady's had their young children with them, and other than the nursing babies who were hungry, those kids were quiet and very well behaved, for two hours.  It must be from all that practice of sitting quietly in church!

Rosanna started out by saying a key to treating your family with herbs, is to ask yourself "What is the issue."  For example, "Why does Kyle have a fever?" Then the key is to not try to mask the fever but to work with the fever to bring healing.  For every degree of temperature over normal your white blood cells speed up (I am not sure if she meant they move faster or increase in number- I will try to clarify that this next week) - thus causing them to overpower the 'infection' or what ever is causing fever.  We learned that using certain herbs or herbal teas will help work with the infection both to support it (after all the fever is helping the body to fight) and to help break the fever.  So interesting.

We also learned about what the different herbs do for the body.  Of course not all are herbs but plants or even bark or flowers.  Slippery Elm is good for the intestines if you are having issues.  It coats soothes the intestines.  

Did you know that garlic is called "Russian Penicillin"?  It is good for many things that ail you...crush it let it sit out in the air for 5 minutes.  The add it to olive oil.  Warm the oil and then use it in ears for ear aches, it can be used as an antiseptic on cuts, to fight athlete's foot.  Very useful!

The biggest 'Ah ha' moment for me was 'thinking about what is going on in the body.'  If you have vomiting or other intestinal issues think of "why."  Why is the body purging.  Usually it is because of some kind of toxin in your system, like food poisoning for instance. 

This next week we are going to learn to make tinctures.  Black Walnut tincture can be used to fight athlete's foot too.  Also apparently good for teeth problems...

More to come....

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Have You Seen This Website?

The other kids always wonder why Jessica is the only one who gets to smile on Sundays.

It is a funny, tongue in cheek site that pokes fun at the perfect catalog homes!  My home never looks like any of these!  They are too clean! 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Medicinal Herbs Again!

Lindsay's study of edible plants in the wild lead us all to an interest in medicinal plants.  God is so wise and wonderful the way He made nature to provide what we need.  I had the opportunity on Sunday to use common plantain to take the 'sting' out of 4 bee stings!

One of the little boys from church found a yellow jacket hive on a little used baby swing at the play gym area here at Creekside Cottage.  He got stung 4 times!  He was very brave and the plantain took the 'sting' out of them.  We did put ice on them to keep the swelling down, but apparently his hand was still swollen pretty good the next day!

This plant is probably everywhere you go and most people probably take the weed killer to it! Yikes!  It is very helpful to stop bleeding in cuts as well.

Of all things, Lindsay has to work tomorrow, so Emily will be going along with me.  Tim and I want the girls to have this knowledge for their own use one day!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Pillowcase Tutorial

I had a few email requests for more information about how to make the pillowcases, my friend Jane in Florida is going to make a Toy Story 3 one for her granddaughter!  

I take my fabric and leave it folded the way it comes off the bolt.  I usually lightly iron it, giving myself an even fold.  

Then I trim 2 inches off the selvage side of the fabric.

I like to make French Seams so I leave my fabric with the right side of the material 'out' and make a 2/8th's seam along one end and along the side of the fabric.

I then turn the fabric inside out, and iron done the seam.  I then take a 3/8th's seam.  This encloses the whole seam inside, and makes a total of a 5/8th's seam.

Here is what the seams look like finished.

You are now ready to make your fold at the opening of the pillowcase.  This time I folded 2 inches over then folded it again about 6 to 8 inches.  This is where you could trim several inches off before doing your seams, if you wish.   

I used a decorate stitch to sew the seam at the opening of the pillowcase.

Here is the finished product on Kyle's bed.  A darling, brand new pillowcase for about $4.00!  He loves it!


  We are finally getting some blue skies with real clouds, and sunshine! I took sometime with Kyle and Kamryn's help to set up the deck ...