Adding Some Curves

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When we moved into our house there was a heavily cemented rock wall on a flower bed that ran most of the length of our yard. It was long and incredibly straight. In short, I loved the idea of having the flowerbed there, but I really didn’t like the look of it.  With a small sledge hammer I took out the existing wall and knocked the cement from the rocks so I could reuse them.

 

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Then I started adding some curve, marking the lawn with my shove before digging in. I sank some lawn edging where I wanted my rock wall and some heavy landscape fabric over that to keep anything from trying to grow…at least for the next ten to twenty years.

Then it snowed… Yay for spring in Alberta!!!

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After the snow finally melted, I was able to add a few new plants, including a red climbing rose and some herbs. 🙂 I paid $20 for a tree removal company to drop four square yards of mulch in my driveway, which I have been putting between all my plants– I’m a huge fan of less weeding/low maintenance beauty!

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Wait for it…

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It’s still a work in progress, but after I figure out my color patters for each month (June was completely purple, so I should probably add something more), and give my roses another year to grow…I’ll have to come up with something else to do with my time.

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Mud Pie!

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I was raised on a farm, as was my husband. We both would love to live out in the middle of nowhere, with some land of our own (more than 20th of an acre), to raise our kids. Unfortunately, at this time, that really isn’t an option. At least, not if we want our kids to ever see their father! Still, I do want my kids to have some of the experiences farm kids enjoy. My neighbors probably shake their heads sometimes, but this is what we do:

  • Let the kids run barefoot (in the yard). When we were growing up we had races across gravel, and even thistles to see who was the toughest. Sometimes we would step on something that cut our feet, but it was nothing that a good ten minute soak in warm salt water and a Tetanus shot couldn’t handle.
  • Garden–to teach them how to weed, and dig, and not step on the beans! My parents gave us 10by10 garden spots when we were young. We got to plant them and take care of them and harvest them all by ourselves. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough space to do that in the middle of the city, but every little bit helps.
  • Work outside. We try to have lots of family projects (this year we are removing tree stumps) including our garden, that allows our kids to get their hands dirty in a productive way.
  • Get dirty. In the country you don’t have to worry about who sees you covered in mud because whose going to see you? Your closest neighbors are two miles up the road. (The important thing with this one is to plan enough time into the schedule to get cleaned up before you head on an outing). My kids are very fond of making mud pies…and I can’t blame them. 😉

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The Bunny is Cute, But He Didn’t Die For Me

Easter is here again and the stores are filled with chocolate bunnies and chocolate eggs and chocolate … sorry, I’m getting a little distracted. I admit that I love chocolate and Easter is a great time of year to stock-up. So fill up your baskets (your shopping ones) and head for check out where the nice cashier will wish you a happy Easter. They can do it without any worry about offending anyone because “Easter” doesn’t really refer to Christ, and yet it is just as religious a holiday as Christmas, if not more so. At Christmas we celebrate Jesus’ birth, while during Easter, we remember the reason for it!

John 18:37 ~ “To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world…”

I guess I need to try harder not to get distracted.

I am Christian.

I believe Jesus died lived, died and rose again.

Because of Him, I can too!

I ran across this video, and I hope you enjoy!

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I hope you have a very thoughtful Easter …

and a happy one, too!

What Preschool and Sex-ed Have in Common

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As the mother of a preschooler I have become more and more conscious of two things:
1) Preschools are becoming universally accepted as beneficial, if not necessary.
2) Sexual education in schools is becoming more and more explicit.

You are probably wondering the connection between the two. Let me share my findings.

Preschool:

“Benefits”: “There’s increasing evidence that children gain a lot from going to preschool… At preschool, they become exposed to numbers, letters, and shapes. And, more important, they learn how to socialize — get along with other children, share, contribute to circle time.” Kathleen McCartney, PhD.

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After hearing something like that, why wouldn’t you rush forward and enroll you child immediately? But wait, there’s more —

“Kids in preschool discover that they are capable and can do things for themselves — from small tasks like pouring their own juice and helping set snack tables to tackling bigger issues like making decisions about how to spend their free time.” Angela Capone, PhD

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Wow- how can this not be a good  thing? I mean, think of all those generations who came before us who (never mind myself — there was nothing like this when I was a kid) never learned these skills before entering school. Or did they?

During my research I discovered a organization that used to exist and was available to most children. They were exposed to numbers, letters, and shapes and were impressively socialized with children of all ages, so they could both learn from older peers, and contribute in kind to educating younger ones in sharing, getting along and problem solving. In this organization, children were often taught to pour their own juice and set the table — not just for a snack, but for dinner!

One pro preschool study as discussed by Roger Highfield stated: “the project revealed that the education of the parents – particularly the mother- still has the greatest influence, having twice the effect and thus boosting maths scores even more.”

Unfortunately, this wonderful organization (the family) has been deteriorating, and therefore the need has arisen to create other, though less effective, programs to take its place.

Lets switch gears now and talk about sex! … I mean about sexual education. But seriously, I don’t know how any parent can feel comfortable with a person they hardly know, walking in and saying that exact line to their child (and I mean CHILD — as the age for this ‘open info download’ is getting younger and younger). Unless you are there, you have no idea how the info is going to be addressed — or even what info — what directions the conversation will take, and how explicit material might be. There will also be no mention made of any moral stance you might take (like abstinence before marriage), but at least your child will come away knowing how to use a condom! (I feel embarrassed writing that word in public!) I guess that is more comfortable then YOU having to ‘have the talk’ with your kid, and answer all those awkward questions that may result…

I guess in a lot of ways we should be grateful for the way society or “the system”, has stepped in and taken up the slack where “the Family” has let it slide. After all, we have careers, Facebook, and computer games to keep us occupied. We don’t have time to educate whatever children we may have had. Thank goodness for the educational system taking the onus off of us parents!

(Note for those with no sense or understanding of sarcasm — look to the last paragraph for proper usage.)

Now, before all my friends decide never to speak to me again, let me say that I actually have nothing against preschool or sex-ed (you weren’t expecting that, were you?). For some children they are very important. I know several families who put their children in preschool to help with to access programs to assist children with speech delays, and another who sent a child to preschool a couple times a week because the older  siblings had activities and the mom didn’t want the younger one to feel left out. This was even a homeschooling family.

Yes, preschool has its place — and so does sex-ed — but what I have a problem with, is that they are increasingly becoming thought of as essential, where in reality what is taught in both of those programs can, and should, be easily taught inside the home.

But that’s just my opinion.

The Fight for Traditional Marriage is a Fight for the Rights of Children

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Everyone so busy worrying about their own rights and privileges that they forget, or perhaps they never realize, marriage is not about having rights, it’s about giving them up. Thomas Sowell, one of America’s brilliant minds put it this way:

“In the absence of the institution of marriage, the individuals could arrange their relationship whatever way they wanted to, making it temporary or permanent, and sharing their worldly belongings in whatever way they chose.

Marriage means that the government steps in, limiting or even prescribing various aspects of their relations with each other — and still more, their relationship with whatever children may result from their union.

In other words, marriage imposes legal restrictions, taking away rights that individuals might otherwise have. Yet “gay marriage” advocates depict marriage as an expansion of rights to which they are entitled.” (Here is the rest of the article)

He puts “gay marriage” in quotes because, he argues, there is no such thing as “gay marriage.” The term in itself is meaningless.

The key: It is not an expansion of rights. It is a commitment before society that you will take care of any offspring produced by the union. Hence the importance of traditional values in marriage — where it isn’t ripped apart by selfishness, nullifying the stability and other benefits of being raised by a mother and father.

Ryan Anderson, in an address to the Indiana House Judiciary Committee stated this: “Marriage is the institution that different cultures and societies across time and place developed to maximize the likelihood that that man would commit to that woman and then the two of them would take responsibility to raise that child.”

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He also stated that: “The state’s interest in marriage is not that it cares about my love life, or your love life, or anyone’s love life just for the sake of romance,” Anderson explained. “The state’s interest in marriage is ensuring that those kids have fathers who are involved in their lives.”

Click here to hear more of his amazing argument!

Earlier this month 5 major religions banded together and wrote an amicus brief to the United States Court of Appeals for The Tenth Circuit which concluded with the following:

“Marriage, understood as the union of one man and one woman, remains a vital and foundational institution of civil society.  The government’s interests in continuing to encourage and support marriage are not merely legitimate but compelling.  No other institution joins together two persons with the natural ability to create children for the purpose of maximizing the welfare of such children.  No other institution strives to ensure that children have the opportunity of  feeling a sense of security and being raised in a stable household by the mother and father who conceived them.  Undermining the husband-wife marital institution by redefining it to include same-sex couples will, in the long term, harm vital child-welfare interests that only the husband- wife definition can secure.  The result will be more mothers and fathers concluding that the highest end of marriage is not the welfare of their children but the advancement of their own life choices.  We know, from personal experience over numerous decades of ministering to families and children, that more focus on satisfying adult needs will not benefit vulnerable children.  The societal ills caused by the deterioration of husband-wife marriage will only be aggravated if the State cannot reserve to marriage its historic and socially vital meaning.  DATED this 10th day of February, 2014” (Read more here)

I personally don’t care about other people’s love lives (except my husband’s), but I do care about society as a whole and the welfare of children. Evidence is clear that a stable home with both a mother and a father is generally the best atmosphere for a child to be raised. Marriage has never been about rights and freedoms (at least not for the adults), it is legally all about restricting those rights and freedoms. Keep your freedoms and let society keep marriage the way it was intended — to protect the children.

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My love affair with garlic… and everything else that keeps colds at bay!

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Tis’ the season to be coughin’, or pukin’ or…yes the list goes on and when you’re a mom sick kids means no sleep! I’m sorry, but I love sleep. OK, I also love my kids and hate to see them miserable. Accordingly, as cold season approaches I get out my ever growing arsenal against bacteria and viruses.

I am in love with garlic — I guess I already said that — and it is one of the first things I turn to. I crush up a clove or two and throw it in a couple tablespoons of olive oil. It’s good for weeks. I rub the oil on the feet of my young babies and on the throats, just in front of the ears and on the feet on my older kids (6m and up). Its great for nipping in the bud sore throats and ear infections especially. I use it for myself, as well — it’s a good thing my husband doesn’t mind the smell! (It will help shorten a colds duration, but works best if used before the illness gets a foothold.) Another great use for adults is to make some fresh garlic bread — just lather with butter and fresh garlic, toast and eat! (This has become a favorite for my hubby and me.)

Oregano oil is another good one for young kids but only a diluted drop on the bottoms of their feet. (As an adult I can take it orally, but make sure it’s diluted and brace for a burn! It’s a great way to knock that scratchy throat.)

Speaking of essential oils, I love the mix Young-living puts out called Thieves. Great for killing bacteria. When someone is sick  I often put a few drops in a spray bottle with water and mist the house. Breath deep as you go. I like the smell. (It’s also helpful with killing odors like stinky diapers left in a pail too long.) If I really want to kill a cold fast I put a drop on the back of my tongue — again brace for the taste!

These are my main three, but also near at hand is:

  • Ecaineasia- the first thing I give my kids when we get home from church or anywhere else there are sick people.
  • Lots of Vit. C (bring on the orange juice!)
  • Eucalyptus oil (only for older kids and adults as it will harm babies) for clearing those nasal passages. I like putting a drop on my pillow at night or on an older child’s feet, but NOT WHEN I HAVE A BABY NEARBY! (Do your research, one is better and safer than the others)
  • Ginger root tea/juice is great for viral infections but my kids are still too young for it’s strength.
  • Lemon and honey makes a great warm drink for soothing a sore throat and breaking up phlegm.
  • A spoonful of honey soothes a cough as good as most over the counter syrups (I find it takes a few minutes to work, but then I can usually sleep the rest of the night.
  • Peppermint is great for the stomach (esp. gas pains) but do not use with young children as it is too strong!

There are others odds and ends I use but are my favorites. Please remember I am not a health care provider and these are usually used to kill illness before it gets started. Doctors have their place and I appreciate that — I’m just glad they don’t get too much business from my family! (Be esp. careful if you are pregnant, as some oils and treatments are not proven safe… but when in doubt, I use garlic! Did I mention I love garlic?)