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Thanksgiving in America is a proud tradition with a long history…though it has only been an “official holiday since the Civil War.  Of course, every school child is taught the story of the first Thanksgiving, with the Pilgrims and the Indians…usually culminating in a big feast at school, complete with costumes and a pageant!

But, over the past several years, Thanksgiving has slowly been pushed aside in favor of the bigger money-maker: Christmas.  The stores put up their big Christmas displays before the last Trick-or-Treater has even made it home to sort their candy!

Now, I like Christmas, don’t get me wrong.  What’s not to like?  We get to celebrate the birth of Our Lord with cookies, candy, and presents!  But, when we skip straight from Halloween to Christmas, we miss something…something important.

Why is Thanksgiving Important?

1.  Time to slow down.

Many (but not all) of us get a little time off work during the week of Thanksgiving.  We get to slow down and take a little breather.  Of course, I’m a mom, so that doesn’t really happen for me!  But, we do usually take a trip up to visit my parents.  It’s the closest thing to a break I ever get.  Everyone needs a break now and then.  It helps us clear our heads.  When we come back, we feel refreshed and ready to tackle all those problems again.  It’s nice to have a change of pace!

2.  Time to remember who is really responsible for all of the blessings in our lives.

Just before Bear’s first Christmas, I had quit my job a few months earlier to be a full time stay at home mom.  Money was tight…very tight!  We had a long (expensive) trip to make…which would turn out to be the last Christmas we ever traveled to Odessa.  We had a baby to (obsessively) buy gifts for.  Our list of bills was never-ending.  How were we ever going to pay for all this?

I sat down at the computer one afternoon to check on our checking account before we paid a bill.  I clenched my teeth as I logged into our account.  Then the screen popped up…

“There’s nearly a thousand dollars more than there should be!  Where on earth did an extra thousand dollars come from???”  I was frantically going through scenarios in my head.  I was very sure that I had no rich uncles…not even the kind that live in Nigeria.

I clicked on the account details.  Something had to be wrong, something must have gone unpaid.  There was an automatic deposit in the account from my former employer.  They had finished paying out all of my vacation time months ago.

I called my husband…I couldn’t think what to do.  He told me to call payroll for my old department.  So I did.  They had to put me on hold while they looked it up.  When the secretary came back to the phone, she very nonchalantly explained that because of some sort of glitch, they had failed to pay me for all of the compensation hours I had earned for working so much overtime in my former position.  As soon as they caught it, they had sent a deposit to my account.  There was no mistake, the money was rightfully mine.

You see, we were in an hour of need.  God sent us those funds at exactly the right moment…a moment when we would remember and know that He was really the one in control.  

I have more stories, similar to this one.  Some have happened to me, some to my husband (one even involving a deer).  These things happen to us to remind us that God is in control, He will provide when we call on Him.  

Thanksgiving is the perfect holiday to remember and reflect on all of those instances, and then to give thanks that He cares about us so much!

3.  Time to spend with family and friends.

When I was young, we spent many Thanksgivings at my grandparent’s house in Odessa, Texas.  We would spend the morning together, watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade and preparing in the kitchen for our big “feast” at lunch.  Then, we would sit down together at the table, pray to thank God for all the blessings he had given us out of His bounty.  As we ate, we sat around the table telling stories about family…both those gathered in other places, and those that had already gathered in Heaven.  Eventually, we would get up, and clean up the mess inevitably made by the festivities in the kitchen.

When we finished the clean up, we would often sit around a card table, putting a puzzle together, or maybe playing dominoes.  My grandparents and mom and uncle would talk about memories of their childhoods, or maybe trouble they got into with their cousins.  I learned about our family history, and in doing so, I learned about myself!

When the game-playing was all done, my mother and grandmother would eventually turn their attention to the newspaper ads, to try to quickly coordinate their plan of attack for Black Friday.  There would always be jokes about how the stores seemed to open earlier and earlier every year.  I specifically remember one year, when I was a teenager, I quipped back that by the time I had kids, Black Friday would begin on Thanksgiving itself!  Everyone laughed and said, “No way!  People would never stand for that!”

Black Friday Eve

Until they did.

To many, Thanksgiving means little anymore, other than an excuse for gluttony, followed by a marathon of greed…a rush to the store to get the most stuff for as little money as possible.  If you have to beat someone up to get it, no problem!

Unfortunately, that greed marathon requires many thousands of people to leave their families to serve the shopping hordes.  For them, Thanksgiving can no longer mean slowing down, thanking God for all his blessings, and spending a little time with family and friends.  Now, it’s just another day at work, with even longer, harder hours than usual…hours spent breaking up fights over big screens in the electronics department, or Legos in the toy department.

Thanksgiving has lost its meaning.  All it is to many is just Black Friday Eve.  The day of early Early Bird sales.  Doorbusters start at midnight on Thanksgiving!  Better get on out there…you might miss out on the stuff.

As for me and mine, I think we’ll live with it…missing the stuff.  We’ll slow down, thank God for His many blessings.  We’ll spend a few days with family that we don’t get to see very often.  We might even peruse a Black Friday ad or two together.  But, you can bet we won’t be there on Thanksgiving.  It’s not the time or the place.  We’ll save it for Friday afternoon.  The stuff will still be there…if it isn’t, we’ll order it online on Monday.  Life will go on.  What is stuff compared to time with your family?  Mere nothingness.

Thanksgiving precedes the first Sunday of Advent, usually only by a few days.  What better way to enter into a period of making our hearts ready to welcome Christ than to slow down, and thank God for the blessings in our lives?

Don’t forget Thanksgiving.  Remember it, dress up like an Indian if you need to.  Just don’t forget to slow down and be thankful.

This year, will you celebrate Black Friday Eve?  Or Thanksgiving?

This year, will you celebrate Black Friday Eve? Or Thanksgiving? Click To Tweet

 

 Thanksgiving or Black Friday Eve?

sick teddy bear

Well, it’s getting to be that time of year.  The holidays are right around the corner, there’s so much to do!  But it’s also cold and flu season.  In our house, when someone gets sick, everything shuts down.  Once the first kid goes down, there are 4 more waiting in line to get it.  Even with the best prevention measures in place, chances are, that bug is going to make the rounds.  We just live too close to each other to prevent it in most cases.

We have quite a nasty bug going around our house at the moment.  Severe headaches, sore throats, high fevers…the works.  It seems congestion and cough follow the sore throat after a couple days.  Just to make things interesting, it seems to disappear entirely from about 2-5 pm every day.  But, boy, does it come back with a vengeance at 5:30!!!  Bear came down with it Saturday evening/Sunday morning (sometime overnight…I didn’t look at the clock), and we’ve been playing this game ever since.  Now, everyone else under the age of 35 has it, with the possible exception of Baby.  She had a fever Sunday evening, but as of yet, no other symptoms.  I’m unclear as to whether that was from teething or (crossing my fingers) she’s getting some passive immunity from nursing and has come through relatively unscathed.

Anyway, all this sickness started me thinking, “What are some of my best tips for surviving the inevitable viruses that pop up so often in childhood?”


Mommy Survival Mode

Right from the first alarming “beep” of the thermometer, my mindset has to change.  All of my current plans and items on my to-do list have to go on the back burner.  I have entered “Mommy Survival Mode”.  It’s a defensive place in my mind, I think, fueled mostly by adrenaline and Dr. Pepper.  I will lose my mind if I start thinking about all the things that aren’t getting done or the sleep I’m not allowed to have.  At the end of the week, the house will be a bigger wreck than it already was, I’ll be 2 weeks behind on laundry, and my face will not have felt the outside air in seven whole days.  I don’t sleep more than 2 hours at a time for the entirety of the ordeal.  But, it’s all worth it to make sure my fever-ridden children are as comfortable and safe as possible.

Fever is actually a good thing.  It’s one of  the ways our bodies fight off infections.  But, we all know that too much of a good thing can be dangerous!  And so it is with fevers.  It’s good to let our bodies turn up the heat just a little to make us inhospitable for those germs…but, as a mother, I have to make sure my kids’ immune systems don’t get carried away when they turn up the sauna.

One of our little ones is rather infamous for her ability to spike a 104 degree fever within a period of about 5 minutes.  It’s an impressive, terrifying thing to witness…especially when she’s already had as much acetaminophen and ibuprofen as she’s allowed for the next 2 hours.  We have had to resort to cold baths upon more than one occasion to cool her off.  She is the reason I cannot sleep when the children are sick.  It’s my job to check on them every couple hours to make sure no one’s immune system is cooking them.

So, what are the tools I can’t live without during my stay in Mommy Survival Mode? 

Good Drink

Find something your kids will drink.  This is so important.  When you’re running a fever, your body loses a lot of water and electrolytes…even more if there’s also a stomach bug in the mix.  Little bodies need to stay hydrated.  Plus, good hydration helps to keep a fever under control.  Buying enough Gatorade or Powerade, or especially Pedialyte to keep 5 kids hydrated while ill is rather cost prohibitive for our family.  So, we make up a little electrolyte drink ourselves with Kool-aid (made with only 3/4 the recommended sugar), water, and 1 teaspoon of salt per quart.  Now, if you want to avoid all the artificial dyes, there are a plethora of homemade sports drinks options you can find on a simple search.  Find one your kids like.  They’re all pretty easy to make, and so much cheaper than the commercially available alternatives!

Different colored string

All of our cups look the same.  Most of the time, that’s no big deal.  But, when something starts going around, cups start leaving the kitchen and going on to various end tables in the living room.  Pretty soon, I have no idea which cup belongs to which kid.  Since we have a bug going around, you can see why I might be rather concerned with making sure the right cup stays with the right person!  I could put a piece of tape and a name on each cup, but then there’s condensation, and the tape falls off.  I have several different colors of string that I use to make products available in my Etsy shop.  I assign a color to each child, then cut a section of string and tie it to the handle of each child’s cup.  Now, I know which cup goes with which kid.  It saves me from having to add extra dishes to my list of Mommy-I-needs.

Books and Movies

I spend a lot of time sitting on the couch reading stories when the kids are sick.  It’s always nice to have a few new ones available from the library.  But, of course, I’m bound to read the family favorites several times a day, too.  This can also be a great time to introduce your children to some truly great classics, like Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, or Treasure Island.  Of course, eventually, my voice is going to give out.  That’s a great time to have some favorite movies on hand.

Special Meals

When your kids have fevers, sometimes they just don’t want to eat very badly…even if you’re not dealing with a stomach bug.  Find some special things that are easy on the stomach to offer your kids.  Applesauce and bananas are great options.  Bananas are high in potassium, which can be lost due to dehydration during a fever.  Also, pancakes and biscuits are usually big hits in our house.  Last night, it was popcorn and spaghetti (with no sauce).  It was quite a bland dinner for my husband and I, but the kids ate something…and that was a win.  Nutritionally speaking, keep in mind that bending the usual rules when the kids are sick is ok.  A few days of carb loading isn’t going to do any lasting damage.  They need a few extra carbs to give them energy to fight the illness, anyway!  

An Extra Dose of Cuddles

This morning, I just sat on the couch and hugged my little Rhino for nearly an hour.  He was burning up, and I was sweating under all that extra heat, but it didn’t matter.  He needed me.  Most of the time, he’s a little bundle of energy, and has a hard time sitting still for longer than 30 seconds at a time.  But, when he’s sick, he still wants to just sit in my lap and cuddle with me.  For a little while at least, Mommy can still make everything better.  

Fever Reducers

Where would a list of Mom’s sick day arsenal be without a mention of fever reducers?  Good ole acetaminophen and ibuprofen can still work wonders for a sick child.  Sometimes, I have a little giggle at the transformation that occurs in a sick child half an hour after a dose of medicine.  This morning, Rhino got up, ready for his next dose of medicine.  I took his temperature, and it was an alarming 103.3, and he still had to wait another 30 minutes until he could have his next dose (remember, I had been up throughout the night, giving medicine or cool compresses as needed).  We made it through that half hour (and a little more), cuddling on the couch, with a wet washcloth on his head from time to time.  I gave him the next dose of medicine.  I settled him as comfortably as I could, and went to take a shower.  My husband hadn’t yet left for work…it was my last chance!  I finished, and said goodbye to my husband for the day.  Pretty soon, Baby woke up and needed to eat.  By the time I got done feeding her, and came out of my room, Rhino had on a backpack and was playing some sort of game.  When I came out, he proudly announced, “Mommy, I not sick anymore!” and gave me a huge grin.  I knew it was only temporary, and before lunch, sure enough, he was once again languishing on the couch.  But, these few moments give me hope.  Hope that this won’t last forever. 


By next week, my kids will back to their usual antics, and this will all be merely an unpleasant memory.  We’ll be trying to get back to normal, and playing catch-up on all the things we didn’t get done this week.  We will have survived another ordeal. 

Mommy Survival Mode, deactivated.


Dear Monkey,

It’s official.  Five years goes by so fast.  You’ve gotten so big this year.  Somehow, you’ve transformed into a little boy.  Not so very long ago, you used to be a baby.  Sometimes, it’s hard for Mommy to let go. 

Five years ago, I was exhausted…Daddy was tired too.  After a 4 hour induction, you were finally with us on the outside.  Your doctor was so happy to come deliver you…he got to leave a meeting.  It turns out, though, that your momma didn’t need him very long.  So, a few minutes later, you were here, and an irritated doctor had to go back to his meeting.  It’s a story that I’m sure you know well…you think it’s funny, and ask to hear about it at least every other day!  But that’s alright…we think it’s a funny story too.

You are a very thoughtful child, and you wear your emotions on your sleeve.  One minute, your little brother is tormenting you, and your world is falling apart.  The next, the two of you are conspiring and giggling in your room together.  I must always be on my guard…sometimes, when you ask me for something, you’re really requesting supplies for your plot.  Whenever the two of you are working together, I must be extra vigilant.  Otherwise I may need a shop vac to clean the bathroom.

Silly faces are your specialty.  Your pirate face is infamous.  To be honest, when Mommy had Bell’s Palsy last year, that face was one of the few things that managed to keep her in good spirits.  Then, there’s “the eyebrows”.  One of these days, when you get bigger, the little girls won’t stand a chance!  But of all the faces you make, I still like you’re happy smile the best.

Your laugh is infectious.  You like to laugh, and you always want to make sure everyone else is laughing, too.  Knock-knock jokes are your favorites…they don’t need to make any sense.  In fact, I think you like the ones that don’t make sense the best.

One of your most recent favorite activities is grasshopper hunting.  You’ve figured out that you can usually talk your daddy into fishing in the pond if you catch a grasshopper.  If Daddy isn’t home, you enjoy throwing them to the chickens then laughing at the game of keep-away that ensues.

You think you can conquer the world right now.  You can run faster, jump higher, and hit harder than any of those stinky old superheroes!  Just in case there was any doubt of your skill, you try to make sure someone is watching you every time you attempt any daring feat…like running up and down the driveway, or riding your bike through the grass.

But, your favorite thing to do is still sitting in my lap.  You’re starting to get kind of heavy, and I don’t let you just sit with me nearly as often as I should.  Sometimes, I need to remind myself that the dishes can wait a few more minutes (after all, they’ve been waiting several hours already).  Because right now, my little boy needs my lap.  You won’t always.

Happy birthday, little Monkey!  I love you more than words can express!

A Letter to Rhino...A Letter to my son

Rhino and MommyMy dear, sweet little boy.  Where does the time go?  It seems like just yesterday we were meeting you for the first time (though you’d already been kicking and punching me for quite some time!).  Your birth itself was rather uneventful.  It was a four hour long induction.  At the end, there we were, holding our fourth baby.  A little boy weighing in at 8 pounds 7 ounces…bigger than any of your older siblings (though your little sister would eventually beat you by 8 ounces). 

 You’ve been a little rambunctious from the beginning, and so you still are today!  You are a happy, healthy, strong 3 year old boy.  You have no sense of pain (we’re fairly convinced you have a future in the NFL at defensive tackle), and rarely show any signs of fear.  Sometimes, I wish you had just a little more fear.  You make your old momma so nervous sometimes, while you climb furniture and old tractors without a thought for your own safety.  You think fist fights are hilarious.  Luckily, when you do get hurt, a kiss and a band-aid still makes you all better. 



Rhino with a pipeA year ago, we were worried, because you didn’t seem to talk much.  You’d get frustrated and angry when you didn’t get what you wanted, but you didn’t talk much.  You’ve come so far over the past year.  You jabber up a storm these days.  Unfortunately, it’s still mostly spoken in a foreign language.  But, at least you’re talking!  You’re speaking more clearly each day.  By this time next year, I wonder if we’ll even be able to remember your special language! 

You have an exuberance for life that is infectious.  Everything is exciting for you…even if it’s just an episode of Paw Patrol (or is it Pop Control, as your big brother calls it…or maybe Bah Bole, as you assert?) that you’ve seen a thousand times…today.  After all, we bought them on DVD so we could see them over and over again.  You come grab my hands and start jumping up and down, telling me that you want to dance at least 3 times a day.  I need to agree far more often!  Just, maybe not while your baby sister is trying to sleep. 

Muddy RhinoSometimes, you look up and smile at me, and you have a certain twinkle in your eye.  That’s when I know that the proverbial brown matter is about to hit the rotary cooling device.  You’re up to something.  If I say, “What are you up to?” in my biggest, gruffest Mommy voice, you’ll get a huge grin on your face and start giggling maniacally.  Then, you’ll say, “I Doh-nooooo!” (that’s “I don’t know”…if you don’t speak Toddlerese).  Perhaps, when I get up to follow you, there will be a flood in the bathroom, or I’ll walk through the door just in time to see you scramble up the side of the bathroom counter to a perch you’ve found standing in the bathroom sink…why is it always the bathroom?  Your cuteness at these particular moments, when you know you’ve been ‘busted’ is incredibly endearing.  But, no…for your own good, I must stand firm…all while hoping that someday you have a little boy just like you.  Then you’ll understand.  I just hope your future wife is a patient woman (Bless her heart!). 

For all of the mischief you make, you pour out just as much love.  You bring Mommy flowers, and give me huge squishy hugs.  You can be as sweet and gentle with your little sister as you are rough with your big brother.  You have a big heart, my dear son, and you use it well.  I pray you keep it that way.  I pray for you every day.  On good days, I pray for all the big, grand things you might do with the life God gave you.  Some days, all I can manage is constant prayers that your guardian angel is being extra vigilant!  Thankfully, you’ve made it another year. 

I love you son.  More than you can possibly understand.  Happy Birthday! 


Easy Peasy Pleasy

Halloween Alternatives to Door-to-Door Trick-or-Treating

It’s already fall…where does the time go?  Even though it doesn’t quite feel like it yet (it was 94 degrees here yesterday), that means Halloween is right around the corner.  We don’t make a huge deal out of Halloween around here, but we do like to celebrate it a little bit.  It has always kind of felt like a gateway holiday to me…it really kicks off the holiday season.  My kids really enjoy dressing up as their favorite princess or superhero for an evening of fun.

I know many parents these days worry about the safety of taking their kids door to door, requesting little bits of sugary, sticky goodness from complete strangers.  Indeed, the world has changed quite a bit since my freewheeling days as a young child in the 80s.  I was wontonly set free into my grandmother’s neighborhood every year for this grand tradition (where she knew each and every one of her neighbors…and they all sat around and chatted after all the candy was gone).

You can argue with me later about whether or not we should even celebrate Halloween…that’s a different subject for a different post.  I’m going to assume that if you hang in there and keep reading, you’ve already made that decision for your family.

We live in the middle of nowhere.  We do have a few people who live within a reasonable proximity, however, walking all around a rural “neighborhood” after dark in costumes is just not the smartest move ever.  So, we have to be a little more creative in order to engage in this time-honored holiday tradition.

Take a Treat to Someone Else

Find out if there are any nursing homes, hospitals, or children’s homes in your area.  Often, these types of places will plan events for Halloween.  See if you and your family can volunteer.  Giving back to people who are in a difficult spot in life can be a really rewarding experience for your family.  Plus, it takes the focus off the candy, and puts it on to people who currently need a little extra help.  You never know, you might actually make some new friends, too!

The Mall

Many shopping malls host events for kids to come and trick-or-treat around the different participating stores.  Often, there are also costume contests for different age groups, as well.  So, do a little research, and find out if any of the malls in your area host an event.

Neighborhood or City Sponsored Festivals

In the town just down the road from us, the Chamber of Commerce hosts an event every Halloween on the county courthouse square.  Kids of all ages are encouraged to come out and walk around the square and trick-or-treat from the local businesses.  We’ve gone every year since we moved to the area, and the kids have lots of fun with it.  Check with your local Chamber of Commerce.  Maybe one near you does something similar.

Church Festivals

Many churches hold Fall Festivals each year, usually within a week of Halloween.  These festival vary in size and complexity from a basic “trunk-or-treat” set up to a full-fledged fall themed carnival, complete with games, treats, and hayrides.  Our kids have had tons of fun playing games at these types of events in the past.  Though, I do have to mention that these festivals often bring out big crowds.  My kids aren’t really used to being around huge crowds of people.  If yours aren’t either, be aware that they may need a few minutes to sit and take in the scene before they’re ready to play!

Police or Fire Departments

Often, the police department or fire department in your town may have a special activity for kids on or close to Halloween.  They will often have safety demonstrations at these events as well.  They can be both fun and educational activities…and who doesn’t like that?

University Events

The university where my husband works always has a couple of student groups who put on Halloween events for kids in the area.  We went to one with our kids one year, but due to the distance, the past couple of years, we’ve opted for something a little closer.  Much like the church festivals, crowds can be an issue for these activities as well.  If you have a university or college near you, find out if there is anything fun going on for neighborhood kids.

Doctor’s Office or Pharmacy.

A few years ago, Monkey was spinning in circles (trying to make me laugh) in the living room two days before Halloween.  He crashed and managed to hit his eye on the side of the coffee table.  The next day (the day before Halloween), he woke up with a huge red spot in his eye.  So, off to the doctor we went.  It turned out that he was just fine, but it sure looked awful. 

All of the kids had a bit of a cold, too.  Bear had been telling me all day that she didn’t feel good.  But, I was so worried about Monkey’s eye, that I kind of brushed it off.  I kept telling her I knew she didn’t feel well, no one felt well…everyone was coughing.  After we got home, she fell asleep on the couch, coughing on and off all afternoon.  Everyone else was starting to get over it, I figured she would be feeling better by the next day too.  But, by that evening, she was struggling to breathe.  Andrew took her to the emergency room while I stayed with the rest of the children.  After a breathing treatment and a course of antibiotics for severe bronchitis, they came home. 

The following day was Halloween.  All of the kids were so disappointed that there wouldn’t be any fun activities because of the sickness.  So, I told them that they could go ahead and wear their costumes out to the pharmacy.  That helped a little.  So, I took Silvermist, Tinkerbell, and a construction worker to the pharmacy to pick up all of Bear’s medications prescribed by the emergency room doctor.  The folks at the pharmacy felt so bad for the kids that they gave them two whole bags of candy for them to save for after they were well (after all, lots of candy isn’t good for a recovering little one!).  I was so grateful to the ladies at the pharmacy for being so sweet to the kids on what has gone down in history as the worst Halloween ever.

So, if you ever find yourself in a bad situation on Halloween, keep in mind that even mundane places (like a pharmacy) can occasionally be a fun place to go…if you have a great costume, anyway!

 


 

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Easy Peasy Pleasy

 

Fall Homeschool Bucket List

It’s almost Fall here in Texas.  It’s that time of the year when we Texans start compulsively checking the 10 day weather forecast for that first 89 degree high along with a 50% chance of rain.  The autumnal equinox means little to us.  It’s all about that first real cold front.  While we impatiently await the return of fall, I’ve put together a little fall homeschool bucket list of sorts.

Since we homeschool our children, we really have a lot of freedom.  Some times during the year, the weather gets so nice that you just have to take advantage of that freedom…at least a little!  But, alas!  We have to make sure we get our work done, too!  We’ve been cooped up in the house quite a bit because of the dangerously hot conditions.  So, we are really anxious to get out and enjoy some nice fall weather!  Here’s my little fall homeschool bucket list of activities to celebrate the return of fall, but also get some learning done in the meantime.

So, what are some good ways to take advantage of the change of seasons in your homeschool?

A Fall Homeschool Bucket List

1. Plan a fall-themed unit study.

Make one yourself, or find one online.  A quick web search will pull up plenty of options.  Some are free, others will cost a few dollars, but it’s a great option if you just don’t have time to create something of your own.  

T is for turkey, P is for pumpkin…there are plenty of phonics games you can play.  Count leaves for some math time.  Head outside and do some plant identification for science.  The possibilities are endless!

2. Use fall-themed notebooking pages.

As luck would have it, I have some you can download for free.  Print them out, use them for your family.

Using themed pages really helps us get in the mood for fall, even if the weather hasn’t quite gotten there yet.  These pages would work wonderfully to learn about the history of Halloween and the first Thanksgiving as well!

Click here to download your free Fall-themed notebooking pages.

3. Take school outside for the day.

The sun is shining, there’s a soft, cool breeze blowing.  You know full well that no one is going to pay attention to their work while they look out the window, longing to be outside.  So, pack up your books, grab a blanket to sit on, and sprawl out on the lawn for lessons.  The fresh air works wonders for keeping the mind focused!

4. Take a nature walk.

What better way can you think of to celebrate the arrival of Fall than taking everyone on a nature walk?  Collect some leaves, watch some insects busily preparing for the coming of winter.  Enjoy the beautiful weather.  You don’t have to go far…your backyard is probably teeming with life you never take the time to notice!  Have everyone slow down, and take a look at the world around you.  I promise you won’t be disappointed.

5. Learn a little plant biology.

Why do leaves change color in the fall?  Why do they lose them?  For that matter, why does that cedar tree get to keep its needles?  Do a little research project as a family and find out the answers to all those fall-related pressing questions.  This one is easy to adjust for different age levels, too.  Your preschoolers will enjoy making the collection (on your nature walk!), and you can turn it into a full-blown biology research project on photosynthesis for your middle or high schoolers.

6. Plant a fall garden.

Turnips, broccoli, carrots…lots of things grow wonderfully in the fall.  Make a little fall garden.  Learn all about root vegetables.  You can even make observations about growth.  Keep a lab notebook and take measurements.  When the project is done, you’ll have a nice little salad!

7. Make some leaf rubbings.

Ah, the classic fall art project!  It brings back memories of my own childhood!  This is the kind of project that even the smallest of your pupils can enjoy.  Plus, the mess is minimal…definitely my kind of art project!  Just gather several different kinds of leaves (on your nature walk, remember?), then put them under a sheet of paper on a hard, flat surface.  Turn a crayon on its side and rub back and forth.  The results really are quite nice.

8. Make a Thanksgiving tree.

You can approach this one several different ways.  You can use sticks that you may find out in your yard, or you can make a paper tree on your wall.  Then, use leaf shaped cutouts, to write (or draw a picture of) something that you are grateful for each morning.  You could even cut around your leaf rubbings and use them for the leaves on the tree.

9. Keep your eyes to the skies for birds that migrate.

This is the time of year you will start seeing all kinds of migratory animals moving around.  One afternoon, why not grab a blanket and find a nice spot on the grass to spread it out and watch for birds.  

While you’re waiting, make up stories about the cloud shapes moving by.

When you finally see a flock of birds moving by, notice the kinds of sounds they make, and the way they fly by.  Use your observations as a jumping off point for a research project if you like.

10. Start a nature journal.

A nature journal doesn’t have to be fancy.  We just use a $.25 spiral notebook (I stock up on these, though, when they’re on back-to-school specials for $.20 each…we use them for a LOT of things!).  It’s a blank canvas.  Bear likes to draw pictures of things she finds outside.  Once, she found a bunch of snails and had them make trails all over a piece of paper.  She glued the paper inside the spiral.  Then, she wrote all kinds of observations about them on the facing page.  She also writes nature-themed poetry.  It’s quite a collection!  

11. Start a weather journal.

This time of year is famous for its weather changes.  Keep a record of them this year.  It’s fun to look back the following year and watch the differences, too.  Chart the temperature (pick a specific time to record each day), write observations about storms or cold fronts, and note the wind.  Again, you don’t have to be fancy.  A simple spiral will do.  If you want something a little cuter, a web search will return plenty of options!

12. Take an outdoor field trip.

My kids love going to the zoo.  But during the summer, at 105 degrees in the shade, it just ain’t gonna happen!  After that first glorious cold front, however, it’s time to load up and go to all those outdoor spots.  

Don’t forget about historical sights, too.  Here where we live, we’re only about an hour from Washington-on-the-Brazos which is full of our rich Texan history!

I also have a couple spots to see dinosaur fossils, and a cave trip on the radar.  

Do a little digging to find some cool spots in your area.  Lots of places even offer homeschooler discounts, or special homeschool days.  Find out all you can!  It’ll be worth it!

13. Take a trip to see family.

We always take a trip to see my side of the family over the week of Thanksgiving.  It gets us out of the house a little.  It’s also a great time to take advantage of all those cool places the Dallas area (where my family lives) has to offer as well.  

Take advantage of your time with family, too.  Make sure your kids get to hear plenty of embarrassing stories about you as a youngster!  But, also make sure that they hear stories about life when your older family members were growing up too.  It helps bring history to life!  

  • My great-grandparents met during the 1918 Flu epidemic…my great-grandfather’s family was particularly hard-hit.
  • My grandfather hunted a crocodile while he was stationed in New Guinea during World War II.  He was later sent home after experiencing complications from yellow fever.
  • My great uncle trained pilots during World War II.
  • My grandfather’s family were sharecroppers.  His parents had 5 kids, just like we do.

These were real people…my people!  Your kids will never tire of hearing family stories.  Just make sure you’re paying attention, because they will want to hear them over and over!

14. Make a work day to rake up all the leaves in your yard.

Sometimes it’s nice to take a break from working those brain muscles to flex some skeletal muscle instead. Have a family work day to rake up all those leaves in yard. You’re giving your brains a break, enjoying the weather, and practicing some important life skills all at the same time. Just don’t forget to jump in the piles when you’re done!

15. Learn how to make a fall treat together.

Working in the kitchen with small children can try your patience.  But, it can also be a great bonding and teaching experience if you let it.  So roll up those sleeves and find a fall treat to cook all together!

So, what’s on your fall homeschool bucket list?

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My kids have toys.  Tons of toys.  Toys, toys everywhere.  They have so many toys, they don’t all fit in their rooms at the same time.  Plus, in case those aren’t enough, they get more toys every Christmas and every birthday.  That’s 10 new toys coming into the house every year…not even counting the grandparent contribution!  So, what do they do with all of those toys?

Well…sadly, not much.  Don’t get me wrong, they do enjoy the toys, and they play with them from time to time.  However, most of the time, I note them playing with all sorts of other things…not toys.  It does beg the question, “Why do we bother?”

Here’s my list of some of my kids’ favorite not toy toys.  See if you can relate:

1. Sticks

What is so cool about sticks?  I guess it’s because they can do anything you want them to!  The biggest ones are often made into clubhouse teepees.  I’ve also seen fishing poles, horses, guns…pretty much everything can be mimicked with a stick!  Plus, once you’re done with them, you can throw them in the pond and make the dog chase them…and who doesn’t like making the dog take a swim?

 

2. Rocks

We have a plethora of rocks around here.  Not only can the kids dig them up from the dirt, our driveway is also made from rocks.  If we go on a walk, our road is made of rock.  So, we have no shortage of rocks.  We go out walking empty-handed, and by the time we come home, I’m carrying a huge load of rocks in the stroller, my pockets, and even in my hands.  Wait, why am I carrying all the rocks???

Once back at the house, they are investigated thoroughly.  Then, the ones that contain the proper level of sparkliness will go on to become eggs in a pretend bird’s nest, or dinosaur nest, or turtle nest…you get the picture.  The ones that don’t make the cut either go back in the driveway (if they know Mommy or Daddy are watching) or they are flung into the pond one by one so that, you guessed it, the dog will chase them.

3. String

Oh, all the uses of string!  Tie some string to a stick, and now you have your very own fishing pole.  If you can find a piece that’s long enough, tie it together at the ends, and now you have a glamorous necklace to use for your next ball (it’s starting in 5 minutes in front of the refrigerator).  Bear once tied several knots on one end of a piece of string to make something that vaguely resembled a dragon.  Everyone else immediately had to have a dragon pet of their own.  We had string dragons floating around the house for days!

4. Cardboard box-small

Ah, the cardboard box…it’s infamous!  Any time we receive a package in the mail, the children immediately claim the box and the bubble wrap (see #6).  Why do children like a cardboard box so much?  We adults will never understand.  I guess all our make-believe magic grew up and moved away…or maybe got packed away in one of those boxes!  Cars, trucks, boats, aquariums…those little boxes can be magical! 

You never know what they’re going to put in the box, either.  Last night, I came out of my room, after having fed Baby.  When I emerged from my room, I was confronted with a highly suspicious sight.  Three out of four of my mobile children had found a box that my dad had sent something to us in.  They were standing around the box, and Bear was hurriedly closing the top of the box.  

“What do you have in that box?” I demanded in my most authoritative Mommy voice.

<Giggles>

Bear flashed me one of her patented sheepish grins and piped up, “Monkey!”

Maniacal laughter from inside the box ensued.  Then all the children started laughing.  Monkey popped out of the box.

Their dad and I started laughing too.  “Alright,” I admitted, “with you four around, perhaps I should have asked who!”

I have no idea what kind of game they were playing, but it sure was funny…especially after it aroused my suspicion!

5. Cardboard box-large

Need I say more?  What parent hasn’t bought their kids the best toy of the century only to have it thrown by the wayside in favor of a refrigerator box?  Shocking, but true.  Jails, castles, houses…the possibilities are endless!

6. Bubble Wrap

Lizard starts jumping up and down any time she sees the delivery truck bouncing up the driveway.  She’s already calling out, “I get the bubble wrap! I get the bubble wrap!” before I even get out the door to claim the package.  I have to meet our drivers at their trucks…they’re scared of Patch (as are all the meter readers, and the guy who works for the county grading the roads).  LIzard’s still bouncing when I come back in, and I can barely make it in the door, because they now all want a piece of bubble wrap.

Oh, the disappointment that ensues when a package comes with brown paper stuffing instead of bubble wrap!  There is wailing and gnashing of teeth!

I have to avoid the shipping materials aisle at WalMart just as meticulously as I do the toy aisle.  At least if I want to keep the “Momma, can I have?”s away.  You should have seen Lizard’s face the first time she noticed the shelf full of giant rolls of bubble wrap!  No birthday or Christmas morning has yet been able to compare to the joy and desire mirrored in those little eyes that day at WalMart!

7. Strangely melted metal

They call this little gem “Rudy”.  When they first found it in the yard, one of the children decided that it looked like the big, bad dinosaur creature from Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs that Buck called Rudy.  I’m not actually sure what it really is, but we’re pretty sure it originated from the burn barrel.  Don’t worry…we checked it for sharp edges.

 

8. Shovels

Yes, my kids play with shovels. Not the toy shovels you find in the sandbox seasonal aisle or the role-play toy aisle, they ‘play’ with real, full-sized shovels.  Every once in a while, someone gets a hankerin’ to dig a hole.  It makes no sense to me, but, hey…they have a blast.  Their Daddy will give them shovels and real jobs that need to be done.  They get a shovel, Daddy gets a fence post hole, and, after they’re done Mommy gets a quiet afternoon nap time since they’ve exhausted themselves digging a hole!

9. Pile of bricks

A few years ago, while we were visiting my parents’ house up in the DFW area, we were over at my grandparents’ house, visiting with them one afternoon.  My granddad had a pile of bricks stacked up next to the shed behind their house.  It was a fairly decent-sized pile of bricks.  Bear found them while playing outside and immediately set to work building a pint-sized castle.  She asked to go back over to their house every afternoon.  My granddad was so amused with her building, that at Christmas (the same Christmas that the giant Lincoln logs appeared), he sent at least half of his pile of bricks down with my parents so that Bear could have bricks at her house too.  Since then, they’ve been castles, walls, chairs, stages, corrals for wild stick horses…you name it!

10. Old coffee cans

Oh, the fun you can have with an old discarded coffee can!  My husband buys his coffee from Sams, you know, the big, giant 2 pound canister.  When he’s used all the coffee inside, the cans (or rather, plastic canisters) meander out to the barn where they are then given a second life as a feed scoop, or egg transport device.  If, however, the children gain control of them first, however, many interesting things can happen to these unsuspecting containers.  They make fantastic sandbox toys or mud pie makers. 

They like to collect rainwater in these cans and turn them into “soup”…the main ingredients of which appears to be water, dirt, leaves, grass, and sticks (to give it just the right amount of texture).

Sometimes, though, their stick horses become stick cows, and the rainwater in the coffee cans is actually milk.  With the milk they collect, they can make cakes or ice cream…both of which look strikingly similar to aforementioned “soup”.  Woe to the onlooker who guesses incorrectly!

I could write an entire post about all the uses for old coffee cans…maybe I will!

 


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Our Favorite Outdoor Summer Activities

It’s summer here in central Texas…and it’s HOT!  But, with four mobile kids, being stuck inside all day, despite the heat, just isn’t an option.  So, today, I thought I’d write about some of my kids’ favorite outdoor summer activities.  Some are childhood classics, some are definitely ‘farm kid’ pastimes, and others will just downright make you cringe!  Keep reading, if you dare! 

1. Playing in the Pool

What kid can resist playing in the pool?  We make occasional trips to the “big pool”…you know, the kind where the water is higher than your ankles.  But here at home, we don’t have anything fancy like that.  We buy a wading pool at the beginning of each summer.  We still haven’t found a way to keep them usable from summer to summer, so we have to get a new one every year.

I spend many an afternoon watching the kids splashing around.  Their splashes keep me just cool enough to stand being outside!  They play all sorts of imaginary games.  Dolphins, whales, “fast fish” (whatever those are), crocodiles, sea turtles, and even the occasional mermaid…my front yard is full of aquatic wildlife when the pool is out.  My husband and I are constantly amazed by the amount of communication skills that go into a single game of make-believe!

Plus, we (and by we, I mean my husband) can give the garden a good watering when it’s time to empty the pool.  Nearly everything – even playtime – has to pull double duty around here!

2. Rope Swing

Sometimes, though, playtime is actually an object’s second duty.  Several months ago, my husband slaughtered a pair of hogs.  I know many who read this may find that horrifying, but that’s just how life out here works.  Meat doesn’t come from your grocer’s freezer…not originally, anyway.  But, I digress…

My husband put a rope up in one of the trees to aid in processing the hogs after they were slaughtered.  The next day, our kids came out and found the rope still hanging from the tree branch.  They didn’t see a hog rope, they saw a fun time!  My kids are weird, remember?  They stand on the side of my old truck, hold onto the rope and jump off, swinging across the yard.

Occasionally, only under proper supervision (they know they’re not allowed unless one of their parents is right next to them), they get to “foot swing”.  They put a foot into the loop in the rope and (usually) their Daddy swings them up, high and fast.  Their ol’ Momma has even tried it a time or two.  It feels like flying…at least until you can’t hold on any longer!

3. Giant Building Logs

The. Best. Christmas. Gift. Ever!

These logs were a collaboration between my dad and my husband.  My husband came up with the idea, and my dad brought them to life.  These are landscaping timbers cut into varying lengths.  Then, Dad drilled holes at even increments along the flat sides of the timbers.  Pipes can then be inserted by the builder through all the layers to make sturdy structures…much like Lincoln logs, but on a much bigger scale.

These logs have built castles, houses, boats, backyard fences, corrals…you name it!  If Bear is missing, you can almost bet that she’ll be outside building something.  The rest of the kids really get into it as well, giving her ideas of new structures to build.

4. Bubbles

What list of outdoor activities would be complete without bubbles?  I usually make our own bubbles at home with a little Dawn, water and sugar…otherwise, we’d go broke buying bubbles all the time!  The kids really enjoy blowing bubbles.  They especially like to chase each other’s bubbles across the yard in hopes of popping them before they fall in the grass or float over the pond.  Occasionally, a bubble will float past a dog who will try to catch it.  Sadly, the dogs never have anything to show in victory, other than a bad taste in their mouth!

5. Catch

I know what you’re thinking when you read that title.  But, you’re probably wrong.  Our Border Collie, Patch likes playing with the kids.  She also likes playing catch.  A lot.  She’s usually the dog that ends up catching bubbles.  But, Patch will try to catch pretty much anything thrown in the air…tennis balls, sticks, dirt, fertilizer (much to my husband’s consternation), and of course, balls of mud.

One of the kids’ favorite variations on this game is throwing small twigs or pebbles into the pond.  Patch will then take a flying leap into the water (what’s not funny about that?) to try to retrieve whatever was thrown in.  If was a stick, she’s usually successful.  However, if it was a pebble. she’ll swim around desperately trying to find it.  Of course, the children think this is quite hilarious.  I wind up with four sets of muddy feet and a dog covered in pond scum.  What joy is mine!

6. Pond Hunts

Our pond starts to dry up in the late spring.  If we’re lucky, we get enough rain during the early summer that our pond doesn’t completely dry out (our first year living here was 2011, and by the end of the summer the pond was bone dry, not even a muddy spot left!).  But, either way, it gets much smaller.  Our children often form a little roaming band and tramp around the pond bed finding interesting critters, or playing some imaginary game.  The game often degenerates into playing mud-ball catch with Patch.

Bear will often bring her nature journal and nature identification guide with her.  She takes great pleasure in finding, drawing, and identifying little creatures and plants that have made their home in the dried-up pond goo!  I’m glad they have fun, and I suppose it’s even a little educational.  But, again, it tends to end in mud-covered shoes, clothes, and dogs!

7. Mud Fight!

Ah, I’ve saved the best for last!  I know this one is likely to make many of you shudder.  But, this is, hands-down, my kids’ favorite game!  They run outside as soon as it stops raining (usually before if there’s no lightening) so they can get to the puddles before they dry up.  As you can tell from the pictures, they get gross!  But, it’s nothing a water hose can’t fix.  I suppose all that fun is ultimately worth the mess!  If you would like some tips on how to deal with kids and mud without losing your sanity, check out this post.

 

And, because you really can’t get a real feel for this last one from just a picture, here’s a little video clip:

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Post Partum Weight Loss Update: Fitness Program

Ok, so it’s been quite a while since I posted about my post-partum weightloss journey.  I’ve got to be honest…life has been getting in the way!  I actually gained 7 pounds.  Eek!  I went the wrong way!  Though we’re back to school now, we recently took a month-long break from lessons, which means we kinda took a month-long break from any kind of structure that even remotely resembles a routine.  Things have been totally crazy!  Plus, it’s been so insanely hot outside…it’s Texas, and it’s summer…of course it’s hot!  I have lots of excuses, don’t I?

So, here I am, dusting myself off, and getting back on the fitness wagon.  

What’s Next?

I’m going to keep up with my water intake goal, and try to keep on track with that one.  That’s pretty easy, I can do that!

I recently found a fantastic program for homeschooling moms (though I personally think any busy mom could benefit) called “Homeschool Mom Fitness”.  I have only been through one week so far, but, I feel like I finally have some hope for getting fit again!  I’m back down to 229 pounds after my high of 230.  My biggest problem with getting myself in shape has always been this preconceived notion that I have to find a big block of time every day to “work out”.  I just isn’t there.  I’m always doing something.  I flutter from doing dishes to folding laundry to sitting at the kitchen table teaching lessons to…well, you get the picture.

There just isn’t any extra time in our schedule for a big block of half an hour, or even 20 minutes for me to take on my own.  But, this program is different.   Each week, there are 5 sets of 3 exercises to complete each day.  You can complete them all at once, or just take them a set at a time.  The first week, you only have to go 20 seconds per exercise.  That’s 60 seconds 5 times a day…that’s all.  The second week is 30 seconds per exercise.  It increases each week.  Even I can find a single minute here and there throughout my day.  As I become more cognizant of my extra time through the day, I’m pretty sure I’ll be finding time to squeeze in exercise in spots I thought were totally jam-packed.

How to Work In the Work Outs

Consider this…

How often do you find yourself standing in the kitchen, waiting for something to cook?  It takes a few minutes for those pancakes to cook on each side, but not enough that you can leave them and go do something else.  You’re a captive.  But…why not squeeze in a set or two of exercises while you’re there?  You’ve already started your day out right!

Or this…

You’re sitting on the floor with your baby while she has some tummy time.  That’s a great time to do something a little entertaining for her…why not make it some exercise.  My baby thinks it’s hilarious to watch Mommy exercise.  I get a step closer to being a fit mom, and baby grins all at the same time.  Everybody wins!

If you’re homeschooling…

These would make great P.E. exercises to do with your students.  Work in a few with your kiddos.  Now, you’ve covered a class subject, and you’re all better off than you were before!

We’re back to school here in our house, and our routine is back to normal.  I feel like I have even less time to myself with all of our school work to oversee.  But, I am still going strong, finding those few minutes here and there.  It’s only Tuesday, and the hardest part of the week is still to come…we’ve got a swimming day scheduled tomorrow (how’s that to stay in a routine?).  But, for once, I have confidence in my ability to stick with this program.

To learn more about Homeschool Mom Fitness, hop on over and check out their website.  For one low price, you get lifetime access to all of the materials…there is no monthly fee.  So, even if you do fall off the fitness wagon (it happens to us all), you still have access to the materials to get yourself back on track again.  There is a fitness tracker, access to videos to show you the proper form for all the exercises, access to a Facebook group (which I have really enjoyed so far), and more.  The program was created by a homeschool mom and her husband, who happens to be a certified personal trainer, so you know he knows his stuff!  I really hope you’ll drop by, and check out this program.  Join us, and let’s all get back in shape together!


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How to treat insect stings fast!

This weekend, I was reminded of a fantastic little addition to our medicine cabinet when Bear accidentally encountered a couple yellow jackets while fishing with her Daddy. Insect stings hurt!  Especially yellow jackets…but it doesn’t matter what critter did the stinging, they just hurt.  There can sometimes be quite a bit of swelling after one of these encounters as well.  So, how do you take the sting out to make your little ones comfortable again?

I’ve heard several home remedies for insect stings in my life…most of them from my grandmother.  I’ve tried all of these at least once, and for the most part, she has a pretty good track record for knowing things that work…no matter how crazy they sound!  Now, my granddad, on the other hand, he wanted to put kerosene on everything…he even kept some in his medicine cabinet.  I wouldn’t suggest kerosene, but I do have a couple of my grandmother’s suggestions to pass along!

Maalox

Maalox was my grandmother’s go-to for insect stings…ant stings in particular.  I was terribly susceptible to ant stings when I was young.  If I got one on my toe, my foot would swell so badly that I couldn’t put shoes on within an hour.  I grew out of it for the most part, but they’re still a nuisance!  Grandmother would dab liquid Maalox onto my stings, and, while it didn’t help the excessive swelling too much, it really did help the pain.

Meat Tenderizer

A doctor at my university’s student health center actually suggested meat tenderizer when I was bit by a spider (not an insect, I know) in my dorm room.  I tried it…you actually make a paste to apply by adding water (some folks say to use vinegar instead, but I haven’t tried it that way).  It worked pretty well to take the pain out, but there was still a lot of swelling, and it still turned purple, prompting an after-hours visit to the ER.  Maybe I should have used it with vinegar!

Aspirin

I’ve heard this one from a lot of folks.  It makes sense, really.  It’s not as crazy as meat tenderizer!  Aspirin is an anti-inflammatory medication.  You can crush a tablet, and make it into a paste with a little water…then apply it to the insect sting.  This method works fairly well, but it takes a little while.  It’s definitely not as fast-acting as the next remedy.

Laundry Bluing

Laundry bluing?  What on earth is that???  Fear not, that was my first reaction when my grandmother first suggested it to me.

I took the kids up to visit my parents and grandparents one summer.  Apparently, at a stop along the way, we gained an additional passenger who remained unnoticed until a couple hours later.  Lizard was only about a year and a half old at the time.  She had fallen asleep, but just before we reached our destination, she woke up and started screaming.  I couldn’t figure out what was going on while driving into Dallas rush-hour traffic, so I pulled over, and managed to get her calmed down…though I still couldn’t find the cause.  Well, a couple hours later, at my grandmother’s house, I laid her down on the floor to change her diaper.  There was a huge welt on her leg.  She had been fussy ever since the incident in the car…and now I knew why.  Something had stung her on the leg.  It was big and red and angry!  I made a rather surprised exclamation about it, and my grandmother came to look.  She said, “That’s a bee sting.  I just bought some bluing.”

I looked at her like a cow looking at a new gate.  “Bluing?  Is that what you said?  What’s that?”

“It’s for laundry.”  She stated rather emphatically.

“Okay…”

My mom jumped in, “People used to use it a lot to make their whites brighter.”

“Okay…”  I was still waiting for someone to tell me why we were talking about brighter whites in every load instead of my daughter’s giant bee sting.

“Mother used to use it on us when we got stung, but I hadn’t thought about it in years.  It takes the sting out, and all the swelling will be gone by bedtime.  I just bought some last week I just happened to come across.  Let me see if I can find it.”  Grandmother took off for her back bedroom to look for it.

I looked at my mom and shrugged my shoulders, still a bit dubious.  But, I figured I might as well give it a try.

My grandmother returned after a few minutes with a little blue bottle labeled, “Mrs. Stewart’s Liquid Bluing” and a few cotton balls.  She said, “Put a little of the bluing on the cotton, then dab it on the sting.  Make sure you cover the whole thing.  Try to keep her still until it dries, because it will get all over everything and it will stain.”

So, I did as instructed.  I made a big blue painting with that stuff all over Lizard’s leg.  By the time we sat down for dinner, Lizard had stopped fussing.  By the time I changed her next diaper, the swelling was gone.  She still had a big blue splotch…but no swelling.  I used it again the next morning, just to be sure…but I had a hard time telling where the sting had even been.  I was sold.  Grandmother told me to keep the bottle, and I did!

I’ve used it several more times since then…every time someone gets an insect sting.  It has a great track record for bee stings, and for yellow jacket stings…including Bear’s little encounter over the weekend.  She was stung on the leg and on the nose.  At first, she didn’t want me to turn her nose blue, but within minutes of the time I put it on her leg, she said her leg didn’t hurt any more and wanted it on her nose too.  So, Bear had a blue nose Sunday afternoon…and I didn’t hear another complaint about her nose.  By Monday, her nose wasn’t blue anymore, but that yellow jacket sting was gone too.  A blue nose is a small price to pay!

So, next time you or one of your little ones gets an insect sting, give bluing a try.  You may be just as surprised as I was.

Incidentally, while bluing is great for insect stings, you can also grow a fantastic crystal garden with it, I’ve been told.  It’s on the list to try this week! 


How to treat insect stings fast!

 


  

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