Sunday, July 29, 2007

Random thoughts....

Things that make me smile...

Hearing from readers like you :)
Thanks for the latest installment. Wanted to give a "testimonial". Feel free to share it on your sight. My darling hubby pulled his shoulder really badly last night while play wrestling with Jman. He asked for some of the "aches away" which I generously applied. About thirty minutes later he said out of the blue, "Man that stuff really works wonders!" Thanks so much for creating and sharing such wonderful products.

Mary Ellen, you made my day! Thanks for taking the time to share this with me.
Awesome Evening....

Attended a region wide worship meeting tonight - many denominations were represented...hundreds of people attended...Methodists, Pentecostals, Baptists, Church of God, non-denominational....the purpose? Unity within the body of Christ. We can all come together in unity at the foot of the cross! If the body were united, just think what an impact we could make for Father! It was an AWESOME evening!

The Weather....

We are having the weirdest weather....65 at July!!! And the days have been cloudy, breezy and cool! Wonder what this means for winter?

The Pests...

Not many Japanese beetles this year...I am still getting squash and zucchini (and yes that is a good thing in this household!) although their time is getting short. Usually the squash bugs have gotten the plants by now. And the fleas!!! Oh my gosh! My house is under siege! We have never had a problem with fleas before but there must be an abundant population this year. We are using the candle in soapy water method to capture them inside....trying to avoid those chemicals! Some days I think it is a loosing battle :) Anyone else notice a problem with fleas?

The Tomatoes...

Our tomato bushes are loaded...and I do mean bushes! This year our tomatoes look better than I have ever seen them...they look like hedgerows! The bushes are loaded with green tomatoes! If I can keep the chickens out of them, I'll be busy canning for weeks!

The Fruit....

Every morning is a rush to the melon patch to beat the chickens to the next ripe melon. We have been enjoying cantaloupe and watermelon almost everyday! God's candy! We are so blessed!


I am so thankful for friends who are willing to walk with you through the valley! I have been blessed with friends, old and new, who have come along side of me and encouraged me, prayed for me and lifted my arms when I was to weary! Bless ya'll!


Still working on the asthma thing :)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

From the past to the present…stepping out in faith…. (Pt.4)

Last time I told a part of my story, I ended it with this phrase...."God was wooing me to country life!" And now it was time to step out in faith. It seems to me that too often Christians sit back waiting for God to do something, change something, fix something....but we forget that our involvement is important also. Oft times God wants to work something in us as change is brought about in our lives...this requires our may even require action on our part!

After much study, much prayer and months of contemplation it was obvious it was time to take a step of faith. So, in the fall of 1998, we loaded up the van, took Grandma with us and headed north. I had done quite a bit of research on the internet looking for a house with land. Mom and Dad were going to pool resources with us (Dad really didn't have a choice - he was declining with Alzheimer's Disease and Mom knew she would need our help) and we planned a move as a family. We had no idea where we would end up but we took a vacation so that we could start looking at places in Georgia and on into Tennessee. This was the "action" part. Would it have been possible for God to drop a farm in our lap without any effort on our part...absolutely! Would it have been likely? Not!

We interspersed our farm seeking with stops more oriented to the 4 boys in the car (parks, aquariums, etc.) so as not to have a mutiny! We saw a lot of beautiful (and not so beautiful) homes. It is amazing to me how the picture of the lovely home in the hollow actually looked like an abandoned dump in person! We moved on to Tennessee. We saw several places in east TN that were wonderful but when we found this farm it just felt like home. I could see my children living here, see my Mom's home built on that hill over there, saw the animals in the barns and fields. It was where God wanted to bring us. God reminded me of this verse:
Deuteronomy 8:7 "For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, that flow out of valleys and hills; 8 a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey; 9 a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing; a land whose stones are iron and out of whose hills you can dig copper. 10 When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land which He has given you."

So, we took a step of faith. And we did it all backwards according to the "wisdom of the world"! We made an offer on the farm and after several counters back and forth, our offer was accepted! But, we had a house to sell in Florida and a job to find in TN! We headed home from our 10 days on the road, unloaded the van and stuck a for sale by owner sign in the yard. That afternoon the phone rang. I was in the middle of unpacking from the trip and doing a mountain of laundry (2 adults, 3 kids and a new baby...all boys....who had been touring farms for 10 days...ya'll undertand I'm sure!). Someone wanted to come and see our home! I, of course, said no as I looked at the mess around me...just like any normal mama in my situation. I offered the next day as a possibility of seeing our home. No...they were flying out the next morning...they begged...pleaded! They said they had been taking one last trip through our neighborhood and saw the new sign in our yard - they said they would pay cash....and I thought "rrriiiigghhttt"!

So I asked for a few hours to get the unpacked stuff repacked and tucked away and they agreed to come around dinner. In the mean time, there was another call - they also wanted to see it and I made an appointment for them just before the other folks. I then decided to yank the sign out of the yard until I could get life returned to something that resembled normal.

The first couple came, looked, smiled and left. The second couple (who made the first call) came, looked, looked and looked some more. They left to "talk about it". I never thought we would hear from them again. But they called back, made an offer at full price, intended to pay cash and wanted to close in two weeks. Oh...and by the way..."we won't need it till the first of the year so no hurry on ya'll getting out".

Now, doesn't that have the hand-print of God all over it? Of course, finding a job in TN was a piece of that time I knew it would be...after all, God was ordering our footsteps! We began the long process of cleaning out, holding garage sales, giving things away and packing. This was a challenge in the middle of the school year (so thankful we were homeschooling!) and with a new baby, a five year old, an 8 year old and a 15 year old. My 15 year old was my saving grace! He did so much with his brothers (playing, feeding, bathing, rocking!) which freed me to do the packing and organizing! Our goal was to leave in January and head for TN. With the help of family, church and friends we made our goal!

We arrived at the farm in January of 1999. We spent several weeks, cleaning and unpacking. It was quite amazing to me that we had visitors from town (20 miles away) drop in to say hi...and they knew all about us! Kinda scary for a big city girl!

We acquired our first "animals" that spring...thousands of bees! We had a very small garden that summer, 12 feet by 12 feet! We didn't get much to eat but learned a lot. We began to add other animals; goats, calves for beef, and a milk cow over the next year. We expanded our garden to ten 3 1/2 x 33 foot raised beds. Truly we took on too much too fast. It was overwhelming...

Along with trying to learn about animals and gardens and all of the "outdoor" things..I was also learning to can, make jam and jelly (I remembered doing it with Grandma but had never tried it myself) grind wheat, cook everything from scratch and increase my knowledge of herbs now that I had the room to grow the herbs myself (how to harvest, when to harvest, planting instructions etc.!). And, of course, homeschooling was continuing...often based around what we were learning on the farm.

Although this time was wonderful in so many ways, especially for my boys, it exacerbated problems that had existed in my husband's life, and in our marriage, for a very long time. The next years would be the hardest in my life....I would need to draw closer to God than I ever dreamed....

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Breakfast with Kefir!

I wanted to share one of our favorite breakfasts! It is so easy and ALL of you can be doing this to help your immune systems. When you look back in history at how God's people preserved food, stored food and ate food, you will find many wonderful and healthy ways to eat! I encourage you to look at our food supply in America and begin to ask yourselves...what was God's original design for "?" and fill in the blank. How, as good stewards of the land and animals that God has blessed us with, are we raising our beef, chickens, fruit, veggies etc.....and how are we preparing it and begin to align yourself with God's design. It will taste better and be better for you and your family. Kefir has been used in many cultures for hundreds of years and is a healthy and natural product!

I have tried for a long time to make Kefir. I don't know if I had bad grains, a bad system or bad advice...but it never seemed to work. However, many months ago, some friends from Virginia and Kentucky came down for a soap making day. They wanted to learn "hands on" how to safely handle lye and how to make soap. It is so much easier to learn while doing and it was so much more FUN to do it with friends. One friend brought a variety of meats from their farm (just tried the hot sausage Jennifer and it was delicious!) and the other one brought me Kefir grains and a WONDERFUL stick blender with detailed instructions on how to make it and how to eat it. These directions were so simple! So much easier that anything else I had ever read about making Kefir. And the grains that she brought me WORKED!! (Thanks Debbie!!!!!)

I thought I would share how I make it the "easy way". This way those of you who have had problems like I did might be encouraged to try it again. And here is the answer for those of you who are asking...
What's Kefir?

Kefir is a cultured, enzyme-rich food filled with friendly micro-organisms that help balance your "inner ecosystem." More nutritious and therapeutic than yogurt, it supplies complete protein, essential minerals, and valuable B vitamins.

* Kefir is simple and inexpensive to make at home.
* Kefir is used to restore the inner eco-system after antibiotic therapy.
* Kefir can be made into a delicious smoothie that kids love.
* Kefir is excellent nourishment for pregnant and nursing women, the elderly, and those with compromised immunity. (

Here is a picture of my Kefir "grains".


True Kefir is not made with a "starter" but with grains. I think the word "grains" confuses people....makes you think of wheat, barley and oats. In reality they aren't that kind of grain at all and perhaps we should be calling them "beads". To me they look like translucent pieces of cauliflower! They have a "rubbery" feel and the neat thing is that they multiply so you can make more or share them! Tradition says that you may sell your Kefir but you may not sell the grains...they must be given!

I take the grains, place them in a half gallon canning jar and pour COLD milk over it. That's right - no warming! Our milk happens to be from Nora (the world's best cow!) and is raw and unpasteurized but you can also use milk from the store. If you are using milk from the cow, it needs to be at least 6 hours old to let the natural cultures in the milk diminish. This way the cultures don't work against each other. This is also true in cheese-making.

I let the Kefir sit on my gas stove close to the pilot light for 24 hours. You can also put the jar on top of the fridge for warmth or just let it sit on your counter. After 24 hours put it in the frig and once it is chilled it is ready. It is slightly thick and a wee bit tangy and has some texture to it...hence the stick blender to make it smooth for children who are "texture" challenged! The longer it sits in the frig the tangier it gets. I try to use mine right away. I confess I have both "texture" and "tangy" challenged children :)

When your first batch of Kefir is "ready", place a colander over a bowl and pour into the colander - the thick Kefir should slip through but the Kefir grains/beads should stay in the colander (see the first picture above). I usually run my hands (freshly washed!) through the Kefir to make sure no grains/beads slipped through. Put the grains into the next batch of milk and begin again. Blend the Kefir with your favorite fruit, or drink it plain and you are on your way!

This is how you make Kefir smoothies. This morning I made cantaloupe Kefir. We picked fresh cantaloupe from our garden and cut it into pieces. Here is what I started with:


In the picture you see a half gallon canning jar containing the Kefir. The freshly sliced cantaloupe, the stick blender and the container I blend it in. (Ignore the onions and watermelon - just some other things we were picking but I didn't want to confuse you!)

I pour the Kefir into the container like so...


Then I add the cantaloupe on top (you can put the fruit in first if you want and pour the Kefir on top - order doesn't matter because it will all be blended together.


Then insert the stick blender and blend until done!


You end up with this lovely peachy colored drink that is SO yummy and very nutritious!


Pour it into their glasses and you are done - it all takes just a few minutes!


I added a bowl of fresh cantaloupe and voila!....breakfast! I think you can see from their faces that this is one of their favorite breakfasts....and one of the easiest for me to create!


I encourage you to get some Kefir grains/beads and begin this adventure in your own home. Some of our favorite flavors are strawberry/banana, blueberry, peach, pineapple/coconut, and even peanut butter/banana. My children have requested chocolate but somehow that seems to void the healthy aspect to me! My kids don't get a lot of sugar in their diets so they enjoy this without sweetening, especially if it contains a really ripe banana. If you wanted to sweeten it, please choose a natural sweetener for their benefit!

I have let the Kefir stay in the frig a little longer and as it gets thicker and tangier it makes a wonderful and healthy substitute for sour cream - use it on potatoes from the garden, in dips and salad dressings...the little ones (or even the big 'uns) need never know :) It is also a great substitute for yogurt, more beneficial, and can be used or eaten in the same way!

I'd love it if you shared some of your Kefir recipes and ideas with me!


Does your pastor qualify?

Another interesting post by Pastor Chuck Baldwin....
Help Me Locate The Black Regiment
By Chuck Baldwin
July 24, 2007

This column is archived at

Faithful readers of this column know of my burden for the pastors of America. Without informed, energized, and engaged pulpits, I see little hope for the maintenance of liberty and independence in this land.

When the colonies broke free from the shackles of the Crown, it was the moral and spiritual strength of colonial pulpits that helped lead the way. These revolutionary preachers became known as The Black Regiment, due to the long, black robes they were known to wear in the pulpit.

The Black Regiment taught their congregations the principles of freedom Sunday by Sunday. They expounded, explained, and extrapolated the Biblical principles of authority and jurisdiction carefully and meticulously. As a result, the men of colonial America were so well informed, both spiritually and politically, that when the time came to declare their independence, they had both the heart and mind to do it. Statesmen took up the pen, and soldiers took up arms in the greatest fight for freedom in world history. And leading both statesman and soldier was the Black Regiment.

If there is one question that I receive more than any other, it is, "Chuck, do you know a pastor like you in such and such a city?" I receive those letters and emails constantly. It is a heavy burden. I know they are out there, but where?

I must admit that I often fall victim to the same "woe is me" syndrome as did Elijah. I find myself crying, "I, even I only, am left." However, as God had 7,000 prophets in Israel that had not bowed the knee to Baal, so, too, God has a remnant-host of Black Regiment preachers in America today. The problem is, they are scattered hither and yon with little notice or recognition.

Therefore, I use this column today to enlist the help of my readers. Will you help me locate the Black Regiment? If you know of any Bible-believing, Gospel-preaching pastor who would qualify as being a Black Regiment preacher, would you please let me know who they are?

Before sending me your list of names, let's set some ground rules. In order to qualify as a Black Regiment pastor, the following criteria must be met:

1. He is a Bible believer: he believes the Bible is God's holy and authoritative Word.

2. He is the head of his own home, having his wife and children in subjection to his authority. No henpecked men here.

3. He is the spiritual leader and shepherd of his local congregation, not a committee-controlled man.

4. He is a strong proponent of the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and Bill of Rights.

5. He understands the necessity and integrity of sovereign national borders. And, to the degree that he understands it, has publicly spoken out against amnesty for illegal aliens and the burgeoning North American Union.

6. He understands freedom of speech and believes that a preacher is a spokesman for God (not the State) and has publicly decried so-called "hate crimes" legislation that would prohibit preachers from preaching Biblical truth regarding homosexuality.

7. He has publicly promoted the sanctity of life by preaching and protesting against abortion.

8. He has publicly repudiated the unconstitutional policies of President Bush in his promotion of the USA Patriot Act, warrantless wiretaps and eavesdropping, and the deceptive manner in which he led America into an undeclared, unprovoked, and preemptive war against Iraq.

9. He has publicly resisted "Seeker-Friendly," and "Purpose-Driven," and "Emerging Church" church growth movements.

10. He believes the church has a responsibility to be the salt and light of the world. That is, that we are to win souls to Christ, and resist Satan in whatever form (spiritual, social, political, cultural, etc.) he reveals himself.

Will you help me find such men? Please email me with as much contact information as possible, including the name of the pastor and church, his address, phone number, and email address.

I already have a short list of under 100 men who seem to be of Black Regiment caliber. I am confident there are many hundreds more. We need to be in contact with each other. We need to pray for each other. We need to support each other. We need to inform each other. We need to encourage each other. This Black Regiment list can be a tool to help accomplish all this and more.

If you know of only one such man, please let me know who he is. He might be thinking, "I, even I only, am left." He needs to know he is not alone. We all need to know that we are not alone.

Thanks for your help. I will keep readers of this column posted as to the results of my appeal.

Friday, July 20, 2007

And on my political sentiments...

This quote is from the late Lyn Nofziger. Mr. Nofziger served as press secretary in Ronald Reagan's administration as Governor of California and as a White House advisor during the Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan presidencies. Shortly before he passed away, he wrote this (bold emphasis mine!)....
"These Things I Believe."

"That government should butt out. That freedom is our most precious commodity and if we are not eternally vigilant, government will take it all away. That individual freedom demands individual responsibility. That government is not a necessary good but an unavoidable evil. That the executive branch has grown too strong, the judicial branch too arrogant and the legislative branch too stupid. That political parties have become close to meaningless. That government should work to insure the rights of the individual, not plot to take them away. That government should provide for the national defense and work to insure domestic tranquility. That foreign trade should be fair rather than free. That America should be wary of foreign entanglements. That the tree of liberty needs to be watered from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. That guns do more than protect us from criminals; more importantly, they protect us from the ongoing threat of government. That states are the bulwark of our freedom. That states should have the right to secede from the Union. That once a year we should hang someone in government as an example to his fellows."

My sentiments exactly folks! Oh...and that last sentence..... might not be a bad idea!

Oswald Chambers

Just a quick quote from Oswald Chambers that truly ministered to my heart today!
“To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, we do not know what a day may bring forth. This is generally said with a sigh of sadness, it should be rather an expression of breathless expectation. We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God. Immediately
we abandon to God, and do the duty that lies nearest, He packs our life with surprises all the time…We are not uncertain of God, but uncertain of what He is going to do next…Leave the whole thing to Him, it is gloriously uncertain how He will come in but He will come.”

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A few more new things...

Here are a few more of the new things I've been making. Ever wanted to try some of my medicinal salves? Now's your chance to try several...without investing a lot of money! With a houseful of busy boys, I am always reaching for one of my salves. However, I found that just because we were away from home, didn't mean we wouldn't need them. Now, it got a bit heavy carrying all of these little glass jars around in my purse. So, several months ago, I began putting them in much easier on the shoulder! Well, as I used them at friends' houses, at church, etc., people began to ask if I sold them that, I replied.... but what a great idea! So, thanks guys!

Now I can offer you a way to take my herbal first-aid kit on the road with you. Introducing my Sack of Salve! I know...I know..I should have had a naming contest, ya'll are much better at it than I am :)tn_100_4358.JPG

This little muslin bag is made from 100% USA grown cotton. Tucked inside are 5 tins of medicinal salve, 1/2 oz. each of Healing Salve, Arnica Salve, Lavender Salve, Aches Away Salve and Tea Tree Salve! I have also included a little sheet to remind you of the purpose for each salve!


Each tin is shrink-wrapped for your protection. Now, no matter where you are, you can treat your family with safe and natural products instead of the petroleum based things from the drug store. And I am sure you will be amazed at how effective these herbal remedies are.

I think one of the funniest things that happens to me after selling someone a product (especially to people that I know) is the phone call that inevitably comes a day or so later...the conversation always goes something like this....
Friend: Hi Cheri, I just wanted to call you and tell you that this salve REALLY works! (sounding shocked!)

Cheri: Yes, I know!

Friend: Wow! I really didn't expect it to work.

Cheri: (Trying not to say "Gee thanks!") I'm so glad you like it and that it helped you!

Friend: But, I mean it really works....(sounding incredulous)

I want you all to know that if I didn't know it worked...and if I hadn't been using it to treat my own family for years...I WOULD NOT SELL IT TO YOU :) You will notice that I do not sell things that we don't use....there isn't a Cure Your Baldness Salve, or a Wipe Away Warts Salve..... because those haven't been a need in my own family(yet!). These phone calls delight me and always make me laugh....people are so filled with wonder and excitement to learn that the herbs that the Father gives us can actually heal our bodies. He is after all Jehovah Rapha - the God that healeth!

Now for a few more new soaps... one of my favorite things as a child was getting a letter from my Grandma. She always wrote such long and encouraging notes to me...and she always included gum, with a dime placed in each end of the stick of gum. (Note: Grandma was not stingy... back when this occurred, you could still buy things with a dime!)

So, I have created a soap that makes me think of that chewing gum...I call it Double Mint soap simply because it is made with both peppermint essential oil and spearmint essential oil. Many customers have sniffed it trying to place the scent and then a smile breaks out and they say..."it smells like that gum!"


This is a "wake you up in the morning" soap and is wonderful to shower with after a long hot day outside in the garden! Very refreshing!

The next new soap is inspired by our love of Italian food. I have a strange family...we love the goodness and comfort of southern cooking - after all it is where we have spent most of our lives - but we also have a penchant for really spicy Mexican cooking and homemade Italian dishes. Funny thing, our background is Scottish and German....go figure!

Italian Potpourri is a great soap to keep at the kitchen sink since it is anti-bacterial. I use it whenever I have been working with raw meats. tn_100_4346.JPG

I love the smell....I'm just crazy for basil! My boys call it the pizza soap. I have made several custom gift baskets with an Italian theme...some bread, cheese, fresh or dried basil, sauce or noodles and a colorful dishcloth...and of course a bar of this soap!

I still have a few more soaps to get up on the website and will be working on those over the next few days. You can view all of my soaps here .

I will also be introducing my line of lip balms. I have made these for years. Many of you have received them as "extras" in your orders over the last year or so and ya'll seem to love them as do my local customers.

I'm also trying to get to the next installment of "my" story. Several of you have inquired if I intended to continue - and I just seems that gardens, boys, family, gets busy...especially at this time of year! Bear with me please :)


Asthma remedies on the way!

Well, ya'll,  there seems to be enough interest in learning about using natural remedies with asthma...and it appears that we will be dealing with all I just wanted you to know that I will try to put together a comprehensive post (similar to my eczema post).  I'll do my best to get it up in the next week.

Thanks for all of your responses!

Monday, July 16, 2007

For you men....

Here are a couple of soaps I made with my young men in mind....not that we women can't enjoy them also... but chances are they will be purchased and used by more men than women. So, get ready's time to....

Lock N' Load!


This is the ultimate soap for hunters. It camouflages the human scent! The astringent qualities of the oakmoss absolute, and the birch and white oak barks, help remove the oils from your skin that carry the human scent. These oils are quickly replaced with the essential oils of fir and spruce! You will enter the woods smelling like the forest that surrounds you. Some men even grate a bit of this soap to use for washing their hunting clothes for the first time! It is also wonderful for those nature lovers that like to hike "incognito" in the hopes of seeing the wildlife. You can find Lock N' Load on my website here.

Happy Hunting gentlemen!

And for those of you who love to fish....take a look at Hook, Line and Sinker!


Did you know that fish are attracted to the smell of licorice? This soap is packed with licorice! When I was researching "fish" I learned some amazing things....I didn't know that fish could "smell" what is in the water over 1/2 mile away. I didn't know that there are some human scents that are attractive to fish and some that repel them. This could explain why certain people always seem to catch the fish...My Uncle Kie must have been one human that was attractive to fish - he always caught a mess of fish even if no one else had a bite! It was my Uncle Kie that instilled a love of fishing in me....I still enjoy it :)

Use this soap to wash your hands in the water when you get to your favorite fishing can even wet the soap and rub it on your bait. If you cast...they will come! Grab your tackle boxes gentlemen (and ladies!) and head for the water! You will find Hook Line & Sinker here.

I still have 4 or 5 more soaps that will be going on the website...I'll write about them here first! stay tuned for Aches Away Soap, Tarragon Fantasy, Spring Bouquet, Double Mint, and another shampoo an exciting new development in the salve department :)

Sunday, July 15, 2007

A question for you....

A reader has expressed an interest in learning more about treating asthma naturally.  Before I respond in email, I thought I would check to see if this is of interest to anyone else?  Just leave a comment to let me know :)

New Soaps and Salves!

Those of you who braved the post on Eczema may have realized that I have some new salves up on the website…..but I have also begun to add the soaps I’ve been creating! Let’s take a look at what has been going on in my kitchen :)

We will start with the salves:


You will find this Calendula Salve here. This salve is wonderful for Eczema, burns and other skin irritations. It is terrifically soothing to nursing Mom’s who are suffering with sore nipples, and for little ones who get sunburned. Calendula is one of the herbs studied in my Medicinal Herb Course and has many healing properties both externally and internally!

I have also added an herbal remedy for stuffy noses. This is my herbal answer to the petroleum based “vicks”-type salves from the drug store.


This all natural chest rub, filled with healing essential oils, will help open the nasal passages so that you, and your little ones can “Breathe Easy” at night. I rub this lightly on the chest and throat and then cover with a soft flannel cloth. I have used this for a long time to help my boys sleep easier at night during colds and bronchial problems and now I offer it to my readers :)

And I am excited to be able to tell you that I once again have the Aches Away Salve in the roll up tubes! When the price of oil went up, all plastic container prices went sky high. I found a wonderful deal on these tubes because the top and bottom aren’t the same color ….but I don’t think that presents a problem.


The best part is that they are twice the size of the previous tubes….but NOT twice the price! Once again, you can apply my herbal deep heating rub without having to get your fingers in the salve! For a couple of unbiased opinions of this salve you might want to visit here! (Thanks Scott!)

Now….onto the new soaps…..

I created a shampoo bar for pets that kills fleas and ticks without using insecticides. Yes, Virginia, the commercial pet shampoos contain insecticides!


Canine Caress is a gentle, moisturizing shampoo bar for your four-legged friends! I used natural essential oils in this soap to give it the ability to kill fleas and ticks. It gets a lot of use at our house! It leaves their coats shiny and silky smooth!

And lastly (at least for today!) is my new shaving soap! Grandpa’s Shaving Soap was created after my boys got old enough to shave. I hated to see them buy a shaving cream that was filled with chemicals…remember that what you put on your skin goes into your body! I wanted to create a shaving soap that would be moisturizing, healing and give a very close shave. I also wanted it to be something that we ladies could use :)

This soap can be used either with the old fashioned brush and straight razor (which my 17 year old LOVES) or it can be used with the new razors that are either disposable or have disposable heads (which is what I use). Grandpa’s Shaving Soap contains comfrey oil so it is very healing, it has Bentonite Clay for a close, smooth and silky shave and the wonderful scents of cinnamon and lavender - neither too feminine or too masculine!

Stay tuned over the next few days for many more soaps - tomorrow is especially for you men who like to hunt and fish!

Update from the KSMilkmaid herself....

I received this letter from the KSMilkmaid and wanted to publish it in full...please keep her situation in your prayers!


Cheri and Barbara:I realize I am being rather presumptions by asking this. But, I wondered if you wouldn't publish a guest blog article for me.

This is an old article I wrote back in Jan of 2007. It was about a month before I had asked Brian to leave. I was enduring personal private cruelty and pain. However, I had not endured the public cruelty that I have endured right now. I found this article because I have been watching my enemies search through blog archives and archive search engines seeking to find ways to devour me. I know they probably skipped past this article…but my own words really spoke to me.

This past week, I was on the verge of having a nervous breakdown. I wanted to cash it all in. The pain of seeing all the slander and facing Brian's defense lawyer in the divorce hearing was nearly incapacitating. I had one friend who has known me since I was 15 call me and remind me that they want me to cash it in. This is the strategy to get me to give up and take my life. She knew Brian very well and said, “If he can’t have you, he will try to ruin you and this is the ruining process.” She asked where was the fighter who battled to get away from her abusive mother. She told me to get mad or something but don't give up. I found something better than getting mad. Instead of anger, I can have love. I can be thankful to my enemy for this activity. They by their wickedness are refining me. Some of the blog articles they are reading have hints of pompous pride in them. Boy, I am kind of ashamed. When I return to writing, I will be a different kind of writer. As write about domestic violence in Christian homes, I will need to polish this aspect of my character. I must because the goal of writing is not to tell what he (Brian) and his family did to me, but to tell what HE (God, the great I AM) did to me and for me through this trial.

I didn't realize I would be eating the words that I wrote so long ago. The articles they are pulling I will have to answer to in some way. But what is even better is that I have to eat this article. I wrote it and it reveals the survivor in me. No, it reveals the conqueror in me. Through Him we are more than conquerors. I am tired of being the victim, ladies. I want to survive this now. I am tired of being silenced. I want to talk not about the abuse, but about what God is doing for me through the abuse. When I shut down my blog, I felt like the apostles. They were before the Sanhedrin and told to stop talking about God. They were put in prison and told to stop. I felt imprisoned but I know better. I am being grown through this persecution and this silence. God will not be constrained in our lives when we offer ourselves as his tool and instrument. Oh this period of silence is a powerful momentum building kind of thing. I can't wait to return to writing with a powerful message. Ladies, I am silent right now, but the silence will ultimately deafen the enemy. The momentum is building. It is so exciting!!!

If you want to add your own preface to this article you are welcome too based on what I have said above. I would love to publish somehow that I am not only praying for my enemies, but I thank them for they are helping me to change. Praise God for peace that surpasses all understanding. Most domestic violence advocates tell me not to be a victim but a survivor. As a Christian, I say I want to take that a step further. I am a conqueror. MORE than a conqueror.

Have a blessed Lord's day!!!

And Chris's post that she referred to:
Enemies Janurary 7, 2007 Posted @ 5:38 amHatred, negativity, and cruelty run deep in the character of man. Our world has vast amounts of evil at every turn. It is commonplace to say whatever you feel and do whatever you want, and there is very little emphasis on serving other people. The mantra is "It's my life and I will live it the way I want it to." Or … "I can say what I want and it is your fault if you misinterpret it and are offended." These days the standards of morality are so low that it seems just about anything goes, especially in how we treat others. You just can't miss the brutality rampant in society today. Flip on the television (no, don't really), and prime time television will show you the norm for society today. Violent video games don't help much.

Even more troubling is the absence of God at every turn. He has been informed that he is not welcome in the government schools. Likewise, government has told him to get out. Worse, I believe there is strong evidence that we have tried to push him out of the church, also. All over America, people claim to be Christians. Yet look around us, and witness our society. Perhaps the most heinous crime committed is by those who give lip-service to Christianity and live their lives tearing down, destroying, and actively engaging in cruelty. The incredible thing about man, and the sin in which we indulge, is the skillful cunning art of justification. Truly destructive sin will take goodness and twist it slyly for the purpose of destroying.

Living a life in pursuit of righteousness will provoke people who are vile. They can't stand it. Moreover, they can't understand it. They see the joy and think it can't be real. They don't experience it, so they curse, hiss, and attack until their bloodlust is satisfied. It doesn't matter how humbly you present your life, they will roam about seeking something to devour. It doesn't matter if you present yourself as a sinner and repent of your shortcomings; they are there ready to keep track of all the wrongs in permanent marker. Most of the time, it boils down to jealousy over contentment achieved. They feel shorted because their lives don't reap joyous fruit. Life is filled with these kinds of people.

It is easy to wear our emotions on our sleeves and whimper about our lack of supporters. It is easy to get hurt over the negativity. Yet, we must realize that we are promised persecution. We know the benefits of persecution as demonstrated in the bible. The church grew under persecution. But get this … we were saved because of full effect of persecution. The ultimate persecution sent Christ to the cross. We were redeemed because of vile hatred. That hatred came from none other than religious folk. Oh yes, friends. I hurt when I am attacked. I ache when my best, most contrite intentions are vilified. However, I know God gave me these enemies for many good reasons. He gave me enemies to help me understand his great love for me. It is through loving my enemies that I come to understand the amazing unconditional love of God for mankind. Enemies, if rightly applied, can help us balance out ego and pride. Wouldn't it be nice if we were all surrounded by groupies with 100 percent support? No. We would be some sick puppies in the ego department for sure.

We can't stop living for Christ because someone doesn't support us. We can't stop proclaiming the good news because we have Pharisees at every turn with permanent markers. Keep proclaiming the gospel. Keep trying to express the inexpressible joy. Let's drown out the negativity with the full peace that surpasses all understanding. Examine what the enemy says. Do you need to change something to be more Christ-like? Then make that change. But Heaven forbid that the enemy silences you.

Matthew 5:44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Treating Eczema...from the inside out!

In response to a multitude of questions from my readers here is a LONG post on treating Eczema naturally...if you aren't in need you may want to skip today's blog :) Please remember that I am NOT a Dr. and that this post contains my own personal opinions and research which have NOT been approved by, verified by, or probably even heard of by the the government would like you to be advised to proceed with caution!

What is Eczema?

Eczema is a condition that affects the skin. It may be associated with allergies, nervous stress or even chemical or metal irritants. If it is caused by an irritant it would be confined to certain areas...for instance metal jewelry might cause a reaction where it touches the skin. But allergic eczema can affect any and all parts of the body....even in the creases of skin such as inside the elbows, behind knees or under the breasts. It leaves areas of the skin dry, flaky and red. It can become inflamed and ooze and leave a crusty patch. The cells of the skin become damaged which can cause them to change color or become thick and scaly. Eczema can cause severe itching. It can also leave the skin open to infections and viruses.

It is interesting that eczema is less frequent in children who have been nursed. Children under 3 with eczema usually have food allergies - children over 3 usually have asthma and are especially allergic to dust mites and molds.

Eczema is the result of either atopic dermatitis or contact dermatitis. Atopic dermatitis is associated with allergies such as asthma, hay-fever or hives. It can occur anywhere on the body but seems to be found most often on the face, neck, wrists, hands, eyelids, behind ears and in the creases of the groin, knees and elbows. This usually starts during childhood and will affect larger areas of the body than if it began after reaching adulthood.

Eczema caused by contact dermatitis is associated with a reaction to something that has touched the skin. It is a painful weeping skin reaction to things such as poison ivy or oak, perfume, chemicals, or even latex. Certain metals used in jewelry are often a common cause.

Both forms of eczema cause changes in how the skin repairs itself. The process is permanently activated but never really gets completed. The skin regenerates faster than those without eczema but the skin never begins the normal immune function.

The standard treatment for people suffering from eczema is a steroid cream...but we know that this can also cause problems in our bodies. Especially for young people! Long term use of steroids leaves skin fragile and thin and can have many other adverse side effects in the body. Let’s talk about some other options for treatment both internally and externally including diet to see what we can do to avoid the steroid route....

Topical Treatment for Eczema

I am listing these in the order that I would use them....for instance I would reach for the Aloe first...then the Calendula salve and so on down the line. These are my personal choices - they don’t have to be yours :) Each child is different and you may find that something further down the list does a better job for your child...this is the beauty...and the challenge...of herbal medicine. Let’s take a look.....

Aloe Gel - externally the application of Aloe gel relieves inflammation. The gel from a freshly sliced leaf is much better that the bottles of “Aloe Vera Gel” that you find in the store. Check the ingredients on those bottles - they are far from being 100% Aloe - there are usually chemical colorants, scents, preservatives etc. Purchase a plant, keep it on your windowsill and use the leaves!

Calendula salve will reduce the inflammation and redness. You can find a 100% pure and natural Calendula salve, free from chemical colorants and scents, at my web site here. I have included Lavender Essential Oil to help relieve the itching from Eczema and healing wounds!

Lavender salve helps to relieve itching and has a soothing quality both physically and emotionally. You can also find Lavender salve on my web site here.

Copaiba oil provides relief of inflammation and is also antibacterial - it also seems to act quickly.

Chickweed salve or oil. Chickweed is soothing, slightly astringent, heals wounds, eases irritation and itching and helps heal lesions. Apply it as a salve as required.

Chamomile or licorice creams can prevent itching and stop the hardening of the skin.

Rosemary Tea - make a cup of rosemary tea (easy...steep rosemary leaves in hot water for 10 minutes covered!) and use as a skin wash several times a day. Rosemary stimulates blood flow to the skin and helps to prevent infections.

Marshmallow root cream helps to form a protective layer over the skin which helps to prevent infection.

Stinging Nettle - salve or cream - use externally.

Turmeric extract - apply as a poultice twice daily. This helps to alleviate pain and promote healing.

Walnut leaf extract - apply a a skin wash 2 to 3 times a day to protect against infection and stop excessive sweating.

Internal treatment for Eczema

Stinging Nettle is an astringent, a tonic and a circulatory stimulant. It is especially useful if the eczema is associated with poor circulation but it is wonderful for all forms of eczema. Take as an infusion or tincture. You can combine it with other cleansing herbs such as heartsease, red clover, figwort or cleavers to infuse or tincture. (You will be able to purchase organic Stinging Nettle tea at my website beginning early next week!)

Burdock is cleansing, good for any toxic skin condition and is wonderful for scaling eczema. Take a decoction of the leaves or up to 4 ml tincture three times a day. You can combine Burdock with other cleansing herbs such as Yellow Dock, Figwort, Cleavers, Heartsease and Red Cover. Add flowers and leaves to the decoction for 1 to 2 minutes.

Oregon grape root extract detoxifies the body and reduces inflammation.

Fish Oil supplements an excellent source for GLA (Borage Seed oil or Flaxseed Oil are good sources of GLA but less effective than fish oil).

Zinc - 45 to 60 milligrams of zinc daily during flare ups then reduce to 30 milligrams when condition clears. You need zinc to utilize the GLA.

Evening Primrose Seed Oil. This oil contains essential fatty acids that are needed to maintain healthy tissues. Take 3 g a day in capsule form....1 to 2 g a day for children.

Coleus Forskolin tablets -- take 50 mg. 3 times a day - it is a potent herbal antihistamine (check label for smaller doses for children).

Heartsease is anti-inflammatory, diuretic, and a laxative and it is especially good for weeping eczema. take as an infusion or tincture but avoid high doses.

Diet and other considerations

Add blackberries, blueberries, cherries and raspberries to the diet. These provide antioxidant compounds that stop production of histamines. Also consider preparations of bilberry and hawthorn for their antioxidant qualities - these can be taken in tea form. (Watch my website for the addition of bilberry tea!)

There is a burdock cereal called Goboshi in Japanese groceries. Eat 1 dry oz. daily. This regulates the immune system and reduces skin cell destruction.

Add brown rice and millet to the diet

Avoid eggs, peanuts, soy, wheat, and dairy.

Keep the house humidified. take fewer showers and baths...they deplete the skin of natural oil. Use a moisturizing all natural soap that is completely free of chemical colorants, scents and preservatives. A true Spanish Castile (made only with olive oil!) is the best. You can find a completely pure Spanish Castile on my web site here.

Avoid bubble baths, these products are FULL of chemicals, which can cause dermatitis and even irritate tissues of the lower urinary tract which may result in urinary tract infections! Instead you can infuse chickweed in a light oil such as sesame and add 1 tbsp. of infused oil to the bath water! Bathe and get out....NO soaking in tubs!!

Avoid moisturizing creams and lotions - they are full of chemicals and inhibit the barrier function in eczema affected skin which encourages infection.

Keep stress levels down - stress irritates the condition by causing the immune system to secrete histamines and leukotrienes, chemicals that damage skin.

Avoid nickel jewelry - it frequently causes skin allergies.

I hope this information gives you many options in treating Eczema. You don't need to try them all and certainly don't need to use them all at the same time. But try a few at a time - especially concentrating on diet - until you find what works for your child.

For those items that I don't carry on my website, you should be able to find most (if not all) at Mountain Rose Herbs. Their link is in my sidebar and if you click through me, your purchase will be helping to support my blog!

If you are at a loss when it comes to words like poultice, compress, decoction, tincture etc.....and if you are interested in learning to treat your family with might want to consider taking my Medicinal Herb Course which will teach you the basics of preparing your own medicine while covering 10 common medicinal herbs. You can read more about it here! This course also comes with 30 days of mentoring by a special email address privy only to my students. Ask as many questions as you'd desire is to educate you and give you confidence in your own ability to take responsibility for some of your own health care and that of your family! God has lovingly provided for our needs through his bountiful gift of herbs and other plants and trees....join me and learn more about His provisions for our health!



Friday, July 13, 2007

Training little ones and cookin' with kids!

I do a lot of cooking with my boys (and all other forms of housework!). When my sons leave my home, I want them to know how to cook for themselves...and clean...and do laundry etc. They will need to care for themselves and also be able to help their wives through illness and pregnancy once they get married. So, knowing this won't "just happen". I have a plan...well...several of them actually :)

For instance, I start teaching my sons to help with laundry when they are toddlers. They start by emptying the dryer into a basket and bringing it to me...then they help me fold. Granted their little hands don't fold very neatly but does that really matter? The laundry lessons increase over the years until the time they turn 13...then they get their own laundry basket and are required to do their own laundry from that point on. Each gets assigned a day..and they are expected to get it done on that day.

Housework isn't much different - start when they are toddlers with a dust cloth and let them help. It won't be perfect but by the time they are teenagers your work load will be lightened and they will be well trained. Teach them to clean their own rooms and bathrooms and let them help with the rest of the house. I know, I won't be done "perfectly" and it initially takes longer to train them but believe me it pays off years down the road. Instead of spending all day cleaning house, work together and get it done in half the time!

I do the same thing with baking. I start when they are toddlers "helping" Mom in the kitchen. They get their own apron (don't know why but this seems to be important!). We start with fun things like cookies and then progress to bigger things. As they get older, around 8, they get their own recipe file. Each time we cook something together, they write the recipe down and it goes into the file. By the time they are grown and ready to leave home, they have a complete file of my recipes and know how to cook them. Jeremy (17 yr. old) makes the best Turtle Cheesecake - from scratch! - that I have EVER tasted!

Makayla showed such interest and enjoyment when we made lasagna together last week, I decided to get brave and make bread with her. I decided to make Garlic Knots - an easy recipe and you get to play with the dough - something my boys always enjoyed. If you can make Play-do logs, you can make Garlic Knots :)

I started Makayla and Elijah out by having them measure the flour while I assembled the rest of the ingredients. They took turns, one scooped the first 4 cups of flour while the other watched the measurements...then they reversed jobs for the second 4 cups of flour.

It looked something like this:


Makayla was flour from fingertip to elbow! At one point, when Makayla was watching the measurements while Elijah scooped, I turned around to see Makayla neatly pressing the flour firmly down in the measuring cup....just like she learned to do with the lasagna! Yikes! Rocks for dinner! So, I explained that we needed to "re-fluff" the flour and that we didn't pat it down.

We got everything in the mixer and let it knead. It is a large mixing bowl and I explained to Makayla that in an hour the small lump of dough in the bottom would rise to the top of the bowl. She looked at me as if I had lost my mind. We left it sitting and an hour later peeked under the cloth - wish I had a picture of that face! She was fascinated with how much it "grew".

Next came the fun part - making the logs and tying them into knots. This is the fun part for kids! Makayla did a fine job! Remember Moms, their knots aren't going to be uniform and neat at first but just give it a few years!


Then we tie them.....


Put them on the pan to raise again and once baked brush them with melted butter, drop them into a large bowl and add freshly chopped garlic and freshly grated Parmesan cheese and toss lightly.....yummy!

Hear they are just before hitting the bowl!


I can assure you that the misshapen ones tasted just as good as the pretty ones! And two little ones were mighty pleased with their creation!

For those is the recipe. It has been in the family for a long time - 20 years perhaps - and isn't one of my healthiest recipes but there has to be some room for family traditions :)
Garlic Knots

2 1/2 tsp. yeast

1/4 cup dry milk

4 cups flour

1 1/3 tsp. salt

1 1/2 tbsp. sugar

1 1/4 tbsp. softened butter

1 1/3 cups water

Let yeast proof in warm water. Place all ingredients into mixer and mix thoroughly. Knead in machine (or by hand) for 5 minutes. Let rise until double - about an hour. Form into thin ropes and tie into knots. Place on ungreased baking sheet and let rise again for 20 minutes.

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until golden. Brush with melted buter. You can then either sprinkle with garlic salt or place in large bowl and toss lightly with freshly chopped garlic and freshly grated parmesan cheese.

These are SO popular that I always double the recipe!

Variations - use 1/2 fresh ground wheat flour (I use Prairie Gold) and 1/2 unbleached organic flour.

You can also make bread sticks by skipping the tying part :)


Thursday, July 12, 2007

Fun in the kitchen!

Makayla and I spent an afternoon in the kitchen together fixing dinner. I decided on something simple and fun...lasagna. What child doesn't like to get their hands messy and be able to "taste test" at the same time? :)

I cooked the noodles and let them cool before we started. I had the different cheeses grated and on plates so that it would be quick, easy and fun...we were prepared for the syndrome of "short attention span" and never having cooked with Makayla before I wasn't sure how much she would like it....if at all.


Makayla thought it was SO funny that you made the same layers over and over again. But she also LOVES cheese and didn't mind tasting each layer....aaaahhhhh...the first sign of a good cook!tn_sprinkle-cheese.JPG

Here we are sprinkling cheese...her favorite part! Makayla also likes to smell everything...the noodles, the sauce, the cheese...and of course at 5 years old she was full of questions...most beginning with "Why do we....". Lots and lots of questions :)

And her finished masterpiece...delicious!


Stay tuned for bread baking....

Note to Makayla: (Hi Makayla! So glad Daddy is showing you these pictures...your lasagna was SO good and I can't wait for you to come back and cook with me again! I love you! Aunt Cheri)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

A true picture of freedom....

Chuck Baldwin has an excellent editorial on freedom today....I'm reposting it here for you:
Can You Imagine This Country?
By Chuck Baldwin
July 10, 2007

This column is archived at

We hear much today about the American dream. By "the American dream," most people mean buying a big house, driving an expensive automobile, and making a lot of money. However, this was not the dream envisioned by the Founding Fathers. Remember that, for the most part, America's founders gave up their material wealth and substance for something they considered of far greater worth. Unfortunately, this hedonistic generation knows little of the kind of sacrificial spirit personified in the lives of America's patriarchs.

In the minds of the founders, liberty--with all of its intrinsic risks--was more desirable than material prosperity, if that prosperity was accompanied with despotism or collectivism. So strong was their desire that they were willing to give up the latter in order to procure the former for themselves and their posterity.

How dare Americans today refer to material gain as "the American dream." It is not! It is the freedom to honestly pursue one's goals that should be celebrated. Material gain is only a fruit of freedom, not its root.

Furthermore, much of America's gain today is predicated upon dishonorable and even dishonest practices. We have become a nation of gamblers and socialists. We allow an unconstitutional tax system to tax our brains out. Rather than cast off a tyrannical tax system, however, we choose to cast away the noble virtue of industry and hard work (because government will wind up with most of it, anyway) in favor of receiving revenue from the labor and effort of others. It is called socialism, and most Americans today (including Christians) appear to fully embrace it.

We expect government to fund our retirement, to reimburse our losses, and to even pay for our health care. What we cannot get from Uncle Sam, we expect from Lady Luck. Americans today want the fruit of freedom but seem unwilling to pay its purchase price. It was not always this way.

Can you imagine a nation without an I.R.S.? Can you imagine a nation with little crime and where children were free to pray in schools? Can you imagine a nation where the father's income was able to adequately provide for his household? Can you imagine a country with low divorce rates and where virtually everyone with a high school diploma could both read and write and was capable of earning his or her way in society?

Can you imagine a nation without an A.C.L.U. or a N.E.A.? Can you imagine a country that did not legally murder its own unborn children and that would not pander to sexual deviants or criminals? Can you imagine a country that did not glorify, much less sponsor, gambling? Can you imagine a nation with strong state governments and a limited federal government?

Can you imagine a country where you could order a firearm through a catalog and where there was no such thing as a B.A.T.F.E.? Well, you might not be able to imagine such a country, but that was the kind of nation our founders dreamed about, fought for, and bequeathed to their posterity.

Unfortunately, since World War II, we Americans have seemed willing to squander the sacrifice and repudiate the principles of our ancestors. With the way things are going, can you imagine what this nation will look like in another 50 years?

(c) Chuck Baldwin

Please visit Chuck's web site at

Praying for the KSmilkmaid

Please hold the KSMilkmaid and her children in prayer ...there is a hearing scheduled today.....

My readers ask.....

In response to my post on Nettles, I have had several readers ask about treating asthma and eczema with nettles and other herbs...

Melissa left the following comment:
Hi Cheri,

Thank you for the information. My four year old has extreme eczema. How would you use the nettles and burdock. I would prefer something internal. It seems when I take care of the outside the toxins just build up on the inside. She is allergic to everything: eggs, peanuts, treenuts, milk, and more.

And I received the following in email from Carol:
I would love to get my little one off of steroid creams...can you give me some recommendations on treating Eczema naturally?

And Samantha writes:
My son (3 years old) suffers from Eczema and I would like to know more about treating it naturally. Is this possible? Can anything relieve the itching other than the steroid creams? Is diet a big factor? Thanks in advance for any help.

And Mitzi left this comment:
Hi my name is Mitzi and I have been reading your blog off and on for a few months now. I have so enjoyed your site as have many other women. I was reading your most recent post about nettle and wondered if you sold it in tea form as well.

We just recently moved to Houston, Tx from Dallas and my daughter has  some issues with asthma (every cold she gets turns into a wheezing tight cough). She is 4 and i would much rather give her tea than a steroid inhaler!! I would love to hear from you but totally understand how busy you are.

I will be praying for your sweet friends and am so encouraged by your faithful sons. We have two daughters and are raising them to be encouraging, supportive, Godly help-mates, seeking God for their significance. It is encouraging to know that their are Godly men seeking to spread God's Glory for their future (if it is the Lord's will!!) thank you

This is a sampling from my email since the post on Nettles. So...since interest is high, I am working on a LONG post on how you can treat eczema more naturally (and will touch on asthma!) will address internal, topical and dietary suggestions.

I just wanted you to know that I haven't been ignoring all of you and hope to have the post up this week.



Garden Tip for weed free gardening....

I learned this tip years ago and recently passed it on to Julie.  You can read about it and see a picture at her blog located here.

Please note my comment on her site - when starting a new bed you don't even have to till.  Just lay down about 8 layers of wet newspaper and build on top of that.

All of this wonderful information is found in one of my favorite books "Lasagna Gardening" available at Amazon.  When you shop at Amazon through my blog, by using the link in my side bar, a small percentage of whatever you buy helps pay the fees to keep my site online. I truly appreciate it...thanks :)

Soapmaking for little ones!

I had a desire to introduce Makayla to the joys of creating soap. Since she is only five years old, I did not want to make my traditional lye soap. So we enjoyed an afternoon of "melt and pour" soap-making. This is not true soap-making, for you purists out there, but it gave her a wonderful sense of creating something of her very own and hopefully created fond memories. As she gets old enough, and if she shows interest, I will share with her the secrets of traditional soap-making.


Makayla is trying to choose which "Princess color" to pick for her soaps. Instead of creating color with herbs, teas etc., as I do for my soaps, I had purchased some coloring for soap-making. I know, I know.....not natural. My goal was not to create a pure and natural goal was to make this a fun, exciting and enjoyable experience. As she gets older, I will explain about chemicals, health and the reason it is important to make soap without artificial scents and colors. But for now...I wanted her to fall in love with soap-making. You might notice a small chef sporting his "cooking with Mom" outfit courtesy of Grandma :) Elijah does work a lot in the kitchen with me and loves to "create".


Melt and pour soap is so easy....visit any craft store and buy a block of "soap". Place it in the top of a double boiler and heat until melted. Really easy and clean up is a's soap after all! Here we are pouring Makayla's soap into the molds. We made sea creatures, flowers, leaves, seashells and more. Since Makayla lives in Florida the ocean theme was lots of fun. She was so excited to know that she was taking something she made, all by herself, to Mommy who wasn't able to come visit this time.

I had one mold of turtles and frogs and allowed Elijah to create a few "green" things of his own. He doesn't think he wants to use it, thanks to years of brainwashing education on the need to avoid chemicals, but he thinks he would like to display it in the bathroom. If you are visiting...avoid the apple green stuff :)


And here is the final product of all the hard work done by two little pairs of hands. Truthfully, I am not sure who had more or them :)

I encourage you Moms to relax the standards a bit and instill a love of soap-making (and many of the other lost crafts) in your children. This took only a few hours out of my day and hopefully gave Makayla the joy of creating something with her own hands. As she takes her soap home to share with Mom and other family members, she will experience the joy of giving. Win, win situation!

Doing this sort of activity with kids helps instill self-confidence and brings a joy that no toy from "Wally world" can provide...all it takes is a little of your time :) Trust'll have a blast!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Aunt to my ears!

I've been playing hooky from this blog but it was for a really good reason. And her name is Makayla and she is 5 years old. Makayla is my niece and I haven't seen her for almost 3 years. Makayla was born in China and abandoned under a bridge in a busy metropolitan city. My brother and sister-in-law adopted her when she was about 18 months old, at least that was their best guess. I am sure all of you are familiar with the "One Child Policy" that China follows with a vengeance...any questions?...... email me :)

We are so thankful for Makayla and I was so happy to spend much of last week with her and my brother who flew up for a visit. My brother Mark is an amazing Christian man who has an awesome see... he died in his early twenties...but God saw fit to raise him up can read more about his story here. He also happens to be an awesome Dad. I will be busy this week trying to get you caught up with what I did while playing hooky, new soaps talked about and up on the website, new salves, a reader's questions answered about nettles and more!


Here are a few quick pictures of my family at the airport picking up Mark and Makayla and I will follow with lots of pictures of the things I was doing instead of blogging....afterall....last time I saw her she was in diapers so I am hoping you will forgive my silence this last week. Makayla so much fun...and my boys loved having the experience of a "little sister". It is amazing what little girl things were laying around the house, how everyone had to agree to play princess (my boys were so good to go along with this!) and how differently little girls think compared to little boys. I don't have much experience in this area since I am Mom to 4 sons....but I must say I began to envy those of you with little girls.


So, check out my brother's site and read his awesome story.....and I'll be back later this evening with more pictures.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

KSMilkmaid update....

I have received this update and thought I would pass it on....
Dear Friends of Fuller Farms,

Thank you for your prayers and support of the Fuller family. Chris is very limited in what she can say about the personal crisis they are enduring. Most everything said is being twisted. The court hearing has been rescheduled for August 13 at 3:00 p.m. This is the fourth time it has been rescheduled.

The family appreciates those who have helped during the work days and all the donations of clothes, food, and monetary donations. For whatever reason, the cash donations made are under scrutiny by the defense and divorce lawyers. To further protect this family from scrutiny, we ask that if you feel led to make cash donations, please do not make them directly to the Fuller family. Instead, you may make your donations to:

Fuller Family
c/o Coram Deo Fellowship
1615 smoky Valley Rd
Lindsborg, Kansas 67456

If you have a specific way that you would like these donations to be used, please specify. Coram Deo Fellowship will not disburse the cash to the family but will use the funds to meet tangible needs like groceries, clothing, electricity, rent, household repairs, bills, etc.

As most of you know, the family is striving to continue running the dairy farm during this crisis. They are not doing a perfect job by any means. There are many factors beyond their control that impact their abilities. The emotional intensity of what they are facing is challenging enough. Farming is hard work. We ask that you pray for this family as they strive to continue working under the most challenging circumstances. They are working to press on. Please pray for their protection and peace.

Let us not forget this family and their needs.

Thank you.

Vicki Scarpellini

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Continue to pray for the KSMilkmaid.....

The hearing that was scheduled for this Friday has been postponed until August 13th at 3:00 pm.

I can imagine how frustrating this is so please be praying for encouragement, guidance and peace for this family. I will share more as I am able.


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