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Happy New Year! New Year’s Resolutions for Kids and Families

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Happy New Year from our family to yours!

Use this post to share the idea of New Year’s Resolutions with your whole family. It is useful for families with children of all ages. You will also find a link to a printable worksheet to use for family discussion and for each person to fill out. At the end of the year you can look back and see what you’ve accomplished! I hope this blesses your family for the whole year!

all scripture quoted is from the International Children’s Bible

The New Year

The new year is often a time when people think about new things, especially making themselves a new person.

We know that only God can truly make us a new person any time of year when we repent of our old lives and put on Jesus as our savior. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says “If anyone belongs to Christ, then he is made new. The old things have gone; everything is made new!”

The start of a new year often prompts people to make New Year’s resolutions. A resolution is a kind of promise or informal vow we make to ourselves to help us improve or be a better person in some way.

Kids can make New Year’s Resolutions too! It can be fun to do and at the end of the year you can look back and see all that you have accomplished.

Making Resolutions That Work

Some resolutions are better than others. The best ones are specific. Too many people say something vague like wanting to be nicer, or to exercise more, or to be a better Christian. Those resolutions are too general. We need to word our resolution to say exactly what we are going to do.

Instead of saying we will be nicer we can say we will remember to say “please” and “thank you” and to follow the Golden Rule (Luke 6:31 Do for other people what you want them to do for you.)

Instead of saying we won’t be messy we can say we will make the bed every morning and put our dirty clothes in the hamper every night.

If you want to improve a skill you already have, like playing the piano or running track, then set specific goals for practice time, difficult pieces you want to learn, or time goals you will work toward.

The more specific you make your resolution the more likely you are to stick with it.

Resolution Ideas for All Ages

Here are some ideas if you are having trouble coming up with your own resolutions. Encourage everyone to come up with at least one. Don’t make it too hard by making too many at one time.

Print off this page year-in-review-2016 and let each child fill one out. Keep the pages and look at them at the end of the year to see how you have grown and what you have accomplished. These pages can make fun keepsakes to look at from year to year.

Make a resolution to be healthier. Decide to try new foods by resolving to have one new fruit and one new vegetable every month. Decide to exercise, walk the dog, ride bikes or play outside instead of watching TV or playing video games. Decide to stop drinking sodas and instead drink more milk or water.  Decide to go to bed by 10pm so you can get plenty of healthy sleep.

I think the #1 way to be healthier is to cook your own food instead of eating out or eating packaged processed foods. If you don’t know how to cook, now is the time to learn! Scroll down and print this simple recipe for homemade pancakes easy enough for even a kindergartner to do with some help from mom or dad.

Make a resolution to be smarter. Decide to read a book instead of watching TV or playing video games. Learn to do something new like build a birdhouse, learn a foreign language, learn to crochet or sew, take painting classes, or learn a musical instrument.

Make a resolution to share God’s love. Decide to memorize a new Bible verse every week, or read our Bibles every day. (These are short and sweet for little kids and include a coloring page for each verse.) This can be a family project where everyone encourages each other. Post verses on the refrigerator and take turns reciting them. Decide to pick someone each week to reach out to with a handwritten card or letter, or homemade cookies.

Make resolutions as a family. Decide to do things together that will help you love each other and have fun together. Spend time this month thinking back on the year that has passed and remembering a way you have been blessed, something you are thankful for. Then pray together as a family thanking God for all He has done!

Decide to go on a hike or visit a park together once a month. Decide to have a Family Game Night once a month. Our family enjoys getting together with two other families each month for a potluck dinner and games. We look forward to this fun time of fellowship every month!

Decide to have a family read-aloud time where a parent or older teen reads aloud from a family-friendly book. Educator and speaker Andrew Pudewa shares his thoughts on why this is important for kids of all ages here.

Cooking together is a great family activity! Empowering your kids with cooking skills blesses them for life. Here is an easy recipe for homemade pancakes. Make these together on a lazy winter weekend and then curl up for family read aloud time.

Easy pancakes:

1 ¼ cups unbleached all purpose flour (or use a gluten-free flour blend such as Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 baking mix)

3 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder

1 Tablespoon honey

½ teaspoon sea salt

2 eggs

1 cup milk (you can make this dairy-free by using coconut milk or other dairy alternative milk)

2 Tablespoons melted butter or coconut oil

butter or coconut oil for greasing the griddle

1. Preheat a griddle or large skillet over medium heat.

2. In a large bowl, stir together the dry ingredients, flour, baking powder and salt.

3. In a separate bowl beat the eggs with a fork until lemon colored, then add in the milk, honey and melted butter or oil.

4. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until moistened. You want the batter to be a little runny, not thick, so add a little more milk if needed.

5. Scoop batter onto a preheated griddle using a large spoon to make individual pancakes. Bake until bubbles appear on the top then flip and bake on the other side until golden. Serve with butter and honey or real maple syrup.

Easy Pancakes
 
Author:
Recipe type: breakfast
 
Easy enough for beginning cooks of all ages, make these pancakes together as a family instead of using packaged processed box mixes or frozen waffles.
Ingredients
  • 1¼ cups unbleached all purpose flour (or a gluten-free flour such as Bob's Red Mill One-to-one)
  • 3 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk (or non-dairy coconut milk)
  • 2 Tablespoons melted butter or coconut oil
  • more butter or coconut oil for greasing the griddle
Instructions
  1. Preheat a griddle or large skillet over medium heat.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. In another bowl beat the eggs with a fork until they are lemon colored, then add the honey, milk and melted butter and stir well.
  4. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until moistened adding more milk if needed to make a slightly runny batter.
  5. Scoop the batter onto the preheated griddle using a large spoon to make individual pancakes. Bake until bubbles appear on the top and then flip and bake the other side until golden.
  6. Serve with butter and honey or real maple syrup.

 

Share these ideas with your friends and tell us your favorite New Year’s resolutions by leaving a comment here or on our Facebook page!

 

Why I Like the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle 2016

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It’s that time of year again – the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle 2016 is now available!!

I love these Ultimate Bundle deals. I’ve purchased a couple of them, such a steal for the price, and I have had fun learning so much about all kinds of topics from essential oils and herbal remedies to DIY projects for my home!

There are products in this year’s bundle for everyone from newlyweds to families to folks just wanting to learn how to get and stay healthy.

Some of the items that really caught my eye:

Essential Oils Revolution 1 from Dr Eric Z: The EOR1 was an amazing resource of interviews from top experts in the Essential Oil field. I listened to almost every one of them last year and learned so much! If you buy this separately it will cost you $97, but it is included in the low bundle price.

Nutrition Reset by Dietitian Cassie: Dietician Cassie is  one of the nutrition experts associated with one of my favorite podcasts, Livin’ La Vida Low Carb Show. She is a registered dietitian who knows all about real food, healthy fats, and how to plan meals to get and stay healthy.

Secrets to a Healthy Metabolism by Maria Emmerich at Keto AdaptedMaria Emmerich has a beautiful cookbook she wrote with Jimmy Moore from Livin La Vida Low Carb. She has amazing low carb/Paleo recipes.

Jumpstart Your Urban Farm by Greg Peterson at Urban Farm: Urban farming (I like to call it MetroFarming) is a topic near and dear to my heart. I’ve been incorporating more edible landscaping and small garden plots and want to learn more!

Planning & Designing the Family Food Garden by Isis Loran at Family Food Garden: Isis gives you printables and design ideas to get gardening at your house.

Mastering the Art of Baking with Coconut Flour by Starlene Stewart at GAPS Diet Journey: Starlene has had a super-informational podcast and website, and she has hands-on experience with healing herself and her family using GAPS and other dietary strategies.

Autism Diet Success Workshop by Julie Matthews at Nourishing Hope: I love to hear about successful strategies to reverse autism. The mainstream says it can’t be done, but we know better! Julie Matthews’ guide is another great resource for families with special needs.

3 Ways to Upgrade Your Kombucha Tea by Dave Lindenbaum at Get Kombucha: I first heard about Dave’s website from his crazy videos about kombucha back about five years ago. He has a big site with lots of information and equipment.

 The sale begins 8am Eastern on Wednesday, September 21st and runs six days to Monday, September 26th at 11:59pm Eastern.

The price for the entire bundle of 58 ebooks & printables, 25 ecourses, videos & audios, and11 bonuses is just $29.97 for PDF format or $39.97 for eReader format.

If you purchase by Thursday, September 22nd at 11.59pm you can get a free eReader upgrade.

The bonuses include some amazing products:

Bonuses – free 1oz bag of Get Kombucha’s custom tea blend, free Mrs Meyer’s laundry supplies, free eye shadow trio from Orglamix, free toothpowder, free maca powder, free muscle balm stick and lip balm, gift certificates from Bloom Naturals and Perfect Supplements, discounts from Trilight Health, and free digital packages from Meal Garden and Experience Life

The Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle 2016 is only available for a short window of time. Order here. buttonplusicons

 

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Are There Dangerous Toxins in Your Medicine Cabinet?

medications-cure-tablets-pharmacy-56612-largeThis post is for informational purposes only. Some links may be monetized. Thank you for supporting Well Fed Family

Acetominophen: aka Tylenol, Little Fevers Pain Reliever, or non-aspirin pain reliever/fever reducer, or other brand names or generic.

It’s a common item in medicine cabinets and purses of lots and lots of moms. We take it ourselves for headaches and cramps. We give it to our kids for fevers. The pediatricians hand out free samples every time we visit their offices.

It is often the drug of choice all around the country.

But are we too trusting when we use it?

It turns out that maybe we do need to step back and ask a few questions before deciding to keep it in our medicine chests and here’s why:

Using acetaminophen for fever in the first year of life is associated with an increase in the incidence of asthma and other allergic symptoms later in childhood.

This is because acetaminophen severely depletes antioxidants such as glutathione in the liver and other body tissues. Glutathione is used for growth, tissue repair and immune system building.

Asthma is one of many diseases influenced greatly by antioxidants. Acetaminophen is definitely not something to use if you already have asthma.

A new study just released showed acetaminophen is definitely linked with behavior issues. Women who took acetominophin during pregnancy were 29-46% more likely to have children with a wide range of behavior problems by age 7 than moms who did not take it.

Dr. Mercola calls acetaminophen one of the most dangerous medicines on the market. Even when taken at the recommended dosage for just a few weeks it can be toxic to your liver. In fact, acetaminophen is responsible for nearly half of all cases of acute liver failure each year.

What can we do to protect ourselves and our families?

It’s super important to become knowledgeable and informed about the medications we use. The Medicine Chest Renovation e-book from Vintage Remedies is a quick-start guide to help you decide what to keep and what to toss out.

Taking courses or reading books on safe alternatives to OTC drugs is a great family project. Older children and teens can learn right alongside mom about which herbs to use for which conditions, and how to make tinctures and salves and syrups at home to stock your own medicine cabinet.

Try this recipe for elderberry syrup to keep on hand for cold and flu season.

Elderberry syrup is an effective cold and flu fighter. Elderberries and elder flowers are safe for all ages with no known contraindications. You can make it yourself with this recipe reprinted from The Handbook of Vintage Remedies. At that book link there is also an alternative recipe that adds astragalus, echinacea and wild cherry to the elderberries.

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Elderberry Syrup

100 g dried elderberries
1 quart cold distilled water
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
1 cup local honey

Combine berries and water in a large (cold) saucepot. If time permits, allow the berries to soak until they are soft, about 30 – 60 minutes. Place over medium heat and gradually bring to a boil. Once a rolling boil has been reached, stir frequently and continue to boil until the liquid has been reduced by half – roughly 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

Strain the concentrated extract and measure the liquid. It should be roughly 2 cups. Combine with the cup and a half of honey, brown rice syrup, glycerin or simple sugar solution. (Or a blend of two or more sweeteners as I did in the ingredient list above.) Bring back to a boil and continue to boil for 10 minutes until the mixture is thoroughly combined and the syrup reaches your preferred consistency. Allow to cool slightly and pour into prepared bottles. Store in the refrigerator.

What is your favorite natural remedy? Share it with us here in the comments!

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3 Things I’ve Learned About Essential Oils

3 Things I've learned about essential oils titlesThis article is for informational purposes only. Some links may be monetized. Thanks for supporting Well Fed Family!

For the last several years I’ve been learning and learning about alternative medicine choices. I’ve been feeling empowered as a mom and wife to be able to take care of a lot of our day-to-day needs without having to buy OTC cold meds, visiting the urgent care clinic, or sitting for hours in the pediatrician waiting room.

One thing that has played a part in boosting my knowledge and confidence as Dr. Mom is the material I have learned from Jessie Hawkins and Vintage Remedies.

Last year I took the Aromatic Medicine class. It was one of the bonuses from Ultimate Bundles, and it was super helpful in teaching me more about essential oils.

I’ve also learned a lot from Valerie Worwood’s book The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy. I have turned down pages, highlighted sections and stuck post-it tabs all over this book!

3 Things I’ve Learned

1.  Super important to know is that essential oils are lipophilic – which means they mix with fat/oil NOT water! Why is this important? If you add oils to the bathtub or to a glass of water you are more likely to get “burned” because the oils won’t be diluted and dispersed without a lot of shaking or stirring.

Mix the oils with a little bit of milk or honey first before adding them to your bath or your water bottle or even a capsule you intend to consume. Use caution and common sense – essential oils may smell pretty, but they are powerful!

table of strength comparison for various methods of personal care resized smallerAs you can see from this chart, essential oils rank right up there with over-the-counter medications in potency. So always use them thoughtfully and carefully!

2.  Essential oils are more than just air fresheners. Scientists are doing studies with essential oils providing therapy for things like pain and depression. A study done with nursing home patients in South Korea used an essential oil blend of lavender, marjoram, eucalyptus, rosemary and peppermint (2:1:2:1:1) diluted to 1.5% in a carrier oil blend. (If you aren’t sure what all that means check out that Aromatic Medicine course I mentioned!) They found the essential oils significantly decreased both the pain and depression scores for the experiment group.

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3. Essential oils can affect us physically without even rubbing them on our skin or taking them internally. Our sense of smell (the olfactory system) is part of a larger system in our brain that also includes the centers of emotion (the amygdala) and the centers for associative learning (the hippocampus).

Properly chosen essential oils are inhaled during aromatherapy and then go directly to these systems that govern behavior, mood, and memory!

cool mist diffuser 400 wide with titlesWhen we take the time to learn the different properties of all the different essential oils we can select just the right ones to help our kids focus, or help relieve a stressful family member, or any number of other situations!

Another great resource for learning about essential oils is the Essential Oils Revolution Summit coming up August 22nd-29th. You can register for free here.

EOR16_banner_order_600x150What is your favorite essential oils tip? Share it with us in the comments!

 

 

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Cinco de Mayo: Real Food Recipe Round-up

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Cinco de Mayo falls on a Thursday this year. Perfect for a fun family dinner to celebrate all the fabulous tastes of Mexico! No need to go out; you can make it at home with real food ingredients and the recipes linked below!

Not a biggie holiday in Mexico, (and also NOT Mexican Independence Day) this day marks the Mexican army’s victory over a much bigger and more well-armed French army intent on claiming more territory for France.

In America, Cinco de Mayo has become a day to celebrate Mexican culture and food. If you can’t travel to LA, Chicago or Houston where the largest Cinco de Mayo celebrations occur, you can have fun making delicious Mexican-inspired food at home with your family!

Here’s a Round UP of some of our own Well Fed Family Mexican-inspired favorites followed by several more from some other fantastic blogs!

If you start it by Tuesday morning you can have delicious lacto-fermented salsa ready for dinner Thursday evening!

Make your own nourishing whole grain flour tortillas with our BREADS DVD

DIY Taco Seasoning is frugal and healthy. No more MSG!

Easy Guacamole your kids can make!

Taco Stew is a family favorite at our house.

Fish Tacos with Chipotle Sauce brings a little California to your table.

Irish Nachos – just for fun, or for anyone who can’t eat corn chips!

Chipotle Spiced Meatloaf (with optional organ meats) for some major nutrient density.

Slow Cooker Mexican Corn and Potato Chowder from Don’t Waste the Crumbs is super frugal!

Nourishing Black Beans from Radiant Life

Mexican Rice from Modern Alternative Mama

Salsa Verde from Deep Roots at Home

No-rolling Required Sourdough Tortillas from Traditional Cooking School

Homemade Corn Tortillas from The Kitch’n (only two ingredients!)

Mexican Spinach Casserole from Cave Man Keto (because even people on ketogenic diets need to celebrate!)

Plantain Tortillas from Zenbelly Catering (for you grain-free/Paleo people!)

Slow-Cooker Carnitas from Paleo Foodie People

Paleo Coconut-Lime Tres Leches Cake from Bare Root Girl

And there you have it! Over a dozen real food recipes for your family’s feast!

What is your favorite Mexican food? Leave your answer in the comments!

Christmas Ornament and Bible Lesson for the Littles plus Free Download to Share

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This blog is for informational purposes only. Some links may be monetized. Thank you for supporting Well Fed Family with your purchases.

For the last several years I have been privileged to be a part of a wonderful Sunday School program at Concord Street Church of Christ where our family worships. We have five different themed rooms and the K through 5th grade classes rotate through a different room each week hearing the lesson presented in five different ways. I love this approach as it speaks to the different learning styles we all have, and allows the kids to really understand and absorb the lessons before moving on to something new. One of my jobs has been to come up with recipes that complement the lessons – the children actually cook in the classroom as part of Sunday School! We have had so much fun and the kids have become more comfortable with the idea that they CAN cook as well as enjoy trying new things. In addition to food recipes we have also learned about essential oils, the importance of clean water, and how we can reach out to show Jesus’ love to our community.

Special Christmas Lesson and Ornament Craft

Here is a lesson you can read with your children or grandchildren that you don’t normally hear at Christmas, but since it’s about how Jesus loved everyone, even the unlovable people, it’s a great story to share! At the end gather three easy ingredients and have fun making ornaments together to hang on the tree and help remember how glad we are that Jesus came to Earth! At the end is a link for a .pdf you can download and print.

Jesus and Zacchaeus
Do you know what taxes are? It is money we have to pay to our government to help keep things running. Our taxes can do many things: pay for new roads, schools, public transportation, police, firemen, soldiers, and many, many other things.
Do you know what kinds of things we have to pay taxes on? We pay sales tax when we buy things at the store. We pay taxes on the money we earn at our jobs, or when someone gives us a large gift of money. If we buy or sell things online we pay taxes. There are even taxes when you win prizes for being on a tv game show. If you find treasure on a sunken pirate ship or buried treasure chest you still have to pay taxes on what it’s worth! Even people who win the Olympics or the Nobel Prize have to pay taxes on any money they win. Even if you rob a bank (which of course you wouldn’t want to do!) you are still supposed to pay taxes on the money you stole! So you can probably see why grown ups don’t like to pay taxes. It takes away some of the money that you feel like you have earned and have a right to keep.
This story is about a man whose job was a tax collector. Nowadays even though we don’t like to pay taxes we still don’t usually hate the person whose job it is to collect them, but back in Jesus’ day the tax collectors were often dishonest. They would collect more money than they were supposed to, and then keep the extra money for themselves.
Open your Bible to the New Testament and find the book of Luke, and look for chapter 19 verse 1.

1“Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town. 2 There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich.”
You can tell by reading these first two verses that Zacchaeus was probably just like most of the other tax collectors in that he was not well liked by the people of Jericho because he had become very rich. People probably assumed he was keeping some of the tax money for himself. Now Jesus was traveling around to different places teaching, telling parables and performing miracles. The news about Jesus had spread all over the country, and it was common when Jesus arrived in a town for people to gather and see him. Zacchaeus had also heard about Jesus and wanted to see him, too. Read verses 3 & 4.
3 “He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way.”
Here we read that Zacchaeus was not very tall. Do you know the song about him? In the song we call him a “wee little man”. Even though he was short he was still an important person in Jericho. Can you imagine a grown-up you know climbing a tree? Can you picture your school principal or the mayor climbing a tree? It would seem strange to us, and it was probably strange back then to see the tax collector climbing a tree! But Zacchaeus didn’t seem to care. He was just interested in seeing Jesus. Let’s keep reading and see what happened next. Read verses 5&6.
5 “When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. ‘Zacchaeus!’ he said, ‘Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.’ 6 Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy.”
Wow – that is pretty amazing! Jesus knew Zacchaeus’ name without asking him first! Jesus also didn’t care that other people didn’t like Zacchaeus; he wanted to visit in his house. The Bible says Jesus said “I must be a guest…” which means that God had told him to do this, and so Jesus obeyed. All of this happened right in front of all the other people who were there to see Jesus. Zacchaeus was very happy about this! What do you think the other people thought? Read verse 7.
7 “But the people were displeased. ‘He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner’, they grumbled.”
I think it’s kind of funny that they called Zacchaeus a “notorious sinner” and grumbled that Jesus was spending time at his house. They didn’t understand that they were sinners, too. In fact we all make mistakes. In the book of Romans chapter 3 verse 23 it says that we are all sinners and we all fall short of God’s glorious standards. That’s one reason Jesus came to Earth. He came to help all of us learn how to be better people. I think Zacchaeus realized this too, because he quickly said something that surprised a lot of people. Read verse 8.
8 “Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, ‘I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!’”
It looks like Zacchaeus had a change of heart. He realized that being rich at other people’s expense wasn’t the right thing to do. He also realized his money could be used to help other people. And he also wanted to show how sorry he was by paying back even more than he had taken. He said he would repay four times as much. It he took a dollar wrongly, he would repay $4! Do you think Jesus was happy about this? Let’s read the last two verses of this story. Read verses 9&10.
9 “Jesus responded, ‘Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.’ “
Jesus forgave Zacchaeus his sins, and even if the other people in town didn’t like Zacchaeus, God loved him, forgave him, and knew that his heart was good. The very last verse is a good verse to memorize. This verse explains the whole reason why God sent Jesus to Earth. Jesus came to find those people who didn’t know God, who were lost in sin, and to show them who God is and to tell them the Good News of salvation!

Cinnamon Applesauce Ornaments
Use gingerbread man and Christmas tree cookie cutters to cut out Zacchaeus and tree ornaments using this recipe. Since you aren’t eating this dough, you can use the cheapest applesauce you can find. Find bulk-size ground cinnamon at warehouse stores or dollar stores. Use leftover dough to make more ornaments so that you can share with friends and family.

Ingredients
2 cups applesauce
2 cups ground cinnamon
1 Tablespoon craft glue such as Elmers

Preparation
Mix all of the ingredients together. Add more cinnamon if the dough seems too wet, or more applesauce if it is too dry. You may need to place the dough on a counter top and knead it several times to incorporate all of the ingredients and make a smooth dough.
Roll out the dough to about ¼” thick. Cut with cookie cutters, and place ornaments on a baking sheet. Use a toothpick or wooden skewer to open a hole in the top for a ribbon.
Let the ornaments dry on baking sheets overnight, or until completely dry. Alternately you can bake them in a 200 degree oven for 2 ½ hours.
Thread a ribbon through the hole and hang on the tree.
Well Fed Family, December 17, 2015
www.wellfedfamily.net

Click here for a free downloadable version of this lesson! Jesus and Zacchaeus

This Christmas spend some time with the little ones in your life and share with them this story about Jesus’ love, and let them create fragrant ornaments to hang on the tree and remind them of all they have learned.

 

Essential Oils in the Bible: Spikenard

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This post is for informational purposes only. Some links may be monetized. Thank you for supporting Well Fed Family with your purchases. 

How do you take medications? Pill, injection, inhaling, cream or ointment, or a patch are all common delivery systems for medications. They all, except for injection,  involved putting something into our mouth and digesting it, applying it to our skin, or breathing it into our lungs. Most people are careful with medications, but we should be just as careful with everything we put into or rub onto ourselves and our children. Our everyday personal care products can be sources of toxicity unless you make them yourself or choose wisely using something like Skin Deep.

This is why I love essential oils – they allow me to make personal care products that are actually healing, nourishing and uplifting. Which reminds me of something I learned during the Essential Oil Revolution summit, and then researched more in depth, about the essential oil spikenard which has been in use not only as a perfume but as medicine since ancient times.

Biblical application

In the Bible the book of John chapter 12 describes the beautiful and poignant event where Mary anoints the feet of Jesus with an entire pound of an extremely costly ointment of spikenard. John tells us she wiped his feet with her hair and the entire room was filled with the scent of the perfume.

Spikenard, in addition to being an expensive gift to give the Lord Jesus, had other amazing qualities giving even more worth to Mary’s gift. Spikenard has powerful relaxing properties and is commonly used to help those who are experiencing pain or loss. It helps to combat stress, reduce convulsions, give clarity to the mind and facilitate meditation. It is also anti-inflammatory and supports the cardiovascular system.

Dr. Josh Axe describes some key points of essential oil application on the body as being behind the ears, on the neck & abdomen, but also on the soles and tops of feet, as well as the upper back, the temples, and along spine. Mary’s anointing of Jesus’ feet was the perfect way to provide full the full benefit of her precious gift. It was also part of God’s perfect timing as this healing application came just prior to the very stressful period leading up to and including Christ’s crucifixion. Mary knew she loved her Lord and wanted to express her love with this costly gift, but she also blessed Him with the supporting properties of this ancient oil.

Use this oil at home

We can use essential oils at home to mediate stress and the stress reaction in our own bodies. Spikenard is part of the valerian family which is useful for relieving nervous tension, indigestion, and insomnia. Here are some ways to use spikenard at home:

  • add it to a fever-reducing cold compress
  • include it in homemade face creams to rejuvenate older skin
  • blend it into massage blends for sleep, relaxation and during trauma
  • massage the abdomen with it during menstruation
  • combine with lavender in a diffuser or inhaler for headaches and migraines

Be sure to use caution with spikenard as no more than 1% of any blend, also do not use in conjunction with homeopathic remedies as it may neutralize the remedy.

What are your favorite ways to use essential oils?

 

 

How the Body Works: Heartburn, GERD and Natural Options

This blog is for informational purposes only. Some links may be monetized. Thank you for supporting Well Fed Family with your purchases. 

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Fourteen years ago when I was pregnant with my daughter I had the worst heartburn of my entire life. Family Size bottles of antacid tablets lined my night table because the pain kept waking me up. Hindsight, as they say, is 20/20,  and I so wish I knew then what I know now!!

Strange as it sounds the most common cause of heartburn is not too much stomach acid, but too little! So many of the common Over The Counter remedies for heartburn are focused on reducing stomach acid, but the digestive tract NEEDS enough acid in order for all the parts to work well and efficiently digest your food. So it’s time for another installment of How the Body Works – I hope this explanation is clear and simple enough for even the kids to understand.

The Stomach Furnace

When you chew and swallow your food it travels down your esophagus and into your stomach. There is a little door, (technical name is the Lower Esophageal Sphincter  or LES), that is supposed to close tightly onto the top side of your stomach to keep everything contained. Think of your stomach like a big furnace and the LES like the heavy cast iron door keeping the raging fire inside the furnace and not outside. An efficient furnace operator keeps the door shut tight except when fuel is going in.  But if the furnace operator stops taking his job seriously and forgets to latch the door then it could swing open and sparks could fly out. If the operator falls asleep on the job and just leaves the door open he could find himself on fire! That’s what happens when you feel heartburn.

Having enough stomach acid, and not just weak acid but something strong enough, will act as the signal to the LES that it’s time to get the furnace door shut tight! When there isn’t enough acid or it isn’t acidic enough the LES is like the lazy furnace door operator and that is when heartburn happens. (Click here for a more detailed biological explanation.) Critical thinkers like you can figure out that when you take an antacid because you have heartburn you are just making the problem worse. The LES depends on the signal from the strong stomach acid to keep the door shut tight.

There is also another door at the other end of the stomach (this one is called the Pyloric Sphincter or PS) that also depends on strong stomach acid to do its job. It won’t open the door and let the food out unless the acid is strong enough. When we neutralize the stomach acid we could be trapping our food in our stomach instead of allowing it to continue through the rest of the digestive tract.

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By the way, stomach acid is concentrated hydrochloric acid. (The pH should be about 2.) If you put a few drops on your unprotected skin you’ll get burned. It has to be strong because it has to be able to break down anything you eat plus any bad stuff that might also be on your food like germs. It wouldn’t make any sense to expect a mild, weak acid to digest a nice juicy grassfed steak, or an entire bowl of kale salad….or a whole bag of extreme nacho chips, half a deep dish pizza or anything else you happen to eat! But our body is designed to handle the strong stuff. When the acid is too weak (stress, age, and digestive disorders can make it weak), or when we make it weaker with medications, that’s when we get into trouble.

A strong acid is also needed to signal the rest of the digestion team that it’s time to do their part. The PS opens and the acid jump-starts the duodenum to begin neutralizing the acid and releasing the rest of the enzymes from your liver, pancreas and gall bladder to finish breaking down your food so it can nourish your body.

Critical Thinking Time

Now it’s time to put on your Critical Thinking Caps. Here’s an excerpt from a medical book first published in 1956: “Indigestion and what is loosely called ‘heart burn’ (an irritation of the lower esophagus) are not caused by an ‘acid stomach.’ Acid is a natural and necessary part of the stomach’s digestive function, therefore, most ‘aids to digestion’ and ‘stomach sweeteners’ will do nothing to help and may do harm.” (underlining is mine)  So if it has been common medical knowledge for more than 50 years that antacids (stomach sweeteners) won’t help and could actually harm then why are they still the first choice for a solution?

Nexium, a proton pump inhibitor (PPI), is the #3 top selling prescription drug in the US with over 18 million prescriptions written in 2014 with $6.3 Billion in sales. How do PPIs work? According to the Nexium website “they work by turning off some of the ‘acid pumps’ in the stomach’s acid-producing cells, reducing the amount of acid in the stomach.”  (Emphasis added.)

Not only does the top Rx heartburn drug do exactly the opposite of what is biologically needed for successful operation of the LES and PS doors to our stomach furnace, but the people who use these drugs are using them for much, much longer, years longer, than they were developed to be used. (The studies done on these drugs did not go beyond 6-12 months) AND if that’s not enough there are serious risks associated with PPIs – serious enough that the FDA has published warnings – such as higher risk of bone fractureslow serum magnesium that can lead to heart rhythm problems, seizures and muscle spasms;  and an increased risk of c. diff overgrowth ( clostridium difficile is a pathogenic bacteria that can lead to severe diarrhea and other problems).

If you need one more reason not to take antacids then remember that the point of digestion is to break down the food you eat into easily absorbed nutrients. Without enough stomach acid the whole process of digestion doesn’t get off to the right start. It is the acid in the stomach that sends the message to the gate at the bottom of the stomach to open up and let everything continue, it is the acid in the stomach that digests protein (into amino acids which are the building blocks of our body). Without enough strong stomach acid eventually you end up with nutritional deficiencies – so even if you are eating totally organic, perfectly clean, real food all the time, but don’t have enough acid you can’t break down and digest it and so you will still be sick.

So what can you do instead of antacids?

First of all learn more about the signs of too little stomach acid with this simple article here from SCD Lifestyle.

1. Apple Cider Vinegar

The number one home remedy is apple cider vinegar.  Using a raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar will give you the added bonus of extra enzymes which also help with digestion. For acute heartburn try 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar with 2 ounces (1/4 cup) of plain water. Drink this every five minutes until your symptoms begin to subside. As a daily maintenance you can drink a teaspoon or two in some water before each meal or once or twice a day as needed.

2. Drink lemon water

Lemon water a great tonic for all kinds of things, but the acidity of lemon juice and the natural enzymes from the raw lemon can help digestion.  Squeeze the juice from an entire lemon into your glass, or use a half of a lemon if the whole one is too much. Drink this before meals or as needed.

3. Betaine HCL

Supplementing with Betaine HCL, a supplemental form of the same acid that is naturally produced in your stomach, can strengthen your digestion. Before you try this remedy please check with your doctor because anyone taking Rx medications will need to make sure this supplement is safe for them. You can also read more about taking supplemental HCL here.

4. Try bitters

The bitter flavors naturally stimulate production of your own digestive enzymes. There are many types of bitters available, but one of my favorites is the one by Urban Moonshine. It tastes less medicinal than the more typical Swedish bitters.

5. Ginger Tea

Drink ginger tea between meals. I first learned about ginger tea from reading the GAPS diet book. If you suspect your heartburn is due to poor digestion then a healing diet like GAPS might be for you. To make ginger tea, grate some fresh ginger root (about a teaspoonful) into your teapot and pour 1/2 to 1cup boiling water over it, cover and leave for 3-5 minutes.  Pour through a small sieve and add honey to taste (optional).

6. Digestive enzymes and probiotics

These are good for helping boost the strength of your digestion and keeping your food moving through the entire digestive tract. Digestive enzymes are naturally produced by your body, but if your stomach acid is too weak they may need a little help, so taking supplemental digestive enzymes might be a good idea. The same goes for probiotics – so many lifestyle and dietary factors can deplete our natural beneficial bacteria and daily supplementation through probiotics or fermented foods can keep things running smoothly.

7. Get rid of stress

Stress does all sorts of yucky things, but as far as digestion goes stress can cause you to produce less stomach acid or weaker stomach acid. Ways to reduce stress before a meal include saying grace and being grateful, taking a deep calming breath, stopping to appreciate your meal visually and aromatically – all of these things can help digestive enzymes to start flowing.

What is your favorite home remedy for heartburn? Leave us a comment here to share it with us.

 Remember, this article is not meant to replace a doctor’s care or advice. Please make your own wise choices about health and wellness. 

Wellness Wednesday April 29

This blog is for informational purposes only. Some links may be monetized. Thank you for supporting Well Fed Family with your purchases.

EO_SidebarBanner_600x600_AttendI’m looking forward to learning so much from the Essential Oils Revolution Summit! I hope you are planning on listening in too! Here’s some of what will be covered in the week-long event:

    • Understand what essential oils are and why they are popular today
    • Why essential oils are nature’s BEST medicine
    • How to use essential oils safely and effectively
    • Tips for regaining control of your health with essential oils
    • Pain and stress remedies using essential oils
    • Culinary uses for essential oils
    • How to use essential oils for high performance health
    • Essential oils for animal aromatherapy
    • And so much more!

With 25+ additional presenters sharing their expertise about essential oils, this invaluable (and FREE) resource is intended for everyone everywhere!

Better yet, if you register today, you’ll have access to the following FREE GIFTS as soon as you register!

    • EARLY ACCESS to Dr. Axe’s expert talk, Essential Oils for Gut, Thyroid and Adrenals
    • EARLY ACCESS to Dr. Pappas’ expert talk, Essential Oil Adulteration
    • The King’s Medicine Cabinet Essential Oils eGuide by Dr. Josh Axe
    • The Essential Homestead: Using Essential Oils in the Home, Barnyard and Beyond eBook by Jill Winger
    • Using God’s Medicine For The Abundant Life ebook by Dr. Eric L. Zielinski

Register for FREE at this link today!

And now here are this week’s great link ups for Wellness Wednesday!


 

Antibacterial Soap America’s April Fools and Wellness Wednesday

This blog is for informational purposes only. Some links may be monetized. Thank you for supporting Well Fed Family with your purchases.
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Antibacterial Soaps – you find them everywhere. I’ve seen them in gas station bathrooms, hospitals, schools, friends’ homes, you name it – if there’s a high-traffic bathroom it’s likely to have antibacterial soap being dispensed. Marketed toward moms, especially those with small children, they are hyped as something that will protect us from horrible germs, especially colds and flu, and we will be much safer using them.
The truth is all that hype is just one big joke. Too bad it’s not an April Fool’s joke, unfortunately it’s real. Hand washing is a time-tested, centuries-old method for preventing the spread of disease. However it isn’t the soap that’s the most important part. The main mechanism for getting rid of germs? It’s the action of scrubbing your hands under running water for 20-30 seconds.
Soap helps get rid of actual dirt by mixing with the dirt and lifting it off your skin so it can wash down the drain. But the germs – those nasty viruses and bacteria you pick up from doorknobs, toilets, diapers and your own nose – those need good old fashioned scrubbing to get them off our hands.
Antibacterial soaps are actually harmful for several reasons. 1) They give us a false sense of security. We think that since we (or our kids) are using a medicated soap then we don’t have to worry if our hand washing technique is thorough enough. The truth is that colds and flu are caused by viruses which aren’t harmed at all by antibacterial soaps. 2) They are creating a bigger problem by encouraging antibiotic resistance.  We get in a panic over one case of ebola coming into the country and yet 23,000 people die every year from antibiotic resistant bacteria. The overuse of antibacterial substances is partly responsible for this serious problem.  3) The soap dispensers themselves are passing along more germs than were originally on people’s hands BEFORE they washed them!
Your best bet is to bring along your own clean container of plain soap, and use that with plenty of running water to scrub your hands for as long as it takes to sing Happy Birthday.
Now that you are well-informed on the subject of hand washing – take a look at all the other great posts on this week’s Wellness Wednesday!