Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Simplifying Life

I am learning more about myself being a wife and a mother of three. So many times in my life, I have said "yes," even though on the inside I wanted to say "no." I am by nature a pleaser. I want people to feel comfortable and happy, so sometimes I have a hard time saying "no" when I need to. Which (only sort of) worked for me when I was single. It doesn't work well for me now. There is so much to keep me busy at home with my family that I could feel stretched thin just taking care of things here. In fact, some days I do!

The truth is, I have been longing for a simpler life lately. Stick me in the middle of the country with a little homestead where I can entertain friends and family in my home on a regular basis, and I'd be a happy girl. So, realizing how tired I've been feeling, it's no wonder when I look at my life that I need to make some changes. Here's where it gets difficult.

You see, I love the Lord. I love people. But I don't enjoy packing the kids around. My typical week is full of getting in and out of the car numerous times. Now that Dorothy is in school, I am getting the little ones in and out of the car 4 times a day. It's a fight, and physically tiring, being that William is no small baby at 27 pounds ;-). Tuesday morning is in and out of the car again for Bible study. Tuesday evening is in and out of the car again for small group. I've really enjoyed getting to know people in group, but it's meltdown city when we get home with the kids and put them down an hour and a half past their bed time. Wednesday evening Dorothy has kids' club at church and we have parenting class. By the time we get the kids home, it's already 2 hours past bed time. Dorothy doesn't cope well with 2 late nights and getting up for school. Every other Wednesday morning I volunteer for gleaner's as well as shopping every Wednesday afternoon. Throw in well-child exams, random Dr. Appointments, WIC appointments, and life gets crazy fast. Even without any "me" time.

I'm tired and something needs to give. Not to mention the fact that William still doesn't sleep through the night. And my kids (who get frequent colds from all the places we go) refuse to give in and sleep when they get sniffles. Every cold turns into many sleepless nights in a row for mommy, such that I dread the next cycle of colds.

You see, most of the things we're doing are good things. I know we need to cut back, but I don't know what I need to cut. I long for simplicity. To just be at home and keep things running. To learn to love God as a family. To keep a welcoming home to whoever might come to visit with their kids. To live without all the to and fro.

So, friends and readers, I have some questions.
What are your challenges? How have you simplified your own life? Do you even feel like you need to simplify? How do you balance fellowship with other believers and home life?

So, that's where I'm at right now. Praying for some wisdom. And God will give it if I listen. The new year is always a good time to sit down and think about what changes we can make in our lives. And that's what I'm wanting to do.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Boosting Immunity with Homemade Elderberry Syrup

I'm always looking for ways to combat the onslaught of colds during the fall and winter. I've recently learned about elderberries and how amazing they are for you. However, the store-bought elderberry syrup is really spendy, so I decided to make my own. We've been taking it daily for a couple of months now, along with multivitamins, omega-3's, vitamin d, and probiotics. I can't say we've not been sick at all, but the kids seem to bounce back more quickly than before, and we even had an entire month of the kids being healthy. That's now come to an end, so we're upping their dose of elderberry syrup.

Homemade Elderberry Syrup
1 cup dried elderberries (mountain rose herbs has a great price on them)
1/4-1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4-1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
4 cups water
1 1/2-2 cups honey (raw is best, but certainly any honey is better than sugar)

Simmer all ingredients except honey in a saucepan until liquid is reduced by half. Put a large bowl under a strainer, then pour mixture through and press out as much liquid as you can. Add honey to mixture and stir well. Pour into quart-sized mason jar. Store in the fridge for up to a year. Daily maintenance dose is 1 tsp 1-2 times a day for kids and 1 tbsp 1-2 times a day for adults. It is especially known for kicking influenza really fast. If you feel something coming on, you can take a dose every few hours throughout the day.