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Banish Boredom This Winter!

Blog | Raising Arrows 3 Comments

[This post may contain Amazon affiliate links. The Provision Room is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.]

Banish boredom this winter!

Although we didn’t get a white Christmas, winter finally arrived in Maine. It’s beautiful and I love it. Outside looks all magical and wonderlandish. Inside there is a toasty fire, copious amounts of tea, and baked goods galore.  It’s not without its challenges, though. My big boys are learning the joys of shoveling the driveway and getting outside in the negative temps to tend to the farm animals. My husband is working on the outside of the house wearing about 101 layers of clothing. And I am trying to figure out how to entertain the Littles when it is too cold to send them outside all day.  Of course they want to watch TV and we do let them. But, we don’t want to make a crazy habit out of it. Although it may be too late for that. As evidenced by my two year old saying, “Mom, can I watch Wild Kratts all day long? Dad said yes.” Dad most assuredly did not say yes. #honestpostpartum

Of course, every day there are books to read, pages to color, legos and blocks, etc. But sometimes Mom has got to get a little creative. Winter is long and we’ve just gotten started.

So, when the cabin fever sets in here are some fun ideas: Read More

Banish boredom this winter!

[This post may contain Amazon affiliate links. The Provision Room is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.] Although we didn’t get a white Christmas, winter finally arrived in Maine. It’s beautiful and […]

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Powerful Pregnancy (Leg cramps, restlessness, and morning sickness)

Blog | Raising Arrows 9 Comments

{This post contains affiliate links. Clicking on or purchasing through affiliate links doesn’t cost you nothing, but a small commission goes to support this blog and the families who love to write it.}

I put an app on my phone so that the kids could track my pregnancy and the baby’s development. I had a hunch it would drive me crazy and occasionally angry. And it has. Every week I get the updates of how big the baby is and what organ is developing at that stage of gestation.  But then there is the section on what to expect.  It sort of goes like this, “This week in your pregnancy you will discover that your body hates you. You will be vomiting, cramping and bitchy. And the best news is there is nothing you can do help yourself feel better. Have a happy pregnancy!”

This is not my experience.  You see, I firmly believe that the fact that I conceived life, am carrying that life, can birth that life and then sustain that life through my breasts is a sign of my health and not a sign of disease. Pregnancy is not a sickness to be managed or cured. It is a powerful force of femininity. It is a reminder–every single day for 40+ weeks–that Satan was defeated through an act of femininity, an act of motherhood. **drop mic**

Pregnancy is powerful, ladies!  What our bodies are capable of is incredible! Mighty! Beautiful! And yes, it is challenging!  But, it does not have to be miserable!  Can we try to keep in mind that Jesus reversed the curse on the cross! Your husband doesn’t have to loathe going to work by the sweat of his brow every day, being tortured by the misery.  You don’t have to dread bringing forth new life by the sweat of your brow, drowning in misery. #rantover

After chatting it up on Facebook and Instagram with other expecting mommies, we decided to do a series of posts on common pregnancy complaints/symptoms and how to respond to them.  Let’s call it POWERFUL PREGNANCY!

Powerful Pregnancy

This is my belly in my 8th pregnancy. Photo credit: Cory Plowman Photography

{Here is where I insert the disclaimer. I am not a doctor. Not a midwife. Don’t play one on TV.  I am a childbirth educator and doula, but that is hardly an authority figure in your life. So, use your common sense. Nothing in this article or on this website is a substitute for professional medical advice and it is not the intent of Daja or Kristina to advise about your particular situation or health condition. Do your own research and own your own choices. You’re a grown-up.}

Let’s talk about three things I think can all have the same root cause: Leg cramps, restlessness, and morning sickness.

That right there is a trifecta of misery.  If you have ever been pistol whipped awake in the dead of night by one of your muscles cramping like no one’s business, you know what pain is.  And that constant restlessness, especially of the legs, that can keep you awake all night is horrible. And let’s not forget morning sickness, which is a serious misnomer.  It’s not morning, often. It’s morning, afternoon, evening and nighttime sickness. Icky.

These three things, although they manifest very differently, often have the same root cause: Magnesium deficiency.

According to the Journal of the American College of Nutrition 68% of people suffer from magnesium deficiency.  There are over 300 biological functions that depend on magnesium.  So, it’s not something you can really afford to ignore–whether you’re pregnant or not!

Real Food Sources of Magnesium

  • Dark leafy greens (such as kale, chard, spinach)
  • Nuts and seeds (soaked and sprouted when possible!)
  • Avocado
  • Fish (are you wary about eating too much fish because of contaminants? Nourishing Our Children knocks that question out of the park with a well-sourced and excellent article. Read it here and the follow-up article here.)
  • Bone broth (from the bones of sustainably raised animals)
  • Bananas
  • Raw Dairy

Why are so many people deficient in magnesium, even if they eat a whole food “healthy” diet? The short answer is that our soil is depleted of many essential nutrients–magnesium among them–due to our industrial model of growing food. *cue very sad sigh*

Our human ancestors evolved in a world in which healthy drinking water came directly from streams, rivers, and lakes, rich in mineral content. The human body became reliant on obtaining a considerable proportion of its daily mineral needs from natural water sources.

Fast-forward to the twenty-first century. We obtain drinking water from a spigot or a plastic bottle. Pesticides and other chemicals seeping into the water supply have made everyone suspicious of water quality. As a result, municipal water-purification facilities have intensified their efforts to remove contaminants like lead, pesticide residues, and nitrates from drinking water. Unfortunately, these modern water-treatment methods also deplete drinking water of desirable minerals like calcium and magnesium.

Exacerbating this problem is that many Americans, distrustful of the purity and safety of municipally treated water, have added home water filters and purifiers that efficiently extract any remaining minerals from the water, thus converting “hard” into “soft” water. In fact, the manufacturers of these devices boast of their power to yield water free of “contaminants”—including minerals like magnesium. Thus, the magnesium content of the water that passes through most commercial filters is zero. (Source)

So, if a magnesium deficiency is at the root of the cramps, restlessness, and morning sickness and it’s difficult to get enough from the average diet, what is a pregnant mom to do?!  Here are some of the simple things we have used to address this concern and to have a happy pregnancy:

1. BONE BROTH

Back on that soap box, are we?!

Yep!  My own personal experience has convinced me of the effectiveness of a daily bone broth regiment.  You can read all about that on our post about bone broth.  Use the highest quality bones you can find.  Ask your local meat market or farmer’s market about grass-fed, pastured, free-range, and organic meats.

2. Raw Milk

Wait?! You drink raw milk while you’re pregnant?!

You better believe it!  In fact, we are not at all convinced about the safety of conventional milk purchased in the average grocery store.  But, we do trust raw organic pastured milk for local farms. Farms we can visit, check out, and we can look our farmers in the eye!  That’s the kind of accountability we like in our food system. (Chris Kresser does an excellent job of breaking down the raw milk question in a series of posts called Raw Milk Reality.)

3. Epsom Salt Soaks

Your skin is your largest organ and is like a huge sponge! It can absorb so much! (Which is one reason we should be cautious about what we put on our skin. Think about the ingredients in your shampoo, perfumes, make-up, etc.)  Especially in the first trimester of pregnancy when the queasy can set in, I take at least one (sometimes more) long Epsom Salt soak every day.  I put a couple cups of Epsom Salts in the tub and about as much water as I can to cover my growing belly.  Soak for about 30 minutes so that the mineral has a chance to really absorb. Use this time to relax and restore and for some positive meditations about your pregnancy and prayer time or Scripture memory.  Do not use this time to shave your legs or mess around on your phone or iPod.  Seriously, people. Seriously.

Don’t have a bathtub? Move. Just kidding. Try a daily foot soak!  This is also a very effective way to absorb magnesium and to pamper yourself!

4. Supplementation

There are a lot of supplements on the market. Unfortunately, if you don’t use them properly they just create expensive pee.  For example, magnesium must be in balance with other nutrients (mostly calcium and vitamin D) in order for you to absorb and utilize it.  When my students ask for a recommendation for a calcium supplement, I always recommend one that has a 2:1 ratio Calcium to Magnesium.  In addition to that, make sure you are taking in enough natural vitamin D–either from the sun or a safe source of fish oil. We like fermented cod liver oil.  (Concerned about the recent hullabaloo about fermented cod liver oil? We aren’t. We still take it every day. Read the Westin A. Price Foundations statement on FCLO here.)


Have a joyful and blessed pregnancy!  And leave us a comment with one of your pregnancy symptoms you’d like us to address!  Or tell us your best remedy for leg cramps, restlessness and morning sickness!

Lord Jesus, I lovingly pray for this sweet hope
that I keep within my womb.
You have granted me the immense gift
of a tiny little life,
living in my own life,
and I humbly thank you for choosing me
as an instrument of your love.
In this sweet waiting,
help me to live in a constant attitude
of self-surrender to your will.

Grant me a motherly heart that is pure,
steadfast and generous.
I hand over to you my own concerns;
any anxious fears that may come,
my own wishes for the little person
that I still have no knowledge of.
Grant that it may be born healthy in body,
keep far from it every peril to its soul.

Mary, you have known
the ineffable joy of a holy motherhood;
give me a heart that can transmit an ardent, living faith.
Sanctify my waiting,
bless this joyful hope that is in me,
grant that the fruit of my womb
may open out in virtue
and in holiness through your working
with that of your divine Son.

Amen

(source)

Powerful Pregnancy

{This post contains affiliate links. Clicking on or purchasing through affiliate links doesn’t cost you nothing, but a small commission goes to support this blog and the families who love to write it.} I put an app on my phone so that the kids could track my pregnancy and the baby’s development. I had a […]

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Prayer for the Week of August 24 — Nothing Is Far From God

Prayer Closet | Raising Arrows 1 Comment

This mothering gig is not easy.  When they are little we are worried about everything from a mysterious rash to giant grapes. We consult the books and the doctor and WebMD for everything from “Should we vaccinate?” to “When can I give her honey?”

When they get a little older we worry about whether we should let them go into the public restroom by themselves and how to approach bad attitudes.

Then they get a little older and we worry about the company they keep, the books they read, and the apps on their phones.

As tough as we thought those early days were, the game keeps getting upped.  Thankfully, for each new trial or challenge, there is new grace.  I don’t know any perfect parents, but I know a lot of good ones. Mothers and fathers who spend time on their knees for their children, who make intentional choices when it comes to discipline and education and health care, who sacrifice and daily lay down their lives. Read More

St. Monica, Nothing Is Far From God

This mothering gig is not easy.  When they are little we are worried about everything from a mysterious rash to giant grapes. We consult the books and the doctor and WebMD for everything from “Should we vaccinate?” to “When can I give her honey?” When they get a little older we worry about whether we […]

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Back To School Like A Boss

Raising Arrows | Relationships No Comments

Whether your kids go to school or whether they “do school” (you know, only homeschoolers say “do school”) this time of year is sort of exciting and stressful and makes you want to order a pumpkin spice latte to drink while perusing school supplies. I love me some new school supplies. Nothing says happiness like un-cracked composition books and boxes of brand new pencils. Just breathe it in! That’s the smell of education, baby! Read More

Back To School

Whether your kids go to school or whether they “do school” (you know, only homeschoolers say “do school”) this time of year is sort of exciting and stressful and makes you want to order a pumpkin spice latte to drink while perusing school supplies. I love me some new school supplies. Nothing says happiness like […]

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World Breastfeeding Week!

Blog | Raising Arrows 1 Comment

Today begins World Breastfeeding Week! We are big fans of breastfeeding. You know, because we are human and all.  (Sort of like saying, “World Oxygen Week. We are big fans of breathing!”)

How big a fan, you ask? Let’s see….I have been breastfeeding for over 14 years…..straight.   Read More

Breastfeeding

Today begins World Breastfeeding Week! We are big fans of breastfeeding. You know, because we are human and all.  (Sort of like saying, “World Oxygen Week. We are big fans of breathing!”) How big a fan, you ask? Let’s see….I have been breastfeeding for over 14 years…..straight.  

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Running Errands With Kids? Try The Trip Clip! (A review and a giveaway!)

Blog | Raising Arrows 11 Comments

So, you know what’s fun? Running errands with your kids in tow. It’s a blast right?! It’s right up there with matching socks, getting a root canal, or responding to a jury duty summons.  Oh come on! I know I am not the only one who sort of treasures those times when I can run to the bank, post office, and Target by myself and perhaps squeeeeeeze in a cuppa at the coffee shop. Bliss.  Pure bliss.

But, let’s face it. Most of the time running errands means a lot of buckling and unbuckling car seats, finding public restrooms, answering “Are we done yet?” and “Can I have this?” over and over and over and over again.  It’s just life. The mom life.  And it takes mad skillz.  (See our post on Grocery Shopping 101!!!)

Trip Clip

Read More

Trip Clip

So, you know what’s fun? Running errands with your kids in tow. It’s a blast right?! It’s right up there with matching socks, getting a root canal, or responding to a jury duty summons.  Oh come on! I know I am not the only one who sort of treasures those times when I can run […]

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What It Means To Be A Mother

Blog | Raising Arrows No Comments

Annunciation

Today is the Feast of the Annunciation.  We are nine months from Christmas. (Don’t panic. This is not a post about preparing for Christmas!)

This is a day to recall the words of the Angel Gabriel, proclaiming to Mary the part she would play in the plan of salvation.

This is a day to recall the words of The Virgin Mary, affirming her willingness to carry the Savior of the world, to live a Eucharistic life.

Mary’s participation in Christ’s suffering began with the annunciation, when she was asked to give God a human body, more properly, a human nature. In other words, will you make God capable of suffering? God though he was, he learned obedience in the school of suffering. God could know experimentally what suffering was only by taking a body. So the Blessed Mother is asked, “Will you make it possible for your creator to suffer?” think of a mother, for example, who gives to a young son or daughter an automobile at the age of nineteen, which a short time afterward is the cause of a wreck and permanent injury. Would the mother ever forgive herself? And here Mary has to say yes, I will let him suffer. (Fulton Sheen in Through the Year with Fulton Sheen)

What an example of amazing motherhood Mary gives us. And as mothers we all participate in redemption. We all in a sense consent to brokenness for the sake of new life. (Read last year’s meditation on the Annunciation: Body Broken)

On Sunday, the speaker gave a timely encouragement that we want to pass along to you. He said, “At what point did Mary become a mother? It was not at the Nativity. It was at the Annunciation, when she said, ‘I am the handmaiden of the Lord, let it be to me according to your word.’  Some of you have been touched by miscarriage or stillbirth. You need to know that you are a mother. In fact, you are still that child’s mother. Be comforted that you share in the blessing of Motherhood.”

Today we call Mary blessed. And we rejoice in our motherhood. And we rejoice with you in your motherhood–if your babies are in your arms or in Jesus’ arms. Have a beautiful day.

[This post is linked to Worth Revisiting]




Annunciation

Today is the Feast of the Annunciation.  We are nine months from Christmas. (Don’t panic. This is not a post about preparing for Christmas!) This is a day to recall the words of the Angel Gabriel, proclaiming to Mary the part she would play in the plan of salvation. This is a day to recall […]

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Family Devotions You Can Do!

Prayer Closet | Raising Arrows 2 Comments

It goes like this….

You get inspired to have more meaningful family times, including family devotions.  So, you call all your kids to the living room and hand Daddy the Bible.  He starts at the beginning or picks some random spot.  The New Testament is good place to start, right?  He starts reading, the kids start squirming.  And whining.  And someone needs a drink of water.  And someone has to go potty.  And someone is just full of questions! “Dad, what’s fornication mean?”  He just reads faster.  Forget it, let’s just pray.  Who wants to go first?  For the first time since you started this, everyone falls silent.  OK, fine, you, The Mom will pray.  Well, you’re in the middle of changing a diaper.  OK, someone else can pray….the three old is game.  And so you all thank the Lord for cereal and sloths and grandma and ask the Lord for new Legos.  You call it a night.  You say you’ll try again tomorrow.  Then about two weeks goes by.

Come on now! We are not the only ones!

Family Devotions

You can find lots on instructions on how to do family devotions.  There are lots of pages and books and speakers that will tell you all the how-to’s.  The thing is, no two families are alike.  What works for one family may not work for another.  There is no one right away and a thousand great ways to have family worship.  The point is to do it.  The how of that is completely up to you!  And it may change and grow and develop as you develop as a family in your faith.

Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise.  Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead,  and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:6-9

1. Rather make one big, elaborate time for family Bible study and prayer, we recommend working your faith in throughout the day, in small, doable bite-sized moments. We find that times when the family is already together work the best–such as meals, rides in the car, bedtime, etc.

2. Daddy can lead family devotions. Mommy can lead family devotions. The kids can lead family devotions. Give everyone a chance to share and don’t place the full weight of getting it done on one person’s shoulders.

3. Don’t get locked into rigid standards. Sometimes it will be short, sometimes long. Sometimes deep, sometimes lighthearted. Go with the flow.

Family Worship

IDEAS FOR YOUR DOMESTIC CHURCH

  1. Before you eat a meal together, sing a hymn or praise song. Let the kids take turns choosing.  We have several hymn books and use them regularly.
  2. Memorize a passage of Scripture together as a family.  (We’ve had some great success using Seeds of Courage music CD’s as a way to make memorizing easy and fun for the whole family!)
  3. After dinner read a portion of Scripture.  Just a bit–like a few verses from Proverbs or one Psalm.  Afterwards ask each person to say one thing that stood out to them.
  4. Use the daily Mass readings as a guide for what to read each day.  Even our non-Catholic readers can use this! Those from non-liturgical traditions may not realize that if you follow the daily readings you will have pretty much covered the whole Bible in three years. A good way to do this with young children is to break it up and do the first and second reading at breakfast, the Psalm at lunch, and the Gospel reading at dinner. (You can find them here at EWTN Daily Readings.)
  5. Memorize prayers you can pray together as a family such as The Lord’s Prayer or The Prayer Before The Crucifix.
  6. For children who are too young to read, put together a prayer picture book.  This can be a photo album. They can go through this and pray for each image.  Include family members, your church and pastor, your neighborhood, a map of the US, a map of the world, picture of an unborn baby, etc.
  7. Giving children something tangible is a great way to help them connect truths with their every day lives. For example, on the day we pray for the Persecuted Church, we tie a rope to our wrists, reading the children Hebrews 13:3, “Remember those in bounds as if bound with them.” (See the picture above!)
  8. Use your time in the car to listen to teaching CD’s, sing worship songs or pray for special prayer requests.
  9. We’ve written a book that we use every Spring. Radiant! Inside and Out! It’s a Spring Cleaning book–for heart and home. Again using practical things to connect the prophetic applications of the spiritual life! This little book is packed full of truth and beauty for your child’s heart! And your house will be cleaner when you are done too. Win-win!
  10. Before you drop your kids off at dance/martial arts/school, etc. take a moment and pray for them and bless them.
  11. Before they go to bed bless them. Numbers 6:24-26 works really well. (This book, The Blessing, is a great place to learn more about and be inspired about speaking blessings to your children! We highly recommend it!)
  12. Fast as a family.  Let the whole family pray together and decide together what they will fast, such as go without dessert for a week or instead of going to the movies, use that money for charity. The possibilities are endless.
  13. Pick a prayer target and be spiritual missionaries! We love this book about Praying through the 100 Gateway Cities of the 10/40 Window !
  14. Keep your churches missionaries and staff pictures in a book or on a bulletin board. Pick one each day and pray for them. Breakfast is a great time to do this.
  15. Observe Biblical Feasts together. We have seen this bring our family together around the Word in such a unique and beautiful way. (Lots of resources here.)
  16. Observe a day of rest. A true Sabbath. A Shabbat Meal is a lovely tradition that sets a perfect tone and encourages our rest in Him.
  17. Make a game out of Bible Trivia. You could even offer prizes! (See Kristina’s Bible Challenge here.)
  18. Let your children see you have prayer time. Of course we all like to get away by ourselves for quiet time and prayer (like early in the morning or after they go to bed at night), but make sure that there are times your kids see you reading your Bible, on your knees in prayer, journaling, weeping, etc. There is a lot that is caught, rather than taught.
  19. Need to get some wiggles out?  Take the kids out for a prayer walk.  As you walk the neighborhood pray for your neighbors and your community.
  20. Dance regularly!  Turn on your favorite worship music and dance before the Lord.  After all, David danced before the Lord and God said in regard to David, “I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.” (Acts 13:22)

Dance Before The Lord! (NOTE: This post contains affiliate links. Purchases made through affiliate links help support this blog and all this abundant home-centered living inspiration!)

Family Devotions

It goes like this…. You get inspired to have more meaningful family times, including family devotions.  So, you call all your kids to the living room and hand Daddy the Bible.  He starts at the beginning or picks some random spot.  The New Testament is good place to start, right?  He starts reading, the kids […]

25

Smart Replies To Rude Questions

Blog | Raising Arrows 25 Comments

My daughter Meg and I are never bored.  We are never not amused with the world around us and how we interact with it.  Yesterday, we got a little sassy-pants and couldn’t help having a little fun with it.

This one goes out to all the big families everywhere who daily put up with nosy-rosy people all up in their business, saying all sorts of rude or embarrassing things.  Solidarity, baby.

Provision Room

My daughter Meg and I are never bored.  We are never not amused with the world around us and how we interact with it.  Yesterday, we got a little sassy-pants and couldn’t help having a little fun with it. This one goes out to all the big families everywhere who daily put up with nosy-rosy […]

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Nighttime Parenting

Blog | Raising Arrows 4 Comments

When I had my first child I read books about letting your baby cry it out and sleep in her own crib.  It was supposed to be “better” and make my life “easier.”  Instead, it made me a nervous wreck.  The more I learned about my baby as an individual the more I felt uncomfortable with training her that way.  At that point I don’t think I had ever heard the term “attachment parenting” and I had never read a book on it.  I just prayed and started following my own instincts.  Which meant that she spent most nights in our bed.

Little-by-little my parenting style evolved into co-sleeping, baby-wearing, extended-nursing earthy-crunchy momma.  You can call it old-school and primitive or you can call it progressive.  To me, though, it has been what has come naturally.  I learned that I could consult all the child-rearing experts in the world, but I was the expert on my baby.  No one knew her better than I did.  If I paid attention to all the experts I’d have to change my parenting style every other week.  There is always some new study, new author, new PhD that has the answer to all parenting woes.  Some new gadget or method is supposed to make us happier or smarter or better adjusted.  What I find amazing is that we think that as a society we are so much more evolved than the rest of the world.  We think that modern research trumps ancient wisdom.  But, that is not necessarily the case.

The puzzling question of co-sleeping

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The puzzling question of co-sleeping

When I had my first child I read books about letting your baby cry it out and sleep in her own crib.  It was supposed to be “better” and make my life “easier.”  Instead, it made me a nervous wreck.  The more I learned about my baby as an individual the more I felt uncomfortable […]