Honey Lemon Cough Syrup

As cold winter weather approaches, so do flus and coughs and sore throats. It’s time for me to start preparing some natural remedies, in case any of those nasty bugs affect our family. One of my favorite remedies is our homemade honey lemon cough syrup that I make every year. This cough syrup is so soothing for a sore throat, or a cough that just keeps lingering on.

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My original recipe was without raw apple cider vinegar (and you’ll find that it tastes better if you skip adding the vinegar to the syrup), but I’ve began to add it to my recipe because it’s a great natural remedy all by itself for numerous things (heartburn, sore throats, detoxing the body, reducing swelling, etc.). The best way to receive the benefits of apple cider vinegar, is through organic raw apple cider vinegar. I use Braags Apple Cider Vinegar.

Both lemon juice and coconut oil have powerful antibacterial and antiviral properties, making this syrup not only soothing to a sore throat, but helping to heal a sore throat as well. Honey also aides in healing, and gives a ‘sweet’ relief as it coats the throat. (Be sure not to give honey to a baby under 12 months of age!)

Honey Lemon Cough Syrup Recipe

-1/4 cup of coconut oil

-1/2 cup of local raw honey

-Juice of 2 lemons

-1 tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar

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Heat the coconut oil, honey, and lemon juice over the stove on medium-low heat until melted. Turn the heat off and mix in apple cider vinegar. Pour into a jar (fits perfectly into an 8 ounce jar). Store on your counter for about 2 weeks, or keep in the refrigerator for up to a month. Warm up and take 1 tablespoon as needed, or mix 1 tablespoon into a cup of hot tea (my favorite way to take the syrup!).

How to Stop Wasting Food

Over the last three years of being married, I’ve slowly learned one “skill” that has helped us save a lot of money on food. That “skill” is to not waste or throw away any food. When we first got married, I’d forget about certain foods we had, especially fresh produce. I’d end up discovering something rotten or moldy and have to pitch it. I hated doing this, and felt guilty each time I’d throw something away, knowing there are people who don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Over the past three years, I’ve grown and learned as a homemaker, and have become more and more involved in our kitchen. I’ve always enjoyed cooking and baking, and since getting married, my passion for being in the kitchen has only increased!

If you find yourself throwing away food all the time, this article is for you. I have a few tips on how I’ve managed to change my ways and stop wasting food.

First, always have a menu plan. You’ll spend less money in doing so, and only buy ingredients that you actually need for specific meals.

Of course, you’ll want keep fresh produce on hand, like fruits and veggies and salad, so keep tabs on anything “extra” that you buy that’s not needed for a specific meal. If you have trouble remembering what you bought, keep a tiny list somewhere on your fridge.

If you have leftovers from a meal, and no one eats them the next day for lunch or dinner, immediately pop the leftovers into a container and into the freezer. It will be so nice to pull out on a day where you’re really busy or feel too exhausted to make anything (I always make too much soup, and actually just put some in our freezer today – enough for another meal!).

Anytime you have something that’s not getting eaten up, immediately look up a recipe for it, or pack it up and put it in your freezer for another time. We seem to struggle with the same foods, so I’ll give some examples of what I do to prevent food from going bad and having to be thrown out.

One item we always have trouble with is bananas.

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We either eat them up really quick, or end up leaving them sit forever on our counter. As soon as they get extremely ripe, whatever we have leftover, I make into banana muffins.

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Last night I made a double batch and then froze the two dozen muffins, and now we’ve got an easy snack for the rest of the next few weeks. There’s really a lot of produce that can be turned into muffins or bread. Zucchini, carrots, berries, apples, pumpkins etc.

When we first got married, we always purchased store-bought bread (now I make our bread) and we always seemed to be throwing out bread. One loaf took awhile for two people to get through before going bad. So I started keeping it in the freezer and only getting it out as needed. Now that I make our bread, I make it in round bowls (I make peasant bread which is about the easiest bread recipe you’ll find!), and often have end pieces that we don’t eat. I stash those away in our freezer. Once I have a lot of end pieces, I take them out and make a delicious french toast casserole. You could do this with end pieces from any bread, if you find no one in your house likes those end pieces. You could also make breadcrumbs, croutons, or bread pudding.

Another food item often found left over, is beans.

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I often soak more beans than needed (it can be so deceiving since they increase in size after soaking), and while we try to incorporate them into meals to save money, beans aren’t exactly a favorite here. So I’ve learned to use up leftover beans in numerous ways. Leftover kidney beans get made into chili, leftover navy (or other white beans) into a chicken soup or chili, and black beans into black bean burgers or black bean soup. I make our yummy black bean burgers by mixing the beans with cooked quinoa, some spices, and an egg, and then form them into patties to freeze.

The real key to not wasting food is to be creative, and freeze, freeze, freeze! If you need inspiration, I’m sure a quick search on the internet will guide you to a great recipe for whatever item you want to save before going bad. This will give you the skill of turning anything into a meal or snack and ultimately save you lots of money on groceries!

Ministry Ideas for Stay at Home Moms

God calls all of His followers to a daily lifestyle of ministry. Everything from your job, going out shopping, eating out at a restaurant, to being a stay at home mom, are all forms of ministry. Being an at home mom is such an enormous ministry, yet it seems a lot of stay at home mom’s feel that they should be serving outside of the home more. It can be easy to get caught up in the daily tasks of diaper changes and naps and dishes and laundry, but raising children in the ways of the Lord is such a wonderful and great call of ministry to women. Teaching your children to know and love Jesus, and being a godly wife, are some of the greatest ways for women to serve the Lord.

It is very important to teach our children to serve and minister to others, and the best way is to teach by example. It can be challenging trying to find ways to serve outside of the home when you’re busy taking care of your home and family. This post isn’t to make you feel like you aren’t doing enough, however, it is to encourage you to find small ways to serve outside of your home. This is a great testimony to others, as well as a tremendous example to your children. Here are a few ways I’ve found to serve others without leaving my home, or without going too far outside of my home.

-Bake something for your neighbors for a holiday or “just because.” Attach a note with an encouraging Scripture.

-Double a meal you make and drop it off to a mom who has just had a baby, or is sick, or is just plain overwhelmed.

-Send cards of encouragement to others. Also send thank you cards to others who have blessed you.

-Make care kits for the homeless. My husband and I are currently putting these kits together to keep handy in the car. As the cold weather approaches, this is a great time for making something like this. You can make the kits however you want, but here are the items we’ve put into our care kits:

-Water bottle

-$5 McDonald’s gift card

-2 fruits cups/2spoons

-Granola bars

-Crackers

-Christian track

-New testament

-Small first aid kit

-Pack of tissues

-2 maxi pads for women

-Deodorant

-Petroleum jelly

-Shampoo

-Conditioner

-Small bar of soap

-Antibacterial hand wipes

-Hair tie

-Comb

-Toothbrush

-Toothpaste

-Cough drops

-Rain poncho

-Socks

-Gloves

-Winter hat

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We placed the items in two large freezer bags (to keep the items from getting wet), and then we placed the two bags inside of a drawstring backpack. These can be purchased in bulk from Amazon.

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-Visit a retirement home with your little ones. What a blessing little ones are to the elderly! You’re sure to brighten up their day and receive many smiles in return.

-Open up your home to others. Invite others over for a meal, a cup of coffee, or dessert. Don’t try to overdo anything and bring stress on yourself, or you’ll likely not to want to continue opening up your home. The goal is to encourage other families or individuals, and make them feel valued and welcome in your home.

-I coupon as much as I can for organic food items for our family, but there are tons of non-organic coupons out there for products we don’t personally use. While we may not have a need for those items, there are many people who would be so blessed to receive some of those products. I’ve recently started to coupon for non-perishable and household items. My husband and I can then give these items directly to someone in need or donate them to a local food pantry.

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These are some simple ideas for reaching out to others, despite the business of life. Be sure to balance everything and don’t neglect your most important ministry opportunity of all, which is your family. I’d love to hear what ways you have found to minister to others while being a stay at home mom.

Slow Cooker Apple Cider

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I love the crisp, cool weather of fall, and all of the warm, spicy aromas and tastes in the house. Today the scent of fall is drifting all throughout our home, as my homemade apple cider simmers in our crock-pot. It smells amazing, and it only took a few minutes to make.

This is the perfect recipe for a chilly fall day, or for making your home smell really wonderful before having guests over. Not only will you have a pleasant aroma all day long, and a delicious cup of apple cider at the end of the day, you’ll also have a batch of yummy applesauce as well!

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 Apple Cider Recipe

-5 honeycrisp apples

-7 cups of water

-1/4 cup of honey

-1 teaspoon of cinnamon

-1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves

-Dash of ginger

Cut each apple into eight slices, and cut off the skin as well unless you have a food strainer for the applesauce. Place the apples in the crock-pot and add in the water. Stir in the honey, cinnamon, ground cloves, and ginger. Cook on low for 8 hours.

After 8 hours, the apples should be soft and ready to mash. First strain the cider through a mesh strainer, to remove the apple slices. Next place the apples through the food strainer, or if you already peeled the apples, simply use a hand mixer and blend for a few minutes. Now you have applesauce! Next, filter the apple cider again through a cheesecloth, to remove any leftover bits of apple and spices. The end result is a home that smells wonderful, a bowl of tasty applesauce, and a delicious batch of warm apple cider!

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Passing Seasons

Yesterday my baby girl turned into a six month old. Today I’m reflecting on something I wrote just a few weeks ago, before fall had officially arrived. The reality that a new season is here, has given me such a bittersweet feeling. As I re-read through the following post, my baby girl is nestled in my sling, drifting off to sleep. I breathe in and smell her sweet baby scent, and my heart is overwhelmed by the love I have for her. I am so very thankful for this season of life.

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Passing Seasons

As I paced back and forth underneath the shade of the trees, I felt completely overwhelmed with joy. Cradled in my arms, was my baby girl. Her heavy eyelids were about to win her long battle against sleep. Her sweet and peaceful face made my heart melt a little more as I continued to pace and hum and help her rest. Her chubby little limbs began to grow heavier in my arms as they dangled in complete trust that momma wouldn’t let her fall.

I lifted my head to the see rays of sunshine through the tree branches. As a cool breeze brushed over my face and swept through the trees, I breathed in and knew that fall was just around the corner. A handful of faded yellow leaves silently made their way to the dirt floor, drawing my gaze back down upon the sweetest little face I’ve ever laid eyes on. The scent of a warm summer day, mixed with the pure scent of my baby, caused my eyes to close for a moment as I longed for time to stand still.

Tears welled up in my eyes because I knew, just as fall was around the corner, a new season with my baby would also be just around the corner. Each day she’s growing and changing so much. It’s so wonderful and amazing to watch.

There is beauty in each season, but always a bit of sadness, knowing that each new season brings a little more independence, and eventually my baby will need less and less of me. I love that she needs me to fall asleep or comfort her when she’s upset. I love when I sing her to sleep and her tiny fingers reach up for my face, as if to ensure that it’s safe to close her eyes as long as she holding on to her mommy. She’s still so small and I still have so many days of holding and singing and rocking left, but I’d be OK if babies stayed babies twice as long.

Each season is so beautiful that it’s hard not to miss them as they pass by. So many seem to be bothered by their babies, hoping they’ll sleep through the night as soon as possible, or be able to self soothe, or not nurse as frequently, and yet these are the very things I hold onto and enjoy so much. I love how much my baby needs me. I will gladly rock her to sleep or cuddle or nurse her as much as she needs. I may be crazy, but I love our middle of the night nursing sessions when the rest of the world is sleeping and it’s just my baby girl and I. I’m grasping onto to these moments that will one day quietly slip away, and be no more. These are the days I’ll miss. This is the season that will pass by all too quickly.

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” Ecclesiastes 3:1