Friday, March 29, 2013

The Passover Lamb ~ Past and Present

"The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith,
Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world."
~ John 1:29

"But oh! how shall we, how shall any, escape this righteous, this awful judgment (of God)? How can God's justice and His mercy be reconciled in His dealings with us poor sinners? How can guilt be punished, and yet the guilty be spared? This is the great mystery of our redemption — the mystery which Divine Wisdom alone could solve. The just shall live by faith (Romans 1:17): the whole gospel scheme of salvation rests on this solemn truth. That we may understand something of its meaning, let us proceed to consider the last of the ten judgments upon Egypt — the destruction of the first-born — and behold by what marvellous means God's people were preserved from sharing the fate of His foes. Here we may behold as in a picture the way — the only way — by which we can escape eternal destruction. Oh, may the Spirit of God open the eyes of our understanding, that in the Passover Lamb devoted to death we may see a type of the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world (John 1:29); that in the blood which, sprinkled on the door-posts, made the destroying angel pass, we may behold foreshadowed the blood of Jesus Christ, which cleanseth us from all sin! 

Moses said, Thus saith the Lord,  About midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt, and all the first-born in the land of Egypt shall die. In that land dwelt the children of Israel, even as God's people now dwell in the midst of a guilty and sentenced world. The Israelites could have devised no means of keeping the destroying angel from their homes. God himself provided a remedy: all that was needed on the part of His redeemed ones was faith and obedience to apply that remedy. Moses commanded the congregation on the tenth day of the month Abib — which corresponds to our March and April — to take a lamb for each household, a lamb without blemish or spot, and slay it on the fourteenth day of the month. They were to eat that lamb in the night ; roast with fire, with bitter herbs and unleavened bread should they eat it: and take of the blood, and strike it on the two side-posts and on the upper door-post of each house wherein the holy feast should be prepared. It is the Lord's passover — such was the message from the Most High — for I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the first-born in the land of Egypt… I am the Lord: and the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are ; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you (Exodus 12:11-13).

We are not left in any doubt as to the typical meaning of this passover, this solemn feast and blood of sprinkling. I need but refer you to the inspired words of the Apostle Paul in reference to the death of the Saviour: Christ, our Passover, is sacrificed for us, therefore let us keep the feast ; not with the old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth (1 Corinthians 5:7-8). It was not without the special ordering of God that the time of the yearly celebration of the passover should be chosen for that on which the Son of God shall suffer. "In the same month, on the same day, and at the same hour in which the Israelites were ordered to kill the Lamb," the Lamb of God expired on the cross! His blood, sprinkled through faith on the heart, is to the soul what the blood sprinkled on the door-posts was to the body — it saves, and it alone can save.

Thus is it with us, my friends. Our Christian name, our Christian privileges, nay, our works of charity and love, cannot save us in the great day of wrath. There is but one appointed means of salvation — faith in the atoning blood of the Lord.

And again, see how faith wrought obedience. Had the Israelites said that they believed the word of Moses, yet had neglected or delayed to obey his directions, - where had been the use of such lifeless faith? With them faith and obedience were closely united; as it is written in the Scriptures — The people bowed the head and worshipped; and the children of Israel went away, and did as the Lord had commanded (Exodus 12:27-28)."

~ by A.L.O.E., Excerpt from Rescued From Egypt, 1866

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Free Lavender Plants From Cuttings Using An Existing Plant

To think I used to buy lavender plants when I already owned one! I try not to dwell on it. The truth of the matter is, all you need is access to a mature lavender plant, some scissors and soil, and you have new plants already! Spring and fall are the best times to propagate lavender.

Cut a tender piece (about 4 inches long) from the lower part of the plant, specifically one that hasn't bloomed (you don't want any flowers on your cutting). You also do not want a thick, woody, mature cutting.

Remove the bottom third of the leaves. (Edited to add: After I prepared this post, a family member who is an agronomist shared that I would have even better results if I left only the upper 1/3 of the leaves on the cutting.)

Insert cutting in a pot of healthy soil, making sure there are drainage holes at the bottom. Keep plant moist and place indoors, near a window for light. Continue to keep it moist but do not over water. When you notice some obvious growth (about a month's time or more), and the weather is acceptable to the plant, then you can either give it away as a lovely gift or plant in your own yard.

A week before you intend to transplant, you will want to get them acclimated by giving them a few hours of sun time each day. I was impatient and didn't do this.  At the beginning, my plants wilted a bit and I thought they may not make it. I had to place a laundry basket over them during the hot hours and they eventually sprung back to life. 

Plant in the early morning or late afternoon in a sunny spot when weather is cooler. Give it plenty of water.

The reason I love lavender is that it is beautiful, fragrant, medicinal, has a variety of uses, is heat resistant, doesn't require a lot of water and therefore low maintenance.

Note: The picture above is the same plant a few months later. We expect to have blooms the following year.

What other plants will this method work for? You can try doing this with lemon verbena, chamomile, rosemary and sage for starters!

You may also be interested in What to Make and Do with All Your Lovely Lavender. The Chick n' Coop shows us how to make lavender sugar and lavender goat's milk soap. And that is just to name a few... I will be sharing many more lavender related projects in the future because we are in love with this pleasing plant.

"And because the breath of flowers is far sweeter in the air (where it comes and goes, like the warbling of music) than in the hand, therefore nothing is more fit for that delight than to know what be the flowers and plants that do best perfume the air."
~ Bacon

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Running the Race ~ A Unit Study

Physical Education is often overlooked in homeschool curriculum and would be welcome after a winter of being kept indoors. This study will encourage exercise through track and field events, spiritual instruction regarding our call to "run the race", while including the three "R's". It stars the champion of the Olympics and most importantly, of God, Eric Liddell. Are you ready to start? On your marks, get set, go!

Picture Book Suggestions: Eric Liddell ~ Running for a Higher Prize (Heroes for Young Readers Series). Search the library for juvenile picture books about track and field, the Olympics, nutrition and stretching for children.

Study Suggestions: I would suggest reading together from the chapter book for approx. 1/2 hour a day and choose one picture book to read which corresponds to the lessons below. Have the children do some of the listed activities (or any you come up with) each day according to their abilities. Include all work separately in a notebook/binder or composition book for each child. By the end of a few weeks you will have a nice collection of "scrapbooks" to cherish as an educational keepsake.

For the unit study activities, please visit Deep Roots at Home where we are guest posting today :)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Mother's Masterpiece

Give me my pen,
For I would write fine thoughts, pure thoughts,
To touch men's hearts with tenderness,
To fire with zeal for service grim,
To cheer with mirth when skies are dull;
Give me my pen,
For I would write a masterpiece.
Yet stay a while,
For I must put away these toys,
And wash this chubby, grimy face,
And kiss this little hurting bruise,
And hum a bedtime lullaby—
Take back the pen:
This is a woman's masterpiece."

By Ethel Hueston

Monday, March 18, 2013

"Keepers at Home" Home Management Binder ~ Free Printable

With all my love for organizing with binders, it is hard to believe I never had a home management one. I always wanted a place to store the weekly, monthly and seasonal chores. However, it seemed so tedious to write it all down (let alone come up with them) and to be honest, I didn't know where to start! When I found some printable and thorough lists online, I was thrilled! I incorporated them into a simple system that may be a help to you as well. This is flexible so I encourage you to use it however it will work for your family. It is kind of like a "choose your own adventure" binder!

List of recommended supplies:
Here is how I prepared our binder using printable pages from other sources. Most are from Martha Stewart unless stated differently (listed and linked below):

"Daily Schedule & Calendar" Section ~

"Weekly Work" Section ~

"Monthly Work" Section ~

"Seasonal Chores" Section ~
"Household Cleaning Recipes" Section ~ (Not shown in photos)

"Misc" Section ~
  • I have a lot of magazine articles related to seasonal cleaning and caring for items that I included here (such as the best way to clean appliances, how to repair household items, etc.).

When I printed out these cleaning lists, I knew I would not get them all done in the spring. I removed that burden right away! However, when I do accomplish something, I write the date next to it so that I know which items are long overdue for attention, etc. I will be happy to get them all done by the end of the year and then start anew the following one.

You will find the printable HERE (just "download" and print). If you are looking for other organizational binder systems, then you may also be interested in making an "Inspirational Recipe Book", "Good Steward" Record/Home Manual Binder, "Book of Household Wisdom" or a "Garden Journal Planner".

"Few things we can do in this world are so well worth doing as the making of a beautiful and happy home."
~ J.R. Miller, Excerpt from The Family

Thursday, March 14, 2013

"Spring Collection" of Cleaning Product Labels ~ Free Printable

Your arsenal of cleaning products... Pretty and safe for you but pretty unfortunate for the germs!

Have you ever been enticed to purchase expensive cleaning products because of fancy packaging?

I have (the author releases a sorrowful sigh).

By attractively labeling our own, we have removed that temptation!

Make your kitchen into a laboratory and prepare your own frugal and fancy cleaning solutions.

Simple supply list: spray bottles, jars and caps.

We share our printable housecleaning product recipes here and some cleaning inspiration here.

We also have tutorials on the following:

All that is left is to label them with love.

Note: To protect your labels from potential water drips,

you may want to cover them with some clear mailing tape or clear contact paper.

Below you will find our free printable labels or you can always make your own.

Cleaning is less of a burden when you have beautified your place of business *the home*.

“It seems to me that whether it is recognized or not, there is a terrific frustration which increases in intensity and harmfulness as time goes on, when people are always daydreaming of the kind of place in which they would like to live, yet never making the place where they do live into anything artistically satisfying to them. Always to dream of a cottage by a brook while never doing anything to the stuffy house in the city is to waste creativity in this very basic area, and to hinder future creativity by not allowing it to grow and develop through use."
~ Edith Schaeffer, The Hidden Art of Homemaking

Visit HERE to print your own set of free cleaning product labels. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

"Spring Collection" of Cleaning Product Recipes ~ Free Printable

Not only are homemade cleaners more affordable, they are also safer for your family. The amount of toxins that we are exposed to daily is phenomenal. Why add to the heavy load when we can easily prepare products that are gentler on our homes and health.

For example, instead of using harsh bleach in our cleaning, consider a spray bottle filled with 3% hydrogen peroxide as an alternative (they use this in hospitals).

To sanitize countertops after cooking with raw meats, eggs or poultry, spray pure vinegar on the exposed area and follow by a spray of 3% hydrogen peroxide. Let sit a few minutes and wipe clean for a safer disinfectant method. Important Note: Do not combine the two in the bottle or dilute but use as described.

Note: If you have granite countertops, I would advise against using vinegar-based cleaning products on them as it can do something called "etching" (which can leave white marks on your counters). I would substitute the vinegar with hydrogen peroxide in the recipe for all purpose cleaner for granite countertops.

You will find our printable cleaning product recipes HERE. We like to cover ours in plastic sheet protectors in order to prevent damage from spills, etc and store them in our home management binder or our herbalYou may also be interested in pretty labels for your cleaning products. Happy housecleaning, ladies!

"A woman cannot work at dressmaking, tailoring, or any other sedentary employment, ten hours a day, year in and out, without enfeebling her constitution, impairing her eyesight, and bringing on a complication of complaints; but she can sweep, cook, wash, and do the duties of a well-ordered house, with modern arrangements, and grow healthier every year. The times in New England when all women did housework a part of every day, were the times when all women were healthy."
~ Harriet Beecher Stowe

Monday, March 11, 2013

Inspiration and Preparation ~ Spring Cleaning "Warm Up"

Spring has almost arrived, the time to wash and scour, open up the windows and breathe in the fresh air! It is the season to purge and produce a healthier home by reducing pollen, dust mites, mold spores and our old adversary, the germs. I am hoping to inspire you to start your deep cleaning with a smile!

"In fact it was an immense relief to them all to have a little work, and they took hold with a will, but soon realized the truth of Hannah's saying, "Housekeeping ain't no joke."

~ Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

"You sometimes see a woman who would have made a Joan of Arc in another century and climate, threshing herself to pieces over all the mean worry of housekeeping."

~Rudyard Kipling

Alas, this "Joan of Arc" warrior cleaner is not me. I love to keep my home "neat and tidy" but it lacks in good, old fashioned, deep and dark crevice scrubbing! Unless the hormone levels are off the charts, I really am not that aggressive (sigh…).

Like some of you, I need a bit of inspiration to jump start my housecleaning. Sometimes it takes going through pretty magazines and seeing all the clean houses to get motivated. Housecleaning books are also a huge help (here is a favorite)! Other times, it takes a few pictures and organizational tips from like-minded women (such as yourselves).

Spring cleaning can be a joy when your home is filled with the scent of lavender and lemons, when happy and wholesome music is playing in the background, when the workers don their colorful aprons and the desire to accomplish great things for the home is in the heart. Get the whole family involved by micromanaging tasks into bite-sized pieces and delegating chores to (even the smaller) children.

To begin, you can print out and prepare your cleaning supplies with this Martha Stewart list:

How to Stock a Cleaning Kit 

Now that we have had our "warm up", let us begin with our:

10-Step Housecleaning Inspiration