An Ode to Magnesium

9 Apr

I have been singing the praises of magnesium for two years.  I’d almost go so far as to say magnesium saved my life.

Ancient Minerals Magnesium

Ancient Minerals Magnesium

Let me share a little about where I was 2-3 years ago:
I was irritable
I had some severe, heart-pounding anxiety (my doctor likened it to PTSD)
I was an insomniac – I had extreme difficulty going to sleep and I always woke up at 4am
My pregnancies were characterized by morning sickness and muscle cramping
I was so, very tired.  So so so tired
My brain seemed foggy, as if my brain was wrapped in plastic wrap
Headaches.  My head hurt constantly

Then a popular blogger wrote about the signs of magnesium deficiency.  She was describing me!!  She suggested a transdermal magnesium supplement.  What did I have to lose?  I purchased the magnesium and that night I fell asleep easily, didn’t wake up at 4am, and had no headaches.   A miracle?  Maybe.

2 years later the anxiety, irritability, insomnia, muscle cramping, exhaustion, brain fog, PMS, and heachaches are all gone!  Gone!  I still use the magnesium, but I can go weeks (months?) without it.  Then I’ll notice the subtle signs of deficiency.  Chocolate cravings.  Difficulty falling asleep.  Restless legs.  A couple sprays and I sleep like a baby (not my baby, but someone else’s).

So, what do you have to lose?  Give magnesium a try.  But be sure to use magnesium oil (the topical spray stuff)–your body absorbs it better without the uncomfortable  intestinal side effects of ingesting magnesium supplements.




Five in a Row – The Story about Ping

5 Apr

What a great book!  I think this was Ambrose’s favorite.


Ping is a duck who lives in a houseboat on the Yangtze River in China with his very large family and his master.  Each morning the ducks get sent out and are expected back in the evening at the call of their master.  The last duck on the boat gets a spank with a stick.  One day Ping is the last duck.  He avoids his spanking by spending the night on shore.  He endures some adventures the next day and is luckily reunited with his family and master.  Ping gladly rejoins his family (and is the last on the boat) and willingly receives his spank.  Consequences.  Consequences.



We started the week learning about ducks.  Hazel learned about the different parts of a ducks body and how ducks don’t get wet through a process called preening.  We experimented by painting feathers and paper bag ducks with oil.  They painted one duck and one feather with oil and left the other “untreated.”  Then we used an eyedropper to drop water on our ducks and feathers.  The water rolled off the oil-treated duck and feather!  Our experiment failed a little as the water also rolled off the “untreated” paper duck and feather.  So we talked a little about doing multiple rounds of an experiment to get more reliable results.

Concentrating hard to paint his duck with oil

Concentrating hard to paint his duck with oil


The water puddling up on her oiled duck.


There is a boy with a barrel tied to his back so he can float in the river.  I asked the kids why they thought the boy had a barrel.  “So he doesn’t get lost.”  Smart answer.  So we investigated buoyancy doing a sink or float experiment in the kitchen sink. Hazel predicted whether an object would sink or float based on if it had air or not.   Balloons float.  Quarters sink.  Pony beads both sink and float.


Social Studies


Ping takes place on the Yangtze River in China.  So we read books on China, watched Wild China on Netflix.  We mapped out the Yangtze River.  We made our own Yangtze River out of construction paper – From the Three Gorges all the way to Shanghai.  Did you know that the Yangtze river is nearly 4000 miles long?!  Coast to coast in the US is only 3000 miles!  That’s one long river.


Floating our wise-eyed boat down the yellow waters of the Yangtze River.


Look at that hand-writing!

Chinese Culture

We took a field trip to the Asian market and shopped for Chinese food.  Both kiddos were unphased by the the pigs head, the chicken feet, nor the weird seafood with eyes.  I was.  But we did enjoy some bubble tea and our new chopsticks.  We also enjoyed Chinese take-out and watched Mulan for family movie night.

Eating with chopsticks is tough!

Eating with chopsticks is tough!


The Story about Ping is drawn wonderfully with colored pencils.  Hazel recreated the picture on page 9 using colored pencils and oil pastels.  We also looked through the book and saw that many of the illustrations show reflections on water.  To recreate this effect we painted a boat and a duck on the top half of a some papers and painted the water around them. Then we folded the paper in half for the reflection.


Reflections in the water

Language Arts

Ping is a fictional book.  We discussed how a lot of fictional books begin with “once upon a time.”  Hazel wrote her own “Once Upon a Time” story.


This was such a delightful book.  The kiddos enjoyed reenacting the book and yelling “la-la-la-la-lei” and giving our stuffed animal duck a spank when he was the last one on the boat.  It opened up a door for many talks about consequences and obeying in order to stay safe.

Sitting in the riverboat with Ping.

Sitting in the riverboat with Ping.

A Castle Made of Frosting

4 Apr

For school Hazel wrote a “Once Upon a Time” story.  Here’s her story.

 Once upon a time I had a wonderful dream.  There was a person that taked me on a date to a castle that was made of frosting and we ate some.  When we got home we told everyone else about it and my brother Ambrose wanted some and I said you could have some after dinner.

Castle made of Frosting

Once upon a time

Ezekiel – 5 Months

24 Mar

The last month was pretty good with our littlest guy.  The four-month-sleep-disturbances started, and Ezekiel hasn’t slept well through the night.  Not bad, but not well.  But we know that day will come.

He continues to be such a joy.  He gladly sits anywhere and smiles at whoever talks to him.  He is a really happy guy.


26 inches
15 ½ lbs per our bathroom scale

Tidbits about Ezekiel-

  • He has found his feet.  He plays with his feet often
  • He’s gaining control of his arms.  He plays with toys and brings them his mouth.
  • Giggles
  • He’s a baby yoga master.  When waking he pulls himself into a cobra position.  He then lunges himself forward.
  • Our family went to a birthday party at an indoor water park.  He put his toes in the water and we may just have ourselves another water baby.
  • He does not like loud sounds.



A Gratitude Alphabet

17 Mar

We want to cultivate an spirit of gratitude.  Way too often we focus on what is wrong and grumble about it rather than being thankful.  Last night at dinner we went through the alphabet and came up with something to be thankful for every letter.

A – Ambrose, Art,


Art projects. Best time of the Day!

B – Beauty, BOGS


BOGS. The reason to love winter

C – Cookies, Candy, Costco, Cars, Cats
D – Daddy, Dates
E – Ezekiel


Love this smile!

F – Food, Friends
G – Goodpasters, Grandparents
H – Hazel, Help from Hazel (she was incredibly helpful yesterday!)
I – Ice Cream, Interstates, the Irelands
J – JESUS! Johanne, Joey


Joey and Ezekiel

K – the Kocoureks
L – Lemskys, Laughter
M – Music, Momma
N – Neighbors, Netflix
O – Orange Essential oil


Diffusing Orange essential oil. Smells like happiness.

P – Purple, Payday, Pork chops, Penguins, Packers
Q – Quilt made for Baby EZ out of Grandpa Joe’s ties
R – Rabbits, Rainbows, Roomba
S – Snow, Sunshine, Sunsets, Socks, Stars
T – Twin Cities Church, Toys, T-Ball, Trent, Trains
U – Umbrellas, Uncles
V – Volcanoes, Vacuum
W – Water
X – Xylophone
Y – Yellow tulips


Yellow tulips from our dinner guests.

Z – Zebras, Zoo

My Soul Thirsts for You

6 Mar

One year ago I lost my dad.  It was sudden and completely unexpected.  It hurt.  It broke my heart.

This past year has been awful and it’s been amazing.  I miss my dad dearly and am tempted to ask “why.”  But God has reminded me often not to seek the why but seek the who.  The Psalms talk of the refuge in the shadow of God’s wings.  Do you know how close you need to be to stand in someone’s shadow?  Close.  God has drawn me close to him.  I feel the protection, the comfort, the refuge under the shadow of His wings.  I have found the Who. 

Psalm 63

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
2 So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
beholding your power and glory.
3 Because your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise you.
4 So I will bless you as long as I live;
in your name I will lift up my hands.

5 My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
6 when I remember you upon my bed,
and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
7 for you have been my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
8 My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.

9 But those who seek to destroy my life
shall go down into the depths of the earth;
10 they shall be given over to the power of the sword;
they shall be a portion for jackals.
11 But the king shall rejoice in God;
all who swear by him shall exult,
for the mouths of liars will be stopped.

Ezekiel – 4 months

25 Feb

4 Months

This past month we’ve been working Ezekiel towards a schedule.  It’s so nice knowing when he naps so we have more freedom to leave the house during his wakeful periods.  He’s pretty compliant to my efforts and has even taken a 2-hour nap – though most naps are only an hour.  Freedom

DSC_0078 DSC_0084

Tidbits about Ezekiel-

  • He’s like a turtle on his back when he rolls over in his crib.  It’s really the only time he cries.  He hates being on his back.  For a baby who “never cries” he sure cries a lot when he rolls on his back.
  • He scratches his head when he’s tired
  • Grabs everything, especially my hair
  • Shrieking and coos – Ezekiel’s communication skills
  • Unlike his big sister and brother, he seems to be interested in eating. He’s been eyeing up whatever food I’m putting in my mouth.
  • Raises his left eyebrow when he smiles and he smiles A LOT.  He is such a smiley, happy baby
  • During bathtime he flops himself out of his seat and tries to lay down in the water.  Arms reach.  He’s always in arms reach.
  • Nicknames  - Easy, Babes, Easy E, Zekie, Duder
    There are many pictures of Momma as a baby that look just like this.

    There are many pictures of Momma as a baby that look just like this.

    A Momma's-eye view.   Easy in the Ergo

    A Momma’s-eye view. Easy in the Ergo


A Snowy Saturday

23 Feb

Say what you want, but I’ve loved this winter.  Warm boots.  An excuse to stay in. And the sunshine.  The sunshine!  I’ll take a frigid sunshiny winter day any day over the gray days of fall.  It’s been a beautiful winter.

Last Saturday we took advantage of a free day and spent the day as a family.  Not quite a sunshiny day, but a beautiful day nonetheless.  We packed all the kiddos in the car and went sledding.  


Daddy daughter sledding.

My dad  took me sledding once and I ran over a “ski jump,” crashed and got a bloody nose.  Dad felt so bad he took me to the bar afterwards.  Sweet Daddy-Daughter sledding memories.




The wind really picked up and Ambrose wasn’t a fan, so he retreated back to the car while Daddy and Hazel went down the hill a few times.

We wouldn’t let the cold affect our good spirits, so to Black Sheep we went!  Hot cocoa all around!  They have the best cocoa – chocolaty. creamy. without going into a diabetic coma.



What a ham!



Sweet weekends

Ugly Cookies

20 Feb


I am no baker.  As much as my kids want me to be I will not be.  I bake ugly cookies.

I didn’t even make any modifications to the recipe.  Seriously.  I included ALL of the sugar.  I softened the butter.

I think I’ll stick to making my black bean brownies and recipes that use an unthinkable amount of coconut oil.  I like those recipes.

The "Best" Chocolate Chip cookies

The “Best” Chocolate Chip cookies



Animals According to Ambrose

8 Feb

Tonight Ambrose chose a Baby’s First Words book for bedtime.  Here’s how our 3 year-old identified animals.Image“Are you joking?” asks Mike.
Ambrose giggles.  
“I don’t get it.  Are you serious?”


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