Draught of Life

  • apples, juiced
  • fresh ginger, juiced
  • coconut water
  • ice (optional)

Life Skills: Nursing Sick Family Back to Health

This flu was one for the records around here, especially when we so rarely get the flu.  Colds?  Yes.  Flu?  Not often.  Ever since the big boys were having weekly parent visits years ago, I got really good at isolating germs and minimizing the spread to every person in our family.  It’s been many, many years since we’ve had it go through almost the whole family.  (Justin is the only one who hasn’t gotten it yet and I PRAY it stays that way!)

Monday morning, I was pretty sure I was going to have to take Les and three of the boys to the ER for IVs.  Nobody could hold down ANYTHING.  They were all so thirsty at this point and would guzzle down anything I gave them no matter how much I told them to slowly sip.  I ran to the grocery store and decided to try one last thing before we were taking a family trip to the hospital.  I should have done it sooner but between being sick myself and Gabriel and Les both throwing up every 15-20 minutes, it just couldn’t happen before then.

Anyway, I got a ton of apples (easy on the stomach, sweetness, vitamins), huge chunk of fresh ginger root (anti-nausea), and coconut water (naturally hydrating).  I came home and juiced 4 apples in my juicer along with a hunk of peeled fresh ginger.

(F.Y.I. Apple juice in a bottle is not the same thing.  Once the fruit is juiced, the nutritious enzymes start oxidizing and breaking down immediately.  Within an hour or two, all the best nutrients are gone.  In order to preserve fruit once it’s been juiced, they have to add a preservative which is usually additional sugar to the juice.  The nutrition between fresh juiced and store bought is not remotely the same.)

Then I poured the apple/ginger juice into my blender along with some coconut water and ice to make a slushy.    Nobody had a fever so I wasn’t worried about shocking their system with cold but I purposely used the ice to make a thick slush so it would force them to slow down with drinking it.  If they had a fever, I would have skipped the ice.

I kid you not, within an hour of that first slush, everyone looked visibly better – not great…not healed…just better – functionable.  Every couple of hours, I made another batch and I put less and less ice in it as they kept it down.  Not a single person threw up again after drinking the first batch.  That. was. huge!  This stuff is now a permanent home remedy recipe in our home for the flu.  Chris named it the Draught of Life because it brought everyone back from what appeared to be the brink of death.

Chris, the Family Nurse-in-training

What to do for Life Skills day?  Um, no brainer.  We’re learning about how to care for potential future wife and children when they are sick.

Today Chris learned along side of me that:

First rule of family nursing: the oldest (as in, it’s not going to be the toddlers taking care of everyone else), least sick person in the family needs to take care of those who are sick and everyone else who is not sick can help the nurse in some way


  • The most basic needs need to be taken care of first – hydration, medicine (if needed), holding sick babies, etc.
  • The nurse is quiet, gentle, and attentive
  • When basic needs have been met and those who are sick are napping or there’s a lull in needing to take care of their basic needs, then it’s time to do some cleaning to stop the spread of germs and get a snack for ourselves


  • As the nurse or nurse-in-training, we wash our hands with soap after every time we wipe a drippy nose, clean up throw up, touch any laundry that has been thrown up on, or come in contact with any bodily fluid from a sick person.  We NEVER wash our hands in the kitchen sink after touching any of these things unless we want to spread it to the entire family.  (I learned this the hard way back in the foster care days.)  Always use a bathroom sink instead.
  • Touch minimal surfaces as possible when bringing dirty laundry to the laundry room.  Use your wrists as much as possible to turn on things when your hands knowingly have germs on them.
  • Place blankets over couches for the sick person for ease of cleaning later.  If they are throwing up and we had sufficient padding between them and the couch then we can simply take off the blanket and wash it without having to shampoo the couch.  When everyone is recovering, we can unzip the covers on the cushions of the couch and wash those.
  • We disinfected all the bathrooms as soon as everyone was starting to mend to minimize transmission of germs.  We washed our hands thoroughly before leaving the bathroom.  We changed out the hand towels and toothbrushes in the bathrooms as well.
  • All bedding gets washed once everyone starts to mend as well.
  • Separate those who are not sick from those who are sick as much as possible – although most of the time, this is just not realistic given that we live in the same house but you do as much as you can
Chris, the Chef-in-training

Chris helped me make our batches of Draught of Life.  On the last batch of the day, I let him do it all himself as I stood beside him instructing him through the knife cuts, steps, and passing out the drinks.


For dinner, everyone’s appetite was returning which is just crazy after how they were acting earlier that morning.  Normally I’d make chicken soup on an occasion like this – heavy on the broth portion for those who had been sick – but I wanted to do something less time consuming and easier this time around.  1) I still didn’t feel great and it was too much for me to have the patience to teach Chris how to make it at that moment  2) I wanted something that he would be able to make again in the near future so it had a better chance of staying in long term memory.

I taught him how to make simple egg sandwiches.  An omelet seasoned with salt and pepper, toasted bread with a modest dollop of mayo.


Preheat that pan!  This will make or break you for later clean up.



Ever so slightly overcooked but it was his first time.


Chris’ pan after making 6 egg sandwiches.  He did it!  No dreaded encrusted egg pan!  If you put eggs in the pan before it’s warm enough, you’ll be scrubbing the pan every time.  I hate when I get impatient and don’t wait long enough.


North American Saints: St. Herman of Alaska (continued)

  • We read about St. Herman’s life from the story in the OCA activity book on North American Saints.
  • We found Russia on the globe and also Valaam Monastery in Russia on the map
  • We found Kodiak Island and Spruce Island on our map of Alaska
  • We labeled Spruce Island on our map and gave a very brief highlight of St. Herman’s life on an index card
  • Making further connections, we labeled Dutch Harbor on our map because it’s essentially the home base where the show “Deadliest Catch” is filmed
  • We talked about how dangerous the Bering Sea is based on what we’ve seen on “Deadliest Catch” and thought about St. Herman making that journey across the high, dangerous waves
Russian Fur Trade in Alaska

It was widely known that the Russian fur trading business in Alaska took advantage of the natives.  The natives were more often than not abused and mistreated despite missionaries like St. Herman who would intercede on their behalf.

St. Herman was so dearly loved by the natives of Alaska because he was kind and generous to them.  He aided them in any way he could whether that was by helping them grow food, taking care of them when they are sick, protecting them from danger, or telling them about Christ.  He was never forceful in his beliefs nor looked for any type of payment or thank you when he helped them.  This was in direct contrast to the Russians who were in Alaska for the fur trading business.


We spent some time watching The Weather Channel – learning about Tropical Storm Julia and Typhoon Meranti occurring today.

I also gave the boys seven questions on a homemade worksheet about today’s weather and they had to find the answers on The Weather Channel website.

Liturgy & Co-op: Tea-ography

Zach and Chris have been studying the history of tea.  They bring home a sampling of a different type of tea each week and learn about it’s history and where it originated.

Did you know that all tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant?  If it doesn’t, it’s technically not a tea – it’s a tisane or herbal infusion.  Black, oolong, green, white, and pu-erh teas all come from the same plant.  The differences between them are when they are harvested and how they are processed.

  • Black tea: fully oxidized leaves to intensify the flavor  (not my personal favorite unless it’s chai tea)
  • Oolong tea: mixture of black and green tea
  • Green tea: the leaves are steamed and not fully oxidized which has a lighter flavor (I like this one!!!)
  • White tea: made from the youngest buds and leaves
  • Pu-erh tea: black tea which has fermented in caves (The story goes that monks were trying to keep their tea safe from invaders and stashed it in a cave.  They loved the taste of it and now it’s considered highly sought after.)

Living in God’s Creation: Nature Pal Exchange

I signed our family up for a Nature Pal Exchange.  They match you up with someone in another part of the U.S. (they try to do differing ecosystems) and you swap seasonal leaves, seeds, flowers, etc from your yard or area.  There are some rules regulating what should and should not be sent in the mail because you don’t want to send anything invasive, poisonous…you get the point.

So I’ve been wandering our yard with the boys collecting “autumn in Missouri” to send to our exchange family in California.  Today we were in our driveway picking up little keys (seeds – we personally call them helicopters) and trying to identify the tree.  I thought it was a maple tree but the leaves didn’t look anything like maple leaves.  Research time!

The big boys and I sat around the kitchen table, one of us on each side of it.  I got out our tree books and pocket guides.  Each of us took one resource and went searching to figure out what kind of tree these seeds were coming from.  I told the boys to not say anything when they thought they found the correct tree.  Then we shifted our books one to the left until we went through all 4 resources.  I passed out a post-it note and pen and told the boys to secretly write down what tree they thought the seeds came from based on our cross-referencing (our vocabulary word of the day!).

We revealed our research based conclusions only to find that three of us agreed and one did not.  Thus cross-referencing our own research with the research of three other people which provided us the opportunity to review our own research.  Since we didn’t all agree (and based on the results – thank goodness), we went back outside with my zoom lens and took photos of the leaves.


As we held up our post-it note results, our results were:

  • White Ash Tree 75%
  • Boxelder Tree 25%

We downloaded the photos we took outside to my computer and went searching on the internet.  Our internet research showed that the person who had chosen the Boxelder tree was correct!  Good job Zach!!!  These seeds came from the Boxelder Maple:


Exploring Our City: Morning Coffee & Apple Picking

I spent the better part of 5 days taking care of people with the flu or being sick myself.  Then Les was gone on a 3 day trip.  When Les got back that night from flying and I knew he had the next day off, I asked him if we could just have some family time and explore the city.  There was not any twisting of his arm.

We headed out to a local coffee shop – just cuz.  It was really cool.  You could see where they store their coffee beans and where they roast the beans themselves.  We loved watching the baristas brew, steep, and draft our drinks.

Zach got a fruity, herbal tea.  It was very good.

Chris and Justin both got chai tea…and it was the best and creamiest chai tea I’ve ever tasted.  It was delicious!


I don’t know why I didn’t get a chai tea for Gabriel since he loves them but he had hot chocolate.

Les had a drafted coffee.  We had never heard of such a thing.  If a Guinness and coffee had a baby, it would be Les’ drink.  I don’t remember what it was called but it was literally drafted through a tap into a glass and the foam was just like that of a Guinness.


I had a filtered coffee.


We walked along the street known as “The Loop” and window shopped.  This particular street has the St. Louis Walk of Fame.  They lined both sides of the sidewalk with a star and a famous person from St. Louis.  The boys immediately got excited as they remembered our game we played in Hollywood as we creatively took pictures of everyone with a star that had their first name on it.


We drove around the city some more…exploring…before we decided to go ahead and go to apple picking too.


The boys took turns stirring apple butter.