"All our words are but crumbs that fall down from the feast of the mind."
Khalil Gibran

Monday, October 17, 2011

Natural Headache Remedies

Headaches are a common and unwelcome part of life that effect many of us.  As a person who has struggled with headaches on and off for over 20 years I have an interest in finding alternative ways to treat them that does not require taking tons of pain medication.

There are many kinds of headaches as well as a wide variety of causes.  This means that one remedy will not likely work for everyone.  If you find a remedy that works for you it is also not likely that it will work for every headache that you have since they will likely not all be the same kind of headache.

The severity of a headache can vary from a dull pain that is gone within a few hours to a disabling migraine that can prevent you from doing your normal daily activities and last throughout the entire day and/or night. Anybody suffering from a migraine or disabling pain should consult a physician as soon as possible.

Headaches can be caused by several things, here is a list of common causes:
  • Emotional Stress - Stress and Tension headaches make up about 90% of all headaches.  Stress headaches are not usually disabling but a nuisance none-the-less.  Depression and anxiety contribute to stress headaches as well as
  • Tension - This mainly happens when long-lasting tension generates a reduction of the muscles in the neck.  The pain is usually throbbing and affects the front, top, or sides of the head. 
  • Poor Posture - Poor neck posture is a common cause of headaches as it places strain on your muscles spinal cord.  For every inch that the head moves forward in posture, it increases the weight of the head on the neck by 10 pounds.  A forward head position is a cause of head and shoulder tension and pain, chronic pain, headaches, and stress-related illnesses.
  • High Blood Pressure - High blood pressure can cause headache, dizziness, blurred vision, nausea and vomiting, along with other symptoms.  If you have a history of hypertension (or if it runs in your family), you should consult a physician and have your blood pressure checked to be sure your headaches are not a side effect of a more serious problem.
  • Family Heredity - Do you have family members that suffer from headaches or migraines as frequently as you? Medical conditions can be passed down through generations. You can inherit a natural chemical imbalance which makes you susceptible to headaches.
  • Weather and Environment - The following have been identified as possible causes for headaches; changes in humidity, changes in temperature, storms, extremely dry conditions, intense odors, flickering lights, smoke, changes in altitude, and dusty environments.
  • Eye Strain - Straining your eyes to focus can cause headaches.  If you haven't had your eyes checked in a while, you should have your eyes checked.  If you're eyes have had a problem focusing over a long period of time, or if they have been degenerating over a long period, you might not even notice there is a problem.  Another eye strain can occur even if you have good vision, long periods of intensely focusing (sitting in front of the computer or reading/studying for an extended period)  
  • Fatigue - Overexertion, too many activities, and lack of sleep can cause headaches.  When sleep is disrupted on a continual basis (due to schedule changes, stress, or sleep disorders), it can result in headaches and fatigue.
  • Diet - Chemical reactions from food can effect certain people who are sensitive to certain substances in foods and drinks.  In addition, hunger and poor diet can cause headaches.  Skipping meals and low calorie diets can be a contributor as well.
  • Caffeine Withdrawal - Caffeine is a stimulant that is added to many beverages, foods, and dietary supplements.  Excessive intake is associate with caffeine dependency and can be linked to withdrawal symptoms which include headaches.
  •  Hormonal Changes - Headaches in women, particularly migraines, have been related to changes in the levels of estrogen (especially during a woman's menstrual cycle).  Estrogen levels drop immediately before the start of a woman's monthly cycle.  Birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy have also been linked to headaches.

One of the first things to do when struggling regularly with headaches is to keep a headache diary.  You should write the following down:
  • Your symptoms - Write down where you feel pain, what it feels like, and any other symptoms that come with your headaches. (i.e., vomiting or sensitivity to noise, smells, or bright light)
  • Time - Write down the time your headache started and ended
  • Food - Write down any food or beverages you had. (common triggers include chocolate, caffeine, and foods with the preservatives MSG and nitrates)
  • Weather - Were there any changes in the weather, such as storms/rain, high winds, high humidity, or a high pollen count?
  • Treatment - You should keep track of any treatment(s) you tried, and whether or not it helped or made the headache worse.

Here is a LINK to a free online headache diary that you can print and use at home. 
If you end up going to the Doctor's office, be sure to take your headache diary with you.  It will provide important information for your Physician or medical practitioner.

Here are several different remedies that do not require pain medicine.

Natural Headache Remedies

1. Large Glass of Water - Sounds too easy, right? Well it works more often then you think. Dehydration is one of the MOST COMMON causes of headaches, so a glass of cool, clear water might be all you need to start relieving pain.

2. Deep Massage/Pressure Points - You probably already know about massages and how they help to relieve stress & tension. A firm massage on the head, face, AND neck can get rid (or greatly reduce) headache pain.  See this LINK for instructions and a list of pressure points.

3. Aromatherapy - This is becoming a commonly used headache remedies. Sandlewood, peppermint, eucalyptus, lavender, and a wide assortment of other natural oils can be used to reduce, if not completely eliminate pain. These scents can be found in oils, candles, and even soaps. *Note* If you are scent sensitive during your headache, this may not be a good idea.

4. Take a Hot Shower - Hot water on your neck and back should loosen your muscles and allow better blood flow. You can also use aromatic soap (idea #3) during this process.

5. Ice Pack - Take an ice pack and apply it to the back of your neck (or wherever the pain is located) and allow it to sit for about 5 to 10 minutes. This technique should help reduce any inflammation.

6. Relaxing & Resting - Sometimes a headache is just your body telling you that you're overworked and stressed. Lie down in a dark room, shut your eyes, and just relax for awhile. Make a mental note to relax your muscles throughout the day, we often tense up our muscles when busy or stressed without even realizing it.

7. Diet - Do you eat always seem to get a headache when you eat certain foods or drink certain beverages? It might be time to eliminate some foods from your daily diet. Everyone reacts differently to foods (and the ingredients they contain) so it's important to look closely at the ingredients of what you're eating on days when headaches occur. If need be, keep a food diary (in addition to the headache diary to see if you've eaten or drank something similar on your days with a headache).  Eat frequent small meals to keep your blood sugar regular.  If you suspect a certain food (chocolate, wheat, dairy, etc.) try to eliminate it from your diet for a month and see if your headache decrease or terminate completely.

8. Calcium Supplement - This can help to relax your muscles and increase blood flow, which should help to alleviate pain a bit. A large glass of orange juice should do fine if you are without supplements. Many experts recommend taking a supplement which has both magnesium & calcium for maximum headache relief. 
*NOTICE* Calcium can react with several kinds of medication, including but not limited to: antacids, blood pressure medication, antibiotics, and other medicine.  Check with your Doctor first if you are taking any sort of medicine!
9. Exercise - This may be a remedy that is not easy to do depending on the severity of the headache. If possible, you should consider doing this before AND after a headache. Exercise increases circulation & blood flow which allows more blood & more oxygen to reach your brain. 

10. Rest your eyes - Do not strain your eyes to much. Give them a deserved rest every 50 min by looking at the horizon. 

11. Posture - For office use and video game play, place your computer monitor height so that the top third of the screen is even with your eyes and the screen is 18-24 inches from your face.  Take frequent breaks. If you sit for long periods, take frequent breaks, even if only for 30 seconds to get up or do neck exercises. Pull your head over your shoulders and squeeze the blades of your shoulders together in the back. Always use a back support pillow when sitting or driving. By supporting the back, the head and neck will move back over the shoulders.  Choosing a supportive neck pillow while in bed is very important since we spend about a third of our time sleeping.  Make a habit of checking your posture regularly, many of us slouch our neck and back forward while sitting and standing. 

I hope these remedies are helpful.


*This post is merely information - not medical advice. If readers need medical advice, they should consult a doctor or other appropriate medical professional. Mind Crumbs provides no warranties in relation to the medical information supplied on this blog, and that no liability will accrue to the blog owner in the event that a user suffers loss as a result of reliance upon the information.

Monday, October 10, 2011

No Stress Curriculum

Today I was thinking about how our year has been going so far, as we are in our first year of High School and 3rd year of homeschool.  I thought about  our specific curriculum and how I tend to spend much of the end of summer/beginning of each new school year worrying over which curriculum to choose and wondering what will be best for us.  I tend to want a No-Stress Curriculum. I was reminded today that much of my worry is in vain.

I recalled how things have worked out in each area of study.  Some areas we had extremely organized curriculum and in some areas we started with a much more open style of learning, pulling resources from the library, internet, or local bookstore.  I'm trying to remember that some of the more flexible times of learning really work better and stick longer in my son's mind than an old style rigid schedule of reading-quiz-reading-test.....

Life itself offers so many (almost endless) opportunities for teaching our children, IF we are paying attention and take advantage of the teachable moments!  

I love the way we teach and learn even in 'non-school' hours as we see something on a movie, or hear something on the radio that prompts conversation or questions.  And even more, as my son is getting older, he will hear adult conversations about life events and culture and join in or ask questions later....eager to have a deeper understanding.  

In our current day, there are SO many resources for learning that are absolutely free!  Libraries, the Internet, and just people that we know who have real and interesting life experiences.

Our first year I did not buy 1 subject of organized curriculum, by year 2 I thought that was a crazy idea (because it was a lot of work!) and we schooled off a 100% pre-organized and very scheduled curriculum.  This year we have the organized curriculum but I am tweaking it a bit so that we have more flexibility to experience some of those more free flowing times of learning...a little 'out of the box' so to speak.

I had previously thought that the more flexible learning style approach seemed to me to be much easier with younger children, and with the pressure of the ever looming 'High School Transcript' I was feeling pressured to revert to a public school style of learning....(to meet those college requirements) then I realized what I was doing. I remembered that I originally decided to homeschool for a purpose and that God has equipped me for every good work, of which I believe this to be (Ephesians 2:10).  Just like Moses, I'm trusting God to put words into my mouth when I don't know what to say, because I trust that I'm doing just what I was called to do...in freedom from the bondage of a strict curriculum.  And guess what....I'm still meeting those college requirements!

Doesn't freedom feel so sweet?!?  Why yes, yes it does!

Please don't get me wrong....I do truly adore our curriculum, it has made my life much easier....and yet I enjoy having a good balance.  And with the balance I am finding greater joy for both myself and my son.

If you are a homeschooling family, or just a parent with kids (since parents are teachers whether their kids are formally 'schooled' in the home or out of the home) ... be encouraged to think out of the box the next time their is a learning opportunity.

Also, if you are a parent who has fun or good stories about ways in which you have taught your children, I would love to hear them in the comment section!

Happy Parenting,

~ Jessica ~ 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Ebroidered Baby Bag

This summer I made an embroidered baby bag for a dear friend who was pregnant with her 4th child.  I was new to the idea of embroidering, so this is not perfect, but I had fun and it was a nice personal gift to give.

To make a similar bag, you will need the following supplies:
  • a canvas bag 
  • Design Template - *See below
  • Embroidery Floss (You select the colors based on your design)
  • Embroidery Needle
  • Scissors
  • Fabric Disappearing Ink Pen (optional)
* You can either free hand your design on the bag, draw it in advance with a pencil or disappearing ink pen, or copy it with a printout of a picture and some carbon paper.

Once you've settled on a design, you will want to mark it out on your bag and select the correct floss colors for the project.

I have used pencil in the past for outlining, however this time I had a pen with disappearing ink so I used it instead.  (A hint if you use the pen, work in small sections because if you take too long to finish embroidering, your pen mark may have already disappeared.)

Because the bag in this photo did come from the dollar store, it was thin.  If I had to do it over again, I would have used stabilizer and I also would have used darker floss on the name (it is hard to tell but the name on the bag is Atticus...for my good friends new baby boy!).

In case you wondered, the design above was done mostly with a back stitch, but the heart was done with the satin stitch.  

Here is a link to a site with video tutorials for several different embroidery stitches, the site is called Mary Corbet's Needle 'N Thread. http://www.needlenthread.com/videos


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Parental Controls For Cell Phones

I am the parent of a teen, and although I know this to be a controversial subject, I want to be sure that my son is protected while using his cell phone and held accountable for his cell phone use.

I understand that there are parents that think what I'm about to describe is an invasion of your child's privacy, however, I must say that I disagree.  I'd prefer not to debate the issue if possible.  My goal is to let parents, who like me, are looking for ways to protect their kids from cyber-bullying, sexual harrassment, sexting, and spending too much time and money on their phones.

If you are one of those parent...you may just be in luck because I've found and been using a wonderful new Application called Mobiflock.  Mobiflock is in its Beta phase, so right now it is free to download for Andriod phones and some Nokia phones.

I had gone to great lengths to try to get parental controls and services from our cell carrier (AT&T Wireless) and after paying for their so called 'parental controls' and 'filters', I found that all I could really do was restrict the number of minutes he uses, the amount of money that gets spent on downloads, or the hours he uses his phone.  And although those things were somewhat helpful, they provided no help with the fact that most cell phones today have FULL access to the internet.  Many of us have rules at home for our kids internet use on the computer, but do you have rules for (and ways of verifying) their cell phone internet usage?

If you don't already know this, it is even easier to delete the internet history on a phone than it is on a computer and most kids know how to do it!
Here is a section from Mobiflock's website
http://www.mobiflock.com that explains their services:

Mobiflock is easy to install and use. A small program - or application - is downloaded on to your child's phone. Then you use an online dashboard to set up security levels and alerts, and to get a bird’s eye view of how your child is using their phone. Including the time and money spent.

The Mobiflock service allows you to:
  • Find out who your kids are contacting and who is contacting them. And what they are saying to each other.
  • Control who your child contacts, who contacts them, time and money spent, information sent and received.
  • Locate where a missing or stolen phone, or even where your child is. And delete private info from a missing or stolen phone.
  • Receive alerts about inappropriate content; cyber-bullying; sexting; predatory activity; spending too much time or money online.
We also help you out with a wealth of information on these topics, giving you the knowledge you need to raise your children in this rapidly changing digital and mobile world.

By the way, we recommend you discuss Mobiflock with your child. The way the system is designed means your child will know Mobiflock is on their phone. We're not about spying, we're about empowering parents and starting a conversation between them and their children."

I personally discussed this program with my son and he knows it has been installed on his phone.  I don't really believe you can do it otherwise because there is an icon that stays constantly on the upper task bar of the phone (where you usually find your cell signal strength and your batter life icon), so they will wonder what it is if you don't tell them.  

So far, this application has proved very helpful to our family and provides a great source of accountability for our son.  When they roll out the full program it will allow even greater filtering options.

I hope that you have found this helpful.  

May God Bless you with wisdom in parenting and protect our children from harm.



Romans 6:12-14
"Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace."

2 Timothy 2:22 
"Now flee from youthful lusts and
pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call
on the Lord from a pure heart.

1 Peter 5:8 
"Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil
prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."

Philippians 4:8 
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is
noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things."

Romans 12:2 
"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this
world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."

Friday, August 26, 2011

Mum Purse - Hand Ebroidery for Beginners

I decided to make a quick project to leave with my little Cousin Grace recently.  Since she is a little girl, what better project that a little purse?

You will need: 
  • felt (I used dark grey)
  • embroidery thread 
    • I used 4 colors - white, blue, green, yellow, and thick dark grey (to match the color of the felt)
  • a button
  • an embroidery needle.
  • Cut the following shapes out of thick felt.  (The second shape is the same width and shape as the first with an additional length at the top with rounded corners for the top flap of the purse that will fold over and button to the front of the purse.)

  • #1 (front)      
  • #2 (back)
  • 1.      Embroider the design on the front piece.  (I used white for the flower petals, yellow for the center of the flower, blue for the stem, green for the leaves, blue for the top edge border, and a matching thick grey thread for the strap)  Back Stitch the lines and use a french knot for the dots in the center of the flower.

  •  2.      On the back piece, back stitch the border around the top edge and the buttonhole with white floss.
  •  3.      With the right sides facing each other, place the front and back pieces together, aligning the bottoms.  Back stitch the side and bottom seams with grey floss.
  • 4.      Back stitch the corners with grey floss.
  • 5.      For the strap, cut two 5” pieces of grey cord and nine 60” pieces.  Lay the 60” pices side by side.  Secure one end by wrapping and then knotting a 5” pice around them.  Tape that end to a table or a counter as shown in the photo below.  Divide the pieces into three equal groups then braid them to within 1” from the end.  Secure the other end of the braid.  Sew the ends of the strap to the side seam with grey floss.

  • 6.      Turn the purse right side out.  Attach the button to the front with grey floss.

I hope you Enjoy making this fun little purse, 
I know I did!
 Stitches Used:
Back Stitch
French Knot

This project was made from a kit that I purchased from a local craft store.  You can order the same kit with these instructions and all the supplies from 
at Dimensions Needlecrafts http://needlecrafts.eksuccessbrands.com/Product/Mum+Purse.aspx