I can’t decide if it is my Cancer Moon or something else that drives me to this craziness… It’s just that sometimes I feel like I could live in the bathtub. All it takes is a good book and some warm, salty, herbaceous water to make me feel right at home. It is so relaxing and restorative.Read More
Tight little pink buds open daily into the sweetest white blossoms on our two apple trees. These trees are very, very special trees. We planted them 5 years ago on Mother's Day as a family. One tree for each of my children, underneath which we buried the placentas from their births. Giving the trees ultimate nourishment and offering an act of honor to the lives my husband and I brought into this world, a celebration of birth and family.
After we finally set down roots in our home, we broke ground for these two trees. You see, after the birth of my first daughter we moved a total of four times in two years. With each move we made, I toted the placenta from her birth from home to home. Keeping it frozen in a container, I transferred it from freezer to freezer as one of my most valued possessions. So after we had been in our current house for a couple of years, greeting a new baby during that time, I felt it was time to plant these trees.
And as my daughters grow, their trees grow, marking this passage of time and showing so beautifully how life becomes enriched and deepened with each passing moment. This year the trees are beginning to mature, becoming big, all covered in beautiful blossoms with the promise of delicious fruit soon to come.
What, if anything, did you do with your child's placenta?Shared On: The Sunday Parenting Party, Eco-Kids Tuesday
Heart opening roses in the bath restores the nervous system while cleansing and toning the skin.
Oatmeal in the bath creates a rich mucilage that is extremely soothing to dry skin.
Rose Geranium eases nervous tension and rejuvenates skin.
Pure simple delight!
~ Make your very own Rosy Oatmeal bath ~
In a cloth or muslin bag wrap:
- 1 to 2 large handfuls of dried rose petals or rose buds (organic please!)
- 1 to 2 large handfuls of oatmeal
Toss the bundle in the tub and fill with the hottest water from your faucet. Let your bundle steep in the tub until the water is cool enough for bathing about 15 to 20 minutes depending on the heat of your water.
- 6 to 10 drops of rose geranium essential oil
- a handful of epsom salt, optional
Climb in and enjoy this super soothing, comforting bath! Be sure to squeeze and squish your bundle of roses and oatmeal to liberate the slippery, milky goodness from the oats. Use your bundle as a nice gentle scrub all over your body. I even put some on my face and let it remain there for a while to nourish my skin. Oh so simple and lovely...
After my bath ~
My skin was soft, so soft! I felt truly relaxed, nourished and ready for the rest of my day.
Nourishing Mama Mission Four ~
Ever heard of herbal infusions? Like a tea but much better with a stronger nutritive and medicinal action herbal infusions are true nourishment in a cup. Plus they are easy to make and easy to drink. What could be better for a busy mama?
This is the fourth pursuit of the Nourishing Mama Mission and if done regularly over time it is very powerful indeed.
Herbal infusions are incredibly useful for providing the body with easy to assimilate nutrition. Infusions differ from tea because the plant material is steeped for a much longer period of time than a regular cup of tea. This allows for all the medicinal constituents including vitamins and minerals to be liberated from the herb. Regular drinking of infusions over time provides a strong base and deep nutrition for the body. You can drink 2 to 4 cups infusion every day or even just a couple of days a week as a way to support yourself.
~ Herbs To Use ~
When making and drinking infusions it is best to use gentle, nutritive and tonifying herbs which act mostly as food for the body. A great way to start working with herbal infusions to start by infusing and drinking one herb at a time. This gives you a chance to really get to know each herb. How does it feel in your body? What does it really taste like?
Good Herbs To Start With Are ~
This is a highly nutritive plant that stimulates blood flow and is a body wide tonic with an affinity for the kidneys and adrenals. Nettle’s high vitamin, mineral and chlorophyll content feeds the endocrine glands, builds the blood, provides essential nutrients for a stressed out nervous system and nourishes the liver. It will strengthen and revitalizes weak kidneys thereby increasing energy. It’s high amounts of iron and calcium increase hemoglobin in the blood encouraging increased oxygen transport to tissues. It is high in vitamin K which facilities proper blood clotting. Nettle activates the metabolism, therefore assisting in the absorption of the very nutrients it provides! It is an astringent plant that tightens and firms tissues. This action arrests bleeding and discharge from tissues, increasing their health and strength.
Oat is a nutritive herb that soothes and protects the nervous system by providing essential vitamins and minerals. Oat creates a sense of well being, supporting the emotions and integrity of the individual. Indicated for nervous debility or exhaustion with depression; fatigue, even with a good sleep; dark circles under the eyes; heart palpitations when pushing too hard; and/or stimulant abuse. It is beneficial for those who have suffered sexual abuse and trauma, resulting in sexual debility. One quart of infusion drunk daily will provide powerful benefits.
The leaves of this plant make a delicious infusion, which is high in vitamins and minerals: especially calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium and vitamins C, B and E. Raspberry leaf is an energetic tonic for the reproductive organs..
Red Clover Blossoms ~ Trifolium pratense
This beautiful and commonly occurring ‘weed’ is a phytosterol, alterative and nutritive. Red clover is a phytosterol with estrogenic activity. Because of this, it acts as a defense against xenoestrogens (detrimental estrogens that occur in the environment as a result of pollution) by competing for estrogen binding sites. In fact my teacher Feather Jones explained to us that red clover also aids in creating a more powerful estrogen cycle. Red clover is highly nutritive with good quality, easily absorbable vitamins and minerals, proteins, fatty acids and flavinoids. All of which nourish the whole body: particularly providing vitamins for the uterus; minerals for the glands, which act to equalize hormonal activity and relax the nervous system. It also contains coumarins that decrease blood viscosity, hence increasing blood flow throughout the body. Do not take red clover for the first trimester of pregnancy or exceed two quarts of infusion per week during the later part of pregnancy due to its phytoestrogenic properties. Also, when buying red clover look for purple flower tops with a minimal amount of leaves.
Alfalfa ~ Medicago satvia
This amazing plant has a tap root that reaches a full 100 feet down deep into the rich depths of Mother Earth bringing up mineral rich goodness right into it's leaves and stems. Infusion made with alfalfa gives all the wonderful nutrition brought up from way down deep into the cup. Known as "The Father Of All Foods," alfalfa is a highly nutritive herb bringing health the body by feeding it well.
Chamomile is a soothing and relaxing herb that contains high amounts of vitamins and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin B-2, and flavinoids. It helps relieve anxiety and stress as well as pain and irritation in the gut, being particularly useful for flatulence and indigestion. Chamomile is also helpful for restlessness and insomnia. It steadies those suffering from nervous debility. Drinking chamomile infusion before nursing will impart these wonderful qualities to the breast milk and can help sooth an irritated child and alleviate some of the stress of colic. If you are making an infusion of chamomile, only steep for 3 to 8 minutes as it will become very bitter. Don't worry, this one is still very effective with the short brewing time. People who are sensitive to ragweed maybe be allergic to chamomile.
~ Making Your Infusion Brew ~
Place 1 large handful of dried herb in a canning jar (using up to 1 ounce of herb per quart of liquid, experiment with your tastes). Cover with hot or cold water, place a cap on top and let steep for at least 4 hours and then strain. You can dilute your infusion with water or juice, or add honey to taste. I usually make my infusions before going to bed and then strain the infusion the next morning into a bottle I can carry around with me during the day. Please be sure to use appropriate containers such as canning jars as they will not break when exposed to the high heat of boiling water. You can make extra quantities ahead of time and store them in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days. If your infusion takes on an unusual smell or begins to bubble it has gone bad. Unused leftovers can be given to plants as a superb growth tonic, and the spent herbal matter makes excellent compost.
~ Infusion Blends ~
Once you get the hang of making and drinking infusions you may decide to try blending your favorites together to create fun tasty combinations.
Here are some of my favorite blends:
- Oatstraw & Lemon Balm ~ Simply add a small handful each of oatstraw and lemon balm in a jar. Cover with water, steep for at least four hours and strain. This is my favorite infusion right now!
- Raspberry, Nettle & Spearmint~ Put a small handful each of raspberry leaf and nettle leaf in a jar and a few pinches of spearmint leaf. Cover with water, steep for at least four hours and strain. Play with the quantities of herbs to adjust to your taste.
- Raspberry, Oatstraw & Chamomile ~ Put a small handful each of raspberry leaf and oatstraw in a jar, fill halfway with water and let steep for at least four hours. About 15 minutes before you are ready to strain the infusion add a small handful of chamomile flowers and fill the jar to the top with hot water. Let steep for up to 15 minutes and strain. Add honey if this brew is to bitter.
Look for more tasty infusion recipes in the coming days and weeks.
Blessings and Love!
More Nourishing Mama Mission...
For more information on using herbs safely check out my guest post on
Natural Living Mama "Herbal Medicine Safety Considerations"
Frustrated, angry muscles and nerves plagued me over the past few days leaving me all sore and aching. When I am sore I always try to fit in a nice hot soak in the tub. Even with just epsom salts and hot water, I usually feel so much better after soaking. This time I made my bath even more soothing with the following blend of salts and herbs ~ oatstraw to ease my nerves and rosemary for muscle soreness. It worked wonders!
Make Your Own ~
In a cloth or muslin bag wrap:
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup of dried rosemary leaf
- 1/2 cup oatstraw
Toss the bundle in the tub and fill with the hottest water from your faucet. Let the herbs steep in the tub until the water is cool enough for bathing about 15 to 30 minutes depending on the heat of your water. The water will turn a buttery light yellow.
- 1 to 2 cups Epsom salts
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- 5 drops ginger essential oil
- 5 drops rosemary essential oil
- 2 drops vetivert essential oil
My vetivert essential oil has turned into a thick syrup oil so I had to patiently wait for each drop to slowing make it's way out of the bottle but it was so worth it!
After this bath I felt relaxed, centered and less soreness. I took my bath quite hot and only stayed in for about 15 minutes, it was like soaking in an herbal hot springs. Then I got out and laid on the floor with my feet on the sill of an open window. I laid there breathing deep and relaxing. As my body cooled down the tension drained out of my muscles. I felt so calm and peaceful. My muscles and nerves are finally nourished, letting go of tension...
Mint in the tub enlivens the senses and restores the spirit so this is a wonderful bath for when you need a little happy boost!
Here is how to make your very own mint bath ~
In a cloth or muslin bag wrap:
- 1 to 2 large handfuls of dried peppermint leaves
- a good sprinkle of lavender blossoms
Toss the bundle in the tub and fill with the hottest water from your facuet. Let the herbs steep in the tub until the water is cool enough for bathing about 15 to 20 minutes depending on the heat of your water. The water will turn a deep greenish yellow brown, like a giant cup of peppermint tea.
- a handful of epsom salt
- 6 drops of spearmint(not peppermint*) essential oil
Climb in and enjoy this happy, refreshing bath!
After my bath ~
I felt calm as I always do after bathing yet I also had a sense of wanting to inhale the moment. The rest of the afternoon found me happily going about my business with peaceful energy. Plus my skin smelled sweet and nice, a bit minty, yum!
* A Note On Peppermint Essential Oil: Every time I try putting peppermint in my bath I get burned, even with just one drop! I start to feel an itchy uncomfortable sensation on my skin and must get out to rub down with olive oil, which dilutes the peppermint. People react differently to things and it is possible that I am sensitive to peppermint. Try peppermint essential oil in your bath, if you wish, but please start with one drop and go from there.
Nourishing Mama Mission Three ~
How have you been? Feeling a bit more centered and relaxed? I hope so! A few weeks of claiming sacred time for myself and practicing conscious thoughts of gratitude upon waking have done so much for me.
This third pursuit of the Nourishing Mama Mission promises to be my favorite so far, the art of bathing.
I love baths. I love water and how it has the power to wash away everything, absolutely everything. Stress, dirt, illness, concerns and on and on... One of my teacher's at herb school told us that water is very accepting and healing. He said that when sitting by a stream you can ask the water to take away your worries, and it will. Having tried this, I can attest that water will do this for you, even when you are in the tub. As the water drains from the tub ask it to take away your pain, your cares and give thanks to the water.
All the Elements are present in the bath ~
Surrounding, cleansing and supporting, it is truly magical and healing.
It is Fire that heats the water and the soul.
Our plant allies become part of the bath whether in the form of herbs or essential oils, they add their special properties and healing.
A deep breath is instigated by the deep warmth of water and by the fragrance of the plants.
Breathing deeply centers and calms the spirit.
This is you, this is me, bringing ourselves to the moment. To be healed and nourished.
Most of the mammas I know would agree that taking time for a bath is really taking out some time for yourself. It means a lot to close that door on the world, slip into a warm fragrant tub and rest there undisturbed. Can you find sometime to do this for yourself? At least once a week? Give it a try and see how you feel.
Here is my favorite no fuss recipe for making a healing, relaxing bath ~
Fill your tub with warm to hot water and add:
- 1 to 2 cups of relaxing Epsom salts, depending on the size of your tub
- 6 to 10 drops of beautiful cleansing lavender essential oil
Have a big glass of cool water nearby to sip and bring a good book with you to read, if you so wish. Get in and relax, let go and know the water will wash away anything you no longer need or want.
More essential oil blends for the bath ~
- Awakens the brain while also providing relaxation: 4 drops each rosemary and lavender
- Great for easing stress and fatigue at the start of menstruation: 5 drops of clary sage and 3 of lavender
- Soothes mental fatigue and anger, plus smells divine: 4 drops cardamom and 4 drops ylang ylang
- For easing stress and when you need a bit of happiness: 5 drops rose geranium, 3 drops orange & 3 drops lavender
Note: Whenever possible add a big handful of Epsom salts to your bath which help to relax muscles and draw out toxins plus so much more, they are magical!
Look for more delicious bath recipes in the coming days. I know it will be hard for me, but I will research and try every recipe to give us all more wonderful ways to enjoy the art of bathing.
Blessings and Love!
Bath Blends To Try:
More Nourishing Mama Mission...
Image Credit: Morgue File (photos 1 -5)
Nourishing Mama Mission Two ~
Yes, it may be a bit cliché yet an "attitude of gratitude" really serves me. When I am grateful for what I have, transformation in how I feel and in my thoughts is immediate. Pretty quickly those bits of thankful feelings spread into all areas of my life and I find myself happier!
This second week of the Nourishing Mama Mission is simply to be grateful especially first thing in the morning upon waking. Have you ever played with this?
How do you start your day? Those moments when you first awake are special. They set the tone for your day. The past few months have found me waking in the morning stressed. I would wake up with a to-do list running through my mind and guilt over what I didn't get to the day before. Top that all off with a good dose of mommy-guilty and I was a mess by the time I got out of bed. Recently I realized that I was using this worry and guilt to motivate myself into action. I couldn't believe how silly I was being when the realization hit! So the past few days when I wake I strive to instantly start thinking about all the abundance and love in my life. After all I have a home and a wonderful family that loves me. Letting myself really feel the beauty of all I have, I get out of bed happy and ready for a new day ripe with another chance to experience, learn and grow. This is a habit I want to cultivate so that it becomes effortless.
So, how do you start each precious day? Is it with grumbling thinking about all the stuff you have to get done? Or do you embrace the moment and give a bit of thanks for another day? A bit of gratitude first thing in the morning is a powerful act.
Gratitude anytime is powerful...
This morning as I cracked eggs into a pan ready with dark green steamed spinach, I was preoccupied with what to make for the kids lunches; whether it was time to wake up my daughter yet; and did I have time to unload the dishwasher? The typical morning rush... As the shells cracked revealing deep yellow yolks I realized (and deeply felt) that I have healthy food to cook for my family. Almost instantly I felt a wash of gratefulness for all that went into bringing us the beautiful food we have: the Earth and Sun working together, farmers and grocers, the money we have to buy the food and on it goes. Next I found myself looking into the fridge and instead of seeing that I need to clean out and organize everything, I saw more abundance. It was simple. And, it was something that I tend to take for granted. We all have something in our lives to be grateful for even it is something very simple and small.
Special Moments Of Gratitude...
Here are some moments during the day that I experience gratitude, if I am open and paying attention. These are moments I can later call to mind when waking in the morning that fill me up and get me started on a path of beauty for the day.
- Feeling love for my husband and daughters, letting it fill me up!
- Looking into the eyes of another human being and seeing the spirit within.
- Taking a deep breath and feeling life-giving oxygen absorbing into my blood refreshing every part of my body instantly.
- Holding hands with a precious child, warm tiny fingers intertwined with mine
- Having someone really listen and hear what I am saying and being able to really listen to another.
- Seeing the miraculous beauty in nature, even if it is just a blade of grass, a lovely flower or cloud in the sky.
- Appreciating my body and the health I have within me.
- The simple wonder of Being Here Manifest.
Of course there are so many ways to be grateful and experience the abundance that is all around us. Join me for the next two weeks and cultivate the amazing skill of waking with gratitude!
Blessings and Love!
Nourishing Mama Mission One ~
This is the first week of my mission to reclaim my health, my creativity and well, my self! For this mission the focus is on cultivating sacred space in daily life. It is so important to me to have some time by myself without kids around. Time to have my own thoughts, to reflect and just be me. Perhaps all parents aren't like me, I really don't know about other people's experiences. I just know that this special time even if just for a few minutes helps me be a better mom and a better me. If this mission calls to you, please join me and cultivate your own sacred space.
The mountain and me ~
When my first daughter was born I found the tremendous effort of taking care of newborn shockingly overwhelming. I mean really didn't know what I was in for! At the time we lived in a tiny mountain town up high near the Continental Divide in Colorado. It was absolutely beautiful. My bright sunny kitchen window opened up to a huge mountain peak all covered in tundra and sparkly snow. Strong, steady and ever quietly present that mountain became my friend. Every morning after feeding and diapering my newborn baby, after sweet kisses and snuggles accompanied by my exhaustion from begin up at all hours, I would sit at my table drinking tea and communing with the mountain. As my precious baby napped next to me in her swing, I let the mountain's presence fill me up and anchor me in my new life as a mother while breathing in steamy herbal tea vapors. This ritual only lasted a month or so until things changed as they do with parenting, but it taught me something. It taught me to take advantage of those little moments of rejuvenation and to let them fill me up.
Well, I did learn but I also forgot ~
Yet, I forgot and forget to take this time for myself each day. The years since those lovely mornings at my kitchen table have found me here and there reclaiming sacred space for myself yet inevitably then something happens as life with my kids again changes and I lose my footing, I lose my way. I notice that I am lost when I start to feel disconnect from my inner guidance and yes, I even get snappy with my kids. It is ok though because this is how life goes and what matters is getting back to what feels right.
My sacred space ~
My favorite time to rejuvenate and center myself is in the morning right after I get out of bed. The times in my life when I have gotten up consistently to take care of myself right away in the morning have been some of the best of my life. I have energy and am focused, ready for the day to start. My favorite thing to do in the morning? Yoga. Through yoga I connect with my body and my breath. I feel better all the way down to my spirit. Because I am a bit out of sync right now with yoga I am starting small. Just 20 to 30 minutes max of a nice routine followed by writing in my journal for one page. That is it. Then I go on with my day. I have done this for about 4 days so far and plan to continue. In two weeks I will re-evaluate, see how I am doing and hopefully expand my practice. So far, so good. It feels wonderful to know that by the time my kids get up I have already taken care of me. Some how those morning hugs become even more precious than before!
Any time is a good time ~
Do you cultivate time and space for yourself in your daily life? What works for you? I know that some folks do their best at night while others like me find the morning the best time for connecting and rejuvenating. If you need time to take care of you, please join me on this little mission. Let me know how you are doing. What are you doing during your time?
Want to create your own sacred space?
Here are some ideas ~
Some of these take only a few moments while others require more of a time investment. Finding what works best for you is the important thing.
- take a bath
- take a walk
- hit the gym
- have a cup of tea
- sit for a few minutes and picture what you want from you day
- take a few deep cleansing breathes
- draw a picture
- create a daily affirmation
- just BE still and quiet with yourself
- watch the sunrise or sunset
Blessings and Love!