Happy Halloween! The big day is here and if your children are like mine, you will probably find yourself out and about trick-or-treating tonight. Sometimes things can get out of hand after the fun of trick-or-treating and you may find yourself with a little one whose body is putting up a fuss from eating too much sugar and chemical filled candy.Read More
Long ago I learned the magic of simply placing a sprig of mint or lemon balm in my water bottle. After a half hour or so the water takes on a lovely light taste of the herb. My kids love herbal waters and I often put a sprig of mint into their water bottles if they are headed out and about for the day. Yet when we spend the day at home, I have found that filling a pitcher with water and herbs doesn't seem to attract their attention.Read More
Our sixth week of summer camp is all about being scientists while having lots of fun!
Projects and Experiments
These projects and experiments are great ways to introduce kids to some basic scientific concepts while engaging the child in learning about the world around them.Read More
♥ Time to play with mint! ♥
Our fifth week of summer camp is all about one of my family's favorite herbs, mint!
Projects and Recipes
We have a huge mint patch in our backyard. It started years ago when I planted a little peppermint plant next to a little spearmint plant. With the passage of time they have grown and spread, intermingling into a luscious green wonder. We also have a big whiskey barrel in our yard where chocolate mint plays with a raspberry bush and pansies. The result is that I have plenty of mint to enjoy with my family. You don't need lots of mint to do these projects, just a bit will do. But if you have a lot of mint, these projects will help you and your kids enjoy it!Read More
Let's get squeaky clean
with herbs and aromatherapy!
Our fourth week of summer camp is all about using herbs, essential oils and other natural materials to care for our bodies all while having a blast! First is a fully description about how to host a spa day for kids. Then there are some great bath recipes that kids can make. Finally, please find a little section for parents!
♥ Let's play in the garden ♥
Our third week of summer camp is all about plants and bugs!
Botany & Gardening
Here are some fun ways to learn about plants, play in the garden and even raise your own "herb babies!"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
Soft windy air swirling feeling wonderful on my skin, not accustom to the sun. The sky is full of billowing Spring clouds backed by bright blue. As I walk with my dog Cinnamon around our neighborhood into balmy winds, I find myself pondering as I often do on walks. I ponder how long we will live in our current house, thinking of the wonderful schools my children go to and will go to in the very near future. I ponder where I lived as a child and my friends' homes, realizing that none of their parents live in my friend's childhood homes any longer.
"Um, I wonder how long until we can move, if we choose to do so, until the kids are through school?" I find myself thinking such thoughts for the first time...
And I realize that eleven years is the answer. Eleven years until my youngest graduates from high school. That is not really very long. Eleven years ago I had a newborn baby, I was a new mom. My life completely turned upside down as I started on this path of raising kids. And it hits me, that I am in the middle. In the middle of what I think of as hardcore parenting. The kind of parenting when you have to literally be ready for anything at any moment. Over the past couple of years I watched this mile stone coming. I knew it would get here and probably arrive sooner than I wanted it too. I still see my youngest as a very small child yet when I come home from teaching at the preschool, I can't help but see her growing into a big girl, a girl who is changing so fast, and quickly loosing all those last vestiges of toddlerhood. My oldest is set on the edge of blooming into a teenager which is almost mind-boggling as well as completely beautiful.
I am in the middle.
The middle of motherhood.
The middle of life.
From here I can see my past particularly through the lens of my own motherhood, I see my childhood and I grow. I learn those lessons I missed and change. I appreciate more my own parents and my life. Of course I can't see the future yet I feel myself letting go of the desire to fix everything and make it all as it should be. Rather I want to let things be and experience. I am in the middle and excited to experience the ride from here.
Shadows climb up the garden wall Upon the green the first leaf falls It's the prime of life and the king and queen Step out into the sun...
...It's the prime of life, where the spirit grows And the mirror shows both ways
~ Neil Young
Shared On: The Sunday Parenting Party
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"
Who doesn't like a good foot massage? A nice rub is especially relaxing before bed. Massage oils and balms made with essential oils massaged into the bottom of feet at bedtime helps to induce sleep as well as fight infection.
Did You Know ~ Our bodies are able to absorb a phenomenal amount through the skin on the bottom of our feet. In fact an old remedy for coughs is to rub the bottom of the feet with olive oil, put minced garlic on top of the oil and then put socks over the whole thing. Within a very short amount of time the person's breath will smell of garlic! The garlic then helps to fight infection from the inside of the lungs out as the person breathes.
Creating Foot Balms With Kids ~
What is better than squishing and squeezing a bag of gooey goodness? This is just what we did recently at preschool. The kids each created their own sleepy time foot balm in a little baggie for mixing. Originally we were going to use tins to put the balms in but what fun is that?
- Shea Butter
- Coconut Oil (optional)
- Relaxing Essential Oils, Some Examples Are ~
Important Note: These essential oils are generally considered safe for kids from age 2 and up. If your child is very small and may get into the foot balm or otherwise misuse it, please store it up out of their reach when you are not in the room with them. Essential oils are not safe to use internally.
- Place a big spoonful (about a tablespoon) or two of the shea butter and coconut oil in a baggie.
- Let the children smell the essential oils and pick out a couple of their favorites that make them feel relaxed and sleepy.
- Add these essential oils to the shea butter/coconut oil blend. Because this is a really loose project with no exact measurement for the shea butter/coconut oil blend, I errored on the side of too little essential oil, to be safe, rather than risk using to much. So I used up to 6 drops of essential per baggie. This means that if the child choose lavender, cedarwood and ylang ylang for the essential oils, I put 2 drops of each oil in their baggie for a total of 6 drops. See Essential Oils for more information on using them herbal preparation safely.
- Seal the bag shut tight!
- Now for the fun part... Mixing it all up! It is the child's job to mix up all that goodness by squishing it around to their heart's content!
To Use ~
At bedtime rub a little bit of the balm on the bottoms of your child's feet. This is a great time to connect with a little massage and conversation or lullaby. Then cover your child's feet with socks. Off to slumber land they go!