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This blog is all about all the things that make me up. I am a Mother, I am a Pagan Witch, I am a Wife, I am a homemaker, I am a student, I am Spiritual, I am a Teacher, I am Liberal Hippie, I am a Voter, and I am extremely opinionated! Plan to see it all! If you don't like what you see, feel free to leave! However, chances are, if you stick around, you'll find more to love than hate!


Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Essential Oils Starter Sets

Getting started with Essential Oils can seem very scary! There are literally HUNDREDS of scents and
blends out there it can be hard to figure out where to start - and at the same time it can be hard to decide on just one! But Amazon offers a few different "Starter Sets" that give you a variety of scents to start with, that don't cost an arm & a leg either.

There are a few sets available, so I'm going to briefly go over them for those of you who are BRAND NEW. If you're not brand new, and you're just looking for a good way to bulk up your Essential Oil collection, Amazon has sets with as little as 6 bottles (explored below) and larger kits with 14, 32, 64, and 128 bottles through the Eden's Garden Storefront.

First I want to say, there are LOTS of brands out there and some are good and some are not, as with anything else. But Eden's Garden is one of only two brands you'll find in my collection. They are a really good quality, no fillers, and always have really good prices because they come direct from the company. BUT it's also a "little known" company, often overlooked (or at least from what I've seen) by others, so you may not know the name.

Anyways, you know the name now. These are the sets they offer, any of these would be perfect for those just entering the Essential Oil world, or make great gifts for those who are already here!

The sets available are:

Top 6 Basic Sampler Set  ($19.90)
  • Eucalyptus - Fantastic on skin ailments such as burns, blisters, wounds, insect bites, lice and skin infections, as well as to combat the effects of colds and the flu. There is also a history of Eucalyptus essential oil being applied to sore muscles and joints.
  • Lavender - Herbalist regard Lavender as the most useful and versatile essential oil for therapeutic purposes. Lavender is the essential oil most commonly associated with burns and healing of the skin. It also has antiseptic and analgesic properties which will ease the pain of a burn and prevent infection. It also has cytophylactic properties that promote rapid healing and help reduce scarring. The aroma of Lavender is said to have a calming effect on the body and it can be used to reduce anxiety, stress and promote sleep. Lavender is a very therapeutic grade comparable in status to the better known Lavender Population. The different soil, temperature, precipitation, etc. contributes to some subtle changes in aroma, the greatest advantage being for more sophisticated label claims.
  • Lemongrass - Known for its invigorating and antiseptic properties. It can be used in facial toners as its astringent properties help fight acne and greasy skin. An excellent anti-depressant, Lemongrass tones and fortifies the nervous system and can be used in bath for soothing muscular nerves and pain. Lemongrass shares similar properties with Citronella and has a great reputation for keeping insects away.
  • Peppermint - Widely credited with being a digestive aid. The leaves contain menthol, which is a proven aid to digestion. The familiar aroma of Peppermint is known for both its warming and cooling properties. Friendly to the sinuses, it is also useful to the muscular system, especially for women during monthly cycles or menopause. Properties include being refreshing, a mental stimulant and energizing. It relieves bad breath and is a good nerve tonic that helps with mental fatigue and nervous stress.
  • Sweet Orange - Properties for Sweet Orange are as follows: antidepressant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, carminative, cordial, deodorant, digestive, stimulant (nervous) and tonic (cardiac, circulatory). It has also been applied to combat colds, constipation, dull skin, flatulence, the flu, gums, slow digestion, and stress.
  • Tea Tree - Best known as a very powerful immune stimulant. It can help to fight all three categories of infectious organisms (bacteria, fungi, and viruses), and there is evidence that Tea Tree oil massages prior to an operation may help to fortify the body and reduce post-operative shock. Used in vapor therapy, it can help with colds, measles, sinusitis and viral infections. For skin and hair, Tea Tree has been used to combat acne, oily skin, head lice and dandruff. As essential oils have become more accepted by the public, the use of it has increased significantly. This can be readily evidenced by the commercial products now using Tea Tree oil.

Earth Set ($17.95)
  • Patchouli - Recognized by aromatherapists as being effective for combating nervous disorders, helping with dandruff, sores, skin irritations and acne. The specific properties include use as an antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, anti-emetic, antimicrobal, antiphlogistic, antiseptic, antitoxic, antiviral, aphrodisiac, astringent, bactericidal, carminative, deodorant, digestive, diuretic, febrifuge, fungicidal, nerving, prophylactic, stimulating and tonic agent. In the perfumery industry, it is interesting to note that Patchouli improves with age, and that the aged product is what is preferred over freshly harvested. In aromatherapy, Patchouli is an excellent fixative that can help extend other, more expensive oils.
  • Fir Needle - Reported to help with arthritis, bronchitis, colds, coughs, flu, muscle aches, rheumatism and sinusitis. It is a popular oil used to bring out masculine, outdoorsy attributes in men’s fragrances, bath preparations, air fresheners, herbal oils, soaps, and shaving creams.
  • Frankincense - The therapeutic properties of Frankincense include use as an antiseptic, astringent, carminative, digestive, diuretic, sedative, tonic and expectorant. Also said to help rejuvenate the aging skin, and is effective with bacterial and fungal infections. The anti-inflammatory property of this oil is reputed to be an effective treatment for joint pain and arthritis. Frankincense can also be used as an insect repellent and is also widely used in cosmetics and soap manufacturing. It has a grounding aroma, and often used in medication.
  • Pine - Has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties and can be used in the treatment of arthritis, joint and muscle aches and rheumatism. It is specifically indicated for respiratory problems and said to be useful in cases of intestinal disturbances, inflamed gall bladder and urinary tract infections. Aromatherapists credit Pine with being refreshing, invigorating, stimulating, strengthening, and very popular in an aromatherapy bath to revive tired muscles.
  • Meditation - Oil Blend of Clary Sage, Frankincense, Patchouli, Sweet Orange, Thyme and Ylang Ylang reputed to promote a meditative state.
  • Cedarwood - Believed to have the following properties: antiseptic, anti-putrescent, anti-seborrheic, aphrodisiac, astringent, diuretic, expectorant, fungicidal, mucolytic, sedative (nervous), stimulant (circulatory), tonic. In India, this oil has been shown to possess insecticidal and anti-fungal properties.

Fruit Set  ($17.95)
  • Grapefruit - Believed by aromatherapists to be a spiritual up-lifter, and to ease muscle fatigue and stiffness. It is also a purifier of congested, oily and acne prone skin and is sometimes added to creams and lotions as a natural toner and cellulite cellulite treatment. Grapefruit Essential Oil is reputed to ease nervous exhaustion and relieve depression.
  • Lemon - Historically recognized as a cleanser. It is reputed as being antiseptic, and as having refreshing and cooling properties. On skin and hair it can be used for its cleansing effect, as well as for treating cuts and boils. Research has also shown Lemon to enhance the ability to concentrate.
  • Lime - Crisp, refreshing citrus aroma that has been used by aromatherapists for its uplifting and revitalizing properties. It can also act as an astringent on skin where it is reputed to help clear oily skin.
  • Lemongrass - See Above
  • Sweet Orange - See Above
  • Tangerine - Like most of the citrus family, can be depended upon for its refreshing and rejuvenating characteristics. Its aroma clears the mind and can help to eliminate emotional confusion. Aromatherapists also consider it to be very comforting, soothing and warming. Users may also see it used in perfumes, soaps, and as an antispasmodic, carminative, digestive, diuretic, sedative, stimulant (digestive and lymphatic), and tonic agent.

Home Aromatherapy Sampler Set  ($17.95)
  • Grapefruit - See Above
  • Lavender - See Above
  • Lemon - See Above 
  • Peppermint - See Above
  • Spearmint - Aromatherapists claim the therapeutic properties of Spearmint are: as a local/topical anesthetic, antispasmodic, astringent, carminative, decongestant, digestive, diuretic, expectorant, stimulant and restorative. It is also believed to be an uplifting oil, great for alleviating fatigue and depression.
  • Sweet Orange - See Above

Synergy Blends Sampler Set   ($19.95)

  • Aphrodisiac - Oil Blend of Jasmine, Lavender, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Sweet Orange and Ylang Ylang, reputed to promote sexuality and sexual energy.
  • Hope - Blend has a combination of Cassia, Lemongrass, Rosemary, Sweet Orange and Tangerine essential oils.
  • Purification - Oil Blend of Eucalyptus, Grapefruit, Lemon, Lemongrass and Lime reputed to promote feelings of purification.
  • Relaxation - Blend of Chamomile, Geranium, Lavender, Mandarin, Marjoram and Patchouli oils reputed as being some of the best for promoting a peaceful, relaxed state. Try it after a particularly trying day at work.
  • Stay Alert - Oil Blend of Eucalyptus, Lavender, Peppermint and Pine reputed as being some of the best for staying alert.
  • Stress Relief - Blend of Bergamot, Blood Orange, Grapefruit, Patchouli and Ylang Ylang oils believed to be useful in reducing stress and its side effects.
 Other sets are occasionally available. And as I said, larger sets are available as well. If you're new to Essential Oils, any one of these sets could give you a good place to start. Each of these sets also comes with a mini book explaining different ways to use Essential Oils, but this book only gives you a very small start, so don't allow it (or any other book) to limit you. Essential Oils have limitless uses! Experiment, and take your time mastering them, you will NOT regret it!

Easy Energy Balls

As I said yesterday, I'm on the lookout for recipes and ideas for affordable and healthy school lunch options. This is definitely going in to the "lunch recipe box."  The ONLY change I see myself making is that I will be adding in some chopped dried cranberries and only half the chocolate.

All Natural Weed Killer

I love gardening, but I HATE pulling weeds! For the most part, I do my best to NOT kill plants, not even weeds! Usually, I just attempt to find out what the "weed" is before I remove it. I've actually discovered the value of a few different native plants that way. If I discover it's a beneficial plant, I will usually just move it. But for those that aren't, it's nice to have an easy option for getting rid of them. This is also the weed killer I use when getting rid of weeds growing up between the bricks in my sidewalk or in the stone walls around my property.

**DO NOT spray this on your plants though, because it WILL kill them!**

You need just 2 Ingredients:
  • White Vinegar
  • Salt  (optional)
 Simply fill a spray bottle with vinegar and mix in a few table spoons of salt (for a little added punch) and spray on the base (closest to the roots) of unwanted plants. Make sure you are using a "stream" setting on your sprayer, a "mist" will not soak the plant well and will more readily damage neighboring plants.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Waste Free Lunch Ideas

My sons have recently decided they want to start packing a lunch for school. At this point, there are only 4 weeks left to school, so I told them we would start next year. Until now I've always let them eat at school - for two reasons, 1. we qualify for free lunches so it helps my budget greatly and 2. I just assumed they would prefer a hot meal to a half day old cold one. I remember when I was in school I preferred school lunches, plus, I didn't want to be the ONLY kid who didn't get to eat them. Back then, no one packed a lunch! But I know I can give my kids a healthier meal if I pack it, plus, it seems that's what they want. So I'm going to spend my summer coming up with affordable, healthy and as waste free options for packed lunches!

So it's perfect timing that I came across this blog by Good Girl Gone Green!

Homemade Cola

Lately I have been wanting to buy one of those new Soda Machines that are on the market, but they are SO expensive, and I have much better things to do with my extra cash than that. But at the same time, I love soda, and I love the idea of being able to make it myself, I especially love the idea of using fresh juices!  BUT, in reality, you don't need those costly soda machines to make your own soda! If you've ever seen the inside of a soda machine at a restaurant, you'd see that all it is is seltzer or club soda mixed with flavored syrup. SO, why not just do that at home? Make flavored syrup and stir it in with a glass of club soda or seltzer...  And when you make your own, it's MUCH healthier than anything you'll get in a plastic bottle!

Black Bean Spinach Pizza

Who doesn't love Pizza?  Pizza, however, is usually NOT in the "healthy food" category. But that doesn't mean it has to be! The simple fact is, what makes Pizza unhealthy is white flour dough, to much cheese and loads of fatty, greasy meats...

Personally, the last time I went to Pizza hut (a no-holds barred trip mind you) I ordered a "Cheese Lovers" with Pepperoni, Sausage, Chicken, Mushrooms, Onions, Black Olives, and Green Peppers...  Yeah, I tried to load on enough veggies to hide the fact that all the extra cheese and meats - It didn't work, for my conscious or my gut!

But it doesn't have to be that way though!  There ARE healthier options that can make this an option worthy of the dinner table!

Now, I will say this, the recipe here calls for "refrigerated pizza dough" but I would replace that with a whole grain option. Otherwise, I love this recipe - you can easily skip the sausage too if you want though.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Tetanus Vaccines Fail To Protect

When I was 15 I fell through the railing of my mothers front porch and a nail ended up in the back of my leg. Not knowing any better, my mother took me to the doctor who informed her that I "needed" a Tetanus booster.  It was the reaction I had to this vaccine that started me on the path to find the truth. So in some ways, I suppose I should be thankful for an injection that nearly killed me, but in all seriousness, it sucked!  The pain from the injection was worse than the pain from the nail wound, and the vomiting, fever, dizziness and other nasty side effects that I'd rather not list were simply horrid! But I think the worst part was doing the research years later and discovering that the wound I had was NOT even something that was at risk for Tetanus, so the vaccine would have been useless even if it did work... 

But I digress...  The point of this "link share" is to better explore the Vaccine itself, how it is supposed to protect, and why we know it doesn't, not for me to bitch about my own vaccine mishaps.

Crock Pot Cheesecake

Okay, so cheesecake isn't the healthiest of recipes, but if you use organic ingredients and serve it with fruit, it's not the worst thing either. And we all need a treat from time to time, cheesecake just happens to be one of my favorites! And who doesn't love cold cheesecake with fresh strawberries for dessert on a hot summer evening? BUT, who wants to heat up the oven to make it? Not me!  So this is the perfect answer!

Deities in Detail: The Morrigan, Celtic Goddess of Death...

  ...and the Black Raven of Death and Rebirth

The Morrigan's major form is of an old woman, wrapped in a cape of black raven feathers. Sometimes she takes the form of the death raven announcing death, or the banshee predicting it with shrieks. She is the thunderhead that descends at death, and the soul which is torn from the body rises through it like lightning. Her body becomes the conduit of death, the stormy pathway of the soul.

This is not for all people but it is the way she appears to the Fair Folk. Because she is the pathway, the vast network of reincarnation compressed into a cloudy mirror, she can guide the soul as she chooses. She needs only to change the pathways. Usually she is a subtle mist, but on the battlefield, she is storm clouds and thunder, the hag screaming for the dead, and the black death-horse which gallops through the sky carrying its newly deceased rider.

She is also, in secret, the goddess of incarnation. People do not like to believe that incarnations are guided. They prefer to believe that souls are generated at birth, or that some great god has chosen their fate. That the dark death goddess carries the soul in her black wings to rebirth is a frightening idea. Perhaps if the soul were brought by the stork, it would be more acceptable to the modern imagination

Another role of the Morrigan is associated with the hunting falcon, which is a rare and special role for her. Instead of a raven who guides the soul at birth or death, she becomes that falcon that guides the healer or mage in initiation.

Almost by necessity, given the lack of records left by the Celts, some of information here about the Morrigan is based on intuition.

The reaction of most people to the presence of the Morrigan is fear because her presence is said to bring with it the aura of death. When she is near, the doorway of death is visible. The portal is composed of silver branches creating a doorway against the darkness. Beyond the door lay the worlds of incarnation.

There are many images that she uses. Long ago, she came as an animal - a wolf, a vulture, or jackal. Then she took on the forms of transportation - the death-coach and the death train. She is still the Nightmare who rides away with the soul, the dark angel of death that wrestles the soul out of the body.

The death-coach comes from a time when coaches were owned by wealthy aristocrats. A coach meant nobility, royalty, or superior status. A death-coach sent by a god would be luxurious black velvet and leather, with gold and silver trim. But it also meant that a deity, a superior was sending a messenger. It was how invitations were sent before the postal service and the telephone.

The death summons in whatever symbolic form brings awareness of the temporary nature of life.

The Morrigan's mythic body is a woman or a bird, but her cosmic form is a cloud with pathways leading from it. People are pulled down these pathways by the force of their desires and sins, and by their striving and seeking after goals. It is as if they are magnetized, and the soul is pulled from one magnet to the next. The death-coach brings the soul to the mountaintop or the cave, and she is the dark cloud it must pierce to arrive at its destination. She also opens the most powerful of the magnetized pathways - the birthing child pulling down a soul into a body and a new incarnation.

As a helper to and teacher of mages, she is the falcon who guides the hunter to his goal. Falcons too have been used as a way to send messages. In all cases, the message that she sends is that another world awaits.

As a teacher, she sometimes presides over initiations. Initiation is the simulation of death, and new life. In the initiatory process, it is the death of the soul rather than the death of the body, but they echo each other. One must experience disintegration before reintegration.
Initiations transform people and are sometimes painful but they bring them to the awareness of deeper layers of vision and intuition.

As Black Goddess of initiation, some choose to enter her cauldron, to gain the wisdom that is there. It is a dangerous path, for there is a chance of destruction, and also a chance of losing the wisdom that is sought. Such was the case in the tales of Talieson and Kerridwen. Though she made the wisdom for one who was dull and needed it, nevertheless one who was clever gained it. Wisdom will not always go where we wish it.

Finding wisdom is hard. Sometimes one must suffer unjustly, and sometimes one must deal with ugliness. But the Black Goddess has wisdom of the pathways of life and death, and from the dark cauldron of human need and desire, and from the process of incarnation itself, comes the bright drop of wisdom.

*Originally Published for my One Witch's Wonderland Blog, which has since closed, on 6/5/10.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

80+ Recipes for Home Canning

This will be my first year exploring the world of canning all by myself! When I was a kid I remember my mother & grandmother canning Blackberry Jam, but that was as close as I came to canning anything. And sine I don't like Blackberry anything, I'm not thinking that little bit of education is really going to do me much good.

But I happened to stumble across this site, and it's full of canning recipes for all different kinds of fruits and veggies. I'm hoping that, in addition to growing my own, I will be able to buy some surplus fresh fruits and veggies at the grocery or farmers markets when I can. I figure between that and my own garden, I could hae a rather large stash by the winter when the fresh stuff is less available.

163 Things You Can Compost

Awhile back I asked about composting tobacco scraps on my facebook page. I got some very good information from my followers and two of them shared this link with me. While I would say it's important for you to think before you compost anything, in general if it's grown from the ground or made from paper, it can be composted. This link, however, has a great list of things that maybe you wouldn't think of, I know there were a few that I had never thought of on it!

**I will say however, that although Tobacco Waste IS on this list, further research has shown that it's NOT a good idea to compost tobacco if you plan to use it for herbs, fruits or veggies as tobacco can cause illness in some of these.

Breastfeeding Myths BUSTED!

**Ages ago I saved this article to my computer to print out for a friend. But I have no idea where it came from. I am sharing the information here because it's important! IF you own or know who owns this article, please let me know so that I may give proper credit & link!**

If you've never breastfed before it can seem to be overwhelming and even confusing.  But the many myths which surround the subject can make things much worse! So, while there are innumerable myths out there about this subject, here are 4 that I've heard a great many times and feel need addressed..

1. Breastfeeding Permanently Alters the Size, Shape and Sensitivity of Your Breasts
I have never met a woman who could honestly say she wasn't at least a little worried about how having a child will change their bodies. And truthfully, there are few things you can do that will alter your body half as much as having a child will, there's simply no way around it. And there are changes which will affect your breasts as well. However, these changes take place through pregnancy and whether you choose to breastfeed or not will not stop those changes from taking place. It's true that many women will see growth of a cup size or more during their last trimester of pregnancy, breast may also change to shape, aureola color and sensitivity of your breasts during those months as well. These changes may remain after pregnancy, or they may go back to normal shortly after birth. But, process of breastfeeding will not, directly impact the size, shape or sensitivity of the breasts. In fact, breastfeeding has been shown to be good for the health of the breasts; studies have determined that women who breastfeed are somewhat less likely to develop breast cancer later in their lives.

2. It's Important to Prepare the Nipples
I was told to wear sweaters without a bra for the last 3 months of pregnancy in order to help "toughen" my nipples. And I'll be the first to tell you, this and many other "toughening" practices can not only be painful in themselves, but not worth it! One book I read even said to use a toothbrush on them at night before bed - OUCH!  The whole idea is to create a callouses on the nipples before the baby comes. In reality though, most women see no difference in sensation when attempting to prepare the nipples as opposed to not taking this approach, so it's better to avoid hurting yourself or risking infection.

3. Breastfeeding Is Easy
There is nothing more natural than breastfeeding, but in no way does that mean it's actually easy. Nearly all women will experience at least a minimal level of discomfort and some can actually have some rather serious issues. And for most, it's not abnormal to at least consider stopping. However, there are people and groups available to EVERY MOTHER that are devoted to making breastfeeding a positive experience for both you and your child.

4. Breastfeeding Stops You from Getting Pregnant
Ha! Let me tell you personally how wrong that is! I've heard it over and over, "I can't get pregnant, I'm nursing" and every time it makes me laugh. My oldest son was 5 months old and exclusively breastfed when I found out I was having a second baby...
For many women the menstrual cycle is disrupted and their period delayed while breastfeeding. However, you do NOT have to have a period for pregnancy to occur. And the fact is your cycle will restart BEFORE your period returns. Plus, the hormonal changes which occur in your body during pregnancy can actually leave you more fertile than you were prior to pregnancy and make you MORE LIKELY to become pregnant - Not less! So be careful!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Vaccine Exemption Information

I always, ALWAYS have people say to me, "I would like to stop vaccinating but it's required to go to school." In most cases, it's not. Go here to find your state's exemption: http://www.nvic.org/Vaccine-Laws/state-vaccine-requirements.aspx

Alabama Kentucky North Dakota
Alaska Louisiana Ohio
Arizona Maine Oklahoma
Arkansas Maryland Oregon
California Massachusetts Pennsylvania
Colorado Michigan Rhode Island
Connecticut Minnesota South Carolina
Delaware Mississippi South Dakota
District of Columbia Missouri Tennessee
Florida Montana Texas
Georgia Nebraska Utah
Hawaii Nevada Vermont
Idaho New Hampshire Virginia
Illinois New Jersey Washington
Indiana New Mexico West Virginia
Iowa New York Wisconsin
Kansas North Carolina Wyoming

 Each and EVERY State has exemptions. For those states which allow for "Philosophical" exemption the parent simply needs to have personal reasons and the school can not stop a student from attending on the grounds of incomplete vaccine records!  For all other states Religious and Medical exemptions are permitted. Although each state has different laws for what "Religious Exemption" really means most will except a "Moral or Personal Conviction in the Strength of a Religious Belief" as enough and do not and can not legally require any actual religious documentation. IF you find yourself in a situation where your school district is telling you that proof of religious belief is required, there are advocates which will work for and with you to make sure you are protected as this is simply not legal! DO NOT let them scare you, the law is on YOUR side!  

Chia Seed Pudding

It often seems hard to get kids to eat healthy food. In my opinion the TWO best ways to get kids to eat healthy food is 1. Get them involved and 2. Find recipes that are "kid friendly."  This recipe easily fits in to both of those points.  It's something that your kids can make all by themselves (with supervision, or you'll have a mess.) And what kid doesn't love pudding?

Starting a Medicinal Herb Garden

Had you told me a few years back that I would be growing my own medicine, I'd have laughed in your face. But now, I can't wait til spring to get a whole new crop of herbs, flowers and "weeds" sewn in to the newly awakened ground.

I do have to admit though, getting started has not been easy.  It's taken a long time for me to narrow down exactly what I was doing. And even now, I always tend to feel like I'm missing something. So I wish I had found something like this when I was just starting. In fact, I may just have to add a few of these to my plants this spring!

Monday, April 22, 2013

New Study Shows: Aspartame Linked to Leukemia

I've said it before, and I'll say it again - if it says "diet," "low fat," or something of the like, don't eat it!  Real food isn't "diet." All those labels mean is that they removed the naturally occurring fats, sugars and/or calories and replaced them with chemicals...  Diet Soda, is no different!

A new study is showing this to be completely true. In fact, it's showing that "As few as one diet soda daily may increase the risk for leukemia in men and women."  Personally, I do my best to avoid Aspartame, the ingredient studied in this case. It tastes funky and gives me a migraine, but after reading that it ups my risk of cancer, I'm happier than ever that I avoid it!

Read the details of the study:

Homemade Wash Trap

We have a huge issue with bees, wasps and hornets around here in the summer. The woman who lives next door is elderly and they tend to next in her eves. So if you go out on my back deck, you'll see them buzzing around and a few times a day, they tend to chase everyone inside. So I am making a few of these to help keep everyone happy and safe!

1) Cut the neck off a plastic pop bottle.
2) Remove the bottle cap and flip the neck upside down and place it in the bottle opening that you just cut.
3) Tape together using packing tape or duct tape.
4) Bait the trap. The easiest is sugar and water, but I've also read that meat works well in the spring and early summer because wasps are attracted to protein, or other options are sugar and water, water and vinegar, beer, soda, even laundry detergent. 

**Adding petroleum jelly or cooking oil along the steep edges of the trap can cause them to lose their footing and fall into the hole.
5) Hang the trap by either taping a string to it, or affixing a screw that you can use to hang.
6) Empty the trap - but first make sure the wasps are dead by pouring boiling water in or freezing. Personally, I'll just dispose of entire trap and make a new one.

Free Kids Activity Pack from the Herb Fairies

I posted this on my Facebook page back when I first found it, but for those who missed it there, I had to share again!

Download it here:

Friday, April 19, 2013

Homemade Calamine Lotion

I'll be honest, I've never really been a big fan of Calamine Lotion. I've used it on my self at the advice of others for a few different things, and besides Chickenpox, I have yet to find anything I felt it really helped. BUT, I know there are those who swear by it for everything from Poison Ivy to Acne. And since my kids are at that age where we are both watching for and hoping for natural exposure to Chickenpox soon, it's something we like to have around - just in case!  And since I prefer to know what I'm putting on my kids - or myself - a homemade option is without a doubt, the option I'm going with!

Buffalo Cauliflower “Wings” w Blue Cheese Dip

I love Cauliflower! And while I don't "dislike" chicken, I think this is a great way to get more healthy options in front of a family. In my house we don't do "wings" because they are just to much work for too little meat. Instead, we tend to do pan fried Buffalo "Nuggets"  made with either breast or thigh meat. But I don't know why I never thought of this before. I LOVE deep-fried Cauliflower, so why have I never tried to do Buffalo before is beyond me. And a BAKED version is just music to my mouth!

**Remember, Use Organic Ingredients Whenever Possible!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Cheddar Blue Cheese Baked Potato Soup

I don't know if it's the Irish in me, or just my love of comfort food, but I LOVE Potato Soup! Add bacon and cheese and I'm in fat girl heaven! So this is one I will be making over and over! Yet another reason I love the rainy days!

Note:  This recipe calls for "Red Robin Seasoning." You can make your own with the following recipe - Just combine & store:
  • 3 tablespoons salt (Use REAL SALT, for a healthy alternative)
  • 1 tablespoon instant tomato soup mix (Tomato Powder is great here too!)
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
This seasoning is wonderful on burgers, fries, salads, soups, spaghetti... You name it!

Natural Remedies for Common Childhood Ailments

For a parent, your child's health is at the top of the list of importance! We feed them health foods, make sure they get their exorcize and teach them to wash their hands. But eventually, everyone gets sick, and what we do when our child is sick can affect them greatly.

Many parents automatically reach for the medicine cabinet when their kids are sick. But the truth about what is in many of those medications has led even the FDA & CDC to force companies to raise the recommended age or remove them from selves altogether. More and more companies are producing what they call "natural" medications, by cutting out artificial colors and flavors, but the truth is, these still aren't very "natural" or healthy.

In fact, rather than making your child better, most over the counter medications work against their immune system and can make the illness last longer. This is because the medications stop the symptoms from happening, rather than using them to fight off illness - which is their purpose. Natural medications will aid the bodies natural functions and enable it to fight off illness or infection faster!

Here are SOME natural options for treatment of illness or infection in children or yourself.

Cough & Congestion:
  • Saline drops or Netty Pot
  • Eucalyptus Oil (add to boiling water as a steam, add to warm bath or use as a rub)
  • Lemon juice & Water
  • Raw Honey
  • Avoid Bananas, Dairy & Bread

Sore Throat
  • Tea Tree Oil & Water
  • Hot/Warm Tea & Honey
  • Horseradish (also good for upper respiratory infections)
  • Myrrh (also acts as an expectorant and decongestant)
  • Oregano Oil
  • Fresh Cabbage Laid Across Neck and Throat

Boost Immunity for Shortened Duration
  • Vitamin D3
  • Vitamin C
  • Reduce Sugar Intake
  • Increase High Anti-Oxidant Fruits & Vegetables
  • Echinacea
  • Garlic
  • Zinc
  • Turmeric
  • Probiotics

  • Drink Plenty of Fluids
  • Rest
  • Cool Bath
  • Cool Compress

Stomach Problems & Colic
  • Ginger
  • Probiotics
  • "Gripe Water"

Ear Aches
  • Drops of Garlic or Olive Oil in the Ear

Diaper Rash
  • Fresh Air – Diaper Free is the way to be! 
  • Coconut Oil (works as a Moisture Barrier)
  • Corn Starch (helps absorb moisture)
  • Tea Tree Oil 


How to make an Herbal Tincture for Migraine Headaches

I get migraines and from me to you, they're simply indescribable! Light, sounds, even smells are enough to make me want to cry from the pain!  Thankfully, there's a tincture for that, and it's extremely easy to make!

For me, one of the best parts of this recipe is that I already grow both herbs in my garden, so I have more than enough around!

If you don't happen to grow your own, make sure you order your herbs from a good, high quality company like:

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

How to make Gripe Water

Gripe water is a natural remedy devised in the mid-1850s in England for easing the pains and discomfort of a
baby troubled by colic, gas, cramping, indigestion, hiccups and teething. Variations of this recipe existed for centuries prior to its marketing as "gripe water." The original recipe contained alcohol, dill, fennel, sodium bicarbonate and sugar. However, because of ethical issues of giving babies alcohol and the harmful affects of sodium bicarbonate on young children, most people prefer to use a more "modern baby" friendly recipe. You CAN purchase Gripe Water at most baby or drug stores, however if you're worried about quality or ingredients, it's best to make your own, and when it's this easy, why not?

Below you'll find a collection of recipes, choose the one you like best and give it a try. Some of these contain things like sugar or corn syrup, if you don't wish for your child to have such ingredients, choose a different recipe or simply skip that step. However, for young children sugar or corn syrup can be used to help combat the bitter taste. In children over 1 year, honey may be used, however due to risk of botulism, honey is not recommended for children under 12months old. Remember, when you make your own, you can adjust amounts to fit your needs!

Gripe Water Recipe #1
  1. Add 1 tsp Caraway, Fennel or Dill seed to 1Pt Water
  2. Bring to boil & Simmer about 10 mins uncovered
  3. Cool to Room Temp
  4. Serve

Gripe Water Recipe #2
  1. Place 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds in a plastic bag and seal it.
  2. Beat the seeds. Use your hammer to beat the fennel seeds in the bag thoroughly. Now you have crushed fennel seeds.
  3. Pour 2 pints of water into a pan and place it on the stove on high heat.
  4. Boil the crushed fennel and 1 teaspoon of dill seeds for 15 minutes.
  5. Take the pan off the stove and strain out the mixture.
  6. Pour the resulting fluid in a bottle.
  7. Allow to cool to room temperature (use refrigerator for faster cool time - but serve room temp)
  8. Feed it to the baby. Shake the solution and offer up to 1/2 teaspoon whenever it suffers from digestion-related problems.

Gripe Water Recipe #3
  1. Measure one tsp. whole fennel seeds and place in a small mixing bowl. (fresh fennel can be used)
  2. Add 1/4 tsp. chopped fresh ginger to the fennel in the mixing bowl. (ground ginger can be used)
  3. Add 1/4 tsp. chopped fresh dill to the bowl along with two fresh leaves of mint that have each been torn in half. (Dried dill and mint can be used)
  4. Mix the herbs together with a mixing spoon, crushing the fennel seeds. 
  5. Pour the herbs into a small saucepan.
  6. Cover the herbs with four cups of water 
  7. Add one tbsp. of corn syrup. (optional)
  8. Bring the combination to a boil. Cover and reduce heat. Allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
  9. Pour over a strainer
  10. Cool to room temperature

Gripe Water Recipe #4
  1. Measure out 1 or 2 tbsp. ea Crushed Fennel seeds, dill seeds, chamomile & ginger. Peppermint, Lemon Balm and Cinnamon Bark can also be added if you choose.
  2. Place all ingredients in pot along with 3 cups water.
  3. Bring the water to a boil and let it boil for two minutes.
  4. Turn the heat down to a simmer and let the gripe water simmer for 10 to 20 minutes.
  5. Strain herbs from water
  6. Add honey or sugar to sweeten the water if you like.
  7. Cool to room temperature.
Gripe Water Recipe #5
*You will need a tea ball or cheese cloth/muslin for this method, but you can simply boil & strain if you wish as well.
  1. Grind, process or crush 1tsp fennel seed, 2tsp Chamomile, 1/2 tst Peppermint, 2 tsp Ginger
  2. Place ground mixture in tea-ball (or use cheese cloth or muslin to make a bag)
  3. Place ball in 3c water & boil on high for 2 minutes.
  4. Simmer 15-20 mins
  5. Remove from heat & remove ball.
  6. Stir in 2-3 tsp stevia
  7. Coot to room temp

Notes for ALL Gripe Water - 
  • Always serve at room temperature! 
  • Store in tightly sealed container.
  • Discard unused Gripe Water after 24-48 hours.
  • Give in doses of 5-10 ml up to 6 times a day.
  • Cheese cloth is useful for straining small particles of ground herbs or seeds

 Remember to get your herbs from:

Tea for Dying Hair

I refuse to use hair dye! There isn't a single one on the market that is actually healthy for you! They ALL contain chemicals that not only damage your hair, but absorb in to your body and damage your immune system - not to mention what they do to the Earth! YUCK!  But that doesn't mean I don't like to play around with different hair colors and tints. Instead of dye though I stick with Henna. If, however, you're just looking to give your natural color a boost or to cover grey, there is another options - TEA!

Tea is a great option because it's safe for your hair, you and the environment - although I do suggest using organic options to ensure that the growing process didn't cause any damage either.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Risks of Vaccinations During Pregnancy

Although most vaccine inserts clearly state that they should not be given during pregnancy, most doctors continue to suggest - and sometimes make it seem like you have no choice - that pregnant mothers get numerous vaccinations.  **At the same time they'll tell you not to drink coffee or eat fish because of the "risks" - tell me that makes sense?

So as a woman, especially if you're pregnant, it's important to have the information you need to make the choice that is right for you. That includes knowing the risks that your doctors won't tell you about! Mary Tacco* has put together some of the basic information at the following link to help make that education easier to obtain.
*Mary Tacco has been in the Natural Healthcare Field for 30 years and has been independently studying vaccines since the 1970's. She is on the Board of Directors for WAVE, World Association for Vaccine Education, is the Director of Vaccine Research and Education for Michigan Opposing Mandatory Vaccines is also affiliated with Mothering Magazine as a member of Ask the Experts. She speaks around the US and Canada and does radio interviews often. She is on a passionate mission to reach parents and physicians with the truth about vaccine toxicity and injury.

Hanging Herb Garden

So you think you don't have room for a garden? Think again! If you have a window, you have all you need to start growing your own herbs! I've seen many things grown up-side down - I, myself, grow tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and zucchini that way. But if you don't have the room for large planters or veggies, herbs are really simple and can be grown nearly anywhere that gets sun.

These hanging herb planters are easy to do, and can be designed to fit ANY decor! Just pick a window and start growing!

Four Thieves Vinegar

Legend has it that during the Great Plague of the Middle Ages, grave robbers would wash their hands in a solution called “Four Thieves Vinegar,” which was very effective in staving off infection. Today, most people aren't worried about the Plague, but this recipe can be used on hands, counter tops or just about anywhere else for an added antibacterial or anti-viral boost.

**Get Your Herbs From Mountain Rose Herbs**

Monday, April 15, 2013

Oral Health with Oil Pulling

I have a dear friend who turned me on to Oil Pulling a few months back. I'm still trying to get in to the habit of doing it EVERY DAY! But I'm doing better. I will say I've noticed benefits, even though I may miss a day here and there. My gums are visibly healthier, and my teeth are whiter! And while I can't say for a fact that my immune system has taken a boost from this (because I'm also doing other things to help support it) I can say that while my three children and husband were passing around a flu-like illness for over a month, I did not get it once - So SOMETHING is supporting my immune system, I can only assume that this is at least helping!

If you aren't oil pulling yet, you should be... Learn How and Why at the link below.

Now, I will say this, while this article doesn't talk about adding essential oils to help boost the benefits, I have heard of doing this. I warn though, IF you choose to go this route, start SMALL! Start with ONE drop of ONE essential oil.  To many or to much essential oil in a mouth that isn't used to it can be quite a shock! Personally, I recommend sticking to coconut oil by itself for a few months before you even consider adding to it.

Bacon Jalapeno Deviled Eggs

Right after Easter, everyone posts all their "what to do with the Egg" recipes. And if you're like me and  you have 4 dozen hard boiled eggs, you easily get tired of the "same ol' same ol'" deviled eggs that everyone has around the house rather quickly.  This was a recipe I actually found a few days before Easter and couldn't wait for it to be over so I could make them! I have a small obsession with hot peppers, so this one was calling for me! And I'm so glad it was, because it was DELISH!

These will be perfect for just about any get together where you would think of finding regular deviled eggs too, so  toss out your great grandmother's recipe and replace it with this one - trust me, if you're great grandmother had thought of this one, she would have done the same!

Just a note...

Dear Readers,

I'm so sorry I've been gone for so long. I know many of you watch for my posts on Facebook, BlogLovin' and other sites, and I thank those of you who took the time to reach out and ensure that we were all good. And we are! It's simply been a very busy six weeks - spring cleaning, sabbat, holiday, school break and a couple of sick kids on and off... I simply had to take a break from the blog. I just couldn't do it all. And, unfortunately, I'm just not super woman! 

I will be getting back to posting within hours, but I do want to note one big change that is coming. I won't be posting as often. I love sharing information through my blog, but I really feel at this point that I need to focus on my home, family, studying and writing my book more than my blog right now. So I am going to attempt to limit my blog posts to 3 or 4 posts a day. But I'm still here for questions or emails and as always, will do anything I can to help those who need it. Feel free to contact me!

Thanks again for all your well wishes and good thoughts!
Sabrina M Bowen
Blog Owner
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