Learning about Herbs

The past few months have been a crash course in learning some really neat herbal tools. Nutrition and nutritional products have always been my primary focus but the past few weeks have involved learning some basic herbal tools. I’m in the midst of an herbal training course and that has been helpful. Mostly though I’m just in awe of how user friendly, tasty and effective their addition to our lives has been.

www.beeyoutiful.com has been sharing a series of recipes that are pretty awesome. A few of them are mine and some of them are the creations of fellow Beeyoutiful Employees.

Below is a personal favorite. Adults and children benefit from it equally. We use it when there is a cold on the loose and have found it particularly beneficial with coughs or body aches and pains that are based in any sort of inflammation.

Liquid Gold Coconut Milk

Liquid Gold Coconut Milk

Liquid Gold Coconut Milk

  • 1 can of Coconut Milk
  • 1 and 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tsp Turmeric
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. raw honey or maple syrup
  • Tiny piece of fresh peeled ginger root (or 1/4 tsp. dried ginger powder)
  • Tiniest pinch of cayenne (generally omitted for children)

Add all ingredients into a small sauce pan. Use an immersion blender to thoroughly mix all ingredients together while it gently warms on medium heat (Or blend at high speed in a regular blender before heating in a pan). Serve and drink immediately.

A new term I’ve learned is fomentation. According to dictionary.com a fomentation is  and means:

noun
1.

encouragement of discord, rebellion, etc.; instigation.
2.

the application of warm liquid, ointments, etc., to the surface of thebody.
3.

the liquid, ointments, etc., so applied.
In the herbal world it refers to the application of warm liquid, usually a strong herbal tea like infusion that is held against the area that needs attention.
We’ve just started to use fomentations for sore throats and on lungs with severe congestion.
Lung & Throat Fomentation
1/4 cup dried Lobelia
1/4 cup dried Mullein
1/4 dried Plantain
Steep herbs in 10 oz of boiling water for 10 to 20 minutes. Strain through a piece of cheesecloth or coffee filter. Discard herbs and save tea. Soak a piece of plain flannel or cotton cloth in herbal tea infusion and wrap around throat or lungs. Leave for 10 minutes and replace with another piece of soaked cloth. Can be applied and used as often as needed.
What is your favorite way to use herbs?
Steeping pitcher

Steeping pitcher

Surviving

Sometimes it’s hard to find the words to attempt to convey what life has thrown at us the past couple months. Actually the entire past year. 2014 got off to a sad start with the shocking dead of Steve’s cousin Bill. He and Bill have been birthday twins ever since he arrived earthside two years after Steve. Attempting to pick up the pieces of a life gone before it’s time is never easy and we were left reeling with the suddenness and sadness of it all.

A couple months later we traveled to TX to see my treasured MaMaw for her 99th Birthday. This strong, humble, sweet and kind woman has influenced me in more ways than I can count and I am so grateful our children were able to meet her. Despite being very weak she held Mark and teased and played with him. A few weeks after our visit she slipped away quietly, surrounded by her living children with the same beautiful dignity that had been such a distinguishing characteristic her entire life.

Mark and Mamaw

Mark and Mamaw

After her death a sort of surreal feeling settled in. It was just hard to accept that we had lost someone important from both sides of the family. One expected, one unexpected, both incredibly hard.

On our way home from our TX trip our sweet Cman broke his arm in two places in a playground accident. A couple months later he re-broke the same arm. My Mama heart didn’t handle seeing my little dude in such pain two times in a single summer! Somewhere in the middle of all of this various challenges and stresses arose with some of the properties we are responsible for. On-going stresses from that piled onto our already overloaded plates.

Cman and Mama at the ER with a badly broken arm

Cman and Mama at the ER with a badly broken arm

Another couple of roadtrips later and a few months later our world was again rocked with an unexpected death. Our friend and the owner of www.morethanalive.com had died suddenly in an accident on his way back from a Prison Ministry he participated in every weekend. Vlad and Joy were one of the first couples to welcome us to TN and befriend us when we moved here several years ago. Our company www.beeyoutiful.com and theirs had worked together as our interests and passion in sharing tools to help individuals live healthier and more joyful lives overlapped.

The trauma of Vlad’s sudden death was compounded by an immediate flood of drama at every turn. Support and kindness poured in from all corners of the US and beyond to show love to his family. At the same time various dynamics came to a head and drama exploded on multiple fronts. Those of us close to the situation attempted to navigate the difficult circumstances with as much wisdom as possible. As the days turned into weeks a swirl of transitions happened at a very rapid rate. The decision was made for Beeyoutiful to own and manage MoreThanAlive and facilitate a continued support to Vlad’s family. And then my brother John and Joy were married.

As we barrel into the Holiday season while attempting to integrate two companies and continue to manage our normal responsibilities to Beeyoutiful and family while supporting an ambitious schedule of new products and growth the sheer logistics are staggering. Part of me wants to just go to bed and not come out until this horrendous year has finished itself out and then creep back out when we find out whether or not 2015 is going to be any kinder. Another part of me is filled with determination to finish this year out celebrating the many incredible blessings we have around us.

3 incredible kids, a business with the most amazing team ever to work with, the opportunity to learn and grow…there is so much good. One of the things I’m most grateful for are the many friends who have shown love, care, kindness and support. It means so much when a series of life events just keeps coming with hits to have people who show love in those basic, real ways.

Right now my life goal is to survive the next few weeks of work without finishing frying off my adrenals and sending my health into a tailspin. Easier said than done but also easier thanks to the awesome teammates helping to carry the many challenges before us. I’m determined to cling to the good and step forward with gratefulness for what we have and not take the time we have with loved individuals for granted. We truly do not know what the future holds and that is both the most terrifying and comforting thing in the world to me right now. I will admit to having a countdown to 2015 though…It’ll be somewhat comforting to officially say goodbye to 2014.

Rambles

Summer finally caught up and overcame our ridiculous winter. I’ve never enjoyed being hot more. The kids seem to be grateful for the heat as well. It’s such an awesome thing to be able to open the doors and let them run around outside for hours.

This does occasionally backfire in side effects like sunburns, bug bites and bee stings but the trade off is worth it for them to get some media entertainment detox and actually engage with the outdoors. Doodles is learning the wonders of chewed up plantain and can ID it at a dozen yards when motivated by a bee sting. For the record, she isn’t being targeted, all the bees around here seem of the Bee Movie variety and very hesitant to show aggression. However when they are stepped on with a 7 year old bare foot it is only fair that they sting in return. Speaking of bare feet, our kids just won’t do the shoe thing.

There are certain things I might as well record and just play on a loop at random intervals because it’s inevitable that it needs to be said approximately five hundred times per day.

Put on your shoes before you go outside!
Close the baby gates so Squish doesn’t kill himself on the stairs!
Don’t go outside without clothes on!
Whoever made that horrible mess needs to clean it up!
Be kind to each other! Was that kind?
Did you feed and water the cats? Make sure they have enough.
No you may not have a special drink. Herbal tea or water.

Our hunky Cman is talking. More accurately, we are understanding him. He’s been talking for a long time but it was more like toddler man cub sentence growls that nobody could really make out despite his diligence in repeating them for us dense people. Now that he can be understood I have to hide involuntary giggles. He’s super articulate and sweet.

Speaking of sweet. Why does nobody talk about how spectacularly sweet little boys can be? The sort of make your eyes well up with tears and feel like your heart is going to explode into a million pieces sort of sweet? Maybe it’s because we expect sentimentality from girls. Or maybe because girls are in general emotionally expressive or what have you but I for one have been really bowled over and touched by our sweet little men. It makes being their mama such a joy. Which is a good thing cuz the rest of this boy stuff is putting gray hairs on my head and heading me towards an early grave via the regular moments of terror I experience as their safety warden.

Our herb garden kind of went nuts this year. Massive amounts of fennel and cilantro popped up seemingly out of nowhere. The cilantro reseeded from last year so at least it’s origins are known. The fennel however just showed up with no warning and no prior presence right in the middle of the herb garden where it should be. It’s a mystery but the beautiful smokey purple feathery foliage is a lovely addition to the bed. The peppermint and spearmint beds in the front and back yards respectively are trying to conquer and take over new territory by the day. We are enjoying mint and sage tea on a daily basis. The various domesticated herbs are making me wish I knew a whole lot more about all the wild plants that grow so abundantly where we live.

It’s nearly time for an early am nursing session with the littlest one. Better close out before then. Hoping to get back to writing more on this blog soon but won’t be holding my breath. Life is just over the top crazy right now and looks like it’s just going to get crazier over the next few months.

Share about a SuperMom in YOUR life!

Beeyoutiful is hosting a wonderful little giveaway over on their facebook page. Click here to like the page. Find the image below and comment sharing a story about a lady who encompasses all the traits of a SuperMom in your life! We will be reading each and every story and will be picking a winner to receive a free bottle of SuperMom. Share it, pin it and spread the word to your friends!

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Vulnerability: Why it’s a big deal to Me

This blog is usually all about the latest foodie creation, natural remedy, nutritional discovery or about parenting related topics.

Tonight it’s about me.

31 Year Old Me

31 Year Old Me

31 one year old me.

WifeMom. Homeschooling Parent. Business Owner. Nutritionist. Doula. Wanna-be-photographer. Wanna-be-author. Wanna-be-midwife. Foodie. Researcher. Reader. Wanna-be-Cafe-Owner. Easily bored. Easily Distracted. Wanna-be-Herbalist. Coffee snob. Mama to angel-babies.

These are all true things about me, yet, they really don’t tell you much about me at all.

Vulnerability is tough for me. For most of my life vulnerability meant weakness. Weakness meant someone could hurt and exploit you. Therefore it was worth me bending over backwards, jumping through hoops and avoiding and obfuscating to be anything BUT vulnerable. Vulnerability means I allow something, anything be known that someone could judge you for. And by judge, I mean say judgmental things, pronouncements of negativity over the why and where and how of who and what one is. At some point, in the past couple of years there was a series of moments came together to equal an epiphany of sorts for me.

Judgmental people judge. Mean people say mean things. Opinionated people will tell you their opinions, sometimes loudly and carelessly and in a hurtful manner. And somebody somewhere will have issues with who and what you are no matter how real or fabricated their perception of you is. This should go without saying but for me it was a total ah-hah moment that led to the following realizations.

I cannot prevent people from disliking me. Getting angry with me. I cannot protect people from who they are or who I am. 

Through the years most of us start to figure out who is safe to tell what. Who can be trusted with the real stuff. The nuts and bolts things. All the various quirks, foibles, fears and loves that powerfully drive, define and motivate who we are. I’ve been extraordinarily blessed with dear friends all through my life who have come along beside me and been a safe place for me to share parts of who I am. No judgment zone friends have been an incredibly healing experience for me. They may laugh and look aghast as I delightedly blabber about placenta encapsulation but they understand and love me despite the fact that I randomly find miscellaneous mostly gross and health related things fascinating and share worthy.

And a few, I can contact crying. When I’m at my darkest. When life has me at a new, all time low.

When that pregnancy test is positive and the feeling of doom instantly settles on my shoulders, anticipating the game of wondering if this baby will survive the dangerous obstacle course that constitutes being grown in my body.

When it’s one of those times in a marriage when I’m not sure we will come out on the other side stronger. When I don’t know if there will even be another side to come out on.

When the mirror reflects back my puffy, exhausted face and dark circled eyes and my clothes tell me that my body is in stockpile/auto immune crisis mode again.

When I can’t get off the couch due to yet another health issue or pregnancy or post partum that has rendered me literally incapacitated past the pull yerself up by the bootstraps will power I used to be known for.

When I’m so stressed with business, life, kids and personal challenges I want to crawl into a deep hole and never come back out.

Sometimes it isn’t just listening. It’s the jumping in the car to come help. The dropping off a meal. The praying for me and sending me messages of encouragement. The showing up and herding children outside to play. The every day, ordinary extraordinary things real people do to help others out and make the world a better place.

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Yet despite the love and even more than love, acceptance I’ve been so beyond blessed to receive…

I still second guess leaving the house looking like a slob and wonder who will think mean things about me with my unwashed hair pulled back above my makeup-less face, wrinkled two day old clothes and slip on-shoes.

I still won’t invite people over way too often because the house is a wreck. No, I mean it. A WRECK. I live with a human wrecking ball in the form of a giant, furniture moving toddler and I hate cleaning house. It’s a terrible combination.

I don’t like anybody to know how much of my parenting life is spent saying “Not now…” “Later after I get xyz done…”Mama doesn’t have time…” 

I don’t like talking about the times when the kitchen projects don’t get done and there is store-bought Kombucha in the fridge instead of homemade or ::gasp:: No Kombucha or anything else trademarked healthy or crunchy at all.

And I definitely don’t like talking about the times when supper isn’t made, there isn’t much to eat in the house and my man goes out and brings food home. Fake food. Fast food. Sometimes fried food replete with trans fats and MSG seasonings. It doesn’t happen often but every time it does a little part of me cringes and wants to hide every time it does.

But all that self consciousness, fear and hiding isn’t vulnerable.

Not even a little bit. 

I’m afraid of talking about those things. Of showing my inner slob. My poor household organizational skills. Or having a rip roaring conversation in which my opinions and beliefs about doctrine or any other potentially deep and divisive subject comes up. Because, along with the amazing friends and family who have shown me unconditional love through the years there have been those who cut me off. Sometimes with explanation. Sometimes without. Those who have stabbed me in the back. Spread reputation ruining lies about me and those I love. Taken a small truth and turned it into a large and harmful gossip point of deception. Friendships and family relationships have been destroyed. Gone up in flames. And it’s hurt. A lot. The after effects of these various life pain points are still evident in my every day life even though most of the main events happened years ago.

But despite the fear, uncertainty and risk, I’ve come to respect vulnerability a great deal. Some quotes from one of my favorite ladies will define why I view vulnerability as being terribly, powerfully crucial to my life and why it has gone from being something that probably should be cultivated to an actively defined priority in my day in and day out life.

“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.”
― Brené BrownDaring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”
― Brené Brown

“Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.”
― Brené BrownDaring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

“We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection.

Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them – we can only love others as much as we love ourselves.

Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed and rare.”
― Brené BrownThe Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

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I don’t really fully grasp what vulnerability is supposed to look like in a fully implemented sort of way in every day life. Hoping to learn by doing over the next few weeks and months.

How do you feel about vulnerability?

Homemade Vita Gummies

When you have picky kids like I do it becomes necessary to come up with creative and sometimes off the wall ways to get nutrients into their reluctant, gaggy little mouths.

This month I got around to trying something new. Raw veggies are one of the hardest things to get in our kids. Especially when they are sick. Which is of course when they need those nutrients most.

Enter the magic of the gelatin based gummy. I’ve blogged before about how fantastic gelatin is for the body, here. The marvelous thing about this is that you can customize it to whatever your children need. Can’t get liquid vitamins into them? Turn them into Gummies. Not sweet enough? Add Stevia or maple syrup.

Our kids have been getting raw veggie juice with whole food based Vit C. They gobble them up like they are delicacies. Haven’t the heart to break the news to them that some of their arch veggie enemies are housed in the nummy Gummies. Some secrets it’s best for a mama to keep to herself.

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The ratio of liquid to gelatin that I use is roughly 4 cups liquid to 2 and 1/2 tablespoons bovine gelatin. Additional gelatin can be added if you want them extra jiggly.

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We recently purchased a small hand juicer. It’s fun for the kids to use. Goes just fast enough to make enough juice for gummy purposes. Is easy to clean and oh so much easier than hauling out our huge electric juicer that is best suited for big jobs. Best of all it was cheap enough that even if it only lasts a couple of years it will have more than paid for itself in productive kid distractions and expedient nutrients for kids.

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