Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Basket Overflowing with Rosemary




It's that time of year. Harvesting, harvesting and more harvesting. While visiting my Mama this past weekend, I asked if I could trim back her ONE Rosemary Bush.

I am out of the Rosemary Oil I made earlier and wanted to make some more. I also wanted to dry Rosemary to put in a Post-Partum Herbal Sitz Bath Blend I plan on giving to some Pregnant Mamas I know.

Can you believe this is all from one plant?

Amazing.




I am making a Cold-Infused Herbal Oil this time. I will let the jar sit for 6 weeks in a cool, dark place and keep adding Olive Oil to the very top of the jar. No sun!

In the past, I sometimes have gotten lazy about checking my Oils. A few have spoiled because the plant material absorbed some of the Oil and I didn't refill the jar. If some plant material is sticking out above the Oil, you may end up having mold grow on it. So learn from my mistakes!

Check your jars frequently and keep adding more oil as it's absorbed. Before you know it, you'll have some lovely Infused Oil you can use alone or making into a Salve. Good-luck!






Monday, July 30, 2012

Go. Word of the Week.


Word of the Week: Yesterday morning, my daughter opened her eyes, sat up and loudly said "go." All day this child is "go, go, going." So, it's prefect that this is one of her first verbs.

Other new words this week: cheese, meow, open, sorry, olives, excuse me, card, thank-you, pen, elbow, knees, help, night-night, toes, broom and ouch.









Skill of the Week: Kicking a ball. She has been doing this for a while now but it's really caught on since she has become obsessed with the book




Mannerism of the Week: What we can refer to as the "Scaredy Cat Shake." When Aunt Mimi's cat, Bella, hissed at my kiddo, my Dramatic One did this little shaky dance. Arms stretched out completely straight, lips pursed, eyes bugged out...she shook her entire top of her body. Now, whenever we ask her what happens when a cat hisses at her, she repeats the "Scaredy Cat Shake." It may be my favorite mannerism yet. Here she is in the middle of it...





Favorite Material/Toy/Activity of the Week: The old-school doll my Mama bought her for 25 cents. It has very realistic fingers and toes and eyes that fascinate my daughter.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Connecting. Sharing Your Bucket List.


Tuesday night, I was feeling tired and cranky and still brewing over an argument Papa Bear and I had had days earlier. Papa Bear tried to be all lovey-dovey and I was not having it. There was a definite disconnect.

Honestly, we have gotten really lazy about doing our "Daily Temperature Readings" and Other P.A.I.R.S. Tools. We learned all there terrific skills in our class and haven't been using them for the last two months or so. We weren't putting the time in (like only 10 minutes a day) and it was noticeable.

So, he turned off the T.V. and I turned off the computer and we spent 20 minutes taking turns sharing our "Bucket Lists." I have found that because we are always changing as people, our Bucket Lists are constantly changing as well. Maybe the Really Big Things stay the same but the little guys seem to be in constant flux.

It was great. We both felt listened to and we both got some ideas for more ways to support each other.

A simple (and kinda obvious) way to change your attitude about your relationship. No need to drop tons of money on planning an elaborate date to reconnect...just 20 minutes of sharing was all it took!


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Clove Bud Essential Oil for Teething

Cloves
Cloves (Photo credit: amandabhslater)
 Our family has been dealing with the consequences of a "Teething Toddler" for the last few weeks. I remember hearing about "Clove Bud Essential Oil for Teething" way before I had a child. When my sister ended up with an extra bottle of Clove Oil and offered it to me, a light-bulb went off in my head.

Remember Essential Oil is STRONG.

I always try and use myself as a guinea pig first when using natural remedies. I dabbed one drop on my finger and put it on my gum. I accidentally put some on my lips. BIG MISTAKE.

My lips started burning, burning, burning. And then my lips went totally numb.

So, the good news is that it works. The bad news is that you have to be very careful when using it.

I highly recommend mixing the "Clove Essential Oil" with some Olive Oil and then putting it on your child's gum. Make sure their mouth is wide up, so you don't get it on their delicate lips. I've tried it on my daughter and it has seemed to help (or at least she seems a little bit less cranky).

Remember a quick consult with you pediatrician is always important whenever using herbs or essential oils.

Let me know if it works for your child!
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More Charm City Photos






I am really enjoying this age. My daughter is able to communicate most of her thoughts to me and she is finally playing a bit more independently.

I love silently observing her creative play (at this moment she has transformed a book box into a doll bed and is filling and emptying it with scarves all the while talking to her "babies"). It's truly amazing to watch a child's creativity blossom.

Reading books together has also gotten so much more fun. She loves to point out and say various objects on the page...which definitely makes it more interesting for me. Current favorites include: car, ball, book, potty, baby, bird, duckie, hat and "hoooo" (when pointing to a picture of an owl).


Of course, it's not ALL babies, books and smiles. Especially, if there is a camera or phone involved that she wants to hold.



I adore the way toddlers help around the house. Grocery unpacking, putting dirty clothes in the hamper, laundry, sweeping, washing vegetables. They may not do things perfectly, but you can't beat their enthusiasm, can you? (If you need help sorting out your expired salad dressing bottles...just let me know. My daughter's an expert).

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Charm City Fun




Back from three days visiting Aunt Mimi in Baltimore. Back from dancing in the street. Back from wearing Mimi's new boots and telling endless stories about car keys. Back from playing countless chase games with Mommy, cleaning out Mimi's fridge and gardening. Back from gaining Bella the Cat's love by feeding her and a first hair-cut. Back from visits to Farmers' Markets, making everyone laugh with my silly antics and sleeping while Mommy has a long chat with an old friend. Good times.





 





















Friday, July 20, 2012

Baltimore Bound. Artscape Ahead!


I have mentioned before my love of Baltimore. Today starts my favorite time of the year in Charm City...Artscape.  Three days where EVERYONE in Baltimore comes out to people watch, check out some Art (and crafts), eat over-priced food, listen to free music and dance in the streets. If you think Baltimore is only the Wire...Artscape is your antidote.

The weather is suppose to be glorious tomorrow. If you are within decent driving range of Bmore, come check out Artscape and Baltimore in all it's quirky wonderfulness. It's a sight to see!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

All Around the Table Now


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If there is one thing my family has a lot of....it's wooden chairs. My Mama has a knack for finding a $10 chair here, a $15 chair there, so all of our homes are well-stocked with places to park yourself during meal-time. Which means...I'm pretty spoiled. Whenever, I walk into a furniture store I always gasp a little at the prices.

Because our chairs have trickled in through the years, none of them match. If I was someone who was bothered by that fact, I might think about painting them.

I'm really liking the look of all these painted Beauties. Paint a motley assortment of chairs the same color and bam....your dining area is a bit more matchy-matchy. Or maybe go with the flow and paint them all different colors. I also like the idea of painting them different shades of the same color. 

The power of paint always amazes me!









Wednesday, July 18, 2012

"Must Have" Plants in the Bedroom

Jasmine flower
Jasmine flower (Photo credit: snopek)
Sleep is a sore subject at our house. I am always open to learning more sleep-inducing tricks for our daughter. So, I was intrigued by this Apartment Therapy post.


"According to a study by the Wheeling Jesuit University, Jasmine has a positive effect on the quality of sleep one gets, decreasing anxiety and improving the attitude one has after waking up. The smell of Jasmine doesn't make you sleep more, instead it makes your sleep time count for more. I guess you could consider it 'high quality' sleep with less moving and disturbance. In addition, studying while smelling Jasmine increased alertness and performance on cognitive tests."


Less moving and disturbance? Sign my daughter up.

Lavender and Gardenia also appear to work as effectively as prescription sleeping pills. Most people have heard about the calming effects of Lavender, so no new news there. What is new news (at least for me) is how Jasmine out-performed Lavender in the WJU Study.

My father-in-law has a gorgeous Jasmine plant at his house. Luckily, Jasmine happens to be a a plant that propagates well through stem cuttings. I guess I have found my next garden project!
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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Boo-Boo.

Aloe vera plant
Aloe vera plant (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A new word of the day. Boo-boo. This morning the kiddo woke up and immediately began saying boo-boo and pointing to the small tin of Calendula Salve. We have been putting the salve on a small burn on her wrist.

Every time I see that burn, I feel guilty. Earlier last week, she was helping me make scrambled eggs by tossing spinach, asparagus and cheese in the eggs - I thought she was far enough from the heat. Nope. Mama Fail.

Her hand got too close to the edge of the pan and she said, "hot" and looked startled. There was no mark, so I thought she was fine.

When the burn became visible, I felt terrible. I ran to my trusty Aloe Plant and broke off a small piece. EVERYONE should have a little Aloe plant growing in the window-sill. I applied Aloe to the burn and kept putting it on every several hours for the first few days. And then the Calendula Salve for the last 4 or 5 days. It's healing up very nicely.

I think we both will be much more careful in the kitchen. She definitely now understands the concept of hot! Hopefully, this new knowledge with prevent any more serious accidents with heat.
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Monday, July 16, 2012

Ticks and Counter-tops

I just bought some Red Thyme Essential Oil. During the herbal workshop I attended at Sacred Plant Traditions, some of the wonderful properties of Thyme were mentioned.

Typically, you don't want to put Essential Oils directly on your skin because of their potency (dilute, dilute, dilute). But...one rare exception is when you have a tick embedded in your skin. Put one-two drops on that little bugger and watch it pop its head out!

Red Thyme Essential Oil is antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antiviral, bactericidal, an insecticide and a parasiticide (among other things). Looks like you got your bases covered!

I diluted the oil with some water and sprayed it on my counter-tops as a disinfectant. Its smell is pretty darn strong, so make sure you like the smell of thyme before using it!

Also, if you are pregnant, DO NOT use...it's an emmenagogue.

For a way to cut down on the number of ticks in your back-yard, check out this post.



Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Slip N Slide and Plantain Part I


On Saturday, my Step-father celebrated both his birthday and 10 years of married life with my Mama. Luckily, the heat didn't meet the forecaster's expectations and it was only 96 degrees (Fahrenheit) or so. We were able to have a lovely celebration. Most of the adults stayed inside, while my four nephews broke out the Slip N Slide.

My fearless 15 Month old HAD to join in on the fun. Papa Bear and I took turns holding her hand as she walked down the Slip N Slide..AGAIN and AGAIN. This girl loves herself so water. Waiting for her turn...not so much.

It was a rather relaxed day (which was a good thing) because I was able to spend some time making some fresh peppermint tea for the nephew who vomited upon arrival and minister to a few bloody knees, one serious spider bite and and an infected cut.

More on that later.

(And, yes, I can't spell...it wasn't until I was finished painting the sign that I realized I had forgotten the "d"...whoops)

 




Friday, July 6, 2012

Language Explosion



All that babbling has paid off. The kiddo has been babbling hard-core for the last two weeks or so. Now, at 15 1/2 months, she is repeating new words left and right. It's pretty awe-inspiring to witness how language develops.

We have been describing and identifying everything to her in her environment since birth. But, now we can actually understand so many more words than her old stand-bys.

Yesterday, we were sitting on her bed when she gasped and pointed to her ear. "Car." I laughed and said, "yes, that was a very loud car." An hour later, she saw a photo of a car on my computer and excitedly said "car" again. Later in the afternoon, we were looking at a new book together and with no prompting, she pointed at the drawing and said "car." It's fun seeing her making those connections.

She surprised me with some other words yesterday (all new)....thank you, house, teddy, Oh...my God, down, open, help, dog, duck, wet, woof and whoa.

Unfortunately, our camera has been broken for the last 6 weeks or so. And, I don't have a fancy phone...so I haven't been able to capture any of the chattering on video. Hopefully, one of the Grand-parents will be able to film a few special moments this weekend.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Fourth! Oh, and Don't Forget to Harvest Your Garlic!



Happy July 4th! These photos were taken exactly two years ago today. I had found out a week before that I was pregnant.

We drove to Old Town to see the fire-works and sat in parking garage for TWO straight hours afterwards and swore we would never go back. Now, we live in Old Town and can walk there.

It's hard to believe how much life has changed since these photos (you know like me leaving Baltimore, shipping my faithful cat off to my parents, enduring a job I hated while pregnant, Planning a Wedding in Five Weeksadapting to marriage, assimilating to living with the in-laws, having a home-birth but ending up in the hospital anyway, spending 16 days in NICU with our daughter, attuning to life as a Stay-at-Home Mama, helping Papa Bear become comfortable leaving his parent's nest, learning how to divide up chores and run a house-hold without killing each other, chasing after a child who was walking by 7 1/2 months, learning how to become a neater person, rarely seeing my beloved sister, parenting a highly spirited child, accepting the need to wean earlier than I wanted, surviving being woken up several times a night for the last 15 months, house-hunting with your polar opposite)...







It has been a Wild Ride these past two years. It's been tough...but I know I am living a life full of Blessings. I try to count them every single day. Enjoy all those fire-works!!!

As a side note...I was introduced to a great idea this past weekend. Plant your garlic cloves on Election Day and harvest your garlic on the Fourth of July. Brilliant!***

I plan growing my own garlic this year; it's suppose to be incredibly easy. You can even use your every day garlic sitting in your kitchen right now...just separate the cloves and plant them individually. This was recommended to me to be the BEST garlic to grow. Yum.


*** (That is...if you are in the United States).

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Moo. Word of the Week.



My Daughter's Word of the Week (from Last Week). The previous week's cam be found here.

Word of the Week: Moo. Man, this kid LOVES cows. She's pretty lucky that we have been spending lots of time on Ra-ra and Grandpa's farm (where she gets to see cows up close and personal). She's been saying Moo for awhile...but this week it has become incredibly recognizable and passionate.

Skill of the Week: Drawing. She's really gotten into holding a pen and drawing in my journal (even though she has plenty of her own paper).

Mannerism of the Week: Fish-lips (pursing her lips when she is determined or annoyed or about to pout). NOT the cutest or most endearing mannerism ever.

Favorite Material/Toy/Activity of the Week: Hats. She is obsessed with hats. I put a basket of hats in front of her eye-level mirror. She adores trying on different hats and admiring herself in the mirror. In her favorite book, the main character loses her hat temporarily when it blows away. I can't tell you how deeply this page disturbs my daughter. "Uh-oh" she says sadly as she points out the hat floating along in the wind.





The Good, the Bad and the Ugly from My Solitary Adventure



I am back from My Solitary Adventure to Charlottesville, VA. Here is the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly from my trip.

The Good: I learned lots of tips to help me refine my herbal preparations. I was able to suss out the teaching style of Kathleen, the founder of Sacred Plant Traditions. I found tons of design inspiration in Kathleen's lovely garden. I met lots of interesting folks who are all fascinated by herbs. The hostel hosts at The Alexander House Inn and Hostel were very kind, warm and helpful. The Bunkhouse was clean, pleasant and cheap. Charlottesville was charming. I had a nice, long chat with an Irish fellow doing PhD research comparing an American slave-owner to an Irish land-owner. I have some more ideas of herbs to treat my migraines.

The Bad: The heat brought on a migraine during the second of of classes (being alone and away from home when having a migraine is not so good). I had to spend a second night at the hostel listening to two, young women with very posh British accents gossip about Facebook for hours. I missed out on touring Monticello.

The Ugly: Throwing up in a toilet other than your own can be pretty ugly.

Overall, the trip was a success (despite the migraine). I can't wait to share with you some of the things I learned!
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