Friday, May 31, 2013

This moment



{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. A tradition started by Soulemama.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

How to: Make your own elderberry-honey syrup


Today I thought I would share a recipe that is part of our daily health routine.  Elderberry syrup has literally changed our lives.  I first learned of elderberry syrup a couple of years ago, when it was recommended to me to use as a homeopathic treatment for a flu/cold I was battling.  I took some store bought syrup and it helped tremendously, even though it was pretty pricey.  Fast forward a bit, and I started reading more and more about the benefits of elderberries and not only them being used during sickness, but also to prevent illness.   

Here is some info from Herbwisdom about the benefits of elderberries: 

Elderberries have been a folk remedy for centuries in North America, Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, hence the medicinal benefits of elderberries are being investigated and rediscovered. Elderberry is used for its antioxidant activity, to lower cholesterol, to improve vision, to boost the immune system, to improve heart health and for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections and tonsilitis. Bioflavonoids and other proteins in the juice destroy the ability of cold and flu viruses to infect a cell. People with the flu who took elderberry juice reported less severe symptoms and felt better much faster than those who did not. Elderberry juice was used to treat a flu epidemic in Panama in 1951.

I can truly attest to the benefits of these little magic berries.  My husband and I  have been taking small doses of the syrup everyday for the past 7 months and this is the first cold and flu season that neither of us have gotten sick.  As most of you know I run a daycare out of my house, and getting sick usually just comes with working with small kids.  But not this year, not even the sniffles.  

So, since the syrup can run upwards of $20-25 dollars for a 4-6 oz bottle in the store, I thought I would share our recipe to make your own for much, much less.   This recipe makes 32 oz.  You can easily half it to make a smaller batch if you want.  Here is what you will need to make your own syrup.

~4 cups water
~1 cup of dried elderberries*
~2 cinnamon sticks
~fresh ginger (about a 2 inch piece, peeled)
~2 tsp. whole cloves
~2 cups honey (if you can get your hands on local, raw honey, that is best)
~A large glass bottle or jar 
~small strainer/sieve
~medium saucepan
~funnel

*Elderberries can be found in bulk at most health food stores or on Amazon or Mountain Rose Herbs




Once you have all your supplies gathered, you are going to grab your saucepan and put it on medium heat.  Add water, elderberries, cloves, ginger, and cinnamon sticks.  Give it all a good stir, and bring to a gentle boil.   Once it starts to boil, give it another good stir and reduce heat to simmer.  Cover with lid and let simmer for 20-25 minutes





While the mixture is simmering, take your bottle or jar and add your 2 cups of honey to it.  I use a funnel since my bottle has a small top.  



After about 20 minutes check the elderberry mixture.  It should be reduced to about half the original liquid.  Give it another good stir and remove from burner. Remove large solids (cinnamon, ginger) Toss in trash or compost.


For the next step you are going to need you sieve or strainer and funnel.  Put strainer in funnel and add the warm elderberry juice to your bottle of honey.  Make sure to use a spoon to squeeze all the yummy juice out of your elderberries.  Discard or compost solids.




Once all the juice is added, it will look like this:



Give it a really good shaking to mix the honey with the juice, and VOILA!  Your own elderberry syrup for a fraction of the price.  Make sure you refrigerate your mixture, and it will last for up to six months in the refrigerator. 



The daily dose for adults is 1-2 tsp. daily and 1/2 tsp for kiddos. Remember herbs are medicine and should be treated as such.   I haven't read any info that elderberries interact with any other medicines, but if you are on medication, you might want to ask your doctor or naturopath to make sure.


Enjoy!!









Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Love soaked weekend

This past weekend was a good one.   We threw a big BBQ this past Sunday at our house to celebrate some birthdays of loved ones in both our families.  We are so blessed that our families get along so well, and truly love each other.  It has been a wonderful thing to watch a strong friendship grow between my mom and my husbands mom.  
The day was wonderful.  So much yummy food, even yummier company, and the weather was gorgeous.  High 70's with a nice cool breeze.  We couldn't have asked for a better day.  

The most beautiful weather.

The nephew close to watermelon overload

That is my mom jumping in there with my nieces

My hubs is such a good uncle, he is going to make the best dad someday.

A early evening stop at the ice cream truck. 

A perfect end to a great day, watching the moonrise through our bedroom window.


Truly a love soaked, happy day.  Even though we were both exhausted that night.  Yesterday we spent the day lounging at home in our PJ's all day, which we never get to do.  It felt so good to be lazy and just relax.   I also was so proud of myself, because I told myself I wasn't going to log into Facebook all weekend, and I stuck to that.  Three days, and I didn't even miss it.  Not once.  When I logged in this morning I had 153 notifications.  Ugh. 

I hope you all had a beautiful weekend as well.  Tomorrow I will be back with a how to post on how to make your own elderberry-honey syrup. 







Friday, May 24, 2013

This moment


{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. A tradition started by Soulemama.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Perspective

The last couple of days have been so crazy, haven't they?  If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you know we had a little incident involving our car yesterday.  A freak thing.  My husband took my car to work and parked it in the parking lot like usual.  About midday, someone came in to say a car had burst into flames in the parking lot.  Mine happened to be parked right next to it.   This is what happened:


After I got the text from my husband, I was instantly angry that we would have to deal with insurance, repairs, the whole thing.  Then I almost instantly felt insanely guilty that I felt so upset about something so trivial.   Everyone was safe, no one was injured.  It is just a silly car.

A shift......perspective.

With everything that is going on around the world everyday, and particularly in Oklahoma this week. Something so small seems like such an insignificant thing to be upset about.  We have to deal with a melted bumper, while people are dealing with losing loved ones, their homes, and possessions.  


A shift......perspective.



I thought I would list some great ways to help out everyone in Oklahoma.  I know money is tight for everyone these days.  But some of these shops have beautiful things that would make great gifts for yourself or someone else, and they are donating proceeds to help OK.  


~ Text "Food" to 32333 for a $10 donation to the food bank or go to http://www.regionalfoodbank.org/ to donate.  

~Text "Redcross" to 90999 to donate $10 to the Red Cross.




Katelyn Of Gypsy Moth Sol is donating 50% of sales in her shop from now through the 28th.  Click here to check out her gorgeous offerings.



The Vintage Pearl is donating 100% of the proceeds from the sale of this love for Oklahoma necklace to the Red Cross.  Click here to check it out.


There is a great article on Huffington Post on different ways to help.  Please click here to read more and find the links to organizations that can use our help.  


Love and blessings to you all. 






Friday, May 17, 2013

This moment


{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. A tradition started by Soulemama.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

How to: Make your own healing salve

Hello!  I hope you all had the beautifulest of weekends and a happy mamas day.   Ours here was a good one, made better by so much thoughtfulness from family and friends.  Mother's Day is a hard one for me.  Even though I was blessed by having one of the most wonderful mothers in the world, our own struggle with infertility has felt emotionally overwhelming at times.  This year my family and friends made me feel special and so loved, and made me forget the hurt that this day triggers.  It was wonderful.  

Well, now onto this post.  I have been making my own salve for a few months now and I love it.  It all started with the need to find something to soothe my severe eczema flare ups, especially on my hands.  This salve does the trick for me and I use it continuously throughout the day.  I just replaced my everyday hand lotion with this and it has worked wonders.  I also use it on my other flare up spots and it helps tremendously.  My husband has even started using it, and loves it.  This salve is also really great for cuts, scrapes, rashes, and cold sores.  Here is what you will need to make your own salve. 

~2 cups sweet almond oil (or any cold pressed oil of your choosing)
~1/2 cup of both comfrey and calendula flowers
~2 ounces of beeswax (bars or granules work)
~essential oils of your choice (I use a combo of lavender, sandalwood, ylang ylang, chamomile, and geranium)
 ~large glass measuring cup
~double boiler or a makeshift one
~large saucepan
~cheesecloth and a rubberband
~jars or containers of your choice (I use small 4oz. glass jars)

Step 1~Take your herbs and your oil and mix them together in a sealed glass jar.  Give them a good shake and let them sit.  I let mine infuse for up to two weeks.  Just make sure they are in a cool, dark place and give them a good shake everyday.  This lets the goodness of the herbs soak into the oil.


Step 2~ After your herbs have soaked, you are going to want to strain your oil.  I use a large glass measuring cup covered with cheesecloth and a rubber band.   I let them sit for 15-20 minutes to make sure all the herby oil has drained down.  Now you can remove the solids, I always give them a good squeeze.  You want all the yummy oil you can get. 


Step 3~ Take your saucepan and double boiler and bring some water to a boil.  After it boils I turn it down a bit.  Take your double boiler, and place on top.  I bought my makeshift double boiler off of Amazon for $4 versus a real double boiler running around $30.  


Step 4~Dump your strained oil and your beeswax into your double boiler.  You are going to want to mix and give it a good stir.  Mix every couple minutes until everything is nice and melted together.  I use beeswax granules since they melt faster.  If you are using bars of beeswax I would chop them up or grate them a bit first. 


Step 5~Once everything is nice and melted together, I dump everything back into my large glass measuring cup.  This is the step where you are going to add your essential oils.  I use about 10 drops of each, but customize it to how you like it.  You are going to want to do this step fairly fast, since everything will start to solidify pretty quickly.  


Step 6~Once you have mixed everything thoroughly you are ready to pour into your jars or containers.



Step 7~After pouring your jars, let cool for 20-30 minutes before putting on lids.  This recipe fills around 6 4oz. jars.  The consistency of this recipe is completely up to you.  The way I make it, you can spread easily out of the container.  You can mess with the beeswax amounts and add more if you want it more solid or less if you want it softer.  Remember, if it doesn't come out the first time like you want it, you can always dump everything back into your double boiler and melt back down and adjust measurements.



Enjoy!  

*Most common herbs and oils can be found in bulk at your local health food store.  If you can't find any, my favorite online resources are Bulk Apothecary and Mountain Rose Herbs.

Friday, May 10, 2013

This moment



{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. A tradition started by Soulemama.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Maybe This weight is a gift


Heavy.  That is how I feel.  Weighed down and overwhelmed.  I consider myself to be a person who looks on the bright side or can find good in most situations.  I can usually find the light even from a place of darkness.  But right now, that person is not here.  I am trying to let the things go that feel like they weighing me down, but can't quite put a finger on what they are.   It is such a weird feeling, the nagging feeling that tells you something is off.  I am hoping it will pass just as quick as it came on.  But if this week is any indicator, this feeling might be around for a few days.   

.....Deep breaths, remembering how much there is to be thankful for.   Gratitudes. 


These words by Max Ehrmann are ones I always keep close and help me to get through these times when I am feeling less than myself. 

    Desiderata 

    Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
    and remember what peace there may be in silence.
    As far as possible without surrender
    be on good terms with all persons.
    Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
    and listen to others,
    even the dull and the ignorant;
    they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
    they are vexations to the spirit.
    If you compare yourself with others,
    you may become vain and bitter;
    for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
    Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. 
    Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
    it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
    Exercise caution in your business affairs;
    for the world is full of trickery.
    But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
    many persons strive for high ideals;
    and everywhere life is full of heroism. 
    Be yourself.
    Especially, do not feign affection.
    Neither be cynical about love;
    for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
    it is as perennial as the grass. 
    Take kindly the counsel of the years,
    gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
    Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
    But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
    Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
    Beyond a wholesome discipline,
    be gentle with yourself. 
    You are a child of the universe,
    no less than the trees and the stars;
    you have a right to be here.
    And whether or not it is clear to you,
    no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. 
    Therefore be at peace with God,
    whatever you conceive Him to be,
    and whatever your labors and aspirations,
    in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. 
    With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
    it is still a beautiful world.
    Be cheerful.
    Strive to be happy. 

    -Max Ehrmann

    {be gentle with yourself. }




    {You are a child of the universe,}






    {no less than the trees and the stars;}




For now I will try to remember this, and breathe through it.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Wanderlust

Wanderlust.

I've got it bad, like really bad.  As soon as the weather starts to turn warmer, it always hits me.  The longing to hit the road and get away from reality.  We are trying to plan a road trip for later this Summer, but right now I just longingly stare at all the pictures on my Wanderlust Pinterest board.  Here are some of my favorites:

Redwood Forest, Humboldt County, CA   (Source)

Giraffe Manor in Nairobi  (Source)
Boathouse
Kauai, Hawaii  (Source)
TreeHouse Point in Washington (Source)
Nepal
I need this  (Source)




For now I will just have to keep daydreaming about all these amazing places. {Sigh} Where are some of the places you dream about visiting the most?

Friday, May 3, 2013

This Moment


{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. A tradition started by Soulemama.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.



Thursday, May 2, 2013

Apothecary circle giveaway


I know I have talked a little bit about the Apothecary Circle here, and how life changing it has been for me to be a part of it.  Well, here is your chance to win a seat in our circle.   The Apothecary Circle founder Laura Emily is hosting a giveaway on her blog, and you have many chances to enter.  It is a $99 dollar value, and trust me it is an amazing group to be a part of.  Kindred, kind souls, who are supportive and so open to living a holistic lifestyle.  Good luck to you all! Go enter here.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Daily amulets

 First off, Happy Beltane, May Day, or just May 1st to you all!  Whichever it is for you, I hope it is a good one.  We here look like we are in for an early dose of summer, and by Friday it is supposed to be 95 degrees.  So not ready for that much heat!   
Anyway, last night a friend asked me what all the bracelets around my wrist were, and as I was telling her about each one it got me thinking about amulets.  An amulet is defined as:  

-an ornament or small piece of jewelry thought to give protection against evil, danger, or disease.

I definitely view the pieces I wear on a daily basis as my amulets or talismans.  They bring me a sense of comfort and each has its own special meaning to me.  To be honest, I feel pretty naked without them.  


These are what I wear around my neck everyday.  Awaken is my 2013 word of intention and reminds me of all I want to be awakened to this year.  My star and moon charm is a constant reminder of the deep relationship I feel to the moon and night sky. 



These are the bracelets I wear everyday.  With the exception of the bangle, I never take any of them off.    
The moon one is inscribed with our wedding date, and this what the phase of the moon looked like on the night we were married.  

The green aventurine and tigers eye bracelets are from the wonderful Ginger of East 80.  Ginger is so knowledgeable and has so many beautiful offerings. Tigers eye is said to be a highly protective stone, helps distinguish ones needs from the needs of others, dispels fear, and brings good luck.

Green aventurine is associated with the heart chakra, promotes empathy for others as well as ourselves.  Helpful in healing the heart.  Not to mention, it is one of my favorite stones.

The bee bangle is special to me because I view bees as my totem animal.  Over the past few years I have had so many cool experiences with bees and have grown to be very protective of them.  I am in the process of trying to get our own hive started, so we can have these beautiful pollinators in our own backyard. 
        
The Om symbol bracelet is one of my oldest ones and I have been wearing it for close to three years now.  It is a gentle reminder for me to seek calm and remember to breathe through the craziness.


How do you feel about tailsmans/amulets?  Do you wear daily ones that have special meanings for you?