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Pregnant Mama Bath Salts

An old friend is pregnant with her first child.  I think I may be more excited than she is!  I just loved the feelings around my first pregnancy...amazement, excitement, impatience, imagination.  It was such an amazing journey into mother-hood.  I am blessed with fairly "easy" pregnancies, but there are a few herbal remedies I like to use to help make the pregnancy a blissful one.

This bath salt recipe is very basic and can be tailored a bit depending on what symptoms the pregnant mama is experiencing.  My friend mentioned sore, tight muscles.  Knowing this, I added eucalyptus essential oil (safe after 1st trimester) and made the Epsom salts outweigh the Himalayan salt.  Below are just a few benefits of the ingredients:

Epsom Salts - trans-dermal magnesium boost, and sore muscle soother
Himalayan Pink Salt - helps stimulate circulation and hydrate your skin
Bentonite Clay - draws toxins out
Oats - skin soother and moisturizer
Lavender - to calm the mind
Lavender Essential Oil - again, calming...very important for pregnant mamas
Eucalyptus Essential Oil - helps soothe sore muscles

**I gathered all my helpers to put their energy and love into creating this gift.  I believe a large part of the effectiveness of a certain herbal remedy is the intention, thought and love put into it's creation.  I dare say with this many eager hands and smiling faces, my friend will be well taken care of!** 






Pregnant Mama Bath Salts

2 cups Epsom salts
1/2 cup Rolled oats
1/4 cup Dried lavender
1/4 cup Bentonite clay
1/4 cup Himalayan pink salt
20 drops EO of Lavender
10 drops EO of Eucalyptus

To make:

Mix all dry ingredients together.  For a smoother look you can grind the oats and the lavender, but we like it chunky.  Add your 30 drops of essential oil and mix using a utensil, not your hands.  The essential oils will soak into your hands quicker than the salts!  Let the mix sit at least 6 hours, mixing after every two hours if you think about it.  Then store in an airtight container.


To Use:

Place 1/4 cup or so of the bath salts into a little cotton muslin bag.  Tie it to the end of your faucet and let the bath water fill over the bag, then toss it in when the bath is full.  A candle and some deep breathing will help round out the experience.  Be sure to enjoy the moment now, because once you have kids you will never have a bath like this again...(just kidding!  But it may be a while...seriously.  Ask me how I know.).



Snack Boards

Snack time is a big deal in my house.  My kids are grazers.  Really?!?  Yours too?!?


Since we home school, they have constant access to the kitchen and it can be a drag to be a short order cook and wash a thousand dishes every day.  After breakfast I close the kitchen until "snack time".  When it's officially snack time, the kids wait at the table to see what's on their boards.  It's kind of a sweet ritual.  This is the one time they are not in the kitchen helping.  They enjoy getting a surprise snack and I enjoy plating something simple and nutritious to get us through to lunch.

A mama friend asked what I did for snack time a few weeks ago.  I keep it simple.  I always make sure there's a bit of protein and fat to keep hungry tummies happy.  I also always make it simple finger foods (less dishes!).

I decided to quickly snap a shot at each snack last week so I could share them here.  Mondays we have a class in the morning, so snack is in the car or at a park.  Weekends all rhythms and rituals are out the window because our weekends are all over the place!  We start snack with this verse.  It's  a traditional Waldorf verse that we first learned at a playgroup many years ago...

Blessings on the blossom, blessings on the root
blessings on the leaf and stem,
blessings on the fruit.


Tuesday

Cucumbers, red pepper bean dip, and strawberries.


Wednesday 

Carrots, raw cashew - choco balls, turmeric mango lassi.



Thursday

Soaked almonds, grapes, cherry tomatoes and raw cashew-choco balls.


Friday

Pesto-kale hummus, cucumbers, pistachios, goji beries and a few mini chocolate chips (we love these!).


We use these lovely boards at snack time to make it special.  The rabbits were our first boards and I got them from Magic Cabin.  Then I had a fellow crafty mama make me some piggies and kitties.  You can see more of her work here.  Honestly the more expensive rabbit boards have split in half, where as the mama made ones are super sturdy.  We do give them some beeswax love about once a month.  That helps to keep them smooth and shiny...it's also a lovely activity when the little ones need to have busy hands.

What does snack time look like in your home?



CSA - Savraw


Guess what the kids ate first?

I used to always post our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) boxes.  We had so many great options when we lived in Long Beach.
At one time or another we were part of:
Urban Farm
Tanaka Farms
The Growing Experience
Farmer Steve - Citrus

Harvesting our pears and peaches Fall 2012 in WA

For the year or so we were in Washington we had our own garden and orchard.  We grew so much of our own food...it was amazing!
While we were there we also got a box from the lovely folks over at Cloudview Eco-Farms.  No blog posts on that one since I was so busy running the little farm we had going that I never ended up blogging about it!

Now that we are in Los Angeles though, I have yet to find a great CSA.  I thought for sure there would be all sorts of CSA's to choose from, but there's not.  Perhaps because there are multiple Farmer's Markets every single day of the week in the city? 

Dealing with four veggie crazed kids at a farmer's market though is not always super fun.  It's not like pictures out of the food magazines where some lovely mama is strolling through the market with a gorgeous floppy hat and two adorable children at her side quietly holding their own wicker basket.  No...no.  It's more like one mama trying to wrangle four kids as they all dart off in different directions towards their favorite vendors.  Then fabulous arguments over which apple is better or whether we are done with "watermelon season". I always end up forgetting something and spending way too much on what the kids are devouring as we are just walking around.  Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy going to the Farmer's Markets...just not all the time.  I need an easy box!

We tried Farm Fresh To You both here in LA and also when we were in Long Beach, but their boxes are not cost efficient and their customer service has been less than stellar.  Their produce looks plucked out of Whole Foods and I swear it's not all organic.  I generally prefer to join CSA's that are directly from a farm...not a sort of middle man collecting form other farms.  It does seem that the new wave of CSA's are collections of smaller farms.  I like the idea of more and more smaller farms, but it makes the price point go up, ya know?

That brings me to this week's CSA box from Savraw.  We ordered a $48.00 "Large" box as I do believe we are considered a large family.  Here's what we got:


1 large bunch chard
1 bunch Thai Basil
3 cayenne peppers
1 bunch curly kale
1 bunch dino kale
1 head butter lettuce
1 med. eggplant
2 peaches
1 bunch parsley
1 bunch broccoli
3 cucumbers
3 zucchini
4 red onions
1 asian pear
3 oranges
1 doz pluots
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 lb San Marzano tomatoes
1 delicata squash
1 heirloom squash

Not bad, right?  The quality of the produce was pretty good.  The tomatoes were amazingly sweet, the pluots were devoured before I could even get one, and the cucumbers were some of the best I've had all summer.  The kale left a little something to be desired.  Maybe picked a day or two earlier? Also one of the zucchini was bad and the eggplant had to be eaten straight away, thus foiling my plans to make my eggplant jerky.  The cayennes are waiting to go into my pickled jalapenos later this week, and the squash will be dinner tomorrow.

 I certainly like their well developed website, complete with recipes and local "add-ons" like honey and bee pollen. Their customer service has been easy and swift (all online) and the woman who I picked the box up from insisted on loading it into my car (thank you!).  Honestly my only hang up is the price.  I feel $40 would be fair for this amount.  I know it's only an $8 difference, but I am feeding a large family and trying to get the best quality produce my budget can allow...so price is a factor.  I will be moving on to try a few other CSA's, but SavRaw is definitely a contender.

Do you participate in a CSA?

Yum!

Yarn Along - Rainbow Dress


Joining Ginny in her Yarn Along....for the first time in almost 3 years!



I started this gorgeous piece so long ago that I have two problems:

1 - I cannot for the life of me remember the yarn I bought.  Hopefully I have enough!
2 - I started making it for Fionnuala when she was 6 and now she's 9 and about 10 inches taller!!  

Problem #1 is probably worked out since I have 2 skeins left (untagged of course).  Problem #2 is harder but I seem to have found a solution.  Make it a shirt/tunic instead of a dress!  The pattern is the popular Rainbow Dress.  It's been a very easy knit so far and the fact that I can pick it up at any time and throw a few rounds on without looking at a pattern, means it might actually get finished soon.

Oonagh thinks that if I am sitting i should be reading...to her.  So for now this is the book I just can't put down. What Do You Do by Mandy Stanley has been a favorite of all four girls.  We've been through quite a few copies already.  The lovely part is that I know it by heart so I can knit while I "read".

So glad to be back to knitting...


Easy Ghee

 
 
A scoop of ghee out of the fridge for our eggs this morning!


We’ve been making ghee regularly in this house for a few years now.  I first started making it when researching options for cooking without vegetable oil.  There are quite a few lovely ghee making tutorials out there, like this one…and this one.  That’s NOT what I am doing here.  

Here I am posting real life ghee making pics.  Taken in a hurried fashion while simultaneously making mushroom tacos and keeping the peace amongst 4 little girls that were very needy and moody after a long day with not enough downtime. 

The amazing thing about the way I make ghee is that it is so ridiculously easy that it can be done while you do 10 other things.  It's very, I repeat, very hard to screw up.  The first few times I attempted to make ghee I ended up burning the milk solids and ruining the whole (expensive!) batch.  Then I found this oven method and it’s been a breeze ever since.



Easy Ghee
Makes a bit more than 2 cups of liquid gold

Ingredients:
*Does it have to be grass-fed…NO…but I would recommend it.  many people say to use unsalted...but I see no difference in quality.

Materials:
Quart glass pyrex bowl
Stainless steel fine mesh skimmer (I use this one)
Tea Towel or cloth napkin
Glass jar with lid (mason jars are perfect)
Oven

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 250.  

Dump your butter into the pyrex, put it into the oven and walk away for at least 2 hours.  That’s right!  Just walk away and do something else. 

Come back sometime between 2 and 4 hours (The longer you keep the ghee in the oven, the more the milk solids will “brown” and flavor the ghee.  I prefer about 4 hours.  Tonight I made it in 2 because it was a 2 hour kinda night).

Take the pyrex out of the oven (with an oven mitt!) and set it on a nice wooden surface to keep the glass from stress.  

Skim the top of the melted butter with the skimmer being careful not to disturb the milk solids settled at the bottom.  I generally use a bit of cloth to wipe the inside edges since some solids tend to stick there too.  
Let it sit and cool a bit (5-30 min).  Again…go do something else!  

Come back and slowly pour the ghee over the skimmer (lined with a fresh tea towel or cloth napkin) into your glass jar.  This will make darn sure there’s no wacky milk solids getting in.  *You are not emptying the whole liquid amount.  The bottom 1/2 cup or so with be whitish/brown (the milk solids).  Keep that in the pyrex and do not pour it thru the skimmer.  

I usually pour 3/4 of the ghee in with out the tea towel because it’s faster, then the last bit I’ll use the tea towel to make sure it’s clear of the milk solids.

You have now made ghee.  Be proud and call yourself a foodie!







You can store the ghee on the counter top with an airtight lid, but I prefer to keep it in the fridge.  I find it easier to scoop out the exact amount I need.

I generally like doing things the old fashioned way.  I love keeping the “culture” in making traditional foods by making them the traditional way.  This is one of my cheater recipes that is definitely worth it.  

Perhaps when I have a bit more time on my hands I will return to making it on the stove, but until then, I heart my easy ghee.

Fionnuala Fridays - Farmhouse Breakfast

**Note from mama- Fionnuala was the one who inspired me to start blogging again.  Since we have slowly started to introduce a bit of media into her world, I wanted her to be involved in a fun way.  "I want to inspire other girls to cook, create and help out their families".  I couldn't be more proud of her.  As far as homeschooling goes...she is learning skills in photography, editing, typing, journalism etc...  Life learning is the best kind!  The following words and pictures are all her own...**

Welcome to Fionnuala Fridays


So when I woke up this morning I was Starving with a capital S.  I thought I would make the Farmhouse Breakfast. My grandma taught me how to make it.  This is a perfect breakfast if you had baked potatoes left over from the night before or if you have baked potatoes left over from any night.
Farmhouse Breakfast (Erris set the table)

I thought that others may like to learn to make this incredibly easy breakfast.
I have made this dish so often I know it by heart.So here it is...
Farmhouse Breakfast
Makes 5 small portions
Ingredients...
4 small baked potatoes chopped into squares
 6-8 eggs
3/4 cup of shredded cheese
(I prefer cheddar but any cheese will do)
1 cup of sliced cherry tomatoes
1/3 onion (optional)
chives for garnish (optional)
butter or olive oil 
about 4 leaves of basil 

First crack the eggs over a bowl and whisk.  Add tomatoes and basil to eggs and whisk some more.
Put butter or olive oil in pan and scramble the egg , tomatoes and onions.When the eggs are almost done mix in half the cheese. 
For the potatoes, put butter in a pan and add potatoes and the rest of the cheese. Cook until hot and slightly crispy.Top with chives and if you have extra cheese you may garnish with that also.
Of course every one liked it so I put their reviews right here
Erris-"Its really good I want her to make it every day!"
Caoimhe-"Its good I like the tomatoes, eggies and potatoes in it."
Oonagh-"Good. Eggies!!!"
Mom-"The eggs were fluffy and I liked the gouda cheese." 
Dad- "Perfect, you're quite the chef."

The messy after math.(What mom has to deal with)
See you next Friday and thanks for reading!!!

End Of Summer Circle

 I am working on beautifying my blog space.  Please excuse the dust while I figure out photoshop and and other computery things I probably don't have time for!!  Ha!



As I begin to blog again, I want to make an effort to share more of our Homeschool days.  I get so many questions and rarely have good answers...perhaps just sharing what it is we do will help inspire others.  I know when I read another blog or post by a mama in a similar situation I breathe a sigh of relief knowing I am not the only crazy one out there!!
I am working with Fionnuala, 4th grade and Erris 1st grade.  The "grades" are just time markers since both children are working at their own pace.  I of course also have Caoimhe (4years old) and Oonagh (almost 2!) at home as well.  You can read more about what we do on our Homeschool page.


First day of school gift.  A lovely little Doll made by Lauren of Duck Duck Toys.

I've shared our Circle Times before,  and they are some of my favorite posts to go back and experience again.  What is Circle Time?  It's a way to gather and connect as we begin our "school" day.  ALL 4 girls enjoy Circle Time.  As Fionnuala has grown she has taken on a bigger role.  She helps plan some songs and does many of the props.  She is working on her recorder lessons so she can soon be a source of music accompaniment!  At the 9 year old change this added responsibility helps keep her busy and involved.  I was thinking about adding small videos of some of the songs.  Some of these poems and songs can be hard to find tunes to.  Would anyone be interested in that?

I pull our songs, poems and verses from many sources: old playgroups, Suzanne Down, Wee Sing, Sing A Song of Seasons, magazines, blogs etc....  I will always try to credit the author, but know that some of these verses are very old, some have been adapted by me, and some are just passed on anonymously. 
More toes around the circle this year!

End of Summer Circle

**As we light our candle:

Fire fairies fire fairies, come to our circle
Let the fire fairies come, bringing golden light from the sun!

**Opening Verse:

The Earth is firm beneath my feet, (touch hands to ground)
The sun shines bright above. (Make sun above head)
Here I stand so straight and tall, (standing up very straight)
All things to know and Love. (Hug self)

The Petal Song:

When I woke up this morning, the day had just begun.
I saw a golden flower with petals like the sun!
The flower was unfolding, and waking from the night.
Each petals face was shining in the morning light.

This petals name was Fionnuala, and this petals name was Erris,
and this petals name was Caoimhe, and this petals name was Oonagh.

Now our golden flower has opened to the sun,
and we will shine and blossom tip the day is done!

Summer Bugs are Leaving: 

(using props- bumblebee, butterfly and ladybug. Clap, wiggle and pound are hand movements)
Bumblebee, butterfly
and ladybug so small.
Come around and dance with us,
as Summer turns to Fall.

Bumblebee of summertime,
do once more your best.
Buzz around and clap with us,
before your Autumn’s rest.

Butterfly of summertime,
do once more your best.
Flutter around and wiggle with us,
before your Autumn’s rest.

Ladybug of summertime,
do once more your best.
Crawl around and pound with us,
before your Autumn’s rest.

Bumblebee, butterfly 
and ladybug so small.
Come around and dance with us,
as Summer turns to Fall.

Oats Peas Beans and Barley:

Oats, peas, beans and barley grow,
oats, peas, beans and barley grow,
can you or I or anyone know 
how oats, peas, beans and barley grow?
(stand and bend at knees to the rhythm)

First the farmer sows his seed (put seeds in ground)
then he stands and takes his ease. (stand with arms folded)
He stomps his foot and claps his hands (stomp/clap)
and turns around to view his land. (shade eyes and turn around)

Repeat first verse.

Waiting for a partner, 
waiting for a partner. (Waiting)
Take my hand and take my hand (join hands)
For then we’ll skip upon the land. (skip in a circle holding hands)


Fingerplay:

Round and round the garden,
goes the little snail.
Up up up he creeps,
he slime will leave a trail!
(using a small wooden or felt snail, play with children’s palm and then creep up their arm, tickling at the end!)

Farewell Summer:

"Farewell Summer” the flowers all sung
their seeds they had scattered, their seeds they had flung.

“Farewell Summer” the creek did cry
cause in no time at all the creek would run dry.

“Farewell Summer” the birds did say
for when nights turn cold, they all fly away.

“Farewell Summer” whispered Father sun
“My flames must grow weaker until there is none”.

Farewell my old friend,
You may no longer stay.
Farewell my old friend,
Autumn is on its way.

**Closing verse:

Stars, moon and sun…
Now our circle is done.
We’re ready to start our day
full of learning, love and play.
 
**- these stay with us all season,and will change in Winter!
 
Our Autumn Nature Table, a group effort by the children.

 
 
I've blogged about past circle times here:

 
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