Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Herbarium

Something you may not know about me, is that I am a budding herbalist. When ever something happens around my house my first response is, "I have an herb for that!"

I have high hopes of becoming a master herbalist one day, but right now my family keeps me pretty busy.

So when I learned about the Herbal Academy of New England and their Herbarium membership program, I was over the moon!

The HANE Herbarium is a subscription based website that has an amazing monograph database! Just search the issue you are having or the herb you are wanting to learn more about and there it is! There is so much information, with just this feature, that I see this being an invaluable resource to me.

In addition to the monograph database there is also access to articles, media, podcasts, and videos! This site is perfect for beginning and experience herbalists a like. 

With new content being added monthly, there will always be something more to learn. 
For me, this is really great because it makes it really convenient to learn about different herbs that would be a benefit to my family, on my own schedule. 

Another great feature of the Herbarium is the forum! There is a great community of people all ready to share their knowledge and love of all things herbal. Sometimes being into herbalism and more natural things can leave me feeling a bit lonely. So having access to others who are sharing a similar journey is a really great added bonus! 

I highly recommend the Herbarium membership to anyone who is interested in herbs or herbalism. A yearly membership is only $45 and TOTALLY worth it! Membership also gives you access to ebooks, a 10% discount on HANE classes, and  discount on both Essential Herbal and Natural Herbal magazines! 

Just head on over to the Hebarium to get signed up!

*** Disclaimer: I was given a years subscription to the Herbarium in return for my honest review. All opinions expressed in this post are mine, and I would be sharing even if I didn't get it for free! It's just that awesome!***

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Homemade infant gas relief

The other night I woke up to my poor baby's screams of gas pain. It was horrible watching him cry and wiggle around in pain.

I tried burping him, bouncing him, rocking him, and even rubbing his tummy. All to no avail.

Finally he let out a hearty burp, passed some wind from the other end, and fell back asleep.

I then began wracking my brain for ways to help him for the future. In the past I've used store bought infant gas drops, but the ingredients leave me feeling rather uncomfortable.

I had heard of fennel being an excellent gas reliever but that isn't an herb I have around much. Then I remembered I had purchased some fennel seeds to make sausage patties! (recipe coming soon)

So the following night when my little guy started to have the same issue I sent my hubby to the kitchen while I rocked and swayed.

After a few minutes he appeared with the liquid gold! Fennel seed tea.

I gave my little guy a bottle with a little of the tea. When he finished it he let out a burp and fell right to sleep! Our prayers had been answered!!!

Now I'm determined  not be with out this tummy calming herb! I'm making a tincture of it to keep on hand for quick fixes, but I will also be sure to have some seeds handy for when sipping on tea might be a preferred option.

For the tea: I recommend about a teaspoon of seeds per cup of water. 
Crush the seeds then steep for about 10 minutes. 
I would then give an older baby maybe a quarter cup of tea. 
For a young baby I would use a dropper and give about a tablespoon.

For the tincture: I recommend making a 2 ounce bottle. 
That mix would be 60% glycerin to 40% water and use up to 2 teaspoons of fennel seeds. 
Place the water, glycerin, and seeds in a a glass jar. 
Seal the jar and place in a large pot filled with water almost to the top of the jar but not covering the jar or touching the lid. 
Then place the pot on the stove to simmer for 2-3 hours. 
Strain out the herbs with a tight-weave cloth (clean old t-shirts are perfect). 
Store in a tincture bottle and give 2-3 drops as needed.

This is a super simple, and quick, way to help alleviate gas in a baby, child, or adult and it's way better for you that most commercial gas relievers!

DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor! I'm just a momma passing on what I do for my own family. This is not medical advice.**

I'm linking up at: Homestead Blog Hop

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Turkey Day!

Wow, I can't believe it's already time for Thanksgiving! This will be the first time in almost 8 years that I will actually be eating turkey. I mentioned awhile back that we were dealing with lots of food allergens with my 3 year old. Well those issues have lead to us changing out diet drastically. We were mainly vegetarian, with fish added in here and there. But with my little one being allergic to all beans, and lots of veggies, we've decided to add poultry to our diet.

Since adding meat in I have been so concerned with salmonella. I think my husband has just decided that I'm nuts, because I'm constantly saying don't touch that, don't do that, clean that up, oh goodness now we're going to get salmonella. It's like I see it everywhere! Thankfully we haven't been sick and it's probably just all in my head.

I thought since pretty much everyone will be dealing with raw poultry for Thanksgivining-- and since 1 in 6 Americans will contract a foodborne illness-- that maybe it would be a good time to talk about this issue.

So first some facts.

  • while handling raw meat it is best to clean your surfaces and hands frequently
  • you should wash your hands with warm soapy water for 20 seconds (about how long it takes to sing happy birthday)
  • raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs should be kept separate at all times (at the store, in the fridge, as well as when using cutting boards, utensils, and plates)
  • all foods need to be cooked to the proper temperature (160* for burgers, 165* for chicken breasts,and turkey 145* beef, veal, lamb roasts, steaks, chops, and fish)
  • keep cooked foods at least 140* 
  • refrigerate cooked foods at least 2 hours after cooking

For more information on practical food safety head to

Now that we've got the basics covered how about some ideas with what to do with those left overs?

One of my favorites used to be making turkey sandwiches, but if you want something more creative than that check out my Turkey Day Remixes board on pinterest. Just remember that the last day to eat your left overs will be Monday, because left overs are only good for 3-4 days.

Here is a great infographic to help you remember the best ways to prevent foodborne illness:

And here is a video that really helps you to grasp the severity of this issue.... lol

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Homemade Rice Milk

As I mentioned in my last post our daughter B has severe allergies and eczema. Since she is allergic to pretty much everything, I have to get creative.

She really likes to have cold cereal (what kid doesn't right) but her allergies leave us with very limited solutions for milk.

In the past we've used soy milk, since she's allergic to nuts and animal dairy. But then we found out she is also allergic to soy.

We needed a simple solution so we switched to rice milk. But honestly there is just so much junk in it. And with all the other things we have cut out we have to do a lot of cooking from scratch which means our budget has to get stretched.

The normal $4 for a carton of rice milk was kind of pushing it. I can get a bag of rice, or 2-3 lbs of chicken for that price. So I decided to try my hand at making my own. The results were amazing and now I can spend my money on things that will feed us all for longer.

I just whip up a batch of rice milk before going to bed and we're set for the morning, I want to start making bigger batches, but I need to get some bigger mason jars first. Anyone looking for a home for their old mason jars??

In case there are some others out there like me, here is what you need:

1 cup cooked rice
4 cups water

Then blend it until it's smooth, or as smooth as it will get. After it's blended strain it through a mesh strainer.

That's it! So simple and it actually tastes good. If you wanted to sweeten it you could add a few teaspoons of sweetener and a dash of vanilla. But we use it plain.

Do you use any animal milk alternatives?

I'm linking up at: The Homestead Barn Hop

Monday, August 25, 2014

Scratching the surface

Things around here have been rather interesting. At first things were pretty boring, but then some things happened that really shook up our world. The end result of those thing was finally getting some answers to our daughter B's allergies and eczema. 

She has been battling eczema for awhile now. Most people don't realize how serious of a condition this can be. It's not just dry skin. Especially not for her. Her whole entire body is covered in this itchy scaly rash. She can't sleep through the night and she spends most of her day scratching. This is not a put some lotion on it kind of situation. 

We realize that her eczema is wrapped up in all her food allergies and sensitivities, so we scheduled an appointment with a naturopathic allergist. 

 After meeting with the allergist we found out her allergies are even more severe than we thought. She is allergic to:


Bell Peppers
All beans and legumes 
Tree nuts 
All animal dairy 
Goji berries
Cacoa beans (chocolate)

Yes you read that list correctly. Yes it is A LOT. This means that we have been unknowingly giving her an allergic reaction at every meal. But we know that we will get through this and she will be healed. 

At the allergist there was a sign up that said: 

"We don't believe in miracles, we rely upon them"

We wholeheartedly agree! 

Since seeing the allergist we already are seeing some changes in her. She is taking probiotics twice a day, as well as some homeopathic medicines. We are also giving her fish bone broth, and will begin giving her aloe. 

This change has also caused us to expand our diet from being mostly vegetarian, with some fish, to adding in poultry. But I will share more about that another day. 

Do you or someone you love suffer from allergies or eczema? How do you handle it?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Grow Your Own Food

Have you seen the movie "Back to Eden"?

For those of you who haven't, it's all about how to take care of your garden the way the Lord designed it.

I watched it for the first time a few weeks ago with my daughters, and we learned A LOT.

Like, I had no idea that soil being exposed makes it dry out. It makes perfect sense but it's just not something I had ever thought of.

I really love that with every concept Paul Gautchi speaks of, in the film, he has a scriptural reason as to why. I truly believe that the Bible has an answer for everything, so this was right up my alley.

The approach that is taken is definitely refreshing and something we plan to try when we are able to set up our garden. If you'd like to watch it for free you can watch it on vimeo.

Also there is a GREAT opportunity to hear Paul Gautschi from Back to Eden speak during the Grow Your Own Food Summit. This free summit has a a great line up of speakers, like Joel Salatin from "Food, Inc.", and best of all it's free!

I'm really looking forward to learning some great things so that when we're able to grow our own food we'll be starting off on the right foot.

Here is a quick video from the founders:

So hop on over to the Grown Your Own Food Summit website and reserve your spot today.

**Just a heads up this post contains affiliate links and if you decide to purchase something then I will get a commission. This is at no additional cost to you and you are not obligated to buy.**

So are you planning to register for the summit?

Monday, June 16, 2014

Flavoring Kombucha

I have some good news ya'll.... 

I have successfully kicked my soda habit! 

How, you ask?

With kombucha!

It's a been a few months and I don't even have a desire to drink soda. We've been out and there has been soda available but I opted for water or juice. I had soda once or twice in the past few months and it just didn't do it for me. I'd much rather have a glass of pineapple kombucha!

I thoroughly enjoy plain booch, but adding flavors just kicks it up a notch. So far we've tried mango, pineapple, pomegranate, strawberry, and blueberry. Pineapple is our favorite. 

It's super simple to do, and you can have all the same carbonated bubbliness of soda with out the harmful added ingredients. 

First thing you do is brew a batch of kombucha. You need a scoby to do this but if you don't have one you can read my post about how to grow one here. 

After your booch is to the point you like it then you need to bottle it up. Add fruit or fruit juice to your bottles then add the kombucha. I know some people say bottle it while it's still sweet, but I like to get mine pretty vinegary before doing a second ferment. 

I leave the bottles on the counter for a day or two, then enjoy. A trick I've learned is to use smaller bottles. With a big bottle once you open it the fizz dies down. So every time you go to drink from it, it will be less fizzy. Much like a big bottle of soda.

The best kind of bottles are the flip top bottles, because they give a good seal which will give you the best bubble production. The ones you see in the picture above I found at my local arts and craft store. I was looking for something else and when I saw those. Of course I had to buy some :o) 

So what about you, do you have a soda habit you need to kick? Would you make flavored kombucha? 

linking up at: Homestead Barn Hop, Mostly Homemade Monday, From the Barn