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There is this mom in my extended community that has eleven children. Yes, eleven. And you know what? Every time I see her she looks UH-mazing: fresh, rested and peaceful. Seriously, go look at her.
One of her daughters, Hannah, is in my mommy group. Despite having one toddler and a baby on the way Hannah’s got style. Substance, too. But definitely style. (Am I embarrassing you, Hannah? Sorry!)
I asked her recently if this was something her mom actively taught her and her sisters. No, she said, this is an example of values being caught rather than taught.
As I type this I am wearing a dark blue glamourmom nursing top with spitup on it, red plaid pajama pants, purple Zelpha booties and a ponytail. In other words, I look just like my mom did when I was growing up.
Granted, she was a single mom for most of my life. She worked with paint on a daily basis and wore clothes that wouldn’t be worse for a few hundred layers of yellow 11 on them. It’s more than that, though. Although my mom is one my greatest teachers, one lesson slipped through the cracks for both of us:
Inviting beauty into the inevitable messes of daily life
Aromatic herbal tea in a lovely cup while the sink is overflowing with dirty dishes. A flower in your hair that hasn’t been washed for two (okay three!) days. Rubbing a relaxing essential oil in your palm while you sit in gridlock traffic . . . little things that tune our hearts to a soft sweet melody amidst the chaos.
. . . music that was so much easier to hear when we were young, but is easily remembered when we have children of our own . . . if we will let them hum it for us.
To the tune of dress up
Romps in the fields, and tea time at the neighborhood antique shop, which is our newest adventure in this neverending search for beauty.
I’m not saying kids are responsible for teaching us to cultivate enjoyment, but I know of no better inspiration than the bright eyes of a little one. As I learn to embrace delight in my own life I hope to make it a “catching disease.”
How do you find delight in the midst of life’s messes?
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Like my life, it’s a work in progress, but Daddypotamus was kind enough to spiff it up for spring. Whaddya think?
If you have a minute I’d like to show you around and introduce you to some very important people. Oh, and there’s a giveaway . . . but I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s head over to my newly organized KITCHEN, complete with a recipes page broken down by category, some healthy snack ideas for your half pint, and of course my kitchen table where I’ve made my confessions . . . and you’ve made some of yours.
Walk with me down the hallway to the LIVING ROOM, where we’re storing the my birth stories, your birth stories and general birth info. It may not seem like the most intuitive place for this topic, but since both my kids were born in here I think it works. 😉
The sun is shining, so let’s take our tea into the HERB GARDEN and rub some sage and rosemary in our palms while we chat about herbs that heal.
The BATHROOM is still under construction, but I hope we’ll be launching some helpful green cleaning tips soon. In the meantime you can find some random personal care info in there.
Did I miss anything? Oh yes! I have a new FAVORITE THINGS/GIVEAWAYS area. We’ll have LOTS of fun in there, starting today!
And now I’d like to introduce you to . . . EACH OTHER! Many connections have been made here, but so far they have been mostly incognito. . . just names in the comment section.
No more! Come out from behind your Spongebob Squarepants avatar and share a real image from your life: Your dog, chubby babe, favorite fork, the view from where you’re sitting. Anything! Everything! Okay maybe not everything, but something that will help us get to know you better.
Why should you do this? Because I am creating a slideshow that will let you peek into each others lives and it’s going to be fun, that’s why! And because you could win one of two 16×24 Gallery Wrap prints from Mpix (worth $100 each)!
Mpix is a fave of pro photographers (including our very own Lynsey Stone), and I know why: They were top-rated in a head to head test with the 10 most popular printing companies (even better than Shutterfly)! If you do happen to make it to my real life open house my walls will be slathered in their gallery wrap goodness (at least I hope!)
To be entered for the giveaway, you MUST send your photo to my personal Facebook email account and leave me a comment saying “Sent my pic!” You don’t have to, but I would love it if you would include a short caption so we know what we’re looking at. Please note that by submitting your photo you are giving me permission to use it in the slideshow. I promise not to use them for any other reason!
1. Post this giveaway on Facebook
Grab this link: http://www.mommypotamus.com/virtual-open-house-and-giveaway
Attach it as a link to a status update on Facebook
Then leave a message on this page that says, “I Facebooked it.”
2. Like” Mpix on Facebook and then leave a message on this page that says, “I Like Mpix on Facebook”
3. Follow Mpix on Twitter (@mpix) and leave a message on this page that says, “I follow Mpix on Twitter”
A Few Rules
Thanks for stopping by!!!
Daddypotamus here. We hear a lot about mommy guilt these days, but not so much about dads. I hadn’t given much thought to it either until Katie was born and my two week “paternity leave” flew by so fast I barely blinked. The most amazing little girl I could have asked for had just come into my life. What now . . . just go back to business as usual?
For the record, I actually enjoy my job. But there’s something intimately painful about leaving my precious ones. Something to be said for time lost apart and never regained.
Thankfully, Katie never made a huge deal over my leaving when she was little. I had anticipated a dramatic sobbing mess of a situation. Instead, I was more of a passing thought and an obstacle to be overcome so that she could move on to playing with her Gigi (Heather was still working from home so Gigi spent a few hours with her on weekday mornings).Read More »
I don’t remember when I became a citizen of the world of budgets, laundry and meal plans, but over the weekend Katie reminded me that my visa to the world of faeries is still valid. I think I’d like to visit more often. While I can’t ditch dinner for the park everyday, it only takes a few minutes to create beauty with bubbles on the patio or chalk drawings in the driveway. How will you make magic with your little one today?
*Author UnknownRead More »
I am two snapshots away from completing a project eight months in the making. In about thirty days I’ll be ready to push. Yes, I’m having a book baby. 😉Read More »
This cocoa-free blonde fudge is rich in wholesome fats, lauric acid (a nutrient found in mother’s milk that is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and anti-fungal), collagen replenishing copper plus manganese, phosphorous, iron, magnesium selenium and more.
Oh, and the “saturated fat in coconut is made up of short-chain and medium-chain fatty acids the body quickly turns into energy instead of storing as fat. Therefore, even though it’s high in saturated fat, coconut can aid in weight loss.“¹ The sucanat probably wont, though.
If you’re into cooking with kids (which I am) this recipe is perfect. Pour everything into a pot and let them stir while you “supervise” (aka check Facebook).
Just one more thing: Leite de Coco is melt in your mouth fudgy goodness. You gotta try it!
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
1. Heat milk, coconut milk, sugar, coconut and vanilla to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat.
2. Reduce heat to low and simmer.
3. Cook, uncovered, until mixture becomes very thick and starts to leave the side of the pan, about 50 minutes to 1 hour. Stir often.
4. Transfer mixture to a lightly oiled 8-inch square baking dish/tray.
5. Sprinkle with nuts.
6. Cover and chill for 8 hours.
7. Cut into 1 inch diamonds or squares. Keep refrigerated until you’re ready to serve.
Once we start eating healthier, we start to look for other ways to improve our health. As we ditch the Doritos, often we start to question the medicines we use to treat ourselves as well. Antibiotics and over the counter pharmaceuticals are often not the best way to treat children – they can lead to weakened immune systems, reinfection, allergies, and other problems. But most childhood ailments and illnesses respond very well to natural treatment!
Even here in the Northeast, we’re starting to think about Spring, and along with that comes the standard “seasons changing” illnesses: the flu, colds, ear infections, sore throats, etc. Here are some easy remedies that you can try for your family next time something’s going around!
As a child, I was particularly prone to ear infections, but no one figured out that I have a dairy allergy until I was an adult. If your child has recurrent ear infections, make sure to consider eliminating dairy products, or gluten, or both – they are often the root of the problem.
But whatever the cause, my favorite remedy is something you probably already have in your kitchen: Onion! Slice an onion in rings about 3/4 of an inch thick. Sauté lightly in olive oil, until it’s hot all the way through and softening. Wrap the onion slice in a clean soft cloth and lay it on the ear like a heating pad – be sure to test the heat first so that little ears don’t burn.
Why does it work? The sulfur in the onion is carried into the ear via the steam, and kills the infection. Also, the heat is soothing, especially when the swelling is painful. Always treat both ears, as ear infections can travel back and forth between ears via the interior canals. Repeat as often as necessary – I usually find that doing this every few hours for a day is enough to end the infection altogether.
[Note from Mommypotamus: If you’re looking for more ideas like this, check out this post on natural remedies for ear infections.]
For sore throats, as well as upper bronchial infections, another kitchen favorite comes to mind: Thyme! Thyme is markedly antibacterial and antiviral – so whether it’s just a cold or strep throat, thyme’s got you covered.
Our favorite way to take thyme is as a steam – you may remember your grandmother doing this. You take a pot of boiling water, set it on the table and lean over it with a towel over your head. Toss in a handful or two of dried thyme and inhale deeply! (Do not add the thyme while the water is boiling – wait until you’re ready to sit and breathe.) Make sure to have a handkerchief nearby if you have any congestion, because this will clear it out quickly. This remedy is also excellent for styes or other eye infections.
For children who are too young to be left alone near a pot of boiling hot water, you can drape blankets over a table to make a tent. The tent will keep the steam contained for them to breathe in, and then you and your child can climb into the tent together, where you can keep little fingers away from the pot.
For children old enough not to touch the pot and burn themselves, they can be in the tent by themselves or they can sit at the table with a towel over their heads. This is a good, fun way to take your medicine – they’ll feel silly, but you’ll know the medicine is getting where it’s going.
How? The antimicrobial action of thyme is in the volatile oils, which are released when the dried herb is heated. The steam of the hot water carries the volatile oils through the entire respiratory system, into every nook and cranny in the lungs. The medicine doesn’t have to go through the digestive system and get to the lungs and the airways through the blood, it’s right there at the source. Once you’ve finished with the steam, boil the water with the thyme in it again for about half an hour to release all the minerals in the herb – now you have a nourishing tea that will help rebuild the resources you’re using to fight the infection!
A lot of people like to use Lysol or other air fresheners when people are sick in the house, to kill the germs in the air. You can do the same job more effectively and without the chemicals with herbs! Fill a spraybottle with water, and add to it 10-20 drops of essential oil of rosemary, and 10-20 drops of essential oil of lavender.
Use this in place of the Lysol – just walk around the house spraying the bottle, and you’ll kill off all the germs floating around. This mixture was found, in the French state hospital system, to be as effective as standard hospital sanitizer, but in fact longer lasting, because the oils stay on whatever surfaces they land on longer than the alcohol-based sanitizers. Not only that, but it smells great! In our house, we use this mixture to clean countertops, the kitchen table, the bathroom sink – just about anything.
One last trick for today: So you want to be healthier, but your 5 year old wants Kool-Aid. What to do? Why, you reach for your herbs, of course! Here’s a recipe that’s kid friendly, supremely healthy, and sure to please everyone. You’ll need rose hips, hibiscus, orange peel and lemon peel. These should be available in the bulk section of your local health food store, and if they don’t have them or can’t order them for you, try www.mountainroseherbs.com.
You can mix these ingredients to taste, but I like 3 parts rose hips, 1 part hibiscus, and 1 part each of the lemon and orange peels. Per quart of water, add two or three tablespoons of the herbal mixture (depending on how strong you want to make it), and bring to a boil. Simmer the mix for 20 minutes, and then let it cool.
The flavor will be sweet-tart; you can add some honey or dark maple syrup to sweeten. The result? A super high-vitamin naturally bright red Kool-Aid replacement! Rose hips are one of the best sources for vitamin C – one rose hip has as much vitamin C as four lemons! There’s vitamin A in there too, along with a whole host of bioflavonoids (which are antioxidants). Hibiscus has nutrients that nourish the cardiovascular system, and orange and lemon peels have vitamins C, B1, folic acid, many bioflavonoids (over 60!), and a whole host of other vitamins and minerals! And when it’s cold and flu season, toss some dried elderberries into the mix, or add elderberry syrup as a sweetener, and you have a potent and delicious immune-boosting brew.
So what are you waiting for? This is one brightly colored kid drink that mom and dad will love!
Next up: Natural Therapies for Seasonal Allergies: Learn how to build a stronger you and get through allergy season without the Kleenex!Read More »
This is a photo of me on the way to a shoot ‘em up movie with Daddypotamus. Okay, not really, but it might as well be since I cover my eyes through most of those movies. I’m tough like that.
I don’t like to pay money to NOT WATCH a movie, so Daddypotamus usually catches action flicks on his own. But last year we saw Green Zone, and although I don’t remember much about the storyline I can tell you this: Somewhere between the part where U.S. Army officer R. Miller begins his hunt for Magellan and the big dramatic conclusion I felt something completely new . . . a little leap from the spirit growing in my belly. Baby wasn’t big enough for me to feel movement yet, but I sensed an exhultation as the story of heroism and adventure unfolded. It was then I knew I was carrying a boy.
Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?
I can tell you the moment I knew Daniel was the one (over a salad bar before I’d spoken one word) and the moment I told Daniel we were pregnant both times (long before a test could confirm).
Although I am pretty good at second guessing them, these fleeting sensations are burned into me with a clarity that only gets stronger with time. From the moment he was conceived Micah’s spirit has been drawing me to him.
. . . Until a few weeks ago, when it began to feel like he was drifting. He would nurse for a few seconds and push me away, or just not latch on at all.
Then last week, with blood smeared all over his cheeks and on my chest, my son and I found each other all over again. It wasn’t easy. Or simple. Or pretty. I wish there had been another way.
But it worked, and it was worth it. Last Friday, after a rough 24 hours following his tongue-tie clipping procedure, Micah completed the longest nursing session of his life. When his belly was full he leaned against my chest and breathed a sigh of contentment I’ve never heard from him before.
Have you experienced the sixth sense of motherhood? Tell me about it!
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