April 30, 2011

Thought for today

Had to go out and do some last minute wedding shopping.  I realized this morning that I don't have any hairspray (and my mother in-law needed mousse), because I rarely do more than pull my hair up in a ponytail.  I never shop for beauty products at the store, since I shop online with a company that makes
toxin-free products.
I must confess that I am a label reader.
So here we are in the hair product aisle and I'm reading the labels of all the hairspray and mousse bottles.  Here is what's in the hairspray (Rave 4) I was asked to purchase)  I'm shocked and appalled.  Seriously, I'm going to be putting this stuff in my hair, spraying it in my house.  Who in their right mind would think of such a thing?!?
Sadly, because the wedding is tomorrow and I have No other choice, I will have to spray my head with the store bought hairspray.  I hope I won't have to use too much or be too disgusted by the thought of what I'm doing.

~Your Earthy Mom

April 27, 2011

Wednesday Wisdom

You can only become truly accomplished at something you love.  Don't make money your goal.  Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can't take their eyes off of you.
~ Maya Angelou

April 24, 2011

Gardening an Family affair

Dumping the dirt
Our family decided at Ostara to grow a garden in our backyard this year.  I haven't had a garden since I was a young teen.  This has been a great experience for us as a family.  We started with finding the right spot and arranging boards into a rectangle shape.  Even Poppy came out to help with the project.  They boys love digging up the dirt inside the garden area, to get it ready for our plants!  We have an over abundance of tomato plants started.  Also ready for planting the cucumbers and zucchinis.  In a few week the peppers my sister asked me to plant and the green beans should be ready to move outside too.  I'm hoping the kids will stay interested in gardeing and continue to help out and have fun. 
They certainly have lots of plans.
  • Monkey wants to build a fence to keep the deer out.  (Not happening this time, maybe next year)
  • Potato has informed me that "We have to pull the weeds from our garden mommy."
  • Ladybug and Duckling are looking forward to helping pick the veggies.

Ready to go!

Hope you enjoy the pictures of our labor.  And we hope to enjoy the fruits (rather veggies) or our labor later.

~Your Earthy Mom

Tiny tomatos

April 21, 2011

Raising a Vegetarian

As if raising children in the world today isn't hard enough, my oldest has recently decided she wants to be a vegetarian.  I am supportive of her choice.  And I'm very proud of her for making a life choice and sticking to it.  (It seems that I'm doing a better job at parenting than I thought.)  Of course her choice is now raising my "Mommy worry flags".  I'm concerned that she won't have a healthy balanced diet.  The rest of our family are not vegetarians, so cooking has become somewhat of a challenge.  My daughter is not the most adventurous eater when it comes to vegetables.  Thankfully she is very good about trying new foods.  My job as her mom is to make sure she is eating healthy and getting the right nutrients.  Let me tell you how thankful I am for the Internet right now.  Google is my new best friend! 

Lunch is actually the hardest meal of the day.  Ladybug sits at the nut-free table, so she can eat with her friend, who is allergic to peanuts.  So we can the Scratch PB&J sandwiches.  Let the experimenting begin.  Here are some of my daughter's favorite lunches.
  • Soy-based faux meats - She loves the "turkey" and "pepperoni".  We make sandwiches or grinders/subs
  • Tomato soup - Her absolute favorite is when we add some rice, broccoli, and corn to the soup
  • Mini bagels and cream cheese -  mini bagels make the meal a little bit fun
  • Leftovers - These often make the list.  I've gotten pretty good at making vegetarian substitutes for meals.  Good enough that she wants to have dinner for lunch.
  • Breakfast for Lunch - packing some cereal is a nice treat.
My sister came to my rescue this past week with some veggie substitutions ideas for dinners.  The big one: I haven't been able to make a good veggie gravy.  (HUGE gravy fans in my house)  On the advice from my sister (a vegetarian in High School and College) I picked up some vegetable bouillon.  I boiled it up and added about a teaspoon of flour, to thicken it.  What do you know I made a "Great tasting gravy!"  Ladybug was trying to lick the bowl.

Here are a few websites with vegetarian/vegan ideas and recipes.
Veg Kitchen
Better Health USA

Enjoy trying out some yummy veggie meals!

~Your Earthy Mom

Beltane Handfasting...

with non-pagan guests.

As some of you may know, I was recently handfasted to an amazing man.  The challenge being that we're Pagan, we wanted the ceremony and reception to capture the essence of Beltane, and most of our guests aren't Pagan.  This was made easier because most of our friends and family know (to some extent) that we're Pagan.  The day was beautiful and everything went perfectly.

We wrote our own ceremony.  One of our debates was whether or not to have our officiant say "Goddess and God".  It was important to us that our guests enjoyed the day as much as we did.  In the end we decided, what harm could come from those words.  And it was very important to have the ceremony reflect us, our beliefs, and incorporate our children.  A very special part was our family sand ceremony.
Now we will celebrate the creation of a family. The couple will first pour their sands into the vase, showing that their marriage is the foundation of this family. Their sands mix together and symbolize their bond of love and respect that can never be separated. Now as each child add their sands, we are reminded that though we are all different people, it is our individuality which adds a unique color to the tapestry of a family. Like the sands poured before it, so these sands will also mix and be unable to be separated.
We poured our dark green and blue sands.  Then each of our four children added their sand.  Bug light green, Monkey red, Duckling purple, and Potato yellow.  This was a tangible way to show how even though we are all separate and different people, together we make an inseparable family.

Belanos Table

Maypole on Var Table

 For our reception, we gave each table a God or Goddess name.  I had read somewhere (while I was working on the seating plan), that numbered tables could hurt feelings.  That was a good enough reason for us to add different Deities to the decor.  The center piece on each table was a small Maypole.  The May Poles was definitely part of the plan from day one.  What better way to celebrate a Handfasting on Beltane than with a May Pole.  I suppose if we had the time and space, it would have been lots of fun to have everyone dance around a bigger Maypole.  We did keep one to use on our home Alter. 
To make your own Maypole - Altar Maypole Centerpiece
I wanted to have a bonfire, but that wasn't possible at the location for our ceremony and reception.

All of my concerns about completely coming out to all my friends, family, and his family I didn't have anything to worry about.  Everyone enjoyed a day of celebrating, singing, and dancing.  I couldn't have asked for a better day.

My advice to any of you partially or fully in the broom closet, make the day about you and your love, don't worry too much what others may think, and enjoy your day together.

~Your Earthy Mom

To Read what my sister thought of our Handfasting.
Thanks to Victoria Chapman, Melissa Meadows, and Shana Boss-Hill for the pictures.

My bouquet

April 9, 2011

H2O Think before you Drink

Drinking water is "in", everyone is doing it.  But is anyone really thinking about the possible dangers and amount of waste created from drinking bottled water?

I've just recently jumped on water "bandwagon" because honestly I'd rather drink a coke.  I've been trying to drink more water and less soda to help with losing some weight.    At home I always drink from a glass, but when I'm running around town or hiking through the woods, I bring my bottle of water.  Naturally I started looking into the facts about bottled water.
Store-bought bottled water is a rip off. Tap water is often subject to more stringent regulation and testing than bottled water. It costs a fraction of the cost from the tap. It is cleaner, cheaper, and thus healthier. (Natural Resources Defense Council)
So the above statement seems almost obvious.  It's water. Why in the world would anyone actually want to pay for water, when you can get it out of your faucet at home for free.  The kids hate when I say that because they like everyone else are captivated by the water commercials.  So here's what we're not told about drinking bottled water.
  • 90% of the cost of bottled water is due to the bottle itself.
  • 80% of plastic bottles are not recycled.
  • Plastic bottles are among the most prevalent source of pollution found on our beaches.
  • 38 million plastic bottles go to the dump per year in America from bottled water (not including soda)
  • U.S. landfills are overflowing with 2 million tons of discarded water bottles alone. Source: idswater.org
  • Bottles used to package water take over 1,000 years to bio-degrade and if incinerated, they produce toxic fumes. It is estimated that over 80% of all single-use water bottles used in the U.S. simply become "litter." Source: ValleyWater.org
  • 24 million gallons of oil are needed to produce a billion plastic bottles.
  • Plastic bottles pose a health risk. Studies have shown that chemicals called phthalates, which are known to disrupt testosterone and hormones, can leach into bottled water over time.
  • Studies have indicated that food and drinks stored in such containers—including those ubiquitous clear Nalgene water bottles hanging from just about every hiker’s backpack—can contain trace amount of Bisphenol A (BPA), a synthetic chemical that interferes with the body’s natural hormonal messaging system.
  • The same studies found that repeated re-use of such bottles—which get dinged up through normal wear and tear and while being washed—increases the chance that chemicals will leak out of the tiny cracks and crevices that develop over time.
We can save the earth simply by recycling water bottles.  You can even take it one step father by purchasing a re-usable water bottle.  Stainless steel or glass would be the best options.  Check out Nubius Organics to find echo-friendly water bottles and other products.  I just purchased a stainless steel water bottle several weeks ago and I love it!

Check out these sites for more info: The Water Project  Gaiam Life

~Your Earthy Mom

April 4, 2011

Late to Spring!

Spring time is actually here!  My family just celebrated Ostara last weekend.  We have been so busy with planning our wedding that the actual date came and went.  So being flexible with these kinds of things, we planned our celebration any way.

Tomato Seeds

Cucumber and Zucchini seeds

This year we did a split two day celebration.  Saturday morning was spent eating candies and starting plants for our garden.  We are planning to make our first garden this year.  So far we have cucumbers, zucchini, and tomatoes.  The kids loved getting in the dirt and planting the seeds!

Beginnings of a garden

Cutting Blackberries for dye

Sunday we made natural egg dyes for the first time.  This project was very time consuming, kind of messy, at times frustrating, and most of all Lots of FUN!  Grownups started with doing the cutting.  Our oldest wanted to help, so we figured why not.  We showed her how to use the knife safely and let her go for it. 

Pouring the Dye

After we cooked up each dye all of the kids helped with straining and pouring into bowls and cups.

Smelling the Dye

Onion Dye

Commence the egg dyeing extravaganza!

Beet Dye

Blackberry dye

Blueberry Dye

Spinach Dye

Onion Dye
Since this was our first time making the dyes, it was kind of an experiment.  Here's what we did.
  • Fresh Blackberries - light purple - finely chop and boil in 1-2 cups of water then strain.
  • Fresh Blueberries - dark/light blue - finely chop and boil in 1-2 cups of water then strain.  (one of our favorites)
  • Fresh Spinach - very light green -  finely chop and boil in 1 cup of water then strain.  (we didn't like how this color came out)
  • Onion - golden yellow/orange - Take the skins off two onions.  finely chop them and boil in 1 cup of water then strain.  (one of our favorites)
  • Beets - light pink - We used canned beets and finely chopped.  We boiled the beets and the juice from the can.  (Next year we plan to use fresh beets if we can find them)
All in all we had a great weekend and are looking forward to watching our plants grow.  In a few weeks we should be able to move the plants outside to the garden.  Keep your eyes out for posts on how our garden is doing.
~Your Earthy Mom