Monday, April 13, 2015

The Next 3 Years

We are moving. Well, not yet but in the fall. We are moving across the ocean to a place where chocolate and beer are supreme (and fun fact, you can get your liquor license pulled if you serve beer in the wrong class).

I wasn't so excited at first, and to be honest...the thought of doing an international flight with 4 kids, who will all be 7 and under, makes me shudder. Oh yea, add it there my fear of flying over water (which technically is a fear of drowning).

Of course, I am now really excited (still dreading the flight) and have decided that I will be taking the next few years to really study, get some boards done (aromatherapy and nutrition), and add some fun courses to my schooling.

Currently I am working on more herbal stuff through Herbal Academy of New England (I finished my Family Herbalist/Holistic Wellness course through Vintage Remedies) and doula (birth/labor and postpartum) through Madriella.

This summer, I start on my Certificate in Aromatherapy through American College of Healthcare Sciences. This qualifies me to sit before the Aromatherapy Registration Council's aromatherapy board. This program is also recognized by the National Associate for Holistic Aromatherapy.

My goal following that would be to complete the Diploma in Holistic Health Practice (also American College of Healthcare Sciences) with my electives in homeopathy, iridology, and flower essences. This is needed to sit for the board in holistic nutrition.

While that is going on....I hope to complete the Healthy Foot Practitioner and am currently awaiting enrollment in the Restorative Exercise Institute (currently closed to new students). Katy Bowman is incredibly smart and her "job" as a biomechanist has led her to some amazing things.

I currently consult on more acute issues as an herbalist (many herbalist also have some training in essential oils and nutrition so don't let the name fool you) but I am really focusing more on ensuring a well rounded knowledge.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Storing Woolens

Now that warmer weather is slowly arriving, time has come to pack up the wool body suits (wool socks are still staying for now) until next winter. It is important to take the time to wash and store your woolens properly to avoid moths eating at them.

Wool is such a wonderful fiber. It can absorb water and still be warm, up to 35% of its weight in fact. It makes wonderful diaper covers, allowing our babies bottom to breathe. It has been one of my favorite covers for our babes.

Woolens can be an investment, but it lasts for many many years and for us, having 4 girls, it is easy to justify the it will be passed down through many children. That is another reason why it is important to care for them.

Woolens, during the winter, don't need to be washed after every wear (unless they are really dirty). We set a monthly day to wash woolens in the winter, part of the monthly rhythm. Our oldest, D, loves to roll them in the towels.

Washing woolens: we prefer Euclan of Imse Vimse wool wash, unscented (or no scent). They do make it in lavender. For stains, we use sonett gall soap. Wash in tepid water (rinse optional with Euclan, but we do). Careful not to agitate too much as this can felt the wool. Roll the woolens in towels to press the water out, hang to dry.

(even our baby gets involved!)

Now, we have a chest with some cedar board in it, but that is currently full with other keepsakes, but a cedar chest is wonderful for storing woolens. You can also make lavender sachets to place in with your woolens (apparently the moths don't like lavender...crazy things)

Lavender sachets: 2- 4.5 in squares (per sachet), 4 T dried lavender buds.

Start by sewing the squares right side together on three sides. I made two sachets. Fill with lavender (great for kids!)

End up making three more sachets because the girls LOVE the smell of lavender and wanted a sachet of their own.

Sew the remaining side shut.

To store our bodysuit, I took a cut of muslin to wrap around the body suits, placing the sachets in between them. I then placed the wrap in a closet that gets used weekly (moths hate light). As mentioned previously, you can place them in a cedar chest or even in a plastic bin (because extra sure that there are no moths or eggs...which is why I always wash before storing them).

Hopefully, with everything done properly, the woolen will be ready and whole when you pull them out in the fall/winter. I will repeat this process when I go to put my wool socks away.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Minimal Waste Groceries

I hate trash, especially packaging waste. Hate it. Besides the impact on the environment getting the raw materials to make the packaging, there is the impact on getting "rid" of the packaging and the impact of how most packaging (even those "plant based" packages) will not break down.

(image source, oh I find this photo humorous)

Recycling isn't much better, most products are down-cycled into products that won't be recycled again...such as plastic bottles into carpet or fleece. I have one of those fleece jackets from when I volunteered with Clean Fairfax, an organization in Fairfax County Virginia that bring earth friendly lifestyles to the schools...its with mixed materials so even if the fleece was recyclable...most recycling centers won't take it.

Anyways...down the rabbit trail I went.

Grocery shopping trips for me were horrible. I couldn't stand to store all my food in plastic containers so we opened and transferred them to glass containers. So, after tossing in the recycling bin what we could (yes, we do recycle still), the rest went to the trash can. Then, usually, the trash would get taken out. 

I was done. I felt horrible about the waste our family was producing. I cut myself a little slack in remembering that in many cases, we are forced to buy this packaging because there aren't a lot of other choices....

...until I read Bea Johnson's book, Zero Waste Home (and then years later Plastic Free by Beth Terry). She hated waste more than I did...and was succeeding at producing little to no waste. To be fair she lived in a huge city in California that has many options available and we lived in small town USA with Walmart as the main choice. 

She bought her stuff in bulk in non plastic containers (i.e. mason jars, glass tupperware, cloth bags) even to include her meat.

(image source: My Plastic Free Life)

It really caught my attention.

Thankfully, even though we still live in small town USA (this time Wisconsin, not Missouri) a little drive to La Crosse and we have bulk bins.

So what is in my selection of bags and jars for shopping?

~3-4 quart size mason jars (with canning lids)

~1-2 gallon size mason jars (also with canning lids)

~Muslin drawstring bags (some purchased, some handmade)

~Mesh market bag (one upcycled and one purchased)

~Pillowcase (for breads or loose rolls)

~Thirty-One Large Utility tote

~Several commissary brand green totes (they are made from plastic but until they fall apart, it doesn't make environmental sense to purchase fabric ones)

This is the small of our muslin bags. We fill this with dried goods (obviously) and tie it off. It works great for pasta, dried soups, beans, snacks, granola. This is a handmade one.

This is part of our waste from grocery shopping, These tags tell the cashier the cost of the bulk item and the PLU for entering it into their system. For mason jars, a grease pencil replaces these.

Now for meats and cheese, not pictured are glass tupperware containers. We have a separate store we have to visit that allows us to bring our own containers. Our food co-op doesn't not allow it at all (which I have some other issue with how they are doing things but overall they are still wonderful). However, this is still one area that generates the most waste for us, as this store doesn't always carry organic or grass fed meats.

For produce, most of the time we don't put it in anything. For things like apples and know stuff that rolls around...we have the mesh bags. Lettuces, celery...stuff that doesn't roll around, just gets placed into the cart, usually on top of the bags or in a basket.

Which leads me to an important note. Always wash your bags after a grocery shopping trip. Bacteria can build up on your bags. They are still better than plastic bags.

I really enjoy Ecobags for their selection and had the opportunity to purchase them from a store here. If you are looking for getting new bags or replacing some worn out ones, I would start there. Don't forget about Etsy! Our first mesh produce bags were from there, and are still in use today.

Does it take some remembering and getting used to? Yes

Do people look at your funny? Surprisingly no, well, not at the co-op. Maybe if Walmart had bulk bins (ha ha ha, like that'll ever happen).

Friday, April 3, 2015

this moment

a moment captured. no words. inspired by Soulemama

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Poisson d'Avril!

The story goes....a mother was out doing her laundry, unaware of the tsunami size wave approaching. Nearby her son was swinging in his cradle. Before the mother could reach her son, the wave hit. By the time the mother reached the cradle, the wave had taken her baby and replaced it with a fish. Stricken with grief, she screams for her husband. As she runs off to find him, another wave comes, placing the baby back in the cradle. The mother returns with her husband and he sees the baby in the cradle. He scoffs at the women for being crazy and a fool. What happened now becomes a funny tale and people start placing fish in baskets...or on the backs of others.  -Story adapted from "All Year Round" by Ann Druitt

Poisson d' Avril (fish of April) is a day of fun and foolishness. To avoid such foolishness, you must hang a basket with a fish in your entryway.

But even with placing our basket in the entryway, our girls were all too excited to place fish on each others backs.

I have included a printable of the fish we use on Poisson d'Avril, in case you would like to ward off foolishness or partake in foolishness!