Tardigrade Homeschool Resources

Tardigrade Homeschool Resources

 

Have you heard of a tardigrade before? If not, it’s time to read up. These little guys are pretty awesome. If you have kiddos, especially preschoolers who love all things creepy and crawly like my preschooler, then tardigrades are definitely something you should include in your science curriculum.

Tardigrades, or water bears as they’re sometimes called, are micro-animals that can survive a multitude of conditions, including surviving temperatures higher than 300 degrees Fahrenheit and temperatures close to absolute zero. They are found almost anywhere and everywhere, even from the depths of the sea to the top of the Himalayas.They’re one of the toughest critters around, having even survived the vacuum of space.

Some of the earliest tardigrade fossils we have found have been dated to over 500 million years old. That makes these tough little dudes older than dinosaurs (My 4 year old thought this was the coolest thing ever.).

Since tardigrades are so stinkin’ cool, I decided to find all the resources I could on them that would be applicable for a homeschool lesson. I will eventually try to formulate all of this into lesson plans, but since my family follows more of an unschooling approach, this list works well for us, for now.

If you have any resources that could be added to this list, please drop a message on this post and I’ll add it in!

 

Tardigrade Resources – Younger Grades

Tardigrade Resources – Older Grades

Tardigrade Pinterest Boards

(These boards all have neat pictures that my kids loved looking at.)

 

Resources for Pagan Veiling

 

Resources for Pagan Veiling

 

For some Pagans, especially those who follow Wicca, veiling or wearing a head covering is something they feel like incorporating into their craft. Some of these Pagans do it because they feel that their Matron and/or Patron have called them to do it. For some, it is a way to set themselves apart. Others follow a specific type of Witchcraft, such as Jewitchery (Semitic Neopaganism), in which wearing a head covering is more common place. A few do it as a way to protect their crown chakra. And for others, wearing a head covering is simply something they enjoy doing.

Several deities are often portrayed being veiled, but three of the more common ones are Hestia, Hera, and Persephone. The majority of the veiling Pagans that I have encountered usually have one of these Goddesses as their matron, or they are actively working with them.

If you have been a blog reader of mine all the way back when I was blogging under the name ‘The Crunchy Pagan Mom’, you’ll know that I have been a veiling Pagan for several years. Wearing a veil isn’t something that I do all the time, but it is something that I do most days. My reasons for veiling are numerous, but mainly because my matron is Persephone and I feel led to veiling through her guidance. I also feel more confident when I veil, as odd as that may sound.

Regardless of your reasons for choosing to be a Pagan who veils, there are resources out there for those of you who are looking for help and guidance. Below are a few of the Pagan veiling resources I have come across over the years. If you have written a blog post on the topic, done a YouTube video about it, or if you have a Pinterest board dedicated to Pagan veiling, please drop a link in the comment section and I’ll add it to the list!

YouTube

My Personal Experience with Pagan Veiling (Made by me over 2 years ago!)

Why Would Pagan’s Veil? Lilith’s Embers  

Lilith’s Embers (The majority of her videos focus on Pagan veiling)

Wiccan/Pagan Veiling Tutorial Lunar Paiges AWESOME VIDEO!!!

 

Pinterest Boards

Wiccan Veiling (My board)

Pagan Headcovering (A Shared Board)

Pagan Veiling December Fields-Bryant (A lovely blog reader. Check out her Pinterest page for more goodies!)

Pagan Veiling Grace Kellerman-McLean

Pagan Veiling Charise Clarke

Veiling/Headcovering (A Shared Board)

Pagan Head Covering Kathleen Mezgar

Covered Head Pagan Women’s Movement! Michele Smith-Martin

Pagan Monastic Garb Inspiration Danica Swanson

A Veil to Mark the Veil: Pagan Headcovering Antoinette Johnson

 

Articles

Pagan Veiling and Head Covering The Solitary Eclectic Pagan

Covered: The Pagan Veiling Controversy Beth Wodandis

Veiled Pagans Ria Bridges

Veiling: A Different Take on Pagan Womanhood Star Foster I LOVE THIS ARTICLE!

 

Facebook

Occulta Femina (Pagan Covered Women Support Group)

Sisters of the Veil

Paper Airplanes, Raising Boys, & Solo Parenting

 

Paper Airplanes, Raising Boys, and Solo Parenting

 

Today I learned how to make paper airplanes.

Big A has been begging me to make them for several weeks now after he discovered there was such a thing.

When he first asked me to make one, I froze. I had no clue how to make one. I never thought I would ever have to make one. I’d always assumed that these sort of things would be taught by “Dad”. But Dad isn’t here to teach his kids how to make paper airplanes. There’s only me.

I had this same reaction when it came time to help Big A transition to potty training. When I began having children, I always assumed that “Dad” would be the one to teach the boys how to use the potty, and I would teach any girls that we had. But when it came time to help Big A learn how to use the potty, there was only me, Mommy.

Little boys are fun people. But as a solo mom, I’ve struggled with a lot of insecurities. Am I good enough for my boys? Will I be able to show them strong and powerful feminine energy, while also ensuring that they’re surrounded by strong and wonderful masculine energy? This all applies to my daughter, of course, but I think that the way society enforces gender roles has really been making me second guess my ability to raise boys well. The only thing that has really helped in this area is that I have been fortunate to become acquainted with quite a few powerful feminine forces who are raising their boys with the kind of love and guidance I hope my boys see in me.

It wasn’t that difficult to make a paper airplane. A quick visit to YouTube land and a whole three minutes later, and I had the process down. I was pumping out paper airplanes on a factory scale, or so Big A’s incessant begging made it feel. After about an hour of making paper airplanes, Big A decided he had enough to reach peak satisfaction.

After I finally escaped the paper plane factory, I rubbed my achy hands, poured myself a cup of coffee, and smiled as I watched Big A and Little a zoom around the house with their parchment aircrafts. My momentary happiness turned into a twisted sort of feeling of both pride and sadness, an emotion that I’ve recently discovered since becoming a solo parent.

I’m still in that early stage of solo parenting where I can’t feel a sense of pride in what I’ve accomplished without feeling the pangs of regret and loneliness. It’s no where near as strong and painful as it was when I initially began this journey, but it still creeps up.

Does the regret of leaving behind someone who was a part of your family, because it wasn’t working, ever go away? I don’t know. Does the feeling of loneliness when your children do something fabulous and you turn to tell your partner, only to realize they’re not there, ever go away? Probably not. What I do know is that, every morning, I look at myself in the bathroom mirror and whisper, “I’m enough”, and I try to make the day as wonderful as I can for myself and the kids.

 

My Semi-Eco-Friendly Cloth Diaper Wash Routine (Without Homemade Detergent!)

 

My Semi-Eco-Friendly Cloth Diaper Wash Routine (Without Homemade Detergent!)

 

My Cloth Diapering Failures

Once upon a time, I did what many a crunchy mother did. I washed my cloth diapers in homemade detergent. *gasp!!!*

I know, I know. Shame on me.

After years of stinky diapers, and a few ruined ones, I have learned my lesson. I am happy to announce that I am one year homemade detergent sober.

So since many of us crunchy mamas now know that homemade laundry detergent is useless, what’s an earth conscious mama to do with all those dirty diapers?

I have spent quite a bit of time researching and testing different detergents. I have also been following Fluff Love and CD Science’s research. Between the two, I think I’ve found a detergent and wash routine that is Eco-friendly, leaves the diapers stink-free, and doesn’t destroy my washer.

The Eco-friendly laundry detergent award goes to…

I have to admit, I’m a Seventh Generation lover. Their products are way more expensive than most, but I’m willing to make the sacrifice if it means having clean diapers and a better earth. After all, I started cloth diapering BECAUSE I wanted to leave as little of a footprint as possible when it came to my babies. It would be senseless of me to cloth diaper, then turn around and use a detergent that contained harmful pollutants and the like.

I personally use Seventh Generation Ultra Power Plus on my diapers. I’ve tested a few different kinds of Seventh Generation detergents and this one has been the winner time and time again. It requires the least amount of water and detergent to get my fluffy diapers, like my AIOs, completely clean.

My Wash Routine

My wash routine is actually fairly simple. I wash diapers every 2-3 days. Included in my diaper wash are our family cloth (toilet paper substitute). Since Bitty A is eating some solids now, I swish the diapers in the toilet before tossing them into our diaper pail. That’s the only prep that I do.

When I’m ready to wash everything, I toss them in for a pre-rinse. Usually after 2-3 days, the kids and I have accumulated enough diapers and family cloth to make for a full laundry load. I throw everything in and turn my washer knob to “Rinse and Spin”. I add a half a cap of my detergent and run the rinse cycle on cold.

Once the rinse cycle is complete, I turn the temp knob to hot. I then fill the cap up completely to the #6 line and add it in. The wash gets run, no extra rinses.

When the wash is finally complete, I hang dry everything. I have a drying rack that I can use indoors if the weather isn’t permitting.

Currently I have soft water, but in the past when I’ve had harder water, I’ve added a little bit of borax to my wash routine.

How to find what will work for you

All I can suggest is experiment, experiment, experiment! It took me a while to finally find what worked for us. The first best step would be to check out Fluff Love & CD Science. Their page has been so helpful for me in my cloth diapering journey.

If you’re my neighbor and near Fort Smith, check out our local cloth diaper group, Fort Smith Fluffy Bums. The folks that run that page know their stuff! Again, if you’re local, you can also stop by Natural State Parenting Supply and Yoga Studio in Fort Smith. Jana and Sarah, the lovely ladies who run the store, know the ends and outs of cloth diapering.

How about you? What does your washing routine look like?

 

*This article contains affiliate links. This means that I receive a small commission from the company if you choose to buy your product through them. You can read more about the affiliate work I do here.*

Breast Pumps, Postpartum Depression, and Single Parenting

 

Disclaimer: This is a selfish post, but these are my feelings, nonetheless, and people read blogs for the feels, right? Oh, and for super mom brag posts. This isn’t a super mom brag post, this is just about the feels. This post was also written a few months ago, but pumping has finally gotten much easier for me. 

 

Breast Pumps, Postpartum Depression, & Single Parenting

 

This afternoon I sat at my computer, pumping milk while brushing up on some doula business topics before seeing a client. I was crying. The tears were not because the pump hurt, nor were they due to jitters related to my impending visit with a prospective client. I was crying because I felt sorry for myself.

It all started when I grabbed my pump and milk baggies out of the dusty box I had been storing them in. They had been in there for quite some time, back when Little a was still quite small. It’s the same little hand pump I’ve had ever since Big A was placed in the NICU nearly 4 years ago.

That little pump signifies success, but also a great deal of pain.

My little man, my Big A, spent the first 7 days of his life tucked away inside of the hospital’s NICU. I pumped every two hours to ensure that my little guy could get the very best food I was able to get for him. Those nights were spent in tears, being pinched by poorly fitted breast pumps. I couldn’t sleep, especially when I was sent home from the hospital, but my baby wasn’t.

This little person that had been living inside of me for 9 months was suddenly gone, replaced by some machine that attempted to stimulate the milk that was supposed to be for my little babe. It felt as if my baby had died, as if he had been ripped out of me and all I was left with were scars and that bloody milking machine.

When I would go to the NICU during the day, and I went every day and stayed as long as I possibly could. I would try to nurse him from my breasts. He had a lip tie, I was a new and very inexperienced mom, and the hospital staff were not inclined to help me. Big A and I had a very rocky beginning.

Several of the NICU nurses told me that I would have to switch to formula, because my baby would never latch right. One nurse in particular, who was very adamant that I formula feed, would feed him bottles of formula, instead of the breast milk I had worked so hard to pump every night for him. When I found this out, I requested that she not attend to my son any longer – I was livid.

I eventually was fitted with a better pump, the little hand pump I still have. With it, I was able to pump larger quantities of breast milk during the night so that the nurses wouldn’t be tempted to just feed him formula. When Big A finally got to come home, I packed away the pump and read everything I could get my hands on about breastfeeding. Even though his latch was always horrible and often hurt, he and I breastfed for 13 months without any supplementation.

I have no issues whatsoever with bottle feeding or formula feeding, but after Big A’s birth going horribly wrong, I was absolutely determined to have one thing go right for me, and that one thing was breastfeeding.

With Little a, her lips never touched a bottle. I was quite proud of myself for this. My little pump was used a few times during her breastfeeding, but only so I could pump excess milk to donate to local families in need. The aversion to my pump was still there, but it was made easier knowing that I was pumping for a good cause.

Fast forward to today, while I was pumping and crying. It had been two years since I used that breast pump. I had hoped to only ever use it with all of my babies if there was someone in need of breast milk locally. I had hoped that I would be able to stay at home with each and every one of my babies until they were done nursing, so that they could get their milk directly from the breast.

But today, I was pumping so that my 3 month old son would have milk while he was with the sitter. I had that same feeling I had all those years ago, that feeling deep down in the pit of my stomach, the feeling of my womb aching for the baby that had been whisked away from me and placed inside a NICU incubator. It was the same feeling I had felt within my breasts, the longing to have my new baby be the one getting his milk, and not a machine.

So many emotions were running through me as I pumped. At first, I wanted to blame his father for promises not kept. I felt like I shouldn’t have to be working away from home, when I was told I would never have to while the kids were little. I relived the feelings I felt when Big A was in the NICU, those feelings that I now know were signs of Postpartum Depression, which eventually became worse, but healed some after Little a’s home birth.

Having to constantly fight with hospital staff about my choice to breastfeed, all while healing from an episiotomy and bad birth experience had only made the depression worse. THOSE feelings, those horrible feelings, all came creeping back today.

As I left my babies to go see my client, I chanted to myself, “You can do this; You’ve got this”. I catch myself saying that a lot lately. It works. I conjured up what little bit of a smile I could and drove on to my consult.

I love what I do, I really do. I’ve wanted to be a doula for a very long time. It’s doing it alone that I never anticipated. I’m doing everything I always dreamed of doing, only, I had planned to do it with him, my children’s father, by my side. Now I’m doing it alone.

Like I said at the beginning, this is a selfish post. I know there are women who wish they could breastfeed, who wish they could have children, who wish they could work a job that they love. I try to write posts that are not all a pity party for me, but about the happy endings in my life and the joys that life has brought me. But in this situation, I’m still working on building the happy ending and to find the joy. Those things aren’t here yet, but I can see them. I’ve been working my ass off to get them and I finally see them closing in. But sometimes, in order to experience joy and a happy ending, you have to have a good cry over those who are not there with you when you finally taste that sweet achievement.

 

Spring is Upon Us

Spring is upon us,
Persephone emerges from below
Spring is upon us,
Demeter rejoices for her daughter is home
Spring is upon us,
Hades will mourn over his lost love
Spring is upon us,
Wildflowers emerge from their sleep
Spring is upon us,
Hedge Witches will forage and soon they will fly
Spring is upon us,
Hades awaits Mabon

spring upon us

Big Changes, Small Changes, Changes!

3 little monkeys.jpg

 

Things have been busy here in my neck of the woods. Lots of changes have been happening, some for bad, most for the better. Overall, I’m extremely excited at the direction my life has been going and I hope all these good vibes continue coming my way!

So what have the A Team and I been up to?

Bitty A is 4 months old now, but he’s already about the size of a 1 year old. He’s a chunk! He’s exclusively breastfed, cloth diapered, worn in wraps, and overall wonderful and healthy. Right now he’s been actively trying to crawl. It bugs him to no end that he can’t do everything his big brother and sister can do!

Big A is 4 years old. I’ve been slowly integrating preschool into his daily life and it has been going well! We don’t have any course books, and I don’t foresee us using any in the near future, but he’s doing well with what schoolwork I do present him with. I had planned on putting him in soccer this year, because he loves it so much, but the funds just weren’t there. I’m hoping next year, with a little better planning, I’ll be able to find a program for him.

Little a is 2 ½ years old. She’s semi-fluent in ASL and uses it often, but she loves to verbally communicate (quite loudly) what she’s saying, too. She likes to do preschool work with Big A and actually seems to have a little more patience than he does, so she’s been able to learn right alongside her big brother… one of the many things I love about homeschooling! She also enjoys helping me with my herb crafting. She’s one of the first ones to try a new (and toddler safe) tea blend I’ve made. She seems to have a natural love for plants.

Our local Pagan community has been blooming the last year. The kids and I have been working on becoming active within it. It’s amazing how much is has flourished since I first moved back to Arkansas! There have been talks of a Spiral Scouts troup forming locally. Once they do, I will definitely be talking to the tots about it and seeing if they want to join.

As for the bad changes, my health has taken a pretty hard hit. I had noticed a lot of my old chronic issues, ones that I had kept fairly well under control, began to resurface after I miscarried Baby Arthur. Then, during Bitty A’s pregnancy, I began having even more problems. Thankfully, none of these issues interfered with my ability to safely give birth to him at home, but they did begin to run down my body. Near the end of my pregnancy, the kids and I moved in with my mom just for a little extra help. It was greatly needed, because the last month of Bitty A’s pregnancy, and about two months after, I wasn’t able to work due to how sick I was.

However, with all of these health issues, both old and new, have come good things. It has caused me to delve deeper into herbalism, far deeper than I had before. The drive to feel better and to be able to be healthy enough to take care of my kids pushed me to the point that I needed to be in order to expand my knowledge of herbs. Thanks to a rigorous herbal regime, not shying away from Western Medicine when it was needed, seeing a chiropractor regularly, and working through some stress and grief that had been building up, I have finally gotten to a point in my health in which I’m able to get back on my feet.

Despite all of the ups and downs, my business and continuing my education have both been better than ever! I am nearly done with my doula certifications. I’m training through New Beginnings and Stillbirthday. Stillbirthday has been extremely challenging and has caused me to really reflect on the grief that I experienced when I went through Arthur’s miscarriage. But I need to work through that grief, so I have been very grateful for my training through Stillbirthday.

As far as my business, I have launched my doula business and it has gone very well! I work as a full spectrum doula, meaning I cover all aspects of birth and postpartum, including pregnancy loss and abortion. It is a very humbling job and oh so rewarding. With my doula business, I have also combined my apothecary. My herbal focus has almost always been on women and children, so combining it with my doula business just made a lot of sense. In the future, I might change this up, but for now, I love making oxymels for tots, pregnancy tea blends, and postpartum herb baths.

Combining my herbal and doula business has really helped me locally, in that I’ve been able to bring more awareness about herbal medicines within my local community. Very soon I will begin teaching family herbalism classes at a local store. I live in an area that is overrun with MLM essential oil reps, so it’s been nice to be able to use my presence as a doula to help share information about proper herb and essential oil safety.

And on that note, I will soon be selling my handcrafted herbal goods locally! I have a few local shops that have reached out to me and have asked me if they can carry some of my goods. Of course, I jumped all over that! I’m hoping to have my products in local stores sometime in April. One small step to help me get to the point that I can finally open my own brick and mortar apothecary… my dream!

All in all, the A Team and I have had a lot of ups and downs, but the ups are finally beginning to go way, way up. I pray to the goddess that they continue this steady climb up, because the gods know that the kids and I could finally use some good things in our lives.

 

How have you been? Do you have any big changes happening in your life?