Autumn – The Season of Big Changes

I have always loved autumn. It is one of my absolute favorite seasons. In fact, I love it so much, I named my daughter Autumn in honor of this glorious season. Despite my intense love for autumn, the launch of autumn this year has not been pretty. I can truly say it has been devastating and one of the most challenging times I have ever had to go through.

The very first week, I miscarried baby #3. In my blog post announcing the miscarriage, I stating it only took 5 days for the miscarriage to pass. This was false, or rather, it was correct at the time that I wrote the article. It has taken an entire month to completely miscarry. I will go through periods of no bleeding, bleeding, pain, tears, what feels like labor, what feels like menopause, cravings, lack of appetite, and so many other things that I can’t list them all. It has been a nightmare. I have been assured by medical professionals that this is all normal when your miscarry as far along as I did (14 weeks). The nightmarish part has been going to bed thinking that it is all over with and that I can finally begin to move on, to only wake up and find that it is still going on. The constant reminder that I will never be able to hold my baby is too much for me to process most days. And yet, somehow, I’m still going.

Three days after I first began with the miscarriage process, my husband lost his job. We had known, somewhat, that this day would come, but we had been under the assumption that he would have his job until at least February. Losing it in October, plus the added stress of losing our baby, was too much to process in one week. I think both my husband and I just shut down for a little bit that week. We went through the motions of caring for our children, the house, etc., but on the inside, we were chaos.

I immediately set out to try to find as much freelance work as I could to make up for the lost income. Since my husband was the primary income earner, this hit me hard. My earnings had always been our savings/fun money, so I had never focused too much on bringing in large sums of money, or keeping several clients for that matter. Soon, I started working well over 40 hours a week (more like 60), while miscarrying, while trying to maintain some level of sanity. During this time, my husband was having to adjust to being a stay-at-home dad. Needless to say, the house was quite the mess and the kids were pretty grumpy with us during this time.

To conclude the month, my husband, daughter, and I all managed to get food poisoning. It has been brutal. We’re treating it at home, and so far, it has been going well. Autumn appears to be in the clear and healed, but Eric and I are still pretty weak. Thankfully, our son managed to not get it, but he’s been pretty picky about eating lately, so that could explain how he managed to evade this terrible funk.

Despite all that has happened, I am optimistic about the rest of autumn, and the rest of the year for that matter. I am certainly ready for this horrible month to be over with, but I can also appreciate what I have learned about myself and my family during this trying month.

I have learned that the Newcomb family is one resilient group of hard-headed people who refuses to allow shit (figuratively and literally) to knock them down. I also learned that I am somehow able to survive on little sleep, little food, lots of work, and little pay. I’ve also learned that I have some really cool kids who somehow know the exact moments that I need a hug or a kiss. I’ve also learned that my kids can be real butt heads when my patience is thin. And lastly, I’ve learned that my husband and I can make it through anything.

I despise what my family and I have had to go through to grow to this new level that we have achieved, but I am also accepting of the fact that in order to grow, one must encounter pain and loss. It is a natural cycle in this crazy system we call life, but I know that somehow, all of this will prove to have been what we needed in order to achieve the next step in our lives.

Formatting My Pagan Homeschool Curriculum

As some of you likely know, I have been working on a Pagan homeschool curriculum. I’m nearly finished with the Pre-K winter portion (the curriculum is centered around the seasons), but I am trying to decide how to format it and present it to you lovely readers.

One option that is available is to sell the curriculum as eBooks on Amazon. I would charge a very small fee (likely $.99 to $1.50) for the entire pack. The other option would be to simply post it all on my blog.

The upside to the eBook option is that is would all be pristine and organized. It would be very easy for you to find everything you need in the eBook format, without having to jump through a bunch of links. The downside to the eBook is that I would have to charge for this formatting (like I said, though, I would keep the costs low).

The upside to posting everything on my blog is that it would be free-to-view. You wouldn’t have to pay a penny find all of my resources on Pagan homeschooling. The downside to posting it all on the blog is that it wouldn’t be so neatly organized. Obviously, I would do my best to keep it organized, but I would have to create multi-links to link everything up together. An additional upside to the blog is that I would likely be able to link-up to additional outside sources for resources than I would be able to in the eBook format.

Now my question is, what format would you, my readers, like to see it in? I’m creating this for you, so I want to do it in the way that would be most beneficial for you and your homeschooling needs.

Thanks in advance for any advice you are able to share.

Blessed Be

-Danie

Stinging Nettle – Mother Nature’s Nourishing Herb

Learn all about the lore behind stinging nettle, as well as how to harvest it and use it in the information-packed article.

Introduction   

Stinging Nettle, also known as just Nettle, is one of the most nourishing and tonifying herbs on the planet, and yet, far too many people have never heard of it. In fact, like the amazing dandelion, stinging nettle is often misunderstood and slapped with the disgraceful label of “weed”.

Benefits of Nettle

Thanks to nettle’s incredible nourishing and tonifying capabilities, herbalists enjoy recommending it for a variety of ailments. It can be used for everything from everyday health to osteoporosis. With its high vitamin and mineral content, it is certainly a good herb to keep on hand.

Herbalists sometimes recommend nettle for:

  • Bladder infections
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Increasing lactation
  • Anemia
  • Increasing fertility
  • Gout
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Joint pain
  • Varicose Veins
  • Hemorrhage
  • Pregnancy health
  • Insect bites
  • Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)
  • Enlarged prostate
  • Fatigue & energy problems
  • High cholesterol
  • Osteoporosis (or other soft bone issues)
  • Sprains

The methods of using nettle will vary from ailment to ailment and herbalist preference, however, most herbalists will agree that most herbs should never be taken in a capsule form. Most encapsulated herbs have been packaged by the manufacturer with herbs that were improperly dried, or parts of the herb that are not very strong medicinally.

Nettle is often recommended by herbalists to be consumed by cooking the leaves fresh or by drinking an infusion made from the dried leaves. Occasionally an herbalist will recommend consuming nettle in a tea or tincture form, but these methods are not as popular as the previous two.

Nettle Benefits:

  • Uterine tonic
  • Whole body nourishing herb
  • Strengthens kidneys
  • Strengthens adrenals
  • High mineral content
  • Increases fertility in both men and women
  • High in iron and vitamin K

Stinging Nettle - Mother Nature's Nourishing Herb

Vitamin & Mineral Content Found in Nettle

Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin K, Calcium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Iron, Silicon, Copper, Sulphur, Chlorophyll

Harvesting Nettle from the Wild and the Garden          

The leaves are the primary part of the plant used when crafting herbal medicinal. To harvest the plant, just snap off a portion of the plant about midway. Be sure to leave about 1/3 to 1/2 have the plant (plus it’s root) still in the ground. Nettle will regrow if the root and part of the plant are left behind.

Occasionally the root is also used in herbal medicines, but this is not as common as using nettle leaves.

It is very important to remember to wear gloves when harvesting nettle, as it has

Garden Variety

Nettle can be grown quite easily in the garden. Do take care as to where you plant it, though, as the plant will eventually take over wherever you’ve set seed.

Nettle prefers rich soil that is slightly damp, so planting it near a pond or stream is idea if you want to grow a large quantity of nettle. This plant also enjoys rich sunlight, but will tolerate a partially shaded area.

It’s a fast-growing plant and only takes roughly 2-3 months from germination to harvest. Garden-variety nettle is harvested in the same manner as it would be in the wild.

Wild Variety

In the wild, harvest nettle by snapping the leaves off half-way down the stalk of the plant. Take care to leave a portion of the stalk, as well as the root, so that they plant can continue to grow. It is usually best to harvest the plant before it has gone to flower. Always wear gloves when harvesting nettle, as the hairs of the plant do like to bite.

Purchasing Nettle

If you’re not able to gather or grow your own nettle, one of my favorite places to order it from is Mountain Rose Herbs. They sell high-quality organic herbs that they gather using United Plant Savers‘ guidelines. You can order nettle leaf from Mountain Rose Herbs in quantities of  4oz. for $3.50, 8oz. for $6.26, and 1lb. for $11. You can purchase nettle from Mountain Rose Herbs here, but I will earn a small commission for the purchase, as they are an affiliate of mine. I only recommend them because I love their company and love the high-quality herbs that they sell.

Best Ways to Take Nettle

Fertility: Infusion

Bladder Infection: Tea/Infusion

Lactation: Tea/Infusion

Hypertension (High Blood Pressure): Infusion

Anemia: Fresh/Tea/Infusion

Stinging Nettle - Mother Nature's Nourishing Herb

Caution with Nettle  

There are no reported side effects having been reported from using nettle. It is considered a very safe herbal medicinal to use and is a popularly recommended herb by herbalists of the Folk, Native American, and Wise Woman traditions.

The only issue with nettle are the little hairs that sting, but the sting rarely lasts for more than a few hours. Some people with arthritis of the hands have actually reported the stinging hairs to have a relaxing quality for their arthritic pains.

As with any herb, do your own research before consuming nettle to see if it is right for you. It is also wise to consult with an herbalist or other medical professional before consuming an herb for use as medicine.

Nettle Side Effects:

There are no known side effects with nettle. Even the stings from the “hairs” on nettle don’t cause anything more that a slight stinging sensation from the area they touched for a few hours.

Final Thoughts on Nettle

Nettle is one of those herbs that everyone interested in natural medicines should have on hand. The vitamin and mineral content found within nettle alone should be enough to convince someone to keep a well-stocked supply of this amazing herb.

Since there are really no known side effects with nettle, it is generally considered a safe herb to use for long term use. I enjoy taking nettle infusions several times a week to use in treating my anemia, as well as for absorbing nettle’s high chlorophyll and vitamin content.

It is an amazing herb to use for adults and children alike. Try using nettle infusions for at least a month (in conjunction with other infusions in-between) and you will begin to notice that you have more energy, feel more rested, and will feel healthier than ever before.

Have you used nettle for medicinal purposes before? If so, what did you use it for and did it seem to help?

Consult with your primary health care professional before using Nettle to treat any of these issues. This information has not been reviewed by the FDA and should be used for educational purposes only. This article contains affiliate links.

Baby Arthur’s Miscarriage

I have been avoiding posting this for quite a while now, because I just didn’t know what to say. I’ve been sifting the words through my head, but nothing sounded right. So instead of being a blubbering mess and writing out my frustrations, I decided to wait it out.

As you can probably tell from the title of this article, I had a miscarriage. It happened a little over 2 weeks ago while my in-laws were down here visiting us. This is the first miscarriage my husband and I have had together, and it would have been our third baby.

When I awoke and noticed all the blood, it didn’t really faze me too much. I think I was too groggy from sleep to really notice. It took me a good 5 minutes to truly process what had happened. Once I finally processed all that happened, I was surprisingly, at the time, okay with it. For some reason, I just had this gut feeling throughout the entire pregnancy that something wasn’t quite right this go-around. I had somewhat mentally prepared for a miscarriage, so when it finally happened, I was able to handle it a little better.

My husband was troubled by it, because he had really been looking forward to our third child. We talked about it, cried, and held one another. It’s a difficult thing to process, but I think he’s doing better.

I chose to miscarry privately at home. I told no one but my husband what had happened, while it was happening. I really wanted to keep it a private matter, because I knew that I couldn’t mentally handle the questions and comments people were going to give me. I knew that it would all cause me to just break down. When I told a few family members later on, there were quite aggressive with me and angered that I hadn’t told them when it happened. That only proved to me that I made the right choice, because they would have interfered with what little calm I was maintaining.

The baby miscarried rather smoothly over a 5 day span. On the first day that it happened, I wanted to try to keep my mind off of it as much as possible. My husband decided to take me hiking while my in-laws watched the children. I love hiking and it was exactly what I was needing. He and I enjoyed ourselves, we took our time, and we were able to smile through the heartache. We only hiked about a mile, which was more than enough.

Both my husband and I are fairly certain that the baby was a boy. We both meditated on the gender multiple times, and that’s what we both came up with. If it had been a boy, we would have named him Arthur, after my husband’s grandfather. In my mind, the little one that I lost will always be Arthur.

As the days have passed, it has been a little harder. My belly has returned to it’s pre-pregnancy form, which provides me with a constant reality check anytime I see my midriff. I’m also still in the process of telling friends and family about the loss, which is difficult. I like to hope that things will get better, but I know that there will always be a sweet little baby missing from my brood.

For the time being, my husband and I are waiting on having any more children. We’re currently both going through occupational changes/advances, so life is already busy without adding an additional little bundle. We also want to have time to heal, both emotionally and physically. We really do want to have another baby, but just not right now. I need to heal from the loss of this one, and that is going to take some time.

Skillet Pomegranate Lactation Cookies

Skillet Pomegranate Lactation Cookie

One of my resolutions for 2014 has been to eliminate plastics and aluminum from my

kitchen. This includes my cookware. In order to work with this, I have been learning how to

cook on cast iron.

I gotta say, I am in love!

Cast iron is so amazing to cook with. The foods taste better, cast iron is great for my anemia, and it’s far healthier to cook with than aluminum cookware.

Little a has been going through a growth spurt here lately. Anytime she goes through one of these, I always make some lactation cookies to help with my daughter’s growing needs.

Instead of baking lactation cookies on my very warped and questionable cookie sheet, I opted to bake them in my cast iron skillet.

Amazing, delicious, divine…

Even Viking Man chowed down on these bad boys, and usually he’s not too big of a fan of pomegranate.

These cookies are sugar free (honey sub), egg free, and can be dairy free if you substitute the butter for 1/2 cup of organic coconut oil.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Pomegranate
  • 1 stick of Butter – melted
  • 1 tablespoon Brewer’s Yeast
  • 3 Flax Eggs from freshly ground flax
  • 1 cup Raw Local Honey
  • 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • Pinch of Himalayan Salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground Fenugreek

pom cook

Directions: 

  • Preheat over to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Grease your cast iron skillet with coconut oil and place in the oven so that it can begin heating up.
  • Combine honey, butter, & flax eggs. Add the rest of the ingredients. Fold in the pomegranate arils. Pour some of the pomegranate juice into the mixture to add to the sweetness.
  • Take your skillet out and place your cookie dough into it. Spread the dough out with your hands or a greased spoon.
  • Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown.

This made me about 16 skillet (pie shaped) cookies. I haven’t made this with a cookie sheet, but I would assume it would make about 2 dozen sheet cookies.

Keep in mind that the ingredients that make this a lactation cookie are the fenugreek, flax, and brewer’s yeast. Don’t skip adding these in. You can find these on Amazon or at your local health food store. Please do not purchase ground flax from Walmart, as it is not fresh and tends to be rancid. 

This article was originally posted on my old blog, The Frugal Hippie Housewife. This article contains affiliate links