Even during teething…

13. Late night snuggles with my little boy.

14. The scent of his head, soft and silky beneath my lips.

15. Being able to comfort my baby when he’s in pain.

16.  The knowledge that teething really will not last forever.

17. A warm husband and our cozy down duvet to help banish my skin-chill after I crawl back into bed in the wee sma’s.

18. A slow morning with my husband who has been gone most of the weekend.

19. New friends who, after an afternoon and evening of fellowship and food, seem like old friends.

20. Garlic.

21. The smell of a fresh house – after mopping the floors with diluted orange essential oil, leaving the windows open wide to the sunny breeze.

22. The surprise of a new shirt, picked out by my lovely husband who definitely knows my taste in clothes.

23. Rain.

24. Putting my little yellow kitchen “to bed” – rinsing the sprouts, feeding the sourdough starter, wiping down the counters one last time.

25. The first time winning an online giveaway!

26. Lavender soap.

27. Pumpkin spice candles warming the house with their scent.

28. Honey-sweetened pregnancy tea.

29. Little dimpled hands turning pages as Cedar sits and looks at books.

30. Meeting my husband’s request for pecan pie.

31. Cedar’s (and Mommy’s) favourite blankets…softened through much love and washing, smelling of baby and clove oil (used for teething).

32. Clean diaper laundry.

33. Joining other young mamas as we talk of babies, birth and breastfeeding.

Advertisements

Just pretend it’s still Monday…

Late yesterday afternoon, my copy of Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are came.  And after reading one (tearful!) chapter last night, I loved it and can’t wait to read more…  And in the reading, I was inspired to become part of the group of bloggers who chronicle their “1,000 Gifts” on Mondays.  At first my perfectionist side balked against randomly starting now (instead of at the beginning of the year, etc.), but then I realised that I should just get over it and now I’m even starting on a Tuesday instead of Monday!  But in the future, these gift posts will be on Mondays…

1. An amazing husband who gives incredible massages to his achy pregnant wife.

2. A twig found in the bathtub – evidence of a certain little man who likes to bring treasures in from outside along with making several daily trips to the bathroom (where he’s usually not allowed) to thrust aside the shower curtain and look at his line-up of farm animal bath toys.

3. Green grass, sunshine and perfect outside temps…in January!

4. Long nursing cuddles with a toddler who usually won’t sit still for longer than 30 seconds.

5. An obliging brother-in-law who picked Cedar and I up in town after the car randomly stopped working.

6. The fact that I was able to maneuver the aforementioned car into a parking lot before it completely stopped working.

7. A deep trunk in the aforementioned car that made a great playplace for an inquisitive toddler while we were waiting for our ride.

8. Baby kicks that visibly move the belly.

9. Being almost to my third trimester and, thus far, no complications!

10. Potatoes, oil and salt.

11. Homegrown sprouts.

12. A late Christmas package from a sister – full of chocolate, my own copy of a favourite book, the most adorable hand-felted wool baby booties, and more!

 

Tincturing

My kitchen counters sometimes have rather strange-looking items sitting on them.  For the last month, next to my fruit and alliums baskets, an old Adams peanut butter glass jar has been sitting, full of some kind of dark liquid with lots of floaties in it.  This morning, another Adams jar full of stuff was deposited in my crockpot, surrounded by water, where it will sit for the next three days.  What am I doing?  Well, tincturing. Or to be more exact, I’m making two different tinctures, one a glycerite (glycerin-based), the other alcohol-based.

For a long time, I’ve been fascinated with herbs and their healing properties, but very intimidated by them.  It sounds silly to be intimidated by plants, but whenever I would read about herbs and the ways to use them medicinally, the incredible variety of different herbs and the sheer amount of information I didn’t know scared me away.  That, and I was a single girl who didn’t get sick all that often (and my family wasn’t too keen to be practiced on), so investing the time and money into learning some herbology and starting to collect what would be helpful didn’t seem worth it.

But within the last couple years, all that changed.  I now have my own little family to care for and look after when they’re sick and I don’t want to rely on chemical-laden pharmaceuticals  or oft-recalled medications to do so.  And that’s when I realised that I had to get over my intimidation of herbs and use what little knowledge I have and keep learning and applying what I learn.  And one of my first things to try was making tinctures.

A resource that I have found incredibly helpful as I slowly increase my herbal knowledge is the Bulk Herb Store*.  Along with having a great selection of bulk herbs (imagine that!) and herb blends, they have a wonderful resource selection.  Simple and straightforward enough to not be overwhelming, but still specific enough for beginners, that was where I found directions for making alcohol-based tinctures and glycerites.

I wanted to start with a tincture that would come in handy when any of us would start to feel sickness coming on. A couple friends recommended the Double-E Immune Booster blend, that includes both echinacea and elderberries, two herbs that I knew helped in the staving off of sickness.  So to my last order (which included some red raspberry leaf and alfalfa to make pregnancy tea out of…but that deserves its own post!), I added a bag of that, a bottle of vegetable glycerine and five 4 oz. tincture bottles.  I was set.

My box arrived and I excitedly unpacked everything, trying not to let that old overwhelmed feeling come back.  Due to several weeks of traveling that we had planned in the near future, I decided to wait until we were going to be home for awhile to start my tinctures.  So around the middle of December, when we were finally home, I took out a glass jar (I love the ones that Adams peanut butter comes in…extra wide mouth and a metal lid), filled it about half full with the Double-E blend and some extra elderberries I had on hand, covered the herbs with hot water (stirring a little bit to make sure there were no dry spots), filled the rest of the jar with vodka…and voila!  It sat on my counter for the next four weeks (out of direct sunlight) and if I remembered, I shook it every day.

Today I did almost the same thing, except I replaced the vodka with glycerin, and after I screwed the lid on the jar, I put it in my crockpot (sitting on a folded washcloth), filled the crockpot with water (to about an inch below the lid of the jar) and turned it on low.  I’ve been replacing the water as it evaporates and in three days the slow heat should have done its work.

Both tinctures will be strained through a tea towel.  I’m planning on bottling some of the glycerite for Cedar, and then mixing the remaining glycerite with the alcohol-based tincture for general use.  In the next couple days I’m planning on researching on what the dosage will be.

In it all, I’ve been amazed at how easy making these have been.  Depending on how long bottling takes (and I don’t think it will be much), altogether the active time I’ve spent making these tinctures has been less than an hour.  The research has taken a little bit longer, but to me that is time well-spent as I’m learning how to better care for my family.  And in the doing, I’m discovering that herbs really aren’t as intimidating as I thought…they’re actually quite fun to work with!

*Note: Even though it probably sounds like it, the Bulk Herb Store is not paying me to do this post!  As far as I know, they’re not even aware of it…  I just have found them to be a very helpful resource and want to make sure that others know of their helpfulness.