August is a bittersweet month for me. It feels like mid-summer due to the hot days, but at the same time, it feels as if the days are slipping away so quickly. It’s partly because I start school back with the boys which always makes me feel like summer is over, but then we have so many summery activities left like going to the fair and vacations that it doesn’t seem as if summer is quite finished.
Speaking of school… I’m happy to report that we’re staying on track with our new curriculum guide I mentioned last month. The boys are really enjoying things, especially all of the literature we’re reading, and so far, everything is going smoothly. I didn’t realize how badly I stunk at reading out loud, or how tiring it was, until I had to read books that sound as if they were written in the late 1800s! Oh. My. Word. I’m sure after all the reading we have this year, my tongue will loosen up at some point so that I’ll sound like a professional storyteller and the boys will understand what I’m actually saying. Here’s hoping.
So anyway, I’m back today with another sneak peek into my life by sharing 5 things I’ve loved this past August with you. I’m also changing things up a bit and sharing some of my goals for the coming month as well. I need an accountability partner, and I’ve elected you. Hope you don’t mind. 🙂 I’ll let you know how I did meeting my goals come next month’s Things I Love post!
As always, thanks for letting me share bits of my life with you, and of course, I’d love it if you’d share some of what you’ve been up to this month in the comment section too!
Favorite Handmade Product
This past month I had photos taken of me for my new website by a friend of a friend. As I was preparing for what to wear for this photo shoot, I decided to splurge on a necklace on Etsy that I’ve had my eye on for quite some time. Unfortunately, in my hurry to get my eye-candy necklace, I didn’t pay attention to the fact that it was shipping from Canada so I didn’t get it in time for my pictures. Call me vain, but I almost canceled the photo shoot. No joke! The necklace was more important to me than my own face in the photos! Isn’t that crazy?? Thankfully, I got over it quickly, had the photos taken, and loved them. I can’t wait for this new Growing Up Herbal website to be revealed to you! It’s so pretty!
Oh, and my necklace did arrive… finally! I am IN LOVE with it, and I wear it every chance I get. I get lots of compliments on it, and I definitely want to buy more like it. It’s from a shop called A Pocket Of Posies. It’s rustic antiqued gold brass pinecone pendant on an antiqued brass chain. It’s so pretty and woodlandy (is that even a word?). It’s definitely a good fit for me, and thankfully it goes with a lot of my clothes!
This past month, I’ve been reading about herbal medicine making from some well-known herbalists to see if I can improve upon my current practices.
As you may or may not know, all herbalists make their medicine differently, and the effectiveness or potency of the medicine will be affected depending upon how the medicine is made. Now, I don’t know about you, but if I’m going to spend the time, money, and energy making my own plant medicine, I want it to be effective and potent. I also believe that there’s always room for improvement. I’m always looking to learn from others and improve upon my skills.
With that being said, I’ve been reading through Richo Cech’s Making Plant Medicine, specifically about how to make tinctures. Most times, when I’m making a tincture, I simply combine my herbs and liquid and let it sit for 2-6 weeks. However, Richo recommends blending the herbs and liquid together in a blender in order to break the plant matter down which increases surface area and therefore, increase the exchange of properties between the plant and the liquid. Makes sense to me so that’s what I’ll be trying from here on out. I’m really excited to see if my tinctures become more potent! I’ll be trying it on a goldenrod tincture soon, and I’ll definitely share the process with you in a post next month!
Favorite Natural Product
This past month, I was lazy and didn’t make a fresh batch of my homemade powdered laundry detergent. Thankfully, though, our clothes didn’t stay in stinky piles on the floor because I had a great back up.
The good folks at Eco Nuts sent me some of their products to try, and I must say, I’m mighty impressed with these little nuts. I mean, I love all things natural and herbal, and Eco Nuts are just that. They’re plant-sourced, they’re natural, and they’ve worked really well on our clothes this month. I mostly used their liquid Eco Nuts detergent to clean our clothes, and as far as I could tell, the clothes came out clean and fresh smelling. Sure, I still had to pretreat the boy’s stained clothes, but that’s normal. I can’t wait to try making some liquid detergent with the soap nuts they sent me. I wanna see how well those work too! I’ll be sure to share my recipe with you if I love it!
This past week, Dean and I decided to take the boys on a spur-of-the-moment trip to Ripley’s Aquarium in Gatlinburg, TN. They offer homeschoolers a really generous discount and since my husband had the day off work, we decided to go for it.
The last time we went, Judah was tiny and didn’t really enjoy it all that much. This time was totally different, though! All of the boys had a blast looking at the animals, touching them, watching the shows, and playing with the interactive exhibits. It was totally worth the 3-hour drive there… that and the Wendy’s food! Yes, I confess… when we go on vacations, we must eat at Wendy’s on the drive. It’s all my husband’s doing!! He loves their fries and chocolate milkshakes! In his defense, they have improved their menu quite a bit as there are a good bit of healthy options.
I’m constantly learning how to make real food work for myself and my family. If you follow my meal planning series here on Growing Up Herbal then you’ve probably seen a bit of how I handle feeding my family real, simple, and healthy foods as well as the areas that I struggle with (like breakfast!).
One of the things I’ve learned over the past year is that I need to include more veggie sides to go along with our main meal. Not only is it healthier for us, but it saves money and benefits my waistline which seems to want to expand easier than it did when I was twenty. So weird, I know!
I’ve been trying to keep most meals simple by having one main dish and two veggies sides. Sometimes it’s a soup. Sometimes it’s a salad. Sometimes it’s herb roasted fries or Mexican zucchini. However, seeing how it’s summer and the grill is used more during this time of the year, one of my favorite (and easiest) side dishes to make is grilled veggies! Not only are they delicious, but they can be flavored in so many ways! Oh, and they’re healthy too! Perfection! Stay tuned for how I do it on the blog soon!
Goals To Shoot For In September
Okay, so at the end of each week, I take some time to plan out what I want to accomplish the following week. This mostly revolves around work, school, and cleaning to-dos. But, I was thinking that maybe I’d try to plan out some monthly goals ahead of time and work those into my schedule if at all possible. I figured if I shared them here with you and had to report back on what all I accomplished at the end of the month, then maybe, just maybe, I’d be more likely to finish them. So here goes.
This September, I’d like to:
- Take Judah on a Mother-Son date
- Plan for our Washington, DC vacation
- Buy mums for my front porch
- Break out the fall decor for the inside of the house
- Start 3 new tinctures
- Buy clothes for upcoming family photos
- Get all the boys clothes and shoes sorted for fall/winter and buy anything I need
- Take lots of pictures of life (and share bits of it with you!)
- Make creme brulee (because I’ve never made it before)
- Buy cute ramekins for my creme brulee
I hope you have had a lovely August, mama! I so appreciate you coming back to read this blog and learn more about living life naturally with me. You make it worth it!