Lavander, The Gateway Oil

Sleep is not my best friend, back in high school it was normal for me to go 48 hours without sleep, it’s normal for me to not be able to get to sleep until 1-2 in the morning some nights, I’ve lived my life used to only having about 5 hours of sleep a night. Eventually I was told by my doctor I have “insomniac tendencies” and was put on a sleeping medication. 

Sleeping medication though I’d also not my best friend,  it took me testing many different medications to find one that mostly worked. The first one I tried gave me horrible night sweats and if I wasn’t set to go to bed with pajamas on then I was out of luck because if I didn’t fall asleep in about ten minutes the medication didn’t work,  or the one medication that gave me terrifying dreams that I felt like we’re reality. The medication I decided to use (I honestly just ran out of other medications to try that were covered by benefits) leaves me with a sleep hangover, one that does not simply go away with a few cups of coffee. 

With my new lifestyle changes for a healthier family I decided to finally try to end my many years of relying upon sleeping pills, and look for a more natural way to help me and my daughter (who at the time was having nightmares and waking up through the night also) I tried by getting outside and taking in fresh air more in my day which did help, and adding more exercise and outdoor running games with me and my daughter which helped her sleeping issues. I though was still having problems staying asleep at night.

Then I found essential oils. Lavander to be exact, a few drops on my pillow and 20 minutes of reading in bed smelling that scent I had the most amazing sleep I had, had in months, amd without that horrible sleep hangover! I ventured to my local farmers market that weekend and went to the essential oils booth and purchased  some chamomile and the scent combination has helped me wonders. I can tell when I forget to sprinkle a few drops of oils I have a long night that I wake up constantly. Lily is also sleeping so much better, I sprinkle one drop of each on my daughter’s favorite teddy bear she sleeps with each night and she’s begun to sleep the entire night with no scares.

*Don’t forget to like my Facebook page @ahappinesshomemade *

Advertisements

Crunchy Mom, My Badge Of Honour

 A “crunchy mom” is a woman on a quest for more information.  A mom who is environmentally, health, and socially conscious.

 I was called a “Crunchy Mom” a few weeks ago, and from the rest of the comment, it was definitely meant to be an insult. I’ve heard of the term, but have never thought of myself of being one, I definitely though never thought of it as a bad thing, it was one of those mom things that seemed like a good thing to aspire too. I mean look at the definition!  Coming from a girl that was in the environmental club through my school years, volunteered at the food bank, and even tried to start my own charity to give your old sleeping bags that just take up space in your closet that you never use to the homeless during the winter so that had a chance to stay warm in a freezing Canadian winter where shelters were packed full I think that looks like a real honour to be called a “Crunchy mom” but was I one really? 

First, I went to my boyfriend and our best friend Dave, I mentioned the comment and wondered what they thought. Obviously I had to kind of explain what the term exactly meant, but once I got the jist of the definition out I was promptly told “well of course someone said it, you are one!” It wasn’t one second of mulling it over, not one brief pause. So the two people I spend talk to the most and spend my weekends with believe I’m a “Crunchy mom” but I still questioned myself, that seems like such an honour to be called ( in my opinion) and I didn’t just want to take that label and run with it, I wanted to make sure I’ve earned it.

Where else to turn to? Well I don’t have many mom friends (social anxiety at its finest, I really have to just push myself and find more mom friends) and went to Facebook groups, one I had been invited to was a natural parenting group and I went there, as I read through these moms comments and questions I felt even more like I wasn’t one of them.  These were moms that went all vegan, moms that travel the world with there children, moms that bathe in the lakes they find while there road tripping through life in there mini buses there family lives in (ok not all, but I did find one mom that was doing just that!) I was nothing like that, I’m flexitarian, my kid bathes in a bathtub and my kid isn’t travelling mingle with different cultures on there natural land.

But was that what I had to do to be a crunchy mom? Or are there levels of “crunchiness” ?

I decided to open up, went to the post section and wrote how I had been deemed a “Crunchy mom” as an insult and felt like I wasn’t really doing enough to be “crunchy” so asked, am I really a crunchy mom? I couldn’t just ask a bunch of strangers and get a proper response so I decided to explain a bit about what I do, that I think is a bit “crunchy” but I still don’t think is enough.

  • Uses coconut oil religiously as moisturizer,  and make my own body scrubs with coconut oil
  • Lily and I have a minimum of one hour of nature time a day
  • I buy most of my cheeses, vegetables and meat from local farmers
  • All our sweet treats and desserts are home made
  • I’m attempting to make as much ourselves, soups, marinades, condiments and my quest to make our own breads is ongoing (see mu last post) and I hope to one day make all our sandwich breads, buns and such from scratch.
  • Instead of turning up the heat I try to use blankets and layers, or in the heat flowing clothes instead of turning on the air conditioner
  • I do yoga with Lily as much as I can to teach her how to calm her mind and body down.
  • I try to limit Lily’s tv time to one movie a day  (when she gets bored of the movie and runs off to play, the movie is paused and when her interest comes back to the movie the tv turns back on until she loses interest again.
  • I use essential oils for everything from making sure I have a good night’s rest ( chamomile and lavander) to muscles pains and growing pains for Lily.
  • I’m trying to cut down on processed foods, and snacks are only whole foods versus pre packaged snacks.
  • we are flexitarian,  we do eat meat but we don’t make it the only way we get our protein.
  • Lily and I still cosleep, even though she’s starting to move around more during the night and prefers my side of the bed, after almost four years were still comfortable. 

After writing the comment and posting it I had had revelation. Why do I need these mothers to approve that I am a crunchy mom? Why do I need to be approved to have this title?  I’m trying my hardest to be eco conscious, trying hard to make sure my daughter understands where her food came from, and how it’s made versus that it’s just something you buy in a store. I’m teaching my daughter to be aware of the world around her, and to not harm anything even as little as an ant and I’m teaching her that there are other ways to get rid of anxiety, pain and other ways to deal with sickness then popping a pill.

So yes, I’m a crunchy mom, and I wear that title as a badge of honor.

Check out the Facebook page for this blog @ahappinesshomemade 

Honey Madeleines

 

Having a madeleine pan since Halloween last year I felt it was finally time to check this off my list of things I have mastered in the baking world, I didn’t want just a plain madeleine but I wanted something simple due to the point that honestly I have never tasted or seen a madeleine in person and have only seen them in photos online, in cookbooks or on cooking competition shows.

The best tip I can give you though while cooking madeleines is use shortening and I’m not talking about in your recipe. Many recipes call for you to butter and flour your madeleine pan, or sometimes even just simply spraying baking spray on it. I will tell you though that none of those always work, there are going to be one or two madeleines that will probably stick, there always ends up being that one. Spreading shortening over the pan like you would butter makes the madeleines just slide out after a minute or two of cooling. IMG_2868

Honey Madeleines 

  • 2/3 cups unsalted butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 heaping cup of white sugar
  • 2/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon heaping of honey*
  • Shortening, enough to grease the medeleine pan
  1. Melt butter in microwave or in a small saucepan
  2. In a large bowl, or in the bowl of a mixer whisk together the eggs and the sugars until the mixture is thick (about 2-3 minutes)
  3. Add the flour, baking powder and mix. Add the honey and melted butter. mix until everything is well incorporated and the batter is a thick consistency
  4. Leave the batter to rest in the fridge for at the least one hour (incorpates the honey flavour into the mix and cools down the butter and makes it ready for baking)
  5. Preheat oven to 500 degrees fahrenheit
  6. Generously grease the madeleine pan with the shortening
  7. Place a generous tablespoon of batter or use a piping bag
  8. Place the tray in the oven and turn down the temperature to 450 fahrenheit
  9.  Bake until the madeleines have risen and are lightly golden on top, for a large pan like I used its about 7-10 minutes.
  10. Once madeleines are cooked, pull out the pan, let cool for a few minutes and remove cakes from molds, and place on a cooling rack lined with parchment paper.

*The better the honey quality the better the flavour

*Spray your tablespoon with a baking spray before pouring the honey into the tablespoon so the honey comes out easier and easier to clean.

 

What Moms Really Want For Mothers Day 

a beautiful new coffee mug is perfect, the awesome Wonder Woman journal my daughter picked out for me this mothers day is absolutely amazing but if you have no idea what a mother in your life is really wishing for this Mothers Day I’ll let you in on the real list.

  • Let us sleep an entire night without having to get up because someone peed the bed
  • Don’t wake me up at the Crack of dawn after we spent hours outside running around yesterday…how are you not still exhausted!?
  • Stop chugging your juice! I just want to drink half just HALF my coffee while it’s still warm not sit down for five seconds then get up to refill your cup, please
  •  No a cookie is not breakfast food please stop crying 
  • PICK UP YOUR DINASOURS AND STOP HIDING THEM UNDER BLANKETS those things hurt more then Lego
  • Don’t ask me for a grilled cheese, eat one bite then say “my tummy says I’m full” …then ask for a cookie
  • Stop asking  for Frozen, I love the movie also but the DVR erased it because it was to full with shows I never get to watch
  • No you can not eat the baked goods that JUST came out of the oven please stop asking they will burn your mouth
  • Please don’t lean your head against the oven while it’s on, your scaring me 
  • I love that you tried to help by putting sunscreen on yourself but please let me do it myself
  • Stopping watering every random object you are pretending is a plant! The floor is soaked now, and so are my socks
  • Please take a bite out of the food on your plate instead of having me convince you for 15 minutes then you saying “yummy” we all know your going to like it
  • Please don’t bring three stuffed animals to bed then take over my side of the bed because you have no more room
  • Please fall asleep before I do tonight

And the most important one of all

  • Please keep giving me hugs today, and have a smile on your face so that I know im doing things right. 

A little dirt and a lesson 

kids make messes, kids push boundaries,  kids make mistakes, kids knock over the plant that you just finished planting all over your couch not even a minute after we finished planting it. 

That beautiful dream I had of picking the seeds from a strawberry and planting them in an indoor pot until they grew enough to plant outdoors, the plan that in my mind would grow into plenty of strawberries, enough to bake special treats. Well that plan had a standstill when Lily was standing on the couch looking at the pot on the ledge she somehow knocked the entire contents onto our couch. 

I can’t really be angry with her though (ok I won’t lie I did have an angry tone when I told her to step back while I vacuumed but I think I deserved to have a little bit of an angry tone) Lily offered to help, she pointed out areas I had missed and helped give me company when I went back to the strawberries and stared picking the seeds off again. 

Kids are naturally curious, they want to understand everything and we as parents need to let that curiosity blossom. Even though there’s some questions that are hard to answer or questions that you have answered before and can just not deal with answering it yet again we have to so that our children learn all the things they want to learn.

We have to understand our children are new, things that are obvious to us are not to them…why we put oil in a pan before we cook something, how worms come out when it rains, that we don’t need to water the flowers and the leaves but the dirt the plants come from so we get to the roots. 

There hands will get messy,  there’s going to be times you have to hose them down before they even get into the house because there so dirty, days your mind is so jumbled because you don’t even know how to answer that one mind boggling question. But take it how it is, a lesson. 

Chocolate Chip Snack Cake

My grandmother moved to a new home earlier last week and I wanted to make something easy for her and my family to snack on while packing and unpacking and wanted something that was not to sweet that they would have a sugar rush with the inevitable crash. 

I looked through a few of my baking cookbooks and this one snack cake that used cream cheese in the recipe stuck out to me so I decided to try to make a vanilla snack cake that used cream cheese to keep it moist and chocolate chips to add more flavor. 

I was able to use measures new Kitchenaid for the first time, Lily enjoyed pouring in the ingredients and every last crumb was eaten. 

Chocolate Chip Snack Cake

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 (8 oz) pkg. Cream cheese,  softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla 
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  1. Heat oven to 350F. Grease a 9×9 baking pan and line with parchment paper. 
  2. In large bowl beat butter and cream cheese together, mix in sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla, and eggs one at a timebeating well after each addition. 
  3. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt  mix well. 
  4. Stir in milk and chocolate chips. 
  5. Bake in oven for 30-40 minutes. 

Lily in The Kitchen

When Lily was around 9 months old I borrowed this one book from the local library titled “The Homemade Pantry” and it’s exactly what the title suggests, an entire cookbook packed full of recipes that show you how to make all the pantry staples at your home instead of buying everything pre-made and processed with ingredients you might not even be able to pronounce. 

That idea of the book stuck with me all these years.

I want my daughter to grow up understanding how to make her own bread, that mayonnaise doesn’t just have to come from a Hellmans container but can be whipped up in our kitchen, I need her to know early on that pizza doesn’t come prepared and frozen in the freezer section of the grocery store, heck I want it to go so far that she understands she can even make her own crackers and cheese!

This is why Lily has grown up in the kitchen and will continue to do so. As a little girl, I would place her in her high chair, roll it into our tiny kitchen and give her a wooden spoon while I baked zucchini bread, graham crackers and even when I wilted spinach in a pan with Garlic to make her a personal toddler person that became a staple in her diet as a toddler.

As she’s grown older she grown from just sitting in the kitchen to her helping us gather our ingredients throughout our kitchen, to her even grating chicken and help dice carrots with a safe knife and learning to scoop the sides of a bowl while stirring and hold to lightly fold chocolate chips into a batter. 

I’m a Baker and I hope to one day own my own bakery and I hope for a little while that Lily will be along to help with odd jobs in the kitchen while I work…I even have this dream that I would have a tiny table for her to sit at off to side where she can do her homework. 

We have a bit to go for my dream of a fully homemade pantry but my daughter is along for the ride and I couldn’t pick a better kitchen helper. 

Grow Your Own Food

I want my daughter to learn where food comes from.

I want her to know chicken doesn’t just naturally come in nugget form, that seeds that you find in your fruit actually can grow an entire new plant, I want her to know that milk comes from a cow, I even want her to learn what she can forage from a field or forest and what is edible and what is not (which I will be learning along with her) 18193096_1367245056704513_8455789411148102898_o

The past few days I have been reading The 100 Mile Diet by Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon and it has opened my eyes to plenty of new information, shocking statistics and how much I really should be doing to make not only my life a healthier life for me but for my daughter and the planet that my daughter will grow up on.

This week I have decided to make some changes in my life and my daughters, we will be starting to compost so that we have healthy compost to sprinkle over our new garden we will be planting shortly that will be full of vegetables and berries. I will be planning on growing green beans and tomatoes and Lily wishes that we could plant carrots which I will be looking into. Yesterday I spent quite some time picking the tiny seeds off of strawberries so that I could rinse them off, then dry them and plant them in a tiny area so they can begin regrowing inside our home. IMG_2773.JPG

I’m hoping in the next few months that Lily and I will be able to travel to a few different farms around us and pick some fruit and learn some new things about farm animals and we will be going to try some different farmers markets now that the warmer weather markets begin this weekend in our city.

Through all of this I hope my daughter learns to try new foods because shes comfortable that they are safe, because she feels proud to eat them because shes helped grow them with her own hands. This is going to be a change for us, but one I believe is needed to teach my daughter to be grateful for the food that she eats, to be grateful for our earth and that we are still able to grow our own food.