Goals, Happiness, Homesteading, Lifestyle, Lily, motherhood, Nature, Personal

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 *

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eat local, Goals, Happiness, Healthy Food, Homesteading, Lifestyle, Lily, motherhood, Nature, Nutrition, Personal

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 

eat local, Goals, Groceries, Happiness, Healthy Food, Lifestyle, Nature, Nutrition, Personal

Eat Local

We are lucky to live in a society that still believes in fresh farmers markets each weekend, we’re lucky to have farmers open their fields for families to go anywhere from apple, pumpkin picking to strawberry picking. Kathleen Wynne

But we won’t be for long.

If we don’t continue to purchase from our local farmers, our local cheese makers, the farmers that surprise us not only by growing wheat, but grinding it down into a flour and baking with it and having that all done in time to sell at the local farmer’s market, if we don’t continue to support our local food growers one day will not have enough money to support not only themselves but also their homestead which means no more local food.

When we purchase our foods from farmers markets and directly from the people that are making and producing the product then we have so much more information available. We are able to learn information like the positives of drinking milks and eating cheeses from other animals not just from cows, which I learned about last weekend at the farmers market. I’ve been loving Brie in this one sandwich I’ve been buying premade at a indoor market grocery store and decided to buy my own brie, when I asked for some from the man at the market he asked which one I wanted, cows milk or buffolo. Know I like to think I’ve tried more foods then most and I’m to trying most things once, but I have never heard of local buffolo milk, luckily when asked which he recommended he went into an amazingly informative conversation that I was happy to listen to and discuss. I would have never gotten anything similar to that from a grocery store. 

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I’m committing myself to eating locally as much as I possibly can. I’m going to find a farmers market that I can find most of what I need, my cheese and dairy needs, my jam needs, produce needs and pre-made but locally made foods (like the gorgeous pizzas at our market). I mostly shop at the London’s Western Fair Market which has all of this and more, but now that the spring is here and more produce and outdoor markets are beginning to pop up and I’m going to be as happy as can be to try every single new market that pops up in our area.

I’m proud to eat in season, I’m proud to support local food, and I’m proud to eat local!

Goals, Happiness, Healthy Food, Homesteading, Lily, Lily's Food, Nature

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.

 

Fitness, Happiness, Lily, Nature, Personal

Plug Into Nature

Being out in nature is an integral part of my happy, healthy life I have created for myself; this is not a statement I make lightly. I have spent plenty of days, even months hidden away in my home not to see the light of day past my window in weeks, even simply going to get the mail was not a task I once could face. What is odd though is that the happiest moments (other then the birth of my daughter) took place in the open nature; that cottage trip and walks through Algonquin park that I wrote of, my daughter first learning to walk while in the grass in a field, going on a day trip to Port Stanley or Grand Ben with my friends, all the greatest memories take place outside. 2015 spring 222

What I have learned is that for me, getting into nature makes all the difference in my mood. I’ve had a tough last week with appointments, lack of sleep, stressful messages and a daughter that has a tooth cutting through so when my mother took my daughter out for a quick ride to the grocery store I took the chance to just simply sit on my front stoop and read outside. I felt refreshed, even had a surge of creativity and took quite a few photos around my house. I’ve learned over the years that it can be hard to get outside when I’m struggling and simply stepping outside on a beautiful day (or even rainy day) can change my mood entirely. 2015 spring 276

My mother offered to drive us to a nature trail and park this past weekend and I jumped at the chance. Lily fell asleep on the car ride over and we pulled out our walking stroller and went on our way, she actually had quite a long nap while we were on the trail. I was so inspired by all the natural beauty, flowers, weeping willow tree’s, and river. I spent most of the time of the walk taking photo after photo. I was mesmerized by the sound of the water rapids and the way the flowers danced in the wind. But most of all I was moved in a way that I can not explain when I came across a tree with flowers surrounding it that was hidden behind the trees. I made my way around tree after tree after seeing the flowers from the walkway and came into a clearing with this tree, I stood there awestruck for a moment. This tree was the most gorgeous thing I have ever laid eyes on in nature. 2015 spring 246During our two hour walk we came across natural rhubarb, with all of the culinary studying I have been up to the past few months I was able to notice the leaves after I stopped to take a photograph; my mother loves rhubarb and eats it raw with a sprinkle of sugar so I got on my hands in knees and pulled out a couple of stalks. Have you ever picked natural produce? it is the most exhilarating feeling, taking your food straight from the earth. 2015 spring 270

We spent well over two hours on the trail, half way through our walk Lily woke up and enjoyed the flowers I picked for her, and said hello to every dog that passed by. Near the end we let Lily out of her stroller to play around and then ended with a trip to the nearby playground.2015 spring 257

I hope everyone of you take advantage of the beautiful weather ahead, may that simply be switching your run from the treadmill to the streets, sitting outside while enjoying a book or going out and taking your own nature photographs, unplug your phones, and plug into nature.

 

Nature, Personal, Travel

What’s Story Do You Have To Tell

I once read a story about a mother telling her daughter how she once packed all she could into a backpack and rode her bike across the country. This was the type of story I once dreamed of telling my daughter one day. My dream was to backpack through Europe, spend Christmas walking down cobblestone streets in England as snowflakes drifted down peacefully, Tasting macaroons and crepe in Paris, maybe take a detour in Amsterdam to see were Anne Frank Hid away all those years ago. I dreamed of living in a cottage all year round surrounded by trees and a pond, hiding away from the world and writing my masterpiece. I have been unable to follow through yet but the Wanderlust is still there. 537565_288199581275738_532456599_n

I do have a story to tell my daughter though, a story of that long ago summer I spent in a cottage in Muskoka just me and my parents. We spent hours driving as I watched through the open window at the beautiful trees, long grass, fields of flowers and beautiful pristine lakes past by. I was entering an entirely different world, one without a life of hectic tasks, without a wifi connection, a place filled with the sounds of grasshoppers and natural running water, somewhere that your nose was filled with the smells of campfires and flowers, of natural wood and dirt.576670_288200071275689_1222311967_n

I can tell her of how being in that cottage was the happiest moment of my life other then her birth. The time spent there filled me with a sense of spirituality that I have never felt again or I can quite explain, it filled one with a sense of peace and love for mother nature that one can not achieve unless you are deep in the thick of nature. It filled me with a feeling of home; every night I went to bed, every morning I woke up, every moment at the lake made me think “this is were I belong.”179772_288199497942413_648111383_n

Beginning the story I would have to mention that the entire time we were there we had no running water. One of the pumps broke, and after having multiple people sent out to fix it, it never was fixed by the time we left. We made due though, bottles of water for cooking, and we bathed in the lake…that is right we went to the lake in our bathing suits and bathed in a lake that early in the morning still had flimsy pieces of ice one had to gently crack to get past. One of the days my father mentioned he really needed to wash his hair and how the water was to cold to do it though, but he cupped his hands and poured water over his head, I had not washed my hair since being at the cottage and me wanting to one up him decided to wash my hair off by dunking my head below the surface, was that ever freezing! I am so glad I did that though, I felt a simple pride in myself and that simply makes a good story to tell Lily. 600464_288198924609137_1231218243_n

The time was spent exploring many of the nature trails through Algonquin park that made choosing what was and wasn’t photo worthy difficult, I took so many photos that trip that I filled an entire large memory card, I grew to feel such a close connection to my father who is a nature photographer, we both always had our camera in hand. It was there that I realized my favorite way to exercise is by walking a trail through a forest, preferably either early evening or early in the morning. It’s were I sat peacefully on the porch being more honest to my mother then I ever had before. It’s were I spent hours reading outside under the trees and just sitting by the water listening it ripple and move, watching the tiny splashes of fish coming to the top.552136_334796839949345_1591880241_n

I always feared I would never have a good enough story to tell my daughter, something that she would be impressed with, something she would be proud to tell her own friends. Looking back at the time in my life I believe this is the perfect inspiring story to tell my daughter. This trip to Muskoka, was the most inspiring and zen part of my life. I had no tasks to complete other then the ones I wish to do myself like walking the trails, I had no one I felt I needed to impress with my clothes or my fitness level; I was just flowing day by day, living moment to moment. That I believe will be an amazing story to tell my daughter, a moment in life that I felt truly connected to my parents, to nature, to happiness and tranquility.

“Place your hands into soil to feel grounded. Wade in water to feel emotionally healed. Fill your lungs with fresh air to feel mentally clear. Raise your face to the heat of the sun and connect with that fire to feel your own immense power” Victoria Erickson