Ready, Reset, Go!

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After a long winter, and emotional hibernation, this mama bear is beginning to stir.

I began this blogging adventure, to share some of my journey as an alternative “hippie” mama, making a go at passionately thriving. The initial hormone boost of new mamahood fueled some fun and ambitious posting. I felt confidant that I was capable of anything, and that I should do everything in my power to be the best mama possible. However, my excitement quickly overcame my abilities. I found my mind taking off in a million different directions, inspired to tackle a thousand projects a day.

Some days I managed to narrow down my goals to a few manageable tasks. I tried to minimize the inner conflict I felt; torn between feelings of primal empowerment as a mother with strong intuitive instincts, and surprising isolation and frustration from not returning to work in my previous field as soon as I had expected.

Recently my adventures have been too tumultuous to warrant posts that wouldn’t later be regretfully embarrassing. I will say that my son and I are happy and healthy and I am eternally grateful to have such a strong and courageous mother to learn from.

So, since words are difficult to deal in right now, I am shifting my creative energy to a renewed love for the visual arts. Above is my first foray into “structured doodling” or zentangling. The meditative nature of this technique has already had an immensely uplifting and regenerative impact on my spirit.

There will be many of these and other pieces in an ongoing zentangle series, as I work towards finding my unique voice amid the bustling, blogging community.

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Happy Lunar Eclipse and Full Moon in Aries

Happy Lunar Eclipse and Full Moon in Aries

Again, Mystic Mamma has spoken words of wisdom directly to my heart.

If you are feeling overwhelmed and exhausted from having spread yourself a little too thin, you are not alone! This full moon, the Hunter Moon, is bringing everything you have invested yourself in to a head. This means relationships, finances, dreams, everything you place value on in your life.

Okay, now take a breath, stop freaking out, and remember;

You are exactly where you need to be, doing exactly what you need to be doing.

Do whatever brings you joy and more opportunities to do those kinds of activities will present themselves. The junk that currently isn’t working, and making you feel stuck, will fall away. Let it. Allow yourself to evolve.

Creating balance is an ongoing process, not a destination. If the hurdles you have been encountering seem insurmountable, break them down. Even those brave few who have reached the summit of Mount Everest had to do so one step at a time.

Go check out Mystic Mamma for more elaborate inspirations, those are some wise we’moon there.

Refocus
and
Keep on Trucking

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Best Halloween Drink 2013

Best Halloween Drink 2013

Mmmmmmmm….What says Halloween better than a fizzy green drink?

If you are a kombucha fan, then you’re gonna love Invisible Alchemy’s Veritae, an effervescent blend of nettle, lemon, and rosemary.

This herbal treasure does a great job concoting a delightfully flavored beverage from :

Nettles
– contain protein, calcium, iron, vitamins A, C, D, B complex and other minerals
– Helps relieve allergy symptoms
– Libido boosting
– considered by herbalists to be a ‘Longevity Tonic”

Lemon
-Natural Detoxifier
– Sore throat soother
– Liver health

Rosemary
-Natural antidepressant
-Heart health
-Can relieve headaches caused by nervous tension

Even those naysayers who have relegated kombucha to the realms of “it’s good for me, and it tastes like it” will love this mix.

Share the love at Invisible Alchemy’s website and facebook page

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Keeping Hope Alive

I am here 

and there

and it feels like a little bit of everywhere these days.

I celebrated surviving the seven month postpartum depression risk zone, just in time to welcome the changing seasons, and the associated seasonal affected disorder with another major life altering decision. Our little family moved halfway across the country!

While this has been something we have been longing to do, the work necessary to bring our dream into reality has been a bit overwhelming. Add to that my unwillingness to allow any admonitions of stress, and you have a recipe for complete and utter exhaustion. In fact, by the time we arrived at our wonderfully quaint little cabin, I was about to tuck tail and run the nearly 2,000 miles back home!

Deep Breath

After a couple of weeks adjusting to the elevation, isolation, and lack of communication (yes, there are still such places in the US, thank God) I began to settle into our new age homesteading lifestyle. My property manager has been a delightful source of inspiration with her frequent gifts of fresh fruits and veggies from her back yard. I made my first apple pie from scratch, with apples from her trees. I was going to post the recipe with pics, but the pie was devoured before I could think to snag a photo. Quite a testament to the value of home made baked goods, as well as an ego boost to boot.

Yesterday we experienced a little taste of autumn, as some cold, grey wet blew in to tone down the  summer. We enjoyed staying cozy with some fresh potato soup and beer bread. However I was reminded to savor the remaining days of sunshine and stock up on my omega oils and vitamin D3.

Best of all, our son has seen some local wildlife along with giant trees and more flora than he has yet to experience in his citified origins. 

Here’s to remembering to enjoy where we are, while we are there!

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Christmas in July

Seems like everywhere you look someone is running a “Sizzling Super Summer Special Spectacular!” I guess this is smart marketing to beat the doldrums that tend to settle in with the hazy, lazy dog days of summer. If it’s too hot to get your adventure on outside, cool your heels and gear up for future exploits and enterprises. Here are some companies I’ve been perusing as of late.

Roozt

This clothing and kitsch company is a recent discovery a la Facebook. They have compiled an assorted bunch of socially and ecologically conscious companies all in one place. You can search for products by trend (think eco-friendly, ethical, made in USA) as well as traditional categories (men’s, women’s, children, etc).  And each product page includes an “impact” tab describing that company and particular product’s sustainable super powers. So now saving the earth and giving others a helping hand just got a little easier.

We’Moon

One of my favorite collaborations. Ideal for that finicky feminist on your list. Tune in to Mother Earth with this lunar calendar featuring the artistic expressions of women around the world. 2014 edition available now.

HopeForWomen.com

Vermont based company vending jewelry, recycled tire bags, cards, and knick knacks. A Member of the Fair Trade Federation. They help women take control of their lives by paying them a fair, livable wage and provide safe working conditions.

Studio Penny Lane

I discovered these clever bracelets and accessories at Rio Boutique (another featured retailer below). Each of these handcrafted pieces help raise funds for founder Laurie Libman-Wilson’s global educational movement fostering Mindful Awareness for children. Their goal is to “positively reset the direction of how we teach our children by eliminating patterns of negativity, fear and even helplessness, and replace them with the tools to love without condition, dream courageously, and recognize and nurture each child’s true gifts… One penny, one child, one thought at a time.” You can also follow their blog for updates on local events and happenings at
StudioPennyLane.tumbler.com

Nappy Shoppe

This local cloth diaper shop is owned and operated by a great group of moms in Plano. They offer classes and talks on a wide variety of natural parenting subjects, along with stocking some great baby essentials and hosting regular cloth diaper exchanges. (We took a Baby Sign Language class with them. So far our son just laughs at us when we sign to him, but I feel like that could be a viable beginning to communication.) They’re up for a Red Tricycle Award this year, so vote for them and other local favorites at Zulily.

Rio Boutique

I happened upon this store on my way to brunch the other day in Deep Ellum. This was the inspiration for this weeks post. They are full of fabulous heart-crafted, unique items. I wanted to buy one of everything, and a few in a multitude of colors. They retail bracelets from Studio Penny Lane along with handcrafted purses, jewelry and clothing that look and feel bohemian vacation fresh. And the mother/business owner is super sweet and helpful.

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Wildcrafting Summer Seasonals

I have long romanticized the practice of foraging for your own greens, nuts and berries. There is something deeply satisfying about discovering a food source growing wild, sometimes even in your own backyard. Then I began to hear stories reminiscent of Into The Wild, and I started questioning my ability  to differentiate between nutritious edibles and their poisonous cousins. Add in factors like pollution and pesticides and safe urban foraging finds become few and far between.

This summer I’ve decided to let go of the negative funk that’s been holding me back from the wonderful world of wildcrafting. Knowledge is power, so I’m going to research, research, research. Here are some of my favorite resources so far.

ForagingTexas.com

I thought I’d start with plants I might find while walking to the park or on the local bike trails. (These areas are potentially pesticide and pollution heavy, so I’ll just be eyeballing plants in these areas to practice recognizing different varieties) Miss Merriwether of Houston, Texas has compiled an excellent list of native plants on her blog, ForagingTexas.com; and she even offers classes on edible wild plants at the Houston Arboretum. I think I see a road trip in our future!

Woolgathering and Wildcrafting

This is my new favorite blog. Asia’s writing style is simply indulgent. On top of that her site is chock full of womanly wisdom. The above post includes a recipe to make your own rose infused honey. Mmmmmm…..Yes, please!

WildEdibleTexas.com

Here’s another local girl offering classes on edible wild plants in the Austin, Texas area. Thanks to her post this May, I now know that Prickly Pear Petals can make a delicious addition to salads and sandwiches. Remember to leave the center of the flower so you can enjoy the plant’s delicious fruit later.

The Garden Compass App

This app has been a little bit hit or miss since it’s geared more towards garden variety cultivars. I was able to identify my grandmother’s Oleander bush as poisonous, but they incorrectly identified the plant below as balsamroot. Anybody out there recognize this bush?

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Conservation Seeding and Restoration Inc.

When I searched balsamroot to find it’s properties this blog set me straight with the picture below

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Celebrate Peace

This year’s Independence Day, deeper levels of gratitude surfaced in my life. Thinking about the sacrifices required of many brave souls, to create the freedom my family and I enjoy, lays a heavy burden at our feet to utilize this freedom wisely. With so many options available to us, the daily task of raising our children to be more vital and successful than us (and enjoy life in the process) can feel like an insurmountable task.

When emotional fireworks take center stage, it’s a good time to recenter and reinforce our positive intentions. The quickest route to quieting distracting mental chatter is through meditation. The word meditation typically conjures up images of Buddha-esque yogis bent into pretzels, silently beaming into oblivion. My brief encounters with Vipassana meditation were about as close as I ever got to that sort of Zen state. And those rare moments were few and far between, punctuated by frequent naps, as my brain seems to just shut down when given a moments pause.

Most of my attempts to meditate since the birth of my son have ended with me sawing some serious logs. The best gift mother’s are given is that special shared dreamy time when our babies are breastfeeding. I guess you could call that my current meditation practice, along with some Kirtan (singing lullabies) and ecstatic dance (spinning us both in circles till we’re dizzy).

While I would like to carve out a little extra time to journal and retune my physical body with a little more focused yoga, I’m also grateful to share these moments with my baby now. Gradually he’ll become more independent and our shared meditation time will need to evolve. Maybe we will both enjoy the same activities like designing mandalas.

More than likely he’ll need an active approach to quiet his busy thoughts. So then, maybe we introduce tai chi, labyrinth walking, and Kung Fu. As we broaden our definition of meditation to include any Flow inducing activity, then any activity we fully engage ourselves in, lends itself to meditative bliss.

So today, go surf, skateboard, cycle, run, paint, create, cook, garden…whatever makes you feel alive and tuned in. We have the freedom, now let’s fully appreciate it and actualize our potential to thrive! And pray we become examples we would be proud to have our children follow.

 

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Plentiful Peaches

What better way to celebrate the on coming summer heat, than with some homegrown fruit? A couple weeks ago I was lucky enough to get an invitation to learn some preserving techniques in exchange for relieving my friends of some of their surplus fruit. A win-win situation if you ask me;) With my mother there to help with my son, (he’s active enough now to be a little bit too helpful in the kitchen) I got a full afternoon of peach prep and preservation information. This was the real deal, can’t buy the book on this kind of knowledge, from a woman who began her love-hate relationship with the peach when she was a little girl peeling peaches on her grandparents farm.20130622-105227.jpg

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Above are a couple of pictures capturing the glory of our friend’s urban peach tree at peak performance. The zoom shot was taken by her lovely 3 year-old grand daughter, and is leaps and bounds better than any of my photos.20130622-105335.jpg

When making preserves or jam (we decided to make jam rather than preserves, which retain more whole fruit pieces), you can utilize the hard, almost ripe fruits alongside the really ripe ones. This will give your jam a little bit more consistency. You can even press the peels to make peach jelly, but two batches of jam and some brandied peaches were enough work for one afternoon.

Rough Recipe:

5 lbs peaches (peeled and quartered)

6 cups sugar (Crikey! Next year I’m gonna try Tera Warner’s Raw Jam Recipe)

*1/4-1/2 cup water (this is optional depending on how juicy your peaches are at prep time, a little extra liquid can prevent them from burning)

1. Place peaches and water in a large pot and set the stove to about med-high. Bring the peaches to boiling and then stay on a high simmer for about 30 min-1 hr. You want to cook the peaches until they stop foaming.

We aren’t exactly sure about the reasoning behind the foam or why you want to cook it off. The closest guess we could muster was that it is a chemical reaction related to the acidic nature of the peach. (I would love to hear something more scientific from any of you chemists out there:)

2. Once the foam has been boiled down, it’s time to add the sugar. Lower the heat again to around med-low, so the jam just barely simmers for about another hour. (I can’t be sure on time b/c I had kind of zoned out from all the hypnotic stirring action at this point)

3. After you’ve lowered the heat, and burning is less likely, you can go ahead and sanitize your jars and lids. This is as simple as placing them in boiling water for a minute or two. Be sure to check the lids for any nicks or irregularities that might compromise a secure seal.

4. When the jam has thickened up a bit and looks and smells divine, pour immediately into your sanitized mason jars or other glass containers and gently place the flat piece of the lids on top. As the jam cools you’ll hear the lids “pop” into place as the cooling liquid creates a vacuum within the jar; which signals that the lid is now safely sealed and ready to be tightened and stored.

Below is a pic of a few of our finished products. The first batch came out a rich caramel color because I wanted to experiment with turbinado sugar, which is supposed to be less processed than the traditional variety. (Now I’m hearing that’s debatable) The turbinado also lent a slightly richer, almost caramel flavor to the jam.

Yield: about 16-20 small jars, 8-10 large jars

Nutritional Info: So delicious I don’t want to know, lol, but at least there’s some phytonutrients in there, right?

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This last picture is of some brandied peaches we made a smaller batch of as well. And you can see us removing sanitized mason jars from the pot of boiling water with tongs in the background.20130622-105615.jpg

So far we’ve enjoyed our jam with hot biscuits and challah bread, mmmmmm. Plus we’ve been indulging in fresh peaches and cream and dousing our pancakes with the extra brandied peach syrup. I think maybe I’ll try modifying my raspberry bar recipe to make a peach variety next, as well as some peaches and cream popsicles.

Anybody else have a great peach recipe they’d like to share? I would love to hear them!

Categories: sugar plums & gumdrops | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Ch-Ch-Changes

Happy Holidays to anyone out there still following this blog.

AlcheMysticMama is currently undergoing some changes.

I’ve recently received some amazing advice and inspiration from other mamas, magically just when I needed their support most.

This has cemented my decision to make AlcheMysticMama a collaborative project. So, there maybe a bit of a continued hibernation period, with less periodic posting. However, we will do our best to keep you up to date with our evolution.

And, if there are any Alternative,Creative, Quirky, and Fabulously Fantastic mamas out there who would like to join us in our innovative, re-imagining of the motherhood concept; please comment and we will contact you 🙂

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Practice Peace

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Sarjana sky via mysticmamma

The stars are aligned today to allow us the room to generate and luxuriate in deeper levels of peaceful vibrations. Welcome these sensations. Foster feelings of compassion toward yourself and others.

Breathe

Stretch

Cuddle

And be thankful we are blessed with the freedom to enjoy the company of our family and friends. Living in the moment, completely immersed in our bliss, precipitates future joyous happenings.

What an amazing time and place to be sharing space

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Summer Scramble

Continue reading

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