Kids Love Gardening

Children’s Vegetable Gardens: Introduction

Apparently, we can see how nature is treated these days.  It is a sad thing to know that people do not pay attention so much anymore to the environmental problems.  What can we do about this?  It’s as simple as starting with the children.  It is good to see the children’s involvement with environment-friendly activities. One such nature-loving activity that children could easily get their hands on is gardening. Why should you consider gardening for your children?

Here are the benefits that gardening could easily provide the children with:

1.  Science
In planting, children are indirectly taught the wonders of science like the plants life cycle and how humans intervention can break or make the environment.  They can have a first hand experience on the miracle of life through a seed.  This would definitely be a new and enjoyable experience for the kids.

2.  Life
Watching a seed grow into a tree is just as wondrous as the conception to birth and growth of a child.  In time, kids will learn to love their plants and appreciate the life in them. Gardening could actually help simulate how life should be treated — it should be with care. The necessities to live will be emphasized to kids with the help of gardening – water, sunlight, air, soil. Those necessities could easily be corresponded to human necessities, i.e., water, shelter, air, food.  By simply weeding out, one could educate how bad influences should be avoided to be able to live life smoothly.

3.  Relaxation
Studies show that gardening can reduce stress because of its calming effect. This is applicable to any age group.  More so, it stimulates all the five senses.  Believe it or not, gardening may be used as therapy to children who have been abused or those who are members of broken homes.  It helps build one’s self-esteem.

4.  Quality Time with the Family
You can forget about your stressful work life for a while be soothed by the lovely ambience in the garden.  You can play and spend quality time with your children.  You can talk while watering the plants or you can work quietly beside each other.  The bottom line is, always do what you have to do, together with your kids.  You might discover a lot of new things about your child while mingling with them in your garden.

Let kids become aware of their environment’s needs. And one way to jump start that environmental education may be through gardening.  It’s hitting two birds with one stone — teach them to respect life while you bond with them.

Growing Memories.

Melodramatic chocolate chip cookie.

Melodramatic chocolate chip cookie. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dear Doctor Mom,

Memories are what grown-up kids are made of. The kitchen is the perfect place for making memories. When you spend time baking, cooking and enjoying meals with your family, you create happy memories you and your children will cherish forever. Kids and cooking are a wonderful combination for fun and learning.

The benefits of preparing and enjoying food as a family are clear. You save money and eat healthier meals. You create opportunities to connect and communicate with your children and spouse. And most importantly, you show love for your family when you spend time cooking and eating with them and teaching them the basics of cooking and nutrition. Children of all ages need your attention and your time. By working together to create a meal or bake a batch of cookies, you spend valuable time together.

So, here are 10 steps to get your family cooking up memories.

Step 1:
Teach small children the fun of cooking by helping them bake cookies and cakes. Kids love the tactile feeling of the cookie dough in their hands and it tastes good too. If you are short on time, you can use a boxed cookie mix and spend more time decorating.

Step 2:
Encourage the littlest ones to play pretend cooking. Kids love to play with real mixing bowls, strainers and wooden spoons. These make harmless toys and can be easily thrown in the dishwasher for quick cleanup. buys you some quiet time. – Sometimes household things are better than toys – they can be like mom and dad

Step 3:
If you live by your day-timer, schedule in baking cookies with your kids. Our schedules can be so hectic that something as simple as baking a batch of chocolate chip cookies can get skipped over. Write it down and do it.

Step 4:
If you have teenagers, let them play their favorite music (and dance around the table) while they wash the lettuce and set the table.

Step 5:
Work together with your spouse to prepare the dinner and use the time to catch up on each other’s day. Always allow tasting – contrary to popular belief it does not destroy the appetite – it invites sharing (and kisses)

Step 6:
Even if you are in a rush preparing dinner, remember to reduce your stress and focus on creating a fun atmosphere that naturally encourages the whole family to participate. Consider your words before speaking. You need to keep your words soft and tender – in case you have to eat them.

Step 7:
When spending time preparing food with your children, include lessons about healthy eating choices. Keep the conversation positive and avoid listing foods they can’t have. Tell the kids what you have been learning about health and tips for natural healing. They are little sponges and when they are grown you will benefit from their knowledge as it come back to you in treatment.

Step 8:
On days where you anticipate time will be tight, consider taking a short cut by using a frozen stir-fry mix or pasta with a jar of pre-made sauce. Your family will appreciate your relaxed mood much more than a made-from-scratch dinner.

Step 9:
Share the job of grocery shopping. One week have mom take one of the children as a helper, the next week dad can go with another child. Always work from a grocery list and let your children help you retrieve items and cross them off the list. This teaches reading, writing, logic and science amongst other things.

Step 10:
Have big family meals where you share about your day. Keep the conversation fun and avoid negative lectures over dinner. Remember to laugh. You are making memories.

Take these steps today and make your kitchen a fun and memorable place for your whole family.

Herbs? Try Simple.

Herbalism

Herbalism (Photo credit: Nomadic Lass)

WHAT IS A SIMPLE?

A “simple” is one herb used at a time. A “simpler” is an herbalist who generally uses herbs one at a time, rather than in combinations.

WHY USE SIMPLES?

Most herbalists – whether from China or Japan, Eastern or Western Europe, Australia or North America – use herbs in combinations. Simplers, don’t. Why?

Well, its simply that herbal medicine is people’s medicine. Make herbal medicine simple: as simple as one herb at a time. Because people worry about interactions between the drugs they take and herbs, I keep it simple: with simples, interactions are simple to observe, and simpler to avoid. Because empowerment in healthcare is difficult, It should be easy to use safe herbal remedies: and what could be easier, or safer, than a simple?

SIMPLES MAKE YOU THINK

If you are just getting started with herbs, one thing that could confounded you is the many choices you have when you begin to match symptoms to the herbs that relieves them. If someone had a cough you think, “Should I use garden sage or wild cherry bark or pine sap or mullein or coltsfoot (to name only a few of the many choices)?” One way out of this dilemma is to use them all. Some cough syrups can contain every anti-cough herb that you can collect. And they all work.

As you get more sophisticated in your herbal usage, and especially after studying up on the various herbs, you begin to see that each herb has a specific personality, a specific way of acting. you realize that you can’t notice the individual actions of the herbs when they were combined.

Dare to use just one herb. Would wild cherry bark tincture all by itself be enough to quell that child’s cough? Yes! Would mullein infusion alone really reduce a person’s asthmatic and allergic reactions? Yes! Would sage soaked in honey for six weeks ease a sore throat? Yes! Each herb that you try as a simple can be successful. They all work, not just together, but by themselves.

The more you use individual herbs the more you come to know them as individuals. The more you use simples, the simpler and more successful your remedies can become. The more you use one herb at a time, the more you learn about how that herb works, and didn’t work.

SIMPLES ARE INTIMATE

When we use one herb at a time, we come to know that herb, we become intimate with that herb. Just as we become intimate with each other by spending time one-on-one, simply together; we become closer to the herbs when we use them as simples.

Becoming intimate with an herb or a person helps us build trust. How reliable is the effect of this herb? When? How? Where does it fail? Using simples helps us build a web of green allies that we trust deeply. Simples help us feel more powerful. They help abate our fears, simply, safely.

SIMPLES ARE SUBTLE

Using one herb at a time gives us unparalleled opportunities to observe and make use of the subtle differences that are at the heart of herbal medicine. When we use simples, we are more likely to notice the many variables that affect each herb: including where it grows, the years’ weather, how we harvest it, our preparation, and the dosage. The many variables within one plant insure that our simple remedy nonetheless touches many aspects of a person and heals deeply.

A Herbal apprentice, who tinctured motherwort flowering tops weekly through its blooming period,  reported that the tinctures made from the younger flower stalks had a stronger effect on the uterus; while those made from the older flower stalks, when the plant was going to seed, had a stronger effect on the heart.

SIMPLES GIVE ME POWER

  • Using one herb at a time helps you feel more certain that your remedy has an active value, not just a placebo value.
  • Using one plant at a time, and local ones at that, reassures you that your herbal medicine cannot be legislated away.
  • Using one plant at a time allows you to build trust in your remedies.
  • Using one plant at a time is a subversive act, a reclaiming of simple healthcare.

Combinations may erode your power, and might lead you to believe that herbal medicine is best left to the experts.

FROM COMPLEX TO SIMPLE

Take the challenge! Use simples instead of complex formulae. Rework some herbal remedies and get a sense of how simple it can be.

The great anti-cancer formula Essiac contains

Extracting the simple: Rhubarb root has no possible use against cancer; it is a purgative whose repeated use can “aggravate constipation”. Slippery elm bark also has no possible anti-cancer properties and has no doubt been added to counter some of the detrimental effects of the rhubarb. Sheep sorrel juice is so caustic that it has been used to burn off skin cancers, but it would likely do more harm to the kidneys than to any cancer if ingested regularly. Leaving us with a great anti-cancer simple: burdock root. One that is found to be superbly effective in reversing dysplasias and pre-cancerous conditions.

But this herbal magnifies its power in the combination. Not only for cancer, this treatment can be used for almost anything. It is kind and gentle and good tasting. It has the most amazing healing properties. This brew is so easy to make and keep as a dried mix in the cupboard. If you get sick -any kind of sick, even gastro, it can be brewed up a cup at a time (1 teaspoon boiled slightly in pure water and cooled with a lid on to keep the delicate essential oils inside. then drink as a tea. It is mighty soothing and uplifting and can be kept down very easily.)

 

Simples are fun. Give them a try.

Footnotes

Among the many variables, you can especially notice that the tinctures that are made with fresh plants are many times more effective than tinctures made from dried plants. Some say that preparations of common plants growing in uncommon places will be stronger as well. Many herbalists are aware of certain areas of their land that nurture plants that are particularly potent medicines.

Natural mosquito repellant spray

Soon it will be outdoor garden season, Time to get ready for Mosquito invasions. Here’s an easy, natural, pleasant repellent recipe you can make at home:

Combine in a 16 oz spray bottle:
15 drops lavender oil
3-4 Tbsp of vanilla extract
1/4 Cup lemon juice.
Fill bottle with water.
Shake vigorously; it’s ready to use.
Spray on yourself.