Ohhh yes, a new homeschool year is upon us. This past month, as I gathered last minute materials, organized our school area, planned a months worth of craft projects (and relished my last few days of summer vacation), I found myself…slightly panicking.
And then I thought, oh no….it’s her…that inner homeschool mom critic champing at the bit again.
You know who I’m talking about. You are 100% confident in your decision to take on another year (or even your first year!), and that pesky know-it-all mom voice barges in and says, “Look, I know you’ve been working your tail off, but who are you kidding? What if this isn’t good enough?”
She looks you up and down, from her ivory tower, throwing all of your best laid plans to the wind- I mean, how long can you keep this up, right?
This is when you need to bust in, COPS style, and arrest her sorry ass, because HOW DARE YOU MADAM.
Now if this hasn’t happened to you, you may be thinking that I’m a little crazy talking to myself right now, but I digress- I think every homeschool mom has had this very thought, that what she is doing isn’t good enough.
And so, I decided to write this post, as a friendly reminder of things you need to remember as a homeschool mom, seasoned or not. Because we all have been guilty of getting in our heads from time to time and struggling like a fish out of water. I mean, seriously, I’m in year seven and I still have doubts sometimes!
I hope these reminders below help you gain your balance again and give you the courage to keep going- YOU CAN DO IT!
5 Things Every Homeschool Mom Should Remember When Starting a New School Year
1. Focus on improvements, but don’t go crazy.
Listen, it doesn’t matter how much we plan or do for our kids- everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and everyone needs “improvements” year to year. This doesn’t have to be viewed as negative, but can serve as a jumping off point for your new school year.
A healthy example of this is taking results from your child’s end of the year test, and applying it to the new year, without panic or judgement. Does your child need help with her spelling? Try out a few different programs to see what fits. Are they flying through math because it’s too easy? Give her something that will challenge her.
An unhealthy example of this is realizing your child struggles through grammar and then forcing her to do an hour of grammar EVERY DAY until she gets it right! Or making your child feel inadequate because they just can’t seem to get that math problem right- it is our job as the teacher to guide them, not punish them. Piling on work will not always make your kid “better”- in many cases it can just make your kid more stressed out.
Now, I’m not saying that every mom with a schedule is an overbearing hard ass- far from it. I know that we moms just want the best for our kids and we WANT to SEE them succeed! However, when we begin a new school year, we also have to remember to ease into it, and use our past “failures” as something to learn FROM, not be ashamed of.
2. Start with a loose schedule. (more…)
The best birthday parties are the ones with the best food, hands down. Yes, we love seeing our kids happy and sharing that special moment when they blow out the candles, but come on, let’s not lie to ourselves- it’s all about the table spread right!?
It’s about STUFFING our mouths with delicious food and NOT feeling guilty about it! Trust me, it’s hard to feel guilty when you are sinking your teeth into these yummy vegan cauliflower sandwiches!
These sammies were so good, and looked so gorgeous that I had to snap a pic…or five. Don’t judge me.
These sandwiches made a great party meal for my sons FOURTH birthday celebration, and I simply had to share.
It’s amazing how time flies folks.
I feel like just yesterday I was working around the clock, breastfeeding and changing diapers and LOSING MY MIND. Well, I still lose my mind sometimes, but at least now I’m dealing with a pre-schooler.
We always forget this as parents. We can’t help but take each day for granted, forgetting that our children are getting older by the second. And then, BOOM, another birthday comes and it’s like, what the hell just happened?
How are they growing this fast? Please stop growing this fast.
*Sigh*, but really, we know it can’t last forever, which is what makes over-the-top birthdays totally worth it. I’m not a hire-a-magician-and-bouncy-house kinda mom, but I like to make my kids feel special on their birthdays.
I also like to treat everyone that comes to my house with damn good food, hence these cauliflower sandwiches.
I’ve made these a few times, and they are so good they even win the hearts of meat-eaters, so you KNOW it’s a score!
If you’re making these for a small get-together, just follow the recipe as-is below. However, for large parties, DOUBLE THIS RECIPE.
*PARTY SIZE* Vegan Cauliflower Salad Sandwiches
If you’re really into exploring the benefits of herbs and alternative health, you may have wondered how you can create your own herbal apothecary at home.
I’m here to tell you that it is SUPER easy to get started, and it’s not like you have to set up your own mini store overnight- in fact, your apothecary can be just a handful of things to begin.
Trust me when I say that this image of having a mega shelf stocked with a variety of elixirs and potions is not something that can be done with a wave of the wand (although I bet there are some who have tried lol), and it’s that idea that holds people back from creating their own space. Don’t think you have to go from zero to expert in a day!
Functional herbal pharmacies take time and patience, so there’s no need to rush. The important thing is to START, and this blog post will hopefully help give you the confidence to do so.
When I went on a blogging break a few months ago, it was only then that I started to get serious about my own collection. I had a window of opportunity since I wasn’t working, which brought a flood of inspiration and creativity.
It became clear then, more than ever, that I truly, madly, and deeply love herbal practice. I love working with them, I love learning about them, and I love collecting them.
Related: Make Your Own Calendula Oil
And the best way to continue with this type of thing is GETTING ORGANIZED. You’ll save yourself loads of time and effort if you don’t have to search for herbs and items all over the kitchen. This realization hit me full force when I finally took the time to put together my own little corner (que 1960’s Cinderella music) of herbs. As I stacked jars on my shelves, each filled with its own healing magic, I came into full appreciation for this art.
Because yes, I have found that working with herbs is more of an art than a science.
For the home herbalist, you don’t have to know some of the things that you would need to know if you were treating patients daily at an office. While education is definitely valued, knowledge comes in time and lack thereof is no reason to put off starting a small apothecary. Many times, with herbal remedies, you are feeling your way through it. You’re seeing how you react to certain herbs, what you like and what you don’t, and above all, how you feel after taking them.
So what is an herbal apothecary?
In short, it is a space dedicated to medicine making, like your own personal natural pharmacy. It can be anything from a station where you mix up your own *potions*, to an entire room filled to the brim with herbal supplies, or even a small shelf with a few handy items.
It can be as small or as large as you want it to be!
For months, I had herbs, bottles, jars, and various projects strewn all over my kitchen. It felt good to finally pull them all together and clear a space with the intention of bringing many more remedies into my home.
Getting Started on Your Herbal Apothecary
Mm! Nothing quite kick-starts a good Saturday morning like a stack of vegan pancakes and a tall glass of orange juice!
In our house, we cherish our Saturday mornings. I don’t like to commit to engagements that early, because (like most people) all I want to do is lay in my bed as long as possible, even though as I get older, my body doesn’t really allow me to past 9 am. If I was Harry Potter, I would probably magic myself some herbal tea before rolling out of bed.
And pancakes? Well, they are the American staple of breakfast- morning meals in this country revolve around these fluffy sweet edible plates…unless you’re a waffle person. Of course, waffles are just an extension of a pancake, and who doesn’t like a good crispy waffle?
Back in the early 2000’s, I worked at a breakfast diner, and was up taking orders by 5 am. There’s actually something really comforting about diners, with so many people buzzing around from too much coffee and the sounds of food sizzling and plates clattering together. It’s like a strange little symphony that’s oddly soothing.
Which is why (among many other reasons) I really wish they would hurry up and make a vegan breakfast chain of diners so I can experience diner in full force again.
It was here that I learned about how to make pancakes and when to flip them- after you pour your batter onto the hotplate, you have to wait until you see bubbles form on the top. And that’s how you know that the other side is cooked enough to flip.
What I didn’t learn though, is the ultimate secret to pancake success…that I learned from the Food Network, so I guess the cooks at my old stomping grounds were holdin’ out on me.
Do you want to know the secret to a good pancake?
Lean in close, because I’m only going to tell you this once. Ready? (more…)
Did you know that you can make your own calendula oil (as well as other herbal oils) to use for a variety of herbal recipes and remedies? And did you also know that it is SUPER easy-peasy???
Well it is!
Earlier this summer, I began interning with a dear friend at her local farm, and one of the plants I’ve grown close to is calendula. This flower loves to be picked, and so each week we are out in the garden with these beauties, carefully collecting the tops for drying and helping out with other farm tasks. There’s something really soothing about being outside early in the morning and working with the plants (as well as lovely ladies), and it has been great for my herbal education as well as my spirit.
Calendula is a not only a beautiful addition to have in your summer garden, but she also provides you with wonderful plant medicine. Great for cuts, wounds, sores, scrapes, and burns, calendula can help with a myriad of skin conditions, including diaper rash and insect bites.
Known as the “pot marigold,” this beautiful flower has been used since the twelfth century in Europe (and even earlier in Egypt). Esoterically, garlands of calendula at your front door was known to stop evil from entering your house, and placing it under your bed would help make your dreams come true.
Of course, you don’t have to use them to ward off the dead lol- instead, use these delightful flowers to aid you during these hot summer months, when the sun is out in full force and you are more likely to get sunburned. In the winter, calendula can help heal and soothe dry chapped skin. (more…)