Natural Family Care

Our Daily Water

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The first day of August means plenty of sunshine and long hot days here in Colorado.  In the intense dry heat it is very easy to become dehydrated.  I find my kids are especially susceptible to neglecting their water-glass which leaves them tired, grouchy and even prone to headaches.

Long ago I learned the magic of simply placing a sprig of mint or lemon balm in my water bottle.  After a half hour or so the water takes on a lovely light taste of the herb.  My kids love herbal waters and I often put a sprig of mint into their water bottles if they are headed out and about for the day.  Yet when we spend the day at home, I have found that filling a pitcher with water and herbs doesn’t seem to attract their attention.  The pitcher is cumbersome for them to use and they often forget about it being in the fridge.  So, earlier this summer I purchased a big beautiful glass beverage dispenser for our family.  Originally I had thought to place it in the refrigerator full of luscious tasty herbs infused in water but it found a prominent home on our kitchen bar, right smack dab in the middle of our living space.  The water is room temperature (unless I add ice cubes) which I find goes down easier than really cold water.  And it doesn’t get forgotten in the fridge.  The kids love going over to the dispenser multiple times per day to fill their glass and they are drinking a lot more water, success!

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Pepperminty Mint!

Making your own herbal waters is so easy.  Simply place fresh herbs (along with fresh fruits and veggies if you please) in your jar or dispenser, add water and wait a bit.  Soon you will have a tasty treat!  The amount of herbs, fruits and veggies you use depends on your tastes and the size of your dispenser.  Ours is large and we like our water very flavorful so I usually use a big bunch of herbs.  The water we have most often is mint because we have a ton of it in the yard yet there are a lot of herbs and combinations to choose from.  It is really only limited by what you have available and your imagination.

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Just Strawberries

After trying many blends our two favorites are ~

  • Chocolate Mint with Tart Plums
  • Lemon Balm with Strawberries

A nasty blend we tried ~

  • Basil with Oranges…  I thought my first glass was kind of fun, my kids wouldn’t touch it after the first sip.

Other ingredient ideas for making tasty infused waters ~

  • Herbs: any kind of mint, lemon balm, chamomile, anise hyssop, borage flowers, lavender, sage, cilantro, basil…
  • Fruits: berries, all kinds, melons (think honeydew or watermelon with mint), oranges, limes, lemons, apples, plums, peaches, pineapple, cherries…
  • Veggies: cucumbers, peppers and ??  I am sure there are many more that would be tasty especially in combination with savory herbs, but I haven’t experimented yet.

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How about you?

Do you have any fancy ways to help your family to drink more water?

Shared On: The Kid’s Co-op, Eco-Kid’s Tuesday, Kid’s Get Crafty, It’s Playtime, Natural Living Monday

Categories: Food Is Your Best Medicine, Herbal Tips And Tricks, Herbs For Cooking, Herbs For Kids and Mamas, Kitchen Creations, Parenting, Seasonal Herbal Crafts, Summer | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

♥ Summer Herb Camp: Week Six Playing With Science ♥

Welcome to Mama Rosemary’s Herb Camp

Join us every week for a fun round up of projects and ideas to do with your kids during the summer.  Each week will have a theme with lots of projects to do using herbs, exploring science and natural, holistic living plus some great crafts for good ol’ fashion fun!  Many projects can be adapted for multiple age ranges depending on your child’s interests and developmental stage.

Our sixth week of summer camp is all about being scientists while having lots of fun!  

Projects and Experiments

These projects and experiments are great ways to introduce kids to some basic scientific concepts while engaging the child in learning about the world around them.  

Just click on the below pictures to get full instructions.

… talk about dissolving solids in liquids and make a saturated solution.  Then use that solution to grow beautiful crystals!

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… make super silly friends that show how oil and water don’t mix.  Plus these friends are a great tool for helping kids calm down when they are upset.  

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... discover the fun or acid/base reactions!

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... talk about the three states of matter while create an aromatic cloud in a pot all while making an aromatic hydrosol.  

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... explore the powers of weather and erosion.  

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... if you haven’t already, visit our previous week of camp when we did lots of fun stuff in the garden.  Here you will find butterfly life cycles; helpful worms and ladybugs; botany with an examination of the inside of a flower; and a couple of fun ways to grow your own plant babies!

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I am so glad you stopped by!  

Please join us again next week!  

More Summer Herb Camp ~

Shared On: The Kid’s Co-opEco-Kid’s TuesdayKid’s Get CraftyIt’s Playtime

 

Categories: Herbal Crafts And Projects, Herbs For Kids and Mamas, Nature Exploration, Parenting, Science Exploration, Seasonal Herbal Crafts, Summer, Summer Herb Camp | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

How To Make A Hydrosol

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To me the scent of wild things, of plants and flowers is truly enchanting and brings great joy to my life.  Essential oils and hydrosols capture a bit of that magic for us humans to enjoy any time.   Hydrosols are the aromatic water that is created during steam distillation of essential oils.

Hydrosols are different in their healing properties than aromatherapy spritzers where essential oils are simply added to water.  This is because in addition to small amounts of essential oil, hydrosols also contain water soluble healing compounds.  Among these compounds are plant acids which lend themselves beautiful as toners for the skin.  Hydrosols are generally considered to be gentler and safer to use than their essential oils counter parts.  According to Sagescript hydrosols “contain the beneficial products of essential oils plus more and in a less concentrated, safer form.”

You can use the following method* to make homemade hydrosols from any number of fresh plants and flowers.  Consider using roses (of course!), lavender, calendula, lemon balm, catnip, rosemary and any other fragrant or soothing plant.  I think chamomile would be especially nice.

Today we are making peppermint hydrosol.  The good folks at Mountain Rose Herbs say that peppermint hydrosol is great for cooling down on a hot day and that it is “it is particularly helpful for abrasions, hot spots, and as a facial toner.”  I think it will make a perfect spray or compress for cooling down on a hot day.

~ Materials ~

  • Large pot with a lid, a pot for canning works great for this.
  • Small bowl or container to go inside your pot to collect the hydrosol.
  • Something heat-proof to stand the smaller container on inside the large pot, a jar rack works perfectly for this.  If you don’t have one of these don’t despair.  Try using heat-proof ramekin instead.
  • Water, distilled or filtered
  • Ice cubes
  • Peppermint (or other plant material)

~ Method ~

Place the rack or ramekin in the bottom of the large pot and put the small bowl or container on top of the rack/ramekin.

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Next fill the bottom of the large pot with plant materia.  You want the plants to reach up to the smaller bowl.  Then fill with water until the plant material is just barely submersed.

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Finally put the lid to your larger pot upside down on top of the large pot and fill it with ice cubes.

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Heat this whole set up just enough for the water surrounding the peppermint to steam but not boil.  Let it work it’s magic for 20 minutes or so.  We used a clear lid so we could watch the hydrosol condense!

~ How It Works ~

The water will steam the plant material carrying all the goodness from the plant into the air.  The steam collects on the lid of the pan and condenses due to the ice cubes.  Because the pot lid is upside down, as the steam turns back into a liquid the liquid is directed to drip down into the smaller bowl.  This liquid is your hydrosol!  Pretty cool, uh?

Please store you new hydrosol in a dark glass bottle in the refrigerator.

Enjoy!

~ How to get kids involved with this project ~

If you have read my blog for long, you know that sharing herbs with kids is a great passion of mine.  So of course, getting them involved in this fun project is a big plus for me.  Here are a couple of ideas for sharing the fun with little ones!

  • harvestingmintHave them help you harvest the peppermint.  Explain to them that cutting the mint right above the point where two leaves sprout off the stem helps the plant to grow two new stems.  This is because there are baby leaf buds nestled in right above each individual leaf.
  • Ask the child to help you set up your still.  And share with them what is going to happen.  This is a great time to talk about water and all of its forms.  The liquid water in the big pot will heat up and turn into gas or steam.  This is like a big peppermint infused cloud.   The solid water in the form of ice cubes will help the steam cool down and “rain” into the bowl.
  • Explore your new hydrosol together.  Spray it on yourselves and talk about the effect on your body and mind.  Taste it and cook with it.  Make lotions together too!

For more fun with mint join me at our summer herb camp where we have a whole lot of magical minty ideas!

* Jeanne Rose’s Herbal Body Book is where I found this great way to make your own hydrosols.  I stumbled upon this awesome book years ago when I was a teenager.  For weeks I coveted and saved until I could purchase it and bring it home with me.  My first sojourn into making hydrosols with this method was way back when.  I made the most beautiful rose water right in my family’s kitchen.  So incredible!

References: 

Categories: Aromatherapy For Kids, Herbs For Cooking, Herbs For Kids and Mamas, Hydrosols, Kitchen Creations, Medicine Making, Science Exploration, Summer Herb Camp | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

♥ Summer Herb Camp: Week Five Magical Mighty Mint ♥

Welcome to Mama Rosemary’s Herb Camp

Join us every week for a fun round up of projects and ideas to do with your kids during the summer.  Each week will have a theme with lots of projects to do using herbs, exploring science and natural, holistic living plus some great crafts for good ol’ fashion fun!  Many projects can be adapted for multiple age ranges depending on your child’s interests and developmental stage.

♥ Time to play with mint! ♥

Our fifth week of summer camp is all about one of my family’s favorite herbs, mint!  

Projects and Recipes

We have a huge mint patch in our backyard.  It started years ago when I planted a little peppermint plant next to a little spearmint plant.  With the passage of time they have grown and spread, intermingling into a luscious green wonder.  We also have a big whiskey barrel in our yard where chocolate mint plays with a raspberry bush and pansies.  The result is that I have plenty of mint to enjoy with my family.  You don’t need lots of mint to do these projects, just a bit will do.  But if you have a lot of mint, these projects will help you and your kids enjoy it!  

Learn about mint’s properties by clicking here.

Also this week we have some additional projects in the works.  Look for these posts coming up during the week. 

Just click on the below pictures to get full instructions.

… give your kids a hands-on experience of mint with this simple project. 

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… emerse yourself in a day of mint play!  Make fairy crowns and wands made with mint to go along with tasty mint chocolate chip cookies!  Seriously these cookies are fabulous.  We eagerly wait each year for the mint to grow so we can make them together.

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... another way to enjoy the culinary delights of mint because after all mint is so tasty! 

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More Magical Mint Ideas

Enjoy A Mint Bath With One Of The Following Bath Recipes ~

In The Kitchen ~

  • Add chopped mint to fruit salad.
  • Blend fresh mint and watermelon together for a refreshing drink.
  • Infuse fresh mint in your lemonad.e
  • Drink a nice cup of mint infusion.

More ~

  • Smell some mint or mint essential oil and use the scent as inspiration for creating a drawing or painting.
  • Add a couple drops of spearmint essential oil or a bit of fresh chopped mint to warm playdough for an aromatic treat.
  • Put a drop or two of essential oil in a 1/4 cup of corn starch, stir it up well to incorportate the essential oil and use as a cooling foot massage.

Coming Up Later This Week

Look for these posts on the blog during the week!

I am so glad you stopped by!  

Please join us again next week!  

More Summer Herb Camp ~

Shared On: Tender Moments, Eco-Kid’s Tuesday, Wildcrafting Wednesdays, The Kid’s Co-op, Friday’s Nature Table

Categories: Herbal Crafts And Projects, Herbs For Kids and Mamas, Nature Exploration, Parenting, Peppermint, Playing With Herbs, Seasonal Herbal Crafts, Summer, Summer Herb Camp | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

♥ Summer Herb Camp: Week Four Squeaky Clean Bath Time Fun! ♥

Welcome to Mama Rosemary’s Herb Camp

Join us every week for a fun round up of projects and ideas to do with your kids during the summer.  Each week will have a theme with lots of projects to do using herbs, exploring science and natural, holistic living plus some great crafts for good ol’ fashion fun!  Many projects can be adapted for multiple age ranges depending on your child’s interests and developmental stage.

Let’s get squeaky clean 

with herbs and aromatherapy! 

Our fourth week of summer camp is all about using herbs, essential oils and other natural materials to care for our bodies all while having a blast!  First is a fully description about how to host a spa day for kids.  Then there are some great bath recipes that kids can make.  Finally, please find a little section for parents!   

♥ Spa Day For Kids  

Host a super fun, messy, gooey spa day for your little ones and their friends,

perfect for a hot summer day!

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This is a great way for kids to explore using natural materials to care for their bodies while providing a fun activity filled with tactile, creative opportunities.

Materials ~

Feel free to use any combination of the items below to create your own customized special day!

  • Kiddie Pool, this will be like a big bath tub!
  • Sprinkler
  • Clays ~ I like to use rose, french green and kaolin clays.  You really only need one clay but it is fun to have several different options with all the pretty colors to choose from.
  • Avocado ~ smashed up
  • Fruit Slices ~ I usually get whatever is on sale or in season.  What you want here are slices of fruit high in alpha hydroxy acids which help exfoliate the skin removing dead skin cells.  Sure, there aren’t many kids that will benefit from this action but knowing about it and feeling the effects of the fruit on there skin, that’s pretty cool.  Good choices are apples, grapes, strawberries, oranges and even lemons.  (I would be careful about giving little ones lemons to use though because they might get the juice in their eyes!)
  • Cucumber Slices, kids think it is super silly that people put these on their eyes!
  • Bowl for Discards
  • Stuff For An Herbal Bath ~ roses, lavender, chamomile, mints, calendula etc….  Also, epsom salts, oatmeal and essential oils like lavender, rosemary, rose geranium etc…  And cloth (with a band to tie it shut) or sock for making a bath.
  • Aromatherapy Spritzer
  • Corn Starch

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Instructions ~

Fill the kiddie pool with water.  Place bowls with fruit, avocado and cucumbers outside on a table that is easy for the kids to get too.  You might want to put the table in the grass.  It is going to get really messy and the stuff that falls on the ground can become food for you lawn instead of a big mess on your patio!  Mix the clays with enough water to make a paste and put the clay on the table too.  Put your discard bowl under the table Make sure you have your spritzer and corn starch handy.

Get all of your bath ingredients set up over by the kiddie pool.  Then when you are ready bring the kids over and make an herbal bath with them.  I usually start this off by talking with them about the benefits of an oatmeal bath while I put the oatmeal in the sock (or cloth).  I make sure to tell them about how the oatmeal makes a slimy goo when you squeeze the bundle we are making.  Next we add some epsom salt.  Then show the kids all the beautiful herbs you have to add to the bath and ask the each to choose one herb they would like to add.  Give them each a handful to toss into the tub.  Next add a couple drops of essential oil, using a total of 5 to 8 drops at most.

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Next take the kiddos over to your spa table where all you fruits, clay and so on are set up.  And tell them all about how to use these fun substances.

  • The avocado is oily and nourishes the skin
  • Hydroxy acids in the fruit help exfoliate the skin
  • The clays help to nourish and tighten the skin
  • Cucumber slices on the eye reduce puffiness and refresh the eyes

The kids can use these to make art on their bodies too, making little patterns and drawings!  A couple of cautions: If you have young kids, be sure to tell them not to eat the fruits and veggies.  Explain that after a piece of fruit or cucumber is used it should be placed in the discard bowl and not back with the fresh pieces of fruit/cucumber.  Finally I always tell the kids not to put any clay around or above their eyes because when it dries, they clay begins to flake and gets into their eyes.  Trust me, this freaks them out.

Then let the fun begin!  Turn the kids loose!  Turn on the sprinkler if you have one.  If you want, you can walk around with the spritzer and spray it above the kids occasionally.

Finally, when the kids get tired of all the spa day activities, finish up with corn starch foot rubs.  The kids always love these.  Just have them grab a seat and give them little handfuls of corn starch to rub on their feet.  The corn starch is silky and cooling, and of course messy!

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Thanks for reading about how to host your own spa day.  It is so much fun and I hope you will consider giving it a try!

Next check out some fun baths to make for your kids to use in the tub!

♥ Baths For Kids To Make & Use ♥ 

Each of these baths are not only fun to make, they are great for body and soul!  

Just click on the pictures to get full instructions.

… create a customized Sock Bath full of herbs and oatmeal goodness, slimy and squishy skin nourishing fun!   

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… become a chemist experimenting with acids and bases and blow up couple of volcanos, even one in your bathtub! 

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... create beautiful layered bath salts!  These were originally made as Holiday gifts but you could change around the scents to make it more Summery.  Consider using rose geranium, sweet orange or even ylang ylang.  Kids love to watch the layers build as the bath comes together.    

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♥ Well Deserved TLC For Parents ♥ 

Summer time is fun and exciting but let’s face it, Summer can also be a bit tiring for parents.  It is important that as parents we take time to care for ourselves which also models healthy self-care for our children.  Please join me in a the honored art of bathing.  At the end of this post of a few lovely bath recipes perfect for soothing away the cares of any mommy or daddy.  

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I am so glad you stopped by!  

Next week Mama Rosemary is on vacation!  Please join us again on July 20th for lots of fun crafts and tasty recipes using a beloved herb, mint.

In the meantime, if you are looking for herbal crafts and creations to make with your kids, check out Herbs For Kids.

Shared On: Eco-Kid’s Tuesday, The Kid’s Co-op, Wild Crafting Wednesday, Tender Moments, Friday’s Nature Table

Categories: Bathing, Herbal Crafts And Projects, Herbs For Kids and Mamas, Mindful Self Care, Natural Family Care, Parenting, Playing With Herbs, Practices For Intentional Living, Science Exploration, Science Investigation, Summer Herb Camp | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

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