Moon Magic

I like to mark the full moon by reflecting on the previous weeks and setting intentions for the coming weeks. I know it’s typically more of a new moon activity but I’m a visual beast and I connect better with the full moon. 

This morning I was in a bit of a tizz as I packed school bags and lunches and got kids in their shoes and car seats etc. At one point Poppy grabbed my face and yelled, “HILLARY, DON’T BE MAD.”  And I wasn’t mad, I was just stressed out and trying to do 87 things in four minutes, but it’s stuck with me all day. Partly because it’s hilarious but also because it’s made me realize how wound up I get when I think I’m going to be late or when my brain is going in too many directions. 

I’m not going to set a bunch of intentions or goals tonight. I’m going to set one: slow down. Slow down with the kids, with Shawn, with myself. Take a breath. Do one thing at a time. Give people my full attention. Sit down when I eat instead of shovelling food into my mouth while I help kids get dressed and sign permissions slips. Slow down my speech, think about what I want to say, say it kindly. Be with the people I’m with. 

What’s your full moon magic? 

Just a Little Moon Magic

Tonight is the full moon. I'm not suggesting we all gather outside and dance naked under the moonlight but damn, it's been a long, cold winter and I am ready to shed some stuff. Sitting in a quiet, candlelit room without screens, connections, or distractions, and evaluating what the last lunar cycle brought you and what you want to let go of, is a great way to check in with yourself. It's not always comfortable (sometimes the last thing I want to do is ask myself how I'm doing) but I never regret doing it. If you feel a little jangly, light a candle and muster up a couple deep breaths. Sit comfortably with yourself for five minutes, ten if you can manage. Don't worry about what's next. Don't fret about what's happened. Breathe in the moment. And maybe do a little wiggle in the moon's rays if you feel so inclined. Next full moon is March 31st, lovelies. See you then for some more moon magic?

Encouraging Kids to be on Mother Nature's Team As Part of The Whole Family Happiness Project

Grady is very into "teamwork" these days. Our family is a team. It's his job to be kind and loving to Poppy and follow our family rules. His kindergarten class is a team. It's his job to follow his teachers' instructions and be nice to his classmates. When we're facing a challenge with Grady, we approach it as teamwork. With the days getting longer as summer draws closer, we're making bedtime all about teamwork. It's my responsibility to brush Grady's sugar bugs and it's Grady's job to pick out a bedtime story. It's up to us as parents to make sure Grady gets enough sleep and it's Grady's job to go to bed when we tell him it's bedtime. It's amazing how excited and accepting he becomes when we frame it in a way he understands. Teamwork makes sense to him. He wants to contribute to his team.

So when we noticed that Grady was becoming less connected to the great outdoors, choosing instead to spend most of his time inside, we decided to "team up" with Mother Nature. He's always been interested in gardening but balks at doing yard work. Instead of asking him to weed the garden beds or water the lawn (booooring), we gave him his own pots and let him choose what to plant in them to build his own little garden. It's his job to water his flowers, it's his flowers' job to grow. He's not overwhelmed by a large garden or hours of yard work, but he does need to check in on his pots every day to make sure they're doing okay. It's a small part of his day but it's becoming a habit. Soon it will be second nature.

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As part of his garden, we helped him build a bee bath. Despite never being stung, Grady is terrified of bees. We've come across worms, slugs, beetles, ladybugs, and many more creepy crawlies in our gardening adventures and it doesn't faze him. Add a solitary bee to the equation? Grady is out. Gardening session over. The plants are on their own, hopefully it will rain so they get a drink of water, he's heading inside where there are no bees. Bees get a bad rap with the kindergarten crowd and we wanted to boost Grady's comfort level and view bees as a necessary part of our garden. It was shockingly easy to get him on Team Bee when we explained that without bees to pollinate our flowers, there would be no strawberries (his favourite local delicacy) and without strawberries, there can be no strawberry ice cream (the horror!). It takes ten seconds to say "don't be afraid of bees" but it only takes a few seconds more to explain why bees exist and how we can help them, and how helping them boosts our own happiness (because who can be unhappy with a bowl of strawberry ice cream in front of them? Monsters, that's who.). 

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I treasure our time together in the garden. We're not distracted by screens or piles of dirty dishes or "just let me throw a load of towels in the washer." We're hanging out, digging in the dirt, talking about bugs, filling watering cans, working together to make our space beautiful. We're not experienced gardeners by any stretch of the imagination (I probably have as much gardening knowledge as Grady does) but that doesn't matter. What matters is that I feel happier and less anxious when I'm connected to Mama Earth and I want to pass that on to my children. It's my job to introduce my kids to the pleasure of planting something, tending to it, caring for it, and watching it grow. It's their job to bloom. 

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This post is part of The Whole Family Happiness Project. Opinions expressed are my own. For more information, or to share your Whole Family Happiness story, visit Whole Family Happiness on Facebook.

Juicing: The Basics

I'm not an expert. I've been juicing for almost a year and I've tried a lot of different things - some successfully and some not so successfully (like that time I made spinach / strawberry juice because I love strawberries in my spinach salad. Spinach (green) + strawberries (red) = brown juice. Brown juice looks like poop.You're welcome.)

These "basics" are my basics. I don't mean to sound like I'm an authority on anything, I just get a lot of questions about juicing and I thought I'd write something down to try to demystify juicing somewhat. I used to be very intimidated by juicing and now, almost a year later, I'm so glad I took the plunge and just started (that's always the hardest part for me - the starting, the biting the bullet and just doing instead of thinking.) 

So! First things first. If you want to juice, you need a juicer. There are different kinds of juicers (centrifugal vs masticating) and different brands. I use an Omega J8006, which is a masticating juicer. I chose masticating over centrifugal because centrifugal juicers can heat the juice due to their high speed (which then speeds up the breakdown of enzymes.) There are pros and cons to both kinds of juicers and I'm not educated / experienced enough to say that one is better than the other. If you're going to put down a whack of cash on a juicer, I recommend spending a bit of time to research which kind better suits your lifestyle / needs. 

That right there --> Is an Amazon Affiliate link. Just FYI. If you buy an Omega J8006 through that link, I get some cold hard cash. Full disclosure. 

Now! Let's get juicing. When it comes to making juice blends, there is a lot of trial and error involved. Everyone has different tastes and different fruits and veg take to juicing differently. I love bell peppers but I hate juiced bell peppers. Cannot stand it. It took time and experimentation to find the different combos that worked for us. With that being said, there are a few general rules that I follow to make juicing more enjoyable. 

  • Colour! I try to stay within a colour family when I juice. So I'll juice green stuff and yellow stuff together but I won't juice green stuff with red or orange stuff (see brown poop juice example above.) 
     
  • Balance! I love citrus fruits but fresh juice made entirely from citrus is going to give me a stomach ache. I like to balance my juice with something citrus, something sweet , and something grassy / bitter / healthy-tasting.
     
  • Speed! I wash, prep, juice, and drink my fruit / veg all in one go. I used to wash everything when I got home from the market, and for a time I was chopping large amounts of fruit / veg and storing them in the fridge for faster juicing sessions, but to maintain the most enzymes, vitamins, nutrients, whatever it's best to do it all at once. Masticating juicers (like the Omega I use) claim that you can keep your fresh juice in the fridge for up to 36 hours and still reap some benefits but the faster you drink it, the better. 
     
  • Temperature! I don't love cold beverages. (Unless we're talking gin.) I drink room-temperature water. I choose warm drinks over cold drinks nine times out of ten. Except when it comes to fresh juice. Fresh juice tastes a hundred times better when it's served over ice. I don't know why but it's true for every single fresh juice I've ever tasted. 
     
  • Caution! Juicing fruits and veg concentrates the good stuff but can also affect some people negatively. Go slow. Listen to your body. Do your research. And get help from qualified people if you have any questions. Herbs (like mint and parsley) can affect milk production in breastfeeding mothers. Some people react poorly to celery juice. People with thyroid problems need to be careful with cruciferous vegetables (like kale!) 

Juicing doesn't have to be a lifestyle (insert eye roll here) choice. You don't have to wear hemp clothes or believe in the magic of crystals or dance under full moons to enjoy it (though I won't laugh if you do. Whatever does it for you, man. I love my full moon ritual - but that's another topic for another time.) I use juicing as a way to supplement my diet with fresh, healthy vitamins and nutrients so I don't feel guilty about drinking wine and eating copious amounts of baked goods. I'm not curing my cancer with juice. I'm trying to make healthier choices to offset my less-than-healthy habits (that I'm unwilling to give up because I cannot live a life void of cake. I just can't.)

Do you juice? Do you roll your eyes at people who juice? Can I (try to) answer any juicing questions for you?