Friday, June 26, 2009

The Benefits of Herbal Wildcrafting for Kids

We made the most delicious garlic bread from garlic that we wild-crafted last week! Yum! I always look forward to summer and early autumn when we do hour herbal identification walks (instructions at:

We learn so much, but my children also eat healthier food than they eat all year! It is amazing what children will eat when they get to pick it off the ground in the "wild woods"! Both my children balk when I put salad on the table (although Sofi likes tomatoes, carrots and fruits and berries and Sunii likes other veggies and orange juice) - they complain that salad is GREEN and leafy and yuck!

However, they have no problem foraging clover, mint, chives, dandelion leaves, and sorrel and eating them by the handfuls! As an added bonus we also have raspberries and mulberries on our nature trail.

Other things we learn from our herbal identification walks:

1. Botany: The basic cornerstone of every botany lesson is the shapes and kinds of leaves you find in nature, how to identify plants and how to classify them. This is also the basic cornerstone of herbal identification. However, it is a lot more fun to identify things you can eat and use, rather than drawing shapes and memorizing names on paper.

2. Observation skills: We learn how to look at nature around us in a deeper way. We often see plants and animals we would not have seen otherwise.

3. Healing skills: We have learned how to heal poison ivy with a few common herbs, what to put on a cut when you are hiking in the wild and what you can eat for a stomach ache, spider bite or bee sting.

4. Respect for Nature: We learn how useful nature really is. All that "green" around us is not just "greem stuff" anymore. It is valuable for its healing properties, taste and beauty. We learn how to wildcraft with respect.

5. Nutrition: We learn and experience the nutritional value of herbs and plants.

6. Economy: We calculate and understand how many things are "free" in life, and how we don't have to buy expensive herbal mixtures to heal or eat. They are usually in our back yard!

7. Biographies and History: We learn about some of the historical figures who wrote journals and poems about nature.

8. Storytelling: We learn stories that teach us about the herbs.

9. Verses: We learn verses that teach us about the herbs.

10. We create books with drawings that help us learn more careful drawing techniques.

This is certainly one of my favorite lessons of the year!

Join us in our adventures with our new E-book "Herbal Identification with Kids" at:

Blessings & Health,

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Storage Magic & Organization much as I love my wooden toys and natural fibers I also love my plastic bins for organization. They are not natural at all and a bit unsightly, but they have saved me so much money and time!

About 12 years ago a friend of mine had her basement flooded and lost most of her possessions and treasures that were stored in boxes. She told me to always store things in plastic bins. I cannot tell you how thankful I am to her. Our basement flooded twice and our storeroom leaks and has terrible humidity problems. Without those plastic bins I would have lost many treasures of my own.

The second benefit of these bins is how easy it makes it to organize things. The bins were an investment each time I purchased one for about $6 - $8.00 but they have paid for themselves over and over. I purchase clear bins so I can see through them and I organize everything I store in these bins. I also label each bin. This makes it very easy to find things I usually would have lost, forgotten about or left buried at the bottom of a pile of storage boxes.

Today was a good example. I actually have a bin for "random pet items". This bin is filled with items we have used for pets over the past 5 years. Tonight I needed some "land" for our tadpoles so I got out the bin, found some "water structures" we had used for a gecko a year ago, washed them and put them to use again. These structures had also been used for our hermit crabs a few years before that. One time we found a stray dog and I found a collar and food bowl for him in there. Without having these items organized I know I would have just lost them somewhere in a pile of things. Like I used to do - LOL!

I have bins for each season/month of the year and each time we want to set up a new nature table we get out the appropriate bin. I also have bins for seasonal clothing, memory boxes for each child (many for each), one for negatives, random cords and cables from around the house, lights and other items.

Last week I had to attach a VCR to the computer to convert some old tapes to DVD. The instructions said, "You need two cords (illustration). These are not included". I was not worried. I went straight to my "random cords" box, searched through it and found the two cords I needed. I remember paying more than $30.00 for these cords so I am glad I knew where they were! I remember when I used to just toss cords in random boxes and drawers and ended up buying the same ones twice all the time.

I am so thankful that I took the time to set up this system. I initially balked at the cost of the plastic bins and it took me a few days to label and organize them but it has been such a time and money-saver ever since.

And you don't need a lot of space to store them. I keep them in a large closet stacked on top of each other. I use them about 4-6 times a week.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Alpaca Roving and Chocolate Chip Cookies

We made a visit to a local alpaca farm this weekend and had a wonderful time with the new baby alpacas. The roving was so delicious we could not resist so we got some roving from Hershey's Kiss and Snowmobile Runner (two of the alpacas) and a mixture of browns and blacks from various alpacas and had a lot of fun making different felted foods and other items from them!

You can see some of the pictures of what we made at:

I started a special photo page for all the local businesses we support so I have them all there in an album called "Goldwater Creek".

After you look at the photos I am sure you won't be able to resist getting out your roving and making a few things too!

Blessings & Health,

Monday, June 15, 2009

Out of the Classroom

This article can now be found on our new BLOG: