Saturday, October 27, 2012

Book Review: A Kid's Herb Book
It's cold and flu season and I am excited to tell you about a book that I love this time of year.

If you've ever bought a Traditional Medicinal Tea like "Throat Coat" or  "Gypsy Cold Care" you are using a version of something you can make right at home.  Traditional Medicianals was started by Rosemary Gladstar a prominant herbalist.  She wrote a book called Herbal Recipes which has been published for many many years now.  That, however, is not the book I am reviewing today. 

Today I want to introduce you to A Kid's Herb Book; for children of all ages by Lesley Tierra.  If you are a beginner herbalist this is a great book for you, especially if there are children in your life.  Tierra covers 16 basic herbs used for treating illnesses and injuries. Herbs like Mullein; the ear and lung herb, Comfrey; the bone knit herb, Dandelinon; the weed that strengthens, and Licorice; the peace making herb. this adventure you are accompanied by a Gnome called Greenleaf.  He walks with you as Tierra teaches how to make salves, cough drops, paultices, lip balm, real marshmallows, toothpaste, syrups, and lots lots more.  There is so much about this book that I love but what brings it to mind for this blog is Tierra's use of stories.  Each herb has a story and a song to help children see how magical these wonderful plants truly are.

My personal favorite herb in this book is Slippery Elm.  It heals wounds, soothes coughs, and my favorite feature, helps stop vomiting.  Yes!  One recipe my family uses the most is something we call Alien Gruel.  It's nasty looking stuff and takes a bit of getting use to.  But man oh, man, does it make a sick tummy feel better.  In order to get my boys to eat it I read them the story for Slippery Elm and then have them eat a spoonful fo Alien Gruel after every paragraph. They thank me afterwards.

Just in case treating your child with herbs makes you a little nervous.  Tierra also includes dosing information for children and a chart of symptoms as well as which herbs to treat them with.  She also gives the balanced advice of when to seek medical help.  To further enhance this book she has a website with a link to her book for interactive features.  So much fun to be had with herbs!

Did I mention coloring pages?


Friday, October 19, 2012

A Justly Story Ch. 1: A Mother's Bedtime Tale

I am about to begin a great adventure with you.  An adventure that is about courage, faith, love, perseverance, and all good things that heroes and heroines must have.  It will not be easy but the journey will be worth it.  I am about to share with you some very personal stories I made up for my boys.  When Thing One was just a wee babe I kept myself busy thinking up stories about a blind boy name Justly while I nursed him late at night.  I gave Justly all the things I hoped for my newborn son.  As he got older I began to tell him these stories in hopes of shepherding his character. I don't know if it will work but I know he, as well as his younger brother, and hopefully his still younger brother to come, beg me to tell them more Justly Stories, as they have come to be known in our home.  I hope you love them too!

Happy Tales!
Ch. 1
The Justly Stories: a mother's bedtime tale
By Kristen S. Sandoz
Once upon a time in a little poor cottage lived a little poor princess who was prettier on the inside than she was on the outside.  Please don’t misunderstand me: this princess was certainly not ugly. In fact, she was a regular little girl and looked as a regular little girl ought, but she did not let that minor point stand in the way of her greater inner virtues.  And yes, she was a princess, even though she was poor.  For I subscribe to the same theory that the wise Mr. McDonald does when he says what he means about a princess.
“…Every little girl is a princess, and there would be no need to say anything more about it except that she is always in danger of forgetting her rank, and behaving as if she had grown out of the mud.  I’ve seen little princesses behave like the children of thieves and lying beggars, and that is why they need to be told they are princesses.  And that is why when I tell a story or this kind, I like to tell it about a princess.  I can then give her every beautiful thing I want her to have….”

 And, as Mr. McDonald’s little audience so keenly observed, a princess, after all, is the daughter of a King.  So what more is there to explain?  He stole the words from my mouth and so that is why even though my heroine is poor she is still a princess.

It’s not such a bad thing, being a poor princess.  Sometimes being poor is the only way for some girls to realize what it truly means to be a princess.  Riches, and the fame that comes with them, often keep princesses focused on outward appearances--so much so that their inner virtues can be taken on and off with their beautiful garments and hung up in the closet when no one is watching them.  And there they sit in the same skin and bones that a poor princess has looking at themselves in an ornate mirror only to not see that without their fine garments they are really only the daughters of thieves and lying beggars.  So you see, being poor and a princess can be a great comfort and benefit to a girl, as was the case with this princess, who was called Pearl.

Pearl lived with her poor great aunt Hazel who was very ugly as far as appearances go but wise and radiant on the inside.  She was outcast from the nearby kingdom because the people there could not understand how two totally opposite virtues could walk hand in hand.  Ugliness and wisdom could not live together in their minds so they called her a witch and sent her away.  But this was really because they were jealous of her great wisdom and not because they really thought she was a witch.  Of course Hazel had to take Pearl with her because she was the only person Pearl had and she was not even a real blood relation, at that!  But Hazel loved Pearl unconditionally and that is what truly makes a mother, father, sister, brother, or--in this case--aunt.

That is how Hazel and Pearl came to live together in their poor little cottage on the edge of Outcast Forest.  They were never lonely and never in want of company.  There were many others who had been outcast for far more silly reasons than they.

For instance, there was Farmer Dooble, who was outcast because his vegetables were the best in all the land and his prices the fairest.  None of the other farmers could compete with Dooble’s vegetables, mostly because they were lazy or greedy, so they kicked Dooble and his family out of the Royal City. 

Then there was Sasha who loved dancing so much and made such a graceful dance partner that the young men of the kingdom would stand in line for hours just to dance one dance with Sasha.  This, of course, left the other girls without partners so the mothers of these girls had her outcast because they were afraid their daughters would never wed. 

But perhaps my most favorite outcast of all was Copper, the dog.  He was tall and sleek with dark, short, copper-colored fur.  He was born with one flame orange eye and one ice blue eye and for this he was almost killed at birth.  If it hadn’t been for Justly, a blind stable boy in the King's house, who begged the King’s Head Whelper to let him care for the pup, he would have surely been killed.  The Head Whelper, who liked Justly and didn’t much care for the culling of pups, let Justly take Copper on one condition: that he and the pup live in Outcast Forest.  So now it is that wherever Justly goes, Copper is, and the two are often seen walking hand to head with Copper leading the way.  For, as it turned out, Copper grew into the swiftest and keenest sight hound in all the land.

This is where I will leave you for now, with a handful of exceptionally fine characters just waiting for you to hear their stories.  I know.  I know.  It’s not fair.  I’ve hardly told you a thing; but then, these things take time, don’t they?  And as the Witch Hazel always says, "Curing only makes the ham more tasty!"

One...Now my story is done.
Two...I love you.
Three...Please kiss me!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Story Tip: For Posterity

Sometimes we get to laughing an awful lot during our story telling.  Other times a great story is created that we hope to remember for the future.  I have found myself wishing I could immediately capture these moments for posterity.  But alas!  The dishes or laundry or poopy mess in the bathroom calls and I don’t have time to write it all down.  Then the moment is gone.  It’s so sad!

Enter my smart phone.  I discovered it has a voice-recording app.  How cool is that!  So now all I have to do is turn it on while we play story games at dinner or when I tell my boys a bedtime tale.  So simple!  Of course if you don’t have a smart phone I don’t know what you could do.  Perhaps a good ol' fashioned tape player?