Wednesday, November 2, 2011

My Children

For those of you who inquire about my children, I thought I would post some updated pictures.  Savannah is 14, Ben is 12, Nicholas is 11, Gabriella is 8, Quinn is 6 and Ysabella will be 3 in 2 days!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Under the Willow Tree

I've always loved weeping willow trees.  They are so naturally relaxed.  Just look at them.  Sitting quietly under the boughs of a young weeping willow like this (or find an old one!) is guaranteed to have a calming effect.  Breathe deeply, close your eyes, feel the wind blowing gently...
Willow trees have other natural medicinal uses as well.

White Willow: Weeping Willow is the graceful tree that provides nature's aspirin. In fact, pharmaceutical aspirin was originally created from a chemical very similar to one found in white willow bark. Today there are more reasons than ever to use this herb. Medical research shows that this chemical in white willow (called salicin) not only reduces fever and relieves pain and inflammation but also may help prevent heart attack, stroke, digestive tract cancers and migraine headaches.

Herbal experts say that white willow bark will work on fever, pain and inflammation. It will stand in for aspirin, but not quite as well. The salicylate content of willow bark varies. The herb may also help people who suffer from migraine headaches, since use of low-dose aspirin has been shown to significantly reduce attacks.

To make a medicinal drink, soak one teaspoon of powdered bark per cup of cold water for eight hours. Strain it and drink up to three cups a day. White willow tastes bitter and astringent. To improve the taste, you can add sugar or honey and lemon. You can also mix it into an herbal beverage tea.

Aspirin upsets some people's stomachs, but most herbalists say white willow bark rarely causes this problem. If stomach upset, nausea or ringing in the ears develops, reduce your dose or discontinue use. Pregnant women and those with chronic gastrointestinal conditions such as ulcers, colitis or Crohn's disease should not use this herb.

The Trumpet of the Swan

We had a pair of trumpeter swans visit our pond.  It seems that they were interested in meeting Nick's duck.  They stayed for about an hour.  They really do sound amazingly like trumpets. 

The two swans were tired from the long flight.  They were glad to be down out of the sky.  They paddled slowly about and then began feeding, thrusting their necks into the shallow water and pulling roots and plants from the bottom.  Everything about the swans was white except their bills and their feet; these were black.  They carried their heads high.  The pond seemed a different place because of their arrival.
The life of a swan must be a very pleasant and interesting life.
-The Trumpet of the Swan
by EB White

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Gratitude Up North!

What?  Jennifer Ferris moved up north?  Can this be true? 

Yes, the rumor is true.  We are now residents of Houghton Lake, Michigan...officially "Up North".  But, we are still trolls.  We did not cross the bridge. 
And guess what? 
I LOVE IT!  It is so incredibly beautiful here.  Most mornings when I look out the window all I can say is, "thank you."  Gratitude.  That is the one feeling that most describes the last 3 months.  When things seemed pretty bleak, I kept reminding myself and my children of our many, many blessings.  I just knew that the Master of the Universe had great plans for us.   And it looks like I was right.  He was sick of hearing my whining and complaining.  Once I changed my tune to something more like praise, things began turning around.  And they turned around fast, too!  If you would have told me 4 months ago that this would be my life, I would not haved believed it.  I longed to go south and I never appreciated that I lived in Michigan.  Well, now that I've seen the pristine beauty that belongs to the northern parts, I can honestly say that I am grateful to live in such a lovely state. 

So, now I'm inspired to blog again.  And I'm inspired to create and work. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sunshine Exposure

My favorite natural beauty treatment is sunshine and fresh air!  Daily sun exposure can impart a healthy glow to the skin, prevent vitamin D deficiency, support hormonal functions, improve mood and energy levels, decrease depression symptoms, and even clear up skin disorders like acne, eczema, etc.  Let's be honest, doesn't everyone look better with a sun-kissed glow? I sure think so!  Did you know that only a generation ago, many mothers would even give their babies a "sun bath" daily?  If the weather wouldn't permit them to place baby in the shade on the porch or under a tree, they would scoot the bassinet in front of a bright window during the daylight hours.  I know that my grandmothers, and even my mother, were firm believers in daily exposure to fresh air and sunshine for good health.  Housework was always done in the morning and early afternoon hours during the summer months so that the afternoons could be spent in the backyard on a big blanket, with magazines, lemonade, or iced tea and snacks.  I'll admit that neither Mom nor Grandma ever slathered us with sunscreen...and we spent hours upon hours playing outside day after day.  Now, I'm not trying to stir up a big debate here, but I am saying that children were a whole lot healthier back then than they are now.  We are told now to limit sun exposure between the hours of 10 a.m and 3 p.m.  Are you kidding me?  That is the prime of the day!  What should they be doing then?  Playing video games in the basement?  Sorry if I am stepping on some toes here, but I'm not buying it.  We live in the north and after months of cold weather and cloudy days, when the temps rise above 60 degrees and the sun comes out to play for the summer, you had better believe that we are heading outside!  And for the record, the women in my family look incredible for their ages.   If they damaged their skin from the years of sunbathing, you surely can't tell.  My great-granmother will be 102 years old this year and she is still beautiful.  Obviously, a form of sun bathing exists that isn't good for anyone.  I do not advocate laying on reflecting blankets while slathering yourself in mineral oil for 5 hours a day.  Please!  And I also do not advocate the regular habit of artificially tanning yourself in a booth or bed.  I'm talking about exposing yourself to good, old fashioned sunshine and fresh air! 
I also want to point out that we have been blessed with the type of skin tone that naturally tans without burning in my family.  If you have the type of skin that burns easily, then you will obviously need to take more precautions.  I would suggest covering up with light weight cotton materials, natural fiber hats and the use of some natural sunscreen (without chemicals!).  Look for products that contain PABA, titanium oxide, or zinc.  Cocoa butter, shea butter, hemp seed oil, raspberry seed oil, and many other natural vegetable based oils and butters do offer natural sun protection, as well. 

UV exposure is a real concern and air pollution has diminished the natural protective shield that the earth's ozone layer provides us, so I am not suggesting that you throw away your good judgement and burn yourself to a crisp, but it is my opinion that we need more sunlight in our lives, not less.  Eating a diet rich in EPA fatty acids will also provide you with additional natural sun protection. 

For those of you, like me, who have chosen to allow your skin to naturally tan, I have developed a natural tanning elixer that I call Sun Drench.  It is chock full of oganic hemp seed oil!  One of the finest skin care ingredients in nature's pantry!  It also contains oganic aloe juice, organic cocoa butter, organic raw cacao powder and vitamin E.  This oil will nourish, hydrate and naturally protect your skin while encouraging a rich, healthy, sunkissed tan!  Check it out in the Etsy shop now.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Free Shipping Sale!

Spend over $25.00 and enter coupon code: APRILFREESHIPPING

Why not use this opportunity to try the hair care products?  I've also listed a lip balm sampler today.  Try out all 5 of our fabulous, organic, raw lip balms for only $15.00!