Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Happy Beltane!

May your Beltane be fertile, filled with love and sunshine!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

DIY adventures- Toothpaste

I am weird about my teeth. I got excited when my husband bought me a new electric toothbrush for Valentine's Day when my old died. I sometimes brush four or five times a day, and I swap toothpastes every other tube (I have never found the perfect tooth paste- some are too sweet, others to abrasive, a few taste funny, and several leave my teeth really sensitive).  My favorite tooth care is rubbing sage leaves on my teeth to remove stains and heal gums, but it's not  convient at 6 in the morning when I'm trying to get my hair combed and teeth brushed before my husband and kids get in the bathroom.  So I've decided to try making my own toothpaste. Let's just say it's been an adventure.

I started out with a recipe from Wellness Mama, and I'm still adapting the recipe.  The process isn't hard.  Mix baking soda, xylitol, and calcium powder with coconut oil until you get the desire texture then add essential oil for scent.

This is what I started with:

5 parts calcium powder ( Wellness Mama says you can run calcium tablets through the food processor, but the powder is a nice texture and is ready to go)
3 parts xylitol (most helaht food stores will have this birch based non-sugar sweetener)
2 parts baking soda
3 parts coconut oil (often a solid at room temperature, so you may want to heat it slightly- try setting the bottle in a dish of warm water for a few minutes- for ease of mixing)
essential oil or flavoring oil to taste (avoid citrus, thought as it may react with the baking soda, and check to make sure the oils you use are edible)

I skipped the Diatomaceous earth from her recipe, because I haven't been able to find DE without added pesticides in my area.  I also worry that it would be very abrasive, since I've seen it under the microscope. You can try it or not, but please, please, check the label for anything that might have been added before you stick it in your mouth.

I had to adjust the recipe for taste and texture. Mine currently stands at

5 parts calcium powder
3.5 parts xylitol (ground fine- I used the mortar pestle in the kitchen and it took a couple of minutes)
2 parts baking soda ( if your soda s lumpy you might want to sift it or grind it)
4 parts coconut oil
.5 parts peppermint extract
5 parts drops peppermint essential oil
1 parts drop sage essential oil
1 parts drop lavender essential oil

I used a half teaspoon measuring spoon so it made a small batch, which is likely what you'll want to do until you find the best combination for you.  Depending on what you are used to, you might want to make the paste thinner by adding more coconut oil. This toothpaste won't foam like commercial toothpastes, and it has a bit of a salty flavor, so you might want to keep a glass of water handy.  After a week of transition, though< I hardly noticed the texture or the bitterness of the baking soda.I have a jar of the dry ingredients waiting in the cupboard, when I'm out of the fist batch, I'll add the flavoring and coconut oils. Store the dry powder in dry air tight container. The finished product ban be put in as plastic squeeze tube or a small jar.

Total cost on this project was around $30, but will make enough toothpaste for a family of four for the next two years by my estimate.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Peas!

I just started some heirloom sugar peas for my garden. We're going to try growing them in pots because the kids and I love peas (and because I found  a neat way to use them for shade). I had never stopped to think about them in a magical sense, though.

I pulled out my copy of Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs to check. Then I laughed. Peas, according to him, are good for love and money.  I can see the love part, and I would have expected them to be a good choice for fertility spells (you know the old phrase about peas in pods, right?). Nine peas in a pod is supposed to be an aid for finding a woman's future husband. If she hangs the pod over the door, the next man through it will be her husband. Money was unexpected. Peas are excellent for business, especially if you shell them.  Lexa Rosean's Encyclopedia of Magickal Ingredients recommends eating raw peas for beauty and using peas to relieve domestic concerns, particularly revolving around money.  Remember "The Princess and the Pea"?  That little pea was separating the impostors form the real princesses, which would be a domestic concern for the royal family, obviously. I'm reasonably certain that peas had some other meaning for the story, but I haven't dug it up yet.

Anyhow, if you are looking for love or money (and really who among us isn't looking of rat least one of those?), add some peas to the menu.  If you have a garden, you might try growing them yourself, and reaping the full force of this vegetable's magic. They are easy to add to spring recipes (Fettuccine Alfredo with prosciutto and peas is a common spring meal for us), can be eaten raw (I like them on my salads), and are readily available in the freezer (Frozen peas are a favorite snack for my little monsters and were one of the first table foods they got as babies) section of the grocery store year round.  Enjoy!