It’s a New Moon on Monday (but I’m too tired for a Firedance Through the Night.)

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Monday Mornings are a prime example of why I should follow a routine.

I Know This and yet…

We were up until 10:00 last night finishing an All About Me poster and essay for my daughter to turn in to her teacher this morning. If I had only looked through her backpack Friday afternoon I would have come across the assignment much earlier (but at some point my fourth grader needs to take on a little more responsibility, this I know).

Then my husband and I stayed up way too late watching the premiere of The Walking Dead (we all have our guilty pleasures) and I ate way too much ice cream (another one of my guilty pleasures). I know better than to eat ice cream at 11:00 at night… I didn’t sleep well, (surprise surprise!) and had hot flashes all night long. Now I’m wondering if maybe my body was fighting a diabetic coma after all that ice cream. Like I said, I know better.

My husband woke me when he was about to leave for work. I found myself sprawled out on the bed face down and I think I was drooling. This was going to suck. I never sleep on my stomach because it makes the hardware in my back lock up therefore it’s a very unpleasant position to try and get out of. I felt my husband kiss me on the top of my head and heard him leave the house before I could put any words together. Nothing like oversleeping on a Monday Morning to get your blood pumping for the week. Ugh… After spending several minutes trying to flip myself over and then finally stand up, I spent another 5 minutes shaking the kids awake and giving the dog the command to lick their faces and toes. Finally, the grumbling creatures rolled out of bed only to argue about who got to the bathroom first. (I love our old home with all its charm and character but the one bathroom is totally ridiculous!) So I was judge and jury on who tagged the doorway first before I shuffled my way to the kitchen.

I was grateful school picture day was tomorrow….Right? Wait a minute…I double-checked the calendar (like I should have done last night, I know better) and of course it was this morning. I wrote the checks and filled out the forms, (well one of them because the other one got misplaced somehow so I made one on an index card and put it in an envelope with the check).

I heard the school bus come and go while I was brushing my daughter’s hair, trying to figure out how to fix it in a way she wouldn’t complain about. I didn’t have time to make their lunch and shooed them past the lunch menu I had posted on the fridge when they asked what hot lunch was going to be. Monday’s are typically the worst as far as what they consider ‘gross’. I inwardly cringed, but oh well, there’s always a fruit and salad bar and they can drink the milk. I quickly rinsed out their water bottles and filled them while they put on their coats and backpacks. I gave my son cough syrup (yes, he’s sick again) put the dog in the crate, threw a couple of cereal bars at them (they’d be eating breakfast on the way) and drug the two bleary-eyed beasts to the car. It was a very chilly morning and the kids were complaining about how cold it was. I secretly switched on my seat warmer, feeling a twinge of guilt.

The Poster!

I turn off the car because I need the house keys, run in and pull the giant cumbersome poster off the kitchen table. I rush back out to the car but the back corner of the poster gets smashed in the door and tears when I try to yank it free. I’m glad we live out in the sticks because I’m still in my slippers, wearing sweatpants and a sweatshirt with an ice cream stain on the front from last night. My hair is pulled back in a headband and I look like I just woke up. Which I suppose is kind of true.

Back in the car my youngest is crying out of frustration because the seat belt was twisted and he couldn’t get it fastened. I snapped at my daughter to help him.
When we pull up to the school I apologize for being a grumpy Momma Monster this morning and ask them to please forgive me. Their sweet, understanding smiles would nourish me all day long.

So I’m back home in a quiet house sipping on some tea, thinking about all of the things I should be doing today. There’s no way I’m going to get it all done, and the big challenge is for me not to try. I have learned from experience that to try and clean the whole house will wipe out an entire week for me because cleaning like a madwoman will only lead to a severe pain flare-up. No thanks.

I’m finished with my tea so I think it’s time to set my intention for the day, even though it’s after 10:00 in the morning. Better late than never I suppose. So I ask myself a simple question; How do I want to feel today? Well, I’d like to feel calm and centered. I want my home to be a place of peace that embraces my loved ones when they return from their long days. How can I bring calm, centered peace to myself and my surroundings?

  • First things first: Shower and get dressed. I can’t truly function until I take a shower.
  • Start a load of laundry. If I do one load a day I can easily fold and put it away instead of letting a mountain of clean clothes collect on the couch.
  • Load dishwasher. The kitchen doesn’t look too bad so this won’t take long at all.
  • Change sheets. I have been doing this every Monday for years. There’s nothing quite like sliding into bed with clean sheets.
  • Sweep/vacuum. This is a quick job because I am physically unable to move stuff around. Hubby does the big job on Sundays.

Wow, that feels better! I can now take a moment to calm and center myself so that I can do a Home Blessing Hour. I like doing these on Mondays, but I will admit I have recently skipped a few weeks. It’s pretty obvious that it’s way overdue and I feel that the added chaos in this morning is a direct reflection of that. Besides it’s a New Moon on Monday. Maybe I’ll shake up the lizard mixture…please forgive me for all the Duran Duran references; for some reason I can’t seem to help myself.

My simple way of blessing our home

I have a large stash of clear quartz crystals that are usually in circulation between being used and cleansed. So I gather the “used” crystals and place them in a bowl and set them outside to be cleansed later and wash my hands. I then gather cleansed crystals and place them on the main altar to be placed in each room of the house after the smudging. I anoint white tealight candles with sandalwood, rosemary, and lavender essential oils and place them in holders in each room of the house. I prepare my incense (today I feel like Palo Santo) in my abalone shell and take my eagle feather to distribute the smoke. I surround myself with a protective white light and ask the Universal Divine for guidance and protection from negativity. I then ask for assistance from my Guides and totem animals to bring/lead new powerful light energy into our home. After giving myself a good smudge, I start at what I consider to be the center of my home, which isn’t exactly the physical center but the center of our “Home” and in a clockwise motion swirl the incense up and down each wall, along the baseboards, back up along corners, paying special attention to doorways and windows. As I move through the rooms I say something like “I ask that the breath of light shine brightly in this space and that it neutralizes any negativity. I welcome positive energy, and as I will so mote it be.”  I always keep moving and swirling in a clockwise motion. I do this because I am not really “banishing” I am cleansing and welcoming in the light, the brightness of which dispels the accumulated negativity. As each room is completed, I light the white candle and move on to the next room. Some rooms need more smudging than others, and I also spend extra time on my children’s dream catchers. When I have made my rounds, I place a cleansed quartz crystal in each room, although the exact location may change from time to time. I don’t usually plan to run errands on Mondays so I am able to allow the candles to burn down completely.

When our home is cleansed and recharged with positive energy my loved ones will breathe in deeply and sometimes let out a little sigh when they walk through the door. It is a touching moment that makes my insides glow. This House Blessing will make tonight the perfect night to set up our Samhain altar and some of our favorite decorations throughout the house. I’m glad I waited.

I think tonight should be a caramel corn night! 

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This recipe is a bit time consuming, but well worth the wait!

Caramel Corn Recipe 

Ingredients
7 quarts plain popped popcorn
2 cups dry roasted peanuts (optional)
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup

1 teaspoon salt
1 cup margarine
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions
Place the popped popcorn into two shallow greased baking pans. You may use roasting pans, jelly roll pans, or disposable roasting pans. Add the peanuts to the popped corn if using. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C). Combine the brown sugar, corn syrup, margarine and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring enough to blend. Once the mixture begins to boil, boil for 5 minutes while stirring constantly.
Remove from the heat, and stir in the baking soda and vanilla. The mixture will be light and foamy. Immediately pour over the popcorn in the pans, and stir to coat. Don’t worry too much at this point about getting all of the corn coated.
Bake for 1 hour, removing the pans, and giving them each a good stir every 15 minutes. Line the counter top with waxed paper. Dump the corn out onto the waxed paper and separate the pieces. Allow to cool completely, then store in airtight containers or resealable bags. Enjoy!

What are some of the ways you bless your home?

Many Blessings on Your Journey )O(

Circling the Hearth

tumblr_nezctn6t671thn7i0o1_500I   remember when I used to give my little ones stacks of pots and pans with cooking utensils to bang on them with. Nothing like a 15 month-old toying around with an improvised set of drums. At around 2 they got their first can of Play Doh. My kids still love Play Doh. Hell, I still love Play Doh. It’s wondrous how children love to imitate us and how we as grown-ups love to imitate them. I mean, who doesn’t like to make mud pies of either the earthly or culinary kind?

Cooking to me is an experience of bringing to life individuality, concentration, ingenuity, patience, and resourcefulness, just to name a few. Young or old, creative or meticulous, adventurous or cautious, cooking has it all, and sometimes all at once. The all at once thing is probably one of the reasons children love to cook and why I want to let them. However, I have yet to master the patience of allowing my kids to take over in the kitchen and it may be a long time before I leave the sidelines. Cooking takes preparation, it’s time consuming, mess making, and most times a big ordeal.

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Meet Endora Endive. She resides on our kitchen shelf overseeing the Wiccan Kitchen.

My lack of patience combined with fear for my children’s safety makes it mandatory for this Witch to take a big breath of Zen before handing over an apron; both the apron and deep breath are imperative before teaching a little one how to crack an egg. Of course it took me some time to learn this.

My youngest daughter is the child who has always loved to help me in the kitchen. I’ll admit I’m still freakishly afraid of letting her handle raw chicken but I’ve gotten much better about most things….well, except sharp knives, cheese graters, can openers, and even those dumb little tubes of refrigerated crescent rolls. I’m telling you, I’ve cut myself on everyone one of those things (yes, even the crescent roll tube) and I, like those who regularly cook, have plenty of scars to prove it. Of course every time I can think of, those slices and nics happened when I was in a mad rush to complete dinner. Someday I suppose I’ll learn my lesson.

One of my parental milestones was accomplished when I finally let her take over the pan on the burner without cringing in fear that she would burn herself or create a disaster of monstrous proportions. Loosening my grip on controlling the kitchen has been hard, especially when I step back and watch those little mistakes happen so that she can learn from them. In the end, her bright smile of pride is all I need to dispel my fears (within reason of course).

Here’s a few of our favorite (easy) Mabon recipes. Enjoy!

Spicy Mabon Punch

Serves 8

INGREDIENTS:

1 orange
4 whole cloves
3 cups apple juice
1 cinnamon stick
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 1/4 cups pineapple juice

DIRECTIONS:

1.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Stud the whole oranges with cloves, and bake for 30 minutes.
2.
In a large saucepan, combine the apple juice and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in the nutmeg, honey, lemon juice, and pineapple juice. Can be placed in a slow cooker on low heat with clove-studded oranges floating on top.

Autumn Apple Salad

Serves 8

INGREDIENTS:
8 tart green apples, cored and chopped
1/2 cup blanched slivered almonds,
toasted
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped dried cherries
2 (8 ounce) container vanilla yogurt

DIRECTIONS:

1.
In a medium bowl, stir together the apples, almonds, cranberries, cherries and yogurt until evenly coated. Serve Immediately

Yellow Squash Casserole

Be creative and use different types of squash if you wish.

Serves 8

INGREDIENTS:

4 cups sliced yellow squash
1/2 cup chopped onion
36 buttery round crackers, crushed
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt
ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons butter

DIRECTIONS:

1.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
2.
Place squash and onion in a large skillet over medium heat. Pour in a small amount of water. Cover, and cook until squash is tender, about 5 minutes. Drain well, and place in a large bowl.
3.
In a medium bowl, mix together cracker crumbs and cheese. Stir half of the cracker mixture into the cooked squash and onions. In a small bowl, mix together eggs and milk, then add to squash mixture. Stir in 1/4 cup melted butter, and season with salt and pepper. Spread into a 9×13 inch baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining cracker mixture, and dot with 2 tablespoons butter.
4.
Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Autumn Beef Stew

Serves 8-10

INGREDIENTS:

2 pounds cubed beef stew meat
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups beef broth
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
4 stalks celery, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 large onion, chopped
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons cold water

DIRECTIONS:

1.
In a large pot or dutch oven, cook beef in oil over medium heat until brown. Dissolve bouillon in water and pour into pot. Stir in rosemary, parsley and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer 1 hour.
2.
Stir potatoes, carrots, celery, and onion into the pot. Dissolve cornstarch in 2 teaspoons cold water and stir into stew. Cover and simmer 1 hour more.

Mabon Cornbread

Serve with butter and honey if you wish

Serves 8

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS:

1.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease an 8 inch square pan.
2.
Melt butter in large skillet. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Quickly add eggs and beat until well blended. Combine buttermilk with baking soda and stir into mixture in pan. Stir in cornmeal, flour, and salt until well blended and few lumps remain. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
3.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Rustic Fruit Tart

1/2 cup butter, chilled
1/2 cup cream cheese
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 apples – peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
1 pear – peeled, cored and sliced
1/4 cup orange juice
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup apricot jam, warmed

DIRECTIONS:

1.
Cut the cold butter and cream cheese into the flour with a knife or pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. (This can also be done in a food processor: pulse the cold butter into the flour until the mixture resembles cornmeal; add the cream cheese and pulse until it’s the size of small peas.) When you squeeze a handful of the mixture, it should form a ball. Shape the dough into a round disk, wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
2.
Toss the sliced apples and pear with the orange juice. Whisk together the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and cornstarch. Toss the fruit with the sugar-spice mixture and set aside.
3.
Preheat an oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Set out an 8-inch tart pan, or, if you’ll be making a free-form tart (galette), lightly grease a baking sheet.
4.
Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured work surface to form a 10-inch circle. Transfer the dough to the tart pan or baking sheet. Arrange the fruit decoratively in the tart pastry. If you’re baking the tart on a baking sheet, leave a 2-inch rim of dough and fold it up over the edge of the fruit (the pastry folds will overlap).
5.
Bake the tart in the preheated oven until the crust is browned and the filling is bubbly, about 30 minutes. Remove the tart from the oven and brush it with the apricot jam.

Many Blessings on Your Journey )O(

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