Monday, December 3, 2012

Santa's Pagan Too

   The Christmas/Yule season has finally arrived and with it hopefully the return of blogging for me. My family has been going through some really rough times and things aren't quite looking up yet, so I need a distraction and something to focus on. So to start, here's a cute song/video I found on youtube to get things going:



                          

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Countdown to Samhain - Day 21

   Just wanted to start of today with a Witchy tip from the Facebook page "A Witch's Life" that I thought was nice.  :)

 
 
   Now, on to business!
 
 
   Our recipe today is a Halloween favorite and one I've been craving sicne seeing the picture! Candy Apples! But with a twist.

   From the blog, Lil Luna, comes the recipe for Blackout Candy Apples. Much nicer (and probably cheaper) than going to the store to buy enough for you and the family.




Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Place parchment paper onto a cookie sheet and spray with cooking spray.
  2. Wash your apples and let dry. Recipe will make 8-10 apples depending on their size. Add your skewers and/or striped straws.
  3. Cook sugar, water and corn syrup in a pot over medium heat. Stir occasionally until sugar is dissolved and starts to boil. Cooking for 10-12 minutes or until candy thermometer reaches 300 degrees. Or you can cook until a small amount of mixture dropped into a cold cup of water separates intro hard candy.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in cinnamon flavoring and food coloring. Mix well.
  5. Dip each apple in mixture to quickly coat it and place apples on cookie sheet. Let set.

   I might have to make a midnight-pregnant-woman-craving run to Walmart and get some supplies!


Our craft today is aso great for kids, or nieces and nephews if you have them. It's SLIME! And what kid doesn't love slime at one point?  :)

  This is also from another blog, All Things Simple. I'll just provide the link for this one since she's got it all set up with pictures and seperate instructions for each step. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Countdwown to Samhain - Day 17

   Well ghosts and ghouls, we are a little more than halfway through October. About two more weeks till the real celebration begins! So let's continue on with our crafts and recipes to make sure we are all prepared and properly spooky!






   The lamp pictured here for our craft today was made out of an actual Ouija board, scraped and transformed for some eery room decor!

   Instructions can be found HERE, on crafster in a post made by NekoNeko.

  She gives great instructions on how to peel up the actual paper Ouija part off the board using a product called Un-do which normally removes things like stickiness from stickers, gum, grease, etc. Then it's transfered to a cheap lamp, embellished and ta-da! Try setting this out for your next seance with friends!

   (This would also work for other board games, she suggests, like Candy Lane, Monopoly, etc. for your kids)




   Now, I'm a huge cheesecake fan, though I do have to admit, the No-Bake cheesecake you can whip up out of the box is more to my taste than homemade.
  
  But for those of you who like cheesecake AND pumpkin, the Chocolate Glazed Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake, from Better Homes and Gardens is perfect for your tastebuds this October. Recipe below!
 
Chocolate Glazed Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake
 
Makes: 10 servings
Prep 35 mins
Bake 350°F 45 mins               
Cool 1 hr               
Chill 3 hrs
 
Ingredients
 
Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1/4
    cup butter, melted
  • 1 1/2
    cups finely crushed chocolate wafer cookies (about 24 cookies)
  • 1
    8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 1
    cup sugar
  • 3
    eggs
  • 1
    15 ounce can pumpkin
  • 1
    teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2
    teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4
    teaspoon salt
  • 1
    cup chopped dark chocolate
  • 1/3
    cup whipping cream
  • 2
    ounces milk chocolate pieces or white baking pieces (about 1/3 cup), melted (optional)
 
    Directions
     
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a 9-inch pie plate with cooking spray. In a medium bowl toss together butter and crushed chocolate wafer cookies. Spread into pie plate; press evenly onto bottom and up sides. Bake for 5 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
     
    2. In a large bowl beat cream cheese and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Stir in pumpkin, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Pour pumpkin mixture into baked crust.
     
    3. Bake about 40 minutes more or until mixture is slightly puffed around edges and just set in center. Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour.
     
    4. In a small microwave-safe bowl combine dark chocolate and cream. Microwave on 100 percent power (high) for 30 seconds to 1 minute; stir until smooth. Let stand for 15 minutes. Pour chocolate mixture over the cooled pie, spreading evenly. Chill, uncovered, for 1 hour. Cover and chill for 2 to 24 hours more. If desired, drizzle with milk chocolate.


    To make up ahead of time:                  
                 Prepare as directed. Cover and chill for up to 48 hours.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Bewitching Home Blog Party

   I'm late - I know! This past weekend was so full of stress and unexpected problems that I wasn't able to do anything internet-wise.

  However, in the midst of all of our problems, the hubby and I found a simple and quick sugar cookie recipe and made a night of it on Saturday with our daughter, Rayne. This will be her first year Trick-or-Treating and I'm trying to make the most out of it by carving pumpkins, watching Halloween movies and visiting some of the free events our town has going on. So that's the subject for my blog party post - our family night of cookie making.


  This is the recipe my husband found and luckily, we had everything in our cabinets already!

Ingredients


  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons buttermilk
  • Sprinkles or colored sugar, for decorating

Directions

Mixing the dry ingredients together
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
 
In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Gradually blend in dry ingredients. Add enough of the buttermilk to moisten the dough and make it soft, not wet.

Roll rounded teaspoons of dough into balls and place on a ungreased cookie sheet. With a brush or fingers, moisten the top of each cookie with the remaining buttermilk and slightly flatten the top of each cookie. Sprinkle with raw sugar or colored sprinkles.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until slightly golden. Let stand for 2 minutes before removing to cool on a rack.


Watching the "expert"  :)

Rolling it flat. She LOVED this part.





Cutting out a pumpkin cookie
 


 
 
 
COOKIES! What a ham...  :)
 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Countdown to Samhain - Day 11

   So we all know we decorate (or at least most people) a tree at Christmas whether that be a real one or fake one.  But has it ever crossed your mind to do a Halloween/Samhain Tree?  :)

 
 
   There's not really a set of instructions to follow for this one - just go with what you like! I did a mini version of this using one of those pop out trees you find at Walmart for Christmas. I spray painted it black first and decorate with little Halloween charms and garland.
 
   I'm not sure where to find a larger Christmas-tree version of a black tree so if anyone does, please share!  I would start with a strand or two of Halloween lights in orange or purple or those cool candy corn ones and then go from there. Try some fall or halloween pics from the craft section of Walmart or Michael's - the ones you'd normally see in a wreath for your front door. They may even carry halloween ornaments specifically for a tree also. Try books about Halloween or ones that have spooky stories (Poe comes to mind), dolls, witches hats - anything you can think of that represents Halloween or Samhain to you and yours!
 
   Today's Shortbread Candy Corn Kissed Brownie Recipe comes from Pickey Palate and they look AWESOME! I love brownies, love candy corn (it's not really Halloween without it) and putting it all together with shortbread sounds delicious!  Recipe is below. If you make them, please let us know how they come out!
 
Shortbread Candy Corn Kissed Brownies
Makes 12 Brownies
 
1 family size brownie mix (9×13 inch size)
2 sticks softened butter
1/2 Cup granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 3/4 Cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 bag Candy Corn Kisses, or any flavor you like, unwrapped


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare brownie mix according to package directions, set batter aside. In a stand mixer, beat butter and sugars until creamy and light. Slowly add flour and salt until combined.

2. Press shortbread dough into a 11×7 inch baking dish lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray. Top shortbread dough with 50 kisses then pour brownie batter evenly over top of kisses. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until toothpick comes clean from center. Let cool completely before cutting into squares.

3.  Place remaining kisses in double broiler to melt. Spread melted chocolate over brownies, sprinkle if desired and serve.


 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Countdown to Samhain - Day 9

  Today's craft is a little insane but absolutely gorgeous! If I had the funds and the patience I would definitely give this a try!

  It comes from halloweenforum.com again and it's a DIY Beloved Tombstone :

 
   Yes, ladies and gents, that is all DONE BY HAND!

   The instructions are provided on the forum in parts, so to read in it's entirety click on the small yellow continue button at the bottom of each post. Enjoy this one, I did!


   And now for food!


 
    This blissfully delicious looking Polka Dot Cake recipe comes from Snowy Bliss. The actual polka dots were made using a cake pop maker (Walmart had a couple for sale around Christmas last year - not sure if they sell them year round or not), but the blogger does offer alternative ideas if you don't own one currently.
 
   There is also a little bonus at the end of the post as well. Happy Tuesday!
  

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Countdown to Samhain - Day 7

  Today's is a quick post and a late one; our 2 year old daughter is deciding to have a "late night" and not go to bed so I'm posting on the run!

  While I don't think the author of this blog is pagan, her instructions are great to create a personal besom or just a simple decoration for Halloween. Click below to see how she does it!

 
 

  Our recipe comes to us courtesy of Closet Cooking and the minute I read the title, my husband yelled "Save it!" it sounded so good!

Pumpkin Pie White Hot Chocolate

Servings: makes 4 servings

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Ingredients
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup pumpkin pureee
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 ounces white chocolate, roughly chopped
  • pinch salt
Directions
  1. Heat the milk, pumpkin puree, and spices in a sauce pan until it just starts to simmer and remove form heat.
  2. Add the chocolate and stir until it has melted.
  3. Pour into mugs and top with whipped cream and garnish with cinnamon.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Countdown to Samhain -Day 5

Happy Friday everyone! Here's today's craft and recipe. These two would actually be pretty great ideas if you're throwing your own Halloween Party or get together.


Broomstick Treats

  This recipe comes from Mega Spooky: All Halloween, All the Time. The items are very simple to get if you don't already have them in your cabinets.

Here's what you need to make them:
 
A batch of rice cereal treats
Bag of chocolate chips/or any chocolate you like for melting.
Bag of Pretzel rods
Can of potato sticks
Black shoestring licorice
 
  • Start with puffed rice cereal treats cut into squares or rectangles.
  • Mush them onto cone shapes.
  • Melt a little bit of chocolate. Dip the ends of pretzel rods into the chocolate and then stick them onto your cereal treats.
  • Set them aside to let the chocolate harden.
  • Once they are hard you can start adding potato sticks to the sides of the rice cereal cone. You'll have to melt more chocolate. Use an offset spatula or a knife to coat the bottom half of the cone in chocolate. Start adding your potato sticks, working from the bottom up until you've coated all the way around the bottom of the broom.
  • Once they're coated, set them all aside to let everything harden.
  • Last, but not least, wrap a  bit of black licorice around the bottom of the broom where the bristles start.

  And for the craft....

  Free printable Halloween Bingo Cards at Makoodle. There are 4 different designs with a set of 3 cards each, sized to be printed off at 5x7. To save for years to come, laminate them before use. For bingo makers, use your imagination! Candy corn, kisses, candy, anything spooky you can think of!



Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Countdown to Samhain

   I'm a day late starting, but that's okay. There's still 29 days to go.

   The plan is to share one ghoulish recipe and one haunting craft everday until the 31st. Now there are also some blog parties and tours going on, so this will be in addition to that. Now I will say that these are not mine, but a collection I have found searching the internet as well as pages shared on Facebook and I will link back where I can.

  So let the countdown begin!




   The first craft is actually a list, and I mean a LIST, of printable labels for apothecary jars, boxes, etc. It's a thread off of Halloween Forum and includes printables from a bunch of different members. Examples include:

 
 
   This recipe is for Homemade Candy Corn from La Fuji Mama. And who doesn't love candy corn?! Recipe as follows:
 
Candy Corn Makes 1 3/4 lbs. of candy (recipe can easily be doubled)
1 c. sugar
2/3 c. white corn syrup
1/3 c. butter
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 c. powdered milk
food coloring (optional)
Let mixture stand until slightly warm to touch, about 20 minutes (though could take longer depending on the temperature of your kitchen).

To shape into traditional kernel pieces:

1. Divide dough into 3 equal pieces; place each piece in small bowl.

1. Combine sugar, butter, and corn syrup in pan and bring to a boil stirring constantly. Turn heat to medium and boil 5 minutes. Stir occasionally. Remove from heat and add vanilla.

2. In a separate dish, combine powdered sugar, salt, and powdered milk. Add all at once to the mixture in the pan. Add food coloring if desired.

2. Add several drops of yellow food coloring to one piece of dough. Using plastic gloves to protect hands, knead food coloring into dough until smooth and color is even. Repeat using red and yellow food coloring (to make orange) with second piece. Leave last piece white; knead dough until smooth.

3. Roll each piece into a thin rope (don’t roll too thin or dough will break). Push three ropes together to form long rectangle. Using sharp knife, cut ropes into triangles. Using fingers, shape candy corn as desired.

4. Store at room temperature in airtight container, separating layers with pieces of waxed paper to prevent sticking.

 
Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Blog Party! "I Made This! Hallowe'en Craft Blog Party!"

   Hosted by The Domestic Pagan and scheduled for October 29, and I REALLY stoked for this blog party!

   Here's some info from her blog:

When is it?
You can post about your craft at anytime but it needs to be done before October 29th. Then on October 29th, the Full Moon, we will all blog hop to see what spooky creations each other has made! I will have the list of participants on my sidebar.

Do I Need a Blog to Participate?
You need to have a site where you can post photos of your craft. This can be a regular blog, site such as Tumblr or Pinterest, or photo sharing site. You will need the url of your blog, site, or profile to sign up below with Mr. Linky.

What Can I Make?
Anything at all but it should be about Hallowe'en or Samhaim! It can be a food, decoration, or costume. You can write a story, draw, paint, scrapbook, collage, or make a sculpture. Like I said before, the only limit is your imagination!

Rules About Photos
The craft in your photo must be your own! I am fine with using other people's ideas to make the craft, but the finished project must be your own work.

Spread the Word
I would be grateful if you placed my banner for the blog party on your site, tweeted, or shared my link with others!
 
   Click the image below to go directly to the sign up post and join today! Don't forget to spread the word on your blog as well!
 
 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Magical Fall Cleaning

   I don't know if I would consider myself a "clean freak" exactly but I definitely like things neat and organized! Much to the chagrin of my husband who would rather spend his weekends playing WoW (World of Warcraft) or just hanging out the three of us!  :)

   So this past weekend, after suddenly finding the most energy I've had since the beginning of this pregnancy so far, I broke out the buckets and old washcloths and took to the house. I think I actually like fall/autumn cleaning alot more than spring even though it means the coming or shorter days and colder nights. I love the smells that come with fall, the pumpkin and pumpkin spice, apple and cinnamon.... now I'm drooling.

   Do you have a ritual you follow for cleaning, or just kind of go with the flow while saying a prayer or two? Here below are some ideas to start or add to your current cleaning schedule!


   The most obvious and probably one of the first things you can do is sweep. With your household broom sweep up all the dirt and dust from your floors or into a nice little pile then suck it up with the vacuum. (My favorite because it gets up more than using a dust pan) Then you can go behind with your magical broom and, with the bristles just barely touching the ground or not at all, sweep away any negativity in each room.

   If you wipe counters and cabinet doors in the kitchen or attack the bathrooms like I do, and are looking for an added kick, dragonkingdoms.com has some great recipes I just recently came across for various cleaning products for around the house.  Of course, there's the good old water and baking soda to fall back on too.

    For a quick de-odorizer for the toilets in your home, throw one cup of baking soda into the toilet, leave for an hour and then flush. This will not only take care of any odors but clean it as well. You can give it a little scrub along the sides with a scrub brush if you've got anything stuck as well.

   Open the windows! Nothing makes me feel better than after a long hot and sweaty summer (because, really, what other kind is there here in Eastern NC?  lol) than opening all the windows and letting in the clean freash smell of Autumn. I especially love it when the wind is strong and someone is burning leaves or wood!  :) Of course this also helps air the house out if you have any smells from cleaning supplies you want to get rid of.

   You can also do a smudging if you would like. Either make your own or grab some from your local store. Light a smudge stick and walk clockwise around each room making sure to get the smoke in each corner. Be careful of ashes though as you - try carrying a plate or bowl with you and hold that underneath your smudge stick.

   For me, the last thing I do is make sure I have my Brigid's crosses over each doorway. Right now I have one over the front door, back door and one hanging in my kitchen. Later I will make smaller ones to hang over the doorway for each bedroom. At Samhain I will either burn or take them apart to make new ones for the next year and say a little prayer while hanging each of them up in the house. Not exactly "cleaning" per se, but it's how I finish off.  :)

Happy Autumn!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

DIY: Goddess Plaque

  One of the blogs that I follow, Ozark Pagan Mamma, is the closest thing I could find to celtic paganism when I was looking for more information. Though she doesn't refer to herself as a celtic pagan, alot of the information she shares is relevant to what I've been researching.

   A post she she did a while back shared a plaque she made for Bride for Imbolc and it came out great! And she made it out of a simpe salt dough recipe. Take a look at how it turned out here.

   Today I wanted to share a couple of other recipes I found for salt dough and encourage you to make your own Goddess (or God) plaque for your favorite deity as a wall decoration or to sit atop your altar. Maybe it will stay out all year, or only on certain occasions.

   Salt dough doesn't have to just be limited to this though, and if you have children you can have them join in on the fun too! Make ornaments for Christmas or yule, sculptures for their own little altars, or presents for friends and family.

Visit easychildcrafts.com for two different salt dough recipes as well as tips and suggestions on how else to use it.

  Tomorrow is Friday (yay!) so hopefully I can finally pump out a Pagan Blog Project Post as well... must. prioritize. immediately.  :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Mom Confession

  I'm going to go a little off topic today and post about something that is very personal to me, but something that is hardly ever talked about let alone admitted.

   I would like to add a *TRIGGER* to this post for anyone who has ever gone through, experienced, or known someone who has experienced post partum depression, post partum psychosis or even just depression.




   I survived post partum depression. Actually, I should probably say we survived post partum depression, because this was a hell of a trip that my small family took the first 15 months of my daughter's life.


   I was excited to be pregnant even though my pregnancy sucked and was really rough. I had severe morning sickness from 6 weeks until 9 months that did put me in the hospital overnight for severe dehydration and hyperemesis gravidarum. I had itching all over my body that I could not get rid of, severe headaches, blood pressure problems, carptal tunnel and in the end, was induced a week early due to Pre-Eclampsia. I can honestly say I would take my 9 hours of labor and delivery over being pregnant any day.

   The first 3-4 weeks at home with my daughter were relatively easy. My husband was home with us for a week before returning to work and I had a little anxiety about being alone with my daughter that I couldn't expain. We had decided on a schedule of me waking up with her from Sunday night to Thursday night and then every other Friday, so my husband could sleep during the week and help me out on the weekends.

   About a month after she was born I noticed I was suddenly angry for no reason at all or for reasons that made no sense. I would be exercising while my daughter slept and if she woke up before I was done I would freak out. When we left the house to run to the store, any store, she would always be hungry once we got there and I had this wierd notion in my head that she should be able to last through a quick grocery store run without needing to be fed all the time - I mean, other babies slept the whole time, why couldn't mine? This anger quickly turned into rage, an all consuming rage at everything and everyone and I was like this all the time. My husband would come home from work and I would almost throw my daughter at him because I couldn't stand to be around her anymore.

Postnatal Depression
Aisling Longworth
   My husband later told me he suspected I had Post Partum Depression but didn't saying anything to me about it for fear of pushing me further over the edge and making me angrier. He would also later confess that he was scared most days to go to work and leave me alone with her, but we had no choice at the time. He needed to work. I developed what I've heard coined "sleep envy" and would find myself sobbing uncontrollably at 3 a.m. as I fed my daughter on the couch in our living room, feeling overwhelmingly sad and alone. So this went on for 3 1/2 more months before one afternoon I put a hole through our bedroom door because I was trying to stop myself from going over and shaking my daughter's bouncer with her in it. I was so angry and finally realized that day that if I kept going like this I would end up hurting her; unintentionally of course, but hurting her nonetheless. And the horror of that shook me through and through - the thought of having to bring her in to the doctor or even worse, the hospital, and telling them that I did it, I hurt my daughter. The evening, when my husband walked through the door I was sitting on the couch in the living room with my head in my hands as my daughter played and bounced in chair. I looked up at him and simply said, "I need help. Something is wrong".

   This whole "period" lasted until my daughter was about 15 months old. I called our local behavioral health line and was given a reference to a therapist who also diagnosed me with an anxiety disorder and OCD as well as the PPD and she and my psychologist started me on medication and weekly therapy. I would then go through at least 12-14 other medications as well as various doses of each until we found one that seemd to stick. During this time the highs were pretty good and I found myself bonding with my daughter and starting to feel more like a mother to her than a caretaker. During the lows, when the medication was wearing off or I found myself building a tolerance to it... those were the scariest. At one point I found myself having images, thoughts and even urges to drown my daughter in the bath tub during a bath one afternoon. I immediately called my husband and told him he needed to come home right then and there. The next day I set up an emergency appointment with both my therapist and doctor. That was the first time I was faced with the possibility of having my daughter taken from me and I was terrified. For as much as I could not stand to be around her, I couldn't bare the thought of not having her with me either. My emotions were all over the place and I couldn't make sense of anything. Even today, trying to explain feeling that way at the same time to people is extremely difficult.

   As of today my daughter is 23 months old and I am 4 1/2 months pregnant with our second child, due January of next year. I have been off my medication since April when we decided to try and conceive again. It has been a challenge, and there are some days I find myself having trouble coping with little things here and there so I am beginning therapy soon to help me through the next couple of months as I do not feel comfortable taking medication while pregnant. However as soon as I deliver I will be starting them back up since I was told I have a 20% chance of devloping PPD again.

   Post partum depression, PPA (post partum anxiety), PPOCD (post partum OCD) and the like are definitely not talked about enough, either during pregnancy or after. Most mothers may feel what is called the "baby blues" after giving birth, but these symptoms usually subside after a few weeks.  If and when it is brought up, especially in the media, it's usually when it has progressed too far and a mother has harmed or killed herself and/or her child, such as the pretty famous case her in the States of Andrea Yates, who suffered first from PPD, then later PPP (post partum psychosis) and drowned her five children in the tub before calling her husband and the police to tell them what she had done.


   However, there have been a number of celebrities over the past few years who have come out publicly with their personal stories of battling post partum depression, giving very public faces to a previously very private problem. Most notably was Brooke Shields, actress and author of her journey through PPD Down Came the Rain, who came under fire from fellow actor Tom Cruise for using medication to deal with her depression. Others include Gwyneth Paltrow, Alannis Morrisette, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Amanda Peet.

   So why, if it's more common than people think, do more women not speak up and speak out to get help for themselves and others? I believe it has to do with this image of motherhood that society presses on women. The image that once you deliver your baby you will fall madly in love with him or her and instantly bond; that even though you may feel like you have no idea what you're doing, your "motherly instinct" will kick in and you'll make it through. So when this doesn't happen, women may feel like they failed at something that millions of women before them have done and something that should just be natural. They feel embarassed or ashamed and instead of asking for help feel like it's something they should just continue plugging away at because, by the gods, it will come eventually. To add to this, many women as well as their significant others, family and friends are not aware of the signs of post partum depression so it goes undiagnosed and mothers struggle with it alone.

    I share my story hesitantly, and there are many more things that I have not written that will never be written or spoken aloud to anyone but my therapist because I could not bare the looks of horror on someone's face if they knew. But it is something that needs to be talked about. I am no longer ashamed of how I felt nor do I feel like I failed at being a mother to my daughter, but it was not easy to get here.

   If you know of a mother or suspect of one who is experiencing PPD, or just haing a hard time, HELP THEM. Offer to cook for her, clean the house so she can get a break, watch the baby so she can sleep, or just be there to listen if she needs to cry, scream, or yell. If you notice she seems to be in an extremely dark place or that even after venting she doesn't seem better, urge her to get help. It may be therapy, it may be medication or it may be both. Sometimes simply asking "Are you okay?" is what makes the difference and can save someone.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Ebay Ban and Tutorial

  Happy Thursday dear readers! It's almost Friday which means the weekend and for me personally, two days of help from the husband so I can get some crafting done while my daughter is entertained!

   Speaking of crafting, my Etsy shop and blog will be featured on a fellow Etsian's blog, EmKat Creations sometime in the near future. She put the offer out there on the Witches of Etsy team for anyone interested in a blog feature to let her know. I will also be offering a giveaway for my Samhain set of pillow runes pictured below. Once I know the actual date of the feature, I'll be sure to share!





       Elder Futhark Pillow Runes
                             Samhain Set








   I also have a tutorial to share with you as well. While browsing through Pinterest (slowly becoming an obsession of mine...) I found a picture of a Celtic Knot Necklace and a link to how to make it!  It looks much harder than it really is, and the owner of the blog does include a video of exactly how to create the knot as well so you can see step by step with an actual person how to make it. I imagine this necklace could be recreated with a number of different Celtic Knot designs, one for every occasion. Check it out below at the blog momma go round:





    Now for some news about Ebay. According to the Fall 2012 Seller Update from the company, items like spells, curses, prayers or healing sessions will be prohibited from being sold starting August 30, 2012. Apparently this has already sparked some online debate as to whether this is intentional discrimination against pagans. (i.e. What if it was a Christian/some other religion offering prayer/healing services - will the ban apply to them as well?)

   There is also rumor that Etsy will be implementing something like this in the future as well, though nothing concrete has been announced. However recently, Etsy did change it's policies in regards to Medical Claims (read the announcement HERE), which is causing frustration among pagan sellers who list items such as herbal teas and tinctures, etc. The wording of their listings can not make claims that a product "helps with acne" or "cures headaches" and the like, leaving many shop owners having to figure out exactly how they can/will word listings so as not to conflict with policies - one owner, a member of the same team I am, Witches of Etsy, has over 600 listings she must now review and correct if needed.

   Now, what say you? Internet discrimination or just companies having to bow under pressure from other sources? If you sell on either one of these, how do these changes affect you?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Jessica Galbreth: From Dark Art to True Light

Good Morning! While today's post is not about Celtic Paganism strictly, it's a topic that I've noticed popping up all over Facebook as of late.

Jessica Galbreth was a famous "fantasy" artist known throughout many different circles. While she never expressed that her work was pagan, you can no doubt find it scattered throughout various pagan blogs across the internet.

However, this year, her art took a 180. Gone forever are the "dark" images of faeries, goddesses and women. Instead angels, biblical quotes, and warriors of God have taken their place. In the interview she did for her piece on he TV show "The 700 Club" she talks about he previous work as a "demonic possession" and considers it "satanic". She describes how this sudden change came about in the interview below.

What do you think? Do you own any of her artwork or figurines? Do you feel differently towards her or her work since her acceptance of Jesus?

If you're interested in what she's working on currently, her new art website is located at: www.vintageangel.com . Click below to watch the television interview she did for The 700 Club.

                      

Monday, August 13, 2012

Pagan Blog Project - P is for Pagan Parening

  Oh my gods, I know! Not only am I posting, but it's a PBP post! Double whammy!

  
   For today, I am posting about something I know nothing about - pagan parenting. I'm actually still kind of a "newbie" to the parenting world if you will; my daughter is only 22 months so I am still learning right along with her.


Most recent picture of my daughter. She looks exactly like her father.  :)
She does smile, this was taken at daycare.

     So, how is it that I am going to post about it while admittedly knowing nothing about it?

   Well this is how I intend to pagan parent.  :)  Don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I like to organize and have a plan. I'm a control freak.  lol


   Creating a family altar. Whether it's just a place for morning offerings or prayers for the day to come. It'll be very simple at the moment since she is at the stage where she loves to take EVERYTHING and run with it.  :)



   Respect life and the diversity of life. Pretty self explanatory. We're big pet people, so she and her sibling (don't know what baby #2 is quite yet), will learn how to take care of animals as they grow. They will also learn that not everybody looks the same, acts the same, or loves the same and it's not something that should divide us.

  Celebrating the Sabbats. Whether it be a full out ritual, an offering, or something as simple as helping out with spring or fall cleaning, I want them to be aware of the changing of the seasons and how life continues.

   Knowing the gods are there for her. It could be a simple prayer in the morning to say hello or a helpful ear when she needs to work out some problems. I want her to understand they are always there, but not people or things to be used when she wants something.



   It's a very simple plan, just the basics to stat out with until they both grow and figure out what they want to follow for themselves.


  How about you? I'd love to hear input from other parents who are raising their kids pagan - from holidays, to traditions to everyday life.


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Lughnasadh is on the way!

  And for me, it means that hopefully (but probably not with this bi-polar NC weather) fall is on the way also and I can break out the jeans and sweaters and comfy blankets. Our new home actually has a fireplace in the living room so I'm excited to use that as well!

   What are your plans to celebrate if any? I haven't decided on my end yet, but I am in a crafty mood (my Etsy shop needs some more variety and we need some more income) so maybe that's how I'll celebrate. Need some ideas? Take a look at the list below:


  • Smudge sticks

  • Bake bread

  • Corn dolly - The dolly represents the Mother Goddess, or in the Celtic traditions, Bride or Bridget

  • Make a cornwheel or sunwheel

  • Create and bury a Witch's Bottle
 
   What kind of crafts do you create? Any other ideas not listed here?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Central NC Pagan Pride Days 2012

   I attended this last year for the first time with my husband and daughter in tow and LOVED IT! We missed the first day however due to some intense rain and we didn't want to keep her out in the weather but went back the second day and really enjoyed ourselves. Not quite sure if we're going to make it this year - with my pregnancy getting rougher and my daughter getting to that age where it's hard to keep her entertained in one spot for very long, we'll see how it goes.

   The event is still going strong, however they have changed the name to Pagan Pride Raleigh. Below is a news announcement I received from the Director of PR and was asked to share it on my blog for any fellow NC'ers who may be interested in going. Also check out my blogs & links page for the link to their website.


Pagan Pride Raleigh (CNCPPD)

  The Central NC Pagan Pride Days Festival (now Pagan Pride Raleigh) attracts nearly 2000 pagans, pagan friends and the pagan curious every year. Open to the general public, this autumn celebration offers two days of both entertainment and education through social, commercial and spiritual activities. All are welcome to join or observe rituals, attend workshops, meet local groups, and much more.


Each year we also collect thousands of pounds of non-perishable food from attendees for donation to the Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC. Last year we collected over three and half tons of food. We hope to do even better this year!


Did we mention the blood drive?

Each year we are working with Rex Blood Services to bring their bloodmobile to the festival for a blood drive that will begin at 12 Noon and run to 4 PM both days of the festival.



Sept. 15 and 16, 2012

NC State Fairgrounds Gate 5

974 Youth Center Dr

Raleigh, NC


Saturday, July 7, 2012

Attack on the Lia Fail Stone in Ireland

   As reported back in mid-June, there was an attack on the Lia Fail standing stone that sits on the Hill of Tara in Co Meath. Click HERE to read more.



   The Lia Fail (meaning Stone of Destiny) standing stone sits on the Hill of Tara at Inauguration mound. It served as the coronation stone for the High Kings of Ireland and legend says all kings were crowned here up to Muirchertach mac Ercae c. AD 500.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Been gone for far too long...

   I have been a very absent blogger for the past two months and for that I apologize.

   On Mother's Day this year, I found out I am pregnant wiht our second child and since then things have been rough. I had some doctors appointments to go to, my daughter has been sick, and I have severe morning sickness that has kept me pretty much on the couch for almost a month and a half and cost me my job due to absence.  :(

   I am trying to get back into the swing of things to keep my mind off of feeling so sick, so be on the lookout! I think I'm going to try and play a little catch up with the Pagan Blog Project entries as well.


   For those still here, thanks for sticking with me!!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

Happt Mother's Day to my strong, beautiful, perfect momma's out there!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Pagan Blog Project - I is for Irish Pagan Weddings

     I wasn't really sure what to write about this week for "I", much the same like last week. "I" is kind of a hard letter - I can only imagine what Q, Z, and X will bring!

   So instead, I decided to share an article I came across earlier this week from a friend on Facebook. Enjoy!


Monday, April 30, 2012

The coming of Beltane

     Beltane, a festival of life and fertility, is celebrated on or around April 30. Beltane and its counterpart, Samhain, divided the year into its primary seasons, winter and summer. Also known as May Eve, this festival joyfully heralds the arrival of Summer and the pastoral growing season.
   The word "Beltaine" literally means "bright" or "brilliant fire" and one of the chief ritual acts was the kindling of bonfires, often on hills and created from the nine sacred woods, in order to bring the sun's light down to earth and honor summer. The fires also celebrated the return of life and fruitfulness to the earth. To jump between two Beltane fires was sure to bring good fortune, health to your livestock and prosperity - young people jumped over for luck in finding a spouse, travelers jumped the fire to ensure a safe journey, and the pregnant jumped over to assure an easy delivery. Sometimes the fire was lit beneath a sacred tree, or a pole covered with greenery was surrounded by the fuel, or a tree was burned in the fire. These trees survive in the Maypole of later custom and they represented the vegetation spirit.
   Beltane is the time of sensuality revitalized; the reawakening of the earth and all of her children. Thisis a customary time for Handfastings for a year and a day. Celebration included frolicking through the countryside, dancing the Maypole, leaping over fires and "going a maying". It was also usual for young lovers to spend the night in the forest.
   On May Eve people would tear branches from a Hawthorn tree and decorate the outside of their homes. The Hawthorn, or Whitethorn, is the three of hope, pleasure and protection.



Be on the lookout for tomorrow's post to include some Beltane crafts to try your hand at!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Pagan Blog Project - H is for Handfasting

     This week's Pagan Blog Project post is on something that is close to my heart, Handfastings. My husband and I were married July 23, 2010 with a handfasting and I believe it's a beautiful addition to any wedding or ceremony.


     Handfasting was a form of trial marriage in both Ireland and Scotland during the early Christian period. The hands were tied together which explains the origination of the term “tying the knot”.  In rural areas it could have been weeks or even months before clergyman stopped by a village so couples had to learn to make do. Handfastings were the equivalent to today’s common-law marriage and was generally done in the presence of witnesses. In Scotland marriages were considered a matter for the church until 1560 when marriage became a civil matter rather than a church sacrament.
 
     Today, handfastings are a ceremony used by heathens, pagans and non-pagans alike. It may be a non-state registered wedding or a wedding where a marriage license is filed and there are probably as many different ritual types as there are people who have had it performed. Generally the hands are bound with some type of ribbon or cord. One custom involves the couple facing each other then placing the right hands together, then the left, forming the infinity symbol while the cord is tired around them in a knot.  Another, is that only one set of hands are joined together and bound. 

    
     As I shared earlier, for our wedding, my husband and I exchanged rings and then held our hands together in the shape of the infinity symbol. I had made our handfasting cords - 3 cords made out of ribbon in colors symbolising various things we wanted in our own marriage.  Our vow was a Celtic vow I had found while doing some research and planning in the months beforehand. Each cord was tied around our entwined hands and to this day, almost two years later they are still tied together, just as they were that day, and hanging around the frame of our wedding picture.





     Because of this, I also began making handfasting cords for sale on Etsy. Click HERE for a look at what I have to offer so far! (Just a little shameless, self promotion there!) 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Absence makes the heart..... something or other... :)

   A very weary and tired hello to all my wonderful followers. I have been noticeably absent from my blog for quite some time now and I do apologize. Things have been pretty hectic with my family.

   First of all, I found a job! Beginning on March 5 I began training as a sales agent for DirecTV at a local call center here in my town. It's a great job, very easy to get the hang of and it's definitely not like my time with match.com. I'm making a great hourly wage plus commission, something new for me as I've never held a "sales" position before.

    Of course, with the beginning of my job came the beginning of daycare for my 17 month old daughter, Rayne. She still hasn't quite gotten used to it and cries when I drop her off but me, I'm proud to say, I stopped crying along with her about two weeks in. However 2 days into daycare she had to be picked up for a fever of 102 and taken to the hospital where we were told she had a virus. Two weeks later she still had it so we went back into her pediatrician who informed us she had double ear infections, a virus, a bacterial infection as well as a sinus infection..... and all this because they didn't give her antibiotics at the hospital because the virus wasn't "bad enough for antibiotics yet".

   And lastly, we finally found a place of our own! After a lot of searching and deliberating on the neighborhood we started renting a very spacious 3-bedroom town home right in the center of town, perfectly spaced between my job and the hubby's. We're still setting up house which is why I haven't returned to blogging as soon as I would have liked. Well, that, and we were without internet for the first week and half of being here.


   So here's to new and great things and the return to writing! Slainte!