Things I Love: October 2016

Things I Love: October 2016 | Growing Up Herbal | Here are 5 things I've loved in October 2016!

Hey, mama!

It’s time for another “Things I Love” post on GUH! Today, I’m sharing 5 things I’ve loved this past month with you as well as some of my goals for November (and telling you how I did meeting last month’s goals)

It seems too soon to be at this place in the year, but the holiday season officially arrives tomorrow, here in the US!

Every year, I find myself trying to slow down so I can enjoy this season, and every year, I fail miserably. Winter, although dreaded by some, is something I look forward to each year. It’s a time to pull back and reflect on your values and priorities. It’s a time to nourish your roots so you can bloom strong and beautiful when the weather begins to warm in the spring. It’s a time to be still and quiet.

However, the holidays are such a busy time! There are tons of activities to do and memories to be made, and although I long to slow down enough to actually experience and savor these things, I feel it slipping by each year. Our lives truly are as vapors, here today, gone tomorrow. What matters is what we can offer to the world and the legacy we leave behind for our families. My goal during these hurried holiday months is to capture time spent with friends and family, tell and show them how much they mean to me as often as possible, and give to others without expecting anything in return.

Once the busy holidays are over, I feel that I’m actually able to pull inward and withdraw more. Come January, I can focus on goals for the year. It’s a time for long talks with Dean about what we want our lives to look like and what that means as far as how we spend our time. Winter is a great time to get rid of all the things blocking your view… to really pare down life to what matters and to map out a path in that direction.

As always, thanks for letting me share bits of my life with you. I hope you resonate with it because without you being here reading this blog and connecting with me, I’d be a tad lonely in this big online world! Thank you, mama!!

Favorite Herbal Products

Things I Love: October 2016 | Growing Up Herbal | Here are 5 things I've loved in October 2016!

Two weeks ago, Isaiah, my wild child, fell off some seriously tall monkey bars (around 7 1/2 feet) and broke his elbow. As soon as I saw it, my RN instinct said to get him to the ER… it was either dislocated or broken, but we needed x-rays to tell. It was, in fact, broken… right at the joint. He had to be taken to the children’s hospital and scheduled for surgery as soon as they could get him in. He had 3 pins put in and a temporary cast put on for 3-4 weeks. 

This child is the same one that cut the tip of his finger off in the tractor belt a little over six months ago. I feel like he’s a bit like me (in my younger days)  in that he often leaps before he looks and doesn’t think consequences through. Life is teaching him some tough lessons as it does us all, I suppose.

Anyway, not only are we in the midst of trying to stay healthy at the start of cold and flu season here in the Visser House, but we’re now focusing on building this bone and mending his gut from yet another round of antibiotics. Below, I want to share a bit of what our bone building protocol is looking like at this point just in case you’re curious and ever need this info (although I’m hoping you won’t).

  • real food diet with lots of bone broth, cultured dairy, and healthy fats
  • extra gelatin/collagen (hello, elderberry gummies)
  • children’s probiotics
  • daily children’s multivitamin
  • 1000 mg vitamin c
  • 1600 mg vitamin d3 with 40 mcg vitamin k2
  • herbal mineral syrup (1 tsp. 3-4 x day)
  • elderberry syrup (1 tsp. 3-4 x day)
  • elder leaf syrup (1/2 tsp. 3-4 x day)

Favorite Book

Things I Love: October 2016 | Growing Up Herbal | Here are 5 things I've loved in October 2016!

Like the book I mentioned last month, Blackberry Cove Herbal is similar in that it follows an Appalachian herbalist through a year of using herbs. Herbalist Linda Rago shares what she’s learned about herbs from the generations before her as it applies to the seasons they experience on their West Virginia mountain farm. It’s full of family stories, herbal information, and beautiful watercolor paintings. 

Seeing how I’m a born and bred product of southern Appalachia, I love reading books about this area, especially about the herbs found here and how people have traditionally used them. I love the idea of getting back to our roots, being more self-sufficient, and living simply. It draws me.

My Appalachian roots are strongly rooted in this East Tennessee dirt for many reasons, but a few memories stand out as majorly impacting my love for Appalachia and the customs of this area.

First, I loved sitting outside under the old gnarly apple tree, sitting at my granny’s feet, helping her “string beans,” and listening to her tell us grandkids stories of when she was young. We especially loved the stories about “haints” or ghosts! Then, as I grew older, my 11th-grade English teacher once again helped to further my love for my home when she turned her head while I grabbed a copy of a “banned” book from her shelf called “Oral Tradition.” This was my first glimpse into Appalachian literature in any form, and from then on, I’ve been intrigued about learning more about this area I call “home” and about the people and customs that make this area what it is. Then, as a college student, I spent a lot of time (when I wasn’t studying, of course) with friends at concerts and clubs listing to a wide variety of music, but the style of music that I heard at a little tucked away places like “The Down-Home” and “The Acoustic Coffeehouse” sparked my love for bluegrass, indie, and folk music alike. 

I suppose those are just a few reasons why I love where I live and why books like Blackberry Cove Herbal appeal to me. 

Favorite Homemade Product

Things I Love: October 2016 | Growing Up Herbal | Here are 5 things I've loved in October 2016!

I’m a sucker for sugar scrubs! Not only do they never get old, but they are amazing exfoliators. In fact, they’re my favorite way to cleanse my skin in the shower. I normally make a small batch of sugar scrub each month, always alternating what I use in the scrub and the scent it will have. 

I first got hooked on sugar scrubs from my friend Stacy over at A Delightful Home. I got her e-book – Simple Scrubs To Make And Give – as part of an Ultimate Bundle, and I immediately made myself one. I liked it so much that I even made it for all my sisters-in-law as a Christmas gift that year. Since then, I’ve tried a lot of the scrub recipes in that e-book, and now, I’m even venturing out into making my own recipes.

This month, I decided that I wanted to try making something new… something warm and cozy. Enter my Clove + Coffee Sugar Scrub. Not only is it stimulating to the body and senses, but it is an amazing exfoliator. I love using this scrub in the morning. There’s just something about the scent of coffee that perks you up and gets you going!

Clove + Coffee Sugar Scrub


  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh coffee grounds
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 15-20 drops clove essential oil ()


  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl, mix well.
  2. Store in a glass jar near your shower. 
  3. Gently massage into skin in a circular motion. Rinse well. 

Favorite Memory

Things I Love: October 2016 | Growing Up Herbal | Here are 5 things I've loved in October 2016!

When I was younger, I loved getting dressed up and going Trick-or-Treating with my friends on Halloween. No, we never pulled any mean pranks on anyone. We were simply in it for the good time and the sweet treats. 

Now that I have kids of my own and we’ve chosen to do our best to live a healthy lifestyle, candy is not a part of our lives, and neither is Halloween, in the traditional sense. Instead, in the extended Visser family, we throw our kids a Harvest Party. Each year, they get to dress up and play together, we have a pitch-in dinner, the kids play games, and then we go on a hayride. There are no scary costumes and there is no candy. There is a small bit of a special dessert, though… after kids eat their food. It’s a great time every year, and the kids always look forward to it.

When my kids were little (and there were less of them), I made homemade costumes of their choice. It was important to me for some reason (I think the movie Stepmom had a lot to do with it) to make their costumes. I wanted it to be special and memorable. Now there are four of them, it’s a bit harder to make homemade costumes every year… especially since many of them want to be superheroes. If they want to buy a costume (and we buy used ones are either on sale or at a children’s consignment shop because I refuse to pay full price so they can dress up for one night) that’s fine, but if they want a homemade costume, I do my best to make them one.

This year Judah dressed up as “The BFG,” Isaiah was a pirate, Uriah was Spiderman, and Ezrah was “Elliot” from Pete’s Dragon.

Favorite Food

Things I Love: October 2016 | Growing Up Herbal | Here are 5 things I've loved in October 2016!

Fall is a great time for seasonal foods… one of which is pumpkins. This past month, I’ve shared recipes for two must-have staples for all your fall baking needs… at least when it comes to pumpkin recipes. 

This has had me busy making all sorts of pumpkin dishes this month from pumpkin chocolate chip bread to pumpkin soup and pumpkin pie. And my favorite of all has been the roasted pumpkin seeds. They are easy to make, they taste great, they’re healthy, and they make a great snack for the kids. (Unless, of course, mama eats them all first. Sorry, kids.) 

Butter Roasted Pumpkin Seeds 
Adapted from Oh She Glows


  • pumpkin seeds from 1 pie pumpkin
  • water
  • 2+ teaspoons salt (divided uses)
  • 1 tablespoon butter


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Wash pumpkin seeds in a colander to remove pumpkin guts. And no, you don’t have to be perfect!
  2. Add seeds to a saucepan. Cover with water and add 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes before draining water in a colander. This helps to soften the pumpkin seed shell, making them more crunchy after roasting.
  3. Transfer seeds to a bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 teaspoon of salt to seeds. Mix until butter has melted and seeds are coated.
  4. Place seeds on a baking sheet in a thin layer and roast for 10 minutes. Gently toss seeds, adding more salt if desired, spread in a thin layer and roast for 5-10 more minutes. Feel free to take a seed or two out at any time, let it cool, and test it to see if it’s crunchy enough. Just be careful with the second roasting time. Burned pumpkin seeds are no good!
  5. Remove from oven, let them cool and enjoy as a snack anytime. PS. You can eat them whole (shell and all) or you can crack them and eat the seed only (like you do with sunflower seeds).

Goals To Shoot For In November

I am happy to report that I met all of my goals last month, except one. We did not make it to a pumpkin patch to pick pumpkins, unfortunately. That was something I really wanted to do, but with Isaiah’s broken arm and the cold weather, we decided to skip it. 

However, this November, I’d like to:

  • order photos for my 2009 photo album (Yes! I’m seriously THAT far behind!)
  • get the boy’s Advent activities planned
  • make a homemade gift for the ladies in my family to say “I’m Thankful For You” for Thanksgiving day
  • finish a unit from the Advanced Herbal Course over at The Herbal Academy
  • finalize the new GUH website and get it ready to go for December
  • make a Christmas list for everyone in my family
  • inventory my herbal medicine cabinet and make a list of what to stock up on

I hope you have had a lovely October, friend! I want you to know that I’m so thankful for you and your support! Thanks for ALL you do! Not only are you making a big impact on the lives of your own family, but mine as well! Love to all!

Be sure to follow me on Instagram to see more glimpses into my everyday life!
  1. Olivia says:

    I love the pumpkin seed recipe, thank you.
    I’m curious about the elder leaf syrup.. I thought the leaves were toxic internally and only for topical use?

    • Meagan says:

      Yeah, Olivia. Technically it is because of the cyanide level it contains, but there are ways to prepare it in order to reduce the cyanide levels. All parts of the elder plant contain cyanide… berries included, which is why all parts of the plant should be heated when making preparations. I basically did a decoction of the leaves (simmering them for 30 minutes) which reduces the cyanide content to nearly nothing. Now, the cyanide content will vary based on species, habitat, and other things so it’s hard to say what the final content is unless you test it, but if it’s too high, you’ll know because it will give you stomach upset, nausea, and vomitting. Those are basically the symptoms of ingesting too much plant cyanide. I first came across using elder leaf for broken bones from herbalist Stephen Buhner. He mentioned it on his Facebook page and an herbalist friend tagged me. I then looked it up in his Herbal Antivitals book (because the tinctured leaf is a great antiviral as well), and he explains it all clearly there, including what he calls “phytohysteria” over it being toxic. Anyway, hope that helps some. Just look into it a bit more if you’re interested. Elder leaf has been used for many many years, especially by Asians and the Native Americans, with great results.

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