Category Archives: Blazing Star Herbal School

Ukuleles, Guitars and Drums ….Oh MY!

I mentioned, a few posts ago that last Summer Z-girl began attending the Institute For The Musical Arts Pre Teen Summer Intro to Rock Program. It is a program that I has been on our radar a while, since she was a wee thing in fact, waiting for the girl to be old enough…hoping it would be a good fit! (You never know, right, a program that looks totally WOW to you, and your kid is like “really mom?”) This program fit like a glove, everything that i had hoped, totally inspiring in all ways. Amazing instructors (professionals in the field) that teach skills while sharing who they are and enjoy the kids, have fun with them promoting a passion for music, great role models (interns who share the passion), provide safe place to try out new instruments and styles, freedom to be,  a new set of friends that share their passion! The experience offers everything you read about in “Tween Parenting Books” how to help kids as they enter middle school and transition from girls to young women. The IMA a labor of love, envisioned by Ann Hackler and June Millington. 

IMG_2275_2Here’s they are introducing  yesterdays Pre Teen Concert

Being part of the IMA community has helped Zoe’s confidence grow immensely, she is finding joy in what she loves, people, and music. Music has always been in her life, beginning Music Together with Lui Collins and just 9 weeks old! moving on the Hootenanny with the Nields and special dance parties and grandmotherly support by Sarah Pirtle. As you can see she has always had great musical guidance and roll models!

Now she feels safe to expand her self expression around what it means to be passionate around music, sometimes even sees herself as a young budding musician. She has a goal to work towards. She is learning about hard work. This year she has found several innovative ways to help her fundraise or start a grass root business based on her new found confidence and passion. Back in June she Dj’d a birthday party for a younger daughter of a past student of mine and LOVED it so much that she decided to get business cards and begin a business “doing what she loves” IMG_5350

More recently she has added to her plan by making and selling duck tape guitar straps in an effort to buy a drum set (it is not a cheap hobby!) 


Finally back in January she and a friend she met at the IMA worked really hard, reached out of their comfort zone, to put on a short concert at a local cafe to fundraise for a trip to Ecuador and raised $200! 

::Full Enclosure:: At first, as a parent who has kept media and popular culture at an arms length, I struggled greatly with the introduction of pop music. These songs are often the antitheis of everything i am raising Zoe to believe, ( strong, able women, treating people with respect,  zero tolerence for judging people by how they look). For the first few months I persused The mighty girl website and downloaded songs with positive moral values to her ipod! Of course that backfired! But I have come to see that it all plays a roll in her growth and development, that the positive influences in her life dramatically outweigh the exposure she is getting through popular music, and that the more I resist something the more it makes it appealing to her…so for now I live with the sound track Taylor Swift, Keisha, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, and Rhianna)

This Summer Z attended both pre-teen sessions, one kicked off the summer for us, and one ended (almost) the summer. Yesterday afternoon was the final summer concert  the Intro to Rock Pre Teen Session II. The shows features some whole group efforts (percussion and voice) and some smaller group original songs and often a grand finale! If you are in the area (Western Mass) Sunday afternoons in the Summer you should attend one of these concerts, they are open to the public, and you’ll not be disappointed! The excitement radiates from these pre-teens, you can feel their anticipation in the air pre show and the feeling of achievement post show!  It blows me away every time how much they pull together in just a few days! 

IMG_2450_2 IMG_2457_2

A year is a long time to wait for the next installment! Lucky for us Rock the Moon is approaching in September, a collaboration between the IMA and Blazing Star Herbal School. Its a weekend “coming of age” gathering to introduce independent self-care practices to pre-teen girls (9-12) through music and herbalism. We base our changing programing on these 8 Guiding Principles :

  1. Finding your voice
  2. Spending time alone
  3. Expressing creativity
  4. Weaving a Web of Community
  5. Exploring your dreams (bringing dreams to life, manifestation)
  6. Connecting to Nature
  7. Celebrating your Self Everyday (self care, nourishment)
  8. Celebrating Coming of Age (by Rockin’ the Moon!)


rock the moon poster.indd

And its fun fun fun. A Fall and Spring IMA boost, a fix to tide you over! 



Making Elderberry Sparkle

It’s easy, it’s yummy!

Step 1   Locate (Black) Elder Trees and when flowering (sometime in June if you are in the Northeast) On a sunny day collect 3 large heads of fragrant elderflowers. Make sure they’re not going by (you can tell by the browning of the petals), otherwise the finished result will taste nasty! 

Step 2  Shake any insects from the elderflower heads and immerse in 4.8 litres of cold water in a crock (a plastic bucket works well also) 

Step 3  You’ll need one lemon, 750g white sugar, 2 tbsp white wine vinegar   Peel a lemon, making sure not to include any pith. Squeeze the juice. Put the flowers, the lemon peel and juice into a large clean plastic bucket, together with the sugar, wine vinegar, and water.

Step 4 Stir vigorously. 

Step 5 Leave for about 24 hours, then strain and pour into strong screw-topped bottles – fizzy water bottles are ideal. Don’t fill them to the top.


Step 6 Leave in a cool place for 2 weeks and the naturally occurring yeast on the elderflower heads begins to ferment with the sugar creating a very weak alcohol content but lots of carbon dioxide.

Lots of CO2 = Big Elderflower Fizz!!!!

It is possible that one or two of the bottles explode! It seems a little random, it is possible that they’re less likely to explode the cooler.

Step 6 Drink cold. Great for a party on a hot summer’s day. I have heard that if stored in a cool place they can last up to a year! 

Gardens on the Go

One of the hardest part of this move for me has been moving the gardens. Thanks to the willingness of this years apprentices we have spent two long days digging and potting plants…As an herbalist it is so hard to decide what gets left behind……how does one decide?

Good-bye gardens!

they’ll be more tea parties to come!

they’ll be more conferences to come

they’ll be more mowing to come!

they’ll be more rituals to come……