Spending Some Time With The Girls

Once again life has reared it’s ugly head and kept me from updating here like I should.  I have been extremely busy with Tai Chi, Yoga, Life Groups, Women’s Retreat meetings, Online Classes and just life in general.  However, I have found time to spend with the girls.  And here is some of the proof….

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On Halloween night, the girls and I had a sleep-over at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science (Night at the Museum!!).  We had a blast!  Monster kept telling me all night long, “Nana this is so much fun!”. The museum staff did a great job with their crafts, ghoulish science experiments, physics tests, food, IMAX and special exhibits.  I have a feeling we will definitely be doing this again next year.

The “blue” pictures are due to the funky lighting the museum had going on in one section.  There are several pictures of the girls building with what looks like popsickle sticks.  They are not.  They are called Keva Planks.  Tiny did NOT want to stop playing with them.  They are little planks of wood that are so perfectly planed that they will stand up on their own and make the perfect building medium.  Hmmmm……she may be getting a bag of those for Christmas.  An architect or engineer in the family would be a good thing.

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I’ve also been replacing some of my winter herbal stock.  I’ve got wild cherry bark tincture, elderberry tincture, and more Double E tincture ready and waiting for the icky season.

That’s all for the moment.  I’ll try to do better keeping up-to-date.

Have a great weekend!!

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Busy, Busy, Busy

Once again it only SEEMS like I fell off the edge of the planet.  Nope, just been major busy here.  So, to start off I will give you some pictures.

First up, a day at the Nature and Science Museum with the girls.

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Then, there was Tiny’s 6th birthday.  Yep, she’s 6!!!

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And here’s my funny story from Tiny’s birthday dinner.  We went to a really cool restaurant down in Lakewood.  You choose your entrée, but they bring out a nice variety of sides to serve family-style.  One of those sides is pickled beets.  Well, one of the waiters (we were a huge party) reached next to me to set down one of the bowls.  When he did that I felt something cold and wet hit my head.  I reached up and touched the spot and my had came away wet and pink.  Yep, he had dribbled beet juice in my hair.  Oh well, at least the color matched!  He was so apologetic, but really it was just funny.

I’ve also been busy going to two exercise classes a week.  Yep, me….exercise.  But, I’m really loving my yoga class.  Yes, I am a bit of a masochist to enjoy being twisted into a pretzel for an hour and a half each week.  But, it feels soooo good, once  you untwist lol.  I’ve also started taking Tai Chi.  That class is going much slower since it’s a beginners class, but in a few months I should be able to do the full Yang style 24 Form Short Form from start to finish.  Sigh, right now I feel like a squeaky tin man trying to do the forms.  I will get better!

D.A.R. has started up again for the year. I discovered one of the ladies is from my hometown of Spring!  Small world indeed. I have also been asked to start taking over the Chaplain duties for the chapter.  Wow, that made me feel good.

In other news, I happen to work in a Union shop and voting for new Union positions has begun.  I agreed to accept the nomination for Sec/Treasurer.  However!!  When the nomination ballot came around for me to sign and accept, I discovered I had been nominated not only for Sec/Treasurer, but also for President AND Vice-President.  Now, understand I have NOT been active in the Union in the last several years plus I generally try to keep a low-profile at work.  So who in blue-blazes has discovered who I am that they would nominate me for all THAT!?! Of course I have no idea and the nominations committee won’t tell me.  Needless to say, I only accepted the nomination for Sec/Treas., but wow that was flattering.

I dont’ have any pictures because it cut kind of ugly, but I made another batch of soap and discovered a much easier method than I had been using.  Instead of melting the fats and oils and then having to wait for them to cool down before adding the lye mixture, I added first the fats and then the oils to the lye mixture and let the heat from the lye melt everything down.  I got my soap to trace after only about ten minutes with the stick blender. So much easier.  I made a plain batch this time just to test everything out and like I said it cut ugly because of the container I used as a mold.  But, I plan on making another batch with some fragrance oils and essential oils. Yay!!

That’s it for the moment.  Hope everyone has a great week!

Pickled Garlic

Ok, ok.  Stop saying “Eeeeew!” and making retching sounds. Pickled garlic is really quite good.

But why, oh why would anyone ever make it?

Well, for me it’s for cold and flu season.  Yep, it’s another weapon in my herbal arsenal.  Garlic is anti-microbial, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral.   It’s pretty much “anti” everything you could want.  The only problem is, how do you use it when you have the ickies?

You can chop it up really fine and combine it with honey and cayenne.  That’s especially good for strep throat.  You can eat a lot of garlicky Italian food. But the easiest way to get all the kick-butt goodness out of garlic when you’re sick is to just chomp on some garlic cloves.

Yeah. Like that’s gonna happen.

I seriously could not get around the idea of just chomping into a raw clove of garlic.  Definitely eeeeewww!!!  Until I found a recipe for pickled garlic.  I tried one recipe from Rosemary Gladstone and it was…..meh.  Then I tried one from Heather over at the Welcoming House.  Score!

It’s easy to make and just tastes like garlicky pickles without the dill or the cucumbers. Now, when I feel the ickies coming on like I did this week (thanks for sharing your germs boss) I can pop open a jar and have my own herbal Tamiflu shot.  Without the cost of doctors, prescriptions, taking off work, driving all over town…..you get the picture.

So, how do you take this pickled garlic for colds and flu?  When you first start to feel like you might be coming down with something, take one clove every 1-2 hours.  Continue that for at least 2 days even if you feel fine after the first day.

If you miss the warning signs and come down with something, take one clove every 1/2 to 1 hour until symptoms subside.  Then continue for at least one more day.

Yes, you will smell like garlic.  Yes, you will successfully keep any and all vampires away.  And potentially all others as well.  Personally, if I’m feeling sick I WANT to keep people away from me so I won’t infect them with whatever yuck I may have.

You need:

6 cups of peeled garlic (you can cheat like I did and buy it already peeled from your favorite warehouse store)

vinegar

canning salt

sugar

pint canning jars

Sorry, I can’t give you the exact recipe from Heather, because it’s her copyright.  But, hop on over to her blog if you want the exactness.

The prep took about 10-15 minutes.  Then I put everything into my canning jars and water bath canned them.  Perfect!!

Now wouldn’t this be far better than a week or more of sickness and expensive medicine?  Hey, even over-the-counter meds can get pricey.  Give it a try!

 

Linking up with:

http://newlifeonahomestead.com/, www.time-warp-wife.blogspot.com, http://www.aboverubies.net/, http://www.growinghomeblog.com/, http://www.deeprootsathome.com/, http://www.raisingarrows.net/, www.oursimplefarm.com, http://raisinghomemakers.com/

 

More Bang For Your Buck Part 6: Cleaning Things Up

Welcome back for Part 6!  Today I want to talk to you about cleaning.  Cleaning products are expensive! And it seems like there is a different product for every single thing that needs to be cleaned.  Go check out how many different cleaning supplies you have under your kitchen sink right now.  Then go check out your bathroom cabinet.  What about out in the garage? Do we really need all those different jars and bottles and boxes?  Or is there a different way?

Although my husband insists on using some specialty cleaners for the cars, for the house I only use a couple specialty items.  They are:

Scrubbing bubbles bathroom cleaner (used to remove nicotine streaks from the walls – don’t ask)

Toilet bowl cleaner

Grout whitener (used to removed nicotine stains from the once-white bathtub grout)

Otherwise, here’s the list of the cleaners that I use:

white vinegar

blue dawn dish soap

ammonia

borax

baking soda

washing soda

bleach

fels naptha soap

rubbing alcohol

hydrogen peroxide

That’s it.  With those items I am able to make:

all-purpose cleaner

grease cutting kitchen cleaner

laundry soap

laundry stain remover

floor mopping solution

carpet spot remover

general wall washing solution

microwave cleaning solution

non auto-clean oven cleaner

window cleaner

dishwasher washing cubes

mold remover

And so much more. I think the most expensive item on my list of supplies would be the blue Dawn dish soap, but I buy the large bottles of it normally anyway because I use it to wash dishes.  The amount used for other purposes is rather minimal.

Ok, so what do you do with these “ingredients”?  Here’s a few ideas to get you started.

All-purpose cleaner:

spray bottle

vinegar

water

Essential oils – optional

Fill spray bottle half full with plain white vinegar, fill the rest of the way with water.  Add a few drops of essential oils if desired.  My favorites are orange, tangerine, and grapefruit.  Use in the kitchen, bathroom, anywhere you would use that “numbered” spray cleaner. Does it make your house smell like vinegar? Not after it dries, and the essential oils help with the odor.  It just leaves a clean smell behind. You can use this spray to clean germy places too.  Vinegar is just as effective at that as bleach, but can be used around children and pets.

Grease Cutting Kitchen Cleaner AND Laundry Stain Remover:

Spray Bottle

Ammonia

Blue Dawn dish soap

Water

Mix equal parts of all three ingredients in a spray bottle.  Use for really greasy kitchen clean up (I use it on my stove top if it gets really bad) and for stain removal on your clothes.  Remember to spot test this formula on your clothing before using and NEVER use this spray with bleach in the wash.

General Floor and Wall Cleaner:

You can use the general cleaner solution for this if you want just made up in a larger batch or do the following –

1 gallon hot water

1 cup vinegar

1/2 cup washing soda

Mix well.  Mop floor as usual.

Microwave Cleaner

1 cup vinegar

Place vinegar in microwave safe bowl.  Microwave on high for 1 minute.  Wipe down microwave. Repeat if needed.

Homemade Laundry Soap

That should get you started.  There are so many great ideas floating around the interwebz – go check them out!

Hope you’re having a great week!

Linking up with:

:http://newlifeonahomestead.com/, www.time-warp-wife.blogspot.com, http://www.aboverubies.net/, http://www.growinghomeblog.com/, http://www.deeprootsathome.com/, http://www.raisingarrows.net/, www.oursimplefarm.com, http://raisinghomemakers.com/

Making More Medicine

A few weeks ago, I went through my herb stash and decided it was time to make up some more medicine.  So, here’s what I made up:

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There’s lobelia tincture, feverfew tincture, cayenne tincture, mullein tincture, and valerian tincture. I also mixed up some Chai coffee creamer lol.

Ah, all the things you can do with those tinctures.  Lobelia – it’s good for glandular problems, a few drops will stop you from throwing up or a larger dose is an emetic. Valerian – good as a general calming herb and for insomnia.  Mullein is good for coughs, earaches, glandular problems. Feverfew is, of course, good for migraines. Cayenne is good for colds, shock, heart attacks, and a host of other things.  Another couple of weeks and these tinctures will be ready to strain and bottle.

A few days ago I got in an order from Mountain Rose Herbs for elderberries, guarana seeds, and hawthorn berries.  I’ll be mixing up tinctures with all of them.

The elderberries are excellent for colds and flu.  The guarana seeds are good for energy, plus I’ll be trying a remedy using them for migraine next time I get one.  The hawthorn berries are good for heart issues.  I have high blood pressure (have for years) and I want to see if it helps any with that.  So, more medicine will be brewing up in my back bedroom once I get some more vodka.

A few herbs, some vodka and canning jars.  Much better than continuous trips to the doctor and pharmacy in my opinion.

Hope you’re having a great week!

Medicine In The Yard

My yard is not grass, as much as hubby would like for it to be.  No, it’s….well….let’s face it, it’s weeds.  But, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Last year I harvested mullein out of my garden.  I didn’t plant it, it just popped up on it’s own.  It’s a weed.  A very helpful weed.  It’s good for coughs and earaches and several other things.

This year, I finally figured out what another weed really is in the yard.  We’ve had an infestation of the thing since we moved in years ago.  I just knew in my knower that it had to be good for something, I just didn’t know what.  Now I know.  It’s this:

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It’s called mallow and I have a ton of it in the yard.  It’s good for coughs and as a laxative and for rashes and other skin problems and can even be used as food and to thicken soups and as a substitute for egg whites.  Wow!  And to think it’s just been sitting there all this time.  Not anymore!  I harvested a dehydrator-full plus more and got it to drying for the winter. I didn’t dig up any roots just yet.  I might do that later.

Hope you’re having a great week!

Linking up with:

http://raisinghomemakers.com/,http://newlifeonahomestead.com/, www.time-warp-wife.blogspot.com, http://www.aboverubies.net/, http://www.growinghomeblog.com/, http://www.deeprootsathome.com/, http://www.raisingarrows.net/, www.oursimplefarm.com, http://raisinghomemakers.com/, www.frugallysustainable.com, www.jillshomeremedies.com

Taking The Plunge Into Herbalism

If you have known me for very long, or if you have read this blog for very long, you know I love herbs.  Unfortunately, there are no colleges giving out degrees in Herbalism.  So, when I went to college I got my degree in Accounting.  Nothing inherently wrong with Accounting, but it definately was not my heart.  I’m getting ready to go back to school to finish my B.S. in Organizational Management, but again it’s not my heart.  I’ll do it for the entre’ the piece of paper will give me.  My heart has always, from a young age, been herbs and natural healing.

You may have read here about a week ago that I went to a Self-Relience Expo here in town.  There I found a Family Herbalist program I was really wanting to take.  Well, I did it.  I paid my money and signed up.  I’m now in the midst of my three months study for my Family Herbalist Certification.  May I just say…WooHoo!!!!!

It is intense information, but I’m loving every second of it. I’m loving it so much, in fact, that I went looking for additional training.  The school I’m currently with offers a Master Herbalist program, but I have also found a Clinical Herbalist program which is Christian-based.  My current school was founded by a Mormon, and although they do not push their religious beliefs I think I might feel more comfortable in the long-run with a more Christian-based philosophy. The programs look to be equally thorough, it is just my personal choice.

Hubby is even on-board with my studies.  He is concerned that I not over-burden myself with too much at a time so I will be taking the B.S, classes slowly.  If I find them too time-intense, I will probably shelve them in favor of my herbalism courses first.  The piece of paper will be handy to have, but it’s time I follow my heart, not just my bank account.

If you pray, say one for me.  If not, wish me luck!

Linking up with:

http://newlifeonahomestead.com/, www.time-warp-wife.blogspot.com, http://www.aboverubies.net/, http://www.growinghomeblog.com/, http://www.deeprootsathome.com/, http://www.raisingarrows.net/, www.oursimplefarm.com, http://raisinghomemakers.com/

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