The Garden

As I was walking outside today, I realized that I hadn’t walked through the garden just to look for awhile.  So I went to take a look.

This year we have tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, asparagus, herbs, and some lettuce.  Everything seems to be doing very well!

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The garden

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We have some tomato blossoms…

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…and some tomatoes!

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Actually, quite a few tomatoes

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Asparagus

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Most of the asparagus looks like this

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Lots of butterflies!

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Busy bee in the thyme

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Thyme

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Cilantro

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Apple mint

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Butterfly!

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Lavender

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Our parsley is about two feet tall now!

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Orange mint

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Lettuce

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We have some cucumbers like this…

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…some like this…

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…and some with flowers!  Another butterfly

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I found this interesting cucumber blossom

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And had to take many photos of it!

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Look at all these little cucumbers!

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Climbing

Lots of Lotion

I love lotion.  At least, I love making lotion.  I don’t use it a whole lot, mostly because I forget.

I first tried making lotion, oh, a year and a half ago.  And it didn’t quite work – the water and oils separated.

Then I thought about whipping it.  I had heard someone talking about whipping it while it cooled.  I thought, “Well, maybe that will keep the oils and water together.”

So right before our trip I whipped up a batch, using the same recipe that failed last time.  And I whipped it while it cooled.  At least, most of the time.

And it worked!  It made a lovely lotion with a gorgeous consistency.

When we got back, I made another batch of lotion, but this time I altered the recipe slightly to use some herbs and and essential oil that I knew where good for eczema.  The lotion came together as expected, and I think it does help with the itching, although my eczema patches seems to be growing (possibly), but this may have nothing to do with the cream.

On Monday I made this magnesium lotion for my mom (I’m using it too!).  I was amazed how it thickened so quickly with the stick blender.  I could see the color changing as I blended it.  As a side note, I think I used 3 parts sweet almond/olive oil, and 1 part shea butter/coconut oil with a little cocoa butter mixed in.

Then yesterday I made Tangerine Chocolate Hand Lotion for a friend’s birthday.  I was really happy with how it turned out – it smelled good enough to eat!

Here is the recipe, adapted from the one given to me by a friend.

Try making lotion.  It’s not hard at all.

Tangerine Chocolate Lotion

1/4 c. water
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1/4 c. sweet almond oil (or other liquid oil, see note)
1/8 c. cocoa butter (I used the wafers)
1/8 c. coconut oil
2 Tbsp. grated beeswax (pellets would probably work)
11-12 drops tangerine essential oil (or whatever scent you want)

(Note:  You can use any liquid oil(s) that you want in place of the almond oil (1/4 c.) and any firm oils in place of the other firm oils (1/4 c. total). Just know that the color of the oils will affect the finished product’s color.  I wanted a whiter lotion, so I picked clearer oils.)

Melt the oils and beeswax together in a pot.  Meanwhile, combine the water and baking soda together in a pot.  As soon as it boils, combine it with the oil mixture, whisking all the while.  Transfer to a bowl, and let cool for a little while (I can’t remember – 15-20 minutes, maybe 1/2 hour?).  Add the essential oils.  Using a stick blender, blend for a few moments.  Let rest awhile, and smell.  How does it smell?  Does it need more tangerine oil?  Add and mix until it smells good.  If it smells good initially, just beat it once more.  Pour into a jar or other clean container.

Alternately, pour the warm oil/water mixture into the bowl of a standing mixer, and beat with that until desired consistency is reached, stopping to smell occasionally and add essential oils accordingly.

Enjoy!

 

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Making the eczema lotion – the herbs I used, chamomile and violet leaf

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The essential oils I used (glad I took a picture, otherwise I wouldn’t have remembered!)

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All done!

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Learning

I am really enjoying listening to the Healthy Life Summit!  The talks that I have listened to have been AWESOME, and I look forward to listening to more.

Check it out here.

Healthy Life Summit 2013

NOTE:  Please use discretion when listening to things.  This may not be appropriate for all ages.  If you are under your parent’s authority, please make sure that they are O.K. with you listening to this before you do.  Don’t just listen to it because I recommend it.

I’m lovin’ it!

The Valentine’s Day Incident and Herbed Rolls

I was trying to be the “good” babysitter, even though I wasn’t really babysitting.  I had just made a fresh batch of chocolate cupcakes, and, since we were going to watch a movie while Mom and Dad watched theirs (Valentine’s date), I thought I would be fun and let my siblings have cupcakes in the basement.

But I had this feeling of apprehension as I put some cupcakes on a plate.  They were chocolate…but hey, we had eaten other desserts in the basement without incident.  What difference would cupcakes be? Still.

I even made Meiling and Noah use forks.  Just to be safe.  Little did I know…

I had unwrapped Meiling’s cupcake and given it to her on a plate, and was working on prepping Noah’s, when suddenly their was a commotion.

Lucy had a cupcake – a chocolate one, at that – in her mouth.  Drake was doing his best to prevent her from eating it, while holding her.

I hastily set down Noah’s cupcake and grabbed the cupcake top (she wasn’t lucky enough to grab the whole thing) out of her mouth.  I squeezed as much frosting out of her “beard” as I could, then let her go.

“Take her upstairs!” I said to Drake, as I protected the cupcake-laden area of the floor.  Of course the cupcake had landed frosting-side down.  I sent Noah upstairs for a bowl (also, the frosting-side-down had landed right in the middle of the toy cars and road rug that were all over the floor) to put the dirty cars in.

And then we started laughing.  And laughing.

“Well,” I said to Drake, “At least her breath smells better now!”

There was just something so funny about the whole business.  I had to go interrupt Mom and Dad.  And, laughing, tell them the whole thing.

Lucy had hopped up on Meiling’s lap, since Meiling was sitting on a low chair, and snatched the cupcake right off the plate.

The little stinker.

Lucy didn’t ingest enough chocolate to make her sick, and we got the ensuing mess cleaned up quickly and got our movie rolling shortly.

 

Recently I picked up The Joy of Gluten-Free Sugar-Free Baking at the library.  I was really thrilled, since it uses all sorts of nut and seed flours.  I tried one of their roll recipes, and they turned out wonderfully!  Their waffle recipe was AWESOME, also.  I am hoping to try another recipe before I return the book, and before the week is out.

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My rolls

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Today–11/26/12

I know that I haven’t posted about Thanksgiving yet, but I’m not going to post about that today.  I may or may not post about that in the future – we’ll just see.  I don’t want to make any promises that I won’t end up keeping.  🙂

Today was just a normal day of school, of life.

I made an imitation Chipotle dinner tonight.  I really wasn’t planning on making the whole thing a Chipotle imitation, but it sort of took on a life of its own, and I ended up making rice, beans, and salsa, in addition to the meat.  It turned out wonderfully (if I do say so myself).  Mom ended up running to the store this evening, so she picked up some Monterey Jack cheese.  They use a blend of Jack and White Cheddar at Chipotle.  I am a HUGE fan of their cheese, just to mention one thing.  I have gotten the same thing every time I have gone to Chipotle – a Steak Burrito Bowl with brown rice (now that they offer that, I used to get white), black beans, mild salsa, and cheese.  LOTS of cheese.  I think one time I had an actual burrito.  But I much prefer the burrito bowl.  Let’s just get it out there now – I LOVE CHIPOTLE!

O.K., now that we have that covered, I can tell you what I made for dinner.  I found this recipe for Carnitas* when I was looking for slow-cooker recipes for this month’s meal plan.  I was really happy with how it turned out.  The only change I made was to use significantly less cinnamon, but I will probably up it a little next time.  Although I have only tasted the Carnita meat when my family members have extra, and I am not completely stuffed (I have never ordered it myself, as I have a thing about Chipotle’s steak), I thought it tasted a lot like Chipotle’s, and the beans and rice did, too.  I just looked online for imitation recipes, and found quite a few.  Everyone enjoyed it.  The cheese was well liked by all (see above).

No pictures.  I ate it too fast, before I remembered that I should snap a photo to share.  🙂

 

I have been reading an herb book lately (not that unusual), and in it the author discussed how great a walk is for you during the middle of the day, to take a break from desk work.  I went for a walk today, and it was lovely.  Today was a bit chilly.  It was also gray, but I rather enjoyed both of these things.  I like the cold, gray days.  They always have a certain quiet beauty about them.  I can’t explain it.  There is just a quiet serenity in the days when they are cold and gray.  They are not so shout-out-loud beautiful as the Spring days, with the colorful flowers popping their heads up everywhere.  They are not so gorgeously beautiful as the Summer days, with the intense greens of the grass and trees, and the blues of the sky.  Nor are they so gloriously beautiful as the Autumn days, with the trees dressed in their best outfits for the last party of the season, as it were.  No, the cold, gray, quiet days of early fall and winter have a majestic, serene, quiet, calming, half-gentle, half-harsh beauty about them.  I love gray days.

So I brought my camera on my walk with me.  As I had my macro lens on the camera, and didn’t really feel like changing it, I thought it would be a good exercise to try to focus on little things, and to see how many textures and small things I could catch on my walk, instead of looking for the big things, the big picture.  I wanted to zoom in, as it were, on the little beauties that were hiding on the path, things that would usually get overlooked.

Here are a few of my shots.

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LOVE the moss

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And the grass

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Old barbed wire is so…country…

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…and just plain wonderful!

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Moss on a tree – not sure if I like this shot…

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…or this shot better.  What do you think?  One or two?

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Old rusty farm equipment

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Thank you for reading today’s ramblings!

Love to you,
Allison

 

*Note:  I have not explored this website, so I do not endorse everything on it.  I just like this recipe.  🙂

Thankful

I have so much to be thankful for.

My life is so full.  I sometimes don’t know how to say it, but I am so thankful for so many things.

I think I live the best life, for me.

I am astounded every time I think about all that God has given me, the wretched sinner that I am.  Why do I have all these wonderful things, me who deserves them so little?

I am so thankful that I have been saved from my sins.  I have been forgiven much.  Very much.  I am thankful for God’s hand in my life, guiding me and pointing me in the direction He wants me to go – in the way that most pleases Him.

I am so thankful for my family – 5 such awesome people.  They make me laugh every day.  We have so many great memories together already, and I look forward to many more.

My extended family is wonderful, too.  I’m thankful for them in my life.  Again, there are so many memories and happy times we’ve spent together.  Love you all!

I can’t believe the great friends that God has given to me and my family – you are such a blessing to me!  Sometimes I wonder how I got to have these lovely people as friends, and although I can’t figure it out, I am so thankful for all of you!

I am thankful for each day God gives to me.  Each day is such a blessing, just to wake up and be.  To enjoy so much.  Just to live.

I am thankful for all the interests God has blessed me with.  Cooking.  Cheese making.  Soap making.  Nutrition.  Herbal health care.  Midwifery.  There are so many, and they make me so excited.  🙂 I can’t help being thankful for them.  Basically, I’m thankful that God make me, me.

I am so thankful for all the beautiful things around me.  The trees in the pasture across the road.  Sunrises.  Sunsets.  The rosebush outside my windowThe creekThe woods.  Our lovely property.  I look out of our windows so many times and think, “I live on the most beautiful place on earth.”  Because it is so special to me, and I know the places.

So this is what I have to say:

Thank you, God. 

Thank you for these lovely people.

And thank you for this lovely life.

 

With so much to be grateful for,
Allison

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Some loveliness that I spotted the other morning

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Today – 10/1/12

Happy October, everyone!

I told that to my sister this morning, and she promptly asked me what October was.  🙂

*Urgent News*  This is going to be a ramble-y post.  So it is a little disjointed.  Some of it will make more sense when you see the pictures.  I’m not sure about the rest of it.  😛  If you would rather, just scroll down to the pictures. 🙂  (I am in a bit of a smiley face mood today.  You’ll se what I mean in a minute.)

Today has been a quiet day.  I spent it giving my room a good cleaning since we have a good family friend coming to visit us tomorrow, and she will be staying in my room.  She will be here for ten days.

Once I was finished with my room, I spread out the cookbooks that are in my room, and continued with the menu planning.  I currently have 30 recipes/meals picked out for October.  I still need to pick out the recipes for the nights when Noah, Meiling, and I will be cooking ethnic foods.  And I need to chat with Mom about what we are going to bring to church on the meal Sundays.  I just realized that 30 recipes is enough.  I kept thinking that I would need one more, not remembering that we already had tonight planned.  Well, it only took me till now to figure that out.

We have lots of cats right now.  Most of them are technically kittens, as they were born this Spring and Summer.  They are feeling the slight chill in the air, and have been cuddling in a large pile on the deck.  Very cute!

I have had a cold over the weekend, a most miserable cold that hasn’t wanted to go away.  I have been taking the home remedies that I usually take, but I didn’t start them until I had already had the cold for a day.  I thought that the cold was allergies at first.  But I figured out that it was a cold on Friday morning.  Now I have been taking Master Tonic and Elderberry Syrup hourly (except at nights and while at Church).  I took a break for a few hours today since I was getting a bit tired of the Master Tonic.

On Friday, while I was sick in bed, I finished “Health for Godly Generations” and started “How to be Your own ‘Doctor.’”  It was quite fun reading that while I was sick.  I read about a few things that I could use while I was sick.  I have been drinking peppermint/parsley tea to help with congestion.  I’m not sure if it is helping, or if I am just getting better, but I am definitely less congested than I was yesterday!

Another remedy that I read about (and tried!) said to take an onion, chop it up, put it in a bowl, and sleep with it as close to your pillow as you could.  I tried it, and it kept my nose so clear!  But I had this feeling that I was going to knock it off the bed during the night.  Well, on Saturday night I didn’t knock it off. But last night was a different story.

I woke up to a clang just before 4 this morning.  Sure enough, I had hit the bowl with my arm and sent onions flying across the floor.  Not only were there onions, but onion juice, too.  I just grabbed the onions, tossed them in my trash can, wiped up the juice, and used the Swiffer to mop up the area quickly.  I decided that I would just leave the Swiffer and put it back in the morning.  (Trust me, there is a point to me telling, and you reading, this!)

At 5:30 our outside dog, Shadow, started barking at something.  My window was open, and the sound came through quite clearly.  Lucy, my little dog who was sleeping right next to me, immediately sat up, put her paws on me,  and started barking.  I shushed her in a few seconds, but she kept staring at something across the room.  It was the Swiffer.  She did not like the Swiffer.  I finally got her to calm down, but the next few times Shadow barked, she would lift her head to watch the Swiffer.  I don’t think that she quite trusted it.  🙂

Oh, I am SO excited.  We are going to get some more herbs.  Actually, quite a few.  I can’t wait.  I am going to make all kinds of things with them.  Can’t wait!

Here are a few pictures I took today.  None of them are particularly good.  But they are Today.  🙂

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Kitty pile – the one looking right at us is Toby.  We don’t know if it is a boy or a girl, but it has one orange toe.  Hence the name:  Toby.

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Meiling swinging

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Upis down!  (means upside down – some little one in our family said that, not sure who)

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Ooooooh, I love this.  Like LOVE love this.  The last roses of summer (actually, there are probably more that a dozen on our knockout rose bushes)

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Kitty

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Asparagus for dinner – we were going to grill it, but the grill is out of gas.  So I pan fried them, with the leftover marinade from the zucchini (see below).  They were very good.  Quite different than what we are used to, but in a good way.

And it is not going to fall off the plate.  I just felt like tipping the camera that far.  So I did.  😛

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The zucchini.  Again, we were going to grill these, but [see above].  I marinated these for a half hour in an Italian dressing I made.  Next time I will marinate them longer.  But they were pretty good.  Again, very different than what I am used to.

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Another kitty pile

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The view from our driveway

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The trees on the other side of the pasture that lies across the road

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I LOVE this fence.  It’s just so…country…semi-rustic…fence-like.  Like you couldn’t tell that last thing.

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Love that sky!

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Up the road

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The mums have bloomed

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I LOVE these leaves.  They are in my favorite part of the yard.  The trees are so close together that the leaves practically block out the sun.  It is absolutely beautiful.

Shampoo and Conditioner

I have had this book, Pure Beauty, out from the library for quite a while.  I really liked it the few times I perused it, but I hadn’t made anything out of it.  (It has all kinds of neat lotions, shampoos, soaps, and the like.)  Today Mom told me it had to go back.  I started looking at it when I pulled it off the shelf, and I found a shampoo recipe that I had all the ingredients for!  I was quite excited.  I looked for a conditioner recipe, and found an easy recipe that I had all the ingredients for.  So I went out and started picking rosemary.

And then I made shampoo and conditioner.

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Rosemary, fresh from the garden

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The conditioner, which will be soaking for a week or so

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The shampoo – the herbs steeping

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Bubbles!

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I’m Back!

This week was pretty relaxing.  I know I didn’t post a whole lot, but that wasn’t exactly because I was busy.  I could have made the time.  I’m not sure why I didn’t.

Today Mom picked up a bunch of plants at the produce stand – they were $5 a flat.  She purchased some peppers – cayenne, pablanos, and bell – tomatoes, and a bunch of herbs.  Lavender, orange mint, some Greek basil, rosemary, Mexican tarragon, French tarragon, and thyme, to name a few.  I love thyme.  I just buried my nose into it and inhaled.  We were able to plant the peppers and the herbs in our raised beds.  I had a few more basil plants that I had started that needed to be planted, and between them and all the other herbs I planted, I feel “herb rich.”  It’s quite a delightful feeling.  A treasure chest full of flavor.

I also made some lemonade.  I love lemonade.  We had some at Pastor’s party, and it made me want to make some.  Well, it really made me want to drink some.  Which means I have to make some first.  And I did have quite a bit at the party.  But, as has already been stated, I love lemonade.

Yesterday I was able to remill some soap that we had had sitting around for awhile.  I grated the bars of soap up, put them in a pot with a few tablespoons of milk, and put that over low heat until it melted.  Once it was nice and sticky (and looking rather akin to mashed bananas), Meiling and I added some essential oils (grapefruit, lemon, and orange) and some oatmeal.  We had an old mini muffin tin, and I poured the soap gloop into that.  I put it in the freezer for a little bit, removed them from the tin, and then relocated it into the fridge for a little longer.  They should be ready to use now.

I saved some of the grated soap and combined it with some dried chamomile flower heads, oatmeal, and lavender and geranium essential oils.  I tied this little mixture up into a square of cloth with a piece of yarn.  It is my little face scrub.  I moisten it up and rub it all over my face.  It works quite well.

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The supplies for my face scrubby – yarn, cloth, and a soap-based filling

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Right before tying it up

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All finished!

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The kittens – aren’t they cute!  The one on top is my favorite.  They are wild, so we only got to hold one once.

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Lemonade

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The herbs

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Aren’t they so pretty?