Friday, December 19, 2014

Foster Parenting

Sometimes things can really move fast. We applied to be foster parents and just a few weeks later our first little boy arrived. We had a series of boys, all in good shape and placed for adoption in just a few weeks. Our first girl was different, she was not wanted by her foster parents, they said she had "problems." She banged her head against the bed constantly. Funny, if you picker her up for a bit, then put her down and rubbed her head a little she was fine. Such a cutie, but so many problems. A product of rape, grand father was her father. She had asthma, eczema, allergies, abducted hips. The latter required she wear a pillow split between her legs which in about a year fixed that . But we made several trips to the er when she was gasping for air because of the asthma. She did outgrow that too. In the mean time, the car from the agency would pull up out front every few weeks and bring us more babies. I remember a day my daughter and I were shopping, daughter was maybe 10 years old by then. We each had a baby, and 2 elderly ladies came up to look, asking how old they were, I told them mine was 6 weeks old, they looked at my daughters bundle expecting a doll but it was a real baby, they asked if we had twins, I said no, that one was 3 months old, they stared at each other and you could hear the wheels turning, both my daughter and I kept a straight face til we got to the car then we collapsed in laughter. How funny. It was an adventure we loved. We lost one baby to SCD, and had one that was deaf and others with problems. Most of the moms were about 12 or 13 so we watched carefully for health concerns before the babies were placed. We carried this venture on through several states, mostly Illinois and Texas. When the baby girl who was ill was about a year old, we got orders to move to Texas. We had had her about a year, and totally loved her and knew she would not be adopted. Asked if she could go with us but were told no, unless we adopted her. After seeing the new foster parents who had a son that like to drown their pets, we decided to adopt so started proceedings in Illinois that ended in Laredo TX. The Air Force kept us moving around, we went from the extreme heat of south TX to Grand Forks ND, on the Canadian border, about as cold as the North Pole, snow that took til June to melt and never very warm. About then our little girl started bruising badly, the docs were alarmed and sent she and I off to CO to a big Army hospital. She was diagnosed with aplastic anemia, the inability of her bone marrow to make red blood cells. Because medical care was not possible in ND, we got transferred to Chanute in Illinois, where we were close to Chicago and a big Children's hospital. We had a five year adventure, moving to the country and growing our own foods, had chickens, horses etc and raised what we ate, drove a pony cart to deliver papers and get grain from the elevator in our little town called Clarence. We learned where to go to pick fruit that no one wanted, it just fell off and rotted on the ground. Ground our own flour, made everything from scratch, no sugar. Kids were never sick, the absence of sugar is a sure way to stay well. But five years down the line, Karen needed more and more transfusions and we lost her when she was 10 years old. Guess we always thought she had a chance, so it was a shock. By then the fostering had stopped as she needed all our attention. And all our own kids were now in high school, graduating, heading off to college or the service or to work, so the nest emptied out rapidly. Life can change at the drop of a hat, but those were rewarding fruitful years that God had a hand in. Karen required many transfusions, which made me realize the worth of blood donors, and the service they provide their community. I ended up divorcing my husband about then and moving in a different direction altogether. Sometimes all the pressures of life seem to mess up m head and I get lost in the aftermath. But I have never regretted a moment of my life, I have so much to be grateful for.

Friday, November 28, 2014

A Christmas Story for you, Jake's Tumbling Tree

I have drawers full of children's stories I have written, some published on Kindle, but most with a stack of rejection notices. This one was prompted by an incident my sis told me about her son, who is now all grown up. So here it is: He flew across the room, like a tumbleweed in the wind. At the window, he stopped, his velvet brown eyes twinkling, half hidden under a shock of straight auburn hair. His bright red snowsuit gave him a rounded look, like a bouncy rubber ball. Jake was so excited! How he wished Mom and Dad would hurry. They'd never get to Grandma's at this rate. He could just see it now, the tree, sparkling with red and gold trim. And the special lights that play Christmas Carols. And under the tree, piles of gaily wrapped gifts. "Ohhhhhhhhh, do please hurry," he thought, hopping from one foot to the other trying not to burst. It seemed forever before Mom and Dad loaded all the gifts and food into the car. Finally, they were on the way. Jake hummed to himself and watched the snowy fields zip by. It took a very long time to get to Beatrice, where Gram lived. And then, there it was. The dear little white house with blue trim. In the windows, electric candles burned brightly. Out of the car he bounded, and up the walk he flew. Grandma was waiting at the door. He was still small enough to be scooped up and hugged like a teddy bear. Jake was quickly out of his snowsuit and off the see the Christmas tree and all the gifts. His nose crinkled, he could smell turkey baking. Very soon , it was time for dinner. The table looked like a giant Christmas gift, all red and green with gold trim. Even the spoons and forks were gold. Candles twinkled like magic stars all up and down the table. Jake hardly tasted his food. He was dreaming of all those gifts under the tree, just waiting to be opened. When it seemed he could wait no longer, dinner was over and everyone moved to the living room. This year Jake was four years old, he could open gifts all by himself. Wrapping paper and bows soon littered the floor. Jake got a big yellow truck, a game and some books. How he loved story books. There was a lumpy red sock, full of candy, apples, crayons and small toys. Jake lay on the floor, holding his truck and listening to the jingle bell lights play Silent Night. He reached out his hand to touch a green ball. It was smooth and shiny. Suddenly, the tree was moving. And then it was on top of him. It fell right over! Nothing hurt, and the grown ups were picking up the tree and checking him over. At first, he felt like crying, but instead he began giggling. That tree really like him. It came right down to see him and his gifts. Soon the tree was back in place, as sparkling as ever. Everyone had a good laugh. Jake would remember this Christmas for a long time, his Christmas of the tumbling tree. Merry Christmas to all

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Texas and Baby #Two

By the time we were expecting our second baby, we had been transferred to a base at Wichita Falls Texas, further south. But we still got snow, I remember it covering the car and everything else in sight a few times. The summers were HOT to say the least, and I spent a good deal of my time walking , towards the end of the pregnancy, every day. We met so many people at each base, good friends we kept in touch with for many years. Regretfully I have lost touch with them all now. Some I met in the hospital, after the birth of babies, we all had common ground and spent time watching our babes grow up. We had good times and met some wonderful folk along the way. We had some neighbors who would do anything for you, and did when they could. Their trailer was rather dirty as they had dogs that would be in heat and mess up the floors, and she never scrubbed. When our second was born, Dick left Doug with them while he took me to the hospital, I had him go home as soon as possible, knew they were kind and caring but was antsy about Doug being on their floors. Another neighbor had kids that would take our children's books off the shelf and tear out the pages. Mom said, "oh , isn't that cute, they are reading." I had taught our kids to treasure books and treat them carefully so was a bit upset about her attitude. Our second baby was due in July, about my dad's birthday, the 16th. Back then, there was no induced labor, if you were late, you were late. The summer dragged on and I was miserable from the heat and being so late, I walked and walked. Finally, on the 17th of August, little miss Laurie was born. She was big for me, weighed almost 9 pounds. But so pretty. And we were pleased to have a boy and a girl, now I could do ruffles. I did too, all those cute little dresses that she wore, lacey and poofy. She looked like a little doll. Her first year she grew slowly, only weighing about 20 pounds when she was a year old, so little she could walk right under tables. But she was fine, just small boned and petite, still is. I had a tough delivery and they wanted me to wait awhile before considering another child. Back then, no pills, not many options, and they offered me one that did not work. So not far down the line, we had number three on tap, and now we were not caring if it was a boy or a girl as we had one of each, so either would be wonderful, as long as good health came with it. We stayed in Wichita Falls til David arrived, another perfect little guy. Three kids under four years old was a handful, and we were young, I was barely 21 when I had all of them. We grew up together, and it was a ball, so glad I had so much energy back then. Wish I could grab on to some of it now. Laurie and Dave were born on the 17th and the 16th of August, barely one year apart, and lots of folk thought they were twins. When Dave was one, he and Laurie were about the same size. Life was good, days were full. And again, we moved. This time to Chanute Air Base in Illinois. By now the kids were all in school, I was room mom, teaching Sunday School, and heading up scout troops but still had time on my hands. One Sunday our preacher had a sermon about leaving our footprint in the sand. Funny, a few days later I saw an ad in the paper for foster parents and the desperate need. An omen. We signed up and started yet another journey.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Texas, the first years

When you live in one place all your life, moving across the country is like going to a foreign land. I grew up in Nebraska, with only one trip out of state, to the Dakotas for our one family vacation. We drove across Kansas, Oklahoma, and into the top of Texas, our base was in Amarillo. The dirt was sandy and red, there were critters, funny things call horned toads, snakes, things I was not used to. I thought my mom would like the toads so I fixed a cardboard box, put bugs and a dish of water in it, and mailed it. Silly me, thought the Post Office would keep it right side up and be gentle with it. Mom opened a box with dead toads in it of course. We moved into a tiny 8 by 25 mobile home. Front room and kitchen combined, bedroom with a bathroom in a closet. But it was our first home and a special place. I cleaned and tried to cook, had many disasters there, including a pyrex dish of beans I baked that exploded. Meat was confined to spam as the frig was a tiny thing with no freezer or storage space for much more than milk and eggs and margarine. Air Force pay was not much, I remember my allotment check was $57.00 a month which needed to cover food and some utilities. We had frequent dust storms, coming from the north and blowing red dirt from Oklahoma in so thick it was hard to breathe, we hung wet towels over the windows to catch as much dust as possible. After the polio I had been told I would not be able to have kids, nothing inside was in the right place due to muscle damage so we were very surprised a few months after we were married to find out I was expecting. Our house was way too small for a family of more than two, so we went looking for a cheap solution. Found a burned out trailer really cheap, and Dick refinished the inside. It was much longer, maybe 50 feet so felt much bigger. We got it fixed and moved into a trailer court outside of town. By the time that first baby was due, it was mid February and we were snowed in. I remember Dick being panicked and trying to shovel a way to the base, in "case". Snow plows did the job, and we got to the hospital in plenty of time for the arrival of Doug, our first precious baby . I remember trying to make tiny blue jeans, back then they were not a buyable item. I made tiny felt cowboy boots and a fringed white shirt for him to complete the out fit, he was such a cutie. His dad did not like to be bothered in the night so I had a big job keeping him quiet, one night I grabbed a gallon jug of milk from the frig with one hand and dropped it on my toes, breaking most of them. We had a dog, a border collie named Judy, that adored Doug. She would sit by his bassinet, and if he stirred at all, she came and got me. I could put him outside in the sun and she would sit right beside him and guard him. I don't know what happened to her, but she was a great dog, really nice pet. Before long, Doug was walking and talking and guess what, baby number two was on the way.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

High School Years

I loved high school. We got to choose elective classes which was wonderful, I always picked choir or chorus,and orchestra and art classes, and English classes like creative writing. The first couple of years were pretty normal, by junior year things changed. The summer before I had met a cute fella that lived down the street, first major crush. Of course he totally ignored me. By summer, I had passed my life saving tests for swimming and was teaching a class at the YWCA. So I rode my bike there in the morning, then out to College View, a suburb of Lincoln, to help my grandparents with lunch. Then home, and by evening I baby sat with the neighbor kids til late evening. So when junior year started, I was pleased to have tap dancing as my elective sport, and debate for English, neat teachers, fun classes , all was just about perfect. until the day I got a blinding headache at school. Not something I ever had. Went home and to bed. A few days later, went to the bathroom and could not get up off the toilet so had to call mom for help. They found I was running a high fever. The diagnosis was polio, which was at that time a big epidemic. The hospitals were full so the folks set up a hospital bed in the living room and kept me there. The first 6 weeks required laying on boards to keep my back straight, real comfy but better than the next step, hot packs devised by Sister Kenny. Mom would put them in the pressure cooker, pick them up with tongs and put them on my back to loosen it up. In a few days they stopped that as it was boiling my blood. Therapy was no picnic either, after things have not moved for months, they don't want to. But we worked at it. In the mean time I was doing classes at home with an intercom system. I got to talk to the kids at school and take part in classes. We had an exchange student from Belgium that year, he came to the house to see who was on the other end of the box, nice meeting him. His name was John and his uncle was royalty in his country. Well, the year went on, and one day I heard the doc tell mom they were going to get a wheelchair and help me learn to get around with that, the legs were not doing too well. I was not happy about that, and my sisters started coming down at night and helping me stand up by the bed. When the doc came back and saw I could do that, they fitted me with a long leg brace and crutches and I became mobile again. Sort of. At least by fall I could do well enough to go back to school. So my senior year, dad went back to high school to get his GED. We graduated together at Pine Wood Bowl. About half way through the year in Chemistry class, I got to know a kid named Dick. I was walking to school and home, about 18 blocks, carrying books and my violin. So when he pulled up beside me one afternoon and asked if he could take me home, I said yes. We started dating, what sort of dating we were allowed then, which was visiting each others houses for supper with parental watching. Plus 2 sisters that hung over the bannister and giggled at us. By the end of the year, we were talking about a future. I started to the U of N, and he went off to basic training in the Air force. College was a challenge, lots of distance between buildings, and I was not fast enough to get to class on time. I struggled the first semester, and dropped out. No motorized wheelchairs of accommodations for handicapped were available then. After a short time, I found a job at a new store opening in down town Lincoln, and rode the bus to work everyday, that was a fun job, at Hested's Jr department store. And I had a paycheck, which was helping put away money for a wedding and future. But down the road a few months, I fell going down the stairs to their basement and crunched the metal brace into my ankle, messing it up big time. Took a big cast to make it start healing. So I was married when Dick came home on leave and I wore a white cast with my white wedding dress. It was still a nice wedding, have pictures stashed away to this day. After the wedding, we loaded up the car and headed to our first base, in Amarillo Texas.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Big House on Q

Four of us fit nicely into the little house on N street, loved the big yard and the neighborhood, but with baby 3 on board, the tiny bedrooms left no where to go. Not sure how we got so lucky, but found a big house on the corner of 29th and Q. Back to 1/2 block from Gram and my Aunt and Uncle and family. There was no yard to speak of, just the space between house and street front and side and to the other side, a neighbor. But the house had a big porch, nice for sitting on hot days. As you went in, the hallway had a big bench seat and a stairway up to a landing, then another stairway down to the kitchen or on up to the bedrooms. The windows were leaded glass, quite fancy. The living room was big and opened to a large dining room. And a big kitchen to the side of that. That's all there was to the main floor, but we gained 3 upstairs bedrooms, a basement and an attic for storage. Brick sidewalks made for fun roller skating, you could create weird noises while bumping over the bricks while humming. The night my youngest sis was born, dad packed us into the car with mom in labor and headed to the hospital. He left us with windows cracked and doors locked and instructions to stay put and quiet til he returned. He just took long enough to get mom in side and settled then took us to our Aunt's house. She put us to bed, but in the night came in to tell us we had a sister named Pamela. When mom and Pam got home, we could not get near her as she had picked up impetigo in the hospital, so we had to gaze from a distance the first few weeks. Was so good when we could finally hold her. Those were my junior high and high school years, Whittier being the junior high. I did so want a bike but back then we had to earn our own things so I spent a year baby sitting and doing odd jobs til I saved up $20 for the bike. Dad took me shopping and we found an old green one in decent shape and took it home. What freedom, I rode all over the place with the wind in my hair., loving every minute. The one time I got smart and did a "look, no hands" ride, I hit gravel, came down on my behind and got a rear end full of gravel pieces. We had DPs or displaced person students then, and I remember a Latvian student named Carlos. We got to be acquainted and he spent time at the house, mostly playing ping pong. Back then people came to the US because they wanted to be citizens and take on our way of life. We never locked doors, and roamed the area all day as long as we were home on time for meals. One car per family was the norm, and the dad drove it to work leaving the rest of us to walk wherever we needed to go. We had a long walk to school, and did it no matter the weather. Snow days were rare, NE is always snowy in the winter. And no cell phones to check in with. The year I was 13, my gram got sick. She got cancer, likely from all the chemicals used in her beauty shop. She let it go too long, and even after surgery could not get better. Mom moved her to our house, we put a bed in the dining room and cared for her til her death. I had thought of being a nurse, but after those 6 months, I could not face the thought of watching people die. Gram was so close to me, I took it really hard and got sick myself after the funeral. She was a great lady. I thought she was much younger, she always had her hair fixed and looked so nice, and the year she was 76 she climbed a ladder and painted the outside of her big house, so I thought she was about 50. When mom told me she was in her late 70s I found it hard to believe. I had a penchant for stray cats dogs and people, was always dragging home something that needed(in my eyes) caring for . Don't know how mom put up with all that, we always had an odd cat or so around. Brought home a scruffy yellow kitten I named Pat, he got hit by a car which I didn't know til years later. I looked and looked for him, then one day my Aunt brought me a kitten that had a pedigree, a Persian. I named him after my dad's brother, Peter Wiser Bockoven Jr. He lived with us many years, always getting in fights and coming home beat up. Back then we didn't keep pets in the house much. Before I could think, I was high school age and the last chapter of life at home began.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Beginning

I was born in Lincoln, NE in 1937. Mom and Dad married in 1935, mom was 25 and dad was 27. Mom was a teacher, grade school, in small one room school houses in outlying towns. Dad, well, dad was dad. As was normal in that time, they moved into my mom's moms house. It was on 28th street, between P and Q. The front porch wrapped around the whole front, with a door at each end. The far right door was Gram's Beauty shop, a waiting room, and a two chair salon behind that. Gram slept in a reclining salon chair at the back of the salon. I think that may have begun just weeks earlier than my birth, my grandpa died the day I was due, so she was a new widow. The other side of the house was a front room and dining room, I do not remember a kitchen, just a narrow hall with a hot plate where grams coffee was always perking away. In the back was a bathroom and small bedroom. Off the hall was a stair way to a scary, dank basement that we never went into, and a narrow twisting stairway to the attic where mom and dad and I took up residence. The attic was very "peaked," you could stand up in the middle but the eaves were very sloping and I still remember how you had to stoop if you were more than 2 feet tall. My bedroom had a big feather bed, the living room was in the center, and there was a painting of an Indian on a horse with the sun setting behind him. I have seen that painting since, think it was a classic. The kitchen and dining room were under the eaves, and very hard to use, mom and dad had a bed in the dining room. Grams beauty shop was very modern for that day. A perm was done with tiny rollers, then clamps on the rollers, and wires attached to a hanging electric hood clipped to the rollers. It smelled awful. Being beautiful was a tough affair. Gram was president of the American Hairdressers Association, and very proud of her expertise. I always had a welcoming lap, and am told I had a stack of books and was always asking "read to me a gook please." When I was one year old, mom's sis married and she and my uncle moved into the downstairs bedroom. It was a full house, but full of love and happiness. We had some great growing up times. A year later, my cousin Bill was born so we spent our first years there in Grams house. Each neighborhood had a grocery store, small, but with all needed supplies. It was just across the alley from Gram and we used to run over, go in the back door, and get what she needed. It was put on the tab, which was settled monthly. Before too long, the house next to gram went up for sale, and my Aunt and Uncle bought it and moved in there. I remember building igloos with big blocks of snow, and skating on the flooded back yard. Uncle worked for Cushman, and got a motor scooter that he built a box on the front of. We were taken to school many days in that contraption. No seat belts, no roof, would be unacceptable now, but it was fun to have the wind in your face. We lived with gram til I was seven. Then mom got pregnant with my second sister and we needed more room. so we began the hunt for a bigger house. Living with gram had been a remarkable period, she and I were very close, I considered her as special as my mom, maybe more so at times, could always look to her for solace if mom and I had a tif. When I was 2 or 3, gram and I rode the bus to town and she bought me a lovely new outfit, all white, even the shoes. And then she humored me and let me have a chocolate ice cream cone. There were pictures of me in that nice new dress, with chocolate all down the front, my face and hair all smeared, kind of funny but sad too. The clothes and I both cleaned up nicely. Leaving was very hard, now I would see gram much less, but a new chapter was beginning.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Long ago in Shelby NE

I was young once upon a time, lets begin a journey together from about 1940. The sun crept slowly into the bedroom, streaking across the floor and bringing daylight. Curtains stirred at the window, and a rooster crowed somewhere outside. Soon horses, cows and other farm critters added their voices. The windmill creaked in the breeze. Throwing back the handmade quilt, I got myself up and into overalls for the day, no mean feat for a 4 year old. Summers were spent on my grand parents farm in Shelby Nebraska. The old farmhouse was a saltbox style, tall and narrow and square. Downstairs there was a kitchen dining room across one side of the house, the other side had a parlor and the grand parent's bedroom. No heat except the wood stove in the kitchen, no running water and of course no plumbing. If the chamber pots were used in the night, they had to be taken down the road to the outhouse and emptied in the morning. Breakfast was a big meal, usually getting the men stoked up for a hard days work. We ate oatmeal, eggs, bacon and biscuits at the long harvest table in the sunny kitchen. Grandad plowed with a team of horses and a walking plow, many hours spent digging furrows, then later hand planting the seed for corn, wheat, alfalfa and other crops. He fertilized with manure raked up from the horse and cow areas, and the barn, stacked up behind the barn. And spread each spring before the ground was tilled. Weeding was also by hand, walking the rows and hand pulling. Harvest was a big deal, the farmers got together and helped each other, taking turns on each farm. I learned to cook in grandma's kitchen. She taught me many basic skills. I stirred, rolled, patted and had a wonderful time learning to feed others. Instead of our modern kitchens, we had a wood stove and a very long harvest table that doubled as a work place for making bread, cookies and all the other goodies we ate. My first cookies were made there. The crew always came in for lunch during harvest. Gramps rotated crops every year, and let some ground lie fallow each year to renew itself. The crops were abundant and healthy, no chemicals were used in any way. Funny, we were seldom sick, and we worked from sun up to sun down. At the end of the day, we would sit in the parlor by the kerosene lamp and read the bible together before going to bed. There were always new babies to play with, one day gramps called me into the barn to meet the new baby chicks. He had me hold out my hand and placed a tiny golden fuzz ball in it. It was fine until the chick did its normal thing and my hand was messed up, never have quite trusted chicks since, certainly not sitting in my hand. I loved the calves, and foals, but my favorites were all the barn cat's kittens. I have no idea how many there were at any time, but I used to sit out on the end of the board walk with a lapful of tiny kitties, just in seventh heaven. The walks were like the ones my son builds for us here in the mountains, guessing there was not much concrete work done back then, so boards became the functional way to keep mud out of the house. There was a huge horse tank next to the windmill, and gramps kept goldfish in it. They were humongous. He always told me a goldfish was a carp in a gold dress. The horses did not seem to mind drinking from this water, maybe it added something to their diet. There was no traffic, no airplanes, just the lovely stillness of the country, punctuated with animal sounds, the breeze and occasionally someone calling out to another person. Such bliss, peace and solitude. Sometimes I think I would gladly go back there. Utilities are not all they are cracked up to be. We had no tv, and I do not remember a radio. though there may have been one. People communicated, and had time for each other. Those summers were some of my favorite memories.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Warnings, and more warnings,it never ends

My new issue of Mother Earth Living has a paragraph I want to share. " Watch out for Tertiary Butyhydroquinone. The preservative tertiary butyhydroquinone is a petroleum derived preservative, and a suspected carcinogen. The FDA allows TBHQ to compose no more than .02 percent of the total oils in a product. A good thing as ingesting a gram of this can cause nausea ,vomiting, ringing in the ears, delirium, a sense of suffocation and collapse. Ingesting 5 grams is deadly. It is sprayed on many processed foods including Cheeze-its, crackers and potato chips, pop tarts and most fast foods including chicken nuggets to extend shelf life. It is also found in some cosmetics. Hungry? Youch. If you have knoshed down a bag or box of this stuff then felt horrid, guess why? And on the news this week we found out that our toothpaste contains polyethylene. Which dentists say can cause all kinds of problems, tiny little beads of it get under your gum line and make all kinds of bad stuff happen. It is not biodegradable so is building up in rivers and streams. Crest will be removing it from their products by next year. Buy Brown, look for paper products like coffee filters, paper towels parchment paper and waxed paper that is brown, otherwise it has been bleached with chlorine, a product containing dioxins, which affect your immune system. endocrine system and nervous system. If you want sparkling dishes look for plant based products to wash them with. Most of the ones we use contain triclosan, which is a harmful antibacterial agent. Fill a shot glass with white vinegar and put in the rinse aid compartment of your dishwasher to make dishes super shiny. Anti bacterial anything is not a good thing to use, harms your immune system. We are still harvesting, pears are everywhere, neighbors, help yourselves. Spent Tuesday making more pear butter, sauce and a few cans of minted pears, cooked with Moroccan mint tea. Should be good with cottage cheese this winter. Still see tomatoes on son's plants up the mountain side, nice to still be eating fresh ones. I have a few in my garden, plus okra and now the chard is finally getting started, and looks like kale is pushing up. Hate to see the growing season end, we had a brief cool week but should warm up again next week. Winter is not my favorite season, not fond of cold since I am old now, my feet never get warm. Going to try a heater that should give 15 extra degrees to your room, two flower pots that fit inside each other, a nickel duct taped over the hole in the inside one, set over a glass meat loaf pan on a heat proof base, and a lit couple of tea lights candles inside. Folks who have tried it swear it works, and that 15 degrees would make a nice difference. This has been a great week, temperatures just right! Cool nights and just warm days, mid 70's. The low humidity has been great too, not sweating for a change. Best get moving, still a lot to get done tonight, and tomorrow I need to put in about 8 hours on my new job. Have a great week!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Ginger for joints, uses for salt, rambling on

This has been a sad week. The minister we had for almost 9 years has been having problems, he had a transplanted heart in 1988 and was in need of a valve replacement. So he went to Cleveland clinic to have some tests. Another case that makes me wonder about medical care, after the tests he died of a heart attack. I have a huge fear of doctors, they seem to be associated with bad endings. I will miss our pastor, he was a true Godly man, spent many hours with Pat and I when Pat was sick. I can only hope he is ministering to those in heaven now. If you are having minor joint twitches, aches etc, try some ginger capsules. I started taking them when I was in my 20s to escape my folks arthritis problems, it has worked well, I have no aches or pains in my joints. Take 250 to 500 mg 3x a day, do not exceed 4 grams per day. Adding fresh grated ginger to your foods can help too. Salt is kind of like baking soda and vinegar, it has many uses. Scouring powder can be made from equal parts of salt and baking soda, put in a sprinkle can and use as you would any scouring powder. If you have walnuts or pecans to shell, soak them in salt water overnight then shell, makes it much easier. If you have stains, sprinkle salt on the spot, let it soak up the stain, then rinse. You can sprinkle on carpet stains, let dry then vacuum. Of course we have been gargling with warm salt water forever, to ease sore throats. It also helps heal canker sores, mouth ulcers and can be used after post surgical tooth removal. Don't use it long term, just as needed. Add half a cup of salt to your laundry to set colors and keep them bright. Once again, a cheap substance is found to have multi uses. It's still humid and quite warm, thought we had some cooler weather coming in by today, but so far, that has not happened. Gardens seem to be on their last legs, everything is beginning to die out. Need to take down my bean vines tonight. Still have okra and some tomatoes, but they are fading too. I hope the huge praying mantis that lived in my bean patch has found a winter home, and lays eggs for next year, it sure kept the bugs out of my little garden patch. I have volunteered for several years now for our Agency on aging. One of the ladies I talk to was born with cerebral palsy. She is a little hard to understand but I am getting better at knowing most of what she says. She has belonged to a local church for many years but lately they have not been in touch with her. She wants badly to get calls from her congregation, and have someone take her to church on Sunday. I tried to help her, but so far the pastor of her church has not been in touch. If it had been our church, we would have by now. Seems when someone needs you most is not the time you ignore them. Life will be changing soon, have found a part time job and will be joining the work force again. Sort of looking forward to it, sort of not. Will make a lot of changes, one gets used to the routine that sets in. It should be a good thing, will keep you posted. The maples have some red leaves now, and if it cools off, it will feel more like fall. The local pumpkin patch has lots of big pumpkins and squashes for sale in front of their shop. Will soon be Halloween, then the other holidays follow rapidly. Enjoy some fall weather, pumpkin pie, apple cider and football games. Til next time, be well.

Friday, September 5, 2014

We are loosing oiur bees, butterflies and our minds

Unless you live under a rock, you must be aware that for the last few years, our bee population has taken a big hit, and now Monarch butterflies are disappearing. And now Monsanto wants to add Agent Orange to their list of chemicals put on our food supply. Be afraid. Very afraid. Think what this was used for during the war, do you really want to eat this or feed it to your children? If you can find a way to contact your congress man or write a letter to one, do what you can to stop this new ingredient from becoming part of our already over poisoned world. The best way to help is to refuse to buy anything grown with GMO's. Of course you will need to read labels. Almost all processed foods, things in cans and boxes contain at least one and sometimes several of these wicked crops. More and more manufacturers are putting the little blue GMO free box on their products. One person can make a difference. Be that one. This week I found out that one person thing really does work sometimes. I work for an agency in town as a volunteer, talking with folks who are alone, lonely, most of the time ill, and have few others to talk to or help them. One of my ladies has Cerebral Palsy, is hard to understand but such a sweetie, and yesterday she told me her cleaning lady had been stealing her meds and personal items, plus her long time church had not been in touch with her for a very long time and she really wants some one to pick her up and get her to church on Sunday. Well, a little on line work, and an e mail and phone call and she will have what she needs. Makes me feel good to know I have a purpose still in this life, even if I am old. And then we get to the loosing your mind thing. Alzheimer's is now the number one killer in this country, overtaking heart disease, cancer and HIV. Which have all fallen in number. And the sad thing is, we have the power to prevent or delay this health hazard. Just with diet. As with most body illnesses, Alzheimer's is caused by inflammation. Common foods can make a big difference. The Mediterranean diet , rich in polyunsaturated foods is great for heart and brain. Fruit, vegetables, fish, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds and most of all olive oil work wonders. Be sure you are getting B vitamins, B6, B12 and folate. Eggs and fried rice are great examples. Add veggies to your rice and eggs. Herbs are great too, grow some in pots on your window sill or buy a few fresh ones. I just picked parsley, thyme and chives. They smell so good. Carrots are a wonder, did you know your skin can absorb the carotene? Whisk up an egg white, and add a teaspoon of finely chopped raw or mashed cooked carrot, apply to face avoiding the eye area, leave on for 20 minutes and rinse off., This is natural retinol and will make your skin glow. My morning Bible time had a great verse today, James 4, 14. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. So we must make the most of our time here, helping others and doing whatever good we can to off set all the bad we hear about. I am sure the good outweighs the bad, it's just not newsworthy.. Have a great week, eat some fresh, healthy foods and feel well. See you next time.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Defining Organic, why it's better, summergrowing

Doing my Bible study this morning, reading in 1 Corinthians, chapter 11, verse 26, I am reminded "The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof." The last two years have had some odd growing conditions, last year too much rain molded the squash plants and killed them off with little product to show for the season, this year it's been hot and dry, but some things have done better. We had useable peaches for the first time ever, and the pear trees are bending to the ground with their heavy loads, soon ready to pick. Tomatoes are prolific, and I have had a steady crop of beans. Cucumber, not so good, spotty zucchinis but the vines seem to be getting a second wind now. The pantry and freezer are filling up with winter goodies. It's good to know that there is a new interest in gardening, and many people are growing some of their own food now, even if it's just pots of tomatoes and peppers on the porch. I think we are finally waking up to the poison our crops are grown with, and the damage it does to our health. More than 70% of processed foods contain at least one GMO grown crop. When my kids were growing up, cancer in a child was rare, but now we have hospitals full of kids with it. And so many other things too, allergies, asthma, aches and pains, must be time to wake up and get real. Organic foods are defined as grown with ecological balance, conserving biodiversity. No chemicals, fertilizers, herbicides, drugs or hormones. Those have invaded every part of our food supply. Meat and Dairy included, so much of our dairy is full of hormones and antibiotics. Watch for organic versions, they can be found, I love the non GMO little square blue symbol on cereals, milk etc,, more are showing up all the time. I have not had dairy milk in over 40 years, like my almond or soy or rice, and it has more calcium than dairy. There is one thing to watch, some farmers can not afford to be certified, it's an expensive process, so if you have questions, get in touch with your local growers and ask those questions. We even need to watch our personal products, soap, shampoo, toothpaste, cosmetics, read the labels, avoid the parabans, lead, yeah, gets scary. It's easy to learn to make your own cleaning, washing and personal stuff. Have been doing this for about 5 years now. Mostly cheap ingredients like baking soda and vinegar with essential oils added. Make a great face cream I love, and my own face washes and toners. Have been making lip balms with beet root for color, as opposed to lead . There is a very sad struggle going on in our church. Being a big branch, we are governed by higher ups. And they have now passed rules that I can not accept. In order to follow what we know, we are being forced to take our church out of this sect, or accept the rules. I find it sad that man thinks he can change God's rules. And more sad that so many are so apathetic about what is going on. We had a congregational meeting a while back to inform our members of what has happened, and our options. Only a handful of people showed up, so it seems as long as folk can go to church on Sunday and hear a sermon, and go home til the next week, they don't really care about policy. I am fond of our lovely little church and the people I know and work with. But the future is very iffy. I truly hope we separate from the head church and become our own church, staying with our Bible upbringing and beliefs. My grandson was married this week in Hawaii. Wishing he and his lovely bride many happy years!! Keep growing, keep smiling, life is still full of many wonderful, good things.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Out foxing the super market's stategies

Most of us head out with a list, and a plan for shopping and not going broke in the process. But did you ever stop to think that the lay out of the grocery store is meant to part you from your money and good intentions? Where is the milk? At the farthest point away from the front door. And on the way, many end caps with pop, cookies, chips and needless snacks, to get you to pop a few into your shopping cart. Produce is usually at the other end of the store, taking you past other tempting items you didn't come in for. The stuff they want you to buy is almost always at eye level. I only get two brands of cereal, Cascadian Farm and Kashi, both organic and GMO free. And where are they? Bottom shelf where you would not see them if they are not your usual brand. Oatmeal is also on the bottom unless you are into the packaged sugared pop in the microwave type. At eye level are all the highly colored, sugared not good for you stuff. More money in those. If you venture into the center of the store, like the baking area, it takes some real searching to find the organic flour and sugar and baking items. And oil, well, one big brand that starts with an M says its better than olive oil for your health. Disregard that statement. Corn is grown with heavy amounts of Round-up and poison sprays, most corn in this country is not safe. Olive oils bear watching, a lot is cut with other oil to make it cheaper so you will buy it, a good quality imported oil is on higher shelves and pricier. At the front of the store you may find the bakery, with it's incredible smells, pulling you in for fresh baked bread, fried doughnuts and other goodies. My hubby was a baker for over 45 years, I know what goes into those doughnuts. He did make incredible breads that were good, but the fried stuff was never good for you, the frying lards get used for a very long time, adding more in as they get used up. Walked in the back door to go to work one day when I had not eaten, had done my gardening and headed to town to be with my daughter who was in the hospital, then headed to work starving. Grabbed a doughnut which was not my usual fare, and got really sick. Have had no taste for them since. The center part of your store is all processed stuff, which most of us are learning to avoid. Every one of those boxed or canned items contains at least, at LEAST one GMO item, some more. By now we should all be aware that most health problems are caused by what we eat. Choosing Round-up and spray laced foods causes gluten intolerance, ADHD, cancer, arthritis, and so many more ills its just scary. Eating good stuff can be done, it may cost a bit more and take a little more prep time, but the taste of fresh, home cooked stuff is well worth it. Think about a slimy can of spinach compared to a bowl of lightly steamed fresh, mmm. Arm yourself with a list of must haves, and be sure to eat before you shop. It makes a big difference. Don't be tempted by all the junk stuff placed so you can't miss seeing it. I know everyone can't have a garden but once again, I am grateful for ours. My son brought me a bouquet of fresh flowers this am, he uses ones that deter bugs, plus tomatoes and fresh rosemary, oh how good that smells. Was watching the news early this morning and Dollywood and Pigeon Forge are already putting up Christmas decorations. It takes them a long time because they do so many but it still seems really early for that. Have been giving some thought to things for grand kids but that's about all we buy these days, us grown ups have way too much already. Love pictures, calls, and emails and cards, and those require no place to store. Looks like a very hot week coming up, getting to that part of the summer. It's been cool for the most part, so far no need for the AC. Hope to get through the next few weeks without it too. SO, make up your list, have a meal, put on your blinders and hit the store. Happy shopping.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Home made slime for your kids, peach jam, lip balm and chatter

For a long while now, my car has been sounding pretty bad. Squawking and squeaking as I drive, the dogs hear me coming from a long way off. Not sure what it might cost for repairs, I have put off getting it looked at. But it has been so bad lately, the thought of the exhaust system falling off became a bigger scare. So I took it to a welding shop this am, and was pleasantly surprised. Seems there was a heat shield of some sort that lost some screws and was sitting on the exhaust system, causing all the racket. A few minutes, a couple of screws and 10 bucks later I was on my way. Snuck into the driveway without a bark to be heard, funny, now it does not seem like my car it's so quiet, love that. Our peach tree yielded some gorgeous fruit this year, for the first time ever. I made several rounds of peach jam. It was so easy, 2 and a half pounds of peaches, peeled and pitted, a teaspoon of lemon juice over that, stir in 2 pounds of sugar. Bring to a boil, then turn heat way down, skim off foam and simmer to reduce by half. Put into hot sterilized jars, screw lids on tightly and turn upside down til cool. Came out to be very tasty, something to share with family for the holidays. Also tried a new lip balm this last week. I am allergic to coconut in any way, inside or out. So this was worth trying. In a glass measuring cup put 1/4 cup of grapeseed or apricot kernel oil and 1/4 cup of shea butter. Heat til quite warm, add enough beeswax( I use pellets) to make 3/4 of a cup, and heat in microwave til beeswax is melted. Stir well, add a few drops of peppermint oil and I added some beet root powder, hoping for pink. Using a funnel I poured it into lip balm tubes. It worked well but the beet root powder settled out and did not make the color I had hoped for, suggestions appreciated. You could also try cocoa and orange oil, or other combinations for flavor and color. Next time I will try the cocoa. Do your kids like play dough type of products? Here is a slime recipe they will love, and its safe, even if they should eat some of it. Maybe. The Elmer's glue is not recommended for eating. In a container, put 1 T Elmer's glue and 1 T water, mix. In another container put 2 T borax and 2 T water. Mix that well, then combine both containers, adding color if you wish. Would be nicer green, or red. On second thought, discourage eating. Did you know sugar is considered addictive? As much so as cocaine and every bit as deadly for your health. Try and back off the amount you use, go for plain iced tea and water to drink and eat less candy, cookies etc. It's hard as so many products are laced with sugar to get you hooked on them and you don't even realize the amount you are taking in. Another reason to stay away from processed foods. Not only are there GMO's in them but added sugar and salt that you may not find listed. My husband was diabetic and we were told he could not eat anything out of a can or box. Cooked beans from scratch and bought fresh foods and did quite well. And the bonus is you find out how much better real food tastes. Really spoils your craving for mac and cheese out of a box etc. And a last thought for the upcoming winter. To use for cough and sore throat. Most of us have a spice jar of thyme in the cupboard, I happen to grow my own but what you buy will work. Put a good amount, maybe 1/4 cup into a teacup, pour a cup of boiling water over it and add the juice of 1/2 of a lemon and 2 T honey. Steep , strain, and use every few hours. 2 teaspoons at a time. Funny, our ancestors knew and used herbal cures way back when and now we are finding a resurgence of use as the meds we are given prove to have so many side effects. I have been doing some online herbal classes the last few years, plus using the computer to pull up and read information on things I hear about. Not a big techie but sure find my computer can be a great learning tool. I would rather give up tv than my good old computer. Hope you are enjoying the end of the summer weather, it's been lovely here, upper 50's to around 60 at night and mid 80's during the day. Open windows, blankets at night and a fan for the daytime. Take care, stay well, never quit learning. Keeps your mind working and focused. Until next time!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Thoughts, recipes, early Christmas ideas

It's cool this morning and drizzling rain, nothing heavy but makes it feel nice. For the first time in all the almost 14 years I have lived on this mountain, the peach tree in the front yard is heavy with lovely, blush colored peaches. Tried making some peach jam, and because the peaches are super sweet cut back on the sugar, not so smart. Next round will go with the recommended amount. Yesterday was voting day, it was a lovely sunny morning and I hope we made a difference, time to sweep out the debris and get better minds into office. By now you must be aware that anti bacterial soaps and cleaners are not good to use, don't allow you to build up a tolerance to the stuff around you. Here is an easy recipe to make, that's safe for you and your babies. Put 16 ounces of castile soap( Amazon or Mountain Rose Herbs) into a container, add 1 teaspoon of aloe vera gel, 1 teaspoon vegetable glycerin and if you want it scented, add 6 or 8 drops of essential oil of your choice, though it is not needed. Mix, pour into a saved pump container, and you are good to go. I have found some rose scented castile soap I really like, which makes it very pleasant to use for this kind of thing. If you like lemon extract, it's easy to make your own. You need 3 lemons, zest them and put zest in a bottle, use 90 gram vodka to cover, use cork to seal, not metal lid, and steep for 2 weeks on your cupboard. Can use right out of the bottle, zest sinks to the bottom. Before you know it, the holidays will be here, school has started so we will be looking at all the upcoming holidays as gauges. Here is a thought for your friends and family, dryer sheets and fabric softeners are mostly toxic so make a set of dryer balls. All you need is a skein of 100% wool yarn. Make it into a golf ball sized ball, put it into the toe of a sock and bag tie shut, wash and dry with your next load of laundry. Then add more wool, making the ball about tennis ball size, repeat the wash /dry cycle. This felts the wool so it will stay stuck together. Instructions are to toss into dryer with clothes, static free and soft. A set of two is a good idea. A nicely scented front door wreath can be made by cutting a circle the size you want from cardboard, making it like a wreath with center cut out, and hot gluing cinnamon sticks to it, starting at inner center and working your way out. Add a festive bow and hang. Think I might add some whole cloves too. Flavored oils are easy to make and in a pretty container make a great gift. Be sure to use dry herbs, fresh will cause bacteria growth and be unsafe. Use 2 and 1/2 cups of olive oil and add the herb of your choice, 6 to 8 sprigs dried rosemary, or dried thyme or if you like spicy, 2 dried chilies and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes. You can experiment, use herbs you have on hand and like. Just add to the oil and put in a large flat skillet, heat until bubbles form around the edge, take off heat, cool and put in pretty bottles adding ties and tags. (funnel helps) Our family is big on home made useable gifts, we all have so much stuff we don't need more to find a place for. I usually have a cupboard full of creams and salves I have made over the summer, and lip balms etc. Gifts in jars, like soup mixes and brownies or cookies are always nice too. It's a good time to start thinking ahead to the holidays so you are ready by December and not left with a ton of last minutes rush-rush shopping, maybe not finding what you really wanted. With school started, it begins to feel like fall, though we are hoping for a longer summer and growing season. Some things have had a hard time this year, like greens. Too hot. Getting lots of beans, and now the new potatoes are useable a few at a time. There are many pears to ripen as the next month goes by, which will become pear butter, sauce and just canned pears. Nice to be able to grow a good amount of what we eat over the winter. Have a great week, enjoy summers bounty while you can, find a farmers market and get some great produce. See you next time.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Lots of recipes, for toothpaste, thinning hair, chalk paint , oh my

It's been a great week. Had a big storm come through the area Sunday evening, over 2 inches of rain but the severe stuff missed us, I am convinced the mountains spread themselves around us and become protective bulwarks. Not far away, there was wind damage, power out, trees down and a tornado in one county. So again, we were blessed. And since then, the weather has been just super, very cool, new record at night, in the 50's, not been there since 1874. Days are very comfortable, anywhere from 70 to 82, just about perfect. If I could choose the best weather to have always, it would be this last week. But like all good things, it will end, we have upper 80s and 90s coming back in another week. For the moment, will enjoy the windows open, cool breeze and cool temperatures. My sis from Nebraska and her hubby have been here a couple of times this last month, on their way to VA and on their way back to Branson and home. My porch and front deck are about 12+ years old, and despite coating, scrubbing etc, beginning to look old. My son power washed the back porch last week, and I scraped off the rest of the paint. This time I used a deck restore that fills in the cracks in the wood, you pick a color, I went with Beechnut which is about the color of new wood and our red clay dirt. Thanks to the help of sis and Bob, two coats of finish are now in place and the back area looks great. Still have some work to do, bushes to clip etc. and the big front one to go but will be a bit before I get to that one. Thanks for the help!! Ran across some recipes to share. Is your hair thinning? Try tossing equal parts of fresh rosemary and olive oil in your food processor , mush it up and store in jar, rub it onto your scalp before a shower, at least 10 minutes. Try every day when you shower and see if it will make a difference. How about sensitive tooth paste? This will refill small holes and heal to some extent. Mix 2 T coconut oil, 2 T baking soda, 2 T calcium magnesium powder, 2 T green stevia (can use white) 2 t sea salt and 20 drops of peppermint oil(essential). Thinking Christmas gifts yet? How about some peppermint scrub? Use 2 cups white sugar, 1/4 cup of good oil, coconut recommended, I am allergic so would use jojoba or apricot kernel, they say red color but I use a tad of beet root powder, and 10 drops of essential peppermint oil. Put in fancy jar Speaking of jars, if you take vitamins, the bottles are not recyclable here. Funny green things in my case. But I saw a bit on Pinterest where they took those old bottles, glued a knob to the lid, and painted the whole thing with chalk paint which will stick to the bottle. Decorate with raised glue gun pattern before painting, or whatever strikes your fancy, add bows, bead strings etc and you have nifty storage bottles. You can make your own chalk paint by mixing sand free grout with water into a paste, then adding flat latex paint in your choice of color. It needs to be thick. I found some craft paint by Folkart, multi surface, dishwasher safe that also works., And its colored already. Says it works on plastic and it seems to be okay. Went to town at dawn this am, rain is predicted for today but the sun is shining. Another great morning. Now I am getting my quota of coffee, don't drink but 1 small cup before I head off to town, funny, it seems to be a liquid that I only borrow for a while. Made my first round of pickles, watching the peaches, some are beautiful now but not sure if they are buggy, wormy etc. If any one knows a good organic way of spraying them, please share your recipe. Have a great week, it's almost time for those kids to head back to school, seems like a very short summer this year. Take care, stay well.

Friday, July 18, 2014

How can you tell Real food from Modified? Plus deck cleaner, softer towels and more

It's a lovely cool morning, just a light rain falling and will stay in the 70's. We have had a wonderful week of much cooler and less humid weather, enjoyed every day of it. Looks like the lower temps hold for another week, hurray!. Praying for God to watch over my traveling kids today, they are all in or heading to their dad's house, he lost his wife last weekend. It's a long trip, by car or air. And with the latest Malaysian mishap, things are not feeling real great. Hope we do not have a big to do over this, like another war or some such. Our world is certainly an insane place these days. Good Housekeeping magazine has an excellent article on modified foods this month. Fully 70% of food in super markets is modified. And now there is proof that those products hurt your kidneys and liver among other health hazards. How do we know what to pick? Vegetable oils, beet sugar, animals raised on modified feeds, even ice cream contain GMO's. This is termed "lab food" as opposed to real food. I have done a couple of blogs on the tomato growing in our area, they are truly bad to eat. Most of us would like to know what we are eating and asking for labels that define that. We need to avoid the Frankenfoods that are being pushed on us more and more. GMO foods are engineered with DNA from other plants, animals and insects. Even your tortilla chips are bad. Any thing from corn, cornstarch,(look for arrowroot) corn oil, sorry Mazola, contain bacterial toxins. Can GMOs harm your health? You bet, studies are showing they cause sensitivity to foods, like celiac and gluten disorders. Also allergies. A few non GMO crops for now are strawberries, tomatoes(fresh) and bell peppers. Asparagus is bug resistant so its good too. We want to know so we are hoping for labeling laws soon. Just do it! Mean time, shop the perimeter of the store, look for organic fresh produce, try farmers markets and ask questions. Better than being sick down the line. Got mold on your siding or deck? The back of my house faces north and never sees sun, so I use 1/2 gallon of white vinegar to 1 gallon of water and a good squirt of dawn, put into a spray bottle and coat the affected area. Do not wash off, leave for the rain, it will clean it up slick as a whistle. An alternate recipe is 1 cup of borax to 1 gallon of water, don't like it as well. TO clean a grungy deck, mix 1/2 gallon of Clorox to 2 gallons of water and 1/4 cup of dawn, mix in bucket and use broom to scrub. Rinse well. This will kill plants so keep away from flower beds. Are your towels and washcloths a bit older? Loosing their softness and absorbent qualities? I did this and like the results. Use hot water and add 1 cup of white vinegar to a load of just towels, no soap. After it washes and drains, set it back to wash again and add 1/2 cup of baking or washing soda and let finish as usual. Dry completely. Any moisture left in can get mildowy and smell funny. Lets make some safe hand soap. Hope you are avoiding anti bacterial ones, many studies say they are not good, we need to build up resistance to germs and won't with them. Start with 16 ounces of castile soap. I have been buying this from Swanson Vitamins, but Amazon also carries it as does Mountain Rose Herbs. I like the ones scented with rose or lavender. To that add 1 T aloe Vera gel, 1 t vegetable glycerin and a few drops of your favorite essential oil for scent. It cleans and softens, you will like it. Pump containers work well, hope you have saved one from before.. There is an ad on tv for Scott toilet paper, saying we toss 17 billion cardboard tubes a year from the center of the toilet paper roll. Enough to build two Empire state buildings. Well, Scott now offers a tubeless roll of tissue, great idea. Hope other companies pick up on this, need to cut down on waste as much as we can. So many things are "over packaged." Hope you have a wonderful week, hard to think they are pushing back to school and fall things already, seems like summer just got here. Take care, read labels and stay well.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Not my usual post, bear with me, hear me out

I am listening this morning to the reports of weather all over our country. Lightning killing people, floods, winds, heavy rain, extreme heat, and a polar vortex that brings storms as it brings a cold front. Have you ever really thought about how weather, among other things has changed since 1962? That's when we were forced to take God out of our schools, and slowly out of our government and many other places. Much like the old Israel, we came here and built a new country, based on religious freedom, and other freedoms which we have pretty much lost too. Both the old Israel and our "new" country were God protected, God sponsored. And we did pretty well, there are always problems, but the more we push God out, the bigger they become. Think about all the shootings in schools, malls, theaters etc. the past 10 years. Why? And why is there so much illness, bad health, cancer, gluten intolerance, dementia and on and on? The more we progress, the worse it gets. And sadly, these changes are brought about by 10% of the population that stands up and makes themselves known. The rest of us, the 90%, just sit here and say nothing. Maybe we deserve all the ills of live that have come upon us. Shame on us for being so blasé about life in general. I am going to share a website with you, please set aside enough time to listen to it, we have the power to retake our country and our lives, but it will require much prayer and thought. If we don't act soon, the world we are handing off to our children and grandchildren will become worse and worse, in fact it may cease to exist as we know it, if it exists at all. I am old, and no longer afraid to say what's in my heart. I thank God for all the blessings He has given me, and pray for the safety of my future generations. Here is the site, it is well worth your time to listen.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Face mask recipe, still trying to shed a few pouinds? Ideas to help

It's an absolutely lovely, cool morning on the mountain. Was 60 degrees when I got up. Have changed sheets, washed and dried laundry, been out and planted arugula and red peppers, and watered my deck flowers and herbs. Have a pot of veggie soup simmering for lunch, I make it with turmeric, curry, coriander and lots of garlic, so its smelling really good. Need to do a little more garden work this morning, and plant a few more beans., Have been picking a nice amount of beans and freezing them every 4 days or so, and need to get my yarrow in and drying for winter cough potions. Ran across a recipe for a moisturizing face mask, in a little bowl mix 1/2 cup steel cut or regular oatmeal, the juice from an orange, 3 T plain Greek yogurt and 2 t orange peel(powdered). Just mix, should be thick, spread it on your freshly washed face, avoiding eye area and leave on for 15 to 30 minutes. The rest will store in the frig for a week or so, and when time is up, rinse face with warm water. Don't let the dried orange peel throw you, next time you have an orange, just put the peels on a paper towel, and leave in your oven for a long enough time to dry, then run through your food processor, I never toss peels these days, can freeze, dry, and use them in cooking or cleaning products. Waste not, want not. One of my favorite cleaners is the peels of a couple of oranges in a jar, covered with white vinegar and steeped for 2 weeks, then drained. Makes a great disinfecting kitchen cleaner, and smells nice. Leaves a little shine too. Did you know there are things called obesogens? These are found in our foods, ,and cause weight gain. I had not known about these til I read an article in my Mother Earth magazine. Here are things to avoid, and will help you not gain more weight and maybe drop a few pounds., Avoid plastic containers, use glass or steel for storage. Avoid plastic baby bottles. be aware that even BPA free harbors endocrine disrupting chemicals. Filter your drinking water, never use chemical pesticides in your yard. Avoid microwave popcorn. The bags are lined with PFOA to make popcorn not stick , instead use air pop, skillet popped or do it in the microwave in plain brown bags. Dust and vacuum often to keep chemicals that accumulate in dust under control. Don't use non stick cookware, go for stainless, enameled or cast iron. Take your shoes off at the door, keeps all kinds of harmful stuff out of your house, Using organic foods cuts back on many pesticides. I have found my glass canning jars to be great storage containers, you can freeze things in them too, just leave a couple inches of head space. I don't buy things in cans, and if I get a glass jar, once it's empty it becomes pantry storage. I am sure you can buy glass containers, my mom had lots of them when we were growing up. No plastics back then. And we were never sick, must be a connection. I remember some square, stackable green glass dishes she used a lot. Never see those now days. Sometimes it seems the more we advance, the more we hurt ourselves, our environment and our world. Maybe we are not as smart as we think. I am also aware these days that a lot of minority groups have a huge influence on the vast majority of us, mostly because the 90 percent or so that are the other part, do not stand up and yell, "no, we won't go for that." So many parts of our lives are changing, and not always for the better. Why is it we allow that? Starting with our government and working down to our local groups. I am getting to where I will stick up more for things now, and the heck with what people think, I am allowed to have my thoughts, beliefs and rights too. It's Independence Day, so be happy and be independent. There will be a lot of picnics, swimming and fun going on today, hope you all stay safe. My favorite Fourth show is not running on TV this year, love Keith Lockhart and Pops goes the fourth, was broadcast from the esplanade in Boston, with fireworks out on the water after a great concert. Will be a strange holiday without them, hope some network picks them up again for next year. Have a safe and sane fourth!!!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Life gets scarier every day, help yourself to health

I watched Dr. Oz on the 23rd of this month, I don't watch often, but he did a show on GMO growing and I wanted to see it. When this process started, much less was used in the way of chemicals on our crops. But constant use has done just what antibiotics have done to us. We have overused them to the point of creating super bugs. And now we are using 15 or more times the poisons on our food, it requires cocktails of heavy chemicals to kill the resistant weeds and bugs that have been created and learned to survive the stuff. Bugs and weeds have now become immune to the original amounts. I know, most people go shopping and grab boxes and cans and convenient stuff, fast to fix, but it's dangerous to your health. I told you about the tomato growing last week, corn , soy, wheat, sugar, all are grown with sprays. These sprays are especially bad for children and the elderly. They affect you brain and nervous system. They cause leukemia and cancer, not to mention Alzheimer, allergies, arthritis, you name it. I am going to give you some information for shopping. Avoid the dirty foods, the worst are apples, celery, tomatoes, grapes, peaches, potatoes, cucumbers, spinach, strawberries, peppers, all kinds and greens. Washing will not remove the poison. If you buy these, look for organic. The safe things are asparagus, avocado, cantaloupe, corn, eggplant, mango, kiwi, mushrooms, papaya, pineapple, sweet potato and cabbage. These have thick skins or do not require sprays to grow. And then there is meat, animals are kept in cage like surroundings, fed hormones and antibiotics and you get large amounts of that in all meats. Unless again, they are raised in safe fields and given proper care. When you are shopping in the produce department, write this down and take it with you: organic produce is marked with a 5 digit code starting with 9, GMO crops are marked with a 5 digit code starting with 8, and conventional crops have a 4 digit code. Most things are conventional and are not very good for you. Leaner cuts of meat are safer as the fat seems to soak up the additives more. It seems that most folk think cooking from scratch takes longer and is harder, but if you try it for a while, you will find its not so. Why would you want to put yourself, and worse your children at risk for all the ills that come with processed foods? And then there are medicines. Statins in particular. Now they want 1 of every 3 people to be on them. And it is not needed. If you have high blood pressure or diabetes, statins do not help those, and can cause you kidney and liver failure to boot. 38 people have to be treated with statins for 10 years to prevent 1 death from cholesterol. Treating the underlying problem is better. Smoking makes all these problems worse, and destroys your lungs. Guess it boils down to how you want to feel, and how many aches and pains you want to put up with. I am hoping not to end up needing someone to feed, diaper and shove meds down me for months at the end of my life. God help me to die fast, however that happens. Want to make your own mustard? SO easy, mix 1/2 cup of mustard powder(spice section)with 2 T white wine vinegar, 1 T water and 1 t salt. If you want a bit of spice, add garlic or dill, a bit of sweet, add a little honey. We are not getting much rain here, but they sure are catching it up in MN and the Midwest. Been out watering this morning, have been picking yellow beans every 3 or 4 days, and the zucchini and yellow squash are doing well now. Ran out of pickles so waiting for a new crop of zukes to make more. They are good as dills or bread and butter pickles, even relish. The pears look good, not sure about the peaches, never seem to harvest any of those, they rot before they get ripe. Not sure why that happens. It's cloudy this morning and not so hot, very quiet on the mountain except for birds, and once in a while my son's dogs let us know something is going on in the area. Love the stillness. Having the windows open at night is soothing, makes me claustrophobic to shut the house up. So tis next week will be fun as 90s are forecast. Will be shutting windows and curtains by mid morning to keep the heat out. Hope you are enjoying this summer weather, beats snow. The Mimosa trees are blooming, I love their delicate beauty and the Crepe Myrtles are opening now so the mountain will be splendid with color soon. Take care, see ya next time.

Friday, June 20, 2014

My first blog, the dangers of canned tomatoes, lets rehash

I live on a beautiful mountain in Tennessee. Just as I come down to the end of it, I am surrounded by tomato fields. What started this blog was a question. Why are they picking the tomatoes when they are green? Do not vine ripened ones taste better? Well a little research found that they do not ship well when ripe. SO they are picked and packed while green, shipped to their destination, placed in an ethylene gas chamber and ripened. That gas is deadly, if a man was in the chamber during the process, he would die. And all that is soaked up into your tomato products, sold in cans. To make it worse, many are packed in white lined(BPA) cans, which is also deadly. This is the tip of the iceberg, if you could see what happens in these fields, you would never touch a canned tomato again. In the early spring, the ground is mounded and plastic raised runs are installed, holes poked into them and the tomatoes planted. There is an irrigation system from the Pigeon river into those raised runs that keeps them watered. They are sprayed with bug killer, big tanker trucks go through and spray, likely weed killer too. After they are picked, the ripe tomatoes still on the vines, they are sprayed with a poison so potent they die in one day. Plants are now all brown and dry. Signs are posted to the effect that if you pick and eat these, they will kill you. Then all that poison is turned back into the ground, the basis for next years planting. Its known now that growing in this way causes cancer, Alzheimer's, allergies, arthritis and on and on. If you know this, why would you continue buying them? There are canned ones that are organic, please look for them and save yourself much pain and illness. Any tomato product is the same, sauce, paste, pizza sauce, spaghetti sauce, catsup, scary indeed. I am giving you two links so you can check this out for yourself, but just putting the words in your search engine will bring up many pages of warnings and information. Try these: for the BPA article, and http:// for the gas . I am glad we grow most of our own tomatoes, and other produce now. I picked my first round of yellow beans yesterday, son brought me beets this morning. Been out and watered early, the only time of day it's cool right now. We have hit the heat and humidity already, but the produce loves it and is doing well. Lunch most days is a salad of fresh garden greens, garlic etc. With home made dressing. We could use a good rain, but the humidity is helping keep the ground a little moister than it would be with no humidity Made some hair spray this week, not as strong as store bought but much safer and it does hold. If your hair is on the darker side, use an orange, lighter, a lemon. Mine is grey so chose the lemon. Wedge it and place in a pan with 2 cups of distilled water, reduce by half, strain, cool, add 3 T vodka and 8 drops essential lavender oil. I think I will add more vodka next time as that seems to be the part that does the "holding". maybe an extra tablespoon. It holds for 3 or 4 hours which is not bad. I think the lavender oil could be changed too, if you have a favorite scent, like rose, lemon whatever else, it would work. Have you heard of oil pulling? Very simple and a boon to your health. Use sesame or olive oil, put a good spoonful in your mouth and swish for about 20 minutes while you exercise, wash dishes or whatever grabs ya. Then spit the oil out in the trash, not down your drain, and rinse with clear cold water. I am still reading up on all the benefits of this process, but it helps keeps you teeth whiter and healthier and other things too, will try and update this more as we go. Need to get out and do some weeding before it gets hot, hope you have a great week, take care, stay well.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Ice Wraps, Rocky bars, other good info

Was up at 5:30 this morning, quick breakfast and off to town. Got my shopping done, back home and all put away before 8 am. The store was quiet except for stockers so made it easy. I always have a list and stick to it. And I seldom venture into the mid section of the store, only for cat supplies. Got my organic soy milk and yogurt, then headed for the produce aisle. Fresh peaches and apricots are there now, and the smell is incredible. Have to say, fresh fruit and veggie season is my favorite time of year. We already have ample amounts of salad greens, so with some cooked up garbanzo beans for protein and a few other things, a big salad for lunch is the pick of the day. Did you know, if you switch to safflower oil, it helps maintain your blood sugar level and shrinks belly fat. So when you cook that egg for breakfast, use that. Verify it from Dr. Oz's 6/6 show. And if you buy large containers of parmesan, the lids fit mason jars, so you can convert them to sprinkle jars after the cheese is gone. If the holes are too big for your usage, put a piece of screen over the top, and you are good to go. Found an idea I am going to try out. Grab some bandana or regular men's hankies from the drawer, wet them down well, squeeze out all the extra moisture. Then lay them out and from corner to corner, roll them into long tubes. Fold slightly and put in plastic bags and freeze. When you have to face the hot outside to mow or garden, grab one and tie around your neck, will keep you cool for a good hour. Says four hours, but not so. You may want to make up a few so you can swap out as they cool off. Have a recipe for some bars I know you will like, and they are good, and good for you. 3 cups rolled oats(organic) 3 tbsp water 1 tsp vanilla 1/2 tsp salt, 1 cup dried cherries 1 cup dried apricots 3/4 cup sunflower butter(peanut butter in a pinch) 3/4 cup wild honey 1/2 c sunflower seeds Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put 1 c of the oats in a food processor with the apricots, cherries and sunflower butter, honey, salt and vanilla. Pulse til finely chopped, will be thick. Add a little water if needed. In a bowl, put the rest of the oats, sunflower seeds and your pulsed mix. Combine well. Spray your cookie pan and spread mix onto it. Wet your hands to press it down. Bake for 20 minutes. Cool for 1 hour, then cut. Oh yes, line that pan with aluminum foil, lightly sprayed. I might use parchment instead. Cut into bars and enjoy. This is an adaptable recipe, you can use cranberries, dates, whatever dried fruit you have, experiment til you get a taste you love. We have had some rain this last week, the garden is doing well. Plants are getting big and blooming. Should have beans soon, and the squash will not be far behind. Time to start buying up canning jars while the store has a good supply. We will have pears, not sure about the peaches, they never do well, and look like they were hurt by the late freezes we had. Time to get off the rear and to work, nice cool day, rain later so need to work before it starts. Have a great week.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Save on Air conditioning bills, spot remover, grand kids

Sorry I missed you last week, but was having an incredible week with my NE kids, youngest son, daughter in law and their two little girls, 18 months and 4 years old. Living alone is ok, I am quite happy with having no demands on my time. Eat , sleep, work when I want and spend my time doing what seems right at the moment. But having a house filled with bubbly, energetic babes, laughing and playing was just wonderful. We did some sightseeing, visited the aquarium in Gatlinburg, and saw the dam and took a drive into NC. All fun. When the week was over and they headed home, this place was as quiet as a tomb. It was a week of memories to stay with me for a long time. Did you know that we (Americans) spend 15 billion dollars a year on air conditioning? And in so doing, we emit 140 million tons of CO2. Not good for our world. There are a lot of things we can do to cut that back. Let the cool air into your home early, then before the sun is high and hot, shut the house up and close your curtains early in the day. Turn off lights, unplug any electric appliances you are not using. Do your laundry and cooking during the cool part of the day. Running the dryer is not a good thing mid day. If you beef up your insulation and weather strip windows and doors, you save even more. I do not use AC, just fans. And if the house gets cool then shut up, most days are bearable. Electricity seems quite pricy these days, and will be going up as the Pres is trying to pass bills against using coal in producing our power, this is supposed to lessen emissions that are causing climate change, but will also increase our bills. Seems we never can win. Guess all we can do is keep trying to be good citizens, and protect our planet as much as we can. Here on our mountain we recycle just about everything but glass, the place we take our trash does not accept that yet. But paper, cardboard, tin and aluminum cans all get sorted out, and food scraps all go into the compost pile. My son seems to have a use for everything possible, his chipper shredder makes mulch for our yard from all the trimmed tree and bush debris. It's nice to know so many things can be repurposed. If you have not tried this yet, I do recommend it. I have had stains from years back on clothes that made them un-wearable anywhere but home, but the stains are now gone with this simple recipe. In a spray bottle put 2 tablespoons of peroxide(hydrogen) and 1 tablespoon of Dawn. Shake, spray, let sit overnight and wash. I usually triple the recipe so I don't have to make it as often. If you are working on improving your health, try adding good fats, like avocados, olives and YES chocolate. These are unsaturated fats, and do your body good. They are called MUFA's. You also need to eat 2 servings a day of fiber rich foods. And if you have eaten things you should not have, add some yellow mustard, (which also helps back pain) spinach, figs sesame seeds or sardines. Night before last we finally got some rain, just over 1/2 inch. I went out early and picked chives and basil, and lettuce. I grow these on my deck railings in long planter boxes that fit over the rail. Keeps the rabbits from eating it before I do. Had a great salad for lunch with some feta cheese added to it. Nice to have fresh produce again, get spoiled. Always tastes so much better than store stuff. Time to head out for some yard work, have a great week, see you next time.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Birthdays, Babys, visits and fly paper

  What more could you ask for?  It's my youngest son's birthday today, yesterday was my grand daughter's, and not only that, the youngest son and his wife and two adorable little girls are heading to Tennessee for a visit,  it is a holiday week end so hope they don't get bogged down in traffic. Can hardly wait to spend time with Erin and Sammy.  Looking forward to this next week!!
  We had thunder storms and rain overnight, but the winds and hail missed us. Heard the Knoxville area had hail as big as tennis balls moving in on them last night, that would have devastated the garden. Once again, our enchanted mountain kept us safe.  After all the years I spent in the plains of Nebraska and Illinois, I am soooo happy to live in these mountains, which rise up around us like protective arms and divert most of the bad stuff away from us.
  You must live in a cave if you have not heard about the million pound recall of beef again this week, and all the people sickened from eating it.  Long ago when those recalls became more and more frequent, I quit buying and eating beef.  Once in a long time I get a yen for a roast, but not often.  For the most part I eat vegetables, sometimes chicken.  Do not miss meat and find much less to worry about.  Which makes me think, last Sunday I did a very uncharacteristic thing, I stopped at Mc you know what and got a burger for lunch. Yuck, burger way thin, bun white and thick, lettuce wilted and only a dab of mayo and pickle  to spice it up. A few bites in, it ended up in the trash, so much for occasional craving, that won't happen for a long time again.  It's gotten to the point most canned, boxed, fast food items just taste plain bad. When you get used to starting from scratch with good, mostly organic ingredients, anything else just has no taste, or a tinny taste. Hope the garden is really productive this year, most of what I put up last fall is long gone.
  It's bug season, and I have a recipe for you that is non toxic and will catch flies, lady bugs etc, inside or outside. And easy, in a bowl  put 1/4 cup of corn syrup, 1 T white and 1 T brown sugar, mix well. Cut strips however long you want them from brown paper bags, punch a hole in the top, tie a string, floss etc to hang by and dip in the syrup mixture. Hang over a sink to dry. Then you can put them around your doors, windows or wherever you want to catch buggy critters.
   Been picking strawberries and have a few blueberries on my new bushes. Most of the garden is looking good, beans and squash, chard, herbs all doing well, had to restart peppers and tomatoes so waiting for them to grow enough to replant. Last year we lost most of our squash to mold from all the rain, would be nice if  it's a bit more temperate this year, would like a good crop.
   Hope you are enjoying the warmer weather, so nice to get outside again. Take care, see you next week after my lapful of grand girls go home.  Always hate to see them leave.  Planning a fun week.

Friday, May 16, 2014

More What's in your foods, a wrinkle fighting idea and more

  Morning all, been to town, was a lovely but cool start to the day, after days of 80s yesterday we were only at 60. Felt good, cat  got under the blanket and slept so she felt the change too.  I came home and read my bible verses, one I really like today,  from Revelations 21,   "He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be my son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters and all liars shall have their part in t he lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."
  Got wrapped up in  Dr. Oz show again this week, he had a man they call The Health Ranger, who tests for levels of unacceptable stuff in what we eat.  He has been testing for heavy metals,  and poison in things,  stuff like arsenic, aluminum and bug killers.  Even certified organic foods are not tested for metals, sad.  FDA does not care what we eat, I think there is a plot afoot to weed us out by what we eat, and lessen the population for some reason, maybe so more illegals can be here in the USA. Do you remember when the immigrants left their oppressed countries and came her because they wanted OUR way of life? They learned English and took on our customs. Now folk want to set up their countries here and run us out. Something wrong with that. Anyway, back to these metals. They affect your skin and hair and body. They go to your liver , and seep into all your cells. They cause DNA changes, cancer, heart attacks and many other problems. Protein powders which many rely on are really bad for these metals. Seems a lot of the products are imported from Asia  proteins which are very high in heavy metals. The US produced ones are not, but its not required that the label states where ingredients come from so you don't have a way of knowing. There is a bill in CA called Prop 65 which limits metal content in food.  For more info and safe brands, check out Dr. Oz's website.   Hemp protein is clean, so is whey. Ginkgo from the US is clean, but not imported, There are no restrictions on imported herbs and other products, so look for made in the US  as much as possible. If you are unsure, get in touch with manufacturers and ask about their products , procedures and metal levels. Imported cocoa is also high in metal, so get good old US chocolates.  If you are looking to detox your body, eat ( organic) strawberries, almonds, spinach, broccoli, they all do you a world of good.
  Got some wrinkles  going on you would like to loose?  Boil 1/2 cup of water, put 25 fresh basil leaves in and steep til a bit cool, then run through food processor. At bedtime use a cotton ball and apply to wrinkles, leave on over night, guess you will smell like spaghetti or some such. But worth a shot.
  Most of the garden is up and doing well, the heavy rain killed out my tomato and pepper plants so need to start some more of those. 
   My darling little grand daughters will be here in just over a week, can hardly wait to see them, and of course their mom and dad!  We always have a great time visiting. And it always goes much too fast.   What ever happened to the transporter idea? It would be great to get into a tube, push a button and be someplace else in just a matter of seconds. Of course, I am told you might not get back together quite right, mmm, maybe not such a good idea.
   Have a great week, enjoy the warmer weather, winter may finally be behind us. Til next time, live healthy.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Kitchen Cures, new thoughts on old things, great visit from Sis

  I just had an incredible visit from my youngest sis from Nebraska.  Time just flew, always does when its being enjoyed.  She and her hubby helped me out by finishing the top painting I can not reach in my living room and kitchen, got some help with my car and lots of other little things, plus the trips. We went to Hot Springs NC, Del Rio TN, Dandridge TN, and took a lot of drives through the back areas of my mountains. Love to call them mine, such a pretty place to live. It was a great time, sure enjoyed seeing them. 
  This week I have been getting the rest of my garden planted and this morning I clipped a bunch of unruly honeysuckle vines in my back yard. Got almost done before I lost a screw out of my loppers and had to quit til I find another one.   It's been sunny and warm, good for growing, but we need rain. Already using a lot of water to keep the gardens moist.
  This week, lets raid the kitchen and find new uses for things we have there.  These ideas are thanks to Woman's Day magazine.  A is for avocado, mm,  yummy in salads, dips etc but also  draws water into your intestines to keep things moving . So try a smoothie, 1/2 of an avocado, 1/2 cup of raspberries, 1/3 cup almond milk and some ice,  process and drink.  B is for blueberries,  they have substances that prevents bladder problems, so eat them whenever you can. C is for carrot, grate a carrot, wrap in paper towel or cheesecloth and apply to insect bites to sooth and lessen swelling.  D is for deep breathing, guess we all know we need to do this often. E is for Epsom salts, got dry skin? Exfoliate with 1/2 cup Epsom salts and 1/2 cup water to make a paste,  gently massage dry areas. F is for a flowering herb called arnica,  great for achy knees and joints, just rub arnica cream( drugstore) into those parts. G is for green tea, if a cold is coming on, brew a cup of green tea, and 1/2 teaspoon of \salt, keep in frig and gargle  twice a day. H is for honey, dab a bit on blemishes to heal them. I is for ice, apply to bumps and bruises to ease pain and help heal.  J is for java, just had my 2nd cup.  Nice to know its an anti inflammatory, but can also be rubbed into itches to ease them away. K is for kneading,  between your thumb and forefinger rub and squeeze to release stress. L is for licorice, great for digestion, I keep DGL handy for those moments when heartburn or indigestion pop up. M is for midnight snack, well maybe some of you are awake then, try calcium rich food, like cheese or walnuts to get you back to sleep. N is for nutmeg. this is a mild sedative, sprinkle on warm milk  before you go to sleep. O is for olives,  eat for motion sickness before you get  yucky tummy. P is for pick me up shower, switch from hot to cold three times to feel stimulated. Q is for quick stroll,  if you are tired, take a 5 minute walk to make you more alert. R is for a refreshing  rinse, in a cup of water put 1 teaspoon of baking soda and rinse your mouth, fights bacteria. S is for stretch, headaches can be caused by sitting too long so take some breaks and stretch , roll your head etc. T is for tropical fruits, boost blood flow with lemon juice, ginger juice and pineapple juice with a pinch of cayenne and turmeric. Drink for sore muscles, will be doing that one later.  U is for under eye. de-puffer,  brew white tea, stir in 1 Tbsp honey, cool to room temp, add thin slices of cucumber and put in frig overnight, use slices on eyes, cucumber tightens, honey heals and tea de-puffs.  V is for vinegar, there is nothing this stuff can't do.   but try soaking feet in a mix of white vinegar, and water, can add a splash of mouth wash, this kills fungus and gets rid of stains. W is for witch hazel , try patting a dab on hemorrhoids. X  is for x-tra energy, if you are beat, fold a blanket lie on the floor, put blanket under your head and another one under your upper back, deep breathe and relax for a while. Y is for yoga, nuff said, good for ya. Z is for zinc rich foods,  eat some every day to avoid hair loss, things like lentils, cashews,  pumpkin seeds pecans and yogurt. And there you have it, A to Z. If you find one helpful idea, great.
  Time to start lunch, home made cream of chicken soup today. Have a good week, enjoy the weather, nice change from all the long cold winter we have just gotten through. See ya next time!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Are you using plug in or spray air fresheners?

 I stopped using all forms of air fresheners(commercial) long ago, Now instead, making up my own with essential oils. SO easy, and so much safer. Even most candles, unless beeswax, are carcinogenic.  But my new issue of Mother Earth Living really points out why we should avoid the ones we buy in stores. Do you have allergies? Asthma?  Watery eyes, sneezing, difficulty breathing? Well, blame it one those plug ins or sprays.
They all contain formaldehyde, which is know to be  deadly for many of us.  It causes me to break out in a rash that sometimes lasts a year. My first rash appeared after a perm when I was very small, my gram was a beautician and the old perms were laced with formaldehyde.  The products offered to make our homes smell good are also full of petroleum and aerosol propellants.  I have misting fountains, which are just filled with water and a few drops of essential oils, I love lavender as it's so soothing, or rose, or a combination of floral and spicy accents, like cinnamon or cloves.  Experimenting is fun to create new smells. Also, you can take a jar, mason or such, fill it half full of baking soda and add 10 drops of essential oils, shake well, punch holes in the lid and just sit it where you want the scent. You may have to refresh the oil once in a while but this will last a long time.  If you need a fast fix, put a pot of water on your stove, add a few sprigs of rosemary a couple of lemon slices and a splash of vanilla, and simmer. This is used in the Sonoma stores to create a good aroma.  This too, you can tweak, using different citrus fruits and herbs.  To make a spray, in a spray bottle put 16 ounces of water, 3 ounces of vodka and 4 drops of essential oil of your choice, and add 12 ounces of rose water, heavenly. 86% of all air products contain phthalates, hazardous chemicals known to disrupt your endocrine system.
 I am making a serious effort to eliminate plastic in my house, so storage has become glass jars. I buy things in glass instead of plastic, and save every jar I get. When I cook soup or have leftovers, the canning jars come out and are filled and refrigerated. It's to the point that anything that comes in plastic has an odd taste that I no longer like.
  It's finally warmed up, hope it stays, 80 or so next few days.  The rain we  were to get overnight was just a sprinkle so far, should have gone to town but it was dark so decided to wait until tomorrow. Looks like the sun is trying to come out now, and that means watering my newly planted flowers and garden seeds. Still have not tried moving plants outside for the summer or putting out tomato and pepper plants, they are warning us of a possible frost late next week, hmm, not sure I will take them seriously this time, it will be May by then. Really long winter this year. Most of the time, plants come in in late November and go back out early April, not this year.
  Having some caramel cream coffee this morning, my daughter sent me a put on the stove old fashioned coffee pot and a variety of flavored coffees for my birthday, I was having trouble with my electric pots not working, guess what, it was me, not the pots, now I have them figured out and have had no more glitches.
  Thought for the week, if you are having allergies, bronchitis  or breathing and coughing attacks, put  a few teaspoons of thyme in a container,  add the juice of 1/2  of a lemon and 2 tablespoons of honey, steep for 10 minutes, strain and take 2 tablespoons every couple of hours  as needed.
  The redbud trees have faded, now the leaves are setting on. We still have dogwoods and my snowball bush is lovely. The peony my son in NE gave me a few years back has blooms for the first time, yeah, love those.   Can hardly wait for them to open.
  Easter is past, next big holiday will be July 4th. A few others in there like Memorial day.  But it makes it feel like summer is coming on.  Have a good week, stay well, get some fresh air and sunshine.

Friday, April 18, 2014

E Cigs, Diet soda, stop, read this first

  ABC aired a section this morning on what is now known about the E cigs, they are so dangerous. The nicotine in them is highly concentrated and causes stroke, heart attack, death.  They are not safe for people around the smoker either, on Monday there will be items aired telling of the dangers, so please, if you know some one who uses these, watch the news Monday for the full information.  These were put out without disclosing all the hidden dangers, and you need to read up on the data coming out.
  Also, a new study by the University of Iowa  is telling us that diet soda  causes a 50% increase in heart attacks, strokes, stomach bleeds.  The fake sweetening is to blame, a lot of them use aspartame which is a deadly substance, we have been warned to read labels and avoid this ingredient.  Aspartame turns off your sweet switch in the brain and makes you crave more sugar on top of the other dangers.  This increases your chance of high blood pressure, diabetes,  and high cholesterol. The caramel coloring, also a fake substance is not good, can cause stomach bleeding. To help get off the diet stuff, mix  seltzer water 50/50 with the pop, increasing seltzer as you go until you can quit the soda. If you have a family and want to see them grow up, get away from this stuff.
  If you are looking at improving your health,  there are 4 easy steps to follow, alla Dr. Oz.  Much more information available on his site, but here we go:
1.  No processed foods, they do not digest well, stay in your stomach way too long and cause all kinds of health problems. They are full of preservative, to make them shelf stable for years, so think about what they do to your insides.
2. Buy organic when you can, most thick skinned fruits and vegetables are safe as you peel them. If you are zesting citrus, get organic. Greens, potatoes, grapes, thin skins, buy organic. Cabbage you can peel off the outer leaves, and good news, bugs are not fond of asparagus so its safe.
 3, Make your water wetter.  Add a dash of sea salt and a squeeze of lemon juice,  kind of like Gatorade, gives you electrolytes.
4. Eat at home, when you eat out you have no idea what you are ingesting, good tasting or not.  Eateries add lots of sugar and salt to get you
  hooked on their foods, and who knows what else. Like salads, if you get them dressed, the calorie count is through the roof, get dressing on the side.
  If you love ice cream here is a way to get your fix, and boy can you alter this to suit your taste. Freeze sliced bananas, toss a few in your blender or food processor with 2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt, one ingredient, organic milk.  Whiz that up then toss in what you like, honey and vanilla, fresh frozen fruit of any type, peaches, strawberries, blueberries etc.  Even nuts. Eat immediately.
  Last week was a bit strange. We had the blood moon on the first day of Passover, it was warm. Next day the temps dropped and there was snow in the air all afternoon. Too warm for it to stick, but looking out the window at all the redbuds, dogwoods and new green leaves, with snow everywhere in the air, was strange to say the least.,  There are to be 3 more blood moons this year. Maybe next time we will see it if the clouds stay away. 
  Going out to do some weeding today, before it rains(or snows) or whatever again. We are to have a beautiful Easter Sunday, that will be a nice change.  Last week when I got to church, there were several guys dressed in biblical clothes, one representing Christ, and they were walking a donkey around the parking lot. Fun.  Of course, today is Good Friday. . Hope we are all remembering the reason for this day and the coming Sunday.  Much more than Easter eggs and candy.
  Easter Blessings to you and your family.