Mountain-to-Mountain, Sky-to-the-Ground

Mountain

I have two of the most AMAZING women in my life! Women I admire and look up to, love and cherish with my whole heart. I feel compelled during this time of thanksgiving to show and tell these ladies how much they have meant to me over the past 31 years.

Both had a hand in looking out for and raising me to be the woman I am today. We’ve had our trials and tribulations, but it always made our relationships even stronger than before.

Mom…I want to thank you for being such a solid rock in my life. Your unconditional love and support have gotten me through so many hard times I can’t even count them. From holding my hand in the doctor’s office, to letting me sleep in your room after I had a nightmare (even when I was in high school), I have never doubted the depth of your love for me.

I know that being a single mommy of two growing girls was hard. I hope you to know that you rocked it!! I don’t know a lot of women who could have done as fine a job as you did raising Chrissy and I. Thank you for all the sacrifices that you made for us. You’re such an amazing woman!

Chrissy…I want to thank you for being the best sister a girl could ever ask for. I know it wasn’t very cool to hang out with your younger sister in junior high and high school, but you were always there for me regardless. I always felt safe when you were around (especially during any rare, random fist fights that may or may not break out in a bar). ;)

I never had a doubt in my mind that you had my back. Even when we’ve had a barn burner, I always knew in the back of my mind that you were right and I was wrong or reactive. I know you were only trying to keep me straight. I’m sorry I wasn’t more appreciative during these times. You’ve always been one to see things in the bigger picture when I have had tunnel vision.

I’m so lucky to have you as my best friend. A person I can be myself with and tell anything to. Thank you for who you are.

I love you both and want you to know that I can’t imagine my life without you! We’ve had a great life together. Both of you are the foundation that has help me build a solid life of happiness and contentment. Mountain to mountain, sky to the ground…I love you both!!!

Ginny

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Lemon All-Purpose Cleaner

allpurpcleanerIt wasn’t so long ago that a glimpse under our kitchen sink would reveal a menagerie of cleaners….different cleaners for every room and surface of my house. There was also a small fortune invested in those many bottles. A fortune in cleaners that had to be protected like the gates of Fort Knox. God has blessed me with three oral sensory CrAzY children. Have you ever seen a child covered inside and out with Comet? I have. As nice as the poison control people are I vowed to never speak to them again. My search for a drinkable cleaner began. I discovered an orange peel and vinegar blend on pinterest and gave it a try. It worked really well but it smelled like vinegar (so odd). The vinegar eventually dissipated, leaving a slight orange smell.

I was pretty disappointed so I decided to exchange the oranges for lemons (my favorite fruit btw go check out my ebook “Life and Lemons“). After waiting patiently, my new all purpose cleaner wiped out my whole house, including all that POISON under my sink. My favorite thing about making my own cleaners is that I throw away 100% less plastic bottles. I reuse my cute green one that I bought for a dollar… SWEET! That means less waste in landfills that never…ever…breaks down. So when the earth is overcome with garbage, I will sit atop my pile knowing I had done my part. I also love that this concoction uses the rind, something that usually goescleaner1 right into the trash after it is parted with the good stuff. The vinegar I used was from Costco and cost just fewer than 4 dollars for 2 gallons. A pound of lemons is generally three dollars, so if you only use the lemon peels (don’t waste the awesome stuff! Check out all the cool things I do with lemons) that’s 3 dollars worth of lemons and .50 cents for a quart of vinegar. For me, each quart makes two spray bottles worth. That’s $1.25 for an entire bottle of cleaner…that works on everything! Plus my kids could have a tea party with it. SUPER SWEET!

LETS START!

℘Items needed

A glass quart Mason Jar

At least a quart of white distilled vinegar.

About 5 lemons worth of peels.

A spray bottle

Optional : Lemon Essential Oil and Epsom Salt

Slice open your lemon. Juice that baby and reserve the juice for cooking or use it in some Lovely Lavender Toner. Peel away the fruit or get really scientific and say guts. Use this to make some Lemon Pulp Honey Face Mask. Cut your lemon peels into thin strips and stack them up so they reach the top of the jar. Don’t cram or you wont have a whole lot of room for vinegar. Pour the vinegar over the lemon peels and fill ‘er up! Tightly close the lid and mark the date on the lid. Wait two long weeks and shake every day.

After the two weeks is up remove the peels.  Since I’m a miser I squeeze the peels of all their cleaning goodness (totally optional). Fill the spray bottle half way with the solution and the rest of the way with water. Add 2 or 3 drops of lemon essential oil and a pinch of Epsom salt. These steps are optional because the cleaner works fine without them they just bring an added boost. The Epson salt is used to keep the oil blended with the vinegar so if you don’t have any, a good shake before use, will do just fine. There you go!! CLEAN STUFF!lemonflowr

UPDATE: I can blow through a quart of this stuff in a day…yeah I have boys. Waiting two weeks for a quart of cleaner is just silly so I started to make mine in a 2-3 gallon bucket. I also reused my lemon peals until they were no longer yellow. Then I put them around my garden to deter pooping kitty cats.

Chrissy*

Posted in Being Self Sufficient, Craft for the Home, Craftiness, Home Recipes, Natural Mommy, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Stand Mixer Butter

buttermixerI am constantly on the look out for ways to put my Kitchenaid stand mixer to work. I love to use it and really take pride in the fact that I couldn’t live without it. One of my dear friends (Leslie, I’m talking about you babe) mentioned making butter with a stand mixer and I HAD to try it.

I really cringe at buying store butter. I had really hoped that the price of heavy cream would make churning my own butter cheaper than buying it outright…yeah not so much. A quart of regular heavy cream (non organic) at Costco is $4.50. Only half of that quart goes to butter. The rest is some really watery buttermilk. So for about 2 cups of butter made from non-organic heavy cream is around $1.15 for a stick or ½ cup of butter. Darigold butter sells for $2.68 a box ….$.67 for a stick. Half the price. BOOO!!! So if your going to go non-organic Darigold is your best bet. OR your could by margarine its $.68 a box or $.17 cents a stick and 100% FAKE … you feeling lucky…ducky? Honestly, the price for organic butter and organic heavy cream is astronomical. Like so astronomical I can’t afford it :(

whipbutterIdeally, I would like to live on a homestead and be completely 100% self-sustaining. Try doing that when you live right in the middle of town. Having my own milk cow or goats probably isn’t in the cards for this gal.

Until I can figure out how to be more natural “butter-wise” I will be buying regular. If your interested in how to make it at home, heres how I made butter with my stand mixer.nearlybutter

Get out your mixer goodies… whisk, bowl and your clear plastic shield is a must…trust me. That stuff sprays everywhere in the beginning AND the end. I got my mixer rolling on setting #10 and gradually poured a quart of heavy cream in. If you have the 6 quart mixer like I do, don’t try to do more than a quart at a time or your gonna have a nice mess on your hands. Salt it to taste. The source I found said that the whisking process would take 5 minutes-ha! NO! It took me about 15 or more to actually get the butter to separate from the liquid. Fortunately, its not like you have to hang there babysitting. When you start to hear liquid sloshing around in there, chances are good that you’ve got butter.

standmxbutterDrain all liquid. I used cheese cloth to squeeze all the buttermilk out of the butter. I pressed my butter into a glass pyrex dish to be frozen until use. I worked nicely until I tried to get the butter out of the dish. I will be looking for some kind of silicone mold for any future butter making attempts.

Chrissy*

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Doggy Ear Infections

This is Gus!gus

He is a wire-haired pointing griffon. My husband and I LOVE this dog…He’s great with the kids, an amazing bird hunter, and he loves to cuddle.

Being the excellent bird dog that he is, Gus loves the water, but it is never kind to his ears. Like clock-work, every time he goes for a swim, Gus will get an ear infection. When his ears get stinky, warm to the touch, and goopy, we’ve got trouble on our hands. The poor thing will rub and rub at them and whine like crazy. Over the past few years we’ve discovered that prevention is the best remedy!

I read/heard somewhere that food allergies can play a role in chronic ear infections. You’ll know if food allergies are contributing, if your puppy is biting at their paws a lot (which Gus was). We switched to a dog food that had more natural ingredients and less weird things on the label. This made a big difference. He doesn’t bite at his paws hardly at all and we don’t have to clean his ears very often. I would recommend taking a look at your dogs diet if ear infections are a chronic problem for your furry child.

How to clean doggy’s ears:

You’ll need: a plastic squirt bottle (I use the one they gave me at the hospital after I had my daughter…what???…calm down! I washed it first.), vinegar, water, lavender or chamomile essential oil, carrier oil (fractionated coconut oil, olive oil, etc.) and about 4 cotton balls.

Mix equal parts vinegar and water in the squirt bottle. We got this recipe and the directions from our vet. You’ll want to take the pup outside to rinse his ears out because he will shake after you squirt the vinegar mixture in. To forewarn you, your dog will not like this…in fact he’ll hate it! Gus tries to go running when I break the squirt bottle out. It helps to trap him in the garage. To rinse the ears you’ll: pull the ear back and squirt a portion of the liquid inside, give the dog a minute to shake, do the other side. If your puppy, has an ear infection this may be painful at first. We try to do it 2x a week when Gus has an infection, but only about twice a month when we’re just trying to prevent.

After your doggy calms down a bit, break out the essential oil and cotton balls. Put some of your carrier oil on a couple of cotton balls and drop 1-2 drops of chamomile or lavender essential oil on top. Clean out the inside of the dogs ears as best you can (don’t go too deep).

During an ear infection:

We use Meleleuca, Purify Blend, or Basil twice a day with some carrier oil on a cotton ball. I like to put the oils on the cotton ball and place it inside Gussy’s ear then massage from the outside (he loves this!!). :)Gus 2

Preventing infection when you know your dog will be exposed to moisture:

Before taking Gus for a swim, we try to remember to put some Vitamin E oil in his ears to help keep the water out. We also use the Vitamin E throughout the winter months because he LOVES the snow and will whaller around in it all day. Silly dog! ;)

Gus is a member of our family and we like to keep him as healthy as possible. We hope to keep him around for many years to come!

Ginny

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Italian Meat Sauce

meatsauceIf you are like my family and think that elk backstrap is the best thing about hunting you might want to look away for this one. What follows is my recipe for Italian Meat Sauce. Unfortunately, this time of year we are hitting the bottom of our freezer for meat and this particular year we were clean out. FORTUNATELY, the hubbsteroo just got another elk to fill it back up. Currently, we have that baby hanging waiting to be butchered so we wont be getting any meat off of the front or hind quarters for another two weeks. We do however have the back strap ready to eat. As far as we are concerned this is the best part of any elk and getting to eat it fresh is one of the many joys of fall. Not only is it nice and tender, seeing it on your plate means your looking at an awesome year for both your tummy and your pocket book.

We already had a meal of backstrap steaks. We were out of burger and I needed to feed my little people… probably my husband too. I had to grind that glorious meat up for burger. I thought that the only way to do any justice to the backstrap was to write a post about it and give out the recipe for this really yummy meat sauce.

Here we go…

1-2 pounds burger… or pulverized backstrap in my case.

1 onion

1 green bell pepper

Garlic…we are garlic people I used 6 cloves here. You should use as much as you want.

meatsauce23 pints or cans tomato sauce

2 pints, or cans diced tomatoes, you could also use a large 28oz can here.

grindmeatItalian Seasoning (I used Basil, Thyme, Oregano and Fennel) about a quarter cup.

Course ground pepper to taste

Salt to taste

Since I was using super lean elk meat that we NEVER add any sort of pork or beef trimmings to… I added some oil to the bottom of the pan, about a tablespoon. If your using beef you can omit this. I like to brown my burger and cook my veggies together. I’m sure there is a logical reason for doing it seperately, I don’t have the time or the patience to find out why you would want to. When the meat is no longer pink I add the tomato’s and sauce. Throw in all the spices and stir it up. Bring your pot to a boil. Turn your temp down to medium low and simmer for two hours or until the sauce has cooked down to your desired consistency.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that this is enough sauce to feed a army. What I like to do is use half that night for spaghetti and freeze the rest for something like stuffed manicotti some other night when I don’t have the time to cook something extravagant.

Hope my husband doesn’t choke when he finds out what I did to the backstrap.

Chrissy*

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Ginny’s Essential Oil #7

Bergamot

For those of you who know me personally, you know that at times I can be a little stand-offish, shy, and awkward in certain social situations…OR maybe that’s all just in my head…which could very likely be the case. The thing about me is that I am REALLY hard on myself to be a certain way, and I put so much pressure on myself that social situations become stress and anxiety ridden. You can imagine that this will start to wear on a person after long periods of time. And for me it did…I pride myself on trying to hide these fears and I do a pretty good job of it…hmmm maybe this could be one of the reasons I have so many issues with my digestive system.  :-/

About a year ago, I was ready to move to the mountains with my family and become a hermit…I’m not even joking (OK maybe just a little, but my husband and I did joke around about it some)! ;) I felt awkward and almost as if people were watching and judging my every move. Being a teacher there was really no place for me to hide from these anxieties because I had to do my job and I had to be good at it. About half-way through the school year, my husband and I decided that something needed to change.

What I’ve come to realize is that most of my fears and anxieties were in my head. It took seeing a counselor (best choice I ever made) and beginning a natural journey of self-help and self-acceptance in order for me to come to this realization. I still have my moments, but, as long as I can find a quiet place to center myself, I do alright.

Another thing that aided me on this amazing, life altering, journey is Bergamot Essential Oil. I’ve discovered that inhaling, ingesting, and/or rubbing this oil on my feet helps to support my growth into self-confidence. It helps me clear my head of crazy background noises that keep telling me I’m not good enough or that people think I’m weird. I feel ready to take charge of my day and confront the world with confidence and self-motivation.

Bergamot is a citrus fruit that grows in northern Italy. Like all the citrus oils, bergamot is great for helping to uplift the spirits and invigorate the mind. It can also be used to aide in cleansing the body of toxins. It doesn’t taste bad, but I prefer to put a few drops in a capsule when I’m taking it internally.

When I’ve use the bergamot oil:

parent/teacher conferences

a meeting where I know I’ll need to contribute to a conversation

my doTERRA classes

social situations where I don’t feel like I know anyone

I am lacking courage to do a specific task

my fear seems to consume me

This oils has been a great support to me in that it helps to quiet my mind. When I use it I feel the confidence to overcome my fears and doubts. I would highly recommend it to anyone suffering from fears, anxiety, depression, and/or lack of self-confidence.

Ginny

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The Lonely Lemon

idaholemonI can’t say often enough how much I love lemons…I wrote an ebook. If that isn’t a profession of love for an inanimate object I don’t know what is.

For the last two years I have been babying a lemon tree in my living room. Despite being a confirmed plant killer, this little guy is doing pretty darn good. There have been about three or four lemons that have begun their lives journey here, but unfortunately little hands always seem to pick them before they can grow to be edible.

Until today. Back in March I brought the noise down on any angel child who even thought about breathing on my new lemon… I have that sixth sense moms get after a few years of living with toddler boys. It actually worked. Its November and the oldest lemon (ever) finally turned yellow.

What do you do with a lemon you have been drooling over forever? I made some lemon bars that are pretty good but so ugly I would even think to write a post about. The lemon bars (despite being very homely) made it maybe twelve hours. Something about the lemon made them very delightful.

I also made myself a tall glass of honey lemonade… with our honey. I then sat on my couch smugly thinking about how not every one could make lemonade entirely from something they have grown or raised.

lemontreeflowerI’m so lucky to live where I do, surrounded by the best family and friends. To have great kids (who despite not having any fear for me as a parent) refrained from picking my only lemon. Most of all I’m so lucky to have a husband who supports my hobbies and interests with minimal eye rolling. That… my friends, is love.

Chrissy*

Posted in Being Self Sufficient, fruit, Growing Dinner, Idaho Grown, Real Food, Sisters Grown or Hunted, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Monster Zucchini – Bread

budazucchiniEvery year one of the sweet ladies at Alex’s work sends us over HUGE zucchinis. I always use these zucchinis to stock our freezer with a quick breakfast for the year, a  yummy zucchini bread. Usually, I use 2 of these  big babies for this, but due to an unfortunate, high stakes, underground toddler football game – the second zucchini was destroyed. Those boys really know how to put a hurting on a monster zucchini. This year we got 14 loaves for the freezer though… not too shabby.

gratedzuchiniHere’s my recipe real quick

3 cups flour

2 cups sugar (you can use honey here but the loaves will be a little darker and somewhat dryer)

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp powder

1 tsp salt

3 tsp cinnamon

zucchiniboats3 eggs

1 cup oil

2 tsp vanilla

2 cups grated zucchini

(this is what my original recipe says)

zucchinibatter*Beat eggs until light and add dry ingredients. Mix well. Pour into greased loaf pans and bake at 325 for 1 hour.

Thats it. Gotta love the old recipes that don’t tell you a whole lot.

Heres what I do:

Grate my zucchini. With a monster like this guy, I will half it and then make these lovely zucchini skis. I like to leave them longer because thats less little tiny strokes I have to make with the vegetable peeler. Since this is an all day project I peel as I go.

Then, I mix all the dry ingredients EXCEPT the sugar. Then I beat the eggs viciously…until they are “light” (I guess… I’m not sure what that means) Mostly, I just beat them in my stand mixer while I gather all the other ingredients. Then I add the oil and vanilla and mix well.

boomzucchiniI slowly add the dry ingredients and when thats all incorporated, throw in the zucchini and sugar. I have found that if the sugar goes in last my loaves bake up a little taller… there is no scientific reasoning for this. I am not a scientist.

Bake at 325 for an hour.

I do this for as many times as it takes until my zucchini is gone. The thing I love about this recipe is that it throws together quick, freezes well, and tastes amazing. It also stays nice and moist as long as you keep it in a sealed container.

Chrissy*

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Yummy Body Lotion

Body Lotion 4

I have dubbed this recipe my “Yummy Body Lotion” because my daughter loves the taste of it. She literally eats the stuff. She’d probably sit down with a jar of it and chow the whole thing. Tonight after her shower she kept taking tastes going, “MMMM…Yummy mommy! I eat.” :)

Because of what’s in it, I’m not concerned at all about the fact that she wants to eat it. That’s the beauty of making your own lotions at home with natural ingredients.

Though this recipe seems a bit oily, we love it at our house. I use it on the kids and myself after showering/bathing and then we don’t need to reapply until we bath again. It takes a little longer to soak into your skin, but who doesn’t like to run around naked for a bit. ;)

I know what you’re thinking…Won’t putting oil on my skin make me break out?? No, actually, it won’t! Our skin actually needs oils to stay moisturized and putting oils on your skin can even make it less oily.

This recipe is great for sensitive skin. My son and I are both prone to eczema and rosecea, so we have to be very careful with what we put on our skin. We’ve been using this lotion for about 8 months or more now and we love it (most of us anyways). My hubby isn’t a huge fan of it because he doesn’t like the “greasiness” (which is something that you’ll have to get used to). I do promise that it will soak in and your skin will thank you later.
Body lotion
To make this “Yummy Body Lotion” you’ll need:

6 oz of coconut oil

8 oz of cocoa butter

3 tsp. vitamin E oil

1/4 cup aloe vera gel

1/4 cup vegetable glycerine

1/8 cup calendula infused oil

20 drops of your favorite essential oil (we like to use lavender or Balance blend)Body Lotion 2

Mix coconut oil and cocoa butter in a double boiler. Let melt. Remove from heat and let cool completely (this takes a few hours). Add the remaining ingredients and whip with an immersion blender or stand mixer (if you don’t have either of these…put some good old elbow grease into it and whisk it up). ***I get most of the items in this recipe from Mountain Rose Herbs. All of their stuff is organic. We love it!

I like to pour the lotion into molds after it’s all mix up. Then I throw it in the freezer and wait. The lotion won’t stay in a Body lotion 3lotion bar form, but I like to use the smaller chunks because there are no preservatives in this recipe so I’m not sure it would last longer than a couple of weeks at a time. By storing it in small batches, I know we’ll use it up before it goes bad. When we need more lotion, I just grab another lotion bar out of the freezer. If you would rather have it in bigger batches, pour it in small glass jars and freeze it until you’re ready to use it.

Here’s to some “Yummy Lotion” that will keep your body supple and smooth. :)

Ginny

Posted in Being Self Sufficient, Earthy Beauty, Fun Recipes, Little Bodies, Natural Body, Natural Face, Natural Mommy, Stuff we do, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Chrissy’s EO Journal #14

clarycalmThis post is for all the ladies. Guys feel free to read on…if you dare. MWAHAHA.

So the best thing ever is having those monthly cramps, am I right? NO! (guys?… you still there?…guys? yup…gone) I never really had too much issue with cramps so I never thought of taking preventative or correcting measures. However, after the 34 months of no period from being pregnant and nursing my body decided to give me a taste of what I had been missing out on. Now, Aunt Flo really visits with a vengence for the first two days. not.cool.Flo.

Luckily, I have Clary Calm my monthly blend and super best friend. I use it about once every three hours or so on my abdomen and lower back area. Works like a charm. The smell is an added bonus for me but my husband hates it with a fiery passion. I think he might just be inclined to hate everything when it comes to “that time of the month”.

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