Chamomile Flower Bath Salts

FullSizeRenderHave you ever had one of those days where you NEED just 5 minutes to yourself? No interruptions! No noise! Just some quiet time to yourself; where you don’t have to think or do anything. Today was one of those days for me!!

When I have a day like I did today, the first thing I would love to do is take a nice, hot, calming BATH!!!!!

So after we put the kids to bed, I headed straight for the tub. Some people like bubbles, and sure I’ll put some in on occasion, but I LOVE bath salts when I really want to relax. My skin always feels amazing when I get out… AND with the calming effects of chamomile flowers and lavender essential oils…my attitude is much better when I rejoin the living.

I recommend having a readymade jar of these magical granules premixed and ready to use on a crappy day…or every day if you want! ;)

Here’s the recipe I use for my bath salts:

  • 2 cups epsom salt
  • 1 cup sea salt
  • ¼ cup baking soda
  • ¼ cup ground chamomile (I use my mortar and pestle to just mash them up a bit)
  • 10 drops of lavender essential oil

Mix all the ingredients together in a quart size mason jar (or container of your choice). Making sure to stir them well. You wanna make sure all that lavender mixed throughout IMG_1441all the salts. The great thing about how big of a batch this makes, is that you can share with friends. These bath salts make great birthday and Christmas gifts.

When you’re ready to use them just sprinkle about ¼ cup into the water before you get in. Stir the water around with your feet before you lie down to ensure all the salt has dissolved.

RELAX. LET GO. ENJOY!!

The magnesium sulfate in Epsom salt will help to detoxify your body of toxins. The sea salt acts as a shield for your skin, so it absorbs less water and you’re able to stay in the bath longer to reap the benefits of the chamomile and lavender. The baking soda neutralizes acids in your “nether regions” ;) (which can help sooth a nasty yeast infection, if you’ve got one). And the chamomile and lavender work together to help in relaxing the stress and tension away from your mind and body.

I hope you don’t have very many days like the one I had today. If you do, make sure you take some “you” time at the end of it. As a mommy, it can be hard to remember to take care of yourself, but it’s VERY important that you do.

***Lavender and chamomile not doin’ it for ya? Mix it up and add doTERRA blends Serenity and Balance (8-10 drops each should do the trick) to your salts instead…these two oils together can feel AMAZING to help you relax after a stress filled day!!

Ginny

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Refined Beeswax by a NewBee

finishedbeeswaxSince I just harvested my first haul of honey I had some beeswax. I never planned to have a ton so didn’t really have a game plan for what I needed to do to refine it. Of course, I hit up Pinterest. It turns out I did have a pin on our Beekeeping Magic board, YESSSS.

My main problem was having the tools to do the job so a little ingenuity was in order. The main thing somebody has to know about beeswax is that it will ruin whatever you melt it in for anything else besides wax. So don’t go using your beautiful Williams Sanoma Copper pots. I don’t have anything that would break my heart to loose but I also don’t like ruining perfectly good cookware. Luckily about a year ago I made a trip to the DI for a good second hand crockpot. I found a super awesome one that unfortunately didn’t have a lid but that wasn’t a deal breaker for me… oh hey it was $4.50. I bought it to make hot process soap, made one batch and haven’t used it since. I made sure to take the proper precautions to clean the lye out of it but vowed to never use it for anything food related. Good news is wax refining is a good job for this baby too.

In this day in age you can find just about anything on the internet and I found a video by a gentlemen in a snappy hat that had the same idea as me!! He also had some good tips too! Check out his video here.

So I filled the bottom of the crockpot with water and dumped in all my wax that contained bee bread, pollen,  and bee’s, may they rest in peace. I let it heat on high for about 2 hours then switched it to low. Heating on high will make the water boil splashing hot wax every where, not so good for a crockpot without a lid.  It took about ____ hours to get all the wax to melt. Then I unplugged the crockpot to later visit the next morning.

waxcrockENTER CAPTAIN HINDSIGHT: Probably should use a slotted spoon during above step and dig out as much of the gunk as possible. I skipped this step and wished I hadn’t.

My wax setup nicely while I was getting my beauty sleep. I popped it out and broke it down to be melted again. I used my crockpot filled with water again for this step as apposed to the double boiler set up. I had a crappy stainless steal bowl that I designated for soap making. I filled the bowl as much as I could and set it inside the water filled crockpot. It took about two or three hours to melt but this works for me because I have a ton of other stuff to do.

waxjunkIf you don’t want to hear about my failures skip this paragraph! SO! The original pin called for cheesecloth, tape and a paper milk carton. Since milk cartons are already lined with wax all you have to do is rip it off when the beeswax hardens. I had no cheese cloth and was too lazy to go find some. I decided that a coffee filter would work greatly and patted myself on the back for my amazing redneck ingenuity. Yeah…the filtering was pretty slow so I made the brilliant decision to use a spoon to stir and scoop the junk around in hopes it would speed up draining. Would you believe that I poked a hole in my coffee filter…that is made of paper. Wet paper. Start over… enough said. puke. Epic Chrissy Fail. Pretty sure there’s a “Book of Kells” sized account of them all somewhere.

refiningwaxI found some cheesecloth. You MUST use cheesecloth. Then I used some MORE old milk cartons. I attached them with a hair band instead of tape like before. I had to wait for all of my wax to re-melt. I scooped out as much of the lumpy brown goop that I could before I poured it into the cartons. I poured it through the cheesecloth into the milk cartons and put them aside to set up.

For the original post I found on refining beeswax with a double boiler and milk cartons please visit this site.

Chrissy*

Posted in Bees, Being Self Sufficient, Idaho Grown, Sisters Grown or Hunted, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Oven Fruit Leather

fruitleatherbowApples are pouring out my ears right now. Its getting down to the wire to either use them or donate to the good ole composter. I just made 12 quarts of applesauce, 4 gallon sized ziplock bags of sliced pie apples, Ginny has dehydrated a ton of apples into apple chips and now I’m making fruit leather in my oven. I think its safe to say we are good on apple stuff this year.

Since I am on my 6th batch of fruit leather I thought it might be nice to write a post about it… I’ve just about perfected it to a science.

The easiest thing ever is making applesauce by the gallon. Go check out my post on BIG Batch Applesauce. Don’t even get me started again on my Kitchenaid stand mixers and various attachments… their my life. Anyway, “fruit leather” is just a way of saying bone dry applesauce.

Basically, cooking the fruit leather in the oven takes all day so don’t go planning on baking. I get mine going in the oven before I have my morning coffee. Preheat your oven to its lowest setting and line your cookie sheets (I do two cookie sheets each time) with wax paper, parchment paper or plastic wrap. I have a ton of wax paper so thats what I have been using (fair note of warning… if you let your leather get too dry, getting it off of wax paper is a real doosie).

leatherovenIf you like your leather to have a little sweet and spice add honey, (or sugar :-P) cinnamon, ginger, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, vanilla, or all the above. Taste the applesauce and if it tastes good as applesauce, chances are its going to taste amazing as fruit leather.

Spread it onto the cookie sheet. I try to make mine a little on the thick side without being ridiculous. Probably as thick as the tines are long on a kids sized fork. Spread it evenly around. I like to bang and shake mine so all the lumps are evened out. Pop it in the oven and walk away for about 7-8 hours. I have a hovering problem and like to check on mine every two hours or so and since my oven sucks I reposition my cookie sheets to make sure the cold spots are affecting more than just one area (Grrrr…)

After a long time… check the middle of your leather and if no applesauce sticks to your finger pull those guys out. I like to get the wax paper off as soon as I can and if the bottom is still tacky I flip it over, back onto the cookie sheet, and back into the oven it goes for 20 minutes to a half and hour.

leatheruncutDepending on the desired chewyness of your leather, keep a close eye on it round about the 6 hour mark. We like ours to be just shy of sticky but not mooshie. Cut it up in strips or even with cookie cutters (just to make things fun). I have even seen homemade fruit roll-ups with wax paper backings.

I will probably store our bulk bag in the freezer and pull out smaller batches as needed since we like ours to still be pretty moist. I don’t see why the dry stuff would need this though.

Chrissy*

 

Posted in Being Self Sufficient, fruit, Fun Recipes, Growing Dinner, Home Recipes, Idaho Grown, Kids Food, Real Food, Sisters Grown or Hunted | Leave a comment

Overcoming Depression: How I keep my face to the sunshine

Ever since I had my first child, everyday worries and hardships were progressively getting harder to handle. After my second, things got a little bit more intense. It seemed like each new year, it was getting harder and harder to look on the brighter side of life. The school year of 2013-2014 was the icing on the cake. After a strange ER visit with an overnight hospital stay, my husband being gone most of August and September on wildland fires, going back to work, an ulcerative colitis flare up in November (with a lovely colonoscopy and going back on medications), and my husband being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in February…I hit ROCK bottom in March and had to figure out a way to pull myself out of the dark hole I was now trying to function in on a day-to-day basis.depression post

My husband finally convinced me to go see a doctor, who automatically wanted to put me on prescription medications. I respectfully declined with the reasoning that I would much rather find a more NATURAL solution to overcome my depression. I wanted to find coping strategies that would help me find healing for the rest of my life. I didn’t want to mask my symptoms because I was worried that I wouldn’t be healing the root problem. So…my doctor referred me to a clinical therapist…who was AMAZING!! I wouldn’t have been able to pull myself out of my depression had it not been for this patient, caring woman. We spent some of our time talking about my past and how certain things made me feel. She diagnosed me with situational depression with some chemical imbalances.
Now six long months later, I feel like I have a handle on my depression. I’m not going to say that it’s a thing of the past because it’s not…I still have days where I have to work a little harder to pull myself out of the mud, BUT I have so many more good days than bad. AND I’ve made the journey without prescription medications; which, in hindsight makes me so proud of myself.

So…you may be wondering what I did to put this disease on the back-burner of my life. I would love to share. :)

#1: Please go see your doctor…if you are wanting to stay off of prescription medications and are able to, a good doctor should be able to support you in this. My doctor  recommended St. John’s Wort; which is an herb that helps you stay in a more positive frame of mind. You can learn more about this amazing herb here. I still take it most every day. ***If you do end up having to take prescription medications, don’t be hard on yourself…consider it a short term means to your long term goals.

#2: Find a good therapist that will support you and your desire to heal your depression naturally. If you don’t like the person whose treating you, find someone else. Always remember…YOU are in charge of YOUR healthcare!! Find people who can help support you and guide you on your journey.

#3: Exercise at least 3-4 times a week or everyday if you can manage it. When you exercise it creates happy hormones in your body called Serotonin…these hormones are vital in keeping a happy, positive outlook on life. My favorite form of exercise is yoga. I do at least 20 minutes of practice everyday and end with a short 5 minute guided meditation. Meditation is a great way to stay grounded in the moment and help train your brain towards self-acceptance. For me, this is a big deal!!

#4: If you are a religious person, I recommend finding a daily devotional that you can read. I have an app on my phone that I found for free. It posts the gospel for the day and gives tips on how to live a more Christ like life.

#5: Start a “gratitude journal.” This is a huge one for me. I write in it everyday and can see a difference in my attitudes when I don’t. In this journal I write down 3 things that I’m grateful for and then a detailed description of one thing good that has happened in the past 24 hours.

#6: Supplements…I take doTERRA’s Life Long Vitality vitamins and they play a huge role in keeping my chemical imbalances in check. I also take at least 2000 IUs of Vitamin D3 every day. And of course my St. John’s Wort on days where I need a little added boost of positive.

#7: Essential oils…We use doTERRA essential oils in our home because they are the most potent and pure that I’ve been able to find. For my depression I use Balance Grounding Blend at least 2x a day to keep my thoughts and emotions centered on the present, Wild Orange or Citrus Bliss Blend toDepression post 3 keep my thoughts happy and positive, Ylang-Ylang for calming when my anxiety kicks in, Bergamot for self-confidence, and Peppermint and Serenity Calming Blend for stress headaches. These oils are great for helping me quickly calm down and stay positive. Balance is my favorite oil of all time. It’s like liquid anti-depressant in a bottle. I just dab a little on my wrists and breath it in…calming and grounding at the same time!!

#8: My newest goal to keep myself on the path to healing is to read at least 10 pages of a good self help book every day. There are so many authors out there that have amazing advice for people. Find a book that fits your needs. If you’d like to know what I’ve read that has been helpful, leave a comment below.

#9: If you’re a religious person, prayer can be a great way to communicate your gratitude and concerns. I’m constantly praying for guidance, but at least once a week I focus on all the things I have to be grateful for; which is SOOOO much!

#10: When negative, depressing thoughts try to overtake you…center yourself by taking 5-10 deep breaths and remind yourself to stay focused on the present moment. For me I try and center myself on the immediate moment because I tend to get lost in my future and the “what ifs” in life. If you revert to the past, pull yourself back to the present by reminding yourself that the past is the past and there is no way to change it.

#19: Take AT LEAST 20 minutes a day to do something for you…something you enjoy! For me it’s playing with my kids or taking a bath. The house work can wait. Try and not be too focused on all the things you feel you “need to” get done. For me, it made a huge difference when I came to the conclusion that my house didn’t always need to be clean. Sometimes it can wait…especially if it means keeping you happy.

#12: Learn how to say “NO” (politely of course). Feelings of overwhelm can be a big contributor to depression. Getting burnt out can drain your energy…energy that mommies don’t have to spare in the first place!! It’s important that you prioritize things and tell people no if you can’t take on any more in your day.

#13: Sleep at least 7-8 hours a day…I’m still working on this one. We’re night owls in my house and so getting to bed at 10 can be a challenge, but since I started waking up earlier I have been really trying harder to be more strict on my own bed time.

#14: NO EXCUSES!! The only person that will take care of you is you. Our hubbies do a pretty good job most of the time, but they can’t do it all…You have to take control of your thoughts, your attitudes, and be in charge of making time for yourself. If you need some time to yourself, your husband won’t know unless you tell him. No one can make you exercise, but you. Listen to your body and mind!! It is a wonderful tool to help on a path to healing.

It’s been a long journey for me. I’ve learned SO much about myself as a mommy and wife. I’m able to support my kids and husband in the ways they need to be supported because I’m happy with myself and content in my present day life. I’m so proud of myself for what I’ve accomplished and hope this post can help others find natural healing from depression.

Ginny

Depression post 3

 

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BIG Batch Applesauce

bigapplesaucLast year I got down and dirty with my first big batch of applesauce that I was wanting to put away for the year. I have 2 huge stock pans and borrowed every crockpot in town so I could just “get it done”. I am all about the ease of crockpots and thought they were the answer to all of my applesauce needs.

I have an apple tree in my backyard that is glorious. The apples are green and tasty too I might add. They are also on the small side. Which doesn’t matter until you are faced with peeling 100 pounds of them (or more). So I peeled, I peeled, I PEELED!!! …. i.peeled. I hate peeling apples. I also had to core them by hand since the coring device stripped away half of the fruit meat when I used it. Needless to say, 4 hours later and two “Chandler playing PacMan” hands (any “Friends” fans out there?) I was ready to throw in the towel but I pushed on.

I had 5 crockpots, and 2 sauce pans FULL to the brim with apples. The sauce pan apples cooked down nicely to a lovely gold color and I had enough sauce to fill two quart mason jars. The crockpot apples were starting to turn too brown for my liking. If you have read any of my previous posts you know that my family only eats pretty food. The cook time on the recipe I was using was pretty long but I trusted it and let it roll on. The sauce kept getting browner, and browner, and browner until it was as dark as molasses. I was worried but thought “I’m sure it will taste fine” Yeah… no. The consistency was weird and the taste was really bitter. Need I remind you, this was 5 large crockpots full of my hand picked, peeled and cored apples? BOO!!!

Yeah, last year was a year for the trash where applesauce was concerned. This year I vowed to not let that happen again. SO! I revisited my notes and decided to use a mill and probably nix the crockpots (shocking). Since my most treasured possession is my Kitchenaid stand mixer, I decided to buy the food strainer for the food grinder (that I constantly steal from my mom… I’m so cheap).

applecookdownI chopped up all my apples and cooked them down with a cup of water per 3 1/2 pounds of apples. From there I brought them to a boil then simmered for 35- 45 minutes, uncovered. Stirring every 5 minutes or so. From there, I ran the cooked down apple mush into the Stand Mixer/Food Grinder with the strainer attachment. That baby works like a dream! I laced the majority of this applesauce with honey (yeah… my own. It was awesome) cinnamon, ginger and a touch of nutmeg (not alot that stuff tastes like soap to me).

Now for Canning…

To say that I am new to canning would be a gross understatement. I like to hang out and drink wine while my grandma cans. Thats how I do. However, I felt that if I took her 600 ounces of applesauce to can she would probably throw it in my face. Thats how she do, she’s a firecracker my grandma. SO, I was on my own. I borrowed my moms AND Ginny’s hot water bath and got to going. While I was drinking wine I was still paying attention so I only needed to call Ginny once for help. I got both baths on to boil and made sure my applesauce was staying hot. Washed out my jars and stuck them in the oven at 350. Got my lids on to boil and prepped my area. When I got a good rolling  boil in the hot water baths I got my jars out of the oven and started to fill em with applesauce. Then I got the lids and rings on with nary a burn on any of my finger tips, which was nice. Since they were quart jars I processed them for 20 minutes. I pulled them out, and ya know what? All those buggers sealed after about 20 minutes or so. Not too bad for my first time.

I like to use applesauce when I’m cooking for the diet I always seem to find myself on ;) I’ll keep about 2 quarts unsweetened for myself but the rest will go to my kids. I have some fruit leather drying in the oven too! OH…and P.S….btw this only took me a half a day. SA-weet

Chrissy*

Posted in Being Self Sufficient, fruit, Growing Dinner, Home Recipes, Idaho Grown, Kids Food, Real Food, Sisters Grown or Hunted | Leave a comment

Mite treatment with powdered sugar.

Sorry for the POO image but all I had was my phone and bees get very agitated by phones and in order to take pics I had to take off my gloves... I do not like to get stung. :(

Sorry for the POO image but all I had was my phone and my bees get very agitated by phones. In order to take pics I had to take off my gloves… I do not like to get stung. :(

When you start to see signs of varroa mites in your hive its a little unsettling. There are always mites in bee colonies to some degree but controlling them is an absolute must. Left unchecked, mites will kill a hive. What they do is attach themselves to a bee (adult or larva) and suck the haemolymph (bee blood) right out of it… killing the bee. VAMPIRE! Anyway these little buggers are not fun. 

There are some good ways of controlling mites. To name a few… culling drone brood (mites prefer the roominess of drone cells and the taste of drone) wintergreen grease patties, thyme essential oil and powdered sugar treatments. There are also many chemical and man made treatments out there but I wont consider them for my bees but feel free to do research on it.

I like to do powdered sugar treatments through the late spring and summer treatments but apparently this year I didnt do enough. In some things you just live and learn. Anyhoo, I gots da mites.

While doing my research on natural mite treatments I came across a lot of info about powdered sugar treatments and I was pretty shocked to discover that store bought powdered sugar contained corn starch. This is a bummer because corn starch cannot be digested by bees apparently (I’m not a bee or a scientist, therefor I can’t elaborate). I also discovered that making your own powdered sugar is easy. I used my trusty bullet with its milling blade and I have to say that powdered sugar was pretty awesome.

I don’t like to crack into my deep boxes very much so I take off the inner cover and dust the top of the frames with 2 cups of sugar and gently brush the excess down into the hive with my bee brush. This is not well received so I put the inner cover and lid back on and walk away to let them do their thing. The powdered sugar makes is hard for the mites to hold on and triggers a grooming response in the bees. The mites that don’t fall off will get groomed off.

Right now I am in the middle of a 4 week stretch of weekly applications to my hive with this powder sugar. At the end of this, I plan of wintering my bees.  I am also using wintergreen grease patties, thyme essential oil, and I am feeding with a heavy syrup laced with Melaluca OR homemade honey b healthy. Its getting down to crunch time here in high elevation Idaho, so those mites have to be gone by winter or I wont have bees come the spring.

Wish me luck!

Chrissy*

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Cocoa-Orange Face Rejuvinizer

I’m getting on in years and starting to notice a few wrinkles here and there.  The realization that I needed to start using some kind of night cream/wrinkle reducer came about 3 months before my 30th birthday. My biggest problem area is my worry lines in my forehead; which saddens me because I do smile a lot, so why aren’t my smile lines more deep. I do catch myself raising my eye brows quite a bit. So…I went shopping for face cream to help me decrease the trenches that were forming in my face.

HOLY MOLY were those night creams expensive!!! So expensive that I didn’t buy them because we can’t afford spending that much on face cream; it’s a stretch for me to buy doTERRA’s body lotion which is great for our sensitive skin, but a little more costly than I would like. The only other lotion that we can use in my house is Cetephil.

I’ve been trying to experiment with some homemade solutions for our expensive lotion problems, besides the fact that Cetephil is riddled with parabens. After some extensive research and trying out a few recipes that failed, I created this concoction that has worked magically for over 6 months now. I use it 1-2 times a day and have been impressed with how it makes my skin feel. The evening prim rose oil in it creates the anti-aging portion of this remedy, and like I said: it’s magical!

It’s a bit oily, but it absorbs within 20 minutes (I put it on right before bed, so it soaks in while I fall asleep). I know what you’re thinking! Why would I put oil on my face? Well, I was a bit skeptical as well! I had heard somewhere that oil works well to neutralize the oils already on your skin. I tried it out and I gotta tell ya, it really does work! My skin is softer now than it’s ever been (with the exception of that natural baby bottom feel when I was an infant).

Still iffy about trying this out? The great thing about this recipe is that it only makes enough for one small container, so if it doesn’t work there is less guilt about trashing it. Everyone’s skin is different, so what works for me may not work for you! If you would like to give it a try…here’s the recipe:
photo (2)
2 TBS cocoa butter

2 TBS grapeseed oil

1 TBS evening prim rose oil

½ TBS vegetable glycerin

½ TBS vitamin E oil

1 tsp coconut oil

1/8 oz beeswax

12 drops orange essential oil (or oil of your choice…I’ve got a hankering to try out my new Immortelle that I got for free this month from doTERRA on my next batch).

 

Melt the beeswax, cocoa butter and coconut oil in a double boiler. Add the remaining ingredients and allow to cool completely. Whip with a mixer and transfer to a container. Use sparingly. A little bit goes a long way!

Ginny

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Honey Harvest Junk Show

honey1I had a queenless hive. I knew it was on its way out the door. I did what was to be my last hive check and glumly noticed that there was double the amount of drone bees that there was workers. I knew this was going to happen but to see it was a real downer. I also noticed that the comb in my honey supers was starting to get suspiciously empty random cells. Those turd balls were eating honey that was supposed to be for Ginny and I. That iced it. I did a shake out right then and there without a backward glance. After a day or two I noticed that a vast majority of the workers from the old hive were accepted into the new and those darn drones got to live out the remaining hours of their lives in my raspberry bushes… not a bad way to go.

We had a full honey super and I robbed what was to be the hives winter stores. So all in all I had 10 medium frames and about 5 deep frames of honey. Not to shabby for a hive on the decline.

That’s when the junk show started…

I had always planned to rent an extractor when I got ready to harvest. Due to the abrupt dismantling of the hive I didn’t see that as possible so I decided to do a “Crush and Strain” more like “Crush and Pain”. Basically when you crush and strain you take a potato masher to your frame and foundation and scoop all the honey (including the wax your crushing it out of) into a pan to then be strained out  before bottling. Sounds easy right?

I wont claim to be a smart person and you’ll see why.

I poked what I thought to be pretty good sized holes in the bottom of a bucket and poured all my goop in. Then waited 3 days. Yeah…about a 1/32 of the honey drained. So I dumped it out and made the holes bigger, tried again…waited about 24 hours. Didn’t strain again. The bees, sensing a easy meal, started to hang out at my backdoor, where I was keeping frames waiting to be crushed. Finally, I just ran the whole lot through my collender. Which got the big chunks out but I was needing to strain again. Thinking this was a good time to use my bucket with the holes (I worked pretty hard on that) I dumped it all in. DID NOT STRAIN!

Finally, when it looked like nothing else would work I decided to use some mesh and my trusty collander again. I had no mesh so I sneakily cut out a sizable piece of tulle from a freshly laundered, unsuspecting princess dress… without permission I might add. I was desperate to never look at honey again. I got it done. Me, my kitchen, every door knob in my house, my kids, my dogs… yeah we are all covered in honey. I’m not going to boob anymore, at least I got some. However, I will be asking for an extractor for my birthday.

Chrissy*

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Chrissy’s EO #11

clearskinAfter using doTERRA’s Clear Skin Blend for about two weeks I was all set out to start a slam campaign for it. My face had more zits than it ever had so of course I blamed the Clear Skin. “What is in that stuff? Butter?!?” Anyhoo… about 2 hours into plotting my ranting post I got a visit from Aunt Flo. Oh. I’m sorry…is that too much information? For anybody who lives under a rock I was having my mensis. I also took a good long look at my diet for that month or so. Vacation? Yeah, Chinease food, pizza and a Dairy Queen Smores blizzard (ooooooh it was so heavenly) just to name a few. We don’t eat out alot due to the fact that we live in BFE and that type of grease intake is a little more than my skin… or butt can take. Not too surprising that I would have some acne issues.

I decided to give the Clear Skin another chance. I’ve been home from vacation for about 2 months and I have to say I’m pretty impressed. My face doesn’t look like the ladies in the Victoria’s Secret Catalog… but I’ll let you know a little secret neither does the models when the actual pic was taken. If your thinking that your face will be perfectly smooth, glowing, tan (what have you) life is gonna happen to you either way…just like it did to me. To say the least the Clear Skin has been helping my regular routine to say.

I like the way it feels when I put it on. However, I’m am of the generation “if it doesn’t burn like the dickens its not working”. If your skin is too sensitive to use it strait on, you could use fractionated coconut oil. I have never done this so I cant recommend it without being a liar. I will attest that I can see a difference in MY skin though and love it!

That being said… my roller ball bottle broke in half spilling a good amount of my oil and that made me a little angry. Even before it was broken I thought that the roller ball was a little too liberal while I was applying it to my face so I rolled it on my finger before putting it on.  I have it in an repurposed Wild Orange bottle and it works far better than the old setup. I’ll probably take my next bottle of Clear Skin, pop out the ball and put the oil in the bottle I’m using right now.

Chrissy*

Posted in Chrissy's Journal, Essential Oil, Herb and EO Journal, Natural Face, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

CORNapalooza!!!

Every few years my in-laws plant a whole bunch of sweet corn. It’s always delicious and my family always looks forward to it. This year we decided to plan ahead and get enough of that scrumtrilecent goodness to last us all year long! I got the go ahead from my VERY generous 2nd parents to take almost a truck load of corn to stock up my family, my sister’s family, and my 1st parents for what ended up being at least a year or more worth of corn.

photo 1

That’s A LOT of corn!!

My father-in-law was so kind to pick a butt load of corn for me to take home. According to him it took him over 9 hours to pick…3 hours per barrel load, but my guess is that he load a bucket on a backhoe in 3 hours and just likes to mess with me. ;)

After the corn was all loaded, the weight of the task at hand was heavy on my mind. Where were we going to find the time to shuck,

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Working together!

blanch, cut, and freeze ALL of this corn?? Mom and I were working. Chrissy always has a ton of things to do and keep up on at home. Our husbands were working late hours. Time was of the essence and we didn’t have a lot of it layin around in the first place.

Well we decided the best way to go about to daunting task in front of us was to take it in chunks. The first night Chrissy, myself, and all the kids pitched worked together to shuck the corn off the cob. The kids were being helpful mostly by sampling the raw corn and then putting the ears in the pile with little bites taken out of them. ;) Oh, and of course our hubbies joined us after they got off work. Altogether it took us just over 2 hours to shuck all the cobs and load them into 4 large coolers.

Cutest corn shucker ever.

Cutest corn shucker ever.

Two nights later, we had our work cut out for us. We set 2 water bath canners on to boil and started cleaning the corn. We worked out a nice system to help things run very smoothly through the blanching and cutting process. Here are the steps we followed to save time and energy:

1. Place the corn in the canner rack that holds the cans in the water bath. We loaded these babies to the gills.

2. Put the corn in boiling water…Allow a few minutes for the water to boil again and then set a timer for 2 minutes.

3. Put the cooked corn in ice water (we loaded the sink up with cold water and dumped some ice in). Allow time to cool.

4. Once cool enough to handle, place one end of the ear of corn in the center of a bunt pan.

5. Using an electric knife, cut the kernels off of the corn. The bunt pan catches the corn

Hard at work!

Go get yourself an electric knife! Best purchase you’ll ever make.

very nicely.

6. Spread the corn on cookie sheets. Layer with wax paper to save freezer space. We ended up putting 3 layers on each cookie sheet. It takes longer to freeze, but who has 10 cookie sheets on hand.

This whole process took us about 5 hours. It was a late night, but we had a blast. It’s nice to spend time with family laughing and playing, whilst doing something productive. After we loaded the cookie sheets in to the deep freeze, we were all exhausted and ready for bed.

It took the corn over 4 days to freeze completely. We wanted the corn to be frozen so that when we put it in bags and ran it through our “Food-Savers” all of the yummy milk from the kernels wouldn’t get sucked out; besides the fact that the bags wouldn’t seal quite right.

Once the corn was FINALLY frozen, we scooped it into a pint jar and loaded it into bags. Sealed it up and “whala” we had 127 pints of frozen corn ready to eat at our convenience. It tastes just like corn on the cob, but it’s easier to eat and not as messy. ;) What an adventure! Totally worth our time too.

 

Posted in Being Self Sufficient, Growing Dinner, Idaho Grown, Real Food, Stuff we do, Uncategorized, Veggies | Leave a comment