Friday, May 31, 2013

Warm Lemon Water

Warm lemon water in the morning helps kickstart the digestion process for the day.  According to Ayurvedic philosophy, choices that you make regarding your daily routine either build up resistance to disease or tear it down. Ayurveda invites us to get a jump-start on the day by focusing on morning rituals that work to align the body with nature’s rhythms, balance the doshas and foster self-esteem alongside self-discipline.
There are many health benefits of lemons that have been known for centuries. The two biggest are lemons’ strong antibacterial, antiviral, and immune-boosting powers and their use as a weight loss aid because lemon juice is a digestive aid and liver cleanser. Lemons contain many substances–notably citric acid, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, bioflavonoids, pectin, and limonene–that promote immunity and fight infection.
HOW TO DO IT: You should be using purified water and it should be lukewarm not scalding hot. You want to avoid ice cold water, since that can be a lot for your body to process and it takes more energy to process ice cold water than the warm. Always use fresh lemons, organic if possible, never bottled lemon juice. I squeeze 1/2 a lemon with each glass and I drink it down first thing before I eat a single thing, or workout, etc.
10 Benefits to Drinking Warm Lemon Water Every Morning
1) Aids Digestion. Lemon juice flushes out unwanted materials and toxins from the body. It’s atomic composition is similar to saliva and the hydrochloric acid of digestive juices. It encourages the liver to produce bile which is an acid that is required for digestion. Lemons are also high in minerals and vitamins and help loosen ama, or toxins, in the digestive tract. The digestive qualities of lemon juice help to relieve symptoms of indigestion, such as heartburn, belching and bloating. The American Cancer Society actually recommends offering warm lemon water to cancer sufferers to help stimulate bowel movements.
2) Cleanses Your System / is a Diuretic. Lemon juice helps flush out unwanted materials in part because lemons increase the rate of urination in the body. Therefore toxins are released at a faster rate which helps keep your urinary tract healthy. The citric acid in lemons helps maximize enzyme function, which stimulates the liver and aids in detoxification.
3) Boosts Your Immune System. Lemons are high in vitamin C, which is great for fighting colds.  They’re high in potassium, which stimulates brain and nerve function. Potassium also helps control blood pressure. Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) found in lemons demonstrates anti-inflammatory effects, and is used as complementary support for asthma and other respiratory symptoms plus it enhances iron absorption in the body; iron plays an important role in immune function. Lemons also contain saponins, which show antimicrobial properties that may help keep cold and flu at bay. Lemons also reduce the amount of phlegm produced by the body.
4) Balances pH Levels. Lemons are one of the most alkalizing foods for the body. Sure, they are acidic on their own, but inside our bodies they’re alkaline (the citric acid does not create acidity in the body once metabolized). Lemons contain both citric and ascorbic acid, weak acids easily metabolized from the body allowing the mineral content of lemons to help alkalize the blood. Disease states only occur when the body pH is acidic. Drinking lemon water regularly can help to remove overall acidity in the body, including uric acid in the joints, which is one of the primary causes of pain and inflammation.
5) Clears Skin. The vitamin C component as well as other antioxidants helps decrease wrinkles and blemishes and it helps to combat free radical damage. Vitamin C is vital for healthy glowing skin while its alkaline nature kills some types of bacteria known to cause acne. It can actually be applied directly to scars or age spots to help reduce their appearance. Since lemon water purges toxins from your blood, it would also be helping to keep your skin clear of blemishes from the inside out. The vitamin C contained in the lemon rejuvenates the skin from within your body.
6) Energizes You and Enhances Your Mood. The energy a human receives from food comes from the atoms and molecules in your food. A reaction occurs when the positive charged ions from food enter the digestive tract and interact with the negative charged enzymes. Lemon is one of the few foods that contain more negative charged ions, providing your body with more energy when it enters the digestive tract. The scent of lemon also has mood enhancing and energizing properties. The smell of lemon juice can brighten your mood and help clear your mind. Lemon can also help reduce anxiety and depression.
7) Promotes Healing. Ascorbic acid (vitamin C), found in abundance in lemons, promotes wound healing, and is an essential nutrient in the maintenance of healthy bones, connective tissue, and cartilage. As noted previously, vitamin C also displays anti-inflammatory properties. Combined, vitamin C is an essential nutrient in the maintenance of good health and recovery from stress and injury.
8) Freshens Breath. Besides fresher breath, lemons have  been known to help relieve tooth pain and gingivitis. Be aware that citric acid can erode tooth enamel, so you should be mindful of this. No not brush your teeth just after drinking your lemon water. It is best to brush your teeth first, then drink your lemon water, or wait a significant amount of time after to brush your teeth. Additionally, you can rinse your mouth with purified water after you finish your lemon water.
9) Hydrates Your Lymph System. Warm water and lemon juice supports the immune system by hydrating and replacing fluids lost by your body. When your body is deprived of water, you can definitely feel the side effects, which include: feeling tired, sluggish, decreased immune function, constipation, lack of energy, low/high blood pressure, lack of sleep, lack of mental clarity and feeling stressed, just to name a few.
10) Aids in Weight Loss. Lemons are high in pectin fiber, which helps fight hunger cravings. Studies have shown people who maintain a more alkaline diet, do in fact lose weight faster. I personally find myself making better choices throughout the day, if I start my day off right, by making a health conscious choice to drink warm lemon water first thing every morning.

DY instant oatmeal

Make oatmeal cookies and just substitute the oatmeal and raisins for this stuff. They turn out awesome.
These can also be made and stored with mylar and oxygen absorbers for long term ready to eat instant breakfasts. 
Do one with trail mix from the store, just add the oatmeal to it and the dry milk. Same recipe. Get creative and make your own, your taste buds will love it. Use these as a guideline and adapt for your own taste buds. 
For single serve after you have made the mix up, measure the amount you want, put it in containers you can microwave then all you have to open the container and add water to microwave. This is a great alternative to prepackaged oatmeal's.

Tropical Instant Oatmeal
3 cups Instant Oatmeal
1 Cup freeze dried Mangoes
½ cup coconut
½ cup bananas
½ cup sugar (optional)
Pinch of salt

Red Berry Instant Oatmeal
3 cups Instant Oatmeal
1 cup freeze dried raspberries
1 cup freeze dried strawberries
½ cup dry milk
½ cup sugar (not optional)
Pinch of Salt

Banana Bread oatmeal
3 cups Instant Oatmeal
1 cup dried bananas
½ cup choc chips or raisins
½ cup dry milk
½ cup sugar (optional)
Pinch of salt

My Favorite Trail Mix Oatmeal
3 cups instant oatmeal
3 cups Trail Mix, Any Variety
½ cup dry milk
½ cup Sugar (optional)
Pinch of Salt

Put one cup oats in a blender or food processor and whirl it at high speed until it is powdery. Combine powdered oats with all the other ingredients, mix well, label correctly, and store in air tight container.
The point is to show you how you can make your own. It is simple and easy to do and you control the ingredients. Make your own organic blends. Adjust the fruits, add nuts, change the grains, create your own that you and your family love. 
To serve mix ½ cup oats with ½ cup water. Microwave 1 minute or pour boiling hot water on it and cover to let stand 5 minutes. Serve with milk or other beverage.


Ever since I started using Hydrogen Peroxide to get rid of armpit stains, to clean cookie sheets, as a miracle cleaner in my kitchen and bathroom, and to make my own “oxi clean”…I ALWAYS have at least one bottle of the stuff under my kitchen sink, under my bathroom sink, AND in the laundry room. This stuff is amazingly versatile!

But it wasn’t until recently, after doing some IN DEPTH research on the subject, that I came to realize what a “miracle substance” hydrogen peroxide really is! It’s safe, it’s readily available, it’s cheap, and best of all, it WORKS! It works for a LOT of stuff!

Hydrogen peroxide should really be called oxygen water, since it is basically the same chemical make up as water but with an extra oxygen atom (H2O2). Because of this it breaks down quickly and harmlessly into oxygen and water.

Some other interesting facts about hydrogen peroxide:

It is found in all living material.
Your white blood cells naturally produce hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) to fight bacteria and infections.
Fruit and vegetables naturally produce hydrogen peroxide. This is one of the reasons why it is so healthy to eat fresh fruit and vegetables.
It is found in massive dosages in the mother’s first milk, called colostrum, and is transferred to the baby to boost their immune system.
It is found in rain water because some of the H20 in the atmosphere receives an additional oxygen atom from the ozone (O3) and this H2O2 makes plants grow faster.
Next to Apple Cider Vinegar, hydrogen peroxide ranks up there as one of the best household remedies.

Besides the obvious (cleansing wounds), did you know that it is probably the best remedy to dissolve ear wax? Brighten dingy floors? Add natural highlights to your hair? Improve your plants root systems? The list goes on and on!

There are SO many uses for this stuff that I’ve started replacing the cap on the hydrogen peroxide bottle with a sprayer because it’s easier and faster to use that way.

I have compiled a rather impressive list of uses for 3% hydrogen peroxide that I hope will have you as thrilled and bewildered as I was!

Wash vegetables and fruits with hydrogen peroxide to remove dirt and pesticides. Add 1/4 cup of H2O2 to a sink of cold water. After washing, rinse thoroughly with cool water.

In the dishwasher, add 2 oz. to your regular detergent for a sanitizing boost. Also, beef up your regular dish soap by adding roughly 2 ounces of 3% H2O2 to the bottle.

Use hydrogen peroxide as a mouthwash to freshen breath. It kills the bacteria that causes halitosis. Use a 50/50 mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water.

Use baking soda and hydrogen peroxide to make a paste for brushing teeth. Helps with early stages of gingivitis as it kills bacteria. Mixed with salt and baking soda, hydrogen peroxide works as a whitening toothpaste.

Soak your toothbrush in hydrogen peroxide between uses to keep it clean and prevent the transfer of germs. This is particularly helpful when you or someone in your family has a cold or the flu.

Clean your cutting board and countertop. Let everything bubble for a few minutes, then scrub and rinse clean. (I’ve been using it for this a LOT lately!)

Wipe out your refrigerator and dishwasher. Because it’s non-toxic, it’s great for cleaning places that store food and dishes.

Clean your sponges. Soak them for 10 minutes in a 50/50 mixture of hydrogen peroxide and warm water in a shallow dish. Rinse the sponges thoroughly afterward.

Remove baked-on crud from pots and pans. Combine hydrogen peroxide with enough baking soda to make a paste, then rub onto the dirty pan and let it sit for a while. Come back later with a scrubby sponge and some warm water, and the baked-on stains will lift right off.

Whiten bathtub grout. First dry the tub thoroughly, then spray it liberally with hydrogen peroxide. Let it sit — it may bubble slightly — for a little while, then come back and scrub the grout with an old toothbrush. You may have to repeat the process a few times.

Clean the toilet bowl. Pour half a cup of hydrogen peroxide into the toilet bowl, let stand for 20 minutes, then scrub clean.

Remove stains from clothing, curtains, and tablecloths. Hydrogen peroxide can be used as a pre-treater for stains — just soak the stain for a little while in 3% hydrogen peroxide before tossing into the laundry. You can also add a cup of peroxide to a regular load of whites to boost brightness. It’s a green alternative to bleach, and works just as well.

Brighten dingy floors. Combine half a cup of hydrogen peroxide with one gallon of hot water, then go to town on your flooring. Because it’s so mild, it’s safe for any floor type, and there’s no need to rinse.

Clean kids’ toys and play areas. Hydrogen peroxide is a safe cleaner to use around kids, or anyone with respiratory problems, because it’s not a lung irritant. Spray toys, toy boxes, doorknobs, and anything else your kids touch on a regular basis.

Help out your plants. To ward off fungus, add a little hydrogen peroxide to your spray bottle the next time you’re spritzing plants.

Add natural highlights to your hair. Dilute the hydrogen peroxide so the solution is 50% peroxide and 50% water. Spray the solution on wet hair to create subtle, natural highlights.

According to alternative therapy practitioners, adding half a bottle of hydrogen peroxide to a warm bath can help detoxify the body. Some are skeptical of this claim, but a bath is always a nice way to relax and the addition of hydrogen peroxide will leave you – and the tub – squeaky clean!

Spray a solution of 1/2 cup water and 1 tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide on leftover salad, drain, cover and refrigerate. This will prevent wilting and better preserve your salad.

Sanitize your kids’ lunch boxes/bags.

Dab hydrogen peroxide on pimples or acne to help clear skin.

Hydrogen peroxide helps to sprout seeds for new plantings. Use a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution once a day and spritz the seed every time you re-moisten. You can also use a mixture of 1 part hydrogen peroxide to 32 parts water to improve your plants’ root system.

Remove yellowing from lace curtains or tablecloths. Fill a sink with cold water and a 2 cups of 3% hydrogen peroxide. Soak for at least an hour, rinse in cold water and air dry.

Use it to remove ear wax. Use a solution of 3% with olive or almond oil. Add a couple drops of oil first then H2O2. After a few minutes, tilt head to remove solution and wax.

Helps with foot fungus. Spray a 50/50 mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water on them (especially the toes) every night and let dry. Or try soaking your feet in a peroxide solution to help soften calluses and corns, and disinfect minor cuts.

Spray down the shower with hydrogen peroxide to kill bacteria and viruses.

Use 1 pint of 3% hydrogen peroxide to a gallon of water to clean humidifiers and steamers.

Wash shower curtains with hydrogen peroxide to remove mildew and soap scum. Place curtains in machine with a bath towel and your regular detergent. Add 1 cup full strength 3% hydrogen peroxide to the rinse cycle.

Use for towels that have become musty smelling. 1/2 cup Peroxide and 1/2 cup vinegar let stand for 15 minutes wash as normal. Gets rid of the smell.

Use hydrogen peroxide to control fungi present in aquariums. Don’t worry, it won’t hurt your fish. Use sparingly for this purpose.

De-skunking solution. Combine 1 quart 3% H2O2, 1/4 cup baking soda, 1 teaspoon Dawn dish detergent, 2 quarts warm water.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

solo cup measurements


simple soil test


conversion chart



1 lb bacon, finely chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 lbs cabbage, finely diced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper


Fry bacon until crisp and well browned.

Drain and set aside.

Add chopped onion to the bacon grease and stir until translucent.

Add cabbage, pepper flakes, salt and pepper, stirring until all cabbage is coated.

Add the crumbled bacon bits and cover.

Cook over low heat until cabbage is tender


1/2 c. sugar
2 tbsp. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
2 c. milk
4 separated eggs
1 tbsp. vanilla flavor
1 box of Nilla Vanilla Wafers
4 med. ripe bananas

Mix flour, salt, and sugar; add milk slowly. Stir constantly over low heat until thickened. Stir and cook for about 15 minutes. Beat egg yolks in bowl and stir into mixture slowly stirring constantly. Cook about 5 more minutes stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Line bottom of casserole dish with vanilla wafers, bananas (sliced) and custard mixture. Repeat layers, ending with custard on top. Beat egg whites until stiff. Add 1/4 cup sugar; whip until it peaks. Spread on top of custard and bake in oven at 450 degrees for about 5 minutes or until browned. Remove from oven and serve.

The Essential Home Cleaning Kit!

- Borax
- Baking Soda
- Vinegar
- Washing Soda
- Hydrogen Peroxide
- Regular Blue Dawn dish soap
- Citrus Fruit peels
- Bar Soap (Zote, Fels Naptha, Castille)
- Essential Oils
- Empty Spray Bottles

If you have these items in your home you can mix up solutions to clean virtually EVERYTHING in your home!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

DIY After Shower Spray and Window Cleaner

Approximately 1 Tablespoon of Original Dawn Dish Liquid or Organic Liquid Castille Soap
Distilled white vinegar
Using a clean, empty spray bottle – I recycle my Method cleaner spray bottles – add approximately one tablespoon of Dawn dish liquid to the bottle. If you prefer to opt for an all natural spray, simply substitute a natural liquid castille soap. Using a funnel fill the bottle just over three fourths of the way full with white vinegar. Add a mL each of lemon and lime essential oils, then screw on the lid and shake well.To use, simply spray on your shower walls and tub after every shower to help keep it clean and mildew free! Or use it on mirrors and windows to clean without streaks.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Dishwasher Detergent Cubes

  • Ingredients:
    1 Cup Borax
    1 Cup Washing Soda
    ... 1/4 Cup Epsom Salt
    9 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
    2 ice cube trays

    Mix all the powders together. Next slowly pour in the Lemon Juice, mixing thoroughly as you go. The lemon juice will foam at first but keep mixing and it'll make a sticky substance. Once the mixture turns into sticky substance, fill ice
    cube trays and allow to completely dry before using. General rule is 1 block per load.

    Easy Bookmark: More

Homemade Vapor Rub



4 teaspoons grated beeswax or grassfed beef tallow
... 2 tablespoons shea, cocoa or mango butter
8 tablespoons coconut oil
60 drops high quality, therapeutic grade essential oil (See below for a complete list of options)

If you plan to apply to your nose/cheekbones/temples use 20 drops rosemary, 20 drops lemon and 20 drops eucalyptus.

For a chest/foot rub here are some popular combinations:
20 drops eucalyptus, 10 drops rosemary, 10 drops lavender, 10 drops tea tree, 10 drops lemon
20 drops each rosemary, lemon and eucalyptus
20 drops each rosemary, peppermint and eucalyptus
20 drops eucalyptus, 20 drops peppermint, 10 drops basil and 10 drops pine needle
15 drops each lavender, rosemary, tea tree and eucalyptus

“Better-Than-Vicks” For Little Ones Under Two
4 teaspoons grated beeswax or grassfed beef tallow
2 tablespoons shea, cocoa or mango butter
8 tablespoons coconut oil
30 drops high quality, therapeutic grade essential oil – 10 drops eucalyptus smithii, 10 drops tea tree, 5 drops lavender, 5 drops chamomile*

*Please note that only lavender and chamomile are considered safe for babies under two months, eucalyptus (the smithii variety) can be introduced at two months and tea tree can be introduced after 6 months. Essential oils are very potent so use sparingly, alternating with this method for very young babies.

Melt beeswax/tallow and shea/cocoa/mango butter in a double boiler. Once melted turn off the heat and add coconut oil and essential oils. Pour into a clean glass jar with a tight fitting lid. Makes about 3/4 cup.

Can be stored at room temperature for up to 1 year.

List of essential oils that soothe congestion

Eucalyptus – Potent antiseptic, antiviral, and decongestant. According to Valerie Ann Worwood of The Complete Book of Essential Oil & Aromatherapy, the eucalyptus smithii variety should be used on children and avoided until baby is at least two months old

Tea Tree - An effective antimicrobial, expectorant and antiseptic. Safe for babies over 6 months.

Peppermint - Helps to open nasal passages. Safe for babies over two years. Some say this should be avoided while pregnant. Personally I would use it for a brief period during a cold. More on contraindications here. Do not use on babies or young children.

Thyme - Powerful antiseptic that helps boost immune function. Useful for colds, flu’s and chills. Avoid if you have high blood pressure and do not use more than 10 drops per batch.

Basil - Helps open nasal passages. Antiseptic.

Rosemary - Antiseptic, helps open nasal passageways. Safe for babies over 2 years. Some say this should be avoided while pregnant. Personally I would use it for a brief period during a cold. More on contraindications here.

Pine- Great for colds and sinusitis. Has decongestant and antimicrobial qualities.

Lavender – Antihistamine, antiseptic and antimicrobial. Safe for babies of all ages

Clove - No more than 2 drops. It is very powerful!

Marjoram - Antimicrobial. Helps with breathing.

Chamomile – Relieves congestion and helps calm cranky patients. Safe for babies of all ages.

Lemon – Stimulates immune function, but take care if using in sunlight because it increases sensitivity (safe for children over two years)

Sweet Orange – Helps with detoxification (safe for babies)

Wax Melts for Scentsy burners:

  • - Scrounge up all your empty scentsy wax packaging (you'll need approximately 11-12)
    Buy 2 large candles
    - Melt the candles one by one in a double boiler over medium heat. This will take
    a while so be patient.
    ... - Once candle is melted, using oven mi
    tts, carefully remove glass from the boiler and pour melted wax into molds.
    - Let cool completely. Use in your wax burner for a fresh new scent in your home.

    * If you spend $20 on 2 large candles, your cost break down per wax package is $1.66
  • Wax Melts #2
    Use tea lights and break them up to fi
    t your wax burner

    Wax Melts #3
    Follow the directions to make soy candles but instead of pouring wax into glass jars for candles, pour into wax melts molds.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

one patter, many purser


wood project


Ten Mistakes New Herb Gardeners Make

So you're thinking of herb gardening, or maybe you tried it last year and it was an utter disaster? Have no fear. There are a few simple mistakes that many herb newbies make (and I know, because I made most of 'em myself). Master these simple and practical tips for herb gardening and you'll be using your own fresh herbs like Mario Batali in no time.

Fresh herbs are one of the greatest ways to increase the taste of your food healthfully. I often toss whatever leafy herbs are hand liberally into a salad to add unexpected variations in flavor (basil, oregano and dill are all great choices). Fresh herbs can add punch to sauces or create intensely flavorful crusts for roasted meats. While fresh herbs are now regularly available at grocery stores year round, growing your own herbs is a great way to build mastery over your food. Growing herbs at home can be easy whether you live in a house in the suburbs or an apartment in the city.

Let it be known that I have the blackest of thumbs. I routinely kill houseplants and whether from too much love or too much neglect I never really know. Moreover, I live in a condo in Chicago, so I only have pots on my back fire escape as my city "garden." In fact, I'll argue that it is my black thumb that gives me the bona fides to give beginner gardeners tips, because I have figured out how to grow herbs and am painfully aware of every lesson I learned along the way.

It surprises me how often I bump into friends who are flummoxed about some aspect of herb gardening. And strangely, I feel there are few practical guides to growing herbs on the internet for someone just starting out. Most of the advice is geared towards high end gardeners who can make sense of soil PH and whatnot. When I was starting out, what I really needed was some sort of herb gardening for dummies. So here is my quick and practical advice for growing herbs for beginners.
  • Mistake 1: Growing from seed. When you first start out trying to grow fresh herbs, I recommend you begin by trying to grow from seedlings rather than planting your own seeds. These great little starter plants are widely available in grocery stores in the late spring. For the same price as a packet of fresh herbs from the produce section, you can buy your own little starter plant. Lots can go wrong in the seed to seedling transition (including not thinning out plants properly), so its probably best to begin by skipping that complicated task or you are in danger of washing out before you really begin.
  • Mistake 2: Starting with the wrong varieties. I recommend you start by trying to grow fresh basil. It is the perfect trainer herb. First, basil grows quickly, allowing you to observe the effects of your care more easily. Second, basil leaves wilt visibly when not watered enough, but recovers well if you water the wilted plant. This makes basil a great ‘canary in the mineshaft’ to help you figure out how much water is enough.
  • Mistake 3: Watering herbs like houseplants. Instead, water herbs a moderate amount every day. While some houseplants flourish with one solid watering per week, most delicate herbs require moderate and regular watering. This is particularly true during hot summer months. If you have good drainage at the bottom of your pot (at least a drainage hole, possibly rocks beneath the soil), it will be difficult to water herbs too much.

  • Mistake 4: Not cutting early and often. As a novice gardener, it may seem like your puny little plant just isn't ready for a trip to the barber, but then you will find yourself sitting there wishing for leaves without much success. Again, basil is a great herb to practice pruning. As with all herbs, you want to cut the herb just above a set of growing leaves. With basil, when you cut the plant that way, the originally trimmed stem will no longer grow. However, two new stems will grow around the original cutting, creating a “V” shape (see the photo above, can you spot the Vs?). If you don’t trim basil aggressively, it will continue to grow straight up, and become too tall and top-heavy. Making your first trim approximately 3-4” above the soil produces a nice sturdy plant. Of course you want to be sure you are always leaving a few good sturdy leaves on the plant (see below). As it continues to grow, continue to prune it approximately every 3-4" for a nice solid plant. I like to let it grow for some time and then cut back to within 2-3 inches of the original cut. After only a few early trial cuts, this usually makes for a nice clipping with plenty of basil to use for a pizza.

  • Mistake 5: Taking the leaves from the wrong place. When you are just starting out it seems to make so much sense to pick off a few big leaves around the bottom of the plant, and let those tender little guys at the top keep growing. Wrong. Leave those large tough old guys at the bottom alone. They are the solar panels that power your herb's growth. Once your plant is big enough to sustain a decent harvest, keep on taking from the top, as you have been when you were pruning. That way you get all those tender new herbs that are so tasty, and your plant gets to keep its well developed solar power system in place. Plus, if you pluck from the base and leave the top intact, you get a tall skinny plant that will flop over from its own weight (and yes, I know this from experience). When you pluck from the top, instead of clipping off just below a pair of leaves, you want to clip off just above a pair of leaves. It is a bit counter-intuitive as a novice, but trust me it works. The place where the leaf joins the stem is where new growth will occur when your plant sends off new stems in a V.

  • Mistake 6: Letting your plants get too randy. If you are pruning regularly, this may never become an issue, but unless you are growing something for its edible flowers, be sure to cut back herbs before they start growing flowers. My friend once brought me to her backyard garden and pointed, frustrated, at her wimpy, small basil plants. "I just keep tending them, but they don't even produce enough leaves to put on a salad!" she lamented. I pointed to the glorious stalk of flowers at the top of each plant, "That's your problem" I explained. Because herbs are kind of like college boys: if you give them half a chance, they will focus all their energy on procreation and neglect growth. If you want leaves, keep cutting off the little flower buds whenever you find them (see photo above), and it will encourage your plant to focus on growing more leaves.
  • Mistake 7: Using tired soil with no nutrients. Tired soil that has been sitting in your garden or lawn for ages often looks grey and a little depressing. Would you want to grow in that stuff? Give your plants a dose of the good stuff and they'll thank you for it. I grow my herbs in a combination of potting soil, used coffee grounds (with a near-neutral PH, available for free at Starbucks), and organic compost. If I have some on hand, I also throw in crushed egg shells. Those without access to compost (and no deep commitment to organic growing) may find Miracle grow useful. My momma swears by it for tomatoes. A diluted solution of Miracle grow occasionally can help many herbs flourish.
  • Mistake 8: Getting in a rut. There is an element to passion about herb gardening. In order to be good at it, you need to feel rewarded. So don't stick too long with one or two herbs just because they work. Branch out to a few other basic herbs that you will use regularly in your kitchen. There are few things more rewarding as an urban foodie than being able to pop out to the fire escape to clip fresh herbs to use in my cooking. Once you have become comfortable with basil, I recommend moving on to try growing oregano, mint, rosemary and thyme. All are regularly useful herbs in the kitchen, and all are relatively easy to grow. You will notice that rosemary cleaves after cutting in a somewhat similar way to basil, but grows much more slowly, so the effect is difficult to notice. Some plants also respond to clipping by throwing out more full leaves at their base. I have long wanted to grow cilantro but have not had much luck with it.
  • Mistake 9: You mean there's more than one kind of mint?When choosing herbs, read the label carefully. For example, there are two main varieties of oregano: Mediterranean and Mexican. Mediterranean oregano is the more common variety, and what you likely own if you have conventional dried oregano in your cupboard. I have Mexican oregano growing on my back fire escape. I love Mexican oregano in spicy dishes, for making beans from scratch, and often use it in tomato dishes where I don't want the flavor to seem too much like marinara. Similarly, there are many different kinds of mint. You don't want to be thinking of the pungent spearmint plant and accidentally take home the much more subtle (and not mojito savvy) applemint by mistake.
  • Mistake 10: Feed me Seymour! If you are planting in soil instead of pots, take care that your cute little herb seedling doesn't become a giant plant that takes over your garden. A word of warning for oregano and mint: both can be voracious growers. If you are planting outside in a garden, rather than in pots, you may want to consider potting these herbs and then burying the pots in the ground. This will add a measure of control to the root systems of these herbs, which can otherwise take over a garden and strangle nearby neighbors. When in doubt, check out wikipedia, they usually are careful to point out which herbs are in danger of overwhelming your garden

Chlorophyll Benefits


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Homemade Sunless Tanner

What you’ll need:
4 black tea bags
2 cups boiling water
Sponge or spray bottle (Either sponge it on or spray it on, followed by rubbing it down into the skin)


Cocoa powder
Body lotion

NOTE: Before beginning be sure to exfoliate your skin in the shower to ensure that your skin is clean and oil-free. Then dry off your skin completely before applying your self-tanning spray.

Put the 2 cups of water in a pot and bring it to a boil. Once it starts boiling, turn the stove off and put the 4 tea bags in and leave for 10 to 15 minutes.

Stand on top of a towel you don’t care much about or that you don’t care getting dirty. If using a sponge, soak it in the tea and wipe all over your body. If using a spray bottle, fill it and spray on your body and rub it in.

Let your skin dry and then apply another coat if you want a darker shade. Make sure that you are dry when putting clothes on so that they don’t stain.

If you want an extra kick in your color, slowly mix a little bit of cocoa powder at a time to a handful of body lotion. When you are comfortable with the light brown color, apply it all over your skin and wait for it to dry.

Tan should last for 3 to 4 days!

Easy Bookmark:

unclog drain


tornado prep kit

What Is Needed For Your Tornado /Hurricane/ Natural Disaster Emergency Kit (Checklist) how to Create an Emergency Kit

1.Get a weather radio. I prefer the crank radios so you can use them even if you don’t have power. You may have heard from me before that you should get weather radio and I still fully stand by that as my number one advice for weather preparedness. You may not be able to access internet, have power for tv, or have cell phone reception, but you can always crank up a weather radio to find out what is going on and where.

2.Know your families plan. Do you have a certain room that you need to go to? If somehow you get separated do you know where you are going to meet up and are there any ways to communicate with each other?

72 hour emergency kit supplies should be 
This is a Check list

General safety - know your safe area, basement, closet, etc. It may sound dumb but purchasing cycle helmets with a face guard can save your life. Head trauma is the #1 reason people are killed in tornados. The face guard will also help with flying debris. Keep blankets and pillows in your safe area to cover your body and protect you from flying debris. If it's big enough, a spare mattress.

Get a very large backpack that you can carry on your shoulders. Adapt to whatever you think you might need. Keep the bag handy to where you can grab it in a moments notice. You may want a separate bag for each person. Take into consideration you need supplies for ALL members of the family and it won't all fit in one bag. If you are hit by a tornado, you can't try to lug a large tote on wheels and it will probably be blown away. The backpack stays on your body.

5 Water bottles per person in your house
2 Energy Bars per person in your house
5 bags of Dried Fruit
Pain Reliever
Flashlight + Batteries (Or a Crank Flashlight)
a medium sized pack of batteries
Glow Sticks - Don't use candles. Gas leaks could be present.
Mylar Blanket
or two small blankets
a whistle
a permanent marker
a small radio, preferably a self-powered radio
the best out there is "Eton" brand. It is self-powered and you can get it at Wal-Mart or Radio Shack. It has a weather broadcast, flashlight built in, emergency siren, alert light and it will also recharge your cell phone battery. Otherwise: Get a crank radio or battery radio with lots of extra batteries. 
a plastic bag
a hand-powered can opener
Canned food 
a few small plastic dishes and silverware
a cell phone
Duct Tape <- Trust me Duct Tape can save your life !!!! 
a first aid kit
money (preferably small bills)
Book/ Reading material a Map is a great idea
a car charger for your cell phone
Extra shoes and socks in case you don't have time to put yours on. 
a spare set of keys to your vehicle and home
an extra change on clothes for each person
anything you may need for pets food, medicine
anything you may need for children medicine teddy bear

put this in a large bin in your house where you can easily Grab it and Go in an emergency

During tornado season: (remember they can happen in the middle of the night with no warning or you don't hear the warning until the tornado is on you!)

First Aid Kit This is the basics what you need 

1. Antibiotic Ointment 
2. Antibacterial soap 
3. Burn ointment 
4. Adhesive bandages of all sizes 
5. Medical tape 
6. Gauze pads and large surgical pads (bleeding may be an issue) 
7. Tweezers 
8. Scissors 
9. Thermometer 
10. Eye wash/sterile saline 
11. Moist towelettes 
12. Over the counter: Aleve/Advil/Benadryl 
13. Several pairs of gloves 
14. Household chlorine bleach and an eye dropper - dilute nine parts water to one part bleach it becomes an antiseptic/disinfectant. To decontaminate drinking water - 12 drops per one gallon of water. No fancy colored bleaches or other chemicals! Just regular bleach.
This all may sound silly but you may be without help for an extended period and possibly injured.

Monday, May 20, 2013

DIY Wine glass candlelight

Broccoli Cakes

Recipe below by Ele of Kitchenist, adapted from the beautiful Phaidon cookbook, Breakfast, Lunch, Tea by Rose Carraini.
You Will Need:
  • Stand mixer or electric beaters
  • 12-cup muffin tin, greased and floured well (or silicone)
  • 12 trimmed broccoli florets (each one should fit into a muffin cup with room to spare)
  • 275g (1 cup and 2.5 tbsp) butter, softened ?50g 
  • (1/4 cup) sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 300g (1 1/4 cup) flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 60g (full 1/4 cup) strong cheddar cheese, grated
Step 1 Prepare the broccoli.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Bring a pot of water to the boil and blanch the broccoli florets for 3 minutes. Rinse well in cold water to stop the cooking, then dry each floret well with paper towels and set aside.
Step 2 Make the batter.
Beat the butter until soft and creamy, then add the sugar and continue beating until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix together the flour, baking powder, turmeric, cayenne and salt, and beat this into the wet ingredients as well. Finally, fold in the grated cheese with a spatula.
Step 3 Floret your cakes.
Place one heaping tablespoonful of batter in the bottom of each muffin case, then tap the tin against the counter to spread batter out. Stand a single floret in each muffin case, and top with the remaining batter, dividing it evenly between the cases. Spread the batter over the top of each floret roughly, but don't worry about it looking perfect. 
Step 4 Bake!
Bake the cakes for approximately 30 minutes, until golden brown and hard to the touch. While baking, some butter will bubble up around each cake — you can mop this up with paper towels if you like, but don't worry too much about it. Allow the cakes to cool completely on a wire rack before serving, but do try to eat on the same day.

Skinny Shake

tastes like a Wendy's frosty:
3/4 cup Almond Milk
about 15 ice cubes
1/2 tsp Vanilla
1-2 Tbsp unsweetened Cocoa powder
1/3 of a Banana
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Easy Photo Frame


Friday, May 17, 2013

Chicken Coop from Pallets

 Here's our pallet coop:

A month ago my daughter and I built a small coop for our 7 chickens.
We learned from several mistakes, and got 8 new chickens -
so today my husband and I took it apart and rebuilt it bigger and better for 15 of them!
The forecast was 81 degrees and stormy today. Well, good thing we didn't hide inside. 
It was perfectly cloudy in the 70's with a breeze all day!

The old coop

While their old coop was taken apart, they found a place to hang out.

 Old coop in the background, and a stack of pallets from my awesome neighbor.

Early morning, beginning of the new coop.

Inside the new coop, little pallets for perching!

Lining the roof pallets with plastic for the weather.

Johnny is happy, check out the steps. 

The door serves two purposes
 It closes the chickens in at night hooking to the coop
It swings open, hooking to the fence in the day to close off the run.
This allows for easier cleaning and a free range exit! 

The same door, closing off the outside in the daytime, opening to the coop to the run.

My son is 8, standing up inside.

Eric putting the finishing touches on the coop/closure.

She is finished, just need to fill in some side/bottom of roof gaps and wire.

Day 3

The last step here, enclosing the coop with chicken wire.

Some different angles from around the yard.

The coop - secured with wire buried several inches in the ground.