Almost there…

Hi, just a bit from me letting you know I am almost done with my next article. I have had my house exterminated this week and I had to remove everything from my closets and cabinets then place everything back. Of course I had to clean first, (who could put back stuff in a dirty cabinet?)! It was a long and exhausting project to say the least. But all is well now and I will hopefully be posting by 5:00 today. Wish me luck!

 

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Until then I just want to say one little thing about WordPress… “Will I ever discover everything there is on this dashboard? Sooooo much to remember! “

Not a Hallmark Holiday…

cardcard2Mother’s Day is just around the corner. I had a friend just tell me he spent $29 on three Mother’s Day cards. $29! I thought to myself, if those greeting card companies truly did make this stuff up, why that was pure genius! Mother’s day is second only to Christmas in gift buying and giving. But alas, they did not.

No, Mother’s Day can be traced all the way back to ancient mythology with the spring celebration of the “Mother of the Gods,” motherrheaRhea. When Christianity was introduced, they celebrated Mary, the mother of Christ on a day called Mothering Sunday.  It soon expanded to include all mothers in the celebration.

In England, during this time, many young people had to go away from their home for work. They were encouraged to go home and see their mothers and families on this day. It was customary to have a cake, called the mothering cake for the festivities. They usually did this on the last Sunday of Lent. It is still celebrated in much the same way today. The cake has been renamed the mother4“Simnel” cake.  According to legend a man named Simon and his wife, Nell argued over whether the cake should be baked or boiled. Funny how traditions are born. You can read more about Mothering Sunday and even get a recipe for the cake via a link here.

Mother’s Day was not celebrated in America until well after the north/south civil war. Due to constant hardship the early settlers had let the celebration die out. The modern Mother’s day much of the whole world celebrates today can be contributed to one Appalachian housewife. Anne Marie Reeves Jarvis worked diligently and saved countless lives after the civil war in her campaign for more sanitary conditions. Through what she called Mother Friendship Clubs she taught sanitary nursing practices as well as worked to reconcile the two opposing sides.

carnations1Her daughter Anna Jarvis remained unmarried and looked after her mother in her dying days. Upon her death Anna began work with friends and family to proclaim a day of national recognition and honor for all mothers, alive or deceased. The notion took hold and spread across the nation after a May church service was held in honor of Mrs. Jarvis. At the service Anna laid out white carnations, (her mother’s favorite). After the service she gave each person one of the carnations as a memento of the day. There in lies the modern tradition of the carnation.

Not long after, president Woodrow Wilson declared the 2nd Sunday in May a national holiday for honoring our mothers and motherly like. Ironically Ms. Jarvis became a major opponent to the holiday when she saw the secular commercialism the intended religious, reflective day of remembrance took on. $29 on three cards, I’d say she would be quite disgusted today.

Still, Mother’s day is celebrated with zeal. The idea has swept the globe and most countries today celebrate in one form or another. Thailand celebrates on August 12th the “Mother of all Thai People,” Queen Sirikit. They celebrate with colorful lights and parades. Mother’s are given jasmine and they in turn bless their children. America still carries on the tradition of the carnation, as well as the more commercial gift giving. When a carnation is given today it can be either red/pink or white. The red signifying your mother is still alive, white if passed on. It is also customary to lay white carnations on mother’s graves for this day.

Here are a few ideas to honor your mother with this weekend.

  • Breakfast in bed
  • A luxurious spa day
  • Give the gift of memories (creative scrapbook, photo collage, etc)
  • A bouquet of her favorite flowers
  • Or try your hand at whipping up a homemade honey, citrus, sugar scrub she will love!

I hope you all have a great Mother’s Day filled with lots of loving memories. If you are alone or your own mother has passed away try to find someone who deserves the extra credit and celebrate with them. It is a day to honor our beloved women in our lives!

Please let me know your unique and fun ways you plan to celebrate this year. I look forward to hearing from you! Now go surprise your mom with all the research you have put in to her special day 😉

 

Other websites credited for information are: http://www.theholidayspot.com/mothersday/history.htm

Broken Make-up Fix – Pintested

makeupEXPENSIVE COMPACT BROKEN???

I certainly needed this handy little piece of information! I had six or seven compacts that were either broken, or near empty. I’m a serious cheap skate and couldn’t part with the little ring of powder left behind.

IMG_0658FIX IT!

I followed the simple directions from this site. I used regular rubbing alcohol, a glass bowl, and a spoon. I broke the powder up in the bowl with the spoon. A mortar and pestle would have worked, if I could only find my pestle!

I placed a small mound into one of the deepest, empty compacts. Added just a few drops of water and began to mix. It got quite messy, and I had to keep adding powder and alcohol to fill up the compact. I think it would have been easier to pre-mix, then add to the compact.

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After I had a dry paste going on I began to tap it out with my fingers, flattening and evenly distributing the mix into the compact. I did not feel the need to use the plastic wrap. It should be dry enough to handle.

Let dry overnight, and voila! I had a whole new compact for free!

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It looks a little rough. I might have done good to use that plastic wrap, (to cover and smooth when wet). A couple of uses should smooth it anyway. It has held together well and is quite useable. I highly approve!

EYESHADOW

I havent tried this with eyeshadow, but I’m sure it would work as well. If not, here is a pin that explains how to use eyeshadow in nail polish!

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Now, what can I do with all those left over mirrors???

Have fun, and please let me know your if you try this! I would love to hear your results!

10 Ways to Practice Hope

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Hope is pretty hard to come by these days. With steady streaming news of terrorist attacks, political upheaval, death, taxes, oh my! it is enough to make you want to run under the covers until it all goes away. The sad part is, it is probably not going to go away anytime soon. The steady high unemployment rate and cost of living doesn’t add any sunshine to the mix either. It wouldn’t be hard to get down and depressed. To wonder why you even bother.

Well lets face it folks, that is not a healthy way to live. Depression takes a serious toll on yourself, and most importantly, your loved ones. But how do we fight it? Like anything else, to really stave off gloom and doom, you have to practice. Practice what? Hope. Hope gives us something to look forward to. It’s very essence is of the future. Hope is our yearning for something better, a desire. Hope can be had when you have nothing else. It is a foundation, something to stand on.

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So your mind is set in negative thinking mode? You have to change that and practice hope. Because it is a lifestyle, a more positive way of living. To be hopeful. To not be negative! Here are ten things to do to get some hope back into your life. Do them even when you feel your worst. It’s like an exercise. Nothing happens unless you work it.

Ten Ways to Practice Hope

  • 1 – Exercise!: – Ha! Ok, don’t hate me! Exercise is one of the best depression busters though. It puts some faith back into ourselves. You can control this and make yourself strong and enduring. We exercise to be better in the future, and there in lies hope for a better one.
  • 2 – Get Outside  – “…everyday, as often as you can.”All I can remember from some sage advice from a vital 97-year-old woman. Its good advice! Not only is it more healthy but it allows you to witness nature and the changing seasons. Giving us hope that there is always a chance, time and again. It also clears your mind and puts you in harmony with it, which is not a bad way to live. Now go get outside!
  • 3 – Spirituality: – I’m not necessarily talking about religion here. Get to know yourself. I’m talking about the true essence of who we are as an individual.and how your true heart feels about things. The better you know yourself, the better you can tailor your future towards being in harmony with that. Now that is something to be hopeful about. And too, knowing that there is ‘something else’ may ease your mind to know you are not always in control, and that is ok, and to have something to hang on to. When we rely on hope we get faith.
  • 4 – Play with a Baby: – Babies are the epitome of hope. Nothing else needed here~
  • 5 – Take a Class: – Always continue to prepare yourself for the future by continuing your education throughout your life. What a better way to show hope for a brighter tomorrow.
  • 6 – Redecorate a Room: – Change things up to give your senses a boost. Do something positive and uplifting; something you hope you and your loved ones will enjoy.
  • 7 – Get Involved/Volunteer:  – Helping those less fortunate sets our perspective straight. Once that is fixed, our negative, stinking-thinking is eradicated. No more “poor me”s or “who cares”.  Get outside of yourself and look at the world around you. You can make a difference. That is hope for a better tomorrow.
  • 8 – Get Organized: – Just do it. Go through those stacks of mail, do away with all those magazines, and other useless clutter. It may not be what you would think is showing hope, but it does promote a positive lifestyle and can make us not have to think as much. If you’re not looking at clutter, you don’t have to think about it! It makes room for better things, like hope!
  • 9 – Throw a Party: – Doesn’t that sound like fun? Don’t have a reason? Make one up! A celebration marks the end of one thing/era, etc. to the beginning of another. It shows your value of time well spent and our thankfulness as well. It says, here’s hoping to many more.
  • 10 – Plant a Garden: – You can triple up here! Get outside, get your exercise, and plant some hope! The very act of planting a seed is hope for a delicious future. It is the very preparation of it. You can’t have a firm faith/hope unless you first lay the foundation for it.

You have to invite the good into your life. These are great, practical ways to do that. So much better to surround yourself with positive energy that feeds your soul as well as that of others. We should all practice hope everyday. It could change the world.

Pallets Pallets Pallets

The lowly pallet is born to do a simple but strenuous job, support freight. Its wood is strong to hold up to the task. It was not meant for much more than this. But, in the right hands, and with a little imagination, the pallet can become practically anything you may want or need! It is truly amazing the transformations in which a pallet can assume. Pinterest has helped spread the word and has made refurbishing pallets into everyone’s favorite way to recycle.

One can do just about anything with these ever adaptable, and quite serviceable hunks of wood. From wine racks to lounge chairs, the list seems to never end. It is fun to see all the new ways people reinvent the pallet. There are hundreds of sites out there for inspiration or come up with something of your very own.

Although all pallets are basically the same, they do have subtle differences in their structure. If you want to use your pallet for any type of flooring or seating purposes, a good suggestion is to choose ones with the slats nailed very close together. palletnewOther factors to consider are the color (new wood or aged wood), or if any slats are missing or broken. The pallet can also be dis-assembled and salvaged for large blocks of wood or individual slats for making signs.

This coat  rack is made using a structurally un-altered, open slat pallet. Although it is missing three slats and is chipped at the top, it was decided, fits the design and lended character to the piece. We polished it up with a little sanding, wood stain, and polyurethane, added some coat hooks, and a line from an old Irish blessing. A plank was added to the bottom to form a handy little cubby for gloves and such. It is waiting to be hung in our foyer.coat rack

Although this rough-hewn stair step is currently being used as a shoe rack, it was originally built to be covered with carpet and used by our little dog as help onto the bed. It is made of pieces of the same pallet, and the slats are closer together. Some pallets have hardly any space at all between the slats and make good deck floors or adirondike type chairs.

 

This plant stand is constructed of whole, open slat pallets, and pieces of other pallets. It turned out wonderfully. I have received a lot of compliments on it, and it was absolutely free except for the nails and paint.  What more could one ask for!Pallet

Here it is nicely accomidating all of my potted plants that normally live outside during the summer months. They are all neatly in one place so I may easily water and care for them, which unfortunately rarely happens!palletplant

WHERE TO GET YOUR PALLET:

Where might one obtain pallets? A quick search on Craigslist in the “free” catagory can get you started. Simply stopping and asking is another way to get your hands on some nice ones. Don’t bother asking the big chain stores. They usually turn them back in to their vendors or use them for their own shipping purposes. I found mine through a Craigslist search. They were at a construction site.  They had hundreds and were giving them away for free! I snagged a whole truck load!

An interesting observation: palletflagThis picture is pinned onto my Crafty Ideas board on Pinterest. It has garnered more re-pins than anything else on any of my boards.  I have pinned similar things just to see if it was the patriotic theme, but no other has received as much attention as this one, and significantly so! What is so special about it? I have no idea! It is a nice picture and it does link to a cornucopia of diy craft ideas. I personally have not made on yet, but I more than likely will. And, to have a little fun with research and sociology,  I will take a picture of it,  pin it onto Pinterest, and continue the study. I will most certainly update my findings.

What a fun way to add tons of functional pieces to your home! I hope I have inspired someone to go take on a pallet project. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. Have fun and let me know what you come up with!

Easy Healthy

SMOOTHIE UP IN YOU (no pun intended)!

A quick blurb on the smoothie here. It is one of my favorite things throughout the day. In my opinion, It is the hands down, best way to eat healthy.  It is so easy! It’s like drinking a milkshake everyday, and what can be easier than that? You can pack a lot of stuff into these things too. They are healthy and fast, and I’ll take that any day!

I’m not here to post recipes though.  I’m hoping to broaden the spectrum. If you’ve never tried making your own smoothie and are a little intimidated with all the combinations out there, have no fear!  If you have time to make a healthy lunch, but no time to sit down to eat it, a smoothie gets you there every time! With a general overview of smoothie making and some truly, voluntay guidelines I hope to convey how easy it is to incorporate good foods into your (or your loved ones’) diet, even if it is on the go. I was simply thrilled with the ease and speed I could throw one together,  have it taste like a dream, and be ‘good for you’ all at the same time! There are no hard and fast rules here.

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Blend it!

You will need something to blend with. We started making smoothies when I was gifted with a Magic Bullet. Thanks Mom! These things are a powerful little tool, but you can make smoothies in a regular blender if you don’t have one. The thing I like most about the bullet is your container you blend in becomes the cup you drink from. Fast and convenient. Two of my favorite things!

Fruity Tootie Fresh and Smoothie

You need some type of fruit. I buy frozen, or freeze my own fruit. The little one in our family will only eat half of a banana at a time, so I am in constant supply of left over bananas to freeze. Peel them first though! I’ve learned that adding non-frozen foods as well (fresh or canned) helps with the consistency. An ‘all frozen’ smoothie will render it very think. I like mine drinkable, thank you! If you use canned fruit, make sure you try to avoid heavy syrups and added sugar. Common fruits I use are (but not limited to):

  • Strawberries (frozen or fresh)
  • Raspberries (frozen or fresh)
  • Blueberries (frozen or fresh)
  • Pineapple (frozen, fresh, or canned)
  • Mandarin Oranges (frozen, fresh, or canned)
  • Peaches (frozen or fresh)
  • Bananas (frozen or fresh)
  • Mangos (frozen or fresh)

But there are so many more! You can combine any of these for different combinations. Have fun with it!

Getting the Good Stuff

As with all the mommy rage about sneaking nutritious foods into recipes for the little ones, you can do the same with smoothies. I discovered Kale Cubes  and although they are a little work at first, they come in very handy and are chock full of vitamins. IMG_0479I’ve looked for pre-packaged, frozen kale to no avail, so kale cubes provides a super easy way to add the  frozen content as well as the added nutrition to my smoothie.

Common veggies I like to add are (but not limited to):

  • Kale (frozen or fresh)
  • Spinach (frozen or fresh)
  • Broccoli (frozen or fresh)
  • Sprouts (fresh)
  • Carrots (frozen or fresh)

I must note, I only add one vegetable per smoothie or I end up with a smoothie that tastes like vegetables. I like mine to have that fruity sweetness. You can add just about any vegetable though. Like I said before, have fun experimenting with the combinations!

REV IT UP!

You can add even more vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants, and Omega 3’s  to your smoothie by adding nuts or seeds. For a good guide to what nuts you may want to add read about the value of nuts in this Livingstrong article. I like to add a few for texture, as well as ground flax-seed. Peanut butter is another possibility, with a grain cereal and milk. Breakfast to go!

IMG_0485Raw, unrefined coconut oil is another super food I try to sneak in. You can read more about the health benefits from here. I add about a half of a tablespoon, and when blended you can’t even tell it’s in there. It does lend a tiny bit of frothiness to the blended product though.

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Get It Moving

A liquid is required to get the smoothie churning while blending. I usually add some type of 100% fruit juice or water. If I am not using any green vegetables I will add yogurt or milk. Yogurt is full of probiotic bacteria that is super good for your digestive system. But what liquids are right?

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A common concern in the smoothie world is food combination rules.  There is a huge debate about whether combining some foods with certain others is healthy. What I have found is, it goes both ways. Though, along with impracticallity, most of the information out there debunks the need for sticking to these rules hard and fast. My opinion is, if you are having a digestive problem, then you may want to adhere to them. So far, I have not had any problem in straying from them. You can read more about these rules online. Here are a few good sites I have found information:

The one rule I do stick to in smoothie making is keeping dairy away from any green, leafy vegetable. With the digestion rate of the two being so different,  it just seems like the right thing to do. And in doing so, you avoid the risk of one going bad in your stomach before the other can digest, causing gas and irritability. Plus, it is not an issue to use juice over milk or vice versa, so I do incorporate this chain of thought.

Keep In Mind!

Nothing is off-limits but there are a few things you need to consider when mixing and blending:

  • Food combination rules if needed
  • Always combine frozen with non frozen for a good consistency
  • Adding more than one vegetable will give you a smoothie that tastes like vegetables!

So that’s it! A little bit of this, and a little bit of that, and you have yourself a healthy, and delicious meal or snack. And its made to go! Please let me know of other smoothie combinations you have come up with. There are endless possibilities, and I am willing to try almost anything! Now go have a great day!

No more weeds! Seriously!

I can’t sing the praises enough of raised bed gardening. I began using this method two years ago. I had previously planted in-ground. I would break out the tiller, run extensive watering systems, and fight the weeds every year for about five years. I had had  enough.  Although, I will admit I am a lazy weed puller. My garden was taken over, year after year.

Planting in a raised bed allowed me to incorporate a little deterrent. I didn’t want to afford a couple rolls of plastic, so I researched and found the wet newspaper method. I couldn’t lose. It was free (I had some old ones already), and easy, (just put down before you add dirt), and less envasive to my back yard!

It workded! It worked like a charm! I had ‘practically’ no weeds return. And what did, I could definately keep up with.  Its better than plastic, as it will absorb back into the ground, leaving your garden pest free. It actually kills them I think. After a year I was pretty sure the newspaper had disintegrated back into the ground, yet hardly any weeds grew back! Truly, a miracle!
I turned my soil over a week ago, and as I did, I re-papered it. It worked so well last year I couldn’t resist seeing what another coat would do. But this time, I checked with my local newspaper for old copies, hopefully free. Although they did not have old copies, they did have end rolls of blank paper for $3 a roll. Free to schools I think! Check with yours! I did a bed and some container tires with one roll of it. I will be going back for more! This stuff would also be great for banners and posters too!With my little helper. The roll of newspaper is to the lower left corner            IMG_0300

With my little helper. The roll of newspaper is in the lower left

Gardening is so much more pleasant without the weeds. I highly recommend this method.  As my back yard used to be a cow pasture, I don’t have grass, I have weeds! I am looking forward to this planting season, with my new raised beds of tires (they have such a large planting area when you cut the sides out), and NO WEEDS!!! Can I get a whoooo hoooo! 🙂 Carry on!

Live well/Play hard