Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body,
but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out & proclaiming “Wow, What a Ride!”

Friday, October 21, 2016

fun friday ~ aging with friends

best part of having best friends when you get older
....we all have wrinkles !

Thursday, October 20, 2016

thursday's holiday craft ~ fun yard ghosties

Halloween is coming up in a couple of weeks, usually I don’t participate with decorating and such but last year I did promise my neighbor to do something to add to the fun for her grandsons who were making crafts to decorate their yard now that they were old enough to really enjoy the fun of…. hallows eve. 

 I remembered seeing something like this in someone's yard last year and at that time thought how cute it looked. My goal was to use recycled or re-purposed items.

yard ghosties
Materials Needed:
Body~  Old White Sheets or not~ who says you can’t have designer ghosts. Wood Sticks, dowels, old broom or mop handles – I used some branches, sticks, that Jesse insists on bringing back from our canyon walks…ha!

Head ~ Anything you have that can be shaped into a ball or head- I used a grocery bag filled with my recent shredding material. Leave some bag ends free to attach the ball to the sticks.

Face~ Paint or Sharpe marker

Neck~ Repurposed ribbon, raffia, shipping rope, fabric cut into a ribbon from old clothing.

Scissors and duck tape

Cut the sheet into squares based on the size of your balls (which is the head of the ghost). Wrap the sheet around the ball, and tie it in place with a piece of ribbon or raffia. Create a face for your ghost.

Push the pole/stick under the sheet and up through the ribbon attaching to the ball with tape. Push the other end of the dowel/stick into the ground. Push it down until you can't see the stick, but so that the sheet still can flow in the wind.

You can place a few in a circle and tie the corners together to make it look like they are playing Ring around the Rosie. You can also line a walkway or driveway with them.

If you make these, make sure you send me a photo so it can be posted here. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

meal ideas ~ autumn moroccan bake

 Autumn is here and so are the pumpkins—to some the name of this recipe sounds…. ewwe, but trust me, it is really yummy and I suggest you give it a try.

          Last night I used acorn squash it was just as tasty as with the pumpkin.  It can be made ahead of time and reheated in the micro. and even frozen and saved for another night's meal- also great for those fall party pot-lucks.

Moroccan Beef and Pumpkin Bake
1          pound lean ground beef
2          C 1/2-inch pieces peeled pumpkin or winter squash
3/4      C coarsely chopped red sweet pepper
1/2      C coarsely chopped onion
2          cloves garlic, minced
1          C frozen whole kernel corn (optional)
1/2      C couscous- microwave-cooked beforehand
1          recipe Moroccan Spice Blend
1          C lower-sodium beef broth
4          oz reduced-fat cream cheese, cut up
1/2      C yellow cornmeal
1/3      C all-purpose flour
1          tbls sugar
1-1/4   tsp baking powder
1/2      C fat-free milk
1          egg, beaten
2          tblspoons olive oil
 Snipped fresh mint (optional)
 Pumpkin seeds or sliced almonds, toasted (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large nonstick skillet or a skillet coated with nonstick cooking spray, cook ground beef, pumpkin, sweet pepper, onion, and garlic over medium heat until meat is brown and onion is tender, using a wooden spoon to break up meat as it cooks. Drain off fat. Stir corn, cooked couscous, and Moroccan Spice Blend into meat mixture in skillet. Heat through. Add broth and cream cheese, stirring until well mixed. Transfer mixture to 2-quart rectangular baking dish.

2. In a medium bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. In a small bowl, whisk together milk, egg, and oil. Add milk mixture to cornmeal mixture all at once. Stir just until moistened. Pour batter over beef mixture in dish.

3. Bake about 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into topper comes out clean. If desired, garnish with mint and pumpkin seeds. Makes 8 servings (1 cup per serving)

Moroccan Spice Blend: In a small bowl, stir together 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

healthy living ~ Onions kill Flu Virus

this is another article that I post yearly- with Flu Season nearing there are other things we can do, and this is one I love and use every year. It Works!!!!! 

Onions - Can flu virus be absorbed in onions? history and science says... maybe so.

Flu season is coming upon us and, in my constitutionally protected opinion, I feel that in many cases vaccines cause more problems than they help.  I grew up the child of a chemical pharmacist who believed that as well; other than several factors, my father, believed that a child needed to develop a strong immune system that would not be developed through simply being vaccinated. Polio & Small Pox were two vaccines he advocated. Measles, Chicken Pox, Mumps, etc.—up to a certain age, the body would be better off in adulthood if these were acquired naturally by contacting the disease in childhood.  After a certain age, and I believe it was just before puberty, if you did not contact a childhood disease, then, the risk factors outweighed the benefits. 

 I have yet to ever get a flu shot or the flu and for 20 years, I worked right in the hubbub of these nasty germs, having worked in an emergency room all day.  I also truly believe that simple pure soap and water and hand washing is your biggest ally.  All these fandangled antibacterial products have done nothing but create “designer bugs” that will be humanities downfall.  I also think that the more rain and bad weather we have from October to March helps keep the illnesses at bay. Why? Because there is less travel, people stay home and out of public areas, and the “bugs” stay home with them.  Just a thought.

What's the buzz about onions: if you put an onion in a bowel in each room of your house it will absorb any flu virus that would be in your home.  Worth a try... we've got nothing to lose by trying.

A little history on this theory:
In 1919 when the flu killed 40 million people there was this Doctor that visited the many farmers to see if he could help them combat the flu. Many of the farmers and their family had contracted it and many died.

The doctor came upon this one farmer and to his surprise, everyone was very healthy. When the doctor asked what the farmer was doing that was different, the wife replied that she had placed an unpeeled onion in a dish in the rooms of the home, (probably only two rooms back then). The doctor couldn't believe it and asked if he could have one of the onions and place it under the microscope. She gave him one and when he did this, he did find the flu virus in the onion. It obviously absorbed the bacteria, therefore, keeping the family healthy.

The moral of the story is, buy some onions and place them in bowls around your home. If you work at a desk, place one or two in your office or under your desk or even on top somewhere. Try it and see what happens. A friend did it last year and they never got the flu.

If this helps you and your loved ones from getting sick, all the better. If you do get the flu, it just might be a mild case.

Whatever, what have you to lose? Just a few bucks on onions!!!!!!

Monday, October 17, 2016

storytelling gourds ~ inspirations from Nature

The other day as I was trolling through the internet, looking for that unusual and unique craft, something that reflected creativity and had a piece of nature attached… that is when I came across carved gourds.

The gently curving gourd is one of Mother Nature's gifts to humankind. Prehistoric peoples in Africa, Asia, and "the Americas valued this squash like fruit with its woody pulp not for its limited nutritional value but for its utility and beauty. Gourds were the first containers, predating baskets and pottery. A dry, hollow gourd could carry water for a family, store treasured fetish items, or serve as a platter for a hot meal. As time passed, people recognized the important role gourds played in their lives and began to embellish them with artful paintings and carvings. The tradition was carried forward through the ages, and the rough pictographs that originally graced the tough skin of gourds evolved into stunningly detailed 360 degree panoramas illustrating stories of courtship and marriage, planting and the harvest, mythology, or day-to-day existence.

Small pockets of individuals dedicated to preserving the ancient art of creating storytelling gourds thrive, particularly in coastal Peru. A gourd destined to become a storyteller's canvas undergoes a great deal of preparation. Gourds must be allowed to reach full maturity on the vine so that the inner skin grows into a sturdy shell. Once cut, a gourd will be left to dry for several weeks or months, during which time its outer skin is scraped off to reveal the smooth cream-colored surface below. Dry gourds destined to tell a story are painted, varnished, or etched, depending on the needs of the artisan. Finished storytelling gourds can serve as pieces of living history, handed down from generation to generation. Or they can memorialize important events in our lives and provide us with a visual tool that helps us share our own tales with others.

I have no doubt that when you lay hands on a story gourd, you will feel the loving energy of its creator. Crafting an intricate tale using this type of natural canvas takes great patience and great care—a story must be chosen to fit the gourd's unique shape and size. If you wish to create your own storytelling gourd, remember that it need not be perfect. Your gourd will become an important part of your life, as an ‘objet d'art’ and a symbol of your connection to a rich chapter in human history that spans multiple continents, serving you in much the same way it did your ancestors- by touching your soul.

I will be adding the growing og gourds to my garden here in Colorado. I think learning how to create these beautiful gifts from nature will be a wonderful fireside project. It can be done by hand with traditional carving tools or more modern approach using an electric tool, either way they will be beautiful. Here are a couple of websites that I found of some artisans and their fantastic work that may inspire you. 

Susan Burton
Marilyn Sunderland Studios
Bonnie Gibson 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

thursday's holiday crafting ~ make vanilla extract

this is a fantastic Holiday gift idea...but you need to start now for the best results. (more aromatic and flavorful as it ages) You will be the hit of your friends and family, especially those who cook. I usually make a couple of batches and give them to my culinary friends before their Holiday Baking begins. 

Making your own Vanilla Extract is extremely easy, and is much less expensive than purchasing it. And more importantly... I know the quality of the ingredients it was made with.

 First you need premium grade vanilla beans to get a good product. (Not the dried up ones you find in the stores sometimes). Not all vanilla beans are created the same!

- 3-4 whole organic Vanilla Beans
- 1 cup vodka (traditional) or sometimes I use brandy or bourbon  

Split Vanilla Beans lengthwise with a knife, leaving the seeds inside intact. Place Vanilla Beans in a large jar, cover with alcohol, and cap tightly. Agitate the mixture by shaking the jar daily for 4-6 weeks. You can infuse the Vanilla Beans for as long as you would like, and add new Vanilla Beans to make a stronger extract.

Once that the flavor of the extract has reached the desired strength you will need to strain the resulting extract out of the jar and into new bottles. To make the bottles even more alluring, you can insert a new Vanilla Bean into each bottle and create a decorative label. Vanilla extract will last indefinitely, and will become even more aromatic and flavorful as it ages. Homemade Vanilla Extract may be used in exactly the same manner as commercial Vanilla Extract. 

 You can also make vanilla sugar by putting a split vanilla bean into a jar of white, granulated sugar. Great way to infuse the sugar with vanilla flavor for baking.

from beginning to end-- i love to watch the color deepen