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!”

Saturday, December 31, 2011

winding down the year- day1

happy new year's eve

for the last week of the year I am sharing
some of my favorite photographs and memories

Friday, December 30, 2011

winding down the year- day2


for the last week of the year I am sharing
some of my favorite photographs and memories

Thursday, December 29, 2011

winding down the year- day3

faith- tiny and tenacious

for the last week of the year I am sharing
some of my favorite photographs and memories

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

winding down the year- day4

wish we all could love like this

for the last week of the year I am sharing
some of my favorite photographs and memories

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

winding down the year- day5

boy i can't wait 'til i grow up

for the last week of the year I am sharing
some of my favorite photographs and memories

Monday, December 26, 2011

winding down the year- day6

bear butts~ hope, faith, & lily

I thought for the last week of the year I would share
some of my favorite photographs and memories

Friday, December 23, 2011

fun friday photo~ sun-kitty strikes again

when Tiera is cold....nothing stops her from taking her "sun nap".
(yes, she is asleep, forehead pressed against window for balance.)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Gift-wrap alternatives

Gift-wrap alternatives

Annual waste from gift-wrap and shopping bags totals 4 million tons in the U.S., according to the Use Less Stuff Report, and half of the paper America consumes is used to wrap and decorate consumer products, according to The Recycler’s Handbook.

 “It would take quite a Scrooge to say that we should forgo wrapping our gifts and eliminate the surprise and joy of unwrapping presents,” Just because you want to eliminate unnecessary waste doesn’t mean you’re going to have a bunch of unwrapped gifts sitting underneath that organically grown Christmas tree. There are a variety of wrapping options out there that are both festive and sustainable — you just have to get a little creative.

If you have newspapers, paper bags, magazines or old maps, you’ve got gift-wrap that’s not only green, but will also going to save you a lot of green. You can also think outside the realm of paper wrapping and use scarves or scrap material — better yet, put those old tablecloths and fabric swatches to good use and create gift bags you can use year after year.

“Use reusable Christmas-themed cloth bags when wrapping gifts. They close with drawstrings or fabric ribbons, and we pass them back and forth among the family each year. Skip plastic bows and aim for biodegradable raffia or twine or reusable cloth ribbons.”

My favorite---Natural Finishing Touches

A short walk through the forest, a nearby park or even your back yard will provide you with plenty of natural materials to use in trimming your gift package.

Pine cones, fir or cedar branch tips, dried oak or maple leaves and other small natural pieces can be tied together with twist-ties and secured to the package. Avoid using berries, as they can easily fall off and be potentially toxic to small children and pets.

For a more festive look, the pine cones can be brushed lightly with glue and dusted with glitter. A bright red ribbon can also be used as a tie at the top of the pinecones.

Gifts trimmed with green materials, such as evergreen branch tips, should be wrapped within a few days of giving. Green branch tips will dry out; they should not be used for gifts being sent through the mail.

The effort and imagination evident in a personally designed gift box can be as appealing as the gift within. A package decorated with natural materials not only spares you (and the environment) the cost of manufactured trims; it's also a subtle reminder of the beauty in even the smallest bits of our natural world.

 You may not have the same Santa-and-snowflake-print gifts as everyone else, but with a little bit of creativity, your gift-wrap can be just as festive — and not nearly as wasteful.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

meal ideas~ a Winterval Mincemeat

Grandma's Homemade Mincemeat

As a child my grandmother would start making her jars of mincemeat, for the holidays, in July at a time when we would visit them in Nebraska. I didn’t care for the taste as a child but grew to love it as an adult. The REAL kind, not this fake fruity stuff you find in jars at the grocery. My favorite memory was one summer when the gigantic crock was sitting on the counter, mincemeat inside curing,  I would occasionally catch the male adults as they passed by add additional splash of brandy or rum to the pot. I remember my grandpa taking a swig then added some to the pot and when he saw me he winked and put his finger to his lips—our little secret. I then understood what the true value of mincemeat was-ha! In Europe using venison or elk is tradition for this holiday pie, and since my father was a hunter he usually furnished the meat. If you cannot find the game meat, beef works just as well. This year Steve is making the traditional filling. Here is the recipe we use.


1 pounds venison, elk, or beef chunks
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3 whole cloves
3 whole allspice
1/2 large bay leaf
1/4 pound suet, finely chopped*
1 1/2 quarts apple cider
1 cups beef broth
1 1/2 pounds apples, chopped
1 1/2 pounds raisins (dark and golden)
1 pound currants
1/4 pound citron
1/2 tablespoon ground cloves
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon ground nutmeg
1/2 tablespoon ground allspice
1/2 firmly-packed cup brown sugar
1 cup rum or Applejack brandy
* 1/8 pound butter may be substituted suet is best but difficult to find.


Trim fat from meat of your choice.
     In a large heavy pan over medium heat, place meat; cover with water. Add cider vinegar, whole cloves, allspice, and bay leaf. Simmer approximately 2 hours or until the meat is tender and falls apart. Remove from heat and refrigerate meat in cooking liquid overnight.
      Remove from refrigerator and remove meat from liquid. Remove all fat from top of liquid; discarding the liquid. Separate meat from bones, discard bones. Chop cooked meat into small cubes.
     In a large pot, combine meat cubes, suet, apple cider, beef broth, apples, raisins, currants, citron, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and brown sugar. Over medium heat, let mixture come just to a low boil; reduce heat to low and let simmer until the apples are cooked. Remove from heat and add rum or Applejack brandy and mix together.

Variation: For a wonderful flavor boost, zest and juice 1 to 2 lemons and 1 orange. Add to mince before bringing to a boil.

Refrigerate or pack in hot sterile jars and seal. May also be stored in the freezer.

Put in a two-crust pastry- using the lattice method or full cover with slits for escaping steam

Bake pie approximately 40 to 50 minutes or until crust is lightly browned.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

healthy living~ shape magazine-healthy holidays gift ideas

Here is a great article I ran across from Shape Magazine- it gives some terrific quick, last minute gift ideas that keep things in the healthy light during a season when we may waver a bit from our health goals.

Healthy Holiday Gift Ideas
Thursday, 12/15/2011 at 2:18:42 PM
By Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD

I love giving gifts, and this time of year I get excited about presents and stocking stuffers that give back to the people I care about. I especially love foods that people can enjoy and look forward to eating that are also waistline friendly and protect their health. Here are my current top five picks for affordable, deliciously healthy gifts:

Olive Oil
Why it's healthy: Research shows that animal-based fats, such as those in whole-milk cheeses and fatty meats, may override your body's natural "I'm full" signals, but plant-based fats help boost satiety and regulate appetite. Also, olive oil is a perfect compliment to beans and lentils. That's key because studies have found an increase in calorie burning after vegan meals, meaning plant-based foods may be used more efficiently as fuel, as opposed to being stored as fat.
     Gift Idea: Garlic Gold Organic Garlic Infused Extra-Virgin Olive Oil—This versatile oil is fantastic for sautéing, grilling, marinating, tossing with beans or lentils, and drizzling on a plate as a dip for a hearty whole-grain bread. $9.95 online.

Organic Tea
Why it's healthy: according to published research antioxidants in green tea called catechins triggered more fat loss among exercisers. In a 12-week study, a group that worked out at a moderate intensity for three hours a week and consumed a daily green tea drink containing 625 mg of catechins, the amount in about six cups of green tea, lost twice as much weight and significantly more belly fat than a group that performed the same workout routine but drank a catechin-free beverage. Some scientists believe catechins may trigger a preference for burning fat instead of carbohydrates.
     Gift Idea: Numi Organic Tea Flowering Gift Set— This lovely set includes a glass teapot and six organic teas, including organic green, which turn into gorgeous blossoms inside the pot when steeped $21.75 online.

Organic Herbs and Spices
Why it's healthy: Natural seasonings like herbs and spices not only add flavor and aroma to meals, they've also been shown to improve satiety, rev up metabolism, and they're very potent sources of antioxidants, which exciting new research has linked to weight control even without a reduction in calories.
     Gift Idea: Tsp Spices Organic Ground Ginger— I love these unique and portable, 1-tsp, tear-open packets. I always keep a few in my purse to sprinkle into hot or cold water or tea (especially when I travel), but they also sell organic basil, citrus zest, anise seed, and many more. $7.99 online.

Dark chocolate
Why it's healthy: In my newest book, I made a "daily dark chocolate escape" mandatory because research shows that eating a small amount of dark chocolate every day helps curb cravings for both sweet and salty foods. A recent study also found that chocolate's antioxidants may help block the breakdown of fat and carbohydrate, which means less gets absorbed from your digestive tract into your bloodstream, and therefore, is less likely to get socked away in your fat cells.
     Gift idea: Mast Brothers Chocolate Bars— I love that these siblings are committed to quality and sustainability (check out the videos on their site about how they source and transport their beans), and that their handcrafted bars, which are all dark, come in incredible varieties, including Serrano Pepper and Stumptown Coffee Bean. About $10.00 per bar.

Why it's healthy: One study found that compared to those who ate the same number of calories and equivalent amounts of protein, people who consumed an almond-enriched diet lost more weight and had smaller waistlines and less body fat. The almond-eaters experienced a whopping 62 percent greater reduction in their body weights, a 50 percent greater loss in waist circumference, and a 56 percent greater loss of body fat.
     Gift Idea: This one's DIY. Pick up some dry roasted almonds in the shell (Whole Foods carries them in the bulk section). They're pre-cracked, easy to peel and the shells are gorgeous. Place them in a pretty glass container, tie with ribbon and handwritten note and voila! You have a beautiful, thoughtful gift.

Cynthia Sass is a registered dietitian with master's degrees in both nutrition science and public health. Frequently seen on national TV she's a SHAPE contributing editor and nutrition consultant to the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays. Her latest New York Times best seller is Cinch! Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds and Lose Inches.

Monday, December 19, 2011

my holiday wish


may the magic of this holiday
season imbue all souls with peace

this week's journey


what's new... click on the link and take a peek at  jesse's blog:

berner tails ~ happy holidays to all !!!

articles this week:
my holiday wish
healthy holiday gift giving
grandma's homemade mincemeat
gift wrap alternatives
fun friday photo- sun-kitty strikes again

don't forget to visit  Journey  pages for pics and webcam updates 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Thursday, December 15, 2011

being green~ green america- holiday gift guide

I know this is getting to the last minute bare-bones of buying gifts for the holiday season, but here is a wonderful site that is chocked full of gift ideas. 

This holiday season we're making green gift giving easier—and helping you save money too. Our Green Gift Guide features special offers from businesses listed in the National Green Pages™. So this year, show you care by giving gifts from businesses that support people and the planet.

Categories: All Around Green | Body and Personal Care | Children and Baby Products | Clothing and Accessories | Food and Drink | For the Home | Gifts, Art and Accessories---

Holiday Green Gift GuideHere are just a couple of examples of what you'll find. I hope you enjoy.

Children and Baby Products
Organic Maple Wood Anamalz
Organic Maple Wood AnamalzGet 20% off organic Anamalz wooden toys at Earthsake to support wildlife organizations around the world.
Hazelnut Kids
Hazelnut KidsOffering a beautiful selection of organic and natural toys, art materials, Waldorf dolls, playsilks and wooden kitchens.

For the Home
A Greener Kitchen
A Greener KitchenGet free shipping with code GRNSHIP at checkout. Expires 12/31/11.
EarthsakeGet free shipping this holiday season with Earthsake using offer code “FreeShip2011” at check out.
Green Earth Bamboo
Green Earth BambooSave $15 on $100 orders! Coupon code: GPHOLIDAY. Cozy Bamboo Gifts for The Holidays!$10 off Preserve recycled plastic Kitchenware set, use coupon code PRESERVE10 at checkout (exp.12/31/2011)$10 off Preserve recycled plastic Tableware Set, use coupon code PRESERVE10 at checkout (exp.12/31/2011)
Greenline Paper
Greenline PaperGreat stocking stuffers like Wrap-N-Mats, Chico Bags, Fair Trade Chocolates, recycled-content CD Cases and Dated Products for 2012 from House of Doolittle.
TiloniaHandcrafted Home Textiles from Artisans of Tilonia. Save 25% with coupon 

 the Green America site has more great links and ideas. (these links are for your connivance only, I receive no profit or gain other than helping me keep our world beautiful and whole.)
Happy Holidays~~~ 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

meal ideas~ holiday sweet potato bread

Holiday Whole Wheat Sweet Potato Bread ~ great gift idea!!!!

You might start baking this tasty bread for a friend, but you'll have to make a double batch after you catch a whiff of its yummy aroma. Bonus: This diabetes-friendly bread makes a great make-ahead gift. 

Nonstick cooking spray
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white whole wheat flour or whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup light dairy sour cream
1/2 cup refrigerated or frozen egg product, thawed, or 2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup sugar or sugar substitute* equivalent to 1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup fat-free milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup mashed cooked peeled sweet potatoes
1/4 cup chopped pitted dates
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly coat three 5-3/4x3-1/2-inch or one 8x4x2-inch loaf pan(s) with nonstick spray. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine flours, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and salt. In a medium bowl, combine sour cream, egg, sugar, milk, oil, and vanilla. Stir in sweet potatoes. Add sour cream mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened. Fold in dates and nuts. Spoon batter into prepared pans, spreading evenly.
3. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near centers comes out clean. Cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pans. Cool completely.

*Sugar Substitutes: Choose from Splenda® Granular or Sweet 'N Low® bulk or packets. Follow package directions to use product amount equivalent to 1/4 cup sugar.

Wrap and store in refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 month

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

healthy living~ during the holidays

Common Sense on Healthy Living during the Holidays

Millions of us put on the pounds during the holiday season, and the reasons are obvious: It is a time of parties and celebrations, not diets and discipline. Hosts and hostesses are encouraging us to eat, drink, and be merry. Two out of three gifts, it seems, involve chocolate or alcohol. Not to mention that eggnog seems to be everywhere!

Well, the good news is that we can enjoy ourselves and make healthful choices. Let me offer seven tried-and-true techniques that will help you to feel good during the holidays and after the holidays:

1. Plan ahead - Eat a bit before you go. Don’t go to that special event feeling ravenous. Because if your stomach and brain are both screaming “I’m starved,” then the temptation to binge will be overwhelming.

2. Exercise – Don’t talk yourself into the notion that exercise can wait until after the holidays. Between parties and celebrations, take a walk or go for a run. Get some kind of physical exercise – even if it is less than usual. Every little bit counts!
3. Focus on special foods – Stay away from high-fat, calorie-crammed potato chips, crackers, dips, and breads. Instead, try new foods or foods you rarely eat.

4. Be the slowest eater – Take your time to socialize with others at the party. And be conscious of what you are eating. It is all too easy to eat and talk, talk and eat, eat and talk. Before you know it, you’ve consumed a huge quantity of food. Slow down!

5. Watch your alcohol intake – Alcohol can really multiply the calories in a meal. Drink a glass of water in between alcoholic drinks.

6. Don’t stand next to the food table. Prepare a plate of food and walk to the other side of the room to visit with friends and family.


Monday, December 12, 2011

10 thoughts on Whole Living ~ december

with the new computer and lack of a scanner, I had to take a picture of the page with my "new" cell phone and was able to get a decent shot of this month’s 10 Thoughts. It is not the best, and yes, I believe I am going to have to get a new scanner too.
Have a great week and always keep Whole Living in your hearts.

10 Thoughts on Whole Living  
(a double click will enlarge this beautiful picture)
(10 Thoughts by Terri Trespicio- Martha’s Stewart’s Whole Living Magazine-December 2011)

this week's journey

2011's december moon


what's new elsewhere... click on the link and take a peek at  jesse's blog:

berner tails ~a woof'n end to my birthday week

articles this week:
10 thoughts on whole living ~december
healthy living during the holidays
holiday sweet potato bread
green america holiday gift guide
fun friday photo- cold ducks

don't forget to visit  Journey  pages for pics and webcam updates 

Friday, December 9, 2011

fun friday photo~ garden games

"oh no, turtle has two directions he can win.... where should i go...."

Thursday, December 8, 2011

being green~ winter spice gift idea

        For me, spices are the perfect complement to chilly autumn and winter months. The tantalizing aromas are reminiscent of holiday favorites like apple and pumpkin pie, mulled apple cider, eggnog, clove-studded oranges, and hot toddies. Plus, the scents are uplifting to the spirits, comforting, energizing, and good for overcoming mental fatigue and stress. Topically, they are warming and excellent for increasing circulation making them useful for sore muscles and arthritis.  
        And… this makes for an excellent holiday gift- package it in a beautiful bottle with a homemade label- your recipient will love it!!! What better way to celebrate this gift giving season with something that is good for the environment - less the chemicals in purchased sprays- and for their spirit too.

Winter Spice Aroma Spray

Mist this intoxicating scent around your home for a nostalgic holiday aroma, or just because it smells so good!
- 3 oz Water
- 1 oz Witch Hazel Extract
- 20 drops organic Cinnamon essential oil
- 15 drops organic Cedarwood essential oil
- 10 drops organic Clove essential oil
- 5 drops organic Ginger essential oil
Add all ingredients to a 4 oz bottle and cap with a mister top. Shake before each use as the contents will naturally separate.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

meal ideas~ keeping it lite between holiday meals

Here are two excellent soups that are perfect for that between the “holidays” need to be eating light. As you know, my favorite meal in the winter is soups and stew- especially ones that are easy and simple to prepare. Either one of these recipes can have some meat added if that is your wish.

Savory Bean Spinach Soup

Let a slow cooker complete this vegetarian soup. Serve it in cups as a side to sandwiches or in ladle it in bowls for light meals.
3   14 ounce can vegetable broth
1   15 ounce can tomato puree
1   15 ounce can Great Northern beans, drained
1/2 cup Uncle Ben’s converted rice
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried basil, crushed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
8 cups coarsely chopped fresh spinach or kale leaves
Finely shredded Parmesan cheese

1. In a 3-1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker combine broth, tomato puree, beans, rice, onion, garlic, basil, salt, and pepper.
2. Cover; cook on low-heat setting for 5 to 7 hours or on high-heat setting for 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 hours.
3. Stir spinach into soup. Serve with Parmesan cheese.

Southwestern Pinto Bean Soup

Kick the flavor of the Mexican-style soup up a notch with a sprinkling of cilantro and a squirt of lime juice.

2 cups dry pinto beans
5 cups cold water
2 14 ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup water
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 14 1/2 ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
Shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese (optional)
Snipped fresh cilantro and/or sliced green onions (optional)

1. Rinse dry beans. In a Dutch oven combine rinsed beans and the 5 cups cold water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 1 hour. Drain and rinse beans.
2. In a 3-1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker combine beans, broth, the 1/2 cup water, the onion, garlic, cumin, and cayenne pepper.
3. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 8 to 10 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours.
4. Stir in undrained tomatoes; cover and cook for 30 minutes more. If desired, partially mash mixture with a potato masher, leaving soup chunky. If desired, top individual servings with cheese and cilantro and serve with crackers.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

healthy living~ 12 tips for holiday health & safety

Twelve Health and Safety Tips for the Holidays

Give the gift of health and safety to yourself and others by following these  12 holiday Healthy Living tips from the CDC. We know these, but sometimes a reminder is good too.

1.   Wash hands often to keep yourself from spreading germs and getting sick.
2.   Bundle up to stay dry and warm.
3.   Manage stress. Don't over-commit yourself and prevent holiday anxiety and pressure. 
4.   Don't drink and drive or let others drink and drive.
5.   Be smoke-free. Avoid smoking and second-hand smoke.
6.   Fasten seat belts while driving or riding in a motor vehicle. Always buckle your child in the car using a child safety seat, booster seat, or seat belt according to his/her height, weight, and age.
7.   Get exams and screenings. Ask what exams you need and when to get them.
8.   Get your vaccinations, which help prevent diseases and save lives.
9.   Monitor the children. Keep potentially dangerous toys, food, drinks, household items, and other objects out of kids' reach. Make sure toys are used properly.
10.  Practice fire safety. Most residential fires occur during the winter months, so be careful to never leave fireplaces, space heaters, stoves, or candles unattended. Have an emergency plan and practice it regularly.
11.   Prepare food safely. Remember these simple steps: wash hands and surfaces often, avoid cross-contamination, cook foods to proper temperatures, and refrigerate promptly.
12.  Eat healthy, and get moving. Eat plenty of fruits and 
vegetables. Limit your portion sizes and foods high in fat and sugar. Be active for at least 2½ hours a week and help kids and teens be active for at least 1 hour a day.