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!”

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

healthy living ~ pumpkins for your beauty

Perhaps the most well known fall fruit has to be a pumpkin. Yes, pumpkins are a fruit, it is not a vegetable; it's a fruit! In fact, it's a berry. So, to start off our Healthy Living Homemade Beauty Recipes, as promised last week, let’s start with a couple of ways to use pumpkins.

Pumpkins are good for much more than just decorating your stoop this holiday season! In fact, pumpkins are rich in alpha-hydroxy acids, a great exfoliator; loaded with antioxidants, beta-carotene, vitamins A and C; packed with anti-inflammatory benefits and even boast of natural UV protectors – making it the ideal skin care ingredient! So, after carving you pumpkin for decoration, take the inside of the pumpkin and make some DIY face and body treats, with spa like results.

After removing the seeds – which we recommend roasting for a beauty from the inside out treat! (tomorrow we'll have a wonderful recipe)– scoop out some of the flesh of the pumpkin and bake or steam it until mashable (or just crack open a can of pumpkin puree, if that’s more your style!). Then, hit the bathroom-made-spa with these recipes designed to exfoliate and moisturize for fresh, smooth and sexy skin ready for dry winter days!

Pumpkin Pie Face Scrub
Mix a few tablespoons of cooked and mashed (or canned) pumpkin with 2 tablespoons of plain, unsweetened yogurt (rich in lactic acid, a great natural exfoliator) and 1 tablespoon of ground almonds and/or oats. Apply the scrub to your face and let it sit for a few minutes to allow the pumpkin and yogurt to start to soften dead skin cells before using your fingers to gently scrub your face in small curricular motions. The dead, dull skin cells will wash away and your face will look fresh and flawless!

Pumpkin Body Mask
Mix 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (fresh or canned), 1/2 cup virgin, cold-pressed coconut oil
(which not only moisturizes, but also helps to exfoliate deal cells and even has anti-bacterial properties) and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (which is antioxidant rich, anti-bacterial and smells delicious!). Apply generously to clean skin (in the shower is neatest!) and massage it into the skin. After 10 minutes, rinse with warm water and pat dry – we think this is a perfect body treat to do while you let a deep conditioning hair mask steep!

Pumpkin Honey Facial Mask
Mix a few tablespoons of pureed pumpkin with 1 whipped egg white (which will help tighten pores and reduce the appearance of fine lines), 1 tablespoon plain yogurt (which will help exfoliate) and 1 tablespoon honey (which is anti-bacterial, great for clearing acne). Apply to entire face, avoiding the eye area, and leave on for 10 minutes before rinsing. The yogurt and pumpkin will encourage cell-turnover and exfoliate, while the honey has anti-bacterial properties to ensure a fresh face for fall!

not into making your products? here are a couple OTC ones that I have tried and liked.

Nebo Soap Company
Pumpkinfluff Mask

Pumpkin Enzyme Peel

Monday, September 29, 2014

kindness, the golden rule, a random act~

I was overwhelmed by an act of cruelty by a couple of young adults regarding a homeless woman, Karen, and her cat, Thor, which always stays by her side. What did they do? threw rocks at them, actually striking the cat so hard it was knocked unconscious. Had I not been there, it could have been far worse. Thor is okay; a little bruised and frightened, but will be fine.

I have seen this woman many times around the local park and shopping center. I have even been known to give her a treat or two, one winter some extra blankets; and recently when we said goodbye to Tiera, I gave her the extra food I had. She is always very grateful and she is content with her life. And, she bothers no one.

I called the police and was also astounded by their reaction of “Well kids will be kids and she’s really a nuisance, needs to move on.” “I told them she was assaulted and battery and I wanted to press charges- also including animal cruelty.” They were not happy and told me I couldn't press charges because it didn’t happen to me. And when they asked Karen what she wanted to do, I could see and hear their silent intimidation to best let things go- she was, after all, loitering at the park! 

As I helped Karen with a couple of tasks she needed to do, she kept trying to calm my anger and told me that God will teach them one day. I learned that she has her own income, can buy what she needs, she just chooses to live differently than most of us. Thor got some vet care and shots by me, he wasn’t too happy about that. And I left them both content to go on with their day.

 I just hate humans sometimes. What happened to compassion, the Golden Rule?

What is the "Golden Rule?"

The Golden Rule is an ethical code that states one has a right to just treatment, and a responsibility to ensure justice for others. It is also called the ethic of reciprocity. It is arguably the most essential basis for the modern concept of human rights, though it has its critics.  A key element of the golden rule is that a person attempting to live by this rule treats all people, not just members of his or her in-group, with consideration.

Later that day I was checking some of my favorite websites, one being the Dalai Lama’s and saw this quote for the day. (synchronicity at work.)

Dalai Lama ~~
True compassion is not just an emotional response but a firm commitment founded on reason. Therefore, our compassion for others does not change even if they behave negatively. Our feelings of responsibility for others gives rise to a wish to help them actively overcome their problems.

I am sure this was more regarding the two kids, police, and my understanding of them. Karen seemed to have already understood this.


How do we change the world? ... one random act at a time.

I plan on doing many “one random acts” throughout my lifetime.

I wanted to take a picture of Karen and Thor for this post, but both decline very gracefully; I understood.

this week, keep an eye out for ways you can better humanity and perhaps be a part of that "one random act." I do not think you will need to look, it will find you.  

Thursday, September 25, 2014

thursday's garden ~ a visit from Samantha

 Hi everyone, it has been a week and a half since Samantha came to live in her new home. Her favorite toy is some feathers on a bendable stick...according to her, it is purrfect. She is over weight having been in a small cage for a couple of months and just having had kittens, but we are making her exercise chasing the feathers. She loves to sit and watch all the wildlife in the mornings after I fill the bowls and feeders. Today Sammie got to go outside, supervised of course and after everyone safely left the area. She had a totally pawsome time exploring. 

 yummie smells...
 a tree, a real tree to climb and scratch on- 
 and lots of bushes to explore and hide in
 it had been a most wonderful day for our little gal, 
 now it is naptime

Sammie has agree to take over Jesse and Tiera's blog, BernerTails, so be sure to check over there occasionally for fun stories and adventures.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

meal ideas ~ dump the burger, go for a change

I love sandwiches, they are easy to make, fun to eat, what isn’t’ good about a healthy sandwich. Get away from the burger and try these three recipes I found on DiabeticLivingOnline that are a healthy change of pace. These three gourmet diabetic sandwiches are sure to satisfy anyone's taste buds. And don’t forget that sandwiches, especially open-faced are a great dinner meal sure to please everyone.

Salmon Melts
Turn this heart-healthy favorite—salmon—into a spread and serve it atop a whole wheat English muffin half with tomato and arugula. The open-face diabetic sandwiches are a high-protein, low-carb lunch.

8 ounces cooked salmon, flaked
 1/4 cup finely chopped green onions (2)
 1/4 cup finely chopped red sweet pepper
 2 tablespoons fat-free mayonnaise dressing
 2 tablespoons light sour cream
 2 teaspoons lemon juice
 1/4 teaspoon bottled hot pepper sauce
 2 whole-wheat English muffins, split and toasted
 4 slices tomato
 1 cup arugula or watercress
 1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese 

 Preheat broiler. In a medium bowl stir together salmon, onions, sweet pepper, mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, and hot pepper sauce. Arrange English muffin halves on a baking sheet. Top evenly with tomato slices, arugula, salmon mixture, and the cheese. Broil 4 to 5 inches from the heat for 3 to 4 minutes or until cheese melts and bubbles.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 244 cal., 11 g total fat (3 g sat. fat), 48 mg chol., 348 mg sodium, 17 g carb. (3 g fiber, 5 g sugars), 20 g pro. Diabetic Exchanges Medium-Fat Meat (d.e): 2; Vegetables (d.e): 0.5; Starch (d.e): 1;

Open-Face Shredded Beef Sandwiches
Try this diabetic recipe when you’re craving a big meal. The sandwich is low-carb but piled high with crispy peppers, a tangy Worcestershire-base Southwestern sauce, and most importantly, a huge stack of tender beef roast.

1 tablespoon instant espresso coffee granules
 1 pound extra-lean beef chuck roast, trimmed
 Nonstick cooking spray
 1 1/2 cups chopped onions (3 medium)
 1/2 of a red sweet pepper, cut into thin strips
 1/2 of a green sweet pepper, cut into thin strips
 4 cloves garlic, minced
 2 bay leaves
 1/2 cup dry red wine
 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
 1/2 teaspoon salt
 6 thick slices multigrain Italian bread (about 1 1/2 ounces each)
 6 thin slices provolone cheese (3 ounces total)

 Sprinkle coffee granules evenly over all sides of the roast; rub in with your fingers. Coat a medium nonstick skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium high heat. Add roast; cook until light brown on both sides, turning once.

 Meanwhile, coat a 3- or 3 1/2-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Layer onions, pepper strips, garlic, and bay leaves in cooker. Place roast on top of vegetables.
 Add wine to skillet; bring to boiling over medium-high heat, using a wooden spoon to scrape brown bits from bottom and sides of skillet. Remove from heat; stir in vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Pour over roast.

 Cover and cook on low-heat setting 9 to 10 hours or on high-heat setting 4 1/2 to 5 hours

 Using a slotted spoon, transfer meat to a cutting board. Remove and discard bay leaves. Stir salt into mixture in cooker. Using two forks, pull meat apart into shreds; return shredded meat to cooker, stirring to combine.

 Preheat broiler. Arrange bread slices on a baking sheet; top each bread slice with a cheese slice. Broil 4 to 5 inches from heat until cheese melts and bread is toasted.
 To serve, using a slotted spoon, divide meat mixture among bread slices.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:  273 cal., 8 g total fat (4 g sat. fat), 41 mg chol., 546 mg sodium, 26 g carb. (4 g fiber, 5 g sugars), 21 g pro. Diabetic Exchanges Vegetables (d.e): 2; Starch (d.e): 1; Lean Meat (d.e): 2; Medium-Fat Meat (d.e): 0.5;

Banh Mi Vietnamese Sandwiches
A zingy vegetable slaw gives these low-carb pork sandwiches extra crunch.

12 ounces pork tenderloin
 2 tablespoons Asian sweet chili sauce
 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
 1 small cucumber, seeded and cut into thin strips
 1 small red sweet pepper, cut into thin strips
 1 medium carrot, shredded
 1/4 cup green onion, chopped
 1/4 cup bottled low-fat sesame ginger salad dressing
 1 tablespoon lime juice
 1 10oz loaf whole grain baguette-style bread, split 
 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
 1 jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced and seeded, if desired

 Trim fat from meat. Cut meat crosswise into 1/2-inch slices. Press each piece with the palm of your hand to make an even thickness. In a small bowl combine Asian sweet chili sauce and soy sauce. Brush sauce mixture onto pork slices. In a greased grill pan or extra-large skillet, cook meat over medium-high heat for 4 to 6 minutes or until slightly pink in center and juices run clear, turning once.

 In a large bowl combine cucumber, sweet pepper, carrot, green onion, salad dressing, and lime juice.

 Place meat slices on the bottom half of the baguette. Top with vegetable mixture, cilantro leaves, jalapeno slices, and top half of baguette. Cut into portions to serve.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 220 cal., 4 g total fat 37 mg chol., 481 mg sodium, 26 g carb. (6 g fiber, 4 g sugars), 19 g pro. Diabetic Exchanges Lean Meat (d.e): 2; Vegetables (d.e): 0.5; Starch (d.e): 1.5;

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

healthy living ~ autumn skin care

Whether it’s spring, summer, autumn or winter; our skin needs special attention. Over the next couple of weeks I will post several wonderful "DIY" recipes for Autumn Skin Care. Some I have posted in the past, some will be new, so check back every Tuesday.

Autumn represent the perfect time to renew, to recover from previous environmental aggression and emerge restored and refreshed whilst prepping the skin for harsher climates.

In autumn, atmosphere characteristics are dry and cooler.

Skin issues: rough, dry, dehydrated, drab skin (summer aftermath).

Remedy: moisturize, protect and prepare.
Moisturize while you cleanse.  It is advisable to switch to a creamier, gentle, non-clogging cleanser that will add extra moisture and protect your skin from environmental aggression.

Steer clear of heavy metals. Chlorine, fluorine, etc. disturb the skin’s acid mantle leading to imbalances

Use mildly acidic, hydrating toners. They will finalize the cleansing process and balance the skin’s pH.

Do exfoliate, but be gentle. Summer damage can result in cellular build-up on the skin’s surface. To effectively remove dead skin cells and leave the skin smooth, it is advisable to frequently exfoliate using mildly acidic, natural formulations. pH balanced exfoliates support the skin’s natural functions and prep the skin to better absorb nutrients without causing irritation, a crucial aspect considering our skins have been exposed to several aggression during summer. DO NOT use cleansers with “beads” or “meal” for exfoliating- the beads can lodge in enlarged pores and cause  infections as I have seen many times in the ER. Use a gentle puff, it will do the trick nicely.

Tailor your routine. In order to repair your summer skin and prepare it for winter, you will need to modify your moisturizing regime. Your skin needs richer, more emollient creams (especially at night) that keep the skin elastic and lubricious.

Shield your skin. Although sun radiation is less intense, you should continue protecting your skin against damaging UV rays. Use daily a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 and remember to re-apply it every 2 hours.

Fix summer damage with a weekly treatment. Seasonal fresh fruits, when applied topically, can slough off dull, hyper-pigmented, actinic (photo-aged) skin as well as stimulate cellular renewal.
Internal Measures

Super hydrate. Drinking at least 8 glasses of water per day will keep your skin moisturized and help eliminate toxins effectively. Have an extra glass of water for every glass of alcohol/cup of coffee you take to prevent possible dehydration. Try to get as much water as possible from fresh fruits and vegetables.

EAT Foods rich in Omega-3 essential fatty acids and antioxidants such as polyphones, Vitamins A, C and E can help reverse summer damage, prepare it for the challenges it will face during winter and boost the skin’s immune system while preserving its quality and restoring its natural glow.

Monday, September 22, 2014

welcome Fall Equinox, the birth of Autumn

There are two equinoxes every year – September
 and March – the sun shines directly on the equator
 and the length of day and night is nearly equal.
Today, Monday September 22 at 7:29 PM PDT the Fall Equinox arrives and autumn officially begins. 

The birth of autumn is an event missed by many. Autumn reveals itself slowly, hovering on the edges of our consciousness until its crisp breezes are strong enough to pierce our summer clothing, and we notice for the first time the transformations taking place all around us. It is only when the last fruits and vegetables have emerged in the crisp tangy air and the trees have begun to deck themselves in shifting patterns of crimson and gold that we internalize that fall has indeed returned. Autumn is invigorating and a time to gather our thoughts, in the same way that we might once have collected crops. Just as animals collect acorns to store them, we reap the fruit of our accomplishments. Autumn also ushers in a new slowness of being for most of us, as the tone and tempo of our lives change along with those of all of Mother Earth's children.

As the days grow shorter and the blossoms that brightened our gardens through summer's heat begin to droop and wilt, we tend to acknowledge the changing season without understanding that we, too, are in transition. The brilliance of autumn's foliage, the flocks of southbound geese honking overhead, and the arrival of a bountiful harvest are all signs that our lives will soon be changing. Whether the season's cooler days are a prelude to a cold winter or a long stretch of sweater weather, we feel obliged to slow down and take stock of our lives. Autumn's pleasures and rituals revolve around the gathering of abundance in preparation for the winter to come. There is ample time to contemplate what we accomplished during the warmer seasons while tasting the year's first cider or breathing in the sweet fragrance of leaves breaking down. The same stirring that inspires animals to burrow deep into the earth compels us to celebrate the rich bounty we instinctively know will not appear again until springtime.

Appearances deceive in autumn. The transformations undergone by living beings seem much more like endings than the transitions they really are. Dormancy, not death, is the hallmark of fall. Your priorities will likely change as nature flares into sunset brilliance and then lapses slowly into slumber, but remember to rejoice in the beauty of nature where every finale serves as an overture for a new beginning.

this week: ~ plan a family or personal custom welcoming the Fall/Autumn season into your life. If you already have one I would love to have you share in the comments section.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

thursday's garden ~ hummers need attention daily

just a reminder to those who are getting hit with this unusually hot autumn weather 

make sure to change your feeders every day. 
The bacteria and mold grow quickly in the nectar in a matter of hours.  Use just enough to get by for the day; store a batch in the refrigerator.

my little guys hit the feeders first thing in the morning when their sugar water is fresh & cold – they love it;  and if I am home I put out another little batch in the evening for another cooling sip at the “sugar bar”

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

meal ideas ~ health friendly rolled cakes

A co-worker came to me asking if I knew any diabetic “rolled cake” recipes. She needs to make a couple for a family gathering this next weekend. With a frown she stated that half her family were diabetics and when it came to desserts they weren’t always compliant. Here are the two I found for her, which she made small versions to sample- they were excellent.  They are sure to please anyone’s sweet tooth and blood sugar. Using sugar substitutes will keep the cakes lower in calories and carbs.

Brenda did suggest: as soon as the cake comes out of the oven, loosen the edges of the cake from the pan with a flat knife and turn it onto a cocoa or powdered sugar (depending on the recipe)-coated towel. Rolling the cake in a towel prevents the cake from sticking to itself when rolled, while the powders prevent the cake from sticking to the towel.

Red Velvet Cake Roll
For a fun twist on the traditional red velvet cake, fill rolled versions with light cream filling. The result: A low-calorie dessert that’s just as decadent as the original.

 4 eggs
 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
 1 teaspoon baking powder
 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
 1/3 cup granulated sugar or substitute**
 1 tablespoon red food coloring
 1/2 cup granulated sugar*
 Powdered sugar** no substitute
 1 cup frozen light whipped dessert topping, thawed
 1/2 cup light sour cream
 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

 Separate eggs. Allow egg whites and yolks to stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Meanwhile, grease a 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Line bottom of pan with waxed paper or parchment paper; grease paper. Set pan aside. In a medium bowl stir together flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder; set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a medium bowl beat egg yolks and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla with an electric mixer on high speed about 5 minutes or until thick and lemon color. Gradually add the 1/3 cup granulated sugar, beating on high speed until sugar is almost dissolved. Beat in food coloring.

Thoroughly wash beaters. In another medium bowl beat egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form (tips curl). Gradually add the 1/2 cup granulated sugar, beating until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight). Fold egg yolk mixture into beaten egg whites. Sprinkle flour mixture over egg mixture; gently fold in just until combined. Spread batter evenly in the prepared baking pan.

Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Immediately loosen edges of cake from pan and turn cake out onto a clean kitchen towel sprinkled with powdered sugar. Remove waxed paper. Starting from a short side, roll up towel and cake into a spiral. Cool on a wire rack.

 For filling, in a medium bowl fold together dessert topping, sour cream, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Unroll cake; remove towel. Spread cake with filling to within 1 inch of the edges. Roll up cake into a spiral; trim ends. Cover and chill up to 6 hours. Just before serving, sprinkle cake with additional powdered sugar.

**Sugar Substitutes: For granulated sugar, substitute Splenda Sugar Blend for Baking.  I do not recommend using sugar substitute in place of the powdered sugar.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:  144 cal., 4 g total fat (2 g sat. fat), 78 mg chol., 72 mg sodium, 24 g carb. (18 g sugars), 3 g pro. Diabetic Exchanges Other Carb (d.e): 1; Fat (d.e): 1; Starch (d.e): 0.5

Black Forest Cake Roll
This cake roll's luscious filling is made with light cream cheese, light whipped topping, and maraschino cherries.

 4 eggs
 1/3 cup flour
 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
 1/4 teaspoon salt
 3/4 cup granulated sugar or substitute**
 Unsweetened cocoa powder
 1 recipe Cherry Cream Filling (below)
 1 tablespoon sugar-free hot fudge ice cream topping, warmed
 10 maraschino cherries, drained and patted dry

 Allow eggs to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, grease a 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper; grease and lightly flour paper. Set pan aside. In a small bowl stir together flour, 1/4 cup cocoa powder, the baking soda, and salt; set aside.

 Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large bowl beat eggs with an electric mixer on high speed for 5 minutes. Gradually add granulated sugar, beating until thick and lemon colored. Fold in flour mixture. Spread batter evenly into prepared pan.

 Bake about 15 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched. Immediately loosen edges of cake from pan and turn cake out onto a towel sprinkled with unsweetened cocoa powder. Slowly peel off parchment paper. Starting from a short side, roll up towel and cake into a spiral. Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour. Meanwhile, prepare Cherry Cream Filling.
 Unroll cake; remove towel. Spread cake with Cherry Cream Filling to within 1 inch of edges. Roll up cake and filling into a spiral. Trim ends. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 2 to 24 hours before serving. If desired, just before serving, drizzle whole cake with ice cream topping and garnish with cherries. Makes 10 (1 slice each) servings

*Sugar Substitutes: Choose Splenda Sugar Blend for Baking

Cherry Cream Filling
1/2 cup tub-style light cream cheese
1 cup frozen light whipped dessert topping, thawed
2/3 cup maraschino cherries

 In a small bowl beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Add 1/2 cup dessert topping; beat on low speed until just combined. Fold in another 1/2 cup dessert topping. Drain, stem, and pat dry maraschino cherries. Chop cherries and fold into cream cheese mixture. Makes 1-1/2 cups.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:  177 cal., 5 g total fat (3 g sat. fat), 91 mg chol., 180 mg sodium, 30 g carb. (1 g fiber, 23 g sugars), 5 g pro. Diabetic Exchanges Fat (d.e): 1; Other Carb (d.e): 1; Starch (d.e): 1

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

healthy living ~ homemade "poo" recipes...

Poo Recipes???....ha, made you think twice~ 

Natural Homemade Sham...poo Recipes

Cleanse your hair naturally by making your own shampoo at home with pure, simple shampoo recipes. Homemade shampoo has many advantages over synthetic manufactured shampoos.  Avoid all the harsh chemicals and customize your own shampoo tailored to your needs. Not only can you make an organic shampoo for dry itchy scalp, but you can make it moisturizing as well. Super easy ways to make your own natural shampoo that you can customize to your specific hair care needs is liquid Castile soap then add the oils and essential oils needed for your hair type. Castile soap is fairly cheap, and remember that you really only need a dime to quarter sized amount to cleanse.  Have dry hair and an oily scalp? Or dandruff yet dry ends? By adding the correct oils to your blend, your shampoo can fit just what you need. 

Simple Shampoo Recipe
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup liquid Castile Soap
1/2 teaspoon sunflower or other light vegetable oil

Mix together all the ingredients. Store in a bottle. Apply onto wet hair and scalp, massage into lather and rinse thoroughly. A drop or two of any scented essential oil- such as vanilla, lemon, or clove-- added will some excitement to this blend.

Moisturizing Castile Shampoo
Great for Dry, color treated hair

6 oz Liquid Castile Soap
1/2 teaspoon avocado oil
1 teaspoon coconut oil

Apply to wet hair and lather with a gentle massaging motion. Rinse thoroughly.

Lavendar Castile Shampoo
Great for an Oily Scalp

6 oz Liquid Castile Soap
5 drops lavender essential oil

Mix together all the ingredients. Store in a bottle. Add a tablespoon of carrier oil if the shampoo is too drying. Wet hair. Lather. Rinse.

Tea Tree Castile Shampoo
Great for dandruff, broken out or dry, itcy scalp

6 oz Liquid Castile Soap
5 drops Tea Tree essential oil
1/2 teaspoon Jojoba oil

Hair Loss Castile Shampoo
Great for thinning hair and hair loss

6 oz Liquid Castile Soap
5 Drops Rosemary Essential Oil
3 Drops Tea Tree Essential Oil

Mix together all the ingredients. Store in a bottle. Use as you would any shampoo, rinse well.

Itch Reliever Castile Shampoo
Great for eczema and allergic dermatitis

3 oz Liquid Castile Soap
1 tablespoon Stinging Nettles (herb)
1 tablespoon lavender (herb)
1 cup distilled water

Steep the herbs and water in a covered pan for 30 minutes. Strain and allow to cool. Mix with remaining ingredients then bottle. Apply to wet hair, massage into lather.  Rinse

Beer Shampoo: great volumizing shampoo!

3/4 cup beer (any  brand)
1 cup inexpensive shampoo

Boil the beer until it reduces to 1/4 cup. Cool the beer and add it to the 1 cup of inexpensive shampoo. Apply to wet hair and lather with a gentle massaging motion. Rinse thoroughly. Repeat if necessary

Note:   Please, always be careful when using essential oils and herbs. Some have health effects so always check the label for warnings

Monday, September 15, 2014

don't take it personally

I have a tendency to take what people say personally, something I have been aware of for most of my life, but never really thought about it in depth. After speaking with a neighbor the other day, leaving the conversation extremely irritated, I decided I really need to address this matter.

Every time you interact with others, you have the choice to listen to, acknowledge, and let go of their words, or you can take what they are saying personally. Taking things personally is often the result of perceiving a person’s actions or words as an affront or slight. In order to take something personally, you must read negative intent in an individual’s words or actions. But what people do and say has no bearing upon you and is usually based on their own experiences, emotions, and perceptions. If you attempt to take what they do or say personally, you may end up feeling hurt without reason. 

If you are tempted to take a comment or action personally, creating some distance between yourself and the other person can help you. Try to determine what is at the root of your feelings. Ask yourself if the other person’s words or actions are just reinforcing some insecurity within you or if you can really be sure that an offense was intended. You may even want to ask them what they meant. Finally, put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Instead of taking their words as the truth, or as a personal affront, remember that whatever was said or done is based on their opinion and is more reflective of what is going on inside of them, rather than having anything to do with you. You may have been an easy target for someone having a bad day, and their comments may have been offered with no ill intentions.

When you recognize that what anyone says or does doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with you, you will no longer feel hurt or attacked. While it’s easy to take things personally, you should never let anyone’s perceptions or actions affect how you see yourself or your worth. Your life is personal to you, and it is up to you to influence your own value and sense of well-being. 

If you feel a bit annoyed or disconcerted after a conversation, think about it and try not to take everything personally.

this week: I am going to keep track of any and all times I feel as though something is “personal” and really look at it, address the issue, and learn to let it go.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

welcome Samantha

meet Breezey, Samantha aka: Sammie, our newest family member. Sammie needed a furever home, which I am delighted that she has chosen us. She has just arrived and is exploring her new abode and getting to know us. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

pet food bags are NOT recyclable

this is another popular posting from the past, and in my opinion a very important one. If you purchase bagged pet foods and toss them in your recycle bin - Please read this!

Do you throw your empty pet food bags in the recycling bin? I used to until the recycling guys pointed out that dog and cat food bags can't be recycled. I didn't realize that most pet food bags were made with several layers of brown craft-type paper with at least two plastic seals sandwiched within the paper. These plastic seals mean the bag can not be recycled with the mixed paper, unless the paper has been separated from the plastic.

To remove the plastic liners so that the bag can be recycled, the bag must first be turned inside out. Once reversed, grab hold of the inner plastic liner and pull it away from the paper. After this inner liner has been removed, peel back the layers of paper until you've located the second plastic liner. Separate this liner from the remaining layers of paper as well. The paper can now be placed in the recycling bin with the mixed paper, and the seals should be disposed of in the rubbish bin.

Since it takes quite a bit of time to prepare a pet food bag for recycling, we now just save our empty dog and cat food bags to use in an assortment of practical ways around the house.
  • Shipping pouches For shipping paper items, clothing items or perishables, cat food bags make terrific waterproof mailers. I simply turn the bag inside out, pack the item inside the bag, then staple and tape shut. The mailing address can be written on the outside of the mailer with a permanent marker or on a pre-pasted address label.
  • Storage Storing greasy automotive or tractor parts? A large dog food bag is ideal for this use. Large pet food bags can also be used to wrap art objects and other breakables for transport. The waterproof liner prevents the art work from getting damaged and the multiple layers of paper provide extra padding.
  • Garden waste For gardeners, large cat or dog food bags are perfect airtight containers for collecting those noxious weeds that have no place in a compost bin; weeds such as puncture vine, Scotch and Russian thistle, field bindweed, and others. I keep an empty dog food bag in the corner of my garden shed just for these type of weeds, and close the bag with a clothes pin to prevent seed pods from escaping. Once the bag is completely full, it is stapled shut and placed it out with the rubbish for pickup.Large pet food bags can also be used to gather up thorny yard waste that ordinarily would puncture a regular trash bag.
  • Fireplace ashes When cleaning out the fireplace, a large dog food bag is a great container for holding wood ashes. The bag is strong enough to hold quite a bit of weight and can be easily carried out to the compost pile where it can be dumped and reused for another time. For families who don't compost wood ashes, the bag can be stapled shut and tossed in the garbage can.
  • To contain smelly garbage Whether it's dog droppings or spoiled food, there's some things we really don't want stinking up our garbage can. Cat food bags do an amazing job of containing odor, are practically puncture proof, and are perfect for storing smelly garbage. We roll the top of the bag closed and staple it shut to keep those smelly odors contained.
  • As a surface protector By slicing a large dog or cat food bag open along the side and bottom seam, you can create a water proof pad that measures approximately three by three feet. This is a perfect size for protecting the garage floor when changing the oil in a chain saw, lawn mower or car. I also use an opened dog food bag to protect my kitchen table when painting craft items or repotting plants.
Just because a dog or cat food bag can't be easily recycled means it has to be thrown out unused. By finding a second or even third life for those pet food bags, you'll find yourself saving money while deferring waste headed to the landfill.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

meal ideas ~ low carb "crock" cooking

I am famous for my love of cooking with the “crock.” Slow cookers are the ultimate convenience, simmering foods to perfection for hours at a slow and steady rate. These low-carb meals (all with 35 grams of carb or less per serving!) allow you to save time and enjoy the foods you love with half the carbs! 

Coffee-Braised Brisket ~my favorite
A coffee, brown sugar, and paprika rub gives this slow cooker brisket a complex sweet-and-spicy flavor. Use a brown sugar substitute to bring this already low-carb meal down to just 5 grams of carb per serving.

2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground coffee
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 3 - pound boneless beef brisket
2 large onion, sliced
1/2 cup strong brewed coffee
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

 In a small bowl combine brown sugar, ground coffee, paprika, garlic powder, pepper, and salt. Trim fat from brisket. Rub mixture over all surfaces of the brisket. Optional, you can season the meat the night before and let marinate with dry-rub until ready for the "crock."

 If necessary, cut meat to fit into a 3 1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker. Place meat in cooker. Place onion slices over brisket. Combine coffee and vinegar, pour over onions.

 Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 9 to 10 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 1/2 to 5 hours. Transfer meat to a cutting board. Slice meat across the grain. With a slotted spoon remove the onions from the cooking liquid. Serve with meat.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:  229 cal., 8 g total fat (3 g sat. fat), 98 mg chol., 417 mg sodium, 8 g carb. (1 g fiber, 5 g sugars), 32 g pro. Diabetic Exchanges Fat (d.e): 0.5; Other Carb (d.e): 0.5; Lean Meat (d.e): 4

Mahogany Chicken Thighs
Serve these sweet and tart marinated chicken thighs on a bed of rice for a restaurant-worthy meal in 25 minutes -- plus a few hours in the slow cooker.

1/3 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons corn starch 
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons dry sherry or cider vinegar
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 medium onion, cut in thin wedges
2 medium carrots, peeled and bias-sliced
12 small skinless, boneless chicken thighs
2 cups cooked brown or white rice
2 tablespoons thinly cut green onion strips

 In a medium bowl stir together pineapple juice, soy sauce, starch, balsamic vinegar, sherry, tomato paste, honey, garlic, ginger, and cayenne; set aside. Place onion wedges in a 3 1/2- to 4-quart slow cooker. Top with carrots and chicken. Pour soy mixture evenly atop. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 6 to 7 hours or 3 to 3 1/2 hours on high-heat setting.

Twenty minutes before serving, cook rice according to package directions. Serve chicken and sauce over rice; if desired, sprinkle with green onion.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 287 cal., 5 g total fat (1 g sat. fat), 108 mg chol., 509 mg sodium, 33 g carb. (1 g fiber, 9 g sugars), 25 g pro. Diabetic Exchanges Starch (d.e): 2; Lean Meat (d.e): 3

Healthy Italian Pork Chops
Pork chops seasoned with garlic and balsamic vinegar give this slow cooker dish Italian authenticity, while tomatoes and zucchini are a hearty topping.

1 medium onion, chopped
6 pork rib chops (with bone), cut 1/2 inch thick
2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning, crushed
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2  14 1/2 - oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 medium zucchini, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons cold water
4 ounces dried orzo, cooked 

Place onion in a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. Place half of the pork chops atop onions. Sprinkle with half of the Italian seasoning, garlic, salt, and pepper. Repeat layering with remaining pork chops, Italian seasoning, garlic, salt, and pepper. Top with undrained tomatoes and balsamic vinegar. Add zucchini pieces to cooker.

Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 8 to 9 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 to 4-1/2 hours.

Using a slotted spoon and tongs, transfer meat and vegetables to a serving platter; cover and keep warm. In a medium saucepan stir together cornstarch and the cold water; stir in cooking juices from cooker. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly; cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Serve over meat and vegetables. Serve with orzo.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:  279 cal., 5 g total fat (2 g sat. fat), 60 mg chol., 323 mg sodium, 29 g carb. (4 g fiber, 8 g sugars), 28 g pro. Diabetic Exchanges: Vegetables (d.e): 2; Starch (d.e): 1; Lean Meat (d.e): 3

want more... visit