Tuesday, October 28, 2008

got mint?

An online friend recommended the mint products from getmint.com. This family farm is facing financial difficulties, and my friend wanted to spread the word and help them out a bit. You can read about their struggles at their website. My friend posted a message from getmint.com that included some uses for mint oil:
(I am not affiliated with this farm, nor have my products from them arrived yet.)

Here are some uses for the mint:

Headaches Peppermint may ease headaches and migraines. Apply a rub
to temple area in circular motion and across the forehead. For migraines, wet
hair and put 4-5 drops into your hand and massage into the scalp.

Sinus Problems Peppermint is very useful in reducing sinus congestion when added to a bowl of steaming or boiling water. A rub may be applied to chest, back of neck area, and behind ears. A few drops of oil in a vaporizer at night will help ease
congestion as well.

Digestive System Peppermint oil can help relax the muscles of
the digestive tract to relieve the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. One
drop of peppermint oil on a sugar cube or used in tea may help relieve
intestinal cramps.

Body Muscles & Arthritis Peppermint oil is soothing to sore
muscles when added to a hot bath or massage oil. Use this to soothe arthritis
pain. Mix 4-5 drops of oil into 1 ounce of lotion and/or massage carrier

Feet Applied full strength, or mixed with a carrier oil, peppermint oil may
relieve swollen feet and may reduce and assist in healing blisters, cuts, or
athlete's foot by killing bacteria.

Women Only Relieve menstrual or abdominal cramps, add 1-2 drops of peppermint oil on a sugar cube or into an 8 ounce glass of water and drink. A toothpick dipped in oil works great for tea or water. Also helps to relieve Hot Flashes!

Flu Season? For a sore throat, sparingly dip a cotton swab into mint oil and carefully apply to the back of the tongue area. Relieve congestion by rubbing a few drops of peppermint oil on chest & covering with warm compress. Add a few drops of mint oil to the water of a humidifier or vaporizer to keep it smelling fresh and kill germs. Peppermint Oil is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Daybook Monday

Outside my Window... it's been over 80 the last few days but it does feel like fall. Still sunny every single day. Desert weather gets monotonous.

I am thinking... where did the month of October go??

From the learning room... it's almost time to start talking about Pilgrims! November is right around the corner.

From the kitchen... it's pizza night! Papa John's Pizza!

I am wearing... floral hoodie and brown comfy pants.

I am reading... Blunt Instrument, by Georgette Heyer. It's a 30s era British mystery.

I am hoping... for alertness and determination today.

I am hearing... the tea kettle

Around the house... it's clean! Now I just have lots of the "I'll sort it later" boxes to sort. And we need to figure out what to do with all the STUFF in the schoolroom.

One of my favorite things... is Handel's Messiah. I suddenly realized I haven't played this for my kids. It was my favorite album in highschool.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week... first, a pot of tea. Then, breakfast. Later, a birthday party. And I am going to make time to write. There is a new Bible study in my brain, and I need to let it out.

.The Simple Woman's Daybook is hosted here.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Housecleaning Help

Housecleaning does not come naturally to me. Other women seem to have a little inner voice that reminds them to do laundry or do the dishes after dinner. I don't have that voice. In times of stress or discouragement all thoughts of housekeeping fly away.

My skills have improved over the last few years...I'm caught up on laundry every week or two, and the dishes do get done every day, but not always put away.

When we left on our five-week vacation this summer, we left the house in pretty good condition...laundry caught up, counters cleared off, clutter under control. However, to reach that goal, we had tossed a lot of "stuff to sort out later" into boxes, placing them in the school room and the garage.

We came back home in August and I was determined to jump in, sort out the "later" boxes, and keep the house in a "drop in any time" state. I woke up the first morning at home with a terrible neckache. When I recovered, I'd lost a week, and I got the news that a good friend back in Oregon had passed away. Various physical and emotional stresses followed over the next two months.

Now I'm beginning to feel that I've climbed out of the tunnel, but just trying to keep up with the routine chores and my napping needs has kept me from taking care of the "later" boxes or much of anything else.

So....on Wednesday I have help. Three ladies will come for an hour and a half to scrub and dust and mop and vacuum. Yes, I am paying them. I've been de-cluttering in preparation for this and I am excited!

a timely prayer and a touch of autumn

Thoughts on the financial crisis, from Ireland

A touch of Autumn, from Patsy Claremont

Daybook Monday

Outside my Window... our usual desert temperatures have resumed. Highs in the mid-80s. It's lovely, but it still doesn't seem quite normal to my Pacific Northwest way of thinking.

I am thinking... that I should do another book giveaway!

From the learning room... it's a mess! It's a sort of catch-all room, and it has caught rather a lot of stuff.

I am thankful for... a friend I can call and chatter at while I clean house.

From the kitchen... I'm not sure yet. Definitely cornflakes/applesauce/sunflower seeds for breakfast. I'm (mostly) following the Flat Belly Diet. I think lunch is tuna/cheese/tomatoes, but I'm not sure what dinner is. Fish or Poultry of some sort.

I am wearing... pink pajamas. It's 6 a.m...

I am reading... Cotillion, by Georgette Heyer. It's more than a book, it's a familiar friend.

I am hoping... for stamina and determination today.

I am hearing... nothing! It's 6 a.m.....

Around the house... I am de-cluttering in preparation for HOUSECLEANING HELP on Wednesday. Woo Hoo!

One of my favorite things... clean sheets on the bed in a clean bedroom.

Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week... Did I mention my HOUSECLEANING HELP??!! I'll write a separate blog post about it later today.

The Simple Woman's Daybook is hosted here.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

around the blogging world

a McCain daughter blogs the family journey at McCainBlogette.com,

Donald Miller talks about a political tour at donmilleris.com,

a Christmas planner giveaway at 100 Days to Christmas ,

and Phyllis Sather offers a word of encouragement.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Baked Eggs


I use very small pyrex bowls, spray them with pam and put one egg and a little less than a tablespoon of cream in each one. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and a little parmesan (the kind from a bag not a can) and bake at 425 for 20-25 minutes. I love making eggs that don't require my standing next the the stove and constantly fussing over them. And they pop right out of the bowls with a little help from a spatula. Great for lunch as well as breakfast. Extra nice on top of a slice of rustic bread!

(Extra hungry? Use two eggs in each bowl.)

Works for me Wednesday is hosted here.
Don't miss my Free Book Giveaway.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I forgot to announce a winner

...for last week's contest!

It's Tami!

And if you won in the last few weeks but have not received your book, I haven't forgotten you--I just forgot to buy mailing envelopes!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Book Giveaway

This week I'm giving away a copy of A Mother's Rule of Life.

To enter the contest, simply enter your information in the Linky below.

Thanks for entering!

Daybook Monday

Outside my Window... it is rather cool for a desert fall morning: 45.
I am thinking... that my coffee smells wonderful!
From the learning rooms... we caught up on second grade work, and now it's time to get back into the preschool routine.
I am thankful for... a husband who often cooks dinner.
From the kitchen... I think we'll have salmon tonight.
I am wearing... black pajamas.
I am reading... How the Irish Saved Civilization.
I am hoping... for energy to really clean up today.
I am creating... another book giveaway: A Mother's Rule of Life.
I am hearing... the cats chasing each other around the house.
Around the house... it's time to light the pumpkin spice candles and make apple cider
One of my favorite things... is a sleepy two year old.
Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week... it's 6:22 AM. My next plan is COFFEE. The rest of the week can wait.

The Simple Woman's Daybook is hosted here.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Another book giveaway

My children were all sick last week. Forgive me for not posting a giveaway. Here's one for this week: A Woman After God's Heart daily devotional, by Elizabeth George.

This week it's a little different--add your name and web address to the Linky List below to enter the contest. I'd love it if you mentioned this on your own blog, but it's not a requirement this week.

And yes, you are eligible to win again if you have in the past.
Contest ends on Sunday at noon.

Daybook Monday

Outside my Window... it is finally feeling like fall in the desert. High temps in the 80s are predicted every day this week.

I am thinking... that the children's cold is just about to hit me. I feel blah.

From the learning rooms... we have some catching up to do, as the illness last week kept my dd on the couch, coughin.

I am thankful for... hot chocolate.

From the kitchen... I thawed out some marinated chicken (cilantro lime) and I look forward to my husband cooking it tonight.

I am wearing... brown shorts, lime shirt, brown keds.

I am hoping... for a long nap!

I am creating... another book giveaway:a devotional by Elizabeth George.
(Link to the giveaway)

I am hearing... the girls playing dragon and princesses.

Around the house... we have new-to-us couches! A gift!

One of my favorite things... is my afternoon nap. Yes, I am focused on that today.

Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week... one day at a time. If the cold hits....not much. If not...some sorting and tossing of STUFF.

The Simple Woman's Daybook is hosted here.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

about Fireproof

I wanted to say something about Fireproof, but this guy has already expressed my thoughts.

It's great that someone is making Christian movies. It's great that there's an audience for them. I'm just tired of the "you must see this"attitude from other Christians, and the idea that a few action scenes will allow you to trick your husband into attending a venue that will include two hours of preaching. My friend tried this. Her husband was very angry with her.

I also found this review, which states:

Fireproof isn’t merely preaching to the already converted; it’s helping to
further alienate the unconverted and the skeptical. I doubt that was the
intention, but it pretty much is the result with films such as these. The
simplistic and often self-righteous tone is off-putting.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Lessons Learned Today

Today I learned from my children that:

Applesauce can be a finger food.

Three-inch plastic Dora "does tricks--handstands and uh, sitting tricks, and uh, handstands".

Last week's church childcare program's project of planting seeds can lure a coughing child off her couch to water tiny little plants.

And completely on my own I learned that:

"Amazing Greens" supplement, when blended with hot coffee and hot chocolate powder, is um, interesting.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Kombucha, the short version

Reading the instructions for Kombucha the first time can be overwhelming. But it really is simple. Here's the short version.
1/2 cup sugar
8 teabags
1 cup unflavored kombucha tea (starter tea)
2 quarts water
1 scoby

Boil water. Add sugar. Boil 5 minutes.
Add teabags. Steep for 20 minutes, remove teabags.
Cool to room temperature.
Pour into glass jar. Add starter tea and scoby.
Put it in your pantry. Do not disturb for a week.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Please note, I've been making Kombucha for a couple months. I'm not an expert. But we certainly enjoy drinking it!

(For an expert's instructions, check here:

http://site.getkombucha.com/Proof7DayMiniCourse.html )

My procedure for making 2 Quarts of Kombucha
distilled white vinegar
2 quarts water (bottled water or tap water that you put in a pitcher overnight)
½ cup sugar
8 teabags (green or black, not store brand, not Tetley, not decaf, not flavored or spiced)
1 scoby
1 cup unflavored Kombucha tea (a little short on tea? use distilled white vinegar to make up the difference)
stainless or glass pot for boiling tea
wooden or sturdy plastic spoon
glass jar
rubber band
coffee filter

Rinse the pot and the jar with distilled white vinegar. Pour the water into the pot and bring it to a boil.
Stir in the sugar, and let it boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add teabags. Let it steep for 20 minutes. Remove the teabags. Let it cool down to room temperature (usually for an hour or so).
Place the scoby and the Kombucha tea in the glass jar. Pour the room temperature tea-sugar-water mixture into the jar. Cover it with the coffee filter, keeping it tight with the rubber band. Put it in a dark corner of your pantry where you won't have to move it for a week.
In a couple days, you will notice a white substance forming on the top of the liquid. This is your new scoby. The old scoby may move up and down in the jar during the fermentation process. If you move it, the new scoby will dip beneath the surface and another one will start growing on the top.
After 7 to 9 days the new scoby will cover the top of the liquid. It should be white. Now you're ready to make a new batch and flavor this one!
(We live in the desert; I have read that kombucha takes longer in cooler climates)

Flavoring the Kombucha

Your new batch of Kombucha tea
5 or 6 slices of ginger
sliced fresh or frozen fruit—about ¼ or ½ cup
(we like raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries)
Glass bowl or pitcher
Glass pitcher with a lid to hold the new tea (I found rectangular pitchers at a reasonable price at Walmart)

There are many ideas for flavoring Kombucha and I have not experimented with very many of them. Here's what I do:
Take the new batch of Kombucha out of the pantry. Pour it into a bowl or big glass measuring pitcher. (I find this easier than trying to fish the scobys out of the narrow jar it ferments in, but if your jar has a wider mouth you may be able to fish them out with a wooden spoon).
Remove the scobys and a cup of tea for your next batch (remember the starter tea needs to be unflavored). Place your fruit and ginger in the pitcher and put it in your pantry. I've been keeping mine in the fridge, but I just learned that keeping it in the pantry allows it to fizz a little.
I usually rinse the scoby (new or not) with distilled white vinegar before making a new batch with it.

Note: if you want a thicker scoby (which may ferment a new batch quicker or more intensely), make a small batch and let it sit for three or four weeks. I make a small batch with 1 cup water, 1/8 cup sugar, 4 tea-bags, ½ cup kombucha tea, and 1 scoby. Using a scoby made in this way will give you more fizz.

I bought my scoby from an e-bay seller, stichingtime. If you buy a scoby and you aren't quite ready to start the kombucha-making process, keep the scoby in the fridge in a glass jar, with enough unflavored kombucha tea or distilled white vinegar to cover it.

(What IS Kombucha? Read about Kombucha here.)
If you are Kombucha maker and you have a different process or different flavoring ideas, I would love to read your comments.