Tuesday, November 27, 2012

My Wedding Vows


Guess what I found while packing up last night? A copy of my Wedding Vows! It was perfect timing because there is nothing like Moving to bring out the Grouch in everyone. My husband and I have been bickering A LOT during the last week. So, finding my Vows was a good reminder to be extra-kind to each other during this stressful time.

You came into my life unexpectedly and I resisted at first. You promised that all you needed was one chance and you were right. I have learned that you stand behind your promises. Today, I make you the ultimate promise.  I promise to spend the rest of our lives together as your Beloved.

I found inspiration in the Buddhist precepts for my vows.

I promise to wake up each morning with the following intentions.

May I be generous and helpful.
May I be faithful.
May I be patient and forgiving.
May I be energetic and persevering.

As we start our life together as husband and wife, I look forward to us living life with a joint purpose. I look forward to us loving each other and shining together in that love. Let us grow together whenever possible and understand the other's growth when separate from our own. Let us not swerve from the path of our love, devotion, and commitment and friendship with each other. May we both remember to be complementary and peaceful in our thoughts, speech, actions and feelings.

You are my mirror, my journal where I will record my history. you will help me know myself and remember myself. I promise to be your mirror, your journal.

Monday, November 26, 2012

A Helpful Video on Making Beeswax Candles

beeswax candles
beeswax candles (Photo credit: The Year of Mud)
Hurricane Sandy made me realize that beside a few flashlights, my family doesn't have a lot of lighting sources when the power goes out. I am hoping to remedy this situation, over the next few weeks, by making some "Beeswax Candles."

I am always on the look-out for fun and useful crafts to give as Christmas presents. My Mama already has a candle mold, so all I have to do is buy a few pounds of beeswax from a local bee-keeper and hunt down a good source for wicks.

Obviously, this is not a toddler-friendly craft. But, you can't have everything, right?

The video is kinda long at 13 minutes, but it answered all my questions on how to make beeswax tapers. This would be a terrific craft to do with older Elementary and Middle-school students on a rainy or snowy day. Enjoy!

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

My Gratitude Practice


I have always considered myself a rather Spiritual person. I remember being 8 years old, sitting on our stone fence, looking out at those gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains, contemplating Life and its Meaning.

Since becoming a Mama, my mediation pillow hasn't seen much action and my private little altar has gathered some serious dust. I haven't mediated regularly this past year. Nor, have I prayed much.

But, what I have done is think of "Five Things I'm Grateful For" every night before I go to bed.

I can actually give credit to my Blog for jump-starting the habit. Last November, I decided to write out a daily list of "Five Things I'm Grateful For." It stuck.

Some nights, I struggle to come up with five. Other nights, I just keep going and going. It's a really peaceful way to end your day. I'm looking forward to introducing the concept to my daughter, in a few years. Nothing like Gratitude to cut through all the muck in your life.

Stewed Pears in a Slower Cooker

Illustration of a pear variety from the Herefo...
Illustration of a pear variety from the Herefordshire Pomona (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
 This past week-end, my family gleaned some pears from the neighbor's very old tree. My sister was hankering after some stewed pears, so we got busy.

She cored and peeled the pears, while I sprinkled a little bit of this and a little bit of that until it was just right. I got inspiration from several different recipes, but was concerned when I turned on the Slow Cooker that maybe I over-did it on the number of ingredients.

No worries. They turned out heavenly. Even Papa, who rarely eats his fruits and vegetables, raved about them.

I'm thinking about cooking another batch for Thanksgiving. It's a super-simple, quick dessert that anyone, including kids, can make and it offers a slightly healthier alternative to all those pies and whip-creme.

15 or so Pears cored and peeled
2/3 a cup of Brown Sugar (couldn't find the Maple Syrup, otherwise I wouldn't have used the Brown Sugar)
3 tablespoons of Butter
3 teaspoons of Ginger Powder (didn't have any fresh or would have used that)
2 Cinnamon sticks
10 Cloves
1 cup of Apple Cider
1/2 cup of White Wine

Cook in Slow Cooker for 4 hours or until they are nice and soft. Unless, you prefer yours to still have a minor bite to them. Doesn't get much easier than that, does it?

I am awful grateful for all those free pears and for that lovely, nameless person who planted that tree many, many years ago.
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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Packing Madness

Moving Boxes
Moving Boxes (Photo credit: Justin Shearer)
Drowning in boxes over here. It's Moving Week and so most of my energy will be focused on packing up our home and spending time with family during my absolute favorite holiday of the year, Thanksgiving. Lots to be thankful for this year.

We are only moving 4 miles away. Now that we are the throes of packing, I've become sentimental about this little place. My daughter was 5 months when we moved here and she will turn 20 months, tomorrow. It has treated us well this home.

What I am very, very thrilled about is moving from a basement apartment to a duplex with our own back-yard. Nye-Nye will have more room to run around (both inside and outside) and the Living Room is full of light. There are numerous walking trails near-by and we will only be 2 1/2 miles from one of my favorite places in NOVA, River Farm. I am very grateful.
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Monday, November 12, 2012

The Gratitude Month. A Free Acupuncture Clinic for Veterans

Day 72/365
Day 72/365 (Photo credit: SuperFantastic)

In honor of yesterday being Veterans Day here in the United States, I wanted to share a wonderful organization with you. "Annapolis Veterans Acupuncture Clinic" is a FREE clinic for those serving in the Armed Forces, their families, Veterans and folks working with these populations.

Every Thursday from 5:30 pm -7 pm, Veterans can walk into AVAC and be treated with the NADA (Ear) Protocol. Five tiny needles are placed in both ears, while the person sits fully clothed in circle with other people receiving treatment. Treatment usually lasts for 30-45 minutes.

Acupuncture is being used at Walter Reed Medical Center to help returning Vets deal with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and flashbacks. NADA Protocol has successfully helped people dealing with trauma sleep better and experience less irritability, stress and anxiety.

My hat goes off to those volunteer Acupuncturalists providing this wonderful service to those who have sacrificed so much for this Country. Pretty inspiring stuff!

If you know of any Vets (or their families) living in Maryland or Virginia, please let them know about this program. Spread the word. Much appreciation...
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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Keeping Busy Before, During and After Hurricane Sandy

The Day Before Sandy. Bringing in the newspaper during her morning ritual with Papa.

During Sandy. Making noodles for Slippery Chicken Pot-Pie with Ra-Ra and Aunt Mimi.

During Sandy. So much fun rolling out the dough.

During Sandy. Helping Ra-Ra with her Holiday Clove Ball.

After Sandy. Making Elderberry Syrup.
After Sandy. Driving around the area, assessing the damage. Thankfully, not as much as there could have been if the Hurricane had moved slower through our area.

After Sandy. Getting some much needed fresh air.

After Sandy. Who can resist a giant pile of sawdust? Not Nye-Nye. She had loads of fun exploring Papa's Cabinet-shop.

After Sandy. Helping Ra-Ra again on this Never-Ending project.
After Sandy. Getting a good look at all the fields. Thankfully, Papa got in all the soybeans before Sandy arrived.

After Sandy. A much deserved nap.

Friday, November 9, 2012

We Survived My Daughter's First Auction

On Sunday, my daughter went to her first Auction. My Mama had gotten some news in the morning that a friend in his nineties had died. She started beating herself up for not having called him back recently, so I agreed to go to the "Emmitsburg Auction" and help distract her.

We didn't exactly start off on a great note. As soon as we pulled up to the Auction, Nye-Nye threw up. Thankfully, I had an extra pair of clothes....but no extra coat. Even after a fierce scrubbing, her coat still smelled like vomit the entire afternoon.

Taking a toddler to a place where there is tons of breakable things within reach was NOT the easiest thing to do. There was a huge section of matching dishes displayed inside. Needless to say, I carried her quickly through the interior space to outside where there more space to run around. She was definitely the only child under the age of 5 at the Auction. If you plan on taking a toddler to an Auction, I definitely DON'T recommend going by yourself.

Nye-Nye and I slowly meandered through all the aisles, eventually giving most things (especially the furniture) a once over. There was tons of junk...but I pointed out the pieces I liked to my Mama and gave her a limit on how high I wanted to go.

Nye-Nye and I were both cranky after an hour, so we headed to the car and let my Mama try her luck. She came back an hour and 1/2 later with lots of goodies.
The first photo is of the child's tool bench Nye-Nye decided makes an excellent perch. I think my Mama paid $3 for it.
My favorite item is the giant Persian rug bought for $25. It's in amazing shape and is going to look lovely in our new Living Room. Can you believe the size of this rug?
I am also excited about the mirror side-table I found. I've been spying similar pieces on different design blogs for hundreds of dollars. How much did I pay? $18. There is a minor issue of having to replace one piece of glass. The photo was taken after my Step-father had patiently removed the cracked piece. Even with the cost of replacing the damaged mirror, it's still a steal.

 I'm probably going to cover the ottoman with a different pattern...but that project will wait until after our move and after the Holidays. If I can't clean the chair sufficiently, I going to attempt to re-upholster it. For $20, I couldn't pass it up.
I bought a few more items but didn't get any photos of them. All-in-all it was a very successful Adventure. Stressful for me. But....totally worth it.


Saturday, November 3, 2012

What to Do with Quinoa

Sometimes, I just get bored of quinoa. I know it's an amazing food to eat but...Now, I have no excuses.

Goat cheese has become my magic cure-all. I've started to add goat cheese to my quinoa and bam....instant yumminess. Nye-Nye LOVES to help stir in the cheese and has declared the combination "GOOD," as she widens her eyes and nods her head.

I've also began to add some wilted greens to the mix. It makes a terrific lunch.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Making Elderberry Syrup

Instead of dressing up in her dragon costume and going out in the World to collect bags of candy this Halloween, my daughter helped me make "Elderberry Syrup".

She helped pour the 1/2 cup of dried Elderberries I got from Frontier Herbs into the pan. She carefully added the tablespoon of crushed ginger, the cinnamon stick, and the 5 cloves to the mix. She then stirred the mixture for a few minutes (totally unnecessary...but she was having so much fun).

Together we added the 2 cups of water and then I put the pan on the stove. I covered it and brought it to a boil and then down to a simmer for 15 minutes.

She watched as I strained the mixture and used a spoon to squeeze out all the liquid from the berries. "HOT, HOT, HOT," she reminded me. Together, we sampled the syrup after it cooled.


I agree.  

I had hoped to gather some Elderberries this summer but only found bushes along side the road (a Big No-No when making your own herbal medicine).

By the time I had finally gotten my act together and decided to order some Elderberries from my Go-to-Herb-Store, Mountain Rose Herbs, they were sold out!

This was the first time I had ever bought anything from Frontier Herbs and I've been happy with their service and their product.

I had to buy a 1 lb bag of dried organic Elderberries which at $21 seems expensive. But...when you look at an 8 oz bottle of Commercial Elderberry Syrup costing $16, you quickly realize how much money you can save by making your own!

Each member of my family will be taking a tablespoon of Elderberry Syrup every day this Flu and Cold Season. Hopefully, all those wonderful immune-boosting flavonoids will keep us all healthy this Winter (or at least lessen the length of our sickness).

I'm taking a tablespoon every hour to help subdue the virus I caught, a few weeks ago. I know Elderberry works best at the beginning of a cold or flu...but we'll see if it helps a little.

Check out this nice video on how to make your own! Enjoy and stay healthy this Winter...

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