Happy International Woman’s Day!

International Women’s Day is a worldwide event that celebrates women’s achievements – from the political to the social – while calling for gender equality.international_womens_day-e1488962349760

It has been observed since the early 1900s and is now recognized each year on March 8. Is is not affiliated with any one group, but brings together governments, women’s organizations, corporations and charities.

never-stop-dreaming

How do you celebrate international woman’s day?

I am celebrating with family…and wishing I could spend it with my mother. She’s the greatest woman I know!! And as far as International Woman’s Day….she should be their poster child …I won’t go into her whole heartbreaking story but know this:

She is a wonderful inspiration to everyone she knows, her persistence, tenacity and unwavering faith keep our family together with  “love” glue that won’t ever be unraveled.   She is an amazing woman who’s taught me what it is to be my own woman.

I love her more than words can say.

Her beautiful spirit shines through in everything she does.  And I only wish I could give her back even a little of what she’s given me.  I try everyday to be a person she’d be proud of.

This is her high school picture:

mom high school sepia

And this is her with Dad a few years ago:

(( (Ok…more like 20 years ago…but who’s counting anyway???)))momanddad

She’s a  beauty, huh?

Well, she’s even more beautiful inside!!

Thanks for all you do and have done for me MOM… I love you!!!! ❤

Have you hugged your MOM today?

Or any woman that you can say you are who you are because of them?

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10 Things to do in 2017

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

And blessings to you and yours. I sincerely wish you the best year of your life yet! ❤

Below is a list of the 10 things I’m going to do this year…I hope you consider them as well 🙂

The angel drawing below is one I’m currently working on. I hope to not only finish it, but also get it on canvas, and painted too! My niece said I should name it sun portal, and a  friend named him Aaron, but since he’s an angel I had to add the -iel at the end, so he’s been named Aaroniel Guardian of the Sun Portal!

😀

Ten things to do in 2017:

1. Take it a day at a time.

You don’t have to know what you’re doing the next day or even the next hour. I’ve learned that the more you think in the future, the shorter the day seems and the months fly past you and you’re left feeling discontent and unsatisfied. It’s almost like everything has been in a blur, and you find yourself saying, “the year went by so fast”, even though you haven’t accomplished much. So do everything in the moment of ‘now’, and cherish each minute like it’s the last minute you have.

2. Let it go.

You know nothing is going to change, because you can’t change people unless they truly want to and you can’t change the past either, and the sooner you realize this, you will spend more time being happy than in a constant battle with your mind and your heart. They need to rest too.

3. Take risks.

If you never take any, the moment that turned out for the worst could have turned out for the best. This works vice-versa as well, but either way, you will learn from these experiences. You won’t forget how rapidly your heart was beating in these moments and how electric you felt. It will be worth it in the end, trust me.

4. Call up that person that you didn’t spend enough time getting to know, simply because you were too distracted with somebody else or just didn’t feel like you’d become something more than acquaintances. Greet strangers and embrace the idea of diversity. Ask questions about different cultures, morals, ideas, beliefs; educate yourself as much as you can.

5. Go ahead and wear that outfit you keep telling yourself that it doesn’t look good on you.

You bought it because you liked it, yes? So, show it to the whole damn world. If you do it with a smile and confidently squared shoulders—even better. You are beautiful.

6. Instead of procrastinating and wallowing in self-pity, get up and do something.

Sitting around is not going to do much but make you feel horrible, and you’ll create scenarios that may not even exist or be as big in your head that will cause matters to become worse. You want this to be your year of explosive progress? Set goals and strive to achieve them. You want to look back at the end of the year and say, “I did good”.

7. Spend more time with your family or friends.

Build a support system so strong, that you will never feel lonely. In fact, this support system will lead you to feeling content even when you are alone, because you won’t feel the constant need to either be with someone or have somebody who loves you, because you know you’ll have people who love you and the more love you surround yourself with, the easier it becomes to love yourself too.

8. Be kind always and be angry when you need to be.

Stand up for the ideas that you believe in and don’t back down from them just because you have a different opinion. Learn to love the sound of your voice when it bounces off the walls of a classroom full of people, because your voice has the power to change a million minds. Remember, you are allowed to feel whatever it is you feel.

9. Go on more road trips or just take a few minutes to be outside by yourself.

Inhale and exhale the air around you. Watch the stars, the sunset, the sunrise, the birds flying in the sky, the cars passing by. Walk in the rain sometimes without an umbrella, instead of running. Let the sunlight soak your skin more often. God, isn’t the world itself beautiful?

10. Be faithful.

This is the year you hoped to be better. Don’t let anything stop you from achieving that, because you are limitless as long as you believe yourself to be.

– aawordthings via Tumblr
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Angel drawing below by Candice

Get AMAZON extra savings added automatically

I had to share this amazing post to pass on the great savings to all those thrifty Amazon shoppers out there. And HONEY isn’t just perfect for Amazon, but for tons of online stores you’re already shopping with like, Target, Sephora, Dell, Priceline, Office Depot…and the list goes on!smiley face clip art

(A BIG Thanks to Kate McConnel!  for sharing!))

How to Get Better Prices on Amazon Automatically

If you think you’re already getting the best prices, you’ll be surprised.

As a loyal Honey user, I never shop online without it. So, when its new Amazon feature came out, I was thrilled! You might have already heard of Honey, the popular browser add-on that automatically applies coupon codes at checkout (if not, you’re welcome). Now, it also finds better prices on Amazon for you, immediately.

Thanks for the help, Honey!

I know what you’re thinking: doesn’t Amazon do this already? Kinda, but you have to do a little digging first. Ever think you have the best price and then realize it’s $20 more at checkout after sales tax and shipping? Honey brings the best final prices to the forefront after automatically comparing every top-rated seller in the Amazon marketplace (so you know those poorly-rated sellers are filtered out).

Honey also lets you know if you can save a lot just by waiting a couple of days for delivery. Yeah, 2-day shipping is awesome, but so is having options. Especially if those options save you money.

Here’s how the new feature works:

Save $200? Yes, please.

Shop on Amazon as usual. If Honey finds a better deal, a little tag will appear showing you how much you could save by buying the same item from a different seller.

Honey takes into account the final price of the item (including sales tax and shipping), seller rating, delivery time, and Prime status–– so I can still get my Prime deals.

Don’t mind if I do…

If you want the lower price, you can just add it to your cart with one click.

Ahhh. That felt good.

And if you do find the best price, Honey will let you know. It’s nice not to wonder if I got the best deal:

Getting the best deal on another camera.

Of course, $200 savings on Amazon is on the high side, since most of the time I’m just buying day-to-day essentials on Amazon. But even saving a couple of bucks on paper towels every once in a while really adds up!

And the best part? It’s free. You can get Honey on your browser HERE.

What’s even better is for every person you invite, you get $5 on their first purchase!! WIN, WIN!

honey-refer-a-friend

2015 Year in Review

2015 was a pretty good year. I am so blessed with wonderful friends and family.

How was it for you?

WordPress always does a great job at putting together an annual report for my blogs. Here’s 2015:

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 29,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 11 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

 

My  2015 year in Review:

The summer was packed with lots of family affairs.
July marked a food/ family get together.
This time we actually got all five of  the grand-kids in one place!
What fun!
We rented a place on Siesta Key and despite the pouring rain we had a great time, even without the beach.
Jim started planning the menu months in advance and sent everyone copies and pretty much told them no changes or special requests (LOL..haha!!)
Despite the mud and rain, it turned out great. We cooked a feast fit for a king or maybe it was a festivus for the restofus. 🙂
We’ll definitely have to try it again, and hopefully we’ll get to go to the beach this time. It literally poured the whole week. Ugh! But we made the best of it and had a family memories that will last a lifetime.
Jimmy’s niece Nikki got married in New York on Aug 12, to Frankie. And it was a gorgeous occasion, we had a blast with the whole family. I love weddings!!!
During that trip we made a side trip to Manhattan…I just love NYC!!!, it’s so amazing, I am in awe of  the architecture as it is incomparable to anything in the world.
 See my  photo album  from Manhattan here…p.s. the end of the photo album is the best…I got some killer shots of Columbus Circle and the beginning of Central Park from the hotel bar at the Mandarin Hotel.
central park from mandarin hotel by columbus circle NYC 2015 sept
If you ever get to NYC, go to the hotel bar at the Mandarin for the best view in the city (well, besides the Marriott’s bar in Times Square…that’s the other must-see place for the views of the whole square…it will blow you away!).
We also finally made it out to see Jimmy’s aunt Carmella and her son Richie in Far Rockaway at their beach bungalows. Very cool.
It was so awesome! Richie made us homemade zeppolis (well…not sure that’s what they’re called, but fried dough sprinkled with sugar is yummy no matter what you call it…. and some were cheese filled too.)
We checked out the boardwalk, and the other owned properties they’re fixing up and renting close by.

On a cool side note,

Angies mother in law and her mother in law
The following music video by Ben Browning called “Friends of Mine” was shot at cousin Richie’s 1920s beach bungalow in Rockaway.
Look for the old photo on the side-table …pictured is Angie’s ( my Mother-in-law’s) mother and her mother-in-law…
LOL! awesome!!
And in case you missed the pictures of Jesse and Natalie’s wedding (from 2012), here’s the photo album, with all the grandkids! Of course they’ve grown since then, and we’ve just learned that Natalie is pregnant again, so another grandchild is on the way!
Let’s hope this one’s a girl, as 5…that’s FIVE  boys are enough already!!!!
C’mon girl power!

One thing Jim and I really enjoy is music (our music collection alone could tell you that), and what could be better than celebrating it with friends at live shows? This year, along with some like-minded friends, we enjoyed some great performances at some great venues such as:

  • ***David Bromberg at the Capitol Theater in Clearwater, (yes, that’s marked with only three stars, he was good, even better than I thought, but of course Jimmy thought it was a five star concert, but he is one of his all-time faves, lol)
  • *****The Who / Joan Jett at the big arena in Tampa (the Who really knows how to put on a show, it was a fabulous spectacle and one of the best I’ve ever seen!) photos here.
  • **Puddle of Mudd at Leesburg bikefest. this one was pretty good, but it was so hot, and the band took forever to get on stage.
  • ***The Fixx – box seats at the Capitol Theater! We love the Capitol. It’s so intimate, and a lovely place to see any musician. Plus, with box seats we couldn’t have been more spoiled! (photos here)
  • *Jorma Kaukonen ( I promised Jimmy I wouldn’t say a word about this show, since it was his pick, but if it tells you anything, we all left less than 25 min. into it…)
  • ****Colbie Caillait/ Rachel Platten –this one was my pick, and even Jimmy liked this show (and after the Jorma fiasco he was reallllllly wanting to hate it…, but he ended up loving it, and really, it’s only because both Colbie and Rachel are absolutely gorgeous, but believe me, they put on a great show!). See pics here.
  • ***Collective Soul (twice) (once with Kick the Robot for Jimmy’s birthday at House of Blues in Orlando see photos here )
  • ********Joe Bonamossa at Ruth Eckerd Hall. OMG! This blues guitarist is so good he’ll even make blues haters love it. He was on fire! His fingers blazed over the strings like nothing I’ve ever witnessed…it was the best performance I’ve ever seen. And I don’t say that lightly. If you ever get a chance to see him. Do it, you won’t regret it. Joe Bonamossa show Pictures here. Videos here, and Here. .
Here’s a link to all my facebook videos for all the above shows that I got video of.

Well, that’s it for this crazy year. It was good.

Yes, life is good, and I feel blessed to have such wonderful family and friends.
So let’s make life a little better by helping eachothe
r’s lives the best we can.
We all might not be happy all the time, and for some it’s been a tough road, but if we decide to be happy no mater what may come, that’s a choice we all can live with.
Blessings to you and yours this new year.
Happy 2016!

How to feel better by breathing

Happy December angels!  8dd5782846607393551a19ee09a96b8f

I can’t believe it’s that time again. I know I say it every year, but truly, time is speeding up more and more each instance I look at the calendar on December 1.

It seems to fly by faster and faster… I mean, geez, at this rate, before I’m 60 time will be going so fast I’ll probably be making Christmas cookies on Easter! lol.

At any rate, it’s likely, and most probable that we all will get a little stressed out during the holidays.

This is some of the best and most manageable advice from a trusted source, that we could all use to help with a variety of life issues, like; 

  • give us a boost of energy when needed instead of grabbing a cup of coffee,
  • or to relax when stressed or if feeling panicky and/or anxious,
  • even for digestive disorders… (uhhh…especially after Thanksgiving, and pretty much during the entire holiday season)…ummmyeah. 

And it’s all based on one of the most natural things we do all the time –mostly without even a thought about it — Breathing. womansea

Yes, it’s just breathing.  But it’s the way we do it that can have the desired effect. These breathing exercises will help a variety of issues.

And what’s better, these techniques will not only help during the holidays, but all year through.

It’s from Dr. Weil, and I, for one, trust Dr. Weil’s  advice.

Dr. Weil is a well known Harvard trained  physician, and successful author, spokesperson, and broadly described “guru” for holistic health and integrative medicine, he’s well trusted in the medical community and has some excellent advice for more natural therapies.

The following is from his website:

Three Breathing Exercises

Since breathing is something we can control and regulate, it is a useful tool for achieving a relaxed and clear state of mind. I recommend three breathing exercises to help relax and reduce stress:
The Stimulating Breath, The 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise (also called the Relaxing Breath), and Breath Counting.
Try each of these breathing techniques and see how they affect your stress and anxiety levels.
Exercise 1:

The Stimulating Breath (also called the Bellows Breath)

The Stimulating Breath is adapted from yogic breathing techniques. Its aim is to raise vital energy and increase alertness.
  • Inhale and exhale rapidly through your nose, keeping your mouth closed but relaxed. Your breaths in and out should be equal in duration, but as short as possible. This is a noisy breathing exercise.
  • Try for three in-and-out breath cycles per second. This produces a quick movement of the diaphragm, suggesting a bellows. Breathe normally after each cycle.
  • Do not do for more than 15 seconds on your first try. Each time you practice the Stimulating Breath, you can increase your time by five seconds or so, until you reach a full minute.
If done properly, you may feel invigorated, comparable to the heightened awareness you feel after a good workout. You should feel the effort at the back of the neck, the diaphragm, the chest and the abdomen. Try this diaphragmatic breathing exercise the next time you need an energy boost and feel yourself reaching for a cup of coffee.

Exercise 2:
The 4-7-8 (or Relaxing Breath) Exercise

This breathing exercise is utterly simple, takes almost no time, requires no equipment and can be done anywhere. Although you can do the exercise in any position, sit with your back straight while learning the exercise. Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth, and keep it there through the entire exercise. You will be exhaling through your mouth around your tongue; try pursing your lips slightly if this seems awkward.
  • Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
  • Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
  • Hold your breath for a count of seven.
  • Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
  • This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.
Note that you always inhale quietly through your nose and exhale audibly through your mouth. The tip of your tongue stays in position the whole time. Exhalation takes twice as long as inhalation. The absolute time you spend on each phase is not important; the ratio of 4:7:8 is important. If you have trouble holding your breath, speed the exercise up but keep to the ratio of 4:7:8 for the three phases. With practice you can slow it all down and get used to inhaling and exhaling more and more deeply.
This exercise is a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system. Unlike tranquilizing drugs, which are often effective when you first take them but then lose their power over time, this exercise is subtle when you first try it but gains in power with repetition and practice. Do it at least twice a day. You cannot do it too frequently. Do not do more than four breaths at one time for the first month of practice. Later, if you wish, you can extend it to eight breaths. If you feel a little lightheaded when you first breathe this way, do not be concerned; it will pass.
Once you develop this technique by practicing it every day, it will be a very useful tool that you will always have with you. Use it whenever anything upsetting happens – before you react. Use it whenever you are aware of internal tension. Use it to help you fall asleep. This exercise cannot be recommended too highly. Everyone can benefit from it.

Exercise 3:
Breath Counting

If you want to get a feel for this challenging work, try your hand at breath counting, a deceptively simple technique much used in Zen practice.
Sit in a comfortable position with the spine straight and head inclined slightly forward. Gently close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Then let the breath come naturally without trying to influence it. Ideally it will be quiet and slow, but depth and rhythm may vary.
  • To begin the exercise, count “one” to yourself as you exhale.
  • The next time you exhale, count “two,” and so on up to “five.”
  • Then begin a new cycle, counting “one” on the next exhalation.
Never count higher than “five,” and count only when you exhale. You will know your attention has wandered when you find yourself up to “eight,” “12,” even “19.”
Try to do 10 minutes of this form of meditation.

🙂

Thanks Dr. Weil, and thank YOU, for reading. To learn more about Dr. Weil and his suggestions for better health, go to his website.

DIY Natural Travel Kit with Essential Oils

imagesHow to Make a Natural Travel Kit with Essential Oils

Plus Recipes For; Sunburn Relief Spray, Jet Lag, Migraines, Stress Headaches, Nausea, Travel Sickness, Queasiness, Fear of Flying, and Preventing Deep Vein Thrombosis

Aromatherapy can be a very helpful companion

when embarking upona long journey,

or even just a short trip,

and may even effectively replace some other

traditional medicines for those that are looking for

a natural alternative.

 

If you suffer from travel sickness,

headaches or migraines,

queasiness, fear of flying, jet lag,

insect bites and/or sun burns,

read on to find essential oil remedies that help with those maladies.

Original article published 2008 on Associated Content- posted here in full..Enjoy! Hope these tips help you on your next trip!

 

Aromatherapy can be a very helpful companion when embarking upon a long journey, or even just a short trip, and may even effectively replace some other traditional medicines for those that are looking for a natural alternative. While traveling may be a part of our work and our play, for those that suffer from travel-troubles it can be a nightmare. If you suffer from travel sickness, headaches or migraines, queasiness, fear of flying, jet lag, insect bites and sun burns, here you will find essential oil remedies to help with those maladies. I’ve also included a recipe for a massage blend to keep deep vein thrombosis at bay, as well.

Important Notes for Using Essential Oils; Dilutions and Usage of Essential Oils:

Always dilute essential oils, as they are very potent and too concentrated to use undiluted on the skin. To use essential oils in a massage, use the following dilutions:

For most people ages 12-65 add no more than 20 drops of your chosen essential oil(s) per ounce of carrier oils.

For those aged 4-6 or those over age 65, do not use more than 10 drops per ounce of carrier, and those aged 1-4, no more than 5 drops per ounce of carrier of safe essential oils.

For pregnant women or babies, only minute quantities of safe essential oils should be used. For instance, only 1-4 drops of essential oils should be used per ounce of carrier.

NOTE: Only Tea Tree, Lavender, Roman Chamomile 3%, Dill, and Mandarin (be careful of phototoxicity with citrus oils), as well as Eucalyptus Smithii (the mildest of all the Eucalyptus’) are safe for children and the elderly, and are the only essential oils that should be used on pregnant women, or children under 4 years old.

Here’s how to make your own natural travel kit with essential oils:

First, gather ingredients. Here’s a list of essential oils and items you’ll need;

  • Peppermint essential oil (peppermint supreme is best)
  • Lavender (French Lavender is best),
  • Ginger Root essential oil,
  • Eucalyptus Globulus (or Eucalyptus Smithii if using on children) essential oil,
  • Geranium essential oil,
  • Cypress essential oil (French Cypress is best),
  • Chamomile (Roman Chamomile 3% is best as it is less expensive than pure and is already diluted),
  • Grapeseed oil (or other carrier oil such as sweet almond, fractionated coconut, olive, sunflower, or mixture of carrier oils),
  • Aloe Vera liquid or gel (for insect bite relief roll-on)
  • Aromatherapy Inhalers (empty inhalers you can fill yourself),
  • 3.4 oz. (100ml) spray bottle (for sunburn relief spray), and
  • 3.4 oz. (100ml) plastic disc top bottle (for massage blend).
  • Small roll-on bottle for insect bite relief blend. I found a package of 12 roll-on bottles in 5ml size on amazon here.

Both types of empty bottles (spray bottles and massage blend bottles) can be purchased at Walmart or Dollar Tree, and Mountain Rose Herbs is a great place for essential oils and carriers . An easy way to label the aromatherapy inhalers is to write the title on a small piece of paper (about 1/2 in. by 1.5 in. will fit most inhalers), and cover the label with clear tape to prevent water ruining the label. Then attach the label to the inhaler with more clear tape. I use clear shipping tape, as it is wide enough to cover the label and reach over the edges, so it sticks to the label and the inhaler. Same goes for the massage bottle label, except for the size of the paper.

Recipes for Natural Travel Kit:

Sunburn relief spray – For the 3.4 oz (100ml) bottle

  • 1 oz Aloe Vera Gel
  • 2 oz purified water
  • 20 drops Lavender essential oil
  • 10 drops Vitamin E Oil (or 2-3 Vit. E oil caplets)
  • 10 drops Peppermint essential oil
  • 15 drops Roman Chamomile 3% essential oil

Mix, and shake well before each use. Spray over affected area whenever needed.

Here are a few extra tips to help heal sunburn quickly: Drink plenty of water, stay out of the sun until the sunburn completely heals, and avoid drinking any alcohol–because alcohol dehydrates you and your body needs water to repair the damaged skin. Also, wear loose natural clothing like light cottons, or silks.

Insect bite relief– For the 5ml roll-on bottle

  • 25 drops of Lavender essential oil
  • 20 drops of Tea Tree essential oil
  • 50 drops of Aloe Vera liquid (or thinned-out aloe gel)

Add ingredients to roll-on bottle, shake well. Replace roller ball and cap. Roll directly on the bite to relieve itching as well as promote healing.

Jet lag aromatherapy inhaler

  • 2 drops Peppermint essential oil
  • 2 drops Geranium or Rose Geranium essential oil

Open the inhaler; add the drops of essential oils on the cotton filter. Place the cotton filter in the inhaler tube and close the bottom. Be sure to mark the inhaler so you know what’s inside. Inhale gently whenever needed. Here are a few extra tips for naturally preventing jet lag: Make sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, no alcoholic or caffeinated drinks. Try ordering a ginger ale or a water when you are flying. Also, for some, taking two capsules of ginger before flying really helps. Also make sure to keep moving, it isn’t helpful to stay stagnant the whole trip. If you can’t walk around, just do some simple exercises while sitting. Try some leg raises, palm contractions, or roll your ankles and feet in circles with your legs stretched out as far as they can. Also be sure to eat healthy meals on time, don’t skip any meals.

Aromatherapy inhaler and massage oil recipe for migraines, stress headache, nausea and depression

  • 2 drops Roman Chamomile
  • 4 drops Lavender
  • 2 drops Peppermint

Make an aromatherapy inhaler by opening the empty inhaler, adding the drops to the filter, replacing filter, and closing the inhaler tube. You can take this with you on any trip because of its small size. Be sure to mark the inhaler so you know what’s inside. You can also make a massage oil by adding these oils to a carrier. To make this into a massage oil in the 3.4 oz (100ml) bottle, use 30 drops Lavender, 15 drops R.Chamomile, and 15 drops Peppermint essential oils to 3 oz. of carrier like Grapeseed oil. Shake well, and be sure to add a label to the bottle or inhaler, so you always know what’s inside. To use the massage oil, shake well, and massage about 1 tsp. of the blend into the mastoids behind the ear, as well as the temples (being careful not to get any in the eyes). You may also massage over the abdominal/naval area if you wish. Do this hourly. You can also place a warm compress over the stomach after the oils are applied. Use the inhaler 4-6 times per hour, or as needed.

Travel sickness aromatherapy inhaler

If you get travel sickness when you fly, or when on a cruise ship, make an aromatherapy inhaler and gently inhale before and during your trip. This will help to calm and relax you, inside and out, whenever you feel ill from traveling. This blend is also good for stress when dealing with flight turbulence.

  • 4 drops of Peppermint
  • 4 drops of Lavender

To make the aromatherapy travel sickness inhaler open the inhaler; add the drops of essential oils on the cotton filter, then put the cotton filter back in the inhaler tube and close the bottom. Be sure to mark the inhaler so you know what’s inside. Inhale gently whenever needed.

Travel queasiness aromatherapy inhaler

If you are prone to your stomach leaping, turning and churning during a flight, make this blend for your inhaler as it really helps with queasiness. This blend is also good for stress when dealing with flight turbulence.

  • 6 drops of Ginger
  • 2 drops of Peppermint

To make the aromatherapy queasiness inhaler open the inhaler; add the drops of essential oils on the cotton filter, then put the cotton filter back in the inhaler tube and close the bottom. Be sure to mark the inhaler so you know what’s inside. Inhale gently to help settle your stomach.

Fear of flying aromatherapy inhaler

This blend is perfect for those who suffer from fear of flying. Inhale for a few minutes before takeoff, and again during the flight.

  • 4 drops of Chamomile Roman 3%
  • 2 drops of Lavender

To make the aromatherapy fear of flying inhaler open the inhaler; add the drops of essential oils on the cotton filter, then put the cotton filter back in the inhaler tube and close the bottom. Be sure to mark the inhaler so you know what’s inside. Inhale gently whenever needed. The calming properties of these oils will help you relax the entire flight.

Travel massage oil

  • 3 oz. or 90 ml of grape seed oil
  • 15 drops Eucalyptus globulus (or Eucalyptus Smitii)
  • 5 drops of Cypress French
  • 5 drops Ginger essential oil

Combine all ingredients in the disc-top bottle and shake well before use. Apply to the skin by pouring out about 1 tabelspoon in your palm, rubbing palms together to warm oil, and gently massaging your legs. Here are a few other tips for preventing deep vein thrombosis:

Try to move as often as possible during long trips to prevent deep vein thrombosis from occurring, (which is caused by blood clots forming in the legs due to the lack of movement). Exercise your lower calf muscles if you’ll be sitting a long time. Whenever possible, get up and walk around. If you can’t get up to walk around, try raising and lowering your heels while keeping your toes on the floor, then raising your toes while your heels are on the floor.

Extra Notes on Essential Oils for Travel:

Peppermint, Ginger, and Lavender essential oils are the best for relieving nausea, motion sickness, or just feeling queasy. Keep these close at hand for trips.

Lavender is one of those essential oils that you should always have for a multitude of purposes, as it can be used for almost anything because of it being a natural balancer,

Also, Rosemary, Peppermint, and Grapefruit are great for an invigorating blend that stimulates physical and mental energy.

Cypress essential oil is also great for cellulite, varicose veins, water retention, stress, nervous tension, menstrual problems, as well as a good anti-inflammatory.

Ginger essential oil is also useful for treating rheumatism, arthritis, nausea, hangovers, colds and flu, congestion, coughs, sinusitis, cramps, chills, fever, bruising, sore throat and diarrhea.


Resources & More Reading:

Esoteric Oils; http://www.essentialoils.co.za/treatment/jet-lag.htm

BirchHillHappenings; http://birchhillhappenings.com/motion.htm

New Directions Aromatics; essential oils for travel

Find Ingredients and Supplies:

Roll-on Bottles

Aromatherapy Inhalers

Mountain Rose Herbs for essential oils and carriers

Bottle (100mL)+Spray Pump Atomizer Sprayer Empty Bottle

Yellowstar Essentials Essential Oil Travel Kit; http://sites.google.com/site/yellowstaressentials/Home/aromatherapy

More Reading on Essential Oils & Natural Remedies

List of Essential Oils for Specific Emotions

Can Essential Oils Help with Depression & Anxiety? Using Aromatherapy as a Mood Regulator

 

Original article at :  http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/7884542/how_to_make_a_natural_travel_kit_with.html?cat=5

FromNatureWithLove.com

New Year recipes; Essential Oil Recipes for New Beginnings

swallowtail at SCEEC
photo by Candice L Collins

 

Happy New Year!!! Can you believe it’s almost 2017 already????happy new year

2016 is now come and gone, and we find ourselves at the beginning of a brand new year.

I love new beginnings. It’s like a fresh start; a way to press the re-start button on a whole new life.

We have the chance to put those things behind us that no longer work for us, or are unhealthy, or cause us negativity in our lives.

Whoo hoo! Out with the old, in with the new. I am ready.

Are you?

Are you ready for new beginnings,  a brand new start, letting go of the past and living for the now, for today?

Here’s a few essential oil blends that can help you get started from my recipe articles:

I originally had this linking back to my article at Yahoo Contributor, but since they have closed, I’ve decided to just post the whole thing here since I’m still looking for permanent homes for my articles. 🙂

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The first essential oil recipe for new beginnings has to do with an over-all fresh blend to give us that ‘breath of fresh air’ so to speak, clearing out the old negative stuff and inhaling a clean, new start. I started with citrus oils of course, as they are so great for an uplifting, and happy feeling. And perfect for winter to aid in easing winter doldrums. Then added a bit of lavender for a super clean and lovely balance. Next is spearmint for a minty freshness and followed up with juniper, Atlas cedarwood, thyme ct. linalool and cypress.

Try this blend for your new year-New Beginnings blend:

 

  • 7 drops grapefruit
  • 4 drops lemon
  • 4 drops tangerine
  • 4 drops lavender
  • 2 drops spearmint or peppermint
  • 3 drops juniper
  • 4 drops Atlas cedarwood
  • 3 drops thyme ct. linalool
  • 3 drops cypress

This blend can be added to many different things depending on how you want to use it.

For a body re-fresher or spritzer add 20 drops of this blend to 4 ounces of water with a splash of vodka, shake and use anytime.

For an anointing oil or perfume type, use 12 drops of this blend mixed with 1 ounce of sweet almond oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, grapeseed oil or similar.

For a bath salt or body salt scrub, add 20 drops of the blend to 4 ounces of dead sea salts and 1-2 oz. of jojoba, sweet almond, olive, grapeseed or similar oil, mix and use as an exfoliating body scrub or soaking bath salts.

For a take-with-you-to-go style inhaler for freshness on the go, put about 25 drops or so of this blend in a small dark glass bottle, or you can make your own aromatherapy inhaler. You can find inhalers for pretty inexpensive all over the internet. Here’s a couple places:

Aromatherapy Inhaler – Plastic, Pack of 4 (w/caps & wicks)-These plastic inhalers are convenient and portable. Place a few drops of your favorite Essential Oil or Aromatherapy Blend on the wick, slip it into the base and cover. To use, simply remove the top and inhale.

Aromaticsinternational.com Here are a few more blends to help with new beginnings:

Blessings blend

  • 3 drops juniper
  • 3 drops basil
  • 6 drops jasmine
  • 5 drops sandalwood
  • 3 drops frankincense
  • 3 drops rose

This blend helps when you want to bless someone, or set a protective blessing around yourself. Mix this blend of oils with a carrier like grapeseed oil, sweet almond oil, jojoba, olive, or coconut oil…one to two ounces of carrier should do it, if you want to use it on your body. If it’s just for a diffuser for the air you don’t need a carrier.

 

Business Success

  • 3 drops Bergamot
  • 1 drop Basil
  • 1 drop Patchouli
  • 1 drop Cinnamon
  • 1 drop Frankincense

This recipe can be doubled, tripled, whatever, or however much you’d like to make. By all intents and purposes the properties of the oils in this blend should help bring you success in your business. I’ve yet to try this one, but hey, I’ll take anything that can help cash flow! Plus, isn’t belief in something half the battle?

Just mix the oils & add them to a base or carrier oil, such as sweet almond oil, coconut, or jojoba. Anoint your hands, business cards, cash register, or the front door of the place of business to increase cash flow. Here’s to making a success in your business!

 

Citrus Purification

  • 7 drops Tangerine
  • 5 drops Peppermint
  • 10 drops Grapefruit
  • 5 drops Lemon
  • 3 drops Lavender

This is a beautiful purifying home scent too. Just add this blend to a 4 ounce bottle of water (with a splash of vodka to help dissipate the scent), shake and use anywhere. Also great for your car.

 

Liquid Courage

  • 3 drops Ginger
  • 1 drop Black Pepper
  • 1 drop Clove
  • 1 drop Sandalwood
  • 2 drops cypress

This is the blend to wear when you need liquid courage (no not a shot of vodka!). Wear this blend anytime you want to increase your fortitude, especially before being introduced to new people, or right before you have to do public speaking, or any nerve-wracking situations that cause you distress.

 

Uplifting energy

  • 4 drops orange
  • 2 drops mandarin
  • 1 drop Cardamom
  • 2 drops coriander
  • 3 drops bergamot
  • 1 drop spearmint

This blend is perfect to cheer you up and give you an uplifting feeling, whenever you are feeling depleted, worn out or just ill. This blend is also great when your energy reserves just seem empty and is especially useful after heavy work to ” recharge your batteries.”

 

Interview blend

  • 4 drops Ylang-Ylang
  • 3 drops Lavender
  • 1 drop Rose
  • 2 drops Bergamot or Mandarin

This is a perfect blend to start the new year off when going to an interview. Wear to any interview and not only will it help to calm you, but make a lasting impression after you leave.

 

Peace

  • 3 drops Ylang-ylang
  • 3 drops Lavender
  • 2 drops Chamomile
  • 1 drop Rose Absolute
  • 3 drops mandarin

This blend imbibes the whole aura of peace. Perfect to wear when you feel nervous or upset. This blend will help calm you down.

 

To ease winter depression:

  • 5 drops orange
  • 5 drops mandarin
  • 7 drops bergamot

This blend works great for lifting depression; very uplifting and stress reducing. Just brings a smile whenever inhaled.Also read my article: https://yellowstaressentials.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/can-essential-oils-help-with-depression-using-aromatherapy-as-a-mood-regulator/

I hope these essential oil recipes help make your new year better than the last.

Best to you!

The Very Inspiring Blogger Award

No one is as excited and surprised as I, to be nominated for this awesome award! Thank you Dan Riegler from apothecarysgarden.com. !

Dan said, “The Very Inspiring Blogger Award, is the first award I came across online. I don’t remember where I saw it winking at me from a sidebar, but I remember thinking to myself, how cool is this, a community of creative people, writing, blogging, sharing and creating community standards, and awards to promote those standards., hmmmmm, wouldn’t it be nice….. And now, well it is hard to believe folks! I feel honoured, flattered and a little tongue-tied.. They say Jupiter and Venus are kissing in the zodiac right now, and there are pleasant surprises for us all.  So there you go. Thanks! http://apothecarysgarden.com/inspiring-blogger-award/”.

Thank you Dan for this honor you have bestowed upon my little blog. You are much too kind!

This prestigious award does come with rules though….

“Along with the honor of receiving the Very Inspiring Blogger Award, there are a few obligations. Most have to do with perpetuating the award, and passing it forward. Below, are the guidelines, or rules for any of you whom I have nominated, if you choose to accept the award. There is no obligation to accept it, however, I hope enough of you will carry the torch forward to the continued benefit of the blogosphere, by supporting  and encouraging bloggers who inspire you and contribute to standards you would like to see.

One of the requirements is, one must nominate 15 other bloggers that one finds inspiring.

OK..so I picked 10:

Apothecary’s Garden
SuperInspireMe
miraculousendeavors.org
Aromamuse
Scentual Soundtracks
The Angel Whisperer
Kai Moves (Kai is a beautiful creative dance fitness class by a remarkable woman and angel on Earth)
The Eggless Tort
Domestic Diva MD
New Heaven on Earth
 
 

And without further ado…

here they are, RULES FOR THE “VERY INSPIRING BLOGGER” AWARD:                                                   

(Courtesy of Lonnie Miller http://thebelmontrooster.wordpress.com/)

1. Thank the person who nominated you and add a link to their blog.

2. Display the award on your post.

3 List the award rules so your nominees will know what to do.

4. State 7 things about yourself.

5. Nominate 15 other bloggers for the award.

6. Contact your nominees to let them know you have nominated them. Provide a link to your post.

7. Proudly display the award logo (or buttons) to your blog, whether on your side bar, ABOUT page, or a special page for awards. Let other bloggers see right up front that you are an award winner and HAVE participated in the award process (there should be an award for that all by itself!).

Here is a link for nominees that may provide some extra information on the award and how to proceed. Some of the technical bits. http://thebelmontrooster.wordpress.com/2013/11/25/my-very-inspiring-blogger-award/.

So now to follow all the rules I suppose I must list 7 things about me… really? is this part really necessary? LOL

ok, well, ummmmmm, I really love angels. And music…all kinds! I’m totally addicted to Spotify. Music is a constant inspiration for me!! And oh how I love essential oils…truly God’s healing gifts!. And dancing! I couldn’t live without helping someone at least once a day…it lifts my spirits! I also adore curling up with a good book and getting lost in a wonderful story. 🙂 If you like reading too… here’s a link to the best novels of 2013 on amazon. 🙂

Blessings to you and yours this holiday season!! xoxo

 

christmas diffuser world

 

Homemade Inexpensive Holiday Gifts & Christmas Crafts

It’s almost December already, and time is flying by again this year. It seems no matter how many years pass I can never be completely ready for the holidays. I say to myself every Thanksgiving that this year will be the year that I’m going to have everything I wanted to accomplish finished by Christmas….yeah right.

In the meantime, I’ve done a bit of searching and found some great things to share for creative and inexpensive Christmas gifts.

Also be sure to read my Yahoo article; 10 best bargain Christmas gift ideas.


These decorative candles are great for your holiday mantel or table centerpiece. Wrapped with the sheet music of your favorite carol and pictures of your family, they’re a great family keepsake or seasonal decoration.

Christmas Candles

1. Photocopy music or photos onto regular printer paper. 2. Trim the paper so it’s no taller than the candle. 3. Affix the paper to the candle with straight pins. 4. With an embossing gun, heat the candle until the wax saturates and melts completely through the paper. Remove the pins. 5. Embellish the candle with ribbons, charms or other notions.

Noel Candle
1. Wrap various ribbons around a candle. 2. Attach alphabet charms with adhesive dots.

Peace Candle
1. Glue pressed leaves on candle. Coat with decoupage medium. 2. Adorn with ribbon and a mini tag.

Believe Candle
1. Cut canvas to fit around candle. 2. Stamp “believe” on the canvas with StazOn ink. 3. Set a snap on the canvas. 4. Pin embellished canvas to candle. 5. Heat with an embossing gun until the wax saturates and melts completely through the canvas.

HOMEMADE COCOA KIT GIFTS

CLASSIC COCOA

Layer 1 cup granulated sugar, 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 cup powdered milk, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips, and 1/2 cup miniature marshmallows. Makes 1 quart mix or 12 servings hot cocoa.

Per serving: 142 cal., 20% (29 cal.) from fat; 3.7 g protein; 3.2 g fat (1.9 g sat.); 30 g carbo (2.6 g fiber); 1 mg chol.

MEXICAN COCOA

Layer 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 cup powdered milk, 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, and 3/4 cup chopped Mexican chocolate (such as Ibarra). Add a few cinnamon sticks to top of jar. Makes 1 quart mix or 12 servings hot cocoa.

Per serving: 158 cal., 14% (22 cal.) from fat; 3.4 g protein; 2.4 g fat (0.8 g sat.); 33 g carbo (2.1 g fiber); 1 mg chol.

PEPPERMINT STICK COCOA

Layer 1 cup powdered milk, 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips, and 1/2 cup crushed peppermint candy. Makes 1 quart mix or 12 servings hot cocoa.

Per serving: 172 cal., 17% (29 cal.) from fat; 3.7 g protein; 3.2 g fat (1.9 g sat.); 37 g carbo (2.6 g fiber); 1 mg chol.

MOCHA COCOA

Layer 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup espresso powder, 1 cup powdered milk, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate or miniature chocolate chips. Makes 1 quart mix or 12 servings hot cocoa.

Per serving: 141 cal., 23% (32 cal.) from fat; 4.1 g protein; 3.5 g fat (1.9 g sat.); 28 g carbo (2.3 g fiber); 1 mg chol.

Photos by David Prince

Sources: Vintage straight-sided Ball canning jar. Rounded 1-liter French canning jar from the Container Store (www.containerstore.com or 888/266-8246). Vintage metal-clip jar. Glass 1-quart cracker jar with aluminum screw-top lid from the Container Store.

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A perennial winter favorite, hot cocoa with all the trimmings (mini marshmallows, chocolate chips, and a cherry-red gumdrop) sports an even sweeter look packaged as a cone. This makes a great gift for babysitters, teachers, and neighbors. Be sure to add a tag letting your recipients know the cone contains enough for four servings.

RECIPE INGREDIENTS:
3/4 cup cocoa mix
2 (6- by 12-inch) cone-shaped cellophane bags (available at party stores)
2 clear rubber bands (we used ponytail holders)
Scissors
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
3/4 cup mini marshmallows
1 large red gumdrop
1. Pour the cocoa mix into one of the bags. Close the bag with a clear rubber band, then trim the end of the bag 1 inch above the band.

2. Place the cocoa-filled bag into the second bag and flatten its top so the end doesn’t stick up.

3. Layer the chocolate chips and the marshmallows, then top with the gumdrop. Secure the bag with the other rubber band.

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Christmas HOT COCOA KIT

You can make one of all of the above cocoa mixes (mocha cocoa, pepp. candy cocoa, mexican cocoa, etc) and put them in a basket with cute Christmas cups, Christmas Hershey’s Kisses and marshmallows…mmmmmmmm 🙂

Another Homemade Cocoa Kit

This easy-to-make kit, with cocoa mix as the centerpiece, is a fun holiday gift. Package it in a pretty gift box lined with tissue. Include Hershey’s Kisses — they further sweeten and deepen the chocolate flavor — and marshmallows for dropping into the cocoa, if you wish.

Spice-Kissed Hot Cocoa Mix For 8 cups

* 1/3 cup best-quality unsweetened cocoa powder
* 1/4 cup superfine sugar
* 1 whole star anise
* 2 cinnamon sticks, each about 3 inches long

Mix together all of the ingredients. Place in a tin or jar that seals securely. Add a recipe card with the following directions: Hot Cocoa 8 cups whole milk Spice-Kissed Hot Cocoa Mix 8 Hershey’s Kisses (optional) Marshmallows (optional)

In a heavy saucepan over low heat, bring 1 cup of the milk to a simmer. Stir in the cocoa mix. Mix until well blended. Add the remaining 7 cups of milk and bring back to a simmer.

Remove the star anise and the cinnamon sticks and discard. Serve hot, along with the Hershey’s Kisses and marshmallows, if desired.
From Christmas Family Gatherings © by Donata Maggipinto. Used with permission of Chronicle Books LLC, San Francisco. Visit chroniclebooks.com.

Brownie Mix in a Jar

Who doesn’t love brownies? Nobody, that’s who. That’s why a brownie mix in a jar makes a great gift: it looks cool, it’s easy and inexpensive to make, and it turns into brownies! I like to keep a couple of these on hand for “emergency” situations, like when someone gives you an unexpected gift and you want to look like you already planned something in return.

Basically, you layer all the dry ingredients in a jar, then add a tag explaining what wet ingredients (like eggs and oil) to add and how to finish the recipe. There are countless variations; this one comes from Allrecipes.com and includes pecans, which have no business in a brownie but can be replaced with chocolate chips or even coconut. In addition to the ingredients themselves, you’ll need quart jars and tags for the baking instructions. Buy everything in bulk and you’ll have enough lovingly homemade gifts for everyone on your list.

One final note: this doesn’t have to be a regular old brownie mix. Search Allrecipes.com for “in a jar” and you’ll find loads of brownie varieties as well as cookie recipes. Yet another variation: Family Fun’s Hot Chocolate Cones, which rely on cone-shaped bags instead of jars. Whatever mouth-watering mix you choose, don’t forget your favorite editors during this special season.

Holiday Peppermint Bark

Spray a large cookie tray with non-stick spray and then line it with a piece of way paper. Take several large candy canes or a bag of peppermint candies and crush them into small pieces. (How much peppermint flavor you like should determine how many you chop up.)

On the stove, melt two bags of white chocolate chips at a low temperature. When melted, add most of the crushed peppermint and stir it in. Pour the mixture onto the cookie tray and spread over the tray until flat and even. Sprinkle the remaining peppermint pieces on top, pressing them in with a spatula.

Let it cool. Peel off wax paper and break into pieces. Enjoy!

Here’s a site that offers ‘how to’s’ on making your own creative Christmas projects and crafts;

http://www.allfreecrafts.com/christmas/index.shtml

and here’s a cute project that’s great if you want to recycle those favorite Christmas cards;

How to Make Greeting Card Placemats

Recycle your Christmas cards, or other greeting cards, to make pretty placemats for your table. This is one way to keep and display some of your prettiest, or most memorable, greeting cards. Next year, you can bring them out for holiday entertaining; perhaps your guests will even recognize their own cards in your selection!

Supplies:

Christmas cards or greeting cards
clear contact paper or self-adhesive plastic film
drinking glass or cardboard circle template
pencil
scissors
optional: wrapping paper or card stock as a backing; glue stick

Craft Project Instructions:

Assemble your collection of greeting cards and a circle template. You can make a circle template from cardboard, or use a drinking glass to trace around.

Begin tracing four to six inch circles around key areas of your greeting cards, centering the most pleasing designs.

Cut out the circles.

For the backing, cut a piece of clear contact paper, wrapping paper or card stock in a rectangle that is approximately 20 inches wide by 26 inches long (or trace around an old placemat).

If using contact paper, peel away the backing and lay it on the table, sticky side up. If the paper curls up at the sides, find something to weigh it down at the corners while you proceed with the next steps.

Arrange the greeting card circles in a trial run on the table. You can use a layout like the one shown, with three circles in the top row, then four circles in the center row, and a bottom row of three more circles, with the circles overlapping so there are no spaces between them.

You could also try a pyramid (like the triangle shape of a Christmas tree), or maybe experiment with a wreath design.

Once you have a design that you like, begin placing the greeting card circles on the backing sheet. If you’re using wrapping paper or card stock, swipe a glue stick across the back of each circle, just to hold it still until the top contact paper is in place.

Cut a piece of contact paper the same size as your backing.

Peel away the backing paper of the contact sheet and carefully place it over your card design, aligning the edges as well as you can, and smoothing out any bubbles.

Trim the placemat all around, leaving about 1/2 inch to one inch of space around the card circles. You can keep the corners square, or place your circle template close to each corner, tracing around the upper section of it to round off the corners.

Variations:

Cut the cards into different shapes – triangles, or free-form shapes, instead of circles.

To make a reversible placemat, glue two identical shapes together, with right sides out, so a design can be seen on either side of the placemat.

Write the year of construction on the placemat somewhere, to create a dated archive of your favorite card collections.

The Winter Emergency Car-Kit

You can either make one or buy one made by AAA for pretty cheap.

Think of a friend or loved one stranded in the ditch while the snow continues to pile up. Not a pretty picture, is it? A homemade emergency kit not only helps ensure their safety, it also says you care.

Start with a large coffee can. Decorate it as you see fit, starting with blank or holiday paper wrapped around the outside. Now, fill it with the following:

* Rock salt, filling roughly half the can. If the car gets stuck in the snow, the salt will help give the tires some traction and, hopefully, get it unstuck.
* A few roadside flares.
* A couple granola bars (stranded people get hungry).
* A pair of stretchy knit gloves (which are very small until you pull them over your hands). Maybe a knit cap, too.
* A small flashlight and a pack of fresh batteries.
* A mini first-aid kit with bandages and aspirin.
* A small bottle of water. Yes, it may get frozen, but it’s still worth having.
* A pocket-size book of Sudoku puzzles to pass the time waiting for the tow truck.
* A small, laminated sheet of emergency numbers, like AAA, towing services, etc.
* If you’re really ambitious, add a compatible Energizer Energi To Go powerpack for the recipient’s cell phone. Because the battery will invariably die the moment the car gets stuck.

Everything but the rock salt should go inside an oversized Ziplock bag to keep it from getting mixed in with the salt. All told, the kit shouldn’t cost more than $10-15, unless you add the Energi To Go (which costs around $20).

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MORE!!

More Holiday Recipes :

Recipes from My Family to Yours
Collins Family Traditional Christmas Cookie Recipes
What to Serve at a Party? Easy Sweet Treats; Dessert Cheeseball Recipes; Key Lime, Turtle Cheesecake Ball Recipes and More
Swedish Meatballs; Holiday Recipes and Perfect Party Fare
Easy Mushroom Puffs; Holiday Recipes and Perfect Party Fare
Scallop Ceviche; Holiday Recipes and Perfect Party Fare
Asian Chicken Won Ton Cups; Holiday Recipes and Perfect Party Fare

THANKSGIVING

3 Thanksgiving Day Drink Recipes for Both Kids & Adults
Thanksgiving Dinner Recipes; 2 Savory Side Dishes; Bartlet Pear, Granny Smith Apple & Hazelnut Dressing, and Squash & Spinach O’Gratin
Country Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes ; Granny-Smith-Caramel-Apple & Pecan Bread Pudding & Cranberry and Walnut Cake with Maple-Bourbon Sauce
Thanksgiving Brunch Recipes: Layered Turkey Dinner Brunch Casserole, Spiced Orange Pound Cake French Toast with Maple Orange Sauce

 

Great Thanksgiving and Holiday Pumpkin Recipes


We all love the holidays, if not for the family and friends gathering together for fun and memory making, then definitely for the food!
I found some really great recipes I wanted to share while looking for step by step how to make homemade pumpkin pie recipes.
(I really needed to use that big pumpkin I never carved).

I just couldn’t…..didn’t have the heart to take a knife to it this year, this particular pumpkin was too pretty…..but now, I have to use it…..can’t let it go bad!

So….a pie seemed the nicest thing I could do 🙂 There’s also some other pumpkin recipes you might enjoy 🙂

From Simply Recipes; A beautiful chiffon topping and a spicy crust – a light pumpkin pie with beaten egg whites folded into the pumpkin custard, spiked with rum, set in a gingersnap cookie crust, and covered with whipped cream. The recipe comes from Heidi who pulled it from the Boston Globe a few years ago. And as they say in New England, it’s wicked good.

Chiffon Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients
Crust:
2 cups crushed gingersnaps (several pulses in a food processor)
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
6 Tbsp butter, melted
Filling:
1 envelope gelatin
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup milk
3 eggs, separated (or 3 egg yolks and enough egg white substitute for 3 egg whites)
2 Tbsp rum (note original recipe called for 1/2 cup of rum, but I think it’s a bit much) or you could make your own pumpkin rum; Home Made Pumpkin Rum – YouTube
1/4 cup granulated sugar
Purée made from 1/2 of one medium sugar pumpkin* (1 3/4 cups)
1 cup heavy cream, softly whipped (for topping)
Extra crushed gingersnaps (for garnish)
Method
Crust:
Set the oven at 325°F. Have on hand a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan. Butter it lightly.
In a bowl, combine the crushed gingersnaps, sugar, ginger, and butter. Press the mixture into the pie plate with the back of a spoon, making the top edge even all around. Bake the crust for 8-15 minutes, until it is lightly browned (baking time depends on the oven and on the type of pie dish you are using – a ceramic dish will take longer because it takes longer to heat up).
Filling:
In a heavy-based saucepan, combine the gelatin, brown sugar, salt, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, milk, and egg yolks. Stir thoroughly. Set the pan over medium heat and cook gently, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens slightly. Do not let it boil!
Remove the mixture from the heat and let it cool. Add the pumpkin purée and the rum. Refrigerate the mixture, stirring occasionally, until it thickens enough to form mounds.
In an electric mixer, beat the egg whites and granulated sugar until the form stiff peaks. Stir a few spoonfuls of the egg whites into the pumpkin mixture, then fold in the remaining whites. (If you are concerned about eating raw egg whites, use egg white substitute, dried egg whites, that you can find in the grocery store.)
Pour the filling into the cooled crust. Refrigerate for several hours.
Just before serving, spoon the whipped cream onto the filling and garnish with crushed ginger snaps. Cut the pie into wedges.
Makes one deep 9-inch pie.
*To make pumpkin purée, cut a sugar pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds, lie face down on a tin-foil lined baking pan. Bake at 350°F until soft, about 45 min to an hour. Cool, scoop out the flesh. Freeze whatever you don’t use for future use.

Directions for Making Pumpkin Pie from Scratch
Ingredients and Equipment
a pie pumpkin (see step 1)
A sharp, large serrated knife
an ice cream scoop
a large microwaveable bowl or large pot

Step 1 – Get your pie pumpkin
“Pie pumpkins” are smaller, sweeter, less grainy textured pumpkins than the usual jack-o-lantern types. grocery stores usually carry them in late September through December in the U.S. They’re only about 8 inches in diameter.
Just like selecting any squash, look for one that is firm, no bruises or soft spots, and a good orange color.
Yield: Pie pumpkins are small, usually only 6 inches in diameter. You can usually obtain about 2 or 3 cups or puree per pumpkin.

Step 2 – Prepare the pumpkin for cooking
Wash the exterior of the pumpkin in cool or warm water, no soap.
Cut the pumpkin in half. A serrated knife and a sawing motion works best – a smooth knife is more likely to slip and hurt you!

Step 3 – Scoop out the seeds…
And scrape the insides. You want to get out that stringy, dangly stuff that coats the inside surface. I find a heavy ice cream scoop works great for this.

Note: SAVE THE SEEDS:
The seeds can be used either to plant pumpkins next year, or roasted to eat this year! Place them in a bowl of water and rub them between your hands. then pick out the orange buts (throw that away) and drain off the water. Spread them out on a clean towel or paper towel to dry and they’re ready to save for next year’s planting or roast.

Step 4 – Cooking the pumpkin
There are several ways to cook the pumpkin; just choose use your preferred method. Most people have microwaves, and the use the least energy, so I’ll describe that here. But others make good arguments in favor of using a pressure cooker, steaming on the stovetop or baking in the oven. I’ll describe microwaving here, and at the end of this document, I’ve included alternative instructions to replace step 4, if you’d rather use a different method.

Put it in a microwaveable bowl
Remove the stem, and put the pumpkin into a microwaveable. You may need to cut the pumpkin further to make it fit. The fewer the number of pieces, the easier it will to scoop out the cooked pumpkin afterwards.
Put a couple of inches of water in the bowl, cover it, and put in the microwave.

Step 5 – Cook the pumpkin until soft
Cook for 15 minutes on high, check to see if it is soft, then repeat in smaller increments of time until it is soft enough to scoop the innards out. Normally it takes 20 or 30 minutes in total.

Note: You can also cook it on the stovetop; it takes about the same length of time in a steamer. I use a double pot steamer, but you could use an ordinary large pot with a steamer basket inside it!:

Step 6 – Scoop out the cooked pumpkin
Whether you cook the pumpkin on the stove, microwave, or even the oven, once it is cooked until it is soft, it is easy to scoop out the guts with a broad, smooth spoon, (such as a tablespoon). Use the spoon to gently lift and scoop the cooked pumpkin out of the skin. It should separate easily an in fairly large chucks, if the pumpkin is cooked enough.

Many times the skin or rind will simply lift off with your fingers . I’ll bet you didn’t realize making your own pumpkin glop… err, “puree” was this easy!

Note: there are many varieties of pumpkin and some make better pies that other (due to sugar content, flavor, texture and water content. Drier, sweeter, fine-grained pies; the small (8″ across) ones called “pie pumpkins” are best. If your pumpkin is more watery than the puree in the photo at right (there should not be any free water), you may want to let it sit for 30 minutes and then pour off any free water. That will help prevent your pie from being too watery!

Tip from a visitor: “I make my own pumpkin pies from scratch all the time. To eliminate watery pumpkin I strain my pureed pumpkin through a cloth overnight. If I use frozen pumpkin I do the same again as it thaws out. It works great and my pies cook beautifully.”

Step 7 – Puree the pumpkin
To get a nice, smooth consistency, I use a Pillsbury hand blender. A regular blender works, too (unless you made a few frozen daiquiris and drank them first..). Or even just a hand mixer with time and patience.
With the hand blender, it just takes 2 or 3 minutes!

Step 8 – Done with the pumpkin!
The pumpkin is now cooked and ready for the pie recipe.
Get the frozen daiquiris out from step 7 and take a break! 🙂
It’s ready to pop in the fridge or freezer (just pack it containers, like Ziploc bags or plastic containers, exclude as much air as you can, and freeze it!)
It is not suitable for home canning – See bottom of this page for the safety reasons why.
Start making tasty treats!

Alternative Cooking methods for step 4
If you don’t have a microwave, or prefer another method, try these:
Stovetop steaming – Place your steaming basket or grid in the bottom of a large pot. Put enough water so it won’t boil dry in 20 minutes, and yet is not so high that the pumpkin is touching the water level. You may need to add more water during the cooking. Add the pumpkin prepared in step 3, and get the steamer going. The cooking time is only between 8 and 12 minutes, depending on the range (gas or electric), and the pumpkin literally falls off the skin.

Pressure cooker – Place your grid in the bottom of the pressure cooker. If your pressure cooker came with directions, follow those for pumpkin and/or winter squash, like butternut squash. If, like most people, you’ve long since lost the directions, try this: Add enough water to just touch the bottom of the grid or shelf that you will place the pumpkin on. Add the pumpkin prepared in step 3, put the lid with the gasket, the weight and anything else your cooker requires in place, and turn the heat on high. Once it starts hissing, turn it to medium or medium high. The cooking time should only be about 10 minutes, and the pumpkin should literally fall out of its skin.

Oven – You can also bake the prepared pumpkin in the oven, just like a butternut squash. This method takes the longest. Just put the prepared pumpkin in an ovenproof container (with a lid), add about 3 cups of water to help prevent it from drying out and pop it in an 350 F (200 C) oven. It normally takes about 45 minutes to an hour; just test it periodically by sticking it with a fork to see if it is soft!

How to Make Homemade Pumpkin Bread!
Pumpkin bread is a traditional sweet desert bread, popular in the cooler fall and early winter months, with a flavor reminiscent of a pumpkin pie! It’s very easy to make and you’ll be suprised how good it tastes!

Ingredients and Equipment
2 cups of fresh cooked pumpkin
(see this page to make your own from a fresh pumpkin)
OR one 16 ounce can of canned pumpkin
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (not self-rising flour)
2 tsp. baking soda
3 cups sugar or 3 cups of Splenda OR a 50:50 mix of the two.
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup vegetable oil
1 and 1/2 tsp. salt 2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
1/2 cup raisons (also optional)
Water:
1/2 cup water if you are using fresh cooked pumpkin
OR
2/3 cup water if you are using commercial canned pumpkin
Makes 2 loaves.

Pumpkin Bread Recipe
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and sugar (or Splenda).

3. Add the eggs, water, oil and pumpkin.

4. Stir until blended.

5. If desired, add the raisons and/or nuts. Mix well, either by hand or with a mixer.

6. Pour into two lightly greased and floured 9×5″ loaf pans.

7. Bake approximately 1 hour at 350 F (175 C). The test for doneness is the knife test: when a clean knife can be stuck in and removed cleanly.

8. Remove from the oven and cool slightly (10 minutes).

9. Then take out of pans to let cool on a rack.

Like banana bread, pumpkin bread tastes better if you wrap it in plastic wrap (Saran wrap, cling film), refrigerate it and wait until the following day to eat it. It keeps well in the refrigerator and can be frozen.

Easy Pumpkin Ice Cream Recipe
INGREDIENTS
• 1 3/4 cups pumpkin purée (1 15-ounce can pumpkin purée)
• 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
• 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
• 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
• 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
• Pinch of salt
• 2 Tbsp brandy (optional)
METHOD
1 Put the pumpkin puree, sugar, spices, and salt in a blender. Purée until smooth. Slowly add the cream, a tablespoon or two at a time, pulsing after each addition. Chill for 15 minutes (or longer, this part you can make ahead).
2 If you are using brandy, mix it in to the cream mixture right before churning. Churn in your ice cream machine 20 to 25 minutes. Keep in freezer until served.
Makes about 1 quart.

Directions for Making Pumpkin Soup from Scratch
3-4 cups mashed cooked pumpkin
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 large mild (sweet) onion, chopped
6 fresh carrots (finely chopped or grated)
3 tablespoons melted butter or margarine
one half teaspoon salt and dash of pepper
1 pint half-and-half (I use fat-free) If you want to go “au naturale” try your favorite milk instead (half and half gives it more body, though)
2 teaspoon thyme
4 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 stalks of celery (not 2 bunches!)
Recipe and Directions

Step 1 – Cooked pumpkin
Yes, you can used canned pumpkin.. .but how do you know what it even is? It looks nasty (no insult meant to Libby’s). But look at the fresh, bright color of fresh cooked pumpkin (there is NOTHING added to it, that’s its natural color). It’s easy to make your own from a fresh pumpkin

Step 2 – Gather the other ingredients
1 pint of half-and-half (I use the fat free type to keep this healthy)

• 1 large onion
• 4 tablespoons parsley
(fresh is better, but not necessary)
• 6 fresh carrots (grated or finely chopped)
• 1 Tablespoons minced garlic
• 2 teaspoons thyme
• 2 stalks of celery (not 2 bunches!)

Step 3 – chop the onion and celery
I use an electric copper or food processor until the pieces are about 1/8 in size.

Step 4 – Sauté the onion and celery
Sauté the onion, celery and the grated carrots in butter until tender.

Step 5 – Add the rest of the ingredients
Add remaining ingredients except half-and-half. Cover and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Note: If you want to freeze the soup for use later, stop now and freeze it. When you are ready to use it, defrost it, heat it up and resume with step 6!

Step 6 – Add the half and half and serve!
Add half-and-half, and heat (on the stove on medium, while stirring, or a minute in the microwave). Serve warm. Makes 6-8 small servings.

Homemade Pecan Pie

Ingredients
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp molasses
2 Tbsp melted butter
2 Tbsp flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups pecans, coarsely chopped
1 9-inch pie shell, chilled for an hour if freshly made, defrosted for 10 minutes if frozen. (See pie crust recipes.)
Method
1 Preheat oven to 375°F. Spread pecans along the bottom of the pie shell. Mix the remaining ingredients and pour over pecans. The pecans will rise to the surface of the pie.
2 Bake at 375°F for 45-50 minutes until the filling has set. About 20 minutes into the cooking you may want to use a pie crust protector, or tent the edges of the pie crust with aluminum foil to prevent the pie crust edges from burning.
3 Remove from oven and let cool completely.
Serves 8.

Maple-Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Pecan Topping

Ingredients
4 lbs of sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/4 inch rounds
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
8 Tbsp (1 stick) chilled butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
Method
1 Preheat oven to 400°F. Butter a 13x9x2 inch glass baking dish. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add yams. Cook until water returns to a simmer, about 4 minutes. Drain; rinse in cold water.
2 Arrange yams in baking dish, overlapping pieces. Sprinkle with salt. Pour maple syrup over yams. Dot with 3 Tbsp of butter. Cover with aluminum foil and bake until yams are almost tender, about 25 minutes.
3 Mix flour and brown sugar in a medium bowl. Add remaining 5 Tbsp of butter. Rub in with fingers until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Mix in pecans.
4 Sprinkle pecan mixture over yams. Bake yams until tender, about 20 minutes.
Serves 12.

Onion Potato Gratin

Ingredients
1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
3/4 pound onions, thinly sliced
1 cup (packed) grated Gruyere cheese (about 4 oz)
8 Tbsp (packed) freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 2 oz)
2/3 cup whipping cream
Method
Preheat oven to 400°F (unless preparing in advance).
1 Combine Yukon Gold potatoes and sliced onions in heavy large saucepan. Add enough water to cover. Bring water to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are almost tender, about 3 minutes. Drain potato onion mixture well.
2 Arrange half of potato-onion mixture in 11×7 inch glass baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sprinkle mixture with 1/3 cup Gruyere cheese and then 2 Tbsp of Parmesan cheese.
3 Arrange remaining potato-onion mixture atop cheeses. Pour cream over. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the remaining 2/3 cup of Gruyere and 6 Tbsp of Parmesan cheese. (Can be prepared 8 hours in advance. Cover and refrigerate.)
4 Bake gratin uncovered in 400°F oven until cream thickens, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven. Preheat broiler. Broil gratin until top is golden, about 2 minutes.
Serves 4.

Indian Pudding

Ingredients
• 6 cups of milk
• 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
• 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
• 1/4 cup flour
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 cup molasses
• 3 eggs, beaten
• 1/3 cup of granulated sugar
• 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon of nutmeg
• 1 cup golden raisins (optional)
• Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream
Method
1 Scald the milk and butter in a large double boiler. Or heat the milk and butter for 5 or 6 minutes on high heat in the microwave, until it is boiling, then transfer it to a pot on the stove. Keep hot on medium heat.
2 Preheat oven to 250°F.
3 In a separate bowl, mix cornmeal, flour, and salt; stir in molasses. Thin the mixture with about 1/2 cup of scalded milk, a few tablespoons at a time, then gradually add the mixture back to the large pot of scalded milk. Cook, stirring until thickened.
4 Temper the eggs by slowly adding a half cup of the hot milk cornmeal mixture to the beaten eggs, whisking constantly. Add the egg mixture back in with the hot milk cornmeal mixture, stir to combine. Stir in the sugar and spices, until smooth. At this point, if the mixture is clumpy, you can run it through a blender to smooth it out. Stir in the raisins (optional). Pour into a 2 1/2 quart shallow casserole dish. Bake for 2 hours at 250°F.
5 Allow the pudding to cool about an hour to be at its best. It should be reheated to warm temperature if it has been chilled. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
Serves 8-10.

Creamy Sweet Potato Soup

Ingredients

• 2 Tbsp (1/4 stick) butter
• 1 cup chopped onion
• 2 small celery stalks, chopped
• 1 medium leek, sliced (white and pale green parts only)
• 1 large garlic clove, chopped
• 1 1/2 pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams), peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 5 cups)
• 4 cups chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth (use vegetable broth for vegetarian option)
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 1 1/2 cups half and half
• 2 Tbsp maple syrup
• The leafy tops of the celery stalks, chopped

Method
1 Melt the butter in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add chopped celery stalks and leek, sauté about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 2 minutes.
2 Add sweet potatoes, chicken stock, cinnamon stick, and nutmeg; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
3 Remove cinnamon stick and discard. Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth. Return to pot.
4 Add half and half and maple syrup and stir over medium-low heat to heat through. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cool soup slightly. Cover and refrigerate soup and celery leaves separately. Bring soup to simmer before continuing.) Ladle into bowls. Sprinkle with celery leaves.
Serves 6 to 8.

Why Can’t I Make Home-Canned Pumpkin Puree or Pumpkin Pie Filling?
I get asked this question a lot! You may can it in a cooked, cubed form; just not as a puree or ready-pumpkin pie filling. (see this page for instructions about how to can it in cubed form). Of course, you can freeze it, too, in cubed or puree or ready filling form (see this page for those instructions). And while I do have a recipe for canning pumpkin butter, I still keep the jars in the back of the fridge until I use them. Here’s the reason!
According to The National Center for Home Food Preservation (a land-grant university consortium sponsored by the USDA, and considered to be the leading authorities on food safety science and food preservation research) (and I am quoting them here):
“Home canning is not recommended for pumpkin butter or any mashed or pureed pumpkin or winter squash, but we do have directions for canning cubed pumpkin. Pumpkin puree can be frozen or made into a spicy pumpkin leather…
There are not sufficient data available to allow establishing safe processing times for any of these types of products. It is true that previous USDA recommendations had directions for canning mashed winter squash, but USDA withdrew those recommendations…
Some of the factors that are critical to the safety of canned pumpkin products are the viscosity (thickness), the acidity and the water activity. Studies conducted at the University of Minnesota in the 1970’s indicated that there was too much variation in viscosity among different batches of prepared pumpkin purees to permit calculation of a single processing recommendation that would cover the potential variation among products (Zottola et. al, 1978). Pumpkin and winter squash are also low-acid foods (pH > 4.6) capable of supporting the growth of Clostridium botulinum bacteria which can cause the very serious illness, botulism, under the right storage conditions. If the bacteria are present and survive processing, and the product has a high enough water activity, they can thrive and produce toxin in the product.
More recent research with pumpkin butter has been done at the University of Missouri. Pumpkin butter is mashed or pureed pumpkin that has had large quantities of sugar added to it, but not always enough to inhibit pathogens. Sometimes an ingredient such as vinegar or lemon juice is added to the formulation to increase the acidity (decrease the pH). However, pumpkin butters produced by home canners and small commercial processors in Missouri have had pH values as high as 5.4. In fact, the pH values seemed to be extremely variable between batches made by the same formulation (Holt, 1995).
It is not possible at this point to evaluate a recipe for pumpkin or mashed squash for canning potential by looking at it. At this point, research seems to indicate variability of the products is great, and in several ways that raise safety concerns. It is best to freeze pumpkin butters or mashed squash.”
Obviously, pumpkin pie filling is essentially “pureed pumpkin” and similar to pumpkin butter. This means that neither the cooked pumpkin puree not the pumpkin pie filling (puree plus sugar and spices) would be candidates for safe home canning.
The University of Illinois Extension also says: “Canning pumpkin butter not a good idea, but try pieces or freezing. “

References:
Canning Pumpkin Butter and Mashed or Pureed Squashes: http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/publications/uga/pumpkin_butter.html
Extension Service, USDA. 1994. Complete Guide to Home Canning. AIB No. 539. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC.
Holt, D. September 22, 1995. Re: Pumpkin butter. Email message to fnspec_mg@ecn.purdue.edu.
Zottola, E. A., Wolf, I.D., Norsiden, K.L. and D.R. Thompson. 1978. Home canning of food: Evaluation of current recommended methods. Jn. of Food Science 43:1731.