O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree....

Sunday, February 1, 2015

 

I am just a tad bit scared to put this out there, but, we just took down the Christmas tree. Truth, right hand on the Bible-it just got packed away this afternoon. I am still trying to figure out how it went this far. Well I kinda know, but .....then this has never happened before. Guess I am going to share my thoughts in hopes someone who reads this will tell me this has happened to them, that I am not a terrible homemaker, and that next year things will be better. 

You see, in December we had three major house mishaps. Not the kind of repairs that only cost a hundred dollars , but these were in the thousands. So, not a whole lot of cash for Christmas. But, we did pull through with the prime rib on the fireplace I am proud to say-fed my entire family quite well. However, my kids knew they wouldn't be getting gifts until Dad's bonus in January. We gifted the extended family, you know, Nana, Aunties, grandchildren, etc. 

Then the tree dilemma. Real or fake? Real was $60+, fake was in the basement already paid for and ready to assemble. I really dislike fake, so just couldn't get into the spirit of it. This led to questions of, "hey it is December 22nd, you think we'll put a tree up"?  So fake it was. 

If your still with me, kudos! Long story short my youngest daughter would not let me take the tree down because she wanted  her presents wrapped under the tree. My husband and I, already feeling guilty about late gifts, relented and the tree just kinda stayed up. Sparkling at night, looking festive. Suddenly, it just seemed to become part of the furniture arrangement. I thought maybe I will just leave it up all year. let visitors make fun of me and be ahead of the game this Christmas.

Nope, my husband had enough. Tree coming down troops!. So today the tree was packed away . I don't think I ever want to see it again. Note to family-if I can't afford a real, live tree next year and it comes down to prime rib or said tree, the tree is going to win. AND I am getting a live tree before Thanksgiving. There will be a decorated tree, shiny and sparkly as a backdrop to the pumpkins and gourds!

I am not feeling very Donna Reedy here. Donna probably never had her tree up til almost February.Then again I am certain Donna didn't have a Christmas like ours this past year. Not a very Tasha Tudor- like Christmas. Yet, leaving the tree up relaxed me, made me a bit happier this dark and stormy January. Maybe the tree was meant to be up later. Perhaps I am not such a bad homemaker.  These things happen and when they do we just have to roll with it. That's what I did, rolled with it. Enough said.  Unless you would like to say something then please go ahead.

Bit of snow play

Friday, January 30, 2015

Recently, we had a bit of a blizzard in my neck of the woods. So I did what my Mama did-sent the  kids outside to play in the snow, even when they protest.

This is my adorable grandaughter Jemima, who came in with snow and ice stuck all over her. She was a bit unhappy. So what did I do? I grabbed my phone and started taking pictures of her begging for help.

I tell her shake off the ice while I snap away.


Lydia comes over to help. Jemima is not happy with her Nonie and it shows in her face.



Jemima smile for Nonie and I will give you some candy! 


I promised that in the heat of the moment, I didn't really have any candy. Poor kiddo! Love that face!

(sorry for the blurry pics~ my iPhone camera is acting up!)

Whip this up~Homemade Body Butter!


For a long time now I have been trying to make our own lotions, lip balms, herbal remedies, and natural cleaners.  I think I just may have a recipe for body butter that is close to AWESOME! I have been using this now for almost a year and I have to say it is wonderful. It goes on silky and it does take a bit to absorb into your skin, but what your left with is very nourished and hydrated skin. There are so many nasty ingredients in today's lotions and creams-give this a try for a much healthier alternative. Now I am not sure that making your own body butter or lotion was a happening thing in the 1950's or 1960's, but it is a smart gal of today that recognizes that we have gotten away from healthy ingredients in our cosmetics these days. So give it a whirl. Whip some up. I will stop now. 

This recipe uses raw organic shea butter which tends to have a greasier consistency in my opinion. With all that being said, I don't want to discourage you before we get out of the gate here, shea butter is extremely moisturizing. My teenage daughter suffers from very dry skin in the winter months, very dry. This one has answered my prayers in regards to a formula to help. Of course, I could resort to some over the counter brands which would heal faster, but the junk in them is really astonishing. I don't need to give my kids toxic ingredients, thank you very much!

Body butters have a light consistency and are really fun to mix up. You can use all kinds of essential oils in them, however check some reputable books to see which ones are beneficial together. Don't be scared to try this, super easy and I guarantee once your hooked you'll be making all your cremes.

Without further ado:

Gather all your supplies. I am including my choice of essential oils. The original recipe does not use the same combo and a couple of steps are a bit different.


*all your supplies can be purchased from Amazon or Mountain Rose Herbs. The brands I have shown in the picture are very reputable and great quality for this project.


Using the double boiler method add your shea and coconut oil and melt. I have put a glass heatproof bowl inside simmering water. Don't fill the water too high, best to keep a kettle hot and add water as it evaporates. You don't want splashes of water in your oils. Stir with a spoon here and there to incorporate.


When the oils have melted remove from the heat bath and allow to sit for 30 minutes or so until cooled down.


When cooled down add your almond oil and give it a stir.  


Pop the mixture into your freezer.  Check at 15 minutes, in case your freezer runs super cold. Your not looking for solid. It needs to solidify like the picture below. One way to tell is to poke your clean finger into the middle. See my little indentation there? While it needs to be solidified, you should still be able to indent a finger into the mix quite easily. If it isn't cold enough it won't whip up. Yet, you don't want it frozen solid-no,no,no.


Now you will start whipping and whip it good! I had scored a portable beater at the thrift store, but alas, my thrift store find ones finally gave up the ghost, so I will hunt down another one--I like to save the Kitchen Aid for um....food, ya know.

Once the butter starts looking like frosting I add in my essential oils. Shea butter has a strong scent so I found I needed: 20 drops Rosemary, 20 drops Tangerine, and 10 drops Peppermint. Start slow and you can always add more. Just whip some in then take a little sample and rub it into the back of your hand. Not strong enough? Add more, usually in increments of 5 is my general rule. Whip after each addition.


There you go you talented gal--you just made body butter! And you made about 2.5 cups of it so store in glass mason jars. I like this size HERE. You can buy fancier jars of course, but this size works for little gifts and for leaving in a few rooms of the house. Pretty them up anyway you want!



 This recipe was adapted from Rawmazing. 

My husband is having a grand time slathering it on my feet and giving me a massage, just ask him! For my daughter's dry hands I have her put this on throughout the day and at night lay it on a bit heavier and sleep with gloves. You can do this with the feet too--just put socks on , not gloves, but you knew that , right?

Oh yes, and my lawyer wants me to go over the fine print--this recipe is not used in any way to treat an ailment and I am not handing out medical advice. If you have allergies use common sense and do a patch test before trying anything new.

ENJOY!!!

Bakery Style Blueberry Muffins

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Hello Ladies! I love waking up and making a hot tin of muffins to have with my tea.  Slather rich, creamy butter on that muffin and you have yourself a slice of heaven!  This is my go to blueberry muffin recipe. Since finding this one I have never made another-IT'S THAT GOOD!

When I was a little girl I would often stay at my Aunt Sue's. She lived in the city and she loooooved to shop. We would hop the city bus, she didn't drive, and take it downtown to the big galleria where all sorts of shops were. Mid-afternoon we always stopped by Jordan Marsh Bakery and got some little sweet to go with a cup of tea or cocoa. Gave us the energy to keep shopping! Of course I was only 9, so I still had lots of energy, but that bakery had the best blueberry muffins and when I stumbled upon their recipe it brought back so many good memories of the times I spent with my Aunt.  This was the early to mid seventies so I used to be in awe of all the well-dressed ladies shopping. Women got dolled up to go out back then! Bouffant hairdo's were still in too-how I loved those...LOL!  Now I go to the store and all I see are flannel pajama bottoms and messy buns on ladies. Girls you gotta get dolled up before you leave the house! But that has nothing to do with muffins so let's jut get on to the recipe.

I hope you enjoy them-they are delicious and they also pack and freeze well.


Jordan Marsh Blueberry Muffins

Ingredients:
1/2 cup softened butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 -1/2 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla

Directions:
Heat the oven to 375 degrees and line 24 muffin tins or grease 6 large Texas muffins.  Cream together the butter sugar and eggs, whip til nice and fluffy.  Add the dry ingredients to the cream mix alternating with the milk. So a little dry a little milk. Mix in the vanilla. Gently fold in the blueberries and bake for 25-30 minutes. You can sprinkle a bit of sugar on top before baking if you wish.  *If using frozen blueberries toss in a bit of flour before you add them to the mix.  Enjoy!

*This recipe is linked up with Gooseberry Patches Recipe Round-up!