Thursday, September 5, 2019

English Cucumber Quick Pickles

Quick pickles are also known as refrigerator pickles. The vegetables that you are wanting to pickle are soaked in a brine made of vinegar, water, and salt. They are stored in the refrigerator and do not require canning. Quick pickles are a nice change to add to any potluck, family gathering or even gift. They are super simple to make.

In a pot add the following ingredients and boil/simmer for several minutes:
  • 2 cups vinegar
  • 4 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp mustard seed
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 4 garlic cloves - cracked
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1 bay

In the meantime cut your English cucumber in thin slices and place in a glass bowl. Pour the vinegar mixture over the the cucumbers. Let the mixture cool off for one hour. Pour excess out. Spoon the cucumbers and some vinegar into a glass container (air tight) and place in refrigerator.

Another good thing to add to the cucumbers mixture are thinly sliced onions, carrots and celery.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Homemade Shower Bombs

My teenagers are all over making homemade shower bombs! It does not matter if they are not feeling their best, just want to relax after a workout, or an evening of making shower bombs with their friends. Our theory is the simpler the process...the better.

The essential oils that we use to make our homemade shower bombs are solely Young Living essential oils because of their Seed to Seal Process. Granted, I know that there are other companies that are out there a that are just as pure, so it is our personal preference. 

Shower Bombs
  • 1 cup of baking soda
  • 1 Tablespoon of cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 15 drops of your desired essential oil
  • Cupcake liners. You can also use the different forms that you can purchase and IKEA like ice cube trays that come in all shapes and sizes. For the purpose of this tutorial we are using the cupcake liners. 
Place the paper liners in cupcake pan. Mix the baking soda, cornstarch and water in a porcelain dish.  The mixture should be putty like. Fill the liners 1/2 full.  Let them sit and cure overnight OR bake at 350 F for 15 minutes and let cool.

After the discs have dried or cooled, add 15 drops of your essential oil to the top of the discs.  One thing that we have started to do is not to add the essential oils on top of the baking soda mixture until we know what we are wanting to use them for. That way we do not have multiple containers in our home but one, and then can customize to what we are needing to use them for.

Store in a sealed container with the liners wrapped around the mixture. When you use the shower bombs peel the paper liner off of the baking soda mixture, and place at the bottom of the shower where they will dissolve after time.

There are several essential oils for your shower bombs that you can use. Below are a few ideas for you: 

  1. Orange Essential Oi
  2. Eucalyptus Essential Oil
  3. Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil
  4. Lemongrass Essential Oil
  5.  Eucalyptus/Peppermint/Lemon Essential Oils (this is a combination of oils put together)
  6. Orange/Lime Essential Oils (this is a combination of oils put together)
  7. Peppermint Essential Oil
  8. Lemon Essential Oil

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Coconut Oil Lotion Bars with Essential Oils

Coconut oil lotion bars are one of our favorite DIY projects. We change our essential oil blends with each recipe so that we all have a mix of "flavors/scents". This is an excellent recipe if you are wanting to heal split/cracked fingers and cracked heals.

Below is the basic "core" recipe that we use. 

  • 1 part coconut oil
  • 1 part pure beeswax (we purchase beeswax in small pellets)
  • 10 drops (or strength to your liking) essential oil - we tend to like our blends a little stronger than most. 

Melt the coconut oil and beeswax together in a saucepan over low heat. 

Once melted take the pan off the heat and add your essential oils and stir slowly. 

Pour the melted mixture into the lotion bar molds.

Let them sit until they are cooled. We typically wait overnight and have them sit on the kitchen countertop. After they are set, wrap them in individual wax paper sheets for easy storage. You can use washi tape to tape the ends of the wax paper. 

In terms of storage, we have washed Altoid containers and placed a lotion bar inside with the wax paper and given it as stocking stuffers and special thank you's to friends and family. 


Ideas for Essential Oil Blends:
  • Peppermint + Orange
  • Citrus Fresh
  • Thieves + Lemon
  • Lemon + Lime
  • Peace and Calming
  • Rose and Sandalwood
  • Lavender and German Chamomile
  • Jasmine and Patchouli
  • Lavender + Geranium + Tea tree
  • Jasmine + Patchouli + Sweet Orange
  • Cedarwood + Patchouli + Vetiver
  • Ylang ylang + Lemon
  • Peppermint + Lemon + Lavender

A BIG Thank You

We wanted to give a BIG Thank You to those who helped us in gathering the coloring/art pages for Partners with Ethiopia. We received "fun" mail and read wonderful notes that families and classrooms made for the children. Our hearts are full...thank you. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Ojo de Dios - "Eye of God"

Classical/traditional crafts can be one of the best things for kids to make, it is a source of learning a little bit about history and another culture or even language. One of the popular crafts we would make in art class in the 1980s or even in Girl Scouts during our day camps, was a God's Eye, also known as Ojo de Dios, which in Spanish is "Eye of God". 

We would use our variegated yarn, and single colored yarn to make these wall hangings. Most of the time we would use craft sticks, other times we would make them out of twigs that we found in the woods when we were hiking. 


They are a lot of fun to make. We even exchanged them among ourselves the different designs and of course our family and would give them as birthday and Christmas presents. Little did I really realize the history behind the handicraft.
The Huichol Indians of western Jalisco, Mexico are thought to have originated the artwork. The Ojo de Dios, or God's Eye, is a simple or complex weaving made across two or more sticks which means "the power to see and understand things unknown." When a child is born, the central eye is woven by the father, then one eye is added for every year of the child's life until the child reaches the age of five. Original Huichol Crosses are extremely rare to come by. There are many that are being made for the tourist market, but they do not carry the same traditional and spiritual significance. 
How to make a God's Eye 
The materials that you need include: 
  • 2 sticks about the same length and similar thickness (about 5 inches). Can also use craft sticks, etc.
  • glue
  • Yarn (variegated and solid color yarn) 
Place both sticks on the table and cross them over each other forming an "X". In the center of the bottom stick, place a bit of glue and then place the second stick on top of it, forming a cross. Let it dry. OR if your child is older you do not have to use glue and just cross them over and hold in one hand. 

Gather one end of the yarn you have selected and tie the loose end of the stick as close as possible to the place where the two sticks come together (the center). 

Leave around 7 inches of "tail" hanging from the knot. Hold the sticks (in the cross), in one hand and with the other hand bring the yarn under one stick, around, then over to the next one, under it, around it, and over to the next one, repeating the pattern to the desired size you like.

If you would like to change colors of the yarn, cut your yarn and tie it to the new piece of yarn. Trim the section ends that are hanging and then continue weaving.  

When you are done with your weaving cut the yarn, leaving a tail of around 12 inches. Tie the two together where you can hang your project. 

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