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Monthly Archives: April 2012

Dandelions

 Taraxacum is my word of the day. As in dandelions. Trending now is dandelion wine, salad, and fritters. The roots have even been used to make a caffeine-free ‘coffee.’ A closer look at traditional ingredients will find it listed in in the ingredients for things like root beer and other soft drinks. With all the hype, I had to find out for myself. My girls and I spent several hours lazily gathering flowers and leaves throughout the sunny afternoon. We were careful to pick only tender young leaves (mature leaves are tough and bitter), and nip off the stem at the base of each leaf.

The resulting salad was condimented by Dad’s Wonderful Mayonnaise (I will ask my dad if we can share his recipe sometime!). Everyone ate a fair amount and seemed to enjoy it. Archangela’s eyes were waaaay bigger than her stomach!  But she put a good dent in it before deciding she had enough.

I saved all the extra salad for a delicious omelet the next morning. I simply tossed into the blender 4 eggs, salt, pepper, and the leftover leaves and flowers. (Blending eliminated the ‘chewy’ factor, which my toddler-baby doesn’t like so much.) I fried the mixture in a greased skillet on low for about 20 minutes, covered. Yummy! Great for any time of the day. Yes, you can serve omelet for dinner 🙂

The other recipes are definitely on my list to try. Fritters sound amazing!

Nutrition: Dandelions are a free source of vitamins A, K, C, calcium, potasium, iron, and manganese. They are also a source of free exercise and vitamin D, if you count the time spent gathering the plant in the beautiful sunny spring weather.

As a garden companion, dandelions are great for enriching the soil with minerals and nitrogen. If you have fruit trees, be sure to let the dandelions grow unhindered, as they help fruit ripen.

Now, I just hope my neighbors don’t get no crazy notions to spray any harmful chemicals anywhere near our beautiful dandelions! If they do, I will have to privately lose my temper, then regain my composure and tell them in a Minnesota Nice way never to do that again!

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Wasted Space Redemption

You know the feeling. You just came home after a long day, open the front door, and instantly trip over 3 crayons and a lone shoe. Your eyes come to rest on a trail of toddler clothes from the nursery to the kitchen, where she had obediently done her part to get ready for the day. You want a pick-me-up snack, but all the spoons are dirty. Today’s topic deals with one of those things: crafts. (Please mentally insert in place of crafts your clutter item–whether it is shoes, picture albums, computer equipment, etc.)

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1. Start by identifying a wasted space in the house.

2. Clear the area, making use of other parts of the house, storage, donations box, and the trash can.

3. Set up desired furniture. (In my case, a vintage desk to replace the display table. It’s all about function, opening up flat workspaces, and removing clutter from view.)

4.  Gather miscellaneous craft items from around the house and organize into their new home. This may involve the trash can once again as you sort, so keep it handy.

5. Stand back and admire your work. You did it!

You don’t like seeing craft bits here and there all over the house. Clutter that cannot be thrown away is so hard on the eyes and soul. Today we took a wasted space and redeemed it to serve a higher calling.

Personally, I understand the concept of having been wasted space, and now being redeemed. A lot of clutter has been removed from my life, and I am a redeemed space, a lot more useful, beautiful, and peaceful. My environment is a reflection of what is happening on the inside. As I grow up, I am blessed to discover ways of also making my physical environment better.

That is my word of encouragement for the day! Redeeming spaces is what we do best.

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.  1 John 4:4

Cheers! Have a better day 🙂

the (mid) West: our little slice of heaven

The beautiful bright orange Harley Davidson instantly captured my attention when I pulled into the gas station. Having a biker for a mother in law has opened my eyes to the thrill of the biker culture. A quick conference with my 3-year-old confirmed that this was certainly a photo-op.

The gentleman seemed bemused yet highly pleased at my interest in his bike, and our brief conversation covered his current somber trip to bring back the body of a fallen soldier; to what areas we like in the midwest; and finally, what I write about in my blog.

What do I write about? I told him, “I write about being a mom and the virtues of ‘Western Living.’

What does that even mean? Perhaps the term conjures up the scent of barbecue, lounging outdoors, a perfect lawn, the promise of Sara Lee pie for dessert, and kids involved in soccer, basketball, gymnastics, ballet, AWANA, swim, and choir.  (Gag… oops, sorry!)

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Some of my earliest memories were fondly listening to Little House on the Prairie. This is somewhat closer to my vision, but I really like internet, cars, and a few other things. So, balance.

You could say it comes down to pioneering to find a better life for the family; dilligently working the land and other resources; persevering when things get rough; believing that things will get better; and most of all enjoying our part of the country, as our modern biker cowboys and cowgirls do.

Maybe that’s why I ran up to get my picture with the sweet motorcycle today. It made me think once more about what we stand for and what inspires us in the (mid) West!

Cheers! Here’s to living our potential in our little slice of heaven.

$1 Toothpaste tastes like Minty-Cream-Soda

Baking soda, about 2 cups + 3 Drops of peppermint oil (about $3 in baking section) + 9 drops liquid stevia + about 1/3 C olive oil = The best toothpaste I have ever encountered!

So, here I am, with my super-clean teeth, which are now very white, enjoying the subdued aftertaste of minty cream soda. The toothpaste was a cross between a powder and a paste. I really don’t care what the texture is. I just care that I love it.

I have used everything from the absolute cheapest brand of toothpaste to expensive options like Crest White strips, to products exclusively ordereable online. Whiteness, fresh scent, and squeeky clean are all very important to me. Money, too. (Oh, right.)

This is my take on a toothpaste recipe found on www.budgetingwiththebushmans.com (great site, check it out.)

Let me know what you think!

Cheers! Show them pearly whites, now!

Kitchen Bath

Kitchen Bath

I just may have to install a shower in my kitchen. Better yet, a claw-foot tub, which can double as a major washing station for my squashes later on this year! Or perhaps I could build a pantry to expand my tiny little bathroom. ¿Por qué? Today’s experiment involved exclusive use of kitchen items for my bath routine. Just for fun, education, and the chance of finding something to improve health, wealth, and happiness.

I began said journey when I brushed my teeth with baking soda.

The Egg & I…you guessed it! I then proceeded by washing my hair with an egg. https://westernwoman.wordpress.com/2011/11/26/natural-beauty-hair/

The mixture of sugar and olive oil serves several purposes; 1) exfoliation, 2) cleansing, 3) shaving “cream”, and, 4) moisturizing. https://westernwoman.wordpress.com/2012/02/18/sugar-olive-oil/

Shower and shaving complete, I was able to skip applying body lotion. My olive oil-treated skin remains moisturized until the next shower.

Baking soda: Not just for brushing teeth and making cupcakes. I used baking soda in place of deoderant (Note: if exercising, etc. re-application may be necessary.)

For deep cleansing, we have already discussed the wonders of a raw honey mask. For my skin type, such an application is ideally used twice every week. https://westernwoman.wordpress.com/2012/03/31/lovelo-my-latest-and-greatest-beauty-find/

The kitchen bath solutions described today must be personalized for every body. I will continue to share my findings, and ask you to return the favor! The results can be a improvement in health and beauty, as well as possible money savings.

On home improvement? Ay, corazón!…The sad truth is I don’t see a beautiful claw-foot tub in my kitchen materializing anytime soon. The chances of a pantry added onto the bathroom are just as slim at the moment. However, I have filled chic little bottles and containers with olive oil, sugar, etc. allowing me to fit a small portion of necessary kitchen items into the minuscule recesses of the bathroom. And that, my friends, is what I call the true genius of it all.

Cheers, Darling.