<![CDATA[Healing Homestead - Blog]]>Fri, 04 Dec 2015 22:04:27 -0500Weebly<![CDATA[In Search of Gratitude.]]>Mon, 04 May 2015 19:12:05 GMThttp://healinghomestead.weebly.com/blog/in-search-of-gratitude
The other day a friend of mine mentioned how no one writes letters or thank you notes much anymore.  That it might be an interesting topic to discuss.  I think the more interesting topic is, where is all the gratitude? Were we all raised so poorly that we don't know how to be grateful for what we have and are given? Or is it something we develop as we grow older and think we are entitled to it all?
We never had a whole lot growing up, but I believe we had what we needed. Does the lack of material items as a child turn you into a more grateful adult and does the spoiled child turn into an ungrateful adult?  I believe the most important part is how the parent raises that child to act. 

I know you have all been there before. You spend a lot of time making or picking out a lovely gift.  You package it beautifully (or not so much).  You ship it away or hand it over.  Then you never hear back from the recipient.  Or a thank you letter shows up in the mail months later. It's not that you expect something in return, except gratitude.  There's that word again!  You just want some acknowledgement for the efforts you went through. Totally understandable from my point of view.

So why do some people have a problem with saying thank you? Do they not realize they don't say it? I wish someone could explain this to me.

You may not agree, but a great remedy to that is to just stop giving.  Stop with gifts stop with helping, stop complimenting, stop, stop, stop!  But then what kind of person does that turn you into? What kind of society does that create? 

We are so fortunate to have what we do. So many other's in this world are not as fortunate. So today I will be grateful for what I have.  For loving family and friends, the sun, the beautiful weather, my cats, my garden and my new business that is thriving! I am thankful for all of you reading this!
Do you know somebody who needs a few hints dropped? Share this on facebook and maybe they will get the message. ;) I would love to hear your thoughts and insight.
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<![CDATA[Make a wreath in under 15 minutes, for under $15!!!]]>Fri, 03 Apr 2015 16:57:08 GMThttp://healinghomestead.weebly.com/blog/make-a-wreath-in-under-15-minutes-for-under-15
Add a little color to your front door with this easy tutorial.  The great thing is you can change out the flowers and bow to match any season! All of these supplies cost less than $15 and took me minutes to put together.
What you will need
Artificial flowers of your choice. I chose these Hydrangeas. $6.00 

  • Burlap ribbon. I chose the wired kind so the bow would hold it's shape. $3.47
  • Grape Vine wreath $4.74
  • Twist ties. I had plenty laying around the house. $0.0
  • Make sure you have that kitty helper to supervise! $Free
  • Total: $14.21
Use wire cutters or really sharp scissors to cut the flowers. Leave about 4-5 inches of stem so you can stuff it into the wreath. Then start arranging it until it looks how you like!
Now for the bow. I followed an easy tutorial that I found online. Click here for video. It's really quick and simple. The video says to use a hot glue gun, but I just used a twist tie to fasten the final burlap piece. Oh and my measurements weren't exact like hers, so you can sort of estimate the length if you want.


I then used a black twist tie to tie the bow onto the wreath.
There you have it! Now you can easily remove the bow or flowers to match the seasons! What a beautiful way to welcome guests into your house.
Questions or comments are always welcome! I also love seeing your creations as well. Feel free to post in the comments below.

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<![CDATA[Seed starting containers: Use what you've got!]]>Fri, 30 Jan 2015 21:06:52 GMThttp://healinghomestead.weebly.com/blog/seed-starting-containers-use-what-youve-got
Picture
My Broccoli seedlings coming up!
You don't need to get all fancy when starting seeds indoors.  I've compiled a list of the various pots and containers you can use.  Most of these items you are probably throwing out everyday (or recycling if you're able).   So read on to see what methods I've used and maybe you'll get some ideas.
This year I decided to try placing peat pellets into a plastic egg carton.  These are tiny compact dirt pellets that expand when you get them wet.  Because of their size though you cannot keep seedlings in them for too long.  Once the root start growing through the bottom, I plant it outside or in a bigger container such as a yogurt cup. If you look at the image on the right, I cut that extra plastic piece off.  Now I have a mini green house!

Other items you can use:

Empty berry containers (new for me this year)
Lettuce containers (new for me this year)
Yogurt cups
Toilet paper rolls (I like these because they are tall, providing support for the plant)
Small nursery pots
Water bottles with the top cut off. You can tape it back on, creating a greenhouse.
Milk or juice jugs. 

The possibilities are endless.  Whichever one(s) you decide to use , just make sure you poke holes in the bottom for drainage.
As for the toilet paper rolls, I would fold the bottom up a bit to hold the soil in. 

Picture
See how I used the cut off bottom of a juice jug as a lid?
Picture
My setup under the grow light.
I hope I gave you some ideas.  I would love to hear what you use.  Starting seeds for the first time?  Let me know if you have question.
Happy planting.

~Amanda~
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<![CDATA[Amanda! What have you been up to? Planting seeds, searching for a lost cat and creating an etsy shop.]]>Sun, 25 Jan 2015 21:47:41 GMThttp://healinghomestead.weebly.com/blog/amanda-what-have-you-been-up-to-planting-seeds-searching-for-a-lost-cat-and-creating-an-etsy-shop
     Now that spring is around the corner (Man I really hope it is) I find my to-do list getting longer.  Between starting seeds indoors and searching for a missing cat, I feel pretty over whelmed.  Step by step, that's how we make it through life. 

       Some of you may know we have a soft spot for felines.  I don't think I've ever mentioned that we currently have err, um, ok I'll admit! We have six cats and one currently AWOL! A total of Seven cats!  They are indoor/outdoor so it's not so bad.  Back to the missing cat.  He's been gone since we went out of town around Christmas.  I'm sorry but, he is by far my favorite.  It is just killing me, not knowing what happened.  I find myself staring out the window hoping to catch a glance of him.  Seriously, I'll stop and stare out the window like a dozen times a day.  So since he's disappeared I have scoured all online pages and every possible outlet looking for him.  I do this EVERY day!  It's exhausting and depressing.  There are a ton of Facebook pages dedicated to lost and found animals.    Everybody on there has been pretty supportive. I still have hope that he'll return to us one day. 

     On a brighter note.  I ordered some seeds as well as sweet and regular potato seeds.  I can't wait to try out the sweet potatoes here in Georgia!  I know I'll probably regret it, but I ordered some pumpkin and watermelon seeds.  I really do not have much space to work with, so wish me luck!  I started a bunch of seeds indoors.  Tomatoes, peppers, onions, celery, lettuce, broccoli, and Brussels.  I'm so excited.  Spring get here already!

    We took full advantage of the 60 degree weather last week.  Chores included trimming bushes, pulling up dead herbs and plants and my least favorite, cleaning the gutters out.  Dear hubby raked up all the fallen leaves.  The grass will be growing soon and you don't want the leaves blocking the sunlight.  It was nice to get out and enjoy the sunshine.

     I'm  dutifully researching how to and preparing to open an Etsy shop.  Possibly even my own website shop.  I really enjoyed making all of the holiday crafts this year.  I thought I would try my hand at selling some items.  Right now I'm just building up some inventory.  I can't wait to start that chapter.  I will definitely keep you updated. 

     Well I think I've talked your ear off!  Thanks to those of you who stuck around to read it all.  Make sure you check out my Facebook page for continued updates.  To make sure you don't miss anything, click "Get Notifications" under the 'Like' button.  Then you will know first thing when I get my shop up and running.   

~Amanda~
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<![CDATA[Herbal Insight: Basil]]>Fri, 09 Jan 2015 21:13:11 GMThttp://healinghomestead.weebly.com/blog/herbal-insight-basil
Most people think of Basil only as a culinary herb.  It can be used for so much more than cooking.  From aiding in digestion to easing the pain of insect bites, basil is a great addition to your herbal medicine cabinet.
Basil is an annual plant, which means it must be planted every year and will die completely in the fall.  Some people have luck growing it indoors, I am not one of those people.  I plant it in the ground here in Georgia and it does just fine.  Make sure you give it plenty of water and trim the flowers as they emerge.  This helps the leaves to keep producing.  I however, leave half of the flowers for the sake of the bees.  Save the bees!


When using medicinally:
Completely safe, no known side effects.
  • Crush a few leaves and place on an insect bite or sting.  The juice helps relieve pain and itch.
  • Chewing on basil leaves can relieve cold and flu symptoms.  It helps break up mucus.
  • Boil some leaves with water to use as a sore throat gargle.
  • Helps relieve stress and depression.
  • Aides in digestion, reduces gas and nausea.



Basil tea for Headache & Stress (Rosemary Gladstar)
You can use fresh or dried herbs for this tea blend
  • 1 part basil leaf
  • 1 part lemon balm leaf (my favorite)
  • 1/4 part chamomile and/or lavender flower



Combine herbs and mix well.  Use 1 tsp if dried 2 if fresh per 1 cup of boiling water.  Let boiling water infuse over herbs for 10-15 minutes, then strain.  


 I think this goes great with a hot bath with lavender essential oil.

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<![CDATA[The only Lasagna recipe you'll ever need!]]>Sat, 03 Jan 2015 00:53:08 GMThttp://healinghomestead.weebly.com/blog/the-only-lasagna-recipe-youll-ever-need
I've only attempted to make Lasagna a couple of times.  This recipe is truly simple. You can put it together the night before and anyone can easily throw it in the oven. I must admit this is the only recipe I will use from now on.  You can easily substitute fresh tomatoes or your own homemade sauce for what the recipe calls for.  Add more meat/no meat.  You could really customize as you go.
What you will need:
  • 1 lb of Italian sausage
  • 1/2 lb ground Beef
  • 1/2 Cup finely chopped Onion
  • Tons of Garlic, OK maybe a few cloves minced

  • 1-(28 oz) can of Crushed Tomatoes
  • 2-(6 oz) cans of Tomato sauce
  • 2-(6 oz) cans of Tomato paste
  • 1/2 Cup of water
  • 1 1/2 tsp of dried Basil 
  • 1 1/2 Tbs of Italian seasoning
  • 1 1/2 tsp of Salt
  • 1/2 tsp of Black Pepper

  • 1 box or about 15 Lasagna noodles
  • 16 oz Ricotta cheese
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tsp of fresh Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 pound or so of shredded Mozzarella cheese.  I just add until evenly coated.
  • 1 Cup of grated Parmesan.  Please do not use that powdered stuff you find in the pasta aisle.  Trust me you'll appreciated the fresh stuff.

  1. Brown the meats with the onion and garlic. If using a fatty ground beef, drain the grease.
  2. Add the next set of ingredients.  All of the Tomatoes, crushed, sauce and paste. Also add the water and all seasonings. Cook on low for at least an hour the longer the better.
  3. When sauce is almost done, boil lasagna pasta, roughly 8 minutes.  You want them to be somewhat firm, they will continue cooking in the oven.  Strain and rinse with cool water.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 
  5. Mix Ricotta with egg and remaining 2 Tbs of Parsley.
  6. Grease a 9x11 inch pan.
  7. Pour about 1 1/2 Cups of meat sauce on bottom.  
  8. Arrange a layer of about 5 noodles over meat sauce.
  9. Spread half of the ricotta mixture over noodles.
  10. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the mozzarella. 
  11. Another layer of meat sauce.
  12. 1/3 of the Parmesan.
  13. Repeat layers, then top with remaining cheese.

To make it easier it should go like this:
  • Meat Sauce
  • Noodles
  • Ricotta
  • Mozzarella
  • Meat Sauce
  • Parmesan
  • Then repeat
  • Top with cheese.
I really don't think the over all flavor will change if you mess the layers up.  

  1. Cover with foil, stick a few toothpicks in to prevent foil from sticking to cheese.
  2. Cook for 25 minutes covered.  I recommend placing a baking sheet on the bottom of the oven as this big boy may boil over.
  3. Uncover and cook about 20 more minute or until the cheese on top is nice and golden.
  4. Remove and let it rest for 15 minutes.


As I said before you can make this up the night before and bake it the following day.
I did have some sauce left over which will be perfect for pizza or something else yummy.
To give credit where it's due, I found the original recipe on ALLRECIPES.  I just adjusted it to my liking.  Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think.

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<![CDATA[The BIG reveal!  My homemade gifts.]]>Thu, 01 Jan 2015 16:54:30 GMThttp://healinghomestead.weebly.com/blog/the-big-reveal-my-homemade-gifts
I love making homemade gifts as much as like receiving them.  This year I had many ideas some original, some borrowed.  Now that they've all been given, I can reveal to you what I've been up to.  Keep reading on to see some of the awesome things that were handmade by yours truly.  I'm even considering opening up a shop if anyone is interested.
Picture
The men's bracelet.
My favorite, most time consuming gift would have to be the wrap bracelets!  I loved putting together what I thought fit each personality.  Each one is made with leather, Czech glass beads and some Swarovski crystals.  It took an about 1.5-2 hours to make each one. It was very hard to give these away.  I really wanted to keep every one!  Of course I did make one for myself, the one with the tree of life copper button! 
The next item, I got an idea from an awesome site, HappyHourProjects.com.  I of course added some of my own ideas on some of the items! The website shows you how to imprint live leaves into polymer clay.  You can check out the tutorials here and here.  This website has tons of wonderful ideas.  Thanks Adrianne!
Now with the necklaces, I added my own flare.  I used leather cord with sliding knots, glass beads and some lava beads.  By adding the lava beads I've turned these beautiful pieces into aromatherapy necklaces.  Paired with some essential oils, it made the perfect gift!
After playing with the clay, I wanted to try my hand at making ornaments.  Oh the possibilities are endless!  So I went out back and found a beautiful piece of evergreen/pine, not really sure what type of tree it was. :) Then used it to make some lovely imprints on my ornaments.  I added the recipients initials or last name to make it personalized.
I think I got carried away with the leather and jewelry this year!  Another item I made were these beautiful suede sliding hair ties.  I added some natural stone beads to the ends.  I love to wear this at the bottom of my braid.  You just slide it tight and it actually stay in place better than an elastic band.
The last items you may have seen before.  Home grown and packaged herbs.  I also made some peanut brittle and peppermint bark.
So that's it!  I truly hope the recipients loved their gifts!  I've enjoyed making everything.  I'm considering making and selling some of these items, I've actually already sold one bracelet to someone I work with.  Would any of you be interested in some of these items?  I of course cannot reproduce the leaf jewelry as that is someone else's idea.  But I can add different pendants to the necklaces.  Just an idea I've been throwing around.
What did you hand make this year?  I would love if you wanted to share some pictures or stories with everyone. 

~Amanda~
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<![CDATA[When You Become a Victim of Home Robbery.  Our Story]]>Fri, 12 Dec 2014 18:31:39 GMThttp://healinghomestead.weebly.com/blog/when-you-become-a-victim-of-home-robbery-our-story
Exactly two years ago on December 13th, ourselves and our home were severely violated.  I had another dream last night about our house getting broken into and I hope writing this will help me and anyone else who can relate.   I also hope it might help prevent some of you becoming victims. It was such a horrible experience I wish it on nobody.  So here is the story start to finish, with every detail some of you have never heard. 
It was December 13, 2012.  One of our off days.  We had a meeting at one of the home improvement stores to make final decisions on some new counter tops.  I was excited we were finally getting rid of the ugly stained and scratched ones that were here when we moved in.  It was about noon when we arrived home.

The garage door opener wasn't working on my side.  So we opened the other side and I went in to open it manually. That's when I realized something wasn't right.  The door lift chain was moving, but the door was not.  Then I noticed my husbands suitcase sitting in the garage.  That's strange I thought to my self.  Why did he leave it out here?  Then I notice the door to go inside is open and the light is on!  "Honey you forgot to close the door and turn the light off!" Still not thinking something is up, then I can see into the house....Oh shit!  From my view their is glass ALL over the kitchen floor, back door and window broken in! I start shaking, oh crap, oh crap, then run back outside.

After telling my husband somebody broke in, he instructs me to get back into the car and call the police.  I do so as my husband ventures in side with his hand gun.  Yes he has his conceal and carry permit.  I realize now it was very dangerous of him to go inside.  We both felt however that the house was empty.  In the mean time I am calling 911.  Telling the operator that somebody broke in and my husband went inside to investigate, armed.  I was all out of sorts, worrying about the cats, the damage, what did they take?  My husband returns and says it's all clear.  Time to assess the damage.

We start going through the house.  The kitchen floor was covered in glass.  They tried to break into the back door, safety glass wouldn't budge so they threw a huge stone throught the window.  The rock bounced off my glass table then into the oven door, which then shattered ALL over!  OH. MY. GOD!  Please tell me this isn't happening.  I kept thinking where are the cats?  I hope their paws aren't all cut up. 

I look around, 52" television gone. Xbox gone. Games & movies gone.  Basically every electronic device computers and digital frame, taken.  Then I remember my grandmothers wedding rings.  Oh please not the wedding rings.  My jewelry box was dumped all over the bathroom floor and vinegar poured all over it.  Yes they poured vinegar and bleach over the window, jewelry box and any other place they may have touched.  Pearls not taken but ruined.  My grandmothers jewelry was somewhat hidden.  Thank goodness they didn't take it.  Our closet was a mess, clothes and drawers all over.  These pathetic low lives were touching all my underclothes digging for what may have been hidden in drawers.  They even took a handgun.  These criminals are now armed.  It could have been really dangerous if we came home while they were still there.

Around the holidays we receive more packages and there in the foyer was a package they brought in and tore apart.  My In-laws sent us some beautiful gifts and cookies.  They unwrapped every single thing and spilled the delicious cookies all over the floor.  We weren't expecting the package until later that day.  This could have been how they knew we weren't home.  It also crossed my mind that the only person who knew we weren't home was the lady we had the appointment with for the counter tops.  She did ask us a lot of personal questions like if we had kids or pets.  Maybe to see if anyone would be home.  Not blaming her just saying watch what you tell strangers.

Anyways they unhooked the garage door and loaded everything up, probably without any neighbors noticing.  We live in a nice quiet neighborhood about 40 miles outside of Atlanta.  We just never expected this to happen out here.  I guess we always thought we would be home to protect it if they try.  We are the type to hide various weapons around the house.  We are lucky the hand gun was the only weapon they stole!

The police finally showed 20 minutes later.  They took the report and did a horrible job at finger prints.  It's pretty bad when I had to suggest the lady where to dust.  I'm sure they deal with this all the time and weren't taking it very seriously.  Then they left us to clean up this major mess all on our own.  Where do you start?  Glass was all over, embedded into the carpet.  Oh my lush carpet, ruined.  I will say the insurance company was great about everything.  They replaced all of the flooring and broken/ or stolen items.  All in all the damage exceeded $10,000 and the stolen property exceeded that much as well! All right before Christmas!  A boarded door and window for weeks while insurance processed. Happy Holidays to us!

The whole time I was thankful they only took what was replaceable, except for some stored photographs.   The cats returned hours later unharmed but really freaked out.  I'm usually very much an optimistic.  This incident left me feeling violated, vulnerable and much hate for society in whole.  That such low life's get away with this.  We have to work hard for our possessions and they just come along and take it!  Probably never working a job a day in their life!  I will not tell you all the hateful things I thought. 

After this incident we installed an alarm system.  For weeks afterwards I was severely paranoid.  Oh yeah, forgot to mention they took the spare keys to my husbands car.  So all I kept thinking was they are coming back to take it.  So paranoia ensued.  I did not want to leave the house.  Every noise outside the house had me running to look.  Every car that stopped on the street, in my mind was watching our house to see when we leave.   I was extremely irritated when I went to work and dealt with the public.  So much hate.   I know it may have been irrational, but I could not help it. 

I lost a lot of faith in humanity that day.  I still have occurring dreams that somebody breaks in and I have to shoot them.  I suppose I should say nightmares.  I have slowly been more comfortable with being home alone.    I've also felt much better after learning how to properly use our guns.  I wasn't too keen on them before this.  It's a slow process and I hope I never have to go through it again. 

Take precaution especially this time of year when you receive packages at random times. Set up some fake cameras or fake security stickers to help deter thieves.  They can be found on amazon, if you cannot afford the real deal.    Don't tell strangers too much information.. Also one of the biggest lessoned learned was cataloging your possessions.  Take pictures of high dollar items with serial numbers.  That way they can be linked back to you and you have proof of ownership.   I hope you never have to deal with this and hope you learned something from our story. 


Comments or suggestions?  I would love to hear from you!  This post may contain affiliate links.


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<![CDATA[Some of my favorite teas and why you might enjoy them too!]]>Wed, 10 Dec 2014 15:09:52 GMThttp://healinghomestead.weebly.com/blog/some-of-my-favorite-teas-and-why-you-might-enjoy-them-too
I love drinking tea!  I have compiled a list of my favorite teas to share with you.  So put the kettle on and grab a cup as we go through this epic list.  Ok, Ok, maybe it's not epic, but it was fun to put together.
Green tea.   I have to say this one I drink ALL the time.  Green tea is packed with a gazillion antioxidants.  OK maybe not that many, but pretty darn close.  It's great for your whole body especially your skin.  If I want to add a little caffeine kick to my herbal tea I'll throw a green tea bag in with it.  It's also a great alternative to coffee if you're trying to cut back. 
For my favorite brand click here.

Chai tea.  My second favorite caffeinated tea.  The most delicious treat if you make it correctly.  Add honey and a lot of cream or milk.  You  also have to get the right kind of tea too. There are a couple big name brands out there that add artificial flavors.  I can tell instantly.  I suppose you could also make your own.  To see the brand I prefer click here.

Healthy Cycle tea.  This herbal tea has a wonderful combination of herbs that are great for women.  Raspberry leaf being the main ingredient.   As the title suggests it helps promote a healthy cycle.  It helps promote balance and good health.  I find that it doesn't need any additives at all.  

Lemon balm.  Oh you may have already heard my latest obsession being Lemon Balm.  I grew it in my garden for the first time this year.  Makes a great iced tea too.  Just add a little mint and it's a cool refreshing summer beverage.  It's such a calming herb and I find that It works better for me than Chamomile.   I've never purchased it but click here for a trusted brand. 

Gypsy Cold care.  This is great tea for when you are sick or chilled to the bone. It's a very warm comforting herbal tea.  Add honey and a little lemon, then curl up under a warm blanket.  
Click here for a great seasonal sampler that includes teas for immune care and wellness.


Though my cabinet is full of dozens of teas, these are the favorites.  I hope I helped you find something you've never tried before.   Maybe you'll experience the power of what healing herbs can do for you.  There's nothing like a hot, comforting cup of tea to make your troubles melt away.  Now it's time for another cup. Cheers!

~Amanda~


This post contains affiliate links.

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<![CDATA[Gift Ideas for the Man-Child All Under $30.]]>Sat, 06 Dec 2014 03:03:34 GMThttp://healinghomestead.weebly.com/blog/gift-ideas-for-the-man-child-all-under-30 We all know men are hard to buy gifts for.  We also know they never grow up.  Here are some idea I've collected for that man who is still a child inside. Now you might think some of them silly, but my husband who is Mr. Serious would say some of these were the best gifts ever!These are all affiliate links.
A remote control helicopter.  These things are awesome.  Warning: may encourage child like behavior in adults.
For under $8, a sling shot? Heck yeah!  You'll poke your eye out!
Air strike Catapult seems fun enough.  I've just stumbled across this one.  I imagine playing Medieval beer pong with this.
Because who doesn't need a polypropylene sparing sword?  Yes I made sure I bought two. I think I was more excited to have them than my husband. You can even get a shield to go with it!
A BLOW GUN!  Unbelievably fun and dangerous. More accurate than I imagined.  This is not a toy.
For the chef in your life.  I just love this Star Trek Enterprise Pizza Cutter!
Star Trek Electronic Door Chime.  Another must for any trekkie.
Estes 1469 Tandem-X Launch Set, who doesn't want model rockets?
Cards Against Humanity, a game for horrible people.  I've never played but I hear this game is not for children.
Last but not least, I thought these Marvel Super Heroes Thumb Wrestlers would make a great stocking stuffer.


I hope I gave you some good ideas.  Do you have any awesome man-child gifts that you would like to share?  I would love to hear from you. 
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<![CDATA[Soothing Sage throat spray for a sore throat and cough.]]>Wed, 26 Nov 2014 01:08:30 GMThttp://healinghomestead.weebly.com/blog/soothing-sage-throat-spray-for-a-sore-throat-and-coughYou all know the feeling, the first sign of being sick.  A sore throat!  That unbearable pain that wakes you a night because your throat is bone dry.  Then comes the coughing and scratchy throat.  Well I'm experiencing that right now as I type.  My husband had it last week.  Now I blame him for spreading this misery to me!  Last week I decided to find a remedy to help ease his cough and soothe the sore throat.  I must say he was quit pleased with the remedy though I think it was the brandy that had a lot to do with it!  I started with a recipe from good old Rosemary Gladstar and tweaked it a bit
What you will need:
  • About 1/2 Cup Sage leaves dried or fresh, I used fresh simply because they were still thriving in the garden.
  • 3/4 Cup of water
  • 1/4 Cup of Brandy or Vodka
  • 2 drops of Peppermint essential oil
  • A tad of raw honey to soothe and make it sweet. Honey is anti-viral/bacterial so it will help heal the throat.

  1. Boil water
  2. Crumble or tear up sage leaves a bit to release the beneficial oils.  Place in heat prove jar or bowl.
  3. Pour boiling water over sage leaves. Let it steep for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Strain out sage leaves. You can always drink this as sage tea, it will also help.
  5. Add ALL remaining  ingredients and mix well. 
  6. Pour into a spray bottle.  I use the little travel size bottles. 
  7. Spray as needed. 

This make about a pint size jar.  Depending on what size spray bottle you use, you will have some left over.  Keep the remainder of the concoction in a jar in the refrigerator.  I add it to tea throughout the day when sick.  I didn't worry about refrigerating the spray bottle.  Alcohol acts as a preservative.

If you do not want to use alcohol, replace it with 1-2 T of Echinacea tincture (even more healing power) or 1/4 C Apple cider Vinegar.  I did not get intoxicated over this, It is such a small amount being sprayed into the throat.  The decision on using alcohol is entirely up to you.



There you have it!  I love how the peppermint gives a cooling effect.  Try this out, let me know what you think.


~Amanda~
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<![CDATA[Herbal Insight: Cinnamon! Are you consuming "real" cinnamon?]]>Wed, 12 Nov 2014 16:20:11 GMThttp://healinghomestead.weebly.com/blog/herbal-insight-cinnamon-are-you-consuming-real-cinnamon
I know, technically cinnamon is not an herb.  It's tree bark!  Did you know that?  Did you also know that there are more than one type of cinnamon.  If you want to get the most out of cinnamon you must know if you're using true cinnamon.
Cinnamon is probably my most favorite spice.  I love the taste, the smell and the way it makes you think of fall afternoons.  It wasn't until recently that I discovered there are at least  two different types of out there.  There is Ceylon or also called Cinnamon Verum or true cinnamon.  Then there's the typical store bought kind Cassia cinnamon or Chinese cinnamon.  What are the differences and which one should you use for your health?

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Ceylon Cinnamon
Ceylon cinnamon has been hailed as the "true cinnamon" or the "real cinnamon" that possesses outstanding health benefits especially for the diabetics and those challenged by obesity and high cholesterol issues. Unfortunately this cinnamon which is native to Sri Lanka and from the plant Cinnamomum zeylanicum is rather unknown to most people. In the United States and many parts of Asia, what the majority of us have been buying from the grocery store and consuming is actually not the real cinnamon but Cassia cinnamon, which comes from a different plant called Cinnamomum cassia, also known as Chinese cinnamon that are mostly cultivated in China and Indonesia. While the two species of cinnamon share certain characteristics such as antimicrobial, and in terms of inhibiting the growth of fungi and yeast, and regulating blood sugar, their contents differ much in terms of the amount of coumarin, which is a naturally ocurring substance with strong blood-thinning properties. The coumarin level in Ceylon cinnamon is negligibly small, while that in Cassia cinnamon is an appalling 1200 times higher. The ingestion of large amount of coumarin or consumption of coumarin over a prolonged period of time can cause serious health damages and a negative impact on the liver and kidney.

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You can see the difference between these two pictures.  The Ceylon cinnamon is thinner with more layers and breaks easier.  The flavors are different as well.  Ceylon is more sweet and perfect for desserts and my coffee everyday.  Where as cassia is bitter and overpowering.
It would definitely be difficult to know the difference when it's already ground.  Once you have had true cinnamon you can decipher by smell alone.  I purchased some Ceylon cinnamon from my favorite shopping site Amazon.
  It's a one pound bag and totally worth it.  Upon opening the bag I immediately knew the difference!  It smelled like cinnamon heaven!  Like the in side of a cinnamon roll, like cinnamon bears were dancing all around me!  You get the point by now I'm sure.  Now I could never go back, especially after knowing all the health benefits.  Do you love cinnamon as much as I do?  If not, I won't hold it against you.  As always I would love to hear from you!

~Amanda~

This post may contain affiliate links.

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<![CDATA[A Glance at the Last Week.  Garlic bulbs, peppers and Walking Dead!]]>Wed, 05 Nov 2014 13:32:35 GMThttp://healinghomestead.weebly.com/blog/a-glance-at-the-last-week-garlic-bulbs-peppers-and-walking-dead
This past week was busy, preparing the garden for the first frost.   This is my first time trying to grow things in the winter and I wasn't sure what exactly would survive.  So this led to me picking all the peppers and green tomatoes I could.  I also managed to finally get the garlic and onion bulbs into the ground.
I planted several garlic bulbs, Egyptian walking onions and potato onions.  Both of the onions are perennial and should come back every year.   I can't wait to try home grown garlic.  This too was a first experience for me.   
I also picked ALL the peppers I could, but I didn't pickle the peppers that I picked.  How do you like that tongue twister. I chopped them up and froze them in quart bags.  It's the end of the season and I seriously have 10 quart bags in the freezer. I'm pretty sure it will last us until next year.  I don't even bother blanching them.  I hate to lose any of the crisp texture.  I know it may degrade the flavor, but I don't think skipping the blanching  this time is a big deal.  That's just me.
I also harvested a lot of the garden herbs and hung them to dry.  I made a short tutorial on how to do this.  Now my husband says the house looks like a witches coven or something.  The herbs always look so cool drying in the house.
I left home for a few days for work and I came home to a lot of damaged leaves due to the frost.  It's really hard being gone like that. I can't really go out and cover the plants each night since I'm away.  I'm still learning new ways to extend the harvest.  It's always a great learning experience and I enjoy it all.  I think this week I'll be going out and pulling up all the dead plants.   I'll still find time to fit in the latest episode of Walking Dead. :) (I think this season is amazing so far!)  Now that winter is coming I will be hiding indoors more and enjoying some hot tea.  I sense movie marathons in the future!

~Amanda~
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<![CDATA[Honey Bran Muffins with Raisins.]]>Sat, 01 Nov 2014 19:34:28 GMThttp://healinghomestead.weebly.com/blog/honey-bran-muffins-with-raisinsPicture

These muffins are great for breakfast or as a snack.  Packed with plenty of fiber and not too much sweetness.  I replace the oil for applesauce and these aren't too bad for you. They go great with a cup of coffee.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and put 12 liners into a muffin tin.
Makes 12 muffins

What you will need:

1 1/2 C Wheat Bran 
1 C Milk

1/3 C Applesauce ( I use a single snack cup)
1 Egg
2/3 C Honey or Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

1 C Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Cinnamon

1/2 C Raisins
1/4 Walnuts (optional)

In a large bowl mix together wheat bran and milk.  Let it sit for about 10 minutes.
In another bowl mix together the dry ingredients.  Flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.  Pour into the bowl with wheat bran milk mixture.
In the empty bowl mix together all the wet ingredients, egg, honey, vanilla and applesauce.  I try to only dirty the two bowls for this.  The less dishes to clean the better!
Mix all ingredients together.  Then fold in raisins and walnuts if you chose to add walnuts.
Spoon evenly into muffins tins.  This will make 12 muffins.  Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.   My convection oven takes 17 minutes. 
Remove muffins from tin to cool on cooling rack.
Enjoy!  As always I would love to hear your feed back if you try this recipe.

~Amanda~

May contain affiliate links, see disclaimer.
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<![CDATA[How to Dry and Save Herbs.  A Tutorial, Complete with Kitty Supervision.]]>Thu, 30 Oct 2014 13:34:25 GMThttp://healinghomestead.weebly.com/blog/how-to-dry-and-save-herbs-a-tutorial-complete-with-kitty-supervision
Winter is coming.  It's time to harvest what you can from the garden before the bitter cold claims it.  I've put together this quick tutorial of how to collect, hang and dry garden herbs.  Now you can enjoy the flavors of summer all winter long.
Step 1
Gather the Herbs you wish to dry.  You want to cut as close to the base of the plant as possible.  Do not worry about washing them, that will just increase the
likeliness of mold.  You want to collect late in the day so dew is dried from the sun.  I like to collect the day after a rain has washed them naturally.  If you really want to wash them off, you could spray them with water in the morning and cut in the evening.  They seem to be more fresh from a recent watering anyways.


Step 2
Make sure you have a little helper to "supervise".  I had a few curious ones. They just love that basket. That's Cami, our munchkin cat.
Step 3
Trim excess leaves off bottom couple of inches of stem.  You will be tying twine around these.  Also at this time remove any dead or unhealthy looking leaves.  It is easier to see them now than when they're dry. Do not skip this step.
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Neo in the background.
Step 4
Tie twine or string around the base of a few sprigs.  Wrap it around and tie the two ends together.  It doesn't have to be perfect, just make sure you do this as tight as you can.  As the herbs dry out, they will shrink and may fall out if not tight enough. You do not want to make the bundles too big.  See pictures, those are a good size.  Air needs to be able to circulate.  Herbs may get moldy if they're bundled too thick.
Step 5
Hang herbs in a dry, well circulated, preferably dark location.  You just do not want direct sunlight on them, as they will brown.  I just string some twine up with tacks and use clothes pins.  Not all homes will have ideal places, just do the best you can.  Dry air is probably the most important factor, I wouldn't hang in a damp basement.
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Another supervisor, Obi. He's the one that eats anything! I've got my eye on you!
Step 6
Let the herbs dry for about two weeks or until crispy.  You do not want to leave them hanging for too long or bugs may find them a perfect home.  They will also attract dust if left too long.  Once dry remove the leaves from stem and store in an airtight container.  Use them however you desire.


Have any suggestions or questions?  I would love to hear from you!


~Amanda~
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