Chocolate Chai Tea Latte & a bit of This & That

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How has the first month of the New Year been going for you? January has been a bit of a crazy month for our family. One thing after another it seems.

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We lost my mom’s brother unexpectedly. He had a staff infection in his heart and it caused a stroke. We were thankful that mom and all of his kids were able to get down to Nevada and spend time with him before he passed. I stayed home to watch mom’s house and tend to her kitties. Mike’s kids came from all over. One child came from Colorado, another from New York, and another was able to make it in time from England.  Mike was very happy they were all there with him. The day before he passed away they sat in his room sharing stories and talking about what he meant to each one of them. Mom said it was a wonderful day and a blessing to be able to have that time together with him. One of the children had to leave her husband who was also with his dying father at the time, to come to be at her own father’s side. So much grief to handle.

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Mom and Mike’s oldest daughter Nancy from England, were in charge of finding Mike’s loving companion Angel, a Newfoundland, a new home. She’s very old and there were several homing ideas being discussed. Mike loved her dearly, so not just any home would do. After a few days a wonderful blessing just dropped into their laps. One of Nancy’s friends who had continued his relationship with Mike all these years, heard of Mike’s passing and it turns out…he and his wife take in and care for aging animals. He knows Angel, and was thrilled to adopt and love Angel. He said, “My wife and I take in elderly and ill dogs, love them until they die and break our hearts, and then we do it all over again.” Amazing people.

 

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After Angel had been in her new home for two days mom and Nancy were invited to dinner. They were both absolutely shocked at how happy Angel was. Relaxed and carefree. I think pets know so much more than we think they do. While she was with my mom at Mike’s house, she was very depressed. But mom and Nancy were pleased to report that in her new home, where she doesn’t have to worry anymore, she was like a new pup!

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Then… mom’s wallet was stolen when they were out to dinner one of the nights. It is Reno after all. Probably one of the biggest pick pocket cities in the US next to Vegas and New Orleans. Luckily, she had her passport and after hours and hours of phone calls and stress, she was able to iron everything out and eventually get a flight home.

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Last night’s simple dinner. Salmon, quinoa, & steamed beets.

On our end, Tony got some kind of strange eye infection that was very painful. He wears extended wear contacts…which I think is a terrible idea for your eyes! I tried to tell him it was an infection at the very beginning and to go to the doctor…but do you think he would take my word for it? Of course not. Three days later after sleepless nights and a lot of pain, he finally went to the eye doctor and you know what she told him? You guessed it.

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This morning’s breakfast. Quinoa and salmon stuffed squash.

 

For me, January has been a cruddy health roller coaster. I’ve  had numerous horrible migraines and have been feeling under the weather. My focus for the beginning of the New Year was going to be on “rest and relaxation”after an extremely busy December. But you know how that goes. I hate to give into the “sick” and rest during the day.

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And because when it rains it pours, Romeo tore some ligaments in his right knee. He yelped on a hike we were on in the snow a few weeks ago but we couldn’t determine the issue. So we rested him for a few days and he seemed fine.

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About a week ago we were walking them and he was running around like a maniac in the snow of course, and he yelped again. Well, this time, he was definitely favoring one leg. We rested it for another few days with no improvement, and decided it was time to see the vet. They put him on “bed rest” for two weeks. A practically impossible feat.

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They are active dogs and we walk, hike, run, or mountain bike with them every day. Two weeks is a lifetime for all of us! While we were at the vet I also had the doc look at some growths on Abigail that we recently found. Turns out she’ll need those removed as well. In two weeks if Romeo’s knee is not greatly improved, then he’ll need surgery (and I’m assuming more “bed rest”) and Abigail will go in at the same time to have the growths removed.

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Not quite the January I would have planned for all of us of course, but as we all know, we aren’t the planners of this life. So instead of getting bogged down, we try to focus on the good of it all. With Mike, although he’ll be missed greatly, it was a blessing that mom and his children had each other for support and were able to be there to say goodbye. As my husband said in his prayer for Mike, “He was one of the good ones.” It’s also a blessing to be able to know that Mike’s best friend is being taken care of by trusted, loving, people.

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Our new favorite pizza place. Gluten free and dairy free options.

 

Mom’s wallet thing all worked out. And in the end, she said it was probably a blessing because had she still had her wallet and all of her cash she took down there with her, she would have stayed much longer to take care of Mike’s belongings, which would have been really hard on her as she and Mike were close, and all the kids had to go back home to work. So for now, it can all wait, and they can work on it together this summer.

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My faithful epsom bath companion.

With Tony’s eye, we can be thankful that it wasn’t serious, and be very thankful that we have insurance to pay for things like that. Another blessing.

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Breakfast yesterday. Homemade coconut milk yogurt with all kinds of goodies.

For me, the bright side is always, always….that things could be much worse health wise. I try really hard to take it one day at a time and focus on the good parts.

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As for the fur babies, every day we have with them is a tremendous blessing. And thankfully, Tony  has a good job and we have the means to help them when they need it.

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Though sometimes it feels like the stress outweighs the joy, if you pay close attention, there’s always good to focus on and things to be grateful for!

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Chocolate Chai Tea Latte

*Makes 2 servings

1 1/2 Cups of Filtered Water

2 Decaf Black Tea Bags

1/2 Cup of 100% Coconut Milk

1 ounce of Dark Chocolate

 2 teaspoons Chai Tea Spice Mix (see below)

1 teaspoon of Raw Honey

Chai Spice Mix: 

1 Small Jar

3 teaspoons of Turmeric

4 teaspoons of Cardamom

5 teaspoons of Cloves

4 teaspoons of Allspice

10 teaspoons of Cinnamon

7 teaspoons of Ginger

Measure all ingredients into a small bowl and whisk together until combined. Spoon into a storage jar.

Bring the filtered water to a boil in a small pan. Turn off heat and add tea bags, steep for 10 minutes. Remove bags, heat on medium and add the chocolate, coconut milk, and chai spices. Bring to a low boil, remove from heat and add honey.

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Time To Rest & Reflect ~ My Corner Of The World

5 Comments

2015-12-15 20.32.21

Another Christmas has come and gone.

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I am always a little sad about it as it’s my favorite time of year.

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I’ve even started decorating prior to Thanksgiving to try to stretch it out as long as possible.

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The snow, the music, the baking, the shopping, the decorations and just the whole feel of such a peaceful and joyous holiday should last more than a month, I think.

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I’m always saddened to hear there are people who don’t like it, or have a hard time with it.

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Sometimes I think it really is just as simple as “it’s all what you make of it”.

If you don’t like certain things about it, change it up.

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Make new traditions! Make it whatever you want, with whomever you want.

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Make it big or little or travel or stay.

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And yes it’s work and yes there’s a lot involved and yes, you’ll more than likely be whooped afterward like I am.

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But it’s a good tired.

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When you’re tired from having fun and baking and making things that people love, and spending time with friends and family, and enjoying the hubbub of the holiday, it’s a good tired. There are many worse ways to be tired.

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With the festivities over and everything winding down, now it’s time to rest for the New Year.

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I love fresh beginnings.

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Take a little time to yourself before the New Year.

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Take a little time to reflect.

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What did you love about the last year?

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What will you do differently next year?

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What do you look forward to?

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What will you do to be happier and healthier?

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Jot them down so you don’t forget. Place them someplace special where you’ll see them.

There’s been studies done since the 30’s that show that if you share your goals and resolutions with other people, you’re less likely to fulfill them.

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Doesn’t seem to make sense I know, but it’s best to wrap them up and keep quiet, and then celebrate with your favorite people when you’ve reached each one.

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Don’t do too many, just a few based on your reflections on the past year. Only things that are truly important.

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If we’re lucky, over the past year, we’ve learned a few good things we can take with us into the New Year.

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Even if it was a tough year, if you look closely, there’s always blessings and good lessons.

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So.

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Many.

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Blessings. 

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If you and I had kept track of every single little blessing over the past year, we would run out of places to put them. They pile up even when we’re not noticing.

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It’s all about perspective.

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I hope your holiday season was filled with fun and good food and  a lot of love.

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And beauty.

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And peace.

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For the New Year, I wish you health, overwhelming amounts of joy, and growth, and goals fulfilled, rest, and peace overflowing. That your eyes will be opened to all the good even in difficult times, that your worries will be few and your celebrations abundant.

~ April xoxo

2015-12-26 10.25.00

Headache & Migraine Relief Roller

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You may be one of the lucky few who never suffer from an occasional headache or migraine. If that’s so, you can also use this essential oil combination for sore, tense muscles, and nausea.

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But, for those of us who do have those dreadful headaches, we’re always happy to have something we can either take or put on to help us get through it. I like to rotate hot and cold packs, take a shower with a few drops of essential oils, and rub a little of my Headache & Migraine Relief on the back of my neck, temples, and forehead.

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I find the scent amazingly calming and it’s full of oils that help with pain, inflammation, and nausea.

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And although these rollers are very small, just a tiny bit goes a long way. High quality essential oils are extremely concentrated and if you choose to use any of my oil recipes on your children, do so with caution and dilute even further.

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Essential oils have some really amazing benefits. I’m always excited to research them on my phone app or in one of the huge manuals I purchased. There’s an oil for everything! And why wouldn’t we want to try something pure and natural before we head to the doctor just to be given medications with a laundry list of unsettling side effects? Another huge benefit is that you can make your own remedies using the oils that most suit you and your family.

People are very particular about the oils they use. When you make your own combination remedies, you don’t have to worry about wasting money on oil mixtures you may not like. There are many oils that I don’t like! It’s nice to have a stock of my own favorites to get creative with.

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I use essential oils in lotion, body oils, lip balm, in our humidifier, in my plants when I water, when I clean, in my vacuum cleaner, on wounds, on acne, for body aches, in the shower to ease brain fog, for nausea, for headaches, for mouth bacteria, for colds, for disinfecting, for air purifying, when I change the bed sheets, in the laundry….you name it!

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Here’s a list of the oil benefits in my Headache & Migraine Relief Roller:

German Chamomile is said to easy nervous tension, ease upset stomach, eases muscle tension, is anti inflammatory, and promotes rest.

Vetiver is said to help calm the body, reduce stress, reduce nervousness, improve circulation, and is anti inflammatory.

Eucalyptus Globulous is said to ease muscle aches and pains, boost the immune system and is anti inflammatory.

Lemon is said to reduce stress, improve circulation, reduce anxiety, it’s anti inflammatory, promotes rest, and is detoxifying.

Peppermint is said to give a cooling effect, is calming, relieves pain, is an anti inflammatory, helps with nausea and muscle tension.

Frankincense is said to ease nervous tension, ease anxiety and depression, it’s anti inflammatory, and stimulates the immune system

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Headache & Migraine Relief Roller

**The essential oils are drops per bottle & I use high quality Young Living Oils**

6 – 1/8 oz Clear Mini Glass Roll On Bottles

1 Drop of German Chamomile Essential Oil

3 Drops of Vetiver Essential Oil

15 Drops of Eucalyptus Globulous Essential Oil

4 Drops of Lemon Essential Oil

15 Drops of Peppermint Essential Oil

2 Drops of Frankincense Essential Oil

Organic Jojoba Oil

Add the drops to each bottle and fill the remainder with organic jojoba oil. Shake well.

Instructions: Roll a small amount onto back of neck, temples & forehead (avoiding eyes!). Roll a small amount into palm, rub hands together, and cup in front of nose. Breathe in for 30 seconds.

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Slumber Bedtime Potion

4 Comments

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I’m happy to say I survived four days of granola and nuts. I don’t get along with nuts and grains very well.

We have a love hate relationship.

I love them, and they hate me.

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I tied and labeled the last of it a couple days ago and after snacking on them two days in a row, by bed time I had grandma ankles and had to pry my rings off my fingers with lotion.

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But I have to admit, old lady ankles and swollen fingers were worth a few handfuls of candied almonds and caramelized walnuts and pecans.

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 I’m thankful they’re tied up now though because I’m not sure I could keep my hands off of them otherwise.

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With the granola wrapped and ready to go, I’m moving on to a relaxing bed time oil you can make for your feet and hands. There’s nothing better after a quieting tub than slipping into your favorite nightwear, crawling into a cozy bed, and giving yourself a little foot and hand massage.

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It works the parts we use most during the day, and it prepares your body for rest.

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You could use anything for the massage of course, but I’ve created something extra special for you.

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A combination of soothing, wonderful smelling, stress reducing, pain relieving, sleep enhancing, essential oils.

Rest well!

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High quality essential oils are extremely concentrated and if you choose to use any of my oil recipes on your children, they should be diluted even further with a carrier oil. For children under 12, I would simply do a 1/4 teaspoon of carrier oil (jojoba, olive, coconut) to 1 drop of the mixed oils.

Slumber Bedtime Potion

**The essential oils are drops per bottle & I use high quality Young Living Oils**

6 Glass Bottles with Droppers (1 oz) 

6 Drops of Lavender Essential Oil

4 Drops of Frankincense Essential Oil

3 Drops of German Chamomile Essential Oil

4 Drops of Valor Essential Oil

3 Drops of Cedarwood Essential Oil

4 Drops of Copaiba Essential Oil

2 Drops of Eucalyptus Globulous Essential Oil

Organic Jojoba Oil

Add the drops to each bottle and fill remainder with organic jojoba oil. Shake Well.

Instructions: Massage a few drops (only a few are needed!) of oil into hands and feet at bedtime.

Scroll down for the benefits of all the oils used in my Slumber Bedtime Potion.

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Essential Oil Benefits:

Lavender ~ Calms nerves, mood balancing, restful sleep, eases dry irritated skin, allergy relief, aids in burn healing, eases sunburn pain.

Frankincense ~ Eases nervous tension, eases anxiety and depression, anti inflammatory, stimulates immune system, eases restless leg, disinfects cuts & wounds, eases arthritis, eases allergies, promotes healthy skin

German Chamomile ~ Eases nervous tension, eases upset stomach, antibacterial, anti inflammatory, promotes sleep, eases muscle tension, promotes skin health.

Valor ~ Calming, eases anxiety, eases joint pain, eases tension headaches, eases snoring, eases sciatic pain and joint pain.

Cedarwood ~ Supports the lymph system, eases anxiety, eases insomnia, antibacterial, eases respiratory issues, aids sleep.

Copaiba ~ Relieves pain, anti inflammatory, aids in digestion, eases joint stiffness, eases aches, antibacterial, aids circulation.

Eucalyptus Globulous ~ Eases muscle aches, cough suppressant, boosts the immune system, anti inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, decongestant.

 

Homemade Intensive Organic Night Cream for Face & Neck

7 Comments

2015-12-08 09.45.45

I have a lot of people tell me they aren’t creative or crafty in or out of the kitchen.

I don’t believe that’s true.

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I believe that all of us, no matter who we are, have a little bit of art inside us of us.

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The definition of an artist is: a person skilled at a particular task or occupation,  a person whose work shows creative ability or skill, a person who displays in his work qualities required in art, such as sensibility and imagination.

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That’s all an “artist” is and we all have those skills and abilities in one way or another. 

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I can’t free hand draw, or paint beautiful water colors, or sew well, or sing well, play a sport, or even play an instrument.

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But I can create. And I think creation is art.

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I love to create a beautiful garden, a comfortable home, I love to create recipes, little craft projects, and I also enjoy making healthy face and body products.

Trust me, if any of it was difficult drudgery, I wouldn’t do it.

Art is something you LOVE to do that comes naturally to YOU. 

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Yesterday I focused on  making an organic anti-aging night cream.

It’s simple to make, it’s luxurious, and it’s a special treat for yourself and your loved ones.

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~ Quench ~

Intensive Organic Night Cream for Face & Neck

By Gluten Free Zen

…………………………………………………………………………………………………….

*Makes about 3 Cups

(Click on each ingredient for brand)

1 1/2 Cups of Organic Unrefined Virgin Coconut Oil

1/2 Cup of Organic African Shea Butter

2 Tablespoons of Organic Unfiltered Extra Virgin Olive Oil

12 Drops of Frankincense Essential Oil

6 Drops of Lavender Essential Oil

4 Drops of Ylang Ylang Essential Oil

6 Drops of Lemon Essential Oil

Measure the coconut oil into a stand mixer and whip the the whisk attachment until light and fluffy. Add the shea butter and continue whipping until full incorporated and airy. Slowly drizzle the olive into the mixture while the mixer is running. Continue to whip until light and fluffy. Turn the mixer to low and add the essential oils. Whip until fully incorporated.

Spoon cream carefully into containers of choice. Tap container after each spoonful to compact and level the cream. Keep away from heat and extreme cold.

Apply a small amount to freshly cleansed face and neck at bed time

(Scroll down for more of my body product recipes!)

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Here are links to more of my Healthy Homemade Body Products! 

Homemade Body Butter

Lip Balm, Sleep Salve, Night Cream, Shower Bomb, Body Lotion, & Hand and Elbow Scrub

Essential Oil Body Cream

Toner & Face Cream

Let’s Do Some Catching Up!

7 Comments

2015-11-25 14.39.01

Well here we are already onto the last day of November. I had intended on doing at least a couple posts of fabulous Thanksgiving foods for you, but somehow November slipped right by at lightening speed.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Probably the best part for me selfishly, was that I didn’t have to host it.

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My job was to bring the pies and I provided the stuffing and turkey which was roasted at my mom’s house.

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The turkey was a disappointment this year, unfortunately. We have purchased it from the same organic farm for many years without issue so we were shocked that this one did not live up to the expectation. The breasts were very thin, there was little meat on the legs and thighs, and despite it looking like a meaty bird in this picture, it was not. There was also a large layer of fat (ugh) all across the bottom of the bird. Very weird. And quite disappointing considering the cost of an organic 14 pound turkey. I’ve sent them a note with my concerns, so we’ll see how they respond.

The best part of the turkey was the skin. I whizzed up sea salt, fresh thyme, rosemary, and sage in the Nutribullet for a delicious and aromatic rub.

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I made a pumpkin pie and a streusel topped apple pie. They got rave reviews and I made the best coconut milk whipped cream I think I’ve ever made.

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I believe the secret was using the seeds of several vodka soaked vanilla beans and no vanilla extract. It was delicious!

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Prior to Thanksgiving we had a terrible windstorm with almost hurricane level 80 mph winds! It left well over 100,000 people without power for several days, including us.

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We were very lucky though as we didn’t have a tree fall on our house or crush our cars like many people. We also had generators to charge phones, have a little light, and run the refrigerator so we didn’t lose food. Our gas fireplace heated the house very well.

When I was a child I loved eating by candlelight so doing it during a power outage was not a problem.

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We have a gas stove so that made cooking relatively easy with a lamp from the living room for extra light.

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We lost our power for 3 days but many went without for more than 8 days! Crews from all over the country came to our city to help, neighbors came together, and overall even though there was a lot of damage to many neighborhoods, it all went very well.  As soon as the power came back on I hit the kitchen.

Of course!

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I felt like I was in cooking withdrawal for some reason. Those are thin slices of ginger mixed in with the garlic, onions, and mushrooms. Roasted ginger is absolutely delicious!

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Abigail thought it was a special treat for her.

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I made a huge salad, roasted veggies, made a big pot of chicken soup, and home made bread.

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Thanksgiving prep was so easy that two days prior to Thanksgiving when I would normally be up to my earlobes in kitchen and cleaning duties if I had been hosting, I was able to decorate the inside of the house for Christmas.

Then, the day after Thanksgiving, I actually had energy and we were able to enjoy our family tradition of cutting our own tree.

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The Christmas holiday is my absolute favorite time of year and I have lots and lots of decorations. I like to savor the holiday so decorating “early” isn’t a problem for me. You can even hear Christmas music prior to Thanksgiving if you come for a visit.

No Scrooges allowed.

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The ladies at the tree farm make gorgeous swags and wreaths. This one will be perfect for our front door.

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We have two trees again this year. You may remember that we had a little “issue” with the live tree last year... This year, I set my sites on a smaller, more manageable tree. Hopefully it will behave itself and the Russians won’t have to come help me clean up shattered ornaments again.

It even fit nicely in the back of the truck.

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Yesterday was spent decorating both trees. It always seems like such a grand idea to have two trees until it comes time to decorate them, and then of course, take them down. But the in between part is what makes it so special.

This is Tree #1 which is in the sitting room off the kitchen.

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I particularly love early, dark mornings, when I walk downstairs and the house is lit with trees. So gorgeous and peaceful!

This is Tree #2 in the family room.

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I hope all of you are doing well and are enjoying the holiday season!

Thank you so much for the kind words, blog support, and prayers for my health that you all so freely give here on the blog, on Facebook, via personal message, and on Instagram. I appreciate all of you so much. I’m praying December will be a good health month and peaceful for all of us, and that I will be able to bring you lots of fabulous recipe ideas for your holidays.

I will share my Thanksgiving recipes with you tomorrow!

Blessings to you ~ April

2015-11-27 04.17.02

Pity Party For One, Averted ~ My Corner Of The World

10 Comments

How’s your summer going?

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Overall, ours has been great. Hot and sunny, and mostly relaxing, just the way I like it.

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In late spring I went on another pulsing dose of antibiotics. I’d been in a flare since November and it had finally gotten to the point where I was at a peak in symptoms. Very unpleasant. Prime pulsing time. So far, pulsing antibiotics rather than long-term antibiotic use works very well at keeping my symptoms at a manageable level.

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So after a three week course, I was feeling pretty darn good. Summer was turning out to be gorgeous, my symptoms were manageable, and I was settling in for absorbing every ounce of heat and sun I could, and focusing on feeling good.

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A few weeks into summer, I started having little blips on the radar. Like a never ending period. Or numerous ones that kept coming too early. OK, I’m no spring chicken, I know what’s happening. Not a huge deal. I’m old and my uterus is a wrinkled up almond. I get it. Now stop.

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Then I started getting hit with multiple day migraines. Serious ones that left me mostly out of commission for consecutive days in a row. Then some serious neck pain.

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WHAT is happeninggggggg…..I thought. I’m enjoying my summer, go away!

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Then it got so bad, my “I hate to take drugs” self had a conversation with my logical writhing in pain self. Turns out several ibuprofen and a muscle relaxant will help with the neck pain and the headaches. But those muscle relaxants throw me for a loop. Thankfully, I only use those for my big guns and so far I’ve only had to use them a few times.

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Then, because of the hormonal issues, the doctor suggested an ultrasound of my uterus. Externally, and internally. Fun stuff.

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 Turns out I have a cyst on my right ovary and fibroids in my uterus. This could mean all kinds of things. None of which is in the danger zone yet, as far as I know. But it does probably spell out ablation, or hysterectomy.

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OK, deep breaths. At this point I’m still thinking…but Lyme-wise, I’m feeling decent, why ALL of this other stuff NOW? I need a break from feeling like crap and worrying about feeling like crap.

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And then I broke a molar. Yep.

Oh Murphy’s Law, you are a relentless bastard.

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So I had it fixed and the next day, had my teeth cleaned. The dentist even managed to numb half my face and half my tongue, but NOT my tooth. That was fun. Two unpleasant visits to the dentist killed with one stone in a matter of two days. Or so I thought.

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Because now, for the last two weeks, all of my teeth have been unbelievably, painfully, sensitive. I’d also bought a new Sonicare toothbrush and started using it right at the same time. Evidently this one is a higher quality than the last one I had and my teeth are now right up there with the horror people talk about after they have their teeth whitened. Like, it hurts to breathe through my mouth.

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So I’ve been living on ibuprofen which is terrible for lyme disease because it ruins your gut, and using the strongest de- sensitizing toothpaste I could find. I’m down to one tooth still hurting…the one he worked on.  I foresee a dentist appointment in my near future.

Oh, except I called two days ago and the whole office is on vacation for 10 days.

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Yesterday I went to have my blood taken for a hormone panel. I brought my mom so she could stay in the air conditioned car with the dogs because it’s hot here and then we would walk them after my “quick” blood draw. I arrived prior to opening, hoping to beat the crowd, but so did seven other people. There was a line outside the door. I signed in and sat out in the hallway where the air conditioning wasn’t set at 20 below zero, as I was dressed in shorts and a tank. Dog walking attire. No make up. Not even showered.

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Then, the pity party began. “I can only handle so much Lord. How can you expect me to deal with Lyme, feel sick every day and deal with that, and then just keep adding stuff to my plate? I need a reprieve. I thought that’s what summer was? Clearly my hormones are a mess, do you know what it’s like to have a period 33 days in a row? Non stop. Please make this stop. And now I have to worry about what’s growing in my uterus and on my ovary and why, WHY, is my tooth still hurting? I have been in pain for two years straight with the whole infuriating Lyme thing. It’s exhausting. That dental appointment was $400! If something is really wrong and I need a crown it will be another $1,000 minimum and another visit to one of my top 5 places I hate to go. I hate to spend money on things I hate. What an incredible waste. And he can’t even figure out how to numb my ACTUAL TOOTH! How hard is it? All the xanax in the world can’t prevent fear of THAT. And now I have to see a new gynecologist this week and hope that she’s up on the latest research on bio-identical hormones and isn’t an idiot, and I can feel another Lyme flare looming in the distance. And why haven’t we heard back on the water damage in the trailer? Please, let that be good news and not thousands of dollars of damage. I need a vacation.  And why won’t the infection in Romeo’s eyes go away? I’m so worried about him. I’m overwhelmed, this is too much. Lord, help me.”

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Right at that moment, a woman about 10 years younger than me walked into the lab, signed in, walked out and straight into the bathroom next to where I was sitting. She closed the door and immediately began sobbing hysterically. I thought, I know first hand what it’s like not to like having a needle in your arm, but this doesn’t sound like that. This sounds serious. I got up and tried the handle. Locked. Must be a single stall. So I sat back down and waited. She was in there sobbing for several minutes.

She came out, walked around the corner where I couldn’t see her and sat at a table by the vending machines.

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My internal dialogue was going haywire. “What is happening, why is she so upset? Should I see if she’s OK? What if she’s crazy and I have to deal with that? What if she’s angry and mean? I have enough crazy in my life. I already have enough on my plate. Stop taking on more stuff! Mind your own business. But she sounds so incredibly sad. I want to hug her. She NEEDS a hug, I can feel it. I feel terrible for her. I can’t stand to see people upset and know they’re hurting. What if something terrible has happened? I want her to know that I don’t have to know her to care about her. What if she’s suicidal and I see her in the news tomorrow and I did absolutely nothing? My GOD April, you need to get your hormones under control. She’s all by herself. What an awful feeling. I’m going to jump out of my skin, I have to DO something! All of this thinking is making me sweat. Calm down. God equips us for things like this. If she’s crazy or she gets mad at you, so be it. Don’t turn away.”

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So God said, “GO!” And I did.

I asked her if she was going to be OK. And it turned out, she was as equally confused about what to say as I was. She was in the middle of a miscarriage and was there to have her hormone levels checked. She was devastated. I told her that I did worry she’d be mad for the intrusion, but I wanted to make sure that she was going to be OK. I shared that I too had struggled with miscarriages and that I knew exactly what she was feeling and how difficult it is. We agreed that people who haven’t had that sad experience don’t know what to say, and often say the wrong things which makes it all hurt even more. She said all the things we all say to try to get us through it.” It wasn’t planned, God knows what he’s doing, if there’s something wrong with the baby, maybe it’s a good thing, we don’t want it to suffer. Even though it wasn’t planned, we were so excited. We already have two kids (as if you can’t be upset about losing one). But I have so much stress in my life right now, maybe I caused it to happen.”

And secretly, in that inner most sanctum we all have… We’ve wondered if we’re not worthy, if we’re being punished for something. I knew that was what she was thinking, because I’ve lived it. I tried very hard not to cry. And I told her that I have a healthy, 23 year old after a lot of pregnancy issues. It can happen, have faith. And the most important thing to remember: It’s not your fault.

God does have a plan, and we don’t have to understand it for it to work.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11

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She thanked me. She said, “I want to thank you for taking the time out of your day to care about me. That’s not easy for people to do when they see someone upset. I’m so thankful that you came over to talk to me. Thank you so much for your kindness.”

Then, we were both feeling blessed. Because I was reminded that even with all the “stuff” in my life that’s going on right now, I do still have strength. My head is still above water. I’ve been through a lot, yes. But not too much. God is in control…even those of us who believe we have a solid faith need to be reminded of that. And when He says, “GO!” you go.

Love truly is the greatest commandment, because when you love Him, amazing things happen. He gives you the capacity to love back.  And when you think you’re stuffed full and He fills your plate with a little more, you’ll be blessed from it. There’s always room for giving love and receiving love. And by doing that, you gain strength to jump another hurdle and face another day.

Pity Party, Averted.

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