December ~ The Fastest Month of The Year

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I hope your holiday season was all you wished it would be and that you were able to spend it with the people you love. It just seems to speed right by, doesn’t it? Ours went by in a blink.

It was a month mixed full of all kinds of busy and crazy. You may remember the “tree issue”.

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Once that was under control Tony and I ended up under the weather for two weeks.

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 He’s working in hospitals now and I think he’s bringing home all kinds of germs we’re not used to.

I’ve stocked him up on all natural Thieve’s essential oil spray, lozenges, and hand sanitizers in hopes that he’ll kill all the bad germs before he gets in his car to come home. When sick germs come in, I end up with a Lyme flare up and it’s a big hassle because it lingers much longer than a normal cold or flu and the symptoms are highly unpleasant.

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(photo courtesy of Essential Wellness)

Thankfully, about 3 days before Christmas I was up and out of bed and able to catch up. I even managed to finally make a decent batch of coconut milk yogurt! Two in fact. One plain and one with vanilla bean.

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I also worked on a few more home made body products to add to my mom’s gift basket.

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(Sugar, sea salt, jojoba oil, lemon essential oil, and turmeric)

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(Avocado oil and coconut oil)

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(Hand scrub with epsom salt, coconut sugar, peppermint and lemon essential oils, and olive oil)

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Even after being ill for a couple of weeks Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and the day after Christmas turned out to be very relaxing and  a lot of fun.

Christmas Eve Brandon had to work so we picked my mom up and looked at all of the Christmas lights around town. People can get so creative.

This is my friend Julie’s house. Just gorgeous inside and out!

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(photo courtesy of Julie Chattin Taylor)

This tree was a sight to see. Not a branch without a light.

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(photo courtesy of Julie Chattin Taylor)

I set aside the guilt and stress of not having the time to bake all of my traditional cookies and candies after my husband said, “Just relax and do what you can. Forget the rest.” Relax? What’s that? I hate to see traditions fall by the wayside. It was a challenge but once I embraced it, it was full steam ahead.

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I made two types of candy only. Peppermint Bark and my Powerhouse Candy Bars. Easy peasy.

Christmas morning we didn’t start the festivities until 11:00 and enjoyed a nice brunch before opening packages.

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It was such an enjoyable, relaxing day. Brandon and Josh have been best friends since the 3rd grade. We were happy he was able to spend some of Christmas day with us in between his family stops.

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Santa is always very generous with the stocking stuffers. There’s always overflow so he leaves the rest in gift bags on the floor.

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We kept the gifts under the well-behaved tree.

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This is Brandon multi tasking. On his phone with AT&T setting up my new phone while opening a gift.

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It took us 3 hours to open gifts in between chatting and fiddling around with already opened gifts. It was nice not to have to rush or hurry. Christmas day and time with family and friends should be savored!

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Once gifts were opened and things were organized, we couldn’t believe we were ready to eat again. Somehow the holidays allow for bigger stomachs.

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Early evening brought a delicious Korobuta ham, roasted asparagus, steamed potatoes (because I forgot to roast them) with ham gravy, kale salad, and a cauliflower and broccoli gratin. There’s also supposed to be a beautiful home made cranberry sauce…but that was forgotten in the fridge.

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The forgotten sauce… with cranberries, coconut sugar, orange juice, cinnamon, and clove.

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We fell into bed with satisfied tummies thankful for the love of family and friends and incredibly thankful for the blessing of being back home near our son.

Morning brought a quick house clean up, Tony hiked the dogs and we prepared for another wave of guests. Brandon was on call for work so came back and forth to visit when he could.

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Somehow we managed to eat even more food. We had a great time visiting with Tony’s sister and her family and Tony’s mom.

Yesterday we lounged and enjoyed the quiet day. Brandon came over to help us with some technology stuff. We’d be living in the technological dark ages without him. And then we headed out into the snow with the dogs for a refreshing walk.

Today Tony and Brandon are skiing as we have finally had our first real snowfall.

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(photo courtesy of Brandon Policani)

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(photo courtesy of Brandon Policani)

As for me…well. It’s 11:30 AM and I’m still roaming around in my pajamas. Going to do a little this and a little that and get the small list together I make every year for my New Year’s Resolutions. Do you do that? I love it. I love new beginnings and fresh starts and things to look forward to. Plus, I think it’s good for us to do an inventory of the previous year and see if there’s anything we’d like to add or tweak or purge.

One thing we’re really looking forward to is the big gift we bought ourselves for Christmas.

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A therapeutic hot tub. It will be installed Friday morning. 60 jets, seats that massage the back of your thighs, reflexology foot jets…you name it, it’s got it and I cannot wait to lounge in it and watch the stars and soak up all of that fresh night air.

Happy Holidays from Tony and I and may the New Year bring an abundance of health and God’s blessings to you and your loved ones.

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Homemade Toner & Fabulous Face Cream

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I’m in body care product making mode.

This seems to be a great time of year to do it and typically when I run out of all my favorites.

Yesterday I made gluten free, dairy free, non-toxic, fantastic for you Facial Toner.

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Love it.

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If you look carefully, you can see the “Mother” floating around in there. The “Mother” is made up of very beneficial living enzymes. You need to make sure you buy the good vinegar that looks cloudy and is organic. “Regular” vinegar manufacturers filter all of the good stuff out so they can have a prettier product.

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I also made my Fabulous Face Cream.

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I don’t know about you, but I’m 46 and my skin needs all the moisturizing and healthy products it can get.

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It’s been abused by my love for the sun, stress, and unfortunately Lyme Disease likes to take a toll in every area, even your skin.

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These are such relaxing projects, I can’t even tell you. It’s so much fun! Smells fantastic of course. Doesn’t break the bank like department store $$$$ creams, doesn’t load your body up with chemicals and toxins, and you can share the healthy love with your friends and family as gifts for the holidays. It’s win-win.

Have fun!

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Lavender & Lemon Facial Toner

(one recipe per bottle)

1 Part Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar with the “Mother” intact

3 Parts Filtered Water

4 Drops YL Lavender Essential Oil

5 Drops YL Lemon Essential Oil

Clean your bottles inside and out. Pour 1 part vinegar to 3 parts filtered water. Add essential oils, secure top, shake well. Label.  Shake well before dabbing on a cotton pad and cleaning face. Can be used in the morning and before bed.

Fabulous Face Cream

*Makes about 1 1/2 – 2 Cups

1 Cup of Organic Unrefined Virgin Coconut Oil, solid room temp

2 Tablespoons of Organic Jojoba Oil

2 Tablespoons of Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon of Filtered Water

4 Drops of YL Melaleuca Alternifolia Essential Oil (Tea Tree Oil)

4 Drops of YL Lavender Essential Oil

5 Drops of YL Lemon Essential Oil

Measure the coconut oil into a stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Beat on high for 5 minutes scraping down sides two or three times. On medium, slowly drizzle the Jojoba and Olive Oil in. Mix on high 5 minutes scraping down sides two or three times. Drizzle in the water and do the same. Turn off mixer and add essential oils. Mix on medium to combine, then high for another 5 minutes scraping down sides three or four times.

Spoon into containers and label. Can be used in the morning (give your skin time to absorb it before applying makeup) and in the evening before bed.

Homemade Essential Oil Body Cream

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Healthy, Chemical Free, Body Creams

Healthy, Chemical Free, Body Creams

In this age of technology we are becoming pretty savvy about what’s in our food and in the products we use every day. Typically, it takes a personal illness or an illness within the family or friend, before we come to the conclusion that something is seriously wrong with the way we’re being taught to care for our bodies.

Organic Oils & High Quality Essential Oils

Organic Oils & High Quality Essential Oils

It only takes about 30 minutes on the internet to find out all you ever needed or never wanted to know about the chemicals, additives, and things we consume every day that we’ve been told are “safe”.

Right now Americans are in a battle with the government about Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) labeling. A GMO is a new organism, not found in nature, created by scientists when they genetically modify or engineer food plants. An overwhelming amount of health and environmental risks have been identified with genetically modified foods. The government doesn’t think we need to know if our food has been genetically modified or if the livestock we consume has been fed GMO food.

The Essential Oil Bibles

The Essential Oil Bibles. Right now they are still purchasable online. If you have an interest in natural treatments, I would urge you to purchase the manuals now before they are no longer available due to FDA control.

Over the years we’ve assumed that the FDA regulates things that aren’t healthy for us. But that depends on your standards and what your idea of “healthy” is. So many things happen behind the scenes that we aren’t even aware of. Point in case…essential oils. The FDA thinks it’s OK for us to consume GMO’s and have all kinds of crazy inedible chemicals in our foods. They don’t think it’s OK for companies who have paid for and done all the science and research, companies who practice safe harvesting and manufacturing, and companies that are focused on health, to tell you that peppermint essential oil settles an upset stomach. Seriously.

Quickly do a little research on the benefits of essential oils (before all the suggested uses are removed) and you’ll be astonished by the benefits. The latest Twilight Zone FDA announcment? Diamond Foods in the past had listed the health benefits of Walnuts on their website and are now being forced to remove them. Why? Because the FDA says that if you’re going to list the health benefits of a food item, then you’re dealing drugs and have to follow FDA approved guidelines. Do a little research, the list goes on and on.

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In 2009 I became extremely sick and had to quit my job. When I was able to finally get out of bed, I was on a one woman mission to figure out what was making me so ill.  Part of my job had been research so I was no stranger to digging for information. I didn’t know at that time that I had Lyme Disease of course, but it seemed that my whole body was in a revolt. From my immune system to my hormones, to sleep, to a list of symptoms that would make your head reel…everything was out of whack. What I was also seeing though, was that there were all kinds of people sick and struggling with similar issues. And according to their doctors their illnesses weren’t able to be categorized or, they were being treated for auto immune disorders and other things as a last guess resort, a shot in the dark. And of course, they weren’t getting better and in many cases they were getting much, much worse.

That concept is absolutely unacceptable to me. Finding the root of your body’s health issues and treating them with the appropriate medications and healthy living is imperative to feeling well and enjoying life. I’m not against modern medicine in any way. What I take issue with is the constant treatment of symptoms with medications that cause more symptoms, without trying to tackle and figure out the real underlying issues. Sometimes experimentation is necessary to figure out the right treatments for what ails you. But the first goal should be to have a physician who really wants to get to the bottom of what ails you.

Science Fun In The Kitchen

Science Fun In The Kitchen

More and more we’re recognizing that serious health issues cannot be overcome without paying attention to the entire body. When I became so ill I had been keeping a food diary for about a year and half and was already aware that I was allergic to both gluten and dairy. Then I started to learn more about the body, how it works, and how everything needs to work together in harmony for us to get the best out of our health. We have become a chemical laden, unnatural society. Many of the things we eat, drink, and put on our bodies are no longer natural and therefore, cannot be recognized by our body’s immune system. Basically, our immune system thinks we’re poisoning ourselves.

Which of course sadly, in many cases we are.

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Years of eating additives, not taking precautions with toxic chemicals, hormones and antibiotics in our livestock, lack of rest, stress, and slathering what we thought were luxurious “healthy” lotions and creams all over our skin has taken its toll. These things accumulate and research shows that it throws our body a major curve ball and chips away at our immune systems, damaging our body’s ability to handle life properly. Once your body has a toxic overload in one area, it’s like a domino effect. Healthy body harmony depends on what you put in your body AND what you put on your body. Your skin is your largest organ, and most of us have been abusing it for our entire lives.

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Did you know that there’s a significant amount of research that shows that chemical exposure actually interferes with the function of your DNA and can be passed down through generations? Frightening.

Have you ever researched any of the chemicals and their side effects in the processed foods you’re eating or the lotions and other things you’re putting on your skin every day? The most troubling part is that we go through life thinking that if manufacturers are allowed to sell it, then it must be “just fine” for us.

I like to mix my creams raw, but you can also melt them on low heat together, wait for them to solidify, and then whip.

I like to mix my creams raw, but you can also melt them on low heat together, wait for them to solidify, and then whip.

The good news is that you can control a lot of the harmful things you’re being exposed to.

By being more mindful about the quality and type of food you consume and by paying attention to the ingredients in your body care items, you have the ability to not only reverse damage on your own body, but change the damage that you would have otherwise passed down to future generations. You can help your body instead of hindering it and alter potential harm to your future generations.  Exciting!

And if you’re past the age of giving birth to a future generation, you can certainly still teach the next one how to live a healthier life.

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Now before you get overwhelmed and all of the voices in your head start yelling, “I’m TOO busy, I have a life, I have X number of children I have to focus on, I don’t have the financial means, I’m too tired, I’m already overwhelmed in my life…maybe next month, maybe next year I can focus on my own health…” You know the voices…

My goal is not to police every single thing or be so paranoid you can’t enjoy life. My goal is for you and I to go through the life we’ve been given at our healthiest level possible. To limit the toxic burden in our own little way.

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To begin to educate ourselves and make baby steps to change things one piece at a time, is not a radical thought process. Whatever tiny things we can do to increase our awareness and begin to treat our bodies better is worth it.

One really easy way that has a huge impact on your health…stop overburdening your body with chemicals by changing what you put on your skin. Simple as that.

Just baby steps, that’s all.

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Making home made lotion is simple! It’s fun. It smells fantastic. It makes wonderful gifts. It feels fabulous on your skin. It’s easy, and it’s healthy because its chemical and toxin free.

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It doesn’t have to be expensive because you control what goes into it. You can be as simple about it, or as extravagant about it as you wish.

In fact, if right now you’re on an extremely fixed budget, you could go as simple as purchasing a big tub of organic coconut oil at your bulk store, whip that up and just use that as your new luxurious lotion. Or you could purchase a bottle of  organic Jojoba oil, or even use organic light olive oil. I used to keep a bottle in the shower and use it before drying off.

There will be tiny pieces of coconut oil in the lotion, but they melt within 2 seconds of rubbing in your hands.

Because I used the raw form of the oils here will be tiny pieces of coconut oil in the lotion, but they melt within 2 seconds of rubbing in your hands.

Last year was the first time I decided I was going to start making my own chemical free body products. It was so much fun and they felt so good, I never looked back.

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Begin to think about taking control of your health just one little step at a time. Those steps add up to a healthier and happier daily existence for you and your family.

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Set aside a bit of time for yourself, turn on some relaxing music, and start experimenting.

*This is a fantastic family project that can easily be done with children. Just be mindful to NEVER leave children unattended with essential oils.

Have fun and keep in touch. I would love to hear what exciting experiments have worked for you!

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Joyful Day Body Cream

*Makes about 1 1/2 to 2 Cups

1 Cup Organic Unrefined Virgin Coconut Oil, solid room temp

2 teaspoons Organic Jojoba Oil

1 Tablespoon Purified Water

8 Drops of YL Joy Essential Oil

9 Drops of YL Stress Away Essential Oil

Whip coconut oil in mixer on high for 5 minutes, scraping down twice in between. With mixer on medium, slowly drizzle the Jojoba oil and the water into the oils, scraping down the sides once or twice. Turn off mixer, add the essential oils and beat on high for 4-5 minutes scraping down once or twice. Spoon into container and seal.

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Lift Me Up Body Cream

*Makes 2 1/2 – 3 Cups

2 Cups Organic Unrefined Virgin Coconut Oil, solid room temp

1 Tablespoon Organic Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon Purified Water

25 Drops of YL Lemon Essential Oil

25 Drops of YL Peppermint Essential Oil

16 Drops of YL Tangerine Oil

Whip coconut in mixer on high for 5 minutes, scraping down twice in between. With mixer on medium, slowly drizzle the olive oil and the water into the oils, scraping down the sides once or twice. Turn off mixer, add the essential oils and beat on high for 4-5 minutes scraping down once or twice. Spoon into container and seal.

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Rest Well Bedtime Body Cream

*Makes 2 1/2 – 3 Cups

1 Cup Organic Unrefined Shea Butter, solid room temp

1 Cup Organic Unrefined Virgin Coconut Oil, solid room temp

1 Tablespoon Organic Jojoba Oil

25 Drops of YL Valor Essential Oil

13 Drops of YL Lavender Essential Oil

 Whip shea and coconut oil in mixer on high for 5 minutes, scraping down twice in between. With mixer on medium, slowly drizzle the jojoba into the oils, scraping down the sides once or twice. Turn off mixer, add the essential oils and beat on high for 4-5 minutes scraping down once or twice. Spoon into container and seal.

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Miracle Relief Sore Joint & Muscle Body Cream

*Makes 1 1/2 – 2 Cups

1/2 Cup Organic Unrefined Shea Butter, solid room temp

1/2 Cup Organic Unrefined Virgin Coconut Oil, solid room temp

2 Tablespoons Organic Olive Oil

72 Drops of YL PanAway Essential Oil

50 Drops of YL Frankinsence Essential Oil

75 Drops of YL Eucalyptus Globulus Oil

Whip shea and coconut oil in mixer on high for 5 minutes, scraping down twice in between. With mixer on medium, slowly drizzle the olive oil into the oils, scraping down the sides once or twice. Turn off mixer, add the essential oils and beat on high for 4-5 minutes scraping down once or twice. Spoon into container and seal.

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Acne Zapper Night Time Blemish Treatment

1/2 Cup Organic Unrefined Virgin Coconut Oil, solid room temp

1/4 Cup Organic Unrefined Shea Butter, solid room temp

15 Drops of YL Frankinsence Essential Oil

30 Drops of YL Lemon Essential Oil

25 Drops of YL Malaleuca Alternifiolia (Tea Tree Oil)

Whip shea and coconut oil in mixer on high for 5 minutes, scraping down twice in between. Turn off mixer, add the essential oils and beat on high for 4-5 minutes scraping down once or twice. Spoon into container and seal.

**I am not a physician or health care practitioner. These opinions are my own and the cream recipes are in no way meant to treat any ailment or illness. 

Cherry Chocolate Banana Muffins

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I’ve been trying to stick to a grain free diet for the past few months to help with the inflammation that goes along with Lyme Disease. Abstaining from grains has definitely helped, but I’m not going to lie, it is not easy.

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I’ve found I can sometimes cheat a little every now and then, but not much. So on those days where I’m really craving something “bread like” and sweet, muffins typically fit the bill and they can easily be made grain free.

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They’re quick, satisfying, and can be frozen and heated up for a fast craving curbing snack.

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Muffins are versatile, of course. You can add pretty much anything you like to them. I happened to have dried cherries and chocolate on hand so that’s what I chose, but you can switch them up any way you’d like.

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Here are some ideas: Any type of nut, any type of dried fruit, chopped apple, white chocolate, candied ginger, diced pear, sliced strawberries, blueberries, replace half the banana with pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, you could do a streusel topping, a cinnamon and sugar topping, you could add a dollop of your favorite jam in the middle before baking…the options are endless.

Enjoy!

Cherry Chocolate Banana Muffins

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

3/4 Cup Coconut Flour

1/4 Cup tapioca Flour

4 Very Ripe Bananas (dark brown skins)

4 Organic Eggs

1/4 Cup Organic Coconut Oil (solid, but room temp)

1/4 Cup Pure Maple Syrup

1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt

1/2 Tablespoon Ground Cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda

1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder

1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

1/2 Cup Dried Cherries (chopped)

1/2 Cup 70% Dark Belgian Chocolate (roughly chopped)

Measure all ingredients into a mixture except the cherries and chocolate. Mix on medium high for 1 minute, scraping down sides once. Fold in the cherries and chocolate and fill muffin papers. Bake for 60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

The 11 Foot Tree That Could…Or…The Russians Saved The Day

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I think I told you a couple of blog posts ago that this year I finally decided to indulge my dream of having more than one Christmas tree. We now have a house that is set up in a way that I can do that. And do it, I did.

The week prior to Thanksgiving I decorated the house and we bought our first artificial tree (tree #1) for the family room. I had my doubts and opinions about an artificial tree, but it’s gorgeous and boy was it nice not having to string the lights. The thing I like most about this tree is that it’s well behaved.

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Last weekend we drove to our favorite place to cut tree #2. It’s beautiful and smells amazing, and is 11 feet tall.

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It’s quite a sight. Especially when you get out of the shower and come downstairs to find it lying on the floor.

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First, I just stood there at the top of the stairs. Then I believe the phrase, “shit, shit, shit” came out of my mouth at least once. And then when I finally decided this was not just a bad dream, the dogs and I had a conversation about what we were going to do. Because when things like this happen, you’re always home alone. With an 11 foot tree on its side, in your bare feet.

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Ornaments were shattered everywhere. Beautiful  ornaments I purchased in New Hampshire that I won’t be able to replace. Water was all over the carpet and flooring.

Thankfully, the wrapped Christmas presents are in the family room under the well behaved tree #1.

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Allow me to back up a minute. When we originally put the tree in the stand, it was malfunctioning. It wouldn’t lock and the tree kept tipping. I mentioned that I thought we needed to run and buy a new stand because the last thing I wanted was an 11 foot, decorated tree, with expensive ornaments on the floor.

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Tony didn’t like that idea because it meant taking it out of one and putting it in another, which he thought would be too difficult. This was his solution. “Gorilla Tape”. Because men think that almost everything can be remedied with a little duct tape. Well, when I saw the tree on the floor I immediately thought, DAMN that duct tape! But it was still fully intact, so it seems that the innards of the stand just gave up the ghost. You can see where the plastic is broken.

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So after texting our son and texting Tony and trying to get someone to come over here to help me get it off the floor…I had to resort to construction workers. Having them around the neighborhood all the time is quite handy.

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I threw on some clothes, put a coat on and walked to the end of our street to one of the new construction houses where I could see a worker’s car. I walked in and yelled, “Hellllloooo?” I heard, “Hello?” I found them, an older gentleman and his young son, and my hair wasn’t done, I had no make up on, and I’m sure I sounded completely crazy. “Hi, I was just in the shower and our 11 foot Christmas tree fell over and there’s glass and broken ornaments and water all over the place and my husband isn’t home and I have to get it off the floor before the water ruins the flooring and I obviously cannot lift an 11 foot tree all by myself can you help me lift it up no big deal really we just need to get it into the corner until my husband gets home would you guys help me lift it into the corner just really quickly it won’t take long at all?” All in one run on sentence and one breath.

Well as you may or may not know, we have a pretty large population of Russians & Ukrainians in our area and they aren’t exactly the chatty type. Or known to be overly excitable or even all that outwardly friendly compared to what Americans consider “outwardly friendly”. They’re very serious folks. Kind of like people say how New Yorker’s are, just less…exuberant.  Dad looked at son like he would rather be doing anything other than helping the crazy lady and did not move a single muscle along with looking a bit disgusted. I wasn’t entirely sure he understood me so I had my laser focus on the son. He said something to his Dad, asked me where I lived and put his coat on. Dad stayed put.

I told him I had two big dogs but they they were very friendly and LOVED people. We walked in the house, and it took all of 2 minutes to get the tree off the ground. I guess Dad had decided to come down to help after all and right at that point we were getting it off the floor he walked in. He looked at the mess on the floor and the tree up against the wall.

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I looked at him, shook my head, and said, “I-Yi-Yi”. He looked at me very sincerely with a sad look and said, “Yes. I-Yi-Yi”. I thanked them both profusely for their help and as they were leaving Abigail growled at them and acted like she was going to bite them. That’s the first time she has ever growled or been aggressive toward a human being. Way to be thankful, Abigail.

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Evidently Tony was actually in town, he just wasn’t answering his phone because he was having a hair cut. Once he finally took a look at the pictures I had texted him he called and we decided a new tree stand was in order. And not even once did, “I told you so” come out of my  mouth.

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So I swept up the glass and the glitter and the needles and moved the furniture because they were on top of, and under everything. Vacuumed the rug as best I could, rolled it up, and hauled it to the garage. It was soaked and dirty and luckily just an inexpensive piece to have in the living room so Romeo wouldn’t ice skate across the floor anymore. We’ll have to go today to get something else because he’s already noticed it’s gone and won’t step a foot in there.

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We devised a plan on how we were going to lift the tree out of the broken stand and into the new one without breaking more ornaments or dropping it. The thought of un-decorating that tree and re-decorating it was far too much for me to wrap my head around. After a few minutes, we had it figured out. I held it so it wouldn’t tip over, not an easy feat considering it’s 6′ taller than I am. Tony got below and somehow lifted it out of the old stand and into the new one. A couple of adjustments and maybe 5 minutes and it was done. And oddly enough…. right now as I type this I’m looking out my office window… the construction boy is outside taking a picture on his phone of our house…obviously an entertaining story to be told to friends and family about the crazy American woman and her insane need to have two trees, and her very un-thankful, vicious, dog that she said was friendly.

After we got it standing again I didn’t even want to look at it for the rest of the night. I waited until this morning to put the remaining unbroken ornaments that had somehow hit the floor and not shattered back on. I removed more broken ornaments that were still stuck to the tree and straightened the lights. I took a good look at it and noticed it was a bit wonky from the fall.

I shrugged my shoulders, and said, “so be it”.

Незалежно буде , то буде .

“Whatever will be, will be.” (In Ukrainian)

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Frosted Pumpkin Chai Pudding Cakes

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We’re finally getting a light dusting of snow in our neck of the woods.

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I was just lying in bed this morning praying for it.

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Not world peace, the end of hunger, an end to violence, or that my husband would stop snoring so I could get some sleep, or even that Romeo would quit passing gas on the floor next to me…but…snow.

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 It’s just so peaceful and beautiful.

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The thing I love most about the omnipotent One, is that our little prayers matter too.

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When I came downstairs at 5:30 this morning to let Romeo out, there was not only a dusting on the ground, it was still falling from the sky!

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I immediately said my thank you’s, turned on the Christmas Instrumentals on Spotify, and started to put some of the recovered ornaments back onto our 11 foot tree in the living room.

We had a tree “issue” yesterday. I’ll share more about that tomorrow. Until then, I’ll be doing this and that and tackling the never ending to-do list… but never forgetting to stop by each window as I go, thankful for the snowy winter blessing.

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Frosted Pumpkin Chai Pudding Cakes

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Makes 10

2 Cans of Pumpkin Puree

1/2 Cup Coconut Sugar

1/4 Cup + 1 Tbs. Coconut Oil – solid

4 Eggs

2 teaspoons of Pure Vanilla Extract

1 Cup of Coconut Flour

1 Cup of Tapioca Flour

1/2 teaspoon of Sea Salt

1 teaspoon of Baking Powder

1 teaspoon of Baking Soda

5 teaspoons of Chai Spice Mix, + extra for sprinkling

Measure all ingredients into mixer and beat on medium until combined. About 1 minute. Spoon a generous amount of batter into muffin papers. (Cooking time will depend on the size of the cakes. Mine were in tall muffin papers, I would say about 1 1/2 times the size of a normal muffin.) Bake for 85 minutes. Do not overbake or they will end up dry without a bread pudding texture on the inside. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 30 minutes before frosting and serving. Best served slightly warm or at least at room temperature.

While the cakes are baking, make the frosting:

Frosting

About 1/3 Cup of Dairy Free Butter, room temperature

1 1/2 Cups of Corn Free Powdered Sugar 

1 Tablespoon of Fresh Lemon Juice

A Few Drops of Pure Almond Extract

1/2-1 Tablespoon of Non Dairy Milk, I used Hemp

Combine the butter and sugar with a fork until it forms a rough paste.

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Add the lemon juice, vanilla, and non dairy milk and whisk until smooth.

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Refrigerate and about every 15-20 minutes or so, give it a quick whisk. It will become fluffier as it chills.

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Place a generous dollop on each cake and enjoy.