Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Summer... the picture post

Oh Summer..... you've been good to us, but you've been a busy season. Do you ever have those days where you stop and think, "I can't believe how much we got done?" In our house, this has been a daily saying. My hubbie and I decided to take on a project... our staircase... enough said. What was supposed to be a 'quick' update has turned into an all summer.... more than you thought... hardwood ordering project that is slowly depleting us of any extra energy we have. Luckily the kids are at that age where they're too busy with their own friends to notice the difference. I, separating myself from the equation, can hardly wait for cooler weather and quilt snuggling evenings. And yes... school is starting in 3 weeks. Ugh!

Even though all this busy-ness is going on, we make it thing, to take a walk around our yard and look at all that's going on. Here are a few pics of the love that summer has shown us!

Peanut Cactus ~ Echinopsis Chamaecereus

Flea-market find. Using the tiniest objects for some succulents.

I'm not 100% sure, but I think these are Tent Caterpillars. Wouldn't exactly call this summer love, but they sure are enjoying the food!

Hooray for wild blackberries! 


We had a new visitor in the garden this year! The Moth Hummingbird :)

My new interest ~ Mushroom hunting. It's just amazing, the things you find on a walk in the woods.

This year's garden has made my heart sing! The only way in is to crawl under the bean poles! It's just magic :)

On another note.... I am very aware that I've hardly had any sewing time. Nothing beats the feeling you get when you go to a concert and the light show reminds you of your work in progress. It was all the same stripes and hues. 

Until next time friends, enjoy the trails, the outdoors, the birds and the bees :)

Friday, July 13, 2018

A Midsummer Rant

I recently read an article by Suzanne Venker titled, "Secrets good and bad that no one is telling about motherhood." If you visit this blog, you're probably very aware that it's not the kind that gives an 'opinion' towards anything other than crafting projects. But for some reason, it really hit home. As a mother of two girls myself, I often wonder, am I saying the right things? My girls have already started conversations; what college they want to go to,  what they picture doing for a career, what kind of house they want to live in, where they hope to travel to. One of my girls have even said they never want to have kids! And though sometimes it becomes a comical conversation, I can't help but wonder if my replies are devastating or bubble bursting. They are just kids, right?

Well after much thought, I don't think it's wrong for a mom to be honest with her daughters. I love that Suzanne hits three important topics, broad enough to get the mind of a young woman rolling on expectations. So today's post is a little rant on diving deeper on those points.

1. Whom you choose to marry will have more of an effect on your happiness and well-being than any other choice you make in life. 

Yes, yes, and yes! When it comes to marriage the bottom line is simple.... marry your best friend. Someone you care about emotionally and soulfully.  They should be the person you can't stand to be in an argument with. Marry someone who respects your ideas and knows what the word "family" means. And maybe it's a bad thing, but deep down I don't think so. I tell my girls perfect doesn't exist. That's the beauty of it all. If everyone was perfect, imagine what a boring world we'd have. Our quirks and imperfections make us human.

2. Don't assume you'll always be in the workforce.

I was an at home mom for yeeeeeeears... And though I feel extremely lucky to have experienced that, I do have to admit, there was a point where I realized work was calling me. But, that's not where it starts. Now reflecting, my husband and I always knew I'd be an at home mom. We didn't have help, no babysitters, and our family members were to busy in their own endeavors to jump in daily. It was just us two. We were going to make this happen. And when someone says, make this happen, most reference refers to the monetary aspect of things. I have girlfriends who have asked me, how was I able to stay home for so long without working. My reply... I never shopped unless it was for food or something we needed.  When it came to clothing, us parents were last on the list. The girls always got stuff first.  I basically lived in sweatpants for 3 years. No joke. Next, the way our house looks now, was not at all what it looked like while my girls were babies. We had some hand me down furniture that was great. And heck, we even had empty rooms with no furniture in them. For example, our 'formal living room' sat empty for many many years. The bottom line, there's such a great bond that happens when you stay home an omit a babysitter. Looking back, I realize how fortunate and how close we've become only having depended on each other. You and your husband feel empowered. You're making it happen and without help.

But as the girls got older, I realized I needed some me time. And I'm thankful everyday of my life that I have a husband that made me feel like it was okay and that I wasn't being selfish by wanting a career. Working as nurse, part time, has been beneficial to our family, not just financially, but spiritually.  Suddenly the dust on the floor or crumbs on the counter don't bother you anymore. You're just so happy to see those smiling faces.

Some of my friends, who work full time, end up doing more activities with their children than those who stay at home. The bottom line, the only right answer is the one you and your spouse decide on. 

3. Don't forget your body has an agenda of its own.

This is so very true and not discussed enough. Hollywood portrays new mothers as women who drop to their pre-baby weight within months of giving birth. God bless them, but I think it's safe to say that's not the norm. The average woman does not have a live in babysitter to take her child so she can go to the gym to work out. Yes, there are the mommy exercises you can do at home, but really, when you're home, there are 500 other things more important that need your attention.

Speaking for myself, there were days I felt I didn't accomplish anything but taking cute pictures of my kids playing with chocolate cake batter. (Yes, you read that correctly.) I never exercised. I never watched what I ate. I became a mama. 100% devoted to my munchkins. Teaching them to read, write, ride a bike, help me with the household chores. Brag time: Heck at 11, my older daughter was making crepes! Yes, we love food in this house! And in the end, the most important thing is to love our bodies. 

Suzanne Venker's book 7 Myths of Working Mothers has received quite an array of reviews. She portrays a very strong opinion regarding the idea that work and motherhood can rarely, if ever, coincide ~ giving the reader a perception that you must give up on one to have the other.

Obviously, I don't agree with that. But I won't say it's not worth the read. Her ideas can get a young woman rolling on possibilities. And if anything, broaden the mind to expect the unexpectable. 

If you've made it this far, thanks for listening to the rant. I'm so curious to know, have you stayed at home to raise kids? Do you believe the workforce and motherhood can't coexist? 

May there be happy trails for all the moms ~ on the road and at home:)

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Rose Oil & Elderflower Syrup

The Cherokee Rose

Everything has been coming up roses & elderberries!
From wild bushes in fields to the ones planted with purpose, there is a breathtaking scent that sweeps the yard when the light summer wind blows.

So how can you bottle up that aroma or take all the goodness to use in the winter months? Very simply. You can make rose oil & elderflower syrup!

Use dry rose petals for teas and drinks!


All you need is some fresh buds, a jar, and a carrier oil. I used grapeseed oil for it's high benefits in skin care. It is great for clogged pores and oily skin! It has twice the amount of Vitamin E and is extremely high in Vitamin C. Did you know it even works as a natural sunscreen?

Simply fill your jar to the max with fresh buds and petals and add the oil. Make sure to add it slowly and gently tap the bottom of the jar to remove all air bubbles. The oil should completely cover the petals. Close your jar and place it by a sunny window for about 4 weeks to let the sun cook it.

I did this early in June when our wild rose bushes were in full bloom. Could I tell you how wonderful the smell of this oil is? My rose loving teenager still can't believe how we were really able to bottle that scent!

Finished bottle of rose oil once the petals have been removed.



Elderberry syrup is so good for you!  But I'm not talking about making the medicinal kind today. I'm talking about the kind of syrup you add to your "mixed drinks".... wink, wink.

It derives strictly from the buds and not the berries!

All you have to do is dry your elderberry flowers, which usually takes 2 weeks and cook them up as a simple syrup.

Just measure equal parts of your three items, sugar, water, and elderberry buds.
I do not recommend using fresh buds.

For my mixture, I used 6 cups of each, making sure that the flowers were not compressed during each measurement.

Cook on a medium heat thoroughly until the sugar completely melts. An additional 5 minutes won't hurt.

You will definitely smell the success. Elder flowers have a definitive scent.

I reused old snapple bottles for my storage containers. Using a strainer, pour the hot liquid into your jars. Would you believe that these lids still popped during the cooling process?! I was ecstatic knowing that my treat was perfectly sealed until use!

After they cool to room temp, place them in the fridge.

Use roughly 2-3 teaspoons of this syrup for your mixed drinks, iced teas, or hot beverages! 

The possibilities are endless!

Hope you enjoy! Till next time friends:)