Healing Eggnog

healthy eddnog I bet you never thought you’d hear the term “Healthy Eggnog!”

The eggnog us westerners are familiar with these days are sugar laden and filled with varieties of alcohol. Even though that is very appealing, especially during the holidays, I’m sticking to my guns and honoring my promise to keep this website  “healthy.”

I know, I know… Who would be interesting in a virgin, sugar free eggnog, right? Well, before you cruise on outta here, just give me a moment to explain why this recipe is worth your time and effort. You’ll thank me afterwards, I promise. Either that, or you’ll at least think eggs are a little cooler than you’d thought previously.

So, healing eggnog… Can it be?

Yes, it absolutely can, and not only that, but you don’t need to have a “seasonal” type of relationship with it either. This sweet little drink will be something you will want to (and absolutely should!!) drink on a daily, or at least weekly, basis.

Here’s a little brushing up on everything eggs-traordinary!! hehe!
Here are a few lovely facts.
1. Eggs are one of the most easily digestible foods. They have even been compared to human breast milk (super food jackpot!) due to the fact that they absorb fully, 100%, with very little digestion.
2. The yolks are incredible nutrient powerhouses! They contain many B vitamins (B1, B2, B6, B12), vitamins A, D, and biotin. They also provide you with most essential amino acids, essential fatty acids, magnesium, and loads of zinc. If you didn’t know, B12 is essential for nervous system development and immunity. And egg yolks are rich in B12!
3. Eggs are rich in choline – an amino acid – which plays an important role in liver health, and cognitive health. Choline is highly recommended for those of us suffering with memory trouble or learning disabilities.
4. Fresh eggs that are very lightly cooked, but preferably raw, enhance nutrient absorption and help heal your digestive tract. Eggs help by regenerating the mucus lining of your intestines, which is important for proper digestion and nutrient absorption.

A note about raw eggs.

Only use the best quality eggs. Meaning: local free range farm eggs, if possible. (Think farmers markets!) Or organic free range from the grocery store. And even just organic, if in a pinch. Please don’t use regular eggs from your grocery store, these eggs are less than ideal and your chances of salmonella are much higher in those types of eggs. Salmonella is most commonly found in eggs from chickens in close, caged in quarters and in less than sanitary conditions. Which are the majority of the eggs found at the regular super market. Go Farm Fresh! Hunt them down!! Someone has fresh eggs, its worth the effort to find a source. Try your local weekend farmers markets. :) Not only are the animals treated better, but the egg quality is so much higher. Chickens who live their life on pasture and in natural sunlight have higher levels of vitamin D in their yolks. You can see and taste the difference!

Also, at first, if you’re not used to eating raw eggs, GO SLOW! It might give you a belly ache. Have a tiny bit and increase each day to let your tummy adjust. Its worth the effort and the healing that will be done to your body is absolutely incredible. I discovered a similar recipe while trying to learn about healing cavities. Many mothers, fathers, and health nuts have sworn by raw egg smoothies in healing and strengthening their bodies, and especially their teeth. We love this recipe. My son gulps it down!

Healing Eggnog

1 cup milk, kefir or yogurt (preferably raw and whole)
1-2 raw eggs (use just the yolks if you have an egg sensitivity)
2 oz cream (preferably raw)
4-5 drops liquid stevia (or to taste)
dash nutmeg and cinnamon and/or pumpkin spice
2 drops vanilla extract
carob or cocoa powder

Beat all the ingredients together in a glass bowl. Pour in a favorite mug and enjoy! If you can hold out for a bit, drinking this at room temperature is best for absorption.
*Optional whipped topping: separate the egg whites from the yolks and save for the topping. Beat the egg whites and 2-3 drops liquid stevia extract until you have a nice foamy fluffy consistency. Add to the top of eggnog with a sprinkle of nutmeg and cinnamon.

I hope you enjoy! And Happy Holidays!

 

Calendula Healing Salve – Herbal Remedies for the Cold Season – Part 3

calendula salve 1   In my home, a simple rule that I try to follow is: if I couldn’t eat it, I probably shouldn’t be wearing it. As you may know, our skin is our largest organ, and it absorbs everything we put on it, almost to the same degree as if we were putting it in our mouths an swallowing. Yikes! So, we just need to be more aware and think twice about what we put onto our skin. Nowadays, with the world taking on a more health conscious approach to daily living, it shouldn’t be too difficult to find healthier choices for more affordable prices.  But the best approach would be to make our products fresh!! So, on to the herbal salve goodness!

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Learning to make a herbal salve is fun and simple. As you learn more about herbs, you can customize each salve you make to suit your needs. The guidelines are the same every time, you just alter your herbal mixture according your preference. Calendula flowers are known to be soothing in creams and salves. Having this salve on hand is a great natural herbal alternative to the store-bought anti-itch and anti-bacterial creams they have on the market today. Most commercial products are filled with many harmful chemicals – you may want to reconsider before using on your self, and especially on your baby.

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Why You Want to keep Calendula Healing salve in your Home

Calendula healing salve is a great multipurpose healing tool! Its helps relieve itching and skin inflammation, and it has anti-bacterial properties, helping to heal your minor cuts, scraps, bites and rashes. Its gentle enough to use on baby and is a must-have in every home herbal medical kit. It’s great for soothing dry or chapped skin on both your body and face. It promotes fast healing and skin regeneration.

How to Make

You will need:

  • 1 and 1/2 cup olive oil (or hemp oil if you prefer)
  • 1 cup dried calendula flowers (or a calendula herbal mixture)
  • beeswax
  • lavender essential oil, or any other sent that you love. I also made a few with Doterra’s Whisper, Balance, and Serenity
  • glass containers and/or metal tins

Start by pouring the olive oil and the dried calendula herbs into a glass or stainless steel pot.

Place on the stove and turn the heat to low. You want to keep the heat low as to not over heat the oil – no one wants to slather on deep-fried calendula flowers.  Allow the mixture to heat up for an hour, stirring often!

After the hour, we want to remove the mixture from the heat and separate the plant matter from the oil, using a mesh strainer or cheese cloth and a bowl. Press the herbs against the strainer making an effort to remove as much of the oil as you can. you can discard the herbs and keep the oil.

Return to the stove and using 2 pots, set up a double boiler. you can achieve this by placing a larger pot on the stove with some water in it, and then taking a smaller pot and placing it inside of the lager pot. make sure the water level is low enough as to not boil over into the smaller pot.

In the smaller pot, place your beeswax. turn the stove up, allowing the water in the bottom pot to boil. then turn to medium-low heat. allow the beeswax to SLOWLY melt. you do not want to speed up the process on a higher heat, as you will burn and ruin the wax.

Once the wax has melted, pour your herbal olive oil (should be 1 cups worth!) into the beeswax. Continue to stir the mixture together until both are melted and well blended.

Add between 10-15 drops of lavender essential oil to the mixture. Depending on your preference to the scent strength, the amount of essential oil will vary.

Pour the mixture into a glass Pyrex measuring cup. the spout will make it easier to pour your oil into the glass containers and tins.  Fill your containers. Allow your containers to sit out until they have hardened! DONE!!!

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To Use:

Slather on your dry skin, burns, scrapes, bites, and rashes. Feel safe when using it on your baby’s drool rashes, dry skin, and eczema!
Use as much as you like!

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Where to Purchase Your Herbs and Containers

If you are in the market for some herbs, my two favorite places to shop for quality herbs are:
1. The Bulk Herb Store – BulkHerbStore.com
2. Mountain Rose Herbs – MountainRoseHerbs.com

Both stores have great quality herbs. If you are looking for organic, then Mountain Rose is the way to go. Just be careful, I find their shipping prices a bit high. While you are shopping there for your herbs at Mountain Rose, be sure to sign up for the seasonal catalog. It’s a mini magazine with great tips and recipes along with their products. I look forward to getting it in my mailbox every season!

I purchase my containers from Specialty Bottle! They have great prices! SpecialtyBottle.com

Enjoy!

And don’t forget to check out Part 4 coming up soon! It’s all about GARLIC! This remedy is part of a 4 part series! If you missed part one, here are the links: Echinacea Tincture – AND  – Elderberry Syrup!

Are there any home remedies your family keeps around for the cold and flu season?

Learn to Accept a Compliment

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I noticed something today

I was in the shower, after a long day, thinking about the happenings and events that occurred. I was going over what I managed to get done, and what still needed doing. I was super happy that I managed to save a few bucks by snagging a lightly used Christmas tree stand from the Goodwill. As I started sudzing up my hair, I remembered how the sweet older lady that I was chatting with had paid me a compliment on the blond in my hair that framed my face in a nice way. And how a few moments later she complimented me on my lovely engagement ring. As I was replaying out the conversation in my head, for some reason, my responses started to stand out to me. In response to the hair compliment, I thanked her, and then said, “Oh, its just highlights that have grown out for the past year or so.” And in response to the ring comment, I again thanked her and then said, “Its so filthy, the stone looks cloudy.”

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And then it happened again…

After our chatter ended and I started wondering the store, grabbing a bird house for $2 and an antique wooden toddler tricycle for $3, I headed to the check out. The girl there was really nice and we chatted about the holidays and me being the first customer of the day, to which I responded, “Do I get a prize then?!” and she lightheartedly joked back that I would get a prize only if she gets one to for being the first cashier rep to check someone out for the day. Heh! I love light conversations with pleasant strangers. Anyway, before I grabbed my items and left, the cashier was kind enough to pay be a compliment on my curly hair, saying that she wished she had pretty wavy hair like mine. To which I responded, “oh thanks!! It drives me crazy! I wish it were straight.” Thinking back, I don’t  even know why I responded that way, because it wasn’t really how I felt about my hair. Yes, back in my high school years, I used to hate my hair and could never figure out how to tame it. But now, in my twenties, I actually love my hair. I’ve embraced the crazy and find it brings out my character beautifully. So, why did I respond that way? Why did I automatically detract every compliment with a shrug and an excuse as to why their kind gestures and words were miss-given, or undeserved?

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Hmmmm, this is something that I need to wrap my head around!

Why, as women, do we not embrace and own our compliments?  I know I’m not the only one that does this. Why is it so hard to take a compliment with a thank you and a smile and leave it at that? Instead, there always seems to be an excuse or a reason as to why we cant accept the positive words given to us from others. Why is that?

With this new realization, I want to make it a point to try and change that about myself. Now that I’m aware, I want to practice owning my compliments. Not just shrugging them away, but really owning them. Letting them sink in and being truly aware and thankful for the graciousness of strangers, or anyone really, that takes the moment to pay me such a kind gesture. I’m going to try my hardest to actually hear what the person is saying to me, and leave my response to a simple, and genuine, “Thank You!”

Does this happen to anyone else?

What compliments have you been given, only to immediately respond with an undeserving attitude? Let’s make it a point to own our compliments! If someone was kind enough to give them, we can be courteous enough to receive them!

Hug Someone

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My assignment for the last week has been the topic: Hug Someone.

I felt the gesture was appropriate, being that last week was Thanksgiving, and there were sooooo many, many hugs to be given and received.

So with hugs on my mind, I’ve noticed I’ve been feeling very joyful. More so than usual, actually! I’ve got the whole warm fuzzy thing going on right now! Love Buzzin’! I’ve sifted though so many things hug related, from quotes, and sweet inspirational cartoons, to trying to learn how to photograph a hug well. (FUN!! But I never actually got to go my Hug-A-Bunch photoshoot! Shucks!) Hugs hugs hugs have been where-its-at this past week, and what a lovely thing to focus on. I’ve felt so uplifted! It could have been the turkey (and definitely could have been the pie!), but I believe its been setting my focus on such a sweet and loving gesture.

Its been proven, hugs cause our bodies to release oxytocin, which is better know as “the love hormone!” And oxytocin is known for helping to make us feel gooooooooooood, less stressed, and more positive, grateful, and appreciative. HUGS = HAPPY!!

This is us at the Renaissance Festival. Look how happy we are!! We are a absolutely a hugging family! Like ALL THE TIME! And we are also a total nerd-out, dress-in-costume family too! Yay for having fun!

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Back in the Day, Hugging made ya’ Coooooooool

I remember in middle school and junior high, when we were at that age, we were discovering ourselves and how cool we were if we had our little group of close friends. It was THE thing to do, to hug each and every friend when we we saying hello, and when saying goodbye. It was basically, tween-teen Hug Fest every day, all day! lol! But man, we were so cool! And not only did we feel cool, but we felt accepted, and happy, and like we were just totally awesome! haha! I know its just part of the age, to feel like we are that awesome, but I know for a fact, the hugs helped! ;) I mean think about it… It makes you feel wanted, and needed, and loved! I’d still completely feel like I were bouncing off clouds if I had a small crowd of people greeting me each and every day with hugs, smiles, and loving squeezes. Right now, every morning, I get greeted with the 2 very best hugs I could ever hope for! My son, and my man! I can’t complain!! My mornings are beautiful.

Hugs are great!! We all know this. GO HUG SOMEONE NOW!

And hey, why not make it a point to hug someone each and every day! Your roommate, a neighbor, your pet, or even your mom! It’ll make you feel good, and it’ll definitely make their day that much better! If you see someone looking a little bummed, I bet a little hug action will help lighten the mood and perk up a bit of a smile.

Shontel

Today I had the pleasure of practicing photography on my best friend, Lovely Shontel. She was so fun to work with! This was my first ever photo shoot, and Shontel was gracious enough to allow me to photograph her in whatever way I directed.  Thanks Shontel, for being my model! Here’s to learning!

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Tennessee Blanketed in Snow

The last day that we were in Tennessee this past October, we were fortunate enough to experience some snow fall. It was so beautiful and peaceful. The power had gone out, but we didn’t even care. It was my son’s first experience of snow and I loved that I was able to catch a moment of him gazing out.

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If I could choose to live anywhere, I think I’d choose Tennessee. It feels like home every time I visit. Enjoys the cold weather, everyone!

The Beauty of Tennessee in October

Every October, for my father’s birthday, we spend a week or two in Tennessee. We’ve been coming here for quite a few years, and October is the absolute most beautiful time to be here. The leaves are changing colors and its an incredible sight to see. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves. Enjoy!

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If you haven’t made it to the Smokey Mountains during the fall change of leaves, put it on your bucket list right now. You won’t regret it!

More Backyard Baby Chicken Lovin’

There has been a lot of baby chicken loving going on in this household. I’m constantly walking past the box of my little baby peeps, picking one at random, and snuggling up with my little fur ball. They are starting to get their feathers, but are still mainly balls of fluff.
::so hard to resist the fluff::

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I try to give them a little bit of fresh air and sunshine each day. Its really fun and interesting to watch how they act when they have space to roam free in the grass, pecking, scratching, and finding little bugs. They are actually quite good at bug catching!! Its so neat to see how many they can catch in a short window of time. I never realized how many worms, gnats, and many-legged-crawly-things are in a square foot of grass!

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It never gets old watching one chick discover a bug and then trying to run off and hide before the other chicks notice.  And when they do notice, its full fledged chick-tackle-foot(bug)ball!

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The best part of all this is watching my son enjoying this experience. He giggles, laughs, and points while yelling out “Bird!! Bird!!” I have to keep a close eye on him though, he just gets so excited he has to dance around and run in circles around them pointing. Its makes me so happy to be experiencing such sweet moments with my little man.

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Oh, and when we took the birds outside for the first time, even Brad had some sweet tender moments with the baby peeps. I guess you just cant help but be drawn to something so fuzzy and innocent. There definitely is something to say about people and their connection to animals. A natural draw. Even the manliest of men can get all soft over baby animals. (Just don’t tell anyone about it! hehe!)

I’m loving our start of a little mini backyard farm.
Veggies = Check! Compost = Check!! Baby chicks = Check!!! Fig tree, blueberry bush, and grape vine – Check! Check!! Check!!!
Awesome neighbors who have their own huge veggie garden, encourage our backyard chicken ventures, and are constantly bringing over tea plants, pepper plants, and fresh garden string beans = CHECK!!!! (How lucky are we to have neighbors that cool in a regular HOA restricted neighborhood?!)

Feeling Blessed!

Herbs and Globes!

Here is a peek of how our day has been…

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Not all that long ago I found an antique globe at a local thrift store, and thought it would be a nice thing for my son to have. He’s had it for a couple of weeks, sitting on the top of his dresser, as a nice little decoration. Well, much to my surprise, Lincoln calls out for the globe (“Obe!Obe!”) and places it on his bed, and then very intently, starts slowly spinning and looking over the globe. All of the sudden, he points and gets really excited!! I take a look, and what do you know!?! He’s located and pointed out Louisiana!! I was so shocked I ran and grabbed my video camera and kept shouting, “show me again! show me again!” I’m thinking… maybe my mother showed him our home state on the globe when I wasn’t paying attention?!?! But, WOW, for a 23 month old to grab the globe, search and locate our little bitty state all on his own without any help…! Lets just say I’m one proud momma!!!!

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We’ve also been into herbs lately! Well, more than usual! I’m always reading and researching everything herbal, but today we got our hands dirty. My 4 little baby chicks LOVE basil and oregano. I feed it to them throughout the day, and the second my hand goes in the box, my chicks are scurrying around and chasing each other trying to steal and nab the herb pieces from one another. its like mini chicken football!! Here’s a short vid!

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My little man is all about tugging on, smelling and tasting (then spitting out!) my little potted herb plants.

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Here a a few that i currently have on my window sill: Basil, rosemary, oregano, and an aloe plant. Nothing brings a smile in  the morning like cute little potted plants to greet me each morning.

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What about you? Have any sweet window sill plants you just love and adore?! Have a lovely day, everyone!

Backyard Chickens – Bringing Home Baby Chicks

I’ve been pining over having baby chicks in my backyard for as long as I’ve had a backyard to call my own…
It’s been 5 years now since I’ve purchased my home and I’ve finally decided to take the leap.

The only problem… I live in a neighborhood that has a Home Owners Association that forbids any type of farm animal. Ek!
After much consideration, research, and chatting with other chicken owners, I decided to launch Operation Backyard Coop Hush-Hush! Much to most peoples surprise, chickens are actually quite quiet. In fact, I’ve spoken with several backyard chicken owners that have neighbors that are completely oblivious to the fact that they have feathered next-door neighbors. After hearing that, it was Green-Light for the chickens!
(Baby chicks, on the other hand, can get pretty loud with their chirping and peeping, but it only lasts a few weeks and the chicks have to remain indoors in the warmth, so its unlikely your neighbors will ever hear a peep! ;)

Meet my peeps: Lucy, Ethel, and Ruby!

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Lucy  and Ethel are Rhode Island Reds. I named them so, as Lucy has a slightly reddish beak, is a bit smaller and is quite the peppy one!! Ethel, being Lucy’s twin, is the biggest of the three, quite a bit less active, and is perfect as Lucy’s sweet little sidekick! I chose to have 2 Rhode Island Red hens because a friend of mine highly recommended the breed due to the high yield egg laying! She said that her RIR hen often gives her 2 eggs each day where as most hens produce only one per day.

The pretty little multi-colored chick is an Americana! I named her Ruby because as she grows, her feathers will change and she’ll likely be a reddish hue and quite lovely.  Americana chickens are known for laying pastel colored blue, green, or pink eggs. I just had to add one of those chickens to my flock, and even more so when I arrived at the feed store and saw how unbelievably cute the baby Americana chicks are. I cant wait to see the beautiful Easter colored egg in the nesting box each day.

I also went back to my local feed store a week later and picked up a fourth chick, a Buff Orpington, after reading about their soft beautiful feathers and kind and gentle nature. I couldn’t resist! Meet Amelia!

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If you’re interested in having your own backyard chickens, here’s a bit of advice on where to start. You don’t need anything fancy! A cardboard box, a heat lamp, a water feeder, and food feeder, some chick food starter and shredded news paper. The feed stores sell pine chips if your prefer that as bedding, but the news paper works just fine for the few weeks you’ll need to keep your chicks in a brooder (aka a box) indoors. Others have suggested that you be sure to buy the specific water and food feeders rather then use small dishes or bowls, as it’ll help with less mess and spillage and also, its safer for the baby chicks. I added a little perch in the box for the chicks to practice balancing on, as I’d read somewhere that the chicks would enjoy it. All I did was poke 2 holes in the corner of the box and stuck a paint brush though. Its all I had on hand at the time and it was the perfect size for the chicks. Improvise!

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As for the heat lamp, many resources suggest a thermometer to gauge temperature for the chicks, but its not absolutely necessary. You are suppose to start at 95 degrees in the box for 1 day old chicks and decrease by 5 degrees each week. An easy way to gauge proper lamp positioning is this: place your heat lamp a foot and 1/2 above the floor of the box. Depending on how your chicks are acting you can adjust lamp positioning accordingly. If the chicks are huddled together beneath the heat source, then the lamp is to far away. Lower the lamp 2 inches and come back in 30 minutes and check again. If the chicks are distancing themselves from the lamp and laying against the walls or spreading their wings out and panting, the brooder is too hot. Place the lamp 2 inches further and check again in 30 minutes. It takes a bit of adjustment, but its important to find the appropriate temperature. Baby chicks have a hard time attaining and regulating their body heat. The goal is happy, healthy, blissful birdies!

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These two books were found at my local library and were what I referred to often when I first got the baby chicks: Chick Days – Raising Chickens from Hatchlings to Laying Hens and Fresh Eggs Daily. I LOVE Fresh Eggs Daily! Her approach to backyard chickens is so natural and lovely, sharing many homemade recipes and remedies for every day chick care, using fresh and natural herbs and foods.

One other thing!! Hold, pet, and snuggle your chicks often! They love the attention and its good for them to get used to being handled while they are still young. Sooner than you know it, you’ll have little chickens greeting you and following at your heels as you walk through your yard. They’ll definitely know who their momma and/or daddy is!

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Happy Chick-Adventures!!! And be sure to let me know if you have any feathered friends in your backyard and what you chose to name them! I love hearing all the clever and creative chicken names you guys come up with! I had thrown around a few silly names myself! Sunny, Benedict, and Omlette!! And  even Moo-Shoo, Kung-Pow, and Sweet&Sour!! lol!

P.S.- The goats I’ve been eyeing will have to wait… not to mention the jersey cow I long for! …Not so sure my neighbors could be bribed with free milk. ::sigh::