Saturday, October 30, 2010

16 must have items for your pantry

I recently read a great article by Lisa Turner called Screamin' Grocery Store Deals 16 Cheap,Organic Foods. After reading it I realized not many people know which produce is in season and a great deal. Eating seasonal is the best way to eat fresh and keep you on budget.  Lisa came up with a list of 16 organic deals man of which are currently in season and will save you some money. Here's her list and my little tid bits of non sense. Enjoy!

1. Cabbage-you can find cabbage for as low as 99 cents a head and as high as 99 cents per lb. I found mine at Thepumpkinpatch ( a NW local farm) for 2/$1. What a steal! But hurry because they close for the season very soon! Cabbage can be used in just about any meal. My kids love it because its one of the sweeter vegetables. Anytime I make soup, cabbage is always in it. As Lisa points out, cabbage is rich in cancer-preventative compounds and is way cheaper than broccoli which also has cancer-preventative compounds.

2.  Carrots-Rich in beta carotene and fiber. This is a staple in our home and you will never find my fridge lacking carrots. Organic carrots are one of the cheaper items and add so much flavor to any meal.  My favorite thing to do is make carrot juice and use the pulp to make carrot muffins. Sweet Potatoes also contain the same array of nutrients but carrots are a better buy. Don't forget to toss the discarded ends into your compost.

3. Kale-This beautiful item usually cost a bit more but is packed with nutrients.  You can find the same nutrients in things like chard, collards, and turn up greens but would need to eat way more. So a little bit of Kale goes a long way. I have yet to eat Kale and i'm looking forward to using it.

4.  Banana's-Once again a staple in our diet.  Organic banana's can cost as little as 79 cents a pound. Easy to toss in a kids lunch or just eat as a snack.   You can find them even cheaper when they start getting black marks on them. Simply buy them, take them home, peel them, put them on a cookie sheet in the freezer, and once frozen put them in a freezer safe container for later use. Later when you want to make banana muffins/bread you can take them out of the freezer to defrost and simply throw them in your better. No mashing is needed! They taste exactly the same as fresh banana's. Gotta love that! Don't forget to put your peels in the compost.

5.  Apples-In the fall organic apples can be found for as little as 79 cents a pound. Again these can be tossed in a kids lunch or eaten as a snack. The thought of apple pie, apple crumble or even apple sauce has my mouth watering. Possibilities are endless!

6.  Onions-Again a option thats packed in disease preventive antioxidants and last but not least FLAVOR! Organic onions can be found for as little as $1 per pound and a little onion goes a long way. Chop them up small enough and your kids will never know! Well at least in my family anyways. Onion is great in almost anything you make. Garlic and ginger also are pennies per serving and also add tons of flavor so snag those when they are on sale.

7.  Beans-beans the magical fruit, the more you eat the more you _____! Beans are your best friend when it comes to eating on a budget. Make sure to watch sales and stock up on organic beans. Buy them in the bulk section and they will last months. Simply soak them overnight in water and the next day cook them on low for a few hours. You can then take the cooked beans and put them in freezer safe containers and into you freezer. They keep for months this way and also are way cheaper than buying organic canned beans.  Another way to save money is to have vegetarian meals. Beans are full of protein and fiber plus way cheaper than organic meat. So maybe have chili, a great Mexican dish or even beans soup instead of your regular meat dish. So go take a peek at your options and have fun trying new beans out.

8.  Nuts-Again these are packed with nutritional benefits and a must in your home. I do have to warn you that they are a bit pricey. So keep a watchful eye on sales and stock up. They store very well in the freezer and a little bit goes a long way.

9.  Seeds-These are always cheaper than nuts so maybe a better option for you. Sunflower and pumpkin seeds are cheaper than nuts so maybe buy them and jazz them up a bit.  Flax seeds are another great option. Packed high with concentrated fats and super cheap. Again stock up when they go on sale and keep them in your freezer for later use.  I add flax seed to anything I bake. Cookies, muffins and bread are my usual.

10.  Brown rice-A low cost gluten free option. This is a staple in our home and I stock up when it goes on sale.  Also great buys are whole wheat pasta ( our personal favorite), oats and cornmeal.  All of which are great tasting and budget friendly. Also keep well in the freezer.

11.  Peanut butter-Filled with healthy monounsaturated fats just like almonds. This is your better buy.  You can find it in the bulk section or in glass jars. Do your math and buy for the price per ounce rather than the whole unit. I buy my peanut butter from Azure Standard . Its $23 for a 15 pound bucket of peanut butter. That's only $1.53 a pound! I just keep smaller amounts in mason jars.

12.  Ground Beef-This one you need to buy on sale. Organic ground beef can cost you up to $7.99 per pound. Now that's not budget friendly at all. So keep your eye on sales and stock up. Last month I found it on sale at Whole Foods for only $3.99 per pound. They will wrap it in one pound increments in brown paper for you which is my favorite part. I use very little meat about 3 times a week to feed my family of 6. This has kept us on budget and I have yet to have any complaints from my family. I also keep my eye on other organic meats and stock up on those as well.

13.  Chicken-Chicken can be found for as little as $1.49 per pound for a whole chicken. It can be cooked and meat pulled off to use in a few meals. Plus you can boil bones and get amazing stock from it which also can be froze. Double your moneys worth if you ask me.

14.  Olive oil-It's high in healthy fats and antioxidants. At a cost to pennies per servings its your best oil option.  Again watch for sales and make sure to buy in glass bottles because it can be recycled.  And don't even get me started on why plastic is a no no.

15.  Yogurt-Unsweetened is your best bet. Again keep an eye out for sales and get only what you need. There is no way to stock up on this one.  Plain yogurt you can get for cheaper and usually more for your money.  Just add fruit, granola, honey or do what my kids do and add a tsp of my homemade organic jelly. One cup of this for breakfast will do ya for the whole morning. If you want to save even more money try your hand at making your own. There are several methods of making it just Google it and have fun.

16.  Eggs-I find my vegetarian fed chicken eggs at Whole Foods for only $2.99 18 count. If you can find fresh local eggs from a farmer then that would be better. But your best bet is to have your own chickens and get the freshest eggs around. Unfortunately my husband is still saying NO to this option. Sniff sniff.  Eggs are full of protein and can be used in just about anything.  

I always keep these items in my home because you can make just about anything with them.  Just remember that if your going to make that fantastic dish with produce not in season, your going to pay for it. Literally!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Digging for savings

Oh how I love Goodwill Outlet. If you have never been to one then you need to find one near you. Unlike regular Goodwill stores where everything is hung up for you to browse through, the outlets are just bins full of stuff that you have to dig through. When you decide to go you need to prepare yourself. If have never been to a thrift store or just do not like shopping in them, then I would advise bringing rubber gloves. Since I grew up basically going to all these types of stores I don't have to wear gloves. There's nothing I haven't seen in these places and I simply wash my hands when I'm done shopping. You also want to set aside at least two hours for digging. Yes you read that right I said digging. They do have separate bins but you have to dig for what you want.

Clothes- All clothing is thrown into this bin. No matter what size, shape, or color. Its in there and you have to dig for what you want. Make sure you know your families sizes so you don't waste your money and buy things they won't fit.

Shoes-All shoes are thrown into this bin. They do keep matches together with rubber bands but after a couple of hours of people digging through them its impossible to find matches at times. I usually will shop in this bin first when I get to the store.

Glass-Anything glass related will be in this bin. Plates, cups, crock pots, candle holders, etc. This bin you want to be careful in. I usually will just look over everything and not touch unless i'm really interested in something. My last visit I struck gold and found two boxes of vintage mason jars.

Books-You will find every single type of book in this bin. Old, new, hard cover, soft cover, and children books.

Misc-This is the interesting bin. You name it, its there. Christmas decorations, rugs, sports equipment, Tupperware, toys, etc. This bin is hard to dig in but worth it. I usually will find something I like in this bin.  

Furniture Section- This section is in the back.  Furniture is pretty cheap and you can always count on finding things for $5 or less.  I found my daughters dresser for only $1, my other daughters desk chair for only $5 and so on. Its very random what you will find and if you see something you like you have to take it then. It won't be there later.

TV Section-They have a wall of TV's all on for you to shop from. No more not knowing it its going to work or not. You just pick which one you want and buy it. They are not fancy TV's but hey they are cheap and work.

Goody Bags-Up by the register there are bags filled with everything you can think of. Lotions, soaps, perfume, etc. These are very large and usually cost about $6.

To me this place is worth the digging. When you gather over 25lbs of items you pay only 89 cents per pound. Thats super cheap. Literally each shirt you get is maybe 10 cents each. A pair of shoe's might be 50 cents.   And when you have a large family like mine and a small budget, this place is your best friend. Take for example....

Seriously how cute are these? These are the most adorable leather heels. New these probably would of retailed for at least $50. I think I paid maybe 50 cents for them. Sweet deal if you ask me.

And then I found these. Again they are leather and would be at least $50 new. I paid a whopping 50 cents for them. Normally I would not waste my money on shoe's that I was not sure if I was going to wear or not. But for 50 cents I will buy lots of shoe's and play around with them in my wardrobe. Funky huh? Love them.
And look at this little gold nugget.  I have this thing for old books and it was calling out my name when I walked by. Just look at this man on the front. He doesn't look very happy. This book is called Samantha at Saratoga or "Racin After Fashion" by Josiah Allens Wife (Marietta Holley) 1887. I'm no bookworm and maybe I will read it or maybe I won't. I just love buying them and putting them on display. Speaking of display....
COME ON!!! How frickin adorable is this! A real silver spoon bent into a book/plate display. My daughter found it and showed me because she was confused why someone would bend a fork. I on the other hand screamed inside my head. I MUST HAVE IT! Now my pretty little old book can be displayed. Yeah!
This is a picture from the book above that I had to show you. Look at the lady in the water bath. See her hand trying to get her man over to the water? Just look at the expression on his face. "Who me?". Just think about it. This book was made in 1887 and i'm sure back then this was risky. It's like I have 1887 porn! lol.  Looks as if I might have to read this book.

So as you can see its worth shopping at these stores. I took home a little over 30 pounds of clothing and the above items for only $36. Man I love this store!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

DIY Mint or lemon balm tea

One of my many mint plants

I keep my tea in mason jars away from the light. Just wanted to show you how pretty my mason jars were.
Home grown tea is really the best tea you can drink. I love it because it pays for itself the first year you plant it. Its super cheap and very yummy. 

1.  Be sure to pick baby leaves before your plant starts to bloom flowers. Tea will be bitter if you use leaves after its blossomed. Pick only the tender baby leaves. I usually pick the top 3 leaves off each stem.
I picked up two buddies while I was picking today. I think Riley my dog smelled all the mint while she was taking her sun nap and my cat Tabby is just nosy.  She kept getting in my way of the mint so I would pet her but the smell bugged her. Sorry Tabby, maybe later.

2.  Once you have picked enough, put them into your dehydrator. Make sure they are not too crowded so they can dry properly. Dry your leaves until they are crunchy and have no moisture to them. I usually check them about once ever 30 minutes. There are several methods to drying things but I opted to borrow my neighbors fancy one because its super fast. 
 3. Once fully dried you can put them into any glass container and they will last pretty much forever. To enjoy your tea ball strainer or even your regular coffee pot. Just put your tea in your coffee filter and make as usual.  As always I stick my used up tea leaves into my compost.  The below picture shows peppermint on the left and lemon balm on the right.  Can you see my groovy harvest gold counter tops? What can I say, my house is old.  Since its so old I thought I would find dinner ware to match lol.

Just look at this yummy tea!

4. Enjoy as is or add your favorite sweetener. My personal favorite honey is Wessels because its local to me and I grew up in Forest Grove where Wessels is located. We use a ton of honey and Wessels makes 5lb containers of it. Its color is just gorgeous. One teaspoon into my cup and i'm a happy mama. 
I just want to note that the metal container of tea was given to me from a good friend Theresa. In exchange I gave her some of my home grown mint tea. She bought her tea off of Etsy. If you have not been on Etsy, go there now. You can find anything homemade or home grown there. From tea, to make up, to even toys. I bought my hand knitted wash clothes for only $3 there.  Love that site!

Friday, October 22, 2010

May I please use one sick day?

My twins have had a nasty couch for 3 days now. Been giving them lots of tea with honey and their daily dose of apple cider vinegar with honey. I think being around them so much while they are sick has exposed me to their germs. Usually I scoot on by without getting sick but this time I wasn't so lucky. The last few years I have only been sick maybe once a year. I attribute this to the way we eat and live a healthy life style.

Recently I found this wonderful book off Amazon. Luckily I was able to snag an 3rd edition for only $1. What a deal! The books called Herbally Yours by Penny C.Royal. It's about a woman named Penny who had poor health from her childhood till adulthood. She tried everything the doctors told her and was about to give up. Till one day she turned to herbs. Herbally Yours is the first comprehensive herbal handbook. Its an easy to use, alphabetized guide to use the herbs and is easy enough for the everyday person to use. Alphabetized herbs or ailments.  From diet, cleansing, pregnancy, nursing and even babies , its all here.

So today I woke up pretty sick. No fever but I feel pretty yucky. Stuffy nose, body aching and i'm starting to get a bit of a cough. Here is a cough recipe from this book that I will be trying out today.

1/4 tsp each of Cayenne and Ginger
1 tbsp of Honey
1 tbsp of Apple Cider Vinegar
2 tbsp of hot water
Mix juice from 1/2 lemon with 2 tbsp of honey. Take this every 15 minutes.
Licorice Root Tea or Tincture of Lobelia can be taken.
Tincture is an extraction of herbs in vinegar or alcohol. Apple Cider Vinegar is all the right for most herbal tinctures. IF the herb is oily or sticky, Everclear Brand 190 Proof can be used successfully. ( which I find amusing lol)

I need to pick up some ginger as soon as I feel like getting dressed. That may or may not happen because i'm feeling pretty lazy right now.  But until then I will stick to my usual.

Lots of home grown hot tea with honey
2tbsp of apple cider vinegar
Homemade chicken soup
Lots and lots of sleep

Anyone have any homemade concoctions they use? Have a favorite herb when your sick? Any crazy recipes for cough syrup?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Closed for the season

My favorite produce stand will be closing down for the winter in about 2 weeks. You know what that means right? Pay double the price to get my organic produce from my local stores. Well that's what most people think but its not true.  There are still ways to get around having to pay these prices. 

1. Collect and store. What I mean by that is try to collect as much produce as you can when it's cheap and prepare it for storage so you can store it and eat it later. Whether its canning, freezing or dehydrating. One thing I did this year was not to refuse anything given to me for free or I took advantage of something free. Blackberries grow like weeds here so when they were yummy and ripe I picked like crazy. I froze them for smoothies and made the yummiest jelly for my girls. Since freezing is the easiest , it was my preference. Once I made my jelly I simply labeled it and put it all in the freezer. 
Several time's my neighbors would give me things from their gardens (I did this as well) and I would use it or store it for later. I giant zucchini given to me by neighbor (thanks Jessica!) was shredded and put in the freezer. This will be used in muffins all year long.  Oyster mushrooms I found for $1 a pound was taken home and dehydrated. I even put the dried mushrooms in a blender and made mushroom powder. Lemon balm and mint growing in my yard was dehydrated and I use to make my own tea. 
Its funny, anytime I talk about doing all this it reminds me of the story of these squirrels. The main character was having fun and playing all the time. The other squirrels were looking for nuts and fixing their shelters. All along this main squirrel was doing nothing. Well guess who froze and didn't have any food? Moral of the story is all work and no play keeps the hunger pains away. 

2. Buy seasonal. I usually do this anyways. Usually in season produce is cheap. But a good deal would distract me sometimes. Oops my bad. But now I will have no options. So here's my plan. I'm kind of a store snob now. I stick to Whole Foods (1st choice) and then Trader Joe's (2nd choice). I can avoid plastic much better at Whole Foods but sometimes I save more money at Trader Joe's. I think I will go to Whole Foods and buy whats on sale. If its cabbage then our dinners will have cabbage in it. Carrots on sale then i'm hunting for good carrot recipes. I will buy what I can on sale and get creative. I think this is a great way to try new things. I will try my best to buy local during this time as well. Whole Foods is pretty good about getting products and food from local businesses and farmers. 

Now you know my plan. I'm not sure how well it will work but at least I have a plan. Wish me luck.

What do you do when your fresh produce stands close down for the season? How to you afford to keep buying organic? 

Friday, October 15, 2010

Dad update

I just wanted to update you on what's been going on in my life lately.  Last year my dad found out he had pancreas cancer. He started turning yellow so he went to the doctor and they found the cancer while they were checking him out.  It was a very troubling time for us but we made it through. He had surgery and went through chemo. He started eating more and finally started to get better. Or so we thought.

Two weeks ago he started turning yellow again. Mom took him in again and they confirmed he had cancer again but this time in his liver.  But this time he wouldn't be so lucky. They will do surgery to put a stint in but they cannot remove the cancer.  He will undergo chemo once again but I'm worried because he is pretty skinny already.  I have not been taking very well this time.

Cancer seems bad but what makes this worst is the fact that he isn't my real DNA father. You see my DNA father was an alcoholic and my mother gave him a choice of us or his alcohol. He chose the alcohol.  My mother raised my sister and I all by herself.  My real DNA dad would come and go every few years just to make a point that he was my dad. He would come to visit, stir stuff up  and then he would leave so he wouldn't have to clean the mess up. He did this until last year.  he would call, cry on the phone, give me guilt trips for not letting my children see him, make me feel bad for not talking to him, and finally the last straw was him telling my brother to  (insert word starting with F ending with K) off and saying he could care less if he ever saw me again.  Thanks DNA dad, love you too.

When I was in high school my mom met Jon. They worked together and really made a great match. He took me in like his own and it was almost like he had always been there. Thinking about it now it must not of been fun with my real dad came to stir things up and he would have to clean up after him. Sorry dad. When I say dad I am referring to Jon.  Last year I cut all ties with my DNA father because mentally I just couldn't take it anymore.  

So all was well and I was finally emotionally good. And now this. I don't know what to do. Don't know what to say.  I am lost for words. There is nothing they can do to get this cancer out of him.  My dad is being taken away from me. The only dad Ive ever had who cared about me, hugged me, loved me, and was there for my physically, mentally and emotionally. And there is nothing I can do about it. I'm starting to question life itself. Question what could we have done differently. But again there is nothing I can do. 

I needed a few days to accept (well not I haven't fully accepted it still) and take everything in. At first I didn't want to write about it. Didn't want to air out my laundry to the whole world. But then I remembered. I started my blog as a outlet. To write about my passions good or bad. So I hope you all stick with me for a while. It's a really tough time for me but I promise to keep doing what I love and writing. Maybe you all have gone through this or are going through this. This is gonna be a long hard road for me and its nice to know I have friends who will listen and be there. 

Oh and about my next race in 2 weeks. yeah I suck still.  Not sure I will do the half marathon but at least I will do the 6.5 mile one. I dunno. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Get ready, its coming your way.

Get ready because here it comes. No matter how much you avoid it, its inevitable. About 3 years ago drug companies started having recalls and I started reading labels on the over the counter children medication. First thing hit me was the fact that I was giving my children this medication anytime they were to get any type of cold. Who was I to think it would cure them? Man I was dumb. Have you read the ingredients in these medications? Well thats a stupid question because no one can even pronounce let alone read them. From that day forward it was my mission to find natural alternatives and keep those nasty medications away from my children. 

Now i'm no expert so don't send me any hate mail. I just want to share with all you what been working for the past 3 years for us.  I just want to note that anytime there is anything serious I call my doctor or pediatrician. If they recommend coming in then that's what we do.  I am in no way putting my family in harms way.  But if there is a way to get better the natural way then we do it.  If you eat healthy you will not get sick very often. We do not eat processed food, prepackaged food, or junk. I pretty much make everything from scratch and 90% of our food is organic. And because of this we rarely get sick. About once or twice a year we get a cold. 

 This is my arsenal for fighting colds.  I keep my home stocked full of certain things. Most of these items you will already have in your kitchen. 

Shopping checklist 
1. Organic unfiltered apple cider vinegar
2. Local honey
3. Tea 
4. Multi vitamin
5.Black Elderberry Drops 
6. Cayenne Pepper

You may use any brand you want of these items. My favorite apple cider vinegar is Solana Gold because its somewhat local but I will use Bragg which is found everywhere. Either will cost around $5 for a large glass bottle.   My local honey company is Wessels Family Honey.  It's made in my home town of Forest Grove Oregon and comes in a glass jar. I get my lose leaf chamomile tea from Whole Foods but also I grow my own mint and lemon balm to make my own tea. Muti vitamins are bought from Trader Joe's because they have no preservatives and are all natural. One negative is that they are in a plastic honey bear size container. But they are only $2.99 and very budget friendly. Since we eat so healthy the girls only take them when they are sick for a extra boost. Elderberry drops I found at Whole Foods for $11.99. This bottle will last us all winter long.

Apple Cider Vinegar 

Virtues of vinegar
Your grandmother knew the virtues of vinegar. Her grandmother passed it down.  Hippocrates, called the Father of Medicine, first prescribed it as a remedy in 400 B.C. Not everyone knows that vinegar is more than salad dressing, but for centuries has been cherished as a preventative and curative elixir.  
Vinegar is fundamental. It's universal like water.  Cook, clean, bathe and nourish with it, like people did in simpler times.  Apple cider vinegar can also lesson the harmful effects of food bacteria like E Coli, concluded a 1996 joint research study at Nagoya Medical University in Japan.  Surprisingly, they found only 45 medical studies on the benefits of vinegar.  The small number was puzzling until a respected cancer nutritionist pointed out that big drug firms (who fund most medical research) do NOT want to research a natural ingredient like vinegar because IT CANT BE PATENTED.

The Mystery of The Mother
In organic vinegar, there is a cloudy substance in it. That mysterious veil is called The Mother and its unique to apple cider vinegar.  As raw apple juice is fermented to hard cider, protein enzymes link into a floating, molecular chain.  Many manufacturers unnecessarily expose vinegar to clarifying agents, heat and filtration.  Look's advertising pretty but what happened to the beneficial dormant living-enzyme proteins? Really going beyond the legend, even your own intuition.  ACV is worth further reading, more than there's room for here on my blog.  

ACV Remedies

Start the day with this each day.
1-2 tbsp of ACV, tbsp of honey and cold water. Heat will de-activate the enzymes.
Think of it as a tummy antibacterial solution.

Stuffed up? Have a sniffle? many try inhaling a deep whiff of cider vinegar instead of chemical filled nose sprays.

Nasty cut? Throughout history vinegar has been a time-honored antiseptic. 

Crave something tangy or vinegary with your meal? That's the body's digestive solution to cutting fats, proteins and sugars.

Internal Benefits
  • Rich in enzymes & potassium
  • Support a healthy immune system
  • Helps control weight
  • Promotes digestion & ph Balance
  • Helps soothe dry throats
  • Helps remove body sludge toxins

External Benefits
  • Helps maintain healthy skin
  • Helps promote youthful, healthy bodies
  • Soothes irritated skin
  • Relieves muscle pain from exercise 


WARNING! Never give honey to an infant under 12 months.

Did you know that honey contains copper, iron, silica, vitamin B, manganese, chlorine, calcium, potassium, sodium, phosphorous, aluminum and magnesium? Depending on the part of the world where the honey comes from, honey will vary in mineral content. 

Honey for pain relief: Mix 3 Tbls. of honey in boiled water and drink. Honey has natural pain-relieving powers.

Honey Relieves Coughs:Cut a lemon in 2 and extract the juice. Add juice to a 4 oz glass. Then add 2 Tablespoons of glycerine and fill the remaining glass with honey. Dosage: 1 teaspoon during the day. Stir with spoon before taking. If you have a night-time cough, take 1 teaspoon right before retiring and then another one during the night. If your cough is severe, take concoction every 4 hours starting with when you wake up. As the cough gets better, you take less and less.

I personally like this recipe.  1 tablespoon of local raw honey mixed with 2 tablespoons of organic unfiltered apple cider vinegar. Chase down with a drink of water.  If you have inflammation in your throat add 15-20 drops of Elderberry drops. 


Tea contains high levels of antioxidants, some of which are called polyphenols, flavonoids and catechins, and all of which take on the "free radicals" in the body and prevent them from harming the healthy cells on board.
In other words, sending in antioxidants is disease prevention in its finest form.  Antioxidants are ready and waiting not only in tea's but also in several fruits, vegetables, nuts, meats and even wines.  If that were not enough, tea also contains fluoride which benefits your teeth and has bacteria killing properties which help control bad breath and the formation of plaque. 

Sore Throat

So how do you get started in doing your body some good with tea? To get the most health benefits out of your teas, choose high-quality loose leaf teas from your local or online tea shop.  Brew it up and enjoy.

Black Elderberry

In a 2004 study it showed that i
t's likely that antioxidants called flavanoids—which are contained in the extract—stimulate the immune system.   Also, other compounds in elderberry, called anthocyanins, have an anti-inflammatory effect; this could explain the effect on aches, pains, and fever.

The leaves, twigs, branches, seeds and roots contain a cyanide producing glycoside. Ingesting any of these parts in sufficient quantity can cause toxic build of cyanide in the body. In addition, the unripened berry, flowers and "umbels" contain a toxic alkaloid. So do not use any part of the elderberry plant except for the berries. The berries are non toxic.  It's very important to not let children play with or near the plant.  


The Elder Tree was supposed to ward off evil influence and give protection from witches, a popular belief held in some cultures. If an elder tree was cut down, a spirit known as the Elder Mother would be released and take her revenge. The tree could only safely be cut while chanting a rhyme to the Elder Mother.
Herb Pharm recommends to take two to four times per day.  Take 30-40 drops in a little water or along with your ACV recipe.

Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne Pepper is an herb made from the dried pods of chili peppers. Besides being a very popular spice in cooking, cayenne has also been used medicinally for thousands of years. High in Vitamins A, C, B complex, calcium and potassium, cayenne is a wonderful healing aid for the digestive system since it acts as a catalyst and increases the effectiveness of other foods and herbs when used with them. It is also very healing for the heart and circulatory system. Studies have shown that Cayenne can rebuild the tissue in the stomach and the peristaltic action in the intestines.

Anytime one of us has a nasty cough or sore throat we sprinkle some of this in our hot tea. It helps with inflamed sore throats and pretty much stops the coughing all together. Just a sprinkle will do you. Its not hot and even my children will ask for this. Love it!

Okay so there you go. Did I miss anything? Anything else I need to add to my arsenal?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Stand up!

Yesterday was a typical day for the most part. Until I checked my Facebook that is. My favorite snack kicked me in the throat. Well sorta. Sun Chips announced that it was taking away our beloved compostable bag. Well to please us they will be keeping the original Sun Chips in the compostable bag. This really makes me mad on so many levels. 
Here is what Sun Chips wrote as their status.

"There have been some questions about our compostable bag, so we wanted to set your minds at ease. The compostable bag isn't going away. We're committed to renewable packaging solutions and will continue to use 100% compostable packaging on specially-marked Original flavor SunChips® snacks. In the meantime we're busy working on the next-generation bag that addresses consumer feedback, so stay tuned." Sun Chips Facebook page Tuesday Sept 5th 2010.

Today when I woke up I was very angry. Maybe my night of sleep charged my batteries, I don't know. But I do know I was pist off. Yes I said it, PIST OFF!  Now all those would be compostable bags will be replaced with plastic ones. Oh Beth from FPF would be so proud of me. The thought of all that plastic makes me sick! I thought that Frito Lay was taking a step in the right direction. I actually had warm fuzzies in my tummy. Literally. I had hope. I had even shared SunChips Facebook page with all my friends. I feel dooped. 

So today I stood up and said "NO MORE!" Well not literally but in my mind I did. So I picked up my laptop and decided to stand up for what I believe. I created a new group on Facebook called boycott Frito Lay/Sun Chips. There you can find Frito Lays phone number, website, and phone number. Please take a moment of your time and express how you feel about Frito Lays dumb decision to take away compostable bags. If we ban together maybe we can make a difference. Lets share my new Facebook group and start the process. We can make a difference because we are the consumers. We determine which products make it and which don't. If we don't buy it they will have to bring it back or come up with new compostable bags. Nuff said.

Monday, October 4, 2010

I suck....well sorta

Yeah yeah yeah, I know I haven't been blogging much lately. Once again I have signed up to do another race so my brain has been in training mode all week. Well not really. You see I know I need to train but I have not gone to the gym. Keep telling myself I need to go but things just come up.

I planned on starting my training on Friday but the mulch I ordered 2 weeks ago finally came and it has to be taken care of immediately because its organic mulch and will start to break down fast.

 So here is a picture of the house when we were looking at buying it. Notice the old fence and railroad ties. Yeah so that fence fell over completely since then.  All those flower beds were great at first. Then I realized they used pressure treated wood to make them so they had to go.  The huge one in the back was also taken out.   See all that nasty bark dust?  All I see here is horrible chemical filled stuff around our property. Our number one mission was to rid our property from all this stuff. We also painted the house. Warm yellow and baby blue was not our thing.
So this is the updated backyard.  Fence fell over so we took the whole thing out. Railroad ties were taken to the dump (with a hefty $250 bill!) and a retaining wall was built. Then a beautiful fence was built. My amazing husband did all that work himself. We added the cute little gated garden fence in the back to keep my dog out. She likes my produce a little too much.  There was some horrible bulb type flowers next to my home by the garden gate.  My neighbor Jessica came over and pulled them all out. Your awesome Jessica!  Ahh much better.  Along the right side of my home you can see the new tree we planted and my pumpkin patch which is located under my daughter's window so she can watch it them grow.   Our grass is horrible but that will have to wait till next year. For now i'm just happy its green. See all that mulch? Yep, thats what Ive been moving all weekend.

This is my garden area before. We have yet to replace the fence and still have the compost bin system you see in the back. Everything else has changed completely.
This is the area next to my compost bins. Ive added my garden bench, a metal shelf and my new addition is the small bench you see on the left. The pots and that bench were free from my neighbors. Actually this is my goal for today. Add dirt, plants and moved to other places.  You can see the mulch on the ground that I spread all weekend. This is the 3rd layer of mulch Ive added. Should keep the weeds at bay and make it easier to pull them.

All this mulch I have been getting was completely free. My neighbor works for a tree company that chops up tree branches and will deliver it to you free. I just love the smell of it, the color of it and of course because its free!

See I suck but don't suck so much. That doesn't make any sense....oh well. You get the idea.