Thursday, July 23, 2009

Heart Smart Tabouli Recipe

Also known a Tipili in Latin America. This is a very heart healthy meal with ingredients known to lower cholesterol. I plan to make mine with dark salad greens, extra tomatoes, and just a little parsley.

3/4 cup boiling water
1/2 cup cracked wheat or fine bulgur
1/2 cup minced parsley
1/4 cup minced mint leaves
1/2 cup finely chopped green onion
1 tomato, diced
1 cucumber, seeded and diced
3 tablespoons olive oil OR oil substitute (fatfree Italian dressing, liquid from cooking chickpeas*, or reduced vegetable broth)
2 tablespoons lemon juice, or to taste
1 tsp. sea salt, or to taste
Pepper to taste
Pinch allspice

See here for recipe.

Here is another one, I'd like to try: Berberé Stew (Ethiopian Lentil Stew) This one uses up your summer tomatoes.

Free Printable Preschool Alphabet Dot-to-Dot

We've been working at these today.

Image from site.

Online Early Learning Freebies

I've been using DLTK's Early Learning site since my oldest was little. Today I saw this Hickory, Dickory, Dock clock craft using paper towel rolls and a paper plate. They have nice templates and great directions. I'll have to wait until I have the supplies, but we plan to work this craft soon.

More nursery rhyme printable activities here.

Check out their Bible activities and crafts. They even have a Veggietales area.

Many of the cut-out templates can be crafted on felt rather than paper. I've been thinking about cutting out double sided felt Veggietales, sewing them together, and stuffing them for little felt toys for my daughter. DLTK is an awesome site for early learning and crafting. There are even extended ideas for learning with older children, and ideas for using alternate materials with different versions of learning.

Check out the sister sites while visiting DTLK. There is so much more for early learning and above.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Extracting Fragrance from Fresh Herbs and flowers

I've been experimenting with my garden lavender attempting to find the best way to extract the fragrance for cologne, insect repellent, and room spray. In the past, I've tried soaking fresh herbs in vodka for a week, but the herbs smelled like they went bad. I tried it again with lavender for a shorter duration, just overnight, and the next day it smelled like it had turned. I could still smell a hint of lavender under a heavy grain smell. Instead of throwing it out, I added water and boiled it in the microwave for four minutes. Somehow this worked, and although it has a brown cast to it, the liquid smelled very good with a light to moderate lavender scent. The heavy brown scent went away.

I'll be using this lavender water as a base for my next batch of insect repellent spray.

Here is a recipe that I'd like to try for rose petal perfume using fresh rose petals. This involves soaking the petals overnight in oil.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Lavender Tea Recipe

This was a very fragrant tea! I added more lavender from my garden than was called for in the recipe. I also added some fresh lemon balm. I had to pass on the sugar.


* 1-1 1/2 teaspoon dried lavender blossoms or 2 teaspoons fresh lavender blossoms
* 2 tablespoons earl grey loose tea
* heavy cream
* sugar cubes

See recipe here.

I enjoyed this tea with just the lemon balm and lavender for a calming bedtime tea.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Homemade Coffee Facial Mask


4 tablespoons very finely ground coffee(I used regular ground)
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
8 tablespoons whole milk or cream(I used half and half)
2 tablespoons molasses(not in original recipe)
Read instructions and entire recipe here.

Coffee has astringent and antioxidant properties, and tightens and tones the skin.

Milk has antimicrobial and cleansing properties.

Cocoa powder softens the skin and has antioxidant properties.

Molasses has firming, softening, and exfoliating properties which is more gentle than honey. It's also good as a conditioner for damaged hair.

Results: Frightening to look at, but pretty good results! My skin was much tighter, but not dry, and very soft. It helped with a few blemishes as well. I've tried honey masks before and they were really too strong for my skin. This was a perfect blend for my normal to oily skin. I had some left over, so I've stored it in the fridge for next week.

See more at the Make It From Scratch Carnival.

Hair Helper: Beer

Beer supposedly makes your hair shine, helps with frizz and increases volume. Maybe you remember the beer enhanced 1970's shampoo, Body on Tap. The 1970's really was a bonanza decade for shampoos.

How Beer Can Help Your Hair:

"In addition to B vitamins, the proteins found in malt and hops are said to repair damaged hair and boost overall body. Meanwhile, the maltose and sucrose sugars in beer tighten the hair’s cuticles for enhanced shine.

Although it is debatable whether the corn, rice, or wheat protein in beer can actually deposit on your hair to form a strengthening film, there is no question that it makes hair seem thicker. This effect may be attributed to the proteins left on the hair fiber, though beer also seems to slightly swell the hair shaft. Ideal for fine hair, an at-home beer solution is an economical alternative to the $20-40 thickening tonics on the market, since it kills two birds with one stone- adding extra volume while at the same time coating the cuticles with shine. When experimenting with beer as a hair product, it is recommended to use traditional brewed beer made from hops to maximize nutrients and minimize chemicals (since most commercial beers are loaded with stuff you probably shouldn’t be putting in your body, let alone your hair)."

Beer should be used when flat, and some recipes recommend that you reduce it on the stove top, probably to remove the drying alcohol. Here's a nice tutorial.

I've seen several ways mentioned to use beer on hair: as a rinse, as a spray, and in shampoo. I'm going to add some to my shampoo, Dr. Bronner's castile soap, and as a spray for a mid-day boost to control the effects of humidity on my hair.

I also ordered some beer shampoo bars from Etsy. These are great for travel, and I've always wanted to try a shampoo bar.

Just for fun, here were a few of my favorite 1970's shampoos:

Lemon Up was my absolute favorite.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Natural and Organic Henna Hair Dye

I decided to henna my hair, so I've got my head wrapped in plastic wrap, trying not to drip on the camera. I haven't tried this for years, and now I know why. It's messy, and you have to walk around with saran wrap on your head for at least an hour. On the flip side, it's all natural and conditions the hair as well as adds color. This particular henna covers gray. I didn't purchase the indigo which may be mixed with henna for brown. I am hoping for auburn, not a carrot red.

I'm wearing my husband's old t-shirt, and an old towel around my neck to catch drips which happens every time I look down. If I had some cotton strands, I'd stick that under the edges of the wrap. Plastic gloves are a must, and a little Vaseline on the skin around the hairline and ears keep the henna from dyeing your skin.

"After" pictures later....

It turned out great, and my hair is back to normal, dark auburn and curly. I had been getting a light golden color at the ends(?) with dark roots, peppered with gray. This is so much better than the gray, two toned stringy look that I had developed. Completely worth the hassle.

This store sells bundles for different hair colors and types - long and African hair. You just have to scroll all the way down to the Hair Care Directory at the bottom. There is also a free ebook at this link for first timers.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Benefits of Chandrika Soap

Chandrika soap is an inexpensive natural vegetable soap. I got a bar of this healing soap for about 65 cents at Chandrika vegetable based soap has been made in India since the 1940's. We use vegetable based soaps for our sensitive skin, and the children need soaps that help their rashes since they are prone to eczema(eczema runs in my family). I tend to like soaps which are not flowery, but have a fresh or exotic scent. Chandrika is not over powering, but definitely has an exotic fresh scent. We use this nice lathering soap as a shampoo for the children. It's strong enough to get an active tween boy's hair smelling extra clean, and gentle enough for my three year old daughter's hair. I wouldn't recommend it for very dry skin. It's definitely a no nonsense cleaning soap, great for summer.From the Chandrika website:

The ingredients are :

Coconut Oil : it nourishes, moisturizes and lightens your skin tan.

Wild Ginger : soothes the skin and helps prevent infections and rashes.

Lime Peel Oil : for a refreshing cooling effect and rich, penetrating lather with an astringent action.

Hydnocarpus Oil : helps prevent skin problems, rashes and outbreaks.

Orange Oil : tightens pores, helps prevent pimples and blackheads.

Sandalwood Oil : to cool, refresh and gently perfume your skin.

About Me

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I'm a homeschooling mom of two, a teen and a little. I hope this collection of mine helps you as much as it has helped us. I have an Etsy shop here: And a blog: