Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Product Recommendation - Navy Bean Soup - Vanilla Extract - Spoiled Pets

RECOMMENDATION

YAKTRAX

Yaktrax, have you heard of them? I swear by them when walking on ice and snow. This handy little device is made with steel coils, and easy to use polyelastomer material making it easy to slip onto any shoe or boot. I’m here to tell you, they’re great for walking with more confidence on the ice and snow.  I picked up a pair of Yaktrax, 2 years ago, and finally wore them out.  Today, I drove into town to go to our local sporting goods store, and bought myself another pair.  For under $20.00, I can walk to my truck with the traction, or anywhere, and not have fear of falling down.  Please check out Yaktrax website here for several available options. 

*****

With our left over ham pieces and bone, I made Navy Bean Soup.  This was dinner tonight. In a pot of water, I threw my left over ham bone, small ham pieces, 2 carrots chopped, 1 celery stalk chopped, ½ chopped onion, ¼ cup of chopped parsley, 1 teaspoon of thyme, 2 bay leafs, salt and pepper to taste, and 3 to 4 cans of navy beans (rinsed).  Most people would use cream as a broth, I prefer a clear broth. 

*****

Because I use a lot of vanilla extract throughout the year, I’ve decided to attempt to create my own.  The process seems pretty easy.  The items required to make vanilla extract:
       1 bottle of vodka (you can use vodka, rum, brandy or bourbon)

                                   Several fresh vanilla beans
                                   Several clean bottles with caps

Split bean down middle

Split the vanilla bean down the middle, scraping briefly, place the entire bean in a clean bottle with any particles from the bean, fill the bottle with vodka (not all the way to the top). 
Place split bean in bottle
Add vodka
Seal the lid, let the bean steep, shake briefly daily, and place the bottle in a dark, cool, cabinet.    After a 3 month period, you have fresh vanilla extract.  This extract can be used for baking, or given as a gift.
Seal lid, shake briefly, place in dark cool cabinet
***** 

After standing by the stove and oven while I cooked our Christmas dinner, both of our dogs got tired of waiting for me to give them a little treat. 
This is Bug, she got tired of waiting (she thinks you can't see her)

This is Beans, he got tired of waiting for a treat


Are your family pets as spoiled as mine?

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Share Christmas Decorations

Here are two pictures I wanted to share with you from Harris Methodist Hospital in Ft Worth, Texas.  The entire lobby was decorated with flying doves and white lights, a beautifully decorated fireplace, and a Christmas tree.  This hospital made it feel like home for everyone, staff, patients, and family members.





Saturday, December 22, 2012

Holidays



Welcome - Join - Thank You


 
 
I wanted to take this opportunity to welcome Cottage Dreaming and Flea Market Wishes and BK.  Thank you for joining my blog. I'm glad to have you following my blog, please sit back and enjoy the ride.
 
 


 

Picture: Stanford.EDU

Thursday, December 20, 2012

I'm Back Briefly


Hi blogger friends, I just wanted to say thank you for your prayers, and wishes for my Dad.  Dad had his surgery Monday; we’re waiting on pathology to come back with the identification of where the cancer originated, along with the type.  Last night he was transported by ambulance to a spine and brain rehabilitative hospital for physical therapy.  I’m home briefly, and then I will return to help Dad.  My plan is to update my blog, and welcome several new bloggers in the next couple of days. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Medical Update

I apologize  for the short post.  I just wanted to let all my blogger friends know my family appreciates all your kind words, and prayers for my Dad.  He's in the hospital now.  The doctors are in the process of controlling his pain, and trying to get him ready for surgery on his spine, Monday.  Dad has cancer, the doctors are not sure which type their  dealing with, they've named 3 different types.  After the surgery there will be additional medical procedures required. 

I hope to be back soon with better news.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Welcome - Join - Thank You






I wanted to take this opportunity to welcome Kim. Thank you for joining my blog. Hey Blogger friends, check out this blog Country Life you won’t be disappointed. Glad to have you following my blog, please sit back and enjoy the ride.

 

Pic Source: Wilderness.net

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Weekend - Surgery - Rum Balls


Friday was an extremely busy day paying bills, running errands, going to the health food store in town to pick up ingredients for my next project, and putting the garden beds to sleep for the winter.
Picture of some of the garden beds

Saturday, we all were up early and at the hospital first thing in the morning for our son, Tank’s, second surgery on his hand.  The doctors removed all the hardware from his hand and stated his hand looks really good; however, the doctor has restricted the use of this hand.  Over the next several months, Tank will need to continue to visit the doctor for follow up.   I want to thank everyone for their prayers and warm wishes for a speedy recovery for our son.
 

This evening, I made Rum Balls to place in cookie tins for sending out for Christmas.  OMG, these Rum Balls are delicious…………………. And very easy to make, I got the recipe here from Tidy Mom.                  
Easy to make and delicious!

Store air tight container for a couple of days
to develop the flavor.



 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Winner Announced!!!!!




A big CONGRATULATIONS goes out to Country Life!!!!!

Country Life was selected the winner of Rayovac Brilliant Solutions LED Flashlight. Thank you to everyone who entered The Rayovac Brilliant Solutions LED Flashlight giveaway. The winner has been notified and has until Thursday, December 13th, to respond to me with a mailing address. If the winner does not respond by December 13th; I will have no choice but to select another winner.  

My e-mail address is:  SandyLivesay@gmail.com

 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Join - Welcome - Thank You and Give - Away

I wanted to take this opportunity to welcome Izzy. Thank you for joining my blog. Hey Blogger friends, check out this blog, The Compound you won’t be disappointed. Glad to have you following my blog, please sit back and enjoy the ride.

**********

Remember to register for the Rayovac Flashlight Give - Away here.

Join - Welcome - Thank You & Give - Away


 
Picture Source: TripAdvisor.com
 
I wanted to take this opportunity to welcome Kelly. Thank you for joining my blog. Hey Blogger friends, check out this blog, Happy Hollow Homestead you won’t be disappointed.  Glad to have you following my blog, please sit back and enjoy the ride.
**********
Remember to register for the Rayovac Flashlight Give - Away here.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Give - Away


Solar / Crank Flashlight

By Rayovac Brilliant Solutions

LED

 
This flashlight is great for emergencies; auto and outdoors!

Dual powered: Solar and Manual powered crank,

Environmentally friendly, no batteries required.

3 Super bright LED’s never need replacing.

Compact and lightweight!

Rules

Entries must be received by Friday, December 7, 2012. The drawing will be held on Saturday, December 8, 2012 in the evening. All entries will be placed in a box.  The winner’s name will be picked by Bulldog Man in the evening on Saturday. If your name is picked as the winner, I will post your first name on my blog site and send you a direct e-mail. You will have 4 business days to respond to my e-mail notification. If there is no response, your entry will be null (void), and another entry will be pulled by computer.

How to Enter

To enter this give-away, just answer the question below in the Comments section of this post:

If you were to lose electric what type of lighting source(s)do you have?




 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Bones and Salve


Good bye turkey bones, hello turkey broth.  I gathered all the ingredients together to make turkey broth, and threw them in a soup pot, letting them cook for 6 hours.  Before filling my Ball quart jars, I e-mailed Patrice Lewis over at the Rural Revolution blog to get clarification on a few questions I had about canning broth.  After receiving advice from Patrice, I was satisfied and no longer worried about filling all of my jars with the turkey broth, even though I only had room for 7 quart jars in the pressure canner.  If you ever have questions about canning, or you’re nervous, please stop by Patrice’s blog for advice.  Patrice published a series of E-Books on canning (water bath and pressure canning), moving to the country, and creating a home craft business.   These E-Books are reasonably priced and make for great reference material. 

 

I’m a person that has extremely dry skin; this runs in the family.  I figured; let me try making a salve for dry skin.  This could even be something to potentially give out as a Christmas gift.  So, I figured let me mess around in the kitchen with a few ingredients and see what I come up with.    Here is what I’ve come up with; a salve that feels good, moistens my dry skin, and smells wonderful.
 
 Grab yourself a sauce pan, poor 1 cup of carrier oil in the pot (olive oil, almond oil, or sesame oil).  Heat, don’t let boil.  Remove from burner and place a cup of buds, blossoms, petals or leaves (such as dried rose petals, dried lavender buds, calendula blossoms, cilantro, and mint) in the heated oil.  Let the oil and buds, blossoms, or whatever you’ve chosen, sit in the sauce pan for approximately 1 hour.  After the hour, strain the oil with cheese cloth or a coffee filter (whatever you have on hand) into a bowl.  Add 1 ½ tablespoons of shredded beeswax, ¼ cup of Shea butter and 10 - 13 drops of essential oil (lavender, vanilla, rose, pine, or whatever oil you like).  Heat the oil mixture briefly until all products are mixed well and completely liquid.  Remove from burner and pour into a container with a wide mouth and a lid for closing later.  Allow the product to cool and turn somewhat solid (note, this salve doesn’t harden completely, like other salves, because you want to be able to rub it in to the dry skin).  If you would like the salve harder, heat and add more beeswax. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Ever Changing Faces of the Moon



Last night’s moon, pictures are a little blurry, we had unbelievable winds last night.






Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Bulldog Review on Shave Cream


Bulldog Man here, and let me brag a bit on the Mrs.  Being an old road-dog, it’s nice to be spoiled once in a while.  I’ve got more miles on me than the International Space Station.  Sometimes I feel I’ve been around the world in 80 planes. I came back from Oregon for a work-related run and the Mrs. asked me to try out a new shave cream she wants to make for gifts.  She sold the Bulldog on this stuff.  Light and creamy, easily applied with a good brush, and it lathers nicely.  With a good sharp razor, this shave cream left my face as smooth as a Baboon’s ass, just not as colorful.  Not only do I recommend that she make some for Christmas gifts, but I want her to fill my shave kit and put a few extra in the closet for the old Bulldog.  Bulldog rating on homemade shave cream: 4 out of 4 paws, with a scratch behind the ears!!

I copied the Shave Cream recipe from and earlier post and pasted it below.


Yet another idea for Christmas gift giving, homemade Shave Cream.
I found the recipe here, borrowed the basics, and modified the recipe.



Homemade Shave Cream
¼ cup Almond Oil

3 Tablespoons Shea Butter

2 Tablespoons of Aloe Gel

2 Tablespoons of Honey

1 Tablespoon Guar Gum

2 Teaspoons baking soda

¼ cup Liquid Castille Soap

12 drops of Grapefruit Seed Extract

10 drops of Pine Essential Oil (select any oil of your choice)

10 drops of Bergamot Essential Oil (mix another oil of your choice to change the total scent)

Melt the Shea Butter in a measuring cup or a glass canning jar. Add Almond Oil, Aloe Gel, Honey, Guar Gum, baking soda, Grapefruit Seed Extract, mix well with mixer. Mix in the essential oil (s) of your choice. Place cream in a pump container or a jar (plastic or glass).

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Recommendation - Redline Flashlight


Redline Flashlight by Nebo

Bulldog Man and I purchased this flashlight at our local Army Surplus store, cost $26.00.  We saw the same flashlight at the local gun show and it was going for $32.00.  Internet search shows for sale at Target for $34.99.

This flashlight comes highly recommended by Bulldog Man and me.  It has the following functions which makes it a good value, for a small flashlight.  Great for emergencies, bugging out, and everyday carry.  With the right bracket, it would make a good night light on any tactical shotgun.

Here are the “Specs”:
A single push button on the back controls:
3 way power, 220 lumens, 110 lumens, 22 lumens, or 100 percent, 50 percent and 10 percent.  It has S.O.S. and “strobe flashing”.  Heavy duty aircraft aluminum uses 3 AAA batteries, single LED.
Has a 1 to 4 zoom. 220 lumens go to 150 yards, maximum battery life 4 hours. 110 lumens go to 65 yards, maximum battery 8 hours. 22 lumens go out 30 yards, maximum battery 15 hours. S.O.S. strobe flashing 72 hours (no distance mentioned).  Magnetic base to hold flashlight in place.
Dropped by Bulldog Man on the first real day of use, with damage to the internal circuit.  Contacted company.  Instant response and friendly replacement through the mail within a week of receipt.  Despite Bulldog Man’s clumsiness, company was more than willing to ensure that he was satisfied.  Give them a try.
Bulldog Rating: 3 Out of 4 Paws

Clove Oil - Butterfly


 
I’ve stashed a few bottles of Clove Oil in my first aid kit.  After burning the inside of the roof of my mouth on hot food, I was ready to try anything to relieve the pain.  I took a cotton ball and sprinkled several drops of the Clove Oil on it.  Then (not following instructions) I placed the cotton ball directly on the burn inside my mouth and held it there for 30 seconds.  After the 30 seconds, I removed the cotton ball and felt no more burning pain on the inside of my mouth.  The instructions state if using Clove Oil as a treatment, you should dilute it with water when touching the skin or insides of your mouth.  Only use the Clove Oil straight up when applying directly to a tooth that is hurting.
*****
Yesterday, while watching the dogs play outside in the back part of the property, I came across this beautiful butterfly perched on the dirty bird bath.  I hadn’t had a chance yet clean the bird bath out, and put new water in for the birds. 
 
With the temperatures dropping into the low 20’s the late evening, early morning hours, and somewhere between 46 – 60 degrees during the day it’s strange to see a butterfly.  I’m thinking with all these drastic weather changes the poor thing is confused. 

 
How was your weekend?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Red Dawn, The Movie - Update Surgery - Thanksgiving Day Wish - Upcoming Give-Away


This afternoon Bulldog Man and I took our son to the theatre to watch Red Dawn.  The movie opened with current events occurring around the world.  Great movie to watch, but I was a little disappointed in the cinematography; it was jerky, like video clips seen in those video games.  All in all, it’s a movie worth watching.
********
Update on our son Tank. Early this morning, we were scheduled to see the orthopedic surgeon on a follow up appointment for the work completed on our son’s hand.  The surgeon advised that Tank’s hand is healing and it’s time to remove the pins.  To remove the pins will require a live x-ray and another surgery.  The doctor also found another problem; apparently the tendon is an issue and may require additional surgery.  Right now we’re waiting for a phone call to schedule surgery for removal of pins and a MRI test.
********
 

“Thanksgiving Day is a jewel, to set in the hearts of honest men; but be careful that you do not take the day, and leave out the gratitude.” –E.P. Powell

Stay tuned.  After the holiday, I will be organizing another give-away. 




Thanksgiving Wish from Freebies.about.com


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Canning Cranberry Orange Sauce & A Potential Christmas Gift


Cranberry Orange Sauce for Thanksgiving and any occasion that tickles your fancy.
 
Cranberry Orange Sauce
9 cups of fresh cranberries

Zest 2 oranges then cut in half and juice

4 cups sugar

4 cups water

In a pot, pour water, sugar, orange juice, and zest; stir thoroughly.  Bring to a boil (keep stirring), turn heat down to medium.  Add fresh cranberries continue stirring for approximately 12 minutes, pull off the stove.  Use a potato masher to mash up some (not all) of the cranberries.  Refrigerate if you’re going to use the same day you make them, or you can process the cranberries in pint jars, ½ inch head space for 10 minutes in a water bath.

After processing and once cooled, the cranberry sauce will solidify.

Please refer to Ball’s Canning booklet if you’re not familiar with canning procedures.

*****

Yet another idea for Christmas gift giving, homemade Shave Cream.
I found the recipe here, borrowed the basics, and modified the recipe.



Homemade Shave Cream
¼ cup Almond Oil

3 Tablespoons Shea Butter

2 Tablespoons of Aloe Gel

2 Tablespoons of Honey

1 Tablespoon Guar Gum

2 Teaspoons baking soda

¼ cup Liquid Castille Soap

12 drops of Grapefruit Seed Extract

10 drops of Pine Essential Oil (select any oil of your choice)

10 drops of Bergamot Essential Oil (mix another oil of your choice to change the total scent)

Melt the Shea Butter in a measuring cup or a glass canning jar.  Add Almond Oil, Aloe Gel, Honey, Guar Gum, baking soda, Grapefruit Seed Extract, mix well with mixer. Mix in the essential oil (s) of your choice.  Place cream in a pump container or a jar (plastic or glass).
 
 
Pic Source: menshair.about.com

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

New Member - Chai Tea - Pictures - Orange Rolls

We welcomed a new member to our house on Saturday.  A little girl approximately 6 pounds, and supposedly 3years of age (I doubt that, see below).

This is “Bug”. She’s very nosey inquisitive and loves her new home. Bug loves to be right next to you and under your feet, if she has her way, she’d rather be in your arms.  The reason I doubt she’s 3 years old, she wants to bite everything wood (chairs, TV stand, table), she cries if she can’t find you, and always wants your attention.  I’ve picked up toys for teething, soft dog treats and food, we’re constantly keeping her busy, and letting her know she’s okay (building her confidence).  Our other dog, Beans, adores her.

*****

 



This is the final product, now I need to place the Chai Tea
in smaller jars and dress up the jars for the holidays.
 
As explained in previous posts, Christmas this year will be all homemade gifts, and blessings from the heart.  Several members of our family enjoy Chai Tea, and go to Starbucks often.  Instead of providing gift cards to Starbucks, I’ve made the Chai Tea mix myself, and stored the tea in mason jars.    All I need to do now is pickup some beautiful Christmas material and make a topper for each Mason jar, place a name tag on each jar, and there you have it; Christmas gifts from the heart for several members of the family.
 
Chai Tea Recipe

1 cup of nonfat powdered milk

1 ¾ cups powdered non-dairy creamer

¼ cup powdered vanilla non-dairy creamer

2 ½ cups of sugar

1 ½ cups unsweetened instant tea

2 tsp. ground ginger

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. ground cloves

1 tsp. ground cardamom (cardamom is expensive, can substitute with ½ tsp. cinnamon and ½ tsp. nutmeg). 

Mix well, I throw all the ingredients into my food processor and blend until mixed well and not as coarse.

Place mixture into Mason jars and seal. 

When making a Chai Tea, mix 2 heaping tablespoons in a mug, pour hot water, and stir well to mix the tea mixture in with the water.

*****
Sky pictures, you’ll notice a tower standing in these pictures.  I’m at the airport, no I’m not traveling.  My husband has traveled every weekend, actually long extended weekends for the last 2 months throughout the U.S. for work.  While waiting to pick up my husband, I entertained myself with taking pictures at the airport.  Here are a few of the pictures I snapped of a changing sunset.


 

 

*****

Have you ever had a craving for something and just didn’t feel like running to a store to get the product?  Well, I had a craving last night for orange rolls and decided to make them.  To make it easier on my hands (because they hurt due to arthritis pain), I feed all the ingredients into my bread machine and selected option 8 on the machine.  Selecting this option, the bread machine will mix, knead, and rise, for me automatically.  Once done, I rolled out the dough on to my countertop and spread out the orange filling over the dough.  Then roll the dough up like a cake roll, cut dough into rolls and place them in a greased glass container for baking.  Here is a picture of the end result.  My dough recipe was found here, great blog site to follow.   As for the filling and glaze recipe, you can find them here.



*****

 
On a cold day there is nothing better than a hot bowl of soup and homemade biscuits.   The soup of the day; vegetable ground beef, topped with Parmigiano Reggiano.

Soups and stews are amazing foods to warm the stomach and soul when cold outside, and it’s good for the body J

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Veteran's Day


                       God Bless Our Veteran's, Thank You For Fighting For America's Freedoms.


Source: YouTube/Army Veteran 101st

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Signs of Winter


The last two days feels Old Man Winter has decided to visit this part of Oklahoma. I have snapped a few pictures of the changes we are seeing.  Everything is changing; the grass is no longer green, the leaves and flowers on the trees are turning yellow and brown.  Some trees are showing signs of dying.  Will we have the harsh winter as predicted this year, or will it be warm?  Mother Nature may just surprise us.  Sunday we’re supposed to have rain and the potential of snow. 

















Have you seen a dramatic change in the last couple of days?