Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Tasty Teas #9: Catnip

I have a mint garden in my front yard, there are four different kinds of mint, peppermint, spearmint, lemon balm and catnip!  Did you know that catnip isn't just for the kitties?  It's really good for us humans too!  What's interesting is that while it makes the cats go nuts, it has a calming affect on us.  Cat nip tea is delicious.

It has a soothing affect on the tummy.  If somebody has indigestion, gas or is feeling a bit queazy, cat nip is the one I reach for on a lazy day.  It's important to note, however, that catnip will make you sleepy!  So if you are trying to get up and get out of the house, this may not be your herb.  However if it's the end of the day, you've got some nervous tension and need to relax, make yourself a 'cuppa, sit back and let it take affect.  I guarantee you will have a good night's sleep.  I love this herb.  Also, both my kiddos drink it with a little bit of honey: it's a perfect remedy for those long nights when your kid is sick to their stomach with a tummy bug.

To prepare, I take the fresh herb from my garden and dry it.  Like any herb I harvest, I try to make it as clean and user friendly as possible.  I cut off stems as soon as I pick it so it's not twiggy, I be sure to get rid of any discolored leaves, bugs or other things that just don't look right.  Most importantly, I thank the plant for being in my life and what it has to offer.  Then I set it out to dry on an old window screen, tossing it around once a day till the leaves are fully dry.  Once dried, I store in a large glass container and it will last throughout the year till next harvest, if I don't drink it first!  When I make tea, I generally go by a teaspoon per cup of water.

This is a magic herb.  It is also good for the babes too as you can see in my previous posts, Catnip Teething Pops and Tasty Teas #2: Tea for Teething .   Sorry if there is any redundancy here, I just can't stress enough how great this herb is!  It really does deserve all the publicity it can get!  Love and Light to you all!  Happy Tea Drinking!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Foot to Arm: Serafin's Arm Warmers

My kids inspire me all the time.  Today Serafin came up to me and asked me if she could make arm cuffs from a pair of her old socks.  Ok.  Easy enough. . . . 

She did the cutting and two minutes later on the sewing machine ( plus a little hot glue gunning of the felted hearst she wanted to add at the last minute) et voila!  One might look at them and think their nothing special, but I think Serafin would beg to differ, . . . check out the smile on her face.  

I don't know if you remember me saying that my dining room was my studio, it really is.  Last week I did a bit of a re-do and now both the kids and I have good clean space to work in.  I love how we bounce ideas off each other.  Yesterday Serafin was wanting to cover a headband with fabric and that lead me down the rabbit hole of watching tutorials on different ways to cover headbands.  Perhaps a new product is in the making for the "shop".  

My dining room/art studio, the kids table is in the right corner, we craft together!

In regards to my "shop", Dragonfly Whimsies, please check it out if you haven't already.  It is a work in progress and I am trying to figure out how to get my name out there.  Any ideas or even passing along my name to anybody who think might be interested would be incredibly appreciated.  

Creating the store was a big feat for me.  It was very exciting to find a creative niche, especially on Orcas, where there is so much creativity and art.  It's been a wonderful outlet for me, both emotionally and spiritually.  I also love modeling some form of a work ethic for my kids.  I am a stay at home single mother.  I have been blessed to be able to hang with my kids during the day when they are at home.  Because I don't think my kids will likely have the same cushion that I have, a concern of mine has been that they need to be modeled some form of work ethic.  With the advent of Dragonfly Whimsies, my kids see me building inventory, working at the farmer's market, selling, being involved in the community, making connections, AND, . . .my favorite part, CREATING!  Being at my sewing machine and working while my kids are 4 feet away at their craft tables making their own fabulous creations, talking, bouncing ideas off each other .  A lot of the time I have at least one kid asking me what I'm doing and trying to make their own version of it.  Serafin has even taken to making felt bracelets and selling them for $4.00 a piece at the market.  It's awesome to see and I can't wait to see where it goes.  Love to you all and talk soon!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Not Your Grandma's Applesauce.

Making Apple Sauce is easy-peesy.  My garden has three full grown apple trees.  That's a lot of apples folks.  This time of year (August/ September) I'm constantly looking for things to do with them.  In the end, apple sauce seems to be a family favorite.  We all love to eat it and the kids even love to help with the making process.  It all starts with fresh apples--and, home made apple sauce is a completely different animal (bad analogy here) than store bought, really, there is NO comparison.  

On a day like today, when I don't have much planned and the kids feel like doing some apple picking, I send them out to the yard with a large bowl.  They always come back with it full to the brim with apples.  Henceforth, apple sauce making commences, . . . yummo!

Ingredients: (sorry for the undefined ingredient amounts, that's just kind of how I roll with some things--a pinch of this and a handful of that)

-Apples, lots of them, I'm talking a large bag/bowl full, enough to fill up my large dutch oven
-Brown sugar, about 1/8 cup
-Maple Syrup:  A nice 3 second drizzle
-Water 1/3 cup
-Salt 1/2 Teaspoon
-1/2 Tsp of Cinnamon
-1/4 Tsp of nutmeg
-2 Tbs of butter
-(Optional, and probably not for the kiddos--for a little zing, throw in a pinch of cayenne!)


1.  Chop apples.  Some people like to peel the apples, but I don't have time and it still tastes yummy, so why bother.  It does make the color look a little more like "poop" according to Serafin, but she still eats it, so I guess that's not a bad thing!  Generally I like to cut the apples small, as pictured, but when the kids feel like cutting too, I include them in the process.  If you blend the mixture in the end, then whatever size you cut them doesn't matter, but if you like chunky apple sauce, then consider size when chopping.

2.  Throw them in the pot!  Add all the ingredients accept the butter!

3.  Stir, and bring to a simmer, cover and let cook for about 10-15 minutes stirring every once and a while.

4.  Throw in the butter and cook for another 10 minutes or until wilted down enough to mash with a masher (it should be easy).  

5.  If you want to, use a potato masher and go to town!  The kids like to get involved with that part too!  If you are in the mood for something smooth, throw it all in the blender and voila--you have pureed apple sauce!  You can also use this as a recipe to make fruit leather if you have a dehydrator.  Enjoy!

Kid approved!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Island Extraction--Orcas Happenings 1

Waiting in line to get on the ferry (summer time)

Living on an island makes things interesting.  It's not all that easy to extract yourself from this little bubble.  I was supposed to fly off today, it's a one hour flight straight into the heart of Seattle, alas, of course the one day that we've had rain and thunder this summer, has to be today.  Oh well.  The first time I took a plane off the island was last November, and I have to say, it was a really unpleasant flight, I'd prefer to drive on occasions like this.  

So, . . . now I'm in line at the ferry.  I guess my intuition was spot on because I had a reservation for the ferry just incase something like this happened.  They just started a reservation system this year, no more three hour waits if you are smart enough to book ahead of time.  And yes, the problem is, . . . you have to be smart enough to book ahead of time.  The ferry is loaded with 90% reservations which are opened up at different times, 2 months before departure, 2 weeks and then two days--incase you haven't done the math, this leaves only 10% of ferry space for people who don't have a reservation, that's not a lot.  During the summer, bookings need to be done as soon as they open up, otherwise you are screwed.  Honestly, a lot of people complain about the ferry system, so far I have appreciated it for the most part, but that's because I am good at planning.  I agree though, there are some serious quirks that need to get fixed within the system.  Where I think it sucks is for the islanders who need to get off the island ASAP, for whatever reason.  It's not easy.  

About the ferry.  It's a beautiful ride.  Right now I've set myself up with a project that I've been waiting to complete, yup, I'll be enjoying my ride armed with a pink tutu.  There's nothing like looking at the shores of the San Juans while you sew hot pink buttons on to an elastic wasteband.  And yes, I'm %100 serious here.  Despite the fact it can be a real pain in the You Know What to get off this island, the built in down time allows me to relax and enjoy the scenery a bit.  It's alone time, which is something that I don't get very much of, so I enjoy it where I can.

This weekend I'm heading into the city for a fun weekend.  The kiddos are with their papa.  I'm gonna hang with my awesome boyfriend.   I'm also going to see my old friend Dave who is in town helping my Dad move into his new house.  My Dad just recently purchased a house in Seattle! He is working on selling the house my brother and I grew up in, Dad lived in the house for something like 45 years.  It's a strange concept for me not to be able to go back to the house I grew up in, the payoff for a little strangeness is having my Dad close by, how cool is that?  I'm excited.  This weekend I'm going to get to view the new digs for the first time, along with receiving some old items that were my moms, her tincture press and her recorder.  Mom's spirit still shows up in surprising places. 

This blog post is kind of an experiment, I downloaded a blogger app on my phone and I want to see how it works!  I realized it had been a year since I wrote.  There are reasons for this, more about that later, but I'm turning over a new leaf here and am starting up a new business so it's time to connect back to my online community.  I love you all! More from this island gal later!