Saturday, March 31, 2012

Healing oils and cocoons and a ballet girl

While studying Ancient Egypt, we learned that the Egyptians would use oils made from wonderful plants and spices to rub the bodies of the deceased before they are wrapped for burial.  We used the Rosemary plant (above) and some Cinnamon (ground, dried) and olive oil to make our own lovely oil (healing, especially for aches and pains). We put everything in a mason jar and set it in a sunny window for over a week, shaking it every day.

                                                           Shake, shake, shake :)

                                                         Shake, shake, shake :)
After that, the boys strained the oil in a stainless steel strainer (cheesecloth would work also)
                                                    and funneled back into a clean jar.
                                              There ya have it.  A lovely essential oil rub down concoction, aka: infusion.                   My husband and middle boys have been using it tremendously this week.
Above is a picture of a Praying Mantis cocoon. My husband collects them in the spring and puts them in our gardens and greenhouses. They "eat the bugs that eat daddy's plants!" says my baby son. Praying Mantis babies climb out, when they hatch, by the HUNDREDS. It is the most awesome thing ever to witness!  In order for everyone in this house to watch one of them hatch, we put one of the cocoons (found at the local park by a friend at our playgroup) into a mason jar with a mesh lid.  Don't get caught with it hatching in your car though!  haha.  this happened to a friend and she was DAYS getting those lil guys out of her car.  :)
                                           Praying Mantis cocoon attached to a stick.
on the nature table it sits...and we wait ;) We did get to witness the hatching of 2 of them already this year, early by most standards (March has been WARM here!). One in the jar and one in the greenhouse.  Baby boy wanted to name the babies but after the 5th one (out of 100-ish babies) he decided it was a bad idea.  Giggle.
Here are the pictures of the enclosed cocoon being hatched.  We really enjoyed the show!

Can you see them?
                                            We decided to learn about cocoons and settled on creating a putty recreation of a Basket Moth cocoon.  Zarian did a great job and then drew it on paper for his portfolio.

Then I just had to share these sweet pics of Willow dressed as a ballerina.  You know, in this house of all boys, it was a welcome bit of pink cuteness.  A friend gave us the outfit.  We all enjoyed the evening of watching her spin and twirl with her 15 month old silly self.  :)

and clap and spin and touch her toes.  How does she know to do this?  Must be the pink frills leading the way :)

                                          Willow being silly.  We just adore this sweet pink ballerina!
                                      Spring has sprung and its great to be a part of it!   xxoox

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Knit Along Link Up: Kanoko Pants

I am joining Ginny at the Yarn Along:

What I am making:
Beet Kvass

 Beet Kvass is fermented beets, taken as a tonic daily. I got the recipe from one of my VERY favorite books: Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. The drink (tonic) is valuable for its medicinal qualities and used as a digestive aid. It is loaded with vitamins, nutrients and is an excellent blood tonic, promotes regularity, alkalizes the blood, cleans the liver, a good treatment for kidney stones and other ailments, aids digestion and many other things. The fermentation process of beets (lacto-fermented foods) gets the digestive juices flowing and helps aid in putting back good bacteria and helping to heal the gut (*disclaimer: I am only quoting others and I am not a Dr, therefore I do not claim that this drink will heal  you and you must always consult your Dr or do other research etc...etc...blah blah)  Many scientific studies have demonstrated that beets have a regenerating effect on the body (from Annelies Schoneck De Crudites Toute L'Annee)
Anyway, it is VERY beautiful and lovely and I am on day 2 of the fermentation process.  The recipe calls for Whey, which I made 2 days ago by straining organic yogurt to separate the whey. I used the leftovers to make homemade Cream Cheese.  

What I am reading:

 Right now I am finishing up I Know This Much is True  by Wally Lamb.  I love love love this book!

I also glanced through Chicks With Sticks Guide to Knitting.   I can't wait to try some of the patterns.

I am going to start The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.  I have heard a lot of good reviews about this book, can't wait to start it tonight.

Lastly, I AM SUPER EXCITED about reading Sassafrass, Cypress & Indigo  BY Ntozake Shange
I opened up a random page and found the most LOVELY paragraph!  The title of the paragraph is "Emergency Care of Wounds That Cannot Be Seen" : " Hold the victim gently, Rock in the manner of a quiet sea. Hum softly from your heart. Repeat the victim's name with love." .....more...more....lovely words..."New associations should be made with caution, more care for herself."

Oh my!  Isn't that just beautiful?  The words give me chills and I CANNOT wait to dive headfirst into this book!

Top books reading to the boys today are:
~ Peter in Blueberry Land by Elsa Beskow.  You know, ANYTHING by Elsa Beskow is the worth reading to my children and does a happy dance in my soul as well.
~Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems

                                                              On my needles:

 A pair of butter soft hand dyed LONGIES for Willow.  I love the longies.  They did NOT turn out wonky like the last pair that I made (you can see them here) but I do NOT like the seed stitch.  Well, I DO love the way the seed stitch LOOKS but not KNITTING the seed stitch.  It drives me batty. An entirely new type of batty.

I tried to position the longies to take a picture.  How, do tell, can you position pants for a picture?!  Don't they look embarrassed or something?  ha!
This *may* show you a better view of the beautiful colors of this Baby Alpaca yarn.  Its a purple-ish color with hues of red and blue poking out here and there.  Totally beyond my scope of imagination to describe these luscious colors and its softness.

Now, I just need to fold down the ribbed band and add an i-cord /drawstring to it for completion.

I just thought the color was similar to the beet kvass and took a shot of that, because well, I like colors and all ;)

Happy knitting, cool knitters!  I can't wait to visit the "link up" and see what you guys have on the nightstand and on the needles.  

Friday, March 16, 2012

Deep Dish Muffin Tin Pizza Party :)

I just had to add this cute little cape that was made for my middle boys by my Mama. The pattern was given to me by a friend and since I am NOT a sewing queen, or a stitcher AT ALL, Mama made them.
cool velcro and reversible

Now for the pizza party.  We have pizza day here.  A lot.  I found the idea for this on Pinterest for Deep Dish personal mini pizzas using muffin tins. My kids love to help make a mess cook in the kitchen with us.  A great idea that everyone in the family can help with and totally enjoy.You just take tortilla/wraps and cut circles into them using a cup or anything circular
we used the Peanut Butter lid.

               Put the circle cut outs into a muffin tin.  I used olive oil to oil each muffin spot first. Then lay  the shell in there, then dump a bunch of pizza sauce into that.
You can use anything you want.  We have an abundance of Spring Onions that hubby just harvested, so our pizzas were on the Onion overload. :) We also used tomatoes, Red Peppers, Feta, Mozz, TONS AND TONS of garlic and newly harvested spinach, since its coming out of our ears.

                                                  Grate a bunch of cheese, your choice
isn't that pretty?

Preheat the oven to 400.  Bake for about 15 minutes. 

We made 3 different types because we have 3 tomato lovers in the house, and  3 that don't care for them.
Willow and I are Gluten Free (except those pesky cheat days, ha!) so I just made a few regular tortilla pizzas using Gluten Free wraps.

They turned out so cute and the perfect individual serving size

The taste testers APPROVED!

THIS fellow ate 6 of them!  

This fellow had 3.


                                  There ya go.  Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy!  Happy Friday Friends!