Create Your Own "Hot Pocket"
I know I haven't mentioned this before, but I have some pretty picky children when it comes to food. Some days I just don't want to deal with it so we have, design your own hot pocket lunch day. After making bread I always set aside a chunk of dough to make different things with and one of those are hot pockets.
First off, I break the dough into small balls, about 2" in diameter. Each child gets to roll out their own dough and put whatever their heart desires that day onto half of the dough. Because my hot pocket was the yummiest and most desirable:), that will be the tutorial I will show you.
I use my Ready,Set, Go Grill to bake these for 3 minutes on each side or you could put them in a 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes. Last year I made up a bunch of these with garden produce and froze them for a quick meal. My other favorite filling is tomatoes, onions, pesto, basil and mozzarella cheese.
Peanut butter, honey and chocolate chip hot pocket. Two chose this version.
Plain ole cheddar cheese.
Apples, Apples, Apples!
We had the opportunity this past week to visit my aunt's little farm and pick loads of apples. My children look forward to this every other year and we have been doing it since they were young. After picking (and eating) their fill of apples they got to feed the ground apples to goats, chickens, bunnies and horses. When we arrived home an hour and half later I found myself with fifteen large bags of apples and a van floor full of half eaten apples. Now what to do with them all.
This was the first and last picture of my applesauce making day, because it was a crazy, messy, long, not want to be remembered day. So I will refer you to the post below from my Mom's blog for making applesauce, and always remember that "Mother knows best". especially when it comes to making applesauce.
These are some of the things I plan to do with the seven bags of apples I have left.
We made these apple nachos for lunch. I saw these on pinterest last year and we enjoyed them so much we make them all the time now, we make them different each time depending on what we have and what we feel like. Today we had peanut butter, chocolate shell, coconut, and almonds.
I can't have a post titled Apples, Apples, Apples without sharing our favorite apple picking book. We like to read this before we go picking apples. It is so cute and even the big kids love hearing it.
That time of year has come again for us Latter Day Saints, as we gather around our t.v's, computers, electronic devices in our ward houses, and for some lucky ones - in the Conference Center, to listen to the messages prepared by the Lord's servants. All are welcomed to join us, for information on times and viewing sources click here.
I am always looking for ways to keep my children attentive, yet busy, so that I can hear what the spirit has to teach me through these men and women, called of God. I have tried many things over the years to keep their attention, and honestly, I have found simple things have worked the best. Here is a collection of General Conference helps and activities, you just might find something to help as you prepare for General Conference.
This past conference I put forth the effort and time to make the Conference Center Board, it was a huge hit and nothing else had ever held my children's attention like it before. They were attentively listening for what each speaker was talking about so they could put the picture in the quote box. The only problem we had was fighting over who got to the put the speaker at the pulpit - but for my children that is a given. This year I found the mini interactive conference folders, which are the same concept and I may have to put those together for next year and see if we can avoid some brawling (I won't hold my breath on that one though).
Another fun thing we have a done for a couple of General Conferences are apostle bags. I place a quiet activity or treat in fifteen different bags and place a picture of the first presidency and twelve apostles on each one. When that person is speaking they look for the bag with his picture and do whatever is in it. This keeps the excitement going, the boredom at bay and helps them learn their leaders.
I do use Conference notebooks and have tried many packets throughout the years that I have found on the internet, but those don't seem to be big hits with the older children and littles just rip them up. I mainly use these packets for after Conference discussions and review. One day a week for devotional we review a Conference talk and have the children write down what they can work on or what their thoughts are on that talk. The little ones join us at the table and color the pictures in their packets. These are my favorite notebooks that I have used.
For Mama study, I love these General Conference Journals. I learn and study by writing, highlighting, coloring and drawing visual aids. I have used the freebie notebook pages for the last couple Conferences but I would really love the bound journal - I have some of Shannon's (Red Headed Hostess) scriptures journals and I LOVE them!
Most of all the best way for us to prepare for General Conference is to pray and prepare ourselves spiritually to receive the messages the Lord has for us.
Immune Boosting Herbal Tea
The temperatures are starting drop around here in Northern Utah and tonight was not only a cold one but I felt like I might be coming down with something. I have no symptoms but a feeling, so I whipped me up a cup of yummy herbal tea. I have tried a few "immune boosting" herbal teas and frankly, they were nasty. I love herbs but I'm not a big fan of drinking them as a tea, so I had to make me a tea blend that actually tasted good and I could get my children to drink. I love to take this when I feel something coming on or if there are "bugs" going around and when I am knee deep into a sickness.
Elderberries - enhance the immune system, great for coughs, colds, respiratory problems and the flu.
Hibiscus Flowers - for flavor.
Nettle leaves - immune boosting properties, blood builder and purifier, rich in vitamins and minerals, whole body tonic.
Rosehips - high source of vitamin C and helps to fight infection, also adds flavor.
Fresh Ginger - moves blood, activates the brain and protects the immune system. (you could also use dried ginger just cut the amount in half)
Raw Honey (not an herb, I know, but a great ingredient) - I love to use raw honey to sweeten my teas because it not only makes them more palatable it adds its own set of healing benefits including; anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, immune boosting and soothing for sore throats.
1 part elderberries
1 part hibiscus flowers
1 part nettles
1 part rosehips
1/4 part ginger root
Mix all the herbs together and keep stored in a container. I keep a quart jar of this mix ready to go, although tonight I am down to my last couple of teaspoons - good thing I just made an order from Bulk Herb Store because they are having a sale!
I make a quart of tea at a time (except for tonight:)) and sip it throughout the day. Sipping on your tea over an extended period of time is the best way to incorporate the medicinal properties into your system. Although tonight I had a tea thief sitting next to me so if I wanted any I had to drink it fast. Follow instructions for making an herbal tea here.
Sweeten with raw honey, then enjoy!
You can also use this blend to make a tincture, glycerite, or herbal capsules.
Where to Get These Ingredients
What herbs I can't grow and store myself I order from Bulk Herb Store or Mountain Rose Herbs. Bulk Herb Store also carries the raw honey or this can be purchased from a health food store or from a local bee keeper.
Shared On: Elderberry Herbal Link Up.
I am starting the process of cleaning out the garden and getting it prepped for winter. Today I pulled the rest of the zucchini off the plant and I still had some in the house that had be gathered earlier and shredded the entire bunch. I used my amazing Bosch Mixer with the Food Processor Attachment and it made very light work of the shredding. I have two huge bowls of shredded zucchini, so now what?
Probiotic Zucchini Relish
I went to a class last month on fermented foods and how good they are for you, along with how simple they are to prepare. My first experiment was zucchini relish and I loved it so much that I wanted to make more for the winter. Here is my recipe and here is a great post on the basics, how to and why of fermented foods (aka probiotic rich foods). Here is another good post on Fermenting for Beginners.
Add the following ingredients into a large bowl:
3 1/2 cups shredded zucchini
1/2 cup shredded onion
1/2 cup chopped peppers (any kind)
3 cloves, minced garlic
1 Tbsp. Real salt (the salt is important in ferments, always use a trace mineral rich salt, not refined or iodized)
Stir together well and pour into a wide-mouthed quart jar, crock, or glass jar with tight fitting lid (I used a large Adams PB jar and some Costco raspberry jam jars). Let sit for 3-6 days on your counter top, the ferment is finished when the liquid is foggy and you can see lots of bubbles. If stored in a cold, dark place, like a fridge or cold cellar it will keep for a year.
*I ran out of peppers and had an overflowing goji berry bush outside so I threw in 1/4 cup of goji berries on the last couple of jars in place of the peppers. Improvise with what you have, as long as there is garlic, all is well:)
Zucchini Pizza Crust
I found this recipe just this week and I am so excited to try it. Here is the post with the recipe and instructions.
Zucchini Pesto Pasta
When I saw this recipe all I could think of was how much I love putting pesto on everything and how I never thought of smothering it over shredded zucchini before, mmmm. I will be making this for lunch tomorrow - picky kids beware!
Shared on: Required Ingredient.
Colors Hike at Bloomington Lake
This weekend we were back at Bear Lake for a quick overnighter and hike to Bloomington Lake (minus Big Man, he is still a little traumatized after our last visit). Big Woman planned a family hike for us, to pass off a requirement in her Faith in God Program. She had us look for a variety of colors in nature, usingthese color cards. The children had a great time looking for the different colors in nature and Little Man especially loves all things nature, he came back with a pocket full of rocks, a stick, and a handful of sand (which is pretty challenging with only one usable hand). Here is our picture collection of the colors we found.
I had to include a few other photos of this beautiful lake hike.
We will be joining the Handbook of Nature Study for theAutumn Tree Study Challenge and encourage you to get outdoors with your children (or grandchildren), enjoy this beautiful world the Lord has created us!
All Natural Bathroom Scrub
Back in the day when I realized how much I was being affected by chemical cleaners in my home and wanted them out, I found Norwex Cloths online and fell in love with them. I immediately got rid of all my cleaners except my Comet for the bathtub (these cloths were just not doing it for my bathtub grime) and my toilet bowl cleaner (I'm not cleaning the inside of my toilet with these cloths, thank you very much!). After a short time I realized that I needed to find something natural to replace these two cleaners because I would get a huge headache every time I cleaned my bathroom and I now had a toddler crawling about that I was terrified would get into a cupboard and kill himself eating these last two chemical cleaners left in my home (he was the child that couldn't be child proofed no matter what I did).
So the search began, I found an awesome natural bathroom scrub from Norwex, but for thirty bucks a pop! I also found a bunch of toilet bowl cleaner recipes online but wasn't completely thrilled with any of them. At the time I was experimenting with dishwasher detergents and they were failing left and right, I don't like to throw anything out so I tried one of them as a bathroom scrub for my tub and sinks. I added a few of my favorite cleaning essential oils (Citrus Fresh or Purification) and I had a new bathroom scrub. I loved the way it cleaned and using essential oils disinfect and prevent mold and bacteria from growing. I then tried it in the toilet and it worked great! So now I have a multi-purpose bathroom scrub that works for sinks, tubs and even the toilet!
1 cup baking soda
1/3 cup citric acid
1/3 cup salt
Add to a container and shake to incorporate all the ingredients. Then add 15 drops essential oil, check out my Cleaning with No Chemicals post for bacteria busting essential oils.
You can place this solution in a used spice jar container for easy sprinkling or just keep a tablespoon in your container and sprinkle around your wet tub, sink or toilet. After cleaning my bathtub I spray with my disinfectant spray (included in Cleaning with No Chemicals post) to prevent mold growth.
Kiddie Calm Herbal Blend
Here is a calming herb blend that works very well for children due to the child friendly herbs used in it. Not only are they tasty herbs, they work to calm, relax and ease anxiety. Any time a child comes to me with a complaint, upset tummy, aches or pains, etc. I always just give them a couple dropperfulls of this in glycerite form and they are all better. I'm still waiting for it to work at bed time though. ;)
Mix equal parts of the following herbs:
Spearmint - mild pain reliever, digestive aid for any gastrointestinal issues
Chamomile - sleep aid, sedative, eases anxiety, the best herb for use with infants and children.
Lemon Balm - good for easing anxiety, child's herb for sleep and nightmares, nervine.
Catnip - soothes and nourished nerves and muscles. Pain relieving and calming.
Lemon balm has a higher potency when used fresh so I always gather these herbs fresh from the garden in the fall to make a glycerite for a long term storage and ease of administering to my kiddos (an myself...yum). You can also used dried herbs to make an herbal tea, for an herbal bath or foot soak or even herbal capsules.
In Rosemary Gladstars Medicinal Herbs she lists how much of tinctures and teas to administer for medicinal purposes. These dosages are based off of her chart.
For stress or anxiety relief:
3-6 months: 3 drops
6-9 months: 4 drops
9-12 months: 5 drops
12-18 months: 7 drops
3-6 years: 1/2 teaspoon or 2 dropperfuls, 2-3 times a day
6-10 years: 3/4 teaspoon or 3 dropperfuls, 2-3 times a day
Adults: 1 teaspons or 5 dropperfuls, 2-3 times a day
For a Bedtime Calmer follow the dosages above a half hour before bedtime or one cup of tea.
Where To Get Ingredient for This Project
What I can't grow in my own garden I purchase from Mountain Rose Herbs or Bulk Herb Store. Both herb stores also carry the vegetable glycerine and dropper bottles.
Peppermint Sore Throat Spray
Some of my favorite herbal recipes come from Rosemary Gladstar's Medicinal Herbs. This is one of my must have home remedies for the winter months. It seems like each person in my family responds to a virus in different ways. I have one child that always gets a sick stomach and throws up. Another that gets fevers. And then there is me, I always get it in my throat! I made and started using this sore throat spray last year and now I can't live without it. At the onset of a dry or sore throat I start spraying it with this every hour or sometimes more frequently depending on how I feel. During the night it works great on those dry hacking coughs that keep you up all night. Also use for strained throat, tonsillitis, strep throat or any kind of throat condition, I've even used it as a breath freshener!
This is the original recipe from the book, but I tweak it below, using echinacea glycerite rather than the tincture and I like my peppermint strong so I added a few more drops of essential oil.
1/4 cup echinacea tincture
1/8 cup vegetable glycerine or honey
1/8 cup water
1-2 drops of peppermint essential oil
1/4 cup echinacea glycerite (follow instructions here, to make your own)
1/8 cup distilled water
6-8 drops peppermint essential oil or Thieves oil
Mix ingredients thoroughly and pour into a spritzer bottle. Spray as often as needed.
Where Do I Get Ingredients to Make This
Mountain Rose Herbs carries herbal tinctures and glycerites as well as herbs and vegetable glycerine so you can make your own. Bulk Herb Store also carries herbs and vegetable glycerine. I always choose between these two online stores because I trust them to only carry organic, high quality products. Make sure the essential oil you use is 100% genuine and pure.
Heal All Herbal Mix
This herb blend has been around a very long time and can be found in just about every herb book you can open. Each herbalist calls it something different and I have even given it my own name. My kiddos refer to it as sick syrup (because they know it in glycerite form) and I like to call it "Heal All" because it seems to do just that. No matter the ailment I always use this blend, many times combining it with others. It is the number one thing I make sure to have on hand going in to cold and flu season. It is especially good for naturally reducing fevers and boosting the immune system to aid the body in combating cold and flu symptoms.
Mix equal parts of the following herbs:
Peppermint (could also use spearmint) - nausea, vomiting, pain reliever, and fever reducer.
Elder Flowers - Known for their immune boosting properties which makes it ideal for any type of sickness, especially colds, coughs, and flu symptoms. It is also great respiratory herb.
Yarrow (leaves and flowers) - One of those "heal all" herbs, great for reducing fevers and healing digestive problems. It stimulates circulation and aids the respiratory system, making it a great winter illness herb.
How To Prepare and Use Heal All Blend
The simplest method for using this herbal blend is through an herbal infusion (tea). At the onset of cold or flu symptoms administer 1/4 cup of tea every half hour for up to 4 cups a day.
Bath and Foot Soak
If you are not a tea drinker (or your children aren't) then here is another method to "take your tea". For instructions on how to use an herbal tea as a bath or foot soak, click here. I find this method particularly useful for reducing fevers. Just make sure to have the "patient" drink lots of fluids while in the bath, the body will be perspiring a lot and the fluids will need to be replenished.
Glycerite/Tincture or Syrup
My number one way to use this herbal mix is through an herbal glycerite. I keep this in my fridge year round and we use it weekly. We call it "sick syrup" around here and the kids are always requesting it for when they have tummy aches or don't feel good. They have even requested it for cuts and scrapes! Because it is made withvegetable glycerine, it is sweet and they love the taste of peppermint so it is not a fight getting them to take their "medicine".
For acute conditions administer two dropperfuls (infants one dropperful) every hour until symptoms subside. For fevers I usually give it more often, even up to every 15 minutes. I will also give it whenever the children request it, even for cuts and scrapes.:)
Here are the instructions for making a glycerite, traditional tincture and herbal syrup.
Fresh is always best so I wanted to get my "Sick Syrup" ready for winter using the fresh herbs I have in my garden. I just planted Elder this spring so it is not producing flowers yet so I purchased dried Elder flowers from Mountain Rose Herbs and just mixed it with my fresh herbs. All the herbs in this blend can be purchased from either Mountain Rose Herbs or Bulk Herb Store.
Shared on: Elderberry Herbal Link Up
Hi, I’m Annie, a child of God, Mother of Influence and Master Herbalist. Welcome to my place where I share what I have learned of natural and frugal living, healthy eating and living, gardening, homeschooling, herbal crafting, preparing temporally and spiritually, and love for God and Country.