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Winter..A lingering season. It's a time to gather golden moments, embark on a sentimental journey, and enjoy every idle hour.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Don't Forget...

To feed the birds! Their food sources are becoming limited and they're hungry! I actually feed ours all year round here at the cottage and it brings me great pleasure to watch them flit about our trees.

Anyone who has purchased seeds and prepared bird seed blocks knows it can be costly to feed these little creatures. Ours here at the cottage have ravenous appetites, but here is a wonderful recipe that was given to me for making your own homemade blocks for your favorite feathered friends.

Give it a try! The birds will love you for it! They also make perfect gifts for other bird lovers in your life.

You'll Need:
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup water
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
3 tbsp. corn syrup
4 cups birdseed
molds (muffin tin, cookie cutters, etc.)
nonstick spray
drinking straw
waxed paper

1: Combine the flour, water, gelatin and corn syrup in a large mixing bowl. Stir until well-combined.

2: Add the birdseed to the mixture, stir until well coated.

3: Spray your mold (or molds if you're making small ones) with cooking spray, and spoon birdseed mixture into each mold. Use the bottom of a measuring cup to pack it down and make the top smooth. Place a straw in each bird block so that you can slip a ribbon through them when they are dry.

4: Leave the birdseed mixture in the molds for two to three hours. Then, remove the straws and lay out a sheet of waxed paper. Gently remove the hardened ornaments from the mold, and place them on the wax paper upside down. Allow them to dry for at least two to three more hours, or overnight.

6: Package them for a wonderful little gift or hang them in the tree for your feathered friends!

The Aroma Of Homemade Corn Chowder...

I just love making dinner in the crockpot, and nothing could be easier than this corn chowder recipe. There is something so special about knowing a fabulous meal is simmering and blending all on its own, and all you have to do is eat! Break your crockpot cooker free from storage and get ready to create a wonderful meal. Serve this chowder with some warm fresh baked bread, or do as I do and hollow out a small round loaf of sour dough and serve in a bread bowl. (After hollowing it out I bake it for 15 minutes or so at 400 degrees F to make it crispy and we then use the leftover bread chunks for dipping in soup.) Enjoy!

Cook time is around 6 hours...
3 cups frozen corn
14 oz. can creamed corn
1 onion, chopped
2 (14 oz.) cans ready to serve chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
3 Tbsp. water

Combine all ingredients except cornstarch and water in 3-4 quart crockpot and stir gently to mix. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or until corn is tender. In a small bowl combine cornstarch and water and mix well; stir into crockpot. Cover and cook on high for 10-15 minutes until thickened. 4 servings

Protect Yourself From The Cold And Flu Naturally

The cold and flu season is upon us and most of us will suffer at least once before spring. Doctors call them "viral upper respiratory infections" or "acute viral nasopharyngitis" because big words always sound impressive to patients.

Colds may be caused by any one of over 200 viruses that cause inflammation in the mucus linings of the nose and throat. They are more common in winter, possibly because the indoor heating dries out our nasal passages, which makes them more susceptible to cold and flu viruses. The familiar symptoms - nasal congestion, sneezing, coughing, runny nose, watery eyes and a sore throat - usually develop a day or two after exposure to the virus. The infection normally lasts about a week to 10 days. The symptoms are not caused by the virus itself, but by your body's attempts to get rid of the virus.

In addition to the hundreds of cold viruses, there are dozens of the viruses that cause flu or influenza. Flu symptoms are similar to those produced by the cold virus - coughing, sneezing, muscle aches, fatigue, fever and gastrointestinal distress. One or more virus will certainly make an appearance in your home this season so here are some tips to help you cope.

Natural Protection against the Viruses

Fortunately, there are a number of natural substances that help the immune system fight the viruses causing colds and flu. They have been used in folk medicine long before the first antibiotic was even discovered.

Before ingesting herbs please consider any pharmaceuticals you may be taking for other ailments. Herbs (and teas) are natural drugs and as such, can interact with medications. If you have questions please consult your doctor. This is not meant to substitute medical advice.

Wild Oregano possesses superior antimicrobial powers, capable of bringing fast relief from cold and flu symptoms (runny nose, congestion, chills, sore throat, ear aches, cough, fever, fatigue, stuffiness and muscle aches) because it is able to kill the virus which is their cause. Oregano oil has incredible antiviral, antibacterial and anti fungal effects. Studies show it also has unrivaled antiseptic (pain-killing) qualities. Many studies have shown that oregano oil can improve the symptoms and shorten the duration of the common cold and flu. Oregano oil has been proven effective against a variety of microorganisms. The best part is that oregano oil is completely non-toxic and does not cause any side effects.

Olive Leaf extract is a potent antimicrobial that has inhibited the growth of every human pathogen it has been tested against, including viruses, bacteria, protozoa, fungi and yeast.

Echinacea has a rich tradition of use by North American Indians who used it medicinally more than any other plant. Echinacea stimulates the overall activity of the cells responsible for fighting all kinds of infection. In other words, it makes our own immune cells more efficient in attacking bacteria, viruses and abnormal cells; including cancer cells.

Golden Seal has been used for centuries in herbal medicine. Golden Seal has antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It soothes irritated mucus membranes, aiding the eyes, ears, nose and throat. Taken at the first signs of respiratory problems, Golden Seal may help prevent further symptoms from developing. It may be used to help reduce fevers and relive congestion and excess mucus.

Garlic has been used since the days of the Egyptians to treat wounds, infections, tumors, and intestinal parasites. Modern scientific research confirms the benefits of these and other ancient uses for garlic. The Allicin in Garlic is responsible for many of its healing properties. It stimulates the immune system, increasing the activity of white blood cells that fight foreign organisms, such as viruses, bacteria, and yeast. Garlic is particularly effective in treating upper respiratory viral infections due to its immune enhancing properties and its ability to clear mucus from the lungs.

Astragalus is a Chinese herb that has traditionally been used to strengthen the immune system. It's regarded as a potent tonic for increasing energy levels and stimulating the immune function. It has been proven effective in cases of colds, flu and even cancer. It improves the white cell function and general resistance to infection.

The effect of the mineral Zinc on the immune system is well known. According to medical studies, it can reduce the average duration of colds by 7 days and decrease the severity of all cold symptoms to virtually nonexistent after the third day.

Vitamin C is also well known for it's ability to fight viruses and bacteria by stimulating the white cells, which are the "soldiers" of the immune system. Vitamin C may be the most important antioxidant when it comes to immune system function. It works well with other immune activators and does not cause any side effects.

Frugal Shopping Tip...

Before you go out shopping, remember, many stores have the policy to match their competitor's prices. If you see something in the newspaper that you desire, but don't want to travel to that particular store to get it, cut out the advertisement and take it to your local store.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Love Pink Tourmaline?

This stone is wonderful to keep on your body, as it brings the ability to improve how you feel. Tourmaline contains lithium, which has been known to help with depression. It's avaliable in a wide variety of colors so there is sure to be one you will swoon over. The most expensive are blue indicolite, green verdelite and pink rubelite. Some of these stones appear to change color when viewed from different angles and all are lovely.

Tourmaline is a shamanic stone, providing protection. It can be used for scrying and was traditionally used to point out a cause of trouble or an offender and to indicate which direction to move in.

It's said that if you wear one it also assists in restoring luster to your hair and nails.

Fields of Gold Bath

If you love relaxing baths like I do, here is a recipe you can make for bath sachets.
This is especially nice after a long day at work. Light a candle, grab a magazine and soak away the worries of the day. These are also a great frugal gift idea!

You will need:
4 cups of powdered milk
1 cup boiled water
1/2 cup dried chamomile or 5 chamomile tea bags
Steep chamomile in water for 20 minutes, Strain liquid and mix with milk. Add to bath water.

Archangel For The Month Of December...Haniel (Anael)

Haniel is the Archangel of Divine Communication through clear perception. Generally he is thought of as the Chief of Order of Principalities, Virtues and Innocents, as well as the governor of the sign of Capricorn and Venus. Archangel Hanael invokes us to champion our willpower with the shield of humility, and to live sustainable love through strength, integrity, courage and purpose. 
This archangel is a warrior angel, his authority assists you to fulfill your soul's mission, which is praise, honor and love. Invoke Archangel Haniel’s turquoise ray to give you strength and perseverance when you feel weak. He will guide you through visions, personal revelations and angelic coincidences. Haniel has the power to make fruitful that which previously was not so. To turn states of sadness, confusion, breakdown, anxiety and worry towards happiness. He will help to restore your soul and bring those lost soul fragments back so they may be regenerated.

Related Chakra
4th Heart - Unconditional love - Pink and Green

Days to Avoid working with  Archangel Haniel:

Saturday. ( Cassiel and Uriel)
Gems: Emerald, Turquoise, Rose Quartz or Lapis Lazuli
Ritual Candle Color: Dark Green
Planetary Color: Dark Green or Royal Blue
Harran / Hermetics Color: Yellow
Complimentary Color: Red
Color of the Pentacles of Venus: Dark Green
Astral Color - Taurus: Red and Yellow
Astral Color - Libra: Brown and Black
Symbol: Seven Pointed Star
Tarot Card: Empress III
Planetary Number: 6
Talisman Size/Sides: 7
Numbers of Venus: 7, 49, 175, 1225
Magical Note: A
Direction Ruled: North
Degree: 1:2.
Angelic Thoughtform: Apple
Fruit: Apples, Blackberry, Black Cherry, Coconut, Cucumber, Fig, Gooseberry, Pomegranate, Strawberry and Tomato.
Tree: Apple, Elder, Eucalyptus or Quince.
Flowers/Herbs: Carnation, Delphiniums, Damiana, Fennel, Groundsel, Honeysuckle, Jasmine, Maidenhair, Monkshood, Rose, Tansy, Vervain, Verbena or Willow Herb.
Insects: Caterpillars and Butterflies
Animals: Rabbit, Dove, Love Birds and Sparrows
Anatomy Governed: Heart, Genitals, Kidneys, Urinary system, Facial skin,
Bladder, Uterus, Ovaries, Testes, Prostate and Tongue.

The Mythical Selkie...

Today I'm doing a repost on my favorite fairy/ mythological creature of Ireland. The Selkie.

The shapeshifting Selkies, who are also known as Silkies, or Roane as the Irish call them (Gaelic for seal), occupy the seas surrounding the Orkney and the Shetland isles. The exact nature of their undersea world is uncertain, though some believe it to be encased in giant air bubbles. Their true forms are those of faeries or humans, though they take the form of large seals when traveling the through the oceans. In particular: great seals and grey seals are said to take human forms. Older tales tell that selkies are only able to take on human forms on certain nights of the year, such as Midsummer's Eve or All Hallows.

Occasionally the selkies encounter humankind, sometimes becoming their mates. A human male may take a selkie female as his wife if he finds her seal skin on the beach and hides it from her. In the end she always recovers the skin and returns to the sea, though she may return occasionally to watch over her human family from the safety of the waves.

A human woman may bear the child of a selkie male if she weeps seven tears or seven drops of blood in the nighttime sea. Such relationships are rarely lasting. Seven years hence, the selkie would return for his child, offering the mother a fee for nursing her own babe.

There is even a movie with focus on my favorite being. It is called "The Secret of Roan Inish." In the movie a fisherman steals a selkie's pelt while she is sunbathing. She is then forced to return to his house, as she cannot escape back into the sea, and becomes his wife and bears him children. The skin of the seal gives her power over men, but without it she is a mortal woman, trapped on land, slave to the whims of her husband. The life there slowly suffocates her and she spends much time splashing in the shallows of the ocean. Years later, one of the children sees the pelt and asks what it is. The wife immediately knows, drops what she is doing and retrieves the pelt from its hiding place, having long ago despaired of ever finding it. She does not hesitate; she rushes to the ocean to return to her former life as a seal.

Do you have a favorite fairy?

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Sugar Free Chocolate Fudge...Diabetic Recipe

There's no need to deny yourself this holiday season, even if you have sugar restrictions. Make a batch of this creamy, sugar free fudge and give some as gifts as well! It's wonderful!

2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
1 cup Splenda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped pecans

In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, chocolate, sweetener and vanilla until smooth. Stir in pecans. Pour into an 8-in. square dish lined with foil. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Cut into 16 squares. Serve chilled. Yield: 16 servings.

Nutritional Analysis:One serving equals 147 calories, 14 g fat(0 saturated fat)31mg cholesterol, 84 mg sodium, 5 g carbohydrate, 0 fiber, 3 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 3 fat.

Weather Cones...

Long before technology was developed to predict the weather, people had to rely on observation, patterns, and folk lore to avoid being caught off guard by the elements. If your plans, livelihood or even your survival depend on the weather, it certainly wouldn't hurt to become familiar with some of these methods, especially since you never know when you might be out of touch with the local weather report.

Did you know that one of the most reliable of all natural weather indicators are pine cones? These have traditionally been used to forecast the weather as they change shape according to whether it is wet or dry. In dry weather, pine cones open out as the scales shrivel up and stand out stiffly. When it is damp, they absorb moisture and as the scales become flexible again, the cone returns to its normal shape.

Do you have access to pinecones? Do you have a fireplace? If so, perhaps you will like this craft that costs very little to make. When I had a pine tree dropping cones in my yard I pondered ways to use them. Making wreaths is one way but you can also make your own pine cone firestarters for your fireplace. Perfect for the cold weather months coming up.

Gather the pinecones in fall, allow them to dry out, then dip in melted wax recycled from old candles or crayons. These make wonderful gifts for the fall and winter for those with fireplaces.

The colors vary depending on the treatment applied. Melt wax in double boiler , not directly on stove as heated wax can ignite. To add colored flames when burning use:

- table salt (burns yellow)
- no-salt substitute (burns violet)
- borax (burns green)

Dip pinecones in wax to coat and then dip in a mixture of sawdust and one of the above items, (depending on the burning color desired).

Display in a wicker basket, nestled in autumn leaves or Christmas greenery, and embellish with seasonal ribbon bows. Just lovely and much cheaper than purchasing them at a high end retail shoppe.

Stop by again soon!