Monday, August 14, 2017

I'd Love To Have a Gazebo!





A gazebo is attractive... and a wonderful addition to a garden or park.

We enjoy them and their beauty and have dreamed of having one in our garden. We still talk of it, but it just doesn't seem that important any more... life is so full and rich... and busy!  We so enjoy our family and our gardens and yard.

How nice, though, to see and enjoy this one. 






 We have talked of putting one in our yard or garden, but haven't...we don't have the time or the money or the space for one.

I haven't even considered having a gazebo for the last few years...  I haven't cared that much, but I still had that old dream of having a gazebo "someday".















We were on a trip to visit family and saw this beautiful gazebo in a park.  My husband pointed it out to me since he knew I loved them. I was surprised to notice that it was pretty, but I was more interested in the bridge, the river, the river barge and more.

The view of the bridge and the river from the gazebo was appealing.











 The beauty of the gazebo can nicely frame a scene like the one shown here.


























 This gazebo isn't as ornate as some, but I do like it just like it is. It is pretty, but not overdone and it fit the location.


























I love this picture of the gazebo and my husband as he was walking away from it and heading back to our kids who were at the river.

It was fun to have a pretty place to sit and enjoy the view.  Maybe one day we will put one on our property, although I am content to enjoy them at other locations.

I also realize that even a small gazebo would seem quite large on our little 1/4 acre property.... and I would choose NOT to have one. Isn't it interesting how our dreams can change?  I would much rather have some room for my kids and neighbor kids to play in the yard...  or to have gardens and a bench than to have a large structure out there.

What a blessing to see a gazebo... and enjoy it... and get pictures.  I will continue to enjoy them while also being thankful that I do not have one of my own. Years ago, I wouldn't have been able to say that because I REALLY wanted to have a gazebo. Now, I have to say that I don't really care if I ever have a gazebo or not... there are so many more important things in my life now and a gazebo doesn't really matter that much although I can still enjoy them.

I wonder what else there is that I have "always wanted" and think I would "love to have"... but is no longer that important to me. Maybe it would be helpful to review our dreams... and sift through them.... and discard the ones that don't apply anymore... and learn to be content and happy with what we do have.

Could it be that God wants us to abandon some of our old dreams, so that He can give us new ones or allow us to really see the dreams He has already provided?

Thank you for visiting... I hope you have a wonderful week.

"The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad."  Psalm 126:3






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Sunday, August 6, 2017

5 More Fruit and Herb Waters
















 We are sure enjoying the Fruit and Herb Waters we have been making lately. The last post was:







4 Great Fruit and Herb Waters (this is a link)
     







 After trying these 4 fruit and herb waters... and enjoying them... I kept experimenting and came up with 5 more. Here are the five.............








 Peach, Ginger and Basil Water....  We really enjoyed this one and they loved eating the peaches out of the drink after it was done also. 































 Grapefruit, Tumeric and Dill Water............ This one was loved by several in the family. Though I loved the smell of this water, it was a bit strong for one of our daughters and for me, but it was good. My husband LOVED this one. I was glad he did since the tumeric in it (those pieces that look like carrot slices) are great for inflammation and he is needing that for his knee.

I did like the dill.... I love dill and eat it raw.... and love the young seeds raw also, so I plan to try dill in another water mix to find one that I like better.  🙂
































 Kiwi, Ginger and Basil.... this one tasted good, but we found it is better not to let this one sit as long. It tastes better when used soon.

































 Lemon and Lavender.....  I am not fond of the taste lavender, so was a bit skeptical on this one, but I have fresh lavender and wanted to try it... and it sounded good with lemon. This was really good... such a fresh taste and the lavender was light, not heavy. We all really liked this one. If you love the taste of lavender already, you could add a lot more of it. 

































 Cherry and Thyme.... this was a last minute idea.... I had found cherries on sale and they are a pretty color and loved by the family, so I decided to try it. I haven't used thyme yet for the waters, so I put thyme with it. It was good, but next time I would put more cherries in it. My husband loved this one too.

I think he liked most of the waters and loved a lot of them. I am so glad I can make these for him... he has a bit of an aversion to drinking a lot of plain water and he is trying to stay away from sugary drinks.



































I really do like the fruit and herb waters. I like that we can have water with flavor sometimes... (this is REALLY big to my husband!)... and that we can get extra nutrition. There is such a variety of possibilities too.  Have you been enjoying such waters? Are you making your own? Have you come up with a combination you really like? I would love to hear from you in the comments. I hope you have a great week.






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Sunday, July 30, 2017

4 Great Fruit and Herb Waters













 We are trying hard to increase our fluid intake... and are drinking a lot of plain water. Sometimes, though, it is nice to have something with a little flavor... a little different, so I have been making these Fruit and Herb Waters.

I don't know why I stopped making such drinks... it doesn't take long... and it doesn't take a lot of ingredients... and I have fresh herbs right outside in my garden!





 This one is Lemon, Basil, Sage and Mint Water and it is so refreshing, with a light flavor, but not like a lemonade. It is just a fresh water taste. I used 1 lemon sliced and a few herbs...  to make a gallon of drink... and then I also refilled it with water, so we actually made 2 gallons of drink with this small amount of ingredients. Delicious!









 This next one is Lime, Basil, Lemon Balm and Mint.

There is only one small lime sliced, and some herbs... not a lot.

It gave some flavor and this drink was refreshing also... the herbs add a little taste.. not a lot as I don't want to overpower the taste. I love that we are getting some nutrition in with our fluids, but no sugar or fake additives.












 This drink is Orange-Basil Water. Yes, I have a lot of basil.  :)  This basil isn't as strong as some of them, so if you have the strong basil, you may want to put just a little in to see how much you like.

















 I thought I would show this Orange-Basil Water with what we had for supper that night... they went quite well together.

We had meatloaf burgers... and they were WONDERFUL! If you are interested, you can find the recipe here:

 Hearty Meatloaf Burgers











 This is Cucumber Strawberry Water.  I used one small cucumber and 2-3 strawberries.

We have enjoyed all of the Fruit and Herb Waters and I have more to try and will plan to share those in a future post.

I am pleased that my family is enjoying these drinks and we are getting a bit of nutrition from them. I think it is helping us to drink a bit more fluid also.

Yes, I still encourage each one to drink a LOT of plain water also, but 2 or 3 glasses of the fruit waters a day has been a nice addition to our water intake... and we can also eat the fruit that is in the drink. This has been especially helpful with the hot temperatures we have had lately.

By the way, one daughter said that her favorite of these 4 drinks was the first one... the Lemon, Sage, Basil and Mint. Just a reminder...  you don't need a lot of the herbs to add a little flavor... and bruising the leaves can help more flavor to be released into the water, although I didn't do that for most of mine.

I love how fresh and colorful the pitcher of Fruit and Herb Water is...  I hope you enjoy some of these also... or experiment and find some other combinations you enjoy. I have a few more to try. Thank you for visiting. I hope you have a great week.  :)










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Sunday, July 23, 2017

"Breakfast on the Go" Muffins




I have a big family and our family is very busy, like many families. Some leave early for work and others are at home, but even those who leave early, don't leave at the same times. One son usually leaves before anyone else is even up and sometimes another one does also, but they leave at different times.  Breakfasts have become a bit of a problem.

Cold cereal isn't ideal, by any means....  Eating together doesn't work. Sometimes I make a couple of  big egg casserole dishes to last for two days, so each person can heat some for their breakfast. That works sometimes, but what about the other times? Sometimes, they don't eat any breakfast, but my guys work really hard and get hungry often.... so what to do?

I wanted something quick and easy.... and ready for them to eat. I wanted something they would like, but that would have a lot of nutrition in it. I checked to see what we had on hand... and brainstormed for a muffin that would be filling, tasty and somewhat healthy.



 I used a basic muffin recipe and added a LOT of stuff to it. My kids were excited about muffins, but then VERY skeptical, after they heard of one of the ingredients I chose.

Okay, with a basic recipe, I added extra butter, carrots, roasted and salted sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seed meal, ground chia seeds, raisins, cranberry sauce, sour cream, spices... and the ingredient that my kids didn't want?  Feta cheese! Sounds strange doesn't it?

Aldi had the Feta Cheese on sale for $1.49 and I had bought extra, so I decided to use it, especially since we didn't have much other cheese on hand. I wanted a sweet and salty type of muffin that would be satisfying and stick with them until lunch.



  After mixing the other ingredients all together, I diced up canned cranberry sauce and stirred that in too.

Like I've said before, I like to experiment... and it USUALLY turns out pretty well. (There have been a couple of recipes we didn't repeat!)








I filled the muffin cups about 2/3 of the way full. At first, I just put the batter in and baked them, but after a while, I had the idea to make them look a little nicer, so I added some old fashioned rolled oats and cinnamon to the top of each one and they did look better.











You can see the cranberry sauce on these muffins... 
















These show the oatmeal and cinnamon, but not the cranberry sauce. It is down inside most of the muffins.










































You can see all of the wonderful goodness in these muffins... the carrots, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and more.  Delicious.









































These are so good to eat hot.. or cold.  They can be eaten plain... or with butter.... or my favorite is with cream cheese. Yum.












































 I have enjoyed them with a hot cup of tea and it was a wonderful combination!














~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Gentle Joy Homemaker Recipe
A great muffin packed with seeds, carrots, flavor with a sweet and salty flavor. Great for a quick breakfast on the go!!!


                  "Breakfast on the Go" Muffins


2  cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt  .......................................Mix together
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk
1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons butter, melted............................Mix all gently together

1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup roasted and salted sunflower seeds
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup flax seed  meal (grind flax seeds in coffee maker)
1 Tablespoon chia seeds (can be whole or ground in coffee maker)
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 Tablespoon Feta Cheese (could also use any kind shredded cheese)
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup sour cream......................................................................Mix gently into batter

1/2 cup canned cranberry sauce (cut into small cubes)..................Mix gently into batter

Fill greased muffin cups about 2/3 full. Can add some Old Fashioned Oats and sprinkled cinnamon to the top of each muffin.

Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Makes about 1 1/2 dozen muffins.
These freeze well, so making extra and freezing some makes these last longer. The pictures above show what I made, which was actually 4 batches of this recipe (6 dozen muffins!). 

Gentle Joy Homemaker                                   www.http://gentlejoyhomemaker.blogspot.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



 We have really enjoyed these wonderful muffins that are more of a meal than a dessert. They are filling and satisfying... and are a fast breakfast. I hope your family enjoys them as much as mine does. Thank you for visiting my blog.  I hope you have a wonderful week!





A few other Breakfast Ideas:

Seed Cereal Breakfast

Apple Pecan Cinnamon Rolls!

Cherry Muffins Are So Tasty!

Apple Butter Cinnamon Rolls-Wow!

A Quick Easy Breakfast!










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Monday, July 17, 2017

HERB LIBRARY- 5 Reasons To Start Your Own













 Herbs are helpful... and they are plentiful in most parts of the world.

In a time when the internet is in great use, WHY do we need to have a "book library" of herb books?

Am I saying that everyone should have one? No, you will have to decide if you want one for your home or not, but in this post, I am giving 5 reasons why it is a good idea to start your own Herb Library.





1.  Identification....

      Herbs can be of great use in our health, but it is important to correctly identify the herb you use. Sometimes there can be plants that look very similar to an herb we want to use, but the other plant can be quite dangerous. Small details can show the difference.

      I like to have a book, or actually several books, that give good illustrations of the herb. A drawing or painting of an herb can be helpful, but I also want actual pictures so that I can compare what they really look like as they grow. I also like to see pictures of the plant, as a whole... and a close up, so that there is no doubt I know what to look for.
 



 I have quite a large library of herb books... is that necessary for everyone?   Of course not!

I use herbs and enjoy them....  I grow them in my garden and I collect them from the garden and from other places.

I keep learning and becoming a better herbalist as I read and use herbs. I do want to be very careful to have correct information, so I like having a variety of books to compare.









2. Learn New Herbs....

There are some herbs that are quite well known and others that can be useful to get to know. Learning a little at a time can help solidify that knowledge.  In this post, I am showing pictures of the herb Echinacea.  It is a well-known herb and in many places, it grows well. I have much of it in my garden and it is great for pictures.

What other herbs are there? What about plantain? Plantain is wonderful to identify and know how to use. It can work well for bee stings and is readily available to apply to the sting, but where do you find it? How do you use it?

There are so many herbs all around and when you start to look at pictures in the herb books, you may realize that you have seen many of them without realizing they were herbs.

We all know of the dandelion, but there are also so many others. You may have seen chicory on the side of the road in the summer and wondered what those purple flowers were.  Some other simple plants are purslane, lambs ear, yarrow, chamomile, and there are so many others. Learning to see these "weeds" as herbs can expand your knowledge... and your ability to use them.





































 Do I use ALL of my books often? No, I don't.

Sometimes, I scan them and other times I compare. Sometimes, they sit on the shelf for long periods of time without being used at all.

Sometimes I find that a certain book just doesn't fit what I need, so I remove it from my library. I have been building my Herb Library for many years and it is helpful to me.









3. Know HOW to use an herb

 Some herbs are quite easy to use... like plantain's helpfulness when it is applied to a wound. Other herbs must be used differently. Sometimes there are cautions.... for instance some herbs are not safe for use during pregnancy.  Others may be helpful in small doses.  It is important to know facts about herbs.

If you have read my blog for very long, you know that I like to experiment... and I do it with herbs also.  I make herbal tinctures, salves, teas, infusions and more. I put herbs in our salads and I try new things, BUT I do not want to make foolish mistakes and endanger my family, so it is important to be wise in how I experiment and my library can help me know what herbs are safer to do that with than others.

An important point is to double check your information! Some books or internet information may blacklist a certain herb as toxic and caution to never use it.... when the reality is that a certain part of the plant can be toxic while others are fine to use.

Caution is good, but to just knock out a whole plant for a small portion seems excessive. I want to know the bad... and the good and then make a wise decision.  For example, cherry twigs are toxic, so do we stop eating cherries because of that? No. Tomatoes are from the dangerous nightshade family, so do we stop eating tomatoes? That was done in the past, but we can still enjoy tomatoes. It is important to know and be careful.


































Do I need to spend a lot of money for this Herb Library?  NO!

I am quite frugal and it is rare that I would buy a book like this new and for a large price. I have found it helpful to use a book from the library... to see if it would be helpful to me. Then sometimes, I would order it for my own library.

Some places to check for herb books are garage sales, library book sales, ebay, Amazon, etc.











4.  A personal Herb Library can be a place to highlight information.... to mark pages so you can easily find them... to jot notes that will be helpful to you. 

So many times, I have learned great information.... and later when trying to go back to the source, I sometimes wonder, "Where did I read that?" Maybe it was the internet.. or a book... or I heard it from someone. It is more helpful to have a library to collect that learning... so that I can refer back to it. Sometimes I want to double check the information... or sometimes I found the information so helpful that I want to see what else the person says.

I also find it helpful to build on what I learn and having my own books can help that process.




































Do I recommend all of these books? NO... some I don't know enough about them to recommend. Others I like some parts, but not others.

There may be some herb books I would love to add to my library, but cost prevents me from doing that.

My library is still a work in progress and I will keep adding to it.














5. If there's no internet....

I know this is the answer for many... just check the internet... just ask the internet.
What if the internet is out? What if you are where there is no internet? Think it can't happen? It does.... especially when there are storms or large problems, like hurricanes, earthquakes, tornado damage, flooding or other disaster situations.  In a time like that, those herb books could be very important as there may not be access to the nearby emergency room or doctor's office.

Another issue is trust. Is everything on the internet true? No, and books are not always true either, which is another reason to double and triple check your information. When I find a book I feel I can trust, I am still careful with the information, but tend to trust it easier than an unknown website.




Maybe you don't like or use herbs and so none of this post applies to you. That's okay, I am not pushing herbal use.... it's an individual choice.  I know what a blessing my herbal library is to me, so I am sharing why it may be helpful to others also.

Do you have an Herb Library? Even one book can count as the start of a library.... and one book may be all you want or need. I would love to hear in the comments if you have a real book library of herb books... or one book. Are you still adding to it? Do you have other reasons it is helpful to have an Herb Library? Please feel free to share in the comments.

Thank you for visiting. I hope you have a great week!  🙂









Other herb posts you may enjoy:

Quick Healing With Plantain

Are There Any Uses For Columbine?

Allergy Tea-Homemade Herb Tea

Pinecones... Are They Edible? Hmmm...





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