Make It Yourself Monday - A Cold Remedy

It's that time of year when every other person you pass is sneezing and coughing. Even if you properly wash your hands and try to stay away from the sickies, in all likelihood you will still end up, sometime or the other, with the cold/flu bug in your home. When this happens, there are some things that you can do to make the symptoms more bearable. Today I want to share a home made cough drop recipe with you. While I did not create this recipe (and I do not sell this product), I have had it in my recipe box for several years. I am not sure who to credit with it, but it is a good recipe for sure!  

One really great thing about this recipe is that you can make it ahead of time, so you can be prepared. Additionally, you can easily change up the flavor profile, adapting it to your preferences. I have listed some alternative ingredients, as well as the reasons they may be good choices, but before cutting or changing ingredients, you should know that; lemon has antiseptic properties and has been noted to help open the air passageways, as well as reduce phlegm. And honey is a natural humectant, which means that it draws moisture (goodbye dry, scratchy throat), and it has antiseptic qualities, while also being a bacteria inhibitor. Actually, these two ingredients are often used in commercial cough drops and other throat soothing products, because of their natural properties, not simply for their flavoring. In other words....leave them  in the recipe if there is any way you can. 


1 3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 tsp. lemon extract
1/2 cup water

Line a baking pan (9x9) with foil, making sure that the foil goes all the way up the sides of the pan, or you will be sorry! Then, butter the sides of a 2 quart saucepan. Combine the corn syrup, sugar, honey, and water in the pan. Cook over a medium-high heat until the mixture boils. Make sure that you stir constantly, in order to dissolve the sugar and keep it from burning. This usually takes about five minutes, give or take a few minutes. Once the sugar is dissolved, turn the heat down to medium and continue cooking at a light boil. Stir occasionally. Once it reaches the soft crack stage (which is 290 degrees F. on a candy thermometer), keep cooking for 20 more minutes, still stirring occasionally. 

Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Stir it occasionally, as it cools, for the next 2-3 minutes, then add the lemon. **If you are going to add any other vitamins or herbs, add them at this point**  Then pour the mixture into the foil-lined pan to finish cooling. As it cools (another 3-10 minutes), it is a good idea to use a spatula and mark some "break" lines into the drops. Make squares in the size you want, remembering that they are for individual-size portions. These marks will stay when the mixture is completely set up, making it easier to portion correctly and consistently. If your marks do not stay, it means that the mixture is still too hot and needs more cooling time, just wait a while and  try it again. Once properly marked, let the pan sit overnight then use the foil to lift it out of the pan. Break the pieces apart along your marks then package them in individual candy wrappers or wax paper. Make sure to twist each end tightly, then put all of the wrapped pieces into a large baggie or a paper bag. This recipe will make from 100-200 pieces, depending upon the size that you mark and break. They will last from 6-8 months, when properly wrapped and stored.

**To make this recipe more holistic and herbal you can add one each of the  
following; zinc, vitamin C, echinacea, and goldenseal. If these are in tablet form, finely crush them before adding, if in capsules, just pull apart and drop the inner content into your mixture. 

Of course you could also change up this recipe by either substituting (for the lemon), or just by adding an herb or two (some essential oils are ok too) to the lemon.
*when using fresh herbs, it is probably best to infuse them into the liquid portion of the recipe, but you can also finely chop them
*You may also substitute a food-safe flavoring oil, however you will NOT receive any of the benefits listed for that flavor. The way in which they are created destroys their natural benefits.
*If you plan to use essential oils, you MUST be aware of, and familiar with, the warnings, as well as the necessary dilution rate (which are not provided for you here). 
*If you are not familiar with the proper use of essential oils in edible products, you should NOT attempt to use them in this recipe.

If you want, you may add another herb/spice (in addition) to the lemon. Basil, bay, bergamot, black pepper, clary sage, geranium, grapefruit, lavender, lime, orange, rosemary, vanilla, all blend well with lemon.

If you would like to substitute another herb/spice for the lemon, you may want to consider one of the following;

-Basil has a beneficial action on the respiratory tract, and is often used for asthma, bronchitis, colds, coughs and sinus infections. It blends well with; black pepper, ginger, geranium, grapefruit, lavender and lemon. 

-Black Pepper has antimicrobial and antiseptic properties, and is good for coughs, colds and flus. It blends well with bergamot, clary sage, coriander, fennel, geranium, ginger, grapefruit, lavender, lemon, lemongrass, lime, orange, nutmeg, and rosemary. 

-Ginger is good for colds and flu, congestion, coughs, sinusitis, sore throats,   fever and chills. It does have a slight warming affect, so be extra cautious in the amount that you add. It blends well with; basil, black pepper, cinnamon, clary sage, clove, coriander, eucalyptus, geranium, lemon, lime, orange, rose, rosemary, spearmint, and vanilla. 

-Geranium is good for sore throats and tonsillitis, and blends well with; basil, grapefruit, lavender, lime, orange, and rosemary.

-Grapefruit is good for colds, flu, and headaches and blends well with; basil, black pepper, geranium, lavender, lime, and lemon.

-Lavender is good for bronchitis, asthma, colds, laryngitis, and throat infections. It will blends well with everything, so use your imagination.

-Lemongrass is good for sore throats, laryngitis, and fever as well as  indigestion and gastroenteritis. It blends well with; basil, bergamot, black Pepper, clary Sage, eucalyptus, geranium, ginger, lavender, lemon, lime, mandarin, orange, rose, and vanilla.

-Lime is good fevers, colds, sore throats, flu, coughs, bronchitis, sinusitis and  asthma. It blends well with; basil, clary sage, eucalyptus, geranium, ginger, grapefruit, lavender, lemon, lemongrass, orange, peppermint, rose, rosemary, and spearmint. 
-Margoram, an antiseptic and calming agent
-Eucalyptus, an antiseptic and calming agent, good for bronchitis, colds, flu, headaches, sinusitis sore throats, and throat infections. The antiseptic properties in the essential oil increase with age. 

-Orange (Sweet) is good for colds, flu, and fever, blending well with; basil, black Pepper, cinnamon, ginger, clary Sage, lavender, lime, peppermint, and  spearmint.

-Peppermint, an antiseptic, expectorant and a muscle relaxant, so it is good for   
dry coughs, sinus congestion, asthma, bronchitis, and pneumonia, as well as   bad breath (in case you want to make breath drops along with the throat drops). Peppermint blends well with; basil, black pepper, eucalyptus, geranium, lavender, lemon, lime, orange, and rosemary.

-Rose (use pure essential oil or untreated rose petals to infuse the water) posses anti-infectious, antiseptic, antiviral, and bactericidal properties that help with asthma, headaches, and coughs. It blends well with; bergamot, chamomile, clary sage, geranium, lavender, lemon, and madarin.  

-Rosemary is an antiseptic and works well for respiratory track issues, including asthma and bronchitis. It blends well with; basil, bay, black pepper, chamomile, geranium, ginger, grapefruit, lavender, lime, lemon, lemongrass, peppermint, rose and spearmint.

-Spearmint. While spearmint has properties of a local anesthetic, an antiseptic, a decongestant and an expectorant which can benefit fevers, headaches, asthma, bronchitis and colds, its effects are less powerful than those of peppermint. For this reason, spearmint may be better in children's products. It blends well with; basil, lavender, peppermint and rosemary.  

-Thyme is frequently used in commercial applications of mouthwash, gargles, toothpastes and cough drops because of its analgesic, antifungal,  anti-infectious, antimicrobial, anti-oxidant, and antiseptic properties. It is good for bronchitis, chills, colds, coughs, sinusitis, sore throats, tonsillitis, and laryngitis. It blends well with; bergamot, clary sage, eucalyptus, geranium, grapefruit, lavender, lemon, marjoram, and rosemary.  

There may be a few more, but these the ones that popped into my mind to begin with. While I hope that you won't need them this year, I wish you luck making these flavored drops! 

Frankly Speaking Friday- National Health Care Issues

Here we are at Friday again, TGIF! Of course that just means, here in Ohio we are getting another snow storm after a few days of warming. It really is true, if you don't like the weather (in Ohio) just wait 15 minutes, it will change!  Speaking of change, I previously said that I would continue my post about Rose EO today, however, after thinking about it, I changed my mind. I would hate to bore you too much two days in one week. I have written too much to toss though, so look for it next Teaching Tuesday! SO what am I on a rant about this Frankly Speaking FridayHealth care, that's what! 

I have had a great many experiences and struggles in the medical field, as a RN, as a relative of a critical patient, and as a patient myself. I know more than the average person, even the average nurse, as for many years it was my job to figure out how to make my employer money, while keeping in line with  insurance company contracts. I have even had to tell my best friend that her Father was being discharged, when we both knew that he would benefit from  additional care. The insurance company, however, decided that they knew best, and he met the definition of "medically stable".  Yes, I have seen a lot that most people (hopefully) never will, from both sides of the medical fence. Consequently, I have very strong feelings about health care today, health insurance, managed care, and the current President's healthcare reform package. I generally preferring to share my opinions about such topics with only my family and friends. 

So what got me going this week? Two things, actually. First of all, I received an email from a dear friend. She told me that a friend of hers has cancer and, being uninsured, could not afford treatment. She had been ill for a while and was treating herself with an herbal plan due to finances. She finally had to see the physician this past week, and when she did, she was told that the cancer had grown. She needs chemo and radiation, and she needs it now. When she told the Doctor about her insurance situation, he was kind enough to tell her that was a doctor, he administered medications, he was not a financial counselor. He then proceeded to let her know that she needed to come up with at least 55 thousand dollars to get it going. they went to the local  family services to see what help they might be able to get. 
Guess what? Even though they live on social security, they make 5$ a month too much to qualify for assistance. So now the now the Mr. is doing woodwork and the Mrs. is doing some type of craft, so that they can try and sell it to help themselves up. Seriously, just how long do you think it would take to make and sell 55k. worth of crafts?   

Later in the day I received a second email, which then became my second reason to make this my Frankly Friday rant. When I read the following note I laughed, but then I wanted to cry, because I feel it is true. So here it is folks. What do you think? Is it just a joke or is it a sad commentary? Now, you have to envision the "Maxine" character saying these words (you know that wrinkly old lady);

Let me get this straight . . . .We're going to be "gifted" with a health care plan we are forced to purchase and fined if we don't, Which purportedly covers at least thirty million more people, without adding a single new doctor, but provides for 16,000 new IRS agents,
written by a committee whose chairman says he doesn't understand it, passed by a Congress that didn't read it but exempted themselves from it, and signed by a President who smokes,
with funding administered by a treasury chief who didn't pay his taxes, for which we'll be taxed for four years before any benefits take effect, by a government which has already bankrupted Social Security and Medicare, all to be overseen by a surgeon general
who is obese, and financed by a country that's broke!!!!! 'What the h*** could
possibly go wrong?'

That was supposed to be the end of my post, but I received another email. While this one hits the nail on the head for me, it may offend some, so  consider this fair warning.


The kids filed back into class they were excited. The weekend assignment was to sell something, then give a talk on productive salesmanship. 
Little Sally led off: "I sold girl scout cookies and I made $30," she said proudly, "My sales approach was to appeal to the customer's civil spirit and I credit that approach for my obvious success." 
"Very good," said the teacher. 
Little Jenny was next: "I sold magazines," she said, "I made $45 and I explained to everyone that magazines would keep them up on current events."

"Very good, Jenny," said the teacher. 
Eventually, it was Little Johnny's turn.

The teacher held her breath .... 
Little Johnny walked to the front of the classroom and dumped a box full of cash on the teacher's desk. "$2,467," he said.

"$2,467!" cried the teacher, "What in the world were you selling" 
"Toothbrushes," said Little Johnny. 
"Toothbrushes," echoed the teacher, "How could you possibly sell enough tooth brushes to make that much money?" 

"I found the busiest corner in town," said Little Johnny, "I set up a Dip & Chip stand, I gave everybody who walked by a free sample."  They all said the same thing, 
"Hey, this tastes like dog crap!"  
Then I would say, 

"It is dog crap. Wanna buy a toothbrush?"  

"I used the Obama governmental approach of giving you something crappy, but looks good, for free, and then making you pay to get the crappy taste out of your mouth."

*****Ok, so here's the deal. You may have a different view than I do. If so, we will have to agree to disagree and that is ok. You are, however, more than welcome to express your view in the comment posts as long as the posts remain respectful. Plainly stated, play nice and you are welcome to play. Play mean and you will be deleted delete. Another fair warning!****  

Tripod Thursdays- Calming the Waters- Peace, Beauty and Serenity

Happy Tripod Thursday!
If a picture is worth a thousand words, here are several thousands of words. I hope that the Peace, Beauty and Serenity of them will Calm your Waters!

     From the Newport (KY) Aquarium

What's Happening Wednesday- Joining a Knitting project

What's happening this Wednesday? Well, Ohio is slowly thawing from the latest deep freeze, and I managed to get out this past Sunday afternoon to purchase some beautiful yarn. I am just fascinated by the "homespun" style of Lion brand yarn. It is soft and the colors are variegated. Oh, I guess I should start with the reason I ventured out in the first place, Lion brand yarn company is having a knit along! They first asked newsletter recipients to vote on their choice for this years project. Aside from the winning project, the sweater hoodie pictured to the left, there was a modern shrug type of sweater for women, and a womens pullover type sweater. The hoodie sweater is unisex, and is the one that I voted for. Although I am not that experienced of a knitter, it is listed as a beginner level pattern. Still, it may be more than I should take on, especially since I really don't  have anyone around to ask for help, should I need it. But, between the new on-line group that I found, Ravelry (a social site for knitters and crocheters), and all of the other people doing the sweater and following along with the Lion brand notebook posts, I am willing to  brave it, and actually, very excited to get the needles going!  So, as I said, I purchased my yarn this past Sunday afternoon. I think I am going to make this sweater for myself, but I may make it a gift, I am just not decided yet. Either way, it is going to be for a female. I chose the Homespun color called Tudor, which is a creamy base, with spurts of muted greens, rose pink, and grays, with dollops of a vibrant turquoise and purple (but for some reason 2 of the skeins have less color than the others, even though they all have the same number?).

Don't you think this will make a gorgeous sweater?

For buttons, I chose some antiqued silver colored Celtic knots.  I almost got some wooden flowers that I loved, but in the end I felt that the Celtic knot ones were a bit more dressy and elevated the sweater.....if I can make it well, that is! lol.    

                                                      I made my Mother a prayer shawl for Christmas, and it too was made with the homespun yarn. It was done with the color nouveau. I am not sure if you can see all of the colors in this photo, but it is truly gorgeous. The picture doesn't even show the true dark brown of the shawl, but you at least get the idea of the multiple colors. While I am not generally a "brown" type of person, the brown background really shows off the additional colors so well (in person anyway). I see turquoise, teal, blue, green, yellow and gold amidst the brown. It actually is quite stunning, if I do say so myself. Of course I was proud of it because I made it, but mostly because I was so worried that it would turn out looking just "plain". You see, this wasn't made with the fancy pattern that I originally chose. I couldn't seem to get the pattern down as it was a little lacy, and I kept missing stitches. I think...or rather I have decided to blame it on the texture of the yarn. At any rate, for whatever reason, I wasn't getting it consistently right, so I switched to a plain garter stitch pattern. Of course it took me extra time to do the garter stitch one because I got so bored, so easily. I could only do a few rows at a time before the boredom set in, but it did keep me busy during some terrible times, and through lots of waiting at  appointments and such. So actually, I guess it all worked out well, otherwise I may have whizzed through it, and had nothing to occupy me when I needed it!  When I finished it, I really had a hard time wrapping it up. The colors were just so beautiful.

I am also using the homespun color of "windsor" to do some scarfs now, so I have a shorter project to go along with the longer one.  Windsor is a combination of beautiful blues, lavender, green and teals, and almost became my sweater. I actually purchased this skein a few weeks ago, and I love it, but ultimately I chose the other because it was different. I like different! Oh, and can you tell that I really like the homespun  yarn line?  If you knit or crochet, and are unfamiliar with it, take a look the next time you need some yarn, you just may find a color combination meant for you! But try to find it in the store because the pictures on the link just don't do it justice in my opinion (not to mention that I paid less for what I got from that big store....sorry LB!).

Of course, in keeping with my Craftor's ADHD, besides the knitted scarf, I am also working on some scrap book pages, a new Unique Garden Essences product, taking photographs of products for uniqueXpression listings which need to go on the net, as well as a whole list of other boring things, such as revamping shop policies and old pictures, completing inventory, and cleaning up the crafting spaces. As you can see, I have not only have plenty going on this Wednesday, but enough to last several Wednesdays!  So what are you up to?

Teaching Tuesdays -Rose Water Bath

It's Tuesday and I am still in a deep freeze, still thinking of warm beaches, and am left with the {poor} substitution of a hot bath for fun in the sun. So, as I continue to hit the tub instead of the beach, I refuse to allow it to be anything less than a spectacular treat, which means that I hit the mixing room before the bath. Last night I took some dried eucalyptus, ground orange peels, and dried lavender buds, placed them into an organza bag (I prefer a natural fiber but this was a recycle situation). I then took some powdered milk and  an equal amount of powdered buttermilk, placed it in a container and to that added a few some lavender, orange x10, and some eucalyptus essential oils. I should say that I ran the powder through the sifter a few times, or, at the very least, used the mortar on it, but, alas, I did not. Lol. I am afraid that I take less care when something is for me than I do when it is for someone else! At any rate, I covered the milk powder and shook it some, then headed for the bath, where I hung the bag over the drain stopper so that the hot water would hit the bag as it filled the tub. I tossed about 3/4 of a cup of milk powder into the bathtub after the water became hot, turned on the space heater, shut the door, and left to impatiently wait while the tub filled. The fragrance that filled the air when I opened the door was awesome! I hit the tub with a book and I can't tell you when I came out! The oil combination was uplifting, reviving, relaxing, and helped my chest and nose to open, improving the congestion that I had (due to a cold). While the oils worked on my mood and my lungs, the milk was moisturizing my body. Amazingly, there was NO prune skin when I got out!

If  this sounds good to you but you don't have the ingredients, check out the Cleo's Bath Soak blend in my shop, it is very similar. While the Cleo's doesn't contain any essential oils, it does have dried herbs mixed in a milk powder. Of course, if you need an essential oil blend, I have plenty of those too!

Do you remember your Mom or your Grandmother filling the bathroom with the scent of roses when you were young? I sure do, and it is probably the reason I planted roses in my first garden, and every one since then. Back in the day, a glycerin rose water bath was the quintessential bathing experience! Admittedly, I just may not know where to look, but I can't recall seeing this product for many years. I can, however, tell you how to easily make some for yourself. Whether for a trip down memory lane, or a new experience, the glycerin rose water bath is one that you will love!

Glycerin is a wonderful moisturizer because it can actually attract moisture (from the air), drawing it to the skin. Glycerin can either be of plant origin or from animals. Guess which one I prefer? LOL! You know it's the plant type, naturally. But, actually, the plant form is more readily absorbed by human skin, so it is really the best choice. If you don't happen to have any glycerin in your cabinet, you can usually find it in the pharmacy department of the local big chain, or your pharmacy. It usually comes in an 8oz, brown, bottle, and is a clear, viscous (meaning thick) liquid. It is not very expensive, and the benefits certainly outweigh the cost.

Once you have the glycerin, simply add 4-5 drops of rose essential oil  to 8 ounces of glycerin. Shake it well and use it when you are ready. You can add the EO right to the bottle that the glycerin comes in, and then use it to store the unused portion of your glycerin rose water. It generally stays good for about seven to eight months, as long as you follow a few simple storage tips; First and foremost, you must be exceeding cautious and diligent to NOT allow ANY water to get into the bottle (the water could introduce bacteria that would turn the product rancid) and Store the bottle out of direct sunlight. That's it! Not difficult at all, and the benefits are tremendous. Not only will your skin feel baby smooth when your finished, but the moisturizing effect will continue as the glycerin reaches out and grabs that moisture and draws it to you!

At this point I am going to stop writing because I have been writing a bit about roses, which ended up taking on a life of its own. SO I didn't get this posted last night, and am still writing today! I told you before that I had a tendency to be long winded, LOL. Soooooo, I am going to save you and me both, and make the history and indications of roses the Frankly Friday post. I hope that you will return then to read all about the use of roses, I think you will be surprised by some of it!

Until then, enjoy your fragrant bath!  

Make It Yourself Monday- Gift in a Jar

I am sure that you all have seen at least one gift in a jar before, but when was the last time you did one up? Quick, easy, and oh so delightful, these make the perfect gift for almost any occasion. I made several different varieties for Christmas gifts this year for friends, neighbors, and even some delivery people. I especially enjoyed giving the Fast,Microwave Fudge, the Rocky Road Rice Treats, and the No Bake (Bailey's Irish Cream) Balls recipes in a jar. I am not sure where the original Irish Cream Ball recipe came from, but it is an interesting and tasty one, one that will surely please any lucky recipient.....if you can bear to give it away!

To prepare the ingredients, simply crush (finely) 3 cups of vanilla wafers (you can purchase 12oz size boxes) then place in the quart-sized jar. Then add 1 cup of chopped pecans and 1 1/2 teaspoon of unsweetened cocoa powder to the top of the jar, and you are just about done! All that is left to do is to screw the lid on, write the recipe on the back of a gift tag, and attach the tag, Whalah, your gift is ready to give! How fast and easy was that?! To jazz up the jar gift a little more, you can drop it into a gift bag or a colorful favor bag (you can get a pack of 10, in all sorts of themes, at the dollar tree)  use the accompanying tie closure or use a pretty ribbon, or you can do as I did, and take a material remnant, placing it over the lid and tying with a piece of raffia, ribbon, or string. .
Finished Gift Jar of Bailey's Irish Cream Balls

 The recipe that needs to go on the back of the card is; Pour the contents of the jar into a large mixing bowl, add 1/2 cup of Irish Cream and 3 Tablespoons of light corn syrup. Stirring with a wooden spoon, blend well. Once thoroughly mixed, allow to stand for 5 minutes, then shape into 1" balls. Roll the balls in confectioners sugar, then place on a wire rack to dry for one hour. Once dried you may, if desired, roll in the confectioners  sugar again. Layer the balls in between wax paper and place in an airtight container for storage. YUM, YUM!

Another ingredient gift that I had wanted to try myself, but haven't yet had the opportunity, is a CUP or MUG gift, especially the Baked Custard one. Have you seen these? You need a large, oven-safe cup/mug, one that will  hold all the ingredients once the liquids are added. Generally they recommend at least a 12 ounce size, and I am thinking that those cute min-crocks would be a good alternative for the [jar] soup ingredient ones, as well as this custard one. I found this recipe on a make it yourself gifts site, but forgive me, as I failed to note the site name. The recipe itself did not list an author or any reviews, but it sounds good to me!  Unfortunately, I won't have a pictures for you since I haven't made it yet, but I would love to hear from anyone who does make this. Pictures would be great too!

To make the custard mix, aside from the cup, you will need; 2 Tbs. sugar, 1 tsp. cornstarch, 1 Tbs. raisins, and 1/4 tsp. of nutmeg. Add all the ingredients and place into a zip-lock bag. Once finished, just seal and place the bag into the cup/mug that you are giving. You can either add the instruction card to the inside of the cup or attach it to the outside of your gift bag, with the twisty tie. The 10 cent favor bags work well for the mug/cup gift too!

The directions tag should say; Baked Custard. Preheat the oven to 325f degrees/165c. In a small dish, beat 1 egg yolk. In a medium saucepan, bring once cup of milk to a simmer. Take the custard mix from the cup and place into a bowl. Add to it 1/2 tsp. of vanilla and the beaten egg yolk. Mix well, then add 1 Tbs. of the heated milk, and continue to mix. Slowly add the rest of the milk until it is well incorporated. After it is stirred in, pour the mix back into the cup/mug and bake for 15 minutes.  


Frankly Speaking Friday - ObamaNet ?

As previously mentioned (and mentioned, and mentioned), I am sitting in the currently snowed in belt. So yesterday, as it dumped the snow, I spent virtually my whole day on the computer. As I went through emails, I found a forward from my Mom. Now you have to understand, my Mother sends me almost everything she gets. She likes to confirm the truth factor of things before she forwards them to others. But, she also hates to investigate herself, so she sends them to me, knowing that I have that anal gene that will have me investigating and writing back to her saying, "hey, this isn't true".

I use to believe just about everything that looked real. You know, all those letters that tell you "this solider did xyz", "this person went to court and won their silly xyz case, how stupid are we" type of letter, and of course, all those "pass this along so we can find this poor missing child", those really had me filling in addresses for forwarding really fast, as my heart strings went twang! That, however, changed when my Mom sent me a forward, one that I had previous knowledge of. It actually had a link on it, one that said, "here's the proof that this is true". The problem was, I thought I knew that it was untrue, so I checked out this Snopes link, the one that they provided as  proof of their supposed truth. Guess what? That link, as well as others I found on my own, actually proved that the letter was a fake! I can't tell you how upset I was! My Mother had sent that letter to ALL of her friends. The person who had sent it to her had sent it to ALL their friends, and so on and so forth. I was livid! From that point on, I vowed to researched each and every forward (of that type) that I even considered passing along. For a while I researched each of the emails that I received, for edification and fun, but that quickly became too burdensome, so "delete" became a good friend!

At any rate, I have now received a troublesome forward from my Mom. It originated from the American Family Association, had links of "proof", and was a fascinating subject matter (in my opinion). With my antenna tweaked, I followed all the links, reading each post, and I even looked up  other on-line sources so that I could read more. Since I do not watch the news on television, I sometimes am unaware of current issues. However, I often find that I am not alone that "unaware" boat, in fact, there are even television news watchers in there!

I firmly believe that we need to become more knowledgeable and involved with our governments workings, actively helping to shape the policies that affect us as a Nation, and as individuals. This requires more from us than just voting in Presidential elections. We may hear the large policy debates, but the details of those policies, all of the "true", small print, hidden on page 1026 lines of the policies are usually not known by us, the public. We remain ignorant of the details, and, while we may like it now, in the end, what we don't know CAN hurt us!

Back to the letter I received, the headline that caught my eye was; "ObamaNet - Government issued Internet ID card required for all Americans" Then it said; "The government will be able to track every web site you visit, every keystroke you send, every purchase you make, every blog comment, and every Facebook and Twitter post."  Shocking, disturbing, and unwanted in my book, so I continued to read and click links, where I clicked more links and read more. The long and the short of it? I found some wording in the original letter to be slightly misleading, but that could be chalked up to a matter of interpretation and belief, so basically I found it to be it truthful. The potential, long-term implications are very disturbing, which is why I am making this, my Frankly Speaking Friday subject matter.

I have copied the letter and the links are active, so you can follow them if you so choose. They actually make it very easy to contact representatives, whether you agree or disagree, if you follow their link  it will discern who your representatives are (just put in your zip code) and then it asks if you want to contact them. Simply check the box by the name, and fill in the comment box. The comment box is pre-designed with a statement that you can leave as is, edit, or completely erase. That makes the contact link good, no matter which side you come down on! So, please read the following, and follow the link(s). Then send your opinion, no matter what it is, to your Washington Representatives. This is a VERY fast and VERY easy way for you to Be involved!  

"January 20, 2010

Dear Friend,

The Washington Times is warning that the White House cybersecurity adviser and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke are drawing up "ObamaNet," President Obama's mandate for what amounts to a national ID card for the Internet.
President Obama wants to establish passwords for every citizen to centralize your personal information. Instead of logging onto Facebook or one's bank using separate passwords established with each individual company or web site, you will be required to use the government-issued passwordAccording to the Washington Times , here are the problems with "ObamaNet":

  • The government will be able to track every web site you visit and every keystroke you send on your home computer.
  • The government will be able to track every purchase you make and every deposit and withdrawal, and gain access to your electronic health care records.
  • The government will be able to track every blog comment you make, along with every Facebook and Twitter post.
  • The government will be able to create lists of your friends and acquaintances and lists of all your political affiliations, political donations, club memberships, hobbies and interests.
  • It's impossible for the government to make this system 100% secure (remember Wikileaks?), meaning criminals would need to steal only one key to unlock a vast amount of your personal and financial information.
Although the White House will tell you it is a voluntary program, the government "voluntary" programs too often end up becoming mandatory. See Web I.D. = more gov't control
Your elected officials can stop President Obama and the Federal government from prying into the personal lives of American citizens.
Email your members of Congress today
, asking them to issue a public statement in opposition to President Obama's plan to issue government-based Internet ID cards.

Take Action Now
Email your members of Congress today

It is very important that you forward this alert to your friends and family members.


Tim Wildmon, President
American Family Association"

Tripod Thursdays- Spring and Summer are Coming

Since it is snowing here again......supposed to get 6-7 inches, I am dreaming of warm weather, yet again. So for todays tripod shots, I  pulled photos of spring and summer flowers, beaches, and other scenery.
I took all of these shots. Most are from my home and the homes of some of my friends, but some are from our vacation in Florida, and some  are "just around" pictures. I generally carry my camera with me, and am known to pull over on the side of the road to snap away. I hope that you can embrace the warmth of the seasons to come, please relax and enjoy!

What's Happening Wednesday

First,  let me apologize for the alignment of Tuesday's post. I don't know why it keeps moving the alignment of  some words, on the edit post page, it looks like it should, but then it changes. Very strange and frustrating, as  I have attempted to alter it several times and what is there is the best I can get.  I am not computer savvy enough to change things with html or whatever that is, lol! If you know what I can do, please tell me! And, if there is a line that is too confusing, just write and let me know and I will email you the proper ingredient list.

As for what's happening this Wednesday, I was working the inventory from the Christmas at the Cabin show, since last weeks storm delayed my appointment to pick it up. I am still not finished with it, as I had to take a break and go sit with my grandson, Braidon. Poor baby Braidon has his first cold, and he is quite miserable. Of course his Mommy and Daddy are probably just as miserable.  On top of being sick, his silly Dr. gave him his immunizations today. So the temperature that was 101 climbed to 103 this evening. Nanna T had to rock and sing him to sleep, then rock and sing some more, as he coughed his way to lala land repeatedly. Yep,  poor poor lil guy, poor poor sleepless parents! I remember those days all too well, even though they were quite some time ago. While I was happy to help out, since Mommy and Daddy had to go to an appointment, I really know why God lets us have our children when we are young! lol.  Now Nanna is tired, so here is a picture of Braidon on a happier day. You have to love that hair! This picture was taken when he was playing with his great Grandma, flying through the air. Hopefully he will feel better in a day or two so he can get back to flying!

Teaching Tuesdays - Steaming for Your Health

As you probably are aware, there are several different ways to reap the therapeutic benefits of essential oils. If you want more information about these various methods you can read this old post.
One fast, simple, inexpensive, yet effective, method is to inhale them, and this is what I want to focus on today. Inhalation can be accomplished in a few different ways. Perhaps the easiest way is to simply place five drops of your oil choice(s) on a tissue or a cotton ball, then sniff for five minutes. Of course you can always diffuse oil(s) in a burner or a light ring, but this will disperse scent throughout a room, and is perhapse better suited for mood altering treatments rather than acute treatments. Another inhalation method is steam. Steam can be used for both the aromatherapy benefits and/or skin care treatments. For acute issues, such as headaches or cough and congestion due to colds, steam is an excellent delivery system [for the therapeutic benefits of the essential oils]. The oils are carried deeply and immediately into the lungs, as well as being absorbed through the skin pores. As part of routine skin care, steam should be used once a week because it deep cleans the face. It opens the skins' pores, extracts impurities, and increases the blood circulation to facial capillaries. There are several combinations of essential oils to benefit various types of skin issues, and skin types. See this old post for some recipes and suggestions. For today however, I want to concentrate on acute issues that can be relieved by utilizing the steam method of inhalation.

To begin with, let's understand how to prepare, and then how to use a steam. Take one gallon of spring or distilled water and place it in a pan, heat until it is almost brought to a boil. Set out a glass bowl large enough to hold the water. While your water is heating, prepare your oil blend in a small glass dish/cup. Do not use metal as it may cause an unwated chemical reaction. Know that heat breaks down some essential oils, therefore you may need to allow the water to cool slightly before you mix in those oils,in order to maintain their full therapeutic value. Once the water is properly heated and the recipe prepared, carefully pour into your glass bowl. You will then need to place a towel over your head and lean your face over the bowl, keeping about 12 inches away from the water. Relax as you breath in the vapors and your skin absorbs the steam. Make sure that you exercise extreme caution so that you don't scald your skin. When you first breath in, if the inside of your nose feels like it is burning, uncover and wait a few minutes for the water to cool down before you try again.

Now that you are all prepared, I have listed some essential oils to help you get you started. These lists are by no means all inclusive, they are not even all that I have categorized in my personal notebook. But, since there are over 300 known essential oils, I had to pare it down!  Just be sure to use only therapeutic grade essential oils. While you can blend several oils together, you will want to keep the total drops to about 8-10 per gallon of water. Until you get comfortable with mixing essential oils, I suggest that you use equal parts of the oils that you select. The combinations are endless, so use what smells good to you, and learn what works best for you. 


For Headache Relief                                                                
Blue Chamomile                                                                        
Red Thyme                                                                                 

  For Cough Relief  
All Spice
Tea Tree
 Red Thyme
Black Pepper                                                                        
Angelica Root

                                             For Migraine Headache Relief                                             
    Angelica Root                                                                               
     Clary Sage                                                                                   

For Sinus Headache Relief

 Bronchitis Relief
  Angelica Root
  All Spice
                           Eucalyptus  *Not for children* 

      For Congestion associated w/ colds and flus                                   
Tea Tree

Asthma Relief
Rose                                                                                                                                                                     Tea Tree                                                                           
Red Thyme                                              

For Sinusitis Relief
Tea Tree
Red Thyme

 * Clary Sage- for Whooping Cough  
 *Cedarwood is good for respiratory infections                                                                                                                                               

**Please read this page for an important disclaimer and warnings related to essential oils**                                                         

*Essential oils have several indications, and can accomplish multiple outcomes. While I have narrowed the lists to only address these few acute ailments, each oil fits onto several lists, in several categories. For instance,  Eucalyptus is an antiseptic, antiviral, deodorant, and has insecticidal properties. It also fights mental fatigue. Tea Tree works well for sinus relief, sore throats, and chest-colds, and is an excellent inhalant for asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory conditions, yet it also works well as a topical antiseptic for skin injuries, and in rubs for arthritis. Lemon Grass has invigorating and antiseptic properties, is an  anti-depressant, and tones and fortifies the nervous system. In a bath it is used for soothing muscular nerves and pains. And, while Ginger rids the body of flu-type symptoms and respiratory ailments, it is also a good stimulant and cleanser. So, as you can see, the blending of oils can be quite intricate.  Even a simple, one or two ingredient steam can offer you several benefits.
To illustrate my point, consider the Rosemary Peppermint Facial Steam. It is used as a facial steam to                                     open the skins' pores and extract impurities. In fact, it is highly recommended for skin with acne problems.  However, this steam will also clear the sinuses, alleviate headaches,  and reduce bronchitis, cold and flu symptoms. It also helps relieve muscle spasms. So, if you happen to have a cold or headache, using this steam for your weekly skin care treatment, will make you feel better and cleanse your skin at the same time. Many birds, one stone!  If you want to make this recipe, simply add 4 drops of peppermint and 4 drops of rosemary essential oils to the water, but make sure that you allow the water to cool slightly before doing so. Steam for 10 minutes before patting the skin dry.