Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Tasty Teas #9: Catnip

I have a mint garden in my front yard, there are four different kinds of mint, peppermint, spearmint, lemon balm and catnip!  Did you know that catnip isn't just for the kitties?  It's really good for us humans too!  What's interesting is that while it makes the cats go nuts, it has a calming affect on us.  Cat nip tea is delicious.

It has a soothing affect on the tummy.  If somebody has indigestion, gas or is feeling a bit queazy, cat nip is the one I reach for on a lazy day.  It's important to note, however, that catnip will make you sleepy!  So if you are trying to get up and get out of the house, this may not be your herb.  However if it's the end of the day, you've got some nervous tension and need to relax, make yourself a 'cuppa, sit back and let it take affect.  I guarantee you will have a good night's sleep.  I love this herb.  Also, both my kiddos drink it with a little bit of honey: it's a perfect remedy for those long nights when your kid is sick to their stomach with a tummy bug.

To prepare, I take the fresh herb from my garden and dry it.  Like any herb I harvest, I try to make it as clean and user friendly as possible.  I cut off stems as soon as I pick it so it's not twiggy, I be sure to get rid of any discolored leaves, bugs or other things that just don't look right.  Most importantly, I thank the plant for being in my life and what it has to offer.  Then I set it out to dry on an old window screen, tossing it around once a day till the leaves are fully dry.  Once dried, I store in a large glass container and it will last throughout the year till next harvest, if I don't drink it first!  When I make tea, I generally go by a teaspoon per cup of water.

This is a magic herb.  It is also good for the babes too as you can see in my previous posts, Catnip Teething Pops and Tasty Teas #2: Tea for Teething .   Sorry if there is any redundancy here, I just can't stress enough how great this herb is!  It really does deserve all the publicity it can get!  Love and Light to you all!  Happy Tea Drinking!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Foot to Arm: Serafin's Arm Warmers

My kids inspire me all the time.  Today Serafin came up to me and asked me if she could make arm cuffs from a pair of her old socks.  Ok.  Easy enough. . . . 

She did the cutting and two minutes later on the sewing machine ( plus a little hot glue gunning of the felted hearst she wanted to add at the last minute) et voila!  One might look at them and think their nothing special, but I think Serafin would beg to differ, . . . check out the smile on her face.  

I don't know if you remember me saying that my dining room was my studio, it really is.  Last week I did a bit of a re-do and now both the kids and I have good clean space to work in.  I love how we bounce ideas off each other.  Yesterday Serafin was wanting to cover a headband with fabric and that lead me down the rabbit hole of watching tutorials on different ways to cover headbands.  Perhaps a new product is in the making for the "shop".  

My dining room/art studio, the kids table is in the right corner, we craft together!

In regards to my "shop", Dragonfly Whimsies, please check it out if you haven't already.  It is a work in progress and I am trying to figure out how to get my name out there.  Any ideas or even passing along my name to anybody who think might be interested would be incredibly appreciated.  

Creating the store was a big feat for me.  It was very exciting to find a creative niche, especially on Orcas, where there is so much creativity and art.  It's been a wonderful outlet for me, both emotionally and spiritually.  I also love modeling some form of a work ethic for my kids.  I am a stay at home single mother.  I have been blessed to be able to hang with my kids during the day when they are at home.  Because I don't think my kids will likely have the same cushion that I have, a concern of mine has been that they need to be modeled some form of work ethic.  With the advent of Dragonfly Whimsies, my kids see me building inventory, working at the farmer's market, selling, being involved in the community, making connections, AND, . . .my favorite part, CREATING!  Being at my sewing machine and working while my kids are 4 feet away at their craft tables making their own fabulous creations, talking, bouncing ideas off each other .  A lot of the time I have at least one kid asking me what I'm doing and trying to make their own version of it.  Serafin has even taken to making felt bracelets and selling them for $4.00 a piece at the market.  It's awesome to see and I can't wait to see where it goes.  Love to you all and talk soon!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Not Your Grandma's Applesauce.

Making Apple Sauce is easy-peesy.  My garden has three full grown apple trees.  That's a lot of apples folks.  This time of year (August/ September) I'm constantly looking for things to do with them.  In the end, apple sauce seems to be a family favorite.  We all love to eat it and the kids even love to help with the making process.  It all starts with fresh apples--and, home made apple sauce is a completely different animal (bad analogy here) than store bought, really, there is NO comparison.  

On a day like today, when I don't have much planned and the kids feel like doing some apple picking, I send them out to the yard with a large bowl.  They always come back with it full to the brim with apples.  Henceforth, apple sauce making commences, . . . yummo!

Ingredients: (sorry for the undefined ingredient amounts, that's just kind of how I roll with some things--a pinch of this and a handful of that)

-Apples, lots of them, I'm talking a large bag/bowl full, enough to fill up my large dutch oven
-Brown sugar, about 1/8 cup
-Maple Syrup:  A nice 3 second drizzle
-Water 1/3 cup
-Salt 1/2 Teaspoon
-1/2 Tsp of Cinnamon
-1/4 Tsp of nutmeg
-2 Tbs of butter
-(Optional, and probably not for the kiddos--for a little zing, throw in a pinch of cayenne!)


1.  Chop apples.  Some people like to peel the apples, but I don't have time and it still tastes yummy, so why bother.  It does make the color look a little more like "poop" according to Serafin, but she still eats it, so I guess that's not a bad thing!  Generally I like to cut the apples small, as pictured, but when the kids feel like cutting too, I include them in the process.  If you blend the mixture in the end, then whatever size you cut them doesn't matter, but if you like chunky apple sauce, then consider size when chopping.

2.  Throw them in the pot!  Add all the ingredients accept the butter!

3.  Stir, and bring to a simmer, cover and let cook for about 10-15 minutes stirring every once and a while.

4.  Throw in the butter and cook for another 10 minutes or until wilted down enough to mash with a masher (it should be easy).  

5.  If you want to, use a potato masher and go to town!  The kids like to get involved with that part too!  If you are in the mood for something smooth, throw it all in the blender and voila--you have pureed apple sauce!  You can also use this as a recipe to make fruit leather if you have a dehydrator.  Enjoy!

Kid approved!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Island Extraction--Orcas Happenings 1

Waiting in line to get on the ferry (summer time)

Living on an island makes things interesting.  It's not all that easy to extract yourself from this little bubble.  I was supposed to fly off today, it's a one hour flight straight into the heart of Seattle, alas, of course the one day that we've had rain and thunder this summer, has to be today.  Oh well.  The first time I took a plane off the island was last November, and I have to say, it was a really unpleasant flight, I'd prefer to drive on occasions like this.  

So, . . . now I'm in line at the ferry.  I guess my intuition was spot on because I had a reservation for the ferry just incase something like this happened.  They just started a reservation system this year, no more three hour waits if you are smart enough to book ahead of time.  And yes, the problem is, . . . you have to be smart enough to book ahead of time.  The ferry is loaded with 90% reservations which are opened up at different times, 2 months before departure, 2 weeks and then two days--incase you haven't done the math, this leaves only 10% of ferry space for people who don't have a reservation, that's not a lot.  During the summer, bookings need to be done as soon as they open up, otherwise you are screwed.  Honestly, a lot of people complain about the ferry system, so far I have appreciated it for the most part, but that's because I am good at planning.  I agree though, there are some serious quirks that need to get fixed within the system.  Where I think it sucks is for the islanders who need to get off the island ASAP, for whatever reason.  It's not easy.  

About the ferry.  It's a beautiful ride.  Right now I've set myself up with a project that I've been waiting to complete, yup, I'll be enjoying my ride armed with a pink tutu.  There's nothing like looking at the shores of the San Juans while you sew hot pink buttons on to an elastic wasteband.  And yes, I'm %100 serious here.  Despite the fact it can be a real pain in the You Know What to get off this island, the built in down time allows me to relax and enjoy the scenery a bit.  It's alone time, which is something that I don't get very much of, so I enjoy it where I can.

This weekend I'm heading into the city for a fun weekend.  The kiddos are with their papa.  I'm gonna hang with my awesome boyfriend.   I'm also going to see my old friend Dave who is in town helping my Dad move into his new house.  My Dad just recently purchased a house in Seattle! He is working on selling the house my brother and I grew up in, Dad lived in the house for something like 45 years.  It's a strange concept for me not to be able to go back to the house I grew up in, the payoff for a little strangeness is having my Dad close by, how cool is that?  I'm excited.  This weekend I'm going to get to view the new digs for the first time, along with receiving some old items that were my moms, her tincture press and her recorder.  Mom's spirit still shows up in surprising places. 

This blog post is kind of an experiment, I downloaded a blogger app on my phone and I want to see how it works!  I realized it had been a year since I wrote.  There are reasons for this, more about that later, but I'm turning over a new leaf here and am starting up a new business so it's time to connect back to my online community.  I love you all! More from this island gal later!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Omnicient Orcas 2: Balancing Act

The Balancing Act!

Hi sweet friends and family.  I'm writing because I haven't for a long LONG time now and I want to let you all know that I am doing well!  The "journey" has been amazing in all aspects.  If you haven't heard already, Gary and I are divorcing.  It has been a tough ride, but that's just the way it is.  Perhaps one day I will write more about my experience.  For now, I am just trying to move through it with grace and my truth.  The kiddos are doing fine, we are all adjusting to our new family dynamics and have been for a while.  Overall, everything is as to be expected and we keep each other smiling.  

It's August and Orcas is beautiful, like usual.  There is no doubt in my mind that I am in the right place.  Somehow this magical island has brought peace and beauty into my life, daily.  I have immense gratitude for this and all of the amazing people in my life.  Thank you.  

Our days are filled with trips to town, art projects, visiting friends, walks and so much more.  Five minutes from my house is Moran State Park which has a lake to swim in and beautiful water falls to hike to.  Today my kiddos tromped down a trail with me and we played in the woods.  Below are some photos from our adventure.  More to come friends, . . . when I get around to it.  Life is a balancing act these days!

Here we go!

They are so fast!  I actually have to run to keep up with them sometimes!

Silas checking out some roots

Serafin is a nature girl, and at the same time, a fairy princess (note the rainbow tutu).

Hi, it's me!

The cuties, enjoying the scene.

Monday, February 3, 2014

This Delectable Life

Something has been unleashed in me these last months and I don't know quite how to describe it.  A transformation into a new way of thinking and being.  Letting go of old habits and welcoming in the new.  A new level of consciousness about myself and what I want for my life; my truth is literally spilling out of me.  

This is it!  One life in this body!  LIVE IT!  

I've been so lucky to have had pretty awesome experiences as of late.  Everything from smelling the mossy hillside and reveling in it, to crying my eyes out and laughing hysterically straight afterwards.  I have had long walks on the most pristine beaches and listened for hours to the howling wind blow away all that needs to go.  I've had encounters with other beautiful souls, people who aren't afraid to look me in the eyes.  Thank you.  It amazes me that while I get more and more clear about my own path, I not only hear and see more truth in myself, I find it in other people, in the trees, in the sky, in fire, in animals--everywhere around me.  What a cool thing.  I believe, that is how love and healing spreads, by learning how to stop and listen to ourselves first.  

I think a lot of my clarity has come with a release of fear.  Finally.  Fear is something that I have been holding on to for a very long time.  Like a long lost friend that somehow gives me the illusion of comfort.  If I stay in my fear, I don't have to move, make any decisions, or change my life.  I think somehow I found comfort in that.  "Better the devil you know" as the saying goes.  It's not true though.  It's all a gamble, all of it.  So why not follow your gut?  

Sure, I can pretend I'm comfortable with where I'm at, instead of facing my own fears and moving forward, but I won't be any safer or feel any better.  Fear had frozen me for a long time, and I didn't even realize it.  I had become so afraid that I gave into it and accepted it as a part of me.  Fear of being alone, fear of trusting myself, fear of feeling vulnerable.  It was all there and more.  Every day.  Funny thing is, that now as I move through these fears, I don't feel alone, I trust myself more than ever and my vulnerability humbles me and allows me to connect in ways I couldn't have imagined.  

I keep asking myself, what do I have to lose?  Come on!  It's time to experience a new deliciousness of life.  And, that's  exactly what life is.  Delicious.  Scrumptious.  Mouthwatering.  Delectable. Even when it might not feel that way.  I am reaching for the stars friends, come and join me, let's play and be real with each other! 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Omniscient Orcas 1: A Bump In The Road

One of my favorite photos by Gary, and of course it's a dragonfly, which, of course (again), is the symbol of transformation.


Friends, family, readers, all of you-- I have been wondering how I would begin my next blog post.  The other day, friend of mine had mentioned that she checked my blog to get some updates; alas, I have been MIA for a few months now.  Though I express myself through my writing, I haven't quite been sure where to pick things up.  I am, though,  finding the urge to write again-- new life adventures have been unfolding both happy and sad. 

My life has taken an unexpected turn.  Perhaps unexpected isn't the right word, this new life event has been approaching for a while, I've seen glimpses of it, imagined it, flirted with it--I guess I just never believed it would happen.  Denial?  Fear?  Hope that there might be another way.  What happened?  Well, . . . Gary and I separated after being together for 12 years.  I moved into another home on Orcas and am trying to find the space to heal and ground.  

It has been one of the most difficult decisions I've had to follow through with.  It has also been cathartic, enlightening, empowering, and grief ridden.  Our life under the same roof was becoming more and more difficult for me to tolerate.   I began to feel sad, depressed, frustrated, and uncomfortable.  I became scared to live my truths.  I began to lose myself and no matter how I tried, I felt confused and unsure of myself.  My thinking had became so distorted that I started to question my own intuition and break rules that I had set for myself.  Not good.  I felt the need for space and somehow found the courage to take it.  

I love Gary with all my heart.  Being apart from him is like having something torn out of me.  There is also relief and slowly, new seeds are growing and old wounds are healing.  Who knows what can happen.

Most importantly, I am finally taking care of myself and following my gut.  I have not regretted a single moment in my life.  Not a moment.  I love life fully and passionately and believe it has bumps along the road that help us learn and become who we are.  This is just another one of those bumps.  I have been amazed at my own strength as well as the collective love and support that I have felt from those around me.  Thank you.  I am truly blessed and have extreme gratitude for this amazing life and what it offers.  Love and so much light to all beings, each and every single one of you. 

Omniscient Orcas is the title of my new series of updates.  This place seems pull truth out of people--the nooks and crannies of one's being.  There is no hiding from anything here.  So begins the next adventure, . . .