Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Home Cold Remedies

I know I promised these last week and I also missed a Renovate Friday. I still haven't worked all the kinks out of the schedules to allow me to get back online like I use to do. Between the kids early morning and after school activities and my constantly changing job schedule I can't seem to find time to get here. Which really stinks because I'm missing out on reading all my favorites blogs!

Ok now for a couple of wonderful remedies to help with a sore throat. These remedies are designed to help lower the amount of drugs you need by soothing the symptoms of the cold. They are not a cure and as always you should consult a doctor about your symptoms to make sure it's nothing serious!

My favorite is a cup of hot tea mixed with 1 tablespoon lemon and 1 tablespoon honey. The heat from the tea helps soothe the achy feeling that a sore throat gives you. The lemon has antiseptic properties to help heal your throat and the honey adds a protective coat which helps keep it from becoming more irritated. The best thing is that because it isn't medicine you can use it as often as needed and if you use a nice herbal flavored tea your kids can enjoy this symptom soother too.

You can also try old fashion gargling. Just mix 2 tablespoons brown sugar with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda too 1quart warm water. Place into a container with a tight fitting lid and shake well before each use. This can also be used as often as needed.

;Now I"ve heard this helps but I haven't tried it yet myself. I think I will ave to on my next cold just to see if it works. Apple Cider Vinegar is suppose to kill bacteria on contact. So mix it with water but make it as strong as you can take. Then gargle one mouthful every hour, swallowing afterward. Repeat twice each time. The acid is suppose to be very helpful in soothing your sore throat and if you swallow it, the extra potassium is also beneficial. Make sure you rinse your mouth out after because the acid will probably be hard on your tooth enamel.

Starting to get cold.

It's starting to get cold here in New York (not that it got very warm this summer) and I'm trying to decide whether I should go ahead and pick the little watermelon. It was suppose to be small but I really did expect it to get a little larger.

It's also time to start cleaning up. I think after I clean out all the dead or dying plants I'll put in a few mums till winter just to make it look nice for the neighbors. I did get enough zucchini to make six loaves of bread and plenty of eggplants. I got some tomatoes though I was hoping for more because we really like tomatoes. It was just too wet this year. I never did get any broccoli. Every time it started to get a little head of broccoli it would jump straight into flowers. A friend of mine said her father use to grow broccoli and would wrap the leaves around the head to keep it from flowering and let it grow bigger. I'll have to try that next year. I never got any pumpkins (since I actually planted more zucchini) so I'll have to hit the farmers market to do my pumpkin baking. When I start I'll share some of our favorite recipes with you so you can enjoy the bountiful fall harvest too. Though I did hear that pumpkin crops were having some problems this year too. So I think I'll go this weekend before scarcity kicks in and the prices go up.

I'm going to be spending the winter doing a little research to help me get a better crop of veggies next year as well.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The last couple days have been fun I have a God awful cold and realized I didn’t have my medicine cabinet stocked for the cold season. I certainly don’t have enough tissues around between my cold and my husbands allergies we went through a lot of tissues. we did however manage to get to the Renaissance fair on Sunday which was good was the last day. I love going to the Renaissance fair to all kinds of interesting things. What I really love the people powered ride how cool is that about green for the planet.

Of course all the junk food and the jousting, sword fights and the people in costumes and some people really go crazy dressing up going from being a Renaissance faire to Dungeons & Dragons faire. it’s all a great deal of fun and I have a few really good pictures to share with you it’s from the bird of prey show they have there. I hope you enjoy them you think the next couple of days and post a few of my home remedies that I use since the cold and flu season is upon us. They help with the symptoms but won’t make the cold go away that is just something you have to live through until you get better and hope it will make you stronger against the next cold.

Billy paying the toll to cross the bridge. 1 Hug

The Queen and her Subjects

One of Robin Hoods Merry Men


Harris Hawk

Eurasian Eagle Owl

Eurasian Eagle Owl in Flight

Horned Owl

Andean Condor

Friday, September 18, 2009

Green Renovate Friday

I love this time of year. My energy bill is so low you would think I had installed solar panels. My windows are open to the fresh breeze, making my messy house seem a little cleaner. But I know winter is just around the corner and the heating bill will shoot my electric bill right back up.

Speaking of windows... Let's face it not everyone can afford to replace their windows with the new and improved 5 star, energy efficient, three pane, uber windows. So lets go with curtains! A good set of curtains can help keep heat and cold out of your home. Even these can be pricey. We finally got all ours done when Linens and Things went out of business. Which is sad because I liked Linens and Things but a cheapskate has got to save money! Our curtains have thermal backs which helps keep the heat or cold out and they also help keep the outside noise down. Very important since we are living next to a rail road track. The commuter trains aren't so bad but the cargo trains that run at night are horrible. Sometimes I can't wait until my hubby gets a new base so we can move someplace quiet.

Anyway as I was saying curtains can be expensive too so start with the room that you entertain visitors with. Pick out nice ones that compliment your room but have the thermal back or add a second layer with a second curtain rod behind the first.

After that get creative. Hit the yard sales and clearance sales. A twin comforter with Superman or Belle from Beauty and the Beast will work just as well as good curtains and your kids will love waking up to their favorite characters. Knot some baby blankets together for a colorful mosaic for the baby's room and a nice quilt for your window will help keep everyone warm and toasty in the winter (coming soon to an northern hemisphere near you ) and cool in the summer (for you lower hemisphere readers).

When the kids out grow childhood characters then its time to update their curtains with real curtains they are getting to an age where they want to have their friends over an might be embarrassed with Thomas or Dora hanging on their windows. But by now you have had time to hit more yard sales and watch the sales ads so you should be prepared.

You will notice I put the kids curtains ahead of our curtains... Lets face it kids can be cruel and our kids are more susceptible to the taunts of their peers then we are (not to mention not many of our peers will be in our bedrooms) I will not put my cheapskatery above the welfare of my children and it can be hard enough with all we pile on our children with more and more homework and less time to play. The last thing they need is problems with friends too.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Time to do Some Baking

Did ya ever have one of those weeks where time just flew by so fast that you didn't even know what day it was???

I did last week I even forgot to post Renovate Friday last week Shame on me!

Well the weather is getting cooler and school is back in session which for me means time to do some heavy duty baking. I love making muffins and when I bake them they come in three sizes. I make mini muffins to go into lunch boxes, regular size muffins for after school snacks and Giant muffins for breakfasts. I make hugh batches of them then freeze them for later and the mini muffins can go right into the lunch box frozen they will be all thawed out by lunch time. Now if you care to join me in my baking frenzy then here are a few of my favorite muffin recipes.... Enjoy!

Makes 9
3 Ripe banana’s cut into pieces or smashed
½ c honey
¼ c butter cut into pieces
1 egg1
½ teaspoon vanilla (use real vanilla not the fake stuff it tastes better and is better for the environment)
1 ½ c whole wheat flour2 tsp. baking powder

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Spray muffin pan with not stick spray.Mix bananas, honey, egg and extract together. Add flour and baking powder and mix together.Spoon batter into the muffin pans and bake for 30 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean. Let sit for 5 minutes and remove from pan. Serve or let cool completely before freezing.

Makes 12
2 c Rolled oats
1 C whole wheat flour
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
1 Tbls. Baking Powder
1/3 C water1 Egg
½ C extra virgin Olive Oil
½ C Maple Syrup (use real maple syrup its more expensive but the taste is worth it )
½ C Walnuts
½ C Rasins
Preheat oven to 350 and spray muffin pan with Nonstick Cooking spray. Pour oats into a food processor (or blender in small amounts) and cut into small pieces. Mix Oats, flour, salt, cinnamon and baking powder together. Add the water and egg and mix well. Next Add the oil and syrup and mix. Last add the walnuts and raisins stir until completely mixed together.Spoon batter into the muffin pans and bake for 20 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean. Let sit for 5 minutes and remove from pan. Serve or let cool completely before freezing.

Makes 12
2 C chopped Apples
1 C rolled oats
1 C low-fat plain Yogurt
2/3 c Honey
1/3 C Shredded Unsweetened Coconut
1/3 c Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Egg1
½ C Whole Wheat Flour
2 tsp. Baking Flour
2 Tsp. Ground Cinnamon
¼ Tsp. ground cloves

Preheat oven to 375 and spray muffin pan with Nonstick Cooking spray.

Combine Apples, oats, yogurt, honey, coconut and oil together and mix well. Let sit 5 Minutes. Add the egg and mix thoroughly.In another bowl sift the flour, baking powder and spices together then add to the oat mixture and stir until the dry ingredients are moistened.Fill the muffin cups until they are quite full. bake for 25 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean. Let sit for 5 minutes and remove from pan. Serve or let cool completely before freezing.

Makes 12
¾ C Corn Meal
¾ C Whole Wheat Flour
½ C All- Purpose Flour
2 ½ Tbls Dry Buttermilk Powder
1 Tbls Baking Powder
½ tsp Salt
½ Tsp Ground Cinnamon
¼ Tsp Ground Cloves
2/3 Cup light Brown Sugar
¼ C Butter cut in pieces
2 Eggs
2 Tbls Honey
¾ C Pureed Cooked Squash (or pumpkin)
2/3 C water

Preheat oven to 350 and spray muffin pan with Nonstick Cooking spray.

In a large bowl mix cornmeal, both flours, buttermilk powder, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and cloves mix well.Place the sugar butter eggs and honey in mixer and blend until smooth. Add the squash and water and mix well. Add the squash mixture to the flour mixture and mix well.Spoon batter into the muffin pans and bake for 20 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean. Let sit for 5 minutes and remove from pan. Serve or let cool completely before freezing.

Makes 12
1 C Grated Carrots
1 Banana, mashed
½ Cut up Prunes or Raisins2 Eggs
1/3 C Honey
1 Cup orange juice
1 Tsp. orange extract
2 Cups Whole Wheat flour
¼ Cup Oat Bran
2 Tsp Baking Powder

Preheat oven to 375 and spray muffin pan with Nonstick Cooking spray.

In a large mixing bowl, place the grated carrots, banana, and prunes and mix well. Then add the eggs, oil and honey and mix. Add the juice and orange extract and mix well.In a separate bowl the flour oat bran and baking powder and mix well. Then add it to the carrot mixture and blend until dry ingredients are moistened.Spoon batter into the muffin pans and bake for 25 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean. Let sit for 5 minutes and remove from pan. Serve or let cool completely before freezing.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I Should Have Taken a Picture

Do you remember me telling you this was PUMPKIN??? Well it's not it's Zucchini!! How do I know ...
Well after months of checking for nice pumpkins and getting nothing but big yellow flowers. I noticed the other day the leaves were wilting and needed some water. So I headed out and grabbed the hose. I turned toward the plant and saw the biggest zucchini I have ever seen! It was a good foot and a half long and about 6 inches around. After I finished being flabbergasted
..... I mean how the heck did I miss that monster after all the checking I did??? I grabbed the zucchini and headed into the kitchen. Now if you want to use a zucchini in any recipe where you taste a lot of zucchini any one will tell you to use them before they get more then 5 inches long when they are still young and tender. So I chopped and grated my zucchini and made 4 Yes 4 loaves of zucchini bread. Now I wish I had taken a picture to show you but it's to late it has been eaten... My zucchini bread doesn't stay around for long!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

First Day of School

For us today is the First day of school. I took them over this morning. My daughter Sam is going into 7th grade ... Junior High School.....WHAT Already? I can't believe it! She is so excited...She practically flew to school even with the heave backpack.
My son Billy was not so thrilled until we arrived at the school and while we were waiting out front one of his friends from last year showed up. While they were talking they found out they were in the same class this year too. You should have seen his face light up. It was great!!!! I even arranged a play date for him right after school. Sam has to stay after school today until 5 for an orientation with the rest of the 7th graders. Since my son's friend has an older brother in 7th grade too, Billy and his friend will be playing after school until then. It's a great way to finish the first day of school. Especially for someone (Billy) who doesn't like school!

The only problem with this morning was I forgot to bring the camera. NUTS!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Green Renovate Friday

Man what a week! You may have noticed I didn't get on to post much this week. It's been a little more CRAZY then usual.

Three people got fired this week and one person quit over at my job. So I've been working more hours and covering for the lost people. Then add the daily trips to summer camp so I can keep my job and throw in the fact its the week before school and you get the picture.
But I didn't want to forget Renovate Friday so here I am up early so I have time to post.

I lived in Arizona a few years ago, down in Tucson. It's really beautiful there especially when the thunderstorms roll across the desert. What I found appalling was how much they were building up there, how many people actually had grass lawns and how many businesses had water fountains to decorate their building. It's a DESERT people you can't keep draining the water from the ground unless you want it to become a dry sinkhole instead of a town!

Sorry got off on a tangent there...... anyway it's time to think Xeriscape Landscaping. This means using plants that normally thrive in your environment to landscape your yard. Even in a desert like Tucson there are many great choices you can use. The benefits include less water and chemical uses. Since the plants are already native to the area they are use to the amount of water the area gets and the composition of the soil. You can also providing for the local wildlife by native plants as food sources and shelters.

Now something good about water use that I saw in Tucson: Grey Water Systems. If you are living in a drought prone area and want to save your landscape without wasting water then you need to install a Grey Water System. These allow you to reuse water from the sink, shower and washing machine to water your landscape. It's a win-win situation! Your plants get the water they so desperately need and you save water, money and the environment.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Environmental Contradiction At The Bronx Zoo

I love the Bronx Zoo..... Of course I love any zoo that is well designed and has naturalist habitats for the animals.

The Bronx Zoo is doing wonders for the animals there. Teaching people about endangered ecosystems and the animals that live there. They even have a pretty cool working composting toilet exhibit

With displays that tell users how the water from the sinks are reused to water the plants outside and how the foam used to flush the toilet uses less water then a normal flushing toilet.

What they don't have is water fountains..... or at least very very few of them. I think I saw two and one of them was broken. Instead feel free to purchase a nice over priced bottle of water

$2.50 for that little thing. The bain of the environmentalist existence and a penny pincher's nightmare, and what happens when you are done with it? Recycle it right.......Wrong! You throw it away because there isn't a single recycling bin in the entire place. You cant even refill it from a water fountain..... as I said there are none to be found.

I really need to remember to bring my own water when we go places because it makes me so mad when these public places have no place to get a drink unless you shell out a small fortune for it. Unfortunately a easy to carry water bottle will only take you so far on a hot day with no place to refill it.