Happy Thanksgiving!

Here in the United States, Thanksgiving day is a national annual holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November, marked by religious services and a traditional meal including a turkey or ham. Of course each family is different, some may not attend religious services and some may not eat turkey or ham, but that’s not the point. I’ve always felt the main focus is to be together with the people you love and eat a meal together, thankful for all you have.

After all the definition of the word Thanksgiving is the expression of gratitude.

This is a special day where we all express our love and gratitude for the special people, circumstances and objects of our lives. A lot of people, including myself, lose sight of how wonderful aspects of our life really are.

I’ve created a list (in no particular order) of the things I am thankful for in my life right now and I hope that I can remember, on more than just this day, what makes my life special.

I am thankful…

  • That I am alive.
  • That I am in good health.
  • That I have shelter.
  • That I have food and water.
  • That I have a husband who loves me.
  • That I have a family who loves me.
  • That I have two lovable cats.
  • That I have a job.

I am thankful for so much more, but I will stop there. Just remember that there is always something to be thankful for in your life, even if you have to bring it down to the basics.

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Show your Host or Hostess some love

HostorHostessGifts

Does anyone out there ever bring gifts for their host or hostess anymore?

I will admit I have been very neglectful of this when I attend gatherings at friends and families homes, but I think it’s time to turn over a new leaf, bring the classy back, and start showing our gratitude to those who go through the effort of hosting us for the day, evening or longer.

If you are feeling like you would like to get your host(ess) a gift there are a variety of gifts you can try, gifts like:

  • Beverages (Beer, cider, tea, wine, etc.)
  • Candles
  • Card or Board Games
  • Flowers (Cut bouquets or potted plants)
  • Gift Cards
  • Hosting accessories (Decorations (decor), kitchenware etc.)
  • Treats (Savory or Sweet)

Whatever you choose to give, you will be spreading warmth and cheer back to your host/hostess, who in turn will spread warmth and cheer to you and their other guests.

Roasted Pumpkin Seed Recipe (No Oil)

Pumpkin Seeds

I love snacking on roasted pumpkin seeds! So delicious, easy to eat and prepare, and with numerous health benefits, who could say no? Traditionally I make large batches every year after we carve our Halloween Jack-O-Lanterns and snack on them for weeks!

I do not use oil in this recipe.

Ingredients:

  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Salt
  • Seasoned salt (optional)
  • Water

Directions:

As you carve your pumpkins, keep all the seeds in a bowl. I find it easier to separate the seeds and pulp into two separate bowls as I go, rather than sort that mess out later.

Throw the seeds into a colander and rinse under cold water, stirring with your hands to make sure all the seeds are all rinsed thoroughly.

Place the seeds in a medium saucepan. Add 2 cups of water and 1 tablespoon of salt for each half cup of seeds.

Bring the saltwater and seeds to a boil for 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Coat a baking sheet with whichever nonstick cooking spray you prefer and spread the drained seeds out in a single layer.

I took this opportunity to sprinkle seasoned salt over the damp seeds. You are welcome to leave them with just the salt that was boiled into them, or add any variety of other toppings depending on your taste.

Cook the seeds until dry and crispy, this could take an hour or more. Remember to stir occasionally so the seeds get baked evenly.

Let them cool for a few minutes…then let the snacking begin!

65 Ways to be Elegant

  1. Accept compliments gracefully.
  2. Always bring a gift to your host and/or hostess.
  3. Apologize sincerely.
  4. Appreciate the arts.
  5. Arrive on time.
  6. Be a lady or a gentleman at work.
  7. Be kind.
  8. Be positive.
  9. Be quietly self confident.
  10. Be respectful of others.
  11. Be well groomed.
  12. Be well read.
  13. Concern yourself with making others feel comfortable.
  14. Do small favors for others without expecting reciprocation.
  15. Don’t boast.
  16. Don’t complain.
  17. Don’t call attention to other’s mistakes, gossip, or speak ill of them.
  18. Don’t curse.
  19. Don’t overindulge.
  20. Dress appropriately for every occasion.
  21. Chew with your mouth closed.
  22. Express empathy.
  23. Express gratitude.
  24. Give thoughtful gifts, rather than expensive ones.
  25. Give others sincere compliments.
  26. Have a fabulous signature meal you serve guests.
  27. Have a signature perfume/cologne.
  28. Have impeccable manners; say please and thank you.
  29. Have integrity.
  30. Host small dinner parties.
  31. Keep a journal.
  32. Keep your home clean and uncluttered.
  33. Keep your nails well manicured.
  34. Know thyself.
  35. Learn another language.
  36. Learn less is more.
  37. Learn proper etiquette for a variety of situations.
  38. Learn to dance.
  39. Learn to politely decline.
  40. Listen without interrupting.
  41. Maintain boundaries.
  42. Maintain a budget.
  43. Maintain good health.
  44. Move with grace.
  45. Open the door for others.
  46. Practice discretion.
  47. Practice good posture.
  48. Practice patience.
  49. Practice quality over quantity.
  50. Remember birthdays.
  51. Savor the moment.
  52. Send holiday and thank you cards and/or notes.
  53. Serve coffee or tea after meals.
  54. Show restraint in expressing anger.
  55. Sip your beverages; never slurp or gulp.
  56. Speak eloquently.
  57. Speak softly, never yell or scream.
  58. Spend time outdoors.
  59. Take responsibility for yourself and your own happiness.
  60. Think before you act or speak.
  61. Turn your mobile off at the table.
  62. Understand your own worth.
  63. Wear dresses and/or suits more often, and on dates.
  64. Wear less makeup.
  65. Write a letter rather than send an email to those you love.

Coconut Oil for Health

CoconutOilThe more I research and use coconut oil, the more I am convinced it is one of those rare ingredients (much like apple cider vinegar) that can be used for all kinds of good in your life. Some of these remedies will take more than one application to work, so don’t lose hope if you apply once and your acne doesn’t immediately vanish!

  • Acid Reflux – Take a small spoonful of coconut oil with meals to help prevent acid reflux and heartburn.
  • Acne – Coconut oil gently fights the bacteria that cause acne. Dab it directly on the offending pimples and watch them shrink.
  • After Shave – Coconut oil soothes sensitive skin and promotes healing
  • Age Spots – Coconut oil has beneficial effects on any skin blemish. Use it to help fade age spots with powerful antioxidants.
  • Athletes Foot – The powerful antifungal properties of coconut oil make it perfect for any fungal infection. Add a few drops of oregano or tea tree oil for more antifungal power.
  • Bones – Coconut oil aids the body in the absorption of calcium and magnesium. Both minerals are important for strong bones and teeth.
  • Bruises – Rub coconut oil into bruised skin to speed healing and watch the bruises fade fast.
  • Canker Sores – Dab coconut oil on canker sores to kill infection and speed up healing.
  • Chicken Pox  – Ease the itch and encourage healing with dabs of coconut oil.
  • Cleanser – Coconut oil makes an effective and gentle cleanser to remove the grime of the day.
  • Cold Sore  – Coconut oil has antiviral properties that will help the body get rid of the virus that causes cold sores. Rub it on when needed and add a drop of oregano oil to speed healing.
  • Conditioner – Coconut oil conditions, strengthens, and repairs hair. Massage it in and rinse it out after ten minutes. A small amount can be rubbed in to dry hair to tame frizz.
  • Cooking – Coconut oil doesn’t transform into harmful by-products when heated like most other oils and animal fats. Use it to replace butter, cup for cup in recipes. Sauté, cook, bake, broil, braise, and more using coconut oil as a healthier alternative.
  • Cradle Cap – Coconut oil is gentle and safe for infants and helps ease the itching, pain, redness, and flaking associated with cradle cap.
  • Curb Appetite – Take a spoonful before meals to curb appetite so you don’t overeat.
  • Dandruff – Massage coconut oil into the scalp to ease symptoms of dandruff, both itching and flaking.
  • Deodorant – Mix coconut oil with cornstarch, baking soda, and your favorite essential oils for a natural deodorant that smells fantastic.
  • Diaper Rash – Coconut oil can help heal mild diaper rash gently and effectively.
  • Earaches – Earaches, swimmer’s ear, and ear infections clear up fast with a few drops of coconut oil mixed with garlic oil.
  • Energy – Coconut oil and its medium chain triglycerides make it an excellent energy source to improve stamina, endurance, or just to give you a boost through the day.
  • Eye Cream – Reduce puffiness and dark circles with a few dabs of coconut oil.
  • Fitness – Coconut oil boosts energy, increases metabolism, improves thyroid function, and aids healthy weight loss.
  • Furniture Polish – Coconut oil gives a protective shine to wood furniture. Test on a small area first.
  • Gum Removal – Coconut oil gets the sticky stuff out of hair, carpet, and anywhere else it doesn’t belong.
  • Hemorrhoids – Coconut oil eases the pain and discomfort of hemorrhoids and encourages natural healing both internally and externally.
  • Lice – Coconut oil kills and removes this pesky problem.
  • Lip Balm – Coconut oil hydrates and protects lips and offers some protection from the sun (spf 4).
  • Lubricant – Coconut makes an all-natural personal lubricant for intimate moments without chemicals.
  • Makeup Remover – Coconut oil removes oil-based makeup easily, like mascara. It cleans, hydrates, and makes skin glow.
  • Massage Oil – Coconut oil soothes tired and sore muscles. Add a few drops of essential oils for more effect.
  • Moisturizer – Coconut oil is an excellent way to soften and hydrate dry, rough, or damaged skin.
  • Nose Bleeds – Rub a bit of coconut oil in nostrils to fight the dry cracking that can lead to nose bleeds.
  • Nursing – Coconut oil works great to repair dry, cracked skin, including sore nipples from nursing.
  • Pet Health – Coconut oil can do a multitude of things for pets, both topically and internally. It improves breath, makes for a shiny coat, eases joint problems, cleans ears, gets rid of fleas, and much more.
  • Ring Worm – Rub coconut oil onto affected area to kill the fungus that causes ringworm. Add tea tree oil to clear the infection even faster.
  • Shaving Cream – Coconut oil keeps the razor gliding smoothly while leaving skin smooth and soft.
  • Skin Condition – Coconut oil reduces the itchiness, pain, flakiness, and dryness of eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis.
  • Skin Irritations  – Ease the itch of poison ivy, poison oak, mosquito bites and other insect stings or bites, and encourage healing with dabs of coconut oil.
  • Sore Throat – Dissolve a spoonful in your mouth and let it slowly roll down the throat. This will coat and protect the throat, boost the health of mucus membranes, and fight any infection.
  • Stretch Marks – Prevent and soften stretch marks with coconut oil for soft and supple skin.
  • Stys/Pink Eye – Rub a small amount of coconut oil on the sty or around the eyes to get rid of these infections.
  • Sunburn – Coconut oil can help prevent sunburn for short exposures. When you are sunburned, applying coconut oil will speed healing and take some of the sting away. Wait 24 to 72 hours after the burn to allow the heat to dissipate rather than seal it in.
  • Toothaches – Coconut oil strengthens teeth and helps soothe painful toothaches. Adding a drop of clove oil can almost instantly relieve the pain.
  • Toothpaste – Mix one part coconut oil with one part baking soda and add a couple drops of peppermint oil. This makes a refreshing, natural toothpaste that whitens and cleans without added preservatives, fluoride, sweeteners, or other chemicals.
  • Urinary Tract – Treat urinary tract infections with a spoonful of coconut oil.
  • Warts and Moles – Rub oil into area and cover with a bandage. Rub in fresh oil and place a new bandage each day.
  • Wrinkles – Rub into lines, creases, and wrinkles to rehydrate skin and soften those wrinkles away.
  • Yeast Infections – Coconut oil fights these fungal infections internally and externally.

Welcome back Autumn!

Okami Fall Wallpaper

Welcome back Autumn! Every year I look forward to the Fall and the warmth it generates inside my home and soul. Where I live, September and October are still rather warm on some days, and turn wet and cold as the months progress toward Winter.  I cannot get enough of the rain this time of year. The cold, wet weather begins to take over outside, driving us all inside to be together and warm. There’s nothing like cuddling up with people you love, reading a good book, watching a movie or playing a video game while the weather misbehaves outside.

I intend to fully enjoy myself this season and invite you to join me. I will be doing a lot of cooking, crafting, book reading and game playing; among other things. Follow along and try some of these activities for yourself, this is a time we should all enjoy!

I intend on:

  • Decorating for Halloween.
  • Watching Halloween mood movies.
  • Assembling a Halloween costume.
  • Hosting a Halloween dinner party.
  • Carving pumpkins.
  • Roasting pumpkin seeds.
  • Making candy/caramel apples.
  • Cooking a dish for Thanksgiving.
  • Creating and sending Christmas cards.
  • Creating and hanging Christmas ornaments.
  • Decorating for Christmas.
  • Baking Christmas cookies/cake.
  • Watching Christmas mood movies/specials.
  • Visiting local Christmas festivals.
  • Visiting Christmas Disneyland.
  • Hosting a Christmas dinner party.
  • Baking Christmas Cookies.

There will be other activities I do, but these are the core basics I try to do every year.

Apple Cider Vinegar for Health

AppleCiderVinegar copyThe more I use apple cider vinegar, the more i’m convinced it is one of those rare tinctures that can be used for all kinds of good in your life. I have known people who are able to drink or gargle with straight apple cider vinegar and I tip my hat to them, it is strong! I personally tried gargling with it undiluted for a sore throat and it stings! After the stinging went away my sore throat was gone, but I highly recommend diluting it with water and in some cases honey.

  • Acne – Wash your face morning and night with one part apple cider vinegar to two or three parts water to clear acne.
  • Bad Breath – Gargling or drinking one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar diluted in water will kill the odor-causing bacteria found within your mouth.
  • Dandruff – Mix ¼ cup apple cider vinegar with ¼ cup water in a spray bottle, and spritz on your scalp. Wrap your head in a towel and let the mixture sit for fifteen minutes to an hour, then wash your hair as usual. Do this twice a week for best results.
  • Diarrhea – Mix one to two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar into water and drink to soothe intestinal spasm.
  • Cholesterol – Drink half an ounce of apple cider vinegar (diluted in water if you prefer) on daily basis to lower cholesterol.
  • Headache – Mix ten grams of apple cider vinegar, ten grams of honey and dash of chamomile extract to create soothing balm for tension headaches.
  • Hiccups – Take a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and it’s sour taste will stop hiccups immediately.
  • High Blood Pressure – Drink two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar diluted into one average glass of water 1 to 3 times a day to lower blood pressure.
  • Indigestion – Mix one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and one teaspoon of honey into warm water and drink it 30 minutes before eating to relieve indigestion.
  • Leg cramps – Mix two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and one teaspoon of honey into a glass of warm water and drink to boost your potassium levels and relieve leg cramps.
  • Sinus Congestion/Pain – Mix one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar into a glass of water and drink to help sinus drainage.
  • Sore Throat – Gargle ¼ teaspoon of apple cider vinegar diluted with ¼ cup of warm water once every hour or so to remove germs.
  • Weight Loss – Start your day with two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar diluted into two glasses of water to suppress your appetite, reduce water retention and increase your metabolism.
  • Whiten Teeth – Gargling with diluted apple cider vinegar once a day can help remove stains, whiten teeth and kill harmful bacteria in your mouth and gums. Brush afterwards.