Hyacinth Oil

Hyacinths are a special Easter flower and smell very similar to a lilac. They also are grown from a bulb which can be replanted in your garden as a perennial.

Our local grocery store had them on clearance after Easter for $1.00 so of course I bought 10. The bulbs were planted today and now I am making some hyacinth oil to use in our homemade body scrubs (which I will use mainly for my hands and feet).

Place the cut flowers into a bowl with 1 cup of water and 1/8 cup of sunflower oil (or you can use olive oil) and let soak for a day or two.

Store the oil in a jar and use it to scent your body scrub!!

**Body Scrubs can be made many ways.  I will use this with organic cane sugar and a touch of glycerin**

Harvesting

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Fresh lettuce daily

It’s a special time of year when you are finally “eating” what you’ve sown.  A few of our garden items have been producing very well in this wet summer we are having.  Here is a peek into some of our harvested meals.

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We are growing head lettuce, romaine lettuce, and purple leaf lettuce.  Every day it’s great to have a choice of which fresh lettuce you are going to eat.  We grow most of this to feed the rabbits, goats and chickens as well as ourselves.

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Kale chips

With our lettuce we have our kale planted.  We have 5 huge plants full of thick heavy leaves perfect for kale chips, soups, and kale salads (the teen’s favorite).  She uses just the kale with apple cider vinegar and some taco shredded cheese.

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The pea plants are producing in one spot only.  Some of them have become molded from the rain.  We have a second planting of 18 plants almost ready to go into the ground.  We are still getting about 7 pea pods from each plant but we need WAY more for my kids!

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These were the only strawberries we collected this year from our plants. We lost quite a few plants to rabbits/voles this spring.  They have been replaced but won’t produce until next year.

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Beans and basil are doing well.  This is a store bought tomato as ours are not ready yet but with fresh basil, this caprese salad was awesome!  The beans did not make it past washing them.  The kids ate them immediately.  Luckily I have a previous harvest already blanched and frozen!

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One of the last 3 jars of peaches left from last summers canning.  Still a sweet treat.

Looking forward to the many more items to come!

Fluff-n-Stuff

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This is the perfect light dessert!

It’s always a hit at summer parties as it’s cold and refreshing with the perfect amount of sweetness.

The best thing is it’s not that bad for you!!!

And you can make this MANY different ways and flavors!

Here is how I make ours:

8 oz tub Cool Whip (you can use light and even Fat Free if you choose)

8 oz container of cottage cheese (you can add more or less if you like)

1 package jello any flavor (I used raspberry tonight)

1 can fruit cocktail (or fruit of your choice)

1 cup miniature marshmallows

Mix all together in a bowl and chill.

It’s that simple!

NOTES: You can make this with mandarin oranges and orange jello, pineapple pieces with pineapple jello, raspberry with blue raspberry jello etc. You can add shredded coconut as well! Experiment!

Also you can make this with a package of pudding and the coolwhip and add a cup of chocolate chips and the minature marshmallows. Mix all and chill.

This is a win win dessert that can be made many ways!

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Making Maple Syrup

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We tapped 2 maple trees in our yard this year to collect sap.  This is a super fun project for the kids.  They get off the bus and run to the buckets to see what has dripped in during the day.  This Syrup is the best you will ever have!!

IMPORTANT NOTE:  keep in mind it takes about 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup.

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In 4 days we collected 6 gallons (after losing a gallon to a bucket falling off the tree because of the wind).

Today I decided to process what we have so we can prepare over the next few days to boil a few more gallons before the season is over.  The best time to collect the sap is when the days are sunny and above freezing temperatures yet the night is below freezing. The season may be short or long.  You will know it’s over when the sap stops dripping from your tree.

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We bring the sap in and pour it through a mesh strainer lined double with cheesecloth.  This filters out the impurities.

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You are left with clear pure sap.  The best way to store it is to keep it in cold temperatures until you are ready to boil it.  I store it in the refrigerator.

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When you have enough to boil, fill the pot and bring it to a rolling boil.  NOTE:  this throws off humidity and will fill the whole house.  I open a few windows and don’t mind the humidity as it feels tropical!

The sap will boil down and each time add more to fill the pot using all the sap you have collected.  I started with 3 gallons in our bucket and boiled 6 gallons over the course of 6 hours.  I also scoop out the foam every once in a while.

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The sap will begin to turn a light amber color.  When you get to this point it’s important to continue boiling until the syrup begins to foam.  That is when you know it’s ready.

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It’s a darker color and will thicken.

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Remove from the heat and strain again through the cheesecloth into your mason jar or container you are using to store it in.

You can cover it tightly after cool and store for up to 6 months in the refrigerator.  You can also can it (I personally have never done that but there are directions all over the internet).

Our 6 gallons yielded 1 pint of syrup but the tween queen had to have a separate container she could eat with a spoon before I could get it all in the jar for a picture!

INSTRUCTIONS:

Collect sap

Strain through cheesecloth and store in the refrigerator

TO MAKE SYRUP:

Fill a large pot with the sap and bring to a boil

When it boils down keep adding the rest of your sap until it’s all in the pot

Continue boiling stirring once in a while and removing the foam when needed

Test to see if it has turned a light amber color after it has boiled down the final time

Continue boiling until the sap is beginning to boil and foam, is darker in color and is slightly thicker

Remove from heat and strain through cheesecloth into the container you are storing it in

Let cool and store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months

Homemade Body Scrubs

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Body scrubs are an excellent way to exfoliate your body in the winter and summer.  They also moisturize and nourish your skin.  Store bought scrubs are expensive and contain all sorts of ingredients and sometimes the scent is overpowering.

We make our own and it’s very inexpensive and making it in small batches allows us to make many different scents.

Tonight I decided to make a quick Eucalyptus scent as both of my children are sick and I felt I needed a breath of fresh air in my scrub.  Eucalyptus reminds me of days spent in Florida years ago when my parents first moved there and I would visit. I would lay in the guest room and take in the wonderful fresh smell from the woods near their home.

Last week the tween queen and her friend made an almond scented scrub.  They used Almond flavored food extract to scent it and it smells fabulous.

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We use simple ingredients you can purchase right in your grocery store and they last a long time.  Here is how we make ours.  There is no “exact” measurements because sometimes I will make enough for 2 showers and other times I will make a larger batch as a gift for a friend.  There is no way to mess this up.

Ingredients:

Sunflower oil

Organic Cane Sugar

Extract or essential oil scent of your choice

Jar or plastic container with a lid

To make the scrub put the amount of cane sugar in your jar for a small or larger batch.  Pour in just enough sunflower oil to make it a bit runnier than a paste.  Add a few drops of your scent and mix.  Store in the shower area with the lid on closing after each use.

Scrub it on and feel the softness of your skin when you rinse it off.

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It also works wonders on those heels and your hands!!

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