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octoberepiphany.com ….. http://www.octoberepiphany.com ….a moment of great or sudden revelation Wed, 26 Aug 2015 06:33:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.6.10 Fear Not…..Take a Leap of Faith Instead http://www.octoberepiphany.com/fear-not-take-a-leap-of-faith-instead/ http://www.octoberepiphany.com/fear-not-take-a-leap-of-faith-instead/#respond Wed, 26 Aug 2015 06:32:53 +0000 http://www.octoberepiphany.com/?p=379 Read more >]]> I remember watching a movie years ago called “Defending Your Life”.  Albert Brooks and Meryl Streep’s characters had both died suddenly and were in a way station before heading to their next destination.   Where that destination would be depended on them proving they had successfully overcome their fears and showed courage.  Meryl Streep passes the test easily but Albert Brooks did not.  At the end of the movie he finally “gets it” and overcomes his fear, ultimately sending him on his way to Heaven with Meryl Streep.  He took a leap of faith even though his whole being was filled to the brim with fear.

Fear is something that has kept me from doing many things over the years.  Some of those things were trivial and unimportant but others were not.  It’s the latter that bothers me the most.  Many things I really should have done for my own good I did not do because fear paralyzed me.  Fear of failing.  Fear of being rejected.  Fear of being told no.  Fear of being ridiculed.  Fear coursed through my veins and made my heart pound out of my chest.  Fear was a living, breathing part of me; an appendage I felt like I could not amputate no matter how hard I tried.

As contradictory as it sounds fear and comfort go hand in hand.  Fear keeps you in your comfort zone where things are safe.  That’s one of the jobs of fear; to keep you held down and prevent you from expanding your horizon.  Fear doesn’t want you to know that there’s this big giant world out there full of light just waiting for you to see it.  Fear wants to keep you locked away in the dark where it can have total control over you.  That’s exactly what fear has done to me.  It invaded my mind and my soul and kept me prisoner.  I was too scared to do and say so many things because of fear.  Fear breed negativity in my life that spread like wildfire.

Over the years the basis of my fears have changed from that of a child to those of an adult.  I’d have to say that adult fears are much worse than child fears.  As children our fears are more simple.   We’re mostly afraid of monsters under the bed and the dark, just to name a few.  As adults our fears turn to more real life situations; fear of relationship failure, fear of losing your job or your home, fear of dying from a fatal disease.  I can add all three of those to my adult fears plus many, many more.

I’ve recently been faced with some fears that I’ve gone through before.  I thought I was done facing those fears but they reared their ugly head yet again.  Those particular fears shook me to my very core the first time and I did not want to revisit them ever again.  My first reaction was to recoil and pull the blanket over my head.  After much thought and prayer about it I’ve decided to change that.  They say it’s insanity to keep repeating the same behaviors over and over again and expect different results so I decided to face this fear head on.  To challenge it and not give in or give up until one of us dies.  I’m determined to make sure that fear is the one that dies here, not me.  I’m tired of letting fear control so much of my life.  What’s the worst that can happen?  I’ll be told no?  I’ll fail or be rejected?  I’ll be laughed at?  I will never know the answers unless I try.  If I do fail then I’ll just have to dust myself off and move on.  But it’s taking that first step in the leap of faith to overcoming fear that will help move me in the direction I need to be going and that’s forward, not backwards.  There’s nothing behind me I need.  The only thing that matters is what’s in front of me and if I let fear keep me from that then there’s no point of going on.  Fear is the Devil’s child, not God’s.  His child is Bravery and that’s who I want to be instead.  So from here on out I shall “Fear Not…..Take a Leap of Faith Instead”.

 

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Never say never http://www.octoberepiphany.com/never-say-never/ http://www.octoberepiphany.com/never-say-never/#respond Tue, 14 Jul 2015 06:13:06 +0000 http://www.octoberepiphany.com/?p=358 Read more >]]> Back before I was married or had kids I can remember seeing other people’s kids running around places, acting up and throwing temper tantrums.  I distinctly remember saying “When I have kids they will NOT be acting that way!”.  When I would hear a parent loudly reprimanding their kids (that means yelling just so you know)  I would cringe and say to myself that I would never do that after I had kids. Reading about people that made all their own “stuff” I always said “Nope, not me.  I will never do that”.  If I had a dollar for every time I said I’d never do something, well, I’d literally have a ton of dollars right now and boy could I sure use them. Saying you’ll never do something is almost as good as saying you WILL do it. Maybe not tomorrow or next week, but someday.  We’re all guilty of doing things we said we’d never do.  Some of those things are not so great but then some of them are.

A few years ago we moved out into the country.  We live on a few acres and have enough land to have some small farm animals if we chose to.  My best friend Kelly also lives in the country and started raising chickens.  She raved all about them to me and said I should get some too since I had the land for them.  There was just one problem with that plan though;  I’ve been scared of winged animals since I was 6 or 7 years old.  One little negative experience with a big, wild (mean!!) turkey will make sure that fear is firmly cemented in place.  Now, this fear isn’t a full fledged phobia but it is enough to make me very nervous around any kind of birds. I didn’t want to hold them, I didn’t want to play with them, I didn’t want to be around them.  As much as Kelly told me chickens wouldn’t be mean like that evil turkey my answer was still NO!

Last year my neighbors decided to get chickens.  When I was over at their house they asked if I wanted to go and see their chickens.  I said no, of course, explaining my fear.  Their chickens free range all over their yard in the day and will come right up to you.  Every time they got near me I could feel that fear rise up in me. Thankfully their chickens did not rush at me in a horde or I would have had a little meltdown in their driveway.  My neighbor gave me some of their eggs once and I was immediately hooked on backyard eggs.  When I ran out and had to buy more eggs at the store I felt like I was slumming.  Once you eat those eggs you won’t want to buy store eggs ever again.  When I told my friend Kelly about the neighbor’s chickens and getting eggs from them she told me again how I should just get my own chickens.  I held onto my firm “No!” reply.

While reading some articles on the internet last month I came across an article that said there would soon be egg rationing happening in stores.  It also said the price of free range eggs would go up significantly.  Lastly, it said that a good bit of backyard chickens didn’t seem to get the diseases that a lot of large factory farmed chickens do.  That one article made me change my mind about having my own chickens.  I told my husband I decided to get some and he looked at me like I was nuts.  I gave him the reasons for my change of heart.  I told Kelly I was going to get chickens and I know she was surprised as I’d steadfastly said no for several years.  Kelly directed me to a reputable woman to get the chicks from.  I contacted her and made an appointment.  I took my son’s friend with me who used to have chickens himself.  We went to the farm to look at the woman’s chickens and she showed us everything she had.  She had so many different varieties and was eager to tell us about each one.  After spending about an hour there we came home with two three week old Cream Legbar chicks.  When they start to lay eggs they will be a beautiful blue color.  I can’t wait for that to happen.

Our first week with the new chickens has gone smoothly.  I held them from the first day we had them.  Getting them when they are younger will help me to overcome my fear.  It will also help acclimate us to each other.  I went from being nervous to hold them to letting them jump up on my hand and run up my arm to my shoulder.  I would have never done that with a full grown chicken.   We’ll be going back to the woman’s farm soon to look at other breeds to buy so we can have a variety of chickens and different egg colors.  ChickenPicTwo

The point of this blog post isn’t really so much about chickens as it is about change.  I have said for many years I wouldn’t have any kind of bird because of that fear instilled in me at such a young age thanks to Mean Wild Turkey Bird at my grandmother’s cousin’s house.  Letting go of that fear and giving into change that is good is a liberating feeling.  It means you’re growing as a person.  One of my friends remarked to me when I told her I had gotten chickens that I had come a long way.  I replied back to her that yes, I HAD come a long way from the person I used to be and that I liked the new me better.  And the new me is a brave chicken owner!  ChickenPicThree

 

 

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Repurposing a reusable shopping bag http://www.octoberepiphany.com/repurposing-a-reusable-shopping-bag/ http://www.octoberepiphany.com/repurposing-a-reusable-shopping-bag/#comments Wed, 04 Feb 2015 07:39:04 +0000 http://www.octoberepiphany.com/?p=320 Read more >]]> Plastic bags.  Those two words evoke fear and loathing in people all over our planet.  I personally wish they were banned and paper or reusable shopping bags were your only choices.  Sometimes I remember to bring my reusable shopping bags to the store. Sometimes I do not.  On the occasions that I forget I choose paper bags if available.  That being said I have quite a collection of reusable shopping bags.  Some I bought and some I got for free.  As great as reusable shopping bags are sometimes you just have too many of them.  Unless I was shopping for the entire northern hemisphere I just won’t use all those reusable shopping bags I have.  So they sit quietly in the closet, patiently waiting, waiting, waiting for the day they’ll be used.  Sometimes I am sure I can hear their wailing from down the hallway, “For the love of all mankind puhleeeeaze use me!!”.  It is very sad, indeed.

When my son was home from college over Christmas he wanted to make some gifts for his friends.  Being a college student means not having much money. Thankfully my son is pretty resourceful on solving problems.  He has this fabric bag he bought at the bicycle shop that holds his tools for his fixed gear bike.  It’s kind of like a roll up pouch type bag that ties closed.  He wanted to make one for his friend but wasn’t sure about the material to use.  I didn’t have any canvas or heavier material here so we were stumped on what to use without making a trip to the fabric store and spending money.  He looked around his bedroom and came downstairs with this fabric bag that came with a pair of shoes he had bought.  He cut the bag up and sewed it into a pouch just like the one he had bought.  He sewed patches on the pouch for decoration as well as some zig zag stitches for contrast.  I have to say it looked pretty darned good and I was impressed at his ingenuity!  After the first bag he wanted to sew more but he only had that one bag.  I thought about it for a few minutes and remembered all the reusable shopping bags loitering in the hall closet.  I brought them out and showed them to him.  They were perfect and off he went to the sewing machine.  This time he sewed a roll up artist’s pouch.  He’s an artist studying at an art university so he has plenty of pens, pencils, paintbrushes, etc. that he uses.  He cut the bag up to the size he wanted, sewed elastic to hold the pens and then sewed ties on the ends. What an awesome repurpose of a reusable shopping bag that’s not being used. The pictures below just show how he made the bag.  There are no measurements as he didn’t have any in mind when he was sewing it–he literally just winged all of it.  I hope this inspires you to repurpose your unused reusable shopping bags into something great.  Better to be put to use than to live a lonely life in the closet!

IMG_3379Cut your reusable shopping bag to the size you need for the project you are doing. This bag was repurposed into an artist’s roll up pouch to hold pens and pencils. An X-ACTO knife (like this) was used to cut the bag on a self healing mat like this.  If you’ve never used a self healing cutting mat before then you don’t know what you’re missing.  They are wonderful!

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A running stitch was sewn all round the edges of the fabric.  Since this is a roll up pouch to hold pens and pencils elastic (like this) was used.  A pen was used to gauge how far to space the loops apart.  Different sizes of pens and pencils needed to be stored in this pouch so different sized loops were sewn.  The elastic loop was sewn from one end of the bag to the other.  (I have to give a shout out to the Brother sewing machine I have.  It’s totally dummy proof and is numbered to show where to thread the machine.  It even has a needle threader so I don’t have to use a magnifying glass to see the eye of the needle.  How utterly cool is that!)

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Here’s a closer view of how the elastic loops were sewn.  You can see how the elastic was pushed up to allow the pen to fit snugly.  Don’t make the loops too tight or loose or your pens won’t fit.

IMG_3382The elastic is sewn all across for a variety of pens and pencils.  To make your life SO much easier you should use a good pair of fabric shears (like these) that you can see in the upper right corner of this picture. Just make sure that no one uses your fabric scissors for anything but fabric.  The people at my house know this rule and it is enforced under penalty of DEATH if they use my fabric scissors to cut anything other than fabric!

IMG_3384After the elastic is sewn with the appropriate spacing you need to fold the edges over and sewn them.  A contrasting thread was used to make it interesting. Random stitches were also sewn here and there just to add more visual contrast. Two thin pieces of fabric were folded over and sewn and then sewed to one end of the pouch.  These are used to tie the pouch up after it’s rolled up.  (On a side note I have to tell you that the pens in the picture are not ones that students at a serious art university are using for their work.  It’s just the ones we had here in my desk to use for measurement.  I’m sure my son would want people to know he uses REAL artist writing tools!)

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And here is the finished product!  A tag was folded over and sewn on the edge for decoration as well as another piece of contrasting fabric.  I love that my son picked this reusable shopping bag for his project.  The green color is very eye catching and the words on this bag (if you can read them) say “I am not just a BAG”.  I think his repurpose of a reusable shopping bag proves just that!

 

* Important Disclaimer Stuff *     

In order for me to support this blog, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for any of the following:  endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services mentioned on this blog.  Some of my links are affiliate links.  What this means is that if you make a purchase through my affiliate link I will receive a small commission.  There is no additional cost for you though.  Every little bit helps in the way of supporting my little corner of the blogging universe……….and I am VERY humbled and grateful to you for that!

 

 

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Here is where I wish they were http://www.octoberepiphany.com/here-is-where-i-wish-they-were/ http://www.octoberepiphany.com/here-is-where-i-wish-they-were/#comments Fri, 09 Jan 2015 07:58:45 +0000 http://www.octoberepiphany.com/?p=296 Read more >]]> When a child loses their parents they are called orphans.  Their parents no longer exist in this world and they are alone.  Orphan is a label society gives to children, but not adults.  What label do adults have when they have lost both of their parents?  We have labels for many other things but not this one.  Though it does seem silly to call an adult an orphan we still feel the need for some type of classification because our parents are no longer here.  It’s a classification I never thought would come so early for me.

My beautiful, sweet mother lost her battle with Alzheimer’s last month.  She was only 74.  She was much too young to leave this world, by way of natural causes or otherwise.  My father left us six years ago.  He was only 70, also too young.  It was difficult enough to lose him but I still had my mom.  I still felt like I was someone’s child.  Over the last few weeks I’ve felt like I’m kind of “not here”.  I don’t really feel present.  Going through the motions is probably an accurate description.  I’m still trying to adjust to the fact that I will never again see either one of my parents in this life.  I know they are both waiting for me….on the other side, but it’s not the same.  They are not HERE.  And here is where I wish they were.

Since my dad died there have been numerous times that I actually forgot he was no longer living.  I would see something on the internet or learn about something that I wanted to tell him about and think “Oh, I’ll call Dad and tell him”.  It takes me a few seconds to remember that I can’t do that anymore.  This has happened so many times and it’s still happening, six years later.  I even left my dad’s cell phone number programed into my cell phone.  I can’t bring myself to erase it even though I know the number belongs to someone else now.  Erasing Dad’s contact info in my phone is such an act of finality that I cannot bring myself to perform.  I know the same thing will happen with my mom….forgetting that’s she’s gone.  Her’s will be different though as the Alzheimer’s had robbed her of her ability to remember things, either correctly or even at all.  When it will happen is when I want to tell her something about my kids.  That was the basis of our conversations for the past year or so.  She just couldn’t remember much of anything else…..but she remembered my kids when I would talk to her.  That I will always, always be grateful for.

We celebrated my mom’s life last weekend at the church she had joined almost 20 years ago.  We played a PowerPoint slideshow of pictures that showed her throughout her life.  We sang “Amazing Grace” as the words seemed fitting for the journey that brought her into a church all those years ago.  My Godmother spoke fondly and eloquently about her 50 year friendship with my mother.  I also spoke about Mom, reading a three page eulogy I had written the week before.  It is a mighty difficult task to summarize a person’s entire lifetime in a few, short paragraphs but someone I managed.  I mustered up enough courage to stand before the small crowd in the church and deliver that speech.  I hope my mother would be happy at the things I said about her.  I meant every last word I spoke.  In my life, I can tell you what the hardest things I’ve ever had to do were.  I actually have a list of those things in my head.  Reading that eulogy was one of them.  It meant that things were now final, that Mom is really gone and she’s not coming back.  It meant that my siblings and I are now alone….alone in the sense that we have no parents and never will again.  That’s a label I wish we didn’t have….not just yet.

 

 

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Where you are……is exactly where you’re supposed to be http://www.octoberepiphany.com/where-you-are-is-exactly-where-youre-supposed-to-be/ http://www.octoberepiphany.com/where-you-are-is-exactly-where-youre-supposed-to-be/#comments Sun, 09 Nov 2014 04:27:08 +0000 http://www.octoberepiphany.com/?p=259 Read more >]]> Have you ever wondered if you are where you’re supposed to be in life? Have you thought over and over again that you would be in a better place if only you’d made different decisions or done things the opposite of what you did do?  Would your life be better (or worse) had you taken a different road?  I think it’s perfectly natural to question our decisions in life and fret over whether we made the right ones or not.  Me being the obsessive “fretter” (I think I just made that word up) that I am I can say with 1000% certainty that I have questioned nearly every decision I’ve ever made in life and if it was for the best or not.  There are times when we are reminded that everything we do is for our own greater good, both the wise and unwise decisions.

I had an interesting conversation with my friend the other day that solidified just that for me.  We were chatting about how my life has gone the last few years and she asked if I would have done this or that differently, thus making things go more favorably for us than how they had gone.  I paused before I answered because I wanted to think it over.  It took less time for that answer to come out of my mouth than I would have expected. Truthfully, I was actually surprised how fast I did answer her question.  I was also surprised at what my answer was.  The simple answer to that question was NO.  No, I would not have changed things.   In a matter of mere seconds I mulled over in my head everything bad and negative that had happened to me/us over the last 7 years or so.  I fast forwarded to now–today–and where I was at in life.  I thought about how I’ve changed completely over the last few years and how I like the person I’ve evolved into.  I thought about how that would not have happened had the negative things not happened.  I told my friend that I believed that all things happen for a reason, both good and bad, and that every experience we have in life shapes the person we become.  I also told her that I believed that the things that happen to us ultimately place us on the path that we are supposed to be on.  Some of us seem to find our path early. Others, like me, take longer to find that path, having gotten sidetracked or even lost along the way.  I belong in the “I got totally lost and refused to stop and ask for directions” category.  Chalk that up to the stubborn gene I was born with and have not been able to extricate from myself  <—- one of my many character faults!

I told my friend, too, that it’s sometimes not until we’ve gone through the ugliness and look back on it that we realize that it was necessary.  You know that old saying that goes “God doesn’t give you any more than you can handle”?  Sometimes we feel like we’re going to break into pieces if ONE more thing happens.  I’ve felt like that about 9 million times in my life.  It wasn’t until I broke down the walls I created for myself over the years and let Him in that I was able to handle things better. That would have never, ever happened had I not gone through everything I did. Am I thankful for the hardships we’ve endured?  You better believe I am!  It’s humbled me like nobody’s business and placed me exactly where I’m supposed to be in life.  I’m still traveling towards my ultimate destination but I know I’m going the right way.  I also know that should I stumble on my path that it’s OK……I’ll just pick myself up and get back on my path.  I have fallen SO many times in my life. That does not matter. What DOES matter is that I got back up.  And I’ll keep getting back up and going about my merry way on my path….exactly where I’m supposed to be.

 

 

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Letting go of “The Land of Perfect” http://www.octoberepiphany.com/letting-go-of-the-land-of-perfect/ http://www.octoberepiphany.com/letting-go-of-the-land-of-perfect/#comments Tue, 03 Jun 2014 04:25:56 +0000 http://www.octoberepiphany.com/?p=244 Read more >]]> I remember a Walgreen’s commercial several years ago that talked about a town called Perfect.  It went on to say how wonderful life was in this town because everything was, well, perfect.  I used to laugh with my husband about that commercial and we have a running joke now about “The Land of Perfect” and how we wished we lived there.  In The Land of Perfect everything would be shiny, happy and wonderful. There would be no worries of any kind, especially the financial kind which seems to be the bane of our very existence.  All.the.time.  When you are a perfectionist like me not being able to live in The Land of Perfect is especially hard to deal with.

I stress and obsess over things that I can’t possibly control and it drives me crazy. I see other people, things, situations and think “I should do this” or “I should be like that” or “Why can’t I be like them?”.  I’m surprised I haven’t been committed yet over all the obsessing I’ve done over the years.  I look back on my life and think I should have done this or that with my kids, I should have volunteered at their school more, I should have never let them eat at McDonald’s or places like it.  I should have done this.  I shouldn’t have done that.  Things needed to be perfect!  We are conditioned to believe in the idea of perfect by TV, magazines, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.  Pinterest is a definite guilty factor there–things have to be Pinterest Perfect!  (I do confess….I’m a Pinterest addict.  Ok.  I’m also a Pinterest hoarder.  Anyone that follows me on there knows that…….ahem).

One of the things I have been obsessing about the last several months is that I haven’t been back to my blog.  When I started it I wanted it to be grand…….just like everyone else’s blog is, with numerous posts throughout the week.  I wanted it to be PERFECT.  Well, life gets in the way sometimes and that didn’t happen.  I also obsessed over the idea that each post had to be long.  A short post just wouldn’t do. Well, guess what?  That is wrong!  Two things happened recently that made me view things in a different light.  I was reading the blog of a new friend and one of her posts was just a few very short paragraphs long.  When I got done reading the short post it was like a eureka moment for me.  I realized that blog posts don’t have to be long, they can be short and sweet.  They don’t even have to be about anything profound.  The other thing that happened was a comment my daughter said to me over text.  I recently learned to make homemade soap.  My first three bathes came out okay.  I made the fourth batch which was the same kind of soap as the second batch.  That one had come out alright so I didn’t expect problems.  Well, there were problems.  My soap was cooked too fast and at too high a temperature.  When I mixed the honey in the soap it didn’t get mixed in as good as it should have. When I unmolded my soap the next day there were pockets of gooey, squishy honey all through it.  I was so disappointed in my failure.  My soap was NOT perfect.  I texted my daughter a picture of the messed up soap and told her what happened.  I told her it was ugly soap.   You know what she said?  She said “It’s just soap”.  You know what?  She is absolutely right.  It is JUST SOAP.  It’s not the end of the world if my soap isn’t perfect.  It will probably get us just as clean as the perfect soap……we might be a little sticky but no worries!   I learned this past week that things do not always have to be perfect and that’s OKAY.  I’m sure in a bathroom in The Land of Perfect that someone has some ugly soap banished to underneath the sink because it’s not perfect and could never grace their perfect soap dish.  My ugly soap is going right in the shower to be displayed and used in all it’s imperfect ugly glory.  And that is the end of my kinda short post.

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How I make homemade chicken and vegetable broth http://www.octoberepiphany.com/how-i-make-homemade-chicken-and-vegetable-broth/ http://www.octoberepiphany.com/how-i-make-homemade-chicken-and-vegetable-broth/#respond Fri, 21 Feb 2014 02:46:02 +0000 http://www.octoberepiphany.com/?p=215 Read more >]]> Making your own broth is embarrassingly easy.  Whether it’s chicken, beef or vegetable–nothing could be simpler.  Store bought canned broth has lots of undesirables in it–chemicals, artificial flavorings, things I can’t pronounce…….you get the idea.  When you make your own broth you control what goes into it, not some person in a factory assembly line.  One of the things I like about making my own broth is that not only is it better for us health-wise it’s also a form of recycling! That’s a win-win for me!

I normally make chicken and vegetable broth.  I start by saving all the bones from the chickens I cook. After we’ve eaten the chicken for dinner I pick off the meat I want to save for another meal & store it in the fridge or freezer. I then take the carcass, the fat and the parts of the meat that didn’t make it into the “save for later” bowl and put it in the freezer. If I’m going  to make the broth in a day or so it goes in the fridge. I have a bag I keep in the freezer labeled “veggie scraps” where I save all parts and pieces of vegetables.  When I peel carrots the ends and peels go in that bag.  Any other veggies we have get put in the bag, too.  When I have enough bones & veggie scraps saved I make broth.

Veggie Scraps

In my stock pot I put the bones and veggie scraps.  I pour enough filtered water in the pot to fill it about 3/4 of the way up. I put salt & pepper in the pot–enough that I think will be good.  You have to decide for yourself the amount of seasoning to use. Stir everything together.  I turn the heat to medium-high to get the pot boiling. After it boils for a little while I turn the heat to medium-low.  I usually let my broth cook for about 4-5 hours, stirring every so often.  If the water boils down too much I add a little more filtered water.  I do a taste test to check if the salt and pepper is good or if I need to add any more.

brothpot

After cooking I take the pot off the heat and let it cool for a bit.  I then pour the broth through a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl a little at a time.  I use a big spoon to mash the liquid out of the mixture into the bowl.

Straining broth

I then pour the broth into freezer safe Mason jars that I set out on the counter. Don’t fill your jars all the way to the top or they will expand and explode in the freezer!  Guess how I know that.  And yes, I nearly cried over Mason jars that shattered because my Mason jars and I are really good friends.  I let my broth cool down before I put the lid on the jar.  After ample cooling I lid the jars and store it in the fridge overnight.  I then put the jars in the freezer the next day.  I ended up with eleven jars of broth from the two batches I made.  When I want to use a jar of it I either put it in the fridge overnight to start defrosting or set it in a pan of hot water.

broth

I mentioned above that making broth is recycling.  It’s recycling in two ways.  One, you’ve used bones and vegetable scraps to make broth that you were going to throw away.  Two, you can actually save the bones and vegetables from the first pot of broth and do it again.  It’s like double recycling!  How awesome is that?  I usually start the next pot of broth right after I’ve strained the first batch.  I just make a day of it.

How do I use my homemade broth?  Here are just a few ways–

  • I use it to make the best ever chicken noodle soup
  • I replace the water in instant potatoes with the broth
  • I pour it over chicken or meat in the oven
  • I  mix it into vegetables

See how easy that was?  It was no trouble at all.  I wish I had of learned how to make broth years ago.  I could have saved a LOT of money by not buying canned broth at the store AND it would have been much healthier for us.  So next time you bake a chicken save those bones!  And save your veggie scraps, too!

 

* Important Disclaimer Stuff *     

In order for me to support this blog, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for any of the following:  endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services mentioned on this blog.  Some of my links are affiliate links.  What this means is that if you make a purchase through my affiliate link I will receive a small commission.  There is no additional cost for you though.  Every little bit helps in the way of supporting my little corner of the blogging universe……….and I am VERY humbled and grateful to you for that!

* More Important Disclaimer Stuff * 

The statements made here have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. They are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure or prevent any disease. Please do you own research before embarking on any new endeavor. I am not a doctor nor did I ever play one on TV……..even thought I was on TV once.  

 

 

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Coconut oil…..where, oh where have you been all my life? http://www.octoberepiphany.com/coconut-oil-where-oh-where-have-you-been-all-my-life/ http://www.octoberepiphany.com/coconut-oil-where-oh-where-have-you-been-all-my-life/#comments Sat, 08 Feb 2014 06:33:17 +0000 http://octoberepiphany.com/?p=60 Read more >]]> When I decided to green my life there was so many things I wanted to do and try. One of the things I kept reading about was coconut oil. Prior to my enlightenment on natural living I really didn’t know much about it. OK, that’s not REALLY true. Truthfully, I didn’t even know coconut oil existed. I thought it was just the coconut and the coconut milk inside. The most I had ever been around coconuts was the one we had when I was a kid.  My parents brought one back from a trip to the Caribbean and we rolled it down the hallway like a bowling ball all the time. It never did bust open either. Good times those were. That was the extent of my coconut knowledge up until a few years ago. When I started to read more about the benefits of coconut oil I was intrigued. Coconut oil seemed to be some great magic elixir for everything.  I read about cooking with it, ingesting it, using it in homemade body care products and more.  Coconut oil just happens to be rich in lauric acid, which supports our body’s immune system.  Lauric acid is also found in human breast milk. We all know that breast milk is best for babies so using something with one of the same ingredients couldn’t be wrong, right? Alrighty then, I’m convinced—sign me up. I decided to dive in and see for myself what all the fuss was about. I am soooo glad I did because if there was one thing I’d really hate to have to do without now coconut oil would be it.

I bought a jar of it at the store and tried it.  It was okay–definitely different than anything else I had used before.  It took some getting used to.  I researched more in depth about it and found that, just like with anything else, you have the economy variety and the luxury variety.  After trying several different brands from local stores I decided to bite the bullet and order the luxury variety online.  I am very happy I did.  Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil has become the ONLY  brand of coconut oil I will use. In my opinion it is just a superior product. I love it so very much that I just bought a 5 gallon bucket of it last month. See? There it is right there below, sitting on my kitchen floor!  (FYI………a 5 gallon bucket of coconut oil is extraordinarily HEAVY!  That’s where husbands & sons with strong arms come in handy.)

5galloncoconutoilbucket

Before you think I’m nuts for buying such a gigantic bucket of coconut oil, read on. These are just a few of the ways we use coconut oil at our house:

  • To cook with–replacing oil in the pan, stirring it into hot foods.  My son loves to sauté zucchini and squash in the pan using it.  It is delicious!  I also put a spoonful of it in my morning coffee for health benefits.
  • As sunscreen–it works to keep me from getting sunburned better than ANY sunscreen ever did.  That is really saying something, too, as I am extremely fair skinned.  As an added bonus, it has no chemicals in it like sunscreen does.
  • As a skin moisturizer–my skin has seriously NEVER looked better since I started using it.  It has helped my keratosis pilaris (over-production of keratin) on my skin heal up almost completely.  I’ve had that since I was a kid.  It has firmed up my skin, eased my wrinkles and even lessened the appearance of cellulite for me.
  • In body care products–I have made toothpaste out of it, deodorant, hard lotion bars, body butter and shaving cream, among other things .
  • Mix into my dog’s food–adding a spoonful of coconut oil to your pets food helps to improve their skin health, helps digestion, reduce weight and increase energy among other things.  My dog likes to lick it off the spoon.

Wanna see some pretty awesome recipes using coconut oil?  Of course you do!  Click here (affiliate link) I’m warning you though, you’ll be hungry afterwards.

So, coconut oil is a pretty versatile thing to have around. We’ve become the best of friends and there will always, always, always be a bucket of it in my kitchen.  I’ll share more specific uses for coconut oil in later posts so check back soon.  If you’d like to try some Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil for yourself please click here (affiliate link).

 

* Important Disclaimer Stuff *     

In order for me to support this blog, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for any of the following:  endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services mentioned on this blog.  Some of my links are affiliate links.  What this means is that if you make a purchase through my affiliate link I will receive a small commission.  There is no additional cost for you though.  Every little bit helps in the way of supporting my little corner of the blogging universe……….and I am VERY humbled and grateful to you for that!

* More Important Disclaimer Stuff * 

The statements made here have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. They are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure or prevent any disease. Please do you own research before embarking on any new endeavor. I am not a doctor nor did I ever play one on TV……..even thought I was on TV once.  

 

 

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Finding my way home…..where I was always meant to be http://www.octoberepiphany.com/finding-my-way-home-where-i-was-always-meant-to-be/ http://www.octoberepiphany.com/finding-my-way-home-where-i-was-always-meant-to-be/#respond Mon, 20 Jan 2014 07:25:41 +0000 http://octoberepiphany.com/?p=16 Read more >]]> There are many different definitions for the word home.  For this story, though, the definition I want to use is this:

Home is not always a brick and mortar place, but rather a place where you feel that you belong.  Home can be a spiritual place…..…like church. Home can also be a way of life……..finding where you fit in.  

For me, “finding my way home” was a several-step process.  Read on….

Once upon a time, there was a gal who loved convenience.  She had an absolute LOVE AFFAIR with it.  Go to the store, buy it, bring it home, spray it, and let the bubbles do their scrubbing.  Or put it in the dryer and the fluffy little bear will make the clothes puff up like magic and smell like flowers.  Or open the can, pour it into the pot, and you’ll have a “homemade” dinner in a jiffy.  Convenience is a great thing. It’s also a modern thing.  People in generations before us didn’t have so much convenience.  They had to do things for themselves, make things themselves… from scratch, no less.  No running to the store for every little thing they needed. Somewhere down the line, we were conditioned to believe that convenient is better. Well, guess what.  It’s not!  All that convenience came at a price.  That price has compromised our health and our environment.  I was just as guilty as the next person.  But something happened in my life that changed all that.

The economic downturn several years ago hit my family hard–really hard. The kind of hard where you have to decide which bills not to pay so you can buy groceries that week.  The kind of hard where you’re staring straight down the nose of things you never thought you’d have to face.  The kind of hard that takes you to a place you’d never think you’d be.  That kind of hard puts you in church on a Sunday morning in October after praying for help the awful night before. That kind of praying DOES get you help, but sometimes not the kind you are expecting. The kind of help you get from praying sometimes changes your whole life–turning it upside down, sideways and backwards, causing you to have an epiphany.  That kind of epiphany changes you from a years-long borderline non-believer into an instant believer.  And sometimes that’s exactly what’s supposed to happen.

In the middle of all the turmoil my family was going through, I did everything I could possibly do to stretch what little money we had as far as possible.  As an in-home child care provider, I had to find ways to reduce my costs.  I researched how to make reusable baby wipes.  I thought I was going to learn how to make something myself and save money.   What I actually learned was about all the harmful chemicals that are in baby wipes.  I learned that baby wipes were made from some pretty unnatural materials.  I thought they were made solely from cloth.  Nope! Go research that for yourself.  You might will be surprised.   Learning that ONE thing branched out into a bunch of different directions.  It was the ripple effect.  I learned about the negative impact that chemicals have on us personally, as well as on the environment.  Now, I’m not dumb. I’ve always known there were chemicals in stuff.  I just didn’t realize how many chemicals there were in everything and how they affected us so much.  It made a huge impact on me, and I wanted to learn as much as I could.  The “Baby Wipe Incident,” as I refer to it, had changed me profoundly.  I started to look at those things of convenience in a whole different light, and I did not like it. I decided to change things in our life for the better.  My husband thought I was crazy (he kinda still does).  He liked convenience a LOT!  I’m working on him, though.

As I journeyed through the last few years, learning all I could about natural living, I started to feel a calling to pass on that information to others.  It’s a really strong calling, too.  I will tell anyone who will listen all about natural living AND the experience I had that landed me in church that Sunday morning in October.  My pastor Clark said this is called evangelism.  I snickered when he said that because I never, EVER thought of myself in that way, being the shy, reserved, introverted wallflower that I am.   But I guess Clark knows better than I do, seeing how he’s had all that professional training on the subject.  Looking back on that now, Clark was right.  If I could stand on the rooftop and shout to the masses about how we should all get back to a more natural lifestyle, I would.  But seeing how climbing on the roof is sorta unappealing to me, this blog is the next best thing.  Plus, I always wanted to be a writer, so there…..…I think it’s kismet.  All this brings me to where I am now. Learning, sharing, and making my life over……..walking down an entirely different path than the one of convenience and denial of faith that I traveled on for so long.  I hope you’ll decide to walk that path, too, and learn something new while you’re here because, let me tell you……..it’s WONDERFUL over here on this side.

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Hello world! http://www.octoberepiphany.com/hello-world/ http://www.octoberepiphany.com/hello-world/#respond Sat, 18 Jan 2014 19:53:43 +0000 I’m almost there!

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