Saturday, December 13, 2014

Piper's New Christmas Stocking

My daughter and her family have a cockapoo named Piper.  She was one year old this fall, so last Christmas she was only a few months old.  I didn't get around to making her a Christmas stocking last year, but I promised I would make her one before Christmas 2014.  Then I promptly forgot about it.  When the decorations came out for the season, there was no stocking for Piper.   They reminded me that she needed one to match the rest of the family.  The stores don't sell the exact yarn I used in the other stockings anymore, but fortunately I had enough left to do the job.  Hopefully I won't have any more stockings to make or I will be scrounging in thrift stores for another skein.  On Thursday, I thought I better get started.  After all, it's less than two weeks until Christmas.  I used the pattern I created in a previous blog except I charted out a doggie theme.  My dog looks a little strange, but I never claimed to be an artist.  The line by his butt is supposed to be a tail in case you were wondering.

Piper puppy's new Christmas stocking.

These are the first three I made for the family.

Then Ewan was born and I needed a stocking for him.

His stocking before I put his name on.

Ewan's first Christmas.  I can't believe that was 4 years ago.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Are They Loons?

We are having a little mid December warming trend.  At least temperatures in the 40's are considered a warming trend for us in Wisconsin.  If this continues we could be without a White Christmas which would be sad.  However, weather here can change in one day so who knows what will happen in the next two weeks.

The ice is melting on our pond.

Because of the warmer temperatures, the ice is melting on our pond.  It is attracting migrating ducks.  They are very difficult to sneak up on, but today I saw something that looked like a loon fly by.  Yesterday I saw it too, but when I tried to get a picture, it flew away.  We get a loon every now and then in the Spring.  The Common Loon spends the summer in Northern Wisconsin and Minnesota.  It is very common to hear them on the northern lakes and see them with a young one riding on their back.

A loon that spent two days on our pond before moving on to the North.

Loons are usually solitary when they pass through in the Spring.  That's why I wondered whether what I saw flying by today were loons.  They landed on a small body of water that doesn't ever freeze no matter how cold it gets.  Last winter we had minus 20 degrees, and the water remained open.  I put on my boots, grabbed my camera and made my way to the water.  I tried to get as close as I could without scaring them away, but the snow left in the woods crunched very loud.  I managed to get pretty close.   There were five of them, and they really looked like loons to me.  If anyone has another idea, I would like to know for sure.  I looked up their migration habits, and they do migrate in flocks.  This wasn't exactly a flock, but maybe more than two could be considered one.  The photos aren't great but if you look really hard, you can see them through the cattails.

* It was brought to my attention that these may be Golden Eye ducks.  It could very well be.  If they return, I will try to get a better picture.  

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Essential Oil Products

Two months ago, I wrote about being introduced to Essential Oils and meeting Michele.  She is a Young Living representative.  It has been very exciting to learn about oils and their benefits from her.  I have also read a few books to try to learn more.  That is why I was excited to learn about a class she was having.  These classes are called Make and Takes.  That means you meet and Make certain products.  Then you Take them home with you.  A couple days ago I attended my first Make and Take class.  My daughters also came.  We had fun making a variety of products.

The first thing we made was Holiday Spray.  Michele provided everything we needed, which included the spray bottle, the essential oil, the epsom salt and distilled water.  The spray smells like a Christmas Tree.  We have allergies so we haven't had a "real" Christmas Tree for many years.  I sprayed the tree with this spray, and it smells just like a natural Christmas Tree.  This spray used Evergreen Essence  oil, but any scent will work in this recipe.

Holiday Room Spray

1 spray bottle
1 Tablespoon epsom salt put into the bottom of the bottle
Fill the bottle with distilled water
10 drops of essential oil (We used Evergreen Essence)

Next we made a Sugar Body Scrub.  I have used it on my face and hands, and it made them very soft.  It also tastes so good, but you want to rinse it off completely with warm water or your dog won't stop licking your face.  I used peppermint oil for mine, and my daughters used orange.  Both scents smell wonderful.

Body Scrub

1 pint jar
2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
4 drops of essential oil.
Mix together until blended and put into the jar.

The next two products were put into little glass bottles with roll on tops.  One was called Seasonal Assist and the other was called Respiratory Roll On.  Both these products may help with respiratory and seasonal issues.  Everybody reacts differently, but just smelling these oils makes me feel better.

Seasonal Assist
1/3 oz. glass bottle
6 drops lemon
6 drops lavender
6 drops peppermint
Then fill the bottle with grapeseed or olive oil

Respiratory Roll On
1/3 oz. glass bottle
6 drops lemon
6 drops eucalyptus oil
Fill bottle with grapeseed or olive oil

For those who aren't familiar with essential oils, they may seem quite expensive.  They are so concentrated that one little bottle will go a long way. There are many different oils and blends.  Each help with different things.   I use a diffuser quite often and get a variety of benefits throughout the whole room depending on which oil I choose.  Although there are many companies that make essential oils, I know Young Living is a quality product.  I look forward to attending more classes in the future. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Potato Soup Using Frozen Hash Browns

As most of you who read my blog know, Tuesday is recipe day.  Generally I post a new recipe that my family likes or is an old favorite that I have made for years.  I am a little finicky, so all the recipes I post are not on the top of my favorite list.  I have very sensitive taste buds and find strong flavors distasteful.  This recipe I love.  It is super easy and it is NOT low calorie.  It can be made on the stove top if you stir often or in the crock pot.  I don't know where I got this recipe from, so I can't give them credit.  I think this soup is too thick.  My husband eats it as is.  I add milk until it is the consistency I like.  The last time I made it, I used cubed ham.  You can buy the ham already cubed to make it even easier to make.

Potato Soup

2 lb. bag of cubed hash brown potatoes, thawed slightly
1 10 ¾ oz can cream of chicken soup
1 10 ¾ oz can cream of mushroom soup
12 oz of milk (I just rinse the soup cans out with the milk)
12 oz sour cream
1 stick of butter
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
¼ cup chopped onion
salt and pepper to taste
4 pieces of cooked, crumbled bacon (optional)
sliced green onion or chives (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.  Pour into a slow cooker and cook on low for 4-6 hours until cooked and heated through.  Garnish with extra cheese, a dollop of sour cream, crumbled bacon and sliced green onion, if desired.