Lip Balm

Several years ago I made some homemade lip balm. It involved olive oil, peppermint, beeswax and honey.  It turned out ok, but I noticed my big container started leaving a nasty aftertaste on my lips after using it. Yuck!   I don’t know what caused the taste, but it was probably just due to it being old.

Well, last week I decided to search pinterest for different lip balm recipes and found one that I had all the ingredients to!  I was so excited! The recipe is found at Nourishing Minimalism. 

Here are the ingredients I used:

DSC_4894 copyCoconut oil is my favorite oil in the world. I love the smell and taste of it! I also love the smell of beeswax, so this was the perfect blend for me. 🙂  I didn’t put very much peppermint (about the amount called for in the recipe) in my lip balm. Just enough to give it a subtle hint of it being in there. I also didn’t have the lip balm tubes – something I need to order sometime soon, especially if I make any more.  The little containers I used are to store extra paint in and are not very good for lip balm. They are hard to get into. lol

So if you didn’t click on the Nourishing Minimalism link above, here is the recipe:

1/2 cup coconut oil (I used more and will use probably use 3/4 cup or more next time)

1 ounce bar of beexwax. I had ordered this from some time ago.

8-10 drops of the vitamin E oil

6 drops of the peppermint oil

I put the coconut oil and beexwax in a small pan and filled up my medium pan with hot water on the stove enough to float my small pan in and let the wax and oil melt in there.

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Once it was all melted I added the peppermint and vitamin E oils and mixed it up with a whisk.  Once it was all blended I put the mixture in a pourable measuring cup and poured it into each little cup and my other container (that I’m keeping for myself).  I love it!

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I took this same recipe and switched out the peppermint oil with lavender oil (10 or more drops to smell delightful) and made hand lotion bars.  It really helps that dry winter skin on the hands.

Maple Syrup


We tapped 8 trees this year.

We had some warm days and actually had enough sap to make some maple syrup.

I’m praying it warms up soon and we get a lot more sap!


Anyway, we cooked down what sap we did get during a the few warm days we had.

This is after I brought the sap into the house after cooking outside in the turkey fryer for some 18+ hours.


Getting bubbly here.

I had the candy thermometer in at this point.

To get maple syrup, the temperature has to be 219* F



This year we decided to strain the sap a little before it started thickening up.

Lots of minerals and stuff from the trees, as you can see.


Here it is after the straining and before the final boiling.

DSC_8647This first batch of maple syrup ended up being just a tad over 16 oz.

It’s such a neat thing to be able to do each year.

You just can’t be sure what the weather will be! 🙂

New Stove

Eric and I bought our first stove back in March of 1999 when we moved into a rental home, it wasn’t a new one.  It has been with all this time . . . until Saturday, when it decided to burn out an element.  It was pretty freaky to see the oven glowing inside, even after I turned it off.  It wasn’t until I unplugged it that the glowing finally stopped.  Last year we had oven issues around this time of year, had to replace the thermal gauge inside the oven.  It would burn the tops of whatever I was cooking and everything else wasn’t done cooking yet.  Anyway, it was a mess, but Eric fixed it.  He’s handy like that!  🙂  Some time  during the past year one of my burners on the top quit working, so I only had 3 burners and even they weren’t the best.

After Saturday’s oven glowing experience, we decided we’d go oven shopping.  Nothing like having to do this before the holidays!  But it was time and I was ready for  a new oven!  Saturday, Sunday and Monday were interesting cooking days since I didn’t have burners to even use.  I used a crock pot, griddle (it is part of this awesome waffle iron that I got many years ago), and microwave a little bit.  I hate microwave cooking, I really do.

Yesterday our new stove came and they hauled our old one away!  Set up the new stove and there it was . . . all nice and shiny, just staring at me.  I stared back at it.  To be honest, I was afraid of it! LOL  I’ve never had or used a brand new stove, so it was a little intimidating!

Anyway, here are pictures of my new stove and some of the things I’ve baked in it already! 🙂


It’s so nice and shiny!  I LOVE it!  It got a lot of use yesterday, its first day in our home!


The inside of the oven before I used it.  Then coconut macaroons are the first batch of cookies I made for my husband.  Not pictured are chocolate chip cookies I made for the kids and a butternut squash that I baked.  And then there are the pictures of the Gluten-Free/Grain-Free Almond Scones.  I was drooling and couldn’t wait for these things to finish baking!


The finished scones!  They are SO very good!  I ate a couple last night and one for breakfast this morning!

The picture of my arm is showing a boo boo I got from my new oven.  I burned it on the top rack putting something in yesterday.  Silly me!

Anyway, it has been so fun to have a new stove/oven!

Not sure what I’m going to make with it today, but I want to try out the convection part of the oven.

I have a chicken I want to throw in there – not one that is walking around my yard though. . .

PS.  My shiny appliances are waiting for their new kitchen to come . . . some day! 🙂

Homemade Sassafras Tea


My son got this sassafras root several months ago.  It was in the basement sitting until a couple weeks ago.  He’s been bugging me about making sassafras tea, so I had him go get the root from the basement and

clean it up.  We started simmering it.  It stayed in the pan for several hours.  The house smelled so good!  After a while, we decided the tea was finished and poured everyone a hot cup of tea.

It was so good!

We got about a gallon of sassafras tea from that one root.

My NEW Favorite Things

Right now I am thankful for a few of my NEW favorite things:
 Paper towels. 
We’ve used several rolls of these the last couple
days.  They make cleaning up some messes so much easier.
 Ice Cream Buckets.
They are the fashion rage around our house lately.
Everyone gets to carry one around.
It does help cut down a little on the paper towel usage.
 They are best friends with their buckets now.
You really can’t know how weary I am of us being sick.
I am so worn out and still recovering myself.
While up last night, no it was early this morning, waiting for someone to be sick,
I decided to get online. I was looking for a recipe for homemade gatorade
or something like it and came across THIS RECIPE and figured I would share it
just in case anyone else might get this nasty stomach flu. 
The kids are sipping it little bits at a time and seem to like it just fine.
This week has been a dud in the school department, but it can’t be helped.
Who wants to do school feeling this bad?  Not us!
I guess it’s our unofficial “spring break.”  Now if only we can get better
and stay healthy long enough to finish the school year in mid-May! 

Some Things I’ve Been Meaning to Post About

 I got this Bible (it was a freebie). I haven’t started
reading it just yet, but I will sometime really soon.
Tomorrow Cindy and I will be finishing Colossians chapter 3!
One more chapter to go and we’ll have memorized the book in a year!
What a blessing and what an encouragement Cindy has been.
There’s been a few times where it has been hard, but she encouraged me
through those hard times. 
 A while back my rear passenger tire on the Escape kept
getting low on tire pressure.  Took it to the Ford Garage
several times and they “fixed” it.  Well, after the tire lost air pressure
for about the 4th time we took our tire to our normal tire guy.
He took the tire off and immediately found that little nail in the tire.
I generally like the Ford Garage, but is it so hard to actually look
for the cause of the air leak? 🙂
Thanks, Shaun!
 The day before yesterday I made toothpaste from a recipe I found on Pinterest.
Click HERE to see it.
The kids and I like it so far.  I don’t know if Eric is
overly keen on it. He said it’s very soapy tasting.
I love how my teeth stayed clean and smooth for so long!
 I also made deodorant the other day.
Today was my first day trying it and I didn’t get stinky at all.
That was even with exercising on the elliptical!
The recipe is found HERE.
I didn’t have the arrowroot, so I used corn starch in its place.
So far, so good.
 On Monday I had a bump thing removed from my knee.
They don’t think it was anything, except maybe a wart
or a skin growth.  All I know is that I’m glad it’s gone.
My “twin” (as Eric liked to call it) has been removed.
They are testing it to see exactly what it is.
Aren’t dermatologists supposed to know by looking what
*some* skin abnormalities are?  I had them check this rash
out under my eye and they had no idea about that either.
Said it could be “dermatitis.” I don’t know.  It’s been there for months.
I’m to use hydrocortizone (sp?) on it, but not for too long or I could get glaucoma. 
Hmmm, eye rash or glaucoma?  What would you do?  😉 
This is sooo good that  I had to take a picture of it and share it.
This is another pinterest find, of course.  The direct link is to Martha Stewart’s page.
HERE is the link.
 I baked mine in the oven since I don’t have my grill set up at this point  in time.
Also used flour tortillas instead of pizza dough
It’s so delicious. 
Tomatoes, onions, spinach, avocados, sea salt, feta cheese, and
a Tbsp white vinegar and a Tbsp of olive oil.
I love avocados.  Love. them.
An update on Grace:
She seems to be doing a lot better since starting this round of
antibiotics!  Thanks so much to those of you that are praying!
We really appreciate it! 
I’ll update again as we near the end of the 14 days.
God bless,
Ps.  I forgot to add a photo.  It’s my profile pic for facebook:
Practicing using my Ruger. 
It was fun!  I was nervous . .  . at first.
After shooting 47 rounds I have to say that my arms were tired.
Loading the magazine is the hardest part for me,
but I did get better as practice went on..
I seriously have wimpy hands.

Random Things

 Pretty flowers I found growing the other day.
 Baking my eggs.  Before.
 After.  Only one eggs came apart while cooking, but none exploded.
Or leaked all over the place.
I think it’s kind of a neat process.
 Homemade cough syrup.  Before. 
 Homemade cough syrup after simmering.
Just strained out the onions and it is ok.
 Flower I ran through a program on photoshop.
My nephew turned 13 yesterday. 
It seems like he’s been 13 since he was about 2 years old. 😉

Maple Syrup Pt. 2

 Still boiling down outside for a little longer.
 We brought it in last evening and started to finish it off.
 Had to put it in 2 pans to begin with, but eventually move
it into one pan.
 Here it is in one pan and getting thicker and darker
and it tasted Oh So GOOD!
 Bubbling just a bit right before it reached temperature.
We strained it through cheesecloth and bottled it up.
We had one and a quarter quarts from last night.
Today it appears the trees are done producing sap.  Spring
seems to have come early.  I’m kinda bummed because I
wanted to get a gallon or so of the stuff this year. 😦
Next year we WILL tap trees in mid-February instead of early March!

Maple Sugaring

Our maple sugaring set up this year.
 We have 8 of these 5 gallon buckets connected to
our trees this year.
 We like this set up so much better than hanging
gallon jugs on the trees.
Not buggy and keeps rainwater out!
This is from Saturday – we decided to take the ice chunks out
after I took this picture. 
Boiling away yesterday!
Can’t wait until we have some syrup from all this boiling!
I’m not even really sure how much we’ve boiled so far.
My guess is close to 30 gallons right now
(including what is currently boiling right now).
I’ll post more pictures once we start getting syrup!