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Monday, February 15, 2016

Only 3 Ingredients- DIY Toothpaste


We use the pretty basic recipe floating around out there. 

2 Tablespoons melted Coconut Oil

1 Tablespoon Xylitol- I prefer xylitol over baking soda. It sweetens it plus is thought to help restore minerals to the teeth. I use the flat blade of our Silver Bullet blender to grind it finer for toothpaste

About 10-15 drops of Essential Oil- I use Peppermint Oil- it gives it that minty fresh taste plus is anti-bacterial

Mix everything together. The Coconut Oil will solidify when it cools. I keep mine in a small glass container. I also quadriple this recipe (x's 4) to fit the container I have- 1 cup, but I use about 25 drops of peppermint oil and that's plenty for that nice minty taste. 

Friday, February 12, 2016

Creating an Enchanted Space

I've been busy sharing some glimpses into my favorite things around my home and little homestead. Over the past couple of years, I've been working on creating a space I love and loving the space I'm in. Far too long, I put things off, wouldn't commit to anything because we might move, until one day I said ENOUGH! I must live in a space that I LOVE! Now, I could show you pictures of the pile of dishes in the sink right now as I type, or the laundry that needs to be put away, or the rest of the long list of things that need to be done. It isn't perfect, it never will be, it's always a work in progress. But what I do have is an overall space I love to create in. Yes, it can be messy, as Life often is. To me, and Enchanted Space isn't about the perfection (which is hard for this Virgo to say) but rather, finding the enchantment in the midst of the mess (both literally and figuratively speaking). Don't get bogged down in the details, but don't overlook the details either. It's finding balance between growing/creating and embracing what you have. Look around. Is there something in your space that just drains you? Is there one thing you can choose today to change? Sometimes it's a mental shift, a change in thought or how you look at something. Sometimes, it might be physically changing a space. Whichever it is, allow yourself the freedom of change!

If you plant it, they will come- Monarchs

Eli releasing butterflies
Last spring, we planted Swamp Milkweed. Then, in the fall, I saw 1 monarch butterfly. Only one. Much to my surprise a few weeks later, I discovered MONARCH CATERPILLARS!!!! I did a quick google search on how to raise them, got our butterfly habitat ready and got busy! We released 8 butterflies.

One of my favorite pictures!! You can see how this hungry little caterpillar has munched on the milkweed leaf.
Chrysalis in the background, drying monarch, then in the foreground, one that is about to emerge

There are many sites with good information about raising monarchs. Here is one I used. The basics are to be sure to clean their habitat out daily, have water for them (I soaked a sponge in sugar water), and give them fresh milkweed leaves daily. Once they go into their chrysalis, set them somewhere they won't be bothered (i.e. curious kids or cats) and leave them. Once they started to emerge, I did make sure they had fresh water on the sponge. We released them all at once, about 24 hours after the last one emerged, making sure the wings were dry.

Sherri's Garden

Here's one of my gardens as we were building it. 

And then, later that year

 I'm really ready for spring.

Baby chicks and ducks

I call our little homestead Peace of Earth Homestead. We've done quite a bit with our 2 acres! We've raised chickens (both for eggs and meat), turkeys (eggs and meat) and ducks (eggs). Currently, we have a pair of turkeys, 13 laying hens, 1 rooster, 3 guineas and 6 ducks. We LOVE our ducks!!! This spring, when we have a broody hen, we will be hatching out more ducks. And there's very little that's cuter than baby ducks. Hopefully I'll have lots of baby duck pictures to share this spring! But for now, here's one from a few years ago. Isn't he cute?


Sherri's Homestead

One of my favorite pictures from year's past. 

When I first made these, I was thinking about my grandmother and dad (both have passed away). I learned how to can beets from my dad, who learned from his mother. I could feel both of them with me as I peeled the beets. In case you don't know, canning beets is a lot of work! I now realize just how much love went into each jar from year's past. A dinner at my grandmother's always included a jar of canned/pickled beets.

Here is the recipe passed down to me:

Pick beets- cut tops off, but leave the root (this is very important, according to my dad)
Rinse- I got most of the dirt off, but they will be cooked and peeled, so don't worry about getting them perfectly clean.
Cook- boil like potatoes. They are done when you can put a fork into them, tender, like you would for potatoes.
Rinse- I pour mine into a large colander in the sink and run cold water over them. They are still warm when I peel them.
- The peeling comes right off- I also cut the tops and bottoms.
Fill jars- I do mine in pint jars

At this point, if you're going to follow the directions for canning in the Ball Blue Book and use the hot water method, get your water started, then prepare the following mixture for canning.

Heat together and boil for 10 min. the following:
For 4 pints

2 Cups Sugar
2 Cups Water
2 Cups Apple Cider Vinegar
1t. whole cloves
1t whole allspice
1T Cinnamon

Pour over beets, place lids/rings on jars and then continue with canning directions from your Ball Blue Book. They do have directions for pickled beets, which I did. *Bring water to a simmer, place jars in, bring to a rolling boil and maintain for 30 min. Turn off, let jars cool down in pot (I left mine in for a couple of hours), then place on towels on the counter and cover with a towel. Check for seal within 24 hours. *PLEASE read the directions from the Ball Blue Book!! This is just a brief summary so you know what you're getting yourself into!