Burning incense – wonderful fly repellent

This fall, I’ve seen an alarming number of flies in the house. The house stays clean but these flies are stubborn, they are determined to set up camp for the cooler months. We’ve chased them down and eliminated most, but still some manage to maintain a foothold. They’re taunting me!

 

Incense

Incense

 

Seeing flies buzzing about our home is something new. We haven’t had this issue in the past! Ughh! So… what could be causing the problem? Hmm… I racked my brain trying to think of what we were doing differently, and it finally dawned on me…  that I hadn’t burned incense in quite some time! From my readings, flies and mosquitoes don’t seem to tolerate smoke too well. Score! Additionally, I like the aroma given off by my preferred incense so for me, this is the perfect way to drive the remaining pests from the home. Of course, I can’t find my incense anywhere. It’s entirely possible that I’ve used it all. I purchased some more.

Incense Holder - Lotus flower

Incense Holder – Lotus flower

 

Naturally, you need an incense holder too. I had several, but when they did work on the house I tucked them away and it’s quite possible they were given away since I did donate some of those items to various charity organizations. Oh well, I purchased the above incense holder, isn’t it lovely? In total, the price to drive these annoying pests out of the home has cost me a little over $23, and I purchased enough incense to last for quite some time.

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Hibiscus Tea loaded with vitamin C

Last evening, I made a big pot of hibiscus tea. I purchase dried organic (whole) hibiscus flowers to use in a variety of ways, but the main way is to prepare tea. I normally make enough to put into one of the large glass pitchers that you see here. In doing so, there’s enough to last throughout the day.

Hibiscus tea.10.21.14

Hibiscus Tea

I wish you could see the reddish color of the tea, I wasn’t able to capture it in the above post. My daughter tell me the color reminds her of fruit punch. We love the lovely floral scent of the hibiscus flower, but it’s more than a lovely flower… hibiscus is a great source of antioxidants and it’s extremely high in vitamin C.

With the above tea I also added cinnamon bark, ginger and soursop leaves and while this would be perfectly fine on its own I did add a bit of organic sugar to the blend. I’ll carry some of this with me to work today, a portion will be added to my daughters thermos and the remaining will be placed in the refrigerator to be consumed when we return home today.

Fermenting Adventures: Look at my SCOBY!

Kombucha SCOBY_1 10.18.14

Kombucha SCOBY

I am so excited that my SCOBY is doing so well. Just look at her! Perhaps I should give her a name, what do you think?

I’m sure some of you might not get why I’m giddy about this blob like disc and others might not even know what a SCOBY is?

A brief refresher for those that don’t know…  SCOBY is an acronym for Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast. This is a healthy bacteria. Our body needs beneficial bacteria to function properly. Yeast and bacteria are present during the fermentation of kombucha.When I fermented my kombucha to make a SCOBY it didn’t start as this round disc. Initially all I noticed were bubbles. A few days later I noticed a clear film forming on top of the kombucha. Since I already knew about this process, I wasn’t concerned since it would not be long before I had grown my own SCOBY at home!

This past weekend, I took all my SCOBYs (three) out of the three  jars, rinsed them off, added a bit of sugar back to the tea mixture and placed them back into the jar. Correction, I placed them into two jars. The Kombucha that I had made with black tea wasn’t as thick as the SCOBY I made from kombucha only, so I thought I’d combine those two together.

Why did I add more sugar when I placed them back into the jars? The SCOBY eats the sugar so when your kombucha is finally finished it should be left with very little sugar. I say *should* because I did taste a store bought kombucha that was oh so nasty. Blech! They sweetened it with stevia and even though it was brewed it was way to sweet and overpowered with stevia.

 

In other news…

I believe my water kefir grains will be arriving some time this week. I’m really looking forward to receiving them. In an earlier post I linked to a video about water kefir, it’s history, benefits, and the process involved. I decided to link to another video that is mainly focused on how to make your own water kefir at home.

Resources

Kombucha, the Balancing Act

Fermenting Adventures: Fermented Honey Garlic

Garlic is a powerful natural antibiotic (thanks to the allicin it contains).

Fermented honey garlic_1 10.19.14

Fermenting honey garlic

I consume raw garlic throughout the year, but usually increase the amount taken during the cold and flu season. While I don’t mind eating it raw, my daughter really doesn’t like its bite and so I mix hers with other food.

One way she will eat raw is in a fermented honey garlic. After about a month or so, the garlic loses its bite. It will still smell like garlic but without the sharpness that she dislikes and it will taste like garlic honey. She munches on a few cloves of the fermented garlic honey at night. Why? By morning the garlic smell has left her body.

I made another batch about an hour ago. I put my garlic cloves in a mason jar, and submerge it with honey. I leave about 2″ head space. The cloves won’t stay covered so be sure to shake daily to insure the garlic stays coated. I usually just turn the jar upside down on the next day and continue to rotate until ready. We consume the honey garlic alone and I also drizzle it over stir fry, add a dollop to already prepared soup and I use it in many other ways too.

Fermenting Adventures: Water Kefir

Along with kombucha, I’ve been wanting to try making my own fermented water kefir at home. Similar to many fermented items like kombucha, sauerkraut and kimchi it’s loaded with probiotics and many other nutrients.

Unlike kombucha SCOBY, it doesn’t seem that you can make water kefir grains at home and so I did some searching and found a supplier that I like (based on the reviews.) Kefir has been around for thousands of years and it’s safe to say it’s most likely the worlds first natural soda. The fermentation process adds the delightful bubble and fizz that some like and since it does not have any chemicals it’s a much healthier option than the sodas available on the market today.

Check out this video, it’s one of the most descriptive ones that I’ve seen about water kefir, it’s history and benefits. I will try to ignore the fact that he has his hands all in that brew. That part, I definitely won’t be doing at all.

In other news, my kombucha SCOBY has done so well that I’ve placed it in it’s second ferment. Also, I set some of the batch aside to continue making a natural vinegar. I tasted some of the vinegar brew and I honestly can’t tell the difference between that and the Braggs Apple Cider vinegar that I was purchasing. Sorry Braggs… it looks like I will now be making my own natural vinegar at home.

 

Resources:

Water Kefir 101

 

 

Getting Fired up; Amazon Fire TV

Amazon FireTVI told my daughter when the Amazon Fire TV came down in price I would purchase it for our home.

Early this morning, while surfing on my iPad, I noticed that the price had dropped by $15, so it is now $84! After some deliberation, I purchased the Amazon Fire TV and requested next day delivery.

This is an item, that I’ve been watching since it was released on April 2, 2014. And while I wanted to make the leap then, as with any purchase, I researched and came away with a lot of knowledge and knowing that I’d eventually purchase the item. I must say that I’m looking forward to watching a variety of things on the Amazon Fire TV; movies, pretty much anything history related, documentaries, tutorials. To be honest, we rarely watch the regular shows since it has so much junk! I’m not kidding when I say weeks and sometimes months go by without us watching regular TV. However, we do occasionally watch videos.

Since I’m an Amazon Prime member, there are literally thousands of videos that are already freely included with the subscription.  Up until now, we’ve been watching streaming movies onto my iPad. Watching streaming content on our mounted 70″ flat screen TV will be the prefect way to unwind… when my daughter and me aren’t outdoors or doing something creative.

Tomorrow evening, we’ll get the popcorn started, I’ll pull out my knitting needles or loom, and we’ll settle down and watch something on the Amazon Fire TV. The set up seems to be a breeze, so we should be enjoy watching streaming videos sooner rather than later! I’m looking forward to the experience.

 

Emo Carrot…

Leaf this pour soul alone! Don’t you care about his peelings?

Emo Carrot