Dreams Do Come True: I’m Writing a Book!

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Next summer, in July or August of 2017, you’ll be able to buy my book! I’m writing a book! I cannot believe it. I wrote my first 4,000 words over the weekend and although it feels good, I have a lot ahead of me. It’s an awesome feeling but also so, so scary. It’s easy to let my insecurities creep into my mind but I will continue to be positive and keep my eyes on the prize, THIS BOOK IS GOING TO ROCK.

I began canning about ten years ago and it quickly became an obsession, I’m sure many of you know exactly what I mean. After a lifelong love affair with kimchi, I decided it was time to start fermenting as well (I finally mastered my recipe two years ago). As the years go by, I’ve come to realize that most people stick to one hobby or the other, not enough of you can and ferment food. That’s when the idea came to me and I decided that I needed to write a book with both canning AND fermentation recipes, for the same produce item. Now you will be able to easily reference recipes for both canning and fermenting for the same fruit or vegetable in one amazingly resourceful book, my book!

I’m going to be laser focused over the next 9 months and do my best to produce the most delicious recipes I can come up with.

Thanks for all the love and support over the years on this blog, twitter and instagram. ❤

Halloween Crafts for Kids: Monsters and Spiders

Yesterday was a cold and rainy day here in Minnesota and I like nothing more than hunkering down with my daughter and crafting and cooking on days like that. My daughter loves decorating for holidays and she woke up yesterday and began creating little spiders with wooden beads and pipe cleaners. That set the tone for our crafty morning and we took a peek on Pinterest to get ideas of other Halloween decorations that we could make with materials we already had around the house. One thing we found were cute TP roll monsters. Here are the spiders and monsters we made:

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One of my Instagrammers wanted a tutorial so here is a brief summary of how to make them!

Materials for monsters:

  • TP rolls or paper towel rolls cut in half
  • Paint and paint brushes/foam brushes
  • Eye balls (we bought ours at the $1 store)
  • Glue
  • Construction paper
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Scissors

First paint the TP rolls whatever colors you’d like:

MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com Halloween Crafts

Then add the eye balls in whatever creative way you’d like. My daughter added eye balls around the entire TP roll on one monster, which made me think we could decorate both sides with a face and have them double-sided! If you don’t have the googley-eye balls, then they could be drawn on as well or cut out of paper — just be creative!

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Then we just cut mouths out of construction paper and glued them on.  For the arms, I used a scissors to cut little slits to slide the pipe cleaners through – this is a job for the adult. Be careful not to poke yourself!  And then bend the arms in whatever spooky way you’d like. To get the spiral look, just wrap the pipe cleaner around a pen or pencil.

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To make the spiders, all you need are wooden beads and pipe cleaners. My daughter received a kit from her God Mother that came with a bunch of wooden beads and pipe cleaners with creative suggestions of things to to make. I believe the kit is available at Target. All you need to do is poke four pipe cleaners through the larger wooden bead and bend the pipe cleaners to look like legs. Grab a permanent marker and draw on a spider face and that’s it!

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Have fun!

How to Make Thieves Oil – Natural Flu and Cold Repellent

Today we have a special guest blogger taking over MinnesotaFromScratch. Sandy is CEO of Millionaire Moms, a Freelance writer, Success Coach and Mompreneur. She and her husband have 5 amazing children and have been blissfully married for 21 years — their secret? No TV!  Sandy’s  2014 motto is “Do Less and Enjoy More!” I hope you enjoy the informative article she has to share with us today about Thieves Oil…

The mysterious tale of Thieves Oil takes place in the 15th century in the midst of the Black Plague. The story claims there was a band of thieves who robbed the dead and dying but seemed to be totally immune. These unscrupulous but very successful four thieves were finally captured in France and convicted of these terrible crimes. While they were in court, a plea bargain was entered into. If they would tell the court officials how they were able to escape the plague while being in constant contact with the infected corpses there sentence would be less severe. It was then conveyed that they had a special concoction they prepared since they had a good knowledge of spices and fragrances. Apparently the thieves had simply rubbed themselves with aromatic herbs (cinnamon, clove, eucalyptus, and rosemary). These herbs each had their own benefits but when put together were so powerful as to help them become immune even to the plague.

Fast forward about five centuries and Thieves Oil is being used in many forms. Its claim to fame is the fact that it is still anti-viral, anti-bacterial as well as anti-septic like the infamous original.

The spray version can be used as a hand sanitizer or many people diffuse it to ward off colds and the flu. I love the way this essential oil smells when you diffuse it in any room in your house to help protect yourself from all those nasty flu bugs.

Here’s my favorite version DIY version:

Thieves Essential Oil:

Take 2 teaspoons each of the following essential oils: Cinnamon, Clove, Eucalyptus, and Rosemary. Add to a small glass bottle with a dropper. This undiluted essential oil will be very strong and can be added to a diffuser to fight infection. I recommend using 5-7 drops. To create a spray you can use directly on your hands or surfaces to disinfect, you can dilute the essential oil by using a “carrier oil”. It is fine to use olive oil since most people have it on hand. Use 2 tablespoons of the carrier oil and 20 drops of the Thieves oil.

Interesting Ways to Use Thieves Oil

• Diffuse in your home to keep the germ count down.

• Breathe in the vapors to clear congestion.

• Add a few drops to your dishwasher for sanitizing.

• Mix with water in spray bottle to repel insects on plants.

• Use to dissolve the gummy adhesive on price labels

If you are short on time or just not into DIY, you can also buy Thieves Oil already blended and ready to use. The brand I recommend can be found here.

Healthy Blessings!

Sandy

For more articles written by Sandy, click here or here.

How to Make Frozen Ice Globes – Wintertime Fun

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Last year my in-laws gave us an Ice Globe making set but we didn’t get around to making them until this weekend. With temperatures in Minnesota being lower they have been in two decades, we were inspired to have some fun with ice. Basically the kit comes with large, thick balloons that you fill up with water and let sit outside for 20+ hours until the water is partially frozen inside. Then you take the balloon wrapper off, pour out the water from the inside of the globe and light it up!

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I was impatient for the large globes in the kit to freeze, so I found a few balloons we had around the house, and filled those with water. The process is exactly the same, but instead of waiting 20 hours, we waited 7 hours… granted the temp was -15 degrees F so things froze pretty quickly. We periodically checked the firmness of the balloons, and once they felt like they had a solid shell, but weren’t totally solid, we brought them in. Do not put the balloons on the concrete without a layer of parchment paper (or some barrier), otherwise they’ll stick to the ground. You can also just plop them in the snow until frozen, that’s what I did with the balloons.

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This one we opened a little prematurely but it still worked nonetheless!

This one we opened a little prematurely but it still worked nonetheless!

I recommend taking the balloon off over the sink because the  unfrozen water from inside the globe with spill out. You can either light the globes up with a waterproof flameless candle (which is what I’d recommend), or you can use tea lights. If you use tea lights, you need to create a chimney in the top of your globe so the flame doesn’t get snuffed out. You can use a drill for creating the chimney.

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These globes will last through the winter as long as the temp remains low. I encourage you to get creative by adding some food coloring to make colored globes!

Other tips:

  • Temps should be under 20 degrees F or 7 degrees C to make the globes.
  • Small balloons can take 14 to 18 hours to freeze and larger ones, up to 30 hours.
  • You can melt open a chimney instead of drilling by placing the globe over a lit candle that has plenty of airflow underneath and it will melt a chimney open.

What are your favorite wintertime activities?

Thanks for reading,

Stephanie

Fun with Cardboard: A Club House and a Car

With online shopping being so popular, it seems that we always end up with tons of cardboard around the house. While I was at co-blogger Kristin’s house for a play date the other day, the kids decided it would be fun to build a fort out of the mountain of cardboard that was in her basement.  I posted the photo on Instagram and my followers thought it was so neat that I decided I better post it on the blog.

Here’s what we ended up with:

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The lights added a nice touch! The dog even had to check it out.

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The inside view:

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Kristin and her son also made a car:

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Here are the straps that hold the car up:

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I have seen cardboard houses for sale online for $65 or more. They are already put together and the kids get to decorate them. It is so much more fun building the entire fort/car/whateveritmaybe together. The kids get a lot of enjoyment out of it and it’s fun for adults too.

Tools needed: Cardboard, duct tape, makers and a string of lights add a nice touch 😉

Stay warm!
Kris and Steph

What inside activities do you like to do during the winter?

 

Beat the Heat with Homemade Strawberry-Banana Yogurt Popsicles – Mighty Pops Review and Giveaway!

Mighty Pops

We have a neighborhood ice cream man that comes by our house every. single. day. We made the mistake of buying something from him ONE time and now he keeps coming back, but he is only half of the problem! My daughter and her super dog-like hearing can detect the ice cream man’s tune from blocks away, WHILE we are in the house. Then I have to break her spirit by telling her, “Not today.” all of the time because really, she does not need to be eating that crud and also, the prices are pretty insane.  So I found a solution! Now I make my own fruit-filled, organic, healthy treats and when the ice cream man rolls by and I have to let my daughter down once again, I can offer her one of her new favorite popsicle treats from our freezer. Problem solved.

Have you ever made homemade popsicles? It is one of the easiest things I have ever done. Mighty Pops was nice enough to let me try out a set of their silicone ice pop molds. They are BPA free, dishwasher safe, durable, reusable and mess-free.

Here is a delicious recipe for Strawberry-Banana Homemade Yogurt Popsicles that I came up with this week:

This literally took me five minutes to prepare.

Ingredients: 

  • 1.5 cups of yogurt  – we used our homemade yogurt, but any store-bought yogurt will work just fine as well.
  • 5 organic strawberries, quartered
  • 1 whole organic banana, chunked <— yeah, that’s the technical term 🙂
  • 1 tablespoon of honey (skip if using store-bought yogurt)
  • 1 splash of vanilla (skip if using store-bought yogurt)

You can be creative with the amount of fruit you put in there.  If you are hoping for more of a strawberry-dominant flavor, then use less banana and more strawberries.

Directions:

Made from scratch - Strawberry-banana yogurt popsicles - MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com

Combine all of the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.

Made from scratch - Strawberry-banana yogurt popsicles -- MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com

Blend all the ingredients together. I used my convenient hand-mixer that I LOVE but a food processor will work just as well. Leave some chunks if you’d like.  Taste test once blended to make sure it has the flavor you are looking for. If you are using store-bought yogurt and it just isn’t quite sweet enough, add some honey or even some organic sugar.

Once blended, I found that pouring the “smoothie” into a measuring cup is easiest to distribute into the molds.

Made from scratch - - Strawberry-banana yogurt popsicles - MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com

Leave some space for the tab to fit back in and for the liquid to expand when it freezes.

Made from scratch -- Strawberry-banana yogurt popsicles - MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com

This recipe makes 5 yogurt pops. They take about 6 hours to freeze so I make them at night and they are ready the next day for enjoyment! My daughter gave this recipe her “So nummy!” seal of approval.

Tip: Before eating, I found that running the ice-cold mold under warm water for a few seconds helps the popsicle loosen up so it’s easier to push up out of the sheath.

Would you like to make your own popsicles? Well Mighty Pops has been kind enough to offer one free pack of popsicle molds to one lucky MinnesotaFromScratch reader!

Click on the Rafflecopter link below and follow the directions to get entered!

——>a Rafflecopter giveaway<——

If you like this recipe, please pin it, share it or tweet it!

Take care, Stephanie

Homemade Chemical-free Insect Repellent

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Here comes the sun!  The rain has finally stopped here in Minnesota, however, after a spring as wet as this one we are no doubt going to be left with a summer full of bugs and flying pests!  Over the years, my preference has been to OPT OUT of the chemical-filled bug sprays (DEET has always freaked me out).

Now that I have my son to think about (and as much as we love being outdoors), I felt it was time to actively repel insects, without harmful chemicals.  Turns out it’s super simple to make your on concoction!  Just pick a carrier oil and add essential oils based on what insects you want to repel!

I worked off of these Google search results:  Natural Insect Repellent Recipe (for the recipe) Natural Repellents (to decide which oils to use).  Here’s what I ended up with:

Homemade bug spray - MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com

The Ingredients:

  • 4oz blue glass spray bottle – $2.99 at Whole Foods
  • 1/2 Cup Organic Sunflower Oil – left over from my homemade lip balm
  • 30 drops Lemongrass Essential Oil –  repels mosquitoes, ticks, gnats, flies, ants
  • 30 drops Citronella Essential Oil –  repels mosquitoes, ticks, gnats, flies, ants

Simply measure and mix.  Done!  I used my handy Pyrex measuring cup with the spout so I could easily pour the potion into my jar.  Just spray onto your skin and rub in.

Substitution:  Replace the Carrier Oil (sunflower oil) with Vodka or Witch Hazel for better “spray action” and a try bug spray that can be used on clothes, etc.

You need a dark bottle and/or store in a dark place.  Use or replace within a few months.

Thanks for reading,
Kristin

CryOOw!-Dolls: Review and Giveaway! Encourage The Creativity Of Your Child

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I am so excited to introduce you to a company that I recently learned about called Cryoow! It is a company based in beautiful Bali that was the “brain-child” of the owners 7 year old daughter, Nora.  Cryoow! stands for “Create Your Own”. Nora asked a local tailor to create a doll from a drawing she had made and with that idea, came this wonderful business.

Kris and I had the opportunity to experience this process first hand since Waly and his staff in Bali offered to let our kiddos submit a drawing to be made into a real doll.

My daughter really enjoys drawing, coloring and painting so I knew she’d be up for this. The morning I told her the exciting news, we sat down at the table together and drew several different pictures. We had a great time inventing new pictures. After we were finished, I told my daughter to pick out which drawing she’d like to have made into a REAL doll. I scanned the picture to Cryoow! and within a few weeks, we received our awesome dolls.

Cryoow! Dolls - Minnesotafromscratch.wordpress.com

The dolls came in very pretty packaging that included a fun bracelet and a certificate stating who made the doll and who the doll belonged to.

Cryoow! dolls - MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com

I expected the dolls to look similar to the drawings Kris and I submitted for our kids, but I had NO idea they’d be SO detailed. We were both in awe of the dolls. Our kids were very excited to receive them and the expression on their faces after opening their dolls were priceless. The Cryoow! dolls are all handmade, without machines and every single detail of the drawing is taken into consideration while making the doll. Look at the giraffe below that my daughter colored in. She colored harder with the orange crayon near the bottom of the belly and on the actual doll, there is extra stitching to depict the darker color. Now that is what I call detail! There is no room for improvement on these dolls, they are amazing.

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Cryoow Doll - Super James - minnesotafromscratch.wordpress.com

These dolls are a perfect gift for any kid (or adult, honestly). Who wouldn’t love to see their unique creation pop off the page and become a 3-D toy to play with? This doll is not just another stuffed animal, this unique piece of art is a very well-made keepsake that I expect to be around well into my daughter’s adulthood.

Do you know a child that would LOVE to create their own doll? Well Cryoow! is giving one of Minnesota From Scratch’s lucky readers a chance to win their own personalized doll. This is a $149 value.

Cryoow! wants you to know that nearly 50% of the cost of the doll goes to DHL shipping. DHL shipping is super quick shipping that updates the delivery status continually, which allows your kids to track the doll’s status as it travels around the world. Can’t wait to get started? Order your doll now!

To enter this giveaway, please click the Rafflecopter link and follow the prompted directions: This giveaway has now ended.

Congratulations to the winner, Nicole H. You have 48 hours to reply to  my e-mail or another winner will be chosen.

Cryoow Doll giveaway winner

Good luck!

Take care, Stephanie

Cryoow

We were given these products free in exchange for a review. All opinions are our own and were in no way influenced.

Homemade Organic Clove and Sweet Orange Lip Balm

Homemade organic  lip gloss - MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com

Here’s a great simple and quick lip balm you can make for yourself and others.  I found the recipe on Mountain Rose Herbs website a few years back.  They described it as “A warming lip balm with a delightful scent reminiscent of Orange and Clove Pomander Balls”.  All of the ingredients can be found at your local natural foods store or you can order them online at Mountain Rose Herbs (like I did). You only need a little of the ingredients to make 10 tubes or tins, but you can also use the beeswax and essential oils for making your own chemical-free lotion, all you need is some added  oil. I halved the recipe for this post; those measurements are in (parentheses).  Enjoy!

The Organic Ingredients:lipingredients
Makes 10 lip balms (recipe halved)

1 TBSP Shea Butter (1 ½ tsp)

3 TBSP Sunflower Oil (1 T + 1 ½ tsp)

1 TBSP plus 1 teaspoon Beeswax (1 ½ tsp)

15 drops Sweet Orange essential oil (7 drops)

5 drops Clove essential oil (2 drops)

Coarsely chop the beeswax or use beeswax pastilles. Place beeswax, butter, and oils in a small pot or glass Pyrex measuring cup and gently heat in the top of a double boiler until the beeswax and butters have melted. Once melted, remove from the stovetop and add essential oils.

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Immediately pour the mixture into lip balm containers. You can purchase lip balm tubes and jars, or you can reuse glass or plastic containers. I reused my night cream jar.

Allow to cool completely before placing caps onto the lip balm containers.

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Your lip balm is finished!  Add labels and or decorate if you wish!

Thanks for reading!

-Kristin

A New Breakfast Juice Recipe, Enjoyed From A “Hillbilly Wine Glass”

Breakfast Juice in a Hillbilly Wine Glass - MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com

A couple of weeks ago my friend showed me a photo of these “Hillbilly Wine Glasses” for sale online. They were on sale for  $25 for a set of two.  I couldn’t believe what they were charging!  I told him I could make them myself and so I did. I made him a set of 4 glasses, for a quarter of the cost of what he would have paid for 2 glasses and it took me about 3 minutes, literally.

Before I gave them away for good, I decided to enjoy my morning juice from a glass and they are actually pretty awesome to drink from. I thought they’d feel awkward but they didn’t at all. I am going to make two more for myself and drink out of them when I am canning from now on.

Here are the ingredients for the juice I made:

  • 1 whole large cucumber
  • 1 grapefruit
  • 1 orange
  • 1 apple

It made two servings and had a nice flavor. All produce was organic.

Take care, Stephanie

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