Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Anatomy of the Soul by Curt Thomson

This book has made the list for top 5 most interesting books I have read this year. It comes laced with pros and cons that will vary on the scale depending on your own individual perspectives.

First of all Anatomy of the Soul is highly informative. I love studying and cross referencing different religions and beliefs and this book was able to unveil and broaden additional perspectives that were both different and at the same time similar to the Christian beliefs in a way that doesn't benefit any small group of people or organization.  Instead it becomes personal.  Your mind is the key to living a good pure life. Emotional memory  + Subject/Object of focus = Your Spiritual experience.

Simple enough right.

Okay, there were some fantastic psychological perspectives addressed, including attachment issues, overcoming those issues and building strong pathways in your brain. In some instances, depending on what we faced in our childhood, we may have to build better behaviors from scratch. Picture if you would an awesome tool box with shiny, guaranteed for life tools but deep inside that tool box there are old rusty tools that have been taped up and are ready to break any day. Well we need to replace those tools with some better ones. Do you like that? I came up with that analogy the other day. It takes time to collect the right tools, it isn't the new one that is so hard to learn... it is parting with the old one. We are afraid that our brand new shiny tool won't be as reliable as the old rusty one. How funny is that!

What did however bother me though, was something that didn't necessarily get under my skin but I felt that thousands of people would take the wrong way. Perhaps, even put down before they even gave it a chance. In the introduction, God is mentioned in nearly every sentence, sometimes frequently in the same sentence. The frequency bothered me grammatically, the fact that religion can be touchy for some people made me feel a little stronger about it. I felt that some people who may be open minded enough to accept the perspective might feel overwhelmed by the frequency enough to deter them from reading.

If that doesn't bother you I really encourage the read. Concepts are compared with scripture, the last half of the book presents various amounts of scripture to further emphasize what has been covered. Even if you are on the path of change I encourage you to read this book simply because... when a rock (change) is thrown it creates a ripple (more change). Something can always be learned from someones perspective. We are mirrors of one another you see...

About the Author:
Curt Thomson, M.D. is a psychiatrist in private practice in Fall Church, Virginia and founder of Being Known, an organization which develops teaching programs, seminars and resource materials to help individuals explore the connection between interpersonal neurobiology.

Disclaimer: I received this book from Tyndale Media Center for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean

About the Book:
The periodic table is one of science's crowning achievements. But it's also a treasure trove of stories of passion, adventure, betrayal, and obsession. The infectious tales and astounding details in The Disappearing Spoon. Follow carbon, neon, silicon, and gold as they play out their parts in human history, finance, mythology, war, the arts, poison, and the lives of the (frequently) mad scientists who discovered them.

My thoughts:

I'm a bit of a nerd/geek so I was really intrigued but the sheer thought of reading this book. Rightfully so, it is fantastic! It is laid out in such a fashion that anyone who has absolutely no background in Chemistry will be able to follow it and learn a thing or two about why the periodic table is set up the way it is and why some elements struggle to create and maintain bonds while others excel (sounds like some people I know!) I find I am able to learn things when I have interest in it and hearing all of these stories really helps me visualize everything as it were. Now that you have gotten my imagination involved.... tell me more! It is like listening to an old grandfather tell stories about back in his day. Except, the man is not old and lots of the stories are long before his time. So, don't expect to read "Back in my day..." anywhere in the book.

It has been interesting reading about some conflicting theories/public perspectives as the different elements were being discovered and interesting to read how dramatic you may find the scientific prestige.  One story that I found particularly interesting was the story of Medeleev. Long before he was enrolled in an educationally institution he had experienced more in his life than most people in its entirety. This beautiful tale of sacrifice really helps paint a vivid picture of this man.

One thing worth noting, footnotes are not found at the bottom of each page. Instead there is an index in the back broken down by chapter. Then the page number follows along with extended information about that topic. I found it a clever way to keep the book organized.

About the Author:
Sam Kean is a writer in Washington, DC. His work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Mental Floss, Slate, The Believer, and The New Scientist. In 2009 he won the National Association of Science Writers' runner-up award for best science writer under the age of thirty. He is currently working as a reporter at Science Magazine and was a 2009 Middlebury Environmental Journalism fellow.

Hachette Book Group has kindly offered two copies of The Disappearing Spoon to my readers!

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Closes August 18th, 2010. Winners will be selected via Random.org and will have 48 hours to respond to the winning email before a new winner is selected!

Disclaimer: I received this book from Hachette Book Group for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Back to my Roots

Every so often I like to reorganize my labels on this blog, this inspired me to read a couple posts from when I first started this blog over year ago.

Something caught my eye...
May 2009, I was trying to pull up roots from Alder bushes with a pick ax. I was hopeful that we could then just fill in the holes with some dirt and then grow some grass. I ended up taking a tumble down the hill... determined that this is how Jack and Jill tumbled down the hill, I walked home. I was dirty and disgruntled.

This May, I was working on my garden. Every day, while walking to my garden I would trip on these stumps hanging out of the ground. Alder stumps... make mama say GRRR

So one hot May afternoon, I found myself trying to dig up yet another stump with a pick ax. I was successful with this one... what was discouraging however was the fact that there are at least 20 of them to remove. Eventually that whole section will be garden, with some benches and a hammock. I have a feeling however that next May, I will be out there once again, tripping over stumps until I become frustrated once again.... Perfect example of history repeating itself, wouldn't you say!

Oh, here are some low quality picture of my garden flourishing... next year I will start earlier for multiple harvests.

I have Potatoes, Ambercup Squash, Cucumbers, a Salad Bush, Scotia Tomatoes, Cherry Tomatoes, Green Peppers and Celery growing. I do have a row of carrots with a few carrots in the row. I also planted a row of  Spinach but the seeds were not good. I tried to Chit some later and nothing sprouted... Next time. My mother told me of a local place that guarantees their seeds. I'm going to start collecting in the fall because I plan on starting some things indoors over the winter.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Lavender Mint Tea

A tea that is wonderful for the digestive and nervous system. It calms both the body and the mind allowing you to savor this moment.

Mix one part dried lavender flowers and 2 parts mint leaves.

Let steep, and enjoy a lovely cup of heaven. Unlike this photo though, I recommend using one of those lovely loose tea infusers.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Book Review: Live Happily, Ever After... NOW!

About the Author:
For over 10 years, Terry M. Drake has been a family therapist, supervisor and life coach who specializes in teaching people how to get what they want. He currently is a Director of mental and behavioral health programs, as well as in private practice as a hypnotherapist, life coach and trainer.

About the Book:
Live Happily, Ever After... Now! Uses age old, time tested secrets (found in NLP, the Law of Attraction, Positive Psychology and Ericksonian Hypnosis) to teach you how to create the life you want. The key is learning how much control you actually you actually have over your life, you beliefs and attitudes about yourself, others and the world you live in. Once you understand that you are in control (and you will), then you can use the 9 simple steps to make changes and begin living the life you want.

My Thoughts:
I have been implementing changes into my life using the Law of Attraction and Positive Psychology, so I was very interested to see what additional information I could find within this book that would assist in additional transformations. I was very pleased with the food for though that is contained within these pages. It is a very easy read and everything is laid out in a manner that is straight forward and easy to follow. If you are new to some of these philosophies I would recommend reading each chapter individually and then attempt to practice those ideologies in your day to day life. Each chapter has a story (most of which are credited to unknown authors) that captures an idea that is contained within the chapter, one of those story is a favorite of mine about called Two Wolves. Each chapter also has a summary and a number of quotes. One of the chapters discusses the need for perfectionism and the fear of failure. Both of which, hit close to home for the hubby and I, in the form of personal limitations that we are trying to break free from. I would recommend this book for anyone who finds that their life is governed by negative thinking that has been keeping them from the happiness they so desire but might not feel they deserve.

Disclaimer: I was provided a free copy for the purpose of this review from Pump Up Your Book book tours.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Long Weekend Loveliness

I hope everyone had a great long weekend! I really enjoyed mine. It was filled with washers (similar to horseshoes for those who have never played), good food, good people and good music. I had a nice little dip in the lake too! The beauty of the lakes in the Tobeatic are captivating. There are some stones by the bridge that would be the "picture perfect" place to practice Tia Chi. It would be a little risky though, just getting to the rocks and then not falling off.... you would need to be professional.

There is a lot of Granite out there, which is full of quartz and feldspar. I brought a little bit home, I've had a fondness for different stones. In fact, I had a rock collection when I was a child. It was composed of different rocks that I had collected near bunkers island when I was a kid, before the sewage plant was built on the lower part of water street in town. I had a grocery bag filled with different rocks that I was drawn to as a child for whatever reason. My grandmother threw them out and I was devastated. Funny isn't it! To my grandmother it was just a bag of rocks, to me they were my Pokemon cards.

I absolutely LOVED having my banjo out in the middle of the wilderness. I am fond of just sitting under a tree a just fiddling with it, working out new ideas while I watch the birds and listen to the random commotion.

So, back again at the homestead, after a much needed venture into the heart of Nova Scotia (as far as I'm concerned!) after a nice little unexpected BBQ at my father's house on the way home. It was so nice of him and Patty to watch the kids for the weekend while we embarked on our adventure. They had a wonderful time.

I arrived at home to find that the crows had indeed left my garden alone while I was gone (it seems they prefer to play games with me when I am around. It is much funner after all to witness my reaction.) My remaining squash are in rough shape from the dry weather and lack of rain. So I gave them a nice bath and noticed.... my POTATOES are sprouting! YAY :)

A lovely end to a lovely weekend! Tonight I am off to see Eclipse with my mother, my dear friend Jessi and her mother. I am the one in the group who hasn't read the books and I refuse to read the books until I have seen the movies. I dislike comparing the movies to the books. So I read them afterwards and in my mind it is very much like visualizing the Directors cut. Jessi has read all of the books, so by averaging out our opinions we get a very accurate representation of how good the movie is.

Monday, July 5, 2010

The wonders of Violet / How to make Violet Vinegar

Violets have a long history of a healing . In ancient times the violet was used to treat liver disorders as well as bad tempers. I'm sure every one of us have had days where we all could have used a nice violet mixture! The violet was also later used to treat a variety of eye and skin disorders and constipation and congestion.

The facts are violets contain flavonoids, which act as a diuretic. They also contain alkaloids which allow the blood vessels to relax thus possibly increased blood flow. The saponins found in violets act as an expectorant.  Salicylic acid, a painkiller and anti-inflammatory agent, similar to the active ingredient found within aspirin can be found in violets. These are just some of the many health benefits found within this amazing flower.

I think I'm going to have a go at planting some around here... there are so many amazing things you can make with violets, including Jam and Honey and different teas. I want to share a recipe for violet vinegar with you though.

Combine 3 ounces of violet flowers and 1 quart of high-quality white wine vinegar together in a covered container and let sit for several weeks in a warm place. Shake the mixture daily. Strain the herb using a cheesecloth and then bottle. Store in a cool, dark location. The mixture will keep for two years and can be used as a base for salad dressing, drizzled over fruit and even splash a little on your face as an after-cleansing aromatic toner.

This recipe was discovered in Country Wisdom & Know-How on page 374.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Acupressure, Yet another tiny history lesson

You might remember my tiny history lesson in Acupressure history last week. Well since I have a ridiculous amount of information on the subject I thought I would continue where I left off.

So essentially, the ancient physicians (and Taoists) who developed acupressure believed that humans beings are an integral part of the universe. Like trees, clouds, land, animals, planets... we are all a part of one substance, one fabric. This belief can be found in various other religions and spiritual groups throughout the world and is the foundation of many different unity groups. So, humans are subject to the laws of nature and just as the physical universe we also continually move through a yearly cycle. So when we fail to adapt to these cyclical changes we are more prone to illnesses.

The Chinese philosophers believed in a 5-season year and each of those seasons were associated with one of 5 elements that compose the one fabric of the natural universe. Each element is as part of your being as it is a part of the world you live in. When your 5 elements are in harmony, you are balanced and healthy.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Grumpy Crow Fun Time

At first I thought it was the deer slowly hacking at my garden, now I see things in a new light. You see, I highly doubt that the deer think it would be fun to pull all of my plant labels out of the ground every night. These crows on the other hand might do just that. I'm not talking about the odd tag that might have been trampled on. No, instead, every single tag gets rooted up in the night by these birds partying in the night (most likely in the early morning light) in my garden, leaving droppings all over the place and trying to uproot my plants. Some of them have been replanted a few times and they are tough little buggers. I'm concerned though, when these plants really take root... this kind of tomfoolery could really damage them. I lost another buttercup squash plant on account of this business... a cucumber as well. My scarecrow is going to be one scary fellow.

Oh mischievous crow family, this morning I stood in my garden plot, watching the tree in which you nest. Listening intently as you banter amongst your brood, taunting me with your caws of laughter. I yelled at you and your family to let you know that I'm watching you and your crow friends. I don't appreciate you leaving stool everywhere. Your day will come you grumpy little pranksters! 

Is this why my grandmother chased things out of her yard with a broom? 

Monday, June 28, 2010

Catnip Nighttime Tea

You can make tea with catnip. Yes, I'm absolutely serious. I didn't know you could make tea with catnip. I didn't know it could be ingested by humans. I did know it was a member of the mint family. I guess I just never made the connection. My associations with catnip, had everything to do with my cat rolling around on a sewn fortune cookie that was stuffed with catnip and stored in more catnip. In my search for answers. I discovered that mice who had been given catnip extract experienced longer sleep times and a reduction of overall activity. I also found out that catnip had great respiratory benefits and can aid with infection and cold and flus. Interesting, indeed.

Fantastic, now my cat and I can enjoy this wonderful herb together while the hubby so loving teases and makes up little song jingles about me and my cat and catnip! Good times.

I did find a great catnip recipe for a Nighttime Tea to help sooth all you restless sleepers!

1 cup boiling water
1 part dried chamomile flower
1 part mint
1/2 part catnip

I read somewhere else that if you are using fresh catnip to cover the tea while steeping for 5-10 minutes so that the natural oils do not evaporate.

PS: People who are sensitive to ragweed, might also be sensitive to chamomile.

Rosemary-Ginger Tea

This is a wonderful "feel good" remedy for colds and flu!

1 cup (250 ml) boiling water
1 tablespoon fresh Ginger, grated
1 teaspoon dried Rosemary, or 2 teaspoons fresh Rosemary
Honey (optional)

Important: Due to its stimulating properties, rosemary should be used as an internal infusion for a maximum of 2 cups a day  for no longer than a week at a time. People with high blood pressure should avoid rosemary in other than culinary uses.

The Rain helps things grow / Out darn Crows

I finally got everything planted in the garden a couple days ago, on the night of the full moon. I have been putting saving my coffee grounds and tea leaves and giving those to the plants too. The plants like that a lot, coffee grounds release nitrogen into the soil. Hubby graciously brought home some veggie plants in dire need of a good home. I questioned if some of them would make it. Most of them are thriving beautifully right now. There are maybe a couple squash plants that were starting to die but they look a little more lively today.

A couple days ago, the morning after all the veggies were planted. I strolled out to check on them (fortunately) and found that one of my green pepper plants had been uprooted. It appeared as though a deer ate one of the leaves and in the process I believe they unintentionally lifted it up. So I planted it again and it is doing well. It has a large bit mark on a leaf at the bottom. I believe a fence is in order.

I don't mind the animals eating the crab apples, blueberries or the blackberries. There is more than enough to go around but I am afraid I have to draw the line at my garden. OH! Did I mention that we have a family of crows living here? They are lifting up the lid to our compost bin and having a feast. Which would have been alright if they didn't call their friends. Now there is a community of them living in a tree at our tree line. I hear them caw all the time. I don't mind the noise because it is kind of funny listening to them communicate with one another. I just know that if we don't manage this problem that it will grow out of control.

Anyone know how to make some effective scarecrows? :)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Acupressure, a tiny history

Touch heals, it makes us feel good. It comforts us when we are feeling down, and if touch is applied to specific areas of the body, it can unblock the flow of energy so it is evenly distributed throughout the meridian pathways in our bodies. The technique is called acupressure began centuries ago in China, a practice that originated from Taoism. Chinese physicians and philosophers discovered 12 defined paths (or meridians) in which life energy flows throughout the body. Doctor Kim Bong-han, professor of medicine at Korea's Pyongyang University later found that variations in the skins electrical resistance could be traced along the meridians as they had been illustrated in the ancient texts. The skin cells were structurally different along the meridians and at certain points these"meridian cells" were found in clusters. These points found on the meridian are identifiable by a name and number. When pressure is applied to these points not only are you directly influencing the energy in that meridian, you are also relieving associated symptoms. 

Essentially, disease can very well be a sign that the energy within those meridians is out of balance.

Physical symptoms are "hints" for us to pay attention to our thoughts and our lifestyles as both of these things have the potential to be destructive or healthy.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Benefits of Aloe Vera

With about 200 different varieties, Aloe can be a gardeners delight. But Aloe Vera is desired outside of the garden, familiarize yourself with the healing properties of Aloe.

While research hasn't shown much proof that using Aloe is beneficial towards burns and your skin in general, people have been using aloe to treat burns and various skin ailments like insect bits or a small wound. Aloe can also be found in the form of a juice and when taken internally it can sooth the entire digestive track. It does wonders with cases of gastritis, heartburn, acid reflux, colitis, diverticulitis, ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome. So next time you are in need of some antacids, try going on a mini regime of Aloe and see if that helps!

Recent studies show that ingesting Aloe Vera Orally may benefit those with Diabetes.

While best straight from the plant, you can find Aloe Vera in many different skin-care products both natural and chemically laden. It's can be used to heal acne, cuts, sun burn, psoriasis, dandruff, cradle cap and MANY more ailments. Remember to read the ingredients when choosing your skin-care products. Even natural products aren't always best for your body!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Book Review - Babushka's Beauty Secrets

My mother always said that the old ways work. Many of the old ways have been forgotten as we struggle to be everywhere at once and are bombarded with advertising telling us that these miracle products will helps us look picture perfect all at the expensive of our pocket book which costs us more of our precious time. Before all of this chaos, people turned to their kitchens for beauty aids.

The author Raisa Ruder is an Esthetician to the stars and she learned her time-tested beauty techniques from her Ukrainian grandmother or babushka as she so lovingly calls her.

Since our skin is so absorbent, I believe that what we use on our body should not be any different that what we put inside our bodies. The recipes in this book are all made from everyday grocery items like eggs, honey, vegetable oil, strawberries, carrots and much more. This is a very practical book to own and I am very excited to try out some of the soufflĂ© masks and temporary hair color boosters found inside this wonderful book! There is even a mustard wrap that is supposed to smooth the thighs and reduce the appearance of cellulite. Recipes aside, there is a lot of practical tips in this book from soaking sweat stained clothing in powdered aspirin and warm water. Yes, I said aspirin. I was quite surprised as well.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of Babushka's Beauty Secrets to review in exchange for my honest opinion. Thank you to Hachette Book Group for giving me this opportunity. I am an Amazon Associate so I might earn a small amount if you make a purchase. 

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The little garden that could.

We've had a nice couple of days, I've finally been able to spend some time in my garden again. I haven't even been able to get anything planted. We get a lot of wind coming off the water here and don't have much along the lines of wind breakage around the property. So when the wind comes, it comes! The last couple days have been pretty nice and I managed to get most of my rows dug so with another day of nice weather I should be ready to plant. I'm getting very excited. It doesn't really bother me that it is getting late and there are some vegetables I won't be able to plant. I just appreciate being able to grow, tilling the earth and nurturing something from a seed. I have so many pleasant dreams of growth. Next year I will be blessed with an earlier start and we be able to tackled more varieties. This year, I begin.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Random Medicinal Uses for Herbs

The following information is random excerpts from the book Natural Healing Wisdom & Know-How: 7,498 Useful Practices, Recipes, and Formulas for a Lifetime of Health on the uses of Materia Medica: Herbs and their Applications - pg 054.

Cranberry - Diuretic and urinary antiseptic; for kidney and bladder infections

Dandelion Root/Leaf - Blood cleanser; powerful and safe diuretic, high in potassium; for inflammation and congestion of the liver and gall bladder, congestive jaundice. Mild laxative, aids weight loss, lowers cholesterol and blood pressure.

Dill Seed - For flatulence and colic, especially in children; stimulates lactation.

Echinacea Root - Powerful immune stimulant; antiseptic; antimicrobial; antiviral; used for sore throats, flu, colds, infections, allergies

Fennel Seed - Aids digestion; relieves flatulence and colic; expels mucus; increases lactation; aids weight loss; flavoring agent; increases digestibility of other herbs.

Hyssop Leaf - Antispasmodic; nervine; expectorant; diaphoretic, sedative, carminative. For chronic congestion.

Juniper Berry - Urinary Tract antiseptic, used for cystitis, urethritis. Should not be used in kidney inflammation or chronic kidney weakness.

I think that is good for today :)

Disclaimer: I am an Amazon Affiliate so by purchasing the book I may receive a commission.

Slow Week

I realize I haven't really written much this week, I'm horrible for letting everyone know that I plan on taking a few days off because to be truthful, it just kind of happens. I don't plan it, time just passes and before you know it I'm exclaiming profanities, running to my computer and apologizing to the masses for my horrible neglect. I do love you all... I really do.

I have been gardening, haven't really got to planting yet, but with any luck I should get to that this week. I have spend a couple days at my plot with a pick ax... Digging and digging. I wanted to do everything by hand this year so I really appreciate all the work that goes into. I feel it puts me more at touch with nature that if I were to plow right through. I want to stay in touch with the land.

I've had a few ideas as far as my planting goes, it is too late to start somethings but that is okay. Next year will be easier... this year is going to be an experiments of sorts. There are a couple things that I will have to by already sprouted... like tomatoes. That kind of disappoints me a bit but there isn't a whole lot I can do about it if I want to grow it this year. There are plenty of other things that can be started from seed and I have an entire book to help me with the process. So I'm pleased.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Scented Saturdays - Meditation Blend

I stumbled across a couple Meditation Blends in this book that I wanted to share with you. You can use them in a diffuser.

Meditation Blend 1:

4 drops Myrrh essential oil
5 drops Sandalwood essential oil
10 drops Frankincense essential oil
2 drops Clove essential oil
2 drops Cistus (aka: Rock Rose) essential oil
2 drops Rose essential oil

Meditation Blend 2:

10 drops Clary Sage essential oil
4 drops Vetiver essential oil
2 drops Cistus essential oil
20 drops Cedarwood essential oil
5 drops Fir essential oil

Combine the oils from the blend you wish to make in a dark glass vial and shake well.
To use: Diffuse to support and enhance meditation.

Disclosure: This is a recipe from page 362 of the book:
Country Wisdom & Know-How: Everything You Need to Know to Live Off the Land. I am not being paid to promote this book or the contents of this book. I just really feel the information is of value to my readers. The link is available and I encourage those to purchase the book, not because I am an amazon associate who might potentially make 4-6% off each purchase, but because this book is inexpensive and valuable.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

DIY Scented Saturday 8 - Echinacea Tincture

Echinacea's active ingredients aren't all water soluble; a tincture is the best way to obtain its benefits.

Personal Note: Please keep in mind that alcohol in a tincture can destroy some of the natural properties of an herb. Whenever possible go alcohol free for best results. This recipe is with alcohol... sorry.

Echinacea Tincture:
3/4 cup (177 ml) pure grain alcohol or 80 to 100 proof (40 to 50 % alcohol) vodka or brandy or glycerin
3/4 cup (177 ml) distilled water
1 1/2 ounces (42 g) echinacea root, chopped

To make:
1. Combine the alcohol with the distilled water in a jar with a tight-fitting lid.
2. Add the echinacea root. Run a knife or chopstick around the edges of the jar to release any trapped air bubbles.
3. Replace the lid and set the jar in a cool, dark place for 2 weeks. Shake the mixture every day.
4. Strain the mixture to remove the herb. This must be done quickly or the alcohol will evaporate. I usually pour the mixture into a strainer lined with an unbleached paper coffee filter and place it in the refrigerator as it strains to slow the evaporation of the alcohol. After straining, squeeze the filter to remove as much of the liquid as possible.
5. Store the tincture in a tightly sealed glass container in a cool, dark location, where it will keep for up to 5 years. Be sure to label the bottle first!

To Use:
At the first sign of a cold or flu's onset, herbal experts recommend 30 drops of tincture every 3 hours for the first 2 days only. Once you have developed a full-blown case of a cold of flu, echinacea probably will not cure it.

If you are unable to take the alcohol in the tincture, add the tincture to a small glass of warm water and stir gently. The warm water will cause the alcohol to evaporate.

Disclosure: This is a recipe from page 362 of the book:
Country Wisdom & Know-How: Everything You Need to Know to Live Off the Land. I am not being paid to promote this book or the contents of this book. I just really feel the information is of value to my readers. The link is available and I encourage those to purchase the book, not because I am an amazon associate who might potentially make 4-6% off each purchase, but because this book is inexpensive and valuable.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Book Review: God Soul Mind Brain

About the Book:
Writing for the general public, Michael Graziano explores the controversial relationship between Religion and Science. First dismissing the Science verses Religion debate as "outdated." The cutting edge field of social neuroscience explains how our perceptions of our own consciousness, of other minds, and of Spirits or Gods depend on the machinery in the brain that evolved to make us socially intelligent animals. In clear prose, without the technical jargon, Graziano discusses his and others findings in this twenty-year-old science and the implications for human spirituality and religion.

About the Author:
Michael Graziano is a professor of Neuroscience at Princeton University Neuroscience Institute and director of the Sensory Motor Institute. He is the author of 56 articles on the functioning of the brain. His work regularly appears in journals such as Science, Nature and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. He is internationally known for fundamental discoveries about sensory perception and motor control in the brain. His previous book on the brain, The Intelligent Movement Machine, was published by Oxford University Press in 2008.

My Thoughts:
Well it has certainly been thought provoking to say the least and it has been the inspiration behind two different "heavier" posts this week. "God, Soul, Mind, Brain" was a decent book and it was refreshing to find a mild amount of humor interlaced with something that you almost expect to be dry. Graziano introduced some interesting perceptions and followed up with example scenarios. Graziano expressed that Chapters 4 and 7 in the book were the most important conceptually. I found however that the first 3 chapters in the book were equally as important to paint the picture of intent. I did find a couple of sections where it seemed a little repetitive and those sections were almost the death of me... my mind wanders too much. Overall, this book is worth reading.

Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of this book on a 14 day license to read and review. I was in no way compensated and my opinion is honest. Thank you to NetGalley for connecting me with this author. Clicking on the link for Amazon might result in compensation if purchases are made.

Country Wisdom and Know How

I wanted to do something a little different this week for Scented Saturday, something that I might do from time to time. I recently came upon this fantastic series... Country Wisdom & Know-How: Everything You Need to Know to Live Off the Land. It has thousands of things you can do right down to making bat houses, homemade soaps, house repairs, gardening, kitchen herbs... it is FULL of information. Including tons of recipes for everything you could possibly want.

So I bought this book, and the other 3 books in the series (Survival Wisdom and Know How; Garden Wisdom and Know How; and Natural Healing Wisdom and Know How) they are all pretty amazing and I recommend purchasing them if you are interested in sustainable living of any kind. These books are HUGE and have everything you need to know in them... so my point is... I was thinking that since they have quite a few recipes that on occasion I could post the odd one that I think might benefit you folks as a whole. I will still be doing the essential oil posts of course. This would just be an additional source of information.

Disclaimer: This wasn't intended on being a review it just happened. I bought this book of my own accord and was so very pleased with it that I had to share and recommend it. If you click on the link and by the book however I might make some money through Amazon because I am an affiliate...

Children's Book Review: Melvin the Magnificent Molar

About the Book:

Meet Melvin, the lovable tooth. Through Melvin's view of the world, this book encourages children in a fun-loving way to actually want to brush their teeth. By promoting brushing, flossing and regular visits to the dentist. Melvin shows readers young and old how to make sure they will have happy teeth and healthy smiles that will last them a lifetime!

About the Authors:

Julia Cook is a former teach and school guidance counselor. She is the recipient of several book awards including the AEP (Association for Educational Publishers) Distinguished Achievement Award. The goal behind Julia's books is to actively involve her readers into her fun and creative stories and teach them to become "better." Inspirations for her books come from working with children and carefully listening to parents and teachers.

Dr. Laura Jana is a pediatrician and award-winning parenting book author. As a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics' Executive Committee on Early Education and Child Care and a longstanding national advocate for Reach Out and Read, Dr. Laura is firmly committed to teaching practical and positive parenting, health promotion, and making books a part of every healthy childhood. In addition to owning a 200-student educational child care center in Omaha, NE she now applies her professional expertise and passion to the co-creation of Amazing Me Books.

My Thoughts:

I received the book late last week but unfortunately I had been knocked out with a sinus infection so I was distancing myself from the rest of the family so they wouldn't get sick. Last night I finally had the privilege of reading this story to both my children. The book itself was signed by Julia and Laura and I thought that was really nice of them to do so! Jeremy (my oldest) thought so as well.

The book itself is actually pretty adorable. Melvin the Molar comes to life and he is full of personality. The book impressed me, not only was it colorful but the words danced all over the page which will draw the children into the page and encourage reading. Melvin speaks with confidence and pride with lots of positive phrasings that will help encourage positive thinking patterns among young readers.

There is only one thing that I wanted to point out, fluoride treatments are casually mentioned on more than one occasion. I know many parents who are against fluoride treatments because of its level of toxicity. If this reflects your values, than this book is not for you. Otherwise, this is a beautiful book. If you are interesting in purchasing Melvin the Molar you can do so on Julia's website or directly from Amazon.

Julia Cook and Dr. Laura Jana will have a new children's book out in a couple months called "It's You and Me Against the Pee." Keep your eyes open for it.

Disclaimer: I was given a copy to review for my honest opinion and was not given any other monetary payment. I am an Amazon Associate so clicking on the link above may result in compensation if purchases are made. Thank you to Julia and Laura for my review copy and to the Twitter Moms for connecting me with this review opportunity.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Scented Saturday 7 - Anise Seed

Anise is a flowering plant whose oil has an odd smell. It is sweet and woodsy... and smells a little bit like licorice at first. Anise Seed Essential Oil is acquired through steam distillation of dried (and crushed) seeds. The plant itself can be used in culinary (some root beers) and medicinal practices. Anise (plant) is also used as a digestive after meals in India.

Anise (oil) can be used to aid menstrual cramping because it is an antispasmodic. It also has estrogen-like effects, which is most likely why usage of Anise is advised against during pregnancy. Oh and it may be an eye/skin irritant so it is recommended not to apply neat. Just thought I would throw that in and remind everyone that essential oils are not for prolonged use. Take a break :)

The oil is very warm and invigorating and is thought by many to replenish Qi (chi). Anise seed oil is used interchangeably with Star Anise. Which I found interesting because in India as an herb Anise is very similar to fennel, in India they are both called saunf.

An odd but interesting fact is that is can be used while hunting and fishing. You can place oil on fishing lures to attract fish. It was friendly called the fisherman's friend and it is said that it would remove all traces of the human scent. Thus making it easier to lure them in. Has anyone tried this? I would LOVE confirmation on this one. I just recently discovered this fact and I am quite astounded. I live in a small fishing community and I've never heard tell of this one. I plan on asking around!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Book Review - The Remedy

A world of fast living and heavily processed foods is a toxic world. Our method of cooking food right down to the products we coat our skin in aids us in accomplishing a "toxitarian" lifestyle. This lifestyle can shorten our lifespan and create illness. The Remedy is a really informative book that truly goes beyond normal detox diets. Supa Nova Slom talks about his life growing up and how his toxic body was also further polluting his lifestyle and choices. He talks about love and willpower and how he brought his diet beyond a vegan lifestyle to that of a Chlorophyllian, which he describes as a diet considering of 70 percent greens (green juice) and legumes and other things. He even talks about the importance of water in the diet and how whatever we are consuming for water as a general rule of thumb to double it because no one is drinking enough water. Slom further discusses the best sources of drinking water, talks about colon health and completely breaks down the diet. This book is packed with useful information to completely energize you and completely change your life and the way you look at food!

Disclaimer: I was given a copy to review for my honest opinion and was not given any other monetary payment. I am an Amazon Associate so clicking on the link above may result in compensation if purchases are made. Thank you to Hachette Book Group for my review copy and to the Product Review Place for connecting me with this company.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Twelve Tribes Incense Review

Twelve Tribes Incense is located in Perth, Australia. They specialize in 40 different fragrances of hand rolled and sun baked incense using ingredients from around the world. They make their incense each week so that the product is fresh when the customer orders it.

I asked Leith at Twelve Tribes Incense if she would like the Scattered Mind Fragments to to a product review and felt very blessed that not only did she agree to be reviewed, she sent a very generous amount!

I received the following in my package:

Regular Stix

Mini Stix
Clary Sage
Nag Champa
African Violet

Mini Cones

The scents are absolutely captivating. I spent the better part of the first 30 minutes after the package was opened just smelling all of the different scents. One of the things I noticed was that the scents aren't laden down with chemicals like so many other varieties of incense that I have tried in the past.

The packaging is very lovely. Not only is the scent indicated, but you will also find the burn time and on the regular stix they include a list of uses/powers of the specific scent.

For example: The Eucalyptus regular stix has a 30 minute burn time, its Aroma is described as "Clean, Camphor, Fresh, Floral, Mellow, Penetrating, Slightly Sweet" its Power is described as "Brain Cleanser, Dispels Anger and Negative Energies, it is great for fumigation around the sick, Clearing and Colling, Revitalise and Stimulate, Mosquito Deterrent"

One the back is a Thank you sticker with a lovely quote like "Expect a Healthy Mind, Heart & Soul... and so it is." and a little note letting you know that 10c from this product is donated to the WSPA (World Society for the Protection of Animals)

If you need Incense for Prayer, Meditation, Dreaming or just daily burning I highly recommend Twelve Tribes Incense. Not only are you paying for good quality scents that burn clean but you are also supporting the WSPA! Did I mention they ship globally?

Disclaimer: I received this product in exchange for my honest opinion. Receiving the product did not influence my opinion in any way, nor was I given any other kind of monetary payment.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Book Review - The Pocket Therapist

"Sometimes when life hands you lemons, it's harder to make lemonade than that cheery notion suggests. In more trying situations, the initial urge may be to use said lemon as a projectile weapon aimed at the source of frustration. The Pocket Therapist is a book for those lemon-lauching moments in life."

That description sets the tone for the entire book. With 144 techniques to help cope with anxiety, conflicts, and just life in general. Each of the techniques are designed to help us cope with the negative thinking patterns that so many of us encounter often leading us to feel defeated in our own minds.

I really enjoyed the writing style in this book, it was a pleasant mix of honesty, sarcasm and cynicism with a sprinkle of hope. The book was full of very useful techniques, all of which are common sense but often difficult to implement into our lives. With the amount of people living fast paced lifestyles and the increase of people living with anxiety disorders this book has a handy collection of tips to help remind us that we are indeed only human and sometimes we have to know when to just let go of the lemon and take a breath.

Disclaimer: I was given a copy to review for my honest opinion and was not given any other monetary payment. I am an Amazon Associate so clicking on the link above may result in compensation if purchases are made. Thank you to Hachette Book Group for my review copy and to the Product Review Place for connecting me with this company.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Book Review - I Has a Hot Dog

Professor Happycat Aka Ben Huh the CEO behind Cheeseburger Network which owns and operates the websites: Ihasahotdog.com; Icanhascheeseburger.com; failblog.org and many many more... (and it is possible to spend countless days browsing and giggling over the content of these websites...) has published a book featuring the LOLdogs called "I has a Hot Dog"

For those of you who don't know what a LOLdog is the definition is simple and stated on the back of the book.

"For all you hoomins, a LOLdog is a kay-nine picture with a funny, misspelled caption."

Like the following picture below...

"I has a Hotdog" was a very fast read and makes an excellent coffee table book. People seem drawn to it and the humor is fantastic. My 10 year old son feels that it would make a great gift for someone "who likes dogs and humor :)" I am inclined to agree with him. Everyone who has picked it up and flipped through it here each has their own favorite picture that really cracks them up.

Disclaimer: I was given a copy to review for my honest opinion and was not given any other monetary payment. Thank you to Hachette Book Group for my review copy and to the Product Review Place for connecting me with this company.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Scented Saturdays 6 - Lime

Lime was originally cultivated in Asia but is now found worldwide in most warm countries. Ship crews would often depend on lime to prevent scurvy because of its high vitamin C content.

With it's cooling effect on fevers, lime is an excellent remedy for indigestion and heartburn. It has a naturally uplifting scent and can help lift depression and cheer you up a bit when you are feeling under the weather. Lime is also used as an astringent and can help clear oily skin and acne. It is also used to fight cellulite and to tone the skin in general.

Lime oil is most commonly obtained by steam distillation (with the whole fruit) or by cold expression (with the peel of unripe skin).

Lime oil can be used as a massage oil or diluted in the bath to help with painful muscles and joints and even respiratory problems.

To help promote nail growth, mix 2-3 drops in one ounce of almond oil and massage into cuticles.

Lime blends well with Neroli, Lavender, Clary Sage, Jasmine, Juniper, Ylang-Ylang

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Sunset Fishing

Since my camera is still broken, these are all screen shots from my video camera.... of course I played around with those screen shots... I couldn't resist

First fishing trip this year... I always feel so bad for the worm :(

The kids caught a fish and we taught them how to let it go. They were hoping to catch something bigger for supper. Maybe next time...