Saturday, July 26, 2014

DIY Cough - Throat Drops

I have been meaning to do this for months.  Last fall we bought some herbal cough drops and they were very nice. (Swiss Alps yodeling man) I also have a friend that buys the essential oils cough drops they were wonderful but very pricey ($.60 per drop). Or at least  I thought that was a lot to pay for a cough drop.  So ever since then I thought certainly I could make these myself.   So today was the day.

The first thing I did was to steep some STRONG herbal tea.  I used chamomile, rose hips, peppermint, and orange rind.

After steeping I stained through a coffee filter because I wanted it completely clear.

Cough drop recipe:
1 cup of herbal tea
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon butter

Bring to a boil to a hard crack, 300 degrees
When your syrup is at 300 degrees remove it from the heat and let it cool just a bit. 

Then add  1.5 tablespoons lemon juice.
Be very careful - it splatters!

At this point these are very good herbal drops.  You can stop right here if you want to.
(Swiss Alps yodeling man type)

But I wanted to duplicate the pricey essential oil drops so I added some LorAnn's oil.
I used Anise, Spearmint, and Cloves.
I have to say these are wonderful!
I really do think they are every bit as good as the $$ drops.  

Since I haven't yet purchased molds I needed to make my own.  

Below is powdered sugar in a cookie sheet pressed firmly with a second pan.

I used the end of a whisk to make indentations in the sugar.  It was a good size for the drops.

When the drops were hard I sifted them out of my powdered sugar so it wasn't a waste of all this sugar.

These are the finished drops.
I think these are worth investing in some good silicone molds.  I think that would be a lot less work and clean up.  But I really wanted to try this before spending the money for the molds.

Store in an airtight container.

a little bird

Lovely Dishes

My dear friend had a yard sale.  She decided to sell her china - I tried to talk her out of it but she said she never used them so she was getting rid of them.

I think they are just lovely so I bought them.  Now she can enjoy her china when ever she comes here because I  will use them.

She is right we do need to use our lovely things often.  Otherwise its just  stuff that takes up space.

So dear Karen I will use and enjoy your dishes often. And I look forward to your next visit so we can have tea in these lovely cups.
a little bird 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Where did June go...

Where did June go...?

I took the month of June off from work.   I work at a school so most of the school is closed for the entire summer but some of us need to work through the summer too.  :-)  So it is back to work tomorrow for me.

But I had a great time just being at home through June.  I did some cleaning I never seem to have time for through the school year (and yes there is still more I wish I would have gotten done.)  I helped in the garden and the yard,  I even got a camping trip in with the granddaughters.  I think that was the highlight of my time off; six days in the mountains with four little ones is time well spent!

I thought since I have been pretty much absent from blogging I would just share some pictures of June for me.

A day at the fabric store.

Relish - using Tattler Lids

Birthday party
Can you see the teapot in the middle?

Cilantro - Coriander 



Honey Crisp Apple

Leaf Lettuce

Second birthday party

Fresh honey straight from the hive that morning

Hiking with my four favorite little girls! 

This was my June in a nut shell.  What a great way to spend the month.
a little bird

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Flag Day 237

Happy Flag Day!
Since I was a young girl today has been a special day.  A day to look back over our history and think about this wonderful country.

And now the day is even more special - four years ago today - our sweet granddaughter #3 was born.
Happy Birthday dear Gem.

In the United StatesFlag Day is celebrated on June 14. It commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States, which happened on that day in 1777 by resolution of the Second Continental Congress.  The United States Army also celebrates the Army Birthday on this date; Congress adopted "the American continental army" after reaching a consensus position in the Committee of the Whole on June 14, 1775.

For a printable of the above click HERE

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Tattler Lid Review


Today I finally used some of the Tattler lids I purchased.  They are reusable rubbers and lids.  A bit like stepping back in time.  I thought they were very easy to use.  They have one step that is different from normal lids being that as soon as you pull them from the canner you tighten the lid.
The towel does get wet therefore hot so change the spot you're using on the towel so you don't get burned.  I think I could have used nice rubber gloves too but I didn't have a pair handy...

These lids have been around since the 1979.  They are made in the USA and BPA free.
All of my lids sealed so I'm very pleased with them!!
They do cost more!  A dozen  Tattler lids costs about $10.00 compared to normal canning lids that are about $2.50 a dozen.  But since you use them again and again I think they are worth it.  If you use them four times you have paid the same as normal throw-away lids.  So every use after that is free.

all of the lids are down and sealed
I am really pleased and would recommend them.  I will purchase some more. 

Sunday, June 1, 2014


My #2 son and wife were having a conversation.  And mentioned a commercial.  "What are commercials?This is a question my granddaughters asked my #2 son and wife.  They just looked at each other and laughed.  You see they don't watch TV.  They do have Netflix's so they have access to children's programs or movies.  But they have never watched regular TV.  They had no idea what a commercial was...  I remember when my boys were young and they found out when we were children TV was black and white, there was no such thing as a micro wave, VCR, home computer, cell phone, and the list goes on and on.  They looked at us like we were relics.  :-)    It seems they too have joined the 'relic' group.  Welcome, kids it's not a bad group to join at all.  Love Mom
a little bird

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Tea Party

Do you love a tea party?  I sure do!

I have experienced High Tea twice.  Once at the Empress Hotel in Victoria, B.C. and once at The Grand Del Mar in San Diego, CA.  Both were wonderful!  They were special events, memory makers.

Well that started a love of tea parties.  I love High Tea - Low Tea or just plain tea and biscuits.

We have fun tea parties at home too.  We dress in our finery, pull out the collection of fine bone china tea cups, no they don't match, they are an eclectic mix that I love.
We set the table with all the fun stuff.
The first course is fruit, the second little sandwiches 
(cucumber, egg salad, peanut butter and jelly for the little girls since that is their favorite, etc)
the third course is an array of wonderful confections.
You can certainly have more courses - you can easily add in a cheese course.
And throughout you offer wonderful tea.
I do cheat a bit and also make a pot of hot chocolate in case the girls would prefer that. 
Its really all about the fun.  Getting together, making memories, and having a special table set just for them.

Below are some additional pictures of fun tea parties.
Summer is a great time to have a tea party outside - a garden party...

Have a great spring day - hope you have a lovely cup of tea too.
a little bird

Monday, May 26, 2014


Starting to harvest our chamomile.
This is a great to dry for tea.  It actually has anti-inflammatory properties.  So if your achy or wanting to calm down in the evening this is a great tea.  

It's also good if you are fighting a cold.
We like to grow and dry it.  I have purchased chamomile tea at the store and was very disappointed...  There just wasn't much flavor at all.  Home grown is full of flavor and a lovely yellow color.

Image courtesy: Thinkstock/ Gettyimages
To harvest pick the flower heads off.  That's all.  The plant will re-flower and continue to pick off the flower heads throughout the summer.  When it gets close to fall let the flowers go and they will reseed the plant for next year.  I lay the flower heads on a paper towel on the kitchen counter out of direct sunlight. They dry very nicely.  Then I like to vacuum seal them in small jars for storage.  It keeps the tea wonderful and fresh.  Do make sure the flowers are completely dry or they could mold in your jars.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A bit more putting by and some Rhubarb Shrub

More spring onions, chives, cilantro and rhubarb went into the freezer.  The rhubarb is beautiful!

eight quarts for the freezer

Rhubarb Shrub 
Isn't this just a beautiful color.  Appealing to the eye and the taste buds.

1 cup chopped rhubarb
1 cup apple cider vinegar (make sure it's the real stuff not just flavored)
2/3 cup sugar

Mix all ingredients in a clean glass jar.
Allow to sit at room temperature for 2 days.
Place in fridge and allow to age for  7-14 days until the shrub achieves the taste you want.  
Strain out the fruit.  Keep the shrub in the fridge to mix with sparkling water, ice water, or straight up over ice.  I tasted ours today (day two) and it is wonderful!!!  

Shrubs, also called drinking vinegar's, are restorative drinks from the Colonial days predating soda pops and sports drinks. Prior to the invention of refrigeration, a shrub syrup was a means of preserving fruit long past its picking. Shrubs were popular in Colonial America, mixed with cool water to provide a pick-me-up on hot summer days. A proper shrub has a flavor that's both tart and sweet, so it stimulates the appetite while quenching thirst. 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Home Canner

Mrs. Hansen, a farmer's wife in Utah, is seen with her store of home-grown, home-preserved fruits and vegetables. This photo was taken in 1940 - an era in which housewives would can 500 quarts a year to feed their families during the winter.

1930's - 1940's women put-by in large amounts for their families. 

I really enjoy vintage canning books and photos.
Just thought I would share a few with you in case you too enjoy them.
a little bird

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