Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Decongestant Tea

This tea recipe came from my sister-in-law and it really works! I have used it several times and always been impressed with how much better I feel after drinking this tea. It seems to break up congestion quite effectively.  While it is not the most pleasant tasting tea, neither is it completely terrible. I like the spice flavors of the cinnamon and cloves, along with the orange zest.

Decongestant Tea

1 quart boiling water
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon or 1/2 cinnamon stick broken up 
1/16 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tea bags of green tea
1/4 teaspoon orange peel
1/8 teaspoon of Thyme (or more)
4 cloves or 1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves 
1 peppermint tea bag (optional)
1 clove of garlic, crushed

Steep for 20-30 minutes. Drink with honey, sweetened to taste. 

Sunday, February 18, 2018

New Baby Coming.....

A box of freshly folded diapers.

I can't wait to use these on our new baby! We recently found the boxes of baby clothes and diapers, in preparation for our coming Addition. :) We have less than two weeks until our due date!

I spent time yesterday boiling all my cloth diapers and getting them ready for Baby. I am really excited to be using them again! :)

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Science Project: Finger Print Cataloging

We all have unique finger prints. This activity is an easy way examine your finger prints.

Graphite pencil
2 sheets of paper
Clear gift wrapping tape

Trace the outline of your hands on to one sheet of paper.

On the second sheet of paper heavily color in a small area with the pencil. Roll a finger tip into the graphite. Try to give your finger pint a good coating.

Press the finger tip onto a small piece of clear tape. The tape will lift the graphite impression of the finger print. Tape the finger print to the corresponding fingertip of the traced hand shapes.

I did this project with BMW last week. I think I was more interested in doing this activity than him, but he did seem to enjoy it. :) He is only 2 and I expected doing this project to be more fun than educational, at this point.

I think it would be fun to catalog your whole family's finger prints and then compare your similarities and differences. Which finger prints did you get from your mom and which ones came from your dad? Of course, you will have your own variations in the designs.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Origami Paper Balloon Cakes!

This is a really fun project! These would be great for a party! They are also really nice for portable, grab and go snacks. Easy to pack in lunch boxes and for road trips.

I made several origami paper balloons out of parchment paper and wax paper.*

And, I decorated the parchment paper ones with colored pencils. **

I inflated the balloons and placed them onto a baking sheet. I filled the balloons 1/2-2/3 with cake batter. ***

I baked the cakes for 25-30 minutes. Some of the cake batter had bubbled out of the tops. I was able to peel off the bubbled over cake bits and clean up the paper.

Voilà! I made individually wrapped cake squares! Like I said, this was really fun! You should give it a try!

*I used 7.5 inches squares of parchment paper and 6 inch squares of wax paper. They both worked fine.

**The wax paper cannot be decorated. It is just too slick. I found that colored pencil and ball point ink pens were the only things that work on parchment paper. The pencil will eventually rub off after baking, but it stays on for a while. I tried markers and crayons with no success.

***I put cake batter into a plastic freezer bag that had a small hole cut in one corner. I used this to pipe cake batter in through the hole on the top of the paper balloons.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Folding Origami Paper Balloons

Origami Paper Balloon
Step 1. Crease a square piece of paper in the manner shown above with the creases going in the same directions.
Step 2. Use the creases to fold into a triangular shape.
Gather the triangle faces together, as shown.
Step 3. Lay your triangle shape flat on work surface. Lift the front, lower corner and fold it up to the top center corner.
Step 4. Repeat Step 3. With the other front, lower corner. Then turn the triangle over and fold the remaining corners up, as well.
Step 5. You should have a square standing on it's corner, so that it is kind of like a diamond. Take a front, side corner and fold the point into the center of the square.
Step 6. Repeat Step 5. On the other top, side corner. 
Step 7. Fold a front, top corner down to the center of the square as shown. 
Step 8. Stuff the section that was just folded down from the top into a pocket made in the section folded in from the side.
Stuff it in and fold it securely. Fold the other top corner down and stuff it, as well.

Step 9. Turn paper over, from front to back, and repeat Steps 5-8. Fold the side corners to the center. Fold the top corners down and stuff the into the side corners.
Step 10. Locate the small hole in one end and blow air, swiftly into the hole to inflate your balloon.
Now you have a completed paper balloon! 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

First Time Making Chinese Pork Buns And Recipe

I made Chinese Pork Buns for the first time last week.

The pork filling is the same as what would be put in to a dumpling. The wrapper is a simple yeast dough.

The buns are cooked in a steamer.

My steamer set up is kind of crude, but it did get the job done! 😊

I learned about Chinese buns from Mike Chen's YouTube channel: Strictly Dumpling.
Here is his demonstration video. I followed his recipe, with a few tweaks.

3/4 cups warm water
1 tsp. yeast
1 tsp. sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour

Combine warm water with yeast and sugar. Set aside for 5-10 minutes until yeast makes a bubbly froth.
Add warm water to the flour in three additions.
Knead dough for 10 minutes.
Cover and let rise about an hour.

1/2 head of cabbage chopped (5-ish cups)
1-2 tsp. salt
1 lb. ground pork (70/30 meat to fat ratio preferred.)
2 green onions, sliced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
1 TBS. soy sauce
1 TBS. oyster sauce (I had to substitute soy sauce+1 tsp. sugar.)
1 TBS. white wine vinegar
2 tsp. corn starch
2 TBS. sesame seed oil

Place chopped cabbage in a colander. Sprinkle with salt and let will for 30 minutes. Transfer cabbage to a thin cloth and squeeze out all excess moisture.

Combine cabbage and the rest of the filling ingredients. Mix very well.


Divide dough into 12 even pieces. Roll into discs, trying to make the center of the disc a little thicker than the edges.

Fill the dough with a small amount of pork filling (1 TBS. or so). Close the dough wrapper by pleating and pinching the edges on place. You want to make at least 10 pleats. Leave a little hole at the top.

Put several cups of hot water into your steamer pot. Put the buns onto a piece of parchment paper in the steamer basket. Cover with lids. Bring water to a boil. Steam for 20 minutes. Turn off heat, but do not remove lid. Let rest 10 minutes before removing from the steamer.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Paper Boats

BMW and I have been having fun making and floating paper boats. We have used regular printer paper, as well as news papers. 

Making paper boats is very easy. I had to look up some directions online. Once I had built the first one I was able to fold subsequent boats without the instructions.

This activity is a good way to spend quality time together and make memories. Folding and floating paper boats is very cheap entertainment! :)

We like to sail our paper boats in the kitchen sink and use marbles as cargo. We see how many marbles our boats will hold before they sink!

I have written some instructions for folding a paper boat. I have taken pictures of each step being done with a regular sheet of paper and with  a sheet of newspaper. Sorry some of the pictures turned out blurry.

At the bottom of the post there is a video with some very clear directions on how to make a paper boat.

Step 1. Fold Paper in half.

Step 2. Fold corners down to make a triangle shape.

Step 3. Fold the font bottom flap up onto the triangle shape.

Step 4. Turn paper over and fold the remaining bottom flap up on that side.

Step 5. Fold the corners of the flaps down, towards the back, at an angle.

Step 6. Fold the corners of the back flaps down, towards the front, at an angle.

Step 7. Open the triangle up at the bottom edge.

Step 8. Turn sideways and flatten into a square.

Step 9. Fold the bottom corner up to the top corner. Folding the front flap towards the front.

Step 10. Turn paper over and fold remaining bottom corner up to top corner.

Step 11. Open the triangle up at the bottom edge.

Step 12. Turn sideways and flatten into a square.

Step 13. Pull the sides away from each other. (This maybe confusing. It is hard to explain.)

Step 14. With some manipulation, shape the paper into a boat. Complete with sides and a hollow triangular center.

This video should help make the process clear:

Saturday, December 30, 2017

2017 A Blogging Year In Review

I was just looking back over this year's blog posts. It is nice to spend time to reflect over the past year. I am grateful to have documented on my blog some of what I have done this year. I am not a good journal keeper so the things I have posted here really are how I remember what was going on when, for the most part.

These are the highlights from 2017 through blog posts.

Our trip to Maine
This trip turned out to have a huge impact on the year 2017. In this post I didn't say why, in any specific language, we had travelled to Maine. I just said it was a business trip. At that time Mr. In The Mid-west didn't want the specifics published to the world. The reason we had travelled to the very northern part of Maine was to look at an airplane that was for sale. Mr. In The Mid-west did end up purchasing the plane! He had decided to work on getting his pilot's license this year. He has dreamed of flying since he was a boy. Now is the time to do it, while he is still young enough to make a career out of flying, and his family is small enough to support on a part time job while he works on his license. So, this year Mr. In The Mid-west bought a plane and has learned a lot of new things about how to fly. He is very close to having his private pilot's license! The weather has not been cooperating for him to be able to finish his training. :/

He wasn't able to transport his plane to our home state until late July. And, that whole thing is another story.... He was supposed to be gone for 2 days, but it turned into 5 days. He had problems with the plane, problems with the weather, and most of all, problems with the pilot he had hired to fly the plane...
Yeah, we won't go into that story now....

Moving on,

The next highlight of my year, as documented by my blog is,
The Cloth Pad Series
This series/project was dear to my heart. It took many hours to develop and test the pattern, as well as write the instructions. I was really excited to, finally, launch the series. I hope it has influenced a few to give cloth pads a try and maybe even helped some ladies who were dealing with problems that (unknowingly) came from the chemicals in disposable pads.
The pattern I developed for this post has become my most popular item on my Etsy store and that has been encouraging to me.


This blog post was a lot of fun! I cooked potatoes in several different ways and fed them to Mr. In The Mid-west at every meal until the bag was used up. I could not eat any potatoes at that time because of an elimination diet I was on for health reasons. This diet was something that played a big role in this year of my life. I did it faithfully for 6 months, from February to July. I had to eliminate all seeds, nuts, grains, legumes, dairy, eggs, refined sugar, nightshade vegetables (potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers), refined sugar, and spices that were made from seeds. What could I eat? Lots of meat, cruciferous vegetables, beets, carrots, squash, fruit, berries, olives, coconut oil, and olive oil, salt, cinnamon, cloves, tumeric, herbs, and that pretty much sums it up. Doing the potato challenge for Mr. In The Mid-west and writing a blog post about it was fun, but the reason it makes such a highlight of 2017 is how it reminds me of the elimination diet. I am sure you can understand why that diet made such a huge landmark in my year. Birthdays, holidays, parties, eating out, meals with friends, vacations, special events, and every day breakfasts, lunches and dinners were challenging. I made it through, though.

The sad thing is, that I may end up having to do it again. Before I could go to a natural Dr. and have all my blood work drawn and analyzed I became pregnant. I was not willing to risk having low thyroid hormone while pregnant so I started taking the prescription. When the baby is born I am planning to try going off the prescription and figuring out how to get my thyroid functional with the help of a natural Dr. who specializes in adrenal medicine. Hopefully that is an adventure for 2018! :)

Mother's Day
I put together a Mother's Day Tea Time package for Mr. In The Mid-west's Mom as a Mother's Day gift this year. I was really excited about this gift! When I thought of this idea early in April I could not stop thinking about it and making plans for what I would put in it and how I would make or find the items. I thought the items would be right up her alley and she would appreciate this kind of package. I really enjoyed putting it together and hearing her reaction after it arrived! :)

BMW's Birthday
I have a lot of good memories of BMW's second birthday party. That whole week was pretty stressful, in a good way. We set up and tended a garage sale for a few days, I was just finishing potty training BMW, we planned his party, and then he ended up coming down with a mild case of the flu. We held his birthday party gathering outdoors at the park. It was extremely windy that day. We had trouble keeping plates, cups, wrapping paper, etc... from blowing all over the place. I am glad we didn't bother decorating and putting table cloths out. We had a nice gathering with friends, neighbors, relatives, and church members. The whole thing went off without a hitch (at least that is the way I remember it happening). I didn't have to do all the cooking myself, and I am very grateful to those that offered to help. They really made a big difference! After the party we spontaneously invited our Pastor's family to come over to our house, to extend the party, so to speak. We had a nice long visit with them that evening. I think BMW had a good time on his birthday and that was the main thing! :)

Retiring My Trusty Toaster Oven
I like rereading this blog post. I have now gotten used to having a working oven and even take it for granted. From time to time it is good to remember what it was like to only have a toaster oven. Then I go thank Mr. In The Mid-west for giving me a working oven! ;)

The Great American Solar Eclipse was a really big deal for me this year! I will not rehash that whole event now. You can read about in the blog post. But, it was amazing! And, it is a huge highlight of 2017!

Skin Care
I had wanted to write a blog post like this for a while. I am glad I finally did. I have been trying to be more feminine over the past several years, and I really am enjoying it now. I have, also, made a point recently to spend some time relaxing. I have done a few foot soaks, nail pedi/manicures, face steams, and Epsom salts baths. Even if I can only do something like that once in a while it is really nice! I have even treated myself to an essential oil bath, complete with music and candlelight, in the middle of the night because that was the time that was available! Being pregnant I do wake up a few times in the night and I decided to use some of those occasions to pamper myself. ;)

What About You?
What are a few highlights from your year? And, I was just curious, do you have a favorite blog post from this year?