Thursday, April 23, 2015

Cinnamon, Honey Butter

It's springtime in New England, which means 2 things: mud and allergies.

Mud can be fun, allergies on the other hand... those are awful. They always have been for me. In the past I have lived on various allergy meds, Sudafed being my top choice. Over the years I found that if it didn't have a decongestant, it wasn't worth trying.
Now though, I'm breastfeeding, which means no decongestants. Last year I suffered through, miserable for most of springtime. This year I needed something to change.

Enter: Honey.
I've always known that raw, local honey is good for you. I'm not sure when exactly I learned that it helps with allergies, but it makes sense.
I'm not going to get into the science of honey, because I don't actually know how it works. I just know it has something to do with the fact that the bees use the same type of pollen that is causing the irritation.

It is still early spring, but some members of my family of origin are already having sinus issues, and I haven't noticed anything.

Some ways we eat honey:
In tea. I don't drink it often, but every bit helps.
Peanut butter and Honey sandwiches (The Minion's favorite.)
On a spoon.
In yogurt (I don't like this, but The Minion does)

Cinnamon, Honey Butter. This is by far the least healthy way to eat it, but it is sooo yummy!
You can find the original recipe here, I felt that there was too much powdered sugar though, so I added half what it called for. You could probably add even less and maintain great flavor, but the texture won't be the same, it will most likely be very hard to spread when it's cold.

Cinnamon Honey Butter

1 cup butter (room temperature)
1 cup honey (organic, raw, local honey is best)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Whip honey in a stand mixer until smooth.
With the mixer still going, add honey, mix until smooth.
Slowly add powdered sugar and cinnamon until combined.
Store in the fridge. I've had it in there for over a month and it's still good!

Share! What is your favorite natural way to combat seasonal allergies?

Monday, April 20, 2015

Why Declutter (and my first decluttering project)

I have a lot of trouble keeping my house clean. Housekeeping doesn't come naturally to me. My mom trained me really well, so I can keep my house under control, but it takes a lot of effort and I have to consciously think about every little detail. For example; it's not natural for me to put clothes in a hamper after changing, or to clean the counter while I cook. I just don't think about it. I've tried the 'never leave a room without taking something that doesn't belong there', but I always forget.

This is just part of who I am and how my brain works, so I will have to work at it for the rest of my life. But there is one HUGE thing I can do; GET RID OF STUFF. Less stuff means less to clean. I don't think I want to go as far as minimalist, but that's the idea I'm holding onto.

Nony, from, talks about the fact that everyone has a different threshold for stuff. I grew up with parents who keep everything, but their stuff is under control. I inherited the desire to keep everything (from my dad), but not the ability to keep it under control or contained in any way shape or form (which is all my mom). My threshold for stuff is very small. Keeping a near minimalist household is going to allow me to keep my house tidy, with the added bonus of more time and less stress!

Having said all that, I want to share my decluttering story, one room at a time!! I will never be done decluttering, but this is the big overhaul.

There is a sewing studio in my house. It is used by my sisters, my mom, me, and whoever else needs a space to sew. When we moved in, we called it the shelf room because of the large number of built in shelves. Most of those shelves were bursting with fabric, plus fabric on the table, the floor, in bins and hanging from the ironing board. This room was such a mess that it was unusable.

Today, my mom and I filled THREE AND A HALF BOXES with fabric that we will never ever use. Those boxes will be taken and donated to our local 4H office this week.

During this clean out process, we removed 5 bags of trash. That included some old stuff from my great-grandmother's sewing tools, mostly things that dont work anymore. We also threw out moth eaten fabric and shoulder pads. Things like that baffle me. Why did we keep those in the first place??? (Short answer: just in case) ...No one even uses shoulder pads anymore....

We need to bring some stuff over from my mom's house, a little fabric and some notions, but that is much less daunting now that we actually have space for all of it!

We aren't entirely finished, and I forgot to take before and after pictures. But we made HUGE progress today, and I'm so proud of us.

Trying this again

It has been 5 MONTHS since I last posted. Blogging was just not a high enough priority while we struggled through so financial issues. Frugality truly saved out butt over the past several months and we are finally in a good place again. 

So what are we up to these days?
The Minion (Hope) will be 18 months old in just over a week. She knows tons of animal sounds, can point to the correct body parts on herself when asked, she has well over 100 words, and we are learning colors and sorting, both of which she is picking up quickly. (Mommy brag moment).
Bonus Minion (E) is 2 1/2. She talks all day long, but we usually have no clue what she is saying. When she needs to communicate though, her words are strong and clear. Watching the girls play together is so fun these days because they talk to each other a lot.
Bonus Minion #2 is a friend's 4 year old boy who I am watching 2 days a week until the daycare has an opening. He is just as smart as the girls! Knows all his letters and knows numbers through 10.
If those 3 don't keep me busy enough, we are getting chickens in a couple weeks. I will share pictures of our coop project when we get to it (hopefully this weekend).
I joined a Mom's Ministry group at a local church. Other Catholic women in various stages of motherhood get to meet weekly to pray and study our faith. Best part? Childcare is provided.
Menu planning wasn't working for me, so when I saw that my very favorite blogger was releasing a Frugal Real Food Meal Plan for only $10 a month, I jumped on it! $350 a month for everything but snacks and drinks. All real food. Menus, grocery lists, prep lists, frugal shopping tips, and even more!!! Tiffany and her husband obviously worked so hard on the plan. I hope you will check it out. It saved my sanity.
I have also been working hard at being a better homemaker and fighting my 'slob-vision'. I've recently been listening to podcasts at A Slob Comes Clean. Nony is wonderful! But more on that adventure later.
Other plans for this summer include a garden, a pallet fence, and a massive decluttering that will end in a yard sale!
Say a prayer for me, I will say one for you!

What have you been up to in the past few months? Any big plans for this summer?