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2011 is on our doorstep. If you’re at all like me, you’ll be reflecting on the past year and planning for the new.

For 2011 I decide to do something fresh and new.  I started a new blogging journal and called it:

Carrie’s Blog.

Click here for the first entry called

“60 TIPS FOR A STUNNINGLY GREAT LIFE” by Robin Sharma

These “60 Tips for a stunningly great life” are so simple, and yet highly effective.

Robin Sharma’s site:

http://bit.ly/fxjJ5S

To one and all – a Merry Christmas Eve. 

Soap Stone Carving- Nativity - Carrie ©

Tonight we’re making a beef dish called “Rolladen”.

It is of German origin.

My “Rolladen” recipe:

Ask your butcher to slice thin strips of top quality beef (no fat) about 6 inches wide, 8  inches long, and a mere 1/8 inch thick

Spread a little hot mustard on one side

At one end, place a small pickle or pickle piece

Crush fresh garlic and sprinkle over the meat

Do the same with bits of real bacon

Add some sauteed onions

Roll in up and use 2 toothpicks to keep together

Put into a glass casserole and add:

About 1/2 cup water

1-2 Tbsp. virgin olive oil (use a brush to cover the meat with the olive oil)

Salt and pepper

A few shakes of Mrs. Dash.

1or 2 bay leaves (place in the water)

Bake slowly at 325 degrees

This meal goes great with garlic mashed potatoes or dumplings.

Twas the Night Before Christmas

(inspired by a true event)

“It came upon a midnight clear, that glorious song of old.

From angels bending near the earth to touch their harps of gold.

‘Peace on the earth, good will toward men’,

from heaven’s all gracious King!

The world in solemn stillness lay, to hear the angels sing.”

“Twas the Night Before Christmas” 1  Carrie ©

Christmas music gently filled the little coffee house. Unlike the carol heralding a ‘midnight clear’, this night was everything but. Snow fell fast and thick.

In the corner, a young man sat alone. He looked out the window and watched as the last patron of the night plowed their way out of the parking lot.

“Young man, we’re closing.”

He nodded, put on his coat and made his way to the exit. He looked to be about fourteen, fifteen at the most.

As the door closed behind him, the cold quickly bit into his face and hands.  He pulled his collar up close to his face.

“Do you have a ride?” a voice called to him.

The young man turned to see someone standing in the shadows of the building.

”No, I’m good,” he answered firmly.

The man persisted. “I’m not so sure about that. It’s Christmas eve. Shouldn’t you be home with your family, sitting by the fire and enjoying hot chocolate, or something?”

The lad shrugged his shoulders as if to say… yah, so what. Who cares anyway.

The man stepped out of the shadows.

"Twas the Night Before Christmas" 2 - Carrie  ©

“Twas the Night Before Christmas” 2 – Carrie  ©

The young man saw that he was an old man. Old enough to make him wonder what someone this old was doing out in a snow storm at this hour of the night.

The old man continued. “Where you’re headed… it is not worth it… You do have options you know.”

The young man was beginning to feel somewhat uncomfortable. He stared at the old man not sure what to make of the encounter.

“How do you know where I’m headed?” he finally asked.

“I know that place, under the bridge.” The old man continued.  “You won’t find what you’re really looking for out there. Running away isn’t the answer.”

Now the young man paused.

How did this old man know that he was going to that “homeless place” where he might make it through the night?

Maybe if he was lucky someone would share their Christmas “Spirits” with him.

And how did this old man know that he was running away?

The old man smiled knowingly and said. “I’ve been young and now I am old…but I have never seen God’s children forsaken”… The old man talked so strange…and yet he was most compelling.

“I know a place.  A place where you can get a hot bowl of homemade soup, and a good night’s sleep.”

“Follow me,” the old man continued.

"Twas the Night Before Christmas" 3 - Carrie  ©

“Twas the Night Before Christmas” 3 – Carrie  ©

The old man began to make his way through the deep drifts of snow. The young man hesitated but only for a second or two. “Man…what do I have to lose,” he mumbled.

He began to follow in the old man’s footsteps.

After some time, the old man stopped at a building with a sign that read, “The Welcome Home Centre”.  He turned to the young man. “They will take care of you.  You can stay as long as you wish.” Then he paused, looked the boy in the eyes and added, “God loves you, you know. He’s got plans for you”.

The young man did not know what to think. No one had ever talked to him like this before.

They stood in silence and waited.

Eventually a pleasant sort of man answered the knock on the door. The young man’s last bit of resistance melted away as he breathed in a blast of warm fragrant air. He smelled something wonderful.

“Come in… welcome,” the man said sincerely.

“I…ah..need a place to hang till this storm’s over,” the young man said, hesitantly.

“You’ve come to the right place then,” came the reassuring answer.

The young man sighed.

He turned and started to thank the old man but no one was there.

“That old man, who was here with me. He brought me here. He was just here,” the bewildered young man exclaimed .

“I didn’t see anybody but you, lad,” came the answer.

“But he was here, I followed him here. He told me about you…he knew stuff about me…he…”

Bewildered, the young man took one last look out into the white night. He saw only lonely empty  streets and a fast disappearing, single set of footprints, that lead to The Welcome Home’s front porch.

Putting a kind hand on the young man’s shoulder the man at the door said, “It’s not the first time this sort of thing has happened son. “I do believe you.  Come…I want to hear all about it.”

It’s now midnight and that brings our 2010 Christmas eve story to an end.

Yes, this young man’s life was changed forever that Christmas eve.

What will this Christmas bring you?

Will you let God’s love bring you a miracle this Christmas?

I wish for you, a life changing kind of Christmas.

One that you will remember forever because it was…well…life changing.

As I was working on one of my latest art pieces, I found myself smiling.

This was often followed by a soft sigh.

Why? My lightening fast mind kicked in and reminded me that it’s at these moments that my body produces significant amounts of DMAE.

That I was involuntarily producing an anti-aging hormone brought another smile to my face.

Yes, the anti-aging DMAE hormone we all long for…  at least those of us who care. Those who realize we are coming apart at the seams… somewhat.

Before I get on to the DMAE anti-aging – easy to acquire youth hormone… let me add an aside.

A big Thank you to my faithful readers… those who’ve checked in on my site during the summer/fall months.

My usual, at least once a month post, dragged out to be every other month… but I have not forgotten you.

That darn organic garden just took over…weeds and all.

Some important tasks, like blogging, were left for a another day.

Actually I loved the gardening – even the weeding.

A little piece of heaven in my otherwise whirlwind of a world. Anyone know what I’m talking about?

Well, now that ‘nother day is here.

I’ve put the garden to bed for the winter and it’s time to get back into things like blogging and painting.

What makes me smile…

“Milking Rosie”

The story behind Milking  Rosie.

As a child, I would visit my grandparents’ farm on a daily basis. I especially loved to hang around at milking time.

One aunt would often conscript me to hold the cow’s tail to keep it from swatting her in the face.  That tail had a nasty sting as I soon discovered.

Cats and their kittens came out of the barnwork, and waited patiently for a squirt of warm milk. They got pretty good at catching the stream.

Milking Rosie sketch - (oil painting to follow) Carrie ©

Etched in my memory, this experience always brings a smile to my face – the kind of smile that supposedly  immediately increases the levels of DMAE in your body. (anti-aging !!!)

Happy thoughts, laughter, giggles, anything that makes you sign and go ‘ahh.

Think on these things and your internal fountain of youth will begin to bubble and then pour.

(Check out my post on “God Gave Me Laughter” for more on what happy thoughts can do for you.)

https://nuggetsofgold.wordpress.com/2008/11/24/god-gave-me-laughter/

In my research, I discovered that anchovies, wild salmon (not farmed) and sardines contain DMAE.

Rosie, was a Jersey cow.  Jersey cows are quite beautiful, I think.

Anyone who has met a Jersey will be captivated by their eyes. Big, beautiful, soft, and gentle with thick, long and curly eye lashes. (to die for eyes)

Jersey cows produce much more cream than other cows. Rosie gave us plenty of rich cream to turn into butter.

Making butter the way we did, was the perfect arm muscle toner/builder. (another sure fire way to up your DMAE – good healthy exercise)

Today we set aside time to lift weights and count to 10 or 20. Back then we had to shake the container until we had butter. A lot longer than a count to 10 or 20.

My thought for the day – seek out those things that make you smile and make some butter.

As for me, I’m planning to have several more “smile” moments thoughout the day.

And, I think I’ll have Wild Pacific Salmon for dinner…again.

As for making the butter…perhaps tomorrow.

Photo Snow Scenes

Snow.  There’s nothing more inviting than a fresh snow fall. I love to walk in it, play in it, look at it and take pictures of it. A walk around the neighborhood is all it takes for a few good photo memories.

 

Santa Bird House

Bird House Basket

Snow Perfect

Checking it out

Fallen Tree in the Park

Breakfast in my garden - Carrie ©

I took this Month’s Theme photo very early one hot July morning. Chairs that were meant for the garbage dump, now nestle invitingly among  the Sunflowers, Cukes and Nasturtiums.


Cukes and Nasturtiums are two great Companion Plants.

How do Nasturtiums make good companion plants?

Their job in the garden is to excrete a strong essence into the air and soil.  This will help you in your fight against aphids, white fly and also root pests. This essence is secreted into the soil where it works for you to deter plant pests.

You can also plant Nasturtiums between all cabbage family plants, fruit trees, melons, pumpkins, potatoes.

Nasturtiums are very healthy to eat.

These flowers are high in vitamin C, iron and other minerals, and are a powerful antibiotic, antimicrobial, antioxidant .

Try adding them to a fresh green salad – you’ll discover a peppery, juicy taste which is quite delightful.You can eat the hot pungent seeds as well.

I enjoy munching on a few Nasturtium flowers along with some Sugar Snap Peas and a juicy carrot, while working in my garden.

Blue chairs under an umbrella- Carrie ©

Natures flower arrangement in an old chair - Carrie ©

I love this chair. The brilliant orange/red flowers attract bees and hummingbirds. They are sure to visit me, when I visit the garden in the early hours of the morning.

Blue chair amongst wild flowers- Carrie ©


Some things I learned this summer:

  • the garlic and onions I planted throughout the garden worked amazingly well. Very few bad bugs and worms to speak of.
  • plant rosemary by the beans
  • don’t plant garlic around the beans
  • the cabbage family likes dill and vice versa
  • watermelon is hard to grow in this climate
  • pumpkins take a lot of food and nurturing – big takers
  • beans and peas are givers, giving back nitrogen to the soil so move them around in the garden each year.

Extravagant poppies - Carrie ©

Love Lies Bleeding - Carrie ©

Rustic sunflower - Carrie ©

Brilliant pinks - Carrie ©

Broccoli bunch - Carrie ©

Just picked and perfect - Carrie ©

Baskets of blessings – Carrie ©

Romaine and strawberries- Carrie ©

Zucchini - Carrie ©

Dill amongst the peas - Carrie ©

Garden Path - taken in July - Carrie ©

This 100 ft. by 20 ft. organic garden turned out to be one of the best things that could ever happen to me .

I’ve been planning to get back into some sort of  ‘get back into shape’ program for the past year or so…well, I found it. Not only do I have the most amazing, bountiful, beautiful garden,  (Thank you God – you are the amazing master gardener), but I also am on an exercise program that I actually enjoy.

What to do for my exercise program during the winter months?…that’s another blog.

For the past few weeks I’ve been digging deep and getting my roots into organic gardening.

First things First...My husband planting a few raspberry bushes

After  putting stakes around our garden section, my husband (far right) promptly dug up a spot in the middle of the garden for his favorite fruit, raspberries.

Our garden spot, approximately 20 feet wide by 100 feet deep.

Pretty ambitious I know…but I grew up with BIG gardens, and had my own little (almost organic) garden for years… so am well aware of what I am committing to.

What’s the story behind this

Organic Gardening Community?


A friend with a farm, and a 6 acre  field, is the impetus for this inviting Organic Gardening Community. This year will be the first of organic gardening for most of us.

A lot of Googling, along with wise advice and teaching from organic garden specialists, is making this experience not only interesting but also quite invigorating.

Let’s just say I am having a lot of fun getting into shape in more ways than one.

Course I’ve had to take several Epsom salt/ lavender baths and drink my Xango Mangosteen juice and Black Cherry juice faithfully…all great detox, high anti-oxidant solutions,  for those achy sore joints and muscles…

A week or so later…and with a lot of good old get down dirty digging, here’s what we accomplished.

Herb Garden in progress

Then our daughter got in on the action. We took her Chevy 1/2 ton up to the top of the field and gleaned some rocks for my herb garden.

A few days later…The Herb Garden is almost complete

Now things are beginning to take shape.

I promised you a Community Organic Garden with a TWISTit’s coming…

To my herb garden, I added some high quality organic mushroom compost and began to plant. I planted strawberries right at the top. I also gleaned some thyme and sage from my home herb garden and transplanted them among the rocks.

I couldn’t resist picking up some pansies to remind me of what’s yet to come…
Now back to the real work.

May 1st - Gardeners 'making hay' while the sun shines

Can you picture a more beautiful garden setting???…I am really beginning to feel like a farmer now.

So far I’ve got the beans and peas planted, pickling cukes, a variety of lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, and garlic ( garlic I planted all over the garden to ward off the vampires and other such nasty garden pests), rosemary along with carrots, and leek, onions and chives.

The poles with chicken wire are for the beans, peas and pickling cukes.

I transplanted some flowers into my flower garden  just in front of  the herb garden.  I can’t imagine a garden without Lavender…so I added some of that as well.

Laughing Bunnies - Carrie ©


One bright morning, I found bunny tracks on one of the beds… so immediately a gardening friend researched how to discourage rabbits from loving our gardens… a few plants they don’t like are lavender, garlic and catnip.

So I planted all three.

I do hope the laugh won’t be on me.

Also I discovered, you can sprinkle garlic powder around the plants – this is supposed to work quite well.  I might give that a try if the other doesn’t do the job.

As much as I love bunnies, you don’t need my lettuce… there’s no shortage of clover and healthy non-sprayed dandelions out there for you little critters.

And here is a site with a long list of plants rabbits don’t eat.

So What’s the TWIST ??

Every Tuesday evening, about 25 (and growing) of us community gardeners meet in the loft of the barn for dinner and digging.  We eat, get the updates and training, share our knowledge, and go dig in the dirt.

As a community, separate from our individual gardens, we will be planting potatoes and corn of which we’ll share the fruits.

We all take turns bringing the soup, buns and dessert. The loft has been transformed into an inviting and unique meeting place… or just a place to hang out and enjoy a cup of coffee, tea and tasty torte, after gardening for a few hours. With hot running water, a sink, oven, tables, chairs, and couches, we are well pampered farmers.

You don’t find all this in your everyday garden community.

Our  friend and owner of Little Farm Products has a very creative imagination and generous heart. The opportunities are endless.

That’s the TWIST.

Next time…all about Complementary Gardening and Gardening with the MOON.





Panda Bear, pencil sketch - Carrie ©

True to my word, I searched my closet for photos of my Newfoundland dogs.

Our two  Newfies, Panda Bear and Dandie Lion,  are called Landseers (Black and White). The Landseer was named after an English painter, sir Edwin Henry Landseer.

For more of Edwin Henry Landseer’s paintings check out the Encore Editions site where I found this painting. Delightful artwork. Encore Editions

Called “Newfoundland and Woodchuck”

“Their big head and kind, gentle expression makes them very adorable and dignified”, as my daughter put it.

Beautiful, dignified, and true to their nature, these dogs were every bit a Newfoundland at heart. How we loved our Newfies.

Panda Bear and Dandie Lion playing soccer - Carrie ©

Panda Bear and Dandie Lion, Someone has a ball! - Carrie ©

Playing in the Back Yard with our son - Carrie ©

I’ve decided to dedicate a page to Panda and Dandie.

A  page where I get to tell stories about all my furry and feathered friends.

I’ll be sure to sneak in a bit of informative stuff as well.

You’ll find these animal stories here: Panda and Dandie’s page

Theme of the month …

My favorite dog – the Newfoundland

Panda Bear was one of our two, very much loved Newfies. He was the big boy, Dandie Lion, she was a lady.

Today, my story is about Panda Bear.

I was told that Newfies have a sense of humor. I wondered about that… how can a dog have a sense of humor.  I soon discovered they do.

On one occasion, Panda being in a playful mood, snuck up behind our 11 year old daughter who was day dreaming, gazing out her bedroom window.  I was watching from a distance wondering what Mr. Panda Bear was about. I watched as he moved towards her in a deliberate, quiet stalking manner. Then, without warning, he gave her a quick nip in the butt.

Even I didn’t expect that.

He promptly (as if it was all well thought out) jumped onto her bed and barked loudly in her shocked face.

“Come and get me” he challenged.

Standing on the bed beside her he was every bit as tall as our daughter. If one didn’t know him, one would have been quite concerned.

Once recovered from the shock, our daughter began to laugh and of course I joined her. We laughed, really laughted and Panda laughed with us.

Panda was the king – he ruled the neighborhood. He was a good king. He ruled with kindness, he was fair and just. His neighborhood subjects  rarely gave him any trouble and if they did, it was not for long.  If discipline was needed, he gave it without doing harm – using his size and commanding voice – perhaps a good chest plant or maybe a chase around the park.

I think I have a hundred stories I can tell about our Newfies. Perhaps another story another time…first I need to find some of those photos taken before digital – hidden somewhere in a shoe box in my closet.

2010 Olympics – Go Canada Go!

I am proud to be a Canadian. I love the spirit of that prevails over this Winter Olympics here in our beautiful country.

Check out this site for some of the most beautiful, amazing photos of the Opening Ceremoniesreally… this is worth your time.

http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2010/02/opening_ceremonies_for_vancouv.html

My husband and son got to hang out with the crowd at the waterfront when Gretzky lit the cauldron. This was their experience…

Olympics 2010 Vancouver, BC, Canada

Olympics 2010 Vancouver, BC, Canada - photo taken by our daughter - Minde W. ©

The streets of downtown Vancouver were almost empty only minutes before the cauldron was lit.

As the news spread that Wayne Gretzky was carrying the torch to the waterfront,  thousands of patriotic Olympic enthusiasts flooded the plaza.

When Wayne Gretzky arrived, it looked like the crowd was going to swarm him, but instead they opened a path for him to head toward the cauldron.

When he lit the cauldron and the flames lit up the sky, thousands of young Canadians spontaneously began to sing the national anthem, OH CANADA.

What impressed us most was this…the youth boldly wearing their patriotism.

It was our youth that lead the crowd in singing “Oh Canada”.

Keep it up Canada.

And keep it up Olympian Athletes – You are doing us proud.

A Bitter Sweet Christmas

For those of you who didn’t have that perfect Christmas – here’s to you. Neither did I.

I spent my Christmas in agony perpetrated by an inflamed molar.  I know, poor me.

11 on a scale of 1 - 10 Carrie ©

11 on a scale of 1-10 Carrie ©

In my state of great discomfort, I picked up my sketch book. I started sketching what I saw from the, all be it little, but nevertheless, comfort of my bed.  I soon discovered that sketching helped to control the pain somewhat.

I still had a couple of days until the dental appointment.

I sewed these Raggedy dolls for the kids before they were born. Carrie ©

Teddy bookends  – Carrie ©
Compassion Bear – Carrie ©

Sitting in emergency waiting to get some meds, a dozen handsome firemen came through handing out these adorable teddies. My husband who is always on the look out for freebies, asked for one for me. Seeing my plight they had compassion one me.

Time is a healer and eventually, with it went the pain - Carrie ©

Skates for our son, waiting to be wrapped - Carrie ©

Yes, this is an experience I don’t wish on anyone, but having said that, it is a pain that will go away, and soon my jaw and mouth will be all back to normal once again.

On December 24th 2004 our family lost a loved one. That pain still lingers at times – especially at this time of year.  Yes, the pain has lost its edge, and for that I am thankful. The good part is that I have the hope and peace of knowing I will see him again someday.

Acknowledging the fact that difficult circumstances come and go regardless of the time of year, I will continue to look forward to Christmas whatever it brings.

Nativity Scene

Is it just me or does Christmas seem to come around much quicker these years?

A couple of weeks ago, when the reality hit me that the Christmas season was fast approaching, I had a momentary feeling of wanting to just skip it ALL this year…that overwhelming feeling many of us are familiar with…I have so much to do in so little time, with so little money.

Then I did a little reminiscing and thankfully the Christmas spirit came upon me once again.

For those of you who need a little encouragement I invite you to come and reminisce with me.  I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking.

Scenes from Christmas past spending time with family….

Come inside where it's warm - Win ©

Building a Snow Church

Building chapels in the snow - Carrie ©

A morning of family cross country skiing - Carrie ©

Scenes along the way - Bench by a temporarily abandoned campfire - Carrie ©

10 acres of cross country trails to explore - Carrie ©

The sleigh ride - Driving Diamond and Silver - Carrie ©

6 month old St. Bernard - came along for the ride - Carrie ©

Diamond and Silver enjoying every bit of their workout - Carrie ©

Antiques hidden in the snow - Carrie ©

I think - a manure spreader from days of yore - Carrie ©

A classic I'm sure - Carrie ©

Where are those sugar cubes? Carrie ©

Pencil Crayon by Carrie © - Rescued Percherons

It may be cold outside, but the fire of friendship is warm and inviting - Carrie ©

Christmas is about relationships and building memories that will carry you through the tough times – sure to come to everyone at some time or another.

Our homemade nativity scene - Carrie ©

This nativity scene the kids and I made when they were little. They’re all grown up now, but we still haul these little characters made from spools and cloth out every Christmas.

Our tradition – on Christmas eve our family tells and acts out the Christmas story of Jesus birth. We each take a part and the characters to go with that part.

The parts about Mary soon to deliver her first child,  and Joseph having to travel by donkey to Bethlehem for taxation. Caesar had ordered it and they must go… we tell of how there was no room in any inn because of this, but then they find the stable where they will be warm and safe. That night Jesus was born.

Then comes the part about the shepherds watching their sheep by night, and then the angel of the Lord showing up – suddenly in a brilliant flash of light, and how he tells them not to be afraid but to go and see the baby that was born, the son of God come to bring peace to all men – to save them from themselves and their own destructions…and the angel is joined by a host of angels singing and praising God. All of heaven is in a state of rejoicing.

We move to the Wise men and tell how they followed the star which led them many many miles, all the way to the stable where Jesus was born. They brought him most precious valuable gifts of Gold and Frankincense and Myrrh…

We light the final candle in the advent wreath…

And then… we open the gifts…

Christmas is complete once again. I sit silently in my comfy chair, alone now among the lights and the glow of the flickering candles, and I am thankful. My heart is calm and full of gratitude…for my family, my friends, and most of all my God who did the unthinkable – sent his only son Jesus to earth so that I, you, everyone, could have a relationship with Him. Now that is what it’s all about. And that is why I celebrate Christmas.

Major Chicken invites you to let YOUR voice be heard.

Check out the new Chicken Cannon site.

We splatter famous and infamous politicians and celebrities

Click here http://bit.ly/gi1WQ and select your ammo for the Chicken Cannon.

Then select on of the following as your target

David Letterman, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,  Bernie Madoff,  Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, ACORN, Michael Moore, Michael Vick, Barack Obama,  Perez Hilton, Bill Maher

Then let the fun begin

Watch them get splattered.
Then do it again. And again. And again.

Tell your friends.

The Peckobel Canon is an arrangement of Pachelbel’s Canon in D and the Chicken Dance song.

contact us at ChickenCannonPro@gmail.com

Watch ACORN get splattered here  (on YouTube)  http://bit.ly/wnnkL

Watch Obama get splattered here (on YouTube) http://bit.ly/3WrrGS


Major Chicken

NOTE: One of my husband’s productions. A fun and innovative way to express yourself in a safe and non-threatening way. Good for a few laughs. My part in this all…coming up with Major Chicken of course.

The tasty, nutritious asparagus falls under the category of super foods in my books.

Asparagus photo

Here’s what I learned about asparagus.

Asparagus is:

* Rich in proteins

* High in fibre low in carbohydrates and calories

* An excellent source of vitamin K, folate, vitamin C and A as well as many other minerals and B vitamins.

* Calcium and magnesium are found in the idea ratio of 2:1.

* Good for your heart

* Good for your gastrointestinal tract and colon

* Good food to help with depression

* Considered a diuretic

* Has anti-inflammatory effects

* Helps detoxify the body

* Good for nursing mothers – stimulates milk production

* Has anti-fungal and antiviral qualities

* Helps prevent bladder and urinary track infections

* Great for your capillaries – helps with preventing bruising and varicose veins

* Suppose to help stop hair loss

Almost too good to be true? That is an impressive list. And that’s not all I found. I left plenty of the supposed health benefits out – because it did sound just a bit too good to be true and would require that I spend a lot more time researching.

Having said that, I think we’ve got the picture.

How to best prepare asparagus. Lightly steamed is the most nutritious. This only takes a few minutes so don’t walk away from the stove. Use glass or stainless steel pots. When done, the stems should be a bright green color and still have a crispness to them. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt or Mrs. Dash and serve with a meal – or eat it all by itself as a snack.

Asparagus is a member of the lily family. Other vegetables in the lily family include leek, onions, and garlic.

I think you would agree that Asparagus is an excellent food to incorporate into your diet on a regular basis. Sometimes people avoid eating asparagus because of the smell excreted in the urine subsequent to ingestion. An amino acid called asparagine found in abundance in asparagus, is the reason behind this. Asparagine helps the body to cleanse itself of waste material.

A couple of good resources:

http://bit.ly/m2Bhv

http://bit.ly/2VrK7x

disclaimer: The content on this post is meant for informational purposes only, and is not intended for use as official health consultation.

Berry Picking Season

This is the time for berry picking in British Columbia. Our personal favorite berries are Cherries, Blueberries, and Raspberries.

This year was an exceptional season for  berries. In no time we filled our buckets to the brim with the berries – picking has never been such a pleasure.

This year topped it off with an abundance of cherries from just one tree, unlike any other year I can remember.

Cherry picking1 09

Up the Cherry tree

Eatin' and Pickin' them sweet cherries

What are some of the health benefits that these berries provide?

Blueberries…

…contain antioxidants that are thought to help our bodies fight free radicals.  They also contain vitamins and a significant amount of  fiber.

Studies on rats have found that blueberries slowed age-related loss in their mental capacity. The studies also showed blueberries to improved learning and memory.

Japanese researchers demonstrated the usefulness of blueberries in improving weak eyesight and lessening eye fatigue.

Bowl of Blueberries

Cherries…

…are an effective and fast-acting for eliminating swelling and pain. Not to mention they are delicious to eat. Eating just a few cherries a day helps to the body to deal with uric acid levels, keeping them in check. Cherry juice is just as effective. (Note my previous blog on cherries –  What do Exercise and Black Cherries have in common?)
Cherry picking 2

Raspberries…

…are a good source of antioxidants and may even have 10 times more antioxidants than tomatoes or broccoli. Raspberries contain some very specific antioxidants that are found in few other sources.

Raspberries

So enjoy those rich nutrient filled, tasty berries while you can.  You can always freeze some for those harsh winter months. We’ve got plenty in our freezer to hold us until spring.

You can find more information on these berries at:

http://www.naturalnews.com/blueberries.html

http://www.naturalnews.com/019978.html

http://bit.ly/37sl6m

Crab apples anyone? No, they are not a berry but since they are one of my husband’s favorite fruits, I’ll mention them. They are a good source of Dietary Fiber and Vitamin C –  good for jellies and Jams, and for those who like a tart treat, they’re all yours.

Crabapples from our very own tree

Crab apples from our very own tree

I’m Taking a Holiday

Hi everyone

I’m enjoying some holiday time while the sun shines.

I’ll be back.
A few snapshots of my garden before I run off to Mill Lake park to do some sketching with a friend.

Daisies growing in my garden - Carrie  ©

Daisies growing in my garden - Carrie ©

 Stargazer Lilies and Coriopsis - Carrie  ©

My Stargazer Lilies and Coreopsis - Carrie ©

Purple Voluneers - Carrie  ©

Purple Voluneers - Carrie ©

Does anybody know the name of these volunteers?

Herbs and Lettuce - Carrie  ©

Herbs and Lettuce - Carrie ©

Fountain and Fish Pond - Carrie ©

Fountain and Fish Pond - Carrie ©

Someone stole the fish!!! We think it might be a Kingfisher.

Chuzzle’s Incredible Journey is written for ages pre-school to Grade Two. A Mother and daughter effort – written by Minde Wachsmann, illustrated  by Carrie Wachsmann (myself).

Chuzzle cover blog

Chuzzle, a young adventurous porcupine with many endearing qualities, embarks on a journey to find his dear friend Whuzzle. Chuzzle and Whuzzle used to play together everyday when they were neighbors.

Then Whuzzles and her family moved far away, past the Little Stream, through the Deep Forest, beyond the Green Blue Pond, and up the Giant Big Hill.

Chuzzle missed her very much. One day he decided he was now old enough to venture out on his own. Saying goodbye to his parents, Chuzzle packed his lunch and bravely embarked on his incredible journey to find his friend Whuzzle.

You can read the complete story at:

http://bit.ly/BxBbk

My daughter  and I have cooperated in writing and illustrating several short stories.

Illustrating this story was exceptional fun. I got another opportunity to use my  Wacom Tablet – a Christmas gift from my husband. Thank you dear.

Minde created the visuals for the characters – then I developed her  concepts into the images used in the story book.

Chuzzles leaves homeChuzzle leaves home – Carrie  ©

I sketched, then pencil crayoned the sketches. I scanned the sketches and detailed them using Photoshop and Wacom Tablet. Using my digital Nikon camera, I took photographs and used them to create backgrounds.

Chuzzle leaves home - Carrie  ©

Chuzzle leaves home - Carrie ©

I’ve been studying some tutorials on http://deviantart.com which I’m finding very fascinating as well as helpful.

Here’s the photo I took of a burned out tree stump. I used it to develop the night scene in the forest.

I’ve learned to always have my camera ready cause I never know what treasures I’m going to find. (my moto: treasures are hidden in simple things)

Burned out tree stump

Burned out tree stump - Carrie ©

Chuzzles arrives at his destination after his incredible journey - Carrie  ©

Chuzzles arrives at his destination after his incredible journey - Carrie ©

You can read Chuzzle Incredible Journey at:

http://bit.ly/BxBbk

Available in Ebook form.

cut up mangosteen

What’s so impressive about mangosteen juice?

This juice beverage uses the WHOLE mangosteen fruit.

Mangosteen fruit is known throughout the world as The Queen of Fruits.

“There is a legend about Queen Victoria offering a reward to anyone who could deliver to her the fabled fruit.” (Wikipedia)

One of the things I learned was that  this juice uses every bit of the fruit.

Remember what your Mom said about the best part of the apple and the potato and the carrot being in the peel?

The best part of the mangosteen is found in the peel.

The peel of the mangosteen is called the Pericarp.

This is where most of that good stuff is found.

That good stuff is called Xanthones.

What are these Xanthones?

“Among the powerful phytonutrients found in the rind of the mangosteen, xanthones stand alone in their impressive benefits. Scientific studies suggest xanthones may promote well-being.”

Xanthones in Mangosteen

“Researchers have identified dozens of biologically active xanthones in the mangosteen fruit. Today, researchers are just beginning to uncover the powerful scientific properties behind the mangosteen fruit.”

http://www.xango.ca/science/xanthones

Are you curious?

Want more information about mangosteen juice?

Contact me at:

carrie@wachsmannstudios.com

disclaimer: The content on this post is meant for informational purposes only, and is not intended for use as official health consultation.


Summer has definitely  arrived. This past week we’ve enjoyed 30-35 degree weather. (85 – 95 degrees F) I say it’s too hot to be serious about working. Sitting in my little office with merely my fan for air conditioning, I’m thinking of everything but computer stuff.

Some of you may be having images  of a nice cold beer right about now.

Actually, I’m still thinking about last weekend and our weekend retreat at beautiful Stillwood Camp and Conference Centre.

Ferns in the woods - Carrie

Ferns in the woods - Carrie ©

The forest was  filled with inspiring images.

No, I’m not talking about me… I just happen to be in the picture… surrounded by inspiration.

 Where oh where will it lead? ©

Where oh where will it lead? Carrie ©

An Amphitheater! Do I hear Shakespear?  - Carrie ©

An Amphitheater! Do I hear Shakespeare? - Carrie ©

Nothing like a little suspense-sion to test your fitness

Nothing like a little suspense-sion to test your fitness Carrie ©

These ladders are not as easy to climb as it may appear - ©

Me Jane, you Tarzan? A swinging ladder is not as easy to climb as I make it appear - Carrie ©

Steps that lead to the river - Carrie ©

Steps that lead down, down, down to the river - Carrie ©

It’s days like these that remind me why I love British Columbia.

Tuck shop in the centre of Stillwood Camp - Carrie ©

Tuck shop in the centre of Stillwood Camp - Carrie ©

Conference Centre 1 - Carrie ©

Conference Centre - Carrie ©

Conference Centre 2 - Carrie ©

The multi-purpose gym and meeting room. The silo houses a rock climbing wall. Carrie ©

A fine dinning hall & with a lot of fine dinning - Carrie ©

A fine dining hall & a lot of fine dinning here - Carrie ©

OOPS… I forgot to get a picture of the pool.

Stillwood Camp and Conference Centre  is located in Cultus Lake, British Columbia. You can visit it online at: http://www.stillwood.ca

My husband and I spent last week in Washington DC. This was our first visit to the District of Columbia and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

The reason for our trip – our TV pilot “Military Miracles”, was one of 48 documentary and feature films screened at the Third Annual GI Film Festival.

Camp Pendleton   Carrie ©

Taken while filming Military Miracles at Camp Pendleton - Carrie ©

You can view Military Miracles trailer here: http://bit.ly/GvG1X

The GI Film Festival was held at the Carnegie Institution of Washington.

Carnegie Institution of Washington - image taken from http://www.gifilmfestival.com/location

Carnegie Institution of Washington - image taken from http://www.gifilmfestival.com/location

http://gifilmfestival.com

The GI Film Festival is a celebration of the

American Armed Forces.

Here,  visual artists have the opportunity to tell the heart-wrenching and heart-warming stories of  the American warrior.

Our experience began with a Red Carpet private screening of the MGM/UA major motion picture Valkyrie, staring Tom Cruise – the beginning of 4 days and evenings of fascinating and captivating story-telling.

Information about the film Valkyrie read here:

http://bit.ly/14mED2

The Red Carpet Receptions provided great food and great networking opportunities.

Red Carpet Reception  ©

The Red Carpet takes us into the Carnegie Institution Rotunda ©

Guests of honor included Wounded Warriors from Walter Reed and Bethesda Naval Hospitals.

Hollywood insiders presented a workshop on tips and strategies for success in the film industry.

I even got to rub shoulders with actor Steven Baldwin. Here’s proof.

Win Carrie Steven BaldwinSteven Baldwin is promoting his soon to come movie called “Now More Than Ever”.

Check out the “Now More Than Ever” teaser here:

http://www.NowMoreThanEverMovie.com

Baldwin’s movie is about our American Troops  in Iraq, their stories and their need for our support.

Sunday we took the opportunity to tour DC for several hours.

White House  Carrie ©

The White House - Carrie ©

National Museum Marine Corp.  Carrie ©

National Museum Marine Corps. - Carrie ©

Scene in the National Museum Military Corp  - Carrie ©

One of many scenes in the National Museum Marine Corps - Carrie ©

Military Memorial  Carrie ©

Arlington National Cemetery - Carrie ©

Street scene 1  Carrie ©

Street scene 1 - Carrie ©

Street scene 2   Carrie ©

Street scene 2 - Carrie ©

Garden   Carrie ©

Our Hyatt Garden - Carrie ©

The event culminated in an Awards Night. Then back to the hotel for a quick 3 hours of sleep, and off to the airport to catch the plane home.

I have had a beautiful purple flowering Lavender plant growing in my little garden. To my chagrin – the harsh winter killed most of it and I am left with but a small, although healthy looking shoot. I am nurturing it in hopes that it will have a speedy come back.

Here’s why.

Lavender is not only pleasant to look at, it is soothing to the soul and healing to the body.

Let me tell you the ways I love Lavender.

Lavender and Roses - Carrie

Lavender and Roses Carrie ©

I love Lavender for:

1.    Its sweet aroma.

I use it as a natural perfume.
One drop of Lavender oil behind the ear is all it takes.

I use it as an air freshener.

A few drops of Lavender in a spritz bottle makes a great air freshener. I also have a little container of dried flowers in my house at all times. Just pinch a few in your fingers and inhale. You’ll feel your body relax.

Put flowers into a cotton pouch, add a little embroidery if you are so inclined, and squeeze and sniff.

2.    Its soothing properties.
I use a drop on the pillow at night.

Lavender is calming to the heart, relieves anxiety and soothes the nervous system. Soon, sleep comes sweetly.

3.    Its culinary uses.
I use it in tea and put it in salad.

Lavender makes a great addition to a cup of tea or even salad.
For a pot of tea use about 1 heaping Tbsp. of the Lavender flowers.
(fresh or dried)

For Salad, sprinkle as desired.

Lavender is has been used to aid the digestion since ancient times.

4.    Its healing properties.
I use it for healthy skin.

Add a few drops of Lavender oil to your bath. It will lift your spirit, calm the body and heal the skin.

Add a few drops of the oil to your all natural body lotion. From ancient times Lavender was used for it’s healing, antiseptic properties.

Lavender is often used to treat burns and wounds. Keep a spritz bottle of water with a few drops of Lavender oil added, in your beach bag. Spray lavishly onto skin after spending time in the sun. On hot days, I spritz to keep cool.

Cotten pouch containing dried Lavender

Here is MY “squeeze and sniff” Lavender pouch.

Notice the embroidery. No, I didn’t make this one.  This was a gift from a friend. I make very good use of it.

My husband is hooked on Lavender too. Not to be outdone, he took a sock, filled it with dried  flowers and put it into his car. Talk about smelly socks.

My husband's Lavender pouch

My husband's Lavender "squeeze and sniff" pouch

And… a few more interesting pieces of information:

Did you know that Lavender is known as a love potion?

Apparently, in Roman times “women hung Lavender next to their beds to incite the passions.”

http://www.lavenderenchantment.com/History_Lore/history.htm

Did you know that Lavender is mentioned in the Bible?

Lavender is mentioned many times in the Bible. In ancient Greece, Lavender was called “nardus,” “nard,” or “spikenard” (named for the Syrian city of Naarda) and was used as a cure for everything from insomnia and aching backs to insanity.”
http://www.auracacia.com/auracacia/aclearn/features/lavender.html

Several  passages in the Christian Bible which mention Lavender (spikenard):

Song of Solomon (Canticles) 1:12

“While the king is at his table, my spikenard sends forth its fragrance.”

Song of Solomon 4:13, 14

(King Solomon talking about the love of his life)

“Your plants are an orchard of pomegranates with pleasant fruits, fragrant henna and spikenard… spikenard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense, myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices.”

If you are a romantic at heart, the book of Song of Solomon is a must read book.

Mark 14:3
“…And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper as He (Jesus) sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenards. And she broke the flask and poured it on His head…”

(This woman is showing honor to Jesus by giving him her most costly possession)

John 12:3
“…Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil…”

(Here Mary gives the very best she has to Jesus, showing Him honor)

Here’s another good site to visit. Very nicely done.

http://www.healthmad.com/Alternative/10-Uses-for-Lavender.47948

The movie in the works is called “Courage”, and stars  Jason Priestley.

The location – Alouette Lake, Maple Ridge, British Columbia

The scene – The BrantFX crew simulating a huge storm at sea.

The effects – The BrantFX crew used rain towers, large fans and a special compressed air gimbal they designed to rock the boat back and forth.

I took this footage of the BrantFX crew working their special effects. My husband is the one hiding under the umbrella rocking the boat.

To learn more about this company check out http://www.brantfx.com

Some photos of the crew setting up for THE BIG scene.

Alouette Lake - FX team at work 1

Alouette Lake - FX team at work 1

Alouette Lake - FX team at work 2

Alouette Lake - FX team at work 2

FX Team - setting up rain towers

FX Team - setting up rain towers

Alouette Lake - taken from the dock - early evening

Alouette Lake - taken from the dock - early evening

Alouette Lake - the mist creeps in

Alouette Lake - the mist creeps in

Blogger Friendship Award

blogger_friendship_award_2009

“Vespa Blogger Award Friendship”

I received this award from Khris Cantrell    http://cantrelltk.blogspot.com

Thank you Khris.  I enjoy your blogs and am pleased to be a blogger friend.

I in turn award the following people that have been friendly to me:

Hishaman  http://mylifethinking.com/life

Carrie A Groff  http://www.livingahealthybeachlife.blogspot.com

Adriana Keene http://financeglobe.blogsome.com

Mohamed Shaban http://www.think-logic-think-deep.blogspot.com

Jack W. http://web.me.com/wofat/WoFat_at_Home/WoFat_at_Home/WoFat_at_Home.html

Corinne Rodrigues http://www.everydaygyaan.com

Sajjad Ali http://www.movieslinks4you.blogspot.com

Ihwayuda http://medhela.blogspot.com/

Hamilton  http://www.hbhamiltonjm.com

If you would like to pass this award on to some of your blogger friends:

1. Put the logo on your blog

2. Add a link to the person who awarded you

3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs

4. Add links to those blogs on yours

5. Leave a message for your nominees on their blog

And have a great blogging day.

Sketching on the Farm

Yesterday I took my art class to a friend’s farm where we sketched Plein Air.

En plein air is a French expression which simply means “in the open air”.

Down at the farm, sketching in the open air

Down at the farm, sketching in the open air

It is particularly used to describe the act of painting outdoors.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/En_plein_air

Although we were sketching, not painting, we were outdoors and “in the open air’. The sketching lessons will lead us to the next step which is, painting outdoors in the open air.

Here are a couple of my sketches.

The smells of spring mixed with the smells of horse manure added to the enthusiasm and inspiration of the day.

Sketching at the Farm 1 - Carrie ©

Sketching at the Farm 1 - Carrie ©

Sketching at the Farm 2 - Carrie ©

Sketching at the Farm 2 - Carrie ©

After several hours of sketching, we were served coffee and dessert. What a treat that was.  We basked in the warm sun, up on the deck off the loft of big red barn, and talked about our masterpieces.

Below, some sketches I did during a Life Drawing sketch session.

This wedding dress was hand made by the woman who wore it on her wedding day.

Notice the intricate detailed lace and beadwork on this exquisite dress.

 Wedding Dress 1 - Carrie ©

Wedding Dress 1 - Carrie ©

Wedding Dress 2 - Carrie ©

Wedding Dress 2 - Carrie ©

Wedding Dress 3 - Carrie ©

Wedding Dress 3 - Carrie ©

Scooped back bodice with covered buttons. Simple yet elegant skirt and full length train.

Maybe there’s a market for “Wedding Sketching”???

Bumble Bee

Bumble Bee

Bee Propolis – What is it?

Bee Propolis is the sticky resin-like substance found in the beehive. The bees gather resin from trees and plants. They use this mixture to stick the hive together, and seal it.  This substance also protects  them from bacteria and disease.

As my dentist friend once said – “You don’t see any Kleenex flying out of a bee hive, do you?” No colds or viruses in that bee hive.

Bee Healthy - Bee Happy

Bee Healthy - Bee Happy

Propolis is well known to have a natural antibacterial effect. More specifically, Propolis has antibiotic, antimicrobial, and antibacterial properties to promote helpful bacteria, and kill harmful bacteria.

Propolis is dark in color, and is a rich source of minerals, amino acids, fats, trace minerals and bioflavonoids.

“…It is high in B-complex and contains vitamins C,E and Provitamin A. It is rich in amino acids, fats, and is a source of trace minerals such as zinc, manganese, copper and iron.

A rich variety of flavonoids are present in propolis. Research has shown that flavonoids are responsible for the major antibacterial effects of propolis“.

http://www.bodyenergyclub.ca/shop/bee-happy-propolis-650mg-200caps/product_info.php/products_id/3115

I’ve been using Bee Propolis for years now. Our natural medicine cabinet is never without a supply of Propolis.

I started using Propolis when the kids were little. Our daughter had so many ear infections. That stopped entirely. When I had a cold, it would last for weeks. Never again. I have had a cold or two  since but they lasted for a few short days.

Here’s some really GOOD NEWS

From  the National Institutes of Health

A study using the MRSA (ATCC 33591) strain…

shows Propolis to be effective against MRSA. 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17931063

Propolis has no known side effects (apart from some cases of allergic reactions to bee products)

Propolis can also be used in conjunction with antibiotics.

More Good News:

Bacteria and viruses do not develop a resistance to Propolis.

Propolis has been found to help:

“Fight many diseases

Regulate blood cells that clump together

May help reduce strokes
Control free radicals
Prevent damage caused by heavy metals (lead, mercury, caladium)
Enhance immune system
Promote healing
Reduce pain, inflammation, and fever
Act as an antibiotic without side effects
Speed cell growth
Stimulate cells that destroy invading organisms
Skin irritations
Cuts and burns
Psoriasis and eczema
Acne
Absorption of certain nutrients”

http://www.bodyenergyclub.ca/shop/bee-happy-propolis-650mg-200caps/product_info.php/products_id/3115

http://www.hiveproducts.com/Hive/Propolis_Home.html

http://www.infiniteunknown.net/tag/mrsa/

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17931063

disclaimer: The content on this post is meant for informational purposes only, and is not intended for use as official health consultation.


5 Life Drawings - The Bather  -  Carrie ©

5 Life Drawings - The Bather - Carrie ©

Life Drawing - The Bather - Carrie ©

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Some of my sketches from this month’s “Life Drawing” session.

I belong to an artist group called the Central Fraser Valley Graphic Guild. Once a month we meet and sketch a live model.

All you need is a few pencils, a sketch book, and someone to draw.

Outhouses I Have Known

Outhouses are interesting. Mostly, they are interesting because they bring back memories.

Outhouse - Win Wachsmann ©

Outhouse - Win Wachsmann ©

The most interesting of memories would be the ones connected to 30 below weather, dead of winter, 8:30PM and it’s very dark outside.

My siblings and I pack on our warm parkas, wool mittens and fur lined high-top boots. Our little legs make their way down the snow-packed narrow path to… you guessed it… the outhouse.
This was the bedtime ritual.
As you can imagine, not something I particularly looked forward to.

I am certain you can imagine what the worst part of that memory would be!

Try sitting on a block of ice with your little bare bum!!

Inside looking out - Win Wachsmann ©

Inside looking out - Win Wachsmann ©

Another interesting outhouse memory is connected to  Halloween. Halloween in the country had it’s own terror. The naughty boys of the town would rampage the neighboring farms and tip over all their outhouses.

All except for ours. My Dad was very proud of his outhouse construction. It was the one outhouse in town left standing.

In the country, outhouses remained the toilet of the house, long after city folks hooked up to the modern indoor flush toilet system.

In fact, today I can go to my friend’s farm, and if I have the hankering, I can use one of her outhouses – she has a couple handy.

Outhouse #1. One of the prettiest outhouses I’ve known. Brightly painted with a lace curtain to cover a small window. I step inside and notice the decor. It’s been touched by the hand of creativity.

The little red outhouse

The little red outhouse

outhouse decor

outhouse decor

And when I am finished, I step back outside and there, beside this little outhouse is a container of water, a basin,  soap and a towel. Now how convenient is that?

This little outhouse has been the source of healing from those past chilling memories of years gone by.

Outhouse #2.

outhouse-evita-111

And when any of my other friends come to visit this quaint little farm, I’m sure to introduce them to the  two little red outhouses.

This is more like it.  We took this while on one of our trips into the interior of British Columbia. This one’s seen some interesting times I’m sure.

Outhouse photo taken on one of our trips through the Mountains

An early 1900 Outhouse, Silverton B.C. ©

Other names for toilet are:

(Taken from “Sweeter as the Years Go By” written by my good friend , Hilary Jackson who’s traveled much and seen many toilets)

John – rather crude but we still know what the john means.

Powder room – silly but a feminine touch

Rest room – makes one wonder why anyone would want to rest in the toilet.

Water closet or W.C. – is a term used in Europe. W.C. also stands for Wayside Chapel.

P.K. is a term heard in Africa. It stands for piccanini kia, or little house.

Loo, Lav and so on it goes

Outhouse – is just what the word says.”

Enough of that… I have to go see a man about a dog.

For more outhouse photos check out:

http://nuggetsofgold.weebly.com

Go to the “Story Telling” page.

You won’t be sorry.

Colors Combat Cabin Fever

Cabin fever refers to the reaction that takes place when a person is  shut in, for an extended period.

Symptoms include restlessness, irritability, forgetfulness, laughter, and excessive sleeping. (Wikipeda)

I figure it’s time to announce SPRING. I’m sitting snug in my little office, listening to the wind howling, recalling the snow and rain earlier today, and wondering what will the weather be like tomorrow.

Regardless of what tomorrow will be like, I have decided to announce Spring.

To quote a church bulletin board. “Faith is – the Robin that sings before the dawn.”

My announcement of Spring comes with a new “theme” for Nuggets of Gold blog. The Sunflower theme.

One winter I was starving for sunshine. I sat down and painted these sunflowers.

Sunflowers - acylic  by Carrie ©

Sunflowers - acrylic by Carrie ©


I did a little research on colors and how they effect us.

I found that Yellow captures the joy of sunshine and communicates happiness. (among other things)

Orange evokes excitement, enthusiasm and is an energetic color. (among other things)

So, until Spring opens its doors to deliver us from what we call Cabin Fever, put an orange on your desk.  Or you can drop in and visit my blog whenever you need a “color” fix.

You can learn more about how colors effect our mood at:

http://iit.bloomu.edu/vthc/Design/psychology.htm

I Know a Horse Whisperer

The story behind this piece is about Mel and Irene, and the Percheron horses they rescue.

Pencil Crayon  by Carrie ©

Rescued Percherons - Pencil Crayon by Carrie ©

The Rush’s farm is a sanctuary for these large magnificent draft horses. There is little use for these horses in our day and age, and so they are often left unattended in the farmer’s fields. Lack of care and attention results in a very powerful, wild and unmanageable animal.

Mel is a true horse whisperer. He rescues the Percherons from their ultimate demise, and takes on the challenge of taming these powerful beasts. With both patience and love they become useful and gentle creatures.

Each time I visit the Rush’s Percheron farm I have an opportunity  to go for a sleigh ride drawn by two of these powerful work horses. The first time it was Silver and Dollar who were hitched to the sleigh.

carriedriving-1-mb-2007

That day Mel told me of the latest acquired young adult Percheron named Diamond. Diamond had spent his entire life out in some farmer’s field. He was wild and tough and full of fire. No one could touch him. Without attention his life would be a short one. With great difficulty they were able to catch him and have him transported to the Rush’s farm.

When I first saw Diamond, he was running free and wild in the fields at his new home. Mel stated that at this time, all attempts at getting near to the horse were futile. He had been with them for several months.

A year passed and I once again visit the farm. Mel had just hitched up two beautiful black Percherons to the sleigh and we were ready for another ride through the acres of snow and bush. He handed me the reins. I took them and felt the thrill of the ride in a whole new way.

Mel tells me that the horse on the left is Diamond.

Diamond and Silver

Diamond and Silver

Diamond! I was astonished. This horse was gentle and intelligent, attentive and  eager to work and loving every minute of pulling the load behind him.  Diamond had been transformed.

“How did you do it?” I asked.

Mel told me how they had finally lassoed Diamond and then wrapped the end of the rope around a significantly large tree trunk.  (About a foot in diameter). Seemingly effortlessly, Diamond pulled the tree from it’s roots and dragged it around the field until he was exhausted.

Only then were they were able to bridle him and bring him to the barn. The battle of the wills had been won.  Diamond’s natural gentle nature and love of companionship rose to the surface under the kind and expert hand of The Horse Whisperer, Mel.

I love that story.

Do you have a special “coffee shop hangout”?   I do.

Perhaps you meet with a friend or two, or perhaps at times it’s just you and a book or your laptop computer.

It's not just about a great cup of coffee

Pencil sketch and Photoshop by Carrie ©

I’m talking about a place where the smells and sounds, the feel of the place draws you back time and time again. A place that makes you feel like you’ve escaped from whatever it is you need to escape from.

I figure it’s not just about a great cup of coffee…it’s about connecting,  about stopping to smell the roses… or the coffee in this case. That’s what it’s all about.

AT LAST…. The Children’s Story – THE RYDER is now an E-book.

The Children's Story - THE RYDER

The Children's Story - THE RYDER

Several months ago I embarked on a new journey, the journey of blogging and internet marketing. This journey has taken me onto many unknown paths, as well as  opened up many new and exciting doors.

The journey has just begun.

The Children’s Story site is meant to be my Children’s Story Library, where I will be continuing to add new and adventurous stories for “the young at heart” to experience and enjoy.

I want to make you laugh, I want to make you cry,  I want to make you seek and to find, and I want  to stir your soul to embark on your own adventurous journey.

Writing, painting and film are my passion. I want to share my stories with others, in as many ways as possible.

Take some time and visit The Children’s Story site at http://thechildrensstory.traffic4pros.com

A funny thing happened to me the other day.

I was driving down the street, focused on my destination, when I noticed someone in the vehicle behind me trying desperately to get my attention. I checked my rear view mirror to make sure that the trunk wasn’t open, and my doors were closed properly. My tires seemed to be rolling just fine. I figured it couldn’t be me that this driver was so frantically waving at.

The car closed in on me and continued to honk and wave. Now I could clearly see that it was a woman in the driver’s seat.

I decided I’d better pull over to the side of the road and see what this woman wanted from me. She stopped behind me and jumped out of her vehicle. “There’s something on your car!” she exclaimed, looking both frightened and confused at the same time. She was pointing to something latched on the side of my teal blue Pontiac Convertible.

I gasped and jumped back. I saw what appeared to be a slithering black and pink snake sticking to the side of my rear bumper!

The next second, I burst out into laughter. The pink and black slithering snake was my magnetic necklace.

Do I look like a necklace??!!

Do I look like a necklace??!!

It had come off from around my neck when I removed my sweater and tossed it into the back seat of the car, before getting into the driver’s seat.

I tried to explain the necklace and the magnetic thing – but alas the poor dear still had the look of horror on her face as I calmly placed the necklace back around my neck, and drove away.

Fresh Snowfall Photos

The unexpected snow storm began yesterday morning and continued on through the night. This is what we woke up to.

Rocky is eager to go for his walk

Rocky is eager to go for his walk

Bald Eagle the back yard

Bald Eagle in the backyard, taken from my patio door

snow-fall-feb-09-patio-1

snow-fall-feb-09-patio-2

Ginger Root & Ginger Cookies

Ginger Root, used as an ancient remedy for upset stomach, indigestion, and motion sickness, is more than just any spice.

When used for motion sickness, I have found it to be every bit as effective as Gravol,  without leaving me groggy, wanting to sleep the day away.

I discovered that every Cruise Ship Kitchen has fresh Ginger available for those who don’t have their sea legs.

Ginger is also a wonderful food additive. A little Ginger spice goes well with chicken or stir fry, makes a great, rich tasting cookie, and a zesty cup of tea.

To make the zesty cup of tea, I take a Tbsp. of fresh shredded Ginger, add to boiling water, and add a little honey. Sometimes I add juice from a real lemon. (great if you’re fighting a cold)

I think everyone agrees – there’s nothing like freshly home baked cookies.

My mother used to make this  Ginger Cookie recipe.

If you've been at that computer for more than 3 hours, you need to take a break! Go bake some cookies.

If you've been at that computer for more than 3 hours, you need to take a break! Maybe go bake some cookies.

_

Ginger has been used to cleanse the body of toxins. One way it  will do this is by expelling toxins through the skin, so… if you find yourself breaking out in a light sweat after drinking your zesty tea, that’s a good thing.

If you are PMS-ing and have one of those headaches try a cup of Ginger tea. This has worked for me many a time. Add to that a neck and shoulder massage, and the chances are you will soon be feeling much better.

Some studies suggest that Ginger is effective as an alternative therapy for Osteoarthritis.

AND...Ginger is also used as an aphrodisiac. There’s more…

You might find these sites helpful (information includes recommended dosages and restrictions)

http://www.wellnesswithrose.com/77superfoods/freereport.html

http://lifestyle.iloveindia.com/lounge/benefits-of-ginger-root-4366.html

http://aafp.org (American Academy of Family Physicians)

disclaimer: The content on this post is meant for informational purposes only, and is not intended for use as official health consultation

Hold Fast Your Dreams

“Hold fast your dreams!

Follow your dream path

Follow the path of your dreams ©

Within your heart

Keep one still, secret spot

Where dreams may go

And, sheltered so,

May thrive and grow”

Louise Driscoll

Keep those dreams alive.

For this piece I used pencil crayon and photoshop.

original - pencil color

original - pencil crayon

Successful Valentine Mouse Hunt

Once again my husband has had a successful mouse hunt experience.

Look what he brought home for me for Valentines!

Cupid Mouse

Cupid Mouse image from "Mousehunt"

Mousehunt is a clever interactive game found on Facebook. Be warned – it could be addictive.

http://apps.facebook.com/mousehunt

Something for Valentine’s Day

Written by a friend for his wife ….. with permission to share.

A Recipe

For all you Romantics out there...

For all you Romantics out there...

Mix

Sands of sorrow

Sands of time

Add

Today

Tomorrow

Your life

Mine

Stir

Your heart

My soul

The truth

Bake

Not to harden

But to hold firm

The flame of my soul

The love of my life

by Arie De Lint


(Beware – this information could change your exercise regime as you know it!)

Answer:    Sore Muscles

Simply put, Exercise makes them; Black Cherries get rid of them.


Give me your best shot - Lactic A

© Give me your best shot - Lactic Acid

When you exercise, your muscles will inevitably become sore.

Black Cherries, used as a remedy for sore muscles and  inflammation,  are an age-old remedy.

I’m discovering that Grandma’s remedies are proving to be more than just folklore.

Some years ago a grandmotherly friend of mine put me onto Black Cherries when I complained to her about sore muscles after exercising.

It worked then and works for me today!

Black Cherries contain powerful antioxidants and anthocyanins (anthocyanins are found in red/purplish fruits and vegetables)

Weapon of Choice - Black Cherries

Weapon of Choice - Black Cherries

Diets rich in Cherries:

• help the body get rid inflammation and sore muscles

• help with cholesterol health

• help with weight management

• are good for the heart

During my research, I discovered that February is both American Heart Month and National Cherry Month – that should say something about this Super Fruit.

In the months of the year when Black Cherries are unavailable, the best source is Black Cherry Concentrate. (can be found in your local health store)


Ways to enjoy the benefits of Black Cherries:

• On a cold winter day, I add 1 tbsp of Black Cherry concentrate to a cup of herbal tea.

• On hot summer days, I mix  1 tbsp of Black Cherry concentrate with water, add a tbsp of fresh squeezed lemon juice and a couple of ice cubes.

• Or I might just sit out in the sun and help myself to a bowl of them sweet cherries.

So, no more excuses. If sore muscles are holding you back from exercising, give this simple, 100% natural Super Fruit a try. It just might work for you too.

disclaimer: The content on this post is meant for informational purposes only, and is not intended for use as official health consultation

Thinker of the Week Contest

I’ve just entered the “Thinker of the Week Contest” and you can too.

Check out this site for details   http://mylifethinking.come/life

If you think you’re a thinker – you’ll appreciate this site.

Got SUN anybody?

My Office - space available  for rent

My Office - space available for rent - © Carrie

Right about this time of year, pretty much everyone I know is longing for the sun. Some of you are blessed enough to be able to escape to warm and tropical climes.

I’m certain you won’t be reading this.

This is for those of us who have to endure the long dreary winter months of rain and gray skies.

What did my research tell me?

Vitamin D is the SUNSHINE Vitamin

With the aid of sunlight, vitamin D is made from cholesterol in the skin, liver and kidneys.

* Studies are showing that Vitamin D deficiency may be a possible cause for SAD, or may be  associated with feeling tired and depressed.

* Getting adequate amounts of Vitamin D often  increases one’s sense of well-being, and  sleep patterns improve.

* Studies also show an association between adequate Vitamin D and weight loss. It is proving to be helpful in the battle of the bulge.

“Excess body fat absorbs and holds onto vitamin D, making it unavailable to the body. The absence of vitamin D creates interference with the functioning of a hormone called leptin, which signals to the brain that you are full and should stop eating. In addition, overweight people tend to spend more time indoors. This also deprives them from further D as the ultraviolet rays of the sun spur the production of D.”

http://www.brighamandwomens.or/healtheweightforwomen

(I’ve been told that most people put on a few lbs. during the winter months. I thought it was nature’s way of keeping you warm!)

* Vitamin D is an anti-inflammatory hormone

* Vitamin D is necessary for calcium absorption

During winter months my Naturopath recommends 2000 IU or more per day, depending on individual needs. (Always check with your health practitioner before starting on a new health regimen). He told me that  on any given day spent in the sunshine, one can take in up to 20,000 IU!

This winter, the blues remain with the weather.  I personally am in good spirits – yes, I still long for the sun, but I’m not obsessed about it.

Quote:

“As a clinical regimen, I recommend taking 1000 to 3000 IUs daily Monday through Fridays and taking a “hormone holiday” each week on Saturday and Sunday.” – Diana Schwarzbein – www.Life-With-Confidence.com

Here you will find one of the best articles, in my opinion,  on Vitamin D written by Catherine Pratt

The article is called Benefit of Vitamin D

disclaimer: The content on this post is meant for informational purposes only, and is not intended for use as official health consultation

I had 45 visits to my blog yesterday because of Alphainventions.

Thanks  Cheru Jackson and Alphainventions.

http://www.alphainventions.com will bring visitors to your site.

MSM – What is it good for?

MSM (Methyl Sulfonyl Methane)

Why do dogs eat grass?

Why do dogs eat grass? © Carrie

MSM is part of the Amino Acid Chain and is necessary to produce the correct enzymes the body needs to maintain health.


MSM is a natural form of organic sulfur found in all living organisms.

It is found in our body fluids and tissues.

Fresh raw foods, including such as vegetables, fruit, meat, fish, a fresh blade of grass, all contain MSM.

When we process our foods with heat or drying, most of the MSM that is vital to our well being is lost. Food begins to lose the MSM after it is harvested.

MSM…. what is it good for?

1.     helps our bodies utilize the vitamins that we take

2.     helps the body detoxify

3.     is good for circulation

4.     helps the body get rid of inflammation

5.     is a free radical scavenger

6.     helps to relieve allergies

7.     controls acidity in the stomach, and coats the intestinal tract making it difficult for parasites to make their home there. (take note dog owners)

8.     is significant in the maintenance of connective tissue

Some people find it very helpful. Others don’t.  If you have allergies to Sulfur drugs – check with your Dr., Naturopath or Compounding Pharmacist first. You still may be able to take this as MSM is the nutritional form of Sulpher. Foods like egg yolks, wheat germ, fish, freshly picked broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables are some of the foods rich in MSM.

My Compounding Pharmacist tells me that MSM is no more toxic than water. I use it for inflammation and it does make a difference for me. I also take Vitamin C – my research pointed to the fact that Vit. C increased the benefits. As for amounts, I go by the dosage suggested by my Compounding Pharmacist.

If you want more information check out this site. I found it helpful.

http://www.glucosamine-arthritis.org/glucosamine/MSM.html

My personal conclusion: Surely MSM is the answer to the question every dog owner asks, “Why do dogs eat grass?”

disclaimer: The content on this post is meant for informational purposes only, and is not intended for use as official health consultation.

Military Miracles Trailer

For the last three years, we, my husband Win and I, have been working on creating and producing a TV pilot for the History Channel in the US.

Called Military Miracles, this story chronicles the amazing adventures of the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment in their battle for Baghdad in the first 21 days of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.

The stories of how the Marines were protected are amazing. Of the 1300 Marines in the Battalion, they only lost 2 during the  advance into Iraq in April 2003.

Here’s the 3 minute trailer:

Here’s a link to the trailer if you have trouble seeing this screen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5VMdi76wvs

Here’s a link to the websitewww.militarymiracles.com

Win and I created the show. Win was the Writer and Executive Producer.

The show was produced by Digital Ranch in Sherman Oaks, CA. Our thanks to Rob Kirk and Rob Lihani, Executive Producers.

Right now we are waiting for an air date from the History Channel.

Feel free to comment on this trailer.

Elderberry and the Flu

Elderberry Does the Job When it Comes to the Cold or Flu.cartoon-cold-season2

Are you fighting the flu bug? Dealing with  bronchial congestion, sore throat and cough?

Check out Elderberry Concentrate.

The extract taken from wild grown Elder Flowers (Sambucus nigra) is known to help the body resist infection.

and here’s the interesting part…………

the berries have been found to interrupt the ability of some viruses to replicate”!. Or said in another way, “Elderberries contain Sambucus nigra agglutinins (SNAs), which helps prevent some types of flu from infecting healthy cells.” Now that’s information worth knowing.

One winter a member of our family got bronchitis and was unable to shake it. My research seemed to point to the Elderberry so we gave Sambu® Elderberry Concentrate a try. “Elderberry is one of the most effective herbs for preventing and treating upper respiratory infections” was what I was told.

Within the week the bronchitis was under control.

Another delicious alternative is the Elderberry and Zinc lozenges (NOW brand) I keep these in my herbal medicinal cabinet. I usually find my Elderberry concentrate or lozenges at the local health store.

CAUTION ****** Do NOT use FRESH – as all parts of the plant in the fresh state can cause poisoning. So if you’ve got an Elderberry bush in your back yard like I do, yocartoon-girl-kleenex-for-blogu best leave the berries for the birds.

Having said that, properly prepared, the Elderberry carries significant healing power and the juice is delicious. This is one medicine anyone can swallow.

Don’t forget, to add a Merry Heart to the mix. “A merry heart does good like a medicine.”


disclaimer: The content on this post is meant for informational purposes only, and is not intended for use as official health consultation.

Life Drawing

Life Drawing

Life Drawing © Carrie

Yes, life drawing, or drawing real life can be a little intimidating at first.

Once you get use to having people hang around you as you sketch, this exercise can be a lot of fun.

There’s a real satisfaction I get from not caring what someone else thinks.

Something else happens.

You get better at it.!

life drawing sketch - © Carrie

life drawing sketch - © Carrie


life drawing sketch - © Carrie

life drawing sketch - © Carrie

My birdhouse in the snow

My birdhouse in the snow

Happy New Year everyone!

What a wonderful winter wonderland we had this Christmas.

I got that camera out and had some fun.

Central Fraser Valley Graphic Guild Members …..

Our next meeting is February 2, 2009…7:30 PM.

Let’s make this year the best ever.

About making dreams come true….”It’s only too late if you don’t start now.” Barbara Sher

Rocky couldn't get enough of the snow

Rocky couldn't get enough of the snow

Winter Wonderland

The weather this past week reminds me of the things that I don’t like about long, cold, icy, prairie winters. I thought this winter was suppose to be a mild winter, at least according to the Farmer’s Almanac. In my estimation this prediction is more than slightly off course.

I grew up in Southern Manitoba and I am very familiar with cold harsh winters. That is why I now live in BC. Snow does, however, inspire me to paint. I love to look at fresh fallen snow – and even venture out for a walk in memory lane if the temperature does not drop lower than 5 degrees below zero range.

Last Christmas we (our family)  spent a week in Manitoba. It was a week of the perfect Winter Wonderland.
5 – 10 degrees below at the most. Large snowflakes lightly falling to the ground, softly landing on my warm fur lined hood. Hoarfrost hanging on the trees, sleigh bells ringing as we took to the horse and sleigh and out into the frosty forest. Ah, yes if only winters were always that picturesque.

Oil on Canvas - Carefree ©

Oil on Canvas - Carefree © Carrie

Because they most always are not… I prefer to paint my winters. One of the pieces I particularly enjoyed painting is called “Carefree”. This piece is inspired by my love of horses and my adventurous spirit.  To create the shiny Satin look for the Percheron I used Prussian Blue, Gumbacher “Max” oil paint.

Wonder Vinegar?

Why is Apple Cider Vinegar known as the wonder vinegar?

We’re talking about the brown colored, unfiltered, unpasteurized “with Mother” Apple Cider Vinegar.

The clear version will not have any of the benefits listed below.

It ‘s loaded with nutrients; vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes, and dietary fiber (pectin).

In my research on this Wonder Vinegar I came across some very good reasons to add this my diet.

My Top 11 good reasons to use Apple Cider Vinegar “with Mother”

1. Helps to reduce cholesterol and regulate blood pressure

2. Contains Malic acid which helps to fight fungus and bacterial infections

3. Dissolves Uric Acid (cause of painful joints and gout)

4. Helps indigestion and Acid Reflux

5. Helps in weigh reduction and obesity

6. Helps to relieve constipation or diarreha

7. Helps the body use calcium and supports good bone health

8. Is low in sodium and fat

9. It is loaded with nutients

10. Is great to use for marinating meat, fish, chicken

11. Is absolutely wonderful used in home made salad dressing

APPLE CIDER VINEGAR & EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL

Salad Dressing Recipe

11/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 lemon – juice

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp honey

1/2 tsp mustard

2 tbsp mixed dried herbs

(we use herbs like, basil, rosemary, dill, chives, dried onion bits, thyme, sage, parsley)

2 – 3 cloves fresh garlic chopped

a few drops of hot red pepper sauce

Optional:         add 2 tbsp. capers

or 2 tbsp. sundried tomatoes.    Sometimes we add both.

mix and let stand for a few hours. keep in the fridge.

enjoy on salad, potatoes, veggies, dumplings,  pasta and rice.

Story Telling

The RYDER

Chapter 1and 2 of my children’s fantasy can now be found on the STORY TELLING page.ryder2

A little about the book:
David and Jessica have just arrived at their grandparent’s farm in the Cariboo. Previously, they welcomed these visits with great enthusiasm, but this time is different. Things have changed.

Then without warning, through a series of bizarre events, they find themselves involved in a most unusual and exciting adventure in the land of Antoch; a land where dreams do come true, and life is never what you expect.

The Lion's Den - ©

The Lion's Den - ©

Will Jessica escape from the lion’s den? What will happen to David, trapped high up on the treacherous mountain, alone face to face with the huge mountain cat? What about the Ryder? Who is this mysterious person who effects everything he touches and everyone he meets?

The RYDER will soon be available in e-book