Health and Healing Blog

Spa Water

 

Spa water is easy, tasty, and looks great!  Gather your favorite fruit and herbs, add them to your water, let it sit for an hour or so and you are ready to go!  We chose watermelon mint and cucumber lime, but you can be as creative as you want with your pairings.

Pro tips:
- If you are using a citrus fruit squeeze it in first.
- You do not need to muddle the fruits (like the watermelon) first, but you can pour in any of the left over juices that are created from cutting it!

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Easy Summer Recipes

Who wants to do a lot of prep in the kitchen or cooking over a hot stove in the summer time?  Not us.  Here are some recipes for you to enjoy your end of summer picnics that are not only easy, but are sure to also impress your guests and satisfy everyone's taste buds.  Enjoy!

 

Summer Spring Rolls

Ingredients:
Rice Paper
Lettuce (butter or bib lettuce work well)
Rice straws
Sliced cucumbers
Shredded carrots
Basil
Mint
Cilantro
*Optional: shrimp, chicken, or tofu

Steps:
1) Boil rice straws for 3 min to soften.
2) Wet rice paper so that it becomes slightly sticky immediately before layering ingredients.
3) Layer all the ingredients (slice thinly all ingredients for ease of rolling).
4) Roll tightly, folding the two ends in while rolling.
5) Slice into 4 pieces.

Enjoy with or without your favorite dipping sauce

 

Cool Cucumber and Watermelon Salad

Ingredients:
2 Large Cucumbers quartered and sliced into ½ inch chunks
½ of a medium to large watermelon sliced into 1 inch cubes
1 large sprig of mint coarsely chopped
Goat Cheese
1 Lemon or Lime Juiced
*Optional: 1 small red onion coarsely chopped, 1 tsp Cheyenne pepper

Steps:
1) Combine Cucumbers and Watermelon into large bowl, add lime juice and stir together. Salt to taste and top with desired amount of Goat Cheese and garnish with mint and enjoy!
2) Add a little kick with Red Onion and Cheyenne Pepper.

 

Tenderloin Salad with Mint

Ingredients:
Two Large Sprigs of Mint coarsely chopped
2 8oz Filet Mignon seasoned and cooked to taste and sliced thinly
1 large Cucumber halved and sliced
1-2 medium Vine Ripened Tomatoes
1 small Red Onion halved and sliced
1 medium head of Romaine or Mesculun Lettuce Mix

Steps:
1)
Toss all veggies together in large bowl and top with Filet.
2) Season to taste with oil and vinegar.

 

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Sheila Konn's picture

DIY Fresh Watermelon and Mint Body Scrub

If you’re like me, there’s nothing better than cold fresh watermelon on a hot summer day. This summer has been especially great for delicious tasting watermelon so I’ve purchased one virtually every week and used as much watermelon as I can. Below you’ll find my quick and easy DIY watermelon and mint body scrub. Body scrubs are a great idea all year round but we often think about them more when wearing a little less clothing in the summer time.

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Tracy Leonard's picture

Natural Bug Spray

Ouch! Yep, it’s that time of the year again--bug season. Whether it’s trying to avoid getting bit by those nasty little buggars, or attempting to keep your garden healthy and disease free, the challenge isn’t an easy one. Many traditional over the counter bug repellents have harsh chemical compositions.  However, there are several natural essential oil and other plant remedies that can be used to create your own safe, natural repellents at home. In order to ensure safe usage, it is important to look up the specific properties of each essential oil before use. Pregnant or nursing women, or those with chronic medical conditions, should consult a health care provider before experimenting with any essential oil.

Here is a list of some common essential oils are known to combat biting insects such at mosquitos, fleas and ticks:  cinnamon, lemon eucalyptus or traditioanl eucalyptus oil, citronella oil, castor oil, orange oil, and rose germanium oil, just to name a few. These oils can be used individually or combined together in various ways to make topical sprays or balms/oils, used in a vaporizer, Other options would be to use an aromatherapys mister, or add a few drops to a cotton ball and keep with you or a dew drops to sleeping bag, just be cautious that some oils may stain when directly applied to clothing, and should not be applied directly to skin without a carrier oil. Carrier oils include but are not limited to olive oil, grapeseed oil, almond oil, sesame oil, avocado oil, witch hazel, high grain wood alcohol, or aloe vera gel (2).  The following are three recipe examples that can be used to make our own essential oil insect repellents.

Essential Oil Big Spray:

  • 2 oz. Witch Hazel
  • 2 oz. Aloe Vera Gel
  • 20-40 drops of essential oil(s) - start with less and gradually add more if desired
    • Combine witch hazel and aloe vera gel
    • Add mix to 4 oz. spray bottle
    • Add 20-40 drops of essential oil per 4 oz. bottle
    • Use:  apply to the skin, avoid the eyes
    • Store in a dark bottle, away from heat and sunlight             (4)

Bug Off Skin Oil:

  • 2 TSP carrier oil
  • 5 drops Cedarwood essential oil
  • 4 drops Lemon essential oil
  • 2 drops Geranium essential oil
  • 1 drop Citronella essential oil     
    • Use:  apply to the skin, avoid the eyes
    • Store in a dark bottle, away from heat and sunlight             (1)

 

Essential Oil Insect Repellent Beeswax Candle Recipe:

  • Beeswax (one brick)
  • 2 TSP carrier oil
  • Candle wick
  • 7- 10 drops (total alone or combined) essential oil (see list above)
    • Place the wick in your desired mould. Over low heat, melt your beeswax in a double boiler. Add your desired essential oil(s). Pour beeswax mixture into mold with wick, making sure the wick stays centered when pouring. Let stand until wax is firm.                     (3)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Open Your Throat Chakra with a Silly Instrument

This blog is about the ukulele.

 To start, I believe in the power of making music. To be a maker of music connects you to a primary aspect of being human -- our inner storyteller, listener, artist and healer. When the throat chakra is a clear channel we are equally capable of expressing and receiving. We tell our truth and we hear the truths of others. In feng shui, sound is a powerful tool to disperse stagnant energy. We can use music to improve focus or change direction. My favorite, favorite part about music is the visceral connection between people playing music together. How amazing it is to be in sync and creating something together!

 I never caught on to the long-game of learning music. After failed attempts at learning the saxophone, keyboard and guitar in my youth I learned that if I want to play music I have to change my goals (which, if I'm not careful, defaults to "BE AWESOME AT EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME." Highly unrealistic, I don't recommend it as an approach to every challenge). If I don't have the resolve to practice daily, I will settle for entertaining myself and friends as simply as possible.

 The ukulele.

 It's tiny, it's cheap, it's not difficult to manipulate, there is a wealth of how-to on the internet, and it makes the most joyful noise.

 

For less than $80, you can purchase a ukulele (in any color that makes your heart happy), a tuner and a bag to keep it in. Sometimes a capo can be useful. I like the size of of my tenor ukulele for my adult hands, but I own and enjoy a soprano uke, too. They use the same tuning so you don't have to learn different chord patterns. Don’t worry about spending a lot of money on your first ukulele. If it really drives you crazy by how out-of-tune or buzzy it is, give it to a kid you know. They will know exactly what to do with it.

 [I’d like to make an aside here. When buying a ukulele or any instrument, please support your local music shop. I know the internet is big and cheap and easy but supporting local businesses is important. If they don't have what you are looking for, ask if they can make a special order.]

 If you’ve never played a stringed instrument before, start with a video called Uke Minutes 100 - How to Play the Ukulele in 5 Min by Ukulele Underground. Boom! You’re 90% of the way to being a ukulele genius. I promise. Once you get the general gist of strumming and playing chords, head straight to a chord chart and a song that you want to play.

 I find the chord sheets for songs I know on ukulelehunt.com or ultimate-guitar.com. Sometimes you have to dig around to find a version that’s been chorded correctly or sometimes the songs are just too complicated to play. No big deal. I print these out and put them in a three-ring binder songbook. No internet connection required, no screens required (which is part of the relief you get from doing a hobby) and so friends can look over my shoulder and play along. I printed out a chord chart and put it in the cover of the binder for quick reference.

 I am not able to tell you how often to practice. Sometimes I play daily, sometimes I play once a quarter. Like I said before, I am not using the ukulele to impress myself or anyone. It is a noisome thing that helps me express and transform the state of my heart.

 You don't need anything more than you already are. You don't need to be a better singer or better at rhythm, or more confident. I allow you to play alone in your bedroom if that's all you can muster. Someday allow yourself to play for a friend, maybe someone who can sing along. Perfection is not the goal. Feeling the breath passing through your throat and heart center, opening up your courageous, loving and truthful self, is the magic of being an amatuer ukulelist.

 Bring it with you. Even if you are shy, bring your uke to a party/campfire/beach vacation/errand run. Magical things can happen when you bring a ukulele. I’ve produced a uke at parties and suddenly, other ukuleles come out of the woodwork, along with guitars, bongos, jaw harps, recorders, accordions, concertinas, melodicas, cardboard boxes, umbrellas and ceiling fans. Your friends are hiding their musical talent from you.

 Easy crowd pleasers include “Hey Ya,” by Outkast, “Don’t Stop Believing,” by Journey, “Bad Moon Rising” by Creedence Clearwater Revival, “Good Riddance,” by Greenday, “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash… But don’t let me influence you. Find your own voice.


For inspiration, I recommend Amanda Palmer’s Ukulele Anthem. It is not appropriate for sensitive listeners but I get choked up every time I listen to it.

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