Lavender Milk Bath

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“Why hurry over beautiful things? Why not linger and enjoy them? -Clara Schumann

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Winter can do a number on our skin. Often people struggle with dry, itchy, cracked and in need of moisture skin. This milk bath recipe is here to help hydrate and refresh your skin. This recipe uses three ingredients, a coffee grinder and a jar for storing. Check it out.

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~Ingredients~

1 C. Dry Milk, preferably full fat (found in your grocers baking aisle, near the condensed milk–I spent 20 minutes searching my local grocery store and heard things like “is dry milk a real thing?” and wondered why it wasn’t on the aisle directory…)

1/4C Oats, Old Fashioned, whole rolled (not quick)

1tsp. Lavender Flowers, whole.

~Directions~

Grind to a fine flour the oats and half of the lavender (just eyeball it) in coffee grinder or other food processor. Mix all ingredients in a jar, stir or shake to combine. Add 2-4 Tbs. to a hot bath, soak and enjoy!

~If you want more of a Lavender scent, mix in about 10 drops Lavender Essential Oil (but make sure to mix and break up the clumps).

~Benefits of Colloidal Oats (finely ground): Soothes, hydrates, evens out skin tone and texture and gently cleanses using natural saponins found in grains. The ancient Egyptians are credited with first discovering the great benefits behind soaking in finely ground oats.

~Benefits of Lavender: Soothes and relaxes, the oil has anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties. The Romans used to bathe with the flowers in their water.

~If you make this, you will probably want to give yourself a quick rinse off after your bath, some folks don’t enjoy the slightly sticky feeling from the oats and milk fat lingering on their skin.

~If you don’t want to use cow’s milk for this, you can use powder coconut milk in place.

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NOLA On My Mind

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I crave the sweet, humid and intoxicating air of the south.

I cringe at the memory of fermented, foul smelling liquor, rotten food and human waste

I long to be wandering through forests of tall trees, cool and quiet

I hunger for the sweet tea, and french-creole delicacies only I got a taste of

I can hear the street music vividly, and my skirt still sways to it

I am thankful for the South, for it has shown me something I hadn’t known I was missing.

 

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A few weeks ago, we took a road trip to New Orleans for a funeral. When I would say we were going to a funeral, people would apologize, and I would smile and say “no, no it’s a good thing that’s happening. We are going to celebrate an amazing man and his life with dancing, music, love and memories new and old.” I wish every funeral could be celebrated the way some celebrate in the south, with a Second Line. Of course the air was heavy with emotion. Sadness and happiness collided like a waterfall pouring down into a quiet stream below it. But it was also beautiful, in a way that one would have to personally experience. For me, seeing the people who traveled across the world to be there, the family walking together, and at different times carrying their father’s ashes through the street…it all equated to something beyond words.

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My beautiful friend Cristina, and her husband, dancing with her papa at the end of procession. 

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Our friend Wolfi came all the way from Germany, with his Saxophone and played in the Second Line!

It really was an incredible experience, and I believe that Charlie would have wholeheartedly approved of this sending off. I can hear his laugh and see his smile every time I think of this day.

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This was a road trip for the books. We slept in the back of the truck at truck stops, we drove for 12 to 14 hour stints, we sang songs, hiked, played I spy and counting games up the wazoo. All with a 4 year old. We were all happy, sleep and caffeine deprived and excited about “what was next”. Our state cruise looked like this: CO–> KS –> MO –> AK –> LA –> MS –> LA –> TX –> NM –> CO. And here’s a look at some of our adventure. I had wanted to take my Canon, but between trying to pack light, and the fear of it being stolen I decided not to take it and instead used my phones camera. I have an Android Galaxy S5 and the editing was done via Instagram (a few were post trip edited in Adobe Photoshop Elements).

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Leaving Colorado, riding off into the sunset.

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Sunrise and fog in Missouri

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On our way to Arkansas to play!

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Splashing in Devils Den State Park, AK

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My cupkeiki and I sitting on the ledge, hiking the Yellow Rock Trail at Devils Den State Park, AK.

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Swiftly through Arkansas we went, and arrived in Louisiana just in time for a beautiful sunset.

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From Louisiana, we crossed over the Mississippi, to play in, well…Mississippi.

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We spent 3+ hours monkeying around at Clark Creek Natural Area, MS. Waterfalls, vines…the works and a good workout!

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We ate Frog Legs and Cat Fish Po’ Boys and drank the delicious local brew Abita, Purple Haze in Madisonville, LA at The Crabby Shack

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We checked out the French Quarter our first evening there.

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The following morning, we went out in search of Alligators. *Note, they are “abundant” but not in town. We went to the Jean Lafiette National Historical Park and Preserve, where we “saw” 3 alligators…there were probably many more that saw us.

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Magnolia Trees in full bloom!

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Cheers and good vibes everywhere!!

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Cafe Beignet, no long lines like Cafe Du Monde, just saying. 

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The band, Tuba Skinny. You can find them online. Listen to them, they are incredible!

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We trekked all over the French Quarter for a full day. It was hot, humid, and beautiful. *except the stinky puddles-cupkeiki.

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We made it Galveston, TX and went shell hunting and for a ferry ride.

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Sunrise in TX, where land is abundant and for sale.

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We zipped (and by zipped I actually mean had an endless car trip) through Texas and into New Mexico where we wanted to visit the Carlsbad Caverns. It was amazing, and the elevators were out of order. But my cupkeiki did amazing and her and I jogged up and out in 25 min. Once out, she celebrated then promptly passed out and we drove out of New Mexico and into a snow storm in Colorado. That’s Colorado for you.

What a fantastic trip, filled with fantastic memories. My family and I bonded and I owe a special thank you to my manimal, who works so hard everyday but worked especially hard to make this trip happen for all of us even though things are crazy busy.

Pancake Secrets

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I like making pancakes from scratch. Like popcorn, they remind me of blank food canvases. A few years ago I was gifted the cookbook, “CakeLove In the Morning” by Warren Brown. Everytime I open it up I add a little something different to the batter to make it more interesting.

This morning we added vanilla and cinnamon, along with chocolate chips and bananas.

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Ingredients:
1 C. Milk
1/4 C. Lemon juice
1 Egg
1 C. All purpose flour
3 Tbs. Sugar
21/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
1tsp. Vanilla extract
1tsp cinnamon
1/2 banana sliced
1/8 C. Chocolate chips

Directions
1. Mix lemon juice and milk in a glass measuring cup, let sit for 5 min. After 5 min add egg and vanilla. Mix together, breaking yoke.
2. In a mixing bowl, mix remaining ingredients together.
3. Add liquid to liquid ingredients to dry, mix together – but don’t over mix. Allow to sit for 5 minutes while griddle warms up.
4. Make pancakes as you normally would, on a griddle.

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Chai Spiced Panna Cotta

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Easter has come and gone. There was no Easter Bunny, there was no basket packed to the brim with sugar. There was simply a day of relaxation. We hid eggs a few times, went for a sunny stroll and watched a, Daniel Tigers Neighborhood, marathon on Netflix. I sort of questioned whether I had cheated my way out of doing some sort of parental holiday duty by not making a big deal out of the Easter Bunny, but something inside me just didn’t push it. Instead there was excitement over dying copious amounts of eggs (4 dozen, not kidding) and hiding them. That seemed like all she really wanted, and that was ok with me. I’ll let her decide what/who really exists. At the moment, Santa does and that’s it. And Santa…well he didn’t come because there wasn’t a note made in advance…

Sheesh. Enough of that, make some Chai Spiced Panna Cotta and enjoy the moments.

Ingredients:
1 packet gelatin
3 Tbs. Cold water
2 C. Heavy Cream (or 1 Cup whole milk, 1 Cup cream)
1/4 C. Sugar
A pinch of salt
1/4tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/8 tsp. Ground Clove
1/8 tsp. Ground Ginger
1/8 tsp. Ground Cardamom

In a bowl, whisk gelatin and water. Let sit 5-10 minutes, to bloom the gelatin.

In a heavy sauce pan over medium heat, combine remaining ingredients, whisk until mixture begins to simmer but not boil. Turn off heat, add gelatin to pan, whisk together to incorporate for a few minutes and then divide into bowls. This mixture fills 5 ramekins with about 1/2 C. of custard. Refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours.

Gem Lake

Last weekend we went off in search of adventure. We found ourselves on the Gem Lake Trail. It was a great hike, that had families exploring as well. I am looking forward to taking my cupkeiki there once the weather higher up gets a little warmer.

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Gem Lake was still frozen most the way through, but the trail heading up was pretty much dry (save for a few shaded areas).

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We saw this dirt drawing, but not the person, or people who drew it.

Saturday

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My favorite local spot to treat myself is, The Little Bird Bakeshop in Old Town Fort Collins. From their addictive homemade Oreo cookies to my personal favorite dish, the Croque Monsieur, everything brings about comfort and savor.

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