Thursday, March 31, 2016

SEASONAL LIVING AND TIMELESS TRADITIONS APRIL 2016

April...Is a month filled with new life and an uplifting energy...that you can't deny...even if you could. Who could not feel a dance in their step and their heart opening up...looking at all the lovely...flowers...blooming everywhere...and pretty green leaves popping up on tree limbs...that not so long ago...looked barren and void of life.

Being an avid lover of gardening...I have already been to my favorite garden centers...and purchased a few new rose bushes...herbs...and tomato plants...and lovingly planted them in clay containers..placing them in just the right spot in my backyard. I go out each morning...like a mother hen...to say hello to them and see how they are coming along...because I know from gardening experience...those first few weeks after I bring them home from the garden centers...and transplant them...can be a sensitive time. Either they took to their new home...and soil...or they didn't. Gardening is like life that way...some things thrive...and other things just don't work... no matter how much you want it to.


I find myself more and more...returning to my garden...to teach me lessons about life. I can laugh at myself now...for all those years that I believed my life had to be a certain way...and that I did too. For many years...I held a belief that I had to be perfect...and do everything perfect...until I became aware that nothing in nature or my garden is perfect...and yet is still so very beautiful...especially because of the imperfections.

Once...I had a shrub...that I wanted to dig up...but it's roots were so deep...and so firmly attached in the soil...no matter what I did...or muscle I used...it wouldn't budge. I became so frustrated and even angry at that shrub...I never liked it...which was why I was digging it up...to plant something else...that would fit my vision I had for my garden. I became very determined to get rid of that shrub...believe me. I got madder and madder...as the days went by...attempting to dig it up. My husband offered to dig it up...I said no. This was my battle.

And I wasn't winning it.

One day...I starting pondering...how that damn shrub represented so many issues and situations that I had clung to in my life...resisted...and down right wouldn't let go of. I made a positive choice right then and there...to give myself permission to just "let go" of all those issues...anger and hurts that I was holding onto...finally...once and for all. I wrote a list of all those issues...lit a candle and said a prayer of "release". I took the list I had written down...dug a hole in a flower bed... buried the list...and walked away.

I made a choice to go ahead and plant my new shrubs and flowers around those roots...of the shrub that wouldn't budge. I ignored those roots...and instead embraced the pleasure and joy of planting and caring for my new plants in my garden. They thrived...and so did I.

A few months later...yes you guessed it...I tried to dig up those roots...again...but this time...it was with a more loving and positive attitude.

Remember...I had let go of so many of my own issues...months before... that I had written out and buried in my garden...that were rooted deep within me. I was a different woman. At peace with myself.

After...quite a few attempts...sweat...and using my muscles...those roots still wouldn't budge. I walked away...understanding finally that it was okay...if those roots couldn't be dug up in my garden. I had planted beautiful new shrubs and flowers around those roots...and they were doing very well...thriving actually.

That gardening experience...taught me a very valuable and vital life lesson. That ugly...shrub in my garden...really in truth...was not about the shrub I couldn't budge out of the ground. It was about me...holding on very deeply...what I needed to release from my life...in order for me to grow. No one...including me...or you...can ever grow...or thrive...or create a life for yourself that is more loving or positive...if your inner world is rooted in the past...your mistakes...your anger...or your hurts. You must "release" and let go. Stop resisting change and new life...by clinging to the negative.

My garden...is my "place"...my refuge...my healer...my teacher. Time and time again...my garden has taught me about life...the different seasons I must experience as a woman... that all humans must experience.The cycles of ups and downs...renewal...decay...death...letting go...and rebirth.

The circle of life...your life...cannot be resisted...clung to...or denied. Embrace each season...open yourself to change...and the flow of your life...will take you safely...where you are to be planted...to grow strong... dig deep roots... to be... who you are meant to be.

May you thrive this April,
Victoria


Praise the spells
and bless the charms,
I found April in my arms.
April golden, April cloudy,
Gracious,cruel,tender,rowdy;

April soft in flowered languor,
April cold with sudden anger,

Ever changing ever true--
I love April, I love you,

by Ogden Nash



WORLD TRADITIONS AND CELEBRATIONS FOR APRIL

April Fool's...April 1st...Earth Day...April 22nd...April 23rd...Passover starts...April 29th...Arbor Day...April 30th...Passover ends


FACTS ABOUT APRIL

The name of the month April is derived from the Greek word "opening"


FACTS ABOUT APRIL FOOL'S

April Fooling became popular in England and Scotland during the 1700's


APRIL FOOL'S IN FRANCE

In France April Fool's Day is known for the... poisson d' avril (April Fish)...which dates back to 1564.
On April 1st...French children stick paper fish onto the backs of adults...then run away yelling "poisson d' Avril" (April Fish")


APRIL IN FRENCH... Avril

APRIL IN ITALIAN...Aprile

APRIL IN GERMAN...der April


FOLKLORE FOR APRIL

When April blows his horn (thunder)
"Tis good for both hay and corn

April brings the primrose sweet
scatters daises at our feet

GARDENING TIP... Early this month plant any trees or shrubs you are wanting to get into the ground...and be sure to use Root Starter...after they are planted...this great product helps plants and trees to not go into shock when transplanted.

HOMEMAKING TIP... Remove all your screens from your windows and wash them...then clean the outside of the windows... when you are done with cleaning the windows... replace the clean screens. To complete this job...come inside and wash the inside windows with white vinegar and a soft cloth. Be sure to fill your house with this month's flowers...the daisy or sweetpea.

FULL MOON... Is April 22nd

FLOWERS FOR APRIL...Is the daisy and sweetpea

GEMS FOR APRIL...The diamond

TEACHINGS...This month is about setting your goals and projects into physical action steps...but also doing this with balance. Do not let stress...or trying to make things happen...get the better of you.


EARTH DAY CELEBRATION...

Plant a small tree or Rosemary bush this Earth Day...and when you have finished planting it...sit beside it...and write out...what you and your family can do to take better care each day of the Earth...and then follow through with your plans to do this.


SEASONAL LIVING AND TIMELESS TRADITIONS

...FOR YOUR HOME

Clean out all your cupboards in your kitchen...and go through items that you no longer need or use at all...and make plans to donate them. After you take out everything from your cabinets...wipe down each shelf with pure Orange essential oil...oh my... your cabinets will smell so wonderful...as well as be very clean!


...FOR YOUR HEARTH

Who doesn't love custard... a long held dessert tradition? And one where you use a reduced fat milk?

VANILLA CUSTARD
makes 8 single servings (ramekins)

8 large egg yolks...at room temperture
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
2 vanilla beans
3 1/2 cups reduced-fat milk

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Put a full kettle of water to boil. Next whisk the egg yolks only...the sugar...vanilla extract and the salt in a medium bowl, Split the vanilla beans down the middle...then with a sharp knife scrape out the the vanilla bean paste...and place them in a medium saucepan.Add the vanilla bean pods into the pan also...and the milk.Bring the vanilla bean and milk mixture to a gentle simmer over medium heat.When the milk mixture is simmered...slowly whisk it into the egg mixture. Place a fine sieve over a large bowl and pour the finished custard into a large bowl to strain. Throw away the vanilla pods.

Place the 8 ramekins in a large roasting pan that is at least 2 inches deep and fill each ramekin with the custard. Pour the boiling water around the baking dishes until it comes about halfway up to the sides. Cover the whole pan...loosely with foil.

Bake the custards until set around the sides...but still wobbly in the center, about 30 to 35 minutes. Carefully remove with oven mitts...the cooked custards from the roasting pan...and allow to cool to room temperature. Place in fridge to get cold. Serve and enjoy this classic dessert.



...FOR YOUR HEART

Take your lunch in a paper bag...and go to a park and eat lunch outside.

Hand out flowers to homeless people...because everyone deserves flowers.












Tuesday, March 1, 2016

SEASONAL LIVING AND TIMELESS TRADITIONS MARCH 2016

March musings...This month reminds me of a butterfly...being sent free from the confides of a cocoon...and opening it's wings for the first time...to glide gently in the promising wind of the coming Spring.

The Spring cycle...carries on it's wings...the energy of hope...faith and renewal for the coming year. It is a season... to me...to start over...and begin new things...including how I think...and how I see my world. And my place in it.

Like a fresh coat of paint...I am starting this new season by freshening up my life...from the inside out. This Winter I worked on how I spend my time...in life affirming ways...that add meaning and value to my life...and a very honest look on how I waste my time too...doing things that add no value to my life. Because you know... that is a choice too...it is up to me and to you...for the who...what and when.

For me...making conscious choices to close the door...on certain activities...like watching the news...at lunch...spending time on the phone with folks who wanted me to listen to them complain about anything and everything..reading negative comments on social media...committing myself to social events...that I have no interest in...were areas that I knew in my heart.. were.taking me far away from my creativity...and leaving me feeling drained. So at the beginning of this year...I took a wise risk...and stopped engaging in these energy and soul draining activities.

And guess what? Not only do I not miss these things...closing the door on them...has opened a new door for me... a doorway of so much more personal freedom and time...to actively pursue things and people that make me feel alive and are life affirming.

I have more physical energy too...live more in present time...and have a new sense of inner peace and joy...just from letting go of these few energy and time wasting activities. It really was an eye opener for me...and I will continue to seek doors to close...that are wasting my time...so more positive doors open for me.

I encourage you to reflect on how you too can live a more life affirming way of daily living...and then just do it. Out with the old...to make way for the new...so this Spring...and for many more Spring seasons to come..your days will be filled...not with draining activities...but each precious hour filled with peace...creativity...and the joy of this thing we call life.

Because your life matters.Every single minute of it.

Happy Spring to you.
Victoria


Wires toss in the wind, shrubs flap
And the tap on the windows wake us
To March's mistral madness:
I see white crocuses amid the rain.
by Barley Tebb

PRAYER... " I ask for courage and strength...to create a better and more positive life experience for myself."

WORLD TRADITIONS AND CELEBRATIONS...March 8th...International Woman's Day...March 17th...Saint Patrick's Day...March 20th...Palm Sunday...March 20th...Spring Equinox...March 25th...Good Friday...March 27th...Easter

EASTER IN FRANCE...Chocolate Easter Eggs are common in France to celebrate Easter...but so are Chocolate Fish. Games are also played...one game is to roll raw eggs down a gentle slope...and the egg that makes it down the slope without breaking is the winner.

FACTS ABOUT MARCH...The word "March" comes from the Roman word "Marticus".

MARCH IN FRENCH...Mars

MARCH IN ITALIAN...Marzo

MARCH IN GERMAN...Marz

FOLKLORE FOR MARCH..."When March comes in like a lion...it goes out like a lamb."

"As it rains in March...so it rains in June."

GARDENING TIP...Order or purchase your garden seeds...begin planting your potted trees and shrubs...and be sure to mulch.

HOMEMAKING TIP...Yes...this is the month to Spring clean...including cleaning your blinds...and windows.

FULL MOON...Is March 23rd

LUNAR ECLIPSE...March 23rd

FLOWERS...The daffodil and violet

GEMS...Aquamarine

TEACHINGS...This month marks the season of Spring...a time of new beginnings and new life for you...on all levels. This is the perfect month to begin new projects.


SPRING RENEWAL SHRINE...

A shrine or altar in your home...is such a wonderful way to create memories...capture special events...express your feelings for loved ones...or to set  your intentions. With that in mind...create for yourself a Spring Renewal Shrine this month. It can be created on a small table...a window ledge...or any flat service.

Write out on small pieces of paper or pretty tags...ways you would like to renew yourself and your life this Spring...and then add any objects that are a symbol of renewal and a new life for yourself. You can add fresh flowers...and candles if you wish. It doesn't matter how you decorate your shrine...what matters here is that you are setting your intentions for yourself...to renew...rebirth...and create something more positive for your life.

Each day or evening...spend a few quiet moments at your shrine...reading your intentions...saying prayers...or meditating on what you have written...this will help you stay focused...and committed.


EASTER CANDLE LIGHTING...

On Easter...light candles throughout your home...as a symbol of shining your own inner light more out into the world...and also a symbol of sending a beckon of light to the whole world...for healing and world peace.


EASTER EGG DINNER NAME TAGS...

You really do not have to go to a huge expense to create a lovely home...or a special holiday table. Below is a fun...creative and inexpensive Easter Dinner name tag idea.You can leave the hard boiled eggs white or dye them...it is up to you. A bag of green moss....or little twig baskets that you can find at your local hobby store for very little cost...can be used to decorate again and again.

You will need to hard boil enough eggs in the amount of your family and guests...and then write their names with colored magic markers...across the service.You can then place the name tag eggs in a piece of green moss...or little twig baskets...next to their plates...for a very sweet Easter theme.


SEASONAL LIVING AND TIMELESS TRADITIONS


...FOR YOUR HOME

Here are a few tips...using natural chemical free products to help you with your top to bottom Spring cleaning in your home.

...To remove black heel marks on your wooden floors...rub 2 or 3 drops of cedar or eucalyptus essential oil over the mark...with a soft cloth.

...For your painted wood floors...that need to be cleaned...try a solution of 2 teaspoons washing soda...and a cup of rosemary or sage tea...that you have strained and cooled...mixed into 1 gallon of water.

...Here is a natural and great smelling all-purpose wall cleaner...that will clean your walls safely.

1 cup water
1/2 cup white vinegar
6 drops lemon or orange essential oil

Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle. Shake well before using. Lightly spray affected areas that are dirty on the wall...and then wipe clean with a damp rag or sponge.Allow to air dry.


...FOR YOUR HEARTH

Eggs are such a great way to prepare and eat a really good meal for your family...and they are also an inexpensive food to help you with your food budget. I love quiches and thought you would enjoy this recipe...for brunch...or as a dinner.

QUICHE LORRAINE
serves 4-6

1 pie crust...store bought or homemade
8 slices bacon
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 cup[ finely chopped onion
1 cup fresh cleaned mushrooms (clean mushrooms with a paper towel)
1 1/2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
4 eggs...slightly beaten
1 cup half and half
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1/2 salt
freshly ground pepper
dash of freshly ground nutmeg or from a good quality store bought nutmeg

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake pie crust for 7 minutes or until lightly brown. Remove from oven...and set aside to cool.

Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees. In a large skillet...cook bacon until crisp and then crumble on a piece of paper towel...and set aside. Heat a small  frying pan on high... add the olive oil...onions and mushrooms and gently saute for 1 to 2 minutes.Set aside.

Into the pie crust sprinkle the cheese...then the crumbled bacon...the place the onions and mushrooms..spreading evenly.

In a medium bowl...beat the eggs... half and half...the cream...salt and pepper.Add the nutmeg...and then pour the mixture...into the pie crust. Shake out the bubbles and bake for about 50 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clean. Let stand for about 10 minutes before serving...for easier cutting.


...FOR YOUR HEART

Get creative this month...by learning something new...that you have always wanted to do.