Posted in California Parks, Canon, Travel

Morning Nature Walk

Here are some photos from a state park visit our first year back to California. On this morning we let Bella run in the big dog area, then strolled through the park admiring wildlife.

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It was a lovely summer morning with the lake surrounded by golden hills.

My Canon MX920 was in manual mode that day for practice with a fast shutter speed to freeze the action at the dog park.  Wish I remembered the setup on the black heron photo, it’s my favorite.

Posted in Food and Cooking

Orange Loaf from Fresh Orange Juice

Our orange tree has been beautiful with fruit for a couple of weeks now and we have enjoyed lots of oranges, orange juice, and spritzers. However my family’s favorite use for the harvest is an orange loaf bread from the Happy Foods Tube Website. It’s not too sweet for breakfast but I preferred a slice mid afternoon with tea. If you would like to try a fresh citrusy loaf, I’d recommend this one at https://www.happyfoodstube.com/orange-loaf-cake/

The only change I made to Julia’s recipe was substituting coconut sugar for granulated, which gave it a little more flavor and a deeper color.

It was a messy bowl but the results were so good.

I hope you enjoy the recipe and this slice of California sunshine. Blessings.

Posted in Anna Griffin, card making, craft, recycling, Stampin Up

Recycling Greeting Cards

Anna Griffin Embellishments

As you know, I enjoy sending handmade paper cards with a loving message to the special people in my life, that is a greeting card’s purpose. Just as receiving a card makes me feel someone cares and can lift my mood, sending a card causes me to slow down to remember significant people in my life, which also raises my spirit. This would be a win-win situation if it wasn’t for the paper waste left behind. So to reduce my environmental impact here are some ideas for card material after reading.

Shred and use for:

Packing material – Why buy more plastic when you can use a natural material. This will require saving up the shredded cards unless you are very much loved.

Easter basket fillers – Just a few shredded cards can fill a basket and it’s nice how the card’s color adds a decorative element.

Fire starter – First pack it hard into toilet paper holders or pack then wrap in wax paper to avoid wisps of embers or flames when burning.

Planter or garden mulch – Paper is wood fiber which can be used with other fine mulch on garden beds, though colored paper should not be used around vegetables.

Paper mache pulp – A paper mix to form facial features or ornaments on larger paper projects , here is a link with details and instructions https://www.thesprucecrafts.com/paper-mache-paste-recipes-1245287. .

Use whole for:

Home decorations – Add paper or metallic elements pulled off cards to wreaths or planters around your house. At Christmas try making a swag from previous year’s cards to decorate a doorway or mantle.

Recycled Greeting Cards – Glue a new inside sentiment page in the card you received and send to another friend. A note on the back saying it was recycled would make it even more appreciated.

Paper mache strips – In this case, it’s the building blocks of paper mache not the glue or paste, again check link above for details.

Creating Beads – Create beads for jewelry making with the paper scraps, here is a link with how to information https://www.thesprucecrafts.com/how-to-make-paper-beads-4045300.

Sailing Home Stamp & Die Set

Please share your ideas in the comment section below, we’d like to see them. Thanks

Posted in Food and Cooking, healthy eating

Herbicides on Wheat & Organic Self Rising Flour

My family loves warm banana nut muffins with blueberries, like the ones I made today and with self rising flour they come together in no time. These muffins used up the last of the plain white self rising flour bought for making quick breakfast breads over the busy holiday period. I really enjoy the convenience of having the baking powder and salt already added to my recipes, not having to pull out the measuring spoons seems to make baking exponentially easier.

But I can’t find an organic version in the stores and worry about the risk of herbicides and pesticides in flour today. I recently heard from a friend that non-organic farmers were spraying herbicides on their wheat crops to dry it out uniformly just before harvest. Wow, that was shocking so I had to do some research on the subject. I wish I could say it wasn’t true, but all I can say is the on-line information is contradictory and confusing. I’m sharing the link to a Snopes article which dispels part of the story as an exaggeration but states it is a practice some farmers use and the practice is not illegal or banned.

https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/wheat-toxic/

There are other articles defending non organic farmers which say that weed killers such as Roundup being sprayed on wheat before harvest is not routine and that only small amounts are applied.

https://texaswheat.org/glyphosate-treated-wheat-claims-vs-facts/

I feel for the farmers today, from the little I know about their situation it’s a hard way of life without much in monetary rewards. The information about the risks of using a herbicide like glyphosate is muddled and the task of feeding their world is large. However, for myself even a rare case of herbicide in my flour is a problem. So for some good news finally, at Safeway the cost of generic organic flour is only about 30 cents more a pound and you can make a self rising mix yourself for those early morning biscuits (ironically it will probably be the butter that kills me).

To make your own self rising flour, in a large bowl (make it large or the flour can scatter when stirred ) mix very well 4 cups of flour, 6 teaspoons of baking soda and 2 teaspoons of salt. Store in an air tight container and remember the effectiveness of baking soda will decrease if not used within a couple of months or stored in the freezer. I made my batch with half organic whole wheat flour and half organic all purpose flout. I’ll let you know how my biscuits and pancakes turn out. Please let me know your results if you have tried a homemade flour mix. As always thanks for stopping by my site.

Posted in Travel, wine

Northern California Coastal and Hill Views

I’m sharing some favorite holiday photos along with my best wishes to start the New Year. I hope whatever holiday you celebrated was blessed!

What a beautiful day we had visiting Capitola Village by the Sea, one of the oldest vacation spots on the Pacific Coast.

Another day we enjoyed an afternoon of wine tasting with a view at the House Family Vineyards in the Santa Cruz Hills.