Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Dried oranges

I had these oranges sitting on my counter for I really don't know how long....but a really long time. Month or two? Well, I was definitely not going to eat them, then I came across something online saying you can dry them. I don't have a dehydrator but I found I could use the oven at the lowest temperature. When I was not around I stopped them and took them out and just let them sit on the counter. They came out great! I hear they are delicious snacks and can be used for cooking or grinding for zest as well. Very excited about this and they smell so great!

Monday, December 29, 2014


Tea from my front yard lemon balm plants. I never even planted them there. God is so good you shall reap what you have not sown.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Good eating ideas

I'm always trying to find ways to eat healthier. I have always wanted to.Try zucchini noodles and I finally did it today!
I adapted a recipe from a blog post on (search zucchini if you want to find the post). I used a regular grater with the larger holed size to make the shape, then let it sit in salt to get the water out and help it retain its shape. This really helped to avoid sogginess. I love the results! Absolutely delicious!
The tomato sauce was made from tomatoes from my garden mixed with carrots and zucchini roasted together.
Good clean eating. I just realize I am going to have to grow a whooooole lot more tomatoes next year to be able to have more tomato sauce. =D

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Shea butter babies

My babies have had some dry skin occasionally, and while there is plenty of controversy about what might be the cause of eczema, I know I lean towards for the actual skin care. Pure shea butter. I have tried coconut oil and pure cocoa butter as well in the past and they work pretty well too, but nothing compares to the price and consistency of shea butter.

Yes, yes, I did use an old Chinese take out container to store my shea butter. Works really well.
My mom usually buys it for me on Ebay straight from Ghana, where my family is from. It's something like $20 for 5 pounds of it which usually lasts me a year between my two little ones. I lotion them up every day right after bath time in the evening and it makes their skin nice and soft (see below) Adorable huh? Works very well for lip balm too! When it first goes on it might be a little greasy but quickly absorbs into the skin (after maybe 5 minutes) and just leaves smooth skin. I also use this for my natural hair in the evenings mixed with pure vegetable glycerin which also works really well. For some reason Shea butter tends to be used more by Africans and black Americans. I guess because it is native to Africa. It is some sore of large fruit that grows on trees I think and has this butter inside. It is yellow in color and pretty soft. I highly recommend it!

My  shea butter baby

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Going barefoot

 My 3 year old daughter is always asking me if she can take her shoes off when she is outside (ok, not always, when it's warm). This made me think about some of the simple joys that I need to try to take advantage of to bring down my blood enjoy the simple moments in my life. Sitting outside and feeling the warm sun, the feeling of grass between my toes. It's a time I love to just think about how great my God is! I read Dr. Tieraona Low Dog's book Life is You Best Medicine about trying to be the healthiest you can be with simple ideas and concepts and I was amazed the number of things you can do that are very simple but effective to improve your health and just make you happy. For instance, taking a nice relaxing bath with nice scents, or playing music that makes you happy, or getting some sunshine, or having some nice scents around that are relaxing, or enjoying a good cup of tea, etc., etc. The list goes on and on. These things really do make your life better. Any thoughts on simple ideas to make you happier and healthier?

Aaaahhhh....Don't you just want to do this right now?


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

O Mary we crown thee with blossoms today!

It's May! Does anyone else remember being taught as a kid the saying "April showers bring May flowers"? I used to say that to myself over and over again growing up in upstate NY to get me through those cloudy, cold early spring days in NY in hopes that it was going to get better. We always had the Tulip festival in May. I always looked forward to beautiful flowers everywhere around me. Another find memory was the May crowning for Mary. Yet another Catholic thing that just makes life as a Christian lovely. I always loved to see the pretty crown of flowers placed onto a statue of Mary while singing the hymn "Bring flowers of the rarest".

We never had a statue of Mary at our house, but I bet I would have loved to have one! We still don't have a statue at our house and I still bet I would love one (They really aren't cheap), especially during the month of May when Catholic Christians honor Mary the mother of God in a special way (Look, if we can celebrate stuff like black history month, we can give the woman who was found worthy to carry Jesus Christ a month too).

This is an awesome opportunity of course to discuss our Catholic faith with our children. Why do we honor Mary? Why is she such a special woman in all of history? I definitely don't want to go into it here but I just want to mention that this is such a great month to take the opportunity to teach our children. The May crowning is such a wonderfully visual thing to engrave the teachings of our faith in our youngest children as well as the older ones. 

This Mary statue is at my parent's house. I'm so glad they had one anyway. Pray for us holy mother of God!

Here are the words to the song!

Bring flowers of the rarest,
Bring blossoms the fairest,
From garden and woodland and hillside and dale;
Our full hearts are swelling,
Our glad voices telling
The praise of the loveliest flower of the vale.

O Mary, we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May,
O Mary, we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May,

Their lady they name thee,
Their mistress proclaim thee,
Oh, grant that thy children on earth be as true
As long as the bowers
Are radiant with flowers
As long as the azure shall keep its bright hue.

O Mary, we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May,
O Mary, we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May,

Sing gaily in chorus,
The bright angels o'er us
Re-echo the strains we begin upon earth;
Their harps are repeating
The notes of our greeting,
For Mary herself is the cause of our mirth.


Another version:

Bring flowers of the fairest,
Bring flowers of the rarest,
From garden and woodland
And hillside and dale;
Our full hearts are swelling,
Our Glad voices telling
The praise of the loveliest flower of the vale.

O Mary, we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May,
O Mary, we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May,

Our voices ascending,
In harmony blending,
Oh, thus may our hearts turn
Dear Mother, to thee;
Oh, thus shall we prove thee
How truly we love thee,
How dark without Mary
Life's journey would be.

O Mary, we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May,
O Mary, we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May,

O Virgin most tender,
Our homage we render,
Thy love and protection,
Sweet Mother, to win.
In danger defend us,
In sorrow befriend us,
And shield our hearts
From contagion and sin.

O Mary, we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May,
O Mary, we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May,

Of Mothers the dearest,
Oh, wilt thou be nearest,
When life with temptation
Is darkly replete?
Forsake us, O never!
Our hearts be they ever
As Pure as the lilies
We lay at thy feet.

O Mary, we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May,
O Mary, we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May,

Monday, May 12, 2014

Black natural hair curl patterns (or lack thereof!)----It's all beautiful!

Natural black hair. This is something that finally is starting to become truly "normal" and beautiful. Part of me trying to live my life more authentically is to embrace who I am, especially my racial heritage. As a mother, especially of a mother of a daughter who is black, I want to do what I can to show my daughter that black hair is absolutely beautiful and she should be very happy to have the hair she has. What's even more interesting is looking at the variation in curl patterns (and lack of any curl pattern at all) within our growing family. My daughter has beautiful tight curly hair around the sides and at certain other points around her head but at the top cap of her head there really isn't much of a curl pattern. This can certainly be a challenge especially when trying to let her wear her hair out. A challenge I am ready to take on!

Take a look at how our children's hair patterns are different from that of us the parents and how they are similar.....

My daughter's fine little curls

My husband's curl pattern which of course you can't really see cause he cuts it so short and brushes it.

An idea of my curl pattern

My 10 month old son's curl pattern.

Beautiful isn't it??? I thank God for black natural hair. He is a creative God isn't He? If you are reading this and you are black, be thankful! You have some of the most beautiful, distinctive and unique hair on the planet! You are absolutely gorgeous. No offense at all to every other race (They are all beautiful in their own right) but I really do think that black hair is the most beautiful. As a mama, my daughter's hair especially is my canvas to be creative and show off my creativity! How awesome is that!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Free range

So we have some backyard chickens. We had been unsure about how much we should let them free range in the yard. Mainly because we have hawks around here and they  would eat them.
I tried to read up on how best to let them be free to roam, but safe from predators and it seems that we've settled on letting them free range (walk about) when we can watch them or be around enough to be aware of a threat. Just us being here will scare predators away.

It's worth it to us because we have invested in them and we really get a lot out of each and every one we have. Great compost for the garden, eggs, entertainment (especially for my daughter. Hilarious), meat (eventually), etc. Not to mention how awesome they are to use up our leftovers. Chicken scraps are great for someone like me that cannot stand to throw anything away. My fridge has never been so clean and I have not had to throw anything out between the compost and the chickens (food wise). Love it! We try our best to thank them by letting them have time outside. Thanks girls!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Improving on quick breakfasts during the week

So I have been listening to a great podcast that I really do recommend called "Cultivate Simple" at by a pretty young couple in Maine. In one episode (I think it may have been "Think before you eat") they mentioned healthier breakfasts and trying to include more protein and vegetables. I have tried this in the past. One thing they mentioned that really got me thinking was that they found themselves less hungry and more energized after eating a less carb heavy breakfast. I have noticed this in the past. It's true!
So this is what I was doing this morning. I made omlets stuffed with grated parmesan cheese, parsley and kale. I used the fresh eggs from my chickens outside. Fired up the cast iron skillet and put it all together. It really didn't take very long to do and I could just throw it into a container and eat it when I got to work. Tasted fine after cooling down still. It was a big hit for my 3 year old, 10 month old and husband! They all ate it happily. SCORE! One point for this mama!!

Mmmmmmm.....Come on, you know this looks good...even though it's not pretty.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Meager backyard garden beginnings

So it's spring! Spring is a time for me to start over with a lot of things but most of all with my garden! Last year did not work all. That's not completely true actually, but mostly. We had planted some tomatoes, cucumbers, jalapeƱo peppers, eggplant, mint, cilantro, and basil. The tomatoes were a disaster. We have a lot of shade in our backyard. Too much I think. I tried to strategically place a couple raised beds (basically just boxes that are open on the top and bottom of whatever dimension you want to plant stuff in which helps control weeds, watering, etc) in sunny spots, but we really don't have any full sunny spots in our yard. So basically, I got 2 or 3 micro tomatoes that were butt ugly out of the 5 or so plants I planted. The eggplant, peppers, and cucumbers straight up died. The cilantro grew like psycho crazy quickly and then started to make weird flowers and died. The basil was GREAT (that's an easy herb to grow I guess) but quickly grew as well and started making weird flowers and died. The mint just grew like crazy and I didn't really know what to do with it all and I just let it go crazy and wild then die in the fall. SO last year was a major fail. I pretty much planted the stuff and forgot about it though. I also realized that I needed to be more strategic when it comes to what I plant and where. Some plants will handle shade better than others. I read somewhere that the rule is "Roots and Fruits" need lots of sunlight and anything else should be ok in some shade. So lettuce is good in shade for example, but (surprise!) tomatoes are not (cause they make fruits---basically any food that comes out of a flower).
Since I'm half Ghanaian and actually cook Ghanaian food for my family, I need a lot of tomatoes. In Ghana tomatoes are a necessary staple. It's in huge pots of soup and stew. We use tomatoes all the time. So long story short, I did not completely give up on having an abundance of tomatoes with plenty of leftovers for the winter (I've frozen extras in the past and I'd love to try to do canning/jarring).
This year I moved all the raised beds to close to the house to the sunniest part (the sunny part that had grass and I didn't want to dig up last year, but oh well, I'd rather tons of tomatoes than extra grassy areas). The garden being closer to the house hopefully means that I will actually check on it every now and then. I looked up what I could grow better in some shade and threw in some that would be my "Hail Mary's" (hope that's not insulting to our Lady! I really do pray Hail Mary's for our garden!!). Guess what else? I did not know that mint is a psycho crazy plant and a perennial (comes back every year so you don't have to replant it). I looked down at my weed infested raised beds a month or two ago and realized there were tons of mint plants growing! I decided that I'm going to try to take care of them this time.
Because of the disaster last year, and me discussing all the things I want to try this year, my husband, Kobi, was pretty much like, "You're on your own this year, I'm focusing on the other gazillion things we need to be taking care of outside". To which I responded "YEEEEESSSSS!!!!!" because this means I get to do whatever I want!! LOL. And of course my plan is to be rediculopusly successful so I can be like, "You see? I'm not that crazy after all huh?"
So below are some photos of what I'm planning so far.

Chocolate mint plants
The chocolate mint is so named because of the stems which are chocolate colored. No it does not taste like chocolate (that would have been cool though).
Beets (from seed)

Here is a dandelion plant that volunteered to grow amidst the mint chaos. Did you know that every part of a dandelion (from the root on up to the yellow flower) is not only edible but good for you? I started to eat the leaves off of this baby and new leaves keep growing. I add it to my other greens. It's not bad!

Here is my hole that I dug up to plant a blueberry bush. I couldn't help myself! I want some fruits too!

My pretty blueberry bush status post planting (sorry...that was the doctor in me coming out again...will try to tuck that away again). Why, yes those are little blueberries growing that you see. Thank you so much for asking.

"Lettuce" (Yea, that's all it said. Lettuce. Aren't there different kinds of lettuce? Well this is just lettuce apparently.

And of course, my tomato plants. Yea....I got a lot. Like 9 plants or something. I'm determined to make this happen....Please God let it happen!

And this little guy sort of showed up at the wrong time for him and the right time for my daughter. Sorry Mr. Froggie. My 3 year old would love to pet you and talk to you for a few minutes. Thank you very much for your time.

I would LOVE to have some comments about gardening especially with a less than ideal backyard. Let's all educate one another. Any tips are much appreciated!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Amazing man

Obviously I'm going to be biased, but my husband is amazing.
I remember when I was younger laying in bed and I would want to pray for myself. I would be tempted of course to pray for the typical stuff, like gifts or money or whatever, but I always found something within telling me to pray for something that would really matter later. I honest to goodness really prayed for a loving devoted husband, and a happy family with children and a happy life.
Well I am happy. God is so amazing I can't stand it sometimes! Ever feel overwhelmed with how overwhelming He is? Yea.
So when I think about my husband, I want to burst. I find myself turning to him and saying "I love you!" And he's like " love u too...."
And I'm like "Kobi....You don't understand! I REALLY love YOU! You are such a blessing....."
And He's like...."yea, I luv u 2......"
It's so hard sometimes to really express how I really feel. My husband is such an amazing father. He's here for me all the time, constantly demanding more of me. Protecting me from myself. Loving me. Making me feel absolutely beautiful. I think in heaven we will have those precious feelings all the time and it will make more sense. Be more concrete. Let's thank God. We don't have to be able to express it concretely. That's why we aren't 100% of this world. We are also spiritual beings and that spiritual part won't make as much sense here.
So I'll just stare at him. God knows I'm thankful and I know how much he means to me. I can be ok with that.