Hi! There’s a free ebook today in my Freebooksy email that I thought might interest my readers. I haven’t read it yet, but I wanted to share before it’s no longer free. The title is Medicinal Herbs: The Essential Guide to Growing and Using Plants to Promote Healing and Physical Well-Being by Halle Malin. You can get it here: https://amzn.to/3RX2qBj (Note: If you use that link and then make a purchase, I will get a small commission. This is at no extra cost to you and helps me to maintain this blog. Thanks!)
Be sure to grab it ASAP. I’m not sure how long it will be free. If you read it, let me know what you think in the comments.
2-3 tablespoons of milk (original recipe called for coconut. I usually use almond milk. You can use whole milk, too.)
1/3-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cloves
¼ teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
Optional: a dash to 1/8 teaspoon of turmeric
Maple syrup, sugar or honey to taste. I like maple syrup.
Blend all ingredients together. Top with whipped cream and a dash of nutmeg. Enjoy. Repeat. 🙂
I’ve also used this basic recipe to make a pumpkin spice smoothie. All you do is swap out the coffee for the milk of your choice and add a frozen banana or a fresh banana and some ice. While it’s healthy as is, I also like to add an extra spoonful of pumpkin to up the vitamin content, as well as some chia or flax seeds. You could easily leave those out, though.
With just a few simple ingredients, you can make a yummy pumpkin spice latte inexpensively at home. I've included variations for a chai latte and smoothie, too! The recipe serves one or two, depending on how much coffee you drink. 😉
2-3Tablespoons Milk of choice.I usually use almond milk.
1/8Teaspoon ground allspice
1/8Teaspoonground tumeric (optional)
Maple syrup, sugar or honey to taste.
Whipped Cream (optional)
Blend all ingredients together.
Top with whipped cream and a dash of nutmeg. I like the non-dairy Reddi-Wip
I’ve also used this basic recipe to make a pumpkin spice smoothie. Just swap the coffee or tea for the milk of your choice and add a frozen banana or fresh banana and ice. Blend thoroughly. While it’s healthy as-is, I like to add an extra spoonful of pumpkin to up the vitamin content, as well as some chia or flax seeds. You can easily leave those out, though.
Have a happy Pumpkin season!
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Growing up, I was Belle from the Disney version of Beauty and the Beast. I always had at least one book with me at all times. Most of the time, I was actively reading one of them, regardless of what else I was doing. Surprisingly, I am no more clumsy with my nose in a book than I am fully paying attention to what I’m doing, which is to say, I’m always very clumsy.
Anyway, one of the things I love about technology is that I can bring a library’s worth of books with me everywhere in my pocket. Or purse, really, since women’s clothing doesn’t have real pockets. Don’t get me wrong. I still love my hold-in-your-hand print books with their special book smell and feel. Knowing that I will always have a book or hundred at hand to read anywhere, though, is the best for a nerd like me.
The other cool thing about ebooks is that it is easy to get a whole library for free or cheap. Here are a few of my favorite resources.
Did you know that most libraries now have a collection of ebooks and magazines to check out. My local library uses OverDrive to check out ebooks. All you need is a library card. I usually choose Kindle format, since I have an ancient Paperwhite and I use the Kindle app on my phone.
If you’re looking for a specific book or new releases, this is your best bet. You may have to wait a bit because there’s a limited number of digital copies to check out, just like books in a library.
If you happen to have a Prime account, there’s some ebook perks with Prime Reading and First Reads, so make sure you check those out, too.
Quick note: I am an Amazon Associate, so if you click on an Amazon link on my blog and then make a purchase on Amazon, I will receive a tiny commission. The price for you is the same either way, so if you are going to be shopping on Amazon anyway, I would appreciate it.
Free Booksy basically lets you know about free books in your chosen genres in a daily email. They’re books that are free for a limited time, so not the same things you would find in a free Amazon search. Most days there’s at least one book I want in the email. Right now, I tend to read more nonfiction, however if you like reading fiction series, Free Booksy often has the first in a new series for free, so it’s a great way to discover new authors. Sign up here. I’m not an affiliate, I just love the free books.
Occasionally you’ll find free or cheap ebook bundles online based on a theme, such as crafting or health and wellness. Ultimate Bundles is one site that offers them regularly. I’ve purchased bundles from them in the past that were very useful. Usually it’s something like $27 for hundreds of dollars worth of ebooks, courses, printables, etc. When I purchase one, I always make sure that there are at least three ebooks/resources included that I would purchase on their own, no question, AND they would cost me more than the total price of the bundle if purchased separately.
It doesn’t currently look like they’re promoting a bundle right now, but you can check out the website and see if what types of bundles they offer are of interest to you.
These are all resources I’ve personally used for free ebooks. I’m sure there’s plenty more out there. If you know of any, please share them in the comments. 🙂
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I’ve listed two “new” vintage fabrics in the shop, but wondering if anyone can help with giving more information about them. I love second hand materials, but not having all the details is a bit frustrating. They are:
I’ve burn tested them, and they tend to burn quickly. The burned edge seems more melted than ashy, which leads me to believe they are a synthetic or a synthetic blend. Here’s a video of the beige burn test:
The violet fabric burns in the same way.
I’m also not sure if there is a name for that type of tiny stripe pattern. Up close you can see the lines, but from a distance it almost looks solid.
I love candles and wax melts, but I hate it when there’s a little left in the bottom of a jar or the wax has lost it’s scent. I don’t want to just throw the wax away. If it’s a jar candle, I won’t throw it a way, so it ends up taking up space waiting for me to find a new use for it.
I’ve always been interested in candle making, but I honestly don’t know much about the correct way to do it. This is just my, for me, kind of chaotic, fun way of using up the leftover wax scraps and jars. If you try to join in my chaos, always take care with the melting, pouring and burning, make sure everything you use is safe for this usage and never leave anything burning or melting unattended.
My solution is to melt down the wax and make my own candles in the old jars. I bought this wick set for the wicks. I start by picking the jar I want to use and then putting in the same number of wicks that were originally in the jar.
For the candles in the above photo, the one on the left was originally a three wick candle, so it got three wicks. The one on the right was a yogurt jar, so I just guessed and went with one wick.
After the wicks are in place, I melt down any scrap wax I have and pour it in. Usually, I do this a little at a time as I finish other candles, rather than all at once. That gives it the cool sand art layered look.
With jar candles, to get the last bit of wax out, if I don’t pour it while it’s still melted from the last time I burned the candle, I set the jar on my coffee warmer (do not leave it unattended!). Wax melts just get melted as usual and poured into the jar.
I do try to keep the candles mostly the same type of wax. In the photo, the big candle on the left is made from candle wax ends. The yogurt jar candle is made of soy wax melts with a little of the tea light wax remnants added.
For scent, most of the candles I burn are in the same spicy or vanilla scent family. Since the leftover candle wax usually has a good bit of scent left, I don’t worry about adding my own. With the wax melts, I either just leave them as they are and have a mild to unscented candle, or I add a drop or two of an essential or fragrance oil to each layer as I pour it.
I don’t know if my chaos candle making method will help anyone else, but I have fun with it, and the resulting candles are pretty. It’s also a way to reduce waste and save money.
This post does contain an Amazon affiliate link. If you click on the link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.
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I realized a few days ago that my favorite pair of denim jeans were wearing through at the inner thigh, so I set them aside to reinforce before they were beyond the point of easy repair.
This morning, I planned to mend them and then tackle adding patches to an older denim skirt refashion. I got all those repairs done and was planning my next project when I ripped the knee out of the jeans I’m wearing.
These are honestly worn pretty thin and they’re not my preferred cut, so I’m not sure if I will mend these or add them to the repurpose pile.
If you’d like to learn my method for reinforcing worn spots in denim, check out this blog post. It’s actually really simple and works well, if you don’t procrastinate. If you procrastinate, then all your jeans wear out at once and you think, “Maybe I should just go get a pair of the ones I like from Old Navy,” but then you discover that they have discontinued that particular style and now you think you’ll never find comfortable jeans again, which is sad because you really like wearing jeans. Or something.
Many people eat gluten free (g-free, gf), either by choice or need. For those with celiac, eliminating gluten is an absolute necessity. Others find that, for one reason or another, they feel better when they avoid it. In my case, I kind of accidentally discovered that joint pain in my hands and feet go away and I’m less brain foggy when I avoid gluten. Other family members suffer from breakouts and rashes that flare whenever they eat something with gluten. I strongly believe that if you feel bad after eating something, you should probably stop eating it, so we do our best to avoid gluten all together.
Eliminating something that is such a big part of your diet is daunting at first, but there are a few things that can make the transition easier and less expensive. These tips focus on gluten, but many will also help if you need to eliminate other foods.
1. Start with real foods
Processed foods often have hidden fillers and ingredients, and specialty gluten free foods are expensive. In contrast, fruits, vegetables, meat, nuts, beans, eggs and dairy are naturally gluten free in their pure forms. Rice is a grain that does not contain gluten. Starting from scratch with real food ingredients that you know naturally don’t have gluten is often easier and definitely cheaper than scrutinizing food labels and buying special gluten free versions of normally wheat based foods.
2. Go simple with seasonings
For the most part, single herbs and spices are gluten free. Certain spice blends may have gluten, though. Making your own blends is the safest bet, but if you have a spice blend you love, most manufacturer websites list whether their products contain gluten.
While not technically an herb or spice, most soy sauce contains gluten. La Choy is a major brand that is made without gluten. Bragg’s liquid aminos are another form of g-free soy sauce.
Most vinegar is g-free. Malt vinegar is not. You’ll also want to check the label on flavored vinegar to be sure.
Cooking oils don’t have gluten unless seasoned with something containing gluten.
3. Find your current gluten free staples
Look at the foods that currently stock your pantry. What things that you buy are already gluten free? For us, we usually keep a box or two of cereal around for snacking or a quick breakfast. Most cereals are made with wheat and therefore have gluten, but some that we already bought, like Honey Nut Cheerios, Lucky Charms and Rice Chex are gluten free. Knowing that, I can continue to keep a box or two of cereal we already liked on hand.
Likewise, we keep tortilla chips on hand for snacking or nachos. Most tortilla chips don’t have gluten and inexpensive. Since gluten free crackers are both hard to find and usually expensive, tortilla chips are an easy cracker substitute as well.
4. Look for the easy substitute
Like substituting tortilla chips for crackers, there are other easy swaps. Corn tortillas usually don’t have gluten and can be substituted for flour tortillas. Rice is often a good substitute for pasta, or substitute rice noodles. If you have an Asian grocery nearby, you can usually find rice noodles there for cheaper than a mainstream supermarket, as well as leafy greens and spices for cheap.
5. Make it yourself
It’s fairly easy to find gluten-free flour now, so making your own gluten free cookies, pizza crusts, pancakes, breads, etc. is a good option. I love Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 gluten free flour. With it, I can continue to make my favorite deserts just by substituting it for wheat flour. There are other good gluten free flours on the market, too. The most important thing is to know if it is blended to be an exact 1 to 1 substitute or if you need to add something like xanthan gum to give it the stretchiness and rise that you usually get from gluten. For example, Bob’s Red Mill has an All Purpose Gluten Free Flour that is not the 1 to 1 blend. It is a little denser and does not have xanthan gum already blended. I like blending it with tapioca flour, which adds some stretchiness. That works well for things like gluten free flour tortillas. For things that need to rise, though, like cakes or breads, I also add xanthan gum if I’m using the all purpose and not the 1 to 1 blend.
6. When buying gluten free, shop around
Sometimes you really just want to get some gluten free penne pasta or a g-free bagel. More and more grocery stores regularly stock g-free pastas, breads and desserts, but they can be pricey. If you find them on sale, stock up and freeze the extras. Alternative grocery stores sometimes offer better prices, too. Aldi has a decent selection of g-free breads, pastas, and baking mixes at a lower price than most other stores. I even found some gluten free donuts there recently.
Locally, we have a surplus/discount/closeout grocery store called Town Talk. They frequently have udi’s bread in the range of two loaves for $3.00. I periodically stop in and stock up when I can.
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