12600 Pelican Beach Road, Merrifiled, MN (218) 851-1937
Herb Basket, Living Naturally, Ranch Life, Thyme Out

 Why Make your own organic potting soil mix?

This is such an easy thing to do and really is much healthier for you. Plus, it will save you a bit more money than going out and buying a premade bag of potting soil. Making your own organic potting soil will feel great and your seedlings and plants will thank you! 


If you need some ideas for what to put your seedlings in you can go HERE

If your new to getting started with seedlings, HERE is a few of our ranch tips.

Things to know what a good potting mix will do:

  • * Will be firm enough to support the plant
  • * Contribute light enough to allow air and water to flow with minimal compaction

* Be free of weed seeds and potential pathogens




Coconut Coir: In may potting mix recipes they call for peat moss, but since there is many debates regarding mining from peat bogs, I decided to use the coir instead. Coconut coir is a by-product of the coconut-processing industry and is ground up coconut husk fibers. How cool is that? It is wonderful for retaining water. I got mine in a brick form so you have to soak it in water before it is ready to use. If you like peat moss in your recipe, substitute it 1:1.

 

Perlite: Perlite is a volcanic rock. It holds water and helps to aerate the soil and keep it from compacting. Some folks also use vermiculite or plain old course sand in place of Perlite in some potting soil recipes.

 

Compost: LOVE this stuff. First, it is the soil you made from all those left over scrapes! Ours are filled with tea herbs so how wonderful this will be to use in my potting mix! Just make sure the compost is “finished’ or it will burn your plants or introduce weed seeds into your pots. Use the finest part of the compost you can get. I had to sift a bit to get out some chunks.

 

DIY Potting Soil Recipe

(the affiliate links helps our ranch ministry)

 

A “part” can be anything you use for a measuring device. Like a cup, bucket, can, etc. All depends on how much you need to make.

 

If your coir is in a block you will need to add water to it. I used my hands and worked it until it was really moist.

Next, mix the coir and your compost. Add more water as it makes it easier to work with. I like it damp to easily work.

Add your Perlite, stir it well and BAM…your ready to fill those planters! Congrats you little homesteader you!

Let me know what you think! Send a picture or comment how your seedlings did using your own orgainc potting soil recipe!

God’s blessings as you plant HIS goodness, naturally!
Love deeper, talk sweeter,
Lee

 

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Crafts, Ranch Life, Sewing
Oh boy! These quilted gift baskets are SOOO adorable I can’t even stand it! 

I had a hard time at first, partly because the directions were hard for me to understand, but once I got them, well…look I made a TON! I couldn’t stop!

I am a beginner sewer and making these quilted baskets wasn’t difficult once I made one.  The video is to help others like me and make the process a little quicker.




One of the things I love the most is the versatility and the 3 different materials. The ribbon effect all around just makes the basket as well! 

Take note, I put fleece in some of the handles and the ones that didn’t have it are droopy so I would recommend putting that in. Also if you have a button attachment to your machine, do those ahead before folding the bag and sewing edges. Just a couple of things I learned along the way and am passing along to you.

Here is the link to the FREE DOWNLOAD from Hugs and Holly!

Here is a video on a step by step: 

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Crafts, Paper/Cards, Ranch Life
WOW! When I saw  Stampin’ Up! got a new set called the Barn Door I just about flipped out! I LOVE barn doors! I love them for our closest, for our tack shack and of course it just fits who we are. SO to have a stamping set that I can make fun cards with well…the frosting is on the cake!

Some things you will need for this set…
Big Shot
Card Stock (I prefer SU! but if you shop on line here is a good one)
Barn Set and matching template cut outs are from Stamping’ Up! If you need a demonstrator, let me know via email or in comments. I would love to hook you up withs some gals I know!

Below is a video showing it step by step as it is a bit tricky and time consuming at first. However when you get the SWING of it…well…you will be hooked! SOOOOO CUTE!!

Here is the video so you can watch it step by step…..




I did take some time to make up a bunch of the framlet cut outs. I put them into a container I can use later. It will make it easier when I want to make a card but don’t have as much time. 
Also, you can use instead of the washer, a 1/2″ punch.   The 3/4″ was better for me, but you decide. Use a heavier card stock when you do. 

Here are my creations:







Ok I have to do something else.  This set is just amazing and I am getting nothing else done!

I actually have a couple more I will post later.
You will love it!!! 
I am indeed in heaven as I created these. I hope you will give it a try and POST YOUR creations below. I love inspiration and I am sure others will too!

God’s blessing as you bless others with homemade stamped cards!

Love deeper, talk sweeter,
Lee
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Food, Ranch Life, Treats
We are rockin’  around with excitement here at the Minnesota homestead! Our Vikings have made the playoffs and the game day festivities begin! YEP, I got into the kitchen and made these fun cookie shots especially for our special celebration for our boys in purple and gold! 

These cookie shots can be made with any favorite cookie dough recipe and filled with chocolate malts, to smoothies. We filled ours with ice cream as they were a perfect evening game treat.


I think you will find these pretty easy. I love how you can melt almond bark or candy chocolates and dip them into different colors to get a fun colorful effect on the outside as well as on the inside to hold any liquid. Since I filled mine with ice cream, there was no need to use the chocolate. (did I say that out loud)

You will need to purchase one of cookie shot pans 

For the Cookie:

Ingredients:

1 cup softened butter

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1 tsp pure vanilla

1 drop Organic lemon essential oil

2 tbsp cocunut milk

3 cups flour

1 ½ tsp of baking powder

½ tsp salt

Blend your first six ingredients. Then slowly add your flour one cup at a time along with the remaining ingredients. Mix well and put in refrigerator while you prepare your shot pan. If you want different colors of dough, you can separate them at this time too. 



I use Turmeric for yellows, Beet Root Powder or juice for pinks and reds. Purples I had to break down and use the color here

To decorate your rim:

Frosting or melted chocolate, and dipped into colored sugar or sprinkles of your choice






Chocolate should be almond bark or candy chocolate



The frosting mixture I used:
1 cup of powdered sugar
1 tbsp of coconut milk
1 drop   Citrus Passion
Mix and add the color you want. If too runny, add a little more powdered sugar until you get the thickness you want.


So raise your little cute cookie shots filled with ice cream, smoothies, or whipping cream, even milk and SKOL to the Vikings!

God bless you and enjoy the winter months with fun recipes for you and your family!

Love deeper, talk sweeter,
Lee
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Food, Healthy Eating, Ranch Life

Our favorite homemade ranch style pancakes with a touch of lemon flavor is just enough to start your day with a boost!

One thing, if you use the lemon essential oil which I HIGHLY recommend, use only 1-2 drops. You can also add some real lemon zest too, but this is a wonderful way to add essential oils to your culinary cooking! Also, make sure you PUT THE ESSENTIAL OIL WITH YOUR MELTED BUTTER. This allows the oil to mix well as oil with oil gives the best over all flavor and won’t ruin the good properties of the  essential oil.


2 whole lemons or 2 drops of Lemon Essential oils

2 1/4 cup of Almond milk

1 cup of Almond milk creamer

2 tbsp Vanilla

3 cups flour

¼ cup sugar

2 tbsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

2 whole eggs, beaten

¼ cup butter, melted

 

Directions:

Zest both lemons. Set aside. If your using the essential oil, mix your 2 drops with the melted butter. Measure the milk and add the juice of one lemon or your essential oil and butter. Stir and let sit for 5 or so minutes and then stir in the vanilla.

Stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. . Pour in the lemons mixture, stirring gently. When its half mixed, stir in the eggs.  If your batter is too think add a little more milk.

Heat your iron skillet over medium heat. Next add butter to grease your skillet, drop in ¼ cup of batter and pour onto skillet. Cook first side until you see bubbles and flip and cook until golden brown.


Lastly is the Elderberry syrup which I have here on my blog.  Pour over your pancakes and enjoy goodness.

Now let me know what you think! I want to hear especially if this is your first time using essential oils in your culinary cooking! So proud of you!

Enjoy!

God’s blessings!

Love deeper, talk sweeter,
Lee

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Bible Journaling, Ministry, Ranch Life, Ranch Life

Do you have days; maybe whole seasons where you just need a boost of faith? Are you experiencing times of loneliness, defeat, or just plain emptiness? Is life throwing you some curve balls that are overwhelming you right now? Maybe it is just a season of nothing exciting happening. Your just feeling BLAH!!

These are warning signs to quickly turn to God’s word to GIVE YOU A BOOST!

I read this passage today and took out my illustrated faith creative kit, and began mediating on this passage. Hebrews 11:3. “By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.” 
We have no idea what God has planned. But resting in faith helps us hang on!

 

Oh MY, you can’t help but get a boost! Look at each verse in the chapter.
Each of them has a story behind them that will bring your heart and mind to awe.

WHY? Because each story has a character like you and me, we can begin to relate in some way. You will  have no doubt that there is a God who is watching over you when you experience the Lord working during your down seasons. He indeed has power to help you overcome your dark times here on earth.

Some of the stories, which I believe are all true and indeed happened, bring me immediately to a place of comfort because they show me God is in control They show me that in all things, God brings together for our good.

 

Let me share on a personal note.

 

Four years ago we had our horses boarded at a near by farm. For three years we did our ministry from this barn. It was wonderful as it had a heated indoor facility, huge outdoor arena, and beautiful trails. We just loved it there, and the folks who ran it were awesome. It really was perfect. We also had this property, which we are now on, but the Lord was not opening the doors for us to be on this property. At times I would walk this land and pray and hope ministry would indeed happen here. That it would become a full on ministry in our own area that we called True North Ranch. I would walk the land and the Lord would give me pictures of what it would soon look like. Imagining a road here, a fence there, the horses eating, and ministry happening.

 

But it just wasn’t happening.

 

One spring day in early April, we had the yearly vet day. As the boarders, me, and the owners were busy getting horses into the stalls preparing for the vet visit, it seemed a little weird. The owners weren’t their happy selves. The owner came in head down, no smile or greeting and proceeded to close the barn doors. She remained somber and quiet and went on to share that she had some bad news.

My heart dropped.

 

Someone had reported their barn as not being compliant with the area laws and turned them in. (ALL NOT TRUE to the extent they were demanding). The authorities told them they could no longer have boarding horses. We were devastated. All of us! We were saddened that our friends all standing before us were hurting and going through this and at the same time thinking what WE would do. (As if our God didn’t have a plan)

 

The worst thing the owner shared was we needed to be out by June 1. THAT WAS ONLY 2 MONTHS away!

But the Lord our GOD had a plan!

We had this property. This property just sitting there waiting for the right time. The property in its beauty full of trees, yet… no road, no electricity, no running water, no shelter, no no no…..just trees.

I was excited at the thought of having the horses now on the property, but in the process of excitement I worried about all that had to be done. In two months no less!

Here in Hebrews Chapter 11….my story…In 2 months God rocked! Every day. Every moment, He provided. He provided funds for fencing, automatic water, horse shelter, pump house, round pen, roads, and hay. HE PROVIDED IN HIS TIME and in the right moment.

It wasn’t easy. It didn’t happen over night. But the Lord took what was an awful stressful time…and turned it into awesome.

Only a GOD who cares and loves you can do such a thing!

You have a Chapter 11 faith stories too. You need to look back on what the Lord has done so you can remember how GOOD HE is. By remembering a past trauma and how God brought you through, will get you through the rough patches you are going through right now.

It’s a faith booster! One we all need!

 

Journaling is wonderful because of this. You can go back and look at faith stories of your own. Recalling HIS workmanship in your life gives you strength!

It works for me every time!!!

The stories are my BOOSTS both in the word in and my own.

Get a BOOST of faith today. Journal, create a faith memory, and share it with others who too may need a boost! Being grateful is also a very helpful tool during your time of boosting!

God bless you!

Love deeper, talk sweeter,

Lee

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Crafts, Paper/Cards, Ranch Life
Do you ever wish you had some creative way to give a small gift to friends for family? Just something that can be quick to make and easy to fill?

These cute boxes only take some fun background paper and a little do dad here and there. Imagination goes a long way to set the stage for your gift. I always think of the personality or something special about the person to give the gift box a special touch. 

Especially fun is what you put inside! I put homemade tea bags in one of mine along with a cookie snack. This gives the idea for the person to relax and enjoy a cup of tea.
(of course I would only use homemade tea blends)

Below I give you other ideas for you to get the picture. So get creative and have a blast with these!

With Valentine’s coming up I know there would be teachers who would adore one of the boxes!

 

 

I used a scorer in my cutter.

I love this tool! It extends to 12×12 size paper which I use a ton when making envelopes. 

I have this set of horses I use ALL the time! I can use watercolor techniques or my new blender markers! LOVE LOVE!


Here are some of my favorite background papers GREAT price too…
Flic Flac
Western Looks
Petite Prints
Lawn Fawn


Just loved making all these fun cards for ones I love! 

Enjoy being creative and let me know how you like them…even send a picture! 
God’s blessings as you give to others of your time and talents!

Love deeper, talk sweeter,
Lee

 

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Health, Living Naturally, Ranch Life
Love these quick to use toilet bubbles! I won’t call them what the world is calling them…just don’t like the term, so bubbles is my word! I love these because it only takes a minute to drop them into your toilet and scrub and clean quickly! For this time of year with bugs flying around getting sick easily, well I need a quick and easy cleaner. Plus, it is all natural keeping our home free of unwanted chemicals!

Isn’t it nice to know you can have your children help do the chores around the home because you don’t have to worry about the harsh chemicals in the products they are using? I AM! Breathing in toxins like bleach can be extremely harmful especially over time. So get rid of the junk and make NEW, CLEAN, AND FREE of harmful ingredients!

Here ya go…easy to make, easy to use!

1/2 Cup citrus acid
1 1/2 cup baking soda
30 drops of Immune Strength essential oil
30 drops of Organic Lemon essential oil
You can add another favorite oil if you like, I love the citrus ones like Orange, Lime, or Tangerine.
1/4 cup Water, may need more
Silicone candy trays

1) Mix first 2 ingredients. I use a whisk for this.
2) Next add your essential oils. Mix well.
3) For the water you will want to add slowly just a little at time, and mix with your hands. You will add as much water as needed to make the mixture stick together.

You will feel like your childhood days of playing with wet sand. Once it holds together, you can put into your molds.


Once filled, let dry for about an hour than take a knife and scrape the top to get them smooth. 
Any left over from your bowl or this process put in your toilet and have a good clean!

Allow to dry for 24 hours before placing them in an air tight container. I use a mason jar of course!

I assure you by switching to using all natural home cleaning supplies will make you and your family healthier and free from harsh chemicals. Congrats on making that choice today!


Plop in your bubbles and see how wonderful your bowl will be!
God’s blessings,

Love deeper, talk sweeter,
Lee
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Health, Living Naturally, Peace, Ranch Life
I came across this word at just the right time! Hygge…what in the world? But it fit! It fit the day. It fit my mood. It just plain fit!

And now, I am creating Hygge Day! I think I will even make a card and give to friends in need of a Hygge day. Do you need a Hygge day? 

Hygge is a Scandinavian word for coziness with feelings of wellness and contentment. Do you feel Hygge? Do you feel your well and content? If not, what can you do to get you there?



Here is a tip for the physical Hygge…get well. Get on the band wagon and get your gut healthy first and start making some choices that improve your day to day life. First, simplify. Next, REST more take time to enjoy the Lord and HIS goodness.

Lastly, make a plan to make wellness choices like a great Probiotic. (Click the Plexus link to learn more)
Get RID OF BOXED FOOD! Make homemade from scratch and of course…
get some exercise. 
 An emotional Hygge tip…


How about a spa bath with your favorite essential oils?
Oh, and some tea of course!


It says in Wikipedia that the Danish and Norwegian’s see this as another word for HUG and getting together with others. So there ya go. HUG and invite friends to Hygge with ya! 




Never the less, Hygge is a word reminder to have cozy time relaxing and enjoying life. Which really is the foundation of wellness. Less stress, focus on others, love more!
I JUST LOVE this word!

It’s fun to get creative

and have a HYGGE DAY!
Make a special meal…
invite a friend over for some hot tea and warm conversation…


Enjoy being creative and implementing a Hygge Lifestyle!

Try it!

It’s fun!

God’s blessings’ and Happy Hygge Day!
Love deeper, talk sweeter,
Lee
                                                                    
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Food, Healthy Eating, Ranch Life

Well, yep around here folks are getting excited not only because of the Vikings doing so well, but the super bowl is right here in our home state of Minnesota! So game day appetizers for the big gatherings will be on the fans mind. These no guilt Tater Tots are sure to be a crowd pleaser!

Dan and I don’t watch football much just because we enjoy being outside on Sunday afternoons working around the ranch or going for a trail ride. But when the big game comes, we usually will gather some friends and settle in to watch the game. Since it’s here in Minnesota it should also bring some excitement as well.  

These cute little delights will make you feel good when serving them not only because they are delightful in taste, but that they are chuck full of good for you ingredients. I think you will love them too! 

Enjoy and Happy Game Day!



Ingredients:

1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced

2 clove of garlic, minced

1 drop sage essential oil

¼ tsp ground smoked paprika

¼ of Himalayan salt

1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed mixed with 3 tablespoon of water

2 tbsp of coconut flour

 

Directions:

 

  1. Preheat oven 400 degrees
  2. Bring a pot of water to a boil and place your diced sweet potatoes in boiling water. Cook until a folk can piece through but not squishy.
  3. Place the cooked sweet potato’s and rest of ingredients in a food processor and pulse until combined.
  4. Take a tablespoon of the mixture and form your tator tot. and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
  5. Bake for 10-15 minutes both sides making sure they are crispy. Love them up with a sauce! (Below)

 

Dan’s kickin’ Sriracha Dip:

¼ cup of sour cream

¼ cup of light mayo

1-2 tsp of Sriracha sauce

Mix….YUMMMY!

 

Sweet Tooth Dip (Lee’s idea)

 

¼ cup of sour cream

¼ cup of mayo

1 tbsp honey or maple syrup

1 tsp paprika

Mix and become delighted!

 

Honey Mustard

2 tbsp of Dijon mustard

2 tbsp honey

1 tsp melted coconut oil

1 tsp coconut milk

1 tsp coconut flour

Dash of sea salt to taste

Mix


Comment below if you tried these and how your loved ones liked them!

God’s blessings, enjoy the game!
Love deeper, talk sweeter,
Lee

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Food, Healthy Eating, Living Naturally, Ranch Life, Treats

OOO La La! I love Elderberry and it is SOOOO awesome for you! Elderberry is our GO TO herb when we are coming down with something and especially if we already are in need of a boost.

 You can easily make this up and keep in your refrigerator for up to 3 months. We take 2 Tbsp of it a day when a bug is going around. Sniffles, sneezes, coughs, you name it, we start taking our Elderberry Syrup. (recipe below)

Once you have the base you can make up some fun drinks with it. Of course we put a tablespoon in our tea especially our Christmas blend, but I also have some other favorites below. I think you will find them enjoyable for the whole family!

We call them MOCKTAILS because we don’t put any liquor in our drinks. You can, but that is the reason for the name…MOCK…pretend cocktail. My dad use to call them fox tails, along with the Shirley Temple…ahhhh fun memories.

Anyway, here ya go…hope you like it. If you have a favorite way to use elderberries, post it! I love getting as much use out of this wonderful herb!


I like using some fun glasses when I serve these up. It just makes it look pretty and fun!




Add 1/4 to 1/3 cup of Elderberry syrup base (recipe below)
Fill remaining glass with Blood Orange Sparkling Juice
Top with an orange slice if you like


This next one is fun! I made up some of our favorite tea during the day, Christmas Tea Blend…which has Hibiscus and Raspberry herbs in it. Plus a whole lot of fun spices like clove, and cinnamon. So what a perfect drink. 
In a  mason jar glass:
put 1/2 cup of your tea cooled
3 Tbsp of Elderberry syrup
Fill glass with crushed ice
Put a lid on your jar and shake.
Take the flat part of the lid and pour into your fun glass about 1/2 full.
Fill glass with Club soda to give it the fizz. 
I added frozen raspberries on the top and serve.


Last one is just adding cream to your Mocktail! Use any recipe and just add a little heavy cream on the top. So pretty and fun for all ages and GOOD FOR YOU! For the most part!

*Elderberry Syrup

1 cup fresh or 1/2 cup dried Elderberries
3 cups water
1 cup raw honey
1 cinnamon stick, 3 cloves, and tablespoon of ginger root
Place berries, spices, and water into a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Pour mixture into strainer over an easy pour bowl. Smash berries to release remaining juice and get all that goodness into your bowl. Allow to cool and add your honey. Stir. Pour into a mason jar or pretty bottle that seals well. Store in refrigerator for up to 3 months.

*When you purchase items with the highlighted links or by clicking banners, all proceeds go to our ministry helping kids who are in need of healing and hope. Thank you!

Enjoy these wonderful drinks and celebrate with goodness and wellness!

Love deeper, talk sweeter,
Lee
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Bible Journaling, Ministry, Ranch Life

Do you have a focus word for every new year? Have you ever chosen a word you need to reflect on and make a part of your daily life?

I didn’t until two years ago and I love having this special word to remind, refresh, and renew my soul!  One year I had JOY, last year I had Overcome, this year…REST!





Throughout many days in December I asked the Lord what word do I need to focus on, draw my days around, work on for my own health, help me be a better wife, mom, and missionary? The Lord brought REST into my mind. Over and over…it just kept creeping into my mind as I was working around the ranch and our home. 

Rest!

So REST it is!


What does it mean for me? For one thing it is something the Lord desires for our best. The Lord repeats it many times throughout scripture and HIS first mention of it is in the very first book,
Genesis 1:5. “God called the light “day” and the darkness “night”. And evening passed and morning came, marking the first day.” See it there? He stopped working for a time. Resting. 


God goes on making land and sea, vegetation, lights in the sky our sun and moon, animals, and us. Each day He rested at the end. Our Lord didn’t run off and do something else that quickly needed to be done. He didn’t indulge in food or watching TV. He rested.

Moving onto chapter 2:2 God begins with a final detail. “On the seventh day God finished His work of creation, SO HE RESTED”(emphases mine) from all His work.” 

Resting is tricky. We can easily think cleaning up the kitchen, organizing a closet or office, or folding laundry is resting. Even watching TV or playing a game as a family can be thought of as resting. I think sometimes working around the ranch is restful like picking up manure or grooming the horse. But really, that’s work not rest.

 So we have to go back to what God’s definition of rest is.  It’s all about fixing our thoughts on HIM. Resting in HIM. 


Taking a walk is my favorite time of resting. We live in a beautiful area of deep woods. No people, no traffic, nothing but the sound of all those things the Lord has made.  Fixing my thoughts on HIM is easier when there are no distractions plus I am truly refreshed and rested when I am finished. 

Resting is important to God so much so He planted it in the very beginning. He desires for HIS children to be refreshed, rejuvenated, and rested!

We can THINK that doing other things are resting but really…it’s running. In the end, you will be running into more  physical and mental exhaustion. True rest. What does it look like?

Getting alone with God. whether it’s a walk, cuddling up with a good helpful book and a cup of tea, watching a sunrise or sunset, or  journaling are great ways to rest your mind and body. Trail riding is always a restful time but not often workable as well as it can be stressful if the boys are feisty. Plus, I love spending time with my husband but chatting away isn’t always restful. So finding and doing restful things that are accessible and best for my mind and spirit are key.

My goal for 2018 will be a year I will focus on rest. I will start my day finding verses on rest, journaling, and living my day thinking of the importance of resting in my Father’s arms. He desires the best…so I will listen and obey, peacefully and gladly!

After all, isn’t just the sound of rest give you peace?  Running just feels exhausting even typing it, so why do I choose running vs. resting? Human nature I guess.

Prayerfully, I hope you too will find rest in 2018. The Lord hopes so too!
Here are some scriptures I found on REST to begin your journey…

Genesis 1
Genesis 2:2-5
Exodus 20:8-10
Exodus 23:12
Exodus 33:14
Psalm 4:8
Psalm 23
Psalm 55:6
Psalm 127:2
Isaiah 14:3-4
Matthew 11: 28-30 (Favorite)
Mark 2:27
Mark 6:31
Hebrews 4:9-11 (another favorite)

There are many more…search…rest…and enjoy Jesus time!

This gal’s blog has some great FREE downloads and wonderful tips! Check it out!

God bless you year…may it be a restful one!
Love deeper, talk sweeter,
Lee
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Bible Journaling, Ministry, Overcome, Peace, Ranch Life

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased.” Luke 2:14
I have been pondering and journaling this verse all week and one word just poured over me. Peace over stress. Is it possible? Well, I believe yes! No, I CHOOSE to believe yes.

Imagine, being pregnant, or your wife is. You have to travel at the worst time because the government has an order. You get to your destination and they lost your reservation and to top it off, you go into labor so you find the next best place, a barn. (I think this would be kinda cool, but still scary)

Have you ever had so much stress in a day, a week, a month , or year? Does it ever seem like there is no hope in your situation? 

 

The thing is, the angels on that day declared Peace on earth. God had a plan. His plan? For peace to be in people’s hearts. Yet here’s the thing, it will only impact ones who sincerely get the reality that a baby Who’s name is Jesus, came into the world for them, YOU and ME! And to accept it.

Peace only comes to ones who want to see AND experience the peace from the pressures of this world.

 

Just like in the Christmas story with Mary, Joseph, and their new baby we see stress. Stress happens, it builds and it seems like the struggle will never stop!

 



However, when we choose to have peace in the One who is Peace, He can bring calm with in the storm. Flowing rapidly within your heart!

It won’t matter to you what the doctor tells you, what a person says bad about you, what is happening in the world. “The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phill. 4:7
I personally experience this peace when I hear bad news. Having cancer. Losing my dad. My oldest deciding and becoming a police officer AND moving 1600 miles away. Plus a ton more! Stress happens daily. But it is always in the CHOICE of how we choose to deal with that stress. 

How would you love to embrace a peace that nothing can pierce through? How is that possible?

First, it’s through acceptance. Accepting you are a sinner, that every day won’t be a wonderful, peachy day but you will trust God through it.

Next… and this is a tough one…don’t waste time thinking things over and over in your mind. Worrying, repeating the situation in your mind, instead, choose to set “your affection on things above.” Colossians 3:2

Lastly, give thanks in every moment you can . Set you mind to bring everything to prayer instead of fretting over things you can not fix. Phill. 4:6 “In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be know to God.” Have you Thanked GOD for a problem, situation, relationship issue, or any bad news? YES this verse is saying IN EVERYTHING be prayerful and thankful! It’s hard, but I did this for the first time several years ago when our son almost died. I THANKED God. Why? Because within thanking Him for the 19 months I had with Mitch, I was giving him back to Jesus. God knows and HE is in control. There is SO much Peace in receiving that one truth!

God will turn all things to good…He promises!

 

So this season, think of the First Holy Family, starting out stressful, in a corrupt world, yet finding peace that this new child is the born King Who is called, Prince of Peace!


May your season this year and next be filled with HIS Peace that ONLY HE CAN GIVE!
In Jesus Name!
LOVE DEEPER, TALK SWEETER,
Lee

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Food, Ranch Life, Treats

We do love root beer around here! Especially with a little ice cream and the homemade touch. We also love to have it on our pizza nights! It all just is down home goodness! 

 

I have always been fascinated with the ol’ time flavor and the name sarsaparilla. There really is a difference in taste! It is stronger and really more delightful with the tastes of herbs like real vanilla and licorice root. Just amazing flavors pop out! I think you will like this!

This recipe makes a quart of syrup that you can use to make your root beer and as syrup over your favorite ice cream too.

 

For any occasion you will impress your family and friends with this special drink!

 

So here ya go:

 

4 cups of water

¼ sassafras bark

2 tbsp organic anise seed

2 organic vanilla beans or 4 tbsp of pure vanilla extract

½ tsp organic licorice root

10 organic juniper berries

3 large organic hops flowers (optional but love the flavor)

 

 

How to Make:

 

Place 4 cups of water in pot and bring to boil. Add sassafras bark and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Strain the herbs using a large mesh strainer. Measure the resulting liquid and add ½ part of honey. To 1 part liquid. So if you have 2 cups of liquid add 1 cup of honey.

 

To make into a soda:

 

You can add your homemade root beer syrup to a sparkling soda machine or add Club soda to your syrup. Depending on taste you add however much syrup to your soda mixture.

Of course, serve in a mason jar to get that ol’ fashioned look! These are nice too for your everyday tea blend making or recipes. 

ENJOY it we sure did!!!

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Food, Ranch Life
Side dishes are hard for me. I don’t like the starch and added calories, but sometimes it fits the dish. So when I decide to do a side dish I love the ol’ Fettuccine Alfredo and popping in the ranch flavors of herbs we love as well!

I did take out the cream that is often put into the sauce, and it takes awesome just knowing it’s not in there and taste great!

When you can, try and use fresh ingredients. It gets hard for us not only living in Minnesota and not having fresh produce all year round, but we also live over 30 minutes from town. So when I can, I freeze my herbs when I grow them in the summer.  I will do the same with fruit like peaches, and berries.

We love to eat fresh all year round so we have to can or freeze to have those special flavors.


Here is what you need: 

1 pound of Fettuccine Noodles
2 cups of Almond Milk
1/2 cup of Almond Milk Creamer, Vanilla or Hazelnut
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 stick of butter, unsalted
1 1/2 cup of Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
Fresh Basil
Fresh Parsley 
Salt and Pepper to taste
Ramekians Cups

Directions:
1) Fill a large pot with water and add some sea salt. 
2) Once it comes to a boil, drop in your fettuccine. Cook for 6-9 minutes. You want them a little al dente. Tender, but still firm.
3) While the noodles are cooking begin your sauce. In a sauce pan, melt butter. Add garlic. Cook for 2 minutes.
4) Add your milk and creamer and continue to stir. 
5) While stirring add you parmesan cheese, basil and parsley. Continue stirring until slightly thicker. 
6) Add you salt and pepper to taste, keep warm while you plate the noodles.

Your sauce will get thicker while it sits for a few minutes. When you don’t use real cream, the thickening is different, but tastes amazing! My hubby didn’t even notice! I added fresh basil which is just a must!

Add more cheese on top with more basil if you like!
SO yummy and healthier than other recipes!


Enjoy and God’s blessing upon you today!
Love deeper, talk sweeter,
Lee
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Crafts, Ranch Life
We indeed love our coffee, tea, and cocoa especially this time of year! Being outside most of our day we fill up an airpot full of one of these beverages which sure keeps us motivated.

Indeed, having a place for my teas has been a challenge. So I asked my hubby to build me a shelf that I can put items on. I love the idea of coffee bars you see on Pinterest but none of them fit our tiny kitchen. Instead together Dan and I created what would fit for us and of course the ranch life. 


I put chalk labels on the jars for my teas so they can be anything that fits into your lifestyle. You can fill them with cocoa items, like marshmallows, cocoa in different flavors, or whatever works for you. The hooks are all different. We are in the process of making more for the Etsy Store. I am hoping to post them this week. 


Another fun project was this one. WE STILL DO! 
This is such a great gift idea for new married’s to already celebrating years together. The chalk on the end gives the couple a yearly tradition of changing the number of years. I prefer using chalk markers vs. chalk. Last longer, and of course the colors stand out more!


Our Etsy Store

As with everything we do, what we sell and when folks purchase from the blog, the proceeds goes directly back into our ranch ministry. 
When you shop with us, you are giving double!
Your purchase is one, the other is eternal!

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts! 
Spread the word by sharing the blog with your loved ones. We love sharing our life with others!

God’s blessings upon each of you,
Love deeper, talk sweeter EVERYDAY!
Lee and Dan
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Crafts, Ranch Life

Giving a gift with purpose that is made with the love of your hands is just plain ol’ the best! No fancy words here…it is just simply the best gift you can give. No matter the celebration, when you make it the meaning is stamped; homemade in love!

When you give a gift of purpose like making up your own blend of teas, bath and body ointments, albums, bible journaling supplies, etc…your giving something that will be encouraging good health and wellness. From the inside out! 

 If your first thought of making a homemade gifts is coming across as cheap. Well, let me tell you first hand, it isn’t cheap when you take precious time to make a gift verses going to a mall or on line and purchasing a gift. Plus, using all natural ingredients in cooking, or cosmetics is anything BUT cheap!

In the past several years, I have made gifts from blankets, wood crafts, to a special Christmas where I took pictures my dad was going to throw away and made individual albums for each of my siblings. There are seven of us. It took me 6 months to make those albums and I wouldn’t trade the long nights or cost for anything. That Christmas still holds dear to my heart watching the faces and the tears as each sibling went back into their childhood to precious memories.

 

Giving a homemade gift is truly a gift of love. I believe that with all my heart! So I have created this blog to some of my favorites. 

1.) Photo Album Ideas:

Make for individuals in your life, or a special event:

Make up a KIT! Kids, grandkids…love this! Buy your album base, scallop clear album or a flip flop. I love these too by Bo Bunny. We have made Love, Friend, Family, and Believe.  Maya Road makes fun mini albums and accessories too. Add ribbon, background paper, bling, whatever the theme to complete the project. I loved making one with a memory of my dad who I knew wouldn’t be with me long. Sure enough, the Lord brought him home 7 months later. GOOD thing I made a small album memory.
Flip Flop is my daughters from 2007! She loved putting memories and favorites into a cute little look.

Using this product made an incredible finish, quick and easy too! Once you decorate your plaque like your creating a scrapbook page, you just pour this mix on top and dry for 24 hours. AWESOME gift!

 

2.) Stocking Stuffers:

Candy bar Snowman:

Tea, Cocoa, or Coffee: Make a special blend of tea and put into a mason jar. Label and put decorative fabric on lid. I also made up individual tea bags using organic muslin bags for a cup of tea. 

Ornaments

Bible journaling goodies from Dayspring

 

 

3.) A  gift of HIS Word cost $10-$60 Depending on if you need to purchase a bible for this your cost will flexuate. Dayspring has many ideas here from coloring tools, stickers, to just getting started kits. You can have stocking stuffers of smaller items like the pom poms and paper clips, and a godl gift with your bible and markers or gel pens. The BEST GIFT to give is this gift ot HIS word! If you have a young person or teeen in your life, this is wonderful!

 

4.) Quilts, blankets

No sew blankets, quilts, and simple baby comfy and chalk mat

5.) Country Tree

6.) Lip Balm, Salves, and soaps (all using essential oils and herbs of course…NO icky fillers)

Lip balm is wonderful!

7. Bath bubbles amazing aroma!


WHEW! Lots of love here! Hope some ideas sparked for you to make your everyday giving a little more special!

God’s blessings upon you!
Love deeper, talk sweeter,
Lee

 

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Crafts, Health, Ranch Life

 

These organic herbal bath bubbles(aka bombs) you will make are not only your own creation, but will offer you healing as well . These bubbles are filled with fresh organic herbs to heal your body while you soak, and the aroma of the essential oils will just enhance this time for you to relax and unwind.

There is nothing more relaxing than knowing your soaking in all natural ingredients! More rewarding, is making them and giving them as a gift! This makes it extra special!

(If you want a visual click link on bottom of page)

Each bubble is unique to your own ideas. Add herbs to give color but also think about what the herb is offering in terms of healing. There are recipes out there for these, but they put food coloring in the recipe. I just couldn’t! It would be taking away what I want to implement in my lifestyle.

The same goes for any recipe I come upon. I will change it if it has ingredients that will not benefit. YES, at times I will add the ingredient, but for the most part, I really try and find a natural way to make what I creating better.

 

I hope you will find the bubbles fun. Here is the basic ingredients and below are other herbs and oils that will be wonderful for your spa bath.

 

First…you need to make yourself a cup of tea. I made my Christmas Delight tea so you can use the tea for color to your bubble later. As the herbs were steeping I took a bit of the strained herbs into a small cup so I could add to my bubbles.

 

Dry Ingredients:

1 Cup Baking Soda

1 Cup Arrow Root Powder

1 Cup Citric Acid ( I used a pestle and mortar)

1 Cup Dead Sea Salt (optional I used in one batch and omitted in another this is the part that causes the fun bubbles but can get messy…careful)
**Omit salt if you are using these in a hot tub.

Mica for sparkle

Plastic clear Christmas balls ( I had one large one and one small for left over at end to make one colorful bubble)

Time To Make:

Mix together in a steel or glass bowl. It can be fussy when not mixed well. Use a whip as well to make sure to get all the clumps out. You want a nice smooth mixture. Feels like sand! 

Now pour into your dry ingredient bowl

  • 1 Cup of Organic Coconut Oil Melted

Mix with your hands.  
Now add your color using the herb of your choice. The Beet Root makes wonderful pinks and reds.

Next add the Mica color for the sparkle if you want that.

You will want to add just enough of the above about ½ cup of your base into a separate bowls if you want different colors and oils for each bubble. So the next 2 steps you continue using only a little of your base.

  • 4-6 drops of Essential Oil of your choice (I use only Blends as it adds so much aroma to the spa)
  • Herbs (suggestions below) for color 1/2 tsp or more for darker (start small and add to your liking)

 

 

Now…use your hands to mix. If it doesn’t bind in your hand than add just an eyedropper of water until it will clump.

Put your colored nice smelling mixture into one half of your ball bubble. Press firm filling it well.

If you want a different color for the other half, than get some of your base, about ½ cup and mix in your herb for color. You won’t need any more essential oil so you may need your dropper of water for this part especially since you added drier ingredient with your herb.

 

Continue to mix and clump and fill your other half. Both half balls should be chuck full of mixture and now put them together forming your bubble. Carefully pull one half off, flip into your palm, and take off the other half. Lay on tray and let dry for 10-20 minutes.

 Now you got beautiful bubbles to add to your bath or give as gifts!

 

Let dry on tray for 24 hours. Wrap in saran wrap and keep in cool place. If they fall apart just squish a little together back into ball. Mine did a little bit and cracked but went back in to patch up.

A perfect bubble ball filled with goodness and, gives you a wonderful spa experience.

 

 

Herbs for Color Choices: Bulk Herb Store

Turmeric (yellows)

Saffron (yellows) Expensive

Christmas Delight Tea (reds, pink)

Rose Petals, (grind for color keep whole for pretty top)

Lavender whole (add for smell, not color)

Beet Root Powder (reds, pinks)

Carrot Powder or juice (orange)

Matcha Powder  or Nettles Powder (green)

Blueberry Juice (purple)

Put the whole herbs in the bottom of your bubble when forming to give a pretty look.


Essential Oil Blends:

I used Fitness Blend full of wonderful oils. Grapefruit, Lemon, Mint, Cinnamon Bark, Celery Seed, Ginger Root AMAZING!

 

Aligning…GO TO oil ( like a chiropractor in a bottle)… Rosewood, Spruce, Frankincense, German/Roman Chamomile Mix WOW! My husband’s favorite!

 

Citrus Blend…Orange, Grapefruit, lemon, Lime AWESOME in my daily water intake! LOVE this oil!

 

Single Essential oils that you would enjoy in your bubbles:

Peppermint

Lavender

Chamomile

Myrrh

Tea Tree

Grapefruit

 

 

HAVE fun making your bubbles for you or for gifts! I hope you will make them with a child…so fun to teach them about healthy living and how each herb does something amazing for your body!

God bless you!
Love deeper, talk sweeter

Are you a visual person like me? Click HERE

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Crafts, Paper/Cards, Ranch Life
Our  homemade Christmas ornaments always reflect our lives. Of course, if your making an ornament or card for someone, you may change it up a bit for their personality or yours.

Our western life and faith gives a taste of who we are and what we love to share. 

We hope the ideas below spark some ideas.

Ornament is made with a clear bulb and rub on letters. Easy peasy…I love attaching the ornaments onto a gift. Just brings a little sparkle.
The Stamping’ Up products I get from a friend of mine. Here is her link if you don’t have a demonstrator.

The card is using:

Real Red Card stock
Basic Black Card stock
Shimmery White Card stock
Glimmery Paper with Background
2″ circle punch
Basic Black Ink Pad
White Craft Ink Pad
Hemp
cardboard letters I cut out using my Big Shot and small die cut

Set of Wild Horses

Chalks
Directions:
Simply stamp your image onto your glittery white card stock. Mine had an image on it but you sure can use an embossing folder to create your own. 
Punch out image
Chalk as you like
Layered using dots or pop ups
Painted my letters with White craft ink
While still wet you can add some dazzling diamond glitter.
I placed letters to look like NOEL and used pop ups for them too.
Layer your card and your done!


This one is easy peasy!
You will need:
Real Red Card Stock
Shimmery White Card Stock
Sweater embossing Folder
Pine Cone framelits
Banners Framelits
Banners Stampset 
Big Shot

Creation Time:
Do all your Big Shot things first
Pine Cones, banner of choice, and your sweater
Mount and layer your card stock and create with your cut outs. Such a simple card, and so COZY too!




My sister got into this homemade card making and she loves it! Especially Christmas! I just got this in the mail today and it made my day!

Ornaments are pretty easy now a days with the clear bulbs. I especially like the flat ones as you can fill them easily and put the rub on letters on easier too.

 


Rub ons are pretty popular…here is some ideas.

Making something special is always rewarding and a great expression of LOVE!

Merry Christmas!
Love deeper, talk sweeter,
Lee

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