Saturday, June 30, 2012

Recipe: Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette

In an attempt to be a little more frugal, make due with what I have on me and get a little creative all at the same time I made a vinaigrette that turned out to be super good. I put all of the ingredients into a mason jar for storage also making for an easy to shake to container.

1/4 c.Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 c. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 tbl spoons of Honey
Chopped basil
pinch of thyme
dash of kosher salt
dash of black pepper

Shake well.
Serve over the most beautiful salad you can make.

Apples compliment the depths of balsamic really well.

Hope you enjoy this quick and simple vinaigrette. It definitely has me thinking I'll never go back to store bought dressings again!

Friday, June 29, 2012

For the Love of Baking Soda

As parents we're constantly battling and on many fronts losing this grotesque war against the Chemical Industry who sees nothing wrong with manufacturing products that are known to be horrible for us and the Environment. 

Many cleaning products as well as personal hygiene products contain cancer causing carcinogens and/or toxins that cause a variety of abnormalities. They're lurking in everyday things..Shampoo, Deodorant, Household Cleaners. 
Most of the time we think as long as the product isn't being ingested then all is safe but the sick truth is our skin and respiratory tract are taking most of it in without us even really paying much notice. And whats worse is that our kids are being subjected to heavier concentrations of these toxins because simply they're smaller than we are and not fully developed.

Having a clean home and smelling okay shouldn't kill you in the long run. It's just not a fair trade. So why not get back to the basics?

There was a time before everything just had to smell lemony fresh that clean was clean. If you've ever seen a big ol' box of baking soda at your Granny's house then you just might know what I'm talking about. I use it to bake with and clean with.. It's so all around, I've come to depend on it. What makes it just the ultimate of all ultimates is how safe it is. 
Baking Soda has been around for a while, garnering it much credibility. It has roots all the way back to Ancient Egypt. Whats more is that it is naturally derived. There are no hidden or hard to pronounce ingredients. In it's most simplest explanation it's aerated salt. 

It is so versatile the list of ways to use it could stretch out very long but here are a few uses for Baking Soda I choose all of the time.

1. It makes a beautifully mild face and body scrub. Not too abrasive at all and whatever the skin type, it does what it was born to do....neutralize! You'll walk away with your skin feeling all kinds of clean without the residue left behind by synthetic ingredients.

2. Jewelry Cleaner. I put 1 to 2 tablespoons of baking soda in a mason jar containing 4 oz. of water, stir and put my bracelets in and let them sit for a few. Whatever bit of tarnish or dullness there was, is now no more.

3. Pot and Pan Scrub. Yep, when I'm standing over the sink working on the pot that stayed on the stove a little too long or the pan that wasn't oiled enough I get out the baking soda. Baking Soda and elbow grease combined will get your cookware back in tip top shape!

4. Toothpaste and Mouthwash. As a gentle abrasive it scrubs away plaque and neutralizes the bacteria that hangs out on your tongue and gums. If fluoride already freaks you out, this makes an excellent alternative.

5. Laundry Detergent booster. I add a 1/2 cup of baking soda along with the recommended amount of detergent according to my settings. It boosts the cleaning power and aids in neutralizing the bacteria that causes the odors.

So there you have it. 5 Simple to implement uses for Baking Soda that I hope you give a try. In many cases Baking Soda will clean 10 times better than many commercial products but most importantly you will be reducing the amount of toxins you bring in to your home. It's a hard battle but well worth it. 

Other uses:

Shampoo booster
Kitchen sink scrub
Tub Scrub
Taking the sting out of a bug bite when mixed into a paste.
Chrome Cleaner
Oven/Range Cleaner
Battery Cleaner
Carpet Deodorizer

Friday, June 15, 2012


It has rained nearly everyday now--I love and appreciate not having to turn the sprinklers on for the garden. Working that pump just a little less, saving energy and money!

A previous idea of putting the (rain) barrel by the garden for large scale worm tea turned out to be not a good idea....So I'm moving it to the front of the house--where there's a gutter--to collect all this rain!
40% chance today. Happy about that.

Picking okra and eggplant daily now. I'm really happy about how the eggplant are growing. Last year we grew them using 5 gallon buckets as a self-watering system. It gave us plenty of eggplant BUT the plants themselves were restricted....growing them in the ground has given them ample space to branch out. The plants are good and big, so much so, that with the rain we've been having they've been staked up to keep them from falling over and keeping the fruit off of the ground.
Frying eggplant for Father's Day:) Yum!

I'm picking tomatoes while green and letting them ripen on the counter. Some of the tomatoes are bursting open from so much water--rain. What I've learned is to take my chances with the frosts and start seeds in January. With tomatoes AND cukes. We didn't get any where near the amount of cukes we've harvested in previous years--it was pitiful--and the only difference was in previous years I was on it, had seeds starting in the closet underneath a light when it was still "winter"...this year I wanted to play it safe with these heirloom seeds---lesson learned!

There's a large section that was recently tilled--We're going to plant legumes a'plenty...More black eyes, green beans and even some limas.

I've got 4 blueberry bushes that have been seriously cut back. I'm researching the appropriate soil for them to determine where they should be planted. I'd love to have at least one side of the garden lined with berry bushes. Still have plans for a small orchard one day.

It's easy to get distracted most of the time. There are so many small plans that are had to lead up to, or in making up, the master plan: To be self-sustained. I figure if we can tackle as many small things as possible eventually we'll get there....But there are also other things to take care of.

Self-sustainability and frugality go hand in hand. Much of the problems we face financially as a society are caused from people living essentially beyond their means. Wanting "things" causes the most suffering, I've discovered. But my wanting a wholesome life for my kids overrides that. I ache for them to appreciate the little things and not to take anything for granted. Sometimes I feel like I'm failing--but other times I feel so hopeful that they're "getting it".

Sometimes I worry that by us moving out here, we've solidified a future of solitude.  But that can't be. If anything we've moved to a place that could become a haven for other's. A place to go to for a smile and maybe even a full belly. Possibly?

Really all I know is I want to learn to feel the seasons change on my skin and to teach my kids that working with the earth, trusting in her to provide by offering our humble sweat is the best start for any lifetime full of gratitude and appreciation. That slowing down provides more time to see and appreciate all of the beauty. I don't want them to be afraid of work--I want them to jump in, get dirty and get stuff done.

Here's to the journey!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Ease Up.

Eventually you'll run out of reasons for the reasons of why you feel a certain way. You'll have traced it all the way back to it's source and say to yourself or anyone who cares to listen, "A-ha!!" Maybe you will be in the shower with shampoo just enough in your eye to hurt a little and you'll be there...Alone and naked. Appropriately so, with absolutely nothing between you and the truth.

The Truth:

It's you. It all began with you. You do what you do then you take all of the doings of everything and everyone else in. A constant transfer is taking place between you and the beautiful and on occasion effed up world. We feel happy about the good things that happen and get all grudgey about the bad. Easy responses totally, yet they can cause so much unnecessary weight.


You can't rationally change the fact that you were born. You can't change the fact that things happen and sometimes they're good and sometimes they suck. That's the way it is. It's just happening.Whatever it is will be over and then something else will happen. Good or bad. Right or wrong.  After your actions go out, your control over what you get back leaves too. But that's ok. You're not in this for control. You're in this to be happy. Happy and Control have a hard time co-existing in the real world.
The only way, I'm thinking, to get out alive here is to just let the shit happen, let the chips fall where they may. Do your best to do right in the world and after that you can rest your head knowing that you tried...

We'll most definitely screw it up more times than we'd like but if we can keep it up...

...practice just might make perfect...


Who am I kidding!!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Elixir for the Soul

"Happiness depends upon ourselves." —Aristotle

Wanna kill the bad vibes and get over you shit? Turn the Grrrrr into something great and groovy?
Well get grateful for all of the not so bad stuff going on in your life. Because folks it could be worse and if you're not counting your blessings then you are definitely letting them go unappreciated.
You get one shot at this life and every second you're not doing something to either benefit you, your family, the world around you then you are choosing to not put yourself to use. Thereby making yourself feel useless....

You're in control. You're doing it. Stop being a jerk to yourself and get on with living the best life you can possibly live. Make better choices to get a better outcome.

Easy Peasy:)


  • Cut bad people out of the mix if all they do is bring you down.
  • Stand up for yourself!! If someone hurts you it's better to let them know and go from there instead of wishing you had and kicking yourself for not.
  • Take up some sort of exercise regimen. Really. Being active is a definite mood booster.
  • Spend more time outside. We weren't created to be secluded indoors all day. 
  • Get out of your head. It's the thinking and judging that keeps you bound to old habits. You're trying to set yourself free!!!
  •  Do something you really love to do. That you can't imagine not doing. That is just as much a part of you than anything else. 
again...."Happiness depends upon ourselves." —Aristotle

Get to it.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


This song has really been speaking to me. As someone who tends to turn inward when feeling less than joyful I have to remind myself of the process and be welcoming to all of the layers of emotionalism I can go through. The process is a beautiful process that serves to teach us how to love more. Love the moment that you're in like an old friend who is leaving forever. It's taking a part of you with it and depending on the weight of the situation you may not ever be the same. Be wide awake because life and all of its majestic begs you to be---it wants to be appreciated--it calls on us at a constant to remember how beautiful just life, JUST LIFE--not to mention all of the groovy stuff that comes along with it--is. With the always pondering eyes of children, the making of love with a mate of the soul, the rising and setting sun, the stacking of clouds, the blooming of flowers and their perfume, that round full moon, the song of creatures and the hand of a friend....we are being nudged. 

Let it all wake you.

This life and everything painfully beautiful enveloped in it deserves a song and dance of devotion. 

Give it one. Give it your own. 

I feel part of the universe open up to meet me

My emotion so submerged, broken down to kneel in

Once listening, the voices they came
Had to somehow greet myself, read myself
Heard vibrations within my cells, in my cells
Singing, "Ah-la-ah-ah, ah-la-ah-ah"

My love is safe for the universe

See me now, I'm bursting
On one planet, so many turns
Different worlds
Singing, "Ah-la-ah-ah, ah-ah-ah-ah, ah"

Fill my heart with discipline

Put there for the teaching
In my head see clouds of stairs
Help me as I'm reaching
The future's paved with better days

Not running from something

I'm running towards the day
Wide awake

A whisper once quiet

Now rising to a scream
Right in me

I'm falling, free falling

Words calling me
Up off my knees

I'm soaring and, darling,

You'll be the one that I can need
Still be free

Our future's paved with better days 

Eddie Vedder- "Better Days"

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Odetta's Tears---part of the very rough rough draft.

I started writing a story 5 years ago. I forgot all about it and found it in my drafts folder this morning... 

Odetta's Tears

We decided to leave early enough to get some shut eye for work the next day.
Believe it or not, Chet's Place serves breakfast, so I had to be there early enough to prepare the kitchen for the morning rush of folks.  I hadn't found a room yet so Odetta told me to crash on her couch. I was much obliged, and quite happy to have found a friend so soon in this town. With R.D. back in Tupelo, or wherever he made himself off to, it gets quite lonely as far as company is concerned.
Odetta's place was located above a mechanic's garage. The outside was a poor site to see, mostly galvanized steel that had rusting rings in various spot. Once we walked through the glass paneled door I discovered Odetta had a true talent for art. The walls were covered with brilliant murals--painted in bright colors that the light of the moon illuminated. I felt lucky to be here. Like I was seeing something no one else had ever seen. She noticed the amazement on my face. "I never really let people up here", she said, shyely. 
"Why not, its beautiful?", I beamed.  The modest Odetta was embarrassed and uncomfortable with my compliments. I noticed she had a banjo sittin in the corner. Without knowing it, I walked over and picked it up. "Do you play", she asks. "A little", I said as I begin to play my amateure version of Orange Blossom Special. Just then Odetta starts belting out the words.."Well look A-yonder comin' comin' on down the track...." Out of sheer shock I stopped playing. It was great. I began to wonder to myself what her story was. There was a pause, I saw it as an opportunity to ask what happened to her. I mean something must have happened. All this talent, and she's more or less stuck in a town that will lead her no where. "So Odetta, where were you headed before you decided to stay here?", I asked. "My cousin lives twenty miles outside of Raleigh and she wanted me to come out and help at the local store she owns. It ain't that far from the city, so I thought I could try to get some gigs at the local clubs." 
"Well what happened?" Persistence was apparent in my questions, and she notices. "Well", she says somewhat agitated, "I think thats a story for another day". Thowing me a quilt, I fold out the beige couch and lay down. I fell asleep that night looking at a painting of a baby with yellow flowers in her hands. She wore a black dress. She was smiling.
We woke to a loud beating on the door the next morning. "What the hell?", Odetta mumbled coming out of her room through the living room past me, to the door. I pick my head up to see who it is knockin' this early.  Opening the door with "G'mornin' Mr. Strictor", Odetta pulls the belt of her robe tighter . "Do you have the rent, Odetta? I've been waiting for you to come by, but its been two weeks now, and I haven't heard from ya." The agitated Mr. Strictor, the apparent Landlord was a short man, though his voice was that of a large man. You'd never guess he was no taller than 5 ft by the way his voice boomed. I began to get my sorts together for the day when I heard Odetta crying. She was telling him that she needed a couple of days more. "Well Odetta", he snapped, "please call me as soon as you have the money for rent." He felt the need to add. "Nobody lives for free ya know." "Okay sir, Thank you." Odetta moused her way into the kitchen and let out a great sighe. Having heard the whole thing, I think about what I could possibly do to help. After all, she has been so kind to me.
"Sorry you had to hear that Shiner", Odetta apologizes. "I've been having a hard time these days, and fell behind on my rent." "How far behind?" I asked. I need fifty dollars to break even, she says. I paused for a moment and said "Well Odetta, instead of me renting a room, how bout I rent that couch from ya? That way, I can have someone to talk to and you can get the money you need a little faster." She smiles hesitantly and says "That seems fine with me, you sure you wouldn't rather have a place to yaself?"  "Yep", says I. "I think you're an alright gal, and I'm sure going to sleep looking at your walls would be far less depressing than looking at the cigarrette stained, soulless walls of any of these hotels."
"Alright, Shiner, if your alright with it, I could sure use the help."                       

And that was that. 

Written by Kelina Nelson 2006

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Rise and Fall

(KN 2012)

So take care when you build others up. You're only giving them further to fall. No one is perfect. Eventually we will all take turns in some way or another at disappointing one another. It's only with healthy views and expectations that we keep the disappointment down to a minimum. Be open to forgiveness and more than anything give up some slack. We all need it:)