Sunday, June 24, 2012

DIY Strawberry and Blueberry Leaf Teas!

While many gardeners have been enjoying fresh, organic strawberries and blueberries from their own back yards this summer, most fail to realize that there is value not only in the fruit of the plant, but it the leaves as well. Blueberry leaf and strawberry leaf teas are sold in vitamin and health food stores nationwide.

Benefits of the Blueberry Leaf:
  • High in antioxidants
  • Hypoglycemic (blood sugar regulator)
  • Prevents urinary tract infection
Benefits of Strawberry Leaf:
  • Improves digestion (may help alleviate an upset stomach, and reduce symptoms of nausea, bloating, stomach cramps and diarrhea)
  • May help with arthritis pain
  • Contains Iron, Calcium, and Vitamin C
But why buy months-old tea bags when you can have fresh, organic loose leaf tea for free! I'll show you how I harvested my leaves and dried them for later use. Be sure that you only do this if your plants are pesticide free.

Here are our strawberry and blueberry plants. A little close, I know, but we didn't know any better!

I started off with the strawberry leaves. In order to get the best flavor, you want to pick the smallest leaves you can find. Make sure that the leaves you pick have no yellowing, wilting, bugs, or bug bites. Only pick the leaves that are perfectly perfect! 

Oh no!

Oh yes!

The leaves come in bunches of 3. Just pluck the stem, being careful not to pull up the roots. If one of the 3 leaves has a bite out of it, just pluck the whole thing and throw away the bad leaf.

Keep picking until you have a nice big bowl of leaves (and maybe a few bonus berries :P). Keep in mind that the leaves will shrink during the drying process.

The same rules apply when picking the blueberry leaves. The smaller, the better. No bugs and no yellow leaves. These leaves will take much longer to pick because they are much smaller. While most strawberry leaves are no smaller than a quarter and come in bunches of three, the blueberry leaves are picked one at a time, and you'll find leaves as small as your fingernail. These are the leaves you want to pick because they'll have the best flavor.

Start off by picking the teeny tiniest leaves you can until you're absolutely sick of picking all these tiny leaves and you're wondering why you're wasting your time. Then, move onto leaves that are a little bit bigger to fill your bowl. Trust me, once you start picking the bigger leaves, you will not go back to picking smaller ones.

After 234534503 millennia of picking leaves (or approximately 35 minutes) I ended up with this modest bowl of leaves.

Enlisting the aid of a furry friend is not recommended. They tend to be quite unhelpful.

Rinse off your strawberry leaves and dry them. I used a salad spinner.

Spread your strawberry leaves evenly on a cookie sheet.

Do the same for your blueberry leaves.

Bake your leaves on the lowest possible setting until they dry up. You'll know they're dry when they're crunchy. The strawberry leaves took 15 minutes to dry at 170 degrees.

The blueberry leaves took 40 minutes to dry because they were on the top rack. They shrink less than the strawberry leaves and become a pretty olive color.

Now all that's left to do is store the loose leaves into jars. The tea you've just made will be very mild in flavor. In order to boost the flavor of the tea you can add dried fruit to the leaves. Dried strawberry is craaazy expensive, but I lucked out on finding some dried blueberries at a local grocery store.

I put a small handful of blueberries in with my blueberry leaves and shook the jar.

If you want to make fancy shmancy jar lids, print out pictures of your fruit, trace the jar lids, cut them out and glue the photos to the lids.

You're done! Enjoy your free, organic loose leaf tea!

Kitteh not included.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to treat, diagnose, or prescribe in any way, and is for informational purposes only. I do not take responsibility for your experience in using it.  I trust that you will consult a licensed healthcare professional  when appropriate, especially for pregnant/nursing women, anyone over 60 years of age,  anyone under the age of 12, and anyone with a serious medical condition.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Worlds Largest Sand Castles (?)

Spring is here. Which means spring break. Which means beaches. Which means sand castles!! When I was a kid I loved making castles in the sandbox and occasionally on the beach. The problem is....they never looked like actual castle. On the other hand, some people, given the chance, can put together on heck of a castle made of sand. Here's what I've found online.

How are you at building sandcastles?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Etsy Finds: The Power of Purple

Purple is my favorite color. It's the color of royalty and looks beautiful in nearly every shade. Here are some beautiful purple items that I found on Etsy!

POP Clock by whitevan

purple tyler handmade purse 2

Purple Mini Purse by TylerHandmade

Satin Peacock Pumps by LaPlumeEthre

Click to see 12 more beautiful purple items on Etsy, hand-picked by me in my treasury, The Power of Purple

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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Bible Study #1: Is There Anything Left You Can Trust? (Part 2 of 3)

Amazing  Facts Online Bible Studies
Bible Study #1: Is There Anything Left You Can Trust? Part 1

6.Are the historical statements of the Bible accurate?
The Bible says, "I the Lord speak the truth, I declare what is right." Isaiah 45:19, RSV.*
Ancient artifacts unearthed by archaeologists repeatedly confirm the accuracy and truth of the Bible.

Answer: Yes, Bible historical statements are accurate. What God says in His book is true. Sometimes, temporarily, evidence may not be found to substantiate certain historical facts from the Bible, but in time the evidence surfaces. Note the following:

A. For years skeptics said the Bible was unreliable because it mentions the Hittite nation (Deuteronomy 7:1) and cities like Nineveh (Jonah 1:1, 2) and Sodom (Genesis 19:1), which they denied ever existed. But now modern archaeology has confirmed that all three did, indeed, exist.

B. Critics also said that Bible-mentioned kings Belshazzar (Daniel 5:1) and Sargon (Isaiah 20:1) never existed. Once again, it has now been confirmed they did exist.

C. Skeptics also said the Bible record of Moses was not reliable because it mentions writing (Exodus 24:4) and wheeled vehicles (Exodus 14:25), neither of which they said existed at the time. They, of course, know better today.

D. At one time the 39 kings of ancient Israel and Judah who reigned during the divided kingdom were authenticated only from the Bible record, so critics charged fabrication. But then archaeologists found cuneiform records that mentioned many of these kings and, once again, the Bible record was proved accurate. Critics have repeatedly been proved wrong as new discoveries confirm biblical people, places, and events. It will always be so.

7.One of the greatest miracles of the Bible is its unity. Please ponder the following amazing facts:


A. The 66 books of the Bible were written:
1. On three continents.
2. In three languages.
3. By about 40 different people (kings, shepherds, scientists, attorneys, an army general, fishermen, priests, and a physician).
4. Over a period of about 1,500 years.
5. On the most controversial subjects.
6. By people who, in most cases, had never met.
7. By authors whose education and background varied greatly.

B. Yet, though it seems totally inconceivable,
1. The 66 books maintain harmony with each other.
2. Often new concepts on a subject are expressed, but these concepts do not undermine what other Bible writers say on the same subject.

C. Talk about astounding!
Ask people who have viewed an identical event to each give a report of what happened. They will differ widely and will virtually always contradict each other in some way. Yet the Bible, penned by 40 writers over a 1,500-year period, reads as if written by one great mind. And, indeed, it was: "Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." 2 Peter 1:21. The Holy Ghost "moved" them all. He is the real Bible Author. The four Gospels do sometimes differ in the way they report the same event, but they complement each other.

8.What evidence of Bible inspiration is found in the lives of people?
Accepting Christ and obeying Scripture changes a drunken, immoral, profane sinner into a loving, sober, pure Christian. Skeptics cannot explain this fact.
The Bible says, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." 2 Corinthians 5:17.

Answer: The changed lives of those who follow Jesus and obey Scripture constitute the most heartwarming proof of Bible inspiration. The drunkard becomes sober; the immoral, pure; the addicted, free; the profane, reverent; the fearful, courageous; and the rude, kind.

An American skeptic was visiting an island whose natives were originally cannibals. When he spotted an old man reading the Bible, he ridiculed him for reading a book "full of myths which had already been exposed." The native smiled at him and said, "My friend, be grateful we do believe this book. Otherwise, we would be serving you for dinner." The Bible really does change people, and this amazing fact confirms its inspiration.

9.What evidence for Bible inspiration emerges when we compare Old Testament prophecies of the coming Messiah with New Testament happenings in the life of Jesus?
The Bible says, "And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He [Jesus] expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself." Luke 24:27. "For he [Apollos] vigorously refuted the Jews publicly, showing from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ." Acts 18:28, NKJV.*

Answer: The Old Testament predictions of the Messiah to come were so specific and so clearly fulfilled by Jesus of Nazareth that both Jesus and Apollos used these prophecies to prove to the Jews that Jesus was, indeed, the Messiah. There are more than 125 of these prophecies. Let's review just 12 of them:

ProphecyOld Testament ScriptureNew Testament Fulfillment
1. Born in BethlehemMicah 5:2Matthew 2:1
2. Born of a virginIsaiah 7:14Matthew 1:18-23
3. Of David's lineageJeremiah 23:5Revelation 22:16
4. Attempted murder by HerodJeremiah 31:15Matthew 2:16-18
5. Betrayal by a friendPsalms 41:9John 13:18, 19, 26
6. Sold for 30 silver coinsZechariah 11:12Matthew 26:14-16
7. CrucifiedZechariah 12:10John 19:16-18, 37
8. Lots cast for His clothesPsalms 22:18Matthew 27:35
9. No bones brokenPsalms 34:20; Exodus 12:46John 19:31-36
10. Buried in rich man's tombIsaiah 53:9Matthew 27:57-60
11. Year, day, hour of His deathDaniel 9:26, 27; Exodus 12:6Matthew 27:45-50
12. Raised the third dayHosea 6:2Acts 10:38-40

Jesus fullfilled more than 125 Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah.

Dr. Peter Stoner, former chairman of the departments of mathematics, astronomy, and engineering at Pasadena College (California), worked with 600 students for several years applying the "principle of probability" to the prophecies of the Messiah's coming. They chose just eight from the many available and finally decided the chances of all eight being fulfilled in one man in a lifetime is one in 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. What would the odds be on the more than 125 prophecies of the Messiah? It couldn't just happen!

If you have any questions, leave them as a comment and I'll do my best to answer them. If I don't know the answer, I'll find someone who does. Have a great weekend! :)

Friday, March 18, 2011

WHY ME?! Embarassing Teen Stories

“I was 13 and I had just bought my first real high heels! They were pretty high, but I wore them everywhere. One day.. as I descended down a steep hill, I fell and ROLLED down the hill. The rest of the day, everyone who was with me kept asking if I needed help walking in my heels. Ugh.”

"I was working at an after-school event for a committee with the guy that I have a crush on. We were in the teacher’s lounge filling envelopes when suddenly I got a paper cut on my finger. It was no big deal, so I went over to the sink to wash it out. We were joking around, and he came over to me and gave me a surprise hug while I was smiling. So I hugged him back, and when I pulled away, my braces were caught onto his shirt. I was completely embarrassed and he ran away telling the whole committee what just happened."

"I was in a rush to get out of class because the bell to go to the next period rang, so I ran up to my teacher’s desk to get a paper signed. When she signed it, I whipped around to leave and knocked over her picture frame AND made her drink fall all over her! To make matters worse, my crush was standing behind me waiting to get his paper signed!"

“In French class, we were told to study with partners for a test. I got paired up with my crush, and we ended up flirting. Finally, I got up the nerve to ask if he’d be interested in going out with someone like me. He paused and I got so nervous waiting that I let out a gigantic fart! Everyone stared at me and laughed!”


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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Funny Picture: "Parenting is easy"

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Random Act of Kindness: Operation Beautiful

I love doing random acts of kindness, especially the kind that make people feel better about themselves! Operation Beautiful's mission is "to end negative self-talk or 'Fat Talk.'" and to "[help] readers realize how truly toxic negative self-talk is — it hurts you emotionally, spiritually, and physically."

To participate in Operation Beautiful, all you have to do is write a positive note such as "You Are Beautiful!" or "You're wonderful, don't change a thing!" Leave these notes anywhere you think women will see them. Public restrooms, gyms, grocery stores, and even fashion magazines are great places to start. If you email a picture of your note to they'll put it up on their website!

Have a wonderful Wednesday, and remember: You're Beautiful! :)

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