Monday, July 30, 2012

milling mondays: the mill

In my last milling post I wrote about why I wanted to start milling my own flour. Well now I am one step closer because I got the mill! And grains. So exciting!

I knew I wanted the WonderMill, but wasn't exactly sure how we were going to make that happen. So it was such an amazing blessing when the Grain Mill Wagon invited me to join their grain mill challenge and gave me the very mill I was hoping for. As part of the challenge I will be blogging for them in September and October. I will therefore wait to share my baking experiences/recipes until then - so be on the lookout for those blog posts.

 Let the milling begin...

Thursday, July 26, 2012

diy thursday: natural drain cleaner

This week our drain started showing signs of draining slower (which could be because of my lovely hair loss over the past year). In our quest to try to use natural cleaners I turned away from buying the usual Drano. Instead, I searched on the lovely Pinterest once again and found this Natural Homemade Drain Cleaner using ingredients I already had at home (yay for saving a trip to the store). All it requires is distilled white vinegar and baking soda. The recipe says to use about a cup of baking soda and half a cup of vinegar. As you may know, together baking soda and vinegar react - so it is best to put the baking soda in the drain first and then add the vinegar. And because of the reaction you need to cover the drain as quickly as possible after you have added the baking soda and vinegar (letting it react in the drain rather than in your tub or sink).

Our drain stopper, however, made it a more difficult to complete this easy task. Our stopper doesn't come out and there is a very small space between the stopper and the drain - so trying to get the baking soda in the drain was a little challenging. I ended up using a little more vinegar than it called for in order to try to get the baking soda down where it needed to be (letting it react a little before I covered the drain). I then waited about 30 minutes and then uncovered the drain and let hot water run through the pipes for a couple of minutes.

Since this venture did not go exactly as planned I didn't have high hopes that it would actually work.  But it did! It worked! I would recommend you trying it as an alternative to using chemicals. If you have a tough clog you may want to repeat the natural homemade drain cleaner an additional time.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

wordless wednesday

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

diy thursday: natural liquid soap


The last couple of years and especially since I have gotten sick, I have been more committed to using natural ingredients ... including in our cleaning products. Purchasing all natural cleaning products can add up. So when I read on pinterest about how to make your own natural liquid soap I decided to try it. I was a little bit nervous whether it would actually work after reading mixed reviews about the results. I therefore decided to make half a gallon instead of a whole as the recipe asks for.  I bought a natural bar of soap at Sprouts for just over $2 (I love that store). As the recipe calls for, I used a grated bar of soap (I used a 4oz bar since I was only making half a gallon of soap), 1 table spoon vegetable glycerin, and half a gallon of distilled water (distilled because it doesn't have bacteria that could cause the soap to go bad). 

I heated the mixture until the soap dissolved and then let it sit for 10 hours (even though it was pretty firm after 3-4 hours)
After 10 hours it was more firm than I preferred so I just added some more distilled water (please excuse the distilled white vinegar that snuck into the picture. I didn't use that for this project:)) and used a hand mixer to get it to the right consistency. And voila, I ended up with half a gallon of natural liquid soap for less than $4. That is a pretty good deal. The soap doesn't lather as much as store bought soaps, but it cleans just as well.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

wordless wednesday

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Sometimes all you need is to get away with no agenda, but to just relax and enjoy good company. I am not by nature good at relaxing, but this past week it came really natural to me. I had such a great visit with my parents and got some good Anders (and of course brother and sister-in-law) time in as well. I felt the week was good for my soul and my healing. What a wonderful gift of a week it was.

facetiming with my wonderful husband wishing he was there as well

I absolutely love this face. What a cutie:)
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Monday, July 16, 2012

milling mondays: back to basics


Over the last couple of years, and especially since I have been sick, we have made an increased commitment to eat more natural and organic. Even if you try to eat healthy you are still faced with eating tons of unnatural additives if you don't pay careful attention and read the labels to see the actual ingredients or if you aren't aware of the dirty dozen organic fruit/vegetables etc. With that comes the frustration of trying to find genuinely good and nutritious food, especially if you are on a budget. This has given me to a desire to go back to basics. Going back to basics takes work, but I am confident that it will be worth it.
So that being said, I have decided to start milling my own grains to make flour once I get a mill. I know, it sounds c.r.a.z.y. After all we live in the United States, in a western country,  and not some village in Africa. I initially thought my parents were a little crazy when they started milling their own flour. I thought they were a little too health conscious. BUT the more I have learned, I can see the great benefits. Since the nutrients in the grains start breaking down as soon as the wheat berries get milled, there is really NOTHING nutritious left in breads made with regular store bought flour (even if it is whole wheat). If anything good was ever in the flour it will no longer be in there given the shelf life of flour. Pre-milled flour goes rancid within a short time. This means that in order to retain all the nutrients from the grains it is best to mill the flour and use it as you make the bread. This also gives full control of what goes into the flour - no bleaching, coloring etc. Preserving more of the nutrients in the grains in turn puts more of the nutrients in our bodies so we can reap the health benefits. 

SO in an effort to try to ensure we eat bread and other baked goods with all its nutrients, I am going to go back to basics even if it sounds a little crazy and begin milling my own flour. 

If you are crazy like me and live in the Phoenix area let me know because I am about to order 50 pound bags of grains and would love to split it with someone.
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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

wordless wednesday

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Thursday, July 5, 2012

diy thursday: tub and shower cleaner

I HATE cleaning the tub/shower. I just feel like you have to scrub and scrub to get everything looking clean. So when I read on pinterest about this tub and shower magic that is supposed to make cleaning your tub/shower easier ... I thought I would give it a try. It was super easy to make. All it requires is warm distilled white vinegar and blue Dawn and an empty spray bottle. The recipe I found requires equal parts vinegar and Dawn, but since Dawn becomes very sudsy I opted for using a little less dawn (I used 12oz white vinegar and 8oz dawn). AND IT WORKED LIKE MAGIC! I hardly had to scrub at all. I just sprayed it all over the tub/shower and left to clean other things and then returned and just wiped down the tub/shower with a wet rag. This new discovery is going to make cleaning the tub/shower a less hateful chore.
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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

wordless wednesday

Monday, July 2, 2012


Before our trip to Norway, I had some of my family connect me with Sigri Skaare. All I knew was that she was in some way related to me, though I didn't know how exactly. Through email correspondence, she was kind enough to offer up her place for us to stay one night. Upon arrival, Signe and I were promptly greeted by a spunky, excited Norwegian woman. We felt very welcome. One of first things Sigri did was bring me a letter written by my late Grandpa Lund less than a year before he passed away. The letter was written to Sigri and was a general update wherein he mentioned each of his grandchildren, including Signe and I. It was surreal to read my late grandfather's words, especially those written about me. The letter brought tears to my eyes, as did an old card and several photo albums. 

Shortly after arriving, I discovered my relation to Sigri. Her late husband was my Grandpa Lund's cousin. In other words, their mothers were sisters and therefore daughters to the same man: Sevald Grotli (my great great grandfather - see photo above). 

In addition to cooking us a traditional, hearty, and delicious Norwegian meal (Rømmegrøt), Sigri had also invited over her daughter (my mother's second cousin), her husband, and also Sigri's late husband's nephew. We enjoyed an evening of food, coffee, and much conversation. Signe and I felt so welcomed by my newly discovered family and feel blessed to have connected with Sigri.