Pumpkin for Your Dog

I had heard that giving your dog pumpkin can be very beneficial. I know they love the taste and have seen several recipes for homemade dog treats that contain pumpkin. So I did a little research. I found that canned pumpkin is low in saturated fat, sodium and cholesterol.  It is also a good source of Vitamin E, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Potassium and is also a very good source of dietary fiber.  Some vets even recommend canned pumpkin for weight loss in dogs.  Simply substitute one-third of your dog’s regular food with an equivalent amount of canned pumpkin.  Because it is high in fiber, canned pumpkin will make your dog fuller than it would if you just reduced their caloric intake."  (Note: Always check with your vet first!)

One of my dogs recently began a new medicine which is working great but gives him a little bit of an upset tummy. I had heard that pumpkin might help but had no idea how much to give him. I found this bit of information here,,,

"A pet which weighs less than fifteen pounds should be given 1-2 teaspoons of pumpkin puree. A 15-35 pound pet should receive 1-2 tablespoons, and a pet 35 pounds and up can be given 2-5 tablespoons of pumpkin puree. If you find your pet's stool becomes too runny, cut back on the amount of pumpkin.

I checked a few other sites and this information seemed accurate. So my dog Barclay would get 2 Tablespoons a day. Hummm, 2 Tbsp a day. Once I open a can of pumpkin it was going to take awhile to use it all up. So this is what I did.

BTW, dogs seem to love pumpkin. Make sure you get plain pumpkin and NOT pumpkin pie filling.

I found out pumpkin is a great thing to try if your dog has constipation because the fiber adds bulk and its also great for diarrhea because the fiber also absorbs excess fluid in the digestion system. Please remember that if your pet has these symptoms for over 24 hours you need to have a vet check them out. It could be something serious so don't wait! Also, I don't know about using fresh pumpkin, I would certainly NOT let them have the seeds unless you find out it is safe. I just haven't researched that.

How to Grow Collard Greens


We love collards. Fresh southern collards that is. I think frozen or canned collards are barely edible and if that is the only way you have ever had them then you don't know what your missing.

I cook up a HUGE pot every Thanksgiving and Christmas as part of our holiday meal. And of course I put out some hot pepper vinegar to serve with them. One good thing about collards is that you can cook them the day before and put them in the refrigerator. They are actually better the next day.

Cooking collards is a bit of an art I think. You have to add sugar if they were picked before a frost hit them and knowing how much is a bit tricky. We season with fried out fat back, sugar, salt and pepper.

Many years ago when I had a large garden, I grew collards. I planted seeds in the early fall and we picked the bottom leaves as they grew and when we needed them. (Don't let them get too big or they will be tough). Now I have a tiny yard and very little space for growing vegetables. Still I planted just a few collard plants this year. They should be sufficient for the two of us.

Collards greens are a nutritional powerhouse. They are loaded with disease-fighting beta-carotene and offer respectable amounts of vitamin C, calcium, and fiber. All this makes cooking greens a wise choice for your diet.

I found this blog post on How to Grow Collard Greens that I thought might be helpful to some of my readers. If you are thinking about a winter garden this would be a good vegetable to add. The writer talks about growing, harvesting, and storing collards and even what to do about pests.

Read more here...

Canning Jar Lid Pumpkin

This time of year we see all sorts of Halloween and Fall DIY crafts. But seriously, many of them look like something only a Martha Stewart could pull off or at least someone who is very crafty and has lots of time on their hands.

I've said it before, I like simple and I like easy.

I saw this on Simply Klassic Home (simplyklassichome.com) and it is both super cute and super easy.

You could paint the canning jar lids white or orange, but the writer says she really likes this rustic look. I agree!

She added cinnamon sticks and some burlap leaves, said it took just a few minutes to make.

Things you should know about Essential Oils

What's all the buzz about Essential Oils? We are seeing them everywhere now and for good reason. Most are are high in antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. Each has its own wonderful properties, for example scientific studies have shown that rosemary essential oil helps your brain perform and Clary sage helps with PMS.


Do you know the difference in fragrance oils and essential oils? I have been using essential oils (EOs) in homemade spa products and in blends for their healing properties and aromatheraphy benefits.

I am still learning as there is a lot to learn. But this site from crunchybetty.com is a good place to start for the basics. They offer some really good advice. Did you know there is simple test you can do to test your essential oil to see how “pure” it is?  They tell us to, "put a single drop of it on a piece of construction paper. If it evaporates quickly and leaves no noticeable ring, it is pure. If you have a ring left, then it is likely diluted by the manufacturer with an oil of some sort (this test will not work for myrrh, patchouli, and absolutes)." Now that's a good thing to know.


Hurricane Preparedness

I live on the east coast of North Carolina. We get hurricanes here. I don't think you ever get used to hurricanes but we do know how to prepare for them and we know when to leave the area if we need to.

For some reason when my kids were growing up (1970's) I always fried chicken when we were under a hurricane threat. Not sure why but I guess it was easy to eat and everyone liked it. IDK...  Anyway the habit stuck and to this day I still have an urge to fry chicken during hurricane season.

I remember my Dad tracking hurricanes on one of those paper Tracking Charts that could be picked up most anywhere. We would have to be very quite when the news was giving the coordinates so he could put a little pencil dot on the map marking the current location. Now we watch the tracking on computers and phones and the weather updates are continuous. We have a lot more information available to us now about the possible strength of the storm and when it might make landfall. Thankfully they almost always loose strength just before coming ashore.

Where I lived in 1954

That's the ocean in front of us and sand dunes behind us.
There are things that make a lot of difference... like how the hurricane comes in. My Dad always told me it mattered if she comes in under us or over us. Under us, or to the south of us is worse. Hurricanes spin in a counter clockwise motion so if it comes in under us we get more chance of flooding.  Also we watch the tides. A hurricane hitting at high tide also means more chance of flooding. In 1954 we were hit by Hurricane Hazel. She was a cat 4 that came in under us and at high tide. The National Weather Service said, "It was one of the greatest natural disasters to ever affect the state, and one of the most destructive hurricanes to strike the United States."

Hurricanes have a habit of going where you don't think they will. One that comes to mind is Ivan in 2004. The thing actually did a loop-de-loop.  And danged if I know why, but it seems they always hit a night.

Officially, the Atlantic hurricane season is from June 1 to November 30, but as the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) notes:
    "There is nothing magical in these dates, and hurricanes have occurred outside of these six months, but these dates were selected to encompass over 97% of tropical activity."

When Is the Hurricane Season Most Active?
Again according to the AOML, there's a "very peaked season from August to October," which means this period includes:
  • 78% of the tropical storm days
  • 87% of the "minor" hurricane days, and
  • 96% of the "major" hurricane days
And within this peak hurricane season, early to mid-September is the pinnacle.

These are just some of the things I do when we are under a hurricane watch or warning.
  • Make sure we have bread and canned foods in the house. AND a non-electric can opener!
  • Fill the car with gas. Just in case we have to leave.
  • Make arrangements for pets. Some places now have shelters where pets can be taken. We keep ours with us but we have to make sure we have food, water, crates, blankets, bowls, leads, and first aid kits ready for our critters.
  • Fill containers with water. This isn't just for drinking, its to cook with, to brush your teeth with and most important...to flush the toilet with. That's the main reason to fill a clean bathtub with water.
  • Fill old milk jugs with water and freeze. Put these in refrigerators and freezers so if the electricity goes off they will keep them cool for much longer. Never open refrigerator or freezer doors when current is out unless really necessary.
  • Clean and fill kerosene lanterns and trim the wicks. These provide so much more light than a flashlight.
  • Check batteries and flashlights.
  • Hang a raincoat by the door. This will come in handy if you HAVE to go out quickly for an emergency.
  • Get the cell phone chargers out that are used in the car. That is the only way to keep them charged if the electricity is off.
  • Keep a few tools where they are easy to get to. A hammer and a few nails for example.
  • Take out the battery powered radio and check the batteries.
  • We avoid boarding up or taping windows until the last day. By then we can get a pretty good idea if we are really going to get the full force of the storm or not. If you ever have to get masking tape off your windows you will know why we wait. We save necessary plywood that is already cut to the correct size from year to year just for this. You do not want to have to buy plywood just before a hurricane. Plan ahead.
  • Try to avoid going shopping just before the storm hits. You are sure to get caught up in the madness and buy stuff you don't need.

I would love to hear from you. What are some of your favorite tips for hurricane preparedness?
I am sure others would love to hear your comments as well.

BTW, here are some pics my parents took of our neighborhood after Hurricane Hazel hit us in 1954.

Thanks for stopping by and stay safe this hurricane season!

Cowgirl or Cowboy Cookie Mix Gifts

I love homemade gifts. I especially like homemade spa and food gifts. I found this idea on bakerella.com and it is adorable! They even include a free downloadable gift tag and instruction label.

Cowgirl Cookies
Isn't that the cutest thing ever? She gives instruction for Cowboy cookies too.
Cookie Stack

DIY Sweetened Condensed Milk

Ever decide to cook something just to find you don't have all the ingredients you need? I just hate that. First of all I really don't like going to the grocery store, and second...I don't like going to the grocery store! lol

One ingredient we often need is Sweetened Condensed Milk. I found a site with a recipe that takes less time to prepare than it takes to go to the store. And its a lot less expensive too.


Full ingredients and instructions here....

No Bake Mud Cookies

Its a rainy day here this Labor Day and I was in the mood to cook something sweet and chocolaty. But I didn't have the ingredients on hand for some of the recipes I thought of and I really didn't want to go to too much work....☺

Then I remembered these no bake cookies. They have lots of names including Tennessee Mud Cookies, No Bake Mud Cookies, and No Bake Oatmeal Cookies. There are only a few basic ingredients and they are very quick and easy to make. Plus, my husband LOVES them. ♥♥

If you have never made these you are in for a treat. Easy to make, easy to clean up, and a sure hit with everyone.

I don't remember how I got this reciepe or how long I have had it but here goes...

Assemble your ingredients. The picture is only showing 1 cup sugar, you will need 2 cups.

Combine sugar, milk, cocoa, and butter in a saucepan.

Bring to a boil, stir often. Boil for 1 1/2 minutes.

Add Peanut Butter and Vanilla and mix well.

Stir in Oatmeal until cooled.

Drop spoonfuls onto waxed paper or greased cookie pans

Let cool and transfer to serving plate


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons Cocoa
  • 2 1/4 cups Oatmeal (Dry Old Fashioned Oats, not instant)
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 stick butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
Combine sugar, milk, cocoa, and butter in saucepan. Bring to boil and boil 1 1/2 minutes. Add Peanut Butter and Vanilla. Mix well. Stir in oatmeal and stir until cooled. Drop onto wax paper or lightly greased cookie sheets.

Let me know what you think! I would love to hear from you.

Vitamin Water in Five Flavours

I was looking on Pinterest for directions for making Detox Water. I found lots of recipes, most of them were basically the same with minor changes here and there.

But then I found this site! A whole collection of different vitamin waters that are color-free, sugar-free and bpa plastic free. 

There are directions for these waters:
  • Recovery
  • C Power
  • Stressless
  • Digest It
  • Detox
The only thing I noticed was that they all use a pinch of Himalayan Crystal Salt. I did find this on Amazon.com but thought it a little pricey and since all the waters use just a pinch I'm either going to use sea salt or leave it out. I'm going to have to research that one a bit.

These recipes seem a little more complicated than some I saw but I think they are also much better. I intend to try the Stressless and Detox waters.

I need to drink my water anyway, why not make it full of vitamins too! And I bet they taste great. Please leave a comment if you make any of these and let me know what you think. I love to hear from you.

Creamy Pea Salad

Here's something a bit different. Actually my Mom used to make something very similar to this. Minimal prep. and only the only cooking is the bacon which could be done ahead of time.

This recipe is from lovebakesgoodcakes.com. I can't wait to try it!

Creamy Pea Salad

Yield: 8-10 servings

2 pkg. (16 oz. each) frozen peas, thawed and drained

½-1 cup diced Cheddar cheese

½-1 cup diced Mozzarella cheese

1 medium red onion, chopped

1 cup Miracle Whip or mayonnaise

Salt and pepper, to taste

½ lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate until serving.

Painted Treat Tins


Recognize these?  I think most of us have at least one somewhere. I have one that I keep buttons in.

Now this is a good idea! Found it on http://cynthiashaffer.typepad.com. Yes, these old tins can actually be repurposed into really cute containers. Fill them with homemade cookies or fudge for Christmas presents!



Why haven't I thought of this?

13 Wonderful Ways to Use Epsom Salts

I have some Epsom Salts, a very old carton I think...not sure how much is in it though. Does that sound like you? Or do you perhaps know for sure that you indeed have no Epsom Salts?  Well that may change after you read this!

13 Wonderful Ways to Use Epsom Salts

I have osteoarthritis, that's the most common type and comes with age. Mostly it affects me in my hands and feet but I also have quite a bit in my knees.  I started a Zumba class that I love but my knees have been giving me a fit. Not so painful that I can't walk but painful enough that kneeling or going down steps is a problem.

So I started looking for natural ways to help with the swelling and pain. I know there is no cure for osteoarthritis but certainly I can do something to make life a bit easier.

I found suggestions that I'm sure will help like exercising and keeping weight under control. But I also found reminders of an old friend, Epsom Salts.  Epson Salts was kept by most families when I was growing up and used in a warm water bath for tired and worn muscles and general body aches and pains.

Then I found this article from care2.com. It not only recommends Epsom Salts for arthritis but it explains why. (I love knowing why, don't you?) And then it goes on to name many other uses including Splinter remover, skin exfoliator, and hair volumizer. Who knew? I didn't that's who.

Read more....

Think I'm going to go find that old box and take a nice warm detox bath!  Please leave your comments, I would love to hear from you!

10 Healthy Uses for Apple Cider Vinegar

I've been using Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) to lower my blood pressure, and you know what? It works! Or at least it has for me. I always hesitate saying stuff like that because I know that just because it helped me it may not help everyone. But if you've never tried it maybe you should!

I stumbled on this site by wellandgoodnyc.com which lists ten different ways ACV can help us.

health uses for apple cider vinegar

Did you know ACV can be used for curbing digestive issues, spiking weight loss, promoting great skin, and banishing a handful of other pesky afflictions?

lemon and apple cider vinegar
For a balancing elixir, dilute a couple teaspoons of organic unfiltered apple cider vinegar in tepid or warm water with lemon in the morning

Read more here....

How to Get Rid of House Flies with Cloves

Did you know house flies detest the odor of cloves? Well, I didn't. I sure wish I had known about it a few weeks ago when some of my girlfriends came over. We were all sitting on my back deck waving away flies while we were relaxing. Finally the wind direction changed and they were gone. Thankfully! I mean really, what is more annoying than trying to eat outdoors when bombarded with flies?

This simple answer from wikihow.com is just what I need!

Get Rid of House Flies with Cloves

Be sure to read their tips at the bottom of the page as well. Great for all of you fly problems.

See how and read more here...

Home Remedies for the Garden

I'm all for making your own garden pesticides and repellents whenever possible. I hate using all those chemicals not knowing what other living things they may harm. I refused to use them around my back yard because I love watching the little Anoles (we call them porch lizards) and I don't want to harm them.

I found some great solutions at centralcoastgardening.com. The ingredients are simple and can probably be found in your pantry. Also, the writer says they have actually tried them out and that they work! They list instructions for three mixtures:

  • Rose Spray
  • Deer Repellent
  • Mole Repellent

Read more....