Homemade Ginger Ale

I have always liked the taste and tingle of ginger ale, and have also found it helpful to settle my stomach.

Fresh ginger can help with bloating, gas and that general uncomfortable feeling of being too full. What better way to get real ginger into you than by making your own ginger ale! When you make it yourself, you know and control the ingredients going into it; the ingredients are easy to find and, best of all, it is easy to make.

For the recipe I use one by Kami McBride of LivingAwareness.com. She has two different ways to make your own ginger ale. The first requires a juicer, and if you have one, it is a great way to quickly whip up a batch whenever you want or need it. win_20161201_11_08_53_proThe second method only requires a grater and a pan. This is the recipe I use and I love it.

Watch the video to see both methods. Here are some of my notes:

win_20161201_11_17_13_proAfter you bring the grated ginger to near boil, you let
it soak for 1-2 hours. The longer it soaks, the stronger the flavor will be. For a milder taste, either soak it for about an hour, or use a different ratio of syrup and water when mixing.

Any unflavored fizzy water will work: club soda, seltzer, even fizzy mineral water (although these DO have a taste to them). For more information on the differences, read this article.

I made this in a half batch; keep the proportions the same and it works fine. Likewise, you win_20161201_14_03_07_proshould be able to double it if you need more for a get-together.

I found that a 1/2 batch gives me about 3 servings at the strength I like. So when I make a batch, I freeze about 1/3 of the syrup in ice cube trays, then store the cubes in the freezer. That way I always have some on hand to quickly thaw out and drink. To thaw I place them in a small saucepan over low heat and stir occasionally. I find that when they have melted, they are still a bit cool and ready to drink. KEEP ON EYE ON THEM TO BE SURE THEY DON’T GET TOO HOT AND “COOK” MORE.

Again, you can make a large batch if you want and freeze it. You’ll learn how much syrup (or how many frozen cubes) you’ll need to get the taste you like.

Next step is to grow my own gingerroot to use for this and other recipes. I have a piece planted in a pot; time will tell how it turns out.

I hope you try making your own ginger ale. Please share your thoughts in the comments!

I Can Hear You Now! Removing Ear Wax Build Up

This article may contain affiliate/distributor links. If you follow the link and purchase something, I will receive compensation for it. I only recommend products that I use and like. 

earI had known for several weeks that wax was building up in my left ear, and that eventually it was going to need to be removed or my hearing would be blocked. (I know this because it happened to me before; in fact about 15 years ago, my hearing was completely blocked. After trying to live with it for several months, I finally went to the doctor and had it cleaned out.)

However, “things” kept getting in the way. (Hurricane Matthew, I’m talking about you!) So when it got pretty stopped up and began ringing, I knew I had to do something.

First, I wanted to stop the ringing until I could get it cleared out. I have read that Helichrysum essential oil is good for reducing tinnitus, but I didn’t have any on hand. I did, however, have Panaway essential oil blend, and one of the ingredients is Helichrysum. I mixed a couple of drops Panaway with a couple of drops of castor oil, and gently rubbed on the inside and outside of my left ear, and on the mastoid bone behind the ear.

Let me be clear: I rubbed it on the inside of my outer ear; I did NOT put it into my ear canal.

Within 5 minutes, the ringing was reduced, and within 30 minutes, it was gone. What a relief!

Then I was able to go about cleaning out my ear. I tipped my head to the right, pulled back on my left ear to open up the canal, and put a couple of drops of hydrogen peroxide into my left ear. I stood like that for a minute to let the peroxide begin to dissolve the wax. I then put a cotton ball in my outer ear to keep it in while I prepared the next step.

I heated water in the microwave for about 10 seconds. You want the water to be body temperature, so depending on your microwave, you may need more or less time. I took a syringe (NOT a needle, just the syringe part), I filled it with water, leaned forward over the sink, pulled my left ear back, and squirted the water into my ear. What drained out went into the sink. I repeated this process about 4 times, until the wax was flushed out into the sink. (I wiped the sink out with a paper towel to keep the wax from going down the drain; it could stick to the walls of the pipes and help clog them up!)

Ahhh, that’s much better. I can hear you now!

I tipped my head to the left to drain out any remaining water, then to finish, I put a few drops of DIY Swimmer’s Ear in to help dry it out.

The lesson I learned? I need to do this 1-2 times a year just to clean my ear out BEFORE it gets to be a problem. If I notice my ear blocking up a bit, and I have no symptoms of any kind of nasal infection, I need to be proactive and do this clean out.



Rest and Breath

rest-and-breatheThis year has been one where I have dealt with a number of health challenges. The biggest lesson I have learned out of this is I need a different way of caring for myself, to help prevent what I can, and to help me heal from what I cannot prevent.

Last spring I had cataract surgery on both eyes and a tooth extracted within a month. The tooth extraction followed two infections and a failed re-do root canal…and THREE rounds of antibiotics. And in the midst of all that, I was diagnosed with hypertension.

I finally realized the best thing I could do was lay down and rest each afternoon. I started by lying down and closing my eyes. Sometimes I’d listen to a podcast; sometimes I’d rest for about 30 minutes then read. Sometimes I’d read first, then take a short nap.

And one day while reading, I came across this quote:

“To rest is to heal.”
Lilias Folan
Lilias! Yoga: Your Guide to Enhancing Body, Mind, and Spirit in Midlife and Beyond

And that confirmed what I already suspected: I needed to rest to allow my body a chanced to heal. And not just from the surgeries, but from the antibiotics, from hypertension, from trying to find a medication that would work for me, and from the stresses of life.

So I’ve continued the practice of lying down in the afternoons and resting. I’d like to do it ever day, but reality steps in and my goal is for more days than not. I thought that meditating might be a good thing for me, but wasn’t sure how to do it. With time, I’m begun a practice of lying down, closing my eyes, and simply focusing on my breathing.

I’ll inhale for a count of four, then exhale for a count of 5 (which, as I relax, often becomes 6 or 7). I may do a few a first where I inhale through my nose and exhale through my mouth, but switch to doing all through my nose.

After a few minutes, when I can feel my body relaxing, I will go back to breathing naturally, and just count my inhales and exhales. Inhale – one; exhale – two; inhale – three; exhale – four, etc. until I get to 10. Then I begin again.

If I lose count, I simply start over. No judgement if my mind wanders, I just go back to counting. I’m not trying to think about anything or solve a problem; in fact I’m trying to do the opposite: get my brain to shut down, so I can truly relax and rest. And heal.

Most interesting thing I’ve found is that after about 20-25 minutes, I “wake up”. While I sometimes do drift off for a few minutes, I am usually not asleep, although I am not fully awake either. Once I can feel I am “waking up”, my brain kicks back in, and it is time for me to get up.

This works quite well for me. A few weeks ago I was at my desk trying to get work completed so I could be finished for the day, but kept running into problems and distractions. I finally realized the best thing I could do was to lay down and breathe. Thirty minutes later, I’m back at my desk, refreshed, and able to focus and get things completed.

A great reminder of the importance to rest and breathe.

Proper breathing technique is important to, and easy to add into your day. You can read more at Every Breath You Take.

You may also want to try Balancing Breath to help you both calm down and re-energize.

DIY Liquid Hand Soap


liquid-hand-soapHave you heard the recent news from the FDA? They have banned the marketing of certain ingredients commonly used in antibacterial soap.

“Consumers may think antibacterial washes are more effective at preventing the spread of germs, but we have no scientific evidence that they are any better than plain soap and water,” said Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER). “In fact, some data suggests that antibacterial ingredients may do more harm than good over the long-term.”

This is not new information. In December 2013, the FDA announced they were studying antibacterial soaps to determine if the benefits outweighed the risks.

So what can we do to help stay well and avoid catching or spreading infectious diseases?

First, wash your hands following the procedure recommended by the Center for Disease Control .

Next, mix up your own liquid hand soap to use in my kitchen. I took two recipes (this and this) and created my own:

liquid-hand-soap-mixingIn a glass jar put:

1/4 cup distilled water
1/4 cup castille soap

In a spoon put:

1/2 Tablespoon sweet almond oil
20 drops Thieves essential oil blend* (or create your own blend with essential oils that you like)

Add to water and soap mixture in the jar and stir until thoroughly blended.

Pour the liquid soap mixture into a glass or porcelain container with a pump.

Note: This mixture is thinner than what I am used to.

*Thieves essential oil blend is made of Clove, Lemon, Cinnamon, Eucalyptus, and Rosemary essential oils. It was inspired by the legend of four 15th-century French thieves who formulated a special aromatic combination composed of clove, rosemary, and other botanicals they used while robbing the dead and dying. You can purchase Thieves blend through my link – just search for Thieves or any essential oils or blends you like.


Beat the Heat – Cooling Neckerchief

Cooling NeckerchiefIt was the summer of 1980, and it was hot. Not just in south Arkansas, where I was a rising high school senior, but throughout most of the US. Record highs for a record length of time meant everyone was looking for ways to stay cool.

And one method that I remember was from the US Women’s Open golf tournament. Amy Alcott, the eventual winner, wrapped a wet bandana around her neck to help stay cool. Though she was teased by some, the fact she won in the hot conditions made me think she was on to something.

So I’ve done the same to help me cope with hot summer days. Once tied on, it is hands-free. It is also easy to simply re-wet to keep the cooling effect going. You can also put the wet bandana in the refrigerator for a few minutes to cool it even more. Watch the video of how I do it.

Why the neck? Because it is one of your body’s pulse points, where the blood passes near the surface making it easy to begin cooling. Other pulse points include your wrists and ankles, and these are other options for wrapping a wet cloth around.

You can also add a drop of essential oil to your water to enhance the cooling effect. Peppermint is an especially good one. PLEASE NOTE: Peppermint essential oil may increase blood pressure. PLEASE CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE USING. Other essential oils that help cool your body include spearmint and eucalyptus. Test and see what works best for YOUR body whether individually or combined.

Want to order your own Peppermint (or other) Essential Oil? You can through my Young Living World site.