Lemons for Health, 20 Reasons Why

Posted by on Feb 4, 2018 in Frugal For Everyone, Health, Product Information, Recipes | 59 comments

lemons for health

Lemons for Health

Do you find it difficult to drink the recommended 8 glasses of water a day? Try adding frozen lemon slices to the water – you’ll be surprised what a difference it makes. It’s the only way I can get through 8 glasses a day.

Not everyone likes it cold though. A friend of mine prefers to add the lemon slices to hot water for a hot drink. Either way, it does make it easier to get your 8 cups a day.

But lemon does more than make water taste better:

Lemons are loaded with nutrients that boost the immune system, making it a great preventative. It is high in vitamin C, and also contains vitamin A, vitamin B6 and vitamin E along with many important nutrients and minerals. Lemons contain flavonoids which are believed to play an important role in fighting cancer, heart disease, and some degenerative diseases. Lemons also have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antibacterial properties.

For the greatest health benefit use freshly squeezed lemon juice. Once a lemon has been juiced it loses Vitamin C rapidly, reducing its effectiveness. Note: You’ll get more juice if you first heat the uncut lemon in a glass of hot water.

To easily make a hot lemon drink, simply juice a lemon over a tea cup (use a strainer to catch the seeds). You can add the juiced lemon – I do – then pour in enough hot water to fill the cup. Cover the cup with something (to keep in the heat) and let steep for 3-5 minutes. Remove the lemon and stir in a teaspoon of raw honey.  

Lemons for health

 Lemons for Health:

  1. Lemon’s antimicrobial properties reduce the effects of cold and flu. Hot lemon tea can soothe a sore throat, cut phlegm, reduce mucous buildup and relieve coughs.
  2. A gargle with lemon juice can soothe a sore throat – gargle, then swallow the juice. Lemon’s  antibacterial properties will go on to kill more germs.
  3. Reduce chills with hot lemon tea.
  4. Treat fever with a cup of Vitamin C rich lemon tea. This replaces the fluids lost through sweating.
  5. Asthma and allergy sufferers may find relief from a hot lemon drink (without honey) taken before meals and before bedtime.
  6. Gargling with lemon juice stops gums from bleeding, prevents toothaches and eliminates bad breath – swallow the lemon juice to kill more bacteria, then rinse well with clear water to remove any remaining acid from teeth.
  7. Gargling with hot lemon water may help speed the healing of canker sores.
  8. Lemon is a great blues chaser. Sit down with a cup of lemon tea and take time to really smell the aroma for a quick mood lifter and to reduce stress and depression.
  9. Lemon’s antiseptic properties supports a healthy digestive system – valuable in the prevention and treatment of constipation, flatulence, heartburn and indigestion.
  10. Drinking lemon juice daily may deter the formation of kidney stones and gall stones.
  11. Lemon juice is a diuretic which flushes out toxins from the body and cleans the blood. It is believed this may soothe symptoms of arthritis and rheumatism.
  12. Lemon juice maximizes enzyme function which contributes to detoxification.
  13. Lemon tea taken daily may help control diabetes, high blood pressure and prevent stroke.
  14. Lemon juice stops internal bleeding. To stop a nose bleed, drop some lemon juice on a cotton ball and place it inside your nose.
  15. Stop the bleeding and disinfect cuts and scrapes by applying lemon juice to a cotton ball, place on cut or scrape and hold it firmly in place for a few minutes.
  16. Soothe and ease skin rashes, including poison ivy rash, with lemon juice.
  17. Lemon juice will also provide relief from insect bites and bee stings.
  18. Cool minor burns, including sunburn, by applying lemon juice to the burn. This may also prevent scars.
  19. Dissolve warts and speed recovery – Soak a cotton ball in lemon juice then hold it on the wart for a minute or so. Repeat for several days until the acids in the lemon juice dissolve the wart completely.
  20. Treat a hangover with a cup of tea to which a generous portion of lemon juice was added.

Lemons for health? Definitely. Loaded with goodness they play an important role in a natural, preventive health program.

Talk to you again soon,


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Cooking Hacks You’ll Actually Use

Posted by on Jan 21, 2018 in Common Products - Uncommon Uses, Frugal For Everyone, Herbs, Recipes | 29 comments

cooking hacks

Once again we hear that the price of food will be going up this year. With that in mind, I’ve developed a list of practical cooking hacks to combat rising food prices, not only by saving money but also by saving time. In today’s busy world, both are equally appreciated.

Cooking Hacks:

Use a vegetable peeler to ‘grate’ Parmesan cheese and you won’t end up with clumps of cheese in your salad.

Like the creamy butter served in restaurants? Make your own – whip butter with half as much milk until fully absorbed – e.g. ¼ cup butter + 2 Tbsp. milk or 1 cup butter + ½ cup milk, etc. This increases the volume by almost half and makes the butter easier to spread.

Forgot to take the butter out of the fridge? Simply use the slicer on your cheese grater or your vegetable peeler and shave the butter. Less than a minute later you’ll have spreadable butter.

Make your own Greek yogurt at half the cost. Simply line a colander with triple layer of cheese cloth and set over a bowl. Pour in the regular yogurt (store bought or homemade), place in the fridge and let the whey drain out. The longer it drains, the thicker and milder the yogurt. Don’t throw the drained whey out, it’s full of nutrition. Add it to soup or use it to replace the liquid in baking.

Adding ¼ tsp. lemon juice to whipping cream will make it whip much faster.

Adding 2-3 Tbsp. of honey to 2 cups whipping cream will make the whipping cream stay firm longer. Beat the whipping cream until just starting to get stiff, beat in the honey, 1 Tbsp. at a time, continue beating until you have the desired thickness.

Drop heaping spoonfuls of whipped cream on a cookie sheet and freeze. When frozen, transfer to a freezer bag. Great to top hot chocolate or desserts.

For a quick sauce for pancakes, waffles, pudding or ice-cream, boil together 1/4 cup berry jam (raspberry, strawberry, blueberry, etc.) and 1/2 cup water for two minutes until blended. Remove from heat, stir in 1/2 tsp. almond extract and enjoy.

For a totally different treat try adding finely chopped herbs to the sauce above – basil goes with any berry; mint to blackberry; lavender to blueberries; add the herb after the sauce has been removed from heat. Experiment with other combinations. Start with a small amount of the herb (a tsp) and taste. You can always add more if desired. 

Need a quick dessert? Easily make a no-milk chocolate pie filling: Mix 1/4 cup cornstarch with 1/2 cup cold water – blend well. Boil together 1 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup margarine, 3/4 to 1 cup white sugar and 3 Tbsp. cocoa. Add the cornstarch mix and cook until thick. Pour into baked pie shell, cool and top with whipped cream. You can also use this as a dark chocolate sauce to pour over ice-cream. Delicious.

Melt a package of caramels in a cup of hot strong coffee to make a terrific low-cost topping for ice-cream.

If you have a variety of cereal boxes each with just a bit left on the bottom, empty them all into a jar, shake so they become well mixed and cover. The children will think you’re a genius for inventing a new cereal and you’ll be happy with the no-waste.

Do not throw out ketchup, relish or chili sauce bottles if there is still the smallest amount left. Add a little vinegar and water, shake the bottle well, and pour into gravy, stew, or meat loaf mix. Good to the last drop.

When beating egg whites, add 1 Tbsp. of water to the whites. This makes them fluffier and almost doubles the amount.

To separate egg yolks from white use a small funnel. The white slides right through while the yolk remains.

Use cookie cutters to keep eggs for poaching or frying from spreading out. Simply place the cookie cutter (decorative ones are nice) in the pan and break the egg into it.

Marinate meats, poultry and fish by putting it and the marinade into a zip-lock bag, press out the air and seal. Set the whole thing in a bowl in the fridge and let marinate away, turning occasionally so marinade can penetrate all sides.

Tenderize stewing beef in canned tomatoes – pour the meat and tomatoes into a zip-lock bag, and marinate for a couple of hours. When ready, both the meat and tomatoes can be added to the stew.

Easily improve beef stew by adding ½ tsp. of vinegar or lemon juice while simmering.

Buy ground meat on sale – in bulk. Spread on cookie sheet. With plastic knife mark into ½ lb (250g) sections. Freeze. When frozen, break off each ½ lb section, place in zip-lock freezer bags and freeze flat. When needed, it takes no time at all to defrost the meat.

To get thin strips of meat for stir-frys, partially freeze the meat first. This makes it easier to slice it thin.

Flavour gravy, stock or stews with a small clove-studded onion. Remove the onion when cooking is finished.

Place fish on lemon slices when barbecuing. This keeps the fish from sticking to the grill and adds a lovely flavour.

Save orange and lemon peels. Boil together in water, strain and use the water to poach fish.

Skewers will be easy to remove from meat if you first spray them with vegetable spray. 

To quickly de-grease soup stock, drain the stock in a colander to remove the meat and vegetables, then pour the drained stock through a clean damp dishtowel (make sure the towel is not scented from the dryer). The fat and impurities will stick to the towel and you’ll have a beautiful clear stock.

Add herbs, spices or bouillon cubes to soup at the end of cooking to keep their aroma and flavour.

For a totally different taste, add a square of unsweetened chocolate to your next batch of brown sauce or gravy.

If the gravy isn’t dark enough, add a tsp. of instant coffee granules.

Heating a lemon in very hot water before juicing produces almost double the amount of juice.

Rinse the measuring cup with very hot water before adding honey, molasses or syrup. The sticky stuff will slide right out.

Mix the ingredients for pancakes in a strong plastic bag. Cut a small hole in the corner of the bag and pour onto the griddle right from the bag. You can even pour it into decorative cookie cutters and delight the family.

To freshen stale bread or rolls, place in paper bag, sprinkle the bag with water and place in a hot oven for a few minutes. Works like a charm.

Add 2 Tbsp. of mayo to any cake mix – makes cakes moister and more flavourful.

Make your cake mixes taste homemade – replace the water with milk, the oil with softened or melted butter – and add nuts or chips. Try adding 1/4 cup of peanut butter (smooth or crunchy, doesn’t matter which) to the melted butter.

An easy way to cut cake is to use plain dental floss or sewing thread to cut the slices. Just lay the floss/thread on top and pull down. Neat.

When making fruit pies sprinkle the sugar under the fruit, not on top. The sugar will bubble up through the fruit while it’s baking but not over the top of the dish.

If you need to cut marshmallows for use in a recipe, freeze them first and they’ll be much easier to cut.

Add a vanilla bean to a container of sugar used for baking. Also makes a tasty hot chocolate.

Freeze leftover tea in ice cube trays – transfer when frozen to freezer bags – and use these to flavour iced tea. Doesn’t dilute the tea the way water does.

When you have wine leftover from a party freeze it in ice cube trays and always be prepared when a recipe calls for a small amount of wine.

You can also freeze fruit juices in ice cube trays to flavour a punch, lemonade or even smoothies.

To store lettuce and other greens, place paper towel in a large container or zip-lock bag, lay the greens on top and add another paper towel on top and close. This will absorb the moisture and keep the greens last longer. It’s also a good idea to store this on the top shelf of your fridge, not in the crisper.

Bananas will last longer if placed inside a zip-lock bag. To keep them good for a week to 10 days, separate into two bunches; keep one on the counter and store the other bunch in a cool, dark place (not the fridge) until needed.

To re-crisp celery, place the stalk in a glass of cold water. This will crisp them right up. Also works for many herbs.

Freeze herbs for longer storage. Chop fresh herbs, place in ice cube trays and cover with olive oil or water, depending on what they’re to be used for. Freeze, then transfer to freezer bags. Make sure to date and label because frozen products all look the same after a while.

Add a couple of tablespoons of vinegar to the water when steaming vegetables to retain their bright colour.

To make a quick cheese sauce for cauliflower or broccoli, heat a can of condensed cream of cheese soup with 1/4 cup water. Blend well and pour over the vegetable.

When cooking potatoes or cauliflower add a dash of vinegar to the water. Won’t affect the taste but will keep the vegies white.

Use less salt when cooking vegetables by adding the salt at the end of cooking. The salt sticks better to the cooked food so less is needed.

I find these to be the most practical cooking hacks, the ones you’ll actually use. Watch my blog throughout the year to get more cooking hacks, ideas for food storage, practical substitutions and more. Saving time and money need not be an effort but can be kind of fun.

Talk to you again soon,


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Baby Boomer Flashbacks…Do You Remember?

Posted by on Jan 14, 2018 in Frugal For Everyone | 34 comments

Baby Boomer Flashbacks was written to celebrate my birthday later this month.  I thought it would be fun to take you along on a trip down my memory lane.

Having been born in 1945 I am actually a member of ‘The Greatest Generation’ but since all of my growing up years happened during baby boomer times I decided that a ‘Greatest Generation Baby Boomer’ label sounded pretty good so that’s what I’m going with.

Baby Boomer Flashback

My Grade 7 photo    60 years ago.

So come stroll and remember right along with me. I remember……

School Days:

One room schoolhouses with basement lunch rooms that always seemed to smell of egg salad;

Riding on farm truck to school – better than walking a couple of miles;

Ink wells on every desk for the nib pens we used, messy things; imagine our excitement when we received our first fountain pen – big wow;

Memorizing time tables, spelling bees and reading out loud in class – rather fun;

Our first readers, the Dick and Jane series. “Run Spot, run. Sally, see Spot run”. I learned how to speak and read English with Dick and Jane and Sally;

Two-story high-school, we’re really moving up in the world – got lost the first day when a class was in room 205 and I didn’t know what the 2 stood for.

Gym bloomers – these were horrid. They actually were bloomers. To update them we tied them in the back instead of the front – HOW COOL!!

School Sock Hops – had to jive without our shoes so we wouldn’t scratch the floors; at the end of the year the 45rpm records used for the hops were sold for 5 cents each – great bargain;

The Red Feather Game – high-school football championship game played at night in support of the United Way. We thought this was such an exciting event and had so much fun yelling “we want a convert” (I still don’t really know what a convert is).

Baby Boomer Flashback

1950’s Housekeeping

I Remember…..

Family Life:

Heating with coal or wood – very few houses out in the country had central heating. The same stove was also used for cooking – things got pretty hot in the kitchen in the summer time, especially during canning season;

What a lot of work wash day was. We first had to heat the water on the stove; dirty laundry was pre-soaked in Arm and Hammer washing soda; whites were pre-soaked in bleach water; after washing, whites were run through another rinse with blueing then through the wringer again. Clothes were hung on the line outside – not a bad job in summer but brutal in the winter;

Everything was ironed, including pillow cases and tea towels; shirts and blouses were starched (no spray starch) and ironed damp. My favourite activity while ironing was listening to ‘True Story” on the radio hoping my dutch speaking mother wouldn’t understand (she did, no more True Story);

Wooden screen doors were a must for every home; small adjustable sliding screens to fit any window were available.

Milk and bread were delivered by horse-drawn wagons in urban areas; groceries were delivered by van right to the home even in the country. Coupons of all types were saved and cashed in, whether the product was purchased or not until manufacturers put a stop to that practice;

Families eating together was the accepted norm. An empty chair at the table meant that someone was sick or away – being late for supper without a good excuse was not tolerated;

Most sickness – including colds and flu, measles, chicken pox, etc. – was treated at home – doctors were only called for serious situations;

Sundays meant church for most families and our entire social life centered around the church.

No stores or gas stations were open on Sundays so stocking up on food and gas on Saturday was a must;

Most families only had one car and since seat belts weren’t required – or even available – cars were often packed (and I do mean packed, even sitting on laps) with family members and friends;

Gas was 19 cents a gallon or 5 cents a liter/quart – ready to travel back to the 50s? Coke was 5 cents a bottle and always dripped since we got them out of water-filled coolers; a loaf of bread cost 19 cents; a pound of ground beef was 30 cents; coffee 37 cents a pound. Of course the minimum wage in 1957 was $1.00 per hour with the average man earning around $90.00 per week. Women earned much less.

GMO and other ‘enhanced’ foods were still in the future; on the other hand, farmers used such poisonous chemicals as DDT and Atrazine – deadly weedkillers for field crops, now banned.


Baby Boomer Flashback

Simplicity Pattern 2402 Children’s Wear

I remember……


Fashion in the 50s can really be described in one word – neat. No matter the style, everything had to match. Shirts and blouses were tucked in and never would the hem of shirt or skirt show below the sweater or coat. Clothes were ironed, pleats were sharp, socks were white, shoes were polished and seams in nylons were straight.

Guys wore flannel or chino slacks, cotton shirts or pullovers. I can’t remember any fellow wearing jeans or T-shirts.

baby boomer flashback

Teenage girl’s must have wardrobe

As shown in the picture above a teenage girl’s ‘must have’ wardrobe included: The poodle skirt, neckerchiefs, belts to show off our small waists, bobby socks and not shown – saddle shoes.

Other wardrobe items included wool skirts with box pleats; Twin sets – matching sweater and pullover – and sweater clips to hold the cardigans in place.

Baby boomer Flashback

Example: Sweater clip available from  michellevintage on Etsy

Hairstyles ranged from brush cuts for the boys, duck tails for both boys and girls, and beehives for girls. In our quest for beauty we suffered through home perms, sleeping on brush rollers and backcombing our hair – all of it a big ‘ouch’;

Once we grew up and became ‘ladies’, at least in our own eyes, fashions included:

Nylons with seams and garter belts – it was murder trying to keep those seams straight;

3 yard crinolines – fun going up narrow stairs or getting in and out of cars;

One piece bathing suits and rubber swim caps decorated with rubber flowers; can’t you just picture it?

Bermuda shorts (loved those) and pedal pushers. Girls often paired these with their brothers’ white shirts.  Very few women wore slacks in public;

Sack dresses were in style for a very short time. Believe it or not some of them were quite attractive and sexy looking (that was a phrase we never used back then); they matched nicely with the shoes that had 3″ spike heels and pointed toes which hurt like mad, but all in the name of vanity;

Jackie Kennedy was a great style inspiration for us – her boxy jackets, pillbox hats and white gloves were desired by every young woman. She had such class;

Of course, ‘Seventeen’, was every young girl’s guide. Without this magazine we wouldn’t have known what fashion or hairstyle was the latest trend or learn tips on updating our wardrobes for little money – important stuff like that.

I remember……

Things were very different in the fifties. During WW ll women had gone out to work in all kinds of jobs but once the war was over the men took the jobs back and women once again became Susy Homemaker. This was encouraged by producers of consumer goods, ‘lets get those little ladies out there spending’, and further supported by TV shows. Consider just three of the popular shows at the time:

  • Ozzie and Harriet
  • Father Knows Best
  • Leave it to Beaver

In all those shows, Father was the wage-earner and disciplinarian and the woman stayed home to keep a spotless house, raise well-behaved children and put fantastic meals on the table, smiling through it all.

I remember……

Fun Times:

When very young:

  • In the summertime, playing outside till dark. Why is that such an exciting activity when you’re young?
  • Playing kick the can, racing to beat the ‘it’ person back to the can;
  • Skipping rope double dutch – loved that.
  • Playing hockey on the frozen creek with sticks – I couldn’t skate, hated the cold, but still refused to stay home and miss out;
  • Hula hoops, that wasn’t as easy it as looked;
  • Getting a group together to play baseball – we didn’t always have nine so sometimes only 6 would have to do;
  • Walking the barrel. Fell of once and couldn’t catch my breath for what seemed like hours but was probably only seconds;
  • Boys were crazy about their Davy Crockett hats, sheriff badges and cap guns;

The big ‘moral’ thinking of the time was a double standard: boys could, girls couldn’t, boys did, girls were blamed. Regardless, we still managed to have a lot of fun.

Teenage years:

  • The outdoor roller rinks – whatever happened to them, they were so much fun and the absolute best place to meet friends;
  • Beach parties – roasting wieners, toasting marshmallows, drinking pop (no alcohol ever), in those days getting a coke was treat enough;
  • Home parties and Sunday night get-togethers with friends;
  • The very odd time going to a restaurant for a coffee and putting a nickel in the jukebox. That made any evening special;
  • Going steady and receiving the ‘going steady’ ring – young love, so intense;
  • Flirting with police – we actually liked them back then;
  • Life was good as long as I could come home and say “I had a ball” and I must admit, I did say that often – good memories.

I remember……

A bit of this and that:

  • TV was still pretty new and if you had one it was a black and white, colour didn’t come along till later. We didn’t have TV so only got to watch when visiting friends or babysitting;
  • The shows included:
    • Westerns such as The Lone Ranger; Gunsmoke; The Rifleman; the bad guys wore black hats, the good guys wore white and the good guys always won.
    • Many variety shows such as ‘Milton Berle’ and ‘Lawrence Welk’; Comedies like ‘I love Lucy’ and ‘Our Miss Brooks’; Other favourites were The Mickey Mouse Club and the very popular American Bandstand with Dick Clarke;
    • Most memorable show: Elvis on the Ed Sullivan show – doing the pelvic moves – such a no, no. The censors worked overtime to make sure that didn’t happen again. Do they still have censors?
  • Favourite singers:
    • Elvis, of course with “Love Me Tender”
    • Pat Boone, “Letters in the Sand”
    • Perry Como, “Don’t let the Stars get in Your Eyes”
    • Buddy Holly, “Peggy Sue
  • Other: Norman Rockwell covers on Saturday Evening Post (wish I had saved those); The Peanuts Gang, didn’t really care for them at first.

This all ended the day in 1963 when every TV and Radio station announced “President Kennedy shot in Dallas”. I was a Canadian teenager and found myself crying with the tears literally pouring down my face. It was unreal. It truly was the end of an era. Never again has life been as innocent or carefree.

I hope you enjoyed reading Baby Boomer Flashbacks as much as I enjoyed writing it. If you’re a baby boomer, please add your memories to mine in the comments below.

Talk to you again soon,


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Spice Tea – Yummy Cold and Flu Blaster

Posted by on Jan 7, 2018 in Do-It-Yourself, Frugal For Everyone, Green Living, Health, Recipes | 62 comments

spice teaThis Spice Tea is must for anyone living in Canada right now. It is so cold across the country that the Calgary Zoo actually brought their penguins indoors. You know it’s extreme when even the penguins can’t take it.

So one thing you don’t want is to start these cold mornings with smoothies. Much better to start the day with Spice Tea, which not only warms you up before heading out, but also provides a great defense against colds and flu.

This recipe is a variation of the popular Chai Tea. It’s made with everyday spices selected for their immune boosting properties and specifically aimed at keeping colds and flu away.

A great thing about this Spice Tea mix is that the ingredients are everyday spices and products found in most homes so it’s not necessary to run to specialty stores.

The basic Spice Tea Mix contains the following ground spices:

1 Tbsp. each of – Allspice and Cloves

1/4 cup each of – Cardamom*  and Nutmeg

1/2 cup each of – Cinnamon and Ginger

Contents from 16 Tea Bags – Can be black or green tea

Mix everything together and store in air-tight jar in a dark location. This makes about 28 tablespoons mix, enough for 6 or 7 pots.

* Because cardamom is very expensive many people do not keep this spice on hand. The cardamom in this recipe can be replaced by:

  • a blend of 2 Tbsp. each nutmeg and cinnamon or
  • 2 Tbsp. each of cinnamon and cloves.

To make a pot of Spice Tea:

  • 2 cups milk – any type of milk can be used: whole, soy (best for lowering cholesterol), rice milk (most hypoallergenic), or your personal choice of flavoured milk
  • 2 cups water
  • 3-4 Tbsp. spice tea mix, more or less depending on personal taste. (Best contained, see note below).

2-3 tsp raw honey.

Directions: Put all the ingredients in a medium size saucepan and slowly bring to a boil. Let simmer for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat; take out the spice bag(s) and add 2 – 3 tsp. raw honey (honey should not be heated). Pour into a teapot or straight into cups if preferred and serve. Lightly sprinkle with favourite spice – our spice of choice is cinnamon for best taste or turmeric for best health.

spice teaNOTE: The first time I made this I added the loose spice mix right to the liquid in the pan. That was a mistake. I didn’t realize that the spices would expand the way they do and ended up with such a thick mixture that only half of it would go through the strainer. Because of my herbs I always have a quantity of self-sealing tea bags around and use them to make up spice tea bags ahead of time, filling them loosely to allow room for expansion.  The  large tea bag (pot size) is filled with 1/4 cup mix and the smaller ones use 3/4 Tbsp. mix. The same could be done using squares of cheesecloth, as shown. The packages will still need to be stored in an air-tight jar in a dark location.

To make Spice Tea for one:

  • 1/2 cup milk: whole, soy (best for lowering cholesterol), rice milk (most hypoallergenic), or your personal choice of flavoured milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 to 1 1/2  Tbsp. spice tea mix

Dab of raw honey

Directions: As above.

Health Benefits of the Spice Tea ingredients:

BLACK TEA – Helps prevent cardiovascular disease; controls cholesterol; protects HDL the good cholesterol; strengthens the immune system; rich in the antioxidants that help cut the risk of cancer; promotes a general feeling of well-being.

ALLSPICE – Soothes symptoms of colds and flu; relieves stomach related problems – constipation, flatulence, indigestion, vomiting; eases menstrual cramping; stabilizes blood pressure and blood sugar levels; anti-bacterial, kills germs on teeth and gums, relieves tooth ache.

CARDAMOM – Immune system booster; soothes mucous membranes and lessens respiratory allergies; improves blood circulation; relieves stomach related problems – flatulence, heartburn, nausea, vomiting; increases appetite; supports the digestive system.

CINNAMON – Natural pain reliever; fights colds, flu and sore throats; anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and anti-fungal; stimulates circulation; helps detoxify the body; helps balance blood sugar levels; lowers cholesterol; helps relieve stomach problems – nausea, diarrhea; lessens menstrual cramps; calming agent.

CLOVES – High in antioxidants that help support the immune system. An expectorant, helps clear mucous membranes and cut phlegm; warming, soothes symptoms of flu and colds; pain reliever – relieves toothaches and gum pain; soothes ulcers; lessens nausea.

GINGER – Boosts the immune system; fights colds, flu and sore throats, loosens congestion; reduces sinusitis; anti-inflammatory relieves aches and pain from arthritis; improves circulation; soothes the stomach; reduces flatulence; used in the fight against cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s.

NUTMEG – Reduces drying of mucous membranes; keeps airways moist and open; supports digestive system.

OTHER. A pinch or sprinkle of either one – or both – of the following spices can be very effective in the prevention and treatment of colds, flu and fever. Both promote a feeling of general well-being.

  1. CAYENNE – Cayenne warms the body and a pinch added to the tea can promote the release of mucous from the sinus and respiratory passages. It stimulates sweating which helps to bring down a fever and remove toxins from the body. Increases circulation.
  2. TURMERIC – Excellent anti-inflammatory, turmeric is highly effective in preventing colds and flu. Boosts the immune system and supports liver function. It has anti-viral and antiseptic properties.

RAW HONEY – Anti-bacterial and loaded with enzymes, vitamins and minerals that work together to boost the immune system, fight against germs and prevent or lessen the severity of colds and flu. Greatly increases the antioxidant activity of other foods and spices.

Drinking two cups of Spice Tea a day will significantly boost the immune system and prevent colds and flu – or at the very least, lessen the symptoms. As a bonus, this tea is a delicious, comforting winter drink that lifts your spirits and just plain and simple makes you feel good.

Talk to you again soon,


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Unusual Ways with Eggs – Recipes, Tips, Tricks, Beauty, Crafts and More

Posted by on Jan 1, 2018 in Common Products - Uncommon Uses, Do-It-Yourself, Frugal For Everyone, Product Information, Recipes | 26 comments


Farm Fresh Eggs in Basket

One of my favourite ways to start a New Year is by learning and sharing something new – especially something unusual. Well, I have found just the thing – eggs. Using eggs not just for cooking or baking but also for acne relief or children’s crafts falls into the unusual category, wouldn’t you agree?

The many ways to use Eggs:

  1. For cooking and baking
  2. In healthy smoothies
  3. For anti-aging skin care
  4. As an acne treatment
  5. As a leather cleaner
  6. For plants, inside and out
  7. For numerous craft projects.

Since a couple of my favourite sites are loaded with great ‘egg’ information, rather than add my own I decided to borrow freely from them.

From The Food Network:

50 Egg Ideas: Recipes and Cooking with Eggs.  I love many of their recipes/ideas – How about Smoked Salmon Scramble; Spring Frittata; or a South American version of Eggs Benedict – Arepas Benedict? You’ve got to check out this site, I almost guarantee that you’ll soon be trying out one of their recipes, they’re that tempting.

Allrecipes is another of my favourite ‘go-to’ sites. I’ll be making their Cheesy Amish Breakfast Casserole to share the next time we have brunch at church. There are numerous ideas for using eggs, including this one for a banana smoothie.

Banana Smoothie


Banana Smoothie

– 1 Banana
– 1 cup cold Milk
– 1 Egg
– 1Tbsp. Wheat germ
– 1 Tbsp. Honey
– 1 tsp. Vanilla extract
– ¼ tsp. ground Nutmeg
In a blender, combine banana, milk, egg, wheat germ, honey, vanilla and nutmeg. Blend until smooth. Pour into a chilled glass and serve.
• Editor’s Note:
• This recipe contains raw egg. We recommend that pregnant women, young children, the elderly, and the infirm do not consume raw egg. Learn more about egg safety from our article:
All About Eggs: Grades, Safety, Nutrition & More  Lenie’s Note: It’s worth reading this section if for no other reason than their clear explanation of egg safety helps put your mind at ease.

Eggs For Beauty Treatments:

ALWAYS test any new skin care treatment by first trying it on the inner fold of the elbow. Check after 24 hours. Do not use if any sign of adverse reaction – redness or swelling – occurs.
• Eggs contain collagen which is a great help for anti-aging skin care. Collagen smooths out fine lines and wrinkles, giving skin a more youthful appearance.
• Eggs contain proteins, vitamins and other important nutrients needed for the maintenance of healthy skin, hair and nails.


Egg Beauty Treatment

The ‘French Mayonnaise’ Treatment: You must try this – it’s amazing how well this multi-purpose treatment works, especially as an anti-aging treatment. It offers instant results leaving skin looking healthier, smoother, and feeling softer. I love it.

To make: Blend together 1 egg, ¼ cup apple cider vinegar, ¼ cup honey and 3 drops of lavender essential oil (optional). Slowly add ½ cup olive oil in a steady stream and turn the blender off. Transfer to glass jar with lid. Keeps for a week in the refrigerator.
Before Bath/Shower Body Rub: Keeps skin soft and smooth all over. Grab a generous amount of the mayonnaise into your hand, rub your hands together and rub all over your body before you jump into the tub or shower. Then bath/shower as usual. After drying off, immediately moisturize with a moisturizer of choice.
Face Cleanser: Using finger tips, massage into skin. To remove: Gently remove by patting a tepid, wet facecloth over face. Don’t rub. Splash with cold water to remove any remaining trace. Pat dry.
Hair Conditioner: Take a generous amount of ‘mayonnaise’ into your hand and rub hands together. Massage into scalp after shampooing, leave on for 20 minutes, rinse out with warm water. Strengthens hair and leaves it shiny.
Hand and Nail Treatment: To keep hands young looking, rub one tsp. of the ‘mayonnaise’ into hands, including the nails and cuticles. Leave on for 10 minutes, then rinse of with tepid water. Pat dry.

Acne Treatment and Pore Minimizer:
• Whisk together until foamy 1 egg white, 2 Tbsp. cornstarch, 2 drops lavender essential oil. Set aside for 5 minutes. In the meantime wash your face as usual. With your fingers apply the egg white mixture to your face. As it dries, it tightens. Leave on for one hour. Remove it by laying a cool, wet washcloth over your face and leaving it on long enough to soften the mask. Gently remove the cloth and pat off any remaining mask – do not rub. Follow by splashing on apple cider vinegar toner (1 tsp. ACV in 1/3 cup water) followed by a moisturizer or by gently massaging in a tsp. of natural yogurt until absorbed.

Eggs and Cleaning Leather:   

Test in inconspicuous spot first.

• Whisk together a couple of egg whites until blended. Dab a soft sponge or cloth into the whites. Using a circular motion gently rub the whites across the leather product – shoes, purse, luggage, furniture, etc. This will remove dirt. Buff well with a dry cloth to remove any leftover film and leave the leather clean, supple and shining.
• If using inside the car you may want to add a few drops of your favourite essential oil to the whites before using.

Eggs for plants and birds:

• Save the water from boiling eggs. The calcium and other nutrients left behind in the water does wonders for both indoor and outdoor plants.
• Egg Shells are good for all kinds of things. Let the shells dry out, crush them and save them (a container in the freezer works well) to use when needed for:
o Putting new plants out in the garden, first sprinkle crushed egg shell in the hole.
o Drop crushed egg shells in a pail of water, let sit for a few days, then use both the water and shells to fertilize the garden – (my favourite way to use them).
o Crushed egg shells are great for birds, especially for nesting birds in the spring. The crushed shells help their digestive system and the calcium gives the birds much needed nutrients. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Egg Crafts

Eggs and Crafts:

Have you ever thought of using eggs for crafts? Until I came across the following two websites, I had no idea of the many different creative ways eggs can be used. Wish I had known about these when my kids were small.

This site from the Egg Farmers of Alberta, Fun for Kids – Egg Crafts, includes ideas for:
• Egg Candles
• Decomposable Bowl
• Hanging Easter Eggs/Easter Egg Tree
• Egg Flower Vases
• Egg Carton Ideas
• And many more

The Site ‘’ offers a large variety of creative and exciting Egg Activities for Kids. Some activities listed are:
• Decoupage Eggs
• An experiment with Eggs and Soda
• Make your own Egg Tempera paint
• Easter Egg Suncatchers
• And many more

Eggs – Some ‘Good to Know’ Information:

• Store eggs in their carton on refrigerator shelves – not in the door. Make sure the ‘best-before’ date is clearly visible.
• To check if eggs are still edible after the ‘best before’ date, place the egg in a bowl filled with cold water. If it sinks to the bottom, it’s good; if it lifts a little from the bottom and floats a bit it’s still fine; if it floats to the top, throw it out.
• Do not wash eggs as this can remove the protective shell coating and allow bacteria to enter the egg. If it makes you feel better wash the eggs right before using.
• To separate egg yolks from white, use a small funnel. The white slides right through while the yolk remains.
• Use a half egg shell to easily remove a piece of shell that fell into the bowl or pan. The shell seems to act as a magnet for the smaller pieces.
• Use cookie cutters to keep eggs for poaching or frying from spreading out. Simply place the cookie cutter (decorative ones are nice) in the pan and break the egg into it.
• Giving raw eggs to dogs is not a good idea as it can lead to biotin deficiency which may cause anemia, dry skin, and other health problems. Dogs may have the occasional cooked egg but cats should never have eggs.
• From personal experience: Some antibiotics work better with yogurt but if the patient doesn’t like yogurt here’s something you can do. Mix some yogurt into the next batch of scrambled eggs – 1 Tbsp. of yogurt for each egg. Makes the scrambled eggs super fluffy. This worked on my husband who really doesn’t like yogurt but loved the scrambled eggs. Sneaky but effective.

And if you need an egg and don’t have one handy, no problem, there’s a solution for that too. Next time you’re caught with no eggs during a winter snow storm, simply go out and get some clean snow – 3 heaping tablespoons can be used to replace one egg. No snow and you really want to make those muffins? Add ¼ cup mayonnaise to the mix, however when you do this make sure to find a recipe that calls for only one egg.

I’ll bet there were one or two little bits of info here you didn’t know before. If you have any other ways of using eggs, please let me know in the comment section below.

Talk to you again soon,


Salt Alert – The Hidden Sodium in Food

Posted by on Jul 16, 2017 in Frugal For Everyone | 25 comments


Condiments High in Sodium Content

It’s a well-known fact that too much sodium causes high blood pressure which in turn increases risk of heart attack or stroke. What’s not quite as well known is that it can also lead to kidney problems, dementia and cognitive impairment.

The ideal daily sodium intake for an adult is 1500mg – less than 2/3 tsp. – per day, exceeding no more than 2300mg – 1 tsp. – per day. However, the average daily consumption is more than 3000mg a day, more than double the ideal of 1500mg.

We can stop adding salt to our foods and while that would help, it isn’t the main problem as this added salt is only about 10% of our daily intake. The real problem is with the hidden sodium in food which contributes 75-80% to our daily intake. 

I checked some common foods and was surprised (and appalled) by the sodium content in some of these everyday products. Check out the corn flakes, the sandwiches, the Tim Horton’s Chickens Caesar Wrap or the so-called diet foods below. Pretty scary, right?

Kellog’s Corn Flakes 729mg per 1/2 cup serving
Kellogs Shredded Wheat 70mg per serving
Roger’s Porridge Oats 0mg per serving
Quaker Instant Oatmeal, Flavoured +/- 200mg/packet depending on flavour
Greek Yogurt, non-fat 118mg per one 8 oz  (227g) container
Cottage Cheese 411mg per 1/2 cup
Milk 88mg per 1 cup
Soy Milk 124mg per 1 cup
Almond Milk 180mg per 1 cup
Ham and cheese sandwich made with 2 slices whole wheat bread 1401mg to 1681mg
Tuna sandwich made with mayo on two slices of whole wheat bread 870mg
Aylmer Tomato Soup less sodium 570mg per 1 cup reconstituted
Homemade Tomato soup less sodium 250mg per 1 cup serving
Lipton Onion Soup Mix
610mg per serving (7g)
McDonalds Big Mac 950mg each
McDonalds Caesar Salad 1070mg each
Tim Horton’s Chicken Caesar Wrap 1532mg – that’s your total daily allowance
Tim Horton’s BELT (Breakfast Bagel) 1040mg each
Mr. Christie Chips Ahoy Chocolate Chip Cookies 140mg per 2 cookies
Mashed Potatoes with Gravy 870mg per serving
Lean Cuisine Baked Chicken 600mg per serving
Lean Cuisine Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes 520mg per serving
Weight Watchers Ham and Cheese Scramble 520mg per serving
Weight Watchers Homestyle Beef Pot Roast 690mg per serving
Salmon, Fresh (not farm raised) 59mg per 100g (3 1/2 oz.)
Salmon, Canned 900mg per can
Peas, Frozen or Canned 222mg per 1 cup
Peas, Fresh 7mg per cup
Homemade Apple Pie 128mg per slice
Homemade Apple Crisp 0mg

We do have choices once we know what the sodium content of the food is. The best way to control our sodium intake is:

  • Stop buying processed foods and prepare our own – purchased sauces, mixes and instant foods generally contain huge amounts of sodium (and often are expensive and don’t save much time);
  • Season foods with herbs and spices instead of salt – buy garlic and onion powders rather than the flavoured salts and use unsalted butter;
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables (without the sauce) – season with herbs and spices;
  • Check the nutrition labels more often and know what the labels mean;
  • Don’t buy packaged meat that doesn’t show the amount of sodium – many meats are injected with a saline solution or salt water to ‘enhance’ the meat but actually only adds weight and sodium;
  • Buy low-sodium canned products and if possible rinse the contents thoroughly before using;
  • Avoid MSG, bouillon cubes, dry soup mixes, and condiments. They’re all high in sodium;
  • When eating out, ask for sodium free or low-sodium foods. Don’t assume that the healthier sounding food in restaurants really is healthier (who would think that a Big Mac has less sodium than a Caesar salad?).

The different salts don’t really make much difference sodium wise. They all contain about the same level of sodium chloride. The difference is in the processing. Table salt is the most processed and contains additives – fluoride and anti-caking agents – but also has added iodine which is important for thyroid health. Kosher Salt and Sea Salt are less processed, may contain trace minerals and have no additives, although some Sea Salts do have iodine added.

Know what the food labels mean:

  • Low-sodium: food contains 140mg or less sodium per serving;
  • Very low sodium: food contains 35mg or less per serving;
  • Reduced sodium: food has 25% less sodium than a comparable product or their regular version;
  • Light sodium: food has 50% less sodium than a comparable product or their regular version;
  • Sodium free: less than 5mg per serving.

When one item is reduced or removed from a product it needs to be replaced by something else. Potassium is used most often as a sodium replacement and while this is perfectly safe for most of the population for a small group this may not be true. People with diabetes, kidney disease or adrenal insufficiency may have increased risk of too much potassium in their blood which can be dangerous. But that’s a whole other story and possibly material for another post. Foods have warning labels about nut allergens; shouldn’t they also have warning labels about high sodium or potassium content?

Talk to you again soon,


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150 Canadian Facts-150 Years-It’s All About Canada, eh?

Posted by on Jun 29, 2017 in Frugal For Everyone | 31 comments

Canada, eh?150 Canadian Facts is my contribution to Canada’s 150th Birthday. Hope you enjoy learning about our beautiful Country. We’re not always the polite and quiet folk people think we are – we do have our quirks. There are interesting – and sometimes odd – places to visit and things to do. But read on – discover for yourself the diversity of this land I am fortunate enough to call home. Happy Birthday, Canada.

  1. Canada became a country on July 1, 1867.
  2. Queen Elizabeth II is the Canadian Head of State.
  3. The Governor-General is the Queen’s representative in Canada.
  4. John A. MacDonald was Canada’s first Prime Minister.
  5. Canada’s name originated from an Iroquoian language word ‘Kanata’ meaning village.
  6. Canada’s capital is Ottawa, until recently the second coldest capital in the world with temperatures dipping down to -38C (-38F). It has now slipped down to fifth place but the temperature hasn’t improved – it’s still darn cold.
  7. Canada’s official phone number is 1-800-0-CANADA
  8. The North American Beaver is Canada’s national animal.
  9. Canada does not have a national flower – instead the Maple Leaf is the National emblem.
  10. Canada’s motto is A Mari Usque Ad Mare meaning From Sea to Sea.
  11. Canada’s national anthem ‘Oh Canada’ was written by Robert Stanley Weir in 1927 and officially adopted as Canada’s national anthem in 1980.
  12. Canada’s flag was officially adopted on February 15, 1965 – 98 years after Confederation. Upon seeing it, Queen Elizabeth II remarked that “a touch of blue would have been nice”………I agree.
  13. Canada has 10 Provinces and 3 Territories.
  14. CANADA/USA, AMIABLE NEIGHBOURS, MOSTLY. The Canada/USA border is the longest international border in the world, 8,891 km (5,525 miles) long. For years we took great pride in our ‘undefended border’. While there are many parts still unprotected since 9/11 passports are needed to cross at border crossings.
  15. This unprotected border has raised some interesting situations. The Haskell Free Library and Opera House straddles the border and has its entrance in Derby Line, Vermont, USA while the books are in Stanstead, Quebec, Canada. The building also contains an Opera House, where the audience sits in the USA while the stage is in Canada. The building has two addresses: 93 Caswell Avenue, Derby Line, Vermont, and 1 rue Church, Stanstead, Quebec. Both Canada and the USA declared the building a Heritage Site in the 1970s.
  16. The Aroostook Valley Country Club also straddles the Canada-USA border. Flying both flags, it is situated on the border at Perth-Andover, New Brunswick and Fort Fairfield, Maine. The course and clubhouse are on the Canadian side; the parking lot and pro shop are on the American side. With this course you can not only shoot the ball out of bounds, you can actually shoot it out of the country. Membership is about 50% from each country.
  17. Niagara Falls is a huge tourist attraction shared by Canada and the USA.
  18. 4 out of 5 of the Great Lakes are shared by Canada and the USA – Lake Superior, Lake Huron, Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. Lake Michigan is situated entirely within the USA.
  19. Canadians like the border – almost 75% live within a hundred miles (160km) of the border.
  20. It is estimated that 93,000 Canadians live in the USA with expired visas – more than any other group of immigrants.
  21. Canada celebrates Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October – much earlier than the Americans who celebrate on the fourth Thursday of November.
  22. Americans make fun of our monopoly coloured money so how’s this for irony? The green colour Americans use in their bills was invented by T. S. Hunt at Montreal’s McGill University in 1857.
  23. The USA has attacked Canada two times – in 1775 and 1812. No Wins – 2 Losses.
  24. In 1942, after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour, Canada declared war on Japan before the US did.
  25. Article 13 in the 1781 US Articles of Confederation states that if Canada wants to be admitted into the USA it will automatically be accepted. Sorry folks, can’t see this happening any time soon.
  26. CANADA NICE. Some Police Departments in Canada give out positive tickets. If they come across a young person doing something kind or positive, they will hand them a positive ticket. This promotes better interaction between the police and youth. Let’s hear it for our Canadian Cops – Yeah 🙂
  27. Residents of Churchill, Manitoba leave their car doors unlocked just in case a pedestrian needs a safe place to escape to from Polar Bears.
  28. Every Christmas 1 million letters are addressed to Santa Claus at his own postal code H0H 0H0, North Pole, Canada. These are all answered by Post Office volunteers. BTW – since the North Pole has a Canadian postal code and we all know Santa lives there, that makes Santa a Canadian – case closed.
  29. Since the 1930s, Canada and Denmark have been fighting (hic) over Hans Island which falls within the territorial waters separating Canada and Greenland (a territory of Denmark). In 1984 Canadian troops visited the Island, planted Canada’s flag and left a bottle of Canadian whiskey. The Danes retaliated. They removed the Canadian flag, planted the Danish flag, scooped up the whiskey and left a bottle of Schnapps along with a note “Welcome to the Danish Island”. The countries have tried to come to some resolution but it is believed that not too much effort has been put forth – after all, who wants to lose out on those lovely bottles. What a terrific way to disagree. Maybe they could give seminars at the UN.
  30. Canada and the USA have a service called ‘Cleaning for a Reason’. Volunteers go and clean the houses of women who have cancer so they can concentrate on beating their illness, rather than the state of their house.
  31. On 9/ll when America shut down its air space, flights were diverted to Canadian Airports, including Gander, Newfoundland which let 38 wide body planes carrying approximately 7,000 passengers land. Gander has a population of around 10,000 but the residents of Gander rallied round and housed, fed and sheltered the 7,000 passengers for three days. Other cities in Canada with airports followed suit and all together more than 33, 000 people were provided for.
  32. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina 1,000 personnel from the Canadian Forces and Canadian Coast Guard joined their American counterparts in relief efforts. Canada deployed a task force of three warships, a Coast Guard vessel, three Sea King helicopters, one BO-105 helicopter, several Griffon helicopters, along with their crews plus 35 divers. The ships and aircraft helped with search and rescue efforts, relocated people, delivered a huge amount of supplies: water containers, tents, cots, sunscreen, insect repellent and more. The divers helped to clear navigational hazards, including sunken vessels and debris and to inspect flood-damaged levees.
  33. During WWII, Canadians gave out buttons to people who tried to enlist but were rejected for medical reasons, showing their willingness to fight.
  34. Random Acts of Kindness is alive and well in Canada. Recently a friend and I went for coffee and when it was time to pay discovered someone had paid for us. Now looking to pass it on.
  35. CANADA SMART AND CLEVER. Canada has the highest literacy rate in the world with 99% literacy; more than 50% of Canadians have college degrees.
  36. Developed by Canadian Scientists, Canadarm, a Shuttle Remote Manipulator System is a robotic arm used to repair, capture, and deploy satellites; position astronauts, maintain equipment and move cargo. It was first launched into space in 1981 and had a final mission in July 2011.
  37. Canadarm 2 – an improved robotic arm with more maneuverability than its predecessor – was installed on the International Space Station in 2001.
  38. Though there has been some argument as to where exactly the telephone was invented, according to the inventor himself, Alexander Graham Bell, the telephone originated in Brantford, Ontario and the first transmission to a distance was between Brantford and Paris.
  39. Another invention that caused dispute was the invention of basketball. It originated in Springfield, Massachusetts but the inventor was James Naismith, a Canadian phys-ed teacher. We may not be joining the USA but it does seem that it’s hard to keep us separated. We like each other.
  40. Jacques Plante, a goalie for the Montreal Canadians was cut in a playoff game, received stitches and came back to play. A fan, Mr. Burchmore, who worked for Fiberglass Canada in Montreal approached Mr. Plante who agreed to sit while a mould of plaster of Paris was made of his face. Mr. Burchmore took the mould and turned it into a fibreglass mask with attached straps. The rest as they say is history.
  41. Canadian physician Frederick Banting and medical student Charles H. Best discovered the hormone insulin. By the end of 1921, with the help of Canadian chemist James B. Collip and Scottish physiologist J. R. MacLeod, Banting and Best purified insulin which has since successfully treated patients suffering from severe diabetes.
  42. The Blackberry was developed by Mike Lazaridis and Doug Fregin at Research In Motion in Waterloo, Ontario.
  43. Joseph-Armand Bombardier invented the snowmobile in Quebec. Besides being fun, or so I’m told, this machine has practical use. It has replaced the dog sled for people living in Canada’s far North. In our area of Ontario plus many other places, the snowmobile has been used by Emergency Services during winter snow storms when roads were closed.
  44. CANADA’S PLACES TO VISIT. Canada has: 42 National Parks; 167 National Historic Sites; 4 Marine Conservation Areas, and 15 World Heritage Sites. A number of the National Parks are bigger than some countries.
  45. Canada has a walled city in Quebec. It was the first city in North America to be placed on UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites list. Parks Canada personnel give guided tours and explain the city’s defense history. A unique and interesting place to visit.
  46. Hotel de Glace, Quebec City is an Ice Hotel – open from early January to late March. This hotel has 44 suites, huge snow vaults and magnificent ice sculptures. Something different for sure.
  47. Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto is the largest museum in Canada and has a huge collection of art, world culture and natural history. It attracts more than one million visitors every year and has many special events geared to children.
  48. Alpine Rafting in British Columbia is a place open to the adventurous person and the not so adventurous family groups. It is a premiere destination for Whitewater Rafting, Gentle Family Rafting & Stand Up Paddle boarding in the Canadian Rockies.
  49. The Northern Lights are a breathtaking natural phenomenon that literally light up the skies with glorious moving colours. The best opportunity to see them in Canada is from August to April although exactly when the lights will happen is hard to determine. Some of the best places to see the lights are:. Yellowknife, Northwest Territories; Iqaluit, Nunavut; Northern Labrador and Newfoundland; Churchill, Manitoba; Athabasca Country, Alberta; Canadian Rockies in Alberta and British Columbia.
  50. The Norstead Viking Village, a UNESCO World Heritage Viking Site has been identified as one Canada’s top ten ‘Hidden Travel Gems’. It’s located about two km from L’Anse aux Meadows and is the only authenticated Viking site in North America.
  51. ODD THINGS TO DO IN CANADA. Watson Lake, the Gateway to the Yukon, is home to a forest that has 72,000 signposts. In 1942 an American G.I. posted a sign showing the mileage to his hometown. This has become a tradition and anyone traveling to the Yukon via this route can leave his/her sign.
  52. Nanaimo, B.C. sponsors an annual bathtub race preceded by a bathtub parade. Converted bathtubs race over a 90-minute course.
  53. Garter Snake Capital of the World – Narcisse Snake Dens, north of Winnipeg, has viewing platforms where you can see thousands of garter snakes slithering from their dens.  This event takes place in Spring when the snakes first emerge from their dens before going into their mating ritual.
  54. Drink a Sour Toe Cocktail at The Downtown Hotel Bar in Dawson, Yukon. This is a drink made with bourbon and a pickled severed toe. The slogan to go with it: Drink it fast, Drink it slow, But drink it all and kiss the toe. 66,000 brave souls have participated so far.
  55. Float on the Dead Sea of Canada. Little Manitou Lake in Saskatchewan is so salty that you are able to read while floating along. No water wings required.
  56. Jump into a pumpkin and join the water race in Windsor, Nova Scotia. This fun event takes place annually in October. Huge gourds of all kinds are eligible.
  57. CANADA WEIRD. With all the great Canadian talent we have, guess who’s going to be headlining Canada’s one hundred fiftieth Birthday Bash in Ottawa – U2, an Irish Group. Am I the only one who thinks that’s weird?
  58. Canada was the first country to build a UFO landing pad in St. Paul, Alberta. Even the Minister of National Defence participated in the grand opening in 1967.
  59. Scotland has the Loch Ness monster – Canada has Ogopogo (half fish/half elk), a sea creature that has been spotted since the nineteenth century near Rattlesnake Island, British Columbia.
  60. In Canada it is a criminal offense to carry pepper spray or bear spray for personal protection. These products are considered weapons and therefore illegal.
  61. Prostitution is legal in Canada – buying the services of a prostitute is not. Figure that one out.
  62. Canada has a secret (?) underground laboratory built in a mine to avoid interference from environmental and solar radioactivity. Situated near Sudbury, Ontario, SNOLAB studies neutrino and dark matter .
  63. Icebergs aren’t just useless hunks of ice. In Spring, when the icebergs arrive from Greenland to the Coast of Newfoundland and Labrador they are actually harvested to make wine, beer, vodka and skin care products.
  64. There is a town in Quebec called Saint Louis-du-Ha!Ha! And of all things it started as a Catholic Mission.
  65. Sober Island, Nova Scotia has a dispute going on with a brewery as to whether or not it will allow the brewery on the Island. Since the beer made by this brewery uses oysters, and Sober Island has lots of them, it would make sense to partner but to date no agreement has been reached. Don’t you think it would be neat to have a beer with the label ‘made on Sober Island’?
  66. CANADA TALENT. Painters: Emily Carr, Tom Thomson, The Group of Seven, Margaret Pratt  – there are many more, too numerous to list.
  67. Musicians: Neil Young, Bryan Adams, Shania Twain, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Celine Dion, Michael Buble, Oscar Peterson, Paul Anka, Anne Murray, Randy Bachman, Drake and many, many more.
  68. Authors: Margaret Atwood, Mordecai Richler, Alice Munro, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Margaret Laurence, Stephen Leacock, Farley Mowatt, and many more.
  69. Dancers: Anh Nguyen, Blake McGrath, Veronica Tennant, Lynn Seymour, Georgia Simms, Karen Kain, more.
  70. Athletes: Mike Weir, Nancy Greene, Ferguson Jenkins, Clara Hughes, Wayne Gretzky, more.
  71. Actors: Jim Carrey, Ryan Gosling, Michael J. Fox, Dan Ackroyd, Keanu Reeves, William Shatner, Christopher Plummer, Ellen Page, Pamela Anderson, more.
  72. Most Famous Canadian who made a difference: Terry Fox – A cancer victim who lost his leg, Terry wanted to run across Canada to raise awareness and funds for cancer research. His journey came to an abrupt end in Sept/80 in Sudbury, Ontario when he became to ill to carry on. He passed away June/81. His memory carries on and every year since then Terry Fox runs around the world continue to raise money (about $600million to date) for cancer research. Who says one person can’t make a difference?
  73. Michael J Fox, a well-known Canadian-American Actor, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at age 29 and informed the public about his condition in 1998. When the symptoms of his disease worsened he retired from acting. He works tirelessly toward finding a cure for the disease. He created the Michael J. Fox Foundation which to date has raised more than 700 million for research and treatment of Parkinson’s.  Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet gave him a honoiris causa doctorate for his aggressive approach to finding a cure.
  74. CANADA SPORTS: Hockey is Canada’s National Winter Sport; Lacrosse is Canada’s National Summer Sport. Keeping both groups happy is such a Canadian thing to do, eh?
  75. The Canadian NHL Teams are: Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators, Winnipeg Jets, Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames; Vancouver Canucks.
  76. The Blue Jays are Canada’s Baseball Team. The Montreal Expos abdicated to the USA. Go Jays Go!!
  77. The Canadian Football League has 9 teams: BC Lions, Calgary Stampeders, Edmonton Eskimos, Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Saskatchewan Roughriders, Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Ottawa RedBlacks, Montreal Alouettes,  Toronto Argonauts,
  78. National Lacrosse Teams are: Calgary Roughnecks, Saskatchewan Rush, Toronto Rock, Vancouver Stealth.
  79. Canada’s Basketball League has 8 teams: Windsor Express, London Lightning, Mississauga Power, Brampton A’s, St. John Mill Rats, Moncton Miracles, Island Storm, Halifax Rainmen. We also have the Raptors, the only Canadian based team in the NBA.
  80. Canada has hosted the Olympic Games three times: Montreal 1976, Calgary 1988, Vancouver, 2010.
  81. In Vancouver 2010 Canada set a record for the most gold medals won by a country in a winter Olympics and also the most gold medals won by a host country in the winter Olympics.
  82. CANADIAN FOOD. Canada has the most donut shops per capita of any country in the world; Canadians also eat the most donuts. Tim’s is where it’s at.
  83. The Hawaiian pizza was created by an Ontario man.
  84. Peameal Back Bacon originated in Canada. It is made from lean boneless pork loin, fat trimmed off, cured in a brine and finally rolled in cornmeal.
  85. Poutine is a French-Canadian dish made up of French fries, cheese curd and gravy. Messy but good (not exactly the dish for cholesterol conscious folk).
  86. Cheddar is the most popular selling cheese in the world. Canada produces an amazing variety of them – mild, medium, old cheddar; clothbound cheddar; aged cheddar 2-4 years; cheddar curds; cheddar with horseradish; semi-soft cheddar and many, many more.
  87. Maple Syrup is a Canadian favourite and Canada produces 85% of the world’s supply. The “Global Strategic Maple Syrup Reserve” is in Quebec. This is a multiyear inventory of what is believed to be the single biggest stash of maple syrup in the world. This was set up to ensure a constant supply and to keep prices stable.
  88. Beaver Tails are made by hand-stretching pastry into beaver tails, deep frying it, then topping it with whipped cream and berries. This is a must treat for anyone visiting Ottawa.
  89. Butter Tarts are a Canadian treat. They’re crumbly shortbread type pastry made with butter, syrup, sugar and eggs – raisins or pecans optional.
  90. Nanaimo Bars were created in British Columbia but quickly caught on in the rest of Canada. A wonderful treat made from a wafer crumb base, custard centre and chocolate top.
  91. Figgy duff is a Newfoundland boiled pudding made in part with sugar, molasses and raisins and often with cognac and rum. It is more like a cake than a pudding and at Christmas more booze (Newfie Screech 40% alcohol?) can be poured over the top of it and lit on fire. Want to spend a happy Christmas in Newfoundland?
  92. Ice wine is made from grapes that have frozen on the vine which makes for a lovely sweet wine, usually considered a dessert wine. Expensive but yummy.
  93. Moosehead Breweries is Canada’s oldest privately owned brewery since 1867. It is owned and operated by the Oland family in Saint John New Brunswick. This brewery is a real going concern – it turns out 1640 bottles of beer a minute.
  94. CANADIAN WILDLIFE: Canada protects its’ wildlife. There are 38 highways and roads in Canada that have under/overpasses strictly for wildlife use. While cars use the roads, the grizzlies, black bear, moose, cougars, bighorn sheep, etc. are able to cross on their own special built under/overpasses ensuring safe crossing.
  95. Wood Buffalo National Park, on the border of Northern Alberta and Southern Northwest Territories, is home to the world’s largest herd of roaming Wood Bison and to the last known nesting site of whooping cranes. The wood bison is the largest land animal in Canada
  96. Blue Whales are the largest sea animal in the world. They can often be found along the coast of Canada.
  97. There are five deer species in Canada – white-tailed deer, mule deer, caribou, elk and moose. Both the elk and moose are pretty scary to encounter – the elk with its very loud bugling sound and the moose because it is unpredictable and can be quite aggressive, especially during mating season. The white-tailed deer believe our backyard is their personal grazing ground.
  98. There are three species of bear in Canada – black bear, polar bear and grizzly. Black bears are plentiful and they have been seen in large cities and locally (Grey-Bruce area of Ontario) checking out bird feeders and even in trees trying to get to bird feeders.  60% of the world’s polar bears (16,000 of them) call Canada home. 15,000 Grizzlies roam the Canadian North and are considered an endangered species.
  99. Canada has three species of wildcats – the bobcat, lynx and cougar.  While these animals have no business living in Southern Ontario or close to cities, they are nonetheless quite often spotted in these locations.
  100. There are over 600 different species of birds in Canada unfortunately many in serious decline. The Canada Goose is the largest migratory bird with a wing span of 1.7 metres (68 inches) while the calliope hummingbird, measuring only 7.6 cm (3 inches) long is the smallest bird in Canada.
  101. CANADIAN HISTORY/GEOGRAPHY AND OTHER FACTS: Canada is the second largest country in the world, behind Russia and just ahead of the USA.
  102. To travel from coast to coast in Canada you go through six time zones. Talk about jet lag.
  103. Canada has the third largest oil reserves of any country in the world after Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.
  104. Canada has the largest coastline in the world, 243,042 km. on three oceans – Pacific, Arctic, Atlantic.
  105. The Trans-Canada highway is the longest highway in the world – more than 7,600 km in length (4,700 miles).
  106. Large parts of Canada have less gravity than the rest of the Earth.
  107. Canada has had no weapons of mass destruction since 1984. It has signed treaties renouncing their ownership.
  108. Canada was the third country in space after the USA and Russia.
  109. In 1962, Canada was thought to have the most advanced space program.
  110. Canada no longer has 1 and 2 dollar bills. These have been replaced by coin – the $1.00 loonie and the $2.00 toonie.
  111. Canada no longer uses pennies – one cent pieces. Merchants take cash payments to the nearest 5 cents – for instance for a bill of $85.23 you could pay either $85.20 or $85.25, depending on store policy.
  112. Canada has a $1,000,000 coin made of .9999999% pure gold, it has a maple leaf on the front, is the size of an extra large pizza, weighs 100 kg (220.5 pounds). It is actually negotiable – the only possible use I can think of is buying that top of the line Maserati.
  113. In Canada, Mexico, India, Russia and Israel, bank notes have braille-like markings making it possible for the blind to identify the bills.
  114. In 2015 Canada’s population numbered 35.85 million compared to Russia, 144.1 million and the USA 324.1 million.
  115. Canada’s population is smaller than the metropolitan area of Tokyo – Yokohama which has a population of 37.84 million.
  116. 1 out of 5 Canadians are foreign born – this is the highest number of any G8 country.
  117. Canadians have more than 200 different type of languages as their mother tongue.
  118. 81% of Canadians live in cities.
  119. 3 out of 5 Canadians live in Ontario and Quebec.
  120. There are more Canadians over 65 than under 15 years of age. In 2016 there were 5.9 million people aged 65 and older compared to 5.8 million children under 15.
  121. The average life expectancy is 82 years.
  122. Nunavut is the largest and northernmost Territory of Canada, representing 20% of Canada’s total land area – it covers 1,936,000 of land and 157,000 of water.
  123. Alert, Nunavut, population 62, is the northernmost permanently inhabited place in the world, only 817 km from the North Pole.
  124. Canada’s highest mountain is Mount Logan in the Yukon Territories at 5,959m (19,551 feet).
  125. Canada’s Baffin, Ellesmere and Victoria Islands are all listed among the top ten largest islands in the world.
  126. The Athabasca Sand Dunes in Saskatchewan are the most northerly sand dunes in the world. They measure 30 m (98 feet) high.
  127. There are more lakes in Canada than in the rest of the world combined. Almost 9% of Canada’s total area is covered by freshwater.
  128. Ontario, Canada has more than 250,000 lakes which combined contain about 20% of the world’s fresh water.
  129. Lake Huron is the second largest of the Great Lakes – It contains Manitoulin Island, the world’s largest freshwater Island.
  130. Great Bear Lake is the largest lake within Canada and the fourth largest in North America. This lake is covered with ice from late November to July; during most of that time it is used as an ice road.
  131. Great Slave Lake is the deepest lake in North America.
  132. Wasaga Beach, Ontario is the longest freshwater beach in the world.
  133. The highest waterfall in Canada is Della Falls, British Columbia, which has a total vertical drop of 440m (1444 feet)
  134. The Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick has the highest tides in the world and 15 species of whales.
  135. The Nakwakto Rapids which flow through the Slingsby Channel in British Columbia, have the strongest currents in the world at speeds of more than 18km per hour.
  136. Canada has trees and lots of them. About 40% of Canada is covered by forest. Canada owns 10% of the world’s forests and about 30% of the world’s boreal forests.
  137. CANADA CAN BE COLD – lowest temperature was recorded in Snag, Yukon in 1947 – a chilly -81.4 degrees Fahrenheit (-63 degrees Celcius).
  138. It can get cold enough in Newfoundland to freeze part of the Atlantic. Rather than complain residents go out to play hockey on the frozen surface. That’s so Canadian eh?
  139. The town of Gander, Newfoundland has a crater on Mars named after it. This crater was dedicated to Gander in 1991 because of the town’s history of pioneering aviation and aerospace technologies.
  140. Dildo is a town in Newfoundland.
  141. Ocean Falls, British Columbia is known as ‘Home of the Rain People’. It rains around 330 days a year with an average annual rainfall of 180-200 inches (4500-5000ml).
  142. Calgary, Alberta is one of the sunniest cities in Canada, receiving 2400 hours of sunshine annually.
  143. Calgary is also one of the windiest cities in Canada. It’s famous for its chinook winds which can raise winter temperatures by 20 degrees C (68 degrees F) in a day and melt snow at 2-3cm (1 -1 1/2″) per hour.
  144. Canada is a bilingual country and labels on commercial products must have both English and French information.
  145. Montreal is the second largest French speaking city in the world, right behind Paris, France.
  146. Montreal is often called the City of Saints or City of a Hundred Bell Towers thanks to its many beautiful churches.
  147. There are 6 cities in Canada with population in excess of 1 million – Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa-Gatineau, and Edmonton.
  148. The world’s richest deposit of caesium – used as an element in Caesium-based atomic clocks and as a lubricant for large scale drilling – is found at Bernic Lake, Manitoba.
  149. The Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough, Ontario has the world’s largest collection of canoes and kayaks. Peterborough sponsors an annual paddling week.

Talk to you again soon,


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Lovage: Budgetwise Plant For Health and Taste

Posted by on Jun 25, 2017 in Do-It-Yourself, Frugal For Everyone, Gardening, Health, Herbs, Recipes | 21 comments


         Lovage in my Garden

Lovage is such a useful herb yet it is seriously underused. Known in Holland as the Maggiplant it is a perennial herb that once planted keeps on producing forever, basically giving you a celery type product for free. It smells somewhat like beefy celery and makes a fabulous substitute for celery in soups and stews besides having a myriad of other uses, including cosmetic and medicinal.

Growing Lovage:

As lovage plants and seeds are difficult to find locally it makes more sense to buy a plant from a Herbal Garden Centre. (One plant is all you’ll need.) It is easy to grow, requiring average, moisture retaining soil and a sunny spot (some shade in hot climates). It is a tall plant growing to 5-6 feet (2 metres) so should be planted at the edge of the garden or at the back of the flowerbed. It is one of the first plants to appear in the Spring and one of the last to die in the Fall.

Lovage can be harvested throughout the growing season. Like all herbs, pick after the dew has dried. Cut the stalks and pull off the leaves. It is best used fresh but can be frozen – simply chop the leaves and stalks and freeze in ice-cube trays covered with water or, even easier, place the leaves and stalks in freezer bags. 

Lovage – Medicinal: Lovage will deliver its many health benefits either as a tea or when added to food.

Lovage Tea (tastes like a broth):

To make: Add 1 tsp. finely chopped lovage leaves, root or rhizome (underground stem) for every 1 cup of boiling water. Let steep for 5-10 minutes or to taste. Health benefits:

  • Boosts immune system;
  • Coughs, colds and bronchial problems – contains eucalyptol which soothes irritated tissue; it is an expectorant which helps loosen phlegm and mucus;
  • Boosts kidney health – encourages healthier urination which decreases the risk of kidney stones; helps prevent urinary tract infections;
  • Menstrual relief – can relieve menstrual pain including severe cramping and bloating; may also act as a mood booster during this time;
  • Digestion aid – as an anti-inflammatory, lovage tea will help reduce irritation of the bowels, reduce bloating and flatulence, soothe upset stomachs; may improve appetite;
  • Anti-allergenic – contains quercetin (histamine inhibitor) which reduces allergic reactions, itchy eyes and runny nose;
  • Anti-inflammatory:
    • Relieves migraine headache pain;
    • Improves blood circulation;
    • Relieves arthritis, rheumatism, gout and other joint pains.

As with all herbs, lovage must be used with care. I believe strongly in the adage “All things in moderation”.

Pregnant or nursing women should avoid lovage. Anyone with chronic health issues, especially kidney or heart disease, should NOT use this herb without prior approval from their doctor.

Lovage is an aquaretic which stimulates healthy urine flow without losing electrolytes. This increases water loss when fluid retention is a problem. However, to prevent excessive water loss, anyone taking water pills should avoid this herb.

There have been some reports of increased photosensitivity associated with lovage use. This could increase risk for sunburn and skin cancer which makes sunblock and protective clothing a must.  

Lovage – Cosmetic/Medicinal:

Leaves applied directly to skin can:

  • Reduce the itch and redness from psoriasis;
  • Help control acne.

A decoction used as facial wash or added to the bath can:

  • Increase blood flow to the skin which improves skin tone, making skin feel and look smoother and healthier.

To make a decoction: Place a ¼ cup chopped lovage leaves in small pan, add 4 cups cold water, cover and place on low heat to slowly simmer for 1 hour. Strain through cheesecloth into a quart size glass jar. Pour additional boiling water through the strained herbs to fill the jar. Cover.

Lovage – Culinary:


Lovage and Potato Soup

Lovage has a much stronger taste than celery – start with ½ tsp. chopped leaves to replace one celery stalk – more can be added to taste. Use leaves, stalks, roots or rhizomes in:

  • Broth – replace meat or bones with lovage to make broth – great for vegetarians;
  • Soup – especially vegetable or chicken;
  • Replace (or add to) spinach in chicken roll-ups;
  • Stews and Casseroles;
  • Roast Poultry – rub the poultry with lovage leaves or place one or two leaves under the skin or replace the celery with lovage in the stuffing. Just a few ideas to get you started.
  • Pesto – make a batch of pesto with lovage and lemon;
  • Use the stalks as straws for tomato based drinks.

Vegetable Drink with Lovage Straw

Here’s a link to my favourite Lovage and Potato Soup Recipe: Old Fashioned Soup  NOTE: This recipe calls for 1 kg cubed potatoes – that is roughly equivalent to 4 heaping cups (6-8 potatoes).

For more lovage recipes, check out this site: Recipes-Hugh-Fearnley-Whittingstall

Having something to replace celery, which is not only expensive but part of the ‘dirty dozen’ list of vegetables, makes lovage a two-way winner. You can buy a plant for less than $5.00 and from that point on have a free organic celery substitute for ever. Definitely my kind of product.

Talk to you again soon,


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Horticultural Therapy – How It Works

Posted by on Jun 4, 2017 in Frugal For Everyone, Gardening, Green Living, Health | 19 comments

Horticultural Therapy

The Pettengill Garden

This article – Horticultural Therapy – is a guest post by Stephen Pettengill, a Certified Horticultural Therapist. Let me give you a little bit of Stephen’s background in his own words:

“Growing up in southern Oregon, with ‘the woods’ right outside my back door, I developed an affinity for nature and outdoor activity.  There were caves to explore, tree forts to play in, streams, rivers and other adventures. I felt at home in nature, and loved the physicality of working outside. This led to a lifelong study of horticulture and design.

At an early stage in my career, I wanted to combine my interests in gardens with psychology; the adventure of the mind! I wanted to learn more about how best to create meaningful, even transformational interactions with the natural world, not just a pretty garden. I have an interdisciplinary degree (Business, Gerontology, and Environments) from Marylhurst University and at the age of 50 I completed an HT (Horticultural Therapy) program. Currently, I live in a community called Ananda, where I use my skills to help enhance the environment and organize community activities.” The Nature of Things

Horticultural Therapy For Seniors – How It Works.

‘True sanity is rooted in the natural world’ Andy Fisher, from Radical Eco-Psychology.

They say that gardeners live longer. True or not, gardeners are always looking ahead, adapting to changes and attuned to the slow rhythms of the natural world; things that bring quality of life.

Academics are working to understand the impact of nature on the human psyche, with research growing showing the effectiveness of engaging with the natural world.

Even small things make a difference – for instance:

  • Fish tanks in doctors’ offices are known to calm patients.
  • A study called ‘A Room with a View’ showed that prisoners who had windows in their cells had less anxiety and less violent behavior.
  • Realtors know that a tree lined street has intrinsic value to a neighborhood.
Horticultural Therapy

A quiet moment to reflect.

In 1984, Edward Wilson, a Harvard University conservationist, first coined the term Biophilia: ‘the urge to affiliate with other forms of life’. The theory that we have an innate need to connect with nature and other forms of life is shared by a growing number of professionals.

Nature therapists say we have allowed ourselves to disconnect from our environment for a variety of reasons. This can lead to a host of physical, emotional, or mental issues. Social norms and lifestyles that are out of sync with laws of nature (sleep, food, sex, e.g.) come at a price to our health.

Additionally, a culture of hyper-individualism can foster disengagement from our surroundings, including other people. Isolation and loneliness are common issues among senior populations yet we live in a society that needs engaged elders.

On top of this we have an increasing technological society. A new challenge for humans is emerging that we barely understand (we often adopt new technologies before we know its full impact on us).

With so many changes going on it’s easy to become overwhelmed and lose our center.  ‘Getting grounded’ in the natural world is a way to help us transition from adulthood to elder-hood and possibly help heal a lifetime of being out of balance.

Horticultural Therapy

Senior Couple Just Moseying Along, Appreciating The Outdoors

What is Horticultural Therapy?

My passions are nature (includes food!) and psychology. Where these two intersect you can find several evolving fields of study and practice.

Environmental Psychology, Eco-Therapy, and Horticultural Therapy (HT) are disciplines that use plants and natural environments to help people become grounded, or rooted, in nature.

This practice of Horticultural Therapy has been around for centuries. Activities using plants can be adapted to fit many populations and treatment goals. An example: Following WWII plants were used to help vets in rehabilitation.

Similar to Recreation Therapy, Art Therapy or Music Therapy, Horticultural Therapy (HT) has 3 main purposes:

  • Rehabilitation – physical, mental, or emotional – usually in a hospital setting.
  • Social – socializing with others is important and therapeutic – used in various settings
  • Vocational – career training or simply a dedicated hobby or lifestyle.

Feeling out of sync? Try these simple exercises!

Here are some things you can do to be in harmony with Nature’s Laws:

  • Ecosystem awareness: Ecosystems are large networks of plants and animals including microorganisms. Your body is an ecosystem, so is a pond. Visualize how you are part of a much larger system and community.
  • Rhythm Re-boot: Daily and seasonal changes are often overlooked. Try walking slower than you normally do, as if you are not ‘going somewhere’ but just ambling along with no goal. This is harder than it sounds because we are always ‘on the go’. Note how you feel and what thoughts come up.
  • Discovery: Turn up your awareness of a place and ‘discover’ new things. One trick to staying young is to find delight in new things or surprises. In nature every new day offers new things and promises a discovery for those attuned to their changing environment.

With Nature in Mind

Stephen Pettengill

Back to me. While I may not have used the term Horticultural Therapy, I have long believed in the many benefits nature and gardens provide to seniors, both at home and in care facilities. I hope all seniors who are interested in gardening or enjoying nature have the opportunity to indulge. 

Talk to you again soon,


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Gardening for Seniors – Adjusting to Limitations

Posted by on May 21, 2017 in Do-It-Yourself, Frugal For Everyone, Gardening, Green Living, Health, Herbs | 19 comments

Gardening for Seniors – Where there’s a will, there’s a way.                                    


Adapting to limitations has to be the gardening senior’s biggest annoyance in addition to being an ongoing challenge.  Just when you’ve adjusted to accommodate one problem another one pops up and you have to try something else again. 

Seniors come with a bunch of different physical or mobility problems so for them to continue to garden safely means adjustments geared to each individual.

I’ve had to adjust many times the older I get. I started with “in the field” gardens, moved on to raised beds set on the ground and next moved up to the current garden beds raised to table height.  My gardens have also become smaller each year. This year I won’t grow any vegetables as I did in the past but concentrate solely on my salad and herb gardens.   

Gardening for Seniors

1. Easy Garden Bed Raised to Table Height

Garden size becomes another limitation.  Seniors often downsize and move into smaller townhouses, apartments or condos where they feel they no longer have the room to garden, so they quit. Gardening is such a healthy activity with both physical and psychological benefits that seniors should be encouraged to carry on. Putting one of the methods shown below in place allows the small size gardener to continue. When my parents moved from their country home to a city apartment you could tell where they lived from a mile away – mom’s balcony was a blaze of colour, flowers of every kind growing in pots and placed everywhere, even hanging from the balcony rail. The smaller area certainly didn’t stop her from enjoying her flowers.

Gardening for Seniors

2. Patio Pots, Vertical Gardens, Hanging Pocket Gardens, Pails/Buckets for Larger Plants.

Gardening for Seniors – Adjustments:

Most seniors find bending over difficult which makes the garden beds raised to table height ideal. The beds can be built any size, even as small as 1 or 2 feet wide by 3 or 4 feet longFor details about raised bed gardens, click here. The senior should be able to reach the centre of the garden without leaning on the soil to prevent compacting the soil. My gardens are 4 feet wide but that is because I can walk all around them and easily reach the centre from both sides. For anyone able to access only one side or for those less mobile, 2 or 3 feet wide will be the better choice.

All walkways should be kept clear to prevent falls and to never obstruct safe movement, whether walking, using a walker or in a wheel chair. 

Gardens should be placed in the most convenient locations – especially salad and herb gardens which should be close to the kitchen door for easy harvest.

If space is limited any of the gardens shown in picture 2 are an attractive alternative. A previous post “vegetable gardens for small space gardeners” details how easy it is to adopt the alternative methods.

When large patio pots are used they should first be placed on wheeled platforms. We seniors are a determined lot and if we don’t like where a planter is situated we’ll do what we can to move it. Having the wheeled platform will help avoid muscle strains, damaged backs or worse.

A super idea is to wrap the handles of garden hand tools with bright coloured duct tape. This serves two purposes – it makes it easier to keep track of the tools and also provides a better grip for arthritic hands. Electric tools shouldn’t be used. Older hands can’t always be counted on to do what’s required and they may let go at the most critical times which could lead to serious injury. Instead use manual tools – not necessarily specific garden tools either. A couple of my favourite and most often used tools are a good pair of scissors and a large serving spoon.

Garden tools should be stored in a convenient place. I recently read about fastening a rural mailbox to the raised beds (or even the railing of a deck or balcony) to use for garden tool storage. What a great idea and one I’ll be using myself this summer.

Many flowerbeds including the ones in front of my house are at ground level yet one of the most common problems seniors have is getting up and down. You can buy stools with sides – like the picture shown at the top – but I simply turn a lawn chair upside down. This provides me with good stable support for getting up and down.

Hanging baskets, unless they can easily be reached, are risky for seniors. They need more care than most planters and generally are much harder to reach. Seniors may take chances watering or feeding them. Best to avoid those unnecessary concerns and possible accidents.

Gardens can’t flourish without water therefore a safe water source is a definite requirement. I have soaker hoses with quick connections in the bottom of my raised beds. The water source hose is easily accessible and it takes very little time to connect the two. For alternative planters, a watering can may be the answer but this should be the right size – not too big – in order to avoid injury. A hose with a water wand attachment would be much safer.

The Senior Gardener.

The senior gardener can’t just go outside and start gardening. Some care must be taken. I remember one time when my mother had spent time gardening, walked up to the house and passed out with sun-stroke. That was pretty scary and not something we want to happen to others. Therefore:

  • Don’t garden in the heat of the day – before 10 o’clock and after 2 are the safest times;
  • Be sure to wear sunscreen – SPF of 30 or better;
  • Apply lip balm with the same SPF factor;
  • Apply a good hand lotion before and after gardening. Wear gardening gloves;
  • Wear a hat with a wide brim to shade face and put on sunglasses; Pin some lavender, mint, lemon thyme or lemon balm to the front, sides and back of your hat. These work as natural bug repellents.
  • Wear sturdy shoes – gardening requires some bending and twisting and sloppy shoes can easily lead to a fall;
  • Wear a light-weight, long-sleeved shirt;
  • Keep a bottle of water handy, add some lemon if possible. Stay hydrated.

Gardening is an important activity for seniors. Besides providing needed exercise and fresh air, gardening gives a person a purpose; it calms the mind; encourages thankfulness; and improves the mood. As a senior gardener myself I delight in walking out my backdoor and gain tremendous joy from tending to my gardens (and I love the additional benefit of eating super fresh organic salads, pestos and more). I hope this post will keep all senior gardeners enjoying their gardens, whatever the size, for years to come.

Talk to you again soon,


Note: This is part One of Gardening for Seniors. Next week I’ll be publishing part Two – a guest post on Horticultural Therapy by Stephen Pettengill from  Stephen has a degree in gerontology and uses his knowledge to help seniors remain active and engaged in the natural world. Great information for all seniors but should be of particular interest to Activity Directors in Nursing Homes.

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