Swine Flu

As many of you have probably already heard, in recent days several countries' governments, including Mexico, the U.S., and Canada, have taken measures to prevent the spread of a new strain of swine flu - the U.S. having moved stockpiles of the flu vaccine to different areas of the country. This move comes as a reaction to nearly 20 deaths in Mexico having been (confirmed) caused by the virus. There are still another 80 deaths in question.

Several cases have been found in parts of the U.S. and Canada, mainly among persons returning from trips in Mexico. Swine flu is initially contracted from pigs themselves, but can be spread from person to person like any other form of flu. This particular strain of swine flu is causing alarm as it has been fatal to peoples between the ages of 25-45, a demographic that is not usually labeled "high-risk."

  1. Get your vitamins on - you need to make sure your immune system is well-prepared.
  2. Wash your hands often and thoroughly.
  3. Keep your hands CLEAN and away from your face.
  4. Use tissues (as oppose to your hand or a cloth handkerchief).
  5. Routinely clean clothing and surfaces of your home - including childrens' toys.
  6. Use proper cough etiquette - I teach this to my students at school.
  7. Stay away from sick people and avoid large groups of people.
  8. Use a water bottle instead of the water fountain.
  9. Know the symptoms of Swine flu and seek medical attention if they present themselves.
  10. If you didn't get a flu vaccine already this year, get one.

While there is no reason to panic, it certainly doesn't hurt to take preventative measures to keep ourselves and those around us healthy.

Please, keep Mexico (being the hardest hit population) in your prayers, as well as all those who are suffering either through sickness or the loss of a loved one.


Homemade Beauty - skincare

I've been dabbling in homemade skincare for a while now. I'll usually try something out once or twice and then let it fall by the wayside. However, in the current cash crunch that most of the world is feeling, I felt that now more than ever is a great time to save some some dough and be more eco-conscious at the same time.

I've been unhappy with my skincare regime for the past few months years. In high school I received compliments on my complexion all the time - and well, its been a while since high school and I'm afraid this ol' girl is starting to show some signs of wear and tear. Understand all, I'm not in this to receive compliments or feed my own vanity - it's more an effort to take care of what I have.

So, this week's wonder product: HONEY. I think honey has really been underestimated for some time now. I loved it as a kid - en mis sopapillas y el pan toastado; however when I entered my double digits, honey went underground. Refined, white, sugar became mode. I'm happy to say that honey is making a comeback. Not only is it a great healthy, natural sweetener that can be used in all sorts of culinary creativity, it is a wonderful beauty essential.

I've heard whispers of the magnificence of honey for the skin, but have never thought the rumors worthy of smearing that sticky stuff on my face. It's worth it, ladies. I've been doing a honey mask nightly for the past three days (as a bit of a "gitty-up and go" for my skin) and I'm in love with the results. My skin seems brighter, softer, and a wee bit tighter.

Simple Honey Masque:
1. Open your pores with a warm compress.
2. Apply a thin coat of honey to your face - even around your eyes.
3. Let it do i's thing for 30 minutes.
4. Rinse with warm water.
5. follow with a few splashes of cold H2O to close those pores up.

Organic honey is best, but non-organic brands will work as well - just make sure it's real honey. Enjoy your home facials ladies (& gentleman).


This is for you, Abby from OK

A few weeks ago, I got my guest room in order. For the first time in the three years that we have been living in this house, the room had a theme and an identity beyond "the extra bed is in there...along with a bunch of junk." I chose to use a slightly shabby chic motif. Of course, to go completely to the shabby chic side of things, there would be no dark woods, everything would be white or pastel in color, and there would certainly be window treatments and beautifully adorned walls. I, as we are moving, neither have that kind of time nor cash motivation to do so...I will call this room "Shabby Chic to Sell."

Back to the topic at hand. I have a wonderful friend, Abby, who has been asking for pictures of my newly themed guest room. Abby, these are for you. Enjoy everyone.

My parents gave me this beautiful coverlet set for my birthday. Pictures don't do it justice.

This is a close-up of the coverlet set with my new-to-me vintage hobnail vase complete with pink hydrangea and white peonies (my favorite). 

This is an awesome little reading table that I found over ten years ago at a garage sale. I originally gave it a mosaic table-top, but have since outfitted it with this vintage mirrored cabinet.

This is the slipcover I made while in the throws of my doughnut & Miami Ink weekend. It turned out better than expected. However, I'll  forego the pleats next time and opt for more girlish and full ruffles - I'm sure all our male guests will appreciate it. 

This is a detail of the pleating on the slipcover. 

The focal point of the room is an antique window frame (circa 1920) from my husband's family's homestead framed by white lilies.  

In the white tray beneath,  hammered glass tea light holders display vintage gold jewelry. 

Every guest room needs it's own antique Baptist hymnal.


Auf Wiedersehen, mein autobus

Last summer the hub unit and I purchased our first automobile together, a VW camper bus that was older than both of us. It was a dream come true and we envisioned spending many a summer exploring the countryside in that magnificent machine. Several memories were made there: a weekend in Bar Harbor, a geriatric dog removing the side door out of shear terror, a 22 hour drive home, bruised tail bones, a 4-hour traffic jam in NYC. Oh, the joy.

Alas, it was not meant to be. As hubby and I head West on our first real adventure this summer, we must leave der autobus behind. We were lucky when it made the 22 hour trip from Maine to our home state...but we're pretty convinced it won't survive the next go round. Okay, it would probably make it, but our backs and bums might not recover.

So, with heavy hearts and a newly revived wallet, we say Auf Wiedersehen.


Really?! I can't handle this

So, as most of you know or have read, we have been dealing with some losses as of late. Specifically, the loss of our doggy companion, Brennan, and the much larger loss of our first pregnancy.

I spent the past three days at a team building camp with 80 eighth graders and a swell group of teachers away from hubster and our other puppy companion, Carter. We were outdoors 24-7, rain or shine. We rode horses, went rock climbing, hiked, conquered ropes courses, and ate. It was a blast. Needless to say, that when I returned home last night at 9:30 after a five hour delay due to a broken down charter bus, I was exhausted. I ate dinner, talked to my Hubster and in-laws, pet my puppy, showered, and headed to bed.

This morning the Hubster and I rose late, put on some coffee, and I headed to the garage to let puppy out for his morning constitutional. To my dismay, puppy was no where to be found and there was a 2 ft. space between the garage floor and door staring me in the face. It came to mind that last night while giving puppy his good night kisses, that I must have somehow opened the door and not realized it - or mistakenly thought that I had closed the door. After a few choice words aimed at myself, Hubby and I ran to the yard and called for puppy to come home - all in vain. We hopped in our car and drove around - calling for puppy and asking neighbors - all in vain. I admit that as the tears fell and reality set in, I got mad. I know that Carter is just a dog, but to lose my dog (Brennan Girl), our baby, and then my husband's dog (Carter) in just a matter of weeks was a lot of loss. I felt numb. Then, I recollected the story of Job. It reminded me that life is full of loss and if one were to do a side by side comparison, I was much better off than Job. One thing does remain - if we have accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior - we can never lose Him. God is good.

We returned home, called animal control, and posted on a neighborhood forum. Then came a phone call. A gentleman asked to speak with Carter and Hubby's response was "you have Carter, this is his owner!" Come to find out, Carter's night out on the town had ended at 2AM, when a neighbor couldn't figure out what his dogs were barking at. Apparently, Carter couldn't resist the society of a few good-looking pups down the street. The neighbors were kind enough to take him in for the evening and let us sleep. Good folks.

There is certainly no other experience in the world like finding something that was once thought lost; or seeing life where only death was thought to prevail.