Natural Treats for Your Dog (that also help with anal glands)

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Simple Steps to Using Canva with Your Business Pinterest

UPDATED:  This will walk you through the process in about 15 minutes!

As of right now, this is simply something I created to have a blog post published  that I can use as an example on Canva.  I'll come back and add a link to the video so you can see just how easy it is to integrate your Pinterest and Canva accounts!  

What you'll need:
Canva account (free or pro)
Business Pinterest account
Something you wish to link to a Pin
A mind and heart ready to have some creative fun! 
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Learning Through Grief: 3 Steps to Holding your Heart Together

Learning Through Grief:  3 Steps to Holding your Heart Together
I recently lost someone very dear to me. While the world would have called us friends, there is a circle of people who well understood that we were really family.

Her loss has devastated me.  Twenty-five years ago, she and her blood family gave a young, lonely college student a home-away-from-home.  What started out as a weekend job grew into a lasting bond.  Losing such a fixture as that rocks your world to its very core.

This loss was compounded by current coronavirus orders and suppositions.   I wasn’t able to do my random drop-by visits that we both so enjoyed.  Knowing others stole that time from us makes the grief even more mind-numbing. 

I’m usually one of those people that tackles difficult things head-on.   Doing, helping, and supporting helps me to heal, but in this case, that was all taken away.  I sat for the first few days, barely having the energy to lift my arm to take a drink of water.  Forget eating or sleeping well because none of that was happening. 
I realized I was going to have to do something to start processing my grief.   While tears can be healing, I was simply wallowing in them.  Here are some simple things I’m doing to begin healing my heart.

  1.  Talk to people.  I know, that sounds obvious, but in these days of so much isolation, it is more important than ever.  There was no gathering when my friend died, no plans for a funeral.  I so desperately needed human contact and to speak with people who knew her.  Phone calls became my lifeline of sharing memories, telling hilarious stories, and chatting about what an amazing cook she was.  Yes, I sobbed through many of these conversations, but it was incredibly therapeutic.  I will say, though, I was selective with whom I spoke.  Having people ask if it was due to corona or blow off my anger at not being able to see her would not have benefitted me in the least, so I only called people who would be a genuine source of support. 
  2. Listen to your loved one’s voice.  If you have a recording, voicemail message, or video, take the time to hear their words.   Photographs are great, too, for reliving positive memories, but there is just something about hearing the person’s voice.  It can make you feel closer to them and not quite so alone. 
  3. Enjoy something they created or an activity you did together.  This doesn’t have to be complicated.  Maybe it’s a Christmas card from five years ago with a handwritten message.   Perhaps you had some favorite songs you listed to together.  It could be a favorite shared recipe or some really corny joke.  In my case, my friend made bird feeders and have given me several.   I filled those up right before a big snow storm, and for days I was able to enjoy watching the birdies and remembering how much she enjoyed spending time in her workshop.
The biggest thing to remember is something everyone says but you don’t really understand until you are in the throes of it:  the grieving process is different for everyone, and that’s okay.   There is no wrong way to do this, as long as you are taking care of yourself physically and emotionally and not harming others.  If the steps above don’t speak to you, listen to your heart and find what does.  And if you need a listening ear, I’m here for you.

If you need a place to share ideas about preserving knowledge of the past while putting your own modern twist on things, I would love to have you join us in Old Souls with New Ways.

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Trying Something New: Chicken Gnocchi Soup

Trying Something New:  Chicken Gnocchi Soup
How many of you, after being mostly stuck at home for ten months, are going stir crazy?  One outlet we have found is in the kitchen.

If you've followed me for any length of time, you know our youngest child has had a passion for cooking since she was seven.  As a wife and mother, I've been cooking for decades.  This lockdown time has led my husband and other two children to become adventurous with recipes as well, and it has truly been fun for all of us. 

The other night, I tried this new recipe for chicken gnocchi soup.  It was absolutely delicious, but it made sooooooo much.  So I posted on my FB page, offering bowls to anyone who wanted to come and get some.  We had a few takers, but people who didn't live close by kept asking for the recipe.

I'm including both a link to the original recipe (because you have to give credit where credit is due!), plus all the ways I tweaked it.  Hope you love it as much as we did!

Here's the original:
You can click the "Jump to Recipe" button at the top of the page.

Here are my tips:
  • I used center cut bacon.  It has less fat and is easy to find in the store.
  • I always use Vidalia/sweet onions in any recipe that calls for yellow onion.
  • Only used 1 carrot.
  • Double the garlic (or more.) This is my standard advice when using garlic.
  • I used pink Himalayan salt rather than seasoned salt.
  • It was pretty peppery, so you may want to cut it by 1/2 tsp.
  • I always use organic chicken stock over broth.  It has more nutrients and flavor.
  • 3 chicken breasts, pounded.
  • 2lbs gnocchi, cuz you can't go wrong with that yumminess.
  • Highly recommend adding the Boursin.  I used garlic and herb. 

I would love to hear what you think of the soup.  And if you want more tips or to follow our hilarious shenanigans, check out Old Souls with New Ways. 

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Celebrating Epiphany

Celebrating Epiphany
I am grateful to have grown up in a church that celebrated the full Christmas season.  Epiphany, as well as the messages that came along with it, were always one of my favorite times in that historic building.  As an adult, I love it because it is a wonderful reason to keep our home decorated longer with greenery and twinkling lights.   
 If you didn’t grow up with Epiphany, it’s never too late to add it to your family traditions!  I’ve got you covered with six ideas to help you get started.
  1.  Let’s start with the basics, such as when is Epiphany and why does it matter?   Epiphany is traditionally celebrated on January 6th, although some Orthodox churches have a calendar that places it later in January.  You’ll find different denominations acknowledge it in various ways, from the day the Wise Men arrived in Bethlehem, to the baptism of Jesus as an adult, to the wedding at Cana when Jesus turned water into wine.  As a child, I always knew it as Three King’s Day.  If you have little ones, it is quite fun to talk about how travel would have been during Biblical times and how long it would have taken the Magi to make the journey.
  2. The King’s Cake:  You’ll find multiple variations of recipes as each country (and sometimes region) has their own take on this delectable dessert.   I’m the only one in my family who likes the cream cheese one, which is typically more closely associate with Mardi Gras, so this year I am making a Galette des Rois, a delicious, flaky, almond cake, French in origin.  Many cultures hide either a dried bean or a plastic Baby Jesus in the cake, and the goal is to be the lucky one “crowned” for finding the prize in their slice. 
  3. Epiphany pageant:  This may be my favorite.  The small, country church in which I grew up never had a Christmas pageant … it was always for Epiphany.  I loved every moment of it, especially how we used real frankincense and myrrh resin burners.  Even once I was in college, I would at least get a last minute call to be a reader.   If I close my eyes, I can still picture the inside of church at night, the smells of the essential oils, and the feeling of peace. Now, you may not have time to throw together a “pageant”, but you can wing some stuff out of the dress up bin and tell the Christmas story, easy peasy! 
  4. Paper crowns:  these are fun no matter what your age.  You can only make one really fancy to go with the winner of the King’s Cake, or everyone can sport a crown!  I personally love decorating with as much glitter as possible, but I understand some people think that stuff comes from the fiery pits of hell.   If you are glitter-adverse, break out whatever crafty stuff makes you happy. 
  5. Sing some carols:  Have you ever really listened to the words of carols?  Some of them are quite obviously meant to come after Christmas Day.  A clear choice for Epiphany is “We Three Kings.”
  6. Learn more:  If you are homeschoolers (or currently schooling at home), turn it into a history and/or religious studies lesson of who the wise men were, what life would have been like for them, why their gifts were seen as valuable, and any other point you see fit.

These are just a few ideas to get you started.  If your family loves craft projects, you’ll find a plethora of ideas on the internet.  For more ideas on implementing traditions into modern life, join Old Souls with New Ways
I hope you can find a way to make Epiphany as special for your family as it is for mine.  Remember, if nothing else, it means you get to leave those gorgeous Christmas decorations up just a little longer. 
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