King of the Grill 2018

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Today’s post is going to be a relatively quick one, to give an update on what we’ve been up to. This year Harman Farms paired with Anchor Group in participating in King of the Grill in Ormond Beach. This is our first year ever participating in it so we weren’t exactly sure what to expect.

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We made a special four cheese blend of chicken sausage to enter the challenge. A lot of time, research, and resources went into this blend. Those black things you see skewered with the sausage? Those are grapes. I know it sounds strange, but with the ingredients used, this paired quite well.

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Everyone worked as a team and had a blast doing it, start to finish. It lasted a lot longer than expected, too. It came time to judge and…

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we got third place! Not too shabby for having never done this before. We’re even briefly mentioned in this article (our team name was Grillin’ Anchors).

All in all, we had a lot of fun and were very happy to have created another food product that people can enjoy.

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Halloween 2018

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Halloween/Samhain is my favorite time of the year, celebrated simultaneously in this family. Many of the traditions we participate in can relate to both Halloween and Samhain. While I do take the time to talk with my children about honoring those we have lost, they do not quite grasp the meaning behind the words as they have not lost anyone yet.

The Sunday before Halloween celebrations, we carved pumpkins with the kids.

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They had a blast. Lewis carved a skull and Fiona and I carved a witch’s familiar (a cat in this case).

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We also smoked the pumpkin seeds. Yum!

On Halloween night, we went to my aunt and uncle’s house. They have such a large turnout every year. We run out of totes of candy.

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Lewis has been into Minecraft. So he was that Minecraft guy.

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Fiona has been into anything Tim Burton (Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride) and Vampirina. So, she just had to be a vampire this year and decided to go as Vampirina herself. Don’t let the photo fool you. She was quite thrilled.

There are two hilarious things about this year. One was after about five quick houses my children wanted to go back to our aunt’s house and eat the actual food and hang out with family (their great-grandmother and great-great aunt were visiting). And they asked for no candy. We gave them some candy, but they didn’t ask for any. It’s after Halloween and they still haven’t asked for candy. Fiona and Lewis loved helping hand out candy though.

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I also spent time remembering my family, particularly my nana. I really wish my kids could have had the opportunity to really know what an amazing woman she was. I also took the time to be thankful for the fact that my children have the great opportunity to have a lot of great family close by who they get to love and interact with frequently.

How did you celebrate Halloween? Do you take time to recognize Samhain?

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Bath Bombs

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Bath Bombs! I LOVE THESE THINGS!

They’re so easy to make, too! I have my kids help me make them often. It’s also a very fast process, minus the waiting part. A lot of people get pretty creative on their molds. I did cave and purchase spherical molds for this process. This recipe will make two 2.5 inch (diameter) bath bombs.

What you’ll need:

  • Bath bomb molds
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch (I substitute arrowroot powder)
  • 1/4 cup epsom salt
    • More on epsom salts below
  • 1/4 cup citric acid
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil OR 1 tablespoon coconut oil and 1 tablespoon argan oil
    • More on oils below
  • 1-2 teaspoons of water
  • 1-2 teaspoons of essential oil
    • More on essential oils below

First thing you’re going to do is combine all of the dry ingredients into a bowl.

Very gradually add the wet ingredients. Whisk together until thoroughly mixed.

When the mixture is wet enough to stick together in clumps, press firmly into the molds, removing excess from the sides.

Let the mixture sit in the mold for an hour. I’ve read online that people let them sit for 5 minutes. I like how they turn out better sitting for at least 20 minutes, but I still generally wait the hour. More time is less than harmful than less time.

Carefully remove the bath bombs from their molds and let them sit to dry for 24 hours.

After drying, I wrap mine in wax paper and store in a bowl I have in the bathroom. When I’m ready to take a bath, I add a bath bomb in after the tub is filled.

Epsom Salt

There are a lot of different epsom salts and epsom salt blends out there. Generally, you want to use plain. There are some amazing blends out there that smell phenomenal. These blends are normally already mixed with essential oils. If you do choose to use a blend tread on the side of caution when adding more essential oils. You might not need to add any.

Moisturizing Oil

You need to kind of play with this one based on personal preference. The very first time I made these, I used 4 tablespoons of coconut oil. That was unnecessary for me. My tub was very oily and I just didn’t need that much oil for my skin. I love coconut oil, but I also love argan oil, so I end up using both. There are many options out there based on personal need though.

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Essential Oil

I put using 1-2 teaspoons. 2 will more than likely be too much in many scenarios. You have to research potency and recommended uses of the essential oils you plan to use. Also take into consideration who will be using these bath bombs. Young children cannot tolerate eucalyptus like an adult, and everybody’s skin is different. If you’re making these for friends, go with essential oils that are also safe for children to avoid possible irritations. My husband enjoys mint. Mint makes my skin crawl. So always think about who will be using these bath bombs.

Materials I Use and Recommend

Do you have a favorite bath bomb recipe? What do you like to use?

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Happy Birthday, Lewis!

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Lewis celebrated his eighth birthday on September 9. Although we went to dinner and opened presents as a family, we had his party on September 15.

His biggest request was to have people just come spend time with him. He requested having hamburgers and homemade chicken sausage. He also enjoyed showing the farm and processing equipment. He said he wanted people to “learn about the farm.”

The majority of the day was spent outside. The kids played on a play set, cornhole, and other outside sport/games. His teacher even stopped by to take a look, which made him very proud.

My mother baked and decorated his requested strawberry cake and cupcakes. When it was time to blow out the candles he said he was just going to blow them out; he didn’t need to wish for anything else because he was happy.

Happy birthday, Lewis. You’re such a sweet and caring boy. Never stop thinking of others and being content with what you have.

Herbal Courses To Choose From

My Herbalist Path

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I finished my intermediate course through the Herbal Academy and I was so exhausted with its rigorous material and starting the new school year that even thinking about writing about this amazing experience drained me mentally.

I love learning new things and herbalism is a passion of mine. That mental drain is quite satisfying because afterwards comes empowerment. This class engages its students with herbal actions, energetics, and safety and side effects. My favorite part was the in-depth diving into physiology and body systems. The organization allows students to better categorize their own materia medica based on these body systems and common ailments of these systems and the energetics and actions of herbs.

There are recipes to use and build upon and quizzes to help you make sure you’re on the right track.

Because the class is so in-depth, you have two years to complete it. I started mine in June and finished it as the school year started, but I wasn’t working other than farm stuff. I could see this taking about a year if I was working though. What’s great is in that two-year time frame you’re given time to download the course electronically to print. I keep mine in a binder. You also always have access to other students and teachers on a members only Facebook page. I love having that choice to be interactive with other herbalists or aspiring herbalists. The teachers are very helpful and respond in a timely manner when you contact them.

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Photographed by Amanda Harman

This was my first time working with herb energetics theory. It was very enlightening and made me evaluate my own constitution in a more serious light. When I meet people, I apply what I learned by watching the way they act, speak, and work. It’s just a very new way to look at people and better understand what makes them tick and what makes them slow down and how balanced constitution can be maintained by each type of individual.

The science given to students to study is intriguing. Before this course, my favorite body system was the nervous system. After the class, the nervous system is still a favorite, but I have a deeper understanding of all of the body systems and a very deep newfound appreciation of the digestive system and how amazing and complex it actually is.

I was initially hesitant with paying for a class in herbalism because I had learned so much growing up with herbs and independent research. I just hit this wall where I was finding nothing new and I didn’t really know how to look for anything new. I knew I didn’t learn it all, but I didn’t know how to find anything new anymore. I took a vast amount of knowledge and resources away with this course.

The community is amazing. I had joined other free communities in the past, but the knowledge and expertise found at the Herbal Academy is exciting and a lot more accurate than a bunch of people just googling questions for other people who just didn’t feel like googling that day.

The Herbal Academy offers many other types of courses and as of today, courses are on sale. I recommend at least checking them out in the links I’ll be providing below.

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