Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Iced Lavender

So, as I was boiling water to make lavender tea, I was remebering when my family and I went to the lavender show last summer in our little antique town. You could smell the enticing scent of lavender-everything before you even got close to the door. I remember all the wonderful scents and vast shades of purple as we walked in. There were lavender bunches tied with brown raffia, young and sprouting lavender in planting pots, lavender soap and popery, lavender-flavored honey and scented candles... And before the long and well-stocked table was a smaller one with lavender lemonade and cookies with purple icing! I was in awe, I never knew lavender had so much potential! I definitely wouldn't make dandelion cookies or iced plantain tea and hand it to you just like that! The couple who grow the lavender live just a couple streets away from us and keep lavender plants growing all around their house. The man that talked to me and my brother was such an influential person, I can still see his face as he told us how good God had been to them and how he and his wife have taught their whole family to love the benefits of lavender, as well as the beauty!

After my reminiscing, I decided to make my own version of lavender lemonade. Oh... no lemons. Well, we have pink oranges. So after I had strained the lavender water and let it cool, I juiced a pink orange and added that, stirred in some Stevia (natural sweetener - WAY healthier than sugar or Splenda!), and when I tasted it... not exactly how I imagined, so I poured in a little cranberry juice. Stiiiiirrrrrrred again and iced that glass - WOW - Mama Miá!!! And it was filling as an afternoon snack, I won't need to eat for hours now! But that's just me.

Lavender can be used to stop inflammation from minor burns and the oil has been used for centuries as a beauty product. As a tea, vapor rub, or oil inhalation, it is effective to treat colds, flu, pneumonia, and many brocnhial and throat issues. It's also a hard core decorative, and did you know that the color purple is believed to awaken creative thinking?

So here's what you do for one glass:

After you've boiled about 1 cup of water, turn the heat off, sprinkle 1-1/2 teaspoon of lavender flowers into that water and make sure you leave the pan on the stove to let it steep. While that's infusing, juice one orange/lemon and add to that... um... let's say a tablespoon of crandberry juice. Can you tell I do NOT use measuring spoons!? lol, Now your lavender water should be cooled sufficiently. Strain the lavender flowers from the water and mix your fruit juice with the water. Now, if you use sugar, add to at your own discretion. I put two packets of Stevia in mine. If you put that many packets of Splenda, it'll probably be too sweet. Ice, do not forget the ice, and voilá!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

I can remember some pretty warm days in January where I'd go out into the field and take pictures of my sister in a summer dress. Well, the last couple weeks have been snowy and slushy... and icy. You can see the first snowflakes on my Mom's rosemary bush. Yep, it is time down in the South to get cozy and warm by the fire (or infront of the tv with a thick blanket). I got so spoiled this year with the mild winter weather - not many snow-ball fights for me this year! I used to be a little snow bunny, but my little sister has taken over that roll! I did go slide on the frozen pavement one day! And I might go out again if it freezes again, but there's nothing worse than being wet and cold.

There's a lot to be thankful for this year. I'm going on a mission trip to Ukraine in May.... possibly April.... with my missionary friend that I've been with so many times! I'll be gone for a whole month and will come back to welcome home others who have also been gone. We'll be going mainly to the orphanage in the town my friend will soon be moving into permanently to continue her ministry. These kids in the orphanage are sent out at sixteen years old onto the streets, some finding comfort in drugs and alcohol, and few living a life where they feel loved and wanted. When we go to Ukraine, we'll be ministering to those kids, and encouraging them to find the very best and we'll be witnessing to them. My Russian-speaking skills are still pretty basic (lol) but I can say "Jesus loves you"! I'll mainly be there for the expirience and the opportunity to serve hundreds of kids living across the ocean! And I know I'll learn lessons that will last me my whole life, and I'll be so greatful to have learned them.
So, as I'm working hard to pay for the plane tickets and passport.... and ALL the other stuff, we're trying to stay warm down here! God is soooooooo good to give us all this moisture. Spring and summer should be beautifully green!