Thursday, December 25, 2014

Elf 4 Health Recap

Hello, all!
I said that I would try to do a summary of week 1 of the Elf 4 Health. That didn't work.
Then, I said that I would do a summary of each round. That didn't work, either.
I have now decided to just do a summary of the entire program. I didn't have any other options left.

Round 1, Week 1
Day 1: Go meatless -- I almost accomplished this one, but, as it turns out, sick chickens have the ability to mess up all of one's plans.
Day 2: Unsubscribe from unnecessary emails and printed publications -- I manually unsubscribed from several emails and still am unsubscribing when more pop up in my inbox.
Day 3: Try a new workout -- I tried a new workout that included bursts of jumping rope so I had fun trying to take a picture of my shadow while jumping.
Day 4: Share a new book, blog, etc. -- Thanksgiving Day! Shared several of my favorite blogs and recommended a book that I haven't actually read yet
Day 5: New veggie smoothie -- Okay, so it was a new smoothie recipe that only had spinach as a vegetable.
Day 6: Treat yourself -- Got to sleep in and watch some movies.That's a treat in my book!
Day 7: Meal plan & prep -- I love meal planning, especially planning new uses for Thanksgiving leftovers.

Round 1, Week 2
Day 1: Handwritten note -- sent a little package to my Elfie and a card to another friend. My Elf sent me the best package! You can read about it here:
Day 2: Eat the Rainbow -- My birthday! And my dog's birthday, so we "ate the rainbow" by having rainbow-colored birthday candles.
Day 3: Go makeup free -- Did this so easily...since I am pretty much makeup-free every day.
Day 4: Do a buddy workout -- I was going to do yoga with a dog, but instead did it with Yoga Cat.
Day 5: Leave an Operation Beautiful Note -- Planned for this one, but my sticky notes weren't sticking. However, I'll be leaving notes from now on!
Day 6: Pantry and fridge purge -- This had (somewhat) happened recently, so I didn't do it.
Day 7: 20 things gratitude list -- I made the list in my head, so that will have to count. On the list was my new Elf friend, which brings me to...

There is a winner at the end of each round and I was so excited to read who it was, because it was going to be my Elf, of course. I was certain that no other Elf could have been as fantastic as mine. I was in for quite a surprise when I read that I HAD WON! HOLD THE PHONE! ME? THE WINNER? I honestly am not yet over the shock. This shock will surely increase exponentially when I receive the prize pack from the sponsors.

Round 2, Week 1
Day 1: Fastest mile challenge -- I was looking forward to seeing how fast I could do a mile, but when this challenge came around, a painful shoulder kept me from running. This challenge will happen, though.
Day 2: Pay it forward -- I did a couple things here and there for people--some for strangers, some for family and friends.
Day 3: Pack a healthy snack -- I didn't go anywhere on this day, so there was no need to pack a snack!
Day 4: Take some you time -- I took a little bit of "me time", but not as much as I would have liked. ;)
Day 5: Do a circuit workout -- Didn't accomplish this one because I still was dealing with pain in my shoulder area of my back..yuck!
Day 6: 3 food groups per meal -- This was fairly easy since most of my meals contain at least three food groups.
Day 7: Clean out your closet -- I had already done the bulk of this a while back, but I pulled out a few more things. I also rounded up several coats and we dropped them off at a local coat drive.

Round 2, Week 2
Day 1: Read, write or meditate -- I got up early and read Psalm 119; yes, it's a bit lengthy, but it's a beautiful chapter and very encouraging, especially when you're just starting out your day.
Day 2: Push-up challenge -- I prefer super-slow pushups, where you take ten seconds to go down and ten seconds to go back up. However, I decided to only do one of this, the first pushup of the day. Then, I proceeded to 149 more pushups during the day; I did regular pushups and pike pushups and some pushups that I accidentally made up and a few modified pushups when my arms got tired. I even did one diamond pushup...whew! Pushup total = 150
Day 3: Share your expertise -- I'm not really an expert at anything, but an opportunity arose to share some of the knowledge that I've learned about Vitamin D3 and Vitamin K2. (Long story short: you need to take D3 and then have K2 with it; the vitamin K gets the vitamin D where it needs to go!)
Day 4: Veggies with breakfast -- Breakfast juice/smoothie with kale and carrots, plus a few other ingredients.
Day 5: What you love about you -- Eep! I was supposed to share 6 things that I love about myself, but instead I opted for making a list in my head that only contained four things.
Day 6: 2015 fitness goal -- My goal for 2015 is to become healthy (two words: adrenal burnout). Unfortunately, my fitness plans will be limited to mostly yoga for a while. Fortunately, I love yoga and so does my cat, hence the nickname, "Yoga Cat."
Day 7: Make a donation -- This was one of my favorite daily challenges. Earlier in the week, I got thirteen inches of hair cut off. I sent it to Pantene's Beautiful Lengths Foundation and so that was part of accomplishing this day's challenge.

This Elf 4 Health program was so much fun! I have a new buddy (hi, new buddy!) and am about to have some awesome prizes (thanks mostly to my new buddy).
Thanks to Elle and Lindsay for hosting this program!

Happy holidays from Pumpkin Rose Farm!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Best Elf Ever

Buddy the elf must now assume the title of Second Best Elf Ever, because there's now someone in first place: my Elf for the Elf4Health program, Stefanie.
Stefanie fooled me into thinking that she was going to send me a birthday card, but she sent a whole package, full of goodies--and care.

She even sent an elf hat.
Hey, Stefanie? You rock. Thanks

Monday, December 1, 2014


Week 1 of the Elf 4 Health challenge is over, but I can't write about it right now. (Blogging from my phone is just too difficult!)
Maybe I'll just do a post for each Round...

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Elf 4 Health

I'm an elf! No, I don't have pointy reindeer buddies (I wish!)...and though I may be short, I'm not that short. What kind of elf am I, then? An elf 4 health!
I joined the #elf4health program from The Lean Green Bean. During the next four weeks, I'll be participating in daily challenges.

I'll be paired with another elf for the first two weeks, then a second elf for weeks three and four. We'll be encouraging each other on the challenges. I'll definitely need a little prodding for the workout challenges! 
I'll try to make a recap of the weekly challenges at the end of week.

According to Elle

Friday, November 21, 2014

Of Mice and Men

First, an apology. I have been meaning to post this for a couple of weeks.

You know what they say about "the best laid schemes of mice and men".... They often go awry! I'm sure I could count more times when plans went wrong than I could times when they went right. In the big scheme of things, God directs things away from how we plan them, to the way that He has planned. He does so for the benefit of His children.
Jeremiah 29:11

Once again, I recently experienced big plans being directed in a different direction than I'd imagined.
Just before that, however, I had a small almost-catastrophe.
I decided that I would make a batch of gluten-free apple cider doughnuts.
 I had just bought some more of a gluten-free flour blend that claims to be a perfect "cup-for-cup" substitute for all-purpose flour and, from my experience, this is true. Even though I have a doughnut pan, I wanted to use my new whoopie pie pan that is comprised of pumpkin-and-leaf-shaped compartments.

So, I put my doughnut mix into the whoopie pie pan and put it in the oven for a few minutes more than the doughnut recipe suggested. [My first clue that a catastrophe was awaiting should have been this: doughnuts ≠ whoopie pies] After baking and checking for doneness (more than once), I thought maybe I could turn the whoopie-pie-doughnuts out onto a baking sheet. This did not work well either, but got them as close to being done as I could get them without them burning. 
[Hindsight thoughts: should have used that doughnut pan after all...] "Well," I said to whichever dogs might have been listening, "they might look funny, but surely they taste as grand as they would have otherwise." [Okay, maybe that's not exactly how I said it.] 

Then, the tasting. Two bites into it, my face was that of a very disappointed baker. "These don't taste good and I'm going to have to throw them away!" I wailed in despair. "Let me try one," said my mother, the Unofficial Official Taste-Tester of Pumpkin Rose Farm (try fitting that on a nametag).
 Try the doughnuts, she did, and (to my surprise) she said they were very good. "Very good?" asked I, "How could you say that?" "They are good. They taste like ginger molasses cookies." GINGER MOLASSES COOKIES? These were APPLE CIDER DOUGHNUT...things... I took another bite and (again, to my surprise) they tasted good, very similar to ginger molasses cookies. [It's amazing what our minds can do.]

Now that we had identified the distinct taste of ginger and molasses, I had a mystery to solve: I hadn't put either of those ingredients in the mix, so why did we taste them?
Soon enough, Watson and I had deduced that the ginger had come from the cider that we'd previously added spices to, and the molasses came from the brown sugar. Later, there was even another positive opinion of these apple cider ginger molasses doughnut whoopie pie things. Again, I was very, very surprised. [No, I'm not a pessimist. And, hi, Person Who Liked the Doughnut know who you are.]

What was the lesson I got from all this? Don't bake doughnuts in a whoopie pie pan.
Also, "You can't always get what you want. But, if you try sometime, you just might find, you get what you need."

Friday, September 26, 2014

Subscription Food Boxes

Hello. Let me first say, IT IS FALL!

Now, on to the subject of this post. Recently, I stumbled across two different deals for monthly-subscription food boxes. I haven't done the Foodie Penpals program lately and I have missed receiving food, so of course I grabbed these opportunities.

September Love With Food box

The first box that I received was Love With Food
They donate meals with box purchases.
 The box that I ordered was the Tasting Box, which costs $10 a month, and promises 8+ items in each box. This month's theme was "Spice Up Your Life."

Pictured above: A brochure detailing the info for the products
Amazing Grass Green Superfood - waiting for the right moment to use this one
 Maruso Ghost Soy Sauce - Made from black soy beans with the addition of ghost chili powder, this one might be spicy, so I might donate to a spice-loving relative.
 Shotwell Candy Co. 5 Spice Caramels - These are very good. Plus, they don't stick to the teeth!

Pictured above: Ziggy Marley Organics Caribbean Crunch Roasted Hemp seeds - having tasted hempvseeds before, I was prepared for the strange flavor that was awaiting me. However, that flavor wasn't as strong here, plus there were spices to improve on flavors. Tasted pretty good, though still an acquired taste.
 Mandy's Chocolate Cookie Thins - NOT gluten-free, so I plan to split the 3 cookies with a certain gluten-eating mother
 Fogg City Spice Co. Lemon Rosemary Seasoning - this smells fabulous and I can't wait to use it!

Pictured above: Way Better Snacks Sweet Chili Tortilla Chips - I'm excited for these, because they are non-GMO and sprouted! Who knows if sprouting changes anything with processed foods...but, I'd like to think it does.
Love With Food Churro Kettle Popcorn - this was very delicous!
3 coupons for purchases of the some of the products contained in the box

Verdict: For the price I paid (nothing for the box + shipping), I'm quite pleased. If I was paying for the whole thing, I might be disappointed with the amount of items in the box.

September Urthbox

The second box that I received was Urthbox.
The box that I ordered was their medium-sized gluten-free box, guaranteeing 12-15 gluten-free items. This was a big, heavy box, so I wasted no time in opening it.

Pictured above:
The September card
A sample of a WaterWipes wet wipe, purported to be, "The world's purest baby wipes", with 99.9% water and 0.1% fruit extract.
A sample of Kelapo extra-virgin coconut oil
A sample of Weleda "skin food" creme

Pictured above: I was so surprised to find drinks in here!
Sneakz Organic Chocolate (Vegetable) "Milkshake" - waiting for the right moment to use this one
Bai5 Antioxidant Infusions Tanzania Lemonade tea - SO excited to try this. It says it's made with the outside of the coffeefruit (which is where the coffee bean comes from), a supposed superfruit.
EBOOST Superberry Energy Shot with Coconut Water - I'm a little afraid of this one, since I'm quite sensitive to things of this nature. I might share it with someone who volunteered to drink the whole thing, on account of aforementioned sensitivity.

Pictured above: Glenny's EasyPeasy Chili Lime Quinoa Chips - will be trying these soon
Maya Kaimal Seeded Multigrain Chickpea Chips - this is a pretty big bag so I'm saving it for a special hunger.
Simply7 Quinoa Chips - these were tasty and had a good crunch

Pictured above: Pretzel Perfection Twice-Baked Chipotle BBQ Pretzel Sticks - these were one of two snacks that I smuggled into the movie theater, but didn't end up needing, so I haven't tried them yet.
Snapz Apple Chips - I think I've tried these before, so I'm looking forward to eating these.
Goldbaums Multigrain Piedmont BBQ Kale Chips - These were the second snacks smuggled into the theater; not eaten during the movie, but several hours later. I was quite disappointed when I opened these and found that they were NOT dried kale chips. Had I read the ingredients, I might have come to that conclusion, for the only kale listed is in the form of powder. Once I got over my disappointment, however, I fairly enjoyed them. They are pretty spicy, though, which required me to eat them without stopping and have a drink nearby.

Pictured above: Cafe Britt Organic Cafe Arabica Coffee - not a coffee drinker, though I do plan to have a cup when the coffee-drinker of the house makes it for herself
Schar Gluten-free Penne - This had a sticker that said, "BONUS", which was a little bit exciting. I'm not usually a penne fan, so I'll have to find a good recipe with which to use this.
Glutenfreeda Apple Cinnamon with Flax Instant Oatmeal - I think I'll soak this for a while before eating it, because 1) for proper digestion, we should be soaking all of our grains and legumes, etc. and 2) I seem to be able to digest oats better when they're soaked (see point number one).
Nature's Path Organic Chunky Chocolate Peanut Butter Gluten-Free Granola Bar - reluctantly gave this one up to my mom, because I don't eat peanuts anymore (metabolism death food!)

Verdict: I'm glad there were more things to try in this box and that they were all gluten-free. (I couldn't order the gluten-free Love With Food box because it wasn't included with the promotion.) I paid a reduced price for the box + shipping. Had I paid the full price, I might not have felt that it was completely worth it.

Final words: I enjoyed getting both boxes, though I won't be able to continue with the subscriptions.
Would I do them again? Maybe. If I found another good deal... ;)
HOWEVER, I think I still prefer Foodie Penpals,  for, even though you might have to pay more with that, you get to correspond with someone, have the fun of picking out items for them, and you usually don't get just a bunch of snack-sized items. Plus, you don't have to cancel a subscription with Foodie Penpals, just sign up when you can.

Have a good Fall weekend.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

"Country Roads, Take Me Home"

I hope you sang that. I sure did. That song has a fond place in my heart because it was the second song that I learned on my guitar that I could sing along with. (Red River Valley was the first.)

Recently, we were steered off the normal path that we take home, onto a new route. This new set of roads were winding, country backroads, the kind that make you feel like you're driving through people's yards.

This adventure through the woods, coupled with the record-breaking low temperature and drizzling rain, made us feel like we were in the Pacific Northwest. Never would one have guessed that we were in Arkansas in mid-July!

We saw dogs that were mixtures of all different sorts of breeds, combinations which I'm likely never to see again.

The highest point of all this was when we drove THROUGH AN ORCHARD! First, I noticed nice little rows of trees and proclaimed that it was, "A TREE FARM!"
Then, the trees got bigger and had small green fruits and I exclaimed, "AN APPLE ORCHARD!" Finally those gave way to trees with large, juicy peaches that were yelling at me, "PICK US! EAT US!"

My mom, the realistic one of us, calmly said that it must be one of the local orchards (there are two).

As we were about to exit that road, my mom pointed out a road to the left, which, after I researched it, is the road where the ELEPHANT SANCTUARY IS!
Okay, I'm done yelling now. It's just so exciting. Maybe one day I'll get around to asking if they'd let me volunteer.

When we had returned to the farm, I found sunflowers aplenty.

One even took the age-old advice to "bloom where you're planted."

 Okay, so this one actually made its own motto: "If you get knocked to the ground during a nasty storm, don't give up. Just keep growing." I wish I could do the same.

Here's to small, unexpected adventures!

Friday, June 6, 2014

I'm Not Good at Coming Up With Titles

I just need a photographer to follow me around and document my life and a blogger to record it all on my blog.

The market is in full swing. We won't be there for several weeks.

We are having to replant at least half of our crops. Then, to slow everything down, I hurt my ankle two weeks ago and the healing process is only creeping along.

My dear friend, Ruth Ann, started a blog about her journey to better health. You can pay her a visit at

That's all, folks! (For now...)

Sunday, May 11, 2014

New Market Season

It is once again the time of year that I begin to think that drinking coffee is a very good idea. Saturday mornings find me waking up the sun. That means the market is now open!

I hope to have many new flavors of jams and jellies this year.
Right now, we have Strawberry Lavender Jam, Blackberry Vanilla Jam, and Meyer Lemon Jelly.

Come and check it out!

Monday, April 28, 2014


Our area of Arkansas suffered extreme damage last night. This is so devastating and we are thinking of all affected!

Saturday, April 12, 2014


It is Spring and, for Pumpkin Rose Farm, that means we are preparing garden plots and planting and getting everything ready for the market. The market opens on May 3rd and that's just around the corner!

This week, we put in onions and potatoes and, God willing, we'll be bringing them to the market in just a few months! It was grueling work, so I hope it really pays off.

Today, I decided to try my hand at foraging. Most of us are familiar, even if only slightly, with the idea of foraging. This is not a new concept; our ancestors have always used the plants that God has provided for healing and food.
Another thing that we are ALL familiar with is the dandelion. Considered a weed and a nuisance by most, the dandelion is actually an herb with many healing properties. (Note: Do not use dandelion unless you have educated yourself about the different uses and effects!)

Due to lack of materials and time, I am only freezing the dandelions for later use in teas.
The parts of the dandelion used are the flowers, leaves, and roots. The stems are never used because they produce a milky, latex-like substance. I plan to dig the roots up in the fall; for now, I just harvested the flowers and leaves.

I picked only about one-third of the dandelions that are on the farm. Why not all, you ask? Many reasons!

  • I didn't want to pick flowers that are in high-traffic areas, whether trodden on by people or pets, or passed by/over by vehicles.
  • I wanted to leave some flowers for our friends, the bees.
  • I am still sore from planting the onions and potatoes!

My harvest

If I had a kitchen scale, I would have weighed what I collected.

I rinsed the flowers and leaves, then put them on napkin-lined baking sheets to dry. Once they're dry, I'll freeze them in a single layer on a pan, then put all of the frozen dandelions into a freezer bag.

Go enjoy the nice weather (if it is nice where you live) and try your hand at foraging. Just search "foraging" on the internet and you'll find resources on how to get started and how to identify edible plants. If I was a good blogger, I'd provide you with helpful websites. :S

Happy hunting!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Back Again

Hello, all.

Sorry I've been gone so long. My grandmother just passed away, leaving us at Pumpkin Rose Farm with much sorrow. It's quite unexplainable, really.

We are getting ready for this year's growing season.

I hope to share more of the adventures at the Farm, including things related to cooking and baking.

Today is a beautiful day, which means there's work to do and so I must go.
Goodbye for now