Saturday, December 26, 2009

Frankincense and Myrrh Me!

Well, Christmas is now officially over.

I still had some soaps and fragrance balms that are (sort've) related to this frankincense and myrrh. It is always my hope that I will sell these items out by Christmas because chances are they will languish on my shelf if I don't. Sometimes, I'll put on a great sale and get them sold, or find other ways to clear out my holiday inventory.

What I like about frankincense and myrrh is that it is a wonderful year-round fragrance, but many associate it with Christmas. I find that I can sell frankincense and myrrh products throughout the year, but sales are best for it right before Christmas.

Well, this year, I came very close to selling all of my F&M scented product, but found myself with 7 F&M soaps and 5 F&M fragrance balms left over by Christmas Eve.  No worries. They will sell sometime after the season...I hope.

A close friend called me around midday on December 24th stating that she would be in town to visit the day after Christmas! Hurray! I had some frankincense and myrrh items and that happens to be one of her favorite fragrances. I told her I would set a soap and fragrance balm aside for her. She was thrilled! Then, she asked me how many I had left, and I told her.

"I'll take them all," she said. "I want to buy the rest from you because I'm having a special party and want to give them away as gifts! I need seven soap and seven balms though."

"Well," I replied, "I can make a couple extra balms for you, not a problem."

"On such short notice?"


I love Frankincense and Myrrh fragrance balm so much, I made of couple of extra, just because I want some too.

Maybe I should've made more....

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Importance of Heritage

For many years, I have dispensed with the idea that my heritage is of any importance to me. After all, I am who I am. Perhaps my genes have had something to do with it. Perhaps my ancestor's past experiences have had a part of who I am today.


Problem was that I knew so little about my heritage. Our family is a scattered one, with very little contact. I knew only one grandparent, my grandmother, who passed away when I was a very young adult. I really didn't know much about her and even less about any other relative.

All I knew was that my grandparents from my mother's side came from Manchester, England and emigrated over to the U.S. sometime during the turn of the century. They made a brief stop in Canada...long enough to give birth to my aunt, then moved on to California from there. My mother was raised in southern California.

I knew even less about my father's side of the family. Apparently, my father was born in California, his mother died of the Spanish flu during WWI when he was a small child. His father left him with family here in California, and packed up and moved his sisters to family members back in Texas. My father always considered himself rejected, abandoned and somehow less loved. It impacted the rest of his life. He knew very little of his own family history, and apparently came up with some stories that seemed to help him compensate for his lack of belonging in his life. Because of his stories, I always believed that I had some certain cultural heritages in me that probably weren't the case after all.

My oldest brother was not happy in not knowing his family heritage, so made of point of researching both sides.  He recently made up a folder containing lots of information that he has discovered about our family.

Suddenly, I feel as if I am not a lone satellite out here in the world, even though I never knew that this had been an issue in me. I now feel like I BELONG somewhere; even if it is with a bunch of ancestors I never knew of before. I have something in common with them. There's genes that I've inherited from them, similar traits, maybe even my eye color, skin color, mannerisms. I don't know.

Suddenly, it seems important now. I had a relative who lived in Jamestown, the first English colony in the new world! My relatives fought for the confederacy...OK, they lost. I had relatives named after historical figures like Robert E. Lee, Daniel Boone and Grover Cleveland. Some relatives of mine stopped the British at their farm in North Carolina during the Revolutionary War and forced them to return where they came from. I had a relative who was quite possibly born in Colorado territory, then returned to England. I had relatives deeply involved in Salvation Army missionary endeavors. I had women relatives who were very independent minded for their time ( mid nineteenth century) and led their own lives in unique ways. I had relatives killed in wartime and relatives who killed others for the purpose of preserving their livlihood.

Somehow, I seem to be able to identify with many of these previously unknown relatives of mine. Vague stories now seem to make more sense. Other stories still raise question marks as to their authenticity and relevance to my family. Real or not? Who knows? All I know is that somehow I belong with it all. Perhaps I still have family in Montreal, Indiana, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Arkansas and in various parts of England, Scotland and Ireland.

Now, my name, my life and whatever historical value it contains will be added to the family legacy. My children will be able to pass this historical legacy on to their own children.

We are no longer an island unto ourselves, but part of the human race after all.

Below are the 4 family crests of my grandparents.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

For the Love of Music, Dogs and Cooking...

So, how does all three of those things, love, music, and dogs, come together into one cohesive blog entry?

Quite simple actually.

You see my daughter, Amanda, is in choir at her high school. She's good...I mean, REALLY good. I know, I know; I'm Mom and I have to say those things, but SERIOUSLY...she has an amazing voice!

Good enough to be chosen for Washington Allstate Honor Choir. It will be in Yakima, WA. this year. It is a great achievement and honor.

It also costs money to attend; and the school is only paying for a small amount of it. The rest comes from whatever we can scrape up.

Being Christmas time and all, there isn't a whole lot left to scrape! I said to my daughter that she was going to have to come up with ideas for a fundraising for this. I made several suggestions, we clanked our heads together a few times and decided that since she loves animals and loves to cook, perhaps she could make and sell dog treats to help raise the money for the Allstate Honor Choir.

Now, she's made cookies, cakes and brownies, but this was her first try at dog treats. We searched for some recipes online, checked out what was in dog treats sold in the stores and came up with some recipes of our own.

We went out and purchased ingredients we didn't already have she started mixing, shaping, rolling, cutting and baking. The first batch, a peanut butter number, was finally finished. Now, came the time to do a taste test....

Amanda took a bite of the peanut butter treat. After all, it was made from ingredients we pretty much eat at home anyway. How bad could it be, right?

"Hey! Not bad for a dog treat," she announced.

"That's great, sweetheart," I replied, "but you may want to see if our DOGS actually like them."

She called each one of our three dogs over. Two of them are chihuahuas and the other is a sheltie, aussie shepherd mix. Each one eagerly grabbed a treat and clamored for more!

"I guess the taste test is unanimous," was the official pronouncement from Amanda.

Since then, she has made Chicken and Cheese, Herbal Rice, and No Shedding Zone dog treats. Each one of them have been made without preservatives, so need to be either consumed within about three weeks time, or placed in the freezer. Each treat has also been officially tested by our three furry "taste-testers" and all pronounced delicious. Whenever, my daughter makes her way to the kitchen now, they all follow her with expectant eyes and drooling tongues!

All of her dog treats have been selling locally, but I thought it might be a great idea to place them online too. I've recently put her treats on to give her a larger audience and, hopefully, sell enough treats to pay for her trip a little sooner.

Who knows what will happen afterward if her treats are successful at selling? She may continue to make them afterward. For now, it's just taking everything one day at a time.

To see a few videos of her performing and of the choir she is in, please stop by at