Vintage Burr Mill Finds

Recently, my family and I went on a weekend trip to Jamestown, Ca. Located near Sonora, Ca, this sleepy town is fabulous for trains, old history, boutique clothing stores and a handful of amazing antique shops. We strolled the streets taking in the holiday decor and walking through all of the stores seeing what they had to offer. Each of us, in my family enjoys a good perusing of any quality antique shop. I look for odds and ends to enhance our home, my son cruises straight to the vintage toys looking for the coolest thing he can find while my husband looks over vintage sports anything and is generally overwhelmed and in awe of all of the genres of collectables available.

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I have had a few items in mind that I have been looking to secure should I get a chance to browse vintage shops. I’m sure that I had only casually mentioned these desirables to my husband in passing. I certainly was not expecting him to remember. I am always working on some kind of project of sorts and usually will discuss the details with those around me. It is the way I process, I talk it out. Knowing this about myself, I never expect anyone else to tune in or retain the finer details of each project.

Lately I have been researching more natural ways to enhance our families overall intake of vitamins and nutrients. We have two small boys under five years of age. Getting these two to eat healthy can be a daunting task at times. I enjoy improving upon our families overall health yet the little ones can grow weary when I introduce new foods. One of my passions is finding ways to incorporate fresh, organic and wholesome food and nutrients into our daily diet. Yet one of my biggest challenges is getting this great food into my boys mouths.

I have become very good at camouflaging healthy food so that my four year old will eat it. Once he gets a taste it becomes easier, it is just the initial introductions that can be tricky. I turn cauliflower into “mashed”, I add meat into his quesadillas and raviolis. In order to get him to eat cantaloupe and honeydew I told a white lie and said that watermelon comes in various colors and that those melons were just different colored watermelon. The younger one eats whatever I place within his reach. We have yet to cross any food issues. However, I know as he grows into toddlerhood, like most children including his brother, he too, will be a picky eater.

A few weeks earlier I was discussing and discovering the idea of grinding up a variety of commonly misclassified kitchen scraps for various health benefits and adding them into our food for an additional nutrient supplement. I was reading that adding ground up citrus peels, egg shells and dried herbs can all be extremely beneficial and are virtually undetectable to my children’s sensitive pallets.

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This seemed like our answer. I needed to secure a clean grinder for these new diet additives. We have an electric coffee bean grinder but I knew that would not serve well as that is reserved for coffee. In order to keep my powders pure, fresh and unaltered, I wanted a clean grinder designated for each the eggshell and the citrus. So getting back to our day in the antique shops, my husband was walking around for a while and when he resurfaced he had come up to me with a beautiful wooden box. Upon closer look it was a vintage wooden burr mill with dovetail joints and a cast iron mill. My excitement spilled out of me. I found, well in actuality, my husband found my latest desire, a beautifully hand crafted vintage burr mill.

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Low and behold, my man had his Santa ears on and delivered a wonderful holiday gift early. I had him take me to where he had found this beautiful treasure and then I saw a second smaller mill. The second mill is not dovetailed and is pewter rather than cast iron. I grabbed both the larger and the smaller mill and headed straight to the register to purchase these “new to me” kitchen gadgets. Although I am extremely happy with my two new additions I will continue to look for a smaller mill that is cast iron just so I have the quality that will last through time.

After getting the mills home I disassembled them and deep cleaned every piece. These mills serve as great aesthetic pieces, yet they can be functional as well. If you, like me are intending on using any second hand equipment I cannot stress enough to clean it very well. In addition, this enabled me to better understand the mechanics of my new mills.

DSC_0480.JPGBoth of my mills are in great condition, all parts work very well. Both pieces had accumulated a very thick layer of dust within the metal mill from being out of use for so long.

I have been busy milling. Using what I have around I have begun milling dried clean organic egg shells and being the citrus season, dried orange peel. I have included pictures of the finished product. The dried orange peel as well as the egg shell can be added into baking, in smoothies or make a great facial exfoliant. There really are so many more uses. I have included a link for more suggestions on how to incorporate Orange Peel Powder into your daily use.

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The eggshell is an excellent source of straight calcium. In addition, to make Calcium Citrate: add 1teaspoon of lemon juice per egg shell, place and store in covered container. The lemon juice will dissolve the shell powder and there you have calcium citrate.
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Thanks for checking out today’s post.

All posts and creations are done by Jacquelynn Knoll.

Lego Thor

It’s Halloween time again, and with only a week to go until my son’s school Fall Festival, we needed costumes. When I asked my four-year old what he wanted to be for Halloween he gave me a firm reply, “Lego Thor.” After researching online and not finding any Lego costumes for purchase, let alone a Lego Thor costume, I knew I had my creative costume work cut out for me. I found a handful of other DIY Lego costumes pictured online and those were very helpful to reference. Mostly because it was neat to see how other people interpreted a Lego into human form. Pictured below is our final product.

IMG_1113.JPGI was able to build this costume utilizing material I had around the house from prior art projects. I did need to buy 4 pieces of poster board as well as some acrylic paint. For the body I used the following: small shipping box, clear packing tape, box cutter, liquid glue, blue spray paint, red material (for cape), pencil and protractor (for created chest armor pattern).

IMG_1098.JPGTo create the body of Thor I cut a slightly off square shape out of poster board. Then on the poster board I used the protractor to draw out a pattern and then painted in the pattern using the acrylic paints. I spray painted the cardboard box blue. The box only shows on the sides when done but painting it entirely with spray paint was fast and easy. This also allowed for full even paint coverage. Using liquid glue I then adhered the poster board to the front of the painted cardboard box.

IMG_1097.JPGThe body is a box taped up and is on its side. The top and bottom of the box become the chest and back. Using a box cutter, I cut arm holes on the sides and a hole for my son’s head to fit through. Opposite the head hole I completely removed the area for the legs to pass through. I also measured my son sitting down in the box to make it comfortable and functional for him. For our cape, I cut some red cotton scrap material into a rounded cape shape and glued it over the end of the box. Once it dried, I then cut out a hole in the cape to match the hole in the box.

IMG_1099.JPGFor the head and helmet I used silver spray paint, yellow foam sheets and a red vines tub. To begin using a box cutter, cut out the bottom of the tub then cut a space on the side of the tub for a child’s face to fit there. This is a small tub and you will need to cut out an area for the child’s face. I have included both tub sizes for the licorice. For either size I recommend cutting out a face space.

IMG_1115.JPGI painted the inside of the licorice tub a light beige flesh color. Remember most Lego heads are yellow, however Lego Thor has a light flesh color face. I then had some yellow foam sheets that were perfect for the hair. I cut 5 sheets on one end in a zig zag pattern to look like cartoon hair. For the bangs I took a circle foam sheet and cut it in half. I glued one half to each side of the forehead area. The rest of the sheets were glued around the rest of the tub creating the hair. IMG_1116-0.JPGThe helmet is poster board. I started by wrapping the Lego head and securing the circumference of the shape. The next step I cut the nose piece and started cutting, forming and taping until I got the shape I wanted. I drew the wings freehand and cut them out then attached them to the helmet. I spray painted the entire helmet silver. The hammer of Thor was fairly easy to build. I used one of our toy axes from a Viking dress up kit we had. I separated the handle from the plastic toy blade. We painted the handle brown from silver to a brownish color to match what we needed. For the hammer part, I used a floral foam rectangle and wrapped it in aluminum foil. I secured them together with liquid glue.

IMG_1096.JPGThe last part of this costume were the boots. They were actually done at a request of my son. He really wanted the Lego feet. They also help balance out the visual weight of the costume. These are constructed from cardboard and tape, then painted blue to match the body. They easily slip on over shoes. They are very light and do not impede on any walking ability.

IMG_1095.JPGFinishing touches included dressing in blue pants and a gray long sleeve shirt. We also used a brown eyebrow pencil and added some strategically drawn on facial hair. I went online and referenced pictures for Lego Thor’s beard. Our result was a very happy boy and I must say a pretty awesome DIY costume.

Thanks for checking out today’s post. All creations are done by Jacquelynn Knoll.

Energy for life walkathon: San Francisco 2014

My life is full of friends, family and love.  However, the one thing we take for granted the most, our health, is failing me.  I have mentioned in my “About Me” page, that I have been dealing with a chronic illness for all my adult life.  I do my best to keep our busy lives in tact and in order.  Yet, I fight a daily battle to rise with the morning sun and get my groove on.  I have a mitochondrial disease, Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome.  I never know if it’s going to be a good day full of laughter and exploration of this cool world with my two sons or bad day full of pain, migrains, naseau, dark rooms, ice chips and vomiting.   I share this with you, not for sympathy; I am sharing this for support.  Everyday, I know that I am getting closer to an answer and finding some relief. One way that I’m doing this is by supporting a cause that helps me get closer to an answer by raising funds to help support the research of rare diseases.  This is the third annual walkathon for Energy for Life being held on Saturday April,  12, 2014.

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I had the pleasure of walking last year with some if my dearest friends and family.  We had a great morning and truly enjoyed the event.  It is a beautiful stroll through Golden Gate park.  This year I want to open it up to anybody who is interested in supporting a great cause.  I am opening my team up to newbies to join us.  Please message me if you are interested in participating.  Thanks.

Tea Time Tie Tip

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As I sit here this Saturday morning sipping my decaf tea and deciding what I will be making the family for breakfast, I began to wonder if my readers knew this common little habit for tea. Today’s tip may be as well known and comfortable to your habits as an old hat. After all, lots of us may have been employed at a restaurant or coffee house once in our lives. For me, it was a retirement home restaurant during high school. I took many kitchen tips with me but this one is by far the one I use the most. For those of you who don’t utilize this tip, I think you will find your tea experience all the better.

When making a cup of tea and it comes time to add the tea bag, rather than sit over it and stew for the time it takes to brew, simply tie the bag off on the handle. This will serve you well when serving someone else tea as well. If you choose to brew the tea for them this tip will ensure that the bag and pull tab do not become completely submerged in the hot beverage. To tie off the bag simply loop over or under the handle and through the string loop over itself.

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I am also a fan of utilizing serving ware when enjoying my cup of tea. More specifically spoons. I enjoy tea and this trick so much that I am surprised I don’t already have a true “teaspoon” collection. That is a thought that I will definitely revisit as that would be a fun collection to start. Again, this spoon tip may not be earth shattering news to some but I try to share ideas when I believe they can be utilized as a useful lifestyle tip.

When you use a spoon with tea, it allows you to easily retrieve the tea bag from your cup. Additionally, by laying the bag in the belly of the spoon and wrapping the tea bag string around the bag, you can wring out the tea bag. This is a cleaner and safer option. If using a spoon is more your style you can adapt this tie off tip and use it on the spoon handle. Lay the tea bag in cup and rest the spoon across the top of the cup. I have always enjoyed this presentation when making family and friends their tea. Happy drinking.

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Thanks for checking out today’s post.

All posts and creations are done by Jacquelynn Knoll.

Doily Spider Webs

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It’s that time of year again. Cooler weather is setting in and the trees have begun to change the colors of their leaves into beautiful hues of orange, red, yellow and brown. With The Fall season vastly approaching upon us I have fallen right in line. Being the mother of a very active toddler, and with the unpredictable Fall weather drawing us indoors, it is imperative to have plenty of attention grabbing and engaging activities planned. This helps to keep us all somewhat sane and it is fun at the same time. In preparation I have begun planning and mapping out the various activities that l keep in an activity binder ready for action. At the first sign of rain we can easily find and select an activity that keeps us occupied until the weather improves or nap time, which ever arrives first.

To kick off for Fall we made doily spider webs with orange plastic spiders now happily residing on them. This creation was completed off of impulse so I was not able to capture pictures of the project during the process. The instructions are pretty straight forward. My son and I began by painting four (4) pre made woven Christmas doily ornaments with black acrylic paint and a sponge brush. I simply put the doilies on a large piece of butcher paper, gave my son a paint loaded sponge brush and let him apply the paint. I went through afterward and touched them up to ensure the doilies were fully painted black from their original white color.

Once the paint has dried we attached bright orange faux spider rings to each web. Remember my son is still a toddler so our scare factor in the home Halloween decor arena is going to be quiet minimal for a few more years. Plus the orange spiders stood out well against the black webs. I wanted to hang our new webs where they could be admired by the family and any house guests we host this season. Like any proud parent, I chose the kitchen refrigerator, my son agreed that this was the perfect spot for his latest craft creations. In order to hang these spider webs I utilized very small hooks attached to suction cups. Each web hangs on a separate suction hook. I must admit I love seeing these little webs, mostly because it was so fun to make these with my little one and they remind me of him every time I’m in the kitchen.

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Thanks for checking out today’s post.

All creations and post are done by Jacquelynn Knoll.

Dim Sum Reheated

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It has been some time since my last blog post. I have a good reason, we are expanding our family and having a second child. I have been busy growing a little human. Apparently, pregnancy is a bit of a challenge for me. However, we have always known if we were committed to having a child we would be inclined to have siblings. Plus, I am up for the challenge since the reward is far greater than any suffering I may endour. Anyway, as pregnancy goes, so do a woman’s cravings.

Early on I craved for Chinese food, more specifically Cantonese Dim Sum. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this type of food, “Dim sum refers to a style of Cantonese food prepared as small bite-sized or individual portions of food traditionally served in small steamer baskets or on small plates.” (Wikipedia, 2013) I have a local restaurant that specializes in these delicacies and as my husband states, I am notorious for over ordering. I like to argue this by pointing out that I just like to order enough food that we can have it for the next days lunch. Makes complete sense, right?

Between this pregnancy and my general loving of this food, I frequent our local New Canton restaurant on a regular basis. So much so, that waitstaff has gotten to know me well. On our last visit, I had ordered as I usually do adding just a bit more for the next day. However, this time as my bags were brought back to the table one of the staff approached me and gave me a great simple tip for reheating my yummy steamed deliciousness. She just said steam these when you want to eat them later on. It was so simple yet profound to me that I needed to share it with you.

This post is serves as a simple instructions on reheating Dim Sum leftovers. It requires you to steam your pieces in a steamer pot rather than utilizing an oven or microwave to do so. This was such a great suggestion. It allows the food to remain in its prepared form without over cooking it or melting sauces. One of my favorites that I like to order is steamed baus, which are basically steamed buns filled with a variety of meats or custards. I also enjoy Lo Mai Gai (lotus leaf wrapped rice) and specialty dumplings. All of which can taste very different if cooked more when reheated.

Fortunately for this task I have a large pasta cooking pot which is a colander style basket that rests inside a larger pot which holds water. Similar to a double boiler. In addition to pasta, I utilize this pot as a steamer for crab legs, veggies and now Dim Sum. The larger pot allows for boiling water and the insert keeps the food clear from sitting in water. The food rests in the bottom of the internal insert. I just fill the base of my “steamer” with food until the bottom is full. I don’t double stack anything. The individual pieces would stick together and flavors could blend changing the food which is what we’re trying to avoid in the first place. I also begin with the larger pieces first, since they often take the longest. I suppose wax paper could be used to create layers within the steamer. This would allow reheating more food at one time. However for me it’s usually a single serving snack that I’m working with. In the end the reheated finished product is just as yummy as it was the first time around.

20130815-104207.jpgThanks for checking out today’s post.

All posts and creations are done by Jacquelynn Knoll.

Strawberry Coconut Smash Cookies

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As I have mentioned before I live with a chronic illness. Although I am diagnosed as a Cyclic Vomiting patient, there isn’t too much in terms of research, treatment or cures. In an effort to reduce the frequency of attacks, I decided to change or rather update my eating habits and overall diet. The diet is designed to change the flora in my GI system not to loose any weight. I was researching for my condition and a lot of patients recommended a book called Breaking the Vicious Cycle. I have been suffering for over 15 years chronically with this inconvenience and have tried so many angles of attack on this condition with no avail I figure by keeping optimistic and abreast of new treatments I am only helping myself.

This new eating plan seems easy but let me tell you that in the beginning it isn’t easy, I have had challenging moments where my cravings almost win, yet I am keeping my eye on the prize. Well today was a major baking sweet craving day. Only problem every part of that craving is illegal for my eating plan. What’s a person to do? Well I made the best of it and created a good little recipe that adheres to the diet and still satisfies my cravings.

Strawberry Coconut Smash Cookies requires all natural ingredients free of all of those bad carbs. Ingredients are 3/4 cup coconut oil, 1 cup honey, 2 eggs and 1 egg white. Blend on medium speed or until mixed well. Mix in 1 1/2 cups coconut flour and 1/2 cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut. Add 2 cups sliced strawberries, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 2-3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract. Mix all ingredients then using 2 spoons scoop spoonfuls onto parchment lined cookie sheets. Last few steps smash each cookie down with a fork. These cookies look the same one as they do going in so make sure your cookies look the way you want them to prior to baking. Bake cookies at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until edges begin to brown.

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Thanks for checking out today’s post.

All posts and creations are done by Jacquelynn Knoll

D.I.Y. Coffee Bags

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This past week my family and my dear girlfriend and her family went camping in Yosemite. Annually we all get together and tent camp with all the kids in tow. It is a lot of fun and a lot of work. Coffee is a definite in the morning necessity. Last year, I packed our glass coffee press in order to have coffee each morning. I thought by this year we would have bought a percolator for our tent required camping trips.

This of course was not the case. No problem, every grocery carries instant coffee, coffee powders or the fancy and rather expensive big brand instant coffee packets. We even picked up a pack for our trip. I also packed a can of ground beans. Our friends brought the same. Yet none of us had a way to brew our bean coffee. With us parents needing all the caffeine help we could get, we all partook in multiple morning cups of coffee. As you can imagine, our packets ran out quick.

After one day of having to wake up and hike up to the main lodge, Curry Village, for coffee and my mind was busy at work on a solution to our issue. My solution was quite genius. I simply used string, ground beans and a standard old fashion coffee filter. I didn’t get any photos while we were camping but here is a picture of the supplies needed.

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Lay out one filter and place a scoop or two of your favorite ground coffee beans. Then gather the filter around the scoop of beans. Secure each coffee filter with a string tie. Since this string will be submerged in your coffee please make sure your string is clean and non toxic. Make as many of these as you need for your travels. These can be used for any sort of travel from home since all you need is a cup of hot water.

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Each pack is good for a cup or two of coffee. Simply submerge one pack in a cup of hot water and step until desired darkness. I even save mine and refill with hot water for maximum use. This little trick saved my mornings and probably the trip! I had great coffee from there on out and I felt so proud to have fixed our coffee dilemma. These packets will be coming with us on all future trips. These equate to penny’s on the dollar to the pre made packets and you can make them with the beans of your choice.

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Thanks for checking out today’s post.

All posts and creations are done by Jacquelynn Knoll.