Lavender and Vanilla Sugar Scrub

agoldenafternoon.com-2One of the best things about Southern California is our ability to grow ALL YEAR.  When the sun is shining bright in the middle of everyone’s typical Winter cozy time, I remind myself that my tomatoes are still red.  Lavender is an easy-going plant that doesn’t demand very much water.  It’s perfect for the desert landscape we live in here so I grow it all around our property.  It’s the closest I’ll get to an English garden.

I love to use lavender in my cooking and when I create my body care products.  You can’t beat those freshly harvested scents!

Scrubs are a SUPER important part of my skin care routine.  Extra bonus points for homemade scrubs because they are inexpensive to make!  I use a scrub once a week on my face, which exfoliates it amazingly well.   I keep one jar in the shower and one next to my bathroom sink.  The dead and flaky skin is removed by the sugar, the coconut oil puts moisture back in, and the lavender and vanilla scents relax and bring on a wee smile.  When applying the scrub to your face, move your hands in small circles, applying slight pressure and avoiding the eyes. Lightly rinse, just until the sugar is removed, leaving as much moisture behind as you can.  Sugar is just gentle enough to get the job done, but not irritate your skin.  I also use scrubs on any other dry area of my body, like elbows, hands, and feet.  Really, you can use them anywhere.

My favorite recipe below is for a Lavender and Vanilla Scrub.  I made the recipe image using my HP Sprout.  The computer is a whizz at scanning 3-D objects (say what? We can do that now?!).   Moving the scanned objects, creating text, and even handwriting are a breeze.  Once you learn the Sprout, you can have an image created (like my recipe below) in less than 10 minutes.  If you’ve ever made a collage online, you know this timeframe is AMAZING.  This time-saving feature alone is making the Sprout a must-have for creatives.  So cool, right?

Set aside a few minutes this week to make a scrub like this and take care of your skin!

agoldenafternoon.com-3lavendersugar copyagoldenafternoon.comThis post is sponsored by HP, but all opinions are my own.  Authenticity is important to me and I do not write about anything that I don’t love.  Thanks for reading, friends

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Simple Moments v. 1

simplemoments13You guys probably don’t know this about me, but I was a ridiculously devoted scrapbooker for many many years.  I started in 6th grade.  Growing up, I worked as a janitor and my first major purchase was a film camera.  It cost me $254, if I’m remembering correctly.  I spent a lot of what I earned on developing film and I don’t regret it for a second.  Eventually, I was indeed that crazy person who would spend an entire hour on 1 page.  Wow, if I could go back and tell myself to find a better use for my time!  Obviously, I had to learn the hard way.  Fast forward to marriage and a new baby.  By the time Faith was crawling, I realized that this hobby and I were breaking up.  I was frustrated that I seemed to have the only baby who cried all day.  Why couldn’t she just let me work on HER baby book?  Distraction was in full force as I tried to wrongfully twist my calling and season of that time.  So funny to see how God weaves his plans and lessons in our life. We all know the crazy motivated little girl she is today!

I COMPLETELY see why I had my little Faith before an easier child.  God was molding me and showing me the things that weren’t necessary in my life so I could eventually understand how to drink those moments in, not just journal, cut, paste, and embellish them to pieces.  For me, it had become a part of my life that didn’t belong in that season of difficulty. So, I switched fully to a website I had started in 2002, before she was born. This continued for many years, even when I had Jack and Dean.  Then I realized my (little!) spare time was getting zapped again.  3 kids that were 4 and under.  WEBSITE OVER.  I may not have been working on that website during the day, but I needed that rest of the mind and soul at night and I didn’t even know it.  The season was missed again.

Fast forward, I start this particular blog in 2010 as a way to connect with friends and family far away who wanted recipes and tutorials.  My husband traveled all the time so I had a lot of evenings at home while the kids were sleeping.  We had left the church I grew up in, following years of growing apart in our understanding of God’s grace and our view of His love towards more than those who have their names in a member book.  We were rejected by friends in the process and carried from that place a further conviction that God’s love looks a whole lot different than we had experienced, up until that point.  His arms are wide and open.  I felt alone but hopefully for what was over the next hilltop.  In this season, instead of sharing about my kids, I wanted to offer up the things I was learning and experiencing.  This space has been more about sharing skills, information, and travel…something I LOVE doing and it has been very healing.  After that stretch of time, my husband traveled less, I had made a new group of friends and I wanted to just be with him and these ladies, sharing laughter and tears as we went.  It has been a lovely season and I’m so thankful for the hurt that has finally been removed from my heart through truth spoken in these friendships.  I’m finally starting to understand this “season” thing!

This new season is upon me where those babies aren’t crawling around (oh, how I miss it!), nobody is potty training or needs their bottom wiped, and my kids have even learned to play with each other (something I never thought would ever happen).  Change within ourselves is good and I’ve learned that even though I wanted to start something and do it exactly the same for each child for 20 years, that didn’t happen.  It took some time, but I’m OK with how God worked it out.

There will still be recipes and loads of things that are inspiring me.  It’s been a joy to have met some of you lovely readers in person and hear what you’ve made and tried from my site.  In my soul, I just feel that you, like me, don’t have time.  We don’t have time to read tons of blogs and live our life in the way we should.  If you read my blog in any sort of regular sense, I am truly honored.  Only a few blogs appear on my screen for soaking in every week.  The rest of my online stops are quick ones for recipes or how-tos, as it should be.  Anything more would be a distraction from the fullness of life out there waiting for me to grasp and devotion to the people who need my full attention!  God needs my eyes in a certain direction and I don’t want to miss his nudges.

All of this to say, see the season you are in for what it is…a season.  Tomorrow you might find yourself in a new place.

For myself alone, I wanted to start keeping more of a journal of our memories, experiences, and recipes.  I take pictures with my camera ALL THE TIME, but don’t have time to blog the “how-to” for everything. ;) I don’t know how often or for long I’ll do this, but I’m OK with that!  I don’t want to miss the season again!  I hope you enjoy soaking in these moments during your week.

Some simple moments I want to remember this week:

// Jack asked me to take a picture of him because Grandma wants a close picture of him.  She told him my pictures are too far away and she can’t see his face.  Here, Grandma ;) //

// We harvested all of our Thompson seedless last week because japanese beetles were on the attack.  Turns out that our insect book says the main things they eat are grapes.  Good to know.  I also made a fizzy frozen grape and lime drink I posted on IG here. //

// The pool is in full swing and we had people her every day last week!  Fun to see our friends so often. //

// After several months of no garden because the chickens had eaten it, dirt had been gradually added back in and the garden is reborn.  Thanks to my husband for lending his muscles. //

// Roast 4 pounds of tomatoes, 1 thickly chopped red onion, a head of garlic, salt and pepper, and a drizzle of oil on 425 for an hour.  Blend and use as pizza sauce, squeezing the roasted garlic from it’s casing before you blend.  It’s the best pizza sauce I’ve ever had.  You can thank me later. //

// Obsession with this heirloom tomato, Humbolt Fog, and vinaigrette salad continues.  I posted the dressing recipe on IG here. //

// Faith made risotto (Recipe coming soon!) for the first…and second time last week.  Super proud of her growth and I’m thinking she will be a way better cook than me before she’s a teenager. Yikes. //

// We made quick pickles inspired by “Little Bunny Follows His Nose”.  You can find the recipe on Paging Supermom here. //

// My Dad gave me some figs from one of my parent’s neighbors.  I gladly accepted and made figs poached in honey syrup.  I think a jar will be marrying some super ripe blue cheese soon. //

// Last week, my husband was working in Vegas so I decided to turn the house upside-down and reorganize…everything.  He has come to expect changes after his long trips and OBVIOUSLY I didn’t want to let him down.  I went through lots and lots of stuff and got rid of things that I thought I had already gotten rid of. //

// Every time we have an outdoor movie, we wonder why we don’t do it more often.  This time we watched “National Velvet” because Faith had just finished the book.  Her love of horses has fired up again.  I caught her reading a book on horsemanship.  I expect mention of horseback riding any second. //

I realize that I post a lot of pictures of food.  I’m sorry.  Well, maybe I’m not.

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Chicken Coop Update: We Have Walls!

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Ed has been working so hard on this chicken coop!  Check out my first post here about this amazing news!  We are still gathering and soaking in as much information as possible.  Over the last few Saturdays, Ed dug trenches (with a little help from those hard-working guys outside of Home Depot), installed framing, cement blocks, part of the wood siding, the base of the coop interior, frame and installed 2 of our vintage windows, and installed 1 vintage screen door.

Here are some chicken related questions with been wondering about, as well as some things we are learning (PLEASE SHARE YOUR CHICKEN KNOWLEDGE BELOW!):

Do we want to throw a Thanksgiving turkey in the coop and will he get along with the chickens? Not sure if we would be taking on too much with that one.

Where to buy our chickens? I’ve found some local hatcheries here in San Diego.  It’s really important to me that they eat good food from the minute they’re born.  Why else would we be raising them, right?

What should we feed them? After looking at loads and loads of websites and local store options for feed, I’ve concluded that I will be making my chicken feed and scratch, among other things.  Sheesh.  I don’t know why I’m surprised.  Chicken feed, even organic, is FULL of corn and fillers.  What’s the point?  Everything I’ve read says feed chickens corn as a treat and yet it’s the first ingredient on every bag I look at.  This is not ok therefore I am searching for balanced recipes.  This one looks perfect and well researched. Recipes?

How to keep pests away?  I am searching for the right kind of containers to store food in to keep rats and moths away.  HELP!

How do I take care of these little ladies?  Right now, we are reading, having the kids read, and are reading to the kids, “A Chicken In Every Yard”, “The Backyard Homestead Guide to Raising Farm Animals”, and “Farm Anotomy” to gather information! Favorite books?

What is the best way to reap the benefits of chicken poop?  I currently have to buy chicken fertilizer for my garden so I’m searching for the right kinds of cleanup methods that are best for getting the most out of chicken droppings.  Hey.  Nothing wasted, right?

Names!!  I think it’s safe to say that every one of us is excited about naming these ladies!  I’m expecting names that reflect Star Wars, book characters, hilarity, and maybe something slightly inappropriate coming from my husband.  We are splitting them up to name them so everyone will have their chance to pick!

To follow the every day chicken and backyard homesteading adventures, follow us on Instagram.

PLEASE share anything you’ve learned below!

Here’s the coop progress by the man who is constantly surprising me with making my dreams coming true…even chicken dreams…

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A Golden Afternoon Farm

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We are so excited to be expanding our little backyard “farm”!!  For a solid 3 years, I’ve read, thought, prayed, researched, and dreamt of owning chickens.  The time has not been right in our lives until recently.  I see now why previous years would not have been good.  To take a venture like this, the entire family has to be all in and ready to take on the work involved.  I can honestly say that we are ALL ready!

A Golden Afternoon Farm is ready.

My husband has bravely taken on the task of building us a rather large chicken coop.  Right now, we are planning on having 15 chickens.  Sound like a lot?  Well, we use 5 dozen eggs a week for all of our breakfast, baking, and other food needs.  That’s what happens when you cook from scratch, I guess.  Plus, we’d like to be able to share some with our friends and family (get ready Erik and El!). He’s never build a chicken coop, but he has all of the spirit he needs to carry him through!  He is proving that if you want to do something enough, you can learn your way through the hard parts.  I’m really proud of him.  We have been married almost 10 years and he’s still making my dreams come true.  Who knew a chicken coop could be such an amazing and unexpected display of affection?

I’ll keep you posted on our progress and share how he built it after it’s finished!  We don’t have chicks lined up yet but I really felt strongly about finishing the coop before getting the chicks to make everything smooth and stress-free.

NOW, any seasoned chicken farmers please leave as much advice as you can in the comments!  I want to know what you did right and also what you would have done differently.  For the organic farmers…what you feed your chickens (every organic feed I see is loaded with corn!).

Favorite this and that…

tricks of the trade…

Please share!

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Make: A Succulent Teacup Planter

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Last year after Christmas, I told myself to find something simple yet wonderful to make for my friends the next year.  I get caught up in so many projects and commitments, sometimes I end up leaving less room for the fun handmade Christmas presents I love so much.  My schedule has changed a lot the last two Christmas seasons with my attention turning towards homeschooling.  I am enjoying this school year so much but when vacations comes around, I am in much need of rest and time to finish projects…and go to seemingly endless rehearsals and performances for the Nutcracker.  I wanted a gift that would be easy, fun, inexpensive (although, good friends are always deserving of the best!), and beautiful.

I feel really good about these succulent planters.

Succulents are perfect for everyone because they look great and SUPER EASY to take care of as they need minimal care and water once established. Perfect for friends, your mother-in-law or mom,  the neighbors, or the UPS driver.

I started looking around estate sales and thrift stores for good English china to plant succulents in a few months ago.  I noticed that the Japanese and Chinese tea cups were always more.  How nice that the one I was looking for was actually less.  Yay, for me!  I got mine ranging from $.25 to $6.  If I was in love with the cup, I would buy it for $6, but usually not.  You could buy new ones as well.  A special monogram mug from Anthropologie is always a good idea for $8.

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Required materials:

tea cup

glue

soil

succulents

Basically, I took the teacup, glued the bottom of the cup to the saucer (optional), filled it with soil, and added succulent clippings.  They survive for long periods of time with limited water, but make sure to keep the soil moist while they are developing roots.  If you have time, place the clippings in water, wait for the roots to form, then add them to the soil.  I’ve been propagating them for a few months now from my own yard.  It would be super easy for you to find a neighbor with overgrown neighborhoods (think retro 70’s neighborhoods where they will be prevalent, like mine).  I saw some down the street from me and will definitely ask them in the future since it’s a variety I don’t have.

That means they’d be FREE!

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