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Irony

My hubby just installed our new, large, toyhauler mailbox last weekend. Our mail person is going to love it, as they can fit much larger packages in it and not have to drive up to the house to drop them off.

I do have an odd set-up for the front of my home. The true, front door is not convenient to use, as it drops you off into a small hallway in the living room. I much prefer using the garage entrance that then goes into the kitchen. Way more accessible to everything and a much larger foyer, so to speak.

I have a long bench right by this door that is out of the elements and a great place to leave packages, as I will see them walking up. The front door has no protection from rain. Even though I have blocked the front stoop from access with flower pots, it doesn’t stop them from hopping over and putting them there. It’s really only UPS and FedEx that does it. I usually have a note in the mailbox, telling the mail carrier to place them on the bench…

Since I had a new mailbox, I needed to write out a new note to hang inside, informing the carriers of my wishes that larger packages be placed on the bench. This was my first attempt. DOH!!!!

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Blue Apron Meals – Update

We have been ordering Blue Apron meals for a little over a month now. I can’t say enough about the meals and the cooking techniques we’ve learned how to to pull off. Admittedly, there are also plenty of food items I will never touch again… Kale pretty much being at the top of the list. I’ve made kale at least 5 different ways and none of them has produced a palatable taste for me. We now just buy some spinach for me when we see it in an upcoming meal. The next being sesame oil. OMG, it kills my insides and stays with me for days. ICK! Lastly, what is with all the radishes? I get it BA is trying to be eco-friendly and use what is in season, however a radish salad is not my cup-o-tea.

We often try to pick the fish meal when offered. All of them have been fabulous! I can’t believe how much I love catfish. My Father used to cook it all the time and the smell caused me to leave the house. The salmon, white fish and cod have all been fantastic also.

So far, our favorite meal has been the pork roast rubbed in spices. It was so juicy and tender! Super yum.

We’re going to continue to enjoy these. We also think these would be a great thing to bring along camping! All the ingredients are in the box, I don’t need to worry about forgetting something. The only things that would need to be aboard the ‘Daug Haus’ would be olive oil and the proper kitchen tools; pots, shredders, pans, etc.

Admittedly, I don’t remember the fancy names for the following meals… I’m going to call it as I see it. If anyone’s curiosity is burning that bad to know the recipe or true name, ask about it in the comments and I’ll get back to you.  =-)

Salmon with fried rosemary and apple farro

Pan fried chicken with bok choy, rice and marinated carrot slaw

Pan fried chicken with mushrooms, rice and kale.

Cheese cannolis with tomato sauce and creamy garlic salad

Here’s that pork meal!

Cumin crusted pork roast with fig / orange sauce on a bed of onion and barley.

Pork chop with jasmine rice, tomato/cilantro salsa and kale.

Fried chicken on a bed of kale and mashed potatoes.

Lamb and beef stew topped with fried potato disks and parmesan cheese

Moroccan Chicken on spiced tomatoes and carrots with rice. This one rocked!!

Shrimp with cabbage with curry. We did not like this one at all.

Meatloaf with ketchup pepper chutney and hash browns. Meh.

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Second Chances for Single Socks

cute-dog-socksIt’s hopefully coming to the end of ‘sock season’ soon and the need to wear socks will be over. I hate wearing socks. I do buy cute ones tho, usually with dogs or other cute animals or patterns on them. My husband, on the other hand, buys the same, white brand so they actually ALL match. Whenever he gets a hole in one, it’s not like the pair is trash, just the one with the hole. Easy-peasy! There’s never a single sock in his drawer.

I actually don’t seem to loose many of these cute pairs. It’s the plain Jane colored ones that go MIA. I had a pretty large pile of loners and was about to throw them out when I looked at Oreo sitting next to me. Ah Ha! I tied them all together and a new pull toy was created! Fun!

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

 

Where’s Your Food?

We never spent a bunch of time training our boys to do parlor tricks. They do enough cute things throughout the day to entertain us! However, sometimes it’s not so much dog training as much as human training. Their food and treats are kept in this pantry. I started to notice Breck would paw at the door while I was in sight of it. Every time he did it, he would try to eyeball me. Who was being trained here?!? I started to ask him, “Where’s your food?”  After a little while, I was able to ask him and he would paw the door. Oreo can’t be outdone. He didn’t paw the door, his answer was to point his nose at it.

     

Where’s your food???

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

CBD Oil – A Newbies Lesson in Review

Cannabidiol (CBD) works through a number of complex mechanisms. Studies have indicated that CBD has analgesic, anti-convulsant, anti-psychotic and neuroprotective effects. This means that sufferers of chronic pain, anxiety, nausea, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, schizophrenia, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, PTSD, alcoholism, epilepsy, strokes and cardiovascular disease have another aid in their corner.

CBD’s use to treat epilepsy has caused quite a stir among folks here recently. The video below brings hope to many people.

In short, unlike THC (9tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD does not bind to the CB1 or CB2 cannabinoid receptors, which is why it does not produce THC-like psychedelic affects.

Here in the USA, the FDA has ruled CBD to be treated as a nutritional supplement. As such, all supplements are required to have at least a basic nutritional label on them. Along with nutritional information, labels also require a suggested serving size. Because all manufacturers are required to put some form of serving size on the label, it gets confusing when it comes to dosing. This is a huge disservice to anyone trying to figure out how much CBD to take. Most people read the label and figure whatever it says is how much they should take. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The servings chosen are either arbitrary or can be helpful to some degree, however not necessarily any indication of how much CBD you should take. For instance, on many brands, 10 drops is a serving size and how many milligrams of CBD will be indicated. This is because it is important to know how many milligrams of CBD you are taking. For instance, you determine that you need 10 milligrams of CBD. The label indicates 10 drops has 5mg of CBD. You would take 20 drops to get 10mg.

CONDITION 2 – 25 LBS. 26 – 45 LBS 46 – 85 LBS 86 – 150 LBS 151 – 210 LBS 241+ LBS
MILD 4.5mg 6 mg 9 mg 12 mg 18 mg 22.5 mg
MEDIUM 6 mg 9 mg 12 mg 15 mg 22.5 mg 30 mg
SEVERE 9 mg 12 mg 15 mg 18 mg 27 mg 45 mg

 

An effective dosage can range from as little as a few milligrams of CBD-enriched oil to a gram or more. Begin with a small dose and take a few small doses over the course of the day rather than one big dose. Use the same dose and ratio for several days. Note the effects and if necessary, adjust the ratio or amount. Cannabis compounds have biphasic properties, which mean that low and high doses of the same substance can produce opposite effects. Like alcohol, small doses tend to stimulate; large doses sedate. “Less is more” is often the case with respect to cannabis therapy.

For instance: I found the best dose for my 151-210 pound frame, treating anxiety (medium condition), would be about 20-25 mg a day. I break it up by taking about 10 mg in the morning and the 10-15 mg balance at night. The lower dose in the morning is treated like coffee by my body, and the larger dose at night works like warm milk… allowing me a great night’s sleep.

Things to look for when choosing a CBD oil:

  • Cannabis Not Industrial Hemp: Compared to whole plant cannabis, hemp is typically low in cannabinoid content. A huge amount of hemp is required to extract a small amount of CBD, raising the risk of contaminants because hemp is a bioaccumulator, meaning it draws toxins from the soil. The balanced profile of whole plant cannabis enhances the therapeutic benefits of the CBD and THC.
  • How it’s made: a 10% CBD oil that has been CO2 extracted and processed without heat so it maintains a full cannabinoid and terpene profile, is better than a 50% oil cheaply extracted with butane and heated excessively so it has no more terpenes left. Also, many products are made with isolate, which is 99%. Very high %, but it is an isolate so it’s missing the rest of the “whole plant” compounds and therefore, likely to be limited in effects.
  • Easy to Read Labels: Look for clear labels showing the quantity, ratio of CBD, THC per dose (if applicable), a manufacturing date and lastly, a batch number.
  • Lab Testing: Look for products that are tested for consistency, verified as free of mold, pesticides, bacteria, solvent residues and other contaminants.
  • Quality Ingredients: Select products with quality ingredients. No corn syrup, GMOs, trans fats, and artificial additives.
  • CBD and THC-Rich Products: For maximum therapeutic impact, (If living in a Marijuana legal state) choose products that include CBD and THC, the main psychoactive component of cannabis. CBD and THC enhance each other’s therapeutic benefits, that’s why Mother Nature put them together 😉
  • Safe Extraction: Avoid products extracted with toxic solvents like BHO (Butane honey oil), propane, hexane or other hydrocarbons. Solvent residues are especially dangerous for immune-compromised patients. Look for products that use a safer method of extraction like supercritical CO2.

Here are some of the brands I tried and my notes. In the end, Diamond CBD will be getting my business.

PRODUCT PRICE SIZE MG TASTE RATING
Honey B $30.00 1 oz / 30 ml 100 mg Berry My starter bottle. I really liked the mild taste. Only 3 flavors.
Tasty Drops $60.00 1 oz / 30ml 300 mg Berry Thick black oil. Did not like the thick ‘hemp’ taste.
American Shaman $60.00 .5 oz / 15ml 300 mg Grape Strong hemp flavor, but grape covered well.
Pure Science Lab $60.00 .5 oz / 15ml 400 mg Vanilla Horrible taste. Lingered for hours. Required refrigeration.
Diamond CBD $70.00 .5 oz / 15ml 350 mg Cherry Best tasting so far. Nice dropper. Have different flavors on order.

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Simple Amusements – Nail Polish Edition 

When I was knee high to a grasshopper, I was a Tom-Boy. Any dolls I may have been given soon became buried in the bottom of the toy box, unused. I was happier playing with a hammer and pail of nails my Father would give to me.

It wasn’t too long after seventh grade that I discovered boys and the need to pretty myself for them. I became somewhat of a ‘lipstick dyke’, a pretty Tom-Boy, that still knew how to over-haul an engine, however wore a skirt while doing it.

After I passed 40, I stopped wearing make-up and ditched many of my skirts for jeans. I used to be ‘little in the middle, but I had much back’, which made wearing jeans very difficult. Now that I have a middle, my jeans don’t fall down when I walk 😉

Only two of my girly traits have stuck with me all these years. My love for doing braids (etc) in my hair and my love for nail art. I had some color change nail polish years ago, but it didn’t work too well and was only two colors. Ah modern technology has many more options now! This is a no-chip type of polish and it changes to three colors!! Find it here on Amazon. There are many color options. Here, I clearly have two different color polishes, however they both work quite quickly with the temperature change. They are so much fun!

John, this video is for you, my buddy from down under, who always seems to notice my nails in the shot!

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Grass Flip-Flops Brings Summer to Winter

When it’s cold outside and there’s snow on the grass… These grass-lined flip-flops sure bring back memories of summer.
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Brrr! Only about 4 more months till summer… Sigh.

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PS – (Added to post much later than above was originally written) To a keen eye or another Midwesterner… This photo was clearly taken over a month ago, back when there was actually snow on the ground. True. It’s been floating in my ‘Scheduled’ folder for awhile. I almost thought about pushing it off yet again, until there was some snow on the ground to exaggerate my point of needing these grass-lined flip-flops… After checking the forecast for the next few months… I feel there’s very little hope in seeing any decent amount of snow the rest of this winter. Oh. so. NOT. sad!!!! Seems we may have an early spring. I sure hope so. Toes crossed!

© Ilex ~Midwestern Plant Girl

 

Toy Hauler Mailbox: When Good Things Come From Bad

We live in a somewhat rural area, where there are no sidewalks and our mailboxes are at the street. It’s the first time I’ve ever lived with this situation. In the past, I had a walking mailperson, who dropped mail in my house-attached box.

In the past few years, I’ve become an Amazon.com addict, along with many other online stores and the amount of package deliveries have spiked to epic levels. I do have a wooden bench near my door that is under an eave for those large boxes, however some of the smaller ones still got jammed into the small mailbox, ultimately bending or breaking something. Frowny face to the mail carrier!! No Duncan Doughnut’s gift card for you!!

Along with USPS (United States Post Office), I also get deliveries from UPS, Fed Ex, DHL, and other carriers. Only the USPS can deliver items INSIDE my mailbox, the rest get placed on my bench. Here’s a tid-bit for you; Did you know it is a federal offense to steal mail (anything delivered by USPS, in or out of mailbox), however only a misdemeanor to steal packages delivered by carriers other than USPS? This is why smart-ass thieves tend to steal packages off stoops over cracking into mailboxes. Either way, I’d hope the Karma train takes care of these thieves!

We’ve been talking about making our mailbox into a travel trailer for years. However, the timing was never good to start the project, along with the fact we still had a working mailbox… Until a week ago.

My neighbor is slowly dying. I can’t recall the disease that is killing him, however it’s a reaction from a drug he took years ago. He is unable to eat because of reoccurring sores in his mouth and in a lot of pain from a previous neck injury. He’s on liquid morphine and has hospice folks coming by often. One day last week, he got into a large argument with his wife, and amazingly was able to get out of the house and behind the wheel of his truck. I was actually writing on my laptop, overlooking my yard and mailbox when it happened. BLAM! Mailbox up! Mailbox down! Neighbor back-up and off mailbox, neighbor drive forward and continue down the street.

I ran out there immediately and called his wife, as I knew he shouldn’t be driving. She told me the police were already in route, so there was not much else for me to do, but to pick up the many pieces of my mailbox. Not more than 10 minutes later, I watched the mailperson drive by, looking at the mailbox-less post, and continued on. Um, you could have knocked on my door and delivered my mail! But no. The mail carrier just carried on.

I was able to Jerry-rig a close replica of my mailbox with what was left of the box, some bungee cords and duct tape. It doesn’t really close, however it would work for the interim.https://youtu.be/sZnhtojtUYc

Meanwhile, we decided it was time to make out new mailbox, technically a ‘toy-hauler’, and impress our neighborhood with our skills ;^D

  • First, we started by ordering a LARGE (24″ long x 12″ wide x 15″ tall), gray mailbox from Amazon.com. In the future, we hope this allows for less squished packages.
  • Hubby painted on the windows, doors and details.
  • He then made the gas tanks out of PVC.
  • The bumper and hitch are made from copper and painted black.
  • The wheels came from a toy truck and painted silver instead of the yellow rims it came with.
  • The spare tire (also made from PVC) and the faux awning were then attached.
  • We found little reflectors online to create the taillights and side lighting.
  • Finally, we found a place that made little license plates for our address number. Yes, it’s a bit out of proportion, but we wanted it to be seen from a distance.

In the end, I’m really impressed at the turn-out of this project! I think it’s so cute!! If I recall correctly, without time and labor, material cost us about $85.00.

Ironically, my hubby sent a pix of this to his boss, who then posted it on his FB page, bragging about what a creative employee he has. Many of his friends responded back positively and even asked if his employee could make other mailboxes like fire engines and race cars! How cool is that?! Hubby has already been trying to figure out how to make mini hoses and Mars lights….

    

*PS – No one besides my mailbox was harmed by my neighbor. The sheriff found him parked on the side of the road, around the corner. Whew!

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl