Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Pumpkin Scone Recipe...and a WINNER!!

We didn't hear back from our first winner, so we put all of the names back into a hat and drew another name:


Katie Hebert

is our NEW WINNER!!!

Katie, please contact us at theophania at gmail dot com to claim your prize!

With the cooler seasons upon us, I'm sure that many of you are enjoying pumpkin dishes galore!  We bought some pie pumpkins earlier this year and cooked them up recently.  Toasted pumpkin seeds, pumpkin pies, pumpkin soup, etc...  BUT, one of our new favorite breakfast dishes are pumpkin scones!  Since we enjoy them, I thought I'd share my recipe:

Pumpkin Scones 
Serves 8

2 cups whole wheat flour (or mix half of wheat with half of all-purpose)
2 tablespoons evaporated cane juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold butter
1 C pumpkin puree
1 egg
2 tablespoons buttermilk (add more if the dough is too dry)
1 tsp Vanilla

Stir the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.  With a pastry cutter, cut in the cold butter until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs.  Mix the pumpkin, egg, buttermilk, and vanilla together.  Add the pumpkin mixture to the dry ingredients and gently stir with a spatula until partially combined and then turn out onto the counter.  Knead until the dough just holds together.  (Over mixing will make the scones tough.)  

Pat the dough into a 3/4-inch thick circle.  Score the dough into eight pieces.
Bake at 425 for 13-15 minutes or until the scones begin to brown. 

Allow scones to cool slightly.  Serve with our favorite

"Honey Butter"
1/2 C Softened Butter
1/3 C Honey
2 oz Cream Cheese

Beat all ingredients until smooth.
Thanksgiving pictures up next! 
Enjoy...and if you try them, please let us know how you liked them!

Monday, November 21, 2011

And the winner is.....oh, and be sure to look at the fish!

Ben just ran all of the names through his random selection generator...and the winner is....*drumroll please*


Congratulations, Leah!  Please email me by the 21st at this address: theophania at gmail dot com to claim your bottle of valor.  I'll ship it out to you so that you can enjoy this wonderful blend of oils.  If I don't hear from you, we'll pull another name from our "hat"! :)

Thank you all so much for participating in our first giveaway!  I have a few more bottles of this blend to giveaway, and we'll be hosting another giveaway soon, so come back to enter for that one!

As promised, I have the pictures from our day at the Monterey Bay Aquarium up and ready for your viewing pleasure!  Be forewarned, though, this post contains LOTS of pictures of Lilyana...and jellyfish. :)
Don't say I didn't warn you!

 Lilyana loves spending time with her daddy...especially when he reads to her!  Since he had to work while we went to play with the fishes, they spent quite a bit of time together before we left.

 Before we left the valley, however, we had to stop by and pick pomegranates!  Ben is getting some refreshment after picking lots of pomegranates.

 Even Lilyana was excited about the pomegranates!  She likes them, too!

 After munching a few seeds, Ben went back to work.  I was in charge of taking pictures and "bucketing" the picked fruit.  The boys braved the thorny trees to get the goods.

 Our crew minus Grandad, who is standing behind the camera.  Four of those tubs are sitting in my house waiting for me to peel them.  Once we finished up with the fruit, Ben went back home, Matthew went back up the hill for class, and the rest of us loaded up for the long trek to the Bay Area.

 Linds is waiting for something to swim by...but what can it be?

 Ahh!  It's the otter!  Lilyana thought they were pretty cool, but she didn't realize what else she was going to meet!

 Uncle Nic introducing her to some fish.

 Grandmum and Aunt Sara are petting the sea cucumber.  I like the sea cucumber..I want a pet one.

 Out on the bird deck, Lilyana sits watching the little birds freeze.  We snapped a quick picture and ran back inside where it was warm.

 Lilyana visiting with more fish.  She loved just sitting there watching them.  I wonder what they thought of her.

 Out on the big porch, we had a gorgeous view of the ocean and the purty sail boats.  Isn't my baby just the cutest little thing ever?

 Uncle Thomas, Aunt Lindsey and ?...the happy threesome.  

 The great octopus was calm and graceful.  After hanging out on the glass for a while, he decided to move.

 The ground looks a little more comfortable to me.  I want a pet octopus, too.

 Lilyana talking to some more fish.  They had a lot of fish....

 THE JELLYFISH ROOM!!!  This is one of Ben's favorite parts at the aquarium, and now that I've been there, I know why.  Aren't they pretty?

 Grandmum and Grandad showing Lilyana the jellyfish.  

 When she first saw the fish (any kind), she got a bit scared.  But as soon as she touched the glass, she was okay with the fish and had a great time watching them!  

 Didn't I say that there were a lot of pictures of Lilyana and Jellyfish?

 They are very interesting creatures, aren't they?

 After spending quite a bit of time with them, I want a pet jellyfish, too.

 Now...which kind do I want?

 Showing my bebe the shark.

 She was okay with the flat walls, but when it came to the bubble window that we sat her in, she was much happier out of it.

 Oh!  And then there are the seahorses!!  What amazing animals!  So many different kinds, and all so elegant and beautiful!

 This one almost looks more like a bug than a seahorse!

 And I loooooooove this one!  I'll add this to my collection, too!

Oh, and I'll take a sand dollar, too. *grin*

Ben and I are looking forward to taking Lilyana back when she's a bit older.  I think she'll enjoy it even more than she did this time!

Oh, and before I go, I want to wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!  Check back tomorrow for a recipe for the holidays!  And enjoy this video of my two favoritest people:

Friday, November 18, 2011

Polls are closed....

The names are in and being counted for the drawing!

Check back on Monday to find out if YOU are the happy winner of Valor!

Until then, check back for pictures of our trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Beginning of The End

Today is the last day to enter our giveaway for the essential oil blend, Valor!  The comment section will be closed at midnight tonight, so if you haven't entered yet, CLICK HERE!

If you would like more information on how you can enjoy these oils, visit our Essential Oil page for all of the details!

Oh, and my Mom just made a video showing how to make your own deodorant with essential oils, so if you're interested in that, click here!

Yes, there are several links today...pictures are coming, soon!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

We're so busy, busy, dreadfully busy...more than an octopus, more than an ant!

Well, I suppose I have no excuse, and yet, I feel obligated to give one.  Life has been crazy busy of late, and I mean more than usual.  Ben and I were not in charge of running Reformation Day this year, but we were in the play, and that seemed to take up more time than we had originally planned.  Outfits had to be made, lines had to be memorized, practices had to be attended, and somewhere in the middle of all that craziness, we had to live as well.  

But, Reformation Day is over and life is beginning to get back to normal...once I get my pomegranates peeled and processed, as well as my 80 pounds of apples and my pie pumpkins, that is. *grin*  Is there anybody out there who is interested in coming to help?  This is mostly a "let me bring you up to date" blog post...I have a ton of pictures to download and was hoping to include a few in this post, but my camera is in my room, and my sleeping baby is in my room too...my sleeping baby happens to really need her sleep right now, so those pictures will have to come later!  

For those of you who haven't seen our current giveaway, CLICK HERE for more information on how you can be part of it!  It ends on Thursday, so sign up today!

And now...the pictures...

 With a hectic schedule, time to research exotic foods had to take a backseat.  Ben also has a fractured tooth, so soft foods have been on the menu lately.  This was from our Hawaiian week...Chicken Coconut Curry over rice...YUM!

 We bought a 1914 era Phonograph recently, and after that acquisition, we've been on the lookout for records!  Somebody gave us a HUGE box of records, but most of them were the wrong kinds...  Lilyana thought they were great toys, though!

 We were really happy to have my sister and her family up for one more visit before they moved back to the Lone Star State.  Joshua loves his sunglasses!

 "The Boys" have graduated and are moving on to higher education and internships.  We had a lovely ceremony up at the Ranch and it was fun to see them surrounded by family and friends as they move on in life.

 Craig: Why do I need a papoose?
The Doctor: Alfie wants you attached to him. You are far too slow when he summons you.

 Some good friends of ours had these geese who needed to make their new homes in the freezer.  Ben has had experience with chickens, so he welcomed the idea of learning to...um...kill...geese.  It was....interesting.

 As I said above, my baby loves to sleep...and when she doesn't get her naps, she is miserable...so we don't interrupt her when she sleeps.

Reformation Day last year...3 1/2 months pregnant...

Reformation Day this year...complete with our sweet bundle of joy.
 And a few more pictures from Reformation Day.  A Dragoon and a lady.

 The evil Intendent and his men...

 Okay, so they are really nice guys!

 The scaaaaaary people in the play.

This is only a small group of the "actors"...the rest were out dancing.  Joel (two people to the right of Ben) was a great director and we couldn't have done it without him!

And that's all for now...check back soon for more pictures of our latest excursions.

Remember to check out the Essential Oil giveaway for your chance to WIN an bottle of Valor!  The contest ENDS on Thursday, so sign up today!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Renaissance GIVEAWAY!!!!

Well, today is the beginning of our Young Living essential oil giveaway!

While we were on our recent vacation, I found out that I was allergic to the yellow weeds that were growing along side of the road.  I spent a day or two itching and sneezing like crazy...with eyes red and swollen.  When Ben saw the sign for the Young Living farm, he knew that I'd be thrilled to pieces to stop in, but he also knew that they would probably have something to help my allergies.  

I went into the gift shop and the lady behind the counter was so helpful!  She explained that my whole system was out of whack due to my reaction to the weeds and to get me back on the right track, there were two blends that would help me out: Valor and Harmony.  After applying Harmony to my sternum and Valor to the bottom of my feet, I began to "normal" again...the sneezing and itching subsided and I could actually enjoy the trip! 

So, for our giveaway today, we will be awarding our winner with ONE 15ml bottle of the Young Living Valor blend!  Contest Rules are at the end of this post!

I actually use this blend for several things.  It was a huge blessing during labor, but I discovered it's many benefits before Lilyana was born.  If you massage it into your shoulders before drifting off to sleep, it will help you rest and sleep soundly.  After a long day at work (and especially after a long day that was preceded by a long night with baby-o), my husband asks for the Valor massage.  

This blend is also called "Chiropractor in a bottle" for it's natural ability to balance and align the body.  It's healing properties may reduce trauma to the area if applied to a bruise.

I like to diffuse it around the house on gloomy days since the smell also promotes a balanced, confident mood.

There are a few stories behind the blends at Young Living, and this one is no different.  The "recipe" for this blend actually dates back to Ancient Rome.  This oil was diffused throughout the barracks and was used one soldiers before going into battle. So, mothers, how many of you needs this each morning?! *grin*

Since we enjoyed our trip to the Young Living farm, we thought we would bring our trip to you! 

 We weren't sure what to expect when we pulled off of the freeway to get to the Young Living Farm, but after driving a few miles out into the country, we came across this delightful little house set on a beautiful farm, nestled against the mountains in Utah.

 The front of the house is dedicated to the process of growing the plants, harvesting and eventually distilling the oils.  This was one of Ben's favorite parts of the farm.

 Both of us fell in love with this wooden box FULL of herbal collections.  I wouldn't mind having a case like that for my sewing tools, or jewelry, or spices..... 

 The back of the store is full of oils, diffusers, vitamins, blankets, hoodies...cute little place and it smells SOOOO good in there!  This was my favorite part... *grin*

 We love taking walks and it was so fun to walk the grounds at the farm.  Ben and la bebe under the Young Living gate.

 Love...true love.

 Our little love under the Weeping Willow.  She loved taking a stroll.

 The pond.  They have paddle boats that you can take out on the pond, too!  A beautiful place for an outdoor wedding...and yes, they do host lots of weddings in the summer!

 I make him pose for lots of pictures, but he's just so cute!! :)

 Fields of lavender.

 The YL farm is very family friendly, too!

 They have this cute little "Western" town with miniature buildings.  I don't know when they have programs going on, but this place would make for some cute pictures of children!

 Okay, okay...so, yes, I did call the mothers to brag about our stop at the farm!

 Two of my favorite colors...green and blue.

 After we walked around and spent some money buying oils (gotta love the wholesale discounts you get when you're a member!!!), Ben was interested in seeing where they actually make the oils.  I asked the lady in the gift shop and she was more than happy to take us down to the processing area.

 We were a few weeks late, though...they had JUST harvested their lavender and distilled the oils!  Ben would've been in hog heaven if we had been there during that time!  She explained to us that those HUGE pot things (actually called "Cookers" are where they put the harvested plants.

 The plants have to be harvested at just the right moment to ensure that the therapeutic constituents are highest.  Once the plant realizes that it's coming to the end of the growing season, it stops sending it's nutrients down to the roots and sends it shooting up to the top of the plant to produce seeds for next year.  The farmers are out in the field every day when it gets close to the harvest season, picking plants and testing them in the lab. 

 Once the plants are ready, they put them into these Cookers and then the treat the plants to a nice steam bath!  Now, you see that once piece that looks like it's going into the floor...

 ...well it does!  And here is the other end!  The bottom stainless steel thing is where the oils meet cool water...not too cold, but just the right temperature to start the gentle cooling process.  

 The oils and water are combined in this giant glass tube.  Oil and water do not mix, but they do separate!  So the water comes in just high enough to pus the oils over the top of the plate like thing and then oils drain through that tube into a container that they hook up.

 Pretty cool, eh?

 This is an old distiller...but Ben wants it!  After our tour was done, we headed back to the car and we continued on our merry way!  We hope that one day we can go back and be there during the harvest season!

 A drive by picture of the fields.

Now, are you ready to win a FREE bottle of Young Living's Valor blend?!?!

HOW TO ENTER (You may enter each way one time. Your name will be entered for each "task" you complete.)

1. Post a link on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or Buzz to this contest page 

http://asimplerenaissance.blogspot.com/2011/11/renaissance-giveaway.html and include this hashtag #renaissanceoils

2. Follow our Blog by clicking "Join This Site" on our sidebar.

3. Repost a link to the contest page http://asimplerenaissance.blogspot.com/2011/11/renaissance-giveaway.html  on your own blog, then leave the link to that page in the comment section of the contest page (below).

4. Leave a comment in the comment section below this post telling us how which ways you chose to enter.

The contest BEGINS now and ENDS on  November 17th at 11:59pm.  The winner will be announced on Monday the 20th!

Lilyana hopes that YOU win!  She's a happy, essential oil loving baby, too! *grin*

Click here to find out how to sign up to become a Young Living member yourself!