Friday, August 5, 2016

Kitchen Witch

Last week, I decided to bust out the herbs and make a batch of tincutures and teas to have for the fall.  I don't know what compelled me to make all the things, but I guess we're going to need them because I knew I needed to make them.
  I used the last of our vodka to make some elderberry tincture.  A tincture is a mix of herb and 80 proof alcohol to make a medicinal strength extract.  Vanilla extract is a common extract but it's for flavor, a tincture is NOT for flavor, it's for dense nutrients, so with this process, the minerals and nutrients are extracted ultra concentrated (there's a lot of plant material in the mix, dense and covered with vodka so there't no risk for mold).  Tinctures sit for about 6-8 weeks on average to extract fully. This is FRESH Tincture, the elderberry is so powerful it instantly turned the vodka this dark purple color.  I'm so excited to see how dark it is in 6 weeks when I strain it, This is my favorite tincture when we feel those cold germs, no one wants a runny nose or congestion.  Elderberry is known for it's drying properties, so it helps clear up those mucus membranes.
 Love to get in my kitchen witch mode with one of my favorite coffee mugs, what? am I the only one who believes coffee is pure magic? |sold out but link here|
 Something feels so authentic when I use my calligraphy nibs to make my labels, like I'm feeling the ink and it's more of an experience rather than just a label.  I believe in form and function.
 I also made detox tea in bulk because I believe the only thing that can heal our bodies is our bodies, but it needs the tools to do that, this blend of herbs has a sweet licorice flavor which normally I do not love, but a bit of bitter helps get it down, when I make tea in bulk to last 2-3 days I notice I actually drink it, where as if I make each cup individually I often forget to make it, at all.
 For lavender simple syrup, I use dried herbs from Mountain Rose Herbs (same for the elderberry above and hibiscus not pictured) for my herbal remedies and teas.  I never measure anything but have guidelines for how much of anything to add, above I accidentally poured too much lavender to my sugar and water but I added more water and reduced it down to the flavor I enjoy.  I usually add this to my coffee weird, I know to relax on caffeine, but I enjoy the flavor, I also use this in cocktails like champagne and st. Germain.
a few jars to use over the next few months!  If you're interested in herbs but don't know where to start I highly suggest Medicinal Herbs..  I also love fellow blogger Herb Mother

What are your favorite sources for health and healing from the Earth?

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Luzern {Day 12; Bridge,Pilatus, BBQ and goodbyes}

Day 12 was our last day in Luzern, and coincidentally it was also the 4th of July, not that the Swiss care at all about America's Independence, but we didn't want to miss out on BBQs and red, white, & blue apparel, but more on that later.  We started with a walk to the coffee shop and then on to the famous bridge...
// baby announcements are quite the thing is Lucerne,  Balconies are adorned with toys or wood panel paintings announcing the arrival of a new baby.  This one, though, may have gone a bit overboard. Or maybe they actually let their children play in a free hanging train, what do I know? who am I to judge?
Finally, made it to Alfred's after a good 15 minutes exploring, and by that time I was definitely ready for my morning espresso and a snack!
//note to self. burn all the chairs and wood in my home with personalized engravings.

//yes. please to all the homemade quiche and crust.
// when traveling in groups always make sure to have a meeting point a AND b. and then make sure Husband takes at least one of the phones with data to avoid frustration.   Husband set off in search of a proper Swiss watch while we headed to the post office.
wandering though the old town looking for Husband who was not at established meeting point.
So, we walked to the bridge without him.
Girls found this car (there's only one seat!) and had to have a photo.
While waiting for Husband to show up we decided to take the girls though the Kapellbr├╝cke and tell them all the history and paintings of this medieval bridge.
We stopped at a Deici Gelataria while we waited for Husband, this is one of my sister's favorites because it's one of the few gelato shops that has coconut!
Look who eventually found us!  Once Daddy was back we walked to the train station to stop at the grocery store for our BBQ essentials.
I didn't buy any marshmallows but I thought I should document that they are in fact an American tradition, perfect for the 4th of July celebrations.
After gathering supplies we took the bus to mt. Pilatus and opted for the gondola ride up.
Even though I have a slight fear of falling out of the sky, I did it anyway, because I knew there was no way we were going to get these kids up the mountain by lunch time.
While they were a little concerned overall they did great on the ride. Even with Husband shaking it ever so gently to stress me out.
with a view like this; it was worth it, though!
and then we busted out all the beers we brought {even though I ended up picking one imported from Colorado}.
also had to buy this cheese, wasn't anything special but if I could just get my cheese served in sliced rolls from now on until forever I'd be happy.
My sister told us that Mt. Pilatus had a great playgound area and BBQ area perfect for our afternoon.  It was the first stop on the gondola so not very far up, if we didn't have kids with us I definitely would have wanted to wake up early and hike here for lunch it was absolutely breathtaking. While at the store my sister told us we didn't need to bring wood or charcoal or anything because people always share the grills and it's fine.  We were reluctant to believe her but sure enough there were plenty of open grills even though the park was full and then when we started to gather wood an older couple next to us told my sister there was actually a whole dumpster full of chopped wood.  We grilled so much meat and tofu and then enjoyed a picnic in the shade.

our American picnic. 
meat-cicle {pork sausage roll on a stick - Vera loved it} update it's called a grillschnecke
I practiced some of that homemade henna in the sun, while the kids played on the playground and slide, which I feel like a blogger failure because I didn't get any photos of the playground (knowing I don't normally feature my kids faces on the blog, you can sort of see it in the background image of me and Husband).  But, the slide was like two stories high and instead of taking stairs down to the playground from the gondola ride you can slide down a slide, which my kids were scared to do at first but by the time we left, had probably gone no less than 20 times.
and look we even got a photo together before our ride and walk home.
This is someones' front yard you guys.  can you imagine a flower garden like this? I know that my Phoenix yard can't. even.
It's so hard to say goodbye to someone you love, when you don't know when you'll see them again, but grateful for a few days with one of our favorite sisters/aunts.  
We woke up early the next morning to catch our bus to our train in Zurich and then our flight home!
until next time Switzerland!

Do you travel with kids? Have family in different countries and continents? How do you keep in touch?  

and in other news, where should we go to next?