Friday, December 21, 2012

Blessed Solstice and A Magickal Yule!!

The chill breath of winter touches us,
As blankets of snow cover the ground.
With the glow of moonlight upon them,
Its like diamond sparkles all around.

Inside the room is cozy and warm,
The scent of evergreen wafts from the fire.
Surrounded with love and family,
I've got all that I could desire.

Sleigh bells jingle from the front porch,
As my coveners decorate outside.
They've no need of blankets,
They have the warmth of love inside.

In my home we all gather round,
And with Pagan carols our voices ring.
Then we settle down to enjoy the tale,
Of the Oaken Lord and the Holly King.

For our holiday is quite different,
Than the cowan Christmas night.
We cast our Circle, join together,
And welcome the return of Light.

Then we sit and share the feast,
As we pass bread and wine around.
As blessings from mingled voices...
"Never hunger," "Never thirst" abound.

All too soon the rite is ended,
And we greet the newborn day.
As we clasp hands together,
This wish we send your way....

It's no matter your tradition,
Be you family, friend, or guest.
We wish you joy and peace,
And may your Yule be Blessed!!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Taking An Internet Break

After I finish posting my assignments over at Ashford this evening (where my 2 week holiday break begins tomorrow), I think I'm going to need to take a break from Facebook and the entire internet for a few days.

It seems like everything on my Facebook news feed, Twitter feed and even in my emails, is negative and angry. I fully comprehend the tragedy of Friday, however, I will not continue to subject myself to the nasty remarks from people who are supposed to be walking a spiritual path, which ever path they have chosen. Blaming the lack of God in schools, or not enough gun control shows how little you actually know about the situation.

God is with you no matter where you are, and being able to have a time recognized for school prayer makes not one bit of difference.

Instead of playing the *blame game*, find a better way to use your energy. Hug your children, pray for your neighbor, volunteer at any of the numerous charities in your town. This may not seem like the way to make a difference in your eyes, but in the long run, you will have made a big change for humanity.

I am not perfect, and will be the first to point out my many flaws. When everything out of another's mouth is nasty, negative and hurtful to others, there comes a time when I have to just walk away and not engage. This has been happening too often in the past few weeks... and more so since Friday.

Most of you know how to find me, I'm not cutting off contact all together. I just don't want to see the hate and discontent many are stirring. It is beginning to make me physically ill to the point I'm having trouble eating and keeping food down.

I do hope you all will find some inner peace in the next few days. Yule is Friday, and then next Tuesday is Christmas. This is supposed to be a magical and peaceful time of the year. I realize someone took that away from many families, but unless you have a magick wand you can wave to bring those children and teachers back, there is NOTHING you can do by being negative, hateful and argumentative.

I wish you peace...for all of you...

. Monday Munchies ~ Decadent Cherry Mousse Brownies

I don't know about you, but the holidays around our house have always been filled with yummy goodies. Some more yummy than others if that's even possible. I have a few absolute favorite recipes we collected and made around Momma's kitchen table over the years. And even though I no longer have the recipe box where they all were stored, I have been able to replace them from family members who were lucky enough to also be given a copy of some of these cherished recipes. Or I have been able to duplicate them fairly closely. Today I give you my version of:

Decadent Cherry Mousse Brownies


1 box Betty Crocker® fudge brownie mix
3 oz. white baking chocolate 
1/3 cup whipping cream 
1 cup Betty Crocker® Rich & Creamy cream cheese frosting (from 16 oz container) 
1/4 cup chopped well drained maraschino cherries 
1 drop red food color 
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips 
1/4 cup butter or margarine 
1 oz. white baking chocolate 
1/4 teaspoon vegetable oil

1 Heat oven to 350°F (or 325°F for dark or non stick pan). 
Grease or spray bottom of 13x9-inch pan. 
Mix brownies as directed on box using water, oil and eggs. 
Spread into pan. Bake for 24 to 26 minutes or until toothpick inserted 2 inches from side of pan comes out almost clean. Cool completely.

2 In medium microwaveable bowl, microwave 3 oz. white baking chocolate and 1/3 cup whipping cream uncovered on High 1 to 2 minutes, stirring once, until chocolate is melted. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until slightly thickened.

3 Stir frosting and maraschino cherries into chocolate mixture until well blended. Spread evenly over cooled brownies.

4 In small microwaveable bowl, microwave chocolate chips and butter uncovered on High 1 to 2 minutes, stirring once until smooth. Carefully spread over mousse. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until set.

5 In small microwaveable bowl, microwave 1 oz. white baking chocolate and oil uncovered on High 30 to 60 seconds, stirring once, until smooth. Drizzle chocolate over brownies. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until chocolate is set.

Picture credit to Polyvore

Monday, December 10, 2012

Monday Munchies ~ Fudge and More Fudge

I make a lot of fudge for the holidays and give it as gifts to my fudge addicted family and friends. Every year along with the tried and true, gotta have favorites, the Fantasy Fudge (with and without pecans), the Peanut Butter Fudge, the Butterscotch Fudge I try to come up with at least one or two new recipes to go along with the 4 or 5 others I make each and every year. This year is no different, these are the ones I'll be adding as requested for this year.

These are my recipes that I have adapted from the one my mother handed down to me many years ago.

And BTW, there has been some talk about posting recipes *found* elsewhere on the internet, which a few people consider copyright infringement or out right plagiarism. Just an FYI, recipes are NOT covered by copyright laws and you can read more about that here.


 1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
 1 (7 oz) jar marshmallow creme
 2/3 cup evaporated milk
 1/4 cup salted butter
 1/3 cup Kahlua
 1/4 teaspoon salt
 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate pieces
 1 cup milk chocolate pieces
 2/3 cup chopped pecans, roasted
 1 teaspoon vanilla


Line an 8 inch square pan with waxed paper.

In a 3 1/2 quart saucepan combine sugar, marshmallow, milk, butter, Kahlua and salt. Bring to a rapid boil, stirring constantly for 5 minutes. Remove from heat; add all chocolate. Stir until melted. Add nuts and vanilla. 

Turn into prepared pan.

Cool on wire rack for 30 minutes and then refrigerate until firm. To serve remove from pan and cut into squares.


2 (10 ounce) packages vanilla baking chips
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 1/2 cups crushed candy canes
1 dash red or green food coloring (I left this out and there was just the right shade of red/pink from the candy canes).


Line an 8 inch square baking pan with waxed paper.

Combine the vanilla chips and sweetened condensed milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir frequently until almost melted, remove from heat and continue to stir until smooth. When chips are completely melted, stir in the peppermint extract, food coloring, and candy canes.

Spread evenly in the bottom of the prepared pan. Chill for 2 hours, then remove from pan and cut into squares.


1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
 1 (12 ounce) package semisweet chocolate chips
 1/2 cup chopped pecans
 1/2 cup chopped candied cherries
 1 teaspoon almond extract
 1/4 cup pecan halves
 1/4 cup candied cherries, halved


Line an 8 x 8 inch square pan with waxed paper.

In a microwave-safe bowl combine sweetened condensed milk and chocolate chips; microwave on high for 1 1/2 minutes, or until chocolate is melted. Stir until smooth. 

Stir in chopped pecans, chopped cherries and almond extract. Pour into prepared pan and spread evenly.

Place pecan halves and cherry halves on top.

Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours, or until firm. Remove from pan and cut into 1 inch squares. Store, covered, in refrigerator.

Let me know if you make any of these recipes and how you liked them. I'm always open to feedback of any kind.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Monday Munchies ~ Candy Cane Brownies

I'm on a mailing list where I get tons of recipes each week. These were listed among others in the email I received on Sunday December 2nd. I haven't tried them yet, but they look so delicious I'm going to be adding them to my baking for Yule and Christmas.
YIELD: 16 brownies

PREP TIME: 20 minutes

COOK TIME: 35 minutes


6 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips (I recommend Ghirardelli)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I recommend Hershey’s Special Dark)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup of brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 full sized peppermint candy canes, crushed
2 full sized (3.17oz) dark chocolate bars (I recommend Ghirardelli Intense Dark, Midnight Reverie)


1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan with non-stick spray or softened butter. Line the pan with parchment paper; grease parchment paper (this ensures easy removal of brownies).

3. Place butter, chocolate, cocoa powder and 3 tablespoons of crushed candy canes (reserve the rest for the layering steps) in a heatproof medium bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until butter and chocolate are melted. The candy canes will not completely melt, so small specks will remain in chocolate mixture. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

4. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

5. Place both kinds of sugar, eggs, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Carefully add the chocolate mixture and beat until combined. Add flour mixture and beat, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowls as needed, until ingredients are combined.

6. Pour half of the batter into prepared baking pan. Break the chocolate bars into squares and place them, evenly spaced, around the top of the brownie batter. Sprinkle with half of the reserved candy cane pieces. Top with the remaining batter and sprinkle the remaining candy cane pieces on top.

7. Bake for about 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the brownies comes out with a few crumbs but is not wet. Allow the brownies to cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Lift the brownies out using the parchment paper and allow to completely cool on wire rack. Cut into 16 brownies.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Getting Back to Normal...At Least to What *Normal* is for Me

With the million and one things that have happened in the past 30 days, I have no idea how I've managed to get through them all. I DO know I have some of the most caring and compassionate friends any one person could ask for. Every single one of you have stopped by my Facebook page on a daily basis to leave some love and ask how I'm doing. There are a few of you who know me better than I know myself and have pulled me up by my boot straps and set my fumbling feet on the path to recovery. I have no words to express just how much you ALL mean to me or to let you know how much you are appreciated.

I've got 2 blog posts sitting in the *draft* mode, but I can't seem to find the words to finish either of them. The most difficult one is the Memories of Momma. Every time I try to work on it, I come up blank even though my mind is filled with so many memories. I suppose it's just not the time to put them down in writing...yet.

I also have one on the trip to Arizona for the memorial service via Maryland and back to North Carolina. It's also in the finish later column. There is just too much information which has begun to feel and read like a scrabble board, nothing makes sense. I don't know if I'll finish the post I have begun about this adventure or delete it and begin anew...

I haven't taken care of Ravyn on my own yet. I'm still having anxiety and panic attacks, and I'm not comfortable being responsible for someone other than myself. Jimmy helps when he's home and would probably prefer to be here more than he has been. I *need* him to go about his normal daily things and that means driving that tractor trailer and being away from home for a few days. I still find myself *zoning out* and drawing a blank, many times forgetting what I was saying or doing. And my bed and blankets are still my haven.

In my quest to return to normalcy in my life, I did cook Thanksgiving dinner. I was so happy that Amanda & Steve could come down from Durham to join Tanya, Ed, Sam, Ravyn, Jimmy and me as we celebrated the things we are thankful for. And PLEASE, if you have anything negative to say about Thanksgiving, just keep it to your self. We here in the L`Esperance Lair choose to celebrate family, friends and the things we have to be thankful for, and not the Thanksgiving we all were taught in elementary school.

Do you all do *Black Friday*?? We don't! Tanya and I did go out later in the day and brave Target and Kmart looking for the finishing touches I wanted for this years Yule decorations. I changed up from the blue, silver and purple we used the past 2 years and went with red and silver. Yule/Christmas 2009 we were living in Raleigh, our decorations that year were red and silver with candy canes and snowflakes. Unfortunately, those decorations were left behind when we moved to Hope Mills. We moved in 2 cars, and didn't have the room or the money for gas to make multiple trips.

I also wanted to make our tree Ravyn friendly...she's into EVERYTHING and I was afraid she would get hurt on glass ornaments, so I bought the unbreakable ones. And I got this gonga deal on them and didn't break the checking account in changing up the color scheme. Fortunately they look awesome and I'm very pleased with the way the tree and wreath turned out. And it also felt great to be able to get back into the crafting mode.

This gives you a little better idea of the decorations on the tree itself. I'm thinking to myself the unbreakable ornaments that at one time were used more for outdoor decorations have come a very long way. Unless you actually touch one of them, hold it in your hands, and look at it from multiple angles, you can't tell they are plastic and unbreakable. Fortunately for me, theses came in a package with 91 ornaments of each color thus giving me enough for the tree as well as a couple for the wreath.

Some of my fondest memories of my Mother were the holiday's we'd share at her house. Even after my brother and I were grown and had our own families, we made a point to spend the holidays with my parents. Our decorating ritual began on Black Friday, there was NO shopping for us. NO! We spent the entire day decorating Momma's house from top to bottom and both inside and out. Transforming our piece of the desert into Momma's idea of a Christmas wonderland was challenging at best. But somehow we pulled it off each year. Daddy and the guys worked outside, putting lights in the mesquite trees and just under the eves of the house. They set up *farolitos* lining the drive to the house and along the front porch and steps. The cleaned out the fire pit, so we could all enjoy a Christmas eve bonfire with our many friends and neighbors.

Inside, the females would set up the tree, and then begin decorating it with Momma's crystal ornaments. There HAD to be an ornament on EACH branch. Some would be working in other parts of the house adding the garland to all the arches and along the built in china hutch in the dining room. My job was to set up her Department 56 *Dickens' Village*. This sometimes took more than a day or two, depending on how many buildings and little people statues she wanted to use. And if we needed to replace any of the bulbs that lit the houses or she wanted to add a new piece, we would often have to drive into to Tucson, which turned into an all day shopping marathon, LOL!

I learned my flower arranging skills from my mother as well, which also translated into wreath making. She made many wreaths and silk floral arrangements. Some she gave away as gifts to friends and neighbors and a few she added to the annual holiday craft bazaar. Each time I work on a floral arrangement, I can hear her telling me to make sure I put the tall stems in the middle of the arrangement. And it took me FOREVER to learn how to make a bow correctly.

This year I also made my very first Yule log. It's something I've wanted to do for a long time, but either didn't take the time, was too busy working through the holidays to attempt it, or didn't have the money. I'm very pleased with the way it turned out and will be making one each year from now on out, LOL!

When my world was so topsy turvy, I took a LOA from my classes. I struggled to finish the class I was in at the time, but manged to get a B- for the class. Today, I go back to class, it's day one of week one of Interpersonal Communication. This is also the first class I've had where we are required to submit a research paper each week. Luckily, two of them are papers where we give our opinion or critique of an article found in the Ashford Library. And... the instructor has provided a link to the article, which is a good thing for me, because that library irritates me each time I have to use it.

Mercury retrograde hit Jimmy harder than it did me this time. He was more emotional and easier to anger than any other time. I don't know if it was because I was already living in a fog or if I have finally figured out how to prepare for the unsettled emotions it has brought to me in the past. I will admit to being more weepy and crying more quickly, but I'm just going to attribute that to part of the mourning cycle. I'm hoping it's because I have finally learned how to work through it, reinforce my shields and reduce the raving lunatic bitch I turn into during Mercury Retorgrade.

So, there you have it. This is the latest update on me, and how I/we are doing down here in Hope Mills, NC. Thanks for stickin by me and giving me the time and space I needed  to find my way back to life, living, and the every day happenings on the inter webs.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Monday Munchies ~ Pumpkin Pecan Bundt Cake with Spiced Caramel Sauce

This recipe was featured during October over at Samhain's Sirens. It was a huge hit, and I'm sharing it again here for anyone who may have missed it. I'm also planning to add this to my menu for our Thanksgiving feast.

Picture Credit


3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1 pkg. (18.25 ounces) yellow cake mix
1 can (30 ounces) Libby's Easy Pumpkin Pie Mix, divided
3 large eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup (5 fluid-ounce can) Nestlé Carnation Evaporated Milk


PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Grease 9- to 10-cup Bundt pan. Sprinkle pecans in bottom of prepared pan.

BEAT cake mix, 2 cups pumpkin pie mix, eggs and oil in large mixer bowl for 2 minutes. Spoon into prepared pan.

BAKE for 35 to 40 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes. Invert onto wire rack to cool completely. Transfer cake to serving platter.

COMBINE remaining pumpkin pie mix, brown sugar and evaporated milk in medium, heavy-duty saucepan. 

Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 1 minute; remove from heat. Serve warm sauce with slices of cake.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Hello Everyone, I'm Back...

...well sort of.

I have a few things I want to write about and instead of making one entry all jumbled and confusing, I'm going to try to break things down and put into words the things I NEED to say to all of you who have been so patient, loving and supportive of me, the absence from blogging and my daily recovery from the heartache of losing my Mother.

First and foremost I want to say a huge THANK YOU to some amazing people. Some of you I either know in the real world as in face to face, others are followers of this blog, One Million Pagans or friends of someone who does any of the above.

When my Mother passed away on October 27th, I found I couldn't function as a human being. I walked around in a fog, couldn't put two words together to make a comment or sentence, nor could I figure out how the hell I was going to be able to travel from NC to AZ for the memorial. SO many people stepped  up and sent love, support and also contributed to our travel expenses. Without these donations, I honestly would NOT have been able to go to the memorial... I am NOT joking about this. We had just emptied our savings account to buy a vehicle (we were without transportation of any kind for over 2 years) and hadn't been able to begin adding back to our savings.

I had planned to call you out by name but decided that may be too embarrassing for some. I have already sent private thank you messages to each of you, and now here in Blog Land I want to publicly say THANK YOU to each and everyone of you who have been so supportive during this very difficult time in my life. You are the best friends anyone could ever hope for and I am eternally grateful to all of you... I love you all!

Monday, November 5, 2012

A Plea for Help...

Hello everyone, this is Jimmy, I am Vickie's husband. I've hijacked her blog today because we need your help. I'm hoping by writing here, more of Vickie's friends and followers will see this and spread the word. I posted this on my Facebook Timeline last week, and there have been many responses to our cry. To those who have already contributed I want to say a very huge THANK YOU. However, we are still short of funds for her to be able to drive to Arizona for the memorial. I will be staying behind here in NC and working to maintain our household expenses with the hope Vickie will have one less thing to worry about as she drives across country TWICE in order to join her family as they say their final goodbye's to the Matriarch of Clan Baker.

*As many of you know Vickie’s Mom passed away Saturday morning , October 27th. I want to thank all of you who have sent along your condolences and love. I want you all to know as her husband I am deeply thankful for each and every one of you. I am humbled by all of those we call friends.

Now the hard part…I cannot come up with enough money to get her and my 2 daughters and 2 granddaughters to Arizona. It is going to be about $2000 to drive and about $3500 to fly. Of which I have approximately $1000. I am well aware that most of you are in no position to aid us and I am extremely grateful to you for your friendship alone. If any of you are perhaps able, Vickie has a PayPal account and you can access it by using her e-mail when you go to the PayPal site.

This is the most difficult thing I can remember happening to me. Falling short as a provider is really tearing me up and I truly never thought I would have to bring myself to ask you all for help but, this is an extremely important thing to me, to see that she can be there for the memorial service and spreading of the ashes. As such I will humble myself and ask If any of you feel you might be able to gift us gas money, anything you could contribute would be greatly appreciated.*

If each of you would be able to contribute just $10.00, we would be well  on our way to reaching our goal. I thank you in advance for any amount you might be able to contribute...

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Daily Om

I am subscribed to the Daily Om and every day I get messages in my inbox... since it seems to fit my circumstances perfectly, today's message screamed at me to share... I've shared it on my Facebook Timeline, so you may have already seen it... so here it is:

November 1, 2012
Anxiety about Change
Anticipating the Good
by Madisyn Taylor

Change will occur in almost every aspect of our lives, we can learn to embrace it while releasing the past with grace.

When we find ourselves going through any kind of change in our lives, our natural response may be to tense up on the physical, mental, or emotional level. We may not even notice that we have braced ourselves against a shift until we recognize the anxiety, mood swings, or general worried feeling toward the unknown that usually results. There are positive ways to move through change without pushing it away, however, or attempting to deny that it is happening. Since change will occur in almost every aspect of our lives, we can learn to make our response to it an affirmative one of anticipation, welcoming the new while releasing the past with grace.

One thing we can do is change our perspective by changing the labels we use to identify our feelings. We can reinterpret feelings of anxiety as the anxious butterflies that come with eager expectation. With this shift, we begin to look for the good that is on its way to us. Though we may only be able to imagine the possibilities, when we acknowledge that good is there for us to find, we focus our energy on joyful anticipation and bring it into our experience while allowing the feelings to carry us forward.

We can also choose to do a ceremony to allow our emotions to process. Every culture has created ceremonies to help people make the transition from one phase of life to the next. We can always create a ceremony too, perhaps by burning written thoughts to watch the smoke carry them away, thereby releasing them, or we can welcome new endeavors by planting flowers or trees. Some ceremonial activities such as a farewell send-off or housewarming party, we may do automatically. Society also has built-in ceremonies, like graduation and weddings, which may satisfy the need we feel. Sometimes the shift from denial to acceptance is all that is needed to ease our anxiety, allowing us to bring our memories with us as we move through nervousness to joyful excitement about the good to come.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Short Explanation for My Absence...

I have tried numerous times since Saturday to write something here that would explain to you all why I am not online as much as I had been. As a matter of fact this same post has been in *draft* for 3 full days. I would write a little and then have to stop and walk away.

I haven't been able to concentrate on any one thing for more than a few minutes at a time. I'm walking around in a fog, and even have needed to actually remind myself I need to eat. I went almost all day yesterday without eating anything at all. My blankets are my very best friend right now.

You see, there is a valid explanation for my absence and I pray you will forgive me for being gone and allow me the time I need to recover and come back to you all.

On Saturday October 27th, my Momma passed away unexpectedly. I still don't know what happened. She lived in Arizona with my brother and nephew. There has been a memorial scheduled for Monday November 12th in Sahuarita Arizona. I will be leaving Hope Mills on Wednesday November 7th, driving to Maryland to  pick up my eldest daughter and granddaughter, then leaving early morning on Thursday November 8th and  driving across country to Arizona. 

I'll be back in North Carolina on Friday November 16...

Saturday, October 27, 2012

This is not a good day for me...

I had some very bad news from Arizona this morning I won't be around online much at all. Probably not for the weekend either. I don't know when I'll be back...

So this means I won't be doing my NaBloWriMo entries for the next few days.

Friday, October 26, 2012

NaBloWriMo ~ Day 26 ~ Friday Free for All...

Today has been a very busy and hectic and all around productive day for me.

Tanya picked me up at about noon and off we went to run some errands and see if we could get things organized for her and her trip next month. That's all I'm saying about a tip for now, I don't wanna jinx anything, LOL!!

We have been going ALL DAY and this Abi is beyond wiped out. So this is my big post for Friday... at least I'm keeping up with my commitment to post something each day, even if it isn't a novel...

We are on Hurricane Sandy watch here in the Sand Hills... I know it's supposed to be a bad storm and I'm sending positive energy to all our family and friends up in Maryland and points north. We're thinking of you ALL and I will be lighting candles in the morning.

G'night all! Y'all have a great night and be safe.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

NaBloWriMo ~ Thoughts on a Thursday

Today has been one of those days where I feel I didn't get anything accomplished. However, I know that is not true, because I did 3 loads of laundry and folded them and put them all away. I also vacuumed my entire house and dusted everything in sight. I had a cleaning bug...of sorts.

I also fought to get these few things taken care of. My morning began and I was in a great mood. I had my coffee, and breakfast, sat down at the computer to answer some emails, checked in on Facebook. And as I was sitting here finishing the Ten Things Thursday, my morning went to pieces. I have no idea what triggered it, but I was in a horrible mood all of a sudden.

I logged off the computer, put on some tunes, cranked the surround sound way up and let the music heal whatever the funk was. I'm happy to say, it went away quickly and I was able to return to normal... OK normal for me anyway, LOL!

This afternoon, I went with Tanya as she did her running around. We had a great time and the only problem was we got such a late start to the day we were both over tired before we got much done. Ahh well, tomorrow is another day and we'll be out and about again.

Not much in the way of excitement for me today. I'm having a hard time believing this month is almost over...

Ten Things Thursday ~ 10 of my Favorite Books

Since I began doing this meme, I've given you lots of information. I love doing this because it gives me the chance to go back in my memories and pull things out I may  have not visited in awhile.

For today's post, I've dusted off my current bookshelf and pulled some of the books I've read over the years and kept for one reason or another. Jimmy sometimes gets irritated with me about keeping some of the things I do, especially if he has to move them from one location or another, LOL!  In no certain order, here are 10 of my favorite book and their author (in case you want to google them or something). I hope you enjoy them...

1. Eat, Pray Love by Liz Gilbert ~ I found this book when I was attending the Triangle Pagans Book Club while living in Raleigh, NC. This was one we chose to read and discuss during one of our monthly meetings. I LOVE this book! There is so much Ms. Gilbert gives to anyone who may be searching for themselves but have no indication where to begin looking. I'd also love to be able to go to India and Bali to strengthen my spiritual path. The book has been made into a movie starring Julia Roberts, and I can't think of a better actress to portray Liz Gilbert. This is also one of the movies I have on my Amazon Wish List and hope to be able to purchase it in the near future.

2. The Black Jewels Trilogy by Anne Bishop ~ This is actually three books in one and I will tell you right off the bat, these books are NOT for everyone. They are of the Fantasy genre and are considered by many to be very dark. There is a lot of violence and abuse. However, it is also the story of Witch, who she is, how she came to be and how she leads her coven. I love the characters, all of them and have read this trilogy probably 6 or 7 times. There are also sequal books in the series which I highly recommend.

3. The Woman With the Alabaster Jar by Margaret Starbird ~ I have always believed Jesus was just like any other mortal man while he walked on the earth. I believe he was married and his wife was Mary Magdalen, I believe they had a child together. I also believe after Jesus was crucified, Mary his wife was smuggled out of the country to give birth to their child and raised that child alone as a single mother. This book was written by a Catholic scholar who questioned not only her faith, but her education as well. "The Woman with the Alabaster Jar is a quest for the forgotten feminine--in the hope that its return will help restore a healthy balance to planet Earth."

4. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness ~ When this first came out I was just as excited as the rest of the people who had been waiting for its release. I wasn't disappointed. This is a book written by a historian and is full of historical happenings. I love the story of Diana and Matthew and her exploration of the powers she had tried to keep buried for a long time. I'm looking forward to reading the next in the trilogy "Shadow of Night".

5. Skye O'Malley by Bertrice Small ~ I fell in love with this character within the first few paragraphs of this book. She's a strong independent young woman who first tries to defy her family for love, but ends up bowing to her father's wishes. By the time you get midpoint in the book, Skye has been named * chieftain* of their clan and antagonizes Queen Elizabeth. There is an entire line up of Skye O'Malley books and if you like Historical Fiction at all I can wholeheartedly recommend anything written by Bertrice Small. She just does not disappoint her readers.

6. Circle of Stones & I Sit Listening to the Wind by Judith Duerk ~ These two books go together, read Circle of Stones first as it will give you the beginnings of how to search for the divine feminine. Throughout both books you are challenged "How might your life have been different if . . . ?"

7. A Kiss of Shadows by Laurell K Hamilton ~ First let me admit I *used* to be a huge LKH fan and read everything she released. At first I was totally into the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter books, but they seem to be getting more and more repetitious with nothing new in any of that series. I've stopped buying the Anita Blake books. I still read the Merry Gentry series, maybe because there are only 8 books in this series and so far they keep the reader involved, much like the Anita bookes used to do.  Merry Gentry is a Faerie Princess and part of the Unseelie court. It's not easy to give you a review of these books, there is MUCH detail, and a lot of sci-fi/fantasy. If you don't mind explicit details of everything in the story line, I can highly recommend the Merry Gentry series by Laurell K Hamilton.

8. The Tir Alainn Trilogy by Anne Bishop ~ This is actually 3 individual books, The Pillars of the World, Shadows and Light and The House of Gaian, and if you decide to read this series PLEASE read them in the order I just listed, otherwise you will miss a lot of information and be so confused, you'll probably stop reading them. These books follow the growth and journey of a young Witch through more chaos than any could imagine. On top of the trials she goes through, there is a hunter who is evil incarnate, trying to wipe out the Witches who are the keepers of the earth. Again this can be considered dark by some standards.

9. Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon ~ Acheron or Ash as he is known throughout all of  the books written by Sherrilyn Kenyon is the Elder of the Dark Hunters. Through Acheron we finally see who he really is, where he came from and why he has such a cold heart and refuses to love. Ash continues to watch over the Dark Hunters and keep them as safe as he possibly can. He also begins to thaw a bit and there is the possibility of love for him after all.

10. The Kadin by Bertrice Small ~ Yes as you can see I am a fan of Bertrice Small, and even though her books are considered smut, trash and worthless by some people, I really enjoy her stories. She researches her characters which give more credence to the setting and activities she writes about. The Kadin is actually her very first book, and it is set in Scotland and moves on to the harem of Sultan Selim, where Cyra/Lady Janet Leslie becomes not only the first wife to the Sultan but also the most powerful woman in his harem. The books by Bertrice Small are easy to read, a wonderful way to block out the real world, and run away for a while.

So there you have another installment of Ten Things Thursday. If you read any of the books I've listed, please come back and let me know what you think of them. I love having another perspective on books, music and life...

Till next time...have a great week and be safe!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

NaBloWriMo ~ Day 23 ~ Tuesday's Tidbits...

So, yesterday while Jimmy was home, we decided to go out and do the early voting thing. With him being on the road and having no guarantee of the days he'd be home, I was a bit concerned he might not be here for the actual election day. Off we go to the closest polling place for us, the recreation center for Hope Mills. It's busy when we arrive, people lined up half way along one side of the building... not a problem, it's moving pretty quickly.

While we wait in line we are approached by a few of the *candidates* who are doing some last minute campaigning, again, not a problem. They aren't overly aggressive and are staying behind the *no campaigning past this point* signs all across the front of the building. Each candidate offers us a card with the basics of their platform and some information they feel us voters need to know. Thus begins the part where I'm kinda having an issue.

Three out of the four cards I'm holding in my hand and trying to read each give us, the voters information about their church/religious affiliation. I look at Jimmy and hold my thumb on the card under the words I want him to make sure he sees. Before I could say anything, Jimmy shows me where one of them has listed his affiliation with the Mason's. And that he's a 32nd Degree Mason.

Here's where I begin to have a bit more of a problem... bear with me, it's kinda long winded.

I fully understand I am living in the South, right smack dab in the middle of the Bible Belt. I also understand it is very important for everyone who lives in the South/Bible Belt to broadcast their religious preferences and church affiliation. Where I feel the problem is, at least for me, is that there is no place at all that is appropriate for a candidate to try to influence his constituents with information about his faith. And I will be honest, when I saw the information these candidates shared about which church they belong to, I decided to not vote for them. Up until that point, I *may* have been convinced of their stance on some of the issues they were campaigning about. But I feel (and please understand, I DO NOT expect anyone to agree with me. This is MY personal opinion and nothing more) very strongly about the separation of church and state and believe wholly in the fact that religion of ANY kind has absolutely NO place in politics.

As the line continued to move closer to the entrance to the building, there were 3 candidates campaigning for Cumberland County (the county we live in) School Board. They were spaced far enough apart, that they didn't step on each others toes as they were speaking. I listened to what they were saying, and each had a pretty good stance on the things that needed to be addressed in the school systems here in our county.

However, I asked all three of them point blank the very same question. *What is your position on bullying?* Two of the three candidates made me feel they were giving me the answer they thought I wanted to hear in order to secure my vote. Neither was very clear and when I attempted to pin them down on specifics, I was pretty much shuffled along so they could speak to the next person in line behind me. All except one man...

Morrie Turner actually took the time to *listen* to my question, and then he asked me questions in order to be clear on what I was asking. On the card he had given me it clearly stated he has a NO TOLERANCE policy when it comes to bullying of any kind. When I asked him to please clarify his position on bullying because of race or religion, and sexual orientation, he again stated there was no difference in the type of bullying, he will accept NO bullying what so ever. When I asked him about his educators possibly looking the other way or even blaming the victim because the victim chose to dress differently, or maybe they were part of the smart kids. He again said NO BULLYING... PERIOD!

Ok, I'm not some dolt with my head buried in the sand, I know policies are difficult to enforce. I know many times children are shuffled aside for one reason or another. I also know about the good old boy gang... my Dad and Uncles were part of this group all throughout my life. And again, maybe this man was just giving me what I needed in order to vote for him. But I have to tell you...this man, Morrie Turner gave me the confidence the other two candidates could not. He didn't flash his church/religious affiliation nor his Mason's degree, he didn't shuffle me along when he might have felt my questions a little too hot to handle. He acted in what is my idea of a true candidate who actually wants to connect with his constituents.

Was I fooled? Possibly. Do I care? Maybe, I can't really say. I don't have children or grandchildren in the public school system here in Cumberland County (yet). I did vote for Morrie Turner based on nothing more than his willingness to actually have a conversation with me and answer to the best of his ability the questions I asked of him. I honestly know nothing about him and here is where I made my one big mistake... I did NOT research the local candidates as much as I should have before I went to vote. Will Morrie Turner win his seat on the school board? I don't know, but I can honestly say I feel he is the one I would want to have backing my children or grandchildren when it comes to being bullied...

Monday, October 22, 2012

NaBloWriMo Day 22 ~ Monday Munchies ~ Pumpkin Pancakes with Black Cinnamon Syrup

Before anyone gets their panties in a bunch, I have linked to the site I got this recipe from. It has been modified a bit, therefore making the post here in MY blog an original one that belongs to ME! As per US Copyright Law.

These were originally found on notmartha who had made their own adaptions from Noble Pig. All picture credits belong to notmartha.

Spiced Pumpkin Pancakes

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1-3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 egg, separated
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup butter, melted (1 stick)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

In a large bowl, flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.

In a medium bowl, lightly beat egg yolk with a fork. Add milk, pumpkin puree and vanilla; mix well. Add melted butter. If the butter is hot, add it slowly or you will cook your egg yolk. Stir this mixture into dry ingredients, just until combined.

In another bowl, beat egg white until stiff peaks form. Gently fold egg white into batter.

Heat a griddle or large skillet over medium heat and grease lightly with vegetable oil. For each pancake, spoon about 1/4 cup batter onto the hot griddle. Cook until bubbles appear on the surface and the edges look dry. Turn over and cook until golden brown. 

Black Cinnamon Syrup

1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 brown sugar
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup water
black food coloring gel

In a saucepan combine white sugar, brown sugar, all-purpose flour and cinnamon. Stir dry ingredients together. Add vanilla extract and water. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Be really careful while boiling sugar, keep a bowl of ice water nearby just in case. As it heats squirt in a little of the black food coloring and mix in, add more until it’s as dark as can be (it doesn't take much). Allow to boil for a few moments until the mixture has noticeably thickened. Remove from heat and allow to cool enough to put into a squirt bottle (of the ketchup style). You can make it the night before and warm it by dipping the squeeze bottle in a bowl of warm water. You might also have your pancake eaters create their own designs.
Decorate the pancakes with the syrup. By all means decorate the plate with extra syrup. I find spiders, spider webs and bats work out well. Serve with sausages, sausages are creepy looking enough on their own.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

NaBloWriMo ~ Day 21 ~ Serene Sunday

It's been very calm and peaceful here today in the Lair de L'Esperance.

Miss Ravyn was here until about 2:30 and then Mommy picked her up to go get portraits done. I'm excited to see how these turned out as this session was a *themed* session. They were supposed to dress her up as a little fairy, complete with wings. She's not so much into dress up yet, so I'm thinking this may have been a challenge for everyone involved.

Jimmy is on his way home, he's been to Ft Worth, Texas and back this week. He should be home around 6:00 and I've promised him fried chicken and mashed potatoes with gravy for dinner tonight. Even though he didn't go out until Wednesday, he was still able to add up a little over 2600 miles, most of which will be on this coming paycheck. YAY! Bills will be paid on time once again. I LOVE that feeling after doing the robbing Peter to pay Paul thing for over 14 months, it's very nice to have that peace of mind.

Me? I've been doing homework... I have an 8 page rough draft due tomorrow and this time I didn't put it off to the very last minute, even though I still do NOT like this class at all. I'm just doing the work to get a passing grade so I can move on to the next one. I have absolutely NO idea what Introduction to Film has to do with my degree... but it IS an English credit which I need, so as long as I pass I'll stop bitching about it.

Tomorrows post for Samhain's Sirens is finished (early this time, LOL) and scheduled to post at 8:30 in the morning. There are 9 days left to get into the drawing for the Grand Prize Giveaway Extravaganza (scroll half way through the blog to find the information and pictures) so if you haven't checked it out yet, you are really going to miss out on something HUGE! The Grand Prize is a compilation of items from a multitude of extremely talented Pagan Artisans and the total value is over $400.00. So pop on over to Samhain's Sirens and check them out.

I've also got Monday Munchies ready to roll... I'm kinda expecting some backlash from it as it DID cause quite the uproar when it was previously posted, so I removed it until I got all my ducks in a row. However THIS TIME I have all the links and have given proper credit where the credit is due. There is even a link to the US Copyright website which covers copyright information on recipes.

That's about all I have for this beautiful Sunday. I do want to remind you that I'll be doing the 30 Days of Thanksvember when I finish NaBloWriMo, which BTW, I have THOROUGHLY enjoyed doing. If you'd like to join in, I'd love to have you. Please feel free to grab a button from the sidebar to add to your blog and let me know in the comments of any of my posts so I can follow you as you share with the interwebs the things you are most Thankful for.

Who knows, perhaps with 2 back to back month long challenges, I'll find myself in the habit of writing each day...

Saturday, October 20, 2012

NaBloWriMo ~ Day 20 ~ Saturday Sharing...

Hello everyone and happy Saturday to you all! I hope you are able to be out and about fully enjoying this magnificent day. It's sunny and going to a high of 72* here in the Sand Hills of North Carolina. Jimmy is on the road on his way back from Houston, Ms. Ravyn is napping and Tanya will be picking her up in about 30 minutes or so. After she leaves, I have a few errands to run (have I mentioned lately how much I LOVE having my own vehicle?) and then I'm spending a nice quiet evening here at the *Lair de L'Esperance* catching up on the things I have on the DVR.

But first I have a few things I want to share with you all...

To start things off I wanted to share there is a new blog in town. Aurora Brierley (aka: The Faery Whisperer) is writing over at Hedgewitch at Home. She's also new on her Pagan path so I'm asking all you all to stop by and show her some love. Currently, she is doing her 78 Days of Tarot, where she'll be pulling a new and different card each day and giving us her interpretation of the meaning of the card. Today's card is The Fool and I gotta tell you, she's very spot on with how she feels these cards.

Next up, I want to remind you all of the goings on over at Samhain's Sirens where they are on Day 20 with a Craft-tacular Saturday Giveaway presented by Sosanna of Sosanna's Closet. If you haven't already checked out what is going on over there, you are seriously missing out on some very AWESOME things. There have been a multitude of talented people contributing to this project and I'm hoping many of you either have already been there or will now take a few minutes to stop by. And on November 2nd, they will be announcing the winner of the October Extravaganza Giveaway Project. Each time you enter one of the daily giveaway drawings, you are also automatically entered into the drawing for the final prize, so if you've added your name each day, that's 28 chances to win the grand prize!!

And finally, when I finish the 31 days of NaBloWriMo I will be doing *Thanksvember* 30 Days of Thanksgiving. I did this last year on my Facebook Timeline and had quite a few requests to kick it off again this year. I'd love to have any of you who'd like to join in with us. This is not a contest, there will be no prizes awarded. Thanksvember is a personal story on your blog giving us a short daily entry of something you are thankful for. I know many people do not celebrate the traditional Thanksgiving holiday, and that's OK. We don't either, and our celebration is all about family, friends and the things we have been blessed with this past year. If you'd like to join in, please feel free to add one of the Thanksvember buttons to your blog, and let me know you are joining so I can stop by and read the things you are thankful for.

That's all for this week, Enjoy the rest of your weekend and be safe!!

Friday, October 19, 2012

This is a PSA... Public Service Announcement

Today is day 19 of NaBloWriMo and when I have completed this activity at the end of October  I will once again be doing Thanksvember, 30 days of Thanks. I'd love to have you join me, but it's not a contest, there will be no giveaways nor prizes, no daily prompts, nada...

Thanksvember is 30 days of things you are thankful for... things in YOUR life. This is your invitation to join in. So, if you'd like to participate in Thanksvember, feel free to grab one of the buttons from the sidebar >>>

Place it on your blog and show your readers you are sharing your 30 Days of Thanksvember.

See you soon!!

NaBloWriMo ~ Day 19 ~ Spirit Day

Today is National Spirit Day, it's all about wearing purple and standing up against bullying. It's sponsored by GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) and is all about anti-bullying, and the best thing about Spirit Day is you don't have to be LGBT to be against bullying. It's about getting the message out there, that bullying is not acceptable. It's about giving the young people of the United States the courage to take a stand and say I'm different, I'm me and you have NO right to treat me in a manner that would make me feel unworthy.  Bullying has become the number one cause of suicide among our nations young people. Every day, you can find a new story on Facebook or even on the national and local news telling everyone in America how yet one more child has killed themselves to escape being *picked on*. People, you need to wake up... our young people are NOT just being *picked on* any longer, it has gotten MUCH more serious than that.

I have a personal reason for being against bullying. Not only do I think it's unforgivable in any form, but my granddaughter Cheyenne has been a victim of different forms of bullying for the biggest part of her life. I'm talking about the people she goes to school with, not family members (although there IS one person, I'd like to have a come to Jesus meeting with about how she feels it's her *right* to chastise and humiliate a 16 year old, who made a unpopular choice). There have been times where a school administrator actually told Cheyenne she brought the bullying on herself  *because she chose to dress and look differently*. Are you kidding me? Diversity and individualism is what we teach ALL our young people. For someone who carries the title of educator to condone any type of negative behavior is in my opinion grounds for termination from that school system.

Then we have Alanna, she's my next granddaughter and at 13 has decided SHE will stand up against bullying. She is active in her small community in Woden, TX. She she participates with a program at her school where she can go into the community and help with people who may need help carrying their groceries, or to the nursing home to visit some of the patients who don't normally get visitors. And before you say this activity has nothing to do with bullying, I'd like to tell you you are wrong. This helps instill in Alanna and anyone else who participates that there are people all around us who are different, and there is NO reason to make them feel inadequate. There is NO reason to treat them less than human.

Alanna also has a Facebook page called Take A Stand Against Bullying which has attracted 124 followers in just under 30 days. On this page are various stories from people all over who have either been the victim of bullying or have at one time or another been the bully themselves. Please stop by this page and leave some love. Show your support of those who are Taking A Stand Against Bullying.

Did you know the idea behind Spirit Day, was first created by teenager Brittany McMillan in October of 2010? It is a simple idea, not dissimilar to the concept of “Spirit Week” held in many high schools, and can be summed up in three words: Everyone Rally Together. Spirit Day honors the teenagers who have taken their own lives. But just as importantly, it’s also a way to show the hundreds of thousands of LGBT youth who face the same pressures and bullying, that there is a vast community of people who support them. This event is not a seminar nor is it a rally. There is NO meeting place. All you have to do is wear purple.

By wearing purple on October 19th  you are using a simple way to show the world that you stand by these courageous young people and the perfect way to stand UP to the bullies. Please always remember those lives we've tragically lost, and show your solidarity with those us are still fighting by wearing purple today and then continuing to stand up against bullying in ALL of its forms.

OH! In case you didn't know the color purple symbolizes ‘spirit’ on the rainbow flag, a symbol for LGBT Pride that was created by Gilbert Baker in 1978.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

NaBloWriMo ~ Day 18 ~ Thoughts on a Thursday

After not feeling up to snuff for the past few days and then yesterday having one of the worst migraines I've had in over a year, today I feel remarkably well. I slept for almost 19 of the past 24 hours and woke up this morning  pain free, vision clear and looking forward to taking on this semi cloudy Thursday. I have the house to myself today and should give it a thorough cleaning...I'm not too sure about that. I DO get more done when I'm alone, but so far I've not been motivated to do much of anything. I'm feeling pretty mellow and relaxed, don't want to lose that *lax*...

Jimmy is on the road this week, he has two deliveries around the Dallas area. After he drops those we have no idea as yet where he will be going next. He was home this week to be able to see the presidential debate on Tuesday. This is the first debate he's been able to see, and he was pretty animated throughout the whole thing. Like many of us, he is astounded at the number of times Romney has changed his position on an issue, then out right lied about others. I think one of the biggest jokes out of this debate was the *Binder full of Women*. If you don't know what that is, Google it...

My current course at Ashford is an English credit but it's called "Into to Film". I HATE THIS CLASS!! I don't watch a lot of movies and the ones I do watch are considered classics. We don't go to the theater to see new releases and I won't order them on PPV. Needless to say, I know NOTHING about cinematography, or lighting or something called *Mise en scene* and my grades are reflecting my lack of knowledge. I turned in an assignment on Monday and got the feedback and grade on it yesterday. It wasn't good. The TA said I didn't format my paper correctly according to APA guidelines. IT WAS EXACTLY THE SAME FORMAT I'VE USED FROM THE FIRST PAPER I SUBMITTED. Until this class I've gotten very good grades and have NEVER been marked off for the format of my paper. I was marked off for having an *extra* space between paragraphs. How in the hell do you add an extra space when you've got your parameters set to double space? I'm hoping for a passing grade in this class so I won't need to retake it before I can progress to the next scheduled class.

My Google reader has gone crazy again...some of the blogs I've removed for one reason or another have begun showing up again. I gotta tell you I am so over reading about the flip flop (maybe they are related to Romney, LOL) in a family relationship. Dammit! Be an adult, take a stand and stop whining about how screwed up your life is. And please for the love of the Goddess, quit yer bitchin about things you know you won't change. If you don't like something, REMOVE it, don't constantly complain about it. Yes, these are some of the blogs I removed that have now reappeared in MY Google reader. I removed them because I was so over reading the same exact thing day after day after day after day... there's a glitch in the system somewhere and I hope it gets fixed soon *yeah, I KNOW, be realistic Vickie*.

Samhain's Sirens  is on day 18 of their month long blog and giveaway party. There are some amazingly talented people working on this project and if you haven't been over there to see what all the excitement is all about, you are really missing out. On Monday they posted the pictures and descriptions of the items in the Grand Prize Giveaway Extravaganza, so please go check them out. You will be more than glad you did.

Well, there you have my ramblings for yet another day. I'm off to see what mischief I can get into. My wish for you is a happy, peaceful yet productive Thursday. Be safe and I love ya ALL!

Ten Things Thursday ~ My Favorite Scents, Aromas & Fragrances

I have a multitude of 10 things... and determining which 10 things each week is the challenge.  So far I'm guessing I haven't bored you all too much, I haven't gotten any negative feedback and the traffic hasn't dropped. I DO hope if you get tired of reading ANYTHING I post, whether it's in one of the meme's or just my unorganized ramblings, you will let me know. If you let me know, I can change up the things I post that may be boring or repetitive and then I'd hope you'd want to stick around.
So here are my Ten Thing Thursday ~ My 10 Favorite Fragrances or Scents or Aromas...
1. Cinnamon ~ Cinnamon has to be my all time go to fragrance when I want to refresh the air in my home or car. It seems to work the best at removing stale, musty odors. ATM, I have cinnamon wax melts burning in my wax warmer and you can smell it throughout the entire house.
2. Lavender ~ Ahhh, Lavender ~ lavender is in most of my personal body lotions, bath salts and spritzes. It's my go to fragrance for relaxation and I recently found lavender oil helps repel fleas on the fur babies. I keep a spray bottle full of lavender oil and water to spritz on my furniture and carpets.
3. Sage ~ My preference for sage is White Sage. It's used in many of my rituals and I smudge my house at least once a week to remove any negativity that may be lurking. Sage can be pretty strong smelling and I was once asked if I was smoking pot when someone came into the house after I had been burning sage. Admittedly it isn't for everyone...
4. Vanilla ~ I remember the scent of vanilla each time I would go to my great grandmother's house. She was an avid baker and her whole house carried the scents of what ever she was cooking or baking. Did you know, that in some cultures and parts of the country there are people who use vanilla extract as a personal scent or perfume? When times were tough back in the day, many women used their cooking vanilla as perfume when they had nothing else. I prefer to use the Molina Brand. It's real vanilla extract, not imitation, and more flavorful.
5. Nag Champa ~ This is my absolute FAVORITE incense. It calms me, it also energizes me. I use Nag Champa when I need to meditate and ground. I buy for or five of these boxes at a time. In my world you can never have too much Nag Champa, LOL!

6. Patchouli ~ Patchouli can be considered an aphrodisiac. Some people don't like it's raw earthy scent and again, that's alright. Thankfully free will can be applied to each situation we find ourselves in, LOL! I use patchouli in one of my personal body cream blends that I make myself. It just makes me feel empowered. This is the brand I buy when I can find it locally.
7. Pine/Evergreen/Cedar ~ During the winter months, I adore these scents. Being from Arizona we never had a real Yule/Christmas tree, so I didn't smell this fragrance unless we had taken a trip to the White Mountains or Mt Lemmon. Jimmy is from Vermont where they had live trees each year. When we got together, we had live trees for the first few years. I loved the fragrance, but couldn't decorate as early as I wanted, because live trees don't last very long. I finally convinced him to let me get an artificial tree by showing him our house could smell just as great if I burned candles that smelled like pine or evergreen. This is the candle I buy from Bath & Body Works every year. I get them when they are on sale 2 for $20.00 and buy 4. This *usually* gets us through the month of December, LOL
8. Pumpkin ~ Pumpkin pies, pumpkin break, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin coffee creamer, PUMPKIN!! Yes, this is also a flavor, but the smell of pumpkin baking is just so satisfying...nuff said, LOL! This is the new recipe I found for pumpkin bread...all I can say is YUM!
9. Gardenia ~ When I want a sweet floral scent, it HAS to be gardenia. I've always loved gardenia flowers and they don't survive well in the desert. So I used candles to accommodate my need for this flowers aroma. Now I have a gardenia bush in my flower bed in the front yard and after a couple near disasters and close calls with death, it is thriving and has bloomed TWICE this season. The secret is adding used coffee grounds to the soil to keep it more acidic...
10. Coffee ~ Yes I know, I know... really Vickie? COFFEE?? YES! I am in love with the scent of my coffee brewing and it doesn't matter what time of the day, either. LOL!! The aroma of coffee is just... unexplainable. If you don't like it, you won't get it. But if you DO like coffee, you know exactly what I'm saying.We drink Starbuck's Verona blend, it's a darker roast with a hint of chocolate... heaven.