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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

an easier way to start a fire and my box of soap

The pine cone, waste candle wax and egg carton fire starter!
First I thought I would share a stupendous idea I came across while surfing around on my favorite website, etsy.
One of my favorite summer activities is sitting around a bonfire with my friends and family. Bonfires cannot be successful without good fire starting tools. Have you seen this before?

yes i have dirt under my nails. sue me.
It is a recycled/repurposed fire starter. All you need to make them are cardboard egg cartons (no Styrofoam!), small pine cones and leftover candle wax-the stuff that remains after your wick burns out. You cut out the cups of the egg carton, melt the wax (I used  glass container candle that had burned out and melted it in a double boiler method in a sauce pan. Don't microwave unless you want candle wax all over it.) and pour a little into the bottom of the cup and quickly stick in your pin cone so it is embedded in the wax. Drizzle a little more hot wax over the pine cone and when its cool you have a ready to light fire starter. The wax helps the paper and pine cone catch fire and burn slowly. You know what else makes these things great? They smell wonderful. Like pine and whatever candle wax you used for your fire starters. Mine was an old cinnamon Christmas candle. Its aromatherapy for your campsite! I have lots of beeswax but its satisfying being able to use something that would otherwise go to waste. If you dont have access to cute little baby pine cones you can use little sticks and twigs or wood chips and they burn well too. If you want to be extra fancy you can stick cinnamon sticks or nut shells in them.

Other things I've learned:

Infused honey is awesome. I made a  jar of garlic infused honey by simply tearing off the cloves, smashing them and placing them in a jar and covering them with honey. Didn't even take the peels off. Lid on, shake, shake, shake for three weeks and done. Now I have a fantastic grilling glaze for pork or chicken or veggies. It seems like it would be weird but it tastes amazing!  I was so happy with the results that I had to try it with my dried chiles. In a few weeks I'll  have hot chile honey for stir-fry, meats, and as a base for a spicy salad dressing maybe?

Today I think I burned a thousand calories. I planted almost an acre of native wildflowers and the reason why I had dirt under my nails. My bees will thank me. I am happy to announce this because it is the most exercise I've gotten in a month.  I also got a mild sunburn which I hate because I can already see the freckles popping out. Tomorrow morning I have a 60 minute date with my elliptical. Speaking of health related things, in my last post I mentioned that I was going to jump start my metabolism. I have been eating pretty much vegan (besides my honey) for the last two days and it is going well so far. I miss cheese but I found out that Almond milk is far superior to regular milk. In addition to this, a nicely ripened avocado makes a delicious alternative to butter for toast, baked potatoes and crackers. It would be hard to make a white sauce or butter cream frosting with an avocado I am thinking.

Now for my soapbox rant!
I only have 15 pounds to go before I hit my goal weight by my 30th birthday! I haven't weighed myself for a few days but I am looking forward to seeing the scale for once in my life. While ideally I would like to lose more than 15 pounds total, I have to keep reminding myself that some people are unlucky in that they will constantly struggle and have ups and downs. They will become very frustrated with themselves and often feel either deprived for not being able to enjoy what everyone else is having or guilty for giving in and having what everyone else is having. It is a lifetime struggle. It will be for me. I would like to say that this is the first time I've had to lose weight but it isn't. A lot of people don't know this about me but on my 20th birthday I weighed 221 pounds and wore a size 16/18. Today I am a size 10/12 and weigh 168 pounds (maybe a lb or two less?). At my skinniest (my broke ass days in college and living on no money at all in North Carolina) I weighed 148 and was a 6/8. While I would love to be back at that size, I probably never will be. I was hungry all the time and probably missing all sorts of necessary vitamins and minerals. I am 5'8" and according to webmd I only technically need to lose 9 pounds to be considered normal but I think I can do a little better.

Why am I sharing all of this? Because I want to not only take ownership in the goal I've set but I also want to remind myself that I am not perfect and will never be. I am happy to say that I am not anywhere near what I was when I was 20. I'm still better. I don't ever want to be where I was but ups and downs are just part of my life. My body is genetically wired to gain weight easily. I can't be too hard on myself about it and other people shouldn't either. When something bad happens to me I always defult to feeling like it happened because I am not good enough, smart enough or skinny enough. It has to stop. I have to like myself and I have to be confident. I deserve good things and my happiness depends on it. I need to stop worry about why people don't like me or decide not to give me the time of day. If people want to be crappy to me it isn't because I am not smart or pretty or skinny. It's because they are crappy, shallow people and hopefully just might regret it later.

The Nettle soup I was talking about making last week? Smelled like scummy water and tasted like total ass.

This is my new(er) nephew. He was born before I jumped back into this blog. He is being baptized this sunday and I am so lucky to be allowed to babysit next week when his mamma goes back to work. I don't think she can do anything but be awesome and make awesome children.


  1. You are an inspiration Erica! And i love reading your blogs, very interesting!

  2. Great read! Thanks for sharing it all :-)