Sewing

Upcycled Girls Dresses

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Between my husband’s doctor’s appointments and moving, I have managed to sew a little bit.  Dresses available in my Etsy shop.  All dresses are made from vintage fabrics/linens/feedsack, and upcycled fabrics.

The Riverwalk Cottage Etsy Shop

(Most of the fabrics were purchased from Reconsidered Goods before I left North Carolina. Great shop if you are ever in the Piedmont Triad region of North Carolina!)

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Florida Life- State Parks

Carney Island Recreation & Conservation Area, Marion County, FL

 

In an effort to find a new walking path for myself in my new town, I have been on a quest!

My first stop was the Carney Island Recreation & Conservation Area in Marion County, FL.  (Marion County is about an hour and a half from Orlando in case you were wondering!  It is a great county to visit if you are in the Orlando area and wish to explore a more natural Florida.)

Carney Island Recreation & Conservation Area

I do want to say that this park is beautiful!  We visited on a weekday in July.  If you are the type that loves to have a park to yourself, this may be your place!  When we visited I only saw three other cars and a couple of park rangers.

PRICE:
The admission was $7 for a car.  It is on an honor system.  You place the money in an envelope inside a drop box and then display your parking tag.  If you have a Florida Parks annual pass, it is good here!

HOURS: In April-October, the park is open from 7 am to 8 pm.  In November-March, the park is open from 7 am- 5 pm.

PET FRIENDLY: No, you are not allowed to bring pets.

ACTIVITIES:

This park allows for swimming in the lake.

(I am going to be honest here- I would not swim in this lake but I saw people doing so and apparently it’s a popular spot.  Personally, lakes creep me out- leeches, snakes, hot water, brain eating amoebas, mushy sand and dirt at the bottom, and alligators.  Also, this park is not far away from the local dump so I have to wonder if anything has permeated over?)

There are outdoor showers and changing rooms if you do decide to swim.

If you do not want to swim but want to bring a boat- good news!  There are boat ramps here.

Hiking: My girls and I walked one of the trails that was a mile each way.  It was the trail that takes you from one swimming area to the other.  I loved it and could see myself purchasing an annual pass and frequently walking here.  HOWEVER, when we went to the main set of trails it was a different story.  There was a swampy area to the left.  I am thinking alligators but I have seen alligators in other parks and no big deal, right?  I have to tell you it is a difference seeing lots of gators sunning themselves out in the open in a very populated park vs. not seeing but knowing they are there in a very wooded, secluded spot.  Call me a baby, I’m ok with it.  We continued to walk and then I heard them.  If you have never heard gators, here is one of their sounds, you’re welcome.

Gator Sounds

Well that ended that, we turned around and left that path.

My husband grew up in the Florida everglades and has had his fair share of wildlife encounters.  He had gone down that path the entire way and came back saying, “You know there are wild boar tracks all over this path and did you hear the gators?”

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Wild boars!  Ok, that was a little more nature than I wanted to deal with.

Playground: If you are still with me, there are two very nice playgrounds away from the trails.

Picnic: If dining with wildlife is for you, there are plenty of picnic tables, grills, and a pavilion area.

Restrooms: Lots of restrooms that are clean and well lit.

Volleyball: We saw a couple of volleyball nets and areas.  There were also spaces for horseshoes.

Concessions:  I did see a sign for concessions but since we had brought our own food/drinks, I did not go down to see if they were open or what was available.

Final Thoughts: This is a very beautiful space and has a lot of activities for the family.  I might go back (Who am I kidding- I was scared after walking on the trail with the animals and I am pretty sure I am not going back unless I am bringing a boat.)

The quest for my new walking path continues…

Cancer/Spouse

Cancer Changes Things

It’s already July!  What a year!

My mother made it through her cancer treatment and was told she does not currently have any signs of cancer at this time. YES!

My middle daughter graduated high school and was accepted into her dream college for the fall term, YES!

However, in February my husband was diagnosed with stage four cancer that has metastasized.  He has been out of work since March and in April I went on FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) from my teaching position to be with him/take to appointments/stay in the hospital with him, etc.  I was fortunate that after using all of my available leave taking my mother to her appointments, my generous co-workers donated some of their own leave time which was a big help financially.  In two months he has been through two surgeries,  two week-long hospital stays, and numerous doctor appointments.  I feel as if our world has been picked up, shaken like a snow globe, thrown back down, and now we must pick up the pieces.

I have always been a “planner” and I have really had to step back and let things flow.  We are not just day to day now but often moment to moment.  We don’t know how my husband will feel and what will happen next. (Do we ever really?)

Due to this “new normal” we have had to make some changes.  A couple of weeks ago we did a major downsize and moved from North Carolina back to Florida to be closer to family/friends.  I resigned from my teaching position in NC and have accepted a new position in FL which will begin in August.  However, I worry about how a teaching position plays out with doctor appointments and treatments and the additional workload  & energy teaching requires even when not at “work”.  I have to wonder would we not be better off if I worked a different job with later hours that would make me available during the day?

Everything I read about coping when a spouse has cancer assumes that both parties in the relationship are retired.  I don’t see very much information on how to balance finances and work.  We went through a big chunk of change in the beginning because my spouse did not have health insurance and doctor co-pays were out of pocket.  He did eventually qualify for medicaid however we have a deductible of $23,000 we are responsible for.  Moving out of state, we have purchased a plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace but that will be null and void once I resume teaching in August and have health insurance through my employer (which is not really all that great).   While my husband is eligible for social security disability due to his type of cancer being on a Compassionate Allowance List, who knows when those payments will actually begin.  I would love to hear from others on how to manage home/work/finances during a time such as this.  I know we are not the only ones.

Sewing

Happy New Year!

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Yikes!  I have not been a very active blogger- what has it been?  Seven months?

Well, here we are and Happy New Year!

One of my goals this year is to spend more time sewing and building up my Etsy shop.  To be honest, after teaching my 23 little darlings in my first grade classroom and being mom chauffeur I usually do not do feel like much of anything.  But this is a new year and my fabric stash is not going to sew itself! 🙂

I did manage to post a few handmade items as well as some vintage goodies I have been hoarding to my Etsy shop this weekend.

https://www.etsy.com/shop/riverwalkcottage

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DIY Herbal

Women’s Herbal Tea

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A couple of years ago I was told by a doctor I may have uterine fibroids.  After testing, it was found I did not.  I was maybe beginning to go through perimenopause.  I was told by that doctor I could still have an endometrial ablation and my symptoms may improve.  With the possible side effects and the $3,500 co-pay, I decided the ablation was not for me.  I was then told I could begin taking oral contraceptives to regulate my periods.  I have had a tubal ligation and I have no desire to take oral contraceptives.  My other option was do nothing and deal with the symptoms.  Since my symptoms are annoying but not threatening, I decided to seek out more natural relief.

The first thing I discovered is to clean up your act.  Get enough sleep, exercise, don’t drink, don’t smoke, cut back on caffeine, meditate, be happy ALL the time (just kidding- manage stress), and eat healthy.

I also discovered certain herbs could help.

I started making a tea very similar to the tea I made years ago when I was pregnant and nursing.

I purchased several herbs in bulk from Mountain Rose Herbals. (No affiliate program, I have purchased from this company for years and have always been pleased with their quality and service.)

 

I mix equal parts raspberry, alfalfa, and red clover.  All are said to be high in nutrients.

 

 

Then I add nettle leaf.  Nettle leaf is said to help with anemia.   It has a strong taste but I have found it helps when I am low in iron and at times I have craved it.  Other times, I find it too strong and just don’t drink it.

To this mix, I also add vitex/chasteberries.  Chasteberries are said to be good for menstrual cramps, pms, menopause, and uterine fibroids.

I mix all the herbs together.  To make my tea I add a handful to a glass jar and steep with hot water (or make sun tea in summer months).  I strain the herbs and drink either hot or over ice throughout the day.

 

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How do I feel?  Well, I still have heavy periods and I still get cramps BUT not as painful and not as heavy AND I no longer have an issue with anemia.

*PLEASE NOTE:  I do not take any medications but if you do please check to see if your medications could interact with any of the herbs.  Also, before beginning any type of herbal or vitamin supplement check to see if it is safe for you to consume.   The ideas and information contained on this web site are not meant to be used for diagnosing, prescribing, treating, curing or preventing any disease or illness. The information provided at appointments and contained on this web site has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is presented for informational purposes only, for use in helping to maintain and promote health in cooperation with a physician. Nothing found anywhere on this web site should be construed as an attempt to or offer to diagnose, prescribe or recommend in any manner a treatment, cure or preventative for any illness or disease.

 

 

DIY Body & Facial Care

DIY Rose Bath Fizzies/Bombs

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Cup Citric Acid
  • 1/2 Cup Epsom Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Dried Milk Powder (Replace with cornstarch if you would prefer vegan fizzies)
  • 4 Tablespoons Oil (I used coconut BUT I prefer to use almond oil or mango butter.)
  • 2 tbsp. Dried Rose Petals
  • Several drops Rose oil
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Instructions: 

  • If using coconut oil/shea butter/or any other oil or butter that is solid at room temperature, melt the butter until it is a liquid on low heat.
  • Mix all ingredients.
  • Form your fizzies using any type of mold.  (I used a mold but you could use ice trays, clear plastic ornaments, etc.)
  • Allow fizzies to dry.  I leave them out for a few hours.  I place them on waxed paper on a cookie tray.  When dry, I store in an airtight glass container.

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*Note:  This may be obvious but please keep your DIY project mixing bowls, pots, measuring cups, etc. separate from your cooking items.  I made the mistake of leaving my DIY melting/mixing pot in the sink soaking one day after making sandalwood body butter.  One of my children washed it and cooked rice in it.  Sandalwood rice may SOUND cool but I assure you it was inedible! 😉

DIY Body & Facial Care

Shea Butter Body Butter Recipe DIY

Spring may have arrived according to the calendar, but I woke up to 2 inches of snow on the ground.  Winter weather is still wreaking havoc on my skin (especially my hands).

This shea butter recipe is my favorite hand cream for winter.  It may also be used as an all over body butter.

INGREDIENTS:

 

8 oz Shea Butter

1 oz Almond Oil (May use light olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, etc.)

1 tbsp.  Beeswax

15-20 drops Sandalwood Oil

Optional.  Shea butter has a very earthy scent and I have found the shea butter compliments the scent of the shea butter.

 

DIRECTIONS:

Heat shea butter, almond oil, and beeswax on low heat until melted.

Let mixture cool.

When the mixture starts to solidify, add essential oils and mix with a hand mixer.

Store in an air-tight container.

(If you want to get the air bubbles out just tap the jar until leveled.)

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