Sunday, November 29, 2009

Applesauce Ornaments

Greetings Once Again to all the followers from Domestic Witch's Blog! Thank you for stopping in to see what is brewing at the Cauldron!

Today's craft is home-made Applesauce Ornaments!

Here are a few of my favorite recipes:

Recipe #1

1/2 cup cinnamon
1/2 cup store bought applesauce (homemade sauce will likely be too watery) Or, any equal portions of both ingredients depending on the quantity you desire.

Stir together cinnamon and applesauce with a spoon until the dough becomes stiff, then use your hands to create a ball of dough.

Place the ball of dough on a sheet of waxed paper, flatten slightly with your fingers.

Place a second sheet of waxed paper over the top of the dough and roll out dough to about 1/8 inch thick.

Use cookie cutters or your own template shapes.

Air dry creations on a waxed paper-covered cookie sheet or a cooling rack for at least 24 hours until they are completely hard.

Recipe #2
Mix 1 cup cinnamon and 1 cup applesauce with 1 Tablespoon of white glue. You want a consistency that can be rolled with a rolling pin but not quite as sticky or it will stick to your counter! Sprinkle counter with cinnamon and roll out dough and cut with cookie cutters. Cut a hole in shape with the straw so you will be able to hang them. Let dry about 24 hours. They shrink as they dry. Cut lengths of gold thread, make loops and hang. they will keep their scent for a few years. Refresh scent with cinnamon fragrance oil.

Recipe #3
1 cup cinnamon
1 tbsp. ground cloves
1 tbsp. nutmeg
1 tbsp. allspice
1 tbsp ginger
3/4 c. applesauce

In medium bowl, combine cinnamon, cloves, allspice, ginger & nutmeg. Add applesauce, stir to combine.
Work mixture with hands 2 to 3 minutes or until dough is smooth and ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Roll out dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut dough with cookie cutters. Using straw or pencil, make small hole in top of ornament. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet at 150 degrees for 1 hour. Remove from the cookie sheet and bake on the oven racks for another hour and a half.

Use these ornaments to decorate gifts, hang on tree, etc.

Creative tips:
For extra "sparkle," mix in decorative glitter.

Make your own shapes by trimming the dough with a table knife following around patterns you've cut from cereal box cardboard.

After cutting out shapes, use a drinking straw to create holes for jewelry or ornaments.

Use toothpicks to make smaller holes for threading. Leave in dough until dry and remove.

For a wall hanging, thread a colored ribbon through the shape.

For a brooch, decorate with fabric paint and glue a metal clasp pin to the back (available at craft stores).

Decorate creations with acrylic paint or fabric.

The creations can be used as decorations on a gift box or bag.
Important note: Adult supervision and participation is required for this activity.

Every year I read certain books to my son Lancer. This year, his younger brother Shaun will be joining in on the fun with the story. I read them books from writers of their heritage (I'm Cajun full through!) So to connect with my family, every year Lancer has received a Cajun story book. His favorite is Cajun Gingerbread Boy by Berthe Amoss.

If you have a child in your life, you can also make Gingerbread Playdough:

Gingerbread Playdough


1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 cup water
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
Lots of cinnamon, allspice, ginger, nutmeg (The spices should turn the mixture brown like gingerbread, but you can also add red and green food coloring to develop a brown color.)

Mix the dry ingredients. Play with the spices until you get the scent and color you want. Mix the water and oil together first THEN add to the dry ingredients and stir.

Cook the mixture over medium heat for two or three minutes, stirring constantly until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the pan and clump together.

Take the dough out of the pan and knead it until smooth.

Store in closed container.

I hope you enjoy these ideas and many thanks for visiting the Cauldron!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Peppermint Tea Mix

I am so sorry for the delay in posting....ended up traveling to the inlaws for Thanksgiving.

During the holiday season, one can become a bit stressed with all the things that need to be done. One of the ways I like to cope with stress is to sit down with a good cup of tea. With it being the Yuletide season, one of my favorite flavors I like to drink is Peppermint. The other is Ginger. Today we will be combining the two. These two herbs are best known for their soothing properties when it comes to upset stomachs.

When making your own tea (or using from bulk loose leaves), normally its best to use one teaspoon per cup of water. Since we will be combining these two herbs, it will differ a bit.

Ingredients for each 8fl oz (aka 1 cup) of Tea:

1 1/2 inches of fresh ginger root, sliced
2 tbsp fresh peppermint leaves


Boil cold, fresh water. Place Ginger Root and Peppermint leaves in the water once it has reached a boil. Remove from heat. Let the tea steep for 3 - 4 minutes and strain.

If you are giving this specific tea as a gift, it will need to be prepared as close to the time you will be presenting it to someone because of the fresh ginger root. For packaging, you could take a small basket, tea cup, etc and place the ingridents needed in a loose cheesecloth and put the dried peppermint leaves in with a piece of ginger root (so that they can slice the ginger root you are supplying them along with the dried leaves later when they are ready to enjoy the cup of tea on their own).

If you choose not to use the cheesecloth to package, you might want to include a "tea spoon" as well. Here are a few ideas on what spoons are available that costs less than $5:

Peppermint Leaves on Foodista

Monday, November 23, 2009

Home Crafted Holidays - Vanilla Extract

I am participating in Domestic Witch's Home Crafted Holidays to help give ideas for home-made gifts to give during Yule.

My day is actually this coming Wednesday, but to make sure I was able to post it online with all the Turkey Day stress and last minute "To-Do's", I am posting it a few days early.

What you need - Phase 1

1 or two Vanilla Beans
1 pint of your favorite vodka
1 jar with lid

I like to slit the vanilla bean right down the middle. Then I cut it into smaller pieces. Place the cut up bean into a large jar with a tight fitting lid.

Then pour the vodka over the beans. Put the cap on and shake it gently for a few minutes.

Place the jar in a cool, dry, dark place. I use my kitchen cabinet as you can see in the photo. Shake the jar daily for two weeks minimum. I have gone as long as six weeks.

Phase 2
Cheese cloth or coffee filter
Some kind of funnel
Something to strain the liquid into or the final bottle for presentation.

After the time you have decided to let your tincture set, you will need to strain it. I usually strain it two times to make sure the liquid is clear.

After straining, place it in a decorative bottle if you are giving it out as a gift.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pregnant Priestess

A couple of friends and I were talking about my pregnancy the other day. We spoke about the things I did with my first pregnancy and then what I did differently with my second. One of those friends suggested that I put my thoughts down to paper to help others that may be thinking what the heck can I do?

So here goes:

1. Have a henna party.

Have your friends decorate your belly and send good wishes to your child thru their artwork.

2. Nursery blessing.
A friend of mine blessed my nursery for the first child with a specific ritual involving the four elements. She smudged the room with sage and lavender for the gift of fire (since you really don't want a burning candle in a small child's room, at least I don't). She blessed it with the gift air using feathers that she also gave to me in a frame to place in my child's room. The gift of earth was an aloe plant that will sat in the windowsill, and the gift of water by a new baby bathtub.

Maybe some of your friends that want to purchase items for you could come up with a similar ritual?
Now for my second child, I have asked my eldest child if it was ok to use many of the items that he received as a baby that he no longer uses...such as the bathtub. By asking his permission to use his old crib, his old bathtub, blankets, etc I am involving him in the process of providing for his younger sibling and making him feel very special as the "big brother" at the same time. He also went as far to put alot of books into a box that he wants to read to his baby brother once he learns how to read himself. I thought that was just precious.

3. Family Artwork.
One thing that I did was that with the birth of my first son, my husband and I drew our hands out on paper. His was first since it was the largest, then mine, and then at the hospital we had the nurses do the handprint of our first born. We plan on doing it again, this time with our eldest son's handprint drawn out just like mommy and daddy's.

Now for other ideas to give a Pregnant Priestess:

I know of one gift package that includes Susun's Book. It was given to me when I pregnant with my first child five years ago.
My kit came from Red Moon Herbs. The lady that runs it, apprenticed with Susun. Here is their link.

Other things I received were herbs in bulk to make infusions from a local herb farm near me.

Cloth pads for my cycle after delivery and also circular pads (cloth as well to be reused) for nursing pads.

Pending your financial status, I even had a few girlfriends make home made "gift certificates" they can include:
One girlfriend made me a few small home made gift certificates for things like:

(1) - Good for One Hour baby free shower/bath time on me
(2) - Good for One home made Lasgana from the family's cookbook
(3) - Good for One "Overnighter" to take care of baby while you sleep
(4) - Good for One home spa pedicure and foot massage (cause a preg woman's feet blow up, LOL)
(5) - Good for One afternoon nap of two hours

Massages, home made cooking (casseroles), running errrands such as grocery shopping, and cleaning her home a time or two during the first few weeks after pregnancy can be a huge help and reduce the amount of stress the new mom may experience. So that might be something one could look into if it interests you and you are able to provide the time.

I also know of a lady that makes breastfeeding necklaces. Email me offlist if you would like her info. I don't want this email to sound like a solicitation.

Those are just a few ideas of what you can do for your favorite Pregnant Priestess. I hope one helps or inspires you.


Monday, November 16, 2009

Moving towards Winter

This past week has been a tough one with the loss of our family's familiar "Trouble". I am still looking for him at night waiting for him to jump upon the bed and do his nightly circle perimeter check around the room before settling down to bed for the night.

Today the sky was gloomy all day. It almost looked like it was going to snow already at one point. Luckily, I still have a few more weeks before the snow hits the ground. It is a fact that Winter is almost upon us. I am currently trying to re-organize my home by cleaning and decluttering. Right now "Hurricane Crystal" has hit it hard. It does not even look like I have been cleaning. I have been going thru our storage and boxes upon boxes are scattered throughout the house. I am placing things in boxes to keep, garage sale, and donate. Then I have a large kitchen bag of things to toss as well that I can not do the above or recycle them.

Tomorrow, the Michigan Magical Moms will have their weekly playdate. So I have to make sure that Lancer's current prized possessions are out of reach of the younger children. Last week his lego robot was accidently broken and he was in tears when he got home. It was nothing to fix it, but for the fact that some pieces were missing and I had to go thru his entire room to find the key pieces to hold Mr. Roboto together. He was quite happy when Moma fixed his Boo-boo's. LOL

I really like the other moms in the group and hope to get to know them better and develop stronger friendships. It was a small world when one of the ladies actually knew and is friends with one of my old neighbors. Go figure, another Pagan friendly family was just a few houses down, and I never got the chance to know them. That is how the world has changed in the past few decades. When I was growing up, my family knew everyone down the street (and neighborhood) that we lived in. Now someone that I lived three houses down from for over five years, we barely knew each other at all. I am trying to know my neighbors, some I like and some I don't care for too much (aka Frat House with late night parties) but think as time passes by they are becoming more mature in their nature (not to mention they are tired of fixing mailboxes from their friends mishaps down our street.

In the next few weeks I will be participating in Domestic Witch's "Home Crafted Holidays". I will actually be featured on four different occassions! So make sure to check out her blog as well as mine!

The summer clothes are being washed and then stored in their appropriate totes for the long winter ahead of us. Out come the winter gear and being washed as well. I finally took out my down comforter and changed the curtains on the windows to the thicker panels to keep the cold out and the warmth inside.

Soon it will be soups and gumbo on my brain! I even found a reasonable supplier to ship roux to me because I am too lazy to make my own. LOL Oh good eating is upon us!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Farwell to my Familiar

Yesterday after months of sickness, my husband and I decided to have our cat Trouble put to sleep. The Vet still does not know what was making him throw up so much and why he could not digest any food he ate. Past few months he lost alot of weight and was sick several times a day.

May he return to the great mother and return to us reborn.

I love you my dear sweet and mischievous feline friend!

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