Whisper Challenge | With LavenderandheART

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Hey everyone due to some unanticipated complications in my week (being sick) I decided to go with an easier and more fun video for this weeks post. I hope you like the whisper challenge that we did today!

Easy Salt Dough Ornaments | #thehomhchristmas

Today I wanted to share with you a fun and easy way to create your own scented ornaments and garlands. This salt dough recipe is super easy and you can create, really, whatever kind of ornaments you want.

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What you will need:

3 cups of flour

1 cup of cinnamon

1 cup of salt

1 1/2 cups of water

optional:

cinnamon leaf essential oil

cloves

First you want to combine 2 cups of flour with the salt and cinnamon. Whisk it together with a fork to make sure there are no lumps in the powder mixture.

Now you want to drop 8-15 drops of you essential oils into the water. Once you water and oil is combined gradually add the water to the dry ingredients.

Start to knead the flour and water till it forms a dough then dump it on to a flat surface and roll it out with a rolling pin.

Use cookie cutters to cut whatever shapes you want for ornaments. I wanted to make gingerbread men garlands so I used gingerbread men. For the holes, for hanging or stringing up your decorations, use a straw to poke holes in the soft dough. If you want to use whole cloves for extra scent you can create designs on your ornaments before you put them in the oven.

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Once you have cut out and placed your ornaments onto a cookie sheet bake in the oven at 300 degrees for 30-40 minutes. When you remove them from the oven let them cool completely before you try to paint, glitter, or hang any of them.

As you can see they turn out pretty cool and there a lot of different ways to hang and use them. I tried gingerbread garlands 2 ways, the first is the traditional horizontal style the second I went for a vertical chain thing. Both turned out pretty cool, these ornaments are great to add to a present or put on the tree to make it smell. I had a lot of fun creating this DIY let me know if you try it!

Blessings

-Hanna Caroline

East of Eden | Book Review 3

And my love for Steinbeck grows! What a whirlwind of a book, vast and episodic yet focused and detailed. Set, mainly, in the ever changing hills of Salinas valley East of Eden is a novel that keeps your brain awake the entire time you read.  In East of Eden Steinbeck plays out the age old battle, good vs. evil, over and over through the life of Adam Trask starting from his birth. Steinbeck deals with the fight of good vs. evil in the world in general and also the fight between good and bad that is within each individual person.

The battle is best represented in Adams son Cal. He observes the battles between light and dark in the world around him but has a difficult time facing them within himself. He feels stuck in the shadow of his brothers purity and perfection. Cal struggles with the idea that if you are bad you are all the way bad and his love for his brother blinds him to Aron’s shortcomings. Though it is not till the end of the book that Cal has a revelation and realizes that no one is purely good and he must learn this.

I have two quotes from this book that I wanted to share with you the first being:

“And now that you don’t have to be perfect you can be good.”

I will let you all read the book to find out the context of this quote but I think standing alone this quote says a lot about pressure that can be put on people. How people deal with being held up to a standard of perfection when there is not a single person on this earth that is perfect. Reading this quote reminds me that once I stop pressuring myself to be perfect at every aspect of my life, I can be good.

The second quote is:

“We have only one story. All novels, all poetry, are built on the never-ending contest in ourselves of good and evil. And it occurs to me that evil must constantly respawn, while good, while virtue, is immortal.”

I love this quote for its final line “virtue is immortal”. It makes one feel as though even with the constant battle of good and evil going on inside of ourselves and in the world virtue will always prevail because it is immortal.

I was so excited to read this book as I had read reviews and heard that it was one of Steinbeck’s best. And now I cannot wait to re-read it and fill the margins with notes and comments, and to highlight all of my favorite quotes. This book is amazing to read for fun but was for me a great learning experience. I feel that by focusing on how the book was written as I read I was able to learn more and more about Steinbeck’s writing style.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is willing to take it on. It’s definitely a commitment as it is quite long, but I think if you do read it you will not be disappointed.

Written Wednesday

Driving Alone Early in the Morning

 

The frigid morning air has

Crept into my car, my frozen

Hands grip at the wheel.

 

Black coffee slides down

My throat, bitter it

Leaves a sour taste in my mouth.

 

Fog blocks my path

So thick I could inhale it

And puff it back out in rings.

 

Early morning

Light cuts through

 

The trees to my left

Bathing the world

 

In gold.

-Hanna Caroline

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn | Book Review 2

Lately  I had been dying for a good read, something to grab me, and pull me in. I needed a book that I missed when we were apart and couldn’t bear to put down for too long. Something that I could dive into and escape with. I wanted to remember my great love for reading and experience it again. Fate would have it that the book that would reignite my passion for reading would be none other than A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith. I feel that I had a stoke of luck in meeting this book,  I heard of it in a passing conversation and was intrigued, but it wasn’t until I saw it sitting on my great grandmothers bookshelf that I decided I really wanted to read it. I saw it there, a beautiful old copy, red, or maybe green with pretty swirling letters, worn and well loved like most old books are and it had an effect on me, I felt  strange pull towards it and  decided that I wanted to get a my own copy. I purchased it off of Barnes and Noble, which is rare for me because all of my books are thrifted or hand me downs, but I just couldn’t wait for this one.  It came in as a beautiful blue book that fit in my hands perfectly, with an untouched pristine look it was all mine. I am now  so happy with my decision to purchase this because with my own copy I can share this book with sisters and friends as I feel it is a book most woman can connect with and understand.

A Tree Grow in Brooklyn is an emotional chronicle of girlhood that reminds one of the beautiful and honest way a child views the world. The novel follows the Nolan family and their lives in early 1900s Brooklyn New York. Francie is the eldest Nolan child and the central character of this novel. The family is led by the hardworking and sacrificial Katie Nolan, whose perseverance is an unwavering constant display throughout the novel. Katie’s husband is Johnny Nolan, one of those unfortunate souls who is born with an horrid imbalance of romanticism and common sense, despite his short comings the lessons that Francie learn from him become invaluable to her in life. Cornelius, Neely, is the brazen younger brother who embarks on many adventures with Francie. Through the lives of the Nolan’s Betty Smiths delves into subject matter such as, poverty, alcoholism and literacy vs. illiteracy. We see the whole family crave an escape from their life of poverty and the social class they see themselves in. One by one we see each member find and follow the path that brings them each their freedom but all by different means.

One of the reasons I identified so strongly with Francie, and I think many others feel this way as well, is her great love for learning. A strong pull in Francie’s life is education, she craves learning, reading and discovery especially through books. Francie’s attitude towards knowledge is really what connected me so deeply to this book, she not only wants to know but understand and experience life around her. These attributes make her a vivid and well loved character who I have added to my list of literary best friends.

I would like to leave you with one of my favorite moments in this book. I think this quote really exemplifies Francie’s character and what her goals and desires in life are.

““Dear God,” she prayed, “let me be something every minute of every hour of my life. Let me be gay; let me be sad. Let me be cold; let me be warm. Let me be hungry…have too much to eat. Let me be ragged or well dressed. Let me be sincere – be deceitful. Let me be truthful; let me be a liar. Let me be honorable and let me sin. Only let me be something every blessed minute. And when I sleep, let me dream all the time so that not one little piece of living is ever lost.”

$20 Thrift Haul

On a recent thrifting adventure I somehow managed only spending 20 dollars. The fact that Thrift City was having a 50% off day might have had something to do with that, but as I was really impressed with everything I got I thought I would show you just how much I got on my thrift trip.

The first place we went on this thrifting day was Thrift city and as I mentioned it was 50% off day so everything I got was under $2 and I spent a total of $7. First up is this American Eagle Outfitters tank top. It is a dark grey with sheer and lace along the neckline. I thought this would be good for all seasons and it was basic, good quality and in good condition so I decided to grab it.

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The second thing I got from Thrift City is this Ann Taylor sweater. It is an older sweater which you can tell by the tag and by the fact that Ann Taylor is know better known as LOFT. But despite its age it is in very very good condition, no holes or stains and it doesn’t smell. I really liked the color and the neckline of this sweater, I especially love the cabling down the center. It is super cozy and I am looking forward to wearing it in the Fall.

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This little bracelet from Thrift City seemed super cute and a great accessory it was super cheap and it is really beautiful.

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The next piece from Thrift City is this blanket/shawl/scarf. Really I just like the embroidery on both ends of this and it works as many different things. I thought this would be a great blanket scarf for the fall and also when I get my own apartment or house it would make a great throw for the couch or end of the bed.

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Now on to my goodwill finds. All I ended up getting at Goodwill was books and I spent $13 dollars there. The firs book I picked up was this amazing Robert Frost poetry book. I couldn’t even believe I found it. Not only does it contain my favorite poem but the photography is amazing. It was such a great find and I can’t wait to spend forever going through it.

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The next 3 books I got are all Barbara Kingsolver books. I really love her writing style and just finished reading her book The Poisonwood Bible. I was super excited to find three of her books on this goodwill trip. Pigs in heaven is one of her novels, High Tide in Tucson is a collection of essays and Homeland which is a collection of short stories.

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I was also really excited to find a copy of Great Expectations, my all time favorite book. Until now I had only had a copy on my kindle and its so nice to have the actual physical book.

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The last book I got was Schindler’s List. I saw this book and was actually suprised because I though it was only a movie but I decided to pick it up because it seemed interesting and a good addition to my library.

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So that is everything in my haul. All together it cost me approximately $20 and I feel like I definitely got a lot of good stuff for that much.Can’t wait to wear all my new clothes and read all of these books.

-Hanna Caroline