Celebrating 50 Years!

I am celebrating 50 years….born 50 years ago in 1966! Holy moly how did THAT happen?

For the last month, I have been dreading turning 50, thinking I will be an ancient, old lady.😀 I mean really, 50 – a half-of-a-century. maxine-cartoon-character-clipart-1

This week I had the realization that it is always better to celebrate life, successes-even small, milestones rather than dwell on past mistakes or worry about the future and getting old. If I really think about it…I am only middle age because many of my grandparents, great grand parents and great-great aunts have lived to 90 and beyond.

I thought about what I have accomplished up until this point in my life and there has been a-l-o-t of things, exciting things. I could not find all of my photo albums, you know, before we decided to keep all of our pictures in cyberspace? Here is my little “walk down memory lane and celebrate life”. Hope you enjoy it!

Before we get to the pictures – what else celebrates 50 years this year? My mom told me on an apron she gave me: 50 years of the Country Music Awards, the Monkey’s (yeah you have to be old enough to know who they were)😉 the first Super Bowl and 50 years of Southern Living Magazine.

cool apron from mom

cool apron from mom


Me and my mom

my 1st birthday

my 1st birthday

all 4 generations

all 4 generations

I was lucky to have my Mom, my Gram and my Nanny – 4 generation of women!

Gram taught me how to crochet when I was 8-9ish

Gram taught me how to crochet when I was 8-9ish

I played the clarinet and then the bass clarinet in junior high

I played the clarinet and then the bass clarinet in junior high


Me in the back freezing during cheerleading

Me in the back freezing during cheerleading

I was a cheerleader in high school but not at school – it was nearly impossible to join. This was with a youth association, we had the best time for a couple years!!

Missing a few years of pics, cannot find those photo albums – grrr😀

I met my love in 1985

I met my love in 1985

Wedding shower with mom and gram

Wedding shower with mom and gram

John & I  and the gang

John & I


Horses became a big part of my life in Georgia. We rode for pleasure, trails and then competed, became a student of Parelli Natural Horsemanship, attained my own goal of Level 3 Liberty 2010 and Level 2 riding with my current mare Tina(not pictured). The video is here if you care to watch. Freestyle riding video

1996 olympics

1996 olympics

I was lucky to be picked to work at the 96 Olympics in GA as a barn manager. I was totally excited to braid an Olympic horse’s mane!! The pic on the right is in Oympic Village the night before the bombing.

Our beautiful baby

Our beautiful baby

After 9 years of trying to conceive – our miracle baby was born. The biggest celebration of life!

Baby Jonathan's Christening and my whole family came!

Baby Jonathan’s Christening and my whole family came!

Look at that munchkin face – so adorable!!



halloween, we all loved dressing up

halloween, we all loved dressing up

Trip to Paris - a once in a lifetime trip

Trip to Paris – a once in a lifetime trip

Ladies Homestead Gathering 2011

Ladies Homestead Gathering 2011

I met my tribe – women who love everything homesteading! I have learned so many things from these ladies and the friendships are treasured and to be celebrated!

1st time with a chainsaw

1st time with a chainsaw

The things you learn….

log-pic celebrating our first mushroom logs that WE innoculated together in 2013ish

Happy Faces!

Happy Faces!

Meeting the famous Rosemary Gladstar – just wow!

celebrating my birthday with my new herbie friends! 2014

celebrating my birthday with my new herbie friends! 2014

Celebrating Gram, to be my very last visit with her. Miss her lots.

Celebrating Gram, to be my very last visit with her. Miss her lots.

Jonathan and I

Jonathan and I

my year of learning to be a better herbalist

my year of learning to be a better herbalist

our beautiful farm!

our beautiful farm!

So remember, don’t fret about the past or worry about the future, celebrate your accomplishes, live your dreams and enjoy the moment.


Love to you all,


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Benefits of Shiso (Perilla frutescens)

Have you ever eaten Shiso, aka Perilla or Beefsteak Plant? If you have eaten in a Japanese restaurant, you may have had this yummy treat without knowing it. The name shiso comes from the Chinese word, zisu which means “purple”. Perilla, as I call it, can be green or purple depending on the variety and where it is grown.

Perilla is in the mint family and extremely easy to grow although many of you have this growing in the wild on the edge of the woods. Go check and see after reading this post and let me know!


Description and Biology

  • Plant: small, freely-branching annual herb that grows to 18-30 in. high; stems four-sided and covered with short hairs.
  • Leaves: opposite, ovate, green to purple with toothed margins; distinctive musky mint-like odor.
  • Flowers, fruits and seeds: flowers are small, bell-shaped, white and purple with a distinctive ring of fine hairs along the bottom in terminal spikes or emerging from leaf axils; July and October.
  • Spreads: by seed that either drops close to parent plant or may be transported by wind or water.
  • Look-alikes: beefsteak plant superficially resembles basil and coleus and can be confused with other members of the mint family.***From nps.gov

Medicinal Benefits of Perilla:

  • Leaves edible, contain calcium, iron and vitamin C
  • Good source of antioxidants
  • Used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for asthma, colds, and flu
  • Seeds high in omega 3’s and support a healthy immune system.

I personally like to combine perilla leaves with kudzu leaves and lemon balm for colds or just a pleasant tasting tea.


Pickled Perilla



The following recipe was given to me by my friend Brooke. I tasted one of these pickled leaves and was hooked for life!!! The original recipe, or what was posted was on www.mykoreankitchen.com



Layer the leaves


add sauce and repeat layering


Pickled Perilla with Brown Rice Recipe

  • 20-30 Fresh Perilla Leaves
  • Seasoning Sauce: Mix the following in a medium sized bowl
  • 10 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon korean chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sliced green onions
  • optional – 2 tablespoons chopped green and red chilis
  1. Rinse perilla leaves in cold running water and drain them in a colander while getting the sauce ready.
  2. Prepare the sauce by mixing the rest of the ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Layer perilla leaves in a glass container with a lid, about 3-5 at a time either stacked(I could be that anal!) or in a layer. Spread about a tablespoon of the sauce over the leaves. Repeat the process until all leaves are layered with sauce. Any left over sauce can be poured over the top.
  4. Cover and refrigerate. This can be eaten after a few days. It tastes even better after a week! Will keep in fridge for months!!
  5. To eat, cook up some brown rice and fill each leaf with the rice, roll up or squish it together and eat.😀 Totally yum!!!







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20 Ways to Use Up Bananas

Bananas are one of the worlds most perfect food!

Sometimes we get a little carried away and buy too many. So we gotta get creative and use up those bananas instead of giving them to all the chickens…or the horses ….or the dog, well one of the dogs.😀

I love bananas and I K-N-O-W they come from really, really far away! This is not part of my “try to get all the food as close to home as possible” plan. When I think of that plan and think of bananas, a book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, comes to mind and I can almost hear the author saying ” THAT banana traveled thousands of miles from a rain forest to you” (something like that!).

Anyway that book is an excellent read! I think I need to read it again.

So instead of throwing out all those almost past their prime bananas here are a few ideas, actually 20 of them!

20 Ways to Use Up Bananas

1. Smoothie Time – 1 banana, 1/4-1/2 cup yogurt, 1/2-1 cup almond, coconut or cows milk, a couple ice cubes, flax or chia seeds. Blend it all up! Optional a spoonful of raw cacao – yum.

2.Make banana nut bread, the ole stand by.

3. Make a banana face mask or just spread the banana on your face or what is left inside the peel. It is beneficial to all skin types, full of vitamins, potassium, moisture.20160830_161135

4. Another recipe for a face mask at Bellatory

5. Use what’s left in the peel to rub on your feet and put socks on then rinse off for smoother and softer heels.. 20160830_1605116. Make Banana Nutella Muffins – oh..my..goodness these are so very good!


7. Put the peels into your compost pile to speed the break down.

8. Give the really squishy ones to your chickens.

9. Cut them up in chunks, melt semi sweet or dark chocolate in a pot with a teaspoon of coconut oil and using toothpicks or skewers, dip the banana pieces into the chocolate and set onto wax paper lined tray in freezer to harden. Then put into freezer bags.

10. Make Mini Banana Split Cheesecakes 


11. Cut up your peels and put them under the soil near your plants to make aphids leave the premises.

12. You can polish your silver with overripe banana – weird I know! And who has silver!

13. Bananas help you sleep better due to the magnesium and potassium.

14. Make a no flour dairy free breakfast cookie – delish! Banana Chocolate Chip Breakfast Cookie.

15. MY PERSONAL FAVE – I do this all the time! Banana “Fake Out” Ice Cream by Rachel Ray.  Just cut your bananas into chunks and freeze in zip lock bags and then they will be ready for this easy, peasy “fake” ice cream that is just like soft serve ice cream. I add nutella or raw cacao, sometimes honey or stevia or chopped chocolate chips.

16. Adding a ripe banana peel to a roast pan helps to tenderize a roast. Have not tried this one yet.

17. Dry out banana peels on screens during the winter months. In early spring, grind them up in a food processor or blender and use it as a mulch to give new plants and seedlings a healthy start. From Readers Digest.*

18. Attract pollinators to your garden by poking holes into the overripe bananas and setting in your garden somewhere off the ground. Watch the butterflies and bees come.🙂

19. Whiten teeth by rubbing a banana peel on your teeth, hmmmm…

20. Make a hair mask! Blend a very ripe banana or two in the blender, add a bit of water if needed and a tiny bit of olive or coconut oil. Apply to your hair, leave on for 15 minutes, might as well do your face too. Wash out with shampoo as normal.


Well that about does it! Hope you enjoyed this post and I am soooooo sorry I have not posted in over a month – yikes! Please leave a comment of what you do with your extra bananas!


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DIY Honey Face Wash

Have you ever washed your face with honey? Or do you think I made that up? Honey is good for us both inside and out. I will share some of its benefits below with the recipe.

My son has battled acne for most of his teen years. We have tried store bought soap, handmade soap from a friend, oatmeal soap and some acne liquid soaps from the store that worked a little bit then had some bad side effects on the skin. The next step was going to be purchasing one of those so called “this will cure your acne treatments” as seen on tv but I was worried about all the chemicals in those cleansers and what they would do in addition to clearing the skin.

I finally found a homemade cleanser recipe that actually started to work on him with a clearer face within a week. Now while you CAN use honey alone to help clear the pimples, this combination of ingredients seems to have a synergistic effect on the skin overall. Here is the recipe and some information about each ingredient as to how it works.

You can make this yourself or if you don’t feel like making it, I can make it for you!🙂


The Ingredients:

Raw Honey –  

  • Naturally antibacterial to help heal the acne and clear the skin.
  • It is a natural humectant, drawing moisture into the skin so great for aging skin(me).
  • It can unclog pores.

Raw Apple Cider Vinegar –

  • Contains alpha hydroxy acids that remove dead skin revealing healthier skin.
  • It nourishes the skin.
  • A natural antibacterial and antifungal to help fight pimples.

Extra Virgin Organic Coconut Oil – 

  • Anti-inflammatory – reduces the inflammation already present from the acne.
  • Antimicrobial – helping to replace the protective layer of acid on the face to keep acne away.
  • Contains Vitamin E – very helpful in healing and clearing the pores, ensures proper function of the sebum glands. * My Gram had my cousin break open the vitamin E capsules and put them oil all over her pimples each day for a week – it was a dramatic improvement by the end of the week.*

Probiotic Capsules –

Probiotics are GOOD bacteria that we need for healthy gut flora, if our gut flora is out of whack usually our skin will show it! Did you know healthy skin contains good bacteria that promotes healthy skin function whereas acne-prone skin does not?

Tea Tree Essential Oil – 

Antibacterial, Antifungal – a potent healer. Don’t overdo this oil though because it could dry out the skin too much.


DIY Honey Face Wash Recipe

  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil, melted
  • 3 Tablespoons Raw honey
  • 1 Tablespoon Raw apple cider vinegar
  • 20 drops of tea tree essential oil
  • 2 probiotic capsules, opened


Mix all of the above very well with a whisk and put into a bottle. It will make a little over 2 ounces. Use it up within a month. You could put a mild preservative in it to keep longer but it is very easy to mix up a small batch like this each month.


To use: Shake well each time before using as the coconut oil may harden in cooler weather or in the a/c. Pour a small amount into your CLEAN hands and rub gently allover your face. Ideally, keep it on your face for five minutes…just go brush your teeth or waste time, read an email or two. 5 minutes goes fast. Now take a warm wet face cloth and wipe your face clean. Rinse with warm water. Repeat this morning and evening. You will notice a difference immediately in the texture of your skin. Keep using and you will be on your way to less pimples!!






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Day 16: How Wild Foraging Can Lower The Cost Of Groceries

This gallery contains 6 photos.

Originally posted on Bella Vista Farm:
I changed topics last minute because we are far enough into this to know we are trying to be more frugal and know we need to cut back but how about some ideas you…

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Try Something New…

Try something new…Monday can be a great day to try something new that you haven’t done before.

Ok do you ever just go purchase something on a whim or do you sit and plan out every detail before making a purchase? MOST of the time I have to think about for days or weeks because me like everyone one of you, has to watch their pennies, spending only what we need and then maybe every so often we can get something really cool! A fancy night on the town? …no. A luxurious spa day?…heck no! A new book? Yeah we are on the right track! A bunch of new books at a steal – oh my gosh, I am running out the door!!!

I drug my feet, didn’t read all my emails from Ryan at the Ultimate Bundles, until today – TODAY – the LAST day of their new Ultimate Herbs & Essential Oils Bundle Sale – Ahhhhhh…. but I was not too late. I watched the cool video and saw all the amazing books and stuff in the bundle so I bought it. It was only $29 for it – I had that amount in my PayPal account – YAY!!! So r-e-a-l-l-y it is NOT a splurge but a necessity, am I right?🙂

The one book that got me, ok there were like 5 but the ones  I really want to see is Homegrown Healing, from seed to apothecary by Chris Dalziel AND Safe EO Labels – Set A by Lea Harris

Just thought I would share so if you are so inclined, please use my link below – I would appreciate it and share my link with your friends. IF you get the bundle, send me your name and email to mybellavistafarm@gmail.com and you will be entered into a drawing for a free $30 class or $30 in products from me.


Go Check out The BUNDLE!

Have a beautiful day and remember the sale is OVER in 8 hours!!!


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Calendula & Dandelion Breakfast Egg Cups

Calendula & Dandelion Breakfast Egg Cups…doesn’t that sound delicious? Last night I read a blog post from GatherVictoria.com and she had this recipe I JUST had to try!!! And you know …if you don’t do it right away, you forget all about it and it gets lost somewhere in cyberland.

I did not have every ingredient that she used so I improvised with what was growing right now!

calendula bvf

Calendula (Calendula officinalis) is growing like crazy,  I had plenty to pick from. The recipe only calls for 3 Tablespoons of petals so you can have enough from 5-6 blossoms. Even though calendula is used mainly for medicinal purposes as a vulnerary herb to heal cuts, scrapes, burns and internal wounds, it is also edible and looks beautiful in a salad or in these cute egg cups. Calendula contains antioxidants in the form of flavanoids and carotenoids(beta-carotene converts to Vitamin A).

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) – the leaves of dandelion are diuretic without removing precious potassium and they are very helpful for the liver removing toxins from the body. The green leaves are bitter, bitter is good, but don’t stress, they won’t be too bitter in this recipe!

Basil – Genovese (Ocimum basilicum) – add a lovely aromatic, sweet yet spicy flavor.

Tarragon (Artemesia dracunculus) – tasty herb that is used in fish dishes, bernaise sauce and it has a anise-like flavoring to it. I LOVE this herb!

Lambsquarters (Chenopodium album) – relative of the beloved quinoa. Otherwise known as Wild Spinach. An excellent substitution for any green that packs a punch of nutrition: Vitamin A, B1,2,3,5,6,  C, protein, iron, manganese, magnesium and more! It does contain oxalic acid so you don’t want to eat a ton of this everyday. Oxalic acid can cause kidney stones if you are prone to these.


Gold ole garlic and onions!

This is soooo easy and add anything else you like, be creative, invent a new egg cup!

Recipe for Calendula & Dandelion Breakfast Egg Cups

  • 6 eggs, beaten

  • splash of half and half

  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 Tablespoons fresh dandelion leaves, chopped

  • 1 Tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped

  • 3 Tablespoons fresh lambsquarters, chopped

  • 3 Tablespoons fresh calendula petals

  • 1 garlic clove, chopped

  • 1/4 large onion, chopped

  • pinch himalayan sea salt

  • black pepper to taste

  • 1/3 cup fresh mozzarella crumbled or feta

Wash you fresh eggs and beat them in a bowl with the cream.


Saute onion on med low for a few minutes til soft, add the garlic and the greens. Cook just 1-2 minutes.


Add fresh calendula petals and cheese to eggs. Add the greens mixture, salt and pepper. Mix up.


Grease a muffin tin – grease it a lot, mine stuck!!!

Pour your mixture into the tin, mine filled 11 cups. Bake in a preheated oven at 350o for 20 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes or so and eat them up!


You can freeze the leftovers for a fast breakfast, just defrost in the fridge and reheat in the oven(wrap in foil or a covered dish).

They taste wonderful!!!






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