Merry Christmas! 🎄

This picture was taken at the church near my sister’s house.

Today during a group with my patients, one patient, Angel, said that on Christmas, they eat a birthday cake that says, “Happy Birthday Jesus.” I thought that was such a touching gesture of faith.

For those who celebrate, enjoy your special day!

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Semi-Off Topic: DIY Detox Bath Salts

DIY Detox Bath Salts

For obvious reasons, giving gifts on Christmas is not something that comes naturally to me.

Although Chanukah and Christmas both occur around the same time of year, they are each unique holidays with their own rituals, aesthetic beauty and spiritual relevance.

Growing up, we did receive and give presents during Hanukkah, but it was never in mass quantities that people seem to receive today.

Chanukkah card that I made this year with Yaffa’s art.

Consequently, this time of year is sometimes a struggle for me.

I do want to express my appreciation and gratitude to the people who help me, and create cheerfulness and comradery with the people I work with. But, I do not want to succumb to the conspicuous consumption and rampant materialism that I often see going on around me.

My solution is to create DIY gifts which are both personal and practical.

This year, I felt inspired to make DIY Detox Bath Salts.

It is surprisingly fast, easy, all natural and even relatively economical to make. The trick is to make a nice presentation to doll it up.

In the back of my mind, I wanted to give the bath salts in a urine cups and specimen bag and label this DIY Detox (not U-tox) Bath Salts. When I told the other nurses I work with about it, we all laughed.

This is the gift presentation that I did not make:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

However, I decided to play it safe and give the bath salts in a small mason jar with a nice label and a colorful ribbon.

Ingredients

2 parts salt: Epsom salt, Himalayan salt, Magnesium Chloride, Dead Sea Salt

½ part baking soda

Optional: ¼ part bentonite clay

Optional: ¼ – ½ part finely ground oatmeal.

Note: I would categorize the bentonite clay and oatmeal with the baking soda. Otherwise, it might not dissolve as well.

Optional: 20-30 drops essential oils of your choice.  I used lavender, which is my favorite!

Optional: food or soap coloring. I did not use any coloring.

Optional: Cinnamon, ginger or tumeric could also be used to give it some colour and additional therapeutic properties, but, I am not sure if they would dissolve properly. Then, you might have to wash out the tub, which is something that I do not find relaxing.

Instructions:

In a large bowl, mix to combine the salts and baking soda. Add essential oils and stir until well-blended.

The appearance of the Bath Salts can be changed by adding a few drops of food coloring to the salt mixture until you reach the desired shade you would like.

If anyone would like to make their own natural food dyes, here is a great link.

This recipe can be easily scaled up, which I did to make lots of gifts for everyone.

It is not very colourful, but here is the picture of the bath salts in the large jar I used to mix up everything in.

Without dye, the only colour came from the Himalayan salt.

I also added Silica Gel Packs to prevent the salts from sticking together. It really helped!

Here are the various ways I tried to present the gifts so that they seemed festive and personalized:

Overall, the gifts were very well received. Even the men I work with wanted some despite the fact that it smelled like lavender.  Next time, to make it more unisex, I might use patchouli oil.

I got very creative and below are various samples of labels one can use:

 

 

 

Happy Holidays everyone!

 

Happy Holidays Everyone!

This year, for the first time in many years, Chanukah and Christmas both coincide with each other.

Today is the first day of Chanukah and it is also Christmas Day.

 

Originally, this was going to be the Chanukah holiday greeting for my blog:

Yaffa's art project.

Yaffa’s art project.

However, last night, we went to visit my sister, Raizel. We celebrated the first night of Chanukah together — we lite the candles, made doughnuts, sang songs and played with dreidels.

Traditionally, this holiday is celebrated by eating foods cooked in oil to celebrate the miracle of the oil which lasted for 8 days.  My sister is a fabulous cook and baker. She can pretty well do anything in the kitchen! I am hoping to post her recipe and the pictures later.

My sister’s neighborhood is a mix of many faiths and people from all over the world. Since it was also Christmas Eve, and she lives near a Church, everyone, Jewish and Christian, was out celebrating and immersed in the holiness of their celebration.

Just for fun, I thought I would post a few pictures.

Beautiful lights!

A view from the street.

Outside of a local church.

A different view from the inside.

 

Happy holidays everyone!

Shabbat in 2 Hours — Baked Apples

shabbat-cat

I love cats. I couldn’t resist.



Shabbat in 2 Hours — Baked Apples

I hesitate to call this an actual recipe. However, my friend Malka introduced me to baked apples for Shabbat. It is even faster and easier than my fruit compote, and I bake them while I have everything else in the oven.

Ingredients:

Apples, cut in half, and seeds removed

cinnamon

Instructions:

Cut apples in half and remove the core and any other blemishes. Lightly spray oil the pan and sprinkle cinnamon over the bottom. Add apples, cut side down.

Bake in 350* – 375* oven until done. The house will smell heavenly!


Enjoy!

Just for fun, I thought I would post this.

shabbat-coke-image

Many blessings to all for a beautiful shabbat.

Saturday night begins the first night of Channuka and Christmas Eve. Happy holidays everyone!


Love,

Carol and family.

Off topic: Merry Christmas and Gifts For The Holidays 

 

I was struggling to find the right picture for a Christmas greeting. This picture was actually given to me today by a patient’s daughter. I liked it so much that I asked her if she would let me post it as a greeting card. K, generously agreed. Thank you K!

As I have shared, I work in geriatric psychiatry. Everyday my patients share with me the gift of their wisdom and a beautiful depth of perspective. 

In their honor, I wanted to share my gifts to them for the holidays this year.

This year, I gave them the pictures below, laminated.

  
 

This picture was taken at sunset, which I thought was a nice metaphor for my patients.

 

This was based on many of the discussions we have in our group. I am often astounded by the depth and wisdom of my patients. I wish I could record them!

Happy holidays to all!

Enjoy!

Reference: 

Rabbi Nachman of Breslov. The Gentle Weapon: Prayers For Every Day And Not So Every Day Moments: Timeless Wisdom From The Teachings Of The Hassidic Master (1999) Jewish Lights Publishing; Woodstock Vermont.
Here is a link to the book, which I highly recommend: