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Friday, October 19, 2018

A Visit To Leach Botanical Gardens

Summer used to be my favorite time of year in the Pacific Northwest. When my son was in school we would plan vacations for the first week he was out so we would be home and in town for the majority of the summer. Once he graduated and we started vacationing without him, we planned our out of town trips in October.

Lately, with our summer days being routinely 90 degrees or more, autumn and particularly October, is looking like it's now my favorite time of year in Portland!

With beautiful sunny skies and 70 degree weather for the past week, we took Sunday to visit the Leach Botanical Gardens in SE Portland for the first time.

The garden has a rich history having been donated to the City upon the death of it's owners, John and Lilla Leach.

The gardens are free of charge to visit (at least we didn't pay and didn't see anywhere to pay.)

I've included a few photos of our visit. Enjoy!

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Looking up to the tree tops and sky.

Although the garden was referred to as Sleepy Hollow by it's owners, the place reminded me of the Shire. I kept expecting to see Hobbits running around.









The sign says 'Ferns' but there's not a fern in sight here.






I had to sneak up on this dinosaur so not to scare it.

A droopy, dead sunflower marks the end of summer for sure.


Friday, October 5, 2018

A Healthy, Easy Ingredient Substitution

I get a lot of promotional emails. Most of them I delete, however there are a select few I look at. That's how I stumbled on this great ingredient that you can use to substitute butter or oil in your baking recipes.

New-Fashioned Chocolate Chip Cookies With All Tahini & No Butter
image from Food52

The image above stopped me in my tracks when I saw it in my email box one morning. My only thought was "I'M GOING TO GET ME SOME OF THOSE COOKIES IN MY MOUTH!"

Even better, these cookies were made with tahini instead of butter! Tahini is made from ground, hulled sesame seeds and can be found usually by the peanut butter in most grocery stores. It's lower in fat if you get the kind made with raw seeds rather than roasted. If you've had hummus before then you've had tahini as it's listed as an ingredient.

The best part though is tahini is quite healthy. It's a great source of calcium, magnesium and omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. It's also vegan, if you swing that way. Compared to peanut butter, tahini has higher levels of calcium and fiber and lower levels of sugar and fatty acids.

And the cookies? Yes, I made them and they are (were) FREAKING AMAZING! Even better than the Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookies everyone has made. Way better. They're soft and chewy even after sitting in the cookie jar a couple days.

I know, you want the recipe. Ok, here's the link. Now, go grab yourself some tahini and make these and the next time you're baking and your recipe calls for oil or butter, reach for tahini and substitute it one for one instead.

Friday, September 7, 2018

New And Sure To Be A Favorite!

Good day and a quick check in to announce the debut of a new goats' milk soap from Lora's Beauty!

Introducing Spearmint Loofah! A clean, refreshing bar with a piece of loofah embedded in it for exfoliating dry, dead skin.

You're sure to fall in love with the awakening scent of spearmint but don't overlook the skin benefits of this essential oil. It's anti-fungal properties will help calm most rashes and acne and it has a nice cooling, relaxing feel on the skin.

A dusting of blue mica is added; you may feel as though you've stepped into a seaside vacation!

Grab a few bars and enjoy a little luxury in your life!

Friday, August 10, 2018

Website Updates!

Good news! Google has enabled custom URLs for personal google sites!

Remember this post where I unveiled my new Lora's Beauty website? Well, good news, you can now access it by typing lorasbeauty.com in the address bar. No redirect necessary.

So, as promised in my previous post, Lora's Beauty is having a sale to celebrate!! Starting now until Labor Day order at least FIVE all-natural, skin moisturizing, herb infused, essential oil scented bars and get one free! In addition, if you order over $30 you'll get FREE SHIPPING (discounts taken automatically!) Oh yea, it's your birthday, it's your birthday! 


We're clearing out the stock to make way for some major holiday soap making and celebrating the new look so click on over to the NEW WEBSITE , order some while supplies last and add a review to share the Lora's Beauty love.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Outdoor Aviary

We knew when we got our birds, Ed and Olive the cockatiels, and Harlan the grey parrot, that we wanted them to fly and experience the outdoors. So it was only a matter of time before we started thinking about outdoor aviaries.


We have a very small yard and when we started to look into outdoor aviaries it was apparent that finding a place to put one wasn't going to be easy. We also had specific requirements we wanted which were hard to meet with an already built aviary.

We wanted an aviary that could easily break down and store in the winter. We also required a double door so moving in and out of the aviary would not pose an opportunity for the birds to fly out. Lastly, we needed stainless steel or galvanized stainless steel mesh that was small enough for the cockatiels.

After many Google and Amazon searches, we decided the best solution was to build one and to build it under the maple tree along the front pathway. Right there where Jeff is sitting.

The first step towards building the aviary required the removal of the stones, leveling the ground, and installing pavers.

We placed weed barrier fabric on the ground then sand and gravel, and the pavers over that. We used fairly large pavers to minimize the cracks so the aviary had a sturdy surface.

Using 2 X 2s that were 8 feet long, we built 9 panels that made up the aviary's sides, doors, and roof.

We primed and painted the panels so they would withstand the weather better.

Jeff found a place on the internet that sold a large roll of after weld galvanized steel mesh that met our needs. It was delivered on a large truck and yes, it was heavy.

The mesh was cut and stapled to the panels overlapping the edges to secure it even better as Harlan could most certainly pull out staples. The panels were then bolted together.

The aviary was Jeff's design and he did most the work. It consumed the better part of two weekends and the Fourth of July holiday to make.

Naturally, the birds love it!

Come October, once it starts raining, we can unbolt the panels and store them in the garage.

Right now, while the weather's nice, these caged birds are enjoying the outdoors!

Friday, June 29, 2018

Summer

With the official start of summer happening last week, I thought I catch you up on what's going on around here.

I'm still loving my new pellet grill! For Father's Day I tried my hand at smoked salmon!

It cooked for several hours on the grill at 180 degrees and the result was spectacular! I used this recipe for the marinade.

I also pulled out the old Spirilizer and made a new take on the ever popular caprese salad.

To three sprilized zucchinis I added cherry tomatoes, basil, and fresh mozzarella pieces. For a dressing, I used a tiny amount of olive oil and vinegar with some sea salt flakes.

In other news, the birds are all doing well and will soon be even more spoiled! We're in the process of making an outdoor aviary for them. Olive is overcome with joy about it, just look at that smile!

We've leveled the ground, put some pavers down, and are now awaiting the arrival of the very special, galvanized after-weld wire mesh.

This weekend we hope to get the 2 X 2s and start building it.

Also this weekend I will be replenishing my stock of Pine Tar Goats' Milk Soap as this was an unexpected popular addition.

Hopefully, if I have time, I've got a new bar I've been wanting to make for a while with embedded loofah!

The new Lora's Beauty website is up and running and I've added a redirect to it from the old site. That means if you go to www.lorasbeauty.com you will automatically be redirected to the new site. Please take a look, share the site on social media, and leave a review, oh and place an order if you're in need of some awesome, skin-loving goats' milk soap!

Lora's Beauty ships free with orders over $30 (in the US.)

For those celebrating, have a great Fourth of July. I'll leave you with a photo I took from the Eagle Creek Lavender Festival last weekend.

Get out there and enjoy summer!

Friday, June 1, 2018

Memorial Day Visit to the Portland Japanese Garden

Monday we took a visit to the Portland Japanese Garden. What follows are some photos I took of the garden and the International Rose Test Garden across the street.










Lora's Beauty ships free with orders over $30 (in the US.)