Sunday, November 29, 2020

Busy times at Backyard Patch Herbs - Advent Calendar Announcement

I have announced the coming of the Advent Calendar in my newsletter, but not here on my Blog.  About a year ago we migrated our website from one provider to another and the new provider has the ability to craft as many pages as I want and I have been having fun finally posting the product related recipes I have tried to figure out how to post so people could search for them easily. 

In my work I found my old website postings of Advent Calendars and decided it was time to do that again.  I posted items on Facebook a few years ago, but nothing as organized as I was back in 2010- thru 2014.  Here are the links to the postings that were collected onto a single page for each year on an old website.





No Advent done in 2015 thru 2019

In 2020, I gathered new ideas and recipes to share and will be doing so on the website.  Each day beginning today, Nov 29, 2020, you will have the opportunity to read a recipe, craft idea, decoration tip or gift suggestion all related to herbs.  Since so many people are staying home for the holiday, we tried to find recipes and gift ideas one could make at home as well.

Short History of Advent Calendars

There are many types of calendars used in different countries. The most common ones in the UK and USA are made of paper or card with 24 or 25 little windows on. A window is opened on every day in December and a Christmas picture is displayed underneath.

In the 19th Century, German protestant Christians counted down to Christmas by marking 24 chalk lines on a door and rubbing one off every day in December.

Paper calendars were first popular in Germany in the early 1900s, although people made their own  from the 1850s. There's a debate about exactly where and when the first mass produced calendar was printed but it was in the first decade of the 1900s. The most famous and popular early maker of printed Advent calendars was a German printer called Gerhard Lang. His first calendars consisted of two sheets, a 'back' piece of card with the numbers 1 to 24 printed on it and a separate sheet of pictures which you could cut out and stick onto the numbers each day. The first calendars with 'doors' were made in Germany in the 1920s. During World War II, the production of Advent calendars in Europe stopped due to a shortage of cardboard.

When they were first made, scenes from the Christmas Story and other Christmas images were used, such as snowmen and robins, but now many calendars are made in the themes of toys, television programs and sports clubs. The first record of an Advent calendar, in the UK, was in 1956.

The first calendar with chocolate in it was made in 1958; and in the UK Cadbury's made their first chocolate calendar in 1971. However, they didn't sell very many to start with. Chocolate calendars really only became popular in the 1980s.

Some European countries such as Germany use a wreath of fir with 24 bags or boxes hanging from it. In each box or bag there is a little present for each day. Pinterest is covered with great ideas for making Advent countdown decorations.  I started a tradition back in 2011 of posting Advent recipes and activities.  I posted them on my, now defunct, website and on Facebook. This year I thought it might be nice to go back to using my website, so this year I will be posting them beginning November 29th.  

Each day I will have an activity or recipe that one can make.  Many will focus on gift giving and all will use herbs and spices. Since it has been almost decade since our original Advent calendar, we will bring back a few of the popular recipes from our original postings.

You can find the Advent Calendar, which will be updated daily – on our website  then just click on the Advent Calendar link at the top of the website home page.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Bubble Bath Cookies - Bath Blend of the Month

 As we get into the holiday cookie baking season I thought I would share a cookie you can use in the bath instead of to increase your calorie intake.  They also make great gifts if you package a bunch of cookies in a box or clear bag.  Just make sure you label them "not for human consumption," because no one wants their mouth washed out with soap!

Bubble Bath Cookie

1 cup Baking Soda

1/2 cup citric acid

1 Tablespoon lavender buds or crushed peppermint candies

2 oz. liquid castile soap

1 oz cocoa butter, melted

1 oz shea butter, melted

few drops of essential oil


Melt your Cocoa Butter and Shea Butter over water in a sauce pan or double boiler.  Once they are melted, remove from heat and add the castile soap.  Stir to keep everything liquid. Combine all of your dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Pour your Cocoa Butter and Shea Butter into your dry mixture, if you want this scented you can add a few drops of essential oil in any scent you desire. Mix until well combined. You want your mixture to hold its shape when pressed into a ball about 1 inch in diameter. Press the balls into a rounded flat cookie shape on wax paper or press into a silicone mold as tightly as you can. Allow to set overnight. Remove from molds and continue to dry for another 24 hours.  Decorate with lavender flowers, rose petals and sugar. Wrap for later use.

TO USE: Place one cookie in bath and allow to dissolve.  Enjoy a nice relaxing fizzing bubble bath.

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