February 2014

Happy February!

II know, I know, this winter has been relentless, but spring is less than seven weeks away! Spring, glorious spring – cleansing, new beginnings, longer and warmer days. Yes! Yes! Yes! And speaking of new beginnings… we are so happy to finally announce the launch of our new website!  My son, Andrew, designed the site, and we love it. He and Jessie Jury have put a lot of effort into bringing this to fruition.  They’ve had a lot of unforeseen challenges but I think you will agree it has been worth the wait. I’d love to hear what you think on our Facebook page. Thank you, Andrew and Jessie!

Our annual Walk for Faye’s Light will be the Sunday after Mother’s Day, May 18th, and our annual Plant Sale will be Mother’s Day weekend, Friday the 9th and Saturday the 10th. More details will follow soon.

Lastly, our family is anxiously awaiting the arrival of our first grandchild, a boy, due on February 12th to my son, Jeff, and his wife, Katie. This will be the first grandchild born into Katie’s family as well. Please say a prayer for a healthy and smooth delivery. Thank you!

Thanks for taking the time to read our newsletter. I hope this finds you and your loved ones healthy and happy. Winter blessings to all… Vicky 

Recipe Corner

By Vicky Weis

I love this vegetable stew; it’s filling, delicious, and nutritious… the perfect winter stew!  Don’t let the saffron threads scare you. Many supermarkets package their own spices, allowing you to buy small amounts of your needed spice. You can serve this alone with a green salad and maybe a great loaf of hearty bread, or you can serve it over rice or polenta. Let me know what you think.

Slow Cooker Root Vegetable Stew Recipe

By Jill Santopietro as posted on chow.com


Difficulty: Easy | Total Time: 30 mins, plus 3 1/2 hrs cooking time | Makes: 6 to 8 servings

When slowly cooked, root vegetables morph into sweet deliciousness. Use vegetable (or mushroom) broth here, and you’ve got a hearty, vegan, and gluten-free dinner.



1/4 cup olive oil

2 medium yellow onions, large dice

Kosher salt

1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger

1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Pinch saffron threads

Freshly ground black pepper

1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes (about 3 large), large dice

1 pound carrots (about 4 to 5 medium), peeled and large dice

1 pound parsnips (about 4 medium), peeled and large dice

3 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth

2 pounds sugar baby pumpkin or butternut squash (about 1 small), peeled, seeded, and large dice

1 pound sweet potatoes (about 2 medium), peeled and large dice

1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed (about 1 1/2 cups)

1/2 cup golden raisins, also known as sultanas

1 bunch spinach, trimmed and washed (about 4 cups loosely packed)

1 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar, plus more as needed




Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions and a pinch of salt and cook over medium heat until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the ginger, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, cayenne, saffron, and a pinch of pepper and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Transfer the mixture to a slow cooker, add the potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and broth, season with salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Cover and cook on high for 1 1/2 hours.

Add the pumpkin or squash, sweet potatoes, chickpeas, and raisins, season with salt, and stir to combine. Cover and continue to cook on high until a knife easily pierces the vegetables, about 2 hours more, stirring after 1 hour. Add the spinach and gently mix (do not over mix). Let sit until wilted. Gently stir in the vinegar, taste, and season with more salt, pepper, and vinegar as needed.


Aromatherapy Corner

By Vicky Weis

I live in a southern suburb of Chicago. It has been a brutal winter, as my skin will attest to. This month I want to share a few tips that will help us make it to spring. The essential oils listed are just a suggestion… feel free to substitute with your favorites. All of the recipes cost pennies to make and they will make you feel wonderful. The challenge is taking the time to actually do it. You deserve it. I hope you will try them.

·       Run a warm bath that you’ve added a couple tablespoons or so of coconut oil to. When the bath is full, try adding 5 drops of carrot seed oil, 4 drops of bergamot e/o, and 4 drops of lavender e/o. Swish the oils around with your hands; grab a cup of tea or a glass of wine, light a candle, dim the lights, and climb in. Try to soak for at least 15-20 minutes to allow the coconut oil and essential oils to share their best with you. Lightly towel dry and finish your damp skin with a light massage of sesame or jojoba oil (other oils work well too!). You will love this.

·       For a refreshing body toner, boil 2 cups of water, remove from heat and pour into a spray bottle. Add 2-ounces apple cider vinegar and 20 drops of rosemary e/o. Shake gently and mist your body.  This is great on your damp skin, before you massage in your moisturizing oil. I like to keep this refrigerated.

·       For your face: first cleanse, then do a facial steam by heating water to almost a boil. Pour that into a glass (non-porous) bowl, add 3-4 drops of your favorite essential oil/s and use a towel to drape over your head while you breathe in the steam vapors. Try to do this for 5-10 minutes. Next splash your face a few times with cold water (this feels really good) and follow with a toner. Then apply a mask of pure, preferably organic, honey to your face and throat. Leave this on for at least an hour (yes, it can be messy, but so???), rinse with warm water followed by the cold water splashes. Tone again and finish with your favorite serum, moisturizer, and eye cream.

·       For your hands: Warm 1-ounce almond oil in a small bowl. Add 2 drops of lavender e/o, 2 drops of rosewood essential oil, and 2 drops of lemon e/o. Let your fingertips soak in the mixture for about 10 minutes. Massage the mixture into your cuticles, and then massage the remaining oil into your hands and arms. You could also massage some onto your toenails.

·       For your feet: Fill a basin with enough warm water to cover your feet. Add ¼ cup Epsom Salt, a tablespoon of coconut oil along with 5 drops of juniper e/o, 3 drops of rosemary e/o, and 2 drops of lavender oil. Soak for 10-20 minutes and finish with your favorite lotion or carrier oil.

The Pet*Alchemist

By Joan Clark 

I don’t know about your pets and how they have been responding to the cold weather in your area - but our pets have been having a hard time.  Our cats are edgy and whining and our dog is depressed and sad.  Each of them missing their connection to nature, their routines and the scents and smells they love to explore.

Their reactions are similar to the way I respond when I feel I have been trapped in one space for way too long.  I too need to get out and be a part of the human life force - to the web of life again.  For our pets that web of life is nature and the scents and smells that link them to and with it.

All animals need that dose of connection through their sense of smell. It is their way of communicating to the world around them.  Catching a good whiff of what is happening in the neighborhood is what can get those tails wagging, their energy moving and their hearts pumping.

Since our pet’s sense of smell is thousands of times more sensitive than our own, it is important to keep their olfactory system stimulated thereby keeping the immune system healthy as well.

Here at the Pet*Alchemist we believe some aromatic alchemy infused into the environment may be the perfect solution.

By diffusing essential oils into your environment daily you can help elevate your pet's mood and add that olfactory stimulation that may soothe the blues that cabin fever can invoke.

Our suggestions of essential oils are: Fir Balsam, Black Spruce, Pine and Cedarwood Atlas.  All beautiful scents from trees and all excellent for purifying the environment and strengthening the immune system as well.

One of the best way to diffuse the essential oils for your pets during these moments of isolation is through creating an aromatic pet mist that you can use on them, around them, and also on their bedding or toys. You can use these essential oils as a collective or just choose one that smells the most like the environment where you live.

When it’s too cold for a walk, for your pet to play in the back yard or meander around their favorite park help them reconnect to the scents of the earth by creating a little olfactory stimulation through the creation of some aromatic alchemy.  

Remember what we say here at the Pet*Alchemist - “only the best for our pets!”

Cabin Fever Pet Mist

In a 4 oz Spray Bottle add:


1/3 ounce eucalyptus globulus hydrosol

4 drops of black spruce essential oil

3 drops of pine essential oil

5 drops of fir balsam

10 drops of cedarwood atlas

4 drops of eucalyptus globulus

1 tablespoon of aloe vera


Fill bottle with spring water. Shake Well and mist away.

Sweet Serenity

By Patricia Fares- O'Malley, Ph.D     

As human beings, we have understood that Sound is a powerful force for transmitting information.  Since ancient times, man has used sound to communicate with each other and their environment and also to heal. Yes, heal!

In the New Testament, John writes  "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (John 1:1). Was the Word - a Sound?   Interestingly enough,many modern scientists seem to agree that the Universe was created by none other than… The Big Bang!  A Bang is definitely a Sound!  So what is this connection between Sound and matter - the stuff of the Universe? 

We have all learned that atoms make up everything in the Universe.  And we know that atoms are made up of electrons that speed around the nucleus of the atom.  When electrons travel around and around so swiftly they create a pulse of energy.  These pulsations of energy move so fast that they then form a wave!  Now, our eyes can see this wave.  We perceive this visible wave as form or matter.   So, everything that we see, touch, feel, hear or smell is actually just waves of energy (vibrations) that are formed when the electrons spin rapidly around the atoms that make up matter!  And we perceive this matter as solid form!   Now, here's where Sound comes in - sound is created by pulse, wave and form! This means that literally every atom makes a sound - whether we can hear it or not - the sound is there!  If our ears had the capacity to hear subtle sound or high frequencies, we might be able to hear what things sound like. ( Ever wonder what a coffee table sounds like?  I guess it would depend on what it was made from, right?)

Considering that our physical bodies are made up of atoms - then we begin to see how it can be true that our bodies actually sing!  (Is that what we mean when we say, " He marches to his own tune?")   Every molecule, cell, tissue, organ, gland, bone and liquid in our body has its own rate of vibration or sound!  So it pulsates, beats, vibrates into an electromagnetic field of energy around us that can be perceived by others on some level - even if we don't actually 'hear' it.   ( Have you ever met someone and just didn't like their vibe?)

Now, vibration rate or how fast something is vibrating, pulsing, and beating is called resonance.  And sympathetic resonance is a powerful phenomenon that causes one vibrating thing to resonate or vibrate in harmony with another thing.  So, its like sitting at a stoplight when the car next to you has its radio playing loudly and you can feel the loud beating bass vibrating in your own car and even in your body.  Another example is the phenomenon of  an opera singer who hits a note that can break a glass.  In other words, when one thing begins to vibrate in a certain way, the things around it begin to harmoniously pick up that same vibration!

And this is how sound can heal us!   When we are ill it's usually because some part of us is out of sync with itself - not vibrating at its optimum rate.  The atoms and electrons are not working efficiently for some reason.   This is sometimes referred to as dissonance.  So, if we are ill and in dissonance (out of sync with a healthy vibration) then, we can use sound to create a resonance ( matching harmonious vibration) to help heal ourselves.

Acoustic instruments like singing bowls, gongs, chimes, drums, etc. can bring a deep change in vibration within our bodies - but truly the best instrument is the sound of our voice.   This is why the Hindu tradition uses the sound of OM.  As it vibrates in the body, it is said to bring harmony to all parts of it.  So, sing a song to yourself and see how you feel.  I know, I know… many people say they can't sing and hate the sound of their own singing voice - but it doesn't have to be a real song.  Hum to yourself, instead.  Let yourself feel the vibration flowing through your body.  Set your intention to focus on a particular part of your body that is feeling ill or unwell and hum - use the vibration of your voice along with your intention to send love to that part of the body - then check how you feel.  If you let yourself do this for awhile - even a short while - you'll notice a difference in yourself.  

However, if it still feels silly to you to hum yourself into feeling better - then let yourself be bathed in your favorite music. Play music and set your intention to send that beautiful music to your disharmonious body parts - the ill parts.  It actually doesn't matter what kind of music you play - usually it would be something that soothes and calms you - but sometimes good jazz or rock and roll can really spark your energy and get you going again! 

Come on!  Have fun with it.  Play all sorts of sounds that make you feel better - laughter works, so does the sound of children's voices… it doesn't have to be just music!  Experiment! Be creative! Be bold! Try it!

Remember, surrounding yourself with sympathetic resonance you'll find that your body will thank you!

Sending you love... like music to your ears...

Ingalls Expands Infusion Services in Tinley Park; Adds Infusion Center to Flossmoor

By Debra Robbins, Ingalls Memorial Hospital

Ingalls Memorial Hospital is pleased to announce that is has completed a major expansion of its outpatient infusion services.

There are now 12 chairs in the renovated infusion center site in Tinley Park and another 12 in the newly constructed, customized site of Ingalls Outpatient Infusion Center in Flossmoor. The adjacent offices of Primary Health Oncology also were expanded, offering seamless coordination of patient care.

Now, in addition to the infusion services utilized by cancer patients, all other patients who require infusion therapy can receive state-of-the-art care provided by skilled professionals in a comfortable environment that includes warm blankets, Internet service and individual flat-screen TVs.

“Dozens of conditions from anemia to ulcerative colitis require that medication be administered by infusion therapy (liquids given through an intravenous drip method),” explained Director Dorene Albright. “Services include blood transfusions, IV antibiotic therapies, hydration and electrolyte replacement, and many others.”

All sites offer an on-site lab and pharmacy, free parking, and assistance with billing and insurance verification questions. Cancer Clinical Research nurses are available for consultations and monitoring as needed.

“With added capacity and three sites, our nurses can work with every physician and patient to find the most convenient schedule and location,” Albright said. “Ingalls infusion therapy team works seamlessly with all referring physicians, whether or not they are on the Ingalls Medical Staff, to ensure that medications are delivered safely and efficiently.”

For more information, call 708.915.5032.

Journaling to Better Health

By Jessie Jury