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Infusing oils or vinegars with the scents and flavors of herbs is simple to do, while adding new dimensions.

On Christmas morning, my girls are playing with their gifts from the night before. My son has traveled to visit with relatives, so I am enjoying the girls only. The first item that Katya wants to experience is the soap making kit. We open it up, and we begin to experiment. As the morning meanders on, the little ones paint, create jewelry, and make music. For some reason, it dawns on me ear lunch that my wife and I have given them presents revolving around crafts. The soap has cooled, so we remove it from the form, and my wife quizzes Katya on how did we make the soap. My daughter understands the basics of the process. She loves the fragrance, and we talk about creating more scents with herbs from the garden.
    Making an infused oil is truly a simple process. The essences made with alcohol are a bit trickier, but using oil is a matter of mixing the oil and herbs together. I have heard that you need olive oil or safflower oil for the process; however, I use any oil that I have on hand. That oil is usually olive oil in my home, yet I have used canola oil. When making an oil for cooking, I use a few sprigs of the herb in the oil. After a day, the oil as a good flavor for cooking. If I want the oil for a punch of flavor to drizzle over the meal, I blend a larger amount of the herbs with the oil, then I strain out the herbs after the oil has sat for an hour. Now that I am making soap with my daughter, we will be looking for oil as scent. We pack the herbs into the jar and the oil is poured over it. Again we wait one day. The flowers of the antique rose are used for their fragrance as well. If you are curious about why this works, the oils in the herbs and flowers are attracted to the oil being used.
     The process for creating a flavored vinegar is the same. I like gently heating the vinegar that I am flavoring with the whole spices that I am using, and then adding the herbs when it is cooling. I mention the vinegar here, because you can create a cleaner for your home that has the fragrance you want. Vinegar is a great organic cleaner. For health reasons, many choose to use vinegar over bleach and ammonia. Personally, I feel that people use too much bleach and ammonia when cleaning. Vinegar works well as a cleaner, but you do have that strong smell, which is not popular. Infusing the scent of herbs into the vinegar comes to the rescue. Need a lemon scent? Well here is my lemon grass or lemon balm to aid us. Bay leaves, roses, or thymes may be your preference. You can even incorporate cedar if you want a cleaner with an insect repellent quality. When used as a cleaner, strain your scents out of the vinegar.
    I like the fact that my children are growing up learning about the uses of plants. If I tell my daughter that I have no money to buy her something, she spots a bank on our drive, and she informs me that we can stop at the money machine. There is a disconnect in this instance. If I talk about making a meal, she understands that the vegetables are coming from the garden. She knows how we worked to make the plants grow. She understands how we harvested a vegetable for the meal. We have made pasta and bread from scratch. There is no disconnect. With more involvement in craft projects, she is seeing how more household goods are made.