Monday, October 31, 2011

Herbal Healing Clay {Cuts, Scrapes, and Pimples}

The benefits of clay have been understated for decades. However, use of medicinal clay goes all the way back to prehistoric, ancient times. Green clay in particular is extremely rich in minerals and it is a superb healing agent. Due to it's absorbent properties, green clay has the ability to clean and detoxify the skin. As a soothing, healing paste for cuts, scrapes, sprains, insect bites, minor burns, and pimples, green clay mixed with powdered herbs can be made into a poultice and applied directly to the affected area. The healing clay works in these afflictions by drawing out the infection.

Herbal Healing Clay

Gather the ingredients:
-1/2 cup green clay
-1/8 cup organic goldenseal root powder, or Oregon grape root powder
-1/8 cup aloe vera powder
-1/8 cup comfrey root powder

Measure and add all ingredients to jar.

Stir mixture with chopstick, apply lid tightly to jar, and shake jar gently to completely combine. Store dry contents in jar on the shelf.

To use, add a small amount of powder mixture, enough for treatment, to the palm of your hand.

Add water.

Only enough to make a paste.

Apply directly to wound.


-If using healing clay to treat pimples mix 1 teaspoon of powder mixture, 12 drops of tea tree oil, and 12 drops of grapefruit seed extract in the palm of your hand. Apply to blemishes at night, then rinse off with warm water in the morning.

-For guidelines on how to prepare a poultice for larger wounds click this link and scroll to the end of the article. This link is also a great resource for how long to leave clay on affected area prior to washing off. Generally, you should leave the clay in place for 20 minutes to a few hours. Most important thing, is to listen to your body.

-This is an excellent remedy! Very safe and effective when used for children and teens!

Please leave us a comment sharing how you are using herbal remedies in topical treatments.

I purchased the ingredients used in this recipe online at Mountain Rose Herbs and The Soap Dish.

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You can find this post and a host of others like it here: Fat Tuesday, New Nostalgia, Handmade Tuesday, Patchwork Living Bee, Teach Me Tuesday, Frugal Tuesday Tip, Under $10 Tuesday, Whatever Wednesday, Healthy 2Day Wednesday, Homemaking Wednesday, Living Well, Wicked Awesome, It's A Keeper, Simple Lives Thrusday, Herbal Healing Clay, DIY Diva, Friday Favorites, SNS 106, Weekend Bloggy Reading, Spa Sundaze, Nifty Thrifty Things, Homestead Barn Hop
, Inspire Me Monday, More the Merrier, Monday Mania

DISCLAIMER: The statements made here have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. These statements are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure or prevent any disease. This notice is required by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

Cultivating Herbal Friendships

Sunday, October 30, 2011

All-Natural Antimicrobial/Disinfecting Sprays

Summer is long over and the beautiful days of fall are making their final transition to winter. Most are preparing for the hibernation of the coming months. It is during this time, when the windows are all closed and the cleansing breeze is no more, that our homes seem to become a breeding ground for germs.

But never seems as though there are hundreds of products on the market advertising to kill any and all germs (can you sense my sarcastic tone). They are laden with synthetic chemicals, such as Triclosan, that are now known to cause the development of "superbugs." Superbugs are germs that have become resistant to antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiseptic cleaning agents and medicinal antibiotics. Using such products only contributes to the overgrowth of these superbugs and is especially dangerous in areas where there are children, the elderly or sick people.

Be encouraged! There are many things you can do to keep you home disinfected and your family healthy. In addition to herbal immune system builders (i.e. Elderberry Syrup/Tinctures, Cold-Kicker Remedy, and supplemental vitamins and minerals) you can kill germs for pennies on the dollar with these homemade antibacterial/disinfecting sprays.

During the time of the Black Plague, this recipe was developed and used as protection by doctors treating the sick.

Herbal Antimicrobial Spray

-1 part Lavender
-1 part Thyme
-1 part Sage
-1 part Mint
-1 part Rosemary
*Using fresh herbs is always better (However, that may be difficult this time of year.)

Directions: Fill 1 quart jar with equal parts of fresh herbs, or 1/2 full with dried herbs. Then cover with organic, raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar.Let mixture marinate for at least 6 weeks. Strain. Pour herbal infused vinegar into gallon jug and fill jug with distilled water to dilute. Transfer into spray bottle for use. Use mixture on all hard surfaces (cutting boards, door handles, counter tops, etc.) for disinfecting purposes. Simply spray on and let air dry.

While waiting for your Herbal Antimicrobial Spray to marinate, whip up this concoction for a very effective alternative.

All-Natural Disinfecting Spray

-1 cup distilled water
-20 drops lavender essential oil
-20 drops of thyme or eucalyptus essential oil
-10 drops tea tree oil

Directions: Mix all ingredients into a spray bottle and use as a disinfectant on all hard surfaces. Simply spray on and let air dry.


-There is a ton of research to confirm that folk recipes such as these, using herbs and essential oils to kill germs, were actually based on good chemistry and science. Many essential oils, such as lavender and thyme, are even more antiseptic than phenol, which is the commercial standard for the antimicrobial industry.

-Did you know that in the United States, a product can only be labeled as a disinfectant or antimicrobial agent after it has been registered as a pesticide with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)? This is why you will never see essential oils with antiseptic properties advertised as antimicrobial.

-Herbs and essential oils are not known to cause or increase antibacterial resistance. In fact, these natural botanicals have a remarkable ability to kill a multitude of germs, which is exactly why they have been used for thousands of years in home remedies.

-Remember: No home can be made completely sterile, no matter what product you use.

So what are your favorite ways to keep your family and home healthy this time of year? Leave a comment and let's keep this disussion going!

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I grow many of my own herbs at home in my garden. However, when I need to purchase them or essential oils I like to order on-line thru Mountain Rose Herbs or The Bulk Herb Store.

See this post and a host of others like it here: Cure for the Common Monday, More The Merrier, Homestead Barn Hop, Homemaker Monday, The Girl Creative, Mangia Monday, Fat Tuesday, New Nostalgia, Handmade Tuesday, Patchwork Living Bee, Teach Me Tuesday, Frugaly Tuesday Tip, Under $10 Tuesday, Whatever Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, Healthy 2Day Wednesday, Homemaking Wednesday, Living Well, Wicked Awesome, It's A Keeper, Simple Lives Thursday, Herbal Healing Clay, DIY Diva, Farm Friend, Farmgirl Friday, Gallery of Favorites, Freaky Friday, Fight Back Fridays, Nature Table, Friday Favorites, SNS 106, Weekend Bloggy Reading, Nifty Thrifty Things

DISCLAIMER: The statements made here have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. These statements are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure or prevent any disease. This notice is required by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

Cultivating Herbal Friendships

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Simple Homemade Eye Makeup Remover {A Picture Tutorial}

Gather the ingredients:
-1 cup distilled water
-1/4 teaspoon Dr. Bronner's unscented baby-mild liquid castile soap
-1 teaspoon olive oil

Combine water, castile soap, and olive oil in a glass jar.

Give jar a little shake.

Apply solution to cotton ball and remove makeup as you normally would.

Admire the amazing results.

Store on the bathroom counter.

See this post and a host of others like it here: Farmgirl Friday, Friday's Nature Table, Living Well, Farm Friend Friday, From Pinterest to Real Life, Friday Favorites, Frugal Friday, Gallery of Favorites, SNS 105, Nifty Thrify Sunday, Cure for the Common Monday, More The Merrier , Homestead Barn Hop, Homemaker Monday, The Girl Creative, Mangia Monday, Handmade Tuesday, It's A Keeper, DIY Diva, Spa Sundaze

This post inspired by this Pinterest find.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

10 Things To Consider When Living Off The Land {And How Much Money Will It Cost}

Do you hold a dream to live off of the land and experience the joy of sustainable living? There really are countless things to consider when living off the land. However, these 10 things are on my priority list and I think they should be on yours.

1. Land
2. Natural Fresh Water Source
3. Food
4. Shelter
5. Power
6. Medical Skills
7. Protection/Security
8. Methods of Communications
9. Disposal of Waste
10. Positive Mental Attitude

I put land as the number one priority on this list 'cause without land, there's no livin' off of it! There is a huge debate about how much is enough. I say, you make do with what you have. But in order to produce enough to truly live off the land, you will need at least 5 acres. This allows for enough space to produce for your family and your animals. When considering where to purchase cheap land you must consider things such as acreage, amount of timber, quality of soil, presence of water, cost of property taxes, and weather. A few states I consider to be the most "free" and homesteader-friendly (i.e. homeschooling laws, gun laws, tax burden, etc) are: New Hampshire, Colorado, South Dakota, Alaska, Arizona, New Mexico, Arkansas, Texas, Missouri, Idaho, Wyoming. Cheap land ($1,000-$1,500 per acre) can be found just about anywhere, you just have to know where you're looking. We found our 20 acres listed on Craigslist and we purchased on a land contract, without a bank loan. Check out this great article on

{Natural Fresh Water Source}
We can live days, even weeks without food, but we will surely die without water in about 3 days. A fresh water source is crucial to your success in living off the land. Whether it be a lake, river/stream, spring or well, it must be close by and it must be drinkable. The cost of digging a well depends on your location, water table, and contractor, but you can expect to pay between $2,000-$4,500 dollars. This website,, is a great tool in helping you locate a fresh water source close to you. Water Storage (tanks, cisterns, aquifers, and ponds for domestic supply, fire and emergency use)is also a necessary system to consider and institute.

Nutrition, and the production of food, is super important and a key factor in living off the land not only for your family, but for your animals as well. You must know your USDA Plant Hardiness Zone and plan for year-round growing accordingly. In most zones a greenhouse for the winter is a must as well as a garden in the summer. Books such as The Winter Harvest Handbook teach sustainable year-round gardening methods and will give you a good price point for getting started. Additionally, you'll need a working knowledge of traditional food preservation techniques using salt, oil, sugar, alcohol, vinegar, drying, cold storage, and lactic fermentation. Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning is a great resource for this. Production animals (i.e. bees, chickens, cows, ducks, goats, pigs, rabbits, and sheep) provide a fresh source of food, among countless other things. The start up cost of purchasing your animals will vary as will the initial cost of heirloom garden seed. Depending on where you wanted to start, chickens and goats seem logical to me, you may be looking at around $500-$1,000 for animals, garden, and seed. If $500 seems like too much initially, get started with a small flock of chickens; the eggs alone are enough to sustain and nourish.

The fist item of business on our land, is the building of a root cellar, or basement. If nothing else we could live in the basement if we had to. Don't get to hung up on building your "dream home." All to often I see people shoot themselves in the foot by focusing their time, energy, and money on building their home first! Wrong, wrong, wrong! Live in a camper if you have to. Your home is what you make it. Don't waste your precious resources on lavish living quarters, that can come later. A modest home will do, and for a cost of around $5,000-$10,000 you can have a nice, liveable space. Or, if your conditions are right, and you have the skill, for $100 shelter can be yours.

When constructing your home/shelter, positioning it for power efficiency is of upmost importance. When living off the land, the hope is, our use of power will decrease. Some of the sources for off-grid power are wood/fire, solar, wind, and hydro. Ideally, your property and/or your local area should contain enough timber to provide a heat and cooking source. The old-fashioned cook top stove would need to find it's place in your home. Solar chargers, wind turbines, and water powered generators are all rather expensive forms of generating power, initially. Which one's better? It depends on who you talk to and where you live! Anyway you go, you can plan on investing around $2,000-$3,000. Bottom line, the less power you need the less power you have to generate. Power conservation is your best bet when choosing to living off the land.

{Medical Skills}
Basic medical skills are a necessity for anyone living off-grid. Simply because in most cases you will be quite a distance from the nearest medical facility and you may not hold health insurance. For a $50 start up cost you can construct an emergency medical kit. Bookmark ThePatriotNurse's YouTube channel and begin learning emergency first aid. Purchase books like Where There Is No Doctor, Where There Is No Dentist, Where Women Have No Doctor: A Health Guide for Women. (Note: You may view and download these books for free off the publisher's website by clicking on this link.) And for sustainability's sake you will need to learn how to make homemade herbal bandages, tinctures, and syrups; all of which require knowledge of medicinal herbs. Many herbs grow wild, but if you wish to create an organized medicinal herb garden, I recommend you purchase medicinal herbal seeds from Horizon Herbs. I've been very happy with my purchases from those guys.

Guns & Ammo. Enough said. Learn how to safely handle and care for a gun and get one. About $150-$200 should be fine here.Read this informative article and choose a weapon that fits your needs. Remember...we're talking about living off the land.

{Methods of Communications}
Communication has been and will always be a very important aspect of our lives. Modern technology (aka The Internet) has dramatically changed the way we communicate with others. There are a variety of Satellite Internet Services providers that are for the most part, pretty inexpensive. The initial equipment and set up fee will cost you approximately $400 with a monthly charge of $40-$60 depending on what provider you go with. Don't want the monthly charge? CB radio works well for local use and the Ham radio is better for long range communications. See this off-the-grid communications article.

{Disposal of Waste}
In order of least expensive to most expensive, here are 3 options for the disposal of human waste.
  • Humanure. Composting human waste is free. The most amazing system has been created and you can read all about it in The Humanure Handbook. If you are even remotely considering living off-grid this book should be in your home library.
  • Incinerator Toilet. The waterless incinerator toilet can be set up anywhere and is the perfect alternative to a septic system. One of these lovely things will cost you approximately $2,000.
  • Septic System. The septic system is the most expensive costing anywhere from $4,000-$10,000. This system requires modern electricity and running water in addition to routine maintenance.

{Positive Mental Attitude}
If you are going to live off the land and thrive, you have to have your mind right. A positive mental attitude, and a willingness to learn, will see you through the tough times of sustainable living. However, living off the land is no joke. It's not romantic or sexy. It's blood, sweat, and tears. It's up with the sun and working for hours. It's unpredictable. An agrarian way of life is a willing submission to the laws of nature and to the Creator. This will cost you everything!

Don't ever give up on your dreams of living off the land! I promise there is a just have to find it.

Please feel free to comment and share with us your thoughts on living off the land. I look forward to continuing the discussion.

You can find this post and a host of others like it here: Simple Lives Thursday, Your Green Resource, It's A Keeper, Farm Girl Friday, Friday's Nature Table, Living Well, Farm Friend Friday, Friday Favorites, Fresh Bites Friday, Gallery of Favorites, Fight Back Friday, Freaky Friday, Homestead Barn Hop, Homemaker Monday, Mangia Monday, Fat Tuesday, New Nostalgia, Handmade Tuesday, Patchwork Living Bee, Teach Me Tuesday, Frugal Tuesday Tip, Healthy 2Day Wednesday, Homemaking Wednesday, Living Well

Disclosure: I am an Amazon affiliate, which means I’ll earn a very small commission from any sales made through links. Please know that I would never recommend something to you that I don't already use and love myself.

Year Supply of Basics

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Natural Treatment of Conjunctivitis aka "Pink Eye"

Itching, burning, swelling, watery, red eyes.

You know what it is! That's eye.

Just as is the case with ear infections, the cause of conjunctivitis is not always bacterial. It may be viral or related to allergies. Most often, pink eye is a viral infection that occurs in people whose immune systems are weakened. Therefore, antibiotics are useless in treatment.

Bacterial pink eye usually involves both eyes at the same time. Cream to green colored pus drains from the eyes and they will be swollen. Pink eye caused by a viral agent will usually result in only one eye affected at first then followed by the other eye a few days later. Generally the discharge coming from the eye is clear and watery. Itching and burning will always be present during both types of infection.

Conjunctivitis is highly contagious. Hand washing, with simple soap and water, is the best prevention. The immune system must be addressed at this time as well. This can done by administering:

-1/2-1 teaspoon of Echinacea Tincture every hour until symptoms resolve.
-Oral vitamin C supplements
-Vitamin A rich foods
-Elderberry tincture or syrup

Treatment for the infected eye or eyes includes the use of either one of these two eye washes.

Basic Eye Wash

-1 teaspoon salt
-1 cup boiling distilled water

Directions: Dissolve salt in boiling water. Allow mixture to cool completely.

Use: Flush eye with wash using an eyedropper several times a day. Use wash daily until symptoms resolve.

Herbal Eye Wash

-1 teaspoon comfrey root
-1 teaspoon raspberry leaf
-1 teaspoon goldenseal root
-1 cup boiling distilled water

Directions: Combine all herbs and boiling water. Steep for at least 30-60 minutes, making an herbal infusion. Take care in straining all herbs out of the infusion through a coffee filter (may require 2-3 strainings). Allow liquid to cool before using.

Use: Flush eye with wash using an eyedropper several times a day. Use wash daily until symptoms resolve.

*FYI Herbs for this recipe will cost about $14 for 4-5 days of treatment.


-Both eye wash recipes are enough for one day of treatment. They should be remade daily.

-Green tea has soothing effects and can be used to reduce swelling and itching by applying cool, wet green tea bags directly over closed eye lids.

-A warm cloth compress will also help reduce negative side effects.

-A teaspoon of Valerian tincture given by mouth, in chamomile tea, throughout the day will help reduce itching and burning.

I like to purchase my herbs online through Bulk Herb Store

DISCLAIMER: The statements made here have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. These statements are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure or prevent any disease. This notice is required by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

See this post and a host of others like it here: Wildcrafting Wednesday, Healthy 2Day Wednesdays, Homemaking Wednesday, Wickedly Awesome Wednesday, The Mommy Club, Simple Lives Thursday, Your Green Resource, It's a Keeper, Friday's Nature Table, Fresh Bites Friday, Frugal Friday, Gallery of Favorites, SNS 105, Nifty Thrify Sunday, Cure for the Common Monday, More The Merrier

Monday, October 24, 2011

Beans and Rice, Rice and Beans - And a Linky Just For Fun

There definitely was a time, not all to long ago, where gourmet meals appealed to me. Expensive "health foods" and organic everything pretty much dominated my pantry. Then everything changed. Our third child was born, the housing market tanked, gas prices skyrocketed, the list could go on. Needless to say, I became frugal out of necessity.

Today we are almost exclusively an organic bean and rice (or quinoa or millet) type of family. Without compromising health, we only eat pastured or grass-fed meats from a local farmer; however, the price limits our ability to eat meat every night of the week. When it comes to feeding my family "quality over quantity" is my motto. I use simple, frugal, easy to prepare recipes.

I want to share an e-book with you that has literally helped me more than I can say! I love this book and it is a resource that sits on my computer's desktop ready to be used 3-4 nights out of the week. I love it so much, I have even begun to use it as a guide for my food storage purchases.

It's "The Everything Beans Book" by Katie Kimball over at Kitchen Stewardship.

There are over 30 frugal, nutrient-packed recipes for children and adults. Recipes include wraps, soups, sides, pasta, main dish meals and desserts. All recipes use beans in some way. "The Everything Beans Book" also has lots of information that will help you know how to soak, sprout, and cook dried/canned beans.

I want to share with you one of my favorite recipes from the book:

Mexican Beans and Rice

-1 cup brown rice
-1 3/4 cup water
-8 ounce can tomato sauce
-2 tablespoons taco seasoning
-1 can kidney or black beans (or 2 cups cooked dry beans)
-salt to taste

Directions: Saute the rice dry until brown. Then add water, tomato sauce, and taco seasoning. Bring to boil, turn heat to low and simmer covered for 40 minutes. Add the beans and optional add-ins and simmer 5 more minutes, covered, add more water if needed.

Add-ins: 1 cup corn, chopped onion, minced garlic, chopped green peppers, chili peppers, shredded cheese. The sky is the limit here. Use what you have on hand fresh or in the freezer.

Frugal Tip: Make your own seasoning.

Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix.

-2 tablespoon chili powder
-1 teaspoon garlic powder
-1 teaspoon onion powder
-1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
-1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
-1 teaspoon paprika
-3 teaspoons ground cumin
-2 teaspoon sea salt
-2 teaspoon black pepper

Directions: Mix all ingredients together and store in glass jar. 1/4 cup of seasoning mix is the equivalent to 1 package of commercially prepared mix.

The best part of this book is it's on sale this week and it runs through Halloween at midnight!!! The code FALL4BEANS will take $3 off "The Everything Beans Book". To purchase the book click on my this in text link and be sure to enter the code. The sale price is $6.95! A smokin' deal for what you'll get.

If you end up purchasing the book comment, and let me know what you think of it! Also, if you're a blogger, share with us your favorite frugal "bean and rice" recipe post or bean storage post here on the linky. And if you do not have a blog, share your recipe in the comment section. That way we can all learn from each other.


-The linky will run until the sale is over on Halloween at midnight.

-If you link-up, please refer/link back to this post.

-There's no limit! Please link as many posts as you'd like. The more the merrier!

See this post and a host of others here: Fat Tuesday, Monday Mania, Homemaker Monday, Tasty Tuesday, Traditional Tuesdays, Patchwork Living , Handmade Tuesday, New Nostalgia, Teach Me Tuesday, Frugal Tuesday Tip, Terrific Under Ten Tuesday, Tip Junkie, Hearth and Soul Hop, Recipe Exchange, Tuesdays at the Table, Made Scratch Tuesday, Whatever Wednesday, Real Food Wednesdays, Healthy 2Day Wednesday, Homemaking Wednesday, Wickedly Awesome Wednesday, The Mommy Club, Your Green Resource, It's a Keeper, Farm Girl Friday, Farm Friend Friday, Friday Favorites, Fresh Bites Friday, Frugal Friday

Disclosure: I am an affiliate of Kitchen Stewardship’s eBooks, which means I’ll earn a small commission from any sales made through my blog. However, I would never recommend something to you that I don't already love and use myself.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sustainable Beauty: DIY Facial Soap


No matter how old or young we are, a woman wants to be beautiful. I've heard it said that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder."

From the tribes of Africa... the henna designs of a wedding in India... the Hiwi of Venezuela...

...women have embraced sustainable beauty. Using those things indigenous to their surroundings, they have created and defined beauty for themselves.

Unfortunately, in our modern societies consumer marketing and commercial companies understand our quest for beauty and have taken advantage of this truth. Shelves are flooded with countless products to meet any need; begging you to consume, promising the solution you are hoping for.

I can't even think about the money I've spent on beauty products! It'll make me nauseous! And guess what, I still battle the same skin problems! So, I'm done with it all. I'm making my own and coming to peace with who God made me to be (smile).

I want to share with you a very frugal recipe for DIY Facial Soap.

DIY Facial Soap Recipe

-2 ounces of grated bar soap (or liquid castile soap)
-2 cups of hot water
-5 drops Tea Tree Oil

Directions: Add soap to water and stir to melt. Then add tea tree oil and suitable skin type add-ins.

Suitable Skin Type Add-Ins
Oily: substitute 4 ounces of water for witch hazel, sage, rosemary
Acne: two aspirins crushed into powder, increase tea tree oil to 15 drops
Dry: honey, glycerin, aloe vera, nettle, or St. John's Wort
Sensitive: calendula, comfrey, chamomile
Antibacterial: birch, cinnamon, eucalyptus


-Lavender is beneficial for all skin types.

-You may choose to include these above listed herbs by infusing them into the hot water prior to adding the soap in the base recipe.

-You may also add them in the form of a few drops of essential oils.

What are your favorite skin care routines?

The following books were used as references for making this recipe: Rosemary Gladstar's Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health, Make Your Place.

See this post and a host of others like it: Homestead Barn Hop, More the Merrier Monday, Inspire Me Monday, Lines Across My Face, Nifty Thrify Sunday, Monday Mania, Gallery of Favorites, Frugal Fridays, Fat Tuesday, Handmade Tuesday, New Nostalgia, Teach Me Tuesday, Homemaking Wednesday, Crafty Scrappy Happy, It's A Keeper

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Just in Case – A Three Day Emergency Meal Plan

These days the idea that a disaster could hit at any moment is not so unrealistic. Whether it be natural or created by man, disasters leave devastation especially for those who are unprepared.

The first few hours and days following a disaster are the most critical. That is why when I read Amy's Emergency Meal Kit Challenge over at Homestead Revival I knew I had be a part of spreading the word.

I highly recommend you take the time to read Amy's post. It is so informative and makes a really strong case for preparing a three-day emergency meal plan. You see, my family and I have a pretty substantial amount of food stored. So when I was first reading her post I thought it would be irrelevant for us. But the more I read the more I decided it made a lot of sense.

If the grid were to go down for an extended period of time, initially we would need to eat those perishable items stored in the refrigerator and freezer (this is partly why I am really interested in learning how to can meat). Even if it was a temporary disturbance the 3 day meal plan would give us peace-of-mind. Knowing that we wouldn't have to be out in the middle of the chaos as people rush the grocery store, it's worth it all.

And most importantly, it provides us another way to share and help our neighbors who may be in need during such a time.

This meal plan contains items that require little to no water in order to reconstitute. It also contains a few of my Meal-In-Jars recipes. It is important to store the necessary water and fuel needed to cook the meals along with the food.

Note: We are avid campers/backpackers so we do have a camping stove along with a backpacking stove in the garage. We also have utensils appropriate for use with these cookers. Along with our monthly food storage purchase, we purchase a few cans of fuel.

Day 1
Breakfast: Meals-In-Jars Apple Oatmeal
Lunch: Crackers with Canned Salmon
Dinner: Fully Cooked Brown Rice with Tuna in Green Curry Sauce*

Day 2
Breakfast: Fresh pastured eggs, from our backyard hens, and Meals-In-Jars Apple Oatmeal
Lunch: Dehydrated Split Pea and Vegetable Soup*
Dinner: Spaghetti with lentils (Tip: substitute lentils for ground beef and use angel hair pasta instead of spaghetti 'cause it cooks in 4 minutes with less water)

Day 3
Breakfast: Meals-In-Jars Apple Oatmeal
Lunch: Tomato & Roasted Red Pepper Soup*
Dinner: Polenta and Dehydrated Black Bean and Vegetable Mix*

*Denotes Gluten-Free Meals

Snacks: Fruit & Nut Trail Mix, Apple Sauce, Peanut Butter, Energy Bars, Seaweed/Kelp Snacks (good source of iodine)

Water: 3 1.5 liter bottles of water are all that is needed for cooking; and, a 2.5 gallon container of water is for consumption.

This is something anyone can do no matter where you live! It requires minimal storage and is very inexpensive (especially if you make your own).

So...what does your emergency meal plan look like?

See this post and a host of others like it here: Homestead Revival, Homestead Barn Hop, Mangia Mondays, More the Merrier Monday, Lines Across My Face, Nifty Thrify Sunday, Monday Mania, Gallery of Favorites, Frugal Fridays, Fat Tuesday, Homemaker Monday, Tasty Tuesday, Traditional Tuesdays, Handmade Tuesday, New Nostalgia, Teach Me Tuesday, Frugal Tuesday Tip, Tip Junkie, Whatever Wednesday, Real Food Wednesdays, Healthy 2Day Wednesday, Homemaking Wednesday, Simple Lives Thursday, It's A Keeper, Living Well, Farm Friend Friday, Friday Favorites, Fight Back Friday, SNS 105, The Girl Creative

Year Supply of Basics

Friday, October 21, 2011

De-cluttering {Home Organization} Part II

Closet Clutter
This post is contributed by Angela Allen @ Classic Twist

If the bedroom is the most intimate of rooms in the home, then the closet is the inner court of the bedroom. It’s where you keep your intimate belongings and even your most precious memories. But most importantly, it’s where you keep your clothing - the first thing people notice about you before you open your mouth to speak.

Here are some very practical ways to manage your closet, keeping it beautiful and functional:

1. Rid your closet of garments with stains, holes, wrong sizes and garments you haven’t worn in over a year. Don’t hold onto items you “may” fit into after you lose that weight. Live the life you have today. Those items can be recycled into cleaning cloths depending on the material.

2. Organize clothing with a system that works for you. I prefer to hang my clothes by type. I like all my jackets together, skirts together, dresses together, and so on. Within each type, I hang the clothes in color order from lightest to darkest. It creates a beautiful graduation of hues in the closet. For me, it all comes back to visual aesthetic.

3. Invest in quality, uniform hangers. Good hangers will prolong the life of your clothing. Wooden or cushioned hangers are great options and will create a sense of visual uniformity in your closet.

4. Hook hangers in reverse on the hanger rod. What this accomplishes is it lets you see what you actually wear on a regular basis. After six months, the hangers still hooked in reverse are the clothes you should let go of. It's a easy trick.

5. Make sure your closet is well-lit. Ample lighting is essential to helping you find what you need efficiently in your closet. Don't get dressed in the dark. Proper lighting will help you get ready for the day. Maybe a little vintage chandelier?

6. Store shoes on a rack. Some people prefer to store their shoes in boxes, but I prefer shoe racks that proudly display my heels, flats, tennis shoes and boots in a wonderful, artistic way. Boxes can take up a lot of space and be cumbersome when you're looking for a particular pair, but a shoe rack is just the opposite.

7. Display jewelry, scarves and accessories in creative ways. Make an artistic statement on a little table either inside or right outside your closet, if you're it doesn't have space. Store and display your accessories in bowls, on trays and on hooks in your closet. You will love the accessibility and interest this adds.

8. Hang photos in your closet. This is just a little touch that adds a big impact. Smaller framed photos of family or artwork will make your closet feel a lot bigger and a lot more chic.

Keeping your closet organized and beautiful may be a continual effort, but the results are well worth the energy. It helps us to know exactly what we have, and in effect, helps us to reduce spending on unnecessary items.

Share with us your experiences in closet de-cluttering. And then, head over to our Facebook pages (Frugally Sustainable and Classic Twist) and share your closet de-cluttering pictures!

Angela Allen is a discount thriftress extraordinaire who sees the beauty and possibilities in the ugly and abandoned. She lives with her husband in Washington, DC. In order to glean more of her fashion wisdom, you can follow her fabulous blog or her page on Facebook.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Age of NO Health Insurance {What Are We To Do}

Are you without health or medical insurance? Did the spouse with coverage lose his/her job? Or perhaps the monthly premium for your insurance has become more than you can financially afford?

Well if it’s any consolation to you, according to this article in CNN Money 49.9 million, or 16.3% of, Americans are uninsured. You’re not alone! And these numbers are rising!

Fear not! There is help and there is hope; it’s called free health care. Yes, in America, we have free health care (And, I'm not talking about Obama Care). It flies under the radar with the title of charity-care. Charity-care is an all too often unadvertised service provided by many medical institutions. In an effort to provide care for low-income persons, many hospitals have instituted charity-care programs. They just don’t advertise this to the public all too often. Charity-care is federally funded however each state has their own version of the system. These programs allow eligible individuals to receive discounted or even free health care services. Of course, you’ll need to check with your local hospital, but every hospital has defined its own charity-care policy, and most follow the same straightforward application process.

In the case of an emergency, or when applying for charity-care, here are a few things you should know:

1)It is an actual mandate under the U.S. government’s Hill-Burton Free or Reduced-Cost Care Program that was signed into law in 1946 to provide care to low-income individuals. However, you must meet certain financial criteria.
2)Use this U.S. Department of Health and Human Services link to find a health center in your area. Or look at this list to see if your local medical center is listed.
3)Scope out free clinics in your area that function under the terms of charity-care. Plug in your zip code when visiting this link to find free clinics in your town.
4)In the case of an emergency, know your rights.

See this breaking news video produced today by an ABC News affiliate in Los Angeles.

I feel like I need to inject this disclaimer. My goal here is not to advocate for socialized medicine or government health care. Nor am I advocating that you drop health care coverage if you have it. I'm not advocating for anything really. I just want to pass on information. Our country is experiencing hard times. Lots of people are finding themselves redefining their standard of living. And for many, the uncertainty can be scary. It's my goal to offer hope and a temporary solution for those who may be unemployed or unable to afford insurance at this time.

My family is without medical/health insurance at this time due to a change in jobs, and the cost of private coverage is more than we can handle presently. Nonetheless, I will tell you this: there is a misconception that having health insurance will, in effect, provide some sort of magical protection against disease. However reality says, health insurance does not make you or your family healthy! Your choices concerning such things as exposure to toxic materials, foods, level of physical exercise and time spent outdoors are a few of the things that can make you the healthiest you possible.

Note: I am in no way suggesting that this is true for everyone. Neither am I blaming people who get sick on the basis of their actions. There are SO many factors that effect one's health that are out of our control. I am sensitive to that.

It is simply my view that having, or not having, health insurance is a risk...a gamble. Insurers bank on you and me getting sick. Personally, when it comes to me and my family, I feel it's safer to bet on health rather than sickness. And how do we do that? Instead of investing monthly into a health insurance plan, we invest monthly in organic/homegrown foods, vitamins/nutritional supplements, herbal remedies, physical fitness and non-toxic homemade home/body care products.

At the end of the day, we do what is best for our families given the situations we find ourselves in. Life is fluid like that.

If you are uninsured, where by circumstances out of your control or by choice, I hope you have found encouragement and resources to help you today in this post. And as always, please feel free to comment concerning all that you have read.

See this post linked up here: Fresh Bites Friday, Living Well, Farmgirl Friday, Fight Back Friday, Farm Friend Friday, Friday Favorites, Homestead Barn Hop, Monday Mania, Fat Tuesday, Traditional Tuesdays, Frugal Tuesday Tip

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Help! I Make My Own Laundry Soap…But My Clothes Are Dingy

I’ll just start off by coming clean (pun intended). I have been making my own laundry soap for a while now, but there have been times in the past when I have caved to the pressure and bought it from the store because commercial laundry detergent just seems to work better.

We can be honest here right? Well, let’s just be honest; until now, I was not totally thrilled with my homemade laundry detergent. Is anyone with me? I mean, I never felt like my clothes where getting clean. In fact, they appeared dingy and stains never really came out in the wash. So I would occasionally purchase and use store bought detergent.

However, I was determined not to give up and I began aggressively looking for a solution to the problem. I am so happy to report to you that my clothes have never been cleaner than they are today; because, here is what I have discovered:

My municipality’s water is extremely hard. Hard water is actually very common throughout the globe. It contains heavy deposits of minerals such as calcium and magnesium. And continuous laundering in hard water can damage clothing fibers and shorten the life of clothes by 40%.

How can you know if you have hard water? Call your water provider and ask. You may also see tell-tell signs such as

•There will be a "ring around your bathtub."
•Soaps and shampoos do not lather easily.
•A white film will form around faucets and drains.
•Laundry will feel stiff, and may appear dingy.

With this knowledge I was able to combat the problem and I would like to share with you my laundry care routine.

Pre-Treat Stains

Keep a spray bottle full of this Homemade Bleach Alternative ready to saturate stains you can’t get to right away. You may also choose to keep it in a 5-gallon bucket so as to soak already dingy clothing.

Laundry Cycle

Use ½ cup of this Homemade Laundry Soap. If you have hard water, increase the amount of this Homemade Laundry Soap to 1 cup per load. Use this Homemade Bleach Alternative in the bleach compartment of your washer (or for a top loader machine pour 1 cup in with the wash). Fill the fabric softener compartment with white vinegar (or for a top loader machine pour 1 cup in with the wash).

Note: Vinegar neutralizes the effects of hard water by dissolving the minerals.

Tip: In areas with hard water, it is important to limit the amount of time your clothing is exposed to the washer. Therefore, wash clothing on the shortest cycle.


You guys know I’m a huge fan of line-drying clothing. In fact, exposure to the sun really helps to brighten clothing. If you do not have a clothes line, hang your clothes on hangers somewhere near a window indoors. I’m telling you, it makes a huge difference.

Laundry is an area we all know a lot about! Please leave your comment sharing with us your laundry success stories. That way, we can all learn from each other!

See this post and a host of others like it here: Your Green Resource, Simple Lives Thursday, It's a Keeper

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Autumn Healthful and Healing Recipe: Vitamin Soup

Eating certain foods for health and healing is an important part of caring for yourself. In this season, when so many fall victim to illness, it is important to have these healing soup recipes on hand. Eating in season follows the rhythm and cycle of nature; all of which is given for our vitality.

Autumn root vegetables are not only packed with vitamins and minerals needed for cold and flu prevention/treatment; but they are in season and very inexpensive this time of year.

1)Carrots - Carrots are loaded with beta carotene. They are very low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Carrots are an excellent source of vitamin B6, thiamine, niacin, folate, manganese, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, potassium, and a very good source of dietary fiber.
2)Potatoes - Potatoes are a good source of fiber and naturally low in cholesterol. They are high in vitamins and minerals. In fact, potatoes contain approximately 70% of the daily recommended value of vitamin C and are a good source of iron.
3)Parsnips - Parsnips are very low in saturated fat and cholesterol. They are a good source of potassium, vitamin C, folate, manganese, and dietary fiber.
4)Rutabagas/Turnips - The turnip is a non-starchy vegetable and adds a significant amount of vitamin C to the diet.
5)Pumpkin - Pumpkin is a good source of vitamin E, vitamin B6, niacin, thiamin, folate, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, and it is very good source of dietary fiber. It is also an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, riboflavin, copper and manganese.

Herbs such as summer savory, thyme, and parsley have purifying properties and are high in calcium and vitamins C and A.

Note: It is always a good idea to have homemade chicken stock on hand, and the meat reserved in the refrigerator, ready for immediate use throughout the week.

The following traditional recipes use seasonal foods well known for their ability to restore health.

Vitamin Soup

-1 cup dried beans (I like small navy beans)
-2 cups diced carrots
-2 cups diced potatoes
-2 cups diced parsnips
-1 cup diced rutabaga (turnip)
-2 onions, chopped
-2 tsp. dried savory
-1/2 tsp. dried thyme
-1/2 cup fresh or frozen parsley, chopped
-2 cups cooked diced pastured chicken (optional)
-1 cup grated zucchini or pumpkin

Directions: Soak dried beans in water for at least 8 hours or overnight. Fill crock pot 1/3 full with homemade chicken bone broth or Vegetable Bouillon (see recipe below). Add remainder of the ingredients, except for the herbs. Let simmer on high until beans and vegetables are tender (6-8 hours). Add the herbs for the last 30 minutes of cooking.

Note: You may not have homemade bone broth on hand or you may hold to a more vegetarian/vegan diet. Either way, add a boost of nutrition to the above recipe by using this Vegetable Bouillon instead.

Vegetable Bouillon

-5 cloves of garlic
-4 onions
-4 stalks celery
-6 carrots
-A handful of spinach or kale leaves
-4 tomatoes
-2 tablespoons parsley
-1 teaspoon thyme
-2 teaspoons savory

Directions: Fill a large stock pot with pure water. Add all ingredients and simmer until vegetables are tender. Strain using a piece of cheesecloth (our hens love the leftover vegetable pulp). Store in glass jars in refrigerator for use in the short-term (2-3 days) or freeze for a longer storage solution.

Please comment and share with us what kinds of healthful and healing foods you traditionally make this time of year?

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You can see this post and a host of others here: Real Food Wednesdays, Healthy 2day Wednesday, Homemaking Wednesday, Naptime Creations, Pennywise Platter Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday, It's a Keeper, Fresh Bites Friday, Fight Back Friday, Foodie Friday, Sunday Night Soup Night, Mangia Mondays, Traditional Tuesdays, Recipe Exchange, Melt in Your Mouth Monday

Disclaimer: The statements made here have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. These statements are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure or prevent any disease. This notice is required by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Building Your Medicine Chest: Herbal Kloss Liniment

lin•i•ment [ línnəmənt ]
pain-relieving liquid rub: a liquid rubbed into the skin to relieve aches or pain, e.g. one containing alcohol and camphor

Jethro Kloss was the son of northern Wisconsin farmer, and a very famous herbalist. Born in 1863, he was raised on self-sustaining farm in the late 19th century. Believing health came from remaining close to the Earth, his family worked to forage, produce, and provide for all their needs. Once Dr. Kloss moved away from home, he fell deathly ill and sought the care of many doctors. His health was only restored and revitalized when he returned to the natural God-given remedies found in nature.

His book Back To Eden has completely transformed my view on health promotion and disease prevention. This self-proclaimed autobiography and journal of personal experiences will grip you from the foreword on. If you are interested at all in simple, old-fashion, sustainable remedies I highly suggest you purchase a copy for your own library.

As I mentioned, the Herbal Kloss Liniment is an extremely old but very strong remedy created by Dr. Kloss. Together with the revisions made by Rosemary Gladstar in her book Family Herbal, it is one of the most effective recipes for disinfecting wounds you could ever have on hand. However, this liniment is not only useful for disinfecting, it is highly beneficial in treating the following:

-all pains
-insect bites
-painful swellings
-skin eruptions of any kind (i.e. pimples, eczema, etc.)

How to Make the Herbal Kloss Liniment

-1 ounce Echinacea powder
-1 ounce goldenseal root powder
-2 ounces myrrh gum powder
-1/2 ounce cayenne pepper powder
-rubbing alcohol to cover (approximately 1 quart)

Directions: In 1 quart glass jar combine all of the powders. Pour rubbing alcohol over herbal powders to fill jar, leaving 1-2 inch head space. Mix thoroughly. Place lid tightly on jar and let mixture stand in a warm location. Let jar stand for at least 4 weeks, shake well every day. After 4 weeks strain liniment well using a piece of cheesecloth and re bottle. Note: Be sure to clearly label For EXTERNAL USE ONLY.

Dosage: Apply the liniment every few minutes for an hour or two in acute instances. Otherwise, use freely until desired results are achieved.

The herbs necessary to make this liniment can be purchased from Mountain Rose Herbs.


-I like to re bottle my liniment in 2-4 ounce spray bottle for ease of use.

-This liniment is so powerful it will stop a stye from developing on the eye. Simply apply to the exterior lid with a saturated q-tip until resolved. Take care not to get it in the eye.

- By applying the liniment to the temples, back of the neck, and to the forehead it can be used as an excellent remedy for a headache.

-Spray on to painful and swollen joints to relieve the symptoms of arthritis.

-Useful as a treatment for athlete’s foot. Apply frequently and saturate the affected area thoroughly.

-Treat a toothache or sores in the mouth by saturating a cotton ball with the liniment and then cleaning the mouth with the medicated swab. Focus on the area surrounding the toothache/mouth sore. Take extreme caution not to swallow the liniment; spit it out.

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DISCLAIMER: The statements made here have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. These statements are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure or prevent any disease. This notice is required by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

DISCLOSURE: I am an affiliate of Amazon, which means I’ll earn a small commission from any sales made through the book links in this article.

See this post and a host of others like it here: Barn Hop, Monday Mania, Fat Tuesday, Frugal Tip Tuesday, Healthy 2day Wednesday, Homemaking Wednesday, Simple Lives Thursday, Your Green Resource, It's a Keeper, Fresh Bites Friday, Living Well, Friday's Nature Table, Wildcrafting Wednesday

Cultivating Herbal Friendships