Sunday, July 7, 2013

Strike-On-Lid Match Jar

What a great idea to keep in your 72-hr kit, your vehicle, or with your camping gear. I think I'll keep a couple in my house so when the power goes out, which happens often in our neck of the woods, I can find it easily in the dark to light a candle or oil lamp.

I found this nifty idea here. 

If you have a gas stove, this would be an attractive way to keep matches handy for cooking. Visit the great site I found this on and the author, Linda, shows how she also punches a hole in the lid for quicker access. That would be great next to the kitchen stove, rather than having to unscrew the lid each time.

Tie a bow around the lid and it would make a nice little gift for someone you care about!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Magical Myrrh

Photo from Florida Herb House

When Christ was a child, he was presented with gifts of frankincense, gold and myrrh from the Magi. Myrrh was important and valuable enough in their culture to be considered a great gift from a king.

Myrrh is one of the most used herbal remedies in our home. It is the resin that is taken from the Myrrh Gum tree which grows in Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and Northern African countries.

About 15 years ago, I began searching all my herbal remedy books for an alternative to eating garlic as an antibiotic. As effective as garlic is (see Food For Health - Garlic), it isn't always the most pleasant to consume and can upset your stomach if you eat very much over a short period of time.

Myrrh has strong antibiotic properties, as well as antiseptic. Which is probably why it was used anciently to anoint, in oil form, dead bodies to keep them from stinking. It is used both internally and externally for an abundance of wonderful reasons. Several of my herbal resource books cite that in laboratory testing myrrh has been found to increase the white blood count by as much as four times. The white corpuscles are the immune system factor that fight off the unwanted intruders. It also tones the digestive system and helps the body to discharge mucus.

Internally, myrrh is used for:
  • Antibiotic to kill internal infection, especially when used together with other herbs, like echinacea.
  • Mouth wash and gargle for healthy gums, helps with gum diseases and sore throat
  • A remedy for bad breath - known as the herbal breath freshener
  • Tonsillitis
  • Lungs, as an expectorant and to help clear asthma, cough, tuberculosis and all chest infections. 
  • Stomach problems like ulcers
  • An excellent cleanser for the bowels. It tones the colon and increases peristaltic action.
  • Used for low blood sugar and diabetes
  • kidney tonic and kidney stones
  • Bladder and urinary problems
  • Promotes menstruation
  • Increases and enriches milk in nursing mothers
  • As a stimulant to increase blood flow to the capillaries
  • Chronic sinus problems

Externally, myrrh is great for:
  • Anti-fungal treatment
  • Skin sores, boils, and ulcerations 
  • Antiseptic for wounds
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Gangrene
  • Ear drops
  • Eye wash
  • Herpes
  • Bed sores
Like most herbs, myrrh can be used in a variety of forms: tincture, infusion (tea), salve, oil, poultice, ointment, or taken in powdered form. The name "Myrrh" comes from "murr", which is an Arabic word for "bitter". And it IS very bitter! I buy it in powdered form and encapsulate it. You can buy it in capsules, oil, tincture, or other forms at probably most any health food store.

In our family, usually when we first feel a "bug" coming on, we'll take a capsule or two of myrrh, and maybe a couple of turmeric capsules with it. (see Food For Health - Turmeric) Within an hour or two, or by the next morning, the oncoming infection seems to be gone. If an infection has already taken hold, I take a couple of capsules several times throughout the day. It seems to give my body the extra ammunition to fight whatever infection is there. The illness will be mild and short in duration, and I'm good to go again!

I order myrrh in one pound bags from a food co-op (Azure Standard - currently $19.05/lb). It's not a very expensive herb to begin with, but is even less expensive that way. I also buy the gelatin capsules in bags of 1,000 and easily encapsulate 24 at a time with an encapsulator. It's a simple little gadget that's very quick and easy to use. As you learn to use more herbs for your health and healing, it's much less expensive to fill your own capsules. It's also very simple to make tea, tinctures and salves.

I certainly don't advocate replacing doctors when they are needed, but they may not always be available. Having and knowing how to use effective natural remedies is an important way to become self-reliant. Especially when my children were smaller, it brought me much peace of mind to know that we could take care of ourselves when we were sick if we needed to. Self reliance is achieved by learning one new thing at a time and using it so it's a part of your normal living. You are comfortable with it and prepared when a crisis hits, rather than having to add to the stressful situation by learning and using so many things that are unfamiliar.

This is the perfect time, as we honor the birth of Christ, to add some myrrh to your preparedness list. Try it out when the winter cold or flu sets in and give yourself the gift of healthier healing!

Friday, November 30, 2012


These are wild turkey eggs. There are a lot of wild turkeys in our part of Montana. A flock of the them strut around my neck-of-the-woods, (see "Not-so-Wild Turkeys) and there's a flock a mountain over that hang out by my parent's place. That could be partly due to the  grain Dad throws out for them! One of the hens laid these by their house. I saw this picture today and thought about how much we have to be grateful for! Nature is plentiful. 

I once heard a quote:
If you aren't grateful for what you have, then you aren't likely to be grateful for what you will get.”

How true that is! When we are always dissatisfied and discontent because we don't have the things we want, then we will never “arrive” at satisfaction and contentment, because we will always want more. We become “stuck” there. Working for more is a great ambition. It's human nature to continually strive for better. The key is to be grateful each step of the way, and still keep striving. 

A lot of us are feeling increasing urgency to stock up a little and be more prepared as we hear about growing food shortages. If your resources, space or energy will only allow you to stock up one month's worth of food and other needs, then realize how blessed you are for that! You can know that if a crisis occurs in your life, you have everything you need for an entire month! Perspective is everything.

So instead of feeling stress for all the things you don't have, feel gratitude for all the things you DO have, and each new thing you receive or accomplish! Gratitude creates peace of mind!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Inexpensive Gift Ideas!

Christmas is coming! I love Christmas. I decided it's time to come back to my blog and pick up the fun where I left off. Just too many awesome ideas out there and I want to get in on the sharing! I love giving and receiving homemade gifts more than anything. And since so many of us are on a shoe-string budget, I thought I'd pass on some great ideas that I've come up with and have gotten from other wonderfully creative people also. Here are a few of my favorites...

Cupcaking has become a popular activity. This is a great idea for a cupcaker on your Christmas list. A Cupcake kit!
 Pinned Image

You can find it at a great website called  The 36th Avenue.

These look really simple and fun to make, from the same wonderful website. Paperclip earrings! You could make them a million different ways!

This is a pair of my own that a friend made for me. She added seed beads to a color-wrapped paperclip. The possibility of colors and shapes are endless here!

Here's a great Beefy Bean Soup Mix from delish-dot-com. I love jar recipies. Last Christmas we made soup and homemade cocoa mixes in jars for friends and family.

And don't forget to click on the "Gifts" category to look at my gift ideas with things like
Easy Homemade Soap...

 Tic Tac Toe games...

Your own shirt designs...

...and a lot more, like hand dipped candles, painted flower pots, fabric crafts...

And of course, 25 gift ideas to give that will help those you love be more prepared and have greater peace of mind this Christmas!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Hope In Hard Times

Hi everyone! I hope you're all having a great summer so far. I have found it necessary to take some sort of a little hiatus to deal with a few crisis and a trauma or two. But as I thought about my blogging friends today, I wanted to share a very beautiful message of inspiration and hope that I heard recently, that lifted my spirits. These are hard times and only seem to be getting harder. I hope this short message lifts you as much as it did me.

(Let it load ahead a few seconds if it keeps stopping.)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Dishwasher Magic

Hey everyone! I'm gone away on a trip to Vancouver to see my sister's family and watch my niece and nephew in a big dance festival! I left on very short notice and didn't get to post a great tip and success I had last week that I wanted to share with you before I left. So I'm doing it from her house.

We have a well at our house, so we have nice, clean, mineral rich water. Which means - calcium build-up! We got a new top-of-the-line dishwasher a couple of years ago. The dishes have to be well rinsed before they go in, or they come out dirty. A "professional" told me that's because we don't have a water softener. A few months ago, it just pretty much quit working. The water wasn't even spraying out of the top arm. Upon examination, I discovered that the whole machine was pretty caked with "scale" or mineral deposits. We've been washing the dishes by hand for the past few months - which is a good experience for my boys! But enough good experience. We have a nice machine there and it seems a shame to not be able to use it. So I started looking for solutions.

Mine did NOT look as bad as the one in the picture, but since I'm not at home, I found this nice crusty picture on Google Images. It makes the point. I tried spraying it down inside with various cleaners, baking soda, or vinegar. I didn't want to put toxic cleaners in there, or into our septic system. It looked like the vinegar was the ticket but would be a back-breaking undertaking and I didn't know how I would get it to clean the inside of the pipes and tubes that feed the sprayer arms. I turned it on the "soak and scour" cycle. On my dishwasher, that means the water runs into the bottom of the machine, then it runs (sprays) for 1 1/2 minutes, sits for 16, and repeats that for 4 hours, with one exchange of water in the middle. When it's finished, it then runs whatever wash cycle is selected.

I let the water run into the dishwasher. Then I opened it, dumped in a few cups of white vinegar, shut it and let it continue. I let it do it's "soak and scour" magic for 2 hours and then stopped it. The dishwasher looked sparkling clean inside and the water was spraying out of the arms just fine! The heating element is still pretty corroded but not as badly. I think the trick is to run a vinegar rinse every few weeks or so. Periodically anyway - depends on how quickly your minerals build up.

I was pretty amazed at how well it worked, and it hardly cost a thing! I hope that helps any of you who have hard water and a poorly functioning dishwasher!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Making Money In Hard Times

When times are tough, it's time to think out of the box. I've had a lot of experience with financial creativity over the years, so I thought I'd share a few good ideas from my experience in case any of you might be tired of filling out applications, or just need an additional boost to your income. If traditional job hunting isn't working, a little creativity might.

National unemployment for May, was 9.7%. On the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics site, you can see what the current unemployment rate is in your state. Last month, Nevada was the highest at 14% and North Dakota had only 3.6% unemployed.  Even though Montana is at 7.2% statewide, the county I live in has ranged from 12% to 13.8% in the last few months. Yikes! My husband is employed - sort of. He's self-employed, which means that income is unreliable and we're often struggling to make ends meet. We're getting creative. Here are a few ideas:

If you are a fast, efficient and thorough cleaner, cleaning jobs usually pay well. Between myself, my mother, sisters, and nieces, we've had various jobs over the years cleaning for private homes, vacation rental homes, new construction, and business offices. The pay in our valley ranges from about $12 to $25 an hour. I currently have two homes that I clean every few weeks, and am paid $20/hour. It's not a lot of hours each month, but gives me enough spending cash to help out with a little gas or groceries or buy one of the boys a package of socks now and then. I swear, boys seem to go through socks like babies go through diapers!

To find a cleaning job, put an ad in the local paper, put the word out among friends, stop into offices and ask if they have someone to clean for them - and if not, would they like to? If you have a Temporary job service, those kinds of jobs are often listed there. Office cleaning jobs are very often paid at a flat rate, rather than hourly. You need to look at the size of the office, what kinds of cleaning is needed and estimate how long it will take you. If you really aren't sure, see if they would be willing to let you clean once to see how much time you need, before you give them a price. You should be able to make between $20 and $25 an hour, but must be fast a do a thorough job. To be reasonable, prices might be higher or lower in your area. I'd ask at some job services or the Chamber of Commerce to be sure you are getting what your efforts are worth, but not over-charging.

My sister told me of a woman in her area who made $60,000 last year (2009) just by selling used golf clubs that she bought at pawn shops and thrift stores. There are a lot of things you can re-sell. This is something you have to have an eye for. You'll need to get a feel for the value of items, how easily they'll sell and what a good price is to pay for them. Many people watch the classifieds and when they spot a great deal, they buy it up, fix it up, and resell it. Whether it's a rocking chair or a car, there are lots of good deals to be had, because people often just want to get rid of something they don't need. Other places to watch are Craig's List, E-bay auctions, and other personal selling sources. Yard sales are also full of treasures. You just have to know what to look for. Check to see if your area has a "Freecycle" group. It's an on-line listing of things that people are willing to give away rather than have to haul it to the local landfill. You can also list things there that you are looking for. Then if someone has the item sitting in their garage or attic, they call you up and it's yours.

Do you have a pickup? A couple of summers ago, my nephew's friend put an ad in the paper that he had a pickup and would pick up and haul whatever people needed moved. He was busier that summer than a jar of red ants! He hauled construction scraps, furniture, dirt, appliances, plants, garbage - you name it. In a smaller area like I live in (and every other person owns a pickup - this IS Montana!) this wouldn't work so well. But this boy lived in a larger area, where population spreads for miles and miles. Most people in large towns and cities don't have pickup trucks. When people needed things hauled to the dump, he charged enough to pay for his gas, labor and time, and they'd include the landfill fee.  If someone has a landscaping or remodeling project at their home, they often don't have any way to haul the materials. I was told he had more work available than he could do.

Construction has slowed down, but it hasn't stopped. If you stop by a construction site when it's first started, your chances of getting work are better. Smaller projects, like homes, often don't have any clean-up planned for yet. It's a different kind of cleaning than what you would do in a home or office that is already in use. Since the walls are painted, light fixtures are hung, and the flooring - except carpet - is completed before the finish carpentry is done, everything is dusted with a  fine sawdust and needs to be wiped down. New carpet needs to be vacuumed. Cupboards and drawers need to be wiped out, mirrors cleaned off, tubs and showers wiped out, etc. It's just a lot of dust and scraps from Sheetrock, wood and putty. If you let them know you are interested, you may get some hours cleaning up construction scraps during the building process also.

Do you have a skill or hobby? Why not make money with it! My brother has a friend here in Montana that makes birdhouses. He makes them all shapes and sizes and his wife paints some little flowers on the side. He sold them in the summer at two different Farmer's Markets and made over $90,000 in one summer. During the winter months, he makes more birdhouses. Unique things sell at Farmer's Markets, Flea Markets, and craft fairs. Wind chimes, creative wood craft items, metal work, pottery, etc.

Almost all offices have plants - some silk, some real. Plants get dusty and need a little trimming now and then. If you like working with plants, this is a great job. The investment is minimal. All you need is a couple of different kinds of plant sprays and polishers. There are products for cleaning silk plants, and products for cleaning real plants. You can probably get a little education at a plant nursery of what products to use on what plants. If you know how, you can include trimming and pruning in your service.

One summer, when I was about 14, my sister and I put an ad in our local paper. We sat down and made a list of all our skills, and then wrote an ad that went something like this:

Two ambitious, talented, hard-working, teenage girls looking for work. We will milk your cow, paint your fence, cut your hair, bake your bread, tend your animals, watch your house, mow your grass, weed your flowers, wash your car, sew or mend your clothes, tend your kids, water your lawn or just about anything else you need done. Please call Karen or Susan at...

The phone started ringing and the jobs poured in. There was a movie crew in town at the time and they ordered home made bread and hair cuts. My sister was older than me and she could cut hair and can sew like nobody's business. I was the bread baker. We both pretty much did the rest together. We milked cows and goats and took care of farms and houses while people went on vacation.  She got mending and sewing jobs and I babysat. We stayed very busy and made a lot of money that summer.

These are only a few ideas. Take inventory of your skills, interests, and resources, and capitalize on them. With a little creativity, you could bring in some nice extra cash, or maybe even a healthy income. Just think out of the box!


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