Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My Favorite Cheeseball

Every party needs a cheeseball! This is my favorite one that I make for the holidays and any other festive occasion. It's perfect for a New Year's Eve Party. It hasn't occurred to me to take a picture of a cheese ball but this one I found on Google Images looks just like mine.

Favorite Cheeseball

8 oz. Cream Cheese
1 1/2 c. shredded cheese
1 pkg. dried or Chipped Beef
4 green onions, finely chopped
chopped walnuts

For the cup and a half of shredded cheese, I like to use 3 or 4 different kinds, like Cheddar, Swiss, some other flavorful white cheese and a tablespoon or two of Parmesean. The Cream Cheese needs to be soft enough to mash it all together with a fork. I buy those little 89 cent packages of thinly sliced Chipped Beef and chop it into tiny pieces - one package per cheese ball. Mix everything but the nuts, shape into a ball and then roll the ball in the chopped nuts.

Wheat Thins, Townhouse or other crackers that are lightly salty and don't have strong flavors of their own are best. If you're feeling ambitious, try my home made Wheat Thins (Nov. 3rd post). They're pretty quick and easy!

I hope your Christmas has been wonderful and your New Year is safe and filled with friends and good memories!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

More Christmas Gift Ideas

Do you have a little artist in you? Well, even if you don't think you do, try one of these out and surprise yourself! I think sometimes we think we don't have a certain talent, because we've never done it. One Christmas we tried some new ideas and found out there were talents lurking in our family that we didn't know we had!

Paint a flower pot
This flower pot was decorated by my youngest, Daniel, when he was 7. He gave it to his Grandma for Christmas and she put a nice plant in it. Decorate your pot with a picture or scene or flowers. If that's beyond your artistic abilities, paint bright colored stripes around the top and polka dots on the rest! When you're done decorating it, brush or spay on a clear coat to protect your paint from water and wear. This would be an attractive way for someone to grow fresh herbs in their kitchen window!

Paint a Shirt Design
Choose any shirt, and decorate it with craft paint. To show how simple your design can be, here's some that Nathan made for his brother Jacob and his dad. Click on the photo to see the detail better. It's just a very simple graphic design that anyone can do. He also put the little spiral sun graphic on the front of the shirt, up on the left side. Again, you're only limited by your imagination!

Draw a Picture
Jacob discovered a new talent! At 9, he had never really tried to draw anything significant. I took a pretty vase I have, sat it on the table, gave him some good sketch paper and a box of colored pencils, and challenged him to draw the vase. This is what he did. He surprised himself! I'll bet that if some of us just sit down and give it a try, we can do much better than we thought we could. Even if it's not perfect, I'm sure most of our family members or close friends would cherish a gift like this - one that we put our own self and effort into! I know Grampa and Grama cherish this picture from their grandson!

These gifts can be made for very little cost, and still mean a lot more to the recipient than an expensively purchased gift. Besides, we all need a little creative outlet. It's a great way to alleviate some holiday stress! So get out your pencils and paint brushes and have some fun!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Reliant Self has won an AWARD!

Wow! I unexpectedly went out of town on VERY short notice this past week and have not had a chance to post. What a nice surprise to return to! Thank you Terria of Daily Good for honoring my blog with this award. Daily Good is a wonderful blog I have been following where Terria shows us ways to do greater good in our world and all the ways that other good people are making a difference, with links to their sites, and lots of other useful information. Please check it out!

The Best Blog Award rules:

To accept the award, you must post it on your blog along with the name of the person who has honored you with it, and include a link to his/her blog. Then the hard part - choose 15 other blogs from all the wonderful blogs that you have discovered and would like to honor with the same reward. Remember to contact each of the bloggers you choose and let them know you have awarded them. Include a link to your post with the rules so they will know what to do!

When I have chosen the 15 blogs that I would like to pass this award on to, I will post them for all you to check out and hopefully appreciate them like I have!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Self-Reliant Health - Echinacea

It's that time of year - lots of sweets and lots of sickness. Sugar immobilizes your white blood cells. They are your internal army; the guys that attack and kill the invaders, build better immunity and keep you healthy. We are exposed to germs and bacterias every day. If there is no defense in place to keep fighting them off, or a weakened defense, then the invaders over-take us.

To me, Christmas just isn't completely Christmas without the holiday treats that we only eat at this time of year! But we can still give our bodies all the help possible. Eat the sweets sparingly. Sugar on an empty stomach is never a good idea. Sugar and alcohol absorb into your system directly from the stomach. That's why they affect us so quickly. Everything else we eat has to go through the entire process of digestion, then absorption through the intestinal walls into millions of little capillaries until they are all channeled into the large renal artery that goes into the liver where the blood is purified before it carries the nutrients out the other side and distributes them throughout the body. (Whew!) So sugar hits your system hard and fast and literally paralyzes your immune system for as long as 24 hours. With all the new viruses and flues going around in addition to the common ones, that's pretty risky.

The good Lord has also provided us with many natural and healthy aids to strengthen and help our bodies in their fight for health. Echinacea is one of the most common and most easily accessible. Echinacea is a perennial with flowers that range in yellow, orange, pink or purple. It is also known as the Purple Cone Flower. Echinacea is native to North America and is easy to grow. I had some growing in my flower garden for several years and didn't know what it was. Medicinally, the entire plant is used. You can find it in just about any form: encapsulated, tincture, tablet, or bulk in either powdered or cut and sifted form. I keep capsules and tinctures on hand, but my preferred method of use is as a tea. I buy it in bulk (cut) and steep it in hot water. Add a little honey and you have a soothing tea that is absorbed quickly.

Many studies and laboratory tests have been done on the use of Echinacea. It is often referred to as an immune builder or a natural antibiotic. It helps to break up and expell mucous, which removes the best place for unwanted microbes to live, proliferate and spread. It's effectiveness can be increased when used with other herbs, also, depending on what kind of illness you are dealing with. I came across a study years ago that said the combination of Echinacea, Licorice Root and Thyme made a potent immune builder. I made a glycerite of the combination and gave a little daily to my children during cold and flu season. We got far less sickness than friends and neighbors around us and when someone did catch a cold or flu, it seemed to be mild and short-lived. It is a wonderful herb to decorate your flower garden with and learn to use. The day may come when we have only our own knowledge and resources to rely on in times of need.

We have used Echinacea for many years and reaped the benefit of this wonderful plant. When we first feel something "coming on", we take some Echinacea with a couple of capsules of Myrrh, and 9 times out of 10, we feel fine by morning. It helps our body to fight off the invader before it goes wild and we avoid the sickness. My 3 teenagers have never been to a doctor for any illness. Being self-reliant with your health saves a lot of money! I hope you all keep some Echinacea on hand, eat wisely, sleep well, and enjoy this wonderful season in good health!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Give the Gift of Preparedness

I was in Costco filling my cart not long ago, and an elderly woman pushed her cart up next to mine. Without looking at me, but focused on the same bulk food items I was perusing, she began quizzing me about my awareness of the state of things in the world. It was a little amusing at first, but I immediately recognized, and appreciated, her desire to spread awareness and incite an interest in others towards being more prepared. When I engaged her in the conversation, she enthusiastically bombarded me with a whirlwind synopsis of her opinions, storage inventory and bomb shelter schematics! She followed me to the check-out and continued warning and instructing me until I was out of sight. A true preparedness crusader!

Although most are not quite as energetic as her, I am amazed at how often others bring up the topic of being prepared and storing extra food and other things. It's quite comforting to know that I may not be the only one on the block with an extra bag of beans! Christmas is the perfect time to give the gift of preparedness and peace of mind. Especially when so many of us are struggling against the crumbling economy and our dollar only buys a fraction of what it did a few years ago. You may be surprised at how grateful friends or family may be to receive a gift that eases their load and worries a little.

Since my parents and siblings are as interested in being prepared as my husband and I are, we often give storage items to each other for Christmas. Here are a few ideas of things someone on your list may appreciate...
  • The holidays are one of the good times of the year to take advantage of sales. Since many baking and cooking items are on sale during the holidays, it's a great opportunity to stock up on vanilla (not imitation), nuts, aluminum foil, baking powder, seasonings, roasting bags or hot cocoa mix.
  • Give a nice Dutch Oven and include a few "lumps of coal", i.e. a bag of briquettes. When the power is out, a good Dutch Oven can still produce a wonderful gourmet meal.
  • A bucket of honey is a sweet gift. Find a good bulk source and pay half or less what you pay per pound for the small containters in the grocery store. You can get a good deal if you buy 5 or 10 buckets and give one to each family on your list.
  • A water purifier - one Christmas my mother gave us a "Big Berkey" water filter. It requires no electricity and doesn't need to be hooked to a faucet. It filters and purifies a couple of gallons of water at a time.
  • Give someone a 72-hour kit.
  • Give a water storage barrel to a family.
  • Give a bag of wheat and a hand grinder.
  • Give a radio that runs on solar power, batteries or hand crank.
  • Give First Aid kits for a car or home.
  • Give a food dehydrator.
  • Give some Heirloom seeds to someone who loves to garden.
  • Give any food items. Buy in bulk and save lots of money... a 25 lb. bag of rice, beans or oats, 50 lbs of wheat, a bag or #10 cans of powdered milk, a case of canned peaches... Or give some "luxury" items that they may not be able to buy very often, like a large jug of pure Maple syrup.
  • Give a nice tool kit for home or auto repair to someone who doesn't have one. Maybe a college student or young couple just starting out.
  • Give some gardening tools and book on gardening.
  • If they have propane heat, give a gift card for a tank refill.
  • Most people don't know that you can pay utility bills in advance. If someone is struggling, pay a month or two in advance of their gas or electric service.
  • Give a gas coupon at a local filling station.
  • Give some warm blankets or a quilt.
  • Give a camp cook stove and some fuel for it.
  • Give a fire safety ladder to someone with a 2-story house.
  • Give some flashlights and extra batteries.
  • Give a solar oven.
  • Give some nice work gloves.
  • Give a tent or other camping supplies.
  • Give a heavy-duty snow shovel and set of jumper cables.
You get the idea. As you consider each person or family you care about on your list this Christmas, try to think of something they would appreciate that will benefit them in some way.
Help them to be a little more prepared for the hard times that we are in, and the even harder times that seem to be on their way.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Gifts - Christmas Tic-Tac-Toe

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! My entire family traveled to Washington to celebrate with my sister and her family who have finally moved into a beautiful new home they've worked on for 3 years! We were grateful to all be together.

Christmas is only 3 weeks away! I love this time of year. One of my most favorite Christmas memories was the year we gave all home-made gifts. My boys were still pretty young - it was several years ago - but luckily I took a few photos of some of the gifts we made.

One of the funnest projects was the Tic-Tac-Toe games. For the board, our neighbor used his scroll saw to cut out the basic shape. We sanded and painted them. Some we made out of salt dough. The playing pieces were all made out of salt dough.

My oldest son made a pond with ducks and frogs for the playing pieces. We sewed simple draw-string carrying bags from extra material we had on hand.

My second son was a little younger and had trouble making frogs so he made brown ducks and yellow ducks. They each drew out on paper the size and shape they wanted the board to be for the pond.

My youngest son, who was only 7, made green and yellow apples on a red apple board. A simple round ball of dough, slightly flattened on the bottom and a little piece pressed into the top for a stem. One game had a wooden board and the other playing board he made from salt dough. We drew the lines on with a permanent marker.

Of course, the only limits to what you can make is your own imagination! You could make frogs that sit on a lily pad instead of a pond, bugs on a leaf, little cars on roads, flowers on grass, stars and moons on a night sky, buttons on a shirt, eggs in a nest or fruit on a tree! They really are easy to make and come to life when you paint them.

The basic Salt Dough recipe is:

2 c. plain white flour
1 c. table salt
3//4 c. water

Knead the dough until it is smooth and doesn't stick to your hands or other surfaces. If it is still too sticky, flour your hands and the kneading surface and mix it a little more.

Adding a drop or two of cooking oil will give your dough a little more stretchiness. Some people add a small amount of Elmer's glue or dry wallpaper paste powder. A tablespoon of lemon juice will help to make the finished product a little harder. You can experiment with it to find the recipe you like. We just used the basic recipe.

If you want to color your dough first, add some acrylic paint and mix it in. Food coloring works really well, if you can mix it without coloring your hands! You can also color it with cocoa or instant coffee or spices that have a lot of color, like curry. After the dough is dried, you can paint it with just about any kind of paint you want.

The sculpted dough can be left to dry naturally, which can take a couple of days for thicker items. The oven method only takes a few hours but you have to be careful not to dry it too quickly, or too hot, or your sculptings could bubble or crack. Set the oven to no more than 200 f. (or about 100 c.) All sides have to dry and it has to be dry clear to the center of the thickest parts.

Salt dough is making a comeback as a popular craft medium again and is a great way to make Christmas gifts that are personal and fun. You can make refrigerator magnets, Christmas Tree ornaments, a pencil holder, a small plaque, wreath or other decoration to hang on the wall, or any knick-knack to sit on a desk or shelf. It's a fun project for adults or kids and costs very little. When you make a creation, you are giving a little of yourself to someone you care about!

Here are a few ideas from others (taken from Google Images):

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Psalms 92:1 - It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High.

1 Chronicles 16:8 - Give thanks unto the Lord, call upon His name, make known His deeds among the people.

Psalms 100:4-5 - Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting; and His truth endureth to all generations.

We have so much to be thankful for! Let's remember to thank Him who has given us all that we have. Have a wonderful time of Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Favorite Pumpkin Dessert

Thanksgiving is here! If you still have pumpkin you're wondering what to do with, you can try my favorite pumpkin dessert. I've never been crazy about pie crust - something about white flour and Crisco - I don't know. Even though I love pumpkin pie (and sometimes leave some crust behind!) I like this even more. I hope you enjoy it.

Pumpkin Squares

Mix together:

3 eggs, beaten
3 1/2 c. cooked, mashed pumpkin, or 29 oz. can
1 c. sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 can evaporated milk
4 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp Ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves (or allspice)

Pour mixture into a 9 x 12 casserole dish
Put on top, in order:

1/2 pkg white cake mix (dry)
1/2 stick melted butter (4 tbl)
chopped nuts (optional)

Actually, the butter is optional, too, if you want to cut down on calories, but for me it's essential! :-) Bake at 350 degrees for 45 - 50 minutes, or till knife comes out clean. It's soft like Pumpkin Pie, but I cut it into squares. Serve with a dab, or a lot, of whipped cream on top.

I love getting fresh garden pumpkins in the fall. Just like with the zucchini (Oct 19 recipe), I cook it and put it in freezer containers so I can make Pumpkin Bread, Pumpkin Cookies or Pumpkin Squares, any time of the year! This is a simple and favorite dessert for any occasion.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Self-Reliant Health - The Amazing Dandelion!

The beautiful little Dandelion is a golden treasure of health benefits, and is a wonderful herb to become familiar with since it's so common and accessible. I discovered the Dandelion years ago when I was researching for a good liver cleanser. It is packed with nutrients and healing properties. Once you come to understand what a valuable little plant it is, you may even want to start a Dandelion garden!
  • All parts of the Dandelion are used - leaves, flower and roots. It can be used fresh in green drinks and salads and is used widely in Europe and Asia, even cultivated in India for it's health benefits. In France, the roots are cooked as a vegetable and added to broth, and in Germany, they are sliced and used in salads. You can find many recipes for Dandelions in recipe books and on the Internet.
  • The Dandelion is high in vitamins and minerals, especially, calcium, potassium and vitamin A. It has been used as a "high nutrient" food and is considered a valuable survival food. It is eaten to replenish calcium when deficient and contains 7,000 units of Vitamin A per ounce! Vitamin A deficiency is almost always present where there is cancer. Dandelion is an excellent source of potassium and has been used when there is water retention due to heart problems.
  • When the greens are used as food, it improves the enamel of the teeth.
  • Dandelion is one of the best known blood purifiers and liver tonics there is. It contains all the nutritive salts that are required for the body to purify the blood. The juice of the Dandelion root is commonly used by European herbalists to treat diabetes and liver disease. They regard Dandelion as one of the best herbs for building up the blood and for helping with anemia. I pick fresh Dandelion in the summer and dry it for use in herbal teas during the winter to help flush toxins and to assist the liver, especially when taking asprin or medications.
  • Dandelion increases the flow of urine. It acts as a gentle laxative and is invigorating and strengthening to the body in general.
  • It is used to restore gastric balance in cases of severe vomiting.
  • The white juice from the broken stem is used to treat warts. When used daily for about a week, it will dry them up. The juice is also used to treat blisters, corns, acne and other skin diseases.
  • The Chinese use the seeds as a strong antibiotic in lung infections.
  • Inulin, one of the major chemicals in Dandelion, is currently being studied for its ability to stimulate the immune system, while being used to strengthen the kidneys and as a pancriatic aid.
  • In testing it against cancer, it has shown to be active against 2 tumor systems. The Chinese have used Dandelion to treat breast cancer for thousands of years.
  • Dandelion has been known to reduce serum cholesterol and uric acid in the system.
  • It is known for inducing the flow of bile and is so effective that the first stages of cirrhosis of the liver have been known to be alleviated by consistent use.
  • Dandelion is fantastic for use in cases of hepatitis.
  • Cancer always occurs in an acidic state. Dieting/weight loss can create an acidic environment, just like taking in sugars and toxins, as excess is flushed into the system. Dandelion is excellent for purifying the system during this process.
  • It's a great herb for low blood pressure. It helps build energy and endurance.
  • It increases activity of the pancreas and spleen.
  • Dandelion is a good herb for strengthening and toning the female organs.
What an amazing plant! Imagine the greater health we can enjoy, and the money we can save, if we become familiar with and know how to use the plethora of wonderful plants the Lord has put here for our use. The value and use of plants like the Dandelion is not taught in medical school because there is no money to be made by educating people about them. But that doesn't mean we can't educate ourselves. So have some fresh green and yellow in your salad tonight and enjoy better health!

(Much of the specifics listed here was taken from The How To Herb Book, by Velma J. Keith and Monteen Gordon, and The Little Herb Encyclopedia by Jack Ritchason N.D.)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

"UDDERLY" Delicious Powdered Milk - 2

Here are some more great recipes contributed by a friend. Be sure and print these out and keep them in your storage with your powdered milk!

Don't forget to cow-nt your blessings every day!

Whipped Topping (replaces Whipped Cream)

Mix 1/2 c. instant nonfat dry milk with 1/2 c. cold water.
Beat to soft peak stage, about 4 minutes at med. speed.
Add 1/2 tsp lemon or vanilla extract.
Beat 6 to 7 minutes at same speed.
Add 2 Tbl sugar and beat 1 minute

What kind of milk comes from a forgetful cow? Milk of Amnesia.

Blue Ribbon Yogurt

1 1/3 c. instant powdered milk
Add an extra 1/3 c. powdered milk for thicker creamier yogurt
2 tbl plain yogurt or 1 pkg. dried yogurt starter
3 3/4 cut lukewarm water

Place in yogurt maker cups for 10 hours. Chill 3 to 4 hours.

If you don't have a yogurt maker, there are other ways to make your yogurt:

1. Turn the oven on to 150 degrees, warm it up, then turn it off. Put the yogurt in a glass bowl covered with plastic wrap and place in the oven. Leave it there for 9 - 10 hours. (Put it in before you go to bed and leave it overnight.)

2. A thermos will maintain a constant temperature. A large thermos would be great to incubate the yogurt. Fill thermos and place on counter for 10 hours.

Stir in fruit, a spoonful of strawberry jam (or some other flavor jam) or just a spoon of honey. The plain yogurt is great in many recipes calling for sour cream.

What is a cow's favorite moosical note? Beef-flat.

Cream Cheese

Take 1 recipe for yogurt made any of the above ways. Place any amount of the yogurt in a smooth cotton cloth, tie with a string and hang, or place cloth in a strainer over a bowl. Let drain until most of the liquid has dripped out. Keep the cream cheese in an airtight container and keep in fridge.

Why does a milking stool have only 3 legs? Because the cow has the udder.

Curds and Whey

In a large pot (Do NOT use aluminum cookware) combine 6 c. of water and 3 c. dry milk powder. Stir to dissolve. Heat the milk on medium until it is very warm, about 120 degrees. This is hot to the touch, but not scalding. Stir in 1/2 c. of plain white vinegar. Allow to stand for 10 minutes. There should be a large mass of curds in an amber pool of whey. If the liquid is still milky, add another 1/4 c. of vinegar. Stir and stand again for 10 minutes. Line a strainer with a clean cloth and drain off the whey. It can be used as the liquid in bread or muffins or biscuits. Rinse the curds under cool water and store in the fridge. This recipe makes about 1 1/2 to 2 c. of curds.

Q: Where do cows dance?
A: At meatballs!

Quick Cottage Cheese

4 c. Water
2 c. Instant Powdered Milk
2/3 c. Corn Oil
1 tsp Vitamin C Powder or Ascorbic Acid 4,000 mg.

Bring water to boil in large pot. Stir in powdered milk, then oil. Add ascorbic acid stirring gently until milk curdles. This may take 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit 2 minutes. Drain off the whey. Add a small amount of cream or buttermilk and salt, stir and refrigerate.

Remember, You don't need to cry over spilt milk!

(Graphics taken from Google Images)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Recycle Clothes - Pillows and Stuff

Do you have an old bathrobe you are tired of? A bath towel with a hole in it? A top sheet whose fitted counterpart has worn out? Well, don't throw them away because those are very useful things! I've had lots of fun turning things like that into something else useful and creative.

When I was in Jr. High, I got a fuzzy blue bathrobe for Christmas. By the time I was in college I finally had to give it up. It was too small to wear but was such a nice big piece of material, I saved it in a box until I could think of something else to do with it. When my first little boy was about 1 1/2, I pulled it out and made a pillow.

I sewed pieces of the belt into the sides of the pillow for handles. When it stood up on it's side it was taller than him, and he loved it! He's 19 now, so this old bathrobe has had a good long life and still gets a lot of use in our home! The red pillow is also made from a bathrobe. I stuffed the blue one with batting and the red one with packing peanuts!

When my youngest son was about 3, he got a pair of Elmo pajamas. They were his favorite. He wore them until the sleeves only reached his elbows and the pants barely came below his knees, but I couldn't get him to part with them! One day I got a bright idea and he agreed to let me make an Elmo he could sleep with. I was finally able to retire the Elmo pj's by cutting the top down and stuffing it for a pillow. I left the neck and natural shape to keep the familiarity for him. He was happy and it worked!

I like pillows, if you couldn't tell. So here's one more pillow idea. You take two old pillows that have gone flat, or two fat ones - any two pillows, and stitch them together end-to-end. They need to be the same size and thickness. Then use a sheet to make a simple rectangular cover. Since the fitted sheets always wear out first, there are usually some top sheets that are in great shape and don't have a bottom to go with them. They're perfect covers for your new body pillow.

A bath towel makes a great draft-stopper to keep the cold air out in the winter. Roll it up around another towel or the cut-off legs of an old pair of jeans.

There are so many things you can do with old jeans! They make really nice hot pads because they are heavy enough to give protection and still be thin enough to hold on to things easily. This is a quilt that my niece made when she was about 8 as a Christmas present for her cousin, with a little help from her mom. She sewed it in red stitching and put a red flannel back on it. The jeans were all old pairs that her family had worn, and she wrote the names of all of her family members and ours, scattered on the squares. What a great gift!

This little wall hanging is just a pocket cut out of a pair of jeans. Cut around the pocket, leaving the section of pants behind it, so it's still a pocket. You can put silk flowers with stems in the pocket, instead of attached to the front, like I did. Or get creative with your own decorating ideas. This one has scented sachets inside. The wire was wrapped around a pencil to shape it, and then the ends poked through the material and bent into a tight loop. No sewing required for this easy project!

So look twice before you are tempted to get rid of your worn out items. There are so many fun things to do with them. Recycling them into other useful things saves money, and if you have kids, it's a great opportunity for them. They can learn to sew, create things they can say they made themselves, and make gifts for others. Christmas is coming and homemade gifts come from the heart! I have more ideas I'll share in future posts.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Giving Thanks

I'm deeply thankful to God for all He has given me! He created this earth, and everything on it, in all it's amazing intricacies and beauties. He created us and put us here, as visitors, children sent away to school to learn and grow and work, and through prayer we can call home to a loving parent for guidance, direction and comfort. He has given us everything we have. There is so much to be thankful for!

Psalms 147:7
Sing unto the Lord with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God.

1 Thesalonians 5:18
In everything give thanks...

Psalms 50:14,15
Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High: And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.

2 Corinthians 9:11
Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God.

Count your many blessings and give thanks this season, and always!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Emergency Pack

The world is getting more unpredictable all the time! Some call it exciting. Some call it scary. Natural disasters are not so natural any more. They are increasingly more unexpected, frequent, severe and unusual all the time. It's easy to see that the earth is angry and biblical prophecy is being fulfilled all around us. People and politics are going crazy, terrorists are terrorizing, health is declining and the economy is crumbling!

Whew! That's a lot to deal with! But let's look on the bright side - I believe there always is one. We have our families and our friends. We can support each other and be better prepared to help ourselves and others in whatever situation we might face. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which I belong to, has been teaching us preparedness principles for 60 years. Things like storing extra food and supplies and keeping extra cash available. Self-reliant people are free people. Dependent people are easily controlled.

The first, most basic step to preparedness is to assemble an emergency pack. It's exciting to see how many people are starting to keep these on hand. They are often referred to as a 72-Hour Kit or a Grab and Go Bag. We've kept one on hand for each member of our family for about 20 years. We haven't needed it yet, but it sure brings peace of mind to know it's there if we do. Many members of our church who were caught in the crisis of Hurricane Katrina, told how their kits were all they had for themselves and to help others until they could get more help.

The pack should contain anything you think you would need to survive, at the very least, or to be as comfortable as possible for several days. Preferably, it is all in a pack you can pick up and carry if you have to take it with you. We keep 3 days worth of food and a change of clothing that we have rotated and updated each year, to keep food fresh and growing kids provided for. My October 5th post called Brainstorming With Perspective will help you evaluate the things you will want to pack based on what situations might occur for you. Here's a list of ideas. You probably won't want them all, and might have other needs that aren't listed, but this will help you get started:
  • Food and Water
  • Change of Clothing
  • Rain Coat/Poncho
  • Blanket &/or Radiant Emergency Heat Blanket
  • Backpacking tent
  • Plastic sheet
  • Flashlight or Headlamp with batteries plus extras
  • Candles
  • Lighter and waterproof matches
  • Flares
  • Can opener
  • Dishes and Utensils
  • Radio with hand crank or batteries
  • Folding shovel
  • Pocket Knife
  • Hatchet
  • Rope
  • Duct Tape
  • First Aid Supplies
  • Toilet Paper
  • Personal Hygiene items
  • Pen and Paper
  • Medications
  • Soap for body, hair, dishes
  • Cloth, small towel, bandana
  • Hat
  • Cash - coins for vending machines
  • Copies of important documents
  • Garbage bags
  • Fishing gear
  • Sewing Kit
  • Compass
  • Mirror
  • Any special needs for infants and small children, elderly, handicapped, etc.
Put the things that need to stay dry in ZipLock bags. I'd recommend that once a year, or more often if needed, you update any clothes or food that needs to be rotated, and have a drill. Whether you are alone or with a family or roomates, make sure everyone knows exactly where the packs are, who carries what, where to go if you have to leave the house, and where to meet if you are separated.

An hour or two to prepare could save your life, or someone else's in an unexpected crisis. Let's not put off simple things that could make such a big difference. Because Preparedness is Peace of Mind!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Self-Reliant Health - Fevers

Heat is a build-up of energy. When you smash your finger, or cut yourself, the damaged part gets hot because your body sends a "repair crew" in to fix the damage. There is more activity going on in the area which creates more energy and therefor, more heat.

A fever from sickness works on the same principle. Your body works extra hard to attack, "burn out" and fight off the invader, and to flush out toxic waste. When you have a fever, you need to take in enough nutrients to supply your cells with the energy they need, but not so much that your body also has to work hard to digest and process the food. Liquids are best - water, fruit juices, vegetable juices, herbal teas, and broths. If you feel hungry, eat light foods that are easy to digest, in small amounts. Meats, cheese, eggs and other high protein foods should be avoided.

I've been told by 3 different doctors that fevers themselves are not dangerous, no matter how high. The danger is in the dehydration. However, the higher the temperature, the greater the risk of dehydrating cells in the brain and other vital organs, and the more difficult it is to ensure that they are staying hydrated, but it is not actually the temperature that does damage. Two of those doctors told me they had a child of their own with a fever of 108 degrees. They let the fever run it's course and come down naturally because they were able to keep the child drinking large quantities of liquid. If the person with the fever is unable to drink enough liquid, or if you are unsure if the amount of liquid is adequate, bring the temperature down!

I have found several effective and healthy ways to lower temperatures, without using toxic or allopathic medications with warnings of liver damage on the labels! Natural remedies do the job just as effectively and nourish your body at the same time, giving it more strength.

When my children had fevers as infants or when they were small, I would first sponge them with tepid water. This would usually be adequate for a low-grade fever. In higher fevers, the best remedy I ever found was a garlic enema. Using one of those blue bulb syringes you get in the hospital to clean the baby's nose, I gently injected warm body temperature water with a few drops of fresh garlic juice I had squeezed from a clove. The baby would break into a sweat within 1 or 2 minutes and the fever would dissipate. Using only 1/2 to 1 cup of solution, the colon absorbs it immediately and nothing comes back out.

Garlic, Catnip and Peppermint are all excellent herbs to give as an enema for fast results. Sometimes an enema of just water, slightly cooler than the body, will work. A warm bath infused with tea made from Catnip, Peppermint, Ginger or Red Raspberry Leaf also work well. The idea is to get the herbs into the body whether through the colon, absorbed through the skin, or ingested. Fresh lemon juice mixed with water (no sugar added) often brings a fever down.

There are many herbs that you can make a tea out of that are known to help reduce fevers. A lot of them may be right in your spice cupboard, or even growing in your garden! If you aren't sure how to make an herbal tea, rather than explain it again here, refer to my October post called "Self-Reliant Health - Lungs and Bronchials". Here is a partial list of some of the herbs you can use to reduce a fever:
  • Garlic
  • Catnip
  • Peppermint
  • Elder Flower
  • Chamomile/Feverfew (photo)
  • Ginger
  • Red Raspberry Leaf
  • Willow bark
  • Sweet Basil
  • Ginseng
  • Marjoram
  • Rose Hips (photo)
  • Sage
  • Thyme
  • Black Cohosh
  • Yarrow
  • Slippery Elm
  • Choke Cherry Bark
  • Vervain
  • Black Walnut
  • Burdock
  • Blessed Thistle
We also use homeopathic remedies. I especially used them when the kids were small because they are so safe. Homeopathics are each specific in their effectiveness depending on the person's body type, physical constitution and exact cause and symptoms of the ailment. If you can identify the correct remedy to use, they are very effective. Aconitum Nap., Belladonna, Bryonia Alba, Chamomilla, Ferrum Phosphoricum and Gelsemium are some that we have used with positive results. Consult a guide or Homeopathist for proper use.

As always, I believe it is important for us to learn what home remedies are available, how to use them, and have a few good herbs growing in or around our homes that we can use to help ourselves and others in a situation when outside help may not be available. And if you learn to use them now, you can heal in a much healthier way and avoid the high costs of medications and doctor visits.


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