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.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

"UDDERLY" Delicious Powdered Milk

Seize every opportunity and MILK it for all it's worth!

Milk is one of the staple ingredients in cooking and baking. As you store up for a rainy day, or a major disaster, you will want to have plenty of powdered milk. I grew up on fresh goat milk and never liked the taste of powdered milk, but when it's all we have to use, I'm sure I'll be grateful to have it! So I've collected a few recipes that I like, and that others have recommended. Try them out and let me know what you think.

Peanut Butter Playdough -Life's short - let's start with dessert! I've made this with my kids since they were little and we always loved it. There's few things better to a little boy than food that tastes good AND you can play with it!

1 c. peanut butter
1 c. light corn syrup
1 1/4 c. powdered milk
1 1/4 c. powdered sugar

Mix, knead slightly, sculpt and eat!

What job is a cow most suited for? Baker, because they're always making cow pies!

Indian Fry Bread

4 c. flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 c. warm water
1/2 tsp salt
1 c. powdered milk

Mix all the ingredients. Roll or form into flat rounds with your hands and fry in a small amount of oil. Serve with butter and honey, or with chili and cheese.

What do you call it when a cow tries to jump over a fence?
UDDER destruction!

Milk Gravy

1 c. instant powdered milk
3 c. water
1 tbl butter or fat
3 heaping tbl flour
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt

Mix water and dry milk together in pan. Add the flour, salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat until gravy is thickened. Add the butter or fat and stir until smooth. Serve over biscuits or toast.

What do you get from a pampered cow? Spoiled milk.

Old Fashioned Hamburger Gravy

1 lb. Hamburger (or sausage)
4 c. water
1 1/3 c. instant milk or 1 c. non-instant
4 heaping Tbl flour
Salt and Pepper to taste

Brown 1 lb. hamburger in a frying pan. In pitcher or blender mix water and dry milk. With a slotted spoon remove the cooked hamburger and set aside in other container. To the fat drippings left in pan, add the flour and stir. Stirring constantly over medium heat, quickly add the milk. It will thicken fast as you stir. Add the hamburger back in and stir until all is heated through. Add the salt and pepper. Serve over biscuits, toast or potatoes.

Why did the cow wear a bell around her neck? Because her horn didn't work!

Sweetened Condensed Milk

3/4 c. non-instant powdered milk (or 1 1/3 c. instant)
3/4 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. hot tap water
2 Tbl butter

Put hot water in blender and add butter. With blender on medium speed, add sugar and powdered milk. Blend until smooth.

What's the best way to keep milk fresh? Leave it in the cow!

(Most of this content was contributed by a friend)
(All clipart from Google Images)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Creative Cleaning

I've got a beautiful 107 year old antique upright piano. My Grandpa traded a horse for it back before I was born. After the kids were all gone from his house, he sold it to my mother for $125, because that's how much the horse was worth when he made the trade! I grew up with it in my home and was fortunate to have it handed down to me. Now my sons play amazing music on it and it is a treasure in our home. The front has a panel of intricately carved design with many little grooves and crevices. Over the many years of dusting, those little crevices filled up with packed dust. Every now and then I'd try to pick some of it out with a toothpick, but it just didn't do the job. Brushing my teeth one night, it dawned on me that my toothbrush was the perfect answer!

Toothbrush magic - A soft bristled toothbrush very gently pulls every bit of dust out of every little crack. I started keeping a few used toothbrushes on hand and they are my favorite cleaning tool! I use them for anything with grooves and ridges, like the panels on my cupboard doors, window trim and baseboards, decorative picture frames, the nooks and cranies in my rattan furniture, the hot tub jets, tile grouting, and dozens of other places. I also keep a couple in my laundry room to scrub out spots on clothing.

Dishwasher tricks - Washing those baseball caps has always been a pain in the neck. I used to scrub them by hand with, of course, a toothbrush. I've talked to a couple of friends who use one of those plastic hat holders. You know, they're shaped like a hat and snap over it to keep the bill from getting mangled in the wash machine. Well, there's an easier way - just put your hats in the dishwasher. They won't loose their shape because they aren't being agitated around. It's slick and easy.

Pantyhose scrubbers - Keep your snagged pantyhose to gently scrub fine porcelain or other things that will scratch easily. Braid a few together and then tie them into a big knot. If you need a little more abrasion, scrub with a little baking soda.

Sock dusters - Dusting goes faster with both hands! Put a couple of old fuzzy socks on your hands and just go at it. It's the fastest way to dust I know of! If you aren't that ambidextrous, just one sock works great, too.

Reaching under the Fridge and Stove - At least once a year I try to pull out my fridge and kitchen stove and do a thorough cleaning under them. But let's face it, if that's all you do, there's probably going to be some pretty deep and scary stuff under there. I don't like pulling them out very often, because besides the fact they are heavy and awkward to move, they can damage or mark up your vinyl or wood floors. So I put an old sock over the end of my yardstick and swipe it under-neath. It reaches every corner and does a great dusting job as it goes.

Not a penny spent! I love it when the very best solutions are also the easiest, quickest and cheapest.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


St. Mark 4:39-40

And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.

And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Is Your Home Bugged?

I'm talking about the little 6-legged kinds. We live in the woods, in a wood sided house and we haul wood into our basement for the wood stove. There are a lot of bugs that like wood! Even if you aren't in such a wooden world, you might have ants, earwigs, wasps, cockroaches, silverfish, fleas, flies or a variety of little beetles and other bugs that seem to get in through the cracks and invade your privacy. There is a very inexpensive and totally harmless way to get rid of them all!

It's called Diatomaceous Earth (DE). It comes in different qualities but I would recommend using only the food grade DE. It's made from finely ground diatoms that are mined from the earth and comes in the form of a white powder. Diatoms are tiny crustaceans so it's a flour made from fossil shells. You can buy a pound of it for as little as $7 or $8, or up to around $15. You can even get it for less when you buy larger quantities. You can get it at a local hardware store, Walmart, ranch supply store or order it on line. (Update: It sells for $2/lb at our local Cenex and $17 for 50 lbs through the co-op order at Azure Standard!)

We have used DE for years to stop the ants, beetles and earwigs from crawling into our house through vents and cracks. Rather than killing the insects by poisoning them, when they come in contact with it the fine powder punctures their exoskeleton, or gets in through the joints, and absorbs the moisture out of their bodies. I know, it sounds gruesome. But is that really worse than poisoning or squishing them? I fill an empty spice bottle that has the lid with the shaker holes in it. It takes me about 10 or 15 minutes to go around the perimeter of the house and shake out a continuous line of powder. This method won't stop the bugs that fly onto the house higher up, but it will stop anything that has to crawl onto the house from the ground.

Food Grade DE is absolutely safe. You can even eat it! And many people do. You can take a teaspoon full or more a couple of times a day to absorb out toxins, kill worms or parasites and clean your bowels. People claim shinier hair, stronger nails, more energy, clearer complexions, better sleep and a long list of other benefits. It contains many trace minerals that your body needs. There's no real science to how much to take, when or how often. Whatever works for you. You should start out slowly though, because it will initially begin a detoxing process, and if your body detoxes too quickly you will feel like you have a miserable flu. Never consume anything but Food Grade DE! Others are sometimes treated with deadly chemicals.

Here are some more ways to use Diatomaceous Earth:
  • Rub it on your pets or livestock to kill ticks, lice and fleas
  • Sprinkle on your mattress to kill mites and bed bugs
  • Sprinkle on base boards, window sills, corners, anywhere bugs might go
  • Feed to your pets or livestock to de-worm or improve health
  • Aids in digestion
  • Keeps fungus from growing in the garden
  • Keep moisture down in barns, chicken coops, kennels, hay bins, compost boxes, litter boxes or anywhere else that has moisture problems
  • Mix in pet food or livestock grains to kill pests living in the grain
  • Put on manure piles to lessen moisture, odor and flies
Healthier animals are happier animals and have less vet bills. Don't keep your pets powdered in it for extended periods of time because it is a moisture absorber and will dry their skin out just like it will yours. It will also dry out and irritate your eyes like any other powder, so don't spread it outside with yourself or pets down wind. Be cautious about using it around flower beds or places where beneficial insects like bees, praying mantis and lady bugs live. My logic tells me that I'd avoid using it very much on carpet. It could cut the fibers. Like anything else, use it wisely and reap the many benefits. Here are a couple of links to sites loaded with everything you'd ever want to know about Diatomaceous Earth:

Friday, November 6, 2009

Food For Health - Turmeric

Chances are pretty good that you may have the best remedies or "cures" possible for most of what ails you, right in your fridge or spice cupboard! Natural food is natural medicine. Although turmeric is not the most common cooking spice in our country, if you've got some, you've got a great natural remedy on hand. It is grown in India and other warm climates of Asia. Recently, we Westerners are becoming more and more aware of what Asians have known for centuries.

The health benefits of turmeric are found in the active ingredient curcumin, which is the potent compound that gives it the bright color, strong flavor and healing abilities it is known for. Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant, anti-cancer, antibacterial, anti-inflamatory and digestive aid. In India's traditional Ayurvedic medicine, it is used for liver and digestive problems as well as infections, fevers and arthritis. Chinese physicians have used it to treat liver and gall bladder problems, congestion in the lungs and to stop bleeding. Because of it's many healing properties, it has a long list of both known and possible health benefits. Here are some of them:
  • Natural treatment for arthritis and rheumatiod arthritis
  • Natural painkiller
  • Natural potent liver detoxifier
  • Natural antiseptic - clean cuts, scrapes, burns
  • Natural antibacterial - kills infections
  • Potent natural anti-inflamitory - sores, swelling, post surgery,
  • Weight loss/management - metabolizes fats
  • Speeds healing of wounds
  • May help with inflamatory skin problems, psoriasis
  • Digestive aid - stimulates flow of bile
  • Fights disease
  • Improves circulation
  • Protects and strengthens the heart
  • Relieves dysentery
  • Treatment for jaundice
  • Lowers fevers
  • Helps with menstual cramps
  • Aids in clearing congested lungs
  • Strengthens liver
  • Protects liver from toxins like alcohol
  • Stimulates the adrenal glands
  • Eases arthritis pain and inflamation
  • Has been found to destroy certain types of cancer cells, like leukemia
  • Shows positive effects on multiple myeloma
  • Shown to slow or stop tumor growth
  • Chinese treatment for depression
  • Positive studies on pancreatic cancer
  • Slows multiple sclerosis
  • Has been shown to prevent and stop growth of prostate cancer when taken with cauliflower
  • May prevent or slow progression of Alzheimer's
  • Reduces side effects of chemo while boosting it's effectiveness
  • Mix with lemon to cleanse skin and keep it soft, moisturized and healthy
  • Use as face wash to help with acne
  • Controls dandruff - hair rinse
Now that's some healthy flavor! I buy turmeric by the pound and put it in capsules. When we feel a cold or flu coming on, we take some turmeric along with our herbal tea and other remedies. Turmeric is one of the main ingredients always found in curry powder. We love curry in our house and use it often in soups, rice, casseroles, chicken, stir fry, on scrambled eggs or in egg salads. So add a little color to your cooking (hope you like yellow!) and feel good.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Recycle Clothes - Notions and Things

When's the last time you had to buy buttons or zippers or elastic? If it's been a while, you might be surprised at how much prices have gone up over the years. I keep supplies of thread, needles, yarn, knitting needles, crochet hooks, sewing notions and other things. Any time I have a mending need, I have something to tackle the job with.

When my kids were smaller, I used to sew more, mainly for myself, and just for fun. So I was regularly buying buttons and things to match what I was making. Children's clothes can be pretty inexpensive if you catch the sales. There was a great consignment store near where we used to live and for just a few dollars an item, I used to dress them in Baby Dior, Baby Gap and other fun things. As they got a little bigger, my sewing time was filled with mending - mainly jean knees! I'd patch them the first time and when the patches were shot, I'd sometimes cut them off and hem them into jean shorts for summer. Don't be afraid to stop at a thrift store. Some of them are choosey and only take nice things. Others, you have to sift a little but there are always brand new or like-new clothes scattered through the racks.

I started keeping some of the worn out jeans so I'd have something to make patches out of. When a zipper gave up the ghost, I'd realize there was one just the size I needed in those "scrap" jeans and it was quicker and easier to pull it out and use it than go to town and buy a new one. I saved money on both the zipper and the gas! When a shirt is worn out and ready for the rag bag, I cut off all the buttons first and put them in my button container. That comes in really handy when my husband discovers a button missing from his dress shirt and I have dozens of those little white buttons ready to sew one on in 5 minutes flat! To make finding what I want easier, I sort them by color or into matching sets and put them in little bags or string a bunch of matching ones together. If there is a nice heavy elastic in the waist of a worn out item, I take out the elastic. A pair of pajama or lounge pants is pretty simple to make and I have plenty of recycled elastic bands to put in without having to buy a new piece.

We've become such a throw-away society that sometimes we might be throwing in the garbage the very things we are just headed to the store to buy. I haven't had to buy buttons or zippers or elastic for a very long time because I just keep recycling the ones we get.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Wheat Thins

I'm always looking for good ways to use wheat. We keep wheat on hand, and a grinder for fresh flour, but I keep thinking that if one day we have to live on solely what we can produce ourselves, our yeast supplies will be limited and flatbreads and other things will be our only options. Flatbreads are better for you than yeast breads anyway.

I've had a recipe for Wheat Thins I've been wanting to try, so I gave it a shot. They turned out pretty good.

Wheat Thins

1 3/4 c. whole wheat flour
1 1/2 c. white flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 c. oil
1 c. water

Mix the dry ingredients together and then add the oil and water. Knead as little as possible to make a smooth dough. I kneaded it for about 1 minute. Roll the dough very thin and score with knife. Don't cut all the way through or the dough will contract up into smaller pieces. Prick each cracker a few times with a fork. This keeps it from puffing up so it stays flat. Sprinkle the dough with salt or onion salt. Bake at 350 degrees until light brown, about 25 - 30 minutes.


Related Posts with Thumbnails