Thursday, June 24, 2010

Question...

Is anyone reading this blog?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Nettle Infusions

Lately, I've been drinking nettle infusions, my daily multivitamin in liquid form. This stuff is JAM-PACKED with nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and protein! And because this is plant-derived it is SO much more easily absorbed and utilized by our bodies than a pill.

Here's how I prepare mine:

1- Measure out 1 oz. of dried nettle herb. (I purchase mine in bulk from Bulk Herb Store and/or Mountain Rose Herbs.)

2- Place in a quart sized canning jar.

3- Pour and fill jar with boiling hot water.

4- Let steep for 4-8 hours. (I usually prepare mine the night before and let it set overnight.)

5- Strain herbs out. (Compost!)

6- Drink at preferred temperature (heated, chilled, or room temp).

Viola!

I'm not going to lie. It tastes pretty grassy. But everything I read says it's an acquired taste that you learn to appreciate and love. I can vouch that it gets more palatable the more you drink it. Try it and enjoy nourishing your body the natural, healthy way!!!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

All right!

Ever wonder what English sounds like to foreigners? This is a song of total gibberish made by an Italian gentleman.


The kids and I just really like that song. We play it a lot. It's catchy. Perhaps too catchy because one day I was just randomly spouting off the "Prisencolinensinainciusol" line and Edmund immediately followed up with an "all right". Check it out!

video

Friday, June 11, 2010

ANOTHER giveaway!

Raising Homemakers is having ANOTHER giveaway!!! I can't believe it!!! Here's what's up now:
Anna Sofia & Elizabeth Botkin's book "So Much More" and (2) CD's entitled "Strength and Dignity For Daughters" and "What Our Father Taught Us About Boys". Check it out!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

This summer.

RD and I decided not to rush our children into a myriad of activities and practices until we noticed certain traits and natural abilities arising. They sure seem to be in our two oldest kids!

This summer, we're enrolling them in classes.

Arianna: painting/art
(She would seriously paint everyday/all day if I let her.)

Benjamin: basketball camp
(He's amazing with a ball! And I'm not just saying that as a proud parent. He's good!)

Got mosquito bites?

I don't know about you, but the mosquitoes just LOVE our family, especially RD and Arianna. (I tell them it's because they're so "sweet".) Sometimes I wonder if mosquitoes prefer certain blood types. Hmmm... Anyway, for those of you that are suffering this summer with those pesky itchy bites, try this simple home remedy: Baking Soda Paste.

Pour out a bit of baking soda into a bowl and add enough water to make a paste. Rub a bit of the paste on the bug bite. Voila! Works like a charm. Takes the itch right out!
(Also works wonders on bee stings.)


Another wonderful thing to have around the house for bug bites is Watkins Salve. For minor cuts, scrapes, burns, and skin irritations. Looooove it!

Kombucha while pregnant and/or nursing...

Good to know for future reference: http://www.foodrenegade.com/is-kombucha-safe-when-pregnant-or-nursing/

(Thanks, Susan!)

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Paper Doll Books giveaway


Raising Homemakers is at it again. Next up for a giveaway is a set of 3 Paper Doll Books. Click here for details!!!

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Kombucha


Today, a friend of mine dropped off a Kombucha mushroom. Very excited to get this brew started!!! I've heard about Kombucha on several mommy bloggers I follow~ have always been interested and intrigued but never indulged. It's basically a fermented (non-alcoholic) tea drink. For more information, head on over to Keeping the Home.

More homemade goodies!

Thank you, Kendra, for sharing these recipes! SO good!!!

Onion Soup Mix
Makes approx. 5 Tbls (= 1 packet)
3-1/4 Tbl minced onion
4-1/4 tsp beef bouillon powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp crushed celery seed; celery salt; or crushed celery flakes
1/8 tsp sugar
Mix and use in place of onion soup packet.


Cassandra was mommy's little helper this morning. She helped me with all kinds of things. This is her mixing up the soup mix.
------------------------------------------------------------------

Next, Cassandra and I whipped up a batch of homemade mayonnaise!!!



Homemade Mayonnaise
Makes 1 C
1 whole egg
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbls white distilled vinegar
1/4 C vegetable oil
1 dash of paprika

3/4 C vegetable oil
In a blender, add all ingredients except the last 3/4 C oil. Blend on LOW for 2 minutes. Then, with the blender still running, take the cap off the lid and slowly pour the remaining 3/4 C oil in that blender as a thin stream. (Pouring too quickly will cause your mayo to be runny.) Caution: splattering may occur! Continue blending for a few more seconds, or until thickened; it doesn't take long. Store in fridge, preferably in a glass container.

God's Word from A to Z

Visit Passionate Homemaking for a chance to win the CD "God's Word From A to Z" by Abe and Liza Philip~ Scripture put to music so God's Word can be hidden in the hearts of our children (and ours!).

"Completing Him" Summer Challenge

Anyone interested in joining me on this adventure this summer?
Link up here at Women Living Well.

The challenge starts today and ends August 9th!



Be the woman your man needs!



Monday, June 07, 2010

Misc. homemade & herbal stuff

Honey Whole Wheat Muffins
Yields: 9 muffins
(doubles & freezes well)
*1-1/2 C buttermilk
*1 C rolled oats
2 Tbl honey
2 Tbl vegetable oil
1 C whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease (or line with paper cups) muffin tin. Combine buttermilk and oats in a small saucepan; heat just until warm; stir in honey and vegetable oil; set aside. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. Add oat mixture to dry ingredients to form a batter. Scoop batter into prepared muffin cups. Bake 25-30 minutes, until lightly browned. Amazing served with butter and honey!
*can soak oats overnight
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Homemade Italian Dressing
*from New Life on a Homestead*
-------------------------------------------------------------------
My spearmint was about to flower so I picked several stalks off to dry and chop for tea. I love drinking just straight spearmint tea or adding it to other herbal mixes for added flavor.

Yet ANOTHER cool giveaway...

... from Raising Homemakers: The Return of the Daughters DVD


***To watch the trailer, click here.

More on raw milk

**Warning: not for the squeamish.**

---------------------------------------------------------------
A tale of two calves — one calf was fed on raw milk, the other on pasteurized (from: The Bovine blog)

Here are the preliminary results (June 3), as reported by Michael Schmidt:

Raw milk fed calf

To understand the results of our raw milk experiment it is important to tolerate the so called scientific demands. That means in order to get accepted and being taken seriously by the scientific establishment you need to have 100 or 200 or 300 or may be even 1000 calves to make a scientific valid point .However the simple fact that the so called experts have not yet entered into a joint research project as proposed by me already in 1994 has given me even a greater confidence that the results we have seen with these two calves are credible and significant. They are in fact supporting the findings of Pottenger’s cat study, which as well has been ignored and ridiculed.

Calf fed on pasteurized milk diet

The experiment was costing us over 5000 dollars just in milk. This is a significant amount for us, since we did not get any support from corporate sponsors.

The weight of the two calves was basically equal at the beginning of the feeding trial.

At the end the raw milk calf weight 200 kg and the pasteurized milk calf weight 115 kg.

They gained weight almost equally for about 8 weeks and then the pasteurized milk calf started falling back.

A significant difference during the 4 month trial was always the different smell and the consistency of the manure. The raw milk calf had mostly a well formed manure and normal smell you would expect. Contrary to that the manure of the pasteurized calf was runny and the color mostly grey or almost white during the feeding trial.

We did not treat either of these calves for any condition. We would have if there would have been a life threatening situation.

The hair on the raw milk calf was shiny and solid on the pasteurized calf dull and easily pulled out.

The alertness in the two calves was a major difference: the pasteurized calf seemed very uninterested with a clear lack of movement.

After nearly 5 months we could see that the pasteurized calf would have had difficulty to survive without medication and supplements.

Below are some of the pictures to show the obvious visual differences.

Livers: Pasteurized on the left, Raw on the right

A tale of two stomachs -- in the cart raw milk stomach with solid contents, and on the floor the stomach from the calf which was fed on pasteurised milk, with very bad smelling runny contents

Raw kidney

Kidney from pasteurized milk fed calf

Testes of pasteurized milk fed calf

Testes of raw milk fed calf

Lavender Bath Oil


INGREDIENTS
15-30 drops essential oil
1 oz. carrier oil

Fill small container with carrier oil. Add the essential oils drop by drop, cap the container with a tight-fitting lid and shake well. Use 1-2 teaspoons of oil per bath.

For this batch, I used lavender essential oil and canola oil. Smells SO good!!!

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Bechard Family Farm Under Attack!

Recently read this this post and really felt the need to share. Please read, spread the word, and help!!! Our rights as Americans are seriously under attack!!!


Bechard Family Farm Under Attack

(from New Life On a Homestead)

>4 June 2010

bechard family

I feel compelled to share this story with you, and to do all I can to get the word out, probably because this family could easily be my own, they could be any of our friends or neighbors. This is my fight just as much as it is theirs. And if you love natural food, if you love gardening, farmers markets, CSA’s, or raw milk, then this is your fight as well.

The Bechard’s are a quiet, simple family, living on 115 acres of farm pasture and forest land in Missouri. Teddi and her husband Armand have been busy raising 7 beautiful children, who all work together to make the Bechard Family Farm. True to homesteading nature, they converted a pole barn into their home, and lived completely off-grid there for four years. Though they have since installed a water heater and electric well pump, they continue heating their humble home with nothing but a wood stove.

On the farm they raise 5 different pastured meats: chickens, turkeys, beef cows, lambs, and pigs. Along with the meat, they sell eggs, breads, jams, soaps, and raw milk (which is perfectly legal in their state). They also run a food ministry in their town.

The Bechards have about 20 families who buy raw milk by the gallon from their farm. In the state of Missouri, the law says that consumers are allowed to purchase milk from a farm, and the farmer is allowed to deliver the milk to the customers; they are NOT allowed to set up a vending area outside of the farm to sell the milk.

The Bechards had designated a drop-off point for their customers to come and pick up their milk in the parking lot of a local natural foods store. They were not trying to sell the milk, simply distributing pre-ordered milk. On two separate occasions, two of the Bechard daughters (ages 17 and 21) were passing milk out to their customers, when they were approached by two Springfield-Greene County Health Department undercover agents, who asked if the had any extra milk that they could sell. By chance, on those particular days they happened to have some extra milk that had been pre-ordered but had not been picked up (which Armand said was highly unusual), so the girls allegedly allowed the agents to buy a gallon of milk on both occassions. The health department employees did not identity themselves. Now the father, Armand Bechard, is being charged because he is the producer of the milk, even though he was not there to supervise the teens during the sting.

Teddi and Berchard are now facing up to 180 days jail time, huge legal fees and fines, and the possibility of losing their precious farm. All because of what? Milk! This is infuriating!! Does Springfield-Greene county have no real criminals to be prosecuting? Are there no gang bangers, no thieves, no drug dealers or sex offenders to be watching, that their biggest concern is setting up a sting operation against two teenage girls distributing milk?! I’m sure the health department agents had nothing to do with the “mystery” order of milk which was never picked up. What a perfect way to set up such easy targets for their sting. Is this what the tax payers want their money funding? What a disgrace!

So, now the Bechards are being sued not only by the state, but by Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster who is representing the State Milk Board. (I find it interesting that the Supervisor at the Springfield-Greene County Health Department is also Chairman of the Milk Board.)

The Bechards aren’t giving in easily, though. They are prepared to fight. They are being represented by The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund. But they need help raising financial support for their case. This is the main reason for me writing this post, they need help. If any of you on Facebook would like to support this family’s legal defense, you can donate any amount on their Sponsor Bechard Family Campaign page.

Raw milk from healthy, pastured cows is not only safe, but it’s BETTER for you than its store bought impersonator. If you don’t know much about the difference between raw milk and pasteurized/homogenized, I urge you to research it for yourself. Dr. Mercola has written countless articles on the subject, which you can check out on his website, mercola.com. And although raw milk has been safely consumed since the beginning of time, the FDA has so thoughtfully decided that it is now unsafe.

Oh, and since I’m on the subject, check out what the FDA had to say when confronted with questions regarding the constitutionality of raw milk bans:

“…there is no fundamental right to consume the food of one’s choice or to give one’s family members the food of one’s choice.”

There you have it. We have no right to choose for ourselves what we use to nourish our bodies. Our government gets to choose for us. Aren’t we all so relieved to have them watching out for us?

This is why the Bechard Family’s fight is so important. This is why I wrote a letter to Attorney General Chris Koster expression my utter disgust with the way they have treated the Bechard family. Because the more they bully the small farmers out of business, the more powerful the big industry grows, and the fewer truly healthy choices of natural, local food we will have available to us.

I wish I could help them more. But all I can do is my small part. Here is my offer to you…

Any of you who either blog about what is happening to the Bechard Family, or who can donate even a small amount to their legal defense fund, will get an extra entry in my next giveaway, which will be for a $25 gift card to CSN online stores (I’ll get that giveaway up next week, as soon as my order from them has arrived for the review). Just leave a comment either here or on the giveaway post letting me know how you’ve helped this family’s fight, and a link to your post if you write one, and you’ll be entered.

I am holding my breath to see the outcome of this whole ordeal. May the Lord be with them, and preserve their home and livelihood.

Friday, June 04, 2010

My garden

Here's my little plot!
--------------------------------------------------------
Tour time!!!

Here's our tomato patch: Early Girls, Better Boys, and 1 Roma
Amazingly enough, they resurrected from the deer "visitation" they received soon after planning. Grrrr. Vermin, I tell you! And if deer were ugly like possums deer season would last a lot longer! (Sorry for the rant.) But I only lost 1 plant. It's taken a lot of lovin' to get the rest of them to come out of it, being they were partially eaten and pulled from the ground. You can also see my lavender plant at the bottom. First year I got blooms! Can't wait for them to open!!!

Here's my Nasturium rows. Edible.
We like to eat them in our salads. The bright yellow and orange flowers they produce make salads look SO beautiful! And they're hearty... last long into the fall season.

Some flowers my kids bought for me!
(They remembered pink is my favorite color!)

Arianna's Sweet Peas.

My little pumpkin patch.
The one "wet spot" on the bottom right is a volunteer watermelon. Very small.

My Angel Face rose bush!!!
Got it from a sweet lady at church, Judy W., in remembrance of Francesca. It's got two little buds that are just about to bloom. Makes me SO happy!!!

In the back is Cassandra's Wild Flower patch.
At the bottom (from left to right) is transplanted wild onions (Arianna's thing), lemon mint, and spearmint.

Garlic Ear Drops

Whenever one of our kids complains about their ear(s) hurting, we pull out the garlic. This stuff is amazing! It's most notably known for its antibacterial and antiviral properties, but it is useful in so many more ways (antiseptic, antiparasitic, antifungal, immune-stimulating...). I hope to one day do an extensive write-up on this stuff because it can be used to heal and treat many different ailments.

Just this week, our son Benjamin came down with a fever and ear infection. I'm not a doctor, but it's pretty easy to tell when your child has one: can't sleep at night, says his ear hurts, fever, etc. So I whipped up a batch of garlic oil ear drops. Just 2-3 days of starting him on his garlic treatments and he's up and running.

Here's a tutorial so you can make your own drops at home.

Mince 2-3 cloves of fresh garlic. Place in a double boiler. (I don't have one so I use two the two-pot method as shown below.) Add enough olive oil to cover the minced garlic.

Bring your water to a gentle boil, then drop down to a simmer. Cook oil/garlic mixture on low for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. If garlic starts sticking to the bottom of the pan, lower your heat just a tad.

Strain. I use a cheesecloth because it doesn't absorb much oil.

Squish with a spoon to get that last bit of juice out.
Good till the last drop. :-)

Ta-da! Garlic oil ear drops.

Pour into a jar and store in refrigerator.

We use a regular dropper like this:


Make sure oil is around body temperature before placing in the ear. I pour a small amount out into a little bowl and microwave it for 10-12 seconds. Just make sure and test it so it's not too hot!

2-3 drops in infected ear 4x/daily

Continue with this treatment for 2-3 days after symptoms have been gone away to ensure the infection has completely been eliminated.
----------------------------------------------------
On top of these ear drops, I also use a bit of garlic oil on the outside of the ear. I swab any exposed part of the ear with it.

Another cool giveaway!


This same website also has another neat giveaway opportunity! Anyone interested in winning a Homestead Blessings 10 DVD set?

Got girls?

An oh-so-cool giveaway that may interest you mommies out there who are raising daughters!

http://raisinghomemakers.com/?p=246


Thursday, June 03, 2010

Dresses (part II)

Out of the blue, RD said this evening that he LOVES me wearing dresses. And he didn't even know yet that I posted about MY personal love and preference of dresses here earlier. Said they make me cute and flatter my "femininity". LOL

Dresses


Not so sure I'd go so far as to say I am a "dresses only" kind of gal... but I'm definitely sold on the beauty, feel, and look of femininity that goes along with wearing dresses. This summer has been a turning point for me in regard to the way I clothe myself. Basically I've worn nothing but dresses or skirts everyday. I LOVE them! And so do our girls (with no prodding from me). They are SO comfortable. And they're actually cooler than shorts during those warm/hot summer days. And the most selling feature of dresses... they hide that "little extra" or other physical blemishes. Looking back upon my past, I wish I'd of been more into skirts and dresses. Back in my college days I struggled with an eating disorder. Why I thought I was fat I'll never know. Pictures from those days reveal otherwise. With pants and shorts, there is not much left to the imagination. They don't hide a darned thing! Perhaps I wouldn't have struggled so with body image and appearance if I could have "hidden" whatever displeasing feature I thought I had. Even now, as I have a few extra pounds of baby weight on my frame, I can feel pretty and comfortable in a dress because those extra pounds are somewhat hidden. Just yesterday, I wore a pair of pants because I had a chiropractic appointment to attend. It was canceled and rescheduled due to illness in the family, but I continued wearing my jeans throughout the day. I just felt frumpy and fat all day long. I'd catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror or window as I passed by and caught myself thinking "wow, look at that backside! Hmmm. Gotta work on that. Oh, and those thighs! How did they get so round?!" Didn't dawn on me until later when talking with a girlfriend about my fatness-predicament that I was wearing PANTS. Granted, they were modest, but they don't hide much. Every curve and lump could be seen. Been worse if I were wearing shorts! As soon as I got off the phone I slipped into a skirt... ahhh... much better. Immediately I felt comfortable and feminine. I really can't explain it...

There is something so flattering and beautiful about a woman in a dress.