Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year Recipe Blitz!

  I've been thinking about how things are really going to be coming down to the wire this next year, economically speaking. If I only put up a recipe a week, that wouldn't give you a whole lot of time to experiment, tweak, and stock up on your necessities for your pantry. 
  So, in that mode of thought I've decided to post AT LEAST one recipe a day this next week, so you can get cracking and try them out, if not at least written down. So be checking back every day, or as often as possible, and have a pen and paper handy. 
  Also want to call your attention to the new button on the right side of the page there. Feel free to share it on your own page and let others know this soon to be vital information!

See the Recipe tab for a complete listing of recipes including ones for the New Years Blitz!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Blessed Thistle

Cnicus benedictus
  Earlier this year our youngest child (2 years old) got a hold of some Tylenol PM after sneaking out of bed. The medicine had been transferred to a non-childproof container after the original had been broken. Because of recurrent migraines my husband has it is one of the few pharmaceuticals we do have in the house.
  After immediately calling poison control we took her into the ER*. By the time I got back to her after filling out paperwork at the desk, my husband had to help hold her down while they inhabated and catheterized her because she was throwing fits and hallucinating. She was sedated for a while till after she was transferred to a larger children's PICU about 30 minutes away.
  As soon as she was awake on her own and they were able to un-rig her from all the tubes, I began giving her some drops of Poke Root tincture I made. This was to immediately start working on cleaning out and restoring her liver. The doctors didn't know about it and were surprised that her blood work showed such significant improvement in such a short time. My initial choice was Poke Root, as nothing less than a very strong blood cleanser and liver stimulant would do for the threat of liver failure.
  As of lately Ive needed some help with my liver as well since suffering with boils and decided the both of us could use a little liver cleanse and some support to make sure things were working smoothly.
  Blessed thistle was my first choice and I'm sorta kicking myself for not thinking of it earlier in the year when suffering with so many boils. Usually I'd go with the Poke Root for myself again, but such a strong herb isn't reccomended when you're expecting and the babies organs cannot handle that level of cleansing and functioning when they are forming. It is quite an awful lot for a 2.5 year old for normal support as well. 
  The School of natural healing says this:
Blessed thistle is wonderful for nursing mothers, stimulating the production of mothers milk. It is very useful in purifying the blood, aiding circulation, and for all liver problems. As a tonic it strengthens the brain, heart, and stomach.
My Peanut
Blessed thistle is gentle and helps with liver congestion and toning it so it can perform at peak. It's also a great tonic for the whole digestive track, but positively tones every organ to some degree and thus produces an increase in energy. I don't think a 2.5 year old really NEEDS MORE energy, but Im glad that I can giver her something safe that has no negative side effects or complications.
  As for myself, I'm glad to see immediate results in the amount of pregnancy / hormone related acne and boils in just two days of taking it.
  As always do your research, check with your health care provider before using any herb, especially in extracted, and or mega doses. The natural form of the whole plant is always better and more useful (as well as safer) than some scientifically rigged product.

* N.B.
I and my husband both believe we could have avoided the hospital completely by inducing vomiting. We caught her just as she had eaten the "candy" (another good reason to avoid pharmaceuticals!) and had available herbs (lobelia, and ipecac) to accomplish this. This would have prevented the capsules from even dissolving to begin with. However, the Poison Control Center told us NOT to induce vomiting for fear she might asphyxiate on the vomit, should her breathing reflexes become unresponsive. I would agree with them if the case had been that we had found her some time after she had consumed them, however this was not the case. I feel if we had followed our instincts, our daughter could have been spared a lot of trauma and the possibility of organ damage.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Home Made Dressings

 Dressings are an important part of our repertoire as we eat salad on an almost daily basis. I could really almost be a vegetarian if it weren't for bacon :-) These are some tried and trues that we use. Being able to make your own lets you choose what ingredients you need, especially if you have a particular diet, such as sodium free, or like my husbands MSG free diet. Any and all sweeteners if called for are up to your discretion. Stevia is wonderful for those watching sugar intake. Write these down, and keep them in a safe place- when grocery stores are no longer affordable or supplied by shipping routes, a little comfort can go a long way. Most of the ingredients necessary in these recipes are common and can be stocked up on. Look for some good salad oils such as Expeller pressed safflower, olive oil, and the higher quality light oils (yes they are a bit more expensive). Our family chooses to avoid Canola oil as it can be very toxic to the nervous system. Having one child with Cerebral Palsy and emerging seizures, we aren't willing to take those risks.

Good Seasons Italian Dressing Mix
1 t. carrot (grated chopped and dried)
1 t. bell pepper
3/4 t. lemon pepper
1/8 t. parsley 
1 t. salt
1/4 t. garlic
1/8 t. onion powder
2t. sugar
1/8t pepper
2t pectin 
Pinch of oregano

Add dry mix to 1/4c vinegar,  2/3 oil, 2T water in cruet or jar, shake well refrigerate.

Russian Dressing
1/3 c. Ketchup
2T. sugar (or honey)
2T. red wine vinegar
1/2 t. salt
3 T. grated onion
1t. worchestershire sauce
2-3 T olive oil or salad oil

Blend thouroughly. Refrigerate.

Honey French Dressing (my own recipe)
    1/2 cup ketchup
    1/2 cup Miracle Whip
    1/2 cup honey
    2 tablespoons vinegar
    1 tablespoon salad oil (I use grape seed)
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    1/8 teaspoon pepper
    1/4 teaspoon celery seed
    1/4 teaspoon onion powder
    1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

    Mix all ingredients as listed in a small bowl, or in blender. If you prefer, try substituting fresh onion and garlic for the powdered, to taste.

    Dry Packet Ranch Dressing Mix (Same as the mixes you buy at the store)

    1 tablespoon dried parsley, crushed
    1 teaspoon dried dill weed
    1 teaspoon onion powder
    1 teaspoon dried onion flakes
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
    1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

    Because this recipe doesn't have commercial thickeners in it use 1 1/2T of  mix to 1/2 cup milk and 1 c. mayo. To make it taste like the store bought and prepared mix that I remember, I only use Kraft Mayo, but use whatever you are used to using. I tried Hellmans and Best Foods, what my Gram used to use, but it just didn't do it for me. By trial and error, Kraft was the only one that held up to the test. I make this in a huge batch and use almost a whole container of dried buttermilk. Great because it doesn't have the MSG that the name brand does.

    Catalina Dressing (Kraft copycat recipe)

    1 cup sugar
    2 teaspoons salt
    1 dash paprika
    1/2 teaspoon chili powder
    1/2 teaspoon celery seed
    1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
    grated onion, to taste (I use 1/2 t. onion powder)
    1/2 cup vinegar
    2/3 cup ketchup
    1 cup vegetable oil

    Combine in blender or with egg beater and chill.
    Raspberry Vinegrette
    1/2c. oil
    2T. honey
    1T. (scant) dijon mustard
    3T. red wine vinegar
    1t. lime or lemon juice
    1/2c. fresh or frozen raspberries
    salt and pepper to taste

    Combine and blend in blender or with stick blender. Refrigerate.

    Strawberry Dressing -excellent seasonal dressing -NEW
    1/2 cup sliced strawberries
    3/4 cup safflower oil
    1/3 cup honey
    1/4 cup red wine vinegar
    2 tablespoons poppy seed
    1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    1 teaspoon sea salt

    Blend and refrigerate.

    Monday, December 20, 2010

    Hobbies vs. Skills- A Pet Peeve of Mine

      Sometimes it really burns me when filling out questionnaires, and getting-to-know-you type forms when I get to the "hobbies and interests" blank.
      Why you ask? Being the 'old soul' that I am I find it ludicrous and demeaning to the women who learned the arts and skills they used to keep their families fed, clothed, warmed, and cared for reduced to "hobbies" and "handy-crafts"- (pardon me while I gag on that word).
     I think a few definitions are in order:
    • 2 craft: to make by or as if by hand
    • 1 crafty: skillful, clever
    • 2 skilled: having acquired master of or skill in something
    • 2 hobby: a pursuit outside ones regular occupation engaged in esp. for relaxation.
      So first of all, I doubt the old frontier women had time to go "outside their regular occupation" for much of anything. These women were busy propping up a budding nation. Hobbies in those days were for those rich enough to afford servants and had time to play lawn games, and pursue painting.
      Even though craft and crafty related to skill when this word originated (1816) in our modern times it has taken on a more...ornamental and trivial connotation.
      Like anything that requires skill, these crafts are usually embellished during their development furthering the artistic ability and product of the crafter thus pushing them into the realm of "artisan". This aura of ability furthers competition among the "artisans" and the ornamental product becomes less and less practical and function-able.
      After industrialization made materials easier to come by, the finished products weren't far behind. Mass production and availability reduced the need of these once strictly hand made items. 
      Knowledge of these skills began to fade away until the artisan realm, and celebrity stardom made them fashionable and "chick" to do in the spare time, seeing that it no longer held the position as a necessity, since cheaper and more ornate products were widely available.
      Even with the revival of these hobby/crafts (to which they were demoted), over availability has permanently and ever after cast  a shadow on these valuable skills.
      Countless are the times that I've felt guilt and heard "confessions" of guilt laced projects from  a busy mother and homemaker who actually stole time away from her more important and pressing duties to work on.
      Wherein lies the guilt? In the cultural projection and mentality of materialism and greed that pushes manufacturers to make an " easy buck", flooding markets and minds with the in-necessity of practicing these once important and necessary skills ourselves.
      Will these skills ever be treated as such and given their value and rightful place again? My bet is that until manufacturing, importation and mass marketing ceases or is significantly crippled will we ever see the restoration of and abolition of guilt associated with producing the necessary items once again to feed, clothe warm and care for our loved ones. 
      Until then please pardon the chip on my shoulder when I hear someone refer to my skills as mere hobbies or handy-crafts. I'll do my best not to discredit your activities and interests as shallow busy work with no real value and necessity as well. Pardon me, do you have a tissue, my sarcasm is running.

    Sunday, December 19, 2010

    Honeyville Grain Give-Away WOW!

      Was up early and couldn't sleep. DH was trying to cook me out of the house again with the heater up to 75. (The man has no body fat!) Decided to check my email as I was out for the count yesterday with the flu (thank you raspberry tea!) and didn't get to the puter.
      What a great surprise when I see they are having an AMAZING freeze dried combo pack give away. It's so easy to register, just stop by  their blog and you have 5 different ways to enter and qualify. Winners will be picked Monday, so HURRY!
      I really love Honeyville grain, and was surprised to find out they have a blog here on blogger. Their products are excellent, and I plan on going through their posts to look at all their product reviews. At less than 5 bucks for shipping, there is no way you can go wrong ordering from them. I've comparison shopped, and found they beat out everyone in nearly every category! Hope you enter soon!

    Friday, December 17, 2010

    Home Made Noodles

    Noodle Drying Rack From My BIL Dave
      This is a noodle recipe that our family loves. Home made noodles have so much more flavor than store bought noodles, and as with anything home made, you know what goes into them. We have added powdered dried tomatoes and powdered dried spinach to make the red and green colored noodles at times, and it adds a little bit of fun as well as a nutritional boost as well. We also like to use sprouted wheat flour that we make to make a nice wheat noodle. Half white and half wheat makes a nice noodle.You can also use spelt or whatever wheat-type grain you prefer.

    Egg Noodles

    2 cups flour
    3 egg yolks
    1 whole egg
    2 t. salt
    1/4-1/2 c. water

      Add salt to flour. Making a well add in eggs, mixing with a fork. Stir in water 1T. at a time mixing thouroughly after each addition. Knead till smooth about 10 min. Divide into 4 parts, roll and cut.
      We have a noodle maker that I use to roll them out but a regular rolling pin will do the job just the same. Cut a little smaller than the size you want them, as they grow a bit when they boil.  For my egg noodles I roll them to a "5" setting on my Atlas. For spaghetti noodles I only go to a "3" setting.
      For those who have never made noodles or are just starting out with a noodle maker, you don't want the dough too stiff (or it won't stick together). You also want to be careful about adding too much water at once to prevent the dough from being to sticky on the table or in the rollers. I make sure to have a little extra flour on hand to sprinkle on the pieces before I advance to the next setting to make sure they are staying dry enough. It does take some practice.
       The secret to great noodles is to make sure they have enough water to boil in. Make sure the pot is big enough, and the water at a full rolling boil before you add the noodles.The noodles should move freely. My mother always added salt to the water to help flavor the noodles, but I never really noticed much of a difference. I have been told that adding salt will make the water boil faster, but you know the saying, a watched pot...
    Sprouted Wheat Noodles
      These noodles have saved me a bundle, and help me teach the children to be involved (other than stealing the noodles to eat!)
    I hope your family enjoys them as much as we do!


    Tuesday, December 14, 2010

    Sorry about that!

    I accidentally deleted the comments! OOPS! I thought I was just removing them after I had seen them. Sorry ladies! Thanks though for your comments on my only week old blog. You are more than welcome to MAKE LOTS MORE! Also don't forget that you can vote on the side there for the most important area of prepping, and feel free to comment on what you'd like to see in the future!

    A Blessing in Disguise

      I've been debating what herb I would like to blog about next. An ongoing and developing situation right now with us requires a very strong, single herb tincture I've made, or a combination of several herbs that I've purchased.
      On one hand, many people treat it as a poison, and to be avoided. Others, like me, use it in several combinations because it is so good at boosting the effectiveness of the accompanying herbs.
      The herb Lobelia is an interesting and valuable herb that often gets a bad rap. Also known as Puke Weed, and Indian Tobacco, this nervine and emetic can be a big blessing, and has been for my son.
      Nathan, my second son and child was born with hemipeligic cerebral palsy, caused by a stroke in-utero. This means only one side of his body was affected, the left arm, and leg. The brain sends out too many stimulation signals and causes his muscles to tighten up and resist movement. Along with SPD and now most likely a case of dyslexia, Nathan has been a challenge!
      One of the commonly occurring side effects of CP is seizures. We have been blessed to have only one when he was 2 and teething, a febrile (being caused by fever) which I was told by an EMT is really quite common in teething children not affected by CP.
      Lately, as of this last year and a half, seizures started coming around periodically when sickness would bring on a cleansing fever. Over this last year we saw them increase from febrile caused, to an apparently spontaneous one while grocery shopping.
      Last Friday, after a restless night of slight fever and sore throat, I knew to expect one. Well to my surprise it wasn't just one but three that day!
      For the last several months, not knowing when to expect them Ive kept a bottle of Lobelia tincture with me in my purse at all times.
      I agree whole-heartedly with Dr. Christopher when he states that "it is a great blessing to epileptics" as only a few drops under his tongue stops the seizure immediately.
    Lobelia spp.
      I had to ramp it up a bit on the second seizure last Friday and go for Dr. Christophers' glycerin based Nerve Formula (otherwise known as B&B formula) because he said the Lobelia (my vinegar based tincture) "burned" and took a bit longer because he didn't want to keep it under his tongue. In seconds after using the Nerve Formula ( Blue Cohosh, Black Cohosh, Blue Vervain, Skullcap and Lobelia) which are all nervine sedatives for the most part, he was up and playing.
      Because herbs can posess several qualities it does take some study to know how to use them, and Lobelia is no exception. One wouldn't look up a list of herbs to combat a cold, flu, or skin problem and throw them all together willy-nilly. Some herbs' multiple qualities could detract from or completely negate each other in the effect you desire. However, this doesn't mean that these powerhouse herbs need to be avoided or even feared. They just need their due respect.
      So for us, until that day in January when we can finally see the neurologist for some more insight, I'm depending on this God-given herbal nerve re-builder to strengthen and nourish my sons fritzing electrical system, giving him more of a normal shot at life as a very active, very loving little boy.   

    Saturday, December 11, 2010

    Taco Seasoning Mix

    We love tacos at our house, and nothing fits the bill better than a homemade mix for the seasoning. I've tried several and this find is a keeper. If you have snack size bags you can make up several batches at a time and label for a later date. You can also make up the taco meat ahead of time and freeze, a great time saver when everyone is hungry. And the best thing of all is you can adjust the heat to your liking. My son isn't too fond of the spicy stuff like others in the family, and you just can't adjust a packaged envelope mix without compromising some of the flavor. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

    Taco Seasoning Mix

    2t. dry minced onion
    1 t. chili powder  (or to taste)
    1/2 t. dried red pepper crushed (opt. or to taste)
    1/4 t. Oregano
    1 t. salt
    1/2 t. cornstarch 
    1/2 t garlic
    1/2- 1 t. ground cumin

    Store well in airtight container. To use add to 1# browned hamburger with 1/2-2/3 c.  water approximately 10 min.

    Preparedness Devices Article

    I love Off the Grid News. They have a lot of articles I find relevant. Although they are a  little more intense with the issues than I am, I do appreciate their keeping me abreast of the current events as far as law, and things that go on around us that will affect us in some way or another. Here is a great article on Labor Saving Devices that I was happy to find that I have at least half of. 

    I love my grain mill to pieces! We purchased a Family Grain mill From I went ahead and got the mill with the hand crank and for motorizing it, I purchased the Kitchen-Aid adapter. I have been so pleased with this mill. Ive used it on various types of grains like wheat, rye, kamut, and corn (nothing compares to really FRESH corn meal for corn bread!) Ive also used it to powder up larger amounts of herbs and spices for cooking that would have taken too long in my mortar and pestle (my fresh ground cumin love affair continues!) I've tried it for making and experimenting with different types of flours, such as rice flour, oat flour, almond flour, and some others. In all situations It has really performed well. I haven't been able to try it out for butters yet. Ive seen some reviewers say they could use it for almond butters and one even used it for peanut butter, others say it just clogs. 
        The mill is so easy to use that my son with light cerebral palsy can use it to grind our sprouted wheat with his weaker hand! All the children (7 and under) love to help with it. The grind goes from course (cracking corn) to fine which can be suitable for using for noodle flour. Two passes gives me flour fine enough for bread.
    The other thing I'm privileged to have is a wringer, and rapid washer. One January about two years ago we had our washer give out on us. We were in some financially hard times and had to wait about a month before we could afford even a used washer. Until then I had to hand wash all of our clothes with my rapid washer and wringer. I also potty trained my oldest that was in cloth diapers still. I understand why ladies long ago had their children potty trained SO much earlier. Lehmans now carries a breathing washer that is similar to the rapid washer, but is made of a sturdy plastic. I also used a new or very well cleaned and bleached toilet plunger.
      My third acquisition from this list is an old 1948 singer sewing machine. It is electric, but I'm looking out for a treadle base and hand wheel to convert it. I'd also like to get a hold of an old zig-zag and button hole attachment as my model is only a straight stitch. I'll try to add some pictures when I can find my card reader. 
      We have a fairly good set of tools, thought we'd need to get a larger place to organize them better. Specialized tools and crafting skills are a good thing to learn as they could be good bartering services. 
      Perhaps later I'll post a list of things that we have collected, and things I'm aiming to get for our families preparedness. I'd like to have pictures, so it may take a while to get them all up.
      Thanks for stopping by today. Hope you have a great day!

    Thursday, December 9, 2010

    Brown Sugar

     This is a reprint from my Yahoo 360 blog back in 2006. I only had the two boys to help then, as Cecily was just new. Hope you enjoy!
    Brown Sugar in 27 Easy Steps 
    (or less)
    Brown sugar is a really complicated recipe. The average joe should be forewarned. You MUST have an IQ higher than that of a 3 year old to do it.  I say that because Nathan is 2.5 and at one point when I had to run down the hall after a congested and gagging baby Nathan turned the mixer on and we had a spatula and brown sugar all over the floor.  (I tell you what you really get an education with kids around. They make things so... shall we say interesting and lively!)

    Ok so for the recipe-
    Dark brown sugar (makes a little less than one pound)
    3 c. sugar
    1/2 c. molasses

    Light brown sugar (makes exactly one pound)
    4c. sugar
    1/2 c. molasses

    Golden brown sugar (aprox 1.5 pounds)
    6c. sugar
    1/2 c. molasses

    Ok the directions:

    Sans Children-
    1.  Pour sugar in mixing bowl .
    2. Pour molasses in mixing bowl.
    3. Turn mixer on LOW .
    4. After mixer combines the ingredients well turn mixer off.
    5. Scrape sides and bottom of mixer.
    6. Turn mixer on.
    7. Finish mixing little globs of molasses on LOW.
    8. Pour/scoop brown sugar into container or gallon bag, seal.

    With Children-
    1. Wipe down table from gookies and goobers.
    2. Scoot chairs close to mixer.
    3. Reprimand little hands that play with mixer switch while attaching the paddle.
    4. Scoot chairs back.
    5. Get out sugar bucket.
    6. Reprimand little hands that play in the "white sand"
    7. Fight over who gets to pour
    8. Settle on my turn, now your turn, my turn, now your turn....
    9.Mommy puts the molasses in.
    10. Reprimand little hands who are licking and sticking fingers in the sugar bucket.
    11. Remove wet globs from sugar bucket, close lid and put away.
    12. Reprimand little hands that are sticking molasses lids in their mouth and sticking fingers in the jar.
    13. Turn mixer on LOW.
    14. Wash spatula off after little mouth licks it.
    15. Scrape sides and bottom of mixer bowl with spatula.
    16. Turn mixer on low to continue mixing.
    17. Hear baby coughing in bed, turn mixer off run down the hall.
    18. Suction baby. Replace pacifier, tuck back in bed.
    19. Spank little hands who have since turned on the mixer and have spread brown sugar on floor with spatula.
    20. Sweep floor.
    21. Wash spatula again
    22. Reprimand little hands digging in the brown sugar bowl.
    23. Open and scoop brown sugar into bag.
    24. Remove marker from little mouths and hands.
    25. Label and date bag.
    26.Take children to bathroom to clean up molasses off face.
    27. Place utensils in sink and wash.

    Preparing Toddlers

    Thought I'd bring this to your attention. I think this is a stellar idea, and should be incorporated into every parents interactions with their children. Thinking of these things in this light is new twist on things. Well done Off the Grid News! Please take time to read this article, and sign up for their updates. They are Preparednes Training for the majority of their readers.

    Survival Skills for your Toddler

    Also don't forget to vote on the right for what you feel is the most important area of prepping. Voting will close at the end of the month to give everyone enough time to respond. You can also see the tally of votes after you've entered  yours.

    Tuesday, December 7, 2010

    All I Need To Know About Raising My Children I Learned From My Knitting

     by Jamie Clegg  2010
      As of late I've been overwhelmed with the awesomeness of the task and responsibility of raising my children.  For certain there are so many things that I need to do differently, experiment with what works best, or totally drop. As an only child there are no references from my childhood dealing with sibling issues, and particular character issues (as I was always on the receiving end and not the teaching). So my only references must come from resources around me, particularly books on Christian parenting. And in that area I feel as I am one who learns but never comes to knowledge. I feel like I am standing at a great chasm with a book that tells me that I can fill it up, if I use the right tools. But the book doesn't list what tools those are.  
      But today as I was putting my girls down for a nap with my busywork knitting in front of me, it was like God sent me a note on my needles.  
      Busywork knitting is something to occupy my time, while I can still be productive without putting much thought into it.  Its great for letting the wheels in my head spin around the issues I'm dealing with. For the last while its been a pattern for leprosy bandages. Essentially home made ace bandages with thin crochet cotton on tiny needles. Only twenty six stitches wide and knit every row. At aprox. 18 rows per inch, Ive managed almost 2 1/2 feet.  
      While knitting away and thinking about the task of child raising "How do I teach them what they need to know? How can I be that example?" , the verse "line upon line precept upon precept" popped up on my needles.  
      At first thought that verse is a pretty common "well duh" kind of verse that I've seen in Child rearing books often. But when put in context of my knitting it pretty much punched me in the face. ( I told God to be clear about the answer now didn't I?)  
      I am the knitter- Gods chief means of building the character of this child. The needles are the tools God uses to shape us, the thread is His precepts and guidelines. Each stitch is each day. God is the pattern I'm following.  
      At first when the piece is begun it seems tedious, as there is not much to show, and so far to go before there is even a recognizable resemblance to the pattern. The stitches are small and each one dependent on the one behind and underneath it. And yet if there is any hope for reaching the conclusion there must be a start made. After that consistency is key. If I lay my work aside and forget about it nothing happens, it never grows into the pattern as planned. If I leave it on the needles too long, after continuing again, there will be evidence that the work had been stagnant and create a blemish on the fabric. If I am haphazard about what circumstances I leave my knitting sitting around, the influences around it may very well unravel my work (ever have children pull the needles out?), This can cause serious damage indeed, and happen frequently if you are not vigilant. If I am not careful to give an account of my work on a regular basis, attention to details slip and I am now knitting with one less stitch than I had been previously. Closer inspection reveals a dropped stitch, that depending on the strength of the surrounding circumstances, can cause a run, ripping through the foundations I have so carefully put on before.  
      What to do? Do I stop and give up? Do I get mad and throw the whole stupid business in the frog pond? Do I carefully frog back and begin with a new set of rows? Or do I employ and plead the tool of the crochet hook (God's Holy Spirit) to fix each marred stitch? Ask a lace knitter with a run in a circle shawl 5 rows back which is easier!  
      And when I am finally done with the piece and I have built upon the foundations, and I am satisfied that it matches what the pattern intended, what then do I see? This bandage seems fit for the purpose which the pattern intended, but I notice that over the long time I've been knitting and building that the thread, which, when once on the ball was a beautiful and resilient  white, is now less than glorious. Many outside influences have left their mark on this piece that must be addressed before it can be used to heal the wounds which the world makes. It must be washed and bleached and tried in order to be of any use. This process can make a knitter quite nervous. Will there be shrinkage? Will it unravel. Will the process reveal any hidden flaws from inattention? Will it be deemed worthy of using? One would see the importance of the duty and responsibility a parent takes on. May God help us as parents!  
      So much of this lesson sprang into my mind at a moments notice. So now I know. God has been faithful to show me. May I be faithful to follow The Pattern, and keep moving along, one stitch, one row, one inch at a time, till in the end God's likeness is embedded in my child. 


    Home Made "ACE" Bandages

    This was just a little experiment to see what this pattern turned out like. Al though this could be categorized under preparedness, as medical supplies would be in high demand in a disaster type scenario, I chose to make this to accompany my herbal first aid kit and use now in fomentations etc. ACE brand bandages, and the like are not suitable to use in this way because of the materials, and lack of breathe-ability. The cotton that that these are made with fits the bill, as well as being washable, bleach-able, and if you need to, boil-able. Not to mention that they are extremely durable. So far my knitted bandage is a little over 2 1/2 feet. Its a great little project to mindlessly work on while putting my daughters down for their nap. It has even spawned a lesson in parenting.

    Size: approximately 3" - 4"  inches wide by 4 feet long.
    Material specifications: No. 10 knit Cro-sheen, 100% mercerized cotton in white, cream or ecru. 

    (1 small ball 225 yds- should make 1 knitted bandage)

    Knitting needles:
    US 2 = 2.75 mm = UK size 12

    US size 3 = 3.25 mm = UK size 10

    Crochet hooks:

    US size D = 3.00 mm = UK size 11

    US size E = 3.50 mm = UK size 9

    Do not use dyes/colors.

    *When completed, roll bandages and secure with a large (2") safety pin.

    Hand Knitted Bandage:

    US size 2 = 2.75 mm = UK size 12 OR US size 3 = 3.25 mm = UK size 10
    knitting needles if you knit average or loosely, size 3 needles if you knit tightly.
    Cast on 24 to 27 stitches so the bandage measures 3"- 4" across.
    Knit every row until bandage is desired length of about 4 feet long, then bind off, leaving a 2-3" tail to weave in.
    (The edge looks neater if you slip the first stitch of each row instead of knitting it.)
    Secure tail by slipping thread through last stitch, tying a small knot, and weaving end back through stitches.

    Crocheted Bandage:
    Use US size D = 3.00 mm = UK size 11 or US size E = 3.50 mm = UK size 9 (looser tension desirable).
    Chain enough stitches (23-26) to measure 3" - 4"  in width.
    (GAUGE: 23 chs and an E hook, and it takes about 6 rows to equal one inch.) 
    Row 1: Single crochet into each chain. Chain 1 and turn. 
    Rows 2: 
    Single crochet into each sc across row. Ch 1 and turn. Continue to single crochet to end, chain 1 and turn
    Row 3 - ? (4 feet long) Repeat row 2 until bandage measures about 4' long. Finish off by pulling thread through last loop and secure with a knot. Weave end back through stitches. I use a sewing needle to do this.

    Red Raspberry Leaves

      It wouldn't be hard for me to put raspberry leaves in my top 5 Favorite herbs. I and my family have received so much good from this little leaf that I regularly order and pick it in large quantities. It has such a broad range of uses that its hard not to look at it as a "heal-all". It is always at the top of my list when I or my family experiences any of the following:

    • Colds, sniffles, runny noses
    • Flu and diarrhea sypmptoms
    • Vomiting
    • Gas or intestinal distress (couples great with catnip for collic!)
    • Eye problems like stys
    • Any symptom stemming from menstrual issues
    • Need for pregnancy assistance
    • Any problem stemming from toxic blood (acne, boils, eczema)
      This morning my daughter woke up with a runny nose. Half the problem is with the forced air furnace type heating that we have here in our mobile home. Even with turning down the heat at night, these winter temperatures really take a toll on our sinuses.  Usually have a pot of water on through the day to keep the moisture up, but our last humidifier died and I have yet to replace for night use. The first thing that I will give her (among other things) is raspberry leaf tea for all of her drinks today.
      As a partial quote from The School of Natural Healing:
    Red raspberry leaves are great for cleansing a canker condition of the mucous membranes in the alimentary tract, leaving the tissue toned. When taken regularly in pregnancy , the infusion will quiet inappropriate premature pains and produce a safe, speedy and easy delivery. Raspberry leaves stimulate, tone and regulate before and during childbearing, assisting contractions  and checking hemorrhage during labor, relieving after-pains, then strengthening cleansing and enriching the milk of the mother in the post-delivery period.
      In several places on the web I've found that they have listed red raspberry leaves as something to avoid in the first part of pregnancy, and recommend it only for the last part of pregnancy or only in delivery. This is such a shame. What these people are cautioning against is the use of the cultivated variety Rubus idaeus, and its use by those who are prone to miscarriages. Not sure where they get their statistics from, but they give this variety  "credit" for causing those prone women's miscarriages. In my reading I have never come across one who has miscarried because of the use of idaeus. In fact just the opposite, those that have problems with miscarriage find it favorable with preventing miscarriage and helping all through the pregnancy. Should you wish to use raspberry but are cautious or wary about this finite possibility, find the Rubus strigosus variety (wild raspberry).
      In all this herb should be your go to in every case of diarrhea or colds as it regulates the bowels and calms the whole digestive system leaving it toned.
      It couples well with peppermint for a nice refreshing drink not only for summer, but  throughout the rest of the year as well.  Teenagers can be helped immensly by drinking one cup full a day to help with acne and the proper supply of hormones that their changing bodies need.

    To Make Tea
      Steep one teaspoon full in a teaball, bag or directly in cup of hot water 3-5 minutes. Strain if nescessary and drink. Honey, Stevia, Agave may be added if you must, but it really isn't nescesary. My children will drink it plain because it has such a pleasant taste, especially with the peppermint (which would also be a teaspoon full or so). Please avoid the use of sugar especially when using blood cleansing type teas as sugar  (no matter  what form e.g. demerara, sucanat etc.) is never good to your body .
      To make a gallon at a time for the family to share Use about 1/4 cup of leaves and 1 gallon of hot water, or leave in a muslin tea bag in the sun for several hours. Refrigerate leftovers for later! 
      Use a dropper to give to colicy babies or those with diarrhea, constipation or acidic stools. I have also used a warm tea as a wash for babies with diaper rash or excess crusties in the eyes in those first couple of weeks that the baby is unable to make its own tears. Freeze in ice cube trays and allow teething babies  (who often have acidic stools and tender bottoms) to gum inside a clean washcloth.
    NOTE: Red raspberry leaves are not the same as the red raspberry tea that you will find in the grocery store. This is a raspberry FLAVORED tea. If you have any doubts, check the ingredients on the box.
    I hope you will come to love this herb as I do!

    Monday, December 6, 2010

    Sweetened Condensed Milk (2 recipes)

    Recipe 1 (with evaporated milk)

    1 cup evaporated milk (8 oz.)
    1 1/4 c. sugar

    Heat  over medium heat in a heavy pan till sugar is dissolved.  Cool.
    This equals one can of store bought (8oz.)
    Recipe 2 (with powdered milk)
    1/2 c. cold water
    1 1/3 c.  dry milk
     3/4 c sugar
    1 t. vanilla

    Heat water and dry milk over medium heat until steaming. Mix in sugar and stir till dissolved. Remove from heat add vanilla. Refrigerate till cool before using. Makes 1 1/3 c. or  10 oz.

    Baking Powder

    Two (2) parts cream of tartar to one (1) part baking soda and one (1) part corn startch.
     Combine well and store in air tight container. Keeps indefinitely, use in place of store bought.
    I like using this recipe because I can avoid the aluminum that is in national and store brands. 

    Recipes, Patterns, Herbal Medicine, & Preparedness Info

       Recipes- Since my foundations in preparedness started in cooking I am including a page of recipes I have and use regularly. I honestly believe that these should be written down and put in a special file in your recipe box, binder or file. One day you may need these and they will serve you well.
       Patterns- These most likely will include knitting, crochet and sewing patterns/ links/ or videos that show you how to make something you otherwise would have to depend on commercial industry for. Although, not as dire as food, shelter or medicine, sometimes the comforts of life can make you a little more at ease in the tough times.
       Herbal Medicine- these are some things that I have picked up in the last 3  years of study. Please read the disclaimer on the Herbal Medicine page and realize that while those things that I post are generally considered safe, you are ultimately responsible for your choices. 
      Preparedness Info- These are some of the basics of food storage, and utility resources (water, electric,lighting) home education, and self defense that we are implementing in our home. 
      We hope that each of these areas will give you a few more ideas to go on and broaden your experience and knowledge for preparing your own home.

    Sunday, December 5, 2010

    Are You A Good Cook?

      A lot of people have a lot of things that motivate their choices- likes, dislikes, dreams, desires, comfort, recognition, and so on.
      My beginings of preparedness began with a saying from my Grandmother and Great Grandmother. "A good cook isn't someone who can make a good meal from anything. A good cook is someone who can make a good meal from nothing."
       Thus began my desire to make things from scratch. Breads, pies, deserts, and main-dishes. Soon the question was not what can I substitute, but what can I make for myself? I began to see that if something ever happened to the fast food and boxed food companies in our country, half the people would die from starvation because of  sheer ignorance.  From there I went to real components of recipes- the basics- ketchup, mayo, brown sugar, and more. 
      As I married and began having children my scope of "scratch" expanded to keeping my family healthy. I delved into the world of "do-it-yourself" medicine- home remedies and herbs. 
       In the last couple years, awareness of the political climates and the economic instability of our country made me start thinking about my dependence on other things like water, sewer, electric, grocery supply and such. What would happen if a Katrina sized disaster hit my area of the country? What if our dollar tanked completely? How would we survive if my husband became disabled or was killed at work? These very real, and very propelling questions set me on a search, not only for self sufficiency, but a broader peace of mind.
      As a Bible believing Christian, I have learned to put my trust in God. I don't seek to insulate myself from every disaster, depending on the arm of man. But I do believe God tells us in His Word to be prepared, care for your family, plan ahead and be wise. I do believe that trusting in the arm of government and industry (regulated by government) is not wise and shows how far we have come as a society to rely on mans means rather than Gods provisions. Am I glad there is a store down the road? You betcha. Am I thankful that I can pick up socks and clothing at Walmart? Sure. And the unemployment benefits were a life saver when my husbands company completely closed at the beginning of the year. But I'm willing to look on the other side of availability and start looking at possibilities should these avenues be shut down. I don't want to be found cold and hungry waiting for a handout that may never come. I want to make sure I give the best I have at keeping my children's bellies full If my husband looses his job, or becomes disabled indefinitely. 
      There may not be any easy answers, and I may have to change my priorities, and sacrifice. But my goal is to be ready, to occupy till He comes. I want to be a good cook. Are you a good cook?