Breathe

Once in a while, you need to just take a breath.  With so much going on, every day…a constant merry-go-round of activity, sometimes you just have to step off the ride and sit on the bench for a minute.

Between homesteading projects, blogging, work, homework, non-profit, house-work, and just trying to stay sane…I need a breather.  Tonight – after I hit the ‘publish’ button – my butt is sitting in this chair and not moving unless absolutely necessary.

It’s going to be me, and my good friend Netflix.

netflix

Tomorrow, I’m back at it.  Between laundry and dishes, sweeping and sorting/purging stuff that’s still sitting in bags and boxes since the move – I’m going to attempt my first try at turning solid Castile soap into liquid Castile soap using this as a guide.  I got my bars on Tuesday (super fast delivery service from Amazon!!), and I’m excited to get started on my base for my products including dish soap, laundry soap, and foaming hand soap (among many others).

But tonight… I do nothing.

bae90d023350c20a027f858c04f0a67c

Advertisements

Rub It In

Physical labor often comes with hearty helpings of muscle soreness and aches and pains.  And although we don’t yet have land, we have a decent size yard and I’m anticipating loads of physical labor come Spring time.  Couple that with Hubby being a contractor (construction), and you can probably ascertain that muscle rubs are typically in demand in my house.

A few days ago, I attempted (and succeeded!) my very first DYI homemade product (See post here).  Now I’ve got my second under my belt, and I can wait to see how well it works in comparison to commercially and chemically engineered brands.  Hubby’s going to be my Guinea pig as he’s had a very sore shoulder for the past few weeks, and nothing seems to really help other than applying heat compresses.

I like knowing that what I’m rubbing on our skin is filled with only healthful and beneficial ingredients.  Nothing I can’t pronounce!  Knowing that whatever I put on my skin is flowing freely through my blood stream within 26 seconds, really makes me stop and think before I apply anything.  No wonder so many people get sick with cancers and other horrible and fatal illnesses.  Our daily lives are filled with chemicals and toxins that were never meant to come in contact with human skin, and yet we continue to slather in on day after day without a second’s hesitation.

Going back to the basics with homesteading should also mean going back to the basics with everything else.  I’m not saying you have to stop buying your favorite perfume, or sell your car.  I’m not here to tell anyone what to do.  I’m just saying we should really become more aware, and make better choices when it comes to what we allow into our bodies – whether through our mouth, or our pores.

To make this Muscle Rub, you’re going to need:

  • 4 tsp. organic beeswax
  • 1 cup organic virgin coconut oil
  • 12-15 drops vitamin E oil
  • 15 drops Peppermint Essential Oil
  • 15 drops *RC Essential Oil
  • 15 drops Lavender Essential Oil

16176813_10158161897590717_1733025620_n

I chopped up the wax (I have to invest in a designated grater just for it…or bite the bullet and order the pellets online), and measured out the coconut oil into a bowl, and added the vitamin E oil.  I didn’t measure the oil, I used 3 capsules, which is about 12-15 drops.  I put my bowl in a large got filled with about 2 inches of water and set the heat to medium.  I didn’t want it boiling, but hot enough to melt the oil and wax.  When it’s completely melted, remove from heat.

You want to add your oils now, before it starts solidifying, and stir well so it’s completely incorporated.  (You can also wait until you’ve poured it into your jars to add your oils individually – in lesser amounts of course – but I prefer to do it all at once.

This gave me enough to fill three jars (about 3.5 oz each.)…the last one is almost full.  It doesn’t take very long for the mixture to start solidifying again.  Just set your jars on a flat surface and let them rest until they’ve cooled completely.

And now that it’s ready to use…Hubby is going to be my Guinea pig to see if this stuff actually works!!! 🙂 …update to come! 🙂

16237141_10158162377155717_377824123_n

My goal is to replace all – every single one! – of our chemical-filled products, with all-natural, skin-loving, health-saving, body-nourishing products.  One bottle at a time. 🙂

Here’s my breakdown:

Coconut oil – Same free container I used for the lip balm.

Beeswax – $5.99, and I only used about 1/8th of my piece.  Cost for this batch is about $0.74

Vitamin E Oil – $8.99 for the bottle, and it has 100 capsules.  I used 3.  Cost for this batch, $0.27

Peppermint Essential Oil – $27 for 15mL.  I used 15 drops – $1.01 for this batch

RC Essential Oil – $13 for 5mL.  I used 15 drops – $1.62 for this batch

Lavender Essential Oil – FREE – it was a gift.  If I had paid for it, it would have added $1.09 to my batch.

Glass pots – 2 @ $1.00 each & 1 @ $1.49 – $3.49

My breakdown:

Price of a 3 oz tube of Icy Hot: $10.49 (at my local drug store)

Price of a 1 oz tube of Voltaren: $11.99 (at my local drug store)

Price of three 3.5 oz. tub of my own DIY Muscle Rub: $7.13 ($8.22 if I had paid for the lavender)

Divided by 3 = $2.38 each. (or $2.74 with the lavender)

16237061_10158162377335717_853240406_n

*RC Essential Oil is a Young Living blend of Eucalyptus, Myrtle, Spruce, Peppermint, Pine, Lavender, Marjoram, and Cypress.  I wanted to use Eucalyptus but didn’t have any on hand, so I used what I had.  I know it already contains the Peppermint and Lavender, but I didn’t think a little extra would do any harm.

 

                                             ********** UPDATE **********

This muscle rub is a little bit finicky – it doesn’t warm like commercial brands, but I’m very happy to say that it does in fact work very well to alleviate muscle aches and pains!  The key is to keep it at room temperature…a little too warm and it’s too soft…a little too cool and it’s rather hard and you have to scrape it up.  *** NOTE: Less is more – a little goes a long way.  Make sure to rub in well as the main ingredient is oil and you don’t want your clothes to get oily.   

BONUS: The coconut oil also acts as a wonderful moisturizer for your skin 😉 

When Life Gives You Bananas

Ever since I’ve built my DIY compost bin, I’ve been a bit of a produce scrap monster.  Other than collecting it at home, and at the office, I also now have a co-worker bring me HER scraps (I didn’t ask, honest!!)…in return, I’m going to give her a bag of compost when it’s good and ready!  But being winter, everything is just freezing pretty much as soon as I throw it onto the compost pile.

Canadian winters – at least the last few years – can be quite unpredictable.  Gotta love global warming.  One day, it can be a blizzard, or an ice storm and -25 Celsius…two days later it can be 5 degrees and melting.  The last few days have been really mild – although they did include a pretty horrible attack from the ice queen – and now most lawns are completely melted.  My front yard is mostly still all snow, but my back yard has large spots of grass.  So when I got home tonight, I seized the moment!

compost

When I tossed all of my donated scraps in the compost after work, I noticed a large area at the top of the yard where the snow was completely melted, and copious amounts of still un-raked, beautiful nitrogen-rich maple leaves were just laying there, begging to be collected!  So I hunted out my rake and piled those suckers on top of the frozen scrap heap! These leaves have been sitting there so long, they’re already well into the decomposing stage, and I’m hoping will continue their process, providing heat to the rest of the material and give it a little boost in the right direction!

15435657_10157909610285717_620987467_n

I also got a bit of a treasure in today’s bag of scraps – bananas!!  Seven frozen and thawed, mushy bits of perfection!  Needless to say, those did NOT make it to the compost pile…but rather, ended up directly in my oven in the form of Coconut-Banana Cakes/Loaves (I only have 1 loaf pan, so the other one became a cake lol)!  YUM!  I even healthed-up (Edie-ism!!!) the recipe I found – replaced the sugar with honey (in lesser amounts) and substituted the all-purpose flour for whole wheat.  Couldn’t help myself…had a piece straight out of the oven!  I do believe I’ll bring her one tomorrow, a little present for her generous donations to my compost!

16128279_10158148877965717_943991880_n

Lip Doctor

One of the things on my mile-long To Do List – on my road to becoming self-sufficient – is to eventually make all of my own health, beauty and hygiene products…au naturel of course!  So I thought I’d start off with something not only simple, but something I use on a daily basis!  Lip balm!  But not just ANY lip balm!  This is a copy-cat medicated lip balm recipe I found on Pinterest (of course!), and it really couldn’t be easier to make!  Only five ingredients too!

  • 3 Tbsp. Coconut Oil
  • 2 Tbsp. Cocoa Butter (OMG this stuff smells AMAZING!!!)
  • 2 Tbsp. Beeswax
  • 3-4 Drops Vitamin E Oil
  • 72 Drops Wintergreen Essential Oil

That’s it!  I found bottled vitamin E oil at the health store in town but a bottle of vitamin E capsules was about half the price so I got that instead and used 1 capsule (poked it and squeezed the oil out of it).

So the instructions call for a double boiler, but I didn’t want to use mine for this so I improvised.  In my biggest pot, I dropped a mason jar drink lid and filled it with about three inches of water, and put my Pyrex bowl on the lid.  Voila!

16128938_10158138612795717_994670782_n

I put all of the ingredients in the bowl, except for the essential oil – that’s added at the very end!  Turn the heat to medium – you don’t want it to boil but you want it hot enough to melt your ingredients.  Then stir occasionally until it’s all melted, and remove from heat!

You don’t want to take your time too much here because it doesn’t take very long for it to solidify again.  If that happens, don’t worry, just put it back in the hot water pot until it’s melted again – no biggy! 🙂

Once it’s off the heat, add your 72 drops of Wintergreen essential oil and stir so it’s well incorporated.

16128390_10158138613055717_1133142359_n

I didn’t want to make a mess – and knowing me, I would have – so I used a medicine syringe to fill my pots.  This made enough to fill three 1 oz glass pots (I believe you can fill 20 lip balm tubes if you want to go that route.)

Honestly, I love Blistex medicated lip balm – I just don’t love all of the ingredients.  When this is something I put on my mouth, and ultimately will end up ingesting in some amounts whether I want to or not…well, I’d like to know there’s nothing icky in there.  This lip balm has nothing but natural and beneficial ingredients, and you can feel good about putting it on your skin.  You’re not going to find the gooey,petroleum jelly-like consistency here…it’s a little thinner because it’s oils and butters…but one swipe on my lips, and I’m sold!

16117938_10158138613290717_1922325620_n

As for price differences…well, lets see!  My tub of Blistex cost me $4.99 and it’s about half the size of one of these pots.

Here’s my breakdown:

Coconut oil – Free…a friend gave it to me.

Cocoa Butter – $16.99 for a 7 oz. jar…I don’t know how it’s calculated but when I grated out 2 Tbsp. I still had a shit ton left.  Probably enough for another 10 batches or more.  So cost for this batch is about $1.54

Beeswax – $5.99, and I only used about 1/8th of my piece.  Cost for this batch is about $0.74

Vitamin E Oil – $8.99 for the bottle, and it has 100 capsules.  I used 1.  Cost for this batch, $0.09

Essential Oil – $22 for 15mL.  I used 72 drops, which is about 1/6 of the bottle.  Cost for this batch, $3.66

Glass pots – 3 @ $0.99 each – $2.97

So this batch cost me $9.00 in total, for three 1 oz pots…$3 each.  And remember, they’re twice the size of the store bought version, so to get the same amount of the store bought, I’d have to pay $9.98.  My friends, I just saved myself $20.94…not too shabby!!!! 🙂  Now granted, I did save a little on my coconut oil, but even if I had purchased it, it takes so little for the recipe that you’d probably only be adding a few cents per pot.

I don’t know about you… but that makes me really really happy!

First DYI Product Project…SUCCESS!!!!

16128194_10158138613275717_1053254066_n

Garden by Design ~7~

Am I the only one who finds that winter can sometimes be a little depressing?  I’m not talking about cabin fever, or even snow or cold.  I’m talking about the lack of color outside! But what about plants that can stay green and colorful right through the cold and snow? And what about when these same plants can give you a natural pain reliever…Nature’s Aspirin.

I’m talking about Wintergreen.  This one will be part of an experiment.  There are a few products I want to attempt to make – and Wintergreen is the major component.  And although I’m going to try making these products now (well, SOON!), with purchased Wintergreen essential oil – it’s going to be a project…I’m going to attempt (learn) how to make my own essential oils…starting with Wintergreen!  🙂

wintergreen01

Wintergreen has WAY too many health benefits to list…it just goes on and on and on!  The one that really attracts me the most is its analgesic properties!  And although I’m not currently ‘working the land’, one day I will be – and with that comes a lot of aches and pains.  Wintergreen will by my little sidekick – helping me keep Hubby and myself in tip-top shape!  Until I experiment with making my own various essential oils, I’m getting them from my good friend Amanda!  (Check out her link, she’s super nice and working very hard trying to build up her business…and did I mention she’s super nice?)

wintergreen-oil

Have you tried (and succeeded or failed) at making your own essential oils?  Do you have any tips or tricks?  Do you use Wintergreen for anything?

Back to Work!

Is it just me, or is the last day of your holidays before you have to go back to work always the fastest day you can remember?  I swear, I just woke up, and now it’s 7:30 and I’ve gotta go back to work tomorrow.  Not that I don’t like my job – I do – but honestly, who wouldn’t want to just be home and do what THEY want all the time?? 🙂

I can’t wait for the day that I do have my land, and my own off-grid homestead, and a passive income source, so I can quit working for a paycheck.  A lot of people would probably think I’m crazy to think that’s even possible.  In a world where everyone is just looking for more – more money, more stuff – I’m actually looking for less.  Well, not yet – I still need the money right now so I can become debt-free and have a little nest egg – but the plan is to have a modest passive income that will enable to me to stay home and ‘keep house’ …or rather, ‘keep homestead’!

dollar-signs

I need your help, fellow homesteaders and bloggers!!  How do you do it?  How do, or did,  you create an income source to allow you to quit your day job?  Or do you still have a day job?  I’m looking for ideas on what I can do to build this NOW, so that when the time comes in three to five years, it’s already fully established and polished and running like a well-oiled machine.  I live in town, so any type of income from farming is out of the question for now.  What are YOUR sources of income?  I know a lot of you have thousands of followers – are you able to generate any revenue from your blogs?  If so, how, and is it substantial enough to live off of?  Help!!!

*** ALL COMMENTS AND SUGGESTIONS INVITED, WELCOME, AND APPRECIATED!! ***

660x400-go-green-electric-money-saving-light-fixtures

 

Garden by Design ~6~

I have to admit it.  I’m sorta, kinda, very much addicted to pesto.  I love it!  Pasta just isn’t the same without it, chicken and fish dishes rise to a whole new level, and roasted potatoes…I’m drooling just writing about it!  It’s like, summer in your mouth, with every single mouth-watering bite!  And I know these days there are thousands of recipes using all different types of herbs…but for me, the classic, fresh taste of basil remains the best!

basil-pesto

And if the bright green, fragrant and delectable leaves aren’t enough to entice any gardener,  the health properties should help tip the scales!  Not only is it good for heart health, but it also has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties that will allow you to get healthy without the prescriptions.  I don’t know about you, but that’s a huge deal for me!  I found this amazing blogger (her image below with web address),  her posts are really informative and I think you’ll like her!!

the-amazing-benefits-of-basil-1

In the garden, it’s also a little sanity saver.  It’s been known to repel flies, mosquitoes (Yayyy!!!), asparagus beetles and whiteflies!  Now, I don’t plan on growing asparagus this year, but I could definitely do without flies and mosquitoes!!!  I think this one will be planted in the main garden beds AND on the patio garden!

And of course, as much as I love it and want to save every bit of it…I’m not completely greedy!  A couple of plants will be grown specifically to leave to flower, so I can give back a little by feeding the bees and other beneficial pollinators…and save a few seeds in the process!  It’s all about give and take with dear old Mother Nature!

africanized-bee-most-dangerous-animals-in-the-world-5