Archive for October, 2012

October 30th, 2012

Four Thieves Vinegar: Legendary Cure Or Fable?

I ran across this information this morning. I thought it was interesting and wanted to share. If any of my readers are interested in the mixture the recipe is down at the bottom.

There’s quite a distance between us and those who lived hundreds of years ago during times of the plague. It was a dark, terrible period and the plague was considered a sure sign of God’s displeasure. It attacked both young and old, rich and poor alike and no one knew how to protect themselves or how to treat loved ones who fell victim to it.

When signs of the pestilence reached a community, those who could would pack up their belongings and get out of town while those who didn’t have the means to leave would stay inside, lock the doors and only venture out when absolutely necessary.
You can imagine the fear and dread, this was something quite deadly with no known cure and no one knew how it was transmitted!
There’s a legend about four thieves in France during one of these outbreaks…while everyone is hiding themselves away, these men would venture out and rob the homes and graves of those who died. Things are ripe for criminal activity during times of chaos, but even a less-than-intelligent thief would think twice about putting his life (and his family’s life) in jeopardy for a precious bauble or two.
Officials wondered what these men knew that no one else did and when they were finally caught, they were promised freedom if they would share their secret. What tumbled out was a recipe using vinegar, assorted herbs and garlic and this concoction is what held the pestilence at bay.
I found an interesting page online that does a good job tracing the history of this legend here: secretofthieves.com.

Image Source: wikipedia.org
Is this a fable or did this really happen? I think it’s possible, but it could also stem from some very clever herbalist who wanted to sell a potion or two or had some excess stock to get rid of .
Considering the fruits of modern medicine that we enjoy today and that no one in our lifetime has had to fear it, why pay attention to some old concoction that may or may not fight off some mysterious plague? Looking at the ingredients listed and knowing their antiseptic qualities, I myself have no problem taking note…just in case some mysterious super bug hits the streets. If anything, they’d make a great disinfectant cleaner!
You’ll find several versions listed in various books, magazines and even online. There’s really no way to know for sure which one (if any) is true to the original, if there even was one, but here are three that you can tuck inside your remedies journal…each featuring a variety of items that are known to have some antibacterial properties. They’re simple to make and the ingredients are easy enough to get your hands on (either grow your own or purchase).
Directions For Use: Soak cotton masks in the fully infused liquid, squeeze out excess then cover your nose and mouth with it to wear outside. You can also soak a cloth to wash yourself with (morning, noon and night) or mix with equal parts water to use as a household disinfectant. Many versions I’ve read also advise consuming 1 tsp daily (or 1 TBS, depending on recipe).
Each of the following should be strained before using and stored in glass jars. Smash the garlic gloves roughly when adding to the mixture so their properties can be released more readily.
*Note: All measurements below are for dried herbs
Recipe #1:
3 quarts apple cider vinegar
3 TBS rosemary
3 TBS lavender
3 TBS sage
3 TBS mint
3 TBS rue
3 TBS plantain
6 cloves garlic
Combine items, cover and set aside for at least 24 hours.
#2:
*I’d use this one topically only since there are questions about how safe wormwood is when consumed
2 1/2 cups cider vinegar
1 TBS lavender
1 TBS rosemary
1 TBS sage
1 TBS rue
1 TBS wormwood
1 TBS peppermint
2 to 4 cloves garlic
Mix ingredients, cover and set aside for two weeks.
#3:
1 pint apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup lavender buds
1/4 cup rosemary
1/4 cup thyme
1/4 cup sage
1/4 cup peppermint
8 cloves of garlic
Seal and store in a dark, warm place for 4 weeks.
It is well known that Cardinal Wosley (from King Henry VIII’s time) would travel the streets with an orange stuffed with cloves and spices (or stuffed with a rag soaked in an infusion). He would hold it up to his nose to ward off the smell from the general population (the great unwashed) and as a protection from any diseases they may carry. Maybe it was a herbal infusion similar to this?

Source of this information came from TipNut.

October 18th, 2012

8 Uses for Epsom Salt

Here is another great article my partner sent me she ran across at TreeHugger. Epsom Salt has been a life saver for me. The uses are endless. While you are here, if you want to earn some extra money check out my programs. The one I recommend you joining right now is Profitclicking. The company gives you $10 to try it out. You only have to click three sites a day to earn in the daily pool. That is awesome when most request at least 20. I’ve been in this awhile and the company is top notch.

Flickr/theilr/CC BY 2.0

Yes, an Epsom salt soak may bring images of the old great-aunt soaking her bunion-bound feet, but it’s a remedy whose efficacy shouldn’t be discounted. Epsom salt is made up of magnesium and sulfate, which have a surprising array of health and beauty benefits. The salt soak is a lost art whose time for revival has come. But beyond the classic Epsom salt bath, the inexpensive ingredient can be put to splendid use in a number of other ways as well. For starters:

1. Improve Overall Health
According to the National Academy of Sciences, American’s collective magnesium deficiency (a growing problem over the last 50 years) is partially to blame for high rates of heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, arthritis and joint pain, digestive maladies, stress-related illnesses, chronic fatigue and other ailments. Modern farming has depleted many minerals from the soil, including magnesium – and the standard western diet with its fat, salt and sugar actually abets depletion of the important mineral as well. Researchers say that soaking in an Epsom salt bath and absorbing the minerals through the skin is one of the easiest ways to increase the body’s levels of both magnesium and sulfate. Use 2 cups of Epsom salt per bath, soak 3 times weekly for at least 12 minutes.

2. Treat Body Aches
Sulfate is important for joint and tissue function. Increasing the body’s level can lessen discomfort from sports injuries, arthritis, sprains, strains, the flu and other aches. Use 2 cups of Epsom salt per bath, soak 3 times weekly for at least 12 minutes.

3. Fade Bruises
To lessen the appearance of bruises, make a compress by soaking a washcloth in cold water mixed with Epsom salt – use two tablespoons per cup – then apply to the skin.

4. Remove Splinters
According to the Epsom Salt Council, Epsom salt increases osmotic pressure on the skin, which draws foreign bodies toward the surface. Dissolve one cup of Epsom salt in a tub of water and soak the affected area.

5. Natural Hair Volumizer
For big, bouncy hair, give it a volumizing mask by mixing one part hair conditioner to one part Epsom salt and work the mixture through your locks. Leave on for 20 minutes, rinse and style as usual.

6. Make a Facial
Boost your the magnesium in your facial skin while also exfoliating and deep-cleansing by mixing 1/2 teaspoon of Epsom salt with cleansing cream. Massage on skin, rinse with cool water and dry.

7. Feed House Plants
House plants love the minerals in Epsom salt, feed them monthly by mixing in two tablespoons Epsom salt per gallon of water.

8. Grow Ginormous Pumpkins
The world’s largest pumpkin, grown by pumpkin whisperer Ron Wallace, weighed in at 2,009 pounds. Wallace’s secret weapon? Epsom salts. “People think that you use it for your feet but it’s also a great form of fertilizer,” said Wallace.

October 17th, 2012

20 Things You Can Use Twice Before Tossing

Here is some more great tips from Tipnut. While you are here check out my business opportunities and great places to advertise your business. Lot’s of exposer. I have found Clixsense to be one of my best along with ProfitClicking. Check the banners on the right side and up top. There isn’t any program I am advertising that I haven’t tried out myself.

Here’s a previously published list of ideas that has collected lots of tips from readers over time, did we miss any? Please add yours!

Dry Cleaning Bags: Use to pack suits, dresses and fine clothing when traveling, this will help protect it from wrinkles when packing. When storing the bags make sure to keep them safely out of reach of children, they really are that dangerous.

Butter Wrappers: Once you’ve removed a block of butter from its wrapping, place the wrapping in a plastic container or bag and refrigerate. Use it to grease baking pans.

Business Cards: Use the other side to label storage boxes and tubs and tape to the outside of the lid or side so you can see at a glance what the container is holding.

Used Envelopes: Cut a corner off envelopes and use as bookmark corner sleeves–just slide one over the page you are at and you’ll find your place easily the next time you pick up the book. No more folded corners and nice way to utilize used envelopes! You can also use envelopes for To Do lists, store garden seeds, and as bookmarks and labels.

Cardboard Egg Cartons: You can use these to make homemade firestarters.


Tissue Boxes
: Once they’re empty you can use these as a plastic bag dispenser, just fill with grocery bags and you’ll be able to neatly pull out one at a time.

Plastic Grocery Bags: Use as garbage pail liners, paint tray covers, packing material.

Plastic Bread Clips: Save a few of the square plastic clips that keep bread bags closed to use as tiny scrapers. They come in handy to remove labels, price tags, and even do a good job scratching lottery tickets.

Newspaper: Line kitty litter boxes for easy cleanup (top with kitty litter), protect work surfaces from crafts & interior paint jobs, giftwrap, use as packing material when moving or shipping.

Plastic Strawberry Baskets: Use as a homemade bubble machine, hold small packets in the pantry.

Cleaner Spray Bottles: Clean thoroughly and use to hold your homemade cleaners, use to spray plants…very important to clean thoroughly first.

Mesh From Veggie Bags: If you buy veggies that are bagged in nylon mesh, you can use that mesh for various cleaning jobs around the house and yard. Just wad up the bag and use it as a scrubber.

Styrofoam Food Trays: Clean thoroughly, wrap in foil then use as trays for giving gifts of baking.

Pantyhose: Use in the garden to tie plants to stakes, make shower spa bags plus there are 20 ideas found here.

Paper Towel Cardboard Rolls: Use to wrap extension cords, Christmas lights (keep untangled).

Citrus Peels: Use to make your own homemade citrus cleaners, candy peels to use in baking or freeze the peels to use for zest in recipes as needed, Save your peels from citrus fruits like lemons and oranges. You can toss them in the fire place when you have a fire going to give the room a nice, fresh smell.

Packing Foam Peanuts: Save them and reuse when packing breakables, storing Christmas decorations or sending gifts in the mail

Brown Paper Bags: Once used, twist into small rolls and use as fire starters.

Laundry Bottle Caps & Scoops: Wash thoroughly and use as sandbox, pool, bathtub toys or pet food scoopers (for dried food).

Cereal Liner Bags: Clean and use for stacking meat patties before freezing, store bread crusts, cover food in the microwave.

October 13th, 2012

10 Homemade Laundry Soap Detergent Recipes

Pama and Justine at the park last year for Halloween. We are going to our grandchildrens Fall Festival today.

Here is a nice stack of different recipes for making homemade laundry detergent that I ran across on a blog. I thought I would share this information with you. It’s put out by TipNut.

Do they work? Yes, I’ve had good luck with them. At the time I was using them, we had a relative who was in trade school living with us. Every day he was mechanic grease from head to toe–the clothes still cleaned up nice!

Making your own is a discipline and it’s not for everyone, but it definitely saves money–sometimes just costing pennies a load! Before you get started, here are a few tips:

For the bar soaps required in the recipes, you could try Fels-Naptha, Ivory, Sunlight, Kirk’s Hardwater Castile, and Zote. Avoid using heavily perfumed soaps.

Washing Soda and Borax can normally be found in the laundry and cleaning aisles.

Some people with really hard water or well water may have to adjust the ingredients if the clothes look dingy.
Although several of the recipes have the same ingredients, the measurements are different–some contain a higher soap to water ratio. Test and see which works best for your needs.

You can make huge pails of this at once, or smaller quantities. Also if you can get your hands on a few empty liquid detergent bottles, they work great for storing large batches. Just make a big batch and pour in bottles, cap then use as needed–shake before use

Some of the recipes call for large amounts of water. Check with a local restaurant to see if they have any empty large pails from deep fryer oil–that’s how many restaurants buy the oil. See if you can have one or two of the pails after they’ve emptied it–just wash them out really well before using. They’re big, heavy plastic and very sturdy when stirring the soap and hot water.

Here are ten different recipes you can try, I’ve also added a very useful Frequently Asked Questions section at the bottom of the page. Lots of info here to get you started, good luck!

#1
1 quart Water (boiling)
2 cups Bar soap (grated)
2 cups Borax
2 cups Washing Soda
Add finely grated bar soap to the boiling water and stir until soap is melted. You can keep on low heat until melted.
Pour the soapy water mixture into a large, clean pail and add the Borax and Washing Soda. Stir well until all is dissolved.
Add 2 gallons of water, stir until well mixed.
Cover pail and use 1/4 cup for each load of laundry. Stir the soap each time you use it (will gel).

#2
Hot water
1 cup Washing Soda
1/2 cup Borax
1 Soap bar
Grate the bar and add to a large saucepan with hot water. Stir over medium-low heat until it dissolves and is melted.
Fill a 10 gallon pail half full of hot water. Add the melted mixture, Borax and Washing soda, stir well until all powder is dissolved. Top the pail up with more hot water.
Use 1 cup per load, stirring soap before each use (will gel).

#3
Hot water
1/2 cup Washing Soda
1/2 cup Borax
1/3 bar Soap (grated)
In a large pot, heat 3 pints of water. Add the grated bar and stir until melted. Then add the washing soda and borax. Stir until powder is dissolved, then remove from heat.
In a 2 gallon clean pail, pour 1 quart of hot water and add the heated mixture. Top pail with cold water and stir well.
Use 1/2 cup per load, stirring before each use (will gel).
Powdered –

Recipe #4
2 cups Fels Naptha Soap (finely grated – you could also try the other bar soaps listed at the top)
1 cup Washing Soda
1 cup Borax
Mix well and store in an airtight plastic container.
Use 2 tablespoons per full load.

#5
Hot water
1 bar (4.5 oz) Ivory Soap – grated
1 cup Washing Soda
In a large saucepan add grated soap and enough hot water to cover. Heat over medium-low heat and stir until melted.
Fill a large pail with 2.5 gallons of hot water, add hot mixture. Stir until well mixed.
Then add the washing soda, again stirring until well mixed.
Set aside to cool.
Use 1/2 cup per full load, stirring well before each use (will gel)

#6
2.5 gallons Water (hot)
1 Bar soap (grated)
3/4 cup Washing Soda
3/4 cup Borax
2 TBS Glycerin
Melt grated soap over medium-low heat topped with water, stir until melted.
In a large pail, pour 2.5 gallons of hot water, add melted mixture, washing soda, borax and glycerin. Mix well.
Use 1/2 cup per full load.

#7
2 cups Bar soap (grated)
2 cups Washing Soda
2 – 2.5 gallons hot water
Melt grated bar in saucepan with water to cover. Heat over medium-low heat and stir until dissolved.
Pour hot water in large pail, add hot mixture and washing soda. Stir very well.
Use 1 cup per full load.

#8
2 gallons Water (hot)
1 bar Soap (grated)
2 cups Baking soda (yes baking soda this time–not washing soda)
Melt grated soap in a saucepan with enough hot water to cover. Cook on medium-low heat, stirring frequently until melted.
In a large pail, pour 2 gallons hot water. Add melted mixture, stir well.
Then add the baking soda, stir well again.
Use 1/2 cup per full load, 1 cup per very soiled load.

Powdered – Recipe #9
12 cups Borax
8 cups Baking Soda
8 cups Washing Soda
8 cups Bar soap (grated)
Mix all ingredients well and store in a sealed tub.
Use 1/8 cup of powder per full load.

#10 – (Powdered)
1 cup Vinegar (white)
1 cup Baking Soda
1 cup Washing Soda
1/4 cup liquid castile soap
Mix well and store in sealed container.
I find it easiest to pour the liquid soap into the bowl first, stirred in the washing soda, then baking soda, then added the vinegar in small batches at a time (the recipe foams up at first). The mixture is a thick paste at first that will break down into a heavy powdered detergent, just keep stirring. There may be some hard lumps, try to break them down when stirring (it really helps to make sure the baking soda isn’t clumpy when first adding). I used 1/2 cup per full load with great results.

Note For Liquid Versions: This will be lumpy, goopy and gel-like. This is normal. Just give it a good stir before using. Make sure to keep covered with a lid when not in use. You could also pour the mixture in old (and cleaned) detergent bottles and shake well before each use.
*If you can’t find Fels-Naptha locally, you can buy it online (check Amazon).
Optional: You can add between 10 to 15 drops of essential oil (per 2 gallons) to your homemade detergent. Add once the soap has cooled to room temperature. Stir well and cover. Essential oil ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil

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October 11th, 2012

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October 9th, 2012

Cool Cats Click For Cash!



October 2nd, 2012

How to Make an Easy Bird Cake from Table Scraps

For you avid bird lovers. I thought you might like to make your own bird cakes. Enjoy!

In some parts of the country, the mast – or nuts and fruits produced in the wild – is at a 40-year low. This means a lot of wild birds will be very hungry this winter. You can help feed them, save money (commercial bird food is expensive) and decrease waste by using your kitchen scraps this winter.

* What You’ll Need

-Fat
You will need something to bind your table scraps together into a cake. The best thing to use is some kind of solid fat. Birds enjoy suet or lard – don’t use vegetable fat. You can save the fat you generate in your kitchen from cooking meat – pan drippings, bacon fat, etc. The high fat content helps birds stay warm. The ideal ratio is 1/3 fat to 2/3 table scraps. (Wild birds don’t need to watch their waistlines!)

-Container
Try using an old yogurt, cottage cheese, or sour cream container. You will need something light, durable and flexible.

-String

-Miscellaneous table scraps

You can use fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, cornmeal, oatmeal, bread, etc. – cooked or raw. (more ideas below)

* Method

The basic method is the same regardless of the scraps you use.

1. Punch a hole in the bottom of the yogurt (or whatever) container.

2. Thread a string through the hole, pulling it up and out of the top of the container. Tie a knot at the base to keep the string from slipping through. You will need a few inches of string above the rim of the container.

3. Soften the fat by melting in a saucepan or microwaving it. Then, stir in your scraps – chop them into small bits if necessary. You can use a blender if you like.

4. Pour the fat-and-scrap mixture into the container, holding the string so that it is roughly in the center of the mixture.

5. Refrigerate the fat or leave it to cool at room temperature. Leaving it overnight on a countertop on a cold winter’s night should do the trick.

6. Invert the container and remove the now solid fat mixture. Voila, you have a bird cake on a string! Hang it outside near a branch using the excess string and observe.

If you want to attract tree-clingers such as wrens and nuthatches, you can smear the mixture right into the bark of a tree.

* More Ideas for Bird Cake Mixtures

Here are some suggestions for bird cakes that you can try. You can also combine the various ingredients in these recipes to attract a wider variety of birds, and to use the scraps you have on hand.

Fruit cake
To the fat, add leftover raisins, cranberries, cranberry sauce, holiday mincemeat, apple pie, chopped apple or pear cores and peels (seeds removed), etc.

Nut cake
Stir in chopped nuts of any variety – sunflower seeds and peanuts are especially popular.

Bread cake
This is a good way to use leftover stale bread. Crumble it into the fat mixture.

Grain cake
Mix in leftover oatmeal, cooked rice, cornbread, cornmeal, pancakes, etc. into the fat. Millet, cooked or raw, is a healthy-for-humans grain that is popular with birds. Try mixing in pasta, too.

Cheese cake
Add leftover cheese to your fat mixture, grated or chopped, any hard variety.

Vegetable cake
This is a good way to use leftover salad, broccoli, spinach, and so forth. Chop it up and stir it in!

This article was writen by:
Dee Braun
Natural Holistic Health Blog

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