Monday, February 25, 2013

Make a Lemon Body Scrub ~ Citrus Series

"Applied to the skin, it (lemon) has antibacterial and astringent effects,
which helps to clear up blemishes and brighten dull or oily skin and hair."
~ James Wong, Grow Your Own Drugs

And yet another luxurious use for the common lemon! To make a body scrub which looks like it came from a bath boutique, all you need is a few minutes and two basic household ingredients.

Body scrubs help to remove dead skin cells (exfoliate) and moisturize dry skin (making them perfect for winter). Your husband will appreciate the frugality and you will always have a gift on hand without running to the store at the last second. Don't forget to involve your children in these easy projects! They create memories while allowing you the time to actually make them.

Simple Supply List:
  • 2 c. fine sea salt (or sugar)
  • 1 c. body oil (such as light olive oil, fractionated coconut oil, avocado oil, almond oil, grape seed oil, sunflower oil, or regular coconut oil*)
  • zest of 1 lemon (fresh or dried)
  • 6 drops favorite essential oil (lavenderlemon, etc) or 1 tsp. extract (vanilla, lemon, coconut)
  • clean jar/container with lid
* If using regular coconut oil, use a mixture of 1/2 c. of liquid oil (i.e., sunflower oil) with 1/2 c. coconut oil so that the coconut oil doesn't solidify your scrub.

Mix together your oil and salt (or sugar).

This is a pretty forgiving recipe.  Feel free to add more or less of anything listed to get the consistency and aroma you desire! If you like a thinner scrub, use a 1 to 1 ratio of oil and salt/sugar. I like it thicker (as in recipe above) so that is doesn't slip from my fingers when wet. 

Add your lemon zest (or any other fragrant dried herb/flower of choice).

Mix together.

Add essential oil or extract of choice.

Place your "lemon scrub" into a jar because it is already done! For best results, use within 6 months.

Directions: In the shower, massage a small handful of scrub all over wet skin (avoiding sensitive areas, concentrating on dry ones), rinse off and pat dry. Don't wipe away the oil feeling since this will keep you moisturized without applying lotion. Suggested use is once a week. Not recommended for your face.

This is too simple! My daughter and I made a few different blends and had a blast creating these "spa bath and beauty products".

You are welcome to print off our lemon labels for your jars or use them as gift tags. Simply download them HERE and print on card-stock. Attach with a piece of ribbon, twine or paste onto your container. This could be used as craft time for the little ones too!

"Create in me a clean heart, O God;
and renew a right spirit within me."
~ Psalm 51:10

If you enjoyed this project, we share 100+ more ideas on how to use up fruit scraps in our Ebook here! Happy kitchen-crafting, ladies!

All the fine print. This post may be shared with some or all of the following link-ups: The Art of Home-Making MondaysModest Mom Monday'sMonday's MusingsMake Your Home Sing MondayGood Morning Mondays,  The ScoopTitus 2 TuesdaysTuesdays with a TwistRaising HomemakersThe Homesteader HopWise Woman Link UpHomestead Blog Hop Wow Us Wednesdays,  Coffee and ConversationHomemaking ThursdaysHome Sweet HomeOur Simple HomesteadAwesome Life Friday Link UpFive Star Frou Frou Friday, and Shabbilicious Friday. Thank you lovely ladies for hosting these. This post may contain affiliate links (which are merchant links that help to support this site at no additional cost to you if you purchase an item through them).

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Marriage ~ Forbearing One Another in Love

"The course of true love never did run smooth."
~ William Shakespeare

His eyes have wrinkles now but they are more beautiful to me than the day when we first met. They see more, perceive more and are more attentive to what is around him. They see the days I am tired and out of sorts. They see the moments when I need that special embrace. Yes, they are more attractive than ever before… I love his wrinkled eyes.

His hands are worn and rough now. The young and soft skin has faded away because of the years of hard work providing for our family. They are always busy repairing and bringing comfort into our home. They are constantly serving, helping and loving in their own masculine way... Yes, they are more beautiful than ever before... I love his rugged, rough, calloused hands.

But if I had surrendered our marriage in those first few years of frustration… If I had walked away when we were both young and passionately opinionated… If I had given up on that stubborn nature or his on mine…

Then I wouldn't have been able to see the man that God has made him into today.

"...With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering,
forbearing one another in love;
Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace..."
~ Ephesians 4:2-3

Though the verses above aren't specifically referring to marriage,
I find they are key verses to preserving one.

You may also be interested in reading other Matters on Marriage.

Monday, February 18, 2013

George Washington's Birthday (Feb. 22, 1732) ~ President's Day

Buy at
"My Mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw.
I attribute all my success in my life
to the moral, intellectual,
and physical education I received from her"
~ George Washington

February 18th is President's Day while the 22nd marks the birth of George Washington. Here are some activities, a short story and other resources for home education this week. The quotes would make excellent copywork!

A Short Story for the Little Ones…

GEORGE WASHINGTON AND HIS HATCHET ~ Excerpt from Fifty Famous Stories Retold

WHEN George Washington was quite a little boy, his father gave him a hatchet. It was bright and new, and George took great delight in going about and chopping things with it.

He ran into the garden, and there he saw a tree which seemed to say to him, "Come and cut me down!"

George had often seen his father's men chop down the great trees in the forest, and he thought that it would be fine sport to see this tree fall with a crash to the ground. So he set to work with his little hatchet, and, as the tree was a very small one it did not take long to lay it low.

Soon after that, his father came home.

"Who has been cutting my fine young cherry tree?" he cried. "It was the only tree of its kind in this country, and it cost me a great deal of money."

He was very angry when he came into the house.

"If I only knew who killed that cherry tree," he cried, "I would—yes, I would"—

"Father!" cried little George. "I will tell you the truth about it. I chopped the tree down with my hatchet."

His father forgot his anger.

"George," he said, and he took the little fellow in his arms, "George, I am glad that you told me about it. I would rather lose a dozen cherry trees than that you should tell one falsehood."

~ Written by James Baldwin, 1896

Lesson of the Day:

"Righteous lips are the delight of kings; and they love him that speaketh right."
~ Proverbs 16:13

"I hope I shall possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man."
~ George Washington

"It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible."
~ George Washington

"Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle."
~ George Washington


“It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.”
~ George Washington

"Oh, eternal and everlasting God, direct my thoughts, words and work. Wash away my sins in the immaculate blood of the Lamb and purge my heart by Thy Holy Spirit. Daily, frame me more and more in the likeness of Thy son, Jesus Christ, that living in Thy fear, and dying in Thy favor, I may in thy appointed time obtain the resurrection of the justified unto eternal life. Bless, O Lord, the whole race of mankind and let the world be filled with the knowledge of Thee and Thy son, Jesus Christ."
~ Prayer of George Washington

Friday, February 15, 2013

Taking the Fear out of Fermenting Foods ~ Starting w/Sauerkraut

I tasted my first fermented pickle at my sister-in-law's and thought that they were very tasty. Sadly, I didn't give it a second chance until our garden provided over 50 cabbages at once. I understand that you could can and even freeze cabbage but fermentation takes less work, doesn't require precious freezer space and boasts numerous health benefits. The wonderful part is that you can ferment pretty much anything that the garden of Eden would have produced and the process creates your own homemade source of probiotics (something I had been buying!).

"Like the fermentation of dairy products, preservation of vegetables and fruits by the process of lacto-fermentation has numerous advantages beyond those of simple preservation. The proliferation of lactobacilli in fermented vegetables enhances their digestibility and increases vitamin levels. These beneficial organisms produce numerous helpful enzymes as well as antibiotic and anticarcinogenic substances. Their main by-product, lactic acid, not only keeps vegetables and fruits in a state of perfect preservation but also promotes the growth of healthy flora throughout the intestine."
~ Sally Fallon, Nourishing Traditions

Unfortunately, there is much paranoia surrounding the science of fermentation. What is interesting is that Ma Ingalls lacked microscopes and labs yet her family thrived on such food preservation. It was normal! Today these forms of food storage have become so abnormal that we are too fearful. Our worries have shifted. Many don't give a second thought to a chemical-packed prescription but when it comes to preserving/fermenting food, we can get nervous. I would like to encourage you to get excited! Preparing our own food promotes independence, makes for a healthier home while maintaining a valuable food storage of our garden goods!

"Yes," Ma said happily;
"nowadays we can all eat enough to make up for what we couldn't have last winter."
She was proud of the garden; it was growing so well.
"I shall begin salting down cucumbers tomorrow,
little ones are thick under all those vines."

~ Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little Town on the Prairie

Easy Ingredients:

Only three ingredients are necessary for safely fermenting food and that is fine sea salt, clean water and fresh produce.

"It is important to use the best quality organic vegetables, sea salt and filtered or pure water for lacto-fermentation. Lactobacilli need plenty of nutrients to do their work; and, if the vegetables are deficient, the process of fermentation will not proceed. Likewise if your salt or water contains impurities, the quality of the final product will be jeopardized."
~ Sally Fallon, Excerpt from Nourishing Traditions

The Basic Concept:

The main idea is to pack your fruits/veggies in a salt water solution, while making sure that they are kept submerged under the solution (aka salt water brine) the entire time it is fermenting. Many vegetables when coaxed (such as squeezing them/pounding them) provide their own waters in which to ferment itself in (such as cabbage). If not, a room-temperature mixture of water and salt will remedy that.

How Long?

There is no specific amount of time that you should let your food ferment. It is all about taste and how strong you want your goods to be. Some consider it ready in three days while others would rather wait and let the good bacteria accumulate in a month's time. It is important to date your jars so you know how long they have been sitting. When you feel it is finished, then the refrigerator will halt the process and your goods will last a long time when chilled. 

"Lacto-fermented vegetable condiments will keep for many months in cold storage but lacto-fermented fruits and preserves should be eaten within two months of preparation."
~ Sally Fallon, Excerpt from Nourishing Traditions

What to ferment in?

Glass vessels and crockware are good choices. Stay away from plastics and metals. Depending on your system, you may have to skim a white filmy residue from the top of your ferments by checking them once a day (if you use regular canning jars or crocks). They also make special fermenting jars (Pickl-it) which would eliminate that need though they are quite the investment. Fido jars are a medium alternative because they keep the oxygen out (which is the focus of fermentation) while allowing some of the CO2 to safely escape. I personally chose to use the Fido jars and love the results.

I haven't had to scrape any layer of film from the top which I appreciate. I have found that my vintage, milk glass ramekins fit inside the jars which help to keep the foods under the brine. I don't open the jars until we are ready to eat them (which is usually one month later). At that point, I place them in the refrigerator.

For further information on safely fermenting in Fido jars, visit here.

To prepare cabbage, simply shred the desired amount. A food processor is brilliant for this!

Sprinkle sea salt (to taste) into your cabbage. Approximately 2 TBSP per head though there is no exact measurement to follow.  

With your hands, mix in the salt and squeeze the cabbage as you go. It will release its own juices and you won't be required to add a brine. If for some reason you do not have enough juice to cover the cabbage in your jar, simply add some pure water until it is covered by at least an inch in the jar (though I haven't had to do this).

Pack your cabbage bits so that the brine is covering them by one inch. There are various ways to do this. One way is to fold up a large cabbage leaf and place a ramekin above it to submerge the food (as shown in photo above with the cucumbers). Let jar of cabbage sit in a cool, dark area until you are ready to use it. Some people give it a week but from what I have read, 3-4 weeks will give you the maximum benefits (this post is really helpful).

For Further Information/Helpful Sites and Articles

I hope this has helped to take some of your fears about fermentation away. I am not really "scientific minded" so this process really intimidated me.  However, there is so much information on the internet about this and the more you read, the more simple it becomes:

* Disclaimer: I have made my best effort to share safe techniques. I make no promise regarding accuracy, applicability, fitness, or completeness of the contents of this blog. Therefore you are responsible for the results of your efforts. The information contained on this blog is provided for general information and educational purposes only and do not constitute legal or other professional advice on any subject matter. The owner of this blog does not accept any responsibility for any loss which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Thank you for understanding.

Have you ever fermented food? Do you have any tips to share?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Make Your Own Lemon Extract {Printable Gift Kit} ~ Citrus Series

Another fast, fun and frugal project using the abundance of citrus this season is to make your own lemon extract. If you already make your own vanilla extract, then you are aware of how easy this is!

Important Notes:
Alcohol is present in all pure extracts and will cook off when baking.
I wouldn't take the purchasing of alcohol lightly...
If someone (including you) has a weakness to it in your family then I suggest skipping this project.

Simple List of Supplies:
  • 2 - 3 lemons (organic is best)
  • 1/2 cup vodka (80 - 100 proof, cheap stuff is fine)
  • 1 clean jar with lid
  • patience :)

Remove the zest from 2 - 3 lemons.  A lemon zester is a great tool for this project but you may also try using a vegetable peeler. Do not include the white pith because it is very bitter. Place peels inside a clean jar.

Add approximately 1/2 cup of vodka to your lemon zest. Make sure your peel is completely covered by the liquid (add more if not) and tightly seal your jar. Give it a nice shake and let concoction sit in a dark place for 4 - 8 weeks depending on how much patience you have (the longer it sits, the stronger the extract). Gently shake the mixture at least once a week to infuse the flavors.

When proper time has elapsed, strain your finished product and place inside a clean glass bottle. This will last for years! To make this infusion double strength, add another batch of lemon peel to your finished extract and repeat the process one more time.


I recycled an old extract bottle and pasted on a homemade label which you are more than welcome to use. Wouldn't this be a fun gift to give? To make it extra special, attach a recipe card (printed on plain card-stock) featuring your favorite dessert which utilizes lemon extract. Our printable Lemon Extract Gift Kit is found HERE which includes a vintage lemon extract label, matching gift card and recipe card. 

“Good, old-fashioned ways keep hearts sweet, heads sane, hands busy.” 
~ Louisa May Alcott

P.S. You may also be interested in making your own orange extract. Printable recipe, labels and gift tag for that project is found here.

If you enjoyed this project, we share 100+ more ideas on how to use up fruit scraps in our Ebook here! Happy kitchen-crafting, ladies!

All the fine print. This post may be shared with some or all of the following link-ups: The Art of Home-Making MondaysModest Mom Monday'sMonday's MusingsMake Your Home Sing MondayGood Morning Mondays,  The ScoopTitus 2 TuesdaysTuesdays with a TwistRaising HomemakersThe Homesteader HopWise Woman Link UpHomestead Blog Hop Wow Us Wednesdays,  Coffee and ConversationHomemaking ThursdaysHome Sweet HomeOur Simple HomesteadAwesome Life Friday Link UpFive Star Frou Frou Friday, and Shabbilicious Friday. Thank you lovely ladies for hosting these. This post may contain affiliate links (which are merchant links that help to support this site at no additional cost to you if you purchase an item through them). Lemon label clip art is courtesy of Reading, Roses and Prose. Recipe card template can be found here at Prim Doodles.