Monday, August 24, 2020

Make Your Own Natural "Neosporin®" ~ All-Purpose Skin Salve & Super Salve Recipe

I remember I used to be intimidated by salves. I thought it was too complicated and involved for a busy homeschooling, homesteading, homemaker. But that is far from true (especially with the tips I am going to share)! They are so quick to make and one of the most used in our herbal medicine cabinet! You simply melt your ingredients together! I am sharing two recipes. One is a basic, all-purpose, Neosporin® type salve while the other is a bit stronger for those with eczema or fungus related issues that I will refer to as "super salve".

There are many ways you can make this! I encourage you to adapt this recipe to use what you have on hand. To begin, you will need either extra-virgin olive oil or coconut oil or a combination of the two. I personally like to prepare the salve with a combination of the two as you get the beneficial properties from both oils.

In order to get a more medicinal recipe, I encourage you to make an infused oil first using either lavender or calendula flowers (or a combination of both). You will find the tutorial for making a medicinal oil here! If you wanted to specifically make the "super salve" for fungus and eczema, I would highly suggest you to infuse your oil with calendula flowers as it is excellent for such skin conditions (see all that you can do with the amazing calendula flower here).

To begin, measure out your oil(s) -- I used 1 1/2 c. for my recipe (use the medicinal or regular oils or blend of both the oils). Place inside a double boiler. This is where the quick tip comes in. To bypass excess clean up, save up some of your discarded canned food tins to make a disposable double boiler (that means you don't need to clean up the beeswax residue after - you just toss your can!). Just add a few inches of water into a sauce pan and place your clean can inside. Add the oil to the can and you have a makeshift double boiler!

Once the oil has warmed up (you don't want to boil it!) and you have melted down the coconut oil (if you are using it), you can add your beeswax. I used 6 tbsp. for my recipe. 

The basic idea is to melt the beeswax with the oil and then remove it from the heat. I use a bamboo skewer as a disposable stirring stick. As you can see, I am not too fond of cleaning up oily and waxy dishes. This makes salve-making a breeze.

Once it is removed from heat, I stir it a bit to cool it off as I don't want to add the essential oils to a hot mixture (it will evaporate the oils). But you don't want it too cooled off as the oil mixture will start to set into a salve! :) 

P.S. Notice the woven potholder? I think every homeschooling mother owns one!

Next -- stir in the essential oils. 

For the basic salve recipe (aka "natural" Neosporin®) I would add 15 drops of lavender essential oil and 15 drops of melaleuca (aka tea tree) oil.

For the stronger "super" salve recipe which is great for treating fungus and eczema, add in these essential oils:

-10 drops lavender essential oil
-10 drops melaleuca/tea tree essential oil
-10 drops eucalyptus essential oil
-10 drops geranium essential oil

Finally, pour the mixture into clean containers and let the salve set before applying the lids. I save and recycle small jars for these kinds of projects. Baby jars and pimento jars are perfect sized.

This recipe yields approximately 1-1/2 cups of salve and has a shelf life of about a year. The reason I make a larger amount is that there is always someone who could use it! They are an excellent addition to your first aid cabinet, are a useful provision for your preparedness kit and salves make wonderful gifts.

Happy herbal-homemaking!

This article is a part of our Create Your Own Home Pharmacy Series.

Disclaimer: I am not a certified herbalist but a homemaker interested in the arts of natural healing. The information I have learned has been gleaned through study of some of the following favorite books; Rosemary Gladstar's Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner's GuideGrow Your Own Drugs by James Wong, and The Complete Illustrated Book of Herbs by Reader's Digest and websites of herbalists (such as the Bulk Herb Store Blog).

I am not a doctor. While I do seek scientific confirmation of the safety and effectiveness of the herbs and remedies I use, remember that using remedies is a personal decision. Nothing I say on this blog is approved by the FDA or intended to diagnose, treat or prevent disease. All things on this blog are my opinion or the opinion of others. Also, if you have a medical condition, are taking pharmaceutical drugs, or are pregnant, please consult your physician prior to taking herbs.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

How Much Do I Love Homemaking? ~ Let Me Count the Ways

As of late, numerous people have been asking me "what will I do?" now that I finished home education in our little nest. I suppose that now that this is a house-full of adults, a full-time homemaker doesn't seem necessary. But honestly it feels like my golden years have begun and I can’t wait to continue my homemaking journey! There are still so many people to tend to (the homemakers walls extend beyond her own home), projects to try and pantries to prettify. The home is one big canvas of opportunity and now that a few extra hours have been gifted to me, there is no other place I would rather spend my time!

"We often take our homes for granted. But when we steep ourselves in our home, a deep sense of place begins to emerge. Life becomes more meaningful. We begin to have a greater spiritual awareness of what our home is and should be. Perhaps our most inspiring thought is that our homes, if we are to live well in them, require and deserve a lifetime of the most careful attention. A home absorbs caretaking like a sponge. All the hours we spend tending to it are never in vain, for everything we give to our home, is in turn, given back to us. Our homes will be only as generous and nurturing as the effort we invest in them."
by Miriam Lukken

And as I was pondering all the lovely little homemaking joys, I immediately thought of the title of Elizabeth Browning's poem...

"How do I love thee? Let me count the ways."

I have a waterfall of feelings on the subject and I think it would be easiest if I sorted them out into little posts -- like laundry ๐Ÿงบ piles I suppose!

Some of my reasons may seem shallow to some and soul stirring to others. It will either make sense or I will appear utterly insane. That is the way of a homemaker. Much of the beauty is in the ordinary tasks, the tiny details that make up a grand though humble life, the small routines, the orderly approaches to a home-centered world. We each experience it differently. You may love a quiet home with soft surroundings and floral fragrances while others enjoy upbeat music and the constant scent of brewed coffee.

How Do I Love Homemaking? Let me Count the Ways... Will you join me?

Monday, August 10, 2020

July 2020 Newsletter

"I only deepen the wound of the world when I neglect to give thanks for the heavy perfume of wild roses in early July and the song of crickets on summer humid nights and the rivers that run and the stars that rise and the rain that falls and all the good things that a good God gives." 
~ Ann Voskamp

Greetings gentle reader! Here we are with another monthly newsletter in which I talk about books I have read, things I have watched, projects I have been working on and any other ponderings which really don't fit into its own post! It's pretty much some old-fashioned homemaking chit-chat. July was filled with many family engagements mingled in with the beautiful routine of everyday life. This included some light traveling and trying to maintain the home and laundry in-between. Homemaking is much easier when you remain home. It flows like honey... but when you are a traveling busy bee, it can certainly sting! 
The garden was busy producing lots of sweet, vine-ripe tomatoes. If there was one vegetable I was able to choose to grow year-round, it would be tomatoes. What they sell in the markets doesn't resemble a real tomato in the least. Due to our temporary small garden space, we haven't had an abundance to preserve and to be honest, I have been really enjoying the freshness of them (and probably have been over-eating them)! We made lots of salsas, green salads, caprese salads, marinated vegetables, black bean salads and every Friday it is pizza Marguerite! 
There are various ways to make a Marguerite pizza. From what I understand, it traditionally includes fresh basil, mozzarella and sliced tomatoes to mimic the Italian flag (green, white, red). This is my version... I infuse freshly minced garlic in extra-virgin olive oil for an hour or so while I work on dinner preparation. Then I par-bake our sourdough crust until the bottom gets golden. Next I smear on the olive oil and garlic across the entire crust (this acts as the "pizza sauce") and place sliced garden tomatoes across the entire pizza. Follow with a heavy sprinkle of mozzarella cheese. Finally, I place the pizza back in the oven until the cheese is bubbly, add some freshly chopped basil to the top and drizzle any leftover garlic-infused olive oil over it all. It is delicious! 

One of the projects I have been working on is our pantry extension. Do you recall that I increased our pantry area about 8 months ago by adding a stand-alone linen closet? By removing all our linens from the hallway closet, we were able to free up more cupboard space for our food supply! In the meantime, we were storing our second level of food storage in the garage (you can read up on my system and goals of pantry building here). This was certainly not an ideal location because of the summer heat. So, we started bringing in our storehouse supply into the small spare room (aka hubby's study and our sewing space) where the average temperature is 75 degrees.

To remedy piles of bulk flour, sugar and so forth on the floor, we bought a cabinet to store our excess at a second-hand store. We painted it up nice and pretty (white of course!) and attached a spring rod across to keep the area looking tidy. Now I feel we have a nice storeroom area that blends in with the house while maintaining the food storage goals our family has. 

I cut an old tablecloth that was too small for our kitchen table in half and sewed it into a curtain to cover the contents (I will make dish towels with the other half as I love the cotton neutral stripes!). I put two thrift store baskets on top for additional storage. I am really pleased to have this extra space!

While on the subject of pantry building, I wanted to share the new Etsy Store I opened! This is going to be my little hobby since I finished homeschooling. I enjoy pantry building, decorating my food storage and organizing my home. I think this little cottage industry employs all my homemaking interests! If you would like to take a peek, please visit Mistress of the House.

One of the books I enjoyed last month was "Simply Living Well" by Julia Watkins. It is a guide to creating a natural, low-waste home. I will be honest and say that I read these "green living" type of books for the frugal living inspiration. You can glean many money saving concepts from the "zero-waste" movement. She shares many lovely recipes, diy tutorials and of course, pretty pictures to make it all beautiful!

As far as movies go, I have nothing to recommend this month. The culture is reflected in the media and it is hard to relate to most of the shows they are offering. Even the period dramas that were always my favorite (here is my list) (and most of the time were clean viewing) have become absolutely scandalous. It seems there has to be a marital affair (with the heroine being the culprit!) or other forms of un-godly relationships in order to attract a modern audience. And the depth of what they show on the screen! It is hard to gloss over. But I digress...

On another note, our "Pretty in Pink" giveaway ends soon in case you haven't yet entered! It is a set of feminine favorites that I find romantic and pretty. I have to say that my favorite part about the giveaways I have been doing is reading all the comments! You are all such wonderful women and kindred spirits!

Lastly, I wanted to take this opportunity to say that although I seem silent regarding the current state of affairs in this world, I definitely am aware of all that is going on in it. While I have been talking much about pink, pantries and other pretty things, I do not have on rose-colored glasses. I am well-informed. However, this blog is meant to occupy and inspire the keeper at home and so this is where I choose to keep my focus... in the home. While I have covered and will continue to cover pantries and preparedness, it has never been from a spirit of fear but in an act of Proverbs 31 prudence. Also, I never wanted to keep a controversial blog because I didn't want to be focusing on "battleground" comments all day while trying to peacefully raise a family. I certainly have opinions on all that is going on -- strong ones. But I hope you understand that this place here is meant to be nurturing ground. It is a place of encouragement and all the beautiful Philippians 4:8 tidings. I just wanted to clear the air in case any of you were wondering and had too much good manners to ask :)
Now, what about you dear reader? What wholesome and lovely things have you been reading, watching and/or working on? As always, recommendations are much appreciated and just reading about your projects inspires me!

Verse of the Month:

"Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things."
~ Philippians 4:8

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Pretty in Pink Giveaway! ~ A Few Feminine Favorites

“I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner... I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.”
~ Audrey Hepburn

A terrific Tuesday to you all! Today we are sharing the fourth of seven little giveaways I had promised for this little blog! I call it the "pretty in pink giveaway" because of the obvious -- all the pretty pink goodies that exalt the feminine spirit. These are the sweet little details that add a splash of lovely into your homemaking life. Perhaps it is a swipe of light pink shimmer across your lips or the aroma of soft pink petals floating from your skin. You are a special creation, different from man and it is beautiful to stand out as one. I think pink glorifies femininity. In this modern age, to me at least -- pink stands for the softer side, the gentle, the delicate but also the strong and faithful women who aren't afraid to be women.

I have included some of my feminine favorites here. Close friends of mine might laugh at me doing a "beauty-type" giveaway because I am not a big cosmetics person. My "make-up" bag consists of three items  - lip shimmer, lip balm and mascara. But my weakness is fresh floral fragrances and lavish soaps and creams. I hope you enjoy my assortment of beauty products!

Now let the fun begin!..๐Ÿ’•

This giveaway includes:

Set/3 Anatomy of a Fragrance "Fresh Cut Trio" Perfumes by Illume (from Anthropologie) 5 ml each,
  • Honey Rose Eau De Parfum
  • Wildflower Bergamot Eau De Parfum
  • Orchid Vanille Eau De Parfum 

WISH Savvy Minerals "Light Pink Shimmer Lipstick" by Young Living Essential Oils,

"Savvy Minerals by Young Living™ Lipstick is formulated to bring out every woman’s unique and natural beauty. The lipstick glides on smoothly, with a creamy texture and medium coverage that makes application easy and forgiving. Made with naturally derived ingredients, including moisturizing botanicals, this lipstick is not tested on animals, so you can feel good about what you are putting on your lips."

Lollia "Believe" Cabbage Rose & Citrus Shea Butter Hand Cream (from Anthropologie),

Opi "Throw Me a Kiss" Light Pink Shimmer Nail Lacquer,

Savon De Marseille "Rose" Soap (Made in France),

How I wanted to remove the plastic wrapper for this photo! 

and finally -- Sky Organics "Strawberry Bliss" Lip Balm.

"Almost all words do have colour and nothing is more pleasant than to utter a pink word and see someone's eyes light up and know it is a pink word for him or her too."
 ~ Gladys Taber

This little giveaway will be open for the next 7 days and is open WORLDWIDE. You have the option to enter it in 7 different ways (pick and choose as many options that work for you!) in order to have 7 different chances to win! Just follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter below!

Note: Where it says "leave a blog comment" on the giveaway, please click it as there is a special question for you to answer in the comments :) Happy homemaking ladies!