The Survival Mom » Preparedness 101 http://thesurvivalmom.com Helping moms worry less & enjoy life! Fri, 17 Apr 2015 14:43:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 3 Things To Make With Wheat Besides Bread http://thesurvivalmom.com/3-things-make-wheat-besides-bread/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/3-things-make-wheat-besides-bread/#comments Tue, 07 Apr 2015 15:41:21 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=22468 Lots of us like to store wheat. It has a long shelf life, it’s nutritious, and you can use it to make that beloved staple of Western Civilization: bread. In fact, in Medieval Europe, all other foods – meat and Read More

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Things to make with wheat, besides bread.Lots of us like to store wheat. It has a long shelf life, it’s nutritious, and you can use it to make that beloved staple of Western Civilization: bread. In fact, in Medieval Europe, all other foods – meat and vegetables – were considered, “stuff you eat with bread.” However, the ovens the Medieval Europeans used to make this bread were huge, required enormous amounts of fuel, and took most the day to heat up.

We are certainly spoiled with our nice little electric ovens that come up to temperature in less than twenty minutes, but without modern conveniences, how would you bake that bread? Most of us don’t have Medieval bread ovens out in the backyard. And even if you did, what would you use for fuel? It would be a shame to let all that wheat go to waste.

Fortunately, bread is not the only thing wheat is good for. If you have a grill, or at least a cast iron frying pan, a manual wheat grinder, and just a few extra ingredients, you can make a wide variety of meals. I’m not even going to mention cracked wheat cereal, which brings to mind thin, sad faces and Little Orphan Annie. I mean meals that you would actually want to eat, like pancakes and biscuits.

Even without a modern oven or range, you can place a frying pan over your outdoor grill or over a campfire. This method is perfect for making things like pancakes and tortillas, and can also be used for other quick breads like biscuits (you will have to flip them).

Knowing alternative ways to cook, and having the tools to do so, is important for short-term power losses and even a long-term failure of the power grid.

Pancakes

Any pancake recipe can be converted into a whole wheat pancake recipe simply by substituting whole wheat flour for white flour. For very best results, use buttermilk. If you don’t have buttermilk, you can use reconstituted powdered milk and add a tablespoon of plain yogurt. Here is my children’s favorite recipe:


2 Eggs

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 1/5 cup milk or buttermilk

2 cup whole wheat flour

2 Tbsp brown sugar

4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients, cook as you would any other pancake recipe. Makes 6-8 pancakes, depending on size.

Tortillas

We eat a lot of tortillas at our house in the form of fajitas, enchiladas, soft tacos, burritos, et cetera. I went through a lot of tortilla recipes trying to find one I like, and this one is pretty fool-proof. I usually double it for my family of five:

2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup water

3 Tbsp olive oil

Combine all ingredients and mix by hand until it forms a ball. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour a little at a time until the desired texture is reached. Let the dough rest for about twenty minutes, then divide into six portions. Roll out each ball and cook about a minute on each side. Makes 6 tortillas.

Biscuits

This recipe is adapted from a recipe book that used to belong to my great grandmother.

2 cup whole wheat flour

4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

4 Tbsp shortening (the amount can be decreased to 2 Tbsp, but I prefer the flakier texture that comes with more fat)

3/4 cup buttermilk

Mix the dry ingredients together, cut in the shortening. When adding the buttermilk, do not overmix. Instead of rolling out the dough, save time and form the dough into a log, then cut the log into biscuit-shaped slices. Allow 4-5 minutes per side on medium heat, taking care not to let them burn. For best results, cover the pan. Makes 12 biscuits.

 

You’ll notice that none of these three recipes require more than two cups of flour . That is because I assume that if you don’t have your electric stove, you probably don’t have your electric wheat grinder, either. Have you ever tried to grind six cups of flour at once with an ordinary hand-powered grain mill? It’s incredibly tedious. You’ll be having flashbacks from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s The Long Winter for days. Two cups at a time, however, is entirely doable. You’ll be able to finish in less than a half hour.

I hope you will be inspired to test out these recipes. I was skeptical about the idea of skillet biscuits on the grill, but was pleasantly surprised by how they turned out. What are some other non-bread ways you have used wheat in your home?

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Is your food storage plan missing these six essential pieces? http://thesurvivalmom.com/food-storage-plan-missing-six-essential-pieces/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/food-storage-plan-missing-six-essential-pieces/#comments Mon, 06 Apr 2015 11:35:51 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=22452 Ask any “food storage expert” what they recommend in a basic food storage plan and they will likely recommend the same types of things: wheat, rice, dry milk, salt, beans, sugar / honey, oil, pasta etc. The Survival Mom recommends Read More

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food storage planAsk any “food storage expert” what they recommend in a basic food storage plan and they will likely recommend the same types of things: wheat, rice, dry milk, salt, beans, sugar / honey, oil, pasta etc. The Survival Mom recommends many of these important items on her list of top 10 foods for stocking up.

But with all their similarities, sometimes these lists include an item here or there that I hadn’t thought of before…something useful that I suddenly see as essential to my food storage plan. I thought I’d share a few of these with you today. Some you may have, or plan to have eventually. Others may be new to you. Or, you may have something to add to the list!

Don’t forget the vinegar!

Vinegar has many many uses: just look at all the uses for it you can find on pinterest!

Some of my favorites include prolonging the life of flowers in a vase, keeping ants away, getting rust off of things, sterilizing laundry (instead of bleach), removing perspiration stains and more.

The uses in the kitchen are just as varied: use it to make fluffier rice, use it to make buttermilk, wash fresh vegetables and fruits (especially berries) in it to make them last 2-3 times as long, use it to tenderize meat, make salad dressing or pickle anything.  I also use it to get rid of onion or garlic smell on my fingers..

Vinegar is truly versatile!


In addition, vinegar is inexpensive, readily available and stores very well.

Are seeds a part of your food storage plan?

The ability to grow your own food is essential for true self-reliance. Storing heirloom seeds is simply smart. You will need to rotate them every couple years or so, but seed packets are inexpensive so this shouldn’t be too difficult.

Vitamins

Often, many “basic” food storage plans lack variety. They include items that provide a lot of calories, are inexpensive and easy to store for a long time. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always mean they provide a wide variety of nutrients and vitamins.

This is often true even if you buy a pre-made food storage package. Often, they are heavy on nutrient-weak calories such as sugar and drink mixes. There are many reasons I don’t recommend pre-made food storage packages, but this is one. People invest in these packages thinking they are getting a certain number of calories. I feel it is a bit deceiving when a heavy number of those calories are nutrient-less.

However, not everyone can afford to go out and buy nutrient dense freeze dried fruits and veggies as part of their food storage plan: especially right at first. They may be able to invest in some canned produce, but even these are lacking in nutrients compared to their fresh counterparts.

A diet full of calories, but not balanced nutrients will not be likely to give you the energy and mental acuity you will likely need in a disaster situation.

While fresh is always best, storing vitamins can help combat this issue until you reach a point when you can invest in more nutrient dense foods.

Nuts can be stored, long-term

Nuts are a great protein and fat source, are less expensive than freeze dried meats, and tastier and healthier than TVP. They can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner and are available in a large variety.

But nuts have one issue: they are tough to store long term because of the oil in them. Jane from Mom with a Prep solved this problem with one amazing post: Awww Nuts! A Guide to nuts and their long term storage benefits.

Spice / Herbs / Bouillon

A diet full of items recommended in many food storage plans: rice, pasta, bread, milk and beans would become pretty boring very quickly without some flavor!

Spice it up a little! Bouillon can be used to make soups and flavor rice. Spices can add an incredible variety to basic staples. If you are adventurous, you can dry your own or if that is too overwhelming simply buy a few extra of the spices and herbs you use most often now so that you can easily rotate through them.

Cookbooks

How many of you have the majority of your family’s favorite recipes stored electronically (on your computer or online somewhere)? What would you do if you couldn’t access those electronics? Do you have recipes specific to the food you have stored?

Make sure you have recipes for the food you have stored in a non-digital format so that you can access and use them anytime you need to. The more recipes you gather, the more variety you will have in your meals. Old cookbooks can be especially valuable for many reasons!

 

That’s it! Which of these items were new to you? What would you add to the list?

Food Storage Plan missing essentials2

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Getting Started With Cooking Off the Grid — Solar Ovens http://thesurvivalmom.com/getting-started-with-cooking-off-the-grid-solar-ovens/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/getting-started-with-cooking-off-the-grid-solar-ovens/#comments Wed, 01 Apr 2015 07:20:33 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=22110 How long can you go without craving a hot, homemade meal, eating only cold rations and snacks?  If you’ve ever been without power for more than just a couple of days, eating cold ravioli or tuna out of the can Read More

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Cooking off the grid with solar oven.How long can you go without craving a hot, homemade meal, eating only cold rations and snacks?  If you’ve ever been without power for more than just a couple of days, eating cold ravioli or tuna out of the can gets really old, really fast. Most survival minded people realize, better than most, that it doesn’t take much to disrupt the flow of electricity we depend upon for cooking. A natural disaster or freak weather event can turn the most modern home into a survivalist camp within a few hours. Electricity can also be interrupted by man-made crises, such as civil unrest, terrorism, or an EMP, making that hot meal a rare treat.

A popular slogan among survivalists and preppers is, “Always have a back-up to your back-up.”  When it comes to cooking, what is your back-up to your back-up? Do you have more than one way of cooking a hot meal when the power is down?

One simple addition to your emergency preparedness is a solar oven. It’s a great way to get started cooking off the grid.

As long as the sun is shining and the sky is relatively clear, a solar oven can serve up a delicious pot of rice and beans and brownies for dessert without requiring any fuel. In fact, its dependence on the sun as its only source of fuel, is the reason every home should have a solar cooker. Solar cooking is an unbeatable back-up for making sure there’s a hot meal on the table three times a day.

There is something new under the sun

Solar cooking and using the sun to preserve food has been around for hundreds of years, but only in modern times has the use of solar cookers become widespread both in the survival community and among communities around the world with unreliable electrical power. Its advantages are obvious.

  • There is no need to store additional fuel.
  • Sunshine is free, unlike propane, butane, gas, and other fuels.
  • It’s possible to store several months’ worth of food, but storing all the fuel you might need isn’t as easy.
  • Once paid for, there are no other expenses involved and maintenance is simple.
  • There are no dangerous fumes or safety issues to worry about.
  • A solar cooker can be used for every type of cooking, except frying.
  • Food never burns in a solar cooker.
  • During hot, summer months, the use of a solar cooker helps keep the kitchen, and the cook!, cool.
  • Over time and with frequent use, the use of a solar oven will save money on the electric bill.

A solar cooker for every home

A solar cooker is a must-have as a back-up method for cooking food. It is the single most self-reliant way to cook food and heat water, and has the additional advantage of being a DIY project if there’s a handyman (or woman) in the family.

Commercially produced solar cookers, such as the All-American Sun Oven, are perfect for the prepper who is too busy for even one more DIY project. Depending on the brand you choose, these stoves have consistent quality construction, are designed to reach temperatures for the quickest possible cooking results, and have features for enhanced usability, such as interior thermometers, large reflecting panels, and a weather resistant design.

However, some of these ovens carry a price tag of $300 or more and can be large and bulky. In a Get-Out-Of-Dodge scenario, there might not be room for my Sun Oven in the back of our Tahoe, and if I ever had to cook for more than my family of four, it might be too small. That’s one of the limitations of a store-bought solar cooker. You’re stuck with a standard size that may be too small, and your budget may not allow for a second cooker.

On the other hand, a DIY solar cooker can be customized to your specific needs. One friend used a large ice chest on wheels for her solar oven. She could wheel it to any location in the backyard and she chose a size that could accommodate as many as four baking dishes. Another ingenious DIY plan that can be found on the internet uses a 5 gallon bucket and a reflective sunshade. Total cost?  Not much more than five bucks, if that. The advantage of many DIY solar cookers is that they can be dismantled for convenient transport, and all of them require materials that are already in most garages. Plans for homemade solar cookers can be found on dozens of websites and demonstration videos abound on YouTube.

The DIY solar cooker comes with a few disadvantages. If the design doesn’t maximize the amount of sunlight available, you may end up with nothing more than a hot silver box sitting out in your yard. I recommend testing and tweaking any DIY design until it consistently reaches 350 degrees or more. Reliable temperatures will help you plan mealtimes and insure that foods reach temperatures that will deter any bacterial growth. Another issue with the DIY cooker is its durability. If a slight breeze knocks over your cooker and pot of beans, you’ll know you need to fine-tune the design for added stability.

Getting started with solar cooking

Regardless of which solar cooker you settle on, some foods are easiest for getting started.  Be sure to keep a log of foods you cook, time of day you begin cooking, and the length of cooking time required. This log will be a huge help to you as you branch out and begin cooking a wider variety of foods.

  • Hard boiled eggs. Place eggs on a dark colored towel or inside a dark pot inside your cooker.  After 20 minutes, check one egg for doneness. Solar cooked hard boiled eggs will be softer than those cooked in a pot of boiling water.
  • Rice is either cooked or it’s not. It’s probably the easiest food to experiment with when you’re new to solar cooking. Combine rice and water in a covered pot. Check for doneness after 25 minutes. A package of Rice-a-Roni works just as well for your experimentation.
  • Yes, brownies! Mix up a batch of your favorite store-bought or homemade recipe, pour it into a dark, greased pan and place it in your solar cooker. Use the baking times recommended by your recipe, test for doneness, and leave in for additional minutes if required. I’ve found that solar-baked brownies are usually finished in the same amount of time as oven-baked.
  • I’m almost embarrassed to suggest heating water in your solar cooker, but having a way to pasteurize water could be very important. Check the temperature of water after 30 minutes.  At 149 degrees Fahrenheit (65 degrees Celsius) all germs, viruses, and parasites are killed. This information, along with your solar cooker, could be one more way to insure safe drinking water in an emergency and provide sterilized water for medical and first aid purposes.

Like any new skill, the only way to learn how to cook with a solar oven is to just do it. For most dishes, allow at least an extra 30 minutes to your cooking time.

Ten Top Tips for Solar Cooking

  1. Solar cooking isn’t an exact science. It requires a bit of trial and at least a few errors to determine the correct cooking time for any food.
  2. Always use dark pots and pans with any solar cooker. If you must use a light colored or shiny baking dish, cover it with a dark colored hand towel.
  3. Thin metal baking dishes work best in a solar cooker. They will heat up more quickly and lessen the amount of cooking time needed.
  4. A thermometer is a must-have for a solar cooker.
  5. Allow your solar cooker to pre-heat for 15-20 minutes. Pre-heating will shorten the cooking time a bit.  Just be aware that the interior of your cooker will be hot, so be sure to use pot-holders.
  6. Always use a baking dish with a lid for all your solar cooking. The lid retains important heat and moisture. There’s no need for a lid if you’re baking. Pies, brownies, cookies, cakes, and bread won’t require a lid.
  7. If you’re cooking meat, make sure the interior of the oven reaches at least 180 degrees. Again, a thermometer is a must to insure food safety and predictable cooking times.
  8. Use the ‘slow-cooker’ method when you’ll be gone all day. Place the solar oven so that it faces directly south. Pop in your baking dish, close the lid, and by dinner time, you’ll have a hot, delicious meal waiting for you.
  9. Moisture will likely collect inside the cooker during the cooking process. Wipe the inside dry before storing it.
  10. Turn your solar cooker into a food dehydrator by propping open the oven door by a half inch or so. This allows moisture to escape while the interior of the cooker retains heat.

If you’re new to solar cooking, prepare to be amazed.  There’s nothing quite like placing a baking dish in a box out in the sun and coming back later to a fully cooked and delicious meal.  A prolonged power outage doesn’t mean the end to hot, nutritious meals when you have a solar cooker as a back-up.

Coming next: Getting Started With Cooking Off the Grid — Multi-fuel stoves

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Your SHTF Dental Plan: Supplies to stock up on, skills to learn http://thesurvivalmom.com/shtf-dental-plan-supplies-to-stock-up-on-skills-to-learn/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/shtf-dental-plan-supplies-to-stock-up-on-skills-to-learn/#comments Tue, 31 Mar 2015 07:00:00 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=21594 I didn’t get my first cavity until I was 27 years old. Honest. My teeth were in absolute perfect condition for almost 3 decades. I didn’t even need to wear braces. Survival dental health wasn’t even on my radar. So, Read More

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Survival dental health. Supplies and skills for dental emergencies.

I didn’t get my first cavity until I was 27 years old. Honest. My teeth were in absolute perfect condition for almost 3 decades. I didn’t even need to wear braces. Survival dental health wasn’t even on my radar.

So, I took dental health for granted. I forgot to floss, at times drank too much soda, and sure enough, moving into my 30’s, cavities began popping up here and there and my dentist warned me about tooth decay and gum disease and their affect on my overall health.

Those same warnings are given to millions of people every year by earnest dentists and dental hygienists, but not everyone heeds them.

In a worst case scenario, visits to the dentist may become a luxury no longer available, or at least, not available to the majority of people. Even now there are millions of families who can no longer afford teeth cleanings, braces, and other expensive forms of dental care.

It makes sense, then, to learn as many alternative ways as possible to take good care of your teeth and gums and begin stocking up on the supplies you’ll need. In no way does this advice replace visits to the dentist. Please don’t use it as an excuse to avoid unpleasant dental work! Rather, I want to give you some ideas for taking extra good care of your teeth and gums in a worst case scenario and give you a list of supplies so you can begin stocking up for your own SHTF Dental Plan!

Toothpaste options for your survival dental health

It’s pretty easy to stock up on large amounts of toothpaste and toothbrushes using coupons. But if you’d like other options, here are a couple of recipes for homemade toothpaste and a tooth powder using ingredients that can easily be stocked up and stored long-term.

For these recipes, you’ll need Bentonite clay. I’ve been using the Earth’s Living brand, which originates in Death Valley. It’s a very fine powder that hasn’t been irradiated and contains calcium, magnesium, and other trace minerals. It can be stored indefinitely, which makes it a terrific product for stocking up! Just buying one jar of Bentonite clay every couple of months will give you a sizable stockpile pretty quickly.

You’ll also want to stock up on essential oils, such as peppermint, spearmint, or cinnamon, baking soda, and calcium powder. If you don’t want fluoride in your store-bought toothpaste or have other concerns with their ingredients, stock up instead on ingredients to make homemade toothpaste or tooth powder. These ingredients can last for years, if not indefinitely.

Remineralizing Tooth Powder 

Homemade Clay Toothpaste

Want something even easier than this? Make a paste of baking soda and water, or hydrogen peroxide, for getting your teeth clean. Dentists warn that using baking soda over a long period of time can weaken tooth enamel, so you may want to use this with other toothpaste recipes.

My favorite alternative toothbrush

Several years ago I spent some time with Marjorie Wildcraft. She had just finished filming a DVD with herbal expert, Doug Simons, called “Alternatives to Dentists.” During our conversation, she urged me to try brushing my teeth with a willow twig.

“You’ll love the way your teeth feel and it actually makes them stronger,” she claimed.

So, on a family camping trip through Colorado, I tracked down a willow tree, snipped a small twig, and began using it to clean my teeth. I loved being able to scrub each tooth, front and back and into the gum line. My teeth felt very smooth and clean, similar to that after-the-dentist feeling. The twig doesn’t have to be from a willow tree, by the way.

If you’re skeptical of the willow twig toothbrush and don’t have a toothbrush handy, soft strips of cloth can be used to rub against teeth to get them clean.

Dentists and dental hygienists alike strongly recommend using the softest toothbrushes, not a firm toothbrush, which can damage teeth and gums. If you’re stocking up on toothbrushes, always get the softest brushes possible.

Homemade mouthwash for another alternative dental product

If, after using homemade toothpaste and a willow twig, you still feel the need for even fresher teeth, you can easily mix up a batch of homemade mouthwash. Again, great news! These recipes call for ingredients that are shelf stable and can be stored for very long periods of time. To maximize that shelf life, always store in the darkest, coolest, and driest spot in the house.

Hydrogen Peroxide Mouthwash

Easy peasy. Combine equal parts 3% hydrogen peroxide and water, just enough for one swish. Hydrogen peroxide doesn’t have an indefinite shelf life and it should be stored in a very cool location, even in the refrigerator. However, this is a very easy item to store and as a mouthwash, it couldn’t get any easier than this.

Minty Essential Oil Mouthwash

Combine together a cup of water and 10-20 drops of an essential oil. Do test the flavor of the mouthwash at 10 drops before adding any more, since some oils are much stronger tasting than others. Cinnamon essential oil is a good choice because it may have antifungal and antibacterial properties. Peppermint and spearmint are also very good choices for dental health.

Salt Water Mouthwash

Not glamorous, and if anything, a salt water mouthwash is boring, but the fact is, this continues to be recommended by dentists worldwide for its effectiveness as a natural disinfectant. It can help heal sores as well. Combine 1 teaspoon salt with 1 cup water. As effective as this is, short term, it shouldn’t be used long term because the acidity could soften tooth enamel over time. Use this option only occasionally.

Colloidal silver

While colloidal silver isn’t a mouthwash exactly, its proponents claim that it is effective against periodontal disease. Whether you stock up on store-bought or make your own homemade colloidal silver, this is another option for maintaining good dental health in a worst case scenario.

Dental floss, or “It’s time for your biannual flossing lecture.”

When my trusty assistant, Bethanne, informed me that she had a dentist appointment, she ended our conversation with, “It’s time for my biannual flossing lecture.”

Her comment made me laugh because I, too, was familiar with that spiel. I’m proud to say that I floss my teeth much more often now than I used to, but probably not as often as my hygienist would like. The main purpose of using floss is to break the contact point between teeth and loosen debris. Brushing alone doesn’t usually accomplish this.

The really great news for your SHTF Dental Plan is that just about anything can be used in place of dental floss, although before resorting to this list, use coupons and grocery store sales to stock up on plenty of floss.

Per a few dental hygienists that I know, you can use these in place of floss:

  • Thread
  • Embroidery floss (use a single strand at a time)
  • Fishing line
  • Pipe cleaners — This comes in varying sizes. Get the smaller sizes to use in between your teeth.

Oil pulling for cleaner, healthier teeth and gums

When I first heard of oil pulling, I thought it was related to an obscure beauty regimen. I was a little shocked to learn that, instead, it involved swishing oil around in one’s mouth for 15-20 minutes at a time. Incredibly, I learned that this ancient process has received approval by many in the medical and dental communities.

One dentist, Jessica T. Emery of Sugar Fix Dental Loft in Chicago explains,

“Most microorganisms inhabiting the mouth consist of a single cell,” Emery says. “Cells are covered with a lipid, or fatty, membrane, which is the cell’s skin. When these cells come into contact with oil, a fat, they naturally adhere to each other.”

Oil pulling, therefore, can help fight gingivitis, plaque, bad breath, tooth decay, and some regular users swear it has made their teeth whiter.

The process is very simple:

1. Put a tablespoon of oil in your mouth.

2. Swish it around, gently, for 15-20 minutes. If you’re just getting started with this process, start with 5 minutes, and then gradually increase the time. I usually put the oil in my mouth and swish while I’m getting ready for the day.

3. Spit out the oil and brush your teeth.

As part of your SHTF Dental Plan, stock up on coconut oil, which already has anti-bacterial properties. Olive oil and sunflower oil are also good choices. One oil that I tried, designed specifically for oil pulling, is Pulling Oil by GuruNanda. I really liked the fact that it remained in a liquid form, unlike my coconut oil that is usually solid due to the cooler temps of my home and Texas climate. The GuruNanda brand contains a mixture of sesame, sunflower, coconut, and peppermint oils and was very easy to use.

Finally, an herb that may strengthen and repair teeth enamel

Once tooth enamel has been damaged or has decayed, the general consensus is that the damage is done and cannot be repaired. Many in the alternative health fields, however, beg to differ. One of those is Doug Simon, co-creator of the Alternatives to Dentists DVD I mentioned earlier. When I interviewed Doug a few years back, he claimed that ingesting dried horsetail is effective against tooth decay and can actually heal cavities.

Why might horsetail be effective against tooth decay? Horsetail is a natural source of silica and may be able to re-mineralize teeth.

I have a couple of small cavities and began taking horsetail capsules daily about 4 months ago. My next dentist appointment isn’t until early summer, but I’m hoping that these small cavities have, indeed, healed. In the past, I’ve also taken 1 teaspoon of dried, ground horsetail in a smoothie or mixed with a glass of water, and Doug recommended 1/2 teaspoon of horsetail in a glass of water for my children when they were ages 9 and 11.

A word of warning about horsetail and any other herbal remedy. In a true SHTF scenario, you might not be able to, “Ask your medical practitioner for advice before consuming…” The time to do your research into herbal remedies and other alternative medicines is right now while doctors, medical facilities, and mountains of information are available. Additionally, learn a bit about herbalism yourself.

Mountain Rose Herbs has a list of schools with herbalist training. I’ve interviewed Sam Coffman of The Human Path several times, and he offers multiple classes, both on site and online.

Some common sense tips for healthy teeth and gums

You may be sitting in the middle of a worst case scenario and have all your supplies ready to maintain strong and healthy teeth and gums. Those supplies, along with your best intentions for survival dental health, won’t get you very far if you include a large amount of sugar in your diet and spend the day sipping sweet tea or juice! Just because the world has gone sideways doesn’t mean all the normal, boring advice you’ve heard for many years is suddenly ineffective.

In fact, if there was ever a time to adhere to best dental practices, that time is now.

DO avoid foods with refined sugars.

DO floss your teeth daily and brush them twice.

DON’T neglect your teeth and gums, especially in a worst case scenario. Their care should become a priority.

DO insist that every member of the family brush, floss, and otherwise take good care of their teeth.

DO rinse mouth with water (rinse, swish, and spit) after each meal.

Printable resource for you

Click here to get a free, printable resource with all the SHTF Dental Plan supplies listed in this article.

Helpful resources mentioned in this article

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Is a Storage Unit a Viable Survival Cache? http://thesurvivalmom.com/storage-unit-survival-cache/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/storage-unit-survival-cache/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 07:10:15 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=21925 For quite some time now, caches have been rather popular amongst the prepper/survivalist crowd. Most commonly, this involves filling a large diameter PVC tube with gear and supplies, sealing it up, then burying it. Often, these caches are hidden somewhere Read More

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Is a storage unit a viable survival cache?For quite some time now, caches have been rather popular amongst the prepper/survivalist crowd. Most commonly, this involves filling a large diameter PVC tube with gear and supplies, sealing it up, then burying it. Often, these caches are hidden somewhere along a bug out route, thus allowing for resupply during the journey.

One major problem, though, is finding an appropriate location for the cache. To avoid any legal issues, it should always be placed on land you own or that is publicly owned. Several times I’ve heard a recommendation of using cemeteries for cache locations. This is an extremely bad idea. Think about it. Just as you get the hole dug, along comes Officer Friendly, who is very curious to hear your reasoning for being in the cemetery in the middle of the night with a shovel.

Another issue with this type of DIY cache is inaccessibility for rotation and inspection. Remember, these PVC tubes are generally meant to be buried. The idea is to fill them with supplies that will last quite a long time. You’re not going to be digging these up every six months to rotate out canned goods and such. Once buried, it is there to stay until you truly need it. That’s usually how caches work. Because of this, most people don’t store their “good” stuff in a cache.

Might a storage unit survival cache be a viable option?

One option worth considering is to utilize a storage unit as a cache location. Once, these self-storage facilities were most often found in the seedier parts of the city but today they are everywhere. Here in the upper Midwest, I find them out in the sticks as well as in urban areas. There are usually different size units available, from the size of a closet to as big as a two-car garage. For our survival cache purposes, the smallest will usually suffice.

Quite often you’ll find these facilities are climate controlled, so you don’t have to worry about your stuff freezing or going bad in the heat of summer. While there is a cost involved, these units could serve a dual purpose. Not only could you stash some emergency gear there, you could clean out some of the clutter in your home and store it here as well. You know, the stuff you don’t really need on hand but you don’t want to throw away – kids memorabilia, household goods you’re saving for your child’s first apartment, old clothes that you keep promising to yourself you’re going to fit into again.

I’d be willing to bet that if you examined your bug out routes, you’ll find at least one or two of these storage unit businesses along the way. Look for one that is at the outskirts of town or, even better, out in the country. If you can find one that is family owned and operated, you might have a bit of room to haggle on the price, especially if you’re willing and able to pay for several months in advance.

The bonus with one of these storage units is you might be able to use it as an impromptu shelter as you’re bugging out. Not just a resupply point but a place where you can hunker down for a day to catch your breath and plan your next move.

While I would fully expect these places to get looted eventually, should the disaster go on long enough, I think it would take weeks before that starts to happen. There are just too many more appealing targets, such as supermarkets, drug stores, big box retailers, gas stations, convenience stores, and restaurants. My guess is that people will flock to those before making it to the storage businesses.

As with anything else related to survival and disaster planning, you need to take into account your own individual circumstances and determine whether this option would work for you. If it does, great! If not, just keep researching the different options available until you find the perfect fit.

Helpful resources

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What is junk silver? http://thesurvivalmom.com/junk-silver/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/junk-silver/#comments Fri, 20 Feb 2015 08:00:25 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=21420   Do you have a coin jug at home? Perhaps it isn’t a jug, per se, but a coffee can, glass jar, or maybe even an old fashioned piggy bank? It might be holding far more money than you realize! Read More

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What is junk silver and should I buy it?  www.TheSurvivalMom.comDo you have a coin jug at home? Perhaps it isn’t a jug, per se, but a coffee can, glass jar, or maybe even an old fashioned piggy bank? It might be holding far more money than you realize!

If you spend much time surfing various survival/prepper message boards and other forums, you’ll no doubt run across the term “junk silver.” People want to know, “What is junk silver? And, should I buy it?”

The term refers to coins containing a high amount of actual silver, unlike most common coins minted today.

Here’s the cool part. If you have a coin jug at home, odds are you probably have at least a few junk silver coins in there. While you won’t see them every day, they do still crop up regularly.

What is junk silver?

Here in the United States, junk silver coins are basically any coin (except pennies and nickels) minted in 1964 or earlier. Given that half-dollars and other larger coins are somewhat rare in most of our daily lives, we’re basically talking about dimes and quarters. If a coin is categorized as junk silver, it does not have any numismatic value to collectors.

The value in junk silver is the silver itself, not the coin’s appearance.

The only silver nickels in recent history are the “wartime” ones produced in 1942-1945. Even then, they only contain about 30% silver, whereas most junk silver coins contain 90% silver.

If after looking at the mint date you still aren’t sure if the coin is silver, a silver coin sounds very different from a non-silver one when dropped on a table. The sound is hard to describe but once you’ve heard it, you’ll recognize it pretty quickly going forward.

Why do preppers focus on junk silver?

Why is it important to know about junk silver? Well, for starters, junk silver is a very easy way to get started with collecting precious metals for possible use as alternative currency, should there come some sort of economic collapse. It takes just a few seconds at the end of the day to examine the coins in your pocket before you dump them into your coin jug.

On top of that, junk silver coins are worth far more than their face value. Generally speaking, if you have $1.40 in face value of junk silver coins, you have one troy ounce of actual silver. As of this writing, an ounce of silver is going for about $18.00 or so. I use Kitco to check prices when I’m getting ready to buy.

Now, honestly, that’s not a completely true comparison as junk silver coins aren’t actually worth the full silver spot price. But, those dimes and quarters are worth a ton more than what you’d get from a candy vending machine.

At my house, we have two separate jars, one for pennies and one for all other coins. I’ll usually glance through my spare change, checking mint dates, before tossing the coins into the appropriate jar. But, because I’m human and might miss seeing a junk silver coin, we’ll have one of our children dump out the jar and check each coin before we cash in the change. Often, they’ll find one or two coins we missed. The junk silver coins are stored away under lock and key, just in case we need them someday. If nothing else, they’ll be nice for the kids to have someday.

Resources for junk silver

A Guidebook of United States Coins 2015

The Beginner’s Guide to Gold and Silver Scrap

How to Buy Gold and Silver Bullion Without Getting Scammed

Survival Mom: How to Prepare Your Family for Everyday Disasters and Worst Case Scenarios  (I include an interview with a precious metals dealer and information about buying junk silver.)

Wartime silver nickels

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Skill of the Month Progress Check! http://thesurvivalmom.com/skill-of-the-month-progress-check/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/skill-of-the-month-progress-check/#comments Tue, 17 Feb 2015 16:00:00 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=21621 I love our February Skill of the Month: Switch from Store-Bought to Homemade. It has challenged me to track down new recipes for things I have never tried before. Yesterday I tried brushing my teeth with bentonite clay. Look for Read More

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Switch from store bought to homemade for a multitude of products you use every day. It's healthier and smarter! | via www.TheSurvivalMom.comI love our February Skill of the Month: Switch from Store-Bought to Homemade. It has challenged me to track down new recipes for things I have never tried before.

Yesterday I tried brushing my teeth with bentonite clay. Look for my article on the subject of DIY dental care coming up. I’ve tried various health-drink mixes with turmeric and cayenne, started using borax powder to clean the toilets and a ball of aluminum foil to replace dryer sheets.

Sometimes, switching from store-bought to homemade has great results and sometimes it doesn’t. The internet is full of Pinterest fails.

If you need ideas, my Pinterest board is full of them. Here are some projects I’m going to try next:

Here’s my FREE mini-guide for you!

To give you a boost this month and through the rest of the year, here’s a free copy of my brand new mini guide, “Switch From Store-Bought to Homemade.” It’s full of my own recipes, stories of things I’ve tried that worked (and failed), and links to other resources and products. If it’s helpful, be sure to share it with your friends. It will soon be available on Amazon as an ebook, but won’t be free!

Download link: Survival Mom’s Mini-Guide


Download my free mini-guide to help you switch from store-bought to homemade!
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I’d like to hear what you have tried this month. What new homemade product did you make?

 

 

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Is Your Food Storage Safe? http://thesurvivalmom.com/food-storage-safe/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/food-storage-safe/#comments Sat, 14 Feb 2015 08:15:48 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=21327 Finding the right food to buy and store isn’t easy as I’m sure many of you would agree. It requires quite a bit of effort, time, and expense. Why else would there be hundreds of websites dedicated to helping people Read More

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There is one simple thing you can do to ensure that you food storage is safe!  www.TheSurvivalMom.com

Finding the right food to buy and store isn’t easy as I’m sure many of you would agree. It requires quite a bit of effort, time, and expense. Why else would there be hundreds of websites dedicated to helping people figure out their food storage? No one who puts in all that effort wants it to be wasted.

Yet, as I have helped various families with their food storage over the last five years, I have found that is exactly what happens in a lot of cases.

A LOT of food goes to waste…especially food storage.

Safe and Secure?

People buy food storage to feel safe and secure and yet when stored improperly, that food is anything but safe. When food is stored improperly, nutrients can deplete quite quickly. It will also lose flavor and texture, and could even go rancid.

Lisa has written a great article on the Six Enemies of Food Storage that details proper ways to store your food. She even links to multiple other detailed articles. I highly recommend you read it and apply her advice.

But today I want to focus on just one thing you can do to keep your food storage safe. It is very simple and something that all of us should be doing anyway for so many reasons. Ready?

Do NOT throw away your food!

Eat what you store and store what you eat.

You’ve heard that before, right? I hope you have. It is common and wise advice. Most of the families I’ve worked with have done alright with how they’ve stored their food. The #1 problem I’ve seen is that they have not used it. They bought the food 25+ years ago, set it on a shelf, and ignored it. Now it has reached the end of its shelf life.

It is so sad to watch them throw away cans and cans of food that they don’t feel comfortable with anymore. Their expired food no longer makes them feel safe and secure. They dump thousands and thousands of dollars’ worth of food into the trash for one reason: because they never used it. And while they (and I) are grateful that they were never forced to use it during a time of crisis, it is sickening nonetheless to have wasted all that money.

So, I ask, how would things have been different if they had used their food and rotated through it on a regular basis?

1. They would have known how to use it if a crisis had occurred. This confidence in your own skills brings a whole new level of peace and security.

2. They would not have wasted money, but would have instead used everything they spent their money on which is wise and prudent and responsible. The most expensive food we buy is the food we throw away.

3. The food on their shelves TODAY would be full of nutrition. Nutrition is just as important as calories, especially if you are eating your food during a crisis situation. You want your food to give you all the health and strength it possibly can, and regardless of the storage conditions, food loses nutrients over time even if it is still full of calories and technically safe to eat. The food they bought 25 years ago would have been eaten 23-24 years ago and they would have replaced that with NEW food THEN. Many of the enemies that Lisa talks about, such as light and heat would not have had much time to affect their food before they ate it. They would have eaten it when it had a high number of nutrients.

4. They would not be facing the situation of trying to replace ALL their food storage at once. Since they bought it all around the same time and it is now expiring all around the same time, they are facing trying to invest thousands to keep the same amount of food in the storage room that they have had there for years. They don’t want to lose the peace and security it bought, but starting from scratch is overwhelming. Replacing just a little at a time as you use it is smarter and less stressful.

5. Their day to day life would have been less stressful. I’m serious! I use my “food storage” every single day and it is fantastic! There are so many benefits!

  • I’m never running to the store last minute because I’m out of eggs or milk or butter. I simply use what I have stored.
  • I have healthy, freeze dried fruits and vegetables on hand to give my kids for a quick snack with no chopping, cutting or peeling required.
  • I don’t have to worry about if I forgot to thaw out the meat because I can simply add in some freeze dried meat to a meal if I do forget.

My food storage saves me from the mini everyday “emergencies,” not just the big crises. That alone makes it worth the money! No more mixed feelings when you throw away thousands of dollars of food you never used. Yes, you are grateful you never HAD to, but darn, what a waste!

The Solution:

The best way to keep your food safe from all of the enemies that Lisa talks about it to use it and replace it regularly. Store food that you enjoy eating and can incorporate into your everyday lifestyle. Try foods before buying a large supply of them. Make sure you like how your food tastes. Make sure you can cook with it and that the quality is high enough for your family.

Personally, I find this is much easier to do when I buy foods in single ingredient cans instead of the just add water meals. The just add water meals are typically full of an awful amount of additives and preservatives. Plus, they don’t taste like a regular meal. But home canned foods, freeze dried foods and some dehydrated foods can be used in everyday meals that your family is already eating without anyone knowing the difference.

What has worked for you in rotating your food regularly?

There is one simple thing you can do to ensure that you food storage is safe.

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Five Food Storage Lessons Learned From WWII http://thesurvivalmom.com/food-storage-lessons-learned/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/food-storage-lessons-learned/#comments Thu, 12 Feb 2015 08:16:02 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=20583 Is there a specific term for preppers who are also hipsters? Hipster-preppers? Prepsters? If there is, then that’s what you could call my great-grandparents, Dell and Hildegarde Stringham. They were the original  preppers, long before the media started making documentaries Read More

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5 #foodstorage lessons learned from WWII.  | www.TheSurvivalMom.com

Is there a specific term for preppers who are also hipsters? Hipster-preppers? Prepsters? If there is, then that’s what you could call my great-grandparents, Dell and Hildegarde Stringham. They were the original  preppers, long before the media started making documentaries about them.

They had food storage before it was cool. They had food storage even before they called it “food storage.” We even have photographic evidence that they wore “Hipster Glasses” in the 1980s, well before it became “cool.”

Their oldest child was my grandmother, and she has made it a point to tell all our family about their experience with food storage during the second World War. Food storage is an important part of my family’s history, and we have learned much from it.

My great-grandfather, Dell, owned a cannery in the 1930s and was a member of a charitable committee for his local church. In 1939, one of the church leaders came to Dell and suggested that, as a member of this committee, he store extra food in his home. The hope was that other community members would follow the Stringham’s example. In 1939, America had not yet entered World War II, so there did not seem to be an immediate need for food storage or emergency preparedness as we think about them today. This was also well before rationing. The United Kingdom did not ration food until January 1940, and the United States did not follow suit until 1942.

The suggestion to store food may have seemed strange in 1939, but by the time the United States became fully embroiled in the war, it proved to be extremely good advice.

In the spirit of learning from history, here are five lessons that can be learned from my great-grandparents’ wartime food storage adventure:

Food Storage Lessons Learned

Lesson One: You can never have too much.

My grandmother wrote, “My father brought about 5  100-pound sacks of flour and the same of sugar and stacked them in a room over our garage. And in the basement he put cases of can goods he had canned and bought other things. . . So, Mother had bottled some fruit (like raspberries). We had lots of canned  fruits (peaches, pears, apricots, and cherries) and canned vegetables (corn, beans, peas, beets, tomatoes, etc.) and canned meat like tuna fish, salmon, [and] corned beef. We didn’t have any shortage of food in our house all during the war.”

Lesson Two: Build up your food storage supply now and not after rationing starts.

When the war started and rationing started because of the uses of metal for weapons and canned foods for soldiers rations, Mother [Hildegarde] had to go to the school and declare what food we had. Ladies were in line telling [the officials] that they had two cans of soup and a can of tuna fish. And then Mother told her list. She said everyone gasped and made a big fuss. But it was all legal and not hoarding.

TIP: A number of interesting food dishes came from this time in history.

Lesson Three: Sometimes it is better not to advertise exactly how much you have in your house.

During this period, the concept of “fairness” was very much in the public consciousness. Perhaps some didn’t think it was “fair” that the Stringham family had so much food in their house, even though they had the same ration cards as everyone else.

Lesson Four: Money you don’t have to spend on food can go toward other necessities.

Hildegarde had five children. She was able to use some of her ration cards to buy shoes for her growing children during a time when shoes were a luxury item.


What can we learn from the WWII era when it comes to food storage?
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Lesson Five: The best way to learn the ins and outs of stored food is to store it and use it.

We found there were things we didn’t do right. Weevils got into the flour. We should have had it in metal cans. Or stacked it one sack of sugar on the floor, then a sack of flour on that, and alternate sugar and flour to keep weevils from migrating to all the sacks. [When] we went to use some flour, we had to put flour in a sifter, and instead of turning the wheel, we hit the side of the sifter so the flour would go through the screen and the weevils would stay in the screen. And we ended up dumping so many cans of flour into the garden. – Wheat in cans stores so much longer.”

Do any of you have stories about food storage in your family history? We’d love to hear about them in the comments!

Related books you may enjoy:

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Skill of the Month: Switch from store-bought to homemade http://thesurvivalmom.com/switch-from-store-bought-to-homemade/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/switch-from-store-bought-to-homemade/#comments Tue, 03 Feb 2015 16:00:00 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=21210 If you are a hard-core prepper or survivalist, you may be wondering why our first 2 Skills of the Month aren’t all about ways to stock up on food, reload ammo, or tan hides. Why did I choose Getting Organized Read More

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Make the switch from store-bought to homeade: food, beauty products, cleaning supplies! | via www.TheSurvivalMom.comIf you are a hard-core prepper or survivalist, you may be wondering why our first 2 Skills of the Month aren’t all about ways to stock up on food, reload ammo, or tan hides. Why did I choose Getting Organized and now, Switch from Store-Bought to Homemade?

Sometimes preppers and survivalists wear blinders that hold their focus to a very narrow view of what it really means to be prepared to survive. In an early episode of Doomsday Preppers, one of the women definitely was prepared with shooting skills and stocking up on absolutely everything imaginable, but I’ll never forget her opening a closet door and seeing a literal mountain of #10 cans. They were piled on top of each other, spilling off shelves, and there is no way that family would be able to quickly find what they needed, or even know what was on hand, especially in a sudden crisis.

Thus my emphasis over the years on decluttering and getting organized. What’s the point of stocking up in a big way if, when a sudden crisis hits, you have to leave it all behind because you can’t find what you need?

This month we’re moving our focus to another area, just as important.

Switch from Store-Bought to Homemade

On my first big shopping trip for food storage, I bought loads of salad dressings, bottles of ketchup, and cans of things like chili and ravioli. I still believe it’s important to have some store-bought items as part of your food storage since they are readily available, familiar, and inexpensive when purchased on sale and with coupons.

However, over time, those products either went bad (3 year-old salad dressings don’t do well over time!) or we used them up. I remember one day looking at all my 40+ jars of marinara sauce and thinking, “What will I do when all of these are gone someday?”

Even then, as a new prepper, I realized that I needed to know how to make things like marinara sauce, ketchup, crackers, and even breakfast cereals from scratch, and also have the ingredients to do so.

Now, with the knowledge I’ve gained over the past 7 years, I’ve added things like laundry soap, household cleaners, home remedies, soap, and lotions to that list. I mean, if I can make homemade cheese crackers, why can’t I also make homemade lip balm?

Knowledge + Skills + The correct supplies/ingredients

Starting this week our new skill will be all about collecting recipes, instructions, and supplies to begin making more and more things from scratch.

Not only will these items be healthier, since you will know exactly what goes into them, but for preppers, you’ll have the added advantage of knowing how to make necessary foods and products your family uses, along with a shopping list so you can make those things years from now.

Keep in mind that when you stock up on something like chili powder, for example, you won’t be using it just for homemade popcorn seasoning but for dozens of other recipes. Individual ingredients will be far more versatile and useful to you than store-bought, ready made items.

Does that make sense?

Let’s kick this off with these 2 recipes!

Ketchup was the first on the chopping block when I began searching out homemade recipes that were healthier and, in many instances, cheaper than homemade. I love making homemade ketchup because it is so easy to customize. Although this recipe calls for honey, we have made it with as little as 1 Tablespoon of honey and, at other times, used stevia or other sweetners.

Here’s my recipe for Homemade Ketchup:

6 oz. tomato paste

1/4 c. honey*, or to taste

1/2 c. white vinegar

1/4 c. water

3/4 t. salt

1/4 t. onion powder

1/4 t. garlic powder

Whisk all these ingredients together in a medium size saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook for 30 minutes and allow to cool before pouring it into a container. We use squeeze bottles but you could also recycle old ketchup bottles for this use.

I highly recommend having more than one bottle to use because you will probably end up wanting to double this recipe so you don’t have to make it too often. It stores very well in the fridge.

We have made so many variations of this, including a spicy ketchup with Tony Chachere’s seasoning salt.

*Honey, sugar, stevia, Splenda, or any other sweetener will work well here, just be sure to add a little at a time to get the taste you and your family prefer.

The second homemade recipe I wanted to share with you comes from my friend Gaye Levy who blogs at Backdoor Survival.

DIY Miracle Healing Salve

The basic ingredients are quite simple:

1  cup coconut oil (not fractionated)
1  cup extra virgin olive oil
5  tablespoon Organic Beeswax Pastilles

Along with these, you’ll add lavender, rosemary, and peppermint essential oils. This is one of Gaye’s most popular articles, and this recipe makes plenty of this salve.

Read details and instructions here.

You can do this!

How many more ordinary household items could you switch from store-bought to homemade? That’s what we are about to find out this month!

Coming soon is a webinar with author Lisa Barthuly. She has written extensively on mixing your own household cleaners and other products, and even a homemade “Vaseline”! You can buy her book on Amazon, A Simply Homemade Clean, if you want to get a jump start. That webinar is tentatively scheduled for the week of February 16. When it’s confirmed, I’ll post the details here as well as in my weekly email.

Ready to roll? What do you make from scratch that you would like to share with all of us? Post it in the Comment section. Thanks!

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