Himalayan Salt Lamp

I have been doing a lot of research on the Himalayan salt lamp and all of the benefits that it has.

(This is psuedo-science and many western medicine doctors don’t believe that they are any more than a pretty light. But many eastern medicine and natural paths believe otherwise. )

However, after looking into more “natural” medicines in my home, I have found that there are possibilities that this lamp can help with negative ions in the air and help pull out allergins.  And I get a pretty light too. 😉

 After my partial thyroidectomy 5 years ago (WOW! It has been that long!!) the doctor took me off of iodized table salt and put me only on blue/grey Celtic salt or pink Himalayan salt at home. It is hard to avoid when you go out to eat.  That is where my research started. When a regular ENT tells you to do something “natural” and not something from a pharmacy, you listen.

So this post is 5 years in the making. 🙂

Yes, there are skeptics, and I totally get it! But wouldn’t you rather try something that could help than turn your head?

Regular table salt is primarily just sodium chloride. Himalayan salt is still about 98% sodium chloride, but also contains trace minerals (over 80)  like magnesium, potassium, and zinc. Trace minerals give Himalayan salt its beautiful pink and orange coloring. 

Here is a list of the minerals that are found in Himalayan Salt from the LiveStrong website – The Meadow lists elements found in Himalayan salt in addition to sodium and chloride. In alphabetical order, they are: actinium, aluminum, antimony, arsenic, astatine, barium, beryllium, bismuth, boron, bromine, cadmium, calcium, carbon, cerium, cesium, chlorine, chromium, cobalt, copper, dysprosium, erbium, europium, fluorine, francium, gadolinium, gallium, germanium, gold, hafnium, holmium, hydrogen, indium, iodine, iridium, iron, lanthanum, lead, lithium, lutetium, magnesium, manganese, mercury, molybdenum, neodymium, neptunium, nickel, niobium, nitrogen, osmium, oxygen, palladium, phosphorus, platinum, plutonium, polonium, potassium, praseodymium, protactinium, radium, rhenium, rhodium, rubidium, ruthenium, samarium, scandium, selenium, silicon, silver, sodium, strontium, sulfur, tantalum, tellurium, terbium, thallium, thorium, thulium, tin, titanium, uranium, vanadium, wolfram, yttrium, ytterbium, zinc and zirconium.

According to the  Global Healing Center

Himalayan Crystal Salt: The Health Benefits

Himalayan crystal salt has matured over the past 250 million years under intense tectonic pressure in an environment that’s free of toxins and impurities.[1] Even better, this form of salt contains about 80 natural minerals and elements used by the human body.[2] It’s popular in Ayurvedic, Tibetan, and other traditions. Adherents believe that Himalayan salt’s unique cellular structure allows it to store vibrational energy. Many also believe that natural Himalayan crystal salt offers health benefits such as:[34]

  • Regulating water levels in the body
  • Promoting stable pH balance
  • Encouraging healthy blood sugar levels
  • Reducing the appearance of aging
  • Promoting cellular hydroelectric energy balance
  • Aiding vascular health
  • Supporting healthy respiratory function
  • Promoting overall sinus health
  • Reducing cramps
  • Promoting healthy sleep patterns
  • Encouraging healthy libido
  • Promoting kidney and gallbladder health

So let’s talk more about the lamp! 

Salt is naturally hygroscopic.  Hygroscopy is the ability of a substance to attract and hold water molecules from the surrounding environment. So, the salt lamps can potentially attract water molecules in the air. Since water in the air can also hold allergens, pollutants, and even bacteria, these substances get attracted to the lamp too. The heated salt lamp supposedly dries out the water vapor, leaving the particles attached to the salt. Anything that helps get allergens out of the air of my office is a plus in my eyes since I spend so much time in there on the computer. Many sources recommend wiping down the salt lamp with a cloth at least once a week to clean it off.

The lamp can produce negative ions (not a lot). The negative ions cling to the positive ions that items like electronics produce and help eliminate some of those “disturbances in the force”. (Yes, a Star Wars reference just came out.) So, I opted to put my lamp in my office by my computer for that reason as well. 

There is research done on the colors of the lights that we use… At night, blue lights are bad for the brain and can interrupt sleep cycles… The salt lamp with their pink/orange hues can help with better sleeping even when used as a night light. 

My plan is to pick up one for each of my kid’s rooms to add a beautiful light and to possibly help better their health and the air quality even if it is just slightly. 🙂

 

 

Have you met a Muscovy Duck?

Have you met a Muscovy Duck?

Muscovies are not related to any other duck, in fact, some believe they are possibly descended from geese rather than ducks. They are amazing additions to any homestead or farm. 

Muscovies are a silent duck (Yes, you read that, they.do.not.quack) and they have amazing caruncles on their face and necks. They also have long claws and will roost in trees if they want, unlike other ducks that I have raised over the years. 

Muscovy Eggs

Ducks eggs are the richest, creamiest, smoothest eggs going. We use duck eggs in our baking and it tends to make cakes rise more and be fluffier. Muscovies, however, are not year-round layers, so if you are looking for year-round duck eggs, this is not necessarily the breed for you. 

Muscovy Ducks Used for Meat

Muscovy meat is dark and very lean. It’s worth knowing that the boys weigh in much heavier than the girls and can be up to twice their weights. 

Feeding you Ducks

In the summer months our birds will require very little extra food as they forage plenty even on our little homestead in Northern Arizona, but in the colder months they’ll need feeding a duck or  chicken feed daily. My do like to forrage through the Kune Pigs’ Alfalfa feeder in the winter time as well. 

 

Firestarters to make it easier in the winter

Here is a download of this oathkeeper class if you want it as a printout:  oathkeepers-firestarters-Feb2017.pdf (32 downloads)

Learning different techniques to get that heat and/or cooking first started can be a matter of life and death. Here are a few tricks for fire-starters to get you started on some survival knowledge. These work great too in your own fireplace, wood stove, manual pellet stoves or your outdoor fire pit. (We use a few of these at our house too!) Many are great to keep in your camping and 72 hour bags as well.

We also get a chance to show you a simple and effective room heater to use ONLY in an emergency (we have heated up our greenhouse in the dead of winter with it until we got a Chiminea to help with the colder northern Arizona winters.)

What firestarters do our family use? Right now, the toilet paper roll stuffed with lint is our go to. We use this one even without the wax on it. 

Having reliable DIY fire starters nearby will spare you from many headaches down the road.

 Posted by Ryan Lisson – January 9, 2015  

http://www.wideopenspaces.com/make-easy-diy-fire-starters-home-woods/

It doesn’t matter if you’re in the great outdoors, your fenced-in backyard, or sitting next to your cozy living room fireplace, a quality DIY fire starter is just nice to have. As a rule of thumb, you should know how to start a fire without one. (You do, don’t you?) If not, you should learn soon as it’s just ahead of tying knots when it comes to necessary outdoor skills.

But there are situations when you’re short on time, or the kindling is a little damp, or you just plain want an easy way out (no judgment here). Or perhaps you don’t get outdoors much and don’t want to embarrass yourself by committing all kinds of camping blunders.

Worry no more. These DIY fire starters are simple to construct, cheap to make, and will save you time and frustration in the long run. Plus, they make great gifts as well!

Materials

First, you’ll need to collect some materials. Luckily, nearly every item needed for these DIY fire starters is easily found within or around your home. Odd leftover bits of candle wax, crayon stubs, paraffin wax, shredded paper, toilet paper/paper towel tubes, dryer lint, paper/fiber egg cartons, small paper cups, sawdust, pine cones, and string are some solid choices, but feel free to experiment! You’ll need an old coffee can or glass jar to melt the waxes, and do so by placing in a pot of boiling water (double boiler system).

Pine Cones

Simply gather up as many open pine cones in your yard as you can and allow them to dry well. Tie a string around the middle and thread it up to the top. Melt paraffin wax with some chunks of old crayons or candles (for color) and dip the pine cone into the hot wax. Allow to dry on wax paper. When ready, simply light the string like a wick, and watch the pine cone go!

Woodchip Cups

If you do any woodwork or cut your own firewood, you’ll likely have large amounts of sawdust, shavings, or chips laying around. Gather some up and let it dry out well. Fill some paper cups (or muffin cups in a muffin tin) with the shavings almost to the top. Pour the wax over the mixture and let harden.

Shredded Paper

You can follow the same recipe as the wood chip fire starter above. Just gather up some shredded paper (most homes and offices have plenty of this available) and fill the muffin cups as before. Pour wax over it and let harden. Then light the shreds of paper or the muffin cup itself to start it.

Toilet Paper Tube

Obviously you could cut up a paper towel roll as well for this fire starter idea, but simply stuff dryer lint or other flammable materials into the tube. Make sure it’s full but not packed, as you need air space to let oxygen in. You can add wax or petroleum jelly as well, but it works quite well as is.

Cardboard Strips

We all have too much corrugated cardboard coming through our house. Instead of recycling or burning it, do both! Cut strips about two inches wide by three or four inches long. Dip them in melted wax, leaving a small portion undipped. The corrugation leaves channels for air flow, and these light very easily.

Other ideas?

Don’t limit yourself to just these examples. There are many other creative ways to make your own DIY fire starter. You could use birch bark, dried conifer twigs, cotton balls, etc. Or you could even combine some of these ideas together, such as putting a pinecone into an egg shell container, and covering with wax and sawdust.

As long as it lights easily and burns for a few minutes, you’ve succeeded.

 

 

 

 

 

The Uber Match- http://www.practicalprimitive.com/skillofthemonth/ubermatch.html  (additional photo

(As featured in the September 2011 issue of Practically Seeking)

 

The ability to get a fire going can be the difference between life and death. That is why I always have multiple means of creating one at my disposal.

The Uber Match is simple to make, and when done correctly is reliable, along with being highly water and wind  resistant. Why you would NOT have a couple of these in ANY outdoor kit I cannot fathom!

Though traditionally made using strike anywhere matches (yes, you can still find them in this post 9-11 world) they can also be made using strike-on-the-box varieties — just make sure you have the box striker as well or you are screwed.
An Uber Match will burn for 5-7 minutes easily, produces a much larger flame than a standard match and gives off far more heat.

A major trick to making sure your Uber Matches will really work well is to allow a little bit of space between the matches and just below the match head.

Now onward with the process!

Step-by-step Instructions on How to Make an Uber Match:

  1. Take out 4 matches, preferably of the strike-anywhere variety. (These are the ones that have a white tip on the red match-head.)

 

  1. Completely unroll a regular cotton ball, and then split it in half, length-wise. (One cotton ball makes two Uber Matches.)

 

  1. Melt paraffin wax (our preferred wax for this and available at your grocery or hardware store) or any other type of wax (old candles, crayons, beeswax, etc) in a small container over low heat. An old tuna can works great for this and will sit easily on the stove burner.

 

  1. While your wax is melting, take one of your matches and, starting just below the tip (make sure you can see a short bit of the match stick) wrap around the stick one complete turn with the cotton. Take your second match place it up against the first, then wrap the cotton once completely around the two together.

  

  1. Add your third and then fourth matches in the same manner, wrapping the cotton around all three, then all four matches, creating a square, not a line. This way of wrapping creates necessary air space between the matches to allow for easy ignition. (Remember fire requires fuel, heat and oxygen to establish combustion.)

   

  1. After all 4 matches have been wrapped together continue to wrap the remaining cotton around all 4 sticks until you have completely covered the match sticks all the way down to the bottom. Strive to make the wrap nice and even all the way down, as if you were wrapping a mummy for Halloween.

  

  1. Roll the now completely wrapped matches tightly between your fingers to really squeeze down the cotton wrapping.

 

  1. Give the BASE of your Uber Match a quick dip in the melted wax and allow to cool and harden slightly. (For the sake of domestic relations, lay down a piece of aluminum foil for a cooling station — wax can be very difficult to remove from counters, stove tops and plates!)

  

  1. Once the base is cool enough to handle, give the top of your matches a quick dip in the wax far enough that the entire Uber Match is now completely coated in wax. Set it aside and allow to cool. When the wax is cool enough to handle but still warm enough to mold, use your fingers to press the wax-covered cotton into the matches and shape each Uber Match to a nice smooth cylinder.

  

  1. After the wax has hardened on all your Uber Matches, place several into an old pill bottle (along with the box striker if you have been forced to use strike-on-box types) and put this in with your camping gear/emergency kit/GO Bag. Allow the remaining wax to cool in the tuna can and it will be ready to melt again for your next set of matches!

  

  1. These Uber Matches will strike even when wet. And be careful, they have a much bigger flame than a regular match!

  

 

 

 

 

How Do I Make Vaseline Cotton Ball Fire Starters?

http://www.ramblinjim.com/articles/using-vaseline-cotton-balls-as-a-fire-starter/

To make your fire starters, you just need two ingredients — petroleum jelly and cotton balls. Any brand of petroleum jelly will work, just make sure it’s 100% pure petroleum jelly. You’ll need a lot of it, so get it in bulk. For the cotton balls, get jumbo-sized cotton balls and check the package to be sure they’re 100% cotton. Artificial fibers won’t take a spark.

Rubbing the Vaseline into a cotton ball is messy work. The fibers of the cotton ball tend to pull apart and the Vaseline gets everywhere. The cleanest, easiest method I’ve found is to put a scoop of Vaseline into a snack-sized Ziploc bag, toss some cotton balls in, zip it up, then knead the Vaseline into the cotton balls.

You want to get as much Vaseline in the cotton ball as you can without completely saturating the cotton ball. It’s very important to have some dry fibers available in the middle to take the flame, especially if you use a firesteel or magnesium rod.

 

How to Make Lint Fire Starters

https://www.thebalance.com/how-to-make-lint-fire-starters-1388857

 By Erin Huffstetler  Updated July 05, 2016

Forget about paying for fire starters. You can make all the fire starters you need for free.

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: 15 minutes or less

What You Need

  • Dryer lint
  • Cardboard egg cartons
  • candle wax (old candles work great)

Here’s How

  1. Fill each cup of the egg carton with dryer lint.
  2. Melt the wax in a double boiler.
  3. Pour the wax over top of the lint.
  4. Allow the wax to cool and harden. Then, cut the egg carton up to create 12 fire starters.

To use: Simply place a fire starter in your fireplace (or firepit) with your kindling and light. The wax will keep the starter going long enough to ignite your kindling.

Tips

  1. Be sure to cover your work surface, before you start.
  2. You can use saw dust from non-pressure-treated wood in place of the dryer lint, or broken crayons in place of the candle wax. There’s plenty of room to improvise.
  3. Fire starters make great gifts. Make a bunch, and you’ll be all set for Christmas.

 

 

Tea Light Personal Space Heater

http://simplydixon.com/2014/01/06/tea-light-heater/

Jeremy January 6, 2014 do it yourselfhome

This may sound like one of those “free” energy things, and I’ll admit that I was a bit skeptical about this working until this morning. After spending a morning next to this thing, I can now say that this tea light candle heater actually works. You have to be near it to get warmer or have a small space to heat, but it works…really.

What is it?

Basically it is 4 tea light candles, placed in a foil lined bread dish, covered up with one terracotta pot and that covered up with a larger terracotta pot.

How well does it work?

I have a relatively large space in my completely unheated basement office, but if i put it next to where i’m sitting I can definitely feel the heat.

Why it works

The inner pot gets really warm, even hot to the touch, so I imagine that the two pot system helps keep some of the heat contained so it can slowly let it radiate from the pot instead of letting the candles heat dissipate quickly in the cold air. I’m sure there are many others who know a lot more about the inner workings of this type of a heating method.

How I made mine

  • 1 glass bread dish (metal would probably work better if we had one)
  • Line the dish with aluminum foil (I figure it would help reflect the heat back at the pots)
  • 4 tea light candles placed in the center of the dish (you can get100 of them from amazon for $8.95)
  • one smaller clay pot, set on the dish (must be large enough to rest on the top of the dish to create airflow for the candles)
  • a larger clay pot set on top of the whole thing but resting on the top of the bread dish.

 

 

Instant Oatmeal recipe

I love that I can have a warm breakfast available for my kids on colder mornings and I know exactly what  they are eating. And even my younger kids can make this themselves. 

 

 Strawberries’n’cream or Peaches’n’cream Instant oatmeal 

(our family triples this recipe to make it worth our time to make)

  • 3  cups quick oats, divided (1 cup ground up, 2 cups regular)
  • 1 cup dried milk
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cups sugar or  powdered Splenda (to taste) you can also alter the flavor and use sugar cane or brown sugar. I try and use less sugar.
  • 1 t salt
  • 3/4 cup freeze dried peaches or strawberries (broken into small bits)

In a large bowl, stir together all ingredients until throroughly blended.

We store it in a large recycled gallon size pickle jar with a 1/2 cup scoop.

To serve, scoop 1/2 cup of oatmeal mixture and add desired amount of hot water. Stir until desired consistency.  Some of my kids like their oatmeal thick and other like it very runny. 

Homemade Chai Tea

I love the taste and the smell of Chai Tea… I hate the price tag at coffee shops…. So, Let’s make our own!!

 

Chai Tea: a beverage that is a blend of black tea, honey, spices, and milk.

 

I simmer 3 black tea bags in a pot with 4-6 cups of water. I add my spices in a cheesecloth or flour sack wrap that I tied close

Spice bag is filled with several cinnamon sticks, and about a Tablespoon of whole allspice, whole cloves and whole coriander, 3 or 4 whole star anise. I also add about 1 teaspoon of ginger and cracked black pepper. This mixture gives a yummy spice flavoring. Sometimes I will add some licorice root as well to change the flavor. 

I cut a flour sack to a 6x6in square and place all of my spices in the center and then tie the top. 

Once brewed, let the tea sit and seep for about an hour to meld all of the spice flavors. 

Fill a glass 2/3 with the tea mixture and add ice and top with milk. I sweeten mine with liquid stevia or local honey.

Have some yummy tea for me! <3

The smell of fall – simmering potpourri

I love having a wood stove. I grew up with them at my parent’s house as well. When Larry and I looked for a stove to have put into our home (Yes, our huge house only had “fake” heating  fireplaces – Propane burning ones and a chimney for a pellet stove.) We had to get something in that was more economical for our family size. And not letting us run through our propane every winter.

I love the fact that the woodstove that we got has 2 cooking burners on top. I keep a water kettle on there all of the time.  I even fixed some elderberry tea with that heated water this morning from off of the woodstove. That is a different story altogether.

We have already simmered soup on the coldest rainy day so far this season. Our season has not gotten cold during the day, however, when you are up at 3 am and the temperature outside is at freezing or so, a nice fireplace is well worth it especially when I have turned the heater OFF!!!

Since as far back as I can remember, I always try and simmer some potpourri on my stove or in a mini-crock. This season, I have an old pot that I have been putting goodies in on the wood stove on the other

burner.  This has worked out great and when I want to simmer something else, it is simple to jest set the potpourri pot to the side. 

Eucalyptus, lemongrass, and clove

This morning, I added cloves, dried lemongrass and dried eucalyptus. 

 

For each of the following recipes, I add about 4 cups of water in my stove pot or mini crockpot and then the plants/herbs/fruit. 

After 1 hour, the mixture is simmering down.

Better Breathing

  • 1/4 cup eucalyptus
  • 2T lemongrass
  • 2T whole cloves

 

Fall is HERE 

  • 1 orange (Peel and Fruit), sliced
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
  • 1/2 cup of fresh cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon cloves, whole 
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg

Open your Mind

  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Apple Harvest Spice

  • 1 apple, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon cloves
  • 3 cinnamon sticks

Fresh and clean

  • 1 lemon, sliced (peel and fruit)
  • 1/2 cup of eucalyptus leaves
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chai Tea Potpourri

  • 1T Vanilla extract
  • 1t  cinnamon
  • 1t cloves
  • 1t allspice,
  • 1/2 t black pepper,
  • 1/2 t ginger,
  • 1/2 t coriander seed,
  • 1t mace,
  • 1 star anise

If you want, you can throw in a few black tea bags and use this as a chai tea base too. Strain and mix with milk. 

Thankful Jar 2018

We do this project every year to make a fun and interesting month. Each night, I have each of my kids write one thing that they are thankful for, their name and the date that they wrote it and put it in the jar. On the last day of the month, I have them gather and we read everything that was written together as a family. 

Not only does this give a good homeschooling writing skills to my younger kids, but it allows them to focus on positive only.  For my older kids, this help them explore some of their creativity by having them write memories.

This is a FUN and EASY project to create.  I personally created a label with vinyl on a jar that we can use year after year using a pattern that was in the Cricut system. 

You do not have to use vinyl or even a cricut machine. You can cut a simple tag and tie on the top of the jar with ribbon or yarn. You could use letter stickers. You could add fake leaves or flowers or you could just leave it plain. 

 

Here is a step by step of creating with vinyl: 

VIPKid Logo Vinyl

(This is for the iron on vinyl only, no shirt included!! I do not make any money on these. I make them so that other teachers can have something for their generic orange shirts/sweatshirts. ) They measure approx 6-1/2 inches wide.  Price includes shipping. *note: we had to raise the price slightly to cover the shipping completely

Sparkle Vinyl ($4.50 each) :
Regular Vinyl($3.50 each) :

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

One of my favorite snacks is pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds) or roasted pumpkin seeds (whole). I eat them on salads, in my homemade granola or just as a snack.  You can salt them and roast, or roast plain. You can flavor with lime and chili or with cinnamon and sugar. I obviously only make this is the fall and hopefully  it lasts for a while. 🙂

To start, I separate the seeds from the pumpkin string pulp. This is not an exact science. But I do have a ton of little hands (and kunekune pigs who love the pulp) and toss those seeds into a strainer and rinse. 

Next, lay seeds out on a cookie sheet or pizza pan. And let air dry for a few hours.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Once dried, toss with a tsp of olive oil and spread back out. Sprinkle with your topping/ flavor of choice.(or leave plain) This can be garlic powder, sea salt, chili and lime juice etc.

Place into the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Stir and back in for 10 more minutes.