Eczema & Psoriasis Cream

Do you suffer from eczema or psoriasis? My husband and I each get flare ups of eczema, and I occasionally get a flare up of psoriasis as well. If you don’t know what either of these are, think dry skin times three. Or times four or five… or six. It can be pretty miserable! I’ve struggled with psoriasis over the years and have not found anything that has proved to provide great relief or healing.

While I like to approach everything with a natural, homemade remedy, I was skeptical of finding anything that would really work for us. After researching ingredients and remedies, I decided to wing it and whip up a batch of cream that we could use on our itchy skin. After using it once, we felt instant relief. After applying the cream for several days, our patches of eczema and psoriasis actually began clearing up.

Today I’m in the kitchen, rushing to make a double batch since we just ran out! While this cream is wonderful for eczema or psoriasis, it would work well for anyone with dry skin. You’ve just really got to try this!

Eczema & Psoriasis Cream:

-1/2 cup coconut oil

-1/2 cup Shea butter

-2 teaspoons honey

-1 teaspoon jojoba oil

-4 drops tea tree oil

In a double boiler, melt down the coconut oil, Shea butter, and honey. Once melted, remove from heat and add in jojoba oil and tea tree oil. Allow to cool until it slightly thickens (the refrigerator speeds up this process), then, use a hand mixer to whip up the ingredients on a low setting. Allow it to thicken a little more, then mix again. Repeat this until the mixture is creamy or resembles lotion. This recipe fills an 8 ounce jar.

Now you’re all set to tackle that dry skin!

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Living With Less

When my husband and I moved a few months ago, I began to realize how much we had accumulated over the past three and a half years. I also realized how much of our stuff we really don’t need. We had boxes full of odds and ends that I didn’t want to part with, yet it sat collecting dust, just in case one day we came up with some great use for it. I had clothes in my closet that I just couldn’t bring myself to part with, even though certain items had been there for years and only gotten worn a handful of times.

I began to question why we felt the need to hold on to so many things. I started to really reflect on what God’s Word teaches about materialism and apply His Word to our ‘stuff’.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” -Matthew 6:19-21

“Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” -Luke 12:33-34

When I read these passages, it really put things into perspective for me. Letting these Scriptures soak in, made it easy to begin to part ways with the things that we really don’t need.

It’s important to decipher what items are just taking up space and what items might actually be beneficial to keep (we try to reuse and re-purpose everything we can). I find it more challenging to get rid of household items than clothes. But even still, I’m continuously trying to go through things and decide what we really need. I’m big on sentimental items and have had to learn to weigh out what’s actually of great sentimental value or not. Creating small memory boxes has helped me keep some of my most sentimental treasures safely stored away

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At one time, women had their everyday dress and their Sunday dress, and this was plenty. Once the dress was thoroughly worn out, only then was it replaced. I can’t recall many times where I waited until a piece of clothing was actually ‘worn-out’ before getting rid of it.

In my mind, I liked to open up my closet and see a nice selection to choose from. But in reality, I would end up continuously choosing the same articles of clothing (about 1/3 of what was actually in my closet), while the rest of the clothing just hung there day after day.

While the idea of a big selection seems nice, it can also be overwhelming to have too many choices. How many times have you weeded through all of your clothes saying ‘I have nothing to wear!’ I’ve said this plenty of times, and I’m realizing how selfish and silly it sounds. There are some people who aren’t able to choose from a large selection of what they’d like to wear each day.

I’m tired of the American mentality that we always need more. As a Christian, I need to look at everything with a Christ-like mentality before looking at my surrounding culture. Our culture says it’s silly to only own the bare minimum of what we need.

I’ve recently been really inspired by capsule wardrobes, where you basically have just a few solid colored shirts, maybe 2-3 sweaters, a jacket, a coat, 2-3 pairs of pants, 1-2 skirts, and a dress or 2. Everything can be mix and match! You end up with a wide variety of outfits from just a few articles of clothing. This is a drastic change and obviously isn’t for everyone, and I’m not even completely there either. But it is what I’m moving towards the more I pray and really think about what I value in life (my relationship with the Lord, serving my family, and then serving others).

As I began giving things away from our closet as well as the rest of our household items, I realized how freeing it is to simplify our possessions. The hardest part is physically putting items into that donation box. Once it’s sealed up it becomes a lot easier to get rid of. I quickly forget what I put in the boxes since the items haven’t been getting used anyway.

I’m not suggesting that we deprive ourselves either, but that we find a balance, and be willing to part with certain items that someone else could get use out of. But before jumping up and tossing items into a box, pray and go through God’s Word. Get the right perspective on why you’re simplifying your possessions.

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“The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” -1 John 2:17

I’d love to hear the ways that you’re simplifying your home. 🙂

 

 

The Food We’ve Been Given

Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.
 -Genesis 1:29

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At the end of every month, I make a menu plan for the next month. I used to always plan our meals around what my husband and I desired to eat, instead of planning our meals around the foods that are in season. There was a time years ago, when we wouldn’t have had access to the variety of foods and produce that we have access to today during each season. But just because we have access to certain produce all year long, doesn’t mean it’s cheap or fresh! I’m sure you’ve noticed, when certain produce isn’t in season, the price at the market goes up and the quality of that fruit or vegetable goes down. So why not eat foods that are actually in season, fresh, and local (and save a chunk of money)!

I highly recommend the book, ‘Simply in Season.’ This is the book that changed the way I began cooking and menu planning. We now enjoy meals that are rich with fresh, in-season produce. We’ve also started saving a lot of money on our monthly groceries!

So what produce can you get each season? The following list is by no means complete. And there are some foods that can be found locally in more than just one season. This list is to just give you a general idea of the different varieties of produce that you can cook with in each season.

Spring:

  • Green Onions
  • Leeks
  • Lettuce
  • Mushrooms
  • New potatoes
  • Peas
  • Radishes
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Wild Greens

Summer:

  • Asparagus
  • Berries
  • Cherries
  • Corn
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplant
  • Green Beans
  • Melon
  • Peaches
  • Peppers
  • Plums
  • Summer Squash
  • Tomatoes

Fall:

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Collards
  • Cranberries
  • Grapes
  • Kale
  • Pears
  • Pumpkin
  • Swiss Chard
  • Winter Squash

Winter:

  • Apples (able to be kept in cold storage)
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Beets
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Garlic
  • Leeks
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Turnips
  • Winter Squash (butternut, acorn, etc.)

You might be wondering what kind of meals you can make with the produce that’s available in the winter. Here’s an example of what one week of our meals looks like:

Sunday: Roast a chicken with potatoes and carrots (make bone broth overnight).

Monday: Chicken soup (use leftover chicken and homemade bone broth from Sunday) with potatoes, leeks, and carrots. (I had enough to freeze for another meal!) Serve with homemade bread and homemade applesauce.

Tuesday: Sweet potato quesadillas (Filling: sweet potatoes, onions, garlic and seasonings. Sometimes I’ll add chicken if we still have some leftover from Sunday.)

Wednesday: Breakfast for dinner (Apple spice oat waffles with bacon and eggs)

Thursday: Bean potato soup (with homemade bone broth from Sunday). Serve with roasted veggies (Whatever we have extra of… sweet potato, carrot, squash, etc.)

Friday: Leftover Bean potato soup (and I still had enough to freeze for another meal!)

Saturday: Butternut squash shepherd’s pie. Serve with applesauce.

I hope that gives you an idea of how cooking in the winter can be delicious and easy. Especially when you double recipes for the freezer. I do freeze some produce in the summer (canning is another great way to preserve summer produce), so we can still make a meal that calls for bell peppers, green beans, etc., without paying a high price for those foods.

We are learning to be grateful for the foods God has placed before us in each season. It’s also fun to have seasonal favorites with certain meals. Then they become even more of a treat!

Do you cook your meals based off of the produce that’s in season? What are some of your favorite winter meals?

Homemade Yogurt

We go through quite a lot of yogurt in our house. We use yogurt as a substitute for sour cream, dips, and dressings. We love eating it with granola or fruit or mixing it into our smoothies!

Thankfully yogurt has a lot of health benefits. Yogurt is full of probiotics, which are ‘good bacteria.’ Our bodies need this good bacteria to keep our digestive systems healthy.

Good quality, organic yogurt from pastured cows can get quite expensive. We were paying around $7 per quart. If you go through yogurt as fast as we do, it can get pricey. Thankfully, I’ve learned to make our own and only spend about $2 per quart. That’s a big savings! Homemade yogurt is delicious and easy to make – and a lot of fun too!

The supplies you will need:

  • Pot for heating the milk
  • 1 quart mason jar (But I recommend making more than 1 quart at a time!)
  • 1/4 cup of yogurt from pastured cows (MUST have live cultures!) per quart
  • Thermometer
  • Raw milk or whole milk
  • Whisk
  • Cooler

Making yogurt is so simple. First you measure out the amount you want to make. Today I just made a quart from the leftover milk we had. So I measured out my 4 cups of milk and poured it into the pot.

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Next you’ll turn the heat on medium-high and whisk the milk constantly, until the temperature reaches 175 degrees F°.

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Let the temperature cool until it reaches 110 degrees F°. At this time you’ll add the proper amount of yogurt (again make sure the yogurt you use has live cultures in it). Very gently whisk the yogurt into the milk.

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Pour into your jar/jars.

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Last, fill a cooler with hot water from your sink (I turn mine as hot as it will get and have found that this is the perfect temperature for keeping the yogurt at 110 degrees F°. Close your cooler and let sit for 8-10 hours until it has thickened into yogurt! The longer you let it sit, the thicker it will become.

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Place the yogurt in the refrigerator. And you now you have some delicious, homemade yogurt! Once you try out this recipe and see how easy this is, you’ll probably want to double or even triple this recipe the next time around! 🙂

Homemade Yogurt:

4 cups of raw milk or whole milk

1/4 cup of yogurt (must have live cultures in it)

Heat milk in a pot over medium-high heat to 175 degrees F°. Whisk milk constantly. Once it reaches 175 degrees F°, turn heat source off. Once the milk has cooled down to 110 degrees, add 1/4 cup of yogurt. Gently whisk this into the milk. Pour into a 1 quart mason jar. Fill a small cooler up with hot tap water (temperature should be around 110 degrees) and place the jar in the cooler. Seal the cooler and let sit for 8-10 hours. The longer you let it sit, the thicker your yogurt will be. Immediately refrigerate the yogurt once it’s thickened.

Then enjoy a delicious bowl of homemade yogurt!

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