Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Echinacea Tincture

It is nice to be prepared for things before they happen, I love stocking my pantry for this very reason.  This year it is my goal to stock my medicine cabinet as well. From the front yard.

Last year was a hard year for us health wise. I can't remember a year where me and my family contracted a cold more often. It felt like just after one person got over it someone else would start to feel sick and this nasty process continued from November till May. Near the end of winter I picked up some echinacea tincture. I was hesitant to try it because a 4oz bottle cost $20 but I was sick of being sick and sick of tending the sick so I broke down and purchased it. What a difference it made! As soon as my kids nose would start to run I would give them some tincture and low and behold it usually didn't go any further.

Wow what is in this stuff? So I looked into it and low and behold it is so easy to make I was mad at myself for not making some before now; and making it yourself is so much cheaper too! See it pays to be prepared. I also didn't realize that echinacea is actually more commonly known as a cone flower and lots of people have it planted in their garden beds! Like my mom for instance. I lived there how many years and never knew what was right outside my window! Live and learn I guess.

This tincture works to build up your immune system when you start to feel low or that sore-throat-I-ache-all-over feeling. If you make it with glycerin it is perfect for kids, or you can make it with vodka for adults. I mix mine with mint and my kids call it tea when I give it to them, "sickie tea".

If you can't get the fresh herbs to work with, you can always buy the dried ones from mountainroseherbs.com

Echinacea Tincture
To make the tincture you will need:
  • 2 Cups chopped fresh echinacea flower and leaves
  • 1/2 Cup chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 3 Cups food grade glycerin or vodka
  • 1 Cup water
  • Quart jar and lid

Mix herbs, glycerin or vodka and water in quart jar cover and shake.

Let it out at room temp and shake it once a day for 2-4 weeks.

Strain the herbs out with cheese cloth and put in a dark glass bottle to store for use. 2 droppers full 3 times a day when fighting a cold.

Pretty simple to do right? Especially if you use your own herbs this tincture is very inexpensive to make. I am trying to prepare for a difficult winter so I am not caught off guard this time. Then I can just relax and take care of my family without running out and paying the price with my health and wallet.

Take the time to do this while the plant is blooming still and you will be ready for whatever bug this winter is going to throw our way. Naturally of course.

                                                              The Farmer in the Dell

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

How to Treat a Coconut Oil Stain

Life was busy this week. When I am busy I get rushed, when I am rushed accidents happen, and when accidents happen it makes me have to slow down and take care of the accident.  This makes for even less time than I started with. So why do I rush around in the first place if I know it leads to trouble? Good question, we try to keep life as simplified as possible around here but there are days when everything happens at once and I just have to make due with the time I am given.

This usually translates to me trying to multi-task with my toddlers and little baby, (ie. making granola bars with two little people who mainly just want to eat the ingredients, mommy trying to stir the coconut butter that has separated and a baby who decided she now wants to be nursed/held.) All necessities in my little family right now and when properly timed it can all be enjoyable, just not all at once. In the frenzy I caught my spoon on a hard piece of coconut butter solids on the bottom of the jar causing me to spill the oil all over my shirt and skirt. Of course, as life would have it, I forgot to put on my apron before setting out to make the granola bars so here we have the aftermath.

My initial gut reaction to a spill/stain is to always flush it with cold water, so that is what I did. However that is really not a great idea for oil stains as oil and water don't mix. So then what do you do for pulling up the excess oil? Why you heap on some baby powder or corn starch to soak it all up out of the fabric.

I let mine sit on for 15-20 min before shaking it off out side. I could see where the oil was but it wasn't as noticeable, step in the right direction.

The next thing I did was to put some dawn dish soap, that I have on hand to strip my diapers, on the spots and scrub in the fabric with an old toothbrush. You want to break down the oil so any de-greasing dish soap will do. My one year old loved this part, he went a little over board with the dish soap but it didn't hurt anything. Who knew cleaning up mommy's messes would be so fun!

Now I just threw them in the wash on my hot/cold setting as it is best for a oil stain to be washed in the hot to "melt" the oil. I just used my homemade detergent.

After being in the wash I hung the clothes out to dry on the line. You wouldn't want to run them through the dryer as it can set the stain if not all of it has come out. Here is how they turned out after treatment.

Yay no oil marks! I hate when clothing gets ruined, I always feel like I didn't try hard enough to save it. Now I know I can just throw some baby powder on my oil stains when we are away from home. I love when something in my diaper bag is multi use!

So while it did take some extra time out of my day I discovered a new way to deal with oil stains and my kids had fun helping mommy. I guess it was not all that bad of an accident anyway.
                                                                 The Farmer in the Dell

Monday, August 10, 2015

When Your Child Humbles You

I am sure that every parent, at one point in their life, experiences this to some extent. I didn't realize, as a young unmarried woman, that those judgments I so quickly passed on the mother in the store for her screaming child were maybe not the result of poor parenting. Possibly they were just having an off day. Why am I so quick to judge when I only see a glimpse of that woman's day, or life to be exact? God has given us everything we need as parents to guide, guard and grow children who will be a blessing and a rest. However, he never promised that the journey along the way would not include tantrums, bad attitudes, rebellion and testing.

"Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul." Proverbs 29:17

I was visiting with my friend and had brought all three of my children with. It was after a nap so I figured they would be rested and in a good mood. However when we arrived they proceeded to climb on and touch everything, break things, scream and fight with each other and pester the baby with any chance they had while being so busy with all the other destructive activities. I was mortified. Here I was looking forward to visiting with a dear friend and my children were displaying the worst behavior they could possibly muster. For not getting to see my children very often I was hoping that she was not thinking that this is how they are all the time. Because they are not monsters all the time, just once in a while :)

I was glad when my husband arrived to help manage them till we left, however we were both grievously disappointed and disturbed by our children's behavior. Why had they done that? Especially when we worked so hard to teach them how to conduct themselves when we are all out. I can tell you that it was extremely humbling. I felt like a parenting failure. I realized that all those mothers I had frowned on before for ill behaved children may have been experiencing the same thing and I had judged them so harshly.

Perhaps God gives us children for not only to shape and mold their little souls but for ours as well. My pride took a big blow, and honestly, it needed it. No matter how much we pour into our children we live in a fallen world and are fallen people that make mistakes, it is bound to show up sometime. The Lord guides and leads us as a shepherd with discipline and love. However he knows the unique struggle of young mothers because it says.

"He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young." Isaiah 40:11


We need to be gently led. I need to be gently led, because many days I am just drained emotionally and physically from the daily parenting struggle. All you that are young and don't have children yet or whose children are young babies; please remember that when you see a mother when you are out, struggling with her child, look at her an realize it may not be a very good day for them. In fact a smile is always appreciated!

But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6


It turns out that in the end I was really craving grace, the very opposite of what I was feeling toward other mothers around me. Grace for others to know that; it is okay, I realize that my child is a sinner, and that her/his behavior is not going to reflect a regenerated heart and mind. Their sin nature is most often reflected at the time when I desire them to be displaying good behavior. This is part of the parenting process.
I had my serving of humble pie this week, it was bittersweet, but I hope it was enough that I can remember to give grace to others with little ones. Remember that we all have bad days, ourselves included!
                                                                 The Farmer in the Dell

Monday, August 3, 2015

Refined Sugar-Free Pickled Red Beet Eggs

I am starting to get back into some of my regular activities and getting to pay attention to some things that I have been putting off for awhile, like my garden for example.  I should have harvested my beets three weeks ago but I was a little busy with my brand new baby then. Excuses, excuses I know but they were still there when I harvested them this week. Me and my little helpers picked and cleaned our stash, we maybe even snacked on one raw. Everything had splashes of purple till we were done but we did finish the job and now had to decide what to do with all these beets.

Not a hard decision for my farming husband, he was craving red beet eggs. Now I am not really a fan of the red beet egg. I always saw them on the salad bar and thought they were there for the older generation who liked that kind of thing. I guess I am married to an old soul. At any rate the whole reason he let me plant most of our garden in red beets is because he wanted some red beet eggs out of the deal, so I figured I may as well make some. Another reason I just never got into the habit of even trying to like red beet eggs is the pickling liquid is usually full of sugar. I try to avoid added sugar in my family's diet as most of the time it is really not necessary.  

So with that in mind I set off to make red beet eggs. I even had these cute little red beets, because I just never have the heart to thin them out after planting, it just feels like such a waste to me. So some of them are on the baby side of small but they are just the right size for mixing with eggs.

Red Beet Eggs

Makes a Dozen or Two Quarts

  • 2 wide mouth quart jars 
  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 3 cups baby red beets
  • 1 Cup white vinegar
  • 1 Tbs sea salt
  • 1/2 Cup honey
  • 11 whole cloves
  • 1 Tbs whole peppercorns
  • Pinch of cumin seeds  
  • Pinch of coriander seed
Hard boil your eggs.
I like to just put mine in a pot, cover eggs with water, put heat on high till the water and eggs come to a boil for 2-3 minuets. Turn the heat off cover the pot and let set for 20 minuets, then refrigerate.

*As a note for those of you who may have fresh eggs from your chickens like I do, you can just lightly crack your eggs before boiling and then you will have a much easier time peeling the shell off. I love fresh eggs, but man they are a pain to peel when hard boiled!

Put baby beets in a pot of water and bring water to a boil. I boiled mine for about 1 1/2 hours but it will depend on how little or big the beets are. Just boil till you can pierce easily with a knife.

Save 1 cup of the beet water for later and drain off the rest. Then cover beets with cold water and the skins will just slide off, easy peasy. Set peeled beet aside.

Now put the reserved beet water, vinegar, salt, honey and spices in a sauce pan and heat on medium till the honey dissolves. Set aside.

Layer your red beets and eggs in your quart jars. It will be pretty tight in there so I like to do one layer of beets then a layer of eggs to make sure there is some of both close together.

Pour the vinegar honey liquid over top the eggs and beets. Put the lids on and shake to try and cover evenly. Mine were packed too tight as you can tell, I was greedy and tried to fit 14 eggs in, oh well.

Refrigerate for 3-5 days and then dig in!

I actually am starting to like these now; they make a great addition to any picnic and have beautiful color and flavor too! Making my husband happy makes me happy too it's a win, win situation.

                                                                The Farmer in the Dell