Tuesday, February 11, 2020

My Natural Approach to Colds, Flu, Bronchitis and Strep

I've been into natural health since I was a teenager!  Yes, it's been a long time and a passion of mine.  However, I didn't get into full-fledged herbalism until several years ago when I encountered a slew of health problems and got desperate and tired of being sick and tired!  I've gained a lot of experience, knowledge and practice with natural health and over the years found what works for us.

Whenever we get sick with a virus (almost always is a virus, rarely bacterial), this is my routine to help bolster our immune systems and get us through the virus as quickly as possible.  Sometimes it works the first day and knocks it out and other times I'm late giving the herbs and we suffer a bit more but still shorter than if I hadn't given herbs.  You can find the links to recipes for some of these in this post.

At the first sign - very first sniffle, sore throat or any other sign indicating we're on the verge - I start giving these:

  • Echinacea - a tincture combination of the whole plant (Purpurea) and root (Angustifolia)
  • Umcka - a tincture of Umckaloabo (Pelargonium sodisides 1x)
  • Elderberry syrup - I make this homemade and it lasts several months in the fridge
  • Thyme cough syrup - I make this homemade and we use it at night for coughs
  • Probiotics - keep gut flora healthy!  I like Garden of Life's Probiotics for Kids.
  • Mullein tea - as needed for chest congestion and coughs
  • Garlic/Onion Soup - I make a potent soup with garlic cloves and onions and it tastes good and packs a punch!

I give the Echinacea, Umcka and Elderberry 2-3 times every day.  I only give the probiotics every other day.  Then, I make sure we eat vitamin C rich foods and/or take some vitamin C.  We stay away from cow's milk during times we have a cold, so we don't get thick mucus.  If need be, we do the netipot or natural salt/baking soda water nasal spray to cleanse nasal passages (use distilled water only!).  If there is a sore throat, we do Throat Coat tea at the first sign of it.  We also do sage gargle rinses a few times a day and/or warm water salt gargle rinses.

We also wash hands any time we touch our eyes/nose/mouth and I disinfect door handles, faucet/toilet/sink handles and keyboards and mouses!  Also, we make sure to drink lots of water to flush it all out.  I make sure to have the house at at least 40% humidity in the winter, so constantly running humidifiers helps keep our membranes moist and will also help with congestion. 

Diffusing essential oils like lemon, eucalyptus and tea tree helps purify the air.  If congestion is really bad in the nose but especially if in the chest, we do steam baths under a towel with boiling water and eucalyptus oil.  It not only helps open the passages, the eucalyptus coats the bronchioles to PREVENT bacteria from adhering!  If the cough needs help thinning during the daytime, we do use Guaifenesin tablets with lots of water.  At night, we use the thyme cough syrup to stop that tickle and if we wake in the night, we use more and/or Ricola original herb cough drops, which are my favorite.  You ought to read the story behind Ricola, but I will tell you the 10 herbs in the drops are: 

Lemon Balm
Linden Flowers
Wild Thyme

Other common sense things to do would be wash bed sheets and pillowcases dailyDisinfect your toothbrush daily with Listerine.

*I only give Tylenol or ibuprofen if there is unbearable pain or fever over 102.

Doing the above things, we have survived strep throat, flu, colds and bronchitis without prescriptions drugs or antibiotics.  If anything doesn't get better or shows sign of bacterial instead of viral, we see a doctor but it usually never gets to that point thankfully!

Keeping your immune system strong throughout the year as well helps.  You can do that by eating healthy foods, taking a multivitamin and watching your stress levels.  Also, we sanitize every time we get in the car - either from church or the store, etc.  Then, when we get home, we wash our hands.

Most importantly - PRAY and get some SLEEP!  

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Sunday, February 9, 2020

Removing Burn Stains on Stove Top

I've had these burn marks on the stove, probably a year or more and I've tried everything and just gave up and dealt with them being there.  I tried magic eraser, Softscrub, all-purpose cleaner and bar-keeper's friend and nothing worked.  I finally decided I couldn't take it anymore and set out to go to war with these stains and eradicate them.  Several places online shared about using baking soda and peroxide and though it did work some, I still had to do it twice (letting it sit the second time longer) and I had to scrub and use a butter knife for the parts that nothing was going to get off.  I'm so happy it is all gone!!  Talk about oddly satisfying - this made my week.

I put about 1/4 cup of baking soda and 2 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide in a bowl to make a paste. Then, I put it on all around making sure everything was covered and let it sit for 30 minutes. I scrubbed with a stiff cleaning brush and then used a butter knife to get up the stubborn burns.

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Saturday, February 8, 2020

Monthly Meal Planning & Shopping

We used to shop weekly, then we went to biweekly and now we do monthly grocery shopping.  We do make a trip to the local store whenever we need bananas or salad but everything else is bought once a month at Aldi and Kroger.  I made a meal plan for 4 weeks and then I went through the recipes and made a list and checked it with what we had on hand.  Here was the menu for this 4-week period, which is January 18th - February 14th.

I like to do a big casserole on Saturday and have the leftovers (L/O) on Sunday.  Fridays are pizza days, frozen or homemade.  I like to have a Mexican night on Tuesdays and then a meatless night once a week, either vegetarian meal or breakfast for dinner meal.  We only eat red meat once a week, unless we have a kielbasa meal.  On days we have appointments that may keep us out for a few hours, I don't plan a meal to cook; we eat out.  It is just less stress for me that way!  A lot of the meals are very easy, instant pot meals.

For breakfast and lunches we do oatmeal, burritos, PB bread, protein bars, quesadillas, tacos and whatever else we crave depending upon the month.  Snacks are fruits, vegetables, string cheese, nuts/seeds, PB, homemade muffins/breads/cakes, tortilla chips, bean dip, etc.

We spend $360 a month on groceries, mostly all food but I do buy some non-food items like paper plates, ziplock bags, hand soap and napkins.  Soap, shampoo, toilet paper and all those type toiletry items and vitamins/supplements, we have a separate budget for called our "necessities", and it doesn't come out of the $360 we spend on groceries.

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Friday, February 7, 2020

Cash Envelope System

I was using plain, cheap white envelopes for cash purchases but I was tired of them tearing and getting all bent up in my purse.  I came across these from Clever Fox and I absolutely love them!  They're waterproof, tear proof and hold their shape very well and even come with budget sheets and a zippered bag to keep them in.

Last year we started going back to using a debit card and cash envelopes after I got tired of being a paycheck behind on paying bills.  Although we paid off our credit card twice a month, I just kept having stress about it not being money we actually had that 2 week period.  Some months I would spend more and be stressed if we would get enough to pay it off.  I never paid a dime of interest.  I also have received over $2,000 in cash rewards since having the credit card but at what cost?  I may get $50 back a month but it's so much easier to overspend when using a credit card - so it wasn't helping!

Now, we only spend what's in the bank and we only use cash for local purchases like food, gas, etc.  It is less stressful and I actually think it's fun to do the envelopes.  Even the kids take part by stuffing the envelopes when we go to the bank.

Here are the categories I have cash envelopes for, although I only use the first 6 categories regularly.  The others are occasionally or hopefully one day categories.

Cash Envelope Categories

Gas (Car)
Home Maintenance
Car Maintenance

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Thursday, February 6, 2020

Bev's White Bread Recipe

I've been making this the past year or so and let me tell you, it is the BEST from all the breads I've made.  I will make it for other people as a gift and they all love it too.  I always use a Bosch mixer for my dough and then bake it in a convection oven.  I don't get good results when using a conventional oven or any other mixer, but you can try!

*Tips - I use expeller-pressed canola oil and the only flour I love is Bob's Red Mill Organic Unbleached White All-Purpose Flour.

Bev's White Bread

  • 1.5 Tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 2 3/4 cups warm water
  • 6 cups unbleached flour
  • 1.5 Teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup Canola oil

In the Bosch mixer, put the yeast, water and honey and let sit for 5 minutes.

Add in 3 cups of flour evenly around on top of the water mixture.  Then, add oil and salt evenly around on top of the flour.

With lid on, turn the Bosch mixer on to the first setting and let it incorporate the flour into the water.  Continue adding flour until the dough licks the sides clean.

Turn up to highest setting of 3 and let knead for 4-5 minutes.

Remove dough from Bosch onto a floured surface and divide dough in half.  Place each half in a greased bread pan and press down.

Warm oven for a minute or 2 to just get it warm, then turn off.  Place both bread pans with dough in oven and let rise for 45 minutes or until the dough is 1/2 inch above the pans.  Then, bake for 30 minutes at 350.  Remove pans from oven and then bread from the pans and let cool.

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Tuesday, February 4, 2020

New Blog Makeover & What's Coming Up!

I couldn't come back and see the same old look on my blog that I've had for years, so I redesigned it and gave it a fresh look!  Many more new things to come!  I put a list of things I'm planning below.

What's coming up:
  • Newly designed FREE printables for the home, budget, homeschooling, etc.
  • Organization posts
  • Devotional posts - hot button issues and encouragement 
  • Podcasts
  • Meal planning & recipes posts
  • Our travels - pics of our trip around the US!

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Monday, February 3, 2020

Grand Re-Opening of Christian Homekeeping

After taking a year blog sabbatical, I felt the time to reopen this blog was now!  I know some of you emailed me wondering if I had blocked you because you got a message saying "open to invited readers only", but I didn't block you (never would do that unless you are a harasser LOL!).  Google just gives that generic message whenever you put your blog private.  I put the blog private thinking I was done but recently I felt to start it up again and it seems good, so here I am!

I have an enormous amount to update you all on with our lives, to write about and share!  I will try to keep it at one post a day. 😄  I say this thinking I will have the time to do a post a day, but we'll see how things go as I fit blogging back into my daily routine.  I missed you all and I missed writing and sharing what I've learned, tips for the home and encouraging you in the role of being a woman and a keeper of your home!  I think we need more of that today than ever!

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Sunday, February 10, 2019

It Starts With the Church

1 Peter 4:17-18
For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

A prevailing theme in our culture today is complaining.  You see it everywhere - in the news, on social media, churches, and anywhere else people gather to talk.  Complaints, murmuring, belly-aching and on an on are never-ending!  I've watched probably over 100 videos on YouTube the past 6 months of stories of financial hardships, unemployment, food stamps, the disappearing middle class, income equality, etc.  There was only ONE couple out of all of those videos of many, many people in America, that acknowledged God.  ONE!

America has forgotten God.  America has become an unthankful, unholy, and unwavering tide of unrighteousness.  Instead of turning to God - we turn to credit cards, bank loans, family members, 2nd jobs, putting wives on the job and all other displays of independence from God (unbelief) and dependence upon others.  Can't we see ourselves yet!?  At what point will we see that we haven't even been thankful in a very long time?

If you were thankful, truly thankful - you would find it hard to complain, murmur or belly-ache.  Thankfulness of the heart produces contentment and with contentment comes what?  Well, with Godliness - great gain!  (1 Tim. 6:6)  I find it amusing that those who are constantly seeking wealth or turn to money instead of God, are also the same people that put their wife to work and never seem to grab hold of it.  Not all, there are many men who do provide for their wives but their wives are so discontent that what he brings home is never enough for her massive greed!  She spends every dime before it even has time to pay the bills - she truly brings her own house down with her hands, as spoken of in Proverbs 14:1.

The church is rife with unthankfulness and no dependence upon God anymore.  It really should be the last place to find unthankfulness but it is the first place God tells about judgement beginning.  If we want to see a revival and a healing of our land, it can only start with what?  God's people humbling themselves and turning from their wicked ways - then, God will heal our land.  It all rests with the church.  America is the way it is because of the church and its wickedness.  First the Catholic priests and now the Southern Baptist ministers sexually raping and destroying lives - God help us!  They won't be the last, there will be more organizations found out soon.  I've learned that men will do anything to protect an image (god) of a organization - even hiding sexual abuse.  God has tore the covers off one by one over the past few years and sadly, there are more covers to be ripped off.

2 Chronicles 7:14

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 

So, if the power lies within the church and the church is unthankful - there is no hope for the sinner.  We must arise and cleanse ourselves and humble ourselves to see the lives of those imprisoned by Satan, delivered!  Start right now - start repenting for your sins, your unthankfulness and start having mercy for all; because we all need it!  Let it begin in me, God...

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Wednesday, January 30, 2019

CDC: Sleep Deprivation is a Health Crisis

I've blogged a few times in the past 10 years about sleep.  Sleep deprivation is now a health crisis, according to the CDC this month.  People wonder why they, or their children, have mood issues, school issues, work issues, etc.  It isn't too hard to figure out, especially with children!  I've always been a bit passionate about this topic, so buckle your seat-belts.

I believe the biggest crisis of all is what parents do to their children - by sleep depriving them.  They don't put them to bed early enough for them to have enough sleep before they have to get up for school.  Talk about parental abuse, now that child is disabled and will be punished for it.  The teacher and the parents will punish them for their behavior, lack of attention, failing grades, etc. - all because they are sleep-deprived and not functioning at normal capacity, thanks to the parent not ensuring this crucial need.  Most behavior problems in children are from lack of sleep.

Children need at least 10 hours of sleep and that is a documented fact.  Up until they near the age of 18, they don't go down to 9 hours.  So, if your child has to get up at 5:30 a.m., that means they should be in bed no later than 7:30, giving them that 10 hours that they NEED to function like a normal human being!  That is why homeschooling works so well for children, they get what they need more often than not.

Babies and toddlers need 12+ hours.  Both of my kids slept through the night for a complete 12 hours from 3 months on, no problems at all.  How did that happen?  I made sure to train them to sleep.  Yes, it is the parent's responsibility to train your children to have good sleep habits.  Set them up for failure success!  To this day, they get enough sleep and they perform well in school, have limited moods and great behavior.  I said all that to show you that you can do it because I did, I'm not better than anyone else; it's called parenting.

Adults need at least 7 hours of sleep but preferably 8.  Those adults who chronically get 6 hours or less of sleep are at great risk of stroke, among other things.  I've never felt right without at least 7 hours of sleep but I perform best at 8.  Try it sometime - you may find you are a new person!

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Friday, January 25, 2019

America May Get What She Wants

I read hundreds, if not thousands of stories during this shutdown and not ONE person mentioned God or trusting in God.  It was only complaining, cursing and vile speech against our nation's President and no concern whatsoever for the better good of our country.  That is where America is today - a spoiled, entitled, unthankful and unholy nation that doesn't seek God or trust in Him and thinks nothing of speaking evil against rulers.  I don't feel that God will put up with this much longer.  Maybe God will let the nation have what it wants and became a greater cesspool of sin, debauchery, and let a woman rule to shame us all.  NY is even more cursed now as they literally celebrate the blood they shed of innocent children.  Even some Christian leaders celebrate the prevention of children as they seek their own selfish agendas and teach others to look to children as a hindrance.  I don't see God holding back too much longer.

We have federal workers that took jobs knowing full well the risk involved of possibly having to work without pay.  You would think they would have planned for this, since they knew it was a possibility and agreed to it before taking the job.  They agreed to support our government and show up to work, regardless of what may lie ahead.  We found out that they weren't so noble in the end, not all of them.  Today, it was reported that 14,000 IRS workers didn't even show up at work when they were called in to do so.  Some Air Traffic Controllers also didn't show up putting our airlines at risk without enough to do their jobs and causing nationwide chaos and delays.

I'm sure these jobs could go to people who would uphold their word, I'm sure a lot of immigrants would gladly take them as they are thankful for anything they get.  It isn't Trump's fault that these people did not prepare for something they knew about!  It really is time to take ownership for our own lack of responsibility and quit blaming everyone else.  If they had done this and called out to God, I believe He would have provided and met the needs.  But no, let's run to the credit card company and the bank for a loan and why pray when we can worry right?  NO faith in God.  NO trust in God.  Trust was in the government and well - wrong place to put your trust!  Trust was in the paycheck - wrong place to put your trust!  All of these can fail but God will NEVER fail!

I remember President Ronald Reagan actually fired 11,000 air traffic controllers for not keeping their oath to the country and coming to work and putting America in danger - listen to his great speech here:

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