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    Sometimes you find a remedy or a product that is so good you don’t need anything else. This salve is that product for my family.

    By using it we have reduced much of what we would have otherwise been purchasing for body products and first aid. We use this salve for a basic skin lotion to reduce dry skin and chapping. My husband and kids have taken to calling it the “miracle cream” because they will apply it to minor scrapes and injuries to aid in speedy recovery.  Since it has Comfrey in it DO NOT use it for moderate to deep cuts and wounds. The Comfrey can seal up the wound so fast that you can trap bacteria inside.

    Remember to clean your wounds if you are using it as a healing balm. I am not a medical professional and I am not claiming this salve will heal you, only telling you some of the things we have used it for in our family for relief. If you have a serious medical condition please consult with your doctor.

    This salve is all natural and non toxic. It feels good on your skin and feels good on your conscience.

    Since lengthy intros for recipes are pretty annoying I give it to you without further ado…

    My basic recipe is as follows

                    ¼ cup olive oil

                    ½ cup shea butter

                    1 cup coconut oil

                    1 tablespoon arrow root powder

                    1 cup crushed comfrey

                    ½ cup chopped pine needles (make sure its pine and not Yew).

                    ¼ cup pure beeswax.

                   Essential oils- for this salve I used 100 drops of Copaiba

    The first step is to infuse the oils with Comfrey and pine.

    I use a small crock with a yogurt setting, its like a mini crock pot. You can also use a Mason jar, or put the oils in a double broiler and simmer on the stove for a day.

    To infuse the oils you need to gently warm them with the herbs (Comfrey and pine). You will know when it’s is done because the oils will have changed color. With this recipe they will turn green. I keep mine in the crock on yogurt setting for up to a week. If you put yours in Mason jar you will have to shake several times a day and place it in a warm spot, (by the wood stove, by the furnace vent or in a sunny window) and it can take up to several weeks. The lower the temperature you infuse with the more you will capture the healing benefits of the herbs since high heat breaks down their properties.

    Once the oils have infused you need to strain out the herbs. I put mine in a colander lined with a paper towel. Then I squeeze the oils out with the herbs all wrapped up inside. You don’t want any remnants of herbs or your salve will be chunky or rough, like it has grit in it.

    The next step is to melt beeswax into the oils and add the Arrowroot powder.

    This might need to be done at a slightly higher heat, you can use your double boiler or a saucepan on low heat. I turn up my crock to warm.

    Once the beeswax is melted you add your Arrowroot Powder and stir it all up so its mixed well. Place the mixture on your counter so it can cool slowly. You can also place it in the fridge. Once it’s cool you can add any essential oils you like.

    I like to whip my salve so its fluffy and light.

    Since it’s a salve and not a body butter it will not get super fluffy. I wait until the mixture is cool but not hard and use an immersion blender. If you want a firmer, oilier salve, more like a balm then you don’t whip it.

    After it’s whipped you jar it up into a wide mouthed container so you can have easy access. I keep one by my bed and one in the kitchen.

    I like to make natural products in my kitchen with ingredients I can source easily.

    Therefore if I can’t get it easily outside or pick it up at the local grocery I am not likely to buy it. With the exception of the Copaiba I bought everything on our regular scheduled shopping trip. Shea butter might be harder to find if you are very rural so in that case just sub it out it out with coconut oil. The pine needles came off our Christmas tree.

    Click here for more information about the herbs I used in this recipe.

    OPEN A WINDOW OR GO FOR A WALK

    Fresh air brings clean air into a room. Think about the musty smell your room has when you wake up first thing in the morning. Think about when you just can’t get moving, that you are a little like that musty air. You are a bit sluggish, sour, and unsocial. By opening a window and breathing in outside air you are flushing out those negative feelings and allowing in positive emotions that can change your day. If you have time and are able, take it one step further and go outside for a short brisk walk. There is nothing like getting your body moving to snap you into further action.

    PUT OUT FRESH FLOWERS

    Flowers and greenery are a little bit like opening a window. They bring a fresh feeling into your home and can inspire you by their beauty. When you put fresh flowers in a room you may just feel you want to clean the rest of the room so you can enjoy them. They don’t have to be expensive, cut some from your yard or pick up a five dollar bundle from your local grocer in a color you love. Look for these long lasting varieties, Alstroemeria for up to two weeks, Carnations for up to three weeks, and Chrysanthemums for up to four weeks.

    SMELL UPLIFTING ESSENTIAL OILS

    Essential oils pack a powerful punch when it comes to smell. They have many different attributes to influence the way we think, and feel. Some oils can energize, some can calm and clarify. Lemon is well known to be an energizing scent but there are others that can work just as well depending on your mood. Look for the following oils as they are all some of the best for boosting motivation; Spruce, Lavender, Rosemary, Peppermint, Citrus, Roman Chamomile and Ylang Ylang.

    Next time you are having a slow and rough day, use one of these methods to boost yourself into motion. They are simple and easy and will make you feel so much better then if you spend all day on social media.

    If you want to drastically change the way your home feels, take back your time, and feel more put together you might already know that you need to clear out some clutter. The problem comes when you look at the project as a whole and feel that overwhelming weight bearing down on you of how much stuff you have to slog through.  

    Sometimes we have to practice a task in such a way that we can learn how to process our emotions and develop some sustainable habits. Clearing out clutter can be such a task. I find that by practicing this on items that are easy to let go of makes it easier to tackle the mountain of clothing waiting for you in your closet or the piles of stuff you have growing in your garage.  

    There are 6 easy places to begin clearing out clutter to practice the feeling of letting go. If you are having a hard time finding a starting place you can pick any of these to get a taste of how good it feels to clean up and clear out your home. If you enjoy the process you can work through all six categories.

    #1 FOOD

    Food has an expiration date. It can be so motivating to go through it all and toss the items that are past their prime.  Better yet, put it all in a pile and look at it as a whole before bagging it up to get a feel for how much waste you have. If you have a lot of items you have never used or didn’t finish, take note and keep that in mind when making future purchases. Pat yourself on the back for preventing food borne illness and promoting flavorful meals (expired food items often have lost a lot of flavor).

    #2 MEDICINES AND FIRST AID

    Go through you medicine cabinet and look at the expiration dates. Toss anything that is past its date as the ingredients will not be as effective. Toss anything that you can’t read the label on or you don’t know what it is. This happens a lot when items fall out of their boxes, little pill pouches are major culprits. Feel free to get rid of items that haven’t worked for you or don’t work well.

    #3 TOILETRIES

    These items seem to multiply on their own and are so sneaky that you don’t notice until you can’t find what you need any more due to the disorganization. For this category, take everything out and pile it up. Look through your pile and sort out what you don’t use, what is leaking or messy, or has an expiration date that is past due. Often there are items you have been given as a gift or purchased to try out that didn’t work well. Get rid of anything you don’t use consistently or like anymore.

    #4 SOCKS

    Socks are so troublesome. Why does one of a pair always disappear? I is so frustrating. Go through the house and gather up the loose socks, including your stash that you have built up if you have one. Sort the socks according to the person they belong too and put them with their dirty laundry. As the laundry gets washed the socks may find their match. If they don’t find their match after a few washes then toss them. Later if you find their match toss it as well. You have already adapted to living without that pair of socks so if by the rare possibility the mate gets found you don’t have to feel guilty of having thrown both of them away.

    # 5 JUNK DRAWERS

    What’s in a junk drawer? Why do junk drawers exist? If you are like me, your junk drawer is where you have stuck things you think you need but can’t find a real home for. Once it goes into that drawer it gets forgotten or can never be found even if you remember it’s in there.  Take everything out of the drawer. Throw any garbage away. If you don’t have a home for any important numbers or paper work, get the important info off the papers and store it on your computer or phone. You can always look up manuals and product instructions online. Get rid of anything you have not used or thought about in the past year. Use little boxes or dollar store compartments to organize the remaining items so they don’t get all jumbled together.

    #6 FOOD STORAGE CONTAINERS

    How many of these do you really need? Have you saved all the yogurt and sour cream cups also? How many of your containers actually have their lids? You likely only need on average a total of 10 storage containers of various sizes. If you find you are running out and don’t have enough you probably need to go through your food again and toss out anything in your fridge that has gone bad. Match what you keep to the lid and get rid of all items that are without their lid or base. Recycle all those saved yogurt cups. Stack what you keep in your kitchen with smaller items inside larger ones and the lids next to the stack. Enjoy your life now that you don’t have to search for a lid.

    IF YOU CAN GO THROUGH THOSE CATEGORIES YOU CAN TACKLE ANYTHING

    If you go through all six categories you will develop a few skills to help you go through harder areas of your home. You might have even felt a thrill as you regained space in your cupboards and drawers and released the burden of all those lost socks calling out for their mate.  Keep that good feeling and momentum and use it to go after that mountain of clothes.

    Simple living is making what you can instead of buying it. Simple living is keeping only what you need or can use and not having a ton of extra stuff. Simple living is careful consideration before making any purchases to be sure you won’t take on the burden that excess brings into your life and home.

    Simple living is reducing clutter and having space in your home. Simple living is minimalism, but minimalism is different for everyone. Minimalism does not have to be living with nothing, or decorating in only black and white colors. Minimalism is having a clean home and a clear path that does not get distracted by consumerism.

    Simple living allows you to accomplish your goals even though you may only have a very small budget. We live on one very modest income yet are still able to own our own home and renovate it in a slow and steady manner. We enjoy a clean simple yet beautiful aesthetic. I like to think my style is classic and elegant with a touch of charm. I get to express my style because I have a clean slate to work with instead of a home filled with clutter.

    Because we live simply we also live naturally, for us the two lifestyles go hand in hand. We make what we can instead of buying. We make our own sourdough bread. We make most of our meals at home from whole food ingredients. We make our own cleaners, soaps, salves and remedies. We do a lot of work around our home by ourselves instead of hiring out.We grow a garden and keep chickens.

    We enjoy time outside working, playing, and living. We spend a lot of time together as a family.

    We are happy.

    Join us on our journey and see what simple living can do for you.

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