Many of the skills necessary for making and keeping a home are being lost. They are no longer being passed down from parent (or grandparent) to child.
Not only do we often lack the skills to perform homemaking tasks of old, we lack the time or the motivation: it’s so cheap and easy to fill our needs with a pre-made import.
I thought I would look at some of the old-fashioned homemaking skills that are worth reviving, starting with sewing curtains. These skills not only save us money, they are a source of personal satisfaction and pride and give real meaning to the word homemaking.
“Our food should be our medicine. Our medicine should be our food.” Hippocrates, 460 BC – 377 BC
Garlic is not only a delicious (one could say essential) addition to many meals, it is also one of the most widely used medicinal herbs in history.
Garlic has a whole host of health benefits: it is anti-bacterial (the original antibiotic) and anti-fungal; it is anti-viral and can boost your immune system; it thins the blood and can help prevent heart disease; it can help control blood sugar; it helps lower cholesterol, atherosclerosis and blood pressure; it helps relieve arthritis; and it may help prevent cancer.
A lot of good reasons for eating garlic regularly.
While eating cooked garlic is beneficial to your health, some studies show that raw garlic is better. This is because heat destroys the beneficial enzymes and reduces it’s medicinal magic.
The downside is that chewing on a clove of raw garlic doesn’t taste that great. Many health gurus suggest shooting a clove of garlic straight down the hatch every morning, maybe with the aid of a little honey.
There are much more enjoyable ways to consume this great natural medicine.
Here are ten tasty ways to incorporate raw garlic into your everyday diet. Make them fresh at home to get the best taste and the most benefit from the ingredients.
Convenience food does one thing really, really well: it saves time. Or more correctly, it allows you to spend your time doing something other than cooking.
But that’s about all most convenience food is good for. Most convenience foods are not very tasty (at least in my opinion), not very nutritious, are more expensive than cooking from scratch and often generate more waste in the form of packaging.
So how do you balance cooking from scratch with saving time in a busy, modern world? After all, most of us work outside the home, are involved in all sorts of extra-curricular activities, are raising kids or would just rather not spend a whole lot of time in the kitchen.
Below are four ways that help save time in the kitchen while still reaping all the benefits of cooking whole foods from scratch.
I’ve been walking around feeling like the elephant man lately. Sporting the worst cold sore I’ve ever had – the worst in the history of the world (at least, it certainly feels that way). It’s given me the opportunity to write about the effectiveness of two natural cold sore remedies.
If you’re a fellow sufferer, then you know just how awful these things are. Painful, unsightly and smack bang in the middle of your face at the least convenient time.
While it’s difficult to avoid getting a cold sore if you’ve got the virus, the good news is that you don’t need expensive creams from the chemist to treat the sore, and these rarely work anyway.
There are two effective natural and inexpensive remedies that help reduce the severity and speed up the healing of cold sores, which you probably already have at home: tea tree oil and coconut oil.
The important thing with a cold sore (and something I failed to do this time round) is to treat it as soon as you feel one coming on – at that first ‘tingle’ or throb.
Apples are in season at the moment, and this recipe is a decadent way to enjoy them. We enjoyed these caramelised apples on our Sunday morning pancakes for something a little special and out of the ordinary, but they would also make a lovely dessert, served with a little cream or ice cream. The total cooking times is about 8 minutes, making it a very quick and easy dessert.
The caramel sauce has a few little twists to the usual mainstay. Instead of using cream I added yoghurt – the tartness gives a nice balance to the sweetness of the sugar and apple. The almonds give the sauce a little crunch, contrasting nicely with the softness of the apple and the hint of cardamom gives the whole dish an exotic undertone (something a little different from the usual cinnamon and apple pairing) without overwhelming it. Just remember, a small amount of cardamom goes a long way.
I didn’t actually measure any ingredients, just threw them in, so the measurements below are guestimates. Taste and add a little more or less sugar or yoghurt or cardamom to suit your own tastes.
The other day I sent DH out to the bin with a bag of rubbish and he returned with a broken roller blind that one of the neighbours had thrown out.
“I thought you might be able to make something with this,” he explained.
Several thoughts flashed through my mind:
How am I going to reuse this blind?
Where am I going to put this blind in the meantime?
Hmmm, my penchant for keeping junk is rubbing off on DH.
This blind looked brand new. Apart from the broken retraction mechanism, it was in perfect condition. Such a shame for it to be thrown in the bin.
So I stashed it in the downstairs toilet along with:
- Seven empty vinegar bottles
- Two bags of empty toilet rolls
- A roll of old carpet
- Half a bag of cement
- a bag of 10 year old tax returns and bank statements that I had yet to shred
- a mattock
- a box of out-of-date vegetable seeds
- a bucket full of bibs and wipes, soaking
Somewhere in there, there’s also a toilet.
Despite the fact that we buy less ‘stuff’ than your average Joe, and despite the fact that I find myself decluttering constantly, we do struggle with clutter.
Just a little bit.
A lot of the stuff that clutters our house is ‘just in case’. The bag of bubble wrap – just in case I need to send something. The egg cartons – just in case they come in handy for kid’s craft. The jars – just in case I need them for storage (actually, I never seem to have enough jars). The used gift wrap, the empty toiletry bottles, the old, torn clothing…
Reuse, repurpose, recycle: that’s part of the frugal way of life. But at what point does repurposing become hoarding and the clutter hinder your attempts at simplifying life?
The answer to that question will be different for each of us.
Here are four ways that I’ve found help bring balance between hoarding things ‘just in case’ you need them and keeping the clutter at bay.
“The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness.” Abraham Maslow
This article is part of the “Getting it Together” series.
One of the key skills for happiness is to be mindful and aware in the present moment.
But unless you’ve been practicing your zen, this is often easier said than done.
There are many thoughts that tug our mind away from the present moment but worries about things that need doing or that have been left undone are often the loudest (at least, that’s the case for me).
If you’re like me, and you find yourself thinking more about what needs to be done, and less about what’s going on right here, right now, these three practical tips can help you get your to-dos under control so that you have the mental space to live in full awareness of the present moment.
Traditional foods are currently making a come back. Not only does eating real food taste great, it is arguably better for you than processed foods.
One food that foodie traditionalists are particularly fond of is old fashioned animal fat for cooking.
If you’re frugal, that’s great news because you can take something that is often thrown away (in this case chicken skin) and use it to make free cooking oil.
Along with brewing the bones to make stock, you are using more of the whole animal, reducing food waste and saving money at the same time.
Rendered chicken fat is called schmaltz and is common in traditional Jewish cooking. The process to render your own chicken fat takes about an hour and is a similar process for any kinds of animal fats.
We buy meat in bulk and I usually get a kilo each of chicken breasts and thighs – skin on. I trim and cut the meat and divide it into portions before freezing – this makes cooking dinner quick and easy.
And the chicken skin goes straight into the fry pan to render.
Here’s how you do it.
Winter is nearly upon us once again and along with getting out the winter woollies (ok, I’m with you in spirit on that one, it doesn’t quite get that cold here in Queensland), it is also time to prepare for the cold and flu season.
Our family is just getting over another bout of gastro. I understand there was quite an epidemic of gastro that swept across the northern hemisphere this past winter, and we are to expect similar here in Australia.
The last couple of weeks haven’t been fun, and trying to get all the bedding and towels washed and dried in all this pouring rain (on top of the regular washing) has been a challenge.
Getting sick is not only not fun, it can be costly. There is the time off work which can reduce your income if you don’t have any sick leave. There is the cost of doctor’s visits and medication. There is also the cost of the conveniences you fall back on when sick (disposable nappies in our case).
While most of us can’t avoid ever getting sick, it pays to take steps to strengthen your immune system especially if you put into practice the following six frugal immune boosting tips that won’t cost you anything extra but may just save you from the worst of the winter ills.
“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. Time will pass anyway.” Earl Nightingale.
When I was a teenager, I would sometimes stay with my great-aunt, who is now in her 90’s. She doesn’t volunteer at the Salvos these days, but she still attends her weekly yoga class.
On these visits, my great-aunt would get out the old albums and reminisce about days gone by. She told me once that her dream before she got married was to have a house with a pink bathroom.
Before marriage, it used to be common to build up a glory box or hope chest with linens and other household items required when starting out. And a young lady’s trousseau would not have be complete without a Royal Albert tea set.