Friday, January 23, 2015

Portable Outdoor Cement Block Cook Station

I found this picture and it looks perfect for not just backyard use, but if you needed an emergency way to cook your food.  Easy to set up and cheap too!  One of the most needed items after a natural disaster is a way to cook food.  It's portable too o you could take it to the mountains or other location.
Found HERE

Friday, January 16, 2015

Zim's Petroleum Free Natural Vapor Rub Review/Giveaway!

Zim's USA
As a mom of four kids, I have a well stocked cold and flu shelf out of necessity.  Every winter brings its coughs, colds and runny noses.  There seemed to be little option but over the counter meds for many of my go to products to treat them.  But now I have been introduced to Zim's Naturally based Products
Zim's® started over 60 years ago with the creation of Zim's Crack Creme® by a pharmacist in Austintown, Ohio. Today, the Zim's® brand has expanded to over 25 products ranging from lotions and cremes to pain relief gels and diabetic care items. The Zim's Max-Freeze® brand provides an affordable topical pain relief gel that emphasizes the use of natural ingredients such as Ilex Flower and Aloe Vera.

When Zim's offered to let me review their Petroleum Free Advanced Vapor Rub I was more than happy to try it.   I pretty much am sold on any product that not only is natural, but also WORKS!  And trust me the Zim's products got a thorough testing! I got a cough as well as two of my kids.

Zim's Advanced Vapor Rub is 100% natural and contains natural menthol, arnica extract, aloe vera, camphor, coconut oil, white beeswax, and eucalyptus globulus. The formula is great for those seeking natural alternatives and parents not wanting to use harsh chemical products on children.

undefinedVapor Rub is available in your choice of traditional jar or the new, contemporary 4-ounce tube with a no-mess, easy-on applicator. The tube allows you to keep your hands clean when applying the vapor rub with its cool and clean application.

I really liked the smell of the vapor rub and it worked well for clearing my stuffy nose and quieting my cough.  The kids were good with it too and it didn't burn like traditional vapor rubs can.  I would recommend this product for your colds.

Connect With Zim's USA


The Giveaway!

 Zim's USA has generously offered to give one lucky Thrifty Housewife reader their own 4 oz tube of Zim's Advanced Vapor Rub.   Use the Rafflecopter link below to enter, all entries are optional, all winning entries will be verified for completion.  Good Luck!

The Thrifty Housewife was not compensated for this post, I did receive a sample product(s) for the purposes of review. This did not influence my review or my opinions. My views are 100% my own. This giveaway is not affiliated with facebook, pinterest, twitter, or any other social media website.  The winner will be chosen through the rafflecopter form which uses  Winner will be notified by email within 48 hours of contest end.  Winner has 24 hours to respond to the  email.  Failure to respond will result in a new winner being chosen.  Open to US only.  All Entries are verified.  The Thrifty Housewife is not responsible for prize fulfillment.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Video- Easy Detailed Step-by-Step Guide to Make Some Beer

Fermenting has always seemed a mysterious process to me, somewhat like alchemy.  Be it fermenting sauerkraut or making your own homebrew.  However I have found it to be pretty simple once you get the basics down.  This awesomely simple video from the Brooklyn Brew Shop shows how to make beer at home and boy does it look easy!  I might be trying this soon!  Brooklyn Brewshop also sells great beer brewing kits with everything you need to start home brewing. 

This post contains affiliate links.  I was no way compensated by the company.  By clicking on the product links I may receive a small commission.  This helps fund my blog!

Monday, January 12, 2015

What it's like to REALLY be self sufficient and live off the land

I just found this great video series on youtube called Happy People.  I haven't watched the whole thing yet but it shows a community that for generations has been living off the land with very few modern conveniences.  This is my ultimate goal in life.  To have no mortgage, tv, and produce almost all of my own food.  Strange as it sounds that's what makes me happy.  If you have ever wondered what that would be like watching this show is much more realistic than the hyped up and somewhat fake "reality" shows you see. 


Friday, January 9, 2015

Tips For Rendering Snow White Lard

I have actually rendered my own beef lard and pork lard.  It was a big learning experience!  This was before I had  surgery and I have yet to do it again because not only did I get about 50 pounds of rendered lard, but also I have not had the energy to try again.  I have enjoyed using it for baking and cooking and it is much cheaper than butter or Crisco (yuck!).  I was originally going to use it to make soap and candles and then sell them, but then we found out about my tumor and I put all plans on hold.  We will be moving in just a few weeks so I am planning to start my little business up after that and try rendering more lard then.  This article is great and exactly how I did it.  Reformation Acres is a great homesteading website!  Click HERE to go to the article.
Rendering lard doesn't have to be tricky! Here are 6 tricks I use to get snow white lard. |

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Review/Giveaway Curious Cork Wines - Trying New Things!

Do you like wine?  Are you interested in trying new things?  Well if the answer is yes to either of those questions you will like Curious Cork Imports.  This is a pretty cool company that doesn't just sell wines, but tells you about the story of where they come from, their tasting notes, and their history.  I found that part fascinating.

Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 4.40.28 PMAlso Curious Cork Imports makes it pretty simple to understand what kind of wine your getting. That is especially important for wine newbies like me.

Choosing a good wine for a hostess gift is always appreciated so the resources found on Curious Cork Imports make it simple.

Connect with Curious Cork


The Giveaway

Curious Cork Imports is giving one lucky Thrifty Housewife reader a surprise bottle of wine!  Enter to win using the link to the rafflecopter form below.  All entries are optional, all winning entries are checked for completion. Open to USA only.
The Thrifty Housewife was not compensated for this post, I did receive a sample product(s) for the purposes of review. This did not influence my review or my opinions. My views are 100% my own. This giveaway is not affiliated with facebook, pinterest, twitter, or any other social media website.  The winner will be chosen through the rafflecopter form which uses  Winner will be notified by email within 48 hours of contest end.  Winner has 24 hours to respond to the  email.  Failure to respond will result in a new winner being chosen.  The Thrifty Housewife is not responsible for prize fulfillment. Open to US only.

Monday, January 5, 2015

8 Reasons Why You Should Probably Start Eating Carrot Greens

Image Via Fotolia
Image Via Fotolia

I have always admired the feathery rich green of carrot tops but never thought of eating them! I always just tossed them to our chickens or rabbits and boy did they love them.  The information on the is article from Live Love Fruit is really interesting and I can't wait for spring so I can plant my carrots and use the tops too!  Go HERE to read about how eating carrot greens can improve your health.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Review/Giveaway Pleasant Hill Grain Butter Bells - The perfect way to store butter

Pleasant Hill Grain, based in Nebraska is a company that carries all sorts of products to help you live a more self sufficient life.  From grain mills, juicers, bread ovens, meat grinders, and different food processors to long term food storage, baking supplies, whole grains, and even garden seeds.

They only carry the highest quality kitchen appliances and foods.  When they asked me if I would like to review their line of Butter Keeper Crocks I was more than happy to agree.  I have seen butter bells before and they are a great way to keep your butter fresh and spreadable in any weather.  In the hottest summer you fill the well with clean water and it keeps your butter from melting, but still spreadable.  They come in a wide selection of different colors and styles you can see HERE.  I had such a hard time picking, but since I love blue and that's the color of my kitchen I picked the Butter Bell Retro Collection in Royal blue $19.95.

Butter Bell Retro Collection When I received it I put it right in the dishwasher (Yay dishwasher safe) and then filled it with butter.  I was really happy with the quality of the craftsmanship.  It is really durable, but still attractive.  So far after weeks of use there are no chips, even with 4 kids.  They love using it by the way and think its really "cool".  After using all the butter up I just pop it into the dishwasher to clean.  Very easy!

Pleasant Hill's Butter Bells are such a great product and would make a unique and useful gift.  I know that any hostess would love to get one of these!

I would recommend Pleasant Hill Grain to anyone looking for well priced high quality baking supplies, home good, and kitchen appliances.

Connect with Pleasant Hill Grain



Pleasant Hill Grain has been super generous by offering to give one lucky Thrifty Housewife reader Their choice of Butter Keeper Crock!  Use the rafflecopter form by clicking the link below to enter, all entries are optional, all winning entries will be verified for completion.  Good Luck!

The Thrifty Housewife was not compensated for this post, I did receive a sample product(s) for the purposes of review. This did not influence my review or my opinions. My views are 100% my own. This giveaway is not affiliated with facebook, pinterest, twitter, or any other social media website.  The winner will be chosen through the rafflecopter form which uses  Winner will be notified by email within 48 hours of contest end.  Winner has 24 hours to respond to the  email.  Failure to respond will result in a new winner being chosen.  The Thrifty Housewife is not responsible for prize fulfillment. Open to US only.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Info Graph How Big A Backyard Do You Need to Live Off The Land

I love this info graph.  It makes it easy to visualize how much property you need to produce most of your own food.  Found at Treehugger.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

How To Make A No-Dig Garden Bed

Are you thinking of spring and getting into the garden?  I know I am.  Last year I grew a nice big garden, but due to my illness ended up not harvesting about half of it.  Lucky for me we had sheep and chickens who enjoyed the bounty of greens.  This year we are going to have a much smaller area to garden, but that just makes garden planning all the more fun because you have to get creative!  Here is a great post about making no dig garden beds.  There is nothing harder than breaking sod so this is a great survival article or for people who don't have the endurance to break a large amount of ground.  Go HERE to see the article.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Holiday Gift Guide - Minted

I know it's last minute, but then again that's when allot of people panic shop!   There is nothing worse than giving (or receiving a gift)  that you know the person just picked up out of desperation.  If you are looking for a last minuet gift I would heartily recommend a great company called MintedMinted is an online company that carries high quality Holiday Cards, Unique Artwork, Fabrics, Stationary, and Wedding Invitations.

The reason I am recommending them is because they have such great artwork and other products!  You can easily buy a gift card to give to that special person on your list and the neat thing is they can pick what art speaks to them.  This is perfect for that person who seems to have everything.  EVERYONE likes a beautiful picture to hang on their wall and Minted has something to suit every taste.
Wildflowers Day Planner, Notebook, or Address Book
Minted also has great gift like Stationary, Photo Gifts, Map Gifts (very unique), and more!  As I am a borderline obsessive about stationary I love their line! 

So if you have someone on your list or just as a treat yourself check Minted out.



How to Find Them


The Thrifty Housewife was compensated for this post. This did not influence my review or my opinions. My views are 100% my own. This review is not affiliated with facebook, pinterest, twitter, or any other social media website. 

Monday, December 22, 2014

How to keep your chickens laying through winter

I love my chickens.  They are the most easy care and rewarding of all farm animals in my opinion.  But I am also a pragmatist.  My chickens are here to DO something, and that something is lay eggs.  These are not pets, they are food producers that I also find beautiful and entertaining.  I provide them with a clean living environment, free ranging fun, food, and protection, and they provide me with eggs.  When they stop laying eggs my family eats them.  Some chicken owners may wince at this outlook but my family lives on a shoestring and we cant afford to feed animals that aren't giving something back.  Our dog provides protection, alerts us to strangers and danger, hunts, while also being a great companion, our sheep provide lambs and eat down weeds and pasture, our cats keep the mice down.  I strive to give each animal a happy life.  But to me it must also be a useful life.

As you can imagine I want to keep my hens laying throughout the winter.  This can be a problem as the temperature drops and there is less light. The old proverb "An ounce of Prevention is worth a pound of Cure" is so true when it comes to raising animals.  Here are the challenges you must combat in the winter and how to counteract them.

Water:  Unfrozen water is absolutely essential to egg production.  Even one day without water can throw off egg laying for days.  I like to use a automatic waterer and check it every day in winter to make sure it hasn't froze up.

Shelter:  Most animals need shelter in winter and chickens are no exception.  In fact if you want eggs it's best to provide a shelter that is well sealed against the elements.  Not only will this keep your hens safe from colder temperatures and predators, but it will also give them a place to lay your eggs that you can find easily.

Solution:  Shelter doesn't have to be fancy for chickens to be happy.  If you don't already have a chicken coop a truck cap is enough in a pinch. You could also use straw bales with a sheet of plywood over it.  It simply needs to be draft free, keep out the rain and snow, and be fairly easy for you to get into to check for eggs.

Food:  Many homesteaders believe in letting chickens forage for themselves while not providing food. This may work ok in the summer when food is plentiful, but if you want eggs in winter you will need to provide feed to your chickens.  Also it is pretty cruel to not feed your chickens in winter when there is so little to forage for.

Solution: Buying bags of layer pellet feed is the best option.  Also providing corn or scratch will help your chickens maintain condition through the cold with its nice high protein content.  The more energy your chickens expend on keeping warm the less eggs they will lay, as that energy is going to come from either their body or their food.

Breed Selection:  Some chickens are better suited to certain climates than others.  In fact there are some chicken breeds that will literally die if they go through a typical northern winter.  So breed selection is very important to your winter egg production.

Solution:  If you live where it gets cold and dark in winter then choose chickens that are known to lay well in winter.  My favorites are Buff Orpingtons, Black Australorps, and Araucanas as we live in a very cold winter area.  A good place to compare different breed of chicken is the Murray McMurray Hatchery website.  In their descriptions of the different breeds they specifically note which chickens are good at winter laying.

Light:  This in fact is the most important and least understood reason that chickens stop laying.  Chickens need a certain amount of daylight to keep laying.  When it falls off their bodies tell them to stop laying until springs extended sun hours arrive.

Solution:  Put a light in your chicken coop and leave it on.  You can shut if off at night if you want but we don't because it adds heat and the chickens do fine.

Heat:  Chickens need heat to produce eggs.  If they are too cold they will stop laying because most of the food they eat goes to heat production not egg production.

Solution:  The easiest way to heat your coop is have a heat lamp hanging from the roof inside.   These can be picked up at any feed store or even Walmart for less than $30.00. You can choose from white or red bulbs. The bonus to red is that it helps to prevent chickens from picking at each other.   Also sealing any holes and drafts will help immensely.

Litter:  What you use for chicken litter will depend on your personal preferences.  I like pine wood shavings because they mix well with the manure and absorb and dry it while adding a nice scent.  Having a layer of dry litter is important to laying production because if your wet your cold.  Also chicken manure is high in ammonia and lets off the stuff in large amounts.  This can irritate your chickens lungs.  Your chickens will be spending much more time in their coop during cold weather so keeping their coop dry and their air clean will help with egg production.

Solution: Every week spread an inch or more of litter in your coop.  Adjust frequency and amount as needed.

Supplement's:  Egg laying chickens use allot of nutrients to produce an egg a day.  Providing a balanced diet is easy if you use layer pellets. 

Solution:  Provide oyster shells for added calcium even if your using layer pellets.  Chickens will take what they need.  Also providing grit is also a good idea since dirt may be covered with snow and if your feeding corn or scratch they need the grit to grind the grains.

Cod Liver Oil:  An essential supplement that I have found highly effective to keeping my chickens in lay is Cod Liver Oil.  The reason why is that not only does cod liver oil provide omega oils, it also is a great provider of Vitamin D.  Now the interesting thing about Vitamin D is that it is produced by sunshine.  Human bodies cannot produce it on its own.  This is why mothers a hundred years ago made there children take a spoonful of cod liver oil every day in the winter.  Are vitamin D levels an influence on egg production, cueing the chickens brain back into laying?  I don't know but it works every time I use it.

How to Use:  I simply buy a big bottle of the cheaper Cod Liver liquid jells and cut them open.  Then I squirt them into the water of my chickens.  That way they get the same  dose approximately.  I figure one pill per chicken for a few days until egg production starts up again.  Then the same dose a few times a week.  Be sure to use this in conjunction with a light in your coop.

Green Stuff:  Chickens loves fresh green stuff like lettuces, grass, and weeds.  You can sprout your own greens at home super easy.  I love my Easy Sprouter and you can find it on by clicking HERE.  The Easy Sprouter is of course for human use, but providing such high nutrition greens to your chickens will not only help them lay, but also make their eggs taste better.  Or you can give them leftover salad that has wilted. Another option is to ask your local grocer for produce that they are going to throw out.  Your chickens will bless you for the treats.  Just avoid onions, garlic, cabbage, and any of the brassica vegetables as they can give a bad taste to your eggs.

I hope this helps other chicken raisers to keep their hens healthy and laying all winter.

This post contains affiliate links.  By clicking the link I may receive a small commission.  This in no way effects your price.  I was not compensated for the mention or recommendation of any products.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Free Amazon Books - Prepper's Survival Medicine Handbook, Paleo Gluten Free Slow Cooker

Two free books from my affiliate partner on Amazon at time of posting.  Enjoy!

The Truth Of Christmas

I am not alone at all, I thought.  I was never alone at all.  And that, of course, is the message of Christmas.  We are never alone.  Not when the night is darkest, the wind coldest, the world seemingly most indifferent.  For this is still the time God chooses.

--Taylor Caldwell

I have gone through times of hardship, loss, bad health, and rejection.  There have been times of dejection and depression when I couldn't see how life could get better. And as a born again Christian I can look at two different times in my life.  My life before Jesus, and my life after.  Before I followed Christ each new crises was horrible and overwhelming.  But the worst part was not the events themselves, but how I reacted to them.  My fear, anger, and depression made me miserable.

My life after I begged (yes begged) for Christ to come into my life couldn't be more different.  It's not that life has suddenly become perfect or that bad things no longer happen.  It's that God had given me a peace that surpasses understanding Philippians 4:7.

But how did I come to this peace?  It sure wasn't easy as I have trust issues.  First I had to remember that God is always with me.  Then, which was even harder, I had to let my will go.  Meaning I had to let go of all my dreams, plans, ambitions and instead tell God.  "Ok I've tried this whole doing things on my own and it only seems to screw things up more.  So God I'm giving up my will to you.  Even though I'm scared, even though I don't know how this is going to turn out, even though it means giving up things I thought I wanted I'm trusting You.  Do what You will in my life and I will praise You.

And you know what the really weird thing was?  Ok it was weird to me anyways!  When I gave up my will to God, suddenly all sorts of amazing things started to happen.  Blessing poured on our family, and the bad stuff, although still there, I had total peace with.  I cannot begin to describe the way that has changed my life.  How it has been improved and how very thankful I am to God for that blessing.

The reason Jesus came is so that we never have to be alone or rejected again.  Even though people or the world may reject us, hurt us. He never will.  He will always love us and be there.  So trust Him, He is there.  He is just waiting for you to ask Him in.

My favorite Bible verse, the one that seems to embody my walk is.

Isaiah 12:2 New King James Version (NKJV)

 God is my salvation,
I will trust and not be afraid;
‘The Lord the Lord, is my strength and song;
He has become my salvation.’”[a]