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Friday, December 9, 2011

Rootbeer and Water Keifer Soda

Mark and I have been on the hunt for a root beer recipe that we not only like but love. A recipe that would some what resemble some of the natural root beers we've tasted. We tried making root beer with whey, we've tried making root beer with a ginger bug, we tried making root beer by making an extract and adding club soda to it. None of these gave us the taste we were craving. I wasn't discouraged, because I knew there had to be a source out there, somewhere! Low and behold after looking and looking all over the internet I finally found something I thought might get us close to what we were looking for and I was right.  While mark prefers root beer keifer, I prefer juice keifer. Keifer is chalk full of probiotics, you know those things yogurt companies push so hard for people to buy, same thing, except more potent!  Mark is a purest, he likes things the way they are suppose to taste, and nothing else. He will try just about anything, but it's hard to sway him from the original. The fact that he likes the root beer keifer is a miracle in and of itself!

To make a gallon of Water Kiefer you need:
this recipe makes 1 gallon of water keifer
* 1 cup water keifer grains
* lemon juice from a 1/4 of a lemon
* 1 cup natural sugar (rapadura, sucanant, etc.)
* 1 dried prune or other dehydrated fruit
* 1 gallon of filtered water

Add first 4 ingredients to your gallon container, then pour your gallon of filtered over your four ingredients. Your brew needs to be able to breath and mix with the air, you can do this by placing a kitchen towel over your container with a rubber band around the lid of the jar (this lets it breath without getting bugs in it). Your keifer is done when the prune or dried fruit is floating on the top or is nice and bubbly.

To make root beer syrup:
1 tablespoon licorice root
3 tablespoons sarsaparilla root
1 vanilla bean
1 anise star
1 cinnamon stick
couple drops wintergreen extract
1 qt. filtered water

Put all ingredients in a pan and then pour the 1 quart water over ingredients. Let water come to a simmer. Try not to let it boil, because boiling the spices can cause them to become bitter tasting. Let ingredients simmer for about 45 minute's. Let cool, then add root beer syrup to water keifer.  Put all the ingredients together in a gallon container, then fill the container up with water, set the container on the counter until the dried fruit floats to the top. When the water keifer is ready you are ready to make keifer soda!

 I don't have a bunch of soda bottles to divide up my keifer so I use 1/2 gallon glass jars. I fill the half gallon jar with 1/2 flavor of any juice I have a hankering for at the moment and 1/2 of the keifer water into a 1/2 gallon jar, screw lid on tightly, then taste everyday until you each the desired taste you prefer. You can use fresh chopped ginger for ginger ale, lemon for lemonade (I want to try lemonade sometime), vanilla beans for cream soda tasting keifer. The key to water keifer is to keep trying until you get the tastes you are looking for. For the first round, to get your confidence going, I would suggest using 1/2 juice and 1/2 water keifer and then adjusting your taste and creativity from there.

There's nothing better than a healthy, good for you, bubbly beverage with an amazing slice of homemade pizza!!!

What can I do with Vinegar?

Where do I even start! Vinegar is amazing stuff! Here is a list of a few ideas to get you started on your vinegar journey. Click on the vinegar link above to go to two different websites that have a lot more ideas for vinegar use!

Household Hints


No-wax floors:
To wash no-wax floors, add ½ cup of white distilled vinegar to a half-gallon of warm water.
Carpet stain removal:
A mixture of 1 teaspoon of liquid detergent and 1 teaspoon of white distilled vinegar in a pint of lukewarm water will remove non-oily stains from carpets. Apply it to the stain with a soft brush or towel and rub gently. Rinse with a towel moistened with clean water and blot dry. Repeat this procedure until the stain is gone. Then dry quickly, using a fan or hair dryer. This should be done as soon as the stain is discovered.

Windows & Walls

Streakless windows:
Simply wash with a mixture of equal parts of white distilled vinegar and warm water. Dry with a soft cloth. This solution will make your windows gleam and will not leave the usual film or streaks on the glass.
Washing woodwork:
You can ease the job of washing painted walls, woodwork and Venetian blinds by using a mixture of 1 cup ammonia, ½ cup white distilled or cider vinegar and ¼ cup baking soda with 1 gallon of warm water. Wipe this solution over walls or blinds with a sponge or cloth and rinse with clear water. Dirt and grime comes off easily and the solution will not dull the painted finish or leave streaks.
Water or alcohol marks on wood:
Stubborn rings resulting from wet glasses being placed on wood furniture may be removed by rubbing with a mixture of equal parts of white distilled vinegar and olive oil. Rub with the grain and polish for the best results.


Garbage disposal cleaner:
Garbage disposals may be kept clean and odor free with vinegar cubes. Vinegar cubes are made by filling an ice tray with a mixture of 1 cup of vinegar and enough water to fill the ice tray and then freezing it. Run the mixture through the disposal, and then flush it with cold water for a minute or so.
Coffee maker cleaner (automatic):
White distilled vinegar can help to dissolve mineral deposits that collect in automatic drip coffee makers from hard water. Fill the reservoir with white distilled vinegar and run it through a brewing cycle. Rinse thoroughly with water when the cycle is finished. (Be sure to check the owner’s manual for specific instructions.)
Clean the microwave:
Boil a solution of 1/4 cup of white distilled vinegar and 1 cup of water in the microwave. Will loosen splattered on food and deodorize.
Deodorize the kitchen drain:
Pour a cup of white distilled vinegar down the drain once a week. Let stand 30 minutes and then flush with cold water.
Clean the refrigerator:
Wash with a solution of equal parts water and white distilled vinegar.
Clean and disinfect wood cutting boards:
Wipe with full strength white distilled vinegar.
Brass polish:
Brass, copper and pewter will shine if cleaned with the following mixture. Dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of white distilled vinegar and stir in flour until it becomes a paste. Apply paste to the metals and let it stand for about 15 minutes. Rinse with clean warm water and polish until dry.
Ant deterrent:
Ant invasions can sometimes be deterred by washing counter tops, cabinets and floors with white distilled vinegar.
Getting Rid of Fruit Flies/Gnats in Your Kitchen
Place a bowl filled with ½ quart water, 2 Tbsp. sugar, 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar and a couple of drops of dish soap to attract the fruit flies. Always eliminate the source of attraction, i.e., ripened produce.
Cleaning Stainless Steel AppliancesApply vinegar with a soft cloth to remove streaks from stainless steel appliances. Try in an inconspicuous place first.
Cleaner Dishes and GlassesPour 1 ½ cup to 2 cups white distilled vinegar in the bottom of dishwasher, along with regular dishwasher soap. Wash full cycle.
Remove Refrigerator SmellsPlace 1 cup apple cider vinegar in a glass and set in refrigerator. Within 2 days, any smell is gone!


Bathtub film:
Bathtub film can be removed by wiping with white distilled vinegar and then with soda. Rinse clean with water.
Shower doors:
Rub down shower doors with a sponge soaked in white distilled vinegar to remove soap residue.
Toilet bowl cleaner:
Stubborn stains can be removed from the toilet by spraying them with white distilled vinegar and brushing vigorously. The bowl may be deodorized by adding 3 cups of white distilled vinegar. Allow it to remain for a half hour, then flush.
Unclog the showerhead:
Corrosion may be removed from showerheads or faucets by soaking them in white distilled vinegar overnight. This may be easily accomplished by saturating a terry cloth towel in vinegar and wrapping it around the showerhead or faucet.

What can I do with dryer lint?

My mom has always made fire starters, I can't remember a time when she hasn't. They are fabulous to get a quick fire started. We even used them once when we wanted to grill but realized we were out of lighter fluid. We put four fire starters under the coals, lit the fire starters, and it worked like a charm! I'm tempted to have this be our new and improved method of getting our coals going.

Here's what you'll need:
*  Dryer lint
*  Egg cartons
* Gulf wax
* quart size glass jar (the bigger the glass jar, the more wax you can melt at one time)
* Sauce pan with water filled half way up the jar (the water is what is going to help your wax melt the best)
* pot holder
* canning jar lifter (this makes taking the glass jar our of the hot water much, much easier)

1. It is easiest for me to keep egg cartons next to my dryer, every time I empty the lint trap I simply stuff the egg cartons with the lint. You could also keep a container next to your dryer for storing your lint until you are ready to stuff your containers. Either would work just fine.

2. When you have all the lint you need and egg cartons filled with lint, you're ready to melt your wax. Fill the glass jar with wax, pour water in the sauce pan so it is half way up the outside of the glass jar. You want to melt your wax slowly on medium heat and adjust your heat so your water is simmering.

3. When the wax in the glass jar has melted down to about half way, pour it over the lint in your egg cartons until each section in the egg carton is well coated.

4. Return glass jar to hot water and repeat step 3.

4. Once the egg cartons are filled, set aside to cool. Once cool you can break them apart into as big or as small of sections as you would like. I store our fire starters in a plastic bag in our basement next to our camping/fire stuff.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Parenting isn't about going insane, it's about getting creative!

The last couple of weeks I am positive my hair has gotten a tinge of gray and/or a bunch has fallen out. The twins will hit the 23 month mark in a week, but they are acting more and more like 2 year old everyday. They are both strong willed and stubborn, but not about the same things. They often do what I least expect them to do. Going on week number two of feeling like I can't get my feet underneath me. Thankfully, God has taught me that when I feel crazy and out of control, it's when I need to take a deep breath and evaluate WITH God what is really going on. I need to pray and seek wisdom from God who gives it abundantly when we ask. So, I have been praying and praying and praying some more. I have stepped back and looked at what is going on emotionally with myself and how I need to train my kids differently or creatively.

In regards to the twins I am learning that I need to step back and pick and choose my battles. I have also realized that I do not give my twins enough room or opportunity to let them explore. One of the things I want to do to help accomplish this is to make a few sensory boxes. Finding soft things, squishy things, slimy things, round, square, shiny, etc. will go into these boxes. It is winter time which is a fantastic time for sensory time. Winter doesn't always allow us to go outside, but that doesn't mean it keeps us from bringing the winter inside. I put snow in different size bowls, put cookie sheets under the bowls, give them spoons and other things to transfer the snow into and let them go to town. The great thing about snow is it's perfectly edible and hydrating!

When Maddie is frustrated with handwriting, someone takes a toy, or something is not going the way she wants it to, she often freaks out and breaks out in a horrible fit of crying and whining. I have been praying for wisdom and insight into how to train her in this area of her life. I went to my go to parenting sight, Focus on the Family, for insight into how to deal with her outbursts. What I walked away from with was that I need to teach Maddie self-control. I need to teach her how to conduct herself when someone takes a toy, hits her, fidgeting at the table, or multiple other situations in life that she is going to need self-control.

Self-control fits very nicely in what I have recently been trying to teach her. Maddie and I have been talking about what it is to be a Godly role model. When she has wronged Titus or Naomi, I have her apologize for whatever she did or didn't do to them, but I also have her apologize and ask forgiveness for not being a Godly role model to them as well.

I was also reminded today that parenting is not about going insane and letting my kids fry my brain and emotions until there is nothing left but a pool of mushy mommy with no stamina left to do anything. In these crazy times it's about getting creative, not going insane!

What are some creative discipline ideas you have come up with to keep you from going insane?

Where do I find ________ for tonic

Some of you are going to ask me where do I find horseradish root, where do I find ginger. At my local super market they are usually all near each other right next to the jalapenos and close to the fresh herbs. However, if you don't have the time, don't want to bundle your kids up to search five differnt stores looking for the ingredients. I recommend calling your local grocery stores or natural store to find out which stores have the ingredients you are looking for. You may find one of them has all of them at one location. This will save you time, energy, and gas money! To give you an idea of what you are looking for I posted pictures below.

 Horseradish root

 Ginger Root

Garlic Cloves

Vinegar is not only fabulous for making tonic!
It makes a fabulous hair rinse, bathroom cleaner,
add it to your laundry to help prevent static cling!
Vinegar is  amazing potent, natural stuff!

Kick what ailes you Tonic!!!

 Our brewing tonic

 What the tonic looks like after it's strained,
as you can tell I need to get another batch brewing

The finished and strained tonic on the left
and the brewing tonic on the right

In an early post about tonic I shared the amazing effects tonic has had on our family. It truly has been amazing! I also wanted to post the recipes for the tonic. I am going to post two recipes. I have only made the first recipe and I can personally give my seal of approval on. The second recipe I haven't tried yet, but might be a little bit more kid friendly, but I don't know yet since I haven't made it. But it is next on my list to try!

Master Tonic #1
- A Natural Antibiotic: antiviral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-parasitical.
1 part fresh chopped garlic
1 part fresh chopped Onion
1 part fresh grated Ginger Root
1 part fresh grated Horseradish Root
1 part fresh chopped Cayenne Peppers or any peppers available.
Apple Cider Vinegar (Raw Unfiltered Unbleached Non-distilled)
Fill a glass jar 3/4 of the way full with equal parts by volume of the above fresh chopped and grated herbs. Then fill jar to the top with raw apple cider vinegar. Close and shake vigorously
Shake at least once a day for two weeks, and then filter the mixture through a clean piece of cloth or filter, bottle and label. Make sure that when you make this tonic that you shake it every time you walk by it, a minimum of once per day. Remember that all the herbs and vegetables should be fresh (and organically grown if possible) and use dried herbs only in an emergency.
This tonic is extremely powerful because all the ingredients are fresh. Its power should not be underestimated. This formula is a modern day plague tonic and when added to an incurable routine it can cure the most chronic conditions and stubborn diseases. It stimulates maximum blood circulation, while putting the best detoxifying herbs into the blood. This formula is not just for the sniffles, it has helped to turn around the deadliest infections like some of the new mutated killer viruses that defy conventional antibiotics.
The dosage is 1 or 2 ounce, two or more times daily. Swish and swallow. (Don’t dilute with water.)
For ordinary infections, a dose taken 5-6 times a day will deal with most conditions. It can be used during pregnancies, is safe for children (use smaller doses and as a food is completely non-toxic. Make up plenty as it does not need refrigeration and lasts indefinitely without any special storage conditions.
Ingredient properties:
-Garlic cloves (anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-parasitical)
-White Onion, or hottest onions available (similar properties to garlic)
-Ginger Root (increases circulation to the extremities)
-Horseradish Root (increases blood flow to the head)
-Cayenne Peppers, or the hottest peppers available, i.e. Jalapeno, etc. (a great blood stimulant).
Garlic is a broad spectrum antibiotic, destroying both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. Unlike chemical antibiotics that kill off the millions of friendly bacteria that your body needs, Garlic only kills the bad guys and even promotes and increases your healthy bacteria. It is also a very potent anti-viral which really makes it a specific for colds, influenza and upper respiratory infections. Garlic is also a powerful anti-fungal and literally destroys any antigen, pathogen and any harmful or disease causing micro-organism that can hurt you. Onion is Garlic’s next of kin and has a similar but milder action. Together they are a killing duo. Horseradish is a potent herb for the sinus and lungs. It opens up the sinus passages and increases the circulation there, where, most doctors agree, the common cold and influenza often starts. Cayenne and Ginger are like a nuclear blast to your body’s circulation. This powerful tag team will unblock anything, anywhere!
So just imagine, you have the two strongest herbs to kill EVERY germ known and the three most powerful herbs to blast them around your entire body. It doesn’t get any better.

Master Tonic #2

  • 1/4 c. ginger root, freshly grated
  • 1/4 c. onion, freshly chopped
  • 1/4 c. fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1/4 c. fresh sage leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 c. grated horseradish
  • 4 cloves of garlic (you can up it to 6, if you feel adventurous)
  • 2 Tbsp. ground cayenne pepper
  • organic apple cider vinegar to cover
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a quart size mason jar, and fill to the top, leaving 1 inch head space.
  2. Shake daily for two to four weeks, then strain, squeezing out all the liquid.
  3. Heat gently over heat, and add 1/4 c. of honey, stirring to dissolve.
  4. Rebottle, and use as needed to kick any feeling of sick right out of you!
I usually use 2 tablespoons in a cup of hot water, and sip it as needed. I've also used it in chicken broth as well, to give an extra boost of nutrition when I haven't felt up to eating anything.
Now all that's needed is to decide which recipe is right for you and your family!


My husband suffers from chronic sinus infections, infections that have been known to lay him flat for weeks. He has tried antibiotics, but his gut cannot handle the antibiotics. I believe he does not have enough gut flora to handle the large doses it takes to kick it from his body. Every time he took antibiotics he had to take another medicine to help him with the nasty side effects of the antibiotic. We were desperate to find something to help him without the nasty side effects from other medicines. After researching different remedies on the Internet I found a website that had a recipe for what they called 'tonic', it sounded nasty, but it also sounded like everything in it would kick whatever ailed him! Kicking what ailed him and then some! We made our first batch the end of September, he took his first dose and it was amazing! He said he could feel his sinuses opening immediately, he could feel the mucus draining from even his ears! He takes the tonic pretty much every day, BUT he has NOT had a sinus infection in the time he has been taking the tonic! He knows his body well enough that he can tell when he's about to get a sinus infection. When he feels his body going through the motions of a sinus infection, he takes the tonic, and he kicks whatever causes the infections out of his body.

Mark and I also have 23 month old twins Naomi and Titus, who are on their third round of pneumonia. I have desperately wanted to introduce them to the tonic. But it is potent stuff and I didn't want to torture them. I got to a spot were I was desperate to try anything! Again we were dealing with antibiotics, but they were also introducing the twins bodies to steroids. Both which make me shutter for the affects they are doing to their little bodies.  A few days after Titus was diagnosed with pneumonia again, Naomi got it again too. They are a little too good at sharing. Naomi sound croupy and hoarse and started getting wheeze. After consulting Mark and having him give me a pep talk, I got out the tonic. I dosed out a 1/4 of a tsp and gave it to Naomi. Her face said everything I thought it would! The look of mom this stuff is disgusting, icky! But, she drank it and I gave her a chaser of juice after it. Literally one and half hours later she was sitting on the couch playing with her toy computer, a little later she was down playing! Her croupy cough had cleared up, her wheeziness had cleared up! She came to me a little bit later after playing and was tired of course, she is still fighting something in her body, so I put her down for a good old fashioned nap! When she wakes up I fully intend to give her another 1/4 tsp. of tonic, and I will give her another one at supper. I will post later how the tonic works for her as we go along.

For now, everyone in our family is going to take tonic everyday! Mark and I will take about 3 Tbsp, 3x's a day. The kids will take 1/4 tsp., 3x's a day. We are going to take it until whatever funk is in our body gets kicked out!!!

I was hesitant to give the tonic to our kids. I didn't want to be mean, I didn't want to torture them, BUT I did want to heal them!  My cousin Angie was a GREAT encouragement to me to get the kids use to it when they are little instead of waiting until they were bigger. I gave the tonic to our soon to be 5 year old. She said mommy not that yucky stuff! I said, Maddie you can either get sick and not be able to play with Grandma or your friends or you can take the yucky medicine and be able to play! She voted for the nasty medicine!