Your A Guide to Living Well: From History Until Modern Days

Welcome to a journey that shows you how to find happiness in simplicity and strong community ties, rather than in material wealth. This article is a treasure trove of stories and tips on enjoying life without relying on the latest gadgets, and creative ways to make the most of what you have.

It celebrates the power of support networks – from families braving tough times together to age-old wisdom that teaches us to shine with less. It’s all about finding strength and joy within ourselves and our communities, proving that the best things in life aren’t things at all.

women outdoor rear view

Join us in discovering how embracing the simple, the heartfelt, and the homemade can lead to a deeply fulfilling life.

Mennonite House Cleaning: A Blend of Tradition and Simplicity

Mennonite house cleaning stands out for its meticulousness and simplicity, often leading to homes that exude warmth and tidiness. This approach to housekeeping, deeply rooted in Mennonite ways of living, offers practical insights into maintaining an orderly home. Their methods, often discussed in Mennonite mom blogs, provide valuable tips for anyone looking to improve their home management skills.

How to Live Like a Mennonite: Embracing Simple Living

like a Mennonite doesn’t necessarily mean adopting all their customs. It’s more about embracing the values of simplicity, family, and community. This lifestyle is beautifully reflected in Mennonite blogs, which often share stories and experiences from their everyday life, showcasing a deep commitment to family and community values.

Housekeeping Like the Amish: Prioritizing Order and Functionality

Similar to their Mennonite counterparts, the Amish approach to housekeeping emphasizes order, functionality, and simplicity. The Amish and Mennonite communities, while distinct, share common values in how they manage and maintain their homes. These principles can be applied by anyone to create a harmonious and functional living space.

The Mennonite Mom: Balancing Tradition and Modern Challenges

The role of a Mennonite mom often involves juggling traditional homemaking responsibilities with the challenges of modern living. Mennonite mom blogs offer a window into how these women skillfully balance these aspects, providing inspiration and practical advice for mothers everywhere.

You Know You’re a Mennonite When: Embracing Homemaking with Joy

The phrase “You know you’re a Mennonite when” often leads to humorous and relatable anecdotes about everyday life in a Mennonite household. These snippets, sometimes shared on blogs or in community gatherings, reflect the unique aspects of Mennonite life, especially in the realm of homemaking and community living.

Keephouse: The Mennonite Art of Homemaking

The term “keephouse” in Mennonite communities refers to the art and practice of maintaining a home. This encompasses more than just cleaning; it’s about creating a welcoming, functional space for family and guests alike. It involves a blend of time-honored practices and adaptable skills suited to contemporary needs.

In the world of Mennonite blogs, the stories and experiences of Mennonite moms are a common theme. These blogs often explore ‘What is a Mennonite mom?’ revealing a life dedicated to family, faith, and community. The Mennonite mom is celebrated for her ability to blend traditional homemaking with the challenges of modern life. Just as the song “Who Sings Clean This House” reflects a commitment to order and tranquility, these blogs showcase the Mennonite mom’s devotion to creating a harmonious and well-managed home.

Applying Mennonite Homemaking Wisdom in Today’s World

Incorporating Mennonite homemaking wisdom into modern life can lead to a more organized, peaceful home environment. These time-tested methods, combined with a spirit of simplicity and community, offer valuable lessons for anyone looking to enhance their homemaking skills. Whether it’s through following a Mennonite mom blog for tips or adopting Mennonite cleaning practices, there’s much to learn and apply from this rich cultural heritage.

Decoding the Mennonite Dress Code

  • Details behind Mennonite women’s clothing and skirts, and understand the beliefs that dictate why Mennonite women cover their heads with specific head coverings.
  • How Mennonite men’s clothing and head coverings, including why Mennonites wear hats and caps, illustrate a commitment to a humble lifestyle.

Mennonite attire is more than fabric and thread—it’s a visual sermon of their faith and unity. How do Mennonites dress? They choose Mennonite skirts and dresses for women, and practical, modest attire for men, each piece symbolizing their dedication to a modest, simple life. Mennonite clothing is distinctive, and while there are similarities between Mennonite and Amish dress, subtle differences in style and fabric set them apart.

This piece offers an in-depth look at Mennonite clothing, from the traditional Mennonite clothing styles to the subtleties of Mennonite vs Amish clothing. It explores the cultural and spiritual reasons behind the unique Mennonite dress code, including why Mennonite women cover their heads and the significance of Mennonite men’s clothing.

Traditions and Customs in Mennonite Women’s Fashion

Mennonite women’s dress and skirts are steeped in tradition. Each bonnet, each hemline, tells a story of faith and community. Why do Mennonite women cover their heads? It’s a profound symbol of modesty and a reflection of their beliefs. Whether it’s a simple Mennonite hair covering or a Mennonite women’s hat, these are not just accessories but affirmations of identity and humility. Mennonite cape dresses and headdresses serve as a daily testament to their faith.

Function and Modesty: The Cornerstones of Mennonite Men’s Clothing

Mennonite men’s clothing may seem similar to average attire, but it’s in the details—the absence of logos, the presence of a bowl cut or a Mennonite black cap—that their identity shines. Practicality is key, and whether it’s why Mennonites wear hats or the sturdy fabric of their shirts, every element is chosen with care. Amish vs Mennonite head coverings may share similarities, but each community has its unique take on this aspect of their dress.

Incorporating these garments, from the traditional Mennonite clothing worn by both genders to the Mennonite women’s hats and the Mennonite head covering, is about living a life aligned with their values. These clothes are not mere fashion; they’re symbols of a community that values simplicity, modesty, and tradition, distinct from the modern world’s fleeting trends.

How to Stay Warm Without Heat or Electricity In the Winter

When you find yourself in the midst of a cold, dark winter, especially in a northern climate, and the power is out, the reality of not having any alternative heating source hits hard. The lack of heat is immediately noticeable, and the dropping temperature inside your home becomes a pressing concern. This situation might make you rue not joining Great-Aunt Mabel in Florida, but given the circumstances, it’s crucial to adapt and find ways to stay warm without heat.

In cases where saving on utility bills is the goal and power can be restored, there are many strategies to reduce heating costs. However, this article focuses on emergency measures for staying warm without electricity or a functioning furnace, which is a skill everyone should know, given the unpredictability of power outages during winter.

Layering Up: The First Step to Staying Warm

One of the first and most effective steps in staying warm without heat is dressing in layers. This method involves wearing a layer of clothing directly against your skin and then adding additional layers to trap air and insulate your body. This approach can help avoid the discomfort of cold clothing, like jeans, coming into direct contact with your skin. Covering your head is equally important, as a significant amount of body heat can be lost through the head. A ski mask is excellent for preventing frostbite when outdoors, but indoors, a warm hat can make a significant difference in keeping warm.

Feet and Hands Matter

Your feet and hands are other critical areas to focus on. Wearing a pair of cotton socks with slippers inside the house and layering with wool socks when stepping outside can help maintain warmth. Keeping your feet dry is also essential; if they become damp from sweat, changing socks can help you stay warm. For added comfort, a pair of sheep shearling-lined suede slippers can provide exceptional warmth and comfort.

Choosing the Right Materials: Fur and Leather for Warmth

Utilizing materials like real fur and leather can be highly effective in retaining body heat. A heavy leather coat with a sheepskin lining, worn over a wool sweater, can provide substantial warmth. While synthetic materials are available, natural fibers like wool and leather have unique insulating properties that make them preferable in cold conditions.

Internal Heat: Keeping Warm from the Inside Out

Internal warmth is just as important as external warmth. Using an insulated coffee mug, preferably stainless steel, helps in retaining the temperature of hot beverages. Eating fatty foods can also be beneficial, as fat acts as an insulator and helps the body generate heat. It’s important to stay sober during these times, as alcohol, despite giving a temporary feeling of warmth, actually lowers the body’s core temperature.

How to Stay Warm without a Blanket

In the absence of blankets, using layered clothing and creating a cocoon-like environment in your bed with clothing, towels, or any available fabric can be effective. Body heat can be retained by tucking yourself in as snugly as possible.

How to Keep House Warm Without Power

To keep the house warm during a power outage, it is essential to minimize heat loss. This can be achieved by insulating windows with bubble wrap or heavy curtains, and blocking drafts under doors with towels or draft stoppers. Keeping all doors closed to create smaller, more manageable warm zones is also effective.

Stay Warm Heater Alternatives

In the absence of a traditional heater, creating makeshift heaters using candles and terracotta pots or heating stones in a fireplace and placing them in central areas can provide some warmth. It’s crucial to be cautious and ensure adequate ventilation when using any improvised heating methods.

Surviving Winter Without Heating

To endure a winter without heating, it is important to utilize the warmth of the sun during the day and insulate your living space as much as possible at night. Wearing thermal underwear and maximizing the use of body heat by staying close to family members or pets can also help.

Ways to Stay Warm at Home

At home, cooking or baking can be a great way to generate additional heat. Engaging in physical activities or exercises can also raise your body temperature, providing natural warmth.

Heating Up a Room Without a Heater

To warm up a room without a heater, use thick rugs or carpets to insulate the floor. Keeping doors closed to trap heat and using candles (with caution) can also slightly raise the room’s temperature.

In extremely cold rooms, it’s advisable to seal all cracks and openings where cold air might enter. Using space blankets or heavy drapes over windows can also help retain heat in the room.

Staying Warm When Power Is Out

During a power outage, consolidating into a single room, preferably one with fewer windows, and using body heat collectively can help stay warm. Preparing a ‘warmth kit’ with hand warmers, warm clothes, and hot water bottles can be beneficial for such scenarios.

Managing your home’s environment is crucial in keeping warm. During the day, opening curtains to let in sunlight can help warm up the room, while closing them at night helps retain the heat. Ensuring that beds are well-covered with blankets and opting for heavy flannel sheets and pillowcases can make sleeping in cold conditions more bearable. Avoid wearing the same clothes you wore during the day to bed, as they may have accumulated moisture and can reduce your body’s ability to retain heat.

Warmth in Winter: A Guide to Heating Your Home Naturally

Creating a cocoon-like environment in your bed can significantly help in retaining heat. This can be done by using pillows, stuffed animals, or a wall of pillows, especially if your bed is against an outside wall. A four-poster bed with heavy curtains can create an ideal sleeping environment in cold conditions. Additionally, using hot water bottles can provide immediate warmth to your bed, making it more comfortable to fall asleep.

Staying active is a natural way to generate body heat. Even simple movements or chores around the house can help maintain your body temperature. However, it’s essential to keep your home as insulated as possible. Using draft stoppers and ensuring that windows and doors are sealed can prevent cold air from entering and warm air from escaping.

Humidity plays a role in how warm or cold the air feels. Moisturizing the air with a humidifier can make the environment feel warmer. Smoking should be avoided as it can restrict blood flow, particularly to the hands, making them feel colder.

Involving your community or neighbors in group activities can also be an effective way to stay warm. Gathering for an evening of dancing, singing, and sharing stories not only generates warmth through physical activity but also strengthens community bonds. It’s important to have enough space for everyone to sleep comfortably after such gatherings.

For homes with multiple rooms, focusing on heating smaller areas or rooms can be more efficient. Large spaces are more challenging to keep warm without a heating source, so blocking off unused rooms can help concentrate the warmth where it’s needed most. Mastering techniques like sponge baths can help maintain personal hygiene without exposing yourself to the cold.

Money Jar Method: Creative Ways to Save for Every Goal

Transform an ordinary glass jar into your personal savings bank! Not only does this method help you gather funds for that dream vacation or home makeover, but it also keeps you motivated by visually tracking your progress. Any transparent jar fits the bill – the key is to watch your savings flourish, boosting your commitment.

money jar method

6 Creative Ways to Fill Your Money Jar

  1. The Five-Dollar Strategy: Every time you receive a $5 note as change, resist the urge to spend it. Instead, deposit it into your jar. This method is flexible – switch it up with $10 or $20 bills, or even quarters. Watch as your jar’s content grows over time.
  2. The 52-Week Challenge: Begin your year by adding just $1 to your jar. Each subsequent week, increase your deposit by an additional dollar. By the year’s end, your final week’s contribution will be $52, totaling a satisfying $1,378 saved. To stay on track, mark each week’s deposit amount on a calendar.
  3. The Classic Coin Collection: An age-old method with proven results – simply add your daily loose change to the jar. This approach reminds me of my godfather, Jan Cooke, who would say, “Take care of the pennies; the dollars will take care of themselves.”
  4. The Paycheck Percentage: Set aside a predetermined portion of your paycheck for the jar. This technique is especially effective for couples working towards a shared financial goal. Calculate the amount needed to achieve your target, be it a getaway or a new tech gadget, and consistently contribute that sum.
  5. The Inspiration Method: Pair your savings jar with a visual representation of your goal – a photo or a written note attached to the jar. Each glimpse of this image can spur you to contribute more. Keep the jar in a prominent place to maintain visibility and remind you why you’re saving.
  6. The Steady $20 Weekly Plan: Instead of incrementally increasing your savings like in the 52-week challenge, consistently add $20 each week. This straightforward approach can help you accumulate $1,040 by year’s end.

Savings with Creative Jar Methods

Saving money becomes a captivating and efficient endeavor when you embrace various jar methods. This approach not only helps in financial management but also adds a touch of creativity to the process.

The All-in-One Jar Approach: Start with a versatile mason jar, which is perfect for any saving purpose, from a “Holiday Fund” to “Emergency Savings.” Its clear, sturdy structure lets you see your progress, adding a satisfying visual element to saving. Customize these jars with personal labels, whether it’s for a “House Fund,” a “Car Maintenance” fund, or even whimsical goals inspired by movies like ‘Up’.

Multipurpose Jars for Every Goal: Create a diverse collection of jars for different savings goals. You could have a “Gadget Fund” jar, a “Wellness Retreat” jar, or even a “Pet Care” jar. This method not only organizes your finances but also keeps your savings goals clear and focused.

The Daily Savings Habit: Incorporate a simple habit of adding spare change or a part of your daily cash transactions to a jar. This could be a traditional glass money jar or a more specific type like a “Big Money Saving Jar” for larger goals. Over time, even the smallest contributions can lead to substantial savings.

Engaging Challenges: Spice up your saving routine with challenges. The 52 Week Money Jar Challenge is a great way to gradually increase your savings, or you could set a Mason Jar Money Challenge for your family, creating a fun and competitive atmosphere to boost savings.

Innovative and Simple Ideas: Be inventive with your jar ideas. Try the “It Works” Money Jar, where you regularly add any amount, no matter how small. Also, consider the classic method of saving coins in a jar – an effective way to accumulate a notable sum over time.

Lifestyle Tweaks for Weekly Savings: Implement minor lifestyle changes, such as making coffee at home or packing lunches, to save money. Deposit these savings into your jar, and watch how these small weekly savings contribute to your larger financial goals.

Visual Motivation and Organization: The beauty of the jar method lies in its simplicity and visual motivation. Glass jars, in particular, let you witness the growth of your savings, serving as a constant reminder and incentive to keep going.

Maximizing Savings with The Jar Method: A Detailed Approach

Setting Up Your Savings Jar

Begin by selecting a container to use as your ‘savings jar’. This can be any kind of jar – a traditional ‘money jar’, a ‘money saving jar’, or even a ‘plain money jar’. The key element is that it should be designated specifically for saving money. Label it clearly and place it somewhere you’ll see it often, as a constant reminder and motivation to save.

Using a Mason Jar for Savings

For a more durable and visually appealing option, choose a mason jar as your ‘mason jar with money’. The transparency of the mason jar is a great feature, allowing you to see your savings grow over time. This visual representation of your progress can be incredibly motivating and satisfying.

Implementing a Saving Money Weekly Plan

Develop a weekly savings plan where you commit to depositing a certain amount into your jar. Determine an amount that is realistic yet impactful, based on your income and expenses. This could range from a small sum like $5 to a larger amount, depending on your financial situation. Consistency is key here – make it a habit to add to your jar on the same day each week.

Adopting the Cash in a Jar Approach

In addition to your scheduled weekly savings, adopt the habit of depositing any extra cash you have into the jar. This could be leftover change from shopping, cash gifts, or any unplanned cash inflow. It’s a simple and effective way to boost your savings without feeling a significant impact on your budget.

Creative Change Jar Ideas

Have a separate jar specifically for change – your ‘change jar’. At the end of each day, make it a routine to empty your pockets or wallet of loose coins and add them to this jar. This method helps in accumulating savings from money that is often overlooked or unutilized.

6 Ways to Save Money on Amazon

Be strategic with your online shopping, particularly on platforms like Amazon. Look for discounts, use price comparison tools, opt for no-rush shipping for credits, and take advantage of Amazon’s Warehouse deals. Whatever amount you save through these means, add it directly into your savings jar. This is an excellent way to convert shopping habits into savings.

51 Extreme Ways to Save Money Around the House

In today’s economy, things to save money at home have become more important than ever. With prices rising on everything from groceries to gas, many families are feeling squeezed and looking for ways to cut costs. Implementing extreme saving measures may seem difficult, but can allow you to dramatically reduce expenses and take control of your finances. This article explores some intense money saving ideas – keep reading for extreme ways to pinch pennies around your home.

Extreme Saving – Taking Frugality To The Max

When it comes to extreme money saving ideas, some people really go above and beyond. Extreme saving or “frugal living” involves cutting way back on expenses to increase savings. This could mean embracing a minimalist lifestyle, growing your own food, or completely changing how you grocery shop and plan meals. Extreme savers hunt for bargains, slash their budgets, and come up with clever DIY solutions for everyday problems. Their intense money saving stories demonstrate just how far some people will go to spend less. Gardening in scrap containers, mending their own clothes, and restricting entertainment budgets are just a few tactics. If you’re looking to drastically reduce your spending, some extreme saving tips can help you discover new ways to save money around the house. It may require significant life changes for you and your family, but can allow you to save thousands annually.

51 extreme ways to save money

  1. Use a French press for your morning coffee. Refill it with less grounds to make a second pot. Save leftover coffee to reheat later on the stove or in the microwave.
  2. Re-use tea bags or loose leaf tea to get a second or third cup from one batch.
  3. Ditch disposable products like Kleenex, paper plates, and plastic utensils in favor of reusable options whenever possible.
  4. Fix, repurpose, or continue using items instead of throwing them out at the first sign of wear. Put new insoles in shoes instead of buying new ones, use toe guards to extend the life of work boots, and learn to patch and mend clothing.
  5. Save bones, vegetable scraps, and other food bits to make nutritious bone broths and soups instead of sending them to the landfill.
  6. Cancel cable TV subscriptions in favor of free or low-cost options like Netflix, library DVDs, or occasional $5 DVD bin purchases. Limit exposure to advertisements.
  7. Drink tap water instead of buying bottled water. Use an affordable water filter if needed.
  8. Consider less expensive housing options like small houses or apartments with utilities included.
  9. Shop thrift stores for lightly used clothing items in classic styles that will remain in fashion for years. Avoid dry clean only items.
  10. Buy secondhand when possible – others may tire of items before their usefulness is over.
  11. Quit unhealthy and expensive habits like smoking, excessive drinking, gambling, or daily sweets and soda. Enjoy treats in moderation.
  12. Cook meals at home from scratch instead of eating out or buying processed convenience meals.
  13. Substitute inexpensive beans, lentils, and grains for some of the meat in recipes to cut costs.
  14. Give homemade, heartfelt gifts instead of commercialized Christmas presents.
  15. Enjoy free activities like walking outdoors, visiting friends, playing games, or reading.
  16. Plan family-friendly outings to avoid babysitting costs.
  17. Wait a week or month before purchasing desired items to evaluate if the purchase is necessary.
  18. Limit children’s toys and encourage them to use imagination in play.
  19. Buy generic products when the quality is comparable to name brands.
  20. Wash clothing by hand and line dry instead of using machines.
  21. Pay with cash instead of credit cards.
  22. Choose a bank with low or no fees, like a credit union.
  23. Buy local foods direct from farmers when possible for savings over grocery stores. Buy in bulk when practical.
  24. Grow as much food as space allows, preserving extras.
  25. Drive vehicles for many miles until repairs exceed replacement savings.
  26. Use Swagbucks as an online search tool to earn giftcard rewards.
  27. Stock up on sale items that will be used regularly.
  28. Clean with natural products like vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice instead of expensive chemical cleaners.
  29. Raise chickens for economical eggs, bug control, and organic meat.
  30. Grow hair long instead of paying for frequent haircuts.
  31. Keep wardrobes simple with fewer articles of clothing to save on laundry costs.
  32. Cut hair at home instead of paying a stylist, especially for young children.
  33. Use energy efficient LED light bulbs, turning off all unnecessary lights.
  34. Buy directly from farmers through CSAs or farmers markets instead of from grocery store, when possible.
  35. Preserve and freeze foods like fruit and vegetables when in season and plentiful.
  36. Layer clothing and use blankets instead of turning up the heat.
  37. Warm immediate spaces as needed with space heaters instead of heating entire house.
  38. Categorize expenses as necessary or unnecessary. Minimize spending on non-necessities.
  39. Unplug appliances and electronics when not in use.
  40. Use wind up and battery free options for items like clocks and radios.
  41. Favor open ended, creative toys like legos and blocks over battery operated toys for kids.
  42. Shop alone instead of bringing impulse buyers along.
  43. Bundle up with extra layers, slippers and blankets instead of raising the thermostat.
  44. Use basic soap, water and razors for shaving instead of expensive electric razors and creams.
  45. Locate space heaters near you instead of heating empty rooms.
  46. Always spend less than you earn, keeping expenses below income.
  47. Unplug appliances when not in use, or connect them to power strips that can be switched off.
  48. Use wind up flashlights and crank radios instead of electric options.
  49. Encourage children to play creatively with simple, classic toys like Lincoln Logs, building blocks, stuffed animals and more instead of buying new high tech toys.
  50. Shop with a list, purchasing only planned items. Don’t use shopping as entertainment.
  51. Close off unused rooms, especially those without insulation. Only heat rooms that are occupied.

Living Without a Fridge and What You Can Learn

Welcome! Imagine a life without a refrigerator. For three years, a family of six, including four children, lived in an off-grid cabin without a fridge, embracing life without a fridge. They managed to eat well and even thrived. Their experience is encapsulated in a well-received book titled “A Cabin Full of Food,” a guide to simple, home-cooked meals with or without refrigeration.

Living without a fridge, and even a freezer, might seem daunting, but this family embraced it. Their meals ranged from beef stew to homemade bread, proving that good eating doesn’t rely on refrigeration. This lifestyle choice was part of their journey towards self-sufficiency, and it also led to significant savings. They learned to manage food without the need for a fridge, despite having limited electricity from a small solar array.

Their secret lay in traditional methods and wisdom passed down through generations, as well as adapting to the rhythm of their natural surroundings. They discovered that life without a fridge is not only possible but can also be enriching. This approach eliminated the need for large appliances, resulting in no hefty power bills and a smaller carbon footprint.

Even with a small propane fridge later introduced, the family found it underutilized, reaffirming their minimal reliance on refrigeration. Their experience, far from the Arctic and achievable in any setting, demonstrates that reducing dependence on modern appliances is feasible and financially beneficial. This story is a testament to how small lifestyle changes can lead to significant savings and a more sustainable way of living.

Why Choose to Live Without a Fridge?

Starting a fridge-free life? The key is eating what’s in season. It’s all about enjoying local, fresh foods when they’re naturally available. This way of eating fits perfectly with meals without refrigeration and a fridge-free lifestyle, whether you’re in a warm place with year-round produce or adapting to the seasons in cooler climates.

This lifestyle isn’t just about what’s available; it’s also about preserving food without electricity and refrigeration. Techniques like dehydration, fermentation, curing, and canning come into play. They’re time-tested methods that let you enjoy different foods all year round without relying on a plain refrigerator. For instance, canning is a great way to store almost anything – meats that don’t need refrigeration, broths, vegetables, and even milk to keep it cold without fridge.

Living without a fridge doesn’t mean sacrificing variety. It’s about embracing the natural rhythm of food and using age-old methods to keep your pantry stocked. It’s a journey back to simpler times, saving money, and reducing your carbon footprint, one season at a time.

Not everything needs to be preserved, though!

Discover foods that surprisingly don’t need refrigeration! Many items currently in your fridge might not need to be there. Here’s a list of food that doesn’t need refrigeration camping, lasting well without special storage:

  • Homemade Bread: Unlike store-bought varieties, it doesn’t mold easily but dries out, perfect for making French toast.
  • Tomatoes: Best enjoyed fresh; refrigeration alters their texture and flavor.
  • Raw Milk: It sours but is still usable for biscuits, pancakes, and more.
  • Kefir: Strain and use the kefir, adding more milk to extend its shelf life.
  • Unwashed Farm Fresh Eggs: These can last a surprisingly long time on the counter or in a cool pantry.
  • Coffee Grounds: Great for absorbing odors, but best kept in the pantry for freshness.
  • Fresh Herbs: Absorb flavors, useful in many culinary preparations.
  • Butter: Can be kept on the counter and used before spoiling.
  • Olive Oil: Store in a cool, dark place but not in the fridge.
  • Honey: Avoid refrigeration to prevent crystallization; raw honey has various uses, including as a wound dressing.
  • Mustard, Ketchup, Relish, Hot Sauce, Soy Sauce, Worcestershire Sauce: These condiments have a long pantry shelf life.
  • Garlic and Onions: Sensitive to cold; store them in a cool, dry place.
  • Apples: A hardy fruit that keeps well in cool storage.
  • Hard Cheese: Can be kept out in all but the hottest weather; wax it for longer storage.

The trick is knowing what foods require fridge storage and which don’t. Many households could potentially downsize their reliance on a refrigerator by adopting these tips on food that doesn’t need refrigeration. Some items like soured milk may still need cool storage, but many others fare well without. By exploring these low-tech food storage methods, you can significantly reduce your fridge dependency and still enjoy a diverse and healthy diet.

Low Tech Tools for Living Without a Fridge

Have you ever heard a child’s simple solution for preventing milk from spoiling? Just keep it in the cow! This humorous advice holds a kernel of truth, especially for those with access to fresh, unpasteurized milk that doesn’t require refrigeration. In places like Nova Scotia, even during the peak of summer, fresh milk takes more than a day to sour, and soured milk, rather than being wasted, can be used in various delicious recipes.

Then there’s the concept of cold frames, an old but effective technique for gardeners, both in urban and rural settings, to extend their growing season. Unlike heated greenhouses, cold frames are a low-tech option that helps keep hardy vegetables like kale, spinach, and carrots fresh for longer without relying on electricity. They also enable an earlier start for seedlings, perfectly aligning with the principles of seasonal eating.

In some situations, a cooler filled with ice serves as a simple, short-term solution for keeping items like meat cold, especially when preparing for canning. While in the past, when living without a fridge was common, people used icehouses to store large blocks of ice, modern weather patterns might not always provide the consistently cold temperatures required for this method. Some people who live without a non-electric camping fridge today opt for a small freezer to make ice packs, a compromise that utilizes less electricity than a full-size refrigerator.

There are still several old-school methods for keeping food cool without relying on constant electricity:

  • Using a spring house
  • An ice house
  • A cold cellar
  • A chest immersed in running water

Exploring these various approaches to seasonal eating and food preservation shows that there are numerous ways to store perishable foods without refrigeration and heavy reliance on electricity. This journey raises an important question: What methods could you incorporate to reduce your food storage costs? Even if completely living in the fridge isn’t your goal, there’s much you can do to lower your power bills and live more sustainably.

How to Live Without a Refrigerator

Living without a refrigerator can seem daunting, but with a few smart strategies, it’s entirely manageable. The key is to focus on consuming perishable items quickly, buying in smaller quantities, and using alternative methods to keep items fresh.

DIY Mini Fridge Without Electricity: Creating a mini fridge without electricity can be a lifesaver. One way to do this is by using a zeer pot, an ancient cooling method. It involves placing a smaller clay pot inside a larger one, filling the space in between with wet sand, and covering it with a wet cloth. As the water evaporates, it cools the inner pot, creating a perfect environment to store perishable items.

Keeping Raw Chicken Fresh: To keep raw chicken fresh without a fridge, one can use a zeer pot or immerse it in a solution of saltwater (brine). The brine helps in slowing down bacterial growth, keeping the chicken fresh for a longer period. This method is particularly useful in cooler climates or during the winter months.

Preserving Food Without Electricity: Food preservation without electricity is an age-old practice that includes techniques like canning, smoking, drying, and fermenting. These methods are not only effective in prolonging the shelf life of food but also add unique flavors to your meals.

Storing Chicken Without a Fridge: Storing chicken without a fridge can be done by smoking or curing the meat. These methods dehydrate the chicken and add preservatives like salt, which prevent bacterial growth. Another method is to cook the chicken and store it in a cool, dry place, preferably in a sealed container to protect it from pests and contaminants.

If you haven’t yet explored “A Cabin Full of Food,” a comprehensive guide packed with information on how to live without a refrigerator, it might be time to check it out. This book is utilized worldwide, from South Africa to Canada’s Far North, England, and across the United States and Canada. It’s a testament to people’s desire to improve their lives while also reaping the benefits of reduced electricity bills.

Sometimes Christmas Just Sucks and that’s okay

As the holiday season rolls in, it’s not uncommon to hear people ask, “Why does Christmas suck this year?” or “Why the holidays suck in general?” These questions often stem from the stark contrast between societal expectations of festive joy and the reality of personal struggles. Indeed, for many, this year sucks, making the usual merriment of Christmas and that seem out of reach.

The Pressure of Festive Joy

The pressure to enjoy Christmas and the entire holiday season can be immense. We’re often told that it’s a time for happiness and celebration, but for some, the reality is far different. The sadness and lack of cheer can be so overwhelming that one might wish the holidays would just disappear.

This feeling, that Christmas should be a joyful time, can be misleading and add to the stress. Life’s challenges, such as the loss of a loved one or financial difficulties, don’t just pause for the holidays. These issues can make it hard to find joy during a time that’s supposed to be filled with it, and sometimes, even a brief moment of happiness is shadowed by guilt.

Accepting Your Feelings

It’s important to acknowledge and accept these feelings. You don’t have to pretend to be merry or isolate yourself to cope with the pain. It’s okay not to be swept up in the holiday spirit just because it’s Christmas.

Comfort in Small Traditions

There might be solace in small traditions, like decorating the Christmas tree. However, if it’s too much, it’s okay to ask for help or do just the bare minimum for the sake of those around you. After doing what you feel is necessary, it’s okay to grieve, be sad, or express anger.

Life’s Seasonal Nature

Life is indeed a mix of different seasons. Some years are challenging, filled with grief and sorrow, overshadowing the joy of Christmas. But there are also years full of laughter and happiness. This difficult phase, where Christmas and the holidays feel burdensome, will eventually give way to better times.

If this year’s holiday season is particularly tough, remember that it’s just a phase. It’s okay not to feel festive or joyous. Allow yourself to experience your emotions as they are, and know that with time, things will likely improve.

The Era Before Dish Soap

Long before the invention of modern dish soap, there was a time when dishes were still washed and cleaned effectively. The question often arises: How did people manage to clean dishes without the soaps and detergents we rely on today? The answer lies in some surprisingly simple and natural methods.

Natural Alternatives to Soap

In “the old days,” homemakers had to be inventive. The primary tool for dishwashing wasn’t a chemical product but rather natural substances like sand and baking soda. Yes, sand was a common cleaning agent, along with baking soda, which was used for its grease-absorbing properties. These substances were effective in removing dirt and grease without leaving harmful residues.

The Role of Baking Soda and Sand

An old 1879 homemaking book, a precursor to modern Home Economics classes, explicitly stated the avoidance of soap for cleaning cooking utensils. Instead, the recommendation was to use soda, now known as baking soda, and fine, clean sugar sand for scrubbing. This combination was effective in tackling grease and dirt, making it a staple in many kitchens.

Why Not Lye Soap?

While diluted lye soap might seem like a logical predecessor to modern dish soap, historical records suggest that natural cleaners like sand were more popular. Lye soap, though capable of creating suds, was harsh on the hands and not as effective for dishwashing as one might think.

When you’re out of dish soap, you might wonder about alternatives like hand soap, laundry soap, or body wash. Can you use hand soap to wash dishes? Yes, it’s possible. Hand soap can be used for cleaning dishes, but it’s important to rinse them thoroughly afterward.

What about a laundry soap dish method? While not ideal, you can use laundry soap for dishes in urgent situations. Just remember to use it sparingly and rinse the dishes well, as laundry soap is more potent and not designed for dishwashing.

Lastly, can you use body wash to wash dishes? In a pinch, body wash can clean dishes, but choose one without added moisturizers or strong fragrances to avoid leaving residues on your dishes. Again, rinsing well after washing is key to ensure no soap residue is left.

Practical Tips for Soap-Free Dishwashing

So how can one wash dishes effectively without soap in modern times? Here are some practical steps:

  1. Preparation: Don’t let dishes sit unwashed. Modern habits of leaving dishes in the sink can lead to the need for stronger cleaning agents.
  2. Scraping and Rinsing: Scrape off food remnants as soon as possible after meals. This reduces the need for heavy scrubbing later.
  3. Hot Water: Use very hot water for washing dishes. This method was common in the past and is still effective today. Consider using dish gloves to protect your hands.
  4. Air Drying: Instead of towel drying, allow dishes to air dry. This is particularly effective if they’re rinsed in hot water.
  5. Alternative Eating Practices: Consider traditional eating methods like using bread as plates (trenchers) or communal eating from a pot, which can reduce the number of dishes used.

Cleaning Wooden Surfaces Without Soap

For cleaning wooden tables or utensils, a combination of baking soda and water can be effective. Sprinkling clean sugar sand or coarse salt before scrubbing can help remove stubborn dirt.

Step-by-Step Guide to Washing Dishes Without Soap

  1. Clean and rinse the sink before starting.
  2. Use two or three basins or a double sink for washing and rinsing.
  3. Sort dishes from least to most dirty.
  4. Use baking soda and boiling water for washing; vinegar and hot water for rinsing.
  5. Wash and rinse each dish individually for effective cleaning.
  6. Allow dishes to air dry on a wooden rack.

Natural Substitutes for Dish Soap

Traditionally, homemakers used a variety of natural materials for dishwashing. Baking soda was a popular choice due to its ability to absorb grease, and it was often paired with fine, clean sand, which acted as a scrubbing agent. This method was effective and safe, avoiding the harmful residues sometimes left by chemical cleaners.

Can You Wash Dishes Without Soap?

Indeed, it is possible to wash dishes without dish soap. Before the era of synthetic detergents, people relied on natural cleaners like baking soda and sand. Even today, baking soda is a viable option for cleaning dishes, proving that you can clean dishes without soap.

How to Wash Dishes with Baking Soda

Washing dishes with baking soda is a simple and effective method. The process involves using baking soda in hot water to clean the dishes, followed by a hot water rinse. This technique not only cleans effectively but also ensures that the dishes are safe to use.

Can You Use Laundry Detergent to Wash Dishes?

It is generally not recommended to use laundry soap or detergent to wash dishes. Laundry products are formulated for clothing, not for items that come into contact with food. Therefore, using laundry soap for dishes is not advisable due to potential health risks.

What Can You Use to Wash Dishes Besides Dish Soap?

Apart from baking soda, there are other alternatives to dish soap. Vinegar, for instance, can be used as a rinsing agent to remove grease and residue. These natural solutions are effective substitutes for dish soap.

Is It Safe to Wash Dishes with Laundry Soap?

Using laundry soap to wash dishes raises concerns about safety and effectiveness. Laundry soap is designed for a different purpose and may leave harmful residues on dishes. Therefore, it is safer to stick with more suitable alternatives like baking soda or vinegar.

Can You Wash Dishes with Laundry Detergent?

Laundry detergent is not a suitable substitute for dish soap. It’s formulated for washing clothes and can contain chemicals that are not safe for cleaning eating utensils. Therefore, it’s best to avoid using laundry detergent to wash dishes.

Substitutes for Dish Soap in a Pinch

If you find yourself out of dish soap, consider using baking soda or vinegar as a substitute. These natural cleaners can effectively clean your dishes without the need for synthetic soaps.

  • Using Baking Soda to Clean Dishes

Baking soda is an excellent alternative for cleaning dishes. It’s a natural, non-toxic substance that effectively removes grease and food residue.

  • How to Clean Dishes Without Dish Soap

To clean dishes without dish soap, you can use baking soda or vinegar. Begin by scraping and rinsing the dishes, then use hot water mixed with baking soda or vinegar for washing and rinsing.

Survivalist or Prepper: Which One Are You?

Have you ever found yourself stockpiling canned goods, or maybe caught yourself reading up on wilderness survival techniques? If so, you might be asking yourself: “Am I a survivalist or a prepper?” Don’t worry, you’re not alone, and you’re definitely not a ‘nutcase survivalist’ – that’s just a funny term some people use!

First, let’s talk about survivalists. These are the folks who prepare for the extreme. Think wilderness survival, living off the grid, and being ready for any catastrophic event. They’re the kind who might have a bunker filled with supplies or a plan to live in the woods if things go south. If you love the idea of surviving against all odds and have skills like fire-making or shelter-building, you might be leaning towards survivalist.

Now, preppers. These individuals are more about preparing for specific scenarios like natural disasters or economic downturns. They’re the ones with well-stocked pantries, emergency kits in their cars, and a plan for each family member in case of emergencies. Prepping is less about living off the land and more about being ready for disruptions in our modern life.

Prepper vs Homesteader

But wait, there’s a third category: homesteaders. This group is often confused with preppers. Homesteaders focus on self-sufficiency — growing their own food, maybe keeping chickens, and reducing reliance on the grid. It’s more of a lifestyle choice than a survival strategy.

So, are you a survivalist, prepping for the unknown with a backpack full of survival tools? Or are you a prepper, with an organized plan and resources for potential emergencies? Maybe you’re even leaning towards being a homesteader, enjoying the peace of self-sufficiency. Whichever path you choose, remember, it’s all about being prepared and enjoying the journey. Stay safe and prepared!

Your Guide to Essential Oils for Strep Throat Relief

Strep throat can really put a damper on your day, but nature’s own remedies—essential oils—might just be the soothing solution you need. This guide dive into the use of natural oils, like the robust oregano and cooling peppermint oils, along with the renowned doTERRA essential oils, to ease the discomfort of strep throat.

Oregano Oil: Your Natural Shield Against Strep

Consider oregano oil your go-to warrior against bacterial foes. It’s a natural fighter, perfect for easing both the general symptoms of strep and the throat pain associated with it. Its natural antibacterial traits are just what you need to reduce inflammation and soothe your throat.

Peppermint Oil: The Cooling Touch for Sore Throats

When your throat is feeling like it’s on fire due to strep, peppermint oil can be a real game-changer. Its natural menthol provides a cooling sensation that soothes soreness and reduces the swelling, offering quick relief.

Harnessing the Power of doTERRA Oils Against Strep

When it comes to quality and efficacy, doTERRA essential oils stand out. Their lineup, especially targeted blends like doTERRA On Guard, can be particularly helpful in managing the symptoms of strep throat.

Top Essential Oils for Combating Strep Throat

For effective relief from strep throat, turn to the natural prowess of oregano, peppermint, and tea tree oils. These oils are lauded for their anti-inflammatory and antibacterial qualities, making them excellent for soothing a sore throat.

  1. Kid-Friendly Essential Oil Solutions for Strep. Kids aren’t immune to strep throat, but essential oils can help here too. Remember, dilution is key. A gentle diffusion or a carefully diluted application can provide safe relief for your little ones.
  2. Multi-Method Essential Oil Applications for Strep. There are several ways to employ essential oils in your battle against strep throat. From inhaling them via a diffuser to applying them topically on your throat, these oils offer versatile relief options.
  3. Targeted Essential Oil Remedies for Strep Infections. For a more focused treatment of strep throat infection, consider bringing in tea tree or eucalyptus oils alongside oregano and peppermint. Their antimicrobial properties make them great allies in your recovery.
  4. Directly Addressing Strep with Essential Oils. Beyond just symptom relief, these oils can tackle the root cause—the strep infection itself—thanks to their strong antibacterial capabilities.

Which doTERRA Oils Are Best for Strep?

In the doTERRA collection, oils like On Guard and oregano are often recommended for their potent antibacterial and immune-supporting qualities, ideal for dealing with strep throat.

Using essential oils like oregano, peppermint, and doTERRA-specific options can offer a natural method to alleviate the symptoms of strep throat. It’s always wise, though, to consult with healthcare professionals, particularly for treating children.

Extra Tips for Optimal Use

  • Practicing Safe Oil Use: Remember, essential oils are potent! Always test for allergies with a small patch test and avoid swallowing them unless you’re under medical supervision.
  • Dilution is Key: Mix essential oils with carriers like coconut, jojoba, or almond oil. This is particularly important when using them on children or if you have sensitive skin.
  • Creating a Healing Ambience: A diffuser not only helps you to inhale the beneficial properties of the oils but also creates a serene environment conducive to healing and rest.
  • The Art of Blending Oils: Combining different essential oils, like the antibacterial oregano with soothing lavender, can enhance their overall effectiveness.
  • Storing Your Essential Oils: Keep them in a cool, dark place to maintain their potency over time.
  • Integrating with Home Care: Pairing essential oils with other home remedies, such as warm teas and throat soothers, can provide a more holistic approach to managing strep throat symptoms.

By incorporating these essential oils into your routine, you can harness their natural benefits for relief from strep throat symptoms. Always remember, these remedies should complement, not replace, professional medical advice.

Dealing with a Freeloader: Setting Boundaries Without Losing Your Cool

One may have a freeloader or mooch in their life and have no idea how to deal with the situation. Freeloaders can be friends, family members, or relatives who exhibit freeloading behaviors. When generosity gets taken advantage of by a freeloader, their characteristics become apparent – they are perfectly happy to mooch off others’ kindness.

Whether it’s freeloading family members or a neighbor who won’t take no for an answer yet will take anything offered, it’s difficult to handle these situations without losing one’s composure. So how does one manage and address freeloaders?

What is a Freeloader?

Most people have dealt with freeloaders at some point. There’s no sugarcoating that once the signs are recognized, it becomes clear what’s happening. By definition, a freeloader or moocher takes advantage of other’s generosity and may even depend on their support without feeling obligation to reciprocate in any way. They take and take but never give back.

Some names for them include:

  • Mooch
  • Bloodsucker
  • Hanger-on
  • Parasite
  • Sponge

No relationship is immune to freeloader behavior – whether a partner, family member, friend or neighbor. Learning to recognize the mind and characteristics of a freeloader is key.

Is One Dealing with a Mooch?

Charity is freely given without obligation or expectation. When a person in need is aided or a friend helped after mentioning a need, that’s charity. But what happens when the line gets crossed and one realizes they are being taken advantage of by a moocher? Freeloaders and mooching relatives definitely exist even when one doesn’t want to believe it. So how does one detach from the bloodsucker and keep their sanity?

What Defines a Freeloader?

A freeloader takes without any intention of giving back. They repeatedly take advantage of other’s generosity. Often freeloaders appear very friendly and charming, using that to manipulate people. It’s important to trust instincts if certain people raise red flags. Learning to say no early and set clear boundaries around freeloaders is essential.

Signs of a Moocher

Establishing Boundaries Around Freeloaders

Those with no boundaries will help themselves to anything available without qualms or care. Whether picking vegetables from another’s garden or grabbing a drink from their fridge, these freeloading people and relatives cross lines without thinking twice. Knowing one’s limits and expressing them clearly is the first step in addressing a freeloader. Saying “no freeloaders allowed” upfront simplifies things later.

Avoid Giving In to Freeloaders

Once boundaries are set, refusal to compromise is essential no matter how much the freeloader pushes. Freeloaders watch for any relaxed guard to take advantage. For instance, if occasionally giving a friend a ride but they start demanding regular chauffeuring services, it’s vital to stick to pre-established boundaries and refuse to budge.

Define Expectations Upfront with Freeloaders

Make sure all terms are clearly spelled out so there are no gray areas to be exploited. Get any exchanges settled ahead of time as well – a freeloader will find ways to rationalize taking more than they provide. Repeatedly asserting “No” without further justification is essential no matter how much guilt or manipulation is attempted. Most people understand politeness excuses as basic etiquette, but freeloaders and moochers see any opening as a chance to manipulate the situation in their favor.

Avoid Enabling Guilt Trips

Unfortunately, guilt trips and manipulation are common freeloader tactics. But it’s critical to recognize they make deliberate choices to take advantage of others versus solving their own issues. While letting them face consequences might seem uncaring, it removes their ability to continue taking without reciprocity. Compassion has likely already been extended without appreciation.

Change the Terms of Engagement

If one finds themselves constantly aiding an ungrateful freeloader despite it being taken for granted, taking a step back is wise. End the enabling behaviors even if it’s difficult since they will simply continue exploiting generosity. Firmly communicate that the mooching situation will no longer be tolerated.

Getting Rid of Freeloaders

While no one wants to think about removing family members from their lives, cutting off freeloaders and moochers at some point becomes essential. If reasonable boundaries are completely ignored and excessive taking continues without any intention of reciprocating, reevaluating the relationship dynamic becomes necessary.

Most of the time when someone needs help, it’s a genuine situation. And when charity is given, it’s appreciated and returned in some way at a later point. But occasionally one encounters the freeloader that takes advantage no matter how much is done for them without any accountability. In those cases, limiting contact protects one’s time, energy and resources.

Understanding the Freeloader Mindset

Freeloaders operate with a sense of entitlement, often using charm or sympathy to exploit others. They typically have an underlying belief that they deserve others’ resources without reciprocation, making them adept at manipulating situations for their gain.

A freeloader is someone who habitually takes advantage of others’ generosity, offering little to nothing in return. This behavior is characterized by a consistent reliance on others for resources, often straining relationships.

  • Tactics of a Freeloader

Interestingly, understanding how to be a freeloader can reveal their common tactics. They often seek out those who are generous or non-confrontational and use emotional manipulation or guilt-tripping to get what they want.

  • Dealing with Moochers in Different Relationships

Whether it’s a mooching family member, a freeloading friend, or a partner, the approach involves clear communication and firm boundary setting. For instance, if you’re dealing with a boyfriend who seems to be mooching off you, observe if there’s a pattern of avoiding shared expenses or over-reliance on your financial support.

  • Freeloader Examples

Consider scenarios like a relative constantly borrowing money without repayment plans, or a friend who regularly avoids paying their share of expenses. These are classic examples of freeloader behavior.

  • Cultural and Religious Perspectives

Different cultures and religious texts, such as the Bible, offer insights into dealing with freeloaders. These perspectives often emphasize the importance of self-reliance and caution against enabling dependency.

  • Effective Strategies to Say No

When it comes to saying no to family members or friends, the key is to communicate respectfully and clearly, explaining your decision without being accusatory. Offer alternative support that doesn’t enable their freeloading behavior.

When to Distance Yourself

In extreme cases, such as with a family member who consistently exploits your generosity, it might become necessary to reduce or cease support. This difficult decision often involves a candid conversation about expectations, contributions, and the impact of their behavior on the relationship.

In summary, dealing with freeloaders requires a blend of understanding, assertiveness, and empathy. By recognizing freeloader characteristics, setting clear boundaries, and communicating effectively, you can manage these challenging dynamics while preserving your well-being and the health of your relationships.