Review: Tourniquet Trauma Kit By Lia Medical

This is a great set to add to an additional first aid kit. My Husband and I are both Medics and we like the idea of being able to have a tourniquet and trauma dressing in our emergency kits and range bag for our personal use away from work should the need ever arise.

This kit comes with a CAT tourniquet, an Israeli trauma dressing and an emergency reflective blanket. All three items come in a small zippered plastic bag (similar to a heavy duty ziplock) which is perfect to throw in an existing first aid/emergency kit.

Obviously we don’t recommend using this unless you are trained in the use of tourniquets but that being said this is a very nice quality kit. We are very happy with it.

From Amazon:

The CAT, The Official Tourniquet of The U.S ARMY Together with the Israeli battle proven Bandage and the Emergency Blanket, Makes The Best Life Saving Trauma Kit For an Emergency Situation.

The official Tourniquet of the U.S ARMY – Proven to be 100% effective in occluding blood flow in both upper & lower extremities by the USAISR the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research.

Link to product:


DIY: Natural Bug Spray That Works


DIY Bug Spray PDF

I’ve always loved bonfires and camping but no matter how much bug spray I wear I always turn into a mosquito buffet. Not to mention the noxious smell and sticky “I have to take a shower ASAP” feeling that goes along with commercial bug spray. I’ve also read several articles touting the horrible side effects of DEET and other chemicals included in store bought sprays.

After searching the interweb for something natural that would really work I created this spray. I’ve worn it several times for bonfires and I haven’t gotten a bite since (and my husband who never wore bug spray because “they don’t bite me” is now eaten alive). The only odd phenomena I did notice was that the occasional mosquito would still land on me. But they would never bite, I would just feel them land for a second and then they were gone. So without further adieu here’s what worked for me:

  • 1 ounce boiled or distilled water
  • 3/4 ounce witch hazel
  • 24 drops lemon essential oil
  • 10 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 6 drops eucalyptus essential oil

Mix all ingredients in a small spray bottle and shake well before using. I generally spray this on all of my exposed skin as well as lightly on my clothes. Just make sure you don’t spray in your eyes or mouth (and obviously check with a health practitioner before using during pregnancy or on children). I’ve found that if I’m outside for more than a couple of hours it does help to reapply but to me this is a small price to pay for not being eaten alive or gassed by store-bought bug spray.

Also, feel free to double or triple this recipe if you would like a larger quantity at one time.

Bug Spray Labels

Thrifty Thursday: Bringing New Life to a Vintage Clothespin Bag

Vintage Clothespin Bag All Fixed Up

This weeks Thrifty Thursday feature is a vintage clothespin bag that was given new life with the help of a thrifted pillow sham.

We’ve had plans in the making for a while to add a clothesline to the homestead so when I saw this adorable clothespin bag complete with 89 clothespins for $2.00 I had to have it.

My original plan was to purchase a small amount of unbleached muslin to replace the fabric bag as it had become dry rotted and quite brittle. However when I came upon a single cotton pillow sham at a garage sale several days later for $0.25 I knew it was an even better (and cheaper) option.

Replacing the cloth bag was pretty straightforward. I just cut off the old bag and used it as a template to sew the new one. The construction is quite simple: just a sewn tube with a pocket around the top and the bottom stitched shut. All told the entire project took about 30 minutes from start to finish.

Here’s a before and after:





The end result turned out so cute and at $2.25 total it was a steal. I can’t wait to use this bag as soon as we get our clothesline built!

Canned Pickled Hungarian Wax Peppers


One of the veggies we are attempting to grow this year in our raised bed are Hungarian Wax Peppers. Despite starting our peppers early indoors and then transplanting them outside they just don’t seem to want to take off. The plants are just now producing a couple of flowers and we haven’t had a single pepper yet. Being the impatient sort I couldn’t resist picking up a couple of quarts of peppers to pickle and can at a local farm stand. I figured best case scenario we’ll have plenty of canned peppers and if our plants never produce, at least we’ll have some. I started with 3 quarts of peppers (approx. 13 peppers per quart) and ended up with 12 pints of finished canned pepper rings.


Start by washing and draining the whole peppers and then slice them into either strips or rings. I prefer rings as they are more convenient to add to recipes without additional chopping.


Next combine 1 cup white vinegar, 1/2 cup water and 1/2 teaspoon pickling salt per pint and bring to a boil. Then pack pepper slices or rings into sterilized, hot jars, add one clove of garlic per jar and cover with boiling vinegar mixture leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Make sure all air bubbles are removed and screw on lids and rings. Process pints for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath. Remove jars and let sit overnight before checking seals.

Sharing with The Homestead Barn Hop

Homemade Sauerkraut



Making homemade sauerkraut is not only surprisingly easy but also incredibly cost effective. All you need is sea salt, cabbage and a container to keep your kraut in while it ferments.

I started with four heads of cabbage and ended up with two large pickle jars full of sauerkraut. I started by cutting each head into quarters and trimming out the cores. Then I shredded each wedge over a bowl.


Next I tossed the shredded cabbage and salt together. You need to add 2% of the cabbage weight in salt to each batch. I worked with a pound of cabbage at a time to make sure the salt was well mixed in.



Next add each batch of cabbage/salt mixture to your jar or crock and mash it well to squish out all the juice and eliminate any air bubbles. Continue adding the salted cabbage a pound at a time to your jar squishing in between each layer until your jar is almost full.



The final step is to add a weight to keep the cabbage under the juice. I used a gallon size bag filled part way with water as mine. Now all that’s left to do is let it sit and ferment. Length of fermentation time varies, I just let it sit for a week and then check each day. Fermentation is complete when the sauerkraut has the amount of flavor desired. Once it is done fermenting you can either keep it in the fridge for several months or can it to store on a shelf for up to a year.

Retsel Little Ark Grain Mill Review


We purchased our Retsel grain mill in February of 2013 after much research and deliberation. Since it was a decent investment we wanted a grain mill that would not only work well but would also last for years. After seeing several bad reviews about the grain mill itself and also about the company’s poor customer service we were skeptical but we decided to take a chance since we were able to get all of the features that we wanted and it was in our price range. We knew we wanted a mill that came with stones as well as steel burrs should we ever decide to grind more than just flours and cornmeal. We also wanted a flywheel should we decide to motorize the mill. Being made in the USA was also a big perk.

Since we paid via money order we were able to get 20% off of our order including the cost of shipping. Our mill arrived within 30 days of cleared payment as customer service stated it would and was very well packed. The only assembly required was attaching the flywheel and handle to the mill and bolting the whole thing to the countertop.

The first time we used the mill we were pleasantly surprised by how easy the wheel was to turn as some reviews had stated that the handle was rather hard to turn. Using a fingertip tight setting on the adjustment knob we are able to grind a cup of flour suitable for bread making in about 10 minutes.

All in all we are very happy we took a chance on Retsel as they make a very solid product we expect to have for years. We love our grain mill and would recommend a Little Ark to anyone looking for a good, sturdy hand powered grain mill made in the USA.

Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with any of the companies mentioned in this post, all products were purchased by me, all opinions are my own.

Homemade Whole Wheat Pita Bread


This pita bread goes great with just about anything. The original recipe calls for only all purpose flour but I started making it with half whole wheat flour and half all purpose flour after we got our grain mill. Since then I’ve found that we actually prefer the whole wheat version to the original recipe, not to mention it’s much healthier. I usually make a double batch because we go through it so fast.

Whole Wheat Pita Bread

2 ¼ tsp. instant yeast
1 tbsp. honey
1 ¼ cups warm water (105˚-115˚ F), divided
3 cups flour (half whole wheat/half all purpose)
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. salt
Cornmeal, for sprinkling

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the yeast, honey and ½ cup of the water.  Stir gently to blend.  Whisk ½ cup of the bread flour into the yeast mixture until smooth.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside until doubled in bulk and bubbly, about 45 minutes.
  2. Remove the plastic wrap and return the bowl to the mixer stand, fitted with the dough hook.  Add in the remaining ¾ cup of warm water, 2 ½ cups flour, olive oil and salt.  Knead on low speed until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.  Transfer the ball of dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat, and let rise in a warm draft-free place, about 1 hour, until doubled in bulk.
  3. Once the dough has risen, transfer to a lightly floured work surface, punch down the dough and divide into 8 equal pieces.  Form each piece into a ball.  Flatten one ball at a time into a disk, then stretch out into a 6½-7 inch circle.  Transfer the rounds to a baking sheet or other work surface lightly sprinkled with cornmeal.  Once all the rounds have been shaped, loosely cover with clean kitchen towels.  Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, until slightly puffy.
  4. Cook each pita in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat turning once.