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The holidays are near, and everyone is wondering the same thing: “What in the world am I going to gift people?” Maybe you have a few ideas already, or maybe you’re stuck.

Fortunately, homesteaders can make a variety of affordable and thoughtful gifts from their backyard. Consider any of these fun gifts just in time for the holiday season!

Baked goods

I mean, who doesn’t love a nice loaf of bread? Use dried herbs and fruits grown on your homestead to bake delicious treats for your next White Elephant party. (Try this: A Festive Recipe for Giftable Bread Loaves)

Preserves, pickles, and more

Food gifts are both delightful and practical. Did you preserve your summer cucumbers as delicious pickles? How about that huge batch of apple butter from the fall harvest? Simply add a gift tag and a ribbon to your Mason jars and you’ll have a beautiful gift ready for Christmas.

Flavored honey

Have you ever had lavender honey? It’s to die for! If you keep bees, you might already be giving away honey as gifts. If you want to take it up a notch, you can create lavender-infused honey. (Herb/honey recipe and how-to.)

Jerky

If you keep livestock, jerky is a fantastic holiday gift. And who doesn’t love jerky that was made with love?

Jewelry

You want to make the most of raising your fowl. When cleaned properly, you can use their feathers to make earrings and necklaces as gifts for others.

Medicinal tinctures

Do you have a few lemon balm tinctures in your cabinets? Put them to good use as holiday gifts. Tinctures do require some time to age, but that will make it even more of a wonderful gift.

A scarf knitted with love

Homesteaded sheep’s fleece is heavenly and soft. Convert your wool into beautifully crafted scarves, blankets, hats, or sweaters.

Beeswax candles

Honey isn’t the only giftable item you can get from bees. Beeswax is so versatile in beauty products, but it’s also good as an old-fashioned candle. (Two easy methods found here.)

The bottom line

Why worry about holiday gifts when there are so many giftable options on the homestead? Give any of these amazing, thoughtful gifts to delight your loved ones.

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What Causes Weak Nails?

There’s no shortage of products on the market to strengthen nails and reduce splitting and breakage; but how well do these products really work? Is it even possible to make nails stronger?

What Causes Weak Nails?

If you have weak nails, you can blame it partially on your mom and dad. Weak nails are genetic to some degree, and some people naturally have tougher, stronger nails. There’s not a lot you can do about that; but be sure you’re not contributing to the problem by eating a poor diet.

Fingernails are made of a protein called keratin, so protein malnutrition can cause weak nails – as can certain vitamin and mineral deficiencies – such as a lack of B vitamins and zinc. Occasionally, a medical problem such as an underactive thyroid causes nails to be brittle. It’s a good idea to have a blood test to rule out these problems.

To Make Nails Stronger, Stop Using Nail Polish Remover

Some people indirectly contribute to the problem of weak nails by exposing their hands to harsh detergents and chemicals. One of the biggest problems people have is overusing nail polish removal products. Nail polish remover weakens the nail plate which causes the entire nail to grow in weaker. Nail polish removers are also too drying. If you have to use one, look for one that’s acetone-free.

What Can You Do to Make Nails Stronger?

Some people drink gelatin in hopes of strengthening their nails, but there’s little evidence to support its benefits. How about vitamins? Taking mega-doses of biotin had some benefit in a Swiss study, but the amounts needed to strengthen the nail were quite high.

The Power of Moisture to Strengthen Brittle Nails

If fingernails are weak and brittle, adding moisture helps. One of the best ways to reduce splitting is to apply petroleum jelly to the hands, put on a pair of cotton gloves, and leave them on overnight. Soaking the fingernails in almond oil or olive oil also helps moisturize the nail and reduce brittleness.

What about Commercial Nail Hardeners to Strengthen Nails?

Don’t waste your money. Some of these products dry out fingernails and make the problem worse. Eat a healthy diet that has enough high quality protein and keep your fingernails well moisturized. Fingernails need a break from nail polish and nail polish remover – so give them one as often as possible. Do this consistently and your nails should be less prone to weakness, splitting, and breakage.


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