Friday, October 9, 2015

Frugal Friday- How We Paid Off $22.000 in Debt in One Year!

This morning I made a cup of coffee, grabbed my check book and wrote out a check for a whopping $10,627.  I gave my husband a high five and a huge smile because we are now debt free! 

Here is our story about how we paid off over $22,000.00 in debt in about a year.

The mechanic and I were married 6 years ago and I came into the marriage debt free  He was not.  He didn't have a lot of debt, mostly business related, and it was never an issue for him.  He actually had a pretty slick operation going on and I saw no reason to interfere with it. We never combined our bank accounts and he continued to pay  the utilities and I bought the groceries.  When larger purchases were needed we usually pooled our money together for it. 

It started to became a struggle for me at work and Stormy was becoming of age to start home school.  My sweet hubby decided it was time for me to quit my job and come home full time to teach Stormy and lessen my stress load.  We decided that I would stop working as soon as we had all of our debts paid off.  I was ecstatic until we figured out our debts came to over $22,000.00. How can that be?

Turns out it was a combination of many things that just snowballed.  It also turns out that the mechanic's slick operation really wasn't so slick. Let's just say, if you pay all of your bills via credit card, make sure the auto pay for the said credit card is set for more than the minimum payment.  That is all.

I was still motivated.  I could not wait to quit my job and become a stay at home mom.  I attacked the plan with vengeance. 

The first thing we did was transfer all the utility payments over to my debit card.  Next we consolidated under an interest rate that was set at 4.9%.  After that we simply threw every spare penny we had at the payment. We never sent less than twice the monthly minimum and often sent much more.

We let the business pay off our debt instead of building more inventory.  Our eBay store had a few good months and we immediately transferred that money into my account.  Previously we would have used that money to purchase inventory but for this year we only used the inventory on hand.  The Mechanic also sold a couple of cars he fixed up and we sent that money on its merry way.

Living in the great state of Alaska has its perks.  Every year we get a check from them just for being here.  This year was an exceptional year and that was what put the icing on the cake and allowed me to write that check.

It is just as important what we didn't do.  Here is a small list of priorities that we set in order to stay sane.

1.  We didn't listen to Dave Ramsey(or is it Gordon Ramsey? eh, whatever, we didn't listen to either of them) but followed God's plan.  We always gave to the Lord first in tithes and never hesitated to help those that needed help.  I have no doubt at all that the Lord blessed our efforts.

2.   We never compromised on what we believe in.  It is important to us to eat the best food.  By that I mean organic and non-gmo. We still bought grass-fed beef but we bought less of it by spreading one package over 2 meals.
3.  We didn't do without.  If we needed it, we bought it.  If I wanted to take a trip to visit my family, I went. But we did do it smarter.  We shopped around for the best prices and I drove the vehicle that had the best gas mileage instead of what was the most fun or comfortable.

4.  We didn't touch our emergency fund or as we call it the "when the s hits the fan and the world ends as we know it" fund.  Bring on the zombies!  

That's all folks and it is fair to say that I'm lovin' the debt free- stay at  home all day in my pajamas kind of life!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Starting Over - Trim Healthy Mama

It's time to refocus and I really want to mean it this time.  I'm going to do my best to get back on track with my diet, exercise, weekly to do list and my yearly goals.  I'm starting over on my diet on Monday because our company should be departed by then and more importantly, the pie should be gone.

Amish Rhubarb Pie

I am struggling in the diet department trying to find a plan that works.  I've decided to go back to Trim Healthy Mama and customize it a bit to see if that helps.  I think it is a sustainable plan that works for most but I wasn't seeing results.  I've narrowed down the problem to my gallbladder.  The plan depends on separating the fuels of carbs and fat.  My gallbladder and I are fine with the carb part but eating a lot of fatty meals irritates the gallbladder and I resort to eating a lot more carbs than intended. I briefly tried JUDDD (alternative fasting days) but I worried I wasn't letting my gallbladder expel enough.

To customize the Trim Healthy Mama plan I will depend on coconut oil as my main source of fat. My favorite way to use coconut oil is in Bulletproof coffee or tea.  Although the plan discourages BPC as a meal,. I am planning to start my morning with one and have another as a snack.  I will still be heavy on the "E" meals but maybe I can see results.

Here is my THM gallbladder customized plan.  Another thing I should point out is my house is pretty low on groceries right now.  Due to the local Borough and town fleecing locals and tourist alike with a tax on all foods, I am protesting with my dollars by not buying any groceries locally and traveling to the nearest city that doesn't charge any sales tax.  After the summer months when they lift the tax on food, I may feel less stubborn about buying at our local stores.  I mean really people, a 7.5% tax on eggs?  By the end of my month, our house is out of fresh produce and fruit and we are eating the frozen stuff.

8:00 Bulletproof Coffee or Tea (Coffee or Teecino with 1 TBSP of coconut oil and sweetener). If I am hungry I will eat a fatbomb (currently I have Peanut Butter Cheesecake in the freezer) or some homemade greek yogurt with blueberries or peanut butter powder mixed in or a boiled egg.  This will always be a "S" meal.
Big cup of creamy bulletproof coffee.

11:00- Mostly "E" soup and sandwiches.  This week I am planning:

* Zest of the Southwest with a small amount of canned chicken.  If I need more I will pair it with a Wasa cracker and Laughing cow cheese.
* Loaded Fotato Soup or leftover lentil soup with a Toasted Turkey Sandwich.  I make my toasted turkey sandwiches by lightly spraying a slice of sprouted bread with coconut oil and layering on a wedge of laughing cow cheese and a slice of turkey and toasting it on the griddle.  Some days I will skip the soup and eat a full sandwich with a side of Kimchi.
* Steel Cut Oatmeal with blueberries.  I will whisk in some egg beaters for the extra protein

2:00 Snack time.  This will include another BPC or BPT with a fatbomb, greek yogurt, boiled egg, Wasa cracker and LLC.  My other options will include smoothies that I will add either chia seeds or MCT oil in to get some good fats or a coffee cake MIM.  I will strive always to make this a "S" meal.

5:00 Dinner  This time of day will again be a lot of "E" meals.  This week my fridge says I can enjoy:
*  Beans and Rice.  It's a crock pot meal that I make weekly and love.
*  Breakfast Burritos. I will use egg beaters or egg whites and a low carb tortilla.  I will pair this with a smoothie or some roasted green beans.
*  Pizza Bites.  This is the only "S" meal I am planning on and only if my gallbladder says yes.  I will have a side of frozen vegs.
*  White Bean and Chicken soup with a side of frozen vegs.

8:00 Snack (if needed) - I have on hand popcorn, greek yogurt, fat bombs, cheese and olives, cookie bowl oatmeal and smoothies.  I will try keep it to a small portion.

I have found that I can be satisfied without making any type of baked goodies.  I just can't find any that I enjoy and it's easier to make a smoothie if I get a sweet tooth.  I do have a secret stash of dark chocolate in the house in case of an emergency.

I'm pretty sure that most of my weekly menus will look a lot like this one.  When I have fresh produce in the house it will change up a bit.  I will have an apple with soup and more salads based meals.  I will make more green smoothies (spinach, strawberries and cottage cheese) versus this weeks protein powder based smoothies.

For hydration I will drink water, a daily shrinker and an occasional Winter Wonderland or fruity GGMS along with my BPC or BPT.  On days that I feel cold I will drink hot tea.

Dino guarding my Shrinker
Lovin' life with a diet plan in hand....

Thursday, June 25, 2015

I am a Canning Nerd - Gardenless Canning

I adore canning.  It's like therapy for me.  I love to put on a mellow CD like Neil Young or The Jayhawks and slice, chop and peel the stress out of me.  Then comes the reward, jar after jar of beautiful jams, vegetables and sauces.  Unfortunately, therapy is never free.

The problem is twofold.  One, I do not have a garden, outside of a few containers of lettuce and potatoes.  Secondly, I recently became unemployed and I am now living on a self-imposed budget.  Normally, I buy wonderful, organic produce and berries through Azure Standard but those carefree days are over.  So what is a canning nerd to do?

This nerd goes foraging.  Right outside my backdoor I harvested dandelions and rhubarb and they produced the best jelly and jam I have ever made.  Have you ever had dandelion jelly?  Mmmm, it has a mellow taste that is perfect on toast or fresh baked bread with butter.  

I will be cutting rhubarb all summer long and soon the strawberries will be ready.  Currently, the only thing blooming on the property is yarrow and geraniums and both of them would make terrible jelly. Later this summer I will harvest fireweed and rosehips and make jelly to my heart's content. 

For the rest of my canning I have been buying organic vegetables from Costco.  So far, I have put up spicy carrots, potatoes, olive salad, beans, salsa, marinara and pizza sauce.  I can't afford fresh tomatoes so I have been buying #10 cans instead.  

Spicy Carrots

I'm often asked why I bother canning, isn't it cheaper to buy instead?  The answer is yes and no.  Therapy aside, I can for a few other reasons.  It's important to me to control the ingredients.  I strive to buy only organic and non-GMO ingredients.  I also like to control the portion size.  Let's just say that my hard working husband is a man of large appetites.  Lastly, I always have a ready made gift.  I hate to shop, so if I can go to my own pantry for gifts that is priceless.  For the most part, if you have your own garden, it would be cheaper to can your own produce.  Gardenless as I am, it often is not especially if you are picky about what you buy.

Lovin' life with my canner, a knife and a hungry husband at my side.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Goal Update and Spindrift Gifts - New Listings for April!

March was a terrible month for my family and I am glad to see April come around.  Spring is in the air, the birds are singing and I am ready to go on with life which includes working toward my monthly goals.

One of the goals I set and usually achieve is listing 5 new items on our eBay store.  Here is what is new at Spindrift Gifts.

I actually made these boot cuffs last month but never managed to get them listed.  They turned out super cute and were fun to make.  I made a small or girls size and a large to extra large size.  I made Stormy a set and let me tell you they are so cute with her rubber boots and they help keep her pant legs tucked in.  I love a win-win.

 We have been selling more and more cameras lately so I listed this one.  It's an older Cannon but it seems to take pretty nice pictures.  

I also thinned out our DVD collection and listed two movies.  We recently watched Jurassic Park III and 3:10 to Yuma and decided we could live without them.  For the past couple of years we have been thinning it out with the goal of having only family friendly movies in our home.  This means anything with nudity, language or explicit matters will need to go. It has been tough at times because some of our favorite movies have been sold or donated but we are really trying to stick to our guns on this one.

As for my other goals, last month was a bust.  I did manage to back up my computer after a blue screen of death moment.  Not sure how much longer I can hold the mechanic back from changing out my drive for a solid state one.  I also managed to read a book but that is about it.

Still lovin' life even when it throws a curve ball.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Trim Healthy Mama Weekly Menu

I'm super excited because I finally worked out an eating schedule that works for me!  I'm making it through the day without getting hungry and over-eating.

8:30 - eat breakfast
11:30 - eat lunch
2:30 - snack
5:30 - dinner
9:00 - hot tea w/dark chocolate on a stressful day (ha! I mean everyday).

Seems simple enough, but it took me awhile to figure it out and I am still on a time crunch in the morning so I'm looking to making more pre-made morning meals.

Here's what I'm planning to eat this week.

Breakfasts:  Steel-cut oats (E), Healthy pancakes (never made them last week), fried eggs (S), cheesy omelet (S), Cottage Toast (E), Savory Protein Muffins (S or E), Breakfast Quinoa (E)

Lunches:  Bean Burgers (E) from the freezer (yay!), Tuna on "S" Bread (S), Waldorf Salad (FP), Nicey Ricey Salad w/leftover Quinoa (E), Pea Salad (S) - this is a maybe, Savory Protein Muffins(S or E), leftovers

Dinners:  Roasted chicken (S), Chicken Pot Pie- S (Satisfying Eats), Egg roll in a Bowl (S), Skillet Pizza (S), Quiche (S), Bean Burgers (E), Better than Chef Salad - S (hopefully I will have some leftover roasted chicken for this).

Snacks:  Savory Crackers - S (Satisfying Eats), Boiled or Deviled Eggs (S), Yogurt w/Berries (S), Popcorn (E), Baked Oatmeal Muffins (from the freezer and my life before THM but amazingly still on plan if I only eat one) - E

Drinks:  Kefir shakes, GGMS, The Shrinker and Pumpkin Pie Sip

I have all the groceries I need in the house for this week and a good day in the kitchen will knock most of this list off.  If it doesn't work out I have a back up plan...

Last week, I was on plan at least 90% of the time but I didn't always eat what was on the menu.  I ate more taco salads than I planned and the only pizza I managed to make and eat was skillet pizza.  I didn't make the Quiche or pancakes so they are on the list again.

For the rest of the family I am planning on making Cornbread Casserole, Tuna Casserole, Bread and  a cake with sprinkles to cheer Stormy up.  She has not been feeling well the past week.  So far I have already made the bread, cake and Cornbread Casserole.

I took a peek on the scales this morning and lost another pound, but my official weigh-in will be on Sunday.

Lovin' Life minus one pound at a time!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Trim Healthy Mama - Weekly Menu

This is my second week following the Trim Healthy Mama WOE.  I'm still figuring it out and I'm sure I have made some mistakes with separating my foods but I do feel that they just may be onto something here.  I thought it would be fun to journal my progression here and just see if I can be successful or not.  

I will be cooking this weekend for the week's menu.  That is my normal, I never cook during the week.  During the work week we just fend for ourselves with the leftovers or what I put up in the freezer.  I know, I know, a family should sit down and eat together and we usually manage that during the big holidays and a blue moon.  The main problem seems to be our individual eating schedules.  The teenager eats constantly, Stormy never eats and the mechanic eats one huge meal a day.  I am the only traditional 3 meals a day person in the family.  I endeavor to eat breakfast before work but often eat it on the way to work or worse yet, at work.  I'm sure it is not good for your digestion to eat while your boss shoots looks at you for not being at your desk.  At work, we don't have a set lunch time and eat on the run  in between patients, which I am sure is not good for your digestion either.  Good thing I like the Good Girl Moonshine sipper, which is good for your digestion.  By the time I get home I am starving and just want to pull something out of the fridge and heat it up.  

Here's my menu for this week and I better stay up late and get cooking!

Breakfast:  Steel cut oatmeal, plain and with the berry whip - E, Healthy Pancakes (new recipe to me) - E, Cheesy Omelet - S, Fried eggs over Canadian bacon w/nutritional yeast - S, Quiche - S (leftover from a dinner & a new recipe).

Lunches:  Sandwiches w/Ezekiel Bread, low in fat - E, Waldorf Salad - FP, Cottage Toast - E, Taco Salad - S, Pizza (leftovers) - S, and Easy Pizza Bites - S (recipe from Satisfying Eats)

Dinners:  Quiche (new recipe)-S, Pizza w/the speedy pizza crust - S, Taco Salad -S, Bean Burgers - E, Soft Boiled eggs - S, Cheesy Hamburger Helper (Satisfying Eats) - S, Deep Dish Pizza Pie (Satisfying Eats) - S

Snack and Deserts:  Yogurt w/Berries or Granola - S, Pumpkin Cheesecake (Satisfying Eats) - S, Fridge Fudge - S, Hard Boiled Eggs w/salt and pepper or deviled - S, Roasted Garbanzo Beans - E, Raw Veggies and Cottage Cheese- FP.

Drinks:  The Shrinker (I'm in love with this sipper), Good Girl Moonshine and I want to try a Pumpkin Pie sipper.

I'm planning to make for the family a big pot of Goulash, homemade bread and cookies, all of which will be off limits to me.

So far this weekend, I have went shopping and have all the ingredients I will need.  I have boiled eggs and pulled out cooked beans from the freezer to make the roasted garbanzos and bean burgers.  I also pulled out some frozen pumpkin to make the cheesecake.  I made the taco meat in my crockpot and just have to hide enough of it to make myself two meals.  Once the mechanic and teenager find it, it will be long gone.  I baked bread today as well.  

Tomorrow I will get up and try the Healthy Pancakes and freeze the leftovers for next week.  I have several different pizza ideas planned and I will cook all of them together.  I should be able to freeze some leftovers for next week as well.  That leaves the bean burgers, roasted garbanzos and cheesecake to make.  The Quiche sounds easy enough that I should  be able to tackle that during the week.  I'm staring at the Cheesy Hamburger Helper on the menu and wondering if that will actually happen, it kind of seems like I have a full day in the kitchen tomorrow.   I will throw the goulash into the crockpot for the family.

There it is, hopefully I will be able to freeze lots of it and make next week so much easier.  I'm sticking pretty close to the recipes in the THM book, and just grabbing a few favorites from Satisfying Eats and Wheat Belly books that I own and love.

Lovin' life in the kitchen and I mean all day in the kitchen!

PS - I lost 3 pounds last week!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Monthly Goals - The Nap Edition

January is a tough month for me up here in Alaska.  The holidays are over and you are back to the grind without the thought of another long weekend from work for months.  I go to work in the dark and come home in the dark and that inspires me to take lots of naps.  Since giving up coffee, I truly am energized by light.

I did OK with my goal list.  Could have been better with the store business side of things and I ignored some cleaning chores but in order to take so many naps, something had to give.

Let's see how I did during my awake periods....

1.  Read at least one book a month.  I stomped this one!  Here are the books I read.

Not only did I read Trim and Healthy Mama, I started the plan today.  So far so good and I will let you know how I do.  I hated the Wideacre book, and that is being nice.  The main woman in the book was just pure evil all the time and I read it to the end just to make sure someone killed her.  It had explicit themes in it, mostly incest, that I could live with out.  The bad news is that I bought the whole series and now have to decide if I want to try the second book or burn them.  I'm leaning toward door number 2, at least that way we will have a warm fire.

I read a couple books on my kindle.  They were both free and I love that.  Unfortunately both of the books I read are part of a series that I will have to purchase if I want to know what's next.

An Untamed Land by Lauraine Snelling was excellent and I have already request the entire Red River series on the paperback swap.  I was able to snag a couple more free kindle books from her so I'm excited to read the next one.  I read another kindle book that I can't seem to track down now, Thinking I might have deleted it already.  It was a good book, but not good enough to buy or spend my paperback swap credits on.

Here is what I am currently reading.

The Tightwad Gazette is great and fun to read.  I can always use more frugal tips!  I'm still reading Atlas Shrugged.  I like it but I don't find it easy to read and I spend a lot of time re-reading parts.  Exo-Vaticana is an end times Bible prophecy book.  End times prophecy is one of my passions, especially when it deals with aliens.  Did you know that X-Files was my favorite TV show?  On the Kindle I am reading The Frugal American Housewife.  Not sure when it was written but I'm guessing mid-1800's and it is great.  I'm not sure what she is talking about a lot of the time but I think the old ways are definitely  wiser.  I now know how to boil a pig head because apparently the cheeks are delicious.

2.  List 5 new items and craft one new item to sell.  As far as my goals for Spindrift Gifts, I was able to list more than 5 new items and most of them have already sold but here is a few things that are still available.

I am about ready to list another pair of the pedicure socks, we have a lot of CDs left and I have no clue why we have a book on Syphilis.  Feel free to drop into our store and shop or not.  In February I will be listing more cameras, DVDs, iPods and new hand-crafted items.

That's just a couple of my monthly goals.  How are you doing with yours?

Lovin' life and it's time for a siesta .

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Frugal Weekend = Being Content

At some point, most of my family and friends ask why I am content to live so humbly.  I live in a small, crowded house that could use some updating desperately.  The truth is, I find so much more joy finding contentment in what I have and having the ability to help other, I don't even think about the house.  It also allows us to save money, keep debt free, and ready ourselves to live in a semi-retired state.  

In keeping with this frugal lifestyle here are some of my accomplishments I worked on.

I needed to restock my pantry with my mason jar mixes.  This weekend I filled up a case of jars with Potato Bread, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies, Spice Cake and Whatever Cream Soup Mix. 

I love these mixes!  I generally do not love to bake because I hate assembling all the ingredients and doing all the dishes.  This way I make a mess in the kitchen every few months instead of every weekend.  I seal all the jars to keep them fresh.  I was able to utilize my food storage pantry for all the supplies.  Believe me it was so nice to go up there and grab a bag of sugar, powdered milk and flour instead of driving to the store.   It is very easy to find recipes online or adapt your favorite recipes to fit in the jar.  It saves me the temptation to buy the packages at the store and this way I can control all the ingredients.  I'm very picky about organic, non-gmo and unbleached flours.  I also use evaporated cane juice instead of sugar in the cookie and cake mixes.  I keep a few sugar free options ready in jars for when I get a sweet tooth.

Speaking of non-gmo, I found this great bargain  on Amazon Prime.  One of our go to snacks is popcorn.  Stormy loves it and I now I can love giving it to her.  I bought a big bag and processed it for the storage pantry.

In other frugalness, I found an old craft project that I started years ago and I am certain I will never finish.  I decided to tear it apart and make the pedicure socks I sell on the store with it.  I think I can get three pairs made out of it and sell them for a profit of $50.00.

I like to make these socks in my down time, while watching movies or listening to podcasts when Stormy is sleeping.  I can easily make a pair a week and if I'm willing to invest more time a pair every two days.  It is pretty wool and I'm happy that I stumbled upon it.

In other news, my hours at worked were dropped to about 30.  I'm not complaining , my dream is to work part-time and be available to homeschool Stormy as a team with my husband, so it really is an answer to prayers.

It finally has turned cold in Alaska and we are enjoying a bit of fresh snow.  I've been busy keeping the wood fire going, which reminds me I need to go haul in some more wood.

Lovin' life being content with what I have!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Frugal Food and the Skinny Protocol Diet

The mechanic and I are starting a new diet plan.  This time we are working on getting the good bacteria is our gut and saying adios to the bad stuff.  I'm not totally convinced about the whole premise of the book, but the mechanic bought it and wants to try.  I'm just glad that it has a money-back guarantee.  At any rate, it meant buying a lot of food that we don't normally purchase like the pricey fermented kind.  I printed out the food list, ate a brownie and got to researching the alternatives.

Sauerkraut and yogurt are high on the list of what we should be eating for their awesome probiotics.  Here in Alaska they are high- ticket items.  A smallish jar of  sauerkraut will cost us about $6 and a good quality yogurt is about the same.  I know there are cheaper options out there but I want the stuff that is still alive and not laden with sugar.  Come to find out making sauerkraut is not hard, or expensive and yogurt is even easier.

I started making the yogurt today, in my crock pot and it should be ready tomorrow.  It will only cost me the price of a half gallon of milk, or in Alaska speak, $3.00.  I will try to make the sauerkraut tomorrow, but it will take a couple of weeks before it is ready for us.

Another food on the list is oatmeal.  Awhile ago I bought a 50# bag of steel cut oats and have been ignoring it.  Today the mechanic hauled it into the kitchen for me and I made us a pot of it for dinner, yep, that's for dinner, oatmeal.  I decided to be frugal and use my wonder oven to cook it.  If you haven't looked into using a wonder oven, I highly recommend it.  It is the absolute best at cooking grains (think rice that doesn't leave a scorched layer on the bottom of your pot).  It also perfectly boils potatoes and eggs and saves us a ton of propane.

My wonder oven cooking steel cut oats.
The rest of the 5o# bag I processed into smaller bags with the foodsaver and will add it into our food storage pantry.
50 pounds of steel cut oats processed for storage.
In other frugalness, I knitted up a pair of fingerless gloves for my MIL's birthday next month.  It is a super easy loom pattern and I was able to find a scrap ball of yarn.  I think they turned out super adorable and total cost was about $1 and only about an hour to make.

Lovin' life in a frugal way!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

12 Goals for 2015

After much head scratching, I finally came up with 12 goals for 2015 as well as weekly, monthly, and yearly goals.  I'm one of those people that get happy just checking something off a list and admiring it for the rest of the day.

So here is my list, most of it very attainable but three of them will be challenging.
Most of the year will be centered around Stormy.  She will be starting school officially and I want to bang around the state for field activities.  The zoo, botanical gardens and Sea Life Center will keep us busy this summer.  

Hugging all the grandchildren, going on a hike with Whitney and learning to sew will be challenging for me.  I have two grandchildren that live out of state, so travel will be required.  Although I like to travel, I have a strong dislike for airports that I will have to get over to make it happen.  Just the thought of the groping TSA, and germ filled airplanes and airports, make me wish I could just hop in my car and drive from Alaska to Texas.  Hmmm, now that would be a great field trip for Stormy....thinking, thinking, thinking.

Hiking with Whitney will be tricky because she is currently pregnant.  Every year we say we are going to go on hikes but never seem to make it happen.  Hopefully in the fall she will feel up to it but I won't hold it against her if she isn't.  I will even volunteer to carry the baby and sneak in some snuggle on the way.

Learning to sew.  Oh my goodness me, did I really put that on the list?  I haven't sat down with a sewing machine since home ec in school.  The hubby does all the sewing in family to date but I'd love to sit down and make simple gift bags, aprons and the such. 
Onederland...those who know what this means, will know what I'm up to here.

So there it is,  My Sharpie is ready to start checking off and I'll keep checking in here with my progress.  How about you?  Got plans?

Lovin' life with my list, my sharpie and my determination!

Gallstones - How I Deal with the Pain

Yesterday, at work, I suffered through a gallstone attack that I was unprepared for.  I was surprised by it because I have been working on healing my gallbladder naturally and have been pain free for about 3 weeks.  Bam! Out of nowhere the pain returns.  I'm pretty sure that my boss would not be impressed to see me bent over my chair, a sweaty mess and eyeing the nearest wastebasket in case the nausea gets the best of me.  I needed to deal with the pain.

I've been wanting to write for some time about how I deal with the painful attacks.  When I was first diagnosed and doing research, I found a lot of information about what a gallstone is, the function of the gallbladder, surgery and even how to flush it naturally, but I found very little about how to deal with pain.

Here is a breakdown of my personal experience only.  I'm not offering any kind medical knowledge that I didn't find on google.

What worked for me:

1.  Apple juice and cider - Apple juice is my best friend forever.  Seriously the juice has been my surgery saver.  Apparently the acid in the apples will soften the stones and help them to pass through with less pain.  I know that when I keep up with drinking a daily glass, I feel much better.  Apple cider vinegar is suppose to work as well, but when I'm hurting, I don't feel like dealing with the bite of the acid.  I typically drink at least 8 oz a day and during an attack I will drink twice that at room temperature or warmer.  My husband, the hero, did bring me some juice yesterday and an hour later I was feeling much better. 

2.  Movement - One day at work, I was having a pretty bad episode and freaking out because following work I had to go get my BLS certification.  I could not imagine getting down on the floor and practicing CPR on the dummies in such pain.  Funny thing is, after 15 minutes of the class, the sharp pain disappeared and I was able to finish the class with out a problem.  Getting up and moving around can help the stone wiggle out of the bile duct. Now I make myself get up and move during an attack, even though all I really want to do is sink into my bed and whimper.

3.  Gallbladder and Liver Flush - This take some effort to get ready for and I plan to write about my experience in another post.  I did an emergency flush last night after my painful attack.  It wasn't well planned but still effective.  Here are a few pictures of the results.  Typically a flush will expel about 300 such stones from me.  This time I only had about 100 come out and no big whoppers but any stone I can get out I count as a victory!  You can see in the pictures how the apple juice start to deform the stones and break them apart.

Typical size

I put a penny in there to compare size.  I do believe the larger one on top would have caused pain at some point

4.  Prayer - I always turn to prayer in my need for peace of mind and to give God the opportunity to heal.  Sometimes my prayer is just as simple as asking for Him to take away the pain but I find it more effective to pray for others.  No matter how much pain I am in, I know so many others that are facing much worse circumstances.  I usually fall asleep while praying and wake up hours later pain free.

Some things that I haven't tried yet:

1.  Heating pad - I believe this would help but haven't dug out my heating pad.  If you don't want buy an heating pad, you can fill an old sock with white rice and heat it up in the microwave.  The heat should soften the stones and help them pass.

2.  Lying on your right or left side.  I've read that if you lie on your left side it may help the stone to fall out.  I've also read that lying on your right side will help with the pain.  I haven't really tried either of them to know if it helps or not.

What didn't work for me:

1.  Diet restrictions - I never could pin down any safe foods or foods to avoid, except hamburger.  For awhile all I would eat was cream of wheat, but one day that didn't work.  It is logical that high fat foods would be the culprit but other than hamburger, I couldn't figure it out.  Believe me if could just cut some foods out of my diet and avoid pain, I would do that in a heartbeat.

2.  Massage - I read that you can help the stone to move if you massage the gallbladder area.  I tried it a few times but it only caused more pain.

I'm hoping that this will help someone out there.  Please feel free to ask questions.

Lovin' life but not my gallstones.