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.