Sunday, April 29, 2012

Challenge over...

Well, I guess you can say one should never start a 2 week challenge at the end of their pregnancy and during a crazy time in which one is also setting up and working a garage sale.  I didn't even get a chance to check my blood sugar consistently over the last couple of days.  Our garage sale went very well.  The garage was full of stuff we had brought out to the garage over the last couple of months so we didn't have room to bring out anything from the house really.  We sold 95% of our antiques within the 1st hour on Friday morning. 

We have now decided as of yesterday when I came in the house after the sale was over that since everything is still set up, why not keep it set up and have another sale this coming weekend, that way I don't have to pack it all up and wait for the sale we plan on having at my mom's in August.  As long as my water doesn't break we can have another sale and I can get the stuff out of the house.  So yesterday, I desperately needed to clean our living room and decided to rearrange while I cleaned, ensuring I wouldn't miss a corner of the living room to find items for our next sale.  I found quite a bit.  But I also feel better that the living room is baby ready...almost.

I have a bit of monthly cleaning I'd like to get done before he comes as well as finish sewing some of his items.  But if I don't, my mom can do them too.

I think we planned our sale at a good time.  I haven't worked since the beginning of April and I wasn't remembering when my last paycheck was going to come.  Last Friday would have been a usual payday but I didn't get a paycheck, so it was nice to make the money we did which was far more then my paychecks have been in quite some time.  Now we can pay off things sooner.  Garage sales really are a win-win.  You sell your "stuff" you don't need to make some money you need all while making someone else happy in the process, fulfilling their needs or wants.

Well, its back to cleaning for me.  Decided to take a break to email my hubby at work, check in here, and now to getting some much needed baking/food prep done for the week.  I'm excited to start planning my home improvement projects for the summer and the first one is making a hutch for a family heirloom which is a gate leg table that sits in our kitchen.  I noticed while sitting in the garage the last few days that we should have plenty of lumber to make it so I don't have to spend a dime on making it.  Except for maybe some stain to match the table.

Happy almost May!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Challenge Day 4

Yesterday....remember, jenni, remember.  I really shouldn't wait till the next day to write the challenge post.  Remembering is not my strong suite these days, but I remember napping yesterday and a lot of laying down due to various aches, pains, and cramps.

I honestly can't remember what I had for breakfast.  I had mid stage peanut butter cookie granola for breakfast.  Mid stage as it was done being baked in the oven but waiting to be dehydrated.  It was pretty good.  I think I almost like this kind of granola better at that stage then the dehydrated stage, it would make a good crust to something with fruit and cream cheese on top.  Now there's a thought.   Lunch was frozen pizza, dinner was boxed shrimp scampi and frozen veggies both which I learned were not so healthy after I ate them, my blood sugars didn't go up, but the munchies did!  I remember combating the munchies with strawberries and when my husband came home from work at 11:45pm and he ate ramen noodles those looked pretty good too, so I made a pkg, but that put me to sleep.

There are just some foods in our house that are inevitable until you realize they are loaded with a ton of bad ingredients usually after you eat them.  The "Ah-huh" moment doesn't settle in until you realize you are eating and munching more then you should.

I'm at that stage right now that I need to be organized so I can start prepping meals ahead of time so I'm not in that "what am I gonna eat now" mentality.  That's another cue for munching.  I'm currently tired all the time with little ambition or energy to get anything done, I have fantastic intentions but, that's all they are, intentions.

Something else to consider when attempting to eat healthy is the aluminum content in your body and what you are doing to your body with out realizing it.  Keeper of the Home had an interesting blog post today, you should check it out here.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Challenge Day 3

Sorry I didn't get a chance to post yesterday.  It was a bit of a whirl wind and after my husband started making pizza in the oven for lunch I walked into the kitchen and said, "Honey!  There is smoke coming out of the oven!" He said, "ya, it did that the other day too." I opened the oven and turned it off, "there's a fire in the oven!!!!"  So needless to say when the fire was out and the oven was cold I had my work cut out for me as I had intended on finishing my grain free peanut butter cookie granola yesterday which the next step was to bake it for 30 min before dehydrating it.

I've used Easy off in the past but with making our home toxic free in time for our little one to arrive I grabbed my homemade all natural all purpose cleaner, steel wool, and a trusty microfiber cloth.  Let me tell you, it was hard work!  The natural cleaner worked just as good as the easy off it not better but it was hard because I'm 9 months pregnant, my tummy couldn't get me near enough, I was on my knees which has been difficult for me to maneuver if I'm on the floor to getting up.  I took many breaks because I was having back pain.  But, I'm quite proud of how clean the oven got with just homemade all natural cleaner.  The recipe is under the baby safe cleaner tab.

Yesterday for breakfast I had the last of my cinnamon grain free granola and soy milk.  (Soy not so great, but it was all I could find at the time and had stocked up and my husband won't drink it so I'll continue using it until its gone!)  Then I had frozen pizza for lunch, a grain free easy black and white cake piece, wasn't at all hungry for dinner yesterday but knew I had to eat because my little boy needed some nourishment so I had left over Amish Omelet. 

On a totally different subject, I have been trying to make a home planner with a monthly planned out menu, with daily chores, reminders, etc.  First I was going to make it with a standard binder but I have this plan to make a hutch for an antique gate leg table that was my great-grandmother's that sit in our kitchen.  The regular binder would hang off the hutch and just because I'm picky I want everything to fit.  I have a couple of small blue binders I had gotten free somewhere in the past but haven't been able to use them because being smaller the holes in the paper need to be closer together.  Well, I fixed that problem because a while back I purchased a 3 hole punch that I could move the end hole cutters.  But I wanted to put my printed sheets in page protectors and use dry erase markers so I wouldn't have to waste paper.  But when I down sized to the smaller binder now I needed smaller page protectors until I had an idea last night.  I bought an entire roll of clear contact paper hoping to figure out how to make my own frosted look with it make some of the windows in our home privacy screened.  I wrote on a small area this morning with a dry erase marker and waited about 5 min, sure enough it wiped clean!  So I'm going to put my half size sheets on contact paper and then put in my binder so I don't have to waste paper for my organization!  Totally excited about this!  I'll post pictures when I'm in the process!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Challenge Day 2

Well, today was a bit more of a challenge.  I had my last two cinnamon bun grain free muffins for breakfast, didn't pack a snack because I didn't have one to pack and did good.  Sent my husband to Subway to get me a 6" flat bread sub with Turkey, veggies, and mayo, a diet coke, and cookies...?  I know.  But it satisfied me, no munchies.  I imagine there was so bad veggie oils in the flatbread, the mayo, definitely the diet coke, and the cookies.  My parents took me out to dinner at Perkins (I usually don't eat out much but they helped me tear down and unload and I really didn't feel like cooking) so I had their new Mediterranean omelet (which was amazing!), with a bowl of fresh fruit and a pancake.  The pancake is the only thing in question, but I've been satisfied all night.  Did you know that even in powdered coffee creamer there are the same ingredients as in liquid and the only ingredients are vegetable oils?  Sad.

So are you paying attention to what you're eating and what's in what you're eating?  Are you being shocked at what's on the labels or if you've eaten something lately and then realized you're still entirely hungry and you keep snacking...then checking the label to find the culprit?  Its sucks doesn't it?  Well, the more whole foods we eat the less processed and the more we control what we eat!

On a different note, today was the 4th annual Iron Range Earth Fest in my neck of the woods.  Great day!  I've had a booth for the last 3 years including this year.  The first year I mainly demonstrated how to recycle Plastic Bags into a reusable material.  Last year I debuted reusable sandwich and produce bags and this year I brought back reusable sandwich bags, debuted Handy Helper aprons which I've been making for about a year now as well as a few other kinds of aprons I make, but am just selling what I have and then no longer making them.

I met some awesome people!  Found out my parents are friends with a man who owns a strawberry farm where I can pick locally, organically grown strawberries.  Also made a contact with a local farmer's market group where I'm attending a new vendor's meeting on Tuesday to sign up to sell my reusable sandwich bags, aprons, and produce bags at this summer for a super small cost.  Made a lot of contacts on buying grass fed beef, pork, chicken as well as organically grown vegetables.

I found 3 awesome cedar planter's that are pre-made raised beds for gardening from the Cedar People out of Gheen, MN who were entirely affordable!  $35 a bed or 3 beds for $100!  My parents decided to buy me and my husband 3 for our anniversary which isn't until the end of June but still totally exciting!  I know just where they are gonna go and now I can start determining exactly what I want to plant.  I'm going to do a mix of vertical gardening and regular gardening.  I have a ton of ideas on more boxes but I think they're gonna have to wait till next year because we have to remove about 8 trees from our backyard because they are interfering with the power lines for both the city and our own that runs power to our garage.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Day 1: Getting Rid of the Munchies

Things are going pretty good today.  I had 2 grain free home made cinnamon bun muffins with cream cheese frosting for breakfast.  Good and Garlic Pizza for lunch, grain free black and white cake that I made last night for mid afternoon dessert.  I ate out with my parents at Pizza Ranch tonight, I had a large salad, 2 chicken legs, and 1 piece of pizza.  No crazy cravings or munchies and I've been satisfied all day.  Everything on my salad this evening except for the dressing was a whole food.  I'm assuming there would be some horrible rotten veggie oils in the ranch dressing, but used in moderation I feel ok.

My husband and I did a little grocery shopping this afternoon and I'm in the process of making my next batch of almond flour granola for breakfast since my 5 lbs of Almond Flour arrived today from Honeyville.  This time instead of Cinnamon I plan on making the peanut butter cookie almond flour granola which I'm going to need 2 cups of peanut butter for.  Last weekend I learned it really is easy to make your own homemade nut butters without all the additives and preservatives by simply putting nuts in a food processor and processing till it turns to a creamy nut butter.  We (my mom and I) made almond butter last weekend.  But looking at the ingredient labels of peanut butter today regular peanut butters are out as they are loaded with corn syrup and veggie oils.  The natural peanut butters don't contain the corn syrup or the veggie oils.  Some contain coconut oil, but that is a safe oil, it won't give you the munchies, but that also costs about $5 a jar vs $3-4 a jar.  So when I finish my grocery shopping I'm guessing on Sunday since tomorrow I'll be at Earth Fest all day, I'm gonna check the price on peanuts and make my own.  Granted my granola will take me a bit longer to make I'd rather keep the bad oils out.

So day 1 I think I did pretty good.  Tomorrow I'll be gone from 9-4 and will need to either pack my lunch and snacks or send the hubby to find food (probably not a great idea).  So I'll let you know tomorrow night how the day went.

Happy Earth Day!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

2 week Challenge: Getting Rid of the Munchies

Its amazing to me how many things we need to change in our diets in order to really live and eat a healthy diet.  Carbs are and can be bad depending on how you are consuming them and in what form.  Fat is good for you, though specific fats and other specific fats will make you fat, sugar is just not good for you unless it is in a natural form.  Controlling your blood sugar you need to eat protein with the carb so that it doesn't spike your blood sugar.  Eating fiber for a good digestive system while consuming adequate amounts of water (yes water, not coffee, tea, soda).  How is it that we got into such a confusing eating pattern of eating all the wrong foods, suffering from inflammation, a whole host of diseases our grandparents didn't have issues with until the last 30 years?  I'm thinking we got too busy listening to phrases such as "time is money and money is time" that we rushed and rushed and then came convenience foods that were grab and go and they tasted good and we didn't think about stopping to consider what in the world are we eating, it tasted good that's all that mattered.  We were brought up that if its sold in the grocery store is safe to eat other wise the government would have something to say about it right?

Well, we've been learning a thing or two about our government, they're in it for the money like every other corporate company, "time is money."  Well, I used to say the same thing, but something amazing happened to me in August of last year that I didn't find out about until Last September.  I'm going to be a mommy!  If you speak to my mother, she'll say that's nothing new I've been a mommy for 3.5 years already, but my baby Peyton isn't with us.  And unfortunately until we named our baby, I would forget about him or her because I was so insistent on "time is money", I didn't realize it till about a year ago when my mother told me to stand up with her on Mother's Day in church, I told her I'm not a mom, she said, "oh yes you are."  I cried.  I had forgotten.  I didn't have a funeral plot to visit, I didn't know if I was going to have a boy or a girl, so I told my husband we have to name our baby, I can't forget.  So we named him or her Peyton a boy/girl name.  I then named my children's aprons I've been creating for 2 years, "Peyton" so I would have a constant reminder of my baby that I lost 3.5 years ago.  So when God blessed us last summer with the news that we were gonna have a baby, I stopped and thought to myself, there is nothing more important in this world then my baby.  Time is not money.  Time is irreplaceable like my Peyton and my son who at the moment loves to stick is feet in my rib cage and kick me so that it feels like I'm a punching bag and yes, its uncomfortable, but I think its just him reminding me to stop and see the bigger picture.  We need to take care of ourselves and each other and be happy with who we are and what we have.

I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes in February of this year.  Though they say as soon as he's born it will be gone, but it does increase his chances of developing diabetes later in life as well as for myself.  I hate that.  I hate that as a mother, a wife, a daughter, another citizen of the U.S. that I can't just walk into the grocery store and buy safe, healthy foods for myself and my family.  That instead there are essentially toxins in everything on the shelves in the grocery store all the way down to the produce because it was treated with pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers.  Why is eating healthy so labor intensive?

I've come to the conclusion after going thru my kitchen last night that I want to rid our home and our bodies from unhealthy foods and it can't wait till payday or when I have time or that special moment to figure it all out at once.  So I'm starting a 2 week challenge of omitting from our diets oils that create the munchies to start with.  And posting my findings here will help me stay on track as my placenta brain likes to be forgetful.  Join me if you want to see if veggie oils do really cause the munchies and how you feel after omitting them, comment below on your findings.

Omega 6's to not consume: soybean, sunflower, safflower, cottonseed, corn (including corn syrup)
Omega 6's that are beneficial: borage oil, black currant oil, evening primrose oil

Check the ingredient labels before you consume anything.  Like I know the large sugar free creamer I just bought last week has all the bad oils in concentrated form in it, but I will probably still continue using it until its gone and NEVER buying it again.  I'll be posting recipes along the way of things I'm learning to make that are homemade and my local resources.  One way around flavored sugar free creamer is to use organic cream and flavored stevia.  Its pricier but healthier and knowing it costs more may make you take the time to enjoy it.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Veggie Oils, Munchies, and fixing the problem

Earlier this week I was reading The Healthy Home Economist's blog post "How Vegetable Oils Make us Fat."  Good article.  The article stated that the omega 6's in vegetable oils give us the munchies.  I had put the blog post out of mind until today.  I decided to make grain free crepes with strawberries and a creamy filling.  I currently have gestational diabetes so I have to find my sweet fix and all eating options by watching my blood sugar.  I knew from my experiment a few weeks ago that since I make the strawberry crepes from scratch I know what is going into the recipe so I know to control any sugar levels.  Though, it dawned on me today when I made them, ate them, put the left overs away and about an hour and half later I got the munchies.  I looked in the fridge and as usual nothing I can eat that won't raise my blood sugar unless I eat more crepes.  So I ate the rest of the crepes but then that reminded me of the blog post about too much Omega 6's causing the munchies.  I had the munchies, last night I had the munchies, I get the munchies a lot.

So I did a little research to find out what I had in my Strawberry Crepes that could have caused the munchies.  I thought I was eating healthy.  I started with the creamy mixture I make from cream cheese, heavy whipping cream, splenda (i know isn't the greatest) and vanilla.  My crepes only contain tapioca starch, splenda, eggs, and water so I knew that wasn't my issue and I knew the strawberries weren't the issue.  I googled the ingredients of cream cheese.  The cream cheese I use was purchased from the grocery store on sale last week for the generic brand.  Here is my "duh" moment.  I didn't buy organic cream cheese or natural cream cheese, I bough commercial cream cheese which means the milk that was used to make the cream cheese more then likely wasn't an organic, grass fed cow, instead it was a grain fed cow and from the LiveStrong website, Omega 6's are typically found in grains, cereals, vegetable oils, meat and dairy.

Now I'm totally new to this topic and from what I understand Omega 6's are a vital nutrient in moderation.  They are found in the list I just stated but in whole foods such as nuts and seeds they are totally healthy to eat because the oils are not in a concentrated form like veggie oil.  It also is now occurring to me that instead of using coconut oil to smear my pan with when making the crepes I sprayed Pam... I wonder what Pam is made out of? Canola and soybean oil.  That could be the culprit to my munchies too.  And I suppose considering how often I have the munchies I must like most American's have an absorbancy built up in my system and its all about eating whole foods and really paying attention to what I'm eating and where it came from.  I'm going to continue my research on this topic.  Its already been sitting in the back of my mind to make my own yogurt, water kefir, kombucha, etc and from what I understand you can make homemade cream cheese from yogurt and to stay away from munchie producing cravings I will probably make my own organic yogurt vs the easy way out and making it from store bought yogurt.

So I'm adding on to my post.  Now that I know what I'm looking for in the ingredients 98% of what is in my cupboards/fridge/pantry contains all those bad Omega 6's in high concentrated form.  The sugar free coffee creamer 1st two ingredients corn syrup and cottonseed oil.  I made egg salad for dinner and the olive oil mayo from Kraft that I use has canola oil in it amongst many other veggie oils.  So I guess I'm gonna have the munchies tonight too.  Its amazing when you try eating healthy and you learn of all the bad ingredients that are hidden in food you think is safe and healthy.  I need to switch to whole foods now and not later.  So I think I'm gonna start spending a lot of time on the GNOWFLINS.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

My meaning

It dawned on me today that I don't particularly enjoy sewing a ton of one thing for other people.  This is also the same reason why I will NOT do clothing repairs or alterations for people.  Why?  People are never happy.  People nit pick until there is nothing to pick.  You create a new pattern based upon customer requests you have your handful of happy/delighted customers and then the run of the mill grumpy people who are never happy who buy and then want to return because its not what they thought it was even though you have so many pictures showing the very last detail of your product.  So this is part of the reason why I am turning most of my "That's Sew Jenni" design company into a pattern only company.  I designed the patterns you can sew the product.

Though the other reason that made me realize today that I'm in the wrong business is I don't have a passion for what I'm doing.  People say you should blog your passion.  Didn't think about that when I started writing this blog.  I've always had a passion for being self-sufficient.  I enjoy and have a passion to sew when I create something I need, or just design and create something I need in general whether I sew it or not.  That is my passion.  And along with creating what I need vs buying it I do have a great passion for conserving, growing a garden, saving money, budgeting, planning, staying organized, etc.  I do have a passion for entrepreneurship as well but you need a business plan for that part of any venture.

I'm not sure where my passion will lead me or into what exactly.  But if anyone is reading this blog I guess you'll find out.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Homemade Nut butter

So I found this really great blog post last week when I was researching a grain free diet.  Not sure how I found it, maybe it was thru the Frugally Sustainable blog I've been attached to.  The blog post goes to instructions on how to make your own nut butter.  I don't own a food processor but my mom does.  She didn't believe me that by just putting a nut of choice in the food processor and pulsating it, that it would first turn into flour, but if you continued it would turn into Nut Butter.  So this morning after church my husband and I stopped by Target to pick up some already roasted salted almonds and after lunch I put them in my mom's food processor and showed her the flour and then continued and made almond butter.  It didn't take me as long to make the flour or the butter as the blog post stated it might take.

Almonds are high in fiber and protein, low in carbs, 1g of sugar per 1/4 cup and 6% iron.  Its like a complete meal.  I added some vanilla to mine, though I was just experimenting, probably could have added more.  Made enough to fill 2-6oz glass jars, one for me and one for mom.

So instead of buying peanut butter premade which we are currently out of, I think I will just buy some peanuts and head on over to my mom's and make home made peanut butter so I can ensure its not too sugary.

Well, I've been gone since 10am this morning as we went to church, then went to my mom's and my husband left for work from my mom's and my mom just dropped me off at home.  I have a ton of dishes to get done and I'm still sewing reusable sandwich bags and handy helper's for this coming Saturday's 4th Annual Iron Range Earth Fest that I've been a vendor for the past couple of years.  Its my last show before I expect our little one.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Food, Recipes, Menu's, Meal Planning, Budgeting

So far this week I seem to be concentrating on good wholesome food choices which are essential to a healthy life.  Its a lot of thinking and remembering and those ah ha moments when you didn't know you were eating a certain way without realizing it.  I'm learning a lot about the Paleo diet which is based upon the hunter/gather ancestors of ours where grain wasn't part of their diet and how grain has lead to so many dietary issues.

I might have mentioned quite a few blog posts ago that in 2007 I had met my natural doctor Monica Liddle.  Monica had put me on an anti-inflammatory diet to help control and cure my endometriosis.  It worked while I stayed on it.  What I didn't realize until now though is that I wasn't eating any grains when I was on her diet and nor was I consuming dairy.  I often had buckwheat hot cereal for breakfast, buckwheat isn't a grain its a fruit, also known as Kasha.  I'd have tea and a fruit for mid morning snack, lunch was a salad with protein of some sort and a vinaigrette salad dressing, mid afternoon snack was a different type of tea and more fruit and supper often was steamed veggies with butter.  Essentially I should still be on this diet regardless that I'm pregnant.  Though I would need to up the anty on the proteins since you need about 70g of protein per day when you're pregnant.

But what I'm also learning is grain free, dairy free recipes can taste amazing and be totally healthy for you.  I found a recipe online for grain free, gluten free, dairy free cereal which I made this week, a lengthy process because you have to soak the almond and coconut flour for 24 hours in yogurt or kefir, then you have to bake it for 30 min at 350 degrees, and then dehydrate it at 200 degrees for 24 hours.  Its amazing.  I bought my almond flour and coconut flour from out of New York State, shipping was free, and if you wanted to expedite it which I did, 2nd day air with UPS was only $10!  Though the pound I ordered from them for almond flour is just about all used up with that one recipe of cereal and there are so many other things I want to make that call for it.  So I'm trying to figure out a monthly menu and buy in bulk accordingly.  As we have went from multiple trips around town for items to 1 day shopping per month.

I've also read this week how easy and inexpensive it is for you to make your own nut butters, yogurt, kefir, kombucha, etc.  I did a little price comparison shopping last week at our local whole foods co-op to see what their prices stand up to online retailers.  Some they were cheaper in some they weren't.  It pays to take notice.

I'd like to get our menu done for May along with all the shopping and prepping as early in May as possible as my due date nears.  I don't think we'll have a lot of visitors other then my mother and my best friend from Alaska who's coming as she is to be one of our son's God Mothers so I should be able to manage the cooking and taking care of a newborn and eating healthy all at the same time.  My doctor told me that all the while I plan on breastfeeding I still need to take a prenatal.  Right now they are pushing for me to take my iron supplement which I can't take because it makes me so entirely constipated and that's always been an issue for me.  So I'm trying to incorporate it in other means.

When I figure all this out, I'll post it, maybe you'll see something you like.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

4 Stages of Happy

Happy Easter!
(Read Below for the Happiness Level of this topic)

This morning in church our parish was blessed by having Deacon Brandon join us for the mass.  I know Deacon Brandon as just Brandon as when I was in high school he was my youth minister.  AWESOME person!  Brandon is finishing up his schooling for the priesthood in a month or so and will be ordained to become a priest on June 22nd, entirely exciting, my husband, my son, and I will be there!  Deacon Brandon read the Gospel this morning as well as did our Homily (his homilies are AMAZING!)  His homily this morning was on the 4 stages of Happiness and again he pulled on my heart strings.

Brandon stated the 1st stage of happiness is quick happiness.  Something that makes you happy for about an hour and when its over you're not happy anymore, very short term.  He gave the example of going out to eat and having a large juicy steak, it made you happy to eat it at that moment but by morning no longer satisfied you making you happy or going to Target and buying that new DVD or a pair of shoes, instant gratification, and its gone by the time you get home.

Then the second stage Brandon mentioned was something you've worked towards that reaps a reward such as working towards a promotion, practicing all season long to win a state championship.  This happiness may last about a month or so but eventually wears off and you're back to where you were.

The third stage of happiness is volunteering.  Sharing your time with someone in need.  This stage of happiness lasts longer then the previous stages but when you decided that's if I've done everything to be happy about, you're still not happy.

The fourth and final stage of happiness is the only life fulfilling happiness that there is.  In each of our hearts we have an empty tomb like the one Jesus was placed in after he died on the cross and its empty and we feel empty because we are only focusing on those 3 previous stages of happiness.  Once we open the tomb to God and ask him to join us in our journey and walk with him on this journey will we be ultimately happy.  Brandon mentioned yes, we will still have pain and suffering and hardships, but essentially we will be happy, because we are walking with God.

Thank you Deacon Brandon for your homily this morning!
I do believe that I am truly in the fourth and final stage of happiness, which is great that I'm here at 27 years of age, I can enjoy this stage of happiness until God takes me home.  I asked God into my life a very long time ago and yes, there have been trials and tribulations, pain and suffering, and its been journey, but God has blessed my husband and I with a child who is still growing inside of me.  I'm not afraid of the pain and potential suffering I may endure giving birth because I know God will not give me more pain than I can handle.  I plan on having a natural child birth with no pain meds.  I'm not scared because I know HE will be with me.  I ask God every night before I go to bed and every other time of the day I pray for a safe, uneventful natural birth in which both myself and my son do well in the process.  I don't tell God what needs to be done, I ask.  Ask and you shall receive.

My thought process and attitudes towards all kinds of areas in my life are changing ever so much to be more in line with walking with God.  I'm seeing things in a whole new perspective, I'm understanding the changes, and they are so simplistic.  Like earlier at the dinner table we were talking about the lottery and everyone was stating that a million dollars really isn't that much money.  Then I piped up and stated, "a million dollars is more then enough, its too much."  I don't care to win a million dollars so I don't buy lottery tickets or gamble.  I'm pretty positive that's not the life God wanted me to live.  And winning the lottery is stage one happiness.  Sure I could pay off our house which was less than $50,000 (no joke), I'm content with our house.  I would pay off my car loan to my father, not much left less than $3000.  My husband's car is almost paid off, we don't have any credit card debt.  I would save about $14k for my son's elementary education as we plan on sending him to Catholic School.  I'd save another $100k or so for his college education if that's what he wanted to do.  I'd buy my husband a new vehicle because he needs one, but it wouldn't be something that cost as much as our house brand new, that's ridiculous.  I'd maybe find him a good, used Chevy Trailblazer or something along those lines.  I'd buy the house next door, tear it down along with garage because they need to be torn down, have a triple size lot, fence it all in, plant a big garden to feed my family, maybe sell some of our produce.

I'm guessing I'd have money left over but I guess I'd save it, I'd probably make a large donation to our church, and find some specialist somewhere that might be able to fix my step dad's eyes, or maybe fly him to the Holy Land so he can bath his entire body in the Holy waters and perhaps be healed.  I might buy my grandparents a small home of their own where they wanted it, perhaps on the same property where they currently live that's uncluttered, clean, warm, with someone to help take of them as they are in their late 80s and have worked HARD their entire life.  My grandfather has been a dairy farmer his whole life and my grandmother has worked along side of him, they had 11 children, have about 30 grandchildren and just as many great grand children.  I have an aunt and an uncle who never left home and bought the dairy farm from my grandparents and they run the farm now.  My grandfather keeps telling us he'll retire and well, he can't help himself.

But I don't need a million dollars.  I'm already happy, life will be happier when I can hold my son in my arms vs my uterus.  I told my mom yesterday that I understand now her happiness and why every year since I can remember I'd ask her for Christmas, Birthday, Mother's Day what she would like.  The answer has been the same every year, "nothing."  There is nothing I WANT more then to hold my son and be his mom.  I don't want a million dollars, I don't want a new house or a new car or a $500 shopping spree at Target (honestly I don't know what I'd buy, now that I've switched to homemade natural cleaners and such).  I am happy because I am following God and he is intertwined in every aspect of my life.

My mom says, "Christmas is the Promise, Easter is the Proof".  So I wish to all of you a HAPPY Easter!

Friday, April 6, 2012

God Given Gifts

So just now I was reading the latest post from Frugally Sustainable, (as I've said, I'm attached to this blog) and something Andrea wrote yesterday pulled some serious heart strings and really what I've been striving for without having a way to explain it.  Andrea states, "Your job could be lost, your home destroyed, and your possessions stolen…yet your ability to identify and use your God-given gifts to provide for your family is the defining difference between dependence and sustainability."

My job has been lost, it could come back, but my latest client went on hospice and recently died.  Being 8 1/2 months pregnant my Home Health Aide agency doesn't have any new clients for me to take on, so for now and however long until my doc clears me for work and what our life is like after my son is born, I'm essentially unemployed by the job world.  I still have my crafting business which I think is more of a hobby at this point and I pray that this year and my new products I will make enough money to pay the booth fees, my rent on my studio until someone takes over my lease and still help build our savings.  This is by facilitating part of my God Given Gifts.

We have home owners insurance and thankfully we don't live in an area in the US where we are hit by most natural disasters and storms, but anything is possible.  We have been robbed in the past so I entirely know what that feels like.  But what Andrea stated is so true, without our God Given Gifts we can't be sustainable we are completely dependent on someone or something.

This is what has been pulling on my heart strings in the last couple of months as my due date is more near and knowing what kind of a world we currently live in and having my deepest roots with God knowing he will provide and take care and when I'm not sure what to do or how to handle something I give it to him and he will guide me.  He has been guiding me lately into the world of frugality and sustainability and as some people might think that its crazy and will get better, I'm actually thoroughly enjoying the adventure.

I'm using my God Given Gifts to utilize fabric I own to make reusable family cloth vs toilet paper.  This is saving us approximately $7 a month and especially now in my last months of pregnancy where I use the bathroom at least 10x a day it is saving us.  The fabric I already had so it didn't cost me anything to make the switch.  I made reusable diaper wipes for my son out of more flannel I already had and am making the diaper wipe spray to use with it which is not only a lot HEALTHIER and safer then what you buy on the store shelves it's a lot more affordable!  You want to play the devil's advocate and state well, you still have to wash the wipes and family cloth so you're not saving any money.  On the contrary we are, we still have to wash bathroom towels, lights and darks and eventually cloth diapers.  I was most of our clothes on cold because they wash out as well as with dark and saves energy from not heating the water.  Though I do wash towels and family cloth in HOT, but then I also hang dry/line dry as much as possible which saves money from running the dryer.

I used my God-Given gifts to make 90% of the items we needed for the arrival of my son.  I made his towels and wash cloths, burp cloths, diaper wipes, blankets, comforters, my reusable breast pads vs those expensive disposable ones, my mom and I recovered an antique baby buggy on loan from my dad so as an infant he can lay flat, my mom got a free stroller for when he's older that I'm also currently in the process of recovering.  The furniture in my son's nursery was mostly all mine through out time, we're using my crib, my nightstand, my baby mattress, a dresser I got from my dad, borrowing a rocker from my mom.

I'm enjoying the challenges of frugal living by finding out how much protein and fiber are in beans which I've never been a fan of but am willing to buy a few and try them out and see which ones we can make apart of our pantry stock affordably and eat vs red meat which I'm also not a huge fan of but need the protein.  I'm creatively figuring out the structure of our back yard in terms of planting area and full sun to plant a garden to help save money to sustain us as much as possible.  I'm decluttering our home with things we don't need or use to have a garage sale to make money to save.

Andrea also quoted the Bible at the end of her blog post and I had not yet read this, reading the Bible cover to cover is something I've always wanted to do, and I'm sad to say I always get distracted but now with not working I'm hoping I have time to really start and immerse myself.

“…so don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. “ –Matthew 6

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Converting our Backyard into a Garden

I was reading last night on various blogs how entirely affordable it is to grow your own food.  I've tried container gardening and well that's not my forte.  I know from digging deep holes in the ground for our clothesline pole and for the 2 fence post holes that our soil is clay with lots of big rocks.   So that ultimately was the reason I decided to do container gardening one year.  Well, as I was thinking about it last night we have a small yard but a lot bigger then what some people have.  Its pretty sunny except for one area near the house which I think I would leave alone because one intention this summer is to replace our deck.  Our child who I'm still carrying and not due to have until mid May won't exactly be needing a play space for a few years yet and we will still be able to accommodate play space for him so why not just use most of the back yard to grow plants to sustain us through mid to late summer through winter?  We have a compost, just never anywhere use to use it.  We have water to water a garden, we have room to store food.  I'm not a great seed starter but my mom has a greenhouse so I think she could help in that place.

Its a thought in process and right now a thought, but I really want to do it.  Now its measuring space and figuring out in the spaces what kind of sun light they get and what we can fit where and tilling the space and possibly bringing in black dirt and what have you.  I'll keep you posted.

I also read on a blog yesterday about how a family did away with facilitating their garbage can.  It took them 6 months to officially not need a garbage can. They bought food that didn't have a wrapper or food that came in recyclable containers, recycled their egg cartons at their local co-op, composted food scraps, etc.  I like this idea, we already recycle A LOT!  But I've often thought why buy items that come in plastics not coded with a 1 or a 2 on them since in our area we can't recycle anything that doesn't have a 1 or a 2 and why would you, just means its not as safe for your food and you have all those plastic chemicals seeping into your food, YUCK.  You can be create and Eco-friendly by being conscious of what it is you are buying and how it not only affects you but the planet.  Where we live we have to buy city garbage bags that aren't even biodegradable so essentially those and everything in them will never break down.  And people are OK with that?  Not me.

**And an update.  I made family cloth yesterday and tried it out.  Not bad.  I made them 4" x 8" and realized that since they are super absorbent 4x8" is too big for #1, works great for #2.  So I'm gonna be cutting some in half to make 4x4" cloth.  I also need to wet it a bit other wise it can feel like rug burn.  There is no smell with the wipes.  And I can wash with towels in HOT water until I'm constantly washing cloth diapers and wipes.