Sunday, March 13, 2011

March Goals / February Goal Review

Better late than never? I thought so, too.

February Goal Review

Eating Better: We've really slipped up on sugar intake. But we are getting back on track.
Eating Better: I haven't succeeded in getting DH to eat very many fermented foods.
Eating Better: Figured out what I was doing wrong with my yogurt. Yay! It was perfect last batch.

Finances / Eating Better: My garden progress is pretty pathetic. I've started a few seeds indoors, but I really need to get my peas started pronto! As in yesterday. Hoping to do that this week.
Finances: I kept a better eye on our budget. And I definitely used weekly to help me succeed in that. Yes! For February we came in $3 under both eating out and grocery budget. After a month or two of struggling, this felt great!

Personal: I really did clean out the closet! What, you can't tell? But I did...
Personal: I did this... But my better system sits in the kitchen at this moment chock full. So full the lid doesn't close anymore. Sad.
Personal: Driving did not happen this month. I don't know what to do about this.
Personal: Posture. Ha. Funny.
Personal: I did not really do much brainstorming about simpler meals to do, but I did find a couple by accident. Wait, scratch that. I found at least 3 meals that are fairly quick to prepare which I have added to my repertoire. My subconscious did this without me even trying. Eat it! (I did. It was good).

House: We decided not to get a house right now. A lot of my friends are getting one and I really, really want one, but DH and I talked about it and we decided it's much better financially to pay off our debt first... And that leads me to our goal with which we are replacing our "buy a house" goal.

March Goals / New Yearly Goal

Revised Year Goal

Debt: Pay down 16.5k in debt by Christmas. This will be between 1/3 and 1/2 of our debt. I am really excited. We just sunk our 5k we had saved up for housing expenses into it, so that leaves 11.5k to go. Bring it, debt. I will own your a$$.

March Goals

Eating Better: Get better about DH packing lunches / meals to work so he eats good, hormone-free, junk-free food even at work. This also applies to my weight loss goal for DH. Yay.
Eating Better: Eat wild-caught fish or liver once a week. (Dreaming, probably)
Eating Better: If my book on raw milk ever gets here, read it and talk DH into switching. :)

Financial / Eating Better: start the rest of my seeds.
Financial: Continue vigilance on budget. Any time I can come under budget in a category, that means faster debt payoff which means less time until we get a house.

Personal: I'm really discouraged in this area, so I'm only posting 1 goal. Follow Project Simplify's weekly projects to whip my apartment into shape. I only found out about it today which means I am a week behind, but since I am almost done with all my homework for the week, I'll be able to do last week's project tomorrow and then have the rest of the week for the current week. I am really excited about this.

PS, our auto insurance almost cut itself in half now that we've hit the 6 month mark of having insurance with a "real" insurance company. More dollars to go towards debt!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Check it Out!

I'm almost famous. Ok, not really, but a fellow blogger asked me to do a guest post and... here it is!

Rachel writes at No Preservatives Added. She's actually part of the reason I started my blog to begin with, and definitely part of the reason I keep going. (By the way, she's really awesome, you should read her blogs).

I know I haven't been around much but that's because I've been crazy busy and sadly, this lovely blog is pretty low on the priority list when it comes to family, work, school, cooking, and sleeping. :) I do enjoy my family and my sleep.

In other news, I am not dead! Just in case you were still wondering if this was a figment if your imagination or if you were dreaming. Nope, this is really a post from me.

I'll write a catch-up post about goals soon and also about all kinds of other things.

Now, however... I have to go tend to my kombucha!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

My Childhood: Ground Hog Day

Every Wednesday I'm going to (try to) post a memory from my childhood. As I mentioned before, the reason for this is because I really don't remember all that much, and I'm hoping that by actively thinking about it every week, I'll start to put the pieces together.

Today I thought I would make up for last week's post when I should have written about Ground Hog Day.

Growing up, Ground Hog Day, the movie, was always one of our favorite movies. We watched it pretty often because we all liked it a lot. We would quote many of the lines before they happened or in a fitting situation in real life. If one of us kids wanted to be extra annoying we would pretend to be Ned Ryerson. If one of us was getting angry, another would quip "Don't drive angry, Phil." If we wanted to display our ornery side, we would quote something like "Too early for flapjacks?"

My mom loved it most of all, though. She would get so into the movie that at times it was more entertaining to watch her than the movie. She has that childlike way about her when she's watching movies that makes it quite entertaining to be with her. She cracks up at the same jokes every time. She laughs in anticipation of jokes. It's really fun to watch it with her (and movies in general).

Watching Ground Hog Day is a great memory because I remember it being a very happy time with the family. We loved watching Phil try to blow himself up. We loved watching him slowly reform his ways.

And as I got older, I used to even get a little jealous of the idea. The idea that you could get an unlimited amount of time to do the things you've always wanted to? That just sounds great. He became fluent in another language, he became a master pianist, he even got a littler bit of culture and learned about poetry, and he learned something about himself and about others along the way. I've always been fascinated with both music and languages and the idea of being able to sit down and learn both only using up one day of my life would be awesome. I thought it would be so cool if I could get that chance, too (very twilight zone with the books and the glasses and the eternity).

If you had a day that lasted forever like in Ground Hog Day, what would you do with it? Would you master a sport, language, or instrument? Would you learn to cook? What would you do?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tuesday Trimmings

Today I thought I would give a brief update on my goals for the month. I was also going to post about my kombucha, but alas, that will have to come another day!

Eat Better
So far we've done well. I used up the last of my failed yogurt batch and I am ready to try again, this time I think I'll follow the directions. :) I had a nice chat with DH about sugar and how I'm trying to reduce and it felt good to get on the same page about a topic pertaining to food (for once!). But then at my family's superbowl party we both got sick from eating so much sugary food. Goes to show us, I guess. DH said "Never let me eat like that ever again" while we laid awake in bed wondering what we did to ourselves.

We still haven't gotten our dirt yet, blargh. This past weekend was busy, but we could have made time for it. I'm still working on sticking to our new budget. I think we're doing well so far. And as part of that, I've been using more than I was before to keep myself in line with our budget. We've been very meticulous this week in recording every dollar we spend on groceries so we can better evaluate our spending. I even figured out on how to enter a manual cash transaction which means we can also track our spending at the farmer's market with ease, now. Love it.

Personal Goals
Clean out closet -- DONE. Eat it. I organized my way down to the very carpet and up to the ceiling. And I also just last night took pics of the last few holdout items I'm going to try and sell on craigslist. I'll post those later today.
Recyclables -- DONE. I recycled the box from our aquarium into a nifty recycling receptacle. Say that 3 times fast.
Driving -- Fail. Once again, stupid weekend. I think I'm going to ask DH take me on Wednesday this week instead of / possibly in addition to the weekend. I must get this going.
Posture -- Meh, so so. I'm doing better but I'm not where I need to be.
Simpler meals to free up time -- Ha. Hah, ha. Ha, I say. Hasn't happened yet.

Indecision is killing us, here. I keep trying to talk to my wonderful hubby but he's been a man of fewer than normal words lately, it seems (or maybe I've been on overdrive?? Hmm..).

Weight Loss for DH
I haven't talked to him yet. I will though. All in due time.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Monday Life Awareness

Well, it's a fact, I am crabby on Mondays. The weekend always goes too fast and I'm left staring at my phone asking why it is telling me to get up and go to work. Well, this prompted me to start focusing on being aware of all the good in my life. So every Monday, I'll be posting something that I am thankful for. Hopefully this will get me in the habit of being grateful even when I am cranky and hopefully will counteract the acute "case of the Mondays" I seem to contract every week.

Today I don't really know what I will write about. I've been feeling really down lately. I had some challenging questions from a friend on Thursday and I haven't really quite gotten over them yet. This has caused me to also be a lot less productive over the weekend because I am working on figuring out said questions. It's been rather uncomfortable.

I have a whole host of other things I can complain about, but I am instead going to find something positive.


*15 minutes later*


I am grateful for my 1st batch of kombucha! I had some of my first bottle on Saturday and it was great. Not quite like the store bought--but hey, at pennies on the dollar I'll definitely take it. I've got my second batch brewing so all is good in that realm.

And I think I am thankful for my friend asking hard questions. I would share them but it's a bit too hard right now (and way too in-depth). My biggest problem is I don't know how to answer them. And that leaves a hole inside me. I feel like I have an opportunity at my door but like any good questing game of old, it takes a yellow key and all I have is 17 green ones.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Food Waste Friday

Well, as you can see see, my scheduling of blog posts has not been as much of a success as I would have liked.

But, on a more positive note,

My Food Waste
I wasted a little bit of leftovers at work one day this week because I just couldn't eat it. I ate about half of it and my stomach told me in no uncertain terms that it was done with this food.

And I think I wasted something else but I don't remember.

What about you? How did you do this week?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

My Childhood: Bedtime Stories

Every Wednesday I'm going to (try to) post a memory from my childhood. As I mentioned before, the reason for this is because I really don't remember all that much, and I'm hoping that by actively thinking about it every week, I'll start to put the pieces together.

Happy Ground Hog day!

I've been trying to think about what to write, but today has been pretty busy, so I haven't come up with anything yet. [Edit: And after realizing it was Ground Hog day, I realized exactly what I should have written about, but I had already written this before I realized what day it was. I think I'll just this idea for next week.]



.... ... ..... . . . ... Aha!

I never remember getting bed time stories as a kid. I don't remember my parents reading to me (although I'm sure they did). I don't remember the stereotypical childhood pleadings for "one more chapter!" It's probably because I learned to read when I was 3-4 years old. But I do remember a funny thing my mom and I started when I was a preteen / teen.

I don't remember when this happened, but one day, we decided that we would "alternate" being the adult. From then on, sometimes I would come into her bedroom after she went to bed and tell her a bedtime story. It was a lot of fun because I got to just completely pull a story out of thin air to tell her. I think once or twice I even talked her into coming in and tucking me in.

I remember we would joke about it all the time. She would say something silly and I would take it very literally (not part of the game) and then mom would joke about how it must have been my turn to be the parent. Or we would get into mock fights about it "It was my turn last time, it's definitely your turn!"

My favorite thing was getting to tell her stories, though. Like I said, I loved getting to use my imagination. I would tell her stories about princesses getting rescued from the bad guys (usually some sort of ugly animal which I anthropomorphized for the story). But it was a lot of fun. Mom would lay in bed and I would sit on the edge of it and tell her a story. Then I wold pull up the covers and kiss her goodnight.

As an aside, don't get the idea that this happened every night, or even every week. It was just an occasional fun thing we did.

Weird? Yeah. Had unhealthy psychological undertones? Possibly. A lot of fun? Definitely.

What fun memories do you have with your parents? Did you ever take a turn being the adult?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Have You Checked Your Cervical Fluid Today?

Ok, so I just had to stop in to say this:

This is a quasi-book review, but in reality it's more along the lines of personal revelation.

Taking Charge of Your Fertility is possibly the best book I've read in a long time. It is a wealth of information about how the female body works and I loved it. I could hardly put it down and read it in 2 sittings (only because I was falling asleep during the first sitting).

Its premise is to use the three signs your body gives you to either get pregnant, or not. The three signs are basal body temperature, cervical fluid, and cervix position. Basal Temperature tells you when you have just ovulated / when to expect your period / early pregnancy detection. Cervical fluid tells you when you are fertile / unfertile. Your cervix position is just sort of an accomplice, confirming the other two signs.

It also talks about something which I never knew about male fertility as well, but the focus is on females. Things like, did you know that "male" sperm (Y chromosome) are faster than "female" sperm (X chromosome)? Seriously, who knew?

The process of tracking your own fertility is actually really simple, and I love it. I take my temp every morning and I check my cervical fluid and I'm already learning so much I never knew! I know that soon I will ovulate, based on my cervical fluid, and I can confirm I've ovulated with my temperature. I'm sure you don't need to know that I will ovulate, but hey, it's my blog, and I'm excited about it.

This book has taken the mystery of the period and explained it in plain words. I don't have to live in ignorance of my body anymore. I am more connected with women as a whole than I ever have been because, after reading this book, I realize everything I experience is absolutely normal. What I used to sit and wonder/worry about, I can now know with certainty. It's strangely empowering.

I can't say enough good things about this book. You should go read it!

No one paid me to say nice things about this book--I don't have nearly enough readers to make that profitable for them!

February Goals

Already? I'm not done with January goals! Oh... You're serious about February being here, aren't you? Well fine. The first part of each goal is how it fits into my annual goals.. unless it doesn't. In which case, it's just a random monthly goal.

Eating Better: Continue slowly reducing sugar.
Eating better: Work on encouraging DH to eat more fermented foods; use up last of failed yogurt batch so I can make a new batch which he will eat. (I hate failed cooking).

Finances/Eating Better: Get dirt, start seedlings indoors.
Finances: Work on sticking to newly revised budget; Use at least weekly to keep an eye on spending.

Personal: Clean out the closet. Seriously. No ifs, ands, or buts. Get it done.
Personal/Sanity: Come up with a better system for recyclables.
Personal: Go on 4 driving lessons. One a week. Do it.
Personal: Seriously resume posture plan.
Personal: Start brain storming about simpler meals to free up time in the evenings for projects / fun.

House: Get a realtor (if this longshot doesn't pan out).

Weight Loss: Talk to DH about starting weight loss for him. Wish me luck!

Monday, January 31, 2011

January Goal Review

This is my first monthly goal review. I think I did ok, considering some other unexpected issues crop up that I've had to deal with this month. And some expected ones, like school and work. Oops.

Eating better: Start my own kombucha.
I did this! My first gallon is brewing on top of my fridge as I type. Hopefully tomorrow I'll get a chance to bottle it so it can carbonate.

Eating better: Take cod liver oil daily.
Um, I've been taking it every day, but DH won't touch it, the silly man (but I love him, so it's ok). I think it really has helped with my (self-diagnosed so probably wrong) SADness.

Work on getting my license.
Umm.. yeah. We've set a time to go driving twice now, but each time it doesn't happen. Basically we schedule a time and then we either fight or sleep in until we don't have time to do a lesson plus all the normal weekend stuff like groceries. It's actually pretty pathetic. I'm determined to change this!

Finances: Review budget for this year with Husband.
We finally had our budget committee meeting yesterday! I think we've got an ok plan for the year, but I think one or two of our spending categories is slightly unrealistic. We shall see.

Finances / Personal: Work on something crafty.
Um, I did a little bit of this, but honestly I just haven't had the energy to maintain this. I feel like I can barely keep up with the dishes (don't look in my sink right now) let alone make time for fun stuff. I need to, though.

House: Get a Realtor.
Ok, we haven't done this. Boo. But, we are (shhh) going to hopefully look at a house this week. So... we are working on our Annual Goal of getting a house, even if we haven't gotten a realtor yet. If this house isn't worth our time, we will definitely work on getting a realtor in February.

Finances / Eating Better: Finalize plans for balcony garden / order necessary stuff.
I have my seeds but still no dirt. Sigh. I really need to get moving on this. My plans are set, and I have my seeds, the only thing I'm missing is dirt. Maybe I can do that this weekend. (not hopeful)

Personal: Sell / donate unused items.
You know what... yeah I still have all that crap in my closet. I think this goal is going to get recycled for February. Time flies, sometimes. Is it true that it only gets faster the older you get?

Personal: Resume working a bit each day to improve my posture.
I've sort of halfway, maybe kind of done this. I really need to get hardcore about it.

In general, I'm really struggling lately with motivation and energy to do the things I want. This is bad. I want to start my seedlings for my patio garden soon. I want to clear out the closet full of crap I don't want, without taking a total loss. I want to take my pile of recyclables out of my apartment to the nearest recycling center, but there the pile sits in the middle of my living room floor. Plus more in the kitchen. I want to be awesome and blog every day, but I can't even do basic chores on a regular basis.

Overall, I haven't done that bad. I accomplished in whole, two goals, and made progress on the other seven. On the other hand, only accomplishing a 2/7 ratio is pretty pathetic. That's not even one third. But it's not a bad start to the year. Certainly not the worst I've ever had. :)

My biggest problem is organizing my days! I want to be structured and work on my crafty projects on Sunday morning before church, for example, but I never can get to it. I think I'm having a crisis of priorities. Too much daily crap in the way of my "goals," but so much of what I center myself around has to do with all the "daily crap." Bah, contradicting feelings.

How do you manage your goals against everyday life? How do you make time in the chaos known as life to do what you really want to do?

Monday Life Awareness

Well, it's a fact, I am crabby on Mondays. The weekend always goes too fast and I'm left staring at my phone asking why it is telling me to get up and go to work. Well, this prompted me to start focusing on being aware of all the good in my life. So every Monday, I'll be posting something that I am thankful for. Hopefully this will get me in the habit of being grateful even when I am cranky and hopefully will counteract the acute "case of the Mondays" I seem to contract every week.

Today I am thankful to have the opportunity to help those less fortunate. My husband and I are up extra early because we are going with our small group to go serve breakfast at one of the homeless shelters in our city. So even though it's very early and I am a bit sleepier than usual, I am glad of the reason (for once). There are a couple of reasons why I am excited about today.

For one, it's been a while since I've volunteered anywhere. I enjoy helping people, but I haven't done that in a while. I believe it is right to help people and even though this is a pretty small act, it is still one that needs to be done. The shelter we are working with said they pretty much never get volunteers to serve breakfast on Monday mornings, so we are filling a need.

For another thing, a good dose of perspective does the heart good. Sometimes I get caught up in the material things, forgetting what I'm called to do as a Christian. So I'm thinking about what it would be like to be homeless out in this snowy winter we've all had and it makes me extra grateful for my cramped cozy one bedroom apartment.

Finally, I am excited about today because of the opportunity to grow with people. Sometimes I feel like I have trouble connecting with my small group because I am shy in a "sit and talk" setting. Hopefully this will give us the opportunity to bond a little bit. Or at least it will give us a shared memory, which still helps with the whole friendship thing.

Alright, I didn't have as much time as I wanted to write this entry, but I have to leave soon!


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Hi! Bye!

Phew, it's been a busy week!

No time for a childhood memories post today, just a quick question for any of you out there:

I really want to cook liver next week as part of my menu plan. But I have no idea how and I've never done it before. I just found very a reasonably priced source for bulk(ish) chicken livers at the farmer's market which are hormone / antibiotic free and I want to start using this healthy resource soon!

SO.... what does one do with liver?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tuesday Trimmings

I'm starting to like this catch-all post I started doing on Tuesdays. It's a nice way to write about all the random crap I've been up to without have to try and be organized about it. haha.


My jars came yesterday! So last night I started my first batch of kombucha. I'm so excited I can hardly wait. Once we started drinking it a while ago, we realized it was too expensive to keep buying, but because of the health benefits (and because it's downright tasty!), we decided it was worthwhile to invest in making our own. My SCOBY is doing really well (yay) so I'm optimistic that this will be a success.

So far, I've spent
$2 on generic green tea
$3.50 on a bottle of starter kombucha
and $25.98 on two 1-gallon glass jars.

I'm starting off with making just one gallon to see how it goes and to see how fast we drink it.

1 gallon filtered water -- $15 / 100 = $0.15 ($15 is how much each filter costs)
4 tea bags -- $2 / 40 * 10 = $0.50
1 cup of sugar -- $2 / 12 = $0.18 (aprox)

So total cost for one gallon of kombucha, will be less than $1.00. Compared to a 16oz bottle for $3.50, I'd say that's quite a deal. Especially since it takes eight 16oz bottle to equal one gallon. 8 * $3.50 = $28.

Which means with my first gallon, I will just about break even with my start up costs.

After that, it's all gravy (erm, kombucha!).


In other news, my fermented orange marmalade is done! It's pretty good, but not at all like what normal marmalade is like. It's kind of watery and not syrupy. It's vaguely sweet and orange-y at first, and then it's slightly salty, and then it's pretty bitter. But for some reason I think I really like it, even though it's definitely really bitter. The rinds have softened up so they're much more chew-able now, which is good.

I'm thinking about adding either maple syrup or more sugar to sweeten it up so my DH will also eat it. I think if I can balance the bitter / slightly salty flavor with a bit more sweetness, it will help him enjoy it. I want him to eat it because it's good for him, but let's be honest, if he doesn't eat it, I won't be that sad--more for me!

And, contrary to my belief, adding whey did not ruin it. I thought for sure, once I added the whey, that it would be awful and just taste like whey and nastiness, but I can't taste the whey at all! How cool is that? (you saw this coming) Whey cool.


Oh, and I had another dinner success last night. Wild-caught salmon fried in a skillet with butter, topped with homemade BBQ sauce and served with green beans covered with butter. Yum! DH really enjoyed it and so did I.


Other than adding more fermented foods to our diet, I'm sucking at my goals. I still have 6 days to get them done, so I might eek by, but... yeah, not holding my breath at this point. Aand, school is kicking my butt. And I don't really like work that much... And I don't even want to think about my grocery bill lately.

...But I made kombucha! and I guess for now, that's enough.

What about you? How are you doing with your New Year's goals?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Monday Life Awareness

Well, it's a fact, I am crabby on Mondays. The weekend always goes too fast and I'm left staring at my phone asking why it is telling me to get up and go to work. Well, this prompted me to start focusing on being aware of all the good in my life. So every Monday, I'll be posting something that I am thankful for. Hopefully this will get me in the habit of being grateful even when I am cranky and hopefully will counteract the acute "case of the Mondays" I seem to contract every week.

Today I am thankful for my education. As a child I was always the "why" and the "how" child.

Why do people say mean things?
How do we know how far away the stars are?
How does the tv work?
Why... How... Why...

My parents must have had a ton of patience!

But I am thankful for my knowledge and training. The biggest thing my parents taught me (besides everything) was how to investigate. I was introduced at an early age to finding out things for myself in books and from people. And when the internet began coming out in full force, I was taught how to find information there as well. It might sound silly, but when I was young I considered myself a whiz at search engines (and sometimes, I still do). I was almost always able to find what I wanted, be it a driver for some obscure video card or facts for a research paper.

Last night while I was making dinner, I was pondering how to make a good veggie side dish my DH would eat. This isn't as daunting as it used to be because he's been a very good sport about trying new things and his palate is certainly expanding as well. And yet, I was up against a fierce opponent: spinach. DH isn't a fan (and by that I mean he made faces / would barely eat it the first 10 times I served it in any form), and I adore the stuff (I eat it plain from the container when I first get up, or as a quick snack when I get home from work. or.. when I'm bored, or watching tv... or--you get the idea). Also, I had never cooked spinach before except in eggs or casseroles, so I was completely unsure of how to prepare it.

So I used my longtime skill of foraging for information and I Googled (PS, I love that Google is now a verb) around for a bit. I found the general consensus to making tasty spinach was to use onions / garlic, and butter. Lots of butter. Armed with this new knowledge, I made some darn tasty spinach! (if you're curious, I also added freshly ground salt and pepper). I wound up taking the butter and onions from the bottom of the pan I had used to roast the chicken and adding that to the spinach and it was soo good! It also had some chicken fat which added a bit more flavor. For the garlic I just used a bit of garlic powder (such a great thing to have on hand).

And I've used enough parenthesis for about 17 blog posts, so I think I'll stop (maybe not, though), but that's what I'm thankful for. I'm thankful that instead of feeling helpless on how to make nutritious food that DH will also *want* to eat, I can use the simplest gift bestowed to me by my parents so long ago.

Thanks mom and dad!

Also, I'm really glad dinner wasn't a bust. I hate when that happens.

Also, I'm really glad the farmer's market is finally selling veggies again! The prices there are so much kinder to my pocket book than Whole Foods.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


I got bored with the look of my blog. It's more fun now. Plus I think I talk about food more than anything so I think it's fitting. But I'll probably change it again in six months, so don't get too comfortable with it.

What do you think?