Category: Frugal

Tire edition #birdsoftheair

It has been a blessed week, though exhausting.

The car now has new tires, and a fixed right front lower control arm thing, and as soon as we have the cash, aligned. It was all confusing and convoluted because  my dad got wind of us needing tires thanks to totally bald ones that skidded in less than a half inch of snow.  He and my mother-in-law decided to pay for it for our Christmas present, but then there was something broken which needed fixed before it can be aligned, and so on.  So my dad ended up paying more than planned for our gift but is now happier because he isn’t worrying about us  getting in an accident.  The tires still need aligned but that will happen as soon as we get paid for a couple jobs. So God worked it all out and we now have good tires and a fied thing that we didn’t know was broken, and soon it will all be aligned so there will be no more concern in that department.

Several packages full of things from our grocery wishlist as well as from the kids wishlists.  This is awesome because we have no money for gifts this year and Hanukkah starts tomorrow night.  The kids thought they were getting nothing.  Instead we now have  the makings for several treats, so we can have a special treat a day, plus they have each gotten a gift – each something they really, really wanted. I also know that at least one other person has ordered gifts for the kids which I haven’t mentioned to them, so that will be exciting to see as well.  (I should take a video next time we get a package.  Everyone gets so excited because it is always a surprise, and often we don’t even know it is coming.)

We got a coupon in the mail for $10 off $40 in groceries, one for each of the next few weeks so I suspect that will be helping put food on the table.

We have the house decorated for Hanukkah, we are all warm and fed, and God, Lord Provider, is so very good to us.

Have a blessed Sabbath.

#Birdsoftheair: little blessings


This week I have had work to do.  I occasionally, when needed, work for an estate appraiser– basically as girl Friday. I fix her computers,  research (I know search-fu), help her clean out and organize, talk business ideas out, type up documents, etc). This week she has extra work so, so do I.  In the past this work has bought us groceries gas many times this week that trend continued.This week has been a week of many blessings.  Not big miraculous “we suddenly have all the money for everything” blessings but rather small “this and that God’s provision through many things” blessings.  I feel strongly I need to be remembering to document these things each week, not just for my sake but also for others who are in similar boats (as well as for those who are nervous of our situation and fearing for us).

Also, earlier this week I found something a family member was looking for at the thrift shop, picked it up and delivered it, and  was given slightly more than what I paid.  This just happened to be exactly enough to cover the cost of the dress Rach needed for a piano recital at a nursing home (in a few weeks and for whch she had no appropriate outfit.)

In fact she found the perfect outfit.  It looked beautiful on her, fit her perfectly (and when you are 5′ 9″ and still growing finding something that fits perfectly at the thrift shop can be a challenge), and was too perfect to not buy right then, even though money was tight. I hated to say no, had peace about buying it despite lack of funds, so said yes and God provided.

The cheese we all love was on sale for cheaper than Aldi at the store near work so I was able to bless our family with  their favorite cheese when I stopped after work yesterday.

I also had enough cash on hand to pick up a few other things to supplement all the food we already have in the house thanks to last weeks blessings and to actually get some gas (been keeping it running on fumes for a few months now– $5 here, $5 there, so $20 in the tank was a huge deal).

A friend blessed Esther with a gift of cash for her new Paypal account (her “big” 13th birthday gift.) So Es is very excited to now have a way to buy things online, and to have money to do so.

Earlier this week the kids made donuts. Now the making of donuts doesn’t seem that much of a blessing except  as a “wow, we have donuts” thing.  Yet, God used it to allow us to bless others.  Rach messed up doubling the recipe and ended up quadrupling some (which lead to a lovely math lesson and a LOT of donuts).  So we shared.  We called up  family and invited them over for donuts.  I took some to work for my friend’s family to share.  All these people who have blessed us recently, we were finally able to bless them back, albeit in a small way.  (Though I must say that this is my favorite donut recipe ever and this thing makes great donuts– since they are all donut lovers,  they were pretty happy with the results.) We still have donuts in the freezer, waiting to be fried, which means donuts will continue in our future, which is also a blessing. 🙂

We have moved the kids downstairs and are cleaning out upstairs (warmer downstairs, good practice for living in tighter quarters as we likely will in the future, and lets us simplify the upcoming the move).  The kids are handling it beautifully.  In fact, despite a few setbacks thanks to all being introverted to certain levels, they have been spending more time watching movies together, and enjoying each other’s company.  So that is a blessing.

We are moving the kids clothes downstairs next (into a closet in the bathroom) and God has provided  that we have everything we need on hand to do that as well– including flooring for the closet (was just subfloor which was fine but not so nice.) So now the kids are excited about that as well (and I kind of get my family closet.  Shamus and my closet is in our room but the kids will all share which will make putting clothes away so much nicer.)

Shamus has been blessed with so many games that  there is no way he can play them all.  In fact, we were just talking about how much he used to pay for video games– at least $60 a month, in order to review them and make comics from them.  He quit buying them and suddenly he has so many more games.  It is exciting to see God providing this thing that is so important to him.

Finally, our little bits of random income are coming through (end of the month after the quarter plus end of the month) so now we have money to finish paying up this months bills and possibly (with the money my dad has offered to help) put tires on the car.  As discovered last week during a very little bit of snow– our tires are completely bald and a little bit of wet=skidding into a parking lot with brakes going into anti-lock mode.  God is good and we were fine but that taught me not to drive in wet and to be super careful until we can get new tires. So praying that falls into place and we can get them soon, before the snow starts to fall regularly.

God continues to take care of us in many wonderful ways.  We continue to not go without. It is exciting to see what will happen next. God is good.

The Book

It is done. Well, the e-book edition is done.

What is it?

As my friend Dana, who helped edit it, said:

In this guide, Heather shows how decluttering the home is about far more than just ‘picking up stuff’, yet it is a simple as starting right where you’re standing. The steps in this book are tried and true, as Heather’s insight was gleaned from her own family’s journey in decluttering. There is no one-size-fits-all formula, but by providing you with practical baby steps, tips and tricks, Heather can help even the most reluctant folks see the way to decluttering their lives.  ~Dana

Another testimonial:
This is the most amazing book! Heather did an amazing job of putting her finger on the link between house clutter and heart clutter and helps you tackle both. She offers practical advice on decluttering every room, ways to help keep the clutter tamed, and build relationships while you do so. Her honesty and forthrightness talking about her own struggle with the clutter beast are a huge encouragement to the rest of us. I can’t recommend enough that everyone needs a copy of this book, even if you’re not a self-proclaimed packrat. ~ Mari
You can go to the book page on my site to buy it direct from us (we make more money sooner) or you can go to the Smashwords page and purchase it there (probably easier for those who are not sure how to get an e-book from their computer to their e-reader). Later it will be available on Amazon as well as in print format but for now you can get it here or on Smashwords only.  If you look to the right you will also see a link in the sidebar.

Please contact me at ElasahArt@gmail.com if you have any trouble with the payment process or downloading it.

 

 

Where We Are May 2012

It has been a long month full of paperwork (house related stuff) and illness. Shamus, Es, and Rachel still have whatever this sickness is and I just really got over it finally yesterday. This is probably more rambly than usual as I have been dealing with the remains of the illness (headache that won’t just go away) and have been spending much time pondering things in my head rather than out loud.

Issac built castles with the boxes for packing.

We are still working on selling the house. Finally have all paper in for possible short sale and now it is a waiting game. People keep looking at it but no offers yet. We have gotten a letter from one of those companies that buys houses offering to buy it but we feel we need to wait on God on this and not try to jump the gun and go with a quick solution.

Enjoying taco salad out with great-grandma.

We are also continuing to prayerfully consider an RV. We would really like to be able to travel to conventions (which would help sell Shamus book and get his name out) and the kids and I just want to travel and see the US in general (what better way to homeschool?) An RV would give us a cheap place to live, allow Shamus to travel while giving him a place to work and be comfortable and home, it would allow us the freedom to go where we want to go but be back home with family as needed. We need to wait for the Lord on this as well. We don’t want to get something that won’t run, doesn’t fit our family, or has had pets so we are prayerfully watching and waiting.

Headband from Japan-- gift from unschooled friends in Japan

We have also decided not to sell our stuff but rather to give it away where it is needed. We have prayed about this a lot and feel strongly that we need not attempt to sell everything but instead rely on God to provide. I am trying to decide how best to put my art for sale since we don’t want to store it. The paintings of the kids will mostly go to family as interested but I have the dragon and bunny paintings plus illustrations from the game and book that I would like to sell. Have considered ebay but looking at sales results I don’t think that is the best way. Considering just putting buy it now buttons directly on my art page (http://elasah.com) or just putting things up on Etsy. I don’t keep up with Etsy enough to really get sales that way so am not sure. I have however spent the last few days updating my art site (http://elasah.com) and Etsy (http://www.etsy.com/shop/ElasahArt) with more art so hopefully some things will sell.

Cool Japanese stuff from friends.

The Lord has been providing, mostly through sales of Shamus book. The initial sales were good though they have tapered off and it will be interesting to see how the Lord continues to provide. We have an added monthly expense for Him to provide for (in order to do short sale we have to pay a certain amount each month– nearly as much as the original mortgage which we didn’t pay because we didn’t have it. Thus far He is providing and we trust Him to continue.

We continue to rely on Him rather than the government and He has been faithful. Just the other day we had several checks we had been waiting for suddenly go through just in time to make the mortgage payment that had to be in that day or we would go straight to Sheriff sale. We have also had numerous small miracles– free vitamins, $10 off coupons for new stores accepted at the only store that carries the butter we use, things like that. God continues to provide and take care of us in wonderful ways.

Watching the raw milk coming directly through the pipes from the cows (who are being milked during sell times.)

The last few days it has rained while the sun was still shining. Usually we are in the perfect location for a rainbow (they appear just over the hill from us nearly every time it rains). I look forward to them as the Lord has used them many times in the past to remind me that He provides and will continue to take care of us. However the last few days there have been none. As I was driving home from getting milk in the pouring rain with the sun glaring directly in my eyes I had a revelation.
Sometimes we can’t see the rainbow because we are in the midst of it. I am sure those around us could see a rainbow and I am trusting that He will continue to use our current situation and how He takes care of us to give others around us hope.

Halving it All

A recent question on the CU Facebook group got me thinking about my experience with too much stuff and how God got a hold of me– which is why our house is no longer cluttered and it is actually easy to find what we need or want and keep it clean.

I have always collected things.  Old books, lots and lots of old books, vintage toys, rocks, vintage clothes, you name it.  When I was a kid my floor was completely covered with stuff and intermingled with toys and books and clothes were fossils, lots and lots of fossils collected from our limestone driveway. When I went to college, I packed up most of my stuff and moved into a teeny tiny dorm room.  It was covered in stuff all the time.  When I got a job as a nanny and moved out I took ALL my stuff with me– most of it never got unpacked– boxes and boxes and boxes of stuff.  And I still couldn’t keep my trailer clean because I had too much stuff.  Same happened when I got married.  And then proceeded to move multiple times, and I took everything with me.  When we finally settled down here 11 years ago  I had boxes stacked in every closet, more books than shelves, the kids toys and clothes overflowed every possible nook and cranny.  The floor was constantly overwhelmed with our stuff.  I couldn’t keep up with the basic chores because I was dealing with 3 little ones (Issac was born 10 months after we moved in) and we had too much stuff.

Shoes
Too many shoes? We figured out that they only wore about 3 pairs of these each. Most didn't even fit!

Probably around 2004, definitely in January, God clearly told me to get rid of half.  I don’t remember the verses I read at the time nor how exactly nor what (and the journals are packed up at my in-laws so can’t check.) However it was very, very clear that He wanted me to get rid of half of all of it.  Some of this stuff had never been unpacked since I first moved out to become a nanny 10 years earlier.  Most of it I had held onto out of fear– what if I need this at some point in the future.  That was how my family had always done it– when I had Rachel my mom handed me box after box of my own clothes and toys from when I was small.  My grandmother saved bread bags instead of buying ziplocks.  It was just how we did things.  How could I possibly give this stuff up?  It just wasn’t done.  But half of everything stayed in my mind and stuck with me.  I needed  get rid of half of everything and I needed to start now.  (And mind you Shamus had been wanting me to get rid of stuff for forever.)

So I started.  I started small.  I looked at the coat rack and my pile of coats– I still had winter coats that I had had in school, and ones that had been given to me by family members who were getting rid of (being the only married kids in the family with the only grand-kids- EVERYONE gave us stuff.) So I looked through my coats and got rid of half.  Those all went to the thrift shop.  I realized I could suddenly find the ones I wore with no problem, instead of knocking everything down every time I tried to grab one.  Then I went through my shirts.  I got rid of the ones that didn’t quite fit, the ones that weren’t flattering, the ones that I didn’t really like to wear.  By the time I was done I could close my drawer.  And it went on from there.  I got rid of half our dishes.  Half our books.  Even half our food (turns out we had a whole lot of stuff in the pantry that had been bought that we couldn’t or wouldn’t eat– that all went to the food pantry in town.)  I went through the old paperwork and got rid of the surplus (which was more than half and went to the burn pile.)  And so, in the matter of about 6 months, I had gone through the entire house and gotten rid of half of everything.

IMG_1403
This train only left the house this year as Issac decided it was time to share it with someone else. Much of the rest in this picture, taken in 2006, is long gone. By that time we had a lot less stuff though not near as little as we do now.

It ended up being a good thing (or you could consider it God blessing us) because in August a friend started dropping stuff off at our house that they didn’t want (she was cleaning out her house) and suddenly we had more stuff– some of which we really needed or had been wanting.  And then my parents, who  were divorced both remarried, combining multiple households and started dropping off stuff THEY didn’t need.  And a neighbor started dropping off things her grand-kids didn’t want.

Issac does Kung Fu with marker sticks in our fairly simple living room. The kids pitch-in and help get rid of because they like being able to find the things they enjoy.

Pretty soon I was in the habit of going through, only keeping what we would really use, and getting rid of the rest, recognizing that God clearly WAS and would continue to provide what we needed, when we needed it, and we didn’t need to hold onto all that stuff.  Because that was all it was.  Stuff.  Even the things with sentimental value were just things, things that were getting in the way of my peace, of our family’s peace, even in the way of my relationship with God because I wasn’t trusting Him, I was trusting stuff.

So now we keep the clutter down, regularly going through and getting rid of, and focusing our time on better things than maintaining stuff.  Less clothes=less laundry, less dishes= people will rewash instead of leaving the dishes to pile up, less toys means the kids can find what they really want to play with, less stuff we don’t use means we can focus on what we DO use.  All in all halving everything was the beginning of a much healthier lifestyle for all of us and God continues to bless us as we willingly pass on the things He gifts to us.

Not House Beautiful

A discussion on the Christian Unschooling Facebook group got me thinking about my kitchen and how, as unschoolers, it gets and stays relatively clean.  We still don’t do chores though we all pitch in once a week for Sabbath prep (we all take a room and clean up– not perfect just make it nice and put things away so we can have a Sabbath without concern for messes or things not put away.)  There are no battles about it, the kids all choose what they want to do and help since they know it makes things nice for Sabbath and they love showing off their work “Mom, I did the living room!  Come see how nice it looks!”

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One of the keys for me personally is trying to keep clutter low (I go through and get rid of when I notice things accumulating.  Sometimes a kid helps and sometimes no.)  Another trick has been having enough storage and it organized in a way that it is simple to put things away.  Part of that for me is NOT having cupboard doors.  When I have doors I hide things behind them which means mess lurking where I don’t want to deal with it.  My kids are the same way so we use the cupboards below the counter minimally  other wise they turn into insta-traps.

I have this whole out of site out of mind thing that is kind of irritating– if I can’t see it regularly and store it in my brain that that is where it is I forget and can’t find it.  And being the person that everyone looks to when they can’t find something I need to know where things are and remember where I last saw it.  Instead of trying to make things beautiful we aim for convenient and neat looking.  When I make changes I discuss them with the family (you wouldn’t believe the grief I got for MONTHS for changing the silverware drawer without discussion).


We don’t have a lot of spare change for organizing things so I use things I find on clearance (like the baskets in the other photos), at the thrift shop, or things that are free like the clementine boxes that are my spice racks.

I also use a lot of hooks and jars (I don’t store in plastic).  I keep things I use regularly out where I see them  so I can easily access them because then I am more likely to use them (for instance baking and cooking happen more often when I can see my favorite pans and bowls without having to search the trap which is the pan cupboard down below.)  Also keeping things near where they are regularly used makes it easier for everyone.  Utensils for cooking and knives are readily available near the stove.  There are plastic cutting boards everywhere that people tend to cut (which eliminates cutting marks on my counter since they will automatically cut there whether there is  cutting board or not.)

The teas we drink regularly as well as the coffee are by our water heating tool (aka microwave).  We use fancy canning jars as drinking glasses since they are cheap, easy to hold, and have lids for quick storage when someone realizes they don’t want what they poured.  Also cool is the ridges at the top are perfect for a colored pigtail holder  to keep track of who’s cup is who’s.)
I keep my dish washing stuff close at hand since then I and the kids) am more likely to remember to do dishes and use the dish drainer and brushes (the brushes are in the pitcher on the window sill.)

Another view of our dish and tea cupboard.  We have a shelf on the counter as it is easier for the kids to put dishes away if they can reach.  Our dishes are all mismatched sets  and most of them are ones Rachel bought me for my birthday or ones given to us by a friend.  I have a thing for square plates and rice bowls so we have an eclectic mix of those.  Also we each have favorite types of coffee/tea cups so those all hang  even though we don’t need so many (no one is willing to give up their favorites.: ))  The jar set on the second shelf was made by my grandfather and is kind of tricky since some of the lids don’t fit perfectly and fall off at random– this would be why they are sitting straight up instead of at an angle.  Nothing like nearly being clonked on the head with a large wooden and porcelain lid.

The front pantry is an old metal medicine cupboard that was my grandparents.  The basket on top is full of our daily supplements, the little cups to the right are tomorrows vitamins  for the family, the red overnight suitcase is our medicine cabinet of various herbal remedies and the brown basket below is full of herbal cough drops for the cold that has been circulating our family.  This cabinet has whatever is in use daily– nuts, dried fruit, homemade grain free granola, and chocolate.

Our homemade back pantry.  Growing up my grandparents and my parents both had an awesome walk in pantry and I have been wanting one for forever.  I finally took the metal shelves from the girls room and made a red-neck version so I have a place to store all our teas,orders from Amazon, my milk run cooler, empty jars, kombucha, and other ferments.

The baskets on top of the fridge have Shamus’ pretzels and other foods that are just his so the kids are tempted to eat his stuff (still on the GAPS diet and they requested that things like that be out of site.  The two fridges hold our beef, raw milk, and ferments.  The one on the left is the regular fridge where left overs etc go, the one of the right is overflow and storage.

And if you are wondering…yes, I cleaned up and did the dishes before taking photos though no deep cleaning.  Sorry, you, dear reader, don’t warrant a deep cleaning.  I needed to clean anyway since tomorrow is Sabbath Prep so now I have one less thing to do.

Goings ons: GAPS, unschooling, work and more

So I have been a bit busy. I mean, I am ALWAYS busy in the summer, but this is unusually busy. Some of it has been the Christian Unschooling Facebook group which take as lot of my time as I am admin there. Some of it has been learning new things: between Pinterest (you can find me here) and Google + (find me here). BTW both programs are wonderful but I am really, really in love with Google +. The artist community there is amazing and inspiring.

We are still on the GAPS diet and it is still helping.

 

P1090081

  • Rachel has been able to fully add multiple foods into her diet that triggered full SJS symptoms before– including lemon, chicken, and ginger.  She can also be around tomato and apple without symptoms (just being in the same room with them would trigger a reaction before.)  She has also had plenty of energy and zero RA symptoms since going on the diet.
  • Issac is doing very well on the diet though he now has added regular raw milk in (it is something he can fix himself quickly and will always drink.)  He doesn’t like broth so I make reductions with whatever he is eating — kind of like gravy which works well.
  • Esther was doing very well until she started forgetting to eat and just started drinking straight raw milk all the time. Around that time she contracted a stomach bug, her system got all out of whack and she has to restart intro  in order to heal.  We are nearly back to where she was already and she is now able to eat way more foods than she could before without enzymes.
  • I am continuing to heal well though we ran out of grass fed beef and it is hard to get around here without ordering quarter (which we are doing but it will take 8 weeks to get.)  I can now eat chicken and eggs with no reaction though after years of being allergic I am really nervous of it.  Up until this week I have had no RA symptoms at all.  This week we ran out of broth and I have been slightly stiff (no big flare-ups) and dealing with the exhaustion that comes when I am dealing with what would be a flareup if I were eating a regular diet.  Considering that in the past the first weeks of August are my worst flare-up times and have meant me on crutches most years I am doing exceptionally well.
Unschooling is still going on:

P1090050

  • It has become so much of our lifestyle that I seldom think about it anymore.  The kids as always are doing all sorts of things– mostly on the computer (but what do you expect when most of their parents time is spent on the computer?)
  • Rachel is spending a lot of time playing piano, watching anime, drawing manga, learning Japanese, focusing on being more independent, reading the driver’s handbook again and again (she can’t wait to get her license in 3 years),  playing Minecraft and WoW and doing odd jobs for money.
  • Esther is spending much time reading, on Minecraft, Roblox, and Sims 3, drawing, and trying to get her sleeping and eating into healthy patterns so she grows properly (her goal not mine).
  • Issac is spending lots of time playing with his Fisher Price castle, pirates, and submarine thanks to finding more parts via my brother and the thrift shop.  He is also really into Roblox and Minecraft, chemistry, and electricity.
Work stuff:
  • Shamus finally got paid.  It was a year in coming but it is here which means we are no longer struggling (though we still can’t make the full house payment since we need to make this last — since who knows the next time we will get paid. :))
  • This means that part of our current work is figuring out how best to spend on the big things (ordering things we use in bulk, paying off bigger debts, and generally learning how to live on freelancer income.)
  • Shamus is working on a game engine and a book and is thinking about another book.  He is currently working on a game proposal for the game engine as he has potential backers, finishing the first book, and thinking on the new book.  We are also considering different ways of monetizing his site more efficiently.
  • I am working on some more book illustrations/cover art, several portraits, and have some website work on the backburner (waiting for clients to get back to me.)
  • The card game is out and for sale (once we get the cost of making it paid off in sales then we get a chunk in proceeds so…go buy a copy, or two or three?  It makes an awesome gift, is fun to play even as adults, is fast paced and educational (math, history –since I made the costumes and everything involved historically accurate to the 16th century, reading, logic).  My kids love it as do other unschooling friends who have played it.  It is also easy to adapt to other games or for more than 2 people.
Provision:
  • It has been amazing how God has provided this last year and we are trying to learn from the experience and make wise decisions for the future.  He has made sure we have had all we needed despite our lack of funds and it has been awesome to see how various people have stepped in  and provided where work did not.  Shamus’s readers on his website are absolutely amazing as their random gifts saw us through many tight spots, as did several families who took us on and sponsored us, making sure we had what we needed.  We praise the Lord for all of their help.  Our personal goal is to make this (which the Lord has lead us to) work.  To avoid needing to eat into the chunk of  money we have been paid for previous work done and to instead of try to work our way out of the debt we are in.  We want to get to the position where we can freely give and help those in need out of our excess instead of just out of our tithe.  We are praying that the Lord will get us to that point via the work He has provided for us to do.  That said the life of a freelancer may not be easy but it is always interesting.

 

Provision

Green Energy Snap Circuits
Issac saved up his birthday/Christmas money to get these. Just ordered them and got them right before our derf we ar a lmost out of money moment..

We have been, for several months, gratefully living off the money we got back from the government (via paying our taxes) for which we have been very, very grateful.  The problem is we knew it wouldn’t last.  We didn’t go crazy and buy all sorts of things– except for stocking up on the things we had been out of for some time, getting a few things to replace broken other things (though not replacing all the broken appliances– well attempting to, but when the replacements also broke we just waited).  So we are at that place.  The place where we are back relying on Jehovah Jireh daily.  The oldest isn’t too thrilled as she doesn’t like being uncomfortable at all but here we are.  SO I thought I should share what all He has been doing (though I have been sharing daily on Facebook and on the CU group.)

 

Moraine State Park
Impromptu trip to Moraine on a very hot sunny day.

When we realized how low we were getting we did the same thing we always do– avoided paying the bills.  We are awful that way.  Then we went to pay the bills and realized, wow, we really are low– too low to buy groceries.  Okay, now what God?  (I hate that we do that, but we both do, especially as it almost always happens when Shamus is sleeping during the day and we aren’t seeing each other except when one of us is falling asleep.

Green Energy Snap Circuits
Intent on his new kit.
  • Right around that time I got a spur of the moment, last minute, please help us get this done in time book cover job (thanks Grace!) which paid for a bill that needed paid NOW.  The book is here: http://www.amazon.com/Winter-Keven-Newsome/dp/tags-on-product/0987653105, the cover was nearly done, just needed to place some text and clean it up for print.  Holly Heisey did the cover and it is lovely.
  • I helped a friend transfer her blog for fun and she sent us gift cards for a local restaurant– which is awesome and will provide a much needed date with Mr. Hubbypants (if our sleep EVER lines up again!)
  • The first thing that happened, immediately following paying bills is I started really analyzing the cost of GAPS foods and deciding what was most important.  We then realized that trips to Broadrun farms were VERY important as raw milk, meat, and eggs are the cheapest nutrition for us.  So, knowing we didn’t have the money we prayed that God would provide.  And around the time that we HAD to leave I got money via paypal through the same friend who sent us the gift cards!  Enough for everything we needed at the farm!  YAH!  (And thanks to my grandma I had enough gas to go!)
  • If you follow my husband at all you will know that he was finishing up his book, Libreoffice hiccuped and LOST 3 days of work– which was HUGE and he was devastated.  Then a reader sent him a free gift of  Word (the “good  version–can’t remember which year).  He was grateful but felt it wasn’t time to get back into it– which is fine because he works in his head like I do, THEN put sit on paper.
  • Because of that he suddenly got back into programming and started working on a game engine again– and is going at warp speed doing what he calls the best programming he has ever done.  Which is awesome and I am excited to see where God takes that.
  • I have multiple jobs right now, all of which will help pay the bills in the coming month (some things due soon so that is awesome.)
  • Right after I had a huge panic attack about where the money would come from, God started putting everything into place.   A friend sent us not only enough to renew our Science Center Membership (which he says we should do) but also added enough to pay some bills and keep us in food until these jobs pay.  Praise the Lord–some stress relieved.
  • Another friend was doing a rummage sale at her church and told me to let her know what appliances we had that had died so she could watch for them.  Then she offered to pick them up at the pre-sale (just for helpers) so I would get them.  THEN when I tried to pay her she said no!  So now we have all new small appliances to replace all our broken ones!
Moraine State Park
Moraine State Park, Pa

GAPS Diet: 2 1/2 months-ish

I have lost track as we have reached the “just do it” stage and are through the worst of the die-off and are into the regular diet completely.  So far:

  • Rach is now able to eat melon, potatoes (was allergic and should n’t have even tried them yet but was out and chose to with no reaction), turkey, strawberries, a small amount of lemon juice and tomato, citric acid/pectin (which come from citrus or apple usually–both of which she has been severely allergic to–couldn’t have them in the air without a severe reaction), regular frozen yogurt, coffee, and chocolate.  All of those things were things she had a reaction to before, to varying degrees.  Most of them she could eat with enzymes (except the turkey, melon, lemon and tomato) but now she can get away with them in various quantities.  So that is really awesome and she is enjoying her newfound food freedoms.
  • Essie has discovered that her allergy to peanuts has become a bit worse, but then she is choosing to avoid most ferments and broth and so is not “really” doing the diet.  I am hoping that she will realize the correlation and choose to drink the broth anyway (though if I keep ghee on hand she will eat that and will drink smoothies made with kefir sometimes.  I need to buy more coconut oil and make sure there is plenty on hand because she will eat that and butter by the spoonful and thus get her good fats that way.  The real problem is getting her to remember to eat– she forgets and then is ravenous.
  • Issac is doing much better– most of his food allergies are gone though his aversions aren’t really and he is still very picky about foods.  Occasionally he will go nuts for something that he previously avoided, especially if I make sure to make plenty of butter or ghee and add that.
  • I am doing much better in general though I still can’t get near peanut butter.  I actually hit a point where I was tired of almonds which never happens so we are out of almond butter and I haven’t bothered to buy more even though I use it in baking and Essie will eat that (which tells me I need to get some.)  I haven’t been very hungry lately which is funny after being ravenous while on intro and have actually started to loose some weight (not unusual for me in summer anyway so not sure if it is just it being hot out so I don’t want to eat or has something to do with the diet.    It may also have to do with not having a lot on hand that I WANT to eat.  Other than some meat with cheese melted over and maybe a smoothie or some coffee with cream (we have added raw milk back in because Essie will drink that when hungry and has no trouble with it plus it is a cheap food for us at $4 a gallon) all I really want is salad with some cheese, cranberries, and almonds (haven’t tested any other nuts as I have had a lot of trouble there in the past) and a bit of lactofermented sauerkraut on the side.
  • I need to find a new source for ready made lacto-fermented pickles as everyone loves them but are not crazy about the ones I make (too soft.)

The Daily Blather

My brain is not doing so well as far as coming up with posts– frankly we are just too busy living.  So here is a cross section of what we are up to:

We spent the day running errands, going to the library (where we got some awesome book and audio books, including a Diana Wynne Jones) and got to go to the park for the first time this year.  We brought along Esther’s best friend -we called spontaneously as we were driving by her house.  I love that her mom, Rachel’s pinano teacher, is as spontaneous as I am and happily agreed that she could go along.  It was windy and chilly despite the supposed 65 degrees though it did get nice and warm when the sun peaked through the storm cloud dominated sky.  I love having kids that are old enough to play at the park on their own whole I sit in the warm minivan and read my library book.  They managed to get muddy via mud puddles and creek plus they explored a fallen tree and all the old fountains at the park.  (I forgot my camera and though my cell has some photos they are hard to get to.)  We got to explore both the purple park and the lower (gazebo) park because we had to leave for a bit (someone had to use the restroom so we ran to Big Lots and picked up some snacks too.)  After that we headed down to the smaller Alameda park where the kids climbed around and had enjoyed the creek.  Rach sat in the car with me as she is still pretty run down after being sick so we read our books and watched some Larpers preparing to play.  It was actually pretty awesome and Rach was tempted to go talk to them to see if she could get involved since that is one of her dreams and we didn’t even know there was a group in the area.  I am sure there are more but I actually recognized several of the people from the comic book store.

We stopped at the thrift shop where we found the original Clue game– which we played over and over when we got home.  LOVE that game.  We also found a Lego Harry Potter Night Bus still in it’s plastic bag for $.49 which is awesome.  Also we found Esther some much needed tennis shoes, Rach an awesome skirt (she is like me and lives in skirts–her sister?  not so much, except for in the summer.)  I found something for me as well but now I can’t remember what it was.  Oh, but I found my husband an awesome hat at Kohl’s (where I had one of those $10 gift cards they send out.)  I spent $4 which is more than I usually do with those but it looks awesome and I had promised him a hat after PAX, because we are also a hat wearing family. 🙂

 

We also managed to mail out a pile of things that had been waiting to go.  Of this I am proud–I am bad at remembering to mail things.  Our post office is awkward to get to though we have a sweet little post things place where we love the owner and this time, because my brain was on backwards, we ended up using both the main post office AND visiting Miss Josie who when the kids were small would let them help her box things.

I am working on another painting– based on the  18th photo down on Melissa’s post here.  Aren’t her photos wonderful?  When my own photos run out of interest I have a habit of turning to hers for something to paint, and that one is gorgeous.  I am thinking of doing partial color so that should be fun.  I am taking photos as I go and you can keep up with them here at my Facebook page.  I didn’t get anything done on it today because we were gone all day but I did get the masking on last night– which the kids think is funny because the liquid friskit I use is bright orange (you use it to mask out the white in watercolors) so the painting looks freaky.  Will post a photo of it to the Facebook page when I get the next layer don e and can post both photos.

We are celebrating our first Passover this week– it has been an interesting experience which I will relate in another post.