Friday, July 9, 2010

SweetTarts taste like Halloween  J
 
You win some, you lose some.
 
We had ALMOST gotten rid of all our revolving debt.  Then our tire shredded on the interstate and I had to advance ourselves some money.  Luckily we have those resources- even if they do cost high interest.  I am sooo ready to be out of this mess so we can start a savings account.  However over all we have done pretty well in reducing our revolving debt.  This setback has only set us back by 2 weeks.  Roughly $700 of Revolving debt should be resolved our next paycheck and the remaining $1-200 will be resolved first of August.  Phew and good riddance!!
 
Yesterday I spent $140 on groceries for 2 weeks.  That included laundry supplies, hygiene supplies, a swimming pool for Nora and groceries.  I always smile a bit when we can get away with such a “cheap” amount for groceries.  I am looking forward to being able to increase our variety of fruits and veggies more in a couple weeks, but $125ish per week has been doing well for us. 
 
Nora is really growing up.  Her vocabulary is increasing every day, and we are trying really hard to not fall into the pattern of understanding what she wants so not making her fully vocalize.
 
We spent the 4th of July weekend in Wyoming with my parents and the Cousins.  It was SO much fun.  It was great seeing Nora play with her cousins and really enjoy their company.  The next “big” purchase I want to make is a bike for Nora.  She wants one so bad.  What do you think?  A bike or a Tryke?  Nora finally mastered the forward pedaling on the tryke.  I think that is pretty good since she has only ridden it about 2 or 3 times!  But she is already asking for a bike.  And she LOVES riding on the child seat of my bike.  So I am thinking we might skip the Tryke stage.  Or maybe we will buy both if I can find a good deal at a thrift shop!
 
I wish I could get about a week off of work.  I got so much done around the yard yesterday.  I watered, weed whacked, mowed, worked in the garden, got Nora’s pool set up and wanted to get even more done.  I need to buy some better tools next pay day to trim the trees in our yard.  Some of them are getting flat out of control.    I love the shade they provide, but we need to be able to drive our cars under them and mow around them.  I also need some tar or something to see off the sucker branch forming areas. 
 
The good news is that the garden is doing great.  The carrots are growing long and straight, the tomatoes are coming along, and we have apples all over the tree.  I am going to try to put in a fall garden since I didn’t get as much variety as I wanted planted this Spring.  Our local Extension Agency lists each month things you should do in your yard per the growth stage and what you can plant.  I am going to try to get back in “tune” with their schedule.
 
 

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Budget Win

I budgeted $150 for Groceries and the total bill came to $96.00!  And I only cut a few things from the list because I realized we had alternatives at home (like brown rice in our cupboard instead of buying a bag of white rice). 

Unfortunately, Doug has come down with this Flu so I might have to spend some of the savings on buying "sick food" but that's okay!  I am thrilled that I got 99% of our groceries for considerably under budget!

Economic Check In

So we just got our first Paycheck of the month.

So far we have paid an extra $550 in debt, not including what Doug paid since he has his set up to come out before his paycheck gets direct deposited.  I know he makes a bit more money than I do since he has been their longer so I know it had to be around $300 that was paid.  So roughly $850 in debt payment right off the bat.

We had an eating out night at Outback so that was approx $50, had car maint that was $35, Rent at $725 this month, Cable at $125, Electricity at $100.  I still need to pay some bills but we are on track so far for the month (mostly).  

We also have a LOT of left over food from the past few weeks of buying so I am writing my shopping list around reducing what is in the house.  I want to set up a better food rotation system.  I love having food in the house but not if we end up complaining that there is "nothing" to eat when there is a bag of brown rice, frozen meat and veggies, flour, budget mix, milk etc.  Just because Doug doesn't like the brown rice as much doesn't mean it doesn't need to get used up.

I also am looking into maybe moving my shopping day to Sundays so I can take advantage of Sunday coupons.  Or maybe I will reserve $2 to buy the Sunday flier the week I go shopping.  Not quite sure yet.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I haven’t done an update in a while.
 
So far my weight loss is about 6 lbs.  Yes I have been cheating.  But at the same time I feel good that the weight loss will stay off.  Even with my cheating I am still losing and it is not coming back!  Yay!  Each morning it’s exciting to see if I get to update my weight ticker.  It’s really interesting to see what your body does and how much energy you burn during sleeping!
 
It has been incredibly rainy this year.  The river is flooding and I hope it doesn’t rise much further or I might need to find a new temporary home for Tala until the flood waters recede.  Tala is looking great though.  Her three year old year is agreeing with her.  She really is starting to look more like a grown up horse instead of a baby.  I don’t always see it since I am around her a lot, but when I look at her pictures from last year, I can see big changes.  She’s beautiful and such a sweet horse.  It’s going to be an awesome summer with her! :D
 
Nora is growing and we are having lots of conversations about not cutting her hair.  She has mutilated her hair so badly at this point *sigh*.   Oh well.  Hair grows.  Her latest thing is that when she enters a room she’ll take a little jump, do a rock star stance and yell “Rock and Roll!” and then proceed to play air guitar!  It’s hilarious!
 
The garden is loving this weather.  Lots of rain seems to be just the thing.  I am looking forward to some sun so the tomatoes can really take off.  I want garden fresh tomatoes!!!  I also need to replant some radishes and really work hard on some weeding.  It’s starting to look like jungle out there!
 

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

So Here is our budget that we try REALLY hard to adhere to:
 
Rent:            $700
Boarding Tala:   $265
Gas:             $120
Food:           $300
Water:           $100
Natural Gas:    $50
Electricity     $100
Car Insur:      $75
Car Maint:       $50
NetFlix:        $9
Website:        $10
Daycare:        $400
Clothing:       $25
 
Total           $2204
 
Phew!  It sure adds up fast.  We also usually end up having some eating out, especially at work since we can get decent priced fresh made salads (like $3).  Hubby is making payments to his debt about $2-300 per pay period which ends up being between $400 and $600 a month!  Lately we have had a few emergencies (getting car towed and repaired) and last month we still managed an extra $500 debt payment!  YAY!  I am really excited at the progress we are making!
 
 
 

I SOOO Cheated

But it's okay!  Yesterday my parents treated us to Burger King (bun and fries!) and pizza which really really was bad cheating on my no carb diet- but it's okay!  I didn't gain anything back!  That gives me lots of hope for the end/transition phase of this diet. 

Today is back to square one.  Absolutely no carbs, no restricted items (sorry tomatoes) and more water than ever.  If I can lose 5 pounds and keep off 4 from my first week, I want to shoot for more loss this week.  It would be AWESOME to be back down to the 160's this week. 

I tried on a  pair of pants at Christopher and Banks while at the mall with my mom.  I would have LOVED them...if I weighed 130 pounds.  It was an unforgiving fabric and instead of hiding weight- it emphasised it.  Yup...definitly left THOSE on the rack!   YIKES.  But the patter was super cute.  It was a grey based pants with dark blue pin striping in various shades of blue and various widths.  It needed a solid color top, but I really liked them.  It also opened my eyes to a lot of the new fashions that are out there.  JC Pennys had some really cute clothes and now I want to go back and find this one shirt.  I might have to do that next pay period. I have been wanting one of those shirts for FOREVER. 

In other news- it looks like Nora cut her hair...Again.   There is a chunk missing out of the back, out of the front and she shortened the top.  *sigh*  I am never going to see long beautiful hair again, am I?  Looks like another trip to the kids haircut place is in order.

Debt payments are coming along nicely.  Got $500 of our Stupid debt paid off last pay period, now we just have to get the next $1600 paid off as well.  I am looking forward to being free and clear of this and being able to get some other debts that are impacting our credit paid off. 

That's pretty much the update for me today.  I might have another post in me about our budget-  I will work on that one while at work (Yeah email blogging!).  A farmgirl sister over at MaryJanesFarm posted a challenge to see how little you can get by on.  She is making do with $1,200 for the month for her large family!  Way to go!  We have a few other mandated bills that I can't avoid due to contracts and such so our's will be a bit higher, and several other farmgirls were mentioning they couldn't go that low either so we are going to be posting about our required bills and see if we can trim the "fat" in any other part of the budget.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

A few days of cheating-

Well I have to admit I did cheat. It started with trying to make a cheesecake that would work since I bought Doug one from the store. I overbaked mine so the consistency was...not good. I just couldn't eat it.

Then I caved in yesterday and ate a piece and a half of Doug's cheesecake.

But I have still stayed away from most other carbs and am getting back on the plan as of today.

But even with my cheats and over eatting my approved protien at night, I only gained back half a pound. Normally I would have seen at least a 2lb increase. So I am coming to the realization I need to have my afternoon protien snack around 5 ish so that I am not so hungry for dinner. Then I need to eat my salad first and maybe give it 10-15 minutes before I eat the protien of dinner so I don't want to overeat so much.

It's all about making it work for you in real life so while I did gain a little back I still LOST almost 5lbs in a week! I am very excited and encouraged about this! Being back at work this week after 5 days off will make the diet easier since I will have more things to concentrate on and less options to cheat.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Day Five

Doing good so far today. The scale didn't show a loss this morning, but that's okay. I went a little outside of the diet yesterday so I kindof expected that. However I still feel great and I also think some of the lack of weight loss this morning is due to just internal workings. I had a large late meal and it hasn't completely gone through my system yet. I am sure that tomorrow will show more loss.

I have some awesome friends on the MaryJanes Farm Forum that are providing some amazing recipes! Wow! People are very creative when making work-around products that are carb free but still look/taste like they have flour in them! My hat goes off to all the creative cooks out there. I am looking forward to trying califlower rice and califlower mashed like potatoes. Yum Yum. I am trying to decide if I want to do the mash or the rice first.

Today is the Montana Arabian Horse Associate show. I am going to drop by and see them. I had wanted to show Tala this year, but it just wasn't feasible.

Nora is being my little buddy. She has been helping out with the chores and has decided she likes cuddling again. Life is good! :D

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Day Four!

Doing great so far. I am really really enjoying looking at the scale each morning. The weight is just melting off. I am so happy!

So far I have lost over 5 pounds in 3 full days- I can't wait to see what the end of a full week brings!

I do have some carb cravings, but I am not tired or hungry at all. I eat an egg for breakfast, then have a salad with chicken or ham for lunch and then have a protien of some sort with steamed veggies at night.

Well of to get chores done and hopefully get to go play with Tala today. Also grocery shopping-that's a priority today! LOL

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Entering Day 3

Doing good so far. Of course I have only been up for an hour! LOL

So far a four pound loss for this week. That's pretty great in my books. I am very encouraged. I don't think today at work will be hard. I am going to cut up some peppers for a snack at work. Starting tomorrow morning my body should be completely running on stored energy. I can't wait to see what my final weigh in for this week will be on Sunday!

I certainly thought this would be a lot harder than I am finding it. So far the biggest carb cravings have been happening at night right before bed. So far I have avoided caving to my carb desires. I am looking into making some low carb/carb free deserts for this weekend though. Doug gets cheesecake on Friday so I am looking into a recipe I found online. I am going to run it through a recipe nutritional calculator to see if it would work for me or not. The last think I want to do is mess this up!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

My first big challenge

Went out to eat tonight with an old childhood friend. Awesome. It was great to see him again. We shared stories about our families and got caught up on each other's lives. It was really good to catch up. I was even good on my diet and ate a nice healthy salad.

Then I got home. You know how even when you have dinner if there is your favorite meal, you always want to eat? Yeah. Well Doug made pasta. Our own version of super quick goulash. Yummy yumm yummy. And I can't have any. (The dirty rat!) Who makes pasta when someone in the family is going off carbs? Seriously!

Oh well. So I have had a glass of milk which technically is a little cheat since I am only supposed to have a limited amount of skim and this is whole, but it's frozen and I can tell by the taste most of the fat and such is still frozen. It tasted mostly like water. If I am still a little hungry after about half an hour or so I might have a little cheese but really I am not HUNGRY- I am more just missing that blood sugar rush that carbs can give you. That comfort food feeling.

I am so looking forward to the day when I can eat carbs again. Just one more day to get through and I will be carb free! Whoo hoo! I am definitely looking forward to that. So starting Thursday I will be burning mostly fat fuel not food fuel. I am ready! Bring it baby! *LOL*

I think the biggest challenge is that I have Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday off. When I am at work I have very controlled times that I am off the phone. If I don't have bad snacks at my desk I simply can't eat. At lunch if I can win the battle over myself and order a salad or bring a salad to eat then I win. I can master THAT part of it.

It's when I am home. When the boredom strikes or when I am avoiding doing my chores. That's when it starts to seem like a good idea to eat. And eat frequently. And how about some cookies... Uh yeah... Maybe there is a reason I am so big? LOL

Well here is goes. Two days down. One day left till I am carb-free. I'll keep you posted!
Losing Weight!
 
I have a friend who started a diet a couple of weeks ago.  Its the Ideal Protein Diet.  I was suspicious at first, but then she lost 10lbs in a week.  She is looking amazing.  I did some research into the diet and it makes sense to me.  So I am trying it as well.  Well see how we do.  Basically you eat protein, certain veggies but stay away from all carbs/sugar/fruit.  What the literature that I have read says that our bodies have a built in reserve of energy supplied by carbs that lasts about 3 days.  After 3 days of not consuming carbs, your body starts looking elsewhere for fuel.  The best fuel source is our fatty deposits and our muscles.  By consuming adequate amounts of protein and non carb filled veggies you supply your body with enough to keep it from consuming too much muscle mass and keep the digestive track moving.
 
Yesterday was my first day off carbs.  I didnt find it too hard until the evening when Nora was eating popcorn in front of me.  Suddenly making caramel corn (popcorn carbs plus loads of sugar carbs! EEK!) sounded really good.  I ate a little low fat mozzarella cheese as a snack and went to bed having successfully avoided the carb trap. 
 
Today I was making Nora breakfast and her oatmeal smelled really good- especially with the maple syrup!  But the good news is I started at 178 and this morning I stepped on the scales and weighed in at 175.8  I dont think I have ever gone a full 24 hours without eating carbs before.  Also some of that might be water weight that is shedding because I was retaining before but I am definitely encouraged.
 
An important part of this plan is to drink lots of water to help the body flush out the nasty stuff that can be stored in with the fat.  I personally am just looking forward to getting down to a healthier weight.
 
After you get down to the weight you like, you enter phase 2 which allows a lot more food variety in the diet while helping your body adjust back to burning carbs too.  After completing stage 2 there is a final stage- stage 3.  I am not too concerned with a weight gain back since I maintain my (high) weight rather well with my normal eating habits, though I think I will probably always watch my carbs a bit closer.
 
Wish me luck on my day 2!  One third of the way to ridding myself of carbs and then onto fat burn!!
 

Monday, May 10, 2010

I am Hutterite By Mary-Ann Kirkby

I am Hutterite by Mary-Ann Kirkby




This is an autobiography by Mary-Ann Kirkby about growing up in a Hutterite Colony in Canada in the early 60's before her parents decided to leave the colony and make a life outside of the community living. The majority of the book is devoted to rich detail of early childhood in the Hutterite structured living. Mary-Ann gives wonderful details about her trials and tribulations when transitioning to English living.

I found this book very facinating. I have always been interested in the lifestyle and traditions of various Christian Sects, including the Hutterites. It was very intersting to see a glimpse into the family structure, the Colony Structure and to have a balanced view about it. Mary-Ann does show some of the hardships that can be experienced when living outside the societal norms, and also the struggles that everyday people go through no matter their living arrangements or their belief structure.

One section of the book I found very powerful was the paralels drawn between the hardening of the Pharoh's heart and the treatment her Uncle gave her father. I would definitely recommend this book. Not only was it facinating, Mary-Ann has a natural talent for story telling which rolls through the book. It was an informative, thought provoking read that came full circle.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, May 3, 2010

I really dislike when the weather keeps me penned inside on my day off and then is gorgeous on Monday morning.  Luckily today is NOT like that today...  It’s cold and windy outside.  Have I ever mentioned how much I HATE wind?  I love the idea of wind turbines generating clean wind.  Now we just need to figure out how to have windmills but create a wind break for the ground level plus not block the sunlight I need for my garden… it’s not like I’m asking for a lot…. LOL ;)
 
This is going to be a bear of a work week for me.  I volunteered for almost 20 hours of overtime work.  I could certainly have it a lot worse- not having a job, or working in bad working conditions.  In all reality I have a pretty cush job.  I have my own space, yes it’s a cubicle but since the walls are only 18 inches high I can look out and around so the mental feeling of space is there instead of feeling closed in.  Though honestly I am one of those crazy people that loves small places so I wouldn’t mind having walls- except I do like to chit chat with my neighbors.  I also get to speak with lots of different people every day and my job is to help.  I get to help people when they are frustrated and feeling out of options or when they are worried they don’t know what to do next.  It’s nice. 
 
So other than the fact that I’m not going to get to do much if any gardening or playing with my horse this week- It’s not too bad.  And it will help us get caught up on some bills which need paid so that’s always good.  And if I decided to be slightly crazy and volunteer for tons of overtime, then this week was the right week- windy and cold and totally spring like…just the side of spring that I don’t normally enjoy as much.
 
Yesterday’s weather had multiple personality disorder.  In the morning it was cold but clear, then clouds rolled in with winds.  Throughout the day we got cold weather, hot weather, windy weather, calm weather, sun, rain, and hail!  I got halfway out to the barn when the hail started coming down and decided I wasn’t that enthusiastic about being out in the hail.  The indoor arena was being used for a dog competition so any working with the horses was going to have to be done outside.   Hmmm… hail + horses or going home. 
 
Eventually I did make it out to see Tala and it was totally worth it.  She is growing up so beautifully!  I worked with her for a bit and even did some desensitization exercises as a per cursor to mounting.   I won’t take my first ride for a while yet on the excellent advice of my dear friend and Mentor Nancy.    But I must admit it is tempting when my horse is falling asleep during desensitization! LOL
 
 

Saturday, May 1, 2010

 

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

 

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Testing pictures via email blogging
 
I started working on getting Tala under saddle last night.  We have been moonlighting with the idea for a while now.  Getting her used to the saddle (she hates it), getting her used to bit and bridle (not to fond, but willing to tolerate), and doing ground driving (very confused at first but a pro at it now!).
 
So last night I had my barn manager help me.  She held her head why I stood on the mounting block and stepped into the saddle and laid belly down in the saddle for varying lengths of time.  We practiced me doing this on both sides for about 20 minutes.  She did great!  No freaking out, and only a little bit of side stepping.  I was able to step right back on to the mounting block about 95% of the time.
 
Tomorrow morning I am going out again and we are going to practice some more.  I am hoping that she will give me the okay to actually get on her.  Maybe by Monday or Tuesday we can get to the point of walking around the arena a bit.
 
We are taking it slow.  I want to make sure that Tala doesn’t get sour and that we are making progress.
 
But I am so happy that we are that much closer to taking that first real ride together!
 
In other news, the garden is getting planted.  I dug up a small dirt patch by our ultra ugly garage that was just clogged with weeds.  And not the nice easy weeds like grass or something, but the super nasty bindweed and common mallow.  These roots are amazingly thick and very hardly.  A little tiny plant above ground might have huge taproots thicker than my thumb just lurking below the surface.  These roots are also able to send up new plants in a heartbeat much like mint.  I used my garden claw like digging tool to scrap away at the dirt and plucked out little tiny hair-like roots until I thought I was going to go cross eyed.  And I also played tug of war with roots that I had already dug down 12 inches into the soil to “loosen” them until I thought I was going to give myself a hernia!!
 
Anyway I think I had quite a victory in that little patch.  So Nora and I sowed a mixture of Sunflowers, Hollyhocks, Lavender, and Snap Dragons in the bed.  Oh and couple of carrots for edible beauty!   :D  I am so excited for the next two weeks when seedlings will hopefully start to emerge!  I can’t wait to see Nora’s face when she sees how quick the sunflowers grow.  Though I am disappointed to learn that they can take 90 days to blossom!!  Holy moly!
 
Bad news though, we got a POUNDING rain last night followed up by a near freezing night.  It looks like it might have been too much for my little tomato seedlings that were doing SO well!  I am a bit discouraged right now.  Some of them might make but as many as half might have to be replanted. 
 
I have four very strong tomato plants growing upstairs.  They are already about five times bigger than the seedlings so I am going to reserve them for planting after mother’s day.  These things are HUGE.  They were normal sized seedlings but I planted them in a window box of soil and put it in an eastern window upstairs where it is warm.  It hasn’t even gotten that much sun until recently but they are probably close to 10 inches high and with stems as big around as my pinkie finger!  At this rate they will flower before they are even transplanted to the garden.   Perhaps this is what I need to do with my remaining seedlings.
 
Part of my spring cleaning fever has been a determination to make use of our unusable garage.  There is one room that has a southern facing window and it gets WARM in there.  I am thinking of moving my seedlings in there so they get good sun and warmth.  Maybe that will give them the growth jump start they need!
 
I know this is a huge long wandering post.  I got email posting set up and am able to post from more locations now!
 
More on our wayward gardening adventures later…here’s to hoping we can grow a bit more of our food this summer!
 

Test

Testing 1 2 3
 

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Long Time No See!

I think I must be the world's worst blogger. Sorry to everyone!

Nora is doing great. She is growing like a weed and learning new things everyday. Her paternal grandma Dee got her a learning laptop for Christmas. It has several games on it- including a maze game. Nora has learned to manipulate the joy stick like mouse and now can navigate all 10 levels of the maze as well as logging on to the game without help. This is less than a month after she got the toy and at first she needed help to log on and even to complete the first and easiest level. She really caught on fast!

Another one of the games this laptop has is "It's Raining Letters!" Where it brings up a screen and says the phonetic sound of the letter. The child then needs to recognize either the sound or the shape of the letter and push the appropriate letter on the keyboard. Nora rocks this game too!

Tonight we were practicing on the grown up keyboard. The only problem I see with the learning laptop is the keys are laid out A-B-C way instead of QWERTY. So Nora is a little confused when she looks at my keyboard and the keys aren't where she expects them to be.

Also I quit my job as a Cashier and am now working full time at a large bank. I am still in training for another week and will be providing phone support for bankers all across the nation. The bankers if they need help with anything regarding an account can call a 1-800 number and can choose what department they need help in. I am currently being trained in the general account questions- basically policy and proceedures. It is really interesting work and I am happy to have this great job.

I am really looking forward to this spring. Tala is doing great and I starting to work on more intensive training regimes. I am stalled a bit until I can get some more equipment. Once I have her saddle we will be able to do a lot more. I am going to work on her headset and neck with side reins and ground driving before attempting our first ride. I am really looking forward to seeing how she will do since she has been so great about learning to wear a bridle!!

Well I think that is all the news so far...

My Beautiful Nora Girl

Nora's Musings