Monthly Archives: February 2012

Becoming More Self Reliant – 25 Tips and my Journey

I recently came across this fantastic (I think) article about becoming more self reliant.  The author shares 25 tips to help get you on the path of self reliance.  In my mind, self reliance equals more freedom…freedom from debt, freedom from commercialism, financial freedom, etc.  If I can live a self-reliant lifestyle, then I can be better prepared for what’s coming my way…at least, that’s how I see it.

 

So, I’m excited to put the article into action in my own life, and I’ll try to share my “journey” with you all.

 

The first step is to get out of debt.

You may remember me posting a victory speech about a year ago, announcing that my household was finally debt free (except for the mortgage)!  It was a big moment, and I was SO happy.  However, shortly after, we lost a car and had to purchase a replacement.  Gosh dangit!  So…while we are still credit card debt-free, we can no longer claim the debt free claim.  Since the first step is losing that debt, I’ll be putting together a budgeted plan to pay off that car early.  Our monthly car payment is $208, and our interest rate is 3%.  I’m thinking that we should be able to put $500 a month toward it, but I’m not sure; I’ll have to go over the budget.  I won’t be working over the summer, so money may be a little more tight then, but then again we won’t be paying ten million a month to heat our ultra-thin walled house…so I think it’ll even out. 

In order to make bigger payments, we’ll need to make sacrifices.  Going out to eat less.  Making sure to not let food go to waste.  Conserving energy in and around the house.  I’m ready and willing, so let’s do this!

Are you free of debt?  If not, what are YOU willing to cut out?  Share your awesome ideas with me and we’ll ALL move forward on the path to self reliance.  After you…

 

Friday’s Foods: Pinterest Party

I love Pinterest, man. 

I hate how much I love it.  But there ya go…

 

I’ve made a few recipes that I’ve found, and there are some definite winners.  Perhaps a few non-winners as well, but mostly winners:

 

Lemon Dill Chicken.  This recipe is a winna!!!  I was shocked at how juicy the meat was.  I guess there really is something to be said for searing the outside, then slowly cooking it through, eh?  Loads of flavor, and if the caption of the pin is correct, heck, it’s not even a guilty eat!

 

Homemade Goldfish.  I made these with a gluten free flour.  They were pretty good, but WAY cheesier than I expected.  Not a bad thing, just something I should note.  I actually ground some of them up and used them for “breading” various foods (like breaded eggplant…great way to introduce a new veggie…bread and fry it).  Good stuff, baby.

 

 

Slow Cooker Honey Parmesan Pork Roast.  This was so good I posted about it separately on the blog.  This one is definitely a keeper!

 

 

Gluten free Pitas.  Eh…not my fave.  I think it’s time I accept that gluten free bread will NEVER taste the same as good ole wheat bread.  They’re probably pretty good for being gluten free, but I won’t be making them again.

 

What about you?  Has Pinterest caught your interest?  Any faves you’ve found?

Easy Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner

During the Christmas season we had a lot of oranges given to us as gifts, and we also happened to buy a bunch of them, since that seems to be the time that oranges are so dang cheap!

If you eat a lot of oranges, you can save the peels and make a nice, easy, homemade cleaner for your home.  Eco-friendly and affordable.  (I’ve posted about this before, but wanted to share again.)

 

Put the peels in a quart-sized canning jar.  Pack them in until the jar is nice and full.  It took me a few days.

Natural Orange-Vinegar Cleaner

Once you’ve got the jar nice and packed full of orange peels, pour some white vinegar over them.  Fill the jar completely.

 

Once you’ve done that, you’ve just got to wait!  Put a lid on the jar, let it sit for 7-10 days, and then you’ll strain the mixture.  Put the strained liquid in a spray bottle and fill the remaining of it with water.  You’ve got a citrus-scented cleaner that will disinfect, deodorize, and clean!!:-)

Lactose-Free Yoplait Yogurt – Review and Giveaway

As an individual recently diagnosed with a food intolerance, I have suddenly become passionate about finding allergy-free (all allergy types) options for food.  I hate the idea of having to simply give up entire “genres” of food because of an intolerance.  That’s why I’m so excited to share with you my review of lactose-free Yoplait Yogurt. 

First, let me provide you with some information:

There are millions of Americans with lactose intolerance – and for them, avoiding dairy may help minimize uncomfortable side effects, but did you know avoiding dairy can have unintended health consequences? According to the National Institute of Health, when dairy is avoided, there are lower intakes of calcium and vitamin D in the diet, both of which are important bone building nutrients often found in dairy. Avoiding dairy can create higher risk for osteoporosis.

Now, just in time for National Lactose Intolerance Awareness Month in February, Yoplait has announced its new Yoplait® Lactose Free yogurt. Inspired by the Yoplait yogurt we know and love, Lactose Free comes in four delicious flavors – Strawberry, Peach, French Vanilla and Cherry – and contains 50% of the recommended Daily Value of calcium, with vitamins A and D in every cup. Lactose Free contains no artificial sweeteners and can be used in some of your favorite recipes – like chocolate crème brulee and strawberry cheesecake.

I was given a prize pack that included some fun stuff, including a coupon for a free Yoplait® Lactose Free cup.  I chose to sample the strawberry yogurt.  I will be honest with you, I did not expect to like it.  I was fully prepared to be disappointed with how different it tasted.  I was shocked and (happily) surprised to find that the yogurt is fantastic!  I personally could not tell much of a difference at all.  The only thing that seemed a little different to me was that this yogurt seemed a little sweeter than what I’m used to…but then again, I rarely eat flavored yogurt.  It was so creamy, so good!  While I personally don’t have a lactose intolerance, this is an item I wouldn’t hesitate to buy.  It’s every bit as good as any other Yoplait Yogurt I’ve ever had, and will make a perfect breakfast for me on those busy mornings.

Be one of the first to try new Yoplait Lactose Free. Click here to enjoy a coupon for $0.30 off Yoplait Lactose Free, hitting shelves in January 2012.  (*The coupon offer is not valid in some states, including Louisiana, Nevada, New Jersey, North Dakota and Tennessee.)

Or….

You can enter to win a prize pack here!  The prize pack will contain:

  • A VIP coupon to purchase Yoplait Lactose Free Yogurt.
  • Lunch tote
  • 2 Gel packs
  • Individual bowl
  • Spoon

Milk & Truffle Ghirardelli Squares Chocolate

I hate to admit this, but I am not a Valentine’s Day person.

 

My husband and I celebrated it for maybe the first 2 years of our marriage.  That was it. We stopped for various reasons (couldn’t afford to buy each other gifts for ANOTHER holiday, my husband is the least romantic man on the planet, you know…).  And yet, every year I see friends/family get roses from their loved ones, special cooked dinners, decorated houses, etc, and I feel a little lonely.  I wish for a nice chocolate, for a rose, just for a moment.

So imagine my thrill when a sweet little package arrived in the mail for me on Valentine’s Day.  Was it from my husband?

 

NO. 

 

But that’s okay, I’m over it.  Because in the package was this:

Yes, that’s right.  A beautiful blue box filled with Milk and Truffle flavored chocolate squares!!!

 

Have you tried Ghirardelli Squares before?  If you haven’t, I’m telling you, you should.  I planned to eat one square and savor one each day, but, well, it was Valentine’s Day, and they are MILK AND TRUFFLE FLAVORED.  Yep, I ate three of them. And I’m pining for more.

The chocolate is so decadent, so rich, so creamy.  This will be my go-to chocolate for the special occasion from now on.    Ghirardelli offers many different flavors, which I really want to try.  Hello, mint? Raspberry chocolate?  Dark chocolate?  Yes, please.

HUGE thanks to SheSpeaks for sending me out these delicious chocolates to try!  If you haven’t tasted them, you must.  YOU MUST.

*I received no monetary compensation for this product review.  I was given a free bag of chocolates from SheSpeaks to try in exchange for my honest review.  The opinions are honest, and they are mine alone. :-) 

 

 

 

Thoughtful Thursday – Slow Dance

Have you ever watched kids on a merry-go-round,

or listened to rain slapping the ground?

Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic flight,

or gazed at the sun fading into the night?

You better slow down, don’t dance so fast,

time is short, the music won’t last.

 

Do you run through each day on the fly,

when you ask “How are you?”, do you hear the reply?

When the day is done, do you lie in your bed,

with the next hundred chores running through your head?

 

You better slow down, don’t dance so fast,

time is short, the music won’t last.

 

Ever told your child, we’ll do it tomorrow,

and in your haste, not see his sorrow?

Ever lost touch, let a friendship die,

’cause you never had time to call and say hi?

You better slow down, don’t dance so fast,

Time is short, the music won’t last.

 

When you run so fast to get somewhere,

you miss half the fun of getting there.

When you worry and hurry through your day,

it’s like an unopened gift thrown away.

Life isn’t a race, so take it slower,

hear the music before your song is over.


- David Weatherford

Eye of the Sword by Karyn Henley book review

About This Book

Where angels walk the ground and the future is told in song, does a man of low rank have a chance at love with a princess?

In Camrithia, a land of shadows and mystical secrets, Trevin lives to serve King Laetham. But his heart belongs to the princess, Melaia. When the King sends Trevin on on a dangerous quest to find the missing comains—captains in the king’s army—he must leave Melaia to the advances of a swaggering Dregmoorian prince.

Challenged to prove his worth, Trevin throws himself into his quest. Striving to prove his love, Trevin undertakes a second mission—find the harps Melaia seeks in order to restore the stairway to heaven. Through fire caves, rogue winds, and murderous threats, Trevin remains steadfastly dedicated to his quest—even when he is falsely accused of a heinous crime. As Trevin’s time runs out, he realizes he must face the shame and horror of his own past and the nightmare that has come to life. Will he have the courage to finish what he has started?

 

My Review:

 

Eye of the Sword is a sequel, which I wasn’t aware of before receiving it.  It wasn’t a problem, however.  While there are references to the first story throughout, following the story starting with this novel was fine to do.  I felt it was a little slow and unusual at the very beginning of the book, but within a few pages things were moving along.  I like the feel of the mystical land that is built…the Angealeon people, among others.  It creates a whole dimension that adds richness to the rest of the story.  Of course, Trevin’s story is a complicated one, but one full of bravery, excitement, and yes, love.  It was original, unique, and enjoyable, and I am giving it 4 stars.

 

Want more info?  Read chapter 0ne.

 

*I received no monetary compensation for my review.  I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.  The opinions are mine alone. :-)

Ten Commandments for Interacting With Kids on the Autism Spectrum

Love this!

 

1. Thou shall not yell when speaking to me.
My disability does not impair my hearing and I am extremely bright. Perhaps even brighter than you are.

2. Thou shall not ignore me, talk negatively about me, speak unnaturally slow, or ask questions to others in the room that pertain to me.
I can comprehend what you are saying just fine.

3. Thou shall believe in me and help me believe in my skills and self worth.
Note the good in me and do not merely point out my negative behaviors. Believe in me and I will believe in myself.

4. Thou shall not perceive me as dumb.
I am extremely intelligent. I do not learn in the same way as you, and maybe not as quickly as you expect me to. Have patience with me. Once I recall information, I never forget.

5. Thou shall not judge my behavior.
I can get overstimulated in certain environments. I may be hypersensitive to sound and loud noises may hurt my ears. Fluorescent lights are distracting for me. They have a humming noise, and can pulsate. All the noises in a room can blur together. Please make accommodations to help me.

6. Thou shall not be so quick to scold me.
Do not tell me that “I know what I did”. I do not. Tell me what my infraction was in a simple, concise manner. I want to please you, but I have difficulties inferring meaning within a vague statement. For instance, do not say please clean up your bedroom. Tell me exactly what you want, such as ‘Please make your bed and pick up your toys”.

7. Thou shall not compare me to others.
Please remind me, and note the talents that I possess. This increases my confidence and positive self worth. Learning disabled or not, we ALL have talents to contribute within society. I need you to help me realize what mine is. Believe in me and I will believe in myself.

8. Thou shall not exclude me from activities.
Please do not mimic me, ignore me, or bully me.  Please invite me to play with you. It hurts my feelings when I am excluded. I like to run and jump in the playground, and be invited to birthday parties too. Grownups can help me make friends by encouraging other children to play with me. I can be a loyal friend if you get to know me.

9. Thou shall give me choices.
I do not like being ordered about any more than the other children. Give me choices so I know you value my capabilities and opinions. Make them simple and concise. Present two options or so. I get confused when too many questions or directions are given at one time due to my processing speed. For instance, ask me if I would like to wear my blue sweater or green one, rather than asking which sweater I would like to wear.

10. Thou shall not judge me by my diagnosis, but by my character.
I am an individual, just like other children. As my son used to say, “Mom my name is John (name changed for his anonymity) not Asperger’s”. A profound statement I would say. :-0)

 

Please join me in my utopian world where society perceives individuals as a whole, and does not judge them merely in character segments.

Thank you!

Mari

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