Weekly News Digest – March 13th, 2014

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*People think that because I like to write, and putting words on paper generally comes easily to me, I must always know exactly what to say. On the contrary, I sometimes sit down, keyboard in hand, and can think of absolutely nothing even remotely interesting to write about. Or I know what to say, but can’t think of the right way to say it. Case in point, last week I had to write a half hour speech for MOPS. I knew the topic – I wanted to share my personal testimony of faith – and one would think that writing about yourself would be easy, yes? After all, YOU are a subject that you know very well, but I’m here to tell you that writing about yourself is actually quite difficult, and talking about yourself is even worse. Not for some people, obviously. I’ve met plenty of boring windbags who LOVE to talk about themselves all the time, but I’m not one of them (at least I hope I’m not. Perhaps other people feel differently). Nonetheless, the speech went well and was well-received, but when I got home I had to take a nap! I always tell my husband that after I’m with a group of people, particularly in a situation where I’m expected to be “on,” I get so exhausted that I start to develop a dull headache behind my eyes, which is usually relieved by sleep. Few people understand this, but socializing is hard work for introverts.

*I made a Lenten resolution that I would only use the internet for necessities, and not for entertainment. I stink at resolutions.

*Last week, Cakes only went to school for one day because every morning around 4:00 A.M. she woke up complaining of stomach pain, and would then vomit a few times and conk out on the sofa. The rest of the day she would be fine. She repeated this pattern every day for 4 days, and I finally took her to the doctor. He tested her for strep, but she had no other symptoms of illness. He said it’s difficult to know exactly what’s going on with her, but he suspects that she could have cyclic vomiting syndrome. I had never heard of this, but it’s apparently more common in children who have a family history of migraines (my husband), and the stomach pains that precipitate these vomiting episodes are called “abdominal migraines.” Cakes has, since she was a baby, had many episodes of unexplained vomiting. This year alone, I can remember at least 4 other occasions when she would wake up in the morning, complain of stomach pain, and vomit. I would keep her home, and by afternoon she would be completely fine. Poor kid. Leave it to Cakes to develop an unusual illness. It seems like my kids always get the weird, uncommon stuff that can’t be cured or explained.

*I finished our tax return yesterday. YAY!

*We’ve had parent-teacher conferences this week. Last night, we learned that DJ is sweet and well-liked, but sometimes has trouble sharing toys and playing cooperatively. My husband and I looked at each other like, “Wow….that’s a shocker.” (/sarcasm) Unlike the girls, who always wanted us to play with them, DJ prefers to play alone, and is quite particular about his things. For example, if he’s setting up his dinosaurs and my husband sits down and tries to play with one, DJ will snatch it away, put it back in its place, and say, “Let’s just keep this here, Dad.” He’s also a stickler about neatness and order in his room (if only some of this would rub off on his sisters).

*I switched Bee’s phone plan from AT&T to Kajeet Mobile, and this was a very good decision. I was tired of harping at her to quit texting, and Kajeet allows me to control who she can text (and who can text her), and when. I also get an email report of her phone usage every week. I have it set up so she can only text/call her friends between 7:00 and 8:00 every night, but she can contact me, her Dad, her grandparents, or 911 any time. This is working out so well for us, and it’s only $20 a month for unlimited texting and 150 talk minutes. Now her phone is being used for what it was intended for, instead of as entertainment. To avoid buying one of Kajeet’s more expensive phones, I took advantage of their “Bring Your Own Sprint Device” option. I bought a used LG Rumor Touch for $35 on Amazon, and resold Bee’s AT&T GoPhone on eBay.

*Speaking of eBay, I enjoyed meeting with a friend this week and helping her learn to use eBay so she can pare down and simplify her life. I love teaching and helping people – maybe I should’ve been a teacher? I guess it’s never too late, but truthfully, the thought of returning to school is not very appealing to me.

*Last week, I made a trip to the Amish bulk goods store where I buy all my spices, and I have some new spice blend recipes to share (I also brought home 20 pounds of local butter!) This week, I’ve perfected my recipe for ground beef cooked in the slow cooker, and I’ll be sharing that in an upcoming post as well. I cook four pounds at a time, and then freeze it in meal-sized packages. It’s very convenient, and a real timesaver!

*My husband had his PSA rechecked this week, and I was a nervous wreck while we waited for the results to come back. I felt like I was reliving last September all over again, but his score was a full point lower and down into the normal range! Also, his blood pressure and cholesterol, which were previously high, were both normal. I feel very encouraged by this because in the last year we’ve both been exercising more, and I’ve made many gradual changes in our diet. We’ve typically followed a fairly healthy diet in that we’ve always eaten a lot of fruits and vegetables, and very few boxed dinners, processed snacks, or convenience foods. However, I’ve gradually made the change from cooking predominantly with vegetable oils to cooking exclusively with olive or coconut oil and butter (hmmm…and my husband’s cholesterol is down. I guess that shoots the whole “saturated fat is bad for you” theory out of the water). We’ve eliminated all trans fat from our diet, reduced our consumption of simple starches and refined sugar, and eliminated shellfish and pork entirely – even on Easter. This was the one time when we ate pork because it was a family tradition, but considering how horrible it makes us feel, we decided it’s not worth it. I’ve always bought the “dirty dozen” fruits and vegetables organic, but I buy other organic foods now as well. We buy our beef from a local farmer, and we’ve added wild-caught salmon to our weekly meal rotation. I’ve found room in my food budget for these changes because we so rarely purchase soda, cereal, chips, or packaged snacks, and we eat at a restaurant only once or twice a month. You can buy a lot of organic produce for the price of one restaurant meal.

My children are now accustomed to drinking water and eating apples with peanut butter (Skippy Natural is our favorite – it’s awesome!), and Greek yogurt for snacks. For breakfast I make them power bars or yogurt smoothies with whey protein powder to keep them full until lunch.

Everyone feels healthier, and best of all….spring is almost here! Just one more week. I’m counting.

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Heather is a minimalist in love with a recovering packrat. 7 years ago, she and her husband sold pretty much anything that wasn't nailed down in order to pay off their mortgage, and they've been living happily debt-free ever since. They have 3 hilarious little kids who were conceived with the help of in vitro fertilization, and they haven't had a good night's sleep in the last decade. Heather is an anglophile who loves all things British, and spends her free time looking at real estate listings in Cornwall. Every day, she and her family work toward a simpler, more meaningful life. Some days are awesome, some are disastrous, and you can read about all of them here.

Have a question? Need a listening ear? Contact Heather, or visit Want What You Have on Facebook.

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12 comments… add one

  1. Cheryl March 13, 2014, 10:50 pm

    I am so sorry to hear about Cakes! That must be so horrible for her, and for you. I hope that they are able to help her.

    I wanted to ask where you buy/ what brand of whey protein you use. I am a breast cancer survivor, and have been told to avoid soy. I haven’t been able to find a soy free protein powder that is affordable. I would love to find out if the one you use is soy free, and where you buy it from if it is. Thank you!!

    Praise God for your husband’s great test results!!! I too have switched to only olive oil, coconut oil, and butter, and our family is reaping the benefits as well.

    Thank you for writing. I always enjoy your posts.

    Reply
    1. Heather March 14, 2014, 2:22 am

      Cheryl, this is the brand we use and love. It’s made from pure dairy whey, and the ingredients are listed here. I hope it meets your needs – it’s excellent in terms of flavor, and quite a big bottle for the price. It works out to about 72 cents per ounce.

      http://www.swansonvitamins.com/swanson-premium-whey-protein-powder-36-5-oz-1035-grams-pwdr

      Reply
      1. Cheryl March 17, 2014, 4:21 am

        Thank you so much!!!

        Reply
  2. mdoe37 March 14, 2014, 1:57 pm

    I’m switching over to olive oil, coconut oil and butter as well. I still have tub margarine for what bread spreading we ever do. It seems the butter is either hard when we need it or its too warm to leave it out on the counter. I’ve also cut back on the use of non-stick spray.

    If you have a recipe that calls for oil, which do you use? I don’t bake much, but have kept a small container of vegetable oil for that. I had a quick bread recipe that called for oil recently and I chickened out and use veggie oil.

    And you saved my keester last night, Heather. Its Lent and the husband is Catholic, meaning no meat on Friday. I was getting ready to cook dinner and Oh No! I have to make egg salad. And all the eggs are fresh and despite my perfect peeling any other time, they won’t when I’m in a hurry. Murphy’s Law…..but but wait a minute! I bought an egg poacher mentioned on a blog! Easiest hard cooked eggs I’ve ever peeled!! lol

    Reply
    1. Heather March 14, 2014, 2:02 pm

      I have discovered that for baking, Bertolli’s Extra Light Mild and Delicate olive oil can be substituted in any recipe calling for oil, with no discernible olive oil taste. It’s wonderful! I’ve used it in everything from brownies to birthday cakes! It’s readily available at both Wal-Mart and Target.

      Reply
      1. mdoe37 March 18, 2014, 8:16 pm

        thanks!

        Reply
  3. sarah stepec March 14, 2014, 2:04 pm

    Do you think the reduction in simple carb in your diet is contributing to Cakes vomiting in the morning (a common time for the body to detox)? Maybe it’s after having too much sugar now that her body is accustomed to much less? I have a six year old that is our easy puker and when we cut carbs she woke up the second day puking and was fine by lunch time (this was last April and must have been her “carb flu” or initial carb detox. I felt nauseous until lunch time myself that day). Now when my kids (I have four kids six and under) eat too much refined carb they often complain of a stomach ache (often around 4am or upon waking) and throw up 1-3 times, sometimes have one episode of diarrhea, and then are fine. In fact, they are starting to recognize it on their own and will say, “I’ll just have one cookie or treat at church because I don’t want to get a stomach ache.” Just a thought for you!

    Good for you with the new diet – we went low carb high fat (LCHF) using only coconut & olive oil and butter/lard last April and we’ve seen nothing but good results, physically and emotionally! Praise God!

    Reply
    1. Heather March 14, 2014, 2:06 pm

      I suppose it’s possible, but given her past history, not likely. She had unexplained episodes of vomiting even as a baby, when her diet consisted only of breast milk. At that time, our pediatrician felt that she might have acid reflux problems, which is also still a possibility. At this point, we just really don’t know for sure what’s going on. It’s frustrating.

      Reply
  4. radhika March 15, 2014, 5:24 am

    i’m sorry to hear abt cakes. i love ur kids n also find ur blog language heartwarming n funny. by d way we indians try to find natural home remedies for d vomit problem that u mentioned. i’m attaching d address of such a site. http://www.iloveindia.com/home-remedies/vomiting.html hope u find it useful. my best wishes to cakes. hope she gets well soon.

    Reply
  5. Angel March 16, 2014, 4:49 am

    Can I ask why you eliminated shellfish? We are trying to eat healthier and with being in New Orleans we have an abundance of seafood that makes up a large part of our diet. My dad keeps us in fish..and shrimp and crawfish season is upon us. I was just wondering is it because its not that local to you or is it a health hazard. I always thought seafood was good for you. Thanks.

    Reply
    1. Heather March 16, 2014, 4:40 pm

      We’ve eliminated shellfish for several reasons, the most important being that we do not eat unclean proteins, as designated by God in the book of Leviticus. We do this not for religious reasons, but because modern science now understands why God gave these laws, and that unclean meats can be detrimental to health. I recommend the books, “The Maker’s Diet,” and “The Bible Diet,” if you’re interested in studying this topic in more detail.

      Reply
  6. Amy F. March 17, 2014, 4:49 am

    So thankful to hear that your husband’s PSA level has dropped and his overall health seems to have improved with your dietary and activity level changes.

    I took a break from fb for Lent and am enjoying the reprieve. I am glad that you chose to post to the blog and look forward to upcoming posts, especially the one about preparing ground beef in the crock pot. I like to make my homemade sloppy joe in the crockpot, but do not like the texture of lean ground turkey that is cooked entirely in the crock pot. I typically brown it in the skillet first then combine the other ingredients in the crock pot and allow them to simmer there. So, I am curious to see if your ground beef method will work for me with ground turkey.

    Reply

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