Weekly News Digest – March 13th, 2014
*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.