How to Make Vegetable Broth

Living life can get busy. Yeah, really busy. But I have to make time to what I love. Jam and homemade veggie broth and soup are my new obsessions right now with the colder weather setting in. They are supper easy and there is little you can do to mess it up, which works for a busy mom like me. But today I want to share with you my secret on making the best veggie both for soups.

Things needed:

  • 1 Gallon Zipper Bag
  • Veggie Scraps
  • Big enough pot
  • As much water as needed to cover scrap
  • Cheese Cloth
  • Strainer
  • 1 Tbsp Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Garlic Powder
  1. First you need to collect your scraps. Depending on how much veggies you eat this could take a couple of days or weeks, but get enough to fill a zipper bag.
  2. Once the bag is full, get out a large pot and fill it with water just enough to cover the scrapes with water.
  3. Put on the stove to a medium boil for thirty-forty minutes.
  4. Let cool until broth is workable.
  5. Place strainer in a large bowl or another pot to catch the broth, and line with cheese cloth.
  6. Pour broth into the lined strainer.
  7. Squeeze remaining broth out of the veggies by wrapping them in the cheese cloth. Throw cheese clothed item away.
  8. Return broth back to the stove and add the seasonings. I like as strong so add the seasonings in 1/2 teaspoon at a time until the flavor you want is there. You can also add spices like cumin, cayenne, and oregano if desired. Let the broth boil another ten minutes.

And you’re done. You just saved yourself a lot of money and this veggie broth will taste better than anything you will fin the store. Happy cooking!

 

 

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5 Tips: How to Live Without Dairy

no dairy

If you are reading this, then you are one of the many that have been told they cannot have dairy. I am sorry in one way because, as an avid lover of all things dairy, it was hard when I was told that I couldn’t have dairy. But I have some great news! Your life is actually about to change for the better. I thought that not being able to have dairy was going to ruin my life, but I am happy to say that isn’t the case. Here are my 5 tips to make the transition to becoming dairy free and living without it.

 

Tip #1: Get It Out of Your House trash can

Throw away all dairy in your house now. Don’t just think that you can slowly eat through it. I know that you spent money on it and that is important. You can check out my blog on saving money here, here, and here as a couple of examples. So I totally get the money part, but your health is more important. So throw out everything now that has dairy in your house.

Tip #2: Go Out and Buy Things You Can Have

shopping cart

Now here is the fun part – Shopping! I was nervous at first when I had to switch since I thought that I would have to live without so much but these days are the best days to be dairy free because there are so many options! There’s vegan butter, cream cheese, cheese, and alternative milks. I can still bake, have a bagel and a grilled cheese relatively easy with all the alternatives that are out there.

My favorite place to shop in my are is Sprouts due to the fact that they have the best selection for dairy free items. One brand I love is Daiya. They have the cheeses covered. Earth Balance has the butter. And SoDelicious has many milk options. So there shouldn’t be much fear in feeling like you are missing out on anything. There is a slight taste difference but after a few tries you won’t be able to tell the difference.

Tip #3: Learn to Cook

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This tip is one that wasn’t hard for me since I loved cooking anyway. “But Gracelyn you just said there are so many options out there. Do I really need to cook from scratch?” The answer is yes. I still have to make many things from scratch since I have alter recipes on a regular basis. There are a lot of options out there, but much of it has to be pieced together so learning cook will be a skill you will have to gain if you don’t have it already.

Tip #4: Learn to Make Things Yourself

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This goes beyond cooking. Making things yourself means making your own coconut milk like I show you in this video here and making your other alternatives like butter and cream cheese since eating all the alternatives from the store can get expensive. So to cut the cost down, it’s time to awaken that DIY person inside you and find recipes that will help you stay true to your restrictions, but save money as well.

Tip #5: Hit Pinterest!

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I didn’t really understand the glory of Pinterest at first. Then I had to be dairy free, and a whole new world opened up for me. I have found many dairy free things that I thought were going to be lost forever. You can find recipes for ice cream, like I said butter and cheese, soups, and even Alfredo sauce that even my dairy loving husband said was amazing. So, if you don’t have one, get a Pinterest account and start searching. You will be surprised and relieved at what you will find.

Yay! 5 easy tips on how to be Dairy free. I hope these helped and comment below on any goodies you know on your own journey of being dairy free. Have a great day! 🙂

 

Why You Should Homeschool? Let Me Tell You!

It’s coming up. That time where you as a parent have to decide what is the best schooling option for your child. It’s hard that’s for sure. I am looking into that right now with my little one getting ready for kindergarten. Public? Private? Homeschool? It can be too much at times. But then I stop and take a deep breath. What is the most important thing here? It is that my child gets a good education.

One thing I have learned though is that the more I look into public and private schools, the more I want to do what family and my husband’s family did growing up – homeschool. Why? I’ll give you some examples.

Scheduling and Location

There is nothing better than the homeschool schedule. Why? There literally isn’t one. You can school your child when you are able or their activities allow. For once your life can run itself and the school system doesn’t. I remember road trips in the middle of February to see my grandparents and it didn’t matter because we were able to take our school with us.

With homeschooling the whole world is the classroom. The parents are free to teach their kids the skills they will need in life and not what the school system they have to only learn. You can teach math while cooking or changing the oil on the car with your kids for example on top of the state required material. They have the chance to engage in activities that other kids don’t because they aren’t in a classic classroom all day.

I was able to compete on my horses and train during what would be considered “school time”. But since I was homeschooled, I was able to get a jump start on everyone else. My schedule was get up at 5:00am and school until 10:00am. Then I would have the rest of the day to train my horses, play, read, or do whatever I wanted since I would have all my studies done before most kids had first recess.

Teaches Children Self Regulation

One thing that I loved about homeschooling was the fact I was in control for most of it. We had a program that all my teachers were on DVD. Check out the program here! So I would just watch them, do the assignments or tests, and my mother would grade them via their rubric. But that wasn’t always the case. When my mom first started schooling us, she was the teacher, but in many ways we were still in control based on our efforts. If I understood a concept then there wasn’t much discussion needed or we were able to move ahead. It puts that feeling of “you get what you put in” for the child.

Now I could have made it difficult on my mom and schooling would take forever and in the beginning it did until I learned the secret. Once kids learn they are responsible for how the day goes then they are quick to get their school done and out of the way for the day.

Because self regulation is a skill children will need in the real world when it comes to college and work. My classmates in college would look down on me as if I didn’t know anything because I was homeschool but I was my professor’s favorite student. I was able to time mange, get my assignments done, pay attention, and be self motivated to do well in the class. I never had to tell my professors that I was homeschooled because they all guessed, and they were always impressed.

Curriculum Freedom

The number one reason that families homeschool has to do with what is being taught in the schools. It is the number one concern for me. There is so much with Common Core that I am just not thrilled with and I don’t want to teach my daughter the concepts that way. But with homeschooling, you have the freedom to pick the curriculum that works for your child.

The child will have the chance to thrive because the parent can take the time to search and try new things that a public or private school teacher can’t. Could you imagine a public school teacher trying to teach a concept twenty different ways? No that is nuts, but a homeschool parent can because they only have one (unless you are blessed with twins or more) child in a certain grade at a time.

For example, I did go to public school for kindergarten but they missed that I wasn’t strong in math. I missed a concept back in kindergarten that I faked until I got to fifth grade and failed long division. My mom couldn’t understand why. Something was wrong but she didn’t know what. So she took the time to have me go through this new program and sure enough they found the problem all the way back to when I was learning basic subtraction like 1-1=0. (If you are interested, here is the program)

Now I wasn’t dumb. Math still isn’t my favorite subject, but since I was homeschooled, my mom was able to take that time and go back to where I missed the mark. A public school teacher can’t always do that. They have too many kids to worry about that many kids, like me, just have to fake until they make it, and aren’t able to be invested in like a homeschool kid.

More Summer Vacation

This was the bet part or homeschooling. Believe it or not the school year is only 180 days. that’s the amount of school time a kid needs to do in a year. Why in the world the school year goes from August to June I will never know. I always started the day after Labor day and was out the end of April. Here’s why – national holidays. There are so many national holidays that the kids don’t need to take off. The other thing is that sick days don’t matter. If anything we always used sick days as an excuse to  get more school work done so we could get out faster. All we have to prove is that we did 180 days worth of work. Sounds pretty good huh? So the kids might not get the national holidays as much but they will get a longer summer and I would trade a five month summer for two weeks off at Christmas.

Did That Help the Decision?

I hope that helped with your decision on whether or not to homeschool. Every family is different and so is very kid. I may end up putting my daughter in a public school for her first couple of years but she is a singleton and social is important. Actually in homeschool it it VITAL! The most vital part. If the kids don’t get the real world exposure then all the things they learned at home is void. They might be able to balance a budget and work a computer enough to be an executive assistant but they have the people skills of an ant then it’s all for nothing. The point of school is to give an education to children so they can succeed in life.

So to all parents who are looking to homeschool DO NOT FORGET SOCIALIZATION. It’s important. Get them into recreational sports, animals like horses, 4H, youth groups, music like orchestra, book clubs, chess clubs, motorcycle clubs like dirt bikes, BMX and any others you might think of. Learn what your kid likes and do that. Because the kids do need to be well rounded.

The good news is that, if you homeschool right, you won’t just have a well rounded kid, but one that surpass others around them. So have fun and enjoy homeschooling!

*Disclaimer – the links are unaffiliated and no payment was exchanged in their use. I just really love the programs.*

 

 

 

Diva Cup Review

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The Diva Cup is great idea. It can save a lot of money and is good for the environment. Since it is made of silicone it can be better for you too since who knows what is in a tampon or pad? But that’s about all that was good for the Diva Cup involving my use of it.

   *Disclaimer* This post is of graphic material and may not be suited for young children. I have also not been paid for this review and hold all rights to post it.

So, how did I like the Diva Cup? I loved the idea behind it. I mean bye bye tampons and pads. What wasn’t there to like or to go buy one? For one they are expensive. Mine was $40 and it took me months to finally justify spending that much when money was tight. The only way I could justify it was because it promised to save me money.

I looked at the packaging and saw that I would need a size 2 since I had had a vaginal delivery and everything seemed pretty easy. I get it home and read the cleaning and use instructions. Seemed pretty straight forward. So I cleaned it according the instructions and inserted it per the instructions. What happened?

Well first, the thing leaked horribly. I took it out and reinserted it many times but no position made it work. I looked for help from the company and all the advice was I was doing something wrong. Some help. (More on their customer service in a minute.)

It was also very uncomfortable when inserted. I could feel the whole thing so I once again took it out and put it back in. I tried the C-fold, the single fold, put the thing tipped back toward my tailbone, not toward my tailbone. I think you are getting the point. It was like having four tampons in and then having them expand. That alone was making it not worth it.

Not only did the thing leak, but, the first time I used it, I got a bladder infection right after. I had only used it one day and it cause me to have a bladder infection. The second time I used it I got a nasty yeast infection that my doctor said only comes from using these cups. I assured her I boiled and cleaned the thing after using it per the instructions and she assured me that it is because of the silicone there is no way to get it fully clean. So I am just too sensitive to use the cup due to the fact that any bacteria will give me some kind of an infection. None of which is on the label as a warning that something like that can happen.

My last issue with the Diva Cup was with the company. Being discouraged, I went to their website for help. Turns out I am not the only one who can’t seem to get the thing to not leak or be comfortable. That made me happy, but what didn’t was the reply from the company.

On every single cry for help it pretty much just said, “there is nothing wrong with the product. The problem is completely with you”. Seriously? There is no way on God’s green earth it could be the product?

According to that statement, all their frustrated and discouraged customers are just dumb and incompetent to use the cup. I was rather offended since there is no one size fits all for people even though the company does make two sizes. Not every vagina is the same, and there is no way a company can just say that if a customer (paying customer by the way) is saying they have tried all the tips and nothing is helping that there is nothing wrong with the product. It should say on the box “may not be suitable for everyone” because it did not work for me. I am jealous for those women who they do work for because the cup would be a real money and earth saver.

So I would suggest that you look at another menstrual cup company and not try the Diva Cup. Go online and find another company who understands the woman body a little better and cares about its customers. Don’t waste your time trying to make the Diva Cup work.

What Can be Saved From Black Mold?

   If you are reading this then you are going through a terrible nightmare and I am sorry. I know all about this terrible thing. My husband and I found out there was black mold in a rental we were in and we too had to figure out what could be saved and what couldn’t.

   Let’s first go over what black mold is. According to hgtv.com the simplest way to explain it:

Black-Mold

   “Toxic black mold, or Stachybotrys chartarum, as it’s known to scientists, can release spores as it feeds on organic materials in common household materials like drywall, carpet, insulation or sub-flooring that have been exposed to moisture. These spores, if ingested or inhaled, can cause a range of unpleasant and even dangerous symptoms in humans. “

   Either way you look at it, black mold is nothing you really want to mess with. It also can be dangerous to your health causing upper respiratory infections, making asthma worse, constant colds and flus, and to the point of sepsis shock. How do I know? Because my husband almost died from his exposure and I was hospitalized with pneumonia. We got to the point that we were classified as having mold poisoning which is the highest level of exposure you can have.

   If you are having physical symptoms of mold poisoning, make sure you get the proper medical help you need and find a safe way to detox the mold out of your system preferably under a professional’s supervision. And don’t expect to be healed from it right away either. It took awhile to have it build up in your system and it will take some time to get it out.

   But now back to what can be saved. The biggest thing about getting out of a mold situation is to not get back in it which means dealing with your stuff. From our experience what could be saved was anything metal, hard plastic, hard porcelain, and glass. Which means:

  • Dishes
  • Pans
  • Pots
  • Some utensils
  • Silver ware
  • Fine China

   Why the short list? Because black mold is LOVES porous things like:

  • Wood
  • Rubber
  • Things with motors
  • Soft Plastics
  • Cloth
  • Polyester like in pillows and comforters
  • Pleather
  • Leather
  • Microfiber
  • Micro Suede
  • Suede
  • Paper
  • Carpet
  • Hardwood
  • Lament

   So  how many things do you have like this in your house? Pretty much everything is the answer. Now, my husband and I tried to save our clothes but we ended up having to throw them away too since it just wouldn’t wash out. So I am sorry to say that pretty everything but that list I mentioned above. We lost everything in the long run and suffered through heartache after heartache as we toiled to save our items and they just ended up in the trash can.

   What do I suggest? Follow my list and trash the rest. It is not worth keeping things that will just contaminate the new place you live in because it will. The item will keep emitting spores and will fill your home with spores until they find a new source to start growing again. Can you see the problem? If you keep something from the mold house then you can just have the problem keep following you.

   I know it will be hard and it flat out sucks because you will have to throw out your whole life and start over. We don’t have anything from when we were first married, we don’t even anything from when our daughter was a baby, and we lost our entire library of books just to name a few heartache things that were lost. Every mom wonders if their daughter will wear their wedding dress, but I will never know I don’t have mine any more. It is going to be painful to go through this, but know that you have someone on your side who understands the pain and frustration you are going through.

Unless someone has gone through this kind of situation, they will never understand how you feel and many will think you are over reacting. I assure you that you are not. It is for the best for your family now instead of this happening again in the future.

If you think you need help processing, finding a counselor isn’t a bad idea. It took my husband and I a year after we were away from the situation to finally admit that going for some help to process the whole thing would be good. We tried it on our own as a strong couple and we needed some extra help. Asking for help isn’t a bad thing, and, when it comes to replacing your stuff, you will need to ask for some. You will never know how much you really have until you lose it all.

But I would check with your insurance company. They might be able to help but ours didn’t. With a rental situation, it’s hard to pin point who was the renter that caused it and the insurance company said that it was preexisting so they wouldn’t do anything. Also check with your health department and see if you are lucky enough to live in an area with rights for renters (if you are renting) when it comes to black mold. I live in California and they have no such laws. So our landlord had no obligation to help us and we couldn’t find an attorney who would take the case.

All and all the situation stinks and all you can do is rely on family and friends to help you out. My husband’s work was amazingly generous with donations to replace what we had lost and I pray you are just as blessed. One thing is for sure. You will learn who your real friends are in a situation like this.

   So as we finish up, I am sorry I don’t have much better news, but it is the truth. If you want to be rid of the mold in the future only keep things that are metal, glass, hard plastic, and hard porcelain.

Where is She Going With This?

   Is it just me or does everyone around you seem like they have their life in order? Like the blessings just keep falling on them even though according to your tally sheet they shouldn’t? I know that is me right now and I am not even too proud to say I’m​ jealous of it. I know I shouldn’t be but there is that sting of seeing someone not live for God and have everything they want while my husband and I work hard and struggle to get back to where we were before the horrific year of 2016 happened. We live pay check to pay check and others seem to have so much money they don’t know what to do with it. I know exactly what they can do with it, but no one ever seems to offer.

   I happen to know quite a few people who could completely change our financial picture and they wouldn’t even notice the money was gone. It would mean everything to us but they just might have to actually write it down in an accountant book. But no one offers. No says “hey, I know you guys have really tried your best to get back what you lost. What is the amount you need to pay off the debt you have now due to your huge loss last year?”

   Now granted that people have offered us things and time which I am EXTREMELY thankful for because it would have put us farther in debt of we had to purchase those things too. One thing I do know is that if one more person says “oh, I’ll pray that the money issues work out for you” I am going to scream. Maybe you are the person God wants to use to bless us and you are refusing to do what He asks?

   Now this isn’t a plea for money (even though my dream is to receive a donation for our debt but let’s get real) but rather a post to open your eyes to those around you. I know that if I had the money to spend and knew the family was truly under a hard time and not habit then I would write them a check to help if not wipe out their debt. I would want to share the love and compassion in the aspect that so far hasn’t been extended to us. Maybe that’s why God keeps not blessing us right now in being able to pay off debt and rather just keeps laying down more issues in our lap? Our A/C died day two of the giant heat wave hitting the west coast so that’s really enjoyable at the moment with a toddler.

   Once again my husband and I are living separately with me at my wonderful wonderful parents and he’s home and getting rides from a wonderful wonderful friend to work so I can have our one car. It’s just another summer of hard life.

  So what is my point? Am I a victim? No since I can’t stand that mentality. What I am saying is that I am an example. There are others around you who could really use that spare cash burning a hole in your pocket. That is what Christians are supposed to do with loving their neighbor is help them out however they need and, if you can help someone, you should. You not only will be helping a family who will be thankful forever but you will be helping yourself in knowing you are showing what the hand and feet of Jesus look like.

  All in all be generous. Love your fellow brothers or sisters in Christ. You will actually reap the benefit more then they will. God bless 🙂

Old Habits Come in “Handy”

   Hello everyone! I hope you are all well. I have to say that my morning didn’t start off like I had planned to spend the day. I had planned to wake up, drive hubby to work (we only have one car), come home, have college mentor call, spend time with my mother in law, go get hubby, drop off child with other grandma, go to hubby’s appointment and then spend the rest of the day relaxing at home with him. Well now my day is going – take hubby to work, sit at gym for two hours, figure out something else to do for two hours, go get him and then my day will go as planned.

   Why might you ask? Because I have zero voice. I can barley talk above a whisper if that. Yeah, talk about a set back. But the funny part is that I am using a skill that I haven’t used for some time. The skill is my sign language I originally went to college for. I mean I am rusty as heck but it’s coming back rather quickly. My hubby though is even rustier so finger spelling pretty much how we are talking right now. It’s rather amusing actually.

   But there is one thing that it showed me, It showed me how much I do love ASL. I love the flow and beauty of it. It’s fun to insult people too without their knowledge but you really should never do that. I know a language that many people don’t and I love it. I am only one class shy of the AA at my junior college so I should go back and finish it. I didn’t take it because I transferred to a CSUS and I didn’t want to take the class twice. Now I wish I did. Oh well, when I get a chance with getting my teacher’s credentials I’ll have to go back and take that last class. I think it would look good with it so that I can be teacher with a charter school and be able to work with Deaf kids and families. That would be so amazing, It wouldn’t be the interpreter job I originally wanted but it is a pretty close second.

   So if you have a skill that you thought has gone stale, maybe it is time to bring it back out. Maybe you can play an instrument? Why not tickle the ivories or strum the strings? Can you draw or paint? Pull out the canvas or paper and do a beautiful work of art. How about that novel you said you would publish someday? With Kindle and Create Space you can for free. Whatever it is, do it. It’s never too late to follow a dream you think has died.

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