Saturday, March 29, 2008

getting there.

Hi, all ...

Just wanted to quickly update some numbers. Since my first post, this is what I have spent on "crap."

$3.50 at yard sales (we've already covered that one)
$2 on coffee after morning yoga
$8 on movie ticket AND popcorn last night (wow! a cheap seats theater! this was a GOOD outing)
$14 at our school's annual fund-raiser bought me: greens salad, pasta salad, and two slices of cheese pizza, a raffle ticket and a dollar of dimes for the baked goods wheel game. not bad, and the money is for a good cause, the school that i'm investing so much in!
$4 on bagel and coffee breakfast this morning. GAH!!!! i was too lazy to grind coffee. and was kind of in a rush. i need to stop with these lame excuses.

grand total for what, just over a week? of EXTRA SPENDING: $31.50. Not bad, but yes, could be better. For me, it's a grand start! But still ... that's just between $3/DAY. Yikes.

Today was awesome. I got up early for the Obama rally at just-opened headquarters in Louisville. I was one of the ribbon-cutters! Also bought a t-shirt (oh yeah another $20, whoops), and signed up to volunteer. And, at the "Festival of Fun" for our school, got another babysitting job offer. I'm just worried mainly about having the regularity of it all to quit waitressing .... I may stay on at the restaurant till the end of June, then quit just before school starts. I will survive somehow. But I do need to make a "certain" enough amount of cash to pay my July and August rent cause I'm not getting a school pay check in June and July. yikes. A BIG reason for saying "no" to much stuff now.

well, it's off to work tonight, to make money to pay another bill.

i'm aware that all this hard work will pay off on the horizon, which i am just beginning to see.

have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

two mac n cheese recipes

haven't tried them yet ... but pilfered them off the internet. thought i'd share them here ..

Snow Family Mac 'n' Cheese
1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni
3 T organic butter
3 T flour
2 C organic milk
1/2 t saltdash pepper
2 C grated organic cheddar cheese
2-4 organic roma tomatoes—sliced
1 C bread crumbs
Instructions:Cook pasta until firm.Melt butter. Blend in flour. Wisk in milk.Cook at medium until thick.Add salt and pepper and 1 1/2 cups cheese.Stir to melt.Place cooked macaroni in greased baking dish.Pour sauce in. Top with sliced tomatoes. Sprinkle with cheese and bread crumbs.Brush 13x9x2-inch glass or ceramic baking dish with oil.Serve with mixed greens or salad.

Here's the second one ....
It makes a lot for just the 4 of us, so I often freeze the leftovers. I take the leftovers and mix it up with a can of organic diced tomatoes with basil and oregano to give it more moisture for reheating later.Famous Mac & Cheese- I have always been asked for this recipe and never before made it available in print to share.

12oz. box of Penne or Ziti pasta
2 Tab. butter
1 clove of garlic, minced
¼ C onion, diced
2 Tab. flour
½ tsp. dry mustard (can also use any prepared variety)
¼ tsp. hot pepper sauce
2 C milk
2-C shredded sharp cheddar Cheese
1-C swiss cheese, shredded (Gruyere is also great!)

Topping:¼ C seasoned dry breadcrumbs
¼ C freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Lightly grease a 2-½ qt casserole dish. Bring unsalted water to boil, add pasta. Cook to al dente (6-8 minutes). Drain, rinse and set aside.In a large saucepan, melt the butter over moderately high heat. Add the onion and sauté for 4 minutes until tender. Stir in the garlic, flour, mustard, & pepper sauce. Cook for 1 minute until bubbly; do not allow to burn. Gradually whisk in the milk and cook. Stir occasionally for 5 minutes until thickened.Add the cheeses and stir for another 5 minutes until the consistency is smooth and melted. Remove from heat, and add the pasta. Toss coating well.Spoon into casserole dish. Liberally sprinkle with topping mixture, pat with a touch of butter. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes, (until golden brown and bubbly). My Grandmother enjoyed using Paprika on top for extra color too.

a post about living simply.

oh, no, i forgot to mention this in my last post, and i definitely wanted to give it a plug!! My new lip balm from arrived today. Not only is it made my Hannah Wood (Elijah Wood's sister, how cool), it's entirely organic and can be used not only on the lips, but as an all-purpose healer and cream! Hannah and her friend make this out of their home, I believe. Support their cause if you feel like an impulse purchase (haha I did this before I truly committed to saving money, but this is a good splurge, you really need very little and I think it'll last me ages). Ok ... so yeah ... check it out.

And ... here is Rhonda's post I wanted you to read. Please credit her blog (she does an amazing job) if you want to pass it on. Her blog is here:

If one advances confidently in the direction of one's dreams, and endeavours to live the life which one has imagined, one will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
Henry David Thoreau

I sent that quote to one of my sisters the other day when she was struggling with an important decision. It really speaks to me and reminds me that while our lifestyle may not be everyone's cup of tea, it suits us, it enriches us and we must remain confident in our decision to live as we do.Confidence: freedom from doubt; belief in yourself and your abilities.We humans are strange beings sometimes. We like uniformity, we distrust those who run outside the pack. We like to have our own decisions validated by the mass appeal of them, and when that doesn't happen, when someone runs against the grain, we are suspicious and sometimes resentful. I'm sure many readers here have friends or family members who question your way of life, who want you to come to your senses and go shopping for all sorts of flim flam or who resent and question your decision to stay home with the children and "for go" one wage.Staying home to raise healthy children is not an easy option. Living frugally to embrace a greener way of life is difficult. Making your home a place of regeneration and cosy safety will put you at odds with most of your contemporaries. So why do we do it? Is it because there is joy to be found in ordinary every day life? Is it because we know that unless we change the way we constantly trash our environment we are in big trouble? Is it that we're just fed up with what modern life has become - we find a feeling of belonging and contentment in a more simple way?No matter what your reason is in striving to live as you do, be confident in how you live and what you're trying to achieve. Keep moving towards your own independence, keep learning how to do all the things you want to do; reskilling yourself will help you live true to your values. Above all else know that if you are happily settled in your version of a simple life, or if you're just starting your journey, you will meet with a success unexpected in common hours, and you will find contentment and happiness along that track.

putting on the brakes, a bit.

I've decided that I need an entire day off ... devoted to making bread! And perhaps practicing some long put-off knit stitches ... that will happen probably just over a week from now, during April's I'm-not-going-anywhere spring break ; )

It just started to rain down here, it began sprinkling as I took a short after-dinner walk (homemade pizza, mmmm) down the streets on both sides of my house. There are some gorgeous old homes around here. The area is not elitist by any stretch, in fact some of the homes are a little worn down. What I wouldn't give to buy one of those and work for a few years fixing it up ... well, you never know. But I definitely want an old house with character. Maybe strip the inside and have it built again LEED green ... haha that's definitely pie-in-the-sky talk now.

I'm not sure if I mentioned it, but yoga class went really, really well. It is fairly close to my house (less than 10 min drive), and there were only two other students in the early morning class. The studio was small, with dimmed lighting (till the sun came up, of course!) and incense burning and while it was hard to get my still half-asleep body to do the poses, it was nice to know that I had done something well for myself without it feeling crammed in. I may go again tomorrow morning, though this will cost me! However the way I see it is when Mary moves out at the end of May, I can cancel the $30/month cable TV (ugh) and put what I would have paid for it toward the $70/month yoga membership. so that's old cable subsription plus an extra $10/week. Not so shabby when yoga runs $14/class! I can do tuesday and thursday mornings, and a sunday night (virtually unheard of in yoga world) restorative yoga class to begin the week. what a nice thrice-weekly schedule that would be! hm....well, i can't do much about it for now. finances are tight, and i've only just started really, truly, reigning the dollars in.

but where was i? ah, yes, still learning to slow down life and love it more. it's not easy. i can't explain it, but i'm sure you know what i mean. the rest of this night will be looking up a good homemade mac and cheese recipe (i'm trying to eventually quit, say, 90 percent of prepackaged organic foods altogether), drinking mint tea (on this note i'd like to go all loose leaf when all my bags are used up. this benefit is trifold: freeing up three glass jars currently filled to the brim with tea bags -- well, maybe two cause the leaves have to go somewhere! -- for other food storage, reducing impact on the environment, and well loose tea is just altogether better for you than bagged, which in most cases is just tea dust.), reading The Omnivore's Dilemma (just finished very disturbing chapter on factory beef farms), and writing a card to a friend back home.

In my next post, I'm going to copy something Rhonda wrote in her down---to---earth blogspot.
It's worth repeating. But give credit where credit is due --- this woman seems an amazing individual!

Love to you,


can someone please tell me how to subscribe to friends' blogs on this site? merci.

Monday, March 24, 2008

new cat!

Say hello to my new friend, Tigger! Took a nice sunny drive out just past the city limits to bring him home. So far, so good .. .he's been through a lot, and my two female cats have done nothing but hiss and howl at him all day. He's holding his own, however ...

So today was a nice sunny one, and I realized how much I miss just having a day to truly have no agenda whatsoever. Had a nice brunch out, thanks to some cash my parents and grandparents stashed in my easter cards. also finally got a walk in, walked to a friends and watched a neat Woody Allen flick.

This weekend, I did spend some money, but only $3.50. At two yard sales. I bought a china plate-turned-soap dish for $1 (one of the blue and white variety made in England), a veggie steamer ($2), and a never-used vintage-looking dishtowel (50 cents). I can't resist yard sales. I see these things as investments.

I think I have a touch of something not good in my system. I'm debating staying home from work tomorrow ... we'll see.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

saturday's musings

Never made it for the walk yesterday. Fell asleep, much-needed before babysitting.

Today I shopped at Whole Foods, and only spent $27. Record-setting for me. Then I went to two local markets for a few more items. I bought Kentucky-made cheese (I live in Kentucky), and juice in a glass jar. I am glad to see glass items making a resurgence. Now ... if only those stores would re-fill them ... The second shop I stopped in had bulk spices and I bought a whole thing of thyme for $.90. yay!!

I have not bought "crap" for a few days ... and am proud of myself. It's hard to change your mindset.

I am hoping to soon, very soon, quit the babysitting and subsist on after-school child care/babysitting/housesitting alone. This is scary but I think it's just about time ...

rainy and gloomy here today in Louisville. hopefully i'll have a short walk nonetheless before work tonight.

hope tomorrow can be spent in the park, but the weather is not looking promising ... however i am getting the new cat, so ... something else to look forward to!

Friday, March 21, 2008

It's gorgeous out today

Ugh. Got my period yesterday. Can't believe how little energy I have. It was so hard to stay ahead of the kids at school today. Any good remedies besides ibuprofen, girls? I do try to eat more flax during my period ... but I need something besides tons of water to help get rid of those nasty hormonal-induced headaches.

I'm going for a short walk tonight with a friend and her dog. It'll be nice to be out in nature with the weather like it is today ... feels like the 70's!!

happy easter to those who celebrate it ... I'm going to make my own "celebration" day if the weather cooperates by finding a nice park to walk/read/lounge in. For me, it's a rare entire day to myself! Maybe I'll cook something up, too ....

peace to all ....

p.s. Introducing a new cat to the apartment this weekend. I'll update soon!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

do-able ...


stop buying crap

stop watching/reading advertisements

buy a new computer (majorly good investment, as the Internet to me is an important interactive tool, albeit not one that should completely take over life....which it can, and will do, if you do not get control over the habit ... )

get better at practical life activities: knitting, sewing, cooking, walking around the parks and woods, taking time for tea, enjoying being HOME.

invest in a bread machine.

let's go back to the first one for a minute: stop buying crap. this one is going to be hard as hell, because even for someone who enjoys buying local kitsch and from thrift and used bookstores, i tend to go overboard sometimes. it's easy to do, even in the confines mainly of what i call the "organic" world. i am taken in by fancy claims and packaging, even here. it doesn't happen often, but i'm not going to lie and say i'm not attracted by shiny things.

in her blog, rhonda touches on some excellent points, especially for people wishing to live a life similar to hers but not sure how to take the plunge from our consumerist brainwashed selves. here are my favorites, condensed:

*it's going to hurt to stop buying books, but Stop Buying Them. Really begin to utilize your public library, not only for books but for manuals, CDs and DVDs (rather than paying for something like Netflix, wow, not as "convenient" but easy way to cut bucks quick), as well (one thing I learned was to copy music into your ITunes!). Once or twice a year, shop the library booksales.

*learn to enjoy household chores as a never-ending stream of work to be done. once you stop seeing it as an end, you begin to enjoy the means. you stop hurrying to get it done, and you begin doing things more slowly and mindfully. perhaps these acts become meditation time in themselves. reclaim the kitchen, ladies, it's OK!

I've sure listed a lot of near-future goals here, but the biggest one for me right now is to stop. buying. crap. and that is also what she suggests doing first. making a budget, not buying crap. i think i do a pretty damned good job of that now, but she's saying for a while, and it will feel forced, don't even give yourself the occasional "treat." i.e. of a cup of coffee out with friends, etc. this is where she says you may have some explaining to do ... gosh, and i'd wager it to be a bit lonely at first ... but isn't the end result (read numerous blog entries about she and her husband's incredible "ordinary life) worth it? she seems to be proof that this CAN be done ...

i dunno. just read her blog, and be inspired to start your own. i did it, and so can you.

stay tuned for more posts to come. i am so excited and hope i can keep up with this.


answer to my everything!!!

oh. my.

this woman is my long-lost soul mate, i swear! i am her reincarnated younger (though still wishful thinker of a) self!!!

PLEASE patronize her amazing blog and journal both of daily life and self-discovery.

i really want to quit MY spending, TOO!! she has the life i always always dream of. and i have the chance to make it happen nearly 30 years earlier than she did (not that it's ever too late ... boy does she live the truly good life!!).

i really believe this life is still possible in America ... but I agree with her ... it comes with some explaining to do. so what though?

i can't keep my eyes off this woman's posts. i'm addicted!!


here is an awesome-sounding recipe for Rhonda's (copyright Rhonda!! please credit her if you pass it on, and provide a link to her blog) homemade laundry powder (which I may try when my ultra-concentrated organic detergent is done..)

this woman rules my world!! and hopefully, with any amount of commitment, i'll soon rule my own roost!

p.s. she is Australian so you'll have to do conversions for her recipes.

random thought for the day: does anyone write research papers anymore with OUT using the internet?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

My first post

I created this blog to jot my ideas for mindful, simple, old-fashioned, spiritual living. Sick to death of this rude, hurried, overworked, overscheduled, wasteful America that thrives on television and driving Hummers and resorting to violence from our language to our video games, worried very much about the future of our children, I wanted to create a place of refuge from the daily onslaught of anxiety I find myself struggling through.

I'd eventually like to say I live in a fairly green home. I am working on learning to knit and garden (at least grow a few herbs in my small apartment!). I want to live close enough to my job to walk or bike, even if the weather is inclement. I want to continue my journey into the depths of our food "industries" and keep up cooking-from-scratch experiments. I want to rid all the poisonous chemicals from my home. I want to find my life partner, who I call my "tofu man..." but most of all I just want to be GLOWING from within with the joy a simple, clutter-free life can bring.

We all have the time to cook, clean, and lead fulfilling lives. and raise wonderful children who are allowed to use their imaginations and intelligence to their utmost without being drones in front of a tv, without eating snacks loaded with high fructose corn syrup, and without being overscheduled to death. they ARE capable of doing chores without despising their parents. we need to teach them to be happy without happiness that's attached to a clothing label, or a cheap plastic toy, or a whole pile of fancily-wrapped birthday presents. we can encourage them to love serving their community. to sing, to really, truly sing!!

and this, i believe, we can do for ourselves, too. it just takes effort and commitment, utmost commitment, and extreme love for yourself and for others, whether or not it's religious.

namaste! i am so glad to be here ... when the flower of my life has just begun to unfold its petals!