my Kefir journey Day 1 million ?

Well UGH!!!!  this has been a learning experience to say the least.  Kitchen messes exploding kefir milk on the cupboards, new blender that was not sealed properly so when I removed it from the base the kefir poured onto the stove and cupboard. Yes.. the air was blue and I was ready to give up but I walked away after everything was cleaned up again, sat in the tv room,, relaxed and then said.. nope this battle between myself and the kefir is not going to break me. I will win over this foolishness because it it a healthy alternative for us!!!!..

 

So this morning I carefully tip toed into the kitchen.. on the stealth kefir attack.. I figured if I snuck in and did my thing it would not get the better of me.. right?  Well I got it strained and put into a jar, put said jar in the fridge and set some more kefir to ferment on the counter. All good so far.. Cleaned up the items I used and then decided to make a smoothie.. hey why not.

So I got the blender (made sure the bottom was secured on tightly to the container) added 1 cup of kefir milk, 1/2 banana, a handful of blueberries and about 1/2 tsp of organic honey.. whirred it up and poured it into a mug. Ok I have to say that it is awesomely delicious. The only thing was, the kefir milk hadn’t had a chance to get cold so next time I will wait a couple of hours before making a smoothie.  I plan to alternate the yogurt on one day and the next day have a smoothie. Only time will tell how all this healthy lifestyle will work out.

banana-blueberry- kefir- smoothie

On that note today is recovery Monday as we so affectionately call it. Warrior weekends are always followed by Recovery Mondays.. So off I go to work quietly on a new pattern design and maybe watch a movie through my eyelids.

 

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My Kefir Journey- Day One-EDITED

Well I was always one not to jump on the healthy kick bandwagon and jumping on the next new thing on the internet… nope not me. But after hearing about kefir from a friend I figured I would give it a shot. You see, we eat 3 containers of Greek yogurt every week and we pay $5 a container from Walmart. I have it every breakfast with bran buds and blueberries on top. That is my typical breakfast with a cup of coffee. It provides me with food in my stomach so I can take my daily medications.

So yesterday our friend dropped off some kefir grains to us to get us started. They were in a Ziploc baggie.. about a couple of table spoons of it. I poured them into a glass dish, added milk and now it is sitting on my counter for a day. It is like watching clothes in a dryer at this point, and I figured I can’t sit all day and stare at the jar.. right?  So I got my 5 pound box of blueberries vacuum sealed and put in the freezer. Two jobs done.. time for a bagel.  This healthy eating thing is new for me and has a whole new learning curve. But I plan to do it. It will be interesting to see how all this works out. Plenty of YouTube videos to watch about kefir but I did find a lady that makes sense so I am going to make the kefir milk first then when I get enough made I will make the Greek yogurt and add my sweetener and flavouring to our taste. Probably will be a lot of fails but you learn from fails and will get better. That’s my story and I am sticking to it.

I will update on the first batch with pictures etc. Hey what have I got to lose right?

EDITED: SEPT 14

well this was  a trial and error process to say the least!!! A few failed attempts such as my yogurt not thickening,, etc. So I went on the search again to find out what happened.. WELLLLL who knew that when you set your kefir grains on the counter that you are NOT  and I say NOT supposed to put the lid on tightly when you have your first ferment so the fermentation will take place.. ok.. fail #1.. by the time I set it in the fridge for the yogurt to start setting I was doing that all wrong as well.. So after wasting milk on the first two settings I decided to do a small batch and go through the whole thing again.. Milk and grains.. set on the counter with a coffee filter over the top held with a rubber band, then as someone said.. cover it with a towel.. done!  I let it set for about 15 hours and then took the towel off.. VOILA.. this time it worked.. Now to drain it to get the grains out.. done!.. put the grains back into the original jar and covered them with enough milk, tightened the cover and put it in the fridge to store. ah ha.. worked.. now they say to put it in the blender to make it smooth.. Didn’t have a blender  so I just mixed it up with a spatula and then put it in a clean jar to ferment for a second time (they say 6 hours) so when that was done with the second fermentation  I lined a small colander with unbleached coffee filters (they were wet so they would stick to the sides of the colander)  ok.. so far so good.. Set the colander on a bowl and then poured the kefir milk slowly over the coffee filters.. covered lightly with plastic wrap and set the whole thing into the fridge to start draining.. Again  so far so good!!!!.. Well today I took the whole thing out of the fridge.. lifted the colander off and dumped it upside down into another bowl, scraped the extra yogurt off them and threw them in the compost. . It looked just like Greek Yogurt but was really sour.. so I added stevia and some vanilla extract and WOW   WOW.. I REALLY LIKED THE TASTE!. Now to figure out how to do a bigger batch once the walmart yogurt is gone.. Going to try some berry infused kefir or.. just maybe leave it vanilla and add some berries on top when I have breakfast.

I am really proud of myself but I must admit that I was ready to quit a few days ago when the second batch didn’t turn out. My wife said, don’t give up it will will worth it in the end, give it another try and yes she was correct.. it was frustrating but worth it. I just hope that this healthy alternative to the store bought yogurt will make a difference here.

My next back will be fully documented with pictures although I really should have taken some the other day when I decided to give the container a bit of a shake only to realize that the cover leaked and it exploded on my counter top, cupboard and stove.. Good thing I was not taking a video as you would have seen and heard the air turning blue. On the upside, my kitchen has had it’s fall cleaning early.. and looks mahvelous dahling!!!

and on that note!! have a great weekend everyone

 

Information : Benefits of Kefir

 

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New pattern!!!!

Here it is,,,,, the middle of August, I have sort of survived the heat wave without melting into the pavement. This has been by far the hottest summer that I can remember. What the heck is with that????.. My A/C died last year and  I decided.. heck.. we are on the east coast.. I am sure we won’t actually need it.. HA! By the time we got back from a vacation we were soggy towel deep in the heat wave here. No problem I will go out and get a new A/C.  Well,, NOPE.. no A/C’s available either locally or online!.. had I known that I would have picked one up in the states and brought it home. So the panic set in. Phone calls.. internet searches,,, no luck. but I was not giving up. I found on on our local kijiji and got so excited that I bought it that evening without actually measuring the window.. big mistake… it was too high for our bedroom window.  oh dang.. oh dang.. I just paid for something that I could not use.. so.. back to kijiji to relist it …. guess what.. it sold in 1/2 hour and was picked up shortly after that!.. yup that is how bad the situation is here. After about a week of searching I found another one at Bed bath and beyond,, and had it shipped in. (Yes I measured to make sure it fit).. So now I am a happy camper.. I have had a cool sleep every night and now my brain is starting to function again.

Anyway. It is time to get back to business with my patterns. I have come up with a new pattern in my head and started writing it down last week. Anyone that does patterns knows this is a long process as we have to write them down then do the prototype for it, knit, rip out,, fix,, knit.. rip it out again.. measure,, remeasure,, rewrite.. you get it right?

Well here is a sneak peek at my next design that will be found on http://www.truenorthknitting.net when it is completed.

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Any guesses?.  huh?.. ok off I go to finish knitting up this prototype, work on getting my pattern into my template for sale and then list it for sale. Thank heavens that it is cooling off a bit so I can at least function around the house.

On that note. I am going to refill my water and get back at it again

update… here is the finished project

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Pencil Mittens… cute eh?

I have the pattern on my website  www.truenorthcreations.net as well as Ravelry truenorthcreations and Etsy.. truenorthcreationsns

 

 

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Aunt Evelyn’s Mustard Pickles

It has been a while since I have made these pickles but our gracious neighbor gave us a bag of Cukes so I thought.. hey.. why not!..I got busy trying to find the recipe and finally found it in my original puritan cook book I got ummm over 40 years ago.. yup I am that old!.

So I got my canning guru on today and got busy

So I decided to take pictures and post the recipe so everyone can enjoy the Madore family pickles.

The first thing is peel 7 cucumbers and take the seeds out.

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Peel the 5 onions and chop into bite size pieces

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Add the cukes and onions into a pot and add 1/2 cup of coarse salt and cover with water

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Let that sit for 3 hours and then drain saving 1 cup of the water (for the sauce)

Sauce:

3 tsp mustard (dry)

1/4 tsp tumeric

2 1/2 cups of white sugar

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Mix these together: Add 1/2 cup of flour and mix all that together. Then add 1 cup of water (you saved that right?)  and 3 cups of vinegar into your pot. Bring this to a boil and then dump your cukes and onions into it. Let it boil for 10 minutes. Stirring until sauce is thicken a bit.

DSC05402Wipe the excess water off them and place them on your chopping board to cool.

As you can see I don’t waste any jar I have around. Waste not want not!

DSC05403Wait for them to pop their tops, 🙂  …make sure the lids are tight and let cool.

Store in a dark cool place.

This is the original recipe I had in my book, you can tell it has been used not so gently…hehehehe

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So there is my recipe for August pickling season. Enjoy and feel free to share it with your friends.

Wonder what I will make next????

 

 

 

 

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Debt, Debt and how I plan to pay it off – UPDATE!

Ok this has worked out really well!!!!

When I posted the blog in January (link)  I was really a tad sceptical. I wrote it knowing that I had to take control of my finances. Being on a fixed income I had to come to grips that things had to change, plus I was really scaling down my craft stuff a whole lot.. so.. The first thing I said I was going to do was stop spending on Amazon unless I had the money in my account to immediately pay on the credit card.. So YES! that worked. It is so easy to find something on Amazon and hit the buy it now since my credit card is on file there for all my purchases. The only thing wrong with that is that it is too easy to just click and buy without really thinking.. omg.. “I just put that on my credit card, I so hate myself right now”  I started  using my daughter’s 48 hr rule.. if you see it and want it,,,, WAIT 48 hours and after that if you still want it, need it or (and this is the big one) can afford it?.. then go ahead and buy it. The winter is a particularly bad time for surfing on the internet and finding stuff you don’t particularly need but.. Hey.. why not.. Why NOT?   well because you probably like what you see but honestly do you really need it?.. So with that in mind I made a few purchases and as soon as I received notification that it was shipped, I went into MasterCard and paid the exact amount that I had just spent. ( I did not buy anything unless I had the money in my account)

So that was the first life change for me and you know it worked!.. The second one was….. I have an Etsy store and once a week they send me the payments I received. So on Monday morning I would get a notification from Etsy saying funds are on the way. I would take that amount, round it up and put that immediately on MasterCard.   So that worked. No extra money coming out of my account,,,seriously… I was only putting the money that was being deposited by Etsy.  I purged my room, sold 2 of my sewing machines because like I said I was downsizing. That money went directly into MasterCard. Every time I had some extra money in my account I would put it on the card. I was never short in my account, I didn’t want for anything and this extra money was being put directly on the principal amount which was beneficial to me.  This was a great time to start all this because my expenses are the lowest in the winter/spring because I usually hunker down and not go out unless I absolutely have to.  I also run and organise craft shows and I just finished my biggest one the end of May. The profit from that show went… ready for this… yup.. right on my MasterCard.  I no longer feel the need to go right out and spend it on something I don’t need.   

Now on a slightly non related story.. I had some savings that were available to me.. Sitting down with pencil in hand (yes I do it old school) I figured out it if was more beneficial for me to leave it there, or take out the amount I had put on MasterCard to pay for my newer car that I got last June. Finances figured out, I went in today and took out the money that would be enough to pay off the cost of my car. DONE!  I now officially own my car!!!!!!!! The savings were there earning very little interest so it was more prudent for me to take that out and dump it on the credit card therefore lowering the interest costs. 

So with the MasterCard at an extremely lower balance that means that the payment owing will be significantly lower each month since the interest rate is based on the amount you owe on your card.   WIN WIN…. All this time the payments I was making were going to the interest on the balance and not the actual principal. This is how these cards keep in business. You pay.. you pay,,,you pay and unless you pay way more that what is required each month, you are just putting the money into their pockets.. NO MORE!!!..

for example.. you receive your credit card bill… the payment due is $342.00. Now look closer at your bill. (usually at the bottom part of your statement)  The interest accumulated on this payment is $196.00 leaving $145.00 for the payment on the principal.. so yes it looks good that you are paying $342.. but in actuality you are only paying $142. Just think how long that will take to pay down your card while they are pocketing almost $200  a month just for the privilege of using their card.   

So with the lower payments I will have to pay I still plan to keep paying what I had been required over the past year.  That way it will be paid down faster and hopefully soon to be a zero balance. I want to have it gone by January of next year.. Then I can call it my One Year Plan Success!!!.. it will be hard but I want to do it. I can do it.. maybe.. you think?  Heck.. over the past 4 months I have paid $3600. That is including offsetting purchases I made and paying extra when I could.  But that also shows that I can pay that much at least to bring it almost to a zero balance. It will come down faster because I will be paying more on the principal. Does this make sense to you?  Am I explaining it enough? 

And on that note I am off to have a well deserved coffee and give myself a pat on the back for a good job done. 

And this is my disclaimer:   I have never been really good at math,  either in school or in life. It wasn’t that I was not capable, I  guess I just didn’t care one way or the other. I had more of an artist brain and finances didn’t matter to me.  I never worked in the finance field. I was a stay at home mother with no money for many years, who went a little nuts with her new found freedom and no one telling her if she could spend or not.  🙂 One day it just dawned on me and this is how I got it all to work for me.  Hope it helps you in some way.

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Celebrex, weight gain and reactions

Here is my story… It is only my observations but after a year of stopping celebrex and no big changes in my daily routine or eating.. (yes some changes but nothing drastic) I have lost 35 pounds.

I was prescribed celebrex for arthritis in my knees about 16 years ago. Now I must say it worked for a while but not wonderful. This was not a life saving omg I can walk again drug. It did ease the pain so I was happy with it. Year after year I took it. I was told it was better than taking Tylenol everyday.. or Aleve and that it was safe to take on a long term basic. So who was I to dispute this? My life went on.  I had gradually gained 70 pounds over 16 years. I just thought.. hmm  not very active… menopause.. getting up in years.. I am not in any way blaming my weight gain totally on Celebrex but I am saying it snuck up on me. I had pain (often wondered if I stopped the meds how much pain I would be in). The last few years I was getting lower leg swelling, sometimes my knees were as large as my thighs.. ok maybe not but that is how they felt. My feet would swell horribly and I was generally much heavier than I was 16 years ago.. WHAT?????.. how did this happen? What really prompted me was that I was having horrible sinus problems. Yes, I have seasonal allergies and was used to a couple of weeks or a month of allergy pills but heck, this started in November of  2016 and went on until about a month ago.  WOW  is all I can say.  I had turned to sinus sprays to sleep at night and this went on for a year. My doctor last spring started prescribing sinus sprays and it seemed I could not breathe at night unless I sprayed my nose before bed.  My sleep cycle was almost non existent since I was waking up so much with a stuffed nose and not being able to breathe. What the heck???  I started using saline spray, which I think is my life saver from catching colds by the way. When I go out in public, as soon as I get home I spray and blow my nose. I know,, sounds odd but it works, it clears the sinuses and gets rid of any germs I might have snuffed in while I was out.  ok I got off topic for a bit but I wanted to sing the praises of the saline spray as it has been my life saver.. So anyway, along with all this was the indigestion, headaches all the time, and  apparently newly developed adult eczema. WHAT????  My face was a mess.. I was a mess.   

Totally peeved off, I grabbed my laptop one day and decided I was going to find out about this drug.. do some research of my own.   I found this LINK

Well according to all the research it seems that YES celebrex can cause weight gain however very rare (so they say) plus now many more reported side effects that were not available when I started this drug.  Now the very rare, as far as I am concerned is attributed to the fact that no one is reporting this weight gain. When I did the research many years go it was not even on the radar so I figured.. yup good to go.  Well last year I started to see some people reporting the swelling and leg cramps and weight gain. So I went to the Dr and said.. time to change this medication what can I take.  He wanted to know why after all these years do I want to change and basically I said.. well.. time to change it up, I think I am having reactions to it, and after all it was written up that it is not meant to be a long term drug and I have been on it for 16 years. What can it hurt to change. So I am now on Meloxicam,  15mg and have been on it since last year. I very rarely have leg swellings, my feet will swell a bit in the heat or if I sit too much. It seems to be working just fine and the cherry on top is that I am down 35 pounds.  After 16 years of slow and gradual weight gain I am now on the downward slide. My headaches are very rare, my skin is all but cleared up ( have to be careful what I eat as peanuts, etc will cause me to itch) It took about a year for the celebrex reactions to leave my body. Yup a full year!.  

So in a nutshell, do your research!.. read up on the drugs you are taking, be proactive. It is your body, you know it best. The doctor can only work with what you give him and how YOUR body reacts to medications. I am in no way putting down Celebrex. It might be a good medication for most people but I had the extreme reactions to it and was on it for too long, so I opted to stop taking it. 

And if you don’t believe the weight I have lost, check out this picture.

may 30, 2018

So life goes on, I will always have arthritis but it will not have me! I am generally feeling better, sleeping better and able to eat without it constantly coming back on me.  My general outlook on life has improved, and I am a much more content person. I hope reading this will make you do your own research and compare your life with the possibility of  drug side effects, whatever drug you are taking. Keep a journal and write down anything you notice, how you feel, etc. The doctor is not is not the all seeing floating head and cannot magically predict how your body will accept or reject a certain drug. Work with him for your own sake. If he doesn’t want your opinion or working suggestions then maybe he is not the right doctor for you. You know your own body.. TAKE CONTROL OF YOURSELF!.

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Altered Dog Crate

Well we have a new puppy.. yup  his name is Tucker!.. (aka Kracken) poodle/terrier mix.

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Cute little bugger but I have been  crate training him so this crate has been in front of my end table beside my chair in the living room. Everyday I have walking around this crate thinking.. geeze something better has to be done about this.

So I kept thinking and came up with an idea to use my end table over the top of his crate. Well you know about best laid plans.. yup the table top was 1/2 inch to short for the top of the crate.. oh no!  what?.. I hate when this happens.. hahahaha.. Wouldn’t it have been awesome if the table had slipped exactly over the top of the crate?  So I went to the shop and got the screw driver and proceeded to remove the legs from the table.. yup.. that should work right?.. well NO… by the time I put the top on the crate the end table was about 4″ taller than I wanted it and it just balanced on the top of the crate. You can see all kinds of potential catastrophes right? Also you want to be able to have the crate be as inconspicuous  as possible.. This would not do for me.. so.. back with the screw drivers and decided to remove one of the shorter pieces under the top part that connected the legs.

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That side would be the front side of the table. It was easy enough.. take out the screws that held it to the top, give it a little snap and off it came.  VOILA!!!  Now it fits nicely over the crate..It had three sides that go down over the top of the crate ( the two sides and the back) hence eliminating the chance of the table top sliding around.  The  one thing.. now the table is too short… hahaha.. I know I am OCD when it comes to that so I had to figure out what to do next.  GOT IT!.. I had to find something to lay on top of the crate about 1″ in thickness so the table would be at least almost to where I wanted it to be. In to my studio I go.. I found a cork board.. 3/4″ thick I think.. didn’t measure..I was just happy it would work, and it did!  Here are some pictures of the finished (not quite happy yet but it will work) project. Tucker doesn’t seem to mind that the cover is on top, the door will swing open flush to the couch so no more running into the door. Easy peasy!!!!…

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The first picture is the crate sitting on the floor in front of my end table. That really bugged me sitting out that far into the living room but I wanted him to feel comfy by going in his crate and still be near me. So.. the last picture proves he approves the new digs. Just have to find a deeper board to put under the table top to raise it another inch and I will be a happy camper. yay me!

Now to move the catch all basket that was under the table in the first place. And it truly was a catch all so now that problem is also solved. Next to tape the plastic bag with the screws in it to one of the legs and then store the table legs in my studio so I can reassemble the table when the crate gets moved to another area.

That was my morning and now I plan to sit back now with a hot cup of tea and watch a movie while I work on a pattern that I am designing.

And on that note. Have a great weekend and enjoy the Olympics

~~~MSH

 

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