Peppermint Oil For Headache Relief
Friday, March 1, 2013 | ∞
Photo credit. Because, why would you use a picture of human when
you could use a cute dog instead?
With this pregnancy, I've been having a fair number of sinus headaches - something I was blessed not to have while pregnant with Garrett.
Of course, pregnancy is the one time of all times that you don't want to take over-the-counter pain killers - especially NSAIDs (ibuprofen).
Gabriel did pick up a bottle of acetaminophen for me, but even though its supposed to be safe, I'd rather not use it if at all possible.
One day, early on, when I had a particularly bad headache, Gabriel was gracious enough to take Garrett out with him to do chores while I (attempted to) get supper done.
As I was working in the kitchen, thinking that I was coin to have to give it up and just serve sandwiches for supper, I started to remember my Mother-in-law giving me peppermint oil for something not too long ago - was it a headache? Hmm, I couldn't remember exactly, but I did remember that just opening the cap and smelling it didn't work at all.
So, not being sure exactly, what did I do? I grabbed the bottle of peppermint essential oil, dipped a Q-tip in, and proceeded to dab it on my forehead.
By the way, I don't think you're supposed to let essential oils touch your skin directly.
Well, about the time my eyes started watering and stinging, I remembered that my mother-in-law had been giving it to me for nausea (which, as I said, didn't work). Sigh. “Well, the joke’s on me now isn't it?” I thought.
And then five minutes later I realized that my eyes were still watering a little, but my headache was gone.
I've used peppermint oil in the same way several times since with success.
Of course, I don't recommend you trying it, because you're not supposed to apply essential oils in full strength to your skin - and I wouldn't want to be responsible for any burns and what have you.
But all the same, I though your like to know.
Feeding Animals, Saving $$
Wednesday, February 27, 2013 | ∞
As I've been thinking about writing this, I've been doing a little research (otherwise known as googling) into what others have to say on the subject.
Maybe it's because our Internet has been crawling along at a snail’s pace, making the research painfully slow and boring, but I have been completely unimpressed by what I've found.
Most of it consisted of keeping up on maintenance veterinary visits so that you don't end up with a sick dog or cat, or looking for manufacturers coupons on animal feed.
Those things surely can help, but since we've had the coupon thing drilled into us by tv shows, blogs, and financial gurus over the past couple years, I'm going to assume that this is a no brainer and not even go there.
So what are some ways to make animal feeding less expensive? Here's a few ideas.
my parent's dog... who likes to hang out on the car.
- Dogs - find a local butcher shop/processor and ask about dog bones. Beef and/or deer bones (with some meat still on them) can often be bad in fairly large quantities for very little money. Other than that of course, I'm sure you dog would never let you forget to let him clean up the table scraps for you.
Not very pretty, but she was a good "mouser"
- Cats - felines love table scraps as well. They especially love the (raw) trimmings from whatever meat you prepare for your family - at least, ours always have.
For both cats and dogs, my mom has always taken he parts of an animal that aren't fit for human consumption (parts with lots of sinew, the fat, etc.) and either canned or frozen them. I wish I could give a number as to how much cash this has saved them over the years - because it's a lot - but I really have no idea.
- Birds - firstly, for those who don't know, you can usually find bird feed much more cheaply at feed stores (the ones horse and cattle owners patronize) than at let storesor or Walmart.
Anyway, here's the idea. If you keep birds, why not exchange your ornamental pets (parakeets, cockatiels,) for a chicken or two? They wouldn't make any more of a mess - less mess even - they'd make less noise, they'd make fertilizer out of your kitchen scraps, AND they'd provide you with some eggs. In other words, they'd be cheaper, quieter, and contribute to the family economy. The only draw back I can see with keeping a chicken in the living room is they may need more space. I've seen up to three chickens kept in a space the size of a baby crib.
- Goats - speaking of animals that pay their own way, maybe you could consider a backyard goat. They'd save you money by eating your lawn instead of you having to maw it, and provide you with delicious, healthy milk. It's a two-fer!
Hey, there's enough cow pics on this blog. Time for a horse or two don't you think?
- Horses and cows. As is true to some extent with all animals, there's really no way to get around the fact that horses and cows are expensive. In terms of feed, you either need pasture land they can graze (expensive), or you need to buy hay (expensive). Usually a combination of both - unless grass grows 365 days a year in your climate. One thing you can do is to minimize the amount of grain you feed these animals. Cows were not created to consume grains in significant quantities, and horses tend to be healthier on a low grain diet as well. By feeding more hay/grass, and less grain, you'll not only lessen you feed bill, but your long-term veterinary bill will be greatly reduced as well.
Those are some of the things we practice for keeping our animal feed bill down (except our chickens stay outside ).
I hope you find something helpful in all that.
Project Fit Pregnancy: Week 20
Tuesday, February 26, 2013 | ∞
20 weeks, yay! In honor of the halfway mark, I decided it was time to start showing current pictures of my ginormous self.
Oh yes, it's the classic, and oh so classy, bathroom mirror pic. Lovely. But hey, at least there's no toilet in the background!
I feel huge, and I look huge I think for only being 20 weeks. I've also gained some weight - 7-ish pounds I think. From the beginning I've told myself that I was going to gain weight, probably even more than last time, and that it's alright - that's what's supposed to happen.
Weight gain is necessary. Your body depends on having adequate fat in order for proper hormonal function. Not mention that it draws on the fat reserves to support nursing babies.
Still, it's hard, so hard, to see the number on the scale creeping upward. It's been so ingrained into us women - and men too - that we're supposed to weigh 110 pounds even if we're too tall to sustain such a weight. I find myself resenting that pressure, and I'm so thankful to have a reasonable husband who doesn't believe that nonsense.
If it wasn't for needing to track weight gain for the midwife, I believe I would throw out the scale as so many of my weight-lifting cyber friends have done. Because in the end, it's just a number. The scale can't tell you how you carry your weight, whether you have an unhealthy amount of fat, or how in or out of shape you are.
Anyway.... Enough of that, right?
Last week Gabriel, Garrett, and I took a trip to Texas to visit some family and friends. It was so nice to see everyone, but let me tell you, a combined 29 hours of sitting in a truck is no trip to the park. I think I'm still sore.
I mentioned last week that I was going to take a week off from lifting and guess what, I stuck to it. Of course, we didn't have access to weights in Texas, so that helped. I did do some walking though, and deadlifted a couple boxes of books.
We had our second midwife visit last night, and things are looking good, by which I mean normal. She had a hard time getting a clear reading on the heart beat because the baby was kicking around so much, but other than that, everything went well. We even managed to get the blood drawn this time.
Sadly, we've decided not to get an ultrasound and/or find out the gender of our baby. Since things look normal, there's really no reason to get one, and to be honest, it's not really in our budget. Or maybe I should say, we feel that the money could be more wisely used. It was a hard decision for me, because I really, really want to find out the gender, but the same thing happened with Garrett, so I was prepared for it to not happen again.
I started reading Active Birth again yesterday. My midwife lent it to me with my last pregnancy, and this time I have my own copy. It has instructions for a lot of stretches and exercises during pregnancy that I hope to employ. Who knows, maybe they'll help minimize the back pain. Or make labor easier. That would be nice.
This week, I'm starting a new weight lifting program. I'll let you know how it goes!
Linked with My Joy FIlled LIfe pregnancy Link-up.
Monday, February 25, 2013 | ∞
We're rice lovers out here, which is a good thing. Rice is wonderfully nutritious and frugal. I've been using a lot of it lately. It can be a little boring by itself, but it takes on flavors really well, and if you doctor it up a little bit, it's tastes great, and is a super frugal dish to contribute to a potluck.
This is one of my favorites. I often take it to our church potluck, or use it to compliment a bean dinner.
2 cups rice ( white or brown - uncooked)
4 cups chicken broth or water
1 celery stalk
1/2 an onion
1 cup cabbage
2-4 T. butter
Chop vegetables and sautee in butter until crisp tender. I typically sautee the carrot and onion together first while I'm chopping the other vegetables. Mostly because I have a tendency to underestmate the size of pan that I need.
Add the veggies, rice, and chicken broth to an adequately sized sauce pan, and cook over medium heat unti the rice has absorbed all the liquid. If you don't have chicken broth, you can sub water, and stir in a few teaspoons of powdered broth after it's cooked.
Stir and enjoy.
I know. Too simple. The butter sauteed veggies add an incredible flavor to the rice that will make you want to eat it all by yourself.
So it's a win-win-win. Super easy, super cheap, super good!
Linked with: A Southerm Fairytale, Skip To My Lou, MIYMM, Tip Me Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Hearth And Soul, Blessed With Grace, Tuesdays At The Table, WFMW, Crystal And Co., Allergy Free Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, Frugally sustainable, Full Plate Thursday, GNOWFGLINS, Thrifty Thursday, Frugal Friday, Weekend Potluck, Sorta Crunchy, Favorite Things Friday, Feed Your soul, Sugar Me Up, Show And Tell, Sweet As Sugar Cookies, Food Adventure Friday Cast Party
Traveling Light (Just A Little Rambling)
Saturday, February 23, 2013 | ∞
I've discovered a love for traveling light.
It's funny you know. I remember traveling, what little we did of it, as a teenager being kind of fun, but over the last several years, I've thought of it in terms more along the lines of drudgery. Not only that, but I thought it would be all downhill from here as we add more kids to the mix.
I suppose in a sense that's true, but this past Sunday evening, we made a semi spur of the moment decision to go visit Gabriel's folks who live over 700 miles from us. It's amazing what you can get done at the last minute! grinding flour, making bread and sandwich filling for the road, washing diaper, packing bags. I was pretty impressed with myself.
Funny, all the pics I took on the trip were of Garrett.
Anyway... we planned to be back on Thursday, and we knew we were going to be bringing stuff back with us, so we decided to pack as lightly as we could.
I pulled out that same bag I used to pack my things in when traveling as a teenager and tossed in the bare necessities. Then I filled Garrett's diaper bag, and Gabriel filled his bag.
That was it! Just one bag each, and a lunch bag. Oh, and a blanket and pillow.
Amazingly, the trip was so much easier without a bunch of stuff weighing us down. No wonder traveling was so much more fun as a teenager! Not having all those things we tend to grab "just in case" sure made things a lot easier. There was room around our feet. I didn't have to dig for the sandwiches, or diaper bag. wow! That was nice! I did feel guilty at first for not bringing my crochet project and book to make use of the time, but the reality is, when I do bring them, I end up not getting much done anyway. Is it just me or is the road always just a little too bouncy to read or crochet?
Even though we ended up staying an extra day, the only one who ran low on clothing was Garrett. I should have known he'd run straight to the first mud puddle he found.
The ride home. Garrett's such a good sport!
The trip home was a completely different story, and drove home my newfound feelings about traveling light. Especially since we were pulling a trailer. Poor Garrett was a little boxed in back there in the back seat. But that's okay, we're home now, and happy that we we able to take the trip.
Kids Are Expensive - They Can Be Cheaper
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 | ∞
My adorable little niece.
They say kids are expensive. They are. Garrett may be just now eating enough to impact the food bill directly, but I doubt he's eating more calories than I was to support nursing him.
But there are expenses completely aside from food. Clothes, toys - because let's be realistic, you can't not have toys - and other necessities.
I read recently that the average annual cost of raising a child is $12,000.
I just don't think it has to be that much.
Some ways to save?
- Clothing. Thrift shops, Goodwill, yard sales, you get the idea. You'll find a lot of clothes that look new for just pennies on the dollar. Used Clothing is easy to sterilize in the washing machine.
- Food. Don't buy children's snacks from the baby department. Squeeze pouches are handy for toddlers, but boy howdy are they expensive. Occasionally, you'll find a great sale or coupon, but for the most part, they're big budget breakers. Making your own snacks is obviously the healthiest and most likely cheapest way to go. You can even make your own baby food, and feeding little ones whole food is so much more cost efficient. Get them used to it early so they won't be insisting on space ship-shaped mac-n-cheese, and fruit roll ups with the latest cartoon characters on the package.
- Toys - it may be fuel and unusually to have none, but I think it's also a mistake to have too many. We've found that Garrett is much happier with just a few good toys. Too many overwhelms him. I'm not a huge fan of used toys though - who know where they've been and what kind of germs your getting with them. That doesn't include things like bikes. Garrett's favorite toy by far is a vintage “bike” that he rides everywhere.
Garrett's typically happiest with non-toys.
- Books. I suppose I may be guilty of a double standard here, because I'm fine with used books. But then, kids don't usually put books in their mouths. Check with your local library for upcoming book sale dates. I've paid as little as twenty-five cents per book this way.
- Transportation. A convertible car seat will save you from having to purchase both an infant car seat and a toddler seat. We love ours, and so does Garrett. Since the convertible has much better cushioning, his been a much happier traveller since we switched to it.
- Bedding. We've used a Pack 'N Play exclusively as Garrett's crib. Several of the advantages are that you can find them used really cheaply, thy don't take a lot of room, and they can travel with you. In our experience, baby sleeps much better in their own bed - even if its 700 miles away from home! Soon, he'll move up to a regular bed - a mattress on the floor for the same of safety. Bottom line is, you don't need a nursery (why would you want to walk across the house to take care of baby at night?), and when they're little, they don't care if their bedromm has a theme. Resist the temptation to get fancy!
All these small costs add up to one big expense. One that we (that's Gabriel and I) believe is unecessary, and easily avoidable. Of course, as our kids get older, there will be more expenses. School materials is a big one that comes to mind, and I look forward to finding thrifty ways to get it all done.
Project Fit Pregnancy: Week 19
Tuesday, February 19, 2013 | ∞
As you may have noticed, there was no post yesterday. Oooops!
Gabriel and I have been planning to go visit his patents sometime before Spring, and he finally decided to do it. So we spent yesterday on the road with no Internet access.
Being here in Texas means I'm finally taking a “de-load" week. Most lifting programs call for de-loading every 4-6 weeks or so, and its been a lot longer than that for me, so I was planning to do it whether we took the trip or not.
Because we're away with no access to gym equipment however, it'll probably end up being more of a no-load week than de-load.
Next week, I may start back with the Stronglifts 5x5 program. It's one I haven't used before, and my sister and husband are both using it right now, so I might as well join the party, right?
Workout breakdown from last week:
Stiff legged deadlift
Lat pull down
My plans for doing more cardio this week were foiled by garden work. Hey real work counts as work too! We did quite a bit of shoveling, turning, wheel-barrowing (Garrett's favorite), and even a bit of planting.
As you can see above, Saturdays workout was pretty lame. I was just really wiped out that day. Pregnancy definitely takes its toll on energy levels - even apparently at a relatively early stage.
Something I learned this week is that dips are not as easy as one might think. I managed to crank out somewhere between 5 and 10, but they were nowhere near the full range of motion. Dips use many of the same muscles that a bench press does, so if you have a puny bench press (like I do), its not surprising that they'd be really difficult I guess.
Amazingly, that's all I have to say. Just a short post. No tirade on exercises I think everybody should do.
And with that I'll just add a request that if you've been working out, or exercising, please leave a comment - I'd love to hear about it. If you've written a blog post about it, feel free to leave a link the the comment body.
Friday, February 15, 2013 | ∞
What does one write concerning farm life on a dreary day in the Middle of February?
We planted some lettuce and peas, but they're not up yet. The goats are dry, and we sold our two milking cows, leaving us with one heifer who will freshen sometime in the Spring. Fortunately, one of the cows we sold to my parents, so I can still run up and get a quart of milk when we need it.
Gabriel's building fence today. I just walked down there where he and our neighbor were working on running electric fence wire under the driveway.
Gabriel on the left, stripping the insulation off of some wires, while
our neighbor rolls up the excess
Aaaaand that's the most interesting thing going on. That and Garrett's new chair.
I can't tell you how much I despise that thing. It's small enough that he can drag it wherever he wants it, and the climb aboard to create chaos.
For instance, he knows that the remote control, located handily on the cupboard (so mom can control the music while preparing dinner), makes the music work, and so, he must try it himself.
He's also convinced that lamp shades are hats.
Daddy finally let him try one on when he was changing a light bulb a few days ago.
We love this kid, but I gotta tell ya', his sense of style has some room for improvement.
As you can see, we get most of our entertainment around here from Garrett's antics.
Gardening On The Cheap
Wednesday, February 13, 2013 | ∞
It's garden time again, woohoo!
My brother is building some really nice raised beds for mom and fam. Well, given that I just finished turning over some ground to plant peas, those raised beds looked awful nice to me. Immediately, I began devising a way we could do something similar.
Let's see... We can get rough-sawn reject boards down at the sawmill for a buck each... Maybe mix some half composted manure from the sale barn with dirt from the woods...
It wasn't long before I had to come back to the real world though. A buck a board plus a little diesel for hauling them and the manure may not sound like much, and I guess it's not, but as someone who only owns three pairs of socks right now, well, it's more than I want to spend.
After reading a few gardening articles, and looking at some of the books we have, I realized that a lot of money goes in to putting a garden together.
This is a huge deterrent as I think most of us get in to vegetable gardening to save money - not spend it.
So what are some ways we can make this garden thing work without investing a fortune?
Most yard dirt is pretty terrible. Okay, maybe I shouldn’t say that. Most yard dirt that I've seen is pretty terrible.
You can plow it, and plant it, but without a bunch Of amendments, good luck getting anything to grow.
Here are a few ideas, some of which I'll be employing myself.
- Forest dirt. I actually took a wheel barrow into the woods and filled I up with dirt twice today. It's a lot of work for sure, but he dirt from years of composting leaves is much better than dirt in the open that's been stripped of all nutrients. My technique is to brush back most of the leaves on top, and any twigs, and take a shallow angle with my shovel in order to miss most of the shallow roots.
- Horse barns. If you live near a rural area, you may be able to find a barn willing to let you take home some of their manure in exchange for some stall cleaning. It's not as gross as it might seem. Most barns keep their stalls filled with wood shavings, and all you have to do us pick up the relatively dry horse apples with a pitchfork or rake. Sometimes horse owners will even advertise their manure on Craigslist.
- Sale barns. Most of them have a manure pile out back, some of it might even be composted already. You can often load it by hand anytime you want, or find out when they can load your pick-up or trailer for you (with a tractor). Id you don't have a truck, think about using feed sacks, Rubbermaid totes, or something of that nature to haul it in your trunk.
I'm in love with mulch. The initial work of laying it down is more than paid for by not having to do nearly as much weeding or watering, not to mention that it's decomposition enriches the soil.
- Yard clippings - most of us have a yard to mow, right? Gabriel and I waffle back and forth about whether it's easier to use the mower bag, or just take the clippings into piles and haul them out with a wheel barrow.
- County maintenance - have you ever wondered what happens to all the branches you see going through the chipper when county crews are cleaning up around power lines? I remember as a kid going with mom out to the piles behind county hall and filling containers in out trunk with wood chips. Last year, Gabriel was passing a chipping crew on the highway and stopped to ask if they'd dump the load out at our place. They did! Hey, it can never hurt to ask.
- Leaves - take a rake and wheel barrow out to the woods. The fluffy, crispy, dry leaves that tend to be under individual trees in fairly open areas are usually too light for mulching - the wind blows them right away - but the soggy, half decomposed stuff in the woods is great!
- Old hay - have you ever gone by a hay field and seen years-old bales out there just rotting away? It can't hurt to find the owner and ask if they'd like the old hay cleaned up! One not of caution about hay; Gabriel doesn't like to use it because of the potential for seed heads. I like hay as mulch personally, and feel the risk is worth while since hay is the most efficient way to bring mulch in.
In the interest of keeping costs down, one of the methods we're using in the garden this year is to cover an area with mulch, and depending on the ground underneath, the mulch will be spread over some sort of weed barrier such as newspaper, or cardboard. Where we want to plant, we'll pull back some of the hay, and make a small pile, or row (depending on the vegetable) or dirt and/or compost, and plant in that. It's similar to Lasagna Gardening.
I hope you found some of these ideas helpful and inspiring. If you have plans to garden this year, Feel free to share in the comment section!
Project Fit Pregnancy: Week 18
Tuesday, February 12, 2013 | ∞
18 weeks, and all I have to say is, heartburn?! Already?!
But it's not too bad ...Yet... as long as I watch the carbs and don't eat too much at one time. Even though I had heartburn really bad (or at least what I consider to be bad) with Garrett, it was never something that I thought about after he was born and it went away the way I did with things like back pain and well, labor. So I know that of all the pregnancy discomforts, heartburn really isn't that bad.
In other news, I'm testing out a minimalist wardrobe. I've been intrigued with the idea for a long time, but must admit that this is more out of necessity than anything else. You know how it is. Your belly's getting to big for your regular clothes, but too small for the full-out maternity clothes.
If the clothing that still fit were clothes that I liked better, and were more appropriate for things like church, I really think I'd like the minimalist wardrobe. One of these days, maybe that'll happen.
As for exercise this week, I decided to get a little more serious about cardio.
While I'm not a fan of trying to stay fit via endless cardio, I've also been feeling like I needed to supplement my weight lifting with... Something since I've cut way back on accessory lifts.
So I worked cardio in on three days last week, and am aiming for four this week. Kettlebell swings, squat jumps, and burpees FTW.
Monday was not my day. I was tired and my lifts were so bad that I just quit after a while. I need to take a deload week, but keep putting it off until we make that trip to Texas that we've been talking about (and putting off )
Why squats are important
Believe it or not, squatting is one of the essential exercises for women. If you don't do anything else, you should at least squat (with good form).
One of the things we women - especially pregnant women - have drilled I to us is, kegel, kegel, kegel.
So we kegel, which tightens, tenses, and shortens the pelvic floor muscles, wih no attention to the muscles connected to and supporting them.
When your glute muscles, the muscles opposing the pelvic floor muscles, are weak, you can end up with a weak pelvic floor no matter how many kegels you do.
Squatting strengthens the glutes, bringing balance to the entire pelvic area, as well as lengthening he pelvic floor muscle, making it stronger.
Interestingly, whereas most midwive's and OBGYNs instruct there patients to perform endless kegel exercises, when I asked my own midwife about them, she answered that I didn't need to worry about doing kegels until after the baby was born, at which point, they're helpful for getting blood circulating in the area as well as stimulating a sort of muscle memory. Of course, after birth is also one instance where it's probably a good thing to tense and tighten that muscle group.