Up Close And Personal, April 2020

I was planning a trip in April, I was planning to go to Utah, then I changed my mind, and decided on New Mexico, I wanted to go see Meow Wolf, and spend the day wandering around their interactive art installation. So much for making plans, my phone was nice enough to remind me of it though, thanks phone!

I’ve spent the entire month of April working! Except for Easter, which I got off, paid, kinda nice, thanks Sprouts, I’ll take another please.

On the plus side, financially it wasn’t a bad month, I received a bonus for working during a pandemic, stimulus check deposited in a timely manner, and just my regular old paychecks.

I even did my part in stimulating the economy, and still was in the green this month!

I would like to interrupt my regular update on saving money and paying down my house, for a small rant.

I know I am pretty lucky to be working right now, there is an estimate that the unemployment rate is 23%, now that is incredibly high, and scary, there is definitely going to be some long term repercussions of everything that is happening right now, and that’s why I save money.

Saving money, and reducing debt isn’t easy, I know that, I’ve been there, but it is possible, and let me tell you, it’s given me a serious level of comfort in these turbulent times. Even saving a small amount of money can save you a lot of problems, from an article that I recently read, that really, really, pissed me off.

Millions of People Face Stimulus Check Delays for a Strange Reason: They Are Poor

The IRS has had trouble getting money to people quickly because millions of Americans pay for their tax preparation through a baroque system of middlemen.

If you do your taxes online, through H&R Block, it’ll cost you, well it costed me $30, my guy did it, and managed to not pay anything, show off, and my taxes came quickly (kind of, IRS does identity theft now), deposited into my bank account. My stimulus check came the same way, simple, easy, on time, and it cost me six Starbucks coffees.

I don’t want to get too far in depth on the criminal system that I learned about, but please, save money! Even a little helps in the long run.

Now back to our regularly scheduled program.

Now on the the spending!

Home! $889

Holy crap! I’m getting there! I’ve finally got rid of that stupid mortgage insurance, it should reflect in June’s mortgage payment, and I managed to get it below $69,000 which took a little more than my usual extra principle amount, but it was worth it.

I crunched some numbers, because of the mortgage insurance, 37% of my payment was going towards escrow, 32% towards the interest, and 30% towards my principle, ridiculous! I don’t want to pay on this house forever, I have a homestead to buy! After the PMI falls off, it should be roughly 25% going towards escrow.

Food and Dining; $433!

Omg, these people eat a lot of food! Having all these adults that I birthed, in the house, all at the same time, eating everything! has really added to the grocery bill, and I didn’t even realize how much, parasites, all of them, even you Big Berk Brain.

Bills and Utilities; $250

I swear, can anyone turn off a light around here?! Savages I swear, I know I raised them better too.

Auto: $188

Pretty much the same on gas, maybe a little less just because I only go to work and back, and I still need to change insurance!

Shopping; $188

Ya I did my share of stimulating the economy, I finally bought a Goddess Cup that I’ve had my eye on for a while, isn’t She beautiful! Mema Ceramics makes the most beautiful one of a kind mugs and cups, small business, female owned, made in America for you silly FB warriors. I may even end up buying another one, but so I can have a whole collection for when I’m allowed company again.

Because she deserves another shot. My homemade grapefruit and mint shrub mocktail, I should post a recipe, I’ve been making a lot of things, since I have time on my hands.

Health and Fitness $60

This month has also been the month I’ve fallen apart, I don’t know if age is finally catching up with me or what, but it sucks.

My work boots were starting to fall apart, so I bought new ones, off of Amazon since everything is closed, and they were way too heavy, or I was injured prior, either way I ended up with some serious foot pain, that is just now healing, after new shoes and inserts to boot. Not so good for the weight loss challenge, since I haven’t been able to walk! So I ended up having to buy another pair of shoes, and also decided to pick up a vitamin regimen to add to my iron supplements, lordy I am getting old! Even though I do feel slightly better taking a B complex and magnesium, yup, I’m old.

On a side note, since the stock market is down, I’ve increased my contribution to my Betterment account, and my Robinhood account, adding in my 401K, I’ve invested $690 this month.

Word of advice, save for a rainy day account, then drop money into a stocks account, it makes the Bear, so much easier to bear, and feel free to give you and me some free stocks, use the link https://join.robinhood.com/dawnr348 . Stocks are risky, and I’m not a financial advisor, so enter at your own risk, I can say I’ve earned $3.52 in dividends for April, not to shabby for an amateur, better than my Betterment RoboAdvisor.

Alright, I have plants to water, have a glorious day, support small businesses, and stay healthy.

Getting a little up close and personal.

Goals! April Update

What day is it? Month? Year?!

Honestly, I’ve been tired, I even skipped writing last week, and it’s not because of binge watching WestWorld, though that may have had something to do with it, but I really feel like I’m burning the candle at both ends and it’s starting to catch up with me.

Either that or it’s carbon dioxide poisoning from wearing a mask all day at work, I can’t breath! And it fogs up my glasses, not a good thing when handling knives.

I feel like I haven’t done much towards my goals, but I crunched some number today, and I learned I have been my savings goal!

Guess working through a pandemic pays off, kinda, ya, its still no fun.

So lets Start at the top shall we;

Goal 1

Soap Business!

Double my money from last year by making $120! And that’s a big fat no!! Can I blame it on the Rona?

Goal 2

Blog!

Start a real blog! OK, this one is kind of exciting, I did get the letter I’ve been waiting for, in order to loosen up some funds to blog, I finally got rid of my mortgage insurance!

Frees up quite a bit of money every month, plus more money that I pay on my mortgage is going to the principle instead of into escrow to pay for the stupid insurance.

Mortgage insurance is not home insurance, PMI, or private mortgage insurance, is money I pay, to my lender, because I got an FHA loan, and it’s in case I can’t pay my mortgage and get foreclosed on, not that it gets me out of paying the loan, it’s an extra incentive for banks to loan money to poor people.

Yes! So glad that stupid thing is gone! It’s going to take effect in June, but hey, I did it!

Goal 3

Financial!

Make $50,000 this year, save $4000, increase my 401k contribution, get financial house in order. Well I don’t know about the $50000, I’m definitely getting some pay increases from this pandemic.

I have beat my savings goal by $121! Another thank you to the pandemic, it’s terrible really. Already increased my contribution, hoping on my next raise to increase it again, and I’ve got most of my financial stuff in order, except my deed upon death, thanks Proofreader, and Rona, you’re kinda killing my game.

Goal 4

Sustainability!

I have not had a single banana since last year, and I’m still getting all my produce from the farmer’s market, or hanging over the fence into my yard, I learned about Shrubs, not the plant, and will need to post recipes soon. It’s kind of hard on the produce bags, just because everything is currently prepacked, or they don’t want to touch your bags.

Goal 5

Gardening!

One raised bed and a compost bin, oh ya, I definitely beat this one, I’m even growing corn!

Goal 6

Travel!

Um, probably not this year.

Goal 7

Health Goals!

Lose 50 pounds by November…well. I was losing weight, then my foot decided to give out on me, working on getting that one to work again, I can’t even walk my poor little doggy.

Goal 8

Home Goals!

Carpet, Laminate, Carpet, Laminate, why can’t I decided!?

Goal 9

Community Goals!

I passed out some seeds! That counts right?

Goal 10

Learning Blocks!

Supposed to be incense, has turned into survival.

And I haven’t done much reading, so that’s lame too.

Well that’s my update for the month, I can’t write much more because people keep crashing my writing party, plus I have to keep on burning those ends. Stay safe, stay healthy, and please stay home, no one wants your germs.

PS, because I’m proud, and she’ll get pissed I don’t write about it, my proofreader got into Berkeley! I guess she can read after all!

Ready for take off!

An Attitude Of Gratitude

I’m starting to go crazy!

This quarantine is getting to me, and I’m not even one of the unfortunate people that was laid off, and I enjoy being home!

Probably too much, I’m actually jealous of the people laid off or working from home right now, because my work sucks currently.

Ya, ya, ya, I should be thankful I have a job right now, and am not sick, well if you’re thinking that, you’re probably one of the assholes I run into at work.

I get essential places are the only place to go right now, and you’re probably going stir crazy from not eating out, drinking out, hanging out, but don’t come at me with attitude.

I cannot control what product we receive, and what we don’t, I’m not the greatest cook, maybe a little bit better than the average Joe, but if you want recipes, freaking google it, and maintain six feet please!

But these last couple of days, man, have they really taken a toll on me, I really, really, wanted to quit.

Today I realized, that I haven’t done a few of my regular habit lately, specifically, meditation and introspection, why was I feeling so shitty?! So I burned some incense, lit some candles, and found a practice on Insight Timer.

I was letting all these shitty attitudes, from customers and coworkers get to me, feeling that my job was pointless, as someone said, “sacrificial lambs”, well you know what, my job is pointless, your job is pointless too, there is always someone out there that can do the job, maybe even better than you.

It’s all about your attitude.

Ya, my job isn’t great, but it pays the bills, has taken care of my family, has given me a roof over my head.

Sometimes I feel like I could do more, I want to do more, but I’m suck at soul sucking job. Wrong! I’m in a place where I could help others if I so choose to, I just need to open my mouth, and ears, to the people around me.

Yes, I do want to do more in life. and I will. There is a scripture in the Bible that I like, and have to remind myself of sometimes, because it applies to money too “One who is faithful with very little will also be faithful with much”. I think that is saying you can apply to soooo many different things, why poor people who win the lotto are broke and bankrupt, because if you can’t deal with the little money you do have, how the hell are you gonna manage millions (I’ll manage it for you, for a small fee)?

So instead of being pissed that I have to work, and not get to go out and eat, I decided to take up some of the free offerings from different companies.

DownDog

I love their app and use it already, but now I get more access to all the extras, until May 1st! Just downloaded the DownDog HIIT, since I need to jump back on the weight loss wagon, and their Gentle Yoga is a perfect wind down after a long day.

Nikon

Is currently offering photography training videos for free, through the rest of April, which has really, really help step up my camera game!

Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine

Is also offer their mini herbalism classes, hopefully it’s still going by the time I get this posted, either way she has a lot of great freebies on her site.

There is also a lot of other free offerings out there, but I think I have my hands full as it is right now, hopefully you’ll find something that will interest you on this list; https://www.forbes.com/sites/emilyjoffrion/2020/03/20/make-the-most-of-quarantine-here-are-18-ways-to-beat-coronavirus-isolation/#16a355405816 .

I know it’s hard, and it feels like the end of the world, and you may not feel like you have anything to be happy about, but you do, just take a moment, breath, and be thankful you are able to.

The seeds are even thankful for the dirt.

Up Close and Personal, March 2020

Wow, what a month, definitely glad it’s over, thought that month was going to last forever. Obviously we all know what’s going on in the world today, if you don’t, you’re living under a rock, or Amish.

The unemployment rate is pretty darn high, guesstimates are at 13%, stocks have dropped 20% signaling the end of the bull market and into the bear. All in all, a pretty crazy ass month!

For me, it’s just been another day at the office, except busier, with social distancing and plexiglass, still working here, and even got a few bonuses for being here during this crisis, guess people need food right? Also managed to get a return on my taxes, even after the scary IRS letter (worse than a horror movie), a 5071C letter is a real thing, in case you need to know, or end up having a heart attack after seeing it.

So not a bad month, ended up in the green with a savings of $2,458!

Also spent $3,068, way, WAY, more than usual. Mainly on the house and garden, but at least I got on of my New Year’s goals out of the way, yay me! $1,855 went to the house, I had a short in my escrow that needed to be taken care of, also made more mortgage payment go up, which is stupid! I’ve been paying so much extra. Then a lot of money went to garden supplies.

Lots and lots of seeds, hey, when in isolation, garden, or backyard bird watch, ya, I have no life, kind of a good thing, because this staying home, doesn’t really bother me.

Isn’t it pretty corn though?? I hope it does well, and grows before the little birds that keep scratching around eat it. I did end up double ordering some seeds, just because this apocalypse has made everyone and their momma want to grow food, it ended up shutting my seed sites down. It resulted in a fun game of seed give away with my neighbors, made little envelopes with my proofreader, who can’t fold paper, and started screaming out “I’m overwhelmed!” at the top of her lungs, and left them out on the porch for people to pick up.

Ya, a lot of money went to seeds, and gardening supplies, and lumber, and all the other plant goodies.

Quite a bit went to utilities, stupid short February, did that, way too many bills at the end of the month, the money was pulled out in the beginning of march, so I double payed my cell phone bill and water, fun.

Food and gas have been lower, since I’m staying home all the time, and we have a 50 pound bag of rice, rice for days! It’s cool, I like rice.

Spent some money shopping, for strange things, plastic cups and toothpicks, fingers crossed I pull off growing sweet potato slips, then I’ll never have to buy them again!

I dropped a pretty penny in my Robinhood and Betterment accounts, got to take advantage of this stock fire sale, I don’t want to work forever. It’s kinda strange getting share holder emails telling me I need to vote, I kinda like it, makes me feel powerful!

Welp that’s about it, thank you March, and have a good night!

Support small businesses, buy flowers.

Goals! March Update.

Nothing like a pandemic to really light a fire under your ass, and being an “essential” worker to completely exhaust you, and keep you from getting stuff done.

It was a good and bad month on the goal list, and a, damn I should have taken advantage of the soap situation, instead I worked.

Goal 1:

Soap Business; Make $120!

Really slacked off on that one. Nope, nothing, zilch, zip, zero!

Goal 2:

Blog; Get a real one!

Not yet, and then my mortgage went up! The plan was to pay down the mortgage as soon as possible, to dump the mortgage insurance, and use the extra money to start the blog…then it went up!! How the hell does the mortgage go up when I’m paying it down!? Because I didn’t complete last years goal list of get new insurance, now I’m paying for it, literally.

Goal 3:

Financial; Make $50,000; save $4000; 401k 2% to 4%; get my financial house in order.

Well, I’ve almost reached my savings goal! Changed my 401k contribution to 4%, still waiting on my Death Deed, some people are slacking off, always trying to blame it on the pandemic too, uh huh, sure. Not quite to the $50,000 make, hopefully I get a promotion soon, real soon, we’ll see.

Goal 4:

Sustainability; Produce bags; produce challenge; banana free is the way to be!

Haven’t got new produce bags, can I blame this on on the pandemic? Can’t go shopping, and I don’t want to interfere with Amazon’s, much needed TP deliveries. I am still going strong on the local produce, so I’m happy about that, and coming close to having my own produce!

Goal 5:

Gardening! Raised bed and a compost bin!

Well at least I got this one down! I actually have 12 raised beds now, and a compost bin, hopefully I’ll get another compost bin to join it.

I guess Covid-19 help with this one, after witnessing the absolute chaos in the grocery stores, seeing shelves wiped out, having to deal with delayed deliveries, and suppliers who can’t keep up, also not going anywhere, I had a lot of time on my hands.

So ya, that has been my last two weeks, lots and lots of gardening, but at least one goal is done!

Goal 6:

Travel! Utah, then changed to New Mexico!

Well, that probably isn’t going to happen any time soon! And tickets are dirt cheap right now, but with nothing open, and I have to work, I guess I may have to put this off until next year.

Goal 7:

Health! Lose 50 pounds by November.

Do I get a pass on this month?

Goal 8:

Home Goals! New carpet!

Is anything even open? Now i keep flip flopping between carpet and laminate, I don’t know! I do know if I go with laminate, and don’t do it myself, I’ll be pissed, because I can do it myself, I just don’t have the time!

Goal 9

Community; Do something nice, be active in my community.

Welp, I can’t. I did pass out left over seeds, that made a few gardeners happy.

Learning Blocks:

Sewing;

I don’t like it, can’t wait for the next activity.

Reading;

Lots of reading, nothing educational, but I made coffee! Whipped coffee is amazing by the way.

I had other good things happen this month; took the opportunity to invest in the stock market during that dip, stocks went down, i held on, and now they are currently back up, I got my money back, and then some!

So you can either take this time and whine about being stuck at home, or you can take this as an opportunity to better your life, I choose the latter.

Be like Squeaker and stay at home!

Surviving The Quarantine

Well, again, this has been one hell of a week, but it’s given me an opportunity to get a lot of stuff done around the house.

Instead of my goal of two raised planter beds, I have 12! I guess working the grocery store and seeing the shelves get wiped out has lit a fire under my rear.

Still working because my place of employment is deemed essential, and it has been exhausting!

I’ve seen peoples true colors come out in this, and it’s not pretty, and have taken many phone calls for elderly people asking for help, because of the hoarding.

So that’s why, late, I’m aiming this post at Sacramento people, but I’m sure there is services available in other areas too, plus, practicing acts of kindness is universal.

People! Share, carefully check your neighbors, especially the elderly, I’ve check on mine from the sidewalk, make sure they have enough food, and TP (why?), because it’s more dangerous for them to go out. There is a lot of people that are unemployed currently, and with they’re kids home, eating everything, and making messes (yes you PR!).

Check Nextdoor, or join your local Buy Nothing Group, to see if anyone needs help, if you have the ability, do whats right.

Call your family, friends. neighbors, see how they are holding up, don’t go and infect them though, how rude.

There are lots of charitable organizations that are working overtime, Meals on Wheels, getting meals to home-bound seniors and others, local animal shelters that had to close down, plenty of places that could use your time and/or money. If you home, foster a dog, or a college student in my case.

Non essential businesses are really suffering right now, and I don’t even know if they qualify for unemployment, if you can’t go in, shop online if your able.

Local Grocery store Raley’s, is carrying bags right now, specifically for seniors, and delivered curbside for they convenience and safety, they also have a few more things in place, to help.

If you are a senior or know someone who needs assistance, the following community resources are ready and willing to help:

If you are looking for ways to help seniors in your community, here are some recommendations:

If you’re unemployed right now, and are able to, file for unemployment benefits through EDD, ONLINE.

If you need a job, temporarily, all the grocery store are hiring right now, they, we, need help desperately.

Yisrael Family Farm is also helping people with food and gardens, and they can probably get you a few recipes for all the strange stuff you just bought because you panicked, broccoli never sells at the store, and we can’t keep it in stock anymore.

Lastly, if your sick, STAY HOME!! Please, people are dying, you don’t want to pass around this super germ, stay home, and rest.

And WASH YOUR HANDS!

Be like the Egret, in nature, alone

What a Week!

I told you so! Just had to get that out of the way. As a person that works a low to medium income job, I’m surrounded by a lot of people who think credit scores are lame, saving money is dumb, “you could die tomorrow!”, and there seems to be no future in sight.

Now everyone is panicked.

“We’re one paycheck away from homelessness”

“What happens if we can’t work?”

“I can’t afford to be quarantined”

Obviously you all haven’t lived food insecure lives, two weeks, I have more like two months, I’m naturally a food hoarder, I’ve been hungry too many times. Paycheck to paycheck? Nope, I gave up that lifestyle a while ago, when I realized money buys security, and that makes me happy, so money can buy happiness.

Now I know, there is a lot of people out there, that are busting their ass, and just scraping buy, but some people I’ve seen, fast food everyday, trips to the casinos, expensive habits, that is stuff you can control, if you can buy a cruise, you can save some damn money!

That’s the part that makes me mad.

Everyone is flipping out right now, wondering how they are going to get by, and really, it took a pandemic to wake you up?

I don’t deny myself because I enjoy it (I do have totally different enjoyments than most people), I do it because I know shit can hit the fan, it has for me, several times, I’m used to it, shit covered really.

I don’t always enjoy meal prepping, it’s hard, especially when I’m tired, and I just worked a 10 hour day, because everyone decided to invade the grocery stores. I would love to kick back, binge watch some Homestead Rescue, and buy all my meals ready to go.

But I don’t.

Situations like these, make me grateful that I can cook, live happily on beans and rice, and survive a possible 90 day quarantine, and not worry about bills and the mortgage payment. Times like this make me happy I can afford to snatch up a bunch of dividend paying stocks, a little too early, they dropped lower, but you can’t time the market, and I was excited.

It’s not really about denying yourself, it’s about finding the right priorities. Yes I said the right ones, because some of your “right” priorities are messed up.

You really don’t want to be scared that you might be homeless, or hungry, or get your bills shut off, or run out of toilet paper (why people?!)

You really don’t want to worry if you car breaks down, or your pet needs medical attention, or an appliance breaks (laundry mats suck).

You just choose not to think about those things, hoping that you’ll win the lotto and be set for life.

That’s called denial.

Please stop.

Life is going to have more pandemics, and also minor shit too, like a high maintenance, expensive little dog that is always getting bit by spiders, or a kid who breaks a thumb while holding a shovel, yes holding, not moving, not shoveling. It shouldn’t take a pandemic for you to listen to the crazy saver lady when she wants to talk about her latest stock acquisition.

Making more money isn’t going to help you either, you’re just going to spend more, got to change that money mindset.

Also the hoarders have disrupted the food supply, so be kind to your local retail clerk, we have no control on what comes in, or when, and no, we don’t have any in the back!

And don’t forget to wash your hands, you filthy animals.

Preparing For An Emergency

At the store I work at, shelves have been wiped out of hand sanitizer, elderberry syrups, and immunity busting herbs, on top of water and dried beans.

Well guess what, I grew up in a food insecure household and am paranoid corporations and the government are going to try to kill us, so I’ve stocked up on those things a long ass time ago, suckers!

I also gave up meat for lent, so guess what I stocked up on, dried beans, it was purely coincidence.

I also don’t have a weak or compromised immune system, don’t use antibacterial stuff, shun hand sanitizer, and ignore expiration dates (that one’s for you PR), so if I do get the virus, my immune system is going to kick it’s ass Chuck Norris style.

My emergency preparedness plan is just a little bit different, and now that everything is functioning on Robinhood’s end, it’s working out nicely.

Buy stocks.

Emergencies, presidential elections, and everything in between, cause the stock market to fluctuate. sometimes really hard, like whats going on currently.

The news, currently, stock futures just tumbled another 4%, oil just took a nose dive, and people are screaming we’re rolling into a bear market. Now I’m really just learning about stocks, so please don’t bet you life savings, please, but to me, this sounds like a really good time to buy.

It’s scary though, so you might want to take some precautions.

I already have six months of expenses saved, and also the most expensive item that could break in my house, my roof, saved and tucked safely away in a low, lowlowlow interest money market account.

I have a job, my better half has a different job, and my oldest spawn has a different job, so we have diversified income streams, if someone falls ill, or some kind of quarantine happens, well, we have each other.

I also have food, water, in sanitized gallon jugs, life straws, water purification tablets, medicine, bandages, camping supplies, propane tanks, ya I’m one of those people, I’m ready.

What I really want to do in life, is to make more money, to become financially independent with the possibility of retirement, and to my fellow poor people, the stock market is the way to do it.

I know it’s scary, you see all kinds of horror movies of greedy individuals making lots of money of peoples misery, then snorting it all up their nose, you you see the short term market, and see people lose a lot of money, hearing about billionaires losing 200 million, or people losing money in the 401k.

Ya well kinda, but not, you’re not losing money, the stocks are losing value, the money is still there, just not worth as much.

I’m a very cautious person, sometimes too cautious, and it ends up costing me, usually financially, but circumstances are finally working in my favor, and dammit, I’m taking advantage of it.

I finally got it settled with Robinhood, just enter the bank information manually, it’ll save you so much time, then proceeded to dump money into it, not a huge amount, like I said, I’m careful, but enough to start snatching up these super low stocks.

I also added money to my Betterment account, since that one is already established, and a little more conservative, and gives me a cool timeline of my money in 47 years.

I got a free stock from Robinhood, and picked up some stocks that pay dividends, bought some stocks in the cannabis industry, since that had some pretty impressive fluctuations, and they are dirt cheap right now.

Now could I make mistakes and lose some money, ya, I could, losing is money is no fun, and I’m terrible with having cash on me, I dropped my rent once, worst thing ever!

Sometimes you have to take that risk, plus the odds are better than playing the lottery, you may not get $110 million dollars, but it’s better than nothing.

So, build that safety net, pay off those debts (excluding mortgage, working on it), and start snatching up stocks in times of crisis, your future self will thank you.

Got my eye on those falling stocks.

Up Close and Personal, February 2020

Oh February, what a short expensive month you are.

Birthday’s abound this month, the most important being, my own, second being my youngest, who is now a full grown adult! Holy crap, mother of voters, and one who got his Selective Service Card, it still is a strange thing.

All in all February hasn’t been too bad, got my first government over-payment check back, they really should include interest, if I have to pay 5% on my federal student loans, then I should get at least 2.5% back!

I spent a pretty large amount on a secret project, shhhh it’s a secret, and won’t be revealed until, well until I get off my ass and start dealing with stuff. Took a road trip to a farm in Capay Valley, on the hunt for flour and they had it! Totally need to go back for the Farm Day Open House, that place was great, and their products are amazing.

Threw down and extra $200 towards the mortgage payment, bring the grand total down to $69,792! So much closer to dropping that dumb mortgage insurance, and getting a real blog!

Ended up saving $1578 this month, and dropping $146 in investment accounts, I wanted to add more, but for some reason the RobinHood app is really giving me the run around, and I sooooo want to buy stocks right now! Instead I just dumped some money in my Betterment account.

Credit score went up a point, still not in the 800s yet, but getting closer, and my net worth jumped $10,814, probably because of the house price since most of it is wrapped up in there.

Ive also been on a kick of wanting to buy some land, there is actually some really affordable acreage in California, which also has the most lenient of tiny house laws.

So the game plan is to buy some land, park a tiny house in the middle, rent my current house to my kids, and charge them, not quite market value on rent, but enough to let me homestead instead of work! Pretty large dream, but I think I may be able to figure it out, maybe, hopefully, we’ll see. Kids, did you hear that, rent is going up!

Turn it into my own little permaculture paradise, raise some livestock, a few apiaries, I think I could pull it off, now I just need to brush up on some skills, like building stuff and raising animals.

My first encounter with a purple olive.

Goals! Update

Well it’s time to crack open that book I haven’t looked at lately. Honestly I’ve been a total slacker this month, I’ll just blame it on my birthday, and my son’s birthday too, and just life in general.

Goal 1

Soap Business: Make $120

yaaaaaa, really been slacking off on that one, still haven’t figured out what the heck is wrong with me.

Goal 2

Start a real blog!

Well I was waiting till my mortgage got down far enough to drop the insurance, free up some cash, then I got a letter in the mail, they redid my escrow and I’m short! WTF?! My home insurance went up, I knew I should have shopped around last year, stupid Mercury, this is getting ridiculous. So nope, haven’t done that one yet.

Goal 3

Make $50,000, save $4000, 401k increase, financial house in order

Well still haven’t go that manager position yet, still on track for my savings goal, haven’t got my death deed yet (thanks PR, coronavirus is now in Sac, I could be next), increased my 401K, hopefully I can get another raise and increase again this year.

Goal 4

Sustainability; Produce Challenge

Well I still need to get some more produce bags, especially with the amount of produce I’ve been buying, lordy! There is only so much sweet potato you can eat too, really burned myself out on that one. I have been banana free, and only sourcing produce from the farmer’s markets. I’ve even adventured out and picked up some flour from a farm north west of here.

Full Belly farm is an organic farm that also grows wheat, and produces wool, for any knitters out there, I ended up picking up two different kinds of flour, and some bloody butcher corn meal, because why not! I’m a butcher too! and sometimes bloody.

Used my new flour and corn meal to make some bomb ass skillet cornbread, eggs, and butter also from local farms. This challenge has probably been my favorite one so far, finding new places, supporting my local economy, and I swear, the food tastes so much better.

Goal 4

Gardening; Raised bed, compost bin

Does it count I’ve located all my tools? I finally got around to cleaning out part of the garage to rebuild my work bench that has been taken over by things the kids choose not to put away correctly. I now have tools!

Goal 5

Travel; Utah

My guy thought it would be a good idea to have me watch a national park traveling documentary, ya it just made me more antsy on wanting, needing, more vacation time to roam around. Utah might turn into New Mexico, I really want to go to

, and for some reason all this commitments are popping up everywhere, and I feel it may just be more convenient.

Goal 6

Health; Lose 50 pounds by November

On track with this one, really plateaued when I started lifting weights, I like muscles, but HealthyWage wants weight loss, not gainz. Then my running buddy abandoned me, it’s a good thing I got that two mile hike in, way more fun anyways.

Goal 7

Home; New carpet.

I was thinking about laminate, but I’m such a DIYer, but I have no time! I really need to make a decision on something.

Goal 8

Community

Yaaaaaa, another one I haven’t done anything about yet.

Goal 9

Learning Blocks; Sewing

Yup, not interested.

Books; Been slacking off on that one too, but I did manage to binge watch The Last Kingdom…ya nothing to be proud of.

This incoming month should be better, since I’m giving up life sustaining meat and chocolate for 40 days.

Not religious, but giving up things, especially stuff you really enjoy, makes you appreciate it so much more, because what is happy without sadness, freedom without captivity, carrots without ginger, except I added way too much ginger and now it’s burning my face, definitely won’t get the bug now.

Olives as far as the eye, well driveway, can see.

The Un American Income

When I was growing up, I wanted to move out, even made escape plans with my friend before we were even teenagers. One reason was probably that my mom was an alcoholic, and the other, it was normal, all kids wanted to move out, get a place with their friends, live on top ramen, scrape by, it was a rite of passage.

An ex, kinda see why he is an ex, was the same way, he believed in kids moving out, really he believed in pushing my kids out, definitely see why he is an ex, and reminded them all almost daily.

Well guess what cheating ex o’ mine, they’re still here, and wanna know what else, I don’t mind it!

When my ex decided to up and leave, it left me in quite the pickle, I had double the bills and half the income,went from a full time to a part time job because I needed to help my son, and a kid who was getting ready to start college, which because of that married income, I had to help pay for.

I was fucked.

My oldest child was living on the east coast and finishing up her trade education (free of charge, thankyejebbus) when all this crap went down, and I even think, though she denies it, she was planning on staying, the east coast is definitely more her style, and she had a job.

Well she came back, took a job here in Sacramento, and moved back into her old room, well more like the couch, since my youngest was still here, and paid rent.

Yes, my adult child still lives with me, and yes, I charge my adult child rent.

I really don’t know how common this is among people with children that are that age, because most of my peers have toddlers, and you can’t charge them rent, suckers!

I do know that it is becoming more common for adults to live at home, and I know that there are some horror stories, but on the flip side, there can also be some good too.

Having my oldest, and second oldest daughter, live at home, one paying rent, and one going to school full time has afforded us a lot of things.

My second oldest is able to go to school full time, get her degrees, and carries no student loan debt, or had to take out loans to live. My oldest has an affordable place to live, gets to do whatever she wants, within reason, and besides, when I’m dead they get the house anyways.

Her contributing has made it possible for me to change jobs, to one I wasn’t traveling as much for, even though I had to take a temporary pay cut, and being able to pay more towards the mortgage, it also makes it so her sister can focus on college instead of working to survive.

There are rules though, and I think that’s how we make it work, and not end up like those horror stories.

Everyone has to clean, college kid gives a day out of her weekend (I really feel she’s the one with the best deal), oldest does dishes, and everyone (except the unemployed one) contributes to the household needs, TP, toothpaste, dish soap, and all the other stuff.

Rent is not optional. I’ve worked with quite a few youngsters who live at home, they “help out”, and have absolutely no drive at work, work is just something that they do for fun, probably to buy weed, because it may be they only thing they’re parents won’t pay for. We have a rental agreement, keeps it easy, and argument free.

It’s my house. My house, my rules, if you don’t like it, move out. They obviously don’t mind that, they are still here.

Respect each other. We’re still working on that one, I guess if you only have one kid it’s easier.

Student loan debt just hit a record amount this year, 1.6 trillion dollars, that’s a lot of damn money, but even looking at the cost of City College, I can see why.

But hey, our family just help each other out, she doesn’t have that extra financial burden. so she can further her career, get a better paying job, then support her mom in her old age(no nursing home!).

Now I see why other countries and cultures do it, to get ahead in life, so why is it something that most Americans mock?

Maybe it’s not the kids, these ones that movies make fun of, perpetual children who can’t/won’t get a job, and leach off their parents.

Maybe it’s the parents.

You can hold you kids to a higher standard, and still help each other out, for everyone to get ahead in life, it just requires some respect and boundaries.

Or you can make fun of the families that use teamwork to get ahead.

When my house is paid off and my kid passes the Bar Exam, you probably won’t be laughing then.

Nature always wins in the end

Cosumnes River Preserve

I love traveling, and being outdoors, and exploring new places, and the same places if they are especially awesome, and just nature in general. I especially like not being stuck in a car to long, it just irks my soul, but sometimes in order to get back to nature, you have to drive a little ways.

I’ve decided to start recording my little travels around Sacramento and outlying areas, probably will end up going further, but for now, let’s explore my kind of backyard.

I have rules though, if you’re going to go check out cool nature spots.

Rule Number 1! Stay on the path! They have paths for a reason, so you don’t go squishing everything.

Rule Number 2! Pack it in, Pack it out! The animals don’t want your garbage, clean up after yourselves you heathens!

Rule Number 3! Leave it be! Animals, plants, all of it!

Now that we’re past the big no no’s, lets talk preserve. It’s located about 30 miles south of Sacramento, going towards Galt, I suppose it is Galt, minus people. There is a whole lot of water, and because of that, a whole lot of bird, including the Sandhill Crane, which is amazing!

It’s on the Cosumnes River as it joins the delta, so in the spring time, lots of flooding, with works for the kayakers, because that’s something you can do there too.

It has several well marked trails, a mix of dirt, asphalt, and boardwalk, a really easy. leisurely stroll, if you just want to escape from the city a minute. Lots of guided tours, not of which I’ve done, because I’m a rebel, and like to try to figure out the birds myself.

Different seasons bring different views, I enjoy the look of the Valley Oaks in the winter time, their branches make an interesting formation,

There is an area with volunteers, that will happily tell you what the bowling ball looking bird is, or anything else you may see, also with lots of interactive things for children, if you choose to bring them, just remind them that screaming scares the birds.

I’m totally for taking children there, I’ve taken my own, and friends kids, and I think people should spend less time in front of screens and more time in nature, but please, teach them to respect the wildlife, I know it’s exciting, but use a quite voice, unless your inside the building, then the docents can deal with you.

There is a lot of information on what birds you will see at what times during the year, the preserve is part of the Pacific Flyway, a migration route for a lot of species of birds, one that I finally was able to see, the Sandhill Crane, yay! They are really, really large birds, and also one of the oldest ones alive, and recently learned, called the “ribeye of the sky”, seriously?

There is also lots of other critters, some I am still waiting to see, river otters, except for the one someone was rude enough to run over, some people are so rude! Please be more considerate of the wildlife, ugh!

River otter slide, minus the otter, someday I’ll get to see them, cute youtube videos don’t count.

You will hear the sound of lots of angry hummingbirds, best bird ever! So tiny yet so feisty.

You may get to see some fancy ducks, that I don’t remember the name of, so feel free to comment what they are, either way, they have cute little ducky tuxedos.

There are also plenty of birds on stilts, I really feel like some of them are called Stilts too, feel free to comment with their names also, am an amateur bird watcher, ok, barely amateur.

I kind of wish I had long legs like these guys, wouldn’t even need a car to get to work.

You will also see an assortment of ducks butts, I guess when your snacks are underneath you, It’s butts up!

All kinds of geese, if you’re down for a game of duck, duck, goose, they are probably game too…not that kind of game, it is a nature preserve, no guns.

So if you’re ever in the Sacramento area, or live here, or like nature, go check it out, just keep your kids quiet, the birds, and I, both appreciate it.

And now for some plant porn

Eating Seasonally, February 2020

I swear, all I do now is cook, eat, and workout! It’s getting exhausting in itself, no wonder the US is overweight and diet pills are a billion dollar business, it would be so much easier to take a pill and sleep the fat away.

I’m always down for a challenge, well most of the time, sometimes I just want to lay in bed and binge watch The Magicians, and I’ll admit, I have been on my days off, since my boss has been nice enough to give me two days off in a row, neither day a farmer’s market day.

Honestly, that’s kind of been my life for the past four weeks, it hasn’t stopped me from my produce challenge though, my taller half has been nice enough to make market runs for me, and this coming Saturday I get to go myself!

This past Saturday I was able to make a quick trip to the market near my work too, well I thought it was going to be a quicker trip, turns out when I pulled up, they just finished the Valentine’s Day 5K, so all the roads were blocked off! What the hell! How are people supposed to pick up their fresh produce, on their half hour lunches, with a bunch of runners meandering around?

Well after barreling angerly through some side streets, I managed to find an in, and get parked. Looking at my lunch timer, 21.09 minutes to go, I raced around picking veggies, and snapping pictures.

I’m glad I made, finally found some Pomelos! I love those things, they are like a meaty grapefruit, orange, type thing, but not sour. I was also Googling them today, to find out exactly what they are, where they grow, and how I can get a tree (they are kind of big trees, I’m gonna go with no).

Also had a different variety of mandarins, lots of oranges, Cara Caras are so good, and grapefruit everywhere.

Still plenty of apple varieties, apples hold well anyways, put them in a coo,l dark, spot and they hold well. Leafy greens are still everywhere, summer is still a ways away, and winter squash is still abundant.

One thing I missed about my early morning shop, was the lower prices. Early morning, more variety and better pickings, equals a little high prices; mid morning, or crappy weather, the prices start to drop; early afternoon they are throwing fruit at you because they don’t want to haul it back to the farm.

So, ya, higher prices, not as high as a traditional grocery store, but higher than what I usually pay.

$18 got me two and a half pounds of mandarins, two pomelos, one cauliflower,and four green onion bunches. I still have a pretty good amount of food leftover from my last hauls, hitting a produce stand in Dixon, and the produce that he picked up for me.

I have to give props to people, before the modern grocery store, growing, harvesting, and processing food is really difficult! I’ve utilized the freezer a lot, food is hard to come by some weeks, especially with the limited winter markets, and sending out my guy is, to say the least, interesting. I get a lot of questions on what I want, is this it, and “WTH is that?!”, he’s not really a produce person.

Speaking of, how do guys, eat and drink, whatever they feel like, and stay the same, while I’m over here, changing my entire diet around, working out six days a week, and if I look at a cookie, I gain weight, it’s just not fair!

I did come up with a pretty tasty applesauce recipe, since I was sitting on a 10 pound bag that needed to be dealt with, and I’m not a fan of eating plain apples.

Since I already had some dates on hand, I decided to give it a try, using them as a sweetener.

It actually came out pretty damn good, not supper sweet, but not bland, and kind of a caramely taste. With no added sugar I decided not to can them, not knowing how long it would last, but they refrigerate well.

After I simmered them for 45 minutes, I used the mix setting on my Blendtec, since I was being lazy and didn’t want to use the food mill, and I was very happy with the results.

So that’s it, go find a local farmer’s market, experiment with some food, reduce your carbon footprint and waistline, because at this rate, everything is going to be on fire, and we’ll be too round to out run it.

Big rocks, covered in smoke.

Feeling The Burn

Usually about now, I write about what’s in season at the farmer’s market, but I haven’t been there in a while, and won’t be going until this Saturday, so I guess it’s going to be a Monday post.

I also have about four different thoughts floating around in my brain, but can’t organize them coherently, so I’ll definitely need a few days stewing on those ones, but doesn’t it seem like everyone is so stinking cynical lately? Maybe it’s the current political climate, but seriously, pull up your big girl/guy pants, and handle shit!

So I guess I’ll just write about what my proofreading spawn has been putting me through lately, MFin’ EXERCISE!

One of my goals for this year, is to lose weight, and not for vanity, I am way, WAY, too husky to be a swimsuit model, but for health, and not even because a doctor told me to, I just felt like shit. Like extra shit, with a side of exhausted, and not from doing anything extra, just exhausted, then plopping down after work, and not moving until the next day. Well mama can’t live like that, I have way too many plans and way to much shit that need to get done.

So I decided I need to lose some weight, which worked out with all my other New Year’s goals, they all just blended well together. Instead of spending money on the gym (I need motivation sometimes, and spending money does it for me), I signed up on HealthyWage, and bet myself I’d lose 50 pounds, for $529. Well I like money, and if I’m going to spend it, might as well try to earn some back.

My family knows all about it, and is super supportive of me, which is actually really nice and has helped me stay focused.

Then my gym junky middle child decided to jump in.

Then it got hard!

She decided I should join her in some weird thing called Summer Shredding, a month before it’s even going to start (haha PR you messed up!).

Me, like a dumbass, was all “OK, why not, I need to lose weight anyways”.

Then she wakes me up to this! Wth?! I think she’s trying to kill me! I don’t think she understands her mom isn’t 20 like her, or in the best of shapes.

And I’m definitely not motivated by her motivational speakers, no offense guys, change it up a little, geez.

So I managed to struggle through day one, and after, with the help of Tylenol and Epson salt.

Then more core! Wth?! I can hardly breath! I think she’s making up most of these exercises as she goes too! Also, ten years of college and she can’t spell “gains” right, waste of an education!

Yes, Greta Thunberg motivates me, anything ecological does, I definitely don’t have the same motivators as some people.

Well on Day 4 she finally let me rest, not that I get a total rest, someone still has to walk the dog

She’s complaining that she hasn’t ran in three years?! I haven’t ran in 10! Well we managed to do two miles of walk, jog, fast jog, and the garbage can game, her idea, and I ended with another day of soreness, yay.

But I have to give her credit, when I can finally feel my legs again, and the soreness subsides, I do feel way better, and my jeans aren’t crushing me.

So I have to give my little five foot nothing screeching harridan props, I think she is trying to keep me alive longer.

Tiny waterfall

Up Close and Personal, January 2020

It’s kind of hard to write this post with my full attention tonight, the Superbowl is going on in the background, and it looks like the 49ers are going to lose, so hopefully you’ve already watched the game and I’m not ruining it for you.

Now on to financials. This month has been a pretty good month, a raise helped, and working a bunch of holidays, so we’re in the green, by $1866! Dumped $94 in my retirement, which I upped last month, and will just keep on upping as I get more financially stable, my company has a 50% match up to 6%, so I have to aim for the 12%, stop leaving money on the table.

On to the bills, I put an extra $205 down on the mortgage last month, fingers crossed that this month puts me below the, get rid of the stupid mortgage insurance mark, good bye $77 to nothing! Another $22.08 went to the apple peeler corer that I had to pay full price for because I passed one up at the thrift store, I really need to stop doing that.

Utilities, $335, damn gas bill from cooking so much, and the water from the kids an their excessive showers.

Food was pretty low, surprisingly, or not so surprisingly, since aiming for weight loss, and eating more fruits and veggies, came in at $293, way lower than the last few months, even with my expensive cheese and butter.

Auto, still need to get new insurance, really, it’s just getting to be ridiculous. Filled up three times, and took a road trip, which was really exciting, can’t wait to share pictures!

Shopping, ya, I went a little nuts this month, sewing supplies, thrift store shopping, and some new work clothes.

Other was HealthyWage, my weight loss challenge, a hair cut for my shaggy haired kid, Traina Foods, that should have went into groceries, but didn’t. By the way if you want reasonably priced dried fruit, Traina is the way yo go.

So how did everyone spend their Superbowl Sunday? I spent it making a crap ton of burgers and wings, and checking out my finances. I am on track to hit my savings goal for the year, I’ll probably slack off a little this month, two birthdays, the coolest of them being my own.

Well that’s about all I got, but hey, ahead, hell ya! Anyone else have a good January? Meeting those money goals?

Grow where you can

Goal Update!

This month was kind of dragging, then all of a sudden, holy crap it’s almost February! What happened?? Probably has to do with work, every time it starts approaching a holiday, or wannabe holiday, Super Bowl I’m looking at you, time speeds up, probably because I take my job way too seriously, and I shouldn’t, no one else does.

So I decided to do monthly updates on my goal list, to hold me to some kind of accountability, I didn’t last year, probably because I started in the middle of the year, either way I didn’t get everything done. Maybe writing every month about how I have not made those raised garden beds with make them appear (Mom! What do you want for your birthday? Raised beds!), I doubt that will work on them, but it’ll sure the shit work on me.

Alright! Let’s get this party started!

Soap Business: Make $120!

Yaaaaaaa, still trying to get my mojo back, I don’t know what happened. I had someone ask a few days ago, “Wow this soap is amazing! Do you sell it, if so can I buy some?” Ya sure, it’s $15 for a four ounce jar…radio silence. It should be more! I had to look all awkward picking olives on public streets! Either way, that’s a no, nothing yet.

Blog: Get a real one!

Welp I’m still on WordPress.com, so you know that’s a no. It’s OK, I’m waiting on getting that mortgage insurance off of my payment, and I’m so close too! Hopefully I can still join the blogging groups, starting to get death threats from the admin. So that’s a big NO too!

Financial: Make $50,000; Save $4000; Up my 401k; Get my financial house in order.

This one is actually going my way! Not quite to the $50,000 yet, and I say $50,000, because one time, I actually got an email from MMM, and he said my finances look good, I just need to make more money (duh) aim for $50,000. Well I got a raise, which is nice! So there is that. I’m on track for my savings goal this year, I upped my 401k contribution from 2% to 4%, and I’ve been spending a lot of time getting all my finances in order, beneficiaries on accounts, except my house (Probate Proofer, you want that?!), and looking into a living trust, doing good! This one, gonna be in the bag!

Sustainability: Produce Challenge; Say No to Bananas; Produce Bags

Well I do need to get more produce bags, for some reason the disappear, I like to blame it on the kids, they will tell you it’s true, that I blame them for everything. My eat local produce challenge, has been a little challenging since my boss has given me non farmer’s market days, but I will persevere! Obviously I have dumped bananas, since they aren’t at the farmer’s market, maybe I can get my hands on some of those blue bananas? This goal: Looking good so far.

Gardening: Raised beds; Compost bin.

I trimmed my fruit trees today! That’s about it

Travel: Utah, Pando before it dies

It’s snowing, so no.

Health Goals: Lose 50 Pounds.

Well I’ve lost 9 so far, I’m kinda stalling, probably because I’ve had a rough few days and had pacified my bad temper with chocolate. I’m on track with my HealthyWage challenge, I just need to lose 5 pounds a month to achieve my goal, of 50 pounds in 10 months, and win $529! So far so good.

Home Goals: New Carpet

Not yet, I almost want to change it to laminate, and I almost want to do it myself, because I know how, I just don’t have the time, I need to make up my mind! Goal; not yet.

Community: Do something positive to bring people together.

Nope not yet, I’m slacking.

Learning Blocks: Current; Sewing.

I think I like the idea of sewing my own clothes, but I actually don’t like doing it. Damn you Bernadette Banner! Bought sewing stuff, made a tiny pillow, I can still back stitch, thank you Home EC, and haven’t done anything since. Ugh.

Books: Because I need to read more.

Well I started Everything is Figureoutable, just haven’t finished it yet.

There it is!! My list of shit to do! I’m feeling good about it so far though, and pretty excited!

Anyone else have any goals for the year? Feel free to share, or comment, I comment back, and if you need someone to cheer you on, I got you!

One of these geese is not like the other

Just Eat It, Eat It!

The title is taken from a Weird Al song, his parody of a Michael Jackson song, I say this because I don’t want to get sued, and this post is about food, a lot of it, and I was stumped on what to call it.

This year I have challenged myself to eat all my fruits and vegetables from the farmer’s market, why you might ask, or not; to reduce my carbon footprint and support my local economy.

It was an idea I got from activist Rob Greenfield, he went a year on only eating food he had grown, foraged, fished, or hunted. I really couldn’t see myself going that extreme, I want to succeed too, so I decided farmer’s markets. I am going to try to garden more, those are also some goals for the year, get those damn planter beds in.

Honestly, food wise, I feel blessed to live in Sacramento, there really isn’t an off season, our winter is not severe enough to impact growing, the lettuce really likes it, so there really isn’t a shortage of farmer’s markets here in the winter, but the first week my brain didn’t register that, “We’re gonna starve! Buy everything!”

No joke, I bought a lot of sweet potatoes. I work in retail, so my schedule really fluctuates from week to week, and I had to line those up with the current farmer’s markets, unfair that there is six farmer’s markets on Saturday, and none on Tuesday! Then my boss has decided to give me Monday Tuesday off the last couple weeks, um hello, I have vegetables to buy.

So between the working out my schedule, finding markets, and food prep days, I went a little overboard, OK, maybe a lot.

I can see why people rely on convenience food though, not just fast food, and freezer stuff, but veggies already chopped up and ready to go, it is extremely time consuming, and with the way the world is going, with people having to work two jobs to stay afloat, ain’t no one got time to chop a butternut squash.

So I’m going to try to break this down coherently, on my trips, and the amounts that I have spent.

So far there has been four days I’ve visited farmers markets, from Elk Grove to Fair Oaks, Sacramento peeps will get that one, it’s far. I’ve made a few splurges, that really brought the price of my food up, fruits and veggies are cheap; butter, eggs, cheese, bread, and steaks aren’t. I’m not a vegetarian, so I like those other things in my diet, I feel better, physically, when they are, an all veggie day gives me a massive headache.

Day one; Spent about $40, got roughly:

  • Eggs, $10 for a flat; Apples; Winter Squash; Mandarins; Sweet potatoes; Cabbage; Mint; Baby Onions, Kiwis; Asian pears.

Day two; Spent $32, got (also wrote everything down this time)

  • Asian pears, about 4 lbs; Mandarins 10lbs $8.40; Turnips 2.56 $2; Carrots 3.56 $2; Broccoli 2.69 lbs; Butter Lettuce $2; Sweet potatoes 7.25 lbs $7.25

Day three; Went crazy spent $50+

  • Cheese $12; Butter $9; Steak $6.50; young garlic; two garlic bulbs $2; two mystery winter squash; Apples 10 lbs for $5; Potatoes 3 lbs; Kabocha squash; three leeks; 1 butternut squash; Bread $6.50.

Day four; Another crazy day $50+

  • Bokchoy and 2 fresh garlic $6; Apples $9; Red onions 3 lbs; Potatoes 8 lbs; Bread $6.50; Winter squash 10 lbs for $6.00; Mandarins 10 lbs $12.50; Eggs, flat, $10

Yes, I spent $9 on eight ounces of butter, and dropped $12 on some smoked cheddar, and ya, I keep going back for the bread, Upper Crust Baking’s fermented french is amazing, and the wheat they use for it, is farmed and milled north of Sacramento. You can’t sit there and talk about bringing jobs back to America, and freak out about paying the price, of a product that is totally worth it, to someone in your neighborhood. Yes it’s hard, and it’ll require some possible lifestyle changes, but quite a few people easily spend $5+ on a cup of coffee, from a business that made $27 billion last year, and balk at your local farmer that is barely staying afloat.

A meal from one of my “only food from the farmer’s market” days. I have cooked a lot, and its been good and bad, I’ve learned how to cook a lot of things, spent a lot of time looking a recipes, and altering them to what I have. Applesauce made with molasses is amazing! Tastes like a rich apple butter, my kids hate it, which is good, more for me. You can make soup out of other winter squash, learned that through desperation.

You can air-fry sweet potatoes, cut them small, and it cuts their cooking time in half! Also a baked sweet potato is practically a dessert, and they aren’t even related to potatoes!

I’ve been learning a lot about different veggies too, and also have developed more of an appreciation for food, definitely has cut down on the waste, I almost cried when I lost three sweet potatoes to bad storage.

This little beasty has made me love apples again, apples are a pain in the ass for me, and I can’t for the life of me bite into them, but this contraption, I ate three apples just learning how to use it, a life saver!

Ive also turned my garage into a root cellar, in the summer it’s going to be a challenge, but right now all my fruits and vegetables are safely stored in a, very cold area.

Cooking this much has also inspired me to try other things, I made ricotta cheese! A recipe that I found online, really very simple, tweaked it a tiny bit, and oh my lord, this stuff is heaven! I picked up some puff pastry, sweetened it up a little, topped it off with pomegranate molasses, I gained back the nine pounds that I lost.

There has definitely been some challenges, but all in all, this, I believe, has been a success.

I’ve grown in my appreciation for food, I stay home and cook all the time so I’m not out spending money, I haven’t spent near the amount on food as I thought I was going too, and I’m still losing weight! Win Win!

I ended up roasting a red kuri squash, delicata, red onions, some garlic, sprinkled it with salt, pepper, cinnamon, olive oil, and a dash of maple syrup. Welp it didn’t come out that great, but I don’t want to waste food, it’s damn hard to come by, so I pulled the butternut squash recipe, and tweaked it a little bit. Sauteed more garlic, poured in some vegetable stock, brought that to a boil, then tossed in the squash mess, and let it cook down. After about 20 minutes I through it all in the amazing blender I was gifted, and hit the soup button.

Holy crap was it good! I was honestly surprised, I felt like a real chef, or some pioneer homesteader, it was a great feeling.

So I think, if your reading this, you need to go out, find you local farmer’s market, buy some stuff you know, and a few things you don’t, and challenge yourself to try something new in the kitchen, and make sure to force your people try it out too, just so they can get angry there is molasses in apples.

I wish I could speak bird.

Finding My Roots

I can’t believe I totally spaced writing on Friday, OK, I can, work has been hectic, and I was working a strange shift, and by the time I realized I hadn’t written anything, I was half asleep, and there is no coming back after that, earthquake, what earthquake, I was sleeping.

OK, on to, the very delayed conclusion post, I got my DNA results back! Yes I played Lizzo, a bunch, probably more than necessary, but whatever.

” I just took a DNA test, turns out I’m 100%” White. Like really white, about three kinds of varying shades of white.

Native American blood huh mom!? The test results say you’re wrong!

Don’t be fooled by the last name, it’s because name changes are a lot of work and expensive, and I’m lazy.

  • 61% England, Wales, North Western Europe
  • 34% Ireland and Scotland, specifically North Munster, is that where the cheese comes from?! Never mind Muenster.
  • 5% Sweden

Yup, lots of white going on there, so boring, no wonder I just crisp up in the sun, according to my DNA I should just stay in snow.

Now on to my extra $10 purchase, Ancestry DNA Traits, it’s supposed to tell me all the things, I pretty much know about myself, kind of like playing Ouija Board alone, you know you’re the person moving it! I decided, welp, why not, let’s see how accurate this is.

Well for me, it was pretty damn off!! Before I purchased it, I looked over the list of traits it goes over, earlobes, cleft chin, eye color, finger length, cilantro aversion, and a few more. Twenty six in total, I know I counted, because so many were wrong!

OK, six out of the 26 were wrong, but some answers were so vague, and some related to males, that those don’t count. So let’s get rid of Facial Hair thickness and Male Hair Loss, and also toss Vitamin C,D,E and the Omega 3 thingy, just because the answers were lame, “Average Levels”.

So we’re down to 20 now, and 6 of them were wrong!

So I know this about myself, Cilantro is the devil, ruin-er of tacos! Destroyer of salsa! Cilantro sucks, it tastes like soap, I hate it. According to my traits, I “probably like the taste of cilantro”…GAG!

I also probably have a cleft chin…nope. My Pointer finger is longer than my ring finger, wrong again! I have freckles, not that I know of. My hair is straight, nope, it’s wavy! I don’t sneeze in sunlight, um yes I do, it’s a morning driving hazard!

So far the odds are not really in my favor. My wonderful MIL got me an Ancestry Kit plus Health, for Christmas, she doesn’t know how impulsive I am and already got a regular one, but now I’m afraid to take it, they already screwed up my traits, it’ll come back with Alzheimer’s and 10 different cancers.

That’s my Great Grandmother, rumor was she was quite the bad ass, also had amazing handwriting. The main reason why I wanted to do Ancestry’s kit and not 23andMe, was I wanted to find some family.

My family has some sordid secrets and hidden pasts, most of they took to the grave with them, so I was hoping a DNA test would maybe turn up a brother, father, grandfather…nothing, I guess my aunt took one, she’s labeled and my first or second cousin, makes sense since my mother and her had different dads.

So that was kind of a major let down, I actually got a little upset about it, maybe I’ll take the 23andMe one too, just in case those missing people are out there, and just didn’t want the Mormon’s getting their hands on their DNA.

Or maybe he’s not interested in knowing the teenage mom who gave him up, or sister who just wonders what he could be like.

I did try to talk to some people that shared a chunk of DNA with me, thinking they are an this site too, maybe they want to be friends, nope. Maybe you should not make your DNA public if you don’t want to at least say hi, I see my message has been left read.

So all in all, the DNA experiment has been a bust. I’ve got no exciting ethnicity, I have no secret family, and I still hate cilantro.

Duuuuck on the waaater

Books That Make My World Go Round

Smart Women Finish Rich by David Bach

I pick up my first David Bach book from the thrift store, when I was trying to get my financial life in order, and he had been my friend ever since. His books, have a really easy to follow blueprint on how to succeed financially, aimed mostly at women, but also couples, or anyone who wants to get their financial shit together.

In truth I’m still working on putting a lot of his practices in place, just because, well some are hard! Saving 12% automatically is pretty difficult, I’m at 2% pre tax deductions right now, weak sauce I know, this year I’m going for 4%, hopefully now more crazy shit happens, like blowing up a tire.

It’s strange that his books are so very common sense, but no one practices the steps, first step

Learn the Facts and Myths about Money

Women get screwed in the money world, we live longer, we end up widowed (two live on my street), we lose more years in the work force, we get divorced and lose money, we get to raise kids (a lot of times by ourselves, with no help), we get to take care of parents because we live longer, and so many other factors. Which is why we need financial planning, and larger retirement savings, so badly.

I watched my mom try to live off of social security, it’s not meant for that. She had no pension, no retirement savings, no house of her own, and she had to make due on about $500 a month.

I was the one to cover her cremation costs and memorial arrangements, and decided I really didn’t want my kids to go through that too.

Put Your Money Where Your Values Are

What’s important about money to you? Having goals is the first step in getting your finances in order, why do you want to save money?

I want to travel, I want to help people, and if I quit, or get fired, I want to be ok.

Figure Out Where You Stand Financially

It took me a while, but I managed to get my crap together, I’m still scoring low on the test, because there is still more for me to learn (a 9 by the way). One of my goals for the year is to get my house in better financial order, got a beneficiary on all my accounts.

Which is really important by the way, you don’t want you money going into probate, and your kids losing the home because they can’t pay the bills. (if I die of mysterious circumstances, check my proof reader)

Use the Power of the Latte Factor

I was reading a book review of David Bach’s latest book, Latte Factor, and one review struck me as kind of funny, a women was upset because she felt he was manspaining finances and why are men always picking on women and their coffee habit.

The Latte Factor is about frivolous spending that doesn’t line up with your values, saying you can’t save money because you don’t have it. If you like coffee, keep it, but do you need, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Cable Subscription, Costco Card, gym membership, and all the other money that is flowing out of your account?

Does it line up with your values?

Three Basket Approach to Financial Security

  • 3 to 24 months worth of living expenses (yes I do)
  • Up to date will or living trust (ya I need to get on that)
  • Best health insurance you can afford (the only reason I work I swear)

Learn the 10 Biggest Mistakes Investors Make

  • Not being organized before you invest.
  • Not taking credit card debt seriously (803 baby!)
  • Having a 30 year mortgage (I’m working on it!)
  • Waiting to buy a house.
  • Putting off saving for retirement (yaaaaa)
  • Speculating with your investment money
  • Building a portfolio that’s not diversified
  • Paying too much in taxes (pretax retirement accounts, got one!)
  • Buying an investment that is illiquid (don’t worry, I don’t know what that is)
  • Giving up (Never!)

Raising Smart Kids to Finish Rich

I’m trying!! Ugh it’s so hard to explain money to kids once they are past a certain age! Thankfully my kids are carrying debt, well hopefully the proofreader gets scholarships, lots of them, a whole lot. Getting them to save money is like pulling teeth, from a shark, I keep pulling, they keep growing back! Fingers crossed they learn someday.

Follow the 12 Commandments of Attracting Wealth

  • Don’t accept less that what you are worth.
  • Ask for a raise.
  • If you don’t like your job, quit. (I actually did that!)
  • Start you own business (Working on that too)
  • Focus on being the “Go-To Gal” (that’s me)
  • Keep your overhead under control.
  • Work each day if you were going on vacation tomorrow. (unless you’re in retail)
  • Focus on what makes you unique.
  • Delegate tasks you shouldn’t be doing.
  • Get up early.
  • Find a greater purpose than yourself.
  • Be grateful (that I am).

Win and Share Your Story

I came from a whole lot of nothing, and still have a long ways to go, but I’m way better off than I was before, at least I know I can pay for my own funeral expenses, the kids get so mad when I talk about that.

You guys are gonna miss me when I’m gone. Maybe they’ll use these post as a roadmap to their own financial freedom, or spend all the money on tea and Pokemon.

Seriously, if you’re a woman, you need to get your finances in order, you’re probably going to outlive him, or raise you kids by yourself, or get divorced, I’ve got two out of three so far.

Read this book, also there are financial websites for women that can help too. Wife.org, Women’s Institute for Financial Education, their slogan is “a man is not a financial plan”

Lies! Don’t believe her!

Turning Your Hobby Into A Business Pt. 5

Totally took a hiatus from this one, and currently trying to work my way back into it too. I wish I could write a post on how amazing everything is going right now, since it is one of my largest goals, but I really think I need to step back and reevaluate the situation.

I went into this thinking, “I’ve made soap for years, I love making soap, I could totally turn this into a business, because people like buying my product”.

All of this is true, but I didn’t realize how rushing into it, would cause me to, not only make some huge costly mistakes, but really put a damper on my love for soap making, and also forget about why I started making soap in the first place.

I joined a lot of soap business groups, and those people, and the teachers, are amazing business people, and soap makers, so I was trying to learn everything I could from them; what products to go with your soap, what other items to sell besides soap, packaging, labeling, marketing.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love all those things, I am a super competitive, display building, up selling, number crunching, employee, one reason why I move up (when I choose to) so quickly within my area.

But I didn’t start making soap for those reasons.

I started making soap because I wanted something better for my health, and better for the environment, in my family’s life.

I can crunch numbers with the best of them, design, photograph, set my prices just right, everything I brought in had been dated and categorized, and I knew how much everything was down to the ounce.

But I wasn’t enjoying it.

I especially wasn’t enjoying it, when I wanted a more natural preservative for my lotions, switched types, made quite a few batches with the new preservative, packaged, labeled, photographed, and listed.

A few weeks went by and I wanted to lounge in the bath with a face mask, I always keep the leftovers to use for myself, opened up the jar, and mold! Everywhere!

I’ve never had that problem before, and I’ve been making lotion almost as long as I have been making soap!

It was the new preservative, I used the low end of the recommended usage, and it wasn’t enough, and it was went bad.

It was bad, I was pissed, and heartbroken, and grossed out, all at the same time! My next big mistake was admitting to my screw up in the soap making business groups.

“How could you sell product with out challenge testing it? How could you change preservatives without testing them for a year? I always test my products for two years before releasing?”

Thanks guys, like I didn’t already feel bad for fucking up! Lets add more salt to the wound, really kick me while I’m down, it’s cool.

That was also the moment I realized that I wanted to start thinking more before I typed “is it beneficial? Will this just hurt someone’s feelings? Is it necessary to say this?”

I love making soap, that’s not going to change, and I would love to able to add some to my income by doing something that I love, but you know what I love more? Helping people. Making Fire Cider for myself, and when my boss was sick, taking her a pint, or making liquid soap to clean the walls, and letting my kid take some to help out a club she volunteers for, hearing about how impressed they were with my soap that they named “everything but the paint”, because it took off everything but the paint, and smelled good too.

Currently because I’ve been feeling under the weather, I’ve been churning out Elderberry Syrup, which I’ll probably end up passing out too. Too generous to make money off of things, and too poor to be a philanthropist, I really need to find that middle ground.

In the meantime I need to get my love for soap making back, before all those natural fiber products I’m sitting on compost themselves.

I guess the takeaway from this post should be; be true to the hobby that you love doing, not just to turn a profit, because then it turns into work, and I’m trying to escape that.

When you give a girl a tripod



Eating Seasonally, January 2020

I’m starting to wonder if I should just turn this into a food blog instead of a money blog, even though I don’t think I’m a good enough cook to pull that off, or a photographer, or patient enough to keep track of times, measurements, things to form a recipe, ya, I think I’ll stick to money and personal growth.

One of my personal challenges this year was to give up bananas, and all other tropical fruits, pretty much anything I can’t get my hands on in Sacramento, at a farmer’s market.

So far its been interesting, and one day I almost starved to death, I really think before I attempt to do an entire day of meals from the farmers market, I should have more food to eat.

So if you haven’t seen the news lately, Australia is on fire, and also 120 degrees, and most rational people believe that climate change is to blame. Now I’m not saying eating local produce is going to fix it, I truly wish it could, I would eat figs if that was the case, and I hate figs, but I do believe that anything a person can do to change can help. Not only is it reducing the transportation costs of food, it’s supporting you local economy, so if you don’t like the planet, at least like the jobs.

Alright, into the challenge, I had Thursday the 2nd off, so I was able to stock up on some seasonal produce from my favorite farmers market, Florin Road CMF, too bad half the vendors weren’t there, like seriously, people are gonna buy veggies, everyone is trying to get healthy right now!

Ok, so, next time I will keep better track of this, I grabbed $45 to spend, seems like a lot I know, but I work a really fluctuating schedule, and I actually have to keep track of the days I have off, and what markets are open. There is a few days with none at all, some days with small ones, and three days with the large ones, so I have to get enough food to get me through, this round has to last me eight days.

So I grabbed a flat of eggs, in my attempt to eat a hole day, no outside food, apples, Asian pears, regular pears, winter squash, sweet potatoes, cabbage, green onions, mint, weird thyme, kiwis, and tangerines. I probably got about 30 pounds of produce, fingers crossed it lasts me until Saturday.

Now in order to stay on my goal, and all my other ones, the food has to be easy for me to cook up and haul around to work, in comes food prep.

Food prep should be considered exercise, in fact, it should be an Olympic sport, it’s ridicules, no wonder people buy already chopped up stuff, or eat fast food, it’s hard! I was a good half a day dedicated to getting all my food stuff in order. When you have two days off, and you’re life is full of obligations, I don’t even have to deal with kid school stuff anymore, I can see why this country has issues.

I was trying to go with some variety too, and also stuff that has a shelf life, tangerines, short shelf life, butternut squash, long one, and get all my vitamins and stuff like that.

I decided to process a lot of the apples, I’m not a huge apple fan, I know, why buy them then, because they last longer than the other fruits I got, and I like applesauce. I also dehydrated some, sprinkled with cinnamon for a lunch snack, and left some whole, in case I run out of other things.

Also, applesauce and molasses, is so good! My proof reader is shaking her head and gagging in disagreement right now, but it is. When I decided to make applesauce, I was googling recipes, and a lot called for brown sugar, well I figures why not just use molasses then, and I’ll get some added vitamins, it was a good idea.

I don’t know the recipe exactly;

seven pounds ish of cored, peeled, and diced apples, cinnamon to taste and about half a cup of molasses, cook until soft, use food mill or blender to mash. It’s adult applesauce, almost like apple butter, a kind of dark flavor.

I also had butternut squash soup for the first time, ever! you know what, it was actually pretty darn good. I altered a recipe I found online, since I was trying to stay within my own “local” parameters, I didn’t have garlic, but the white part of the green onion worked well, and I was surprised at how good it was. I’ve excluded the pepper and maple syrup from my local challenge, since we don’t grow it here, I wonder if I can though, I need flavors!

I ended up also getting three different kinds of sweet potatoes, I’m sure there is difference in them, and different names, but I haven’t had a chance to look them up yet, and I still like the orange ones the best, the white ones are kind of bland, like a barely sweet potato.

I am pretty proud of the fact I did pull off one day of eating only farmers market stuff, it really puts a lot of things in perspective, how people survived before grocery stores that are stocked with food from all over the world, and having to preserve food to get by in the months of not having so much.

The work that farmers also put in to grow food, I’m pissed when Sacramento has a freak storm that knocks all of my nectarine blossoms off, but my livelihood doesn’t depend on it.

I know climate change seems like this never ending uphill battle, in the snow, but don’t give up, we can all make a difference, in just by the way we eat, yes, it’ll take more time, and work, but it’s the same as saving money, you have to find that wiggle room, give up some stuff that just doesn’t work for you, take that half a day to chop veggies, unless you’re fast, then teach me! And then go thank a farmer for growing your breakfast.

National Bird Day

Ready, Set, Goal!

I’m Back! I was honestly stumped on what to write about last Friday, so I took the day off, and I still managed to come back! Who’s ready for a new year, This person! That’s who! Lets go over 2020s goals!

I divide my goal list into sections, way easier to get, and keep organized so I have:

  • Blog
  • Financial
  • Business
  • Sustainability
  • Gardening
  • Travel
  • Health
  • Home
  • Community
  • Learning Blocks
  • Self Care

I guess I’ll start with the first one.

Blog

Get a real on, not that I don’t love WordPress, but I want to be able to add more stuff, and maybe make some money.

Also, be more organized in writing, instead of spontaneously writing out a post, have one in mine already, possibly even get ahead! I’m also going to throw in some challenges for myself, and more thoughtfully researched posts.

Financial

This one is an easy one, make $50,000 this year, save, at least $4000, increase my 401k contribution from 2% to 4%. Yes I know it’s sad, my company have a 50% match up to 6% and I know I’m leaving money on the table, but I need to make more money first. Get my financial house in order, maybe a living trust?

Business

This has been a hard road, so I’m just aiming for $120 for 2020. I’ve hit about a million stumbling blocks, but managed to squeak out $60 this year, from a wonderful friend, who bought quite a bit from me, so yay! Next year, Big Things, HUUUGE THINGS!

Sustainability

This is going to be a hard one, I’m going to aim to 100% of my produce, possible more, from the farmers markets.

So goodbye bananas! Lordy this one is going to be hard, it’s going to require me to really take a look at my days off, which ones I can hit, and how much I need to survive the work week. I don’t think I can pull off a Rob Greenfield, but I’m going to try to do better.

Garden

Get those damn raised bed in, like seriously, wtf?

Travel

Utah! I swear I’m going to get there this year! I want to see Pando before the elk and mule deer eat it all.

Health

Ugh, losing weight. Ya I know, everyone picks that, but I’m so tired of being so damn tired! I hurt, I feel like shit, I do not like it Sam I Am. I was aiming to see if my employer offered a gym discount, or even paid for it, they have a health program but not that. So I became resigned to having to spend money on a gym membership, yes there is ways to lose weight at home,

but I’m a person that requires a little external motivation, and I have a huge concert coming up, that my wonderful guy got me tickets for, and I don’t want to die of a heart attack in the most pit. Then I heard of Healthy Wage, where for the cost of a gym membership, you bet on yourself, and possible double your money. I spent a lot of time researching this company, I thought it was a hoax, but really the only complaints that people had were they lost their bet, and couldn’t get their money back, no refund policy, or the app was wonky. Either way, I have to spend money, so why not make the attempt to get it back, and then some.

Home

I really, really, really, want new carpet. This ugly shit is driving me up the wall!

Community

This is kind of a vague one, because I’m still working out the ideas in my head, but I believe in a strong community, and I really feel people are falling apart, especially in the area I live. I was thinking of hosting a crafting nigh, some kind of learning night, or a neighborhood park, or street cleanup.

Learning Blocks

Three months of learning how to

  • Sew by hand (Bernadette Banner has me hooked)
  • Incense (It got abandoned, I feel bad)
  • Photography
  • Spanish (again, because I’m still not any better)

Self Care

I want to do, what I want to do, end of story. Meditate? I haven’t in a while, and I want to get back into it, I enjoy it. Hikes? Reading? Baths?

All this things, I’m tired of putting myself last, almost all of the time, and not doing what I want to do. So kids, watch out, the chore lists are coming! No longer will I be a slave to home and hearth, it’s my time!

There was a few other odds and ends I was thinking about throwing in there, like “No New New Year”, buying nothing new except emergency things, and/or gifts, but it would have to put on the back burner for a week, then revisited. There is going to be ways I want to try to side hustle my way to more cash, except I hate people, so it’ll be “side hustles for introverts”. Definitely could use some more produce bags, I wonder if I could sew them? And books! Read more! A lot more, because I think I’ve read 10 books this year, which is kind of sad, but more than some, I guess, just trying to make myself feel better.

Anyone have any New Year Goals? Feel free to share, or comment, I could use some accountability.

A little Springtime cheer

want to be organized? so do i

I am a person of habitual procrastination, ya I just made that up, I don’t know a better term for it. I’m a creature of habit, if I start doing something I won’t stop, it’ll drive me crazy if I do, because if I do stop, it’ll be for a long time, a long, long time. Kind of like this blog, I love writing, but sometimes I have nothing to write about, and this week I’ve been really tired, Christmas does that to meat cutters, and I have a million things to do, I want to take a break, but I know if I do I won’t be writing until next year, and what is going to keep me accountable for this list of goals I have been building.

I did manage to get most of my goodie pile taken care of, Christmas presents of marshmallows, fudge, and fudgy pine cones. I’m about this close to stopping though, making snacks, I realized a while ago I used to go crazy overboard, make a ton of stuff, and pass it out to everyone, now, I don’t see a lot of people, my family doesn’t even associate with me, my kids don’t care, and it almost feels like a waste of my time, no one really appreciates how much work goes into handmade things.

Maybe next year will be solely my year, no people, no obligations, maybe I’ll even spend it away from home, Christmas in Germany or something, they have really cute little Christmas towns I’d like to see anyways. Sometimes people need to lose things to appreciate it, like mine and Martha Stewart’s marshmallows, good luck making those kids! OK they aren’t that hard to make.

Definitely one of my goals is to get my posts organized, there is so many things I want to do, different challenges I want to take on, that I think it would be so much easier to have them mapped out, instead of dreading, and spending hours, while making fudge pine cones, of what I’m going to write about. A little more organization might help with my tiredness, being as I won’t be brainstorming when I’m supposed to be tying rib roasts, rope burn on your finger is fun!

No that’s not a rib roast, it’s a boneless chuck roast, but they did come out really nice tied.

That’s pretty much all I have to say, besides, be nice to your local butcher, we’re busting our butts to make your Christmas nice, literally, my hip hurts, I jammed my finger, and I have rope burn.

Happy Yule!

Homemade Marshmallows

Ingredients

  • Vegetable oil, for brushing
  • 4 envelopes unflavored gelatin (3 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Directions

  • Step 1 Brush a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish with oil. Line with parchment, allowing a 2-inch overhang on the long sides. Brush parchment with oil; set aside.
  • Step 2 Put granulated sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 3/4 cup water into a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Cook, without stirring, until mixture registers 238 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 9 minutes.
  • Step 3 Meanwhile, put 3/4 cup cold water into the bowl of an electric mixer; sprinkle with gelatin. Let soften 5 minutes.
  • Step 4 Attach bowl with gelatin to mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. With mixer on low speed, beat hot syrup into gelatin mixture. Gradually raise speed to high; beat until mixture is very stiff, about 12 minutes. Beat in vanilla. Pour into prepared dish, and smooth with an offset spatula. Set aside, uncovered, until firm, about 3 hours.
  • Step 5 Sift 1 cup confectioners’ sugar onto a work surface. Unmold marshmallow onto confectioners’ sugar; remove parchment. Lightly brush a sharp knife with oil, then cut marshmallow into 2-inch squares. Sift remaining 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar into a small bowl, and roll each marshmallow in the sugar to coat.
Bringing the sunshine

Could This Year End Any Slower?

Basing your life around days off sucks! I suppose out of all goals I have, ending that cycle, would be the one I want the most. Life in retail sucks around this time of the year, it’s draining both physically, mentally, and when someone swipes you card information, spiritually. Knowing I have one more day off before the Christmas push, is, well I see why people shop online, it’s a nightmare. Every year I swear I’m going to get out of this, every year I’m still doing it, and a lot has to do with my own expectations. Why do I want to make people gifts? I almost dread spending a whole day making candies and marshmallows for people I care about, just because I don’t feel like spending one of my days off in the kitchen, that’s usually messy, because I haven’t “asked” for things to get done, because no one’s eyes work in my house.

I think every year, around the same time, I stumble upon the same existential crisis, I want to do more with my life, it’s probably stems from wanting to spend more time with my friends and family, doing things I enjoy, and having to work a job, that I don’t, enjoy that is.

Well I have a whole other decade to work this out I suppose, so let’s jump into the finale of Decade in Review, Marie Forleo

Section 4: What’s Next? What’s My Future?

2020-2030…That’s 38 to 48 years old, WTF?! Like HOW!? I don’t feel that old, well right now I do, with a jammed middle finger and a knee that hates me, but wtf, 48! Ugh.

So you’re supposed to write down a list of goals, what you want to do in the next ten years.

FU money, I want to travel, I love traveling, and I hate having to beg, plead, or steal days off to do it. One of my New Year’s goals was to see Utah,

and I didn’t get to, because a coworker asked for the same days off, technically he asked second, but had plane tickets, and I didn’t want to be an ass, kissed Utah in the fall goodbye, all I want to see is Pando. So definitely FU money is on that list. Upping my pay, it’s definitely pretty pathetic, I don’t even want to talk about it, it’s so sad, but I’m working on it. Getting my business off the ground! Lordy the struggle is real! Education, which kind of blends with helping my community, I want a degree somewhere in the realm of business, finance, to help people,

because really, who wants to take financial advice from a high school dropout “I’m good with money I swear!”. To not feel shitty health wise, I’m exhausted all the time, and sore, feeling way closer to 48 that 38, and that sucks, because at 48, I might be dead, well maybe sooner than that after naming a beneficiary, if I die mysteriously, look towards my kid. Communication in my relationships, to be able to ask for help when I need it, instead of sucking it up, then blowing up with anger when I can’t find my new planner, they hid it I swear.

I want to spend more time doing things I want to do. Celebrating holidays without stress, well added stress, exploring places, being outdoors, just doing things that make me happy.

Oh the money factor, that’s really what it all boils down to. Now there is some people that live amazing, fulfilling lives, savess money, Rob Greenfield, amazing human, but we are on very different paths, I have kids following me along on mine.

Maybe, just maybe, get my final debt paid off, for my next decade, become mortgage free, then I can shove more money into retirement and investment accounts, and get the freedom I crave.

I have been thinking, its not FI/RE that I want, well not the RE, I still want to work, just on my terms, now it’s just about finding those terms.

You should definitely check out Marie Forleo, I did just get her book, I haven’t started it yet, I have two other library books that are due, real soon, so it’s probably going to go on next years book list, but she’s got great energy, and she’s fun, and loud, and had great hair! If you also want the finale to the Decade in Review, I’ll copy and paste the steps, and link up the article, because I’m giving credit where credit is due, it’s all her.

Section 4: What’s Next? What’s My Future?

What do you want to create, experience, or achieve over the next 10 years? What do you want to feel or accomplish in terms of your…

  1. Health and wellbeing?
  2. Finances?
  3. Relationships?
  4. Career or business?
  5. Community and philanthropy?

Think about how you want to feel on a more consistent basis? Do you want to experience more freedom and flexibility — if so, to do what exactly? 

The goal here is to be as specific and concrete as possible. Envision the best possible decade of your life and let yourself really dream. Don’t underestimate what you can achieve.

My Top 3 Most Important Goals For Next Year

Once you’re done, go back over your list and answer these questions:

  1. What are the three most important goals you want to focus on over the next 12 months? Circle them now.
  2. Why are each of these goals important to you?
  3. Who do you need to become in order to bring each of these goals to life?
  4. What character traits, habits, or skills do you need to develop to accomplish these goals?

Doing this exercise every year will help you break down all your goals, dreams, and expectations from your 10-year plan, one year at a time. And remember — if you’re feeling any kind of overwhelm over a particular goal, I wrote an entire book that will help you figure it out.

Section 5: What Future You Wants You To Know 

Now that you’ve got the tactical goals and dreams written down, you’re going to do one final, highly imaginative exercise to tap into your heart’s wisdom. Imagine yourself ten years in the future, and start writing a letter to current-day you. It can start something like this:

Dear ______, I’d love you to know that…

Let your hand move and write whatever comes to mind. Don’t judge, edit, or pay any attention to grammar, spelling, or punctuation. Trust me, you’ve got so much natural knowing and wisdom inside of you. 

If you get stuck, here are some prompts you can experiment with:

  • I’d love you to start… 
  • I’d love you to remember… 
  • I’d love you to focus on… 

I know this might sound a little weird, but it’s powerful stuff. It helps you access deep truths that you know intuitively, and that you’ll be really glad you articulated right now — before the next ten years pass.

Great job. If you’ve completed all three parts of this series, you now have an invaluable treasure map of personal wisdom that’s going to help you make the next ten years more productive, joyful, and meaningful. 

48 is coming up on me like WHAT?!

So Fresh and So Clean

So many things to do and so little time! Trying to get my goal list together, a lot of interesting things planned for next year, and get the house straightened out, which is always a fun one.

This year actually hasn’t been so bad though, last year I decided to really tear apart each room, and get rid of stuff that, well I just don’t use, or need, or makes me happy. I have a kind of, middle ground minimalism view, I like space to dance around in my bedroom, and it’s not that big, but I have knickknacks too, a mix between The Minimalists and Marie Kondo, if it sparks joy, or has a good memory attached, I’m keeping it. The colored pen holder my middle spawn made for me in 2008, still using it, it even has when she spelled her name with an S, the coffee mugs my oldest painted, they’re change holders, it’s about showcasing the things you are proud of.

I think the problem really comes down to a few things, but large things.

First; your spending money you don’t have, putting it on credit cards, and paying minimum payments, not good at all.

Second; you have so much shit, you you can’t find anything, and you’re buying double.

Third; you have so much stuff, it’s overwhelming to look at, and it stresses you out to think of dealing with it.

Fourth; Your paying someone to store your stuff.

Now I get paying someone to store, maybe an RV, or a boat, or you’re in the middle of moving, but not because your home is busting out at the seams. Have a garage sale, or just donate it, because you don’t feel like dealing with it, like me.

That’s my bedroom curiosity collection, my weirdness proudly on display, because, guess what, I don’t care. I go to a lot of aquariums, I like the PowerPuff Girls, mainly Buttercup, and other stuff just makes me happy, so it stays.

Now the last few days I have spent cleaning, well everywhere, I don’t know when it happened, but along with writing yearly goals, I also like to go into the new year with a clean slate. Some people may put it on their New Year resolution, me, I’m “why wait?”, why not go into the new year, ready to conquer the tasks ahead. So I started on the back of the house, my room, and worked my way forward.

I start with a box, for donations, and a garbage bag, for stuff that just isn’t salvageable, cleaning spray, and a towel, because I’m going for the dust bunnies too.

Every drawer is gone through, every shelf, closet, and the top of all furniture.

Now this is a big job, if you weren’t ready, this would be more like a month job, so maybe just cleaning and tossing stuff. I made going through my house a goal last year, I gave each room a month, mostly on my days off, to go though everything, and I got rid of a lot of stuff, so just doing a small once over was pretty easy.

Oh the shirt drawer, that’s the only one I’m going to show, I’m not that comfortable to put my undergarments on display, though I did go through that drawer, and throw a lot of stuff away there too.

Don’t donate your unmentionables, please, gross.

I really didn’t get rid of any shirts, but I did practice the KonMari roll, which honestly, makes finding shirts so much easier. I did donate a pair of pants, there is no way, right now, I’m going to fit into them, and I don’t hang onto things for motivation, it’s just depresses me.

When I first saw her shirt folding method, I was skeptical, just because it is a little more time consuming, but in the long run, so much easier to find shirts.

Part of me wanted to ditch the work out clothes, but I think working out needs to be a serious goal, I don’t like feeling tired all the time, and things are starting to hurt, now I just need to figure out how to offset the cost of a gym membership, feel free to comment tips. Now that a reasonably priced gym opened up a few blocks away, it’s given me a little more motivation too, ugh I hate spending money though!

On to the hallway! The bathroom was still really clean, the only thing I ended up getting rid of was a hot roller set that no one uses anymore, plus it was missing clips, still works though, into the donation box!

My craft shelf was looking a little rough, and the school supply cabinet was frazzled, which is weird, because I only have on kid still in school, college too, and obviously she still can’t clean up after herself.

Since I am school kidless, and have a lot of things left over from couponing, I was thinking of donating them to a school, I just can’t figure out which one, but I need to do it before the glue sticks dehydrate.

Much Better! I can actually find stuff now, like the envelopes I needed a month ago! Definitely don’t need that many pencils, or that many gluesticks, or glue, I guess if I wanted to make slime I could though. I think I’m going to take up looming again, go though the pile of yarn I have accumulated, plus it’s relaxing, and I promised, last year, my other half a hat I haven’t delivered on.

Also pulled the old switcheroo on my purses. I had the one on the right for about two years now, it even has the chew marks from my crazy dog like animal. I picked up the one on the left from the Weave Thrift store, no only is it gently used, the money is going to a good cause.

The stuff that came out of my old purse! Wow! My mouth guard from Derby, I haven’t done derby in almost three years, my 12 year pin from Safeway, been with them for 14, candy, unwrapped, really gross, a million lip glosses and lipsticks, granola bars, receipts, it was bad, but it is done, and all fresh and new for 2020!

Cleaning products! The best part about making your own soap, is you get to pick whatever scents you feel like. I use, and make, liquid coconut soap for cleaning, its awesome, removes stains, cuts grease, probably could take the paint off the walls if i let it sit for too long. I mix about a quarter cup of soap concentrate, to about four cups of water, and add whatever essential oils I’m feeling. My current favorite smells have been winter related ones, so a mix of 6 ml fir needle, 4 ml peppermint, 4 ml cedar wood, shake, and spray. Clean house, winter scents, chemical free, what better way to start the new year.

Sea critters prefer you didn’t use chemicals either.

Putting Your Behind In Your Past

Well the last two days have been pretty interesting, a lot of highs and lows, decided to let go and let the universe handle it, and that happened in astounding ways, then came the crash, which wasn’t so bad, because of one little trick I learned.

I was all ready to go, gonna get this business off the ground! And it just all became too much to handle at once, work during the holidays is rough, and I wanted to spend more time with my family, and less time stressing, so I decided to back burner it. It sucks because I put a good chunk of money into it, but mental health is more important, and I didn’t want to go to prison for murdering my family, or a customer.

So I “Let it goooo”, and decided to just try to get rid of some of my garage junk instead. Pulled listings that had been sitting on OfferUp for years (well almost a year), took new pics, and reposted, and holy crap! I sold shit in day! Then a friend text me, asked to buy two of all my soaps, Thank You Friend! Then I was officially made an assistant manager at work, with a raise! The universe made it rain!

Then in the middle of the night, while I was dreaming peacefully, some asshole went on a spending spree, with my debit card information! Trying to turn on the coffee pot and read fraud alerts is hard at 4am, thankfully, because I’ve had a similar issue happen before, I have a trick.

Debit limits, lower as far as you feel comfortable with, you can always call the bank and raise it, but it’s a hell of a lot harder, and longer, to get your money back. Debit limits set off my fraud alert, and shut down my card, they only managed a $40 purchase.

That nonsense didn’t slow me down today though, I still got my new journal, with my soap money! Ha! That isn’t my new journal, those are this years, remember how I was talking about Marie Forleo, well this weeks writing prompts are, “What you’re will to let go of”, old projects and goals; resentments, anger, and upsets; and limiting beliefs. Well lets dive right into last years goals! I already know some I bombed, but that’s not gonna stop me, they just might roll into next year.

My original starting journal was that fancy pink one, with gold lettering, my my goal list is written right in the front cover, I actually stayed consistent, and ran out of paper, so I had to buy another mid year.

I got crazy this round, I decided to get matching pens too!

Journal buying tip; buy something you’ll want to write in, something to inspire you. I’m chick who listens to metal music, but also likes rainbows and unicorns, my colorful middle spawn likes beige, a lot of it, so boring, but not to her. It’s your journal, buy whatever makes you happy, just use it, that’s the key

On to 2019 goals!

I have large goals, big lifetime goals, in order to accomplish those goals, I chuck them down into easy to swallow pieces.

One of my lifetime goals is to eat an entire days worth of meals, out of my yard, stuff that I have grown myself. I’d like to go bigger, but smaller is attainable, and keeps me focused. In order to reach that goal, I need to grow stuff, to do that, I need less grass, more beds. The goal was for one raised garden bed, I have the wood, just haven’t had the time, and the rain doesn’t help.

One year without produce bags. I was better at the beginning of the year, up until about last month, I can’t find my bags.

Learn FOUR new things, looming, Spanish, drawing, incense making. I love learning new things, but go overboard, so I decided to limit myself to three month blocks. I can’t draw, and I feel bad, incense making took back burner to trying to start a business.

Read six book, some people are probably like “really, that’s it?” Sometimes I go hard, other times, I can go months, too much stuff, I actually read more than six, so I’m proud of myself.

Declutter the house, I actually did it! Very proud of myself. Bought more, so I may have to do it again.

Walking schedule for the dog, well kinda, work has been difficult.

Library card, Yes!

Get out of the house and have a life. Ya, that’s been hard too.

Get a new job, Yes! And I got promoted!

Exercise, four times a week, ugh.

Visit one state, Utah. Job change didn’t help that one.

Do one hike; Hidden Falls, Yes! And Cache Creek! Yes again!

No spend months, one; save $2000-$4000, yes; new car insurance, no; 401K, YES!

So now to Marie’s thing, goals I need to let go of, I’d like to pick exercise, it seems to be a problem in my life, I just can’t do it. Unfortunately, everything has been hurting, so I think I need to actually do something, maybe figure out a better system? Honestly I can’t think of any goals I want or need to let go of, I’m pretty good at quitting while I’m ahead, like drawing.

Resentments, anger, and upsets; oh ya, I got those, my former employer. I do need to let it go, it’s not doing me any good, and I keep putting too much blame on it.

Limiting beliefs and Crappy Stories; College. I want/need to go back, and get a real degree, but I also need to stop letting become the end all be all in my life. I struggle with starting a business “if I only had a” Making more money “if I had a ( ), I could”, the list goes on, and I need to drop that shit.

The year isn’t over yet, and I need to make a new list, roll some stuff over, and maybe, fingers crossed, finish this years.

If you want to follow along with the Decade in Review, I’ll list the action steps below, so you can do them too.

Section 3: What You’re Willing to Let Go Of 

You’re going to create three separate lists under this section. This will take time, but it’s worth it.

Old Projects & Goals

  1. Are there any projects that you keep meaning to do, but haven’t made time for?
  2. Do you have any “I should do this” type goals that you keep putting off?
  3. Are there any expectations from family, loved ones, or even yourself that aren’t true to your heart?

Old goals and projects are kind of like leftovers in your fridge. Food that you meant to eat, but that’s no good anymore and just taking up valuable space. This list is an opportunity to clean out your mental fridge so you can rock the 2020s without those moldy “shoulds” cluttering your heart and mind.

Resentments, Anger, and Upsets

  1. Are there any resentments or upsets that you’ve been hanging onto?
  2. Do you have old emotional baggage that you’re ready to release?
  3. Is there anybody you need to forgive — including yourself?

Be honest and write it down, even if you don’t know how to forgive or let go in this moment. As long as you’re willing, you’ll figure out a way. Naming and acknowledging is the first step toward healing.

Limiting Beliefs or Crappy Old Stories

  1. What limiting beliefs have you been carrying for the past ten years?
  2. What crappy old stories are you telling yourself that no longer serve you? 

For example, maybe you’ve been telling yourself that you’re too old or too young to follow your passion. Maybe you’re done believing the story that it’s all been said or done before. Maybe you’re ready to let go of excuses that are holding you back from your biggest dreams. Or maybe it’s time to put that old crappy story — that you’re not good enough or capable enough — to rest once and for all.

Remember, you are so much more powerful and capable than you give yourself credit for. 

This is your opportunity to let go of all the negative thoughts and limiting beliefs that hold you back. Do this work now, so they don’t control your next 10 years.

What’s Most Important To Let Go Of and Why?

Once you’re done, go back over each subsection and answer these four questions:

  1. What are the most important things to let go of? Circle them now.
  2. Why is it vital you let these things go now?
  3. What have these goals, resentments, or limiting beliefs cost you over the last decade?
  4. Are there any experiences or achievements that you haven’t experienced as a result of holding onto these?

Write as much as you want. Remember, purpose fuels persistence. Once you’re done, you will have laid the groundwork for Part 3: creating your 10-year plan. We’re releasing it next Tuesday, so be sure to bookmark this page so you get access the second it drops.

Go big or go home. Actually, just go big

Where Has This Year Gone?

2019, where did you go?!

Why does it feel like this month is almost over? Not only this month, but a decade! Holy crap that’s a long time, I’m still all decade messed up, the 70s were 30 years ago right? And where did those ten years go again anyways, this year I start pretty consistent journaling, so I can probably find out where most of this year went, but ten? I had to dive into Facebook for that one, a lot of quotes, work anger, and I even found a recipe! Thank you Facebook for being, sort of, my electronic journal.

Recently, because I’m crazy about David Bach, I stumbled upon Marie Forleo, now I still don’t know everything about her, she seemed interesting enough to trust her with my email, and not to send to the spam box, I’ve also heard a lot of great reviews about her book, surprising I ended up purchasing sight unseen (it had a 45 people waiting list at the library). Recently I got an email from her, an intriguing one, that involves writing, so hell ya I’m down! “Before you roll into 2020, do a decade in review“, well I already do a year in review, and am on the hunt for a new journal for next year, so why not?!

So this is the first of a three part series, the next one drops next Tuesday, I actually cant wait.

Decade in Review Part 1: Celebrate Your Past

Section 1: What You’re Most Proud Of

There is a few things this past decade that I have been pretty proud of, I bought a house, paid off my student loan, I have a passport, and have visited two countries! I quit my job of 14 years, that was a hard one, quit my relationship, well he did, of seven years, but I went into therapy, and got my shit straight. I got more serious about money, saving it, and retirement, I actually have a positive net worth! Not too shabby for a decade.

What Was Most Important And Why?

Now this one took some serious thinking, what is the most important thing to me?

smiling statue

I think traveling was my absolute biggest accomplishment, probably why I’m obsessed with it now, and hoping to soon be able to get some vacation time out of my new job. Secondly would be buying a house, which some may think should be first, but I was so happy to explore. I do love what my house has afforded me and my family though, a comfortable and affordable place to live, key word, affordable, especially in this current rental market. So I suppose my biggest accomplishments would be freedom, to be able to do whatever, whenever I want to. Sucking it up and getting the mental health I needed after my relationship kicked the bucket, I’d recommend therapy to anyone, everyone, if shit sucks, get help.

Section 2: Your Learnings

Modesty at work gets you no where, and don’t pass up promotions because you don’t like being in charge and dealing with people. If your going to be in a shit pile, might as well be at the top of the shit pile. Trusting my gut more, also not putting up with shit in a relationship.

What Was Most Important and Why

Probably the promotion part, I passed up so many of them, just because I didn’t want to deal with the bullshit, but you know what, there is bullshit on the bottom too, on the top you just get paid more to deal with it.

If you would also like to follow along, here are the steps. Sometimes, in order to move forward, you have to take a look back. There is definitely some things that I, I don’t want to say, done differently, because I have no regrets, and I believe that everything happens in due time, but I would prefer to only make some mistakes once. Everything I have learned, and been through, has put me where I am today, and I am pretty happy where I am at on my path, I’ll have some kick ass work news soon, hopefully some good business news soon, and just in general, life is good, and I am happy.

Section 1: What You’re Proud Of  

  1. Over the past 10 years, what have you done that you’re proud of? 
  2. What are the obstacles you’ve overcome? 
  3. What are some of the results you’ve created in your career or life since 2010?

Pull out old calendars, journals, planners, emails, or photos to jog your memory. This may take some time, but it’s worth it. 

What Was Most Important & Why

Once you’re done, go back over that list and answer these questions: 

  1. Out of everything you listed, what’s most important? Circle whatever jumps out to you.
  2. Why is that most important?

When you know the things that have made the biggest difference in the quality of your life, you’ll be able to make wiser decisions as you plan the next ten years.

Section 2: Your Learnings

  1. What have you learned over these past ten years? 
  2. What wisdom has become crystal clear to you?
  3. What mistakes did you make and what did you learn from them? 

Think through your career, family, relationships, time, health, finances, and creativity and write them all down — big and small. 

What Was Most Important and Why

Look at the list you just created and ask these questions:

  1. What lessons were the biggest game-changers?
  2. Why do these matter to you? 
  3. What do you really want to remember as you move into this brand new decade?

This section is crucial. Review it often so you avoid making the same mistakes.

I’m also going to be doing my year in review, see how I’ve done on my yearly goals, questionable, and get ready to set some new goals, and learning blocks.

Please stop setting yourself up for failure with last minute new years resolutions, take these last few weeks, before the real craziness of the holidays kicks in, to figure out what you want to get out of the new year, then make attainable action steps towards it, your ten year from now self will thank you.

Want to travel, but you think you’re too broke, make a money plan.

The Land of Farm to Fork

Sacramento’s Farmers Markets

I’ve been wanting to write this one for sooo long! Technically it’s not even done yet, really it’ll never be done, so I may have to part this one out too. Sacramento is now known as the Farm to Fork capital, and for a lot of people, that is pretty offensive, not because of the produce, but because, prior to Farm to Fork, it was City of Trees. There was a tear in the eye of every stoner in Sacramento when they repainted the water tower, sorry guys! Okay, back to produce, Sacramento Valley has a fantastic climate, that affords the people that live here a constant abundance and assortment of fresh fruits and veggies year round. There are so many benefits! So I guess I’ll start with that, why you should find a Farmers Market .

Transportation. Do you know where that banana is coming from? You should because it’s on the label, either way, it’s pretty far away, because there are no bananas growing in California. A majority of farmers are in, about 100 mile radius, I did go to a few, where they were driving a little bit further. A lot of the farmers are either certified organic, or damn close to it, they also practice sustainable agriculture and crop rotation. Your keeping your money in the community, these are your people, they live near by, there farms are near by, your giving the money directly to the farmers themselves.

A few things I did learn, that hospitals are also hosting Farmer’s Markets, these aren’t the Certified Farmer’s Market, but it’s bring fresh produce to the neighborhood, and also some other yummy goodies. There is a few days that don’t have one, and a few days that have several, they really should distribute them a little more evenly, but that’s my opinion. There are the certified one, which is all food or plants, no extras, the hospital ones, and the big Midtown one, where I spent way to much money, and not on produce. There are also price differences, if you want crowded ambiance, way more people, W St. is your place, if you want better prices, Florin Road has got you. A few of them are seasonally, no rain weather, but Florin is open year round, unless its hurricane strength winds.

Now there is a few day where there isn’t a Farmers Market, I’ve tried, there is no way around Wednesday, I looked everywhere, but Friday over at Kaiser Permanente off of Cottage Way, there is one in front of the hospital. Doesn’t have the largest selection of produce, but it does Have some really tasty extras, Garlish is my new favorite spread, holy crap is that stuff good, Dracula Slayer, lordy. Zena Foods, their pita bread and hummus is amazing! And they give you a hug sample of everything, unless it has cilantro, they can keep that, yuck! Produce wise, they have the seasonal basics, they had apples, persimmons, a variety of lettuces, there was enough there to get a meal. The next one I managed to hit was the Midtown Farmer’s Market, this one is not a CFM, because they allow stuff. Lots of other vendors, aside from food, which there is nothing wrong with that, still have access to fresh produce, the prices are a little on the high side, but it just reflects the price of a booth there. There is way more foot traffic, and also a lot of cool things to look at, a lot of local artisans from Sacramento, my kids ended up buy dog bandanas, and that’s why its not a CFM. The next one I went to was a Monday one if front of another hospital, it took a minute to find it, but it was there. The same vendors from the other hospital, so all I bought was bread. That on is located off Heritage Lane, by Exposition, Kaiser again, I think I’m seeing a theme. I worked a late shift on Sunday, so I was able to go to the really big, Certified one, at 8th and W. Way more produce, meats, flowers, honey, dried goods, microgreens, they had it all!

So go out, try something new, learn some recipes, veggies don’t bite, I promise, though don’t eat anything you might be allergic to. Your doing good things, just buy shopping, if you shop at your local farmer’s market, and if you don’t have one, maybe figure out a way to start one, organize, I have no idea how that happens, but I’m sure I could figure it out. It’ll save you money, save the environment, save jobs, what’s not to like?

The bees appreciate you shopping at Farmer’s Markets too!

Up Close and Personal, November 2019

Financial Comings and Goings For November 2019

I swear the last two months of the year can break anyone’s budget, I’ve definitely have fallen off the budgeting band wagon, and it doesn’t help I have all these plans, but my executions has been all fudged up. I thought this whole business thing was going to go a lot smoother, I have business skills dammit, but I keep getting monkey wrenches chucked at my head left and right.

Alright, enough ranting, there is good news, I was up for the month! WooHoo, not too shabby for foodie November. I have noticed a couple bad habits I’ve adopted, I’ve been working early shifts so I keep buying breakfast in the morning, and definitely not the healthy kind. A coffee and muffin has really taken a chunk out of my money, so I need to figure something out, and before you think, “that’s easy Dawn, just pack it in your lunch box” I have to wake up at 4am, slam some coffee, and get to work by 5am, my coffee pot is too hot to tear down and restart.

Let’s get into money, so the grand total spent for the month of November was $1991, not too bad, but my numbers are actually off. With some of my bills, and the way the holiday fell, I’m gonna be screwed for December, quite a few of my bills are due at the end of the month, and since Thanksgiving fell on the end of the month, they still haven’t been processed yet, since people outside of retail get four day weekends. So I’m going to end up paying double in December for utilities, car insurance, and my cell phone bill, Mint is going to love that one. Food was up obviously, I got a nice little alert that tells me I overspent on food, thanks Thanksgiving, next year, kids will starve.

Threw down an extra $200 towards the mortgage again, one way or another, I’m going to get the house payed off, or at least the stank town mortgage insurance off, that’ll save me $77 a month, that will go to better things, like a real website! All I have to do is get past $69,000, and I’m now at $70,941! A little bit further to go. Throw in some light bulbs and a new bookcase, which why do LED lights say they last 10 years? I feel I’ve changed lights way more than that, and I’m pretty good about turning light off, such a rip off, but I’ll still use them…unless someone has a better suggestion? Gas and an oil change, yay for Groupon, it saves me quite a bit on oil changes, I wish I found it sooner. Gifts. $111! This is why I don’t have friends, or kids, or a boyfriend, ok I do, I have all these things, and they cost me too much money. November is the anniversary month of my guy and I, and we weren’t supposed to get each other anything, of course I broke that, it was cotton year, he needed a blanket (yes I steal blankets, I’m cold!), it worked out. Then there was my proof readers’ fee, supposedly the things from the thrift store counted as Christmas gifts, but I know she’ll cry if she doesn’t get anything. Food was $505, obviously, we are gluttonous, besides, thanksgiving meals last like 4 days of leftovers.

More business item, because if I have some follow through to my plan, I needed stuff, now hopefully. everything goes right, because so far, it’s been shit creek, and my boat has a hole in it. I won’t go into all the details, I’ll save that for a business rant.

Not counting all the expenses I made that haven’t pulled, damn you holidays, I saved $801 for the month, yay! Probably should have been more like $400, but at least I was in the green. I’ll have to go back to my New Year Goal List and see if I’ve beat my savings goal. $51 went to my retirement account, hopefully by next year I’ll up that, the rest went into the travel fund, and general savings. Credit score is holding steady at a 786 according to Mint, Well Fargo says I’m at a 801, it’s the only time I like Wells Fargo. I still haven’t sold shit out of my closet, but I also have been slacking off in listings, stupid holidays. By the end of this moth I need to go over my New Year Goals, Learning Blocks, and then set new ones, I might have a few rollovers too, since some stuff I just didn’t get done. I know I haven’t shopped around on car insurance, and it’s costing me some serious cash, I’m just too lazy sometimes. I did manage to start the 401k, so yay, accomplished! Okay, I work late, it’s nap time now, and obviously since I almost deleted half this post and freaked out, I need sleep! I really need to quit hitting backspace so much.

Me looking for my budget

Finding Your Roots

I am so full! I don’t even feel like writing today, because I just want to lay down, and fall into my food coma in peace, but I can’t, I have a couple things I need to do, and write about.

This is going to be slightly off topic, but not, there is rhyme to my reason, it’s all about that Black Friday shopping, except not in store, because I don’t believe in that, everyone deserves a day off, people just need to stay TF home. Okay, back to shopping, I’ve been wanting to, and waiting for, a sale on DNA tests, googling away on whats the best test, with the largest database, and a good price.

At first I was skeptical, plus I didn’t want my DNA to be in a data base, cops see that stuff, the government might find me, I don’t like it (I know you’re watching Big Brother), but curiosity is getting the best of me. I’ve always liked learning about my family, even though they don’t like you learning about them, and a good chunk of my family has been cut off of me most of my life. My grandmother, a truly amazing woman, was a rebel, probably where I go it from, and had my mom out of wedlock. You may think, um people do that all the time, well this was 1942, it wasn’t done. My family being the compassionate people they are, sent her away, she kept everything a secret, and took it to her grave.

I’m famous! Okay I’m not, but my family is pretty well known in the Chico/Butte area. My Grandmother is Grace Lucas, middle right, she was the one tossed out, pregnant, she was a tough cookie though, she ended up getting married, having four more children, him leaving her, getting a college education, and raising all five by herself. My mother never knew who her father was, then it rolled downhill to me, my mother had me outside of marriage, not as frowned upon, but he didn’t want me, so she bounced, and raised me on her own. Now obviously I know a fair amount of my family on my grandmother’s side, but I was hoping to find out more on my father’s side. Well guess what? DNA doesn’t work that way for women, since we have XX chromosomes.

Can’t trace a paternal line without that good old Y chromosome, which is, NOT FAIR! Now it says you can use a male relative, of similar DNA, well guess what I don’t have,those! I have no siblings, and my male cousins are technically half cousins, since my mother had a different father. Bullshit! That almost turned me away from doing it, I wasn’t going to find out anything about my father, except if a strange ethnicity is thrown in, then maybe, but that could be my mystery grandfather too. Word of advice, don’t take everything to the grave with you, family matters sometimes, for a myriad of reasons, tattoos don’t, so quit asking proofreader. That is my Mother and Her Grandmother Clara Lucas Hicks, I believe my great grandmother was the only person to still see and talk to my grandmother, her father and brothers cut her off, which then caused more of a rift in the family, I heard they never divorced, but my Grandmother and Grandfather stopped living together, she lived in Chico, he stayed in Butte Meadows. We, Lucas’ are famous for grudges, I have a cousin, that I just found a few years ago, that doesn’t speak to me, for who knows what reason, I think it had to do with my aunt, I would have liked to know her better, but oh well.

It’s funny, when I first got a job in the meat department, I knew nothing of my family, my mom kept a lot of information from me, I’m not sure why, but I think, she thought, she was protecting me. After I got the job though, she laughed, because my Great Great Grandfather, and his son, were ranchers and butchers, she said “I guess it’s in the blood”. This year my cousin Jack and I, I say cousin loosely because hes actually my mom’s cousin, went to Chico, Butte Meadows, and he showed me all the houses where everyone lived, where the slaughter house was, and the summer cabin in Butte Meadows, someday I’d like to own that, bring it back into the Lucas family.

My Great Great Grandmother Ellen Lucas O’Callahan, who immigrated from Ireland to the United States with her father in in the 1800s, she signed in in New York. After her father died, I don’t know the exact details, but she became a mail order bride, and came to California, to marry Paul Lucas. Together they had a lot of kids, a ranching operation, and a stage stop, 14 Mile House. Paul passed away, I heard rumors it was a neighboring rancher that shot him, trying to take the land, or, the newest, it was his son. Either way, Ellen and her eldest son ran it like freaking champions, these people were hardcore, toss in some college educated women, you have a recipe for stubborn. In my searches for my past, a lot is missing though, fathers line obviously, but also, after they immigrated to the United States, I can’t find any information on Ellen or Paul Lucas. Paul Lucas was from Germany, his parents and him lived in Missouri, and he picked up gold fever, he couldn’t find anything though, so that’s when he decided to feed the miners. I have found a census record of him at another mining camp, but nothing of him in Missouri, or his parents. That’s another reason I’m hoping the DNA test can give me some clues, or even living relatives would be cool, because the ones I have suck.

Ellen and all her kids. My cousin Jack took me to see this cabin in Butte Meadows, I was able to see the river behind it where she used to go fly fishing, Jack was the one who hooked up electricity to the cabin too. The reason why the cabin isn’t in our family anymore is because my cousin Jacks dad broke the will and sold everything, he didn’t want the responsibility, and didn’t give anyone else a chance. So now it’s a summer get away house owned by some lawyer who doesn’t answer letters, hoping to approach him about it, when I have more money.

Gifts that my cousin gave me, in his stash, he had to journals of Clara Hicks, from the 1800s, and two photo albums, I would love to give more names to the many faces that are in there, plus its so freaking cool to have this stuff, and isn’t their handwriting absolutely perfect? What has happened to us? Goodbye smallpox, hello shitty handwriting. So ya, I’m gonna do it, going to use that black Friday discount and snag me a test for $50, I’m think the AncestyDNA one will due, I was going to go with health, but everyone in my family died of some cancer or another, I don’t think I want to know more information than that.

These are real pictures too, not the ones taken in Old Sacramento, adding sepia color, and please if you recognize any of these people, like “Hey that’s Great Uncle William, hanging on the wall”, feel free to say something, we could be related.

Alright, I’m off to buy a DNA test now, hopefully I didn’t kill anyone.

Is that you uncle?

Book Review; The Good, The Bad, and The Huh?

Quit Like A Millionaire by Kristy Shen and Bryce Leung

So my picture obviously sucks, and I can’t take a new one, yet, this was the second book that rolled in on my recommended reading list for people embracing that FI/RE lifestyle. Know what? This book is pretty damn good, and I need to learn more about investing.

I ended up actually purchasing this book today, I’ve been wanting to, and since I sat down and bought another book, I was all, screw it, might as well get it out of the way. Originally, it was the second book to roll in from the library, from reading the article, 5 Books to Start You on F.I.R.E., still waiting on a few more, the library has saved me a ton of money this year in books year, because I’m able to test drive the books before I, maybe, purchase them. It also encourages me to read them, crazy right? The last few years, I’ve gotten into the bad habit of buying books, and letting them sit on my shelf, unread, as if the information was going to enter my brain through osmosis. One of my New Year goals, was to stop that nonsense, by getting a library card, free read, and I had to read it, or return it and feel dumb.

I ended up enjoying this book so much, I decided I needed it on my book shelf, plus there was a lot of stuff I didn’t understand, and needed access to it, for Googling purposes. So onward! My review, well half, because a lot of the book I didn’t understand, of Quit Like a Millionaire.

Remember how in my last book review, You Need A Budget, I didn’t feel like I could relate? Well this one I could! Not on her level, I didn’t grow up in communist China (bet I’m on a watch list now), but I grew up poor too! So I understood where she was coming from, her mindset, going from the scarcity mindset, to now I have money, spend it quick, mindset. This book also doesn’t sugar coat, and has some hard truths in it, really hard truths, ones that would probably upset a few people I know.

This quote, totally spoke to me, I loved it, because I totally got it. Struggle builds character, I wouldn’t wish the same struggles that I had, on my kids, but it made me stick to my decision not to spoil the crap out of them. I think it has made them better people, they tell me different right now, but someday they’ll understand. You became creative when you were poor, when you wanted that big gulp from the gas station, you figured out how to finagle the money out of somewhere, not always in the most honest ways, but Pepsi was so good! You learned who your friends were, and you stuck together, anyone picked on you because you were poor, they had to deal with all of you. You became the master at making five dollars last all week, sometimes I don’t even know how I pulled it off, and I still wish I had those skills, I’ve gotten a little soft. You knew when you hit hard times, you could make it, because your whole life had been made of of hard times, you were used it it. So yes, I totally understood this quote, and this book an I started out on the right foot.

Now there is some differences, she made different choices than I made, picking a smart college degree, getting a well paying job, mine were pretty different. I still liked it because I can apply this things to my life.

The mathematical equations in her book, I’m not a math fan, but they are on point! The POT score, pay over tuition, they need to have this in high schools, or community colleges , at a minimum. Instead of finding you dream job, and wasting a crap ton of money, you should be going by the POT score and finding out what pays the best. I know it’s not the most idealistic of things, that saying, that money can’t buy happiness, have never been hungry, or had their bills shut off, or was scared those two days before your next paycheck. Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy peace of mind, and as a person with anxiety, I’ll take that. So kids, pick a profession that will earn you some cash, save money, then follow your dreams. Also not everyone is made for college, I have a kid like that, trades pay well too.

There was POT scores for doctors and lawyers too, that high earnings aren’t always the way to go, the expense of school outweighed the salary by a lot, so make sure you take advantage of as much help for college as possible, kid, of mine, I hope you are paying attention while proof reading this. As a future student, I though about what I wanted to do, my passion, plants and ecology, and then I thought about how much they don’t make. Someday I hope to get there, but business, for now, is the way to go.

Now the money part of the book I understood, they had an excellent formula on whether to buy a house or not, I personally made the right decision, yay me, right now I wouldn’t buy a house though. But when it got into the investment aspects, maxing out 401ks, backdoor Roths, I had no idea. Obviously I need to find some investment books for dummies, like super dummies that can’t read, and need lots of pictures, with signs, pointing me in directions I need to go. In order to know all the stuff I needed to learn, I needed the book, so I bought it, and you should buy it too, or a least read it. You may think she’s mean, and harsh, because you love your degree in art history, while working in the grocery store with me, living in your parents basement. She also gets to follow her dreams now too! She doesn’t work! She gets to travel, and wrote a children’s book, because she wanted to go to school for creative writing.

Think of this book as the one honest best friend that you have, the one that tells you that the guy you’re dating is stupid AF, in front of him. You have a limited amount of time on this planet, you don’t want to spend it working until you can barely walk, then spending the last year trying to squeeze out that bucket list. Do the work now, make the goal, save the money, then enjoy your good years, arthritis free traveling.

Some quotes that I really liked. So yes read this book, then teach me the math part, thank you! There is a lot of places I want to see still.

I’m on top of the world!

Thrifting Conscientiously

Since shopping season is almost in full swing, ew Black Friday, not a fan of mindless consumerism, especially violent mindless consumerism, and that’s as far as I’m going to go right now, because I can rant for hours on that topic, and I want to talk about something else, thrift stores!

To be honest, I hates thrift stores for the longest time, my mom would drag me to the, I swear it was the only one in town, to shop for clothes, and for her to look at other peoples cast offs.

The problem with shopping for clothes, in a thrift store, of a town with a population of 2000, was you ended up wearing you classmates old clothes. I have a very vivid, and embarrassing memory of standing in the lunch line at school, and someone telling me that I was wearing their old shirt, yup not the best time for the weird poor girl who didn’t have very many friends. From that time on, I did my best to avoid thrift stores, not only for me, but for my kids.

Well, when I moved to Sacramento, that changed. Partly because the place is expensive, but also because it was big, and I didn’t have to worry about that problem happening again. I really don’t even remember the first one I went in here, I know it was with my mom and aunts, because they loved, and still love thrift stores, and the funny part is my kids absolutely love thrift stores too.

Now the point of this post is not to wax poetic about how great thrift stores are, how they’re keeping stuff out of the landfills, giving perfectly good items a second chance, and making things affordable for people who can’t afford new. It’s about for profit thrift stores, non profit thrift stores, and supporting causes dear to you, or do they?

By the way, this applies to Sacramento, because that’s where I live, and the thrift stores I hit, I also did not hit all the thrift stores in Sacramento, there is a lot, and it takes a lot of time, something that I have been running low on lately.

Now the difference for a for-profit thrift store, and a non profit thrift store? One supports a charity directly, non profit, and one supports the owners, for profit. For profit will sometimes say it supports some charitable organizations, but it’s not their main goal. Also not all non profit thrift stores are “good”, Goodwill is probably one of the biggest, and in the news, offenders, paying the CEOs a lot, and their employees less than minimum wage. Other non profits support religious organizations, which can discriminate against people that don’t align with their beliefs.

I visited a little of everything in Sacramento, and found a very interesting mix. I have my favorite, I found a really nice one, I found some not so nice ones, I sadly missed out on a purchase, and my kids talking me into spending way too much money.

My Favorite: WeaveWorks Recycled Fashion 2401 Arden Way Sacramento.

Weave has a special place in my heart, being a survivor of domestic violence, I love everything they do for people stuck in those horrible situations. So I was totally happy, and guilt free shopping here, know that every purchase made, could have helped me, when I needed them. Also, they have fantastic prices, it’s clean, organized and has membership program that is free to join, that can give you more discounts, why wouldn’t you shop here? My only regret is not picking up the pink leather jacket, why?! I’m cool now with Vans my kids talked me into, also they are new Vans, for $24, not too shabby.

Next up: Goodwill, a few of them.

Can’t have a thrift store post without Goodwill. They can be kind of on the pricey side, but you can find a few good items. I found a $35 Instapot, never used, online it goes for $90, on the flip side, trying to find a towel for my guy’s windshield, $2.99, I can get a new towel at walmart for cheaper, so not really the best sometimes. Their stores are organized, and for the most part clean, they pretty much have the same set up in all of them. The one by my house used to be a ThriftTown, I liked it better then, even though I read it is a for profit. There is a scene from the movie Lady Bird in there, from the ThriftTown location, it pretty much sums up my daughters’ and I relationship, she is as dramatic.

Next up: Salvation Army Thrift Store

Now I don’t know a lot about the salvation army, I do know it’s a religious organization, and they have a lot of programs that help the homeless population in an area, or help people get back on their feet. They have the bell ringers, and it’s currently in the news, with Chick-fil-a over donations. It is a religious organization, and sometimes those kinds of organizations clash with people of the LGBTQ minorities, as a mother of one, and a lot of friends, it’s doesn’t rank high on my list of places to shop, I’ve never eaten Chick-fil-A and I’ve never been to the thrift store. It is pretty rough, and I overheard a business meeting, it was right above my head, about better selling thrift store items to people. Closed doors people,come on!

Next up: SPCA Thrift Store. I’m going to say shop there, because I like animals, but I guess it’s going to be closing by the end of the year. I really hope they find a new place, a building with a little more upkeep. The prices were decent, the place was chaos, but they are closing, so maybe that was why. It’s a cute thrift store though, I liked it.

Next: American Cancer Society Discover Shop

I got to say, that’s a nice thrift store, really organized, merchandised, colorful, and decently priced. The American Cancer Society helped out my mom, when she had breast cancer, so yup, I’ll shop there.

Last one I swear: Eco Thrift

Sometimes you can find decent stuff at EcoThrift, at a good price, I got an Olla there once, and a wolverine action figure. Other times, we found a $400 necklace! What the hell! And $20 spaghetti jar full of rocks, EcoThrift can be pricey. It is well organized, and clean, and huge! The one close to me is a monster, but ya, there is some pricey stuff. It’s a for-profit thrift store, so if you’re just thrifting for fun, could be your place, but if you’re wanting to support a cause, you might want to try some place else, and seriously, changing $24 for a Christmas sweater?!

The moral of the story is, thrift store shopping is awesome! But if you want to take it a step further, practice being conscientious of where your money is going.

Cooper's Hawk on telephone pole
He’s looking for deals too

Turning your hobby into a business Pt. 4

Geez! My week has been so up and down it’s ridiculous! Last post I did got the most views I’ve gotten so far, maybe I should switch to just a baking blog, too bad I’m not the best baker. I decided on building two good sized, researched posts, it’s taking forever! Also decided to do a soft launch of my business Created at Dawn, which I was getting some great feedback on, then went to shit!

I finally finished with a ton of photography, still not quite done yet, but I figured, I need to just get it done. I felt like I was really procrastinating, I had everything ready to go, but still hadn’t told anyone, or officially launched any pages, even though I already set them up.

Tip, search your name before you go and launch something, make sure it’s not already taken, on all sites, like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Secure all your site names before you start anything, there seems to be a lot of shady stuff going on in the handmade business community, get the legalities right off the get go, so you don’t end up paying for new labeling.

So finally, I took that leap of faith, Linked my Instagram accounts and shared them with everyone! Then I did the same for my Facebook accounts! Then Pinterest! Woo I was on a roll!

There it is! I’m so proud of this! It’s my baby, my other baby, besides my loud children, and louder dog. It came out exactly as I envisioned everything, the colors are perfect, I absolutely love it!

Now I’m doing this all myself, not only making things, but keeping my books, photography, posting things places, hoping that they sell, all my work, all my money. I’m investing in myself, knowing that people will like my product as much as I do. I also have to be economical though, that’s where my ideas for advertisement came from.

I decided to first start advertising on free, local, platforms. Nextdoor, Facebook Market Place, Craigslist (not everyone on Craigslist is a serial killer), and Offerup. Eventually I’m planning on working my way towards Etsy, my own website, and craft booths, but like I said, money. Also I need to figure out payments (paypal, finally figured it out), and work my way up to, probably the square reader, and shipping of products. Lots of stuff! So got my Facebook launched, got my Instagram rolling, Pinterest is pinning away, first stop, my neighbors!

I thought that would be a great first market, easy distribution, and I know a lot of the people, I can do this! So I wrote a well thought out, introductory post, I was so happy I showed my kid, reintroduced myself to everyone, why I started this, and my products, “feel free to contact me with any questions”, I did it!

Then I waited. I guess I had this picture in my mind, that when I launched, people would be amazed at how beautiful my pictures are, and how they need this product, because they do! My body butter is amazing! I was going to be sold out in a day!

I carry everything too, from the advise of articles on Modern Soapmaking, I am a one stop shop. I have cotton poufs and sisal scrubbies. You need soap dishes, I have reclaimed wood soap dishes! Foaming hand pumps for liquid soap? Got those too, in complimentary amber color. I’m set! Glass jars, with metal lids, and compostable labels, from Elevate Packaging, reuse and recycle! I figured out what I wanted and I made it happen, and to me, it came out beautifully.

Waiting

Still nothing

Then something came in!

Well shit. I’m not sure if it was a neighbor, or a moderator, but okay, I didn’t know, but we’ll do it the right way. Clicked on the “Create Your Page” link, and starting working towards setting it up. Went through the whole process again, wrote about me, why I started this, what I believe in, and my products. Uploaded pictures, I do it all the time now, so I should be a pro, and hit submit.

And nothing. Again.

Nextdoor’s policy is that in order for your business to be seen, it has to be recommended. Well, I don’t know of anyone off hand that would recommend me, that has Nextdoor, and has bought my products. That’s why I put them on Nextdoor! To sell them!

Okay, so I see, towards the bottom, I can run a special for my neighbors, percentage off, they get to see my business. Alright, I guess I can take a temporary hit, to get my name out there. Some parts didn’t make sense, so I hit help. “How much does this cost?” Huh? Scroll, scroll, scroll, depending on how far you want to reach, $3 to $75! Well crap! I have to place an ad. I didn’t, I don’t know what my ROI is going to be, I don’t know how well people do on Nextdoor, so I just listed the stuff in the marketplace.

On to Craigslist! Did the same thing, made a long post of me, what I believe in, what I’m selling, and posted a bunch of pictures, for free. I’ve sold, and bought stuff off of Craigslist, from legit business too, it’s just a decent, and economical way to advertise, I will definitely keep an update on what works the best so far. Next will be Offerup, that one I kind of have a love hate relationship with, you can mark the firm on the price box, and they will still try to negotiate, kind of aggravating sometimes.

So ya, it’s been quite the week, I was also thrown in Twitter jail, I guess you shouldn’t say “throat punch” on twitter, in reference to people that try to extort other people, it wasn’t even anyone specific, I have know idea who these people are, I just felt bad for the blogger receiving five emails a day threatening her. 24 hour no Twitter time, unfortunately it’s turned into my best lead towards my blog, and my business, so I wasn’t very pleased. I agreed to remove said offending post, and was released, yay!

Yep, read the rules and regulations, or you end up blacklisted, from everything, makes it kind of hard to sell stuff that way.

And don’t use throat punch, say, severe scolding or something.

Another full moon one, because it makes me happy.

The Butcher, The Baker, The Candlestick Maker

I know, strange title, but I can pull this all together and it’ll kind of make sense, well in my mind it does, maybe in yours it may also.

It’s funny because I was trying to come up with a title to this post, and it’s a little off the wall ,but so am I. In all honesty, I’ve done all of these things, one professionally, two for fun, one I may turn professional in to, we’ll see.

Any guess to what’s what?

Well this story is about baking, a hyped up ingredient, and financial independence, odd combination I know, but hear me out.

I love fall, the colors, the cool weather, and finally getting to bake again. because summer baking in Sacramento sucks! All you want to do is lay on the floor in the dark, and those are the night, days are awful, definitely no baking allowed. Last week I fired up the oven, roasted chicken, winter squash, made pomegranate molasses, it was amazing, and I also stumbled across an article about why southerners make the best biscuits.

Now, I know southern food is amazing, sorry California, your shit is bland. I ate my way through Louisiana, then came back to California, and damn near starved to death because the food was so plain. That’s when I had to learn how to make gumbo, because, currently, I can’t fly back to New Orleans whenever I have a craving for it. If you’re ever in Sacramento, and you need authentic Andoulli sausage, I got you, I know where it’s at. So when I read this article, on why biscuits are better in the South, and there is science behind it, well hell ya I’m down, I have to know why, and is it really true? So I have made biscuits a few times, with quite a few different recipes, and recommendations, but they never came out, well really right. So I cave, and buy the things in cans, because biscuits and gravy are amazing, and biscuits and butter, and biscuits and jam, I’m really starting to sound like Bubba. So I decided, well why not, I’ll try it again.

Enter the flour.

“Robert Dixon Phillips, a retired professor of food science at the University of Georgia. To make a good biscuit, “you want a flour made from a soft wheat,” he says. “It has less gluten protein and the gluten is weaker, which allows the chemical leavening—the baking powder—to generate carbon dioxide and make it rise up in the oven.” It turns out that in most of the U.S., commonly available flours are made from hard wheat, which serve a different purpose. “Hard wheat are higher in gluten protein, and when they’re turned into a dough, the dough is very strong and elastic and can trap carbon dioxide,” says Phillips. If you want to make bread, you want a hard wheat. Northern biscuits suck because they are made with bread flour.”

What! Different types of flour?! I know there is different ways to process flour, and different textures for baking different things, and now I want some soft wheat flour too. One thing that was brought up, and I googled it, after buying my White Lily flour, is “well why don’t you use cake flour then?” Well shit, I don’t know, because I’m dumb I guess and never thought of that. It does turn out that Swans Down Cake Flour, is also made out of soft winter wheat, I may have to do a bake off with the two, maybe they can be interchanged, for us poor west coat people, instead of turning to Amazon.

So I got my flour, then if I wanted to do a proper bake off (still really didn’t do it right) I grabbed some flour from Smart and Final, and Crisco, because my place of employment doesn’t sell that (coconut/palm oil blend, ew!) kind of stuff, and got to baking.

I decided not to get crazy, and just use the recipe off of the back of the bag, for the other recipe, because I was using a different flour, I looked up a basic recipe using Gold Medal flour. Side note, there is a note on the bag for baking exchanges, because it is a different wheat, to substitute 1 cup and two tablespoons, to one cup of other flours. Looking back on it, I should have done the same recipe for both flours, probably minus four tablespoons, to get a better idea, I may do that one tomorrow, along with the cake flour, and the million other things I have to get done. I digress, so I googled and found a Betty Crocker recipe, that was actually pretty good, but because they were so different, I don’t think it was a very thorough experiment. I mean they were really different, the amount of shortening, the temperature, an added ingredient, and the amounts.

Also a note, look at the bag size difference, the White Lily bag was a good inch and a half taller than the Gold Medal bag.

On weights, that’s a whole other matter, and I am disappointed in both companies currently, and I wish I wasn’t in the middle of baking, or I would have dumped the bags and weighed them both.

In my field of business, we regularly get visits from Weights and Measures, to make sure that we are selling things at the correct weight, and not screwing the customers over. Packaging is not included in that weight, that called the tare, weight subtracted from the weight of the product you are selling. So if a bag says net weight 5 lbs, and it weighs 5.007, I bet money, there isn’t five pounds of flour in there, because that paper bag, weighs more than .007 of a pound, that’s the God Medal Flour, the other two are the White Lily flour. My scale is correct, I make soap, its calibrated regularly, it has to be for safety. Already duked this out with one company, I will do it again!

Okay, now on to the other recipe, part of it did get cut out, but I’ll link it up, it is a really good recipe. Notice the added sugar, more baking powder, and double the shortening! The baking time was also 25 degrees lower, the cooking time was upped to 10-12 minutes. Other than those things, the process was the same, I didn’t use the added butter in the first, and I rolled them both at 1/2 inch thick, I feel like I should have done more, but I was trying to stay consistent, except for the ingredients, throughout. The flour, texture wise, though hard to catch it on camera, was very different, the White Lily was way fluffier, than the other.

Now for the most part, the Lily White biscuits, on average were taller that the other, also didn’t have the air bubble type things, they ripped apart differently too.

Taste wise, it’s hard because of the increase of shortening, it kind of through the flavor off, that’s why its hard to say, texture wise, I like the Lily White more.

Another interesting one was the tops, you could actually see the different texture, the Lily White had almost a cracker type texture top.

The White Lily is to the right, you can see the texture, or lack there of on it.

Both biscuits were amazing with pomegranate molasses and butter, I just wanted to try it on something, and this was a perfect time. I would definitely recommend using this flour, but I am curious about using the available cake flour alternative.

So what exactly does this have to do with financial independence? Well if I was broke, or worrying about bills, I wouldn’t have been able to spend 24.99 on two bags of flour.

Experiences are way more fun, and fulfilling than stuff, or watching Disney plus. The brain enjoys experiences more than things, but that doesn’t mean you need to fly Brazil to experience Carnival, you can have experiences, learn new things, for $40, and eat it too. So save money, learn a new hobby, and you can drop money on fancy flour to make authentic biscuits, or use cake flour, it might work.

Also a cheap experience, tripod from Goodwill will help you with moon shots, instead of holding your breath.

Turning Your Hobby Into A Business pt. 3

liquid soap

I swear, once I get big, labels will be the first thing outsourced! Labeling has been the absolute death of me, I know it is bugging the shit out of me, because now I’m just avoiding it. My goal was to launch October 31st, but a few things were still running late, and now its almost to the middle of November! And I’m still behind.

Labeling sucks. It’s just not all the details that go into it, making sure everything is correct, listed in order, weighed out, and at the proper font size, it’s the label templates themselves! The template is shifted too far to the left and top, that it’s cutting everything off, I’ve tried troubleshooting it according to the website, and it’s still messed up. So I took a break today, I’m damn close to selling without labels, screw it, people can just figure it out on their own, or I’ll just write it down for them. I did get some pictures done, I’m tempted to post them ahead of time, just because they came out so pretty! I’ll try to have a little patience though, I’m really very excited, and want everything perfect.

Several books, and articles on starting a soap business, or just starting a business in general, say to outsource what you don’t like, or aren’t good at, labeling will definitely be thrown in there.

bar soap and natural fiber accessories

A little sneak peak at my color schemes, I think, so far, it’s coming out beautifully, I’m pretty proud of my work. I invested in a small light box, first off of Wish, definitely didn’t come in a timely manner, more like three weeks past their four week delivery date. I’m usually not a complainer, but this time I did, they totally fixed it, they refunded my money, and I ended up ordering one off of Amazon. A week after my Amazon one showed, the Wish one got here, both work well, but they both work better with a little added sunlight, so I have to shoot in the morning. My box of cotton poufs, sisal mitts, and sisal soap savers showed, perfect colors and all natural biodegradable materials, I don’t want to add more plastic to the world. Also got my wood soap savers in, they smells so good! Way better than Home Depot, and I like their lumber section. So really it’s been, make product, struggle with labels, photograph until my back screams at me, and shelf the stuff, I also realized I need more shelves. Why don’t I have a craft room?! Oh ya, kids, ugh!

dead sea face mask

Some Dead Sea Face mask I whipped up, still unlabeled, because I’m procrastinating.

So pretty much the moral of part three is keep track of what you don’t like/aren’t good at, and find someone else who is. Obviously it might not be the best initial investment, maybe after you get the ball rolling, unless you have capital behind you, then by all means, find someone who is willing and able.

Then of course is the writing, or at a minimum coming up with stuff to write about. I am super proud of myself though, this is going to be my 32nd post, and I have written consistently for three months straight! I’ve got 48 awesome people who glance at my ramblings, and hit some milestone of 200 likes!

Coming up with things to write about has become interesting, it’s not for a lack of stuff going on, it’s the half state of everything, and also wanting to be slightly coherent. Today was jam packed with activities, it’s finally really fall in Sacramento, the pomegranate tree leaves are an amazing shade of yellow, I decided for a quick picture while I was in there harvesting more. This year has been great for my little trees, I got way more pomegranates than last year, so many I needed to figure out what to do with them, currently too lazy for jelly, so I jumped on Google and found a recipe for pomegranate molasses, and holy crap, I can’t stop licking the spoon.

I also hit my favorite farmer’s market last Thursday and picked up a variety of winter squash, butternut, Delicata, and Red Kuri. I decided to give the Delicata a try, its really good, I may have smothered it in a little too much glaze, but whatever, it was awesome! Throw in a roasted chicken recipe from Martha Stewart, and it was officially fall!

I think I’m going to end up doing a Sacramento Farmers Market post, we have so many markets and so much variety.

sunrise over ice house reservoir
Another amazing dawn

Book Review; The Good, The Bad, and The Huh?

How to Succeed in Business By Breaking All the Rules: A Plan for Entrepreneurs By Dan S. Kennedy

While waiting on my book list from the library, I heard about an author while scrolling Facebook. Okay not quite, a guy was trying to sell his business plan, that he based off of Dan Kennedy books. So me being, well, me, I didn’t buy his $4.30 business plan, I wanted to know who Dan Kennedy was, and read his books for myself. So I got my Googler going, to find out some book titles, and busted out my trusty library card to see what I could get. He definitely has some interesting book titles, a lot of BS free books, No B.S. Time Management for Entrepreneurs: The Ultimate No Holds Barred Kick Butt Take No Prisoners Guide to Time Productivity and Sanity, No B.S. Wealth Attraction In The New Economy, No B.S. Marketing to the Affluent: No Holds Barred, Take No Prisoners, Guide to Getting Really Rich, to name a few. Well I jumped on the list for as many books as were available to me, and waited, finally the copy of How to Succeed in Business By Breaking All the Rules: A Plan for Entrepreneurs, came in, and I was hooked! It was also nice that this book was first because I too, wanted to be a successful entrepreneur, and wasn’t sure how to go about it. This totally is a book I’m going to get my own copy of, because it’s awesome, helped me, and I can’t remember all the rules.

I take a lot of notes of all the books I read, and books I really like, I end up buying, unfortunately I haven’t got a chance to pick up a copy of this one yet, but I will, because it deserves to be on my bookshelf. So I’ll just go over the rule breaking that really stood out to me, and a few quotes.

Positive thinking and motivation

He says it’s crap! I was kinda of shocked, because I do practice a lot of positive thinking and affirmations , so for someone to say that, crazy! He says no amount of positive thinking, or attempts of will power and self discipline will overcome negative self image. It’s true, it requires some introspection though, I have lots of moments of negative self image.

I have made a crap ton off mistakes, I’ve been doing the same job for almost 20 years, my last college attempt was a bust, that resulted in student loans and a fake degree, so ya, my self image isn’t always up there sometimes. I do excel at well defined goals, practical plans, and know how, so there is hope for me yet. So instead of just vague positive affirmations, I focus on the things that I have, actually, succeeded in, buying a house, going to college, raising decent human beings, having a savings account, all things that are real to me.

College Education

Now this is kinda eh for me. I’ve tried to change jobs, but the lack of college education, I feel, like it’s a hindrance. He says BS, because he doesn’t have one, but the part that really stood out to me, was not letting a lack of college education become a personal, emotional, self image weakening hang up. Now that is something that I have done, I haven’t tried a lot of things, because I thought a college education was the end all be all. Even starting this blog because me up to date computer knowledge is limited, last time I sat down in a class to learn computers, they had floppy disks.

I didn’t even want to start my business yet, thinking I would be so much better if I had some business classes under my belt. So yes, I was letting my lack of college education be my hang up,

Modesty and Humility

Yes you can have too much, now it sounds immodest to say this, but I have too much modesty, and it’s really put the kibosh on promotions for me. I was with one company for 14 years, and really didn’t move up, my cocky boyfriend comes in, within two years, he’s a manager. It’s not like him and I work differently, we are both very hard workers, there is lots of things I taught him too, he just talks about how good he is, and I don’t.

I’m the kind of person who shares the credit, tells the bosses “without my team this wouldn’t be possible”, and it’s true, but you know where modesty has got me in the business world? Absolutely no where, passed up for promotions left and right. So after reading this, I decided, I’m gonna be a little cockier too, I’m good, I’m better than a lot of people in the company that I’m at now. Guess what? A little bit longer and I’ll be promoted, I don’t want to say too much, I might jinx it.

Mind Your Manners

This one was kind of aimed at women, and ya, I’m totally guilty of it, I have a co worker that’s really bad, of the constant apology.

According to studies, and life in general, woman apologize, way more than men. Probably why we aren’t leading in the workforce, or as many STEM jobs, or positions of power, because if we say something, and thinks it’s going to hurt someones feelings, we apologize. Bump into us? It must have been us that was in the way, sorry. Couldn’t get dinner done after a full day at work, taking care of kids, and cleaning the house? Must be our fault sorry. My ex blamed his inability to pay child support, because he couldn’t get a decent paying job, because he fell behind on child support payments and his license was revoked, who’s fault was it? His! Because he is a dick, but yes I apologized for it. Women! Sack up, or ovary up, either way, pick one, and quit apologizing for things we don’t need to apologize for. “Nice girls finish last”

A Pox on Creativity

But I’m going into a creative field?! His point is you shouldn’t try to reinvent the wheel, just do things better than other people, and work hard. I’m in retail, so I see a lot of trends and what’s currently the hot item, and what people are focused on. Now I may not be the most artistic soap maker in the world, there are so many people that are absolutely amazing, there soaps are more like works of art, but I have other design techniques, an attention to detail in packaging, a flow to my line, and killer organizational skills. So I’m working on that instead, mine won’t be the prettiest, but from a recent survey, people will like the shape of my soap more!

“Look for that which is easiest for you to do, that can take you in the direction you want to go” So I’m not going to strive for works of art, I’m going to strive for what sells to everyone.

Now the bummer part is, I pulled a lot of quotes from the book, but I didn’t pull all of the rules, not helpful at all, so I definitely need to go out and buy this book, and you should too, especially if your a woman who apologizes to much and hides in the back while everyone else gets the glory. Two thumbs, if I had more thumbs I’d give more, way up on this book.

I would say “Fake it till you make it”, but I’ve already seen people really bomb that. Your the only person with your life, experience, knowledge, so be confident in that.

I had to fake I wasn’t nervous to a coyote once, He didn’t attack so I think it worked.

Up Close and Personal, October 2019

Money Comings and Goings for October 2019

Honestly I am in shock I saved any money at all this month, it seems that if I just let go, and trust, its not so bad at the end of the month. I decided to take that leap of faith and buy necessary items to open up my business, I was aiming for the 31st of October, but I’m still missing some things, by November for sure. I get distracted by Halloween, it is definitely my favorite holiday, way better than materialist Christmas, I suppose my second favorite would be Thanksgiving, just because I like to cook. My number one is Halloween, I go nuts decorating the house, probably not as crazy as some, I’m an after Halloween bargain shopper, so my decor isn’t up to date, I’ve had my fog machine for quite a few years, and have even repaired it a few times myself. I do have a lazy streak, I hate carving pumpkins, and I don’t like decorations it takes me weeks to clean up. I found these cute little pumpkin decorations at the Dollar Tree this year, you just poke them into the pumpkin, they actually slide in pretty easy and I didn’t break any.

Pumpkin courtesy of my boyfriend from Micheals, he truly knows me! Pumpkin carving used to be way more fun when the kids were little, except for my middle cry baby who doesn’t like “icky stuff!”. Now I just look like a sad old lady sitting on the porch chopping up gourds myself, so ya, Dollar Store improved my pumpkins and saved my dignity. My oldest one decided to bail on me and spend Halloween with her friend, drinking tea and watching movies, dressed as Harry Potter Characters, mentally I think she is older than me. Another one I was trying to figure out, and I may ruffle some feathers with this one, but I do it with the upmost respect, and I guess it can be associated with Samhain, and mt ancestor hail from Ireland, is Dia De Los Muertos. Now me, I’m not Mexican, my children’s dad is, I just kept the last name for a few reasons, one, it’s my kids last name, two, its a pain in the ass to change your last name, and with a house, expensive, so it stayed. I really like Dia de Los Muertos though, I love family history, I love a good chuck of my family, other ones I could live without, but I enjoy celebrating my departed family on these day, I set up pictures, light candles, and talk to them. I like the fact that they may come visit me in my dreams, probably to lecture me.

Don’t mind the dust, it’s actually my college kid’s, lives rent free to pursue her career and is supposed to clean the house on the weekends, fault. She is going to be extra pissed I brought her up twice so far, since she is my “Poof” reader, but she obviously isn’t holder up her end of the bargain with four inches of dust. So my question is, would it be considered cultural appropriation? I was trying to Google it today, it’s kind of a mixed bag of answers. I’m not saying it’s my culture, it would be my kids I suppose, since there dad isn’t in their life, got to pass down tradition some how. I don’t face paint, or play mexican music, I just build an altar to honor my family, and my dog, he was family too.

So that is how my Halloween is going! Now back to finances, I did surprisingly good! Saved $976 this month, and I honestly have know idea how, because I spent way more than normal, $2285, about 300 to 400 over. I put an additional $200 towards the principle on the mortgage, I think my utility amount was thrown off a little bit by a payment that went in late, $281 on food, that will definitely change this month. $217 on my car, $87 enjoying the Sacramento Greek Festival, if you are ever in Sacramento during it, you should go, the food is AMAZING! I stuffed my face, and got a key chain, plus all the proceeds go to supporting the Church, not a religious person, but I will happily help someone out for food.

Probably my second largest expense was buying things to get my business off the ground. Holy hell there is a lot of stuff! You sit down and think, “sure this will be easy, I already make soap as a hobby, how hard can it be?” Boy was I wrong, it’s really freaking hard, and it’s cost me $452 so far, that’s just for labels, packaging, business cards, and accessories. You’

re probably wondering “What kind of accessories go with soap?” or not, you may not care, but a lot do! Home made soap doesn’t like to sit on counters, it gets soggy, so a soap saver is helpful, but how many people just have soap savers sitting around? Not a lot, so offering them is helpful, and scrubbies, and all the other soap stuff that goes with it, its crazy. Either way, this has been a pretty expensive venture so far, but I want to do this!

Overall, not a shabby month. $71,318 to go on the morgage. put $100 towards my retirement account, net worth is at $229,828, still not at my FIRE goal, but baby steps. Sometimes I wonder if it’s even the “retire early” part I’m after, I think it’s the ability to say, fuck you, to a job that treats me like shit. So ya, like on Listen Money Matters, fuck you money. I have high hopes, I’ll get there, in the mean time, I have a smoke machine to turn on, and kids to scare, Happy Halloween!

An eclipse on Halloween would be badass!

Detoxin’ my insides

I have felt so shitty lately! I’m not sure if it’s work, stress, allergies, a cold, or all of the above, either way I have been a slug, a really grouchy slug at that. I may need to go apologize to all my loved ones for my really nasty temper of late, then again, they could have been part of the problem.

Anyways, I’m not a fan of feeling like angry sloth, I have way too much to do, and that’s not even counting work, house stuff and repairing things left and right. On top of that, I think age is starting to catch up with me, but then again it might be because I’m not exactly in the fittest of shapes right now, it’s starting to become ostrich egg like.

So I decided to do one of my, well, not least favorite, detoxes,but its definitely not chocolate ice cream. I practice herbal medicine, not that I object to seeing a doctor when necessary, like when one of you kids blinds the other with a sticky hand, that was a fun night, but for most health complaints I use herbs. They work for me, and I’m allergic to most medicines, last one I learned was zzzquil, and I broke out in hives. Other ones just make me feel like shit, so I stick to natural stuff, like making fire cider. A few years I was listening to an herbal medicine conference, by I believe, was the grow network, they actually have another one recorded, I may have to listen to that one too. It was through that that I learned about Ayurvedic Medicine, a holistic approach to healing, and Kitchari.

From all the different thing I read and heard, Kitchari is like giving your body a break from the constant flow of garbage, hard to digest food, allergens, and weather. Freaking miracle food right? The spice blend is supposed to get you digestive system going again, and the rice and beans are easily digested so you insides get a break. It’s not supposed to be a permanent food, its a fast, and from things I’ve read, you should do it during weather changes, winter into spring, spring into summer, summer into fall, and fall into winter, its supposed to be able to help you with season allergies. Well I live on Claritin since moving to Sacramento, so sign me up! There are some plus sides to living here, and wanting to make something like this, because it requires a shit ton of spices, Sacramento has a very ethnically diverse population, so I hit up my local SF Market, and found pretty much everything I needed, and then some.

So I dragged all my ingredients home, waited for the spring equinox, I’m weird like that, cooked it all up and did a three day Kitchari cleanse, lots of tea, warm water, and Kitchari for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I got to say, it actually worked, I felt so much better, maybe because I have a tendency to fall into eating crappy food, but it did make my allergies more tolerable.

Now life comes along, and distractions, new job, new boyfriend, lots of junk food, and I haven’t done one in a while. So this week I decided to do it again, because I was feeling like I’ve been zapped of all energy and creativity, probably being tired, Kitchari doesn’t bring back creativity. My only recommendation, is that, if you have a heavy manual labor job, don’t do it while you’re working, it isn’t the best diet for dealing with people and throwing heavy boxes. Do it on your days off, and maybe spend some extra time meditating, and peeing a lot due to all the warm water and tea.

So this week on my days off, finally, eight day stretches are a killer! I got all my ingredients together and whipped some up. It’s really not the hardest thing to make, and it cooks up pretty quick, you can also add any root vegetables that may be in season. I didn’t happen to have any at the time so I did it plain, and definitely with no cilantro! Ew devils weed, that’s what that is, nasty stuff. I’m not really sure where I go these mung beans from, and why the have yellow food color added to them, by the way, and make sure you use the already split mung beans, not the green ones. Take your mung beans and Basmati rice, and rinse it until the water is clear, if you got yellow dyed ones like me, rinse until the water is no longer yellow.

When your done rinsing, toss them in a pot with 8 cups of water and start boiling. In the mean time, saute the herbs, its recommended that you use fresh ginger, but I didn’t have any on hand, so I used dried ginger. I didn’t have ghee on hand either so I used olive oil, saute herbs four to five minutes, then put them into the bean and rice mix, add two bay leaves, turn on low, cover and let simmer for about 25-35 minutes, until its a porridge like consistency, and you can smoosh the beans.

It’s go quite the spice mix right? All of the spices are to aid in getting you digestive system back on track. Some people recommend cooking it everyday, eating a fresh batch, but ain’t no one got time for that! Its easy to reheat, just add a little water. Another recommendation is staying hydrated, but with warm water, and drinking lots of tea. I’m really fond of Choice Tea, Rieshi Detox.

It tastes good even with added sugar, I think its the cocoa husks, either way, it’s a good tea.

Also getting that extra boost of anti inflammatory turmeric. Now I guess I’ll finish this with saying, none of this stuff works, well it works for me, but it may not work for you, plus it’s considered alternative medicine, so it’s not real medicine, and if you break a bone, Kitchari will not help you, go to a doctor please.

The recipe I used, feel free to alter it

Whether it works or doesn’t, I feel so much better, but maybe it’s all in my head. If you feel crappy, you may want to give it a go.

Trying to catch that green flash

The Mighty Oak Pt. 1

I like doing weird stuff, I have a whole list of strange projects that I’m working on simultaneously, and I wonder why I have so many grey hairs. So last year, my interest was piqued when a friend of mine gathered a shit ton acorns and made brownies. So as a fellow urban forager and a person who enjoys time consuming projects that most people wouldn’t do in their right mind, I set out to do it too! First, don’t attempt plant and tree foraging on your own, unless you have experience, oak trees and acorns are pretty obvious, but better safe then sorry.

Books on plant identification for your area are really helpful too, and I also like to use the Falling Fruit program, it’s a collaborative of foragers dropping pins on edible plants in areas, its how I found olive trees when I needed fresh olives, because for some reason fresh olives are really hard to find for sale! (another project all together).

Finding oaks trees isn’t too hard, look at the ground in the fall, and also be careful not to get hit by animals who are trying to break them on streets, damn crows. Sacramento has about 40 different varieties of oaks, it’s freaking ridiculous, and their acorns come in all different shapes and sizes.

I really wanted to harvest some Valley Oak acorns, but the trees were slacking off when I started this project at the beginning of the month, so I had to settle for the Black Oaks at the park by myself. So every morning when I walked my dog, I would swing by the park, and look like a crazy, stuffing my pockets full of acorns. Thankfully as I’ve gotten older, I really don’t care what people around me think, because if I did, I probably would have as many weird projects going, probably would have less greys, maybe I need to rethink this. Acorn identification is fun, its a combination of shape, color, its little hat, and the leaves of the tree, another crazy part, I spent way too much time staring at the leaves. After about a week, I finally had a good sized pile of acorns, which were stored outside because I really didn’t want any acorn grubs in my house, GAG! Thankfully they were also grub free. After accumulating enough acorns, I sat down on the back porch and started cracking them, standing them up-rite, in the picture to the right, gave the best and cleanest break for me., I also have to give a shout out to my amazingly supportive human for sitting down and cracking them with me, one, it took a solid 2 hours, two, my kids decided to abandon me in my time of need.

I wasn’t nearly as dramatic with a pickax, I used a mallet, but his way worked too, also its a cigarette, not a joint, John Wayne over here rolls his own. Two episodes of The Masked Singer and we were done! Well kind of, this is were I also learned a valuable lesson, acorns are extremely bitter, chock full of tannin, the native Americans used to put them in bags in the river, I don’t have that luxury, so a buckets and changing the water as frequently as I could. We were extremely proud when we were able to but an acorn out of its shell without breaking it, bad move! I’ve learned it takes way, way, longer to leach them whole. Ive had some going for two weeks and they are still bitter! So if you want to attempt this also, break them harder, or toss them in the food processor.

Look at all those acorns! At the wrong size, definitely make them smaller or you’ll be rinsing acorns until next fall. So I rinsed, and rinsed, and my plants got a lot of water, I’m not wasting perfectly good water, and taste tested, and rinsed some more. Finally when I tasted one, it didn’t make my face pucker! so I dragged the bag into the house to start dealing with it, that’s when I found out it lied to me. Here’s what most blog posts don’t tell you when dealing with acorns, it can take up to 10 days to leach the tannin out, I thought my acorns were broken, I just found the wrong site, thankfully one of the herbal sites I follow posted a link.

So I rinsed some more, and tried again. This time no bitterness! I spread my acorns out on to cookie sheets, set my over to warm, careful not to cook them, your just aiming for dehydration, so staying under 150 degrees is important. After a few hours, more like five, they were done, yay! I am half way there! Acorn brownies all the way! while there were still warm I rubbed the skin off them, it’s way easier to do that after dehydrating them. Took half my acorns, threw them in my trusty blender, and started off on low, they do end up really hard, not interested in busting my Christmas present.

Ground it out to a nice fine, as fine as you can get with a nut flour, texture, and tasted it again. LIES!! It was still bitter! The reason my round two went into the food processor. I really wasn’t too happy, I was looking forward to finishing this project, and it just wasn’t happening. I was actually kind of stumped, I already ground it out, so I didn’t know how to leach it more, thankfully I have mesh produce bags, and they worked great. My bitter ass flour went into the bag, and rinsed some more. I think that way probably rinsed out a lot of starch, not good if you’re baking, but I didn’t have much of a choice. That started Monday, Thursday, it finally wasn’t bitter! I spread the acorn paste over two cookie sheets lined with parchment paper, and set the oven to warm again (my gas bill is going to suck this month), and let it sit for another 5 hours. When I got home from work it looked like a strange tree bark, possibly an acorn threat? I took my strange barky chunks and tossed them into my over worked blender, flour again, this time not bitter.