Happy Anniversary!!!

It was one year ago today that I smoked my last cigarette!  Wooo Hooo, can I get an Amen?

This is the thing, I’ve stopped smoking many times before January 4, 2016 but never had I quit.  I now understand the difference.  I can honestly say that I will never smoke another cigarette.

It wasn’t easy quitting, as a matter of fact it was very hard.  See, those cigarettes had been my best friends for a long long long time.  They were always there for me, for the good times and the bad.

It came down to one thing…  I had to want to quit more than I wanted to smoke.  I say that because even now I still sometimes get a craving but it passes quickly.

I had a mantra that I would say out loud when I got one of those cravings and it was “It’s NOT an option”  and it truly wasn’t an option.  I was quitting the cigarettes so smoking was not an option.

Savings:  Each week I put the money I would’ve spent on cigarettes into a jar.  I knew if I didn’t separate and put that money aside that it would get absorbed into other spending categories.  I wanted to be able to see and physically touch the money for motivation.

Weight gain:  Well honestly I didn’t worry about it, and yes in the past year I’ve gained three pounds.  I don’t know if I can even blame that on the smokes.

Triggers:  being in the car was a huge trigger for me.  A good friend suggested audio books to keep my mind occupied rather than thinking about smoking.  What a game changer that was!  I was thinking about someone elses story instead of mine.  This was a huge part in the success of quitting.

Cravings:  I found that hard cinnamon candy worked well for my cravings.  I suppose it was the little bit of burn from the candy that I liked.  It also helped that it was right after Christmas and I had a big bag of it.

Anxiety:  There was definitely some anxiety associated with quitting smoking and we just did the best we could to recognize what and why it was and moved past it.  I had another dear friend tell me that she used to bake bread and give it away while she was quitting smoking.  It was the kneading and punching the dough that gave her some relief from the anxiety of quitting.  What a clever idea, and she had the wonderful smell of bread baking filling her kitchen.

Talk About It:  Talk openly about your effort to quit.  Seek motivation from others, and if those others don’t motivate you then find different people that do.  Trust me, for all the cravings and desire you have to smoke a cigarette there is a smoker out there buying a pack of cigarettes wishing that they weren’t.

I thought I loved every cigarette I smoked.  I really thought I enjoyed smoking.  But honestly I only liked the first couple of draws and then it seemed like the cigarette smoked me.

Quitting smoking was one of the best things the Z Man and I did for ourselves and I’m very proud that we have kicked those nasty cigarettes to the curb.

Perhaps you are in the midst of quitting something right now.  Just remember to take it easy on yourself, be kind to yourself and remind yourself why you truly want to quit.  It won’t be easy, buy you are strong enough and you are worth the effort.

You can do it, I know you can and I am right here cheering you on, friend!

Or, perhaps you’ve already quit and have kicked it for even longer than we have, I’d love to hear your story too.

Take care,


Ps.  Here is what we did with my quit smoking money.  Football Baby!





Happening On The Homestead

It’s been over a month since I last blogged and the simple reason for that is….  I burned out and I got sick.

Between working a full time job six days a week, putting something in jars (canning) almost every night till late (sometimes till early morning), helping the Z Man take care of our homestead and all the animals, it just all caught up with me and I came crashing down.  I went to the doctor because I wasn’t feeling good then came home and went to bed and slept for two days, then I got up and laid on the sofa for three days.

A couple of weeks later and after a few more visits with my doctor,  I’m feeling better, but still not 100%.

Time for some soul searching into what’s most important for us and weed out the rest.  I get so caught up in an idea or a project I want and it’s 100 miles an hour until it’s done.  The thing is that sometimes it’s never done.  I want more and more and more….

I have to admit that during this time, my diet was awful, just grabbing something here and there and grabbing all the wrong stuff.  This is one of the main reasons I got sick.  For someone who is six months coming off of Prilosec after having taken it for over 20 years, I can not neglect my diet.

The discomfort of my reflux and indigestion had become so bad that I went to urgent care thinking I was having a heart attack.  The EKG was normal, and the bariatric cocktail the doctor gave me to drink worked, and I am feeling much better, about 90% better.

But it’s time to slow down and get back to taking better care of myself, eating better, working less and Yoga begins this week.

In the meantime, here is what’s been happening on our little homestead.

Our beautiful Maddie delivered 6 perfect little puppies, three girls and three boys.



I was there with her while she was delivering and it was amazing.  She is such a good mama.

They are growing so fast.  I mean is this just not cuteness overload?


We got three new chickens.  Three Leghorn hens and they lay white eggs.

I kind of like getting white and brown eggs.


We harvested three of our older hens, which was the first time for the Z Man and I to do that.   I don’t have pictures, but it went very well and peaceful.

Back when I quit smoking on January 4th I started saving my weekly cigarette money.  By saving the money specifically for a “treat” for the accomplishment of quitting it not only motivated me to get through the cravings and over the habit of smoking, it gave me something to look forward to as well.

So, the Z Man and I had a little fun with my quit smoking money…


We went to the Redskins season opener against Pittsburgh.  I am a Redskins fan and the Z Man is a Pittsburgh fan, so it was perfect that this year they were playing each other.  Unfortunately, it didn’t end well for my Redskins.

It’s amazing to me that by quitting smoking I was able to pay for a little mini vacation for us.  Now, that’s some good motivations right there.


So, that’s whats been going on around here.   I’ve really missed blogging, but I’ll be talking to you soon 😉

Till next time,



What’s Cooking 4/6/16?

It’s been a little over a week now I’ve been weaning off the Omeprazole and honestly the first few days I thought it was going to be a walk in the park.  I even mentioned to the Z Man that I wasn’t having any problems and I wanted to “hurry up” the weaning process.  Patience is not one of my strong points.   I’m glad I didn’t rush it because I began to feel the effects of lowering the Omeprazole dosage after about 4 days into the process.   It makes sense that while lowering the dosage, the first few days would have remnants of the higher dosage still in my system.   It was on Wednesday of last week when  I began to feel a little burning and a little reflux, but it wasn’t too bad at all and it wasn’t continuous.

When I felt a little discomfort I chewed one of my Slippery Elm lozenges which made it very manageable.


Here is a little information on Slippery Elm…

What is Slippery Elm?
The slippery elm tree is native to eastern Canada and eastern and central US, where it is found most commonly in the Appalachian mountains. The trunk is reddish brown with gray-white bark on the branches. In the spring, dark brown floral buds appear and open into small, clustered flowers at the branch tips. White elm (U. americana) is a related species used in a similar manner.

What is it used for?

North American Indians and early settlers used the inner bark of the slippery elm not only to build canoes, shelter, and baskets, but as a poultice or as a soothing drink. Upon contact with water, the inner bark, collected in spring, yields a thick mucilage or demulcent that was used as an ointment or salve to treat urinary tract inflammation and was applied topically for cold sores and boils. A decoction of the leaves was used as a poultice to remove discoloration around blackened or bruised eyes. Surgeons during the American Revolution treated gun-shot wounds in this manner. Early settlers boiled bear fat with the bark to prevent rancidity. Late in the 19th century, a preparation of elm mucilage was officially recognized in the United States Pharmacopoeia.

Slippery elm prepared as a poultice coats and protects irritated tissues such as skin or intestinal membranes. The powdered bark has been used in this manner for local application to treat gout, rheumatism, cold sores, wounds, abscesses, ulcers, and toothaches. The tannins present are known to possess astringent actions. It also has been known to “draw out” toxins, boils, splinters, or other irritants.
Powdered bark is incorporated into lozenges to provide demulcent action (soothing to mucous membranes) in the treatment of throat irritation. It also is used for its emollient and antitussive actions, to treat bronchitis and other lung afflictions, and to relieve thirst.

When slippery elm preparations are taken internally, they cause reflex stimulation of nerve endings in the GI tract, leading to mucus secretion. This may be the reason they are effective for protection against stomach ulcers, colitis, diverticulitis, gut inflammation, and acidity. Slippery elm also is useful for diarrhea, constipation, hemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome, and to expel tapeworms. It also has been used to treat cystitis and urinary inflammations.

I have noticed some foods that triggered some discomfort.  Raw onions, cooked and raw cabbage, bananas, and raw green peppers.  No big deal, as these foods, for me won’t be difficult to manage.  Actually, it gives me a reason to not feel guilty about really not liking bananas.  Hand count, who out there honestly really likes bananas?

This week I begin a week of a little lower dosage, and it will be very important to maintain a meal plan, and portion control, otherwise I know I’ll have some discomfort.  I do expect some discomfort, but what I don’t want to do is to cause more damage to my esophagus and stomach lining in the process.

During the summer months I work longer hours and six days a week at my “job” which makes it difficult to get a lot of other stuff done.  I get especially busy when it’s time to harvest and “put up” the gardens.  I’m hoping to use the blog as a tool for meal planning, a food diary, and hopefully a tool for my grocery budget.  We’ll see how it all plays out as it goes along.  That’s the idea behind “What’s Cooking”

So, What’s Cooking 4/6/16?

Breakfast:  overnight oats – oats soaked in milk with a few walnuts, dried cranberries, drizzle of maple syrup and a sprinkle of cinnamon.


Lunch: leftover vegetable stir fry from dinner last night.

Dinner: chili and cornbread

What’s cooking for you today?

Till Next Time,



Friday’s Frugal Five

If you haven’t visited the Non-Consumer Advocate site, you should.  Katy is the creator of Five Frugal Things and is my inspiration for Friday’s Frugal Five.

I have a confession to make.  While the MMGC is going well and I’m staying within my budget, albeit by the skin of my teeth,  I have to tell you that I have been spending in others areas as if I had won the lottery or something.  In the past few weeks I have carried new item after new item into the house.  To the point where I have a guilty feeling in the pit of my stomach.

Let me explain… for a while now I’ve been trying to switch out my (old) teflon cookware for stainless steel and cast iron, so about a week ago I purchased a new set of stainless steel cookware.  But, I did get it at 60% off, so that’s good.  Also, I have limited cabinet space in my kitchen and had been wanting to get a hanging pot rack to help with storage.  I found one that was 40% off, so I bought that.  Last fall when we processed our hog, I cured and smoked about 60lbs of pork belly into bacon, but no matter how hard I tried, I could not slice the meat thin enough to get a bacon texture.  So, I bought a meat slicer and I also got 25% off of that.  Hoping for a solution to my cabinet storage situation I purchased 8 large jars with $1 off of each to store things like grains and beans instead of just having bags laying in the cabinets.  I bought some half gallon mason jars and large mouth plastic lids for better storage also.  I bought seeds for our garden starters, instead of waiting and starting the gardens with established plants from the nursery.  Admittedly in the past we have not done well starting our own seedlings, and also admittedly these seeds were not cheap as I chose organic heirloom seeds.  I could go on I’m sure, but you get the idea.  The point I suppose is that I have been talking out of both sides of my mouth about being frugal.  Being frugal includes more than just what you spend on groceries.  Well, it absolutely should anyway, and in that regard I have failed.

I could give a suitable explanation for all of my purchases about having the right tools for the jobs (the slicer) or about trying to get away from toxic teflon (the cookware) or perhaps because I spend 75% of my home life in the kitchen and would like it to be better organized (the hanging pot rack and storage jars) and even the seeds in hopes that they will be successful (meaning not die) this year and will provide us with seeds for several years and in turn save money.

So, no more!  No more of the spending with out at least trying to find a suitable solution first.  Make do or do without.  Luckily I have not gone into debt for these purchases (thanks to the pickle jar).  I believe to some degree perhaps I’ve been treating myself with these purchases for quitting smoking.  Anyway…. full disclosure, clearly I’ve still got a long way to go in the frugal department.  Thanks for letting me share.  Now on to Friday’s Frugal Five…

  1.  With my new eating plan to kick the omeprazole (generic for prilosec) that I posted about earlier this week. I can’t have caffeine.  This doesn’t really rattle me too much because I’m not one of those die hard coffee drinkers some people are (not judging at all, the Z Man loves his coffee too) I do enjoy 1 or 2 cups of hot tea in the morning and some iced tea from time to time.  Why is this frugal?  I returned an unopened huge box of tea bags to the grocery store.  I also returned a bag of organic onions that were half rotten, limes that were hard as rocks and a couple other things which netted me $23 in returns.
  2. I returned an unopened bottle of agave sweetener because a friend told me that it could flare up my indigestion and heartburn more than just a small amount of unpasteurized honey, which I already have.  I’m not counting this in the MMGC because it was purchased for medicinal purposes along with the supplements.
  3. Bartered again this week with my friend which will get me some lovely dairy and grass fed beef.
  4. Made some yogurt this past weekend which not only is quite cheaper than buying yogurt, it taste so much better.  I also cooked and canned 15 quarts of homemade chicken stock.  Returned my book on cd to the library and picked up a couple more.  Checked out several books on kicking the omeprazole and healing the gut.  Interesting but not shocking how it basically boils down to no one diet fits all and so far, being early on in my research, I am finding a strong consensus of managing portion control, which makes perfect sense when trying to prevent GERD.  (more on all this later)
  5. The Z Man stopped and asked about a few trees that he has seen down in someone’s yard for quite a while.  He offered to clear it away for them, they are happy to have it gone and we are happy to have the wood.  He also used a $20 coupon at Advance Auto to get the break parts to make repairs to our truck.  Yea, he’s handy like that.  I’m such a lucky girl 🙂

We’ve been eating leftovers for lunches, making meals from freezer and pantry items, hanging clothes on the clothes line to dry, driving the speed limit to save on gas, combining errands with work schedule to avoid unnecessary driving.

As for the MMGC I bought some fresh veggies this week spending $28, but I did get the grocery store to price match the Aldi price for avocados for 59¢ instead of 98¢ each.  So, with my returns and the $10.50 I had left over from last week that leaves me with $5.50 left for the month.

Most frugal of all, we are still breathing fresh air from quitting smoking, and adding that money to my pickle jar each week.

How about you, what frugal fun have you had this week?

I hope you and your family have a wonderful Easter.  Thank you GOD for loving us!

Till Next Time,