Friday, February 24, 2012


Hi everyone,

Oh, my friend gave me some roasted dandelion coffee this afternoon. Actually her husband gave it to me. He came and gave my dad and I a ride to the tax office and then the grocery store.  Before I continue, this is my FIRST attempt at making dandelion root coffee. So I'll be writing another post on this as soon as I perfect the perfect brewing recipe.

Okay, here's the photo of the lovely package of dandelion root coffee from my sweet friend L. She gave it to her hubby, who in turn gave it to me, when he came to help my father and I with some errands. This couple is really sweet.  The husband wasn't sure if it was meant for me or not, so he called his wife to make sure. Good thing, because I wouldn't want him to get in trouble for giving the coffee to the wrong person. Indeed, the dandelion root coffee was for me.  My friend L.'s sister brought it from Great Britain. It's actually a product of Germany. As far as I know, it's not commercially available in the States, but you can certainly make your own if you have dandelions growing in your yard:

Isn't that an interesting package and product? I think so.  I was really happy to get this, because I was literally going to buy a drip coffee at Whole Foods this afternoon, and add the culinary indiscretions of cream and sugar to sweet it up.  Receiving this lovely, healthy gift prevented me from buying coffee this afternoon. Here is what the back of the package looks like:

So the first thing to do, in order to make dandelion root coffee, is to open the bag (insert laughter here)  I had to smell this stuff. It has a really robust, nutty flavor.  Now the rest of this blog is how I made my particular coffee according to my friend L's recipe:

The first thing to do is place two TEAspoons of the whole dandelion root into a big stockpot. Yes, TEAspoons. Remember, this is just one version that I'm trying out.  It's recommended to grind it, but this time I just left the whole dandelion root bits in the pan.

Next, add 9 cups of water. Yes, I said 9 cups of water.  Bring it all to a boil.

Once it reaches full boil, then turn the heat down and let it simmer for 15 minutes.  I kept the lid to the stockpot on top and slightly ajar to let some of the steam escape.  When I first placed the dandelion root in the stockpot with the water, it looked like wet wood chips. This is what it looks like after it's finished simmering on the stovetop:

The roast dandelion root coffee has a nice, dark color. Now if I had ground the roast dandelion root, I think the color would have been even darker.  I used a measuring cup and a strainer, to strain the "coffee" into my favorite mug.  I also added one packet of Stevia, to add just a bit of flavor:

And that's roasted dandelion root coffee. Well, remember what I said earlier about "not grinding the dandelion root"? Well, it made my coffee a bit on the weaker side. However, having said that, it still had a nice, nutty flavor. Next time I'm going to prepare it exactly like I would regular coffee.  When I do, I'll blog about it, and let you know how it turns out.

Oh, if you've actually made dandelion root coffee, PLEASE tell me how you made it and how it turned out. Thanks bunches.  This is a nice alternative if you're trying to QUIT coffee. Or, like me, your body decides to have annoying health issues and coffee is just no good for your insides. It's nice to have a healthy alternative. Dandelion is great for liver support and gallbladder function among other things.

In other news, I cleaned up the bathroom floor today. It looks nicer, but still not quite clean enough somehow. So I may go over it again tomorrow.  I also washed the floor mats. I'm feeling really domestic with the cleaning, and even more of a real-life farmgirl with the dandelion root coffee. In the meantime, I will continue to be a farmgirl of the heart :)

That's the news from the ocean shores of California today. Love and hugs, Heather.


Hi everyone,

Oh, I just wanted to let you know that today's post is a L-O-N-G O-N-E today. So feel free to make a pot of  coffee, some tea or a sandwich or something. I'm making it  a purpose to blog a little bit each day, as I think of things. Why?  I'm seeing if this will save me some time AND if it will help me to be more regular in my blog posts.  So here's what I purchased this week. This is just some of what I purchased. I wanted to get the fresh meat into the refrigerator right away. That's why it didn't make it into the picture. Neither did the dark !!!!

February 18th, 2012 - Saturday: $98.21 at Whole Foods
- 4 dozen organic eggs
- "Whole Living" magazine $4.99 - a "want, not a need" I do LOVE magazines. The March issue has some articles that I was interested in.  Again, though a "want, not a need" If there's a magazine that you find yourself buying EVERY month, then SUBSCRIBE. I do that with a couple of magazines that are "front cover to back cover" excellent.
- 20 oz. drip coffee with cream/sugar $1.90 - a "want, not a need" Oh, I've decided to list the prices...because I have this crazy idea of tracking how much I spend on "wants"..and seeing what "need" those "wants" could have paid for. Sound good? We'll see. It's not about being way. It's about living withing my means.
- 1 pound bulk dry rub applewood smoked bacon
- 2 pounds organic, grass-fed beef Now this is a NEED in my opinion, because we (my father and I) believe that we are what our animals eat. There are certain things we have decided will always be purchased organic, whenever possible, like meat. We stretch it out by eating a bit less, and supplementing with lots of healthy veggies etc.  So far it's working well.
- one small square of dark chocolate. This was for my neighbor, who likes dark chocolate. She gave me the ride to the store this morning.
- 0.93 pounds of trail mix from the Whole Foods trail mix bar $5.57 - this is a "want, not a need" It does make for a really nice snack. It's healthy, no added salt or sugar on any of the items. However, Dad and I reached a compromise and from now on we'll only buy this once a month.
- 0.69 pounds of organic Granny Smith apples These were for my friend's hubby who likes apples. It's my way of thanking them for all the rides that the wife has given me to things like appointments, the store etc. I always make sure to buy a small something for them.
- 5 lb. bag of organic carrots, grown in California.  This was a fair price at $4.59. That works out to $0.92 cents a pounds..that's a definite BUY price for any produce, and for organic it's a DEFINITE BUY price.
- Griffin Remedy voluminizing shampoo, 8 fl. oz. This is a gluten free shampoo. I checked the back label. I'm doing a mix of shampoo and the "no shampoo" method on days where I don't have anywhere to go. That involves a mix of baking powder to wash/apple cider vinegar to rinse.  I'm still in the "trial" phase, so the jury is still out on what I think about the results.  The decision to go gluten free definitely applies to my diet, and when I can, to everything else in my life, including the shampoo and make-up that I use. So far, it's just the shampoo and toothpaste that are gluten free.
- 1.67 pounds of organic broccoli crowns
- 1.91 pounds of Texas royal star grapefruit
- 1.41 pounds of organic Granny Smith apples
- 4 lb. bag of organic oranges, from Mexico At $3. 99 this was also a DEFINITE BUY, because it works out to about $1 a pound. Sometimes the bulk bags of fruit are cheaper than the ones you can just pick individually. It's always worth it to check.
- 1 Dagoba organic, dark chocolate bar It's a "want, not a need" Oh, and for those interested, I buy the 52% dark chocolate bar. They have one that's 79% dark chocolate called "New Moon".  This is more of a treat, but I think this will soon become a "once a month" treat, too.
- 1 pound of ground buffalo meat Now this was a spendy item, even spendier than organic, ground beef. However, this type of animal is not, by federal law, allowed to be treated with hormones etc. They are naturally grass fed..and that's all I know. Again, it's expensive meat, but it's a safe bet in terms of the "health" factor. Oh, it tastes really GOOD, too.
- $0.94 cents was for tax.

I can't figure out what most of that tax is for, since the Whole Foods receipt isn't really clear that way. However, next time I'm in the store, I'm going to ask.  When I figure out my estimates for what I spend on food, I NEVER count the tax..too confusing at the moment. 

Of the $98.21 that I spent at the store today, I'd say $24.08 was spent on "wants" and one NEED, which was the gluten free shampoo.  So that leaves me with $74.13. Split between my father and myself that's $37.07 per person...that's GOOD so far for the week. Oh, when I figure my totals for the week, my "week" is from Saturday till Friday.

Here are a few more photos from my shopping trip today. There's a few small things that I wanted to point out, that you might find interesting. Did you know that the PLU numbers (those annoying little stickers on veggies and fruit) actually have a meaning? Yes, they do. The numbers that start with a "9" are organically grown produce. The ones that start with a "4" are traditionally, farm-grown produce. Anything that starts with an "8" is supposed to be genetically modifed, but I've yet to find a place that openly admits to selling genetically modified produce.  Those are the three that I know about. Here's an example from the organic Granny Smith apples:

This is the trail mix that I normally buy at the Whole Foods trial mix bar. It's a combination of coconut flakes, raisins, sunflower seeds, cashews and sliced almonds. NOTE: The container was half-empty because we ate some of it.  It's actually really tasty. It's also less expensive than buying the "pre-mixed" stuff against the walls in the plastic dispensers:

This is the gluten free shampoo that I'm trying out this time. I'm trying out different gluten free shampoos, to see which one I like the best:

Remember the organic carrots that I mentioned earlier?  Here they are.  Sometimes buying those bulk bags of fruit and veggies are cheaper. Sometimes they aren't. However, it's always worth it to check:

I'm coming to realize this is going to be a LONG POST today...myy apologies ahead of time. This is another reason not to make so many trips to the store. 

February 20th, 2012 - Monday: $44.04 at Whole Foods:
- 20 oz. drip coffee with cream and sugar $1.90 - a "want and not a need" I wish I could say t his was my last coffee of the week, but I've had more.
- about 1 lb. of dry rub applewood bacon
- 3.90 pounds of red organic onions.
- 3.19 pounds of organic navel oranges These are a DEFINITE BUY because it's still only $0.99 a pound. My father likes to juice the oranges, and then pour it over a cup of cold ice.
- 2  Dagoba organic dark chocolate bars $5.38 for the two bars together. Another "want and not a need"
- 0.89 pounds of trail mix from Whole Foods trail mix bar $5.33 - a "want not a need", but if you need a healthy snack, this is a good way to go, because you can pick and choose what you want in the trial mix.
- 1 classic rotisser chicken from the deli $9.99 - a "want, not a need"...but today neither of us were interested in cooking anything, not even in using a microwave
TAX was $0.72 cents

February 21st, 2012 - Tuesday:
- 2 sparkling soda drinks for dad $2.38 - a "want, not a need" but Dad was really craving this. IN fact, everything purchased today, except for the water, was a "want"
- 0.73 pounds of organic Granny Smith apples
- 20 oz. drip coffee with cream and sugar $1.90 - a "want/not a need", but still fun to drink :)
- 2.5 gallons of drinking water. I don't like the taste of the water in my area. So I buy this stuff. It lasts a long time.
TAX was $0.18 cents.

February 22nd 2012 - Wednesday: $15.46 at Whole Foods:
- qty. 4 of the 2.5 gallon jugs of drinking water
- 20 oz drip coffee with cream/sugar $1.90 - a "want/not a need" This is the last coffee I've had this week. 

I'm feeling a bit lazy and I don't think I'll be adding up any numbers today.  I'm also feeling a bit discouraged about things in general. So I think I'll let "number crunching" slide this week.

I did meet with my naturopath on Wednesday, and it's clear I need to QUIT THE COFFEE.  It's hard, because it is such a comfort food - drink for me.I love coffee, but it's not doing my body any favors.

Here's a photo of some dandelion root coffee that a friend gave to me today.  Her sister brought it from Great Britain when she came to visit here. I haven't tried it yet. However, it's supposed to be a nice alternative to regular coffee. After I've tried it, I'll let you know what I think of it. Oh, and yes, that is a genuine vintage Butternut coffee glass jar from the 1960s.  Earlier Butternut coffee came in tins. This is so appropriate to go with the dandelion coffee:

February 24th, 2012- Friday: $17.36:
- 1 bag of Terra chips, "sweet and beet" (dried sweet potato and red beet vegetable chips) $2.50 for a bag. It's a "want, not a need". They taste GREAT and don't have any added salt whatsoever. However, my body doesn't like these. So that's the last time I'm buying those.
- 1 Dagoba organic dark chocolate bar $2.69 - a "want, not a need"  My dad appreciated this today.
- 1 lb of lean ground beef
- 1 pound of buld dry rub applewood smoked bacon

I realize that not everyone can afford to eat all organic. We don't always do that.  My BIG FAT, VERY IMPORTANT  RULE is to always buy fresh, whether it's organic or not.  Don't buy processed foods, if you can help it.  Any meal that you make at home is, in my humble opinion, going to be better for you and better tasting. Plus, it's the most economical for your pocketbook, too. 

I'm going to brew up a batch of the dandelion root coffee as soon as I'm done blogging here.  I'll make sure and let you know how it tastes.  That's the news from the ocean shores of California today.  Love and hugs, Heather 

Friday, February 17, 2012


Hi everyone, 

Well, I don't think I did as bad this week with spending, in terms of the dollar amount. However, as I tally up the receipts we'll find out. Oh, I totally FORGOT to get photos of my purchases, so I'll entertain you with other photos, totally unrelated to saving money, but still very cute :) :)

February 12th, 2012 - Sunday: Purchase $49.54 at Petco:
- One 30 lb. bag of natural dog food for my dog
- $3.55 for California state tax
- The original retail price for this dog food was $48.99.  I could have purchased it for $5 cheaper at another store, but it would have been a much longer drive.  So  I printed out my $3 coupon on-line and went to Petco. It is a reasonable driving distance.  The tax is based on the original cost of the item.  The coupon was applied after taxes.

TIP: Homemade cleaning products can often times save you money. If you are living on an "in between" job budget like me, then something like homemade laundry powder just might do the trick. Click here to visit Maryjane of The Beehive Cottage blog. I used her recipe. It's a winner, for sure.  I just found my laundry powder in the garage. It got packed away in the move.  It's in an air-tight container and is still perfect. So when my current liquid laundry soap runs out, I'll be going back to my homemade laundry powder:

February 12th, 2012 - Sunday: $31.12 at Whole Foods:
- 20 oz drip coffee with cream/sugar "a want, not a need"
- 32 fl.oz. bottle of Bragg's organic, raw-unfiltered apple cider vinegar As I recall, it was the exact same price as the Whole Foods brand.  Plus, the Bragg's bottle has more of a vintage look to it.
- Dark chocolate bar with orange peel This is for my sweet friend who gave me the ride to Whole Foods. She still won't take cash for gas money. However, I can pay her in chocolate. That's a sweet deal.
- Tillamook sharp cheddar cheese It's made in Oregon and it's G.O.O.D.
-Whole Foods brand cheddar cheeseI bought this one, too. Both of the cheddar cheeses are for my father. He likes cheese. I like cheese, too, but my body can't handle this form of dairy, yet.
- ca. 1 pound of lean ground beef
- 0.97 pounds of trail mix from Whole Food's trail mix bar
California likes to add a sales tax to the trail mix. Sales tax for this item was $0.07 cents.
- local Sunday newspaper $1.50 I purchased this because I'm interested in using coupons again. It's more of a trial run to see exactly how much money I spend on the Sunday papers, versus money saved on items that I actually use on a daily basis.
- total tax on this trip was $0.11 cents.

This next photo is the famous Lone Cypress tree in Pebble Beach, California. This is actually what's known as a Monterey Cypress tree, and this one is special because it's growing all by it's lonesome out on this little rocky outcropping. If you ever visit here, it's worth it to take the 17 Mile Drive to see this and other beautiful spots along the drive:

February 14th, 2012 - Tuesday: $25.62 at Whole Foods:
- Croisssants "a want, and not a need"
- 20 oz. drip coffee with cream/sugar "a want, and not a need"
- Dry rub applewood smoked bacon
- 2 Dagoba organic, dark chocolate bars "a want, and not a need" One chocolate bar was for the friend who gave me the ride to the store. The other one was for my dad and myself to share.

This next photo is some of the beautiful coastline in my hometown:

February 15th, 2012 - Wednesday: $35.64 at Trader Joe's:
- mini-pearl tomatoes
- canned salmon
- canned albacore tuna
- 1 dozen organic, jumbo eggs
- Trader Joe's premium sharp cheddar Dad snuck this into the cart. He really likes cheese.
- Cashew, almond and cranberry trail mix "a want, not a need"...but wow, this stuff tasted great. it had a natural sweet/tart flavor from the cranberries.
- 2 pounds of organic, ground beef
- applewood bacon, uncured

This photo is some of the beautiful flora that can be found along the coast.  I really like the stark contrast between the orange and purple:

February 16th, 2012 - Thursday: $45.31 at Whole Foods
- one bottle of ultra purified drinking water This comes with a $0.10 cent bottle deposit. Oh, interesting,that in the state of California, you don't get the full 10 cents back on your return. Recycling companies pay by the pound. So I'll maybe see about six or seven cents back on this bottle. Unfair,but that's how it works right now.
- local daily newspaper
- sandwiches from the breakfast bar " a total want, and not a need"
- 0.85 pounds of organic, cara cara oranges I've never had these before. The price was outstandingly good. My dad LOVES oranges.
- One Dagoba organic, dark chocolate bar "a want, and not a need" My father and I shared this, too, along with those sandwiches from the breakfast bar.
- 2 small squares of dark chocolate For my friend who gave me a ride to the store this day.
- $20 dollars cash back I gave this to the same friend who I gave those squares of chocolate, too. She has driven me around so MUCH. It's been a real ministry, blessing and relief. So it was only fair to help for the gas.  I'm still studying the driver handbook, and working out who will give me the actual driving lessons. Dad will be okay to drive again in a few months.
- $1.02 was for taxes

Oh, I also spent $5 to purchase  year-long membership to Sheri Graham's "Intentional Planner" site. It's got everything you need to put together your own home management binder. You can pick and choose what you want, download it, print it out for personal use only. It's fabulous. It's the BEST $5 I've spent in a LONG, LONG time.  There's a lifetime membership package which you can check out on her site. I'm saving for that, because that will get me access to the videos and eBooks. Click here to visit.

I spent a total of $187.23 this week.  The dog needs to eat, and her food was $49.54. However, that will last a L.O.N.G. time. So I'm not counting that in my figures.

That brings my total down to $137.69 spent on us humans (my father and myself).  Of that, I would say that $66.67 was spent on food that we needed. So that works out to about $33.34 per person. That's not too bad...Now the "wants" are still a struggle in terms of not buying them so often..but for what it's worth, they're quickly losing the appeal.

Now I should let you know that I follow a gluten-free diet for health reasons.  So last Tuesday, I completely fell OFF the gluten-free bandwagon. I ate croissants, coffee, chocolate AND trail mix.  The croissants and the trail mix were not gluten free. In any case, I ate them and it was fine. However, the next day I was really, really sick, especially in the morning. Later on the day it dissipated to nausea/slight dizziness. This told me a couple of things that were both negative and positive. The negative is that no matter how good those croissants and other stuff look, it will make me sick. Which is did. The POSITIVE in this situation is that the toxicity level in my body is going DOWN and that's why my body had such a strong reaction to those foods.

What about the breakfast sandwiches on Thursday? I know, I know...but I'm telling you, it's HARD to break the gluten habit sometimes.  Well, I am paying for it today (Friday)..although this time it's just a lot of shoulder pain/inflammation.  So there you go. I think this is my  "lowest" week in terms of eating good.  So I really am seeing where the changes need to be made.

I'm also going to be looking at various coupon sites, to see where I can save money on the basics that my family uses every day.  That's why I have started buying the Sunday paper again. 

Oh, I did find a FANTASTIC deal on a home management binder/planner over at Sheri Graham ministries site. Click here to visit.  I can't wait to talk about that some more in a future post. Oh, and I'll be working on those socks that I pictured in my previous post. It'll be sock knitting and watching episodes of the fabulous, Canadian tv show "Road to Avonlea".

That's the news from the ocean shores of California today. Love and hugs, Heather :)

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Hi everyone,

How are you all today? I'm doing really well. Yesterday I was suffering the consequences of eating some gluten-filled goodies on Tuesday. I was sick all day Wednesday. Today I'm feeling much better. That experience told me TWO things. One is that no matter how tasty something is, if I know my body can't handle it, I shouldn't eat it. Number Two (and positive aspect) is that the toxicity level in my body is going DOWN. That's why my body had such a strong reaction to the two croissants I ate on Tuesday.

Okay, now to the fun stuff.  It has been awhile since I've picked up my knitting needles.  When my dad went into the hospital, everything stopped. Oh, my dad is doing so well, now. It is a real miracle.  Now I'm feeling ready to start crafting again.  You know you are ADDICTED in love with crafting when you have multiple projects going on at the same time....a.k.a UFO's (unfinished objects).  So here is what I have to share with you today. Oh, and keep in mind, this isn't even HALF of the unfinished craft projects in my room.  This first photo is a pair of socks that I was knitting for my aunt for Christmas. The first sock is almost finished, plus I still need to knit the second. Oh, and the taupe colored yarn? Those are my dad's knee-high socks...can you tell? ha ha ha ha ha ;) :)

The next photo is a close-up of the variegated taupe yarn that I'm going to use for my Dad's knee-high socks. this rate, they'll be ready just in time for Christmas 2012 :) :) I've never used this particular yarn before. I just remember purchasing it because the price was extremely affordable:

This next photo is a close-up of the socks that I"m knitting for my aunt. I LOVE knitting socks.  It is a fun thing to knit. Plus, it's an extremely affordable project on my "in between jobs" budget:

Maybe I can justify all my unfinished knitting projects if I disguise daintily place them in a lovely, vintage chic basket?:

Now talk about a project taking a long time. I started this quite a fe months ago. I don't even remember when I started this Victorian knitted lace edging, or even why I set the needles down.  Now that I'm back to crafting, this will finally get finished. Isn't the pink so pretty?:

Now, my walk-in closet is an absolute M.E.S.S...messy messy messy messy..and I WON"T show a pic of that till after it's looking neat and sparkly again. However, you know you've got it bad, when your craft supplies start spilling over into the closet in the tv this:

That last photo were some craft items that I was going to use to try and make some stuff for the ladies in my Bible study for Valentine's Day. I was stressing out over that...unnecessarily.  In the end, I decided to actually finish by lesson on Hebrews instead. The craft projects can wait...and these will eventually turn into a work of art. Oh, and it's NEVER too late to give a Valentine's Gift.

I'm really working on embracing the whole idea of being a Proverbs 31 and Titus 2 lady...oh, make that "single" lady. You know what?  These are things that are great for any woman, no matter what your station in life might be.  So pray for me, encourage me, and feel free to leave any tips etc here in the comment box ;) :) Also, please check out my sidebar for some links to the various blogs hosting link-ups throughout the week :)

Join me tomorrow for another episode of my "It Makes Cents to Me" Friday :) :)  I am looking into subscribing to the local paper, just so I can get the coupon inserts.

It's a beautiful, bright sunny day today. It's also a little  chilly outside.  Luckily, I'm INSIDE watching episodes of the Canadian tv series "Heartland" on Netflix, and working on this blog post at the same time.  That's the news from the ocean shores of California today. Love and hugs, Heather :)

Friday, February 10, 2012


Hi everyone :) :) :)

It's time for another week of "It Makes Cents To Me Friday".  Right now my goal is to simply track what I spend my money on. That includes anything I spend on items for myself, for my father, for us as a tiny family.  I had a bit of a difficult time this week. I'm still buying "treats" for myself and my dad. These are actually things that are nice to enjoy once in awhile. However, these are definitely not needs for me right at this point in time.  In any case, here's what I did for the week of February 4th (Saturday) till today, February 10th (Friday).

These are just a few things that I puchased yesterday and today.  The Cottonelle wipes and the batteries were purchased at Rite Aid.  The clementines and oranges were purchased at Whole Foods this morning:

Friday - February 4th at Whole Foods:  Total spent $46.82

--- 1.11 pounds of trail mix (from the Whole Foods trail mix bar) This is really nice, especially if you like trail mix. You can pick from all these different things, to mix it to your tastes
--- 1, 20 oz drip coffee with cream and sugar "want, not a need"
--- 2 organic dark chocolate bars "Want, not a need" One for my father & I. The other one was for the friend who gave me the ride to the store. She wouldn't take gas money from me, but she did take chocolate ;) :)
--- 1 Clementine gift box
--- 1 Classic rotisseri chicken, from the hot deli counter "Want, not a need" especially since I have fresh, frozen chickens in my freezer. Once in awhile we just don't want to cook. Today was one of those days.
--- Almond meal flour, Bob's Red Mill
--- 1/2 pound of fresh raspberries
TAX: $0.72

Tuesday - February 7th at Whole Foods: Total spent $32.44
--- 2 organic dark chocolate bars "Want, not a need" One bar for my father & I. The other bar for another friend. Same situation: this friend wouldn't accept gas money, but I could pay her in chocolate ;) :)
--- 1 jar of raw raspberry honey
--- ** Parissa cold wax strips It's a cheaper solution than going to the salon. I prefer going to the salon for waxing, but I can't afford it right now. So this is the next best option :) :) :)

--- Lemongrass deodorant (Tom's of Maine) I bought this, just in case my coconut oil dedorant didn't work. It actually turned out perfect. So now I have two options for keeping myself smelling great :) :) :)
TAX: $1.09

My camera batteries were almost gone, so I decided to buy some more batteries yesterday. My digital camera uses AA batteries. Normally I buy just regular Duracell Coppertop batteries. However, I have found that they don't last very long. At the rate I take photos, batteries that last a long time are a MUST.  So I purchased lithium batteries. They are more expensive, but they last a LONG, LONG  time.  I'm also keeping track of how long they last versus regular batteries:

Wednesday - February 8th at Whole Foods: Total Spent $21.36

--- 2 pastries "Want, not a need". One was for my father, the other for me.  Oh, and did I mention that I'm GLUTEN FREE? Well, I'm struggling with that this week, too
--- 3 squares of dark chocolate "Want, not a need"
--- Classic rotissere chicken from the hot deli counter "Want, not a need".  Oh, I just realized that I bought one of these the other day. I have fresh, frozen chickens in the freezer. So add to my list "learn how to roast a chicken for myself"
--- Local newspaper "Want, not a need"  However, I do like to keep up with local happenings every once in awhile.
--- TAX: $0.78
Apropos chicken, I've got a whole, organic chicken (from Trader Joe's) slow-cooking in my CrockPot. It will be ready in another couple of hours.  This is one of those items that I had in my freezer already, so I didn't spend any money on that this week. The price for this chicken was $2.49 a pound at my local Trader Joe's. The photo doesn't look like much right now, but it's sure smelling good in the house:

Oooopss, looking at that last photo made me realize, I need to CLEAN...sigh.. :) :)

Wednesday - February 8th at Safeway: Total Spent $10.36
--- 4 of those 2.something gallon containers of drinking water
--- $0.40 cent recycle deposit
This I consider a need, especially if you don't have a clean source of drinking water.  Our water here is clean and okay to drink. It's just the taste that I don't like. It's a little too salty for my taste. Plus we also have hard water in our area. So I purchase this for drinking. It's a great alternative.

Thursday - February 9th at RiteAid: Total spent $47.15
--- $19.99, 8 pack of AA Lithium batteries Whenever I load my cameras with new batteries, I ALWAYS have a spare set in my camera bag.  These are expensive, but they last a VERY LONG TIME. I'm keeping tracking of exactly how long they last. The goal is to see if they really do last a lot longer than a regular set of batteries. That and if they do, does it justify the cost? So far, the answer is yes. Only time will tell.
--- $7.99 ea. 140ct of Cottonelle flushable wipes, 3 sets - $23.97 I stocked up on these because my family uses them quite a bit.  That and I want to have plenty on hand, in case there's  time I can't get to the store.
--- TAX: $3.19

Thursday - February 9th at Whole Foods: Total spent $11.23
---20 oz. drip coffee with cream and sugar "Want, not a need"
---2 breakfast sandwiches (from the hot deli counter)
"Want, not a need".  I could classify anytime I buy either of these things as "wants" and not needs, especially since I can easily make these at home. My father really wanted these yesterday. However, it's something I'm working on/struggling with. It's one of those things I LOVE to purchase, but don't HAVE to have.

Friday - February 10th at Whole Foods:  Total spent $33.90
---3.76 pounds of organic navel oranges These are only $1.49 a pound. That's not bad for organic produce, in my humble opinion.
--- 1 pound of lean ground beef
--- 1 pound of bulk dry rub applewood bacon
--- 1 Clementine gift box This was really expensive at $7.99 for a box. I just threw them in my cart, because I know how much my dad loves to eat these. When I got home, I told him the price and he felt bad. I told him it was OKAY!!! I was happy to purchase them. However, from here on out, it'll be oranges, unless clementines go on a super sale!!!!
--- 2 small breakfast sandwiches, from the hot deli counter "Want, not a need".  This is a want and not a need.
--- One local newspaper "Want, not a need"
TAX: $0.41

That's everything I spent my money on for the week. I spent a total of $203.90.  Of that money, $139.63 was spent on food (including the items I classified as "wants" versus "needs") So divided between my father and myself that works out to $69.82 per person. That's way too much. So I overshot my goal by quite  a lot.  Lesson learned...and I'm just going to keep plugging away at this and move forward.

That's about it for today :) :)  It just started sprinkling outside. It's what I jokingly called a "California downpour".  I'm so glad for the rain. We really need it, even here next to the ocean. Lots of farmers in our area, who grow really good food. They need that good rain.

Thanks for coming to visit me everyone. Your visits and comments always make me smile :) :) Have a great weekend!!!  That's the news from the ocean shores of California today. Love and hugs, Heather :) :) :)

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Update:  I haven't been able to leave comments on some blogs. It's only the Blogger blogs that require a word verification, in order to leave a comment. I think it's just  a glitch. It should work itself out on its own. However, if you have trouble leaving a comment on my blog, would you please let me know? Thanks!!!

Hi everyone,

This is a surprise post.  I was at a women's Bible study last Tuesday. One of the ladies there had printed out Ann Voskamps "A Year of Graces" from her site A Holy Experience. Click here if you would like to visit. She also printed a copy of January's Joy Dare, even though we're in February :) :) So when I went home I printed out the Joy Dare for February. I've decided that one of the things I want to foster this year is an attitude of gratitude for the small and big things.  Each day is filled with different things to look for. Today is:

"3 gifts that were surprises - unexpected grace":

The first surprise was receiving this beautiful card with a quilted teacup on the front from my sweet friend Dorothy. Click here if you'd like to visit her blog, Notes from Mémère.  I love all things vintage, including quilts.

The second surprise came when I opened the card.  There was a lovely bag of Scripture tea.  I won't open it till I'm ready to drink it. When I do, I'll let you know what Scripture verse is on the tag:

The third unexpected surprise came when I saw what was on the back of the card. This made it even more special, because I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE vintage things.  When I saw that this was a repurposed quilt, I immediately wondered about the person who lovingly put the fabric pieces together. Now I have a piece of that quilt, an unexpected blessing:

These are the unexpected gifts that I've found far.  I just had to share this with you all right away. I couldn't wait.

Tomorrow I'll be sharing about what I spent this week.  I think I might of went a little overboard, but it's all a learning process.  There was one item that I stocked up on.....well, actually it was two items. More on that tomorrow, too.

That's the news from the ocean shores of California today. Love and hugs, Heather :)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Hi everyone,

How are you all today? I'm doing fine. We were supposed to have some rain yesterday, but all we got were some sprinkles. Maybe it will come later this week. We could really use the rain, even here on the coast with the ocean nearby :) :)

In my effort to lead a healthier lifestyle, I am also learning how to make more beauty/healthcare products at home.  Why?  It saves money. I know exactly what goes into the product. It is less toxic for my skin and body. Also, since I'm still "in between" jobs, this really helps to stretch my dollar a long way.

So one of the things I've made in the past is deodorant with coconut oil. There are quite a few websites with excellent recipes on how to make this for yourself. I followed the recipe that Amy blogged about over at Homestead Revival. Click here to visit the post. She's a really nice lady who is really doing a lot to be more self-sufficient at home. Plus, her blog is a delight to visit and you'll be glad that you did. Oh, and if you're on  Facebook, you can visit her here. Either way, let her know that I sent you over :) :) :)

You will need the following three ingredients to make this homemade deodorant:

What proportions of each of the three ingredients do you need to measure out:
Baking soda - 1/4 cup
Corn starch - 1/4 cup (you can also use arrowroot if you prefer)
Coconut oil - 5 to 6 Tablespoons ( or up to 8 Tablespoons. It depends on how thick you want to make this.  I also use unrefined virgin coconut oil. There's no reason for that, other than I really like it and it smells FABULOUS.)

First, I measured out 6 Tablespoons of coconut oil.  At room temperature it is a bit hard, so my measurements weren't totally exact, but for this project, it's okay.  I haven't noticed any issues with the quality of the deodorant when it's finished.  Now the last time I made this, it was really hard to mix the coconut oil and the other two ingredients together. So this time, I put the 6 Tablespoons of coconut oil in a glass measuring cup. Then I placed that measuring cup in a warm bowl of water. The gentle heat from the water will help to soften the coconut oil. That's okay, but when you're done it will solidify back to it's former state.


While the coconut oil is getting softer (and easier to mix later), I mixed together 1/4 cup of baking soda and a 1/4 cup of corn starch together in a plastic container.  Now plastic is what I have on hand. However, when I find a good deal on a Mason jar or glass storage container at the thrift shop, then I'll buy that.  This is what it looks like when you mix the two powders together. Real exciting..not..but for being so simple, this work FABULOUS:
Now it's time to mix the coconut oil together with the corn starch and baking soda.  I use a fork to mix everything together really well.  Once it's all well-mixed together, it kind of has the consistency of vanilla frosting from a can. This is what mine looked like:

This makes up under a cup of homemade coconut oil deodorant. You can store it in a small glass Mason jar or other container of your choice. I did put the lid on mine and placed it in the refrigerator. That helps to firm it up again.  I took it out this morning and let it sit at room temperature. That's how I'll store it, too. It'll be easier to use that way.

This morning I took my shower. After I was finished, I applied some of the homemade coconut oil deodorant.  I take a very small amount and apply it with my hands. I let it sit against the skin for a few seconds to let it melt. It will start to melt with your body heat. Then I rub it around to cover my underarm area very well. That's it.. It works great. It smells fantastic and it's better than anything I've ever purchased in a store.

The baking soda cost me less than $1. The corn starch was just over $1. The coconut oil cost me about $9.99 at Whole Foods.  However, coconut oil has MANY uses, so it's worth the cost. You don't need much for this deodorant. It's also good as a moisturizer on the skin. It's also fantastic to use in cooking, as an alternative to butter.

If you make this, let me know how it turns out.  This stuff smells nice and does the job very well.

That's the news from the ocean shores of California today. Love and hugs, Heather

Friday, February 3, 2012


Hi everyone,
So I really struggled with what to call this post. I've been noticing on a few blogs, people are keeping track of their spending, some just on food, others on anything they spend money on. So that got me to thinking. Maybe I can keep track of what I spend my money on for the next three strings attached...and then after that, I'll see where I can start saving money.
OH, and I had a hard time coming up with a catchy title...but I came up with "Makes Cents To Me".  My aunt (my dad's sister) helps pay most of the bills, since we're living in her house. She's been so good to us during this really tough time for my little family.  Once certain bills are paid, my father and I have a really limited budget to work with. This budget has to cover food, gas and maybe other incidentals for the entire month.  My "month" started today on February 3rd and will end around March 2nd. Although that might be subject to change. Also, my dad and I are both "in between" jobs, so that adds an element of excitement to the mix. Hey, being out of work is no fun, but it is vitally important not to lose our sense of humor :) :) :)

Here are a few of the items that I purchased this morning at Whole Foods market.  There was quite a bit MORE in today's purchase, but I'd put most of it away, before I realized that a photo would be needed for today's post:


My father and I are on a real food journey. We're committed to eating organic food, as much as possible and staying within budget.  We believe that you can't put a price tag on healthy eating/living, especially since the alternative (hospital bills) can be exhorbitant.  If you can't afford organic food, don't worry.  The primary goal is to shop the perimeter of your supermarket, buy fresh produce and meat. Make all of your meals at home.  It will automatically be healthier and save you money.
I know that I'm forgetting to write down some stuff here, because I'm really excited and really nervous about this post. Excited, because I know that it's possible to live healthy on a really limited budget.  Nervous because I am putting myself out there. However, I hope to encourage you because I'm just your everyday person trying to make it work in a recession.  That and I also want to prove that it's possible to live within your means and still be happy :) :) :)

Budget for the month of February: $Not sure if I want to reveal that just yet.  Once the bills are paid, there isn't much left over for food or other incidentals, like the phone ;) :) Maybe later...

Monday spent so far this week: $146.50 (for food and non-food items)

This is what my purchase included today:
--- 3 dozen organic brown eggs
---3, 8 oz packages of Kerrygold Irish butter (for making ghee, which is clarified butter)
---12 oz of organic, cherry tomatoes
---**Martha Stewart Living magazine (a want/not a need)
---**20 oz. organic drip coffee, French roast (a want/not a need)
---2, 32 oz bottles of ultra-purified drinking water with bottle desposits included
---1 jar of Himalayan pink salt
---1 container of Trail  Mix from the trail mix bar
---1 pound of organic, grass fed ground beef
---1 pound of bulk dry rub applewood smoked bacon
---2 Dagoba, organic dark chocolate bars
---1 botle of leave-in conditioner from 2Chic by Giovanni
---1 bottle of Aubrey Organics "rosa mosqueta" shampoo
---1 tube of natural whitening toothpaste
---1 small tub of organic cottage cheese
---organic, salted butter (Whole Foods brand) for Dad
---2 packages of frozen, organic blueberries (really overpriced, but I didn't have a chance to buy the 10 lb. organic bags of frozen blueberries at Costco)
---1.28 pounds of organic carrots
---1.54 pounds of organic broccoli crowns
---1 bottle of Earthworm family-safe drain cleaner (more on this stuff in another post...fantastic product, great price and safe around pets and children)
---2 cans of canned wild salmon
---2 cans of wild albacore tuna
---7.56 pounds of organic, navel oranges
---**2 fresh croissant breakfast sandwiches from the hot deli bar(a want/not a need...but so tasty good when you don't want to make breakfast in the morning)
---Organic silk, dental floss


I bought the Himalayan pink salt for my father. It came recommended from our naturopath, as a healthy salt that my dad can consume.  Last month he was in the hospital because he had an arrythmia fibrillation of the heart. The hospital put him on a low-salt diet.  It's not so much about low-salt as it is about "healthy" sources of sodium. So we decided on this for my father.  It is really flavorful, and because of that you use much less of this type of sea salt, than you do with regular table salt. When I make my organic chicken/vegetable soup, I always add a teaspoon of Celtic sea salt. It's fabulous....and provides wonderful flavor.

What else? Well, let's see...the non-food items were a total of $38.34. That is $38 dollars and 34 cents...Blogger fonts make it hard to see the "dot" seperating the dollars from the cents :) :) :)

So I actually only spent $108.16 on food itself. So divided between my father and I for the week, that's $54.08...that's not too bad for the week.  Also keep in mind, that we still have a lot of food in our refrigerators and pantry, so that's going to help cut down on our food expenditures for the month.

Remember, I am new at be kind to me, especially if you have advice/words of encouragement :) :)

These are some Whole Foods market freebies. They have a monthly health magazine, FREE to customers, whether you make a purchase or not. They also have a bi-monthly coupon booklet as well. So look for those two things, when you go to your local Whole Foods store (or any store, look for the store's sale ads).  Whole Foods also has a weekly sales sheet, that I grab as well.  Although today ,there weren't any available.

I am learning how to carefully study the sales ads. Even at stores like Whole Foods, it is possible to eat healthy and stay within a budget. So that's what I'm setting out to do.  Oh, Whole Foods also has a really cool booklet that comes out that includes a few meals/recipes. They each can feed four people for under $20.

Why am I shopping at Whole Foods today? Well, I'm studying to get my California driver's license. I'm in my 30s and never learned to drive...Shocking, I know...but I'm just a late bloomer and that's the simple, plain truth when it comes to my driving. My dad cannot drive for another three months. That is a mandated CAlifornia state law for people who experience a heart problem (like my father did) I'm relying on the generosity/loving kindness of my neighbors and church family. So I'm really careful to limit where I shop to save gas.  Whole Foods has everything I needed for this week, so I didn't need to go to the produce market in Pacific Grove, like I normally would. Does that make sense?

In any case, that's my "It Makes Cents to Me" post for this Friday.  I'd love to hear your thoughts and your ideas. I realize that eating organic is not for everyone, whether it be personal choice or because of finances. However, I know we all like to save money. So I'd welcome any thoughts and comments. Just keep it kind towards me and the others who comment here :) :) Also, I'm just a young lady trying to make it work in a recession. You can have "champagne" tastes and still live well-within a soda pop can budget :) :) :)

I'm participating in the following blog-hops this week:

Living Well Blog Hop over at Common Sense Homesteading.

Your Thriving Family. Click here to visit. Or check out the the blog button on my right sidebar :) :) :)

Raising Homemakers. Click here to visit or check out the blog button on my right sidebar :) :) :)

Thriving on Thursdays at Domesblissity. Click here to visit or check out the blog button on my right sidebar :) :) :)

Lil' Suburban Homestead. Click here to visit.

The Homestead Barn Hop over at The Prairie Homestead. Click here to visit. Or click on the blog button on my right sidebar.

There are lots of really cool blog posts. If you have some time, check out some of the other people participating in this link-up :)

That's the news from the ocean shores of California today. Love and hugs, Heather :)