Saturday, March 16, 2013

Homeade Probiotics.. or my sons favorite drink ever :)

My Garden has been a gateway into healthier and more frugal living. It seems every year I find something new to try. Some things are total flops.. others become a way of life that I think nothing about and just do. Water Kefir has become a normal part of our every day lives.

About 6 months ago I started loooking into probiotics. I have a family history of Diverticulitis and had begun having some issues of my own. At 32 with 3 kids I really didn't want to live in pain or be hospitalized, so I began doing research.

In a lot of the more holistic information was that probiotics help keep the gut clean and reduce issues of Diverticulitis. But they were all so expensive. Live cultures were said to work the best, but a 30 day supply was upwards of $30 for one person. Something I really couldn't afford.

I finally came across information on Water Kefir. Grains that grow in sugar water and ferment the water growing good bacteria that helps the gut. They actually eat out most of the sugar, the drink is oddly not sweet unless you make it that way after the first ferment. (there can be trace amounts of acholol depending on what you add and how long it ferments.. As of yet mine has never tasted like it had any. But I don't ferment mine for to long.

Basically you need a jar like this. I like these because they are easy to burp and fully seal.

You need Kefir grains. About 1/4 of a cup is all you need to start with.
These will more then likely reproduce and grow bigger. I started with 1/4 of a cup and now have 1 1/2 cups of them :)

You also will need a plastic strainer. You really don't want to use metal, it can kill the bacteria. Just like in sour dough bread.

I found one that was built into a funnel. It helps out a lot if I use a skinny bottle.

You also need un chlorinated water, you can use regular water that has sat out over night or boiled on the stove and cooled, or bottled water. Just make sure it's cool. The grains like warmth but grow better with cooler water to start.

You also need sugar. This is what the grains feed on. Any type of sugar works even plain white sugar. Depending on what sugar you use, you'll get diffrent flavors and different amounts of carbonation. Some times I use a bit of each sugar I have or only white. It just depends on the day.

I also add some unsulfured Molasses to add Iron to the drink.

My basic recipe for the first ferment is:

1/4 to 1/2 cup Kefir Grains
6 cups unchlorinated water
6 Tblsp of Sugar (any mix just as long as it's 6 Tblsp
1/4 to 1/2  tsp of Molasses
Mix together, close and seal lid and let sit for 2 days.
 Burp at least once a day so pressure doesn't build.
If you taste it and it's no longer really sweet it's ready for a second ferment.

Remove grains and start another batch.
Take your fermented water and add either fresh fruit, 100% real fruit juice or homemade jam.
Let sit on the counter for up to 2 days, again burping every day at least once maybe more.
Then place in fridge so it gets cold and drink at least a cup a day. You can let it ferment longer if you want a alcoholic drink.

(the first few days drink only a little until your body gets used to it. It can cause a detox effect)

My family loves it with either Ginger or homemade Blueberry jam added.

It turns into a pretty, fresh tasting drink, that even my son loves.

My husband and I have both noticed the benefits of this drink. I am no longer having signs of Diverticulitis, the pain is gone. My Husband who has IBS has had no symptoms since starting to drink this. 

If you have any questions please feel free to ask. 

Here's to a healthier life, using less money :)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

I'm tired of hearing....." I don't have the time"

Okay so I say my pet peeve too.. and yes I could cut down on my Farmville time in order to blog more so you can see what's happening around here..   But I am still living our frugal  life even when I don't have the time.

I challenge you to take a half hour of your tv time, or computer time, Ipod time or phone time and try one little frugal living activity that you ... "don't have the time to do that".

Start small.. Cooking: either make a meal from scratch, try your hand at making bread.. or take that Chicken carcass from last night and boil up a pot of stock.

Homemaking: Make a few candles in jars.. it's simple.. just grab an old pot, some half used candles that you would throw away, some wicks (any hobby store should carry them) and a wooden spoon.
Sew a pretty pillow case, or knit a scarf

Preserving: got a bunch of strawberries about to go bottoms up?  make jam or freeze in ice cube trays to add to drinks. You bought that great food saver but never use it.. get her out and use it.

There is no end to the ideas you could do in just a half hour a day!

Today, I have stock going, the bread dough from last night was baked, anti fungs tea was made for our plants, a candle made and laundry soap going.  Yes they won't be done in a half hour.. but the time I spend activly working with them is only about a half hour.

I challenge you to try one Frugal/ Homesteading thing this week... just a half hour a day.
And I challenge myself to actively blog everyday this week. Let's see how this goes :)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

2013 Big Changes ahead

Okay again it's been a while.. It seems like everytime I think I'm going to be able to write I get lost in life.. Not hard to do with 3 kiddos and a husband, huge Gardens, Preserving ect.

I now will be really trying to blog. You see I have been chosen to go through the Master Gardner's course that is done by our local extension. I am so excited and hoping to show our Garden changes to everyone. Things I have learned and have been able to do thanks to this program.

Hubby is excited and so are the kids. I hope to be able to use this as a way for all of us to volunteer not just me.. and praying it's a step twoards my goal of a community Garden in our area. The other huge goal is to help start a Farmer's Market in the Town I grew up in. This would be awesome for my kids and they would love to have their own Beds that they could take care of and then sell what they grow.

Hubby is starting a new Trucking Job so things are getting exciting. Look for many changes to come..

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Coming into my own as a stay at home mom

Sounds crazy but over the past few month I have had an eppifany of sorts. I have been going through the stay at home mom blues. That may sound funny.. but it sure wasn't. I was forced to become a stay at home mom when my babysitter gave us 2 days notice she would no longer be watching our kids. Finding daycare that fast was not possiable and I was making less then my other half.

Granted I had started the paperwork to get licensed for home daycare.. it was a back up plan. I was living for the high I got while busting up credit card fraud rings, starting a fraud scoring system, processing orders, talking to the banks and moving up in a good company. Then the company became employee owned.. in reality it was manager owned and less kid and family friendlily. Where before a daycare issue I was told it's okay stay home and get it under control and if you can process from home first go for it. Instead it was.. fix it now or quit.

The daycare thing.. well it was a bust.. I lost money. Looong story. Even doing the math though my staying home was cheaper then my going to work. So since then I have been trying to find ways to save money. Cooking from scratch, gardening, canning, freebies and surveys.. anything I can do.. But I didn't get that "I ROCK" Kinda feeling.. I felt stuck.. and like I wasn't really doing much.

Over the summer and the last few weeks I've figured out what was wrong. Way back when it was expected for a mom to take care of her family. This was stressed and everyone praised mom's for being.. well.. mom. It was rewarding and everyone was doing it.. It was the social norm.

It's no longer the social norm.. I have felt like I was letting my family down because I wasn't out making money. There were no performance reviews or raises because I did such a great job. No big "WAY TO GO" when I stopped an order that would have cost my company money...

Instead there was.. what's for dinner.. I'm hungry.. is my shirt washed.. I can't find my sunglasses... he hit me.. barfing and dog messes... These were not accomplishments.. I found negativity at every turn.. even though I didn't know my husband needed that shirt washed or even where it was,  when he asked if it was washed I felt horrible that I hadn't washed it.. or that I didn't know where his sunglasses were or if I forgot to build the leggo house... or if I felt under the weather and made sandwiches.

These last few weeks I was really feeling the SAHM blues.. Until I started canning.. yes the medival torture method that brings sweaty face and burnt fingers :) I slowly started to see my closet fill up with food.. and I realized "I did that" no one else,  I saved all that food.. even better I grew all that food. Then one afternoon my daughter started to help. She's 11 and we don't have a lot in common. At times I'm not sure even what to say.. because I'll get it wrong.. and we spent the day smiling talking and laughing together while canning pickles.

 That day, those smiles and the big hug.. that was my pay raise. Watching my 5 year old son write his name.. that was an " I ROCK " moment. Seeing my younger daughter cut out things like gardens, flowers, and solar lights in an assignment to describe herself.. that was my review and I think I aced it.

I just needed to learn to see my accomplishments instead of my accomplishments being dependent on someone else noticing them. This isn't what we are taught in the work place.. but I'm going to try and pass it on to my kids.  And I hope if there is another stay at home parent reading this it opens up their heart to see that they are amazing!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

When did hard work become wrong?

So my hubby and I have been having issues with the town. We are different and have less money then most around here. Instead of giving up we struggle and fight. One issue has been the height of our lawn.. yes this is an issue.. why? because our neighbor mows as low as he can every 3 days. We can't afford this and hate the way it make our lawn feel. I'm an old fashioned girl and love running through the yard in bare feet during the summer.. it's no fun when the grass gives you splinters!!

We have been given a riding lawn mower that was about 7 years old and had "quirks" and a push mower that a friend found for free that he tinkered with. So basically both were well used.. well this year they have had one issue after another.

I'm tired of the issues, the money spent to fix them, the time wasted trying to get the right part only to get the wrong one 5 times in a row...  So why not use a mower that basically has so few parts it won't break?? and how would we go about finding one like that...

Well after a looooong talk with my hubby we decided to see if his parents still had his grandfather's old reel mower. The first words out of his dad's mouth was.. "you can't use that to mow your lawn, you live on 3 lots!"  Needless to say we now have it.

Yesterday, hubby and I mowed our lawn with the old fashion reel mower. I will never go back to gas! Yes, we have a huge yard and since we live on  a corner there is a lot of parking to mow... but I loved it! The exercise was wonderful and the muscles in my arm felt well used..

Everyone driving around town wasting gas slowed down to stare.. even the mayor took the time for a drive by... we just kept going enjoying our time with the kids working as a family. After a while one guy stopped and asked if we had actually mowed the whole yard "with that!?"  Hubby's answer was yes. They had a nice conversation and I think my hubby may have made another friend. But the man said he couldn't let us mow with it, he would look around for a push mower...

Even my 5 year old can do it! And loves it!!

Mows great look at hubby go!

Bitty got stuck :) It get's stuck on sticks :)

Why? Why is it an issue? Back in the day EVERYONE mowed with a gas-less mower... why is it such an issue now? I don't want to waste money by using gas to mow the lawn.. I can use my energy instead. We also have 3 kids who wanted to help mow and they all can with this one..   I don't get it.. I like hard work.. it's rewarding.. I feel accomplishment that I never felt while pushing a button on the computer.    We had a wonderful rewarding experience with our kids and hope to have many more.. teaching them the value and rewards of handwork!  Check out our pics!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


So after a lot of questions from friends and family about the giveaways, sweepstakes, and free Samples I get. I decided to help everyone out. I am now GiveAwayGirl on Facebook.  

On there I let you know about any Giveaways that I know are currently going on and legitimate... now I'm human so please don't get mad if i make a mistake. But I do enter all the things I post. Just to make sure they are all working. Not to mention I'd like to win to :) 

Later on I will post some ideas on what to do with all the samples you get. :)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A little time big reward or how to make money on Facebook for 10 minutes a day or less..

First I should clarify.. when I say make momey to me, if I'm saving money, I'm making money..

I follow a lot of companies on Facebook. I do get annoyed sometimes because I feel like they are crowding out posts from my friends.. but sometimes it's worth it.

You see a lot of big and even small companies do giveaways of full sized products or samples. Sometimes they use a random number generater and you have to be comment number 354, or they ask a question and the company judges the answer and awards the gift to the answer they like the most... or you have to be one in the first 2500 to complete the information sheet and hit enter.

I figure it takes me roughly any where from 1 to 5 minutes to complete one of these forms.. unless the site is slammed and then it make take a few refreshes before I can get to it.

So how does this make or (save) money for me.. well here's how I look at it.

Every free sample is worth something.. either I get to try something new with out wasting money, or I have something to donate, or if the kids use all my shampoo and forget to tell me I have a standby stash of single use packets...  Sometimes I even get full sized product samples. The biggest one's so far have been a Bounce bar, Tide detergent, Swiffer duster, and at least 6 boxes of Keurig cups.

Now that sounds cool and worth the time.. but those giveaways are all rigged right? I'll never win 1... please think again.. it's worth the time.  Last year I filled out a form and won a Rain Barrell. This year so far I filled out a 2 minute entry last month and won Fake eyelashes and nails from Kiss Nails...  cool right? They are something I can't afford to buy but would love to have.. money saving there...

But this week has been by far the coolest for me... yes I know this may end... but here's why it was worth it to me.

My Flat Iron is on it's way out... it's over 5 years old.. I use it anytime I do my hair. I can say I've been milking it and trying to make it last because I really don't have the money to buy a new one, but need to have it to look nice.. I was contemplating trying dreadlocks out.

 So I entered a few giveaways that were going on... and not only did I win a top of the line flat iron (I would have got another cheap $30 one) but a Curling Iron, Salon product, Hair Treatment, Hair Feather (my daughters will love) and a round brush.. something again that had just broke.  So I look at this and see I made over $550 for a 2 minute answer...   So are the giveaways worth the two minutes... I think so..  

To add to this today I recived an email from a diffrent company and won Vegan Shampoo and Conditoner worth $49... I think my hair is set for the next few months... I just made/saved money and it took a total of 4 minutes to fill out these 2 giveaways... so worth it.   Not to mention I could never afford to buy such high end products.. I'm a suave kinda girl...

Yes you may not win every time.. but it might just pay off to take the minute to fill in that little form!