Working towards Getting Healthy

Hey Everyone!

Through most of the season I had felt under the weather and had been sick a couple times. I have also been dealing with Bell’s Palsy since the end of September.

I was hoping once the season ended, I would really start feeling better, but I have still been more tired than I should be, and overall feeling unwell, as well as still dealing with Bell’s palsy, and a couple other issues, that I am trying to get resolved.

While, on a subconscious level, I knew that I wasn’t eating as well as I should be.

I have finally gotten to the point where I have had enough, and I am willing to do what it takes to get myself healthy again.

I am still dairy free, limiting my gluten (and breads in general), watching my sugar consumption, especially trying to limit anything with added sugar, and trying to get back to clean eating. I actually enjoyed clean eating, and I didn’t realize how much i enjoyed it, and how good it was for me until more recently when I have been feeling so unwell.

While i still am going to keep this mainly about Homemaking, trying to find and come up with healthy meal ideas that fit with the dietary guidelines I am trying to work within, and make it taste good, all falls under the homemaking umbrella. Don’t worry, this is not going to be turning into a weight-loss or fitness blog.

I still want to eventually live on some acreage, have a good size garden, and raise some of my own meat (at least most of what can’t be hunted or caught, that isn’t beef).

Along with needing to eat better, I am also needing to exercise more, and spending more tome outdoors to exercise. As much as I hate to admit it, this winter has been rough.

Bottle Drop

Hey Everyone!

If you live here in the US, your pop (soda) cans & bottles have bottle deposits listed on them for some states.

Here in Oregon, we are one of the states that has bottle deposits that we have to pay on certain types of cans, plastic bottles and glass bottles. Our state has a $0.10 bottle deposit per bottle.

The bottles that have these bottle deposits on them are pop (soda/soda pop/coke) cans and bottles, beer cans and bottles, hard cider cans and bottles, Kombucha cans and bottles, single use water bottles, and that kind of thing.

From the time the bottle deposits were started until more recently (like the last year or two) many of the grocery stores had and have bottle return areas. Over time, many of them became quite dirty, smelly and gross. Quite often, when the machines were working you had to contend with street people who collected cans for the money. Returning cans and bottles has always been a less than desirable task. At least in the part of the city I am from, as well as the other nice areas, a lot of people put their cans and bottles out in the regular recycling, because the 5 or 10 cents wasn’t/ isn’t a big deal to them. Up until the last couple years we never really saw the amount of street people come through digging through people’s recycling the night before and early morning of Garbage day. Now it’s crazy. It makes me a bit unsettled, because they are out quite often at the same time I have to leave for work, which is before the sun is up and most people are awake (before 4:30 in the morning). While I know most would leave me alone, it’s hard to tell who would give me issues and who wouldn’t, so it’s unsettling. There was one instance that made me become almost hyper vigilant, on Monday mornings (garbage day on the other side of the road just up from my house) and Friday Mornings (our garbage day). There was one of these people standing in the corner just up from where I live, with his bike leaned against the stop sign, staring at me. I walked to my car fast and got in, and locked my doors. While it did work out OK, it just unnerved me a lot, and made me feel even less safe here than I already did.

That brings me to what I started this post about to begin with. Within the last two or three years, we have had several bottle drop / redemption locations open up here in the city. All the major cities here in Oregon have at least one. Outside of the Portland Metro area, they can be found in at least: Salem, Albany, Corvallis, Eugene, Roseburg, Medford, Klamath Falls, Bend and Hermiston. These are the ones that I know of.

I know at one point they were talking about closing down the individual grocery store self serve bottle machines (the dirty, nasty gross ones, where you have to deal with the homeless street people), and just having the bottle redemption centers, but that has yet to fully materialize.

I finally bit the bullet after the new year and set up a bottle drop account, and went in, got my card and bags. I was surprised to see that they also have self serve machines, which is nice to see. These centers are also kept surprisingly clean. Much cleaner than I have ever seen the ones at the grocery stores here in Portland, the one at the grocery store I went to, in the small town I lived in while in college was kept way cleaner. Though that small town didn’t have the homeless / street people problems that the bigger cities do.

Over the last month, I finally filled my first green bottle drop bag, with cider bottles I have been collecting over the past year or so, as well as pop cans, and San Pellegrino cans from last year. I finally had enough to fill a bag, and took it in.

Since I am still learning the process there was a fair amount to figure out, but I got it figured out, and I am set for a bit. The whole green bag system, definitely does make it easier in the long run. Boxes of bags have 10 bags, and cost $2.00 per box that is debited to your account, and each bag costs $0.40 to process, which is also debited from your account. There is also a limit of 15 full green bags that you can take back during a 90 day period, which isn’t really an issue for someone like me, and my family. There is also a daily amount you can take back through the self service, which is like 350 or 360 cans or bottles per day. Though the daily self services amount rules have been in place pretty much since the bottle deposit / returns have been in existence, or at least as long as I can remember so that is nothing new. While there are some other rules for the bottle drops, as far as how much, how often and frequency within that time period, exist and are available on their website, it is pretty reasonable for the average person.

Getting everything figured out in the beginning and the idea of everything you have to do to get started with the program was a little bit like “is it really worth it?” But now that I have gotten my account set up, gotten my first roll of bags and gone through the process of taking my first bag back, it’s not that difficult or daunting.

I wanted to get things set up an squared away while I still have a bottle drop like 10 minutes from my house. I know I am going to be moving away at some point, and unless I move out of state, I wanted at least this to be taken care of, so all I have to do is update my address and stuff in the system. Depending on where I end up moving in Oregon, I would be making fewer trips to a town or city that has a bottle drop, and now I am at a point where I have everything thing I need to make it so that I would only have to go to one of these towns every few months (which I would be doing anyway, to go do some stock up shopping).

Here in Oregon, the cost to have the bottle drop place process the green bags, is the same as the refund value of 4 cans or bottle, and if you figure the cost of a box of bags divided by the number of bags, is the same as two cans or bottles per bag, you are really only giving them or “losing” 6 cans or bottles per bag, which isn’t bad. I’d just as soon pay the $0.60 total per bag, and save myself the time and hassle of the serve and having them do it. About the only time it’s not quite as cost effective is if you have more 2 liter bottles than anything else (as they take up more room than the average 12 – 20 ounce cans and bottles). When you can fit more than 50 cans and bottles in a bag, it’s totally worth it to not do it yourself, especially when you can drop it off as part of running errands, and you still get most of your money back.

More to consider

Hey Everyone!

I have been considering ways to cut expenses, and what I can live without. I have also been greatly contemplating ways to work on saving money, and whether what I am spending money on will help me get to my end game, or hold me back a bit from it.

The life I am working toward and feel called to live is more one of simplicity, away from the city life, where I can raise a family of my own, as well as do more to live off the land, and be much less reliant on having to go to town and to the grocery store for food. I am also interested in cottage businesses, and being able to be sustainable from where I live, and that is more unconventional to how I was raised.

I realize that there are those who thrive in the city, and for whom the city is home, and can’t imagine having to grow and raise their own food. That’s fine, and I am not here to shame anyone for how they live their lives. I have just been disillusioned by living in the city and being dependent on grocery stores, when I can taste the difference between home grown / fresh from a local farm and home canned versus store bought. I also love doing it myself. I get a satisfaction at the end of a day from making homemade jam, or the end of a long day canning, or made a home cooked meal with fresh ingredients.

Now that I have far fewer hours at work, and also haven’t felt well for a while, I want to get to a place of better health, and working hard for the life that I know is right for me. I would much rather go to bed tired at the end of a long day knowing that the hard work I put in that day had a greater good than just earning a little money.

As far as cottage businesses go, the things that have been on my mind have been to sell some of the socks I make (that I don’t keep for myself), as well as handmade soap and candles. I definitely want to learn how to make handmade soap and handmade candles.

I also want to purchase American made when possible (like lodge cast iron skillets), when I need to purchase items.

I can live without having Smith Teamaker tea on a regular basis when Stash tea is plenty good enough, and a fraction of the price. I also don’t need to be shopping at work. I have spent more than enough money at work over the roughly 20 months I have been with the company.

Since the season ended, I am back off coffee. I have also made the decision to not drink alcohol any longer, as well as staying away from soda.

Giving up alcohol is not based on any moral sway, it is based on the fact of cost, and the fact that I am not really a fan of the flavor.

Christmas Sale

Hey Everyone!

The remaining Christmas products at work finally went to 90% off. So I picked up a few things, since I could get them for pennies on the dollar. I picked up four candle rings, two each of the two kinds we had in stock, as well as a mug and cookie cutter. Between the 90% off and my discount, I paid a total of $3.38 for all 6 items.

Now that the holidays are over, I am not drinking coffee anymore. I have also given up alcohol, and trying to watch the amount of sugar I consume.

I have also been feeling a bit poorly the past few days, and I am really trying to kick whatever is going on.

It’s the little things that help make it a home

Hey Everyone!

A couple of the few upsides / advantages / bonuses of working where I do, and the shift I work, is getting to see a lot of the new stuff as it comes in, and helping set it. So that means I get to see a lot of the new stuff first, and am able to pretty much get what I want. Having my employee discount definitely helps me save a little bit of money on the things I do want and get.

Even though I am trying not spend as much at work, which is sometimes hard (though it’s a bit easier now that the season is over), at least I am still able to get and use the $10 shoppers rewards when I earn them and the free coffee for every six bags purchased. So that does help a bit when there are things I do want.

This year, our spring transition has a lot of furniture and home decor for our post Christmas set. It seems to have gone a bit easier than the two sets we had last year.

The other day, I happened to have the cart full of the stuff that went on one of the empty fixtures, which was several vases and plenty of fake plants and succulents.

As I was working, I actually really liked one that I had put together, so I had picked it up. I had a base at home that I decided would be great for the two bunches I wanted.

This is what I had come up with, and I really liked it. My mom also really liked it, and wanted to steal mine, and I was like “no way Jose, even if I let you “borrow” it, I may never get it back. If you want one, you gotta get your own”. So she gave me money, and I got her one of her own.

It’s ever so slightly different from mine (not counting the base), that I can tell them apart, but yet have the same feel.

I love little things like these that help make a house and a room feel way more homey.

That is definitely one thing that I want to do again and more of when I have a home of my own. I did a bit of it in the last apartment I had in college, but as it was a rental and I was a poor college student (I didn’t have a job then), I couldn’t afford much in the way of decorations, but I did what I could. Over the years, as I have had jobs, and found stuff that I like, I have picked it up and been putting it away for when I have a place of my own again.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year Everyone!

What a year 2019 was. This holiday was particularly rough as well. It’s time to try to recover from the burnout. This season of work, has definitely taught me a lot about myself.

This year, I am definitely going to be working on getting my finances in order, as well as making some life changes. It is definitely time for me to be moving on from where I am, as well as finding a new job. I am also giving up coffee again, and I am also giving up going to coffee shops and Jamba Juice. The real cost of these trips has definitely hit me. There are and will be better uses for the money I have been spending. Even buying tea bags from my favorite local tea company, and making it at home is less expensive then buying it already made.

I haven’t been doing the Homemaking stuff like I used to, I have lost much of the desire I have had to do so, as well as not having much energy to do so.

I am also working on getting projects done, and working on knitting.

Yesterday, I had gone out with a friend of mine for a birthday adventure. We had gone to the Chinese Garden. Even though she lives in Kentucky now, she still picks up some shifts at her old job when she comes to town, so she was able to get a REAP card at work to use to get us into the Chinese Garden for free, which was nice. I also still had some money on my HOP card, so my bus and light rail fare was covered, so, I spent just under $20 yesterday. Though it hit me hard to pay over $6 for two donuts at Blue Star Donut company. It has also been a chilly, damp, dark, Rainy, Portland day. That being said it made me want to get more of the shawls I am working on done, as well as get a pair of rain boots. Being able to be out a bit more this time of year, and living a more rustic lifestyle is what I am drawn to.