Being Healthy On A Budget

 Dear Readers, as you should know by now, I like to cut corners where I can. But there seems to be certain things that one cannot afford to skimp on, and our health care is one of them. I was never sick as a child, but then again, neither were my parents… all that changes in my family when you get into adulthood; then it’s another year, another chronic illness, umpteen more medication prescriptions… and medication is EXPENSIVE!

In the last two years I have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and moved to become insulin dependent. I’m on quite a number of medications and insulin, and along with insulin is the cost of needles and blood test strips. Without being on a health care card these items add up very quickly and take a considerable chunk out of my fortnightly budget that could go on healthy foods, bills, or even a gym membership!

At 35 I was beginning to feel like I was dying; in fact my husband would often comment that I looked or acted as if I was dying. My hopes and dreams of seeing my toddler into adulthood and hopefully parenthood, were slipping away from me and seeming to become an impossible dream. I had to do something, and quickly. I had seen my parents go through angiograms, heart attacks, heart bypasses, amputations, strokes, loss of sight etc. This was surely to be my future if I did not act, and act fast!

But what could I do? I wasn’t taking all of my prescribed meds because I couldn’t afford them all, my gym membership had been revoked with a warning that in future I could not access their direct debit method of payment and that all fees would need to be paid up front, and for all the healthy eating recipes I pinned on Pinterest I just didn’t have grocery money most fortnights and so had to prioritise food and other essentials for my child first which meant hubby and I often lived off of toast or two minute noodles for tea… I just couldn’t be healthy that way. So, where to from here?

I threw it out to the Universe to show me the way… what is the answer, what do I need to do to help myself? These days I always trust in the Universe, because ultimately, it always provides. I responded to a call on social media for interested individuals regarding a franchise for a product, that at the time I was unaware, would be my saviour.

When I learnt about this product I was very excited because it sounded like the answer to the call I had put out to the Universe, but of course I proceeded with the right amount of scepticism that is required when looking into these things. I decided to take on the franchise to help fund my products, and that was fast to become an added bonus as it has provided my family with an essential income. But the results! Oh my, the results! I have been able to reduce my diabetic medication (saving me some dollars!), and my insulin. I feel like I no longer suffer the effects of Fibromyalgia, which for me included: chronic fatigue, brain fog, memory deficits, wide spread chronic pain, just to name a few. I was also very excited to realise that I no longer suffer gastric reflux (that was a daily occurrence for me… I no longer need to purchase my reflux meds, again saving me money). Of course, I DO NOT suggest that anyone stop taking prescribed medication, especially without medical advice and supervision; I merely wanted to show how it is changing my life.

I now have more energy to keep up with my daughter and to get through a work day. My husband also started taking the product, and as a shift worker, the product has enabled him to be more awake/alert at work, and to be more mentally focused. My mother is also trialling the product in the hopes that it may assist with her leukaemia, and both Mum and hubby have noticed an improvement in bowel health.

With the income I’ve made from my franchise I have started to be able to afford suitable groceries and as a result my family is able to eat more healthily and we have all noticed an improvement in our energy levels and general overall wellbeing. I hope in the future that this will also be the key in assisting me to finally shift some unwanted weight, I’ll keep you updated!

In the end, we all need to ask ourselves what our health is worth to us. What does it mean to you if you aren’t there to walk your daughter down the aisle, or hold your first grandchild? What if all you are to your grandchildren is a photograph on a wall? That was not an acceptable outcome to me if I had the power to change that outcome. And you all know how I love to find frugal ways to live, corners to cut, and this has meant a better use of income along with an increased income and the promise of more, so it has been a mega win/win for me!

If I can start out on this journey and achieve results in such a short space of time (because it’s only been about a month so far!) then I’m confident anyone can achieve results with the same commitment. I love being able to inspire others with my journey and help them to embark on their own journeys. Health is your greatest wealth, and what I’m getting back from the product and business is such a blessing that I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to pay it forward. If nothing else, if I only change the life of one other person, it’s definitely all been worth it.

A Growing Love Of All Things Nautical

I’m not really sure where my sudden love of all things nautical came from, but it’s here. Perhaps it’s a yearning for a sea change, I definitely could see myself living beside the ocean… the peace, the tranquility… ahhhhhh.

My father was  in the Navy many moons ago. My mother gave him a clock that was an anchor and it hung on the kitchen wall all throughout my childhood… it ended up in the background of many photos (see examples below).

Me posing for my year 12 formal with the clock on the wall behind me.
Me posing for my year 12 formal with the clock on the wall behind me.
Me posing before a waitressing gig in my teens with the clock on the wall behind me.
Me posing before a waitressing gig in my teens with the clock on the wall behind me.

I’ve been making a quilt with nautical themed fabric to give to my father either for his birthday or Christmas (depends on how long it takes me to complete). I wanted to attempt a crochet anchor motif to attach to the quilt. Do you think I could find a pattern that I liked? There was one but it was a written + pictorial pattern and the author made a glitch somewhere because the written pattern and pictures didn’t quite correspond. My several attempts to replicate it ended in disaster. I then attempted to adapt the pattern with little success. Ergo I’m still on the hunt for an anchor pattern.

I did, however, come across patterns for sea shells, star fish, gold fish, mermaids… then that led me to create a Pinterest board for all things nautical, because all of a sudden I realised I liked the look of the décor (I haven’t liked it previously… what’s happening to me?)

Around this time last year I discovered one of my totems to be a sea horse… and I have been able to crochet one of those…

seahorsecrochet

Again, this is all possibly a yearning for a sea change. I’ve been getting many signs from the Universe pertaining to the ocean over the last 12 months. And the latest is people tagging me in the mermaid tail blanket pictures on Facebook. Truth be known, it was those cute wearable mermaid tails that got me interested to learn crochet when I was on maternity leave… I wanted my adorable bubba to wear one. Now, four years later, I’m finally embarking on the project with some prompting from my Facebook friends.

Crocodile stitch Mermaid scales
Crocodile stitch Mermaid scales

Now I’m sitting here as I type this considering making shells from polymer clay… So much craft, so little time (sigh). Stay tuned for more nautical crafts to come.

Budget-Friendly Gifts For Dads & Grandads

I know this is a little late for Father’s Day but life has been crazy busy lately, so I apologise. However, this is still a great resource with Christmas just around the corner, and possibly birthdays, and also in preparation for next Father’s Day.

Grandparents seem to enjoy handmade, personalised gifts from the their grandchildren. I not talking about the paintings they do at kindergarten, or the bizarre macaroni sculptures, or the pet rocks (although I’m 35 years old and my aunt still has a pet rock I made for her around 30 years ago), I’m talking about something they will actually, genuinely enjoy and find useful.

My daughter (nearly 4 years old) refers to the garage at my parent’s house as “Pa’s Shred.” For whatever reason she has always pronounced shed as “shred”. I just needed to explain that so that the next photo makes sense. Below is a picture of the gift we made my Dad for Father’s Day just gone. One of my daughter’s favourite things to do with her Pa is to spend time together in the garage where she “uses” tools to “fix” her bikes.

My Dad proudly displaying the gift my daughter gave him for Father's Day
My Dad proudly displaying the gift my daughter gave him for Father’s Day

So to make this gift for my Dad, my daughter and I visited Op Shops in search of the perfect piece of wood to make a sign. I originally had a wooden chopping board in mind, but the volunteers at the Op Shops told me that they were hard to come by. Eventually I came across this beautiful photo frame, which was ultimately perfect because I didn’t have to attach anything for it to be hung, it was already ready to be hung. I painted, using gold acrylic paint, directly onto the back board of the frame. Once the paint was dry (it needed 2 coats), I took a Sharpie and drew the outline of the words. A friend had donated a heap of old CDs in the hopes that I could make something creative with them, so just using an old pair of scissors I cut the CDs up into small pieces NB: here you have to exercise some caution, pieces can fly off and potentially hit you in the face/eyes, and cutting the CDs can create sharp edges that are potentially dangerous. Just using Mod Podge, I pasted these small pieces to fit into the outlines of the letters to create a mosaic effect. Once all that was done and dried, I gave my daughter some coloured Sharpies so she could put her own stamp on the work. She drew some tools on the sign.

My Dad loved the gift and proudly mounted it in his garage. My husband even commented about the thought and effort that went into this gift (he was a little jealous lol). Gifts with impact don’t have to cost the Earth 🙂

Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Me

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Hello dear readers… I’ve been tagged by the wonderful Stacey over at Poot’s Notes for this fun post of sharing. This is a great way to get to know your fellow bloggers a little better. Thanks Stacey, here we go!

The rules are as follows:

  • Link back to the blogger who nominated you and answer their 10 questions
  • Add the badge to your post
  • Write your own 10 questions and tag 10 bloggers to do the same

Here are Stacey’s questions and my answers:

  1. What is your favorite type of music?

My taste in music can be somewhat eclectic but I am very partial to hard rock and heavy metal.

  1. Who would you call your hero?

I’ve seen my big brother go through a lot in his life, but he has always gone above and beyond the call of a brother time and time again for me, so I would have to say it was him.

  1. Why do you blog?

You wouldn’t think that was a tough question lol. I guess I’m hoping it will turn into something bigger one day. I love to write but we already have an author in the family so I get a bit self-conscious and start thinking people might think I’m a try hard or something. So for now, I blog!

  1. What is your favorite TV show?

I’m a big Star Trek fan J I also enjoy The Big Bang Theory.

  1. If you could have lunch with anyone, dead or alive, who and why?

Probably I’d have to say Leonard Nimoy. I went to a Star Trek convention in 2011 and met William Shatner, it was awesome, but I was disappointed that Nimoy hadn’t come out to Australia (apparently he toured with the convention in America but didn’t come over here with the rest of them). I really wanted to meet Leonard Nimoy and thought due to his age, I might not get another chance. I was right 😦 I was devastated when he passed away. I guess I just wanted to tell him, like I’m guessing he’s heard a thousand times before, how he impacted on my youth. It would have been great to meet Gene Roddenberry for the same reason.

  1. Do you have a degree?  What is it in?

I hold a Certificate I, II & III in Security Guarding and Crowd Control, a Certificate IV in Youth Work, a Diploma of Community Welfare Work, a Diploma of Beauty Therapy, a Certificate I &II in Reiki and a Certificate of Achievement in Crystal Light Healing® Practitioner’s Course.

  1. What is your dream job?

Currently I’m setting up a business for me to practice my Crystal Light Healing® and Reiki… to be able to do that as my bread and butter would be my dream come true.

  1. What is your greatest accomplishment?

The birth of my daughter 🙂 She is all I could ever have dreamed of and more.

  1. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Blogging lol, and helping people via the healing powers of crystals and Reiki.

  1. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

Egypt. I have always wanted to see the pyramids in person… I don’t know about going in them because I’m claustrophobic, but I want to see the rich ancient culture and feel it’s magic. I would also love to travel across Europe, see Italy and Spain where my heritage lies, and also see Stonehenge in the U.K. (I am a witch after all).

My Nominees:

The Return of the Modern Philosopher

Project Flying Fox

Advocate for Invisible Illness!

How to $tuff Your Pig

hocuspocus 13

Another Long Distance Story

My Green Nook

Simple Living Over 50

Damh the Bard

Suzie Speaks

  1. What do you love most about blogging?
  2. If someone wrote a novel based on your life, what genre would it be and why?
  3. What is your favorite dish to cook and why?
  4. What is your all time favorite band?
  5. Where is the furthest you’ve travelled to?
  6. Scrunch or fold?
  7. Chocolate or Strawberry?
  8. What is your ideal first date?
  9. Favorite hobby (besides writing)?
  10. If money wasn’t an issue, what kind of car would you be driving?

If you accept this tag, don’t forget to comment and share the link with me right here I would like to read your answers :). Thanks again Stacey for the nomination!

Stylish Hair On A Budget

How much does it cost you to have your hair cut in a salon? What about a colour? There will probably be hairdressers out there who will want to throttle me for this post, but the reality is, although high end salons do wonderful things with our hair, most low to middle income families and individuals cannot find nor justify spending the money that it costs. This shouldn’t mean that you have to miss out and sport those wisdom highlights or split ends, just read on and I may just have a low cost alternative for you.

The last few haircuts I’ve had have been at “walk in” salons, you know the ones, where you don’t need an appointment, you just walk in off the street and sit down and wait until one of the hairdressers is ready to take you on. This suits me well as I usually decide to change my hair on a whim and then want it done right there and then. The other perk is that they generally tend to be cheaper than an appointment salon.

Depending on which “walk in” salon I go to (in my hometown there are a couple to choose from), a complete re-style will cost me between $20-$25. I did some research online and found that within my state this is a relatively cheap and reasonable price for a woman’s haircut.

When it comes to colour, my experience is that the “walk in” salons are also cheaper than the appointment salons. Most women would need to come back around every six weeks to have their colour maintained, when it comes to myself however, it is much more frequent as my hair won’t seem to hold colour, not even blue/black! Permanent hair colour, for me, starts to disappear with the first wash, and in some instances can be completely gone after only three washes. I just can’t afford the salon that often unfortunately. However I have discovered a cost effective solution.

A little while back, while browsing in a local discount store, I discovered they had packets of hair dye for under $5.00. I thought it was cheap enough to give it a go without any expectations, if it didn’t work, oh well at least I didn’t spend a fortnight’s petrol budget on it, right. To my surprise and delight the colour managed to hold longer in my hair than any salon job to date! I’m aware this might not be the case for everyone as my hair seems to be in a minority of difficult, hard to colour hair (non-porous?). But for the low price of the hair dye it may be worth the risk to try it out. I’m not particularly fussy about the results these days, as long as it covers my emerging greys, frankly I’m too poor to be fussy lol.

So in summary, if you have the money, then definitely go and treat yourself to a salon appointment, however if you are getting around hiding your hair under a hat because paying the car rego has left you broke for the next month, then consider your other options. Another option worth mentioning is to ask around your friends, even if they aren’t qualified hairdressers, we usually all know one that has a knack for hair that should have gone off to hairdressing college, ask them to help you out so you make sure you get a good coverage if you are dyeing your hair at home (I’ve been known to miss whole sections at the back when doing my own). Grab some sparkling grape juice, a few bottles of nail polish and make a girly date of it.

Blue Moon Can Be Frugal Moon

Blue Moon over Blue Rock Lake August 31st 2012.
Blue Moon over Blue Rock Lake August 31st 2012.

A Blue Moon is either the second full moon in a calendar month or the third of four full moons in a season, depending on which definition you go by. Because a Blue Moon happens about every 2-3 years, this is where the saying “Once in a Blue Moon” comes from, implying not very often.

The Moon always seems to hold a special kind of magic for children. I have fond memories of the Moon, stories, wishes etc. from my childhood, and from the moment my daughter could speak she showed excitement and admiration for the moon that has never waned. I find this part of teaching my daughter the ways of our beliefs the easiest. Observing the Moon is a loved tradition of hers even at the age of three and half.

If your little ones love the Moon then why not get them involved in an inexpensive activity that can be done regardless of what religion you follow. It’s guaranteed to bring a giggle and some joy for very little expensive, and provide them with cherished childhood memories.

Blue Moon over Blue Rock Lake Aug 31st 2012.
Blue Moon over Blue Rock Lake Aug 31st 2012.

The above picture was taken during a Blue Moon Ritual I facilitated back in 2012. Using elements from that ritual would make a great activity for your Moon loving littlies. Firstly you need to choose your location, it needs to be somewhere where there is a body of water- this could be a wishing well or a bird bath in the backyard, or if there is one nearby- a lake, river, or the ocean. Take the family out after the Full Blue Moon has risen to your chosen destination (you ideally should be able to see the Moon from where you are e.g. not obscured by trees and such).

Blue Moon at Blue Rock 2012.
Blue Moon at Blue Rock 2012.

Give each person a silver coin and ask them to think about a wish they would like to have come true. Taking it in turns (and being very careful in the dark near water! Adult supervision is always required) say your wish aloud then toss the coin into the water.

Me tossing my coin into the water during Blue Moon Ritual in 2012.
Me tossing my coin into the water during Blue Moon Ritual in 2012.

This simple, yet fun activity can be done as part of a bigger celebration such as a picnic or BBQ. To add more magic and wonder for children why not add sparklers and glowsticks for them to have fun with in the dark.

The next Blue Moon is July 31st 2015… go and give the family an inexpensive treat of fun and wonder 🙂

Imbolc Celebrations For The Frugal Family

Cold crisp mornings giving way to golden rays of sunshine when the fog lifts. Days are lengthening, the light is returning. The Quickening is upon us. The ground stirs below us as the first hints of Spring bring joy after a freezing Winter Down Under.

Imbolcfogmorning

A time of new beginnings, out with the old, in with the new. Rejoicing in the return of the Sun/Son. There are many ways to celebrate Imbolc that won’t break the bank, in fact Imbolc maybe the cheapest Sabbat of the eight Pagan Sabbats to celebrate. Here are some ideas for ways to honour and celebrate Imbolc:

1. Dawn Ritual- This can be done solitary, with family, or as part of a group. The last few years I have facilitated group dawn rituals that begin before sunrise. The ritual plays out as the sun rises and is greeted, honoured and welcomed back by the group. If it’s just you or yourself and family, rise before dawn, rug up warm, grab extra blankets and head out to a spot where you have a great view of the east horizon. Sit (or stand), perhaps with a glass of orange juice (orange to represent the sun) and toast the Sun as it rises, welcoming him back and being thankful. Take some time to feel the warm rays on your face, allowing them to melt away the cold of Winter. When you’re done, why not head off for a celebratory breakfast of eggs- sunny side up!

2. Imbolc is a great time for a Spring clean. At this time I like to go through the drawer where I keep all the bills/invoices and other miscellaneous paperwork and clear out what is not needed anymore. It’s also a good time to go through your wardrobe and clear out what you no longer need and donate it to charity. This can be done with any items in the house that are no longer needed.

3. Extend that clearing out of the old by spending some time thinking about and listing the things that you need to rid from your life, whether it be a bad habit such as smoking or nail biting, or maybe excess kilos, maybe even debt… basically anything you want to let go of. Write it down on a small scrap of paper, then burn it in the cauldron or other fire proof vessel, and as the smoke rises, bid the habit/weight/debt or whatever it was, good-bye. Next, think of something positive you want to start such as a gym program, a veggie garden, an online class, or whatever takes your fancy, write it down, focus on it, filling it with positive intention. Place the piece of paper somewhere safe where you can review it along with your progress next Imbolc.

4. Another simple and inexpensive way to honour this Sabbat is to light a candle at dawn (a big one that will burn for a while), preferably white in colour (Brigid’s colour). You can have a candle in each room of the house or just one on an appropriately decorated altar. Also leaving out offerings to Brigid and her cow of milk and bread/cake the night before can be a fun activity for children, similar to that of leaving out milk, cookies and carrots for Santa and his reindeer.

There are many ways any of the Sabbats can be celebrated, don’t be afraid to experiment and find a way that suits you and your family and fits into your lifestyle.