The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Feather your Nest Friday, 17 November, 2017.

It was a bit of a messy week!  I wouldn't say it ran smoothly!  First it was hot for a few days but thankfully now it has cooled down and we even have rain.  Andy was sick the whole time which is rare for him but he was really crook and only just getting better now.  I was seedy as well!  We all have weeks where it is more a case of survival than anything much more!
So... it will do me good to think of the good things and the things I did achieve as before looking at my list I would have said that I achieved pretty much nothing!

Luckily before the wheels fell of I had been baking.  Still on a mission to use up eggs I made six fruitcakes.   I also had bananas in the freezer and so I also made three banana cakes and 12 as mini cup cakes for Harper.

Several fruit cakes will be gifts.  Two banana cakes are already missing from this picture!  One was given to Chloe and one to Allie.  Chloe's boyfriend is working day and night harvesting. She sliced the cake up for some snacks for him that he can take on the tractor.  I donated a fruit cake to this cause also!

The little cakes went into the freezer for Harper.  They are packed full of banana.  
This all used up 28 eggs!  

But I still had eggs.  And with my grain free experiment I need things that I really like that have no flour.  So I made a crockpot full of little baked egg custards...

Debbie gave me the idea to use pretty little cups and I sit them in with water 3/4 up the sides.
So these were just lovely for me and felt like treats.

I love them and this used up six more eggs!  😊
This would be gorgeous to do for children in the small child sized tea set cups.... at the moment I only have two of those so I might try to collect more. 

The recipe for the custard is easy.... 
4 eggs 
1 teaspoon vanilla,
2 cups milk
300ml cream (10 ounces )
1/3 cup sugar. 
Blend well.

I use less sugar and more vanilla!   (1/4 cup sug. 2 teaspoons vanilla) 
Also the volume of milk and cream equals about three cups and I just use what I have, evaporated milk plus milk, cream or any combination.
I turn on the Crockpot and get it going with a jug of boiling water from the kettle.  I fill my little cups with the mixture and sit them in the water so that it comes up around 3/4 of the way to the top of the cup.  I sprinkle lots of cinnamon over the tops.  Once all my cups are in I top up the water a bit if needed... better to do it this way than flood your custards!  Put on the lid and let them set.  I do this when home... it is usually an hour and a half to 2 hours. I just poke one with a knife to see if it is set!  Left a bit longer won't hurt.  I like them set well.  That is it!  I pour the cold water on to a plant the next day! 
I also do this with creme caramel mix which is very similar with the addition of two extra egg yolks. This is extra rich and creamy.  I don't bother with the sugar syrup as Im trying to keep sugar down.  
Either way they are really nice and feel like a treat. 
Anything that needs a water bath i.e. cheesecake is a natural in the crockpot.  I might do crustless cheesecakes in the cups next! 

This week I had someone to visit in hospital and I made a posy myself to take...

I made yoghurt and flourless cookies.

My friend Nerilie gave me a gorgeous shopping basket.  

I love it!  
It must have been my week as Sue gave me curtains with big roses on them and lace curtains.  There are so many things I can sew with these!  Then there were surprise jars in the bag as well!

In the mail I got parcels again from our swap.  I have had beautiful fabrics, tags, cards and all kinds of craft supplies arriving.  I should have taken photos of them all but the last two were cards and tags with Bluebirds made by Holley...

You can imagine how much I love these!  Look at the little bow on the Bluebirds bonnet...

And Christmas cards by Lorraine...

She included glittery Christmas stickers which are stunning!   
As you can see my parcels are full of just gorgeous and personal things that brightened up my week so much.  Thank you both.  Thank you everyone who joined in the swap.  I am happy to report that I have heard of so many lovely parcels arriving around the world, friendships formed, even skills shared along with patterns etc.  

I heard back from Crafty Cristy and her husband is doing really well. She feels really helped by all your prayers.  Thank you all for messages of encouragement to her plus prayer and I can see she is doing so much better too.

This weekend I am planning to get everything out of my present cupboard and see what I have. It is full!  This is really good fun as by now I have always forgotten things I made in January, February and sometimes more recently!  Then I start to work out who gets what.  The ultimate is to find I have so much I can even use somethings for January Birthdays.  To me this feels like really getting ahead!  
It also gives me time to fill any gaps, wrap and post things well in time.  This is kind of like reaping the harvest of the years craft work and bargain shopping!  I think I have a good harvest this year!

How did you feather your nest, save or get ahead this week?
Have a lovely weekend! 

On Monday we have a post by Laine! xxx

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

The Christmas Challenge. Beeswax wraps.

Recently I posted about how "everything old is new again" and that re useable things certainly cut down on costs and waste.  I had seen beeswax wraps over and over online, in shops and on blogs.  The general idea is that you can wrap or cover food with them and re use them for ages so that you are saving using plastic wrap.  Many people are also keen to keep plastic away from their food.
Jane made some as a gift. That was it!  I thought I will give them a try.  I could think of several people on my gift list that are into reducing waste/saving money/the environment/ natural alternatives etc. and these fit the bill for anyone in these groups!

Also .... I love a gift I can mass produce.  I ended up with a supply for myself, several gifts and a couple of spares.

First I ordered both beeswax and pine resin online.  While this was on it's way I watched for some fabric which I thought needed to be really nice. I chose this chicken fabric for myself and most gifts...

For my niece I chose this camping themed fabric as she is camping crazy...

There are a couple of methods to choose from but I basically followed this one at Mommypotamous.
Saying that... I followed it roughly. I used olive oil not Jojoba.  I didn't grate the beeswax either.  I figured if it is going to melt why grate it?  So I just let it melt.

I used an old baking tray I can afford to assign to craft projects.  I roughly portioned out the ingredients ready to melt.

I stayed in the kitchen, let it melt slowly, now and then I moved it around with a chop stick to get it mixed up.

I had pre cut my fabric to sizes I thought would make useful wraps. (and also fit into my tray)  I did square ones for wrapping snacks and round ones to cover bowls.   I used pinking shears for the edges to look nice.  (Although you wouldn't have to)

You have to be careful as you are dealing with hot wax. I would not do this with kids around!  You do not want to fill the tray too much or it will be hard to move the tray and not slosh any on the floor!

I would carefully remove the tray from the oven and place a sheet of fabric into the wax.  Submerge it and make sure it will covered both sides.  Then with tongs I would lift it up and let it drip dry into the tray for a little bit before laying it carefully and flat on to non stick baking paper to dry.

I would get a couple done then the wax would need to go back into the oven for a few minutes to re melt ready to carry on. 

When I ran low on wax mixture I would start again with more and wait for that to melt. 

I ended up with every surface covered in waxed fabric! 

Once it was dry it was great!  A flexible wrap that holds it's shape however you fold it...

The bowl covers fold around quite well.  For an air tight fit I would use a rubber band as well.

I really like them and they were pretty easy to do.  Mine have already saved me a lot of glad wrap and they look much nicer!

These were fun to make and I love having spares.  At least a few times a year I find it very helpful to have gifts to make in batches.  It could be making individual fruit cakes in muffin tins,  making up a tray of beautifully wrapped soaps...  anything that will suit a lot of people.  This just turbo boosts your gift cupboard fast!   Next week that will be our subject... how to quickly add a lot of gifts to your present cupboard.    Given the time of year this will hopefully be handy!

So far we have had a hot week with warm nights but it has just broken and it is raining!  This is a big help as the garden is getting watered.

I hope your week is going well!

I have had an email from a reader, Crafty Cristy.  Her husband has had a heart attack. He has now had surgery and is doing well.  They have a $10,000  payment to make before their insurance kicks in and she has a lot of worries over this.  So she has had a very stressful week.  She could really do with some prayers. She has implemented every saving tip she can think of along the way.  Thank you!

If you make any gifts in batches please let me know so I can include your ideas in next weeks post! xxx

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Pantries and Preparedness. A teachable heart.

This year we have focused on several main things,  getting ahead with our pantries and preparedness, leaning new skills and building up our homes.  The year has gone too fast for me.  It is still going too fast!   But I can report we made a lot of progress with general preparedness.   My pantry is in good shape.  We added a better generator and a rain water tank.  But most of all I learned new skills.

Whatever you store away will only last so long.  After that we depend on our skills.  And our health and fitness!  I have been thinking a lot about that.

This year I learned how to make sourdough and became pretty good at breads, scrolls, buns, raisin bread and I think I got a lot of people started too!


Suddenly making dough became a routine thing and I never have to buy yeast!  This all is a big family feeder.  It also gives me gifts to give.  A tray of sticky buns pretty much makes you welcome anywhere! 


I learned to make yoghurt and I churn that out and use it in cooking, in place of sour cream and buttermilk and it is really healthy and a big money saver as well.
I learned to really menu plan and build up an inventory of meals.  This was a huge thing!
I started to shop a far wider variety of shops and much further afield. (With amazing results)
I got the hang of Aldi and I love it!

Some small things were making all my soup and spice mixes.  These are a big saving and there is nothing artificial in them.

So I no longer need to buy packet mixes for Butter Chicken or soup mixes etc.

I learned how to make enchiladas. I made so many trays of these as they are a hit with the family!

Vicky taught me how to make my own Enchilada sauce and it is so good!  

Also I have been studying the relationship between pain and inflammation and what we eat.  I have a lot to learn here but I have pretty much completely changed my way of eating and almost all of my aches and pains are gone!  I have more energy and can exercise and even want to! It is a big change to eat in a completely different way.
My Doctor told me years ago that given a choice of dying or changing your diet most people will choose dying.  We are very attached to our favourite foods, traditions and ways of cooking.   But still this shocked me.  And it is odd to radically change I have to say!  

I know the next weeks will be busy with getting ready for Christmas,  it becomes pretty warm here and watering and the garden becomes busy too.  But I have started thinking about the year and what do I want to learn next year?  The last few years I have learned a lot and so much that it has been quite exciting!   I want to keep going!

It is funny how we learn. I notice if I don't want to learn something I can't even listen. It is beyond boring and I absorb nothing. The more it is explained the less I understand it!
But if I want to learn something I can concentrate and absorb and ask questions and try and try!  Then I can learn!    So I think that is the key. We have to want to learn.  We need a teachable heart.

People say they are bad at something, like they are bad at embroidery, and it will turn out they only tried once or twice.  No one is instantly good at any of these things!  It all takes practice practice practice.  Patsy wanted to learn crochet.  She got started and went on a challenge to crochet everyday. You should see her work now!  I bet someone will say to her "you are so lucky you can crochet so beautifully"  No she is not lucky she worked and worked at it that is why she can crochet this way!  Truly, very few of us are overnight experts!  We have to work at it!

So we need a teachable heart and be willing to commit to putting in the effort.  It is ok to fail too.  I remember when Jane first started with her sour dough.  Her first bread she forgot the step of making the "sponge".  Tons of people would have just said it is too hard. But she got it right the next time and has gone on to produce the most amazing bread and scrolls etc.    She is the most fabulous cook!

I am not sure what next year will hold but I can think of many many skills I would like to learn and lots of things I would like to be doing.  I would like to be dehydrating food.   I ideally would like to plant an orchard, have a lot more chickens,  have a huge veggie garden and plant pumpkins.   Some of my dreams would require living in the country I notice!
I want to learn much more about essential oils and natural remedies.

With Christmas coming it can be a good time to think of next years projects.  Maybe put in a request for a dehydrator or something that will be both fun and a good investment for the household!

What did you achieve so far this year toward your pantry and household preparedness goals?
What new skills did you learn or improve?  How has this helped?

Recently I asked what new skills would you like to learn next year.  I got some great suggestions for some tutorials.   As I get on with Christmas and end of year plans I am thinking on all of this.

Next week we have a post by Laine.  She has improved her health so much with her diet and she started with a very painful chronic illness.  From what she has written I have already implemented a few new things so it has already been very helpful to me.   This will be useful to anyone suffering with pain.  Sometimes we have to be in a pretty bad place before we are willing to try new things! haha that was me!

Have a great new week.  See you on Wednesday!xxx

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Feather your Nest Friday, 10 November, 2017.

The Feather your Nest Friday covers a couple of extra days as last time I posted it was a Wednesday.
Some of the ways I built up my home and saved were:

I have roses drying everywhere.  Some will be for my own crafts and cooking. i.e. they go on top of coconut ice at Christmas time, on bath bombs, soaps and so on and others will be packaged up for gifts and the next swap.

I have a shelf in the kitchen covered!

Some are for Jane and some for Tanya as they already have orders in!

I am still collecting more too. They dry quite quickly and hold such good colour.

Last week I forgot to report a good thing!  We came home from our trip with two new chickens!   

The are actually Bantams.  I seem to be collecting different colours.  I don't think I can help it!

Chloe had a big upset.  After we left  her place a fox got some of her hens.   I felt upset too.  We had just been there feeding them and she had such a variety of different colours.  Hers ALL have names too.
She got revenge on the fox and also already got some new hens which are just beautiful!  She found a local lady advertising some hens.

She said to me how she doesn't want to get low as chickens are good food security.  And she asked for a dehydrator or a foodsaver system for Christmas.  😊  

She had visitors with half an hour notice and she baked quick biscuits.

I loved this photo since you can also see the lovely view out of her window!

Much of my week was working on eggs.  We came home from the farm with so many!  
Apart from eggs for breakfast I made a giant quiche in my biggest baking dish.  

This gave me lunches all week.  So I managed to use 18 eggs.  Today I am making another batch of fruit cakes since I basically have orders.  This will take another 20 eggs.  Tomorrow I am making a triple batch of banana cakes since I have bananas in the freezer.  This will take another 9.   Progress! 

Mum gave me some beautiful crochet cotton!  I had none left.  So now I can get crocheting again!

Also last week I was asked if I would show a closer view of Mums knitted hand towels.  

They are beautiful!

I got some bargains... two childrens books for the gift cupboard down from $12.99 to $2. 
Two tins of baby formula at half price (very rare here)
A whole bagful of things Andy likes heavily marked down (i.e. salami) Many had been $8 and over and they were all under $2. He thought it was amazing!  These all keep ages so he is stocked up.

At the chemist they had a vitamin sale.  I got what I needed at half price (which is Magnesium and Vitamin B) and I got a bag of free goodies as part of a promotion they were having. It was valued at $200!   I found it contained useful things from mens vitamins to childrens sunscreen. Some things went into the gift cupboard.  There was something for everyone. 

I made chicken stock and then soup.  Andy wasn't well and he lived on this.  
I also made flourless cookies, a crustless cheesecake and yoghurt.

My Vicky Challenge total is going to be pretty good!  I have each item listed I just need to add it all up!

Today I am baking the fruit cakes. I soaked them overnight and they already smell beautiful.  I am going to make baked egg custards and use another dozen eggs! 

I hope you had a good week!  How did you get ahead and feather your nest?
Have a lovely weekend! xxx

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

The Christmas Challenge. Show and Tell for October. 2017.

Show and Tell is running late due to me being away!  But lots of you sent in your photos thank you so much!  It really lists my heart to see what you all do.  There is so much talent, effort, thriftiness, beauty and generosity!  This all is very happy to me.  We can do a lot with very little and give generously when making things ourselves.  And each time we do we increase our skills!

I am a bit unorganised this month!  I hope I haven't missed anyone out, if I have it is not intentional.  Thank you all so much for all your emails, letters, photos and sharing of information.

First of all we have Joy.
Joy made just the most beautiful quilts...

One for her Grand daughter...

This was backed with gorgeous bird fabric!

And one for her Grandson...

She won a purple ribbon at her local fair (and rightly so!)  These are heirlooms!

Lorraine made lots!  Some things were gift packs of hand made cards. I love this as everyone uses cards and they are expensive!

Beautiful baby gifts...

This fabric is so sweet.
And relish!

You have been so productive Lorraine I love everything.

Jen in NS has been so busy!

She made a floor rug which I just LOVE...

An adorable baby hat..

A knitted vest...

And an outfit for her daughters birthday....

Jen both your sewing and knitting amaze me. I really want to make a mat like that also!

Tanya makes the most gorgeous wash cloths/ cleaning cloths. I think too good for cleaning cloths! 

They are fabric on one side and towelling on the other. I am lucky enough to have one of these...

They make wonderful gifts and I love your label.

Jane made lots. She completed two blankets as gifts for her parents...

She has been working on a mermaid doll and I saw the practice run which was going very well!
Also  kitchen towels, pot holders...

Bunting, coasters, bowl covers and more! 

I can report big improvements in Bluey and he is going back to the local hospital today and Jane wont have to travel and hour and a half each way! 

Cookie made an Afghan from odds and ends of yarn she had...

Nothing is wasted! I love this. She also made little ribbon flowers into hair ties...

And also made more of her gorgeous jars with roses on them. Always creative Cookie! 

Sewingcreations sent me photos of some of her hard work coming to fruition! 

She makes up Granola.  This would be beautiful as gifts in a big jar with a scoop.

Sewingcreations uses the recipe from A Prudent Homemaker. 

She also harvested garlic...

Sweet potato...

And silver beet...

I love seeing produce and cooking too.  You are always productive Sewingcreations well done and thank you!

Well I hope you feel inspired and here we are in NOVEMBER.  There is still time for Christmas makings and baking!  Since I have so many eggs on hand I am going to make more fruitcakes provided Aldi still has the mixed fruit today.  I figure because these cakes keep so long making some extra will just be handy and give me extra gifts.  

I hope your week is going well! 
What are you working on?  How is your Christmas cupboard looking?
Mine is stuffed full and at this point I have forgotten half of what is in there.  In a couple of weeks I will get it all out and start grouping things into gifts. This is the really exciting bit!  I love it!  
All things going well I will also be able to cover the birthdays coming up as well.  
We reap what we sow.  We have sown a year of making and creating.  Now we get to do some reaping!  

See you on Friday!  xxx

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Pantries and Preparedness. Our biggest asset.

All year we have covered topics on pantry building, preparedness and getting ahead.  And it has been a good year to for this in my household. Over the last three years I have come so far!  From that first inkling that I should turn my empty cellar into food storage to now... what a journey!  We added a rain water tank, generators, first aid and so many things, too many to list! 
This is all very good for our family but there is something else.... one of the biggest things we can do is be as healthy as we can be. 
Currently I am taking a class with A Working Pantry.  We are only on day one as I am writing and already I can see that the unfit are going to have a lot of trouble in this scenario.  (Patsy has a scenario she runs and so you can imagine for yourself the things that happen along the way!) In a crisis there is a lot of work. Even if the power is out suddenly there is an enormous amount of things to do!   
Whatever it is... growing our own veggies, a day of canning and preserving.... it all takes energy! 
Many of us have our own health issues.  Some things we can do something about and some things not. Sometimes also we think we can't do anything about things but maybe we can!
Well, I am just sharing what I am doing which is in no way advice to anyone else.  I hope it is just taken as encouragement to look after our health, work on improvements and see looking after yourself as such an important thing. 

Learning to modify.... zoodles  instead of noodles!

A couple of weeks back I shared how I have been trying a completely different diet to try and get over the pain in my arms in particular.  I started on October the 1st.  At the time I wrote down a list of things I was unhappy with and experiencing.  Now like everyone I had to feel pretty bad before I was willing to try something really different.  I wrote down....  constant aching of legs and arms.  Pain killers to get relief so I could go to sleep.  Sometimes pain killers AM and afternoon to get through the day.  Exhaustion.  Exercise was not worth the pain levels and exhaustion that it caused.  I wrote a long and specific list.

These are good!  Andy announced he prefers them so thats easy! 

Wednesday being the fist of November I wrote down how I am feeling now.  Looking back on my old list I was horrified!  This month I only had three days with pain and aching. Three instead of thirty one!  I had energy and FELT LIKE exercising and about mid month I got to exercising half an hour a day. Swimming and evening walks...  and enjoying it and no pain!  Basically no pain medication!  Also a weird side effect... I have at least two more hours in my day as I am more energetic I am up earlier.  I wrote a long list of improvements.  
Overall I feel 200 x better in one month!  I noticed dramatic benefits from day four. Maybe one of the biggest is being free of cravings which I got badly.

I always knew I was allergic to barley and oats.  And I always knew when I eat bread I am hungry and my heart races.  Then I came across a lot of information that going grain free can help with pain and many people even with severe pain and exhaustion and suffering from everything from Fibromyalgia to Chronic Fatigue are finding diet a way to help. So I decided I had nothing at all to lose by trying it for a week!

In this time I saw the Doctor and I expected her to be doubtful but she was thrilled and said as I am in menopause and having so much pain and inflammation (from infection and bites I had) going grain free was the best thing I could do!  Really?  (so why did she never suggest it in the first place?)
Doctors appointments being brief I never got to ask her WHY does this help? How does this help? Or WHO does this help.  
But I know it has helped me.  

Several people have been very helpful to me with this.  Lynette has been hugely helpful and encouraging as she is GF.  Mimi is also GF along with her daughter and she has lovely recipes.  Glenda is GF and a wealth of information. I have been learning so much from you all. My Mum is GF and has a lot of allergies.... so I guess I shouldn't be surprised that I am affected too.

My flour free cookies. 

Cookie has been wonderful and patient as I slowly get the idea!  So I am turning over to Cookie who has far greater experience and understanding about how going grain free helped her with chronic pain....

Over to Cookie...

 I have lived in pain most of my life, first with having polio as a child and then being diagnosed later in life with late effects of polio syndrome.  The pain can often times be so excruciating that I could hardly walk.  After this last awful bout with my back in March of this year my chiropractor suggested I go on a gluten free diet and that worked well for a time.  Then the tests came back and my functional medicine doctor who is now treating me for the celiac disease said  I would do best on a grain free diet.  So I have been grain free for several months now.  He also took me off the pseudo-grains ( which are actually seeds) for the time being, meaning quinoa, rice, buckwheat, chia.   However he let me keep flaxseeds.  I  have found many great recipes on Pinterest under  Paleo or Primal recipes.  All are grain free.  My favorite grain free sites are elana'  and  Sugar free mom has a great recipe for a microwave grain free english muffin that rivals the Thomas brand that we get here in the states.  As a matter of fact I stopped buying Thomases for Bill because he likes the ones I make.  They're also a 1 serving recipe. They also have facebook pages.  I found that Costco has the best deal on Almond flour.  Amazon has the best deal on coconut flour.  I use arrowroot instead of cornstarch as cornstarch doesn't agree with me at all.  Come to find out that corn in my body acts like a grain not a vegetable.   Anyway, if you google "paleo blogs" you'll come up with heaps of websites with grain free recipes for just about everything.

I have never taken anything stronger than aspirin or some herbal things for pain,preferring to stay away from prescription drugs which can have myriads of side effects that I wasn't interested in experiencing.  

My doctor's opinion and my humble opinion now as well is that our food supply is not the food supply of our grandparents and even great grandparents.  Industry has grown up over genetically modifying seeds (think Monsanto), pesticides that are specifically designed to kill weeds but not the genetically modified foods.  I recently read an article that wheat had been genetically modified over 400 times since the 1940s.And so-called foods that are manufactured in the laboratory using nothing but chemicals and flavorings to make them palatable.  Just take a look at some food labels.  Natural flavors are words for MSG and artificial flavorings.  Modified-food starch means cornstarch from genetically modified corn, different food dyes, chemicals to flavor water.   And, even things that purport to be so-called "gluten free" have been processed in a shared facilities plant that also processes allergens such as wheat, milk, nuts, peanuts and soy.  Is it any wonder that a huge population of us are experiencing chronic pain?  These frankenfoods can also cause something in some of us called "leaky gut" particles of food leak through the gut and get into the blood stream causing pain as well as many other symtpoms and autoimmune disease. 

Staying within our food budget and doing what needed to be done food wise I count as one of my biggest accomplishments this year.  We are blessed with the internet and so many people who have gone before us in this field and have blogs with recipes and advice in how to make the most of things.  Even though this new way of life may at first seem a lonely lot, we are not alone.  I am so thankful to the grain-free and/or paleo/primal websites that I found that it made this transition for me like a walk in the park.  

I found where the best prices were for alternate flours.  I found recipes, and when eggs were taken out of my diet (and later I could eat them), I learned how to use beef gelatin in place of eggs.  I learned how to view breakfast as just another meal and that it didn't matter whether I was eating oatmeal (which now I can't, even gluten free oats) or having   tuna salad.  It's just a meal.  I also had to throw away all of my ground purchased ground spices a start over as the particular place where they were processed used shared facilities.  I found a brand that has a dedicated facility and buy whole spices like cumin seed, coriander, cinnamon sticks, all spice, etc. and grind them myself in a little coffee grinder that was found at a yard sale.  And wow, what a difference fresh ground spices make in cooking.  I grow most of my own herbs.  And the real kicker was that I had to change coffee brands as there's only one brand of coffee in the US that's totally grain and gluten  free because they only roast coffee and do not share facilities with anyone. It's pretty famous and there's usually a shop on every corner in the US.   I make yogurt using Cath's method and also drain it to make yogurt cheese.  When dairy was off the menu I learned how to make almond and coconut milk with no additives, giving purchases of nuts and coconut more uses.  I also learned that if the whey is saved after the yogurt cheese is made and used as part of the liquid in the next batch of yogurt that it boosts the starter from your previous batch and ferments faster. 

It took approximately a week for my chronic pain to subside and about a month for it to go away completely.  However, in order to stay pain free I have to be extremely vigilant, which means, no cheats because if I cheat within a day or two I'm in pain again.  Doesn't seem fair, but that's just the way it is. and I often bring my own food to someone elses house if we've been invited for dinner.  I have a list of "safe" places I can eat  for that very occasional resturant meal.  Some places in the US even have dedicated cooking grills and pans for gluten and grain free food.  

 I know this sounds like a lot of work but  for me it was just a shift of focus.  I have not gone over our food budget, and since employing more of Laine's advice in menu planning etc. I find myself spending even less, and that's a huge accomplishment.  I forgot to mention that I drink ginger tea that I make myself either using grated fresh ginger or 1/2 tsp per cup of dried ground ginger.  It can be mixed in with your favorite tea or just alone in hot water with a little lemon and honey.  It works just the same as turmeric.  For some reason turmeric cause inflammation in my body rather than stopping it.  I also find that apple cider vinegar in water with ice is great to as it supplies potassium.

Thank you so much to Cookie.  To have had a life of pain like that and now be pain free is amazing.  This is what encouraged me to try this!

I had to include this: Jen in NS grew these carrots!  Check out the size! 

The other person who has really influenced me to try altering my diet is Laine. She also lives with a chronic health condition with great pain.  She also like Cookie got rid of most of this pain with diet.  Her condition requires a specialist and her Doctor is the leading specialist in this area in the world.  And going grain free has had the hugest impact on her life.  I have asked Laine if she would write about this and health in general and she has agreed!

What agrees with us and what doesn't is very personal and individual.  The whole point of my post is that trying something I never considered has made a huge difference to me.  One thing for sure is if something isn't working don't keep doing that!

Everything is a learning process.  And I just had a big fail as I decided to try Chai seeds and make little Chai puddings. They were delicious!  I made three serves and had one a day.  Each day I didn't feel good.  But I thought it can't be the chai ...  the fourth day I had all my pain back and then some extra.  Aching joints, sore legs, aching arms, shoulders, elbows, headache, tired and BLAH.  YUK.   This all reminded me of how I felt before I started.
Now I know it was the chai.  For me grains or seeds is just splitting hairs.  Neither Laine nor Cookie can eat seeds either and can explain why in detail and their specialists agree.  So good bye yummy chai pudding.  It took four days to get back to feeling good again.  Another lesson learned.

I hope this helps someone.  And I hope that you will put your health number one as we cannot look after everyone and do all we hope to be able to do without it.  It is one of the best investments we can make.
We often put up with things quietly and they get worse and worse.  It can take a lot to decide to do something new.  Whatever you do please do the research, ask a lot of questions,  ask different professionals including your doctor.

I am spending November working very hard on gaining ground with my health.  It is exciting to feel I am going upwards rather than downwards!

I hope you have a good week!  See you on Wednesday for Show and Tell! This is running late due to me being away last week.  I have lots of amazing things to show you!  If you would like to send in photos of your crafts and cooking please do on the Bluebirds FB page or email me