Monday, May 26, 2008

Soapmaking After A Long Hiatus

I've been making soap since about 2002. I began making candles in 2001 and progressed to soap after a while. I used to make soap several times per month and participated in swaps with others who make candles and soap and body products on a monthly basis for years. But, since my surgery, I haven't made a whole lot of anything. Life has been much busier and I've been winding things down with my online soap supply business and taking the classes I needed in order to renew my teaching credentials...

A friend of mine contacted me recently and said that her psoriasis had been so awful lately that she stopped using the Touch of Mink products she'd been using and began using a bar of my soap that I'd sent her many moons ago but she'd never tried. After continuing to use my soap for a week or so, her skin was doing great and she decided to try it on her scalp as she has awful problems with the psoriasis there as well. Well, long story short (and sparing you the yucky details), her scalp is doing better too and she's gone from huge flaky hunks of dead skin to what seems more like normal dandruff. She's so happy with the outcome! But, it also meant that she needs more soap in order to continue to use it! SO, I've had to dust off (literally) my soap pot and utensils and dig up a recipe and get back to soaping!

Today, I've got a shampoo bar experiment going--already made and in the soap mold. Instead of a fragrance oil though, I used rosemary, spearmint, and lavender essential oils in that. Next, I'm going to make a batch that had been dubbed "ton o suds" in previous experiments so that she'll have a body bar as well. I have to decide what sort of fragrance I want in that one and get that soap pot going again!

Hubby called me while I was frantically searching for the stick blender I have for soap/body products and asked me what I was doing... "Making soap," I told him. He commented that I hadn't made soap in a LONG time and asked me what got me going again now... He was not surprised to hear that it was a request from a dear friend as he knew it would take some serious urging to get me started after such a long time away!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Garden Progress 6--getting seeds in

The weather has been gorgeous this weekend! I did manage to get the green beans, corn, and carrot seeds planted today... Still have tons more to get done and I think I need to have another plot plowed to do it all! LOL This garden is already about 27' wide and almost 50 feet long. It just isn't big enough for all I want to have! I need another plot to do my watermelons, pumpkins, and cherry tomatoes!

I still need to get the strawberry roots planted too. I can't wait to walk out into the yard and pluck a fresh, ripe strawberry off the plant and eat it!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Valerie stole my line!

Have you seen the current Jenny Craig commercial with Valerie carrying a surfboard and talking about being a size "surfer girl?" Then, later in the commerical, she says she may not be a "size Gidget," but she is definitely a "size lovin life!" That is the end of the commerical... Lovin' Life is my line! LOL

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Garden Progress 5--plants in the ground!

I've been trying for a week now to get those danged plants in the ground and the weather just has not cooperated! First it was too cold. Then it rained for days on end. We were supposed to have a sunny start yesterday and turn to rain with rain till about now today (early afternoon) and then sun again for the later afternoon. Well, I got around to planting stuff at about 2:30 pm yesterday. I planted tomato plants. I planted cabbage and broccoli plants. I looked at the clock. I looked at the sky. It was getting darker, but no rain yet.

Mandy said, "It's going to rain!" I said, "It isn't raining YET!!" So,we plugged on... I planted lettuce plants. I planted pepper plants. Drip. Drop. It tried to start raining, but held off a bit while we gathered our stuff and got everything stored away in the house or on the porch... We were safely inside and I was busy complaining about how badly my lower back hurt before the rain ever really got started. I was bent over in that garden for FOUR hours! My lumbar spine, where I have the degenerated discs, is still killing me almost 24 hours and a Vicodin later! My arms are sore. My thighs hurt. Who ever thought gardening could be SO much work! LOL I guess those are muscles I just don't use often enough... I waited till I went to bed last night to take the Vicodin though as it is a strong one (strongest that them make). I knew it would help me get to sleep and it did just that!

We had quite a bit of rain last night and again this morning, but the sun is up now and all looks good!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Reaping what you sew...

With garden plans readily under way, I am taking some time now to get my canning gear in order again. I used to can years and year ago when I still lived in Florida. I did mostly tomatoes as they were so readily available and we used SO many of them. I probably canned in the neighborhood of 250 pounds of tomatoes a year. I did it all with a water bath canner though and not a pressure canner. Mom used to pressure can veggies all the time and she passed her canner on to me a few years back. It has been gathering dust and in need of a replacement sealing gasket. And, as I've not had anything TO can, I have never bothered with it. Now, with the garden prospect ripe in my mind, I realize I need to get this gear back in shape! I actually own two Presto pressure canners. I have a model 7-B which is a 16 quart pressure canner and a model 01/CA21H which is a 21 quart pressure canner. They both need new sealing gaskets. Both of them have a lid handle broken. One of them needs a side handle replaced. I have only one rack for the bottom and only one weight to go on top! SO, I went part shopping and found great deals from an Ebay dealer with good prices, free shipping on items after the first item, and good feedback scores (99.8 percent positive with over 74,000 auctions under their belt!). Who is this great seller, you may be wondering??? The name is BuyItNow. They had everything I needed but the rack--including a replacement blade assembly for my Krups blender! How cool is that! LOL Now, just got to PayPal them once the combined invoice comes by email!

Next, I've been poking around the internet looking for information on using a pressure canner since the books for these canners are LONG gone! I found good info on Presto's site. There's info there on both water-bath canning AND pressure canning various foods. There's also info on canning high-acid foods and low-acid foods at the Ball website (jar manufacturer). There is a nice short piece on the Univ. of GA website on Preserving Food as well. The Ball site has some canning recipes listed.

If anyone cares to comment on what they can and/or how they do it, I welcome the help!

Knowing VS Doing...

So many of us postops have this problem... We KNOW what we should do/be doing. But, we are not usually doing everything we should.

We know that exercise is a must in order to maintain the weight loss and not lose muscle mass. Does that mean we actually exercise on a somewhat regular basis? No, not always. Not at all these days in my own case...

We know that a successful and healthy postop life requires a LIFESTYLE change, not just a change till we reach our goal weight. The pounds will not just magically stay away... We must continue to eat healthfully for the REST of our LIVES. Too many people achieve their goal weights and then get lazy and allow themselves to revert back to old, poor eating habits. Again, we know this, but do we follow this rule well? No, many don't!

We know that carbs can put the pounds right back on these hips and thighs. Does that mean we are 100% low carb?? Hell no! WHY did I buy those Cheese-Its anyway??? They are not the #1 bedtime snack these days!

We know that we must take our vitamins religiously--every day! Yet, I read daily on OH about folks who are slack in taking their vitamins, folks who don't have a clue what vitamins to take (their docs/nuts should be shot!), and folks who are taking vitamins that we can't properly absorb after WLS. We need dry vitamin A and vitamin D. We need calcium CITRATE and not calcium carbonate. We must get enough vitamin B-12 and that needs to be via sublinguals or shots, not pills that we don't have the gut enzymes to absorb anymore... We should be taking some omega 3s (I take 4000 to 6000 mgs of fish oil a day.) Vitamins is one thing I am pretty good with, but they are boxed up for the week so that all I have to do is open today's box slot (am and pm) and dump them into my hand and swallow... How much easier could it be??

We know that we must have regular labs done in order to monitor for vitamin and nutrient deficiencies... At least every 6 months or so, we need a long list of labs run in order to see where we are at so that our vitamin/supplement regimen can be tweaked. But, again, I read on OH about postops who go for 2 or 3 years before they have complete labs done. The results are usually NOT pretty and many folks end up with irreversible damage to their bodies...

We know that we should stay off the scales as the frequent weighing can drive you NUTS!! But, we are compulsive when it comes to scales. I've talked to WLS postops who can't walk past the scale (any scale!) without stopping to weigh their self! PUT that puppy in the closet! Weigh once a week while you are losing so rapidly... It will be so much nicer to see only the end of the week result than to obsess over the ups and down that can occur during the week!

We know that we should measure our bodies and take pics at least once a month to chart our progress--especially in those times when we are not losing pounds (oh, the dreaded stall!). But, some of us are so danged camera-phobic (from our preop lives) that we just can't get in the hang of actually WANTING to take pics of yourself! Anytime I mention my weight loss to one girlfriend, she says, "so, we'll be getting a new pic of you soon?" And I think to my self that perhaps I should take a pic, but what REALLY is there to see? I'm still the same ole me! I still need to lose weight. I still have a big butt and mega thighs (at least in my own mind even if not in real life). And, in my mind again, who would ever want to document THAT with yet another pic? I should know how much weight I've lost and want to see those pics, but I still stress over them! For SO many years, I was the one holding the camera and taking the pics just so that I never had to see my fat self IN the pics... When group shots were taken where it was insisted I be IN the picture, I made darned good and sure to be in the back behind others to hide my fat. Thankfully I am a bit tall and could get away with that. If I were shorter and had to be in front to be seen, I would have seriously freaked out many, many times over the past several years!

This one is a bone of contention for me... We should learn and know what styles of clothing look better on our new bodies. Not everyone takes time to think about this one! Case in point--muffin tops! Muffin tops are NOT attractive folks! It is not because of the CUT of the jeans either! It is because you are trying to put your ass into jeans that are either not large enough, or not a style that YOU can wear well! Low rise jeans and excess belly skin and/or love handles are NOT a good combo ladies and gents! Think about it!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Garden Progress 4?

I wish I had more to report... We've had SO much rain this last couple weeks! Rain is good, but it has come with chilly temps as well. And, with all the rain, I've not been able to get anything planted yet. I lost my little Roma tomato seedlings. Everything else is hanging in there... I have about 40 Mortgage Lifter tomato plants that are already about a foot tall and starting to get very root-bound in those little plastic trays. My pepper plants are about 6 inches tall and so far are okay in the trays. My cabbage and broccoli plants were too root-bound and I had to put them into single cups to carry them through till I can get them in the ground. My lettuce plants are starting to look a bit sorry... I've GOT to get those things in the ground this weekend or I'll lose more of them. SO, that is the plan--rain or shine... We're supposed to have some sun early on Saturday and then rain in the evening and again on Sunday morning. Then, it is supposed to clear up Sunday afternoon and be nice on Monday and Tuesday with sunny, clear skies and temps in the 70s. Hopefully by Tuesday, I'll be able to report that all plants are planted and I've gotten seeds in the ground too! Wish me luck!
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