Welcome! My health problems add craziness to my life. Here I post ideas I've tried, also questions I'm still asking. I have an electrolyte disorder. So I have crazy neuro stuff like complicated migraines, alkalosis, loosing my speech and paralysis. (including legs and hands) Little by little, foods had to go, they affected my brain and immune system. So I avoid like the plague: soy, dairy, gluten, nightshades, and try to avoid refined sugar. My body requires pink salt and electrolytes. I now use a speedy red wheelchair that I love. I've craved a simpler life, but how do you do that with crazy health stuff? I've already had a fire and flood, so I really don't value possessions. I value people and experiences. I am not compensated for any posts, just my opinions.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Attempts to simplify food, with tons of restrictions

I have a lot of food restrictions. I can't eat gluten (wheat, barley, rye), dairy (from cows), soy, and nightshades (tomato, peppers-including spices like cayenne, eggplant, potato family). So it's really hard to think what I can have. Especially if I've had a bad day, my kitchen's still a mess, and I'm without a plan before the dinner hour. Planning ahead is so important to ease my stress with food. And yes, I usually find the thought of food very stressful.

My current project is trying to compile a list of foods I can have, so that when it's a little more stressful, I don't have to think so hard. Most cookbooks, I can only eat one or two recipes in a book. I borrow cookbooks from the library for ideas. I got some simple cooking magazines for a few years to try to help. So I've been pulling out of the magazines only recipes I could really eat, without tons of edits. If the whole recipe is based on tomato and eggplant, there's just no point for me to hold on to it. It becomes clutter. I'm down to my last few magazines, of pulling out recipes. I recycled the magazine and had lots more space in my office.

Then I've been taking all my recipes, from scans, emails, etc and I've put them into one place, easily accessible, into my Evernote. I shared the recipe notebook with my husband. So it's accessible to the cooks in the house. I can also see those notes and recipe amounts on my phone in the store, because I have the Evernote app on my phone.

One last thing I'm trying to do with my list, is thinking really simple in general. I tagged the month name on each recipe in Evernote, so I can think more of cooking with what's in season. I'm also looking for really simple things to list. Example: My husband found a delicious organic polenta that cooks in one minute! I stir fry or steam some fresh produce from the farmers market, like asparagus and squash, and serve that over the polenta. A very satisfying meal for me, that's literally a few minutes, and that doesn't cause any bad reactions inside of me. I also love making fresh salads from what's available at the market. Definitely a work in progress. But I have a plan, and I'm working at it!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Extremely flexible chore chart: for children and teens

What do you do when mom's sick and you're trying to keep the house running somewhat smoothly? One or two days is bad enough, but chronic health issues are really hard to keep a house running, while mom feels sick a lot. I tried posting chores, posting schedules, so everyone knew what to expect. Those lists posted weren't looked at very much. I've had picture chore charts, check off lists, and all sorts that looked appealing. But they didn't work for my family. So I made my own. It's visual, because I prefer visual things.

I found in talking with lots of other moms, that my challenges were quite common. I myself like lists, and check things off, but that didn't seem to work so well for everyone. Some have children with varying special needs. Some have anxiety and depression. (mothers and children) Some have frequent migraines, asthma attacks and hives. Some people, there's all or nothing. If you don't cross off everything on the list, you failed. So the next day you don't even feel like trying. Even if your list was way to big to start with. So how to create a balance? What can you do so that when one or two people are having a bad day, the whole house doesn't stop doing their part too? And a list not too overwhelming, so that something can still keep happening? That's the question I kept asking several years. This chore chart I feel can work with all these needs and challenges no matter what type of school you choose, because it's extremely flexibly and customized to each family.

I created this chart, with lots of flexibility in mind. I blocked out my kids names, so you can think of your own. I have 3 children at home so I decided to divide my board in half, than in thirds. On the left is unfinished, on the right is finished. Then we can visually see when things are done. I wrote everything that could possibly be needed from that person. Doing their math work, cello practice, unload dishwasher, etc. I even have the time I want them to start, and if they are at the table ready to start on time, they get to count that magnet. Each thing is written on a circle magnet with a sharpie. I have a few square ones for weekend only things. One thing really important to me was to show progress and accomplishment. So when someone says, "I did nothing, I failed" you can show the board, that all those things were moved over and accomplished. But I also wanted to get away from "everything has to be moved done". The current goal for my house is to move over 12 items daily, then they can count the day completed & have a sticker on a chart. More is better, but 12 is minimal goal. 10 stickers earns something. Like a friend over for several hours on a weekend, going out for ice cream, going to visit a local place they're are interested in, having a movie & treat at home or something more than the usual. I feel these things are still treats, (it is an extra effort on my part) even though most expect they do deserve all these things after long days. When we get close to our 10 days, I call the other friends mom to start checking their calendar and we make sure it happens. So it's do-able motivation.

There's lots of variations you could try. You may say 5 days and do more frequent things, or you may make the number higher and do bigger things. Or if you have one child that it's much harder for them to accomplish things, you can add in things like brush teeth and take shower as counting one of their numbers for the day. Overall the goal is to see daily progress, to give motivation to continue when one or more people are having a bad day in the house, and to have short term goals to look forward too. Each person can move at the pace they need too. And I think this is modeled a little more life-like for households with health challenges. You can accomplish things and if it's a bad day, the board is cleared and you start over again.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Simplifying my "To-Do" list

My new "to do" lists. Well used boards! Can click to view larger image.

During a super hectic time in my life, I had a super long to-do list. A whole page in tiny print, and several columns. Appointments I had to make, phone calls I had to remember, etc.  So much stuff, I couldn’t remember hardly anything anymore, so I started writing everything down. My friend saw it and said, “This is crazy! Who has time for all that? I couldn’t do half of this in a month! Can I throw this paper way for you and you can just forget and start over?” The thought was tempting but I answered I couldn’t because this was all stuff I had to do after our fire. We had an electrical fire that started in the walls of our house. Crazy stuff. Insurance paperwork, replacing stuff, calls with the builders…. I told myself after the fire the lists had to get drastically shorter. They got somewhat shorter, but there was always crazy stuff happening, just life. I had two dry erase boards, about 8x10 in size. One was mine & one was my husband’s, stuff we needed to do, both boards on the fridge. But the lists were so long they just weren’t getting looked at anymore. So then I took my board and changed it to just “this must happen today”. Then maybe one or two wishes. Example of must happen: “9AM Dr apt, 3PM music lesson”. Then for wishes: “grocery run”. If grocery run didn’t make it that day it could be done the next day. Maybe in two days it would be listed as "This must happen." Only a few words on the board were much more effective. Then my husband’s board changed to just top 3 things I needed him to do. And the dinner plan for today and tomorrow. Every night before bed, I check my Google calendar and update the boards with what everyone can expect the next two days. It’s so much less stressful! 
What have you done to simplify your to-do list? Or do you even have a "to do" list?

Intro post

Hi! I used to think I was the only one out there with such crazy stuff always happening. I always knew I was a little odd. I hate shopping. I hate shoes. I hate socks. I hate cars, especially because I get really bad motion sickness and sensory overload. I tolerate cars, socks and shoes because they serve a purpose, and I do need to eat, even at the risk of bad reactions. But the more I started  talking to people, I realized we actually have a lot in common. I've been through tons of emergencies. I feel like I walk through life with a plan A, plan B and then the emergency back up plan. I went through real training like air raid training, earthquake training in simulators, and preparations for some pretty intense typhoons and hurricanes. People kept telling me I should write a book, about lots of various subjects. I always tell them my life is too crazy to have time to write a book. So I'm doing what I did with two other blogs I still keep on my efforts I've been learning in two frontier areas of genealogy. One on Polish families separated during WWII and the flu epidemic. The other, Virginia records in a rural area with lost and destroyed records. My hope is if I keep writing, it will keep challenging me to learn and grow more. I have a list of questions and thoughts for my first set of posts. Hope it will be of benefit to some of you out there. Maybe some of you can teach me too.

Some quick notes about me. I'm the oldest of a really big family and love it! I grew up military. I've been married 18 years, and we have 3 children (and 3 dogs). I have lots of nieces and nephews and I love children. I chose to homeschool to meet our needs. I also respect teachers and parents who send their children to public and private schools.

Please keep comments kind. Especially about other people's comments. I will monitor all comments so that spam and attack comments are not posted.