Thursday, August 31, 2017

Life in the Sidebar: Archived Re-posts 1

Like I mentioned in the last post, I've gone through some changes as a blogger. My life has been through a lot of changes so, of course, my blogging style has changed. Here's the thing: I think I was a better blogger when I first started. I was more spontaneous and honest. Since those first good days, I've become more self-conscious and long-winded. I have to get back to the best part of me!

Hereare some of my favorite posts from ago...


For some reason, readers really loved a couple of post A LOT. One of them is the Devil Is a Liar post (my fave), and the other was one on Bailey Quarters (you know, from WKRP?) Wow. That one surprised me. 

What I have learned from looking back over my old posts these last few days is...
  1. I need to get back to basics when it comes to blogging and leave the weighty stuff for the books.
  2. I need to start having fun again with the blog.
  3. I want to start connecting with other bloggers the way I used to.
Actually, I am thinking of leaving this blog as is (for the reviews that I do), and doing a FreeBeingFree revamp for everything else. I'm kind of undecided as of yet but, when I've made up my mind, y'all will be the first to know.

Peace
--Free

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Life in the Sidebar (Part 3)

One of the sidebar items I think most people overlook is the Blog Archive listing. That's a shame because that's like a blogger's personal Wayback Machine. Every now and then, I look over some of my own older posts and I realize that the archive is a timeline of my life changes.

In prep for doing this series of posts, I glanced through some of my earlier ones. What I realize is that I was a better blogger when I wasn't trying so hard. Starting out, I wasn't really thinking about writing for anyone but myself. I need to get back to that. My older posts were funnier and more 'real'.

For people who do read my blog on a regular basis now, I think they would like the 'old' me. After I finish this Sidebar series, I'm going to literally copy/paste some of my favorite posts from the past.

If any of you do go back and check through the Archives, I'd love to know what you think about the way I used to write compared to now. For myself, the main thing I noticed is that (like everybody does), I've gone through stages that affect my attitude, outlook, and joy.

When I first started blogging - 11 years ago! -  I talked more about relationships and family. I guess that's because I was more interested in having a relationship back then. WAY back then (when I was ~gasp~ 45!), and I hadn't lost so many members of my family.

I did a lazy search and found out (on another blog, of course) that the average lifespan of a blog is around 100 days. I don't know how true that is. I told you I did a lazy search! But I know that most of the bloggers I started out following have since gone away. That's sad. I really, really loved a lot of blogs that are defunct now. I always wonder what happened to the blogger. Maybe they moved on to bigger projects? Only some of them still have Blogger profiles up. (When I looked up an old fave called The Brutha Code, all I could find was a page all in Japanese...??? So, WHERE are you, Brutha?)

I guess I should feel like a blogosphere survivor.

Anyway, if you get a chance, click back through the Archives. Like I said, I'll be re-posting some favorites soon.

Peace
Free

Monday, August 28, 2017

Life in the Sidebar (Part 2)


The sidebar items I personally like the most are the ones showing what I've been reading and watching. When I checked the other day, I realized that my Read & Loved List makes me appear more intelligent that my Watchlist.



My Reading list is varied and thoughtful My Watch list is that of a teenager...




Why it is that I tend to read like a more mature adult and yet, more often than not, watch some of the shallowest things on television?

I only remember right off the last thing I read (well, listened to) because the book had the most unusual narrator ever. It was Nutshell by Ian McEwan, By the way, I want to hate McEwan because he made me feel like such a hack as a writer. "Nutshell" really is a brilliant work. Damnit. Seriously, if you want to read something that kind of breaks the mold, read (or listen to) Nutshell.

Now the last thing I watched was the whole first season of "Riverdale". I binged every night for a week until I was done, Now I can't wait for the next season. I'm caught up somewhere between criticizing portrayals of most characters and delighting in the others. I'm undecided about Archie, but I love the way Jughead is played - all moody and dark. The actors playing the teens (except for Jughead) look way too old! Veronica and Cheryl wear so much makeup that I want to wipe the screen when they are on. But how cute is it that teen stars of ago (Luke Perry and Molly Ringwald) are playing the parents of the kids? 

I'm curious to know what kinds of things my readers are checking out in books and film. Are any of you watching Riverdale? If you are, you're probably either older (like me) and remember the Archie comics, or you're younger (like my 20- and 30-something nieces) who always liked teen operas.

So, what is everybody else watching and reading? Did anything on my list make your list? I hope you'll let me know. And, no, you don't have to identify yourself in the emails.

Peace
--Free

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Life in the Sidebar (Part 1)

One of my blog readers emailed me recently to ask about the items in my sidebar.

Wow.

First of all, I was shocked that someone actually paid attention to the sidebar. Amazing. When I read someones blog, the sidebar is the first (or second) thing I check out. That's where I usually learn more about the blogger.

One of the very first bloggers I followed on a regular basis was a very talented poet/philosopher/empath who called herself Supa Sister. I adored her online persona and she was an inspiration to me as a new blogger. (Sadly, I have lost track of her and most of her sites seem to be dormant. I hope that, wherever she is, she is okay and that her talent continues to thrive.)

I've had many favorite bloggers and online "pals" over the years. My memory is crap for details, but I checked the Wayback Machine (cos nothing is ever lost on the internet) and was able to take a look at the past.






Of course, now that I'm reminded of all those good links, I'll be putting some back on the sidebar. (Thank you, Wayback Machine!)


When that one reader emailed me, I started wondering how many other readers bother to even look at the sidebar. The answer: probably not many.

The thing is, I want the my readers to pay attention to the sidebar. It's not there just for decoration. Not exactly. The top maybe 6 or 7 items are mostly for tracking, advertising, or some other non-fun reason. But the rest, well, that's where the good stuff is. At least, it's good stuff if you have any interest in this blog's author.

Anyway, I decided that for the next few (or more) posts, I was going to highlight parts of my sidebar. Maybe that's a little pushy of me, but... No, okay. It is definitely more than a little pushy. You can always ignore the posts, but I really hope you won't because they will be as much about you all as they are about me. My sidebar highlights things I'm interested in and I want to know what my readers are interested in as well.

So, thanks to the reader who emailed. Unfortunately (or maybe not), they chose not to include a return address. That's fine. At least they are reading the blog - and the sidebar.

Peace
--Free



Friday, August 25, 2017

Writing in Recovery Mode

This dang book! You know - the one I've been working on for forever and 10 days...

Writing is difficult enough, then there's the whole sarc-brain thing I have going on. Then I've had to take more than a few 'pauses' in the writing process. Let's see - there was getting ready to move, making the move, getting to a new town and, finally, getting set up in the new apartment.

So I am settled (mostly) in the new place. Then my laptop fell apart. I mean, this thing literally fell apart!

The TSA people were a little suspicious of me!
 Talking about "She's come undone"!

Believe it or not, laptop STILL works!

My beautiful computer, which was a gift from one grown nephew (and was dropped, TWICE) by my younger nephew. finally gave up even trying to hold together. Let me tell you something though: if you can afford one, get a Toshiba. Talk about taking a licking and still ticking... After all the damage inflicted by a 5 year old (and an inattentive auntie), the computer still works. The only problem is that the touchscreen is no longer functioning. That didn't faze me. The worst thing was this:

And it's NOT a flip type PC
So yeah. I will be trying to find someone to repair this one because it's too good of a computer. And it was a gift. In the meantime, I had to get back to work on the book.

~sigh~

I managed to scrape together enough of a balance on one of my cards and got a refurbed replacement laptop. Thank God I found a great price and used the perks of my credit card to get an even better deal. I couldn't afford another Toshiba Satellite ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ but this ASUS is okay, I guess. On the Plus side, it has a ton of disk space, The big downside? It lacks in speed. I've been told that's an easy fix but it costs and I'm not spending another unnecessary nickel that doesn't have to to with food or shelter!




Back in the day, I'd have had to spend a lot of time transferring files to the new PC. Luckily, I learned how to use cloud services so I only had to do a little bit of downloading.

And... I said all that to say that I'm back to work - finally, right? - on the book. The book that I blogged about here, here, here, here, and way back here when I first set out on the project.

This book:


For anyone out there, rolling their eyes and thinking about how long this book is taking, well, what can I tell you. Writing is hard work. It probably doesn't help that I work best by doing first drafts by hand.



This time, I'm not going to jinx myself by setting a publication date. I'm just going to get back to work - RIGHT NOW.  And I'll keep you posted, of course.
 ( ͡ᵔ ͜ʖ ͡ᵔ )

Peace
--Free

Thursday, August 24, 2017

**RECIPE** Chicken Pot Pie (for Dummies like Me)

Okay, folks, this is a recipe that I modified (slightly) from the one found here. I have never, ever made a chicken pot pie - not unless you're counting the ones I get on sale in the Frozen aisle at Walmart, bring home and toss in the microwave...

I really wanted to make a homemade chicken pot pie and I was, for some reason, terrified. When I cook, I usually stick to what I know. I didn't know pot pie.

Now the recipe that I linked to is super easy, but I did make a couple of modifications. Also, I wanted to make suggestions that I think first-timers could use.

INGREDIENTS (Pay attention to the variations!)
  • I used a GLASS 8" square pan but you can use a 9" round also
  • 1 bowls for the pot pie mixture & another if you're going to use a biscuit mix for the topping 
  • 1 can of condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1/2 cup of milk to be used with soup (I used whole fat milk)
  • 1/2 cup milk to be used in biscuit mix. (I used 1 box of Jiffy Buttermilk Biscuit mix)
  • 1 package thawed frozen mixed veggies (I used an 8 oz pack and added 4 oz thawed spinach)
  • 1 cup  chicken or turkey (I chopped up the meat of some leftover chicken breasts I'd cooked the night before)
  • 1 egg (this is ONLY if you are going to use a biscuit mix for the topping & not a pie crust)
  • 1 cup biscuit baking mix OR 2 pie crusts

NOTE: For those who want, here is recipe for biscuit mix that lets you adjust recipe to different serving sizes.



STEPS: (Read through these BEFORE you start!)

If you are using pie crusts for the bottom, make sure to brown them for a few minutes before adding the filling!
  • Heat oven to 400 degrees
  • In a medium/large bowl, mix 1/2 cup of milk with the condensed soup and add the veggies and meat. (I also added some turmeric, salt, and pepper to taste).
  • If using a biscuit mix, IN A SEPARATE BOWL, add to the dry mix the egg and 1/2 cup of milk. 
  • Pour the meat/veggie mix into the pie pan.
  • Cover the meat/veggie mix with the biscuit batter or the pie crust.
  • If using a biscuit batter topping, make sure to cover the edges and middle of pie. I added a bit more liquid to my batter because it was too thick to spread.
  • If using a pie crust topping, dab the top with some melted butter for better browning. Don't forget to knife or fork in a few holes into the pie crust.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes or until browned. (Mine took only 17 minutes)
Super easy, right? The one thing that annoyed me when I first read the original recipe is the part about using the biscuit mix and the soup. Your instinct might be to go by the instructions on the labels of those items. DON'T. Just pretend the instructions don't even exist. (And, yes, I was cheap and used store branded soup!)



Keep in mind that this will make enough for at least 4 people. I had so much left over that I ended up sending it home with my brother and his family. Next time, I will try reducing the entire recipe so that I can make a smaller pie. Maybe I can pre-make the filling and make mini-pies throughout the week. 

I love that this recipe was so cheap, easy and quick. Also, clean-up was simple, and the pie...



Oh my goodness! It turned out so tasty. Of course, I couldn't eat it all. I put some away for later and called my brother to come get the rest for his wife and kids. This was about a 9 inch pie and it was perfect for their dinner. After a few bites, I was stuffed. I need to find a way to do smaller servings but I'm not sure how well they will keep for more than a few hours.


Next time, I'm going to do leftover boneless pork. I will probably try adding kale instead of spinach. One thing I noticed is that most of the spinach rose to the tip of the pie!

Some other cooks on the site where I got this recipe said that they added things like shallots and potatoes. For me, I think potatoes would be great if feeding a family, but a bit too much for a single.

One last thing: the next pie I make, I won't be adding a crust to the bottom. Even though it turned out well, it wasn't necessary, in my opinion.

Hope your pie turns out great. Happy noshing!

Peace
--Free

Monday, August 21, 2017

*REVIEW Revisit** DIM (Di-indolyl Methane)

Back in May, when I was still prepping for moving, I started taking this amazing supplement. It's for balancing estrogen levels, but I like to think of it as my "Fatigue Fighter":



Now, usually when I review a product, I'm done and move on. Sometimes, I will go and do a little bit of an in-post update. Rarely, do I return to do an update in a separate post. This time, I just had to.

I was pretty happy with DIM when I first started using it. Like, from the very first day. It's one of the few supplements that I was faithful about taking. I hate pills and tablets and I already have to take enough of them. It's not like I want to add something else to the mix. In this case though, I really feel that these tablets help. DIM gives me added energy (I can always use more of that!) in addition to helping with my depression.

Free of GMOs, gluten, soy & dairy
If you really want to know if a supplement works for you, try running out of it. That's what happened to me.

In the midst of moving from my temporary digs at my brother's place and into my new apartment, I ran out of DIM. I took the last tablet and kept the bottle to remind myself to order more when I could budget for it. To be honest, I didn't think about it again after a few days. I was too busy getting to doctors' appointments, getting utilities set up, and just stocking up on basic household necessities. Like food.

After my last infusion, I felt worse than I ever have after a treatment. Then, when I took my weekly shot at home, I got so sick that I almost wanted to die. Getting slightly sick and extra fatigued is normal after my shot - for a couple of days. This time, I was so nauseous that I got dehydrated. A couple of times, I literally crawled part of the way to the bathroom. It went on for three and half days!

Once the med-sick wore down a bit, I was wiped totally out. Getting to the kitchen to heat up soup in the microwave made me want to nap for a couple of hours. At least the nausea had passed though, I was so happy about that, the fatigue didn't matter as much.

When I got back to "normal", I skipped my next shot. I had so much left to unpack and put away. I managed that, but I was dragging butt the whole time. I'd spend half and hour getting stuff done, then have to rest for an hour.

My nephews were bringing the last of my belongings from their place and when I opened up a bag, the empty DIM bottle rolled out.




To cut to the chase, I had the extra bucks to order another bottle of DIM so I did. With a quickness. I mean, I cut back on some of my grocery spending so that I could afford the DIM. That's how seriously I wanted it because I remembered what it had done for me before.

I am back using the supplement as of today. I didn't get the immediate boost of energy that I did the first time. That was disappointing until I realized that I'm way, way more run down than I have been for a while. Regular fatigue is bad enough, but after moving and still getting settled in (and don't forget what I think of as Hell Week after that infusion), I guess this super fatigue is to be expected. The DIM might take a couple of days to give me a bit of an  energy boost. However, I can tell you that my mood was better today than it has been for a couple of weeks.

Of course, you need to check with your healthcare team to see if this is something you can or should use. I think too many of us who are battling with an illness tend to jump on every supplement band wagon that comes along. We want so desperately to feel better, but we have to be careful we aren't making things worse. Amen?

This, this, THIS!!

This is, I suppose, my report about at least one supplement that not only works for me but that feels necessary. And, yes,
I am going to let my new doctors know about my experience with it - not just because I have to inform them of anything I take anyway, but because it might be something they can look into for other people to use.

Peace
--Free

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Do Unto Others...

Someone close to me confided that they dislike another person who is close to me. I've had other friends in my life say this same thing about other people. Here is what I would like to say to anyone having trouble coping with someone in their life:

You don't have to like anyone. No one has to like you. For me, I don't like or love people because they are perfect. I hope that I choose to like and love people (and dislike them), based on their intentions.

If there is someone in my life who wants to be a bad person - or an unkind person - then that's a person I don't like. But if there is someone in my life who has flaws, I learn to like or love that person in spite of their flaws.

I love you because I think that you have a good heart. If I based my feelings about you on how you behave or the things you say, I probably wouldn't like you any more than you like the person you mentioned.

Like I said, I like you. I choose to like or love the people in my life, including you.

I don't like you because we agree on everything - because, of course, we don't. I don't like you because you're perfect - because you are not. There are things about you that I really don't like at all. One of those things is that you can be extremely negative and cranky a lot of the time. But, guess what, I don't think that you act that way just to hurt me or anyone else in your life. That's just part of your personality. You might change over time or you might not. I accept you for who you are right now.

There are other people in my life who have flaws that bother me. I choose to continue liking/loving them anyway. I know that some people have problems that I don't have. I know that some people are dealing with issues that I'm not dealing with. So I choose to accept that and not dislike them for those things.

I put up with some people just because they put up with me.

Someone I used to know had a saying: "I love you, but I don't like you right now." Haven't we all felt that way about someone?

You are right, though, it is hard to like/love some people. What I have learned is that some of the same people who annoy me are the ones who would risk their life to save mine.

Peace
--Free

Friday, August 11, 2017

**RECIPE** Soothing Hot Cocoa

Anyone who reads my blog regularly know that I have a condition that requires me to take certain medicines. One of those medications is a weekly injection that happens to make me dog-sick for about 30 hours. (Yeah, I have actually counted and done an average!)

 A couple of weeks ago, after I got especially med-sick, I decided to put some of my talk about natural products into action. To get my energy up and keep the nausea at bay, I made a cocoa just full of healthy stuff.

Here are the ingredients - along with why I chose them. I have to tell you that I am in love with this cocoa. I have been drinking it the last couple of days just because. I will drink it during the day (instead of coffee), or at nighttime if I feel cold.

I make about a 9 ounce cup of whole fat milk for the beverage  but I will let you come up with your own measurements. It all depends on how bitter or sweet you want your finished product. I like mine on the bitter side so I use about 1.5 Tablespoons of cocoa powder. Every other ingredient amount depends on what mood I am in. Also, I only make my beverage on the stove top. I use a small pan and a whisk on low-to-medium heat. It takes a while and I guess you could heat your milk in the microwave then add the other ingredients, but I like the old-fashioned way.

First, measure out your milk into whatever cup you will drink from. This way you won't make too little or too much. If you don't have a whisk, use a large fork so you don't get clumps of cocoa and cinnamon. Add the dry ingredients to the milk in your pan a little at a time - especially if you are working without a whisk. Whether you use a fork or a whisk, you want to keep stirring while the mixture is on the heat so you don't get that "skin" film right away.

Organic Cocoa Powder 

Cocoa powder has lots of health benefits, but the one I am interested in is that it fights fatigue. Here is just one article discussing the pros. Also, I wanted to include something from WebMD that discusses more benefits and even warnings.


Ceylon Cinnamon


The taste of this is not as "sharp" as regular cinnamon. It's a lot softer so you can use more than you might think.  This explains Ceylon cinnamon basics.

The cinnamon is mostly for the benefits to my mental health. There are other pros to cinnamon, but you have to be watchful. The thing is that there is "good" cinnamon vs the kind with an ingredient that can be damaging. Once I learned that over-indulging in certain types of cinnamon can damage the liver, I started using only Ceylon cinnamon. This is the brand I like and happen to be using.

Blackstrap Molasses

I use this as the sweetener in the cocoa beverage. Sometimes, I use more molasses (just over a half tablespoon)  and don't add any other sugars; sometimes, I add less (around a teaspoon) and include some raw granulated sugar. Depends on my mood.

'Strap is high in iron and calcium. I use the unsulphured molasses and there is a difference between this and the sulphured variety. You will see why I prefer unsulphured. There are tons of benefits, in my opinion, and good nutritional value. One I focus on is that it's a "bone booster".

As much as I raved about this, I stopped using it on a regular basis some months ago. I was getting ready to move and could have used the energy boost but needed more ways to incorporate the molasses into my daily intake. This cocoa is a great way. Also, now that I have a full kitchen to use again, I cook more and like to  sweeten hot cereals and other dishes with the molasses.

(A little mention that, even for people who don't like the taste of molasses straight from the bottle, it's got a really good taste when added to milk and stirred well. That's how I take it when I just want to get a quick dose.)

Organic vanilla extract

I only add a drop or two of this. I don't add it when heating the cocoa, but just drop it in when I'm about to drink up.

Everyone I know loves the flavor of vanilla in some form. Not many people use the actual and real extract or even understand the benefits.

Vanilla extract has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. Those are the two important ones I care about. There are other good reasons to add the extract to this cocoa.

NOTE: Try to rinse out your pan immediately. Milk and cocoa are tough to clean later. I also just add some water to the dirty pan and put it on the still warm stove top until I'm ready to wash it out.

 Peace
--Free

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

The Beautiful Mattie Powell

When I am heartbroken, my instinct is to write. Today my heart is in pieces.

My mother's best friend (and the woman I claimed as my Godmother) passed away on this past Friday.

Mrs. Mattie Powell ("Miss Mattie" to me) was one of the sweetest and most beautiful women I ever knew. I'm talking beautiful inside and out. My siblings and I always called her "pretty Miss Mattie". You read in fiction about women who only getting more beautiful as they age, but Miss Mattie was the real thing.

Miss Mattie and my mother went through a lot together. I'm not privy to a lot of what they talked about, but I know that my mother (who was a very private woman and who didn't easily use the term "friend") trusted Miss Mattie more than anyone else I knew.

Miss Mattie's husband passed years ago. He had taken such good and loving care of her that, although she worked outside the home, she had never had to drive a car. She didn't like to drive, but she finally had to learn at a later age, it was my brother Chubby who taught her how. She never did like driving but she had the cutest little black and silver PT Cruiser that was perfect for her. The colors matched her hair and I always thought she should have personalized her plates to read "Silver Fox"!

My sister, Mike, adored Miss Mattie, as did we all. After Mama died, Miss Mattie was the one friend of Mama's that Mike held close to. Miss Mattie never called my sister by her nickname "Mike". She had her own nickname for her of "Mikey".

When Mike passed away, Miss Mattie was fighting her own health battles but she came to the service and she spoke. I was in such a daze of grief then, whether people could see it or not, that I barely heard much of what Miss Mattie said. I do remember that she shared how whenever she came to our house to visit, my mother tried to make her eat. If Miss Mattie wasn't hungry right then, Mama would still insist that my sister send her home with something for later. Miss Powell remembered this as my mother always instructing, "Mikey, make Mattie a plate."

Now that my mother, Chubby, "Mikey", and Miss Mattie are gone I can rejoice that they are all in Heaven together. At rest and with no more pain or tears or suffering. That is the only joy I can get out of losing the people I love. Like I said, right now, my heart is in pieces but those broken pieces are in Heaven.

I am praying for her family and know that they will be okay because they had a queen for a mother, as her daughter said, and their mother is with the King of kings now.


Peace
--Free

Monday, August 07, 2017

Online Groceries Shopping: Walmart vs Amazon Pantry

Ever since I even planned to move here to the Lower 48, I thought about doing most of my grocery shopping online. Now that I am here and mostly settled in the new place, I had a chance to try out the online grocery shopping experiment.

For my meats and dairy items, I can walk the block and a half to the little city market. The nearest large grocery store is too far away for me to get there on foot. Even if I could, getting the groceries back would be a hassle. The nearest Walmart is just over 7 miles away in the neighboring town.

I have a Prime account and an online Walmart account. I decided to see which would be most affordable for buying basic household supplies. I'm talking about pantry items (soups and some cooking staples) and things for cleaning and storage. Here is what I ended up listing:
  • Paper towels
  • Toilet tissue
  • Sanitary/feminine hygiene items
  • Soup
  • Beverages (I like Pellegrino in particular)
  • Trash bags and food storage baggies
  • Dish soap
  • Coffee
Since I wanted to know which online store would be best, I opened carts in both Walmart and Amazon's Prime Pantry and loaded them with almost identical items (brand, size, count, etc), then I compared costs.

Walmart ended up being the most affordable. The item prices were not only cheaper, so was the shipping. With Walmart, I get free shipping on orders of $35 or more. With Amazon's Pantry, things are more complicated. 

Okay. For Prime Pantry, the free shipping is contingent on ordering a certain amount of "qualifying" items. If you don't have 5 or more of the "qualifying" items, the shipping cost is $5.99 per box.

NOTE: straight from Amazon, here is the definition of a Pantry box:
Prime Pantry boxes vary in size and can hold up to 45 pounds. Your order will be packaged in an appropriate-sized box, based on the dimensions and weight of the items. This box could be anything from the size of a shoe box to as large as a suitcase.

That sounds simple enough, and I actually thought it would be easy enough to get at least 5 qualifying items. Uh... Nope. 

As I was filling my cart, there was a little meter showing me my "fill rate". I realized that it is a bit harder to fill a box with qualifying items. Unless I wanted to shop based solely on qualifying items, I was going to be paying that shipping fee.


Let's zoom in on some of that:



Of course, Walmart tends to be cheaper than almost any other retailer. Throw in the free shipping when I order over a certain dollar amount of goods and... Walmart is the winner.

There was another benefit to using Walmart: most of the items ship faster. Maybe because of the location of where they ship from? Also, there is the option of putting together an order for Store Pickup.

Here is my first Walmart order. Total cost for at least a month and a half supply of everything on my list: $70 + tax.

At any rate, I will probably continue to use Walmart for my every-other-month shopping of basics household stuff. I will reserve Amazon for the other Prime items I use. 

Hope this helps anyone who has been thinking of using Amazon or Walmart for basic household shopping needs.

Peace
--Free

Thursday, August 03, 2017

**ALERT** Audio & Digital Resources at Local Libraries

Question 1: How many plastic cards are in your purse or wallet?
Question 2: What kind of freebies do those cards offer you?
Question 3:What would you do with a FREE card, no interest rate, and very few limitations?

I'll let you answer the questions later. First, this:

I've posted before about how much I love local libraries and the free resources they offer. I have been listening to audiobooks via my library and Overdrive Media. Thanks to that, I was able to get rid of my Audible membership to give my budget some breathing room. What I didn't know myself until I got here to Iowa is just how much libraries have to offer.

If you have a membership at your local library, please go to their online site and look for the following streaming and digital resources you may have been missing out on:

**Those links are for reference only. You should use your free library access if you sign up for any of them.**

I discovered Hoopla and almost lost my mind. For someone who hasn't owned a television for several years, I was so happy to find that I could watch TV shows and movies via a library resource. Listen, I'm not talking stodgy old faded black and white shows from from back when TVs had rabbit ears and theaters featured newsreels. The first movie I watched on Hoopla was Odd Thomas and Freakonomics. So far, I have bookmarked/favorited a few TV shows and some Agatha Christie movies and series.

When I saw this during a Hoopla search, I almost wept:

My beloved Zora! 

So, in spite of all the worst that the internet supplies is balanced out by the access to so much that is beautiful.

If you have not been using your library - maybe because you're not a "book perrson", or you don't have time... - I suggest you start. 

Peace
--Free