Pragmatic Compendium

inspiring the pragmatic practice of intimacy with Christ

blend until purple.

My daily addiction:

1 cup skim milk (90 calories)
1 cup fat free yogurt (any berry flavor) (100 calories)
2 fistfuls of frozen blueberries (1 cup = less than 85 calories)
6 frozen strawberries (about 5 calories each)
blend until purple.

An antioxidant, vitamin C loaded snack that tastes like dessert for around 300 calories!

I’ve spent decades of my life not eating fruit on a daily basis. I’ve gone weeks at a time without eating any fruit. Not because I don’t like it, because I really like most fruits. It just doesn’t occur to me to eat any. Multiple times per year, I make resolutions to eat just ONE fruit per day. Finally, I included it on my fitness log (see the sidebar to the right) to try and put myself in a situation where I have to be accountable.

I also have a problem getting enough calories, which causes my metabolism to drop. I tend to forget to eat.

Smoothies solve both problems. I’m actually consuming fruit on a daily basis for the first time in my life and making them is easy and takes less than 5 minutes, so eating doesn’t intrude on my day. It doesn’t hurt that I actually crave them now.

I stumbled upon the smoothie idea while trying to get PinkGirl to consume some sort of nourishment in the morning. Trying to get that girl to eat breakfast before school is a chore! A few friends suggested I try smoothies and since PinkGirl loves Planet Smoothie, I thought it might work. It only took about 3 or 4 months to finally hit on a recipe that I actually liked. (for ME, not her. She still wavers about what she likes. I don’t know if I’ll ever find a recipe she really likes.)

But I was having blender issues. If the Vitamix is the BMW of blenders, it seems my little Oster was the VW bug of blenders. It was either forming a little pocket of air at the bottom and doing nothing or it was spinning like crazy and only blending the bottom half of my smoothie. I had to add more and more milk to thin it out so the blender would actually blend the entire smoothie.

I put a new blender on my Christmas list.

Which really irritated me because I own an Oster Kitchen Center with nearly every possible attachment, similar to this one:

It transforms from a blender to a chopper to a slicer to a mixer to a juicer to a . . . it does everything but clean itself. We got one as a wedding present from my husband’s parents and about 10 years ago, it died and I replaced it at our church’s WHALE of a Sale. Since all Oster attachments are interchangeable with every Oster made, I even bought a newer countertop blender to switch to the chopper when I needed it:


So I was not looking forward to having a different blender on my countertop. It was going to mess up my system.

FirstHusband surprised me with an early Christmas present: An Oster Milkshake blade for my blender!

My little Oster just got tricked out!

And THIS ONE is also on its way, so we’ll see which one works better.

December 19, 2011 Posted by | 5 minutes, fight the frump, food, GoodStewardofthisBody, health, recipes, wise buys | , , , , , | 4 Comments

PinkGirl’s conundrum: curiosity vs. aversion to learning

Nothing like a new washing machine to make me feel compelled to clean my laundry room…

Last night:
I’m currently observing the “no helping, no complaining” rule of our household.
Round One: Two guys vs. an outgoing dead washing machine.
Round Two: Two guys vs. an incoming craigslist washing machine.
I just have two questions: Where’s my camcorder? and
Is AFV still on the air or is it just in reruns?

I decided to keep my distance lest I be recruited. I’m no dummy.

A little later:
PinkGirl, inspecting our “new” top load washer: “Mom, I don’t understand this. How does it work?”
Me: “oh, don’t worry, I’ll teach you!”
(I am SO glad to have a top load washer again! Now, when I need to throw in just one more thing, I can get the door open! and if someone accidentally washes an ipod, we can fish it out before it goes through the entire wash cycle while we stand helplessly by and watch it.)

Even later:
PinkGirl just opened the new top load washing machine to watch it spin and it came to a stop: “Mom, I still don’t get it. How does it actually CLEAN the clothes?”
Me: (it was 10:15pm for cryin out loud): “Ask your dad.”
PinkGirl, under her breath: “I really don’t want to hear ‘geek talk’ right now.”

This morning:
This morning PinkGirl asked me AGAIN how our new top load washer cleans the clothes.
Me: “you know, I got two comments on facebook suggesting you look it up yourself.”
PinkGirl: “I don’t wanna LEARN! It’s SUMMER!”
Me: “Then why are you asking questions?”
PinkGirl: “cuz I’m bored.”
Me: “oh, I can help you with THAT.”

June 24, 2011 Posted by | family, laugh!, learning curve, pragmatic commotion, status updates, wise buys | , , | 2 Comments

it’s the little things.

PinkGirl dropped our binoculars a few months ago while jumping on the trampoline. I know, I have no idea how she can look through binoculars and jump at the same time, but…

Anyway, it was a real bummer because we back up to a pond and the woods and a river, so there’s great wildlife to see and I wasn’t seeing it because the binoculars wouldn’t adjust focus anymore. Since I’m so Ramsey frugal these days, I was thinking I needed to find myself some binoculars at a garage sale, but I just hadn’t gotten around to it.

Friday night, I told FirstHusband: “I’m going garage saling (I’m just making up words today) in the morning.”

He took PinkGirl to rehearsal on Saturday morning and called me from the truck: “Did you know our neighborhood is having a community wide garage sale today?”

Now that’s just too much of a coincidence. I can’t remember the last time I actually took a Saturday morning to shop garage sales. It’s been over a year. Maybe two. or more. Seriously, a LONG time.

So I write FavoriteSon an I.O.U. for the $30 I take out of his wallet to supplement my available cash,

(what? like I haven’t ever emptied my wallet for HIM. Besides. He’s a teenager. He never needs any cash on Saturday mornings, he’s in bed.)

I get my coffee and I’m off.

First stop, is about 8 houses away and what do I see? You got it.

Binoculars. $5.

And these aren’t the cheapo plastic kind you find these days, these are the honkin big, heavy kind they used to sell when I was a kid. SO much stronger and better than what PinkGirl broke.

Thank you Lord! I should have made a bigger list!

Then, Saturday afternoon, PinkGirl was sporting new jeans, new shirt, new jacket, the periwinkle manicure I gave her Friday night, a new haircut…and ratty old nike shoes with my old laces.

She wanted boots. This from a girl who would go barefoot 24/7 if I let her. I anticipated an unproductive shopping trip in my immediate future.

We went to Payless. nothing. Some big shoe store in the mall. nothing. Sears. Bingo. Clearance rack. She found a pair of black ankle boots in less than 5 minutes. Bonus. So did I. They were marked $19.99 and each rang up for $9.99!

Thank you again, Lord! I really should have made a bigger list!

This isn’t the first time God has been my personal shopper! When I pray for him to help me make frugal choices with the money he blesses us with, he answers hands on!

February 13, 2011 Posted by | debt free living, thankfulness, Uncategorized, wise buys | , , | Leave a comment

expense audit.

debt free Ben Franklin expenses quoteBe very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise…
Ephesians 5:15

I’m on a freakish quest to lower and/or eliminate our expenses in an effort to become debt free.

First thing on my list? Significantly reduce the number of times I have to apply the category “restaurant/dining” to an item in our checking account register. So far, so good. And I haven’t burned anything yet – food, pots or pans, myself…

Next up? Lowering our monthly bills.

“Reducing your living expenses so they fit within 80 percent of your income requires scrutinizing every expense and then finding the best way to reduce it. By reducing everything a little bit, you may be able to avoid eliminating any spending categories. This is going to require creativity and discipline.”

Debt-Proof Living: The Complete Guide to Living Financially Free
by Mary Hunt

I feel like I’ve been on the phone for two weeks! I think I’ve called every vendor we deal with. Here’s how the conversation starts:

“I’m doing an expense audit, going through every bill we have and making sure we’re spending our money wisely. I’ll be getting quotes from some of your competitors and before I do, I just wanted to make sure we’ve got your best price. I also need to know what sets [insert company name here] apart with regard to services so that when I get quotes from your competitors I take into account any special or unique services you provide.”

With only one exception (our AT&T land line phone), in EVERY case, with EVERY vendor, they lowered my bill during that first phone call. Most lowered it so much I’m not even going to get quotes from other vendors because I can already tell from advertisements and web pages that my current vendor is lower. With some companies, I changed the terms of our services to fit our needs better. In some cases our payment stayed the same, but our service was better. In some cases, changing the terms of service also lowered the bill.

I’ll be writing about this process and updating this post with links to those posts. I’m also creating a category called “debt free living.”

First up? Phone service. (Saved $839.28)

Find more ideas over at Works for Me Wednesday, hosted by Kristen at We Are THAT Family. MY previous Works for Me Wednesday posts are HERE.

Works for Me Wednesday posts prior to February 2009 are archived at Rocks In My Dryer.

June 28, 2010 Posted by | debt free living, home sweet home, intentional living, wise buys | , | 9 Comments

get your banana slicer HERE!

Ever since I posted about and shared photos of my banana slicer, I’ve gotten comments and emails asking where they can be purchased. Long story short? Discontinued. BUT, they are available on ebay from time to time. Like TODAY. And the seller sent me an email telling me she actually has FOUR MORE available.

Click HERE to see the ebay listing and contact info for the seller!!

I personally snapped the wires on mine trying to slice a very firm strawberry and just recently got another one myself. I purchased my replacement at a kitchen outlet in Valdosta, Georgia. Ya KNOW I bought TWO.

After I broke mine, I shopped around the internet looking for another and when I couldn’t find one, I sent an email to Farberware asking them if it was discontinued. The first reply was a generic email containing a list of Farberware retailers.

Not helpful.

I tried again. The second reply contained a link to an entirely different product, which works okay on very firm bananas, but it really doesn’t go all the way through very well.

I emailed again. (I am a pest.)

The answer? Discontinued.

So . . . I saved a search on ebay, got an email from ebay when one was listed, emailed the seller to inquire, went to Georgia over the holidays, stopped at the kitchen outlet store (coincidentally – where I found my FIRST one), and purchased TWO, so that when I’m foolish enough to try and slice something other than bananas with it, I’ll have a backup. Check ebay!!!! They still appear from time to time. Since I no longer need one, I promise I’ll never bid against you!

UPDATE: I’ve gotten SO many inquiries on banana slicers, I did a little digging and found these alternatives:


wire slicer

banana slicer

January 22, 2010 Posted by | wise buys | , , | 3 Comments

neti pot 101

In one of my “What I Learned This Week” post, I mentioned that I learned to use a neti pot. It was weird, but very effective. I love that it is all natural. And it’s so FAST – less than 5 minutes! It just doesn’t seem like you should be able to breathe through your mouth while you’re using it, but the fact that you can just proves that the saline doesn’t go down your throat – or you would be choking instead of breathing.

If you’re nervous or skeptical, check out these two short clips. The first shows the exact neti pot we own. The second clip is a homemade variation. A kid demonstrates using a funnel. He makes it look so easy!

eHow also has a great article explaining how it works.

If you struggle with sinus problems, give this a shot. This could be a perfect solution for those who shouldn’t take cold medication due to high blood pressure, pregnancy or some other medical condition. Don’t be chicken.

But you may not want to make it a spectator sport, because sometimes the results aren’t pretty. But then again, neither is that disgusting, wet, snorting sound frequently made by people trying to delay blowing their nose. ewww.

(UPDATE: December 2011PLEASE follow manufacturer’s directions for neti pots and USE ONLY FILTERED, DISTILLED or BOILED WATER.
Deaths have been linked to bacteria in tap water.
CLICK HERE to read more.)

Find more ideas over at Works for Me Wednesday, hosted by Kristen at We Are THAT Family.

Works for Me Wednesday posts prior to February 2009 are archived at Rocks In My Dryer

February 25, 2009 Posted by | health, wise buys, youtube | , , , | 9 Comments

PDA Cookbook

Check out my recent purchase! $29.99 for both the desktop and mobile platform! And the license allows me to load the desktop software on both my laptop and desktop computer.


I’m a LONG time Palm girl, so the mobile version, on my Centro, looks like this:



There’s also a Windows mobile version.

It even has an interactive shopping list and menu planner! My favorite part? Adjustable serving sizes that modify ingredient amounts! I can edit ingredients, add photos, assign and filter by multiple food categories and search by up to three ingredients.


It comes with over 1200 recipes. Most look pretty good (and easy), but I’ve already deleted 60+ I knew I would NEVER make. Like “Potted Tongue.” This software has everything I can think of, in an intuitive and clean interface. I’m already loving it! Check out some more reviews

I get most of my PDA software from and they almost always have an active promo code. If the ones below are expired, search for “handango promotion” and you’ll probably find one.

“APPSWELIKE” expires tonight at midnight and saves you 15%
“SAVE20NOW” saves you 20%, but I’m not sure when it expires.

Find great recipes and helpful kitchen tips at Kitchen Tip Tuesdays hosted by Tammy’s Recipes!

And click on over to check out the recipes at Tempt My Tummy Tuesday hosted by Lisa at Blessed With Grace

Need more? Head over to Tasty Tuesday hosted by Kim at Forever . . . Wherever!

Want to learn cool tips and tricks from lots of different people? Click on over to Works for Me Wednesday hosted by Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer!

February 17, 2009 Posted by | freakishly organized, recipes, wise buys | , , , , , , | 5 Comments

knife kapoosh

About three years ago, I mentioned to a few people that I needed some good kitchen knives. The next Christmas was . . . very sharp. I got knives from my dad, my in-laws and FirstHusband.


Great knives – every one. Especially my favorite – the ceramic knife FirstHusband got me. (second from the left). The problem was that they didn’t match.

Then, walking through Bed, Bath & Beyond one day, FirstHusband found THIS:


Looks like a plain old knife block. Look closer.


It’s called a “Kapoosh ” (amazon product link) and it holds any knife, no matter the size.


To clean it, you just remove all the knives, turn it upside down and the plastic part comes completely out. I just wipe it down, fan it out and pop it back in. Kapoosh!


Find great recipes and helpful kitchen tips at Kitchen Tip Tuesdays hosted by Tammy’s Recipes!

And click on over to check out the recipes at Tempt My Tummy Tuesday hosted by Lisa at Blessed With Grace

Want to learn cool tips and tricks from lots of different people? Click on over to Works for Me Wednesday hosted by Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer!

January 13, 2009 Posted by | freakishly organized, wise buys | , , , , , , | 8 Comments

I feel like a bat.

I spent some time hanging upside down tonight and let me just say . . . ahhhh. My friend Heidi let me borrow her Teeter Hang Ups F5000 Inversion Table and after a few minutes of watching FavoriteSon finagle it into the back of my van, we got it home, adjusted it for my height and weight and I spent some time hanging. Twice. So let me say again. ahhhh.

I went to see my doctor on Thursday, and he believes I have a ruptured disc in my neck. I’ve been on some serious cortosteroids and a nightly muscle relaxant. Before Thursday, there was numbness and tingling from my neck to my fingertips on my right arm and hand. My doctor, an osteopath (they also do chiropractic care) performed some serious neck cracking. And some more. And some more. ahhhh.

His words? “I don’t think there was one bone in your neck that was where it was supposed to be.”


“No more jogging. You can walk. But no more jogging.”

I’m not sure what happened, but I would bet it started with sorting hundreds of books at the Whale of a Sale. Then I upped my cardio workout by including some jogging. I had been walking 3 to 5 miles a few times a week, but for the last four weeks, I’ve been doing interval training. I would jog for about 30 to 45 seconds to increase my heart rate and then walk for a few minutes. Rinse and repeat a few times in my 30 to 60 minute walk and I thought I was doing pretty well. I was jogging longer without wimping out. Unfortunately, my neck and arm pain, the numbness and the tingling were getting progressively worse. And for some stupid reason, I didn’t make the connection.

The neck, shoulder and arm pain aren’t new. I have arthritis in my neck, stemming from an old MBA injury. It was 1994. There was a full book bag hanging on one shoulder and a prehistoric laptop (which weighed as much as a dinosaur) hanging from the other shoulder. There was wrenching and pain. A doctor visit and muscle relaxants. Over the years, there have been stupid choices, resulting in a few days of rest (on muscle relaxants). And for the last few years, there’s been arthritis.

But the numbness and tingling made me nervous. Doc says that if I’m not feeling better in 10 days, I have to have an MRI. I HATE those. Listening to a jack hammer while I’m trapped in a torpedo tube is NOT my idea of a good time. If I have to have one, I’m finding one of those open MRI places.

But I digress and the muscle relaxant is kicking in. What was I saying again?

I remember. I’m going to do EVERYTHING I’m supposed to do to heal. I’m taking the cortosteroids and the muscle relaxant. I’m not jogging or jumping on a pogo stick or doing anything “jarring” to the neck. I’m using my Pronex Cervical Traction Device

And just a few notes. First, no, that is not me in the Pronex device. That is not how I look when I’m in traction. That is not the facial expression of anyone in traction. Secondly, I did NOT pay $339 for mine. They were even more expensive before the Pronex II came out. Back then, they were $450 and you know I am WAY to cheap to pay that much. I got mine on eBay for $80. Somebody was in a car accident, completed treatment and then sold it. Back then, you were supposed to get a doctor’s prescription for it. (I don’t know about now.) I figured his order to go to a physical therapist for traction twice a week was close enough.

So in addition to all that, now, thanks to Heidi, I’m also hanging upside down like a bat.

Does anyone know how to blog upside down?

Want to learn “what works” for lots of different people? Click on over to Works for Me Wednesday hosted by Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer!

October 28, 2008 Posted by | exercise, health, wise buys | , , , | 10 Comments

the chop wizard dices again!

I’ve already posted my contribution for Kitchen Tip Tuesdays for this week, but Tammy asked for other ways to dice carrots, so . . .


I did need to cut the carrot in half to fit on the grate and the smaller grate needed extra pressure, but it worked great – as usual! I’ve posted before about what my Vidalia Chop Wizard! can do.

5 minute diced peppers
5 minute onions in a flash (freeze)

It’s the handiest gadget in my kitchen. Besides the speed, do you know my favorite part? It’s dishwasher safe.

October 14, 2008 Posted by | 5 minutes, wise buys | , | 2 Comments


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