Hello, Reader-Friends, I know it has been quiet here of late. I have had so many thoughts for posts and so few moments to put serious thought to making those ideas readable. I love Autumn…but, man, is it busy. October is the busiest month at work, meaning more overtime, and the change of seasons seems to have hit hard this year. Throw in there that Dante and I were in our first wedding party (so fun!) and suddenly it is about time to change the clocks. To ease back into blogging, I am sharing my top home projects and how we are keeping it granola (without dedicating any time at this moment to researching anything new.)
- Changing over our Wardrobes. I have a vague recollection that this happens closer to Labor Day in the North…something about white shoes and pants; here in Vegas, Autumn arrived this past Wednesday at about 3pm. It blew in with a monsoon style rain storm and dropped our temps into the 50’s. Time to break out the winter ware – you know, long sleeve T’s and jeans, pretty much. This change of seasons happily coincided with a great, enormous consignment sale held around town called “As They Grow.” This super organized sale is held in various warehouse type locations for 3 days twice a year. Over 50,000 items for sale for babies through, I’d say, 10 year olds. Add to the sale that we have a marvelous friend who hands down her 4 year old’s clothes to Dante and Dante’s hand-me-downs work for Gabriel and we have barely a new item in the boys wardrobes…and they love getting their “new” clothes. In fact, Dante is usually more excited to know the clothes came from his friend. We will be riding that train as long as we can. Green and economical…a Granola Mom’s dream!
- Menu Planning. While there are many good things about menu planning, I cannot honestly say that we are among the folks who have found this to save us much money. Today I thought perhaps I was doing it wrong and had gone on a hunger induced spree, as one is wont to do when grocery shopping at noon thirty. On my receipt, I lined out each item on the week’s menu and found the only thing not tied to a specific meal or recipe was a bag of butter lettuce. I assure you that is not what I buy when on a hunger driven shopping spree. On the plus side, planning has helped everyone know what we are eating when as well as using perishables first and making sure something loved by the kids in made early in the week and provides leftovers for the eventual dismissal of some other menu item. A big benefit is that helps me in keeping the focus on the plant based (more or less) whole food diet.
- Fermenting our Food. Perhaps you have heard that probiotics are great for you and that fermented food is a great way to take them in without pills. If not, that is the word on the street. I knew it was going mainstream when the October issue of Real Simple magazine touted the benefits of probiotics in fermented food like sauerkraut, tempeh or kefir. Turns out fermenting isn’t so hard to do, as you can see on this page, and the results are tasty. And apparently safe, since I am sitting here typing away after weeks of my own fermentation. Our first batch if sauerkraut is due to be tasted this week! While I have failed at gardening I think this is a great at home, “crunchy” project to get better in touch with your food and its sources.
- Keeping Fresh Flowers. I have intentionally not yet (yet…I will…) looked into the environmental effects of fresh cut flowers – since growing them will, of course, require some means of feeding and protecting the plants I am sure it is something like buying modern vegetables instead of organic. And it may seem like a strange “project” but I have never had flowers regularly and finally decided to see if the hype about flowers changing a room was true. I say yes. Visually pleasing of course. Smells nice. Creates a good diversion from the draining rack I keep them near. And just tonight Gabriel asked (with monosyllables and pointing) to get closer. He gently touched the flowers, looked at each one then gave a big sniff and a giggle. Hard to beat that.
And those are the biggies. Doesn’t look like a ton on paper but the steady march of making it through every day when every day is scheduled in detail from 6am to 9:30pm in concert with this short list feels like plenty. I met up with a friend at that great consignment sale and we while talking casually she mentioned that most days for her (as the at home mom of 2 year old twins) are about making it through the day with enough time to start the next one. If she were the touchy-feely type I think I would have dropped my basket of consigned treasures and bear hugged her for verbalizing that. Some days I think I should be doing more than just making it through – and some days I see how much is involved in “making it” and think I am doing just fine. Hand-me-downs, Tuesday night sauerkraut , flowers and all.