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Getting inspired, family vision, real food.

October 16th, 2012 at 02:13 pm

I'm starting to get inspired. Hubby and I took a walk last week where we talked about our vision for our family and what we hoped our life with children and for our children would be like. (A big change. Since we've had them, we've only fantasized about them moving out for college. lol!)

A big part of it for me was our kitchen garden out back, family vacations, and cooking super healthy meals at home. We have been stuck in a rut of eating out and eating not super great foods lately. I've been busier with work, and I do all the cooking (unfortunately). Anyway, part of my vision for home-cooked meals is switching more to fresh in-season produce and homemade or locally made whole grain breads. I've been reading the 100 Days of Real Food blog and that pretty much sums up my long term goal.

I got a bunch of awesome cookbooks, urban farming (I do this anyway, on a smaller scale), and bread baking books from the library today and am anxious to dive in.

I've been writing down some long and short-term goals as well, inspired by my most recent reading of Scott and Helen Nearing's The Good Life. I've broken them down into groups, and noticed there are a few things I can start to do now, changing habits and adding and subtracting things one at a time, working my way up to the big goals.

For instance, now I can start cooking at home more, begin substituting healthier (100 days style) products and foods for what we eat now; do a once a week menu plan, be more vigilant about coupons, and cancel the cable TV. Oh, and go to bed at least 30 minutes earlier.

I've also renewed my efforts to buy all of our meats from the local, free range, organic farm. I used to hesitate because it seemed expensive, but after a trip to the store, I realized the meats are so much nicer than grocery store meats, taste better, and in some cases cost the same per pound!! That was enough to motivate me.

Since it's fall, I'm also creating new garden beds for fruit and vegetables. Normally, I'd wait until spring, but then I lose an entire growing season as my compost and such decomposes and releases nutrients. Doing the work in fall means the beds will be ready to plant in spring-- no time wasted! DS1 who is 4 and enthusiastic, helped me create some new beds and pour all of our compost on them. He was very excited. He said he likes being a farmer.

Once we/I get into the groove of the above, my next round of goals is to try to make my own laundry detergent, try baking my own bread (if I fail, I'll find a good baker). I'd also like to get us all on a more regular schedule for preschool worksheets and cleaning up the house.

Longer term goals (and my really big goal) are to produce many of the things we would normally buy. Laundry detergent and food mostly. I love growing fruits and vegetables, and my hope is to eventually make my own pasta, can my own fruit juices (I'm taking a class on this), and make my own ice cream. It sounds silly, but producing gives me a deep satisfaction, unlike anything else. And in this scary world of machine farming, it seems more pressing now that I have two tiny kids with growing bodies and brains.

I'd also like to convince hubby to spring for the wood stove insert, so we can use that to partially heat the house and as back-up heat in our inevitable power outages. I've marked a section of "The Homeowner's Guide to Renewable Energy" for him to read. It's all about wood stoves and inserts, their efficiency, etc. There's plenty of free wood around, so this could save us money!!

In financial news, we added another $200 to DS2s college fund, and that's about it!

10 Responses to “Getting inspired, family vision, real food.”

  1. ceejay74 Says:

    Isn't it great to pull together and share some concrete goals for the future? We finally sat down recently and did the same thing, and I feel much calmer and more focused about the future knowing we're on the same page.

    Would there be any hope of getting your hubby to take some basic cooking classes and chip in by cooking one night a week? If not, you should definitely start showing your kids how to help out with dinner. I was very inspired by LuckyRobin mentioning that her kids help out with cooking, and we've been trying (once in a while, not a regular thing yet) to at least show our 2-year-old some of what goes on in the kitchen and letting her "help" (move ingredients into bowl, stir, etc.)

    My family is really good about eating at home nearly every night, but I must admit it would be hard if I were the only one cooking. At least if your hubby (and kids when they're older) does the cleanup after cooking, that would help with part of the burden.

  2. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    Thrifto-Rama Family's Good Life. Wonderful.

  3. ThriftoRama Says:

    Well, it's not that hubby doesn't cook, it's just that he isn't home from work until 6:30 or 7 p.m. and we have to eat the minute he's done or the kids go nuts. (And it screws up our schedule for tubs, books, toy clean up and bed. Well-oiled machine!). I'll give him credit. He wakes up with the kids every morning and makes them breakfast, so that has kind of turned into his meal of the day, so dinner is mine (and premaking whole wheat waffles and such for the freezer). He also turns all of our leftovers into soup, so he's in charge of that. But, all the shopping and planning falls to me, and we're both fine with that for the most part.

    My 4 year is a good kitchen helper. I let them both (4 and almost 3 years old) crack eggs (they are now great at it!), and scramble the eggs with the fork, and pour the measured ingredients into the bowl. I was inspired to let them help after reading French Kids Eat Everything. Another great read!

    The sad thing about our talk was that hubby had no vision for our family life. He is too overwhelmed by the now, which is easy to do, given we have wild crazy active 2 and 4 year olds and two careers, plus all that life throws out at us. He can live without a grand plan. I can't. I need to know what I'm working for!

  4. ThriftoRama Says:

    That's the goal, Joan!

  5. snafu Says:

    You've great goals and I too understand the need to 'have a grand plan' believing if you don't have plan/road map, you don't know where you're going! It needs flexibility because life throws so many challenges.

    Making soap [without lye] is quick, easy, cheap and satisfying. There are lots of demos on YouTube. The most difficult part is shaving half a bar of Fels Naptha soap. I set up a small table and grate soap while watching a movie. The real benefit is that it does a better job than expensive brand name detergents like Tide.

    There is a similar product for the dishwasher that takes a bit of planning as it requires the addition of citric acid

  6. LuckyRobin Says:

    I don't think it's silly at all. I think it's smart. We've gotten so far away from our food in this country, it's ridiculous. One thing you may notice with the pasture-raised organic meats is that they are far more filling. One serving of meat fills me up, where before when I was eating conventionally grown corn-fed beef it would take 2 or 3 servings to fill me up. Same on veggies. So the price may seem higher for the same amount of food, you are actually eating less food so it helps to even that out.

  7. ThriftoRama Says:

    I agree, LuckyRobin. The meats are so much more filling. We can all share one chicken breast. That could never happen with store chicken!

  8. Monkey Mama Says:

    Sounds good to have a plan!!

  9. ceejay74 Says:

    That IS rough. We definitely need dinner on the table by 6:30 or 7, or the toddler goes crazy (or begs enough snacks off us that she loses her appetite). Glad to hear he's pulling some weight in the kitchen; I can't imagine doing it all AND pulling down freelance income at the same time. That's REALLY cool that your kids are already helping! I need to make sure I keep including mine in the cooking process.

    Hopefully your hubby will be able to imagine more when things slow down a bit. I do get that; we're just kind of hanging in there right now, all of us with full-time jobs, one spouse in college, another bringing in freelance, a toddler, and an infant.

  10. ThriftoRama Says:

    Yeah, CeeJay. It is tough right now! We both have demanding deadline-oriented crazy hours kinds of jobs, too. But, we can both mostly work at home, so that gives us a lot of flexibility that frankly, I don't know how we could have gotten through the last four years without. With two hyper physical boys 19 months apart, every day is a marathon. It was much easier before my youngest was walking. At least then I could put him down to take care of DS1, and still know where to find him when I was finished!

    As for kitchen helping... I didn't let them in at first, because it slows things down and well, I'm not so patient with slow. But then my mom told me how my grandmother always shooed them out of the kitchen, how it hurt their feelings,and how none of them knew how to cook when they moved out as adults. That changed my mind. And 3 and 4 are magic ages. They WANT to help do things like cook and clean. I figure I better harness it now before they are moody teenagers who don't want to do anything.

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