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Sunday Morning Stuff

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Alex wanted to be the one to say something about this picture of Scratchy…

“This morning Mom went into the living room and saw Scratchy.  So she took a picture of him, or two.  I thought that it was an adorable picture.  Too-ta-loo!”

I actually took the picture a couple mornings ago.  He just looked so very comfortable.  And he totally ignored me until the kids came in and made a bunch of noise.  Then he took off.

~~~

I confess I don’t have anything big to write about this morning.  My brain is sort of tired.  It gets overwhelmed at times, and I think that’s been happening lately.

Here’s a peek…

Food prices are going up, as we all know, and going grocery shopping isn’t as much fun as it used to be.  I spend more and have less in the cart.  And, of course, the kids are growing and seem to always be hungry.  (Bill always seems hungry, too, but that’s just his crazy metabolism.)

So…I look on the bright side – we grow a lot of our own vegetables, so at least I don’t have to buy them for much longer….

And I’ll be buying what we don’t grow at the farmers’ markets, and I love going there.

And what about the other stuff we buy?

I want to save money…so i clip coupons, but I’m not a pro at that because that’s one more thing that takes time, and I’m already terrible (in my mind) at juggling that.

So I buy things like toilet paper and cereal at Target instead of at Stop and Shop for instance.  OH – and Fleishmann’s yeast in the jars – it’s SO much less expensive than in the grocery stores.  Anyway, where was I?  Oh, yeah – shopping.  Anyway, I compare prices and use coupons and all that…but what about the environment?  I want to buy the toilet paper (or whatever) that’s not bleached…that it’s made of recycled paper pulp or whatever they make it out of.  Decisions, decisions.

I try to do my part.  I recycle.  I compost.  I make and use eco-friendly cleaning products and laundry detergent.

I dry most of our clothes outside on the clothesline.  In fact, I’ll be doing that today.

But it’s just not ENOUGH.

I save empty jars.  I like the dark yeast jars – we’ll use those for all the herbs I plan to dry over the course of this summer. 

And I want to do more canning.

And get a pressure canner so I’m able to can the less acidic foods so that we won’t have to freeze as much so we’ll have more room in the freezer for the foods we DO have to freeze. 

If we don’t use the chest freezer to store all this, we’ll be using less electricity, and saving money.  And you can use the jars over and over, so that’s less waste.

And I wash out my ziploc bags unless they have holes in them, so I can reuse them.

And I am a mean mom because I don’t buy juice boxes, because I don’t want to pay for excess packaging.

I’m re-reading one of my favorite books – Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, by Barbara Kingsolver – as I do every spring.  It gets me excited for the growing season, and it makes me sad because I wish I had my own chickens…plus I’d want goats and a Jersey cow, too. 

And the book also revs up my social consciousness as I’m reminded of all the GMOs and antibiotics in milk and feed lots and so on.  And I want to be better in my vigilance.  I want to NOT buy products that are made from genetically modified corn and soy. 

So…those corn chips my family likes best?  Black line through them on my list.  I’m buying organic, all-natural, no GMO corn chips.  Which, of course, cost more.  But in the long run they’ll cost less in medical bills.

And then there’s the issue of beef.  Chicken.  Pork.  We like our meats.  And seafoods.  So there’s the horribleness of CAFOs and hormones to worry about.  I really don’t want Julia going through puberty when she’s eight or something.  So I am careful to buy milk that comes from A) local cows and B) cows that haven’t been treated with hormones.

And before someone comes along and tells me how cruelly cows are treated on dairy farms, DON’T.  I can only deal with so many injustices at a time.

I’m fortunate to have a friend AND a sister who both have chickens that produce eggs, and these two fabulous women give me eggs periodically.  So I know I’m getting super fresh eggs from chickens who have good lives and good, natural diets.

I wish I could have my OWN chickens, both for egg production and for meat.  I’d like goats, for milk (and cheese-making!) and a cow, also for milk and butter and cheese.  And more land so we could grow more of our own food.

I buy King Arthur flour, because I trust it, and they don’t bleach or bromide their flours.  And they’re relatively local, so that’s good, too.

So there’s allllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll of that.

And then, in addition to what my own family eats, I’m just appalled and concerned and bordering on insane at how poorly so much of this country eats. 

Garbage food is cheap.  Inexpensive.  And so it’s harder to eat healthy.  And that – pardon my language – sucks.

Plus, all the crap food that – yes – tastes yummy – is made of horrible things – fake things – high fructose corn syrup…partially hydrogenated vegetable oil…chemicals and artificial colors and flavors…on and on.

And a lot of this crap is touted as being low-fat or low-sugar or whatever…and it’s LESS HEALTHY, PEOPLE, THAN REAL, ALL-NATURAL HONEST FOODS.

It makes me crazy.

And yes, I know you’re all aware of all this.  I’m not revealing anything new.

I think all of this stuff – plus everything else that I haven’t even talked about today – reached a boiling point in my head yesterday.

Actually, it started Thursday or Friday, simmering and simmering, and then boiled over yesterday.

And that, plus my job, and the time I no longer have, and the time I used to have that I didn’t make the most of while I had it…and I kick myself about that, and what am I doing with my life and am I ever going to figure out what to be when I grow up???  And I’ve got a birthday coming up that I’m NOT looking forward to – and it doesn’t even end in a zero or a five, but it’s not sitting well with me anyway.

And our house is so full of CLUTTER and clearing it out feels like a Sisyphean task, but I just know I HAVE to do it because I feel like all this clutter is just closing in on me, pressing down on me…we don’t NEED to keep every little thing.

And I should sew more.  I should make more recycled paper things.  I should find a use for plastic bottle caps because there are so many of them and there’s got to be some clever, creative thing I can do with them, right?????? 

And I don’t do enough food posts any more, and I don’t do enough REALLY COOL AND INTERESTING food posts.

I need to make more cheese.

I need to make a better variety of bread.

I need to exercise more. 

I need to get back to doing yoga again.

This blog needs an overhaul.

Desperately.

I used to have a larger vocabulary and be a better writer, but somewhere along the line that’s fallen away and I feel like I should gather it all back up and write more.  Write better.  Write stuff I want to write.  Or should write.  Or something.

My daughter needs a haircut.

My son needs new sneakers.

I need my eyebrows waxed.

…..there.  I think that’s all of it.  Or, at least, all that I can remember right now.

~~~

Is it any wonder I am not sleeping well?  Or that my neck is sore on one side and I can’t turn my head all the way to the left? 

I’m surprised my eye isn’t twitching, too.

It’s just a matter of time.

~~~

Okay, I’m done with that. 

Thanks for listening.

I think I feel better, actually.

Gotta go now.

I have laundry to hang out.  It’s going to be a sunny day, and I want to take advantage of it.

Oh…and it occurred to me that even though I don’t have livestock, we DO have cats…so while I’m cleaning the litterboxes, I could always PRETEND I’m cleaning out a barn.

Yeah.

That’ll work.

8 thoughts on “Sunday Morning Stuff

  1. Glad to know that I’m not the only one who feels like the clutter is totally taking over. =) I totally understand what you’re saying–life has been overwhelming here, too. And it drives me crazy–I don’t even know where to start.

  2. Oh we have a club!!! This is how I feel too. I’m the one with the eye twitch this month, someone else can have it in May. I think I’m going to ask for a composter for my birthday, I saw one at SAM’s for $99 yesterday. I gave up on sewing, Wal-mart doesn’t carry fabric anymore and it’s too expensive at the fabric stores. I’ll just not buy clothes. I know… we should just say no. No, I’m not going to pay those high prices for food, clothes, toilet paper, cars or a house. I’m over it! I’m just going to use what I have until it falls apart. Who cares what we wear to work, let’s start a fad, it’s the threadbare look. They have us over a barrel and they are beating the 5’s and 10’s out of us. Just don’t start thinking about what your kids are going to face or have to do when they are our age… sorry I shouldn’t have brought that up.

  3. Never mind… I’m NOT paying for a composter… I’ll make one with old bricks and some timbers in the backyard… what was I thinking?

  4. Why DON’T you have chickens? Nowadays most municipalities will allow you to keep chickens. Even here in Chicago we can have three chickens (no roosters). I, too, would love to have my own coop, but we live in a condo and our condo board is not keen on the idea. (I’m hoping, with two units on the market, to get two like-minded owners, which will give me a majority and be my stepping stone to world domination! bwahahahahah!) Anyway, check out your local rules. Bill seems like the handy sort who could build you a little coup. You only need 4 chickens for a family of four — they will give you enough eggs to keep you supplied and allow you a few to share.

    BTW — don’t lose the forest for the trees. Some times you just have to say “Crap. It’s only money.” Then go ahead and enjoy life. My saying is “Life is too short to knit with crappy yarn,” but I am sure there is a corollary for your life.

    Everything we do as parents is modeling behavior for our children. Patting your spouses tush as he walks by teaches them that love and intimacy are good and natural. Telling your children you were wrong and asking for forgiveness teaches them how to do it when they are wrong. Showing your kids how you make financial decisions and including them in making them informs their decision making when they are older. Buying the expensive mint tea because your spouse loves it shows them that sometimes you spend more money because, while you are aware of the cost, you also have to take into consideration the value.

    I am so excited about Spring! I worked a bucket-load of overtime to save up money to put in raised garden beds. (Two of them — 12′ x 6′ x 1′!) Last weekend we moved what seemed like eleventy-one tons of dirt & compost into them, one wheelbarrow at a time. My 14-year-old helped. And he will help next week when we start putting seeds in the ground. And he will eat the fruits of his labors. And that will be a lesson, too.

  5. Hi Aidan,

    We dont have chickens mainly because weve got a LOT of gardens. Vegetable gardens. And we need to keep some part of the yard available for the kids (okay, for all of us) to play whiffle ball in the summer. The friend of mine who, besides my sister, provides me with eggs, lives in the same town, and one of her hens is mine (her name is Rosa). So its not that we cant have chickens, its that we dont have a good spot for them to live. At least not at the moment. Im still thinking that if we cleaned out the garage, we could build a coop inside, with a little doorway leading out to a fenced, chicken-wired yard for them…still working on the blueprints for that
    idea…

  6. Ive been patching up the holes in my kids pants – Julia loves the most recent pair of jeans I refurbished for her – I found an old, outgrown pair shed had, with pink and purple hearts embroidered on them, so I cut that out and used it as the patch on her current hole-in-the-knee pair. Threadbare is cool. Besides, just because theres a hole in the knee doesnt mean the whole pair of pants is ruined. And as the kids grow too tall for their pants, I just cut them and make shorts. If only I could do the same thing to extend the life of their sneakers….

  7. Jayne,
    GOOD for you!!
    I have been reusing plastic bags until they have holes. Also plastic wrap.
    I also take them to the grocery store to recycle.
    I just read an article in our pape about food dyes. Yuck!
    I used to wear pants with patches. Nothing wrong with that.
    Mom would put them on the knees. When I got older she embroidered
    things on them.
    I also have reusable cloth bags for groceries.
    If I need one I aske for paper which gets recycled with the newspapers.
    Keep up the good work!!

  8. If there’s a Trader Joe’s near you, that could help with the lower cost organic snack food. I’m pretty certain most, if not all, of their meat and dairy has the stamp that says the cows, etc were not treated with hormones. They also have recycled toilet paper for $3.99 for 12 rolls!

    My first comment on your awesome blog, and it is about toilet paper….

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