Clean foods

Cleaning up our family’s food has been a work in progress over *years*. Here’s my start back in 2009 when I eliminated processed foods, for the most part. I cooked a lot at home and made things from scratch. Our freezer has been full of grass-fed local beef, BUT….

…we still ate food saturated with pesticides, hormones, etc. through our produce and dairy.

I looked into organics and raw milk again recently and resources are so much better now! Milk I used to have to drive across town for is now just up the road and organic produce is delivered to my door.

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The boxes are a weekly treat for play too…

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I’m having to reverse my usual menu planning style from planning and buying to buying and then planning, which is tough! The difference is amazing though because we are trying new things and eating wonderful foods.

Last week the kids devoured the oranges and bananas but didn’t want to touch the apples and pears so I had to get creative and turn them into something they would eat. The share of apples turned into pies and the pears turned into cake; problem solved and I increased the shelf life.

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Yesterday, I had the collard greens to use up before the new produce came so we made this recipe: Baked Rigatoni with Ricotta and Collard greens. We subbed in elbow macaroni for the pasta and cottage cheese for the ricotta and it was delicious! A very kid friendly dish.

A new sweater for Lotus

This Cascade 128 superwash wool is so soft and cozy!

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Lotus had outgrown all her baby knits and the house is cold so I whipped out a thick sweater. This pattern knits up quickly and the 2-4 size looks like it truly will fit her 1-4 years. Perfect!

I got a sweet smile out of Lotus but she has a terrible cold and feels miserable right now. 🙁

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Market bags

When I finally took my two knitted market bags to the grocery store I found out just how fantastic they are! They hold so much and feel sturdy.

I figured six bags is a good number to hold all of our groceries and have been knitting away on them over the last several weeks. Number six came off the needles last night. Here they all are!

I used the “girlfriend market bag” pattern with modifications listed here. The most important part being the two smaller handles. They are stronger and don’t stretch down when the bag is loaded with heavy items.

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When not in use, they all squish neatly into one bags and get left in the car, ready for the next shopping trip. I find bagging the groceries to be quicker and unloading the bags into the house easier with these bags. They just rock!

Now don’t ask me to make them for you because my hands are not happy with all the rough cotton knitting. I hope they last a long time!

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what’s up

Paper on the table makes lunch time fun…

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Simon uses his own hand for reference before drawing a circle with five lines. hehe! He’s so damn adorable! He does a pretty decent job writing his name too.

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Xander draws some sweet zombies calling out for “brains!”

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Isaac and I are reading two of the Little House books. Yay! He’s starting Farmer Boy and I’m starting Little House in the Big Woods. We’ll swap books if he ends up liking it.

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Xander is braving his first chapter book. At least, I think it’s his first. He reads picture books, comics, online, etc very well but has been intimidated by the chapter book. I hope “Stink” helps him over the hump.

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selamat petang (good evening)

We have a lovely couchsurfing family from Canada this weekend. Actually they are from Malaysia and recently moved to Canada. Couchsurfing has been such a fun experience for us, giving us the opportunity to meet people from all over the world.

I finally snapped a pic of our “couch.” I wish we had another room for bigger families.

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Lotus is having fun playing with her cousin, Icen, today. She’s seven weeks older and a full head taller…he’s a cute little peanut, isn’t he? Jason is “reading” to them. Way to put the smallest amount of energy possible into it, Babe! hahaha!

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Luke’s birthday today!

Our dog friend, Luke, is 12 today!

He’s older and a little crotchety at times but he’s still our little buddy. Jason and I chose him together before we married and he’s been by our side ever since.

It cracks me up remembering how we used to “share custody.” Jason and I didn’t live together (and lived about a 2.5 hour drive apart) until we married, several months later, so we would take week long turns with our baby. I’m pretty sure speaker-phone-babytalk was involved;)

He’s not sure about the new sweater…or me asking him to sit for a picture. “Sit? what does that mean?”

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Also, our two week spending freeze is over and it was TOUGH! We did end up grocery shopping a little after the first week (which was really two weeks post-grocery shopping). Who knew I could really use up all the we-don’t-have-any-food food. I whittled down to just the dry goods and continued to cook. I used all the flour, all the rice, all the oats, all the pasta, all the split peas and nearly all the beans.

We did good though and continue to make progress toward our 2012 goals. Yea!

spending freeze/detox = staying home

Cozy, pajama days spent lazing about and watching the snow coming down (but not sticking). A baked bean recipe is in the crock pot for dinner. The only downside is we have no wood for a fire in the fireplace. Gah!

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Two week challenge

After the first crazy high, winter heating bill we turned the thermostat way down and layered up on clothing. I’m curious to see what difference it makes on the bill next month.

Look at everyone bundled up…

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Isaac seems to appreciate the “gaming mitts” I knit them all for Christmas the most. He wears them every day!

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In keeping with our 2012 financial goals, we have a TWO WEEK no spending challenge going on, starting today. It’s going to be tough! Some might think two weeks is nothing but this is without any preparation. I’m forcing myself to work with the “we-don’t-have-any-food” food.

We are kicking it off with a full tank of gas, 1.5 gallons of milk, leftover homemade pizza and a hearty amount of peasoup prepping in the crockpot. I have several bags of beans, a big container of rice, oats, lentils, masa harina, etc. We should do fine theoretically.

I’ll need to get past the lazy, Jason will need to get past the soda addiction and the kids will need to get past the picky eating. SCARY!

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Note for next Christmas

In my attempts to be financially fit this year I’m already thinking about Christmas 2012(!!!) and birthdays throughout the year. I saw so many handmade items that would have been wonderful and cost effective had I allowed myself the time.

With our attempts to limit the number of gifts the past few years, it still seems like they get a lot of plastic that gets assembled and set aside. This plastic is what they asked for, of course, but even they agree it is a short lived “high” and maybe they didn’t need this or that.

My friend Valerie mentioned a tradition of limiting kids to four gifts:

Something they want, something they need,

something to wear and something to read.

I love it! I did a web search and this practice comes up a lot. How did I miss this until now? What I like about it is the single “want” gift. It will make them think and be more selective in choosing. It will certainly help organize the shopping process.

If you think this seems Scrooge-like, trust me, the kids are not for want;) Christmas is for fun and the element of surprise.


A little late…

Xander’s birthday was on the 7th and we had cake yesterday, on the 9th.

The boy is EIGHT years old!

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