Monday, March 1, 2010

february, in review. march, looking ahead.

welcome, march! we had a wonderful weekend. i took loads of photos i really want to share, but i am going to post about community challenges instead. let's just say the kids got friend and grandparent time in addition to dada and uncle time, the garden got some love, and we have a huge hole in our kitchen, which we are very happy about! (it means home repair progress!)

how was your weekend?

for a family dinner this weekend, my mom made a low-fat cheesecake, which used cottage cheese and yogurt. it was outstanding, garnished with organic strawberries, which are now trickling in where we live.

last year, when our family was challenging ourselves to buy nothing new, i posted each month, to report on how we were doing. it was a really good way to keep track of our progress for myself, and any sense of progress is so important when one has lofty goals!

so i plan to continue my regular reviews, now including the new challenges we have adopted. i have received a number of questions about my steps toward balance and the progress i am making, so i will post more frequently on how that is going. thank you for the support and interest!

starting this month, my monthly post will review and look ahead. march's theme is food.

steps toward balance:
in january, i admitted to being overwhelmed. at the beginning of february, i posted that i was assigning myself steps towards balance. each month, i am adopting a new task (or omitting an irrelevant task), as i work my way towards a happier, healthier, more balanced self and lifestyle. i invited you all to join me. here is who left a comment asking to participate. i urge you to link through and read what others are doing to simplify and find balance.

for others who are taking their own steps toward balance along with me:
kyndale (earthy crunchy)
ginny (small things)
lily (appointment by chance)
julia (adirondack mama)
melynda (mom's sunday cafe)
annie (once upon a parent)
laureen (my chinese shamrock)
barbara (indiana blue)
sara (mommy honesty)
sandee (we are family...)
adrie (fields and fire)

lisa (earth mama)
mary beth (salt and chocolate)
georgiann (the garden gate)
stephinie (gypsy forest)
amy (elemental)

it is never to late to join. if you would like to participate, just leave a comment and i will add you!

my step toward balance for february was to shut the computer.
i have been extremely successful with this and i am both pleased and embarrassed to share that the simple act of omitting computer pit stops throughout the day has brought the kids and i more peace and harmony. we still have our struggles and troubles, but i am more attentive and less quick to snap and they are more relaxed and mindful.

that said, whether it has been noticed by all of you or not, i haven't been able to do my blog rounds as fully or frequently, and i truly miss everyone. as a way to manage my time better, i re-organized my blog reader (again). i feel as though i am missing news many of you have been sharing and i feel badly at having missed it. guilty, almost.
but i know everyone will agree, family first, and forgive me.

my goal for march is to focus on my family's diet/nutrition.
after a lifetime of eczema and a handful of other health concerns from all four of us, i have hit the step of needing to tackle our issues from the inside out.

we've always eaten relatively healthily, but i know there is room for improvement.
i admit, often this kind of change is instigated and motivated by me, but i am pleased that mike is fully on board with this one.

we eat a primarily vegetarian diet and prefer whole grains, but i suspect we are heavy on dairy, particularly on cheese and likely on eggs (although our egg consumption is down significantly since we hit a high a little over a year ago). and i would like to reduce our sugar consumption.

weeding our front yard this weekend revealed space for the strawberries

this past weekend, i was able to spend some time in our garden (well, the front garden, at least), weeding and pruning. i am so satisfied seeing how much space i made for planting edibles!

strawberries coming in!

one small change:
our one small change for january was to not use new plastic produce bags.
our one small change for february was to resume earth friendly tasks we had been slipping from. we did really well.

we resumed the following (which is also admitting i/we had let these things slide of late): home made bread, bringing coffee or tea/cup from home, homemade laundry and dishwasher powders (we had run out of ingredients that i couldn't find at the store), hanging laundry (weather permitting), rechargeable batteries (except in the smoke detectors), and...?

i did have the following slips:
coffee out and in a take-away cup twice, produce bags one time (a friend picked up produce for me from the local market. thank you, liz! you saved me the time and gas!), using the dryer on the many wet days we had.

one small change, march:
well, now i have a whole list of small changes i want to make(!), but sticking with my steps toward balance theme of food, during march, we will be focusing on reducing food waste. we are not wasteful people, yet somehow, i am shocked how often i find our kitchen compost bin full, often with leftover and rejected food from our kids. we have spoken with the kids about the food changes we will be implementing at home and as far as a 5 year old and 2 year old are able, they understand. in addition, i want to continue to be more mindful of local, seasonally grown and sold produce. we live in an area where this shouldn't even be a challenge, so i don't know why it continues to be for me. honestly, i think it is mamma fatigue. that said, i am realistic about non-local foods i know i will continue to buy, like bananas, which are extremely nutritious, portable, and my kids love them.

and, as always reported on monthly:

groceries: $325.45. i have absolutely no idea why it was so low, unless i missed a grocery tab entry in my tally, but i don't think i did. i did succeed in not shopping as often this month. i don't know how, but food shopping had become an extremely frequent affair, yet i was always "out" of things. this month i did better using down what we had. (edited to add: i found some receipts that had fallen next to my computer desk.)

acquired used:
well, now. this is a banner month. the first weekend in march is the huge annual white elephant sale (warehouse huge) for our local museum. during the month of february, they allow people who have donated items to the sale to shop. i make my list all year long, so i shopped. three times, in fact! the following is what i bought or my friend lisa bought for me in trade for items i bought for her. (i am not including what i bought for her on my list.) we also went to the monthly antique fair, received hand me downs, and i went to a clothing swap with friends and acquaintances!
  • a huge bag of clothes for finn from a friend
  • a small bag of clothes for finn from another friend
  • i bought and was reimbursed for items for friends/family: bike pump, toddler clothing, bedding, vacuum, iron, ironing board, kitchen tray, pyrex pan, pyrex measure, book, notions. just mentioning, because used does mean items are being recycled
  • crib bedding
  • pants for lala
  • shoes for both kids
  • sewing and crafting notions
  • umbrella for finn
  • mugs and tea cups
  • hankerchiefs for mike
  • lidded pyrex
  • plastic hangers for outdoor use (my metal ones keep rusting, which stains clothes)
  • books
  • rolling suitcase for lala (longtime want. not a need.)
  • crochet hooks
  • embroidery hoops
  • pinking shears
  • unbreakable glass bowls
  • cast iron waffle iron (identical to my dad's vaffler pan!)
  • tricycle with push bar
  • doll for lala (for the kudos bucket)
  • watch for lala (for the kudos bucket)
  • large glass food storage jars
  • shoes, tights, a jansport backpack, and a small pile of cute "new" clothes for myself and lala from a clothing swap
  • toddler cloth training pants. thanks, elissa!
  • 2 more diaper covers

acquired new:
  • mike did it. he bought me a new camera. details and much gushing to follow, when it arrives!
  • LadyCup
  • i am almost embarrassed to admit how many blog give-aways i have won this month. (kharma is in my hand. i think it might be time to stop entering and hand the torch to someone else!) i am going to do a separate post to tell about these goodies!
  • oh my goodness. back to add...i forgot birthday presents! i got assorted goodies new (and used). a variety of books, earrings, fabric, coffee shop gift card, and other nicola-appropriate treats. sorry i neglected to include them at first!)
  • 2 boxes full of kitchen and kid items
  • sack of linens
  • garbage bag of clothes
  • box of books
  • box of kitchen items

whew! welcome, march!

i would love to hear how february similarly fared for you. if you care to share in the comments, i would love to know!


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