Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Eating Healthy in 2009.

I know this is a common New Year's resolution. I don't make resolutions typically, but I have been quite burdened about my family's eating habits lately. We began our journey into healthy eating about six or seven years ago. We changed to whole grains. I started baking our bread. However, from time to time healthy eating can slip, and sometimes it can plummet to great depths. I am feeling as though we are in a HUGE plummet. As I am typing my daughter is begging for M&M's. Does this say anything about what I am dealing with here?

I began my research online by posing the question, "How to feed my family more vegetable?" This seems to be our biggest downfall. I like vegetables, and sometimes I think I am the only one. While browsing around on Almost Vegetarian, I came across the book, What to Eat: An Aisle by Aisle Guide to Savvy Food Choices and Eating by Marion Nestle. I decided that this was a must read for me. Thankfully, my library system had a copy of it. I was able to pick it up yesterday.

Anyone who shops for food, and that would be most of us, should take a look at this book. Many of us are probably familiar with the idea of "food miles", but do you know what COOl or VCOOL are? Do you know how a grocery store defines "fresh"? I am learning all this and more.

As I read through this book, I hope to share my thoughts and discoveries with my blog friends and readers.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas 2008

Twas the night before Christmas...

The stocking were laid on the trunk with great care...

Brianna building Lego.

Carolyn opening her Breyer horse set.

Natalie displaying the Horspital set.

Jonathan digging into his Xbox 360.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Wordless Wednesday (almost)...Christmas Treasures

My dear husband gave me this ornament 19 years ago when we were dating. It was my very first Christmas present from him.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Snowy days...or is that daze?

We have had about 2 feet of snow in the past 3 days. It was trecherous driving yesterday as we made our way to church, to my parent's house, and then home. We drove home in near blizzard conditions last night. I was amazed how bad it was after we got home. David spent the morning blowing out the driveway.

The driveway is all plowed.

The trees, pool and backyard all covered in snow.

This wood pile and our little bushes (plus the side of our neighbor's garage).

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wordless Wednesday...He's Got Game

BTW, he is #9 with the white helmet and blue pants.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Gamma Seal Lids...

After my first post about stocking the pantry, a dear visitor whose blog is Gullett Circus, stopped by and asked a question about gamma seal lids. She asked if I recommend this kind of lid. I must say that I wholeheartedly do recommend them. After years of struggling to remove the lids from my containers to refill sugar canisters or to access wheat berries, I found these lids. They are airtight yet easy for me to remove. I can even have my 12 year old daughter refill canisters.

The lids come in two pieces as shown below. The ring fits semi-permanently on the bucket, and the lid screws onto the ring. They are so easy to get on and off yet they keep food very well. I find them to be an investment that was well worth the money.

There are many online retailers that sell the gamma seal lids. I purchased mine from Bread Becker's.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Back in the Pantry

I have spent the better part of the last day, when not preparing Christmas gifts, reading up on a man named Gerald Celente. Gerald Celente is the CEO of trends research Institute, and he apparently has an amazingly accurate record on predicting economic events. Yesterday, this article came to my attention, Revolution, food roits, in America by 2012. It sounded a bit sensationalist. After reading the article I felt that it was the most doom and gloomy article I have read. However, I think he could be right.
That brings us back to the pantry. A friend sent me a link a few weeks back to a list of 100 Things That Will Disappear. I am not exactly sure where they will disappear from as many of these items would not be purchased at a Wal-Mart Superstore. Interspersed in the article are many suggestions for pantry items. Here is a summary list:

Vegetable oil
Milk-powdered and condensed
Tuna fish
Garlic, spices, vinegar, and baking supplies
Canned fruits, vegetables, soups and stews
Graham crackers/saltines/ pretzels/popcorn
Peanut butter/nuts

Where should someone start with a list like this. I started about 5 years ago with one 5 gallon bucket in a double wide mobile home with no basement, no attic, and no garage. I saved food where ever I could. Thankfully my kitchen was good size with ample cupboards which made up in some small part for what it lacked.

We have moved since then and my "pantry" has grown to a good part of my basement. I took some more recent pictures of my stock.
It is important to plan part of your grocery shopping budget for stocking up on something. I bought those cans of tomoto puree over a six week period earlier this fall. I think I bought 4 cans at a time. Now I have about 20 tomato puree and about 10 cans of crushed tomatoes. I also plan to buy one bulk item of plastic forks, knifes, spoons, styrofoam plates, bowls, plastic cups per month. I buy these at Sam's Club. So, I want to encourage you to start small, but plan to buy something extra this week at the grocery store.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Stocking the pantry...

Yesterday the headline of Yahoo finance said, "Half-million jobs vanish as economy deteriorates."

The article went on to say, "A record one in 10 American homeowners with a mortgage was either at least a month behind on payments or in foreclosure at the end of September, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported."

This caused my dear friend, Ranae and I to continue our on-going discussion about the economy and being prepared by stocking up on pantry and personal hygiene items. One point that came up in our discussion was where to start if you haven't prepared in either of these areas. Should you begin pantry storage or linen closet storage. My thought is that even though cleanliness is next to godliness food is my priorety. For several years now, I have been storing white flour, rolled oats, quick oats, Prairie Gold wheat berries, evaporated cane juice crystals and Sucanat. I store them in 5-6 gallon buckets in my basement. Each bucket has a gamma seal lid except for the Sucanat. The Sucanat is stored in an airtight pet food container that was never used for pet food. I buy 50-100# of each of these items at a time. Typically I can buy 100# of wheat berries and flour but only 50# of oats and sugars. When my supply gets low, I buy more. Typically, I do not have to replace them all at once. This helps the pocket book.

Here is a look at the buckets.

I also have two chrome storage shelves in the basement for canned goods, condiments, and other food stuffs.

Last year I canned a lot more than I did this year. This year we had too much water, and my garden was flooded twice during the season. I did not can tomatoes, but for about 6 weeks this fall I bought 4-6 cans of crushed tomatoes and tomato puree when the local grocery store had them on sale for $0.69 per 28 ounce can. I worked my way up to about 30 cans. I do this for many things that the store puts on sale.
I don't think stocking up means you have to blow your grocery budget. For me I just have to pay attention and match my need to the sales.
I am not very well stocked up in my linen closet. That is going to be the next area I tackle. Also, I would really like a 4-6 month supply of cat food, but I haven't gotten that far.
On a final note, I also refilled prescriptions today even though I do not need a refill right now. I want to have prescriptions on hand in the event that my husband would lose his job, and we didn't have insurance. It would help for a while.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Couch cushions...need help...

I am trying to fingure out what to do with my couch. This couch used to be my parents. It sat in their livingroom and only got used when they had company. Four or five years ago they gave it to us when they invested in new furniture. The bones of the couch are in great shape. The cushions and the arms of the couch are just not doing well. Every time a child's knee hits the couch first instead of their rear end, the fabric comes apart. I am thinking slip covers are the way to go here, but I have never used them, so I am not sure. In addition, the white does not work with our newly painted wall.

Here is a close up look at the middle cushion.

This is the left side cushion. You can also see the pillows I made over the summer.

I posted this to give you a sense of how the living room is decorated. In this picture the paint is showing up a tad dark. It is really a mustard yellow. Not French's mustard, it is darker. You can barely make out the actual color in the first picture.

So, I am open to suggestions on how to handle this situation. Thanks so much.