Thursday, July 21, 2011

20. Audit a class at RTS

Well, although I didn't take a class at RTS (Reformed Theological Seminary) like I wanted to, I did do BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) this past year.

And since I'm giving myself freedom to tweak this list a bit and since a year of studying Isaiah is in the same vein as a theology class, I'm checking this one off my list.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

67. Eating local - what i've learned

My sad attempt at a tortilla.
Well, the week was over last Saturday. Whew. I am just now rested enough to blog about the experience. I'm doing this pro v con style:

  • Simple cooking. While I appreciate complex food, going simple was pretty nice. Just flour, butter, and milk for biscuits. Easy. Simple. I liked that.
  • Support local farmers. I enjoyed being able to give the local economy a boost.
  • Lost weight. I lost 4 pounds this week. I think at least half was the liquid calories I love...sweet tea, iced coffee, juice. But, it helped that I couldn't snack on anything prepackaged. Snacks were fruit and veggies.
  • Reality check for kids. It was fun to talk to them about local food, what pioneer people used to do to eat, etc. And for the most part, they ate everything and enjoyed it.
  • Matt's creative! I've always known that my husband is creative in the kitchen. Give him a handful of leftovers and 30 got an amazing dish that could grace the plate of a nice restaurant. This experience made it even more clear that he's amazing. 
  • I learned something about honey. Clover honey - bees get the nectar from clovers. Wildflower honey - from wildflowers. Interesting stuff.
  • Expensive! Meat and cheese...crazy expensive. Fruit and veggies in season were reasonable. This lifestyle is not sustainable for us. You really have to have a moral conviction to eat mostly local because your wallet takes a hit. 
  • Not enough taste difference. I was surprised here...and I gotta admit has not been my personal experience in the past. Most of the foods were no better than non local food. With the exception of the fruit. The fruit was amazing. I'll take local blackberries and peaches any day. The veggies? Not so much. I'll take the cheap Aldi's.
  • Hard to snack. Unless you have 30 minutes to prepare something. I have 4 kids. Enough said.
  • Human nature. I've never craved a soda from a vending machine before. But knowing that I couldn't have it made me want it. 
  • Complicates life a little. Scratch cooking everything is too hard and too time consuming. Give me a snack of gold fish and juice please. 
  • Shopping took a lot longer. I assume this would be a learning curve and would eventually get quicker and easier. But for this was hard. Not to mention that the farmers markets don't have shopping carts where I can strap in my kids and hand them a cookie (thank you, Harris Teeter).
So, my conclusion:

I apprciate eating local. For things grown locally and priced reasonably. But, I also appreciate that God made the whole earth produce wonderful and diverse things. I missed olive oil, chocolate, and coffee the most. So happy God made those.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

2. Learn to knit. Then knit a scarf

I made activity cards this year for my advent calendar in lieu of candy, thanks to Pinterest.

Well, I've decided to tweak this one. The point behind putting this on my list was to learn something new and then use that new skill to make something. Well, I barely have the time to do laundry, much less sit around and knit.

I've just discovered Pinterest. I've been quick to repin things, but less quick to actually do them. I especially love all the DIY projects that are pinned. Now for those who know me well, you are laughing right now. I'm not a DIY yourself type of gal. I'm not crafty. I'm not creative.

This weekend I did 3 things off of Pinterest. The above advent calendar activity cards. This wreath. Which I love. And my door is exactly that color. And I needed a new wreath anyway. So, here's my version:

I've also wanted to do an advent wreath since we're reading through a great book, Tidings of Great Joy. So I got some inspiration from Pinterest and here's my wreath:

And while all of this isn't learning how to is stretching myself in a new way - which was the feel behind number 2 in the first place.

37. Drink only water for 5 days in a row

Daily iced coffee, how I've missed you.

Done. Check. Complete. And may I add: never again. My purpose in this one was to get into the habit of getting water when I'm thirsty. However, I haven't fallen in love with water. Next time I'm thirsty, I will be getting something other than water. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a good glass of ice cold water. But, I enjoy iced coffee or iced tea more.

So, cheers to something yummy to drink (and something that ruined my eat only local for a week).

Monday, July 11, 2011

Eating all local, update

Peach and Blackberry Cobbler
Update 3: Day 5 and I caved. I can now drink things other than water and I decided to drink some iced coffee. No, it's not local (the milk was though, that's got to count for something, right?). And it was delicious. So, while I can no longer say that I've eaten ALL local, I can say that I have praised the Lord for making coffee. And I'll take praising Jesus over local food any day.

Update 2: Well, I caved in again today with the kids. They've eaten ice cream and drank juice. I figured this is my thing and why should they have to suffer with me? And I almost caved in myself. I woke up this morning to a husband gone to work early, a 4 year old complaining of an upset stomach, a 6 year old crying due to the play date being cancelled because of the 4 year old being sick, a crying toddler who was sent to time out a million times for whining, a screaming baby who was beside-herself-tired because she woke up at 5:30, and an exhausted mom because of all of the above. I needed comfort in the form of iced coffee. But, I stayed strong. I put the baby to bed. I sent the 4 year old to her bed where if she did get sick at least the toddler wouldn't step in it. I comforted the 6 year old. I got out a brand new toy for the toddler to keep her entertained for a while. And I didn't drink any iced coffee. I can thank the Lord for that strength, because it certainly wasn't me. 

Here's what else I've realized: if you eat only local, all the time - you'd get mighty sick of having the same foods over and over again. I mean, really - living without Vietnamese food? No Thai? Never again tasting chocolate cake? Crazy. Dumb. Boring. And certainly not living well. 

Which brings me back to my blog title. Living Life Well. I put this on my list so I could learn and experience what it would be like. I've learned. I've experiences. And I'm happy with that. Although I will do my best to get through the rest of the week (I have until Sat night), I will not beat myself up if I fold and eat some chocolate. Because THAT is living well.

Update 1: Read about what I'm doing here. Well, I must say. This is hard. I have to scratch cook everything. No more quick and easy lunches. No more take-it-out-of-my-freezer meals. But, here's what I've learned so far:

1. My husband is much more resourceful than I give him credit for. He is amazing with food. Saves the spinach stalk and uses for other purposes. Makes gravy on the fly for my too dry chicken. Amazing.

2. I can't do it. It's just too hard to do while homeschooling and taking care of a newborn. Take today for example. We did school all morning. Then I brought a meal to a friend who just had a baby. That was at lunchtime. Because my baby was napping in the morning. And my toddler naps in the afternoon. So lunchtime worked. However, I had to wake up the baby from her nap and didn't have time to feed her. So, we dropped off the meal at 12:00. I had 3 hungry big girls and a really hungry infant. And because lunch has to be scratched cooked, they were still at least 30 mins. away from eating. AND I had to nurse the baby before I could start making lunch. Which then put lunch at 1:15. Not going to happen. So, my pal Wendy fed my kids today. And I'm ok with that. I still came home, nursed the baby, put the toddler down for her nap, did history with the big girls, and cooked grits for me. So, I can still say that I did all local, even if my girls didn't.

3. Kudos to those pioneer women. I can't imagine cooking, cleaning the house, homeschooling kids, grinding your own cornmeal and flour, farming, etc, etc. Talk about super women. I will remember that next time I complain about how hard and tiring it is being a homeschooling mom. I will tell myself: "yes, but I don't have to also cook every meal from scratch. Nor do I have to tend to the farm. Nor do I have to get up at 4:30 to milk the cows." I really do have an easy life.

4. The water only thing sucks.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

37. Drink nothing but water 5 days in a row AND 67. Eat only local food for 1 week

I thought it best to do these (eat local for a week and drink only water for 5 days) the same week. I decided to put these on my list because:

1. I need to drink more water. When I get thirsty, water is almost never what I reach for first. I'm hoping 5 days of reaching for only water will get me on the path of thinking of it first.
2. I wanted to challenge myself to see if I can go 5 days without sweet tea, milk, juice, and *gasp* coffee.
3. I want to support the local farms and economy.
4. I love going to farmer's markets and thought this would be a fun excuse.
5. I want my children to be exposed to where food comes from.

The rules: Local for this experiment is NC and SC. The only allowance I'm making for non-local is salt. And any homeschool activities that were already planned that involve food are still allowed (my kids will eat, not me).

Start date for nothing to drink but water: dinner, on July 9. End date: after dinner on July14th.
Start date for eat only local food for a week: dinner on July 9. End date: after dinner July 16.

I'll be blogging my daily menus for anyone who cares. Here we go.

Day 1 (July 9)
Dinner: Baked potatoes with sauteed spinach, hoop cheese, garlic, and bacon (for the fam since I don't eat pork) Dessert - figs and peaches
snack: biscuits with honey (yes - we managed to find local flour!)

Day 2 (July 10)
Breakfast: biscuits with honey, blackberries, scrambled eggs
Lunch: green salad with veggies
Snack: peach and blackberry cobbler
Dinner:chicken, sauteed green beans and garlic with lemon grass, cornbread

Day 3: (July 11)
Breakfast: biscuits and gravy, peaches
Lunch: Grits for me (Wendy's for girls, yikes!)
Snack: red peppers
Dinner: Chicken, onion, potato, spinach stalk (similar to celery), corn, and tomato stew

Day 4: (July 12)
Breakfast: grits, blueberries
Lunch: cheese tortilla, red peppers
Snack: peaches
Dinner:  sweet potatoes, sauteed spinach with garlic and red pepper

Day 5: (July 13)
Breakfast: spinach and onion omelet
Lunch: left overs
Snack: cucumbers
Dinner: left overs

yes, this was a lame day.

Day 6: (July 14)
Breakfast: grits
Lunch: hard boiled eggs, sweet potato fries, blueberries
Dinner: corn on the cob, green beans, trout, fried polenta with tomato sauce, tomato and cucumber topped with goat cheese 
Matt's birthday "dessert" - onion rings

Day 7: (July 15)
Breakfast: grits
Lunch: left overs
Dinner: spinach, onion, red pepper, and feta cheese frittata
Snack: biscuits and honey 

Day 8: (July 16)
Breakfast: grits, blueberries
Lunch: left overs

Thursday, July 7, 2011

74. No Fast Food for a month, completed

Hallelujah. My month of hell is over. And what a fitting day to break my month fast of fast food: the 4th of July. Let freedom ring, people! After my neighborhood parade, we stopped by CFA (Chick-fil-a for all those who are not lucky enough to know what CFA stands for) for some lunch-to-go before driving out of town to visit my family. Thank you CFA workers for working on July 4th.

Here's what I learned from this month long sabbatical from fast food:

1. I was addicted. I think we've all heard that fast food is addictive...well, it's true. The 1st 15 days I was irritable. I was tired. I was snippy. Oh no wait - those are the symptoms of having a newborn. Maybe that's a confounding variable.

2. Fast food is so convenient. It really is a nice luxury to have a CFA (or insert your favorite fast food restaurant) available for those crazy days when you are on the go all day long. Or for when you have a baby in the house who takes a morning nap and a toddler in the house who takes an afternoon nap and you have a small window of opportunity to run errands and it just happens to be over the lunch hour.

The 1st half of the month I missed the taste of the food. The 2nd half of the month I missed the convenience of it. And I will never have to miss either again.