Saturday, June 27, 2009

No I didn't drop off the face of the Earth.....

Summertime is such a crazy time for me. While I love having my children at home with me, I don't feel like I stop from the time my feet hit the ground in the morning to the time I crawl into bed at night. If I am not making something to eat for one of the kids, I am cleaning up after them. If we aren't gone somewhere there are usually 5 or more children at my house.

Not that I should complain because I know this time goes by way to fast. Had someone told me when my kids were young that I would want those days back I might have laughed at them. But oh sometimes I long for the days when they were young and took naps and went to bed at a decent hour and didn't need to be driven to 15 activities a week and didn't feel the constant need to be entertained 24 hours a day. Yeah, yeah, I know in five years I am going to be complaining because they never stay home and no one tells me where they are going and the house is way to quiet and I can't remember the last time we all sat down for a meal.

So I am trying my best not to wish these days away even when I have made three pitchers of lemonade by noon, tripped over six pairs of shoes, mopped unidentified sticky stuff off the floor twice, turned off the television that was left on a dozen times, refereed ten fights over whose turn it is to play the Playstation, closed the back door that was left open and let flies in the house, listened to "I'm bored and there's nothing to do" repeated like a broken record, cleaned up a sink full of dirty dishes that no one claims and found a thousand airsoft beads in my washer that came out of someone's pocket which of course I missed when sorting the twelve piles of laundry that have accumulated in less than three days because I know, one day I will miss this.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


I joined a local CSA group this past spring after reading an article in the paper about a farm who offered "shares" of their farm to local consumers. Typically the share consists of a box of fruits and vegetables, but sometimes dependent on the farm, other products (such as eggs, dairy or even fresh cut flowers) may be included. The farm that I purchased a share of delivers my box of produce once a week to a central location during set hours so that I can go and pick it up. The spring season started during the second week of April and runs through mid-July depending on the crops. I purchased a medium share for $250 and each weekly share provides enough for my family of five.

This type of program is advantageous to the farmer because they get the cash up front for the crops they are going to grow and it is great marketing through word of mouth. As for the consumer, in this case my family, we get exposed to a large variety of fresh organic produce some of which we might never have eaten had it not been in our CSA share. The only real risk is if the crops fail which may happen due to heavy rains or drought. Fortunately most farmers plant a large variety of produce so that not all crops are affected.

During the first few weeks I admit that I was a little worried that I might have made a mistake because the a good portion of the produce in my box was not something my family was very happy about eating. Things like beets, collards, arugula, kale, mustard greens and mesculan mix. Unfortunately a lot of the produce from the first couple of weeks went into the trash. I did find that my family would eat arugula pesto and I made several batches of that for the freezer. I also cooked and pureed the beets to use in some future recipes from the Deceptively Delicious cookbook. As for the greens, I knew it was a waste of my time to even put them on the table.

After those first weeks the produce became more familiar and we found our box packed with things like squash, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, beans, potatoes, radishes, beets, turnips, carrots, tomatoes, strawberries and herbs. As the season progresses, we find that our box is overflowing each week.

I have had to be very creative in finding ways to introduce my family to some of these vegetables. For instance, mixing turnips in mashed potatoes and cauliflower in macaroni and cheese (another Deceptively Delicious recipe). One week I cooked and pureed beets, cauliflower, and broccoli to freeze for future use. We have tried the veggies roasted and steamed and in casseroles. It's been a learning experience for all of us but I am positive that I will join again in the Fall.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Never say never

NEVER. It's a word that most people say on a regular basis but one that holds different meaning when you use it in reference to your children.

Before I was a mom, I told myself that I was going to be a model parent and my children would of course be little angels and others would look at them longingly and wish their children were more like mine.

I remember before becoming a mom, the sight of a child screaming at the top of his lungs or misbehaving would have me shaking my head and thinking to myself that my child would never dare to act like that and make me look like the worst mother ever. And then I had one of my own little angels who brought me back to reality and made me eat my words.

Never say Never.

Then when my first child was little, I said I will never let her sit and watch television for hours because it turns children's brains to mush and causes all kinds of problems. And then I had the second child and he cried non-stop for the first six months of his life and the only time I got to rest was when the fussy child was napping and the other child was parked in front of the television.

Never say Never.

When my kids were little, I said never would I let them have sugary junk food because I didn't want them to have things that were bad for them. And then they got older and it got harder to find the time to consistently make healthy snacks and I found myself throwing a box of fruit chews or bags of cookies in the cart the whole time rationalizing that a "little bit" wouldn't hurt them.

Never say Never.

As my kids got older, they wanted a game system and I said never because I didn't want them to become zombies sitting in front of it for hours on end. And then I caved because they used their own money and it was much easier than listening to them whine about what a mean mother I was because "everyone else had one".

Never say Never.

Over the years it seems that I would learn never to say "never" but the truth of the matter is that being a parent is hard work. It's unpredictable at best and sometimes those things that seemed so important become less important in the grand scheme of things. These days when I start to say never, I stop myself because all those things I said would never happen did and things have actually turned out okay. I had to break my own “rules” for parenting because I needed to as a means of survival. I understand now that no one is the perfect parent and we all have to learn along the way. Sometimes you just make do in order to get through it. But if you find yourself saying never, stop because you may find that your nevers become reality.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Have you seen this website

I am addicted to scouring the Internet for useful sites (shh, don't tell my husband as he already thinks I spend way too much time in front of the computer). My favorite search topics these days are shabby chic decorating, going green, saving money and cooking (not in that particular order).

One of the sites that I love is Once a Month Mom. This site provides links to money saving coupons, cooking tips, and recipes for making your own baby food (which thank you God I do not need). But to me the best thing about Once a Month Mom is that at the beginning of every month they provide you with all of the information and resources for doing a once a month cooking day for your family. They provide you with a printable grocery list and step by step instructions on how to quickly and efficiently prepare the dishes. They also have a link so that you can print out labels for each of the dishes that you prepare.

The menus are kid friendly (unless of course you have picky eaters like I do then you might have to make a few adjustments) and no special culinary skills are required to prepare. Some of the dinner entrees on Junes menu are Tater-Tot Casserole, Barbeque Meatloaf, and Layered Chicken Enchilada Casserole. You don't have to prepare all of the menu items, you can pick and choose what you like and still end up with a large portion of meals for the month. After several months, you should have enough to feed your family straight from the freezer for an entire month.

If you think you might like to try this but still have some questions, you might find the answer here.