Sunday, November 1, 2009

Food, Family, Fun and Finances.

I'm sitting here writing with what I imagine to be fifty cubic tons of sludge in my frontal lobe slowly leaking out my nose. I'm sick. I hate being sick. But it's brought back a recurring theme: Food.

 Homemade chicken noodle soup and lingonberry bread

It seems a pretty straight forward thing; you eat something good for you and it makes your body work top-notch. Though I find in our stressed out, fast paced lives "good" tends to get left behind for quick, easy and/or cheap. Not that good food can't also be those things but I have a hard time finding the evidence. I've started working towards limiting my grocery list down to basics and bulk. Not only for financial reasons - because raising five kids on one income sure is financially challenging- but for ease. Making a large trip to a chain store once a week with 5 chicks in tow leaves me grumpy and irritated and significantly light in the wallet. Making a home cooked meal from scratch, while time consuming, using quality, basic ingredients, gives me a warm feeling inside when I watch those little chicks gobble it up. Involving them in the cooking process gives them an opportunity to do the same.

Homemade multigrain bread

I suppose this could be considered either an early New Year's Resolution or a really late one. The way I've been going recently, the former is probably more true. Though a resolution it ye be. (Yes, I realize I just turned into a pirate.)  This also coincides with our trek up to those 5 acres. Self-sufficiency doesn't involve weekly trips to the store, at least not mine.

I've already crossed off dried and frozen fruit (yes, I still buy it fresh and only in season but I dehydrate and freeze it myself) and ice cream, important things, ya' know? This year store bought basil has gotten the boot as I have the three foot mini-tree in the front yard that's been supplying me endlessly. Bread and butter were next on the list though the butter may wait. I'm getting quite good at the bread though. The milk loaf from about 1.5 weeks ago was so yummy I made an encore loaf today. The yogurt wasn't quite successful but I'm still hopeful. When we get those goats and that family cow expenses on those items will be greatly reduced.

So I'm boiling it down to the four "F"s Food, Family, Fun and Finances. Is shopping weekly pushing a stroller and pulling an overloaded shopping cart while trying to redirect three to four kids from all the sparkly and/or sugar coated things in the store fun? NO. Does it make for a good happy family? NO. Is it financially responsible when last minute impulse items are added just to "get it over with" or things forgotten making for return trips? NO.

Then here's the goal: knock it off. I'm working towards getting as basic as possible so homesteading won't be such a shocker. Already, we've found that going out to eat just doesn't hold the same appeal it did this time last year. That $70 average restaurant check can be applied to the new food dehydrator or pasta attachments for the kitchen aid. Neither of which will leave us regretting our meal choices or wondering where all the money went. 

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