After a lot of back and forth debating, I've finally decided to switch to blogger. I started working on the new blog this week and will hopefully have it ready soon. I realized recently how much I missed blogging. I'm trying to find that balance in my day that will allow me to have the laundry at a manageable level and a couple of minutes available for not working, too.
What reminded me that I like to blog? Elizabeth's knitting posts. I have been sort of casually dipping in and out of them for a while, but this week it really hit me: it sounds like she's having fun. Fun knitting and fun blogging about it. I like learning about new things (like marine biology and physical geography and quantum physics) so I can give my kids some structure for the things they want to learn about, but I really, firmly believe that one of the most important roles of a teacher (especially a mother-teacher) is to model what it means to be an active learner. Kids want to see their mothers learning interesting stuff. Too often I think that having all the work done and keeping everyone on a perfect schedule means that I am being a good mother. But what good is having all the work done if my patience is short, and I don't have time to do the things that will nurture our souls?
The work isn't done, by the way. In case you were wondering.
I keep meaning to update my Grocery Project. When I started keeping track of my grocery expenses, I was amazed at how much we were really paying for food, household items, and common over the counter medicines and vitamins -- even as I was trying to cut costs. And then food prices started going up, and I wasn't sure how much I ought to be paying for food. What I ended up doing was taking a portion of our medical budget (medicine and supplements) and attaching it to our grocery budget (food and household products) to account for the stuff I was buying at the store. It took too much time to separate that stuff out, and I had started using this nifty savings tracker from The Coupon Project and wanted to track those savings, too. I've been able to cut $100 to $200 a month off what we were actually paying to eat a grain-reduced, organic, real food diet when buying primarily from stores. (This masks the fact that I'm also getting more food for my money, which is important when all your boys suddenly hit a growth spurt!!) Now that I have some experience with the stores here and with coupons, I could cut more by eliminating some of the organic processed and convenience products that we buy (almond milk, Stoneyfield whole milk yogurt, Larabars, and the gluten-free chicken sausages at Costco, for example), but a) my husband likes to try new things; b)he travels a lot and sending him with a grain-free packaged bar like Larabar keeps him from eating junk on the road; and c)I have four kids playing baseball right now. Paying a little more for good-for-you convenience saves us from paying a lot more for not-so-good-for-you fast food.
We haven't totally eliminated fast food from our diet either.
The grain-free experiment is going well. Since mid-January I've lost 30 pounds. My husband has lost about 20. (I'm still nursing, which he thinks is an unfair advantage.) I feel a lot better. All the candida related problems which were so bad after a year of inhaled steroids for asthma and 30 days or more of antibiotics at #7's birth have improved quite a bit. I also made a huge discovery: my depression is diet related. After cutting out grains, sugar, and starchy vegetables, I am sometimes discouraged but I do not get really depressed. I have much more energy. My face does not break out (which has been an ongoing problem with me since I was 10). And some of the real evidence of the benefits our new diet came recently when Andy had his physical for Scout leadership: his blood pressure, which had been high, dropped 15 points into normal bounds. Part of the reason for his success is exercise, but diet seems to count for a lot. In particular, he gave up the large amounts of soda he was drinking; large amounts of high fructose corn syrup in the diet have been linked to hypertension.
I'm sitting next to a 10.9 lb. cabbage here at the breakfast table this morning. It came from my garden, which makes it doubly amazing. It's about 14 inches in diameter, and I had to hack off the root with a butcher knife like a machete. I wish I could take a picture, but we've lost the battery charger and are awaiting a new one in the mail. (I miss my old camera with its old-fashioned batteries.) The coolest thing about this cabbage is that it came from a plant my neighbor gave me, and she got it for free from a program an Alabama plant farm sets up for 3rd graders to grow giant cabbages. I didn't have a 3rd grader this year, so this plant is technically an "extra". Maybe next year we'll participate in the competition. This year, it's just going to make a lot of lacto-fermented sauerkraut (or cortido or kim chi).