Monday, January 10, 2011

Back to the routine....

Well, it's a week later then I had hoped. However, today we got right back into our routine. After taking an unexpected extended break due to sickness on both ends of my "scheduled" December break, I was so looking forward to hitting the books with K, getting back to regular cleaning chores and cooking. Sure, I cooked during the past 6 weeks. It just doesn't seem the same though, if I'm not trying to schedule it around math, spelling and laundry.

Now, while I must admit mentally it felt great to be back in the saddle, I just need to's exhausting!! Morning came too early and it took hours before I really felt awake. Only to find myself ready for bed a few hours after that. Of course, I'm still up. My brain just went to bed.

K did terrific. Now, she may try to deny this, but deep down
she really does like school!


PS. Don't tell her I said that.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Diving right in...

With the holiday season just behind me and a nasty bug visiting the house, I was feeling a tad overwhelmed. I get that way when my little "non-routine" routine gets thrown out of whack. So, I found myself looking for some order to help me feel "right" again and my kitchen seemed to be the center of disorder. There was an incredible desire to attack and conquer the clutter. Possibly this was because I was desperately trying to stay out of all germ infested rooms and my kitchen was the safest! (there was no way I had allowed any sick person to touch anything in my kitchen) OR...maybe it had to do with the fact that I was determined we were going to eat healthier this year. That determination had me going to several different grocery stores and buying all sorts of healthy ingredients to make all the recipes I had found. With the hustle of the season, all those ingredients had then been stuffed into cabinets. Honestly, I had no clue as to what I had purchased, what I still needed, what was overstocked or what was running low. It was time to tackle the hot mess and I did so the only way I knew how and that was by diving right in, of course!

First step was to pull all food items out of the cabinets. I discovered that I had pasta in the tall black cabinet and in the corner cabinet. I had baking ingredients in three cabinets. I told you...a HOT mess!

These containers were all holding little bits of stuff past it's prime. They will all be placed back into commission once they go through a little clean up time.

It was time to get some containers labeled clearly, especially ones that I want to stay gluten free.

Here are some of the goodies I purchased on my shopping spree. I have high hopes for the yumminess that will be cooked up with these ingredients. These are all now listed on my inventory sheet that will help me know if I have what I need next time I discover a recipe.

I had no clue that I was running dangerously low on one of my staple items.
That is something you do not want to find out just as you are making a quick dinner!

I also discovered I was way overstocked on sugar. Since one of our goals is to cut the sugar consumption way down, I won't be needing to buy this for a while. Maybe we can make some sugar scrubs for bath time.

Having everything pulled out at once, allowed me to group similar items together.

Also, you want to take the time to consolidate if you can. I found two opened bottles of rice vinegar and it worked to just dump one into the other. I use it often enough, that I don't have to worry about it going bad.

Now, it was time to start putting things back. This cabinet will look even sharper when I put those containers above to work in here. Right now, I'm just happy that I know what is in here and that the items are grouped together.

This was a big relief to get this cabinet stocked and to know that all pasta is together once again!

Putting this cabinet back together was probably the most satisfying. I was able to really make sense of what went into here. Also, by grouping things together I was able to eliminate the need for taking up space in yet another cabinet.

Best part....I still have some growing room.

That time spent in the kitchen really did help me gain a sense of control. I was able to make menu plans and grocery lists knowing exactly what I was doing. As we get rid of processed stuff in the kitchen, my goal is to replace it with more whole ingredients. I love knowing exactly what goes into the food we are eating. It's also easier to control my diet and keep unwanted gluten and casein out.

I plan to take a look at my kitchen again in the summer to see how far I've come in my quest to get rid of junk in our diet. I'll be sure to share here.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Did you say...PLAN?

So, we had a lovely holiday break and I was gearing up to get back to the routine. Oh, the lovely routine!! Even though for years I swore I had no routine...I've lately discovered, that what seems like my lack of routine IS indeed a routine after all! <--We'll talk about that another day.

Anyway, the beginning of a new month is usually only mildly noticed around here. I happen to notice the day, because it means a new month of food budgeting and that means grocery shopping day! This is normally a very busy day with trips to not one, not two, but three OR four grocery stores. We restock our supplies and then shopping during the rest of the month tends to be a much milder affair.

Now, the beginning of January is a much bigger deal. It's a celebrated holiday. Well, throw that in with my need to restock the pantry and my overwhelming need to get back to routine....and you probably get a pretty chaotic looking picture. (maybe even experienced the same in your home!)

Mike was off on New Year's Eve and we went out for a nice lunch with some family and then off to grocery shop. We hit Whole Foods and Trader Joes. With the new year and my food intolerance, I've decided to buckle down and serve more whole foods, more raw foods, even some vegan meals...mixed in with our meaty meals to keep a balance. For us, 2011 is time to back away from processed foods and sugar overload. I've been researching and have found so many yummy recipes and blogs. So, I was set and ready to get rolling.

So, shop we did. However, the cabinets were already stuffed with holiday food and leftovers galore. Being that it was New Year's Eve and we had made some plans for the evening, there was really no time to sort, clean out, or put any thought into the kitchen. Everything was just put away...out of sight.

Monday is always a good day to get back to routine, right? For some reason, it seems like we always designate certain days and months to do things....and MONDAY is ALWAYS the day to start something. (anything... Just start it on a MONDAY, whatever you do!!)

I know the fridge is full of fresh produce, the cabinets are stocked with special ingredients to create new foods for us to enjoy....and somehow I'll weed out the bad, old stuff later. Come on, Monday. I am ready to steam, roast, soak, blend, and whatever else it takes to whip this family into total specimens of excellent health.

That's the plan! Oh...did I just say....PLAN?? Have I not learned?

Well, to HECK with the plans, early Monday morning....12:10 AM to be exact.....a nasty little bug decided it was time to rear it's ugly little head. It's claimed 3 out of 4 in this house, while leaving my fridge full of fresh produce just sitting there.

Tomorrow, I'll share what I did with my "free" time.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Funny thing about plans...

We ALL know that when you have PLANS, things are surely going to go awry. That pretty much sums up my long blogging break. No big catastrophic events took place. Nope... just a bunch of little glitches, wonky plans and one incredibly adorable baby that took my attention and time. (No, not MY GRAND baby!)

Since I last blogged, we've done some summer sight seeing, celebrated a few birthdays, enjoyed the harvest of our garden, started school back up, lost my computer and ALL my pictures(still hoping to recover those), said goodbye to too many friends that were moving out of state, enjoyed holidays with family and friends, further honed in on my food intolerance, tried many new recipes, and most importantly.....

spent MANY hours loving on this baby girl!

Isn't she precious?