Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Water Water Everywhere, Drink More Than a Drop!

Drink more water. I know you’ve heard that before. You probably know all the reasons too. But do you take it to heart? I’ve always struggled to remember to drink more water. Sometimes I think I’m part camel because I'm able to go nearly all day without a drink. But I’m trying to do better for a multitude of reasons. My daughter drinks only water – no juice, no soda, no milk, an occasional hot chocolate or tea, but other than that, water only. I want to be like her.

I know the party line regarding water and preach it all the time.
Drinking plenty of water:
- increases energy level
- reduces joint/back pain
- prevents headaches
- aids in digestion and prevents constipation
- ensures proper circulation
-- increases metabolism and regulates appetites
- keeps us alive (we can live a month without food, but only a week without water)

But I found my most compelling reason for drinking more water in an excellent book called Stiff by Mary Roach.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Homemade Applesauce is Easy!

There’s no better comfort food in the world than warm, homemade applesauce. And once you’ve made your own, you’ll never be able to stomach another jar of store-bought applesauce again. I promise. The bonus is that making your own is simple. And the other bonus is that making your own applesauce will please your kids, impress your friends and make you feel as resourceful as Laura Ingalls. Everyone around you will be in awe. And they’ll want a bowl. Wait, and there’s one more bonus – it will save you money because store-bought applesauce is ridiculously overpriced!

We are in the throes of apple season right now. Apples are fresh, cheap, and plentiful. There are so many varieties available it’s overwhelming. I think the best applesauce comes from mixing lots of varieties together, and making applesauce from fresh apples you just picked yourself is pretty stellar too. When my kids were young we went to a pick-your-own farm each year.
Now when I suggest we go apple picking I get blank stares and “Why?”

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Garlic Time!

Now is the time to plant if you’d like to grow your own fresh garlic! And you should because fresh garlic runs circles around the aged stuff you find in the store. Plus it's easy to grow an entire year's worth in a few feet of garden space that won't be doing anything else this winter. Why not tuck some in your flower beds when you clear them off for winter? If you plant it now, it will be ready by early June. Garlic is easy to grow – just as simple as planting bulbs. All you need is a head of garlic.
I like to experiment with heirloom varieties, but you can use any old head, even the one beginning to sprout in your cupboard right now. All you do is break off each clove and plant it pointy side up. You’ll want to plant it as deep as it is big, or a little deeper. I tend to err on the side of too deep when planting just in case the winter is worse than imagined.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Cheez-it Hoarding

We’ve turned our children into Cheezit-hoarders. It was quite by accident. In general I’m opposed to Cheezits, partly because of their addictive quality which I came to know first hand when I was freshly out of college and in charge of my own food budget for the first time. I ate them by the boxfuls. It was quite uncontrollable, and I was young and clueless. My main opposition to Cheezits now comes from the fact that they are a processed food of epic proportions. Read the label if you don’t believe me. And while you’re at it, notice the salt content and the hydrogenated oils. There truly isn’t much good in Cheezits. But I completely understand they taste good. That said, my children and I had to come to terms in regards to the number of boxes of Cheezits I would provide on a weekly basis.

For several years now, the three boxes of processed snack food a week (primarily Cheezits, but sometimes goldfish or whale crackers) has been our bottom line. But as they all are in or approaching their teens, their appetites have increased. So has their mistrust of their siblings’ fair consumption of the Cheezits. Fights began to break out and nasty comments about who was eating how much were flung about. When my kids were little and fought over a toy I would always take the toy, place it on top of the refrigerator, and say, “If you’re going to fight about it, then I’m going to get rid of it.” That would settle that. But life, apparently, can’t go on without Cheezits. And all of them can reach the top of the fridge now.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Happy Organized Homemaking

I just returned from a wonderful weekend leading a women’s retreat on the topic of happiness. It was fun to explore the idea from many perspectives and a delight to meet so many interesting, passionate, caring women. Being away from my little tribe always makes me appreciate them more, but coming home to a mess cuts those warm fuzzy feelings short every time. Except this time! This time I came home to a relatively clean home. What a nice change. The children are growing up. Either that or my hubby’s getting better about cracking the whip!

This morning as I sorted out the piles left on the counters and laundry dumped in the laundry room, I thought about one of the topics that came up over the weekend. We agreed that an organized home makes you happier. Most of us feel more content and energetic when our surroundings are not overwhelmed by clutter and chaos. I whole-heartedly agree on this one. Lucky for me I married an engineer who works for a tool company. He can build or fix nearly anything. I cannot. But I have lots of ideas! We make a great team.

Let me take you on a pictorial tour of some of the ways we’ve organized our family life. Maybe it will inspire you to organize something in your home which just might make you happier! (please note that I didn’t clean up for the tour. I figure we’re all friends here and you won’t hold the cleanliness of my counters/walls/floors against me!)