Archives for March 2011

I Have an Idea

from greenhem via Flickr


If you’ve talked to me in person in the last year or so, it’s no surprise that helping people, supporting charities, and engaging in social justice are concepts that I value.  So, when I was going through a pile of stuff that I have been accumulating for at least a year and I found a brochure for the Hunger Free North Dakota Garden Project my mind started running.

Maybe I could donate some food from our garden.

Maybe I could plant some food specifically for donation.

Maybe I could get some friends to donate with me.

Maybe, maybe, maybe.

Maybe I could get some friends to commit to taking care of a community garden plot (20 feet x 40 feet) and donating all of the vegetables we get to the Hunger Free Project.

That sounds AMAZING to me!  If I could combine two of my interests and be able to provide for people who might not have enough otherwise, I would be so happy.  What could be better?

So, now I’m in the making contact and doing research phase of my idea.  I’ve contacted the Ag Department to get any updated information they might have on the project.  I’ve contacted a local garden center that has community garden plots.  The next step would be to put this out there to friends and acquaintances to see if anyone would be interested in helping me.

I loved my garden last summer, and at times I wished I could have had a bigger space.  The thing that worries me is time.  New gardens need a lot of care.  Our garden last year needed hours of weeding every day for 3-4 weeks.  Hours.  Every day.  I’m not sure that’s fair to my family.  That’s why I think I’ll need help.

And there’s the money.  The gardens cost either $125 or $150 to rent.  I can’t remember which.  Of that money, either $25 or $50 goes toward a credit you can use for seeds or plants at the garden center.  That’s still $75 or $100.  That’s a lot for me to put up at once.

This is where my plan hits a standstill.

In my head, there’s something about a spreadsheet assigning different jobs or breaking up the responsibility by assigning people responsibility for a few days at a time.  I can see a big sheet of graph paper with the garden all planned out.  I can see work days where we go and do a mass weeding or harvesting.  I’m just not clear on what comes in between these things.

So, as I said in the title of this post.  I have an idea.  I’m off to obsess about it for a few days and see if I can move it forward to the next step.

The 365 Project Update

Since it’s almost the end of March and I’m almost 1/4 of the way through our first year of the 365 Project, I thought I’d do an update.

Overall, it’s been good.

There are days when I feel like I’ve either staged the picture or forced it, and I don’t love the picture.



There are some that I am really glad to have.




But, there’s a good chance I would have most of those anyway.  The best thing about the 365 Project is the pictures I get by just playing around and having the camera ready.




So, we’ll keep going and waiting for those sweet photos that just happen once in a while when you’re not expecting anything.

Crafting My Life Works!


I have talked a little bit about signing up for the Crafting My Life course that Amber Strocel is facilitating.  I signed up because I’ve been at home for almost six years.  I had a job that was s0-so before I had my first son.  I don’t want to go back to that job.  For a long time, I was okay with that.  Then, gradually I wasn’t.  For a long time, I wondered how anyone would want to do anything else when they could choose to stay at home.  (I know how that sentence sounds.  I really do.)  I couldn’t imagine wanting to do something else.  I even imagined myself still staying at home once my children were all in school.  Then, little by little, that started to sound less and less like what I wanted.

First, I realized (because of our mission and playsheet in week one of the course) that I want to be really good at something.  I want to feel competent and to be good at what I do.  I realize I’m a great mom to my kids, but there are very few days when I sit back at the end of the day and feel like I have a good handle on what it takes to mother competently.  Most days I feel lucky that I end the day with three happy, healthy, wonderful children.  I feel lucky.  I don’t always feel like I caused or created that outcome.  In fact, some days I feel like I have three happy, healthy, wonderful children despite my actions not because of them.  (This doesn’t happen every day, but I think we’ve all felt like that at some point.)

Then, in week three, we talked about role models.  Now, I’m not one of those people who can say that I have role model, and I want to follow directly in his/her footsteps.  I don’t have any one person I look to as “it” when it comes to finding a role model.  I have a friend who is an amazing mother.  She is calm, responsive, kind, gentle, loving, and she is a great role model for me when it comes to dealing with my own kids.  There is a couple I know who takes time to express their feelings for each other and show their appreciation for each other.  I have a friend who is very introspective.  She’s very self-searching, and she’s also really honest about sharing what she finds.  I have a friend who started her career in one area, left that job to have children, and is now in the process of making a plan to pursue a second career when her children are a bit older.  Realizing that I admire these people has also helped me to identify areas where I would like to change my life.  In particular, I realized that I want a career.  When my kids are older, I want to identify an area of interest, possibly return to school, and pursue a career in that area.

Right now, I have a couple ideas about what area(s) I might be interested in when the time comes to pursue a new career.  When the time comes, I hope that my ideas are firmed up a bit and provide me with some sort of path.  Until then, I’m enjoying having these realizations a little at a time.

The last thing that I have realized is that life isn’t something that happens to me.  It is a choice I make. I know that there are things that happen in our lives that can change our plans in an instant.  I’m not thinking about that so much right now.  Right now, when I say this, I’m thinking more about the “I’m bored” feeling and how I’m always tired but never get to bed before 11 type situations.

On a regular basis, I say to Kael, “This isn’t something that is happening to you.  It’s something you are choosing.”  I need to hear my own words!  Instead of getting stuck in a rut or wandering around looking for “it,” I need to start making some choices.  Sure, if I don’t know what “it” is, I may not find it, but I can choose to enjoy the journey!

If you’re feeling something like what I described or if you’re feeling your own sort of wandering feelings, I highly recommending Crafting My Life.  It has been great so far (and we’re only half way through!).  It has given me a reason to sit down and think about some of these issues in my life.  It has also given me some tools to take the steps to do it.  I am so excited for the next six weeks!  I can’t wait to see what else I can find out about myself.  🙂

Mamavation Monday: Week 12

Last week, I wrote about how Jason and I had decided to give up sugar for Lent.  I got tons of encouragement, and a few great tips.  Thanks, Everyone!  I also realized something interesting this past week.

We don’t eat much sugar anymore.

Giving up sugar hasn’t been very difficult.  It hasn’t changed most of our eating patterns.  It hasn’t felt like a sacrifice.  There are times when it has been frustrating or annoying, but it hasn’t been hard or sacrificial.  When I say it’s been frustrating or annoying, I am thinking about trying to cook black bean enchiladas.  Did you know that most salsas have sugar in them?  Did you know that tomato sauce has sugar in it?  Some store bought breadcrumbs have HCFS in them.  (I’ve been making my own since I read this blog post just after it was first written.)  So, most of the time this week the choice for us to eliminate sugar from our diets has been about “catching” it in foods here and there.

Honestly, I was pretty surprised how little added sugar we eat.  When I hear about all the sugar that is in our diets these days, I thought eliminating sugar would be a no brainer.  I’m still glad that we gave up something for Lent.  I still think that sugar is something that we can do without in our diets.  I did think though that I would be doing more giving up vs. substituting.  Right now, I’m just looking for a salsa without sugar or using tomato paste and water instead of tomato sauce.  It’s not what I expected.

Last week, someone had asked for tips or suggestions.  I’m not sure I have many since the low amount of sugar in my diet has come as a surprise to me instead of a conscious choice, but here’s what I have so far.

1.  Use fruit to sweeten things you would otherwise sweeten with sugar.  If you are having oatmeal, throw a banana in with the oats while they are cooking.  It will break down and sweeten every bite.  If you are eating plain yogurt, try peaches, pineapple, or banana slices.

2.  Use natural sweeteners in moderation.  Honey is great for sweetening up a smoothie.  Mixing in 1/2 tsp. of maple syrup with some plain yogurt will take the sour bite out of it.

3.  Not everything needs to be sweet.  Try eating savory oatmeal.  Add cucumbers to cottage cheese.

4.  Make sure you’re getting enough sleep and enough liquids.  A book I read a few years ago talked about people who are chronically tired mistaking the feeling of tiredness (or thirst) for hunger.  I know that sounds a little insulting.  I know what hunger feels like, right?  Yes and no.  I do know what it feels like to be hungry, but when I’m tired or thirsty, I will sometimes choose to eat to try to satiate that feeling instead of doing what my body is really asking me to do either by drinking some water or going to bed.

5.  Stock your fridge with fruit and vegetables.  Make fruits and vegetables your snacks, side dishes, and impulse eats.  If those are your choices, you’ll be doing far less mindless eating with a bag of broccoli than you will with a box of cookies.

Have a great week, Everyone!

Mamavation Monday: Week 11

Jason and I decided to give up added sugar for Lent.  We are still eating things that have sugar that naturally occurs in them (like fruit).  We are not eating things with sugar added to them (like most peanut butters).  I made this decision sort of on a whim.  I thought about it briefly, dismissed the idea, and then changed my mind abruptly to commit to doing it.

About a year and a half ago, I decided to get sugar out of my diet for a month.  It was hard but great.  I had more energy.  Food tasted better.  I felt great.  I was really healthy and didn’t get many of the early winter colds either.  It was great.  Did I say it was great?  🙂  This time I’m also doing it with someone.  That makes it a lot easier this time around.  I’ve been tempted to give in to a few sweets, but so far things are going well.

I decided last week not to weigh myself for the rest of March.  Jonas is still young, and my body isn’t responding (weight wise) to diet changes and exercise in a way that encouraged me to keep making good choices.  So, I decided to quite thinking about the scale for a while.

Best wishes to all of you on your journeys!