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!