Monday, January 18, 2010

OK, I *think* I'm back...

... but, the way things are going around here, you just never know!

The kids have all had the same "bad-cold-with-REALLY-high-fever-can't-get-off-the-couch-and-can't-stop-coughing" thing going, which (of course) turned into a raging ear infection for several of them. Yippee!

I hope... HOPE... that we've seen the last of this, and we can all get back to normal.

Grace, of course, was NOT a good patient. She spent most of every day either crying, telling me she had a fever, or sleeping on me. The others, however, were amazing. Truly amazing. Marie (my 4-yr old), who had an awfully high fever, never once complained or cried... AND got up and got her own drink whenever she was thirsty, and then climbed right back on the couch and snuggled under the quilts.

Is that not amazing???

I wish I could say that *I* was that mature when I was 4... or heck, even now at 42! No, I tend to be a lot more like Grace. If I'm suffering, the world will KNOW that I am suffering. I am such a whiner.

Still, we had our funny moments during our latest illness.

One particularly trying afternoon I had two very sick little girls on my lap, snuggled under a quilt, trying to take naps. They were both coughing NON-STOP and both of them... well,... both of them were coughing right in each other's faces. Gross. I told them to either turn their heads or cough into their hands or elbows. Grace looked at me like I had sprouted a third eye but, in a valiant attempt to actually obey Mommy, she dutifully turned her arm around in a ridiculously awkward pose and coughed on the outside of her elbow. I had to try to stop laughing long enough to show her that I actually meant the inner crook of her arm....

In other news....

I actually got a chance to watch Food Inc. and Supersize Me. Ugh. I tend to avoid documentaries (seeing as they are usually mighty one-sided) but still, I watched because I knew that it would accomplish one big thing: give me the kick start that I needed to make more food homemade. Whether or not these documentaries accurately portrayed everything or not, the fact still remains that... let's face it... processed food really isn't good for you.

None of that is a surprise to anyone.

So, with that extra bit of motivation, I bought more ingredients and less "end result" food at the grocery store. I didn't get to use many coupons, but still managed to come out at $170 -- and that includes EVERYTHING, including pet food and light bulbs. For some families that may be astronomical, but feeding a family of 9? I'm feeding each person for less than $20 a WEEK!

Still, I know that there are so many ways I can improve how we eat around here, so that's why I'm tossing this question out to you:

What are the normal "store bought" things that you make from scratch? Bread? Granola? Yogurt? How has making more things homemade improved the way your family eats?

Let me know! I'm eager to hear any and all responses!


Suburban Cowgirl said...

Good to hear that you are alive :), if not yet completely healthy!

As you know, I bake our bread; using my Bosch Mixer. BEST kitchen appliance expense yet! (but I don't grind my own wheat, yet, but I think that day is coming).

I make my own cheese sauce for mac-n-cheese. And cream sauce stuff that recipes say 'use a can of cream of whatever soup'.

What else do we make? Wow, I thought I was SO healthy, but I guess I'm not ;)

What do you think you'll start making?

Cydney said...

Glad to hear your crowd is on the mend! No fun feeling bad.

Less than $20/person per week for a family of 9 is great! We aim for $40 per week for just the two of us (so far), plus toiletries, supplies and dog food. Our budget is based on DH having been unemployed for a year... but we know we can do even better. I'm much more careful than I used to be but I was raised to be frugal. :)

I still haven't seen those movies, but get the premise. My GP recommends fresh fruits and veggies and organic where it counts... things with thick skins are usually okay but apples, for example, are more likely to be affected by pesticides.

We buy bread made without high fructose corn syrup and organic yogurt (plain and add real fruit). I make my own granola & trail mix when we go hiking. I make soups instead of using canned. We're slowly building a repertoire to grow and then preserve our own veggies and even some fruit. I've gotten pretty good at tomato sauce and fruit sorbet. :)

DH also hunts, so a lot of our meat (and fish) do not come from farm sources with all the hormones or chemicals.

Amber said...

I hope your family will stay feeling better!

I love the elbow story, that's great. It is so interesting to see how little kids think about things.

As for your make at home question - I make most stuff from scratch - bread, granola, yogurt, soups, cereal... the only pre-made thing I buy is dried pasta and occasionally (like once a month) a box of crackers or pretzels. I do make my own crackers, but sometimes my husband gets a hankering for Triscuits and as far as I know those can't be made at home. Oh, and I buy a box of generic Cheerios every couple months for toddler finger food.

The only canned things I buy are diced tomatoes, tuna, diced green chilies and diced pineapple (I have a son who LOVES pineapple!).

Our milk and beef are organic (the beef is grass fed as well), but our chicken, eggs, and pork are not. Our veggies are organic during the CSA season (mid-Feb - Oct), but our fruit all year and veggies during the rest of the year are mixed. We're going to start keeping chickens in the spring and if all goes well we'll have organic chicken and eggs. Our longer term plan calls for keeping a cow and a couple pigs, but we'll see if that actually happens!

The bottom line is approximately $100/person/month, which works out to ~$3.25 a day per person - however this does not include pet food or paper goods. Still, I think it seems pretty reasonable.

Amber said...

Oh, and to answer your second part - yes, making stuff at home has definitely improved how our family eats. My husband and I laugh at our wedding pictures because we both weighed about 40 lbs more when we married than we do now. We never went on a diet - we just completely changed how we eat. We are also a lot healthier - we almost never get sick, and when we do we generally get over things quite quickly.

Ouiz said...

Wow! Y'all do some amazing things!!!

I wish we could grow our own food but, unfortunately, our yard just won't cut it. I can grow jalapeno peppers and herbs, but so far that's been the only successful crop we've had. I had dreams of canning my own tomatoes, but all of them got... what was it called... bottom end rot or something like that. TOTALLY depressing.

Suburban Cowgirl, I need to try some of those "cream of whatever" recipes, since we use those sorts of soups quite often.

Cydney, was it hard to learn to start canning? I've watched so many different videos on the whole thing, but until I actually *try* it myself with someone who knows what they're doing, I'm going to be terrified that I'll do something wrong and we'll all get botulism.... *grin*

Amber, 40 POUNDS? What an amazing feat that is!!! And all from just eating healthier! I am stunned that you can make just about everything from scratch. I have to admit that potato chips are a regular staple around here (hang my head in shame...)

Beth said...

I buy stuff that has one ingredient :)

Cydney said...

I thought I typed another comment/response to your canning question. (shrugging)

It really wasn't hard to do, it just took time. Tomatoes are so easy and almost fool-proof, so it was a good place to start. I asked lots of questions, of my mom and a good friend, and then spent a whole day over boiling water. :p

FWIW, my grandmother canned everything (veggies, preserves) in water bath (she didn't like the pressure canner) and we never got sick. I think you just have to make sure and boil veggies for 10 minutes, at least.

DH's grandmother uses a pressure canner for venison and I think that's the only way to do meat and maybe some other things.