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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My 'treatment' for the Rainy-Day Blues

I wouldn't last a day living out on the West Coast!  It has been raining for one whole day and I am already feeling 'melancholy' (even though we DESPERATELY need the moisture - our lake is drying up for heaven's sake!)  Anyway, when I am feeling blue, I try to focus on all of the things that are going right - instead of those that are going not-so-right...

So, here is my list of the 'Top 10 things going right' with this project:

  1. My son (aka 'snackman') loves the homemade crackers that I have been making - in fact, he just finished dragging me over to the cupboard to fill up his bowl.
  2. I haven't used my dryer since I unplugged it back in February - and I sure do love the smell of my line-dried clothes/sheets/towels.  Nothing like it, seriously.
  3. Meatless Mondays are getting less painful for my family members every week.  To quote my husband this past Monday, "This is the best one so far hun".  Thank goodness for Mollie Katzen and her amazing veggie recipes!  On top of that, I have drastically reduced the amount of meat that I cook with during the rest of the week. 
  4. My hygiene regimen is getting greener (and simpler) each week.  As I gradually run out of the toxic products, I have been replacing them with natural ones or often, none at all.
  5. My sewing is going really well... I am about 50/50 for projects that have actually turned out!
  6. The grow-op continues to be a success.  The broccoli has been moved outside and the bigger plants have been transplanted to bigger pots.  A few more weeks and they can move outside!  I went to a local horticulture presentation a few weeks back and learned some catchy techniques for saving water for them too, so I am excited to try it out!
  7. My new library card has already been so well-used that I am practically becoming a fixture in that place!  Chephren loves the visits (and the new books!) and it has been a fabulous motivator to force me to read books from start to finish in a reasonable amount of time.  (I used to read 4-5 books at a time over months - can you say ADD?)
  8. I don't miss shopping... at all.  And I have learned to be patient and when I do actually need something... it goes on 'the list'.  I know now that I'll find it eventually.
  9. We have ditched the Teflon pans in favor of the cast iron ones... we had already done this years ago (the cast iron ones were in our 'camping gear'), and I can't remember exactly why we switched back to using the Deathflon... anyhow, we have righted this wrong and are back on track.  My parents have made the switch too... sweet!
  10. I have connected with a wonderful group of people from this project - some old friends and some new. Your input, advice and support have made this project that much more enjoyable. 
There.  And yes, I do feel a little bit better.  Although I think that I'll go and pour myself a glass of wine now, just to seal the deal :)

Happy Humpday Everyone!



  1. Yeah Maren! Awesome list - way to go!

    I'm giggling just a bit, because a few of the things you mention, I've done for years out of pure laziness... and it turns out now that I'm actually doing something good! Who knew!

    I can't remember the last time I put my laundry in the dryer... mostly because the static and shrinkage always drove me nuts. And more often than not, I'd forget that I had stuff in the dryer, and I'd come back days later to a wrinkled mass of clothing or sheets or whatever it was. D'OH! Hanging it up right out of the washer is much better. And Todd has been a cast-iron advocate forever - he quickly read me the riot act about icky Teflon shortly after I met him. Pretty much everything we cook on the stovetop is in a lovely cast iron frying pan... and we even use it in the oven. Works great for 'grilled' veggies, sausages, etc.!

    On a more personal note, I also only wash my hair about every 5-7 days (it would be a straw-like, fly-away mess if I washed it more often than that), and usually it is with the bio-degradable or sulfate-free shampoo that I've dug out of my travel kit, since I never remember to buy normal shampoo when at the grocery store, etc. Also, except when I go to work or to a major social event, I do not use deodorant (they contain nasty aluminum compounds that leech into your body!)... I know, I know, these things may sound a little gross... but I think that after years of these habits, my body has adjusted. Honestly, when I'm working up a good, activity-induced sweat, my pits don't really smell that bad... and my hair loves the volume a little salt adds to it!
    I do suck at cooking and making homemade goodies... I am a bit of a slave to convenience when it comes to meals, I confess. Good thing Todd is an awesome chef!! But in my own way, I am trying to be conscientious about many choices I'm making when it comes to daily living... and I'm learning soooo much from following you on this adventure! I enjoy the tips and links you share and appreciate your candidness with respect to the project.
    Hope all is well with you and your hubby and the adorable little snackman!

  2. Maren, I am LOVING your blog! I always check in every couple days to see what you've been up to. Awesome list! I'm glad to see you got a copy of Slow Death by Rubber Duck. It has been a book on my counter for months now, and I refer to it when I can't remember something to do with a chemical or plastic, etc. From phthalates, to fire-retardant chemicals to teflon it is amazing (and horrifying) what is in the products we use(d) everyday without knowing. I actually had a sickening moment today when I realize the so-called "natural + organic" product I've been using on my girls has a nasty preservative in it. Any suggestions from you or your readers for good baby products or make-your-own recipes?

    Also, can we see pics of your grow-op?! This year, I started an herb garden with basil, parsley, thyme, and lavender in hopes of drying some for my spice cupboard. As well, I've got a bunch of tomatoes started that I am going to use use for canning this summer for tomato sauces. Don't you find this new awareness is great and empowering, but a trip to the grocery store can be quite disappointing? My girls LOVE canned fruit but to my shock last fall most of the peaches and pears come from China. My plan is to get into the canning habit, and buy fruit from the local farmer's market this summer. In my head I always think "What would my grandma do?" when I am faced with a choice pertaining to cooking, baking, cleaning, etc. And I find that this little question always brings me to a simple recipe be it for a home-made cleaning product, or making jam for my girls. Much like your crackers for Cephren, when needing a healthy alternative to the store-bought preservative-packed options.

    Again, you are doing a great job! Keep them coming!

  3. Hey Cheryle,

    Thank YOU for your candidness as well. About the 'hygiene' thing - it is funny now that I am 'out of the closet' about my ever-changing regimen, a lot of people have been more comfortable 'admitting' their regimens to me as well. Now I am convinced that there are more people out there than we think who are switching to a more 'natural' regimen but just not broadcasting it! Anyway, you are right,the body adjusts. I too only wear deodorant when I need to be 'presentable' (and a crystal one at that) and I have found that I actually have been sweating less and that my sweat smells better than it used to.... my theory is that I was sweating out the chemicals that I was putting in and that was making it stink MORE. As for the hair thing, my hair is adjusting FAST, and I would never go back to using shampoo. Even Trent has noticed the difference and is now asking me questions about the recipe... maybe he's next on the No-Poo train?!

    Anyway, thanks for following and sharing. It is always great to hear from you! Hi to Todd :)

  4. Jaime,

    Cudos to you my friend for making the changes that you are and also taking care of TWINS! And thank you for the recommendation of the rubber duck book - I found it to be an excellent read with tons of information about changes that I needed to make (hence the new 'no poo' regimen)! Hmmm... as for the baby recipes, I will have to get back to you. For Chephren, I have just been using an all-natural soap (from rocky mountain soaps) that is for 'sensitive skin', and I just lather him up with that... he has short hair and doesn't need to much else for 'product' at this point. If I come up with something as a DIY method, I'll for sure let you know.

    I LOVE the grandma analogy (although in my case, it would probably, great-grandma). I will have to put that into my thought process as well when I am problem solving. Pics of the grow-op to come in the next entry, which will hopefully be later today if all goes as planned.

    Thanks for the comments and for following along. All the best to you and your family!