Saturday, November 28, 2009

I bet after my last rant on traditions you were wondering what my thanksgiving was going to look like?
Well, here is a sneak peek: me cooking by myself with two kids while Mike had a fever, body aches and was overall miserable. Making food all day, setting a table, clearing table and then doing dishes three times. The kids really were such a help, they cut, cleared, cleaned and I couldn't have done it without them. They even picked out all the serving dishes, my little domestic duo. But still, so much work for 3.5 people. It tasted wonderful. Why do I wait so long to eat turkey all year? In the future when someone is sick we are ordering take out. I will.
I got to enjoy some shopping the day after. Got to Target at 8am and made out with half the deals I wanted to so I was pretty happy.

nothing like a little turkey a la candlelight

the kids veggie tray

the kids making the veggie tray..are their knives huge enough?

the table..pre-food

who needs a centerpiece when you can use tree brances?

this was where Mike was all weekend, feverishly wrapped up in blankets needing water and ibuprophen every 4 hours, poor guy...he did sit shivering at the table eating

the happy girl and her dog

Monday, November 23, 2009

established practice, ritual; celebratory observation

Do you ever do something over and over again and wonder "Why am I doing this"?
Traditions are kind of like that. Some you just do because you've done them and others you do because you've always done them AND like them. Most of the time you have NO IDEA where the tradition started in the first place, yet year after year, there are the same expectations.

Why do we have to have certain days and celebrations to feel things or do things for others?

I am thankful every day for so many things I couldn't begin to list but why do I need a day to eat a turkey to do that?

Why do I need a day to "feel patriotic" and watch fireworks?
Why do I need a day to "really love" my husband?
Why do I need a day to wear green and celebrate somebody else's traditions & history?
Why do I need a day to dress my children up so they can get candy from strangers?

And most importantly, why do I need a day to give gifts to others? Or decorate a tree and stick ornaments on it...or make my kids believe something that really doesn't? That is so far beyond what the actual day is about anyway. I think you all know the day I'm talking about.

I have started looking at the meaning of traditions, what they mean to me, and where they originated. The thought of being a robot and doing things because they've always been done that way, that day or like that is very unappealing to me.

Here are some traditions I do like:
Saturday morning breakfast with the family
Sunday church
Family movie night
Making a gingerbread house with the kids every December
going to the water park every summer
Enjoying dinner around the table together
date nights
Celebrating Easter and what it means
Sending a card to someone I care about

Those don't sound much like traditions that we know but they are the kind I like.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I watched an interesting movie yesterday called Food, Inc. and highly recommend it to anyone living in the United States that frequents grocery stores on a regular basis. So unless you live in a remote area where you grow everything...take the time to watch this movie.

The movie reveals some of the issues and policies our government is using to "regulate" farmers, the food industry and EVERYTHING we put in our mouths and it has made me think. Since moving to Idaho five years ago, I have really enjoyed getting to go to farmers markets and get fresh produce. Even the local grocery story carries local fruits and veggies. I like supporting the farms=no food. I have considered many times getting a half or quarter beef from a local farmer, not only because of the quality and knowing what the cow had eaten, but because of the savings in price.

I couldn't believe the information in this movie regarding how farmers are controlled and manipulated by the government, and the unethical practices of growing, feeding and distributing beef, chicken and pork. Yuck.
I think because I was raised in my teenage years on a sort-of ranch where we grew our meat or got it from a neighbor who grew their meat, I was horrified by the way the animals were treated. Not respectfully and not humanly. We always took care of our animals: feeding them right (grassfed), making sure they were healthy. Now I know this has been going on for years and I have chosen to take a blind eye and buy my steak and enjoy it, but something hit a nerve with this movie.

So here is the bottom line of the movie: consumers (you and me) are producing this frenzy of demand, and based on that demand, food companies are reaching outrageous solutions to keep up with it. The fast food industry is the #1 purchaser of many meats and other things like potatoes. We are creating a monster because we like to eat our junk food. We consume more fat and sugar than ANY OTHER COUNTRY. Disgusting.

Because we only like to buy chicken breasts, they are now growing chickens that are fatter and heavier than they were 20 years ago, have no life, and the poor chickens cannot even walk from the weight.
We are dying and getting infected with e. coli (not around 20 years ago) from not only meats, but produce as well because nobody is paying attention or making laws to make sure it doesn't happen. Disgusting.

But what can we do?? I try and get my groceries as cheap as I can so I can feed my family on a budget. How do we find a solution to this? One thing I have been trying to do lately after finding blogs and websites on the subject, is to use whole foods. I didn't even know what a whole food was. It is a food that is not "processed"..thinks food in their natural form like fresh fruits, veggies, beans, grains, grass fed beef, free range chicken, etc.

I am by no means different from all those other consumers that like to buy only chicken breasts and my tons of products with genetically engineered corn (did you know corn is in everything?)

So do I buy free-range chicken and grass fed beef for a higher price but eat it less often, and limit the amount of processed foods we eat like cereal, crackers, chips, granola bars?
There are so many great websites out there that show you how to do it, make your own granola bars, cereal, use beans and whole grains to eat meat less. Can I afford it?

I will have to think about this one. But I do know one thing, I do not want to raise children that eat fast food all the time, don't know where food comes from or how to prepare and plan meals that include whole foods.