Sunday, October 31, 2010

Thirty days has September, April, June and November

So I'm doing NaNoBloMo again this year. For 30 days I'll blog every day. Just as a prewarning, here's what I'll talk about. Yeah I have a plan, stolen from someone else so I guess that makes it a meme. Sue me.

Day 01 - Introduce yourself
Day 02 – Your first love
Day 03 – Your parents
Day 04 – Your music
Day 05 – Your definition of love
Day 06 – Your hobbies
Day 07 – Your best friend
Day 08 – A precious item
Day 09 – Your beliefs
Day 10 – An inspiration
Day 11 – Your siblings
Day 12 – What’s in your bag
Day 13 – Your mode of transportation
Day 14 – Where you live
Day 15 – Something you love about yourself
Day 16 – Your first kiss
Day 17 – Your favourite memory
Day 18 – Your favourite birthday
Day 19 – Something you regret
Day 20 – Your morning routine
Day 21 – Your job and/or schooling
Day 22 – Something that upsets you
Day 23 – Something that makes you feel better
Day 24 – Something that makes you cry
Day 25 – Your sleeping habits
Day 26 – Your fears
Day 27 – Your favourite place
Day 28 – Something that you miss
Day 29 – Your favourite foods/drinks
Day 30 – Your aspirations

Off I go!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Nine meals away from anarchy

Work with me here - this is a bit of a rambling path of a post.

I recently heard a radio interview with someone from CHOICE magazine about their Shonky awards and the main part that I heard was their critique of Coles' Feed a Family of 4 for under $10 promotion. CHOICE said:

Shonky for ten-buck blow-out goes to... Coles

When we were culling our list of nominees down to a manageable eight, the clouds of conundrum hovered over Coles: so many potential Shonky awards, but which one to give?(snip) However, we decided to give the Shonky for its loaves-and-fishes $10 meals, where you can supposedly make some Curtis Stone MasterCreation to feed four people for less than $10 – provided, it turns out, if you happen to have some of the stuff in your pantry already and you manage to convince Coles to let you buy two cloves of garlic or one bay leaf. We calculated Curtis’ $7.76 Coq au vin would cost $37.74 if you bought all the necessary ingredients – including the integral half-litre of vin, which somehow wasn’t included in the $7.76 (though you’d perhaps hope not for that price). And it wasn't just that recipe - the $9.99 Chicken Tikka Masala set us back $39.74.
And the person from CHOICE being interviewed snickered and chortled about "who has that well-stocked a pantry" and "why would you have half the ingredients in your pantry when a supermarket is just around the corner" and so on. The interviewer agreed with her, all the while agreeing that it was unreasonable to have things like wine, stock, herbs, spices, garlic and so forth on hand.

I take a lot of pride in our pantry. I should take a photo of it to put here but for now I can tell you that I could probably feed my family for about 3 weeks on what is in there, maybe more. I have flour, sugar, salt, yeast, milk, cream, pulses and lentils and beans, vegetables, pasta, rice, tinned tomatoes and a whole lot of other things that are stocked in there. If I had a larder I would be serious about stockpiling our food. We also have a chest freezer full of meat. With a Thermomix now, we don't need to have food precooked so much - just a few bits and pieces in the freezer for a true emergency or for someone else to feed us with, rather than heat-and-eat meals.

This is for two reasons. Firstly, our income can be a bit cyclical and when we've got more income, we can stock up on things and "save" that way.

Secondly, as peaktavists, we are sure that at some point soon we will have an energy crisis that will mean there will be a problem with food supply, even here in Adelaide in an established first world country. It happened in the UK just this year. And it will happen here in Australia sometime soon. Milk and bread will go first. Then fruit and vegetables. Then canned and frozen goods, toilet paper, first aid/pain relief and packaged items like pasta and chocolate.

I recently heard another discussion, on the ABC so I should be able to add it in later, about organic food and food security - which, like water security, will be buzz words of 2011 I think - and someone spoke about the situation where any country is only 9 meals away from anarchy. Some say it's only 4 meals though.  

And so - we have a well-stocked pantry. I'm working on building it into a larder, with extra things like toilet paper and spices. We have a "zombie store" as well - extra long lasting foods, in tins, as well as water and toilet paper. For the impending zombia apocalypse. We have a garden that will hopefully produce more than just spinach soon. We have friends with eggs, and we have skills to trade.

And that is what is going to help us. I can bake, and I have a recipe book - or a dozen - because yes, I do use the internet for a lot of recipes but in the real world one day the internet might not be there. I can make soap, make a lotion, make a cream, make a balm. I have good aromatherapy knowledge and a stock of oils to use. I have books to refer to for first aid as well as the skills. I have a strong TheHusband who can do all kinds of mechanical and labouring type things. We try to be low maintenance in general with our health and wellbeing.

And so, I maintain a pantry. Just in case one day we can't access the superpantry, just-in-time, don't worry I'll just pop out and get some life that is being foisted on us. It's not paranoia, but a form of saving for a rainy day.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

How to peel peas like a monkey

The other day when I was shelling peas - oh have you seen them!

They are beautiful and the first blush of Spring on my palatte.

And then I mangled the end of one too many.

And I thought there has to be a better way. And of course, you may have seen the banana thing that's going around on YouTube.

And guess what?

It works really well. And you can open down one side and pull them out.

OR unzip so you have the on either side and it looks really cute.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Inside me is an organised person wanting out!

A few weeks ago, I realised something. I'm not organised despite thinking that I am! I'm not neat, or tidy. I am clean, but not fastidious. My house is not a shrine to anything but was getting a hint of clutter. And why? Well being me, I did dig into the "why" of it and came up with... I'm a perfectionist. Can't clean the fridge because I won't be able to do it perfectly. Can't fold the washing or clean the bath because it won't be perfect.

Which is silly now that I write it out. But that's how I felt when I really dug into it. So I signed up for FlyLady. There, I said it. I signed up for a pep talk about how to shine my sink. Why did I do that, you ask? Well I had to admit to myself that what we were doing as a family wasn't really working. Expecting TheHusband to actually take charge and do stuff and ask me to do stuff and have Expectations about housework and food and bill paying and money and so on wasn't going to happen.

As an aside, I did dig into what I had this expectation that he would have Expectations of me. And it came down to cheese sandwiches. My mother as far as I can remember didn't make me lunch as a child. I had an (ingrained? socially developed? reasonable?) expectation that I would have my lunch made, or a cake made for the end of year picnic, or something like that, and if I think on it all I can remember is being disappointed by not having lunch, and not having a cake.

Maybe my dislike of sweets comes from there? Hmmmmmm... not everything is a Thing though. Back to what I was saying.

So I can remember going to school without lunch, and to dance classes on a Saturday and not having lunch. Of looking longingly at the children who were getting KFC for lunch and maybe being able to scrimp a chip from them. Of wishing I had money but never having it to have lunch like that. So I came to hate lunch and still struggle with it now. But I love sandwiches if they're freshly made and interesting and have always had a thing for cheese sandwiches.

So I had an expectation of something from my mother. And didn't get it. And so have always had a thing about what I think parents/husbands/partners should be and do and it was not met and I carried that disappointment into my marriage. But it wasn't working. The housework wasn't getting done because I was expecting TheHusband to ask me to do it and then I could get all het up about not doing it because it wasn't My Job to do it! It should be shared! Equally!!

But this is not the case in reality. I had to be ok with being in charge. I've struggled with being in charge in our family as my mother was nasty about being in charge of our family and it was her way or none. But I bit the bullet the other day and took! charge! We now have a rhythm to our week, a new budget, a cleaner house, the energy to do stuff and a Thermomix on the way.

Rhythm? WTF is that? Well, I refuse to say routine. But I was so caught up by my need to do something perfectly and totally that I couldn't start. But knowing on Monday that I clean the bathroom for 15 minutes and that's it, and on Thursday I do the food shopping and errands, and Tuesday the markets and cooking/baking, and Saturday is family day, and what vaguely we're having for dinner each night and suddenly instead of me feeling like the house is overwhelming me, it is cleaner and neater and easier to straighten up in 15 minute bouts. I now relish my days at home, enjoy having a clean kitchen to wake up to, know that our garage sale is coming and things will be cleared out of the garage then, have cleared out my closet and now have clothes to wear and can find them, and am generally happier.

I have also done things that I've been meaning to.
I bought an address book and have written people's addresses down.
I have written out the months of the year and whose birthdays are where, what things happen in what months (bike rides, festivals etc), and things to look forward to.
I have written all over our calendar and now need to think about one for 2011.
I've made notes about the whole family's sizes and preferences, listed 5 ideas for each of us for Giftmas should people ask, written out our gift list for said festival and planned my makings and buyings so that it won't be a huge drain on us. 

I've also looked more into my spiritual side, how to celebrate things the way we want to, how to celebrate Sally's first Summer Solstice, tarot, herbs and healing and I even cast on a new project which is not useful or needed - a shawl no less!

Now to clear out my blog feed, purge my knitting UFOs, have a garage sale and enjoy living more in the day than previously.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

I've started a few posts...

But thought I'd actually post this time.
  • I feel weird atm. I've been trying to work out a balance of St Johns Wort, an anti-anxiety tea, bush flower essences, exercise, relaxation ad sleep. And I think I've found a sweet spot this week but have been struggling a bit with anxiety and the black dog sniffing around.
  • Sally is awesome. She has learnt how to click her tongue, is raising her arms when she wants up, requests a 7pm bedtime, has trialled a few solids and is a ham! most of the time. She's not crawling but can roll with determination and is doing an inchworm kind of thing. I'm planning on taking her to swimming lessons come summer too. She's nearly 7 months old!
  • I think I'll become a hearth witch when I grow up.
  • We tidied the garage today and are going to have a garage sale in early November. We have so much stuff to just get rid of and there's no point holding onto the clutter when it's sucking energy out of our lives. So the extra furniture, excess linen now that we've upsized our bed, extra clothes, couches, books and so on will go for cheap or to a good home.
  • TheHusband and I sat down today and wrote lists of our basic measurements for clothes, preferences for foods and drinks, and shoe sizes. Makes shopping a bit easier. Also wrote a list of things we would like for Giftmas. Given that we don't celebrate it and it's going to be "fun" to navigate it with a Childerbeast this year, I thought we'd get it early with some ideas for the inevitable questions.
  • We're going to get photos taken of us as a family and gift them to people. And for our close friends who won't care for that, I have evil plans afoot! involving food and buttons.