Monthly Archives: July 2010

Local Food

This past weekend I was excited to pick up a flat of blueberries from long-time family friends who started an organic blueberry venture in retirement, Mohawk River Blueberries. Our Big Guy was equally thrilled about helping pass out free samples while I shopped at Food Front Co-op.

I remember when co-ops where the only place you could find a limited selection of local organic produce. You know the world is changing when virtually every grocer is on the bandwagon, and some have even tried a faux farmer’s market.

Prices have gone down significantly, and cost is more linked to seasonal production. Eating in season is much cheaper, and nudges us toward food decisions with a lighter footprint.

Local Harvest will help you quickly find local farmer’s markets, co-ops, and restaurants that offer the most local food available in your region (in the U.S. that is.)

I recently heard about project that helps link wholesale food growers with regional food buyers. Food Hub connects restaurants with farmers and ranchers.

Do you pay attention to whether your food is local?
Is your local food affordable?

Sustainable Family Finances
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Food Waste

I’m guilty of throwing out more rotten veggies and uneaten leftovers than I care to admit. I’ve been thinking about food waste more lately since I read a really eye-opening article about how much  cheap food is thrown away When I last cleaned out our fridge, I felt super guilty about the money and resources we had wasted. Just because scraps are going to our worm bin, doesn’t mean it’s sustainable. I can relate to the story of the non-consumer advocates struggle with food waste.

I love this age of empowered information, and I found several great sites to help us all reduce our food waste, saving money in the process. The Love Food Hate Waste is pretty, and you’ll want to browse your way to becoming an enlightened food storer. They have a quick recipe for leftover carbonara that I’m sure I could pull off after work. 

You’ll be an empowered join the food revolution and start reducing your food waste. And just because you’re not dumping food from your fridge when eating out, doesn’t mean there is no waste. The food service industry wastes tons of food, but we as consumer need to share the responsibility. Food waste certainly add to our personal and collective carbon footprint, but we all can do better.

My favorite magazine, Whole Living has 12 great tips for preventing food waste

What tricks do you have for avoiding food waste?

Sustainable Family Finances
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Maybe Two

Despite the challenges of parenting, every day I feel like we’ve hit the kid-jackpot. Our kiddos are goldmines of giggles and treasures of enthusiasm and delight. I couldn’t imagine a better way to invest my energy, and they take every bit. The dividends of smooches and stories are worth it all, and it’s hard to imagine life without a family.

Yet, lately the idea of staying a family of four has permeated my conscious. After having Girly we were both on the fence about whether to have a third child, and Hubby was even tilted toward three. Knowing how nice it has been to have a three year space between kids, I wasn’t ready to be swayed until there was the prospect having a break in washing cloth diapers It’s not my personal energy that limits me from wanting another child, it’s the energy required from the planet. 

I know it’s a personal decision, and I certainly don’t judge families with three or more. Many who opt to have a single child for environmental reasons. One of favorite activists Bill McKibben, wrote the case in Maybe One. Personally, I yearned for a second child, and it would have been too great a sacrifice. Yet, at this point I feel that having a third child would be a bit greedy. Two is my happy medium.

While finances don’t dictate our choice, there are financial considerations to your family size. Costs begin in utero, through birth, paternity leave, and won’t lighten up for about two decades. That’s before college. Grandparents out there will remind me that the expense never really goes away, it just changes. 

How do your family finances and sustainable values impact your family size?

Sustainable Family Finances
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Nitty Gritty

Now I’m typically not one to air my dirty laundry, and particularly not our nitty laundry. But  I’m willing to share my story, because it shouldn’t be a stigma to catch head lice. Sure it’s a major hassle, but it’s a likely ordeal of parenthood.

My saga includes some sweet serendipity, which started back when I bought a old fashioned fainting couch at a neighborhood yard sale that had been on my  home wish list . Then when Hubby was leaving for his backpacking trip, he ran into the same neighbor and it turned out that her daughter was more than happy to take care of our doggy for some cash. So, then I got the call that our Big Guy caught head lice (1 of about 8 kids). When our neighbor called me back to remind that I still hadn’t picked up my chase sofa, I told her that I had simply been booked and now dealing with lice. Then a miracle happened. My neighbor called back to offer her “expert nit-picker” skills, as she could sympathize with the challenge. I was overjoyed by her gracious offer.

Now you may wonder about the connection to finances or sustainability here, and my reply is that when your quality of life is down there is simply no way to focus on either. Plus, if you’ve been diligent about washing on cold and air drying to reduce your footprint, all that effort goes out the window once you have to do a month’s worth of laundry in a few days!

There is also an intriguing connection to class-ism. Admittedly when I told Hubby, one of his first reactions was that he was surprised that so many kids in expensive child care would catch lice. Another friend told me that in her son’s t-ball team head lice had gotten out of control because none of the parents were willing to tell each other. 

I’m the first to agree that the very thought of head lice makes my scalp crawl, but it shouldn’t be taboo and we should learn how to support each other. Here are a few very helpful tips from my neighbor/guardian angel:

  • Prepare yourself, head lice never comes at a convenient time!
  • Get a good metal comb, the plastic ones do NOT work.
  • Focus your energy on combing thoroughly and repeatedly.
  • Cleaning is important, but nowhere near as important as vigilant combing.
  • Comb every day until there is nothing for 3 days in a row, then comb every few days, then every week for about a month.
  • Comb at the first the sign of suspicion. Always better to stop it early on. 

If you need some basic education, this brochure says it all simply.

Have you had to put your life on hold for head lice? 
What advice to do you have for other families?

Sustainable Family Finances
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.