Today was a beautiful, perfect fall day. One of those days where you tell yourself to slow down and actually do! We went to a Henry Cowell State park to walk through the redwoods and then walked over to Roaring Camp Railroads to picnic and feed the ducks. We even got to see two deer, peacefully grazing on the grass in the shade. They were near the tree we picnic at and hung out and ate for a while.
Everest didn't want to be in the stroller, he wanted to walk, most the time holding my hand. He wanted to walk very, very slow...pick up sticks, touch the dirt, sit on every bench we passed...so we did. At first I found myself rushing them 'lets finish the hike so we can go feed the ducks', but then realized it's not about where we are going to these little ones, it's about what we are doing right now, in this moment. We slowed down, we had a beautiful day.
This is my favorite willow tree by the pond, we use to picnic here when Everest was a baby, but picnicing near a pond is not very relaxing with a toddler, so our new picnic spot in in a very large grass field by some big piles of dirt and a low, climbable tree.
I am grateful for the day, for my beautiful boys, my hard working husband, and our health. We are so fortunate.
I originally wanted to post weekly about frugal/simple living/conscious living, something I am striving to balance. Problem is, each post I made (there were 3 of them) ended up being very, VERY long. I then realized that the topic is a blog of it's own that I should not start at the moment. So I just want to share a few links and thought.
The main area I'm working on is our grocery spending. Our budget is quite snug, but that it a trade off I'm happy to work with so that I may stay at home and home school our children, plus at some point my sweet husband will get his next promotion:)
We spend a lot on groceries. We live in a high cost area, we are mainly vegetarian and eat mostly organic. Organic coffee is in the picture too. Not cheap. I have been trying on and off for years to lower our grocery bill... "trying"...but now we have hit a little tighter spot and "trying" is not an option, doing is. So far this month has gone very well. These are the main things that have helped-
-Meal planning dinners
-Grocery shopping once a week
-weekly farmers market, right now prices are good...
-cooking bread, tortillas, baked goods, sweets from scratch
-eating a little less
-using dry goods (beans, grains) to bulk up meals (like add brown rice to our eggs and veggies) -cut back on coffee, more tea
This weeks dinners-
-homemade pizza and salad
-crock pot chili and cornbread
-wheat pasta with pesto, mushrooms, greens
-Polenta eggplant bake (in crock pot)
-bean tacos (homemade tortillas, salsa, avo)
It does help that we have a big freezer stock of tomatoes from this summers garden:)
Another world I am trying to get into is coupons. I've never really used them, but am starting to get it.... I have read a lot on Money Saving Mom's blog all about stacking coupons and taking advantage of rewards cards, etc. I love her blog, she post a lot, but I generally don't use 'mainstream' type products and don't eat most food from regular grocery stores, but I still have found some good stuff on her site. She often links to giveaways and free samples.
Alices Kitchen has some good post about eating organic for less and frugal eats that are still healthy.
The Grocery Cart Challenge is a great site, she feeds her family off $60 a week. Her family of 6!!!! She feeds her family pretty good and links menus and recipes, she cooks a lot, they eat some produce and I haven't seen Top Raman on the menu, so it is quite impressive!
For some 'health food' brand coupons, this site has some good ones. Also, a lot of HF companies give coupons on there sites.
Also, for general frugal living topics, I enjoy visiting Mothering's frugal board.
I recently began reading about Waldorf Inspired education/living. One big thing that has helped me immensely is setting up a better rhythm in our home. It is still a work in progress and I always love reading about others household rhythm and routines.
Over at the blog Seasons of Joy, Annette has started a series about her household routine. I really enjoyed the first post and look forward to reading more. If you have blogged about your rhythms please leave a comment with a link and I'll add it to this post:)
I've entered into a few contest on blogs to win things, and this time I was the lucky one:) I won this from A Small Tribe's blog:) She even included a few cute handmade cloth napkins:) Whooo Hooo! I won! Check out the beautiful play space she has for her boys on her blog!! I love it! Thank you Marina at Small Tribe!
Kylan turned 4 on the 7th. We went to Irvine Park, one of my favorite places to take the kids when we are in Southern California! It is beautiful, cheap, no lines, lots to do! We went on the train, road ponies, hiked around, went on multiple playgrounds, feed ducks in the pond. We saw squirrels, peacocks, had a picnic, and it was a perfect day! There is also a little zoo we didn't make it to this time, but it was so much fun:) Here is Kylan, elated, waiting for the train ride:)
The long lost sock... I made this sock a few years ago and never made a partner, so I think they may become a Christmas present to myself this year:)
Kylans socks, almost done...
And a project for the road. We are leaving this morning to drive down to Southern California to visit our families and to celebrate Kylans 4th Birthday:) I'm hoping I can knit in the car without getting car sick, we'll see:)
In a effort to save $, I make our bread and baked goods from scratch. I've made homemade tortillas a few times, they are sooooooooo good! They are a bit time consuming to make, but if your kids are old enough to help, it's fun:)
What I use-
3c flour (white, wheat, or a mix of the two)
1Tbs. baking powder
3Tbs veggie oil
1c hot water
Mix it all together and form a ball, if you use whole wheat flour you may need to add a little more water. Grab a small ball (maybe a little less then a donut hole) and smooth out a bit in your hand. Roll with a rolling pin on a floured surface until round-ish, flat, and thin.
On an ungreased preheated griddle (I use cast iron/ medium heat) cook the tortilla until bubbles start to form, flip over and briefly cook.
Experiment with the thickness of the tortilla and how well you like it cooked. I was all proud of myself when I could finally get them really thin, but discovered I like them a bit thicker and not too well done:)