The little Clay Pot

Lots of things can go in a little Clay Pot

Accepting a little help… February 22, 2011

Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel,….1 Peter 3:7a

Ok, be forewarned you may not like what you are about to read.   But, lets face it blogging really isn’t about who reads it…it’s really about the one who writes it…and this little Clay Pot is just full of all sorts of interesting things.

Lots of people may point to the verse in 1 Peter and say…”SEEEE…men are supposed to honor their wife.”  Yes, they are, but what does honor entail exactly? Buying you presents…making sure you get a spa day? Maybe never arguing with your Supreme Woman of the House persona?  Maybe…somedays.  But let’s look a little closer…that honor comes along with our being the WEAKER vessel.

WHOA! you say?  WAIT, aren’t we supposed to be empowered and strong and superhuman–never sleeping, multi-tasking, child-bearing Super Heros?

Well, look…I like to pretend I look good in skin tight spandex and thigh high boots just as much as the next gal, but truth be told it takes a large portion of energy in the morning just to squeeze myself into a pair of jeans! Super woman I am not!  So I’m not super woman, DO I HAVE TO BE WEAK?

No, and yes.  We are strong.  We do many things and we do them well…but how can our husbands find any joy in helping us (and I’m talking about everything from laundry to opening the door to coming to get us in a raging snow storm because we wrecked the car) IF WE WILL NOT LET THEM BE STRONG (ie. we must be weak)?

We are in a crazy time right now, a blessed, spirit filled time…but crazy none the less…and I need my husbands help.  I need him to help me get up in the morning.  I need him to take care of our children while I am at work.  I need him to help me take care of the meals and cleaning and homeschooling.  I am weak…I can’t do it all on my own.  And I am blessed to have a husband to is answering God’s call to honor his wife. But listen…he wasn’t always that way.  And maybe you are saying that your husband does not honor you–but here is the question…have you stopped for a moment and been weak, been in need of help, been willing to accept help even if it meant that the jeans don’t get folded YOUR way?

I’m learning this.  I am learning to be weak…and really let’s face it…it isn’t so much as learning it…as learning to accept it.

 

Summer menus June 8, 2010

Summer is a hard menu time for me. Is it nice? Is it rainy? Did we decide at the last minute to invite company over? One better, did we get invited at the last minute to go someplace else?  Did I remember to order from the bounty?  Can’t we just eat s’mores for dinner?

Not to mention, I want to use every available minute to be outside or working on inside projects while I am not in school…I do not want to be in the kitchen any more than absolutely necessary! Feeding my family seems more a struggle, let alone feeding them healthy, local or organic!  And what ever happened to the budget!?

So you may notice a very picnic-y menu.  I intend to use the grill (or as my mother called it the “outdoor kitchen”) I got for my husband for his birthday every day it is not a torrential down pour…The newest menu posted for the week of 6.14.10–follows the old format…but I am thinking that I will have to come up with a more flexible template and still…my goal is to get a format that allows for cost analysis and user friendly recipes…I am working on it…promises, promises.

My secondary goal for the summer is to be diligent to post 2 posts a week…One on Monday with the menu that is food/grocery related and one later in the week that is a shameless rambling of the random thoughts that never cease to occupy my brain space.   As always your comments/questions/suggestions are always welcome.

 

Breakfast on a Budget. March 26, 2010

Personally, I am not a big breakfast person…unless it is a BIG breakfast: pancakes, eggs, bacon, oranges, fried potatoes, cinnamon rolls, coffee, Juice.  But let’s face it–the farm family breakfast is just not realistic on a daily basis–at least not in my house!  I think most Americans today have cold cereal, milk, perhaps a fruit, some juice and maybe some toast.  But I know that for us, for a looooong time the routine was–cold cereal–milk–and juice.   Except Saturday, Saturday is pancakes and I think my children would revolt if I tried to pull anything over on them in that department.  I missed a Saturday a few weeks ago and promised to make them on Sunday…there was no backing out on Sunday…they were ready to make a picket line in front of the bathroom if I started to recant!

So as I started this venture I immediately started noticing how much was being spent on cereal.  Even at Aldis a box of “Crisp Rice” is approx $1.49.  Even in Walmart you can expect to pay any where from $1.60- $3.00 (and I think I am being conservative here) for boxed cereal depending on the brand.  Then feed four children an average of 3/4-1 Cup of cereal each day…(Not to mention my husbands, “I’m ready to go to bed–it is time for a bowl of cereal.” habit.) I have to buy at least 2 boxes each week.  So even if it is Crisp Rice from Aldi’s (which is a smaller box and normally I would buy 3 boxes for a week) – that is $4.50 for breakfast not including a fruit or the milk.

Enter the Mighty OAT.  Am I dating myself if I refer to Wilford Brimley telling us all that eating oatmeal is “The right thing to do”?  Oatmeal is actually a very good breakfast food.  It is filling, but not fattening, it is warm or cold, and it is good for our cholesterol.  Amazingly it is also very cost effective.  I can buy rolled oats at my local Amish store for $.70/lb.  A 6.55 lb bag costs $4.59.  Now I have not figured out mow many cups are in 6.55 lbs of oat meal, but I only have to by a bag every few weeks. So figure it is about $1.50 a week?  OR I can buy STEEL CUT OATS (or Oat Grout) (the unrolled oat, some people say it is more filling because it is not processed) for $.62/lb.

My magic numbers for rolled oats are 2 to 4.  Boil 4 cups water, add 2 cups oats.  This is the perfect amount for my 4 kids (for now.)  I am preferring the oat grout right now for 2 reasons:

  1. The magic numbers are 1 to 4.
  2. I can put it  in the crock over night and it is ready in the morning, with minimal clean up!  The recipe can be found here. If my husband want’s to eat some before he goes to work, this is good for that too, because I don’t have to get up at 3am to make him oatmeal before he goes!  I just change the 1 cup oats to 4 cups of water to 1 1/4 cups oats to 5 cups of water.

Now, my kids do get a little tired of oatmeal with butter and brown sugar. So we started experimenting.  We add Fruit (fresh or frozen), nuts and coconut, chocolate chips, maple syrup.  Anything really.  A favorite treat is to mix hot cocoa into it!  But if we really need something different we use this method suggested by a reader.  This is great as a “cold cereal” or on top of yogurt or even plain.  And there is no limit to what you can add  nuts, fruit…hmmm probably even some hot cocoa (will have to experiment with that!)

I do not buy much juice, a lot of cost for not a great nutrition (depending on the variety of course).  So we drink tea or milk or water and have an orange or mandarin with breakfast to get in that Vit. C.  These typically are not too expensive at Aldi’s and a large orange can be split between 2 kids.   I know that doesn’t sound like a lot, but based on the USDA guidelines Children aged 2-8 only need 1- 1 1/2 cup of fruit per day.   And when you look at what counts as 1 cup, you don’t need to eat your whole serving at once.  A half an orange at breakfast, and 1/2 cup of pears or apple at lunch…and *POOF* you’ve done it!  Throw some plums or raisins in for a snack and now you have exceeded the need and gotten most of the recommended vitamins!   Apart of the $$ problem is that we just plain eat too much and waste too much.  When we put in perspective what our bodies really need to be healthy…suddenly we are able to spend a lot less money.

Happy eating!

 

My Apologies. March 8, 2010

  • My Apologies, but the menu will not be published until Tuesday 3/9/10.  On the up side please use this opportunity to post a recipe or an ingredient and I will see what I can do to work it into the menu.
  • ALSO, I have been slaking on keeping up with the cost analysis portion of this endeavor…That should get back on track this week as I figure out more about the formatting on here etc.
  • Finally, any feed back/suggestion is always welcome.  So please do comment if you have an idea on a topic that would be beneficial.
 

And yet, another perfect example. March 7, 2010

Filed under: Health — littleclaypot @ 9:50 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

If only this was a smell-a-puter.  Then I could give you the rather unpleasant, but probably considered, option of smelling the chicken that came out of my fridge today.  That’s right, THE chicken.  You know–the stuff I bought last week at BJ’s due to the chaos of our schedule.  The nearly 10 lbs of chicken thighs that said “SELL BY 3/8/10.”  The same chicken that was packaged in individual plastic pouches and then in a larger plastic wrapper to eliminate styrofoam and save the environment.   Yeah, that’s the stuff.

Well, when I opened it today, 3/7/10…it seriously polluted my environment!  I didn’t take the time (or the effort that it would have commanded to control my gag reflex) to open each individual pouch so see if there was any that was salvageable…the whole nearly 10 lbs went straight into a garbage bag and into a garbage bin.  Yet another perfect example of food waste.

Now I know that for the most part our food systems are safe.  Think of all of the food that is eaten each day with no ill consequences–But there have been those times when there was a recognized large scale issue with our food (spinach or peanut butter anyone?).  There have been deaths.  Now I like the convenience of buying a bunch of chicken, and I like the price even more…but not enough to risk killing my dinner guests with the meat! So the ethical decision is to throw that convenience and $$ away.  This completes the perfect example of how our life impacts our food demands, that impacts how food is grown/packaged/shipped, in turn impacting what we purchase and serve to our loved ones…or toss in the garbage.  (The phrase running through my head all day: “There are starving children in the world!”) I am at least relieved to know I have a whole chicken from the CNY Bounty thawing in my fridge for this week.

The moral of this story?  “Tis better to have no meat at all than to spend your money on rancid chicken.”

 

A Perfect Example March 1, 2010

The verdict is in…I don’t have a total handle on all of this.  Despite my best laid plans, sometimes life just happens.

For the rest of this to make sense, you need a little bit of background:

  1. We live about an hour away from the nearest city, where we do our banking etc. so we try to make 1 trip a week.
  2. We only have 1 car, and quite often my husband needs to either fill the car with tools, or have the car during the day to run errands etc. for work–so normally, taking him to work and having the car for the day is not an option for me (and we have lived with 1 car for most of our married lives–we are pros at this!)
  3. Where our house sits we get a lot of snow, and then it drifts–right into our driveway.

Plan change #1

Life being what it is, I had planned on going to my few local grocers on Thursday afternoon, up to the city on Friday evening (banking, shopping, and worship at a friends house).  Thursday my husband’s work schedule got changed.  He had to go back to work that night, and then would have Friday off, and have to work again Friday night.  “No problem.” I said to myself,  “The CNY Bounty order came today, we can do all the errands Friday, skip going to the friends house…and life will go on.”

Plan change #2

And then the snow came.  Now, we live in Central New York, we are used to snow!  But this was a good storm and my husband’s boss called to tell him to stay home Thursday night, and just come in Friday.  “Hmm…” I thought, “we can go do worship, get to the bank, and maybe have time to get some groceries, I’ll have to try to get to the local stores on Saturday, life goes on.”

Plan change #3

Shoveling from the road

Aaand theeen the snow….was.  My husband started shoveling Friday morning with the intention of just getting out of the drive way to go to work.  By 8:00 am He knew he was going to be late.  By 10:00 he knew he wasn’t going to make it, and his boss told him to just come in Saturday.  “That’s okay.” I said out loud, “We can go do all the things that need to be done.  Still go to the friends for worship, and life is good.”

Plan change #4

My dear husband finally finished clearing the driveway around 1:00, and we all started getting ready to go…”Late start, we’ll have to skip the local stores.”  I realized with some dismay.  Then–the phone rang.  It was the director of my BS nursing program about an e-mail I had sent to her.  I, having been in a hurry, had misread a date and assumed that the conversation had to take place then, because of timing.   So we had our conversation while I stood in my bedroom trying to figure out what to wear, and my husband got the kids ready to go.   We finally made it out of the house by 2:00.  And by now, as I am sure you, my fellow Americans can relate, I felt like I had just done 300 loads of laundry, washed 30 children, tried on 20 different pairs of jeans, and saved a small country from utter doom.  I was in no mood to go shopping, If life was going to go on…it could just go on with out me.

Plan change #5, the conclusion

We did things in the order they made sense…and quickly ran out of time.  In order to make it to our friends house (something we had all been looking forward to) on time, we had to forgo getting groceries all together!  We ended up going to BJ’s Saturday evening (a 2nd trip to the city! and a $200 grocery bill) and to get there before they closed we fed the kids McDonald’s in the car!  OH, how I was angry that I have been working so hard on this venture, only to cave and buy purdue chicken and happy meals!   But here is the point:  Life does go on.

For so many of us…life goes on day by day and we are busy, doing all the things that we have to do and the things that keep us sane.  We have been afforded this busy lifestyle because we have been given wonderful items of convenience–cars, cell phones, boxed food, fast food….  Maybe it is not the food or the menu that needs so much attention as it is the lifestyle.   But whatever life we live, and whatever events cause us to stray from our path–like me and my quest to feed my family, reasonably local, healthy foods, on a budget–we need to remember that Life goes on…a day passes and it is behind us, we can learn from it or we can repeat it.

 

You are what you eat… February 22, 2010

I am in the middle of a semester where I am working on a large project that has to do with the food we eat and our health.  As a RN I firmly believe that we are what we eat…or rather consume.

Consumption is the only word that really describes my feelings towards American Culture.  If you really stop and take a moment to think about it…What have you eaten today? How did you get to work?  What are you wearing?  How many lights are on in your house right now? How many major appliances?  What will you buy this week?  Look at the packaging of something you buy regularly…what happens to it when it you are done with it?  Even our higher-end items are touted as disposable…I recently had a conversation with a Dell employee about my Dell all in one printer…that we got in the spring of 2007.  Three years ago.  I was told that I really needed to consider a new printer because the average life of a printer is only 2 years!  Well then for crying out loud the one I have is like an ancient artifact!  And we havn’t even started to think about the extra’s–we really have only addressed aspects of daily living.  Consumption is an unavoidable fact…but what are the consequences?

The United States is in a crisis of Health…We eat too much of the wrong foods and we don’t exercise enough…our livers, pancreas’, hearts, and circulatory systems are forced into failure by our own habits…cirrhosis, diabetes, heat attacks, and strokes.  We demand the products and the ease of living that causes toxins to be dumped into our back yards that cause cancer and birth defects.  More and more we are finding that the things that were invented to make out lives easier are making our lives sicker.  And we all want to be healthy…so we go to the doctor or to the hospital and demand treatment…for a problem that we created…and by demanding that treatment we cause more problems…there are not enough nurses, the supplies all have to be made in a plant, shipped, wrapped in something disposable…even in our poor health we demand and consume.

The first place the Bible (KJV) uses the word Consume is in Genesis 41:30 “And there shall arise after them seven years of famine; and all the plenty shall be forgotten in the land of Egypt; and the famine shall consume the land.”  Now this is talking about a specific event…but isn’t it too poetically ironic that a Famine shall consume anything?  In my little understanding of agriculture a famine can be caused by natural disasters or my the mistakes of man.  Public education taught me that the dust bowl was the result of over use of the land, rendering it useless.  So if poor decisions and overuse (consumption again) lead to famine…what kind of a metaphorical/literal famine are we headed for!? And how do our consumptions stand posed…just waiting to consume us?

This little Clay Pot doesn’t have an answer for all the questions…but I do know that I want to stop consuming sooooo much.  I want to feed my family foods that fill their bellies and help them to be healthy…not with foods that wear out their body systems and pollute the earth that they play on.  I want to help others question why we demand the things we demand…and is it good for us?  I don’t want to tell anybody what to do, or that my way is the right way…but let’s all start asking the questions “Do I really need this,  and what does it really do for me?”