A Life In Progress

Back May 30, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — jdalsin @ 2:31 pm

So, we are back to where we were a few week ago.  Not eating meat.  We tried two or three times and just couldn’t do it.


And then there was Abby.  She refused. She looked at us like we were evil, horrible people as we ate our meat, our own stomachs turning.


She had a few bites of a burger.  When I told her it was meat she dropped the burger, eyes widened and shouted “What? Why would you give this to me. You know I’m still a veggietarian!”


The other night I made vegetarian black bean burgers. She opened the bun and examined it. 


“Is this meat?”


“No, Abby.  It’s a bean burger.”


“Then what’s this part right here?”


“That’s a piece of black bean.”


“I’m still a veggietarian, right Mom?”



We feel very good about our decision to stick with it.  I think it was good for us to go back for a short while though, because now we know that we don’t want it, even if we could have it.  Gave us the renewal we needed to keep going and make it through our first meatless grilling season.


So thanks Abby.  You got us back where we wanted to be. 🙂


In Excess May 23, 2008

Filed under: Around the House — jdalsin @ 2:07 pm

This isn’t exactly the post I had in mind when I wrote about typing up a post on parenting. For some reason, I can get my thoughts together on that one and don’t want to just spew out a post that goes no where.


So instead, I wanted to write about something else.


Having too much.


We pretty much all live in excess.  We eat too much. Always want something bigger and better.  Need to own more than we really ‘need to own’. 


It’s something I’ve been trying to work on around here.  This one is a little more difficult because Jordan isn’t really up for anything as drastic as voluntary simplicity.  He wants the big screen tv, a better computer, a cool pda, wants to own every season of the Simpson on DVD.  Where as I’m the opposite.  I think we have way too much in this house and I’d like to get rid of half of it. Literally, half.  I sit here typing on a fairly new Dell computer, countless DVDs on the shelf beside me, cds lining the rack behind me, printer, scanner, photocopier, camera, phone, surrounding me.  Too much.


It’s always an eye opener for me when I see a little old farm house on the prairie.  To think that an entire family lived in those wood walls, sharing beds, no electricity, no playroom overflowing with toys, no office stocked up with all the latest gadgets.  When I see those little houses it is plain as day to see how much we have.


I recently read this book called Living Simply with Children: A Voluntary Simplicity Guide For Mom, Dads & Kids. I recommend reading it.  I’m not so much in to the ‘corporate America trying to brainwash our kids’ part but it had some really great ideas.  Thinking back to when I was a kid even, we didn’t have a million toys.  No playroom.  We had a few dolls, some board games, some puzzles, a Lite Brite.  We had skipping ropes, marbles and jacks.   We played outside, built forts in the neighbourhood park, played on the swings until the street lights came on, ran home for dinner, a bath and went to bed.


Before I keep rambling on about this, I just wanted to share what I’ve been working on in this area.


Toys.  I’ve talked about this before.  We have too! many! toys! 90% of them never even get played with. 99% of the stuffed animals Abby’s been given never get snuggled.  Abby and I have made it a monthly habit to get a big garbage bag and find things she wants to give to ‘the kids who have no toys’.  This has been really positive for both of us.  I’m clearing up space in the house and Abby has become really aware of how much she has.  Sometimes, on her own initiative, she’ll see a toy she rarely plays with and says “I really don’t need this toy anymore.  Let’s give it to a children who doesn’t have any.” Gladly.  I almost never say no.  I don’t care if the gift was from her grandma and she only got it two months ago.  If she feels it in her heart to share it with someone less fortunate, I don’t want to get in the way of that.


So that’s how we are clearing toys OUT.  Stopping the flow of toys back IN to the house is more challenging. What we’ve been doing lately is only buying toys that both girls can enjoy.  This weekend we picked up and awesome musical instrument set that both girls (AND Jordan!) are crazy about. (Note to other parents out there- think really hard about whether you want a harmonica, a kazoo and a recorder in your house. yikes.) We aren’t buying anything plastic and we are trying to buy locally made and/or handmade toys.  Not that easy to find – which is good because we therefore buy a lot less.


Ideally, I’d like each of the girls to have maybe 5 or 6 toys that they LOVE.  A stack of books.  A favorite doll. A favorite teddy bear.  And that’s all.  I’m kind of getting there with Abby. She has a wooden train set, a wooden ‘town’, a magnetic dress up doll, a set of memory cards, art supplies, a couple favorite dolls, a favorite cuddly bear and a container of beads for stringing.  99.9% of the time that she’s in the house playing, she’s playing with one of those things.  It’s also been nice to have a fresh start with Josie.  We really haven’t bought her any toys yet.  She has a couple of old things of Abby’s and is sharing Abby’s toys.


Food. This may seem like a weird thing to mention to some reading this.  But I recently read an article in a magazine (Macleans??) about how portion sizes have grown over the years.  Especially in restaurants. The size of an average hamburger has double and french fries have something like tripled in size in the past 20 years. I think the craziest part about it is that now days we, on average, probably need a lot less carlories than people did even twenty years ago. There is a lot more sitting around, a lot less calorie burning. 


I’m trying to do two things in this area. #1- Quality over quantity.  Easier said than done, especially when your stomach is growling.  #2- Trying to only eat when I’m actually hungry.  I’m terrible at this.  Really terrible. 


Around the House. I’ve really been trying to evaluate if we actually NEED something before we buy it.  I’m also trying to adapt the mindset of repairing instead of replacing.  I’m fighting Jordan right now on the big screen t.v. thing. He wants a bigger, better plasma t.v. and I want to have the one 27″ tube t.v. we have to be turned on a lot less than it already is. Clothes is another one.  Not a problem for me so much since I’m a jeans and t-shirt, I-have-no-clue-about-brand-names kind of gal.  But Josie, Abby and Jordan all have overflowing closets and dressers.  I love buying clothes for all of them.  I buy every stitch of Jordan’s clothes except for jeans.  He’s never with me.  And I love dressing up the girls and find it hard to resist cute little rompers and sun dresses, especially if I can find them matching ones.  So instead, I’ve been trying to buy the basics only.  A few t-shirt and tank tops matched with solid colored shorts so that a few purchases can really be many outfits. 


We are a one car family and I’d like to keep it that way.  I really am going to try this year to walk where I can.  We’ve already taken a few longer treks to the library, grocery store, etc.   Good exercise, easier on Mother Earth and the fresh air does us all good.


Why? You may be asking.


I really think simple is better.  We refinished the playroom this weekend.  We took out most of the toys so we would have room for our painting supplies.  Abby has never played in that room so much as she did while it was nearly bare.  There are about 3 or 4 toys in there right now and she’s in there playing with them more than she was ever in there playing with the dozens and dozens that we packed away for the renos. 

Too much is overwhelming.  Too much causes clutter and mess.  Too much is too expensive.  Too much is unneccesary.  Too much is tiring.

We’ve been also trying to sell some of the things we no longer want and have been quite successful.  With the money we are buying new things, but less things.  We sold a whole bunch of smaller toys and are now on the search for the perfect swing set for the backyard, for example.

This “excess” thing is something I’m actually quite passionate about and sometimes need to control. I’ve learned to bite my tongue.  When I hear about people spending $300 on a purse, $50,000 on a brand new vehicle, $100 on one single outfit for their child, upgrading every single electronic in their house on a regular basis, an 8 year old with a cell phone! – it seriously makes my blood boil.  I don’t care if you can afford it.  Buy a $50 purse and give $250 to a charity.  A $10,000 car will get you to the same destination as the $50,000. And your kid? I promise you they will either rip, stain and undoubtedly outgrow that $100 outfit within a few months.  But then I need to remind myself that it’s not my business and all I can do is do what I know is best for me, set an example for my girls and hope they learn a little something about over-indulgence, taking care of others, about what is a neccesity and what is a luxury and what truly is money well spent.  I can only hope.


And really, I’m not a tight wad.  I just like to think of it as ‘sensible’.  🙂


Anyway, that felt like a mind spew rather than a well written post.  I guess I was just eager to finally post again.  Hope through the babble you were able to find something useful that you might want to encorporate around your home.


Where We Are At May 16, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — jdalsin @ 1:56 pm

Before I dive back into posting about other topics, I thought I’d give a little recap of what we’ve been up to and the changes we’ve made and un-made.


The biggest of all is we’ve decided to encorporate some meat back into our diet. After a naturopath I trust very much suggested we look into organic, locally raised meats, we decided to give it a whirl.  I haven’t actually bought or cooked any meat yet but am instead just in the process of finding some local farmers willing to sell to us.  We’ve ate meat over the weekend though at my mom’s place.  Something I’m finding will definitely need to be eased back into.  I had a hard time eating my chicken breast without crazy images and starting facts racing through my mind. Jordan … not so much.  He devoured his.  I can honestly say I didn’t miss eating meat, just the convenience of it.  But we’ll see how this goes as we venture back into it.


We’ve been completely slacking on the cloth diapering too.  Josie was pretty much incapable of moving in her prefolds so we switched her to Seventh Generation Diapers during the day and cloth at night. That was working well for a few months.  Jordan is the one who does the girl’s bedtime routine.  It’s his only time with the girls in the day and I think all three of them enjoy it.  So, pretty much, he was doing all the cloth diapering before he put Josie to bed.  I went to go wash the cloth diapers from the previous few nights only to find that the diaper pail was empty.  When I confronted him about it, he shrugged and said “I hate cloth diapers.”


I feel like we are sliding a lot and want to put an end to that.  I’m o.k. with easing up on some of the changes we made because truthfully some of them were exhausting and overwhelming. We will continue to eat well and carry on with the other changes we’ve made.


I’ll be back some time in the next week with that parenting post I promised. 


Oops May 14, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — jdalsin @ 1:46 pm


That holds a variety of meanings for me right now.

Oops, I’ve been completely neglecting this blog even though I have plenty to say.

Oops, I’m not so much a pescatarian anymore and I wanted to share about that.

Oops, I said I was going to do a post about parenting and didn’t.

Oops, this blog was intended to be about so much more than eco-friendly living.  There were many other parts of my self, my world, my home that I wanted to work on.  I plan to focus on those in the next couple weeks.

I will post.  I will.  I’m just in spring cleaning mode lately and am spending as much time as I can outside with the girls or clearing our house out of all the junk, planning MORE renos and well, eating pepperoni pizza and wrapping Josie’s bum in Pampers.

I’ll be back soon.