Monday, October 15, 2007

It All Comes Back to the Bread

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, portions of your world fall apart. Last year, as I spent a huge amount of hours working, the inner workings of my house began to fall apart.

Piles of paper appeared as children emptied their book bags. Mail came and items to be saved, like IEPs and report cards made more piles. Magazines that I never had time to really read filled a basket to overflowing. (A word on the mags, the only subscriptions I pay for are VegNews, Mother Earth News and HomeEconomiser. The rest just seem to magically appear.)

Although I thought I sorted, outgrown clothes remained mixed in with the boys' winter clothing that I packed away at the end of last season. Clothing and shoes given to my daughters by their ultra cool aunt got added to their closet without being gone through first, creating massive piles of things they never planned to wear but hadn't gotten around to going through.

With my new schedule, we've been steadily regaining ground since the beginning of September. This weekend was amazing in terms of what we were able to accomplish both inside and outside the house. It really helped that the kids all pitched in, even when pitching in meant just playing nicely with friends and giving mom and dad time to focus. The girls even began to clean out their room and closets, resulting in about 7 bags of clothes and shoes to be donated! Can you imagine?

I change my rules of conduct during times of intense cleaning like this. Normally, I prefer to freecycle items but during times like this, bulk donations to a local thrift store make much more sense. The last thing you need after cleaning up piles is to create more piles as you wait for people to show up. I also don't save clothing for craft projects during these times, except for denim - I always save denim.

I even got caught up on all my freezing, even those turnips that I never could seem to get to! While I was chopping and blanching, Jim cleaned the inside of the fridge. Seeing progress was addictive, so we just kept barreling on.

We did take time to enjoy a big brunch Sunday, making extra pancakes for Monday and Tuesday's breakfasts. Then, while Jim repaired the dogs' 25 foot run leash that he accidentally severed with his lawn mower a few weeks ago, I made a batch of Barbara's whole wheat bread for the first time in a very long time. As I turned the handle of my bread bucket, I felt euphoric, like I had regained something very special to me.

Do you have to bake bread to be frugal, certainly not. For me, baking bread and making other foods from scratch, isn't just about frugality, its about feeding my family the most wholesome foods that I can. As I worked in the kitchen yesterday making snacks to fill lunch boxes, I felt very satisfied that I was doing just that.


Ruthie said...

Lovely post, Katie, I know exactly where you're coming from.

Anonymous said...

Katie, I assume you like the HomeEconomiser or you wouldn't be paying for it.

How does it compare to reading blogs for information?

From one frugal mom to another, I'd love to know what kinds of things it includes that make it worth a subscription.

Ruthie said...

Oh Katie, I had one more question :-)

How did your blue jean rag rug turn out? I have access to so many free blue jeans and shorts that are unsellable at the thrift store that I would love to do something crafty with them!


Anonymous said...

Your first three paragraphs could have been written by me! I'm having the same problem here, fighting a losing battle with the piles of stuff everywhere. I think a good weekend of filling boxes with stuff for Goodwill sounds like just what we need!

I just joined the BlogHerAd Network, found you through that. Great blog!

Katie said...

Meredith, I do like the HomeEconomiser but you ask a really good question. I subscribe for two reasons.

The first is to get information concisely, in one place without having to search for it.

The second is to support frugal living. I'm just one woman sitting behind a computer typing away about frugal living. Most people stumble upon my blog by accident. I guess that means I'm passive in my spreading of frugality.

Steve and Annette at HomeEconomiser, on the other hand, are actively getting the word out giving interviews and with public appearances. They're are telling people who never considered a frugal way of life about it. My subscription money ($12 for 6 issues) helps allow them to do this. I think that's a worthwhile cause to support.

I think of it the same way I think about paying more for Seventh Generation toilet paper because it uses 100% recycled paper, with a minimum of 80% post-consumer materials. Sure it costs more but its something that I want to support.

Ultimately, do I think you could find comparable information through blogs? Probably. You might want to give their freezine a try. I hope that makes some sense.

Ruthie, the blue jean rag rug turned out pretty well. Its the size of a small throw rug. I haven't had the heart to finish it off but I need to. I wanted it to be room size but, as with knitting, its good to do one for gauge!

I think next time I will just make a long braid first and then begin sewing together the rug shape. I think it will be easier to keep the braid an even width and avoid skinnier sections.

I'd say go for it!

Welcome Elizabeth!

Anonymous said...

great post!