Don’t you love taking a peek into the life of someone else? If you said yes, I’d say you are not alone. Just take a look at all of the ‘reality’ shows on TV (okay, I have to say I don’t really think those are ‘reality’ but hey, that is how they are marketed).
At Real Food for Less Money we’ve been trying to have our own peeks into other’s lives. My family has what we call experience week in which we live in Someone Else’s Shoes for a week or two. The first experience was Working Full Time and Real Foods. Right now we’re in the middle USDA Thrifty Food Plan and next month we will have another experience also showing how Real Foods can fit into a different scenario. I’m not going to tell you what that experience will be just yet, but I will tell you this will be another monetary challenge. I think you will really like it!
As a partner piece to my families experience weeks with Someone Else’s Shoes, I’ll have periodic interviews with real people. We’ll learn about these people in their actual shoes! Real food enthusiasts on their own journey. These journey’s will look very different from each other but have many similarities (I suspect).
This week I’m excited to introduce you to my real life friend and fellow Nourished Living Network blogger Michaela from Retro Momma, Vintage Wife. Michaela used to live in Wyoming and we were able to get together a few times. She even took time out of her busy schedule to teach me how to water bath can!
Life in Michaela’s Shoes
Millie (Real Food for Less Money): Can you describe your ‘typical’ day?
Michaela: As a homeschool mom of 3 boys, a wild kitchen and a Husband that usually gets home at a decent hour (but not always) there is no such thing as a “typical” day for us. Instead, I’ve chosen to log one of my days for you.
“Yesterday was a busy day, so by the time we all rolled into bed (between 9-10), we were EXHAUSTED! I’ve been struggling with bedtimes. I used to be in bed by 10. These days it can be as late as the wee hours of the morning. I’m working on that. Since we had homeschool co-op classes & cut wood yesterday, I decided to allow the boys to sleep until they got upon their own. I awoke at almost 8:30 today & got some coffee (one of the few non-whole foods vices I have left LOL), checked emails & facebook. Then, I decided to do a few minutes of work for CTF. Our cat was showing signs of illness yesterday, so I was joyed when she sprinted across the dining room this morning, talking loudly at me. I snuggled with her for a few minutes. The middle boy strolled in shortly after. While he does his morning chores, I get to work in the kitchen. I rinse my lentil sprouts one last time, and lay them out on a clean towel to dry. I won’t dry them completely, as we want to eat this batch straight from the fridge. I then check my quinoa sprouts that were put up yesterday to make sure they are dry enough to store. They are, so in a small jar & back in the fridge they go. It’s my first time doing ANYTHING with quinoa. I’m pleased.
As I’m wrapping the quinoa sprouts up, my youngest toddles into the kitchen with a “RAWR.” I get breakfast ready for them. They eat, and my oldest is still zonked out. He’s a teen. It’s to be expected.
I spend a little bit of time getting ready for the day. Dress, brush teeth & hair, transdermal magnesium therapy, make bed, squirt stuff in the bathroom sink & toilet to soak, start laundry, get homeschool work printed/copied, read Proverbs 31:10-31. I text with a friend of mine while I putt around the house. We spend a good amount of time texting. Some days she is my sanity check. I decide on dinner, as my planner software has chimed at me. It’s my daily reminder to get dinner out to thaw. I soothe a child who cries because one of our pet fish died. It’s pushing 11am, so I decide it’s time to wake the snoozing teen. We haven’t even started schooling yet. It’s “one of those days.”
Lunch is cooking, so I wipe down the bathroom real quick. I sort through some schoolbooks, while the kids set the table & are finishing up chores or playing. Lunch is about 10 after 12 & we all sit at the table to enjoy. Once lunch is done, clean up gets done. I check emails, facebook, do some online earning (every little bit helps. I hardly pay for anything on Amazon anymore!!). I chat for a few with a couple of people online. Hubba calls, so I chat with him for a few. Lentil sprouts go into a jar & into the fridge. Kids are getting their school stuff out so they can begin. I decide to get a jump & copy/print several more days’ worth of worksheets.
Snack comes in the form of a smoothie today. I realize that we’re almost out of dairy kefir, so I throw some more together. I also throw my bones in the oven to roast since I used the last of the beef stock at lunch. School gets done, everyone cleans up. It’s time for afternoon chores. I sit to write while they do their chores.
Chores & school are done. The crockpot is loaded with filtered water, roasted bones & veggies. I check their work & have them redo what needs more work. Hubba gets home at a decent hour today, so I greet him. We chat, then it’s time to get dinner going. I prep everything & get that cooking. Kids set the table, while tonight I try to clean as I go. We eat, and I sit down to finish up as much work as I can. The boys take their showers & baths, the last of today’s laundry is folded & put away. I’m exhausted, but I manage to get a little work in before I sit to watch a little t.v. with the family. The kids get ready for bed around 9 & we herd them off that way. Time to get ready myself. I take a hot bath with epsom salts, don my jammers, brush teeth & hair & make sure everything is turned off/put away/etc.
I fall into bed. I’m tired but in a good way. I’ve accomplished a bit, but I know there were more things that will have to wait until tomorrow. And… I’ve managed to get to bed at a kinda decent hour.”
Millie: Do you attach a label to the way you eat?
Michaela: K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Sweetheart. I get a lot less head-cocked, “huh” looks when I say “We choose to eat whole foods. We eat as little processed foods as we can.”
Millie: What is your biggest obstacle to your food journey?
Michaela: I would have to say our obstacle right now is sourcing. We moved 2X in less than 2.5 months. JUST as I was getting sources together at our last place of residency, Hubba’s company decided to say “Hey, we’d like you to move again. You’ve got 3 weeks.” Granted, we’ve been here 4 months, but we moved & went straight into the holiday season. Plus we had the added stress & exhaustion of moving cross-country & again 2 months later. I just started surfacing a couple of weeks ago.
Millie: How do you overcome this obstacle?
Michaela: I finally attended my first WAPF Chapter meeting in Knoxville on the 13th of Feb. In the meantime, I’ve been making do with what I can get my hands on- organic meats at the grocery store, Earth Fare trips & mail order. It’s always about doing the best you can, in my opinion.
Oh, and google. Google is my friend.
Millie: My family strives for a ratio of 85% real/whole/traditional foods. Do you have a ratio or other way of tracking that you strive for in your family?
Michaela: My Husband has been the most trying in our quest for whole foods. He’s coming around, and I always notice him getting a little better and a little better. We don’t have a ratio. I strive, as I mentioned above, for the best we can. The kids & I aim for ferments at least once a day. I sneak healthy stuff into other areas, so that Hubba gets his share of goodies as well. Bentonite clay in the salt shaker; trace minerals in sauces & soups; bone broth based soups; kelp in almost everything (added to sauces & soups or sprinkled like a spice) etc. I aim to get a meatless soup as an appetizer at least a couple times a week (getting some bone broth into them!!!). We’ve even got Hubba shaking kelp onto his foods!!! YAY!
Millie: In your own food journey, do you consider yourself a novice, intermediate or advanced?
Michaela: I think my knowledge is near advanced, but most days my practice is only at an intermediate. I think before our first move, I was so much better than I am now, but I also know that our trials have been….. well, trying. I also remember the days of being completely ignorant, and I’m thankful that I have learned so much!
Millie: What is your one Standard food? The “must have” that you always keep on hand?
Michaela: Bones. That equals bone broth & marrow. Coconut oil. Ferments. Kelp (we live in a nuclear area). This is by far the most difficult question you’ve posed. There are so many. I think if I REALLY have to choose one, kelp would be the one right now. Once we move to an area that isn’t nuc-defined, that top food might change.
Millie: Do you have any final tips or tricks that you would like to share with Real Food for Less Money readers?
Michaela: Start slow. Change ONE thing at a time. Don’t give up when your family snubs something you’ve placed in front of them. Don’t stress yourself. By changing one thing at a time, you’re not only teaching your family on a scale they can handle, you’re also weaning yourself slowly. You’re less likely to get burned out. Last but not least, don’t beat yourself up. No one is perfect. No one never falls off the wagon (double negative on purpose there). What we all have to do is encourage each other, help each other back up & continue to move forward. It doesn’t matter if you’re level is that of a “novice” or “intermediate” or “advanced.” We can all fail & fall. The key is to get back up & try again.
Millie: Would you share a one day food journal with us?
Michaela: While it seems like we eat a LOT of meals, the snacks are usually for the kids. I have 3 growing boys. Some days eating seems like a competitive sport in this house.
B- Homemade whole wheat cinnamon rolls, fruit, apple “soda”
L- Hubba usually grabs a freezer meal that I’ve made, packed & labeled for him to take to work. The boys and I will sometimes have leftovers. There are no leftovers today, so I’ll do beans & rice. Cornbread should round it out nicely. We added some salsa, sour cream & sprouts. Water to drink.
S- Smoothies, made with dairy kefir, fruit & things like clay & kelp, etc
D- Pan-fried chicken strips; roasted sliced taters; fried onions & peppers; organic frozen corn for the picky guys; tomato soup. Iced herbal tea.
S/Dessert- ….. We had….. chocolate cream cheese frosting. On spoons. Shhh. Don’t tell.
Thank you Michaela! I have to admit, I’m tired just reading about your ‘typical’ day!
Would you like to be featured in this series of interviews for Someone Else’s Shoes? You do not need a blog or website. You can be brand spanking new to this journey or an ‘old hat’ (I’m not calling you old…), I’d love to interview you! Email me at realfoodforlessmoney at gmail dot com.
See the other post in this interview series here.
This post is shared at Simple Lives Thursday.