Today is Martinmas
and also Veteran’s Day in America. I love the way that Waldorf schools celebrate this special day with lantern walks, songs, crafts and community. I’m not sure I ever really got over the fact that my girls could not attend our local Waldorf school but one thing I have worked hard to do is to weave the beautiful things I love about Waldorf Education into our home life and our community the best way that I can.
There are a lot of ways that I have tried to do this. Filling our home with a lot of art, singing, baking and natural materials has always been important to me. I also did my best to limit a ton of mainstream media, especially when the girls were very young. I will admit this gets harder as they grow up into teens but we really do not watch much TV even still. My hope was that by doing this, they would be free to develop into their own beings without all the crazy images of what they should wear, buy or talk like in order to be “cool”. I’ve tried to remember to celebrate the special festivals and seasons. I’ve also put an emphasis on plenty of outdoor play, the importance of protecting our earth and being comfortable in nature.
In my community, I’ve done things like hold a Forest Preschool program outdoors for little ones. I had a Nature Club that met once per week for older children and I do my best to work with my Girl Scouts in a way that brings these values I hold dear further into the world. My nature club actually came up in conversation with friends last night and I may consider doing it again in the Spring. It took a lot of time to plan and organize but it was so awesome spending that time with the kids outdoors and helping them to pull them away from their IPhones for a few hours per week and be a part of the natural world.
As part of earning our Journey Award, my 5th grade Girl Scout troop has decided to put together a Community Coat Drive. This is such perfect timing around Martinmas as many Waldorf schools do the same thing as a way to honor the old tale of St. Martin ripping his cloak in half to give to a beggar on the street.
One area that I am really striving to improve is with our food at home. We eat dinner together every evening and eat good meals but I want to focus on eliminating the processed stuff I sometimes turned to in a hurry and really get myself and the rest of the family to eat clean. Not only the granola bars and things like that but even many of the condiments that I used to make gravies or add flavor to our dinners. Have you ever read the ingredients of even things like English Muffins? It’s really crazy all the crap they put into things.
The good thing is that I truly love to cook and I have a nice vegetable garden during the summer that we can enjoy. The hard thing is that cooking fresh each day is very time consuming. I assume that years and years ago while it was difficult, it was likely more attainable because many mothers were home and did not need to also provide an income. For us modern moms, it’s not easy. I have to make sure I find time to still write, blog, process orders, package crayon holders, manage my daughter’s school schedules, keep up with emails, do necessary work for my volunteer responsibilities, take care of our pets and SO much more.
The truth of it is that if I want us to eat healthier, I need to make it a priority over some of the other things that are on my list. If you look in my laundry room, it is always a mess and the house isn’t ever ready for drop by company. If I focus more on cooking, it will only be worse but in the grand scheme of things I think it will be worth it. So that’s what I’ve been trying my best to do and also to cook in larger quantities so I can freeze and use leftovers more often.
We’ve also been trying to be more mindful of wasting. Wasting electricity, food, leftovers, paper and so many other things. Again, it’s often a matter of time. Feeling rushed and having to go quick. It is sometimes easier to throw out the leftover food than to figure out a way to reuse it. It’s easier to turn the heat up higher than keep the fire going. It’s easier to throw the towel in the hamper then hang it up to dry. But we are trying.
I made my first batch of Sweet Potato Chips this week and they were a HUGE hit with the girls. But OMG do they take a long time to make and they disappear in a matter of seconds.
A few people asked for the recipe. There really wasn’t much of one but here you go:
Peel, wash and cut sweet potatoes into thin slices. (thinner the better)
I actually ran out of olive oil so I used organic melted butter and coated them all in a bowl. I think this really helped with the flavor and I’m not afraid of using butter. I think it can be a healthy fat as long as it is whole and organic.
Then I just added salt, pepper and rosemary and laid all slices on a cooking tray to bake. I think I had the oven on around 350. It did take a long time and I flipped them all individually every 20 minutes or so. Like I said, it was time consuming. Maybe about an hour in a half of baking time before they were ready. But they were yummy.
I’d love to hear time saving tips any of you have come across while trying to eat clean and healthy. Having a big family also makes it a challenge because we need LOTS of food on a daily basis. My older girls have began helping to prepare things which helps but it’s still a lot of work.