The Brady Bunch Kids

The Brady Bunch Kids

Thursday, September 15, 2011


As I look through my kitchen in attempts to prepare my shopping list for the week, I am contemplating on how I will substitute some of the 'boxed' and 'canned' items I use to prepare some of our meals, such as pasta's, rice, soups, and canned tomatoes in order to reduce our use of some processed foods. Many people know, I can't stand processed foods and when I grocery shop I primarily shop the perimeter of the store.  Some exceptions of shopping the 'middle' of the grocery store are to purchase baking items such as sugar, flours, spices, as well as cold cereal for the kids (Eric and I can't stand to eat cereal).  Our #1 processed purchased food...Mac and Cheese!  While I find this 'food' absolutely disgusting Eric and the kids love it and pretty much request it with every meal.  Each kid could eat an entire box by themselves.  The kids have gotten smart on making their dinner plates, they start with an extremely small first plate in order to be the first ones done and therefore allowing them to plate up a large second helping of Mac and Cheese.

Since I rarely purchase processed foods my pledge for October Unprocessed should be an easy one, however, I would like to attempt to reduce our use of processed foods further.  While thinking of items I can and should be making myself, such as peanut butter and pasta, I become extremely emotional of the unexpected loss of my grandmother and our last phone conversation,  She was in a rehab facility recovering from surgery when I had asked my mom if I needed to come home (I was living in Alabama at the time). My grandma's response was NO as she had no plans to die any time soon and that I shouldn't be worrying about her. She lied...and I believed her, even though my gut told me otherwise, which resulted in me not getting to say goodbye.

Isn't it amazing how looking through a pantry to make a grocery list can results in a flood of memories.

The summer of 1985 I lived with my mom's parents while our family made the move from Texas to Oregon.  During that time my grandparents taught me a lot during that summer.  My grandfather let me tinker in his shop, where I learned how to use a hammer and a saw.  He let me use all of his scrap wood, which I proudly made shoe racks for their garage, among other things.  My grandmother educated me on the 'birds and the bees' after my mother had scared me to death of attempting to have the conversation earlier that year, using our dogs and their puppies as the focus of the conversation. 
Grandma also taught me about cooking, recycling, and 'being green'.  She made her own soap and laundry detergent, she canned her own fruits and vegetables, and during that summer she eliminated the need of garbage service completely.

That summer I learned how to make many things and I have fond memories of that summer.  My grandmother taught me tatting, to knit, sew, patch torn items, and she re-taught me how to crotchet, which she previously taught me when I was about 8 years old during one of her visits.  She also taught me how to make my own pasta, can fruits and vegetables, make my own grape juice, and many many more other things. 

When my grandparents decided to move out of their house and move into a retirement complex, they sold most of their personal items that they would no longer need.  Unfortunately, all of the items I would have loved to have kept such as grandma's pasta maker, I was unable to.  Thankfully, I am able to keep the memories and the skills my grandparents taught me.

I am independent...I can fix my own stuff, with the exception of some things on a car - which I will now jokingly blame my dad for not letting me take auto mechanics in high school, I make my own food thanks to my grandmother and NOT my mother (sorry mom!) and I love how my kids and step-kids brag to others of the things I make, I am not afraid to try things and although I don't like failing I am not afraid to learn from failure, I know everything happens for a reason even though we may not like it or know why at the time why failure occurred, I am stubborn just like my grandmother, I am a perfectionist but over the years I have learned to let some things go, I enjoy every moment I can because I know my happiness in life depends only on me, I have regrets but wouldn't change them if I could because I have learned so much from them, and I am blessed to have such an amazing family!

1 comment:

  1. That made me teary. :) You're very lucky to have spent so much time with your grandparents - they are wonderful. I missed out on those opportunities as mine passed away when I was 8 and 16 and we didn't live near any of them. I'm very impressed with your challenge, I'm working on preparing more meals from scratch and I think Jeff is actually impressed I am 'trying' to cook more. :) You're an amazing person. sorry I didn't get a chance to see you this summer. Next time!