The Meat We Eat

If it were up to Edie, my four-year-old, we would eat meat every single night. She likes it all and always has: fish and fowl, pork and steak, bacon or sausages. However, we know that part of our job as parents is to make sure she has a healthy start and that includes healthy eating habits. Unfortunately, that means meat is not an every day option. Sorry, Edith.

(This post contains some affiliate links. That’s means I might be compensated at no cost to you.)

We think a lot about what we eat as I’m sure many of you do. When we had Edie this became particularly important for us. We want Edie to be kind, healthy, and compassionate. As her parents we want her to take care of herself and be as healthy as possible. From the beginning we have tried to give her a variety of foods and the best quality that we can afford. My husband made all of her baby food and we still swear by our amazing Baby Bullet.

Baby bullet
If you have a baby go buy one now!

Not long ago we started thinking a lot about the meat we eat. We decided to eat only local and more sustainable meat. Further, we wanted to eat less meat in general. As I mentioned in a previous post, Papa’s Picks: Basic Suppers To Eat Every Week, we eat the same basic meals with variations every week. We only eat meat once or twice a week and fish once or twice as well. We found an amazing service that suits all of our needs as a family.

Walden Local Meats !

These folks are working hard to support New England and New York small farmers that raise sustainable meat on small farms. In their own words they are “reinvigorating our local agricultural economy” supporting producers of meat that is real and not factory produced! If you haven’t eaten this way, you can’t imagine the difference. It is spectacular. Meat feels more like a treat now. The flavors and quality are delicious. AND you get to feel good about the sustainability and animal welfare. Win!

Let me explain a bit about how it works.

Each month we receive a delivery on our doorstep with frozen meat packed meticulously in a cooler. For those of you following along, you know I love a good subscription service. It saves time and delivery makes it easy. (Heck, we even have our Toilet Paper delivered.) You get to decide how much you want each month. We get 10 pounds of meat. It includes a little bit of everything: steaks in many varieties, lamb chops, ground beef, bacon, chicken thighs, sausages galore. Hungry yet? You can also add on a variety of things. We always add eggs and butter, because eggs and butter. The best.

Every month you can also choose different specials that are available. This might be a ham for Easter or a nice leg of Lamb. One of the things we have founds most delicious and exciting is the addition of fish to our monthly delivery. Same principals applied to the fish: local, fresh, sustainable, and delicious. Even though we live on the water in New England it has become increasingly more difficulty to find fresh local fish. This option is so delicious that we just increased how much we are getting each month. Healthier, and yummy.

Is it affordable?

Yeah it is. We use this as our only meat source for the month. That means we do not buy any other meat at the super market. Quite frankly, after eating humanely raised local meat, it’s hard to eat the other stuff again. This reduces our weekly shopping total each week drastically. Plus, Walden has a variety of options as well. Something in most price ranges.

If you live in New England I really can’t say enough about them. Check them out. If you live in any of these places you are eligible for this amazingness:

If you don’t in these places, you should move here. Orrrrr I invite you to look into ways to switch up your food consumption? How can you eat food that is more compassionate, local, and sustainable? I would love to hear you thoughts!

If you do live in these places you can sign up here! Let me know what you think!

Papa’s Picks : The Ultimately Easy and Affordable Girl’s Style Guide

Spring is coming and that means so many things are coming back to life. As a gardener, Edie and I are obsessively checking for new sprouts in our garden. We have also all but finished our Spring clothing shopping. Find the task daunting? Let us help you to make it simple and affordable.

When I first became a dad I way overdid it with clothes. In fact, if you ask my husband I still have that tendency. Setting a spending plan (budget is such an ugly word) helps to give you some guidelines. Make sure you are also aware of how your little one is growing and changing at the time. Don’t want to buy too much if in the middle of a growth spurt and always try and buy a little too big.

In New England, where it is winter for a really really long time, Spring is about adding some color again and also pieces that can be layered. Some of the pieces will transition into summer and some will not. Keep that in mind when prioritizing and sizing. After that I like to think about what things are priorities and what things I can get with leftover money as splurges. Here are the three categories I like to think of:

The Affordable Basics, Layers and Mix and Match, and Holidays and Splurges

This post contains some affiliate links. While I might make some money off of your purchases it comes at no additional cost to you.

The Affordable Basics

One super important thing I have learned is that leggings are not an option they are a necessity. I also have learned that really 3-4 pair are plenty. I do laundry every day. Duh. See this post- Plastic Free Love. If you don’t do laundry every day, first off I envy you, secondly then add a few more pair. I used to buy higher end leggings and it is not worth it at all!! Target Leggings are where it’s at! $6? What? Yeah, $6 and they last and are soft and you need every color. Check out the unicorn ones! The basics go with everything!

Layers and Mix and Match

Next you need some layering pieces to add to your leggings. I can not say enough good things about Primary. Some of you still haven’t tried them and I’m really not sure why. Gooooooo!!! So soft. No stupid logos or goofy pictures. Just great colors and fit. I find the stuff to run a little big, which is great because you get a few seasons out of it. Their dresses have pockets: a must for Edie and most other dress wearers. Here is Edie in her black dress from Primary


Get 20% off your first order at Primary.com with code AFF20PCT
Enjoy a great discount code here!

Holidays and Splurges

With most seasons comes a special occasion or Holiday. When I can I like to splurge a little for an outfit. With Spring, I always look for a Birthday outfit and an Easter outfit. For those I usually do Hanna Anderson or Boden. As a newbie parent, I used to buy a lot more from them. As we are getting closer to paying for Kindergarten and in order to keep my marriage intact I try and shop at these spots only when on sale or for special occasion. If you have the resources, go for it. I particularly love Boden’s quality, and both brands are committed to representation and diversity. Win!

Look at this number we are eyeing for Easter:

Hello gorgeous

A shoes and accessories post will be coming soon and separately…but take a look here for the best shoes ever…Zimmerman Shoes.

Let us know what you think! How do you manage seasonal wardrobe changes? Share your successes and favorites with us!

Privilege and Thanksgiving

I have never been a Thanksgiving person.  I do not actively oppose Thanksgiving, and I do love a good table setting and an excuse to use fine china and heirloom silver, but it has just never been my thing.  In part, I think it is because I have always loved Christmas and have sort of thought as Thanksgiving as a day to check off so we can get to the main, more glitzy, event. Thanksgiving has always seemed a bit blah, gray, and I don’t know, boring?  Like many things in life my husband has changed my perspective gradually over the years.  He loves Thanksgiving.  He loves the low-key vibe of it all, and he loves to feed those that he loves.  He loves the rest and simplicity of it all.

 

I think I too have always been acutely aware of my privilege at Thanksgiving.  I have so much. I have time, clothing, shelter, and food in excess. Compared to many other people I share this planet with I am so rich and so full.  Much of this “stuff” that I have is simply due to being born where and when I was born.  I am white.  I am a man.  I am upper middle class.  I am an American.  Of course, it would seem that I have much to be thankful for to some, but that seems almost showy and braggy in a way.  I struggle with how to be grateful for the things and experiences I have while still being mindful, and angry, about those denied so many often in my name and in the name of my country or religion.  Classic over-thinker? Perhaps.

 

But, here comes Edie Daring and my life perspective changes in so many ways, obviously.  And what is that feeling that I seem to have more and more every day?  Gratitude. Thankfulness.  That feeling that this life is enough.  As we struggle with all the ins-and-outs of parenting and the responsibility of trying to raise a strong woman who is also a good person, one thing that seems very important in that process is teaching her to be thankful and grateful.  For it seems, one way to actually counteract in a way all of this privilege and often excess, is to learn to be grateful and happy and thankful with the ordinary and the mundane as well as the enormous and immeasurable.  One way to be happy with where you are in every moment is to be thankful.  This does not let us off the hook.  We can still be mindful of privilege and injustice and the evil of greed and power and be thankful at the same time.  Thankfulness softens us a bit and makes it a little easier to persevere in health against all the growing inequities in the world today. Thankfulness gives us hope.

 

I was struck recently at church about the lack of thanksgiving.  During our liturgy in the Episcopal church there is a part where we pray (duh). Specifically we offer our prayers of supplication and then prayers of thanksgiving.  Basically, we ask God (the universe, higher power, Light, Love) for stuff on our behalf and on the behalf of others. There then comes a time when we say what we are thankful for or what we want to thank God for.  We always seem to have a long list of out-loud asks for God, often folks that are ill.  This is great! However, when it comes time to say the things for which we are thankful it is often quiet.  Now, I am sure many people, like myself, name things in our heart. Edie and Tim always are first in mine.  I bet too that many people struggle with naming gratitude out loud.  Thanksgiving is a chance to do that.  Thanksgiving Day gives us a day to be vocal and say out loud those things for which we are thankful, and to not be embarrassed about it, for whatever reason.

 

Thanksgiving seems to reassure us that we have enough. We are enough. The Earth is enough. Love is enough.  A perfect transition into the season of Hope that is the Holiday season, I suppose.  Also, thanksgiving is a way to perhaps curb our excess and want for those of us that systematically have too much and as a reminder to work for justice and fairness economically for those that are without. Edie reminds me every single day of the importance of gratitude for everything.  She has a cold right now and is a terrible sleeper when she is sick.  I spent most of the night in a rocking chair keeping her upright so she could breathe.  This morning I am thankful for that (at 3 a.m. I confess I was not) because I have been told that some day I will miss those days.  Edie and Tim and I all love each other unconditionally and if ever there was anything to be thankful for that is at the top of the list.

 

Like many things in parenting, Edie is the one actually teaching us.  As we worry about teaching her to be grateful and thankful and thus a “good person” she is already a step ahead of us and is helping us to catch up.  We just have to shut up and let it happen.

 

Edie is thankful for strawberries.  Edie is thankful for leaves of every color, and snow, and puddles, and thrift shop baby clothes for her baby dolls.  Edie is thankful for her dog, Rufus, her sandbox, friends Noah and Ebba, and for maple syrup.  Edie is thankful for music, cartwheels, trampolines, and for salami.  Edie is thankful for chickens, seagrass, the ocean, and for her family.  Edie is thankful for Mars, her blanket out of the warm dryer, the woods, and her scooter.  Her list and her gratitude goes on and on and on.  Because of her, mine does too.  I am okay with that and look forward to a day of relishing in that.

Happy Thanksgiving.

 

 

 

How Not To Be Too Gross At Christmas

Halloween is over and our little Edie’s strawberry costume has been packed away and put in the cellar with the skeleton, witches, ghosts, and other decor.  So now our parental sites seem to automatically turn toward Christmas. This post is not about lamenting the fact that the stores are putting up Holiday items and some even playing music. I guess that’s just to be expected a bit at this point. I mean I have to admit I get a little excited when I start seeing some of it. I do think that this early jump start on Christmas is of course hyper-capitalism inspired  consumerism at it’s worst reminding us to spend spend spend in order to be happy and have the perfect Christmas and perfect life. A trap most of us fall for. Myself included.

Plus, poor Thanksgiving. We really love Thanksgiving in this house. My husband is basically the best non-professional cook ever. This is his favorite day of the year. He creates lists, flow charts, and plans weeks in advance. We enjoy having some of our besties over and eating until it hurts and being lazy for a few days as we begin to ease into winter in New England. And we never eat turkey! We also think gratitude is pretty important. And don’t get me wrong, I have been known to put the lights up the very day after Thanksgiving and even sometimes the live tree, which usually ends up dry as a bone by the second week of Advent and in our yard promptly by December 26th.

What I really want to talk about though is something we were recently asked by a dear friend: How do you avoid going overboard at Christmas? How do you not fall into the trap and buy way too much stuff? How do you keep it real? So, here is a list of ways to do just that. I call it:

THE HOW TO NOT BE TOO GROSS AT CHRISTMAS LIST:

1. Wait for it.

It is easy to fall into the trap of buying early. Edie has had a Crate and Kids catalogue for well over a month that has things circled with the letter “E” written next to them.  I find that the earlier I start, the more I buy, and let’s be honest most of our kids really do not need that much more stuff. This is something I have not always been great at and sometimes am still not. I was raised by very generous people and had very doting maternal grandparents. I never knew what it was like to not get everything on my list and then some. So try and wait until December! Heck, wait until the middle of December. There is something nice about participating in the old tradition of Advent. This is literally a time of waiting. It helps you to slow down and not rush to Christmas until Christmas. Then, you get 12 days of it! Obviously this practice can be applied in a secular way as well. So, wait!! This year we have vowed to wait for our tree until it is a bit closer to the 25th.

2. Be like Santa, make a list. 

I find that when I go to Whole Foods with Edie on a Monday without a list, I spend approximately $8,000. I buy candles, plants, soaps, cut flowers, 8 kinds of crackers and popcicles and many other items I don’t really need. The same is true with Christmas. If you go into it blindly with no real plan you overdo it. Decide how much you can really afford or want to spend then prioritize and stick with it. We like to get Edie one or two big things. This year it’ll be a crib, stroller, and high chair for her baby dolls as this is her favorite thing to do right now: “take care of her girls”, as she calls it, including her well loved-baby named Baby that is now completely legless and still fully loved. Because of this we will also be adding a new baby to her collection. This is the one we are excited to gift her this year from Hazel Village. We are always on the lookout for good dolls of color and there are simply not enough. If you do not know Hazel Village you should check them out as the stuff is amazing. We were introduced to them by our awesome friend and blogger over at Simply On Eden. To round out our list we then find something that keeps her connected to being outside (obsessed with this), something related to art and making things, and several new books.  That’s our list and we are sticking to it (my husband is reading this and will certainly hold me to it).

3. Be Green and Buy Vintage!

I mean Etsy  makes it so easy to buy vintage and handmade things. My search for baby doll furniture has lead me to look there and I will be narrowing it down soon. If you have any recommendations please let me know. For the same price you get something much more sturdy, typically made of  wood and without the packaging, and much better quality. Other things that can be bought second hand include books, board games, and fun stuff like porcelain tea sets and dollhouse furniture. Facebook market place is also a fantastic place to shop locally for used items. For clothing I sometimes use Thredup. They are great for cleaning out the closet as well and send you a big bag to send back to them. You can even get shop credit when they sell your items which means more Edie’s clothes! A great task to take care of right before or after the Holidays.

The last thing I will say is that we have learned over the few years we have been doing this that less is more. Kids really can’t play with more than about 10 toys, in total. We do have more than that still but we are constantly trying to downsize. Toys that are open ended also tend to go over better and provide longer entertainment and inspiration. So, when you get new stuff get rid of the same amount or more! This also helps with clutter and mess.

Edie will be happy to get a new dolly and a few things to go with those dollies. There are lots of kids that have far less. This is an important lesson to start teaching at a young age as well in an age appropriate way. This year we hope to give back as a family and serve a meal here or there to those in need. We also will go shopping for someone in need together. These experiences help to ensure you are raising a nice person and helps us all to battle that Christmas Gross feeling. These are just some ideas that I had. I would love to hear from you. Let us know how you can make Christmas less gross! Now, on to Thanksgiving! Oh, and a cute picture of Edie from last Christmas, of course.