Thursday, May 03, 2012

Potpourri of the Week #1

I used to have this beautiful bowl of potpourri that smelled like warm spicy chai tea.  It sat on the dining room table, and the kids would come around and point out the variety of objects in the bowl, like pinecones, seed pods, flower petals, leaves, and more.  The Beast, enamored especially with the sticks and stones in the bowl, would sneak them out of the bowl and into little hiding spots around the house.

Now that we are trying to be as fragrance-free as possible for the Beast's sake, the potpourri has disappeared, and a boring old vase has taken its place.  (I'm working on that!)  I miss seeing the variety of things in the bowl or absentmindedly rearranging them in various patterns.  However, I can certainly bring a little variety to the old blog!  I have been voraciously finding and reading all sorts of things on sites and blogs and plan on using "Potpourri of the Week" to share my favorites in the hopes that you will find them interesting and helpful as well. 

First, I have been thinking about making my own yogurt for a while now.  My kids love it and go through a quart of plain yogurt very quickly.  The Frugal Girl has an excellent tutorial with lots of pictures and easy-to-follow instructions.  I did it yesterday and now have a gallon of yummy homemade yogurt divided into cute little canning jars in my fridge.  It saves me a lot of money and makes me feel good that there are no extra preservatives going into my yogurt.

Speaking of yogurt, another favorite blogger of mine, Kitchen Stewardship, posted this interesting read on the benefits of eating yogurt a few years ago.    It confirms why I'm willing to make a GALLON of yogurt for my family.

We have our IEP meeting with the Beast's teacher and other specialists next week.  I will be letting them know that we have decided to homeschool him this coming school year.  I am anticipating protests and general negativity, especially along the lines of "but how on earth will he learn socialization skills?"  I have been doing a lot of research - we didn't just make this decision on a whim, after all!  This article in Everyday Education hit home with me and shows exactly how my child will be "socialized."  :)  I should probably just print it out and hand it to them. 

In addition to drastically changing our diet and lifestyle this past month, we have also been working hard as a family to pay down debt, Dave Ramsey style.  Eating healthier, non-packaged meals is not as cheap as buying a bunch on manufactured foods with sales and coupons for sure.  I was inspired by this post on doing a grocery spending audit in Good Cheap Eats and am doing everything I can this month to lower the grocery/household/toiletries budget while still eating good, healthy food.  (Yet another reason to make my own yogurt!)  Our budget for all household items, including food, diapers, toiletries, stamps, and anything for the house, is $400.  It's pretty tight, but I am determined to make it work.  Hopefully near the end of this month I will be able to write my own post about how we are achieving that goal. 

And on a much more fun note (all those previous links are a lot to read and digest!), enjoy this humorous take on birth order and how it's all your mother's fault from Five in Tow.  She's a fellow Northwest blogger and a very talented writer, in my opinion.

And that's my gatherings for this week!  Hope you find something useful or enjoyable in the mix!  

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