Wow! I can't believe summer is almost over. This has been one of the busiest summers I've had in a while. Lots of changes for me and my family, but all for the good! I've been thinking this morning about all the things I've done or tried this summer, and I decided to make a list. Some people have "spring cleaning," but my experience has been "summer greening." Here we go:
1. Farmer's Market: I've been going almost weekly all summer, and it's been amazing! I even began buying meat and eggs from there. I probably won't purchase chicken anymore simply because it costs way too much! $12.99/lb for boneless skinless chicken breasts and about $15 for one 3 lb whole chicken!! While I really want to support humane chicken farming, I really can't afford that on my family's budget.
2. Grain Mill: No I haven't purchased my own, but I have been enjoying getting fresh ground flour from the Grain Mill of Wake Forest. I just keep it in the freezer so it doesn't go rancid. Since the flour is composed of the entire wheat berry, the oils are present and can turn within a few days. I've been trying to use whole wheat flour in all of my cooking, but I haven't developed a taste for it in desserts or biscuits yet. For those, I use unbleached all-purpose flour.
3. Sucanat: I've almost completely rid myself of white refined sugar. I say almost because my husband really doesn't like this change. He likes his white sugar so I'm trying to compromise a little.
4. Coconut oil: This wonderful oil has taken over my kitchen and my bathroom! My husband laughs at my use of coconut oil for my skin and hair, but I'm telling you, this stuff is amazing! In cooking, I use refined coconut oil because I don't like for my food to taste of coconuts. It would be okay in desserts, but scrambled eggs and other dishes like red beans and rice don't need to taste of coconut! For myself, I use coconut oil to tame my crazy hair (I have very thick, course, and curly hair so it can take a good bit of oil), and I also use it for my body moisturizer (not on my face). Yesterday I mixed in a drop of lavender essential oil when moisturizing after my shower, and it was quite nice! The lavender scent doesn't stick around all day, but it's calming aroma did stay for a couple of hours.
5. Homemade beauty products: I've been using homemade cleansers on my face for a couple of weeks now, and it's been wonderful! I use an oatmeal-almond scrub in the morning and do oil cleansing at night with a mixture of castor oil and jojoba oil. I also made a lavender-bergamot body spray. My recipes came from crunchybetty.com. Love her blog!!
6. Homemade household products: I've been experimenting the past couple of weeks with several different products. Here's what I've made so far: drain opener, air freshener, dusting spray, and dryer spray (to use instead of dryer sheets, and it works!!). Glass cleaner is next on my list to try.
7. Composting: I made my own compost bin out of a heavy duty plastic trash can. I drilled holes all around it for drainage, and I keep it outside next to our curbside can. We don't have much of a yard, so I don't have an open bin, but so far this has been working just fine. Why spend the money on a fancy bin if you can make your own! This adventure mainly came from necessity. My husband was on a fruit and veggie fast for 2 weeks, and we had a lot of pulp from all the juicing. I couldn't find anyone to give it to, and I didn't want to just throw it away. My dad suggested I compost it myself, so I did :)
8. Growing vegetables: Okay, so I only planted green bell peppers, but I'm really excited because they're actually growing!! I DO NOT have a green thumb, so the fact that I could produce anything is amazing to me (I know it's God who actually produces it, but I'm glad that I haven't prevented it's growth or killed it in the process!).
Well, I think that's it! I might be leaving something out, but my brain isn't fully functioning today. I will tell you that the MOST important change I've made this summer has been sitting down in the mornings to have my quiet time with the Lord. This is something, I'm ashamed to say, has flown by the wayside the past few years. I have been in desperate need to make this a part of my daily routine, but it's been hard to be disciplined in this area. I finally just made the decision to get up at 5:30 in the morning and make my coffee, sit down with my Bible, and just be still for a while. I was reading Discipline by Elisabeth Elliot, and she talked about people that have trouble getting up in the mornings. She basically says to just do it! So I did! I won't say it's easy, but I will say that my day is so much better because of it. We are created to be dependent on God, and when we try to do everything ourselves we can really mess things up. More on that later, because I think I've given you plenty to chew on in this post! I'll be posting some of the recipes I've been using for homemade products soon!!