Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Heart of Home: Budgeting Pennies ~ Marketing ~ Summer Salads

Early yesterday morning I took my parent's adoration hour, then went to 8:30 AM Mass (which was, unknowingly, my father-in-law's anniversary mass) then stopped at the church office for a VBS planning meeting.

I got home to find my middle daughter and her two friends playing outside in the rain while babysitting the youngest.

I slipped from my servant-hat straight and easily into my domestic apron, went to the outside freezer and dug through for supper fixings.

We just got back from vacation. My husband has asked me to manage funds better. (We tend to get lax, don't we?) Vacations are frivilous things, really. But they take you out of your mundane paycheck-to-paycheck world and, after the bliss of carefree living, brings you harshly back to reality and the need to be a better steward of your money.

Reality is a calendar page away. School clothes and fees. Two children in college this coming semester (the ONLY semester this will happen, thankyouLord!). Saving for daughter's wedding next fall. And Christmas crouched and ready to spring.

So I've picked up my favorite Catholic domesticated book by Kimberly Hahn Graced and Gifted: Bibilical Wisdom for the Homemaker's Heart to help guide me and my home back where God (and my husband) want it.

Why worry? Why attempt to better manage our homes and finances when the American dream truly seems to be how much debt we can incur? Our homes and our families and our budgets seem to take on a mind and direction all their own; often leaving us in the dust. True dat!

So why indeed? Why would I even attempt to get control once again of my home and finances when I know by Christmas I'll be wallowing in the same pitiful condition?

First, because my husband has asked me to. He provides the income that blesses us. He supplies the bills and groceries and the upcoming school expenses.

Second, the Word tells me to do so in more ways than one. I won't get all Scriptural've heard the verses before...but this is where Kimberly Hahn's book kicks me in gear.

Third, I know I will have more peace and calm in my life knowing that I at least tried to follow that game plan. Not always successful, but at least faithful.

Since we are recently back from hotel/condo living, this caught my eye:

Simply titled: This is the Salad Post by Leila

"Have you been to a hotel recently? Maybe to stay, or for a reception? Can you imagine even thinking, "This hotel is great. It's comfortable, welcoming, clean, and refreshing. The food tastes homemade. It's wonderful that this hotel has no manager."

The amazing thing about being the manager of your own home is that it's just such a pleasure. Listen, everything has its downside; nothing is perfect. But the freedom to decide when, where, and how to do things, taking into consideration only the opinions of those you love, why, that's a pleasure.

"Well, it can be!"

The thread was just what I was looking to read about managing home, budgeting pennies, and summer menu plans (namely salads).

I was delighted to come across this Salad post and am eager to try the French Salade Compose'e for meal times through August. My first pursuit was to make a list of salads to get us through the heat of summer, so the title had me at "Hello!"  After eating quite a few salads during vacation; my body craves them, the heat adores them. My daughter's little garden promises cucumbers, squash and tomatoes. The thought of going to market for fresh morning produce teases me. It's something my domestic-self wants but I'm too much the realist to expect it will happen.

I would love to bask in fresh morning marketing trips but I can't imagine going to market every day. Not here in America. We do not have the same tranquil, calming, meditative allure that, say, Tuscany has. Our country is still considered young, energized, fast-paced, modern. Fast food, eating on the run, carry-out, frozen pizza. Old world countries are slower, more reflective, weathered, more contemplative, old-style, traditional. Marketing baskets set on arm, gentle pickings over rows of fresh vegetables, quiet conversations on streets mid-mornings, walks from home to market and back again, thoughtful marketing.

Here we might go to the supermaret once a week (twice?) and we load up and spend a ridiculous amount of money because we are trying not to go again until the next paycheck. So we stock up on unnecessary items and things we really don't need and we load our trunks full.

Places where marketing and walking is the norm, one can not load an arm-basket with too much. One is tamer, more frugal than in a place where large eight-passenger vehicles park. The habit of daily morning shopping leads (I would think) to better planned meals, better shopping decisions, and lighter fare.

Less becomes the best.

A couple years ago our oldest daughter took a European tour. She said it is all true. People in England walk everywhere and sit reading in the parks. They eat lightly during the week and have Thanksgiving size spreads on Sunday. In France the people ride bikes or the train and they are often seen with loaves of French crust sticking out of their backpacks. They nibble on these while going from place to place, sometimes with meat, sometimes with cheese, sometimes alone.

And, yes, she said, people are skinny over there. The ones who are overweight are the Americans. I twitched uncomfortably over that piece of information. As an American, I'm embarrassed!

Everything in moderation. Our society, our homes, our families need to learn this well.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely post! I so wish I lived in a place where I could shop like that. For now, the farmers' market and local foods co-op will have to do, I guess!


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