Organizing, Digital Camers and Going Organic

28 January 2008

I'm feeling organized today.

I cleaned quite profusely (I was going to say, like a maniac, but that seems a little extreme) on Saturday night, so my house was still looking good by this morning, since we're never home on Sundays. The basement is still looking nice from our full frontal attack last weekend. Still a few more things to organize there, but I need some baskets from the dollar store and I don't have any dollars right now.
The dishwasher is on, the washing machine is on, one kid is napping, one is having quiet play in his room and one is working on an activity book at the table here with me. I'm wearing some comfy-new-(loaned)-to-me maternity clothes from my friend, so I'm excited about that. Less early morning searching for clothes. At least, until I get behind on the laundry again. I know, I should think positively.
I have choir tonight, and I actually got my plan made and sent out to my 'staff' by my deadline, Fridays. So now I just have to gather up stuff...oh and maybe I should look at some of the music I don't know....

Oh, have I got a story. So, if you've been reading, you might remember that our digital camera (Christmas 06 gift from my parents) was lost/stolen last summer. I searched everywhere....or so I thought. We gave up and bought a new one last month as our christmas gift to each other.

I was inspired to start scrapbooking again yesterday and hauled all my stuff to my parents. Besides my usual two bags of stuff, I had a few other bags of miscellaneous stuff that needed to be sorted and hopefully some thrown out. I hadn't scrapped since last summer, so I hardly remembered what half the bags had in them.
I ensconsed myself on my moms living room floor and opened the first bag to see what it contained...some blank pages, some page protectors, some cutting tools.....

And our lost/stolen digital camera.

In the words of the Genie....I feel sheepish.

Anyways, I got all my scrapbooking stuff organized so now I can get back at it and maybe get somewhat caught up by the time the baby arrives. At least enough that I can make a book for her too. I'm still determined to make sure baby #4 gets something comparable to baby #1.

And onto another topic...our great Organic Adventure.

Last summer, I read a couple books that really got me thinking about our food. Now, eating better, with less chemicals and all that is something I've been interested in for a few years. But these two books kickstarted me back into a much more intense effort to make changes. When the fall arrived, I had decided to start doing a few things differently
  • I was going to start buying our meat from an organic farm in rural Ancaster.
  • I was going buy our fruits and veggies organic, and all other things as much as possible, at our friendly neighbourhood Goodness Me, over on Upper Gage.

So that's what I started doing. After a few shoppings I started realizing what an impact this was making on our budget. Reluctantly, I altered the plan, and we started buying our fruits and veggies at Hamilton Produce, on Upper Ottawa. Although not organic, it was local produce, and pretty darn cheap.

The next thing to go was cereal. We are big cereal eaters in our family--always for breakfast and it's not uncommon for James and/or I to have another bowl at bedtime--especially me these days. The only sizes of cereal available at Goodness Me were itty-bitty. We'd buy 4-5 boxes, at about twice the price of similar sized boxes at Food Basics, and be out in a week. Back we'd go for more. James grumbled about this and compare nutrition labels. He was not convinced we were getting anything better at Goodness me.

After another month or two, we were still decimating our food budget. I had known that going organic would be more expensive, but I guess I just didn't think it would be that much, and that somehow I could compensate. It just wasn't happening. Every payday, when I would fund the food envelope, I'd first have to put some in to take care of the deficit and bring the envelope to zero. This was eating up alot of our overtime. I mean, Jamie's overtime.

So I made a few more concessions. I began going back to the Food Basics for a few things. This meant we were now shopping for our food at 4 different stores. 3 of them we'd try to hit in one night, and then the organic farm had to be a separate trip (by me) during the day. It was about 45 minutes of driving round trip.

Still spending too much.

I started buying all our produce at Food Basics too. I had realized that Hamilton Produce was NOT local stuff, and the extra trip was just too inconvenient.

Still spending too much.

We now limited our Nature's Goodness trip to dairy products only. I had early on decided that I disliked organic butter, so I was still getting that from Food Basics. This left cheese, eggs and milk, although we'd often get the same brand organic from Sobey's over in the Meadowlands, or Shoppers Drug mart nearby.

Still totally overspending.

Then came the new year and my finance reassessment, that I've already posted about. I did a report on the food budget for the previous months and was shocked at how much more we'd spent over those months. Anywhere between 30-50% more for the food budget.

Fortunately, by now, my intensity for the necessity of organic had waned. My alarm bells were not constantly going off. Besides the cost, it's just difficult to ensure that your family is NEVER eating non-organically. Snacks at church and friends houses, meals away from home--either at a restaurant or others' homes, I was making exceptions every time I turned around.

And now it seemed pretty obvious that we just could not afford to buy organic. How sad is that? That an average family who earnestly wished to eat better, without all the chemicals, additives and processing by-products simply could not afford to do it.

I still have one hold out...but that will probably stop too. I tried to replace our organic meat with the no-antibiotic meat at Sobeys. However, it's still more expensive, for smaller packages of meat, and with a very small selection. Out of 6 meat products I bought last grocery trip, there was only one to be found from that 'better' group. I ended up buying regular meat, at Sobeys prices, when I could have saved some by getting it at Food Basics.

So that's our sorry saga of trying to go organic. I suppose the bottom line is still that I'm preparing as much as I can without using processed stuff, and including fresh produce everyday in as many meals as possible.

But man, that family on the hamburger helper commercial sure looked happy and healthy.


J9 said...

I think I was in university when I first began to discover the extremely disappointing (and dangerous, if you think about it!) truth that the better food is for you, the more it costs. I used to eat out of the vending machines, because the junk food is so much cheaper than the good stuff! And we wonder why North American society has such an ongoing battle with obesity, diabetes, and just over-all poor health... but, when you're on a tight budget, mac&cheese and hamburger helper is often the only choice...

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