Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Tweaking. And other Wednesday stuff.

I've been feeling pretty overwhelmed by my schedule lately. I asked John to sit down with me over the weekend (before all the "yuck" struck) and take a long, hard, objective look at my calendar with the goal of tweaking things to regain some balance, and quite frankly to recover some L-I-F-E.

Together we realized that I spend a considerable portion of my day in my car. Having three kids in three different school makes that unavoidable, but when I weigh it out in terms of where my time goes each's a lot! I tried to identify other ways I waste time and come up with solutions to make full use of the 5.5 hours I have while the kids are in school every day to include work, commitments, and some life-giving-soul-reviving-activity. One thing that surprised (and greatly pleased me) was that I've significantly pared down my outside commitments to bible study and YL Grilled Cheese Thursday. I actually enjoy and look forward to both of those activities! This is the first time in a decade or more that I don't have multiple commitments to my kids' school(s). It's actually very, very nice and very, very freeing! YET, I still feel busy and overwhelmed. I think being a mom, working part-time, and keeping a home just combine to make even the most organized of us feel like slackers.

Anyhoo. I found a few areas to tweak and I'm trying to use my time much more purposefully so that I can free up space for the things that allow me to feel sane--like being home at least two days a week. And hiking. And friends. And even blogging. I want to feel like I have control over my schedule and not the other way around. I'm realistic here too; I realize that some weeks will totally own me. :)

Moving on...

It's Wednesday! Hump Day! And what better gift than a two-hour weather delay this morning? Actually a snow day would be even more of a gift but I'll take what I've been given. SNOW DAY! 
I got the text that the district upgraded our delay to a closure while sitting here writing this post. I am soooooooo sooooooooo sooooooooo happy right now. I think snow days might be even better when they're unexpected.

I've been very diligent about keeping wheat/gluten out of my diet for the past two weeks and I am feeling SO much better. But you know what stumps me? How to thicken soups and stews without good ole white flour. I've tried cornstarch (works okay but breaks down quickly), rice flour (seems grainy to me), and all-purpose gluten-free flour (has an after-bite and changes the flavor of things)(maybe because the primary ingredient in mine is garbanzo bean flour)(gag). I'm planning to make beef stew for dinner tonight and don't know what kind of flour/thickener to substitute for the flour. Any tried and true ideas from my GF friends? Think coconut flour would work?


Christi @ Writing the Waves said...

Caylie and Carson are GF and we use cornstarch to thicken gravy. I see that you said that it breaks down quickly. I'm not sure if this will help you or not, but I stir it into a cup of warm water until it is kind of thick and milky looking (and totally dissolved), and then slowly stir it into gently boiling gravy. It has always worked perfectly for that. Good luck! :)

Anonymous said...

My sister and I just bought Wheat Belly yesterday. She is VERY VERY VERY healthy and eats super well, I need some improvement in some areas (such as wheat) and after starting to read that book, I'm buying into the idea that wheat is really icky for us. Excited to see what changes I can make.
Kelly in Michigan

Susie said...

Potato Buds?

Lee Ann said...

Potato starch (not flour) is great for thickening soups.

mer@lifeat7000feet said...

Thank you guys for your suggestions! I went with Christi's idea because my stew recipe calls for canned gravy. I subbed my own homemade gravy and it worked great. But I like options so will try potato starch/buds another time!

Kelly, I'm interested to hear what you think after you finish reading!!!

whimzie said...

Amen and amen about the schedule thing! I love my life but it's running me ragged. I think I'm still adjusting to this whole homeschool thing. And with Kelly's travel schedule I haven't had any time to myself and I know that I need that to recharge my batteries and be a better mom and wife. But you know, I'd never even thought about sitting down with my calendar and going through it to see where I can change things. That sounds so silly when that is a blatantly obvious thing to do! And I love that you brought John in to help you look for ways to tweak it. That's so wise and it give a tender glimpse into the relationship you have. And that had to have been edifying to him that you asked. Thanks for the advice!!

I'm following the Wheat Belly blog right now, and I'm trying to make some healthy eating changes, but it can be so overwhelming these days. Do you juice, go GF, cut out all processed, go paleo, eat raw, eat organic and local......I find myself wandering through the grocery store and leaving with barely anything to eat because my brain was giving me so many conflicting signals as to what would be okay to actually eat!

Brenda said...

The last time I made beef stew I used cornstarch and it came out surprisingly well.