Food, Inc.

Ever since Elijah started eating solid foods I have really tried to be knowledgeable about what we are eating and to teach him healthy eating habits. I have struggled with my weight my whole life and I don't want him to have to fight that battle, but, it isn't just about weight. I don't want my sons little innocent body to be full of chemicals. Actually, I don't want mine, or Jeff's, or Eli's or anyone else's body to be full of chemicals either. I buy organic when possible (not always the easiest thing in Butler, PA), I try to feed my family whole foods, and, when we do eat "packages" foods I look for as few ingredients as possible with no high fructose corn syrup or ingredients that I can't pronounce. Don't get me wrong; we have the occasional junk, usually when Elijah is sleeping. I am great at eating healthy.... it's the "extras" that come after the healthy foods that are bad for me!
So, last night Jeff and I watched "Food, Inc.". A very disturbing but excellent documentary that is trying to encourage people to know where their food comes from. It was very eye opening about alot of things but, for me, especially about where our meat comes from and the process that it goes through from being a baby animal to being my dinner. We don't eat very much beef but we eat chicken very frequently. I usually purchase frozen chicken breasts that have no added hormones. Apparently, that isn't enough. I am now faced with some questions that I am really trying to think through....
  • How much am I willing to pay for local, healthy, "properly" fed and butchered meat? ("Sorry your college fund isn't bigger Eli, hope you enjoyed the expensive chicken and beef.")
  • How much additional time, effort, energy am I willing to spend to get better meat products over just buying fresh or frozen at the grocery store?
  • Do I think it is that important or am I going to be satisfied with the efforts that we already make and not worry about it.
  • Do I need to put more emphasis on finding meats that meet the standards that I think I am looking for or more emphasis on reducing the amount of meat in our diet?
  • Where can I find local chicken that has not gone through a processing plant (I have found several local places for grass-fed beef but no luck with chicken)?
Lots to think about! I don't really know what I think about these questions yet. I do know that it is something that I feel like I have to consider as a responsible consumer and as a responsible parent. I know that sometime in Elijah's life, someone will take him to McDonalds and let him get whatever he wants. I know that we eat most of our meals at camp in the summer (where organic isn't financially realistic), I know that we will still go out to restaurants or be in situations where someone else is preparing our food. I feel like I need to do everything that I can when I am the one responsible for feeding my family so that there is a healthy balance to the occasions when I am not in complete control of our food.

It makes me sad that we have gotten to this point, who decided that grocery stores full of mostly "fake" foods is best for us? Why does fake food taste so good (I am ashamed to admit that I am a big fan of artificial cheese flavored things)? I feel blessed that Jeff and I can afford to spend a little more on groceries for more healthy food but upset that money has to be a consideration when it comes to our health.

I'll keep you posted... don't really have any answers right now.


A great place to live

I love where we live, and not just because it comes with my job and costs us nothing. I love the charm of our old farm house. I love that it has character. I love that it has new windows and insulation in the attic so I am not freezing my butt off this winter! Mostly, I love feeling good about where we are raising our son! Every now and then I miss living in a neighborhood... Last night Jeff and I were reminiscing about playing in the snow with our childhood friends. I was starting to feel a little bad that Eli can't just go outside and all of a sudden have a neighborhood worth of kids come out too but then we went out to play in the snow today and I loved that we didn't see another car the whole time that we were outside. He could run around wherever he wanted because everywhere that he could walk was "ours" (camp is 660 acres... he would have to go pretty far to be going in someone else's yard). We will just have to make sure we are very intentional about invite his friends over when he is older. We have something better than a neighborhood.... we live in a community! The Lutherlyn community has been an important part of my life for a long time but now that Jeff and Elijah are a part of this "camp family" it is even better and more complete. I love that we can feel like we are completely alone on our little corner of the property yet we know that there are several other families that share this place and mission with us PLUS thousands of people who come and go throughout the year who we get to share this wonderful place with. It is so great to feel such a sense of purpose and belonging at a place that is my home, my work, my calling, my greatest memories, the source of most of my closest friends, and a blessing to so many people. Thank you God!


18 months old!

Elijah is 18 months old today (this was written on Feb. 1st)! Tomorrow he will be closer to 2 years old than he is to 1. UNBELIEVABLE!

We have had another wonderful month full of adventures! Elijah played in the snow for the first (and second and third) time this month. Jon and I got him all bundled up and headed outside. He wasn't sure at first but he warmed up to it quickly.... he just stood there and giggled!

I have been slightly concerned about Elijah's speech (or lack there of) but this month he turned into a little chatter box. One day he just started repeating everything, saying what he wants (and sometimes yelling it), and he started using baby sign! We were amazed... we gave up on the baby sign about 2 or 3 months ago because he was not responding, all of a sudden, last week, he started using the signs for "more", "all done", and "milk". It is so exciting to listen to his little voice and have a better understanding of what he wants (although we were getting pretty good at identifying what the various grunts and points meant).

Eli has always liked books but he has really started to pay attention and try to understand what is in the books. He will sit on the living room floor and thoroughly turn through the pages of every single book in his basket. When he gets up in the morning we read books together and he will point at pictures and say what they are or make the animal sounds.

Eli is also developing his sense of humor. When something makes us laugh, he really knows how to ham it up and keep doing it to keep us laughing! I love his laugh... it makes me laugh every single time I hear it!

We hope you are all doing well! We are loving life with an 18 month old!

Deb, Jeff, and Elijah


Well, I did it. I have been a "blog creeper" for a while now (Life Under a Blue Roof, KoskerIdlewild, Kasch, Anything Can Happen...., Hippie, etc.). I love to read my friends' blogs but, more importantly, I have learned things from my friends blogs. Lots of great tips and ideas from people that I know and trust. So, as I was pre-washing my flannel fabric to make washcloths for Eli's hands (instead of using wipes) and handkerchiefs (thank you Shayne), I thought to myself, "I think I would like to blog too". I don't expect to be quiet as educational or exciting as some of my friends but I would like to share some of my thoughts and, to be completely honest with you, I want to brag about my amazing son! So, here goes. I will include my monthly Eli updates that get e-mailed out to our families but I don't really know what else I will include. At least I won't feel like such a creeper when I read other people's blogs!