Targeting homemade

November 1, 2009 at 4:59 pm (Daily Criteria, School) (, , )

I’ve been trying not to get all riled up by one of the Northshore School District policies.   I’ve already decided that it’s not worth my time to fight the beast about it, but I still lay awake thinking about it one night last week.  So my final therapeutic measure is to blog about it.

The district won’t allow any homemade foods to be brought it for sharing.  On birthdays and special occasions, we are invited to bring in store-bought items.

On the one hand, this policy is more lenient then some schools with a school-wide nut-free policy.  I don’t have to worry about foods I send with my kids on a daily basis.  But at least a nut-free policy serves to protect kids from something that can harm, if the school has one of those kids with the misfortune of a life-threatening nut allergy.

A store-bought only policy for “treat days” doesn’t serve to protect anybody.  The bad-fat-laden, preservative-filled cupcakes that are the store-bought norm are not safe for plenty of kids with allergies.  They won’t get to eat them anyway.  Yes, its safety for those kids can be confirmed by a label.  I’d argue, though, that those foods are not really “safe” for anybody to eat. 

Homemade goods can be labeled also.  Yes, you’d have to trust the parents’ ability to label completely, and minimize crossover contamination.  If a child is really really allergic to many foods, he could choose (or be instructed) not to eat questionable items, or even all homemade.  He probably isn’t getting to eat a lot of the store-bought stuff either and is already used to needing alternate snacks.

I want to be clear- I know having a life-threatening allergy sucks, and I in no way want to make it harder.  I’ve happily dealt with bringing daily snacks to other schools that required no nuts, and I’ve made plenty of homemade foods for people who can’t eat nuts, or eggs, or dairy, or even wheat.  I just don’t understand why being allergic means you’d go more towards store-bought.  In fact, I know if one of my kids was allergy-prone, I’d be baking even more, to enable them to still eat many favorite foods safely.

Making homemade foods (and other non-food items) is truly part of our family’s core values.

 Homemade means to us:

  • More nutritious- and I don’t just mean our treats lack the “bad stuff”.  In a birthday treat, I typically still use at least partially whole grains, and utilize some “add-ins” that add extra nutrition.  And I promise, I do it so the kids don’t notice.
  • Quality time spent together making food
  • That the food maker cares about you
  • Cheaper- almost always, and often significantly
  • More individualized- last year for their birthday, the boys got a spider and a saber tooth tiger cake.  Their favorite animals.

        Happy Birthday P!  Happy Birthday A!

This post might read like it, but I’m really not a Nazi about not eating store-bought treats.  Writing this a day post-Halloween, I really have no room to talk about an abstinence-only policy.  We eat store-bought junk food plenty.  I just think this policy is non-sensical, and teaches kids a sad message.  That store-bought is better- a special treat for birthdays, when in reality it’s not even close to better.

So I told my husband I’d send in apples for the boys’ birthday.  He looked at me like I’d lost my mind.  I won’t, really.  I’m not going to ostracize them as the dudes with the crazy mama.  I’ll buy something sugary.  And I might even eat one.  I thought of something funny, though.  Technically, if we had the apple orchard I long for, and I dared to buck the sugar-trend and brought in our apples, they’d be homemade.  Uh-oh.


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July 22, 2009 at 9:05 pm (Cooking) (, )

Besides more time with the kids, I’m excited to stay at home to MAKE- food, clothes, a more organized and happier home, a little love once in a while.  All the homemaking activities I thought about sometimes while working, but mostly left to MJ to handle.

The two biggest tangible drivers for making homemade foods and crafts are creating healthier foods and saving money. But greater than that, I think, is that it’s so rewarding to see what you’ve created, whether it’s something pretty on the wall, something you’re wearing, or something your kids eat.

One of my greatest frustrations the last few years on the job was not physically creating anything to be proud of at the end of the day.  Saying you answered 40 emails and gave advice to 3 people about the manufacturing process and edited an SOP, well, it wasn’t floating my boat.  It took me a while, but eventually I realized I need something pretty concrete to feel satisifed about my work.

At home for the second week, so far, so good on the creation front, but there’s a lot more on my list.


  • I finally finished sewing a spider bathrobe for Auden.  I’m new to sewing; I bought my first sewing machine for $99 last month.  I’m proud of this project on all kinds of levels.  It cost less than $20 in materials.  You can buy a boy’s bathrobe for this commercially I’m sure, but would it have insects and spiders on it?  Or your own boy’s most favoritest thing?  I bought the exact amount of fabric (1 yd) I needed, by guessing.  Truth be told, I went back and got a different solid fleece for the pockets because I was out of the spider fleece.  And, I managed to “design” it by looking at my own bathrobe without buying a pattern.  Last, and best of all, he LOVES it and wears it every day. You can see my issue here
  • We went blueberry picking last week, and then made blueberry jam.  SO easy to make freezer jam, by the way.
  • We’ve been making yogurt popsicles, and the kids seem to PREFER them over Otter Pops.  Yesterday we were out of the yogurt they usually eat (flavored yogurt in quarts, the kind of lots of sugar, but at least no HFCS).  We did have the plain yogurt.  I added our homemade jam to it, AJ stirred, and yuuum.  They ate it up, and we made more healti(er) popsicles without having to go to the store. I will add; I’ve tried to get them to eat plain yogurt with jam in it before, and they would have nothing to do with it. Either the homemade jam improved it, or I finally let them put in enough jam that it tasted like a commercial yogurt, or they just got used to the idea. But something to remember- just because a kid refused something once, doesn’t mean he always will, as is easy to think.
  • Yesterday I made hummus from dried beans. Not spectacular, but certainly good.
  • Revitalizing a sourdough starter that was dying a slow death in the fridge. GOJ and I used it to make pancakes, and it’s about to become bread. Making sourdough pancakes

Next on the list:

  • Attempting to culture our own yogurt
  • Mixing up our own liquid laundry detergent
  • Baking sourdough bread, which I’m about to do now!

(I really do have another kid, PJ just hasn’t happened to be doing any of the activities I’ve blogged about yet!)

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