Back in Nebraska now, I had to adjust to the fact that NONE of the stores doubled coupons. I sort of went through withdrawals. Crazy, I know…but double couponing and getting most of our food for free had been a big part my grocery shopping/menu planning/cooking for the past four years. I had to learn how to shop in a new way now.
I continued to shop the sales and clip as many coupons as I could. I found I was still able to save quite a bit of money using coupons, spending only about $200/month for our family of five.
Our first summer here, I had my first real garden…asking as many questions as I could to people who knew more than I did (because at that point, EVERYONE knew more than I did about gardening!). It was fun…yet hard because I had a five year old, a two year old and a five month old at the time.
I remember learning that I had dug up a nice strawberry patch because I didn’t know what that area of green stuff was growing in the middle of the place I wanted to put my green beans. I remember asking about what I should put on my tomato plants, then buying and using some sort of bug killer that would also hurt my children if not put up in a high place (yeah, I had barely even heard the word organic then).
My second year of gardening, I brought home my mom’s canning jars and her book about how to preserve food. That was the first year I attempted to “home can” anything…and I loved it! (I believe the rest is history in regard to canning and preserving!)
It wasn’t until I was pregnant with our fourth son that we even started thinking remotely about eating healthy. Even though I was pregnant, I still drank my Pepsi regularly…enjoyed lots of lunches out with friends…had a pantry full of boxes.
Then Matt went on a short trip to Scotland (LONG story) to visit some friends who were living there. While he was there, he kept a journal. In his journal, he even kept a record of the food he ate (because he thought I’d probably enjoy knowing…is he the sweetest or what?!).
The friends he stayed with there were pretty health conscious and ate lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. During meals, they would discuss some of the foods they focused on eating, and some of the foods they worked to avoid.
Matt came home from his trip and told me, “Did you know margarine is made from this stuff called ‘partially hydrogenated oil’ and that’s really bad for us?” To which I replied, “How bad is it? Because margarine is really cheap and real butter is expensive.” Matt finally convinced me that it was worth it to buy butter, not margarine…but oh how I cringed when I put it into my cart.
Our switch from margarine to butter was the very first step we took on our healthy eating journey. Although, at this point, I wouldn’t yet call it a “journey”.
It wasn’t until our littlest guy Malachi was born with chronic eczema that we really began looking into what it actually meant to eat a healthy diet.
To be continued…