Monday, August 16, 2010

I'm back!

It's been over a year since I've written anything longer than a permission slip to the bus driver. It's been over a year since I've given much of a thought to Gruppie Girl. Lately though, Gruppie Girl has been creeping into the forefront of my mind.

A few months ago my mother lost her battle with appendix cancer. A few weeks later, her mother passed away. Life as I've always known ended. I found myself in the unwanted role as a 30-something matriarch.

Life over the past year has been filled with many challenges and firsts. I would love to blame all of the horrible occurrences on the zodiac calendar, the phases of the moon or maybe global warming. Time to put my big-girl boots on and take charge of my life.

No more going days only eating donuts and diet soda. No more hiding from the world. No more ignoring myself. Life will never be the same, but I'm ready to create a new version of life for myself and my family.

I would like to start writing to make myself happy. No heavy expectations or goals. Just allowing the happy Gruppie Girl thoughts rolling about in my mind to get out onto paper.

Gruppie Girl is about my life as a granola yuppie living in the suburbs. I felt the need to explain my absence. Back to gruppie life.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

If It's Good Enough for the Obamas

Leading the country by example the Obama family cleared way for the return of a vegetable garden on the White House grounds. Local food that you can be sure it's history. (no scary food recalls) Healthy food that doesn't need pesticides. (healthier food = less trips to the doctor's office= more money in your pocket)

Sadly, Eleanor Roosevelt was the last first lady to grow her own veggies at the White House. After World War II more and more people followed the trail of convenience. Thus changing our diets more radically in the last fifty years than had been changed in the thousands of years before.

This spring, the Gruppie family set off to change our little corner of the world with a vegetable garden of our own!

With ground is as hard as a rock (thanks to my builders for striping away all of the nutrient rich soil), raised beds were the only option. Go vertical!

Two raised beds twenty inches high and made of untreated wood. Creating the raised beds was Hubby and Little Guy's favorite part. What is it with boys and wood? giggle Next, we lined the raised beds with newspapers to kill any weeds or grass that may grow. Then, we lined the beds with leaves from last fall that I, ummm, liberated from a neighbor's yard. The entire mix was watered well to start the decomposing process.

Finally, came the endless wheelbarrows full of compost. Up the hill. Down the hill. No matter how many trips I took, the pile magically never shrunk!

Tune in tomorrow for starting seeds.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Kindergarten Trends

Now that Memorial Day has come and past, people everywhere are talking about new summer trends. I generally ignore the summer trends and follow the sit on my butt with my toes in the sand trend.

Speaking of trends, Little Guy has been loving life in Kindergarten. Lots of new buddies, learning new things and of course snack time. Lots of new peer trends to follow.

When I sent Little Guy off to kindergarten I knew that he would pick-up a few new ideas from the other kids. I was thinking more along the lines of violent movies and nasty new words. Oh no, Little Guy has picked-up some ideas worse than pretending that he is a character in Star Wars. Little Guy and his friends talk about hair care.

Conditioner to make their hair lay flatter. Gel to keep their style even through a sweaty recess. The little boys in the class compare their hair routines and share tips.

After my initial shock wore off, I decided to indulge this new Kindergarten fad and search for an organic gel, free from plastics and other nastys for Little Guy to goop on to his strawberry head.
The Skin Deep Comsmetics Safety Database is always my first step when looking for a new product for my family's skin or hair. Lots of products will say "natural" or "safe" and it equals a load of greenwashing. The facts need to be checked out.

Trends will come and go. Here's to the first grade trends include reading and math. Is that too wishful on my part?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

What's Old is New Again

Cruising through the aisles of the food store I stumbled upon an amazing new product. Waxed paper bags!

Since waxed paper easily breaks down in the compost bin, I use it (and then compost it) often. Waxed paper wraps sandwiches and covers the tops of food in a pinch. So when I found waxed paper folded into bags I was happy as a freegan in a fresh dumpster.

The my mummy popped my bubble.

Apparently waxed paper bags have been around since somewhere in the vicinity of forever. Mummy's lunch included waxed paper bags back in the 1950's.

Gardens, reusing, line drying and waxed paper bags. I guess that all that is old is new again.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Turn It On

Last August I blogged about my adventures in attending the Antiques Roadshow in Hartford. It was a once in a lifetime experience that would have been amazing if any of my treasured antiques were worth any real money.

Part 1 of the Antiques Roadhshow Hartford series is on PBS tonight. If you are looking for me in the background, I am the one in my 30's. I was also behind the woman in the full-length fur coat with Mickey Mouse heads all over it. (Where does one buy a coat like that?)

Spoiler Alert! I personally heard a person freak out over a table that was valued in the $300,ooo range. If that was me, I would be blogging remotely from a hut in Bali with my personal cabana boy. Ah to dream...

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Who Cut the Mustard?

After posting a few months ago about the dangers of high fructose corn syrup I seemed to find that nasty, liver-stressing, diabetes-causing ingredient almost everywhere. Even in the innocent looking jar of honey mustard in my refrigerator.

Since my kids are huge honey mustard fans, I set out to find a jar of honey mustard that contained just that; honey and mustard. Period. Like everything else in my life, that was easier said than done.

My local food store carried only one brand of honey mustard free of high fructose corn syrup. Mustard, honey and a few extras. This brand of honey mustard created a new problem. Foam. When I washed out the empty container the water came out seriously foamy. No, I didn't add any soap. So why did the nearly empty container foam?

After thinking that I was losing my mind with a foamy container, I purchased yet another identical container of honey mustard. Again with the foam. So now my kids were no longer eating HFC, but not they were eating some kind of foaming agent. Disgusting!

Finally the light bulb over my head (a LED bulb of course) turned on. Why not make my own honey mustard? That way I could be completely sure of the ingredients.

A little natural mustard mixed with some local honey and I got the yummiest sandwich topping. I mixed the sandwich topping right it in an old glass mustard jar (less waste) and voila a sandwich topping that my kids beg for that is safe too.

In my busy life I realize that not all of us (including me) can be 100% free from processed food. Still, this experience was a wake-up call letting me know that we can never be sure of exactly what's in our processed food.

Friday, May 1, 2009

New Arrival!

It seems like everyone around me is having adorable little babies. Photos of these new sweeties are arriving in my inbox daily. Oh no, don't jump to any conclusions. I will not go down that route again in my lifetime. Still, I somehow can't feel a little jealous that they get to show off their new precious arrivals.

Now it's my turn to show off my new arrival.

Isn't she cute?

Yes, my compost bin is a she. Who else but a girl could take a bunch of junk and turn it into rich soil?

After a long winter of pouring kettles of boiling water on the compost pile to make room. I thought it was time for a sibling.

My girls are getting along famously!