Tag Archives: Tsh Oxenreider

Friday Bites #14 – Eat Whole Foods on a Budget


Here’s the lowdown: uy pesticide-free produce and natural meats, eat as close as possible to how these foods were created. Eat only real, unprocessed food, switch from boxed foods to whole. Start gradually. Cook from scratch, it will take more time…and cost more.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally behind this concept but I have to admit I find it hard to exercise in real life. It’s not a money thing – although we certainly have to be conscious of how much we spend at HEB – but it’s a time thing. It’s hard to cook from scratch every night – even though I know it’s the best thing. Even worse, our 4 year old has no taste for home cooked food, he primarily eats boxed crap. I know, I know, awful….right? I swear I’m just trying to get calories into my little flac-ito. He’s like 5% in weight – it’s a constant struggle. Anyway,

Here is how Simple Bites instructs us to eat whole foods on a budget:

  • Eat less meat
  • Emphasize grains and legumes
  • Buy in bulk
  • Avoid the “dirty dozen” – produce with highest conentrations of pesticides – and buy those organic (peaches, apples, bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, pears, grapes, spinach, lettuce, potatoes)
  • Clean non-organic well with pesticide washes (equal parts vinegar and water or use a veggie wash)
  • Buy locally and invest in a CSA coop. For Austinites, here is a great site with a listing of local community supported agriculture programs: http://www.edibleaustin.com/content/csas-resources-108
  • Eat seasonally. Here is an excellent site listing all seasonal charts by state: http://www.fieldtoplate.com/guide.php ForTexans: http://www.pickyourown.org/TXharvestdates.htm
  • Grow your own – this isn’t happening for us, we can’t even make the grass grow at Casa Lopez
  • Preserve it when it’s cheap – canning, drying and freezing fresh produce. This seems like a rather large undertaking, and might be tackled last after the preceeding items on this list have been achieved.
  • Forgo processed food – duplicate your favorites in the kitchen from whole ingredients so you can control what goes into your meals.

Baby steps. We’re trying.

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Friday Bites – (#8) Streamline Your Mail (#9) Streamline Your Receipts

Look at this dizzy jackass, does she look happy to you?

ImageI can’t stand having a bunch of paper crap scattered around the house, it makes me batsh!t crazy. So this week’s “bites” were a good reminder to take a walk around the place and clear up some of this nonsense.

#8 – Streamline Your Mail

The goal here is to keep mail from entering the house at all

• Toss in recycling/trash by mailboxes if possible

• Opt out of junk mail (go to http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/alerts/alt063.shtm for more information)

• For any flyer or notice related to an upcoming event, jot it on your calendar and toss the paper into recycling

• Make your bills paperless

At our casa, all of the incoming mail goes into the in bin on the entry table. Sometimes I’ll sort it right when I get into the house, tossing the junk and putting the rest in the in-bin. The stuff in the in-bin is further processed 1x/week – into either pay, file, or to-do areas in my home office. Wherever I possible (and when I remember), we have paperless billing established on our accounts. However, and this is because I’m an old luddite, part of me still likes getting a paper statement every month that I can review and file for future reference.

#9 – Streamline Your Receipt System

If you really want to make my blood boil, just litter the house with receipts…little slips of crap jammed into every crevice of the place. Hate it. Sometimes it’s inevitable – but 90% of the time, there is NO REASON to hold on to receipts.

Only keep the following:

• receipts for large purchases that come with warranties

• medical receipts (especially if you’re on an individual health insurance plan)

• tax deductible receipts (charity donations, home office expenses, etc).

• anything you need for your business expense report

Each of these categories should have its own plastic folio/envelope and applicable recipts should go right into them. All else should go directly into the trash.

If you REALLY want to free yourself from your paper shackles, consider one of these receipt scanners : http://www.squidoo.com/best-receipt-scanners. I’m saving my pennies for one of those NeatDesk dealies (drool).

Now forge on, with your newly paper-free selves….

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Friday Bites #7 – Downsize Your Book + Magazine Collection

Ok – wrong wrong wrong….

I’m putting this week’s bite on the blog out of obligation, and keeping things sequential. However, I totally disagree with the principle…the books part anyway. I know you should go through your magazines and books and toss the crap you don’t like/need. But my argument is – why did you BUY it in the first place if you don’t love it – and intend to read it and keep it and cuddle it and call it George…?

Every book in my house (and I have a lot) is there because I enjoyed reading it and either might revisit it or like to look at it as a reminder of when I had time to read constantly – or it’s a beautiful, expensive book full of gorgeous imagery that it would be a crime to toss. If you don’t love it, don’t buy it – that’s a great way to operate in general…

We have several bookcases – scattered around the house – based on the topic. Living room is our general stuff, F’s office has the design books and our bedroom has parenting books and my Taschen collection. Of course, there are eleventy billion kids’ books in Oliver’s bookcase as well. Every book in our house is loved and treasured. Maybe it’s because I grew up in a library, but just being around our books makes me feel centered and content. Someday, in our dream Casa Lopez, I’ll have a whole room with built-in bookshelves stuffed with books…

Magazines are a different story – I mean, everything we subscribe to is read and enjoyed, but that crap does tend to pile up. I keep the good stuff like now-defunct Cookie and Domino, CMYK and Print and my European fashion stuff in magazine butlers. The rest is read, pertinent articles are pulled out and put into my filing system (see last month’s post about that) and then tossed. The current stuff, that I haven’t torn up and filed, is kept in this awesome orange lacquer tray from West Elm. Holy crap I love orange….

Anyway, the takeaway here is: don’t buy it/subscribe to it if you don’t love it.

If you’re not sure, there’s the library…and Kindle. But as a librarian’s kid, I must say – support your local branch! And save the bookstore for the heirloom stuff that occupies your soul.


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Friday Bites: #3 Establish Your Morning Routine

In this week’s installment of Tsh Oxenreider’s “52 Bites,” I’m hitting week 3, “Establishing Your Morning Routine.” With a 3.5 year old, a 2 month old and a telecommuting spouse who opens up shop anywhere between 4-8am daily, “routine” is a stretch… Mornings are typically chaotic, hectic, and fraught with anxiety. I expect this state can oh be heightened when I go back to work. So, I’m fully on board with this week’s bite!

Oxenreider stresses that you do the essentials first, before beginning your day. Choose five tasks and do them first thing in the morning, in the same order every day. Your list of five tasks should be written down and hung prominently until it becomes a habit.

Here is what I’ll be tackling in the morning:
1. Shower and fully primp – hair, makeup, and non-yoga pant outfit (gotta keep up with these Texan girls)
2. Make and pack kids’ meals for daycare
3. Prepare our grown up breakfasts and lunches (we’re on a diet plan…starting next week…I mean it…)
4. Create and review my to do list for the day
5. Check, respond to, and clear personal email, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc messages

Phew. Mind you, this all must be accomplished by 7am when O wakes up and may possibly have to be done one-handed, while holding H in the other.
Setting the alarm now for 5:30am, ugh…


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