Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Minimalist Mama?

Hardly so.  But, I did read an article written by a British mother of a 2-year-old and it got me thinking.  This mom, Hattie Garlick, lost her job around Christmastime and her son's 2nd birthday.  She did a little research and decided to give "Kiddie Consumerism" the middle finger by conducting an experiment on trying not spending any money on her toddler for a whole year.  To clarify- this child will still be fed, clothed, entertained, and otherwise well-cared for, but with parameters.  Such as, the food the child eats will be the food the parents also eat.  No special overpriced Gerber toddler meals.  All clothes, toys, and cloth diapers will be obtained for free either on Freecycle or from hand-me-downs.  She is blogging about her "experiment" at http://www.freeourkids.co.uk/.  I hope she is successful! 

Is she nuts?  I don't necessarily think so.  Could I do what she is doing?  Maybe.  But probably not.  I am the type of person who feels satisfied when clothes (that I've had for awhile) get holes in them, when old shoes finally fall apart, the fact that I've had my car for almost 10 years- I like things to be well-used.  Does that stop me from buying new things here and there when I don't necessarily need them?  Of course not.  Just look at all of my shoes.  Or purses.  Or kitchen gadgets (on that note, our whole entire kitchen in a month).  But I am pretty darn satisfied when they are so "loved" that I have to throw them away.  What has irked me for the past 19 months is how aside from the occasional onesie with a poop stain that I could not get out, CJ's clothes are NOT well-used.  He wears them for a few months at the most (it's slowing down now) but then need to be packed away.  A few nice outfits are never worn because who wants to wear a nice Gymboree sweater around the house?  Does my child, whose days entail playdates, Wegmans, and Target really need to be trendy?  Some of the millions of toys he has have never even caused him to give a smile.  Why are we spending so much money on our small children when (sorry for the cliche) they are happier with shoeboxes?  I've not been shy about accepting hand-me-down toys and clothes or shopping at consignment sales.  But, I occasionally have gone overboard- especially this past Christmas.  I fell victim to all of the cute toys available and now CJ has enough to entertain him for the next year or two.  The Easter Bunny may bring him a book or a puzzle (not that he knows any better anyway).  Thank God his birthday is not until June.  At least then we can get him outdoor toys.  Like a ball.  Or a glorified stick or something.
All this kid needs is a couch and some pillows.  That's entertaining enough! 

Anyways, I'm all for spending money on decent clothes and toys when I know they will be used for awhile or grow with the child.  Even his train table is sturdy, and can be converted to just an activity table once he is done with trains.  Should last 10+ years, right?  Food? I did try and make my own baby food last year.  I succumbed to the baby food grocery aisle.  It was only for a few months.  Now he pretty much eats what we eat.  Diapers?  Not against cloth diapers (although used?) but for whatever reason have no desire to venture into that world.  I'll keep Pampers in business.  Activities?  Yes, I have signed CJ up for some baby classes over the past year even though I could technically keep him entertained for free.  Oh well, change in the schedule is good.  What do you think?  Do you think you would be able to give up spending money on any of these things?

Switching gears (sort of) is this week's recipe.  We didn't have any plans for the Superbowl, so I knew I wouldn't be tempted to stuff my face with chips and Helluva Good Dip if I wasn't around it.  However, I still wanted to have something snacky and decided on a recipe I have seen on a few foodie blogs- Buffalo Cauliflower Bites.  Cauliflower florets battered, baked, and then topped with wing sauce.  Surprisingly good, and a lot healthier than actual chicken wings.  They probably won't actually satisfy a wing craving (talk to Kevin about that), but I was happy with them, especially with some light ranch dressing.

Spicy Buffalo Cauliflower Bites (adapted from skinnytaste.com)


  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 22 oz (6 1/2 cups) cauliflower florets (about 1 head)
  • 3/4 cup Anchor Original Wing Sauce (or you could just use Frank's Hot Sauce)
  • 1 tbsp melted unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Lightly spray a large non-stick baking sheet with oil. Combine the water, flour, and garlic powder in a bowl and stir until well combined.  Coat the cauliflower pieces with the flour mixture and place on the baking sheet; bake for 20 minutes.  While the cauliflower is baking, combine the hot sauce and butter in a small bowl.  Pour the hot sauce mixture over the baked cauliflower and continue baking for an additional 5 minutes.

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