My attempts at eating healthy are not few and far between, but my financial stability and ability to purchase delicious premade foods sometimes are. I know that making your own is less expensive, but is it always the most cost effective way to spend your time? And is it mentally healthy.
I am enamored with a certain line of little girls’ clothing that I see when we are out and about, the oversized tag is a beacon for my eye to take a gander at what the trendiest of little girls and their mommies are wearing. Sadly the dresses start at $50 and more than ever I realize that spending that much on an outfit for an 18 month old is like using $20 bills to craft a bib.
My ever supportive husband followed me to the fabric store, I could hear him chuckling as I looked at patterns, probably recalling the time I attempted to make myself a shirt and it was so small I gave it to a friend’s little girl for her doll. I was undaunted though, and after 20 minutes figured out the pattern books, a quick pop to the cabinets to retrieve my tissue paper tormentors and then I trotted off to the fabric, the most fun part for me. I love colors and creating pairings. By the time my husband had chased my daughter around the store once I had enough fabrics to make clothes for an army of baby girls. My husband suggested I pair it down to fabric for three outfits and then come back for more – he is so wise sometimes.
I found a great McCalls pattern, listed as Easy – which means if you know what you are doing you can knock this dress out in an hour and it will look super. If you are me, it means you will curse at the pattern, YouTube videos that add no clarity to the issue, break a few needles, and lock up the machine at least twice before producing a product that has no lining (that saved some of my sanity), is a little “off” and once on can’t be removed from your child.
As I gently shoved the last of my daughter’s arms into my masterpiece my husband questioned “How much would you charge for this on Etsy?” My answer “$300 would cover the time and frustration but no-one wants to buy that.” Granted this did come out slightly better than my first ever sewing attempt, but I don’t think I will start my second career as a seamstress anytime soon. I still can’t afford to purchase Etsy inspirations of my favorite line, so maybe I need to find a sewing guru who needs a yoga guru and trade services. I definitely have all of the fabric – my eyes were wider than my knowledge of sewing at the fabric store yesterday.
Picking your battles is definitely a skill that parents learn and so I waged war on another financial drain, my love for delicious prepared food. I do all of my main shopping these days at Caputo’s, with the exception of gluten-free (cheaper at Meijer), bananas/dried fruit/hummus/guacamole/ (better and cheaper at Trade Joes), they are the cheapest grocery store. Our last trip full of fresh fruits and vegetables, a cart of groceries, was $41. There is of course one very expensive market I can’t keep away from when I want something delicious and fast. My favorite in the prepared food department was a raw kale salad that I came to depend on during pregnancy to raise my iron. At $7.99 per lb it isn’t cheap so I set off to make my own.
I purchased one large bunch of kale at Caputo’s $1.49, olive oil ($7.99 for the whole jar), pine nuts (get these at TJ $7.99 for a HUGE bag), dried cranberries (sulfite free $3.99 TJ), a lemon ($.35), agave (I get mine at TJMaxx $3),
- 1 Bunch of Kale, washed and trimmed from stems
- 3 TBSP olive oil
- 1/4 cp water
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 TBSP Agave
- 1/4 cp Pine Nuts
- 1/4 cp Dried Cranberries
Drain kale and place in air tight container. Whisk the lemon juice, water, oil and agave together. Toss in pine nuts and cranberries. Drizzle dressing over kale, close lid and shake. You can serve right away but I like to let it sit in the fridge, and after 2 hours, flip the container on its lid to make sure the top of the salad gets saturated, otherwise you wind up with the delicious bits on the bottom and the kale on the top is a little rough and bitter.
This creation, unlike the dress, is as good as the original. Not only is it simple, its cost effective and left me feeling accomplished. I know I can make this salad or any other salad. With the dress I am not so sure, but I will keep trying until I stumble upon success.