Finding Simplicity by Going Scratch

When I first wrote this article, I was gung-ho all fired up about a campaign I started on my blog called Going Scratch. That was nearly a month ago. I write for this blog once a month, sometimes more when I get a bee in my bonnet. Going Scratch was an idea I had to help myself return to basics. My question to myself was: Why am I relying on the store to provide things for my family when I can just as effectively make them myself? It’s a good question I thought. Why not? Things like food items I would normally buy I can make at home. Household cleaners, hygiene and beauty products (not cosmetics) could be made at home with more healthy and environmentally friendly ingredients. Why wouldn’t I want that for my family?

I do. HOWEVER…over the past few weeks, I have not left my kitchen once. If I’m not homeschooling, I’m canning, baking bread, researching how to make soap, making chips and crackers and treats for lunch boxes, then dinner, then baking hot dog buns, on and on and on. The cycle continued the next day and the next and by mid-week last week, I had a break down. Aside from some personal life issues that were plaguing our family, I was worn out and sick of my kitchen.

What was wrong with me? My pioneer fore-mothers did this every single day of their lives! Why could I not manage? I think the answer is because I took on too much too fast. Plus, I have so much more going on in my modern day 21st century household. Soccer games, homeschooling, working for my husband’s company, renovating my VW bus, spending time with my kids and so on. The pioneer woman’s livelihood depended upon only what she did in the home. There was no working in a business, or driving to soccer games….or blogging…..(wink).

I can do these things gradually and as I have time for them. My intent for my family is to have a healthy diet and environment. I can do this with as much or as little help from the store as possible depending upon what my schedule dictates. If I have a day off and can truly spend it baking or sewing up a storm, then great! But to have all this control my life to the point where I suffer and my family suffers? What am I truly accomplishing? Going green and Going Scratch means changing our lives and our environment for the better, not for the labor intensive. It means doing one thing at a time to find simplicity and peace. Not bombarding ourselves to the point of exhaustion.

I now think I have a better perspective on how I want to take on my campaign – gradually. If it allows me to enjoy my family more, then wonderful. If it helps me preserve the environment, not make it stressful, then terrific! Going Scratch should be about simplicity…not complexity!

Come on by Beth’s blog Coming Up for Air and join her Going Scratch campaign, or just pop over to read about her urban homestead! Everyday there is something new!!

This is an original 5 Minutes for Going Green post!

10 Responses to Finding Simplicity by Going Scratch
  1. Shanna
    October 2, 2008 | 12:43 pm

    Wow! I am so there with you! I grew up on a farm, so canning and baking bread and doing things from scratch were the norm. My grandma taught me how to bake and knead bread when I was three. I grew up and moved to the city, a long way from scratch. Since I’ve had kids, I’ve been longing to get back to basics and start from scratch. Thank you for the post. By the way, funny timing, but about an hour ago, I asked a girlfriend if she had a good “from scratch” cake recipe… Know of one? Thanks again!

  2. Allison
    October 2, 2008 | 12:58 pm

    You lasted way longer than I did. When I read your blog I get tired just reading it. You are an amazing woman! How do you do it all? I thought maybe I am just lazy. But I think taking baby steps is what I need too. Thank you for all your tips and ideas, I use/test them on my own family. I haven’t made crackers yet but I will. The rain is coming soon and I will be stuck indoors ready to bake.

  3. Adrienne
    October 2, 2008 | 1:30 pm

    You forgot something- your pioneer fore-mothers had no choice. If they didn’t can, bake, cook, etc. they didn’t eat. We are incredibly lucky to be able to choose convenience if we want to.

  4. Beth (Coming Up for Air)
    October 2, 2008 | 1:38 pm

    THAT…Adrienne…is an EXCELLENT point! :)

  5. Heather @ SGF
    October 2, 2008 | 1:53 pm

    Wonderful post! I’ve tried to do the same thing at our home. It’s cheaper, I can have confidence that I KNOW EXACTLY what is in my homemade bread (no more mystery ingredients on labels), but if for whatever reason we lose access to all these things we take for granted, I know we’ll be ok. We can cope because we now understand how to make bread and how to make butter, and how to can, etc. Not that we have to do it all or all at once, but our generation, I think, is lacking in the know-how. I hope to get some of that back. I’m looking forward to reading more about “Going Scratch”

  6. Donielle @ Naturally Knocked Up
    October 2, 2008 | 3:53 pm

    I recently became a bit overwhelmed myself with all my baking from scratch. I’d done a good job over the summer, but the first trimester blahs hit me hard and something had to go. I’m now back into the swing of making things. Slowly. Not everything, but when I have the time.

    It’s all about starting slow and just doing what you can, when you can. And my family needs to come first. I know when I’m in the kitchen to long when my little one starts begging for attention!

  7. [email protected]
    October 2, 2008 | 7:55 pm

    I salute you for your effort. That is hard. It is one thing to “play” at baking & canning, etc., quite another to have to do it. It’s a lot of work. I bet now you’ll find a happy medium and still be doing better than the average American.

  8. Stephanie - Green SAHM
    October 2, 2008 | 11:22 pm

    There are certain things I love making from scratch, but I know I’m just not up to doing it all. But I’m having quite a bit of fun learning the skills. Pretty good at making bread, and I hope to start canning next year or so, garden cooperating.

  9. Tammy and Parker
    October 7, 2008 | 9:06 pm

    I’m doing the by scratch thing too. But not everything by scratch. Taking it as it comes and as I have time and energy.

    I am slowly but surely learning the wisdom in the words, ‘joy in the journey.’

    And if you need ideas on the whole soapmaking thing, give me a holler. I have made thousands of pounds of soap. :D

  10. Kalisha
    October 15, 2008 | 3:44 pm

    I agree with comment #3…I’m glad to hear that someone else realizes the importance of doing themselves. I believe that if we were just a little more self-sufficient and weren’t cramming our days with appointments and work then we would be happier–at least I would be happier. Just baking bread, listening to the birds chirp outside my window, churning butter and crocheting winter clothes. What a life? I would love a simple life that also included high speed internet and wireless connection! :-)
    Great post! Hope you reach your goal!