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When Your Budget Bites Back {7 for 31}

This month I'm writing a new post each day about my own version of Jen Hatmaker's 7 experiment. For more posts and an introduction, head hereToday's 7 topic is food.

Jen's approach to food was to only eat seven different foods for a month - spinach, chicken, whole wheat bread, avocados, sweet potatoes, apples, and eggs (with salt, pepper, and olive oil for cooking). This topic required some heavy modification to fit into our lifestyle - for one, we're gluten-free and mostly dairy-free so our diet is already heavily restricted, and for two, I'm pregnant and need all the calories I can get.

But neither of those is an excuse not to tackle the topic of food - in thinking it over, our dietary restrictions make it even more important to address. My Mum was diagnosed with Celiac about two years ago, and because I am her child, I experimentally went gluten-free as well. Drastic health changes and improvements (like, growing an inch in the course of a month, at the age of 23) confirmed that I should stay that way.

Over the past two years, we've learned a lot, and Adam has created some amazing dishes that we've fed to dinner guests who never guessed that we're gf. Brooklyn's dairy allergy threw us initially but we coped (although, I still haven't found a substitute for cheese. Everything else I can do without, but vegan cheese is not comparable, in my opinion). To some extent, eating gf has the potential for reducing your grocery budget - it's just easier to start with raw ingredients (as far as meats, nuts, fruits, and vegetables go) in order to avoid the hidden ingredients and potential cross-contamination of processed foods. But anything outside the paleo realm gets fuzzy - and expensive (think, twice the cost for half the product).

I had resigned myself to that, accepting the limitations and recognizing that, to a large extent, shopping around and buying generic brands wasn't an option (and even the generic brand of a gf food, like normally budget-friendly pasta, is still double the cost of wheat flour pasta). But in lying down and allowing my grocery budget to walk over me, leaving a trail of short receipts with disproportionately large totals behind it, I resigned myself a little too well.

There are still decisions that could be made more wisely. Actually looking at the Kroger sale flyer we get in the mail each week, picking up the little magazine/recipe booklet/coupon-thingy that Whole Foods puts out periodically and doing something besides craft projects with it (ahem), planning meals based on what's on sale (even if it's pennies saved instead of dollars - they still add up). Just because it's no longer an option to live on Totino's pizzas and Ramen noodles doesn't mean I can give up and somehow find one of those $5 boxes of 10 cookies that taste exactly like Chips Ahoy! in my cart every time I check out (ok, it's not every time, but far more often than I need to).

Join me this week as I look at what we eat, in terms of groceries and of eating out, with greater intentionality, trying prayerfully to gain control over something that's been controlling me.


I feel your gluten-free, dairy free pain! Paleo recipes are a blessing, but it does get expensive and, at times, boring. I try to remember a slightly larger grocery budget saves us money in doctors bills and visits. It's a trade off worth making.

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31 Days of Unraveling Designs

It's that time of year again... the 31 Days writing challenge starts today! Bloggers from all over will be writing every day of the month of October on the topic of their choosing. This will be my fourth year participating - the first year I did 7 for 31, and spent a month going through Jen Hatmaker's book 7. The second year I did 31 Days of Sustainable Dwelling, and wrote about local and fair trade living. Last year I was busy but still wanted to participate, so I went the easy route with 31 Days of Everyday Beautiful.

This year I'm diving into my greatest passion: knitting! I'll spend this month looking at past designs and talking about the inspiration behind them, so there will be plenty of regular life mixed in with the stitching - and there may be discount codes for the patterns that I write about. You'll just have to read and see!

Pattern index:

Pageturner Mitts
Hogwarts House Tie
Urban Artemis
Graffiti for Humanity
Love Out Loud
Strange Jacket


In order to change your knitting, you must first change yourself. I've lost track of how many times I've said that, or how many people I've said it to. Frustrated new knitters wondering why their work is loose or tight or uneven or really anything less than perfect. But something I love about knitting is that it's a record of your inner dialogue. That swatch knit at the yarn store table with a cozy cup of coffee and a helpful (and more experienced) knitter nearby is going to be a lot more relaxed than the sweater begun a week later while sitting next to a hospital bed - just like the knitter.

Unfortunately, this also applies to my own knitting. For years, I was apparently unaffected by the shifts and turmoils in my own life, so I assumed that I was exempt from the rule - when the reality was, in fact, that I wasn't really experiencing any of those on anything deeper than a surface level because everything was deadened by depression. When I finally started to really…


A few years ago, I was introduced to the concept of replacing the traditional list of resolutions with a single word. It appealed to me - I am not a big list person, but I love language and words and meanings and etymology and metaphor and... ahem. Ennyhoo. I liked the idea.
I've never chosen the word. It's always presented itself to me - and last year was no different. Pacific was very insistent, even though I tried to argue with it. Pacific? What does that even mean? What am I supposed to do with that?
But I accepted it, and I'm glad I did. I learned about depth and calm, about storm and nurture, about faith and adventure - and about the unstoppable ocean of God's grace, that overwhelms to fill and cleanse and bring blessings unasked.
So I'm bidding pacific a very fond farewell, and welcoming spark and whatever lessons it would like to bring. I invited it in with a copper wire punctuated with tiny lights and wrapped around my mood board, and I've got an empt…