Day 8 & Opinion Saturday

No shopping today.  Instead, between school and meals, I dug out my messy laundry room counter.  I still have some to do tomorrow, but it is tons better.  Am working on paring down and organizing my home better.  I already have 4 Hefty bags full just from my closet and the linen closet. 

I’m trying to decide whether or not to toss my fabric scraps.  Sometimes it can be nice to have odds and ends if I get a sudden urge to sew or craft.  But most of this stuff hasn’t been any use for years–and it takes up a whole cupboard…

Meals Today:

Breakfast:  Fir Fir and peanut butter toast

Lunch:  Barley beef soup, grapes, chips

Dinner:  Pepperoni mushroom pizza, grapes

Books:   Today one of my kids brought in a UPS package from Amazon.   Nothing unusual about that, except I hadn’t ordered anything. Turns out my aunt had found a book she thought I’d enjoy-Digging to America:  Anne Tyler and bought it for me!  How spoiled am I?  (sudden thought: has she been reading my blog?  Ev?  You out there? If so, thanks!!!! You are too sweet!!)


Oh, and my Opinion Saturday question:  will you help me think of another fun  30 Days of Nothing activity for my kids? Something thought-provoking and interesting and that a wide variety of ages can do.  I’ll take comments till Tuesday evening.  Hit me with your best thought!

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  1. How about making toys out of what is avaiable around them?

  2. How about volunteering to serve at a homeless shelter for an afternoon, or even just a few hours. I have helped to serve meals on a number of occasions at Rescue Missions, and it is a moving, reality-checking experience for me every time. The little ones may not be able to help with serving food, but perhaps there's something else they could do.

  3. How about volunteering to serve at a homeless shelter for an afternoon, or even just a few hours? I have helped to serve meals on a number of occasions at Rescue Missions, and it is a moving, reality-checking experience for me every time. The little ones may not be able to help with serving food, but perhaps there's something else they could do. If you went to a shelter that has children, even just playing with the other kids there could provide opportunity for thoughtful reflection.

  4. Hi I'm new here but I am fascinated by the 30 days of nothing and was following along, gathering ideas etc for when my babes are a little older I think. One thing you might like to try is making clay pots (coil pots probably). Many people around the world depend on very simple items such as pots, bowls etc to contain their food and if one breaks an entire supply of food could get ruined.
    Or have each child make something they can use as a bartering item to get something they want. You could look up some info on Trade not Aid as supplemental. Just ideas and not to specific sorry. Good luck, I'm interested in where you all go next.

  5. Our area recently had a water scare, and it meant that many families had to boil all the water they needed for 48 hours.

    How about having to haul and boil water for a day (not including baths, that is too much for littlest ones)? This means that all water for cleaning, cooking, drinking, and washing dishes etc is hauled. Many people around the world have to do this daily, not just for a short period of time.


  6. We're going to walk to church on Sunday. It's only 2 miles for us, so maybe park the car 1-2 miles away from your church and walk. The point is that we're so fortunate to have a church or a mosque or synagogue, or you name it in every major city in America. We have 400+ Christian churches in our town of 60,000 people! Many of our fellow brothers and sisters around the world have to walk miles if they want to attend church. Make it extra industrious by picking up litter on the way.

  7. Okay, I went back and read the old post and all the negative comments people left for you. First of all, I can't believe people can be so rude and narrow-minded! Second, I think you handled it gracefully Mary!

    I think it's a wonderful idea and I only wish my family could be so understanding of others this way. I'm going to talk with them and see if they would be willing to give it a try for a month.

    The only idea I have is maybe see if there is a women's shelter in your area that could use some extra clothing or supplies. Maybe you and your family could go and talk with the women and children, take them some of your old clothes or toys and cook dinner for them one night.

  8. Fort building. Soap carving. Charades. Child-designed obstacle courses. Relay races. My girls' new favorite is pick-up sticks.

  9. I don't have any other great suggestions, but I just wanted to say how inspired I've been by the 30 days of nothing. What a precious gift you are giving your kids. Empathy and gratitude are things in short supply in the world!

  10. Hi again, thanks for the e-mail message. I had another idea: you could try making your own flour by grinding/pounding whole grains. I haven't checked but I bet there are sites which would show you how. Alright, that's all for now, I may be inspired again soon.

  11. Not sure where you live or how hot it is there, and I know this wouldn't be fun, but what about going with no A/C? Most of the world does.

    Even though it is done differently in differnt people groups, what about learning how to secure a child/baby to their backs? My friend from Malawi should me how. Whenever she would intro Malawi to children, she would bring baby dolls to show and teach them how to tie/secure/carry babies on their backs. They all seemed to love it.

    Along the same idea of making your own toys or flour–what about make your own butter? I enjoyed doing that as a child. 🙂 Or, get ready for Christmas by making decorations out of foil–that is what my grandmother did during the depression times–although hers were from previously used foil.

  12. A day of eating rice, beans and fruit, perhaps? Many cultures subsist primarily on these foods, including almost everybody south of the Rio Grande.

    Sleeping on the floor – no air mattresses. I'm sure beds and mattresses are a luxury for many people in the world.

    Sponge baths only for a few days? (Uh, if you can stand it.) I don't think the majority of the world gets a daily hot shower.

    What would it be like to not have a hot water heater for a day or two?

    Or electricity? Now, we've done that before, but not by choice. And we've been without gas for two days when there was a line break.

    What if there was no refrigeration? What would it be like if we could access no frozen or refrigerated items? We'd have to purchase the perishables that day and prepare them immediately.

    Could I go a week without my car? The grocery store, which is also the nearest place to purchase anything, is about 6 miles away. Would it be possible for me to haul my kids down there and we only purchase what we can carry back for six miles? Okay. That might be extreme. How far is it for you? Do you have a horse? A donkey? Llama? My neighbor has llamas. Maybe I could borrow one to carry stuff back from the store for me.

    I'm curious as to what the difference is when we do without something by choice vs. not even having it available to us at all.
    You wanted activities, right? Okay.

    One neat activity might be to learn to make soap Or candles. Or maybe some other item that would be necessary for survival in the event ever got on that TV show where you have to live like you're in 1880. I always wondered what I'd do if I went back in time like in Back to the Future III and couldn't get back. What would I do without my moisturizer? My conditioner? Fabric softener? Internet? Could I invent them and get rich?

    I'd suggest canning stuff, but you already do that. Making bread with wheat you had to grind yourself? Gathering your own berries, maybe? Is there a berry farm anywhere near you? Maybe run over to Randi's and get the directions for making a quilt top. Pull out those scraps and get the kids busy piecing a quilt. That could be fun. Well, I think it sounds fun, but I'm not your kids.

    This is hard, Mary. It's difficult to imagine living in this culture using behaviors from another culture.

    Okay, I'm all over the page with this, but it was interesting to think about – probably moreso than reading what I was thinking about, anyway.

    It's also been interesting to read the log of your 30 days, Mary.

  13. I am with Carol on the electricity thing. Don't know how you could pratically do it though. Maybe only use candels for an evening and combine that with the no A/C thing.

    Just read <a> this and it made me think of the no electricity thing.

  14. Mary, I just wanted to tell you that I have been following your reporting on this, and it's really great. I hadn't been drawn to the idea at all, because it seems so hollow–don't buy any new clothes or McD for your kids, but they're still playing with their gameboys etc etc. But I think that you have had a really great experience and I thank you for sharing it with us. I had missed the laundry post the first time, and it sounds like your kids are really "getting" it, too.

    The only idea I would have is a day without Mom and Dad, maybe? Of course, you'd still be around (but just not actively doing anything for them or interacting–maybe until dinner?), but in many of the poorer countries, so many of the children are orphaned, or from single parent homes, and/or the parents are either out working or finding food or whatever.

  15. How about finding out what comes in a relief package for starving families and try to live on those foods. I always see the aid workers handing out big bags of grain, but I never know what the people do with it. Also, it would be a learing experience to see what it is like to live on just one food for a day or two and reflect on how there are people who go day eating the same thing meal after meal after meal.


  1. […] One FINAL thing:  for Opinion Saturday « , you all gave me some fun ideas.   The one I liked best that I hadn’t thought of myself was from Krina at QueenHeroical.  She suggested making clay pots, like people all over the world make to cook and collect water in.   I did a little reading online about it, and we are going to try this sometime in the next few days.  Thanks, Krina!  You get the Golden Keyboard this week! […]