Friday, February 20, 2009

I am a Granola Mama

I did not set out on this post to illicit the most comments  I've ever received (non give-away related). Neither did I expect that each commenter would be so passionate about granola living and write a 5 page thesis in the comment box. I love it! It makes me feel good, down to my sock with sandals, that my friends and family are just as weird as I am. 

I used to make fun of Granola Mamas when I was a kid. My family ran in the homeschool crowd and we used to see a lot of them. They seemed so weird and counter-culture. A Granola Mama, if you are not familiar, is a definite stereotype made up by me with help from my sister when we were kids. It is a fitting description of a select group of women.

This is what a Granola Mama looks like: She is a mom, usually a home-school mom, who wears turtle-necks with jumpers she sews for herself and her daughters, and she wears socks with Birkenstock sandals; she has at least 5 children who were all born at home and those babies never wore store-bought disposable diapers; She recycles everything even going so far as to make cute crafts from household left-overs (tin-can pen holders and costumes made from cardboard boxes); she cooks from scratch and going to McDonald’s is considered a field-trip once every 5 years; she grows her own vegetables and fruit and cans them all so she is more than organic; also, she treats all her family’s ailments homeopathically and she must have an aloe plant in her kitchen; and she most definitely makes her own granola and eats it every morning for breakfast.

I saw these kinds of women as extremely weird when I was growing up. The lifestyle choices a Granola Mama accepts looked so hard. My own mother had her touches of granola-ish-ness, but thankfully she didn’t wear turtlenecks with jumpers after 1986. My mom made my sister and I can things we grew in the garden, she had an aloe plant and I am pretty sure her children never wore disposable diapers. Now that I am a mom, I’ve become more and more like the stereotype I thought was so outlandish. I can almost certainly sat I am well on my way.

Here are some of the ways I am a Granola Mama:

  • I am a home-school mom to my 4 year old. I can’t say I love it, but it is the best educational and environmental choice for us right now.
  • Although I don’t sew jumpers (yet), I do enjoy sewing.

  • My sandal of choice is the Chaco, not the Birkenstock, but they're close. I have actually worn them with socks, but only to put mail in the box. I’ve been temped though to wear that look out in public in the winter… so very, very tempted. They are so comfortable.
  • I love the idea of having a home birth. I probably would have done labor and delivery at home with a midwife for Mandy's birth, but I chickened out. Then I watched The Business of Being Born and wished I would have. 

  • I just bought clothe diapers for Mandy. I’ve used disposable diapers for my hospital-born-children for nearly 4 ½ years and finally got sick and tired of spending $40 a month on something I throw away. I bought Tiny Bumz (click here) or Coolababy diapers, similar to Fuzzy Bunz, that I purchased from my sister-in-law, Kelly who got them for her baby and toddler. I really like the diapers and will be buying a few more. They are well made and I love using them. I’m doing laundry anyway, it hasn’t been difficult at all to wash them and re-use. This makes so much sense to me. And Mandy is so darn cute in clothe diapers. 
  • Recycling is super fun for me. I am such a nerd, but I actually enjoy being able to take-in everything from cardboard to milk jugs to my recycling center in town. I even use clothe shopping bags for my groceries. That I sewed myself, of course.
  • I cook from scratch the majority of the time and eating out is a rare treat, although going to McDonld’s isn’t called a field-trip, yet.
  • I love growing my own produce. I’m not very good at it, but I’m getting better as the years go on. I also love to preserve by canning summer’s harvest.
  • Yesterday I went to Alternative Health and Herbs and bought a whole bunch of homeopathic remedies for common maladies. I had some oil for ear aches made by them and it works splendidly. Emma had an ear infection this week and this stuff helped it heal and took away the pain in a day. This topic deserves a post all its own. 

Is there hope for me? Probably not. How much of a Granola Mama are you?


Andee said...

I'm OK with you being granola, but if I EVER see you in a denim jumper, there will be an intervention. I don't care how practical they are.
#1 I love home schooling my 4 year old. We both have a blast. I can act like an idiot and that just makes it more fun for him.
#2 I only sew when absolutely necessary.
#3 I wear Danskos instead of Birkenstocks--a clog version of extreme comfort.
#4 The idea of home birth, specifically the tole it would take on my sheets, terrifies me. So does labor. Hence 2 c-sections and we're done.
#5 Cloth diapers? No. no. no. no. That's all I'm going to say.
#6 McDonald's happens in case of emergency. I don't think Jif and Strawberry jam count as "from scratch," but I made the jam...
#7 I would love to produce my own produce, but I have a black thumb and must therefore rely uppon the surpluses of friends and family whose gardens produce too much. (Last year, stray cats dug up my freshly planted garden. I was so depressed, I gave up).
#8 I am to lazy to educate myself homeopathy.
#9 The fat content in Granola is outrageous. Sure it's healthy fats, but I'd rather save my calories for chocolate. We're oatmeal people around here.
#10 I like to recycle. Benton makes sure I do-- "Reduce, reuse, recycle!" so says Bob the Builder, so shall it be!

Maybe this makes me an oatmeal mama?

Kellie said...

I don't think I'll ever quite qualify as a granola mamma but some things I do might be considered a little crunchy.

1. I don't think I have the patience or fortitude to home school. I really have no desire. In fact we'll be touring preschools next week!
2. I really wish I could sew better, as it is I can barely stitch a straight line. I'm actually considering a new project at the moment, are old fashioned aprons as bad as jumpers?
3. I wear Crocs with socks which is probably just as bad as Birks with socks. I don't care.
4. I'm not sure if I could do a home birth and I know for certain my husband would freak out if I ever mentioned it. I vastly prefer using a midwife and refuse most interventions unless really necessary. I've never had an epidural and Ethan was born while I was using a squat bar. That's fairly crunchy I suppose.
5. My husband wouldn't consider cloth diapers so we've used disposable in the hopes that he might help out more in the diaper changing business. Not so sure he changes enough to make it worthwhile, but the ease and convenience won't have me switching this late in the game.
6. I happen to like McDonalds. We stop occasionally while running errands in Salem and on long car trips to Idaho.
7. I'd really like to try my hand at gardening but I have a tiny yard and not great soil. One of these days. I do can though, we can our own peaches and applesauce almost every year.
8. I haven't tried homeopathy but I wouldn't be opposed to it.
9. I like granola but not enough to put the work into making it every day. Not when I can shop the sales at Safeway and buy Honey Nut Cheerios for under $1.50 a box.
10. I grew up recycling and was appalled when I moved to Idaho 10 years ago and they didn't even recycle newspapers. I mean honestly!

Kellie said...

Oh, and one thing that might be considered crunchy that you didn't mention is that I babywear with my zillions of baby carrying devices. I don't do it as much as I used to and I'm even in the process of selling my wrap, but it sure was a lifesaver and has allowed me to live double stroller free!

Grace said...

This is fun! I don't know that I really qualify but maybe I'm on my way.

This week I've been thinking of different ways to do different subjects by the time we get to high school homeschooling even though my oldest is still three.

My footwear is my Teva flip-flops. I wear them year round. Yes, I have even bounded through the snow to the car before. No socks though.

My jumper phase was before I got married and I'm not really anticipating going back there!

Not really too interested in home births ( though I totally understand people that prefere them!). I am able to have natural births at the hospital and it's about my only vacation these days. I mean, meals brought to you and people cleaning up, I love it!

I love gardening and homeopathy although I don't know much about either yet.

Thankfully my grandma buys our diapers ( huge blessing!) so that's not something we have to worry about.

I've only made granola once and it wasn't very good. I probably need a new recipe. Maybe I'll try yours!

John and Kelly and our lambs: Joshua, Jacob, Josiah said...

It's for the cloth diapers, my favorite thing is that they are adjustable to fit newborns to toddlers! I was so excited about doing a home birth, but yesterday I learned with my 'complication' I have to go to the hospital, no exceptions. I have a few books you would really enjoy borrowing: NOURISHING TRADITIONS the cookbook that challenges politically correct nutrition and the diet dictocrats, THE HOW TO HERB BOOK let's remedy the situation, THE ABC HERBAL a simplified guide to natural health care for children. The ear drops (garlic based) that I've made have never cleared up an ear infection yet, just eased the pain a bit, but we have ear problems in this here family. My husband has the green thum, he better be with an ag degree! My thumbs are reserved for the weeding. We will again have a somewhat (due to lack of sunlight) big garden and John has put up the green house at mom's so that we can get starts going for 'Peters Produce' that will be on hwy 99w near Santiam Christian. Oh, and I LOVE granola! (It's one of those foods that I don't mind as much throwing up) If you are going to go all out, I have a coupon from when I bought my food dehydrator that has the adjustable temp so that you don't go over 115 degrees and kill the good enzymes. O.k. went on too much here, sorry. I'm so on your page with all this!

Cathy said...

Nope, not me.

Lesley Miller said...

I don't have kids, can I still play? Or does that automatically nix me out of the "Granola Mama?"

Can I be Granola Girl? Granola Professional?

Well, I think besides the recycling, and growing my own produce, I FAIL at being granola. I try to make 2 homemade meals a week-- the rest are sorta homemade cheaters from Trader Joes. I make my own smoothies every morning. Does that count? Us CA girls stick to our Rainbow sandals or Uggs, neither of which are probably considered granola.. BUT I am totally open to cloth diapers.

And home birth? Ouch! I want those drugs and a hospital bed. :) The rest of you have guts.

Annie said...

I love this post. embrace your inner granola. It's funny, I had never made my own granola before but Paul won't buy it for me since he is doing the grocery shopping now. It's very expensive. So I've been making my own for a few weeks and my whole family loves it. I am definitely going to try your recipe.

Lindsay said...

This is funny Alysun! I don't know if I am so much "granola" but definately with you on some things! I consider myself "domestic" although I am not great at sewing, gardening, cooking, canning, etc....I absolutely LOVE to try. If we ever had more kids the clothe diaper thing really intrigues me, too. And I'm big on re-cycling. You should post more on natural remedies. Anything for allergies?? Will gets them terribly during the spring and lives on Benadryl. I hate that.

Fun post!!

Kari said...

I think this would be a great meme...I'll just tag myself and work on a post!

Grandma Sherri said...

Still love homemade garanola, but haven't made it for years, Never, ever did socks and sandals but have been known to forget to remove my slipper socks- darling with my LLBean slip ons (really crunchy). And I still own one jumper, and a jean skirt, just in case!! You forgot the hair- I fail with my short cut. And about home schooling I'm so proud of my girls, but God gets all the credit, because as you well know, without him you could be really warped!!

Michal said...

i'm definitely on my way.

i didn't run with the homeschool crowd growing up, but here we are now, homeschooling!

i make most of our meals from scratch. we rarely go to mcdonald's but my kids do get little caesar's 5 dollar pizza at least once a week--usually on date night.

i've had all c-sections, so no homebirths or midwives, but we don't vaccinate our children, which puts us out there with the homebirthing types.

i use disposable diapers because i already have ridiculous amounts of laundry around here with four kids, two of them bedwetters and one a panties wetter!

last year i grew my first successful vegetable garden and this year i am taking over more of the backyard to expand it.

i bake my own bread all the time and occasionally make granola. i'd make it more often, but i find it irresistible and it isn't meant to be eaten by the cupful. :)

homeopathy? you betcha. hubby's a chiropractor, and we use a lot more homeopathic than medical treatments around here.

i don't sew well, but i want to learn.

i draw the line on the comfy shoes and jumpers. can't go there. shoes are supposed to be cute. :)

thanks for letting me take your quiz and discover how far out there i really am! (and that i'm in good company.)

Andrea said...

i call myself a granola momma in training! lol. i was totally anti-granola, until i had our baby girl last october.

i totally intend to homeschool when she's old enough...

i don't sew or wear the sandals (yet!)

...but, i did have a home birth! that's what started me on the granola path...all those hours spent at appointments with the midwives. i honestly LOVED having a home birth so much that i wish i could be pregnant or in labor at all times. no exaggeration. best experience of my life, hands down. and to top it off, they made me breakfast and cleaned up everything after the birth. you never would've known i had a child in that room. it was great!

i've considered the cloth diapers, but it just seems like one more chore to add to the overwhelming daily list of things to do...especially the cleaning the poop off part...ick. how are they working for you? is the clean up worth it?

my dad instilled in me the need for recycling, so i do that as much as possible...

...i love cooking, always looking for fun and new recipes to try...recently, i've starting making all our bread from scratch, though. kneading by hand can get a little tiring, though!

we started a small garden last year - sugar snap peas, grape tomatoes, basil,'s pretty fun to tend to.

i'm all about the homeopathic remedies, and my midwives introduced me to so many i had no idea about!

i also babywear my child in a moby (pretty much the most granola baby carrier available), we co-sleep with her, and generally lean toward the granola side on all things related to her.

love this post. you're a great writer! and, it's really neat to see someone not bashing home birth. i had to deal with so much of that while i was pregnant, you would not believe.

Marcee Moore said...

I'm going to be short here, I'm about a 2/3 granola mamma!!!!

Anonymous said...

I am a Granola Mama too. All except I just use cloth diapers for potty training. (I folded cloth diapers as a kid for 5 brothers so I think that counts for something!) I had my babies in the hospital mainly because the insurance covered it and midwives have not practiced in every place we have lived.
The best part of the "granola" lifestyle is that it is healthier. I thought we were pretty weird growing up on goats milk... Who knew it would be hip and expensive not that I'm an adult. It is nice to know that you do so many things that I love. Thanks for your post Alysun!
Jenni Birch

Stacy said...

Great post Alysun! Over the years I've seemed to gravitate toward more granola-y living. Cooking most meals from mostly scratch, growing our own veggies, sewing (although hardly any clothing), and cloth diapers. I checked out the link to your granola recipe, do you use the sunflower seeds? The seeds seemed less like a breakfast thing.

Grandma Judi said...

Ok - Been there, Done that, Still doing some of it. Its not all that bad.

We could tell the homeschoolers by the look alike dresses (usually jumpers - probably easier to make) and large vans. Never could bring myself to wear the jumpers or birkenstocks, although I still like the denim. Couldn't stand to be known as a homeschool family. I did like granola, made it too, but no one got excited about it and cereal was easier. Oh, I did make several recipes without hardly any oil or fat. They weren't as good as the fat ones, but they worked.

Even now, one can usually guess the homeschool families at the stores. They usually have the nice kids! (and alot).

Hey - I learned how to crochet. Lyny taught me. She is the greatest when it comes to anything sewn or hand stitched.

Thanks for sharing! I do get to read your things now and again. I just never comment. I sure like the pictures of all my grandkids.

SweetRowles said...

My husband makes a huge batch of home-made granola every couple of weeks and has it every morning for breakfast. Does that make him a granola pappa?

Linds and Manda said...

Great post Al. Thank you for helping to define a few women that I have met in my life time. Not really knowing about homeschool before I went to college, I think I may have seen fewer Granola Moms than I could have if in a different crowd. Here's what I think about me and the Granola mom possibility...

* At this point, we have decided to send our children to public school for several reasons but if it became evident that we need to make the switch I think I would be into it. For elementary school, teaching at the High school level scares me.

* I absolutely hate sewing. It ranks up there with root canals for me. I liked it in high school but any time I have tried since I feel like throwing my sewing machine out the window. We have decided that it is better for our marriage if I try to save money in other areas...better for the window too.

* I wish I could list my favorite sandal. Up until this last summer I would have said the plain old flip flop (formally known as the thong ;) but I think I might be getting too old for that option and need to try something like your favorite.

* The idea of a home birth scares the pants off me. I like having my babies in the hospital but up here it's a whole lot easier financially to make it work. All we have to pay for is the room ($120/night) partially covered by insurance through Linds' work. Of course we pay more in taxes to help the health care.

* I thought about clothe diapers for Libby but have decided not to complicate my life with them. Every time I hear a mom mention the wonders of clothe I waver...maybe I should be using them. What was the initial cost?

* I love to recycle. We are limited here in Nipawin compared to the city but we still do what we can and what they will accept. Got this one from my Dad.

* I love to cook from scratch. I had never made any from a box until just recently. Going out is still a treat but not a field trip.

* I love to garden. I love to walk out into my backyard in the summer and pick fresh produce. It's so rewarding. Canning is something that I do because I enjoy it later on but I really like the process all that much.

* Since we went to a Herbalist for Liam's skin in the fall I have been a lot more into alternative ways of doing things. My parents also recently gave me a list of ingredients found in a lot of cosmetic products that are really bad for us. I'm going to go through our stuff soon and see what the damage is.

* I am excited about the granola recipe you use. I have most of the ingredients but will the rest soon and start soon. I get all excited about healthy options for breakfast.

So if this is the list that determines whether or not a mother is a Granola Mom I guess I might be partially guilty. I am 100% sure I will never make and/or wear a jumper like the one pictured on your post...just like I will never wear an over sized looney tunes shirt with faded black leggings...remember that pact we made in line for breakfast at BBC that one day...when the conversation weirdly moved away from the gravy guy. I guess it wasn't lunch so he wasn't there anyway. :)

Sara said...

I am not very "granola," but I'd like to be more than I am. I'm interested in homeopathic remedies, but don't have the time to research many. I would love to have my own garden, but I've never gotten around it (last summer/fall we exchanged fish for produce with a family at church that had a huge garden - that was cool!). Every year I do more and more of my cooking from scratch and try to cook more healthfully. I do plan on homeschooling my children and entering them in 4-H (that's pretty granola, I guess!). I don't know how to sew anything and still rely on my mom to hem a pair of pants or fix a rip. Homebirth is very cool, but not an option for me with one c-section under my belt already. No cloth diapers here, but I would love to hear more about your experience - I'm very impressed! For me, it's the whole dealing with the poop thing that's got me hung up - so much easier to just throw in the trash it seems to me!

Sara said...

I forgot to say that I do recycle - not because I love it (in fact, I find it somewhat a pain), but because it's the good thing to do. I was shocked when I lived in Pennsylvania how little people recycled ANYTHING there! We also can our own tuna and I tried Jayne's recipe for canned tomato soup awhile back, but decided never to do that again - so not worth the time and effort!

P.S. I thought Judi's comment, "Couldn't stand to be known as a homeschool family," was hilarious - I never, ever would have guessed that when I was growing up! I was always so jealous of my homeschooled, farming cousins. =)