It was not convenient timing. Kid2’s birthday was on Wednesday, and his party was planned for Thursday. I had a landscaping job I’d committed to for Thursday – Monday. TinyHands had class on Thursday night, and cleaning jobs lined up for Friday. The kids’ dad’s parenting time was Wednesday – Saturday evening.
For our family vacation, we’d planned ahead carefully, and TinyHands did days and days of cooking. This was a totally different situation.
Wednesday morning we got the call that Grandpa had passed on and the memorial would be on Monday. We decided that TinyHands would leave Friday morning to go stay with Grandma. We would carry on with the birthday and landscaping job, and I would take the kids and dog in the car Saturday night, arrive at TinyHands’s dad’s on Sunday morning. Then we’d all come back together on Tuesday and I’d finish my job on Wednesday and Thursday.
Times like this it seems like it might be a good idea to just forget about the diet and go with what’s easiest. Unfortunately, if you’ve actually found healing and a new equilibrium, a stressful situation is the exact worst time to go back to your old habits. The extra stress magnifies the effects of eating foods that don’t agree with you. (The last time we visited family I’d discovered that the hard way.)
We needed to make sure that we had good food to eat, and that we could prepare it safely in a kitchen full of gluten and other people cooking. Amazingly, it wasn’t that hard to get it together. Wednesday we figured out what we wanted to have to eat, and got ready for Kid2’s ice skating birthday party (TinyHands made him the most amazing chocolate cake with marionberry preserves and chocolate ganache), and we made sure I’d have food to take to work with me.
Before she left, TinyHands prepped some veggies for me to throw in a meatloaf while she was making another dish, soaked some navy beans, and wrote down her chili recipe. Since GAPS is a way of life for us, we already had sauerkraut, and broth on hand, and we had lots of produce we’d just bought from a local farmer as well as fresh eggs. We were out of yogurt so we decided to do without for a few days. We also had Applegate Farms hot dogs in the freezer, which we save for occasions like this.
Thursday I went off to work, we met up for the birthday, I went back to work, and when I got home TinyHands and I cuddled on the couch and she packed up for her trip.
Early Friday morning I drove TinyHands to the train then headed to work. I got home at about 7 PM and found dog poo, the cat puking, dirty dishes, and overflowing compost. I cleaned it all, played with the dog, and took a relaxing and much needed Epsom salt bath. Then I threw together the meatloaf for our trip, which only took a few minutes since the veggies were prepped already. While it was in the oven, I did outside chores, called the kids and told them about Grandpa passing away, made myself dinner, and watched some TV. Then I cleaned up again, and was in bed by 10:30.
I got up at 6 AM on Saturday, which is a stretch for me. But it had to be done – we needed to have something to eat on the road, and I needed to get to work! I put the chili in the crock pot, boiled a bunch of eggs, pulled a chicken to thaw, had breakfast and packed a lunch to bring (chicken salad with avacado, apple, and gluten-free Gorgonzola). I did the outside chores and headed to work at 7:15.
I got home at 6 PM and had one hour and fifteen minutes to get cleaned up, eat dinner, put the rest of the chili in thermoses, make bean dip (with the rest of the beans, some basil, and dried tomatoes we had frozen), pack the cooler, get ready for the housesitter, and pack myself up for the trip. The kids got home at 7:15 and helped me finish packing them up and loading the car. We were on the road at 8 PM!
Those were a crazy few days… but all the food we needed (and then some) was ready in less than a total of about 3 hours. I made sure to pack our crock-pot, one stainless steel pot, utensils, one cutting board, new sponges, and a dishrag. I also brought our own salt, pepper, and homemade ketchup.
The kids fell asleep in the car. At midnight I checked into a motel. In the morning we had chili and fruit and we hit the road for the second half of our trip. We had plenty to snack on. The kids were happy with their choices of things to eat. The first night we put a chicken in the crock-pot so we could have it later. We went to a party on Sunday night and just brought our cooler with meatloaf, kraut, and salad makings. The fresh fish at the potluck looked amazing, but it did have sugar in the glaze and was surely cross contaminated with gluten from the serving utensils. I was tempted, but the kids didn’t even notice. They were busy running around outside with their cousins!
In the morning when everyone else was having cereal, our kids had boiled eggs, I had hot dogs and we all had veggies and kraut. We snacked on meatloaf, fruit, and salad. For dinner, the rest of the clan ordered pizza and we had chili dogs (without buns, of course) with avacado and salsa, and green beans on the side. The kids gobbled them up. The next day everyone took what they wanted out of the coolers for breakfast. We brought a cooler with our chicken, cheese, and salad makings with us to the memorial and reception. While everyone else stood in line, we got to sit and eat! We hadn’t planned deserts, but the kids were happy with fruit. I must admit being a bit tempted by the candy and the spice cake, but overall I didn’t even want what everyone else had. Truthfully, the food we brought was more appetizing to us.
Tuesday morning it was back to the cooler then back on the road. When we got home we cleaned up then pulled some broth out of the fridge, dumped the rest of the roasted chicken in along with carrots, onions, parsley, zucchini, and celery for a quick, easy, delicious dinner, and TinyHands was off to class.
I’m looking forward to being home for a while, but it’s good to know we can do it, even when the timing is awful, TinyHands and I are separated, and we barely have any prep time!
This post is part of Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways.