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Summer is definitely coming to a close.  The air is turning crisp, the leaves are beginning to change and we’ve even gotten a rain or two.  Soon there’ll be a calmer pace to our days, but for now the frenzy of summer continues with food preservation and preparing the homestead for the colder days.

I haven’t posted much so I thought I’d give a little recap of what’s been going on in the homestead this summer.

I didn’t think it would be possible, but Hezzy got even cuter.  He learned to sit up, stand, army crawl, loves to practice walking, jump, and can say mama and dada.

We went to the Scandinavian festival in Eugene and to Florence (the coast) in the same day.  It was Hezzy’s second trip to the coast since he was born.  Thankfully, he didn’t get a cold afterwards this time.

We went to the Zimbabwe Festival in town and got to see a lot of hippies in African clothes attempting to dance.  You must go see hippies dancing to African music if you get the chance. Read the rest of this entry »

It’s becoming a problem, you know.  Everywhere I turn there are books.

On the piano,

on the end table,

in the hall on Hezzy’s toys,

on the coffee table,

even in the entry near the shoes.

You might be thinking, “and your problem is?”  Well the books themselves are not a problem, you know.   And neither is the fact that I have a lot of them.

Nope.

You know what the problem is?  That they’re everywhere and unorganized. I have a serious need for some bookshelves.  In the meantime, I need to get these books into one area or my eye is going to have a permanent twitch.

It’s pretty sad when WordPress no longer remembers who I am.  I actually had to log in again because, apparently, I’ve been gone from blogging a bit too long.  But, here I am.

All is well here at the homestead, although there seems to be so much to do when all you want to do is nothing.  The baby chickens are growing up fast and will soon be laying, although I have my suspicions that two are actually roosters.  If that’s the case, we’ll be having rooster stew soon.   We had a broody a few weeks ago, but it turned out that all her eggs were duds, which we found out about after one made a very stinky mess in the nest.  Just out of curiosity we broke another one and not only did we find out it too was a dud, but it was green and slimy inside, and SUPER smelly.  I’m pretty sure we’re never doing that again!

The apple tree is busy growing little apples and each day the branches bend more and more with the weight of their growing cargo.  I’m looking forward to making some apple butter again this year and some pies.  Our fig trees are growing well, too, and one of them even has several tiny little figs waiting to grow.  I doubt they’ll be at all good, but I’m glad the tree (bush/shrub) is producing well.

We’ve even had a little time to put in a bit of a garden with tomatoes and lettuce, but it’s not doing so well because the chickens keep finding a way to get in and eat it all up.  Relentless little critters.

The Hez is also doing well.  Growing like a little weed, too.  He’s outgrown his infant car seat so we’ve had to get a convertible one.  I’m a little bummed out about that since you can’t take the convertible one with you to the store if he falls asleep in the car.  We’re also just starting him out on solids, although not very consistently.  He’s tried a few veggies and fruits, and some teething biscuits, but he’s not on any kind of regular eating schedule, nor has he tried rice cereal.  Honestly, that just doesn’t sound at all nutritious to me.  I’ve ordered a book called Super Baby Food which contains recipes for making your own cereals from grains, so I’ll give those a try.  It’s a little exciting getting to this phase, but it also means the poopie diapers get stinkier and more solid, so no more just popping them in the washer.  :T  I’m definitely going to get one of those toilet sprayer things soon.  The little dude still doesn’t crawl (thankfully?!) but he’s been attempting to pull himself up to standing from a sitting position, and he loves to walk while I hold his hands.  He’s been standing up on his own while holding on to something, like the edge of his pack ‘n play or the headboard on our bed.  He’s Mr. Chatty (like his dad) and loves to squeal, too.  He’s putting everything in his mouth and reaching for everything, even if it means taking a tumble.  I have to have my eye on him constantly!  He’s also a sweetheart and loves to cuddle.  I can’t wait to see how his personality develops as he grows.  Being a mother is so exciting!

How ’bout some pictures?

Alsea Falls with Andrea and Gabriel, Jodi and Lilly, Me and the Hez (asleep)

In an attempt to get back on the menu-planning bandwagon, here’s mine for the week:

Sunday – leftovers
Monday – leftovers (we had a lot)

Tuesday –
B: eggs & toast
L: peruvian tuna salad (ensalada de atún)
D: salad, peruvian lentils & rice

Wednesday –
B: farina & toast
L: turkey and greens sandwich
D: pumpkin frittata, salad, crusty bread

Thursday –
B: eggs & toast
L: leftovers
D: chicken pesto pasta & salad

Friday –
B: cereal
L: leftovers
D: challah, oven roasted chicken & veggies, rustic hasselback potatoes, seasoned mustard greens, black bean and corn salad, baked fudge & vanilla ice cream

Sabbath –
B: breakfast burritos (defrost fri morn), pumpkin scones (make ahead)
L: chickpea salad (make ahead) over salad greens
D: leftovers, sopa a la minuta (reheated), leftover challah

As always, this list is subject to change depending on what goes on this week.  I hope it’s accurate though, because I don’t have much else on-hand.

One little dude I know is all ready for Shabbat!

As for the rest of the house, well, we’re still working on that.  May you all have a restful Sabbath!

I have to be realistic with myself.  This year my house will not be spic and span clean.  I wish I could say it would be, but if I’m honest with myself, it’ll be hard enough just to be rid of chametz (grains, leavening and anything already leavened) in the house.

whole wheat breads with different grains/seeds on top

So, first things first, right?  I have to use up my flours (lots of it, for some reason!), baking soda, baking powder, yeast and anything in the pantry that might be leavened.  That’s a lot of work right there!  Do you know how often I check my pantry?  Not as often as I ought to, I suppose.  Sometimes I find things I bought last year, or canned a really long time ago.  Like apple butter.  There’s still a few jars of that around.  I’m not even sure those are safe anymore.  Thankfully, there’s also things that come in handy, like passover things I didn’t use last year.  Noodles and some matzah meal and stuff like that.  So I’ll have to go in-depth in my pantry and clean it out.  I can take that time to wipe down the shelves, too.

If I can do all that and keep up with the regular house cleaning and chores before passover, I’ll give myself a passing grade.  Things I hope I will accomplish before passover: cleaning the windows from the outside, cleaning the light fixtures and ceiling fans and the top of the door frames in the house.  I know this doesn’t seem like a very extensive list, but I just don’t know how I could add cleaning closets and shoe soles and every drawer to my already seemingly overwhelming list of to-dos.  I just don’t think I can handle it all.  I wonder how orthodox wives and new mommies and mommies with lots of kiddos do it.  With help, surely.

So now, I’m off to do some serious baking.

whole wheat pitas

Anyone need some bread?

With lows in the teens last night, our poor chickens are really feeling the cold.  They’re pretty cold-hardy chickens (one of the reasons we got them) but their feet aren’t feathered and when they get too cold, they stand around like flamingos, keeping only one foot on the frozen ground and the other tucked in their feathers.

We provide them with warm water every morning, to prolong the amount of time it takes for it to freeze throughout the day.

And we’ve got a little heat lamp that we’ll set up for them outside their coop for the next time it gets this cold.

Because even though they handle themselves excellently in cold weather,  remember the little fashion-forward chicken that’s molting?

It might be a little harder for her to keep warm these days.

Settling into a routine while being home hasn’t been easy.  My plan was to get up early, do the chores then have time in the afternoon for whatever I please, say crafting, sewing, or going out.  So far, the plan hasn’t happened.

I’m procrastinating my chores too much and when I do get on them, my back demands breaks throughout the day.  It seems I don’t really accomplish as much as I thought I would, but then, being pregnant hasn’t really been exactly what I thought it would be.  I have limitations!  Who knew?  I thought I’d be doing everything with the same stamina as a non-preggo me would.  I’m glad I can take breaks throughout my day, but now I’m worried that they might be what keeps me from being productive here at home.

Aside from that, though, I’m trying to establish some good patterns.  I’ve got a list of weekly chores (which I compiled a long time ago) that I’m trying to follow, even if poorly.  Grocery shopping seems to have taken a backseat in importance now that I’m home.  It’s like, since I barely drive the car now, I have no reason to “go grocery shopping on my way home” like I used to.  I also lack the motivation to take it out of the driveway when I’m perfectly happy doing my thing at home.  Ya know?  But, today is different.

Today I have made my list of things I need from the grocery store that cannot be ignored.  I need food!  Chicken!  Onions!  Butter!!   And laundry.  Laundry must be finished today, since I started it yesterday and now I”m sure there’s a load sitting in the washer, forgotten after yesterday’s “back break” somewhere in the middle of the day.  It’s embarrassing, truly.  But today is a new day and I’ll make up for it.

I guess I better stop procrastinating and get to it, huh?

Happy Tuesday!

This is my new title.  I am finally able to say that I stay home during my days, taking care of my home and husband.  No longer am I confined to a desk for nine hours a day, whittling away my time in return for a check.  No longer do I come home from work exhausted, swollen and bloated from sitting for so long.  Nope, now I get to be active and productive at home.  This is such an exciting time for me.

So how did it happen?  Well, simple really.  I got laid off work.  At this point people usually say, “oh no, I’m so sorry!” but I say, don’t be.  Why should you be if I’m not?  You see, I’ve been *hoping* to get laid off for months now!

For a few years now, HaShem has been doing interesting things in me.  He’s been changing many things about me, including turning my heart towards home.  First he turned my heart and I was left wondering how I was going to fulfill this new desire within me to come home.  How could I when we needed the money, when it was socially not very acceptable for a woman to stay home, when my husband wanted me at work…?  Slowly, I began to look for ways in which I could fulfill this new calling.  I began to learn a lot of different ways to live more simply so that it wouldn’t be “necessary” to have two incomes.  My husband too, was learning new ways to do this, totally on his own.  We came together to discuss these new things excited about being “on the same page” about simplicity, but the hubby was still not sure about me not having a job.

Slowly, over the last few months, hubby has had his heart turn towards home as well.  HaShem has been preparing him as well as me, for His timing.  This year, my work has had many layoffs.  At first, my husband was very worried over them and thankful that I “survived” them while I sat there thinking, is this the time, L-rd?  Am I supposed to quit or get laid off?  Is this your plan?  But he always said “not yet.”  As the months passed, the hubby began to accept the idea of my getting laid off and even started getting excited at the thought.  I couldn’t believe the change in his attitude over this, but then, that’s what usually happens when HaShem changes a person.  

This time, somewhere in the back of my mind I knew that it was my turn.  From the outside it might seem to be bad timing.  After all, I’m in my third trimester of pregnancy and surely I need the health insurance coverage, right?  Thankfully, we chose to go with a midwife, which means the rates are substantially lower than hospital bills would be, and anyway we can get cobra at low rates for nine months.  Not only that, but getting laid off means I can rest and prop my feet up whenever I need to, not have to ask for permission to use the restroom (which we all know is quite often for pregnant ladies) and feeling bad making someone cover for me for a few minutes almost every hour.   It means I can get unemployment benefits for a time, while I look for something I can do from home to bring in a small income.  Not that we need it, but it’s been the plan for a while for me to have some kind of backup income should something happen.  With maternity leave there is no pay at all!  They just hold your job for 12 weeks.  It means not having to get up at 5:45 a.m. to catch the 6:50 a.m. bus so I can get to work at 8.  It means not getting home so late and tired that I can barely force myself to make dinner, and not getting to eat it until after 7:30 p.m. the doing chores and getting to bed late.  I mean, seriously, how is this not so much better?

It’s been amazing for me to see how HaShem’s plans develop in my life.  They really are better than anything I could have planned for myself and His timing is impeccable!  This is why I have been such a happy person since my layoff.  You wouldn’t believe how giddy I was that day and the days immediately following.  It’s over a week later now and I’m a little shocked to feel *so comfortable* in this new role.  I feel like I’ve been doing this forever and it’s even hard now for me to imagine having to get up to go to work!  

So yes, I got laid off, but it’s the best thing that has happened to me in months!  It’s a blessing! And we are doing fine.  We are both happy I’m finally home.  

Baruch HaShem for this and all His blessings in my life.

I don’t know what I was so worried about.  I have five days left of being a ‘bachelorette’ and I have hardly had time to relax!  I guess I forgot how much time having a full-time job actually takes of my productive hours, not to mention the added load of hubby’s chores to my own!

Now when I get off work I have to stop to get compost (if I haven’t made other stops first for errands), get home, feed it to the clucks, let them out, refill their water (which is undoubtedly soiled), check their dry food mixture (the other day I found the whole thing on its side!), start a load of laundry, walk the dog, feed the stray, make dinner (by this time it’s usually around 7pm), hang laundry on the line, clean up after dinner, water the garden, straighten/clean specific part of the house, put away laundry/paperwork/randoms around the house, take a shower and get ready for bed.  The only time I really have to relax is while I’m eating dinner!

I realize, of course, that if I didn’t have a job this would all be NOTHING and could be accomplished in the first part of the day (except dinner).  It’s not easy though, when you have to cram it all in in the space of just a few hours on a daily basis.

Tonight I have a Soroptimist meeting, so that means I have to run home to let the dog out and make sure the clucks have water, then run to the country club to make it in time for the meeting.  At least dinner will be taken care of there, though.  I wonder at what time I’ll be getting to bed tonight…

Can’t wait for Shabbat!!

PS: baby is kicking a lot more now and I think I’m losing my bellybutton.  More on that later…

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