Category Archives: Homemaking

A Little Homemaking and A Little Saving 6/4

With some planning and a little grace, I got through a very busy week last week.  DD had ballet rehearsals and a recital.  We narrowly escaped a deluge of rain on the way in to rehearsals (tulle costume/make-up + rain=bad!), and while she practiced i was rewarded with a double rainbow.  Moms who aren’t looking at their phone all the time are rewarded!

Homemaking

I spent 5 minutes with a microfiber cloth moistened with my favorite Dr Bronner’s soap and wiped down some of our baseboards, which have just enough 1940s detail to catch the dust that doesn’t want to be vacuumed up.  I was surprised how fresh it looked afterward.

Today we are recovering from recital Saturday.  I made a loaf of Irish soda bread and we are relaxing in our sunroom with some Celtic music and views of the garden.

Irish Soda Bread

I bought myself a new weeding tool so I can work in the flower beds in the morning before it gets too hot.  I used reward points at the garden center which covered most of the cost.

I have been washing sweaters and other delicates on the hand-wash cycle in my washer and putting the items outside to dry.  It is so nice to have this done — dripping sweaters in the basement is not my favorite thing!

Saving

Spent zero time this week at CVS/Walgreen’s.  We kept a basic menu with meals like crock pot Sweet and Sour Meatballs, veggie burgers, and a take and bake pizza.  We closed out our weekly budget with leftover money as a result.

I did remember to grab my free Friday download, which is for Gummy Bears, of all things!

Reading

This week I read the graphic novel “Real Friends” by middle-grade author Shannon Hale.

The memoir chronicles Shannon’s journey negotiating friendships during her childhood in the 70s.  If you played “Charlie’s Angels” as a kid, you will relate to her story!

If you have a tween/teen in your life, this is a must-read.  This story also touches on anxiety and living with a family member with undiagnosed differences.

Enjoying

My women’s Bible group finished our study of Beth Moore’s 2 Timothy and we had a dinner party at a member’s spacious home.  Had I known 5 years ago that I would be in a women’s Bible group I would never have believed it, but it is powerful to talk about God with other women.  I am the youngest in the group (most have grown children) and I am learning a lot from that as well.

DD and I have been taking bike rides around our pretty village.  We saw three wild turkeys on someone’s lawn and I have admired all the varieties of iris currently blooming.  Biking is also a great way to teach your young person the rules of the road.  Those who have been long-time readers of my blog will be glad to know we are getting good use out of the bike I wrote about in “From Prudent to Extravagant”!

 

 

 

Saving and Homemaking 5/29

It’s Memorial Day weekend here in the US — a time to remember those who gave everything for our country.  Memorial Day is also the “unofficial” start of summer, when it just seems right to be planting some annuals, cooking out, and maybe taking advantage of the low prices on hot dogs and ketchup!  We did a little of all of those things this weekend.

Saving

Memorial Day weekend has some of the best prices all year on charcoal, hot dogs, condiments, chips, and some types of alcohol.  This week I found:

  • Oscar Meyer turkey select hot dogs for .99 and used a .55 off coupon
  • Dunkin Donuts coffee (my preferred) 5.99 at CVS plus a loadable coupon for 2.00 off a coffee or tea purchase
  • Canned pineapple 1.00 at CVS, plus a loadable coupon for 1.25 off canned fruit plus a .75/2 Dole coupon = 2 for free
  • Received eggs, cheese, Prosecco and summer Shandy from a friend headed out of town.
  • Gratefully took advantage of free babysitting when our daughter was at a friends’s house and went to a fancy dinner with a $25.00 coupon my husband received for his birthday.

Cooking

The week ahead is jam packed with recital rehearsal, a party (my women’s Bible study finished our Beth Moore “Entrusted” study of 2 Timothy!), and a few appointments.  I have really been trying to figure out a meal plan that would work.  I came up with Crock pot sweet and sour meatballs from Six Sisters Stuff, which is a tried and true recipe.  I’m concocting a pasta bake using up some pesto, some spaghetti sauce in the freezer, the free cheese, and a lone chicken patty that is taking up too much room in my freezer.  Another choice is eggs or a quiche (eggs, free cheese, and some bacon in freezer).

Cleaning

  • cleaned the refrigerator
  • cleaned the basement bathroom – I love to clean the granite sink with a microfiber damp with a touch of Dr Bronner’s castile soap
  • enlisted daughter to go through some of last years school stuff.  Found colored pencils that can be used next year.  I’ll have her sharpen them and bag them up…good to go.

My little garden frog.

Relaxing

One of the best things in summer is laying in our sunroom on the love seat, gentle breezes coming through the windows, napping or just watching the leaves blowing in the massive oak tree.

My other indulgence for relaxation is the “fireplace channel” on Amazon (free with Prime).  DH turns my digital fireplace on every night before bed.

How was your Memorial Day or bank holiday (UK) weekend?

 

Too Busy to Bother?

Stock-Images-Vintage-Plate-GraphicsFairy-blu2I am reading a new young adult fiction book called “American Street” about a girl named Fabiola from Haiti who comes to visit relatives in urban Detroit. Her plans do not include returning to Haiti.

One aspect of the book (no spoilers I promise) that greatly affected me is the contrast between the sense of home and gracious hospitality in Haiti and the utter lack thereof at her relatives’ house in Detroit.

There is no celebration for my arrival; no meal is cooked, no neighbors are invited to welcome me . . .  I open the fridge to find bottles of soda and ketchup and hot sauce and mayonnaise. . . . In the freezer are boxes of pizza and waffles and frozen meat wrapped in plastic. . . .  I grab a slice of orange cheese wrapped in plastic. . .  . I can’t believe this is the first thing I eat in America.  It tastes like a mix of glue, chalk, and salt.

This may be a work of fiction, but the scenario doesn’t feel all that fictitious to me.  I recognize the cultural trend in America that says, I’m too busy to host– I don’t want to deal with the stress– or – We’ll just grab a pizza.  Trust me, the reason this the theme spoke to me is because I have thought, and said, all of those things myself!

When I think about my own childhood, though, so many of the happy memories of family celebrations are centered around the special meals people took time to make.  My Grandma’s ever present Nesco roaster .  . . My mom’s fantastic Thanksgiving meals, including homemade cranberry sherbet . . . my Aunt’s rosettes (a fiddly Scandinavian cookie).

Sometimes I think Martha Stewart just wrecked us all.  The standards are so high that if you aren’t weaving your own tablecloth you might as well just buy your Christmas dinner at Boston Market and call it a day.

For me, the vision portrayed in “American Street” solidifies the importance of hospitality for friends and family.  These gestures say “You’re special” and have long reaching effects that most of us won’t ever realize.  I don’t have to weave my own tablecloth for a fancy dinner; a simple recipe prepared at home or flowers from the garden are ways to share love and create memories.

What are your thoughts on the state of hospitality in western life?  What are some ways you like to show you care even though it seems like “a bother”?