Tuesday, March 29, 2011

"fair" chores

A homemakers life is always busy.  Children require (and rightfully so) a lot of time, energy, attention, and prayer.  It's amazing that a single chore ever gets done in a house with small children.  I know my husband would LOVE a perfectly clean and organized house at all times, I would love that too, but we also realize that kids are messy and things don't have to be perfect.  My awesome husband not only works 30-40 hours a week to support our family, but he's also going to school in the evenings, taking four very loaded classes.  I know when he's home he physically and mentally exhausted, often overwhelmed, and he just wants to relax.
If I were to be thinking about myself, I'd say that I have an exhausting job too!  I'm dealing with tantrums and meltdowns and bickering, while trying to teach the kids and involve them in fun and uplifting activities.  On top of that I try to keep the household running with cleaning and organizing and laundry and desperate attempts at clutter control.  I'm exhausted, and often overwhelmed by the many tasks involved in household management (hence the blog), but I also know that my kids LOVE their dad.  They are his little fan club and they get excited and giddy when he walks through the door and sometimes they'll just run in circles out of pure excitement (if they're not tackling him to the ground with hugs of course).  I know he loves being around them and playing with them too, I get to do that throughout the day!  So rather than "assigning" chores to my husband to be "fair."  I determined that it's much more "fair" for everyone to let him relax and spend time with the kids when he actually is home, rather than getting onto his case about helping me with the housework.  He still helps out when he can, but it saves everyone a LOT of stress when he can come home and just enjoy being home.  I love my husband!  He may not be perfect but I wouldn't trade him for anything.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sometimes, it goes in file 13

I have been working on a quilt for our bed (I'll post more about that at another time) and I was saving all the scraps to stuff into a pillow.  There are a lot of scraps too because I'm making the quilt out of men's shirts.  I had these big plans to cut the scraps up into really fine pieces to make a nice, decorative throw pillow.  I still think that this is a wise use of resources and good money saving technique, but then I realized something.  Our bed has two pillows for each of us already, and I hate organizing a bunch of pillows when I make the bed (it's a big enough deal if I make the bed at all!).  I thought that we could put throw pillows on the couch and love seat, but throw pillows would be exactly what they were, and leave on the floor to trip people pillows.  Not to mention that our couch and love seat both have patters on them.  I like the patterns enough not to want to cover them with a cover (not to mention that those are ridiculously expensive and would be a pain in the bum to make myself) and I want interesting throw pillows that look kind of fun and country-ish!  By the time that kind of throw pillow will work with my current decor, we'll probably have different couches.  In the meantime, I'm not going to clutter my life with something I don't need.  So here's my bag of scraps in the garbage.  Sometimes it's so freeing to have less stuff!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Everyday Food Storage

I found a website recently that I absolutely adore!  It's called everydayfoodstorage.net.  Crystal is the lady that does this and she it AMAZING!  He does how-to videos, has handouts, she even teaches classes to people in the Utah area (that's not us, but there may be some of you out there!).  Prior to visiting her site, the only foods I could think to make from long term food storage were bread, pancakes, and wheat sprouts (she goes into those things too, but has SO much more!).  I am amazed by this site.  Crystal is incredible.  I aspire to be like her.  It's also helped motivate me to build up our long term food storage.  We might not be able to fit a full year in this little place, but at least we can get a few months worth!  Plus, I will definantly be trying her recipes and letting you all know what I think!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Flowers make me happy!

I love flowers!  I've never been big on getting a dozen red roses, but I do live flowers.  My favorites are: daisies, Texas bluebonnets, lily of the valley, lilacs, mini carnations, and sunflowers, to name a few.  I would love to have fresh flowers in my home all the time, but that would be pretty expensive!  I decided it's the look I like more than anything else, so when we got our tax return we worked out a few (and I mean VERY few) bucks each to spend on something non-essential.  I opted for these flowers (they are fake) and this picture for a vase!  Isn't it AWESOME?  Yes I know it's not what's really popular right now, but I've always liked the kind of rustic/American country look! I used artificial versions of daisies, lily of the valley, and blue lilacs!  It's the centerpiece to our kitchen table (we move it during dinner though) and it makes me smile every time I see it!  Oh, it's the simple things in life!

World's best spagetti sauce

When I was a teenager, I somehow got the worldly notion that learning homemaking skills would mean that I wasn't going to do anything "real" with my life and that I would be a better person to leave that to "lesser" women.  I feel sad and ashamed to admit that now and wish I could travel back in time to slap my teenage self in the face.  *sigh* Oh well. So while I wait for the perfection of the flux capacitor, I will just share this recipe and a brief background.  To overcome my hardheaded feminism, one thing my parents did was make a rule that every Sunday, someone besides my mom would make dinner.  We each took turns rotating each week who would be the one to make it.  My brother hated the fact that every time it was my turn I would chose spaghetti.  And not just any spaghetti, my mom's recipe of homemade spaghetti sauce!  I may have only learned to cook a few things before I got married, but at least I learned to make something that is TRULY delicious.  It also fooled a lot of people into thinking that I was an accomplished cook.  This recipe started from an old cookbook, and over the years my mom changed this and that and eventually half of the ingredients were crossed out and new ones written in all the margins.  This is the final result:
1 Lb. ground beef
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (12 oz.) can tomato soup
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 Tbs. onion powder
1 cube beef bouillon
1 Tbs. parsley
1 Tbs. brown sugar
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. basil
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 Tbs. corn starch
Break up and cook ground beef in skillet.  Drain.  Combine all ingredients in a large pot. Cook on low until heated through.  This tastes great if you put it in a slow cooker on low for 2-3 hours. 
We like to put this in the slow cooker before church and then we just have to cook some thin spaghetti noodles and we're ready to go.  My husband also really likes to put a little cheddar cheese on this.

Doing our best to start off right

This is a picture of the Dallas, Texas LDS temple. My husband and I were married here in 2005. If you're unfamiliar with LDS doctrine, let me give you and brief introduction as far as the temple is concerned. In the temple we are taught, we make covenants, and we are promised blessings. We recieve ordinances that enable us to live in the presence of God. One of those ordinances in called "sealing." That is, to seal and man and woman as husband and wife, not just for this life, but for all eternity. And then they, and children born to them can be together forever!
The Temple is a very sacred place. We don't go into detail about what goes on there because it's so special and sacred to us. There is an amazing Spirit of peace and reverance that one feels in the temple.
The home is a sacred place too, it's the only place that can remotely compare to the temple in sacredness. Thing is, we seem to forget that in our day to day lives. Home should be a place that is peaceful and makes everyone feel safe and comfortable. That's the Spirit that I want in my home.
Getting married in the Temple was the best way we could start our family. The next step is to keep trying to live worthy of all the blessings we've been promised and teaching our children to do the same.
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Starting the blogging journey

I am a homemaker.  Some people call me a stay at home mom, but I like homemaker better because I think it best describes what I do.  I don't just stay home, I make home a pleasant place to live!  Well, I TRY.
Before my husband and I got married, we both agreed that I would stay home with the kids when they came along and he would do the outside work to provide financially for our family.  Kids came quickly, and we had a honeymoon baby 9 months and one week after our marriage!  Some aspects of homemaking were fairly easy for me, like loving my little baby, and other babies that followed, playing with, reading and singing to my kids, having family scriptures and prayer.  All these things are very important in making sure children feel loved and inviting the Spirit into a home!  There were many other homemaking tasks, however, that did not come so naturally, i.e. cooking from scratch, menu planning, eating mostly whole grains (and making them taste good), getting stains out of laundry, organizing papers, clothes, and everything else, keeping clutter down, building, rotating and using food storage, sewing more than just an apron, I could go on for hours, but the point is that I have been learning and working on these things over the years and I'm still working on it.  This blog is dedicatied to those who, like me, seep to have been born without the natural tendencies some people have to effortlessly keep their home immaculate.  This is not about perfection, but more about learning and improving and simplifying, and having fun along the way!
Home CAN be a Heaven on Earth.  Do you think Heaven is full of stacks of random paper with completely disorganized cupboards?