Diary of a Homemaker’s Week: Summer Begins
Saturday: I was bone weary today. I've had about three naps already and feel as though I could crawl into bed and sleep all night long without a bit of trouble. That it's only about 7pm is the problem. Even though we typically arise early on Sundays I don't think I want to be up at 3am which would be just about my limit on sleep.
My Stitch Fix box arrived today. I was pleased because it was a wee bit early, not meant to arrive until Tuesday but here it is today. I love all five pieces once more. I had the same stylist again and for that I am grateful because she really does pay attention to what I say I like, gathered information from my inspiration board as to what I'd seen on Pinterest and on Stitch Fix that I thought I'd like, and then chose accordingly and I am very pleased. Again, I find that costs average about $30 per item.
Before I put new pieces in my closet, I pulled out five or six items that I haven't worn and don't think I will. I swapped two items for similar color items in the Stitch Fix box and the rest were just extra items that I hadn't worn more than once or twice and kept only because they were still fairly new. Sometimes you just have to confess why you dislike a piece, you've bought. I find more and more that anything with a waterfall type front just irritates me no end to wear. I don't mind a straight hem even if it's high in the front and lower in the back but those longer front pieces that dangle oddly...Nope.
And by the way, I've been very specific on the comment section about why I chose items for the inspiration board for the stylist. If it's the color combination but the top has that waterfall hem, I make it plain it's the colors that drew my eye, but I prefer the straighter hem. I confess my ambivalence about sleeveless even though my stylist chose three sleeveless tops for me this time and I admittedly love them all.
I picked up the book by Susan Watkins, Jane Austen's Town and Country Style , and started reading it yesterday evening and then, because it is full of illustrations and photos and such, I treated it like a picture book and scanned ahead reading the captions under all the pictures first. I don't typically read 'picture' books but when I do, I almost always go ahead and look at all the pictures and read all the captions because I am very distracted from my reading otherwise.
I'm not far enough into the book just yet to tell you about it but I can say that it appears many of the photos are either directly relatable to Jane or similar to what she would have known personally, as well as places she would have used as settings for her novels. I can say that the preface captured my attention and honestly how often can you say the preface did that? I generally find them so dull that I skip them but I read right through this one and only at the end realized it wasn't actually Chapter 1!
I don't know if you've noticed but I spent hours and hours this week tagging many of the posts I've written over the past 10 years here on Blogger. I tried to tag the ones you're most likely to have thought you'd like to read again. It was tedious and I can't say I'm totally pleased about the tab names or even sure if I chose wisely for what I put under the tabs. Not every post is on those tabs by any means. I didn't do Chats or Thrifty Thursdays or Diary posts among others. I did try to gather together series of posts together like the Out of Debt for Good and homemaking routines and the Shabat Thoughts so if you remember a post and want to find it once more you might. I hope it's helpful to you all!
Now, I am off to bed. I think possibly now I could sleep until the alarm goes off in the morning.
Sunday: I slept all night as I'd hoped I'd might but also spent today snoozing in my chair off and on. John asked why I didn't just go to bed and nap? I asked "Why? I apparently fall asleep here just fine!" And it's true, I did!
I had a bit of an upset this morning and part of it was no doubt that I hadn't yet had coffee when my upset occurred. Nothing at all to share, just a bit of foolish worry allowed to run amok and as usual it turned into nothing to have fretted over but it was emotionally wearing for a short period of time. But I cannot deny that all the rest of today, I've fought the urge to 'eat my feelings'.
I use that phrase often to remind myself that in the days of compulsive eating and bingeing/purging, all I was trying to do was to eat away the bad emotional and mental feelings I was having. I can always tell when I want to eat them away because I will think of dozens of things that I typically will not even allow in my home. It's not a craving, which I will indulge now and then. It's literally a list of foods that I once ate in order to comfort myself when I was feeling bad and as I said, most of them are things that I seldom to never allow to come through the doors or I buy in such a small portion that I can't possibly call it binge worthy. You know those little tiny bags of chips that are like half an ounce? Or the packets of Oreos that have four cookies in them? That's what I mean. However, what I wanted today was to binge eat and I just simply would not give in to it.
When I shared in my weekly post what we did eat you might well think I gave in to my feelings but I did not. Those items we ate for our supper today were limited. John made us a sundae of sorts with a banana each, a single scoop of ice cream, a tiny drizzle of chocolate sauce and a tablespoon full of breakfast cereal. That was our splurge for the weekend. I dare say I enjoyed all the more because it was a controlled amount and because it was a bit over the top. We'd typically not indulge in cereal or chocolate syrup or a whole banana at once with ice cream.
I picked up my produce bag this afternoon after church. It really isn't a summer bag but just a "We have these items right now..." bag. I got a dozen fresh eggs, about 2 pounds of mixed color new potatoes (purple, red, yellow) and about 3/4 pound of spring peas. I'm looking forward to making a meal with these.
I think I feel another early bedtime coming on. Gracious, sometimes these so called minor ailments can really wear you down...
Monday: We were up early this morning, which I'm glad of. I said I wasn't going to work much but you know somehow I ended up working as much as I typically do on a Monday regardless of what I thought. I might have been a bit slower in getting things done and pretty much stuck to basics but I worked all the same.
I really have no idea where the day went. At least, I stayed awake for it all today, which is more than I can say for the weekend behind me.
It was cooler this morning. Chilly enough when I got up that I dressed right away and put on a jacket. I opened the windows a little later and the AC didn't even come on until after noon today. It was breezy as could be outdoors but despite that the sheets took a little longer to dry than I thought they might. The wind was right out of the south today. I'll lay odds that breeze blows up rain in the next day or two.
John and I grilled this evening. He helped and I'm awfully glad he did because my fresh charcoal was stubborn about lighting and the grill was even more stubborn about letting us correct air flow. It took about an hour to get the charcoal going today so we ended eating a little later than I planned.
As I suspected we have enough steak for two meals. John eyed the two of them and said when I served his plate, "I can always come back for more..." and I agreed but said "But I'll just bet you get more than enough from this serving." He looked at me later and said he couldn't eat another bite. Granny used to have a phrase for his thinking of seconds before he'd eaten his first plate full. She'd tell us kids, "Your eyes are bigger than your stomach!" lol She was always right, too, and that's saying something when you're feeding a bunch of growing grandchildren!
My chicken turned out good. John and I had a tiny taste of it. I marinated it in olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and fresh oregano. I don't think I've got two meals worth of that, but it's okay. I can always plan another meal if I must.
Our meal was delicious and worthy of the first 'summer' holiday even if it felt more like the Spring it actually is.
Tuesday: Yesterday I was asked if I might watch the three children over the field but I declined. Later Katie asked about my watching my bubby and I declined again. I absolutely hate turning down my children's requests to keep their children but I just didn't feel up to par at all. I felt only slightly better this morning after a rough night. However, that did not stop my son texting asking me to please take his three for just a little while because both he and Bess are sick.
I'll be honest. I know they've been battling illness in their home now for the past two and a half weeks. All three children were sick, one right after the other and then the two adults succumbed, helped along no doubt by sleepless nights with miserable feverish children and baby. I know they were exhausted and probably a little depressed because they weren't getting better. But I also resented being asked when I myself felt less than stellar. Never mind. I said "Yes" because I know that they need rest more than anything. And I know that it was a limited time frame. The children would go home again following lunch.
That is not to say that the day went easily. It was a rush to get our very basic of basics taken care of before the children arrived. I was struggling with my personal attitude. I was resentful of John's quick fix of wanting to put the children on Kindles and letting them be entertained with a screen. I was upset with him for sitting in the chair with his eyes closed. I fussed more than I ought to have done or would normally do.
And it was a struggle too because the children would have preferred to be on Kindles. I wanted them to play and I did force them into a bit of play for about an hour that they seemed to enjoy. I find the 'camping' game is still interesting to them. I brought out bubbles and that was entertaining to them. Millie wants to hold the china doll and she wants to cook. She adores taking one of the toy pots and stirring, stirring, stirring. She walked far more today than she's been known to do and when I told her it was time to change her diaper, I discovered that she can run now, too! I had to step pretty lively to catch up to her.
But the boys were less inclined to do as I wanted. Josh tested me over the play vs. Kindle. And Isaac...well he's four and that's about all that's his trouble. He's four and he's testing limits and he pushed me right through the wall of mine and keep my temper though I did for hours this morning, there came the fourth time I found him sitting in the middle of the dining room table and for the first time ever, I spanked him. Not hard enough to hurt him nor to satisfy my upset at the moment, but it was something he paid attention to and that ended the climbing upon the table! He wailed but only for a moment. He was a better child altogether after that though. I do believe sometimes children just want to know how far they can go before you'll rope them in a little bit, you know?
After an hour of play I was done, lol. I told them they could play on their Kindles, so Isaac and Josh curled up in a chair to play a game.
I made toasted cheese sandwiches for lunch and put out watermelon. Millie was not interested in eating but y'all should have heard her prayer song. The children sing "God our Father, God our Father, Once again, Once again, we will ask for blessing, we will ask for blessing, Amen." Josh has been singing that prayer for nearly 5 years now. We had barely sat down to the table when Millie started up "Gah our faber". Oh my heart!
But then Isaac took her hand because we hold hands for our prayers and she snatched her hand away and glared at him with a deep scowl that made me laugh out loud even though I hadn't ought to have done.
Lunch takes a long time with those children. They are very slow eaters overall, and I should know slow because I eat very slow myself. I allowed the boys to sit UNDER the table and have their sandwiches, they still took forever. We had ice pops after and Millie ate a whole one just like the boys. Then I filled their pockets with treats of lollies and bubblegum and packed Millie up in the wagon, her conveyance with brothers pulling her today, and off they went home.
I'll be frank with you. I could have wept with weariness when they were gone. John was busy picking up and vacuuming and straightening all he could and I just dropped in my chair and put my head back because I was just that doggone done. But there was my messy kitchen to deal with and John does a good many things but not kitchen duty. I got up to start clearing things away when I heard a knock on the door. It was Josh. He said he'd lost candy from his pocket on the way home and forgotten Millie's lollipop. I'd just picked up her lollipop off the counter and I went to get the candy jar for him to choose two more pieces to replace the lost ones. He went out the door and then suddenly he was back inside next to me and he said "I forgot something important!"
And that's when the whole morning became worthwhile. Because what he'd forgotten was to give me a big hug, then he pursed his mouth for a kiss and turned his face up and he said "I forgot to say I love you!"
I didn't get a thing done today. It wasn't the day I'd planned when I went to bed last night. I was too tired to even consider doing anything once the children left. I can't tell you what I did all afternoon but I know it involved sitting until it was time to start supper. But you know what I remember most? A little girl who wanted me to taste everything she cooked. A boy who reminds me often that he's still 'just a little big boy' who backed up to me just as he did when he was a baby and inched his way up on my lap, and a tall freckled boy who thought showing me his love was the most important thing he needed to remember this day. And that's what made this day one of my best yet.
Wednesday: I felt so much better today. I think what helped me most of all was to go on to bed at 9pm. I went to read, or so I said, but I told John this morning, I'm pretty sure all I read was the same paragraph probably about 15 times. I'd read it and doze off and wake up and read it and doze...well you get the idea, lol.
After waking this morning, John made me breakfast which was rather nice. While I sipped my cup of coffee and then my hot peach tea, I thought suddenly of the Blueberry Cobbler coffee I bought last summer and how very good it was. I made note to order myself another bag of it and I did, just this afternoon.
I decided that today was my only chance to get that kitchen work done simply because I'd thought I'd visit Mama tomorrow. I hesitated to text Mama that I'd be coming and now I know that my intuition was on point because Katie may need me to either keep the baby or take her to a doctor's appointment and the littlest boy to his doctor tomorrow afternoon. I still don't know at this moment if I'm coming, going, or staying, lol, but it will all work out tomorrow.
In the meantime, I planned my day today to be the big kitchen declutter day. I climbed up on the entryway bench and rehung the pictures on the entry wall, as I'd meant to do last month. I got a plate disc hung on the back of Katie's sign that John commissioned and it will go up on the wall in the morning after it's had time to set up.
After that I went to work on the little cabinet and I've got a whole empty shelf in the thing now! I was quite surprised by that...which reminds me I also set up medicines for the evening and I need to run go take mine!
I went through every cabinet in my kitchen today. I removed the extra items, and threw away things that I no longer needed and I left behind me a neat clean space in each area. It felt so good to tackle it all. I made space in each cabinet that was left empty or at least where more could be fit in. I even got my crockpot under the counter instead of sitting atop it.
Now that I'm writing about what I did today, I realize that I didn't go through the broom/trash cupboard which likely could use a nice cleaning. I'll try to get to that Friday and take inventory of my cleaning supplies while I'm at it. I don't delve into the cabinet above the fridge because it's only housing my fancy electric knife sharpener.
I decided about 2pm that it would be nice to have a cup of coffee and I sat down with that and watched a vlog with John. Then Katie emailed some paperwork she needed to have printed out. I went into town to take that to her and I got to see my bubby. He's had his first haircut, one that Mama gave him. I asked her how on earth she got him to sit still. "I put him in the highchair and gave him food and he never bothered about me cutting his hair at all." Smart mama. She knows that littlest boy likes his food and nothing will keep him from eating.
I went by our local grocer and picked up some things. I wanted hot wings for supper. I was shocked at the prices of frozen hot wings. I bought them anyway. After thinking about it, I knew that to buy them as take out would cost that much for one person. Mind you the bag said there were 3 servings in it, but still, three servings for the price of one take away? Ok. It was a splurge but I work at saving money so I CAN splurge here and there. I wanted hot wings. I wanted to support my local store, so I chose to shop there.
This store also has a meat deal where you can buy five packages of meat for $19.99. I chose five packages. It works out to about $4 per pound in the end. I bought all beef : burgers, cubed steak and stew meat. The price averaged out nicely enough.
I wandered the aisles and priced various items I typically buy at other stores. I looked at product sizes, and various brands of the same items. I spent a total of almost $50 today. I've read many times in our local paper that just spending $50 a month in a local store is enough to help keep the doors open and I do try to help. But at the same time, I don't buy too many random items. I buy things I want (aka hot wings) but don't want to make a time investment in (driving to a store or fast food place 60 miles round trip). I buy items that are comparably priced at other stores for the most part.
Home to put wings and fries in the oven. I made blue cheese dressing when we had steaks Monday night which is good, because the local store doesn't care anything but shelf stable blue cheese dressings, which aren't my favorite. I really enjoyed supper tonight. It was a good meal and hit the spot. Clean up was super easy since John insisted we eat off paper plates and I'd lined my baking sheet with parchment paper.
I'm trying to determine how I like parchment vs. aluminum foil for cooking. I do like to use aluminum when I'm wrapping things for the fridge or freezer but I usually put a waxed paper barrier between the foil and anything else if I'm storing in the fridge. But for baking purposes, I'm experimenting with the parchment paper. Do any of you use parchment to bake with?
Thursday: First three pictures.
Millie's little summer shorts outfit I got at Dollar General. And if you look at her in this photo you'll understand why I can call neither her nor Caleb 'baby' anymore. They are definitely more toddler than not at this stage.
That big old frog that scared me...He's still living in that bucket of water. The boys tried their best to stir him out of the bottom the other day but he didn't pop out like he did when I went to 'help' the ugly old thing. When I tried to get a picture of him for them yesterday he went right to the bottom of that bucket and stayed there a good half hour or more. I had to sneak out later and take a picture from the porch railing above rather than from the step rail as I was attempting to do earlier in the day.
Carolyn sent me this photo and it's closest to what I have in mind. I'd said a Welsh dresser type piece with a closed bottom and this is exactly what I meant. It's just a dining room hutch that has been separated into two pieces. I showed it to John and he agreed that it was a good idea for storage. We figure if we stay between 5/5.5 feet we can fit the piece so that there is an outlet on either side. My idea is to turn the counter top into a new home for the coffee pot with coffee cups n the cupboard just above it. Because my ceiling slopes from a peak height at that point we'd not hang it at ceiling height but about a foot or two down. That means I could still keep my porcelain chickens on the top of the upper unit.
I'm pretty sure I can find one of these units somewhere in thrift store, flea market, antique, estate or yard sale if I look around. Remember I have a buffet in the dining room that I paid only $60 for and that was less than half of what I thought I'd pay for that piece. So I've got a price point in mind for the piece of no more than $450 and will happily pay a lot less if possible.
I put my plans on hold today not knowing if Katie needed me or not. Apparently she didn't as I heard nothing from her at all. I asked Mama if she'd like to go out tomorrow so today I set to work on several tasks.
Some time ago, I found a recipe for a homemade brownie mix in one of the vintage magazines. I mixed that up this morning and made a pan of brownies. I have enough mix left to make three more batches. There's nothing in it to spoil and it's stored in an airtight container. We tried one of the brownies at lunch time and liked it very well.
I did a full inventory of the freezer and I was relatively pleased to note that I've cut way down on the vegetables and fruits stored in the freezer so most of what is there is meat. I still have 27 pounds of ground venison. John and I talked it over a couple of weeks ago and are agreed that next year we'll limit ourselves to just one deer for the two of us, though I must say that having had two this year will probably just about work for us for a full year's worth of red meat. We do both prefer beef roasts and steak so we definitely will stick to ground venison and possibly cubed steak, backstrap and tenderloin.
I have a good supply of chicken on hand as well, so I'm well satisfied with our frozen food inventory. I still haven't cleaned, organized and made an inventory of my pantry just yet but I'll get to it shortly. I am quite serious about doing a pantry and freezer challenge for July and I see no problems with that plan at present.
I got the cleaning cupboard cleaned and organized afresh as well. It's very pleasant to have things in order in my kitchen. I hope that next week I can remove some excess or neaten spaces as nicely in my living and dining areas as I did in the kitchen this week.
Friday: I didn't sleep well last night. No clue why. I'd had a lower carb supper, so I didn't over do that. However, rest would simply not come until it was quite late.
I was up early despite that late late night. I woke with a song John wrote a few weeks ago swirling around in my brain. His praise and worship songs are so powerful and even if I don't always know what experience or thought he's writing from, his lyrics speak a great deal to me. It was a great comfort to lie there in the early dawn hours and contemplate the words of the song.
I read a couple of chapters of my book this morning. I've put aside every book I was meant to be reading and have taken up these two instead: A Year Without The Grocery Store and Emilie Loring's High of Heart. It's High of Heart I picked up this morning to read. I'm really enjoying the plot line of this book so far.
I finally got myself in gear and got my bits of housework done and then dressed to go to see Mama. I wore the olive green and white stripe dress today and followed my instinct by making myself a sort of belt from a scarf I have that has green and white and black and gold in it. I felt I looked rather well, but none of my necklaces work with the length of the dress placket. I will say I was very comfortable all day today and will definitely work that dress into my wardrobe more often rather than less.
Mama wanted pizza today and we had neither plates nor napkins for our car picnic under the oak tree out at the fair grounds. Not the best idea to choose pizza perhaps, but it was what she really wanted and it was very good if messy. Then we drove down to the farm stand she enjoys visiting. She is still bemoaning her lack of a deep freeze to 'put up' vegetables but I really think she could likely clear out her freezer on her fridge and have room to put a few packets of vegetables up. Mama just doesn't prioritize what she's keeping in the freezer and she shoves every little leftover in even though she isn't going to ever eat them. We had blueberry ice cream at the farm stand. I bought some of the peaches even though I do not really care for cling peaches. I much prefer the freestone varieties that come to maturity in July but I am so ready to taste fresh peaches.
I took Mama home and went over to Cato to look for pantalettes or athleisure shorts to go under my dress. I wore my capris today but was self conscious that the legs might peek out at the dress hem. I don't think they did but Cato had nothing to offer. I'll go online and get something. I really don't want a slip but I don't mind something that gives a bit of comfort and coverage underneath a dress or skirt.
I was so hot and thirsty after that. I went over to Burger King and ordered a frozen Coke. The first of the summer! It was so good and really helped quench my thirst and cool me down.
I drove from Perry over to the farm that sells vegetable bags. Today's bag had squash, Kale, carrots with beautiful green tops, blackberries, potatoes, peas, and zucchini. I also opted for 2 dozen farm raised eggs.
Once home, I was pretty worn out but Katie called. She's been a bit lonely of late and wanted company. I told her I was too tired to go into town but she was most welcome to come out here. She and Caleb arrived a bit later.
I had no clue what supper might be tonight since I hadn't really gotten anything out for supper tonight. I had a half pound of beef thawed to make Stromboli for tomorrow's lunch. Katie started listing off ingredients. "Do you have Penne, cheeses, spaghetti sauce?" I had all of those things. I added, "Also some zucchini, green pepper, onion and ground beef..." "Make baked Penne then..." I just needed a brain booster I guess.
As I chopped vegetables and grated cheese, I fed Caleb bits of this and that. He ate zucchini, green pepper and cheese. He had the crusty edge of a piece of pizza. The more I fed him the hungrier he seemed to get, lol We ended up giving him a slice of the leftover lunch pizza to hold him until we sat down to eat and then he wanted Baked Penne, too.
After supper, I took him to the bathroom and gave him a bath. Katie cleared the table and rinsed dishes for me while I did that. Then she and her dad went out to sit on the porch and talk. I put on one of Caleb's cartoon shows. He climbed up in my lap and bowed his head towards me for a kiss then he wriggled around to sit on my lap and watch the cartoon. He was soon yawning widely and doing what Sam used to do when he was sleepy, twirling his hair around his finger. I snuggled with him for a bit but soon realized that he was getting seriously sleepy. Poor little fellow was yawning hard and shuddering after then rubbing his eyes.
I'm so glad I've had time for each of these four grandchildren this week. Being with Caleb tonight was good therapy for me, just having that little bit of time alone with him. I hope that Katie felt she had 'good therapy' talking with her dad alone, too.
And that's my week. I lived well. Did you?