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Chasing Babies... Growing in Grace: January 2012

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

My Latest Quilting Project

I started this last spring, before my old machine died for good.  The top was done and it was shelved.  It was meant to be one of my practice quilts as I learned to Free Motion Quilt... but alas, the machine did die, and I never got to it.  Until this last month.

I don't remember exact measurements, but that's my 5 year old holding it... should give you some indication. 

Turns out I have a couple friends expecting babies right now.  One's a boy, due the week my little one is expected.  The other, due this week, is unknown.  (I threw a baby shower for that mommy back at the beginning of the year... if I ever get those pics off My Beloved's Iphone, I'll share it.)  I'm so hoping it's a girl, because I really want to give them this quilt! 

In addition to having friends expecting babies, Sew Inspired has been doing a focus on Free Motion Quilting this whole month and challenged us to complete a FMQ project by the end of the month (today).  So here I am... sharing it.

You probably can't tell that some stitches are larger and some smaller.  And I probably didn't get a great shot of all the places the lines are jagged or my meander crosses over itself (a big no no), but trust me... they are there!

Over all I'm quite pleased with the way this quilt turned out!  And once I took it out of the dryer, all crinkly and lovely, all those little mistakes just vanished anyway. :)  I love it when that happens!

Visit Sew Inspired to see others who have participated in this challenge!


Monday, January 30, 2012

2012 "Homesteading" Goals... In the house

From one of those meals I actually cooked at home!
Ok... so these could be considered good, old fashioned, homemaking goals.  Or goals for the keeper at home.  Or any other name you want to give it.  These goals would be goals if we weren't on a path to become "homesteaders" one day.  But to keep everything symmetrical, and since a "homestead" contains both an outside and an inside, I'm keeping it my "Homesteading" Goals.  And since tomorrow is the last day of January and we will officially be in the second month of the new year (and thus, the year really won't be new anymore), I figure I should get these goals posted, let alone written!

In the sidebar you'll see my list of goals before baby comes (just over 6 weeks now!).  That list may or may not grow longer as I think of things and will hopefully show my progress as time passes (though my new sewing machine is having a problem so I won't be sewing tonight... hopefully that will be fixed soon so I can continue to work on those projects!  'Cause I was really starting to feel like I was making headway.)  All this to say... I won't mention "before baby" specific goals in this post.  Anymore.  Sorry.  

So what are my homemaking goals for this year?  To be honest, they are vast.  And they range from all sorts of topics like cleaning to mothering to personal to whatever else my life touches in the day to day.  Because, really, doesn't it all play into our homes?  So I guarantee that not every one of my goals will be listed here.  In some cases I'll generalize (you'll appreciate me for that)... in others, maybe not so much.

One more thing... since we are adding baby number four (5 and under) in approximately 6 weeks and I know I will see some set backs as we adjust to being a family of 6 in 700 square feet, I'm establishing the goal "date" as being by the end of the year.  Hopefully in most cases I'll see these goals met way earlier than that, but since these are goals for 2012, I'm allowing myself all year to see victory without having "missed the mark" on any one of them. :)

Here we go:
  • To establish a house cleaning routine I can follow... and to actually follow it faithfully!  (i.e. to have a clean home... to my husband's standards, not mine!)
  • To plan and actually prepare meals (i.e. to eat at least 20 out of 21 meals a week at home... without getting take out)
  • To have a meek and quiet spirit (a life long quest to be sure... but I'd love to see actual progress this year!)
  • To stop yelling!
  • To live life "on purpose" (home, marriage, children... all of it!)
  • To seek to tie heart strings between me and my children.  
  • To do more sewing for my home and family.

So there you have it.  I'm sure there are more... and I'm sure there are little steps to each of these big goals.  But now you can see a bit of my heart... and I've taken the time to put it down for my own review down the road!

Ultimately I wanted to list a single goal for this post...
  1. To find, buy, and move to a new home.
But since I have no control over that at. all.  We'll stick with the ones I listed above.  What are your goals for your home this year?  

Joining in here.
And here:

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Some words I need to keep reading!

Some wise words I've been needing to read.  Anger has been the crouching lion at the door and I've been letting him in, moment by moment, daily.  Even leaving it open for him.

These words on gentleness have been mounting on my heart too.

 And I sooo need to put on these things!

"Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, 
clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness,
humility, gentleness and patience.
Bear with each other and forgive one another
if any of you has a grievance against someone.
Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
And over all these virtues put on love, 
which binds them all together in perfect unity."
Colossians 3:12-14

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Meal Planning when you just don't want to

Our families must eat... like it or not.  And, like it or not, it's our responsibility to feed them. 

Last week I promised a little more than the practically ready to eat method of serving dinner to your family.  I really did intend to do so, but as often happens in our lives, things don't go as smoothly as planned.  :)  That's what we're talking about right?  Life that isn't going as smoothly as planned.  So what do we do?  We improvise. 

Instead of giving you my example of menus you could follow, I'm going to share a few resources from out on the web.  I hope they are helpful to you in getting your family fed.

And don't miss this:  Every Monday hundred(s) of bloggers share their weekly menu at Menu Plan Monday!

Then of course there are my old sample menus as a mom of toddlers!  Feel free to download and use them... or just grab ideas and make your own!

Really though, it comes down to having a plan you can lean on in the trying times... or everyday.  Whatever the case may be!   

Since I'm soooo uninspired today, can any of you share what you do when you just don't feel like you can make dinner?  I'd love to see your ideas!

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

8 weeks

My fav pic from my first pregnancy... don't really have any yet of this one.  I guess I should work on that.

Wow... every week seems to pass faster and faster!  I have to say, this pregnancy has flown by!  At least from where I sit now.   Just yesterday I was telling My Beloved that there are only 9 weeks to go and I have so much I still want to accomplish before baby gets here.  Oh wait... no, yesterday I was telling him there are only 8 weeks to go and I still have so much I want to accomplish!

It makes me a little nervous sometimes.  I admit!

I was mentioning a few of those things I'd like to get done to a real life friend in an email just now and I kept coming up with things.  Finally I just stopped, though I know there are more.

Let's see... what were those?

  • meals in the freezer
  • numerous sewing projects (since I may not get around to sewing again for a while)
  • finishing the de-clutter/home organization I've been working on
  • assembling the bassinet (this one can be done while I'm in the hospital if need be)
  • organizing baby clothes
  • determining what baby clothes and such we still need before she's here
  • figuring out a new dresser/kid clothes storage solution (4 kids in one room, one dresser with 5 working drawers)
Like I said... I know there are more.  And the "numerous sewing projects" is hardly fair.  To be fair and realistic, I should at least list out generalities.

Oh... and have I mentioned that Sweet Pea's birthday is the week before I'm due?  Arrangements and such need to be made for that for sure... and early too, just in case baby is early!

Then there is the room that needs to be made in the freezer so there is room for said meals to be put into.  You know, things like the cherry pie filling that needs to be made with all those sour cherries we just stuck in the freezer for later... and the berries in there waiting to be made into jam.  Maybe we can tackle some of that canning stuff this weekend so I can work on cooking next week.  :)

I'm feeling the need to keep an up to date list in my sidebar!  I'll see if I can work on that here sometime too.

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Monday, January 16, 2012

The next step

Friday we cleared off that kitchen table (or wherever you take your meals) and got started on washing those dishes.  How'd you do?  Did you keep up with it over the weekend?  You are the only one who can do this.  Let me tell you, after we got the kids in bed for nap time yesterday afternoon, I was looking forward to bringing out my sewing machine and working on a project.  I was so excited to get started that I fully intended to leave the breakfast/lunch dishes in the sink for later.  Then I reminded myself that choosing a "something fun" over my responsibility to keep up this home was a selfish choice (after all, My Beloved would have to look at that mess all afternoon too!... and who knows how badly it would set back dinner) and that I needed to just "do it enyway".

So I did.  At least, I decided, I could rinse and organize them.  But as I finished that part up, I decided it's not all that much more to just get them washed and I'd be so much happier if I did.  And I was right.  I didn't want to be washing those dishes instead of working on my quilt, but as I was washing up the last few things, I felt so good.  I'd done right.  If you do well, will you not be accepted?


So this morning... did you wake up to clean dishes and cleared table???  I do hope so!  And I hope that, no matter how hard it was to make yourself do it (I know that sometimes it can be the hardest thing there is!), you felt that sense of accomplishment at what you'd done.  You took care of your home... fulfilling your God given role!  (If not?  Every morning is new!  Don't beat yourself up... get going!)

Now, don't stop there!  There is much more to breaking out of depression and keeping your home and caring for your family than just dishes.  We're just taking these things one step at a time.  You can do this!  But trying to do it all at once probably won't work for you.  You'll just give up and end up back in bed focusing on your failure.  Don't do it!

So where do we go from here???  There is no particular order all this should be done in.  I'm just picking the next logical one for me.  The way I see it, now that your dishes are done and your table is cleared, the next priority is to feed your family!

Don't forget, these steps I'm walking you through are assuming you're starting all over.  Maybe you've been sick so long you don't know how to begin again.  Perhaps you've been depressed and unable to cope.  Maybe others have been helping out since the birth of your last baby and you are feeling the need to get back on track yourself but don't know how.  Whatever the reason, you've decided (or I've told you) that it's time to "stop being lazy, get up, and do your job!"  (Again... I'm talkin' to myself here!)

How many nights have I failed to have a dinner ready for my family.  And justifiable or not, it always leaves me feeling miserable.  I turn into a grumpy mommy, a downcast wife.  Instead of being able to greet my sweet husband at the door with a smile and a kiss, I am laden with guilt, knowing I've let him down again.  I haven't done my job!

So let's do our job!

The most important part about this is to have a plan of some kind.  Your plan with look different than mine, I guarantee!  And, hopefully, your plan will grow as this "keeper at home" thing gets easier for you.  For now, let's start as easy as possible.  Again, this will look different for each of you... it all depends where you're starting out.

For those of you who've been reading here a while, you may know that we aim to eat a pretty healthy diet... cooking from scratch as much as possible (this is certainly the reason we end up eating out as much as we do... I fail regularly and don't have a back up plan!)  I must warn you that what I'm about to propose is nothing like that.  What I'm about to sit here and tell you may leave some of you confused about what we do in our home.  I'm not telling you what is right for us.  The purpose of these posts is to help you get up and get going.  I want to start where you may be.  Take these tips and adjust them to fit where you are.

Now that I've said that... let's get started!

Let's assume your normal is no plan at 5pm.  Been there!  And let's assume that you're either too depressed to think long on any one topic or that you have so many young children than you're too distracted to think long on any one topic.  Either way, it's near impossible to come up with a plan... all. day. long.  Been there too!  I'll also assume that the answer found is either to pick up fast food or to let each man, woman and child fend for themselves.

My recommendation?  This is not the time to try getting impressive meals on the table.  It's so tempting to go from never have dinner ready to wanting to surprise our husbands with his favorite... or something really nice.

Just get something on the table!  But you must plan ahead.  Here is a very simple "getting started" menu plan:
  • Monday:  Frozen pizza, bag of premixed salad greens with dressing
  • Tuesday:  Hotdogs and Baked Beans (start with a can of Baked Beans, cut up hot dogs and warm together in a pan.  Serve in a bowl.  Easy.
  • Wednesday: Chicken Strips with Shake and Bake, ketchup or Ranch Dressing for dip, mac n cheese, celery sticks
  • Thursday:  Cheese burgers (buy the pre-made burgers in the frozen foods section for extra ease!) and frozen steak or crinkle fries
  • Friday: Velveeta Zesty BBQ Chicken (or other flavor), apple wedges
  • Saturday: Tacos (ground beef/turkey, taco seasoning packet, lettuce, tomato, cheese, etc.), refried beans
  • Sunday:  Hamburger Helper (check link for coupon!), baby carrots, applesauce

Again, remember... we are all starting at different places.  Some of you have never used any of these products before and others already have some of them in your pantry.  Some of you were used to a less processed approach to meals before things started to unravel at home... this is just a place to start.  Not every week will look like this for you.  Maybe you'll use only a few of these to give you a couple days to come up with something more.  Perhaps you'll need to repeat this menu for a whole month.

Perhaps you're ready for a little bit more than this, but not much.  Do your own thing!   Here are a couple more ideas... 5 dinners in a bag, Betty Crocker Recipe finder.

Later this week I'll try to share a less processed "getting started" menu for you.

In the mean time... keep those dishes done.  And don't let "failure" keep you from starting again!

Participating with Meal Plan Monday!

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Friday, January 13, 2012

Part 3... in which I am harsh

This is where I'd like to blend this "part 2" post about depression with my Suzy meets Proverbs 31 post.  And why?  Because the message is the same.

Stop being lazy, get up, and do your job!

Harsh?  Maybe.  But it's as much to myself as it is to you.

Why are our houses, children and lives a mess?  Because we're not doing our jobs.

Have you ever thought about what life would be like if our husbands did their work the way we do ours?  They'd surely be fired and we'd be without income, food, and possibly even home.  Imagine.

If you were back out in the work force, chances are your employer wouldn't care that your kids are sick (or you for that matter), the work still needs to be done.  We are so blessed to be working for our husbands, but how often do we take their love and patience with us for granted?  Too often.

Your home, your children, all the meals, etc... those are your job.  And the only way to feel the satisfaction in your work is for you to do them.  If you do well, will you not be accepted?

Leaving these undone, or even leaving them for someone else to do will eventually lead to depression... if not marital problems!  And this just compounds itself with each new day of laziness.

Now, don't let this put you further into depression and despair.  It would be easy to do, I know.  I've pointed out failure.  You feel it (I often do).  And it's all your fault.  These things may be true, but the answer is not to let it go on.  The answer is to do something about it.  But you certainly will not be able to do something about it on your own.  You must first seek Him!  Worship.  Find a piece of paper or your journal and make a list of everything you have to be thankful for.

Now, with the little bit of energy that gives you, get up!  Make that bed, fold up the blanket on the couch.  Fluff pillows.  And don't sit back down.  Push through.  Recite that list of thankful things if you need to.  Ask God for every step you must take... literally!

Then start small.  Go clear off the kitchen table.  Move all those dishes from the last couple days to the sink (or counter around it if it's full).  It seems like a big job, but just moving dishes isn't so bad.  You can do it. Find a clean wash cloth and get it wet.  Wipe off that cleared table.  Get it cleared all the way!  Is there clutter piled up there too???  I love this method of clearing a space!!!  (Her methods of cleaning are great in general!... I'll be reading over them again myself.)

Now you have a cleared table.  Just look at it.  Let the absence of visual clutter energize you a little bit.  Don't give up.  It's so easy to sit back down and read another blog post now, but it will trap you again.  Move to that kitchen sink.  You don't have to wash them right now.  Tell yourself that.  You're just going to organize them for later.  Rinse them and sort into piles on the counter.  I find that once dishes are all organized, they never look as bad as they did.  Do you have a dishwasher???  Put them right in there instead of stacking on the counter.  Then the job is done!  Fill it once and stack the rest, but empty that sink!

Now... you don't have to do this next part right away (but sometimes I find that I can just use the momentum I've already created and go for it), but start with some of the dishes.  Don't fill the sink with soapy water if that's seems too big a job.  Just put some soap on the brush or cloth and tackle one stack of bowls or plates or flatware.  Just one.  Move them to the other side of the sink.  When that stack is done, rinse and set in the dish drainer.  Can you do just one more stack?  A few cups?  That one pan?  Just keep doing them as long as you can.   Anything you can do will be better!  And then look at all you've accomplished.  YOU accomplished.  YOU did it!  YOURSELF!  Thank God for the ability to do something today.  This was your first step!

But what if kids are all over the place and you can't stop to do so much?  Wait till nap time, set up something for them to color on that newly cleared table, or ask that person (grandma, friend, husband, etc.) who has been helping you because you just couldn't do it alone if they will play with the kids for a while so you can tackle this job.  Don't let them do the job for you... you have to do the cleaning.  It's important that it be your work that brings order.

Keep picking at those dishes until they are gone.  If you stop to rest because you just can't do more now, set a timer and rest for 15 minutes.  Read a book to the kids, watch them perform tricks on the floor, close your eyes, read your Bible or another book, or work on that list of thankful things.  Include on that list that you cleared the table!!!  That you pushed through and did your job!  How exciting!!!

Monday I intend to have a next step for you if you still struggle to know how to break through this depression to conquer your home.  If it's all just too overwhelming!

But what will I do all weekend?  It's just going to fall apart again!

No, it won't.  Your job over the weekend is to keep picking at those dishes and to keep up with them.  Don't let meals get you down, or laundry, or messes other places.  Spend your time in the kitchen if you need to.  Just work on keeping up with what you've started.  Do those dishes right after meals!  Now that the room is in some bit of order, include the kids in clearing the table.  Even a 2 year old can clear their own cup to the sink or counter.  Make it your goal to start Monday morning with all the dishes washed.

And I wonder what else you may be able to tackle once all those dishes are clean and put away.  Perhaps you'll be surprised by the energy to wipe down the counter, or the stove.  Or to declutter the counter top the way you did the table.  But you don't have to... this weekend, just keep those dishes clean and that table cleared between meals and use.  It's not that much... and if you fall behind, start again the way you did today.  You can do it!!

I'm praying for you!!!!

Part 4: The Next Step

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

If you do what is right...

Are you seeking Him?  Have you fought to make worship your saving grace?

I know it's not easy.  When we fall down deep, getting up and getting out is the last thing on our minds.  Self pity and despair are our first responses.  But they do no good.  In fact, they only make us feel worse.  Focusing on ourselves will only ever make life worse.

But for today, I'm going to assume you've done it.  You sought Him and found Him... just as He promised you would!

This doesn't mean depression is behind you.  Sorry.  Seeking Him is the way through it... something you do everyday--every minute--to get through.

No... often our depression has it's roots somewhere else.  And, sorry to say, often those roots start with us.  When Cain was downcast, God asked him a very pointed question... “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast?  If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?"

From time to time I must ask myself this question..."Why are you downcast (or depressed)?  If you do well, will you not be accepted?"

You see, when we are doing what we shouldn't, or, as is more often the case for me, not doing what I should be, we set ourselves in a downward spiral.  A little example from my personal life:

I neglect my homemaking responsibilities because I'm "tired" or some such other reason.  Clutter and dishes begin to pile up.  I've been learning what visual clutter does to our moods... it's not good!

Cleaning is hard enough without working around the clutter, so I don't do it... because I'm "tired".  (Have you ever noticed how being tired can be more about our emotions than our physical need?)  Now I'm such a failure, I may as well not try.  Dinners are too hard to plan.  And it takes too much energy to make them anyway.  Energy that is lost just by sitting in a messy house.

I'm failing.  Letting my husband down.  Doing him evil, instead of good.  Surrounded by chaos.  And just can't make myself get up.  Next thing I know I'm struggling with depression.  It wasn't an overnight thing.  It came on slowly with the making of little decisions.  The decision to not do what I was supposed to do in the first place.  And it just keeps getting worse, like a lie spinning it's web!

Why am I depressed?  If I do what is right, will I not be accepted?  Will my heart not be filled with joy and accomplishment? 

This is where I'd like to blend this "part 2" post about depression with my Suzy meets Proverbs 31 post.  And why?  Because the message is the same.

But not today... today just chew on what I've already said.  I'll be back tomorrow with the next step to getting out of this depression!


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

2012 "Homestead" Goals... Putting up

Last week I shared our goals for the garden this year.  "Putting up" may sound like it should be attached to that set of goals, but in fact for us, it's different.  Our garden has yet to give much to put up at all, and while it is a goal to put up and use up all my harvest this year (as opposed to other years), today I'm talking about other places we can gather food to put up.

Last year I had some very deliberate, though unwritten goals about gathering our food from local (and semi local) orchards and fields.  However between weather (moldy strawberries in our area due to rain) Lyme Disease, and early pregnancy, we only really got over to the blueberry picking.  This year I reset my goals for gathering and canning!

We'd like to pick and can/put up the following:

We found a semi-local organic strawberry patch for pick your own.  This past year they weren't able to open due to the excessive rain and mold.  Hopefully this year we can go as we like to use these for jam and smoothies through the year.

We also have a local organic source for picking our own blueberries.  I'd like to have several gallons of berries, at least, to freeze for smoothies, muffins and pancakes through the year.

We've picked these over the last few years, but don't haven't tried organic yet as there isn't one close to us.  We freeze the sweet ones for smoothies.  This past year we picked up some pre-pitted sour cherries to can for pie (they are still waiting in the freezer for the canning part) while we were in Michigan.  This next year we're hoping to drive the hour + to pick our own sweet and sour cherries from an organic farm.  I'd like enough sour cherries to put up 12 or more quarts for pie and enough sweet ones for smoothies all year.

We've never really done this before (though we got a peck to try out canning this past summer) and I'm excited about finding an organic pick your own source and about having these fruits around for eating throughout the year.  I'd love 30-40 quarts or more put up, but we'll see how the summer goes.   

These are available to us on the property of My Beloved's office and here on our street.  We often get between 1-2 gallons worth for making jam.  I usually combine them with some strawberries and cherries for what I call "Cherry Berry Jam".  I'm hoping to get at least this many!

For the past few years we've picked up 5 bushels of apples to can for pie filling and applesauce in the fall.  It gets us through the whole year of applesauce and the kids love it!  This past year our fall was crazy and I wasted about a bushel of them... my goal is to waste nothing this year.  Even if it means getting fewer apples to start with!

There may be more I'm not thinking of now, but these are my main goals for what we put up this year.

Do you gather from local orchards and such to put up??  I'd love to know what you do!


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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Motherhood is hard!

When we bear it alone, sometimes it all gets to be too much.
Let's back up a little bit first... life is hard!  Relationships are hard!  Marriage is hard work... to have a good one, otherwise it's just hard!  Homemaking is hard work!  Mothering, on top of it all, is hard work!

And let's not forget to add to this the swishy swashy hormones that seem to constantly batter us up one side and down the other.  Regular hormone fluctuation, pregnancy hormones, postpartum hormones.  Then there is the constantly disrupted sleep of life with littles (or bigs).  The dreariness of winter.  And if you have a medical problem of some kind on top of it all.  Forget about it!  It's hard!

Sometimes it's just too hard.  And if you've got unsupportive friends and family (or even husband) around telling you what a bad job you're doing, you may just be ready to give up.  And many have.  Many women give up in self indulgence, in abandonment, in depression, or even in suicide.

But you see, whether you asked to be in the position you're in or not (house you live in, medical condition, number of children, etc), you are in it.  God, in his infinite wisdom, has placed you right where you are.  It's your job.  Your responsibility.  And it's going to be work... hard work!

Am I trying to make you feel worse?  No.  Because there is good news in all this...

God's grace is sufficient!  For His power is made perfect in your weakness! (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

So often we hear people say that God will not give us more than we can handle.  But perhaps that isn't a true statement.  Perhaps what we need to hear and remember is that God won't ever give us more than He can handle!  For those of us who know and trust Him, He has said that He will never leave us or forsake us! (Hebrews 13:5)

Do you know Him today?  Have you trusted Christ for your forgiveness and salvation?  Then you are not alone.  You can do this through His strength!  He promised a Helper.

But first, we need to seek His help.  We need to remember that we cannot, were never intended to, do this on our own. 

Are you struggling sister?  Are you buried in depression?  Hopelessness?  Being beaten down by those around you... by your own thoughts?

Today I am going to give you the first step. 

Seek Him!

Don't fret over the laundry list of failures, the insults, the overwhelming responsibilities.

Seek Him!

Whether you are curled up on the couch ignoring responsibilities (or at the computer as I often find myself), or just going through the motions of wiping one more nose, or hiding in your bed unable to make yourself move... wherever you are, whatever your ability today...

Seek Him!

No one can do this for you.  No one can pull you out of this pit you are in.  Not councilors, not friends, not your husband.  No one can help you until you decide to help yourself.

Where do you start?  Pray.  Start small if you have to.  Talk to Him.  Tell Him your heart, your hurts, your insecurities.

Still don't know?  Begin in worship

Prayer isn't coming?  Open your Bible.  Genesis 1 is a great place to remember just Who He Is!  If He can do all that, what can't He do?  Or maybe the Psalms.  David struggled more than once... but he didn't stay in it.  He brought it to God and many Psalms are the result of that time of intimacy with God.

And keep seeking Him.  Every moment you feel the darkness coming on, open your heart to Him.  Pray.  Pray.  And keep praying.  Can't sleep?  Pray.  

Again, no one can make you do this... but you have to start here.  The only alternative is to remain forever where you are.  Seek Him!  You're going to need it before I tell you about step 2!

Other posts in this series:
Part 2 ~ If you do what is right
Part 3 ~ In Which I am Harsh
Part 4 ~ The Next Step

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Monday, January 2, 2012

2012 "Homestead" Goals... in the garden


Ok... so from time to time I mention our "homestead" dreams.  And though I don't spend much time talking about it here, it is something that we've been working on for a long time... and something that a bunch of time goes to each year.  Despite our lack of a real "homestead".

Oh, we have dreams.  But instead of just dreaming, we decided years ago to do the best we could with what we have.  We figure, whatever we learn now can only help later when we are really living that dream!

So we started a garden.


Oh, we love to do it.  Love to plan it. Love to start it.  Love to work in it together.  But in the end it's hard to say that it's actually worth the time, effort and money that goes into it every year.  Especially when one get's Lyme Disease and can't care for it. 

So this year we are making some changes.  Mainly, we plan to take down the green house and see exactly what we can do without it.  Our little garden area is wedged between a hill covered with tall trees and our house.  It gets approx 3-5 hours of direct sun daily (assuming no cloud cover!)  The greenhouse was built to protect our artificial light source.  This year... nothing.  We'll be planting only what can handle partial shade and hope we get enough sun to produce something!

Oh, I may put some tomato plants in pots in our front yard (assuming our land lord is ok with this) so we still have our tomatoes.  And My Beloved may try growing some things in his office at work (more room there than here), but overall, we're sticking with the low light veggies!

So... my goals for the garden???

  1. to be realistic in our plantings (planting only a handful of different things so it's manageable!)
  2. to actually care for our garden throughout the summer months
  3. to keep records of what we plant and harvest so that we can begin comparing in future years based on what our family needs to eat for the year (our true end goal one of these years!)
  4. to actually use up and put up what we harvest... instead of letting it all rot both outside and inside!

There you have it.  Simple?  I hope so.  It never seems to be though.

Now, these are my goals assuming all we have to use is this little plot out back in poor sun.  There is a small chance we will have access to a larger plot in wonderful sun a couple miles from here.  If that wish comes true, I'll share our updated plans, but the goals will pretty much remain the same!  The time commitment will just increase!

Oh, did I mention that baby number 4 is due right around the time many of our plants need to be started???  Yeah... My Beloved may be doing much of the early work on his own!  We'll see how it all turns out!

I'll try to share some of my other "homestead" goals for this year in coming weeks.  What is January for anyway?


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Harder to Re-start

Do you find that true???  That it's harder to re-start than to start something new?  I sure do.  Setting goals and jumping in with both feet is what I'm all about!  Unfortunately I'm also all about falling off the bike and leaving it laying in the street while I go off and do something else.  Where is dad standing there over our shoulders reminding us to "get back on the bike"?

Okay... sorry. No more metaphors.  Probably.

Still, it's harder for me to get back up and re-start something.  It's lost it's glory.  It's no longer fun.  I did it already.  (The starting I mean.)

Little example, if I may...

We were married January 9th, 2005.  Yes, that's just one week more til our 7th anniversary! :)  We got married, had a wonderful week long (give or take) honeymoon in southern California, and flew here to PA to begin our lives together.  Storybook, right?  Or something.

Regardless, it was wonderful.

My Beloved had rented this little place.  Perfect!  At my request, he'd moved all his belongings into the middle of the living room and left them there.  I really wanted to be part of setting up house. 

We arrived home, got things moved around, settled as much as possible, went to work acquiring a bed, couch, etc.  Everything was, of course, perfect.  Nothing lacked.  Our first company came that first Sunday after church when we hosted another couple.  Lunch was tortilla chips and cheese eaten straight off of the aluminum foil we cooked them on as we all gathered around the ironing board we had set up as a make shift coffee table in the living room.  (Our stuff was still to come.)  Who  doesn't love these memories???

Then My Beloved went back to work for the first time in our married life.  Life... real life... together had begun.  There are so many things I could say about those next months, but they are not in the scope of this post.  What I will say is that I jumped in with both feet!  I became a thriving Fly Baby.  I learned how to shine my sink, create a routine.  Oh, and I was excited enough about finally being a wife, that I actually followed it!  I dusted the top of my refrigerator and my ceiling fans every. week.  Seriously.  I even remember judging other women when we'd be in their homes.  Isn't that horrid!?!  (Oh please be merciful to me if you are ever in my home now!)

Fast forward to September of that same year.  In order to pay down the last of my school loans, we decided I would take a job teaching high school English in a Christian school for the year (another story that is far beyond the scope of this post!)  Having never taught before, nor ever been trained to teach before, this was quite an experience.  The next month or so I spent most of my time either teaching, planning or grading (not to mention that My Beloved would help with some of the grading too).  Suffice it to say that I lost hold of my homemaking in that time.  My Beloved did at least 95% of everything.  And helped me!  Even when I got smart and stopped bringing so much work home, we still divided much of the housework.

Come the end of January, 2006, I'd resigned my position (long story) and finished the semester.  I was home again.  And thrilled.  Truly this is where I always wanted to be.  But I was having a hard time getting started again.  I tried all the old ways, but they felt stale.  It just wasn't as much fun this time around.  I struggled for weeks to get back into a routine after being out of one for so long. 

Then, before I'd ever found my groove, I was pregnant.  And oh was I sick!  If I wasn't sitting or laying (and better than that distracted by something), I was running down the hall for the bathroom.  And I was sick like this for 8 months!  I did a lot of reading (this is when I discovered blogs), and even dabbled the beginnings of blogging toward the end of this time.  Suffice it to say, My Beloved still did most of the work.

Then December brought our little Tornado.  And as most of you know, learning to keep a home after that first baby comes is hard anyway... let alone when you didn't have it all figured out before!  Then there were the feeding issues, the months of pumping, and another pregnancy (and the morning sickness it would bring) just 6 months later!

It would be several years before I would ever feel like I had things pulled together.

See... it's harder to restart.  (Wooo... long story.)

Then last year we had this whole Suzy series going, and things were looking up!  And then I fell away! And now, here we are... it's harder to re-start.

But I'm pushing through.  I'm determined to do my husband good.  Determined to glorify my Lord through my dailies!  Determined to put off laziness and look well to the ways of my home!  Determined to choose that good part!

And what's better than doing it right at the start of the year?  I'm not big on new year's resolutions... but why not?  It's here.  It's now.  Let's make this THAT kind of year!