Saturday, September 26, 2020

Gentle Days

     We have been having some gentle days around our home lately.  Colton had knee surgery at the end of last week to correct damage from an old injury.  Everything went well, but his leg had to be in a brace all week with the doctor's orders to stay off his feet.  While he was going crazy with not being able to do anything, I was selfishly enjoying his time at home, taking care of him and delighting in watching him with John. With the weather turning cooler, we enjoyed many mornings and evenings outside simply relaxing.  Here is a photo taken right on the other side of our fence.  It is a little blurry because I had to zoom.

    A mother doe and her twin fawns have been coming out regularly to graze in the pasture.  They still have their spots...

    The mother was watching me from the other side of the brush.  I kept my distance so as to not make her too nervous.

    Despite the slower pace of the week, I continued to whittle away at my to-do list.  More jars were washed and put away. 

    I also started working on the pile of ironing I have.  With the same idea to do a little at a time, I made good progress.  Setting a goal like ironing three garments a day will soon see the pile gone.  I even got some of John's shirts ironed right as they came out of the dryer.  His little pressed shirts make my heart happy.

    With the loft freshly cleaned, I have my motivation back to start crafting again.  I'd love to reopen my Etsy shop, but I know now is just not the season.  It will come soon enough.  Instead, I've been working on a little something for Baby James.  I'll be sure to share when it is finished.

    I even managed a trip to the thrift store.  Our local thrift store is such a gem.  I can't believe it took me nearly 7 years to discover it.  The volunteers are so sweet, and I have befriended many of the ladies there.  They are always so helpful and know some of the things I look out for.  Many of the jars I'm washing up came from them, for free!  Just because they knew I would use them.  And I have received texts from them letting me know they have gotten things in that I've wanted or needed.  My latest trip yielded lace placemats, a piece of embroidery, and a wooden Melissa and Doug puzzle.  Everything only set me back $6.

    The lace placemats look vintage.  They have some spots and yellowing, but I thought they were too pretty and inexpensive not to take a chance on cleaning them up.  There are 14 of them!  One of the ladies at the thrift store said to try Borax and vinegar.  If any of you know of ways to get stains out of old linens, please share!

    After the thrift store, we went to Tractor Supply (our local farm and ranch supply store) to buy some feed.  We always check the clearance section.  This time we found huge bags of mealworms for the chickens, marked down from $39.99 to $9.99, plus an extra 25% off of that.  I bought two bags and am kicking myself for not buying more!  They are "treats" but also very good for the chickens, especially with winter approaching.  John helped me feed some to the chickens.  He also insisted on carrying the bag to the shed for me, because, he said, it was too heavy for me.  What a gentleman.  No doubt he learned it from Colton.  Children pick up everything the parents do, so be mindful to teach them good things!

    We also found socks for Colton marked down, which was nice as we had just started talking about stocking up on essentials again.  When thinking in terms of preparedness, food always comes to mind first, but there are other essentials too.  I had specifically mentioned socks, and there they were!  These will be put away until needed.

"She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet."

 ~Proverbs 31:21

    Now that Colton's leg is out of the brace, the pace around our home will pick up again.  It was nice to slow things down (for me, not him, poor guy) for a little while.  Colton will be home for the next three weeks while he recovers, so we have several projects lined up.  Neither of us are in much shape to do too much, but we'll do what we can.  We laugh at ourselves for both hobbling around everywhere, a couple of old 29-year-olds, haha!

    I hope everyone has had a good week!  I'd love to hear from you in the comments.  What has been going on in your little corner of the world?

Friday, September 18, 2020

Catching Up

     These past several weeks have been full of deep-cleaning, organizing, and decluttering as I prepare for James's arrival in December.  The second trimester came with a welcome burst of energy that allowed me to tackle the housework I had fallen behind in, and while this last trimester has seen my energy levels drop somewhat, I still have that momentum.  I guess you could say I'm in nesting mode full-swing!  As my due date gets closer and closer, there is a sense of urgency that makes me feel that if I don't get things done now, they won't get done!

    This post might be a bit random as I share what I've done, but I hope it serves as an encouragement to show what can be accomplished little by little.  I admit my to-do list seemed overwhelming at first, but I took the advice of some seasoned homemakers to just "do the next thing".  I also had to remind myself that it's not the end of the world if I don't cross everything off of my list in time for the baby!  After all, homemaking and housekeeping are not a one and done thing.  That is part of the beauty and joy of it, to always have some little task that keeps our hands busy and our hearts happy, ways here and there to always bless our families, not to mention the satisfaction for ourselves when we get to see and enjoy all the fruits of our labor.  This list just helps me get it all down on paper and out of my head.

The top portion is Colton's list, the bottom is mine.
("De-grease John's toys and clothes" means clean off all of the baby balm he decided to coat everything in while I was in the shower.)

     My first ambitious project was to do a complete pantry clean-out.  It was silly for me to think I could get this done in a day.  I'm still working on it!  I emptied out the entire pantry to wipe down shelves, take inventory of what I have, and rotate stock.  I will save this for another post since there was so much involved, but here is a picture of my empty pantry.  I don't like to see it empty!  Thankfully, it is full again and all clean and organized.

     I almost have it like I want now, but having and keeping a well-stocked pantry means that it is ever-evolving and never quite finished.  I gave myself a break from the pantry once most of it got put back together and jumped to something else on my list.  I wouldn't normally do this, but with my list and for the season I am in, I am just going with bite-sized chunks of whatever I have the energy for.  It's ok to do this!  I still see progress, so even if I don't get the satisfaction of drawing that line through my list, I still know I've accomplished a lot.

    Sorting through baby clothes was another thing on my list.  I still have some clothes from when John was a baby, plus some new things for James that I have either thrifted or been gifted.  I got all of these washed up and sorted by size.  I labeled them and put them away in the attic for when the time gets closer to use them.

    This led me to do something that I hadn't written down but that desperately needed to be done, and that is clean up the loft!  The door to the attic is in the loft, so a lot of times things that either go in the attic or need to come out just get set up there and it becomes a catch-all.  It is also where all of my craft supplies are, and that can quickly get messy if I have projects out.  It was in a dire state.  After plugging away little by little, I finally got it all done!  And now the attic is organized too!

    Here is the embarrassing "before" photo...

    And here it is all cleaned up...

     In the midst of all this, I started on another project.  We have a shelf in our utility room that I was using to hold my jars, most of them thrifted and still unwashed.  I ran out of room on that shelf a long time ago!  I decided I would relocate the jars to the top kitchen cabinets, so I am in the process of getting them all washed and sanitized for that.  It will be much more practical for me to have them at the ready in the kitchen should I need them.  I have too many to wash all in a day, so I am just doing several a day and chiseling away at the pile.

The shelf, with several jars already removed.

    To the aforementioned shelf in the utility room, I moved all of our extra bathroom toiletries, first aid, and kitchen supplies.  When things go on sale that I know we use regularly, I buy several, not just one!  This is an investment up front that saves money in the long run, as it means I never have to pay full price.  I previously had these supplies in a closet in the utility room (you can see a glimpse of it to the right in the photo above), which held everything well, but it was hard to search for things, as the closet is deep and things tended to get buried.  Now everything can be seen at a glance, and I can easily tell what we are getting low on.  Colton and I have enough shampoo and Q-tips for the next five years, I think!  But I can see that we really need dish soap...

    I've also been washing up some fabric from the thrift store.  I'd be embarrassed to tell you how long ago I bought this.  It was during a bag sale so that tells you it was pre-covid!  It has been sitting in the laundry room in the same bag I bought it in.  Now it is all washed and put away.  As a side note, I bought all this fabric for $2 total!  How could one pass that up?

    We got some free food-grade buckets from the grocery store bakery.  I washed them up and now they are ready to hold the bulk wheat that we bought.  We currently have the wheat in the freezer to kill any critters that might hatch out.

    I was also able to add some freeze dried onions to my pantry.  This had been on my list and only ended up taking about an hour to process.  We had a great harvest of onions this past spring, and my parents offered to freeze dry some for me!  They processed ten pounds sliced.  I crushed some and ground the rest and sealed them in jars.  Some of the jars will be for long-term storage (freeze-dried foods will last for decades if stored properly) so I added oxygen absorbers to them.  Now I have a good supply of onions in the pantry.

     It has been so helpful to review this past month and see all that I was able to accomplish.  I hope it has served as some inspiration if you have some bigger projects that you need to get done.  I would love to hear about them in the comments!  I'd also love to know your method for getting things done and how you stay motivated!