Monday, January 30, 2017

Halfway Through Winter

This coming Thursday we hit the halfway through winter mark!  Time to celebrate! Perhaps I will bake a cake.  Yes, for certain I will.  And I am going to start making plans for Valentine's Day.  I love to celebrate this holiday as a way to show God's love to my family.  I cannot wait!

 Last week was so wet and dreary that today's sunshine is most welcome.  My new favorite winter day is sunny and above freezing.  Thankfully, this week might just be filled a few of these wonderful days.
The sunrise from my favorite beach cam.

 It is also going to be a wonderful week because I don't have many extra social engagements on my calendar.  Last week was too busy.  You know it is too busy of a weekend when you are secretly longing for Monday so that you can be home!
Eiffel Tower picture from my mom's trip.  

Best of all, my sweet mother and father are back from their trip to Paris, France.  Oh, how I missed them.  I talk to my mom each day, so a whole 10 days without a hello is too long.  I savored every text she was able to send my way last week.
Mom and her exhausted puppy, finally home! 

My list of books to read has grown.  I am currently trying to read five books and not doing so well, as I bought a new book this week and downloaded an electronic library book.  I must stop and finish a few before I add any more to the ever growing stack.  This must stop.  :)
Better get reading!

We have received our state testing dates and times.  These tests no longer strike terror into the hearts of my sweet children.  They are so smart, they say,"bring it!"  :)  I love their work ethics with their school work.  They love their online school.
My darlings.

Lastly, I am contemplating how to help a little outside cat who likes to hang around our bird feeder. There is a community cat program that loans traps to people for strays.  The cats are seen by vets and neutered if needed.  They are then brought back to the community where they came from.  I have set up a shelter and feeding station with a heated water dish.  He seems very scared of people.  I need to go over and talk to the people about getting a trap, I guess. I hesitate because I do not know how that would all happen.  I must go investigate.  At the moment he seems well enough.

My adorable Dorothy. 

So there we have a little this and that from my corner of the world.  I hope that your week is off to a good start!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Protecting the Food Supply

Protecting the food supply is one of my most important jobs as a homemaker.  It involves so many aspects of economy.  Aspects that I have had to develop over the last 22 years.

The biggest part of this job is shopping for food. Looking for deals, using coupons, writing a menu and making a list takes time. Going to more than one store is also a good idea, thus shopping the sale ads.  I admit that I do not do this as often as I should.  One of my excuses being that we have too small of a small freezer.  One day I hope to have a separate freezer in the garage again.  Another excuse being that I dislike shopping.  I really need to work on this attitude.  I realize that I am blessed to have the resources to go to different stores to seek out bargains.

Another big part of protecting the food supply is rotating the food that I buy.  I have a dark, small, but deep pantry.  It is so easy to put things in and forget that I have them.  It is also easy to open a new item before using up an old of the same item unless I keep a watchful eye on things in the pantry.  At the beginning of the year, I took everything out of the pantry and reorganized.  I also updated my family on the new arrangement so that they would be able to help maintain order.  So far, so good!

Cooking the food might seem like a no-brainer part of protecting the food supply.  How many times do I buy something and then forget to make it before it goes bad?  Vegetables usually fall into this category.  I really hate tossing produce.  I have also been known to buy something because it is a bargain and then have no plan as for how to use it.

Storing the food properly is also crucial to protecting the food supply.  When I get home from a shopping trip, I must put things into the freezer that will be used later in the week.  I must make sure that leftover food is used up or frozen.  Eating leftovers cuts down on waste only if they are indeed eaten.

Reducing waste is a top priority and a big job.  Because I have the privilege of staying home to care for my family, the job falls to me.  It helps us stay out of the drive through, too!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Tax Season Number 11 Begins

It is hard to believe that we are back to tax season, with my dearest husband working long, long hours for the next 84 days.  Today is the first Saturday he is at work.

Eleven years ago when he started working tax season, I had three small children at home.  They were 7, 6 and 4 years old.  I can remember those long days of tax season with little children and am thankful that we are no longer in that season.  With three teenagers, tax season is a lot easier!

For instance, early this morning, I dropped off our oldest son at the high school, as he is going to an all day jazz band festival at Purdue University.  Grace is planning to decorate a birthday cake for Daddy.  We will also watch a musical, as she has decided that each Saturday in tax season is dedicated to watching a musical.  (Yes, we have that many musicals in our collection.) My youngest is currently making us a big pan of bacon and no doubt he will help me with laundry as usual.  I will be looking for things to purge while I am making a big batch of chicken noodle soup.  This first Saturday will pass quickly!

The hardest part of tax season is the lack of rest for my husband.  He gets really worn down by the end.  Sunday is his only day off and that is spent running back and forth to church two times, 30 miles each way.  Plus, he is a Sunday school worker, which is always a challenge.  Hopefully, this is our last year living so far away from work and church, as he wastes a lot of time commuting, and time is precious!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Less is More

I am in the mood to purge, everything except books.  I want to really dig down deep and just get rid of everything that I hang on to "just in case."  That is so hard for me because I have had to buy things that I have given away.  My husband calls it the "Flylady Syndrome."  I would purge until it hurt and then later I would need something that I had given away, necessitating another purchase.  We agreed to NEVER give away any exercise equipment.  Moods come and go and you never know when you will miss those ankle weights.  (I do miss them! Not the step, though.  It was cheap.)

Despite the real fear, I remain in the mood to purge ahead of a move, getting a child off to college, and just wanting to be free of clutter.  Ah. to be free of clutter.  Perhaps my mind would be free as well?

The downside is that I am a sentimental hoarder (anything owned by my grandparents) and thrift store junkie.  I am actually going to one tonight.  Why?  I cannot help myself.  What if there are books there that are on my to-read list?  It happens.  No matter if I cannot ever possibly read all the books that I now own, including my Kindle.  *grin*

A favorite quote of mine from Gretchen Reubin is, "Outer order contributes to inner calm." I really believe that this is true, therefore, I am going to purge.  I am probably going to purge something that I will miss later.  I might even have to buy that item at a thrift store.  It is time to be brave!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Snapshots From Around the Home

A few snapshots from around the home... 

 Visiting our uncle who is in the hospital. 

 Making bread. 

 Playing games. 

Messages with Scrabble letters.

Our feeder's stalker has taken two doves. :( 

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Thoughts on Winter

I am not a big fan of winter.  In the past, I have really struggled with the winter blues and it took a major effort to keep a positive outlook all winter long.  I even developed lists of ways to occupy my days, distracting myself at best.  Then, I realized that dreading half of the year was really not a God-honoring attitude.  Yes, it is partially a physical struggle with the decrease in daylight, but it is also a matter of being content in all situations.  So, I have learned to appreciate winter like many people who face long winters.   I love this article about surviving winters in Norway. (Note: I realize that Indiana winters are not that bad and I feel bad for others who have it far, far worse than I do. Hello, my Alaska friends!!)

I am so grateful that this winter feels different, less foreboding.  Perhaps it is because I am really looking forward to the big exciting move we are planning in June, Lord willing.  Maybe it is because I have worked hard to fill my days with meaningful work.  It is most likely an answer to prayer!!  I am thankful, no matter the reason.

There are many things that I am looking forward to this winter.  I have quite a few good books to read.  We celebrate family birthdays in January and March.  I plan to celebrate Valentine's Day, as we did last year.  I want to make lots of soup from homemade broth.  I will be looking for things to fix around the house and things to purge.  There is lots to do to get this house ready to sell.  I am growing an indoor garden, which brings me joy.  Lastly, I have been blessed with good enough health and I need to continue to exercise, which really helps with the winter blues.

I know this is only January and there is a long winter before me, however, I am hopeful that with a little planning, I can actually thrive this winter.  Here's to loving winter!!