Archives for category: Homemaking

Planning is a forte of mine. I am naturally good at planning. Johnson O’Connor Institute calls this aptitude “foresight.” Well, I’ve got a lot of it.

Some folks think this means I cannot go with the flow. And it’s a little true – I cannot easily just let life roll. Unless I have a plan.

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I meal plan. This week had a Taco Tuesday. While at a swim meet with a child, my Husband and other children ate out instead of the beautifully planned, prepped, and presented Taco Tuesday. That’s OK! Guess what Wednesday’s dinner was? Taco Wednesday. And even better, that was one less meal to prepare on hump day.

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The kids’ lessons are planned. And trips out to enjoy lessons are planned. What happens when the 14yo doodles and listens to music for two hours at the super awesome Salvation Coffee rather than work on lessons? He does them later. And that’s a day’s less work for me look over.

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I plan my downtime – yoga, knitting, reading, etc. So I didn’t get to yoga after I cleaned up breakfast as planned because the 12yo wanted to talk. T(w)eens talk a lot. So I listened. And she talked some more. And before I knew it was time to skrt skrt out the door. OK. So when we made it back home, I hit the mat before leaving for the swim meet.

If I have a plan, I can alter the plan. If I don’t have a plan, I plan to panic. Why? Because there’s no map, no waze, not even google maps to help find alternate paths.

Best part of planning is that I often can knock out the expected so when the unexpected chain mail coif request for the airsoft battle less than 12 hours away comes across the wire, I can stop and make a kid happy.

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Hoping for snow, not more rain.

More Six Word Saturdays for me!

Some days are just too much. Well planned and even better executed, they can even be too much. Second Wednesdays are that for me and yesterday was such a Second Wednesday with more than its usual extra. So extra that I will now always capitalize Second Wednesday. Extra.

But today is not Second Wednesday. Today is Thursday, aka Friday, Jr. Today is slower, less planned and only moderately well executed. And with great mail from a dear friend.

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So, Cheers to you, Friday, Jr.! After dinner I intend to stitch more than bitch.

Welcome. We are glad to meet you.
We welcomed 2014 with fires indoors and out. Gathering the wood for the outside fire was especially soulful for me. While not the same, it is similar to taking food from Nature. I am grateful for the trees.

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We enjoyed our traditional meal of ham (baked this year), hoppin’ John, and greens. I don’t know that any of us really believes that these foods will bring us health, fortune, or wealth. I do think we each enjoy knowing what to really expect a few days a year, New Year’s Day being one of those.

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We began our Three Kings Day conversations. We welcomed our newly made kings to the table with some folded stars and the Christ Candle from our Advent Spiral. We are grateful for the Light that led those Kings to honor a sweet baby king. We’ve only talked (and occasionally baked) about the day in the past years. I’m hoping it is something more memorable as we move into this new year.

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Rest is where our bodies and hearts are headed now. Rest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Our Christmas seasons can be fraught with gift needs and wants, places to be, people to see. There are gifts wants and needs and people we would like to see, but no fraught (fret?). Not this year.

 

I grew up in a family with faults far too numerous to count and far too in the past now to dredge. But there were some really cool things, too, that I have chosen to carry into this moment in my life. Like the sincere appreciation for homemade gifts. So, many years I make some if not all of the gifts even when I know they are not appreciated. I had the recipient in mind through the process and so the gift is a piece of me on behalf of my family.

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This year there are not so many homemade things. I don’t know why. There just isn’t. And it’s OK. I’m not in the least bothered by it as I would have been in the past. I don’t know why. I’m OK with not knowing why.

 

My Husband comes about the holidays in a different way than I do. He likes to go and look a half dozen times and then pick up a few things here and there. Stealing a piece of a text with my Sister …

That’s a big part of what gets his mind in the right place for the holidays. Funny how I just want to be home and bake and make while he wants to be out and about. This year, for the first year, I am perfectly OK with whatever. I have no stress. So odd and awesome at the same time.

And I am OK with that. This year. Typically I get my granny panties all wadded up over it. Not this year. I don’t know why not this year, but not this year.

 

As I type this I am just laughing at myself. There is a brief squabble over what color the next loom band ornament should be. There is a science experiment debate over proper microscope management and there is a miniature schnauzer in desperate need of a good grooming on my lap. It’s comical. And I’m all good with that.

 

I am grateful for the odd and awesome.

There is naturally a buzz here with the anticipation of celebration and gifts. But it is a pretty chill buzz this year. Chill by all of us. There isn’t a flurry to do this, make that, buy things. Sure, we’re picking up here and there and making with our minds and hands, but it isn’t rushed.

 

It feels so good.

 

The highlights are times with friends, the advent spiral, and lots of just being.

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Even the most perfect tree we just picked up yesterday sits in its most perfect spot sans lights and ornaments. Only a stand full water.

 

And this calm, this peace, this moment is just right as solstice nears and I prepare my heart for the gift of Christmas.

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So the thing about new ferments/cultures is this … most of the time they are awesome but sometimes they suck.

 

Villi yogurt – awesome. Easy. Requires little thought. Tangy. Perfect. When it’s cold.

Milk Kefir – whoa. Not sure how to strain those grains yet, but the stuff is good. Feel free to tell me how to strain the grains without having my hands all in it. Delicious when cold. Excellent quickie smoothies. Cold.

Fermented Cranberry Sauce –  A hit on the extended family Thanksgiving table. My pickier-than-usual-adult Father-In-Law liked it. Seemingly a lot. I’d say it passed. Best room temperature.

Desem Sourdough Starter – just getting going, may be able to make bread by the end of the week. It prefers to sit on the mantle, nice and cozy.

True Pickled Eggs – SUCK. Now, in all fairness, I followed the video example of how to boil eggs in the link and I think this was the issue. I should have boiled them as I always do – one minute hard boiled, cut heat, cover pan, let sit for 15 minutes. Because these eggs SUCKED. I vomited after eating them. The yolks were barely set and saturated with salt. Nasty. So I take full responsibility for the fail. My first ferment fail. It happens to everyone. Right?

 

(Please do not forget to tell me how to separate the grains from the milk kefir without digging with my fingers.)

The past few days I have been ridiculously productive. This is no good. I am confident I am setting myself up to feel like a  failure when I do nothing. Probably today. No. Wait. Today starts Hanukkah! There is surely some crafting to do. Here are some of the ideas I have gleaned. And this is my favorite take on a menorah EVER. We’ll probably use leftover glass rather than buy anything. I don’t think God cares. I think He is joyful.

 

And there went my feeling of failing … I don’t know that experimenting with floating wick prototypes qualifies as doing nothing.

 

No. We’re not Jewish. We’re not pagan, either, but the children have celebrated Samhain before. And we’ll probably enjoy Muharram towards its end. I think it is fun and we learn. All of us. And not always things we wish to know. Knowledge, no less.

 

As for the fermented cranberry sauce? I will open it for a taste this afternoon. It *looks* like it “worked.” Monday, I started a gift for my Husband: true pickled eggs. They’re still sitting in the dark. The ones I made for him last year…eh.

 

The Villi yogurt has made a full quart. Eh. Not so crazy about the taste. But perhaps as the tang develops in the starter. In the meantime, I have a batch in the crockpot right now.

I like my milk like I like my tea – cultured.

 

This week I introduced a new ferment to our collection – milk kefir. I also started a new-to-me ferment of  Villi Yogurt and a new-to-me Desem Sourdough sponge. All were purchased from Cultures for Health. I add these to my ongoing attempts at Living Foods which includes kombucha , of which I have now proclaimed myself a master.

And the day after the fresh starts… guess what I receive from a darling friend? This recipe for Fermented Cranberry Sauce. Yes! I did get cranberries for this recipe and YES I will begin the ferment today. Right after I drain my yogurt for its whey… Of course, I don’t use the canned stuff that Thug Kitchen warns against. (Read that post. It is freaking hi-larious!)

 

And, oh yeah. I also read Sandor Ellix Katz’s Wild Fermentation. (Be cool. Buy it from the publisher, won’t ya?) Watch out dear family. Kraut and kimchi are next on the list. And I may even start miso.

 

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In need of a brief and slow and deep breath of the woods, the younger children and I ventured to the best groomed trail – the racetrack in the woods. We brought back treasures to add to past gathered goodies and resurrected my need of a deep breath of Light. We made a usually-too-stacked-and-packed magazine table into our Nature table. I am grateful.

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