This Week In My Home: Pushing On

In my home this week, I...

....found my attitude wanted less adjusting than in weeks past but still some adjustment was needed all the same.

Things have not been easy. We are all working hard, all pulling together hard and all taking the punches as they continue to come.  The news this week was not any better than that of the last two weeks have been but we just kept right on doing what we could.   Our new mantra in the house is, "That's not my battle to fight just now..." when there's nothing else we can possibly do to help a situation or to face it differently.   It might sound a bit Scarlett O'Hara, putting off until tomorrow what we might worry over today but the truth is that it's the most practical thing we can do at present.  We can't control anything except our own reaction and fears and worries...and so that is just what we do.

It's not just John's job worries, Katie's troubles, nor Amie's, nor Sam's either.  Mama's had her share of woes and worries as she moves into an apartment.  Her situation with my brother did NOT work out for her for various reasons.  She's very nervous about the new apartment, the expenses, the changes ahead.  Fortunately Katie has helped her pack up her things.  Sam and Tony will be moving her bigger pieces into the apartment on Saturday.  I'll head over on Monday to help her unpack and put things to rights.

And woven between all the cares and worries are the two little boys who delight and frustrate us mightily and in equal proportion.  I haven't been this tired in several years but I am truly tired.  We are all truly tired but we all push right on doing what we must and remembering to save those other things for the days when those battles are necessary.

...worked:

Kept boys, did laundry, dishes, made meals, kept house.  Nothing extraordinary but plenty of work all the same.  How I long to have a big project and time to see it come to satisfactory end!

I have three parties in these last three weeks of May and I needed to plan them all so I worked away at that in spare moments.

Ran  a party this week.

Spent one afternoon with Mama at Katie's place, talking over various point and reassuring her that things would be attended to as needed.   Katie is a bargain hunter extraordinaire and had already shown Mama several money saving tricks.  We ended up convincing her to put two really lovely, expensive rugs that she can no longer use and no one in the family can use either, up for sale on Facebook Yard Sale to offset some of her current expenditures.

...made meals:
Chef Salads, Crackers, Fruit

Steak, Braised Mushrooms and Onions, Roasted Potatoes, Asiago Asparagus

BBQ Chicken, Mac and Cheese, Steamed Broccoli

Mongolian Beef, Stir Fry Vegetables, Egg Noodles

Meat Loaf, Mashed potatoes, Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Fetticini with Alfredo Chicken Sauce, Steamed Broccoli, Garlic Bread

Fish, French Fries, Salad

and for snacking, Gramma's Favorite Cake with Broiled Frosting.  The cake was a from mix Devil's Food Cake to which Oatmeal had been added.  It was rather tasty.  I didn't name it as my favorite, it was the name on the recipe in the old Pillsbury cookbook I pulled the recipe from.

...saved:

I was scratching my head for lunch on Saturday.  The boys are not very particular about what they eat but they do like variety.  I settled on Quesadilla for them but adults stymied me for a bit.  I had about 1 cup taco meat left from supper last week and I wanted to use it up.  I suddenly recalled the 7 layer Mexican dip which we have not had in ages upon.  I always served it as a meal in itself since it was so hearty and it suited the need for lunch quite well with the working adults today.  I used leftover taco shells that had broken as chips.  Bess filled a tortilla and the guys ate the dip with tortilla chips.  This was quite economical really and tasty besides.

Washed and hung to dry our towels and sheets.  Also hung out all jeans as week's laundry was done.  I hang shirts to dry on curtain rod at laundry area.  This was over the weekend while the sun shone bright.  Later in the week we found it a bit harder to get anything to dry in the humidity and continuous showers.

Not my doing but savings appreciated: temperatures dropped slightly and cloudy weather ensued bringing in some much needed rain to refill water buckets and water potted plants.   It also meant the AC ran a good bit less than it did over the hot weekend when temperatures crept to mid-90's.

Noted AC running a bit more than usual.  Changed filter.  Have money set aside for annual addition of Freon that is typically required after winter.  I will call the company shortly.

Packed mac and cheese (homemade) in John's rather scanty work lunch.  Apparently my supplies for his lunch have been hit hard by others...So I really need to replenish but at present I'm stuck in that budget area where I have no more to spend.  I scraped together a few things to make up for the lack but it still looked scant for two meals and a couple of snacks.  His second lunch this week looked a little more full because by that point I'd made a cake, we had further leftovers.

I continually sought out the nearly empty, leftover bits of things to use up this week.  Saturday lunch and Monday's comprised of leftover bits and bobs and made several recipes with additions that weren't great in volume but did add to flavor overall.  I continued this all through the week.  Funds have been a little tight and I have been especially careful to use ALL rather than let foods go to waste.

Thursday morning we were near the end of the last gallon of milk.  I am at my spending limit and simply couldn't spend more money.  Bess asked if rent funds could be applied to groceries and offered to go pick up the necessities. I assured her that was exactly what rent money was most especially meant to help with and I'd be appreciative of anything she could get.  We made a short list of necessities and those things are restocked.

...had my leisure:

I read most of Sunday afternoon, despite baby sitting.  I managed to finish my latest Emilie Loring novel, Swift Water, one of the few I can honestly say I didn't much care for overall, though as always the descriptive powers of the author held me at attention, despite disliking the characters so.

A few months ago I did a course through Chabad.org and really enjoyed it.  This past week I received notice of a new course  called Food and Faith.  I took a few minutes to start the course, and read the supplemental readings.  I've started many courses over the past three months and haven't had time to finish any of them.   Fortunately with these classes on Chabad.org the time limit is much longer on each lesson, while in the last several courses I've tried to take, I have only 24 hours to listen to a long video and read many supplemental lessons then the opportunity is done and the next portion of the lesson is online.


Make Mine A Farmhouse



As we drove over to the mountain Friday, I enjoyed myself looking at the homes along the roadways we took.  There were ranch homes, Mobile homes, and Victorian homes, cottages, shanties, shacks and brick Tudor.  Antebellum, Federal and Georgian...But the homes that made my heart go pitter patter were always farmhouse homes.   There's an awful lot of 'farmhouse' this and that right now and I realize it sounds like I'm just another trend follower but when I say farmhouse, I don't mean the modern trend. I mean 'farmhouse' in the way that I knew farmhouses growing up.

 It's not all grey and whites as depicted on current television shows and some popular blogs.  True farmhouse might well have a few rustic touches, but there's color, too, plenty of color.   I agree that the current trend is restful for the eyes, but after a little bit of looking at tons of just grey and white, I begin to feel a bit lifeless...oomph-less if you will.  So let me define true farmhouse 'style' okay?  This is farmhouse the way I knew it growing up.



First let's start outdoors.  The house is generally white lapped wood siding.   Though many these days have been covered with aluminum or metal siding there are still plenty of them covered in wood.    There's almost always a tin roof on the house.  A shiny galvanized tin roof to properly reflect the heat of the summer sun.  A front porch and often a side porch or back porch, as well.  The cottage home may have done away with porches but a real farmhouse always has a generous porch, large enough to serve as an outdoor living room in the warmer months, very often screened in with the prerequisite screen door that squawks open and slams with a satisfying slap of wood on wood.

Rocking chairs and a swing are generally found on porches.  Not fancy furniture but durable and comfortable enough that one could 'set a spell', as the old folks used to say.



There may be shutters at the generous sized windows.  While cottage colors appeal to me most shutters and sometimes the front doors are painted black, a  black green, or a deep green.   Any other doors are usually painted white.  Porch floors are generally battleship gray.  A few older homes might have sky blue ceilings on the porches, but not always.

Flower beds may be optional but if they are part of the landscape they are not wild and random cottage gardens.  They are nicely bordered and neat.  Edging material often is of stones, brick or blocks of some sort, perhaps even of wood.   A freshly clipped lawn and neatly trimmed trees and hedges are a must.  A generous vegetable plot, neatly fenced and rowed and well weeded is usually part of that landscape.

Indoors is a modest home.  While wall finishes may vary from board to plaster to sheetrock, and some might have wainscoting on the lower half of the wall, the walls are not typically white.  That's a bit of a shock to our modern eyes, but walls may be soft gray, blue, green, buff.   The colors are usually light.  Floors typically are wood, from medium to dark but some may have what we still refer to as linoleum..

Arrangement of rooms vary but typically two or three bedrooms, a central hallway that is quite generous in size in some and no hall at all in others, a single bathroom, a living room and a large airy kitchen. Note the lack of a dining room.  Eating was done in the kitchen, or on a side or back porch in warmer months. 


 



If it was a truly large and generous kitchen, a sitting area might also be included in the room and the 'front room' converted into a parlor for special occasions or Sunday afternoon visitors but the majority of the farm homes I knew used that living room for living.

The living room was truly a comfortable room with a good sofa, side chairs, a table near a window, good lights for reading, a TV and a radio, bookcases for books and some source of heat such as a stove or fireplace or propane heater.  A living room and kitchen both might well have a linoleum floor.  Though hard to find now, I do recall that Big Mama and Granny and Grandma Stewart all had floors similar to the one pictured below.  It looked like a rug but was more durable and more easily cleaned.


Rooms were not furnished with distressed woods.  Bedrooms often had polished dressers or chest of drawers.   A comfortable chair, usually a low armless rocker stood in one corner or near a window.  Furnishings were more minimal than we're accustomed to in this day, but occasionally there might be two full sized beds in children's rooms instead of the single twin beds we know.  Beds might be iron, painted to look like wood, or painted white.   Floors were often wood, but there would be small rugs at bedside to prevent stepping out right onto an icy floor.  Colorful quilts or chenille spreads (summer wear) often covered the beds.



 Bathrooms tended to be a bit antiseptic with their tile walls and floors.  For those unable to afford real tile, there were many plastics on the market to go on walls and some wall board was used that resembled a tiled wall though in fact it was a vinyl coated cardboard of sorts that attached to the wall in sheets, like paneling.  I think we'd all prefer to find vintage tile though...It just looks so pretty doesn't it?

Bathrooms were generally not fancy, though.  They were meant more for utility than for beauty in those days and most families weren't so very far off the days of having an outhouse as a 'second bathroom' either!







Curtains in rooms were often a lovely color, ruffled or bound in rickrack or ball fringe.  Priscilla or lace panels weren't uncommon in the living area and perhaps the grown ups bedroom, while a plainer style was used in the other bedrooms.  Kitchen curtains were always especially brightly colored and trimmed and seldom covered the full window.  The natural light was much wanted in these rooms during the day to  offset the cost of electricity.  As well windows were used to move air through the rooms.  So no heavy drapes for most of the year.


So not the houses weren't/aren't fancy in my farmhouse dreams.  They are comfortable, with color, and life and utilitarian in many ways but not cold or uncomfortable.   Yes, I'm sure....Make mine a farmhouse!

This Week In My Home: In the Midst of Storms

In my home this week...



...we'd meant to go to the beach this week and we'd looked forward to it mightily but one thing after another hit us as a family last week.  Saturday morning, after a horrid sleepless Sabath night, John and I sat down and said  to each other, "Perhaps we should cancel..."  Truthfully I can't tell you who suggested it first, but we were both in agreement that we'd each already had that thought.  

When I say we've been hit as a family I mean that sincerely.  The storms have reached far and wide and I can't and won't share details but there's been physical illnesses and ailments among a lot of other very hurtful things.  We reeled.  And as a family we've pulled together, pulling for each other.  I have never been so very proud of my family and their love for one another and their willingness to support one another in times of worry and trouble.

Yes, I needed that vacation, but another will come later on.  I think we needed this week to know that we are family first and foremost, especially when more than the usual course of troubles come.  We shall weather the storms that assail us.

I worked:



Viruses hit the house on top of all the other woes that went on.  Lots of laundry got done.  Lots.

Then the colds started.  I succumbed to that and so did the two little boys. Not a particularly bad cold after the initial fever and chills bit which seems to be part and parcel of this particular strain of virus.

Katie and I spent hours and hours cleaning Mama's house, the one she moved from about a year and a half ago.  It was a terrible mess and there's plenty of work to be done yet upon it.  It is a lesson in buying things for a life one doesn't have and in trying to be prepared for emergencies that never happen, as well as how unimportant a great many things really are.

John spent all afternoon rekeying door locks on the house.  He also worked at adjusting wonky doors and obliging went into deep corners of cabinets where I couldn't reach and Katie was nauseated by messes.

We got groceries.  John and I went to Aldi.  I asked Bess to go to Macon and pick up meats.  Division of duty got things done when no one felt very well.

I spent one morning cooking ahead, making cookies and planning meals in general.  We'd just been grocery shopping, we're feeding another extra and funds are tight.  I want flavorful, inexpensive, stretcher type meals.  This was work but also goes under the 'savings' heading.


I saved:

We had to travel extra miles this week for this and that.  I had a nice fund of money set aside for our travels.  I figure travel is travel and we certainly needed the break in our account so travel funds covered the extra gasoline..

In grocery shopping, I divided and conquered and asked Bess to travel to the market where we buy the good chicken breasts and ground beef.  This week time has been crunched in all sorts of ways and everyone is picking up slack ends to carry the loads.

John and I tackled shopping at Aldi and Publix.  I spent about what you'd expect to cover the cost of feeding two families and one extra besides.  I was very careful in choosing the least expensive options that carry the same quality we are accustomed to having.  I didn't play favorites in cutting out items.  Come one come all, we went for the lower costs, regardless of age, status or personal preferences...Except insuring that Josh got his red rind on the bologna, which they don't have at Aldi, so we shopped for it at Publix instead.

Instead of hiring a locksmith, Katie was able to utilize her dad's former life skills.

Bess unpacked boxes and we loaded boxes at Mama's house.  The boxes were all purchased ones and we've swapped them back and forth two or three times now.



I made meals:


We ate on the road on Saturday.

Roast Chicken, Garlic Parmesan Roasted Broccoli, Brown Rice

Spaghetti with Whole Wheat Spaghetti and Green Salad

Fried Chicken, Mashed potatoes and Gravy, Salad

Taco Night

Leftover Fried Chicken, Chicken fried Rice, Snow Peas

Hot Dogs, French Fries



I had my leisure:



Mostly lying abed with a rotten viral thing.  I napped on Sunday, went to bed quite early Sunday night and took naps Monday morning and afternoon.  This fact alone shocked my family and had them all pulling together to get things done.

John and I took an afternoon from our hard week and went over to the mountain.  

In My Home This Week: A Change of Perspective

In my home this week, I...



...have taken a lot of time out for thought.  I do not know just how long this season is meant to be but I suspect it shall be as long as God means it to last...That said between the pull and tug of Mama's needs and attempts to make problems where none should be, children with woes and worries, grandchildren who have been ill all week,  John's job issues, our beloved pastor's sudden resignation and our home situation, I'm about worn down.  I'm suddenly reminded of a psychology teacher's words.  As we grown up students discussed various issues openly in class, he said "They tell me God never gives you more than you can handle but there are times I have had to say, 'Lord my cart is  over full.'"  lol  I can so identify!!

Dear Nasty Trolls

Dear Nasty Trolls:

I wrote "A Broken House" last week after a morning of deep spiritual soul searching.  My purpose was to highlight how God was using this time in MY life to change ME, make ME a different sort, make ME exam MYSELF in a magnified way that is painful.  I am more than well aware that given the opportunity to go into a growing season, my first response is always to whine about it.  I try hard to see the blessings in what might be a very pleasant season overall but which involves change.  Pruning hurts.  Straining to recover from pruning hurts. Healing hurts.  It just does.

But the response from that post was not at all what I expected.  Many of you lovely ones were very sympathetic which I appreciate but it wasn't my purpose.  However, two Troll comments were just horribly nasty and hurtful and hateful and  those two "brazen" souls did the usual and hadn't the courage and conviction to sign their own name to their bit of hate mail.  I did what I always do with unsigned hate mail and will continue to do in future:  I deleted it.  But I can't delete the hurt it renders me right away, nor the questions it puts upon my mind about my purpose in sharing my deepest thoughts.

In My Home This Week: Sweet Scented Spring


In my home this week, I...


...noted on Sunday afternoon, despite the cool rainy day, the Privet was putting out blooms...And so we embark upon the portion of Spring where the air is so scented and perfumed that it's a bit like the young girl who has yet to learn that the best perfume is subtle and not all up in your face across three fields (or parking lots, take your choice).  Well there is no getting away from the perfume of this new season just now.  I confess, I pretty much love the heavily scented air despite the headaches and sneezes and I will happily stand on the porches and breathe in deeply.   

A Broken House



I was sitting in my room yesterday morning, listening to praise music with my ear plugs in to drown out the screeches and yells and screams that are now morning in my home.  I looked out the window between prayer stretches and admired the iris which have been so especially long lasting and lovely this year.  The golden yellow ones are blooming just now in great clumps having multiplied very well over the last few years and they are gorgeous.  I looked at the clump I'd planted just under the trees near the edge of the yard and saw that one tiny portion of my vision for the yard was true at last and good.

This Week In My Home: Pushing On

In my home this week, I... .... found my attitude wanted less adjusting than in weeks past but still some adjustment was needed all th...