Diary of a Homemaker's Week: Cozying Season

Saturday:  As I lay awake last night I realized some thing and it was a little bit startling to me.  I've always felt I operate best on about 7 hours of sleep.  I've always felt I was behind on sleep and that's the truth.  But in figuring up how long I sleep last night I realized that I'm nearer 7 hours than I'd been thinking.  It might be broken sleep but it generally averages around 7 hours total.  On some occasions I don't get that much sleep and I feel dragged out and worn down but then I'll slip back into my more usual broken sleep pattern and I get about what I need to function through the days.

I've always felt my ideal, truly, is to rise early and get the day moving.  To relax in the afternoons for a couple of hours, not to nap, but to sit with my feet up and then work another hour or three and settle into my chair to relax again after supper dishes are done and just be leisurely until bedtime.  I want very much to go to bed at about 10:30 or 11:00 and most nights I do.  But I almost always take a short nap and then I awake and wait for  sleep to return.  I may drift off at 11:30 and wake an hour later but I'm usually asleep again in a couple of hours time and then I sleep until I am  fully awake.    I use that time to pray, or to try and shush my mind or to think about things that aren't consuming.   I wake anywhere from 7am to 9am.   The latter hour is not my personal ideal, but there we are.  That is my 'pattern' and I guess after all these years I ought to just settle down, stop complaining and accept what is fact.  

Then I thought of Grandmother who rose around 9am most days and never went to bed until past midnight.   I'd always preferred Granny's example of early to bed, early to rise, but I do recall in latter years she often woke and turned on the light and read and then went back to sleep.  I'm not sure if Grandmother's sleep habit aside from her bedtime and rising hours.  I've no idea if her sleep was as broken as mine but she knew her pattern, seemed to accept it and stuck with it for as long as I knew her.  Nor do I recall Granny complaining of her own sleep habits.  

I think I gathered my opinions of sleep from years of reading articles that tout the 8 hour solid experience, be it beauty experts or doctors, as the recommended optimum number.  But what if that's not my pattern?  What if, like weight, or height, I'm trying to conform to something that I was never meant to conform to?   So heaven help me, I'm going to stop moaning and groaning about not sleeping enough and just go with the flow of my own personal pattern of rest.   And if need be I'll read, or watch a video, or count my blessings or pray but no more complaints!

Result of that bit of thought last night was that I woke at 7am and felt rested and ready to face my day.  I'm convinced it's because I didn't stress myself over being awake!

It was a bit cool this morning, in the low 60's.  It made me think about robes.   I've been looking for a robe for two or more years.  I'm not dead set on this type or that but I loathe looking like a bundled polar bear in those big fleece robes and besides they are far too hot for my taste, anyway.  I want something thinner.  Call me silly, but I want something pretty.  And not too dear in price.   I am not particular if it's a wrap around or zip or snap front, long or short.  I looked and looked last year for a robe but found nothing that met what I felt was my simple criteria.  Apparently I've set the bar too high.

I covered the need last year by slipping into a sweat jacket or hurrying to dress each morning and I may end doing the same this year but I'm going to keep looking...Wish me luck!

Sunday:  Off to church this morning.  A powerful service and one part left many wet eyes.  Our pastor had a chair brought in for each of the 13 American military who died in the exit of Afghanistan.  As he did a roll call, each chair received an American flag and a red rose.  The pictures of each young man and woman  scrolled across the screen. 

It was a powerful and emotional service overall, because today they also honored all first responders.

On our way home, we went by Lowe's to get mulch.  We discovered the garden center was open but not via the  outside doors.  Apparently they had no one to work the area, so they just shut it.  We could still get mulch but it meant a lot further walk than I'd hoped to make.  Why complain about the walk? 

I broke my little toe yesterday and it's a bit painful.  Well no help for it.  I needed the mulch and the long walk was necessary to get to it.   We picked up a new roll of weed mat fabric and that was our purchases today.  I refused to 'just walk around' because if I'm going to spend more money at Lowe's I'd rather it was spent on mulch just now.  And it was just as well we limited ourselves as there were only two clerks working registers.  The lines snaked this way and that.  Nice time to strike up conversations with those about us.  John listened to an older gentlemen who had to repair his sprinkler system.  He related a health scare he'd had in the past year that limited him...

On our other side a young man  told the clerk "This plant is from the rescue area..."  I smiled and told him I liked that term, since I called it plant rescue too.  The clerk thought we were both 'cute', lol.  As the young man said "It's very satisfying to take a plant and bring it back to life with a bit of care."   I agreed wholeheartedly.

We came home and I remembered as we pulled up that I'd noticed the herb planter last night and it had dried out to the point of nearly being dead.  There is lemon thyme, basil, oregano, chives, lavender and more basil as well as one straggling wild petunia in the herb planter.  I'd like to move the planter but not sure yet where I want to put it.  I often forget it where it's sitting, though.  It's not near other areas that I water routinely.  When the herbs are recovered, I'll go harvest quite a few.  The basil in that area is too small to gather but I have basil and pineapple sage in another pot that also need to be harvested.  

Oh and happy day!  I noted that I now have four potato plants in my buckets...Our first frost isn't for another two months so we shall see if these mature enough to make potatoes.

Monday:  There's a whole lot of thinkin' goin' on in my head these days...

I've been thinking about the blog overall.   I think I'd like to go back to d 'Worth Sharing' posts in which I share art, music, images, etc. I've come across that inspire me and will inspire and uplift you as well.  I've missed doing those posts and I feel we'd all benefit from them once more because I don't think the crazy in the world is going to stop being crazy any time soon!  I want something uplifting to focus on...Anyone else agree?

I've said this before but it's true: at some point we all must acknowledge that we've done all we reasonably can to save money and cut down on expenses in our homes, and at that point the real savings will come in by learning new skills which opens us up to saving more.   Well, I'm saturated at present.  My last learning level has peaked.  I've mastered bread and pizza and English Muffins and bagels.  I know there are other breads but that and biscuits and cornbread are all I typically bake. I've done fairly well with jelly and jam.  I've made vinegar.  I have gathered fragments and gotten super creative in my kitchen.  I've been plugging away at food storage and feel I am almost at the end of that curve of learning as well. Now I need to  find new skills to learn in order to save.  

There are many areas I'd love to explore but I am wise enough to know not to choose more than one or three at best if I'm truly going to learn a thing, otherwise I'll get overwhelmed and give up.  It's a matter of narrowing down to those two or three new skills...I think what I'd like to learn is to use the equipment I already have before I attempt to buy more.  I have a hot water bath canner and I think I should explore all the things I might use that for before I move on to pressure canning anything.  I have a pizza stone and a waffle iron...Surely I can do more with them than I am at present?  Even loaf and muffin tins may be used for more than just the obvious bread or muffins. 

As for what else I shall do, I don't quite know, yet.  But I'll figure it out!  I have a long list of things I'd like to learn so that is a help.

Today, we went to the house in town and I put out mulch while John hacked away at overgrown shrubs and baby trees.  I was shocked later to walk about the house and realize how large the lot is and how much of the yard had been overtaken by outsized shrubs, scrub trees and brush that had piled up.  Today we could clearly see the effort we've put in but there's plenty of work to be done yet.  I think we can keep our efforts to a couple of hours each week come fall and bring this yard back to a neat and lovely thing.   I'm glad because come Fall we shall have to tackle the old cemetery all over again and get back to that bit of work.

I offered to stay with Caleb while Katie went to do her grocery shopping.   He loves shopping and isn't a problem until the buggy starts to get full.  Then if you aren't quick, you'll lose items as he will fish them out and toss them overboard.  It makes it rather difficult if your back is turned as you choose an item.  I experienced this one day while shopping with them and it was all I could do to keep things going back IN as he tossed them out!

It worked well for me today because my job was finished well before John's.  Katie was back from grocery shopping shortly after he stopped working and she made us lunch.   Caleb was delighted to have us with him.  When I felt John had absolutely worked long enough, Caleb and I went out to find Grampa.  Caleb called out for him and when John came around the corner, held out his arms to him.  It was a happy welcome for John.

We were, to be honest, out much longer than planned.  We had to run a couple of errands when we left Katie's and so it was nearly 3pm before we got home.  I regretted not getting out any meat to thaw this morning.  I was glad I had a couple of prepared entrees in the freezer and chose one of those for supper tonight.  It created a small amount of room in the freezer to remove that.

Tomorrow we shall be home.  I plan to go through the fridge and I think I shall try to sort out the freezer a little bit better.  I want to make the Brunswick Stew this week and will need broth and chicken for that.  I think I'll go on and make that bag of vegetable scraps  into vegetable broth.  

What else shall get done?  I would like to harvest some of the herbs.  The back door got cleaned in a spare moment yesterday but Caleb smeared the storm door with messy hands.   I'll try to tackle some of the cabinets tomorrow and give them a good scrub.  And we'll leave it at that.

Tuesday:  I have about half the kitchen cabinets done at present.  I fought myself not to push on but my shoulders were protesting hard at the scrubbing and honestly, those cabinets are going nowhere.  

I went through the freezer and pulled out the broth and chicken, brats for supper tonight and was able to rearrange just a bit so things fit better.  I put the vegetable scraps in my crockpot and am cooking those down into vegetable broth.   I have a plan for supper which is half the battle.

I walked through the house this morning and gave the main rooms a quick straightening up.  Things look neat once more.    I haven't by any means done all I meant to do today, not all on my list I made yesterday when I was posting nor the other things I thought I might get to this morning when I was contemplating the day.   I would still like to get outdoors and gather herbs but I think that shall wait until tomorrow morning.   I'm going to make time to go through the fridge this afternoon.  That's one job that I don't want to put off.  And I'm going to go into the guest room and straighten up my messy areas about the sewing table.  No, I haven't been sewing but it tends to be a drop zone for me for things I've moved but don't want to take time and put back properly.   It's not too bad at the moment but it takes absolutely no time at all for it to look like a hot spot.  I'd rather go at it while it's barely warm, lol.

Now, off I go to get these last few jobs done.  The cabinets shall wait but the storm door, the guest room and the fridge are about to be DONE!

later:  All done!  I got the front storm door glass cleaned as well as the back, and all the appliances in the kitchen, too, while I had the cloth and window spray in my hand.  I found only a very little soured milk in the fridge, remnants of the last carton we bought.  I'll use that in biscuits in the morning.  I cleaned up the guest bedroom and am much happier with how it looks.  And in looking in the fridge freezer, I realized I have two quarts of milk there that I need to thaw and use and NOT let sour.

I combined ideas from three or four different recipes to make my German Potato Salad tonight and it was so good!    I'll have to try to remember what I did, including the mistake I made(!) so I can make another pan as good as that once again.   Our supper menu tonight: Brats, Sauerkraut, German Potato Salad, German Mustard.  

German Potato Salad

3 cups diced potatoes cooked until just done in salted water, drained (red or Yukon work best)

3-4 slices bacon, cooked crisp and set aside.  Save bacon fat.

1 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth

2-4 tbsps of flour

1/4 cup WHITE vinegar

3-4 Tbsps sugar

salt and pepper to taste

1 tsp. liquid smoke (optional...I used turkey bacon and felt it needed more smoke flavor and it was purely accidental that it ended being so much but it worked!)

Cook onion in bacon fat until translucent.  Add flour and broth, vinegar and sugar and half the bacon crumbled, and liquid smoke if using.   Cook until slightly thick but mine remained fairly loose.  

Toss with hot cooked potatoes.  Salt and pepper to taste.  May add parsley or dill if you'd like.

Wednesday:  I took out a package of the reduced price cubed steak yesterday to thaw.  At the reduced price per pound, it's cheaper than bacon or Spam and I felt it would be suitable for breakfast meat.    This morning when we got up early, I made homemade biscuits using the last of the soured milk.  

I was contemplating the other tasks for the day when Katie asked if they might come out for breakfast.  We'd already eaten but  I said "Sure."   When she arrived she said she'd been offered pay to organize someone's house and would I keep Caleb?   I can't say no, not if I want her to pay bills and at this point she needs the money to do so.  She's interviewing for other jobs because the company she's meant to be working for has been  very laid back about getting things on the move.  Katie passed the licensing portion required 45 days ago...and it took 4 weeks before they went to the next step.  She was told initially that they'd have her working within 2 weeks.  6 weeks later and she's still waiting for them to set up the next step in the hiring process.   I sure would appreciate prayers added to ours that she'd get a job elsewhere and soon!

Caleb must have been tired.  He'd not been here an hour and a half before he told me 'Ni Ni' and took himself off to the guest room!  I followed with milk and set up the white noise machine.  He's in bed now and all is quiet.

I started a big batch of Brunswick Stew this morning.  I don't want to eat it today but did want to get it cooked and let it marinate overnight.  Like spaghetti sauce I find it's often best the second or third day.  I'm making extra because Katie and Sam both like it as well and I'd like to give some to both of them.

I don't expect I'll get much more done today but I got the kitchen windows cleaned and finished the cabinets, so I don't feel I've been 'off' my job too much today.   Now I am going to go make a quick lunch for John and I and rest because the weather is cloudy and rainy off and on.  The leaves outside are showing more and more then change of season...It's a good day to be cozy at home, reading a good book.  I've chosen Lighted Windows by Emilie Loring.  

Thursday:  Another busy day.  Yesterday afternoon by the time Caleb left I was well and truly tired.  However, we had church/Bible study which I didn't want to miss.  I ended up serving Brunswick Stew.  It was ready and it was hot and why make another meal?   It was so good!  I love cooking this time of year, I just do!

Class was wonderful but the rain pounded us all the way home.  I yawned and yawned all the way back.   

When I got home, I tested the Brunswick Stew and it was still pretty warm.  It was cool enough to put in the fridge but I'm pretty impressed about the way that Stew held the heat for so long.    

This morning, I'd meant to make one breakfast but woke up later than I'd thought I would and didn't want to get tucked in to that much work right away.  I had planned to bake bread for Shabbat today and I wanted to get cookies made.  I've been meaning to make cookies for weeks...today was THE day.

So this morning, I made bread and cookies, cleaned and studied.  It was a productive morning.

About lunchtime, Bess asked if she and Millie might come over once Millie was up from her nap.  I agreed and hurried through the last bits of housework.   Then Katie called asking if she and Caleb might come out, too.  Yes, I had both girls and both babies visiting me.   When Katie left, Bess went off to get the boys and we had them visit for a bit.  Along about 4ish it occurred to me that my supper plan wasn't going to get made tonight.  I'd meant to have Pumpkin Alfredo Pasta.  I went to the freezer and discovered I had a meatless pasta dish.   That covered my base of wanting a meatless meal and a pasta dish, so I slipped it in the oven to thaw and heat through while the family continued their visit here.

After everyone had gone home, we took off trash and then came home to sort of collapse, lol.  It wasn't a hard day by any means but we accomplished a lot and we had a nice long visit with the grandchildren and we were ready to slip back into our own quiet routine.

Friday:  Strange dreams these past two nights.  I wish I knew what makes the mind dream what it does....but then maybe I really don't want to know!   

I was up before John this morning and took time to journal before he arose.  I've been feeling vaguely anxious, tense and stressed.  I'm sure it has everything to do with the glut of news related things I've been seeing of late as John is amping up his viewing of such.  I'm sick of listening to it all but when I protest it falls on deaf ears.  I have tried to resort to plugging my ears with earbuds and amping up music or watching fall decor or cooking videos.  That sometimes work to draw my attention away from it all.

Tonight John is playing for the first Coffee House ministry at the church.  It's sort of the pilot before becoming a permanent monthly thing and I've been a wee bit nervous over that.  For one thing it will be a long evening for us.   For another I shall have to venture out and get myself a sandwich or take along crackers with me because there will be no time for supper.   Then there is the whole 'new' part of it and I'm nervous for him on that account.  Will we have equipment needed?  Will things work in this venue?  I'm telling you that any slight change typically does create a bit of anxiety in me and this has proven to be no different.  I've been careful, oh so very careful not to even hint that I'm feeling anxious about it though other than the parts related to myself.    Why feed any worry for him on his part?  I shall not be a killjoy nor a Negative Nelly.

Yesterday afternoon Katie finally heard from the job she's supposed to be working for and they will finally start her next Thursday.  Why not today?  Or Monday?   No clue.  But at least she has a start date now...Still would appreciate prayers on her behalf on the job score.  I will start to keep Caleb fulltime when she does begin work.  Hopefully she'll be able to get fully back on her feet once more.

Since we'll be out for supper tonight I decided to bake a whole roasting hen this morning.  I used Oregano, Garlic, and Lemon to season it and surrounded it with sweet potato, cauliflower and onions.  This turned out very good and made a nice dinner midday for us.  If all gets hectic we can always come home tonight and eat a cold chicken leg.   And we'll have a ready meal for supper tomorrow night as I can just reheat it.  

It's Taylor's weekend to visit so we shall have a full and busy weekend between church activities, services and grandchildren.  And I'm not complaining.  It seems to me that it's a blessed life.

How did your week go?  Any plans for the weekend?  Anything you'd like to share or prayer requests you'd like to post?   Please do so in the comments.  See you all again next week!


Lana said...

The body goes through cycles of cleansing and the hours that you are generally awake are the liver cleansing hours. If you are awake during those hours of 12-2 AM then it would most likely be beneficial to help the liver get cleaned up and then the cleansing process will not wake you up and keep you up in the night. Nature's Way Dandelion Root is generally best to clean up the liver. It is pretty inexpensive. We had a friend who reversed his liver disease with dandelion root.

So glad that Katie is going to be starting work!

terricheney said...

Lana, How long do you recommend taking it? I've got two bottles in my cart, 1575 mg/100 caps.

Practical Parsimony said...

My sleeping defies definition. I cannot get up in the middle of the night and do anything because my friend sleeps in his recliner in the living room, right next to the kitchen!

christine said...

I would like to ask Lana a question. If you feel it is not appropriate to do this, I will understand, but I don't know how else to do it. I am considering buying an electric pressure canner and would appreciate her input as I seem to remember her mentioning using one. There are many brands and I would like to get one that I can feel is tried and true and a good quality. Terri, thank you for your help in this matter.

Lana said...

Terri, I can't really say but it is okay to take it long term without any problems. When my alternative practitioner told me to take it she said three bottles but I had loved on a ton of meds for 20 years before I went to her. I would do the two bottle s and see if you have more energy and are sleeping better and then decide if you need to do more. Our friend who reversed the liver disease took it for several years.

Christine, I have two Presto canners and they work very well and are the trusted less expensive brand. I also have a Carey Smart Canner that does small batches and it is my favorite because it takes all the guess work out of canning and I don't feel like I have to babysit it every minute that it is up to pressure. I only use the Presto canners now if I am doing big canning projects. The Carey is easy to just can a couple of jars of things like extra chicken broth which I would never do if I had to haul out the big canner. There are some YouTube videos about the Carey but some of them do not give correct instructions for using it.

terricheney said...

Christine, that's fine! Info such as that would be helpful to many.

Lana, Thank you!

Practical P: I would hesitate to get up and go to the kitchen without anyone sleeping in the area next to it! Can you have a chair in your room where you might sit and read?

Lana said...

Christine, Let me tell you more about how to use the Carey. You do not need to sterilize your jars. We wash them right before we fill them. Fill the jars and put them in the canner, add the water, close the lid and set how long you need to can your food. It will come up to heat and begin to exhaust the steam and count down the ten minutes of exhausting for you. Then it will beep at which point you close the vent with the weight. That is it. The canner will can the number of minutes you set it for and maintain the correct temp and pressure on it's own. When the canning is complete it shuts off and beeps again at which point they say to unplug it. It then needs to sit and cool and bring thee pressure down. It is crazy easy! We keep it on the counter all the time since it is so easy to use to can small amounts.

christine said...

Thank you Lana for the such wonderful information. I really appreciate it. Thanks also Terri for doing this blog. I always seem to learn from you and those who comment. I have a birthday coming up and guess what I'll be asking for!

Donna said...

Ouch, hope your broken toe isn't giving you too much trouble. I broke the little toe on my right foot over forty years ago and it is still crooked. Not a big deal, tho.

Most of the news (99%) is less than good and that does play on a person's mind. It's good you have a good Bible study to attend. Scripture is an excellent way to de-stress!

Love German potato salad and haven't made any for a while. I think we have turkey sausages in the freezer so that would make a good meal.

Hmm, I think I have some Dandelion Root tea bags and may use them again after reading Miss Lana's comment. We are drinking pine needle tea which has antiviral properties as well as other benefits.

terricheney said...

Donna I break a toe on average of six months so it's not the worst thing anymore. I'm almost desensitized to it. The bruising has faded already and the toe has little to no feeling.

Rhonda said...

That is a tiny kitchen-sure wouldn’t take long to clean it.

I’ve made a week’s to do list and I’ve gotten started on it, but it looks daunting and I’m not feeling motivated just yet.
Hope this job is perfect for Katie ❤️ Nina was offered a different job but she decided to stay where she is. And John will finally finish his Phd in a year but will start a new job with the January semester. So that is good news as we knew when he really finishes his last degree, they could move to different university but they will be staying here.

In My Home This Week: All Routine