Monday, August 31, 2009

and if you listen carefully, you'll hear annie weeping ;)

oh, my grandmother would be proud of me right now. i have not one but TWO loads of laundry drying outside right now (the other one isn't pictured because it's underwear, and i'm not really in the mood to publish our gitch for all the cyber-world to see LOL).
and ok, granted, i'm only drying the clothes this way because the dryer isn't working, but you know, right now, i'm not really in a hurry to figure out what's wrong. (partly because i think it's a blown fuse, and that's in the yucky basement, so it can stay blown for now.)
but still, none of this negates the fact that i currently, as i type, at this very moment, have 2 - count 'em, 2!! - loads of laundry hanging to dry outside. ah, simplicity. :)
oh, and asher gets his GJ-tube changed to a G-tube today, which is exciting. has nothing to do with my simple life, but i'm excited, so there you go! ;)
UPDATE: why must it take so long to dry clothes outside?!?! i still have at least 2 or 3 more loads to do, and i have nowhere to hang them until this stuff is dry!!!! ARRRRRGGG!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

look what i just found!

i have a programme that lets me "stumble" randomly around the internet. i've found some really cool things in my travels. here's the latest:

apparently, it's a website full of oil-free, fat-free vegan recipes... very healthy, and i'm thinking of giving some of these recipes a whirl at some point. so i thought i'd share it with you.

Monday, August 24, 2009

i think i can, i think i can, i think i can, i think i can

ok, so, i don't know how many of you readers know this, but i journal. a lot. it helps me to sort through my life, my self, my feelings, my journey in general. so i like it. today, while writing about something else, i branched off into "how can i be better at housework?", and i thought i'd share it with you. now remember, this is from part-way through a journal entry, so the beginning is rather abrupt here. but here you go:

and i'm not quite as good as i'd like to be in some areas. i'd like to be a harder worker.... and i need to work harder at things like integrity, being a role model, self-control, discipline, but also having fun. basically, balance.

God, please make me the woman You want me to be.

yikes! what a prayer!! God, help me to mean that prayer, and don't let me be afraid of that prayer.

but i think it's do-able (strengthening my weaker areas), so long as i remember balance. that's the key. when i get all fired up and go at it in a manic, frenzied determination, it never lasts. i burn out, get discouraged and depressed, and nothing changes.

so what's the trick? what's the path to success? i'm thinking specifically about housework, for example. what are my obstacles?
  1. doing it alone
  2. lack of routine
  3. uber long to do lists
  4. emotional exhaustion
  5. physical exhaustion
  6. an "i hate housework" attitude.

alright, now that i've identified my obstacles, i need to identify some solutions.

  • the kids need chores, and those need to be displayed prominently to remind them (and me). i've already assigned the chores; now i just have to display - and enforce - them.
  • i need a routine. a daily routine, but also a weekly and - dare i say it? - monthly and - eep! - yearly routine. basically, i need to know what gets done when. i need to make regular time for housework, every day at the same time.
  • my uber long to do lists can be shortened, now that i'm thinking about it.
  1. make a list of everything that needs to be done
  2. assign as many tasks as is possible and reasonable (to kids, to friends - like helping to build stuff around the house, to hired people).
  3. rank remaining items by importance and deadline
  4. ask of each item: Do i have to do this, or can someone else? how long will this take me to accomplish? how urgent is this item? when MUST it be done by? do i need any supplies to accomplish this?
  • emotional exhaustion can be beaten by balancing work and play. going for walks, playing with the kids, creating, working in the garden, coffee with friends. routine will also help with this, since i'll know when work gets done, etc. also, a shortened, organized to do list will prevent me from feeling overwhelmed. cutting myself a bit of slack, remaining realistic in my goals, and not hating myself when i don't succeed right off the bat. i will never be annie brown (love ya, girlie, but we both know it's true! LOL) or martha stewart, but i can do better than what i do now. perfection isn't possible, but improvement is.
  • i need to rest. i need to accept help, and i need to ask for help. and i need to sleep. if, in the afternoon, i'm tired, i'll nap. better nutrition will also help. and i think that once i've started working on alleviating my emotional exhaustion, my physical exhaustion will also be taken care of.
  • my "i hate housework" attitude is crap, i'll admit. when i get down to doing the job, i generally enjoy it. i like doing laundry. i like doing dishes. what i hate is the seeming un-ending-ness of it all. you know what i mean. how you wash all the dishes, then kids want a drink of juice and bam! a dirty glass. same goes for laundry. and sweeping, now that i'm thinking about it. LOL but once i get a routine in place, and i know when things get done, and i can stay on top of things, it'll be better, and i'll actually start to enjoy housework again. because i used to, once upon a time. and i know i can again. i just have to not feel so overwhelmed, that's all.

i think i can do this. i really do. it's possible. it's totally do-able. and i can succeed at this. wish me luck!!! :)

Monday, August 17, 2009

ah, the green life... i love it... when it's not scary. and you weren't there, so don't judge me!!!!!

ok, so, we all know my fondness for simple, cheap (read: free) green ideas for the home. for example, once i've finished this post, i'm going to go throw a load of towels in the washing machine, and then dry them outside.

but, in the last little while, i'll admit, gentle reader, i've slacked off. but it's not my fault!!! ok, it is. it's just - just - well, here's the story:

so, a few weeks ago, i had to empty out my itty bitty compostainer that i keep in the cupboard. and it had been a while. (can you see where i'm going with this yet?) so, i opened it up to put a couple things in there before going outside, and...


i can't even describe how gross it was! it was beyond furry! think cousin it. yeah. eww! i've got the heebie-jeebies just thinking about it now!!! (and laugh all you want, but you didn't see it. it was gross!!)

so i took the container outside, hoping to dump said grossness into the compostainer. well. apparently, not so much.

i turned the container over, so the compostables would tumble out. and yes, a few things fell out. a few small things. the rest of the stuff - and there was quite a bit! - STAYED IN THE CONTAINER!!! THE ENTITY (as i came to call it) WAS HOLDING IT ALL IN!!!! i banged the container on the edge of the receptacle, hoping that would free some food waste. nope. i cried a bit, hoping the compost gods would hear my plea and loosen the banana peels and such from their hairy prison. nope.

then i looked inside again.

and got grossed out again.

and tossed it across the yard.

and there it stayed.

until today, when i finally had the nerve to approach it.

you see, until now, i was afraid that the Entity would have been a tad ticked off at being launched across the backyard. so i was afraid. very afraid. but today, i figured, nothing can withstand the heat , especially inside a plastic container in the sun! certainly the solar flare that is the atmosphere today must have destroyed the Entity and all that dared to defend it. so i went to get the container.

cautiously, mind you.

and i picked it up.

cautiously, mind you.

and looked inside.

cautiously, mind you.

and it was no worse than it had been before. in fact, it seems the Entity suffers from hair loss (think Cousin It at age 75). maybe some brave (or stupid) little critter wandered in and feasted on old apple cores and such. who knows. who cares. not me. all i care is that E was not quite so scary today.

so i brought it inside (where my children are, which shows how much better things were in the little container) and was going to clean it. but no way am i sticking my hand in there just yet!!!! no way!!!!!!

so i bombed it.

that's right. dumped in some baking soda. then, because that's not enough, poured in the rest of the vinegar i had in the house. and it blew up.

and most importantly, it destroyed the Entity. well, killed it, anyway. i still had to clean the container out.

and i'll admit, i was tempted to reach for my lysol wipes (yes, i have some, and i think they're evil, but they're just so easy!!!!! bad green girl, bad BAD green girl!!!). but i thought, no, this is a compostainer. it's good for the earth. i should use something earth friendly to clean it. (and yes, you're detecting some resignation there. but lysol kills 99.9% of bacteria!!! does anyone know the stats on baking soda?? tell me if you do, because i don't!) so i dumped in more baking soda. and grabbed some paper towels.

again, you weren't there. so don't judge me. this Entity was gross. and scary. and by now, dead, granted. but, still. no way do i want the residual of that Thing on the cloths in my house, sitting with my towels until they're washed, and then who knows if it would spread and get on the other stuff i have in that load. yuck!!! i can throw out paper towels, and then they're gone. at least, that's what i did with my first couple paper towels. the last two, that weren't so gross, are now, you'll be pleased to note, sitting inside my wonderful little compostainer with a banana peel, remnants of a spinach salad, and bits of tomato, green pepper and cucumber.

and the compostainer? clean as a whistle, and gross-ness free, thanks to the wonder of baking soda!!! :)

welcome back, old friend. i've missed you. may your insides be filled with yucky veggie bits, apple cores and banana peels, and may your contents remain hairless from now on.

Canada Day (ok, i know, it's late, but i just found these pics)

improv smores... on the BBQ! (and note the warm clothing... in july... yeah...)
the kids had sooooo much fun making (and eating) the smores.

oh, dear. why does he look this happy while he's burning something? LOL

Sunday, August 16, 2009

chores, chores, chores

so now, as always, housework must be dealt with. and as you know, i hate housework. i HATE housework. HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE IT!

but i have kids who are now old enough to help out around the house. seven, four and two are old enough for jobs (albeit very simple jobs for the 2-year-old). yes, folks, THIS is why i bred. in the hopes that, one day, however distant it seemed at the time, there would be someone here to mow the lawn, shovel the snow, take out the garbage, tidy the house, do the dishes... basically, everything. teehee

and so, on that note, i give you.... .... THE CHORE LIST!!!!

Blithe (age 7)
feed Smokey... twice daily. (it's her job b/c smokey's food and dishes have to be on top of the dryer, out of charlie's reach. but this also puts it out of bram's reach, so it falls to blithe.)

make her bed

put clothes in hamper

help with supper prep

drying the dishes

sweeping (her request, b/c "i LOVE sweeping!")

Bram (age 4)
feed Charlie (our new doggie - boxer/shar pei mix - he's awesome, though dumb as dirt! but i love him!). (once daily.)

make his bed

pick up cars, trains, tracks

help with lunch prep

wash the dishes (he specifically requested this one, and really, who am i to argue? [see why i bred comment above]). (and let me explain this task: he's mostly washing plastic stuff, and the cutlery, minus sharp knives. i may be lazy... er, i mean, ready and willing to instill in my kids a good work ethic... but i do have enough sense not to hand him a butcher knife or china tea cup to wash.)

Asher (age 2)
tidy cars, trains and tracks

put plastic dishes, etc away

help with laundry (now let me explain this task: i take the clothes out of the washing machine one by one, and hand them to him. he puts them in the dryer. and later... i take the clothes out of the dryer one by one, and hand them to him. he puts them in the laundry basket. and we spend the whole time talking about colours, shapes, animals, favourites, etc etc etc)

so far, so good. i've already had to shoo the kids away from the sink b/c they had other jobs they needed to do more urgently than dishes. and they've been feeding the animals very well over the last couple days already. except bram, who seems to think that it's too much work to put more than 4 or 5 bits of food in charlie's dish, but he'll learn. lol

and this isn't to say i've delegated all the work to the kids. as you can imagine, i have a TON of stuff to do around here, including re-arranging the house, organizing the chaos, grocery stuff, cooking, washing pots and pans, laundry, and wishing i could afford a housekeeper. lol

i'll let you know how it all goes in a week (provided i can still find my laptop by then).

Saturday, August 8, 2009

best. stew. ever.

i made stew for supper tonight. yes, in august. i'm aware. but today is dreary and grey and wet and all-around late fall-ish.

and i was craving stew.

so i made some.

and let me tell you how. (normally, i wouldn't post a "recipe" for stew, since it's so basic. but i'm rather proud of myself for this, so i thought i would share my domestic genius with you. lol)

so, back in the day, probably, march-ish, i picked up a giant thing of stewing beef at the grocery store. and some freezer bags. (figured out where this is going? yes, i'm just that good! haha)

i came home and got to work. i divided up the beef into 3 or 4 freezer bags, about 2/3 full.

then i cut up a couple onions, and tossed them in.

then i grabbed some baby carrots (because i hate chopping veggies, and if God gives you a short-cut, i say take it!!) and tossed them into the bags.

and tossed the bags into the freezer.

so this afternoon, with my INSANE craving for stew (of all things!), i got out a covered bowl thing (the name escapes me at the moment), and went to work.

but gah! a problem! no potatoes! and you simply can't have stew without potatoes!! what's a girl to do?!

i'll tell you what a girl is to do... grab a bag of hashbrowns out of the freezer, and pour some into the bowl-thing. then put in the frozen stew-in-a-bag.

next, add a can of diced tomatoes with garlic and olive oil. (see "when God gives you a shortcut" comment above.)

add some parsley, thyme and bay leaves.

dump on generous amounts of Worcestershire sauce. (mmm... liquid salt...)

add a bit of water.

cover, and toss into the oven (ok, place it in the oven. otherwise, if you toss it, the lid will likely come off and you'll end up with stew all over your oven, and i don't know about you, but the LAST thing i want to be doing on a saturday night is cleaning my oven) which should be preheated to (what did i randomly turn the nob to? i'm guessing here, folks, but i think it was somewhere around) 375 degrees F.

bake for a couple hours.

remove from oven. remove bay leaves.

and enjoy! :)

seriously. best. stew. ever.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The epic to do list for the week. And i do mean EPIC!!!

Yeah, it's long. If you want to read it, go grab yourself a coffee, take a deep breath, and settle in somewhere comfy... LOL

Fold laundry
Put away laundry
Compostainer put away
Garbage can put away
Finish mowing front/side lawn
Mow back lawn
Organize craft cart
Clean up wood chips (throughout house, thanks to a dog who loves to eat wood... esterday, he found the kids' blocks. Yeah. Nice, eh? Ugh)
Tidy playroom
Clean floors
Clean bathroom
Buy kitty litter
Clean kitty litter
Make supper (Monday. Enchiladas.)
Toddler bed to Edwin
White chair to my room
Boxes, etc out of boys' room
Dressers to boys' room
Remove change table extension from asher's dresser
Take pic of my bed
Disassemble my bed
Assemble my new bed
Post my bed on freecycle
Corner cabinet to its new home
Book counselling appointment
Container for charlie's toys
Play rugs to playroom
Move TV to living room
Move crate to playroom
Replace curtain rod
Change curtain rod in blithe's room
Pull weeds (driveway, side, garden)
Separate and move hostas
Mortgage payment
Plan this week's menu
Sort/purge shoes
Blog re: self-esteem and standing up for myself
Pack kids' suitcases
Make pesto
Fix mirror in bathroom

That's right. 42 items. Fortunately, a friend of mine has graciously offered to help me, and he and i have come with a reward system to inspire us. One little reward for each item we cross off the list, and when the whole list is complete, one big reward. J hence, my FB status right now: "heather is looking forward to a day of housework and crossing things off a VERY long to do list. ;)" so don't feel too sorry for me. I'm inspired this week, and it will all get done. J

Why I Write Here

i like this blog. this is where i write about homelife. my kids, my pets, recipes, natural cleaning products, gardening, cool finds... that's what i write about here. this is the hands-on part of my personal journey. i'm reclaiming myself, a self i lost in a hospital somewhere, among all the meds, plastic, waste and complexity that comes with Special Needs parenting. i crave simplicity, and this is my journey to create it for my family and me.

i'm prolific! check out my other blogs!

you like me! you REALLY like me!!

i'm on facebook! add me! :)


My Simple Life | Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial License | Dandy Dandilion Designed by Simply Fabulous Blogger Templates