Tag Archives: housekeeping

The Yuletide Season

Given that Vaughn is walking and pulling everything over that he can get his hands on (he likes to test to see how things fall…I think he’s part cat), we decided to do something different than a tree this year.

While we get ready to celebrate the yuletide season, we celebrate those that are with us and those that have gone before. We reflect on our lives in only a way that winter can call upon us to do. We also look forward to the days ahead – sowing, planting, growth, and rejuvenation.

Here’s looking toward the future while remembering the past.

10 Ways We’ve Improved

I was getting a little disenchanted with the whole homesteading thing this morning while reading a friend’s post. This friend has been going at this much longer than I, has more knowledge, and is much more efficient. However, it got to me nonetheless, and I felt like I just haven’t been doing enough to simplify our life and help with the homesteading schemes and dreams as they were. For us, this means doing things naturally, safely, and mostly on our own. I decided to sit and think of at least ten ways that I’ve made our family healthier, safer, and/or more self-reliant.

1. Avoiding chemical cleaners and using organic methods instead, like for combating mold/mildew.

2. Swapping to organic, human, and local health products. I personally only use baking soda and apple cider vinegar on my hair now. Joe uses Dr. Bronners, and for soap we’re now buying goat’s milk soap from the farmer’s market.

3. Adding a wood stove into our home.

4. Taking the plunge of getting our first livestock: laying hens. They’re free ranged with no antibiotics. Great, healthy eggs high in vitamins than store bought ones and we know how the girls are treated.

5. I’ve increased the amount of repairs done to clothing to keep things being used longer.

6. Knitted items are being burned our at a decent pace now and a braided rug has been started.

7. Canning and stashing began with a bang this year. We all ready have the same number of jam jars in the freezer that we did over the entire course of last season.

8. We’ve made a full swap from using DEET products.

9. Joe’s been finding numerous projects to do using the free pallets that we’ve been able to track down.

10. We’ve been able to focus on making even more food at home than before, which is great! Bread, ice cream, pasta, and many other attempts have come out well. Some things we’ll still buy as we only have so much time in the day, but its’ nice o know that we can do these things in a pinch.

Snap-Shot Cleaning: Master Bedroom

So, for the most part, this snapshot is only on “my” side of the bedroom, since it was the messiest and I try not to pester the hubby’s hobbies if I can get away with it.

Master Bedroom Before

Master Bedrrom After

While it might not look like much through the photo, the following took place during those 45 long minutes:

  • Finished folding and put away three loads of laundry
  • Placed all work clothes on hangers and into closet
  • Organized book shelf (not in photo)
  • Picked up cat toys (not in photo)
  • Picked up dog toys (not in photo)
  • Dusted my night stand, vanity, dresser, book cases, and the rocker
  • Organized nightstand
  • Organized dresser
  • Organized vanity

I probably could have been more productive with my time had it not been for Belle wanting to play ball and then the closet door practically falling off the slider.

Aside from snap-shot cleaning, I have done a ton of other chores today:

  • Swept the stairs, entry way,  and kitchen
  • Cleaned the cat box (this is daily)
  • Spot cleaned the entry way and kitchen floor
  • Taken care of the dishes
  • Hung two loads of wash
  • Picked up in the living room
  • Posted in this blog twice (now three times)
  • Posted in my personal blog
  • Written three responses for homework
  • Finished four rows on a knitting project

I’m hoping, before the husband gets home, to finish the following:

  • Paper work for deferment
  • Paper work for homestead exemption
  • Fold last load of laundry (in the dryer right now)
  • Vacuum living room and bedrooms
  • Change Teeny’s cage
  • Change Jacks’ cage
  • Shovel front door yard and enough of Belle’s run to make her happy
  • Make dinner
  • Begin (and possibly finish) sewing pile
  • Begin sewing project
  • Finish homework for this week

With all that needs doing and getting done, I love the fact that I’m a self motivated person. It’s hard to comprehend those that don’t put their all into keeping house. Granted, I call myself a “Wife” with a capital W for a reason! Happy cleaning, all! I’m off to finish my list.

Homesteading Peers – A Wonderful Meeting

Roughly a year ago, while I was writing a paper on homesteading and how living the “simple life” is not the easiest, I penned the following passage:

While I agree with their idea that it is the choice of the person to decide to go socialize or to “bake a cake,” not all of us have people stopping in to cut the workload of our gardening in half, much less do the entirety for us. In all reality, homesteading can be a very lonely and misunderstood lifestyle. A lot of the time is spent working, whether it be at home or at a job to support the home. Many homesteaders are not able to buy land around those with the same ideals, and thus are left adrift until they can make connections via farmers’ markets or the internet, but even then, unless they live close by, it’s hard to maintain a friendship with other homesteaders in which you have immediate support. (Not to mention that many homesteaders then, and now in the “new wave,” are the first of their family to want this type of lifestyle, separating them from their natural families as well.) Those who are not willing to recognize this at the get go are normally in for a huge surprise.

We knew that going into our preferred lifestyle was leave us lacking in those to converse with that had the same passions. (Or at least, we’d be lacking with those that lived near us as there is always a plethora of people online.) It’s been even harder given that we’ve moved itno a town where we know no one. In time, that will hopefully change. But for now, socialization with others of our “kind” is a seldom event.

About a week or so ago I was blessed with being able to meet up with fellow homesteader who lives in the area, knows a wealth of information, and is a wonderful person in general. I had started reading Karin’s blog, Fleecenik Farm, close to two years ago as a source of information and subtle support for trying to slowly move into the lifestyle we had chosen. We sat for nearly two hours in a coffee shop talking about knitting, homesteading, the economy at large, and anything else that came to our minds. It was a fantastic afternoon. Now having met her, I hope that we can make our meetings into a semi-annual event at the least (as long as I didn’t drive her off with my sometimes incoherent ramblings). It was great to be able to talk with someone about homesteading, gardening, taking steps into animal husbandry, and the like and to not be talking at someone about these topics. While out family members and friends don’t mind talking about such, it’s often a one-sided conversation.

Homesteaders can easily keep in contact through the internet and various forums, but it’s a wonderful feeling to have a physical connection as well. With the heavy workload that the life style of a homesteader entails, it’s a pleasant feeling to know that there are those that you can call on for help and guidance along the way.

Household Projects Binder

While hanging out on one of my regular sites, the topic of Home Management Binders was brought up again since we’re beginning a new calendar year and everyone is in a mad rush to get organized. For this household, a Home Management Binder would probably throw us into more chaos than not since I’ve been able to wonderfully keep things flowing with the calendar and organization system I have set up in the home office area of our kitchen. One area that we do need some management on is the household projects.

As anyone who owns an older house will admit to, there are always projects that need tending, budgeting, and researching. Since that list is ever growing, it’s easy for projects to get lost in the background, not to mention feel over whelmed trying to figure out how to afford it all. In order to get a handle on all this mess, I took a good chunk of time out of a Saturday afternoon to organize it all.

I armed myself with an unused binder filled with notebook paper, plain computer paper, a pen, hole puncher, hole reinforcement, and divider tabs.

I decided for the purpose of this binder that things would be color coded in order to make life easier. Each color tab was given a special meaning and then a key was created and posted on the inside of the binder.

(I tried to match the colors for the holes as well, but ran out.)

Yellow = Downstairs

Blue = Bathrooms

White = Upstairs

Green = Outdoors

Red = “Full House” (These are projects that have to do with a larger portion of the house than just one room.)

Each divider has the name of the project written on it followed by a sheet to record goals (what the project will accomplish), objectives (steps to reach the goal), and estimated costs. As we come across articles, estimates, schematics, and other pieces of information that are pertinent to certain projects, we will add those in behind the specific dividers. These projects range in scale and difficulty from painting the bathrooms to regrading close to three quarters of our basement floor.

This binder now lives in the bottom of our filing cabinet in the home office area. It’s located right where our other important binders are and will hopefully become just as much a staple resource as the others.

For those that are interested in learning more about Home Management Binders in any form, please visit the following links:

Little House in the Suburbs Home Management Notebook – Steps 1 through 7

Certified Housewife Homemaking Binder

Organized Home Printable Pages For Your Household Notebook

With the Fruit of Her Hands Household Notebooks Made Beautiful