Friday, June 24, 2011

Doing It All

Our cow has been giving us some delicious milk lately and we are feeling so excited to get to drink it!  I've been in several conversations with people where they ask if I'm making my own butter with the cream.  When I say no, they just look so disappointed in me!

Let me point something out here.  There are 12 people living in my house.  I don't do all the cooking and cleaning because we work together and that greatly lightens the load, but I am primarily responsible for it all.  If no one else feels like cooking, I do it.  If someone is gone for the hour/day/week that a job needs to get done, I do it.  It's a lot!  It's bearable and I'm grateful for the blessings that I have, but it's still a lot of work.

I just can't really do it all.  I have my limits.  I bake bread occasionally, but too often we just buy it. Claire is 13 now and becoming our expert Artisan Bread baker. (Google Artisan bread in 5 minutes a day. I don't have time to do it for you right now.  It's worth your time!) and she loves that bread enough she makes time to bake it for dinner.  Home made bread is better.  It's healthier, less expensive, and way yummier.  But we only get 24 hours a day and I am finding that at this stage of pregnancy, sleep is a must. Home made butter is the same.  It's healthier, yummier, and less expensive.  But it's a LOT of work.  First you skim the cream, then you shake it, then you rinse it, then salt it, and only then is it ready to put in some sort of container for storage (and that container will be another thing to wash later). And it's not like we just use a little bit of butter.  We're talking more than a pound a week.  And did I mention we love our milk? We aren't currently skimming cream off it, so we'd have to give up quantity and quality in our milk to get the cream so we could do all that work to have butter.  It's more than an hour's work to get a pound of butter which I could buy at the store for under $3.

So I just kinda wanted to remind everyone that people have to prioritize what they do themselves and what they buy or pay someone to do.  Don't try to lay a guilt trip on someone just because they choose different priorities than you do.  We all have our own lives to live.  Which means also that if you've read something on this blog that I do that leaves you feeling bad because you don't, stop it!  I'm not judging anyone for what they do or don't do themselves.  I write this blog because I like to write.  Sometimes I think things I say might help someone, but it is in no way intended to make you feel like you should work harder (unless you're lazy and just sit around reading blogs ALL day long, then you should get up and do something!) or change your life to fit mine.

Now, if someone wants to come over and make us some butter with our cream from our cow, we might let ya! ;)  We might even share.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Adding More to the Mix

We have added friends and family to our home every day this past week.  We kept four girls Sunday through Friday while their parents were out of town, then Saturday friends and family arrived to help us celebrate Faith's graduation from high school. 

So every day I made lunch for at least 15 people.  You might think that would be no big deal to me since there are so many of us on a regular basis, but it was really different.  First, I learned that we don't eat much compared to other people.  I think it's because we snack on fruits and veggies and nuts throughout the day, so at meal time we don't need as much.  Apparently other people don't eat that way so they need to eat a lot more at each meal.  I had to more than double what our family normally eats.  Since we eat a lot to start with, that really made a big difference!

The picture is just bread on plates as I began to prepare lunch yesterday.  Yep, just plain old peanut butter and honey sandwiches.  First we had to clear a huge amount of counter top (and doesn't everyone's counter get covered again as soon as you clean it up?  So when you need it there are miscellaneous papers, mail, etc to move?  If you don't have that problem, tell me how to solve it!).  Then we had to take care of Ezra who gets almond butter due to a peanut allergy.  And his sandwich has to be cut and placed just right on his plate so it looks like whatever he is asking for that day--this can only be done after properly interpreting what in the world the 3 yr old boy is saying.  Then we have to accommodate special requests such as open face peanut butter with no honey, or peanut butter and butter hold the honey.  Of course there are shouts of "I want mine with just honey!" which I ignore.  They know me better than that.  Or, "can I have 2 sandwiches?" (yes, Samuel, I already know you'll need that 2nd sandwich before I can even sit down.)  "How come we don't have jelly anymore?" Can you even begin to comprehend the headache of all the different flavors of jelly they would be requesting and how complicated a simple sandwich could become if I bought jelly? Not to mention it's usually got things in it like sugar and/or high fructose corn syrup that cause me to prefer honey.

While sandwiches are being prepared and handed out, milk is being poured by someone else.  There's often craziness in the kitchen as they come in looking for cups or wanting to know how much longer or checking to be sure I'm doing their sandwich the way they want it.  And all this for a simple meal of sandwiches. 

Bedtime was another thing.  Looking back, I'm not sure we did baths the whole week, but we did have them in the pool every day at least.  But one evening after I tucked in everyone 8 and under, I came down stairs and one of the girls said, "That sure took a long time!"  I felt a bit put down, and defended myself by pointing out that it does take a while to tuck in SEVEN children!

Anyway, my point to this whole thing is that people often ask me how I do it.  They have trouble with their 1 or 2 or 3 or even 4 and they can't imagine having 11.  I usually respond by explaining I do it one at a time.  This week just drove that point home for me.  Adding 4 all at once made it hard.  And they are good kids!  It's a leap from what I'm used to rather than a step.  I'm very thankful for my children, and along with that, I'm thankful that I have had them one at a time, not all at once.  It's easier to walk up stairs one by one than it is to skip steps.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011


In high school I had to memorize the definition of inertia. It was something along the lines of: an object in motion will remain in motion and an object at rest will remain at rest until acted on by another force.

This principle applies to so many areas of my life.

I have found that if I get up and get going first thing in the morning, I accomplish a lot that day.  I get started and keep moving.  But if I get up and I don't get going--like perhaps getting on my computer too early, or sit around talking to kids too long--I just seem to stay at rest.  I suspect this is true for most people.

Children can act as a force that changes my current state of motion.  If I am at rest and hear certain things, like crying, something breaking, or quite a few other things actually, I will jump up pretty quickly.  If I am in motion and a child needs comfort, I will find myself at rest holding that child. 

And my will power can change my state of motion too.  This is an important principle I have finally figured out.  I can be busy and needing rest and tell myself, "Stop!" and then get some rest.  When I do this, I find I'm better able to get things done later.  Duh.  It shouldn't have taken me so long to learn this.  And equally important is that when I find myself resting too much and not getting things done, I can tell myself, "Time to get moving." and get up and get going.  And I feel good when I'm running around getting things done. 

So there's one law of physics I'm finally mastering.  If only my children could figure out the one about how no two objects can occupy the same place at the same time (like my lap perhaps) and then if there isn't one already, there should be one about how no one can be in two places at once.