Diary of a Homemaker’s Week:  Wham!

Diary of a Homemaker’s Week: Wham!


Saturday:  Woke very early this morning, before 7am.  I went on to the kitchen for coffee and discovered the loveliest sunrise outside.  So glad I was up early to see that!

I finished reading my latest book Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts.  I read this year's ago, and I stumbled across it again recently, recalled it was a good book and purchased it.   After reading this morning, I've determined that I'd like to have other books by the same author.  

John had a tough start to his morning but was soon walking with a bit more ease.  He continues to improve daily, but he's not yet pain free.  He even walked out on the back porch this afternoon.

We had quite a few visits today.  Katie came in with Taylor and Caleb and brought lunch.  After lunch they left to go home for naps, all three looking very much in need of one.   John and I settled to watch a movie and Bess and Millie came over.   Bess brought me a quart of yogurt (store bought) which she'd picked up for me when she bought hers.  We'll both be freezing some of this for starter.

After the girls left, John and I finished the movie and I made pizza before he started the next one.  It turned into quite a movie afternoon for us, but I don't mind that at all.  John and I have always enjoyed movies and now and then we still binge on them.  I made sure he got up and moved a few times.   I know that sitting too long is as bad for him as overdoing it.  

It was a lovely day.  

Meals:  Bagels with cream cheese and smoked turkey, Mandarins and Strawberries

Burgers and Chips

Pizza (made a veggie pizza so skipped the salad)

Sunday:  John acknowledged that the idea of going to church was not something he felt ready to do.   I'd felt all along that he was pushing himself to do something he wasn't ready for.  We watched church services online this morning and he did very well getting about the house.  Still in pain, but less pain.  His endurance continues to build.

I have to admit I find it a little too easy to fold a load of laundry or peel potatoes while watching church services.  That's a disadvantage of being at home.  I promise I got just as much out of the service as I might have at church (a continuation on the Pastor's story of Leah's love) but I felt I might  

I think often of Granny in the assisted living chapel service, sitting perfectly still, hands folded in her lap, ankles crossed, not moving a bit and I admired her ability to be still and quiet.  I thought of that this morning and wondered if I shouldn't 'practice' a bit of stillness each day.  

I remember watching the Duggars and Michelle talked about training her smaller children to be still. They were placed in a chair for a period of time each day and told to sit quietly.  It wasn't punished and it was a long session, but she felt it taught them self-control.  I guess a 63-year-old can learn to do the same if a 3-year-old can!

Lunch with Katie and family and then we five lounged about the living room.  Caleb clambered in one lap or another.  He had four to choose from and if Taylor didn't want him in her lap, he did fit in the chair beside her.  Then they were off for the journey to return Taylor to her daddy.  John made it to the back porch again today to tell them goodbye.  Taylor was thrilled to see three young deer run up the yard and into the field beyond.

After they left John and I napped or watched tv.  

I've occupied myself at times today, when not stuck to a screen or the inside of my own eyelids, with the idea of rearranging the kitchen cabinets.  I would like to set them up in such a way that I can empty the upper cabinets on the shared wall with the dining room.  If I can consolidate the contents of that cabinet with the contents of the cabinet on the fridge wall, I'll have proven it will be entirely possible to remove the upper cabinets when we obtain the kitchen dresser I want.  More and more I am 'seeing' my kitchen in its first stage state, and I am ready to start creating that vision into reality.  Even if the cabinets remain for a little longer, to know that I have eliminated the need of them is a move in the right direction. 

It will be a big task.  A bit of a fruit basket turnover sort of thing where one task leads to another and another and another.  I think while I mull this job over, I'll do what I can to finish the bathroom.  Some portions really must wait upon John but there are things I can do yet and I'll get that kitchen island painted.  No need of starting four or five projects at once.  I really prefer to bring them to completion before starting the next thing.

Katie brought me a blouse she'd bought for herself that was a little too snug in the shoulders and bust.  It was a fair swap as I had just given her one that I got from Stitch Fix back in the fall.  It was just too big for me in shoulders and bust and just right for her.    She also brought me the next and final volume of the Harry Potter series.  I'm looking forward to reading that.

Meals:  Cereal, Bananas, Toast

Gramma's Fried Chicken, Funeral Potatoes, Coleslaw and Rolls.   I made mac and cheese for the children to have with their chicken.

Kids Favorite Casserole, Salad

Monday:  Supper is simmering on the stove.  Three windows are opened just enough to let some cooler fresh air into the house.  We're already in high pollen season (red oak and cedar) so not going to be able to do this for much longer.  I've hemmed a pair of work pants for Katie, cleaned house, painted the bathroom trim, fed the critters including the birds, weeded a goodly portion of the corner flower bed, walked about the yard, emptied the compost and admired the grape hyacinths and had a long visit with Katie this morning over coffee.   All in all, I'd call this a very good day.

I'd wanted to paint the island, but there was far too much wind this morning for that.  I did however paint a swatch and put next to the butcher block top.  I like the color.  But not with that butcher block which is decidedly yellow with that turquoise.   I've decided to sand the butcher block and stain it.  We do not use it for food prep at all, but I'll try to get some food grade polyverathane to put over the wood once it's stained a deeper color.

I was looking in the trunk this morning to see if I had a curtain that had a hope of working at the bathroom window.  I don't.  But it gave me a chance to recall what I have in the trunk and to organize it all afresh.   So not a complete loss.

Basically, I've just puttered, moving gently from one task to another and enjoying each one.   

As I was prepping supper, John walked into the kitchen (and he is walking much better today.  Still feeling pain but walking about far more comfortably) and watched as I grated a carrot.  He looked concerned and finally asked. "Do you ENJOY this?  I mean, does it make you happy?  Or is it just onerous but you do it because you have to."  I answered him very honestly.  "I enjoy it, really enjoy it.  I love cooking and making meals from recipes others have shared and trying new ways to combine or season things so that they taste good.  I like cooking for others."   And I do!  I get bored sometimes, and sometimes I want to eat anything at all as long as I don't have to cook it myself, but 99% of the time, I enjoy the whole process of determining what we'll eat at each meal.

Now if there were one meal I'd love to skip making, it's breakfast.  I know all of John's favorites and try to see that he gets them at least once every two weeks, but I find far less scope for experimenting because some recipes I'd like to make are too expensive to consider making for a daily meal and others require more prep work than I want to make in the morning and some that I'd like, John just doesn't want to eat.  

I like Quiche.   John says he doesn't.  I point out it has all things he does like: eggs, cheese, pastry, and he acknowledges those things but continues to say he doesn't like it.  I think a yogurt and fruit parfait with granola is yummy.  He's not touching yogurt and there'd better not be a blueberry or strawberry anywhere on his plate, lol!  I'd really like to just eat toast or a muffin most mornings and have my coffee but that's not enough to satisfy him.  He would prefer a BIG breakfast, or so he says, every single morning, but that's pushing it where I'm concerned.  I'll make a big breakfast once or twice a week and the rest of the mornings, I keep it fairly simple.

But because I know that breakfast is a big deal for him, I make an effort to do more than I'd do on my own.  

Well, that's my day and all I shall do in it except load the dishwasher after supper and probably start up that load.  

Meals:  Toast and Scrambled Cheese Eggs

Leftover Fried Chicken, Pimento Cheese (it's a nostalgia meal for me) This used up all the fried chicken leftovers which changes the menu for the week slightly.

Russian Cabbage Rolls, Cornbread  Added two fresh tomatoes that needed to be used, forgetting I'd planned them into a second meal this week...I've definitely messed up my menu plan for this week, so I'll need to think this out again.

Tuesday:  Had a hard time going off to sleep last night.  I ended going to the guest room where it was quieter and listened to soothing music that put me off to sleep.  John likes to sleep with noise: white noise and a running fan.  Some evenings, it is just too much stimulation for me and if John happens to be snoring too, that's just one more layer of sound to be handled.  Other nights this doesn't bother me in the least.

I slept until he woke me pulling the bedroom door closed.  He's trying to let me sleep in, but truth is I almost always waken when he starts moving about anyway.  I didn't really need any extra sleep.

I got up and made Strawberry muffins for breakfast.  I dug in the freezer looking for the last of the jar of blueberries but couldn't find them.  I had strawberries in the fridge and John will eat strawberries fine if they are cooked.     I also made some Applegate farms Savory Turkey Breakfast sausage.  This is not cheap sausage by any means, but it certainly does have a great taste.  Still at the price, it's a now and then sort of breakfast meat not a weekly one.

I really didn't want to do much of anything today.  Without even bothering to do the housework first, I decided to pull the island outdoors and paint it.  First, I removed all the hinges and handles and as I pulled it out the door, the butcher block top came off.   I got the island to the edge of the steps and noted that the bottom portion was only screwed in on one side.  When and where the other two screws were lost, I can't tell you.  I backtracked and there were no screws on the porch deck nor on the kitchen floor.  No wonder the thing was wonky!  

I came back in to find screws long enough to fix the thing.  While I was digging around, John asked what I was up to, and I told him.  He came out on the back porch and looked at the island.   He asked how old the island was and I told him it was at least 20 years old.  "It's a bit small for my needs and wasn't what I wanted but it was a gift from Mama.  She bought what she thought I should have..."   "Come on back inside for a moment."   I followed him indoors (and please note while I'm in the midst of telling this that he's walking much better and going further and further as days progress) and he was sitting at his computer.   "Let's choose a new one."   "But I can fix this one, paint it," I said.  "Sure, you can.  And it's still going to be the island you didn't want and it's time to let go of the things your mama felt you should have.   So, what size do you want?"

Not at all in my plans today but we sat together and looked at islands, pricing them over several sites.  I am getting a 48-inch-long island with four cabinet doors and two upper drawers in white.  It will be on casters so we can move it out of the way when we're moving furniture in and out or the children are here and we're setting up a table in the kitchen.   I was shocked that the price on these is incredibly good at the moment, and probably not much over what was paid for the little island that's never been quite big enough.  The top of the new one will be large enough to serve as extra countertop/workspace, too.

What's going to happen to the old one?  Well, we too use every part of the buffalo here in our house...The old island is going to be Frankenstein-ed into shelving for John's shed.  The bottom casters will be used on an amplifier for ease of moving.  The old butcher block top will become top of a worktable.   I've saved the handles and the hinges because they might come in handy at some point as well.  

In the meantime, the pots and pans are all piled on the baking counter which isn't convenient but doable until I get the new island.  

After hauling the old island back onto the porch, putting away paints and tools and screws and such, John and I sat on the back porch and talked for a bit.  It was cool outdoors but lovely and quiet except for the honking of geese flying overhead and the twitter of birds.  We talked about what a lovely blessing it's been to live here in this home and on this land.  

We spoke of other homes we've both lived in and how we'd bought this home with an eye towards our more senior years of life and what our needs were likely to be over the days ahead.  We looked critically at the width of doorways and the ease of access.  We looked at the ages of our children and contemplated how much longer they might reasonably be at home.  I think we did well with our choice.  The only age-related need is to build that larger shower, one that will allow for a shower chair in some future day but for the most part the house was suited to our needs at the time we bought, suited to our needs as our children have grown and flown, suited to our current needs and suited to our senior years.

We talked over other things as well.  John did ask at one point, "Is there anything else your mama gave you for this house that you wish you had different?"  I laughed.  "Well, there is the waffle iron..."  "I guess it's just time to let go of that, too, then."  I nodded.  I didn't mention that I'd planned to order the most highly recommended waffle iron this month.  I can wait a bit longer now that we're ordering the island...

Back indoors, I went to work on putting my home in order.   It's later in the afternoon and I've still got to unload the dishwasher and put those things away.  I have no clue what's for supper tonight.  Everything is solidly frozen at this stage.  I've got to figure out my options on that score.  Then I want to pull out two fabrics I recall having in my stash and see which is best suited to be turned into a pretty curtain for the bathroom window.  While I'm at it, I'll put fabrics together for the new apron and cut off a vintage pillowcase I found to make into a mixer cover.

Meals:  Strawberry muffins, sausage links

Chicken Verde Soup, Turkey Pastrami on Rye, Chocolate chip cookies fresh baked   The soup was just a pint I found in the freezer last week and took out to thaw last night.  Chocolate chip cookies too came from the freezer.  I'd frozen in cookie portions.  

Buffalo Chicken Tenders, Frozen Fries, Carrot and Celery Sticks, Blue Cheese Dressing

Wednesday:  Nothing has gone to plan as far as projects are concerned.  Yesterday I pulled the two possibilities for bathroom curtains, chose one and settled down this morning with my measurements (after doing all the housework naturally and taking out meat to thaw for supper).

I was about to start a project when I heard John say something in the living room.  I checked in with him and discovered him with tears in his eyes.  He'd just gotten notice that another of his friends passed away.  That makes three in three months.

I laid out my cutting board, gathered my tools, then unfolded the fabric...Only to discover that I had two pieces of equal size, neither of which was long enough to make one curtain panel.  I considered piecing them together.  While I was contemplating that I looked at the fabric I had for lining.  It too was too small and would need piecing.  At this point I said "No.  I want to make curtains not a quilt top.  I'm not going to piece everything together."   I have one other option and I'm considering it at the moment. That is to use the same fabric that I covered the old dining room chair seats with, the same fabric that backs my bookcases, the same fabric I mean to use on the new to me dining room chairs once I can get padding for those old seats.  I have 12 or 13 yards of that material and I need only about 1 1/4 to make a curtain.  It would go with the room nicely.  But is it what I want?  I haven't decided.

I satisfied my urge to decorate something by going into the bathroom and cleaning it nicely, putting things away, rearranging plants, changing out a few things and generally making the counter less cluttered, etc.  

Over the weekend, I'd ordered a picture for the living room that I thought was lovely. 


The moment I saw it I knew it was perfect for my living room.  John absolutely loves hummingbirds and I'd like something in the room that represents him as well.  

It arrived this morning.  I was so excited I wanted to get it framed and hung right away.  No such luck. The frames I thought might work don't.  I'd have to trim the picture which I don't want to do.  I'll have to buy a frame that fits it properly.  In fact, I have a whole stack of things I want to get framed.  I know I can pick frames up at Goodwill, etc, and I might but if I don't find anything nice enough, I'll have it done properly at Hobby Lobby.    I feel like I've got quite enough broken, scrungy, and many times repainted frames filled with wonky, poorly cut pictures to do me the rest of this life.  

I'd very much like to have things looking nicer than I've had them in the past.  For years now I've changed things about and around at whim always switching to something better, but in the past few years I've found my tastes have settled into an area where I am essentially happy with how my home looks.  The English Country style really suits me and has meant I can use much of what I have now, even if I change things up seasonally as I like to do.

Now isn't it funny?  Somehow in explaining all that about the picture, I realize that the fabric I have on hand in plenty is exactly what I should use at the bathroom window...It fits the English Country style I want to incorporate into all rooms of the house.  The background is more Ivory than I'd like, but I have I hope when I line the back it will lighten it just enough.  Problem solved.

Meals:  Grits, Toast

Russian Cabbage Rolls, Cabbage and tomatoes from pot, Mac n Cheese (all leftovers)

One Pot Penne and Meat Sauce, Rolls

Thursday:  Katie came out fairly early to cut John's hair.  We ordered new hair clippers last week and they arrived yesterday.   Katie's been cutting John's hair for about two years now.  When you figure he'd pay a fee plus tip to the salon (about $18) and he'd require a fresh cut every three weeks since he keeps it so short, and the clippers we purchased were $36...Well you can see what a savings it is!  Bonus, she cuts Caleb's hair and can trim up my own if we happen to be unable to get to a salon.

I'm planning to do a Purchases post here in the next week and will share the clippers we chose there.

Before Katie left, Sam and Bess stopped by with Millie.  Millie of course, put up a stomping crying fit until the moment the door shut behind Sam and then she turned with a dimpled smile and was ready to play.  She is sweet as pie but a stinker when it comes to her parents.  Just sayin', lol.

We had a nice day.  She played well with the toys and made quite a huge mess.  She wanted to do this and that and a hundred snacks, but nothing more than Caleb would also have wanted.  Fortunately, while she can tell me she wants 'chips' she's satisfied with graham crackers and apple and juice. 

She wanted me to do her nails.  She couldn't tell me that was what she wanted, but she showed me.  First, she played with my toes.  Then she told me "Come" and went to the bedroom door.  "What do you want?"  She came back and took my hand and then pointed to my toes.  "Do you want me to do your nails?"  She nodded, dimpled that smile at me and went back to the door.

After lunch today John thought it should be naptime.  Millie thought not.  I put down a mattress and quilt for her.  John put on the baby Mozart music and settled himself in his chair.  Millie popped up and down on the mattress like a piece of popcorn on a hot pan.  Finally, she realized that Grampa had gone to sleep.  I told her "Shhh...You don't have to sleep but be quiet and let Grampa sleep."   She decided to get in my lap when I said to be quiet.

You can see she took being quiet very seriously...

Millie and I went together to get the boys.  Josh got in the car with a HUGE apple in his hands.  It smelled so good.  I asked twice where he'd gotten it, but he was concentrating too hard on what he might have for snack at my house.  He passed the apple to Millie who proceeded to eat it.  

The boys were happy to be here but sad to be here for such a short while.  They only got to stay about an hour.   We made arrangements to take them over the weekend.  It's Josh's turn to choose 'dinner' so he's asked for pizza.

Bess is fine.  Her outpatient procedure went smoothly.  Since Sam is working at home, he'll be with her tomorrow.  She should be on her feet again in a day or two.

I threw together a supper out of things I grabbed from the freezer at the last minute for John and I.  I'd left planning open in case the children stayed for supper.  Josh had already ordered PB&J if that were the case.  It wasn't, but his dad agreed he'd make him that at home tonight.

Meals:  Boiled Eggs, Strawberry Muffins

Hot dogs, chips, Guacamole

Pot Stickers with Sitr Fried Veggies

Friday:  Yesterday, John was able to do the laundry.  He did sheets and towels earlier today as well.  He walked all over the house, both porches and even across the yard to the cars this morning.  That's improvement.  He is not without pain, but he assures me it is less; nor can he walk fully upright for every step he takes but he's improving and I'm grateful for that much gain over his previous two weeks.

Last night Katie called with a suspected car trouble.  She was taking the car this morning to have a diagnostic test run on it.  The news was not good.  If we were shocked at the total for her car repairs in January, then March's estimate is ghastly indeed.  For the time being, her car is parked at our house, and she is driving John's Honda.  Despite her savings account, she couldn't have begun to pay for this repair even with the higher amount she'd put into savings after January's repair.   

She had paid us back recently for the January repairs, but if we loaned her that amount once more and she added that to her savings which isn't insubstantial, it would not be enough to cover the repair.  So here we are.

There are blessings in this moment and complete peace.  For one thing, the car is paid for.  She's not having to make a payment on a car she can't drive.   For another, we can loan her a car to drive and still have a vehicle for ourselves.  When I say I have complete peace about this situation, I'm not trying to spit and polish a bad situation.  Call it intuition, but I truly believe this whole situation is going to turn out just fine.  I can't tell you why I'm so certain of it but I am.

John and I had a long conversation this morning, after we'd removed all his tools from the Honda trunk and put them in his shed.   We sat on the back porch and we discussed our finances and Katie's current situation and a variety of other subjects related to our future.  I reminded John that we must trust God every step of this way we travel, that nothing is guaranteed.

After we swapped cars with Katie, I decided to go ahead and make the bathroom curtain from the material I had hung last at the window.  I determined that if I did a very good job on the curtain and didn't rush my sewing, I'd love the curtain.  It's a small window but long.  It measures 16 X 46.  A full set of curtains or a full panel looks ridiculous.  A single panel such as I made can look skimpy, but I decided I'd prefer the single panel to bunching up a lot of fabric on a short rod.

I'm happy with the end result.  It looks nice.  I then went on to cover the bench with the same fabric.   I used an offcut so the pattern doesn't run as I thought it probably ought to but it would have meant messing up a lot of fabric and creating another piece of offcut fabric if I did this 'properly' and in the end, I figure no one but myself is even going to notice the way the pattern runs.   They'll look and see the same fabric at window and on the bench and that will be that.  Perfectionism can stall many a many a project that will be just fine.  

That's our week.  How was yours?

Meals:  Cheese Toast


Chef's Salads with Roasted turkey breast

(C) Terri Cheney
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