Encouragement For The Week


A Favorite-Our Family Cookbook

A couple years I took on a huge task of organizing my favorite recipes into my own cookbook. (You can read about the process here.)  I gathered our tried and true recipes, loaded them into pages using templates from Blurb, and had the book printed out.

I love this cook book and use it almost every day, and would love to make another if I get the urge. Next time,  I will not be so picky about photos-I worked too hard to find just the right photo to put in each section, and in the end, I realize it doesn't matter.  When I open it up (almost every day) to make something, seeing those little faces is all that matters.  If I've said it once I've said it a thousand times-the days fly by and kids grow so quickly!

It is a special little keepsake and useful just the same.


Summer Housekeeping

 I have surrendered to the fact that summer is an intense time for me as a mother of six.  The phrase "lazy days of summer" makes me laugh. 

Here are things I've found that are important to make my life run smoothly in the summer during this season of my life:

Laundry-first thing in morning, I always put a load in and fold another.  If I skip a day or two it gets backed up and takes too long to catch up.  (Here is the laundry system I use.)

Master Spreadsheet-Every Sunday I have been writing (on a simple piece of notebook paper) my master schedule for the week and tape it to the fridge.  Each day I list where I have to be at what time-swim practice, or soccer practice or dentist appointments, etc., and what time older guys are working. Writing it not only cements it in my head (because it is already on calendar but I need to be reminded of it again) but it is a reference for everyone.  The three oldest have five different jobs between them, and although they keep track of their own schedules I like to know when they are going to be home. (Especially since sometimes the work shift ends at 2 a.m.!)

Cleaning/Straightening-It seems like it would make sense not to make this a priority in the summer, but I've realized I feel so much better when my house is clean and straightened.  I do NOT mean perfect-it is always far from perfect-but in the summer it can get out of hand quickly and then pretty soon it won't take me minutes but hours.  I wipe down the bathrooms every morning, vacuum at least once a week and try to keep the kitchen counters clutter free and wiped down and floors swept and mopped. 

Food-We go through food so fast right now.  I just know I will have to go to the grocery store more than once a week, sometimes more than twice, and that I have to keep the fridge and pantry organized.  I make out my menu every week and keep it really really simple.  I buy so much fruit-dozens of plums and peaches and nectarines. 

Books and Walks-These are my treats for myself.  I have stocked up on good books for the summer-some are from the library, and I bought a few from Amazon (I always buy the used copies) and others are from a little donation center that charges pennies that they give to charity (I really found great ones there, and it made my day!).  I love to have good books waiting for me.  I am also back into the swing of walking with a friend in the early early morning, something I haven't done for years and years (just because I needed the sleep more than a walk!)  I love it-I feel like I am killing two birds with one stone-great conversation and exercise.  It's so pretty and quiet in the morning too, I love that time of day.


Encouragement For The Week


Ordinary Days

The kids have been playing chess games on the back porch at all hours of the day and evening.

I painted (it was black) my antique dresser and bought vintage knobs from Etsy.  This dresser was in the kitchen, but now is in the living room. I had to have the two bottom drawers replaced and hired a carpenter to make the new ones (he had to cut them to fit the natural warp.) The lamp is from Home Goods.

Wisdom teeth out, yuck.

My mom lent me this, loving it, although I've been falling asleep (no reflection on the book) after about five pages.  Summer days are full and tiring and when I crawl into bed too late (sometimes I miss the days of putting ALL the kids to bed and having quiet time-with teenagers those days don't exist!) I'm out like a light.

It always looks like this.

Why can't I just throw old bananas away?  It would save me 100's of calories.  But it's a good snack for the kids.  Recipe here.

I tackled all the sheets and comforters and blankets in the house.  My washer and dryer were going from sun-up to sun-down, but it's nice to check that off my list.

My mom and dad's gardens.  Always inspirational.  

Our falling apart shed, with clematis in bloom.  My hydrangeas are taking a long time to come into their own. 

I don't know which one is my favorite.
I do know that gardens are a lot of work. I love gardening, but it's an exercise in patience and surrendering control for me-there is no "catching up", there is always an area that needs work, and I just have to do what I can, when I can-definitely something I do in bursts in late spring and then burn out by mid-summer.

This is our first official week of summer (everyone is out of school) and I'm so looking forward to it all!


Encouragement For The Week