Thursday, March 31, 2022

February 2022 Homemaking Newsletter

“Babies need not to be taught a trade, but to be introduced to a world. To put the matter shortly, woman is generally shut up in a house with a human being at the time when he asks all the questions that there are, and some that there aren't. It would be odd if she retained any of the narrowness of a specialist. Now if anyone says that this duty of general enlightenment (even when freed from modern rules and hours, and exercised more spontaneously by a more protected person) is in itself too exacting and oppressive, I can understand the view. I can only answer that our race has thought it worth while to cast this burden on women in order to keep common-sense in the world. But when people begin to talk about this domestic duty as not merely difficult but trivial and dreary, I simply give up the question. For I cannot with the utmost energy of imagination conceive what they mean. When domesticity, for instance, is called drudgery, all the difficulty arises from a double meaning in the word. If drudgery only means dreadfully hard work, I admit the woman drudges in the home, as a man might drudge at the Cathedral of Amiens or drudge behind a gun at Trafalgar. But if it means that the hard work is more heavy because it is trifling, colorless and of small import to the soul, then as I say, I give it up; I do not know what the words mean. To be Queen Elizabeth within a definite area, deciding sales, banquets, labours, and holidays; to be Whitely within a certain area, providing toys, boots, cakes and books; to be Aristotle within a certain area, teaching morals, manners, theology, and hygiene; I can imagine how this can exhaust the mind, but I cannot imagine how it could narrow it. How can it be a large career to tell other people about the Rule of Three, and a small career to tell one's own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone and narrow to be everything to someone? No, a woman's function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute.” 
- G.K. Chesterton

Dearest homemaker, welcome to my "February Homemaking Newsletter". This is a place in which we chat about homemaking happenings and any other ponderings which do not fit into its own post (as Mr. Chesterton says, we discuss a "woman's gigantic function"). It is simply some old fashioned, Titus-2 chit-chat... would you like to join in?

One of the projects I did this month involved my first aid books. During a conversation at the dinner table, I asked my family which "emergencies" they felt were a concern for our household the most. I thought I might flag them for convenience (yes, this is the way my brain works when I get involved in projects 🙈). 

As I was reading all the horrific scenarios, it became apparent that ALL of the "first response" section should be tabbed (just a normal dinner conversation in our home 🙈).

And so I used different colors to have the separate sections stand out. This is not a professional job in the least but it is finished and will be included in my medical preparedness section. Here is my little humble sheet of tabs in case you want to print some out for your books. It's nothing fancy but will save you a few minutes of typing and thought. 

I've also been trying out some new recipes and thought I would share a few of our favorites. This one is loaded sweet potato fries. We all really enjoyed it but my husband didn't care for the so-called "cheese sauce" so I drizzled a mayo sriracha sauce atop his. I also replaced the bacon for seasoned ground beef. You will find this recipe here from The Paleo Running Momma

Then there are these beef taco bowls which were also quite tasty! You arrange salad greens in a medium sized bowl for each family member, top with sliced cherry tomatoes, ground beef (which has been seasoned with taco seasoning), cubed avocado which has been mixed with diced red onions, freshly squeezed lime juice and salt and pepper. Sprinkle salad with snippets of green onion. I drizzled my homemade Italian dressing (the recipe for the mix is found here) along with more lime juice squeezed over the top of the salad. Sprinkle the bowl with freshly chopped cilantro and garnish with tortilla chips. Simple and tasty! The neat part is that citrus is in season, the avocado was from my folk's tree, the green onion is from my indoor garden and the cilantro is from our potted garden. 

And finally, this healthy and hearty beef stir fry! You will also find this recipe at Paleo Running Momma which was quite tasty and easy as well.

I also somehow got caught up in a month of making my own hamburger buns (and my freezer is full for future meals)! It was one of those things that I just never made but it truly elevates a simple hamburger sandwich to have freshly baked buns! 

I tried a few recipes and a few recipe alterations and finally was pleased with this result. I used the no-knead cheese burger buns recipe from King Arthur Flour but omitted the onion powder as my family didn't care for it. 

I doubled the recipe and froze the remaining buns. I also made the 3 oz. size bun as I felt theirs was too large. I prefer a meatier sandwich with less bread.

“Labor, honest labor, is mighty and beautiful."
~ The Royal Path of Life, 1882

Then there was a day of slicing, zesting, infusing, drying, juicing and preserving… It’s good, clean and honest work. And because the Good Lord has instructed us to “keep the home” and “work with your own hands”, I do consider it “holy” work.

"For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread."

~2 Thessalonians 3:10-12

Some may think they need to have a high profile ministry to successfully serve Him (and they put aside the home for it) when all that is required is simple obedience to God which revolves around the home (Titus 2:4-5). This is your holy work. This is your high profile ministry!

Produced for our home that day:

- 2 ice cube trays lemon juice (measuring out 2 Tbsp. per cube)

- 3 dehydrator trays lemon slices (to be used in tea, potpourri, and garnish) (more ideas here)

- 2 dehydrator trays dried zest (for cooking, baking and handcrafted body products) (more ideas here)

- 6 half-pint jars of lemon drop jelly (recipe here)

- Huge jug of the lemon scraps infusing in vinegar to be used for:

     - Fabric softener/laundry freshener/whitener

     - Rinse aid in dishwasher

     - Cleaning solution (recipes here)

I have found that placing the peels in a dispenser jar makes for easy decanting on larger projects! We have had a lot of citrus this year and this little system has been a lifesaver. 

“O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.”
~ Psalm 34:8

Here is the final contents of my "February Preserving Shelf":

- lemon drop jelly (6 half-pint jars)

- dried lemon slices (half-gallon jar)

- dried lemon zest (half-pint jar)

- small pitcher of roses (dried last year for winter decoration)

- rosebud garland (dried last year for winter decoration)

I also made some vanilla rose-scented bath products which I did post about. You will find the recipes all HERE!

"Order is the shape upon which beauty depends."
~ Pearl Buck

While waiting for spring’s gentle arrival, I’ve also been doing some home “maintenancing” (not technically a word but it should be 💁🏻‍♀️). It’s a mix of organization and some “light” deep cleaning.

Here is my master bedroom list:

Organize drawers ✔️ 

Organize closet ✔️ 

Wash dust ruffle ✔️ 

Wipe ceiling fan ✔️ 

Dust wooden blinds ✔️ 

If you keep clutter and what you own to a minimum, then this shouldn’t take too long. After living in a small farmhouse, I’ve learned to be intentional with what I own. If this task seems overwhelming, then “your stuff” may own you… a day of purging and donating will remedy that. I try and do this maintenance quarterly (though ideally it’s done monthly). I have a little printable “list” HERE should you like to try out this Victorian system. It was suggested by the Beecher sisters in the 1800’s and I have modified it a bit for modern day usage. It's a bit of old fashioned domesticity! 

"There is no doubt that it is around the family and the home that all the greatest virtues, the most dominating virtues of human society are created, strenghtened and maintained."
~ Winston Churchill 

With that being said, what about you dear reader? What wholesome and lovely things have you been reading, watching and/or working on? As always, recommendations are much appreciated as hearing about your homemaking endeavors always inspires me!

Happily homemaking,

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Ethereal Spring Cleaning ~ Snippets

Ethereal spring cleaning... 

Washing your home with the gospel... cleaning the corners of your heart... makes every aspect of life holy, every task, an art.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God;
and renew a right spirit within me.”
~ Psalm 51:10

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Wednesday, March 16, 2022

The Family Supper Table and a Spring Potato Salad Recipe

“There is no occasion when meals should become totally unimportant. Meals can be very small indeed, very inexpensive, short times taken in the midst of a big push of work, but they should be always more than just food.” 
~ Edith Schaeffer, The Hidden Art of Homemaking

Once again, I’m here to share the good and noble tidings of a family supper… If a homemaker was going to have one goal of the day, this would be mine.

I remember the younger years as I cleaned little messes throughout the home, changed diapers, attempted laundry and a tidy kitchen. All of these things were the precursor of the most important event of the day… when the dinner table was set, when father came home, when the family is rejoined in prayer around the meal that mother took all the day long to prepare (you are quite right to think it shouldn’t and didn’t take all the day long to prepare, however, everything throughout the day was planned and arranged so this glorious moment would actually happen - so in a way this is so).

Everyone in the household knew a special time awaited them. They knew a meal would be lovingly made (however simple) and presented on the table with dishes, napkins and sparkling utensils. But most importantly, was the undivided attention given to one another.

And this, is what my whole day in the home essentially revolves around to this very day (even with my adult family)… bringing us all back to the table each evening for fellowship with one another and our heavenly Creator. 

Amidst the toil of home keeping, the energy of child raising, the time spent homeschooling… always in the background whispers the daily question… what is to be for dinner? And what needs to be done throughout the day to make it happen as peacefully as possible?

For it is the picture of a family heritage, a family covenant and the precursor of the most important and holy family reunion of all time.

The heavenly one…

“Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’ ” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.”
~ Revelations 19:9

Spring Potato (and/or Macaroni) Salad Recipe

  • 32 oz. cooked/cooled Macaroni (or approx. 14 c. peeled, boiled, cooled 1/2” cubed potatoes*) 
  • 1 small can sliced black olives (drained) 
  • 1 small can chopped black olives (drained) 
  • 2 small jars pimentos (undrained) 
  • 2 stocks celery (chopped fine) 
  • 6 chopped pickles (more may be added later for more tartness) 
  • 8 - 10 shredded hard boiled eggs 
  • 3 stocks thinly sliced chives 
  • 6 shredded radishes 
  • mayonnaise to taste and texture (32 oz. jar, start with half the jar)***
  • seasoned salt, salt & pepper (to taste) 
  • dill (dry or fresh to taste) 
  • onion powder (to taste) 
  • cayenne pepper (to taste) 
  • garnish: sprinkle of paprika on final product 
  • optional: squirt of mustard for more tang
  • optional garnish: rose radish with parsley leaves 

Combine all the ingredients together in a large bowl. Start off with half the jar of mayonnaise and add more as necessary according to taste and texture. Season according to taste as well. Once the mixture is to your liking, sprinkle with paprika for a final finish. 

Chill the salad in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

This can be made a day ahead of time for convenience.

* When making potato salad, make sure to cube the boiled potatoes in a smaller 1/2” size. This allows for more flavor to envelop the pieces. Larger chunks do not taste as seasoned. 

** The amount of mayonnaise is key in this recipe. Too dry of a salad isn’t appetizing while too “wet” of a salad is quite overwhelming. I like to start with 1/2 jar and continue to stir until the consistency is moist without being overdone. 

*** I like to use the Primal Kitchen or Chosen Foods mayonnaise which is made with avocado oil (which I feel has healthier ingredients).

Here is a printable recipe should you like to add it to your Recipe Book!

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