Soup’s On

09/09/2010 § 2 Comments

NOT Campbell’s, this is my first ever Beef Stew from last year.

Growing up we ate soup. Chicken noodle (w/saltines), tomato (w/grilled cheese), vegetable beef (w/club or saltine crackers)…but they all came in a can, that bore a distinct red and white label with a gold seal and the words ‘Campbell’s condensed soup’ elegantly displayed. We would even go around the house singing the jingle, “Mmmmm, mmmmmm, good!”. Just add a can of water and there’s your meal. With 6 hungry, growing kids, one small can wasn’t enough, but it was still cheaper to get a few cans of soup and less time consuming than making homemade. No one had time for that in the 70’s/80’s, not with all the Miami Vice watching, shoulder pad adjusting, double-income-so-we-can-have-toys working, Atari-thumb acquiring, mix tape making, fast food eating, hair teasing and crimping, MTV video lip-syncing, Star Wars light-saber dueling we needed to accomplish. Grab a prepackaged box, stick it in the microwave and you were good to go.

So, that’s what I grew up with, in a nutshell of sorts. If you can’t nuke it, excuse me, microwave it, or make it in less that 10 minutes, you’re wasting time. Label reading? What’s that? Serving size? Isn’t it one package per person per meal? Preservatives? Micro waves are safe otherwise ‘they’ wouldn’t have let them be sold…right? Stop confusing me with the facts! Ahhhhhhhhh!

Simmering my first batch of Tomato Soup.

Now, lest you think I’m a food nazi, I want to clarify. If you have or use a microwave, I’ll still love you. If you buy prepackaged food and the fast food drive-thru clerks know you by name, I’ll still love you. Even if you frequently consume mass quantities of preservatives and like it, I’ll still love you. There’s always room for grace. This is my personal perspective and the road I am traveling, feel free to join in any capacity, you are more than welcome!

The beginnings of my Potato Soup. Shhhh…it has a secret ingredient.

Now where were we? Ah yes, soup. These past few years of having a house and a husband have really changed me. For the better (right honey? Honey?). I have learned so much and have grown so much I barely recognize myself. It’s as though I have been slowly emerging out of a cocoon in order to become the child of God I was always meant to be. It’s been hard. It’s been tiring. It’s been bittersweet. It’s been real. It’s been good.

I consider part of that role to be feeding my family and actually, truth be told, this is one of my most favorite parts! I feel like I am loving my family when I take the time to prepare hearty, healthy meals for them. It’s my gift of love to them. It’s the least I can do for them living with me year-round. Besides, it’s in my genetic make-up to help, provide and take care of those I love. They are my gifts. My blessings. Anything less than my all and my best isn’t good enough for them.

When I first started making soup I was completely clueless and actually put it off for a very long time. I was afraid to mess it up. I was afraid it would be more than I could handle and if it wasn’t going to turn out like the best soup that was ever created since the dawn of time and beginning of making soup, well, why bother? (Did mention I’m a recovering perfectionist?)

Then, one day, with my nose shoved in a cookbook (a rather frequent occurrence) and all the self-talk and courage I could possibly find to muster, I tried. And you know what? IT WORKED. Yep, totally. It seriously worked. I made chicken noodle soup from my own homemade stock, oh and by ‘worked’ I mean, it was delicious, edible even. Here’s the proof:

Meet my first ever from scratch Chicken Noodle Soup!

Here it is in my pretty pink bowl.

And here it is with some yummy organic ginger peach tea and a sleeve of saltines, naturally.

That was a great day for me. A momentous, milestone of an occasion. Nervously standing over the hot stove, chopping all of the celery, carrots and onions into uniform, bite-size chunks, measuring just the right amount of sage rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper, clinging to my cookbook and reading it over and over again to make sure each step was painstakingly taken in precisely the exact manner the author intended…(recovery takes awhile) all for the love of my family. *happy sigh*

So do you make your own soup? Thinking about trying it out? Happy sticking with the canned variety? What are your favorites? Any fun memories you’d like to share that come to mind?

xoxo

i knit things

08/09/2010 § 2 Comments

Pattern: Soap ’em Up

(Leisure Arts booklet “Color-Splash Dishcloths”)

Yarn: Lily Sugar ‘n’ Cream Cotton Ombres in Rosewood

Needles: sz8 Clover Velvet circulars

Got Dill?

01/09/2010 § 7 Comments

“Darling, can you please pick me up some fresh dill from the store?”

(my darling husband is about 6′ tall…)

Kitchen Duty

24/01/2008 § 2 Comments

So, today I occupied my day with cleaning out the cupbaords and rearranging them. Oh does it feel nice to declutter and organize! I wouldn’t say all things are in there ‘final’ spots, but they are much closer than before. Ahhhhhhh….. 

One of the things that prompted this (besides trying to overcome my ‘I’ve-been-meaning-to-do-that’ syndrome) was the fact that we, as a couple, not only decided on a dinnerware set we liked (see above pic) but we actually went out and were able to buy it! The whole set of them! Dinner plates, salad plates, creal bowls, coffee cups and…and they all match! This great color goes so well with my newly painted kitchen (pink cupboards and green walls w/antique white trim). They also match the pink accent pieces I’ve been finding too. Think Depression Era pink and green glass and you’ll have the colors I chose to use in my kitchen/dining room. Along with chrome and dark brown woods. I’m trying to keep with the 1950’s look of the house (built in 1954). Oh it is coming together so nicely! I never in a million years, nor anyone else who knows me, would have thought I could atually decorate something that looks pretty good and isn’t plaid and polka-dots! I was never known for being fashionable or having any sense of style. Ecclectic to the eye-sore extreme was me. I thank the Lord for how far I’ve come!

I know in the grand scheme of life it doesn’t matter, but there’s something about having a few ‘luxuries’ like matching dishes. I am usually pretty thrifty and am not looking to store up treasures here on Earth, but I really like having some nice, new things. I usually scour the clearance aisles and racks looking for things we need and how awesome was it that the set was on sale too! I really like pretty things now, so it’s fun when I can have a few pretty things of my own. I feel so very blessed!

Keeping busy…not hard to do!

13/11/2006 § 2 Comments

So it’s Monday again and I am still cleaning. I had kept myself busy last week w/just ‘picking up’ things here and there and not doing a whole lot of ‘deep’ cleaning. Trust me there’s still plenty of surface stuff! Well, today I tackled (literally)our bedroom closet and sorting my clothes. WHAT WAS I THINKING??!!

Ok, so it wasn’t THAT bad. But, put it this way, I will have donated enough clothes and household items to clothe and keep a small third world country warm and operational! Just doing my part for the Kingdom!

 

I just never took the time to go through my clothes and weed out the ones that don’t fit or that I won’t wear/need anymore. It sure feels good though. I actually have a lot of clothes left over so I don’t feel like I have nothing to wear anymore! I actually do now. I found a huge rolling duffle bag w/some of my winter clothes and some tops in it so I just added them to my wardrobe. It was like I won a free shopping spree! (When we moved after the wedding it just kind of ended up in the closet and then things were piled on top of it and there it’s been sitting…can anyone relate?)

 

It was hard looking at all of the smaller clothes I USED to fit into though. You know, sickening sizes like 12’s and 14’s and the like. I’m getting back there though. I’m hanging onto the 8 pounds I lost recently for dear life! Now it’s just ADDING to the total amount! It was a very inspiring moment actually. It kind of refueled my resolve to not give up on being any size smaller than I am now. Speaking of that, I better drag out the treadmill and start sweating. Must stay focused…!

 

Blessings,

Traci 🙂

Super Cleaning

23/10/2006 § 4 Comments

Saturday, I stayed home and started cleaning. I just picked a spot, and dug in-literally!

 

One of the first things I wanted to tackle were the clothes. I decided to start in Love’s room. Trying on, sorting, packing away for next season and making a donation pile. We made it through and it felt soooo good! Then we moved onto hanging, folding and putting away and in the laundry. While we were doing that I jotted down the things Lovebug needs and I started making a list for her and her room. I put things like: skirt hangers, shelf, move dresser to wall behind door, comforter-full size, etc. The good thing was the list wasn’t terribly long! Then daddy came home and we started tackling the living/dining rooms. We put the tv downstairs (finally) and all that went w/it, cleaned out behind it, moved bookshelves, vacuumed/dusted, threw away papers and junk, sorted things that needed to be filed, threw more away, vacuumed/dusted more, deep cleaned the ferret cage, and finally unearthed half of my house! There are still some things to sort and organize, a few shelves we need to get, but I have so much more room now! And places to put things. Our house seems so much bigger somehow…GO FIGURE!

 

Oh yeah! My honey gave me a special little gift to accomplish this task with…A NEW VACUUM! And not just any vacuum. He got me a DYSON! (We get a discount at Target and we saved a little money to put towards it so we could afford it-otherwise I was looking at the 100$ Hoover something or other! Thank you again honey!) It’s amazing! I have been able to clean up tons of things and everything just seems…cleaner. It has such great suction and tools and it’s so easy to use and there’s this really long hose so I don’t have to bend over to get along the baseboards and put my back out and I can leave it at the bottom of the stairs as I go up instead of dragging it w/me and trying to balance it on the much too narrow steps…I feel so special!

 

So, I’m back at it again today. Cleaning and organizing and trying to use the resources we have or do without. I am determined to be as frugal as I need to be so we can live off of just Asa’s income. I feel so blessed to have a husband who is willing to let me stay home and take care of the house and our child. I feel so at peace and there are already things lining up for me to clean a few houses and watch a few kids here and there for some extra income. Our Lord is so faithful!

 

Have a great day!

 

Blessings,

Traci 🙂  

Cleaning and Decluttering

20/06/2006 § 13 Comments

BACKROUND

To give a little backround so I don’t embarrass myself terribly, my DH and I have been married for 5 months now. I was a single mother for 12 years with a mostly complete household and he was a bachelor with a lot of ‘stuff’ in his own house. So when we married and moved into his house, needless to say, it looked like Target or Wal Mart blew up in my new living room. We have had A LOT of cleaning, sorting, unpacking and throwing away/donating to do. Tim, I mean the guy that works at the Salvation Army, calls for back-up when he sees our car! I’m sure Goodwill has an APB out on us along with warnings to ‘approach vehicle with caution-watch for falling boxes’! We’ve visited a few times to each of these places because one place takes A, B and C but not D and the other place takes D, E AND F, but not E. (me thinks there’s a conspiracy afoot!)  

During the day I homeschool Lovebug and he works full time. My hours switched at work so now I work every Sat-Mon. I am still fairly a newbie to homeschooling so there are still a lot of disciplines I’m learning. (like how to be disciplined) I want to make sure DD gets a good education so I have put a few things on the back burner-like unpacking the rest of our stuff and finding homes for everything and weeding through all the ‘duplicates’ of things my DH and I have. Not to mention all the gifts we got for our wedding! That, and the stuff I/he never took the time to get rid of over the years. So, things have been in kind of ‘move this pile over there so I can sort through it later mode’. This week while Lovebug was gone we did some cleaning. We had kind of been ramping up by starting with the laundry a few days before. (what that really means is that we had enough laundry to do over the course of a few days!)

 

PROBLEM

Asa and I are quite different in a lot of ways. He grew up in a conservative Christian home. Modest home, 4 kids, 1 set of parents, college education…

I grew up on the other side of the tracks. I grew up in a liberal ‘God who?’ home. Decent home, 6 kids, 2 dads-1 mom, never graduated high school (I did get my GED a few years later). He was preppy, I was punk. You get the idea.

In spite of all that, we are soooooo similar. The similarity I want to divulge to you today is: unmotivated. More commonly known as procrastination, it can easily set you up for failure. When procrastination strikes, it rears its ugly head and makes you put things off when you could quite easily do them at that moment. It also affects the laundry.

Now, when I grew up it was never my chore to do the laundry. It was always one of my sisters who did it. I always got stuck with the bathroom, dishes (my first job was as a dishwasher and so were other jobs after that) and sometimes vacuuming. (Remember, family of 8-two boys and 6 girls-ONE bathroom until I was an older teen) I learned to do laundry when I was 19, out of the house and a brand new Christian and mother! I HAD to learn then.

Fast forward to today. If you were to walk into my home there are a few areas you will notice that aren’t very…tidy, shall we say? Yep, you guessed it. The bathroom, the dishes and the laundry! I need help!

 

A PLAN

Asa and I sat down this week and talked about a way to fix our dilemma. You will never guess what we came up with. We decided Love needs a few ‘official’ chores and I can oversee her accomplishing them. So, we gave her the dishes, sweeping/vacuuming and keeping her bathroom/room clean. Asa then VOLUNTEERED to take care of the bulk of the laundry and get this, he said he doesn’t mind doing it at all and actually likes it! He will also take care of the bulk of household/yard work, his bathroom, office and utility room. The garbage duties will be split w/Lovebug. Of course each one of us has to pitch in and help the others out so we are all doing our part to help out. Now, before you think I won the ‘Homemakers Dream Life’ Sweepstakes or something here’s what I’m in charge of-everything else. The cooking, shopping, overseeing, main floor bathroom, kitchen, dining room, living room, remaining 2 bedrooms(and ours), laundry room, etc…

At least we have a plan.

 

So, we will try this out for a while and see if it’s successful. Stay tuned…

 

Blessings,

Traci 🙂

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