Archive | September 2010

Impending Arrival

Today I am in serious housewife mode in an attempt to make sure our humble abode doesn’t scare my in-laws when they arrive this evening. I was planning to do the usual tidying — putting away the shoes littering our main level, hanging up my husband’s discarded suit jackets which are currently on the backs of a number of our chairs and making sure the dining room table was cleared off — however Mother Nature offered me a chance to do some additional cleaning.

It’s been raining like mad all morning. Add a few strong gusts of wind and welcome to my wet living room and bedroom. While I realize it is kind of my fault for not closing the windows this morning, that doesn’t make it any less annoying! Having puddles of water behind my love seat and across my bedroom floor is definitely never ideal. However now that I have the windows shut and the water wiped up, I am realizing the cleaning bonus. Not only is the hardwood floor free of puddles, it is also free of dust, dirt and hair!

There is still a lot on today’s agenda. I have to do a few loads of laundry and make sure the living room and dining room look presentable. At the moment both rooms look like very large (and very unorganized) sorting piles for mail, newspapers and discarded socks. Thankfully I still have all afternoon and things are surprisingly quiet on the project front today for the first time in weeks. Now it’s time to get back to the chores.

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Garden Update: Week 25

I have been seriously neglecting the plot over the last few weeks. The seedling area is still floundering with only the kale making an appearance. I guess the leeks and spinach are not interested in growing for us, which is too bad. We were looking forward to utilizing both items in the kitchen this fall/winter. As for our summer plants, we still have a huge mass of basil and an abundance of cayenne peppers, but I have been too swamped with work (and too lazy to get up for an early morning visit like my summer routine) to bring them home very often.

Last weekend my husband and I went by the plot on Sunday and filled our pockets with green beans since we foolishly did not have a bag. I can’t believe how much those vines continue to produce! I was able to blanch and freeze four bags worth (so housewifey of me!), so we are looking forward to enjoying our garden green beans in the fall and winter.

Despite the beans and peppers, the fact that there is so much less variety to bring home than during the height of the growing season, provides me with a lot less motivation to tend to the plants that remain. The one positive thing at the garden these days is that the abundance of nasty bugs seem to be gone (or have moved on to torment someone else’s plot). Here’s to small victories!

A Little Bit of Bragging…

I know that in the past I have droned on and on about my crazy coupon addiction, but I just had to gloat about my recent coupon extravaganza. The grocery store is currently having a super double coupon special where any coupon less than $1.98 is doubled. At times like this, I gather up all coupons over a $1 and race to the store in search of amazing deals.

The fact that today I saved nearly 50% (spent $47.22 and saved $45.90) pretty much made my week. And who could complain about getting free dish soap and spending only 50 cents on shampoo, pudding cups and yogurt?

Thanks to my coupon stash, I came home with four bags filled with groceries, including two packages of fresh tortellini for $2.55, two packages of sandwich ham for $3, and 2 pints of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream for only $4.

It’s good to be excited about the little things in life…right?

Finding the Time

Because I work from home, I feel like it is part of my day to take care of things around here. I mean, just like anyone else I typically don’t work for 8 hours straight, so I may as well put that “wasted” time to use by cleaning the kitchen floor or blanching green beans, right?

Unfortunately,  I have found myself remarkably busy with work for, well, the last few months. Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining, because a freelancer can’t complain about having too much work. And it’s like more the right amount of work as opposed to too much, but it is certainly hampering my homemaker style. Considering that I honestly never had any, I am not sure why I am feeling guilty about it.

Today is the first day in as long as I can remember that my calendar is somewhat clear and it is basically by accident. Yesterday I managed to finalize some projects that I intended to devote today to, leaving myself the time to do the laundry, wash dishes and freeze turkey meat. I know, excitement abounds.

Working from home presents an interesting situation. I mean, you are still working, but it is harder for people (and sometimes myself included) to see it that way. I hear tales about how late I sleep in (typically I am at my desk by 7:30), wearing pajamas all day (okay, I often wear athletic attire all day, but I do get dressed!) and all the spare time I have (which tends to amount to the 20 minutes I spend writing a blog post every few days).

I am grateful that I have a schedule with flexibility, but as I sat at my desk feeling totally unmotivated one day last week, I had to force myself to get moving. That’s the thing about freelancing, if I didn’t finish a project it simply wouldn’t get done, which probably wouldn’t work in the long run as a business model.

Although I do my best to integrate household chores into my daily routine, sometimes they get done and sometimes they don’t because I have to put actual work first. But for once, today is a catch up day for the house instead. Kitchen, get ready because here I come!

Happy Wednesday!

When my husband and I got married, the pastor surprised us during the ceremony. And no, he didn’t call one of us by the wrong name or ask if I would “obey” my husband. Thankfully, his addition was a joyful one. Producing a bud vase and handing each of us a rose, he talked about how he saw the two flowers as a unique way of symbolizing that our lives were being joined together. He spoke about how important it is to remember that each day we share is a blessing, despite the challenges we may encounter along the way. As we put our flowers into the vase, he reminded us that during the many years of our marriage, we should continue to surprise one with this small gesture.

During the past 3.5 years we have done this a few times, but it is surprisingly difficult to find someone who is willing to sell you just 2 flowers. In fact, I don’t think that either of us has put flowers in the vase since March or April, but on Wednesday I walked by a florist shop that was selling single roses. For only $1 each. I quickly bought two, came home and pulled the wedding vase out from its less than glorious hiding place under the kitchen sink.

I was excited to surprise my husband that evening. Though the gesture was small and inexpensive, looking at those two roses was a perfect way to remind us both that although it was only a Wednesday in September, it was still an amazing day because we were together.

Not the Brick House, the White House

Yesterday my husband and I had the chance to spend the evening at someone else’s house — the White House. Although we didn’t visit the residence (so really “house” may be pushing it), being able to tour the West Wing was an experience I won’t soon forget.

The recently renovated Oval Office, a place where history has been and continues to be made, was certainly a highlight. I also enjoyed visiting the Press Room, which is much smaller than it appears on television, and learning more about the history of the White House and it’s strange quirks.

A little back story, long before I became a “housewife,” my husband and I attempted to attend the inauguration of President Barack Obama. We had tickets for the blue section, showed up at 6 a.m. to wait for the gates to open and froze with thousands of others who, like us, never made it onto the National Mall. Apparently the number of tickets was determined without taking into account how bulky we all were in our winter clothes and there wasn’t enough room to accommodate the throngs of people who had been lucky enough to get tickets and traveled across the country for the momentous day. We never really bought into the “coat” argument, but thankfully, we had only walked 14 or 15 blocks, not flown from Oregon. Despite making it to a TV in time to watch the event, we were incredibly disappointed that we didn’t experience such an amazing moment in our country’s history in person.

Long story short, the chance to go to the White House last night helped me let go of any lingering disappointment over missing the inauguration. Even though we didn’t walk by the President in the hall and get invited over to the residence for dinner or have the opportunity to play catch with Bo in the Rose Garden, it was a memorable experience to say the least.

Living in Washington, DC certainly has its benefits and this week it was knowing someone who works at the White House!

Garden Update: Week 22

I can’t believe that our summer gardening season is nearing the end of the road. After months of work to have a successful summer harvest, we removed our tomato plants yesterday. And by “we” I clearly mean “my husband.” But I was supervising. While I am hopeful that this will mean bye-bye nasty bugs, I am disappointed that we are not going to have fresh grown tomatoes again until next summer.

Overall the plot is still a bit of a mess, but the green bean plant and cayenne pepper plant are continuing to produce well and the basil remains out of control. I brought home five branches worth of leaves yesterday (which barely made a dent in the plant) to attempt drying it again. This time I hung them farther from the window and rain is not in the forecast any time in the near future, so we’ll see! Now that our herbs aren’t being crowded by tomatoes, perhaps we’ll see some more growth from the sage, purple basil and curry in the plot. Even if the harvest is dwindling, it is nice to still have something to bring home from the garden every few days.

The kale seedlings continue to grow and I think a single leek seedling has started to emerge from the soil, hopefully more will follow suit. I’m not sure why the spinach seeds are responding so much slower than the kale, but I’m anxious to see some green pop-up from those rows soon! It would be lovely to have fresh spinach this fall.

Next week we will continue trying to clean the plot—remove the tomato plant stumps, turn over the soil and pull out the cucumber vines. Depending on how the next five or six days go, there may be more plants to remove by then, but we’ll just have to wait and see.