Saturday, August 31, 2013

Helping With The Harvest

Home Ec

If you are familiar with the schedule over at Mrs. Redd's Classroom, you know that Saturdays are dedicated to Home Ec and organization projects around the homestead.  This week's Home Ec is participating in the harvest and preservation of our garden goodies.

Puddin' n' Peanut Preppin' Peaches

The girls were a big help during this all day task! They learned about blanching, discoloration, making syrup, and the whole process in general.  I'm sure the free access to fresh, delicious peaches had something to do with their eagerness! 

Peaches and Tomatoes

We traded some of our peaches with the neighbors for those bright red tomatoes.  It was worth it!  

After trading and eating approximately a bushel of peaches, we ended up with around a gallon and a half in the freezer.  We weren't sure we would get any by the looks of our poor peach tree this year.  I'm pretty sure I heard a sigh of relief when we relieved it's branches of the weight!

Funky Tomatoes

Not sure why, but we grew some wacky shaped tomatoes.  I had to snap a picture of the heart shaped slice, especially since fried green tomatoes are a favorite for all of us.

 The basket in front of the window is full of apples the girls have been gathering.  The basket on the table is full of tomatoes, mostly green.  We have been blessed with red ripe tomatoes from our neighbor so I'm freezing green tomatoes to have this winter. (If they last that long!)

And this one is just funny...

Aw, Shucks!

Here's Peanut shuckin' sweet corn. 

A Family Affair

If you visit often, you will find that we learn together.  This is the first year we have had a garden and really followed through.  We have all learned quite a bit, and next year we will apply those lessons.  

Let's Chat

How did your garden grow this year?

Happy Homesteading!
Mrs. Redd

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Under Construction

Staying Afloat

Wow! This past two weeks have been a trial.  BUT I am overcoming.  With the  How Do I Teach For Mastery blog series out of the way over at Mrs. Redd's Classroom, I am going to tear into the homestead this week.  Specifically, our temporary work space.

Under Water

Our kitchen flooded.  Fortunately it wasn't a complete disaster, but trouble enough for sure! We almost lost our fridge and deep freeze.

Getting Organized

I've been organizing my blogs too.  I've got a schedule penciled out for this one that looks like this:

  • Monday - Cooking
  • Tuesday - Cleaning
  • Wednesday - Kids in the Kitchen
  • Thursday - Gardening
  • Friday - Decorating
  • Saturday - Organization
  • Sunday - Inspiration 

Stayed Tuned

I'm cooking up some delicious content so don't be a stranger to my kitchen!

Mrs. Redd

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Confessions of a Cluttered Kitchen: Admitting My Faults

Hello, My Name Is Rachael And I Am...

Impatient.  A workaholic. Unrealistic.

The Proof

I simply cannot justify nor can I accept that the house is going to be messy just because I have a (deserving) husband to dote on, 3 homeschooled children, an ailing mother to care for, an income to build from scratch, a garden to tend, and we just merged two households.

There is also absolutely no reason why I cannot get up at 4 AM every day so that I can get more work done.  It is a matter of choice.

The kids should be as fast and efficient as I am at chores even though they have less than half the experience.  I have taught them all they need to know to accomplish this.

The Results

Stress. Disappointment. Frustration.  Strained relationships.  Fatigue.  

What Works, What Doesn't

I happily stopped detailed menu planning because it wasn't working.  That was easy.  Obviously, some other things need to change.  Ahem...I...need to change.  

Homestead Hang-Ups

Much more complicated is the task of changing one's habits and perspectives.  Which 
is why I will be breaking all this changing down into blog segments called Homestead Hang-Ups.

I have dedicated August to figuring out what works and what doesn't around here, and to finding solutions.

Feel free to leave some advice. I know I'm not alone ;)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Lesson #2: No More Wasted Time

Wasted Time

I struggle to think of anything that irritates me more than knowing that I have wasted time.  In Confession #2: Peer Pressure, I shared that I experimented with menu planning because "everyone is doing it."  Well, I'm sorry I did because it was wasted time and a lot of extra work.  Not saying you shouldn't - that would be peer pressure ;)

Problem Solved

Instead of spending all afternoon on a menu I may or may not abide by or even look at, here's what I used that time for:
  • Cleaned out the refrigerator
  • Took grocery inventory
  • Got dinner done early
  • The kitchen is clean and ready for in the morning
  • Wrote this post
  • Made a rough schedule for the week
  • Spent quality home ec time with the girls
  • Did an extra load of laundry
  • Cleaned the bathroom
  • Worked on homeschool plans
I think there were a couple other things, but you get the idea.  I got rid of one thing that was wasting my time and I cut loose on other more productive things.

What are some things that aren't working for you? 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Confessions of a Cluttered Kitchen: Peer Pressure

Confession #2: Everybody's Doing It

In my quest to conquer the kitchen, I found myself in need of inspiration.  I've been perusing blogs of moms who have it together, and soaking up good ideas from Country Living and Better Homes and Gardens. 

I can't get enough of the great design ideas in the magazines.  They spark creativity and motivate me.  But if I read one more post about menu planning...

I have good intentions when it comes to meal planning:  every week I spend hours trying to piece together a menu of tasty dishes for the least amount of money.  Then I don't follow through.  Sometimes on purpose.

The Problem

I've given myself another time consuming task to procrastinate on, and I feel like in order to run a successful kitchen I must have a menu plan-because that's how all successful moms do it, isn't it?  

The Lesson

I need to face what isn't working, and menu planning doesn't work for me.

The Solution 

  • 86 the menu plan and all it's time and space consumption.
  • Return to my trusty method of purchasing ingredients and cooking creatively
  • Find a productive use for this freed up time
There is a lot of great advice out there, and trying new methods is great.  I let peer pressure cause me to doubt my instincts though: my original way of feeding us and minimizing the grocery bill worked for us.  I had no reason to change it.  

Is there something about your home management plan that differs from the majority or what the experts think?  Tell me about it!

Mrs. Redd

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Lesson #1: The Way to a Kitchen's Heart is Through Your Stomach

Needs Vs. Wants

In Confession #1, I  realized I needed to change my perspective to look at my cluttered kitchen as a learning opportunity.  I'm starting with a review of needs and wants with the kids, then we will get specific and apply it.

This is what we need in our kitchen:

  • More of what we need to eat and less of what we don't (quality and quantity)
  • Organization & functionality
  • Teamwork

Tummy Troubles

Instead of the kitchen being a source of comfort and nourishment, ours is causing indigestion.  I feel like there should be a big OUT OF ORDER sign stuck to the kitchen doorway right now.  

I never said seeing this as an opportunity was going to be easy.

To be continued...

Mrs. Redd

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Confessions of a Cluttered Kitchen

Confession #1: The Dark Side

I'm normally an optimistic person, but housework brings out the worst in me.  Disorganization drives me batty.  

Right now, my kitchen (and the rest of the homestead) is in complete disarray.  Previous moves were into empty homes where the task was simple:  fill the place with our stuff and organize it how I want.  This time, it's our household on top of my mother's lifetime of accumulations.

Last night while planning for today, I decided my goal for this week was to get the kitchen under control.  I made a list of annoyances and promised myself I would have them all checked off by Sunday next.  

The Problem

My list is everything that is wrong with my kitchen.  When I pulled out my list this morning, I recoiled and immediately went into procrastination mode-putting off the ugliest tasks until later in the week.  My post-coffee motivation and excitement for the beautiful day had vanished.

The Lesson 

Last night I was being ungrateful.  This morning, that ungratefulness sprouted into procrastination.  What I have ended up with is a recipe for a bitter end to our week:  a stressed out mama and wife, unhappy kids and husband, and a goal not met.

The Solution

  • Scratch the Irritations List.  Make an Opportunity List. (What does my kitchen have to offer?)
  • This is a Home Ec project I can include my daughters in.  Looking at things as a learning opportunity for the kids is like putting on a pair of rose colored glasses for me.
  • Remember the why.  My greater purpose behind it all is to create a better life for everyone involved.
In other words, I need to look at the bright side.

Do you have a confession to make about your homesteading journey?  It's your turn to share!

Happy Homesteading!
Mrs. Redd