Suburban Housewife or Earth Mother Hippie?

Who am I supposed to be? Who do I want to be? 

Who SHOULD I be?

to-be-yourself

My mind is a world unto itself.

When I relay my dreams to my husband he is most always incredulous. They are full stories, with characters, odd scenarios and they have a clear beginning and end. When I give myself over to my little gray cells to contemplate a subject, my mind can turn tirelessly for days while I still go about my daily activities.  I have no choice, my mind just needs to work it out, regardless of my thoughts on the matter. Today I am still turning over a thought line that started many days ago.

It all started with my IPAD.

I have a Facebook account with zero information on it. I signed up to see some photos of my friends new baby 8 years ago and once I started getting “friend” requests from people I barely knew and others I no longer wanted to know, I never returned. That doesn’t stop Facebook from coming through my email and I haven’t taken the time to decipher how one leaves Facebook. If one can.

Laying in bed I checked my email, Facebook wanted to know “Do you know these people?”. 

And there he was, a former, hmmm, not boyfriend, but more than friend? Whatever he was in relationship terms, he was a dear friend whom I shared some amazing experiences with. But…he was different now.  We spent countless hours talking about dreams, plans, ideas and ideology. We leaned more toward the live in the bush of Alaska and sew our own hemp clothes. Nature was like a religion to us, hugging trees was no joke and our best moments were spent sitting completely surrounded by the works of Mother Earth.

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That is not the man I see on Facebook.

He lives in a perfectly suburban home complete with decorative accessories, his wife is the picture perfect kind, makeup, scarf and earrings for every snap of the phone camera.

Where was the cabin in the woods, the organic veg garden, there aren’t even any trees in his .17 acre backyard. Did he change? Or did he bend?

Part of me was envious of his life. The idea of living in a new suburban home with a tiny backyard has always sounded good to me. Then I would have time to decorate each corner of the mantle just so. Salon appointments would be more regular than veterinarian visits and that frumpy feeling I seem to have day in and day out would no longer exist.

But then there’s the other me, the me who still wants to live on a giant partial of 50 acres, where you will find clean sustainably raised food and dirty kids in second hand clothes (because health and happiness are not found in a  J Crew dress or bottle of Purell).

The fact is, I want them both. I want an apartment in the city with a standing pedicure appointment and a farm in the country with a fairy forest to ramp through hand in hand barefoot with my girls. Whichever way I “bend” it will always include a French Country farm kitchen, toile and an English tea set. This much has always been clear.

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So who am I? A friend once dubbed me a  “Hippie Princess”.  Although I’ve always thought that was an apt description, it really doesn’t answer the churning in my brain.

Although in my youth these questions were fun to explore, as an adult and parent they seem disconcerting. I should already know these answers, how else am I to parent without a strong sense of self. Who am I? What a  ridiculous question for a woman of my age.

The reason for these questions becoming almost unbearable is simple, I’m looking at real estate.

For the money we can spend…..

we could get a nice little suburban home in a pretty little neighborhood.

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Or….a storybook house with 15 acres in need of major renovation, that could only be afforded over time. 

Storybook House

What would you choose?

If I was worrying about feeding  my children while making a 5 mile trek to my village with 50 pounds of water strapped to my back, I would not have these thoughts.

*sigh* , definitely a first world problem.

 

 

A Cow, A Goat, 4 Chickens and Chest Pains

I have been cleaning, decluttering, painting and all around beautifying.

And then…IT happened.

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First came the news that our Annabelle (bovine) is pregnant. One of the bull calves we put on her to nurse, grew up and took over the role of paramour. She is almost 7 months along which means we will need to stop milking her soon. Only those who live with fresh milk from their backyard will understand the worry that came over me knowing  we would no longer have fresh milk available. So in true form we delved head strong into getting a goat. Aldonza, a sweet gentle LaMancha is now in our pasture. Fences must be replaced, gardens must be protected and the existing animals must be gently introduced to the newest family member.

Definitely looking forward to the cheese.

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Next came the matter of our egg layers, who are now basically pets, they are either laying in some obscure location or have decided to retire. I would gladly stew the Rhode Island Reds, Henny and Penny, as they are not the friendliest, but Mrs. Orpington is the girl who loves too tight hugs from my 2 year old and will then follow her around for more. How do you make soup out of an animal that loves hugs?!

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So next we found ourselves in a stranger’s backyard, large fishing net in hand terrorizing 4 laying hens to relocate to our little farm, names to be determined at a later date.

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Once all things on the milk and egg front calmed down, I found myself sitting in the ER with chest pains. If I had just waited 6 hours I would have discovered a virus that would make it’s way through each member of my family, morphing into a different symptom with each incubation. My body weakness is muscle tension so it was no surprise Doc thought it was muscular. I am pleased to report that despite a hereditary heart problem my ticker is in perfect shape.

As we began to make progress in health it was time to take a look at the state of my much too ignored home, only to discover, the washing machine decided it was time to say adieu and the small drip from the garbage disposal I was managing with a tupperware container was now gushing.

As  a final “how do you do” we received the sad news that my husbands best job prospect demanded he work in Baltimore, Maryland where homeschool laws are absurd and the next best prospect would not be needing him to relocate until next spring. Hope is still alive, but the urgency for a ready to sale home is not.

Life, IT happens.

The purpose of this post is to get my patooty back in gear. Our home deserves to be beautiful and stress free whether we sell it to someone else or spend yet another winter here in Utah.

After finishing the room downstairs, my youngest started asking  to sleep in the “pretty bed downstairs”. I had spent so much energy on “getting the basement finished”, I didn’t realize my children would feel left out.

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When my first was born we bought a beautiful convertible crib (crib, toddler bed, daybed, full bed).  When my second was old enough I purchased a second toddler mattress and slipped it under the daybed as a trundle and this has been their bedroom for some time.  I expected at some point they would share the full size bed, but their personalities are not shaping up in a way that makes that expectation seem plausible. So I think it’s time to define their spaces.

Here’s the plan:

I’m going to make 2 toddler beds. That’s right I’m going to make them. I just can’t see spending money on furniture that will last only a few years.

Paint the walls. Keep me in your thoughts, I’m having a hard time with neutral. I want pink walls and so do the girls.

Toys will be limited to a few.

Create 2 full bed sets. Pillow cases, throw pillows and comforter. I’ll probably buy the bed skirt, that actually seems too difficult to sew.

Art for the walls.

New curtains

New furniture, well new to us. I will be scouring the classifieds and thrift stores.

 

Top 65 Essential Kitchen Tools

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What are the essential tools every kitchen needs?

While I’m attempting to beautify my home room by room I’m also deep cleaning, decluttering and making sure I have everything I need for that room to be useful. Which means the kitchen has been a huge undertaking. I know they say start with your biggest project first. I flaunted the general consensus and did my pantry and laundry room first. It gave me a little confidence and helped me along my path.

As I watch my kitchen makeover gradually come to fruition I knew what my next project would be. Using my kitchen. So what do I need to make sure my kitchen is useful?

“Get people back in the kitchen and combat the trend toward processed food and fast food.” Andrew Weil

Here is a good list for all things kitchen essentials. I needed a few more things than listed here, but it gave me a good start.

Katie at Wellness Mama has a wonderful list with several things I hadn’t thought to “need”. She is a fount of knowledge and my go to for so much. She speed reads medical dictionaries for fun, for heaven’s sake. I highly suggest you take a moment and visit her blog. If you don’t learn something new,  I’ll be a monkey’s uncle.

Although both these lists are good, what I really need is a paired down list for a small kitchen and even smaller budget.

 My List of the Top 65 Kitchen Essentials

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 Cookware

  1. Cast Iron Skillet
  2. 2 large Pots for Pasta etc.
  3.  Sauce Pan
  4.  2 Large 9×12 Glass Lasagna Pan
  5.  2 Glass Casserole Dishes
  6.  Cast Iron Bread Pan
  7.  Cast Iron 9×9 brownie pan
  8.  Cast Iron Cookie Sheet
  9.  Cast Iron Muffin Pan
  10.  2 Cake Pans
  11.  Glass containers with Lids for leftovers
  12. Mixing bowls

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Kitchen Gadgets and Tools

  1. can opener
  2. cheese Grater
  3. nutmeg Grater
  4. bread Knife
  5. chef’s Knife
  6. paring knife
  7. knife sharpener
  8. vegetable peeler
  9. meat thermometer
  10. candy thermometer
  11. whisk
  12. slotted spoon
  13. rubber spatula
  14. large spoon
  15. large ladle
  16. small ladle
  17. slotted spatula
  18. flat spatula
  19. wooden fork
  20. wooden spoons
  21. wooden spatula
  22. steamer basket
  23. potato masher
  24. salt and pepper grinder
  25. salad spinner
  26. colander
  27. cutting board
  28. measuring spoons and cups
  29. glass measuring cup for liquids
  30. rolling pin

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Linens and Dishes

  1. dish towels
  2. cheese cloth
  3. oven mitts
  4. oven pads
  5. french press
  6. mugs
  7. glasses
  8. dishes
  9. silverware

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Appliances

  1. crock pot
  2. blender
  3. mixer
  4. toaster or toaster oven
  5. electric tea kettle (stove top would be just fine)

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Canning

  1. canning jars
  2. large stock pot
  3. water bath canner
  4. Pressure canner (I’m still scarred by the volcanic explosion of canned beans I witnessed as a child, so I don’t have one, but to each their own.)
  5. jar rings
  6. canning lids
  7. magnetic lid lifter
  8. jar lifter
  9. funnel

Non Essential Appliances One Might Want

  1. food processor
  2. electric grill
  3. hand mixer
  4. dehydrator
  5. juicer
  6. immersion blender
  7. coffee pot
  8. rice cooker
  9. bread machine

 

Click Here for Printable  List of the Top 65 Kitchen Essentials

I realize this list of 65 Kitchen Essentials doesn’t cover everything you could possibly want. This list is for my family’s needs and our small kitchen. I wanted a clear concise list that I could print out, walk through my kitchen and check off. That way next time I’m puttering around the thrift store I’ll have a better idea of  what we need and I can drop off the things we don’t.