To Done

I strongly believe that a person’s worth is not determined by his or her productivity, accomplishments, etc. I am definitely OK with sitting still, rereading a book I love, watching the trees sway in the breeze. That said, accomplishing things is nice.

One of my ongoing frustrations with being a stay-at-home mom is feeling that I don’t get much¬†done. And even when I do, it’s either literally or figuratively consumable. At the end of the day/week/month/year, I feel have little to show for my efforts.

I do have my healthy, happy family. I know I help them. And that’s of incredible worth. For my combination of personality and culture, it’s hard that their continued existence is often the only evidence I have that I’ve lifted a finger.

I want that to be enough, and I’m working on it.

In the interim, on overwhelmed days, I’ve taken to making “To Done” lists.

I list what I’ve done so far that day, and then when I do more, I add those things to the list. The list knows I tidied, even if it’s messy again instantly. The list knows I fed children, even though they’re hungry again (and again). It’s nice. ūüôā



So, it’s mid-August!

Summer has flown by with travels, hot weather, random minor-but-inconvenient illness, and just general life.

F is a sassy kid, and she’s completely hilarious and often extremely trying. C is mobile and huge – I’m actually having some lower back pain from carrying her. We just put up baby gates in the sun room so she has a safe place to explore. Too bad the air conditioner in the sun room doesn’t really work.

The garden is… well let’s just say we’re planning to rent a weed-whacker. I¬†have¬†saved some tomato and ground cherry seeds, as well as seeds from our sunflowers, borage, and diablo cosmos. And I’m already tossing around ideas for next summer. Just think how impressed the neighbors will be with anything we do in the future, given how awful it looked this summer!¬†(Our neighbors are awesome, btw, and not out to judge us.)

More posts to follow! Though I suppose that’s what I thought¬†on June 12th, too. ūüôā

Summer Week in Review

Hot out. Lower 90s and humid.

Some evening thunderstorms. ‚̧

Enjoying our beach tent and kiddie pool, both in the back yard. Today, I literally tossed the tent off the deck folded up, it popped open mid-air, and was thus pretty much set up for me so the girls and I could hang out by the pool.

Baby C just had a well visit, which confirmed what we thought: she’s doing great.

Week 2 of our CSA included spinach, kale, scallions, Swiss chard, and lettuce. I processed it all the evening we got it, even though we had a late dinner and I didn’t get out of the kitchen till 11ish. It felt good.

I cooked my most successful Glorious One Pot meal yesterday. It was mostly free-styled. Just need to do a better job adding seasoning.

F and I¬†worked together to wrap a present for her best friend’s birthday party tomorrow. F wrote the card and insisted on putting it inside the box before we wrapped it. ūüôā

CSA Report

Well, we had our very first CSA pick-up yesterday!

J and I had physicals that afternoon, and there wasn’t much of the work day left after, so all four of us went to the farm.

We signed in and bagged our vegetables in a reusable bag. A bunch of this, a half-pound of that. We traded our collards for kale. We grabbed a pint container, trooped out to the field, and picked the strawberries that were part of our share. F was very interested in picking dandelions.

We came home needing to make dinner for 5 adults and 2 preschoolers. Though we had a fair number of veggies, we didn’t have enough of one (or it turns out, two) things that would feed so many. So I made flash-cooked kale with garlic scapes and some simply sauteed spinach. And a ton of rice and chicken thighs.

J kindly wrangled the dear, if slightly possessive, under-4 sweeties while I cooked in peace.

Then we threw together scratch brownies (slightly underdone, as usual) and served them after dinner with the field-fresh strawberries. Heaven!

Looking forward to bok choi and tatsoi this evening!

Spaghetti Sauce

…with basil fresh from the deck

…enough for us to eat for dinner

…enough to freeze some for a future meal

…with a couple summer squashes that have been kicking around the fridge for a week

I planned this (and our other meals this week) on Saturday morning, as usual. That routine is about to change because:

Our first CSA pick-up is this afternoon! Greens, greens, and greens. And strawberries. Looking forward to a harvest-centered meal plan strategy!

Clutter and Music

On Monday, I responded to what struck me as an odd point of view regarding clutter.

On Tuesday, I posted about the new music corner in the living room.

And here on Wednesday, I’m thinking about how those two ideas intersect. I’ve been playing piano several times a day and violin daily since we set up that space. J has sat down and played piano at least a couple times, and F likes to interrupt my practicing to ask for a turn. ūüôā

To some extent, our stuff enables activities. The music corner prompts us to engage in music. I wouldn’t call it “clutter,” then, because it serves a (positive) purpose in my life.

Though I’m interested in minimalism, I’m not hard-core. I don’t want to own only 100 things – but I have no desire to house¬†items that I don’t use. I do not celebrate clutter!¬†But I do agree with Ms. Browning that it’s enriching and wonderful to house items that we do use.


My parents were in town over the weekend and between them and J, we rearranged a few things!

We have a beautiful sun room that was added to the house in the early ’90s. It has skylights and tons of windows. And it has temperature control issues. Thus, it is a stupid place to keep your collection of string instruments. Unfortunately, that’s where mine had been from October through last weekend.

We moved a living room shelf upstairs, scooted another living room bookshelf to the other side of the room, and freed up space for a music corner. My mother even thought to suggest we set up our keyboard. F, J, and I have been having fun playing piano. And now that my violin is living in a more temperature-stable place, I celebrated by restringing it.

The music corner could for sure use some decorative touches and some wire control, but for now it’s together, accessible, and even dusted!Music Corner

Celebrate Clutter?

Did anyone else read Let’s Celebrate¬†the Art of Clutter in the NY Times this weekend?

Dominique Browning says we should accept that we accumulate stuff, and to stop stressing about it and go ahead and treasure it. She seems to see minimalism as kind of a silly trend, mostly for millennials.

So, I like it when people tell me to stop stressing about something that to some degree does stress me out. And I find a cluttered house somewhat stressful. But I have to say, her article did not resonate with me.

She talks about owning stuff made by artisans, albeit sometimes grabbed at a garage sale for ten bucks. Though that sounds nice, it does not reflect the type¬†of “stuff” that’s currently in my life. She also talks blithely about passing her stuff to her kids though she knows¬†they don’t want it, and furthermore seems to think that it¬†in some way, she is her stuff.¬†Yikes?

She invites us¬†to call her materialistic like it’s¬†a bad thing. It’s OK to like your stuff, Ms. B! But don’t¬†insist¬†that your kids (or anyone else)¬†must¬†feel the same way about it.

Um, Hello Friday!

I’m not sure how the long weekend translated into this week feeling much more than one day shorter.

We did a great job of going out and about this week. We went to a barbecue/birthday party. We bought meat for dinner, we went to the library, we bought a couple of packages of underwear (no,, I don’t really want little girl panties to arrive at my door that may or may not say “diva” on them), we put gas in the car. We watered the plants when it was still early and cool enough to not burn them. And we watered the seeds in the front yard with the hose. And while we were at it, we watered F and her friend. New favorite summer activity!

I’m also on a Pride and Prejudice bender. Which means: read the last few scenes, starting a little before Lady Catherine’s arrival. Then read the book from the beginning. Then fire up the A&E miniseries after F is in bed. Two words: Colin Firth.

Enjoy your weekend!

Strawberry Cake

Still trying to make good use of our farm-fresh strawberries, and reveling in having cleaned the house the day before, F and I made this¬†strawberry cake. I didn’t do any recipe research or evaluation – it was just the first hit on cake batter

It came out pretty nice despite a couple of challenges.

First, I had no cake flour. So I mixed in some cornstarch¬†(with no fussy sifting, in part because I’m lazy and in part because I don’t own a sifter).

Then, I could not find my 9″ round cake pans. This turned out to be a good thing because I found this lovely pan substitution chart¬†which will certainly come in handy again sometime. I ended up using a silicone bundt pan that I miraculously found kicking around the basement.accidental bundt

Lastly, I ran out of powdered sugar for the glaze, but only just. My solution here was to ignore it. It tasted phenomenal, but was very drippy, and my cake plate has no rim so there was some goo to wipe of the counter.

We had our local family over for dinner that night, and it was fun to surprise them with a random cake!