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

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!

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.

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.

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 Google.pink 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!

New dinner clean-up strategy?

We had a nice dinner, and for a treat (to go with fresh strawberries) I made a Dutch Baby for dessert. Not the exact one I linked to, but it’s pretty close. And yes, it’s supposed to be breakfast, but it was quite fantastic after dinner too.

F was super excited about dessert. We told her we’d serve it up after we finished cleaning up dinner.

What we meant was clearing the table. But then I found myself washing up all the pots and pans, loading the dishwasher, etc. It didn’t take long at all, and I had the promise of dessert to keep me on task.

It was so nice to come back to the kitchen after dessert to a kitchen that was 90% cleaned up! This should become a more frequent strategy – bribing ourselves with dessert.