Are You Using That Kitchen Knife Properly? How I Learned to Save Time (and My Fingers!)

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I’ve occasionally been known to spend a happening Friday night puttering around my kitchen making things like laundry soap and homemade deodorant. I’m a party animal. What can I say?

Still, I surprised myself by happily spending two hours taking a free online “mini” knife skills class until I finally realized it was almost midnight!

Truth be told, I’ve never thought much about the way that I cut food.

Sometimes I’ve frustrated myself, struggled to do a job properly, nicked myself in the process, or ended up butchering what was an otherwise lovely tomato or butternut squash in my amateurish process.

Not anymore!

Tonight I learned how to:

  • properly hone my knives to keep them sharp between actual sharpenings. I actually skipped straight to this in the last lesson because I had never, ever done it before (honestly, I was scared to try it), and it had been bugging me lately how dull my knives were. Sharper knives = easier, faster cutting.
  • hold my knife correctly, for better maneuvering, smoother cuts, and not wrenching up my back or shoulder by doing it wrong
  • hold the item I’m cutting more securely so that I can get precise cuts, without cutting off a pinkie in the process
  • tackle large or tricky items, like pineapples and squash, with ease 
  • dice onions more finely and without making my eyes water
  • make prettier looking julienne cuts for salads
  • a few tricks for slicing more evenly and more quickly 
  • cut using a more flowing, circular motion instead of a rough, chopping motion, which feels more pleasant and makes the task go much faster
  • the only three knives that most cooks ever need and how to figure out which ones to buy

When Craftsy asked me to review a class, I initially had my eye on something more complicated and gourmet, like making homemade Italian-style fresh pasta or the perfect pie crust. Their suggestion of trying out their free mini-course on knife skills sounded a whole lot less fancy and impressive.

Nonetheless, I agreed to it (as well as an artisan baking class that I’ll tell you about later this month), and as I prepared to take the class, I got to thinking that realistically, I would make homemade pasta maybe twice a year. Tops.

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But I use my knives every single day. Why not get better at using them?

The surprising thing was… learning to chop and dice and slice like a pro actually made me feel like I could make something more gourmet out of any old meal, and in less time than usual.

Brendan, the teacher, has been a chef instructor for 8 years, with a specialty in knife skills (honestly, I didn’t even know that was a thing, but listening to him showed me just how much I didn’t know about knives or how to use them!).

He made it look so easy, and the further I went in the class, the better and faster I could feel myself getting with practice. I bet in no time these new skills will actually become habit and will seep their way into all of my food preparations.

I even noticed halfway through my time tonight that every time I picked up my knife wrong, I noticed right away, immediately corrected, and found that it felt more familiar each time I did it.

Want to take the class yourself? It’s free, y’all!

Sometimes I write sponsored posts (and this is one – thanks, Craftsy, for supporting Keeper of the Home!) where I’m promoting a product that you could go and buy.

The really awesome thing about this particular post is that this mini-class is absolutely free to anyone, whether they’re my reader or not.

They’ve made some of their high-quality online courses free so that people can check them out, see if you like how they work, decide if you think they’re worth it, etc.

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I’ll admit, I was impressed. The area where you go to watch your videos is totally intuitive and easy to figure out. It’s all streaming, so you don’t have to download anything.

I thought it was clever that they have a 30-second rewind button so that if you want to quickly go back and hear something a second time, it’s a quick click of a button. My favorite feature was the notes bar, where you can type in notes as you’re watching, and then just hit enter to save them to your account. Brilliant!

I kept typing notes during the first video in particular, where Brendan talked about different types of knives and what to look for in a good knife, since mine are terribly old and dull (and yes, pretty cheap) and I know that with just one or two really great knives, I could make my cooking so much more efficient.

I’m motivated now to keep my eyes open for a good deal on a quality knife, especially a chef’s knife, and then probably a serrated, followed by a paring knife. With those three, you can do pretty much anything and it suits my minimalistic style to have only a few knives with which I can handle pretty much any task.

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Want to spend an afternoon or evening being super cool a bit of a geek like me and learn to wield a knife properly? You totally can. Here’s the link to take the class:

Complete Knife Skills with Brendan McDermott (free mini-class)

All together, it’s 5 lessons, the 1st and 5th of which are fairly short (less than 10 minutes), and then the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th are a bit longer (more like 30-40 each). You can watch them whenever you like, and I found that if I stopped to go do something or had to refresh my computer, it saved exactly where I was in the video so I just picked up where I left off.

I’m thinking of letting my almost 10-year-old daughter work through this class as well. She loves to help in the kitchen, but I want to make sure that she’s using a knife safely (which he emphasizes over and over, pointing out exactly how not to hurt yourself– I confess, I had to laugh at several of his examples of doing it “wrong” because it was exactly how I do it!). If you’ve got an older child or teen that’s learning to cook, this would be a perfect introduction for them.

Are You Using That Kitchen Knife Properly? How I Learned to Save Time (and My Fingers!) {keeperofthehome.org}

Have you ever learned how to use a knife properly? Or do you sort of hack your way through fruits and vegetables like I did? :)

Disclosure: This post was paid for by Craftsy. All opinions expressed are my own.

Real Deals: This Week’s Sales and Discounts on Natural Products

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This week’s top deals:

bob As low as $11.87-$13.96 ($2.97-$3.49/ pack) Bob’s Red Mill Oats Rolled Regular, 32-Ounce (Pack of 4) on sale for $13.96.  Save an additional 5-15% with Subscribe & Save.  Get FREE Shipping with qualifying order.

spa

$30.97 on sale for $9.95  Spa Party Planning Package Available for Limited Release!  This “package” includes 3 eBooks: Simple Scrubs to Make and Give, Food on Your Face for Acne and Oily Skin, and a comprehensive guide that provides all the steps for hosting a spa party (including recipes, shopping lists, and more).  You’ll also receive a few great coupons and some bonus printables.

OR Save big:

$543.32 on sale for $29.95 Group Party License Package.  This package allows the hostess (you!) to pass on up to 20 copies of Simple Scrubs to Make and Give and Food on Your Face for Acne and Oily Skin to your friends and party attendees.   Also includes a ton of bonus items, such as 40% off natural facial moisturizer, free video downloads on self-care and self-massage, a special package with party favors like handmade soap, lip balms, lotions, and a free clay mask.

slim snack

Just $13.95  Slim Snack: Fits in Lunchboxes Where Bulky Lunch Containers Don’t. SNACK BAG & POPSICLE ALL IN ONE! Bring Snacks to Work, School, Gym & Make Blender Pops! (Pack of 4)   This fun deal is back on sale for the lowest price to-date!

scale

Just $18.95 Smart Weigh Precision Digital Vanity / Bathroom Scale, “Smart Step-On” Technology, Tempered Glass Platform and Large Backlight Display.  Another lowest price to-date deal!

(Hat tip to Jungle Deals & Steals for these two deals!)

apple cider

Just $3.13 Vitacost Organic Apple Cider Vinegar — 32 fl oz  Regular price $4.49    (note – this is our referral link, and if you want, you can sign up for a $10 off $30 coupon – if you don’t want to, just search “Vitacost Organic Apple Cider Vinegar” in the store search bar to find it.)

diaper

Nikki’s Diapers has some cloth diapers on sale.  Just Click “Sale” (left hand side of site) and then “Cloth Diapers”.  

There are Best Bottom Training Pants regular $12.95 on sale for $6.95.  Just click “Sale” and then “Closeout Sales”

While you’re there, check out this great baby/shower gift:

$17.95 on sale for $11.98  the eBook Changing Diapers: The Hip Mom’s Guide To Modern Cloth Diapering by Kelly Wels takes everything you need to know about cloth diapers and puts it in one easy to understand, informative book! Kelly Wels is a leading authority in the movement toward modern cloth diapering and has done the research for you with a book that is fun & easy to read.

Kelly explains the different diaper types, brands, and accessories available without using confusing diaper lingo. The book discusses how cloth diapers can save you money and help save the planet. It covers cloth diapering at daycare, how to get Daddy involved, washing cloth diapers and the health benefits. She explains what and how many diapers you need, how to buy what will fit and how to launder it. 

leggings

$36.00 on sale for $15  BabyLegs 3 pack at Nikki’s Diapers.  Or maybe you just want one pair: $12.00 on sale for $10.  Many different discounted prints on sale!  Just click “Sale” and then “Baby Items”

abe

Save $10 TODAY ONLY Abe’s Market $10 Off Purchase of $40 or More.  Use Coupon code AUTUMN.  Offer expires September 30, 2014.  Check out their sale section and save even more!

FREE Kindle ebooks:

(Note: Prices can change without notice, so please double check the price before purchasing)

granny

The Granny Plan: 12 Steps to Everyday Home Cooking

easy back

Easy Recipes for Back to School: A short collection of recipes from the cookbook Wholesome: Feed Your Family For Less

paleo snack

Paleo Snack Recipes: Healthy and Delicious Paleo Diet Snacks!

paleo pizza

Delicious Paleo Pizza: The Best Homemade Pizza Recipes 

1 min

One Minute Metabolism: How to boost your metabolism in 60 seconds every time you eat and never diet again. Two techniques to increase metabolism naturally. (Just FYI, I haven’t read this book, so I’m not sure whether I would agree with it’s principles or not.)

This week’s best coupons:


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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. When you buy through our links, we earn a small commission, which helps to keep this site going so that we can continue to offer free and useful content, so thanks!
About prices: Though we do our very best to post only current deals and prices and to let you know when offers expire, companies can and do change their prices and offers at their own discretion, and we have no control over this. If you notice that a deal has changed, please let us know and we’ll change the post to alert other readers that something is no longer available. Thanks for understanding!

A Day in the Life: Stacy {Mom of 3 Striving for Change While Living in Grace}

A Day in the Life {Keeper of the Home}

By Stacy Karen, Contributing Writer

This is my third year writing a day in the life post for Keeper of the Home. And I must say, it feels strange! It’s caused me to reflect over how my life has changed in the past few years and I’m wrestling with a little frustration over the fact that I’m not changing as fast as I’d like to. 

When my health fell apart last year (I ended up being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease), my home suffered too. It’s been a hard journey for the whole family. Some days I carry a lot of guilt and shame. Others, I’m trucking along just fine. It’s a mix. 

I hope this retelling of one day in my life will show how I am striving for change, while giving myself grace. I also hope it demonstrates how I’ve come to accept the help of others, simplified things, and stopped packing my day full to the brim. 

The day I chose to share is a Tuesday. Tuesdays are nice days for me; my mother-in-law takes the kids for a few hours after lunch and my introverted-self gets a little quiet time. I look forward to Tuesdays every week. 

And for a little background, I’m a stay-at-home mom of three kids, ages 13, 9, and 4. We homeschool. My husband is a preacher and works next door. 

6:30 a.m.

The day begins when my alarm goes off. I hit snooze and rest for ten minutes. So much advice about becoming an early riser suggests NEVER pressing snooze, but, it’s my way of easing into the morning. Those ten minutes of snooze time are delicious. It’s an opportunity to wake up a bit and feel rested before I start to move around. I aim to only hit snooze once. 

I’ve also taken to making my to-do list the night before, so I know exactly what I’m doing when I get up. Here are some of the tasks I planned for today:

A Day in the Life: Stacy  {KeeperoftheHome.org}

After the alarm goes off again, I get up and go to the comfiest chair in my living room. I grab my Bible on the way. Once I realize I don’t have my book light, I get the iPad instead. (Everyone will wake up if I turn on a light. This house is small and the rooms are close together). 

I open my Bible App and read Psalm 27. I’m praying this passage for a friend who requested it. I think about her situation and ask God to turn things out for good. I sit in awe of my friend’s faith, too. 

After reading, I move to the floor and do some push-ups and squats. These are nice, quiet exercises that don’t wake anyone! 

Next, I do some stretching. I pull out the iPad again and read while I stretch. I read this wonderful post by Ann Voskamp and feel determined again to be intentional with my kids today. Why is that so hard sometimes?

Then I mess around on Facebook for a while. 

7:30 a.m.

I put on water for tea. I discovered an allergy to coffee a few months ago and I still miss it some mornings! 

I pray for the day. My daughter starts a new class this morning, so I pray especially about that. We have some concerns and are not sure how it will go. 

While the water boils, I start breakfast (sausages and eggs, plus a tiny bite of spinach). From the freezer I grab a bag full of chicken and veggies. This will become our dinner. (I prepped a bunch of freezer meals over the weekend, using a gluten-free Costco meal plan. It was the easiest freezer cooking I’ve ever done.)

Since I forgot to thaw the bag out last night, I cut it off and place its contents in the Crock-Pot. Hooray for massive Crock-Pots! It’s great to know that this frozen mass with become soup by dinner time. 

7:45 a.m.

The kids start to wander out. After many years of super-early mornings, I treasure these later ones. 

My son is excited about the sausages for breakfast (he’s been asking for them), but my 4-year-old tells me she doesn’t like sausages. 

8 a.m.

We sit down to breakfast and read Proverbs 1 to the kids. I only get a few verses in before my son has demolished his breakfast and wants more. 

We get through the chapter amid plenty of interruptions and a few pauses to get my littlest to eat her sausage. (Which she ends up liking!)

As we clean up after breakfast, my son talks to me about his upcoming birthday. My oldest has now gone to shower and the youngest is playing at the table.

8:30 a.m.

I’m feeling productive. Then I look down and notice I’m still in my pajamas! 

I’m headed to the room to get dressed and also help my 4-year-old get ready for the day. 

My older kids do math with their dad while I do a little “school work” with my youngest. I’m finding that giving her attention first is helping the rest of the morning go more smoothly.

A Day in the Life: Stacy  {KeeperoftheHome.org}

Once we are done I fold some laundry before taking my oldest daughter to her class. 

I’m thankful my husband is willing to stay home with the other two while I do this. 

We arrive at class. Once my daughter is settled, I work on my lesson for the ladies devotional. I only teach once or twice a year and tonight is my turn (along with another friend). We are working though the fruit of the spirit. My topic is kindness. 

A Day in the Life: Stacy  {KeeperoftheHome.org}

As I work, I listen to the interaction between my daughter and her teacher. I’m really happy with how well it’s going! Phew. 

Once the lesson is over, we head back home and my husband goes to his office. The kids and I work on their other school lessons until lunch time. 

This time is peppered with a few difficult moments. Since my kids are getting older, I won’t write much detail about that online, but I’m sure you can imagine. 

Part of the time I help my oldest prepare for an online class she will be taking. While I do that my son helps his little sister with a reading lesson. 

We have a quick lunch (leftovers from dinner) and head to grandma’s house. Throughout the morning I have been gathering necessary items to take with us:

A Day in the Life: Stacy  {KeeperoftheHome.org}

My mother-in-law does a little a schooling with them too. I know. I am seriously blessed! 

The kids only take a few things to work on at Grandma’s. But it gives me permission not to rush the morning and also provides a little break. It’s really nice not to have to do everything. 

I stay and chat a while with my mother-in-law then head back home. 

Once home, I work on taking pictures for an upcoming project (which releases today! If you’ve ever wanted to host a spa night with your friends, you’ll want to check it out).

I edit pictures and try to make an ad. 

A Day in the Life: Stacy  {KeeperoftheHome.org}

Two hours goes by fast and it’s time to pick my son up for martial arts. 

I go get him and take my  notes for the ladies’ devotional to look over while I wait. 

I am thankful to have found some things close to home. In the past I have travelled a lot further to get to classes and activities, but recently, we have discovered some that are only minutes from our house. This is a huge time-saver and blessing!

After martial arts, we go to Grandma’s to pick up the girls. Grandma has fed them dinner! Yay. I forgot she would do that when I put my meal in the Crock-Pot this morning! But, it won’t go to waste since my husband still needs dinner and we can eat it for lunch tomorrow. 

My son eats while I talk with my mother-in-law. Then we go home. 

5:30 p.m.

My oldest and I head outside to take a photo for her profile picture in her online course. She wants an image of her hands writing (since she loves writing so much). I take the picture and accidentally sit in a puddle. Yep. 

6:00 p.m.

I decide to live on the wild side and take a shower before the ladies devotional. (It starts at 7 p.m.)

I let the kids watch a show while I get ready. 

My husband gets home and I give him a bowl of soup as I head out the door with the 13-year-old. We go to the ladies devotional and have a nice time visiting with everyone. 

I pretend I’m not nervous and deliver my lesson. You can get the gist of what I said here: On Kindness.

After the devotional everyone stays to chat and eat. My daughter is ready to go home and I take her to the house. I come back and visit some more. 

Many of the ladies stay longer than usual. I don’t get home until almost 10 p.m. My hubby has put the kids to bed. 

10 p.m.

I take my magnesium drink and get ready for bed myself. 

This has been a good day. One I got a lot of down time. Most days are not quite this easy. Or even close, actually. I am grateful to have people in my life who help me and allow me the extra time to take care of myself. 

I am still on a journey of taking back my health and home. It’s a bumpy ride. Sometimes it feels like I’m taking two steps forward and one step back. And others, I’m taking three steps back! 

If you’d like to know more about my journey back to a healthy body and healthy home, you can learn more here.

What do you do when it feels like you’re taking two steps forward and one step back … or three steps back?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. When you buy through our links, we earn a small commission, which helps to keep this site going so that we can continue to offer free and useful content, so thanks!

Weekend Links

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Links for this week:

You’ll Always Lose at the Comparison Game (So Stop Playing It) @ The Art of Non-Conformity

A different look at drudgery. @ Joy’s Hope

My Favorite Autumn Salad @ Nourished Kitchen

the gift of ordinary time @ A Deeper Story 

The Precious Hem @ (in)courage 

10 Easy Ways to Pack More Fermented Foods in Your Child’s Lunch @ GNOWFGLINS

The Thrill of an Unrushed Yes @ A Holy Experience

Customizable Coconut Milk Smoothie: Rich in Healthy Fats to Curb the Munchies @ Red and Honey

What inspiring things have you read lately?

A Day in the Life: Rebecca {Mom of 2 and Work-at-Home Virtual Assistant}

 

A Day in the Life: Rebecca {Keeper of the Home}

By Rebecca, Contributing Writer

There really is no such thing as a “typical” day in my house. I grew up without a mom, so becoming a mother four years ago was quite challenging to me in that I didn’t have an example of my own to emulate. This resulted in a kind of go-with-my-gut approach to parenting that works well for me some days and not so much other days.

We also went from a one-kid household to a two-kid household seven months ago after the birth of our daughter, and I honestly think we’re still trying to recover. Throw into the mix the fact that my husband was laid off from his job of ten years back in June and there’s yet another element to make our days anything but ordinary.

We have a loose weekly schedule that includes things like grocery shopping on Mondays and family outings (or field trips to go along with our son’s preschool curriculum) on Wednesdays, a load of laundry every day and specific times for work, but there are weeks that these things don’t happen when they’re supposed to or even at all. We try to have grace with ourselves and each other through it all and know that this crazy time of life isn’t permanent. All too soon, the tiny people we’re raising will be big people and the struggles with naps or long, sleepless nights that permeate our days right now will be a thing of the past.

I love these day in the life posts, not only because I get to see a glimpse of the lives of other women, but also so that I have a record that I can look back on some day to remember what life was like for me during a particular season. I’ve done these back when I was still in college as well as when I only had a one-year-old little boy and didn’t work from home. I can reminisce about these times fondly, but also be thankful that I’m no longer struggling through some of the more difficult stuff!

Various Early Morning Hours

If you want to be technical, my day starts in the wee hours of the morning when my 7-month-old daughter wakes up. She was an amazing sleeper until she hit about six months and suddenly decided to start waking up every few hours or so (some nights every hour!), but usually (if I’m lucky!) I’m able to nurse her back to sleep fairly easily.

A Day in the Life: Rebecca {Keeper of the Home}

7:15 a.m.

We’re up for the day for good this time! My first task of the morning is changing a diaper, then I start in on my daily reading. I try to do this first thing in the morning as it’s really the only time of day I have to myself … sort of (generally my daughter is climbing around on some part of me while I attempt to read, so I often read out loud to her to try and keep my concentration). Right now I’m working my way through Jesus Calling, A Jane Austen Devotional (because I’m kind of a Jane Austen dork), and Glimpses of Grace (because I’m also kind of a Madeleine L’Engle dork).

8:00 a.m.

While my husband takes a shower, I set up our “arena” in the living room which basically consists of a large, baby-safe area, blocked off by a bench, couch cushions, and random pillows, where my very active daughter can roam FREE! I’m also doing a very loose preschool curriculum with our 4-year-old son this year, so I read him his books for the week while I nurse our daughter.

8:30 a.m.

My husband is out of the shower, so I start breakfast. While the eggs are frying, I also start boiling some water to brew kombucha and throw some frozen chicken bones, water, and apple cider vinegar into the slow cooker to make stock. Confession: I haven’t made kombucha in months. I write the date on the jars so I know when to stop brewing them, and I see that it’s been two months since I last brewed any. Today, though, today it will be done!

A Day in the Life: Rebecca {Keeper of the Home}

8:45 a.m.

Breakfast is ready! We gather around the table and our son picks a story from The Jesus Storybook Bible for me to read, then we pray and dig in. Most weekdays we have scrambled cheesy eggs, avocado, yogurt, bananas, tea for me, coffee for my husband, and some fermented cod liver oil. For our daughter, we’re introducing solids very slowly using the baby-led weaning approach (which we also did with our son). When she gets solids, it’s generally some avocado, banana, and egg yolk.

9:15 a.m.

We’re finished with breakfast and it’s time to lay my daughter down for her first nap. I nurse her to sleep while our son and (mostly) my husband clean up after breakfast. I’ve really struggled with her nap time routine, but I also struggled with my son’s routine so I try to keep in mind just how temporary this is. Some days it takes a while to get her to sleep. Some days it doesn’t take any time at all. Some days she won’t even go to sleep. Thankfully, today is right about in the middle and it takes about 20 minutes. I’m relieved as she has been really fighting naps, so this is a minor victory for mama!

9:35 a.m.

While she sleeps, I head into my “office” to get some work done. We live in a very small house, so we converted a corner of our master bedroom closet to my office area and I’m able to work quietly in there while still keeping an ear out for her.

A Day in the Life: Rebecca {Keeper of the Home}

10:00 a.m.

I come out of my office and my husband heads off to do some work of his own, which can be anything from consulting work, studying for a class he’s taking, or job searching. Our son and I continue his “classwork” for the week and start gathering the ingredients for pumpkin spice loaf. This week’s curriculum theme is dairy products, so we made butter using the jar-shaking method the day before and today we’re making some bread to eat with the butter! I crack the eggs into the bowl along with the other wet ingredients and my son asks if he can stir it with the whisk. He ultimately just ends up jiggling the bowl around a little and telling me the eggs are dancing, but I’m glad for anything that gives him a love of cooking.

A Day in the Life: Rebecca {Keeper of the Home}

10:15 a.m.

I pause breadmaking to get my daughter who has woken up from her nap. I change a diaper and then strap her on my back in my mei tai before heading back to the kitchen. After I stick the bread in the oven to bake, we finish the kombucha since the tea/sugar mixture has cooled enough. I pour everything into the jar, then put the mother/SCOBY in and pour the old kombucha starter liquid on top. My son proclaims that the mother is all tucked in and helps me write the date on the outside of the jar.

10:45 a.m.

I take my daughter off my back and change a diaper then nurse her while my son asks no less than five times when the bread is going to be done. (“Soon!”) She then goes in the living room play area while I start a load of diapers to wash (I did not take a picture of the dirty diapers – you’re welcome!).

11:00 a.m.

I strap my daughter on again and we tackle cleaning the two bathrooms. Confession: it’s been weeks since I cleaned the bathrooms. I somehow manage to clean the toilets once a week, but all the other surfaces in the bathrooms are another story entirely. Today, though, I’ve got an hour-and-a-half of nothing else scheduled or planned so the bathrooms will finally be cleaned! My son helps me by wiping various things with a cleaning rag and asking me when the bread will be done. (“Soon!”)

A Day in the Life: Rebecca {Keeper of the Home}

11:30 a.m.

The bread is done (finally!), so I pull it out of the oven to let it cool. My son wants a piece NOW. I tell him he has to wait until lunch time so it can cool off. He doesn’t much care for this.

While the bread is cooling, I fill a pan with water to make hard-boiled eggs for my son’s lunch. Then I empty all the trashes in the house and sweep the bathroom floor.

12:15 p.m.

I get the rest of lunch started.

A Day in the Life: Rebecca {Keeper of the Home}

12:30 p.m.

Lunch time!  Our mid-day meal is usually a smorgasborg of leftovers and whatever else I can find in the fridge. Today my son is having hard-boiled eggs, steamed broccoli, homemade sauerkraut, and, of course, some pumpkin bread with the butter he made. I’m having hot dogs, broccoli, and pumpkin bread as well.

1:00 p.m.

We clean up after lunch. My husband rejoins us and while I lay our daughter down for her afternoon nap, my husband reads our son a few stories before he starts his afternoon “quiet” time and my husband returns to his work time. I use quotes because, really, I don’t think quiet is a word that 4-year-old boys understand all that well. Every so often, he actually takes a nap during quiet time, but this happens few and far between these days. Usually he just plays, looks at books in his room, and asks every so often (or sometimes every five minutes) when quiet time will be done.

A Day in the Life: Rebecca {Keeper of the Home}

1:30 p.m.

As with her morning nap, the length of time it takes me to get our daughter to sleep for her afternoon nap varies each day. Some days there’s absolutely no hope of getting her to sleep, so I bring her back out to her “arena” area so she can play while I sit on the couch and get some work done. Today, though, she falls asleep relatively easily and I head back into my closet office to work.

2:10 p.m.

Like clockwork, she wakes up after about 40 minutes (right now it feels like this phase will never end). There usually isn’t even a buffer of in-between consciousness. She’s either completely asleep or completely awake. I do try to get her to go back to sleep, but she lets me know that she’s not interested. So I change a diaper and we head back out to the living room so she can play while I finish what I was working on.

2:30 p.m.

I finally get a shower today! Hooray!

A Day in the Life: Rebecca {Keeper of the Home} 

3:00 p.m.

I head back to the living room to play with our daughter. Her current favorite activities include rubbing her two new tiny teeth on random objects, climbing all over me, and grabbing the cat’s tail. The last one on this list has caused me more than one heart attack in the last few months.

A Day in the Life: Rebecca {Keeper of the Home}

3:30 p.m.

Our son is up from his nap, so he snacks on some raisins. He likes to wander around and play with his train set while he eats so it takes him about a half hour to finish them.

4:00 p.m.

I get supper started.  Tonight we’re having roasted chicken thighs, carrots Vichy, and roasted Brussels sprouts. The chicken takes two hours to roast so I have to get it started early, but this is one of the easiest main dishes I make since all of the prep takes about five minutes. By the time I’m done with the side dishes, it’s all ready to go together.

5:00 p.m.

I start preparing the carrots and the Brussels sprouts. In some ways, I find cooking cathartic. Leading up to supper time, I can sometimes convince myself that I just don’t have the energy to get everything on the table and we should rely on our old friend Chipotle again. But then once I start peeling and chopping, I’m on auto-pilot and I find that I’m able to just think while my husband plays with the kids.  I have a chance to work through all the half-baked thoughts I had throughout the day that were interrupted for whatever reason. I think it provides me with a little needed mental “down time” after spending most of the day with two tiny people.

A Day in the Life: Rebecca {Keeper of the Home}

6:00 p.m.

Supper is on the table! We’ve been lighting a beeswax candle during our evening meal recently per our son’s request and I think it might have to become a permanent ritual as it’s a great and easy way to set a calmer mood during the meal.

6:45 p.m.

Supper is done and clean-up begins. I get our daughter ready for bed while my husband tackles the kitchen and my son (supposedly) picks up the living room. We’re still working on that last one….

7:00 p.m.

It’s time for bed for our daughter. Her daddy and brother say good night to her and I take her into the bedroom. She usually goes to sleep pretty easily at night, which I’m truly thankful for, and tonight is no different. I nurse her to sleep while listening to an audiobook on my iPod. This is really the only way I get to “read” these days.

7:30 p.m.

She’s asleep so I (once more) head into the closet office to get a few more things done on the computer. I use this time for anything from work (which is what I happened to do this night as we had a big bundle sale coming up) to meal planning to balancing the checkbook. I have at least 40 minutes until she wakes up the first time, so I try and get as much done as I can so my husband and I can spend some time together in the evening. Usually she only wakes up this one time in the evenings and then sleeps for a few hours, but there are also bad nights where she’s awake every hour. Luckily those are rare.

Meanwhile, my husband is giving our son his bath. They’ll read stories and then I’ll head in to our son’s room to tell him a “tiny friends” story which is this goofy series of stories about a tiny fox, tiny penguin, tiny panda bear, and a tiny kangaroo that I happened to tell him about one night and now he wants a story about them every night. If anyone has any suggestions for more tiny friends adventures, feel free to let me know! I’m running out of ideas!

football

8:45 p.m.

The kids are in bed and my husband and I get some time together! He makes pumpkin pie smoothies for us and it happens to be a Thursday, so we watch a football game together. I like watching football with him because, well, I like football, but also because we can chat when there’s not much action on the field. We’re all about the multi-tasking!

10:30 p.m.

Bed time! I don’t always go to bed this early and sometimes push myself to midnight or 1 am just so I can get a few more things done without interruptions, but I always end up regretting it the next day. I’ve been trying to be better lately and I think it’s been good for me.

I didn’t get the diapers switched out of the washer (which also means I didn’t actually wash any clothes today), I didn’t take our son for a walk (since we don’t have a yard, I try to take him for walks as much as possible), and there were probably several other things on my to-do list that didn’t get done. But I was able to cross off a few things and no one died or was seriously injured, so I call the day a success!

What season of life are you in right now? How have you learned to accept it with grace?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. When you buy through our links, we earn a small commission, which helps to keep this site going so that we can continue to offer free and useful content, so thanks!

A Day in the Life: Leigh Ann {A Work-at-Home Mom Relying on Grace}

A Day in the Life {Keeper of the Home}

By Leigh Ann Dutton, Contributing Writer

It had been a long night. I made it 30 years without pulling an all-nighter. But we were down to the wire, and we had to get the Fruit of the Spirit Curriculum for Toddlers to market on time.

It was 5:30 a.m. before I crawled into bed for a prayerful couple of hours of sleep before my children woke from a full night’s rest ready for a new day.

The cost of being a work-at-home-mom can be steep at times. Sometimes I wonder if it’s worth it. Would it better to just have an office door I can close? Would it be better if I could be home and be all there? Will I ever figure out how to manage my time and not see all the areas I fail?

I don’t know. But I do know that it is in this limbo where grace makes all the more sense to me. Where grace becomes more beautiful, more grandiose.

Left to myself, I’m a mess. But His grace covers, and this day in my life is a testament to His everyday grace. After only two hours of sleep, I roused to this beautiful boy.

A Day in the Life: Leigh Ann {KeeperoftheHome.org}

On Instagram, I said, “One must determine the quality of sleep by the state of one’s hair each morning.” He slept hard, and he woke happy.

I managed three hours of sleep before my boys woke one by one.

As a family, we shared a simple breakfast of eggs and avocado. We’re on day 23 of the Whole 30 Challenge. Today, I’m grateful for the extra energy this challenge has brought me.

After breakfast we do family devotions, and by 9 a.m. my husband is in the office (a bedroom we converted to an office space when he quit his corporate job).

I clean up the dishes and go through my simple morning routine, but I skip the laundry and the bed making … okay I skip the entire routine except cleaning up dishes.

I take the kids outside for some sunshine and fresh air. Today, the housework can wait. I’m spending time with my babies.

A Day in the Life: Leigh Ann {KeeperoftheHome.org}

We water our vegetable garden and pull a few weeds. Since the soil is dry to the touch, we pull out the water hose.

My 3-year-old and I take turns watering everything. My 1-year-old comes in behind us managing to get as muddy as possible.

By around 10 a.m., the baby is ready for a nap and the toddler needs a snack. Before I head upstairs to lay the baby down, I rinse a pear for my oldest and clean my baby’s hands and legs.

My 3-year-old sits at the table to eat while I head upstairs. The baby goes down easily for which I am grateful.

I gather my homeschool preschool bag and thank God for lessons already prepared ahead of time and begin learning time with my 3-year-old.

I love that you can see the dishwasher sitting wide open in the background of the picture below.

A Day in the Life: Leigh Ann {KeeperoftheHome.org}

We read about Creation and do a craft for Day 1 and Day 2 of Creation.

A Day in the Life: Leigh Ann {KeeperoftheHome.org}

We talk about how everything God creates is good, and find all the letter G’s throughout the Bible story.

A Day in the Life: Leigh Ann {KeeperoftheHome.org}

We quickly made an earth ornament for our Fruit of the Spirit tree to remind us of God’s goodness found in Creation.

A Day in the Life: Leigh Ann {KeeperoftheHome.org}

Then, my 3-year-old and I curl up on the couch together and read stories until the baby wakes up.

When we come to a picture of Mount Everest, my son says, “We’re going to go there some day. We’ll climb that mountain. All we need is a backpack and some ropes. I’ll pull you up, Mom.”

This surprises me. How does he know anything about mountain climbing? But more than that I’m thankful he knows that travel is possible and is something our family does together. Nowhere in the world is off limits.

It blessed my heart to hear him say with confidence that we’d go there some day.

However, I’m not interested in climbing Mount Everest. I hope he’s not either …

Next we share lunch together as a family outside on the deck. During the warmer months, we eat outside as often as we can.

After lunch, my boys want to play in their room. So I pick up my book and head up to their room with them.

A Day in the Life: Leigh Ann {KeeperoftheHome.org}

I enjoy my view and rest as much as I can. I use my iPhoneto answer a few emails and forward some customer service e-mails to the hubby to answer.

But mostly I just watch my children and read my book for the next hour or so. I read a few books with my youngest and laugh as he tries to find his belly button.

Eventually the baby is ready for an afternoon nap and my oldest goes outside to play in the sandbox. I set up shop with my computer for a bit while my son builds sand towers and plays David and Goliath with his imaginary friends.

When the baby wakes again, both boys play in the sandbox together. I am so grateful for this little slice of heaven.

A Day in the Life: Leigh Ann {KeeperoftheHome.org}

I make a quick 20 minute meal that is Whole 30 friendly. We enjoy another family meal outside together before shuttling the little ones to bath and bed.

A Day in the Life: Leigh Ann {KeeperoftheHome.org}

After finishing up the dishes and writing a quick blog post, I put my feet up again by 8 p.m. to read about gut health. This makes me laugh for some reason.

By 8:15, I am in my bed asleep.

When work gets more of my attention than my children for a season, it’s easy to feel guilty. So I cling to grace – the unmerited, undeserved favor of the Lord who guides my everyday, leads my every decision, and stands sovereign over even my failures.

It is Jesus whom I run to, cling to, and put my hope in.

The days when my family gets more of my attention than my work are days that I cherish. These are the days the dishwasher gets left open, the laundry continues to pile up, and the floor can be mopped some other time.

These are the days in my life that I rest in grace, and enjoy my family from morning to night.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. When you buy through our links, we earn a small commission, which helps to keep this site going so that we can continue to offer free and useful content, so thanks!

Real Deals: This Week’s Sales and Discounts on Natural Products You Really Use

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This week’s top deals: 

 

aiplock

As low as $10.52-$12.38 ($3.50-$4.12/ 40- Count Box) Ziploc Storage Bags Gallon 40 ct (Pack Of 3) are on sale for $13.38. Save $1 when you clip the coupon below the product description (you must be logged in).  Save an additional 5-15% with Subscribe & Save. Get FREE Shipping with qualifying order.

zico

As low as $13.74-$16.16 ($1.15-$1.35/bottle) ZICO Pure Premium Coconut Water, Natural, 14 Ounce Bottles (Pack of 12) is on sale for $16.16.  Amazon’s lowest price to-date!  Save an additional 5-15% with Subscribe & Save. Get FREE Shipping with qualifying order.

mashMore Flavours of Plum Kids Organic Fruit Mashups on sale now.

As low as $15.26-$17.95  ($2.54-$2.99/4 Count) Plum Kids Organic Fruit Mashups, Apple Sauce Strawberry Banana, 3.17 oz., 4-Count (Pack of 6) is on sale for $23.94 again this week. Save 25% when you clip the coupon below the product description (you must be logged in).  Save an additional 5-15% with Subscribe & Save. Get FREE Shipping with qualifying order. These other flavours are also on sale right now:  Carroty Chop  and Mixed Berry

chocoJust $8.00  Jen’s Zen Chocolate Sauce Dairy Free Gluten-Free Chocolate Sauce made with Organic Coconut Milk is on sale at Abe’s Market  Regular price $11.00. Now only $8.00 / 9.6 oz jar.  Click “Sale” and then “Food & Drink”.  Plus get FREE Shipping now through September 28th.

 

starter

Just $79.00  Nittany Valley Organics Essential Oils Starter Kit is on sale now at Abe’s Market.  10 Essential Oils 15 ml each + 2 Empty Bottles to store your own creations.  Regular price $99.00 now only $79.00.  Click “Sale” and then “Health Products”.  Plus get FREE Shipping now through September 28th.

blackberry_leaf-product_1x-1403630290

You have a week left to check out Mountain Rose Herbs Monthly Specials for September.  Just Click “Specials”.  

Here are just a few items on sale right now:  

Check out these two options for Baby Monitors on sale right now:

moniterJust $59.97 Philips Avent DECT Baby Monitor with Temperature Sensor is on sale for $79.97.  Save $20 when you clip the coupon below the product description (you must be logged in).   Get FREE Shipping with qualifying order.

baby sense

Just $99.99 Babysense Hisense 5s Baby Safe Infant Movement Monitor on sale now.

FREE Kindle ebooks:

(note: prices can change without notice, so please double check the price before purchasing)

apple cider

Apple Cider Vinegar For Beginners 2nd Edition: Proven Secrets Using Apple Cider Vinegar For Health, Weight Loss, and Skin Care 

banish

Banish Clutter: Simplify Your Life In Only One Weekend 

baby sign

BABY SIGN LANGUAGE BOOK.: How To Teach Your 6 Month Old Baby Sign Language TODAY!. 

canning

Canning and Preserving For Beginners: Learn How to Can And Preserve Meats, Vegetables Fruits, And Jams

Kindle ebooks for Less Than $1:

body butter

Body Butter: Homemade Body Butter – 33 BEST Body Butter Recipes To Making Body Butter For A Soft And Nourished Skin! $0.89

50 smoothie

Fruit Smoothie Recipes: 50 Simple and Healthy Smoothies That Anyone Can Make! (Quick and Easy Cooking Series) $0.99

(note: prices can change without notice, so please double check the price before purchasing)

This week’s best coupons:

real-deals-pinterest-sept-23


Find a deal you love? Share it! Pin this week’s post, tweet it, or share on Facebook.

Want to get these deals in your inbox each week?

Sign up for our once-a-week “real deals” email. It comes out each Tuesday morning.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. When you buy through our links, we earn a small commission, which helps to keep this site going so that we can continue to offer free and useful content, so thanks!
About prices: Though we do our very best to post only current deals and prices and to let you know when offers expire, companies can and do change their prices and offers at their own discretion, and we have no control over this. If you notice that a deal has changed, please let us know and we’ll change the post to alert other readers that something is no longer available. Thanks for understanding!

Breaking Free from Real Food Burnout

Breaking Free from Real Food Burnout {KeeperoftheHome.org}

Guest post by Trina Holden

Have you ever experienced Real Food Burnout? It’s an actual condition, typified by an aversion to the kitchen, phobia regarding shopping or menu planning, and surprisingly strong cravings for junk food. Sufferers often experience amnesia in regards to meal ideas, paralysis when it comes to trying something new, and general depression on the topic of food.

How do I know so much about this condition? Because I have suffered from it many times myself.

We succumb to Real Food Burnout when we only focus on the list of things we want to change, when we forget that eating well is a journey, and when we think that our health is all up to us. Sometimes burnout episodes last for days or weeks, but in extreme cases, patients give up and never try to eat healthy again.

That is a tragedy, because Real Food Burnout can be avoided if you take these “Perspective Pills” regularly:

1. Realize it’s a journey.

The best way to get burnt out is to think of eating well as a target - and one you have to hit the first time.

 There will be ups and downs, wins and losses, but one instance of succumbing to the convenience of take-out does not mean you have failed. It just means you are still in process. Take a deep breath and remember that you’re learning a new way of life, and that change takes time. Give yourself grace.

2. Look at your progress.

We can get so caught up in all the areas we want to improve and grow, we can completely neglect to notice our progress. Always focusing on our weaknesses is a recipe for depression! Yes, it’s great to have goals of recipes you want to try and things you want to change, but occasionally we need to glance up from our busy efforts to see how far we’ve come. Think about how you ate a year ago, or five years. You’ve come a long way! Take a moment to celebrate that!

Breaking Free from Real Food Burnout {KeeperoftheHome.org}

3. Remember you’re not alone.

For me, the biggest trigger to an episode of burnout is when I think that the work of nourishing my family is all up to me. But when I act like my efforts are the only thing keeping body and soul together, I’m forgetting that the biggest factor isn’t actually the food we eat or which chemicals we’re avoiding. It is the fact that we have a God who created us and sustains us by His power. We are called to steward our bodies, but we don’t bear that responsibility alone. Let that reality bring you peace.

When I experience burnout, the fastest route to recovery is to call my real food mentor, who gently reminds me of these truths over and over, and then gives me one small thing I can do this week to make progress. If you need a friend to give fresh perspective for the journey or guidance on what to focus on next in your kitchen, check out my new book “Your Real Food Journey: A Gentle Guide to Steady Progress.” Because real food isn’t a target we have to hit the first time, but a journey to be enjoyed.

Trina has graciously provided KOTH readers with 20% discount on her book! From today until September 25th, use coupon code “koth20off” during checkout to get your book at the discounted price!

Trina HoldenTrina Holden is a modern-day gypsy, currently parked in Alabama where she and her husband run a business encouraging families to thrive through real food cookbooks, classes, and consulting. Together they homeschool their four children, drink gallons of raw milk, and dream of their next road trip. You can find her online at trinaholden.com.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. When you buy through our links, we earn a small commission, which helps to keep this site going so that we can continue to offer free and useful content, so thanks!

Weekend Links

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Links for this week:

Living simply – even when people don’t understand @ The Art of Simple

Love People, Not Things @ Becoming Minimalist

Chocolate Sunbutter Grahams @ Primal Palate

Stock Your DIY Natural Medicine Cabinet in One Afternoon @ A Delightful Home

toast in her hair. @ Coffee + Crumbs

Eggy Onion Breakfast Bread @ Grok Grub

Guard Your Gates @ Sarah Bessey

What a soldier on a plane taught me about perspective. @ John Acuff

The first day of autumn, my very favorite season, is coming soon! What are your favorite things about this time of year?

A Day in the Life: Erin {work-at-home, part-time homeschooling mom of 3 girls}

Day in the Life-Erin {Keeper of the Home} 

By Erin Odom, Contributing Writer

This is the 3rd year for me to participate in the Keeper of the Home Day in the Life series (time flies!), and, at first, I was just going to post on our typical daily routine. 

After all, in both 2012 and 2013 I posted on a chaotic day–and maybe you all are tired of hearing that from me. 

But then I realized: You know what? That’s real life. And I want nothing more than to be real with you all. 

The fact is, my family does follow a loose routine, but there are always, always those really crazy days that throw a wrench in it all. 

But I’ve learned to embrace those days. I get easily bored, and those days keep things interesting. 

If you are interested in our typical routine, you can scroll down to the end of this post. But, for now, check out our day on Wednesday, September 17: 

at doc

First, I must back up to Tuesday, September 16. I co-run Ultimate-Bundles.com with Stephanie (and our husbands), and our fall sale ended on this day. 

The weeks leading up to the sale are intense, and I was just looking forward to some rest time at home on this Wednesday. 

Instead…

I leaned over my little girl when she arrived home from her university model school and noticed a strange smell. I thought: Well, I guess she just really needs a bath tonight! 

About an hour later, we were lying on the couch together, and I noticed the smell again. It was then that I realized the smell was coming from her ear.

The lobe looked infected. 

No big deal, right? Most people with pierced ears have dealt with infections before. 

Wrong. 

This wasn’t just any infection: Her earring backings has somehow embedded into the lobes. 

Upon this discovery, mass chaos fell upon our house. Yes–mass chaos. 

I asked hubby to work on getting her earrings off–because I just don’t handle those things well. Little Girl began crying. Her two little sisters began crying as well. 

I sanitized the tweezers. Hubs tried holding Little Girl down over the bathroom sink.

We finally all–and I mean all 5 of us–moved to our bed. I held Little Girl on my lap while Hubs aimed the tweezers at her ear, and our two littles–age 3 1/2 and 2–held their big sister’s hands. We asked them to pray, and the baby closed her eyes into a squint and uttered her short and sweet version: “Jesus! Amen!” 

To our relief, my hubby was able to extract one backing, but the other was too far embedded. There was no way we were getting it out. 

We resolved for me to call the doctor first thing in the morning. 

Exhausted from the bundle sale week, we all fell into bed. And when I say “fell,” I mean I didn’t even change clothes and forgot to take out my contact lenses. I woke up sometime in the middle of the night and realized both our 2 and 3-year-olds were in the bed with us–again–in between us, in fact. 

lunch date

Wednesday, September 17

6:45 a.m. I wake when hubby kisses me goodbye before he leaves for work. I did good getting up early all summer, but I am utterly and completely worn out from the bundle sale, so I “sleep in.” 

7 a.m. Little Girl comes in the room and wakes us all. She is hungry. really just.want.sleep. I tell her there are gluten-free pretzels in the pantry. This can be a little pre-breakfast appetizer, right? 

The 2-year-old and 3-year-old begin a little squabble over who is cuddled closest to Mommy. They work it out, and the 2-year-old begins nursing. 

7:15 a.m. My 6-year-old comes back upstairs and tells me she can’t find the pretzels and is so hungry. I roll out of bed and go to the bathroom, wash my face and brush my teeth. The 2-year-old gets upset when I go to the bathroom because she wants to keep nursing. I have to shut the door so I can go potty without having a toddler hanging off my…well…you know. 

7:30 a.m. Miraculously,the girls have forgotten their hunger pangs. They are happily playing with Little People in their room! Taking advantage of this moment of peace, I throw a load of laundry in the washing machine–right after taking the load in the dryer out and tossing it on Mt. Laundry in the hallway. I have a great laundry routine when I don’t get behind. I’m behind right now. 

7:45 a.m. We all stumble down the stairs. Ok–maybe they bounced, but Mommy definitely stumbled. 

The kitchen is a WRECK. I mean–it’s an utter disaster. In between Little Girl’s earring-embedded-in-the-earlobe event and the post-bundle exhaustion, I think both hubs and I just left it the night before. 

The blender is full of smoothie remnants, the sink is full of dishes, and the counters are crowded. There are plates with scraps of last night’s dinner on the table. 

And the living and play rooms are not much better. 

It’s a homeschool day. I decide that I absolutely cannot homeschool in this mess. 

I begin cleaning. But wait–I remember I have to call the doctor first. 

mount laundry

8:00 a.m. I call the doctor’s office and explain that, somehow, my 6-year-old has an earring backing embedded in her earlobe. I feel horrible for not noticing this before. 

I ask Little Girl repeatedly all day long: “Did your ears hurt? Do they hurt now?” 

“Nope!” She would say. And she would just hop to the next activity with a smile on her face. The fact that her earlobes did not hurt raised even more concern for me. 

8:15 a.m. I make the girls little bowls of gluten-free pretzels to hold them off while I can clear enough space in the kitchen to actually make breakfast. 

I start my coffee. Coffee–yes, please.give.me.coffee. 

8:30 a.m. The coffee is ready. Praise the Lord! 

I begin on breakfast–waffles. We usually eat sausage or bacon or eggs with waffles or pancakes. I decide it’s waffles and pretzels today. 

While I’m working on the kitchen, the girls spy Daddy’s sea salt and black pepper potato chips in the pantry. I turn around just in time to see my 3-year-old dump the entire bag on the floor. 

“Y’all clean those up!” I say. “I have enough to clean up.” 

Cleaning them up entailed them using their hands to stuff the chips in their pretzel bowls. I am too tired to care. 

Next, they spot grapes in the fridge. My 2-year-old asks for some. I cut up grapes for the girl to go in the bowls with the pretzels and chips. 

By the time the waffles are ready, they are not hungry. And today? I’m ok with that. I now have breakfast for tomorrow. 

8:45-10:30 a.m. 

Before I start cleaning the kitchen, I start Little Girl on a handwriting sheet.

It takes me almost two hours to clean the kitchen. (It.was.BAD.) I listen to the newest How They Blog podcast while I’m cleaning.

The girls are playing with their baby dolls and other toys in the playroom, which is open to the kitchen. When Little Girl finished her handwriting, I let her join them and decided we would do school in the afternoon this day. 

wahm

10:30 a.m-11 a.m. 

I tell the girls it’s time for Mommy to take a shower, so we have to go upstairs. I set the little ones up with Little People, and my 6-year-old decides she wants to play hair salon. I notice she has grabbed our homemade foaming hand soap from the bathroom and has it in her salon case. 

I exchange it for a bottle that isn’t full of soap. 

I switch the clothes from the washer to the dryer and put a new load in the washer. I throw the clothes from the dryer on top of Mt. Laundry. It looks like it will soon erupt. 

I shower. I am out of shampoo. I use a natural shampoo bar from Vitacost, and I ran out–weeks ago. I had to buy a cheap bottle of non-natural shampoo from Aldi until I could carve out time to place an order. But now I’m even out of that. 

I grab the girls’ children’s wash and wash my hair with it. 

11:00 a.m.

I realize I forgot to eat breakfast. I’m getting shaky as I get myself dressed. We have to leave for the doctor’s office asap. My mom arrives to watch the littles. She says: “Erin, shouldn’t you be leaving by now?!” I said: “I am shaky. I need to eat.” 

I toss half an avocado, a huge spoonful of peanut butter, some brown rice protein powder, some stevia and some almond milk in the Blendtec. Yum–lots of fat and protein. I also fill up my water bottle. 

Thankfully, Little Girl had already gotten herself dressed. 

We take off. 

11:20 a.m. 

We arrive at the doctor’s office–5 minutes late. The receptionist doesn’t say anything. 

They call us into the office, and the doctor seems a bit…intrigued. Yes, I think intrigued is the word. But she didn’t do anything for the ear. 

“It needs to be surgically removed,” she says matter-of-factly. “And we cannot do that here.” 

She books us an appointment at the the ENT for the next morning. I ask her if it can wait until Friday (our next homeschool day), and her eyes get big as she says: “NO. It’s already a staph infection.” 

Ouch. 

I begin to imagine that her earlobe is going to fall off if we do not act quickly. 

(For what it’s worth, I’ve had numerous people now tell me they have had this very same thing happen with little girls earrings!) 

making her bird's nest

12:00 p.m.-2 p.m. 

Since my mom was keeping the littles and the doctor’s office was close to one of our favorite restaurants, I decided to take Little Girl on an impromptu mother-daughter lunch date. 

2-5 p.m. 

It was time to start our homeschool lesson. School goes so.much.better in the morning, but I love the flexibility of being able to do it in the afternoon if needed. 

Before starting, though, I needed to put my 2-year-old down for a nap and get dinner in the crock pot. 

But wait–the power had gone out while we were away, and it was still out. There was no way to cook the lovely organic chicken I had thawed yesterday. 

I decided that I would figure out dinner once the power came back on, and I began our usual nap time routine with my toddler. We usually read three to four books–our favorites being the Eric Carle books. 

We read a few extra today, and I rocked her before putting her down to nap in her crib. 

I did school with my 6-year-old while my 3 1/2-year-old played most of the rest of the afternoon. The girls went outside to play and gather things for the bird’s nests they were constructing. 

While they did some independent work, I lay down on the couch. I.was.tired. 

fall

5 p.m. 

My husband arrives home from work–a bit early tonight, but he has to go directly upstairs to attend an online class. He is getting his school administrator’s license (he is a teacher), and he is taking online classes all year long. His class lasts until 8 p.m. 

The power has come back on, but it’s too late to start the whole chicken, and I have no other meat thawed. Good thing Aldi makes gluten-free frozen pizzas now. I take two out of the freezer and pop them in the oven. It’s pizza night!

I go upstairs to get my toddler up from her nap. 

She nurses for a few seconds and then pulls away and proclaims: “Milkies yucky.” She says: “Other side.” 

Again, she pulls away and says: “Milkies yucky.” 

I cannot believe 6+ years of breastfeeding are about to end–just like that! It would appear that the taste of my milk is changing. 

6 p.m. The girls and I are finished with dinner, and I say: “Let’s take a walk!” We love taking family walks together, and the temperatures are just starting to dip to the perfect walking weather. 

The older two want to ride their scooters. We get the scooters out of the garage, and I strap the toddler in the stroller. 

All seems serene until the older two begin to fight over who gets to be in the front. I say: “Fine, neither of you are going to ride scooters then.” 

Tears ensure. Lots of tears. We are standing on the sidewalk out in front of our house, and I am sure the neighbors can probably hear this not-so-quiet sister squabble and meltdowns. 

The girls settle down when they know I mean business. I tell them that instead of riding scooters, we will go on a short nature walk and gather more supplies to finish their birds’ nests. We walk to the front entrance of the subdivision, where there is an area of pine trees and lots of pine needles and pine cones. 

We decide to walk through a little field and spy out the two barns that back up to our backyard. This was probably the most peaceful part of our day. 

barns

6:30 p.m.-9 p.m. 

We arrive back home, and the older two girls begin working on their birds’ nests again.

I gather the little ones’ things to spend the night at their grandparents. I also pack their backpacks for preschool the next day. Grandma will be taking them since hubby and I will be leaving early to take Little Girl to her doctor’s appointment. 

I drive the little ones to my parents’ house while hubby helps Little Girl with her bird’s nest. She had gotten frustrated when it wasn’t turning out how she had envisioned, and she had thrown it across the table. He is much better at helping with crafts, and it ended up turning out just as she had imagined. 

I stay at my parents’ house for a few minutes while dropping off the little ones. I ask the toddler if she wants to nurse before I leave. 

“No!” she says and shakes her head. “Milkies yucky!” 

I can barely believe my ears. 

“Are you serious?” I ask her. 

“Yeah,” she says–and turns to play. 

I cry all the way home. This season of life is really, truly over. I don’t have any babies now. 

9 p.m. 

I get home, and Little Girl is still bouncing off the wall. She is actually quite excited to be the only child for the night. 

I tell hubby she needs a bath–something I hadn’t communicated before I left home. I run the water and let her take a bubble bath. 

She is excited to wear her new penguin footie pajamas that I had purchased at a consignment sale the week before. She slides on the tile and wood floor and says: “I can do my little slip slide dance.” 

We say our prayers and put her to bed. 

10 p.m.

I put on my pajamas and get in bed to read for a few minutes. I forget to take out my contact lenses. I think: “I will just get up and take them out.” 

But I was so exhausted that I just fell asleep. 

swinging with the girls

Now, here is our “usual” weekly routine (every day is different): 

Mondays:

Early Morning

I get the girls ready for the day, make breakfast, and we all eat. 

Mid-Morning 

I drop Little Girl off at school. 

Mid-Morning-Mid-Afternoon

The little girls and I run errands or come back home to play/do chores, etc. 

2 p.m.

I pick Little Girl up from school. 

2:30 p.m.-8:00 p.m. 

The toddler naps, and the older girls play outside or quietly with their toys. They might watch a show or two while I work a little. I then make dinner, and we all eat when my husband gets home from work around 6 p.m. We might just hang out or go on a family walk before getting the girls ready for bed around 7:30 p.m., and we aim to get them in bed by 8 p.m. (It’s often later than that.)

8:30 p.m.-11 p.m. 

Hubby and I work on our computers, read or watch some TV or a movie. Then we go to bed. 

H drawing on self

Tuesdays & Thursdays: 

Early Morning

I get the girls ready for the day, make breakfast, and we all eat. 

Mid-Morning 

I drop Little Girl off at school and then drop the littles off at preschool. I settle into a cafe that is practically in the same parking lot as the preschool. I work at the cafe until about 11:50 a.m., when I leave for preschool pick-up. 

12 noon-1:45 p.m. 

I pick the little ones up from preschool, drive home and make lunch. They play and I do some chores until it’s time to leave to pick up Little Girl from school. 

2 p.m. 

I pick up Little Girl from school. 

2:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.

same as Mondays 

homeschool day

Wednesdays: 

We are at home all day this day. I homeschool Little Girl in the morning, and the rest of the day we are playing and doing chores. I don’t typically leave the house at all this day unless I have to. 

Fridays: 

My husband is off three Fridays per month. On those days, he homeschools Little Girl and takes over the regular daily routine, while I work up in our office or at a coffee shop. 

On the Friday he does work, the day looks just like Wednesday. 

Saturdays: 

We are all home and just chill out–or sometimes take a family outing. If it’s near a bundle sale, I am usually working in our office or at a coffee shop. 

Sundays: 

We attend church in the morning, rest and/or take naps in the afternoon, and every other week we attend a Life group in the evenings. 

Most of the pics in this post came from my Instagram feed. You can follow me on IG here

What does your typical day look like?