Wednesday, May 4, 2016

One Bathroom Life

Doesn't two bathrooms seem like a total luxury? It really is. Because I don't know about you, but my family doesn't actually spend much time in the bathroom. So price/square foot really does make two a luxury.

I once got a quote for adding a bathroom onto my house and it was $30,000.

So that two people could pee at the same time.
Still think it's not a luxury?

Our family has a 5 gallon bucket with a toilet seat on it for emergencies.

I always thought that meant earthquake or something. I'm starting to think we should have more earthquake drills using this thing. Or just redefine "emergency".

Am I crazy or just realistic??

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Too Many Clothes

I started writing this in February with every intention of adding pictures. That never happened, obviously, so I'm just going to post it. But I'm going to update it because
I HAD A BABY!!! :-)
and I want that reflected in the writing.
I have two girls who share a room. Next year it will be three. It is a room that never seems to be clean, despite there being a place for everything. Toys aren't the problem though, it's clothes. My girls will change their clothes 3-4 times a day and of course each time they do, they leave them on the floor.
One day a number of months ago I had a profound realization: they just have too many clothes.
Sounds obvious now, but my adult mind forgot how kids work. I can keep all my summer and winter clothes and accessories in my room and simply not use it unless needed. But children never work that way. I noticed when my children were toddlers that too many toys were overwhelming and they enjoyed them more when they only had a few to chose from. That meant the rest had to be out of sight and out of mind.
So I had each child choose 7 outfits. They had to match and be seasonally appropriate. They were also allowed two church dresses for Sundays.
The change has been significant!!!
Now they aren't overwhelmed, and there's less laundry to do! Everything has been simplified.
As a bonus, they are also learning about choosing clothing carefully. I let them choose whatever they wanted and they both chose cute impractical dresses because they loved them. But then they would inevitably run out of clothes because despite the cuteness, they don't actually like wearing those dresses. They learned quickly to choose outfits that they actually knew they would wear. How many of us have spent good money on clothes we never actually wear?
I'm hoping this will prepare them for adulthood better by helping them make better choices about what they spend their money on. But mostly I'm just glad it helps them keep their room cleaner. Definitely a need when living small.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Choosing Small

Remember when people used to blog?
I've been thinking about this post for months. We had the opportunity to buy a bigger house, like double the size bigger house.
Awesome, right?
Isn't that what we all deep down want? Wouldn't it make things so much easier if we just had more space?
For the first time, we wouldn't need to live in a small house from economic necessity (thanks again 2008!) and we could have our American Dream.
So we looked at houses. Sure they were bigger, some even had a garage and all of them had that much desired second bathroom.
But the more we looked, the less we liked.
Why exactly did I need that extra bedroom? So I wouldn't have to clean up the homeschool things at the end of the day?  Is that worth $40,000 plus interest? Americans figured out how to use single bathrooms a long time ago and we've got a fairly good system going. Was it worth 40,000 (plus interest) for a place that gets used for maybe 30 minutes a day?
Plus we would trade our large yard/small house for large house/small yard. Not pacticularly keen on that.
So we decided to stay put.
So weirdly enough, we now find ourselves choosing to live small.
What's making this more "crazy" is that we are expecting our fourth child soon.
So I've been spending a lot of the past year learning more ways to continue living in our small house. I hope to keep up with blogging and share some of those in order to help others who live small by choice or by necessity. Plus, you know, other stuff I want to write about. Since it's my blog. :-)

Monday, October 21, 2013

Sunday Soup At Six: easy cheesy potato soup

So... The last 2 weeks we had steak at my moms (Sunday steak at six?) and then a potluck at the church.  I was really looking forward to soup night again when I realized it was the most stressful Sunday of the year for me and I had no back up canned soups to fall back on.  But I had potatoes, cream, and cheese so I made up a potato soup.
Some of my favorite soups are ones I make up as I go along.

I boiled about 8 potatoes of varying size and type (because some came from my garden and some from the store bag) in way too much water.  That wouldn't have been a problem had I drained some, but I neglected to remember that until too late.  I think the rule should be to leave only enough water that the tops of the potatoes are peaking up.  More than that and it's too watery.  My husband equated this to potato gravy.  
Then you transfer it in batches into the blender.  I wanted a smooth soup so I blended most of it.  Sometimes I split it and blend half and mash the rest so I have some potato chunks.  I returned the blended soup to the pot where I added salt.  I just salt it to taste, sorry, no measurements.  Maybe 2 tablespoons.  Go easy because you can always add more salt if needed at the table.
After the salt I added probably 3/4 to 1 cup of cream and two handfuls of shredded cheese and stirred.
I added a chives garnish at the end and a few bacon bits and of course more cheese.  They really enhanced the flavor.

This soup is REALLY good if you sautée leeks in butter before adding water and boiling the potatoes, but I was honestly too tired to go pick some leeks.  I needed easy comfort food and this was perfect!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sunday Soup At Six - Chicken Noodle Soup

Last week was the inauguration of Sunday Soup at Six.  My Sister in Law gave us the idea and we loved it.  Since they were in town we had them over and made veggie soup with all kinds of things from our garden.  The food was delicious and the company was amazing.  We topped it off with cookies and ice cream.  I wish all Sundays could be like that.
But I didn't take any pictures because I didn't plan to blog about it.
Now I have decided this is going to be a thing I blog about.  So it's basically exactly what it sounds like.  Each Sunday we have soup and try to eat it at six.  We'll see how many different soups we'll try.

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

And of course, here is the recipe.
1 c. Chopped Celery
3 thinly sliced leeks
1 c. chopped carrot
8 cups chicken broth*
1 T. minced fresh parsley (or 1 t. dried)
1 1/2 t. fresh thyme (or 1/2 t. dried)
1 t. fresh rosemary (or 1/4 t. dried)
1 t. balsamic vinegar
1/4 t. pepper
4 ounces wide noodles
1 c. diced cooked chicken

*To make the chicken and chicken broth get some broilers or chicken breasts (frozen is fine) and place in a large stock pot.  I usually get about 10 breasts (or 4 broilers) and 2 gallons of water.  I add about 2 T dried parsley and 1 T dried basil and some pepper and boil for an hour.  Remove the breasts and dice or shred them and freeze them (use within 3 months) then I strain the broth and freeze that as well.  It tastes WAY better than any boullion or canned broth.

Place celery, leeks, carrots, and 1 cup of broth in a large saucepan.  Cover and cook over medium heat until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.  Stir in remaining chicken broth, herbs, vinegar, and pepper.  Bring to a boil; add noodles.  Cook until noodles are tender (abt 10 minutes); stir in chicken.  Reduce heat and simmer until heated through.
My kids all say it's amazing!  They especially love the broth.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Meeting Induced ADHD

I just diagnosed myself with this.  I also made it up.  I give you permission to do the same.
There's this thing about Mormons...
We believe in meetings, all that have been scheduled, all that are now scheduled.  And we believe that there will be scheduled many great and important meetings pertaining to the kingdom of God.
For the record, that's not a real Article of Faith.  But it should be.
So I went to a meeting tonight and generally I do pretty well.  After the first hour I get a little restless, but nothing a little doodling can't fix.
Of course by then, the person next to me asks what the speaker just said because she is, of course, taking copious notes.  I say, "sorry, I started thinking about something else he said." Because I'm too embarrassed to tell her that my mind had wandered a long time ago and by this time I was debating in my mind the merits of exposing my kids to more classic rock or to more folk songs and that it took a while for me to get there by way of canning, kale varieties, and home schooling.
By the time we were 1 hour 30 minutes into the meeting I was trying to conjure an excuse to call my husband or pretend my bladder was acting up and I needed a bathroom break.  Right about that time Igloo called me (thank you sweetie!!!) and I acted all urgent as I left to answer the call.
"Are you still in your meeting?"
"Yep.  They're still going."
"How much longer."
"It better be soon because I'm practicing dance steps in my seat."
Seriously folks.  I was pretty close to doing the electric slide just to keep myself from springing out of my chair yelling, "Freedom!!!!!"
It's not even that is was a bad meeting.  It was useful and pertinent.  I feel bad my legs were so jumpy, it was probably distracting.  But I cannot for the life of me understand how everyone else manages to sit perfectly still for two hours.  Tell me your secret!

Saturday, September 21, 2013


This morning Jack woke up at 5 and started on his school work.  He was done by seven.  I, of course, blogged into the late night hours which meant I didn't want to get up til 8:30.  I'm glad he can do most of his work on his own.  What took so long was getting those #$&%%$E$^# pictures off my phone.  That was a really long fake expletive.
I spent most of the day cleaning my house (FINALLY!) and actually got it done!  Mostly.  Okay, half.  But I did get the car port cleaned up so we are no longer the neighborhood eyesore.  My brother in law and nephews from Georgia stopped by for a visit and then we all went to see my sister in law who is out from Ohio.
I don't mind most visitors at my house, but I do struggle with some family members.  They live in giant houses and their kids just aren't used to small spaces like mine.  They get bored easily and chasing chickens doesn't appeal to them for some reason.  I don't get it.  Have you ever seen a chicken running?  HILARIOUS!  What's not to love?  Luckily Lego's are loved by everyone so I didn't have to hate my house long.
While visiting my SIL, Munchkin got her first bee sting right on her thumb!  I've only been stung by wasps, same with Jack, but this was a bee and the stinger was still in.  They are teeny!!  It was barely visible and I wish we could have kept it (nerd) for our insect collection.
We have a sad insect collection.  I've been waiting for our university museum to reopen from a remodel and hoping they would have equipment to buy.  So meanwhile we have some cockroaches, and a wasp, and some kind of black thingy sitting in a jar.  Pathetic.  At least the rock collection is pretty good.
Does anyone else breathe a sigh of relief when their kid is stung the first time and there's no allergic reaction?  I'm still waiting for Tumbleweed to be stung because she's our high risk kid since she has urticaria pigmentosa.  Munchkin had a a little swelling, but mostly just pain.  Poor kid wailed and wailed!  To help Munchkin feel better my in-laws took us to Pizza Pie Cafe.  We also went there with them two weeks ago where we bumped into Jack's kindergarten teacher.  Today we bumped into Munchkin's kindergarten teacher!  Too funny.
Tomorrow if our first free Saturday in months.  Actually, we've only had one, yes, ONE free Saturday since April.
See why I was complaining about the busyness a few days ago?
I keep thinking of all the gardening that needs to be done and the primary stuff to be planned and completed and that I finally have time for those.
And then I think I really just want to drive up to the mountains and wander about with my family.  :)