The Homestead Weekly

The Homestead Weekly, 17 May 2020

Whew, what a doozy of a week! If you read my last post, you’ll know that we had a loooong day on Friday that involved driving three hours’ south of here to where the company my husband works for is moving so that we could look at houses. It was a long day that ended in disappointment, but at least it gave us some concrete experience to draw from when it comes to deciding whether we’re going to move with the business or not.

Here’s what we were up to the rest of the week, though:

In the Kitchen

I hadn’t planned on going grocery shopping this week, but I ended up having to make a stop on Wednesday because we were almost out of diapers for Mathias. (Having two kids in diapers, man…it will seem like such a vacation when we just have one!) It also ended up being for the best that I went when I did because both of our gallons of milk (that had expiration dates of the 18th) ended up going sour before then rather than a few days after like they normally do, so it all worked out.

My goal for the next few months is to do just two grocery shopping trips per month—our usual huge one at the beginning of the month, and then one smaller one mid-month. My reasons for doing this are many, but the main ones are that 1) We will save money by not going to the store at all in between planned trips since we often make at least some unplanned purchases every time we go, 2) It will force us to be better at not wasting food, and 3) As there’s a very high chance that we’re moving in the next few months, I want to start using up what we have so that we have less to transport. I was already in the habit anyway of doing just one main shopping trip per month and then 2-3 smaller ones later on, but if I can cut those smaller trips down to just once, that would be the ideal.

Can you tell the last biscuit Matt made, when he got sick of using the measuring cup?

I still haven’t been wanting to bake much, thanks to the rising temps outside and because gluten-free baking seems to be more time and labor-intensive than normal baking. However, I did try out the fluffy biscuit recipe from America’s Test Kitchen’s How Can It Be Gluten-Free Cookbook for lunch on Sunday. While I personally wouldn’t call the biscuits “fluffy,” the texture and taste were fine, especially smothered in the country sausage gravy that we poured all over them. Granted, I had to sub in sour cream for the whole milk yogurt, and I didn’t wait the full 30 minutes to let the mixture sit before baking, so it would probably taste better with following those two guidelines.

We wanted to start grilling this weekend, but then Matt found three wasp nests in our grill, so he spent the weekend trying to get those out. The nests are now gone, but Matt reports that the wasps are still going inside and just hanging out in there, so we’re wondering what to do moving forward—we don’t want to use our wasp spray on our grill (because we cook food on it, obviously), but we don’t know how else to guarantee that they won’t come back and just keep building. Any suggestions?

On the Menu Last Week: Instant Pot Creamy Chicken + Rice (twice, actually), Salmon/Potato/Green Bean Sheet Pan Bake, Biscuits and Sausage Country Gravy, Cinnamon Apple Baked Oatmeal

In the Yard

A lot of my efforts this week were focused on inside projects, but Matt did spend a significant portion of his Saturday getting most of the rocks out of our front beds (which we’re going to cover with wood chips instead). There’s a good chance we’re going to need our house ready to list in the next month or two, so we’re trying to tackle the projects both inside and out that would help with that. We are planning to order a huge delivery of wood chips to cover many of our beds (especially the areas where there were already wood chips before), and we’ll start calling around for estimates on that probably this week.

I made an appointment with a local lawn care company to come this week and spray for weeds and to do a lawn treatment, which should help our curb appeal significantly. The weeds haven’t all died down yet, but it already looks a bit better, and I feel like our lawn already looks better too, even though it’s only been a couple days. (It helps that they spot-sprayed all the dandelions we had coming up.) We have another lawn treatment scheduled in a few more weeks.

Even though the offer we made on a house this week fell through, it has still made me hesitate to make too many garden plans for our current yard. We’ve already planted the majority of our vegetables, but I was going to try sowing carrots and maybe radishes this year, except now I don’t feel there’s much of a point. If a move is at least three months out, we might be able to harvest *some* things, but by then we’ll probably be so busy with moving that we won’t even have time to do much with it.

Or who knows? Maybe we’ll find a job here and stay exactly where we are.

At any rate, we’ll have to learn to conserve our limited energy and time for the “curb appeal” projects and limit how much time we need to spend on anything else right now.

Blooming This Week: All the lilacs still, more of the columbine (some of which is somehow coming up in the middle of our lawn?), this funky blue-ish purple spiky flower (pictured above) that I can never remember the name of (I think it’s called Mountain something maybe…), and yellow and white tulips. Our peonies have buds on them, and a whopping ONE of our plethora of irises has a bud on it.

In the Playroom

Now that Hyrum is more or less sleep trained (we still need to sometimes rewrap him or put in the binky at night, but I’m no longer needing to feed him), our next thing to work on with him is to get him used to eating solids. My first try a few weeks ago was a total fail, and then our second try this last week took a looooong time—about an hour to go through a half jar (and that’s of the little-size jars!). But by the third try last night, he had gotten significantly better at not automatically thrusting it out with his tongue and of opening his mouth when the spoon came close, and he polished off the rest of the jar in about 15 minutes. Progress! (We’re also hoping that since we fed him pears, that will help with some of his constipation issues.)

Hyrum turned 5 months old on Monday, and he is developing some little fat rolls, which is adorable. He’s still really small for his age (last we checked, he wasn’t showing up on the charts even when you adjusted for the fact he was born a month early), but he’s a healthy, growing boy all the same! He’s started to eat between 4 and 5 ounces of pumped milk per feeding, and he usually takes 2-3 naps a day and then sleeps a good 11ish-hour stretch at night, as long we’re quick to put the binky in. He’s basically almost always been able to roll over from tummy to back (since he was about 4 days old), but now he’s doing it with a bit more control. He’s also started doing the “clock walk” on both his belly and back, where he moves himself around in a slow circle as he tries to move around and grab at things. He’s overall a very happy baby and loves to smile at everyone.

Mathias seemed to be teething again this week. His teeth have come in very strangely—he got his two-year molars well before any of the teeth in between filled in, and he still just has the four two-year molars and then huge gaps between those and his front teeth. However, he does seem to be getting a few more (and has been more whiny than normal this week as a result). My one-on-one time with him was to go out in the backyard and do some bubbles, but he kept getting frustrated because the wind was blowing like crazy so that he couldn’t “catch” any of them. So we ended up going on a little walk, where he proceeded to fall down multiple times but where he still didn’t want to hold my hand or have me pick him up at any point. Tough kid. We did find a bird’s nest on our little jaunt, though I was more excited about it than he was—he just wanted to point out all the cars and walk down to see our neighbor’s gigantic trailer parked at the end of our street.

Raven was especially excited for her one-on-one time because I painted her nails, which she absolutely loves doing. I used to be able to keep up on having my toenails painted all the time (even if I didn’t love doing it), but since having my second and especially my third children, it has fallen low on my priority list. So it was nice that we both had fresh toes for the weekend!

So we took that 3-hour drive down south to look at houses on Friday, and we were a little nervous as to how the kids would handle a total of 7+ hours in the car throughout the day, but we lucked out! All three of them handled the drive like champs and traded their time napping, watching movies on the tablet, listening to an audiobook, or playing with toys or looking at books. We only had one small stretch of about 20 minutes in which the baby was crying, but other than that, it was as stress-free a drive as we could have hoped for.

Raven was particularly sad that we didn’t get the house we put an offer on, but hopefully there will be other houses we like just as much.

In the Home

I’ve been working on various systems for staying on top of clutter and mess better so that whether we list our house in two weeks or two months, we’ll have an easier time of keeping the house in showing-ready state. What that’s looked like so far is transferring a lot of the kids’ toys downstairs (and donating some), getting into more of a cleaning routine every day, and purging, purging, purging where we can. I absolutely want to move the most minimal amount of stuff I can get away with, and since when the time comes to list, the time to purge will largely be over (because we’ll be in crunch mode), I figured I’d better start now.

Our local donation center cannot open fast enough because the boxes are accumulating in our garage at an impressive (or disturbing, depending on how you look at it), rate!

I’m also making mental note of what still needs to be done, and I’m starting to list things on our local classified ad that I think are worth the time, which should help clear things out more. We still have a daunting amount left before the house could even be close to ready, but by working on it bit by bit each day, I’m at least making visible progress.

A fun lunch out with grandparents after the house showings!

In the Soul

Even though I knew it would be a long shot for us to get that house we put an offer on, I’ve still been a bit down about it ever since. It was the only house we’d found (after looking online for several months now) that made us actually excited about a move, and now we feel like we’re back to square one—not sure if we’re going to need to rent or just buy a house we don’t like as much to sell in a couple years, or whether we want to throw ourselves more into a job search and stay up here. For a few glorious hours on Friday, there was the delicious anticipation and adrenaline of What Could Be, and then afterwards? Just exhaustion.

We do feel confident that something will work out for us—that we’ll come to an arrangement that we know is best for our family right now. I guess I just wish I had more clarity now of what that arrangement actually WAS, but if there’s anything our life experiences have taught us over the past several years, it’s patience, so we’ll keep exercising more of that.

We’ll keep you posted!

P. S. If you’re trying to grow more vegetables and other crops this year and could use some high-quality education to help you maximize your space, learn how to preserve your harvest, and much more, there’s an awesome deal going on right now for the Gardening and Sustainable Living Bundle, where you can get access to several online classes, ebooks, printables, and more for just $19.97. The deal is limited though, so make sure you get your bundle quick!

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