The Homestead Weekly

The Homestead Weekly, 14 June 2020

Each week lately seems to have the amount of reflection and change and decisions and deliberating that you’d usually expect from a half a year, or at the very least a quarter of one. Since so much can change from week to week, I hesitate to say anything with certainty, but at this point, our plan is to put our house on the market at the beginning of July and then rent in the new area for awhile until we figure out more of a life plan (and until we can find the right place, since nothing has felt quite right since that other house we put an offer on).

In this now-rushed timeline, a lot seems to be falling by the wayside–the children are watching movies daily (sometimes two), our plan for Mathias’s birthday coming up this week is very simple, I’ve hardly been reading or working on personal projects at all (including blogging), and I’ve kind of just accepted that I’m going to feel like I’m failing at a lot of things during this (very short) season of getting our house ready for the market.

In the Kitchen

I suppose it’s a good thing in some ways that both Matt and I are eating gluten-free right now, since it’s forced me to keep cooking. If we weren’t, we would definitely have been getting pizza and fast food a lot over the past week. We did eat out once though, on Tuesday–just Matt and I went on a trip down to Central Utah again to look at houses, and on our way back, I insisted we stop by one of my favorite pupuserias in Provo for a late lunch/early dinner. Pupusas are a naturally gluten-free food hailing from El Salvador, which is where I served an 18-month religious mission. Eating them again always takes me right back, and I order them exactly as I ate them down there—one with just queso, a couple with just queso and beans, ample red sauce, and no curtido (not because I don’t like it, but because it was against mission rules to eat it because the lettuce had a high danger of parasites). I always burn my fingers as I dig into the pupusas with my fingers (the only way to eat them), laughing to myself as I remember how the people would always tell me that the dirt on your hands just enhances the flavor. We both ate three, and we both decided that was probably slightly too many now, but oh, it was worth it.

This week, the name of the game was minimal prep and no extra hands-on time in the kitchen, so we went exceedingly simple (with the exception of Sunday breakfast, which I always seem to have more energy for, probably just because I know I have a full day of rest ahead). I even pulled out a “recipe” (if you can call a 3-ingredient dish a recipe) that we hadn’t eaten in years and years for shredded chicken for tacos. Basically, you take two large chicken breasts, 12 ounces jarred salsa, and a 1/4 cup of brown sugar, and you put them all in the Crockpot on low for 6-8 hours. What you end up with is chicken that shreds at the lightest touch, with juices that are slightly sweet but that still provide that familiar tomato-based flavor for tacos. Combined with fresh lettuce from our garden (our first time harvesting any!), fresh cilantro, cheese, and avocados, they were tacos that I feel like we could have sold to people and had some very happy customers.

On the Menu Last Week: salmon + potato sheet pan bake, baked apple oatmeal, salsa chicken tacos, slow cooker breakfast casserole, Instant Pot butter chicken and potatoes + rice, diner-style sweet potato hash + sausage

In the Yard

The major goal this week was adding curb appeal, which largely boiled down to adding a layer of wood chips and filling in some bare spots with annuals. It will also mean pruning down our overzealous shrubs in the front in the next two weeks, as well as our wild rosebush that seems to just grow with even more vigor every time we cut it back.

The wood chips Matt put down over the weekend were a tricky business. We’re still not done with that particular project, but at least we are further along than before. Around here, it seems to cost about $50/cubic yard for quality wood chips, plus a delivery fee. Seeing as we needed about 15 cubic yards, that wasn’t really a viable option. I ended up going online to the KSL classifieds, and I found a guy in Ogden who was willing to deliver a dump truck load (which he claimed was 7 yards, but that seemed more like 4) to our place for $175. We had no idea what to expect from the quality, and sure enough, it was decidedly mixed. The load didn’t cover nearly everything we were needing it to, but it did give us a decent start. At any rate, the yard overall looks better than it did, though far from where we’re wanting it to be on that front.

I found a bunch of annuals on clearance at Walmart, which we used to fill in some of the front beds where the tulips were dying back and where nothing else will be growing when the house is put up for sale. I also swapped out the mixed-color dahlias I had put in the porch pots and planted those elsewhere since I’d regretted the decision ever since I saw how all the colors clashed with the purple and white pansies I’d already planted. Now the front planters have a definite pink-purple-white scheme, and they look a ton better.

One day this week, I was clearing out my vase collection and trying to decide what to keep when I came across a small vase I was on the fence about. I didn’t think it was a good size, but I decided to give it a trial run. Since I’d planted my cutting garden, I had yet to actually harvest anything from it (mostly because a lot of it simply hasn’t bloomed yet or hasn’t done very well), but I changed all that this week. We had a bunch of salvia blooming, and even though the stems aren’t as long as they someday will be once the plant is more established, they were the perfect height for the vase. Since I didn’t have enough to make a real bouquet, I just went around the yard and looked for things to supplement it with. I cut some beardtongue, butterfly bush spires, Jupiter’s beard, and some raspberry bush foliage to round it out, and I think it looked pretty good for a very first attempt at flower arranging!

Blooming This Week: more wild roses plus our one non-wild rose that is alive, foxglove (sooooo pretty right now), beardtongue, butterfly bush, salvia, asters, Mexican primrose, columbine, Jupiter’s beard

In the Playroom

The two older kids had their dentist appointment this week, and while I never worry about Raven doing well (she’s a champ at the dentist! She actually really loves going, actually), I WAS nervous about Mathias. His first dental checkup was 6 months ago, and let’s just say, he did not love it. He’s also getting into that lovely hallmark of toddlerdom, tantrums. And he is LOUD. So I was nervous about how he would react. Sometimes in an unfamiliar situation, he’ll just get shy and quiet and silently cry into my shirt. Other times (usually in slightly more familiar situations), he’ll just flat out scream and have a meltdown.

Daddy’s home!

Raven went into the back to get x-rays and the hygienist decided to clean Mathias’s teeth first, so he didn’t even have a chance to watch Raven go first. We had him lay back on the reclined chair, and then he noticed all the movies on the ceiling…and he thought it was the funniest, most interesting thing ever that there were FOUR different movies all going at once, and they were all up on the ceiling. He was even more delighted when I switched his screen to play Cars, and he didn’t put up a fuss AT ALL–not even when the dentist came by to check for cavities. While Raven got her teeth cleaned (and did equally well), Mathias kept giggling and pointing at all the screens and saying, “Movie!” and then moving his finger to the next screen and shouting “Movie!” again. He also thought the bubbles and lights display they had in there was fascinating. Basically, any bystander would have thought that the dentist’s office was an amusement park for our kids—they thought it was about the most fun way to spend a morning ever. Weird. But I WAS SO RELIEVED! I’m sad that we won’t be around to still have this dentist, just because it’s been so great. In fact, I still let them schedule our kids’ next appointment for December, and a small part of me is tempted to just make a day trip of it. I’m serious, though.

Hyrum turned 6 months old this last week! He is getting much more mobile, rolling both ways and doing the clock walk on his back and reaching for anything he can. Unless he’s hungry, he’s basically the happiest baby ever, and even though he can be extremely hit or miss when it comes to napping and sleeping, I did feel like we finally turned a corner this last week—he finally stuck to a somewhat predictable nap schedule, and there were a couple nights he did really, really well and basically didn’t wake up at all, mostly due to the fact that he’s finally learned to self-soothe a bit. There is hope!

In the House

This week, it’s been all about packing up more stuff and getting the house ready to stage. Although my actual “completed tasks” list for the house is short, I still made a lot of frontloaded progress, meaning that I’ve made decisions about how to stage rooms I was unsure of, I’ve read up a bunch on how to stage a house, and I ordered several things from Amazon and IKEA to bring all that vision to life. (I’m hoping to do a more complete breakdown on what that process has been and what products I’ve ordered on the other blog.)

One thing I’m proud of is how I’ve staged this little bookshelf, which was one of the few things I actually finished this last week. I picked a color scheme–blue/green, cream/yellow–and I unpacked the books that had spines in those colors. Then I gathered a few of the decorative pieces we had lying around and mixed them in there, too. I really like how it looks now! I’ve never taken the time to do anything like this before and never would have if it weren’t for the idea of needing to stage my home, but I’m sold.

In the Soul

There was one day last week when I finally got a really, really good night’s sleep—the baby didn’t wake up during the night (or, if he did, I wasn’t woken up by him), I was actually able to fall asleep quickly (something that’s become pretty rare lately), and I got a solid stretch of probably 8-9 hours. Honestly, I feel like it changed EVERYTHING, at least for that day. Sometimes when you’re so sleep deprived for so long, you don’t realize how much of your day-to-day moods and energy levels are because of that lack of sleep. That day, everything felt easy—it was easy to be patient with the kids, easy to make and clean up after all the meals, easy to fit in plenty of laundry folding and box packing and personal projects. The rest of the time? I feel like I’m just trying to ride out the waves every day—how is it lunchtime already? I should be doing this, that, and that, but I really need to take a nap…Just make myself load the dishwasher and start it before bed so that I’m not overwhelmed in the morning.

Literally crying over spilled milk

That day on full sleep gave me hope. Maybe that hope is a bit premature, yes, but it still gave me hope that I’m somehow going to have the energy and time and alertness to deal with everything we’ll be handling over the next month and a half or so.

In short, my soul is usually just really, really tired, but I manage to go through most days and manage several moments of pure joy with the kids, a few solid belly laughs, a general sense of patience with the tantrums and the whining (unless I’m REALLY tired or stressed…then all bets are off), and the feeling that life is passing by quickly and messily and chaotically, but that’s okay.

How’s your soul feeling lately?

2 Comments on “The Homestead Weekly, 14 June 2020

  1. Okay, Pupusas sound amazing. I’ve never heard of them, but now I want them!
    That floral arrangement you made is stunning. I hope you kept the vase!
    I love how you staged the bookshelf too!

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