Traditional Homemaking Skills - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 618 Old 10-20-2008, 12:18 PM
 
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That's the hard part, at least for me. My dd is 2 and some might call her High Needs. She's super sensitive and needs lots of attention. What I used to do when she was smaller and lighter! is carry her in a mei tai on my back. Then I had free hands, at least for kneading bread and stuff like that. When I garden I just let her roam the back yard (it's fenced) and dig with me. Yesterday I put her in the mei tai again and to my surprise she didn't feel that heavy but I only had her on for 5 min or so.
I'm glad to hear that others have this problem. My little one no longer likes to just hang out in the carrier - she'll go in there when we're walking around the store or something but not for dishes. (And unfortunately, I live in an apartment; my garden is a community garden - where I have to try to keep her out of other people's gardens and occasionally the baseball games that happen literally several yards from my plot.)
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#62 of 618 Old 10-20-2008, 02:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by boigrrrlwonder View Post
I'm glad to hear that others have this problem. My little one no longer likes to just hang out in the carrier - she'll go in there when we're walking around the store or something but not for dishes. (And unfortunately, I live in an apartment; my garden is a community garden - where I have to try to keep her out of other people's gardens and occasionally the baseball games that happen literally several yards from my plot.)
An idea you might like is to tie a light string around your wrist and around your child's wrist while you are working in the garden. That way you can work and she can play (but not too far!)

Then again, if I did this to my dd, she would wrap me up or get tangled in it or keep heading off and would constantly pull my arm away! But maybe your child will be happy playing nearby

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#63 of 618 Old 10-20-2008, 07:06 PM
 
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Like some others here I didn't learn a thing about keeping a home from my mother. She was a single mom who worked her butt off to keep our heads above water and was always too tired to do a lot of stuff so she focused all her energy on me rather than our home. My aunt, on the other hand, is a wonderful homemaker. It wasn't until my 20's that I started learning from her.

When I met my husband he knew more about keeping house than I did. He's my motivation to learn more about cooking/baking and to improve my sewing skills. He can build furniture, garden, work on cars, cook and bake some of the best bread ever. Now that I'm working one to two days a week I have more time to concentrate and learn.
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#64 of 618 Old 10-21-2008, 11:51 AM
 
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Kinda in a hurry so didn't read everything yet but.....

Please consider the following books as crucial to this. They have really helped and inspire me!

Maryjane Butters Ideabook Cookbook Lifebook

The Country Living Encyclopedia by Carla Emery

The Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacycyn

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#65 of 618 Old 10-21-2008, 03:26 PM
 
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If you want to try canning, I'd suggest you get a copy of the Ball Blue Book- it's a great resource and not expensive. I have a Victorio strainer for applesauce, you just quarter the apples, add them to a pot with a bit of water and cook till soft ( not mushy though, your sauce will be dark then) and put them through the strainer which removes seeds and skin. You can either freeze the sauce at that point or go ahead and can it. I'm thinking of doing some soon too.
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#66 of 618 Old 10-21-2008, 04:11 PM
 
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My interest in homemaking comes from my mother and grandmothers, who ironically enough worked full time outside their homes and still found time for sewing, crafting, gardening and cooking. None of them were big on canning things though.
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#67 of 618 Old 11-16-2008, 04:33 AM
 
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b/c i am a SAHM and i sort of suck at this homemaking stuff. i really like it... im just bad at it. part of it atleast is that i am adhd. but i was reading this and thinking that you lovely people might be able to help me!!

i started staying at home after ds was born. i like to cook but only if i cook from scratch... problem being i have no idea how to do this.. i have 1 cook book so that sort of helps... i cook most nights a week.

the thing i am worst at is cleaning, organizing, and that whole making a house a home thing... how does that work? you know those little things that make a house (in my case apt) all warm and cozy?

and when do you find time to do these things?!?!? i want to make bread, and can things, and knit... im lucky if i get the laundry done.

the thing is i really love all of this stuff.. im just sort of bad at it. how do you get everything you need at the grocery store? i make a list but i can never think of things to put on a list. how do you know what spices to use? and how on earth do you put a mean together? ill think ok we will have chicken for dinner.. and thats about as far as i get

so please share some of that wisdom!! the only thing i remember my mom doing growing up is playing tennis... and yet she grew up on a farm go figure.
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#68 of 618 Old 11-16-2008, 06:45 AM
 
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1littlebit,
I think it is just the wrong time to be trying to learn a whole new set of skills.
Focus on one thing first. be it organizing, decluttering, crafting, baking, sewing or cooking. Once you have mastered it and it is a part of your daily life/routine then move on.
sorry babe got an ouchie gotta r un
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#69 of 618 Old 11-16-2008, 09:35 AM
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I love this thread! FTR, I don't think you have to have everything on the "checklist" to be a great homemaker. For instance, I don't knit. I know how to knit -- I taught myself which I suppose could come in handy if there is a sock shortage or something, but I don't particularly enjoy it so I choose not to do it.

1littlebit -- on meals -- I highly recommend watching the food channel for a while if you have cable. I love that channel -- even if I don't do the particular recipes, I find out a lot of little tips and tricks that the hosts tell you while they are prepping/cutting/engaging with the camera. You would be surprised at all the shortcuts, tips you learn just doing that. I am a foodie anyway so I can watch the food network just for kicks

In terms of how you get everything you need at the grocery store, when you get to be an experienced cook it is mostly instinctual. In the meantime, I would search recipe sites like www.allrecipes.com where you can input ingredients to make a meal or search things like "chicken" or whatever -- find recipes you think sound good and simple, then make your shopping list from that. It helps to have a few regular meals in your "rotation" that can be modified slightly, that way you always have those basic ingredients on hand. For example, I always have the ingredients to make muffins because it is the same exact ingredients every time except for the 1 1/2 cups of "additions" that make it a *whatever* muffin (blueberry, apple, banana whatever).

I think picking one thing and working on that will be a lot better than saying, okay, I want to be a good homemaker so I will learn all of it in about a week That is how I tend to be so I understand! Even with organization, you would pick one room to focus on -- for us, it is our living area because although bedrooms are swell -- we spend the bulk of our time out here so I want it to be decluttered and nice. That kind of thing. So set a goal to have your living area (or whatever) decluttered and picked up and when you get that down for a while and a routine going, then branch out to other areas of the house.

The internet is a wealth of information and (imo) is one of the greatest tools of a homemaker -- because you can do searches on just about everything and come up with tips and advice, blogs, articles, firsthand step by step directions on how to do whatever. Remember my knitting I touched on earlier? I taught myself with free videos on the internet.

I don't know if I have adhd but I know that I tend to flit from one "passion" to the next and I don't stick to things for long periods of time. This is why I love homemaking because for me it is a very...hmm... (thinking of right word) ... multitasking? type job. In other words, I embrace that I never have time to do one thing for very long because that isn't in my personality.

Good luck! I don't know if any of that helped but I thought I would give it a shot!
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#70 of 618 Old 11-16-2008, 10:10 AM
 
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We had our house on the market, which killed any plans of using it in any useful way. I am totally ready to ditch that since the market is horrible.

I really want to focus on food. I am clean, organized, etc., but I tend to fall short with food. I prefer raw food myself and could just eat fruits, veggies, and maybe a little hummus. I really want to grow a GREAT garden next year. I didn't want to mess up the yard this past year and the year before my boys were so young they destroyed most of it.

I can sew a little, but I really don't think it could be cheaper than thrift stores!
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#71 of 618 Old 11-16-2008, 10:24 AM
 
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Great thread. Homemaking is an art form to me and I am always striving to do better at it. To me, it is my number one job and I really do strive to do it not just well, but beautifully. I always knew I wanted to be a wife and Mom and keeper of the house. What was surprising to me is how traditional of a role I have taken on. I am not a very traditional person typically. I am def. a free thinker. But when it comes to my husband and children and home I want to be June Cleaver meets Martha Stewart. I'm not saying I always achieve that,(in fact rarely do I) but I'm always trying. I love the cooking and cleaning and having fresh baked wholesome goodies. I want to buy aprons to wear around the house, but don't have any yet. Maybe for Xmas... I have learned to sew and have contributed greatly to my household with curtains and cloth diapers and lots of gifts for other. I recently learned to crochet. I tried canning for the first time this year. I LOVE LOVE LOVE all this kind of stuff. It is not only my job but I find it extremely fun. I think it's exciting to learn all these wonderful ways to contribute to my home. I'll be checking back here often

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#72 of 618 Old 11-16-2008, 10:46 AM
 
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I cook and clean and declutter and organize. I'm pretty gifted in organizing. My mom and sisters aren't. Mom says she wishes I still lived there so I would clean her house like I used to. This helps me pay the bills and only buy what we need, be able to live in an affordable-for-us small space, etc. I always strive to be the perfect wife and homemaker. I think I do OK most of the time, but I always think I could do better. I could spend less time on MDC and more time decluttering, for example.

I didn't learn to cook from my mom. She always complained that I "wouldn't learn" but I don't ever remember her trying to teach me either. My dad taught my sister and I to cook biscuts, pizza, bacon, and various other things, and grilling. That pretty much covered the basics - baking and frying so I've been able to build from that and copy some of the things my mom used to make. I can cook almost anything, even over a campfire. Some of it is just because I'm willing to try and I know just enough to pull it off

I sew some and do lots of mending, but I'm not into making my own clothes. My mom taught me to handsew and hem, but my dad's mom was the sewer in the family. 2 years ago she gave me a sewing machine for Christmas. I didn't spend quite as much time with her as a child compared to my mom's mom, but she's still teaching me the skills she has. She will try almost any home improvement project on her own and we think a lot alike. I think everyone in the family has a quilt from her - I have two but they are both twin sized from my childhood. We still use them though.

I enjoy problem solving. I'm not very creative in a decorative/artsy sense, but I love being creative about making my home or life more streamlined.

I know how to garden and can. Both of my grandmothers canned. Dad's mom did pickles, tomatoes and jams/jellies. Mom's mom was big on vegggies, green beans and mixed veggie soup. We used to get together with my grandma (mom's mom) to can a bunch of soup all in one day. It was fun and awesome with me, mom and her mom - 3 generations there. My grandma had a stroke in fall of 2000, and that was the last summer we canned. I guess it's just not the same without her. I'm making sure to use up the last of the jars this winter because they're getting old. I guess I need to plant a bigger garden next year, to have enough to refill all my jars!

My grandpa taught me many things that are not necessarily old fasioned "housewife" skills. Like how to repair a garden hose, wire an electircal outlet, plug, mount & balance a tire, drive a standard tranny, use a blow torch, lay bricks, and many other skills. My parents were not particularly good teachers, but my grandpa liked teaching anyone who is willing to learn. From him I learned that you can build/make/repair almost anything. He gave me courage to TRY.
My dad has taught me some basic plumbing and roofing skills. I'm pretty proficient in homeowner type skills.
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#73 of 618 Old 11-16-2008, 11:11 AM
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What was surprising to me is how traditional of a role I have taken on. I am not a very traditional person typically. I am def. a free thinker. But when it comes to my husband and children and home I want to be June Cleaver meets Martha Stewart. I'm not saying I always achieve that,(in fact rarely do I) but I'm always trying. I love the cooking and cleaning and having fresh baked wholesome goodies. I want to buy aprons to wear around the house, but don't have any yet.
OMG that is so me!! In fact, my best friend and I are like that -- we talk about aprons on the phone too -- there are some CUTE ones that I lust after on Etsy -- and Ross had a few cute/retro ones that I want. It is so funny to me because I am so *not* a June Cleaver type in other areas of my life but regarding my home/husband/child I LOVE being a homemaker --

I think it is partially because I had a frazzled, working single mom (not knocking single working moms, just describing my experience) who on top of that, didn't care much for homemaking anyway -- and I always craved the type of mama who was home after school waiting with freshly baked cookies who actually gave a crap about my day --
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#74 of 618 Old 11-16-2008, 12:35 PM
 
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Another June Cleaver wanna-be here! I've recently decided to sew myself seasonal aprons. Simple little ones to wear with the season. I made one for halloween that I wore while handing out candy. Next is the xmas one - two, actually. One to actually use while baking and one for "show" when we have christmas dinner.

1littlebit, I recommend http://www.amazon.com/Betty-Crocker-...VX7JFP9HWN9VPN

It takes you back to the basics - things that were passed down from homemaker to homemaker but seems to have been lost along the way. Simple cream sauces, regular ol' chocolate chip cookies; what types of meat are used for what and how to cook them etc. I have many, many cookbooks, but none of them have helped me like this one. I HIGHLY recommend it for anyone starting out.

As for shopping and meal planning, I try to make a list for the week and give each day a dinner. eg: monday - meatloaf and mashed potatoes tuesday - spagetti with meatsauce etc. Then I write my list from that, "okay, I need ground beef and some potatoes for monday, I need sauce for tuesday". I usually dont follow the meal plan exactly, but at least I know I'll have my stocked pantry for when I do make dinner. HTH!
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#75 of 618 Old 11-16-2008, 01:40 PM
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My mom has a cookbook from 1937 I think? ... and I LOVE it. It was her grandmother's and I want to ask her if I can have it (she hates to cook anyway!) Such awesome old school recipes using *real* ingredients -- none of this "take a box of bisquick...".
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#76 of 618 Old 11-16-2008, 01:48 PM
 
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I just read through this whole thread and it's awesome how manyof us are or are wanting to use all these homemaking skills.

As for me, I cook from scratch always especially now that we are gluten free and dairy free I have to.. I also can sew very well and make dresses for my girls, purses/handbags, slings, etc ..I can crochet as well though I have not in a long time. I've searched high and low for hats/mitts to match my dds' jackets and I can't so I may have to break out the crochet hook anyway! lol

I know how to quilt in theory. lol I would LOOOOVE to but I'm more interested in doing it with friends and none of my friends are interested.

For me, I'm really wanting to learn how to cook starting from the basics. I mean I can follow a recipe, but it never turns out quite right, like the rice is too dry or the onions are not soft enough or something. I'm lacking in technique and need tips etc. For example I get lost when a recipe says 'brown the onions'--do they mean dark brown or light brown and brown till they are crispy or brown and soft?!? Also, get confused when it says bring to a simmer...what the heck does that mean..to me simmer means you turn the stove to low and put the lid on but do simmers always have to have the lid on? lol

I'm sure I also need a better set of knives! I finally after 6 years got a GOOD set of pots and slowly I'd like to replace all the cheap junk that makes cooking not so enjoyable.
I'm goin to see if I can find a cooking class locally or have a few of my friends teach me their best recipes so I can add those to our family's recipe book...It doesn't help that dh is P-I-C-K-Y about how he likes his rice which I still can't seem to get right.

anyway another good cookbook I liked was "How To Boil Water' if anyone is interested...

I feel i'm having to relearn baking since right before our celiac diagnosis I actually started to get into baking and now i'm having to learn gfcf baking ....which I 'enjoy' in the sense I can make yummy baked goods for my girls since there is so much out there that they can't eat.

I'll stop rambling and hope someone chimes in with a good cookbook or cooking show to relearn the basics and build from there.

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#77 of 618 Old 11-16-2008, 01:52 PM
 
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I aspire to be a homemaker. I've done a crappy job for the first 6 yrs of trying. I hope to turn a corner soon.


Oh, i can cook like nobodys business but I dont because no one ever eats it!
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#78 of 618 Old 11-16-2008, 01:55 PM
 
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b/c i am a SAHM and i sort of suck at this homemaking stuff. i really like it... im just bad at it. part of it atleast is that i am adhd. .
I have adhd too - its really hard.
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#79 of 618 Old 11-16-2008, 02:11 PM
 
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I have adhd too - its really hard.
Me too, and I think part of my problem is that I set up unrealistic goals for myself and think I can get everything done and when I don't I have a melt down.

My idol in life is my best friend's mom who was there for me a lot when I was a kid. She absolutely makes taking care of her home and art form (while doing crafts with kids, day care, and having time for herself too--HOW???) and I wish I could be just like her. It's gonna be a long road
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#80 of 618 Old 11-16-2008, 02:42 PM
 
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I love this thread!

I wanted to be a mother and homemaker from the time I was a very little girl. Most of the skills I have I learned from my mother and grandmothers. I find homemaking so satisfying in ways that working in an office never provided for me (though I do long to go back to office work sometimes when the kids are driving me batty!)

I'm a very good cook according to anyone who has ever eaten my food, which makes me so incredibly happy. My little brother became a chef and now manages the kitchen of an upscale restaraunt, so Mom must have passed on some good skills to both of us. I love to cook a meal that people rave about. I requested to take over the preparation of Thanksgiving dinner when I was 12 years old and I've been making it every year since.

I also bake and feed the freezer (I made three dozen biscuits and a double batch of waffles for the freezer this morning). I make yummy artisan breads, but I do buy most of my bread at the grocery store because I haven't found a good sandwich bread recipe. That's something I need to work on. I also make my own tortillas and English muffins, as well as granola bars and other treats. I need to try my hand at bagels soon.

I use a water-bath canner or pressure canner when appropriate for jams/fruits/applesauce/tomatoes/chicken stock. I'm ready to branch out into home-canned soups.

I love to garden. We grew bushels of tomatoes this past summer, along with a lot of other produce. The link to my gardening blog is in my sig, but I never updated after the beginning of July or so. I've been gardening for over ten years, starting out by helping my mom with her garden when I was a teenager.

I can also sew. My parents are both quilters; my dad (who went to college for art) wins prizes at quilt shows because he is so good. Thankfully they seem to have passed some of that skill on, because I love to quilt and sew. It has been a while since I made anything, because my aunt borrowed the Bernina and I don't like to sew on the other machine I have. I'm anxiously awaiting it's return so that I can start making gift bags for Christmas and so I can try out a pattern for a purse I found online last week. I haven't done a lot of clothes sewing, but I know how to so I'll have that skill to fall back on if we ever need to sew our own clothing. I did make a bunch of cloth diapers for the boys that were really nice and very cute. I should see if I can find the pictures to post for you.

I tried to get my mom to show me how to knit, but I failed at that one! I got enough of the basics that I could probably figure it out with practice, but I'm too impatient to keep up with it when I could be doing other things.

My mother also taught me how to locker hook. I'm working on a rag rug right now and it's such an easy and enjoyable craft. I don't have a picture of mine yet, but this is what a locker-hooked rug looks like.

Skills I would love to learn are candle and soap making, knitting or crochet, homeopathy, foraging, cheese-making, and someday I would love to have some chickens.

Now I have to go back and re-read some posts! Did I mention that I love this thead?!

Jessica, wife of Marc and Momma to Nikolai (10) and Nathaniel (9) and Olivia (3).
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#81 of 618 Old 11-16-2008, 02:54 PM
 
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And can even make you a set of coasters from pine needles.
Is anyone else curious about this? Please tell me you have pictures!

Jessica, wife of Marc and Momma to Nikolai (10) and Nathaniel (9) and Olivia (3).
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#82 of 618 Old 11-16-2008, 02:56 PM
 
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Woah! Thank you so much for this!!

Subbing. I'll be back later...

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#83 of 618 Old 11-16-2008, 06:10 PM
 
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I too find that focusing on one skill at a time is a good thing, otherwise, I get overwhelmed. One of the problems is that while my mom was a SAHM, she did not enjoy housework. Okay, enjoy housework might be overdoing it, but she mostly resented it. She'd rather put her nose in a book (I like reading too but I also like a neat house, impossible with two small kids, I know). So now I need little encouragements to do the same things over and over again. Take laundry for example. There was a time when it would sit first in the washer, then the dryer, before getting back into the closets... But I came across a blog that said that folding and putting away laundry is a hope for tomorrow, that we will need those clothes later, that life goes on and this is my little bit I do.

Sounds crazy? Well, works also for the dishwasher. It might be a silly little thing but it helps, most of the time.
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#84 of 618 Old 11-16-2008, 09:43 PM
 
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i have a problem with taking on to many things.... and with starting one thing then moving on to something else. so i end up with a lot of stuff half learned.. or half finished. i have a habit of not emptying the dishwasher and just pulling stuff out as i need it. i also tend to leave things in the drier.

right now it is hard b/c we just moved so everything is everywhere yk? im trying to get stuff sorted out but its making my head spin!
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#85 of 618 Old 11-17-2008, 11:32 AM
 
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1littlebit, try and think of it as "almost learned" and "almost finished". A positive spin does help.

My dh works in retail and his job is "making things pretty" as I say, lol. (merchandising) Whenever they have to do a whole floor product move, they start with one small area that can be done quickly. Why? B/c once its done it motivates you to move on to the next area. Or, if thats all you can do, then at least you finished one area.

If you can get your cutlery in the drawer, then its a good day.
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#86 of 618 Old 11-17-2008, 12:00 PM
 
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Another homemaker here, too. I have been getting and better about actually completing the projects I want to do, but there is still room for improvement.

I didn't can this summer, but I plan to next year as I am actually going to be in a house where I can have a real garden. And now that I know where all the good farmer's stands and markets are, that will also make it easier.

I didn't see anyone mention this website - I have been skimming it for the past couple of week
http://www.thenewhomemaker.com/manifesto

Jen, SAHM to Jamie and Alexandra and with #3 in May
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#87 of 618 Old 11-17-2008, 12:09 PM
 
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I only can when I am manic.
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#88 of 618 Old 11-17-2008, 12:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by jennifercp8 View Post
woah. That is so good. :
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#89 of 618 Old 11-17-2008, 02:08 PM
 
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I totally forgot to sub.

I know how to knit, cook from scratch (though I need to work on baking sweets), mend (horribly, but still), sew- a bit but not too much.

I want to improve my knitting like tenfold and learn how to grow food (I have a brown thumb. I swear I water plants and they die). Basically I want to homestead in my small apartment in the So Cal desert.

My big HUGE major problem is time management. I have all these things I want and need to do and then I start to feel overwhelmed and it ends with me on my bum in front of my laptop allowing my house to go to crap. If anyone has any suggestions on this please let me know!

Maggie, blissfully married mama of 5 little ladies on my own little path. homeschool.gif gd.gifRainbow.gif
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#90 of 618 Old 11-17-2008, 02:09 PM
 
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Mama to 9 so far:Mother of Joey (20), Dominick (13), Abigail (11), Angelo (8), Mylee (6), Delainey (3), Colton (2) and Baby 8 and Baby 9 coming sometime in July 2013.   If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!

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