Friday, 11 January 2013

This IS Life

Homemaking is challenging.  Each and every day unfolds differently than the day before it.  The daily, repetitive tasks of cooking, laundry and cleaning remain my anchors, but the flow of the day and the needs of my family are vastly different on any two days of the week, month and year.  Because our days change so rapidly (and often without notice), it's imperative that I develop routines that flow easily with change/unexpected events.  I've learned that with a bigger than average sized family, "normal" is defined a little differently.... "normal" tends to be a little chaotic.  As a consequence, it's critical that I hone my family/home management skills in 2013 to keep up with my ever expanding, rapidly changing home life.  What exactly am I referring to?  In no particular order:

1)  My folks stayed with us for nearly 3 weeks over Christmas and they left on Tuesday.  With all the excitement and busy fun of the season, our routine was blissfully non-existent.  We needed a break from the everyday and we enjoyed the wild ride that was our holiday season, but now, on the tail end of those three weeks, routine is once again needed, welcome and soothing.

2)  My 92 year old Grandma has been in and out of hospital over the past 2 weeks.  Juggling hospital visits (45 minutes away) with driving kids to school and my regular routine/chores was a challenging but important priority.

3)  On Tuesday, Ian left for 3 months in Thailand.  A long drive to the airport in the very early morning hours preceded the regular school day morning routine.

4)  Kelly is currently in transition, working half time at the old out of town job and half time at the new job.  Both jobs have different start and end times.  He is tired and a little stressed as he makes this transition and finds his new routine (which is nowhere near reliable and consistent yet).  Coming home to "calm and peaceful" amidst all this change is a gift for him.

5)  The 3 youngest children are back in school after nearly 3 weeks off over Christmas/New Years.  "Back to the routine" is the theme of the week.  I'm having to get used to once again keeping up with bread making and baking to keep the pantry and fridge stocked for healthy lunches.  I'm also back to making sure that supper gets started early before the busy homework/chores/activity time starts.  These tasks force me to be organized.

6)  The oven died (Christmas Eve I add, while roasting the turkey which took 9 hours to cook instead of the planned 5).  The ongoing challenge of winter cooking for a crowd without an oven has been just another wrench thrown into the mix.  I've been cooking for varying numbers of people over this past month - from 30-odd to just 4 (tonight).  The leaves in our big table have been in and out more times in the last month than most people manage in an entire YEAR.

7)  Grand-parenting!  I'm finishing this random list with the "funnest" and most enjoyable reason why my routine has been up-ended :)  Seeing our Granddaughter is important to us and we'll always choose that over housework and projects if we have the chance to see our son, his wife and baby Penny.

On top of the constant state of daily change around here, we have some very interesting homesteading/permaculture projects that we are planning for 2013:

- a new triple purpose outbuilding made with repurposed/second hand materials (greenhouse/chicken coop/compost)
- swales for capturing, holding and distributing rainwater naturally
- taking advantage of a natural depression by building a pond to attract wildlife and pollinating insects
- planting a food forest in the front yard (we did start this in the Fall of 2012) 
- tear down and rebuild of the rotting front deck/entrance (we still have no access to the front door after 3.5 years of living here)
- water capturing projects (from the existing coop, greenhouse and the house) for irrigating the greenhouse, veggie garden and trees via gravity
- raising meat birds in a moveable tractor pen (we're going to try our hand at raising them now that Kelly will be home for local work)

There's more in store but that's a good start!  I'll be sure to share our progress as we move along the list.  There's lots of research to do still and some drawings and planning to take care of - certainly enough to keep us busy until Spring when we pick up the tools to work on these dreams...

Life in our home is ever changing and always interesting with no two days the same.  Life IS and WILL CONTINUE TO BE "out of the normal range" for quite some time...  My daily routines must be magically accomplished in fits and starts all through the day, flowing in between the many spontaneous changes that get thrown our way.

I'm taking full advantage of the support available over at the Down To Earth Forum.  Join me as I learn more about honing my routines and my home keeping skills!


  1. great photos, and good to catch up with you and your family,


  2. Yes! Nothing is more important then new life! How wonderful for you and your family!

  3. Is that your Mum and Dad Sherri? Wow, you and Kelly look like kid-grandparents but your parents are way too young looking to be Great grandparents.

    Routines are so important aren't they -- along with adaptability.

    1. Yes, that's my Mom and Dad :) They are both in their late 60's. They had 2 kids (my brother is younger than me) and they now have 10 Grandkids plus 1 Great Grandchild (Penny). My brother has 5 kids also (2 from his first marriage and he adopted his second wife's 2 children then they had 1 child together).

      My routine is saving my bacon right now!

  4. Ever since I first found your blog, your posts about homemaking have been such an inspiration to me! When I left my job to stay home with my daughter a couple years ago, I had many days where I just felt like I wasn't cut out to be a homemaker - that I wasn't doing a very good job of it. (And, I'll admit, I still have those days from time-to-time). But I realized, I'm pretty certain through one of your posts, that I'm the one in charge of setting the stage for the day, for keeping the rhythm and routines. And once I took charge of that, I found a bit of confidence to carry me through my harder days. Thanks :) -Jaime

    1. Jaime, that's wonderful to hear! You're doing an amazing job and your posts inspire me greatly - "so back at ya" :). It can be really hard some days/weeks (and in our case months). Routine is so important when we are being pulled in 1000 directions and we can't think straight. Hugs,

  5. You certainly have been busy and i loved reading about your upcoming projects! Although i get bored with the same constants each day (washing, nappy changing etc) i do like my routine and tend to get a bit flustered when it is messed with hehe. You have certainly had a few challenges to work into your rhythm and i am in awe of how you are holding it all together!