The Fort Worth Homemaker’s Day

schedule-compressed

By Liz

You might be asking yourself, what does a day in the life of this homemaker look like?  I get emails wondering what it is I do all day and we now have such amazing technology that keeping house must be a breeze, so I think many of my readers think I have plenty of time that gets wasted on a daily basis.

Unlike many other homemakers, I don’t home school any of the 5 kids .Regardless of the fact that they are much older, honestly this was never in my wheel house, I know my weaknesses and frankly I was not equipped with the patience level to home school.

Also, like many other homemakers, I don’t do many DIY projects.  You will probably never see a post about how I turned an old sock into an adorable stuffed animal, although you will see mentions of me using old socks as dust rags.

I also don’t have a long reading list. While I agree that reading helps one broaden their minds, helps you relax and is some pretty cheap entertainment, I just never seem to have enough time.  Kudos to all those other homemakers and blogging moms that are able to read 40+ books in one year, because it usually takes me months to get through just one book.




So exactly what does a day in my life look like?  Here is a schedule of a typical day:

6:00 – 8:30 Read, answer emails, compose posts.

8:30 -9:30 Exercise, shower, dress, hair.

9:30 -10:00 Dust and sweep all of the downstairs of my house. (This gets done daily due to dog hair tumbleweeds that drive me crazy).

pot-of-dog-food

10:00 -10:30 Prep and put on a pot of homemade dog food in the slow cooker, then prep and marinade chicken for evening dinner.

10:30 -11:00 Fold and put away 2 batches of laundry.

11:00 12:00 Proof read, edit and photo shop for upcoming posts.

12:00 – 1:00 Make and enjoy my lunch hour, (eating does not take me an hour, but if there was anything that stuck with me from my days in corporate…it was enjoying the respite of the lunch hour before delving back into work).

breakfast-sandwiches

1:00 -1:40 Make a batch of egg sandwiches for the freezer.

1:40 – 2:00 Played with puppy and other dogs outside giving them some exercise.

blanched-tomatoes

2:00 – 3:00 Blanched, pureed and freezer bagged all garden ripened tomatoes (to be used in sauce at a future time).

CPP-books

3:00 – 4:00 Work on homework assignment from the Saturday class I am taking (I had mentioned this previously, I am working on keeping my CPP certification as a Payroll Professional).

4:00 -4:15 Empty dishwasher.

4:15 – 4:30 Bagged up dog food from slow cooker.

4:30 – 5:00 Judge Judy and coffee break (Guilty pleasure, hey!…I am only human).

5:00 5:30 Dinner prep (slicing veggies, shredding cheese, etc…)

dinner-cooked-on-the-grill

5:30 -6:30 Grilling dinner outside while periodically coming in to check on side dishes.

6:30 – 7:30 Eat with family, package leftovers, wash dishes.

dog-walk

7:30 – 8:30 Take dogs for a walk.

8:30 – 10:00 Downtime…finally!!! (Usually this time is spent either watching a movie or talking with my hubby and kids).

10:00 BED..it’s been a long day and I am tired!

For those of you who might be wondering, NO, I did not embellish this schedule.  This is a typical day for me, other days also include errands, grocery shopping, scheduled appointments at the doctor, dentist, vet, mechanic, etc…

I do try to make a habit of doing less on the weekend, but with the class I am taking on Saturday’s this summer, that has me out the door at 7:00a.m. and not returning until 2:00p.m. I still have homemaking items that I accomplish on the weekends, but these tasks get done on a less stringent schedule.

So there you have it, a day in the life of The Fort Worth Homemaker, I did not write this post to complain, I just wanted to let the public know that homemakers far and wide generally are not sitting around watching daytime T.V. talk shows; shopping and spending money all day; or taking naps for hours upon end.  And if you are a homemaker that does exactly those things…please let me know your secret, cause who couldn’t use some of that?

 


Airing my Dirty Laundry

ironing

By Liz

When I first meet people and tell them that I am a full time homemaker with a household of 7, I can almost see their faces turn into posters of pity, thinking that I must be buried under loads of dirty dishes and laundry; that my house must surely be perpetually messy and I spend my time chasing after young, disheveled, banshee like children about to climb all over the furniture or take crayons to my walls.

Thankfully, I have paid my dues in that area and those days are long behind me.  My brood is mostly made up of teens and young adults now, but that doesn’t mean that the chores for this full time homemaker cease to exist anymore.



As you can imagine we generate a lot of laundry in our house.  This may come as a shocker and I am probably going to come off as a discredit to my fellow homemakers, but I do enjoy doing laundry.  I know many others may despise this necessary chore, but I find a certain relaxation in it.

First of all let me say, that even though I do the majority of the laundry, the rest of the family does help out and does what is necessary. Secondly, we do not have a designated “laundry day”(with the exception of bedding, that gets done every Sunday) where all the laundry is completed in one day. We do laundry just about every day.  I guess you could say it is done in moderation, just like any successful, diet, exercise, or budgeting program.

I read and hear all the time how exasperated people get when they talk about doing laundry.  This always makes me laugh. What is it about laundry that gets people so beat down? You dump the load into the machine, close the lid and press a button. It’s not like the old days where you had to drag your clothes down to the closest river and beat your clothes on a rock, or even more modern, pull out a bucket, washboard and the most skin irritating soap known to man and scrub until your fingers bleed.

sorting

Our system is a pretty easy one.  Everyone has a clothes hamper in their rooms, when it starts to get full, they are to empty their items into our clothes sorting system, kept in our garage. Our sorting system is made up of 4 large plastic hampers that are designated, one for whites, one for jeans, one for towels and one for colored clothes. When those hampers are brim full, it is time to wash that load.

detergent

We do save some money on our cleaning products. For many years, we had used commercial products, but then I started reading about more cost efficient, homemade products. I was very reluctant and skeptical to try any of these, but one weekend, I decided to make a batch and experiment for a week, if we didn’t like it or it did not do a sufficient job, we could always switch back to the commercial brands. I am happy to say, that it worked out and we now use a homemade version of laundry detergent, thereby, slashing our cost on detergent, “thanks Mary Hunt of Everday Cheapskate”.

washing-machines

Our machine’s are high capacity, energy and water efficient brands and we wash everything in cold water (unless hot is really needed to get something sterilized). I would love to be able to tell you that with all that laundry for 7 people that we save a ton of money by line drying. I love line dried clothes, it was the method we used when I was a kid in the Northeastern part of the country there is nothing like the smell of sun bathed, crisp linen sheets or clothes.  However, here in Texas, it is just not feasible. While yes, we have plenty of sunshine, we also have plenty of dust and allergens being blown around most of the time.

I remember the first time, I insisted to my now husband that I wanted a clothes line in the backyard of our old house.  With some reluctance on his part, I finally got my way. When the day came that the line was up, I could not wait. I did a batch of towels in the morning, got them out and up on the clothes line before I headed off to the office (back in my working days).  Later that day, when I had come home and proceeded to take the clean, dry clothes off of my line, I noticed there was a sticky green/yellowish film on each and every towel.  Turns out, spring pollen had thwarted my efforts that day to try to save on energy, because now I had to re-wash the load and run it through the dryer.  That is how it is here in the Metroplex, there always seems to be something floating in the air.  If it’s not pollen, mold, ragweed or other allergens, then the dirt and dust from all the construction in the area certainly will hamper this kind of effort.

dryer-balls

So our dryer gets used on a daily basis as well and while we know that this appliance is a money sucker, we do what we can to minimize the monetary sting.  We have invested in a set of wool dryer balls to help with static and minimize wrinkles, instead of using fabric softener or dryer sheets; we dry back to back loads as to ensure maximization of residual heat; we clean the lint trap at the beginning of each load; and every 6 months, we pull the machine out away from the wall and clean out the venting system in the back of the machine.

After the machines are all done doing the hard work, I then get in some much needed down time.  I bring my baskets of dried laundry into the living room at a time when no one else is occupying it and start folding and making individual piles for each owner.  Depending on the time of the day, I may turn on the T.V. and catch up on the news while tending to this chore, but more often than not, I do it in silence and use this as my reflection time with my life and with God.

folded-clothes

 

When all the piles of clean, neatly folded laundry is completed, they sit for a short time in our living space.  Before dinner hits the table, each owner has come to get his or her piles and they are responsible for putting them away, just as on Sundays, each person is responsible for re-making their own beds once the bedding has been laundered. Believe it or not, and I am not making this up, when each kid comes to collect their piles, they do genuinely thank me or I get a kiss on the cheek.  And I don’t even pander for it, maybe that is part of the joy I get from doing this task.

Now many of you might not have these same kinds of luxuries, such as older kids that can take care of their own clean laundry and linens.  Maybe you have to fold,  hang up and put away every stitch of clothing, maybe do some ironing and maybe you have to make every bed in your home, and while I agree this might seem like a cumbersome chore, I believe it is all part of homemaking.

Don’t forget, this has become yours and my chosen profession, because we feel it is important to sustain a well balanced, happy home and family; and like with any profession, it may come with some big and tiresome job responsibilities,  but it also has a great benefit program.



Savoring Coffee and the Weekend

french-press

By Liz

Like most, our Mondays through Fridays are extremely hectic. That’s not to say that our weekends aren’t busy either, but we tend to tackle those two glorious days with more of a laid back vibe.

Even though we are family that tries to tighten our belts every chance we get, we do have some luxuries that we enjoy.  As I have mentioned in a previous article, my husband gave me a Keurig coffee machine many Christmases ago that gets a lot of use in our house as you can imagine with the 7 of us.  In fact, it seems as though our Keurig is always hard at work brewing a cup of coffee, tea or cocoa.  What I like most about it, is that it produces a hot, fresh cup of whatever our palates are craving at any particular time.  For example, I enjoy a regular medium roast cup of coffee, my husband enjoys hazelnut coffee, while the older boys enjoy some very strong, alternate flavored, gourmet coffees (that they buy with their own money) and while our teens turn their beverages into iced coffees now and then, they mostly stick to cocoa.




When my hubby and I got married, we received a French Press coffee pot as one of our gifts. It was the first time I had tried a cup of coffee from a French Press.  At the time, I was skeptical, because it reminded me so much of the same process used when making instant or peculated coffee, which is what I grew up on, needless to say, I was not a huge fan of either of those methods back in the day, but it was all we had. But from that very first sip of coffee that was brewed from the French Press coffee pot….I was hooked. The aroma, the intense, smooth flavor, the rich color….OMG!! I was in café heaven!

Mondays through Fridays, I start my days at 6:00 a.m. with a fresh cup of coffee every morning, brewed from my Keurig. While my Keurig is starting up, I will flip open my laptop, log on and start checking emails, start to work on an article for my blog, throw in a load of laundry, empty the dishwasher, etc… before the rest of my brood even starts wiping the sleep crud from their eyes.  On an average day, I typically enjoy 2, sometimes 3 cups most mornings, another cup late in the afternoon and sometimes a cup at lunch, depending on what is on the menu.




Weekends however are another story when it comes to java. I sleep in on Saturday and Sundays (usually until about 6:45 a.m.) on these 2 days, my beloved French Press Coffee pot comes out.  I brew a fresh, hot pot of coffee and then spend some overdue, quality time, relaxing and enjoying my java.  Depending on what kind of weekend it is, I pair my cup of coffee with a good book and a blanket, curled up on the couch. Then there are times when I sip on my java and watch an old movie; but my favorite is when the weather cooperates, I will sit out on my back patio and just enjoy another beautiful day that God has created, just taking in the sights, sounds and smells of the fresh morning air while sipping on my cup of heaven.

After well over a decade in the corporate world, which also included those rushed,” squeeze in all those tasks on the weekends because you were working all week”, and even now, though I am our COO and Home Manager, of a hustling and bustling household,  I purposely find time to savor the flavor of my coffee and weekend mornings.