Diary of a Homemaker: Going Apace

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Saturday:  Caleb stayed last night with us.  He woke at 7:21...I'd just looked at my clock and heard him cry out that's how I know when he woke.   I got him up and changed, warmed his cup of milk slightly and put him on John's lap wrapped in an afghan and took myself off to shower.  Before I'd stepped into the shower, I heard Kate come up in her car and walk across the back porch.  No she doesn't walk that heavy.  Our master bath wall is also the back porch wall.

We all had coffee and chatted together (after my shower) and then Katie took Caleb home.  I reheated the baked oatmeal for our breakfast this morning because it just sounded like a warm and hearty meal for a cool morning.  From that point, I did exactly two things.  I cleared up the dishes and then made our bed.  I don't remember doing anything else, but I think I must have because after we'd had lunch, I allotted myself the next two hours as pure rest time.  About 2:15, I made myself a cup of coffee and sat in the rocker in the kitchen sitting and leisurely drank it.  Then I closed my eyes and somehow managed a 20 minute nap before I heard the first 'BOOM!' announcing a young boy on the back porch.

Here's something funny that happened. When I opened the door, Isaac came in, bearing multiple sheets of fluorescent poster board and a pencil.  Josh's Kindle was lying on the back porch and while I was greeting Isaac, Josh ran in.  I welcomed them both, and shut the door. I was just about to ask if the parents were going to bring Millie in, when Josh looked suddenly alarmed and went pale.  "Wait!  Millie is out there somewhere!!"   Apparently he'd forgotten all about her and I'd never seen her at all.  I opened the back door and hurried out to the porch.  

There at the foot of the steps was Millie and she was not best pleased with me at all!  I reminded her I hadn't left her but she was definitely pouting over her ill treatment.  I helped her come up the steps and Isaac helped her get in the backdoor and we all apologized profusely, but that look of having been misused was still there.  Finally I resorted to the one thing that works best with our youngest granddaughter.  I complimented her on how pretty she looked.  Out came her usual sunny smile and all was well.

Millie has not yet warmed up to Katie.   Whenever the two meet up they stare without blinking at one another.  Katie has done her best to win Millie over, but Millie just stares at Katie...I think Katie has said it best.  "She looks at me like she's judging me...." and she does!   So Katie came in yesterday and she complimented Millie over and over and said hello to her very sweetly and Millie just looked at her and stood stock still.  Finally Katie and John went out on the porch where Katie was going to cut John's hair.  At this point, Millie surprised me no end.  "I go Tatie."  I've said all along, once Millie warms up to Katie I have a feeling their going to be fast friends and love each other dearly, but Millie is sure making Katie earn her favor!   She must be getting closer because when she came in Millie actually gave her a smile.

We had a grand time with the three children even though we were  tired and weary.  It was a rare moment of sitting when John and I didn't have one or two grandchildren on our laps.  Even Josh sat on my lap for quite a long time.  I made pizzas for supper and Josh pronounced my pizza "The Best!"   After I'd rinsed and piled dishes in the sink, Josh asked to camp.  I was so tired and John intervened and said "Gramma's not going to play.  She's going to sit and rest..."   I did help Josh set up his camp.  We used the dining chairs only because I was too weary to clear the dining room table to throw a quilt over as we'd done last time.  We were able to make a suitably big tent out of comforter and the dining chairs and all three kids climbed inside.  This upset Isaac who didn't want Millie inside because it was for boys only.  I pointed out that I was a girl and they'd wanted me to play but I was assured that didn't count and Millie was a 'real girl', lol.

Something Sam, Bess and Katie like to do is slip into the house, not announcing their arrival.  I heard Millie gasp and turned to see why and found Bess standing in the kitchen.  The boys were still unaware of her arrival.  The room was chaos, but less than it had been twenty minutes prior.  The boys were still in camp and Bess looked in to greet them.  I'm glad that everyone was content and happy and playing busily when she came in.  I like the parents feel the children are truly enjoying themselves here.  At some point, Millie and Isaac both were singing happily as they played their separate games.  That always makes me smile.  Singing children are so often content children...

When everyone was gone home, the dining area restored to dining and no longer a camp, I slipped into my nightgown and John and I watched two engrossing episodes of Star Trek (we started season two and this is the original corny series) and Perry Mason.  When we went to bed last night I had no problem with lying awake.  I went to sleep and stayed asleep until about 6am this morning.

Sunday:  After church today we came home, riding with the windows down.  It was cool and lovely outdoors.   When we topped the hill on the highway above the river valley, you could see the pattern of the trees changing color.  It's not bright and colorful but it's beginning to get some color so a bit of yellow and red were just visible amongst the green leaves.  

Once home, I tidied the house while John listened to church service on the tv.  He often does this, especially if there is a rousing sermon such as we'd had today.    I listened as I worked and heated lunch, leftover pizza.

After lunch I went to work making apple pies.  They turned out absolutely beautiful.

I have to say that for the first time I altered the recipe.  I've always felt the filling was far too sweet and today I decreased the sugar just slightly.   What I wish I'd also done: put some of the flour/sugar mixture in the bottom of the pie shell.  When I cut pie for us to have with coffee this afternoon, it ran with juices.  I am sure that the rest of the pie will be soggy as can be and I'm sorry for that because the crust is really excellent.

I have a roast chicken in the oven.  It has vegetables piled around it and I'm looking forward to it.  I seasoned it only with a bit of apple and some rosemary today.  

I still haven't gotten the locks on my cabinet doors, but I am going to get that done this week.  It will mean I can keep the kitchen neater.  I am satisfied with the amount of work I got done today and the rest, too.

Monday:  I should have gotten something out to thaw for supper tonight last night but I didn't.   That left me scrambling a bit this morning about my supper plans.  I decided to make Chicken Pot Pie, using last night's roast chicken.  This is a meal worthy of a Shoe Box Supper, too.   I used 1 can of mixed vegetables, 1 can of cream of chicken soup, 1 bay leaf and chopped cooked chicken.  The topping is easy peasy: flour, milk, butter.  1 cup of flour, 1 cup of milk, 1/2 stick of melted butter.  Mix and pour over the top.  

Katie arrived very early this morning.  I was getting up at the moment but hadn't yet turned on the lights in my room.  John brought Caleb in and he tumbled across the bed and into my arms.  It was a sweet way to greet the day but not what I expected, lol.

I spent the morning peeling and quartering apples for apple butter.  I put the cores and peels on to cook for juice for jelly.  I saved out two apples for eating out of hand.  I'm trying to get all I can out of these apples.  

During Caleb's nap this morning, I made up that chicken pot pie (not the crust part, just the base), and then I settled with my checkbook and brought it up to date.  No major mistakes, just the usual small purchases that I wasn't told about.   I'm very fortunate that John is the sort that his purchases run under $10 and he's not chronic at making them.

I wandered down rabbit trails this morning after my work was done.  Poor Caleb got only little of my attentions I'm afraid and had to rely heavily on his Grampa, but it was just the sort of 'fun' I needed.  I truly do begin to feel I'm all work and dull as ditchwater some days and to delve into a hobby I enjoy was lovely.

We made our usual daily trip to the dumpster.  John said, "What would your readers think of this sort of outing?"  I laughed and told him you all knew all about it and how much I looked forward to that little outing daily. 

Supper was delicious.  John has been purely enjoying our meals lately.  It comes back to the simpler homemade things that pleases him best.  Well truth told those simpler meals are the most cost effective and lend themselves well to being quick to prep.   I made a simple lettuce and tomato salad to go with the pot pie tonight.  I'm out of cranberry sauce and haven't taken time to dig out a bag of frozen berries  and make my own.

That apple butter smells rather nice.  It seems very cinnamon-y at the moment but I'm hoping it's the residue on the sides that is smelling so strong.  It has to cook on low all night long so we'll see how it turns out tomorrow.

I've drained the peels and cores and have about 2 quarts of apple juice to make jelly with.  I've put the cooked apple scraps into the freezer for now. I need to sort out jars to start my vinegar in...

Tuesday:  I put together a stew in the crockpot midday today....but I'm getting ahead of myself.

That apple butter smelled really nice this morning at 4am.  I was awake temporarily and determined then and there to make biscuits for our breakfast this morning.  It was hard to go back to sleep after making my mind up about that but I managed.

I had biscuits mixed and ready to cut out when Kate arrived this morning.  Caleb was in one of his "If it's shut it's my mission to make sure it opens" moods this morning, which means I spent the whole of the morning sliding the drawers closed or shutting open cupboard doors in the kitchen.  I really do mean to put childproof locks on these cabinets.  It's not the way I want to spend a day, repeatedly moving Caleb away from open cabinets and drawers and replacing items pulled out and then doing it all over again five minutes later. 

 John keeps saying he must learn and so he should but just now it's ridiculous to keep repeating frustration on my part.  And it's not just Caleb...Millie was just as quick to open things up when she was here.  At one point on Thursday, Caleb heard the cabinet open before I did and he came and patted my knee , said "Out!" and looked toward the kitchen.  Sure enough there Millie was with her head poked in the cabinet.

I put the apple butter in jars this morning before breakfast and there were 1 1/2 pints.  I had a wee bit that wouldn't go in the half pint jar and put it in a Oui yogurt jar.  I ordered lids at $1 each from the Yoplait site that fits those jars.  At the time I rather wondered at myself thinking this was reasonable but I've used those jars again and again and again and I have no regrets at all about buying those lids.   We used that bit of apple butter on our biscuits this morning.

After I'd washed the crockpot out, I set it up to use again.  I planned to make the beef stew for this evening in it.  I used a punnet of baby bella mushrooms, onion, potatoes, carrots, and a chuck roast I cut into chunks.  I seasoned it simply with garlic and Worcestershire sauce and bay leaf.  I poured over a can of tomato soup which I rinsed with a can of water.   That simple.  It smelled wonderful cooking today.  It was ready in  time for Caleb to have supper off it this afternoon.  He was enthusiastic over it.

When we went out to feed pets after Caleb lay down for a nap today, I found it was breezy and cooler.  I can't open windows for fear they'll slip out of place and land on little fingers but I could open the bathroom and kitchen sink windows.  That kept the house quite cool not cold but enough to prevent the heat from building up indoors and running the AC.

We've done our usual things after Caleb went home today: had our supper, gone to the dump, etc.  I did some small organizing in the pantry.  I actually went in there to gather a few items for the kitchen, but I was between kitchen tasks and felt it was as good a time as any to organize the thing a wee bit better.  Not much was out of place but I had a few that had been shoved into empty spaces and it felt good to take time to put it to rights once more.  It also helps me to keep a clear idea of about what I have without making a full on inventory of it.

There were leftovers of the stew, just as there were leftovers of the Chicken Pot Pie last night.  I've told John that really I could serve supper the next two nights and not cook a thing.  I plan to make stuffed peppers this week.  I think I'll make those tomorrow night, and just go ahead and put two in the freezer for a freezer meal.  Then I'll serve the leftovers on Thursday and Friday.  It will be a savings of both grocery and of me this week.  

(C) Terri Cheney

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