What a week! If this isn’t nesting, I don’t know what is! Over the last week or so, I’ve made a huge dent in my to-do list. Every day, I feel a little more prepared, a little more at ease. And I’m thankful for every day that this “instinct” gives me an extra boost in energy to push through and get more done. From cleaning out closets to cooking meals to go in the freezer, and even just doing the basic housework and schoolwork and homestead chores, I’m so grateful for the opportunities to be better prepared.
This time of year, there aren’t a lot of homesteading chores to do. For the most part, it’s taking care of the chickens as we wait out the winter months. More recently, I sat down and cataloged our seed collection, and the other day, Scott and I figured out how much of everything we’d like to try and plan this year, along with what seeds need to be ordered. I’m so glad that I have accounts with Johnnie’s and Territorial, because I was able to “fill my cart” online with seeds we need in very quick order. Both companies keep a record of what seeds you’ve ordered in the past and allow you to reorder previous orders (as well as edit them as needed). It saved me a ton of time!
Last week, we had sub-zero temperatures with wind chills all of the way down to -50F. On those two days, I had to do the chicken chores myself. Lately, Peanut and I do the chores together, but it was too cold to risk letting the kids be outside at all, and so I bundled up well and prepared to brace myself for the walk straight into the wind towards the chickens. Ouch! With a face mask on, multiple layers of clothing, a down parka, and everything else one would need to wear to brave the weather, the wind and cold still knocked the air right out of me. It took me a long while to catch my breath again after getting back into the house. But the chickens survived the brutal cold, albeit with a bit of frostbite on their combs.
Then this week brought a warm spell where a good chunk of our snow melted, followed by another dip in temperatures and a dusting of snow. That was followed by a day of freezing rain, which was followed by two days of very cold temperatures once again. After the freezing rain, I was exceptionally glad to have purchased myself a set of slip on spikes for my boots to do chores in, especially in my exceptionally large pregnant state. Our yard is half skating rink, half icy snow piles right now! But again, the chickens seem to be doing just fine through it all (thank the Lord!).
The chest freezer we picked up in fall has finally been plugged in!!! It wasn’t an urgent priority at the time, and the basement needed a bit of cleaning and rearranging before we were ready to get it running. With that job finally taken care of, I felt confident in the location I picked for the freezer and plugged it in. Now I can move all of our meat to the chest freezer, which will give us more room for pre-made meals and other frozen foods.
Speaking of needing room for pre-made meals… that’s one of the things I’ve been trying to work on here and there. A few weeks ago, I spent a day making breakfast-y foods to put in the freezer. Muffins, breads, oatmeal bakes, and granola bars. Then I spent a day cooking meals with my mom and we made at least 4 different meals to put in the freezer. This last week, I spent almost an entire day cooking and baking. I cooked up 6 lbs. of ground beef, some to freeze, some to use right away. Then I diced up 4 lbs. of ham for various meals and made a ham chowder and “hot pockets” with some of that. I baked pumpkin pancakes and pumpkin bread, and made up a batch of cookie dough to freeze.
My mom was over the next day and made two pans of desserts to freeze as well as a pasta bake. And the week prior, my sister-in-law arrived at our house with a few meals and some pancakes as well! I know it sounds like a lot of food, and it definitely is, but when you have 5 kids at home 24/7, it doesn’t go very far! I still need to make up another lasagna to put in the freezer, and if I feel ambitious enough, I’m sure I’ll cook up a few more meals for easy use.
I’ve put in a good deal of time down in the basement to get things in better shape recently. Last time, I think I mentioned that I had cleaned out one of the storage areas and needed to mop the basement bathroom walls (which I did do). Since then, I replaced a broken light fixture and replaced a broken light switch, built a shelf in the “root cellar” for putting potatoes and other vegetables on (it will eventually get another shelf or three added to it). Oh, and we got a new washing machine.
Yes, we did just replaced our dryer not that long ago. Our washer decided to die mid-wash last weekend. Rather than fixing a machine that might not stay fixed and was obviously over-burdened by our family size and country living, we opted to buy a machine that will *hopefully* hold up to our abuses. So there was an afternoon spent moving things around and installing our new machine. The good news is that now I don’t have to worry our machines will conk out on us when we have yet another family member.. a family member who will inevitably create a lot of extra laundry in his first few months of life!
Though Miss Lady’s room was prepared enough for the arrival of a baby, I had a list of things I wanted to do to either get the room set up a little better or just to finish decorating. I spent an afternoon recovering the cushions for the glider, maybe 20 minutes painting some small shelves, bins, a portion of the cradle and a couple of other odd little details, and another 30 minutes or so putting baby clothing and other things into said bins and making sure all of the larger sized baby clothing was organized appropriately in their closet. I also spent an evening doing some watercolor painting for their room… a lamb, a bunny rabbit, and a flamingo. (I know, flamingo doesn’t seem to fit, but it’s Miss Lady’s favorite animal.)
The sewing I did on the cushion covers for the chair wasn’t the only sewing I got to do!!! (I hardly get to sew these days!) We’re going to be doing some “remodeling” in our living room (I’ll disclose more on that as it gets underway), one thing including putting a bench seat under the bigger picture window. When we had to replace our couches this fall, I saved the cushions from the couches to use as cushions on the window seat. This past week, I cut the cushions to size and made new covers for them!
More work that was completed this past week was to clean out some closets. The “game closet” in the classroom needed a good once-over and finally got it, as did the rest of the classroom. I repaired a door on the desk, washed the walls (again… I cleaned them not all that long ago, but you know, little kids…), straightened up the bookshelf, and cleaned out the kids cubbies and their school work drawers. They have cubbies for things like their art supplies and personal belongings, and their drawers hold their workbooks.
Another closet that got cleaned out was the one up in Peanut’s room. His closet holds almost all of the boy clothing that we own that is either not in-season (summer clothing) or is an in-between size. With 4 boys, soon to be 5, we’ll have boys ranging in size from 0-3 mo. up to 10/12 yr. So while it isn’t all being used right now, we can’t afford to not keep all of those in-between sizes. Pumpkin is in size 10/12, Peanut is in size 8, Doodles size 5, E in size 3, and of course, the baby will be going through a wide variety of sizes in the next year. But that closet is cleaned out once again, and I should have a much easier time switching out clothing the next time we go through a size or a seasonal change!
Up in the laboratory (that’s the furnace room that doubles as a “science workshop” for Scott and the kids) is another one of my projects… This summer, I had made a dry erase board for the room, but I never quite finished the project. Yesterday, I finally finished it! Then there was a chest in the movie night room that I started painting last February, and I FINALLY finished painting that. And in Doodle’s and E’s room, their destructive forces have done some damage to the walls. I painted their room last winter, but I didn’t have any leftover paint when I was done, so I couldn’t do a traditional touch-up job. Instead, I ended up using some chalkboard paint to cover up a big area of peeled paint.
The other things that I felt compelled to take care of were picking up extra feed and bedding for the animals. Poppy’s food was running low and the chickens needed more food and bedding, so the kids and I made a trip to the store to pick up what we’d need to get us through for awhile without needing to worry about whether or not they’d have what they need if I had to head to the hospital. I also decided to make a grocery shopping trip with the kids last weekend with the intention of picking up at least some food that would be easier for the kids to prepare and to make sure we’d have all of the toiletries and whatnot that we might need in the coming weeks. Hopefully I won’t need to make either of these trips again until after the baby arrives!
While there are still a few things that I’d like to work on around here, cleaning and building things, I am feeling pretty darn good about the state of our house. Granted, at an given moment, the kids could have the house seemingly torn apart, but in reality, we can get it cleaned really well in a matter of two hours. Now my concern with having the baby come at any given moment has more to do with timing… what activities do we have on our calendar? Will I go into labor in the middle of the night, yet again? In this cold? Will we make it to the hospital on time?
Right now, I’m stuck between wishing he’d come right now and wanting him to wait until Wednesday at least. I know it’s unlikely that he’ll come this early, but every pregnancy is different, and my body is certainly gearing up for a big change. Scott is busy this morning, tomorrow I have a few errands to run and we’re supposed to host a gathering of homeschoolers in the afternoon. Somewhere between now and Tuesday evening, Scott has a dentist appointment and then he has a talk to give at the local library pertaining to family history research. While there are other things on our schedule, those are the big things we’re “committed” to over the next few days that we’d like to not have to cancel.
If the baby decides to wait the full two weeks (or Heaven forbid, more), I’ll be turning my attention to getting some fun projects in with the kids and maintaining a clean house. Today’s goal is to get the house pretty clean from top to bottom, and finish crocheting a blanket I started for Scott last fall. It’s almost done!
While all of this cleaning and work is definitely shoved along by a good dose of that so-called nesting instinct, I’ve also learned that it’s better for me to do a winter cleaning of our house instead of a spring cleaning. Do any of you do a thorough winter cleaning? If you’ve been pregnant before, what was the silliest nesting urge you had? Mine was probably mopping the ceilings two weeks ago!