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April 2013 - Page 2 of 2 - Shivaya Naturals — Page 2

April 2013

BH!

When I first saw the schedule of topics for the Get Real series, it was this week’s that left me with the biggest gap on what to write on. Household chores has been an interesting topic of discussion in my home in the past year, especially in light of having a 4th child, and a new dynamic to our homeschooling lives (more on that later).

During the colder winter months, we do find ourselves spending a large amount of time indoors, and an easily established rhythm to our days is not too terribly hard to come by. Once those warm weather months are upon us, however, no two days ever look alike.

Chores are not something that I have been diligent with the boys about. I have written before of our blessing hour , and it is certainly something that I take seriously, but beyond that household work has fallen mainly to me. I can’t really say that I find that to be easier than having a lot of help, but I certainly find it to be more efficient. During our blessing hour, our house is picked up of toys, rooms are straightened, books are organized, and life is readied for either an early dinner, or as if often the case, later afternoon activities. This is the time that we come together as a family and work to transition from one part of our day to another, as well as organize and clean up the things that we have taken out.

I am going to admit that I am more rigid with my chores (for myself) than I thought that I would be. Perhaps it is having a larger household where we all live on top of each other, or maybe it is just that I need a certain sense of cleanliness in order to do with my days what I want, but I stick tightly to my own rhythm that helps to keep my head, and my home in order.

While I don’t subscribe to a certain way of getting household chores done, I do find that an early morning and late evening quick routine keeps us most in line. Waking, emptying the dishwasher as the coffee is brewing, putting one load of laundry into the dryer, and the other into the washer, washing down the bathroom counters, and getting everyone’s clothes out begins the day with a sense of peace. As the boys are in their blessing hour in the afternoons, I make sure the kitchen is ready for dinner, another load of laundry moves into the wash, and the floor is vacuumed. That is it. Those few things keep me some what on top of things, and allow for the bigger cleaning days to not be as much about picking up and getting through laundry, as just about cleaning the home.

Of course, I have a few things going for me. First, I don’t have to rush out the door in the morning. With homeschooling, there is a little bit more freedom to move through my morning at my pace. The times that my kids have been in a school environment, I had to shift this time to after I dropped them off. I also never schedule something for the early morning if I don’t have to. For some reason, if I have to have my children or myself to an early morning appointment, I lose the entire organization of the day. I have no clue why this is, but I find that once that time in the morning is gone, I can never find a moment to reclaim it, and my dirty breakfast dishes remain exactly where they are, somewhere hidden under the lunch and snack dishes, until the afternoon cleaning hour rolls around.

There are days when all of this works wonders, and days when everything gets left in favor of a hike in the mountains, a trip to see friends, etc. The main thing that makes my rhythm successful is that I don’t try and do too much each day, and I do it early enough and late enough that on most days it fits nicely into our schedule.

So why do I not involve my children more in household chores? Mainly because they have a lifetime of chores ahead of them to look forward to, so why start now? We involve our boys in the process of keeping a home, from tending our garden, to learning to bee keep, to cooking a full meal, to cleaning out the garage every spring, but right now we don’t set a schedule for their help. I figure that if my kids are learning through exploration, they are having a good time, and that is truly their job right now. What I am hoping that I am teaching them is that while they don’t need to learn to fold laundry at this age, they do need to clean up after themselves. They are more than welcome to build a mud canal in the back yard and wade through it, but they are also responsible for cleaning up that mess at the end of playtime. Learning responsibility through chores seems to come more when we let our kiddos take care of themselves, mind what they are doing and how they are doing it, rather than involving them in mundane tasks around the house.

The one exception is when daddy is doing something around the house. Every household project seems to call for a tool belt and lots of little boy help. Every weekend all three of my boys can be found following their dad around the house, hoping for a chance to use their screw driver, hammer, or the large shovel that sits in the shed. Household projects seem to bring a chance for creativity, and a love to building to their days. I suppose this is just a part of their nature that can’t be denied.

Household chores are a part of life, especially when children are young. I try and embrace the idea of chores as part of my adventure as a mother, and as someone who is attempting to become more self-sufficient. It is so easy to let chores become this horrible thing that we have to do each day, but the reality is that keeping a home is something that I am loving more and more. I find a certain amount of joy in putting the bread in the oven in the early part of the morning, or watering the garden each night. It is not all bliss and rainbows, but there are moments when I can see the beauty in creating a peaceful home life for my family. I know that my kids will look back with gratitude for the work that it took to create the childhood that they have been able to have, and that gives me a sense of purpose like little else. There will also be days, however, when I curse the dirty dishes and the cleaning of yet another soccer uniform, and that is just fine too. No one ever said that cleaning grass stains out with a tooth brush and homemade stain remover should be the essence of my happiness, only that it is a necessary part of the life that I have chosen.

This post is part of the series Get Real, which was created by Adrie of Fields and Fire and Tonya and of Plain and Joyful Living. It is a series that looks at the real ways in which we each deal with the lives we have created. I hope that you will visit each of the participants, and enjoy their perspectives each week. 

Tonya at Plain and Joyful Living
Adrie at Fields and Fire
Lisa at Hullabaloo Homestead
Melanie at Mama Ash Grove
Kyce at Old Recipe for a New World
Aubrey at This Blessed Life

 

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First Harvest

Salad Bowl

As the sun is just beginning to warm the earth, the subject of gardening is one that I have been loving daydreaming about. 

I think that I have mentioned before that I live in a fun environment where suburbia and farming mix. My neighborhood is surrounded by a raw dairy and a horse farm, but still has quick access to the joys of our rapidly growing town.

When we first bought this home ten years ago, I am pretty sure that we never thought that we would stay here this long. It was a quick purchase, as we tried to make new jobs and a new baby work while having no idea of what we wanted long term in a home or a life on land. Since we signed those papers, there have been moments of joy and moments of sadness as we tried to fit our desires for our children into our back yard.

Homesteading has become perhaps one of the hottest topics around, and with such subjects as genetically modified foods and pesticide contamination coming into the forefront of social discussions, returning to growing our own food is taking on a resurgence.

Getting Ready to Grow

Gardening is something that I love to do, and homesteading is something that both my husband and I dream of. The idea of raising bees for real honey, chicken for fresh eggs, and perhaps a goat or two for milk is part of a conversation that occassionally we allow ourselves to have. The reality, however, is that our small backyard garden is as much as we will be taking on in the near future.

Two raised beds, one small plot and a 60×10 plot just a few miles away in our local community garden has served our family well, abundantly actually, and has allowed us to teach our kids about the joys of gardening, experiment with growing our own food, and feed our family what we love and need. The garden was the first home repair we ever did, and it was perhaps the best “addition” we could have made.

Would I like to raise my kids on a small farm, or at least a larger piece of land? I would. There is no denying that as I look around the internet at all of the wonderful homesteading blogs, or at friends who are taking on the challenge and moving to small homesteads themselves, I certainly feel a pull to connect my family even deeper to the land we all inhabit. There is something special about taking on the task and diving deep into just how sustainable one can be. It would be a beautiful thing to see my kids get up each morning, and with bucket in hand milk a cow or tend a flock of sheep, but in this present moment, that is not where or who we are.

In this moment, however, we are able to tend our soil each spring, to teach our kids just how important good soil and nutrients are to the food that they grow. In this moment, we are able to peruse seed catalogs, each picking something new to grow in our own back yard. In this moment, we are able to turn the soil, plant those early spring crops, and visit with local farmers to learn what grows best where we live. In this moment, my boys can anxiously run outside each morning and see if any of those spring crops are beginning to push through the still damp and cool soil. In this moment, we can be content with the one bee hive we are able to take on, and learn everything we can about the bees we will be living in harmony with. In this moment we can look at the back yard we are blessed with, and figure out how to grow just a little bit more each season with what we have.

There are always big dreams of doing more, and a small bit of envy for those who do just that, but it is important for me to teach my kids that dreams take time, and that loving what you have in the moment that you are in is a key to living a happy life.

This post is part of the series Get Real, which was created by Adrie of Fields and Fire and Tonya and of Plain and Joyful Living. It is a series that looks at the real ways in which we each deal with the lives we have created. I hope that you will visit each of the participants, and enjoy their perspectives each week. 

Tonya at Plain and Joyful Living
Adrie at Fields and Fire
Lisa at Hullabaloo Homestead
Melanie at Mama Ash Grove
Kyce at Old Recipe for a New World
Aubrey at This Blessed Life

 

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