A Year In Review

It is hard to believe that this blustery day in February marks the one year anniversary of Making of a Home.  Thank you so much to all of you who have been following my musings over the course of the last year!  I am deeply grateful for each of you.

Today I would like to share with you some of my favorite (and your favorite) posts from this past year.  Thank you again, and be on the look out for some new and exciting changes and additions to Making of a Home over the course of the next year.

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Chocolate Anyone?

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Inspiration

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Laundry Day

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Upstream

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Let Them Read

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Rhubarb Goodness

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Spring Soup

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It’s In My Blood

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Pastaless Lasagna 

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Fuasa—Italian Easter Bread

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Generational Wealth

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Farm Fresh

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Ode to the Strawberry

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Retreat

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Grandma Dit’s Carrot Cake

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Canning Day

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New Chapter

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Suburban Homestead

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Walk with Us

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Thanksgiving 2012

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Musings

Yoga Practice

It had been almost five years since I had a consistent yoga practice routine in my day.  I’m not sure how or why I fell away from it because it truly adds something to my day that no other form of exercise or meditation has ever been able to do.

For the past few months now, I have reintroduced yoga practice to my days and it has made all the difference.  I find that it enlivens each of my days and allows me to be so much more receptive and invigorated!

My girls have also taken to yoga practice.  Their favorite yoga practice is to pull out their ABCs of Yoga for Kids book by Teresa Power, position themselves on my yoga mate, and complete each pose in the book and hold it for about 20 seconds.  They are really getting great too!

I hope all of you have a restful and fun weekend!  Namaste.

2012 Seed Starting Day

Ever since we started our garden three summers ago, the third weekend in February marked our “Seed Starting Day” for the year’s garden.  This past Saturday marked this occasion and a wonderful day was had by all.  As I said last week, I was feeling the need to get in the soil and grow something, so I was very happy to see that day pop up on our calendar!

We normally start the morning off with some sort of yummy breakfast, made with products from last year’s harvest.  This year I made pumpkin scones, and they were delicious!  (This recipe to follow in a post later this week.)

Then the girls drew pictures of what they thought would happen to the seeds once they were planted.

Here is my five year old daughter’s drawing.  She said, “This is a picture of a pot, with the plant marker and a few sprouts coming up.  The sun and rain are coming down on the sprouts.”  Such the gardening expert!

This is the drawing my two year old completed.  She said, “This is a plant with a rainbow.” She is on her way to garden expert status very, very soon I’m sure.

This year for our seed starting mix, we took a five gallon bucket and filled it up half way with compost from last summer.  We then mixed in one small package of coir (coconut husk fiber), which helps to retain moisture much like a peat mixture does.

We mixed away until we had a nice ground mixture, perfect for seed starting.

Then my husband and girls got busy planting tomato seeds (Amish Paste, Martino’s Roma, Speckled Roman, and Italian Heirloom…all my favorite tomatoes to make tomato sauce with in August), basil seeds and Butterfly Weed seeds.  The girls were really able to contribute to the effort this year and it was awe inspiring to see those little hands working the earth, and instinctively knowing how to plant these small seeds so that they will later grow to provide us with a bounty of vegetables.

We keep our seeds in our craft room in our basement.  My husband hooks up fluorescent shop lights that can be moved up as the plants grow.  He also hooks the lights up to a timer so that the plants can get 14-16 hours of light per day.  We also put an oscillating floor fan in there with the seeds to help prevent mold or fungus from growing on the surface of the soil.

Laundry Day

Laundry.  The word itself sent shivers down my spine.  I hated it.  From as far back as I can remember I loathed laundry day.  The sorting, the washing, the drying, the folding, the putting away.  Everything.  I had been known to wait until laundry was pouring out of the hamper, and even sometimes pouring out of the laundry room, before I would tackle the task.  I think the reason I always hated it so much was because I always felt so rushed.

In high school I was studying, working, playing sports or busy with band and pushed the job of laundry off on others, mainly my mom.  In college I would be so bogged down with reading and writing papers that I never felt I had time for it.  As a married woman and then a mother, my time was spent with my young family and the mountains of student papers that needed to be graded and lessons that needed to be planned, so the laundry just got pushed to the back burner.

Two years ago I decided that enough was enough and something had to give. I felt like my entire life I had spread myself too thin and because of that I was giving a partial attempt at everything.  It was at this time when I started to slow down, become mindful of my life, and take a step back.

Many things in my life changed after this realization.  But one aspect that I never, ever thought could change was my feeling toward that dreaded word…laundry.  But my how I have come around.  I think I may, in this post, even admit that I like laundry.

I like looking back upon the clothes that my family has worn, so thankful that we are able to have these garments to cloth us.  I enjoy the sound of the laundry tumbling in the background as my girls’ voices rise and fall in their imaginary play.  And I love hanging the clothes on the line to dry in the crisp, clean air.  Right now that line is in my basement, but oh how I look forward to a bit of warmer weather so I can get those items out in the fresh air again.  Yes, I think I have definitely come around when it comes to this very basic household task.  And boy am I thankful for that.

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Two years ago my brother-in-law gave me a container filled with homemade laundry detergent for Mother’s Day.  I have used the recipe ever since, and have been able to save quite a bit of money in the process.  Enjoy!

3 cups white vinegar

2 cups Borax

2 cups baking soda

2 cups washing soda

½ cup castile soap (any scent you would like)

Mix all ingredients with an electric mixer (be sure to mix after each ingredient is added) and store in a sealed tub.  Add the vinegar first, then Borax, the baking soda, the washing soda, and finally the castile soap.  The mixture will be a little mushy at first, but will solidify more once it sits for a bit.

I have a high efficiency washer and this soap works just great.  I use about ¼ cup of the detergent per load.

An important note: Although all of these ingredients are naturally derived, they can still be very harmful if consumed.  I am always sure to just have my little ones observe the making of the detergent and I leave the actual preparing to the adults.