Tag Archives: Homemaking

A Homemaker’s role is ever changing.

Dahlia Burst by Holli Margell

“I get antsy when I consume more than I create.”  – Tom Music.

Tom was my husband’s inspiring friend. His words resonate with me, even now that he is gone and I never really got to know him. I find these words fit perfectly with the way we chose to live – cooking and baking from scratch and not from boxes or cans. As an artist, I appreciate the words even more.

When I chose to become a Homemaker, it coincided with becoming a mother. One of the first things I gave up in the scurry-hurry of new parenthood was painting. Then, crafting, drawing and photography started to get little more than a daydreaming sigh from time to time. I was complaining about two years into parenthood about the restlessness I felt to my cousin, another young Mom. She asked me specifically what I really wanted to do. I wanted to paint, to create something. So, she suggested that I set up a spot where I could do just that for however long possible (5 min, 2 hours, whatever) and then leave it. It sounded so obvious, but I needed her to say it.

As I have found little bits of time to do certain creative projects, I get more inspiration for others. Once I figure out how to do one thing, the constraints of my time has made me even more creative. And, to my surprise, as I’ve embraced the Homemaker role, I have found even more creative outlets, like with cooking and baking. It has opened a whole new world of opportunities. Now that I’m about 5 1/2 years into my Homemaking career, I’m finally finding my stride. It’s really the longest “job” I’ve ever had. And, just when I start to think I’ve got it down, something changes, and I have that feeling like being on a roller-coaster just as it is about to get to the top before a deep drop.

This is our first full-time school year, with our son in Kindergarten. After the last 2 1/2 weeks, we have still not found our new rhythm yet. I know we will find it. But, for now, it’s kinda like having growing pains. While I look forward to another week of experience, I am really looking for that groove. The one where we all aren’t exhausted, and can actually get up in the morning without being in such a frantic hurry.

Despite the changes, we’re having fun and trying to celebrate all that this new phase of life offers. And, I look forward to more time for writing! I’ll be over at Scratchtreehouse.com more often than there. So, come on over and take a look!

What Does Mama Do?

Walking with my daughter. Photo by Casey Margell
Walking with my daughter. Photo by Casey Margell

I’ve been thinking a lot about Mothers lately. I know four who will become a Mother to 3 children in the next 4 months. One of them is a blogger I admire. The others are part of my very large extended family.  Add to that a dose of Spring and curious little ones who have wondered where babies come from, and you have the prompt for this post.

At dinner a few weeks ago with my husband’s family (he’s one of 4, plus two spouses and his parents, and it’s a big table), my Father-In-Law went around the table and announced what everyone had to celebrate. He actually decided that each person would ask, then announce what the person sitting next to them had to share. Everyone cheered as we heard things like, “Steven got a new job,”  “Jennifer moved back from China and started her own business,” you get the picture – these are high achievers with Big Things happening. I started to feel really anxious because I had nothing to announce. Nothing quite as exciting or “high achieving.” As chance would have it, my 2-year-old had the duty of announcing my achievements. She didn’t really get it. So, she was asked, “What does Mama Do?” “Mama makes dinner!” she said in her sweet, excited little voice. Everyone cheered. It was sweet, but still left me feeling lame.

This week, I’ve been working on finding my focus for this blog. Yesterday I worked through “10 Ways to Find Your True Passions,” worksheet. As part of the exercise, I have to ask some friends or family what they think of when they think of me, or what I am good at doing. So, I asked my husband. His answer, “The things I am not.” True, but not what I was looking for…then, our 4-year-old decided to answer while drawing a picture nearby, “You take care of us!” True, and sweet. It was the sweetness I needed to hear. It reminded me that making dinner IS important.

All parents are important whether they are the ones who give birth to us or chose to raise us.  So, please don’t feel left out if you are not a birth Mother. One of the most inspiring mothers (and couples) I know have chosen adoption, and blog about the adventure.

Mothers hold a special place in our lives, in history, really. What do you love about your mother? What have you learned? What can you appreciate now that you didn’t at first?

Portrait of my Mother.

My mother has taught me many things both on purpose and by example. Things I do now like create new recipes, try new things, make gifts are because that’s what my mom always did. Her example showed me how.  She was once a house cleaner, and ran her own business. From her I learned at a very young age how to sweep, and clean a house quickly. I had really high expectations of myself as a result. While single and living alone, I would thoroughly clean my apartment every week. Once I had kids, I had to start letting go of dusting every week and clutter crept in and multiplied. One lesson she recently taught me was to be like a Mary not a Martha.

During a visit for a few days, my mom told me to stop cleaning. She said it in a kind way. Something like, I know I taught you to keep a clean house, but something I’ve learned is that it’s more important to be a Mary, not a Martha. Then, she reminded me of the parable in the New Testament of the Bible. From my memory and paraphrasing, it goes like this:  Jesus had stopped to visit two sisters, Mary and Martha. Jesus had a story, a message he wanted to share. He sat to talk. Mary sat at his feet and began listening. Martha was a good hostess and went to the kitchen to prepare whatever it was they ate. She started to grumble to herself and ask what in the world her sister was doing…it seemed like nothing! Then, Jesus called to Martha asking her to just sit and listen. So, I’ve been trying to take that lesson to heart and not start doing the dishes immediately after a meal. To be present, sit and listen to guests, to my family is really more important.  I don’t want my children to say that Mama does the dishes. Make dinner? Yes:)

Egg card made from lots of dots and love.

What Mama-wisdom do you have to share? For every comment I get answering one of the questions in this post, I will send you an old fashioned paper card. It will be an original creation using my new found love of dots, like the one here on our Etsy Shop or to the left.  You can use it to send your mom, or someone special. And please tell me what your favorite color is. I’ll email you for an address so the whole wide world won’t have the info.

<3 Moms everywhere!

p.s. I remembered two blog posts I must share – messages that speak to my heart and to any new Mother:

Sometimes we forget how powerful our words are. This blogger is a Christian, but this post is not a Bible-thumping exercise. It is a powerful message culled from the movie, Monsoon WeddingWhat We Sometimes Forget to Protect Our Kids From

The importance of imperfection for those striving for natural living, complete with curse words (the author doesn’t hold back from being her true self) – A Love Letter to New Mamas

Home Making Goodness: Plants and Decorating

Plum Pruning = Spring Indoors!

I love to learn new things, especially in the area of home making – like with decorating or organizing. I’ve got three things worth sharing that can make a difference in your home no matter what size it is. I have learned some really cool things over the years that fall out of those categories and into some tangent areas, like growing more oxygenating air with houseplants.

Spring Indoors – Around the Seattle area, we had spring like weather for the past couple of weeks, and the trees are blossoming. Now, we have a freezing week, with some dusting of snow. My In-laws gave us some pruned Plum Tree clippings, and we have them in a glass jar (provids better stability than our vases).  This saves some of those precious blossom buds who would freeze otherwise, and delights my kids as they watch them open.  You could do this even without erratic weather patterns this spring, saving some pretty blossoms from the compost pile or yard waste bin. And, best of all, they will make for a beautiful bouquet for free!

Make Clean Air – Last spring, I checked out the book, How to Grow Fresh Air: 50 House Plants that Purify Your Home or Office, from the Library and researched the best plant for my husband to have in his office. I learned that we had 3 of the plants already in our home!  The book explained that some of them needed to be misted once in a while, and now I take better care of them.

Well, I just stumbled upon this blog post that pretty much explains it all, better than I could at Simpleorganic.net – well worth sharing with you. The best part is the listing of the top 10 plants as sourced from the book directly at the bottom of the post. If you enjoy learning a bit more about the science behind this, and the reasons why you’d want to get more oxygenated air into your home, read the whole thing.

My daughter's second-hand custom made rocking chair. My favorite spot in the house.

Decorate Simply – Reading RowdyKittens.com has inspired me to live a more simple, “minimalistic” life – a recent post directed me to Miss Minimalist’s Decorating tips post, Adding Warmth Without Adding Stuff.  Yeah, I know, link, link, link, but it’s worth it. She points out how to put together specific textures or colors to make a cozy home with less stuff. This reminds me of my Mom’s interior decorating business tag line, “Making your home your own.” In the mid-80’s and early 90’s she redecorated homes using what people already had. So, you could say she instilled some “minimalist” values in me. Part of this has stuck due in part because I want to live within my means. So, while I may enjoy looking at Pottery Barn’s website and stores, I have never felt the need to shop there in order to decorate my home.