Thank you for visiting my blog; it is an exciting venture for me and I hope this will become a forum for moms and homemakers of all types to share stories, frustrations, and triumphs. There will be recipes, pictures of my latest and greatest soap creations, and anything I think will be interesting to Enthusiastic Homemakers.....

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Summertime....and the Livin' is Easy.......

The picture is one I found of downtown Boise; I love our downtown, it always reminds me of Main Street in Disneyland; it's clean and relatively safe; great for strolling around looking at shops or just enjoying the great weather. I had a rare opportunity to do that yesterday; after I dropped off my boys at the zoo with my mom; I found a nail salon and treated myself to a great spa pedi; which is a completely frivolous treat, that I don't get very often. Then, since I had my car safely, and non-parallel parked in a garage; I walked around for a while downtown; strolling the fabulous weather; all by myself. It felt odd not to be holding hands and attempting to keep children from running into the street; and while I wished that James had the same opportunity for "me" time; I truly enjoyed. it.
I've been so enjoying having my boys home from school! I didn't realize how much time was being taken up with school drop-off and pickup; It was almost 2 hours a day! Now; when I am working late at night, I don't have to worry about being up; dressed, makeuped and out the door with 5 boys by 8:45; I can wake up with my boys and have a relaxing morning. Often we don't get dressed until 10 am; or later. Even now; at 8:40; I'm sitting here at my computer with my giant cup of coffee; and my boys; still in jammies, are playing or watching TV.

Another thing that has helped on the soap front; is that James purchased two sets of industrial shelving units and spent Sunday cleaning and rearranging the garage. Before; my supplies were spread out between the living room, the kitchen, and the garage for my non-child safe equipment; lye, and oils; and empty bottles and jars; and it was really hard to find anything. Now I even have a little workbench that allows me to measure and weigh my oils and ingredients; without having to lug 35 pound bottles of oil into the house; along with all my equipment. I still need my kitchen for my CPOP soap; but I can actually make my hot process soap on my workbench, since I have an electrical outlet for my crockpot. Here's how it looks:

 It's been really nice to finally have a separate spot; I can only store my finished soaps out there for part of the year; I don't want them to either freeze or melt; but right now the temperature is perfect, so it's really like having an extension of my too-tiny house; and has freed me up a lot. James has even noticed that the house is looking nicer when he comes home; because I have more time and also more space.

I'm looking forward to the next few months as being a bit of a breather for me; although I'm still staying busy with my etsy shop and my in-person sales; having my boys at home has really changed my focus; and  now I'm not so consumed by my business. I hope that something that I can keep up even when school starts again.

I hope you are all having a great, sunshiny summer!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Stand in the Sunshine of Possibility

This week we had our first fifth grade promotion; it seems such a huge milestone; my Andrew is moving from Elementary School to the big, bad Middle School in the fall; I can't believe it! It seems like yesterday he was entering Kindergarten; actually it was almost six years ago; in 2005. The first day of school I was so sad that he was so grown up! I was also about 7 months pregnant with Callan; and only had a two-year-old Bentley to keep me company! What a simple time it seems when I look back at it! Funny how I remember feeling busy and overwhelmed; it seems that mothers handle what they need to handle, no matter what; as I've had more children and become even more busy; I seem to have absorbed all the extra work; when you'd think I'd have no time or energy left!

Andrew's teacher this year was a great one; who challenged him a lot; he was a 30 year veteran of teaching; who decided halfway through the year that this would be his last year of teaching; so the last day of school had special significance for him and for the children. After handing out "diplomas" to his class; he gave a short speech; where he talked about watching Oprah's last show; which I confess I missed. He said she talked about the "Sunshine of Possibility"; about how important it is to live the life you would live if there were no practical considerations or barriers to it. He said that he felt that that was what he had done; teaching children for all these years; and it got me thinking about the sunshine of my possibility.

When I stop to think about how I would live my life if there were no practical barriers; no consideration for what I think I can't do; I imagine it being very much like my life actually is. Sure; perhaps in my dream life; there would be a bigger house; perhaps I would never need to worry about money; but the basics are the same. I would still be a mother; with the number of children I have now; having had them the way I did; and staying home with them just as I have been for the last 11 years. I think that I would be doing much the same things in my spare time as well; soapmaking; sewing, reading when I got the chance. I would still cook dinner every night; still have movie afternoons and breakfast picnics. I would probably still be too busy; too tired, and get cranky at times. I would still have babies all over my lap; embarrass my big boys and constantly yell, with no results; especially; "Get your shoes on and get in the car, we're late!".

I would probably still cry at every first day of school and last day; and never know what to make for dinner. I'd still cloth diaper and consign; and buy used DVD's and cheap paperbacks. I'd probably have a nicer espresso machine; and hopefully someone to do the laundry; but I'd still decorate and clean my own house; just not the kitchen! Maybe I'd have a better bod....but probably not; because I'd hate to waste any more of my life worrying about that! .Maybe I'd get a tummy tuck, but then again; I wouldn't because I don't believe in risking my life for vanity.  I guess I'd still be me; and it's interesting to explore the things that wouldn't change, no matter what my circumstances. It's good sometimes to 'Stand in the Sunshine of Possibility", it's a good life check; to make sure your life is on the right track. I'm pleasantly surprised that despite not having ideal circumstances much of the time; I still managed to blunder my way into the possibility I would choose even if life were perfect!

What's your sunshine of possibility; and how have you achieved; or not achieved it?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Why I Read Frivolous Novels and Love Twlight.....

Love this sign! Find it here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/blueyedgirl
It occurred to me that most of my blog posts have been pretty upbeat and on the surface; and I'd like to try my hand at delving a little deeper into the machinations of my mind....(my husband's running away as we speak!).

I've never made a secret about my love of the Twilight Saga; mostly in an exaggerated joking way; but I'd like to explain that a little; as well as describe my strategy for staying positive and energized while I do what most people would agree is the hardest job you'll ever love; being a mom.

I became a mom at the age of 19; after being married for 11 months. We lived in a very nice two bedroom apartment; but money was a struggle. James had gotten laid off from his job five days after our wedding; a very simple wedding that we paid for ourselves; leaving me as the breadwinner of the family. It's funny, because I remember our early marriage being kind of a magical, sweet time; but James remembers being constantly stressed; which I think is a funny difference in perspective! Thankfully, James found a great job when I was six months pregnant; one that had full medical benefits; and so I gave my notice at my job weeks before Andrew was born. After we had Andrew; James also picked up a job delivering pizza four nights a week; in addition to working 5 days a week at his full-time job and commuting two hours a day; so Andrew and I were home a lot on our own! We also only had one car; so I was in our apartment just with baby all the time; we often wouldn't leave the house until the weekend, when we'd rush around getting groceries and running errands; before James' second job in the evening. I found the hardest thing for me about being a mom was the loneliness; although funnily enough, now that I look back on that time; that one-on-one interaction and peace seems nothing less than heaven! I was very isolated, but I didn't really mind; I'd always dreamed of being a mom; having a house and a baby and a husband to take care of; and it seemed like the fulfillment of a dream; although it was more difficult that I had imagined. I discovered how important it was to maintain whatever bit of autonomy I could, even in a situation where I was basically dependent on James for everything. 

Over the course of the years of being a stay at home mom; I've always tried to treat myself to little things that gave me a bit of a diversion, because the days at home with no adult conversation can be long; and tedious; and can strain your psyche in ways I could not have anticipated. I suppose I could be reading great, uplifting works of literature; but honestly; when I have a few stolen minutes to pick up a book, I don't want to be reading "Anna Karenina"; no matter how brilliant Tolstoy was; I want a peppy little pick me up that sticks to simple themes; love and happily ever after.

I got started on Twilight last summer; after a very difficult pregnancy with baby Elvis; not so much physically; although it was the most trying pregnancy physically that I've ever had. I was strained to the limit emotionally after Elvis was born, and have a history of Postpartum Depression; which I was trying everything imaginable to avoid. I became a little afraid of nighttime, fearing that the depression would return, so I started renting and watching movies while nursing Elvis in bed in the evenings. On a lark one day, I rented the first Twilight movie and surprised myself by really finding it fun and entertaining. So I picked up the books, used, at a bookstore; and picked them up whenever I had a spare minute. I was riveted! It was a sweet love story; and for some reason I found myself relating to the story; which sounds silly, I know; but I found myself reading while I couldn't sleep, in between feedings; and whenever I could. I'm a fast reader, and devoured all four books in a short amount of time. I honestly feel that having that diversion helped my postpartum blues stay manageable; and kept me from delving into a true depression; as I had after Dorian was born.

Since I've started my own business; I've developed quite a penchant for picking up paperbacks while I grocery shop; something which would have been unthinkable even a year ago; our budget simply could not have managed it. Making a little of my own money has allowed me freedom to do things like that; things that probably most people take for granted; but I must tell you; when I choose a silly little paperback, it seems positively decadent! I now have very little time to read, but I do pick up paperbacks when I have time. I'm a very, very fast reader, and can go back and forth between stories with no problem; so I often rotate books in the middle; starting and stopping often. It's rare for me to find a story I truly get enveloped in; the way I am with Twilight; or my other favorite; Outlander; but I still enjoy the little bright spot in my day that I get from reading a few chapters of silly, frivolous, with-no-literary-value pieces of fiction; and I hope I never get to the point where I can't enjoy a fun little novel! 

So that's my story.. and I'm stickin' to it!

This week will be very busy for me; and very, very bittersweet; since the last day of school and the last day of Andrew being in Elementary school is tomorrow. I'm going to be scaling back the amount of work I put into my etsy shop; concentrating more on my in-person prospects and summer with my boys, above all. And the weather is supposed to start behaving; at long last!

Summer is here!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Hello Blogging, My Old Friend.....

I feel like I'm in a perpetual state of catching-upness lately; and I have felt too frazzled to compose a logical and entertaining blog post! I'm so surprised I even have followers left; and have gained a few...welcome!

So many things I'm juggling right now; I took the plunge and obtained my own booth space for my Farmers' Market; and had my first day on my own on Saturday. It wasn't the greatest day I've ever had; but I think it was because I had moved locations; and was exceedingly unprepared with no tent in the blazing sun! I have lots of lofty plans for my booth; I want to create a station with running water in a sink so my customers can try my soaps and scrubs; but the logistics are proving to be complicated, to say the least! I was so lucky that the Market Manager was extremely receptive to my crazy ideas; and is planning to try to get me near a water spigot; which would be exciting!

I also had my first experience selling in Downtown Boise, which around here; is the biggest show in town! I had an opportunity to do so with Idaho Indie Works, who has a store in Downtown Boise; and offered spaces for vendors during First Thursday; which is a seasonal, monthly street fair and event. I felt so "fancy" being downtown with all the hustle and bustle, and got to introduce my products to a whole new crowd of people, it was great! I had a lot of fun with my "neighbors", including a fabulous fine artist; some lovely jewelry makers; and a glass artist; among others. I acquired a set of gorgeous art glass-topped hairpins and a tie dye onesie through trading; and love them!

Goodness...it's uncharacteristic of me to wax poetic about my business; I guess it's just because it's what's on my mind; although there's a lot going on in my "real" life as well. My boys will be home for the summer starting Thursday; and I was getting very misty while doing my weekly grocery shopping; because I was buying things with a view to summer lunches and picnics; I really do love the summer; but each time summer comes; it's bittersweet; because it means another year has passed; and my boys are yet another year older. Ahhh, how sad and sweet it can be to be a parent!

Elvis just turned 11 months; I can't believe we've had him for nearly a year! On the other hand; my pregnancy seems like a long-distant memory; and I look back at that time with a tinge of sadness; because it seems like such a simpler time; although I didn't think so then!


This somewhat blurry video shows my adorable Elvis; he just learned to "snap" his fingers and was doing it up a storm...until the camera came out! It's still a great video and he snaps for half a second; don't blink or you'll miss it! 
Oh...I suppose I should explain my picture.....no, I'm not pregnant; and have no immediate plans to become pregnant; but I love vintage maternity fashion; and have always wanted to own a vintage maternity pattern. I found a great one from my friend Maggie at Vintage Core Patterns and couldn't resist! I may make them up just for fun...or for possible future use...or to sell, who knows! All I know is that I love this style of Maternity wear; and if I ever decide to take the plunge again; this is what I'll be sporting! 
Have a great, Summer-y week!