Friday, September 28, 2012


Ah, blessed Sabbath rest. I am headed to bed shortly and am really hoping for 12 hours of sleep on the new bed. Happy Sabbath!!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fall into Reading

I've seen this reading challenge come and go over the past several years but have never participated. Katrina wrote that the point of the challenge is to "read some books I might not otherwise read." I have a few books that I intend to read but procrastinate because they are too intimidating. It's time to tackle several of them!


North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell - I have yet to start reading this book even though I've borrowed it from the library several times.

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky - I asked my husband if he had any suggestions for this reading challenge. This was his immediate response. He's only been suggesting it for the past three years; it's probably time I accept his challenge.


My Life by Bill Clinton - Another recommendation from my husband as he had heard that it was really good.

I'm a bit worried that I wouldn't be able to get through all three of these books! Each one is really long - 452, 735, and 957 pages respectively. Oh, well. That's why it's called a challenge, right?

What's on my Nightstand?

What's On Your Nightstand

Last month I decided to try an experiment. When I read through each of the Nightstand posts, I kept track of how many books were added to my to-read list due to others' recommendations. Normally there are three or four. Last month I added 16! Nine nonfiction books and seven fiction.

Throughout the month, I kept track of how many books I finished off my to-read list, as opposed to those I picked up randomly at the library or those I was mailed to review. I finished one nonfction book (I am Nujood) and two fiction books (Evelina and William Henry is a Fine Name).

And this, my fellow readers, is why my to-read list keeps getting longer each month in spite of the numerous books I finish.

This month I read:

  • Genesis
  • Exodus
  • Leviticus
  • Numbers
  • Deuteronomy
  • Joshua
  • Judges
  • Ruth
  • 1 Samuel
  • 2 Samuel
  • Job

Christian Fiction
  • Whence Came a Prince by Liz Curtis Higgs - 2.5 stars. Mixed feelings. The writing is terrific. But this retelling of Jacob and Leah and Rachel is SO far off the Biblical story that it should be its own story. I was very unhappy with the ending.
  • Love's Sacred Song by Mesu Andrews - 4 stars. Fantastic book! I am anxiously awaiting Andrews' next book publication.

  • Mr. CSI: How a Vegas Dreamer Made a Killing in Hollywood, One Body at a Time - 3 stars. Not really about CSI but an interesting and inspiring account of a man trying and trying and trying again until he succeeds.

Secular Fiction
  • South of Superior by Ellen Airgood - Barely 3 stars. It's an adult coming-of-age book where nothing happens. I felt it was saying that life is hopeless.
  • Evelina Or, the History of a Young Lady's Entrance Into the World by Fanny Burney - 3.5 stars. One of my favorite September reads. Very witty lines and it's obvious why Jane Austen was inspired by Burney. I can't wait to read more of her works, especially since I've read Evelina is one of her weakest novels!

Currently Reading
  • Time and Again by Jack Finney - I am almost done with this story and thoroughly enjoying it. I've not read many time travel books but I've seen a ton of movies. Once I finish the book, I'll dig around to see if they ever made it into a movie.
  • The Cloister and the Hearth by Charles Reade - My current classic. I'm not sure how I came across this book but it's interesting thus far (pg 50 out of 785).

Happy reading!

Monday, September 24, 2012

A hallmark day!

Our bedroom at 11:25am

Our bedroom at 11:55am

Praise the Lord! We have a bed!

It's a queen sized organic EcoMemory Foam mattress, covered in bamboo fabric, made in California, and is produced with zero emissions.

Best of all?

We paid cash!!

It was a very long eleven week fight with multiple air mattresses but worth the sacrifice to avoid debt. We finally saved up enough money to order the bed on Friday. Thankfully, the mattress store had one in stock and could deliver this morning.

I am in desperate need of a good night of sleep. Thank you, Lord, for a new bed!!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thursday's Homemaking

Today I had some additional incentive to finish with my house cleaning early: the library! I thought I had some books due back today and knew that hubby wouldn't be able to go with me after work. Today there is no "after work" as it's after seven and he's still working...

Thursday Cleaning - Stairs and Downstairs Sinks

  • Sweep and mop stairs
  • Sweep and mop downstairs hallway
  • Sweep bedroom floors
  • Scrub both bathroom sinks (one in master bedroom, one across from washer/dryer in hallway)
  • Wipe off top of washer and dryer

  • Tomorrow's cleaning - the shower and toilet in the downstairs bath.

    I am so happy that I have a checklist now. I love lists. Next week I will have a printed list for each day and that will provide its own incentive, getting to check things off the list.

    As it turns out, I had nothing due back at the library but I was dying to go regardless. So, come 2:30 this afternoon, I finished my cleaning, took a shower, and then hopped in the car. Library, here I come!

    When I left for the library, I had 66 items checked out and took a bag of books with me to return. Now that I'm home again, I have 76 items checked out. Oops. That number is supposed to be going down, not up! I spent an hour browsing the shelves, mostly in the quilting section. I am looking for inspiration for my brother's new baby (due in December).

    Of course, Bruno demanded that he be included in the photo. I tried to explain to him that they were just books about quilts, not actual quilts, but he insisted.

    And two of the books I checked out just for me. My husband was shocked that I dared suggest that I desecrate his precious French press with YARN but finally acquiesed and I said I could knit him a coffee cozy. ;) Ah, true love.

    Wednesday, September 19, 2012

    Wednesday's Homemaking

    Today was much quieter as far as my husband's phone was concerned. That made it easier for me to work as needed.

    Wednesday Cleaning - Upstairs Bathroom

  • Wipe down counter
  • Scrub toilet
  • Sweep under cat boxes
  • Mop floor
  • Scrub sink
  • Clean mirror

  • In addition to this, I kept the kitchen clean, ran a load of laundry, and swept the entire upstairs floor. It's looking better in here every day!

    I still need to deal with the piles of papers, though... those piles are the only thing keeping our upstairs from looking tidy.

    Tuesday, September 18, 2012

    Tuesday's Homemaking

    I did not accomplish exactly what I had planned on accomplishing. My husband was just handed a huge project for work and spent most of the day on the phone. I did manage to keep the kitchen clean, tidy the living room, wash some laundry, and reorganize a bit.

    Until this morning, this counter was covered in piles of library books, mail, and my knitting projects. It was a mess! I took all of the library books downstairs and moved the printer off the floor. However, I still had several piles that I couldn't figure out what to do with.

    This is what was underneath that counter. Some adaptor for the cable television we have no possible way to actually watch (but is free with our internet service). The Wii, plus all the accessories that go along with it. All stuff that we won't be able to use until we buy a television.

    I moved all of that downstairs into our spare bedroom. Here is the result - a couple library books, my knitting, and printer paper. All things that are actually being used in our day to day life.

    And here is our current living room. Sparse, isn't it? Our bed is propped up against the wall so that the cats don't jump on it while the sheets are in the wash. Over the fireplace, I taped a print of one of my favorite paintings. It brightens the room a bit, I think.

    The only thing I wasn't able to do today was to clean the floors. I am supposed to sweep every day because the cats track their litter, fluff hair all over the place, and normal dust accumulates. It's disgusting what I sweep up every day but I guess that would normally be hidden in the carpet. Then on Tuesdays, I want to dry mop the upstairs floors. I will have to add that on to tomorrow's list!

    On the schedule for Wednesday - clean the upstairs bathroom and our pantry (the closet in the hallway).

    Monday, September 17, 2012

    Monday's Homemaking

    After yesterday's rather honest confession, I decided that it would be best to try to remedy some of my procrastination/laziness/lack of motivation. It was hard. But I pushed myself and was able to complete all of my housework.

    Monday Cleaning - Kitchen

  • Tidy kitchen
  • Wipe down front of cupboards
  • Serious counter scrubbing
  • Sweep floor
  • Mop floor
  • Eliminate junk mail/library book/random pile that accumulates on my counter

  • Next week I want to add scrubbing the fridge drawers and shelves to my Monday Cleaning.

    In addition to this, I swept the entire upstairs and cleaned out the cat boxes. I even washed, dried, and put away all the dishes after dinner! For me, that is a huge accomplishment.

    My cleaning is usually finished by lunch. In the afternoon, I study Japanese, read books, read blogs, and knit. Here is today's knitting progress.

    I finished the second skein of yarn on my dad's scarf. He wants all three included! The scarf is already almost as tall as I am, about 63 inches so far. Tomorrow I'll be starting the third skein. I hope to have the scarf completed by the end of the month so that I can start working on Christmas presents.

    And tomorrow I tackle the living room!

    Sunday, September 16, 2012

    A second month of homemaking?

    I don't know why I am struggling so much with this challenge. Last week, I cleaned the house from top to bottom. It looked really good! Then we had a very busy four day weekend.

    Friday - My SIL flew in from LA and settled in for four days.
    Sabbath - Two friends drove up from Portland to see us and SIL; they stayed overnight.
    Sunday - Portland friends left. Hubby's childhood friends came over for a couple hours and then we went out for the rest of the day.
    Monday - My SIL flew out in the evening.

    In between all of that, we explored Seattle. Hours of city driving and visiting restaurants and shopping districts and country drives.

    We had a lovely time!

    But come Monday night, I was wiped out. Tuesday, still exhausted. Wednesday, still exhausted. Then I spent the rest of the week with no motivation for anything productive.

    Why can't I do what needs to be done on a regular basis instead of tackling everything at once and then letting it pile up again? So frustrating!!

    I'm exploring and praying about several ideas of why I struggle so much - Laziness. Lack of motivation. A house that, once cleaned, still doesn't feel like home.

    I don't mean to complain. I really don't. Just sharing what's going on.

    Last week, we took our cat to the vet. Still waiting on test results. Provided we don't need to spend any additional money, we are still hoping to order our new bed on Friday. Maybe sleeping in the master bedroom on a regular bed, instead of in the living room on an air mattress, will help us feel at home. Maybe I'll be able to get some quality sleep. Maybe then I'll find my motivation and energy again.

    I hope so!

    Tuesday, September 4, 2012

    A month of homemaking

    She looketh well to the ways of her household,

    and eateth not the bread of idleness

    Proverbs 31:27.

    I had detailed plans for my September challenge. Originally, my plan was to focus on eating fresh fruits and/or vegetables at every single meal. I thought that would be a great addition to our attempts at a healthy diet. However, hubby and I are still sleeping on an air mattress. We order a bed on Friday afternoon but that will use up the entirety of our account. It's just not good timing for an additional grocery expense.

    Instead, at the very last minute, I decided that I'm going to spend September focused on my job - that of being a fulltime homemaker. It seems these days I do anything but my job at home. I mentor a Bible reading program, write blog posts and read others' blogs, knit, and study Japanese. All of these are good things but they are not the most important thing in my life. Outside of my relationship with God, my relationship with my husband is the most important thing and that includes my duties as his wife.

    This week, my focus is on finding a loose schedule. Attempts at strict scheduling while still in Arizona failed miserably because my husband works from home. He works very long hours but is not on a strict schedule. Sometimes he takes breaks during the day. Sometimes he works all evening. And sometimes he works through the night. All of this, since he was working in our living room, made it difficult for me to develop and keep a homemaking schedule. A good portion of his job is phone support and conference calls and that requires me to be absolutely quiet.

    Right now, my husband is working out of our dining room. That is the same situation as in Arizona but it seems he is on the phone less. Eventually, he will be setting up an office downstairs in our spare bedroom but has to wait until we can afford to purchas office furniture. For the time being, a loose schedule is the best I can do.

    For the past few days, I have shut my laptop and not allowed myself to use it until after 10AM. This gives me several hours to read my Bible, eat breakfast, and complete various housekeeping chores. Getting on the computer first thing in the morning is a difficult habit to break, but a necessary one. I can waste hours on the computer being "productive" by responding to emails, reading blog posts, finding new recipes, browsing knitting patterns, etc. Again, these are all positive things but they need to be limited.

    I will spend the rest of the week coming up with a loose schedule and a list of housework that needs to be done each day, each week, and each month. I have bookmarked several websites that discuss homemaking binders and will report back at the end of the week!

    Blog Hop Winner

    Thank you to everyone who entered my giveaway! I had a lot of fun reading all of the comments. My husband and I are slowly but steadily working our way through the pizza sauce recipes that were shared. My husband thanks everyone for the excuse to eat more pizza!

    The winner is...

    Painting 4 Him!! Congratulations!!

    Sunday, September 2, 2012

    This Week's Memory Text - Proverbs 31:27

    She looketh well to the ways of her household,

    and eateth not the bread of idleness

    Proverbs 31:27.

    This text sums up my September 30 day challenge. More details tomorrow.