Enjoying my days of cleaning, gardening, and being creative with a reduced budget.



Ah, summertime. Summertime to us means a bounty of delicious produce and lots of swimming in any body of water we can come across. This year summer is all about my two big kitchen gardens, creating some fun for the boys, and saving money.

It’s also a time of changing my patterns of working too much and learning to slow down, become present, meditate during chores, and allowing my more creative side to flourish.

I’m finding that decorating my home with little odds and ends I’m finding in closets and the garage, and harvesting organic food from the gardens are bringing such satisfaction.

We are cutting cost and I’m giving up my beloved Racquet Club/Health Club membership and it caused some sadness since it gives me and the boys such joy, but then we traveled to the Tahoe Forest Park the other day with friends and swam in clear, clean waters and enjoyed lush forest. I would choose that any day over the gym or public pool. And it was free. Gods beauty…free! Not only that but when we swim in the gym pool outside the boys get sick often because it is a festering pool of bacteria (the doctor’s words, not mine). Something for me to ponder, right?

I’ve been moving shade umbrellas around in the front and back yards, finding and picking up free truckloads of mulch, and learning new recipes. Dishes are being left in the sink, although I do clean up the kitchen, wipe down counters, and sweep, but I fill the sink with soapy water and let the dishes sit for a later hour. We have implemented a movie hour in the afternoon after chores and free play. This is a quiet time when we enjoy the movie or I read and Arjan may do his artwork.

I’m sewing up everything these days. I haven’t attempted the quilt since the first time I couldn’t figure out how to cut out the odd and complicated patterns, but I’m sewing up holes in my decorative pillows, stretch pants and whatever else I can find. I mended two favorite stretch capri pants instead of throwing them out and saved myself around $24 dollars on new ones.

Because I am home, I find free things on Craigslist or I’m offered free items others are decluttering and I can go fetch a truckload during the day. I can’t even begin to list the gifts I’ve dragged home for homesteading and gardening.

Since doing the last big house purge, I’ve created a smaller wardrobe from what survived the overhaul and I’m finding all these great things that were hidden under the junk. I decorated my couch with my great grandmother’s lace table clothe and found hair dye and nail polish from a year ago. I had a beauty spa day and now sport a blond hairdo and purple toenails.

My mornings are busy with chores and writing, cooking and talking with the boys. We play music and there are reading and art. Since summer began Arjan has ordered mass amounts of books from the library, filling his days with reading fun books about mysteries and facts and learning to draw dinosaurs from “how to draw” books. His reading and art skills have flourished. Sam is more into movies and fighting imaginary zombies.

In the afternoons I make a delicious coffee drink with my new milk frother that I can’t get enough of and after a bit of sitting and reading quietly with the boys and a movie, I go on to either cook a super before Bali gets home or work outside harvesting food, more planting, and watering.

Evenings are prepping the stove top percolator for morning brew, washing up the last of the dishes, washing my face (which feels so good after a long day), brushing teeth, and relaxing with our favorite sitcoms while lying in the cozy family bed.

I go to bed tired from a busy day and feeling accomplished. I rise (sometimes still tired) looking forward to a good cup of coffee and a productive morning ahead.

Sometimes when I work in the kitchen I attach small speakers to my chrome book and listen to Louise Hay or Dr. Joe Dispenza on healing our thoughts and minds to have a fuller and happier life. I love learning and working on myself as I go about washing and cleaning my home. I feel better for it afterward.

It isn’t always easy to do long No Spends or to get up to do it all over again with the household work and cooking. Cooking mostly from scratch can be like running a small restaurant.

It is a daily and seasonal thing to constantly find ways to make work simpler, more pleasant and fulfilling so we don’t burn out or find ourselves blue and wilty. That is why it is important to slow down, clear the calendar and just be present in each task. Play with your house, decorate with what you have, purge and scrub. Play with the children, watch afternoon movies for a nice break in the days’ toils. Teach the children chores so they can be helpful, have them clean up after themselves. Learn as many easy meals as possible. Even pancakes can be healthy. We used to make honey wheat pancakes with fresh bananas, nuts, maple syrup, and even flax bran.Β  Learn new skills to freshen up the job description and challenge yourself.

I watched a YouTube video on how to make a wedding cake and I actually want to try it sometime. I’m going to attempt the quilt again but squares instead of patterns. Canning season will be here soon and that will keep me busy.

Don’t do too much because it never ends and so the thinking that “I’ll bust my bum today and rest tomorrow…” it doesn’t happen. Do the basics and a little extra project a day. An example would be to do the dishes, make the bed, sweep the kitchen and maybe organize the pantry.

Don’t try to be like other homemakers. Be you, find what works for you, find your cleaning style and cooking niche and go for it. Don’t try to reach perfection, it will send you to the loony bin. Do try to find fun and happiness in your work. Embrace it, relax into it, brew coffee, turn up the music, find you in all of it.






6 thoughts on “Enjoying my days of cleaning, gardening, and being creative with a reduced budget.

  1. Is Tahoe Forest Park near you? It sounds like an ideal place for summer. I think learning to quilt by squares will be the easiest way to learn to quilt; you can always progress to patterns as you get accustomed to quilting. Our community has a quilt shop where quilters can bring their projects and sit and quilt and chat with other quilters. TONS of experience there. See if there is a quilt shop OR quilters groups in your area. Bali can watch the boys at night while you quilt and chat away. Quilters love to help newbies learn. Have a good week!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Kate, great advice in your post and in your most recent video. I love the advice about not competing with other homemakers. You absolutely just have to do what works for you and your family. Also helps you practice being content. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for your blog posts. I have been watching your You Tube videos for awhile and but only after I had been watching your videos, realized you had a blog. So am trying to catch up on both watching your videos and reading your blogs. πŸ™‚


  4. Hi Kate, I love your books! Can you please do a post or video on wedding planning on a budget while still making everything fun, memorable, and beautiful? Thank you!!


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