Monday, June 22, 2009

Lessons from Proverbs 31

I've just started attending a weekly ladies Bible study comprised solely of Mums. We are spending some time looking at our role as Godly wives and mothers and last week we studied the Proverbs 31 woman (see Proverbs 31:10-31 in The Bible). We have been challenged by the ideal we are working towards, presented in these scriptures.

I was particularly struck by the many references to how hardworking this woman is. It really hit home to me that it is necessary and Godly to work hard at whatever we are doing. This does not mean that we have no time out to relax and take a break. Rather for me it means that during my work time I really need to get going with gusto and get my chores and household management under control. I really do count it a blessing and honour to be able to stay home with my son and work at managing our home and family. I would certainly rather be washing or cooking than driving to work for someone else!

After our study last week, I found myself more willing to get disciplined and work rather than giving in to my tendency to stop and have a break several times a day. I did have a couple of short breaks each day, but I limited them in duration and then got back on with my work. Rather than going for the easiest and least chores each day, I made a special effort to go the extra mile and get the jobs completed (around my normal weekly schedule of activities like Playgroup, visiting, etc).

I found at the end of the week I had fitted more into my week (like making a couple of meals for friends) and I felt better about my achievements. I was also able to completely relax on the weekend without any guilt about jobs I hadn't completed. I'm encouraged to keep up the new harder work ethic and endeavour to make it my habit. I really want to take pride in keeping my home in good order and my family well cared for.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Priorities vs Opportunities

I've been thinking about the balance of priorities and opportunities a lot lately. Mostly it has been brought on by our search for a new home. I thought it would be fairly straightforward: go looking, find one that suits our current needs, sell current home, purchase new home, voila! All done!

Not so! Starting out on the property search has made us aware that we probably don't want to turn around in another couple of years and go through this all again, so we better find a home that will do us for the next 5 to 10 years (anyone who knows us well will remember hearing this familiar phrase before!).

This still sounds a fairly simple proposition, but our financial situation means we could try to buy at a similar price point as our current property and invest elsewhere, or buy a more expensive property using all our finances and "invest in ourselves"... or we could buy a block of land now and build later...

Part of our caution at the moment has been brought about by a valuation on our property which was a little lower than we were hoping... due to the economic slump of course! Does this mean we should choose not to sell now, or is our original thinking for selling more important than our potential financial gain if we ride out the slump?

We were looking at moving to improve our feeling of being settled in our new suburb. How important is the financial gain in the long run: worth considering or not the main thing?

Love to hear your ideas!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Dairy-free family friendly recipe

On Saturday night I whipped up a quick chicken noodle soup which turned out great! NearlySuperBaby enjoyed it for dinner the next night, and I had leftovers for lunch - yummo!

Chicken Noodle Soup
600g chicken thighs, chunky diced
1/2 onion diced
1 clove of garlic diced
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 potato diced
1/2 sweet potato diced
1/4 small pumpkin diced
1 cob of corn, kernels cut off
3 cups chicken stock (or enough to cover meat and vegies)
1/2 cup white wine
2 tsp soy sauce
celery salt to taste
spaghetti, broken into pieces about quarter length

Brown onion, garlic, chicken pieces.
Add white wine, potato, sweet potato, pumpkin, corn kernels, stock and soy sauce. Bring to the boil and simmer, covered for 20 mins.
Add spaghetti pieces and simmer a further 10 minutes or until soft.
Blend half the volume and return to pot to thicken soup (I did this in the pot with a stab mixer).

Enjoy steaming hot with crusty bread. Mmmm!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

On the move - moving on

After much discussion we have decided to look for a new home again! We only moved into this house 9 months ago and it certainly enabled us to get to our new location, but it has not really felt 'homely' for me.

NearlySuperDad struggles with change and thought we would not need to encounter any more right now. He was hoping I'd start to feel differently about living here and settle in but it just hasn't happened.

I've tried to get used to this house and put our stamp on it; selecting a home colour scheme, then buying curtains and matching accessories for most rooms and painting a feature wall. I kept telling myself it would turn into our lovely home in just a few more weeks... and I certainly didn't want to be ungrateful or discontented - but nothing changed for me. So I started to consider maybe it just wasn't going to happen.

I guess part of the problem is my comparisons with our last home. Although it wasn't perfect, I adored many things about it. It was on a large block in a cul de sac in a lovely neighbourhood around 15 years old. Established greenery gave us privacy from both neighbours. The rising sun flooded in through the lounge room windows, and as it set in the late afternoon it filtered through the trees up the back onto the patio. We had worked to make it homely during the nearly 7 years we lived there and it was certainly comfortable.

Through the process of buying and living here in our latest home and for the following reasons I don't think this house is right for us long or even medium term:

1. The living areas are squishy! Our last home had a bigger family room and a bigger lounge room and we furnished them accordingly with big pieces. I didn't realise they were big at the time of purchase because they fitted our space but our furniture is too big for this house.

2. The kitchen severely lacks bench and cupboard space. We even got a cupboard built to try and address the cupboard space, but there is no room for extra benches.

3. Plain white glossy tiles are not kid friendly - impossible to keep clean longer than 5 minutes. I mean seconds!

4. A really modern colour scheme (white walls and tiles, grey carpet) doesn't suit our current furniture. We bought large timber pieces in our last home and they feel homely and comfortable to us. I feel like we would need to sell our current stuff to make way for more sleek modern furniture if we were to stay here - sleek glass and chrome pieces.

5. A modern colour scheme is hard to make warm and cosy, the type of feel I've realised I need to really look forward to returning home.

6. The layout of a home becomes more important once you've had kids! It needs to be practical and work logistically. Having the dining room right next to the baby's bedroom means dinner guests inevitably wake up our son, if he manages to go to sleep in the first place!

7. Buying in a new estate where you don't know the end feel of the area is a bit of a risk! A new house may seem enticing, but finding one in a more established street at least allows you to gauge the climate of the neighbourhood a little more accurately.

I'm sure there are more lessons I've learned, I might update this list later... I'd love to hear your housing lessons and stories, leave a comment!