Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pumpkin Carving

"Daaad! Joey stuck his hand all the way down there and lost the spoon!"

All hands on deck!

"You wanna touch the pumpkin seeds?"

All done!

The Decline of Western Civilization (or, The Lost Art of Bedmaking)

I know it won't come as a surprise to anyone who knows me well, but I like things a certain way. There are multiple tasks, procedures, and methods of which I am absolutely certain that the world would come to a screeching end if there were no one on Earth to do them properly. Folding towels, hanging clothes, and making beds are my top 3.

I cringe when I hear a wife/mother say with a giggle, "Oh, I am a terrible housekeeper. I just can't keep up, so we live with the disorder and chaos!" Would we find it so funny if she were talking about a paying job? As if any profession that paid money could be as pivotal as being a SAHM. Children need order. Our husbands deserve a tidy, well-ordered home. I know that I function better when the house is picked-up. We bless ourselves and our families when we learn how to do our job properly. It isn't helpful to anyone when there are no matching socks in the drawer, or the beds are so untidy and dirty that they're not a comfort at the end of the day. I wholeheartedly believe that keeping house is pivotal to being civilized. It's as necessary as table manners and Great Books.

That brings me to the heart of my post - How To Make a Bed Properly. This is the way civilized people do it. ; )

First, we start with a fitted sheet, with the elastic snug UNDER all four corners, and all four sides pulled down, under the four sides of the mattress.

Next, we put on the flat sheet. The deepest hem goes at the head of the bed. The sides of the sheet that are hanging down on each side of the mattress are equal in length - no lopsided sheets! (A little trick for that: if, when you store your sheets, your first fold is lengthways in half, you'll have a fold-line right down the middle of the flat sheet to guide you when you put your sheets on the bed.) You'll notice that the print on the flat sheet faces the mattress, NOT the ceiling! There's a good reason for that!

Because when you fold your top sheet down over your blankets/comforter/quilt, or you like to turn down the bed to warm the sheets before getting into bed, the attractive side is visible. Also, this is usually the side on which the nap is on a flannel sheet. You'll be warmer this way.

Now that we have the head of the bed tidy, let's look at the foot of the bed. (You've smoothed out all the wrinkles in your sheet, right? Everything's pretty?) At the foot of the bed, you will tuck in your sheet. I don't care if you like to put your feet out at the end of the bed! We are civilized human beings! We tuck in the sheet at the bottom! Stick your feet out the side, if you must, but keep that sheet tucked. We are not bachelors living in squalor. We are the mistresses of households! We are the keepers of civilization!

Now, you'll notice in the picture below, the corner isn't exactly perfect. We can fix that, easy-peasy. I've always called it a hospital corner, the fold I'm about to show you. You call it whatever you like, as long as you do it.

From the foot of the bed, eyeball about a foot or so toward the head of the bed. Grasp the bottom of the sheet there, and ...

flip it up to the top of the bed. Tuck in whatever still hangs below the bottom of the mattress. (Pay no attention to all the bedding on the floor. It was wash-day for linens, and it all ended up in the laundry. I had to take pictures before I was interrupted, so I didn't have time to make things pretty for my pictures. Such is life.)

Now, flip that bit of sheet back down, smooth your sheet again, and do the other corner.

I'm guessing that you don't need me to show you how to put on your top blankets. Just pull the quilt up to right below the top hem of the flat sheet, with both sides of the quilt or blanket hanging down equally on each side of the bed. Tuck in middle-layer blankets, hospital corners and all. No need to tuck in the bottom of a quilt, as it will pull the stitches of the quilt. Besides, we want to see all of the quilt. It's made to be enjoyed for its beauty. (Don't tuck comforters, either, unless you like bending your mattress and sleeping with your feet elevated.) At the head of the bed, fold that deep hem of the top sheet over the edge of the quilt at the head of your bed. It protects the edge of the quilt, and lets you show off your pretty sheets. (And since you put them on the right way, we can see the print, if there is one!) Fluff your pillows, pile them on, and you're done.

A word on daily bed making: I firmly believe in the need to let the bed "air" before making the bed for the day. Some people feel just as firmly that a bed should be made as soon as it's vacant. I like to, weather permitting, open the windows in the bedroom, leaving the bed unmade, while I feed the hordes and take my shower. When I come back to my bedroom (about an hour after I wake), I make the bed. That means I do ONE LAYER AT A TIME. Pull up the sheet, then the blanket, then the quilt. We do not do all the layers at the same time - blankets and sheets shift overnight. Husbands steal bedding and untuck sheets! (True. I've seen it.) It takes me about 3 minutes to make my bed every morning. But I enjoy getting into a made bed at night - smooth, unwrinkled sheets, with flat, pretty blankets. If I just pulled all the covers up together, in about 2 days I'd have a mess that would need more than 3 minutes of attention. If my sons (ages 10, 7, and 5) can make a bed properly, (and they can, because I taught them to) so can you!

There you are. My bed-making manifesto. I feel so much better having gotten that off my chest.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The apple orchard

It's autumn. FINALLY! Anyone who suffered through this hot, humid-yet-rainless 2010 Midwest summer is rejoicing. To celebrate, Hubby took the kids to our favorite orchard to pick apples. I love picking apples. Love smelling apples. Love baking with apples. I love, love fresh apples.

But there were no apples to pick. BOO, HISS! Apparently, the apple harvest was early this year because of the unusually hot weather. Hubby did bring home a bag of apples from the orchard, but I'm sure they'd been refrigerated a while. They weren't fresh from the tree. But that's okay. The kids still got to wander around the corn maze...

No, that's not an apple. That's corn. THE crop of the Midwest. (Is Adam doing the chicken dance in the background?)

The kids and hubby drowned their sorrows in cider slushies. I was jealous. I stayed home, slaving over my anatomy book, and they didn't even bring me home a slushie! (To be fair, it probably would have melted before they got home.)

They'll need a bigger sign, next year! : )

What I did with my summer vacation

Hosted a visitor in our backyard tree.

Hung onions from the garden to dry on the rafters of the back porch. I won't be growing onions again. Ugh.

Dissected a sheep's brain for summer school.

Ate lots of sweet corn.

Celebrated the Fourth of July.

So much to say, so much to say, so much to say

I know I've been gone a while. Sorry. Having four kids, being pregnant, and trying to get into nursing school keeps me hoppin'!

Wait, didn't I bring everyone up to speed? Lemme start again:

1. I've gone back to school. Since a BS in Education won't get me anywhere, I'm working toward an ASN. Hopefully, I'll graduate in May of 2013, pass my NCLEX and become an RN. Pray for me.

Okay, yeah, I know I said a few posts back that one cannot work 40 hours a week and still run a household and parent effectively. I still stand by that, 100%. So Hubby or I will be part-time. (Hopefully, it'll be me. We'll see.) My decision to go back to school was based on a lot of factors. Can we make it on one income? Yes. Do I want to continue to juggle as we have been, since the recession hit? No. We're doing just fine, but I need a little more security, a little more certainty. One of us needs to have a recession-proof job. And one of us needs to work while the other goes to school. It just makes sense that the person going back to school would be me - Hubby has a job (while I would have to look for one, and being with child doesn't exactly endear one to potential employers), and since I have one degree already, my getting a second degree is faster than Hubby going back and starting from scratch.

So, why nursing? I wanted a worthwhile job, one that is more than punching a time-clock. I want to serve. (Coming from an education background, I felt a strong need to contribute.) I want job security for my family. I want a job that makes me think. Nursing offers me all that. It's a technical field, I'll constantly be challenged, be learning, be thinking. It's not a job in which I can rest on my laurels. I need that constant mental stimulus. Nursing is obvious.

2. I'm pregnant with #5. And if I hear one more person ask, "You mean, ON PURPOSE?!" I think I just may scream. Good heavens, people - I have four children already! I know how this happens! (What is it Janet Smith says? "If you don't want to go to New York, don't get on the train!") What ever happened to "Congratulations!" I think the assumption is, since Hubby lost his job in 2008, we are somehow destitute. Not the case, thanks. He's making just about what he was then. We have insurance. Anyone notice that we're frugal? We don't throw money around. It's wasteful. So thanks for your concern, but we're doing just fine. Yes, we live in a 3 bedroom with soon-to-be five children. Babies don't take up much room, I've noticed. We have plans to move, but not until I'm out of school (either by flunking out - KIDDING! - or by graduating.) So the problem will be solved in a couple of years. I like my very small house payment. I know only one other family that pays three digits, besides us. It helps us live below our means.

Well, that sounded rather rant-y, for an update. I'll be back as time allows. Hopefully next time I'll have pictures!