Consumerism and finding direction.

I always had a hard time understanding what I wanted to do with this blog. And it’s because my interests are so divided that no “box” would have me.

How can I explain that I am highly critical of leftwing beliefs, every form of sociology, progressivism, etc, yet I am interested in environmentalism and liberalism?

How can I explain that I am critical of unemployment among women, religion, racial segregation, etc, yet I am focused on traditional and tribal communities?

I am too rude and blunt, too traditional, too forgiving, too irreligious, too deistic, too maternal, too workaholic, too offensive, too liberal, too capitalistic, too easygoing, too unapologetic to belong to anyone.

I want to write about cooking and foraging, babies and freelancing, budgeting and crafting, fitness and diet, relationships and philosophy, whatever strikes me as curious or fun or new.

I guess the one thing that ties every aspect of myself together is my hatred for consumerism and the structures around it. I genuinely despise them. I don’t necessarily hate all the humans involved, but I hate the actual sin. Advertising is offensive to the eye and mind. Minimalism is a lovely goal when it isn’t commercialized and impractical. Poverty can be entirely your own doing without you being responsible for the stupid decisions that caused or preserved it. And I really don’t care what people do in terms of faith, diet, community, surgery, or shopping, so long as it is increasing the wealth of the system or removing themselves from the system, rather than sucking it dry.

So everything I do, my budgeting and DIY, my advocacy for traditional relationships combined with working women, my refusal to accept systems and structures that exploit the workers and enable the dependent, my entire self, seems to be held together by that.

It would be nice to have a community of extreme-leaning centrist, anti-consumerist, realist, relaxed, unemotional people to share this with more closely. But for now I suppose I’ll just continue being offensive to everyone.

Laissez-Faire Homemaking Will Rock Your (and his] World.

Laissez-faire, to let be, to let things take their own course.

It’s often applied to larger scale orders, like government policies. But it also makes some sense in the context of smaller orders, like family and home order.

In essence, however much the breadwinner is the owner of the house and the captain of the relationship, the homemaker is the manager of the home. And many homemakers become proper little tyrants, more often than not unintentionally. We’ll call them Domestic Dictators.

The characteristic befliefs and behaviours of a Domestic Dictator are:

  • there is a specific way to do everything which is the only valid way
  • perfect order, artistic beauty and spotlessness are requirements to make a home for the family
  • efficiency in maintaining order will make everyong happy
  • if a job isn’t done perfectly, it wasn’t worth doing
  • if a job isn’t done perfectly, it needs redoing from scratch
  • everyone wants and needs everything to be perfect
  • falling short of the ideal mark is equal to failure
  • if nobody else can do something perfectly, the homemaker must do everything
  • if someone is given a task they have to do it just as the homemaker would
  • disciplining someone for falling short of domestic expectations is appropriate
  • nobody needs praise or reward for meeting domestic expectations

This puts a lot of pressure on the home and the relationships within it, even though the Domestic Dictator does not see the source of the pressure and often believes what they are doing is beneficial to everyone under the roof! In the Domestic Dictator’s eyes, getting angry about the way the laundry was put out is justified because they believe that it needs to be hung a certain way to dry, that this drying method benefits everyone, and therefore that they need to “fix” the job someone else did. They believe that feeling anger is natural because time and energy was wasted and they believe that redoing the task is justified because their way is the only way that works. But what they neglect is that efficiency does not mean harmony, and that doing and redoing tasks is not efficiency either! Fretting over the perfect home can drive a family apart. And the cure to that mentality is laissez-faire homemaking.

Laissez-faire homemaking takes a different mentality. The beliefs and behaviours of a Laissez-Faire Homemaker are:

  • if something works, then it was done well
  • perfect order, artistic beauty and spotlessness are nice, but tidiness, prettiness and cleanliness are good targets
  • efficiency in maintaining order can be stressful
  • if a job isn’t done perfectly, at least it was done
  • if a job isn’t done perfectly, it can be left for now
  • nobody else wants and needs everything to be perfect
  • falling short of the ideal mark is a far cry from failure
  • if things need to be delegated, the homemaker can let perfection slide
  • if someone is given a task then the homemaker embraces their hard work
  • disciplining someone for falling short of domestic expectations is abusive
  • everyone deserves praise or reward for meeting domestic expectations

The Laissez-Faire Homemaker takes a much more relaxed approach, taking pleasure in order without needing to force perfection on everyone. If the dishes are not properly cleaned the Laissez-Faire Homemaker may need to redo them and explain the situation, but if the laundry is hung out slightly differently to usual there is no need to tell the helper off or to redo the work from scratch. The Laissez-Faire Homemaker doesn’t only act like this, but internalizes the messages and embraces a more relaxed set of beliefs around homemaking, feeling calm and collected at the end of the day and doing their best not to let little annoyances get the better of them.

Some of my favourite laissez-faire homemaking mantras are:

1: “It doesn’t matter.”

Every time I feel annoyed about anything that has happened or been done which interferes with my plans, that’s the first thing I move to tell the other person. Often it’s hard, but fortunately with Jon it comes easily. Only once have I had to tell him “I want to say it doesn’t matter, but it kind of does.” Once in five years has my annoyance ultimately mattered. So remind yourself of it, and say it to your loved ones: “It doesn’t matter.”

2: “You canΒ  have whatever you want.”

Food is a big source of arguments and I really can’t see why. Between women playing 20 questions about dinner venues and men not really being aware of what’s in the fridge, many couples argue over meal planning. What I do is simpler: I look at what we have, suggest two or three meals and Jon picks. And if he wants something else? Then he can have it. As long as we have it in the house or he’s willing to go out and get the ingredients, he can have whatever he wants. Leftovers can be reheated. Meals can be frozen. Ingredients can be repurposed. What matters is that everyone is fed and happy.

3: “There is always tomorrow.”

Some days the setbacks just pile up. My schedule is very tight most days: work, housework and downtime are all calculated into the day methodically. So if something takes too long or gets in the way, I can miss things. On Tuesday I missed several opportunities to write due to endless phone calls. On Friday we were out a lot and I couldn’t do the cleaning. So instead I did the cleaning and my extra work on Saturday. Sometimes things can wait, so prioritize, reschedule and calm down. There’s always tomorrow.

4: “Once done is good enough.”

When Jon does the dishes the stacking is almost always completely different from how I would do it. When he hangs the laundry out it’s wherever. When he makes dinner it is often simple, fast and may not fit my macros. But considering that he only does these things when I am too busy earning money, doing another job or having a minor meltdown, it would be cruel to complain he isn’t me, and stupid to redo it in the time I don’t have. Once done is good enough.

5: “What’s done is done.”

Sometimes your annoyance does matter. Sometimes work is an absolute mess, needs immediately redoing from scratch, never doing like that again, has completely thrown your schedule and the person needs to know. But, again, making it into a massive blow-out has no point. Take them aside, explain the problem, pour your energy into fixing it. But what’s done is done. You can’t undo their mistake with anger. So let it go.

If you are more of a Domestic Dictator, this approach may seem confusing, even lazy. But it works. You may wonder how people can be happy if a stew was made and all everyone wants to eat is eggs and waffles. You may wonder how a homemaker can settle for an improperly loaded dishwasher. You may wonder how a house can run if everything is not exactly to plan. But it still works.

There is happiness in harmony, and laissez-faire homemaking puts harmony first, allowing happiness to bloom.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

I accidentally made cheese!

Yeah, apparently you can do that. Was trying to rescue some milk by making white sauce. It hadn’t soured or anything yet, it was just starting to curdle. So I put it on to boil and hoped it would blend out, as it sometimes does.

Well, the curds and the whey split completely. I left it on the side to cool before throwing it away. But then I tasted a curd. It was lovely! Salted them, wrapped them in cheesecloth and strained them until they formed a round ball. Cheese. πŸ˜€

In celebration, here is a recipe for some awesome cauliflower and potato cheese which you can top with your own cheese curds.

Ingredients.

  • 300g potato
  • 500g cauliflower
  • 1l milk
  • 150g flour
  • 100g butter
  • 300g cheese
  • 1tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1tbsp salt
  • 1tsp smoked paprika
  • 1tsp black pepper

Utensils.

  • chopping board and knife
  • large pot, stirring spoon
  • another large pot
  • small pot, stirring spoon

Recipe.

  1. Split the milk in half. Put each half into one of the large pots and begin to simmer.
  2. Chop the potatoes and place them in the bottom of one put of milk.
  3. Chop the cauliflower and add on top of the potatoes in the milk. Make sure the leaves are at the very top and bits of stem are with the potatoes.
  4. Salt the mix, cover and keep simmering until tender.
  5. In the small pot, melt the butter and slowly mix in the flour.
  6. Chop the cheese.
  7. Add the other half of the milk to the butter mix, the cheese, the paprika, the soy sauce, the pepper and the worcertershire sauce.
  8. Once blended, pour into the cauliflower and potatoes.
  9. Do not overcook! I disintegrated my cauliflower into the cheese last time. 😦 More fondue than cauli cheese. Tasted good though.
  10. Crumble fresh cheese on top and, if you like, bake in the oven for a bit before serving.

And that’s one of the things I served at the last meatfeast. Add more cauliflower and no potatoes for low carb. Use low fat milk and a reduced amount of low fat cheese for low fat. Remove the salt and halve the soy sauce for lower salt. Swap the worcestershire sauce for a drop of vegemite or veg stock, the cheese for mozzarisella and the milk for sweetened almond milk for vegan, lacto-free or paleo. Simples!

What is the weirdest thing to happen in your kitchen?

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

5 Things To Give Up When You Feel Like Giving Up.

Some days everything gets on top of us. We’ve all been there. Maybe it’s a looming deadline with no possibility of timely completion. Maybe it’s a confusing point in a book you just can’t wrap your head around. Maybe someone has left their laundry on the stairs one too many times. Maybe you managed to break something you need and can’t readily replace. Or maybe something tiny just happened and it was the straw that broke the poor camel’s back.

Whatever it is, it makes us throw our hands in the air, roll our eyes, tug at our hair and say “That’s it, I give up!”

So, for when these days hit us and hit us hard, here are the five best things to give up when you feel like giving up.

1: Give up bad feelings.

Sometimes it’s easy to let bad feelings get the best of us, especially when we are overwhelmed. But these feelings do nothing to improve our situation. If anything, they make our lives and everyone else’s worse.

For anger: Go and do something physical to burn off the steam. Keep your thoughts in your head and work through them before bringing them up to someone else.

For despair: Go somewhere quiet and practice your breathing. Look for the good things you still have.

For guilt and blame: Ask yourself whether blaming will get you a solution. If not, accept that someone or something caused the problem and let it go. Promise yourself not to bring blame up against yourself or others in the future.

For weariness: Go and have a lie down and a hot drink. Slowly ponder solutions to your problem in a practical way.

2: Give up boredom and routine.

Sometimes we’re just caught on a hamster wheel of daily habits and we just need to get on with things. And then we get thrown off and it feels like we will never catch up.

For those days when your routine is boring you, you are getting slow and failing to meet your schedule or deadlines, call it out. Go for an extra coffee break at work. Crunch your numbers in the morning and do you emails in the afternoon. Go walking at lunch time. Put housework aside and paint for an hour.

Just push your routine aside for a bit and enjoy your day.

3: Give up bad habits.

Sometimes we are our own worst enemy. We start doing things that are directly self-sabotaging and don’t even think twice about them until the inevitable results happen and then, like a smoker struggling to breathe after a flight of stairs, we wonder why we picked up the habit to begin with.

If we are routinely running late for deadlines, perhaps we ought to reconsider our procrastination habits or accepting so much work. If we are often breaking glasses and plates, perhaps we ought to get some pretty plastic dinnerware. If we keep making ourselves ill with overwork, perhaps we ought to consider the work-illness ratio of effectiveness and take it easy once in a while.

Try and live for maximum health and mental wellbeing. Don’t let anything get in the way of that, however “important” it seems to stay busy.

4: Give up perfection.

Sometimes we get in the way of a perfectly good day by looking at five minutes of it and declaring “that wasn’t good enough”. How many times has a morning went really well only for you to break your favourite mug and declare the day ruined? If you’re anything like me… too many times. Why does that one moment have to define our days?

If something genuinely serious happens, then sure, our day is ruined. But a small issue like breaking a mug has not made our morning any less pleasant and has not set the tone for the rest of the day. Make a commitment to being happy, no matter what happens, and to letting the little things slide. When you do this your life will have a massive reduction in drama and frustration.

5: Give up fretting.

It’s a bit of a cop-out to tell a stressed person to stop being stressed. But it’s easier to stop fretting than to stop stressing, and if you leave frets behind, the stress will soon follow.

Sometimes we just let things get the better of us. This is sort of the other side to the coin of perfectionism. When you know that getting one thing “wrong” can ruin your day, you worry about making sure everything is perfect. Which means we end up stressing about problems that haven’t even happened.

When you feel like giving up, ask yourself if the day is salvageable or whether the whole world has truly ground to a halt. Generally, you will find something to enjoy from the day and something to look forward to. Push the worries out of your thoughts, tell yourself off for thinking about them and focus on actual solutions.

I guarantee you, it will feel better.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

How do you deal with it when you feel like the whole day/week/year/world is ruined?

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

New Year. New Me? New Books!

Yeah, I know I missed the Christmas rush in pushing these on you poor, unsuspecting readers.

But I HAVE actually finished the two books I wanted to finish for 2015. And I HAVE published them.

So here is my first book.

On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

Redraw_On_a_budget_cover01

Naturally all about money. From the basics to the crazy. For areas where I wasn’t sure (sizing down shirts??? MOT???) I asked friends and relatives. Everything else is me and my insane habit of never wanting to spend.

The second one?

The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide.

Redraw_Beginner_homemaker_cover01

For everyone who likes the idea of my sort of lifestyle, but doesn’t know how to go about it. Or for people who hate the idea of my lifestyle, but are stuck housewifing. Or for people who are single, clueless about cleaning and sick of living in filth. Just the bare-bones basics of keeping a house tidy.

Buy them, advertise them for me, send an email asking for a free copy if you know me, I don’t mind. πŸ™‚

TTFN and Happy Reading!

How To… prepare for a puppy.

We got a puppy just under a month ago. Her name is Lamu, after this girl. And she is adorable. But there are some things you need to do in preparation for having a puppy. Both Jon and myself have owned dogs in the past and had some idea what she would need, but for a first time dog owner, here are some preparations you will have to make.

How to prepare for a puppy.

1: Secure everything.

Puppies are like toddlers. They will knock things down, get onto furniture you didn’t think was accessible, chew and break things and dunk things in their food and water. Make sure everything valuable is well out of reach and dangerous places and breakables are secured.

2: Breed specifics.

Many people know to learn about their breed’s common ailments, but all breeds have specific behaviours too. Learn about the things your dog was bred to do, its temperament and its needs. For example, boxers are sociable, high-energy dogs that grumble and “talk” a lot. They will be boistrous and it is not necessarily out of defiance all the time.

3: Crates and beds.

For the purposes of house breaking and obedience training, it is worthwhile to raise your puppy in a nursing crate or dog cage for the first few months, until it knows not to soil the house or break into rooms where it hasn’t been invited.

4: Shopping.

Sometimes the person you are buying or adopting the dog from will give you some toys, blankets and food for them. But you will still want to buy a dry puppy food mix well in advance, as well as a couple of durable toys. Please bear in mind that whilst adult dogs can eat a wholefoods diet including raw meats, due to breeding methods and domestication puppies’ immune systems aren’t always quite as strong, so you will want to transition them from puppy food onto cooked foods and then onto raw foods if you wish to feed them that way.

5: Pee Pads.

These are a lifesaver. They smell of a dog toilet, which will encourage your pup to urinate on them. Keep them near the door so that the pup begins to associate walks with urination.

6: The house.

Depending on your dog’s temperament it will either own the place or be very shy and nervous. To keep it calm, introduce it to the house one room at a time, starting with the room where it will live. For the first few days, keep the puppy mainly to that room and only let it through occasionally. This way it will adjust better.

7: Other pets.

Introduce other pets very early and when the other pet is at their most confident and comfortable. You don’t want the puppy to think your other pets are inferior pack members or it may get snappy with them.

8: Walks and meal times.

Decide on a walk time and meal times long before you get the puppy. You want a time you can commit to, when you won’t be bothered about being woken up with barks (dogs don’t understand weekends) and when you won’t be rushing or trying to fit in other arrangements. Immediately before and after work can work very well for a walk followed by a meal.

And that is how we prepared for our new puppy.

How about you? How did you prepare for your new puppy? Feel free to offer anecdotes and advice in the comments.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!