It all started with a popcorn maker. As soon as I learned about this contraption, I knew we needed to own one. Only a few clicks and a couple days later, we did! Though there was a bit of a learning curve, my husband has mastered the snack and in less than 5 minutes we eat the best popcorn… EVER. Now, I fully ascribe to the ‘work smarter, not harder’ philosophy, but something about getting my kids to fall in love with something other than the questionably buttered, microwaved bag variety feels empowering. (It doesn’t take any longer either!)
My husband and I had three kids in four years, a lot less than some of you, I’m sure, but enough chaos to create a ‘blurry season.’ We could barely keep our heads above water, so if it wasn’t convenient, it didn’t happen. Thankfully, life found a more manageable rhythm, but by this time we were hooked on the ease (never mind the expense) of our everyday life. In recent weeks, after the popcorn revelation, I’ve started questioning some of the convenient ways we do things, looking for an easy, homemade option. The best part is that I’ve discovered more things that are easier and cheaper to do for myself than I ever dreamed of. Also, I’ve never felt more powerful.
That was my next mind-boggling domestic experiment, courtesy of a cookbook I received for Mother’s Day. Do you know that for the cost of a quart of heavy cream, which is much less than a pound of butter, you can make your own? Not just 1 lb, but 1.5 lbs, that’s equivalent to six sticks! Guess what you need? A food processor or a stand mixer… that’s it. (There are other ways if you don’t have one of these, too.) So now, I make our butter in less than 10 minutes with very little effort on my part.
I’ve talked before about my love of farm-fresh food (and I’ve been known to drive out of the way for fresh dairy) and it all feels increasingly important. The less I can depend on huge systems that service the masses, the more prepared I feel for whatever comes next, pandemic or otherwise. I think one of the most disconcerting aspects of this past spring was realizing how dependent we were on huge nationwide systems, and how quickly some of those systems faltered.
This is one of my new favorite things! Check your pantry for apple cider vinegar and baking soda. Have both? How about a couple of drops of essential oils? Those are just a bonus anyway. I used this recipe, and for the first time… EVER, I didn’t sneeze or get a headache because of all the bathroom cleaning chemicals. My whole family loved the scent (lavender + lemon) and it got rid of bathroom stains better than the store-bought stuff. (Ps- I can’t find the website that I found this recipe on, but search DIY Bathroom Cleaner and there will be a ton of options.)
Remember when we were social distancing, going out in public as little as possible, and staying safe at home? Right, still there. How about when there were limits on grocery goods? Yep, still happening. There’s nothing like the dilemma of choosing the ONE household cleaning item that we’re allowed but also trying like heck NOT to make an extra shopping trip AND feeling bad for the delivery men and women who are already working too hard to help us stay home. Problem solved! (I mean, you know what I’m saying.)
All of this do-it-yourself, make-it-from-scratch stuff is really raising eyebrows around our home. My kids are confused to be sure. But, I feel something waking up inside me, with each new homemade win. For the first time in my life, I have a deep, thoughtful appreciation for the generations of (in my case, Cajun) women who came before me and made life with their own hands. This is a much bigger conversation to be sure and more than a passing phase. I hope I’m not alone… I hope there are others out there waking up to the same things.
Raise your hand if you feel this! Let’s do it together!