Books

Book Review: The Homemade Housewife

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Introduction

This e-book was written and published this May by Mrs. Kate Singh. Because I loved it and found it to be a valuable resource I wanted to post a review on my blog. I will share a summary, things I loved, a small critique, and little tidbits from my favorite chapters.

Summary

This book is a marvelous collection of thrifty tips and wholesome advice. The chapters cover topics like decorating, cleaning, self-care for the mama, urban farming, parenting resources, homeschooling and ideas for free fun.

About the Author

Kate Singh writes both motivational and fictional books to inspire and entertain. She currently resides in California with her family.

Visit the author’s blog here.

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Review

What I Loved…

The reasons I really enjoyed this e-book are similar to the reasons I loved 2 other books of Kate’s. (I read The Lazy and Cheap Housewife and The Funky and Frugal Housewife previously.) From the first, I saw that this book was relatable. Kate is honest about the fact that she is no Martha Stewart and doesn’t want to be. I breathed a sigh of relief. Me too.

I loved her encouraging tone that was coupled with her unique and fun style. I love things that have a different slant and this book definitely falls into that category.

But what I loved most? Her books are built around this tiny seed of an idea. This belief that I could live a full and happy life while practicing frugality. This intrigued me.

Not So Much…

I can only think of two areas for constructive criticism. They are minor things but I feel that 1) a bit less repetition and 2) a bit more organization would improve readability. The repetition increased the length of the book, which was 3,368 pages on my kindle. I loved the huge collection of all things thrifty but there was quite a bit to go through. The chapters and headings were good but sometimes there were parts that were hard to follow because of a change of topic.

My Favorite Chapters

My favorites were chapters 6 (care for the mama) and 8 (about gardening). But I also enjoyed parts of chapters 3 (food), 5 (cleaning), 9 (kids) and 10 (free fun). This book is a compilation of tips from all of Kate’s previous books so some things I had read already. But regardless of this and the fact that I’ve been practicing frugal living for 5+ years I still found quite a few new things to put into practice.

Chapter 6 is mostly about self care, which I found to be so relevant and helpful. Kate titled this chapter “Beauty for the Lady of the House and Ways to Avoid Burn Out”. There are many helpful ideas about exercise, primping, investment in hobbies, me-time breaks and ways to make homemaking easier.

I loved reading about boredom busters and ways to reduce burnout. There were ideas for staying emotionally and physically healthy and many ways to improve one’s image with little cash.

The part about self-love and pride went straight to my heart as I remembered that yes, I can still dress up and look nice even though I don’t go much of anywhere. This quote also spoke to me:

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All things gardening was covered in chapter 8. I found this particularly helpful as I had just planted my garden when I read this book in early June. I loved the tips about where to find free gardening supplies, re-growing plants and how to make compost without fancy equipment. I love gardening and saving money in this area makes me so happy. I’m learning how to get the most of my plants by dividing and regrowing them. It’s a lot of fun 🙂

And here are a few things I loved about chapters 3, 5, 9 and 10.

Chapter 3 is all about food and the kitchen. I made a mental note of the snacking tips, ways to make meals healthier and reminders of cheap and healthy ingredients. I was suprised to learn I could save money on cat food without compromising too much on quality.

Chapter 5 pertains to cleaning. It’s a challenge for me to make cleaning fun but Kate inspired me anew. I was (and am still) going through a decluttering process here at home. Kate had a lot to say about this and helped me to see it as an easier job instead of a never endingly difficult one.

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Chapter 9 reminded me of what kids really need for health and happiness. There is a lot in this chapter. Minimalist baby care and food, homeschooling help, fun kids activities, preschool ideas, help establishing a first aide kit, preventative care and ways to make birthday parties cheap and fun are all included here. Sometimes I forget how little kids really need. How much they love simple things. And how I’m killing it as a mother even though most of the time I don’t see it. 

Lastly, chapter 10 was full of great suggestions for places to go and have fun without spending much $. There were so many activities…some that we do now (like the library) and others that I hadn’t thought about in awhile (such as a picnic at the park). Some of these ideas are for the family and others are more geared towards just the mama.

Conclusion

This book is full of so much goodness. It was motivating and encouraging to read. An excellent resource for any homemaker practicing or seeking out ideas for frugal living 🙂

Check out The Homemade Housewife along with Kate’s other helpful books here. All of her books are $0.99, which I love!

~Rachel

Motherhood

Pregnancy, Parenting and God’s Grace

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My first clue came on that super-hot second to last day of July 2015. A thought came into my head suddenly and just as strong. I must have peach ice cream. And I must have it now.

It was odd and unfamiliar. My son was then barely 2. I put the possibility out of my mind. Because it couldn’t be. It was crazy to even think about.

I think God read my thoughts and laughed at me. Like the quote from one of my favorite movies Bella (2006) “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.”

Lord, my plan is to not be a pregnant mama of a toddler.

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However…my suspicion on that peach ice cream day led to confirmation 3 days later. I could hardly explain the emotions I felt. Shock, disbelief, joy…there was a little bit of despair and resentment in there too, if I’m being honest.

 

I had no idea how I would make it through not only the pregnancy, but also the toddler stage for both children. Simultaneously. It boggled my brain.

(Here I hear the maternal voice of Marilla Cuthbert saying, “If you are going to borrow trouble, borrow it from a handier home!”) Meaning, don’t sweat the future there Rachel. Take it one step at a time. And although I’m a worrier, I did my best.

But being honest…carpe diem, as a mother isn’t all that easy. But day after day, amid many mistakes, we try our bestest.

Is it perfectly done? No. Such things do not exist.

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What does exist is grace. More grace than you could paint the sky with. More grace than drops in the ocean. I don’t know about you but I need that. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sobbed in prayer over my failings as a mother and I felt the sweet, sweet touch of grace from my Heavenly Father.

And although it hardly makes sense and nearly overwhelms me, I am so thankful for God’s grace.

When I got my hair cut not long ago, my hairdresser told me that she thought her one baby was all she could handle. And oh how I understand! “I thought that too. But you adapt.” And you just do. Your heart opens up in ways you never thought possible. Some days will be dark. And some will be so bright.

Being a parent will never be a walk in the park. But that’s the thing about parks. They have sunshine and shadows.

Nowadays I’m on the other side. The baby that my belly held is now no longer a baby but a toddler. And my toddler very soon will leave behind toddlerhood forever.

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When I look back on some of those days, I remember moments that make me smile.

Here are a few:

When my husband was visiting his brother out of state for 3 days my son, newborn daughter and I stayed home. I vividly remember trying to give my grubby son a bath while trying to feed my daughter. I struggled because she wanted to sit down and eat for hours regardless of whatever I was doing at the time. I laugh about it now but at the time I remember lots of tears were shed.

One day I decided it would be a good idea to take the kids on a long walk. My daughter was 4 or so months old. My son was about to turn 3. We walked for about 2 miles I think. I bribed my son with lots and lots of chocolate milk, which was spilled everywhere. My daughter was in my ergo baby carrier, so I got very sweaty (it was summer at the time). I felt bad because I couldn’t carry J, who got very tired. But once in the car, they cooled off and took a long nap. We survived!

My last shared memory is nothing too remarkable but the simplicity and the sweetness of it still stays with me. Last spring my daughter was so tiny and light. I carried her everywhere because she slept often. With just as much regularity, my son was a restless warrior who needed to wiggle and run. Almost daily, I took them both outside for walks. L in my arms sheltered by a blanket. J beside me, shouting and running, digging and exploring till his heart’s content.

There can be so many difficulties at this stage of life. But if you look hard enough, you can see the sweetness buried ever so slightly in the chaos, the noise, the dirt. Parenting is beautiful. And so are you, my friend! If you feel in despair as a pregnant mama of a toddler, or overwhelmed with your young brood, take heart. There is grace, and there is hope. ❤

~Rachel