Here are a few of the things in our own home that I've been thankful for this week:
I've been making kefir and fermenting vegetables for more than six years. It has become such a normal part of life and a regular part of my seasonal eating and food preservation toolbox that I can't imagine not having a fridge full of kimchi, a bucket of sauerkraut in my basement all winter long, and a few jars of pickles, beets, and fermented green tomato salsa floating around.
Even though this shutdown of normal life comes as my winter stores are dwindling, I'm so thankful for the large number of ferments that I can pull from to keep our meals vegetable-heavy . . . and all without competing with others at the grocery store.
Likewise, my kefir grains supply us with a yogurt and buttermilk substitute. So with just one stop to our local dairy farmer, I can keep us very happily stocked with all of our dairy needs, except for cheese . . . which I thankfully stocked up on well-before I knew exactly what was headed our way.
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Our library closed about two weeks ago, but I'm so thankful that we love ebooks and audiobooks of all types and that we already know how to find, borrow, and use them.
Here are a few of the things we've been enjoying:
Sylvia has been listening to Winne the Pooh and The Tales of Peter Rabbit on free Audible Stories. We've also been enjoying Lucy Fitch Perkins's twins series at her kindergarten morning time including The Dutch Twins, The Eskimo Twins, and we just started The Irish Twins--all as free Google ebooks.
Peter has been reading ebooks on Overdrive/Libby and I was able to borrow Anne of Green Gables from the Overdrive collection at the Free Library of Philadelphia's to be our next lunchtime read aloud. I can't wait to watch the free movie on YouTube after we finish!
John and Peter have been enjoying Master Skylark, a free Google ebook, as their night time read aloud with their Dad, as well as a NES encyclopedia that is part of Hoopla's Bonus Borrow Library which you can checkout without having it count against your 4 monthly credits.
I'm loving a Dorothy Sayers Lord Peter Whimsey novel that I was going to buy on kindle until my library extension for chrome showed me I could just borrow it from Hoopla. And I'm assigning Peter some short nature lore books over the next few weeks for his special study readings. The Internet Archive has suspended waitlists for MANY titles so now I can assign them and know that they will be available.
We are actually enjoying several other free ebooks right now, but for brevity's sake, I'm just going to stop there ;-) I miss the library, but we really are spoiled for choice with ebooks even when they are physically closed.
Over a year ago, I first wrote about needing to seek out physical therapy for pelvic floor weakness. After months of physical therapy, I can say that I'm in MUCH better shape and practically symptom-free. Nevertheless, I can tell pregnancy is putting a strain on my pelvic floor.
I've been so happy that I have lifetime access to a workout program that is REASONABLE and comparable to the expensive physical therapy that I needed to get back into this place of maintenance instead of disfunction.
I'm doing my core exercises again and I can tell that it is making a difference and I hope it will keep me from needing physical therapy again in the postpartum period.
And the best part is that I can do it from home (without a copay!). MUTU also has a few tips for getting any kind of exercise done while the kids are at home here.
When so many parents and their children are being forced to adapt to spending all day together and trying to seek a new normal of work, school, and family life, I'm thankful that this is not as far from our normal as it could be.
My neighbor stopped me this week to say, I don't know how you do it! And I could truthfully say, well, it isn't always easy, but I've been doing it a while and have worked out some of the kinks. This was something my husband and I planned and prepared for and something we have slowly eased into one child at a time. Others are having to jump in with no planning, prep, or even desire to do this . . . no wonder it is hard!
So I guess I'm saying that I'm very, very thankful than on top of all the stressors I would have of parenting four kids, including a toddler, while pregnant during an unprecedented national emergency, I'm grateful for the continuity and lack of stress that our homeschool is providing for all of us.
I am thankful that we tried this crazy experiment of online piano lessons. I am not an affiliate and I don't get anything from Hoffman Academy to say it, but I love this program. I'm more grateful now than ever that my boys can continue their musical education with no interruption. Their playing brings such joy and beauty into our home.
My husband's job
I am always thankful for the job that has allowed me to be a homemaker and homeschooling mom to our still-growing family. When I started dating my husband 17 years ago, he told me that he wanted to be a professor. Eight long years later, he finally started his full-time career as a religious studies professor. To me, it still feels like a dream come true!
Now, as a tenured professor, he can work safely from home and he has a job for the foreseeable future. This is something that we have never taken for granted and especially not now when so many people are experiencing layoffs, underemployment, or potentially risky work situations.
The nature in our small yard
Our house sits on a lot of about 1/8 acre with our neighbors' houses close on each side and a detached garage in back. But with some arborvitae and other small trees, several birdfeeders near the window, and many square foot gardens, we are able to experience a lot of nature without going very far afield.
Right now, the daffodils and grape hyacinths are blooming and our tulips are pushing up. The kids have been digging in the mud and finding worms. We have been adding many entries in our calendar of firsts about birds--first grackle and robins, house sparrows building nests, geese flying north. My winterbor kale is starting to grow again so we'll have a bit of greens to add to our soups and casseroles.
Our older cat died suddenly and unexpectantly last week. And while we are still missing him and adjusting to his absence, it seems like rabbits have gotten bolder about coming into our yard. Maybe this year, we will have baby bunnies and we won't have to worry about our cat getting them.
These are the little things that are making life easier this week for me. I hope you have your own store of little things to make the time pass quickly and more easily for you.