Yesterday I did my best homemaker impersonation, and I am pretty sure I nailed it. The only hitch in my vintage Ladies Home Journal impression was that I acccomplished my decorating and cooking feats only because I had the house entirely to myself (Mikey was at work, Natalie was at daycare, and I took a personal day all to my lonesome). I can get a lot done in 8 hours of alone time, I gotta say.
My day looked like this: leisurely breakfast of coffee, eggs, and toast; blog reading & commenting; marathon house cleaning; nearly killing myself retrieving our fall decorations from storage; making our house look like an autumn wonderland:
Oh, and I made a yummy harvest dinner for the fam, including the following:
* Lemon garlic chicken (my version of that famous Engagement Chicken: wash & pat dry your whole chicken, fill the cavity with lemons and rosemary sprigs, stick a bit of butter and some sliced garlic cloves under the skin on both sides, salt and pepper all over, then bake at 350 for 20 minutes per pound)
* Squash & pear mash (shamelessly stolen from this Food Network recipe: peel, halve, & core 2 or 3 pears; halve and seed 1 or 2 butternut squash; place all on a baking sheet with the flesh side up and brush on some melted butter mixed with ginger, brown sugar or cinnamon, and a bit of vanilla bean; bake at 350 for 1 hour & then mash it all together)
* Oven roasted vegetables (similar to this recipe, I used a mixture of potatoes, carrots, shallots, and garlic cloves, all mixed together with olive oil, chopped rosemary, pepper, chili powder, and garlic powder; then baked at 350 for 1 hour)
* Beet muffins (I adapted this yummy recipe by substituting apples for raisins, omitting the nuts, and forgetting to put in the vanilla extract)
Yes, that’s right, I was beyond productive yesterday. I felt tired at the end of the day, but not the kind of total body exhaustion that comes from chasing a toddler, so I have to say I felt pretty good about myself.
Until I started thinking about how rare these days are that my house looks so pristine and smells like pumpkin candles and there is a balanced, hot, nearly-gourmet meal waiting on the table at 5 o’clock. There is NO WAY I can maintain even a small semblance of clean house and complicated cooking when Natalie is home with me. It actually makes me a little bit sad to admit that; to acknowledge that I absolutely cannot do it all, all of the time.
But a few deep breaths and a glass of wine later, and I did feel able to remind myself that I can do an awful lot of it, some of the time. Yesterday I got to enjoy a quiet house as I sifted through bins of leaves and faux gourds, I had a chance to play the music up loud as I chopped vegetables at a leisurely pace, I didn’t trip over toys or read Brown Bear, Brown Bear 15 times. And it felt good.
Today I had none of that. But I did have more snuggles and hugs and kisses than I can count, and I heard Natalie say 2 new words (farm and barn), I sat still for 20 minutes showing Natalie videos of herself at just a few weeks old, and I sang my heart out story hour. And that felt oh, so good, too.