I wanted to try something new this year where I talk more about other aspects of my life that fill up my days beyond books and reading. That’s What She’s Doing will be a place for me to share a little bit about what we’ve been up to over the past week or so. This series will give a small glimpse “behind the scenes” at some of the highlights of our life and how I balance a busy schedule with my reading. I’ll also showcase any recipes that we tried that will hopefully offer a few new ideas for your own meal plan.
Last week was definitely a bad week for our nation. I don’t want to spend much time focusing on it, but I am praying for the country, and thank each of you who comes to my very small space on the internet to create a positive online community.
My two oldest children (7 and 5) returned to school following winter break, and little sister (3) was quite lost!
Perhaps one of the greatest undertakings of this year that has proven so beneficial in the day-to-day operations of our household was moving to a more minimalist lifestyle. I discovered a channel on YouTube, The Minimalist Mom, which if you are at all interested in learning about minimalism, would be a great resource to begin with! Her approach to decluttering your kitchen has absolutely revolutionized mine!
I only keep one place setting for each person in our cabinet, meaning one plate, one bowl, one cup, so if you use one of those items and need to use it again at another meal or for a snack, you’re going to have to wash it between use. It may seem like we are always doing dishes, but our time in the kitchen has decreased significantly and the kids are actually happy to help by washing their own dishes. It’s been an incredible timesaver and makes me feel so much better about the weekly upkeep. Gone are the days of stacked up dishes in the sink!
The laundry is also another area that has been revamped, if you can say that about laundry! No one has a laundry basket in their room. All dirty clothes are deposited in the hamper inside the laundry room and a load is run every day, generally in the afternoon so that it’s done after dinner and put away before bed. One thing that did help as well was to go through our closets and downsize the inventory. This obviously might not work for everyone, but a big family like ours can produce a load daily that becomes way too much to leave for one laundry day at the end of the week. I was becoming overrun by laundry, so this new approach has really made the week so much easier! Based on The Minimalist Mom’s recommendation, I did try Molly’s Suds laundry powder and it is fantastic! I do wash everything together now. I didn’t know at first how I felt about that, but it’s working and I’m liking how much more time I have! The powder has a mild peppermint smell and should you happen to leave your clothes in the machine for too long, there isn’t that funky smell on the clothing or in the machine! I feel like my machine is actually cleaner now!
I am also the treasurer for the PTA at my oldest son’s elementary school, so much of this week was also devoted to filing state taxes, reconciling the books for the month, getting ready for meetings, and planning for our spring fundraiser.
We woke up on Sunday to snow! I can count on my hand the number of times I have seen actual snow, so when it happens it’s a Texas holiday! The last time we had some was a light dusting in 2017 that mostly happened overnight, so it’s been so awesome watching it fall all day! This is probably the most we have had here in years!
Because I don’t always provide a full review for books that I read, I wanted to mention the book I’ve been reading this week.
Exploring the psychological dynamics of the relationship between a precocious yet naïve teenage girl and her magnetic and manipulative teacher, a brilliant, all-consuming read that marks the explosive debut of an extraordinary new writer.
Alternating between Vanessa’s present and her past, My Dark Vanessa juxtaposes memory and trauma with the breathless excitement of a teenage girl discovering the power her own body can wield. A masterful portrayal of troubled adolescence and its repercussions that raises vital questions about agency, consent, complicity, and victimhood.
This one was making all the rounds last year on BookTube and was a finalist for Best Fiction of 2020 on Goodreads. I tried several times last year to read it, but other books got in the way. This book isn’t any longer than other books that I read in a week, but the subject matter makes this a heavy read and has taken me much longer to complete. Plus, when I’m not actively reading it, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it and discussing it with my husband and mom. I haven’t fully wrapped up my thoughts about it, but stay tuned!
With a return to school, our meals for the busy weekdays typically consist of crockpot or sheet pan meals, and of course, I completely forgot to capture any photos! Taking into account my husband’s diet, our dinners are a lean meat and veggies. One of our favorites is Sheet Pan Beef and Broccoli from Damn Delicious. This is so simple, but so tasty! A favorite crockpot dish is Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken. My only addition is seasoning the chicken with taco seasoning and then pouring the salsa on top. This is great for tacos, baked potatoes, nachos, etc! I’ve changed the salsa to salsa verde and it’s been an even bigger hit!
So that’s our week in review! Hopefully this brings something new and interesting to the blog. Thanks for joining me!