It's not all sunshine and rainbows. Or homemade bread.

Moshe looks out the window...
Moshe looks out the window...

So, a sweet reader emailed me a chatty note this afternoon, and one of her comments was:

I noticed you bought bread. Your photos of your homemade bread look so yummy, I could not believe you bought bread.

I'm glad she noticed. :) I do love homemade whole wheat bread! I like most from-scratch things a lot better than the store versions. And many of these things -- from bagels to pita chips and everything in between -- are not hard to do.

But there are times... many times... when I have to make compromises. Needy children, an ill husband, or a needy ME, trying to balance home education, opening our home to others, and meeting all the "deadlines" life throws our way -- from doctor's appointments to filing taxes to paying bills. And more.

So much more than can be put into words on a screen.

It's never easy to balance it all. Not for me, not for anyone else.

I fight that battle of knowing that I can't "do it all", but still wanting to do more than I should.

I really have been trying to think of my time as a budget, just like our finances and my weight (ugh!).

Some weeks (many weeks, even most weeks) my "time budget" helps our household budget by doing things like making bread and using cloth diapers. Other weeks, I pull a few dollars from the food budget and buy something that helps my time stretch... for other purposes.

And that's completely okay. (My family doesn't even complain!) Because some days the kitchen looks like this:

And that's called Life at Home with Four Kids right now. Especially on dreary days. I have been doing better, a lot better (thank you all for your prayers these past months!). But that sun! It keeps hiding from me, and I wish it wouldn't. :)

Yehoshua (6) has been my sunshine this week. Yesterday he cleaned up the living room in an amazing fashion, calling himself "The Yehoshua Sweeper" when he showed me his finished work. ;)

Then, he decorated the kitchen with banners, got out the UNO cards, and made tea for us. Green tea for me, Sleepytime for himself. We played UNO with Eliyahu (5) while the two little ones napped. What a fun party! :)

Today, we're muddling through math and music practice, sweeping the kitchen floor (again... and again) and clearing dishes. I budgeted time for blogging, but not time for a shower. Yet.

There will never be enough time for me to do all my favorite stuff all the time. (Even including homemade bread, which only takes minutes and is so yummy. Truly.)

...but when I do? I love the chance to share about it here! :)

Helpful reading:

Routines to help the weary mom from Keeper of the Home (Stephanie)

Panel discussion on burnout and fatigue

Time management series from Money Saving Mom (Crystal)

Comments

We all do the best we can... and hopefully, we do so without feeling guilty that our 'best' is not someone else's best. We are not all the same! Which is a good thing. :) Praying for you, Tammy!

Thank you for "keeping it real". That is why I love your blog so much! Moshe got a haircut!!! He is such a cutie. Now he looks like his big brothers with shorter hair. God Bless you Tammy!

Katie

I'm always amazed at how much you accomplish with four kids. You are an inspiration to me. :)

I so totally agree with you! I (and my family) love all things homemade, but I'm so thankful for Betty Crocker, El Monterey, and Campbells to name a few.....If it weren't for them we would probably eat out way more than we already do (and we do that a lot some weeks) due to being super busy.

Little Moshe is blonde! When did that happen? ;-)

When I cut his hair! :) But it was in his eyes... :(

When I had my daughter 32 years ago, I went from slob to perfectionist, stayed that way until she got married and moved out, and have happily returned to slobdom. Somehow, the pressure is off!

I love this season when I have my kids at home, being able to homeschool them, BUT I think I will also love when I am no longer under the constant watch of my kids and I can finally relax! Trying to show my kids how things should be can be very tiring ;)

I've been thinking the same thing! When I look around some days I just KNOW my husband will appreciate me getting rid of the piles and piles of laundry in our room instead of kneading dough!!! It's a matter of priorities...different from person to person of course but for me ...often I just have to buy the bread for a while.

I am exactly the same, Tammy. I much prefer homemade foods to store bought ones laden with preservatives and ingredients that are far from natural. But, between homeschooling and taking care of our three children ,it doesn't always happen. I also love a sparkling clean house, but currently I have a couple of loads of clothes that need to be put away, a load of stinky diapers that need to be washed, and sweet little hand prints on my windows. But, my family is thriving and happy. They enjoy when I do make homemade breads and tortillas etc..but, no one complains when it is from the store. It is fun to experiment even if it is just one time. We never buy pop tarts, but I made some once and it was a ton of fun. I have never made them again, but I know I can when I have the time again. :) Cooking for my family is my job. Sometimes it can be an afternoon of fun experimenting. Sometimes, it is because my sweet hubby and little people need to eat and I am just doing it out of necessity...while holding a fussy clingy baby at times. :) Sometimes, I just need to make everyone feel special and I am grateful for store bought breads, pie crusts, and cake mixes. And, I am discovering it all taste great when enjoyed with my wonderful family....even if it is eaten in a dirty kitchen. :)

Loved this, thank you!! :)

after reading many posts yours helped me. I am a mom of only one 4 month old and i barely find time to get anything done. I work 40 hours a week and so does my husband (out of town) and I feel so much pressure to have all the laundry put away and the floors clean and dinner cooked. After reading your post I was relieved to know I am not the only one! :) I like that you say "it all tastes great when enjoyed with my wonderful family...even if it is eaten in a dirty kitchen". So true. I too prefer homemade as opposed to store bought but you have to make compromises...so I plan on making Tammy's homemade cherry pie filling with the cherries from our tree (we made time to pick last weekend) but use a store bought,refrigerated crust. Thanks for the reassurance. :)

Tammy thank you so much for this post! It almost brought tears to my eyes. I'm the one who e-mailed you about a midwife in your area....we are here in Seattle area now and not having the sun is very different! I'm having such a hard time motivating myself or even feeling awake. :) When the sun doesn't shine all day, I constantly feel like it's time for my morning cup of coffee. Plus I'm also changing what we are eating....love all the local farms here! Thanks for being real!

I just emailed you. :)

Some day SOON the weather should turn lovely! It really is an amazing difference between the darkness of winter and the summer sunshine! :) We moved to WA in the fall and that first winter seemed so long... now, I think maybe every winter will seem long, but the long summer days are *almost* worth all the darkness. ;)

... and I thought, "Way to go! You just bought more time with your kiddos (or take a shower...) I'm a busy mom of 5 too but I send my kids off to school every day (3 of them, when there not sick.) So I have much more free time right now to make bread. So, go ahead, buy bread! You can bake bread when they are grown up too.

Alisa
makingmorewithless.blogspot.com

Your honesty is heart warming and a relief. Someone told me once there's no greater gift from one mom to another than to let her walk in on your messy house now and then. ;) God bless you, Tammy!

and allowing things to be done as they can, and I hope you never feel guilty about your choices. I appreciate so much the effort you put into this blog - you bless me. Thank you!

Learning to balance everything is something I'm working on myself right now. It's a strange balance sometimes, between doing everything you're used to doing or maybe think you "should" be doing. My husband and I have had a lot of discussions lately about buying a few more convenience items (like an occasional pack of disposable diapers vs. full time cloth) and how they're worth it if they help our household run more smoothly. It goes against the grain of "this is healthier" or "this saves more money" but sometimes it's just worth it for the break.

Thanks for keeping it real!!!

Melody
www.fruitofherhands.com

Thanks for being real! I don't know you, but you are always an encouragement to this mama's heart...Blessings to you and your sweet family!

Recently you did a few videos in a short space of time and I was amazed, wondering how you managed that with the kids! You are an inspiration. Keep up the good work and give yourself time to rest if you must. I am actually torn apart myself because I am coming to work this weekend. I was supposed to prepare tongue for sandwiches, make pumpkin dinners rolls (your recipe is excellent!! ), coat chicken and fish fingers for lunches...................................Sigh! I guess I have to settle for other options.

I'm glad that you are at least able to FIND sunshine when the real stuff is missing ... that's a good sign, and you need to remember that :)

I know what you mean, and I've only got ... 1 child! Althought they'll be 2 in may. I can't even begin to imagine what it's like with 4. But I do know a lot about setting goals that are way too high and ending up frustrated because we can't reach them all. It's something I've been working on a lot lately, that and being content with what I have achieved and stop focusing on what's not been done.
I hope the sun comes out for you again soon, you seem to be going through a difficult phase lately, and I pray it will be over soon.
Aline

I keep walking along side of you in some distant way! My kids are 5, 4, 2, 1 and I'm pregnant with the fifth, homeschooling, trying to cook wholesome, blah, blah. blah. I am most frustrated with myself for not being a friend to others. I get so wrapped up inside the home. Good job keeping your house open, what an encouragement!

May the peace of Christ richly surround you in a tangible way today!! Keep on, Sister.

I don't comment much. I think I might have commented once before but I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you for showing us that you put your children and husband's needs above that of the kitchen and such. We are pregnant with baby #4 with our oldest being 4 1/2. Sometimes I feel so guilty about not being able to doing everything that I did before I got pregnant this time. But it's more important to spend time loving and training our children in the Lord than it is always have things such as fresh homemade bread. : ) This is a lesson the Lord continues to teach me. Many blessings,

Emily, wife of Jeremy

Miss you and the kiddos....

my children are grown but i remember those days tammie. i just wanted you to know that your writings especially when involving your beautiful family bring such peace to me you can't possible know. i have had a very difficult 2 weeks of insomnia and a little bit of depression and when i am feeling down or cant sleep worrying about life i read your blog and it lifts me out of my self pity. you are truly blessed with your writings tammie and i know that it is thru the lord i come to your place and find such peace in my heart and for that i want to thank you.

How refreshing to hear you talk like this! I have been amazed at your immaculate kitchen (in your videos, etc.), and to "see" you in a messy kitchen eating store-bought bread is a major relief and breath of fresh air.

I agree with the above comment that said that one of the biggest blessings one mom can give another is to allow her to walk in on your messy house once in a while.

THANK YOU!

Shelly F., a longtime reader

I've been an avid reader of your blog for a few months now, and finally remembered to use your Amazon referral link! I just found out I had to buy a new art history textbook for school (I bought the wrong one the first time!) and had to shell out $130 for a new one tonight! I'm glad someone could benefit from my misfortune, lol.

And i'm so glad you're posting more frequently now, I really enjoy your recipes, tips, and seeing your cute little children grow up.

When I saw the photo I thought, "Awww, looks just like home!". It's just the way it goes and the way it is and the way it's gonna be. : D We have our good days and not as good days and when some things are GREAT, time has been taken away so other things aren't so great. It's a universal mommy thing. I think that you Do great. I can tell just from what I read right here.
Oh yeah, I am starting vitamin D3. It's suppose to help with winter blues, of which spring is just around the corner. Yippee!

Love,

Susan (Sandlappersue)

And the Costco bread is actually not half bad either:)

I have followed your blog for awhile now and your recipes are GREAT! You do a superb job with this blog. I am amazed how you can have little ones, being creative in the kitchen, frugal, etc. and have this blog. You touch so many lives each day. Be kind to yourself. Some days we just show up. Wish you lived out here with me in Arizona. We have lots of sunshine. You would be a wonderful neighbor and we would be friends. We'll keep praying for you Tammy. You are an absolute jewel.

Anonymous wrote: " my children are grown but i remember those days Tammie. i just wanted you to know that your writings especially when involving your beautiful family bring such peace to me" - that describes me too! but include grandchildren ( a lot of them are grown too), but I remember those days with fondness and nostalgia - hindsight is always twenty-twenty, and it was kind of fun figuring out stuff, how to do it, how to make do, how to cook, how to please and keep a happy attitude. I love to hear what you are doing and to see pics of those gorgeous kids and know that you are enjoying them as you should 'cuz believe me they grow up way too fast and then those days are gone!

Oh, Tammy. I just got caught up on here and wanted to let you know I'm praying for you! Being a stay at home mom of small children is hard, labor intensive work. It's physically and mentally draining. And I'm glad you realize it's ok to buy bread when that will help lessen your load! =)

I can't believe how light Moshe's hair is!!! Where did his dark hair go? He is getting so big!

Happy Belated Birthday!! I pray this year will be a year of strength and renewal, of body, mind and spirit. I enjoy your blog so much, and am so thankful we got to meet that one time!!

Thank you for all the work/time/energy you've put into making your recipes available; they are a HUGE blessing to me and many others!

Thank you! But... will you please reveal your identity? ;) I keep trying to think who I have met 1 time who uses smilies that look like =). :) But I'm stumped!

Thank you all for the words of encouragement! :)

My daughter whined, "Store bought bread? We don't eat store bought bread!"

And we normally don't. I have a Bosch Universal Plus. I make 6-loaves of bread at least once a week. But, I am cheap and I reuse bread bags over and over. I had given away some of my bread recently and went to the dollar bread store to buy two loaves of bread just so I could have some bags. There has been major whining. I will be baking bread tomorrow, which is fine seeing as I will be snowed in. :o)

Tammy, excellent post. Thank you for not hiding this part of you. It is so true, we all need some help with many little ones around. The help looks different for each of us, and it's good to realize what our priorities really are. Back in the fall, I was so sick with the pregnancy that we ended up having to buy bread. I felt so guilty. My husband's grandma laughed at me and told me to keep buying it as long as I needed too. ;-) I realized later how silly I was. It was just for a season, and it meant I could focus on the pregnancy, my son, and my husband. Some of my friends with more children wonder how I can do as much from-scratch cooking as I do. Well, I know I probably won't be able to do so much when I have more kids, so I'm enjoying it for now!

Tammy, excellent post. Thank you for not hiding this part of you. It is so true, we all need some help with many little ones around. The help looks different for each of us, and it's good to realize what our priorities really are. Back in the fall, I was so sick with the pregnancy that we ended up having to buy bread. I felt so guilty. My husband's grandma laughed at me and told me to keep buying it as long as I needed too. ;-) I realized later how silly I was. It was just for a season, and it meant I could focus on the pregnancy, my son, and my husband. Some of my friends with more children wonder how I can do as much from-scratch cooking as I do. Well, I know I probably won't be able to do so much when I have more kids, so I'm enjoying it for now!

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