Having just two kids during the summer is a rare thing. In our household of two parents, three children, and two cats I take every opportunity to lighten my load.

GiGi and Papa have volunteered to take Jack for half a week this week. This way: Jack gets 1:1 time with his grandparents at the beach, and I get 2:1 time which is 33% easier than 3:1 time!

Summer is a busy time on our little suburban homestead. The tomatoes a re ripe;our onions are ready; our garden needs weeding our list of projects is pretty long.

We’ve only lived in this house for 18 months. And don’t get me wrong, we’ve done a time to make this house around already, but when we bought it we have a long-term ten-year plan of how to take this house from a great little rancher into the home of our dreams. We have a very modest budget to work with so when we get the chance we try to do a little here and a little there and a little there.

Of course this means sometimes our house looks a little frenetic. But we love it anyway.

First up: Spanish infused pasta sauce canning. (My brother-in-law-in-law works with José Andrés) and I needed some wine to cook with, so this seemed apropos:20140728-144728-53248460.jpg
These tomatoes all came from our garden, except for 3 from the CSA (the farm is less than a mile from my house) and 5 grown by my next door neighbor, Tootsie (she has been canning for 50 years). All the herbs and the onions were grown right outside my back door.

I know it’s weird and slightly trendy in a Pinterest kind of way to be making my own tomato sauce from scratch like this, but for me? This is living the dream! 20140728-144843-53323485.jpg
Also, because I’m a crazy person, I decided to try making soap. It’s just a kit I ordered on Amazon, it’s not like I’m making this from scratch. Chemistry was not my best subject in high school or in college.

But for a long time my other sister-in-law has been talking about her soapmaking and I’ve always thought “Ooohhhh! I should try that!”
This last project is more challenging than the rest, because it requires lots of power tools and someone to help with the kids. But I’m hoping when #brokebackhusband gets home from work, we can try to tackle this thrifty take on mid-century teak shelves I’ve devised. If it successful you know I’m going to update because I’m going to be super excited about it!

I know it’s a lofty list, so wish me luck! I’m going to need it!!