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 Today's Friday Feature: Let's Party

Today's post is inspired by the extreme nearness of July 4th. Since it's on a Saturday this year, it's likely that at least a few of us are having a party or get-together, so I wanted to share a few tips and trick I've learned from my own experiences.

One trick teachers use all the time is something called backwards planning. It goes by other names, but the basic idea is that you start by defining what you want your end result to be, and then planning backwards one step at a time how you will get there. So, before you go running off to the grocery three times today for items you've forgotten, take 15 minutes, sit down, and make a plan.
  • Let's say that your party starts at 6:00, lasts for three hours, and then everyone is going together to see the fireworks. What do you envision that party looking like? What decorations do you need? What food do you need? Where will you put it? Where will people sit? Will you have music? Games? What else haven't you thought of yet? Write yourself a list of everything you want to accomplish.
  • Now, look over your list and make a realistic assessment. Can you do all of this? Factor in cooking time, travel time to and from the store, prep time, and some time to get yourself ready as well. Cross off the things you just can't get done. (Keep the list though, there's always next year.)
  • Make an action plan. Figure out where you have to go, what you have to do, and the best order for it. Remember, food should be your last stop if you're purchasing anything perishable.
  • Once you have everything you need, amend your plan with target times for getting everything done. e.g. 6:00 guests arrive; 5:45 put out hot and cold appetizers; 5:20 wash face, do hair, put on party clothes; etcetera.
Do all your prep work - then cook. Most of the time summer parties involve the grill, so there isn't a lot of cooking done ahead of time. There is a lot of prep work though. Defrosting, chopping, slicing, and dicing, all have to happen. You can't watch the grill if you're also trying to chop onions for hot dogs.

A common rule you'll hear in any cooking school is, "Clean as you go". This is a great bit of advice when you don't want to be facing a mess at the end of a long night. When something is dirty, put it in the dishwasher or take 30 seconds to rinse and wipe it out. When you're done with an ingredient, put it back where it came from. Remember to close doors and drawers as you go (Seriously, how many times have you snagged the belt loop of your jeans on the edge of a cabinet because it was slightly open?)

Another trick I learned (this one from my mother) is that if you are serving a lot of dishes, or if there are people helping you in the kitchen, use some post-it notes and write down what food goes with what dish. Label the dishes. This will help keep things organized.

I hope these ideas help you have a more enjoyable weekend. Thanks for reading. ~Ninniane~
 Hello Housedykes community! I'm Ninniane, your new moderator. I wanted to take a few minutes to introduce myself and tell you about some of my ideas for this community.

I discovered Housedykes when I was doing a search for groups who had "flylady" listed as an interest. (If you don't know who she is, you might want to check out www.flylady.net . She might not be your cup of tea, and that's ok.) I joined the group because I was living in a tiny - living room eat-in kitchen, bedroom, bathroom - apartment, and I needed some help to make the space functional. That was over two years ago.

Since then, my partner and I have moved out of that tiny apartment and in to our first home.  It's lovely to have space, but like all homes, there are a million little things, and some rather large things that need doing. Right now the list includes everything from hanging up shelves and painting walls to remodeling two bathrooms and getting new windows and a new backyard fence installed. Along with the projects, there are the everyday concerns: dishes, laundry, sweeping, mopping, vacuuming (we have three cats, a dog, and a rabbit), and generally trying to keep the house tidy and clutter-free.

My reason for wanting to be a moderator is that I think this community has amazing potential to be a supportive place where people can post questions, get answers, and share their stories about all aspects of being a home-maker. One role I think this group can play is that of the muse, a little something to inspire all of us.  In that vein, I'm creating the "Friday Feature" post, where I will try my best to share inspiring images and stories regarding some aspect of making a house a home. (By house, I simply mean "the place you live". It can be a trailer, an apartment, a single-family home, a flat, half of a double, a studio, or anywhere else you might reside.) I would also like to create some "theme posts" on a monthly or bi-weekly basis where community members can share their ideas about various topics. Finally, I would like to begin recruiting members by actively cross-posting some of what is in this group to other places on the web.

I'm looking forward to getting to you all of you!
ninniane  has volunteered to be our new mod, and she had some good ideas on how to grow this community :)  

Be nice to her, and I'll still be overlooking things from time to time.
Hi gals,

Life has just got too crazy for me, so I'm looking to quit being a moderator of any community for at least a while.

While this community hasn't really been very active, I don't want to just throw it away. So, I'm looking for a new moderator. Maybe someone who can breathe life into this community again.

If interested, please drop me a line! And tell my why and what new things you'd do to bring this baby to life.

I've been watching study after study come out about chemicals in plastic food containers damaging health. We've finally gotten to the point were the evidence is just too compelling to ignore. Our goal is to get rid of all the plastic food storage for anything but dry goods storage (like flour and such.)

We often make big meals (soups, stews, curries) and freeze them to use later or take to work. Usually this is a major cooking fest that results in several full meals. I've been pricing the glass containers with the plastic lids that have started popping up in the marketplace but they are so expensive! I've found a good solution for the individual lunches. I use quart sized, wide mouth canning jars. If I leave a little space on top for the food to expand it freezes just fine. They were about $4.50 for a 4 pack and I bet I can find them for cheaper if I look harder. Now my problem is larger storage for full meals for at least 3 people. Any suggestions for alternatives to the expensive glass storage for this? Or if you know where I can get good deals on the glass storage items?
I've been thinking a lot about what my role as a homemaker should be until I get a job. As a housedyke, I intend to:
  • Make and keep a budget
  • Determine the cost of homemade goods (bread, pizza, etc) versus store bought.
  • Use as many natural ingredients as possible
  • Cook good, healthy food (we're both protein zombies).
  • Figure out how to waste as little as possible
  • Figure out how to compost in a small apartment
  • Create an herb garden
  • Fully clean one room every other day
  • Organize bills and important papers
  • Determine how to make crafting a profitable hobby instead of a costly one
  • Making gifts for cheaper than buying them

    Anyone with experience want to share more jobs to add to the list?
    Is there anyone out there?

    Here's a crazy question that I know all you eco-friendly cat lovers will ponder:

    Can you train a cat (if you can start with a kitten, maybe...) to kill bugs? Collect dust bunnies?
    Greetings all!
    I'm a 34 yr old housedyke, and although I do have a great full-time job, I really enjoy maintaining a happy, harmonious home for my wife & I. We have been together for 9 years, and married for 3. I love cooking & baking for her, and she totally appreciates it. I don't really enjoy house cleaning all that much, though. Hope I can still keep my housedyke card!

    A few years ago I returned to school to complete my degree, and I really liked being a full-time housedyke during the winter & summer breaks. I'm happy to swap recipes, but I've never cooked with tofu. :)
    Well, I'm not really in search of any tofu recipes... but anyway I found this community through a recommendation from a friend and it seems like the place for me :)

    I am a full-time homemaker who is charge of maintaining the house on all fronts (from cooking and cleaning to shopping, bills, and budgeting). I'm sure I don't have to tell you all that it's a full time job! I guess I like the idea of this community because, while I can get tips, recipes, etc. from "regular" housewife communities, there are extra sets of issues that come with a lesbian relationship of this sort. People just can't seem to understand/accept two women living together in a situation where one doesn't work outside of the home. If we were straight it would just be "Oh, she's a house wife and stays at home" but since we aren't people always ask us the dumbest questions like, "How do you survive?!" (uhmm, the same way straight couples of the same sort do?) and "Doesn't it bother you that she doesn't work?" (not really, or else I wouldn't be at home), etc. And, of course, there are all the issues of a legal nature-- everything from taxes to possible future children that just get *so* much more fun when you're queer! Does anybody know if my partner can claim me as a dependent on next year's U.S. tax return? We know we can't file jointly like a married couple (that would be too easy!) but would Uncle Sam come after us if we told the truth-- that she's supporting me? It would mean a lot of $ back and this is something I'm currently trying to research.

    Anyway, this got all rambly. Haha, I more wanted to say "HI! I'm New!" Hahaha! Ahh well...

    Hi everyone - intro post!

    I am an Aussie living in the US temporarily with my US partner and 10 year old step-son. We're trying to immigrate permanently back to Australia, but it's a long process! We're hoping we'll get back there this year sometime.

    Due to visa restrictions, I'm unable to work, and as such, I've found myself in the position of housedyke - something I never expected. I'm not the kind of person who thrills at the idea of going to work, but I never thought I'd be totally financially supported by my partner like this either. It's been an adjustment, but it's working out well. Mostly, we split the household chores based on who likes (or doesn't hate) to do what, and I handle all of the time consuming immigration details. That's almost like a part time job in and of itself.

    I thought this community might be a bit of fun if it gets going, so I joined. 

    To get the ball rolling...

    Recently, our vacuum cleaner broke. We're too poor to buy another. We have a very shedding dog, five cardboard box-ripping cats, and two mice who glory in throwing their bedding out of the mouse house. Short of using a carpet sweeper on the floor twice a day, does anyone have any ideas? Maybe handy-girl girlfriend can fix it, but until she gets a chance to work on it..?