Saturday, November 29, 2014

_The Hancock News_ Column--November 19, 2014

Several years ago, when we were expecting our third child, I felt completely overwhelmed. With two boys under the age of four, I was more than busy. It seemed I never had a spare minute.

I turned to my mother-in-law for advice because she’d had thirteen children, and I knew she’d been in my shoes many times. “What can I do to manage? I already don’t have enough time to get everything done. Each day 100% of my time is taken up! How can I take care of a new baby, too?”

She shared with me some wisdom another had given her years before. “If you’re already busy 100% of the time, a new baby can’t make you any busier.”

It was basic and simple and so true. No matter what else came my way, I couldn’t be any busier. One-hundred percent is all the time there is. 

The advice didn’t take care of the dishes in the sink, fold the laundry, or change the diapers. It did show me the way I could change my attitude, and that made all the difference for me. Sure, learning to work more efficiently and having a little more experience under my belt helped reduce my stress levels, but realizing I simply could not do it all was the key to maintaining my sanity.

Looking at this is enough to make anybody crazy!

Nowadays, I still have to remind myself that when I’m tired at night, the work is done. It doesn’t matter if school papers need graded, if the next day’s menu isn’t planned, and the floors need swept. If 100% of the time for that day is done, then I must let the rest go.

With the holiday season just about here, work will be multiplied. Extra baking and decorating, extra church services, company and traveling all will be vying for space on my to-do list. At the end of each day, you can be certain a hefty portion of the list will remain unfinished. Only the absolutely necessary will be done, and I suppose that’s not necessarily bad, even if I’m not 100% happy about it.


Having a birthday that sometimes falls on Thanksgiving taught me early on that even birthday trappings aren’t always necessary. This year will be a year that I probably won’t have a birthday cake because of travel, and my waistline is okay with letting go of that. But if I had one, I would pick red velvet cake. This recipe sent by Rose, a reader in Hagerstown, combines my favorite cake with my obsession of adding veggies into our diet wherever and whenever possible. It starts with a boxed mix, and Rose says that you can’t even taste the beets and that they give the cake extra moisture and color. I haven’t tried the recipe yet, but I am going to try it--just as soon as I have a few spare minutes.


I Box of red velvet cake mix – Duncan Hines
1 - 15 oz. can of red beets
1/3 cup of vegetable oil
3  large eggs

In blender, puree beets with juice until smooth.
Prepare cake mix according to package  directions.
Omit the water and beat in the beet mixture in its
place, along with the eggs and oil.  Bake according to
package directions.

Rose didn’t include a frosting recipe, but if you’re going for easy, spread on your favorite store-bought one or this quick cream cheese frosting.

Quick and Easy Cream Cheese Frosting

1 8-oz. package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar

With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter together until completely blended. Mix in the vanilla. Add in the powdered sugar, a little at a time, until frosting is nice and fluffy.

This post was shared at Strangers & Pilgrims on Earth for The Art of Home-making Mondays.


  1. What great advice. And it's all that we can ask of ourselves.

  2. Thank you for your nice comment. I just wish it was always easy for me to follow my own advice :)

  3. Dear Jody, One thing will always be true, we can't do it all! If we can keep up the basics with a smile left for those in our family, then I think we have done the most important. Thank you for taking the time to share (out of your busy schedule) on the Art of Home-Making Mondays :)

    1. JES, thank you for the reminder that I need to work on that smile, too! That doesn't take any extra time :)

  4. Good morning Jody :) This was the second most visited post last week on the Art of Home-Making Mondays as is featured! Congratulations and please join again this week if able :)

  5. Thanks, JES. What an honor!