The year is drawing to a close, and in this post I reflect on three new homemaking skills that I learnt in 2021.
The end of the year is my favourite time to look back on lessons learnt, and I hope this post inspires you to reflect on and celebrate the progress that you have made in your homemaking journey this year.
New Homemaking Skill #1: Incorporating Whole Grains
For years I have been wanting to incorporate more whole grains into my diet. But each time I remembered this goal, I had an excuse for deferring it.
“You’ve made brown rice and brown bread in the past, and you didn’t particularly like them,” I would argue with myself.
To be fair, this concern was valid. My previous attempts to incorporate whole grains hadn’t been particularly enjoyable. Nevertheless, this year I decided to try again.
This time, I was determined to find a way to incorporate whole grains into my diet while enjoying the process. To this end, I established two rules for myself:
- Make one change at a time.
- Introduce each change gradually.
I split my goal into three levels, and I worked on one level at a time:
- Level 1: Granola for breakfast. For my very first baby step towards eating more whole grains, I started occasionally having a small bowl of granola at breakfast. This was an easy and tasty way to add whole grain oats to my diet.
- Level 2: Wholemeal sandwiches for lunch. Next, it was time to make some adjustments at lunchtime. For lunch I often have sandwiches made with homemade bread, so I decided to substitute wholemeal flour for some of the white flour in my standard bread recipe. To my surprise, the brown bread tasted delicious, and I ended up preferring it over my old recipe.
- Level 3: Purple rice for dinner. My last step involved incorporating whole grains at dinner. I often cook rice for dinner, so I decided to switch from plain white rice to multigrain rice. I made a multigrain mix from five different whole grains, and I used a bit of it whenever I cooked rice. One of the whole grains I chose was black rice, and to my surprise, when I mixed it with white rice, the result was beautiful purple rice.
Lesson learnt: There are multiple solutions to every problem. If your first attempt at solving a problem is unsuccessful, don’t give up. Instead, look for a different solution. To learn more about how to find creative solutions to your homemaking problems, you can read my article on how to be a resourceful homemaker.
New Homemaking Skill #2: Caulking the Bathroom
In 2021, I learnt how to use caulk. It was a matter of necessity; there were a few areas in the bathroom that needed to be recaulked, but they seemed too minor to justify hiring a handyman. So my husband and I decided to try renewing the caulk ourselves.
After a lot of research and several trips to the hardware store, we put aside an afternoon for the task. It ended up taking longer than expected, but it also ended up being easier than expected. The final results looked surprisingly neat and smooth, and the project left us with a sense of accomplishment.
There was, however, one unexpected side effect. We weren’t prepared for how satisfying it is to caulk. When we had finished caulking the bathroom, we were struck with an irresistible urge to do more caulking. Sadly, there were no more crevices to caulk—though we searched high and low—so we resigned ourselves to putting the caulk away. I’m glad that we had the presence of mind to stop ourselves. Otherwise, for lack of a suitable project, we might have ended up caulking all the windows and doors shut.
Lesson learnt: Consider doing minor home repairs by yourself. Certain tasks may end up being easier to do than you expect. And it’s fun to learn something new.
New Homemaking Skill #3: Using Fresh Herbs
I used to be intimidated by the thought of cooking with fresh herbs. At the supermarket, I would often linger near the fresh herbs to scrutinise them, but I would never buy any.
The reason that I never bought fresh herbs was simple: I was afraid. I was terrified that I would ruin a dish by adding an unfamiliar ingredient to it.
But in 2021 I finally decided that I was ready to try using fresh herbs. The very first fresh herb that I bought was rosemary. The rosemary sprigs looked so pretty—reminiscent of a whimsical fairy woodland—that I couldn’t resist.
The first dish that I made with my new ingredient was a rosemary roast chicken. As the chicken was cooking, the scent of rosemary wafted through my home, and I realised that my fears about cooking with fresh herbs had been completely unfounded. There was no reason to be paralysed with fear over a few sprigs of rosemary. Even if I messed up, I could easily serve something else instead.
I ended up really enjoying the rosemary roast chicken, and I made it several more times throughout the year. Emboldened by my first foray into the world of fresh herbs, in 2021 I also ended up buying and cooking with many more fresh herbs.
Lesson learnt: There is no need to fear the unfamiliar. Regardless of the outcome, creating new experiences adds meaning to life. If there is a new homemaking skill that you want to learn, encourage yourself to take action. Through continuous learning, you can keep expanding your homemaking skill set.
Take Action: Reflect On Your Year
I encourage you to reflect on all the new homemaking skills that you have acquired this year. Before the year ends, sit down with a pen and a piece of paper, and write down everything that you have learnt in 2021.
Give yourself at least 10 minutes to do this, even if you don’t think you have much to report. The ideas may trickle in slowly at first, but one idea begets another, and you may be surprised to discover how much you’ve grown in the past year.
Homemaking is Like Weaving a Tapestry
As homemakers, I believe that it is crucial for us to regularly reflect on our progress. If we allow ourselves to get caught up in the minutiae of daily homemaking, it’s easy to forget that each task we complete in our homes ends up shaping our world at large.
After all, homemaking is like weaving a tapestry. You start with a blank slate, and each homemaking skill that you acquire represents a precious new thread that you can use to weave the tapestry of your life. Eventually, from amidst a seemingly jumbled mass of threads, the design that we have chosen will emerge.
The art of making a tapestry is one that requires patience. A single tapestry can take years to make, and so it is with homemaking. Be patient with yourself as you go about expanding your homemaking skill set. The art of tending to your home is a lifelong pursuit, so take your time and grow at your own pace. There is no need to rush.
As homemakers, we get to choose what we do each day, as well as how we do it. And though it may not seem so at first, each choice that we make matters. By actively choosing to accumulate a wide variety of homemaking skills, we can ensure that our resulting tapestries have the power to delight the eye and touch the heart.