Getting Fit for Company


Behold, my dining room table. Blocks of soap on top of my table waiting to be cut.

Soap curing on my dining room chairs. (I don’t think the freezer paper is curing. It’s just storing.)

Marmalade and syrup and conserve.

More marmalade. (Lemon-lime marmalade. And lots of it!) I told people it was very tart and now they’re afraid to touch it.

What’s this mystery bag?

OH NO! The scary lye!

And more jars of canning and jars of candles.

Really, Suzanne, do you ever CLEAN UP? Umm, well….. No, please let’s not even talk about the coffee table.

Or the big cheese pot on the counter.

Or the dishes.

By the way, just in case you thought my chickens laid pristine eggs, here are some dirty ones.

We’re expecting company this weekend, so this fiasco is something of a problem. They might even want to sit down at the table. They might be put off by the lye! And I seem to be all out of storage space in my pantry. I had a dedicated crafts room to keep my crafts supplies. But somehow this gigantic wood stove took over!

My little Rossy (he LOVES it when I call him Rossy, okay, so that’s not true) has grown up and moved out of the house, and before you know it, he’ll be heading off to boot camp (in June). And yes, I felt like sobbing and clinging to his ankles when he moved out and yet—
He’s entering the military for a six-year enlistment. (Read his story about joining the Navy here if you missed it.) By the time he gets out of the Navy, he’ll be 25. As much as I would like for him to come home and live with mommy, I kinda doubt that’ll happen. I asked him if I could enroll him in kindergarten and we’d just START OVER but he didn’t even think that was funny. And looky here at his empty room.


The upside of children growing up and moving on to their own lives (must they????) is that you get THEIR ROOMS!!!!! That almost makes up for that nasty GROWING UP and going away part.

Oh, sure, I’ll be so happy when he comes back to visit and I’ll even…….

…..clear off the bed. But not till then! Because….

…..I have a new room! (And a clean dining room table. I set up a “pantry annex” in Ross’s room, too, for all my extra jars. And a soap-curing station!)

P.S. I just wanted you to know that my house is like yours–messy. Or maybe not like yours. Maybe yours is clean. In that case, please forget this post ever happened. IT WAS A FIGMENT OF YOUR IMAGINATION.


  1. Nancy in Iowa says:

    Your house always looks amazing. I know that the cats clean off the dining room table, and the dogs wash the dishes – who does the laundry? Clover and crew?

  2. Karen Anne says:

    You can send the lemon-lime marmalade to me πŸ™‚

  3. Treasia says:

    It lets us all know that your human. You know, sometimes when reading blogs and they are all so pristine with their pictures that it makes me begin to wonder if I’m the only messy person left. LOL. Nice to know I’m not. :wave:

  4. Michelle says:

    I LOVE zingy citrus stuff; most is WAY too sweet for me. Can I have a jar of the lemon-lime stuff? PLEASE?

  5. Julie says:

    The table looks warm and welcoming. I’m sure your guests will have a wonderful weekend.

    I have sink envy (your kitchen sink is so big!) ~ here in Germany, I only have a small single sink. Makes any amount of kitchen work a challenge!

  6. Vicki says:

    I am so glad to see a house that looks like mine–full of projects in progress and things not yet put away. Thank you!

  7. carsek says:

    Your house looks great! Hope you have a great weekend. I’m gonna try your soap recipe!

  8. CindyP says:

    πŸ˜† πŸ˜† πŸ˜† πŸ˜† Yep, that looks like mine! Nice to know you’re human, too πŸ˜‰ Too, too many things to do to worry about cleaning ALL the time. I know how to do that, but there’s so many things I DON’T know how to do that holds my interest! :sun:

  9. Julie Curtis says:

    Hey Suzanne, I’m with you on this one!! When it gets too cluttered I clear it out, but until then I’m happy in my mess. We have 4 bedrooms, and if my 2 kids moved home today there wouldn’t be any room for them because their old rooms have been designated for other uses. Oh – my cats get on the cabinets and table, too.

  10. Rose H says:

    You’re lucky your son left an empty room, my daughter still has a large fitted wardrobe full of stuff and about a third of our loft space :hissyfit: – she’s been gone two years now! However, her flat is pristine….funny that?

  11. Rose H says:

    Oops, forgot to say… your table looks so inviting, it was worth all that effort 8)

  12. Brenda says:

    Loved this post.. Lets us know you are human. I used to go crazy over the house, but not anymore. I work too much to care and its picked up and the dishes are done.. There aren’t enough hours in the day to do it all..
    Happy spring and enjoy your work around the farm πŸ™‚

  13. Carmen Smith says:

    LOL, my son leaves for boot camp in June too for the Army, but all his stuff will still be here, guess my craft room will have to wait 4 yrs:(

  14. Johanna says:

    I bet you could make a terrific cake glazed with that lemon-lime marmalade! It would be fresh and springy and everyone would be asking for your secret ingredient!!!

  15. Leah says:

    Sso theres a little clutter this aint the 50’s anymore!I have bags of yarn and scrapbooking supplies everywhere and piles of books too!
    When the kids left their room became a junk room. Now if they would ccome get the rest of their stuff I’d have more rm for mine! :wave:

  16. Chic says:

    LOL reminds me of my house Suzanne! You’re sure keeping busy over there..that marmalade looks delish and I bet those candles smell nice. Sorry to see your Rossy go but at least you’ve got some storage until he comes home on leave! Have a great day. πŸ™‚

  17. Angela P says:

    :hungry: How nice, company….The house looks like a home..lived in, as it should be. I love it! Thank you for being human and so open! I was just thinking of Rossy the other day, hadnt seen him in awhile. He is so handsome, and we are all beyond proud of him, :shimmy: Way to go Ross! Just one thing.. Call your mother every half hour, be careful, lock the doors,dont answer the door past dark, dont pick up strangers, eat your broccoli, change your sheets, brush your teeth…. :hissyfit: I think they call this sepertion anxiety. :shocked: Your a bigger woman than me Suzanne, your calm! 8)
    Enjoy the company, whats on the menu????

  18. Glenie says:

    My kids rooms have long since filled up with stuff. Good valuable stuff (to me anyway), mostly craft and quilting things. One is a school room where I homeschool two of my grandkids. Loving it.

  19. Margaret says:

    Looks so familiar! You’re not the only one who has more stuff than space to keep it in. I try and keep my mess somewhat organized, but 2 teenage girls and a husband make it hard to do.

  20. nikki says:

    Yep I call that “lived in”! I have company coming in 2 weeks and I really should de-clutter the house too.. Nah that can wait until the weekend before : )

  21. scorwin says:

    My house is very seldom cleaned up and never “spotless”. I decided a long time ago, it was either having animals or a really clean house and animals won hands down. Now that I have horses and am gone from the house a lot, things just don’t get done. Whenever I’m engrossed in some craft, it seems the rest of the house goes to pot and there’s craft stuff all over everywhere! Not another room is under construction with work men coming and going and dust all over so what’s the use of cleaning now. I sit in my new kitchen which I am keeping spotless (for now!) because it’s new and I’m happy. Of course if I’m cooking, I also make a mess. I’m very unorganized when I’m cooking. People just know they have to give me a couple days warning before they just “drop by”!!!!!!!

  22. scorwin says:

    continued: My question for you Suzanne is how do you find enough hours in the day to do all you do???

  23. B. Ruth says:

    Ooooohhhh mercy…..forget the mess….
    It that a beautiful carnival glass footed bowl on the coffee table with orange slices in it or what….worth $$$$$$$ and do the cats curl up on top….can you tell I love carnival glass…the darker, the gaudier, for me….I’m hunting my book right now to see if I can find the pattern….and what is the color base…hold it up to the light to see the base color…some colors more valuable than others…..

  24. mamawolf says:

    I love this one. When you are busy creating who has time for cleaning. With all your projects I wonder when you find time to sleep and take a little “me” time. We appreciaite all you do to make our lives a little simpler and we love you for it. Enjoy the weekend company. :fairy:

  25. Carol says:

    It is my belief that creative people automatically have clutter. Take a look at someone you know who doesn’t seem to be interested in new things, and you will find a person who doesn’t own a stash. Cluttery people are more interesting, I think, especially you, Suzanne.

  26. gwen says:

    i haven’t been able to write a lot, but i had an accident, stayed in hospital for 10 weeks and am learning how to walk again now
    i am getting there
    talking about messy tables, come and see ours hahahha
    being on his own for the last 19 weeks my husband hasn’t had much time for anything, certainly not tables
    it will sort itself when i will be home in 2 weeks time

    love to read your stories again


  27. Rhubarb Rhose says:

    Oh boy – CAN I RELATE TO THIS ONE! Sometimes I get really depressed when I see how spotless some of my friend’s homes are. We’re under construction right now too and that’s a good excuse, but I don’t always have an excuse like that. I always have to think of my mom who made her house a HOME that was used and lived in. She was not ashamed of her clutter and our friends always felt “at home” and comfortable. She was the best cook in the whole world and it didn’t matter that the house was messy. At least it was always “clean messy”. Keep up your wonderful blog – I read it every day!

  28. Nancy says:

    Just a word of caution about your son! Mine followed the same path…highschool and Navy for six years. He was 24 when he got out. He got a job, entered college and now…he’s baaack! lol I love it…just saying don’t get too used to that empty room!!

  29. becki says:

    I always wondered why my mother-in law’s house seemed so pristine. Then, one morning several years ago, I stopped by unannounced to drop off an ice chest she wanted to borrow. I discovered her secret. SHE HAS A MAID!!!!!!!! Once a week. Changes the linen, does laundry related linen, dusts, and does all the floors. How about that.

  30. Cate says:

    Looks like my house with the exception of the freshly-laid eggs and cheese pot (although my water bath canner is a constant figure in my kitchen).

  31. MMT says:

    Suzanne, thanks so much for this post! Makes me feel so much better. I agree with some of the others that creative people tend to have alot more stuff. It is a constant battle to keep it under control. I am lucky in that my husband is in the process of turning a small cabin my son was living in on our property, into a crafting place for me. Can’t wait to get everything moved over and be able to use it. The big thing will be to get everything organized. Makes it alot easier to work if you know where what you need is at and can put your hands on it quickly and easily. I do alot of different crafts, (even more since I have found your blog) and have alot of stuff. One of my things is working with leather which requires alot of stuff and space to work with it, so the cabin will be so great. When I see something in a catalog that I like I try to figure out if and how I can make it myself. I make alot of the gifts that I give as well. Everbody seems to like them and I like putting my personal touch on them. Well, I can see I am rambling, so I’ll just say thanks again and enjoy your company this weekend.

  32. Lola-Dawn says:

    When my kids were growing up, we did a major home renovation that resulted in a fabulous HUGE L-shaped lunch counter in our already large farm kitchen. Shortly thereafter, I got into hand-painting and dyeing silk. It was quite normal to have jars of dye and other projects bits and bobs all over the lunch counter … making it necessary to eat at the dining room table IF THERE WAS ROOM THERE. My partner finally commented “we didn’t fix up this kitchen for your craft crap!” Oh? I totally thought we did! LOL!

  33. Runningtrails says:

    Thank you, Suzanne! My home looks like that too. I thought it was just me. My floor is always dirty. It even has potting soil on it in the kitchen plant area and upstairs in the craft/growing room. I will sweep it when it gets really bad and bothers me, otherwise its usually dirty (no carpets here). I can’t remember the last time I washed it or dusted anything…

    My cats are on the kitchen table too. We don’t eat there. (Does anyone?)

  34. Runningtrails says:

    My kitchen table is covered with seeds at the moment, and wine aging.

  35. Mary says:

    :purpleflower: The table looks so pretty, nobody will notice any mess. Have fun with the company!!:) :snoopy: P.S. I’ll take some lemon-lime marmalade!! :happyflower:

  36. Kelly says:

    My dad also uses old coffee canisters to gather eggs!

  37. Donna Mc says:

    You made my day. My house always FEELS like it’s a wreck. Between 2 teen boys & a messy hubby + a big ol dog – it’s just a cluttered mess 24/7. And it drives me crazy – I feel like I can’t sit down & work on a quilt until the mess is at a reasonable level…it’s haunts me & stifles my creativity. BUT, on the flip side – my house is filled with love, fun, and comfortable places for my boys to hang out. When they are grow up & gone I have GRAND PLANS for their room to become my quilting studio. But until then – I’ll keep on using the kitchen as my ‘quilting studio’.

    PS I want flushable kitchen!

  38. Sandra says:

    I noticed you can see the hillsides from your dining room windows…you must plant flowers there so you can see them every time you are in the room….one of the great advantages of living around hills. All four of my children still have lots of stuff stored here and my stacks of magazines and papers seem to have litters monthly.

  39. Joycee says:

    We make messes; not big ones but stacks of newspapers, magazines and whatever project I’m working on…hey it’s your fault my table is messy right now! Thanks a lot!!!

  40. Brenda in AZ says:

    I used to always worry about how messy my house is (to me). I have dogs and 3 kids at home (12, 7 & 4). My friend made a profound statement that became my motto. Did my company come to visit me or my house.

  41. sandy says:

    My last son (age 26) finally …finally moved out and all I got for it was a room that needs overhauling with new carpet, paint and fresh smells. I thought I would miss him but I don’t, ha! YOu have a good looking son and you must be proud of him and thrilled to get his room. YOur dining room now looks great!

  42. marymac says:

    Suzanne you are too funny!! Sweety, your house looks like a home.

  43. Mariah says:

    Thanks for being real! That’s one of the things I love about your blog. I feel ya with the kids moving out thing. I had two move out together! At the same time! And I didn’t even get their rooms because we moved to a different house at the same time! (Long story…we were moving home to the States from Europe and they moved to our home town while we moved to take over the pastorate of a church in another city.) It’s all good though, and they come to visit often. If the truth be told, I kind of like the foot loose and fancy free thing that came after I adjusted to not having my girls living at home! :snoopy:

  44. Ulrike says:

    I am so happy to know that other peoples homes look like mine. I mean I do have a once a week cleaning day, but when I get involved in something forget it, of course, till cleaning day! My daughter moved out, moved up the hill in our old place, got married, and they are still there. She likes being close :snuggle: , and mommy likes her there too! I am going to try your soap sometime as I would really like to do soap making plus my own laundry soap. do you make your own laundry soap too? We have a septic tank so we have to be careful. Mmmm, that tart lemon-lime sounds wonderful! Course I have to agree on one thing, when company is a coming, everything gets cleaned up fast here!

  45. catslady says:

    Oh you should see my house lol. My oldest moved out at 19 and it stayed her room for a good 5 years with us slowly taking over and now that she’s married it’s no longer hers but still holds a ton of her stuff (they are house hunting so that’s when she gets most of it lol). My other daughter is out too but there’s the chance she may come back so it still holds all the junk she couldn’t take. I’m looking forward to the day when I can turn both their rooms into bookshelves hahahahaha.

  46. Karen Anne says:

    I, too, have a couple of friends with spotless houses, but someone comes in one a week and cleans for them, sigh.

  47. Susan at Charm of the Carolines says:

    I don’t know this for a fact, but I’m just guessing that lemon-lime marmelade would be delicious between 2 layers of a dense, sweet chocolate cake with fresh whipped cream on top!!! Send some to me if no one else will eat it.

    Please tell you son Ross that I respect his decision to join the Navy. I admire his courage and his conviction to serve his country, and I am forever grateful to him and the other men and women serving in our armed forces. I am very proud of him and I know you must be about to BUST with pride.


  48. Beth says:

    OMG, that looks so familiar! …..the Mother Earth News mag, the non-pristine eggs, etc! Nice to know your house looks like mine! I love your soap, BTW! :purpleflower: :heart: :purpleflower:

  49. cgReno says:

    Your home look beautifully and LIVED in. No one who really lives in a house has perfection or even close. Cats leave fur balls, dogs track mud, and you create. Your home is truly home, except for that empty room….good for him, sad for you, great for house cleaning!

  50. Joy Bayus says:

    I just knew that dining room table would be spic ‘n span before too long. My son is in the Army (4th year) – going back to Afghanistan for second tour soon. He’ll be 26 when he gets out. Wants to finish school. I betcha he’ll be back home for a bit even though we’ve had those conversations about him wanting to be on his own, about me wanting him on his own. Well, mostly. I miss him so . . . So keep the bed ready in case . . . I wish your son a great experience, new skills, maturity and safety. Bless him for me. (and you too, MOM!)

  51. glenda says:

    I had to laugh at this post! I have been cooking way too much lately and told my husband this morning that was it! I wasn’t going to mess up that kitchen again for a week…..

    Then I saw a recipe for cinnamon rolls that was very different from mine (used 3 eggs) and I need to use up some eggs. So being the helpful soul that he is, he suggested we have scrambled eggs (more eggs used) and the sweet rolls for lunch/dinner. That worked for me.

    Then the rolls were raising so slowly I decided they wouldn’t be ready so did another flour mess for pizza…then there was the shredded cheese mess and the cornmeal on the pizza peel mess and the pan for the sauce……….

    The mess was so bad, I took a picture of it but I doubt I will have the never to post it on my Blog!

    The kitchen is clean again and I will never mess it up again………

    P.S. A few days ago I made an angel food cake and a lemon sponge cake that used the 12 yolks (all in the same day), then yesterday was bread-making day (3 loaves at a time). So you understand what I mean about kitchen messes.

    p.s. 2. The sponge cake is referred to as a jam cake….bet your tart marmalade would be very tasty on it.

  52. Deb says:

    Yep, just like home. Last night I cleaned off the kitchen table so we could actually EAT at it. Took the box of quilted projects from quilt retreat last weekend upstairs. Sorted the pile of mail. Put the jars of homemade vanilla on a shelf. Put the box of hand dipped candles in the closet. As soon as my son moved out we turned his bedroom into the computer lab/guest bedroom. I already have plans for the other kids rooms too!

  53. lavenderblue says:

    I only wish my mess was like your mess, things I’d crafted and canned, eggs from my own hens. Mine is all toys and cat fur. Should kids as old as mine (17 and 14) be allowed to have toys still, for goodness sake.

    But I once read somewhere that a messy house is a learning house. It certainly is in your case and as for me, well…that’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

  54. Michele says:

    A friend of mine makes goat milk soap with essential oils it smells so good and feels soft. My house looks like yours too. So many projects so little time! :moo: :moo:

  55. mommafox says:

    Who gives a hoot about clutter? My eyes stopped after seeing that wonderful looking marmalade. Have you considered using it as a glaze on grilled chicken? Maybe even with a little jalepeno pepper thrown in for a little “kick”. My sister who lives in
    california has so many lemons and lime, that she just throws them over the hill. Makes me want to cry every time she tells me that. :hissyfit:

  56. Becky says:

    Thank you so much for posting about your real life… not a scrubbed up, perfected version of it! I’m so glad I’m not the only one that using the dining room table as a staging area for all current projects. Each night we just push things out of the way enough to have a little spot to put our plates.
    Your table looks lovely set up for company.

  57. DonnaTN says:

    Today’s post was so freeing for me. I always stress out about the state of things in my house when company comes over. I realized today that I am in the vast msjority who have a lived in look to their home. It is not horrible like some of those clean up shows on TV, but who has time for pristine? Frankly, I’d much rather visit your home than Martha Stewart’s. You are much more fun, plus I’d be afraid to touch anything at Martha’s house!

  58. Kim Gibson says:

    Your house is fine, sink not bad at all. My son, 3 yrs a Marine, still has stuff in the house, as does my daughter (only out of the house 2 months). Thank your son for serving. Thank you for raising a man who will serve. My family always has, (me too) and is proud of it!

  59. Robin-WV says:

    Looks like a loved, lived in home – more than just a house anyday! Mine has been over run by medical supplies and equipment: bedside commode, oxygen tanks, walkers and wheelchairs due to my husband’s sudden and chronic illness, but we’re still comfortable even with the medical clutter. By the way, we’re having ‘grandmother rolls’ with our homemade veggie soup for supper!

  60. CherShots says:

    Loved this posting ~ it speaks volumes for real life ~ nothing like those so called “reality” TV shows I despise.

  61. JoLinda says:

    Suzanne, Since I am way over here in South Korea you could send me a jar of that marmalade and if you stuck other stuff in the box along with it I wouldn’t be offended. πŸ™‚

  62. Sandra in SC says:

    You are certainly not alone….good to know that I’m no either!!! Our house is definitely lived in!!!

  63. Nancy K. says:

    Ross is very handsome! My daughter joined the Navy after she graduated from college. It was SO hard, sending her off to Boot Camp, knowing what they were going to do to my Beautiful Baby Girl. It IS horrible ~ but she survived.

    And she’s coming home to see me TOMORROW! :snoopy: For the first time since last summer.

    I think the Navy should pay for kids to come visit their mothers at LEAST twice a year…

    Hugs to Ross & please thank him for his Service!

  64. scorwin says:

    Any flat surface is fair game for “stuff”!!!!!!!!

  65. Lori Skoog says:

    You get the award for most ambitious! Everything you do looks divine!

  66. Karen Anne says:

    Mommafox, do I miss my orange and lemon trees from when I lived in California.

  67. jan~n~tn says:

    So when are the shelves going into that room πŸ˜• A trundle bed would fit close to the wall and still be able to accommodate a couple for sleepover :hug:
    Ross moved just in time for the summer organization of the new storage pantry. Which would free up the β€˜use out of one’, located up stairs in the kitchen). I would love to have a room to store food, that I would not have to worry about bracing the floor joists. It can get full and HEAVY quick.

  68. SuzieQ says:

    A clean house is a sign of a mispent life!! My sister, who has NO hobbies or fun interests, gave me a plaque that says “THIS MESS IS A HOUSE”…so true. At least you can see the top of your coffee table, mine’s covered with books stacked 3 or 4 deep and my laptop plus various remote controls and other good stuff. The sign on my studio door reads “You can touch the dust, just don’t write your name in it!” No hope for me..

  69. SuzieQ says:

    One of my signs that I forgot…”if you want to see me just drop by anytime, if you want to see the house-make an appointment!” :dancingmonster:

  70. Nicole Donally says:

    Your confessions are more like life as I know it! Like that saying goes: “Although my house may seem a mess, come in — sit down — converse. It doesn’t always look like this; some days it’s even worse!” Thanks for the honesty!

  71. tgray says:

    “If you come to see my house you need to make an appointment.
    If you come to see me you are always welcome”.

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