I am so far having a pretty good pesach-preparation time. The cleaning is marching steadily along, bit by bit. I've decided to declare next week a vacation week for learning, other than davening and kodesh studies (learning about pesach, parsha, etc.). More and more, the kids have been helpful around the house. I occasionally feel like my arms are growing extensions and my reach is just a bit farther. The kids are actually excited about helping to clean. So I'm feeling pretty relaxed about it... for now, anyway!
Food menus I figured out a while ago. I'm planning a trip to the great farmers market in Bluffton right before pesach. The vegetables from the market last MUCH longer than those from the local stores. I'm hoping to swing by the strawberry farm too to get delicious berries for pesach, including enough to make a batch of jam. Shopping I've tried to simplify as much as possible. I'm buying very few especially-for-pesach items - a bottle of ketchup (for our first-seder french fries) and two cans of tuna, and maybe some crackers. The rest are just the regular things I buy that are in and of themselves kosher l'pesach. Lots of fish, fresh fruit and veggies. I did it last year, and our costs were only slightly more than a normal week.
B"N, I am going to make two appliance purchases this year: a small crockpot and a Ninja blender (comes with several bowls). The crockpot should be handy. We don't have an oven that can go into shabbos (actually yom tov!) mode, so it automatically turns off after 12 hours. That will make it useful for the first night of each double-day yom tov, but not for the next dinner, lunch, and dinner. I'll get creative with the stovetop and crockpot. It should be fine. Hopefully I'll get a couple of other things baked before and after each set of yamim tovim.
And in other news - Doda S. is coming!!!! We're very excited to get to see her for a few days. The first Portland friend we've seen since we left, other than our former next-door neighbors who visited last summer. Savta will be visiting in May too, so we're looking forward to our visitors!
And the really not-fun news - the pipe between the house and the street has gone kaplooey. We knew we had a blockage in there somewhere, and had hoped to dig around the pipe, pull out that section, and replace it ourselves, but NO, it didn't quite go that way. D. dug down yesterday, found the pipe, and yuck, it was leaking sewage (very slowly, B"H). Oy. So, the bids start tomorrow. It may also include a gigantic trunk removal (which, while we never would have paid for it otherwise, could be great news for the garden!), and driveway cement removal (which could be a permanent sort of removal; more great news for the garden). And the other good news - we shouldn't have to replace the pipe again until I'm 142! :) And maybe they'll be able to shoot a new pipe through underground without any removal of large objects. They were able to do this at our old house, anyway. We'll see! (But I'm kind of hoping we say bye-bye to the trunk!)
In more fun news, we got the new 4' x 12' bed mostly planted this evening - tomatoes (3 kinds), eggplant, peppers, cabbage, cucumbers, basil. There's some more room for putting in seeds - carrots, lettuce, arugula, beets... Hopefully we'll add another 4' x 12' bed in May! That plus the giant area by the front door for greens, peas, and beans. How lovely to finally have kids old enough to help. Other than puttering, it's our first real vegetable garden since before kids. Hooray! Definitely one of our favorite daydreaming subjects. That and tilapia and chickens. :) And now, for some sleep!