When we moved to our new home eight months ago, I was worried. You see, our new home has no dishwasher. And I had kind of made a personal vow that I would never move to another home without a dishwasher again until all my kids had left the nest.

I love dishwashers. Matter of fact, if I had to put all my appliances in order (yes, odd, but something I've done while living without electricity in the rainforest), it would be like this:
1. Stove (Burners beat out all. Plain and simple. I suck at making fires.)
2. Oven (Yes, stoves and ovens are still two separate appliances in most of the world.)
3. Washer (Indeed, this pair, although always thought of as one unit...ahem, washer/ alas two appliances. And if I could only have one, by goodness, it would be the washer easily says the woman who washed ALL her and her husband's clothing in rivers and buckets for two years.)
4. Refrigerator (Did you know you can store cheese under your bed in the jungle? OK, that explains it's place in front of the dryer.)
5. Dishwasher (I always call it my "dish-elves". Leave them in the metal box and an hour later they'll be clean and ready to put away. Miraculous.)
6. Dryer (So darn handy in accomplishing the process of clean and dry laundry much of the year.)
7. Hot Water Heater (I'd rather all of the above before my great love of heated water enters the equation. Don't ask me to list this in the middle of winter though.)
Hmmm.... Computers aren't appliances, right?

Anyhow, today, as I did the dishes for the third time, I felt tired. It was 4:30. Dinner was just beginning to formulate...otherwise known as I-was-just-getting-my-lazy-tired-cooking-butt-into-gear. Babe was holding onto my pant leg, which as lovely as it is, still feels like walking around with a teetering vase pinned to you. My two daughters were "helping" me clean chocolate off of dishes.

And I was attempting to work on sautee'ing soup veggies and cutting vegetables, with daughter "help." (AKA constant intervention. Ack, what am I doing letting them use that knife?!) And as I stood still there, scrub, scrub, scrubbing away at each of those newly dirtied dishes, I felt zapped. Done with the day. Seriously. When is bedtime?

And then--BAM--the wafting scent of buttery onions, mushrooms and celery hit me. My reality check for the day. Here we were, cleaning up a messy, but busily happy kitchen. Delicious food cooking. The art of cooking (though more complicated when done with a 3 and 5-year-old sous-chef) still done with love together. Our dessert already made (hence 3rd round of dishes).
I mean, it crossed my mind that just five years ago I'd have been closing my Franklin Covey planner, situating papers on my lovely non-profit desk, dreaming of a day just like this one. A little gardening, reading to the kids, cooking dessert before dinner, feeding chickens, sweeping toys out from under my feet at every turn, rocking babes down for short naps. No matter how I look at it--luxurious. Frugally, simply my version of my dream job. For now.
And so, we feasted tonight. Together. Mushroom, wild rice soup. Greens, toasted pecans, and apple slice salad. Buttery toast. And those deliciously addictive nearly sugarless Chocolate Rice Crispies. Highly recommended.  (By the way, if you don't have rice syrup or maple, honey worked great.)
And for as much as doing the dishes often feels like a drag. It's only momentarily. It's the "More dishes?!" response in me. But when I sink my hands into that warm, sudsy water and watch as each dish emerges clean, resting on a towel to dry, it feels good. Better than picking up toys. Putting away laundry. Scrubbing counters. Making beds. (Though don't ask me to wax nostalgic on the dirty pots and pans.)

So, question for you. If you were to put your appliances in order, what would be on top? And, have you ever put chocolate in or on your rice crispies? My husband said these were reminiscent of his grandma's "American Roadster Bars." (Explains his eating three of them tonight!)

Join me at, where I share my approach to frugal, simple and green family living.

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