I realized I haven't done any Festival Notes on Passover, but I'll post this now anyway.
I started the Unleavened Bread cleaning today. Just a little bit at a time, as we have a month. But I think I tried to do it all in a week last year, and that didn't happen. So today I cleaned out the silverware drawer, the kitchen linens drawer, the front of all the cabinets and oven. The last two tasks aren't really necessary for Passover, but they needed to be done.
My Favorite and I are still trying to figure out all the leaven (se'or) and leavened foods (chametz) rules. It is a bit confusing sometimes. We have decided that the nutritional yeast will go (last year we didn't know "the rules" and had just bought a huge amount of it), any bread or pasta, any wheat flour, the yeast in the freezer. I don't think we have any seasoning mixes. Oh, but we do have some vegetarian meat substitutes. Well, we'll just have to eat those before Unleavened Bread starts. We aren't dumping pet food, just doesn't seem like the point, although we will be touching it. And the wheat we have that is still packaged, we just won't open it until afterward.
I know a few people who either store their leaven/chametz at non-messianic's homes, give it away, or store it in their garage. The first My Favorite and I both felt wrong about doing. If the leaven is a symbol for sin, we didn't feel right giving our "sin" to someone else and then taking it back. The second is on the same lines. However, we were just given a ton of odds and ends from a friend's pantry last week. Since it wasn't something we bought, or even asked for (although very thankful for it), we felt okay offering any chametz we couldn't eat before Unleavened Bread to family and friends.
The last, putting it in the garage, is a whole different thing all together. We have heard that a well known Messianic feels it is acceptable. Many people in our little group feel it is acceptable. The Torah does say "house" in English, and either way, the garage isn't technically a dwelling place for humans. My Favorite pointed out that the Jews didn't have garages. Good point. Then I thought about the fact that some of them did have barns or store houses. Torah doesn't seem to indicate that these were to be leaven/chametz free. Without doing any further studying, which we might need to do, My Favorite said he would be fine with this rule as our family halacha: If it is something we already store in the garage (bulk food, garage freezer), then it stays. If it is something we don't want to throw out but normally keep it in the house, too bad, it goes. I am thankful that I feel no problems submitting to that.
Now if I can keep the energy up, the fridge is next (although it will have to be done again) and maybe another drawer or two. It is fun to see what odds and ends have settled in what drawers. Maybe I'll find some things we can get rid of...so we can fill those spots with new things! Or at least old things that didn't have a good home.