New year, new beginning

Tis January, the time for resolutions and plans to make this year better than last year. I’m not doing that, so if you wanted that info, you’ll be disappointed.

Instead, I will be continuing in same vein as I have been. Why? Because it’s mostly working for me. I will continue to try new recipes and sharing ones that I think are outstanding. I will continue to learn new skills so that I am prepared when the opportunity to change our circumstances comes. I will continue to be the best wife, mother and friend that I can be.

Am I perfect, or is my situation? Far from it. It never will be, but I don’t want perfection. Perhaps that makes me strange, but that’s how it is. Yes I like some predictability, but I also like the challenge of new things too. Whether it’s striving for great food combos, or writing that elusive story that’s finally going to get the interest of an agent or publisher. These things keep me alive!

This year, the hubby and I will celebrate 25 years of marriage, and that is something that I’m very proud of! There were many times along the road that we could have given up and packed it in, but we strive every day to keep it together, not for the kids sake, but our own. It’s a choice on both our parts to choose to keep working and striving for a better marriage but he’s worth it, and so am I. That is something that I have recently accepted- that I am worth fighting for, that I am important, and special. It wasn’t something I grew up knowing, in fact it was the opposite. But it’s something that is a very big part of me and learning that fact has left me free to be a better person.

I watched a show on Netflix (yes we finally go it) called the Minimalists. It’s mostly about being happy with less and not succumbing to commercialism. I had been aware of it, but after watching, I found myself noticing more the advertising etc that is shoved our way constantly. But how freeing to delete that email, or turn away from those “deals”! That too was freeing! Not that I was a mindless sheeple not thinking for myself, but taking a good look at what I had, and what I needed and making a conscious choice to be happy with it. It’s not as easy as you think! There were lots of times I wanted to buy something for myself, but then I reminded myself of how I wanted to only buy things I LOVED or NEEDED. I had to examine WHY I felt I wanted to buy something and how it would alter my life if I did buy it. I am happy to say that I replaced some baking dishes and bought myself a new flannel shirt with colours in it that I love. Yah me! I may not have a ton of clothes, or other ‘stuff’, but I make daily use of it all.

I wish you luck this year and you make your way through it. Be kind to yourself, and others. I look forward to sharing this journey with you!

Advertisements

It’s snowing!!

Its nearly the end of November, so I’m not surprised. I did expect that we would get snow, but figured it would be the pretty kind that softly falls from the sky, not the kind that blows in sideways with strong winds. As soon as I get back from my errands the fire is going on!

So what’s new? Not too danged much. I made some beer soap. I had made some soap using beer before and it was quite nice. This one definitely smells like the India pale ale that I used and it has a nice light beige colour. I also received a pumpkin spice beer and will be doing a soap that is made with pumpkin. Stay tuned for the results of that.

I also need to get going on my Christmas gifts. I have decided what I shall be making and will need to get my butt in gear since we are about 5 weeks from Christmas :/. Pretty much each weekend we have been able to go for a walk in the woods- except for this weekend. Hubby has an ouchy back and the above mentioned snowstorm.

I have tried no new recipes ( I don’t think?) as things have been really busy. I did see a recipe on FB today for an apple fritter cake that I would love to try my hand at making paleo. That may or may not happen today.

I have been a lazy ass for the last little while, procrastinating on all the things I should be doing in favour of doing nothing but watching TV or reading. While this has left me relaxed (mostly), it has done nothing towards getting things accomplished around here. Budgets need to be made, grocery/menu lists need to be made, things need to be cleaned and organized and the list goes on. This is the work/life balance that I am attempting to get a hold on, but without a great deal of success unfortunately. I don’t see any resolution to this though, short of taking some time off to get back on top of things as I did in the fall. Is this a viable way of doing things though? I don’t think so.

I have also been finding that I want to ‘people’ less and less. The idea of having to be around strangers causes me anxiety, which makes going to work on the bus, and going to places like Costco difficult. I covet my time at home ferociously! I don’t mind choosing to have people over, and do it relatively often, but to go out someplace, is hard.

As for the menu this week, I haven’t gotten there, but we will be having chilli, beef, chicken fajita bake, trout and pork tenderloin. That’s all you get this week! Why don’t you tell me how you would use the ingredients? I’m always up for new combinations!

How goes your winter/holiday planning and preparation? I’d love to hear your ideas on how you manage things! For now, may peace abound. HUGS

In the kitchen

I do a lot of things in my kitchen. It’s where I make food ( obviously), where I soap and chat with my kids. I keep saying that I need to find a way to hook up my computer to voice recognition software so that while my hands are busy, my mind could spit out stories. Yes, I know there are programs out there, but the free ones aren’t great, and I can’t afford the ones that are. So, I guess I will just keep plugging away with my notepaper.

Ok, so on the soap and homemade topic, I tried a recipe to make mustache wax, and beard oil as my man has a good one going and has started twirling the stache. Some of you will say ew, but I grew up with a man who had facial hair, albeit not quite as much as my man, but still. I think it looks good on him! So, those recipes worked out great and he is happy with my creations. Yah!!! I will add that they smell damned good, which my man says is a good thing and it makes me want to sniff his face, which leads to kissing and so on :P. I also tried a new formulation for hair pomade. It too smells awesome! Boys seem to be happy with it and no ones’ hair is falling in their eyes, which I’m told is a good thing. I also, with the help of the girl, made 3 batches of soap using some new ingredients that we ordered from Candor Soaps out of London. We diligently wrote down our recipes and made some notes about scent and texture etc for future reference.

On the food front, I have spent some time trying some new recipes as I told you last time. I wanted to send you over to 84th and 3rd and let you peruse her wonderful creations. Spend some time lingering over the chocolate cake and frosting. Be amazed at the contents, and then don’t be squeamish about trying it. I even snuck it past my FIL and he loved it! Then when you have leftover icing, which you may have, bring some for lunch , or mid morning break, or afternoon break- just bring all the leftovers, you know you’ll eat it anyway, and besides, its all veggies!!! Ok so go check it out! Here’s the link http://84thand3rd.com/?s=chocolate+cake.

Best Ever Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

The garden will be put to bed this coming weekend ( I think I said that a couple of weeks ago- but I clearly never got to it). This year we’re going to start our own seed ( not sure if I said that already too?). I have cleared off a shelf and it awaits trays of containers. Still trying to decide on growing greens through the winter. I know we could do it, but is it worth the trouble? We’re a larger family so we might and its a big might, have enough for one salad every two weeks or so. The man says I may not turn the whole main floor into a greenhouse ( bugger nuggets 😦 ) so will have to decide soon how that’s going to go.

I have a few testers for the beard oil and shaving soap ( yes I know I already talked about that and now I’m jumping topics and confusing you-deal with it- this is how my mind works). When I get some feedback, I will need to decide if I will make a business out of it. I was kinda waiting to see the lay of the land etc, but I think that I should just jump on it. For me, though, that’s a scary prospect. I don’t like to fail, and I would be taking a real risk putting myself and my product out there. I will ponder some more and see what the gut says after feedback.

We have gone back to regular dishwasher detergent. This particular batch just didn’t seem to be making the cut. We may revisit it later, but I went with a green product, so I don’t feel as bad about using it.

I would normally put up the menu plan, but its already Wednesday and you’ve probably already made yours. I will tell you that I’m going to upset our usual pattern tomorrow and we won’t- yes you read that right- won’t be having pasta tomorrow! Hold onto your hats!! We’ll be enjoying baked potatoes with chilli on them. Not sure if the world will end, but we made it through not having soup on Monday with no catastrophe’s so I’m hopeful!!!

Have a great couple of weeks! Be kind . No ripping people’s heads off. No foot stomping temper-tantrums. No snide comments , just send out good energy and see what happens. HUGS

 

Fall

This Thanksgiving weekend I think about all the things I am thankful for. The first on my list is my husband. We have had our differences and will continue to have them forever, but what we have underneath is an unwavering sense of love and commitment. It has taken years to build, and required much work on both our behalves. Is he perfect, nope. Am I? Hell no. But I must say that going through the crap life deals you, is a hell of alot easier knowing he is standing beside me.

I am also thankful for my children. They are awesome! It is neat to see how genetics has woven them together; each with their own strengths and weaknesses. I look forward with both pride and apprehension ( doesn’t every parent?)to see how their lives unfold.

I am also very thankful for my friends who make up my tribe. We’re a bunch of dysfunctional people who have decided to make each other family. You can’t pick family, but you can pick your tribe. I love my tribe.

This summer was busy and far too short. Our garden didn’t thrive as much as I would have liked, but that’s just the nature of the beast. You take notes and change things up for the next year and try again. Next year, I hope to try some container gardening and starting our own seed. We also got to go camping (3 of us) and met some new friends. We hope to see each other again next summer. We watched the kids sit at their own table and play their own game that they’d created by firelight and imagine the same scene in 8 years when they are all 16 and what that would look like. I can’t wait!

I’ve gotten the chance to try some new recipes that don’t include grains and am delighted! Pintrest is a wealth of information. It is also a black hole of time, but I must say that in some cases, its very much worth it.

I also did some major purging in my kitchen and front storage room. We’re by no means done, but a significant dent was made and a carload taken to the local charity shop!

As for writing, that has been sadly lacking since spring. I have many ideas rumbling through my head, and a very small (read single page) was written during my brief, but wonderful, trip away with my husband to our happy place – the woods.

Since fall is back in full swing and my time is better organized, we should be back to weekly, or more likely bi-weekly, blogs. I am hoping to share more of the recipes I have found and other tidbits. So, without further ado, the weekly menu!!

Saturday:Oktoberfest group dinner!

Sunday: pulled pork sammies with salad

Monday:Turkey and fixings

Tuesday: Roast Beef and fixings

Wednesday: leftover turkey, rice/riced cauliflower, and veggies

Thursday:Pasta

Friday: leftovers

What are you most thankful for this weekend?

ahhh

There are few smells I love more than woodsmoke. This week it was ribfest downtown and each day I got to walk outside my building and smell woodsmoke and roasting meat. Then every morning, my cycling route takes me through the plethora of stands starting up their wood/charcoal fires. It was like a tease! If I smell woodsmoke first thing in the morning, I expect there to be eggs and bacon to go with it.

The second thing that I love the smell of is fresh clothes off the line. I need to try to make a lavender spray for the sheets, but just the smell of sun dried clothes is awesome. I’m a low maintenance kinda girl. I get off on woodsmoke and line dried clothes- there I said it! Bottle that scent and I’ll… I need a moment ;).

As for soapmaking endeavors this week, I am a bit disappointed in my last batch, they are a bit soft and even still a bit sticky, which isn’t cool. So perhaps I will go back to my original recipee since those bars did come out well. I won’t put them for sale, or even look at starting a soap business until I’ve perfected my bars.

This week, we had a bit of a date day, so what did we do? Went to IKEA for breaky and took a walk around to see what things we might like for the tiny home. We also checked out some appliances in the store next to it, but they are ridiculously expensive for something that’s half the size! I will clearly have to keep looking. We did somewhat decide on the look of the cabinets, and the counters, but the rest is still on in my head.

I did manage to finish book #4 last weekend! I’ve have sent it off to be read by my wonderful beta readers and am awaiting their thoughts! I have also started another story- I know, I have too many started stories, but this one is awesome, but then again, I might be a bit biased. I really feel like I have found my voice and this one has been trying to be heard for a while. It will really let me stretch my sarcastic and dry humour.

This is an exciting week for us and boy #3 graduates from highschool. We’re very proud of him and wish him an exciting future! It will be very neat to see how he spreads his wings, and it which direction he flies.

That leaves us with menu time!!!

First up is tonight- burgers ( I had a mushroom burger, because unlike other members of my family, they don’t create noxious fumes later) 🙂

Monday night- chicken on the BBQ with salad and roasted 1/2 potatoes

Tuesday night- garlic pork chops with riced cauliflower and cukes

Wed night – TBD as it is grad supper night and I will have company

Thursday – not really sure :/ perhaps pizza

Friday- seeing a trend here? Open to options 🙂

Have a great week. Be kind, even to the jerks that speed past you on their bikes and don’t stop for birds crossing the paths- even the babies !!! Then I have to deal with an upset nanny goose, and no one needs that ! An I appologize if a a bird choked on the gum I had to spit out cause  a shed fly or something flew in my mouth- I’m just not into eating bugs- things aren’t that bad yet.

 

 

 

Brrrr

We had one scorching week a couple of weeks ago, and now we’re back to fall, flannel, fires and soup! Good grief!

Oh, and you know I was saying how much I was disappointed in the dishwasher detergent I made, well it turns out it was my dishwasher, not the soap. Our dishwasher died, and our son was nice enough to purchase us a new one ( I say he just didn’t like the prospect of having to handwash the dishes- the boys don’t appreciate the aromatherapy the same way I do). Anyhow, I made a powdered version and we are back to sparkling clean dishes! Yah!!!

We are also getting low on shampoo soap, so I made a new batch this weekend. I tried a new combo, so we’ll see how it works in a few weeks when I can try it. I also tried some herbal infusions – in this case lavender buds- for a batch of soap. I was a bit disappointed that the smell didn’t carry through to the soap, nor did it have an even remotely purple colour. I will have to do some more research on that.

Got to meet a couple of new people- coworkers of my hubby, who are moving back east. Laura does glass art jewelry and they are amazing! Here is the link if you are interested: https://www.facebook.com/laurapenneyglass/ . I also have a good friend who carves and has her own side business doing graphic design stuff which I hope to take her up on. Her name is Fiona and you can find her here: https://www.facebook.com/fiona.plunkett.

As for writing, I will apologize as I have done nothing towards getting book #3 ready to publish 😦 I have been cycling to work, which is good, and I’m sure my body will thank me, once its done swearing at me, but its meant that I have had no time to write in the mornings, and none in the evenings. I have hope that once my body adjusts to this new routine,  that I will be able to stay awake past 9 pm and get some work done. For now, I am done beating myself up over not being able to do it.

Be kind to one another today, even that jerk who has to pass you on the blind corner and who’s wheels are super skinny and who’s bike could probably be picked up with one hand. Spread good karma my friends!

 

Looking back

Well, the toothpaste didn’t happen. There is no outstanding reason why it didn’t’, just simply didn’t feel like it. So I caved and bought another tube of my favorite Green Beaver toothpaste. It’s strange when you switch from reg toothpaste to ‘green’ toothpaste. It does have a slightly different feel to it, but once you make the switch and then run out and have to use your husband’s regular toothpaste, the difference becomes more dramatic. For me, it’s like going from a nice baking soda type clean ( with lots of mint) to washing with foam. I feel like I’m frothing at the mouth!

I am also on week 2 of using my own shampoo bar of soap. I love it. The only thing I don’t like, and it’s purely my own preference, is the scent. I made it more manly thinking the guys would be using it and was going to make some girly smelling shampoo for my daughter and I. That didn’t happen, so we are using the guys soap.

I am loving the new laundry soap formula I made and think that this will be my go to from now on. I will have to have a powder for camping and to send the boy to camp with, but other than that, this is a keeper. The dishwasher soap is another problem. We’re getting film on the dishes, which to me isn’t so bothersome, but it doesn’t look great. I’ve done some more research and will be trying a dry one instead of a liquid one so that I can add the citric acid and see if that helps.

Several story ideas have taken hold in my thoughts and I would love the chance to get them down on paper. For now they reside in my head, along with the other thoughts that jumble around. They’ve decided to be patient and work together which is lovely 🙂 I haven’t managed to write in several weeks, but since we have a rainy weekend ahead of us, I forsee the possibility that I can accomplish that goal- unless I fall asleep, which is a distinct possibility. It’s been that kind of week, and a nap would not be a terrible thing, right?

Once of my favorite things to do is pretend shop. There’s no pressure when you pretend shop. You have no budget, don’t have to worry about whether things fit or not, nor any of the other things that get in the way of normal shopping. This time around, I was doing pretend tiny house shopping. I was trying to pick cabinets, flooring, and colours. I also looked at some dishes and tried to decide which ones I’d be interested in. I’m trying to be economical about it since money will be an issue, but also trying to solidify a colour scheme. Luckily, both hubby and I prefer neutrals, but he prefers light wood and I prefer grey/black, so it should be interesting to see how we mend the two ideas.

For those that want our menu for this week, here ya go:

Saturday : Burgers/ meat on a stick, veggies

Sunday: Tandori chicken with rice/riced cauliflower, and cuke/tomato salad

Monday: Chicken soap ( or maybe its a combo of chicken and turkey) with crackers/buns

Tuesday: BBQ chicken legs, baked potatoes, and spinach salad

Wednesday: Lemon pork tenderloin, raw veggies, left over rice/potatoes/cauliflower

Thursday : everyone together now- Pasta!

Friday: (gag) french fries and BBQ hotdogs and veggies

What’s new an exciting in your world?