Made it!

Yes! I made it through January. It wasn’t looking good. There were many days when I wanted to curl up in a ball and cry and sleep. I questioned everything, from does my husband still love me to do my kids still need me. It was rough. But I made it! This is all part of my life now, this anxiety and the messes it makes in my mind. It often wants to ruin things, but I fight back.

I went to a party with my hubby. There were about 4 maybe 5 couples I knew, the rest I didn’t. It was loud, awkward and …. too much. After over an hour, we bailed and headed for home. Not because we didn’t want to stay and visit, or meet new people, but because it was just too much. Those of you with anxiety will understand and those of you who don’t, won’t and that’s ok.

On a more positive note, I read an awesome book called ‘You can buy Happiness and it’s Cheap’, by Tammy Strobel.https://www.amazon.ca/You-Can-Buy-Happiness-Cheap-ebook/dp/B0090RVGPW.

What amazing insight she has. I will say she is a proponent of tiny living and downsizing and minimalizing, and all those things that make most people shudder. But not me. The simplicity calls to me. From the time I first read ‘Little House on the Prairie’, I have been fascinated with living in a small cabin in the woods. I hope someday in the not too distant future to be able to realize that dream. In the meantime, I’ve gotten caught up in the ‘stuff’of life.

Do you have extra stuff? I can guarantee it, because its just a part of life that we’ve learned to live with. It represents status, wealth, prosperity and all those other things that we have been lead to believe matter. They don’t. Ask someone who’s survived a fire how much their stuff mattered versus surviving it. Sure you’ll miss those baby photos and your favourite things, but in the end, you’re glad you all made it safe. It’s the people around you – your wife/husband, kids, pets, friends ie people you have relationships with, that matter the most. Sure there are days I want to run away and hide, but I never want to do it alone, I want my hubby and my kids with me!

The other thing she mentioned that challenged me, was the idea of getting out of debt and staying out- thus the tiny house idea. I LOVE the idea of no longer being indebted to a big bank and forking out our paychecks to a big corporation. But how realistic is that? Very. Yes this book is American, but the principle is the same. Don’t spend money you don’t have. Our ancestors certainly had to deal with this reality. The harsher side of it is that people died from not having money to pay for Doctors, or Food or due to the elements. But what if the world didn’t work that way? That is a very big pipe dream, but all dreams have to start somewhere. So what if everyone started on a small scale buy not living beyond their means and getting themselves out of debt? Well, that is a very hard thing indeed. But it has become a goal for me.

Another thing she mentioned was having meaningful work. I do the work I do, because I have 4 children still at home, a mortgage to pay and bills and debt and food and all the myriad of other things that go along with life. But what would it be like to do what I love doing? I have spent some time this week thinking about that. What do I want to do with my life? The sad thing is, I have no idea exactly what I’d like to do. I have some ideas, but how they would manifest themselves into work, I don’t know. I love food! I love eating the things I’ve created, and serving it to people, and teaching them how to nourish themselves properly. I like making soup for my friends when they’re sick ( ask them about my green soup ) and I love the idea of spending my winters knitting, sewing and writing around a wood stove while a blizzard rages outside, and then a nice walk in the fresh snow. I love the idea of having a big garden that I use to feed us through the winter with some left over to help those who might need it.

I would love to have a place where people come to get rest and fresh air and a ready ear to listen, while I fill them with food. But none of those things top my desire to be the best mom ever. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do. Do I do it perfectly, heck no. But my goal still stands and I hope that when I’m gone, my kids will have the knowledge and hold it close and never wonder whether they were loved, or wanted, and that those I’ve helped will be able to offer them comfort because I gave comfort to them. The world is a very harsh place, but I want my place to be a place of refuge, and warmth and caring for all who come here.

This year, my husband and I will celebrate 25 years of marriage. We have been a couple for 30 years. I was 17 when I met him and just past 18 when we moved in together against our family’s wishes. We’ve struggled, and fought, but most of all we’ve loved. There were many long days and nights when we were all each other had, and I think that made us stronger. There are countless days that I wouldn’t be able to get through if I didn’t have my wonderful hubby to lean on. There are often days when I choose to love him even though he’s pissed me off (less for him I’m sure 😉 ). But we’ve stuck together through it all and I can’t wait to see what the next 25 years will bring us.

I’m sure there will be many more challenges, but there’s no one I’d rather have at my side.

Alright, now one to some nitty-gritty. The all important menu!!!

Last night ( Saturday) :we enjoyed a Rosemary and Thyme roast of pork with boiled potatoes, stir-fried leeks with mushrooms and a lovely salad made by my daughter.

Sunday:  Spanish rice with beans and salad

Monday: Stew and cornbread

Tuesday: Tuna patties on lettuce with veggies

Wednesday: Chick peas and veggies in Butter Chicken sauce served over Rice Vermicelli

Thursday: come on, you can all answer this one by now (lolol) PASTA!!!

Friday: Leftovers if there are some, or hot dogs, or pizza- something will get served, just not sure what yet.

Enjoy your week! Stay tuned for more exciting events as I delve more into my ‘stuff’ and get rid of things I don’t need and venture forth on doing some things I do need- like more writing!!!

Peace!

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!

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

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?

And back to the routine

I gotta say, tough as it is after being off for the holidays, I’m quite glad to have things back to their normal routine. We had a very warm Christmas which I am totally not complaining about! We are now in cold mode 😦 and I don’t know why I’m sad about that. I think I was quite looking forward to having a warm winter and so the shock of -20C was a bit of a reality check.

Anyhoo, onwards and upwards. I have been tackling some purging over the holidays and am pleased with its progress. There is still much to do, but rather than dreading it, I am looking forward to it. Each piece of ‘whatever’ that leaves the house, is one less thing taking up space. I am constantly surprised by how good it feels to get rid of things!

I also have some knitting projects to finish ( ie a sweater I have been knitting for my daughter for over a year and if I don’t hurry up and finish she’ll have outgrown it ) and a few soap projects I’d like to try- thinking beer and bacon soap.

I want to get back to writing as well as I have a new story idea swirling around in my head that should probably get explored.

I am also back to menu making, sort of. I would rather clean toilettes than menu plan, which for someone who likes to cook as much as I do, is strange. You would think that I would love it, but I don’t. Seriously! Each week I attempt to get my guys to suggest things, or even look in cook books for suggestions. Pizza, chilli, tacos, hot dogs, these are the things they suggest. I think soon, we will have an ‘eat the freezer week’ where we empty out the freezers ( we have 2 small ones)  instead of buying groceries – except for some fresh veg since at least 2 of my family hate cooked veggies, unless they are in a soup. Feel free to make some suggestions!

As for my continued learning about self sufficiency, I am thinking of exploring more about chickens since they will be our main food source. I have heard that there are lots of regulations surrounding having chickens in our area and so this is something I should definitely look into.

That’s it for this week. Stay tuned for all you ever wanted to know about chickens!