Barefoot in the Garden

Betcha thought I was going to write barefoot and pregnant. Naw, sorry to disappoint, but I’ve spent enough years doing that, its time to branch out. I love being barefoot in my garden and feeling the damp soil squishing up between my toes. My feet are about the only thing I can stand to have touching the grass. I even walked- ok ran cause it was pouring rain and I was in my band uniform, kilt and all ( wet wool is not conducive to a comfortable rest of the day)- through a crowded field in Scotland. It was not the thing to do, neither was it ok to take ones very uncomfortable gilli shoes off and put on flip flops. Who knew? No one ever looked at me strange here in Canada, in fact many of us do it, but I guess, over the pond, its not cool. Tough.

Got the grass raked and the garden beds mostly cleaned out. Now I just need for it to get a bit warmer to be able to start planting! Visualize me rubbing my hands together in glee here. I am super excited ( I’m sure you couldn’t tell) to see how much I can produce for us this year!

As I type, I have some veggies roasting to take to Easter dinner. I also tried Avocado hummus, and I’ve also tried making Paleo crackers! I have a paleo blueberry coffee cake recipe for breakfast tomorrow. I watched an amazing series on Netflix called “Cooked” with Michael Pollan. It involved the elements of fire, water, air and earth that affect how we eat food.  It made me super hungry, like I wanted to go make a stir fry. Not a great thing at 8 o’clock at night. But it did inspire me to do some braising ( like I need an excuse!) and sourdough. I also got a recipe to start a sourdough starter. So next weekend, I should be able to say how my first loaf of sourdough bread was 🙂 I am also obtaining a SCOBY tomorrow to try my hand at kombucha again. Last time I left it too long and it was very vinegary- not pleasant to drink.

What new things have you tried lately?

That’s it for me, nothing terribly earth shattering this week. Oh! except that I started a new book series! This one, while I don’t plan on complete X rating, will have a few steamier scenes I believe. Only have the first chapter of the first book written, but I can tell based on the characters that they’ll have a hard time resisting each other.

Menu time!!!

Saturday we had tribal dinner with our peeps

Sunday- dinner at my parents

Monday- braised beef!

Tuesday- chicken tournados, salad

Wednesday- Roasted Pork on the BBQ with salad and potatoes

Thursday- Pasta with pesto

Friday- no idea

Have a splendid week and check back next week for an update on the sourdough. HUGS!

 

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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!

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?

Business of Christmas

I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’m swamped heading into Christmas. This wasn’t my plan. My plan, as always, is to be super organized and well prepared. Then life happens.

So this weekend, it is definitely crunch time. We decided to have a homemade Christmas- or at least mostly. This means that all my spare time has been taken up with crafts. I found a great place in London Ontario to source out some elements for soap crafting. Candora Soap ( http://www.candora.ca). I have now made ( look away now if you are in my family!!!!) lip balm, body lotion bars, shaving soap ( not so sure of this one- but it smells awesome!!!), rose soap, and am working on a new batch this afternoon, or I will be when I get off the computer. I even found a recipe for beer soap!

I have also spent lots of time with family and am very much looking forward to seeing everyone in the next few weeks. However, there is something I’ve been struggling with and that’s fake friends. We all have them, they fill up our Facebook, but are they true friends? It seems a bit juvenile, but I guess as I get older, I really value those whom I consider to be my friends. These people take time every once and a while to reach out and say hi, or give a crap about me and mine. So I took the plunge and deleted a few names from my list. It was hard, but freeing. We all have such small amounts of free time, personally, I would rather spend that time with people who give a *(&*%*(& instead of those who just like my status.

So, heading into the holidays, by house smells delightful and, depending on where you are standing, either like rose, bayberry, or bay rum. Our tree is up, and our annual Gingerbread party is done and consumed ( really, I have teenagers, you can’t expect that stuff to hang around 😉 ). The Christmas performance at school is this week, then family celebrations starting next weekend.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season, whichever holiday it is you celebrate, and that you have time, despite the business, to enjoy the time with those you are spending it with. Don’t forget to reach out to your friends or neighbours who maybe aren’t as lucky to have people who care about them.

Happy Holidays!