Monday, December 30, 2013

What I have been up to. . .

I realized that tomorrow is the last day of 2013. I am taking a deep breath and crossing my fingers that 2014 will be much better. I know that my life wont be filled with the drama and deceit of the last year because I have cut evil people completely from my life - never to return! I have spent this year at every turn feeling the loss of my husband. People say that it gets better with time. I guess because after that first year I wont be able to say - this is my first Easter without him, or our first Anniversary apart. But I still have the occasional wound because with the beautiful 6 year old he left me with there are still many milestones that he will miss. We still talk about him a lot and she is still very clingy to me, but this year I am determined that we will focus on this actually pretty awesome life that we have built since he has passed. I have to say, though, before I move on that he would have loved it here. It is everything we always talked about in a home of our own, and I do consider it his as well, because it was OUR dream to escape and live our lives on our terms minus the bitter jealousies and manipulation we had dealt with for so long.

On to our lives. . .

I have been pretty busy lately, canning and dehydrating. My family has canned vegetables from the garden as far back as I can remember, and I have always enjoyed it myself. I finally have a place to store all of these jellies and fruits, and even meats, so I have been canning up a storm. I have recently discovered dehydrating and am now madly in love with it. I always thought those dried up little pebbles would be gross and tasteless, but after some experimentation, I have discovered that it is hard to tell the difference once everything is cooked up. As I write this I am actually saving about $8 on minutes rice! I boiled up a cheapie 3 pound bag of regular rice, rinsed it really well and slapped it on the trays. Once it is done it will cook up just like minute rice - perfect every time! Better than a coupon!

After much soul-searching, I purchased a pressure canner. It took me a couple of months to actually try it, and the unopened boxed stared accusingly at me from on top of my upright freezer until I finally worked up the nerve to try it. My oldest daughter and I have been canning chicken and dry beans (partially cooked first) ever since we tasted the first batch!

Another thing I am enjoying is baking homemade bread! Of course, I do cheat by making the dough in the bread machine, but I shape it and bake it in the oven. The shape that we enjoy is braided the best because you can just rip a hunk off whenever you feel peckish!

I cant wait until spring! I didn't have much of a garden last summer. It took me a while to replace my stolen tiller. When I finally got it, I went with raised beds for a few veggies- we ended up with some corn, beans, and squash. 2 cucumbers, 4 watermelons, and 6 tiny little tomatoes. So sad. We haven't had a garden for the last 5 years, because of the constant harassment. Now that I am on my own land, I have been researching greenhouses to extend my growing season (maybe year round), and I have decided that I am definately going for it this year! I have always wanted a greenhouse and I want to try my hand at hydroponics as well - we'll see how it goes. . .

I expect next month to be pretty hectic. This will be Jordan's first cookie sale as a Daisy. I really can't wait, but I am dreading it a little too. I sure hope all my friends and relative know that I am hoping for dibs on all their cookie purchases this year!

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