January 7, 2021

Pantry Challenge


Thank you (bows) thank you (bows). No really, hold your applause. 

It's probably a dumb thing to be proud of for a lot of people, but not me. I am a caffeine/sugar addict. So I'm baby-stepping my way out of those. I will work on processed sugar next, but for the here and now, I am SUPER proud of my progress. 

Part of the reason I've been successful this time is due to a pantry challenge via Instagram. You know how I love my garden? And canning? And being self-reliant? Well, those loves have given my larder quite the haul. I have hundreds of jars of food that will be wasted without use. And I very much dislike food waste. And if we don't eat it, it will be a waste of my time as well, so I committed to doing a pantry challenge. 

Our goal is to spend as little of our grocery budget as possible. We will still go to the store once a week for milk and dairy products and will keep the spending to $20 or less.  Our aim is to use all the odds and ends from the freezer and the larder. If we run out of something, we will have to figure out a work-around. We are on day 7 of the challenge, and it's been pretty fun. And since I'm not going to the store, it's been pretty easy to stop the soda habit. 

I also love that this challenge has put me back in homemaker mode. (Which is a mode I love and was struggling with.) I'm embarrassed to admit that wintertime always makes me a bit lazy. Without the need to get up and tend the garden, and preserve food, and all that, I find myself doing less and less. And by doing, I mean, cooking, cleaning, parenting, and everything else. This challenge has recharged me. At any rate, I'm hoping to stretch this challenge until at least Valentine's Day, or even until the first part of March. And yes, we do have that much food storage. 

Meanwhile, in Pandemic News, the kids are going back to in-person learning in about a week. Daniel is the only person that still attends school in person. Daniel is also the only person not failing spectacularly. Thaddeus, Blayne, and Taylor are failing almost all their classes. Can we all say Summer School? Well... maybe not Taylor, but that would only be because she's in 8th grade, and her credits don't quite matter as much as the other kids. And I get it! I've done online school in the past and it is hard to stay motivated and on top of things; probably because I'm too easily distracted. 

Also, I don't know if you're into American politics, but boy howdy. Yesterday. Yesterday will go down in infamy. I watched the news, horrified by the images being broadcast. I was thinking of my friends back East and their families, and hoping that they were able to stay safe during the rioting at the US Capitol. It was also frustrating to watch. Where was the tear gas? Where were the police in riot gear? Where was the National Guard? It is a stark contrast to the protests of this past summer. I just have no words, only sadness, frustration, and anger. 

Well. That's about all I have to say for now. The Christmas holiday passed by pretty quietly. It was the first time in a number of years that we had no visitors, and I gotta tell you... it was nice. The kids slept in, and we just hung around, eating treats and enjoying each other. 

November 17, 2020


 There has been a LOT of change around here lately. 

Just to bring you up to speed, coronavirus is still alive and kicking, killing thousand and thousands of people. Up here in Utah, the case numbers are on a steep rise. In fact, I had to resign from being a lunch lady, because the exposure risk was too high. I mean, I know at some point my house will get corona. But when it hits, it's not going to be fun. When I get a cold, I am sick for 3-4 months. I can't imagine how long or how hard a toll it will take on my body. And who knows, maybe it'll be no big deal! But it's not a chance we want to take. And Troy! He has asthma and fits the demographic of people who die. Because Covid kills more men than women. Hooray! Nothing like a global pandemic to make you plan your imminent death and outline the steps for what comes next, depending on who dies. 

SO. I quit. I gave two weeks notice. The next day, I FELL OFF THE LADDER. on my neck. And my notice then became effective immediately. Which was the same day the Covid case numbers surpassed 3.9K people. Call it kismet, call it fate. I definitely took it as a sign that I was not supposed to work anymore. 

Anyways, I have a cervical spine injury. Your cervical spine is supposed to be ever so slightly curved, and mine sort of straightened and torqued, and I tore some ligaments, and have bulging discs and lots of swelling. DOESN'T THAT SOUND SO FUN! I even got a super cute neck collar to wear all the time. #sarcasm. At any rate, my neck stinking HURTS. And I have accidentally bumped my head twice since, and thought I was going to DIE each time. Neck braces don't help with cupboard head bonks. 

I have also adopted the most amazing fashion of wearing a fingerless glove on my right hand, because the joints in my right hand are always SO SO COLD. The fingerless glove covers up to my middle knuckles, but leaves my fingertips out, so I still have the same dexterity per usual. I have also decided that Michael Jackson must have had Raynaud's.... totally explains the one glove thing. IT'S A MEDICAL CONDITION PEOPLE. 

And since I'm not working, I now get to be at home with my kids during the day! Thaddeus, Blayne, and Taylor are all doing distance learning. Only Daniel attends school in person. The three home kids have been doing.... well, I'm not really sure what they have been doing. But they have been staying up really late and then sleeping all day, and who knows what their diet or academics actually look like. 

UNTIL NOW. To quote Beetlejuice, "It's SHOWTIME!"

Yesterday was my first full day as a stay-at-home-mom. I woke everybody up at 7:30am. Then I made them stay awake ALL DAY. And they did school stuff, and we did house stuff, and we cooked, and baked, and Taylor was fine, but Blayne and Thaddeus passed out dead asleep around 6:30pm. I told Troy it was like having little kids all over again, and this first week we are working on resetting our internal clocks. I have also made people go outside. In the sun. I'm such a monster. 

Another thing I have been working on is sourdough bread. I have conquered the starter, and now I'm just playing around and trying different recipes. It definitely take a LOT of time to make sourdough. It's a full two day process. 

What else, what else.... the chickens are great. The dog is great. The people here are iffy, with moments of great. I don't think there's a whole lot more you can ask of people right now. 

October 23, 2020


We had the first freeze of the season last night. LUCKILY, I have leveled up my garden this year with a greenhouse. I feel very, very happy with this development. I also added some PVC to two of my raised beds, making mini hoop houses, so I should be able to extend the grow season there as well. I've gotta tell you, between the winter garden and the chickens, I am a VERY happy camper. I did have a friend ask me about our future plans in regards to this house. My plans are as follows: if we stay, great, if we don't, also great. I mean, our home is great, but it's not our dream house. It ticks all the boxes we needed, though, which is more than a lot of people can say, so we're pretty happy. 

Of course, every time we talk about dream homes and all that, I do tend to look within. We have lived on both coasts. We have lived in starter homes, apartments, duplexes, townhomes... We've lived in the city, and we've lived in the country; in the mountains, and the valleys. And we have been pretty good with it all. My favorite places we've ever lived though, is King William, Virginia. It was gorgeous, we loved the people, the schools, the friends.... Hands down, it was the most beautiful place I have ever lived, and I had the BEST medical team there.  The only downside is that we were literally across the country from our families. And Troy has a better job now, here in Utah. 

I just need a little more land, and a few more trees. I am even good with recreating the VA look here, with tree varieties that work in our grow zone. I will create my own woodland paradise, dammit! But I need more land first. hahahaha. In the meantime, I will be the crazy chicken lady with a greenhouse in the backyard. 

In other news, I've started working again with one of my favorite people in the whole entire world. That's right, Elisa and I are back in business together! We already have a few clients and all that jazz. It's pretty fun, because we work so well together, and THIS TIME, we live in the same place! Not gonna lie, when Troy originally proposed moving to Utah, my first thought was, "OH! I GET TO LIVE BY ELISA!" and you guys, we literally live like, an 8 minute drive away from each other, fifteen if you hit a red light. Isn't that so derpy? It is, and I DON'T CARE AND SHE FEELS THE SAME WAY AND THAT'S JUST THE KIND OF PEOPLE WE ARE. 

The kids are, well, the kids are struggling in school. We live in state of dum-dums, and people are super great at spreading germs. I can't even get into the whole thing without getting SUPER frustrated and annoyed. Between the pandemic and this horror show election year, there are just entire subjects I don't feel like talking about, because, frankly, I am talked out. I'm not even angry about things anymore. I'm really sad and disappointed, and it has definitely changed how I view a LOT of people... and I know I shouldn't allow people's behavior and actions to change my outlook on life, but it has. As our personal death counts go up, five so far in just the last few months, my faith in humanity grows smaller and smaller. 

I also truly believe that good, GOOD people, are being deceived so adeptly, that they don't even realize it, and not every person is educated on the subtleties of digital media marketing, which is a damn shame. Fortunately for me, it's kind of what I do, and have done, professionally, for over a decade. I know how the algorithms work, because I have used them all to my advantage for years. I am so well versed in creating deep fakes and the like, that I feel like I could teach a master class on the subject. Oh wait, I HAVE done that. And one of the super, duper, MOST frustrating thing is interacting with people that have been duped. It's fine. But I am definitely keeping track of who people are voting for. And the outcome of the presidential election may just trigger a new level of rage inside of me, from the very depths of my soul. AND THAT'S WHERE I'M GOING TO END MY RANTINGS.  Otherwise, I will type a novel, and I literally do not have that kind of time. 😬 In fact, I need to get to bed, because I have FARM CHORES in the morning. sigh. I want to live on a real farm.