Thursday, October 4, 2012

In 5 years

In 5 years- 2017 What do I want my life to look like? We are busy living productive lives doing things that fulfill us and improve our community. Nick has published one children’s book. I am enjoying my interests of birding, hiking, naturalist education, healthy sustainable living, and kid’s literature. What do I want for my family? My kids are 21, 19, 11, 9- all are happy and healthy. Abby is in college and living on her own, Zac is serving a mission. Our family is strong, active in the church, engaged in good works, and has fun making memories together. What do I want my health to look like? I am healthy, strong, and fashionably funky. I eat a mostly vegan diet and support local resources when possible. I hike often and have completed a 50 mile backpacking trip. What do I want my finances to look like? We are comfortably and abundantly living below our income. We have no debt and have 2 newish working cars that were paid for by cash. We have a healthy savings account and we are able to help the kids with college and mission expenses. We are able to take one rocking vacation a year to far off lands including Alaska, Hawaii, Europe, India. What do we want our relationships to be like? Nick and I have a strong marriage based on love, trust, honesty and laughter. We support each other’s goals and dreams and help each other be the best we can while giving each other the freedom to be uniquely ourselves.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

I'm a canning fool- yesterday I canned Carrot Cake Jam- YUM I figure I bought all these jars and have to store them so I may as well FILL ER UP! In related news, I found another bag of apples in my car so I will be making more apple something (likely pie filling?) to can as soon as I can beg, borrow, or steal an apple peeler

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Our kitties

We went to South Mountain Creamery to feed the baby calves and get icecream. It is a good outing but the baby calves made me sad in their little cages. The kids loved it though and the ice cream is fantastic- try the coconut. There was a "Free Kittens" sign posted with 2 little orange kitties (a brother and a sister) and we told them we'd like to 'look at them.' The lady came down in her little golf cart with a very wiggly tote bag. These kittys were so cute we fell in love. I have never been a pet person, I really do hate dogs and cats (other people's cats, I guess) but these kitties are fun and add a lot to our house. Nick was at scout camp and I couldn't reach him on the phone so I just made an executive decision and we took them home. They are named Mandy (the girl, white nose and lighter) and Dipper (brown nose, more bold stripes) So far these 'free' cats have cost me over $1000 at the vet for shots and meds to try to cure Dipper's sneezing.
Fall Bucket List 19. try new soup recipes (ongoing) 21. learn to cook indian food (ongoing)
I notice a pattern for me. Step One- pick a goal Step Two- buy a lot of stuff for it Step Three- try it once or twice Step Four- pick a new goal So, I've been trying to cook indian food. I bought the book Indian Crockpot Cookbook and a fancy spice holder for all my indian spices. But it does have a few cute spoons but I don't know what measurements they are so I still end up getting out my plastic measuring spoons. So far none of the recipes are worth posting- mostly too spicy for me and if I try to tone it down they are too bland. My family is less than thrilled about all the lentils so my neighbors have been helping with leftovers and I still throw away about 50 percent of it. I think I need to switch gears and try some other recipes from the interwebs. Also, much smaller quantities until they are tried and true. As far as soup, at a thrift store I found a copy of Brother Vincent's Year of Monastary Soups. Most the recipes have been hits. However, I absolutely can not follow a recipe. I have good intentions but then I start throwing in extra stuff. Also, my foodie sister in law laughs at me because I substitute like crazy.. like I don't have an egg so I use applesauce. Or I don't have cream so I use milk. Last night. It was Tomato Florentine Soup from Brother Victor's book. I'm not going to post the original recipe because I made so many substitutions, but I thought the result was pretty surprisingly good. One out of Four kids ate it, so not a good family meal but it was low cal and vegan so that's all good. Emily's garden tomato soup I used the tomatoes I scored at the farmers market. First I threw them in a pot of boiling water for a minute and then took the peels off. Put them in a pot with a cut up onion, 2 bullion cubes and 4 cups of water. Added a bay leaf, a few cut up basil leaves,and a shake of thyme. Cook for 30-40 minutes. Remove bay leaf. Add greens (I used a few handfuls of frozen kale) and then I threw in some leftover rice. Cook 10 more minutes. (I'm not sure why all my posts are all one big paragraph.. that isn't how it looks when I type it out. Weird)
Fall bucket list: 4. make jam (done 9/25) 8. Zoe/Aaron to pick apples (done 9/25) 17. can something (apples, tomatoes, pear jam 9/25) Ok, so I thought I'd go for it and try canning. I attended the church emergency preparedness fair last spring and went to a class about it. It looks tricky to me with the special tools like a lifter and funnel and then that huge pot I was putting off buying because I don't want to try to figure out where to store it. I went to Walmart and spent $60 bucks on the big pan, rack, pectin, jars, citric acid. I took my assistants Zoe and Aaron to Rock Hill Orchard where we picked apples. It was a gorgeous fall day and the kids were happy to be wandering around eating apples and occasionally putting them in the bag. The price was $1.09 a pound and we ended up with 60 POUNDS. Yikes! In the market they had some seconds on tomatoes that were marked down so I snagged those, also. And some pears because I wanted to try a recipe I found online. So! Here is what I learned: *It is easier than you think. *It takes forever for a big pot of water to boil but not as long as it takes the pears to cook. *You can throw apples in your crockpot without peeling them and in the morning use your immersion blender to smoosh them all up and voila! applesauce. *I like the pint jars better than the quart jars (it is hard to get the water deep enough to cover them and you feel more productive because you end up with lots of littler jars rather than one big one) *popping sounds while the jars are cooling is a GOOD thing I canned: Vanilla Pear Jam (YUMMY but it didn't jel up- guess it is not jam so much as ice cream topping or pie filling) Apples Tomatoes Applesauce (fill crock pot 3/4 full with apples that are quartered and cored (I left peels on) add 1/2 cup sugar cook overnight use immersion blender to mix it all up

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Fall bucket list 2012: 1. hike Seneca greenway trail 16 miles 2. overnight backpacking trip (reschedule!) 3. Harpers Ferry overnight (scheduled for Nov 4) 4. make jam DONE (9/25) 5. volunteer at Max's school once a week 6. Zoe/Frannie to nature center 7. Zoe/Frannie to petting farm 8. Zoe/Aaron to pick apples DONE (9/25) 9. Zoe/Aaron to Halloween train (invite Ros?) 10. Zoe/Max to fall festival/hayride/pumpkin patch 11. Snow geese migration (scheduled for 11/18) 12. Hawk Mountain migration 13. edible plants hike 14. go to a farmers market 15. take online course re: national parks 16. make bread from scratch DONE (10/4) 17. can something DONE (apples 9/25) 18. knit something (tree cozy)DONE 10/2 19. try new soup recipes DONE 20. 'cure' the dutch oven/cast iron pans 21. learn to cook indian food DONE (now I need to add, learn to LIKE indian food)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Ok! Here we go: I'm going to update this more so it is kind of an online journal. As of September 2012: WEIGHT LOSS I'm down 30 pounds since the new year! Eating mostly vegan with a little bit of chicken or something thrown in my dinner soup and a Chobani yogurt maybe twice a week. My main go to is peanut butter sandwiches. I could eat PB&J 3 times a day I love it that much. But, with all my vacations this summer I'm up 6 pounds.. so need to get back on track. It's tough with Halloween and fun sized snickers right around the corner. FOOD I've been playing around with cooking Indian food in my crockpot. I've made 2 recipes and I might make the Paneek Paneer again if I could figure out how to lighten up the spices- yowza! ORGANIZATION I've been working on my kitchen this last week and today plan to start on the basement today. Wish me luck. If you don't see me for a few days send a search party. EDUCATION After our trip to Utah this summer I decided I want to be a park ranger. I told my husband and he said "That's what you wanted to do when you were 20!" YEP. Time to dust off my dreams and get going. When my daughter starts kindergarten next year I'll apply to a DC park or maybe Monocacy or Harpers Ferry. Towards this goal I am going to become more active in the Maryland Ornithological Society hike regularly learn more history (Civil War) TRAVEL We just go back from a trip to Maine and I loved it- could live there, methinks. Next trip is: ?? I'd like to swing United Kingdom next year but that is against my goal of paying off my credit cards, isn't it? I need to up my income to do both. FAMILY Be kinder and more patient with the older kids, and more active with my little ones. FAMILY HISTORY I joined and am working on a line of Sellers. I took a trip to Manchester, Maryland where they lived in the 1800s. I also took a trip to Sellersville, PA which was founded by a relative. Now, to document them.. Another Family History goal is update my scrapbooks- the plan is to type up a blog and print it out at the end of the year. Let's see how that goes.