January. A time to reflect. When I think about last year, I feel like it was mostly a good year, on the homefront and in the garden. But it was so tight financially, and we didn’t get to travel. I was so busy most of the time, with various projects, that I didn’t even have much time to think about how I wanted things to be different (except over the summer, all that poolside pondering). To a large degree, we just kind of got by. Not complaining, in that getting by and not having anything terrible happen is great. I’ll take it. But… I’m thinking things will be different this year.
Number one, hubs and I are finally in agreement that it is time to sell our house. We’ve both wanted to in the past, but never at the same time. I’ve gone back and forth over it many times over the 12 years we’ve lived here. But the hard truth is that it’s more house and land than we need and more than we want. If he was interested in some of the ideas I have for our land, if he had the homesteading bug, it’d be different. But he isn’t, and doesn’t, and I have to accept that. I can’t handle this place by myself. Therefore, we need to find something that costs less to heat, cool, and maintain. Someplace that’s just a house with a regular yard and no extra spaces or structures.
It’s such a shame, because I think this is very nearly a perfect parcel of land for an urban homestead, and I hate to say goodbye to it. Even as I write this, I have some last-ditch ideas in my head to make it work and to bring him on board. But I doubt they will work.
So, I envision this as a year or so of getting the house ready to sell. This means I’ll be getting out my paintbrush again soon. I’ll also have to step up the decluttering and sale/donation of our stuff. I’ll also need to be working, so the house-prep will likely be on the weekends. So, probably no garden this year? 😦
(OK, here are my last ditch ideas. 1. Find another homestead-minded lady and partner up with her. She helps me when I need help at my place and I help her when she needs help. Inspired by reading Little Farm in the Ozarks. The prairie folks always did stuff like that.
2. Convert our detached garage into a place that can be rented out via Air BnB. Hey, people in this town do it. Plenty of room out there and it wouldn’t be hard to do — except for running water and sewer to it. That would take some $$$. We wouldn’t be allowed to put a kitchen out there, but as far as I know it could be a bedroom/bathroom with sitting area.)
Hopefully, with all this going on, we can still travel somewhere interesting this summer. And hopefully, next January, we will have either already moved or the house will be on the market.
The kids will be NOT HAPPY and I have NOT said anything to them yet. But my goal is to stay in the same neighborhood, so they won’t have to change schools.
Wherever we are living… we will continue being frugal and learning more skills. Because heck it’s just fun.
On that note, I started teaching myself crocheting, by watching YouTube videos. I love it! I can‘t wait to get better. I want to make socks. During the recent polar vortex, I was looking at nice toasty socks on websites like Eddie Bauer, but would rather make some myself.
Over Christmas break, I made potato soup. The weather was frigid and soup was very appealing. Side note, I prefer the Pioneer Woman‘s blog persona to her Food Network persona.
New Year‘s weekend, I made homemade mac n cheese with leftover cheese from the soup. For both, I used half and half and heavy cream from Christmas Eve. With the mac n cheese, I made chicken cutlets. The next day, I still had defrosted chicken left so I made buffalo chicken tenders. These plus a takeout pizza were NYE dinner.
Last week, I made pasta fagioli following this recipe. Never made this before and not even sure I‘ve eaten it before. Everyone complained while I was making it — they hated the smell. I think it‘s the sauteeing celery and onion combo they don‘t like. Nobody would eat it — my husband put a tiny bit of bread soaked in the soup in his mouth. That was as far as he would go. Wusses! It was delicious. I had it the next day for lunch too and then gave the rest to my parents. While I had to pick up nearly all the ingredients at the store, I did have frozen tomato sauce from garden tomatoes, leftover chicken broth, and the chickpeas on hand. And I was able to use the carrots, celery and thyme that I bought in this week‘s roast chicken/chicken soup. By the way, I just used regular bacon, not pancetta.
I roasted the chicken this past Wednesday and made the stock Friday night. Smelled so good. Here‘s the chicken recipe, my favorite. I froze the stock and the extra chicken meat and will wait for colder weather to have soup.
In eBay news, I finally bought a scale and it is the best thing ever. No more guestimating the weight of items when I list them. The digital scale is good up to 56 pounds, is extremely precise, and only cost $20. Now I know exactly what it will cost to ship it, can put that in the listing, and can print my shipping label at home and get the eBay discount. Then, if its first class, I can put it in the mailbox. Otherwise I still need to go to the post office. I suppose I could arrange for a pickup, also.
Recent sales include toddler sneakers, boys khakis and a vase. And I had my first Poshmark sale yesterday. It was a L.L. Bean knapsack.
Now I’m going to tell you a secret.
I got that knapsack, and some other things I’ve sold recently, at the nearby Goodwill Outlet. Unlike regular Goodwill, the outlet is just $1 a pound for most items. Which means the knapsack cost me about 30 cents. I sold it for $8 and netted $5.50 after shipping. That is like a 1700% markup (?) — if I could do that in bulk, it’d be pretty cool. But I’m happy with $5 here and there, too.
Not much else going on. We‘ve had some snow days, some delayed openings, and some sick days. Almost every day this week was a sick day for somebody.
I made chocolate chip muffins on the snow day. I also put on Dick Tracy, which I had been thinking about for some reason, and had a little trip down memory lane to 1990. The kids liked it too.
Right now Gemma has a friend over and they are playing very nicely and imaginatively; Aidan and my husband are brooding over the upcoming Eagles playoff game; Sebastian is alternately bugging/playing nicely with the girls; and I‘m relaxing with a cup of coffee after putting away most of the Christmas stuff and running errands. The sky is bright blue outside my window and spring doesn’t seem too far away, today.