2020

Wow. 2020.

There is a lot going on right now.

Actually, I think that’s an understatement.

So much to consider, to think about, to question, to worry over…the future feels very  uncertain. On. So. Many. Levels… 

Granted, life is never certain. 

Well, except for death. That is certain. The timing of your death and your whole life preceding it, is of course – uncertain. 

Though right now, we are at an unprecedented level of ‘uncertainty.’   

Well, at least that’s how I’m feeling. 

How about you? 

For the past three years I had been focused on working, saving money, raising my son, working on my business, working on myself, paying bills, organizing my family, etc…life stuff.

Things were going along. I had plans. 

2020 was going to be ‘the year’. 

‘The year’ I turned fifty. The year I did so many of the things I had been wanting to do. Trying to do…

I planned on visiting friends (across the country), having friends come and stay with me, treat myself to a luxurious day at the spa (it’s been over a decade since I’ve had a ‘proper spa day’), buy something pretty for myself and plan a fabulous 50th. birthday party…

I booked tickets to visit a dear friend in Arizona. I was going by myself. I was envisioning being on the plane, by myself, enjoying a cocktail – mid flight – then landing, stepping off the plane and seeing my friend.

 Giving her a big squeeze, then off we go. Just two grown women. 

Able to talk, uninterrupted. Able to go wherever we want – without question or coercion, able to just ‘be’ without parenting…

The joy this brought me was immeasurable.

This was going to be my first trip – ALONE – since becoming a parent, (I became a parent over ten years ago), needless to say, I was r-e-a-d-y.

I had plans.

I’d been saving money for the past few years – specifically for my (month’s long) ’50th’  celebration!

If you’ve followed me in the past, then you know I love to save money.

(That was and is the whole point of this blog – to share ideas about saving money and living well…anyway – it’s been awhile since I’ve posted (years) but recently I’ve needed to get ‘back here’).

My months long celebration was going to start in April.

As I mentioned earlier – I was going to Arizona. 

I had the plane tickets (free from my credit card points), spending money (from my diligent saving), time off work (from my planning), my friend had taken time off, we already had a few restaurants in mind (research) …I was going to a new place. To spend time with a friend.

By m-y-s-e-l-f. 

BEYOND excited to say the least…it was happening!! 

You see, before I became a parent, I loved traveling.

Traveling by myself. Traveling with my partner…

My partner and I had traveled and lived abroad for years before starting our business and having our son, but I hadn’t traveled on my own, since having our son…

Well, our son is ten years old now.

Needless to say, 

I was ready.

I was ready for a lot. 

I was ready for change. 

I was ready to be kinder to myself. 

I was ready to make the next fifty years better than the past fifty…

I was envisioning my trip to Arizona to be a reminder of what it feels like to wake up without immediately having to take care of someone else’s needs, answer questions, make a plan for the day, not think about what’s for dinner…not be responsible for someone else’s needs…except my own.

Two free days.

To remember myself…

Pure bliss. 

It felt like a dream. I had the money to make it happen. And I was going to make it happen…I deserved it. I was turning 50 and had worked my ass off saving money to do all these lovely things for myself…

Turns out the dream never happened. 

In December (while online scrolling), I noticed an article about a ‘new virus’ surfacing in China. 

My stomach did that ’churny thing’ – that thing that makes you wake up and listen your instinct.

A new virus? Oh dear. What if it spreads? 

It’s only in China (right now).

Don’t panic.

Just keep an eye out for information regarding it’s spread…

Well, we all know what happened next. 

It spread.

It spread before anyone knew it was spreading…

Anyway – I had to cancel my flight. I lost my job. My child has been out of school since March 15 and my business is teetering on extinction…

So, ‘my year’ isn’t quite as I had planned. 

Granted – it’s like that for the entire human race right now…

Better for some. Worse for others.

Luckily I’m very resourceful…

I did take my trip, but it wasn’t as I originally envisioned…instead of flying across the country, I drove across my state – for nine hours – along nearly the entire coast…

I saw parts of Maine I had never seen and it was b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l.

I didn’t have to answer one question or be badgered with ‘how much longer??

I could just drive…and drive and drive…

So that’s what I did.

It was divine (despite the covid restrictions)…

Just me, myself and I – in my home state…

Happy Birthday to me.

I kept my promise to myself.

I traveled to a new place. Stayed in a new space, looked at things with new eyes and was grateful for where I was…

I turned 50. How did that happen?

Now onto the next ‘big plan’;  learning how to homeschool while updating my resume…

How are you adjusting to this ‘new world?’

Be well.

Stay safe.

Until next time…

(: 

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planting bulbs indoors – all winter long…

This is a post from a few years ago, though timely nonetheless…

 

Ripe Red Berries

Do you miss the scents and sights of flowers outdoors? I do. I live in Maine and winter is quickly approaching, thus flowers are but a distant memory…so what is a flower lover to do? Plant flowers indoors. It’s easier than you think, low maintenance and inexpensive. I personally love Paperwhite Narcissus and Amaryllis.

While Amaryllis are more common to find, boxed with ‘everything you need’ – paperwhites (above) are just as simple, with less waste (no packaging and no plastic pot). You only need four things – of which, two may be used year after year – bulbs, rocks, vase and water – that’s it.  Simple beauty, love it!

Now to start. Gather what you’ll need;

The bulbs (about .80 each), a small vase (think individual bud vase), small stones/rocks (5 lb. bag white rocks $2.99) and water. The stones can be rinsed and re-used for years – I’ve…

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Who screams for ice cream?

Everyone right?

Though, what’s a mom to do if her child needs to be dairy free?

Make dairy free ice cream! That’s right, ice cream – without the cream…

A friend from work shared her recipe with me and it is amazing! It’s easy, doesn’t require any special equipment and has a great consistency.

If you can’t do soy milk, try coconut milk.

Sean’s Peanut Butter Ice Cream

Recipe by Kristynwho needs a spoon

Ingredients;

ingredients

2 1/3 cup soymilk (or coconut milk)

3/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/2 cup peanut butter (smooth or chunky)

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon kosher salt

How to;

In a large saucepan, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, soy milk, and peanut butter.

Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking frequently – once to a full boil, continue whisking for one minute…remove from heat.

Whisk several large spoonfuls of hot milk mixture into egg, then whisk egg back into saucepan of hot milk.

Return saucepan to heat and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture returns to a boil. The liquid will start to gain in volume and rise – keep whisking. It will also thicken slightly. Continue whisking for a few more minutes then remove from heat and add kosher salt. Mix well.

Place saucepan in cooling bath – I just use a big bowl half filled with very cold water. Let sit for about 5-10 minutes. Occasionally stirring.

Then pour mixture into a shallow dish and place in freezer for another 10-15 minutes – mixing occasionally as well.

Finally scoop mixture into a small freezer safe container with lid and allow to fully freeze. Can take up to 12 hrs.

Once the ice cream has frozen fully (usually takes 12 hrs. or so) – remove from freezer and let rest at room temp. a few minutes prior to serving.

Top with dairy free chocolate chips – chocolate sauce – coconut whipped cream…or simply enjoy as is.

Peanut butter ice cream

Yum!

How do you like your ice cream?

the end of June is here

The end of June is here which means picking fresh strawberries, enjoying garlic scapes and the the first harvest of swiss chard and kale…plus, the 4th. of July is just around the corner!

strawberries

 

more strawberries

 

strawberries 2

 

garlic scape

 

garlic scapes

 

Yeah for all things homegrown!

 

Enjoy.

gardening in Maine, in the rain…

I’m surprised by how well my little backyard garden is doing, despite all the odds against it…

carrots

curly kale

Time constraints, a precocious three year old, fluctuating temperatures, heavy rains, Maine mosquitos (bad for me, not the garden) and the constant threat of insects (particularly slugs and snails right now)… makes gardening this year a bit of a challenge, to say the least. Granted there are always variables out of our control when growing one’s own, though this year, the wet and cooler temperatures are certainly above and beyond the ‘norm’…

borage

While Finn naps, I try to get out there – little by little more seeds are sown, weeds are pulled, additional mulch is laid and insects are picked off one by one…for me the key to having and enjoying my garden is simply getting out there, once a day, even if only for 15 minutes…to keep an eye on things and say ‘hello’. Yes, I do talk to my plants…why not?

lettuce leaves

I want to garden. I want to eat fresh organic greens. I want to pick (and then enjoy) fresh homegrown, veggies! I want super fresh, real food. My current budget won’t allow me to buy locally grown, organic tomatoes, but it does, if I grow them myself, from seed. Lucky for us, I like to garden. And I have space to garden…

one half of garden

Not only do I like to garden, I need to garden. For me, it’s innate. It always has been. I like to eat what I grow. Plus, the taste, is impossible to achieve with store bought vegetables. Nothing is more fresh than ‘just picked.’ Seriously.

freshly picked lettuce and kale

So, I garden.

I start seeds in the late winter/early spring, I compost, I save seeds, I read about companion planting and organic gardening. I teach myself and I learn as I go. Life is all about learning – it’s never ending – and for me, this years garden is teaching (and reminding me) that plants want to grow.

young corn

Every living thing wants to grow – despite set backs and challenges, we all want to and need to grow, vegetables are no different. So if you think you don’t know enough to grow a few plants, think again, they are forgiving (to a point) and they want to please you as much as you want to enjoy them…

green bean beginnings

So why not start a seed and see how it feels…you may just get hooked.

Don’t have a lot of space? Try plating vegetables/flowers in pots. A tomato doesn’t taste any better grown organically in the ground, in the country, in Maine as one grown organically, in a pot, on a fire escape in NYC…homegrown is homegrown, and that is always better than any store bought tomato…the best part of organic homegrown? Monsanto is not involved – at all.

Happy gardening – for yourself, your family and the earth!

enjoy.

unwanted ads

That’s what I recently found on my blog. I was horrified. Why are these ads on my blog? Who did this? I don’t support these companies! That would go against so much of what I write about, so much of what makes me – me. I was saddened. Here I am sharing my life and then (unbeknownst to me), some terrible video advertisement is imbedded at the bottom of my post. Gasp. I needed to know where it came from and more importantly, how to get rid of it. I did a little research and learned the ads were placed by WordPress.

At WordPress they sometimes display advertisements on your blog to help pay the bills. WordPress says,“this keeps free features free.” I get it. I realize (now) that I overlooked this fact when I agreed to start this blog with WordPress. Too bad for me, though I doubt I’m the only one who wasn’t/isn’t aware of this practice or has simply forgotten. I don’t agree with the fact that they place the ads without informing you first. Why can’t they send a computer generated message informing you that ads will start to appear on random posts, before the ads are imbedded? Offer the NoAd Upgrade/opt out option before placing ads – A friendly reminder perhaps? Not having full control over the content I am putting my name to, frightens me. I also find it a bit creepy. The ads aren’t visible to logged-in users or readers using AdBlock, they are only visible to non-wordpress bloggers; this is why I wasn’t aware (until two days ago) of the ads on my blog – I’m always logged in. This is also why you (if your a WordPress blogger) may not have seen any ads while visiting here…

What about all those folks who check out or follow my blog, that aren’t logged-in, or don’t blog with WordPress? They are subjected to these ads; ads which have not been placed by me, selling products I don’t support, misrepresenting who I am and what I blog about – they are an abomination. It’s a total conflict of interest and I’m signing up for the $30 NoAd upgrade. I’m not against advertising – there are a lot of incredibly talented people out there and some fabulous companies which I would support, but with a much different aesthetic and purpose.  The ads, currently seen on my blog, which have been placed by WordPress, reflect poorly on me. They are shocking – particularly as they directly oppose so much of what I write about. While WordPress says the ads are run in limited places, one place is too many for me. I would have preferred to have been notified prior to the adverts going live.

I would have happily paid the $30 for the No-Ads upgrade* and avoided all this. I understand why they don’t – they stand to lose more ad generated revenue if I opt out (and pay the $30 upgrade fee). Despite this unfortunate circumstance  I will continue to blog with WordPress. I like WordPress. I understand why they place these ads, I just don’t agree with how it happens…I will pay the annual $30 NoAd upgrade to protect my integrity. For those of you who did read all the find print prior to signing on, maybe you’ve just forgotten or perhaps it’s slipped your mind or maybe you run AdBlocker or maybe your unaware like I was – if your not aware, (for whatever reason), check your blog.  Log out, disable AdBlocker and see if you have ads. You just may not like what you see. Click on the following link for another example of a horrified blogger. piedtype.com/2011/03/23/ouch-wordpress-lesson-learned/

My apologies to anyone confronted with an ad while visiting here. It will no longer be the case.

*While this action (advertising) is explained in the ToSas well as in the advertising entry in the support documents after registering for a username and blog and the same is also stated on the  Store – My Upgrades page, (read more from Timethief, of one cool blog, in her post, ‘Bloggers: Beware of Adware’)  it is certainly not information widely shared or something always remembered…shame on me for not knowing. I need to become more tech savvy if I’m going to continue blogging…I am sharing this to be helpful, not to condemn WordPress – they are clear with their intentions – if you know where to look…live and learn, right?

One more fact – there are also ads which are not placed by WordPress, but by malware. This is explained, very clearly, by Timethief, from one cool site. She offers some fabulous advice and information there.

If you have any suggestions or corrections to add here, please do so in the comments section – I am always wanting to learn more about blogging and I am always wanting to share informations, isn’t that why we blog?

Enjoy the weekend!