Wednesday, July 25, 2012


A couple years ago, I decided I wanted to start canning.  I had seen a show on PBS called Folkways and it sparked my interest.  This lady on there had a whole shed full of jars and jars of food preserved.  I got to thinking, I can do that. 

The first year I bought my tomatoes from a local store.  Since them I have been growing them.  My garden isn't pretty but man is it productive.  I can't even bring myself to show you a picture of it.  It's too embarrassing with all the weeds.  But here are 2 buckets of tomatoes that I picked out of it in just the past 2 days.

As I got more comfortable with the process, I started canning more and more.  I grew extra tomatoes and started doing more than just sauce.  I have done salsa, diced tomatoes, soup, and even black beans.

Here are a couple reasons why I do it.
  • Practicality - We eat off these tomatoes for the whole year.  Pasta sauce, chili, soups, etc.  With all I can, I still never seem to have enough.
  • A sense of accomplishment - There is nothing like looking at what you have canned and know that your hard work produced that.
  • Quality of food - most cans these days have preservatives in them.  Some of the liners of the cans even have BPA in them.  When you can your own food, you control what goes into it. 
  • A connection to the past - I love feeling a connection with the women who have come before us.  They didn't do this as a hobby.  They did it as a way of life.  They didn't have a choice.  After you spend one afternoon canning and see how much work goes into it, the respect for your ancestors goes up.
Here are a few more pictures from the process.

Making the Sauce

My apron covered in seeds.  They seem to go everywhere and I finally remembered the apron today.

Loading the Jars

Watching it Go

Cooling down.  If you have never canned, you should hear them pop as they seal.  It's the best sound in the world.

Labeling.  I really think this is my favorite part!

Current Tally.  Sauce is in quarts.  Diced is in pints.  Salsa is in pints.  It may look like a lot but it's still not enough for the year.

Today's Bounty - 9 quarts of sauce.

There is so much sweat equity  and a few burns in this but I totally think it's worth it.  I just hope that all this effort gets me through this year.  Only time will tell that one.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


I got my last paycheck in the mail today.  I wasn't sure how to feel about it at first.  It is totally weird that I won't be getting another one of these.

This afternoon I was in my kitchen.  I was just cleaning up from making another batch of pesto.  It smelled amazing and made me anxious for dinner tonight.  I was texting back and forth with my friend Katie about meeting for lunch.  My cloth diapers were hanging out to dry (they had to come in though because it started to rain).  My laundry was done.  Ainsley was just about to get out of room time.  David was snoozing away after having had a big day trying avocado for the first time (He's 6 months old and I think his mind was just blown!)

And it hit me.  I am joyful.  I serve the Lord Most High. I know my circumstances can change but I also know that without a shadow of a doubt that I am not supposed to be earning paychecks anymore.  I know that I am following His plan for my life.  And that is the reason to be joyful.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Growing up we always had people in the house.  My parents loved to have people over and it was such a great example.  Every Thanksgiving we always had at least 1 random person join us.  It never felt like a big deal.  It was just the way that it was. 

Now that I have my own home, I find that I gravitate to opening it up as well.  I love having people over.  I do my annual Christmas party and we have our small group over to our house every Sunday.  I have always wanted to have people over more often but it seemed so daunting trying to get the house ready and do everything else that I had to do.

Now that I am a stay at home mom, I am excited to start opening our home more.  This past weekend we had Ainsley's birthday party and an open house for some college friends.  Between the 2 parties, we had 29 adults and 28 children in the house.  My heart was full and it was honestly so much fun.

Of course I love to bake and cook as well so it fits into my interests.  Here are some shots from the 2 parties.

Rapunzel Tower Cupcakes

Caterpillar Grapes

Caprese Salad Bites
Whole Wheat Pretzels

All the food is fun and it is a necessary part of entertaining.  But the more fun part these days is just seeing people relax and enjoy themselves in my home.  Seeing conversations and fellowship happen is just so fun.

I recently had a friend of mine tell me that I have the gift of biblical hospitality.  There couldn't be a greater compliment.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Closed Chapter

It's official.  I'm unemployed.  I finished cleaning out my office today and distributing the last few things to coworkers.  I went into my boss's office and handed in my key card. 

And just like that, I walked out.  I didn't stop to say a lot of goodbyes.  I'm not good at that. 

And I'm also not good at closure.  I think I have a hard time coming to grips with reality.  Chapters close in life and when they do they bring unfamiliar territory ahead.  And when that happens we cling to what we know and where we have been. 

But I have to let go.  My boss said I could stop by any time.  I won't do that.  That part of my life is over.  At least for now.  I need to charge forward. 

And that means leaving an empty office for a house full of love.  And cupcakes to make for my 4 year old's birthday party on Saturday.  Way more fun!

Thursday, July 5, 2012


I have been cleaning out my office for weeks now.  At first I was doing it in secret.  I would slip a book or a picture frame into my bag daily on my way out trying not to get caught.  It was gradual so that no one would notice.  I managed to clean out all the things inside my drawers and left most of the things on the desk and on the walls before I even gave my notice.  My goal was to not have a box of office things to deal with once I was home.

My office is now empty with the exception of my space heater.  Today I brought home my diploma that hung on my office wall.  It seemed really symbolic to me to have the last thing I brought home be the very thing that symbolizes the start of my career. 

I worked really hard for that diploma.  And I worked even harder for the career that followed it.  And now it's over. 

I've never not had a job since the time I was able to start working.  Don't get me wrong, what is ahead of me is definitely a job.  It's just different.  And it both terrifies me and excites me all at once.

So I continue to transition.  To search for the new identity.  To flounder.  To feel lonely.  To feel excitement.  To just be confused.

And now I'm looking for somewhere in my house to hang my diploma so I can look at it and be reminded of this season that I have left behind.  Over my kitchen sink, my dresser, my sewing machine.  It just doesn't fit.  And that makes me cry just a little bit. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Things I Won't Miss

When you leave a job under good terms, there is a sense of regret and nostalgia.  At the same time, there are some things that I am gladly leaving behind.  Here's a few.

  • My pump.  I have to pump twice while I am at work so that David can eat.  I hate every second of it.  But I love him and I loved Ainsley before him.  But I am so glad to not have to pump on a daily basis.  It can now be reserved for date nights and fun occasions.
  • Shoe rules.  My company has rules about shoes.  Yes.  Rules about SHOES!  If it's open toes, it has to have a heel strap.  If it's closed toed it doesn't need one.  Bizarre and annoying when shoe shopping.  
  • My alarm going off way too early.  Right now, it's set to go off at 6:02.  I know people get up earlier than that.  I also know that I have a baby that gets up at least twice at night.  Even just the 30 minutes later it will be to wake Ryan up will be a blessing.
  • Company politics.  Every company has issues.  This one is no different.  
  • Hardware calls.  I am a computer programmer.  That's a completely different skill than help desk.  But I have also been the only IT person at my company for 6 years.  That means I get the calls about printers and viruses.  And friends and family - I cannot fix your computer over the phone.  Google your problem.  That's all I do.
  • Being on call all the time.  I have had work emails on my phone for over 4 years.  I deleted my work email from my phone the day I put my resignation in.  So freeing
So that's just the start of my list.  I'm sure it will grow as I spend time at home and remember things from my past life.
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