This Year There is Another Angel Watching Over Us

photo by watsonsinelgin

photo by watsonsinelgin

The holidays are coming fast, but in the midst of the hustle and bustle we need to stop and take a moment to grieve for a wonderful blogger who is no longer with us.

Chris of the blog Thrifty Mama was shot down along with her oldest son by her estranged ex-husband recently. Words cannot express the shock, disbelief and grief I felt upon hearing this. I can’t even remember how I fell across her blog, but she became an integral part of my regular blog reading. The fact that she managed to survive and thrive with her children in a trailer park was fabulous. Her ingenuity and dedication to bettering her life was inspiring. She grew a “garden” where she could, composted on the sly, foraged, preserved and never gave up. She went from the trailer to an actual house with a yard and a landlord who allowed her to plant more. No more fighting with the trailer park association. It started to look like she’d finally found some rest from the constant struggles. Then she left her husband. But she started teaching Zumba classes for some cash, and continued to grow and budget. I feel like I just read her post about picking up some more Zumba classes for more money to help make ends meet.

The link to the news article makes me rather sad, as it includes interviews with several people who said they were not surprised by what happened, even though it was tragic. A history of domestic violence was part of her past, and many of them were not surprised when her past repeated itself, and homicide is all to often the end product of such situations when the partner finds the guts to leave the abuser. Her ex-husband did turn the gun on himself, so at least the remaining kids won’t have to deal with him ever again.

So hug your kids a bit closer, remind your significant other how much you love them, and remember that he legacy you leave behind when you are gone is up to you to create.

Preserved Lemons Take One

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Preserved lemons are something I read about on a regular basis. I was tempted, but didn’t figure the husband would really use them or be willing to eat them. But then I figured they would be good in marinades, and I stumbled across a post for making preserved lemon curd. So I had to make some. I followed the instructions from Phickle, cause I was already there drooling over, I mean reading the recipes.

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Lemony Love

Meyer lemons in a strainer after a scrub to remove wax.

I’ve always loved lemon flavored things. Lemon drops are some of my favorite candies. Not because they are sour, but because they are tart. Which is subtly different in an upscale adult way. Once I started really branching out into preserving I learned there are more types of lemons than the plain ones we get in the supermarket. There are magical, memorable yellowy-orange globes of magnificence called Meyer lemons. I became obsessed with finding them near me and realized I’ve probably overlooked them for years.
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A Bounty of Beach Roses

A Bounty of Beach Roses|I Heart Maine Blog

One of the best things about moving near the beach is the opportunity to forage the beach roses growing here. I fell in love with rose petal jelly (although its counterpart rose petal jam was a bit yuck) when I made it with my own roses, and the beach rose is more fragrant and purported to be more flavorful as well. Rose hips from beach roses instead of cultivated varieties are also the ones we are accustomed to in tea and jelly. So it is with glee I took my first walk to the beach to scope out the roses….and furtively gathered a couple handfuls of blooms to bring home and tuck away in the fridge.
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Go Forth and Organize

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We move…alot. We’ve been married for eight years and in that time we’ve lived in four homes. Two winter rentals at fabulous York Beach and two longer term rentals in neighboring towns. While we hope to move into a more permanent solution each time, we strive to organize ourselves to work better in the small spaces we dwell in and make moving more streamlined as well. This move I have been super into new totes for our things and kitchen containers for our dry goods.
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Tangerine….a Thing of Beauty

So today I took the plunge and bought a Kitchenaid stand mixer from work (Target). I am now the proud (mostly) owner of a KSM95 in Tangerine. Which is one of the colors we had this summer as a special color. Cost=$299.99 originally, clearance at $149.99 minus my 10% team discount and 5% redcard discount. While I would rather have white than the tangerine color, I figure it will be ages before I find another K mixer at this price. It should do me ok until I can afford to buy the raspberry ice beauty of my dreams. Its a 4.5qt, 300watt. It comes with a stainless bowl, but I just talked to the KA support peeps and the beautiful glass 5qt bowl will fit it perfectly. Which means I can have a nice shiny, made in the US clear bowl for about half of what I paid for it. Guess whats going on my Christmas list? I also think I will likely paint it. Which won’t give me the same pink as the raspberry ice, but I already own a lovely pink or turquoise which would work. There are also textured paints and such which would be keen.
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Gingered Blueberry Nectarine

I went blueberry picking with my mom again this year and still have some berries to use up….about 6 quarts of frozen berries. When we went shopping the other weekend at Walmart they had the most beautiful nectarines…big and round and plump as your palm. Not those little walnut sized ones we get alot of the time. Their color was a deep red/orange with a deep yellow mixed with it. I got them home and decided they needed to go into a jar with the blueberries. All that was left was choosing a spice to flavor it with. Vanilla seemed kind of tame and I didn’t want a citrus, and I don’t have any lovely chillies….so I went with ginger. After all I have grated frozen cubes plus lovely candied bits from The Ginger People.
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Moving House-Again

We have to move yet again. This will mark the fourth place we’ve lived in the seven years we’ve been married and living together. It will be our second winter rental though, which makes it seem like more moves, but at 6-8 months for a winter rental it means you have to move again after you’ve just finally settled in. Our current place we have lived at for two years, but the landlord is being foreclosed upon so out we go. We got six weeks notice…
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Pomegranate Raspberry Thyme Jam

I’m sorting through my files and pictures on my computer, to figure out which recipes have a full compliment of pictures and which could use a bit of help. Most of them still only have a picture of the ingredients, before they boil, after they boil and then in the jars though. I need to convince my husband to help me out or teach my mom how to take pictures with the phone or something…seriously.
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Seeds to Sow

I, like many of my fellow gardeners, am a bit of a seed addict. Which means that even though my bin of seeds is jammed full I’ve already picked up a couple packs of seds this season and am planning a tomato seed purchase. I’m not sure what this season will bring me for available space, but I am contemplating the integration of vining plants into the perennial bed. I miss cukes and squash and pumpkins. I am also looking into obtaining a plot in a community garden.
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