2011 was a great year for our family. We welcomed a new member of our family (who, I might add, is growing cuter and sweeter every day) and Chris was blessed with a good job (as an industrial machine builder) that he enjoys.
And how did I do in my journey towards a simpler life? Despite our tiny, shaded, soggy backyard, I did manage to grow some herbs and make some healing salve, as well as dry some herbs for use in the kitchen. (Interestingly though, I found that even the rosemary and sage were weak on flavour - I am guessing this is a direct result of not getting enough sun.)
I made herbal tinctures for the first time this year - dandelion and lemon balm - and have not used them. I found the alcohol was just too strong for me (I don't drink at all, not for moral reasons but just because I don't like it). I think in the future I will stick to herbal teas.
Our green bean harvest was decent, but our tomatoes were a stunning failure. And just to prove that our back yard is cursed - I planted several zucchini plants and only got a single zucchini! Who ever heard of such a thing...
I didn't do some of the things I had planned for 2011--I decided not to buy a pressure canner because I really don't have room to store it here. And I actually canned less fruit this summer than the last year, not more. No pickles either. But I have continued to learn the skills required to cook from scratch, and improve my homemaking in general. I now make all of our bread by hand, which is a big step I suppose.
My sewing machine has not been very busy. I've sewn nothing of note all year (just a few baby bibs, a hat, some napkins, and I upcycled an old shirt into preschooler pajamas), even though I wanted to sew some long skirts for myself after the baby was born. Of course, it's probably not realistic to be planning new projects with a newborn babe around...
The first part of the year we were living only off our Etsy business, which hasn't really been bumping in 2011. This meant we were not able to save up very much towards our future home in the country. But that's okay, because now that Chris has a good job, with the chance to work overtime, and we feel confident that by the end of 2012 we will be able to purchase a place of our own--nothing fancy, but some place outside the city limits with a nice big yard so we can have chickens, lots of gardens, and of course, a tree house for lazy summer afternoons.
Perhaps most importantly in 2011, I learned to step away from the screen more often, slow down, relax and enjoy life. Our family started having Unplugged Sundays - no computer, video games, or tv all day every Sunday - which is a tradition I have come to love. I started writing paper letters to friends, instead of emails, which has been enjoyable as well.
So for 2012, our main goal is to save up a down payment for a house. And for a personal resolution, I am going to try much harder than I have been to exercise. In past years, I have not been taking care of myself and it's starting to show. I have realized I can't properly take care of my family if I don't take care of myself, too.
For his part, Chris is quitting smoking this month. Good vibes are appreciated! :)
Since it is possible we will be moving this year, I think I am going to give up trying to coax a productive garden out of the yard here. But I will continue sewing when I get the chance, and I will be trying to improve my ability to feed my family on a strict budget.
I'm really looking forward to 2012 and all it will bring for us.
Does anyone else have any plans for the coming year they want to share?