2013 year in review

It’s kind of nice to occasionally go through what we’ve been up to for the last year.  It helps give perspective.

Home: The beginning of last year, we had the main living space in our house (everything but the bedrooms and bathrooms – about 1000 sq ft)tiled with wood-look tile.  It took about a month for the install to be done (which was far longer than I was hoping for).  A few weeks after he “finished,”  it became clear that he hadn’t done a very good job at grouting, and he had to come back to “fix” the lazy grout job.  Which he KIND OF did.  But not really.  We will have to go through and clean out/regrout about 200 sq feet (scattered around different parts of the house, of course) after fixing the 5 or so loose tiles that he also didn’t fix.  When the floor got replaced, we also tore out our pantry and replaced it with an island.  I am LOVING the new house layout.  The house feels so much bigger, and I like being able to see the entire living space from the kitchen. 
mid century living room
Cooking/Eating – 2013 saw the coming and going of 2 different very strict diets.  First, we tried to do clean eating, where we did our best to remove refined sugars and flours from our diet, reduce our dependence on animal-based products, and increase our consumption of fresh vegetables and fruit.  We learned a lot in the stint of clean eating about things that we like to eat and I got pretty good at cooking quinoa.  We also tried paleo.  It was hard.  I just like milk too much. But in my research of the paleo diet, I learned a lot about the nutrient content of foods, and why the strictness of paleo makes some good sense. Over last year, we have put a lot of effort into removing gmo foods from our diet (including animals fed corn and soy-based diets).  Beef that we eat is primarily grass-fed (it is much healthier for us, and the cows aren’t quite as horribly abused), and we have tried to remove most chemically separated vegetable oils and swap them out for seed and other naturally pressed oils.  The down side of being more aware of what we are eating is that I have become more and more burned out by trying to meal plan healthy and ecologically-conscious dinners. That has resulted in getting takeout at least a couple nights a week for the last few months.  I just don’t have it in me.
lemon risotto with asparagus and a fried egg
Garden – We finished our front yard this spring.  It was quite the ordeal, but the yard looks great.  We still want to put a deck in (instead of the shitty concrete stoop), but we will see if that happens this coming year. I am not holding my breath.  Instead, we are just beginning to enjoy the finished (or close to it) versions of our house and yard.  The part of the garden that is NOT finished is the back yard, and we will have to kill ourselves to get it cleaned up and done, but when it comes time to mulch, I think we’ll probably pay someone to wheelbarrow the mulch into the back yard.  I just don’t hate myself quite enough to do 3x the work that we did for the front yard.  
freshly mulched front yard
What we DID accomplish in the back yard this year was putting in a second layer of wood on our big raised beds.  They are now 100% dog resistant.  The dogs cannot pee into them, and tend to stay out when the sides are as tall as they are.  We also built some crazy hot-frame for the tomato bed, which allowed us to keep the tomatoes covered until late summer, making the most of our paltry growing season and keep things growing consistently throughout summer.
hot house frame for tomato bed
Blog – I have increased my traffic significantly, and I also managed to SUCCESSFULLY complete a post each day of the month of October.  Some of them sucked, some didn’t.  But they all got posted. And let me tell you, as someone who always has something to say, putting something down every day is TOUGH.  Sometimes it was all I could do to find a picture of something on my phone and tell you that I had nothing to say.
Random – I dyed my hair red, wrecked my outback, took a defensive pistol class, and begun attending monthly long range rifle matches.  I’ve also gotten better about keeping the kitchen clean and running(and emptying!) the dishwasher when it needs to be done.  I figured out my caramel recipe and cooked octopus for the first time.

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