Peaches Come in a Can

In CategoryCooking, Navel Gazing

they were put there by a man, in a factory dowwwwwwnnntowwwwwwnnnn…

If I had my little way I'd eat peaches every day

What have we learned?

Well, firstly – and I say this with the deep and abiding in your soul kind of knowledge that only experience gives – peeling peaches sucks.

One Sunday, caught up in the frenzy of various the peaches are ripe now! now! NOW! Facebook posts, I went to a local farm and bought forty pounds of peaches.


Let’s back up a bit. I have never canned anything in my life before this summer. Because botulism. My total canning experience prior to this peach buying incident, was Strawberry Jam, affectionately known in my house as Failure Jam.

Six half-pints of Failure Jam and the purchase of 4 books on canning, led me, somehow, to confidently buy 40 pounds of peaches on a whim.

It just occurred to me that this whole story pretty much sums up my entire personality.

In any event, after spreading all the peaches out on the table to ripen, and I went to the store to buy canning jars. While I was at the store, doubt crept in. Jim caught me glumly surveying the table full of peaches.

“what’s the matter?”

“Well, you know I had to go to the grocery store to buy canning jars for the peaches. And you know what ELSE they have at the grocery store? CANNED PEACHES.”

He patted me pityingly and went to work.

Peeling and slicing eight million one hundred and thirteen peaches was a big job. Three-quarters of the way through, I was over trying to beat Dole at their game, and I turned the last batch into Salted Brown Sugar Peach Jam, except not really jam because I am over making jam and prefer making syrupy preserve-y things that we can pour over pancakes or add to yogurt or pour over ice cream. Or pancakes. Or ice cream.

Those little jars made me happier than the sliced peaches for some reason, and I was trying to figure out why. Somehow making food from scratch seems like part of a simple lifestyle, but turning my kitchen into a giant sticky mess is NOT, in fact, simpler than say, BUYING A JAR OF FREAKING PEACHES. But I can’t just go out and buy peaches in brown sugar, or handpicked blackberries in syrup, or even Failure Jam, and seeing those little jeweled jars lined up makes me clap my hands in happiness.

I do a fair amount of rolling my eyes at all these endeavors, too, though, because none of this is simple, and certainly not simpler than nuking a chicken nugget. But a chicken nugget just isn’t as…satisfying, is it?

Perhaps a Simple Year isn’t the only thing I crave.




Random Monday

In CategoryRandom Monday


• I liked this post by Penelope Trunk. Particularly the first paragraph –

“When I started homeschooling I was inundated with useless advice. Use cupcakes to teach math! Use car trips to teach geography! The ideas are not helpful because parents who are able to conceive of the idea of homeschooling do not need help thinking of fun projects. The problem with fun projects is that most parents don’t think they are fun.”

I find making things fun excruciating mostly, because I rock at homeschooling that way. I’m more of the, “will you just get to it so we can move on with our lives?” sort of mom, which is probably the exact opposite of the kind of encouragement that will get me the next DaVinci. If it’s not already fun to you, then let’s just grit our teeth and get through it so we can do the fun stuff. And in any event, my kids are wise to me, and nothing arouses suspicion like The Chirpy Fun Voice.

• If you have any budding geeky sorts, consider downloading Scratch, a free drag & drop computer programming language published by MIT and designed to introduce kids 8-16 to programming. Tressa told me about it, and the minute the book came in the mail and Jim downloaded it, the kids were riveted for entire HOURS in a row. It’s astonishing.

• Read the story of How Eddie Spent Her Summer Vacation. Make lots of mental notes about the evils of nature.

• Happy Monday, my darlings!

The Simple Year?

In CategoryNavel Gazing

I am very interested in simplifying my life. This is probably comes as zero surprise to you, what with my endless blathering about getting rid of stuff for the last few years. To this end, I read a lot of minimalism blogs.

Reading is almost as good as doing, as we all know. That’s why Pinterest is so huge.

I am trying to convince my husband to spend a year downsizing and simplifying our lives (says the lady who bought 6 pairs of leggings last week). A few weeks ago I discovered a blog called The Simple Year. It was started by a woman who wanted to write about her decision to buy nothing new for an entire year. Then after the year was up, she decided to pass the blog along to another person, this time to a woman who was trying to shovel out her whole house and downsize. I read all the archives and was very happy to discover that Year Three was going to begin and I could read along with another person on the simplifying journey.

Then the Year Three person decided to write about being kinder for a whole year, which is nice (if a bit of a non sequitur), but it’s not helping me simplify.

I like the idea of a year-long project, because a year is a long time, but it’s also a defined amount of time.

Here’s the thing. I feel like I have 967 part time jobs (jobs, of course, being a very general word and not indicating any sort of income generating) and I suck at all of them. Cooking, cleaning, teaching kids how to cook and clean and sew and use a microscope and chase whatever other rabbits they decide to chase, blogging, homeschooling (haven’t even bought anything for this year yet, GAH), knitting, sewing, selling pencil sharpeners, running the household, researching what in the hell to do with the 40 pounds of peaches I just bought on the spur of the moment and are ripening all over the dining room table….

movin’ to the country, gonna eat me a lotta peaches

These things all have sub categories, obviously, and they all occupy a lot of mental space. A LOT. I started thinking maybe I should quit some of them so I can focus on the really important ones. Like making dinner and doing school. You’d be surprised how much energy I expend on dinner and school. Or maybe you wouldn’t. If we get all our schoolwork done and I make a good dinner, I feel like sitting on the couch and high-fiving myself for the rest of the day. **nailed it!**

Maybe I can find a way to simplify within each job? Or maybe I can finish some of the one-time only projects that distract me, like installing closet organizers and doing something with all the shoes that are ALL OVER THE DAMN PLACE ALL THE DAMN TIME WHY DO WE HAVE SO MANY SHOES WHYYYYEEEEEEEE **pant-pant-pant**

Also I find myself intrigued by Project 333. Have you heard of this? You basically choose 33 things from your wardrobe to wear for 3 months. Pajamas and workout clothes and underwear don’t count. Daytime clothes, shoes, and jewelry count. Has anyone done this? I don’t think it would be that hard for me, but it might be interesting to find out for sure. For one thing, most of my clothes are lounging clothes (see: 6 new pairs of leggings) which don’t count; and for another, I don’t have that many clothes in general. Plus it’s not like you have to get RID of anything, just put it away for 3 months and see what happens.

We’ll see. There’s a lot of ideas floating around over here. I don’t know why I crave to live smaller and simpler. It seems calmer, maybe? Sometimes at night I sketch Tiny Houses. I have a whole notebook of them. Is that weird? Probably it’s not. Jim is all like, “I just BOUGHT you a house, woman.”

So. Thoughts? Shall we 333 together?

Random Monday

In CategoryRandom Monday


I have a million links I’ve been saving for you guys, so here we go –

7 Reasons We Should Stop Praising Excess. This really resonated with me. I love this blog in general, but this post was excellent.

• This is hilarious – Dave Barry Learns Everything You Need to Know About Being a Husband From Reading 50 Shades of Grey

A Thousand Rivers. A link from Lori Pickert’s Facebook page. Just riveting. I also found it rather freeing.

• got eviscerated for this definition of Homeschool last week –


Needless to say, they changed it.

• Happy Monday, y’all!