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This year started off slower than usual. I felt that it took me longer than usual to get my rear in gear. I thought it took longer to plan out what I wanted to accomplish this year on the heals of one of the craziest years in my life.
Pivot – Adapt
With all the Covid stuff still happening, we figured out fast that this wasn’t going away anytime soon. With supply chain issues and people panic buying, we turned to our garden. The way I had planned out my raised bed garden, the supplies were readily available. I went with a cement block type raised garden bed so that it would last much longer than wood or metal. The cement blocks were also more economical and always in stock at my local home improvement store. We were able to eat lots of fresh produce over the summer months.
I learned from the previous year and got my seed orders in throughout the year as they became available again. I even found a stash of seeds I hid in the back of a cupboard back in 2016 when the summer garden was nearly done. I have plans for those little packets in 2022. In fact I have many plans for the garden and my farm for the next few years.
This year was hard in a lot of ways. We obviously cannot remain in 2021 physically and really have to move on from it mentally and emotionally. This year made me think about a lot of things. Lord knows we all had plenty of time to think about what we are doing and how we can improve on it. This is what I have learned.
Always be Prepared
In 2020 when we were issued stay at home orders we had already depleted a lot of the food storage I had put up. I had already needed to go and get groceries and household supplies when the prices for everything shot up and normal staples were difficult to find. I was able to get supplies in 2 week intervals, but they cost a lot more than normal. This year was no different. There were empty shelves on and off throughout the year. With prices doubling on items and nearly doubling on others.
I had found another outlet store locally and was able to purchase lots of fresh fruit, vegetables, and beef there when the other stores were sold out or price gouging. I was able to buy produce for bargain basement prices. I blanched and froze several pounds of asparagus. I bought and froze berries for my little one to snack on. I canned homemade spaghetti sauce with a case of tomatoes I purchased. They even had dog food and toilet paper.
Having grown up in a home where we lived on a super tight budget, seeing my fridge once again close to empty for long periods of time gave me extreme anxiety. I now buy a couple extra cans of food when I visit the store. I try to always have an extra bag or two of brown rice stored. I have been trying to buy, can, and preserve food to add to our pantry and freezer. As time goes on and finances allow I hope to get my pantry completely stocked little by little.
Learn New Things
Being home more, I like a lot of other people, have turned to YouTube. Thanks to those who have YouTube channels! I have learned so many money saving things. For instance, how to make extracts and apple cider vinegar. I have learned that I can use my camp stove to pressure can. How to make large vats of spaghetti sauce in my slow roaster to can up for future use. I have learned how to make cottage cheese from yogurt. Outlet Store produce needs to be preserved quickly.
I have learned how to recycle my old cattle panels into trellises for my vine vegetables in the garden. I also learned that I need to start my fall garden seeds in June to transplant in mid August. I have learned how to use concrete blocks to make raised bed gardens. I’ve learned that I can plant garlic I bought from the grocery store. I have even learned how to build a portable chicken coop and how to raise chickens for my freezer.
I have learned how to make patio furniture and which petunia plants will give me the most bang for my buck next spring. I even learned how to propagate my house plants. I have learned different methods to heal trauma. I have learned how to meditate. I have learned a few new crochet stitches. I have learned that learning both high and low tech skills is beneficial in an unstable world. I have had inspiration for many ideas for to help me on my journey to accomplish my goals for the next year.
Have Multiple Sources of Income
Besides my remote job at AdvaPay Systems as an HR Administrator, I am a seller on Amazon. I have been working pretty hard on affiliate marketing to start making a little more passive income.
I am trying to work on other streams of income, mostly passive income. I had recently been approved for the Merch By Amazon program. With this program, I upload my graphics to Amazon to print onto T-shirts and hoodies. Amazon markets my products in 9 countries and I make a profit. You can find my merch here
I am always looking for ways to make extra income either passively or not. I have thoughts of a future Etsy Shop to sell my self care printables. Please let me know if that sounds like something you are interested in.
Use your Hobbies
I am huge into hobbies and finances were tight this year, I used a lot of my energy in the garden and in preserving foods. I was able to have a few craft days with my kids making suncatchers and fuse bead projects.
I have worked in my bullet journal for the year and am currently making my new pages for 2022. I have seen so many wonderful planners and I have taken the aspects that I love in a lot of them to combine in my Bullet Journal. I found a 700 page thick bullet journal book on Amazon last summer to use. I decided to make a big commitment and get it. I like having one journal instead of several that I can lose or misplace.
Time with others
I have spent more time with my kids this year than the last couple of years. I love spending time talking with my kids and catching up with them and listening to their ideas.
In the Fall, I went to visit my sister where my oldest, youngest, and I spent a week at a home she rented for her birthday. We spent a lot of time enjoying the area and visiting. I am planning to visit with her again this summer.
We like to watch movies together, play video games or board games together. More recently we started spending more time together on projects around the house. We are able to say we improved our home or outdoor space and have fond memories of working together.
My hope is that in 2022 we can spend more time doing fun things and making memories. We enjoy each other’s company and we love exploring new places together. Hopefully we can squeeze in a vacation together over one of the school breaks.
With the high anxiety year we have had, taking time for selfcare is vital. Taking care to make yourself feel secure and fulfilled. Things like taking care of your basic needs and finding time to destress. I don’t know if you have noticed but all throughout this post I have mentioned nothing but self care.
I feel like out of all the things I did do, I was lacking in the exercising consistently department as well as the pampering type of self care. Although we could have eaten healthier, we absolutely ate better in 2021 than in 2020. The healthier foods this last year were more expensive and harder to find. I tried to grow a large amount of produce to eat over the summer months and purchased much outlet reduced price or frozen produce to squeeze in.
Exercise I did minimally between working, gardening, outside projects. and housekeeping. I was able to go out for walks, but they were not as long as I have needed nor were they daily. I need to pick up more exercise going forward.
My youngest and I have been going outside in the yard more on days that aren’t so cold. We have been exploring the garden and the nearby woods. The plant life is dying back so it’s easier to make our way through in the woods. We need to stay close to the house as it is deer season here. Lately it has been below freezing so we go outside for some quick chores and back in again.
I didn’t do much pampering over the last year either. I think I had soaked in a hot bath 5 times total. The only time I painted my nails was when I wanted to wear sandals again. I did however relax with some tea every night. I have read books I have enjoyed. I had spent time with loved ones. I also spent as much time as I was able outside. I think going forward I need to make a pampered self care routine for myself and will share it with you all.
In the end I accomplished a lot more than I had thought this year. I have grown in many ways. I have learned a lot that I will take with me into the next year. Even with Covid disrupting parts of our world from time to time, I made the best of the time.
Yes, there were struggles and with some things my timing was off, but I have learned a lot from and because of this year that I can take into the next. I am grateful for 2021 because it made us more aware of the world’s fragility and resilience. Remember that life is about, learning, growing, and connecting. Just because 2021 wasn’t what we expected it to be, doesn’t mean we didn’t learn and grow through it.
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