Boiled Chicken {and other lessons in life}

I have to laugh when people assume I’ve always known how to cook. Or that I really enjoy it. I’m not sure it’s appropriate to snicker when a well meaning mama says , “I wish I enjoyed cooking like you!”… or even better when I say something about making something from scratch and a friend rolls their eyes jokingly and says ” Of course you do!”

Oh dear friends, if you only knew.

If.you.only.knew.

You see, as much as I love my mother and my Didit { that’s my Grandma. When I was little my mom was jealous of my affection for my grandma, and being the feisty chicks they are, my mother thought it funny that every time I got hurt or something, she would say ‘Grandma made you do it, Grandma did it’ . Alas, Didit stuck and that’s been the only name she’s gone by for me since childhood. Anyhoo…as I was saying…}

As much as I love them, they weren’t exactly cook-from-scratch types. My beloved childhood memory of my Didit’s cooking involves those little red boxes of Lipton’s little noodle soup served straight from the microwave in clear brown mugs. My mom’s specialties were ham hock and beans and deep fried burritos. Apart from that I grew up on white bread, frozen pizza and the like.

So when I got married to my hunk of a hubby at the tender-but-not-always-smart age of 19, I was determined we were going to eat ‘healthier’.  I was working at a health club and figured it couldn’t be that hard to cook healthily.

Bring on the boiled chicken.

You all, my husband is a saint. If we were Catholic I’d write to the Pope to make it all official -like.  I proudly served up every night of the week, a frozen chicken breast that had been boiled in water. You know how they get all gelatinousy and the fat bubbles? ewww. That’s what I served him. But wait…it gets better.

Some kind soul had gifted us a spice assortment for our wedding. So after I removed the boiled frozen chicken breast from the pot, I would pick up a random herb, from which I didn’t know the difference between coriander or rosemary or anise, and I’d generously season those bad boys with dry spices or herbs. That’s it. Wa-la.

Serve that baby up with some ultra healthy rice a roni { gag} and a can of corn and I was the goddess of domesticity.

You can all pause right here to laugh heartily or cry for my dear husband as you imagine sinking your teeth into a previously frozen boiled chicken breast, sans even butter, generously doused with dried basil chunks.

Sweet baby Jesus.

I finally added enchiladas {made with…you guessed it! Boiled shredded chicken} and the hubs started asking for them every single night. I thought I must have been one amazing enchilada chef. Then it slowly dawned on me that maybe the enchiladas actually had some flavor. It was simply a respite from the daily bland meals I put before him. From that year on, I ever so slowly learned. I added recipes to my repitoire. I learned what words like roux  and chiffonade and dredge meant. I departed from the recipes and made them my own. I experimented, I burned, I had one particular creation that my husband said only someone smoking pot might consider. But overall I grew as a cook. It didn’t happen quickly or without flops. I still don’t claim to be a phenomenal cook, but these days the husband just might. I have my shining moments.

Now let me tell you secret.

I still don’t love to cook. I have my days when I am anxious to experiment or make some great feast. But do I love cooking? No, I don’t.

What I do love is honoring the man I love who works his tail off for our family. I love him satisfied from something I created with my own two hands. I like to nourish the bodies of these 4 kiddos my Saviour entrusted to my care. I also love to eat good food *eh hm*

All that said to remind you, we are all on a journey. I have soooooo much still to learn. I still despise baking cakes and making pie crust from scratch.  I am not doing all the things, let alone doing them all well.  I am honored when people ask for recipes or home remedies { I still love herbs, but now I actually know what they are. And I figured out my hubby hates basil. Oops.} Yes, I homeschool and can point you to cool history books etc, but I stink at science experiments and if I’m reading good book I will make it a light day.  We’re embarking on this homesteading thing with pretty much zero knowledge but big dreams. My point is this…we all start somewhere. We all have gifts. Don’t compare yours to mine or anyone’s!  Just figure out what area you want to grow in and start! Baby steps.

Step 1: No more boiled chicken.

Blessings,

Mandy

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And The Homestead Is Bought…

Well, if you can consider a 30 year mortgage ‘bought’ that is.

And no closing papers signed yet.

We are so stinkin’ excited.

Life y’all, it cracks me up.

If you watched my video from the last post, you heard me talk about the land we were trying to buy.  It was a beautiful 3.3 acres with a gigantic house.  We have been waiting and waiting on it to hit the market.  We were excited about it, making our plans anxious for it to be ours.

The thing is, something in my spirit felt like we weren’t ACTUALLY waiting for THAT house.  I had some concerns, and something just didn’t feel ‘right’.  But I loved it, and I chose not to say anything to the family, but to bring it to God.   I think over the last 8 months or so, since we considered moving in the first place, my most frequent prayer has been , “Whatever is best for our family, Lord.  We don’t want it if it’s not right for us.”

And so I kept praying that prayer, but planning for that particular house.

Then Thursday night came. Now, I get updates from all the home sites whenever something matches my search criteria.  I had no emails of new homes popped up, but I scooted on over to my favorite site anyways, expecting to see the same 30 houses I’d gone through hundreds of times.   {It’s like opening the frig when you KNOW there’s nothing different than 5 minutes ago…and we had a house we were going to buy anyways!}…

And there it was.

It wasn’t especially stunning or remarkable from that first picture, but I felt my self getting ridiculously excited.  Something felt right about it.   I texted my agent before I had even read through the full description and asked her if it was active.   She checked, said yes, it had literally just been put on.   I asked her to make an appointment for my husband to see it the next day after work. {He is working up there, while the kids and I are living 3 hours south}.

I called him to tell him and he could hear in my voice how much I liked the place.  After a bit he said he thought I should just drive up in the morning and see it myself while he was working. I called the agent, changed the plans for 12:30, and piled the kids into the car the next morning.

We went to see the house, and I felt good about it. It was just what we had been wanting in property, without some of the issues the other property had.   We also drove over to the other property to compare.    I asked all the kids when we climbed in the car which they’d choose, and while some of them preferred the huge house on the ‘other’ property, we were all in agreement that the house we’d driven up to see was what we all wanted.

We wasted a few hours and then went and waited outside hubby’s work for him to get off, hoping we could scoot back over and he could see it too.    Only 2 problems, the agent called and said she’d tried to set up a second appointment but that it was booked solid the rest of the day, and hubs informed me he had to stay super late anyways, and wouldn’t be able to see it anyhow.  In the meantime, they were already getting an offer in from the people who had viewed the home after us.

With my husband’s blessing and blind trust, I told my agent we’d meet her at her office a 1/2 hr away to put in our offer.  I had to figure all the ‘numbers’ for our offer myself, praying my husband would be okay with the choices I was making. I crunched numbers, figured out what I could manage, and sat in the office filling out paper work while my kids ran like hooligans outside the poor real estate office’s yard and parking lot.  An hour+ later,  we grabbed some dinner, and headed back on our journey home  {the kids having been rewarded with Chick- fil-A for their long suffering day}.   I prayed and prayed God’s best for us, whatever that looked like.

At 1 am , my husband came home, exhausted after trying to sleep in a car for a few days and bone weary from his new job.  I woke up, turned the computer back on and showed him pictures of the house we’d just put an offer in on, and told him how much I’d offered, etc.

Thank God he approved {I really wouldn’t have done it if I hadn’t been sure he would, but it was reassuring nonetheless}.

And Saturday afternoon, I got the call that our offer was accepted!

So to the mini-homestead we go, I can’t wait to share more once it’s officially ours!

Blessings,

Mandy