Returning To My Roots

I’m going back home.

Ten months ago we packed up our things and left the city of Chicago behind. This past ten months has been a series of fits and starts, fits and starts. But we’ve finally landed. We are very much in suburbia, but we are still apartment dwelling. It will be a little while until we realize our dream of home ownership, and that’s okay.

So I tried my hand at a new phase of blogging here at, but I’m not quite there yet, so I’ll leave it be. Where I’m supposed to be is back where I was, at Apartment Farm. I fell into a common trap at here – I tried to reinvent what I was doing and then I just stopped. It takes a lot of work to reinvent something. And I’ve spent so much time worrying about “content” and taking amazing photos that blogging became this really stressful concept in my mind, so I stopped doing it. If I wasn’t going to do it perfectly, then I wasn’t going to do it at all.

As it turns out, I’m human. And I’ve been missing the point. I’ve got a good life – reliable job, nice apartment, enough money to make ends (mostly) meet, health insurance for the whole family and always, always enough food on the table. I’ve got an amazing husband and a wonderful son. But the stress has literally started to eat me alive. Again, I’ve been missing the point. I’ve set the bar so high for myself that there’s no way I can clear it. So I’m coming back to square with my life. I’m going to work my job and when I clock out I will be done. As soon as I step off the elevator, my head will be clear. I’m going to start doing the things I enjoy, even if they don’t turn out perfectly and I don’t photograph them so they look amazing for the blog.

And I’m going back to Apartment Farm – for me. I started it thing so long ago as a journal of sorts, to connect with others and share my little slice of the world. I’d like to start doing that again. But you’ll have to forgive me if I don’t have incredible pics on every post and mind-blowing, inventive never-before-seen projects for you to try. I’m going to go back to being me, and I humbly invite you along for the ride.

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Settling In & Garden Planning

Well hello, hello. We are finally more or less settled in the new apartment. There are no more cardboard boxes piled everywhere, trash bags of clothing lurking in the closets or half-built furniture. Okay, mostly. Our bar is still a pile of pieces since we managed to lose all the bolts for it and haven’t gotten around to ordering replacement ones. But pretty much, we are settled in.

We’re getting into good routines with work, trips to the library, biweekly grocery shops, and all the mundane little tasks that make up everyday life. It feels good.

I think I’ve also managed to find a community garden in the vicinity where I can rent a plot – a humongous 400 square foot plot! Our town doesn’t currently have any community gardens, but I found one in the next town over, not far from where I catch the commuter train each day. It’s really cheap – $15.00 for non-residents for the season and five minutes from the train station, which would make it easy to pop over there for a little while each day when I get off the train. Cross your fingers I can get a plot – I have no idea how in demand they are, and non-residents can’t register until the middle of April, which is a full month after resident registration opens. So hopefully I can get in. I’m working on my planting schedules so I can be prepared to get everything in the ground right away if I’m lucky. And of course, I’ll have that posted for you to peruse soon.

I’m also working on a post about my massive to-do list for the apartment – it always takes awhile for everything to get to be the way you really want it after you move, so I’ve got a big project list. Including reupholstering two wing back chairs!

Radio Silence…

I’ve been MIA for a good reason lately. We’re moving into our own place again! The foray into residing with relatives is drawing to a close – on Thursday we’re packing it all into a truck and moving back into our own place. Not a house quite yet, but a spacious, newly renovated apartment. It’s a beauty. It’s back in Elk Grove Village, the suburb where we first landed and took a real liking to. It’s got two big bedrooms, the master with a nice walk in closet. It’s got good lighting. Brand new cream carpeting throughout, with new tile in the kitchen and bathroom. All new fixtures in the bathroom and kitchen, as well as brand new appliances, including a dishwasher and microwave. I don’t go in for microwaves all that much, but the dishwasher will be amazing to have. It’s got an eat in kitchen, plus a small dining “area” just off the main living room, but we’re going to use that as an office area since it also functions as the main thoroughfare to get to the bedrooms. The kitchen has a pantry, so I can’t wait to get on top of getting it organized – I’ve got to keep my eyes peeled for some more bulk storage bins.

This apartment is the biggest one we’ve lived in to date – it’s about 900 square feet. Our last place was a little over 700 square feet, so I’m excited about all of the space we’re going to have. It’ll seem a bit smaller after we get all of our stuff in, I’m sure, but it’s still a ton of space. There’s only one big drawback to this apartment – there’s no private outdoor space. No balcony or patio where we can hang out. I will certainly miss it, but there’s a big green area where the kiddo can run around, and a nice playground within walking distance. And I’m certainly experienced with indoor gardening after my Apartment Farm days. So we’ll make it work.

As soon as we’re settled there’s a lot to talk about – almost time to get some seeds planted, and there are a ton of new food projects on the horizon. Wish us luck!

2012 Review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog – I hope to write more and share more as this year gets off to a great start!

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,200 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

A Time For Planning

As promised, I have returned. With the holidays over and the first full week of winter under our belts, it’s time to buckle down and start laying some plans for what comes next. In the big picture, my husband is job hunting for a part time job and we are apartment hunting. We saw a workable, though small, place over the weekend. We’re going to head out again next weekend to see a few more. Being a reasonable distance from the city (not too close, but closer than where we are now), walking distance to the Metra commuter train and two bedrooms are the essential requirements. The nice-to-haves are outdoor space (of course), a gas stove and a dining room. So we’re plugging along with that.

January is the time of year when I really start thinking about the stuff we own – probably because we always seem to accumulate more than we intend to over the holiday seasons. I’ve embarked upon an organizational quest for the rest of the month – I redid our bedroom closet and organized a bunch of Little Man’s things over the weekend. It’s nice to be able to open a closet and not be confronted with an avalanche of junk. The next projects on the docket are going through all of the things we have in storage and sorting out items for this summer’s garage sales and repacking stuff that will be making our next move with us. A huge project, and I have no idea when I’ll find the time to get through it, but I plan to chip away on it in little bits and pieces. So it will all get done.

But while necessary, that’s all pretty boring stuff in the grand scheme. There are fun things afoot as well, and evidenced by the rest of my to do list –

– Inventory the seed collection. Anything to do with plants in the dead of winter makes me happy.

– Plan a modest container vegetable garden. Since I have no idea where we’ll be yet and how much outdoor space we’ll have, it will be modest indeed – a pair of tomato plants, some salad greens, some herbs, maybe some scallions… but the planning is half the fun and excitement anyhow.

– Figure out how to do an excellent cassoulet in the crockpot, since it is very much crockpot season and cassoulet is one of the best things of all time to eat when it’s cold outside.

– Sew a coupon wallet from my new-ish sewing book that I got last year – Fabric-By-Fabric One Yard Wonders. I’ve been anxious to try a new pattern from it and it’s well nigh time I got around to it.

I’m excited about a new year and all of the fresh possibilities that it holds. I anticipate great things this year – getting back on our feet in the way that we want, making a new home and continuing to work toward our big picture goals are paramount. But I’m also really looking forward to some good, honest cooking, lots of gardening (even if it is back in a collection of pots) and putting some time in at the crafting table. Here’s to a great year ahead!