This land is my land, this land is your land.

My husband and I are finally *really* starting to take advantage of our lot in life… military life, that is. It’s taken us awhile to get on the same page, but I think we’re getting there. I’ve always been a travel nut, he could take it or leave it… but I think I’ve finally gotten the travel bug to bite.

When I was a kid, I had a huge world map on the wall outside my room, and I would stick a sequin on every country or city or state or province that I wanted to visit. When I visited it, I’d change the color of the sequin. Other than a trip over the border from Alberta into Montana as an infant, I remained Canada-bound til I was 14… and that was when my family and I started to live the homeschooling life! (a bit of an oxymoron, relating this to globetrotting…) My sisters and I took a trip to California to scout out a college, my dad took us on a road trip through Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Montana and North Dakota (almost as flashy as Vegas), and then there was a road trip with my mom all the way across Canada, into Ontario & Quebec, down through Niagara Falls, into Vermont and across upstate New York, continuing through another 10 states on our way home. My family took several leisurely drives down to California, driving like mad people around the clock and sleeping in the car… but taking our time to see coastal Washington and Oregon (including a petrified forest [snicker] and the Redwoods), plenty of California, Death Valley, Zion National Park in Utah, Las Vegas, Arizona, Idaho and Montana. We’ve “been to” Mount Rushmore, and caught a breathtaking view of the… foot of the mountain. There was hopeless fog that day, so nary a presidential carving did we espy. But, dammit, we went. My family isn’t one to shy away from a road trip.

Now, my husband and I are living on the east coast and… you guessed it… we moved ourselves cross country. The military gave us the option of hauling our stuff over from California and letting us hop on a plane, but what fun is that? We got to stretch our legs… in the Grand Canyon.

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(The grammar nazi in me cringes at the lack of an apostrophe in “guides”…)

We drove through Texas and Oklahoma in a huge Penske truck, with all our worldly possessions plus a car in tow. In tornado season. We stayed in Bates Motel in some godforsaken Texan backwoods, where we (ok, *I*) fully expected to be murdered in the night and have saidworldly possessions spirited away by a tornado during the night.

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We… how do I describe New Mexico? We were in it. I’m sure there’s something there. In Arkansas I learned there was a worse place than Death Valley, and it pained me not to stop in Nashville.

I think that trip got the ball rolling, because then James started suggesting cruises and road trips and… a trip to Europe. *squeeeeeal*

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But I digress.

My point is/was, we’re taking advantage of this East Coast living situation. We’re aiming to hit up as many of these states as we can before our next move, and this is FUN. With a capital F-U-N. And the best part is, I thought that once we started having kids, I’d have to soak my travel bug in DEET, but I think for some reason we’re traveling more. Since having Susannah 3 months ago, we’ve been to 4 states, with plans for a few more in the next few months. I’ll talk about those later.

For Mother’s Day/our anniversary, James got me this super cool version of my childhood map:

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We are putting on the pieces of the states we’ve BOTH been to… aiming to eventually fill in the whole thing. It’s super fun (and no, we haven’t been to all those states… that’s just the preliminary “putting-it-all-together” phase). Here’s where we’ve been so far:

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However, this weekend, the long weekend of all things, we will not be adding any pieces. We’re doing a staycation… and I’m so excited! We’re planning on going to the aquarium, some local breweries, the beach, a movie night in, a BBQ… I love it.

Happy Memorial Day!

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Sauer-ing the Kraut

Well, check one off the ol’ bucket list.

Ok, ok, so maybe making sauerkraut isn’t exactly monumental enough to make it onto a bucket list, but nonetheless, it’s something I’ve been wanting to try. I’ve got a lot of Ukrainian in me (my mom is 100% Ukrainian, and we are from a very Ukrainian village… yes, village… in Canada; where everyone is a -chuk or a -ski or an -ov, etc, and all we eat is perohe and holupchi and borscht and kapusniak and… sigh. I miss my upbringing.) and so I try to keep cooking the things Mom and Baba used to make. I’ve already attempted (and semi-succeeded) sour cabbage leaves, which were used to make sour holupchi (cabbage rolls, yo) for Christmas. Now, apparently sauerkraut is all the rage these days being a fermented food, but the Eastern Europeans are way ahead of that hipster bandwagon. By the way, my baba is going to be 99 this year, and her mother lived to be 100-and-something, so I’d say the fermented foods work.

Anyway, there is nothing easier than fermenting cabbage, either whole leaves or as sauerkraut. You literally put it in a container, put a dash of salt in it, and cover it with water. Then you let it sit. And done. Ok, a pb&j is easier. So is McDonald’s. And every other fast food upon which the great American nation was built… forgive me, I got carried away. But it’s incredibly easy, immensely tasty, and of course so-very-good-for-you.

First I just chopped up the cabbage…

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And Susannah was quality control from the ring sling.

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Dump all the chopped cabbage into a bowl, and mix in about a teaspoon of salt. Let that sit for a few hours to draw the water out of the cabbage, which makes it easier to pack into jars.

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Stuff it into your good old trendy mason jars, and there should be enough water from the cabbage to basically surround everything you’ve got in there once it’s all packed in tight. I added some caraway seeds to give it a good flavor.

This is where I’m at in the game, but it will need to ferment for about a week. I’ll have to open the jars every day to “relieve the gasses” (yes, you let the jars fart.) Sometimes you have to skim off some moldy stuff (NBD guys) and let out some water, but that’s it! In a week, I’ll have delicious, perfect, FERMENTED sauerkraut (not pickled) for a grand total of less than the dollar it took to buy a head of green cabbage.

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Ain’t they pretty?

*Special thanks to my big sis, Melissa, for the darling matryoshka measuring cups. They complete me.

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First blog… let’s do seven quick takes, shall we?

Well, I don’t know where to start with this whole blogging thing, so I’ll start with a “Seven Quick Takes” of the day. *Disclaimer* Posts will be baby-heavy, since I am now the proud o̶w̶n̶e̶r̶ mother of a 10 week old baby girl.

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#1: Last night, Susannah (said baby girl) slept from 10:30 pm until 7:20 in the morning. I, of course, did not. Making sure she was still alive and all that.

#2: 10+ weeks postpartum, I am getting antsy about this belly that’s hanging around. It’s so soft and doughy. Like… the exact consistency of bread dough, I believe. I’ve been back at the gym for a few weeks now but am having issues with not getting to eat whatever I want anymore. #nonpregnantpeopleproblems … So the gut is sticking around.

#3: SO MANY SPRING SALES! Let’s just say I am seriously considering getting a secret credit card. And let’s also say, with online shopping, it’s like going to the mall and paying upfront for every item you want to take into the changing room with you. And then you get the money back for all the items you leave in the changing room. My husband doesn’t see it that way. He opts for having a stroke instead.

#4: Susannah is 4-6 weeks away from crossing borders and taking names. Or at least being able to. When her passport comes. Now that we’ve finally applied for the darn thing.

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Oh and the crusty old postal worker? He said that was the best baby-passport-photo he’s seen in all his days. My dad says she looks like there should be a tattoo on that big ol’ bicep.

#5: We’ve discovered a used bookstore just a couple minutes away from our place. And it’s Target-sized. I could do some major damage there… thankfully most of the books are only a dollar or two. My husband James (God bless him), has already suggested we go buy another bookshelf. This is huge, since he is the most anti-things person I know.

#6: Bloglovin’. It is my new obsession. The iPhone app is amazing. I am already following 86 blogs, and I got it yesterday. Nuff said.

#7: Last but not in any way the least, the man I knew as Papa for the first 21 years of my life is hours away from being canonized. St. John Paul the Great, pray for us!

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