I’ve hooked you with a very exhillerating title again, haven’t I? (Wink.) As I have been thinking about how to describe the year we are now closing, it’s hard to come up with a dramatic title, after having endured The Year We Faced Our Fears and The Year Our Hearts Overflowed. It was somewhat quiet, and basically… Stable. Simple. Sweet. That’s what we needed. Especially considering what I plan to share with you soon about 2014. Here are the highlights of 2013.
This was a quiet month for us to hunker down and enjoy record amounts of snow. We set our intentions for the year as a family and as individuals. I shared my year of progress in my pottery classes, and Jeff started taking French (which he diligently continued all year.)
We bundled up and headed out in the cold to visit some of the interesting places around us: Snape Maltings, Wyken Vineyards, and Anglesey Abbey. I shared the extensive wardrobe required by my very own little English schoolgirl— this post has been very popular, and it’s fun to read the comments!
March marked the start of foraging season for us– we collected stinging nettles, and turned them into our first batch (of many batches!) of Nettles Beer. I also wrote about the ways we buy our food– on a budget, without going to the supermarket.
We rested and got ready for a very busy summer. We visited the walled Georgian garden at Wimpole Estate— magical! I shared my most-popular-recipe-ever, Spatchcock Roasted Chicken, as the weather warmed up enough for us to start eating dinner outdoors– one of life’s greatest pleasures.
Let me just point out that it’s dawning on me just what a quiet, simple life we lived for nearly the whole of the first half of 2013. In May, we picked lilacs to make wine with, attended a cattle show, and took a very long walk. Then things got much more exciting, and we headed to the continent for an adventure of couchsurfing with strangers. We visited Italy (Trieste) Slovenia (Izola and Piran) and then Croatia (Brijuni Island.)
July was a whirlwind. We drove to Paris, and spent two weekends in London with my sister. Then Jeff’s parents arrived, and we showed them all the local sights, and took them to France for the day.
We celebrated Jeff’s birthday with a day of boating on the Norfolk Broads with our last set of guests. And then we pretty much used every spare moment for taking drives in the country and foraging. We made wines and sodas, ciders and beers, and preserved cherries and anything else we could find. Every ounce of sunshine was precious and we walked for dozens of miles every week.
September marked the return of school days and routine, and I could not have been more ready. We settled in to end the year quietly. I taught myself to knit, and started reading with a vengeance, determined to make the most of fall and winter. And we got our dog, Jack!
We took the last trip of the year, to Edinburgh. It was our first real family road trip, and we had a blast. The month was challenging for me as a blogger, as I was without a camera or laptop for its entirety and beyond. But in the end, I came out ahead, with a new camera and a new laptop, ready to finish the year strong with you.
November is the hardest month on the expat calendar for me. I love celebrating Thanksgiving, but it’s really hard for me as an expat. But I am learning how to make the most of it, and this year we hosted a meal for other expats, and it was fun. December
And here we are, closing out the year. I had a blast writing for you and sharing our lives with you this month. I loved taking you along with for a very charming trip to buy eggs. We had our first big giveaway, and then I loved sharing some of my favorite gift ideas (for Ladies and for Gentlemen) for Christmas with you. We made a winter wreath together, and I shared about our the exciting results of our family piggy bank project. We finished the year with homemade pastrami. So much fun! And that doesn’t include the many other recipes I published this month, either!And Here We Are… Saying goodbye to a lovely and stable 2013, and looking ahead for adventure in 2014. It’s going to be a really exciting year, and I look forward to telling you some of the reasons I know this to be true! One of the greatest intentions I set for 2013 was to commit more to this blog, and to connecting with more of you. I have been so thrilled to see my work pay off, and to watch my blog grow this year, and to be able to connect with so many of you. Sharing here makes my life richer, and I am thankful for each of you that comes along with us on our adventures and through our challenges in this way.
I hope your year is ending strong, and may 2014 be filled with deep connection, joy and adventure!