The One Where We Started a New Year

This new year got a little…tumultuous. Anyone else ready for a reset moving into 2021?

To be clear, I’ve had plenty of fun during this winter break. Sometimes though, having a new foster kiddo in the house makes things a little TOO interesting. I like to keep my holidays and downtime pretty low-key.

Thanks to the great company I work for and the kindness of some of the students I work with, I had a few Amazon gift cards to spend last week. I’ve gone through an entire journey recently of realizing I needed to go gluten-free, and then learning all about gut health. Consequently, I decided it was time to start making my own kombucha at home!

I found this great starter kit from Amazon, and it was only about $45. To me that is slightly a splurge, but as long as it actually makes tasty kombucha, I’ll start to save money on grocery trips in the long run. I was prepared to be very grossed out by the SCOBY(symbiotic culture of yeast and bacteria) but I actually think it smells delicious. For those of you that don’t know the SCOBY scent, it’s kind of fermenty like you’d smell going to a brewery or distillery. I’ve been known to duck my head under the kitchen cabinets to lean in and smell this brewing kombucha about 3 times a day now. Because the fermentation process needs some ventilation, the jar stays covered with this cloth and I can smell it anytime. Fingers crossed any guests at my house don’t think it smells rank! Though I definitely don’t recommend you have guests over to your house during a pandemic, I can’t get around needing to have all kinds of case workers and service providers at my house to see this foster kid. Starting this kombucha batch was actually a nice way to do a real-life science experiment with the kiddo 🙂

Fun fact: Apparently, the SCOBY keeps growing new layers with each kombucha batch and you can retire the oldest SCOBY to make into dog treats (SCOBY snacks for Dart!!). Seriously, I could keep going with puns and wordplay related to my cutest dog ever. Don’t be surprised to see an upcoming batch called “kompoocha.”

Back to my claim that I like to keep holidays low-key, here is photo evidence that I can’t stop obsessing over my calming relaxation time in the hot tub.

Honestly, I watched fireworks from the hot tub on New Year’s Eve, I was in it again after our hike on New Year’s Day, and I was in it again over the weekend after I volunteered at the therapeutic horseback riding center. With these short winter days, it’s been hard to ever hop into the hot tub while there’s still daylight out, but it was quite nice now that I’ve tried it a few times! I’ve also discovered how to be lazy and only open half of the hot tub if my hubby isn’t there to help me with the cover, lol.

We have sort of a tradition of hiking on New Year’s day. It wasn’t intentionally made a tradition, we just love hiking so much that I naturally plan more hikes on days off and holidays. This year we went to Red Rock and decided to retrace our steps from a recent hike with our dachshund Dart. Of course, we can go much further without him. Dummy me put on sunscreen, but we were only in direct sunlight for about 5 minutes before we walked down a hill and into a valley shaded by the mountains for the rest of our hike. It was a BEAUTIFUL day to be out, but I didn’t quite dress warm enough and had to quickly add on almost all the extra layers I keep in my pack. Lucky for me, my UV buff keeps my neck warm and doubled as a mask when we passed numerous other hikers. We goofed and didn’t take a map for our little 2.87-mile hike, but clearly we could have used it when we were headed in the wrong direction around mile 2. Luckily we were up high enough to look around and find our error then get back on the right trail.

After all this fun, I’m sort of dreading going back to work tomorrow. I know, it’s not that bad, I mostly work from home, but still. I’ve already confessed I thrive on quiet time and relaxation, so going back to progress reports, filing, planning around COVID school schedules, and catching up with all our case workers is now a dreaded Monday chore. Now that I think about it, we’ve only had this foster kid on days that school was out of session, so we have a whole lot to figure out in the morning. She’s supposed to be at school by 9am, but she frequently gets out of bed around 11am during winter break 🤣 that’s going to be a shock to her system tomorrow!

Here’s our New Year in a nutshell: we can plan for nothing and we can hardly count on anything. Does that sound like your life right now too? We try to make a budget, but we don’t know how busy the husband will be at work or how long the foster kid will be with us. I try to plan working on my side gig and then our schedules change. I try to plan my work schedule (I get to make my own schedule for the most part) but then the schools change their minds about being in-person or online. How frustrating! Just like in 2020, my patience and resilience is going to continue to grow in 2021 ❤

4 thoughts on “The One Where We Started a New Year

    1. Nice to meet you too! I’m still in awe over all the beauty in the landscapes out here, it looks nothing like Indiana where I’m from. I’m still checking on my kombucha brew all day every day, I wish it went a little faster!

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  1. Hoping your 2021 will be better than the last! Envy your homemade kombucha – we hope you enjoy it heaps, and also find some quiet time for yourself despite going back to work and fostering. Beautiful hike!

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    1. Thank you! Luckily the foster kid wants to get involved in hiking too. Getting out in nature is vital to my mental health, so hopefully she grows to love it too.

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