A Piece of Work, Care Packages, Gifts, Traditions, Where the Heart Is

BBQ in a Box

For those of you who don’t know, my husband is an Air Force Veteran. Since this is a recent development, most of our relationship has been that as an active duty military couple. Of Eliott’s 9 years in, we were dating, engaged or married for 5 years, and friends the prior 4. Thus, I got really good at care packages. And I mean REAL good folks..

I thought I’d put my talent to good use and share some of my boxes with you all. Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy having my husband home all the time, but why let the gift go to waste, right? As Memorial Day is coming up this weekend, I thought it would be appropriate if the first box I shared with you was my “BBQ in a Box.”

On my husband’s deployment to Africa, they would barbecue about once a month. The chow hall was nice enough to provide the meat and a few of the guys, including my husband, would fire up the grill (or whatever open flame it was they used). After this seemed to be an established trend, I decided to send my husband some extra equipment since there seemed to be a shortage of certain items.

Thus the “BBQ in a Box” was born.

All us military folks know that a good care package needs decoration. So we’ll get into that first. I’m sure that I could have been more extreme with my decor, but I chose to go with simple black construction paper background and stick on letters “Barbecue Master.” For that little extra something I added some red and orange glitter, for the embers if you will.

The contents of the box were as follows:

Clorox Disinfecting Wipes (sometimes they were without hot water to wash with)

Wet Ones

-BBQ Spatula

-BBQ Tongs

-BBQ Basting Brush

-BBQ Meat Fork

-Favorite BBQ seasonings

McCormick Grill Mates Brown Sugar Bourbon

McCormick Grill Mates Smokehouse Maple

McCormick Grill Mates Sweet and Smoky Rub

-Grill Mit

-Grill Apron

Technically, BBQ sauces are not an item you should mail, as they are considered liquids and those are not allowed with USPS. I did send my husband some shave cream one time, not thinking about it being in an aerosol can and technically a liquid. That particular package was confiscated.

*Make sure you check the rules and regulations of your postal service and of the country your military personnel is deployed in before mailing your package.*

Family, Popular, Traditions, Where the Heart Is

The Perfect Wedding

I always wanted a simple, outdoor, country wedding. I’d dreamed of it, the colors, the dress and, of course, the man standing at the end of the aisle for years. However, after my husband and I had been dating a while, I quickly realized that he had always dreamed of a church wedding. At first I was a little disheartened, but I have always held the opinion that the wedding is as much the groom’s as it is the bride’s. So I decided to search the beautiful world Pinterest for “Church Weddings.” There, I quickly warmed to the idea of the simple, undecorated, white churches as I scrolled the pages.

We are members of a small section of the Christian denomination known as “Missionary Baptist” and have been all my life. If you aren’t familiar with us, we have loud preachers, song services that could rattle window panes, and (conveniently) little white churches dotted all over the countryside. Note that I said “countryside”… I could still have my country wedding! My mother and I drove and drove looking at those churches in our area. She would send me pictures while I was away, and if I liked the outer appearance, we would attend church there the following Sunday to see the inside.

Photo By: Devon Garton Photography

When I finally found a church I loved, undecorated, it had something a little extra special; honestly, I don’t know why it wasn’t one of the first I chose to look at. Goodson Missionary Baptist church had been my grandfather’s home church for years. In fact, his photo was still up on the bulletin board near the church doors decorated with pictures of military men they prayed for throughout World War II. What wonderful symbolism for my grandparents (who’d long since passed) attending one of the greatest days of my life. I still get goose bumps thinking about it exactly 3 years later today

Photo By: Devon Garton Photography

What about my wedding dream, you ask? We had a simple, outdoor, country reception. We compromised. His dream became mine and mine became his until this wedding became OURS. OUR wedding was catered to US; a simple, inexpensive wedding with all the people we loved most invited. It wasn’t traditional to a T, but we enjoyed ourselves, had fun and look back on it with warm hearts.

Photo By: Devon Garton Photography

Sometimes the things that we always thought we wanted, end up not being the things we need or the things that end up being the most amazing. Compromising can result in one of the greatest days of your life. Not to mention that it is an awesome way to start off marriage and sets the tone for the relationship. My husband’s wish for his wedding day and my wish for mine combined to make something awesome that day. It symbolically marked the beginning of an official “Us.” The perfect wedding results in joining two hearts in love and all their ideas, hopes and dreams. And I’ll tell you what, that church wedding was perfect.

Popular, Where the Heart Is

Inquiring Minds

For inquiring minds:

Many of my friends have asked me in various different ways what “homesteading” and/or “hobby farming” is all about. I honestly never really thought about exactly what they meant when I started wanting to do this. I gave it some thought and to me “homesteading” means creating a home that relies on less of the outside world than a typical home. It also means, to me anyway, building a certain home atmosphere of hard work and a love to raise and grow.

As far as the term “hobby farm” goes.. my husband and I ENJOY this. It is a hobby to us and we have no intentions of making enough of anything for mass production. We would only like to produce enough for ourselves, gifts for our family and friends and sell whatever we have that is extra. Perhaps at a local Farmer’s Market… maybe on here, who knows! However, these questions also got me thinking about what the true definitions of these terms were. So I’ll start off with the term “homesteading.”

According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of “homestead” is:  “1 a: the home and adjoining land occupied by a family. b. an ancestral home. c. HOUSE .  2: a tract of land acquired from the U.S. public lands by filing a record and living on and cultivating the tract” Well folks, we sort of fall into all. Our homestead doesn’t have a house, yet. It is currently in process. However, it will be a house, it will be occupied by my family, and it was land owned by my family as far back as I know. As for the second definition, we my not have obtained it from the government, but we obtained it from my parents with the intention to live on and cultivate the land.

A more meaningful definition of homesteading, gleaned from “The Do It Yourself Homestead,” is gaining self-sufficiency. Tessa Zundel talks about many different ways to become self sufficient in this book and that homesteading does not mean that you have to be ENTIRELY self-sufficient (which is nigh impossible). It simply means that you are striving for personal freedom in some capacity.  Whether it be with energy production, produce production, meat production … really it could be anything! This definition also fits us, as we would love to know where most of what we consume comes from.

As for “hobby farm,” the Google Dictionary defines it as: “a small farm operated for pleasure or for supplemental income rather than for primary income.” Well, if this isn’t us… I don’t know what is. My husband is going to school full time with his GI Bill and I work full time at a small clinic near my home town. He may not love school and he won’t be doing that forever, but I LOVE my job and don’t think I’d ever be able to completely leave it. Regardless, I doubt the farm will ever be a primary income and we certainly find pleasure in growing green things and tending farm animals.

So there you have it! “Homestead” and “hobby farm” may not necessarily be interchangeable terms in every situation, but with our humble abode they co-exist quite nicely. Any other questions you all have, shoot them my way! I have no problem answering them, in fact, I usually learn something new myself when I do!