2013 – A Look Back

Highlights from 2013..

Around the World in 2013 – Know your history!! Key events from around the world for the year 2013 can be found here, here, and here.

Image courtesy of here.

Image courtesy of here.

Personal highlights

  • Finally started my own blog. Hopefully 2014 will bring more dedication to actually posting on regular basis though.
  • Really dug in to beginning “DIY/Natural homemade lifestyle”. Some recipes that I made and actually continue to use include cleaning products, facial toner (this recipe), laundry detergent, and no-poo hair routine (similar to this routine). Made first ever maxi skirt (used this tutorial) and dyed my own shorts for summer. Actually completed some crafts that I have “pinned” on Pinterest and pictured in my head including turning wooden crates to bedside tablesdoor hanger, and flower tower.
  • Had a column published in the  local newspaper. And actually was paid for it!
  • Completed 12 hours towards my Master’s degree, while still working full-time and continuing to grow in expectations/responsibilities at work.
  • Was successful at first ever public speaking engagement that was actually for my job rather than for a grade in school.
  • Quit smoking!

Jekyll Island, Georgia – first full family vacation where Ronnie Dean got to experience a full week of vacationing with my family, and my family experienced a full week of vacationing with Ronnie Dean. This included:

  • Ronnie Dean was able to truly experience my sister’s love of “birding” – as in every time she yelled at Dad to randomly pull over on the side of the highway for a picture of a “rare” bird.
  • The family experienced the Montgomery focus and dedication when discovering a new way of hobby. Ronnie and I discovered the “old school” way of catching blue crab, and Ronnie also got to walk along the beach with a homemade spotlight looking to “spear” fish. Although they have heard me talk about it, they finally experienced first hand how Ronnie Dean is like a kid on Christmas morning when discovering a new kind of “hunting”. Poor Dad did not realize that staying with his daughter and son-in-law on the beach to catch crabs would last until 2:00 in the morning.
  • This family vacation also provided Ronnie Dean’s first actual flight and the first time we actually flew together. Saw Captain Sig Hansen from Deadliest Catch tv show in the Atlanta airport – Ronnie Dean got pretty excited! 😉
  • Ronnie Dean and I discovered that no matter where we go, we can always find a fellow “redneck” to discuss fishing/hunting and the different techniques in different parts of the United States, hence the “old school” crabbing and the spear fishing.
  • Whole family went deep-sea fishing. It was fun seeing my parents and sister, especially my mom and sister, reeling in the black sea bass. They even touched the fish! And of course we have the large fish we caught at the taxidermy to go on our wall and the piece of driftwood hand chosen by Ronnie Dean on driftwood beach for the fish to be mounted on!

Hunting highlights

  • Ronnie Dean broke his bad hunting streak and got that buck he has worked towards. Plus the freezer is full of venison!
  • Got my first coyote!

Family highlights

  • Ronnie Dean and I grew our first garden. And plants actually grew!! Abundantly!! We  are loaded down with pickles and peppers still. First garden and canning adventures were a success. This also led to my first ever HOMEMADE PIZZA!! and it was actually tasty!
  • Celebrated our third year of marriage, September 18th.
  • Our slobbery bloodhound turned three, July 18th.

It has been an eventful year with lots memories made. However as with everything I saved the most important change/highlight of 2013 for last. This past year, Ronnie Dean and I made the decision that we were ready to expand our little family. I did not refill my birth control prescription for June and we made the decision to not exactly “try” but rather to quit trying to prevent it and if it happened, it happened. In all honestly, we thought it would take months for the birth control to get out my system and there was no reason to stress/rush the process. Well needless to say what we thought would probably take months to happen, actually took less than a month. (Yes, turns out I was actually pregnant when we went on that family vacation. In fact, my sister informed me last night that while on vacation, she actually asked Mom if she thought I might be pregnant!)

As of today, December 31, 2013, the last day of the 2013, I am 26 weeks and 5 days (based on my estimated due date). The baby is around 14-15 inches from crown to heal and weighs around 1.6 to 2.2 pounds. (Based upon three different pregnancy apps.)

Miss Harley Cheyenne Montgomery is expected to be here April 3, 2014.

Needless to say, 2013 was an excited year with lots of memories made and milestones. However, the year two thousand and fourteen is shaping up to be the most life-changing so far, and I for one cannot wait!

Veggie Pizza – A Recipe Experiment Success!

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Our first garden is doing better than Ronnie and I expected, so we have been canning and trying out new recipes like crazy. Also, my husband has been working on the road during the week, therefore he is only here on the weekends to help me figure out what to do with all these veggies. When we decided to grow our vegetable garden, it was centered around having the vegetables to make pickles, in which Ronnie swore he would help with if the garden was a success. Well as you can see in the picture above, we are in veggie overload, especially on cucumbers and zucchini, and he can’t really help from a hotel room! It sucks when he has to work on the road and stay in a hotel room throughout the week, but it does have one advantage. I always try out new recipes whenever he is gone. This is because if the recipe is good (and I know what Ronnie considers good), then I have something to surprise him with when he gets home. If I try out a recipe and it is bad – no big deal. I can just eat it/dump it and no one has to know!

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Well last night was one of those “let’s try something new” night since I have all these veggies that need to be taken care. I had to stop by Kroger on my home anyway (needed ingredients to pickle my cucumbers!), so I went ahead and bought thin pizza crust dough and pizza sauce. I chose Prego Pizza Sauce Veggie Smart – no specific reason other than it was on sale. I chose Pillsbury brand for the dough because again, I just focused on sale items. If this recipe was going to stink, at least it wouldn’t cost a lot! I have on my kitchen bucket list to make my own pizza dough and pizza sauce, but for now these will work. In the end the pizza turned out AMAZING! This will definitely become a surprise for Ronnie when he gets home20130711-082004.jpg

Ingredients:

*Pillsbury Thin Crust Pizza Dough

*1/3 cup Pizza sauce

* 1/3 cup Zucchini – sliced

*1/3 cup Squash – sliced

*1/2 cup Carrots – shredded

1 pod –  Okra – sliced

*1/4 cup Shredded CheeseSeasoning/Fresh Herbs

*These are rough estimates of the amounts. I used these
numbers to enter data into My Fitness Pal in order to have the nutritional values found below.

-Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.                   -Bake 10-15 minutes

-While the oven preheated, I rolled out my dough. As you can see, I did not exactly get a round pizza. I think my dough got too warm on my way home (happens in 100 degree weather here in Arkansas). The package said it would just roll out, and well it didn’t. It still worked just fine, and the shape didn’t bother me. I used my pizza stone to bake the pizza on, but you could use a basic cookie sheet as well.

-Once you have it the size (or shape) you want, place in oven for about 5 minutes (followed this step based off instructions of Pillsbury container).

-While waiting for dough to pre-bake, slice the veggies you want. I used my Mandolin Slicer, so about five minutes was all I needed to get my veggies ready. We already had the shredded carrots in the fridge, so I added those as an afterthought.

-After the dough is done pre-baking, take it out of the oven and spread your pizza sauce on. The recipe on the dough package called for 1/3 cup, but I just     eye-balled the amount until it looked right. After that I added my veggies and shredded cheese. I added some dried herbs on top. **Please note, whenever I try new recipes, I just grab random herbs/spices and then can never remember which ones I used. That is part of the fun of trying new things, you don’t have to be too serious about it. For this recipe, I used basil and Italian seasoning. I know I used one more, but for the life of me cannot remember what it was.

-Bake in the oven for about 10-15 minutes or until you reach the desired crust. **The package stated 6-9 minutes, but as my dough turned out a little thicker, I put it on for longer until my crust looked a little darker. I like my crust a little on the crispy side.

-Let the pizza cool, and enjoy! This took all of 30 minutes,which would have been shorter if I didn’t have to fight the dough with my roller! Simple, easy, and delicious!

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Please ignore the “Goal” column. These are my personal goals set up in My Fitness Pal, which is a free app that makes it easy to track your food intake and exercise goals. Plus it comes in handy for determining nutritional value for new recipes!