Saturday, January 3, 2015

What are you excited about doing in the new year?

I'm excited to share two things I am doing this year.

First of all, a 52 week home decluttering plan.  

Check out the weekly printable checklist below:

and follow the below link to the website that breaks it all down for you!

and next, the Project Life (52 version)
so....I ordered the small 6x8 album and pocket page protectors from Stampin' Up for this.
Follow the link to my demonstrator's page:

I intend to use 52 page protectors, one for each week of the year, and include a little run-down or re-cap for each week of the highlights or special things I'd like to include.  This seemed much more manageable than having to take a picture or journal for every day of the year.  Some weeks may just be "fluff" pages filled with pretty stuff and quotes, but it will at least be meaningful to me in some way when I look back on it.  Also, I plan to use my own stash of cardstock and patterned paper (may buy some of the Project Life stuff at Micheal's with coupons to add some flair and pizazz). 

What are you excited about doing in the new year?

Thursday, January 1, 2015

January 01, 2015

Happy New Year!  
As the year begins, I find myself feeling gratitude for the blessings of 2014 and encouraged and hopeful for a beautiful 2015. 
2014 was a year of changes for me.  I closed my dance studio after 11 years of operating it and found myself feeling a little lost and suffering from a bit of an identity crisis.  I had been a dancer and dance teacher for so many years, I didn't know how to define myself without it. 
I also moved from 4th-5th grade assistant teaching down to 2nd grade with a new teacher.  This change has been a positive one, as I see myself better suited for interacting with and handling 2nd grade "issues" than I was with 5th grade ones.  
I still found myself struggling with my "creative" side and the lack thereof.  I started a gratitude album and by mid-April I had given up on it.  
The summer was a weird one and I didn't spend nearly as much time as usual out in my flower beds and garden, or just outside enjoying the sunshine.  I did, however, do a lot of decluttering around my home during that summer break and hosting a pop-up shop with several other vendors.  This marked the end of my time at the dance studio space and led me into the funk I was in when school resumed.  I wrapped my head around this new-found freedom of heading home after school days were over and tried to focus on me for a change.  It was nice.  I did yoga or workout dvd's almost daily and took better care of myself than I had in years.
Fall moved in and as always, I fell in love with the landscape...the fiery oranges and pinks in the sunrises and the sunsets.  The changing leaves and brilliant blue skies.  I nestled into the rhythm of shorter days and decorated my house lovingly for Halloween, then Thanksgiving.  We celebrated with our family from out of town.  It was such a nice treat to have them all together at our home and we loved sharing our lives with them in this way.  
The next weekend, it was time to put up our Christmas tree and holiday decorations.  I embraced this season and the extra time on my hands, by putting on my pj's every afternoon as soon as I got home from work and watching every cheesy Christmas movie known to man (and quite a few unknowns!).  I felt very nostalgic and had a deep longing to engage in all the traditions associated with Christmas.  It was really a magical season this year, even with my children being much older and not as excited and filled with anticipation as younger children are.  I tried my best to be very thoughtful and not overly indulgent with any of my gifts and I would say that these gifts seemed to be some of the best I have ever had the joy of giving.  I ended the holiday feeling very grateful for the family members that I do have that are so loving and caring of me and my family.  The holidays are always bittersweet since I miss my mother and also hate that my children have never really had the true "grandparent" experience.  I can only try my best to make them understand how important family is, even though our own extended family is often an imperfect example.  The best I can do on a daily basis is think LOVE, give LOVE, and be LOVE in hopes that the world is a better place, my children are better people, and I am a better person for it.  
As I go into 2015, I will, as always, come up with a few "guiding points" for the year.  Some things are on my list year after year, and others get checked off satisfactorily. I find the first of the year a welcome clean slate, better than just a new day (although that is nice, too) to seriously get down to the business of living life to the fullest and not taking any day for granted.  Life is precious! This year, I intend to live it even more fully than I have in the past.  I will work on reconnecting with some people that I have lost touch with. I will work on connecting with my true voice, and spending as much quality time as I can with those I hold dear, doing the things I enjoy doing.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Gratitude Journal and February check-in

So far, 2014 is off to a great start.  I have been trying lots of new recipes from my 10,000 Vegan Recipes cookbook I got for Christmas.  I have also been doing several different workout dvd's, in addition to my usual morning yoga.  I feel myself getting stronger each week.
I have kept up with my gratitude journal on a daily basis.  I have not yet printed out any pictures to go in the extra pockets for each week, though.  Will do that soon...

This past week, I had an unexpected 4 days out of school (which we don't have to make up-YAY!) due to snow.  It was so beautiful and couldn't have come at a better time.  I did some baking, more involved cooking, read A LOT, and just enjoyed hiking through the snow and being lazy when I felt like it.  

Now, as I prepare to go back to work on Tuesday, I am trying to tame the paper that abounds around here. Will work diligently tomorrow before it is back to the "grind".  

Check out my flickr album for the gratitude journal, thus far.  

Also, a few snow pics from around our yard.

Hope you are having a Happy Winter!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy 2014 from my home to yours!

Sadly, it has been a full year since my last post.  2013 was a good year, for the most part.  I had to make some life choices that didn't seem aligned with personal goals and dreams, but it was truly the responsible, mature thing to do and I know it was the right thing to do. I can reflect on 2013 and be proud that my family has spent a lot of time having fun together, we have had some amazing times with friends, I became a vegan (accidentally) and lost 15 pounds as a result, I added yoga into my life and a lot more exercise on a daily basis than in the past. Good stuff!
This year, however, I do intend to go boldly in the direction of my dream. That will require some very strategic planning, a lot of organizing, and a lot of saving.

 I have made a few resolutions for the year.  
They are as follows:

1-self care (in all the ways you can think of from taking off my make-up at night, to flossing, to rest, daily exercise, and bubble baths)
2-organizing, purging, cleanliness (getting my house back in order)
3-frugal living (trying not to buy anything unnecessary for a  year)
4-face my fears of career change
5-connect with long distance family and friends on a more regular basis
6-only positivity in my thoughts, speech, action
On another note, I kept a daily gratitude journal in 2013.  I wrote in it EVERY single night before turning out my light to go to bed.  My life is full of blessings and things to be grateful for.  To continue that good feeling, I am going to combine the Project Life idea with a gratitude journal and using supplies I already have, create a scrapbook of gratitude for the year.  
I'll plan to post my pages weekly to keep me motivated!

All the best in the coming year!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!


So, my word for 2013 is BALANCE.  Something I had very little of in 2012.  2012 was a year of extremes.  I worked too much (2 jobs), went to school part time, and did little in the way of weekend fun for a good 5 months of the year because of being back in school.  During the summer, I also had some shocking news that rocked my world and sent me on an emotional roller coaster-more extremes.  By the time I was to sign up for fall semester classes I had just had it and procrastinated to the point that I was only able to sign up for one course, a mini-mester, that was to begin on November 15th.  During my fall break from work, I had a sort of epiphany and decided that what I really wanted to do was pursue my desire to work more on artistic and creative endeavors and open my own retail shop.  I decided to drop the class I had signed up for and begin focusing on another chapter in my life.  A chapter that I was afraid I would regret not doing, or waiting until retirement age, to do.  So as this new year begins, I am counting down the days of work at one job that lead me closer to the dreams of another career.

Balance.  I will achieve this by trying to keep all facets of my life full. That means focusing first on me and what I need to be the best wife, mother, and person I can be for this world.  It also means spending quality time with family and friends.  It also means focusing on healthy choices for my mind, physical body, and spirit.  

I bid you all a happy 2013.  May you achieve all that your heart desires, it's up to you and only you!

P.S.-as a little footnote here, my previous post was way back in July.  I am about two laundry loads away from finishing up that detergent.  It worked very effectively in my HE washer.  I am going to make a new batch this week and add to it one box of Oxiclean, which was suggested in the last recipe I used.  If I remember correctly, the total cost of the detergent was about $10 and it lasted 5 $2 a month seems like a great bargain for detergent!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Frugal and Fun!

     So, the last few days I have been reading lots of information on the web about making your own shampoo, conditioner, hand and body wash, dishwashing soap, dishwasher detergent, and laundry soap.  Yesterday, I made my first batch of laundry soap using common household cleaning products.  Today, I made the dishwasher detergent.  I will have to update as to how these products measure up to the store bought brands, but I think I will be pleasantly surprised.

Laundry Soap

1 4 lb. box of Borax 
1 4 lb. box of Arm and Hammer Super Washing soda (not to be confused with regular baking soda)
1 4 lb. box of Arm and Hammer Baking soda
3 bars of washing soap (examples are Fels-Naptha, Zote, or Kirk's Castile)

Empty the contents of all boxes into large container for mixing.  Using a cheese grater to thinly grate each bar of soap.  I used Fels-Naptha brand and found it to smell really nice.  Then mix together all ingredients until blended well.  This cost a total of about $12.00 and will wash approximately 150 loads of clothes using 2 tbsp. per load.  Some reviewers said that 1 tbsp. would work, but I am going with 2 since I have a tendency to really overfill my washer.  I have a frontloading machine and found that when I set the soap dispenser to the powder setting, no residue was left and no clumping of the soap occurred.  Also, some reviewers suggested just putting the powder into the barrel of the washer.  I also filled the laundry softener reservoir with distilled white vinegar.  The clothes came out clean and fresh although not particularly scented.  I may add a bit of essential oil onto a small cloth to toss in the dryer for added fragrance....

Dishwasher Detergent

1 c Arm and Hammer Super Washing soda
1 c Borax
1/2 c Kosher salt
20 pkgs. of unsweetened lemonade mix

Combine all ingredients into a container and shake well to mix.  Use 1 tbsp. per dishwasher load. 
This cost $3.12 to make.  I used a 24 oz. Mason jar with a dispenser top I made using an old salt canister.  This amount will do 48 loads of dishes at a cost of $.07 a load!  The savings compared to the brand I normally use will be a difference of about $.25 a load.  That really adds up over time!  It is recommended with this detergent that vinegar be used in the rinse aid spot or by pouring some into the tub of the dishwasher.  Other people recommend sprinkling a product called Lemi-shine onto the floor of the dishwasher.  I was unsuccessful in finding this product at several grocery stores today, but will continue my search.  Since I have hard water, I think this will be a necessary addition.

Here is my pretty finished dispenser:

Monday, June 25, 2012

Garden Delights

As I said yesterday, I have been busy in the garden.  Below are pictures of a few of my favorite things blooming right now.

French Hollyhocks


 Provence Lavender