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


Sunday, June 24, 2012


Well, I have fallen off of the haiku wagon and haven't written one in months.  17 syllables, 3 lines, seems so easy but I think I just got bored with them and lost inspiration.  A friend has encouraged me to pick it up and not worry about not completing my goal of one a day.  I think I will.

I have been on summer break from school and both jobs and it has been wonderful!  I have tackled some obstacles in my home.  The mudroom, the storage room, and an infrequently used theatre which have been holding rooms for everything in transition in or out of the house, as well as anything that doesn't have a normal home.  I have also done a lot of weeding, planting, transplanting, composting with llama poo, and mulching.  My yard looks pretty awesome right now!  I even made a new and improved compost bin.  Finally, I have even had time to try some new recipes and make a few crafts.  It has been a much needed break from things I have to do and much needed time to do things I want to do!  We also took a week's houseboat vacation with some friends to Norris Lake in Tennessee.

Here are a few of the recipes I've tried...

Low-carb Layla's Hamburger Cabbage Stir-fry

Duck and Goat cheese pizza

This is my take on a favorite from Expressions Wine Bar (no longer in business).  My hubby bought some free-range duck and roasted it and this was the perfect solution for leftovers...

Whole wheat pizza dough rolled out to make a thin crust
brushed with olive oil and a little pesto sauce, fresh chopped garlic, rosemary, oregano and salt and pepper
added dried cherries, sliced red onion, mushrooms, goat cheese, duck slices, and mozzarella
Baked at 350 for about 18 minutes.  It was wonderful with a good glass of red wine!

I'll add more photos of crafts soon...
It's time for me to grab a glass of wine and go watch my chickens dine before it is their bedtime.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Long overdue blog update. I have given up on posting a weekly bird project and a weekly recipe for the time being. Way too busy right now and doing the nightly haiku is all I can muster the extra time (and energy) for these days. I did make a new lemon cake last week, which I will probably post sometime in the future, but for now I just have to post these haikus so I feel like I have accomplished something in the past month or so!

Tapas and music
A Madeleine Peyreoux show
In our living room

We took a joy ride
An old-fashioned Sunday drive
up on the parkway

Overwhelmed by stuff
I have to do while on break
So, is this a break?

Breakfast with Jimmy
at Early Girl Eatery
So very yummy!

Sequins and sparkles
The costumes shimmer and shine
They dance in my mind!

My night spent alone
All quiet and confusing
Filled with bad T.V.

I delight in the
pink blossoms of cherry trees
falling like raindrops

Good Irish blessings
with corned beef, cabbage, and beer
and good friends so dear.

Family returns
There's time to enjoy the yard
Full of spring beauty

Chickadees sing sweet
songs of springtime
flitting through the trees

The sky turned purple
mountains majesty aglow
with each lightning flash

The bees swarm around
the pink cherry tree blossoms
buzzing a spring song

The chicken coop is
coming right along, so long
not much more waiting

A trip to Charlotte
for shopping at Ikea
Swedish smorgasbord

I begin the test
answering essay questions
that rattle my brain

The test is over
A few hours left for me
for wine and T.V.

Venus and Jupiter
and the moon shine bright tonight
such a lovely sight

Girl's night at Connie's
Up too late on a school night
Much laughter and wine

Almost ready for
laying hens and farm fresh eggs
to fill my new coop

Another birthday
42 and still counting
in my blessed life

A birthday party
I celebrate with good friends
I am so lucky

Three sweet little hens
Came to live with us today
Please be happy here!

"Cluck! I laid an egg"
said the big black hen proudly
and then came two more...

I can't help but feel
This place is not right for me
So what is my place?

They say all is well
that ends well, I hope that's true
When truth is hurtful

Enjoying the breeze
By the weeping cherry tree
Troubles far away

Dark clouds hunker down
Buckets full of rain falling
The earth runs away

A morning for birds
Chickadees, finches, titmouse
A woodpecker, too

Special time with Tripp
in Asheville at CityMac
and the music store

April 8th, Easter
Hunting for candy-filled eggs
in the flower beds

My hands are filthy
From working in the garden
Such satisfaction

Meeting followed by
meeting a long day at work
Still time for dessert

Off to Gatlinburg
for a spring break getaway
smokey mountains call

A big turkey struts
A young black bear looks for food
Spring in Tennessee

On this day I hide
pretending to be away
not answering life

A birthday party
for Ellen with lemon cake
we celebrate life

Four small bird eggs wait
for mother bird to find them
nest tossed in the wind

Spring break is over
counting down to summertime
five, four, three, two, one

A glass of red wine
as I watch my chickens dine
Life at its finest!

The steady drizzle
Cool rain on a gray day
makes my head cloudy

The week flew by but
not today, such a long day
Ready for Friday

Wise words Dr. Suess
The Lorax movie tells all
Listen to the trees

Sweet discovery
The chickadee eggs are safe
Mama bird found them!