Monday, June 30, 2014

Our Humble Homestead: Details on the Front Porch

This past year I've gotten around to decorating our front porch more and more. It makes it fun now that I walk home from work - the first step I take onto our driveway I feel very lucky to have a sweet tiny front porch. It's a great way to welcome myself home.

However, I don't always get to spend much time on decorating the front porch. I'm hoping once some of our bigger (and messier) home improvements are completed I'll have a bit more time for seasonal touches around our home.

So, to take advantage of the bit of time I have here and there - I've made it simple to decorate the front porch with a few specific items that do not change. Then I add or subtract a few details to make it more fun.

I typically hang a burlap wreath {I made something similar to this DIY here}, two small chalkboards {purchased at craft store}, and set out a little cabinet {hand me down from my mother-in-law}.

Then I just add a few seasonal items - pinning fall leaves or holiday looking decor in the folds of the burlap wreath, writing a few words on the chalkboards, and setting out a plant or bowl on top of the little cabinet. I hope to get more inspired as time comes, but it is just enough to make our porch a tad more homey feeling.

I'm in progress on our summer porch. Hopefully I can share it with you soon! {Now, to just get that front flower bed in order...}

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Cutting Down on Sugar {Half Way thru the Whole 30}

The other day I mentioned that our family is cutting out sugar. It's true, my husband and I are working our way thru the Whole 30 - day by day.

We are. And it is hard.

Not too hard, in fact some days we think 'why didn't we do this sooner' while other days all we can do is talk about what we want to eat when our 30 days are up.

I like to think that we eat good food, but we also indulge often in sweet and fatty foods. We choose quality ingredients but often the quantity of our servings are oversized as well. The first few days of our elimination diet highlighted how much sugar we usually eat (sometimes added by us and sometimes just added by the food product we buy - our favorite local breakfast sausage contains brown sugar for seasoning and we didn't even notice before).

It was staggering how much sugar we probably consumed on a daily basis. During those first few days we also noticed how we felt almost antisocial when we would turn down desserts or ask friends to go to the coffee shop (iced black coffee is pretty great these days) instead of an evening at our local brewery.  We were surprised that our sugar (along with dairy, gluten, legume) elimination was not just physical but also emotional.

The first few days were difficult. Lots of headaches and lots of cravings. Days four, five and six - my husband and I both woke up as if we were hung over. We were drinking lots of water but at that point our bodies were having a super difficult time adjusting to the foods we were eating. I was especially tired - taking naps and the whole bit on days six and seven.

After the first week things were turning around. We discovered a serious love for sweet potatoes. Our digestive systems were getting used to so many vegetables. However, we were noticing dull stomach aches after meals.

On days eleven and twelve we realized that the dull stomach aches were after meals that we ate quickly. (Usually because we had waited too long to eat.)

Two weeks in and it is easy to stop when we are full and slower eating is becoming the routine.

And that's about it - because we're currently half way thru!

We are hoping by completing the Whole 30 that it will give us some insight into what is "in moderation" for us. And maybe discover what foods we no longer want to eat.

The truth is, we might be some of those sugar-crazed people that actually require more than 30 days to break sugar cravings and habitual sweet eating patterns. But at least we're starting with the 30 days. We'll see what we need to do once we get there.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

{Simply Lovely Sunday Thought} Lately.

Well the school year ended in a flash - and now there is lots going on - at home and school! 
I can't believe we're flying thru June. 

So now I've settled into a summer routine... sleeping in a bit, lots of reading and some work around the house and classroom (let's be honest I'm still at school several days a week ... closing up last school year and already preparing for the fall).

a few fun things going on...

~ I'm learning how to play the ukelele {my current favorite}

~ we are eating sugar free for 30 days {attempting the 'Whole30' to be exact}

~ my pup and I are trying to jumprope. together. at the same time. {If this is ever successful I'm probably going to retire from teaching and enter us in the circus.}

~ taking photos for friends and lots of photo editing

Oh and of course I took a huge break from writing on this blog. Which was actually really nice. And probably very much needed. 

But it is fun to catch up now and then :)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

around these parts {things that work}

I feel like I started off this year not seeing eye to eye with the month of January.

 Then things started to move quickly. Even our time that we would set aside to spend at home went by before we knew it. I realized that I needed to figure out how to live with this winter/spring/sometimes summer life that Ohio has been experiencing.

But now, oh my friends, I'm feeling in the groove. It probably helps that we're into our weeks off from school and I'm catching up on all sorts of this and that.

Be prepared, it is totally random...

Little bits of clean up: I've been better about the ten minute clean ups that my schedule allows. And I'll tell you that it really can make the difference in keeping the clutter at bay.

Planning meals: Somehow I got out of the groove of planning meals. I was doing well at the start of the school year - then life got going. Really sitting down and planning some meals has been such a lifesaver when I get home and have little time to throw something together. 

Writing Each Day: I've been saving sometime during the day to do some writing. Some days free writing, other days writing for work, sometimes writing for the blog. It has been a really nice way to start the day - something I've been missing from my schedule since last Spring. 

Quick Crafts: I always feel better when I have an ongoing creative outlet. Whether it is with photography, sewing, creating something for our home it is always going on. The past few weeks I've been knitting dishcloths for the kitchen. These have been a perfect craft for me to spend just a few minutes here or there and still getting somewhere. For gift making I've been really into these super simple baby blankets. They don't take too much time and always end up looking great!

Keeping the TV OFF: I've been really enjoying a few books already this year. And thanks to keeping off the TV and not renting tons of movies recently I've been getting pretty far into some books I had been eyeing.