Wednesday, December 30, 2015

sometimes a little word like "do" can be pretty wordy...

At the beginning of 2015 I wrote:


"I declare 2015 the year of action. I've realized that I've had time to reflect, to savor and appreciate... years of planning, of saying "in a three to five years _____ will happen"... I am now ready for a year to put my passions and dreams into action {as well as continue to dream, savor, appreciate}.  Each day, each week I am accomplishing mini goals, important steps to be more where I want to be.  Living a locally centered life in a relatively clutter-free home while saving + preparing for the future. All of these things are on the front burner now - financially, physically, mentally. I'm feeling very much on top of my goals for 2015. 

This is all happening because I've done some great reflections, pretty in-depth planning and research. Now is the time to start carrying out my carefully laid plans.  Each day I'm reminding myself to just 'do' something."

Wow. Some amazing things happened in 2015. We. Did. So. Much. 

Home renovations, savings, buying a new home, preparing our first home for the next family who will live there... so much good stuff. I can't even list it all.

"DO" was the PERFECT word for me in 2015.

My 15 in 2015 {3/15}
1Simplify
2. Read.
5. Create.
6. Rest.
7. Search.
8. Learn.
11. Express.
12. Save.
13. Appreciate.
14Make.
15. Do.

Now that the year is quickly pulling to a close, I have to finish up my reflections and move on.
 2015, you were just plain fantastic. Thanks for all you did.

Monday, December 28, 2015

.:holidays on the homestead 2015:.

well, we are enjoying our first winter holiday season in our new home.





just a few decorations, a little baking and cooking, and many traditions to establish.





good eats, great tunes, enjoying time together. we even took a short hike this year - because 50 degrees in december. we are so grateful to make this house our home.



we ended our 2015 with two people, one {little} farm-dog, two house-cats, and eight chickens living on our 5 acre lot. i can't wait to see how all our work in 2016 will make our home so very us by this time next year.


happy holidays!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

A Bookworm's 2015 Bookshelf: What I Read This Year

Yep, 2015 was a year full of books. And a year for the books! 
I enjoyed re-reading a few novels as well as finding a few important "book lists" to help me select some fantastic reads this year. 

::My Reading List of 2015::

Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

Messenger by Lois Lowry

Son by Lois Lowry

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste NG

The Lost Wife by Alyson Richman

Books One, Two and Three from A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
One - The Bad Beginning
Two - The Reptile Room
Three-The Wide Window

Fringe Hours by Jessica Turner

Cold Antler Farm: A Memoir of Growing Food and Celebrating Life on a Scrappy Six-Acre Homestead by Jenna Woginrich 

The Wednesday Letters by Jason F. Wright

I re-read the Harry Potter series as well
(just trying to remember what all my students are talking about)



::I enjoyed these stories as audio books this year::
Paper Towns by John Green
The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food and Love by Kristin Kimball
Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli


What was your favorite read of the year? Let me know in the comments below!





Monday, December 21, 2015

oh dear, december...

hello friends,

december has been quite the month!

visiting with family and friends, preparing for the holidays, celebrating my favorite guy's birthday... oh and how can i not mention - we are still settling into our new house!

but things are moving along, i even sent out holiday cards! it is all kinds of pleasant around here.




hooray for our dear, december! tomorrow is winter solstice! i cannot believe it is here. may the ohio weather not be rain and maybe we can enjoy some chilly fresh air without getting wet on such a magical day of the year.

have a lovely monday. only a few more sleeps until christmas...

Monday, November 30, 2015

holiday season preparations

good morning my friends! are you still living that thankful-happiness-feeling?

i hope everyone had a joyous holiday and weekend full of giving thanks with friends and family. we did a bit of driving around to see many of our dear ones. thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays... just food, loved ones and staying present in the moment of festivities!

as part of my thanksgiving week work i made food to take to two different family dinners and i began to really focus my upcoming winter gifting and fun lists and plans. i cannot believe it is less than one month from christmas!

we have begun to simplify our gifting traditions with slimming down our purchasing list (yes, yes, those family gift exchanges where only the kids receive presents from everyone - which our nieces + nephews list has grown by three baby girls this year! how lucky we are!). however, sometimes i still enjoy making a little something for the mommas +poppas even if they are not the name we pull from the basket.

i guess that's it from me today. what about you? big thanksgiving hang-overs? or feeling powerful, thankful and ready to head right into the winter holidays?


big monday hugs!







Wednesday, November 25, 2015

.:thankful:.

each day i think of five things i am thankful for prior to getting out of my bed.

it is a good practice for me to remember how much i have. what i need to keep close to my heart and to be present in all the great aspects of my life.

similar ideas come to mind each week. which makes me believe that i am pretty lucky to have... a solid relationship with my husband, a wonderful roof over my head, a loving family, close friends that i consider family, good {and still improving} health, a job i enjoy...

i am very thankful each and every day.

i hope you find time to count a few of your most precious + loved joys over the next few days.





Monday, November 23, 2015

{Local Gift Giving Guide} State of Indiana

are you ready for this upcoming season of giving? i guess it is really time to start getting ready for family gatherings and winter gifts!

something i love to do for the holiday season is give my favorite locally made goods to my loved ones. often times family members get excited about specific brands and makers and ask tons of questions. it makes it fun for me and i think it is once again a great way to support the businesses in our own communities!

today i'm sharing about Indiana made gift ideas! I was super inspired about the gifting possibilities during our summer visit to Bloomington, Indiana... so I remembered a few great places to share with you here on the blog! {no special treatment or compensation for mentioning these businesses or products on my blog}


+ local foods
every place has their favorite foods! what about a gift card to a local orchard, an independent restaurant or mom + pop bakery? or are you a canner? could you pull from your personal jarred up stash?

We really enjoyed eating at FARM {click here for their website} + grabbing burgers at Upland Brewing Co. {website here} in Bloomington. I think I'd like to try Late Harvest Kitchen the next time we head to Indianapolis {website here}.

If you decide to eat at FARM you can also try their FARM market while you are there {link here}. Or pick up locally roasted coffee beans from Hopscotch Coffee {click here}



+ handmade items and independent stores
someone on your list need a new tshirt? handmade ceramic mug? a tote bag for dance class? some new stationary? try a shop that focuses on supporting makers from your area.

a few of the favorite shops we hit up while in bloomington...

The Green Nursery {link to independent shop here}
Gather :handmade shoppe & Co: {link to handmade shoppe here}


and don't forget you can always do a quick search on etsy to support makers from all over during their best selling time of the year!


+ long time local favorites
you know the mom + pop store that everyone has loved for years. yes, you can make a gift of that... how about a couple bottles of wine from Oliver Winery {link here}? I know a few people who are getting such goodies from me this year!


okay, so this is where i need your help! do you have a favorite Indiana made present you like to give? do you have a favorite way to support local while shopping for your holiday gifts? write in the comments and let me know!


happy gifting!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

around these parts :: November Homestead Happenings

hello folks!

oh my, ohio has been enjoying a truly lovely fall. just these past few weeks we’ve been spoiled with great morning light, warm afternoons and sunsets to die for! of course a few rainy days and chilly dips in temperatures are to be expected but we really are getting outside as much we can to take advantage of it all.


this means a few great happenings around our new place.



moving the chickens and settling in…

oh yes, the girls are at our new house and they just love it! we are still keeping them in their run during the day and closing up their coop at night. but they are laying well and eating/drinking normally. this makes me think they have successfully made the transition. we hope to start encouraging a more free range lifestyle now they they seem to be settled and we have a good estimation of possible predators around our new property. 


plans for planting some garlic…

i'm starting to dream up my new garden plans basically any free moment i have to think (shower, waiting for the tea kettle to boil...) and just the other day my husband reminded me that we could easily start some garlic without any huge garden plans set. so we've picked up the materials and i'm hoping to get them planted before thanksgiving!



general settling of spaces in our new house…

we are s l o w l y getting things settled into our new house. each day i think i put away one little pile or find places for a box full of stuff. we had a totally clean dining room for dinner on monday night and we felt so spoiled! it is happening... and i can't wait for this place to feel like our home. 






Monday, November 16, 2015

around these parts {+ on my bookshelf}

hey! so, to be honest i've been really light on reading lately...

all this moving and finding my new normals. it has been difficult for me to find a few minutes to really relax the past few weeks. but the funny thing is, it was the perfect time for the books that i had checked out from the library!

that's right - chicken books, gardening books and a book about mastering habits!




i always learn so much from chicken books, so i won't spend a ton of time on that. but one book i really enjoyed was:

Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin...

i've always enjoyed reading Gretchen Rubin's books. She frequently writes about topics -habits and happiness- that interest me. i loved how this book made me consider what "type" of person i am. and of course what "type" of person my husband is. i've actually found that since reading this books i've let a few things go. like those sort of wishes that are just not obtainable for who i am or of desires that are just not my top priority right now. why let those ideas, that i will probably never make most important, drag me down so often? i think with that take away... it was totally worth reading this book!

and actually maybe that is a good way to start this week! i hope you all have a lovely monday!



Wednesday, November 11, 2015

{Local Gift Giving Guide} State of Ohio

hello thoughtful gifters, are you ready for this upcoming season of giving? i can't believe that it is almost time for the holidays!

something i love to do for the holiday season is give my favorite locally made goods to my loved ones. often times family members get excited about specific brands and makers and ask tons of questions. it makes it fun for me and i think it is once again a great way to support the businesses in our own communities!

today i'm sharing about Ohio gift ideas! {please note that this post has many links that take you directly to Ohio businesses. i am intrigued by these businesses and have received nothing for putting them in my blog post.}

+ local foods
every place has their favorite foods! what about a gift card to a local orchard, brewery, an independent restaurant or mom + pop bakery?

Carillon Brewery Co. in Carillon Historical Park in Dayton.
Wheat Penny Oven & Bar in Dayton.
Sunrise Cafe in Yellow Springs.
Wildflower Cafe in Mason.
Skillet near German Village.
Wolf's Ridge Brewing in Columbus.
Casa Nueva in Athens.
Ale House 1890 in Lancaster.
Fowl and Fodder in Toledo.
Cleveland Independents ::MANY places to eat on this link, i might make a personal quest to eat at each place:: around Cleveland area.

or could you find a holiday style treat at a public market? i love picking up local granola, honey or maple syrup to gift. there are many places to shop...

North Market in Columbus.
Second Street Market in Dayton.
West Side Market in Cleveland.
Findlay Market in Cincinnati.

are you a canner? could you pull from your personal jarred up stash? or pick something up from one of these stores... you might want to pick up some spices or chocolates to gift too!

Ashery Country Store in Fredricksburg.
Dorothy Lane Market in the greater Dayton area.
Mustard Seed Market & Cafe in North East Ohio area.




+ handmade items
someone on your list need a new tshirt? handmade ceramic mug? a tote bag for dance class? some new stationary? try a shop or pop up market that focuses on supporting makers from your area.

5th Street Arcades in Cleveland.
Crafty Mart in Akron.
Celebrate Local in the Easton Shopping Center in Columbus.
Urban Handmade in Yellow Springs.
Miami Valley Pottery in Yellow Springs.

and don't forget you can always do a quick search on etsy to support makers from all over during their best selling time of the year!


+ long time local favorites
you know the mom + pop store that everyone has loved for years. yes, you can make a gift of that... just some creative brainstorming and you can make a themed gift basket out of anything! {movie night in with a red box gift card and local snacks, a salsa gift basket with a few salsas and locally made tortilla chips... sounds pretty great to me!}

Ohio is pretty stocked when it comes to historical favorites of the donut and snack food variety...

Becker's Donuts in Lorain.
Bill's Donuts in Centerville {um, open 24 hours.}.
Mikesell's Potato Chips in Dayton.
Grippo's Snacks in Cincinnati.


okay, so this is where i need your help! do you have a favorite Ohio made present you like to give? what other states would you like to see a Local Gift Giving Guide created for? write in the comments and let us know!

happy holiday shopping!




Monday, November 9, 2015

{Local Gift Giving Guide} How to Give Locally Made Gifts

hello folks, are you ready for this upcoming season of giving? i can't believe that it is almost time for the holidays!




something i love to do for the holiday season is give my favorite locally made goods to my loved ones. often times family members get excited about specific brands and makers and ask tons of questions. it makes it fun for me and i think it is once again a great way to support the businesses in our own communities!

i thought this would be a perfect time to consider how to give locally made gifts. here are a few tips i have for you...

http://blueovenbakery.com

+ local foods
every place has their favorite foods! i am sure in every city there is a favorite bakery or even a few independent restaurants... we like to snag a few gift cards for our friends + family.

check out a local market that carries independent + local foods. we make at least one trip over to North Market each year in Columbus. even more locally we like to shop at the Second Street Market in Dayton a few times each season. sometimes the hours of operation can be tricky but make a fun outing - grab breakfast and holiday shop on a Saturday morning!

when considering local food one could also create a darling gift from canned goods. i'm talking pretty in the jar goods that either you or someone else thoughtfully put in the jar themselves. our local orchard carries tons of great jellies and jams and we've been known to gift Ohio maple syrup or my very own apple butter.

+ clothing or other handmade items
of course i am a huge fan of shopping {etsy.com}. supporting makers from all over is very important to me. so i totally believe that if you are looking for something particular and you want a quality made item you could easily find someone on etsy making a wonderful product. that is an avenue worth pursuing. you might also want to find out if you have a local store that supports many makers in your area - many of the makers might even have their own etsy store as well. i've mentioned it before but i like shopping at celebrate local in the easton shopping center in columbus if we are in the area. Or the ever reliable urban handmade in yellow springs. shops like these often have t-shirts, bags, winter gloves, gorgeous pottery and other usable goods that might make you think of someone on your list.

+ long time local favorites
you know the mom + pop store that everyone has loved for years. yes, you can make a gift of that... around my home state we have a serious love of potato chips and donuts... i'm sure we can create a cute gift basket out of such goodies.


okay, so this is where i need your help! i have loads of ideas for Ohio made gifts and will be telling you more about that on wednesday. what other states would you like to see a Local Gift Giving Guide? or do you have a favorite way to support local while shopping for your holiday gifts? write in the comments and let me know!

what state do you want to see a Local Gift Giving Guide for?


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Current Room Tour {Our Study - The First House Edition}

I often mention projects + work that we completed around our home. We were busy bees over the last few years - sanding, remodelinglaying new flooringclearing clutter and organizing  spaces... Making our first house a very much loved home.


The study was the smallest "bedroom" in our first house. We made one side of the room my husband's work space and the second side of the room my space. This room gets incredible sunlight during the day and it was always a little wish of mine to use this space well, lesson planning for school or writing for the blog. I did just a few times, but probably not as much as my heart desired. 


I love the shelves my guy made - reclaimed wood and just big enough for some books and other office type necessities. 







*this particular series on my blog is to show what rooms looked like in our house... as in using my iPhone to quickly snap a few photos of a mostly {HOPEFULLY!} clean but probably in-progress or fairly-tidy room.

Monday, November 2, 2015

our new {old farm} house

hello again!

it was so good to take a break. with all our moving and packing, organizing and finding the new normals... well, i just needed some time to have one less thing to feel responsible for.  thanks for all of you coming back to read this post today :)



so it is true. we are moved in and finding the rhythm of our days in our new to us house. we've been eating in our dining room just thinking about how many other people have eaten a homemade meal in our home over the year. our house was built in 1894 and it is just stunning.

stunning as in i pinch myself or yell "i can't believe we live here" basically every time i walk up our new staircase. {yes, stairs}


so here's the scoop with our newly purchased home... we weren't really looking it just came up and we jumped! for about a year now we've known what our criteria would be for a little homestead... thinking it would be a little out of town, at least five acres and either very cheap so we could fix it up or something that we could live in right away {while we finish fixing it up}.

it popped up on our local real estate page and when my husband said "we might need to act fast" i knew that we were in for some excitement. we saw it the second day it was on the market, got pre-approved for our home loan and put in an offer the next day. i think we started calling family after our offer was accepted... saying "guess what, we are buying a house and no we weren't really looking"... i guess sometimes you just know. and friends, we just knew.

so i guess that's all for this morning. i'll be back to posting little updates and maybe even a few last photos of our first home - the one we are still doing a few odd jobs to before it becomes someone else's treasured place. we will miss it, but we are excited for our new adventure.

have a happy Monday morning!

* i've added this post to Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop! ::click here:: to head over and check out all the great information and stories from other bloggers! Thanks to all the hosts and bloggers for sharing in the fun!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

around these parts {taking a few days off}

hello friends!

guess what!? something very exciting is going on around these parts!

my husband and i officially purchased a mini farm!

well, it is an old house with barns and five acres of land. but soon it will be our dream mini farm. {soon is a relative term here when we've been declaring things like forever home}

the house has loads of character. just enough land for what we want to grow. and the property is a short drive to our village, family, friends and professional work.

we couldn't be more excited. and after just a few days of moving/cleaning/searching-the-barns-for-treasures i realized i couldn't wait to say something here.

and after a few days of all that work i also realized i need to spend a few days away from the blog because we still have much to do to settle in {and we are a few days away from our new internet connection as well}

so, i'll be sure to say 'hello' again soon. and soon this time will mean early November!


Monday, October 12, 2015

.:take a breath:.

this morning i need a moment.

a moment to just take a breath.

i thought maybe someone else did too.


so this is your reminder to take a few deep breaths and be present. right now. 





welcome to the new week. 
i'm going to keep breathing deeply with my eyes closed and then live my day with my eyes wide open. 
 i hope you enjoy the same.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Current Room Tour {Our Living Room - The First House Edition}



I often mention projects + work that we have worked on around our home. We've been busy bees over the past few years - sanding, painting, laying new flooring, clearing clutter and organizing spaces... our first purchased home is shaping up nicely. We are reaching the vision we had when we first purchased this sweet little home. I think it is having the flooring in the main spaces completed.






Today I thought I would share about a room that I really love to spend time in... our living room.

this is the room that is typically clean... clean enough for me to meditate or read

or for my husband and I  to settle in and watch a movie


I really love the accent wall behind our fireplace and putting little vases of flowers on the mantel.

This room is being lived in + very much loved. In fact, I might head over to the couch and read a bit right now...





*this particular series on my blog is to show what rooms currently look like in our house... as in using my iPhone to quickly snap a few photos of a mostly {HOPEFULLY!} clean but probably in-progress or fairly-tidy room.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Current Room Tour {Our Music Room - The First House Edition}

I often mention projects + work that we have done around our first purchased home. We've been busy bees over the past few seasons - sanding, remodeling, laying new flooring, clearing clutter and organizing  spaces... I decided that sharing what rooms currently look like might be a fun way to share spaces in our home.


We live in a four bedroom home. As we don't have four people living in our home we decided to dedicate our extra bedrooms for various purposes that we love. We have a study, a studio space and a music room.




I love how our music room is shaping up! I mean... chevron wall...



I love that my husband painted that wall just because we decided it would be fun. And when I asked how I could help him he only requested for me to go make cookies. Yes, I knew that was my cue to get out of the way.




Happy Wednesday, friends!


*this particular series on my blog is to show what rooms currently look like in our house... as in using my iPhone to quickly snap a few photos of a mostly {HOPEFULLY!} clean but probably in-progress room.


Monday, September 28, 2015

around these parts {back to school edition}



okay, so we've been back to school for about a month. it has been a good month.

a few weeks of getting to know new classmates and routines.




feeling out those boundaries and limits. making friends and enjoying time with old pals.





finding moments for togetherness and fall fresh air. it is a great time of year. 

happy monday to you. 




Monday, September 21, 2015

around these parts {+ on my bookshelf}

well, i've got a few books to recommend today...




i recently read...

The Lost Wife by Alyson Richman and really enjoyed it. there were several chapters that had me teary-eyed and two afternoons where i couldn't put the book down.

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro and man i got sucked in! just after a few chapters i was hooked into the story and wanting to learn more about the characters.





i've been requesting books from a few "books you just can't put down" lists {like this one from buzzfeed + this one from Modern Mrs. Darcy} and other titles at the library that just look entertaining or inspiring. where do you find titles that you plan to read?

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Local Love {HOMAGE - Ohio}

so folks, i'm pretty excited about a recent tee purchase. that's right - i splurged on a long sleeve columbus crew tee. it comes from the ohio clothing company 'homage' a cool company making quality, interesting clothing for all types of fans.



i can't wait to wear this to the next soccer game i head to columbus for... oh and i think my next purchase is going to be the Saved by the Bell tshirt. Yes, definitely, yes.



If you are shopping for something fun check out their store locations {two in Columbus and one store in Cincinnati}. Three stores with a four location coming soon!


::Please note that this post is entirely of my thoughts. I did not receive any gifts or any prompting to promote this specific product or brand. This blog series is to celebrate the great products that are made in my home state of Ohio. The photos on this post are mine. ::

Monday, September 14, 2015

how i prep breakfast + lunch to last the week


that's right y'all. i'm getting back into the swing of the school year and that means i'm cooking with all the burners on sundays. this helps me keep from eating out or running out of meals to serve during a quick moving work week.

i thought it might be fun to share how i plan many meals, prepare and store them so they are easy to gather up for lunches or to eat at home.

often i try to plan one basic breakfast for monday thru friday. if i don't make enough for the week we often end up with eggs and sweet potatoes or oatmeal on friday. and we are okay with that.

this week i decided to use up some bacon from the freezer and make a breakfast salad. by prepping + storing the bacon, egg salad and clean, chopped kale salad separately all i need to do each morning is put the pieces together in one bowl. i made a double batch and hoped that it would be plenty for the week! so on the weekday mornings i will just make a layer of kale, scoop some egg salad and crumble bacon over top of the whole thing. we will might drizzle a little balsamic if we feel it needs something else. i put together the salads while my husband makes the coffee and we eat in our quiet kitchen after we are dressed and pretty much ready to leave the house.

i store these foods separately as it seems to keep them fresher. a bonus is that it is also more flexible that way. for example if we decide on wednesday to have toast and egg salad we are able to change the meal that tiny bit very easily.

as for lunches - once again i try to plan for one basic lunch and then if we have dinner left overs we also serve those for lunches too. we find that if the main course is something simple and filling we don't mind eating the same lunch all week.

i planned grilled chicken + egg over salad for lunch. with a few sides like whole apples, roasted nuts, watermelon and a lara bar for if we get extra hungry {i often eat a snack at the start of my walk home so i'm not starving when i walk into the front door of our house}. i prep the romaine and other greens {wash, let dry a bit, chop} and other veggies i have on hand {carrots, peppers, cucumbers, radishes - etc.} and put all those prepped vegetables in one bowl to store in the fridge. my husband will often grill several chicken breasts while i make the hardboiled eggs. i slice up the chicken once it is cooked and store in one container. the hardboiled eggs go in a separate container. we assemble the salads either the night before {and add the egg in the morning or pack it separately and add it at lunch time}. we typically mix several dressing servings {think the tiniest mason jars known to man} for the week and put one in our lunch boxes the night before.

we also do this prep in advance with the other side dishes - i chop watermelon and place servings in small glass containers {sometimes other mason jars} so we can just pull them straight from the fridge when we are about to leave for work. i make several small containers of roasted almonds + cashews. and we typically have apples and lara bars in a big fruit bowl on our kitchen table. everything is ready to go - all we have to do is put it in the lunchbox the night before we go to bed {room temperature items like the nuts, apples, lara bars} or the morning on our way out the door {cold temperature foods like the salads + watermelon}.

okay, breakfasts and lunches are ready... i think we are good for this week!

happy monday!




** the recipes i used are linked to their original source - just click on the foods listed.



Wednesday, September 9, 2015

a little mugswapping




good morning! if you've been clicking through my instagram recently you might have noticed that i participated in this year's mugswap hosted by cuppakim! {thanks Kim for your hosting awesomeness and for making sure everyone had the opportunity to give joy to someone else!}

this was my second year joining the mugswappin' goodness. and this year i felt moved to say a few words about the experience. 


i really super-enjoyed my mugswap experiences. lots of people love mugs and lots of those people love coffee or tea. so already we're off to something great, right? but the really cool thing is that the mugswap is all based on the idea of surprising and giving to someone else. the best and biggest surprise is for the family who gets the donated dollars toward their upcoming adoptions. but of course you get to surprise your mugswap buddy too!


so both years i had a great time pulling together a little coffee themed care package for a momma living in a different state. my first year i surprised a great gal from Texas! and this year my mugswap partner resides in Michigan! just by sharing a little gift, a virtual mug of coffee (if you will), a couple personal touches, and a handwritten note makes for fast IG friends. happy mail day for the win!




so if next August swings around and you are looking for a fun way to send around some cheerfulness check out cuppakim's IG for when you can sign up and get in on the fun! if all goes well i think i might be up for a third year!

happy muggin' ;)




Monday, September 7, 2015

Happy Labor Day!

hey there friends! 

hope you are off spending a relaxing day with loved ones!

happy labor day!






Wednesday, September 2, 2015

happy september

oh september...i do love my summer time but i'm pretty glad you are here!

this week i'm happily saying 'hello' to my students, establishing our daily rhythm and declaring plans and goals of what we hope to learn and adventures we plan to take this year as a class.



i am looking forward to some fall season fun in the weeks to come. what are you planning up for the ever quickly approaching fall season? that's right little leaves.... we've noticed you are already starting to change!




Monday, August 31, 2015

how i created a short term food supply

hello there. today i thought i'd share a bit about how i spent several months figuring out how to create a short term supply of food.

{Are you not familiar with this idea? Please don't jump to super scary thoughts of an underground shelter and canned beans stacked from floor to ceiling... are you looking for a good place to start? read this pretty low key two-page pdf :: link here}

i was inspired to prepare in this way when i considered all my family's work and thoughts that made our emergency savings and get-out-of-debt plan such a success thus far. i realized something that would help us with this emergency preparedness would also be a basic food supply.

now i don't know if we're exactly prepared for some crazy out of the norm long term event {i.e. a zombie world take over - i know that my husband and i will both hold out to be saved by Brad Pitt} however, if it became difficult for us to afford groceries or one of us became very ill the family could make do with what is in our food storage and general food storage plan.

our short term storage also has been a great resource when we are just low on groceries or time when cooking a late night dinner - why not pull out that can of black beans for a protein? then you can replace it with a newer can the next time they go on sale at the store!





A Few Important Ideas that Worked for Me:

+ shopping slowly
now, i know the need can strike at anytime for the use of a food storage, however i found it most manageable when i broke down the shopping into small amounts. partly due to spending constraints, but also because i like to purchase bulk items at specific places. so i started by consider what i'd like to have in my storage and then only putting a few of those items on my shopping list when i knew that i could purchase a little more than the list of what we needed to eat for the week.

+only buy what will work for my cooking
i figured if it was something we wouldn't want to eat we would live without it. like i didn't purchase dried eggs or dried milk. it just wasn't something i was willing to say - yes i will cook with this. instead i put foods on the list i was comfortable with and planned meals with the ingredients that i thought would keep well for our storage plan. and i purchased items that didn't confuse me while reading the ingredient lists.

+use my canning stash to supplement
i enjoy canning food - jams, ketchups, salsa, tomato sauces, dill veggies - so in those went to my supply. and i planned meals or snacks with those items.

+labeling my storage space
i really believe in good labeling when it comes to food storage. i selected one cabinet to hold our extra food items and made a simple list {about 6 pages long} to state what is on each shelf and their expiration dates. this way we can eat food {and quickly replace it} before it goes bad. if there is more than we can manage we also can donate canned goods to a local food shelter before it expires so at least someone can eat it. i also use a highlighter to cross out items that we eat. that way i know quickly what we have and what we don't have on the shelf.  i like knowing what we had in the past so i don't have to go back through and re-brainstorm the initial list of what should go on these shelves.




Inspired? Want to consider making your own food storage plan? Try some of these resources for more tips, hints, and helpful ideas:

Detailed run down of how to start your 3 month food supply {with Valerie of Prepared LDS Family blog} - be sure to read the comments for a few more helpful suggestions

Pantry Shopping List + Key Points List to get you started when considering your short term food supply {with Crystal at Everyday Food Storage}

Ways to look at your 3 month supply as a "working supply of food storage" {with Shelle at Preparedness Mama}

Check out this post with a great 3 Month Planning Graphic {with Tammy from Simply Preparing}


* i've added this post to Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop::click here:: to head over and check out all the great information and stories from other bloggers! Thanks to all the hosts and bloggers for sharing in the fun!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

my canning story



good morning! this summer produce and canning has been so, so good to me. i know i always say that i love seeing that produce all pretty in a jar... but i really do. i think i have loved favorites foods in a jar for a long time.




it probably stems from my first memories of canning. that's right friends - making great grandma's pasta sauce in the kitchen with my momma! i mean, we're talking THE family recipe. we honestly call it "the sauce" or just "sauce" and everyone in the family knows what we're talking about. even in+after college my sister and i visit home at the same time to help my mom make huge batches. with my dad sitting at the counter telling stories, passing out critiques of cooking style and hopping up from his barstool to stir the huge pot every few minutes.




so then flash forward a few years and i start craving some domestic hobbies. something that is valuable for our family life, something that could be used intentionally in our home and gives great enjoyment. i knew canning would be just the thing. i started out making simple freezer jam then cooked fruit jams + butters. after a few years of trying many {many} recipes i have found a bit of rhythm when it comes to what i love to can. luckily i even have a few friends who are into the idea of canning up goodies too! sometimes we work in the kitchen together, go to local farm u-picks, or trade various canned up foods once we were done making our own double batches!




there is even more goodness knowing that i can continue canning goodies for a bit longer this season. looking forward to some apple goodness this fall. i'm planning on making at least one batch of apple butter for my brother-in-law... what are your apple saving favorites?




* i've added this post to Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop::click here:: to head over and check out all the great information and stories from other bloggers! Thanks to all the hosts and bloggers for sharing in the fun!