Friday, February 27, 2015

Garden Thoughts for February 2015

February has been for planning the garden
I've got planting dates marked in my calendar and books about growing galore from the library.

I've also been doing some thinking about our chicken coop plans and the lay out of our yard...

I've been considering numbers of plants and counting up my need for seeds... 

Oh! and reflecting on the blueberry bush we planted last year...

I am getting myself so excited for this year's planting. 

How about you? Any great plans for the 2015 gardening season?

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

life in a studio space, my studio space {just the beginning}

Let's have one of those moments. Where we both hold + drink something warm {cup of black coffee for me, thanks} and relish the fact that there is so much good in our lives. Like you and your good health, maybe the lovely weekend you recently had, or your joyous little one that is growing faster than anyone can believe.

To our little chit-chat I'd bring the news - we are working on a little crafting space for me! In my home! I'm over the moon excited and can't wait to give you a little tour. Some time soon, I promise.

I've been a busy gal - painting, washing the new hardwood floors, filling up shelves, dreaming of decor and organizing crafting goodies.

My husband, of course, has done most of the hard work. He made + hung the shelves, laid the actual flooring, and rolled coats + coats of paint {yes, even primer, to cover up the sunshine yellow that I insisted on for the cheery guest bedroom that it was before}. 

So, of course, we should raise our mugs to him. {thanks, j. you are the tops. and i love that you aren't afraid of trying some crazy paint colors + plans in our home... cue the music room's chevron wall or the teal paint behind the fireplace}

I've always dreamt of having a large space to make. A place where I can leave work in-progress and not worry about clearing the table for dinner. I may not get to keep this room forever, and if we ever move we might not be able to dedicate this much space for a little craft area. But right now it feels perfect, and it is just getting started. 

I'm so glad we could meet up to share some happiness today. Happy Wednesday to you!

Friday, February 20, 2015

{2015::do} taking action

I declared 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. 

A few things that have been important to me as I've begun this year with "do" on my mind... in no particular order:
getting plenty of sleep + rest
scheduling time to "make"
eating well, drinking water + simple menu planning
considering daily rituals
having fun + finding time to play
creating usable spaces in our home
time for friends + family
working on our weekly routine
reading + crafting
healthy movement
making decisions and sticking to them
continuing our budget + financial planning meetings

I'm feeling pretty great about the first few weeks of this year and the momentum that is gaining...
Need some inspiration? Or motivation? Check out my list of goals for this year (already started!):

My 15 in 2015 {3/15}
1. Simplify
2. Read.
3. Experience.
4. Taste.
5. Create.
6. Rest.
7. Search.
8. Learn.
9. Photograph.
10. Enjoy.
11. Express.
12. Save.
14. Make.
15. Do.

Or read a few choice words from Leo Babuata + his blog zenhabits on movitation:

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Local Love: Nature's Magic {Athens, Ohio}

Have you been doing some spring-dreaming {+ spring-cleaning}?! Well, I have. I am starting to get that itch for sunshine, hikes, and planting.

It is still winter in Ohio, so I decided that the best thing I can do is clean. 
From decluttering + organizing crafty craziness to dusting the windowsills... I've been busy! 
 After scrubbing the stove-top yesterday I thought - I really should tell someone about this great cleaning product I'm using! It happens to be Ohio Made and squeaky clean!

Last time we were in Columbus we stopped by Celebrate Local and I picked up a bottle of Nature's Magic Deep Clean. To be honest it was a bit of an impulse purchase. What sold me? It was made by the company Nature's Magic which is located in Athens, Ohio and it was well presented {both in the store display and in the overall look of the packaging}. The cleaner is very eco-friendly with completely safe ingredients {think essential oils, castile soap + grapefruit seed extract}. And since cleaning spray is pretty useful... I decided it was okay to splurge. 

Of course I got it home and found that I really liked cleaning with the spray. It comes out of the bottle nicely, no drips during storage and things are fresh + lovely when I'm done. It ends with a sweet scent that I really do enjoy. I typically clean with a multi-purpose spray that I make at home, but every few scrubbings {especially in the kitchen} I find that I want a little something stronger - that is when I grab the DEEP CLEAN bottle from Nature's Magic. I found that it was worth the investment and Nature's Magic gets things done when I have a bit more mess to clean up {think stove top after a major Sunday cooking session}.  I am trusting that this bottle will last several seasons since I do not use it daily. But they carry a multi-surface cleaner if you need a daily cleaner with simple + safe cleaning agents. 

Looking forward to spring this year, but for now my soon-to-welcome spring cleaning will just have to do!

::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, February 16, 2015

Cutting Down on Sugar {reflection of my second Whole 30}

Over 30 Days have passed since I began a second Whole 30. This time through was difficult and I wasn't a perfect eater. However, I feel better than I did prior to starting and I lost about ten pounds! So I'm feeling pretty positive about my second Whole 30 experience!

I'm leaving this Whole 30 focusing on keeping forward motion and making healthy choices just a daily routine. Sure I might have some birthday cake this month for my niece and nephew... but I don't want to make it a weekly habit.

Our family is trying to figure out what we can enjoy as a healthy Whole 30-ish menu that gives us a little wiggle room for foods we love. Foods that are not compliant but foods we can still eat because they do not negatively  dictate our moods or cloud our thoughts {say oatmeal...} . I've just started really poking around the website to see the wisdom shared there and possibility let that inspire our upcoming meal plans and food choices.

I'll wrap up this reflection with a few tips that I thought about during these last 30 days.

Build Momentum + Make Eating Healthy Easier
It is definitely easier to turn down sweets after the first two weeks of Whole 30. Build on that and just keep staying away from all forms of sugar. When you sneak a little something it is very difficult to keep that sugar high off your mind and sweets away from your plate.

Bulk Prep + Stream Lined Planning
The final two weeks of our Whole 30 I really simplified meal planning. As in I made the week's worth of compliant breakfasts {one breakfast item that we ate daily - such as mini breakfast bakes} and the week's worth of compliant lunches on Sunday afternoon {also one main lunch dish that would be enjoyed with a fruit and large salad for the entire week's worth of lunches - such as a hearty soup or stew}. Then Monday and Tuesday I would make dinner, but make enough to eat several times. This meant I was buying in bulk and cooking in bulk and making very few menu decisions. It was automatic and simple and didn't give me the option to stray from the diet guidelines. We were not having loads of choices, but since our foods were based on healthy proteins and vegetables we were getting all the carbohydrates, calcium, and protein our bodies needed from maybe five to six total different meals over the entire week.

Make a Mistake + MOVE ON!
I wrote about my run-in with a bowl of ice cream. I forgave myself and then continued right on. If I would have made a huge deal I would have made more poor food decisions in the following days due to my guilt.

So, how about you? Try any great Whole 30 inspired recipes lately? Or healthy meals without a ton of sugar, gluten, or dairy? I'd love to hear about it!

Monday, February 2, 2015

30 Days of Declutter {Completed}

I am so thankful to write this post! We've survived {triumphantly} our month of the minimalist game. Yes 30 days of declutter. And declutter we did. 

Both myself and my husband decided to take on this challenge. Over 30 days we removed 960 unneeded items from our home. Wow. And it feels great! 

We are really noticing a difference in our house. Especially certain - mostly often used - spaces. We found it easy to identify items to remove from those common places. There is still more work, organizing and letting go to do but much has also been accomplished. We plan to take a little break while we are working on a studio space for me. But we will revisit the idea of maybe returning to the declutter challenge or something that might work for a more daily/weekly routine.

A few things that worked for us during our 30 day overhaul:

Leaving out a container for donations
Having a "catch all" bag or box in a central location was very helpful to aide in quick decisions. If I noticed something during daily life it made it so simple to quickly say goodbye and place it in the box. {We kept a running list to tally up our number to make sure we were on top of the challenge amount each day. We kept that in an obvious space as well.}

Virtual yard sale
My husband belongs to a local virtual yard sale group which allowed us to make a few bucks on some items that I had a hard time letting go. Nice, working items that we just didn't need. {I wanted to know that it was going to be used. Since I had hopes of using those things.} It wasn't a ton of money but it was a nice perk to grow our savings while slimming down our clutter.

Quick drop offs to Good Will
We did a quick trip to our local Good Will Donation Center twice or so a week in order to not have any second thoughts and to keep our pile of goods to a manageable amount. 

Setting a time to bulk declutter 
Two times during our month we got behind {typically during the work week} on our tally. When this happened we decided to dedicate some time on the weekend to get rid of many, many items {one day we completed the goal of finding 100 items to leave our home}.

Short bursts of declutter
Of course, there is the flip side - such as doing a quick walk through the house - finding ten items and then moving on for the day. 

Asking the hard questions
+Would I buy this again? (As inspired by this Pure Green Magazine Podcast)
+Can I find a replacement for this?
+Do I have time to fix this right now?
+Do I love and use this regularly?
+How many copies of this do I need?

It was amazing how as the month grew I would find myself picking up things thinking 'this is not worth the clutter it makes in our home' or 'I would rather be one item closer to my goal than keep this'. It was invigorating!

So, how about you? Any tips for declutter and managing the madness that we may unnecessarily keep in our homes?