Friday, January 31, 2014

Fixation Friday with a 10 Pound Dictionary

I'm a HUGE fan of Anthony Bourdain.  Years ago when we had cable we would watch No Reservations. I fell in love with his humor and his love for simple good food.  Ive been wanting to read his books but kept putting it off until a recent visit to our public library. This is the only book Medium Raw A bloody valentine to the world of food and the people who cook in and I grabbed it.  So far I'm loving it. Including his thoughts on The Food Network.  This man just gets me. 

I was looking to find books that highlight cooking during The Great Depression but had a very hard time finding anything at all like it.

Here is what I ended up bringing home:
Note:I'm non profit & make no money from these links. Just wanted to share these books with you.

My Berlin Kitchen by Luisa Weiss (Creator of The Wednesday Chef)
A love story with recipes.

I actually found this book on a table where someone just left it there. It was a sign because Ive been wanting to try my hand at making bread in my oven and not in my machine.

The Medieval Kitchen by Odile Redon, Francoise Sabban and Silvano Serventi 
My oldest daughter is researching medieval knights so when I saw this in the cooking section I grabbed it to show her. She stuck her nose up at it but it intrigued me so I kept it. 

I'm no longer fixated with my baby chicks.  They are finally past the baby stage and refuse to snuggle with me no matter how soft or warm my shirt is. But I'm thankful because I forgot to bring them in last night and they survived. Phew! They live in a very large dog crate which I bring inside each night to keep them warm.  My big hens are not very nice to them right now so I have to wait till they get a bit bigger before they become my little hen gang in the backyard.  I also forgot to shut our chicken coop door and lucked out that a raccoon didn't find them. My allergies kicked my butt last night and I fell asleep on the couch very early. Oops.  

My 9 year old daughter was at the table doing her math homework when she didn't know what a word meant. So what does a good mom do? Hands her a dictionary.  But I threw my own twist in it and handed her a old leather hardback Webster's Collegiate Dictionary Fifth Addition from 1947.  She should be happy I didn't give her my Dictionary I received from my grandmothers place.  Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary from 1956. It is HUGE and weighs about 10 lbs.  I'm talking huge as in you could use it for a doorstop.  I'll save that one for next time.  

I'm trying to add color to my bedroom. My current quilt is white and I have white cotton sheets with matching white cotton pillowcases.  Don't get me wrong I love white but my white bed needs a punch of color.  Yesterday I scored a Pier One pillow that has bright beautiful flowers on it made from silk.  Would of cost me $20 if I bought it new. I scored mine for $1.99. Woot! Little by little I will add color. I'm hunting for stuff that will go on my walls now. We will see what I end up doing & I'm sure I will share with you. 

Did I mention how Ive always been fixated on board & dice games? My favorite is Yahtzee! I shared my love on my Facebook page and learned I'm not the only one. Woot! So I planned a game night on the last Friday of every month at my favorite coffee shop. Tonight is our first night and I cannot wait. Woot! 

Last but not least I'm still fixated on replacing polyester household items with cotton.  Blankets are my current obsession but I plan on not buying any polyester sheets or pillowcases.  It seems like kids bedding is only made from it.  Guess I should be thankful my girls are older and no longer want Care bear or My Little Pony bedding sets. I keep an eye at my favorite thrift stores for nice quality cotton sheets & pillowcases for my girls.  One by one everything will be replaced and our current ones will be donated.  

So thats what Ive been fixated on this week.  

What about you? What are you fixated on? 

You a board & dice game lover as well? Whats your favorite game?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Social Media And Technology Can Suck It…well sort of.

Ive been trying to get organized and clutter free since the beginning of this year. A friend suggested to me that I try The January Cure over at Apartment Therapy and I completely fell in love with this whole project.  Its half way through but not too late to try it out. Each day you get an assignment and do them as you please.  You make a list and choose what you want to achieve.  Not one list is the same and I love reading and looking at before and after pictures. Its totally inspiring! Go check them out and see why I love this project so much.

Ive been sticking to pretty much everything except for a few things. Fresh flowers probably would freshen up my home but I just don't have the extra money so I've skipped this step. Otherwise I'm sticking to everything.  I haven't been sticking to the exact day because of my stay cation I took on my birthday weekend and I've been dealing with some personal issues as well.  But I do catch up and keep on on it.  You can check out my assignment #5 or keep up with my assignments when I share them on Facebook.  

Ive also been doing a lot of thinking. On one hand I love technology. From social media to Netflix.  But part of me wants to go get away from everything. Almost unattached from technology all together. I made a huge step yesterday and focused on my personal page on Facebook.  I would really love to DELETE my personal page but since I have a blog page I cannot do it.  Well I could but would have to delete my blog FB and start over. It would be a huge annoying process for me and my 4,000+ readers.  Not doing that! So I took a different direction.  Here's what I did.

-Went through my friends list and de-friended anyone I didn't speak to often or had any attachments to. 

-Narrowed my friends to two list.  Acquaintances and bloggers. Easy to do just hover over their name/friend box near their name and you can add them or make your own list (as I did for bloggers).

-I then put all friends from both list on "restricted". This is easy to do. Just go to your friends, hover over their name/friend box and click on "add to another list" and put a check by restricted.  This keeps all your personal information pretty private and people cannot just see everything on your page.  

-I then wrote a status telling people I was cleaning my friend list and putting everyone on restricted for privacy reasons. If anyone needs to get a hold of me and its important they can call my phone or text me.  All others can send me a message on Facebook but who knows when I will be on so don't be in a hurry. Everyone was supportive and completely understood.  In fact most wanted to do the same as I did.  

-I then grabbed my phone and deleted the Facebook App to my personal Facebook page.  I did it like a band aid.  Quick and to the point. 

I'm so happy I did this. No longer can I try to stay off Facebook but cave in and spend hours on there.  I  now have no option to even do so.  If I want to go on Facebook I have to go home and get my laptop out.  I do keep my Facebook Blog Page App which I will use to upload photos etc.  It's not connected to my personal FB page so there is no worries of trying to go through this App.  

There is another part of me that really wants to not even blog anymore.  I get this way every few years.  

I'm not gonna lie.  Its really sucking right now.  I really want to just get on my phone and Facebook the day away.  I wonder what everyone is up to.  See who commented on something I wrote.  I'm itching to do it.  I even pick my phone up and look for it by habit.  Then a sad face comes over my face when I realize its not there.  But I can do this.  I did the same for TMZ.  It was like crack for me. I was addicted.  I overcame and came out happy.  So yes it sucks right now. But I will overcome.  I will rejoice!    

So there you go personal social media. Go suck it. 

For now I continue to write my blog and stay up to date on social media. I get inspired by it and so do all of you. For this reason alone I stay blogging and connected to social media.  I continue to learn and grow making sure I take all you with me on my journey. I have continued to stay true to my word since day one of creating this blog.  I am still non profit and still make not one penny from this blog.  The whole point of me writing this blog was to survive off pennies.  Be as green as possible to our mother earth.  Save some green the whole way.  And last but mostly important was to thrive.  Not just survive but THRIVE!!!! Yes we've struggled over the years. We started at ground zero just like everyone else. Renting, having kids and digging out of debt.  Yes we  now own our home and vehicles. Yes we can pay our bills each month. This doesn't change a thing. This is where the thrive comes into play.  Who am I to help others if I cannot learn myself? We still save money anywhere we can. We will one day need to pay to send our girls to college.  One day we would love to retire.  I don't want to struggle my whole life.  So for now I keep on trucking on.  And I'm so thankful I have you along with the journey. Our journey.  Peace and love to all. 

p.s.s. If you get the chance head over here and read this Yahoo article about a family of 4 living off grid.  This is what I really would love to do. Thank you hubby for sharing this article with me. You know me too well. Maybe one day we will do this.  

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

January Cure Assignment #5 Buffet

Through the month of January I will be doing The January Cure by Apartment Therapy.  Each day we have a task to do and our goal is by the end of the month your home should be organized.  I'm loving it so far because each task is small enough to tackle and not enough to overwhelm yourself.  

Assignment #5 Do one thing on your list.

I decided to tackle my buffet.  Its filled with all my Christmas dinnerware, my girls tea party supplies, candles, candle holders, table clothes and fabric napkins. Plus a whole bunch of other junk.  

Here is my before picture. Sooooo junky.

I started out by pulling everything out of the buffet.  I cleaned all dust and tossed any garbage.  Then once by one I put everything back into the buffet making sure I have like items with each other.  Anything I didn't need or use I put into a donate box.  Not gonna lie it was hard to do.  But in the end I know I purged exactly what needed purging.  Once it was done I felt so much better.  

After Picture. Ahhhh !

I moved my candles because I didn't have as many as I did tablecloths.  So tablecloths went into the door area and candles into the drawers.  The drawer above the candles is filled with candle holders.  Middle medium drawers are filled with fabric napkins and top drawers are filled with salt n pepper shakers, extra silverware and matches.  My Christmas dinnerware/tea party supplies stayed in the same place but I organized them better.  Top drawers are filled with photo books and one is filled with extra empty frames. Not pictured but I ended up putting my favorite frames filled with pictures of my family on top of the buffet and I kept my record player up there. I use it often so it stays.  

Here is what I'm donating. 

Fish accessories that I'm not sure why I kept. My girls have  not had a fish in over 3 years.  Lead crystal candle holder that I refuse to touch anymore.  Fabric tablecloth and napkins we don't use.  Clear plates that we don't use.  And a cute little cow creamer dish that I have used maybe once.

I felt so much better doing this. I really do love the feeling of being organized even if its just one small thing.  Can't wait till the end of the month is here and my whole house is organized. Woot!

So you ready to join us? Head on over to Apartment Therapy and check The January Cure out!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Right now I'm….

Right now I'm trying to convince myself to get off my lazy butt and do some yoga. Perfect time because all of my girls are in school and its quiet in my house.  In the Fall of 2012 I was having pain in my hips and lower back. I was a avid runner and completed 2 half marathons which I was so proud of.  It wasn't until I couldn't run at all that I decided to look into what the pain was about.   I finally found a doctor who was willing to listen to me and actually find out what was wrong with me.  My left leg is longer than my right leg.  It would only get worst unless I go to the chiropractor and keep exercising.  Yoga was a perfect fit.  I had taken yoga classes years prior and have several DVDs of yoga. Now If I can just remember each day to do it.  

Right now I'm  putting my fancy bread machine to work.  Last week we tried Pumpernickel Bread but this week I have been enjoying just plain white bread. Its so yummy!

White Bread

1 1/3 cup water
4 1/4 cups white flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp oil
2 tsp Active Yeast 

Put machine on basic setting and there you go. 

Right now I'm digging out all my garden goodies.  Yesterday I checked what seeds I have and need to use this year. I also made a list of what I don't have and want to buy for this years growing season.  I'm also overhauling my garden and taking advantage of every space available.  I would really love to not have to buy any produce from the market. Hey I can dream right? 

Right now I'm a mama chicken.  I'm selling 2 of my hens this weekend. That brings me down to 2 hens right now. Yesterday I bought 3 more chicks from the Urban Farm Store.  I picked out one more Ameraucana and two more Barred Rock (seen in picture).  I love Ameraucana because they are very friendly and lay the most beautiful bluish green eggs.  Barred Rock are a very laid back type of chicken. They love people and don't mind being picked up for snuggles.  They lay light brown eggs just about every day.  These chicks will be living in our home till they get old enough to go outside.  We have a large dog crate in our living room and will be used of our dog, cat and all of my girls.  

Right now I'm trying to do The Pantry Challenge.  I'm trying to avoid having to go to the store. I will use what I have on hand and in my pantry. My hope is to save some money on our grocery budget.  As you can see I don't have much veggies. I also have 15 pounds of organic potatoes and 3 pounds of organic onions which are not pictured.  I have plenty of oranges and apples because I found a steal of a deal a couple of weeks ago.  $8 for 20 pounds of organic apples and 40 pounds of oranges for $31.60. When I find a great deal on organic produce for less than a dollar a pound I buy as much as I can.

Right now I'm also doing the January Cure by Apartment Therapy.  Its not to late to join so take a peek and have fun with me.  Its a neat way to get clean and organized.  Ive even entered it into my phone so I won't forget.

So as you can see I'm pretty busy right now.  Which is better than not busy enough.  My plan is to get organized, simplify and be happy.

So my friends what are you doing right now?

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2014 Goals and DIY Pumpernickel Bread

You see this pumpernickel bread here? Yep, I did that.  And I plan on making more bread from now on.  Not just any bread but lots of different kinds.  Life is about choices and so should bread.  Want to try your  hand at making it? 

Pumpernickel Bread 

1 package of active dry yeast (or 2.5 tsp)
1 1/4 cup warm water
1/3 cup molasses
2 cups flour
1 1/2 cup rye flour (I used Arrowhead Mills)
1 tbsp wheat gluten (I didn't have any so I used flax seed)
1 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp caraway seeds

Machine-Add ingredients according to bread machine manufacturer.  Bake on whole wheat cycle. 

Oven-Dissolve yeast in warm water with molasses.  Add remaining ingredients and knead for 5-7 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic.  Place in oiled bowl, turning once to coat.  Let rise and double in size.  Punch down, shape and place in oiled loaf pan.  Cover and let rise again.  Bake in preheated 350 degrees oven for 40-50 minutes or until done.  

Okay so I hate having a resolution list because honestly I forget about it. Every single year. lol. So here are a few things I would like to improve on. Lets call them goals.

Be outside more. Seriously I need to get off my lazy butt and go outside.

Be more kind. Yes even I can be more kind. 

Get less sleep. Most need more but not me. I plan on getting up earlier. (hahaha)

Master the garden. More garden beds, more varieties and more time in the garden.

Redesign front garden. Last year was chaos.  

Minimalist. Everything. Less is more.

DIY more. 

Higher self esteem. Its a struggle for me. I need to be happy about me.

Enjoy my children. More.

Love my husband more. We have 4 kids.  We need to give more time to each other.

Save $ save $ save $. In every part of our life. Even we have more room for savings.

Kitchen remodel. Gosh I can't wait for this to happen. 

More color in my home. Been working on this but need to do more. Paint!

Yoga. Just do it. More.

100% organic food budget. Right now I'm about 80%. I want more.

Read more. Expand my choices.

Help more. I love helping people but want to step it up a notch.

More good deeds.  At least one a day. Small or big.

Donate more. Big or small. Must be done.

Buy more natural fibers like cotton.  Try to avoid polyester which is plastic.  

Try new things. Any. Example is the pumpernickel bread. Didn't like it before but now since I made it I love it. 

Preserve more. Use that pressure cooker ( or two) you have. Dehydrate more.  Freeze more. No waste from the garden. Donate to Oregon Food Bank what we can't eat. 

Volunteer more. Any and all we can.

Travel more. Explore Oregon.

Buy 2nd hand more. Recycling at its best!

Simplify my kitchen stuff.  Except for pottery. No way.

Get healthy. Chiropractor is a must. Drink more water. Get more exercise.  

Plant more. Edible plants in the back and side yards. 

Gather free wood. Friends cut trees down, barter for wood, wood permit. Need more wood this year.

Walk/bike more. I have a bike trailer so I need to use it. Or sell it.

LESS TV INTERNET. Ive hidden my Facebook Apps on my phone now I need to stop clicking on them. Just use my laptop.  Keep the TV off when I'm in the house. Turn on music instead.

Be thankful for what I have. Look less at others and more of myself. Be thankful for my life the way it is.  

Make more money. Every little bit helps.

Teach my children kindness.  An ongoing lesson.



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