30 January 2013

BYG: Ordering Seeds

I can't believe I am already thinking about my summer garden!  It is actually time to start a few seeds indoors and begin working the soil to prepare the beds for spring.   

Before all that begins, however, I have to start with the foundation.  The seeds.  Where I purchase seeds is vital.  I always choose seeds from seed savers exchange.  They are a little pricey, but they are safe seeds.  Meaning they are not genetically modified or owned in any way by Monsanto. 

I haven't been outspoken a lot in this space about Monsanto, but I do have a disdain for the company.  I believe they are destroying America one seed at a time.  Below are four tips and resources to help you find a safe seed company that fits your needs.

taken from The Healthy Home Economist blog 
  1. Avoid buying from the seed companies affiliated with Monsanto.  The link is a list of these seed companies
  2. Buy from this list of companies Monsanto HASN’T bought and are not affiliated or do business with Seminis  
  3. Avoid certain heirloom varieties because Monsanto now apparently owns the names. This article lists the seed varieties to avoid
  4. Ask seed companies if they have taken the Safe Seed Pledge.  The link lists companies that have done so
I plan to do things a little differently in my garden this year.  I'm only going to plant what I really want to eat as well as one wild card.  I used to think I should plant everything and give away the excess or what I didn't really want. Gardening became more of a chore, so I've decided that I'll buy the vegetables from the farmers market that I like to eat on occasion and grow what we consume most of the time.

What are your plans for your garden this year?

28 January 2013

Aunt Jenny's Quilt

I was very blessed at Christmas and I received many wonderful gifts, but I have to say that my favorite, by far, was the family quilt my mother gave me.  It brought me to tears.  I don't know why I'm so sentimental when it comes to family heirlooms, but I view them as prized possessions.  I suppose there is a sense of belonging nestled in them.

Aunt Jenny is the sister of my my maternal great-grandmother's father.  To make it easier it's Gram's aunt.  She had no children of her own, but many of Gram's sisters and brothers have items of Aunt Jenny's.  We don't know much about her or her brothers and sisters other than my great grandfather so mom and I have decided to travel back to Nebraska this summer and do a little genealogy research.  I am really looking forward to recording the history before it's lost.  

The other special part of the gift is that it suits me perfectly.  The quilt, although it is is full of stitch detail, is plain in design.  Almost as if this quilt was meant to land in my home.  No flowers.  No frills.  Just like me.

I am on a mission to display this quilt in a unique way.  It is stained and tattered in some areas and I don't dare clean it.  How can I display it without using a traditional quilt rack?  A rack doesn't suit my design style.  What do you think?

24 January 2013

Dog Wonder

I've had the winter blues lately.  The kind where all I want to do is sleep, eat a lot of bad food, and practically do nothing because I have zero motivation.  I'm stuck in my own head and can't seem to step out of it.  Do you ever deal with this?

I'm questioning everything and trying to find something wrong that really isn't there.  Thankfully I get a good dose of nature medicine every day because no matter what mental state I'm in, Annie still has to go for a walk.

I read something recently that says we should all take a lesson from dogs.  Each day they are excited.  Excited to see you, to sniff, to run, play, jump, lick.  In their mind's they are saying "this is the best day ever!"  We should all embody that philosophy.

Daily we walk by a magnolia tree.  The ground around the tree is littered with seed pods.  She loves to pick them up and carry them in her mouth for most of our walk.  They look like a short stogie hanging out the side of her mouth. She looks forward to this every day.  Every day.  She finds one, picks it up, tosses her head around and acts like she just find the treasure...again.  This is the best day ever.

I can't help but laugh, and laughter will brighten anyone's spirit.  She is my wonder dog.  Dog wonder.

23 January 2013

Homemade Dog Biscuits

Ok, I admit, I've taken to spoiling my dog. Quite a bit.  One look at her face and all my troubles melt away.  So when I came across a homemade dog biscuit recipe in Yvette van Boven's book Home Made, I knew I would be baking them.

The ingredients are so pure humans could eat these biscuits.  Why not feed your dog the same wholesome food you would feed yourself?

I used a cookie cutter I bought for a craft project that made the perfect size of treat.  I ended up with a full jar (she had a few before I took photos of them).  Needless to say, she loves them, and I feel good giving them to her knowing they are not filled with preservatives. 


2/3 cup of salt-free homemade beef broth or hot water
2 tbsp olive oil
1 egg
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 2/3 cup all-purpose flour

Combine all ingredients into a firm dough in a bowl.  Roll into a thin sheet approximately 1/8 inch thick on a flour dusted counter top.  Cut the dough into strips or cut out shapes using a cookie cutter.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and bake the doggy biscuits for approx. 30 minutes until golden brown.  Keep in a sealable jar. 

*recipe copied directly from Home Made

21 January 2013

DIY Humidifier

My world is quiet.  Life is happening behind the scenes, but I've been in my head more than in this space.  I have been spending quite a bit of time outdoors with Annie.  

The weather has been all over the board.  Typical this time of year.  The temp rises during the day, enough for some to pull out their shorts, and then it plummets over night. 

Coming in and out of the dry air has been doing a number on my skin, in addition to the heat coming from the furnace.  To put a little moisture back into the air I put a few orange peels, a cinnamon stick and water on the stove top to simmer.  As it evaporates I simply add more water.  Whenever I'm home I put it on to simmer.  Before long my house is filled with the warm smell of a home in winter, and my skin gets a little respite. 

I've also been using a winter body scrub I made to slough off the dry skin.  You can find the recipe here. 

How do you take care of your skin in the winter?

11 January 2013

2013 Word of the Year

The theme for 2013 is about living my truth.  I chose a word that encapsulates my goals and I added a few support words for reinforcement.  13 might be lucky after all.  

10 January 2013

2013 Resolutions

Last January I posted 12 goals for the year and as I wrapped up 2012 I was amazed to see how well I did with them. Accountability has a lot to do with it.  Posting them in such a public place put pressure on me to follow through.  So I've decided to do the same for 2013, adding one more goal to the year.

My list and this year, my reasons.

This means no shopping.  No purchasing of unnecessary clothing, housewares, etc.  We live in a very disposable society.  Everywhere you turn there is a new product lurking with a message trying to convince you why you need it or need to replace what you already have.  My world has become quantity over quality.   
My closet is full of clothes I hardly wear.  My cupboards are stuffed with items I haven't used in a year.  So, unless there is an item I truly need (i.e. running shoes because I will not damage my body with bad shoes) I will not purchase anything I do not need.  In addition, I will be sorting through every inch of my home and donating the excess.
A daily practice, particularly in the morning, is creative and inspiring, and all around healthy.  My goal is start each day with sun salutations, meditative walks with Annie, and loads of affirmations.  I want to start the day with the right frame of mind. 

When cell phones became the newest technology I was not convinced it would make my life better.  It took me a long time to finally get one, and then when I did, I rarely carried it around or used it.  My friend BR can attest to this.  Now I use it all the time.  Also, when I'm cooking or cleaning around the house, I sometimes turn on the t.v. to news or trashy shows just to have background noise.   
Well, if we are what we eat, we are what we watch and listen to as well.  I will focus on listening to music more and no longer tune into the t.v. for noise.  And, I will no longer have my cell phone within reach when I'm out and about.  I would rather engage with the checkout gal then filter through my twitter feed.  

I'm really over conventional medicine.  Last year I had some crazy allergy thing that knocked me out.  cc didn't want to get sick so I went to the doctor to figure out what was going on.  In less than five minutes, without getting all the information on my symptoms, I was prescribed a z-pack.   
I want a doctor that gets to the heart of the problem and doesn't just treat the symptoms.  Also, I am interested in determining whether there is a path I can take to eliminate my thyroid medication.  A naturopath doctor has a med degree but will try natural remedies before turning to conventional medicine.

This one is big because I rarely ask for help.  Between feeling insecure in my abilities and not wanting to air those or knowing I can do it myself, I just don't ask.  This is obviously horrible thinking so I will be searching for guidance this year.

I struggle with relationships because I don't put myself out there very well.  It is easier to do in this space because I can't see your face, but real time is a different story.  My goal is to work on that this year.

I have really wanted to do this for a while.  I love to teach and I love being creative.  I have many ideas in mind and I am looking forward to this goal the most. 

Yoga, run, walk with Annie, hike.  Whatever it looks like, for 30 minutes a day I need to move. 

I am searching for a quiet spirit.  I'm always thinking ahead, planning my next move and I want to focus on just sitting in the moment and not worry about yesterday or tomorrow.  

Another biggie this year.  I curse.  I use poor grammar, and I can be a debbie downer.  I have gotten comfortable, maybe even a little lazy in how I speak and I realized I don't want that to be a piece of my legacy.  Silence is golden. 

I believe there is wisdom in carrying an air of confidence.  Not egotistically, but rather, comfortable in my own skin.  

I am a life long learner and I am happiest when I am learning something new.  This year I would like to focus on skill set that I can add to my tool box. 

This was #12 on last year's list.  To be honest, I put it on the list because I didn't have anything else, but it is the one goal that stuck with me the most.  I enjoyed it immensely, and so I am adding it again for 2013.   

Cheers to a new year and a fresh start.  Any resolutions for you this year?

08 January 2013

Rock the Shot January Challenge

This year I am taking my photography to a new level.  To start the year I am entering the January photo challenge with this shot of my sister, Sarah.  The challenge is sponsored by Rock the Shot.

We are to pick our favorite photo from 2012 and this one happens to be one of my favorites because it captures her exactly as I see her.  She is full of life.  We laugh, giggle and have a lot of fun when we are together and you can see it here in her eyes.  

I captured this by crouching down so I was slightly below her level.  She was facing a window, so the light is natural.  I also used a reflector to bounce more light on her face.  She is always saying funny things so we were actually just talking.  I told her I was just checking the settings on my camera and therefore she was relaxed.  I took a few shots and this is the result. 

Rock the Shot