May 30, 2014

rhubarb pie recipe!


Last weekend, being Memorial Day weekend, we obviously went to a BBQ.  It was definitely a fun time.  Watching the cousins play together so well reminds me how blessed I am.  Of course, going to a BBQ, I needed to bring something.  I brought two somethings, one was a quinoa salad with mint and lemon and it was really delicious, but what I want to share today is the other thing I made, rhubarb pie.

Now, I know that a lot of people are afraid of rhubarb.  I get it, it is tart!  Most recipes I see involve the combination of rhubarb and strawberries.  However, I grew up eating it every spring, and I still love it today.  In fact, my brother and I used to fill little cups of sugar and go outside to my mom's garden, pick a stalk of rhubarb, dip it in the sugar and munch away.  Last year I shared my recipe for rhubarb custard pie, this year it is straight up rhubarb pie, and it is delicious!

Rhubarb Pie

~4 cups chopped rhubarb
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 tsp cinnamon
2 Tablespoons butter cut into little pieces
2 pie crusts for 9" pie plate (you can make your own, but I didn't have time so I used the old Pillsbury standby)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Put 1 pie crust in 9" pie plate.
Mix sugar, flour, and cinnamon together.
Put about 1/4 cup of mixture on the pie crust in the pie plate.
Toss the rhubarb in the remainder of the sugar/flour/cinnamon mixture.
Pour the rhubarb/sugar mixture in the pie plate.
Place butter pieces on top of rhubarb.
Top pie with other pie crust.
Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes then turn heat down to 350 degrees and cook for an additional 35 minutes, or until crust is slightly browned.

The addition of the cinnamon was something new that I tried, and I really liked it.  I felt like just putting sugar and rhubarb in a pie crust, while delicious, needed a little something extra.  Oh, and you may want to put a baking sheet under your pie plate...mine decided to start oozing over the sides - yummy caramelly goodness!

What spring dishes are you making these days?

May 29, 2014

Apparoo App of the Week!


Trying to find great apps for moms or kids can be hard with so many available. That's why I've partnered with Apparoo - the app discovery service for busy moms. Each week I'll be sharing the 'Apparoo App of the Week' with you. Very often they've negotiated to bring you great paid apps at heavily discounted rates and sometimes even free.


This week's app is Grandma's Kitchen and it is on sale for $0.99!


Grandma's cooking up a storm in this fresh-baked app that stirs kindergarten and first grade skills into the batter. Kids can “bake” compound words, make and decorate a cake, tell time to see when the cake will be ready, and even help Grandma wash the dishes. Reading, math, and pattern-recognition are seamlessly integrated into eight fun mini-games, and live-action instructive cooking tips add to the deliciousness. Customize the games to choose which skills to activate. So hide the knives and step aside – your eensie-weensie Emeril or junior Julia Child will be whipping up dinner – with a side of reading and math! Download it here for only $0.99

Sponsored content we love!

May 28, 2014

knitting reading and my big announcement!


I have been knitting coasters for the past week, and I have to say that I am glad that I am.  I never realized how much I would use them!  And they are quick and easy using leftover yarn, so what is not to love.

This week, however, I am knitting something new.  It is a baby hat, for a new baby that we will be welcoming to our family in October.  We are very excited - especially my littles who are over the moon about a new addition.  We will be finding out what we are having (as long as we have a cooperative little one!), but not until next week.  

Until then, I am going with a gender neutral cream color for this first little hat.  It is the same pattern that I use for the kids' hats that I make each year, so at least it is easy...but it seems so tiny!  Hopefully it will be big enough, but not too big.  I figure I will need a lot of little hats for a fall baby...

As far as reading goes, I am still working on the list I was working on last week, but I am going to be adding another book to it this week.  The new book is for the Bloom (in)courage Book Club , it is called Pursue the Intentional Life.  I am really excited about this book, it seems right up my alley.  However, I am a little concerned because I think the author was in a different stage of life than I am right now.  I have heard a lot of good things about the book though, so I am looking forward to reading it.  And doing it in a book club setting should be added encouragement to really flesh out the ideas of the book and apply them to my life.

What are you working on this week?

May 26, 2014

garden happenings (photo heavy)

It has been a fun filled Memorial Day weekend.  We were able to visit the greenhouse and get all the seedlings we needed.  Now the key is to turn this:


into a place where all of this can go:


The kids had a great time at the greenhouse - as always!




My hope is that today is a beautiful day and I can get all of my planting done...but if I am supposed to believe weather.com I unfortunately see rain all day.  Let's all hope for some breaks in the clouds!  

What is happening in the rest of the yard?  The flowers are starting to make some progress!

irises are growing!

the ants are working their magic

hoping the rain doesn't kill my lilacs

garlic is coming along nicely!

How have you been celebrating this long weekend?

May 25, 2014

Sunday Quotes


A garden requires patient labor and attention.  Plants do not grow  merely to satisfy ambitions or to fulfill good intentions.  They thrive because someone expended effort on them.
~Liberty Hyde Bailey

May 22, 2014

morning thoughts on margin and life


It is amazing what a little sunshine will do for your perspective!  We have been spending our days outside (when it isn't raining at least!) and it has been wonderful for my soul, as well as wonderful for my kiddos.  It reminds me why I love summer so much, we are able to just relax and not stress and instead have fun!

The book that I am reading right now (and talked a bit about yesterday) is called Say Goodbye to Survival Mode.  I am not far into the book, but it has already gotten me to think about my daily schedule, what I want to accomplish on a daily basis, and how to grant myself some grace when I don't check everything off that to-do list, because lets be honest, I never check everything off my to-do list.

One concept that the author has talked about is scheduling margin into our day, so that when those little emergencies (or big ones!) come up, we are able to handle them without thinking about the 5 other things that we now will not accomplish.  

Now, I love to make schedules, but I never seem to follow them.  So, instead I started creating rhythms for our day, which seemed to work so much better, but still I was waiting for everyday to be the perfect day.  Unfortunately, that never happened.  

The process of taking out some of the unimportant tasks off my to-do list and replacing them with a blank block of time, that really appeals to me.  I think that as summer approaches it will be easier to start adding that margin.  We all want the lazy days of summer.

One of the quotes that really resonated with me at the beginning of this book was the following:

Stop letting people manipulate you into a miserable existence.  Stop doing things just because you feel obligated to do them.  Stop doing things because you're afraid of what people might think of you if you don't do them.  Stop over-committing yourself.

Now, it may seem a bit harsh, especially that first sentence - which I almost excluded - but I think sometimes we need that shock of something harsh to really break into our minds and make us think.  It certainly made me think a bit more about what I am doing, what we fill our days with, what I want to fill our days with.  I think that the people referred to in the above quote can be people from the outside, but can also be me.  I want to make sure that we have lots of fun activities, I want to make sure that my kids are getting the best homeschool education I can give them, and sometimes I really just need to step back and let the kids be kids and let me sit to knit or write or read.  

Will it be easy to create margin?  Probably not, but it is something I am going to work on, for myself as well as my kids.

Do you schedule margin into your everyday?  Do you feel the need to agree to just.one.more.thing often?

May 21, 2014

knitting and reading


It has been a while since I have had anything to write about with regards to knitting.  Not because I don't want to knit, but I think I am in a very large knitting slump.  It is definitely a combination of being called to the outdoors and also because I have no new yarn to look at lovingly and want to make fun projects from.  

What I do have, however, is a lot of leftover balls of yarn.  Much of which is cotton.  I typically will take cotton yarn and make rags or holders for our bar soaps, but since we are on the cusp of summer (we must be at this point, right?!), and all things icy to drink, I decided to make some coasters out of my leftover cotton yarn.  Seems like something to keep me busy when I want to knit, but nothing with a deadline that stresses me out.  So that is what I am knitting now, coasters for all of my iced coffee, green smoothie, cold drink goodness!

While I haven't been doing a lot of knitting, I have been doing a lot of reading.  I was trying to find new and interesting books to keep my interest for so long, but wasn't finding anything.  Then all of a sudden spring hit, and it seemed like a lot of books that I have been wanting to read were available.  
Because of the aforementioned outside time, I decided to break down and buy a basic kindle.  I already have both the kindle and nook apps for my nexus (I buy books depending on where I get gift cards from!), but I wanted to be able to read them easily outside.  I can use my nexus to read outside, but it definitely strains my eyes, and the kindle was on sale right before Mother's Day.  Perfect present for mama!  Plus, I really liked that I would have access to the kindle lending library.  Anytime I can get a book for free, I am a happy girl.

Books I have been reading as of late:

I'm re-reading Notes From a Blue Bike by Tsh Oxenreider because she has been doing a book club on Facebook.  Love this book.  Definitely made me want to travel more (even though I absolutely detest flying), and to declutter my house...again.

Because of the decluttering motivation, I started reading Tsh's other book, Organized Simplicity.  I usually skip ahead right to the process of decluttering, but this time I have been really reading the thought process behind the decluttering.  I want my house to work for my family, for me, and I don't want to keep a bunch of stuff just because we got it from a relative, it is a keepsake that we don't really care about etc. etc.  It is freeing to hear someone else tell me it is ok to throw something out (or donate it more likely).

Next up is a book I had been on the library wait list for...forever actually.  Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness.  It is the second book in the Discovery of Witches trilogy.  The last book comes out in July, and they are supposedly making a movie about this series at some point...not sure when though.  This series is slightly intense in the language and history, but it really is an interesting story, and they are long books too...which I absolutely adore.  Definitely recommend it if you are interested in fantasy books.

And finally, the book in my picture.  Say Goodbye to Survival Mode by Crystal Paine.  I heard a podcast with Crystal talking about this book recently, you can find it here, and when they started talking about adding margin to your daily schedule, it hooked me.  I'm not too far into it, but so far so good!

What are you working on this week?  Any new book recommendations?

May 18, 2014

Sunday Quotes


Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans.
~John Lennon

May 17, 2014

Inquisitor by R J Blain

inquisitor cover 

  Inquisitor by R.J. Blain When Allison is asked to play Cinderella-turned-Fiancee at a Halloween ball, the last thing she expected was to be accused of murder on the same night. She has to find the killer and quick, or she'll be put to death for the crimes she didn't commit. To make matters worse, the victims are all werewolves. On the short list of potential victims, Allison has to act fast, or the killer will have one more body to add to his little black book of corpses. There's only one problem: One of the deaths has struck too close to home, and Allison's desire for self-preservation may very well transform into a quest for vengeance...


  Excerpt Caroline was either the best actress I’d ever seen, or she was really dead. I crouched next to her, torn between touching her neck to feel for a pulse and running away before the sweet scent of a fresh kill overwhelmed my restraint. A clock chimed ten. The power of the full moon slammed into me, tugging at my heart, and tightening my chest. The need to embrace my inner beast and become one with the night quickened my breath. Scents flooded my nose. Strong perfumes mingled with cologne, and the sweat of hot, living bodies stirred my hunger. I licked my lips, and for one brief moment, imagined the salty sweetness of fresh blood on my tongue. There was another hunter in the room with me, and they taunted me with their kill. Their prey was either dead or left to die. It was a challenge to the scavengers, to the hunters, and a warning to the prey. “What do you think?” Mark’s mother asked. “I think she’s an amazing actress,” I replied, careful to keep my tone light. I rose to my feet. If I grew a tail, I could only hope my gown would hide it long enough for me to slip from the party and find a place to gain control over myself. Or complete the change and go on a rampage. Another minute passed in silence. I shook my head. “This would be why I’m not a police officer.” The Wicked Witch of the West giggled. I shivered at the sound. “I see. Very well, Cinderella. Shall we mingle with the other guests and learn about this terrible, terrible deed?” “I thought this was when Mark was supposed to come rescue me from a fate worse than death,” I muttered. Oops. So much for keeping civil. I guess it was inevitable. Bodies brought out the worst in me. Especially when the body wasn’t one of my making. To make matters worse, I couldn’t exactly raise the alarm. If I did, I’d reveal to those who knew the truth about werewolves and witches that I wasn’t just some human girl after a wealthy boy. Then the Inquisition would find silver old enough to kill me or reduce me to ashes to make certain they purged the world of one more rogue werewolf. “Why can’t you be wealthy?” Mrs. Livingston lamented. The old woman’s question caught me by surprise. Had she heard me? Did she think it an amusing quip? Was it possible the woman actually liked me? Confused at the question, I answered honestly. “Ma’am, who says I’m not? I’m your son’s accountant. Do you really think he’d trust someone who didn’t have access to at least some money with his money?” I glared at the old woman. At least the brewing fight between us distracted me from Caroline’s body a little. “Don’t forget I know exactly how much he makes a year, where he transfers his funds, who owes him how much, and whom he owes. I know how much he’s paid in taxes, and I know how much I saved him last tax season.” The witch’s mouth dropped open. “Just what—” “I paid more in taxes than he did last year. I’ll let you do the math. Unless, of course, he learned how to count from you.” I pivoted on a heel and stalked my way towards the refreshment stand.  

    Blain

Author RJ Blain RJ Blain suffers from a Moleskine journal obsession, a pen fixation, and a terrible tendency to pun without warning. When she isn't playing pretend, she likes to think she's a cartographer and a sumi-e painter. In reality, she herds cats and a husband. She also has a tendency to play MMOs and other computer games. In her spare time, she daydreams about being a spy. Should that fail, her contingency plan involves tying her best of enemies to spinning wheels and quoting James Bond villains until she is satisfied.

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Blast Giveaway $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 6/10/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Missing Lily by Annette K. Larsen

missing lily 

  Missing Lily “You don’t know who I am,” I whispered. He didn’t move—either away from me, or closer—and after an interminable moment, I stepped back and hurried out of the house. He didn’t follow me as I fled into the night. Lylin was not used to being alone—much less alone, hurt, and lost. So when she is separated from her guard and forced to abandon her horse, she counts herself lucky to stumble upon a manor house. Still frightened by those who chased her into the night, she keeps her identity a secret, calling herself Lily as she accepts the help of kind servants, and the compassion of Lord Fallon. When they fall into an easy friendship, she wonders if her secrecy was too hasty. However, as she gets to know the manor and its residents, Lylin discovers that she’s not the only one hiding secrets, and it may be a very good thing that her host doesn’t know her true identity as a member of the royal family.  

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Author Annette K. Larsen I was born in Utah, part of a crazy, fun family of nine. I grew up in Flagstaff, AZ and St. Louis, MO before striking out on my own college adventure in Virginia. I decided to try my hand at writing novels after I was married and living in Idaho. I write clean romance because it’s my favorite genre, but often difficult to find.
I have Charlotte Brontë to thank for the courage to write novels. After being bombarded with assigned reading about women who justified abandoning either their families or their principles in the name of love, I had the great fortune of reading Jane Eyre. And that was it: finally, a heroine who understood that being moral and making the right choice was hard, and sometimes it hurt, but it was still worth it. After rereading it several years later, I realized that if I wanted more books to exist with the kinds of heroines I admired, then I might as well write a few myself. My books are about women who face hard choices, who face pain and rejection and often have to face the reality of sacrificing what they want for what is right. The consequences are often difficult or unpleasant, but in the end, doing what’s right will always be worth it. I believe there is no substitute for good writing or good chocolate. Fortunately, one often leads to the other.

Missing Lily Tour

Not yet read Just Ella?
It is on sale for $3.99 for the duration of the blog tour.
Grab your copy on Amazon.

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      Book Blast Giveaway $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 6/10/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

May 16, 2014

Chocolate Eclair Cake recipe!

My husband's work has reinstated a "lunch bunch" crew, where every couple of weeks one of them is supposed to bring lunch to work...hence the "lunch bunch."  Unfortunately, my husband does not cook.  And when he let me know that it was his turn to make lunch, well, lets say I was at a bit of a loss.  Instead of lunch, I am sending in dessert.  And the guys will probably appreciate this more than the quinoa and black bean salad I was thinking about making...instead I will be sending Eclair Cake.

This is a relatively easy recipe, and I love easy recipes!

Cake:
1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1 cup flour
4 eggs



Heat the water and butter up until it comes to a boil.  Remove from heat and add flour.  Stir until it is a ball.  Mix in one egg at a time.  Spread in a greased 13x9 pan.  Cook in preheated 450 degree oven for 15 minutes, reduce heat to 350 degrees and cook for another ~15-20 minutes (watch so it doesn't overcook).  Let cool completely.

Filling:
1 large package instant vanilla pudding
1 8oz package of whipped cream cheese
3 cups milk

Mix vanilla pudding with 3 cups of milk.  Beat in cream cheese until smooth.  Spread over cooled cake layer.

Topping:
Heavy cream or whipping cream
sugar to taste

Beat heavy cream until it is whipped cream.  Spread on top of filling layer.

Drizzle hot fudge on individual portions.

Definitely one of my favorite desserts!  And you know that point when you mean to take a picture of the finished recipe before your husband takes it to work in the morning?  Yeah, that didn't happen :-)

Do you have to send meals in to work with your husband to share?  Any good crowd pleasing recipes?

May 13, 2014

Happy Birthday to my baby girl!


We have all had the most wonderful weekend here at Townsend House!  Yesterday was my beautiful daughter's sixth birthday.  It is amazing how fast the time really does go by.  It seems like only yesterday she was a little itty bitty baby in my arms.  But, now she is definitely a big girl, with her own opinions and preferences on everything from which books we read to the clothes she wears (always must be some type of dress or skirt).

Early on Mother's Day we headed off to an amusement park in the next state over.  The kids spent the day riding fun rides and getting soaked on others.  I am definitely blessed to have these days, and I cherish them immensely!

Today we are back to the grind, homeschool awaits us!  We are entering into our summer homeschool season which is a little more relaxed on the book work, and a lot more exploratory in the outside world.  It is nice that the weather is starting to cooperate with our thinking!

How is your school year going?  Are you winding up or just getting started?  May brings on the birthday season in our family, how about for you?

May 11, 2014

Sunday Quotes


A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.
~Washington Irving

Happy Mother's Day!!!

May 9, 2014

Stonyfield Organic Yogurt Pouches Feature!

I participated in a Blogger Activation on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Stonyfield. I received coupons to facilitate my shopping trip and a promotional item to thank me for participating.


I recently had the opportunity to try out the new Stonyfield Organic Yogurt Pouches.  My children were extremely excited!  Yogurt is a regular part of our everyday.  Typically Jack asks for yogurt for breakfast…every.single.day.  And we always buy Stonyfield Organic, so having the opportunity to try their new pouches was a big bonus for my kiddos.


The Stonyfield Organic Yogurt Pouches are the first refrigerated yogurt pouch.  Why are they refrigerated?  Because they contain live active cultures.  They contain pure organic ingredients and never have high fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors.  This is incredibly important to me as a mom.  I want my kids to have the very best; obviously, I think that all moms feel this way.  These days it is so important to know the ingredients in our food, especially for our children who are growing and developing rapidly.  I am happy to know that Stonyfield shares my desire to feed my children wholesome organic food.

I actually bought all the flavors that I could find when trying these.  Even though the pouches are geared towards different ages, my kids loved all of them.  I think my favorites were the yotoddler pouches.  We tried both the Strawberry-Beet-Berry and Pear-Spinach-Mango.  My kids liked both of these flavors, but asked for seconds of the Pear-Spinach-Mango.  We also loved both the strawberry and blueberry yokids pouches.

These are super easy for on the go snacks.  I realized a couple years ago that my children would always be hungry when were out running errands, so I started packing a snack cooler every time we left the house.  When I don’t have to actually prepare the food, and can just grab it and throw it in the cooler; that is a bonus.

If you want to connect with Stonyfield, you can do so at the following links Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, PinterestMake sure to check if these new pouches are sold near you!


Have you tried the new Stonyfield Organic Yogurt Pouches?  What do you think?

May 8, 2014

Apparoo App of the Week!


Trying to find great apps for moms or kids can be hard with so many available. That's why I've partnered with Apparoo - the app discovery service for busy moms. Each week I'll be sharing the 'Apparoo App of the Week' with you. Very often they've negotiated to bring you great paid apps at heavily discounted rates and sometimes even free.


This week's app is iStoryTime.


Sometimes simple is best. No matter how many fancy toys your kid has, they always end up on your lap saying “Mama, tell me a story.” iStoryTime is like a central library for kids’ books, and they wisely left off extraneous features, letting the stories shine. It includes four free books and then you can buy more à la carte, or pay a monthly or annual fee, Netflix-style, for unlimited books. With new books released in the app every week, there is always fresh content to enjoy. Stories can be narrated or silent, allowing your child to read independently when they’re ready. As Leonardo said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” (Da Vinci, not DiCaprio, people.) Download it here for free.

Sponsored content we love!

May 5, 2014

Easy Belgian Waffle Recipe!


Back in December I won a King Arthur Flour gift card.  Let's just say that I was ecstatic.  I wanted to replace a lot of old baking pans, and this was the perfect opportunity.  I was able to acquire a couple of luxury items as well, one of which was a Belgian Waffle maker.  

For as long as I can remember, whenever I went out to breakfast with my mom and brother I would either get blueberry pancakes, or a Belgian waffle.  When I was in college they had these fabulous waffle makers so I was able to make my own for breakfast (that may have been a bad choice).  Now that I am married with kids, I want to give them that same joy that I had getting a special treat once in a while.

The problem I quickly realized, was that it was kind of complicated to make the batter.  You had to use yeast, let it sit overnight, or for at least several hours.  We did make those waffles with that complicated recipe...once.  I knew that I needed something a lot easier and faster if I was ever going to actually make these wonderful treats.

I finally figured out something that was a combo of several recipes (and reminds me of my basic muffin recipe actually).  

2 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar (or less if you prefer)
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
2 eggs
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla

Sift together dry ingredients.
Mix wet ingredients together.
Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour wet ingredients in. 
Mix until combined.

Use about 2/3 cup of batter for each waffle (or whatever your manufacturer directions tell you!).  Makes 6-7 waffles.

Now the picture above is a bit misleading, we almost always have strawberries and whipped cream on our waffles (although Jack prefers his plain), but I never seem to get a picture with the strawberries and whipped cream actually on the waffle...

Do you have a favorite special breakfast you prepare for your family?

May 4, 2014

Sunday Quotes


First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.
~Epictetus

May 2, 2014

Maine is #2 for local eating!

photo:source

I have been in a food rut – well I think that overall I have been in a rut, but food especially it seems right now.  We are getting a lot more take out than I care to admit, and I know that where we eat, while local shops, are not necessarily the healthiest places on the planet to put my food dollars. 

Recently, I saw an interesting article making its way around Facebook, The 10 Best (and Worst) States to Eat Local.  Surprise, surprise, Maine was number 2 on the list!  It was an incredibly proud moment for me, obviously since I live in Maine.  It also made me realize that my desire to eat a local diet in this state really isn’t as difficult as I can sometimes make it out to be.  But, it does take planning.

Planning is something I have a hard time with.  I am not one to sit and look through cook books for meals that I want to make.  Instead, I will watch the food network, see something interesting, and then try to re-create it.  Of course, that doesn’t mean local food a lot of the time.  So, I realize that with local eating I am really at the mercy of what is available at certain times.  We have access to a lot of great local food, but it does mean that I need to eat more seasonally, and the same for my family.  I am happy to eat an array of soups and stews with delicious root veggies and local meats, but come April I am looking for greens, and they aren’t as plentiful right now as my body desires.  Instead, I turn to more convenience, and pay ridiculous prices for organic food from California.

What was really interesting to me from this article was that California was absent from the top ten list.  In fact, California came in at the near bottom, number 38.  How can that be?  I was under the impression that if we didn’t buy our food locally, it mostly came from California.  Unfortunately, I guess the people that live in California are not able to access all this food that is getting shipped out to other states; seems incredibly strange though.

I know that as the weather improves, and my own garden starts producing, eating locally will be a breeze again.  I will be out in the garden in the morning picking the veggies that we will eat for the day, those really are my favorite days.  In the meantime (since I know my garden will not be producing for some time), I am going to work on making a list of what items are available now, and trying to put together some recipes that way.  I know that I will always use food from away, I mean, I couldn’t ever give up coffee, and that certainly is not local, but I hope to move more in that direction again, after a very long winter of chili and soup!


I need meal planning tips people, please share what you do!  Do you have theme nights?  Rotate meals twice a month?  Make a new menu for every week?  

Linking up at From the Farm

May 1, 2014

decluttering vs. organizing

photo:source
I saw an interesting blog post a couple days ago over at the art of simple, where Tsh talked about the difference between de-cluttering andorganizing.  It was quite an eye opener, and I suggest you head there and read more about it! 

I have been having an amazing bit of writers block recently, and generally feeling lackadaisical – I prefer that fancy sounding word over lazy!  I know part of it is the extremely cold weather we have had for months and months and months, but I also know that a lot of it has to do with the amount of clutter in the house right now.

I feel like I spend a lot of time de-cluttering, but after I read Tsh’s article I realized that mostly what I was doing was re-organizing…constantly.  Not that re-organizing, or organizing to being with, are essentially bad, but I realized that when I have to dedicate specific days to get it all accomplished while my husband occupies the kids, there is something wrong.

A couple of years ago I first heard about minimalism, and immediately said that I loved the idea but had no clue how I could live with so much less.  Instead, I did a bit of a hybrid approach and got rid of a ton of junk that had been in boxes since we moved into our house; storage boxes which were full of unknown items.

Even after that summer of de-cluttering, I still try to keep up with the amount of stuff that we have, getting rid of small amounts of stuff here and there.  What I realized after reading this blog post though, was that I needed a more drastic outcome.  When I clear out a little at a time, there inevitably comes something new to fill that small space I cleared.  What I need to see is a completely empty home – since that is unlikely to happen seeing as how I have a husband and two children, I am going to need to take a more drastic approach to it all.

I started to look through Organized Simplicity again, and one of the quotes that Tsh put in was the one pictured above by William Morris.  It is something that I need to consider more rather than trying to find another nook to stick something.  Now to get my family on board with a big house de-cluttering event!

What do you think of de-cluttering vs. organizing?  Do you feel like you are constantly getting rid of “stuff” or rather moving it around to make it look pretty again?  Have you gotten rid of a lot at once?  How did your family react?