Simple Living: 100 Things Challenge

This week, my husband and I made the decision to move into an apartment with about 550 square feet of space. With medical bills and school loans to pay, we can only afford the tiny 1 bedroom apartment, but we have several positive things to say about the location. However, the small space will definitely challenge us, especially once the baby arrives. We decided to see this as an opportunity to challenge ourselves to live a more minimalistic lifestyle over the next year. I came up with our first task on Wednesday, which I will call the “100 Things Challenge.”

Some of my readers have probably heard of Dave Bruno. A few years back, he decided to challenge himself to live for a year with only 100 personal items in the pursuit of simple living. For more information about his challenge, watch this Youtube video. While my husband and I don’t feel quite up to the challenge of living with only 100 personal items, we have come up with our own challenge: get rid of 100 items by May 1st. By get rid of, I mean sell, donate, give away, recycle, or throw away (as a last resort) items as we pack up and move into our new place.

I happily report, I sold a chair to one of my housemates this morning. Our first item: gone ūüôā

Categories: Simple Living | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

An Evolution of Sewing

I feel slightly guilty for the time I have let pass since my last post. I have several reasons for this, but it mostly comes down to laziness. During my blogging hiatus, I managed to work on some sewing projects. However, I doubt my skills have improved. Observe the evolution (or rather, de-evolution) of my skills as I try to make a stegosaurus:

First attempt, notice the overlapping "tags".

First attempt, notice the overlapping “tags”.

 

 

Second attempt, crooked "tags" and a short tail from where it jammed my sewing machine.

Second attempt, crooked “tags” and a short tail from where it jammed my sewing machine.

 

My last attempt, still have crooked "tags". I should have continued using fleece; it ended up being more forgiving.

My last attempt, still have crooked “tags”. I should have continued using fleece; it ended up being more forgiving.

Eventually, I decided I should try something new. I feel proud of my next project.

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Now, on to my excuses for my blogging absence. Most recently, I started a new job where I provide companionship and help to seniors still living in their homes. I enjoy the work and the flexibility of my schedule, but the morning shifts leave me feeling tired. I also recently started working for an Hossier Ag Today (an agriculture radio company) on a freelance basis. Visit http://www.hoosieragtoday.com/national-ag-leaders-celebrate-agriculture-day/ to read my latest article. I write about two articles a week for the website.

P1050806Perhaps my best and longest-running excuse for avoiding the blogosphere is . . . Baby M will arrive the middle of July! Tomorrow, I will reach the 24 week mark. I had horrible all-day sickness during the months of November and December and evening sickness in January. My nausea mostly stays away these days, but I still suffer from a lack of motivation to do much more than lounge around the house. My husband and I look forward to the arrival of our first child. I promise to avoid turning this blog into a baby journal. However, my readers can expect to see periodical updates.

Categories: Crafty | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dairy-Free Corn Chowder

During the eighth grade, I had several health issues pop up. I suffered from anxiety attacks over minor things, had a doctor diagnose me with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), and discovered some food allergies. Among these food allergies, I became sensitive to milk. I have become more intolerant to lactose over the years and learned to adapt recipes to accommodate this dietary restriction.

Last year, I stumbled across this recipe from Adventures of a DIY Mom for corn chowder. I tweaked it a little to fit my own cooking style and lactose intolerance. Try out my dairy-free version:

Corn Chowder
2 c. water
2 c. chopped potatoes
1/2 c. finely shredded carrots*
1 clove minced garlic or 1 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper

(*Hubby and I don’t really care for cooked carrots, but we’ll eat them in soup if they are shredded.)

Cook until tender, then add:

1/4 c. flour**
2 c. milk substitute (I use unsweetened almond milk)
1 can corn

**I like to sift my flour over the pot while slowly stirring to prevent my flour from clumping. When the soup has thickened up nicely, I will set aside half the soup. I then melt a cup of cheddar cheese into the rest of the soup for my hubby.

Enjoy this delicious soup during these cold winter days!

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My Fierce Little Dragon

Here in the Midwest, we had one of the largest snowstorms in years last week. The wind chill at the beginning of last week reached a dangerous -45F but warmed up to a balmy 40+F. Sadly, the heat wave this weekend melted most of the snow, leaving only the pathetic remnants of a snowman army and puddles of slush to remind us of the days of freezing cold, driving restrictions, and playing of board games. 

I managed to start and finish a new crochet project during the temperamental Midwestern weather. I stumbled across this pattern by Lucy Ravenscar on Pinterest more than a year ago. I finally worked up the courage to try it the past week. Besides the end of the tail, I feel pretty satisfied with the results. Lucy has made the pattern available as a free download on the knit and crochet website Ravelry. Feel free to leave comments about my dragon below.

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A Year of Crafts

Even though I only started this blog back in October, I spent the entire year crafting. I thought I would share with my readers some of the things you missed.

Kangaroo I made for my niece.

Kangaroo I made for my niece.

Fingerless mittens to keep hands nice and warm.

Fingerless mittens to keep hands nice and warm.

Stegosaurus I made for a cute little boy.

Stegosaurus I made for a cute little boy.

Categories: Crafty | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Facebook Trends: Books Impacting Life

The summer before I started college, I finally gave in to societal pressure and joined Facebook. I accepted any friend request from people who went to my high school or would go to my college, filled out every note about yourself trend, accepted every game request, and pretty much experienced everything Facebook had to offer. Remember bumper stickers and flair? I had hundreds of those.

Eventually, as college classes became harder and I started to settle on a group of friends, my Facebook activity died down. I deleted “friends” I had never spoken to on campus. I stopped writing notes and statuses with trivia about myself as it came to the point where I got no likes or comments. I stopped playing online games and started playing board games with my friends. Basically, I became a real friend, instead of a virtual one.

My Facebook friends have passed around this “Books That Have Touched Your Life” thing for the past few weeks. I finally got tagged today by one of my friends. Normally, I would not bother to write it out, no matter how many people tag me. However, I cannot resist the opportunity to recommend books. I present to my readers, my list:

  1. A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare. The first of Shakespeare’s comedies I read. It taught me Shakespeare doesn’t kill everyone off in his plays.
  2. Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix. The first retelling of a fairy tale I came across where the “princess” completely takes charge of her¬†“destiny”. She also wants people to see more in her than just beauty and appreciate her intelligence and resourcefulness.
  3.  Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti by Bill and Pam Farrel. This book first explained the difference in how the minds of men and women work differently in a way I could understand.
  4. Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey. I have mixed feelings on Dave Ramsey and his methods, but my husband and I have definitely benefitted from his class. He has good advice on how to prioritize money.
  5. Astronomy and the Bible by Don DeYoung. This book and the first class I took with Dr. DeYoung helped me think beyond the scientific theories I had been taught as fact in public school. This helped me make science mesh with my faith more easily.
  6. The Magic of Ordinary Days by Ann Howard Creel. I saw the movie before I knew about the book, but both helped me realize the everyday things make up the best love story.
  7. Ralph S. Mouse by Beverly Cleary. I read the books about this mouse as I transitioned from a normal student to an advanced student in the 5th grade. They gave me something familiar as I transferred to a different English class in the middle of the school year.
  8. Moby Dog and other Adventures of Wishbone books. Wishbone helped give me an appreciation for the classics in elementary school. Moby Dog is the first chapter book I remember reading to my dad.
  9. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. The first book I read where I imagined additional adventures for the characters. Also, the first book I have read until the spine has almost fallen apart.
  10. Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes. The first book I had to read for school I actually liked.

I didn’t write my list in any particular order. This list contains both fiction an non-fiction with a variety of genres/topics for both. Let me know if any of you have read these books and how they have impacted you.

A photo of most of the books. Sadly, I do not have a copy of Moby Dog as I loaned it out to someone who never returned it. I substituted a different Wishbone book. I also do not have a copy of Johnny Tremain.

A photo of most of the books. Sadly, I do not have a copy of Moby Dog as I loaned it out to someone who never returned it. I substituted a different Wishbone book. I also do not have a copy of Johnny Tremain.

Categories: Ponderings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Holiday Pop-Up Shop, An Update

I have really neglected my duty as an artist in the Gathering holiday pop-up shop as far as advertising goes. The people over at the Gathering kindly featured my product back in October as they geared up for their holiday season. To see what they wrote visit this link. They have 63 other artists participating in this pop-up shop. To see the other artists, visit their blog. If any of you find yourselves in the Indianapolis/Bloomington area, stop by the shop.

I hope to get my Etsy shop running again in time for the holidays. I made some new owls for the pop-up shop, and I can’t wait to share them with my readers. Happy crafting!

gathering web

Categories: Crafty, Pop-Up Shop | Leave a comment

Thanksgiving Without the Trimmings

Most families have at least a few traditions they like to participate in for the Thanksgiving season. Some watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Some have unusual dishes they serve every year. Some put up the Christmas tree or go shopping the day after Thanksgiving.

In my family, we usually get at least one game of Euchre going as practice for the traditional Christmas tournament. My Nana (grandmother) and I try to beat my grandfather every chance we get. I have yet to figure out if my husband’s family has any Thanksgiving traditions. For the past three years, we have spent the holiday with his family, and they have celebrated it differently each year.

One year, they had the traditional turkey and trimmings. The next year, they went to a restaurant. Last year, everyone brought a different type of soup. This year, I do not know what they will do because my husband and I decided to stay home this year.

I have felt sick for the past 2-3 weeks with a nausea so bad, I considered myself lucky if I managed to walk to the mailbox and back. While I have improved over the past few days, we decided to skip the four hour drive to see his family.

This year, we will share a small meal with two of our housemates. My husband and I live in a huge house with another married couple and two single guys. While this may seem strange to most, we each have our own space (for the most part) and have cheap rent. This is our second year in the same place with the same people. The other married couple went to visit family for the holiday, but the guys did not really have anywhere else to go.

So, we will have roasted duck and a few sides. This year, we will celebrate Thanksgiving without most of the trimmings. We will not have stuffing, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, or many other traditional dishes. But, we will have a delicious bird, mashed potatoes, gravy, and dessert. Best of all, we will share our last-minute plans with two great friends.

Happy Holidays!

Photo of my hubby I managed to snap during our first snow yesterday.

Photo of my hubby I managed to snap during our first snow yesterday.

Categories: Ponderings | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Does the Fox Say?

This YouTube video, originally meant as a fun joke, recently went viral. This may seem like old news to some of my readers, but I just learned about it a couple of weeks from one of my friends. With more than 200 million views, it looks as though foxes may become the animal of the year. I have seen more and more fox-themed things show up on Pinterest in the past two weeks. In honor of their growing popularity, here is a photo of a fox hat I worked out a pattern for this past summer.

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While I have made some money–and really cute gifts–from of the owl fad, I do hope owls will remain popular among the children I know. If not, I may need to drastically expand my¬†r√©pertoire.

What do you think? Owls? Foxes? Other animals?

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New Format

Greetings readers! I wanted to draw your attention to some new features on my blog. I had trouble sleeping this morning, so I thought I would add some widgets to make my blog look more interesting.

Please, take a chance to check out some of the blogs I follow. My husband just started his own blog, so I encourage you to check out Kaleb’s Thoughts.

I have also added a Facebook like widget. If you don’t already follow me on Facebook, please do so. I have more information related to my crafts on there.

Thanks for reading!

Categories: Crafty, Ponderings | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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