Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Shopping Day 12-13-16

.  No hiking for me today- it's one of those days where one thing has to be laid aside for another.  Translation: I have chores to do, and grocery shopping, and Christmas shopping.  Ug.  I do not like shopping.
----- What? Did she... Did a woman just say she doesn't like shopping? Whaaaaaaaat?!?!?!?!
  I would rather do something productive than walk around at look at things I don't need that only want to dwindle the bank account.  Sure, there's the occasional (like, every 4-6 months) shopping spree at the thrift store, where I set aside a couple hours to stock up on clothes for the family.
----- Did she just say a couple hours? I thought she didn't like to shop?
   Yes, I said a couple hours, because it's almost always at a thrift store and I try every piece on.  My kids don't care so much as long as it is comfortable to wear, and for them I care that it will fit in. Not as in branded wear for brand's sake, but not 80's lace and flowers, either *shudder*. Just normal.  My husband has his style, which is easy shopping, but for me, I am not going to spend any money on something I don't feel great in.  I think I heard that in a movie somewhere.  Since there's no returns, I try it all on.  I cruise the isles, pull off about 20-30 pieces that look promising,  try them on, and usually end up buying about 1/3 to 1/2 of the pile. And at thrift store prices, even 20 pieces is easily inside my budget
   No clothes shopping for me today though, I had a bit of groceries and 4 stores for Christmas.  I always fight it, but each year I feel a little more commercialized. Maybe I just notice it more. I do like shopping for others when I am looking for particular things, or happen to come across something I know will be appreciated or enjoyed. So (preferably) most of my buying/planning is done throughout the year and early in the season. Then I am not mad-rushing to "buy something because it's Christmas." These type of gifts usually end up being junk that the person didn't really want in the first place, doesn't ever use (or feels guilted into using it), and an overall waste of money.  So I don't  buy junk. If I really can't decide what you want, or I know what you want is something best picked out for yourself, a gift card or cash is what you get.  Everybody likes gifts, but everyone likes jingle in their pocket, too.
   Now for the wrapping!

Joyfully Yours,
K

Fitness 12-12-16

   The great thing about doing fitness stuff outside is that you get your Vitamin D, fresh air, and you are more connected with the world around you.  The bad part about doing fitness stuff outside is that weather can throw off your plans.  I had a master plan to hike Sunday, about 3-5 miles, while Handsome Boy was at a friend's house who lives near the trail.  Unfortunately, a big snowstorm came in, and made the drive very debatable, let alone hiking in it- no way.  Have I mentioned I don't do well in the cold? So we rescheduled our visit and made it an inside day.  Monday was a snow day for about every county around I think, so kiddos and I played outside, building forts, snow angels, and me pulling them around on the sled while I practiced wearing snow shoes (Hubby's).  I joked with the guys at work- isn't that a CrossFit thing? Pulling a weighted sled behind you? Turns out you're supposed to run with it, but  pulling 100# around the property in snow, even with snowshoes, got my heart and lungs working.  I need to find a sledding hill.  Whew!
   Monday night was CrossFit, where my body again showed me that I do not have much overhead strength.  I can do one full pull-up if I kick my feet; you know, the silly back and forth kicking of hopeful desperation to get your chin over the bar.  I also suck at lifting things overhead- no surprise there.
   My goal is clear, though. It's not about getting skinny, or looking lean, or the number on the scale.  This is about becoming healthier and stronger, which is a part of becoming a better homesteader, because I will be able to do more projects/chores, more easily, without having to delegate all of the "man stuff" to Hubby.  He will love that! And what mom doesn't wish she had the energy of a 6 year old? I get that comment all the time about Little Princess, and I've felt the same way.  Stronger and more stamina also means more fun with kiddos, even after the farm work is done. This is the goal I keep in mind when I hit the tough spots.
   It's all along the path towards a more Joyful life.

CrossFit: 10min AMRAP - 8 deadlift, 6 hang clean, 4 shoulder to overhead. (8 rounds, barbell only, 30# barbell for overhead)
     21-15-9 jumping pull-ups, no time.

Joyfully Yours,
K

Monday, December 12, 2016

Fitness 12-7-16

   You know, technology is great, except when it doesn't work.  I deal with this a lot at work.  We have electronic records of all kinds, which is great, but when a system or network is down, it is very frustrating.  I feel like I can't do my best without them.  Then I think, we did without this for years! and am amazed at how dependent we are on technology sometimes.  Anywho, my computer's power cord decided to fry itself last week, so I am laboriously typing this out on the tablet while waiting for the big brown truck.  Ok, it's not that bad, but it is faster with a real keyboard.  I think everyone should take typing, by the way.  If not for work, then just to make yourself more efficient.

   On to fitness for the day!  Thursday, that is.  Wednesday was sort of a rest day, only because I wasn't going to work out that night, then hike first thing Thursday morning.  It was my coldest hike yet- 28 degrees!  Brrrr!!!! And snow! None on the ground, but tiny bits falling from the sky.  The end of this trail isn't wooded like the rest, and oh my, the wind had picked up!  For all that, it was a surprisingly nice hike!
   Thursday night was CrossFit.  It was supposed to be a partner workout, but since no one is usually awake and working out when I do, I just made it work.  I did have to ask what the first part was.  Later I looked these up, to link on this page, and realized I was doing them wrong.  This just proves- if you are going to start working out, get a trainer, have a knowledgable partner, go a class, something so you don't hurt yourself.  I have enough experience to know how to keep myself from being hurt (stance, overextension, stretching, etc) but it would have been a more effective workout if I was doing these particular exercises the CrossFit way.  And I was not as sore the next two days as I thought I'd be; I think I should've used more weight on the second half.

Overall:
     Hike 9.16 miles in 2 hours, 23 minutes
     30 each Clean Burpee, for time. (Barbell, no weight, 7:40)
     40, 30, 20, 10 Sit-ups. Partner holds 25# weight overhead while the other does sit-ups; sit-ups must stop if weight isn't overhead.  (I did the sit-ups and held 10# overhead for a minute each rep)

Joyfully yours,
K

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Fitness 12-6-16 / Nerd Fitness

   Yesterday I came across the website Nerd Fitness.  Let me admit here, I have a nerd side.  I can't help it.  I grew up in a house with Dr. Who, Star Trek, Dungeons and Dragons, Renaissance Fairs and the like.  I was looking for a beginner CrossFit workout, and came across this page with photos of Lego figures doing push-ups and pull-ups.  I had to check it out, and it's basically a group of nerds who are also into fitness.  A very good break from the stereo-typical Comi-con attendees and LARP players.  They aren't usually obese middle-age guys living in their mom's unlit basement eating burritos and playing video games all day and night.  Like myself, and most of the human race, they are individuals with multiple facets to their lives and personalities.
   So if you're at all a nerd and like fitness (or want to), go check them out, and read Joe's story.  I'm going to keep that one in my back pocket as a motivator.  I've never had to contend with size so much as strength and stamina, but it's a great story.  Which brings me to yesterday's workout.  I started to get a cold - all sniffles - and debated whether to work out or not.  And then I told myself - it's just a cold, and not a good reason to skip, so Go!  No excuses!!  So I did go and felt better.  Another thing to keep in my back pocket. :)

Listed workout: Heavy(ish) bench presses then Metcon: 5 rounds: 1 min on heavy bag, 30 sec rest, 1 min, 1 min battle rope. 

Huh? Um, wait, yes. I can figure that out. Here's what I did:
15-7-5 Bench presses - bar only (45# I think)
5 rounds: 1 min punching away at the bag, 30 sec rest, 1 min battle rope (switch each round between waves and alternating waves because that's the only thing I knew), 30 sec rest.

Whew! Another day in the right direction. By the way "Metcon" is Metabolic conditioning, same as cardiovascular or aerobic conditioning. I had to look that up.

Joyfully yours,
K

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Operation Birthday Surprise

   Oh, my, what a long weekend!  I'm not sure what I was thinking, planning something like this right after Thanksgiving, but you can't control when people are born - especially not your parents.  So this weekend dear old Dad turned 60! ... What??? I'm old enough to have a 60 year old dad??? ... My Grams planned a party for him for the local family -Aunts, cousins, brother's family, etc - which he knew all about, but Brother and I surprised him by coming in from out-of-state for the weekend.  We drove out Wednesday afternoon and came home late Sunday night.  Poor Hubby stayed home to work and dog sit for friends of ours.  It was crazy busy almost the whole time, because there was his party and another family get-together the next day, and I was helping my Grams with all the prep and cooking for both parties while keeping kiddos happy, occupied, and out of her antiques.
   For the surprise, Grams got him to come to her house for dinner, and we hid in the basement stairs when he came.  She tried to get him to open the door, but they were chatty and kiddos were restless (and wearing noisy coats!) so I had Handsome Boy knock on the door.  Dad was thoroughly perplexed as to why somebody would be knocking from inside the basement, and thoroughly surprised to open the door and find us.  Surprise #1 - Success! I had to get Brother from the airport the next day, so I told Dad I was taking him out to dinner and was following my phone's directions.  When I turned into the airport I kind of implied I might be lost, texted Brother on the pretense of checking the map, then said "Oh, but first we have to make a pickup" and pulled over right beside him.  Surprise #2 - Success!  And yes, then I took them out to dinner.
   We also saw a Christmas light show, fireworks, a small parade, spent time at the park, had hot cocoa with a childhood friend, took kids shopping, saw a cool "A Christmas Story" display, played lots of games, saw extended family, and got to see our first good snowfall of the season.  I would have liked a little more down time, but every mom knows - moms don't get vacations unless the kids aren't with her.  A small price to pay to spend time with family and bring joy to their lives, too.

Joyfully yours,
K

Fitness 11-29-16

   After many years of starting, stopping, and being forced into workout routines, I know what I need. I need someone to be accountable to.  A group class, a workout buddy, someone checking in on me, whatever.  So you readers are my accountability this time 'round.  Every Fitness Day I have, I will log it -blog it - whether I do CrossFit, hiking, farm labor, or something else that day that works me out. I would love to count running, and I mean literally running, after Little Princess or picking up her 40# body weight multiple times a day, but I don't think I can.  That is just a part of my life. 😊
   So, I'm posting a little belated due to Operation Birthday Surprise, more on that later, but here was Tuesday's workout:

CrossFit style, my own design:
   4 rounds of 250m on the rower, 15 sec high step running in place, 10 jumping jacks, 5 push-ups, 5 dips on the floor and 5 crunches with legs up.
   15-7-3 circuit of box dips, plank (seconds), and hanging pull-ups*.
   Walking cool-down/stretch

* I actually don't know what these would be called.  The barbell was set about eye level (because that's where it was) and I held the bar while I walked my feet in front of me until I was hanging from the bar with my arms extended and my body in a straight form.  Then I pulled myself up towards the bar, a couple inches, keeping my body straight.  I am calling them hanging pull-ups until I learn otherwise.

Joyfully Yours,
K

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Crossfit journey, Day 1 / Fitness 11-28-16

   Let me start here by saying I know all kinds of things about fitness, workouts, etc.  I'm no educated trainer, it's just that I've been doing serious fitness on and (mostly) off since I left high school. And while I value my public education PE, the only times I felt like I got a workout was swimming, the occasional high-spirited soccer game, and those shuttle runs. You know, the ones with the eraser, running back and forth?  Anyway, I have lots of experience starting fitness routines ... and a lot of experience stopping.  This is another path I'm changing along my JoySmithing journey.
   So I have a different game plan this time around. My schedule is like everyone else's - full - but I can't let that be an excuse anymore.  My goal is to do a workout, a hard day on the property, or hike, at least 4 days a week.  Yes, I know I will get thrown off track sometimes, but every week my goal is 4 days, and every week is a new week.
   Anywho, some guys I know recently got a gym space. Like, it's their private gym.  These guys do CrossFit.  They aren't a CrossFit gym, but they do CrossFit-style workouts.  And they've given me open access to their gym space.  I have never, ever done CrossFit.  I've seen it on TV and it looks intense.  So last night after work I went to the gym for my first-ever CrossFit workout. And if you don't know what I speak of, just ask "Mr. Googlepants". (Thanks, Justin Rhodes!)
   Did I say it looks intense?  Well, that's because it is.  Let's be real here.  I know I am out of shape.  I am not overweight, but I am NOT fit.  And fit is the goal, fit is joyful.  Well, my first workout was all of 10-15 minutes, and my lungs were burning a bit and my legs are STILL sore this morning. I am wishing I lived in a one-story house right now. 😬  But I have started.  And you can't take a journey without the first step.
     CrossFit 11-28-16: 21-15-9 Thrusters with 15# dumbell, 5 min box up and over with burpees, modified push up.

Sore but Joyfully yours,
K

I Love Lazy Sundays

   This weekend, after the holiday and a day of work, has been two of those really easy days.  I've  picked up and put away the last of the Thanksgiving Tornado that came through the house, aka nieces and nephews.  Also some basic chores - laundry got caught up (gasp - put away even!!), all the slow cookers and appetizer trays are tucked away, plants are back on the buffet in front of the window, and the like.
   In the everyday craziness that has unfortunately become typical in the life of the average American, it's important to take time to be.  Just be.  And not just around the holidays.  So many days I find myself going from one task to the next until I look at the clock and realize the whole day is gone.  Then I look around at all the things I didn't get done, and sometimes get discouraged.  Then I look at my husband and kids, and think of how little time I spent with them even though I was around them all day, and get down-right disheartened.  Yes, I want a tidy home.  Yes, I want a complete home.  But it's not a home unless there is a family in it.  And a family doesn't stay a family if they just float around each other in a box called a home.
   So this weekend I was determined to continue creating a joyful life and put To-Be's on the To-Do list.  Yes, I got chores done, but that was a side item.  Saturday we all went for a hike together.  Sure, I putting a whopping 3 miles on my count, but that also wasn't the point (more on that later!).  I also played 5 - count 'em 5 - different games with the kiddos on Sunday alone. So I moved laundry around, folded, put away, played a game. cleaned up the playroom, played a game, swept the floor, played a game, etc.
   The top of my To-Do list was To-Be a wife and mom.  Check.  Now to add it again for this week. 😊

Joyfully yours,
K

Friday, November 25, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

   Happy Thanksgiving!! Yes, it was yesterday, but yesterday my focus was on enjoying my family and the day. And it was a long day, but great. Everything was cooked deliciously and on time. We actually ate 15 minutes early! I'm pretty sure that's a first for big dinners in our family. My 4-step system worked wonderfully and I was able to enjoy the day.
   Lest you start thinking our family is some sort of Normal Rockwell vision, here's the highlights of non-perfection: I missed putting the parade on TV, one person was late with a dinner item, my son was shot in the eye with a nerf bullet but without any permanent damage (this was due to some blind shooting since we have a no head shot policy here ... and now all the kids know why), the turkey got served in the kitchen as Hubby was cutting it since an unnamed in-law couldn't wait to say grace and my "line" got slightly out of wack, there was some hurt feelings when a discussion on differing parenting philosophies ended with someone leaving early without saying goodbye, the slow cookers didn't get washed until 10pm when Hubby was almost too tired to stand and unable to help, and Princess took 4 books to fall asleep.
  So, yes, a little confusion, a late cleanup, and  some drama yet to be resolved, but overall a very good day. I got to sit and enjoy company instead of running around crazy ALL day, and spend down time with Hubby and kids, and read them to sleep. Yes, a very joyful day.

Joyfully yours,
K

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The purge, part one

   No, not the movie. I'm talking about purging "things." I've gone through some boxes and cabinets in the last few weeks during my rearranging, and found things I don't need or want. I tried to sell them online garage sale style, but I haven't had any takers. This week I'm just going to pack it up and donate it.  I am sick of looking at the pile.  Plus I need to move furniture in the living room and this pile of things are totally in the way. So that's it. Cleanie wins over Frugalie today.
   Lol. Frugalie.  Totally not a word. Silly word of the day! Frugalie! Oh, that's fun to say. :)
   I hope I don't regret getting rid of these things, but it's been weeks. So I gave it a good try and can't hold onto things forever, right?
   Frugalie!
   Sorry, I couldn't help myself! Seriously, the whole point of this journey is to make a more joyful and simple life. And walking around (and cleaning around) a stack of boxes right in my living room for weeks on end is not joyful or simple.  I did put them there on purpose, too.  I got these things out of storage areas and sorted them, but if I tuck them away again, all that was for nothing.  So, since I can't seem to get any money out of them, donation it is. I won't be using any more time or energy trying to get rid of things, and can spend one last bit of time and energy actually getting rid of them.
   Now, back to the bookshelf!

   Frugalie! :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Book Review: Becoming Odyssa by Jennifer Pharr Davis

   I am a reader. I love to read. I get to learn about different people, learn more how-to's and why's, dive into stories real and imagined, and get inspired. The only problem is, you have to sit and do nothing else while reading a book. That doesn't really fit in my schedule.  Audio books are my answer to the time thing. I can clean the house, drive to work, go hiking, and most anything else that lets my hands do work while I soak in the information.
   I did, however, take time to read this book, which took all of 4 days. This was borrowed to me by a friend of mine who became a somewhat reluctant section-hiker on the Appalachian Trail last year. His wife is an exuberant section-hiker and I love hiking, too. I've never thru-hiked anything, and never even touched the Appalachian Trail, but I love to be out in the woods.
   I really like this book. Not only is it another glimpse into the famed AT, I also like the idea that she just jumped right in, without experience and barely any training, and put everything out there in the book. "I share the good, bad, and ugly – even when I’m the one being ugly." - Jennifer Pharr Davis. Not only is it a tale of the trail, it's a coming of age story -she did this at 21 years old- and a story about how we look at life.
   I'm convinced that, in our current society, we need to remind ourselves constantly of what life is really about.  With our 2 minute attention spans, and eyeballs on screens a lot of the day, it is so easy (and I'm no exception) to let minutes go by without anything being accomplished, hours go by without the sun on our face and fresh winds in our hair, and most importantly, days go by without speaking (not texting) those we hold most dear.  This lesson and many others are weaved into this story.  Whether you glean hiking tips, shake your head at Jennifer's early mistakes and judgments, or laugh with her, it is a good read.
   You know, when you can sit down, kick up your feet, have a cup of coffee, and ignore the world around you for a bit.  :)
http://blueridgehikingco.com/product/becoming-odyssa-paperback

   Another good AT read is A Walk in the Woods, now also a movie with Robert Redford (one of the hottest old men around) and Nick Nolte. As with all books made into movies, I suggest you read it first.  They're both very good, though, and give another real and humorous look at the AT.
https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/1004854/a-walk-in-the-woods/
http://www.walkinthewoodsmovie.com/

Monday, November 14, 2016

Thanksgiving in a clear house

   It's the Sunday before Thanksgiving, and the house isn't ready yet, but it is close to being ready to host the big dinner. And without the normal (I mean abnormal...I have to start thinking differently about these things...) mass hiding of these right before company comes.  This is actual organization, actual purging, and a good overdue deep clean in some areas.  Of course, I have construction projects yet to be done, so I've been making my goal to finish the dining room projects.  Like, done-done.  As of now, I have some outlets to switch out, trim to put in place, and new vent covers to make.  Plus organizing and fitting in extra tables and chairs for the dinner.  Speaking of dinner.....

   I love Thanksgiving. I love getting together with family, I love the food, it's just great. And thanks to my mother-in-law, I have an proven organization technique to keep me straight.  I used to think it was a little overboard, but it definitely works to keep a scatter brain like me in control.
4 Easy Steps to Thanksgiving Dinner
  .... or 4 Steps to an Easier Thanksgiving Dinner:
   Step 1: Everyone brings something. Get a list going a couple weeks ahead, and a reminder a couple days before to those who decide late. Whoever's hosting makes the bulk of the meal, but others bring what they enjoy making. We are big into potluck style in this family, even if one person just brings pop or a couple cans of corn. The point is for everyone to come together and share. You know, like the Pilgrims and Native Americans did.
   Step 2: Keep your list handy for update and reference. My list is in a notebook, so it's not likely to be knocked off the counter, confused for trash and thrown away. I have all the food and drink I want to serve, including condiments, appetizers, desserts, etc. I write down who's bringing what next to each thing, and on the back how long each things needs to cook so I can draw up a timeline for the kitchen.
   Step 3: From your list, write all the foods on slips of paper, and place them where they will be once it's cooked/brought over. This one is the key to easy-peasy. When they're all laid out on the table, you can see if anything is missing and if you have room for it all before trying to cram three dishes in one spot.  If you do buffet style like we do, walk along the path and see if it makes sense. Are the potatoes before the gravy, is the butter with the rolls, are the dressings by the salad with room to pour them out, etc. If slow cookers are involved, and you may want to ask for those bringing hot items, see how many plugs you will need AND that it won't overload your circuits. Nothing says a good time like a blown circuit right before dinner ... said no one ever. One more advantage is when people come in with their food, you can direct them to the slips of paper if you're not able to take it out of their hands right that second. Or, (if you can find him - mine tends to stay far away from the kitchen area because he knows I will do this) enlist the Hubby. Who's ever heard this? "Hi! I brought the potatoes, where do you want them?" when your hands are in the oven trying not to burn yourself. "On the buffet, look for the paper, thanks!" Then you can properly greet them when you know you're not going to dump the ham all over the floor. See? Easy-peasy.
   Step 4: Enjoy. So, step 1 is our tradition, and steps 2 and 3 are my keys to organizing dinner so I can accomplish step 4. This is a journey to creating a more joyful life, after all. By thinking ahead and eliminating the things which will cause me stress by confusion and overwhelm-ision (yeah....that's not a wordπŸ˜„) I can enjoy it. Sure, things may burn, or I may forget something, or plans go otherwise astray, but this is life. It's not a written book. I have chosen to have a joyful life, and that includes a joyful Thanksgiving.

Joyfully yours,
K

In Sickness and In Sickness

   It's been one of those weeks! I had a plan for every day, I had the drive, I had all the materials and tools.......and then little girl got sick. And then she got me sick. Flu sick, which put me out of commission from Tuesday afternoon to Friday morning. Little man, so cute, told me he was staying home from school to take care of me. I'll admit, feeling the chills and aches and overall blahs, I was very tempted to say yes. So I had to remind myself that being a parent is not about being selfish, and had to tell him no. I half-regreted it all day, but Friday morning I finally woke up feeling totally rested and not a smidgen of sickness.
   So Friday was spent on all the chores from the week - laundry, floors, sanitizing, meal-planning, etc - and Saturday I could finally get back to my week's house project of the doorway-turned-into-built-in-bookcase. That project was supposed to be done by Thursday, like, books on the shelves kind of done. So my new deadline is this Wednesday. It's all part of the bigger deadline to have the house ready to host Thanksgiving in less than 2 weeks.  I don't know if "deadline" is the correct word.....more like "the day I think I should get done with it if nothing crazy happens", but Thanksgiving is a pretty firm date!
   So forward and onward, and to this past week I say "Such is life." I take my old-found mantra of the Serenity Prayer and my new-found mantra of JoySmithing, and let last week be in the past, and keep looking forward. After all, a few days out of commission is nothing compared to what some people go through every day.  I can find joy that I (now) have very good health.

Here's to your health!

Friday, November 4, 2016

On Starting Different Goals All At The Same Time

   The title idea seems silly, doesn't it? If you're someone, like me, that has a hard time sticking to new habits - working out, new routines, etc., why would you start a bunch at once? Kind of seems self-destructive. At the very least, a cause for scatter-brain syndrome. Well, yes, I tend to agree. But in this instance, this newfound energy, this renewed determination I have to really do it this time is really because all of these different things - the garden in the spring, the farm animals, the clean/organized/finished house, this blog for that matter - all of these different goals are really pieces of the same goal.
  A joyful life.
  That's it. I used to, well, still do, bemoan all the tedious steps for getting one house project done. I mean, really. When you mow the lawn, it's simple. Get out the mower, fill up gas if needed, mow the lawn. Done. Not like replacing the bathroom cabinet. Unhook the plumbing, pull out the cabinet, redo the the molding, reconnect plumbing, put in new cabinet, hook up fixture, caulk everything, put molding back up, test the fixture, take it apart, redo connection, test again, re caulk, put up crazy signs so kids don't use it till caulk is dry, touch up paint/caulk where needed, and sometime later that day take the sign down so kids can brush their teeth.
   Ug. Just thinking about it scatters my brain (thanks to my hubby for replacing the bathroom cabinet on an impromptu couldn't-pass-it-up clearance purchase a couple months ago, by the way). It's the tediousness of each step that gets me.
   Back to the mowing. Some people get complicated. They weed-wack, and collect all the kid toys and dog toys and branches, and then get out the push-mower for around the little trees and weird spots in the lawn, then they mow. Not me. I like simple and stream-lined. I like the smallest amount of steps possible. So, unless there is an extreme amount of toys in the yard, like a recent Nerf gun battle (Wait, scratch that. Nerf bullets will be picked up that day and not lay strewn about the yard for a week. Right?) or storm with lots of branches down (Scratch that, too, same applies), I just do it as I mow. Like moving the swinging bench or the plastic play house or the dog toys (yup, those will still be there. I have a very active dog. No way I'm picking those up every day from the yard. House, yes. Yard, no).  When I come up to it, I turn off the mower and move it into a section that's already mowed. One move, easy peasy. Plus, if short on time, I can mow a complete section instead of spending all the time cleaning up the whole yard and not getting any mowing done at all.
   So starting all these life-changing things at once makes sense, if you look at it right. My life is the mower. I get on and do a section of the yard at a time (BTW, I have 3 acres, hence sections of lawn and a riding mower). When I come across a mess in the house, or it's time to get a fitness activity in, I do it. I don't wait to get my house in order because I started a new workout routine and want to make sure I can stick to that first.
   And you know what? I quit smoking cold turkey after a pack a day for 10 years. I can totally do this. A day at a time, a section of my day and my life at a time.  This is not a New Year's Resolution thing. This is a look at where I am, and where I want to be, and deciding to make. it. happen. Because it is up to me, and I CAN and WILL totally do this.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Mother Earth News Summit

Just a quick note this morning- if you like gardening, raising animals, herbal medicine, homesteading, self-sustainability, living off grid, or anything related, check out the Mother Earth News Online Summit, sponsored by the Grow Network, going on now. It's free to watch online, and the speakers change daily. These are great presentations! You can also purchase online access or buy them downloaded on a flash drive to watch or refer to later. There's q&a with each speaker as well.

Click here to check out the Summit!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Clearing House vs. Being Frugal

   Save or Scrap? Oh my gosh, this part is soooooo hard. For me, this really is a tough choice. There's two conflicting lines of thought here. One, save things that are useful, because I don't have funds to replace them.  We are also a bit of MacGuyvers here, and like to make things from what we have. That's part from a financial standpoint, and partly because we like to do things ourselves.  Two, I want to clean house. And by clean house here, I mean purge.  To get rid of non-useful things, broken things I haven't fixed in a long time and don't want or need anymore, things I keep purely for vague sentimental reasons, and other things that seem only to take up space on a shelf and in my brain.
   So what wins? I'm not the kind of person who keeps a half shoelace because "one day it might be useful." But I do keep things which "one day is very likely to be used." I know, a fine line, and maybe I'm still kidding myself, but it's a step in the right direction until I can answer the question - Save or Scrap?
  Case Study: I have a box labeled "Junk for Crafts." It's a plastic shoe box size tub with a lid filled with interesting looking parts of things for the kids to do with what they want. It has a spot in the cabinet with the other crafty/art/paper stuff.  Every so often, we have junk craft days where I pull it out with some glue and tape and other craft materials spread on the dining room table and tell the kids "to make something interesting."  This empties the box, keeps the items fresh, teaches the kids about not being wasteful, gives them an indoor activity, gives me time to concentrate on some other project, and gives them a creative outlet.  What to do if I have an odd item to go in the box, but it's full?  Then it's junk craft day, or the item goes out the door - trash, recycle, whatever.  This is one of the small steps/rules I made last year, and I've proudly stuck to it.
   I call that success in reigning in those odds and ends without feeling wasteful (one of my few "hates").  But then there are things like electrical/electronic cords that I have no idea what they go to, extra 3-ring binders I know I will need (no, really, I've already used 3 out of the box this year, I really will use these), and other things I believe I will very likely need later on.
   So do I stay frugal and keep what I likely will need (not just "maybe one day"), take the time to try and sell anything worth selling, or do the purge thing and box it all up for the local charity?
   Save or Scrap?  Save or Scrap?  Save or Scrap?
   The answer sometimes depends what it is, and sometimes it depends on the day. This is one part of the Messies Anonymous I haven't wrapped my head around yet. So for now, I will stick to getting to "A place for everything, and everything in it's place."  I'm positive further down my path I'll have a better answer to this. Here's to progress!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Becoming a Cleanie

   Herein lies the struggles to become a "Cleanie" - someone whose home is organized, clean, and peaceful.  I tend to use a lot of different methods for completing things, and getting my home organized and spit-spot (thank you Mary Poppins) is no different.  The main method I'm starting now is the Messies Anonymos system by Sandra Felton. I am a Messie. On her 0-10 scale, 0 being horrible housekeeper, 10 being model home at all times housekeeper, the quick test puts me at 3 1/2.  Ouch.  I look at my house, and although I'm not happy with it, didn't seem that bad.  But I know why. My kitchen island is mostly clear, but my penninsula is totally cluttered.  My floors are mostly clear, but have piles of things, projects halfway done and the like, against the walls. The clothes in my closet and dresser are sorted, folded, and hung up in their place, but I have folded laundry on the back of the couch and all the clean sheets are stuffed under the bed. Yes, my house isn't a total wreck, but for me, it leaves things to be desired. And "me" is the one I'm trying to satisfy.
   Let me add here, that along with having some organizational issues, I have 2 kids in school - which means lots of papers - and am in the process of a major, ongoing (like 9 years now) house renovation. Like, gut the entire house and start from scratch, then move in before it's done and try to keep working on it while we live inside of it kind of renovation. Add to that, my husband and I are both great dreamers and starters, not so much on the finishers.
   Excuses you say? They used to be. I called them reasons. "The reason my closet isn't organized is because I don't have all the hanging space I need." That seemed reasonable.  But really, it was "The reason my closet isn't organized is because I haven't done it yet."  And really, that's the reason for all the messes. I mean, messes happen. Life happens. What's the point of pots and pans if you don't use them to cook awesome food? Decoration?-I think not. So in order to have that good food, messes happen. But it shouldn't be "last night's dinner dishes are still there this morning because it was a lot and we had company and I was tired and..." No. Last night's dinner dishes are still there because I haven't cleaned them yet. So I said goodbye to that, I commit to Sandra's idea as a mantra. That when it needs to be done, just do it then. No to-do list entry for washing the pot when I put leftovers in the fridge. No to-do list entry for wiping down the table after it's cleared, or actually putting the laundry away after it's folded and sorted by bedroom (and even drawer in the dresser - I've at least been good at that) instead of leaving it the laundry basket for two or three days.
   Time to just go and do it.

The Beginning

Every journey has a beginning, every path taken has that first step.  Here is mine. In making my way to becoming a better person, I decided accountability to others, even to the  anonymous persons out there in cyberspace, is one way to keep myself on track. Forgive my blogging transgressions - I have no idea what I'm doing, other than throwing my thoughts to the wind.

I see a Smith as someone who creates something with their hands, and I am creating and enhancing the joy in my life with my hands. I will do this through a powerful mind, a fit body, a kind heart, a happy soul, a clean home, food in my garden, good husbandry for my animals, and most importantly, being a good wife and mother. Because being a good wife and mother (let's set some lofty goals - a Great wife and mother) is what it's all about, and all those other things help me accomplish my goal. Who can be joyful and peaceful with three loads of laundry to do, nothing ready for dinner, weeds in the garden, dusty TV, and a mess of papers to organize? Not me. So here begins the real kick-start for change.  It's been a gradually beginning, but now I'm headed up the bell curve to sit at the top and never come down.