Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Rustic Wood Ornament

I was looking for a crafty idea for a favor at our holiday party as well as an ornament for 
co-workers and friends to give them with their holiday cards.

I found wood rounds on Etsy that were pre-drilled and had bark around the edges. 
Super cute and had the look I wanted: Rustic and hand made.

When I thought of what I wanted for decorating the ornaments, I decided to use materials I already had in my crafting box.  So, I used jingle bells of various sizes and colors, penguin charms, ribbons, and small rubber stamps with different inks.

I remembered a package of clear treat bags that the ornaments fit perfectly in. 
I tied them off with red and white string.

Perfect favor for our holiday party!

What I like about this craft is that I could easily change it up and paint the wood and use a wood stain and varnish to seal. There are so many sizes of wood rounds and an endless amount of potential crafting to be done! 

Snow Day Prep

I used to be that person - the one who watched the weather constantly and panicked at the slightest news of a storm. I ran to the store, stocking up with more food than anyone could possibly eat in the duration of a storm. I would think of the worst case scenario and struggle to find the basics that could be needed.

Over the past few years, I have educated myself in being prepared for different situations and now approach a storm in a different way. I still take a look at worse case scenarios, but without the unnecessary spending, panic or anxiety.

It is fortunate that I work for a great company - so if we have a storm like today's, I have the opportunity to take the day off completely and not deal with the bus and the difficult commute. Getting to work is not usually the issue, but if getting home looks questionable, I plan a vacation day off.

In storms, as in life, there are only a few absolute needs:  shelter, security, warmth, food, water, communication, light and peace of mind.  So, the worst case scenario for us in winter would be to lose power.

The mental checklist I go through is the same general way we live day to day:

Communication: I make sure everything is charged: radios, flashlights, batteries, solar lights, phones, iPad, etc.

Shelter/Security:  Our home is taken care of and maintained and is a safe place to live.

Warmth:  We have a wood stove that heats, cooks and if necessary, will boil water should the power go out and water heater shuts off. So the only prep for the bulk of our needs, is a good supply of kindling and wood brought into the house.

Water:  There are always a few cases of bottled water in the basement for use, or for emergency. We also have a few bottles of tap water than can be boiled for washing.

Food: We have a variety of fresh and stored foods that can easily be cooked - the same way we cook every day

Light: we have several sets of solar lights - used during the holidays - and always charged for night lights and for the rare situation of a power outage

General:  I also throw in a load of laundry to be sure clothes are clean and make sure dishes are washed. Rob brings in enough fire wood for a few days.

Paring down our stuff, knowing where everything is in our home, and being generally prepared for life, not just the storms, creates a peace of mind for me.

There is only one thing left to do - enjoy my day off and relax =)

Monday, February 3, 2014

Vanilla Chocolate Chip Cupcakes (GF)

In the quest for gluten-free desserts - we tried a new vanilla cake mix made by Bob's Red Mill.

Few ingredients, simple instructions. Quick & easy delicious cupcakes! I used olive oil in place of the vegetable oil and added a few chocolate chips to make it special. I'm looking forward to trying this mix as a layer cake in the future. One bag makes 20-ish cupcakes or 2 layers for a layer cake.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

2014 Ambitions

Life is a series of events.

I expect 2014 will bring a series of challenges, adventures, gains and losses ~ I'm ready for it.

I took the month of January off from writing, etc. - to spend some time thinking about what I would like to be part of in 2014. Other than the day to day of working a job - I have several things that I want to work on this year:

~ Family & Friends - Monthly family dinners and more time with friends and family. Expressing my love and appreciation more and building memories that will last forever.
~  Music - Playing Guitar, Clarinet & Singing more - there is so much happiness in music!
~ Writing - this blog/website & the book I am working on
~ Gardening - work on our lot and making it sustainable
~ Permaculture - work on a new project of sustainability
~ Simplifying / Minimalism - continue to pare down on my personal belongings and lessen the footprint I have in this world
~ Health - continue to work toward healthy living / gluten free and as close to paleo/primal as possible.
~ Volunteer - find a way to work in the community to help lessen the food insecurity in our city
~ Inspiration - see the miracles and the inspiring people all around me and learn from them.

Most importantly, I plan to spend less time on things and more time on the people I value in my life. More time enjoying the amazing life that I have been given, and less time being caught up in the trivial setbacks that happen.

I have always believed that everything happens for a reason and every day is a gift.  For a little while, I forgot what should be a priority, and now I remember...

With the changes to my plans, I will be changing the way that I blog ~ giving one day a week to each of the topics I am focusing on.

Happy 2014 Everyone! I hope to change the world this year - or at the very least, I hope to live in a way that I am changed and add value to this amazing life I have been given...