Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Five Things I Will Not Be Doing This Summer - Thank Goodness!

It's Midsummer's eve - tomorrow is the mid-way point of the year, in the summer (hence, Midsummer) and the the beginning of Summer. 

We live with a constant pressure to be busy, to do more, and to feel as though we "aren't living up to our potential" if we slow down to savor our lives as they are, if we take our bites slowly to make them last.

So here are: 

Five Things I Will Not Be Doing This Summer

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Thirty-five for years

"Thirty-five is a very attractive age. London society is full of women of the very highest birth who have, of their own free choice, remained thirty-five for years." Oscar Wilde, The Importance Of Being Earnest

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

WIP Wednesday, May 24th, 2017

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Creating is my passion, my sanity, my sense of being "up to something", my way of contributing a little bit. I always have a few projects going, many left to the side for months or even years before I pick up the best and carry on. Here's some of what I'm working on this week:



We're using up some more of the stumps from the downed trees at the side and edging another garden area. This time we're widening the driveway a little and making it easier to clear the snow in the winter.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Mom-Fu - Parenthood as Ninja Training

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So, you'd really planned to become a Ninja... But then you had kids.

Fear not. You are being trained well little grasshopper.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Monday, May 8, 2017

Cardinals in the Stick House

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Anyone who has been to our house has seen our stick house. 

Big enough for most adults to stand up inside (although you'll have to crouch to get in.

We've been watching a pair of cardinals working around there picking out just the right pine needles for a nest. More and more often I would see them fly in through the branches and then not fly away.

There's a red fellow on the back left garden bed in the photo below and the side of the stick house at the right.


Without invading their space, we tried to see if there were any nests.

A couple days ago C pointed it out to me - for whom a clear view was blocked by sprays of pine needles.

Today I grabbed my camera and headed over while the pair of parents were busy at the suet feeder.


A couple of quick photos revealed two baby cardinals in their cozy nest. 

What hunger to feed! 

No wonder we see their parents back and forth from the feeder all day long.

Cardinals, you are most welcome to use our stick house as long as you need!
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Saturday, May 6, 2017

Branch Hooks - Satur-DIY May 6th, 2017


This past week, we got to work on a couple of projects, using a downed maple branch from last year.

First, we made branch hooks. Another time I'll show you the natural edge blocks we are making together.


We cut pieces off the edge of the branch where smaller branches were sticking out. 

We smoothed all the rough edges with sand paper and used our own homemade wood butter/polish (recipe to come!) 

With a fair amount of help, both girls helped with the sawing, and with less help the sanding.

Even a 2 year old can polish well.


I used some self drilling/self tapping screws - the same kind I used for my Twig Trellises - instead of having to drill pilot holes with a drill. I used the screw itself to start the hole.

We hung the hooks on the side of a cabinet, with the screws behind a drawer.


To have invisible hardware, I put the screws through from the inside - the head of the screw staying inside the cabinet.


Because I'd done a pilot hole with the screw itself, we simply twisted the hooks onto the screws until they were tight against the cabinet.


Now the girls' cutting boards and aprons have a home. Having beautiful real tools, in a place they can access, allows them to learn real skills, contribute in a valuable way, and learn to appreciate so many things!

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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

May Challenge 2017 - Off-Screen Reading

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My friend Spartan came by this morning to do a walk-through before they start work on putting in ductless minisplits. That will replace our ancient propane furnace and let us do a whole avalanche of ensuing projects once we can shift things around.

We loved the mini split at our old house and were sad to leave it behind. 

While we chatted, he asked what this month's challenge is and I just sort of fumbled saying that with HandsomeJoe gone for a cumulative half of this month we hadn't really chosen one.

I'm here to remedy that.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

WIPWednesday - Inkle weaving April 26th, 2017

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Creating is my passion, my sanity, my sense of being "up to something", my way of contributing a little bit. I always have a few projects going, many left to the side for months or even years before I pick up the best and carry on. Here's some of what I'm working on this week:



I was recently given an Inkle loom (for making straps, ribbons, laces, etc) by a dear friend. 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Mountain of Soil - Happy in the Gardens

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Last week we got a delivery of loam/compost mix.


For the first time in my life, I have had as much dirt as I want.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

How to Clean a Mouse - In Six Easy Steps

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Sometimes you have a beloved toy that's not exactly the same color it used to be. 

Many handmade toys can be gently washed in a jar with soap and water.

 How to Clean a Mouse in Five Easy Steps

1.) Put mouse in jar.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

April Challenge - 100 miles

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In March we focused inward and challenged ourselves to give or sell at least 124 things. We didn't want to just add things to a landfill, and didn't count anything repurposed to something else - like old clothes cut up for rags or a rug

Monday, April 3, 2017

March Decluttering Challenge - Week 4 and Final

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I know I know, it's April.

But when you haven't cleaned up, you still have to finish the job.

unrelated but beautiful picture

We finished strong! More than doubling our goal number!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Homemade Cheese Popcorn - SaturDIY April 1st, 2017

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First of all, this popcorn is no joke.

It's DELICIOUS.

Our girls love cheese popcorn, cheese puffs, and more.


I'm not a huge fan of the extra ingredients, the price, and certainly not the large plastic bag that will sit in the landfill forever. Our snacks are not that important.

Here's a Closer to Zero option, additive free, and delicious for those crunchy-cheese-snack cravings. 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

WIP Wednesday, March 29th, 2017

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Creating is my passion, my sanity, my sense of being "up to something", my way of contributing a little bit. I always have a few projects going, many left to the side for months or even years before I pick up the best and carry on. Here's some of what I'm working on this week:

We're still getting rid of thing for our Decluttering Challenge where we've more than doubled our number since last week! I'll post a final post after the last of the month. Here's what else we've been up to:

Last July I posted about buying "not so perfect produce" and having spent $5. 

This past week we spend $22.50

Thursday, March 23, 2017

March Decluttering Challenge Week 3

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Another week into our March Decluttering Challenge, and things feel like they're starting to shift. We've decided to extend the challenge past the end of March and keep going until we really feel like there's little else to move along.

Here's what we've moved along this past week:

Monday, March 20, 2017

Welcome Spring.

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Even though we still have snow, the first "official" day of spring is always so welcome. We have been reading "The Root Children" throughout the winter and excited that it's finally time.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

March Decluttering Challenge Week 2, 2017

Yesterday we celebrated Pi day by having Spinach Pie, Cowboy Pie (shepherd's pie with beef), strawberry rhubarb pie with fruit from the freezer, and a chocolate porter pie - think chocolate mouse pie with a hint of porter flavor. Yum!

We also celebrated a snow day with hours of shoveling.


In spite of all of that,

Here's what we've moved along this past week:

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

WIP Wednesday, March 8th, 2017

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Creating is my passion, my sanity, my sense of being "up to something", my way of contributing a little bit. I always have a few projects going, many left to the side for months or even years before I pick up the best and carry on. Here's some of what I'm working on this week:


Monday, March 6, 2017

March Decluttering Challenge 2017 Week One

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I kind of alluded to it before - For our March Challenge, we're decluttering and getting rid of things

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Missed by Inches - Three Big Trees

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I was all set to excitedly announce our March Challenges today and recap last month's challenge.

But... At 3:45am HandsomeJoe and I were awakened by a loud-house-shaking-BOOM!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Divided Mason Jar Tote Bag Insert - Satur-DIY February 25th, 2017

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A couple weeks ago, I took an old "gift with purchase" bag and retrofitted it to carry mason jars. 

When I go grocery shopping I always bring at least a few jars to buy products more cheaply by getting them from the bulk bins. Not wanting glass jars to smash together, I looked around online for a solution. You can find cheap plastic wine bottle bags or really high end custom divided bags. Neither were a good solution for me, so I came up with my own.

This basic divided bag has been so lovely to use every time I've shopped since. I've even discovered that the 1/2 gallon glass milk bottles fit! 

Here's how I did it:

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Four Articles That Have Challenged The Way I Think - February 2017

I read a lot of articles. Every once in a while I come across one that really makes me think, that challenges me in a new way. 




Wednesday, February 15, 2017

WIP Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

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Creating is my passion, my sanity, my sense of being "up to something", my way of contributing a little bit. I always have a few projects going, many left to the side for months or even years before I pick up the best and carry on. Here's some of what I'm working on this week:


Saturday, February 11, 2017

Homemade Sauerkraut and EcoJarz Fermenter Review - Satur-DIY, February 11th, 2017

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Homemade Sauerkraut Satur-DIY and EcoJarz Fermenter Kit Review
**Disclaimer: I have been given the fermenter kit to review but have not been compensated in any other way. I receive no commission on sales. All opinions and experiences are my own.**

In the fall, I received a glorious box in the mail from EcoJarz. Along with my order of more small-mouth drink tops and stainless steel (rustproof!) jar bands, they slipped in a few things for me to review. A couple of small-mouth PopTops (review here) and one of their new Fermenter Kits.


The kit contains a recipe booklet, bubbler airlock, a stainless steel lid with grommet and silicone seal, and a stainless steel jar band. The band alone is worth the kit! 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

WIP Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

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Creating is my passion, my sanity, my sense of being "up to something", my way of contributing a little bit. I always have a few projects going, many left to the side for months or even years before I pick up the best and carry on. Here's some of what I'm working on this week:


Friday, February 3, 2017

February Relationship Challenges - 2017


Challenges for February

Family Challenges: 

As a family, we are focusing on Relationships this month.  

We are going to go on a media diet - strongly limiting our use of social media, our intake of the vitriol being vomited out of Washington D.C. and focusing on supporting and strengthening our relationships and our community. Even though our girls spend very little time in front of any kind of screen, we are going to purposefully let them be bored instead of plugging them in.


We are going to make Valentines Day Cards. We are going to intentionally cultivate family time for fun. We are going to step outside the busyness and be together.

HandsomeJoe and I are going to go on one date per week this month (thank goodness for Grandparents) and continue our weekly check in meetings.

A lot of these will not become posts as we will be focusing on living well together.

We will be practicing self-care, reorienting ourselves, seeking balance, and looking for ways to love and care for each other better.

Personal Challenges:

I did marvelously last month re-dedicating myself to my personal food/eating rules (no dairy or sweets except on "cheat/feast days" and special occasions, etc.) and I'm excited to continue getting healthier this month.

I missed only one January day of practicing my french using the duolingo app. I'm having to re-learn some of what I'd picked up before and hopefully every time I go back, I make a little more of an imprint in my brain.

For my February Relationship Challenges I am committed to making eye contact and smiling at each of my girls at least once per day, and purposefully making each of them laugh at another time per day. Even though we know these little ones of ours are marvelous and we feel the full weight of our responsibility of raising them, it's still too easy to fall into negative patterns, feelings of being burdened, and negativity born out of poor mindsets and lack of personal care. But we need each other. Sometimes it's just simple little shifts that can change our mindset allowing us to make big changes in the lives of those around us.


February's Fitness Challenge: 
In January I challenged myself to work up to 50 kettlebell swings in a row. On the 11th, I was so bored that I knocked out 50 kettlebell swings with my 20lb kettlebell. 

Having completed the challenge in less than two weeks, I shifted my focus. After putting the girls to bed, before being "allowed" to leave their room, I started doing air squats. The first week I did 45 each night working my way up to 65 per night by the final days. I can tell that my back is noticeably stronger.

For February, I've decided to do 100s - originally from Pilates, they're a minute movement that you do 100 times in a row. I'm changing it up a bit. Inspired by January's air squats I'm challenging myself to do 100 of some exercise per night. Last night I did 100 tricep extensions just using my own bodyweight, the night before it was 100 butterfly lifts.

After doing such a difficult challenge last month, we are going to focus our energy outward, breath out slowly and breathe life back in.

How are you strengthening your relationships these days?



Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January No Spend Month - Week Four and Final

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January 2017 
No Spend Month
How our family is spent as little as possible this month.

We spent $20 a week on food, fun, and frivolities. We used up what we had, bought few essentials, and lived well.

Here are the glory details of Week Four and Four and a half!
Yes, glory details. Because I'm (still) clever.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

January No Spend Month - Week Three

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January 2017 
No Spend Month
How our family is spending as little as possible this month.

We are spending $20 a week on food, fun, and frivolities.We're using up what we have, buying a few essentials, and living well.

Here are the glory details of Week Three!
Yes, glory details. Because I'm (still) clever.

Monday, January 23, 2017

5 Things That Are Saving My Life Right Now - 2017

Five Things That Are Saving My Life Right Now - 2017


Most of us know what's killing us, what's worrying us, what's weighing on our souls. Few of us remember to look for what's saving our lives, what's bringing us light.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

January No Spend Month - Week Two

January 2017 
No Spend Month
How our family is spending as little as possible this month.

We are spending $20 a week on food, fun, and frivolities.We're using up what we have, buying a few essentials, and living well.

Here are the glory details of Week Two!
Yes, glory details. Because I'm (still) clever.

January No Spend Month Week Two

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Two Ingredient Banana Coconut Cookies - SaturDIY, January 14th, 2017

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Two Ingredient Banana Coconut Cookies.

You guessed it! They have banana and coconut in them.

I've seen a lot of "two ingredient" recipes (or three or whatever) that include "box of cake mix" or "can of soup" as one of the ingredients. Nope, not these. They have two real foods - Bananas and Coconut. That's it. 

Turns out they make a lovely cookie. 


Gluten-free, grain-free, egg-free, nut-free, soy-free, vegan, "paleo," and more. Unless you're avoiding coconut or bananas, you can eat these!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Odds and Ends - WIP Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

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Creating is my passion, my sanity, my sense of being "up to something", my way of contributing a little bit. I always have a few projects going, many left to the side for months or even years before I pick up the best and carry on. Here's some of what I'm working on this week:



Making tasty snacks from ingredients at the back of the cupboards - Apricot Coconut Macaroons - dried coconut, eggs, honey, chopped apricots.


Monday, January 9, 2017

January No Spend Month - Week One

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January 2017 
No Spend Month
How our family is spending as little as possible this month.

Here are the glory details of Week One!

Yes, glory details. Because I'm clever.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Replacing "Sorry" with "Thank You"

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Recently I came across an idea and it's been popping up in my head over the past couple of weeks.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Personal and Family Challenges for 2017

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Here at myrrhmade, I'm excited to announce:

A Year of challenges! 

Both for my family and for myself we are doing monthly challenges all year long - focusing on a different goal each month. For us this will be a year of actually doing the things we know will make our life better!