Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The pleasures of purging


Over the years, my husband and I have slowly been moving toward a simpler, calmer, slower, less cluttered life. In the past few months these goals have begun to truly take hold.

As someone who had always had a junk pile in a corner or closet and thrown in tubs and boxes still packed from previous moves, sorting had always been an emotional challenge for me. Each item brings up all of its unfinished business, unmet expectations, and guilt. When my husband deployed the year before last, I found myself overwhelmed in all areas of my life. There's nothing like having a loved one in theater to shine light on what is truly important. I found, after his return, I didn't want to give up that simpler, smaller, slower, more centered life. Even now I find myself digging in my heels when too much tries to make its way back in.

It has been almost two years since we bought our house. We brought with us all the items from our shared life together in apartments and from our separate lives before. Somehow, this two year mark seems to be a statute of limitations. If we have not used an item since we moved here, it's time to let it go. No shoulds, no buts. Its time in our life is through and it is time for it to go.

Yesterday we drove a load to the dump, and an even bigger load to Sally's. Our little house feels bigger and more sacred with each item we move toward its next life.

Another criteria to help us decide whether or not an item has a place in our life is Do we love it? This one, for me, eases the challenge of dealing with the negativity associated with the unfinished business of things. If it brings up more negative emotion than positive, it has no place here. There is little more satisfying than living on purpose, in line with our principles and with integrity. 

While we still have a way to go, we both have space to breathe, to relax, and to connect. It is such a pleasure to know that we are making room in our life for wonderful things to come by purging and simplifying.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Why Yes! I DID do that all by myself!


As fans of good-tasting and especially of clean water, we've used a pitcher water filter for some time. I know it's time to change the filter when I figure out I'm not drinking water because it tastes bad even after filtering.

After doing some math, we discovered that in the long run, it's actually cheaper (not to mention healthier) to have one of the big-daddy under-sink filters where all you have to do is turn on a faucet and voila! Clean, delicious water! I ordered one from a trusted company and waited patiently. Well... sort of patiently.

The day it arrived my dear husband wasn't due to return until well after I am tucked in to sleep. I figured I'd at least open the box and take a look. One thing led to another and I had the pliers, the vice grips, the scissors, and some rags out and tada! We have an under-sink water filter with its own faucet for drinking water!


Monday, December 13, 2010

My work is in the show!


As many of you know, I've been taking a ceramics course at a local community college.

I am pleased to be able to announce that several of my pieces will be in the student art show.

The opening is this Friday at 6pm and the show will run until mid-January.

I'll be at the opening for a bit and would love to see any and all of you!


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Seasonal Treats - (non-dairy) Eggnog


I do love me some 'nog. Even better when I can still breathe after.

After a slightly less amazing test batch last week, I triumphed last night:

Non-dairy Eggnog
1can coconut milk
4 raw egg yolks (we get our eggs from a local farm)
2 whole raw eggs
2Tbsp maple syrup

blend or mix ingredients thoroughly - make sure to pierce yolks otherwise they may happily shake around but not incorporate themselves into the mix.

Add ground nutmeg to taste and enjoy!


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Happy Bunny Home Theater - Peanut Butter Cups


For the second edition of Happy Bunny Home Theater we have peanut butter cups!

While there used to be many more of them, we may or may not have eaten all of them.

 To make your own you will need:
Peanut Butter
Blanched Almond Flour (or crumbled graham cracker)
Powdered Maple Sugar (or any granular sugar really)

Optional: mini baking paper cups and mini muffin tin

 Directions: Start chocolate melting in a double boiler or heat-safe glass jar in a shallow pan of water. Make sure to keep the heat pretty low to keep the chocolate from seizing.

Mix peanut butter filling: add a small amount of sugar and crumbly stuff to the peanut butter until the filling is stiffer and sweetened to your taste.

Roll peanut butter mix into teaspoon size balls. Place them on a plate and flatten slightly. Put the peanut filling nuggets into the fridge to stiffen.

If using paper cups spoon a small layer of chocolate into the bottom of each of the paper cups and put in freezer to set. Once the cups each have a disk of hardened chocolate in the base put a peanut butter nugget into each cup and spoon melted chocolate to cover.

If you're not using papers, you can simply dip each cooled peanut butter nugget into the melted chocolate. A good method for this is to lay the nugget on a fork and submerge it in the chocolate. Place the peanut butter cup on parchment paper and carefully slide the fork out from underneath.


Friday, December 3, 2010

Transition To Winter - Tucking Ourselves In


Fall is a busy season for me - I always find myself more productive than ever and often get the bug to continue my formal education. This year is no exception. From canning to batch cooking, painting walls to classes at the local community college, this has been a busy fall.

As the weather cools and we spend more time indoors, I find my thoughts turning inward as well. Winter is a season of reflection and inward renewal and I am thankful for it.

While I have always made many of the holiday gifts we give, this year I am making more of them than ever before. It is such a blessing to align our life with our values in this way. While busily knitting, sewing, gluing, or cooking, I find my thoughts turning to gratitude.

I am so fortunate to have such wonderful families, such amazing friends, and most of all, my husband.

Even though I am no less busy or industrious than earlier in the year, I find more quiet places. Sitting under the blanket on the couch, leisurely preparing a meal, or even folding warm laundry straight from the dryer.

Perhaps it is merely growing up, but I marvel at the comfort I find in routine activities - our rituals and traditions as well as the pleasure of work and a job well done. It is a blessing to watch as my roots stretch down in ways they never have before and a delight to test my wings and daydream about the seasons to come.