Sunday, June 28, 2015

Summer Life

It's officially the first week of summer. The kids are finally out of school, while at least for a week. July 6th, the kids go back to school 4 days a week for 6 weeks. I'm really happy that they get to have summer school at such a young age to help them maintain what they have learned through their year in school. I think it will help them have a better start to the school year in the fall. That being said, summer is a time to have fun and enjoy some time away from the hectic pace of the school year. Unfortunately, I have to continue to work, but I am going to continue to work part time so that we can have some family fun. I am hoping that we can take some time and enjoy some time hiking and spending time outside with family and friends. I am also hopeful that we can get to the beach and enjoy the water. I think this may be the summer that we get the kids out kayaking. I want to make sure that we expose our kids to spending time outside in nature and enjoy everything that our earth has given us. This winter, we started taking the kids snowshoeing. We all had fun and got outside in one of the worst winters we have seen in a while. Now it's time to share our summer activities, even though we have started taking them hiking and camping a couple of years ago and plan to continue that for the years to come. With summer hopefully in full swing, we have started planting our garden. We have most of our tomato plants and our pepper plants in the garden. We have what seems like a good growth of salad, and we had a good start to our peas, but they got eaten by bunnies. My husband took time and fixed our fence that got damaged this winter, so hopefully that will help us keep the animals out and our veggies in. We have also planted seeds for cucumbers and luffa plants. I just bought a container blueberry and raspberry plant. I am looking forward to being able to go out and pick berries as we need or want them. I need to get back to the local nursery and pick up a couple of eggplant plants as well as some potato plants (I have purple potato seeds prepared for planting) and get our squash and kale/Swiss chard plants going. I really want to get away from eating predominantly meat and start eating a lot more green veggies. I really want to start following through with my diet goals and my creative goals in life. I need to start eating clean and spending time being creative. I need to continue to get my life organized and get rid of things that I don't need. The sad thing is, I know what I need to do, I just need to get motivated to do it. I am hoping that eating a clean diet with less processed foods, less starchy carbs, more green leafy veggies and lean protein (including beans), and way less sugar. In our society, it is so difficult to eat clean and healthy. There are so many reasons and justifications to make you feel better about eating processed junk food. I truly believe, once you get your body free of processed foods, you will succeed in living a clean natural life. Its not easy to rid your body of these foods, but it is something that I continue to try to work on. I also want to work on my goal of learning about herbs, natural medicine, and essential oils. I am hoping to share some of my challenges and hopefully more success as I go along. This is something that I continue to work tirelessly on and something that I will always work on. Here's to living a handmade and natural life and enjoying the process of getting there. Amy

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Handmade and Natural Health

As I've written often, I continue to seek out my true way in life. I continue to want to focus on living a handmade and natural life, but it has not been easy. I continue to love being creative, sewing and other fiber arts as well as paper crafts and photography. I continue to want to learn about herbs, aromatherapy, and natural remedies. I want to have a life that is more natural and healthy. My lifestyle, currently, is no where near where I want to be. I have a crazy amount of stuff that I really need to get rid of or find a place for. I'm thinking that my lack of organization is big part of why I am not living the life I want. I am hoping to get more organized then attempt to get more focused on my goals in life. That being said, I am going to work on getting more organized. I am going to get back to basics (as I have often said) and start working on living life the way I want to. I am going to get my garden going. I am going to work on having a suburban homestead, where I can hopefully start living off my land within my means. I don't and won't have animals anytime soon, but I have a nice large garden and want to make sure I use it appropriately. I have plenty of crafts supplies to be able to continue being creative. One thing I have forgotten about for a long time, is my love of natural health and remedies. I really want to learn about herbs and essential oils. I want to grow my own herbal medicine garden. I want a herbal garden to be a huge part of my suburban homestead. I want to have a real suburban homestead. I want to eat healthy, natural foods. I want to be creative and sew and knit, and crochet. I need to take some time away from the web, from Facebook, and unplug. Life is too short to be addicted to technology and TV. Summer is here and I want and need to spend good quality outside fun with my family and continue to do even when the weather gets cold. I will continue to blog about my experience in suburban homesteading and what I learn while doing so. I am hopeful that I can get back to following my beliefs and my passions as I live my life. I am hoping that some day, I'll find my way and figure out how to be happy living my life. I have so much happiness already, I just need to make sure that I am following my passions and dreams while being with and loving my family and loving life. Love, Amy

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Homesteading

I live in town just north of Boston Massachusetts. It's not a rural community and it's not a city either. My goal this year is to learn about and start homesteading. I keep trying to figure out what direction to take this blog and my life. I initially started this blog after going to farmers markets almost 6 years ago. I had already been interested in natural health, so this blog was really just an extension of what I had already been interested in. I am looking to live a more handmade and natural life, but yet I don't want to beat myself up when I can't or when in the moment, I don't want to. My ultimate goal is to learn how to use my garden to my advantage and learn how to save, store, and can veggies from my garden, so that I can enjoy my efforts into the winter. It will take some time, but I will research and learn how best to use my garden after the summer has passed. I want to get a blueberry and a raspberry bush that can be grown in containers. My thought with this is, I don't have to find the right place to plant them and we can enjoy them all summer. When the cold weather comes, you are supposed to be able to move them to a sheltered place and they will last through the winter. My kids love berries and it would be awesome to have them just pick them off the bush when ever they wanted them. I also need to get a strawberry plant because we are a house that loves strawberries. Again, I want to make and can my own jellies and jams. I would love to get a chicken or two and have my own eggs. I think my husband thinks I'm a nut with wanting chickens, but how nice would it be to go to your back yard and get eggs when you need them? I think it would be awesome! I just don't feel like I know enough yet, but I want to learn! On to researching all sorts of things, canning, storing food, chickens, homesteading and many others! Amy

Monday, March 9, 2015

Fermentation

I've been drinking KeVita for the last few days and am loving it. What I'm not loving is the $3.50 a bottle. Kevita is a probiotic drink that is helping to keep me away from soda. I'm not positive, but I believe it is basically water kefir, which I have brewed at home in the past. I stupidly let it lapse and let my water kefir grains die. Today, I drank kombucha, which is fermented tea. You brew it by using a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) also called a kombucha mother. You can buy a "mother" or you can try to grow one yourself (I have in the past grown my own SCOBY but I recently read that you can't grow a SCOBY on your own any more). I figured, It's $3.50 to try it again. If it works great, if not, little lost. Tonight I started the process. I brewed a cup of green tea and added 2 tablespoons of sugar. Once it got to room temperature, I added a bottle of store bought kombucha and added it to the tea. I read that if there is what looks like a "mother" floating in the store bought kombucha, then there is a better chance of growing your own. I was hoping to find a picture of my home grown SCOBY, but I can't put my finger on it now. I'm hopeful that it will grow again. My next thing is to buy some more water kefir grains and start some water kefir again. I am looking forward to that. I also want to buy the book wild fermentation. I have made my own sour dough starter in the past and want to start again. I'm looking forward to creating my own foods and can't wait to get my plants started and my garden growing! Here's to goof healthy food and a healthy lifestyle! Amy
Here's a couple of pictures from my garden last year!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Just A Quick Post

Today was day 5 of my 21 day sugar detox. Things have bee going ok except that today was my oldest's 7th birthday. I ate potatoes, BBQ sauce, a roll, and cake. After my bagel Friday, I should really start day 1 tomorrow. One thing I am learning is not to feel guilty because of these set backs. Life happens, and I wasn't going to not have cake with my child. What changed though, was that I had 1 roll,1/2 the potatoes, 2 ribs, and a small piece of cake, as well as a 6oz sirloin and Caesar salad. Previously, I would have had more like 4 rolls and a huge piece of cake, I would also have had loaded fries vs loaded mashed potato. Not a huge difference in the potato choices, but at least it was only 1/2 of it. This needs to be a lifestyle change for me. I need to be healthy. Tomorrow, we are having salmon. I'm not a huge fish fan, but I'm trying to be better at eating heartily fish. I just need to keep moving forward with my journey to be healthier. Another piece to this journey is making sure that I am eating mindfully. I want to make sure that what I put in my mouth is really what I want. I want to stop mindless eating. Overall, I want to look at food as fuel for my body, as a way to keep me running for many, many years! Here's to living a healthy, happy, and long life. Amy

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Sugar Detox

So, here it is, day 4 of my 21 day sugar detox and I have had some huge ups and some huge downs. Day 1 was easy and I thought, I can do this no problem. Well, then came day 2, and that did not go as well. I was angry, and had a headache as well as no patience. All I wanted was some starchy carbs and sugar. I persisted and didn't give in. I did try to make some approved biscuits, and yes it did help but they were not really what I wanted. Day 3 came and went but I did give in and I had a bagel and a Hershey kiss. Not happy that I gave in, but I did get right back on track and ate what I was supposed to for the rest of the day. On to today, day 4, and I've done really well. I've lost a little weight, probably 3-4 pounds since I first started and maybe 10 pounds from my highest weight. I still need to lose a good amount of weight, but I want to do it the right way and maintain what I lose. I want to continue to make lifestyle changes and not just changes to lose weight. Another positive to this diet change and maybe even weight loss is my nightly breathing. My husband has mentioned, especially when I was pregnant, that my snoring was awful and I would have issues with sleep apnea. Now I am overweight but not crazy overweight. I think it's more the foods I'm eating or should I saw not eating that is making the difference. He said that things have been much better. I am heading out tonight to buy a bought from deliciously organic. I think I am going to plan on staying mostly grain-free. I have heard from a lot of people that being grain free is very beneficial. I am seeing a lot of benefits, just in the last few days, which makes me want to continue. I also want to live a healthy lifestyle with clean eating, less processed foods, and local foods (preferably from my backyard). I still want to include creativity in my life, including crafts, gardening, as well as cooking. I'll be trying out a new recipe for bread with coconut flour as well as almond flour. Trying new recipes is always fun and creative. Like I said in my last post, with spring coming, I want to clean out stuff and get more organized. I am hoping that this diet change is going to help with my energy and clear headedness, which will help me with getting organized. I am hopeful, that with an organized life, I will have more time to be creative and also add some exercise into my life. Wish me luck on continuing my new way of life! Amy Sprouts and microgreens Latest mandala Curry turkey meatballs from paleomg.com

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Figuring Out Who I Am

This winter has been a weird one. It started out pretty mild, the February hit and it has almost been the slowest winter. Though it has been cold and snowy, this is the first winter that I have not hated. Believe me, I am ready for spring, but I am dealing with the winter much better this year. I even, at times, wish we could move to Maine instead of thinking about moving South. With Spring on it's way, and the rebirth of life and energy, with longer days, and increased warmth to the days, I am taking this time to do some soul searching and taking some time to figure out who I am and what I need. I am looking at spring as a time for me to make changes in my life and as a time for me to reduce the clutter in my life and start fresh, or rebirth myself into the person I want to be. How do I plan on doing this? First, I am starting a 21 day sugar cleanse tomorrow. Second, I will be going through my belongings and looking to see what I can reduce, either by donating or by trashing/recycling. Third, I will be spending time getting organized so that my life is not the caps that I have been living (no ones fault but my own). Fourth, I will be increasing (ok actually doing) exercise. Finally, though this process, I am hoping to become more aware of me and who I am and what I want out of my life. I love my life! I love being married and having kids. I don't like what I look like or the amount of time I spend on the computer. I don't like how lazy I have become. I don't like how crappy I eat sometimes. I don't like how cluttered my life has become or how disorganized I am. These are the changes I want to make. I want to look in the mirror and be happy with who I am. I know that if I'm healthy and I get moving, I'll be happy with me. I will start moving and feeling better and stronger. I will spend less time on the computer and Facebook and more time with my family and actually be creative. I will get rid of clutter and get myself organized. With doing the sugar detox, I am hoping that my head will clear. I am hoping that I will be able to follow through with things and do what I need to do. I will be sharing my 21 day detox here, the good, the bad , and the ugly. I will share the foods I eat and how I feel while decoding. I'm not going to give up my coffee, but I am going to limit it and try to decrease the amount of cream in my coffee. I think eating clean, eating less sugar, and eating less foods that turn to sugar is going to me, my body, and my spirit loads of good! Amy