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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Reflecting, 2013

Tis the season for reflecting and resolving! The past year has been chock full of highs and lows, but as I look back there are so many blessings to count. Overall we are heading into 2014 stronger, more confident and with a full heart. As usual I have so many projects and ideas in my head, one of my goals for the year is to work on being clear with my direction and protective of my time and resources. I want my days to reflect my ideals and to lead by example...as I'm planning for the coming year, my goals fall into the following categories:


I would like to share my favorite resources for each in case you too are focused in these areas. 

Hands down my favorite parenting resource is positive parenting solutions. I attended a free webinar about a year ago and knew it was a resource I wanted (and needed...) Mindy offers practical advice on a huge variety of topics in a way that is accessible and immediately applicable to daily life with kids of any age.

In addition to my parenting goals I have a huge dream for our family this year. I'm using Leonie Dawson's create your amazing year workbook. This one planner has sections for both your personal and business goals in one handy workbook. Bright, colorful, artsy and full of inspiration for big bold dreams. For my everyday list loving self I'm also investing in the 100 days of a new year ebook from ListPlanIt. Use code 100dAYS3OFF to get the 100 days planner for $5! Both of these resources are fabulously affordable, and beneficial for both life and business goals.

My biggest goal for our home this year is to finish decluttering and finally feel settled, organized and at peace with our home...no big deal, right?! Yikes! The tool I've been using toward this goal is Emilie Barnes book More Hours in my Day. This book is a fast read full of inspiration and practical suggestions for organizing as well as for creating a warm sustainable home. 

I have a new favorite cleaning product for nearly everything in my home - something I love so much I have to dish about it. Branch Basics is a cleaning product that isn't just non toxic, it's made of food grade materials. It appeals to my home and health goals, and better yet it works wonders! I will write more on this in the future...

Speaking of health, my other favorite resource for improving our health through real food, natural remedies, etc is the Village Green Network. This is a great resource for blogs, ebook bundles, pod casts and more. 

What are your goals for the year? What tools are you planning to use? I would love to hear what you are up to!

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Messy Messy - it's OK!

Summer is the perfect time for messy crafts and play! I confess to trying to save this stuff until at least late spring when it is warm enough to be out for an extended period of time without freezing. Glitter and I have a love/hate relationship, but in the summer I dole it out with reckless abandon. Paint in the yard while I work in the garden? Why not, it washes off...what do you let your kids do when the weather is nice and the mess easier to corral?

Sent from Samsung Mobile

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Raspberry {jam} delight

Our raspberry bushes are about five years old now, and this is the first year they have really produced. We were delighted with several quarts of berries from our six bushes, and are planning to add more bushes in the fall. I will say we have been spoiled by our thornless blackberries though, as my scratched up arms can attest! 

At the start of raspberry season we were still getting strawberries, and I made several mixed berry pies. I would like to experiment with an alternative thickener,.do any of you fabulous readers have experience with arrowroot or something similar?
Now that the fresh raspberries are winding down, the blackberries are nearly ready and I'm making jam. It is a big hit, can you tell? :)
Here is my recipe, adapted from the ball canning site:
3 cups (organic) raspberries, mashed with my potato masher
1.5 cups dehydrated organic cane sugar
3 tsp natural pectin
Boil berries, stirring in pectin slowly. Add sugar once berries and pectin are at a rolling boil, then allow mixture to boil for one minute longer. Pour into jars and allow to cool...enjoy!
How does your garden grow?

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Friday, June 21, 2013

Outdoor Play Spaces

The early stages of this year's mud pit development

I'm always looking for activities that will capture the interest of my girls and allow them to explore and investigate nature at the same time. This is our second year designing a mud play area into the yard, and without a doubt it will be a permanent fixture for years to come. As you can see, the garden area is fairly spread out, or maybe it just feels that way because I have a three year old?

The girls' play space is in the center of our garden area.

As this photo demonstrates, she is enthusiastic, energetic and totally in the throes of three :)
Welcome to my mud kitchen!

Throughout the summer, the girls never seem to get tired of the mud play. We include buckets, shovels, sand toys and any random things that catch their interest such as pine ones and rocks. They make mud pies, fancy restaurant meals, develop games, and capture insects and toads. It entertains them after they lose interest in weeding and picking vegetables, exercises their imaginative muscles and gets them in touch (literally) with nature. Win, win, win!!

Interested in other excellent outdoor play spaces? This is an excellent resource for outdoor play ideas. I love this link on the importance and challenge of undirected outdoor play. What have you been doing outside lately? I'd love to hear your successes!

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Monday, June 3, 2013

Strawberries three ways

With strawberry season upon us, we are eating these sweet treats every which way. Yesterday we made strawberry syrup for"snowcones" and today the leftover syrup became strawberry lemonade and strawberry orange popsicles!

To make strawberry syrup, combine equal parts water and sugar (we used organic cane sugar) and add a cup of berries to the mix add your syrup comes to a boil. Mash the berries with a potato masher, and if desired strain out the pulp...we left it in there. Cool and pour over crushed ice.

To make strawberry lemonade, mix 1/3 cup syrup with 1/3 lemon juice and about two cups water (adjust amounts depending on how sweet or tart you like it).

We added a splash of lemonade to or popsicle molds and topped with orange juice to make some healthier popsicle treats. The girls love them, and it's nearly all fruit and juice.

So far we aren't getting enough berries for a pie, but I'm hoping we will soon!

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Sunday, June 2, 2013

Happy Summer Break!

Wishing you many lazy and lovely days with your family in the next few months. I am so happy that I decided to make the move to teaching - I love working with the kids and the extra time with family is such a blessing!

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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Nothing like a good spam blast trying to take over the blog...and Sugar Plum has been so sick this week I haven't been on my sight at all.  Apologies to anyone who clicked through. :(

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Monday, January 7, 2013

What a lovely gift

My famous grandpa turned 97 yesterday. What an amazing gift it was to watch the girls dote on their precious Papaw.  My heart is full,we are so blessed.

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Friday, January 4, 2013

The danger of facebook when I'm half asleep...

I love being able to email posts from my cell phone, it is so handy most of the time! The problem is when, half asleep and trying depserately to consume enough coffee to get the energy up to make it to the shower you accidentally email a post to your blog instead of to your actual email account...not that I did that this morning of anything!

So, since I *didn't* do that this morning {ahem} I'll just replace that picture with this adorable one from our holiday break and recent snow event...Happy New Year everyone!

And maybe after a lot more coffee and another few days pondering I'll post my goals for this year.  Are you making any resolutions? I'd love to hear about them!

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