Saturday, October 11, 2014

Love's first blush.

It is Saturday's surprises once again. As I mentioned, I am quite excited about this day. I thought the best way to officially kick off the surprises would be to start with my husband. He is an amazing man. He is caring, witty, challenging, intelligent, forgiving, and very handsome. He is a wonderful husband, father and provider. He is also an unsung hero in our house. I think my husband has felt a little left out during these early years of child rearing. Mama is the sun and everything revolves around her. So I thought maybe I should remind him just how much I love him.  

Twelve years ago today, it was a Friday. It would have been awesome if it was a Saturday, but it was not. The reason that I know it was a Friday is because that is the first day I wrote about the man I would marry, in my journal. Twelve year and one month ago, my husband and I met when we were both working in Seattle in a L'Arche community. About one month after we met I wrote the following entry into my journal:

"I had a really good chat with Emily and Rob tonight. So now it is very late and I am quite tired, but I am also wondering, am I starting to get a crush on him? There are things about him. The more I know him, the better I like him. He has a fabulous smile, cute quirks and beautiful hands and feet. I am just being silly. At the same time I know it is different. So my silliness for the night. Rob lent me his sweater because it was freezing in Emily's room. Then I brought it up to bed with me on his insistence. I could not help but to smell it. He has a great smell."

My surprise to him was that I wrote this little entry inside one of the thank you cards that we made for our wedding and included a message saying how thankful I am that we met all those years ago. Then I left the card for him to find this morning. 

It was fun to share with him my thoughts from so long ago and how they really have not changed. 

Many blessings to you on this fine day.--Kate

Friday, October 10, 2014

Cleaning up can be fun.

Now do not get me wrong, cleaning is not my favorite way to spend my time. Sometime though you can find simple pleasures that make the job more enjoyable. That leads me to my favorite for the day, homemade laundry soap.This is a relatively new addition to our household. We had switched to a dye and perfume (free and clear) detergent when my first babe was born, but since starting a Maximized lifestyle, it is recommended to try to rid your life of as many toxin as you can. To date we have changed our hand soap, dish washing detergents and our laundry. The body soaps, shampoo, conditioner and toothpaste will be next.

The laundry soap was the most exciting change, because I put it together myself. I have a mommy friend who has made her own laundry soap for years. So based on what I remember her saying and the recipes I found on-line, I decided to start with something simple and see how it worked. It worked great! The clothes came out clean and smelling fresh. They really looked and smelled clean. They honestly seemed much cleaner then the, free and clear detergent ever got them.

So the Laundry soap recipe. 
-1 box of Borax 
-1 box of Washing Soda
-1 bar of Fels Naptha (finely grated)

Fels Naptha is not perfect when is comes to environmental friendliness. There are colors and perfumes added. There have also been several formula changes during it's 100 plus years. For me though, I have been using it as a pretreatment on my kids clothes and it works so very well at getting all the really tough stains out. It does not leave residue behind in their clothes either. 

So homemade laundry soap is a definite favorite. 

Many blessings to you on this fine day--Kate

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The things have taken over my life.

It seems that the moment I decided to get organized, find a usable spot for what is staying and get the clutter out, the clutter started to expand like the blob. Perhaps clutter is more like gremlins: 1. No bright lights, 2. Don't get them wet, 3. What ever you do never feed them after midnight. Which ever it is, my "Things" situation is turning into a horror story. Things just keep popping up everywhere.(Tribbles perhaps?)

So the things that are going today are magazines. This is actually the second time I have done this purge. Two years ago when we moved, I off loaded 4 times as many as I am looking to send on their way this time. As always it was another of those "I can do something with these." Maybe it was to cut up the pages to use in craft projects or to go through the pages to find yummy recipes or interesting articles, but the piles just kept growing. This pile is a remnant of the previous one. A few Martha Steward's, a handful of home improvement, and a rather large stack of Rachel Ray's. 

Of course there is still a stash of magazines. A lot of "Family Fun", which I will not be getting rid of until the kids are grown and my favorite magazine of all time "Ready Made" which is an upcycler's dream. A magazine filled with ideas of how to take common items and give them new life, either through art or function. It is no longer in print and I have no plans to ever let these babies go.


There may be a few from the "To go" pile that sneak their way into the kids' craft bin. Hey, they really are great for art and craft projects. For the rest of them though, they are out the door. Look at that, my "Things" pile just got a little smaller.

Many blessings to you on this fine and cluttered day--Kate

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Wrap-up Wednesdays

The final theme is...Wrap-up Wednesdays. Anybody else have a project "To do" list that is getting a little ridiculous? Maybe there is a shelf in your closet or a box in the corner that is overflowing with items that need to be repaired? Well that is my hope for Wednesdays. To start crossing items off that list and empty out the boxes and shelves.

To get things started, here are a few of my kids toys that have been a little over loved. 

It is a cute set of zoo friends, but their seams kept coming open. The kids helped me take the following photos so they are a bit out of focus.

The zebra, elephant and lion needed seam repair. The lion also needed his tail braided. 

The Giraffe needed an ear fixed and a new set of mane and the panda had a few threads to trim.  

So now all of the friends are fixed up and back home in the zoo. 

While I had my needles out I decided to fix this little guy too.

It feels great to have two more super simple projects off of my list and the kids are happy to have their toys back. 

Many blessings to you on this very fine day--Kate

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Transformation Tuesdays

This is one of the other themes that I am very excited about. Remember I said that for years I would see something and think oh I can made something out of that. Well here is my chance to do just that. Transformation Tuesdays are all about taking something old and giving it new life. It is also the place where I hope to keep myself accountable for getting my life in order. As my life, my house and my sewing room get cleaned up you will get to see it here. 

So today's transformation; living room curtains into reupholstered dining chairs. Here are a few pictures of the well worn chairs that we found this past summer on Craig's list. 

 I took the living room curtains from our old house. Here they are behind my cute cat Muggles.

I cut up the curtains, covered the original seat, then covered that in a clear vinyl to make cleaning up after two little mess makers a bit easier. 

When they are a bit older the vinyl is easily removed if we ever decide that we want to update the whole set again. This is half the set. There is another bench seat and two more chairs. 

We love this dining set and the new covers just completed the transformation of our eating, playing and learning area. There is a small peek of the kids craft containers on the left side of the picture.

Many blessings to you on this very fine day--Kate

Monday, October 6, 2014

Monday's Meals

During the first weekend in August there is a huge street fair/food fair/art and music festival in town. Just like every year my family and I went to check out all the wonderful sights, sounds and flavors. Little did we know that waiting for us at the fair was one very small booth that would alter our life path forever. 

Walking down the street looking at all the wares and whatnot on display, we were stopped with the question, "Do you have back or neck pain?" What resulted from that was joining a chiropractic group (Maximized Living,) that does so much more then adjustments of your spine. They also do adjustments of your lifestyle. Did you know that we are designed to live well into our 100s. So why as a nation are we so sick and dying in our 70s?

Back in August, my husband and I both discovered that our spines are in bad shape (literally). I was not too surprised about that since I had been suffering with chronic pain since my teens. What did surprise me was just how bad it was. So we both decided that it was not something to put off and signed up on the spot. We also discovered That there are 5 essentials of a Maximized life. Besides having a spine that is aligned to allow for maximum nerve signals to go out into your body there are 4 more principles to get you back to optimum health. They are your mindset, your nutrition, your exercise and reducing your exposure to toxins. 

This brings me to Mondays theme. Monday's Meals, is my chance to share some of the the very different and yet amazingly yummy dishes that we have started eating in our household this past month. You may notice that this meal plan is quite similar to the paleo diets out there with one HUGE difference. Absolutely NO sugar. None. Not even honey or Maple. Heavens even most fruits, especially all those delicious ones that are in season now. What does that leave? Berries, green apples and Stevia. This very strict no sugar rule is not forever it is just for the detoxification period. Believe me it is a detoxification period. There were some very dark days there at the beginning. 

The very first challenge was finding some breakfast options. I love breakfast, but eggs get boring really fast for me. Plus sometime I just want the ease of a fast cereal breakfast. The following is actually two cereal options that I found to be delicious when combined. 

The first is a Granola, minus the grain or "Nola." The second I call candy bar cereal because it smells just like a "Mounds" candy bar when you are making it. 

The first the "Nola" is very simple, 

1/4 cup whole flax seeds
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/4 cup raw almonds
1/4 cup raw walnuts
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Grind the nuts and seeds in a food processor or blender then add the cinnamon. Serve with whole raw, organic milk or almond milk.

Very important for the nuts to be raw though. You should not eat roasted, because the nut oil goes rancid in high heat.
 The second cereal: Candy Bar Cereal--

1 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp Stevia
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract.

Heat coconut milk and cocoa powder on stove over low heat. When mixed remove from heat and add Stevia and vanilla, blend again then add shredded coconut. Spread mixture in a thin layer on a baking sheet.
Bake for 20-25 min at 350 degrees. Stirring at 10 minutes. Make sure it does not burn. Store in an airtight container.

Once the Candy Bar cereal has cooled I combine the two--

And serve 1/2 to 1 cup with raw whole milk--

Yummy breakfast and kid approved. Enjoy!

Many blessings to you on this fine day--Kate

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sabbath Sunday

Sundays will be no more then a small moment of reflection, a scripture verse and maybe a photo. Mostly Sundays will be a Sabbath, "to rest," and time spent with my family. 

The psalm in church this morning was Psalm 80. A plea from the people of Israel for God to restore their mighty nation. They look around their nation and they realize that they are in some serious trouble. They are surrounded by those who wish evil and war upon them. They are turning to the Lord with their tear stained faces and begging him, "Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved." (Psalm 80:3)

Many blessings to you on this fine day--Kate