Thursday, March 31, 2011

My Son's Hint

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This is what I saw on the fridge this morning. Apparently Pecos would like to go to the movie???!!!

It is probably a good idea to get out of the house and away from the computer for a bit.I feel like the keyboard has become my second home and really it's not very comfortable!

I realized that such activities are vital to our balance and well being. It's easy for me to remain in "work mode" though I know that play is also essential.

As an adult, how do you "play"? What activities do you participate in that bring you joy, inspiration, or even relaxation? When you are stressed what is the ritual, event or exercise that brings you into balance?

Whatever is on your plate at this moment, I encourage you to take a time out. Hug your significant other, kids, dogs, horses....goats and give yourself permission to enjoy doing something that beautifully supports YOU. Not doing anything is also a brilliant option, not one that I can possibly entertain at the moment but I'll consider it next month!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Spring Colds

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Even though winter is supposed to be on its way out, we’ve had a fair share of snow and cold weather. Along with the soggy, early spring season colds and allergies also make their way in. I’ve gotten through the winter with only one nasty flu incident and for the most part I’ve been cold free, save last week. While away from home, my normal care routine, early mornings and late nights, I got run down, creating a perfect environment for a virus. Despite my best intentions, I’m now working with a lovely sinus infection, cough, stuffy nose… know, the “works”!

I’m not one to run to the doctor and I do what I can to avoid antibiotics. Maybe this is why they work well for me when I do need them?! Five years ago I landed in the hospital, facing emergency surgery with a swollen tonsil that was blocking my air way. I declined the invitation to go under the knife, assuring the doctors that the antibiotics would work. I knew they would because I rarely use them so I have no immunities built against them.

I’m not a rebel by any means, I’ll go to the doctor if I need to. I don’t like to watch my children suffer but I trust their body’s abilities to heal and will also allow them ample time to work through a cold or flu. I monitor their eating, activity and temperature to make sure they are getting better.

That said I do rely heavily on a variety of healing herbs, decoctions, essential oils and supportive practices to help alleviate symptoms of flu, coughs, colds, etc. My favorite is a combination of blue violet and coltsfoot. Both herbs are lovely to sip after steeping in hot boiling water and straining. Several cups a day keep my throat and body hydrated, not to mention they deliver essential vitamins.

The down side is that this treatment is not usually instant. When I’m sick I want to get better as fast as possible, who doesn’t right?! Though feeling under the weather can give us a chance to appreciate good health, slow down and take care of ourselves. In our fast paced life, we may not always turn the computer off or quit “work” once we reach the sanctuary of our homes. I’m certainly more prone to drive through my to-do list when I feel well as opposed to backing off and slacking a bit when I don’t feel up to par.

Of coarse, I would love to jump out of bed without hacking up the slew of gunk that’s collected in my sinus cavity but the first thing I reach for is usually a tea pot instead of pill or tablet. Like many things in my life, I’m willing to take the long way around. It may take a few more days for me to recover, to fully kick the cold but I learn just as much in the time I’m down. I find ways to re-appreciate my body and how it can heal. I find that I am more grateful when my nose finally comes unplugged or my ears pop open and the pressure is released. Sometimes such discomfort reminds me of these parts of my system that I forget about and/or take for granted. I very much dislike a cold, but I do know that lessons about in every situation.

Herbs can be gathered locally in your backyard. For those like me, who don’t have time they can also be purchased through the internet. I buy in bulk and keep a steady supply on hand. My favorite “go to” herbs are nettle (after it’s brewed, strained and chilled, it’s the most delicious, refreshing green tea around!) blue violet, oatstraw, coltsfoot, peppermint and sage. Rosemary, basil and lavender are also favorites; in addition to teas, they are excellent cooking herbs and favorite bath additions.

The combination pictured above just tastes like home~very soft, soothing and comfortable. It reminds me of slipping into a well worn nightgown after a hot bath. The first sip and subsequent ones, relax me, especially when I can’t slip into something flannel!

If you haven’t explored the world of herb and herbal teas, I encourage you to do so! It’s great fun learning and experimenting. Nothing can relax and ground you after a busy like a steaming mug of chamomile tea (another favorite!) The web is packed full of ideas, resources and recipes but if you’d like my first hand account, further ideas and suggestions, feel free to email me and I’ll share further.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Hot Coffee

What would I do without my Polar Express mug of hot coffee? The answer: freeze and sleep. Perhaps not in that order......
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Monday, March 28, 2011

Quite the Contrast

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And this is today's reality. It's quite different, wouldn't you agree?!
Enough is enough is what comes to my mind! For those of you living in or near Nebraska perhaps you join in this view? Don't get me wrong, I enjoy snow, early in the season. There's something lovely about watching a soft snowfall in front of a wood stove, good book in hand, cup of coffee nearby, quilts, and a dog on my lap. That's way past now. I'm ready for sun, warmth and green grass. Oh for the smell of freshly mowed grass...

I do find it interesting that our moods and outlooks are deeply tied in with the weather and what is happening outside our windows. It seems that when it's sunny, we are too; we feel more motivated to be outside, enjoying various activities, in lieu of staying in and keeping warm and dry.

No doubt staying inside is right where I need to be for the present. I have outside activities every night this week, which means that I need to maximize my indoor day time. I haven't posted for awhile but I will get back into the swing of it! Thanks to all of you who inquired about my absence (I actually didn't know I had so many readers! Ya'all know how to make me smile!

As always I have a ton of posts saved up in my head. The trick of late is finding the time to get them outta there. I read in a book that writers call this collecting. It's fair to say that I am in the "collection phase" right now. I'm gathering piles of information, data, observation and abundant recognition. What I recognize today is that white is one of my least favorite colors, especially when it is on the ground.

I'm thinking it's time to get our "spring" on. What say you?!

Life's Just a Little Busy Right Now!

Sorry for the delay in blog posts. I have a different phone and blogger isn't uploading my pictures. In addition time is a precious commodity. We were gone last week and I have an activity every night this week. Uggg. I love being busy, I love my life and I enjoy doing what I do every day but wow.....I'm in serious need of some down time!

I loved this picture and wanted to share it with you, my wonderful blog readers. It reminds me of summer and all the joys that come along with sunshine and warm weather. I also love the grass! This abundance of winter, cold and snow is fostering a deep appreciation for all things green.

When we were in San Diego last week both boys noticed green grass as we were walking along. We toured Petco Park and salivated over the gorgeous green covering. We were all in agreement.....we want some too!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Happy Spring

I awoke to a delicious, gentle rain. Nothing says spring time like rain. I'm ready for some rejuvination, it's been a long and productive week. I feel like my life is in fast forward mode and the stop switch has somehow been disabled! Maybe it's just on a timer......c'mon May!
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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I'm Imagining Green

Today is the kind of day I dream of: soft breeze, warm sunshine on my face and the assurance that consistently better days are on the way. Ahhhh I am breathing in the sunshine and relishing the warm rays. Feels like a little taste of heaven on my tongue. Exhale.

Ive been tending to some tasks but I'm just about to hit that little piece if dirt near my house for some communion with nature. I believe that a quiet walk in the sunshine has the ability to "cure what ails us."

Happy Trails
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Monday, March 14, 2011

My Kid

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Most kids I know play with toys, real toys. For some reason my daughter is not like other kids; her current favorite toys are the lures in an old tackle box.

She started asking pestering her dad about digging the old, seldom used tackle box out of the tack room. As usual BS was relentless. Her efforts paid off and after a day of picking up corn from the field, Chad caved and got the dirty old thing out for her.

What a thrill, what treasures! She's in love with the yellow (sticky,smelly) worms and is at the height of her joy at finding several different frogs and small fish. She's removed the nasty hooks so she can play with all her friends. They've each been given lovely names, like "Fishy" and "Wormy" and "Froggy".

I'm not complaining, it's keeping her busy while I tend to some long overdue computer tasks. I just find it incredibly humorous that her most favorite play things aren't really considered "toys".

I can't imagine where she gets her quirky cre8tivity from. I should record the conversation, it's quite enlightening to say the least!

The Skinny On a Pellet Stove

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I’m happy to report that my spring cleaning efforts were wrapped up yesterday afternoon. It’s a good feeling to look around my home and see that order has been somewhat restored. Given that five people and a dog occupy the space poses no simple feat for keeping the floors clean and debris free. The cupboards, drawers and fridge have been organized and amazingly….we can find things MUCH easier. The challenge is always to keep it up! My weekend was spent with a paint brush, transforming the master bath. I choose a charcoal grey color and am really amazed with the results. Can a bathroom look professional? I think mine does now. Not that I’ll be holding any important meetings in there but the color is certainly more sophisticated and delightful. I got a compliment from the man I share the space with so I think that’s a good sign.

I’m far behind in my postings but I wanted to share a bit more information about the wood stove. In today’s energy conscious society with the prices of heating homes on the rise, we were happily surprised when we did the “books” for our home operation costs. So far it’s cost about $350 from October to present to heat our entire basement. This includes our family room, craft room, bathroom and boys’ bedrooms. This is the only source of heat we have in the basement.

It’s heated the upper half as well so we’ve run our furnace a fraction of what we did prior to putting the stove. Our cost for propane this winter has been about $200.

The pellet stove we have burns both corn and wood. We experimented with corn first. It burns hot and isn’t clean at all. About every couple of days we had to clean out the stove. We found that wood pellets were slightly higher in cost but make up for it in efficiency and labor. There is hardly any ash with wood pellets so clean up is minimal.

In addition to cost savings, we’ve moved away from petroleum based to a renewable heat source. And unlike turning on a furnace and keeping it on, this stove regulates itself. A remote sensor will turn it off when it reaches the desired heat and start it up when it’s too cold. As a result, most of us prefer being downstairs. It’s definitely the warmest place for my usually chilly body and one of the coolest on a sweltering day.

If you are thinking about changing your heat source or looking for ways to save on heating costs, I encourage you to look into one of these stoves. If we could drive wood burning cars rights now, we’d be set.

Those of you interested in the type and cost of stove can message me. Chad has the dealer’s number and possibly a website for further information. I’m hoping our days of needing heat are going to be fewer and fewer. I think we all agree, tt’s time for spring, isn’t it?!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

So Not In the Mood.....

All signs of spring exist only in our hearts and visions. The weather is quite dismal. I'm relieved though, the spring cleaning is complete and our house is better shape. I need it to be; I think more clearly and I have me some thinkin' to do!

If the weather stays crappy, Im sure to get some desk work done at least!

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Here Birdie, Birdie

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I am “into” birds right now ---big time! It started with finding an old bird cage on a treasure hunt in January. I put it in the master bathroom. I am currently searching for old bird watching books to use for a wall paper design. When I spied this adorable bird print last weekend the light bulb went off! The whisper of blue and bright orange border stuck with me and I brought this home yesterday. (It was more than I wanted to pay but I am a bargain hunter and anything over $10 is usually too much!)

It’s no secret that I love old things. And as many collectors know, it is easy to bring in a lot of old things, sometimes too easy! I am very careful in what I purchase. I have limited wall space so I tend to avoid any more prints or pictures unless I am willing to part with an existing one. I tend to contemplate, visualize and then purchase. I didn’t buy this print the day I saw it. I waited for four days. This is a gamble, I know, because many times I’ve lost out when I’ve waited and kicked myself later. I avoid impulse buying this way but sometimes it comes with regrets. It kept “calling” to me though and after much contemplation, I decided I’d part with my dollars and bring home the birds!

I will be repainting and redecorating the bathroom in Amhearst Gray. I thought this print would really look amazing on the charcoal wall but I’m undecided right now because the orange border looks outstanding in the Frank Blue guest bathroom! The birds and soft colors are the perfect “pick me up” and reminder that spring is on her way. We’ll approach 50 degrees today; we’re ready for it too.

The name of the print is The Bird Perch by H. Giacomelli. There is a tag on the back, lovingly, neatly taped that says French Illustrator—Color Plate and it is signed in the bottom left corner by the artist. I’ll have to do a little Google searching one of these days to find out more. I love that someone took the time to add that information to the back. I especially LOVE that it was typed, the old fashioned way, pre-computer keyboard. The print has been well taken care of, so perhaps it was worth the price?! I don’t know much about French painters but I do know that I LOVE these little birdies decorating my house!

What’s your favorite old time piece? What d├ęcor scheme is catching your eye this spring?

*and yes.....I did change the blog template guessed it....a BIRD design! I may have found my mojo again!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

That's more like it!

Here the physical evidence of yesterday's excavation efforts. I found some pretty interesting items, including one brother's missing mp3 player, needle nose pliers, and four oreos minus the cream filling!

It took most of the day, but the closet and drawers now contain only clothes that fit and items she'll wear. It's useless to battle with her over tops that I think are cute and ones she can't stand. At this point she's a t-shirt and jeans kind of girl and I accept that.

School was called off today so my cleaning and clearing plan may move to the basement since the boys are home. We have two bedrooms to tidy up and one clutter gone wild toy closet, the craft room needs attention as does the bathroom and floors. I'm tossed though, I had planned on diving into our bedrooms and bathroom. It's time to downsize shoes and winter clothes. I'm also thinking about repainting my bathroom so I may take everything out today and see if my idea will work. I won't have a chance to paint for awhile but the momentum is gathering. This space is the last frontier in my three year DIY home reno; I want to be done!

It is time to get moving. As I've shared with my students, this is my seasonal routine (even if it still looks and feels like winter). I've spent three years doing deep detox. Those efforts are paying off. I can cover a lot of ground with less effort because clutter is not as monumental as it once was. I keep only what I love and only what I have room for. I go through the rooms often and pair down gradually and continually. I always feel better after this ritual. I'll be ready for spring, whenever she chooses to arrive!

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Monday, March 7, 2011

View from the dresser

I'm not kidding here! Did you see the dog bowl with stuffed birds? And the three straws? Yeah....that'smy girl!
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See what I'm up against?

Not only do I teach classes on the art of creating a beautiful home, I also share ideas and tips on how to effectively clear clutter.

Clearly my daughter is here to help me put these ideas into practice. I joke that she's going to have her own episode on hoarders but from the look of what's under her bed, it may be more than a good laugh.

She loves everything, including the potential worm farm that she keeps sneaking in and trying to grow. Try ad I may to enlighten her that a coffee can of dirt and water will NOT produce worms, no matter what the season! She's persistent, I'll give her that. I'm thinking thusvis a sad way to be spending spring break.....but then's snowing so what the heck, right?!

I'm starting with the toughest room first, just as Ive instructed my students to do. This pit will make my kitchen spice cupboard seem easy.
Rolling up my sleeves now. Po' Girl is blasting on the iPod, chair tea is on the dresser and I'm about to dive intobthe abyss known as my kid's room. One little giant mess. Nothing that a couple of hours and a garbage bag can't fix!
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It's what?

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Good news: I'm finally able to get into blogger on my computer. It was a little glitch that stumped me, but was a "cake walk" for my computer guy, Jeff!

Bad news: We are once again in the midst of a snowfall. I wouldn't call this a storm but the snow is piling up on the deck and the ground is getting harder to see. I'm so not in the mood for snow. I am ready for sunshine, clear skies and WARMTH! It is high time to be about the business of reclaiming my home, clearing and cleaning drawers and cupboards, opening windows and welcoming spring. Where the bleep is it?!?!?!? Not in Nebraska, that I can say.

I've got several topics I'll be sharing about; a cool photo gift, vintage honey dispensers and purses and a songwriting project. I know, I know, pretty riveting in the wake of rising gas and food prices. If nothing else perhaps the CC blog can be a welcome, joyful distraction. I'll be sharing more frequently so check back often.

It's nice to have a full keyboard and a head full of ideas. Now, to find the time to do all that I want to do!

Wishing you warm thoughts~

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Spring Approaches

Sunrises are coming sooner and days are lasting longer. This is when I begin to feel more alive, more awake and more vibrant. Warm weather does that to me.

My days have been a slurry of activity so my posts have been fewer. Life does that to me. I'm keenly aware of the necessity if positive being; it takes just as much effort to look at the upside as the downside, but for some reason, I seem to be trained in the later. I know how to retrain. The very demanding schedule I've created for myself is offering me great opportunities for practice. I don't remember ever having so much to do!

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