Tuesday, January 31, 2012

::for the love of progress::

When I read a blog, or an article in a magazine, or visit a friend's home for that matter, my very favorite stories and conversations are about progress. House remodeling progress.
I was reading a blog post yesterday, about a lovely family that just put in long awaited french doors in their kitchen. I thought about my own french doors in my kitchen and smiled.

We have lived in our house for nearly 18 years.
This is the first and only home that we have ever owned. We have seen so many changes over the years. We have remodeled, restored, added rooms, removed walls, moved kitchens, and so on.
I like reading about what other families are doing to make their house their own.
I get a little nostalgic about the *years* that we spent in progress with little ones under foot.
We needed to expand and flex a tiny 100 year old cottage to fit an expanding brood.
I look fondly on those times now, but back then.......those projects could not get done fast enough.

The other part I love is the increase. The increase created by the hands of a family making room for each person. An increase in space efficiency, yes, but also an increase in joy, comfort, and gratitude for a new space and the hard work of a Daddy.
(usually all by himself, late at night, pouring himself into each project).
I like increase because it means we are moving forward.

We don't do many big projects now, mostly just maintenance. Sometimes, I miss those days.
The families in the thick of it would think that I am crazy.
When you live in your home for a long time you get comfortable........maybe too comfortable.
When things are shiny and new, I think we take great care to make sure they're clean and tidy.
Maybe not even new, but shiny and new to us :~). As spaces and items within our home get a little tired, I have a harder time keeping them *shiny*. I need to get grateful, and maintain those areas that my hubby and I worked so hard on. Yes, motivated.

I think there are a few projects in order. Making plans is a good thing. Bringing increase. Yes.

I hope that you have a blessed day.

Monday, January 30, 2012

::for baby::

My littlest niece is due to be born here in a few weeks.
It has been 8 long years since we've had a baby born into the family. Everybody is so excited.
It is their firstborn. Having my first seems like a lifetime ago.

My sister's baby shower was yesterday. Anya and I went and had a little girl time. Anya is the youngest of the cousins and of our close friends, so she hadn't been to a shower.
She loved it! And she won a game, too.

I made this little knitted mouse from a pattern I found on Ravelry.
I think it came out quite well, and hopefully baby will love it.
I also added a few treasures that I thrifted. A cute vintage pottery mug and a Beatrix Potter treasury.
I made another of my handmade boxes out of 12x12 scrapbook paper. It turned out the perfect size for the baby mug. I will definitely make more of these in the future.

We had a great day and it was so wonderful to be with family and friends.
I can't wait to hold that baby when she's born!

Have a blessed day.

Friday, January 27, 2012

::the food we eat::

{homemade granola}

I will admit that I make compromises with the food I buy.
I hate to admit that, but I am sure that I am not alone.
There are so many factors to consider when choosing the best food.
My choices also go beyond the actual food.
When I am buying groceries these are some of the questions that I ask myself :

Is this real food ?
Will it optimally nourish my family?
Is this food organically grown?
Does the company that makes this food steward the environment?
Does this food come in packaging?
Does this food come in non-recyclable packaging?
How far away does this food come from?
Am I supporting a small, local company?
Was the animal that produced this food treated humanely?
Does this non-organic food contain GMO ingredients?

And so on........

I can usually answer yes to the first 2 questions, because that is totally in my control.
Adhering to a value system in the food we buy can be confusing, time consuming and expensive.
If my only consideration was the first 2 questions, I'd have it made, no problem.
Because I have so many other considerations, I struggle making them all come together, and the biggest question, Can we afford it?

I truly believe that where we spend our money is where our values are. It really goes against our values to give money to companies that don't live up to them.

I cringe at the idea of not being able to afford the best food possible. I feel so strongly about all of the values we've placed on food purchasing. Each compromise affects a living system.
Humans, animals, and/or the Earth.

There are a lot of contradictions in food production. The one that troubles me the most is buying organic and free range meats that are packaged in plastic and styrofoam! You'd think that those companies could come up with some other option. Meats that are bought on the butcher block, that I can put in glass jars, are always more expensive and my choices are sometimes limited to lesser quality meats. This is a big problem for me.

I can save money and buy the best quality, if I buy packaged items. I hate packaging. It is forever marring the landscape of the Earth. Garbage, and more garbage. This is what I mean by compromise. There is always a compromise, and one that hurts something or somebody.

I have a large(ish) family and a strict grocery budget. I refuse to feed them junky non-food, in order to save money. This means buying less meat, cooking more from scratch, and growing some of our own food. This is the way we've been living for the last few years. Lately, we have seen a tremendous rise in the cost of food, which has brought me to this place. Compromise. It seems that hitting on all of our values all the time, just isn't realistic for us right now.
Perhaps I could create a list of of food purchasing values in order of importance. There would be times we could fulfil all on the list and sometimes not.

My main objective is to raise our family with the best nutrition possible within our budget, teach them that the food choices we make affect many living systems, and give them the knowledge to grow some of their own food.

This is where I will begin.

Coincidentally, I need to go grocery shopping today :~)

Have a blessed day, Tami

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

::a new notebook::

I am really into composition books. You know the old school ones with the marbled covers.
I love that these books are really sturdy and have a lot of room in them.  Many people use them for art journaling because they hold up really well. In the public schools around here, they are used instead of spiral notebooks. At back-to-school sales, I stock up on them, they are incredibly inexpensive. I love that composition books don't take up much room and they sit neatly on my bookshelf. That makes the minimalist/organizer/simplifier in me so happy.

I have several that I use here at home. I have 4 basic notebooks. A bible study book, a Christmas planner, a finance/budget notebook, and a home & garden notebook. I would love to add a design/inspiration notebook next. I have tried so many different binders, notebook, planners, etc. and I am so happy to have found a system that works for me.

I just started my home & garden notebook. For a long time I just jotted down notes and collected pictures here and there. Now I have a place to put it all down. I will add tabs like I did with my Christmas planner. I like designating a good number of pages to each section, this makes the notebook more flexible and useful for many years. I figure that my Christmas planner will last until my kids are grown. I left enough pages in the kids and gift sections to get me through for a very long time. I like being able to refer back to past year's gift giving. Closer to the holidays, I will post more specifically about how I use my Christmas planner.

In my home & garden book I hope to include things like household tips, a gardening schedule and journal area, ideas for zero waste and green living, photos and scans for inspiration, a section for keeping chickens, my bulk shopping list, cost-per-meal calculations, grocery budgeting, notes from seminars and articles, and so on. This will be a great resource for me and will allow me to simplify my information.

I have decorated my notebooks with magazine cutouts and printable quotes. I like making them pretty to look at, somehow it gives me more incentive to use them. It invests me in the process of getting organized.
I am off now to work on my notebook. I love January for getting organized.

Blessings, Tami

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


I love my gallery wall, I am thinking of painting more of the frames white, and adding a few new photos. I love framing our yearly Christmas *floor* picture to enjoy. My favorite photos of the kids are on this wall. We also have a few old family photos and some of just Eric and I, so the kids can see Mama and Daddy when they were young(er).

I am making crockpot yogurt today. We've been making it this way for about a year. Try it, it's so easy and saves so much money. We use our favorite glass bottled milk.

I have enjoyed beautiful walks in the morning the last few days, the rain is returning now so I am back to snuggling up inside. I will be inside now until the end of February {LOL}. We will have straight rain until then. Oh, how I love February in the Pacific NW!  My chicken friends were out all day yesterday soaking up the sun, and loved every moment of it.

I have been enjoying several little handiwork projects lately ~ crochet, knitting, and making a hexagon quilt. The hex quilt might just turn into a hex quilt block, that is some close-up hand stitching! I used a printable template from MaryJane's Farm magazine.

Wanting to start planning our vegetable garden. It will be time to plant snap peas in a few weeks. Can it possibly be !? We loved planting Yukon Gold's for the first time last year. We will definitely do potatoes again. I am thinking the tower method using hardware cloth. We are also going to be creating a "chicken garden". We have the perfect space for it, an enclosed patio garden off of our kitchen. The best part, the coop and run are already located there. I can't wait.

We are taking a good hard look at our budget this year and trying to make room for some dream planning and saving. So nice to have that in motion. Attending a few Financial Peace University meetings. too.

I have been thoroughly loving "The Head and The Heart" radio on Pandora. How did I not discover Pandora earlier? It is making kitchen time so lovely.

I am off to enjoy a cup of coffee and dive into a huge pile of laundry.

Have a blessed day,


Monday, January 23, 2012

::kitchen praise::

You know when your kitchen isn't exactly how you would like it?
It's sometimes hard to spend so many hours in a space that you don't love.
There are so many things that I would change about my kitchen, (like the cabinets I want Eric to build for me) ~but the fact is, it's probably not changing any time soon.
Because I am so ashamed to be complaining about a perfectly useful space,
one that I should be so grateful for every moment I spend in it........
It's time that I started appreciating the wonderful things about my kitchen.
So here it goes.

{very real photo - hello dishes in the sink}

My prep area. Enough room to make a bundle of sandwiches for sure.
I love my beadboard backsplash and my old bread board. I love my super deep sink.
I bathed my babies in this sink, it was so handy.

{this is Gigi our Giant Blue Cochen}

I have a patio and a "chicken" garden off of my kitchen. I love this.
Probably one of my favorite parts of my kitchen.
I often imagined having chickens would be hilarious.
I imagined that they would come up to the back doors and look in.
It was a silly thing, that I thought would be cute, and it really is.
I can be working in the kitchen and they come up and peck on the door.
I love chickens, they are so full of entertainment *and* eggs! You've got to love them!

{mixing up pancakes}

I love that we have a big table with benches to seat our family, and extras too.
When we entertain there is plenty of room for the whole crowd.
Hospitality is very important to me and being able to seat everyone is a top priority.
I love that I can do that.

{i love my mismatched chairs}
I love that my kitchen has a lot of natural light.
I have big windows on 3 walls, it is the brightest room in the house.
It is in the lower part of our house on a slab foundation with slate floors.
It is the most cool and pleasant room to be in during the summer.
In the winter it is cold, but the light is beautiful.

Even though I would love for my husband to make me new cupboards,
I have to admit that these "big box" store cabinets are very low maintenance.
I just wipe them down. At this point in my life that is a good thing.

My stove. My 1955 Hotpoint stainless steel, double ovened, deep-well adorned monster of a range.
I do love this stove. We bought it 8 years ago on Craigslist for $65.00.
Granted, it was half taken apart and I had to put it back together, but still very worth it.
It has it's quirks that I have learned to love and live with.
In 1955, stainless steel would have been a special order finish.
I have never seen another vintage range like it. So very ahead of it's time.

The window above my sink.
My view is not ideal (hello urban landscape), but it let's so much light into my kitchen.
During the summer, my Wisteria vine camouflages the building next door,
and I get lovely little bird friends that visit me outside my window.
A pleasant way to do the dishes, I'd say.

I am feeling better about my kitchen attitude already.
Just for fun though, indulge me in a little dreaming.

I would love this table instead of an island for sure.
This stove is a beauty.
A fireplace in the kitchen. Yes, please.
I love open shelving.
These cabinets are stunning.

I am so grateful for what I have now, it's fun to dream though.
I am off to make something in my wonderful kitchen.

Blessings, Tami

Saturday, January 21, 2012

::a wonderful week::

The rain showed up at lunchtime on Friday.
All the beautiful snow, turned to slush so quickly.
We spent a lot of time outdoors the past week, but had much cozy time indoors, too.

{lots of game playing}

{homemade hot cocoa mix ~ yum}

{crochet for a change}

{a little Pinewood derby painting}

{movies, popcorn, tea, and yarn ~ perfect}

Happy Saturday!
Blessings, Tami

Friday, January 20, 2012

::one more::

I know that it will soon be gone.
One more post showing all the wonderful snow.
I will miss it.
This has been one to remember.

Have a super cozy day!
Blessings, Tami

Thursday, January 19, 2012

::winter corners::

A look at a few winter spots and corners of our home.

{teenage boy corners}

{little girl corners}

{little boy corners, and in every corner of our home, LOL}

{a cozy spot to sit}

{my sweet Jasper, always my companion}

{my little knitting spot}

We are having another *snow day* today.
I love having the kids home.
We went on a wonderful long walk yesterday and visited the "donut store" as my kids call it.
It was about the only business open in our little downtown.
Bless them for being open, we were very happy.
We finished off the day with yummy Taco soup. That warmed us up for sure.

Have a blessed day.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

::white out::

It is still coming down pretty heavily here.
My kids are in heaven.
We are heading outside for a walk in the coveted white stuff, for before we know it, it will be gone. We are enjoying every moment of it.
I am thinking a big pot of soup is a good plan.
Knitting by the fire, another good plan.
Stay warm today!

Blessings, Tami

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

::around the house::

We've been spending time around the house being cozy.
A little sewing, puzzle making, cooking, eating, and playing in the snow.
I love winter.
I pray that you are all warm and cozy, too.

Blessings, Tami

Monday, January 16, 2012


We finally got a little snow! I am so happy.

Out came the snow gear, out went the kids!

We are cozied up in our old cottage, and enjoying every moment of the white stuff.
It is expected to snow off and on for the next few days.
Can you say *snow day*.
The kids would love to be off another day to enjoy it.

I think some comfort food is in order. Yes.
Blessings, Tami