Thursday, March 21, 2019

a sort of discombobulated month

March is a fickle month in northern Illinois. We could have temperatures in the 30's or 70's, rain or snow, endless cloudy days or plenty of sunshine (more unlikely). Signs of spring have finally started here. Daffodils and lilies are poking out of the ground and red-wing blackbirds and Big Fat Juicy Robins have returned. When Zippo was alive, he loved watching the robins out the window. I always told him they were "Big Fat Juicy Robins" when he was staring out the window at them and swishing his tail. I miss him so much. Chipmunks have come out of hibernation too, and are once again running around under the bird feeder, hoping to find fallen seeds.

 Every March, as I scan the ground for signs of green and the flash of the orange breast of robins hopping around, I feel as excited as a little kid seeing the ice cream truck coming down the road. 

Another sign of spring in this area: fruit trees appearing at the big box stores. The outdoor garden center was being set up with the metal display stands and piles of top soil and mulch. That means the pansies will be coming soon. I can't wait to have a pot of their cheery yellow and purple goodness on my front porch again.

Spring projects have started around the house, as well. We hired a neighborhood painter to paint what was Tim's bedroom and the hallway bathroom. We chose the same pale cream color for Tim's bedroom as our kitchen. We really liked the current color of our bathroom, but we couldn't find the old paint can with the name of the color on it. I was ready for a slight change in that room anyway, so after looking at a lot of gray paint swatches, we chose Flannel Gray by Behr. It was a little too dark, so we had the shade reduced by 25%.

Here's the hallway bathroom "before". It's a small room, so not easy to photograph. The brown trim near the ceiling will be painted white. The only reason we're having this room painted in the first place is because the paint was bubbling and peeling. The previous painter used an eggshell finish, which obviously did not stand up to all the moisture in the bathroom. This new painter is using a semi-gloss finish.

I hate having my house in disarray ~ everything from the bathroom and Tim's room is now in My Space (what was Phil's bedroom) and the basement. It didn't seem like there was much in either room, but when you start dismantling a room down to nothing, there's always more stuff than you think. Even the toilet tank is in My Space. It's also very unnerving to me to have a stranger in my house. With having a small house, there's really nowhere for me to "hide" except the kitchen. I guess I could hide out in the basement family room, but I don't like hanging out down there. It's rather dungeon-like. At least in the kitchen, I can be busy making food or using the kitchen table as my office space. Today I made a french potato salad (the recipe can be found here, though I also add a little fresh lemon juice and capers) and Energy Balls.

Back to the painter and it being unnerving having him in the house....he plays sports radio loudly the entire time, which tends to drive me up the wall. I know it could be a lot worse. It could be music I can't stand. I also know that this soon shall pass. And then I get to decide on the fun decorating stuff. Do I want the same sort of shelves going back on the bathroom wall, or something a little different? Perhaps I'll choose hooks for towels on the opposite wall (not shown) instead of a towel bar. As for Tim's room, we still need to decide on a twin or daybed, a rug, curtains and wall art. The room will be a combination guest/nap/TV room and Brian's office space.

Meanwhile, I've done little things to lighten up the house for spring. I've changed out the heavy throws for lighter ones and added pops of yellow for spring delight. All Clementine approved.

I just got a new piece of artwork. Isn't this a beautiful print? I love owls. I never knew this acquaintance of mine was artistic until she started posting photos of her work on Facebook. I was blown away. Lydia sells her work on Society6, if you're interested. Besides owls, she paints moose, flamingos, otters, elephants, ducks, pigs, etc. You can order the prints as wall art, note cards, cushions, bags, apparel, clocks...Society6 will print on basically anything.

I hung the print in my living room entryway for now. Who knows, I might put it somewhere else later. I'm known for changing things around. I also moved a white lamp to the corner to lighten it up for spring. Previously I had a tall silver metallic vase with willow springs and light stalks in it. It was great for winter, but I was in the mood for something lighter.

In other news ~ in my last post, I mentioned my battle with back, hip and buttock pain. It's been on and off since then...but a few days ago, sciatica really set in and I was in so much pain Tuesday night, that I was crying out in pain with every step I took. I could barely walk. I was holding onto furniture and the walls. I didn't sleep most of the night because the pain was keeping me awake. I went to my Primary Care Physician yesterday, even though I knew there wasn't much she could do except prescribe drugs and physical therapy and/or send me for x-rays or a MRI. I was feeling a little better thanks to ibuprofen, but I don't want to rely on that either. She wanted me to go on a Medrol pack (steroids), but I told her I wasn't willing to do that unless it was a last resort. Steroids won't cure sciatica. They simply "put a Band-aid on the problem". Steroids have way too many horrible side effects, including insomnia. I'm not willing to go there right now, trading one problem for another. And then the pain comes back as soon as the steroids wear off, so why bother?

She did send me for a lumbar spine x-ray, which again, I feel is basically useless because all it's going to show is arthritis. It won't show herniated discs or spinal stenosis like a MRI would. I had a MRI on my back about 10 years ago and at the time, that showed three herniated disks. So I don't know if one of them is now worse or if I have a new one...or maybe I do have arthritis or spinal stenosis or God-only-knows what else. 

The doctor did write a three week prescription for physical therapy, which I'm going to consider. I'm also looking into acupuncture. Our insurance doesn't cover it and it's a little pricey, but perhaps a few sessions would help relieve the pain. Oh - and I also want to mention that I'm regularly taking CBD oil except that I upped my normal dosage and that is helping relieve the pain and inflammation, too. All-natural and no side effects like NSAIDs.

How is the month of March going for you?

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

choosing lamps for the bedroom

Hello, friends! It's been way too long. I think this seemingly never-ending winter has gotten to me. I've had no desire to write a blog post. I've noticed on Blogland in general, new postings have been way down since January. Perhaps everyone feels the same way...just kind of blah and waiting for spring. On top of it, the past few weeks I've had really bad back pain. I'm prone to it. I have three herniated disks and if I don't keep active with walking and yoga, my back hurts. This time, it's been my left hip, along with spasms in my buttock. I guess I'm my own pain-in-the-a**. Anyway, my wonderful yoga instructor is also a massage and bodywork therapist, plus she's in school for physiology. I saw her last week for bodywork and she worked on me for two hours! I'm doing better since then and following instructions of self-care. And doing more walking. Walking feels good. Since it's still so darn cold here, when I run errands, I walk the entire store instead of just going straight to what I need. I've also been back on my treadmill - boring, but necessary. My worst time is sleeping when I try to roll over to the other side. My hip doesn't like that. And when I get out of bed in the morning, I get the spasms. It could be some arthritis in my hip. It's so fun getting old. (Insert random photo of blissed-out cat because no one wants to see photos of hips or treadmills.)

On to better stuff. As I've said before, I take forever to get a room put together the way I really like it. We've needed new lamps for our bedroom for years and it was just something I never got around to. I finally got tired of looking at mismatched lamps that were also the wrong size. I wasn't sure exactly what size lamps to buy for our bedside tables, so I turned to my best friend, Google. Several professional interior design sites said to measure your nightstands - mine are 27" tall - and that your lamps should be 2-3" higher than your nightstand. That would mean I would need lamps that were 29 - 30" tall. So I headed to HomeGoods and found 29" lamps that I thought would look good in our bedroom.

Wrong. Too overwhelming. Too much white. I felt like when I walked into our small bedroom, all I noticed were the lamps. Back they went.

Then I tried Target. I like that you can buy the base and shade separately. They also have frequent 15-20% off sales on lighting, so that was a bonus. Lamps are expensive! This time I chose a beige base with a gray shade. Wrong again. I felt the lamps were simply too big and overwhelming; that the base looked like pineapples; and the gray shades clashed with the wall color. Back they go to Target.

Third time's a charm! For starters, I went with a medium-sized lamp instead of a large. I liked the clear base, so I got those again. And when looking at shades, I found these white ones with a silver swirl. They're not as stark as plain white and the silver goes well with the wall color. You're not going to believe where I got these lamps: Meijer grocery store, of all places! Just like withTarget, you can pick your base and shade separately. And luck would have it, they were having a buy one, get the second one 1/2 off sale. 

 The only thing that's driving me nuts is the stickers on the base. Why do stores have to do this? I started picking at the sticker with my thumb nail and it barely chips away. I mean, these are stuck on good. I turned to Google once again and I see there's ways of getting stickers off acrylic, so I'll have to try some of the ideas and see what works.


Where have you had luck finding lamps?

Monday, February 18, 2019

to your good health!

Those of you who follow me on Instagram have probably figured out from all my food photos that I'm not just into cooking and food, but healthy eating as well. I've talked a little bit here on my blog over the past few years about healthy eating and living, but I've gotten requests for sharing my knowledge of these subjects in regular blog posts. Healthy foods and eating are such broad subjects, that I'm hoping to do posts on individual subjects at least a few times a month. For right now, I'm just going to dive into some basics and give you a few healthy, simple recipes. These are things anyone can make. No cooking talent required!

Disclaimer: I am not a physician or any other kind of certified health professional. I am simply a lay person that reads and researches many aspects of natural health and clean eating; puts these things into practice in my own life as much as possible; and wants to share what I have learned and am still learning in order to help people lead healthier lives. The content provided in this blog and any linked sites are not intended to be medical advice. If you have any medical concerns, consult with your physician. I am not liable for any health advice that I write on this blog. 

I can tell you this much for sure: whatever you put in your mouth has almost everything to do with your health. You eat garbage, you're going to feel like garbage and your health is going suffer. "At least 80% of how you look and feel comes from your diet" (Dr Samantha Durland). You truly are what you eat. Thus said, I am far from perfect. Healthy eating is something I work on and strive for every single day. Some days I don't do as well as others. I try not to beat myself up over that. Instead, I start anew the next day.

I found a new family care physician through a friend whom I went to last week. He does some holistic care and is very much into working with the patient on a healthy lifestyle. He spent 45 minutes with me, actually talking to me and giving me healthy suggestions, and making me feel good about myself, my health and my future by the time I left. The only prescribed medication I was on was a miniscule dosage of Lisinopril for high blood pressure. I had been on it since I was 38 years old: 19 years!! I originally started out on 10 mg, but I was much heavier when I was younger. Over the years as I adopted a healthier lifestyle and lost weight, I was able to decrease my dosage of medication. I had asked my former PCP the past few years if I could go off the Lisinopril and she always said no - even though my blood pressure was always normal. This new doctor took me off the medication! My blood pressure in two different readings was low and then average. He said, "You don't need this medication." He said that if I continue to eat even healthier (i.e., more plant-based meals, less cheese) and exercise more, that everything will naturally fall into place...lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol (mine's pretty good, but could use some improvement), lower blood sugar levels (again, mine's good but wouldn't hurt to be lower). He also explained to me that if for example, I had've come to him when I was 38 years old with high blood pressure, he would not have automatically put me on hypertension medication. He would've worked with me on lifestyle change instead. I can't tell you how refreshing it is to have found a doctor like this! And I can now announce that I am medication free. That feels so good!

I know some of you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, and while I think that is fantastic, it is not for me. (I have a hard time digesting beans/legumes and I don't eat soy or soy products.) I am also not here to discuss the ethics of meat eaters versus plant eaters. I am only focusing on clean, healthy eating. 

Thus said, I am incorporating more vegetables and fruits into my diet and eating less meat. This doctor wanted me to eat beets for my blood pressure, but I told him I loathe beets. Beets and mushrooms are the only two vegetables I just cannot stand. So he told me I could buy beet root powder (I didn't even know there was such a thing!) and use it in my smoothies. I found this organic beet root powder on Amazon. I use a teaspoon in my morning smoothie and can barely taste it. In fact, I love the taste of my smoothie even more than I did before! And it makes the color very pretty. I make my smoothies by using 8 oz. unsweetened almond milk, a banana, some frozen organic fruit (I used blueberries in the smoothie shown below), 1 tsp. of the organic beet root powder, about 1 T. of hemp hearts/seeds, a sprinkle of turmeric (great for inflammation!), a spoon of organic, natural peanut butter (make sure the peanut butter you use doesn't have any added sugar and doesn't have any hydrogenated oils in want to eat a peanut butter that is just that - peanut butter - and nothing else...except salt, if you want the salted kind), and a big handful of organic baby spinach.

Another healthy, simple meal idea is to top toast (please don't use processed white bread; use a bread where the first ingredients are whole grains...Ezekiel Bread or Dave's Killer Bread are excellent choices) with mashed avocado (I added fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper to mine) and top with a cooked egg. This will fill you up for hours. If you're vegan or don't like eggs, avocado toast on its own is delicious. You can sprinkle the avocado with nuts, sunflower seeds or pepitas, or even some pomegranate seeds.

I'll throw in one more quick, healthy meal idea that anyone can make...when you're craving pizza, it's much healthier to make your own at home. This is something I struggle with. Pizza is one of my favorite foods! And I live in the Chicago area, so we have THE best pizza.

Make your own pizza crust, or use a prepared one. Just make sure it has minimal ingredients and no hydrogenated oils (such as soybean) or preservatives in it. The one pitfall of this type of bread is that it is high in sodium. So even pizza at home should be a special treat. Most people don't realize that bread contains a lot of sodium!

Brush your pizza crust with extra-virgin olive oil or tomato sauce seasoned with herbs. Then load on the vegetables. I sauteed my vegetables just a couple of minutes before putting them on the pizza so that they wouldn't be TOO crunchy. I used red peppers, broccoli and red onion. You could also use fresh tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach and/or jalapenos. To do as the good doc said about cutting down on the cheese, I used fresh mozzarella sparingly. Bake at 400 degrees until done. My pizza took about 10 minutes.

I hope this post was informative and helpful and I look forward to sharing a lot more about healthy eating, nutrition and natural health in future posts. Please feel free to share any of your own stories or ideas about healthy, clean eating. We're all here to help each other.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

still in the throes of winter, but robins & valentine's day decor add some cheer

We're still in the trenches of winter here in northern Illinois and I'm officially sick of it and longing for spring. Two weeks ago we had a couple of big snowstorms, then we had record-breaking cold, and now this evening into tomorrow morning, we're under a weather warning for an ice storm. They're saying travel will be nearly impossible on untreated streets and not to be out unless you absolutely have to. I don't have to go anywhere, but both my husband and son will be traveling home from work tonight. They're also saying we could easily lose power from snapped power lines and falling tree branches. If we lose power, that means we won't have any heat either.

All worrisome indeed, but since I can't do anything about the weather, I can at least take pretty pictures. These were taken 1-1/2 weeks ago at a neighboring farm where I was picking up my custom pork order. Their hogs are pasture-raised and supplemented with a non-GMO, organic grain mix. If I'm going to eat meat, I feel better ethically eating meat that's been humanely raised and not fed GMO corn and soy. And our bodies thank us in the way of good health with that part, too.

 Last week I walked into my living room and saw a flash of orange out of the corner of my eye. I looked out the window and did a double-take when I saw a robin! I know not all robins fly south for the winter: there are "winter robins". Nevertheless, I have never seen one in winter. I ran to get my phone to take a photo and had to take this through the living room window, plus zoom in - hence the blurry photo. Someone on Facebook commented that she looked pregnant, too. Either that or she's just very fluffy!

 It's been gray and gloomy outside for what seems "forever". So I'm always glad when it's time to start decorating for Valentine's Day because the pops of red and pink add color and cheer around the house. Even though we don't make a big deal out of this "holiday", I've always liked it because there's no stress...and who doesn't like hearts?

In my bedroom, a tin heart and a hand-stitched Cupid pillow hang from the side of a bookcase...

and best of all, a heart banner made by Connie of Crafty Home Cottage hangs above my bed. I treasure all the things my blogging friends have made for me over the years.

In the kitchen...

Inside my small china cabinet...three out of the four hearts in the white box in the middle were made by Carol of Art and Sand. The fourth (the one in the back, right) was made by Penny of At Home in English Valley.

"The greatest healing therapy is friendship and love" (Hubert H. Humphrey)

Thank you for both. 💓

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

new year goals ~ healthy eating

I don't make New Year resolutions or pick a word for the year...I'm not into that sort of thing as I feel I'm a work in progress every day, no matter the time of year. Thus said, I do set small goals for myself at the beginning of the year, and throughout. 

(Disclaimer: As a member of the Wayfair Homemaker program, I have been compensated for this post. All ideas and opinions are completely my own.)

If you're a regular follower of my blog, you'll know I'm into healthy eating. I'm not perfect with this (who is?) but it's something that's important to me and that I strive for. I make a lot of homemade dishes because that way I can control the ingredients that go into our meals. It's much healthier to eat at home using fresh, unprocessed ingredients than it is to eat out or to rely on overly-processed food or packaged products that are full of chemicals and preservatives.

Having a slow cooker is a game changer for me. And on cold days (by the way, I'm in Illinois where we're in the middle of record-breaking low temps...we could go down to -55F with the wind chill factor tonight and tomorrow!), it's wonderful to have an appliance bubbling the food away all day and making your house smell delicious and cozy. It's so easy to throw ingredients into a pot in the morning, press a button, be on your merry way, and then come home to a cooked meal. My old Crockpot worked fine, but the handle had broken off the glass lid, leaving two small holes in the top. I was using tape to cover the holes every time I used it! It was definitely time for a new one. Wayfair has many different slow cookers to choose from. I ultimately chose the Cuisinart 4 quart multi-cooker. I make many dishes where I saute the vegetables first before adding them to the slower cooker, or where I brown the meat on the stove first before adding to the slower cooker. With this multi-function cooker, you can saute your ingredients right in the pot simply by pushing the brown/saute button and then immediately switch over to cooking by pushing the slow cook button. How cool is that? No extra dishes to wash! It also steams food, but I haven't tried that function yet.

The first recipe I tried was one straight from the book that came with the slow cooker. It was for a brown rice and vegetable risotto. Sounded delicious and healthy, plus it'd give me the chance to try out the saute feature. I started out by sauteeing onions and tri-colored peppers, then adding the rice and other ingredients.

This is what the dish looked like when it was done. Looks delicious, right? Unfortunately, it wasn't. We weren't thrilled with the taste, and the texture of the rice wasn't quite right. It was still too chewy. Definitely not like a true risotto.

The second dish I made in my new cooker was a tried and true standby: Salsa Chicken. I started out by sauteeing - yes, right in the slow cooker! - sliced onions. You could easily add peppers to this, too.

With the saute feature still on, I added organic, boneless chicken thighs and browned them on both sides for just a couple of minutes. Then I switched the cooker over to slow cook.

Next comes the salsa. You can use either green or red ~ or a combination ~ which I did.

Pour the salsa on top of the chicken, put the cooker on low for six hours, and go about your day. When the chicken is cooked, shred with two forks. This is what it looks like when it's done. You can then serve over rice or quinoa or in tortillas ~ all with your choice of toppings: cilantro, green onions, sliced radishes, avocado, shredded lettuce, or shredded cheese. Maybe even a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt to top it all off. (Side note: if you're going to serve this chicken in tortillas, use a slotted spoon to remove some of the juice, otherwise you will end up with a super soggy tortilla!)

The third dish I tried in this new slow cooker was beans. As usual, since I'm loving this saute feature, I started with chopped onions, celery and carrots.

I had soaked a pound of heirloom beans from Rancho Gordo for a few hours, then I drained and dumped them into the slow cooker on top of the sauteed veggies. I covered with a couple of inches of water, added a bay leaf and let the beans cook eight hours on low. Sorry I don't have a photo of the finished product ~ I forgot to take one! Even though I can't eat beans anymore as I can't digest them, I did taste them and oh my goodness, they were delicious! I'd had dried beans before (much better than canned) but these heirloom beans were incomparable. Truly the best I've ever tasted. Cooking them all day in the slow cooker was so easy, too. 

Do you use a slower cooker? If you have any favorite healthy slow cooker recipes, please share!

Thursday, January 24, 2019

winter, writing, food

In my last post, I talked about winter hibernating because we were due for a big snowstorm. We did indeed get that storm, but not quite as much as they predicted. However, that storm must've triggered winter vibes to the Powers That Be because now we're getting slammed. It's been nothing but snow, ice and cold since then. Here's the front of my house yesterday morning before I shoveled. The snow was wet and heavy with a layer of ice underneath from the ice storm two days ago. Not fun! Not that it ever is.

The backyard looks pristine and peaceful with the snow, but don't let that postcard look fool you.

Temps are dropping down to -9F tonight with high winds, which means blowing and drifting snow. Then comes another big snowstorm Sunday night into Monday. On top of it, record-breaking cold will follow the snowstorm all next week where wind chills could be -40 to -50F.

This past Sunday night was the Blood Wolf Moon. Did any of you get to see it? Of course, it was bitter cold here but I was excited to see this event, so I bundled up like Nanook of the North and went outside at 10:40 PM to watch. I was wearing leggings underneath Brian's flannel-lined LL Bean jeans, a scarf over my face, thick socks on my feet stuck in very warm fur-lined boots, and a parka that came down to my knees. I stayed nice and toasty and the black winter sky was beautiful with the blood moon and the visible stars. My cousin in Tacoma, WA saw this photo of me and she was like, "Stoppp! How do you guys stand it there?!" I told her us Chicagoans are hardy people. And I guess we shrug it off as just another winter. But yeah, that air really does hurt our face. (And we complain about the weather a lot.)

While I've still been in hibernation mode, one of the things I've been working on is my writing. I'm taking a writing workshop in Chicago hosted by my First Best Friend, Cin who is a rather famous Chicago writer, poet and author and I'm also taking an online class from Jennifer Louden. I normally don't carve out a lot of time to just write. I'm learning the importance of giving myself permission to do so. The support of the other women writers in Cin's workshop are a great support. Of course, so are the women in Jennifer's online classes (there's a closed Facebook group and sometimes Jennifer does a live video chat), but it's so much better meeting with other writers in person.

I had a taste for quiche for breakfast lately but I didn't want the calories and carbs that traditional quiche offers, so I made a crustless one. It's just eggs and cheese whipped up with sauteed veggies and baked. I would've loved to use baby spinach or broccoli in this - it needs something green! - but I was out of both at the time. This dish isn't as rich as quiche since it doesn't have any milk or cream in it, so maybe this is more like a frittata. Whatever you want to call it, it's healthy and good. You could even make this for a light lunch or dinner with a lovely tossed salad.

I haven't baked in a long time, but when I saw a photo of the most delicious-looking chocolate chip cookies I'd ever seen on Instagram, I had to look into the recipe to see what it was about. You can find the recipe here on the Cookies and Cups blog. It's unique in that instead of using traditional white flour, it uses both bread and cake flours. They also highly suggest chopping your own chocolate instead of using chocolate chips. That way the hand-chopped chocolate chunks and shavings get dispersed into gooey globs of chocolate all throughout the cookie. From reading the comments on this blog post, I found out this is an original recipe of David Leite, which he had published in the New York Times. However, Leite said he developed the recipe based heavily on one from Jacques Torres.

This recipe was a bit labor intensive, especially with hand chopping a pound of dark chocolate - and then you have to wait at least 24 hours to make the cookies as the dough has to sit in the fridge - but I have to tell you, these were the best chocolate chip cookies I've ever had. They're obviously not a quick go-to cookie, but when you want something really special, this is the recipe you want to pull out. They're thin and crisp on the edges, chewy in the middle.

Have a great weekend, everyone. I wish I could say I was going back to hibernating, but I actually have a busy weekend. 

Counting the days 'til spring...

Friday, January 18, 2019

a hibernating weekend

We're under a winter storm warning. I can feel it. I can feel the pressure in the air because my head is heavy and stuffy. The snow is supposed to hit us anytime now and go all through the night and into Saturday morning. Depending on how this storm tracks, our area could get up to 10-12" of snow. Or half that amount. Only time will tell. Then will come the high winds, which mean blowing and drifting snow.  On top of it, the temperatures will plummet after the snowstorm, leaving us with wind chills below zero. Welcome to January, I suppose.

Not that I embrace winter; I prefer warm weather and lots of sunshine. But I have to say that there's something about cold, dark days that have me actually liking the solitude, the peacefulness, the snuggly hibernation of being inside, all warm and comfy.

Nancy over at Clearing the Space wrote on January 10 about hometending and creativity. I love that word, hometending. Technically, I don't think it's a real word, but I envision slowing down and taking the time to nurture your home and make it into a place where you want to spend time. A home where you feel safe, warm, and nurtured. Where you are surrounded by things you love and that bring you comfort. I think winter tends to bring on more of that nesting and hometending feeling.

That might mean puttering with different arrangements (that's where the creativity part comes in), taking the time to dust your furniture, putting fresh sheets on your bed, watering and misting your houseplants...freshening up the bathroom with a small vase of flowers on the vanity and clean towels hung on the towel rack. Try a delightful combination of essential oils in your diffuser...add a few drops of orange, lemon or grapefruit oil to a spicy blend of cinnamon and clove. Orange and patchouli is another lovely combination for winter. 

Turn on music of your choice and some little fairy lights. Heck, sing at the top of your lungs or even dance around the house while you're hometending, if that's your groove.

 When you're finished tending your home and the snow is falling, or it's just too damn cold to go anywhere, wrap yourself up in one of your favorite warm throws and listen to a Podcast, delve into a good book or magazine, knit or crochet, write in your journal, look through a cookbook and plan to make a delicious dish, binge watch something worthy (or not) on Netflix. 


"A little house ~ a house of my own ~ out of the winds and the rain's (I interrupt this quote to insert snow's) way." (Padraic Colum)

I know two things for certain tomorrow: between rounds of helping Brian shovel, I'm going to build a fire in the fireplace and try a new chocolate chip cookie recipe. It's a Jacques Torres (pastry chef and chocolatier) recipe and uses both bread flour and cake flour. Different and interesting, right?

If you're in the winter storm's path, stay safe, warm and snuggly! 
Practice some hometending..and tend to yourself, too. 💓