Back from Capitola,Ca /camping

We had a lovely time at one of our favorite California campgrounds, New Brighton State Beach.IMG_0772.jpg

This was the view from our campspot. There were a lot more noisy kids running around this time but school is out so.

Here’s one of Lodge camping duth oven breakfastsIMG_0775 this was hash browns, veggie sausage and our chickens eggs!

We used the Lodge for cooking 3 nightsout of 4. It is so great. Even if you dont camp you could use this in your backyard. Lots of fun.

Our housesitter did a great job and everything is even cleaner than we left it. Wow.  thanks Ty.

Cancer and minimalism

June is a difficult month emotionally for me. June 15, 2005, is the day I received the phone call that changed my life. It’s always hard to put into words what goes thru your mind. But certainly, there is a lot of ‘why me’? I started out with 17 rounds of radiation and then moved on to 6 months of chemotherapy then preparation for a Stem Cell Transplant and then the transplant.  I was in the BMT unit for almost 3 weeks. And then, of course, there is the recovery for me that was about a year.

It’s been a lot of ups and downs but here I am 12 years later. For someone with Multiple Myeloma, that is quite extraordinary.  I’m one of the lucky ones. My cancer responds to the treatments I’ve had thus far.  There are new novel therapies out there now that I still have as an option.

Now, June 23, 2016, was my last Velcade treatment.  So, now June is a happy time for that reason. In two weeks I get my labs, so that will tell me where I am with my cancer. I suspect my numbers will have gone up some but still not enough to start treatment so I am lucky.  I have had a year of wonder.

So how does this relate to minimalism?  I’ve been on this minimalist journey for about 5 years now. Prior to that Flylady gets the credit for helping me with zone cleaning and doing just what I could in 15 minutes.  When I was in treatment this was extraordinarily helpful.  But then I moved into the space of wanting a fresh look, a minimalist look and then it just took off from there.  We have gotten rid of thousands of things, some valuable even.  Just gave them to the thrift stores.  I didn’t really try to sell a lot.  It was more important to just to let it go. Plus, I’ve always believed what goes around comes around and if I need something down the road, it’ll come my way somehow someway.  Maybe, I needed to purge things and create a new space for myself and my family. I try not to over think things so who knows. i just know it has felt right to do.

I also think having to face one’s mortality, does affect bring into focus what’s important. Plus, I was very taken with things I’d read about NOT leaving stuff for your survivors to deal with. In reality, we didn’t have a lot, but it was still too much for the intention I had to be a minimalist.

Creating a minimalist space has let me enjoy a clutter free space and while I’ve been off chemo, a more simple schedule and lifestyle. It’s been a joyful year filled with wonder, excitement, and beauty.

A simple life.

I think it’s very important to purge things from your life that complicate it.  Are you always SOOO busy?  It’s easy not to be, just say NO! You don’t have to do all that extra stuff. Your kids don’t need to do 12 activities a week. You don’t need to be over scheduled. You can decide what you want in your life or not.

Even if you are working full-time, you can still decide what you need and want to do with your life. You can simplify meals, have a morning and evening routine, declutter so there’s less to take care of and slow down.

  • I think in our crazy world we need to step back and put into focus what is important.

  • Family time is important.

  • Time for yourself is important.

  • Time for your relationship is important.

One thing I learned from having cancer, is to slow down, do what only was essential. When you’re on chemo, you just don’t have the energy to do everything you used to. It’s a great lesson in some things just aren’t that important and they can either wait to be done or just nixed.  Now that on still on my drug-free time( chemo that is), I still prioritize what I want to do each day.  I never take on more than I want to in a day. I usually list what I need to do in the morning and then if I can’t finish that, I just look at whether I want to do it tomorrow or not.

Try and be less busy, it’s good for you and probably your family too.

image   Take time to enjoy nature.

An IKEA trip

Fun!

We went to Ikea to get a new cover for the one Poang chair we have. We decided to declutter the 2 mission style chairs and get another Poang. They are made of a birch wood so much lighter and they are a smaller footprint.

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Free coffee!

If you get their family card, you can get their free coffee with organic half and half. We had a cup but no breakfast as we had already eaten at home.

Hygge candles!

If you’re like me I burn candles year round and Ikea candles smell good and are inexpensive and don’t have nasty stuff in them.  The orange is my favorite.

So for now, the pile for my son’s yard sale is growing with 2 Mission style chairs added.

I’m making enchiladas in the Lodge tonight for Taco Tuesday.

Ongoing de-cluttering

So, I took down the 2 bins of Waldorf books and toys that were my children’s and pulled out some stuff to sell on craigs list. I reduced the amount I’m keeping( for now ) to one bin. So that’s a big win.  One of my goals is to keep reducing things so that there’s one bin less than when I started.  I’ve done pretty well and even my Life magazines are down to another full bin’s worth. So progress.

The barn storage is looking fabulous. B hung 2 more bikes and it looks better in the back room. I really need to get rid of my one bike which is a specialized mountain bike. I’m kinda attached to it but I haven’t used it since I got the Schwinn cruiser. So, I may pull it out and look at it. So other than seasonal Christmas which is @ 4 small bins, the Life magazines at 5 bins, one of the memorabilia, and one of my children’s art and main lesson books from Waldorf, that’s it. So pretty excellent.  I’ve already got a big pile ready for my son to sell when he does the flea market.

I have a bag I’m slowly filling with little things to get rid of. A couple of scarves I don’t want anymore, little odds and ends but honestly it adds up.

I’m also looking at getting rid of the 2 mission style chairs and just use the Poang. And then maybe get another Poang when we go to Ikea next. I like the mission chairs because there solid, but the covers are really stained( even after washing) and the foam is kinda uneven.  I thought about recovering them but the backs of the chairs are a fabric so it would look kinda odd. Better to just be done with it. Maybe by the end of summer. We hardly watch any shows in the summer since we usually sit out till 8 or so.  Of course, I’d love to find a couple of Danish style arm chairs but that’s probably not going to happen at least in my price range.

I just read an ebook called Discardia. It’s about getting rid of things but more the understanding behind creating a more simple home and life. I enjoyed it. I think it was 2.99, so affordable.

It is so true, that once your house becomes less cluttered and simplified there’s more space and openness.  For myself, less visual clutter helps me enjoy my home more. It’s all a work in progress. Right?

I’d love to have our entry be simpler but it’s a work in progress. B has his work area to the left of the door and then to right are 2 white buckets that hold dog food. We are going to have to replace the door this summer as the dual pane are moisture filled so that’s not good. Plus it looks funky.  So the door will be set to the right more(it’ll need to be reframed) and will give more space when it opens. We’re going to go to Habitat for Humanity outlet store to try and find a front door.

Food52 ‘ICE CREAM AND FRIENDS’

Any book by Food52 is done beautifully. The pictures alone are worth getting the book to browse thru.

‘ICE CREAM AND FRIENDS’ is no exception. It is a fun book about making ice cream and other assorted cold treats. The pictures are yummy looking and beautiful. Some of the ice creams are intriguing such as Black Pepper Feta Ice cream. That sounds amazing!

If you have an ice cream maker this is a definite must have book.

This book was given to me by bloggingforbooks in exchange for my honest opinion.

More thoughts on Simplified eating

img_0165 My home made bread.

Simple Foods

I’ve spent the last couple of days thinking about what it is I’m trying to do with Simple Eating. So far I’ve come up with

  • Eating the same foods for meals simplifies meal time and allows me to have what I need on hand. For instance, breakfast. We have chickens, therefore lots of eggs. My go to breakfast is: 1 egg either fried or scrambled and since I make my own bread, a slice of toast. I also make my own granola, granola with yogurt is a go to. I was making my own yogurt but then buying the organic at Costco for 6.49 seemed like a  no-brainer. Making yogurt is pretty easy  to make so that maybe something to try.
  • so, decide what breakfast works for you and that you have ingredients available. Perhaps you do smoothies. Then be sure that’s what you do almost daily and it simplifies the process.
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    Our girls lay pretty colored eggs!

    Having what you need on hand makes the difference in a stressful morning or a calm one.

    Bulk buying

  • Buying in bulk such as black beans, pintos, rice, cheese, coffee, meat, butter, let’s me put meals together easily. If you don’t want to make your own beans, buying the organic cans at Costco is a great option too. I keep canned beans as well since once in awhile it’s nice to open black beans and then just cook up some rice.

       Right equipment

  • Having the right kitchen equipment makes some of this easier. A crockpot is essential. You can throw together chicken, veggies, sauce and then 6 hours later it’s done. I do all my beans in the crockpot. I put in @ 2 cups of beans, rinse, and then cook on high for 7-8 hours. The last hour I add garlic cloves and salt. Next is a rice maker.  This is a must if you eat rice once a week. I use to make rice using the Tassajara recipe book. It was fun until you forgot about it and it burnt. With a rice maker, it is fool proof.

 

        Menus

  • Having a menu is essential even if it is just variations of what you do every week.  such as Taco Tuesday can be tacos, but also bean and rice bowls or pizza night might be homemade but once in awhile it’s take- out. So plan for the week wth your menu.
  • Have a theme for each night for dinner ie; the taco Tuesday etc.
  • cook once and then use leftovers. I try and do roast chicken once a week or week and a half. Then I make up menus based on leftovers. Chicken tacos, chicken soup in the winter, chicken salad.

Planning ahead to shop also allows you to figure out what you need and if you buy what in season that makes meal planning easier too.

I think also, simple food eating has a lot to do with what season you are in your life too. Do you have young kids, retired, teenagers? That will certainly make a difference in how you try and simplify meal planning.

 

Fun reviewing books!

If you’re an avid reader as I am, this is a great option to read new books.

Netgalley books are all e-readers so you need a Kindle or the kindle app. It’s lots of fun. My reviews are honest and there have been a few books I gave not so great reviews on.  But I enjoy reading most of them.

Try this out if you’re like me and love reading.