Welcome, New Year…Goodbye to the Old

It’s so very easy to complain about all of the bad things that have happened to us in the past twelve months.  So easy to frown and say ‘oh it’s been a rough year’, or ‘2016 hasn’t been kind to me’ and ‘I really hope next year is better’.  I’m guilty of all of those things, year after year.  Aren’t we all?

On the radio today, I heard a message I needed to hear.  How about we flip the tables, and instead we look at all the GOOD things that have happened to us this year.  At everything we’ve accomplished – all the fun and adventures we’ve had – the friends we’ve seen – the new things we’ve tried…how about we leave the negativity behind for once?

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We, all of us, go through roller coasters of ups and downs every single year.  It’s time to focus on the good.

  • January started with champagne and o.j. with raspberries, in the company of wonderful friends, followed by high tea, a night out attempting line dancing, frigidly cold weather (to which I complained openly), and wonderful gifts from Mother Nature right in our back yard!  Oh, and I can’t forget seeing my talented daughter on stage for the first time!
  • In February, I left a job where I was miserable (they gave me flowers! I love flowers!), and started a new job with an amazing company, full of amazing people I’ve come to know as friends – 10 months later, I’m still loving it!  (I started this new job on Leap Day – I think that has to be good luck!)…February also brought me an amazing evening out with my siblings-in-law, for a dinner an paint night (where I painted more than just my canvas!)

 

  • March brought me fun and entertainment when I got to see George Canyon up close and personal at Nashville North…AND got to see one of my favorite radio personalities!!  What a night that was!
  • In April, Hubby and I had our own Paint Night date night fun!  (No I’m not taller than him – I’m standing on a step!!)  It’s also the month we got our new-to-us truck (Sherman doesn’t seem to like it at all hahaha!), and I got to spend some quality time with my girl Reese!

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  • In May, I had a wonderful time at a girl’s getaway weekend in wine country, where we spent countless hours laughing and eating and drinking copious amounts of alcohol around a camp fire, and then a fire place when the weather stopped cooperating.
  • In June, I had the pleasure to witness the wedding of my brother-in-law and sweet beautiful new sister-in-law. (I was also able to snag a shot with both of my in-laws at once – a once in a lifetime occurrence!!)  I also celebrated 9 years of having been with my husband (together-versary!) – Oh, and since nobody wanted to go with me, I went on a solo day-trip to the Burlington Sound of Music Festival and had a blast!
  • I want to put something down for July, but honestly I can’t find anything…still, something good must have happened!!! 🙂
  • In August, we celebrated Hubby’s birthday with a massive backyard BBQ party.  We also got the keys to this house we’re now living in, which is going to be the ticket to our dream (Follow my “Method & Madness” series to see how!)
  • September was my girl’s 17th birthday.  Just having her, makes every single day something to celebrate – she makes me so proud each time I look at her!  Beautiful from the inside out, she’s truly a gem!  September was also the month in which my co-founded non-profit organization was born!

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  • October came, and with it our 4th wedding anniversary.  Also, well….it IS Halloween month after all..and that alone makes it a great event!  Although I didn’t win the costume contest at work, I still had a great time creating my costume! (FYI – when applying liquid latex to eyebrows, make sure to protect them before hand…unless you don’t mind going without for a while!)  …October also brought with it an amazing weekend away with my BFF where we stayed in one of Canada’s most haunted Bed & Breakfasts…in the tower room no less!  What an amazing weekend that was!
  • In November, I created this blog! …’nuff said!
  • December has been simply wonderful.  A month in which I finally found my Christmas Spirit, which had been evading me for the last 15 years.  Even if it was here for just a little while, just the fact that I got to experience the true feeling of Christmas by being able to give it to someone else, was enough. ♥

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So lets all just stop complaining – we need to instead, start counting our blessings, and recognizing and focusing on the good moments.  Those are the ones that really count.

We can all wish each other good health, and wealth…but really, that’s overdone.  No amount of wishing good health on someone will have any actual effect on it, and wealth is relative.

So…what I wish for everyone for the new year, is to learn to how to let go of the negative, embrace the positive, be persistent when chasing your dreams, and please don’t give up on them!  Reach out to help another, and be humble enough to accept it in return.  Always offer a smile and a kind word, and expect nothing in return.  Be the best version of yourself that you can possibly be.

Happy New Year my friends, may 2017 be just as filled with wonderful moments as every year past.

 

Garden by Design ~4~

I love variety – variety of shape, of scent, of color, of texture.

Echinacea has an incredible 19 varieties – including an two endangered varieties!  Colors ranging from delicately soft whites and yellows, to lovely pinks and purples, unusual greens, and vibrant oranges and reds.

Echinacea grows quite tall, and attracts bees, butterflies and hummingbirds – and goldfinch in the fall to eat the drying seed heads that you don’t pick!  As they prefer full sun, my thoughts are to put these in the front of the house, along the front of the stairs leading from the bottom driveway up to the top one.  It’s a very steep area that will be quite difficult to cut with the lawnmower..and flowers are prettier anyway, right?

I love that they’re so easy to grow – yes, they do love full sun, but they also tolerate the shade.  And as much as they prefer regular watering, they are still drought and heat tolerant.  They’re perennials, which I love!  Like I’ve mentioned before, the less I have to re-plant every year, the better!

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With all of those amazing qualities, one would think that would be enough…but no, these beauties aren’t don’t impressing us!  This is like, a superhero of the plant world.  It has so many healing and medicinal properties that this post would go on forever if I were to list them all.  And plus – someone else already did it for me!  Read about it here!  (No, I didn’t realize the above image was from this website when I saved it off Google Images!)

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So by planting these regal beauties in my gardens, I can harvest virtually every part of the plant and make salves, tinctures, and teas (among many others) – which will help my family and I stay in good health throughout the year!  …Seems like this one’s a no-brainer…what do you think??

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The Handwriting Tag

I have been tagged by Jo, so I’m gladly participating in this little fun, lighthearted posting game.

In turn, I am tagging The Comfortable Coop, and The EcoFeminist!!  Your turn ladies! 🙂

Rules:

  1. Write your name
  2. Write your blog’s name
  3. Write your favorite word and it’s definition
  4. Write something nice
  5. Write the name of your favorite song right now
  6. What are you writing with?
  7. Write a fun fact about yourself
  8. Write/draw your favorite emoticon
  9. Write a silly message
  10. Write who you’re tagging

My Handwriting:

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Garden by Design ~3~

I’m breaking my own rule with this one I’m afraid – these plants don’t seem to have any other purpose besides being pretty.  I’m planting them simply because I love them – its delicate blooms, elegant twirling vines, and simple yet breath-taking beauty.

Morning Glories, Clematis, and Moonflowers.  No, not the poisonous Jimsonweed Moonflower, but rather Moon Vine, or ‘night-blooming Morning Glory’, if you will.

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I say these don’t have a second purpose, but I’m sort of wrong.  As pretty as they are, I can use these to create a beautiful privacy screen on our back patio, in between my herb planters (future post)… I can picture it now: Fragrant multi-tiered boxes of gorgeous herbs and flowers, interspersed with trellised Moon Vine, Morning Glories and Clematis.  Can you see it??  Or maybe an arch of some sort… I haven’t really decided – I just know they’ll be beautifully featured!

Oh Spring, please come quickly!!  How I’m looking forward to all of these planting and tending and nurturing!  My wonderful mother-in-law gave me these Moon Vine seed pods for my birthday, from her own garden.  I can’t wait to see them bloom and share with all of you!

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Happy Birthday To Me!

Another year older…well, another 24 hours older really.

It rained.  And I mean POURED.  All.  Day.  Long.

And yet, today has been simply amazing.  I slept in, and when I finally found the will to lift my body out of bed, I just transported it to my lounge chair in the living room and plunked my butt down there for a couple of hours.

I love that my friends and family know me…I mean, really know me.  Most of my day – other than an hour brunch date with my lovely daughter at the pancake factory – was spent for the most part in that chair, flipping through Christmas presents.  When I say flipping, it’s because one of them is a copy of Mother Earth Living – I mean, what better gift to give a homesteader, right??

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And then when that was done – cover to cover – I switched over to a present from Hubby’s aunt; Jamie Oliver’s Food Escapes cookbook!  Not only do I LOVE Jamie Oliver – I mean c’mon, just LOOK at him in all is blue-eyed, full lips, adorable dimple-ness – but this is going to come in extremely handy for the new blog I added on to this one: The Newbie Foodie …check it out if you’re so inclined!   (it’s just starting out, doesn’t really have anything on it yet – fair warning!)  I can’t wait to get more into that one as well!

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Well – I’m all sugar’d out from the last two days, and unfortunately it’s back to work in the morning, so I bid you all a very good night my friends!

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What Matters Most

Family.  Family – whether by blood, or selected carefully, or just by chance – family is what really matters most.  And although the Christmas Spirit did make a short appearance for me this year (finally!!!), it didn’t stay long – that being said, time spent with friends and family…well, that’s Christmas.

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Christmas Eve dinner at my mother-in-law’s is always wonderful.  It’s something I look forward to every year – the house is always filled with warmth and love and laughter…and craziness!

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Raised an only-child, I cherish my siblings-by-marriage with all of my heart!  All of their crazy antics make for never having a dull moment.  Some people fall into your life by design, and I couldn’t have hand-picked these ones better if I’d tried!

Seeing the the smiling, ever-growing and changing, beautiful faces of my nephews puts a warm fuzzy feeling in my heart each and every time.  The smallest things delight children, and they are such a delight themselves.  Mesmerized by a Christmas cracker yo-yo Hubby was showing them.  Simple pleasures!

A meal fit for kings, prepared with so much love that you can literally taste it in every single bite.  So much so that the old button-popping is almost unavoidable.  Moments that turn into memories.

At the end of it all, everyone is as stuffed as the turkey, and even Lola with her pretty Christmas bow, is ready for bed!

And on the way home, it always puts a smile on my face to see the CN Tower all decked out in her Christmas best!  I’m not a city girl, but even after all this time, I am still in awe as it’s grandeur!  (excuse the reflections, I wasn’t about to roll down the window!)

I know this is not a homesteading post, but I wanted to share a little – with my new blogging family!

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And now after two days of food and festivities, it’s time for doing nothing.  I wish you, a Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

 

Garden by Design ~2~

In keeping with the “Daisy” theme, my next choice is Chamomile (Ka-mo-meel).

There are different types of Chamomile, and what I’m looking for is the most low-maintenance garden I can possibly get while still having good variety.  I’m choosing a mix of Roman and German Chamomile.  The German Chamomile is an annual, but it will re-seed itself if you leave some of the heads untouched.  It’s also a taller and more prolific species.  The Roman Chamomile is shorter and produces less blooms, but it is a perennial and won’t need to be re-planted every year.  Win-win!

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Some of what I’ve read tells me that bees – as with feverfew – do not like Chamomile.  However a simple Google Images search put that theory to rest.  And since bees on my patio is something I’m trying to avoid, these will be planted elsewhere.  I’m thinking of putting patches of it around the perimeter of my vegetable gardens, as well as in My Secret Garden (that’s capitalized in anticipation for a future post!).

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Chamomile Tea – The second most important reason I want these little pretties in my gardens.  (The first being that I simply just love them!)  There are so many health benefits associated with this simple delicate ‘he loves me, he loves me not’ flower, and being the eco-friendly little homesteader I want to be, this is really important to me.  Home remedies are becoming a top priority in my household, whether I’m the only one who knows it or not. (Shhh!)

I found this wonderful little post about the health benefits – it’s a really good read if you want to learn more about it!  Check out the list of everything you can do with this little go-getter!

** the following list is taken directly from naturalsociety.com – I did not create or alter it in any way, and it does not belong to me.  All credit is theirs – please click on the link to see the complete post **

  • Treats Cuts and Wounds
  • Helps with Diabetes
  • Antibacterial
  • Calms Muscle Spasms
  • Soothes Stomach Ache
  • Promotes Sleep
  • Natural Hemorrhoid Treatment
  • Fights Cancer
  • Promotes Healthy Skin

…plus, it tastes really yummy with a touch of honey!  (That one’s all mine!)

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With all of these amazing qualities – and I’m sure, many more – this is one superhero I definitely want in my garden!  Talk about multi-talented!!