Ice Skating on New Year’s

I am afraid of so many things.  walking on dirty floors without shoes on, falling on ice, trying new things, getting hurt, looking stupid.  I used to let fear run my life.  OCD has me fear for the worst.  On New Year’s day I went ice skating with my daughter, brother, sister and their family.  Had a mini panic attack when getting my skate rentals as they told me I needed to give them my shoes.  I told them no and the lady said “no shoes, no skates”  I turned around and looked – a large space with lots of people.  some were walking around in shoes, some with skates and some with just socks.  There was a cafe and people were eating.  spilled hot cocoa, french fries and ketchup, and dirt were on the floor.  I turn back.  my daughter is sitting on the floor already pulling off her boots.  My brother and his wife walk over to the rental counter.  I’m convinced that she will at least hesitate.  I tell her they need us to take our shoes off for our rentals.  She says, okay!” and then bends over to pull her shoes off.  I take my shoes off and get my skates.

IMG_1044

It was fun!  I fell twice.  and got back up and kept on skating.  I was sore and tired but also was excited and determined to try it again and be more active in other areas.  When I was skating I realized that I need to take better care of myself so I can enjoy life more!

IMG_0480

I Resolve to…

I resolve to make baby sets to becoming a healthier, happier me.
  1. I will eat a little less fast food and a little less sugar.
  2. I will help others a little more this year.
  3. I will acknowledge others when I notice they are doing a good job.
  4. I will be kinder to myself and to my daughter.
  5. I will talk a little less and listen a little more.
  6. I will smile a little more this year.
  7. I will be a little better of a person than I was last year.
  8. I will make time for activities I enjoy and spend a little less time on activities that I do not enjoy
  9. I will save a little bit out of each paycheck.
  10. I will move my body a little more.

This year it was hard to pick a resolution.  I mean last year I started this blog on New Year’s Day.  My resolution for last year was

My goal for this year is to practice a new skill each week.  The areas I’m going to focus on are skills to help build my happiness levels and my self-esteem.  I’m also going to work on skills to reduce my complaining and lessen my anxiety.

I had planned on following, “Better than Chocolate.  50 proven ways to feel happier” and “Sink Reflections” Did I use these books last year?  Yes but I didn’t stick with them as I had originally planned.  My OCD threw a monkey wrench in and I was determined not to let my OCD stop me from accomplishing my goal.  I practiced new skills, I built my self-esteem and I am much happier.  Most days I complain less and I did lessen my anxiety.  I still need improvement in all those areas but it was definitely a successful year for me.

As I was searching internet for resolution inspiration I found a great blog post by Curtis Silver titled 10 New Year’s Resolutions for Everyone Else.  I especially liked #2 which is Start talking to your kid’s toys like they do.  and #1 Remember that every moment is a New Year.  You just have to make it happen.  I also found that USA.gov has a page for popular New Year’s resolutions.  It has 13 popular goals and it links to information to help you reach those goals.

I was starting to feel desperate, like I just needed to say my goal was something, anything.  I almost used a New Year’s resolution generator to pick a resolution.  But I know what I’d like to accomplish.  I want to continue to progress to a happier, healthier me so if I take baby steps I know I will be successful.

I think I will also make an effort to work on Fly Lady’s habit of the month which for January happens to be Shine Your Sink.  As I type this though I can see my kitchen sink and counter.  They are not shiney – they are yucky.  dirty dishes like crazy.  it seems like they multipy faster than rabbits.  Have you ever wanted to throw away all your dishes but one set per person?  You’d have to wash them after each use or else you would have no dishes to eat off of.

 

trouble picking a resolution

So i’m really struggling with my new year’s resolution.  I veered off track with my resolution last year but I have to say i think I was successful.  I am much happier than I was this time last year.  My mental health is better.  The OCD got in the way of the resolution but in way this was for the best as I’m freer than ever with the OCD and am able to do things I never could have done a year ago.

I want to continue on being happier.  I also want to continue decluttering.  I’ve thought about promising to get rid of 1 item per day as a fellow blogger has done.  I’ve also thought about committing to one healthy smoothie a day or trying to be healthier and lose some weight.  I’ve also considered retrying the Better than Chocolate assignments.  I just don’t really know.  I could also try focusing on overcoming more with the OCD or how to be a successful adult with ADHD.

I would love to write more helpful posts on ADHD and OCD and write about what has helped me.  Maybe I could give myself assignments tackling my barriers and write about this.

My biggest barrier right now is getting mentally healthy to lose the weight.  I’m a real large girl who wants to be healthier but the OCD is blocking me right now.  So much trauma and drama about weight in my life.

I would love to save money so reduce and reuse are huge for me.  I need to stop buying things so maybe to keep things fresh i could focus on a new area each week.

  • spending fasts
  • sugar fasts
  • declutter sessions
  • OCD assignment
  • ADHD assignment
  • happiness assignment

Dabble in each so I don’t give up or get bored.  don’t do it all at the same time but shake things up when I start to get discouraged in one area?  Maybe I could go a week without spending any money (with the exception of gas).  The next week go without sugar, next week declutter 30 items, next week address an OCD fear or compulsion, next week work on addressing my ADHD.

I don’t know – I need help.

Happier, healthier, more money saved, better mental health.  most I’m already working on.

have some fun and create some art!  that would be a great resolution!  design something each week?  could be interesting.

write a book?  don’t know what I’d write.  ideally it would be on parenting or mental health.  – or could be fiction.  drama and trauma?

write a book with my daughter?  short mysteries with a spunky little detective?  she would enjoy this.  illustrated by her.  written by us.

my husband and I would like to have another baby – i’ve told him that if we can free up enough space in our home, if i can get my ocd and adhd under enough control that i can go off my meds and if I could lose 100 pounds that we could have another child.  sounds like craziness there.  We are getting there with freeing up space.  I could manage the ocd for quite awhile without meds, the adhd is harder.  the weight loss is hard though.  at 315 – pregnancy would be tough.  I was overweight when I was pregnant with my daughter and that was tough.  now i’m bigger.  it hurt to walk last time – it would be worse this time.

 

Minimalism, Lagom and Hoarding

I know you are probably wondering what minimalism, lagom and hoarding have in common – most would say that minimalism and hoarding are the complete opposites but I believe they have a lot in common.  Does stuff or the lack of stuff make people happy?  I imagine many would say yes.  I believe that with either it’s always about one more thing.  One more thing to acquire or one more thing to purge.  it never seems to be enough.  walking through the stores thinking will this item make me happy?  walking through the house thinking will this item need to leave my house?  Either way it’s about that strong urge to focus on stuff (or the lack thereof).

Lagom however is this wonderful Swedish word that roughly translates to just the right amount.  Hoarding can be too much stuff.  Minimalism can be too little stuff but Lagom is just the right amount.  If 100 items is just the right amount for you to where you don’t feel deprived and you don’t feel overwhelmed then that’s your number or those are your things that you need.  If 5,000 items is just right for you to fit your needs (a crafter maybe? with a large family) then that’s your number.  However it’s not about the number at all it’s more about having what you need no more no less.  For each person this is different.

So with Lagom it is okay to buy new things, it’s okay to own things and it’s okay to be at peace with things as long as it’s the right things for you.  Be happy with embracing enough, embracing equality and sharing of resources by donating items that no longer fit you and your lifestyle, resist the call for too much or too little.

I’ve decided that instead of trying to reach for this unattainable goal of living a minimalist life with my unwilling husband and daughter that I should strive for a Lagom life and be confident that if we keep what we love, enjoy and use that our home will be comfortable and happy.

My home update

I will admit that as I’ve been purging and decluttering that I am happier but is it about giving up the stuff or is it a combination of everything I’ve been going through.  I still think too much about stuff and I’m not okay with that.  I still feel the strong urge to acquire and have actually bought more since starting on this process.  I still feel the strong urge to declutter and get rid of stuff.  Now don’t get me wrong, the number of my items in my home have been steadily decreasing but some of the quality has been increasing.  quality involves more money put into the item.  We got rid of hundreds of items with our last yard sale.  so we rushed off to the store and bought a keurig.  we love it and my husband uses it daily.  so definitely a good purchase.  the kcups are expensive and although we have a reusable filter my husband prefers the cups.  reoccurring “luxury” costs.  still takes up less room than all the other stuff.  this awesome coffee machine creates the urges to buy MORE!  Now that we have this lovely machine sitting on our counter I want to buy a lovely display rack to store the cute little cups in.  We haven’t bought it but I want it.  Hate the wanting.  I want to not want.

The kitchen has less stuff in it but it still gets messy so fast.  I buy food that we don’t really need because I have a food obsession and often feel deprived based on the trauma of my past.  We have less dishes but still hate to wash the ones we have.  We have less bakeware – this one is hard for me as I want to buy more.  We don’t need more than 1 cookie sheet or 1 cupcake pan or more cookware than we have but I WANT it.  I am really trying to justify buying a few loaf pans but I don’t really need them.  When I was at my mom’s house I baked three delicious little loaves of bread so now I want them to bake bread at home but in reality I always have frozen bread dough but rarely do I ever make loaves of bread with it.  I use it to make rolls, or pizza, or pull apart bread or any number of things but very rarely would I make loaves of bread.

One recent purchase that I absolutely love is my rice cooker/ food steamer.  I use it frequently, it’s super easy to use and to clean and it makes more than just rice.  I made quinoa today and it turned out perfectly.

My daughter’s room

We got rid of lots in my daughter’s room but spent money upgrading her things.  We got rid of her rather large toy box and replaced it with this rather cute set of drawers which holds considerably less toys.  She is amazed at how much more room she has to play in her room.  She is spending more time playing now that she has less stuff!  The toy box she purged was one of those long outdoors storage benches made out of plastic – they hold a lot of stuff.  She is ready to get rid of it completely but I’m not.  We put it outside next to the shed and I put her roller skates, moon shoes and the fishing poles and tackle box in here.  Better than them being all scattered about.

She wasn’t ready to part with most of her toys though so I bought a large tote to store these toys in the shed until she is ready to part with them.  She was able to choose what toys went into the bins for her room and what toys went into storage.

One thing she purged from her living room was her bed frame.  strange – and sometimes i worry what people would think of my daughter’s mattresses being on the floor but she is happy with it and it makes her room look bigger.  I like it because nothing disappears under her bed anymore.  I also like it because we are not banging into the metal frame anymore.  (the polly pocket toys all fit in a bin so when her room is picked up the only toys you see are the three babies on top and the stuffed animals in her net.)  so her room bit by bit is getting to where it needs to be.

 

 

Happy

Watching the movie Happy today on Netflix – I love the opening quote “The Constitution only guarantees the American People the right to pursue happiness.  You have to catch it yourself.”  The movie attributes this quote to Benjamin Franklin though I believe it to be a fake quote as it was the Declaration of Independence that had the right to pursue happiness and I don’t think Franklin would have made that error.  Regardless though the quote is fantastic because being happy is not a right – it’s not guaranteed but we can catch it if we try.

Great movie – “What do you want?”  To be happy.  It is what my blog is about and it is what most people want.  How much or how little do we really need to be happy?  It is a question I am always asking myself.  The movie shows a rickshaw driver who has very little but he is happy.  good neighbors, the love of his son, his needs are met even if it’s just rice and salt to eat.

I love how in just 30 years the field of psychology has bloomed into something more positive.  Happiness can help you reach other goals – If you are happy you will do better at your job, have better relationships because people will like you more if you are happy.  I have found through working in the social services field that when you focus on weaknesses or negatives then these are what people focus on but when you focus on strengths or positives people tend to be more successful.  I think the same is true in psychology – if you are always focusing on your depression then you are more likely to be depressed but if you focus on your accomplishments you are more likely to be happier.

The movie states that 50% of our ability to be happy comes from our genetics.  That means 50% comes from other factors!  Our circumstances only account for 10% – which means income, social status, where we live, social status and health.  We are focusing on the wrong things for increasing our happiness.  Intentional activity or actions we choose to do make up 40%.  Change is important so change things up even if it’s just going to work using a different route or changing up your exercise routine!

“Use it or lose it” – I didn’t know that as we age we lose dopamine synapses.  Pretty concerning as this is our feel good chemical.  So the best way to maintain healthy synapses is to do activities that encourage the production of dopamine.  Unfortunately for me however they recommend exercising – it always comes back to the exercising.  I really need to start – I know.

Novel ways are the best – they showed the gorilla run.  it made me think of the zombie run!  now that seems fun.  I think I would enjoy running (if i could) if it meant that I was avoiding zombie obstacles.  Run for your lives Zombie 5k has some videos on youtube that will show you how awesome this is!

I found an app called Zombies, Run! that I am interested in but it’s $7.99 which may not seem like much but I have this habit of not following through especially with exercise related things – the reason i think this game would be so awesome is because you use headphones and go for a run (walk) while playing the game and you can hear the zombies coming for you.  It’s an audio story game that you follow along with while you are running and you are gathering supplies for when you return home that you can use for your virtual base.

“try to work so you’ll be able to live your life in tranquility.”

They talk about being in the zone – it is one of the 50 things mentioned in Better than Chocolate – Flow theory (Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi) is comprised of 4 key components

  1. the activity is challenging
  2. it is clear how we are progressing – have very clear goals.
  3. it takes all of our concentration
  4. we are making progress and feel in control

It builds with time the feeling that life is worth living.  Flow can happen anywhere!  with family, at your job.

The ever-present discussion of money and happiness was discussed – to sum it up I really liked the answer.  Money doesn’t buy happiness is an untrue statement and money buys happiness is an untrue statement.  Basic needs must be met or else it puts a strain on your happiness.

I’m not familiar with the term hedonic treadmill  but belief in this can be detrimental to our happiness.  Kate Shaw wrote a pretty decent article called “Getting off the “hedonic treadmill” and getting happier.”  Another great article is “Some Dark Thoughts on Happiness

Close supportive family and friends appears to be important to happiness.  personal growth, relationships, desire to help are examples of intrinsic goals and are satisfying within themselves.  Money, image, and status are examples of extrinsic goals.  Studies are showing that people who focus on intrinsic goals tend to be happier.

I learned that Bhutan seems to be a great place to live – instead of GDP they focus on gross national happiness – it makes you think about what you are doing.  Denmark is also great as it is the happiness country – free education through college and free healthcare for life.  There are also co-housing communities.  They showed a co-housing community of 20 families living together – each family has their own space but they share communal parts of the home and share chores/ tasks.  So they share cooking – could you imagine only having to cook maybe 2 times per month?  Less work and less expense.  So about 4-5 hours one day of cooking and washing dishes instead of 2 hours per day doing the same. children at age 14 start with helping with the cooking.

Sharing your day-to-day life with others – i think it would be very overwhelming for me but i think in the long run it would be better.  Sharing my day-to-day life with my daughter and husband brings me happiness.  I talk almost every day with my mom now and I noticed that this brings me happiness too.

Cooperative interactions help.  Compassion leads to happiness. Counting your blessings on a regular basis helps.  Acts of kindness helps a lot!

 

Happy – Check it out – great movie

 

 

My Bookshelf

So this is what I’ve noticed.  I’ve been paring down my books since my husband gave me my ereader.  Books that made the cut last yard sale weren’t so lucky today.  I pulled everything off the shelves and took a good long look at each book.  I had to really ask myself if I would ever read or use the book.  I then had to ask myself if my daughter would ever read or use the book.  I forced myself to be honest with myself and some of my “favorites” are just dust collectors.  Many more cookbooks landed into the yard sale box.  A handful of parenting books and self-help books landed in the box.  Most of my case worker books are in the box.  I figured if I don’t know how to be a case worker by now then I’m definitely in the wrong field.  My life skills books that I swore I’d never part with are in the box.  I simply don’t use them enough to justify the space they take up on my shelf.  I’m hoping someone who will put them to good use will find them.

I have about 8 books that I’m undecided on.  Most were recently purchased but I haven’t read them yet.  I have them in a pile on the book shelf so that once I read them I can either pass them along or add them to the keep shelf.  I may need to pick a date and if I haven’t started any of them I may as well part with them.

You know what’s strange?  My hoarding part of my brain is starting to flare up big time.  I think the purging is starting to trigger it.  It’s especially bad with the books.  I rarely crack open a cook book.  I either cook what I know or look it up online.  I rarely use a craft or activity book unless it’s colorful and illustrated.  Typically I go online for ideas.  I’ve been switching out my favorite physical copies of books for digital copies to free up more room plus I enjoy reading them more on the ereader.  Here’s where the hoarding monster comes in – disaster, survivalist scenarios in where there’s no way to recharge my laptop or ereader.  with no electricity I will lose all my books and have nothing to read.  Writing it out makes it seem even more ridiculous because if there were a catastrophe I would unlikely be reading but trying to survive and two, if there were a major disaster I doubt that I would last long considering my cardio skills suck.  If there were a zombie outbreak I’d be the tasty treat or the fat girl who trips and falls and gives the fitter people in my group an extra few moments to get away.

Here’s a sore spot – my bookshelf is fairly clear and has some open space.  my family sees this as a drop spot.  I need to create a habit of boomeranging their items from my space or shared spaces to their spaces.  This rings especially true for my daughter.

We always work better when we have goals in mind so today my husband and I came up with our wish list.  These are expensive items that we need/ want so I wrote them down so that I stop wasting money on items not on this list.  We can’t afford to take on new debt so we are left with the following options to pay for the following list – we can sell our clutter/ excess possessions, we can cut back on our spending to include food purchases, we can find alternative ways to increase our income (try to sell my husband’s jewelry he makes on etsy/ try to sell more of our photos and graphic designs on cafepress) and reevaluate the list periodically to see if these items are still important to us down the line.

Here’s our list – the first one is our top priority right now due to problems with our current vehicle.

  • A car – I definitely need something more fuel-efficient and something smaller than what we are currently using.  A car would use up less gas than our jeep and the tires will be cheaper when we need to replace them.
  • Fix the Jeep – tires, a windshield plus some other things needed.  Once we get the car the Jeep will be the back up vehicle.  We were going to try selling the Jeep but if there is an emergency with my daughter and I’m at work it could take an hour or more for me to get home (40 miles from home to office).  some of my visits are much further away.
  • Fix the external hard drive –  the larger dog we used to have knocked this on the ground and broke it.  It’ll cost about $2000 to recover our photos off of this.  about 7 years of photos that we are hoping are recoverable.
  • Upgrade camera – my husband and I are hobbyist photographers.  He wants to be a professional photographer but we just aren’t there.  Tonight we discussed what we needed to do to become better photographers.  We need to practice, practice and practice some more.  We are not as good as we used to be.  I haven’t taken the time to learn my new camera (my camera recently broke and we had to replace it).  I can tell you this much though – it’s way too slow and works lousy in low lighting.  It seems like my husband has gotten sloppy with his work.  The lighting is off, the posing is off, angles are bad.  We also should upgrade both of our cameras but we need to at least upgrade mine.
  • Upgrade photography equipment – some filters, a new flash, etc.
  • Another AC unit.  It’s so hot and our window unit in the living room is just not enough anymore.  My husband really wants one for the bedroom since he’s been struggling with sleeping due to the heat.
  • Paint the walls in the house.

I also thought it would be helpful to write down how I want to be spending my time so that when I’m trying to declutter I can see if it fits into my categories.

How I want to spend my free time

  • NOT CLEANING
  • Working on adding designs to cafepress
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Gardening

This list came rather quickly to me and there were a few things that surprised me.  Gardening came without hesitation which means my OCD exercises are working.  Gardening would not have come anywhere near this list this time last year.  That area of OCD is weakening and I am getting stronger.  Three of my four activites are solo activites.  I went to write down “playing games” but the urge really isn’t there.  I’ll play if my husband or my daughter asks me to but it’s not as strong as it used to be.  Arts and crafts are no longer on this list.  I think it was my fantasy self who liked these activities – the person who I wanted to be but not who I actually am.  I really just want some time to myself, to read, think, process and write.  I want to have outings with my husband and daughter, eat meals together, spend some time talking together but I need time alone as well.

dinner

today i made an amazing dinner – with some help.  It really was amazing.  I had an idea – I wanted corn on the cob – slightly salty, slighty sweet with an interesting twist.  I wanted to use my lone yellow squash I purchased from the farmer’s market before it went bad.  and I wanted mini meatloaf.

My adhd self does not like to follow recipes.  they are too structured, too organized, too stifling.  This has caused my family to have some interesting meals – some never to be repeated.  wonderful dishes forgotten because i don’t remember how it was made such as my shrimp cashew pineapple rice.  terrible dishes scrapped and peanut butter sandwiches made.

We decided to head on over to my brother’s home and I offered to make dinner.  Where I am scattered and all over the place, my brother is king of attention to detail.  I knew my dinner would be successful with him around. (he is very talented in the kitchen – precise, knowledgeable and good with flavor).

He was intrigued about my idea for dinner and asked me for my recipe.  I stated, “I figured we’d wing it.”  He looked interested and confused.  I said, “I don’t have a recipe but I have a pretty good idea.”

Here’s what we did: (please excuse me – i am no culinary expert or even a novice)

Mini Meatloaf

  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • minced garlic
  • powdered garlic
  • powdered onion blend (see image)
  • poultry seasoning
  • low sodium beef bouillon
  • oats
  • Vidalia onion
  • butter (to saute onion)

I figured regular meatloaf takes a long time in the oven.  Also with larger loaves I feel the outside is also the best part so the two ends are the best.  I thought that if we made meatloaf that fit in the holes of a cupcake pan that we’d have perfect little loaves.  We started with about a pound and a half of very lean ground beef.  I added an egg.  I asked if he liked garlic and he said yes so I took a big spoonful of minced garlic and dumped it in the bowl then I added some more.  He stopped me and said, “you really don’t have a recipe?”  i said, “nope but i’m sure this will work.”  and we continued.  I asked for his spices and he showed me the cabinet.  “Which ones do you need?”  “I don’t know, whichever looks good.”  I grabbed the powdered garlic.

He started catching on.  He handed me some poultry seasoning and then an onion powder blend.  He thought some low sodium beef bouillon would be good so we added that too.

He said people usually put bread crumbs in meatloaf.  I said, “what about oats?  do you got that?”  He did and asked how much.  “Well, maybe two handfuls will do – we’ll just have to see how it looks.”

We decided to put ketchup on the outside but learned we had none so he finally decided to improvise.  As I mixed up the meat then cut up 1/2 a Vidalia onion he started combining ingredients.  I gently sautéed the onion with some butter.

Here’s what he did:

  • small can of tomato paste
  • 1/2 jar tomato and basil spaghetti sauce
  • dash of worschester sauce
  • 2 or 3 spoonfuls of brown sugar
  • dash of vinegar
  • (Unknown if there was more but I believe this was it)

I added the onion, and about 3 spoonfuls of the tomato mixture to the bowl with the meat and mixed it all up.  We sprayed down the cupcake pan with olive oil cooking spray and i made mini meat loaves.

We cooked them for 30 minutes or so on 400 degrees.

He then said a glaze would be good.

I melted about 2 tablespoons of butter, added two spoonfuls of brown sugar and about 4 spoonfuls of his mixture and mixed it all up.

When the meat was cooked I rolled the meat around in the bowl with the above mixture.  I then placed these on a foil lined cookie sheet (oiled), upped the temp to 425 and put the meat back in.  We cooked until the glaze was golden brown.

The remaining tomato mixture was placed on the table as an accompaniment.

Grilled Corn on the Cob

  • corn on the cob (husks left on)
  • coarse salt
  • coarse black pepper
  • butter

We snipped off the ends of the corn leaving the husks on.  I soaked the ears of corn in cold water with some salt added to it.  I then put the corn in the microwave for 5 minutes.  My sister-in-law then peeled back the husks, removed the silk and handed me the corn.  I added a slice of butter and some rough ground pepper and salt.  I wrapped the husks back around the corn and tightly wrapped each ear with aluminum foil.  We then grilled the corn for about 15 minutes.  After it cooled we removed the foil and husks and served.

Yellow Squash Medley

  • yellow squash
  • Vidalia onion
  • mini sweet peppers
  • coarse salt
  • coarse black pepper
  • butter

I sliced up the yellow squash, a Vidalia onion and about 8 mini sweet peppers.  I added them to a pan with some butter, coarse salt and black pepper.  I sautéed them until slightly translucent.

Fruit

  • strawberries – quart
  • blueberries – pint
  • sugar

We sliced up some strawberries, added a pint of blueberries, mixed in a spoonful of sugar and dinner was done.

It was amazing.  Please forgive me if I forgot anything.  We did not write anything down and I’m working off of memory but it was AMAZING.  so good.  there were no leftovers it was that good.

Easy Outdoor Fun

My daughter loves playing outside.  I on the other hand hate it prefer the indoors.  I’m starting to find happiness in outdoor activities and wanted to share some of my favorite outdoor activities.

1.  Bubbles

Homemade bubble solution – gently mix the ingredients to prevent foaming.  distilled water works best but any water will do.

  • 1 cup Dawn dish soap
  • 10 cups water
  • 10 drops glycerin (bought in the pharmacy department)

Many different things can be used as a bubble wand – pipe cleaners, looped ribbon, etc.  I use bubble wands saved from purchased bubbles.

Here’s a link to – Homemade Bubble Solutions.  Many good recipes.  I got my recipe from The Bubble Time guys.  My daughter and I saw these guys live and it was great.  if you look them up on YouTube they have bubble workshops to teach you how to make great bubbles.

If you don’t feel like making your own bubbles I’ve found it helpful to add some dawn dish soap to store bought bubbles.  It makes for bigger, stronger bubbles.

2.  Baking soda volcanoes

This was a fantastic activity for my daughter and several of her friends.  I brought out the supplies and asked them what they thought would happen.

Supplies needed – some are optional

  • vinegar
  • baking soda
  • assorted containers
  • measuring spoons
  • funnel
  • food dye
  • dish soap
  • tissues

now if you are creative a google search will give you many recipes on how to make a paper mache volcano.  I used various containers instead (soda bottle, wide mouth jar, a cup).  We experimented with different combinations until we got the desired result.  I definately would recommend this activity for outside as it’s very messy.  We even tried a baking soda “bomb” by wrapping up a pile of baking soda in a tissue and dropping it into a large amount of vinegar.

3.  Water Play

We have a tote full of various items that are meant to get wet.  there are the spongy balls, water shooters, a sprinkler, her new water table and more.  Last summer I would accidently miss watering the garden and water the kids instead.  They LOVED it.

4.  Family Garden

We have a garden – last year we planted our first garden.  It wasn’t successful as far as yield goes but it was a good experience.  This year we are working on another garden.  We picked out the seeds together, planted them in sead starters together and will watch them grow together.  Every day new things can be found in a family garden.

 

 

Dining in Style!

for the first time in my adult life I enjoyed dining outdoors!  With a thoughtful gift(card) from my sister for our anniversary we finally had enough cash to buy our gazebo.  I’m in love!  My husband put it together and placed it back near the lilac tree and wood line.  Our patio table and chairs fit inside perfectly.  I went to Kmart and picked up a flickering led lantern so we could dine in style!  LOVED IT!

My husband thought that I would spend more time outside if I could do so in a more protective setting.  The beautiful netting shields me from most bugs and the canopy helps protect me from the sun.  just wanted to share some pictures of my new outdoor getaway!

Pleasantly Exhausted

Today was a successful yard sale day!  the beginning was questionable as it was super wet and very chilly.  we were determined however because my husband had taken the time off of work and we had no other choice but to go ahead or else wait until next month.  the ad was paid for, the signs were up and the items priced.

here are the positives –

  • 1/2 the shed is still full of items to be gotten rid of but nothing was brought back into the house except empty totes to be filled with more unwanted clutter and items that belonged in the house.
  • I got the opportunity to spend the day with a fantastic person and got to meet lots more wonderfully interesting people.
  • I got to see my mom! and my daughter got to spend some lovely time with her as my mom helped us out by taking her to a birthday party at the skating rink.
  • we made enough money to purchase our fire pit plus extra – we are thinking A/C unit as I detest the heat (the gazebo was already purchased with pre-sales and a lovely anniversary giftcard from my wonderful sister).
  • my daughter made a whooping $50 plus by selling her items.  This means she is able to purchase all three items on her wish list – a stuffed Club Penguin puffle toy, Kinectimals for the Kinect and a water table.  a super duper positive is that these items take up sooooooooooooo much less room than the items that were sold.  LOVE IT!
  • my daughter was able to receive her new bike from us today – we offered her a deal she couldn’t refuse – we pre-purchased a new bike for her – larger than her current bike, fancier too with sparkly streamers coming out of the handle bars – no training wheels and in her favorite colors no less.  We put this in the shed.  We purchased her a 6-month Club Penguin membership.  then we offered her $1 per item that she put into the yard sale to be put towards these two Shiney, enticing prizes that she couldn’t refuse.  She earned both with flying colors.

Tonight I’m sitting in my home – it’s messy and things need to be straightened and put away but it feels SO much bigger.  Clutter makes spaces smaller and crowded.  Declutter is the best way to make a small home bigger.  I can twirl and dance around in my family room should I so chose.

There is so much space and I’m in a little bit of shock, a lot of bit of awe and all over relief.  this is going to be so much easier to clean.  this will give me more time to have fun with my family!  how happy is that!

today i was also able to joke about things with the people that i met and the people i spent time with today!  it felt good – joked about my OCD (as it’s not crippling me – thank u Dr. L and the medicine that’s working), joked about me, joked about life.  it felt good to laugh and just be happy.

today i spent the entire time outside.  this is HUGE!  6:30 – 8pm setting up then 8-4 yard sale then 4-9 dinner and games in the gazebo.  all day and i’m still alive and well – (with the exception of a sun burn).  all day outside and i’m still happy.  life is good.

pocket full of money to buy what we really want, 100’s less items in my house so clutter banished, and an enjoyable day.

tomorrow i think i’ll spend 15 minutes cleaning up the kitchen, 15 minutes in zone 1 (the entrance, front porch and dining room) and then relax and enjoy time with my daughter.

Fly Lady’s habit for the month is drinking water so i’m going to give this a shot – maybe more water will help with my on-going health problems (multiple UTIs since February) and give me a glowing complexion.  Did you know that drinking water can help you lose weight, helps you get rid of headaches, makes you look younger, relieves fatigue better than coffee and can put you in a better mood?  there are many incredible benefits from this “simple” act.

I learned this years ago and it still sounds true – do you know how much water to drink per day?  many people know the 8 glasses of 8oz of water.  I learned that you should take your weight then divide it by half (200lbs divided by 2 is 100).  there you have the daily fluid ounces.  so the 8×8 makes sense if you do the math.  An average person of 128 pounds would need to drink 64 ounces per day.

Here is a great water calculator that I found!  It equaled my above method for determining water requirements.