Monday, February 23, 2015

DIY Natural Air Fresheners

24 DIY air freshners

I walked in the door of my home last week after being gone for a few days and couldn't believe how smelly the place was. I'm a fresh air freak and during the warmer months you'll find several windows open and often a door as well. The dogs love it since they can come and go as they please. I love it because all the stale house smell goes away. But the winter months are a different story. We love our little dogs, but they can be a little smelly at times and with no open windows to let the air in...well, gross.

One of the things I really love about our home is that it's tucked out of the way about 16 miles from town. But that's also one of the frustrating things about living here. It's 16 miles from shopping and running to town for some air freshener after a 4 hour drive home was not something I was willing to do. Since this blog is all about making do and keeping things simple, I headed over to and did a quick search for a natural cost effective solution. I LOVE that site. It's one of my go-to sources when I need simple solutions that actually work. And boy, did I find solutions. Great ones using things that I actually had around the house. Perfect!

I mixed up some Essential Oil Spray, threw together a great Lemon Rosemary Simmer for my stove top and before you knew it, the doggie smell was gone and the sweet smell of lemon and rosemary permeated the air. Pure bliss.

There were so many awesome ideas for natural air fresheners that I created a Hometalk board to clip them all. Head over and check it out. Bet your house will smell awesome as well!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Measure of Success

 I've been working on changing things in my life. Project Transformation 2015. I decided the end of last year that I was not going to take my bad eating habits into the new year. And here we are almost two months in and I've kept that promise to myself. I also decided that I wasn't going to diet ever again. After years of cutting out this or that, drinking horrible shakes as meal replacements and putting drops under my tongue and eating 500 calories, I was done. I was going to eat clean and healthy, get up off the sofa and move and if the weight came off that would be a bonus. At over 100 pounds overweight, I knew that I needed to do something so I did set some goals that I hoped to achieve by changing my eating habits. My minimum goal was to lose 1 lb a week. I figured at the very least I would be down 52 lbs by next year. And that would be awesome. But I also set a goal that I knew I needed to reach a bit to meet. 10 lbs a month. I was thrilled when I was down 14 at the end of the first month. And happy that, with almost a week left in February, I'm only 1.4 lbs away from my 20 pound goal.

I admit that there are times when I've struggled. When you've spent a good part of your life using food as a comfort it's hard not to fall into senseless eating when feeling overwhelmed. I've been forced to not only come up with new coping mechanisms, but to change habits that I've had all of my adult life (and probably a good part of my childhood too). I've had to become super aware of my behaviors and triggers and do some serious self talk to get through stressful moments without falling into binging and undoing all the good I've done.

It's a hard thing to take a really honest look at your life and see things that aren't so pretty. But it's an amazing thing to take an honest look at the efforts and changes I've made and be able to see that I'm succeeding. I've discovered that being healthy and trim is not the only measure of success. Every day that I manage to stay on track, make good choices and feel happy and not deprived is a success. Some hard days I measure my success in hours or even minutes. But every minute I choose me/health/life over binging on a bag of chips or eating things that have absolutely no nutritional value, I celebrate that success. I celebrated a major success when I actually managed to take a road trip without stopping at my normal snack stops and when I did stop I bought a banana. Not that I didn't cruise by the chip aisle, look over all the candy bars and try to convince myself that it would be ok to have some "just this time". It took some major self talk to just use the restroom, buy a banana and a bottle of water and get back in the car and continue on. But I did it. And I smiled like a goon as I drove down the road. Yay Wren!!!

After years of beating myself up over what I and others perceived as a lack of self control and the daily negative self talk about all the ways I'm failing, this idea of celebrating every little success feels great. It's still a battle now and then, but I'm getting there and learning that there are ways to measure success besides a number on a scale.

Feeling blessed on this beautiful morning,

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Here Comes the Sun

I woke up this morning to something that I've needed for a while and was starting to wonder if I would ever see again; sunshine. It really hasn't been a bad winter, but I was getting to the point where I was feeling the familiar winter blues. It was easier to deal with when I lived in an area that had snow. Winters may have been cold and crisp, but the snow was bright and the sun did shine. Here on the Oregon Coast we can go for weeks with just gray skies and rain.

It hasn't helped that Ken's work schedule has been erratic for the last month or so. I'm such a creature of habit and I feel lost and out of sorts when things get shaken up a bit. I still haven't gotten a grip on how to be quietly productive when he's sleeping and how to not feel bad about leaving the house when he's up and awake and I can have a few moments to visit with him. After all, I wouldn't have married the boy if I didn't like to be with him. That's the point isn't it? To be together? Still, I shouldn't whine. I'm grateful for the work and it's only a temporary situation.

It's taking me a while to get used to my new life of working from home. I've noticed that if I'm not careful, I can go for days without leaving the house and that's not always a good thing. It was good to just get out and turn my face to the sun, soak in all those beautiful rays and look around at the signs of spring that are popping up here and there at Rosehaven...

Funny how a day with some sunshine and fresh air can charge your batteries, change your outlook and make you feel like you're ready to get back to transforming your life. Such a simple, free solution to the winter blahs. I think I need to add "Step Outside and Reconnect" to my daily schedule. A good reminder to all of us!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

How DID She Do It?!

Grandma and Grandpa and their beautiful garden.

Almost 5 months since a blog post....what was that all about??? Well, the nature of life I guess. I was so sure that when I left my day job to be here at home I would have all of this spare time to do the things that I wasn't able to do before. But here it is several months later and I've still got a list a mile long that I want/need to do and I'm not much closer to getting it all done as I was last year.

So, what's my issue? In my grandmothers day, she not only kept a clean house, the laundry caught up and the grandkids loved on, but she also provided home cooked meals from scratch and maintained a huge garden that she canned to get them through the winter months. And she had just as many hours in the day as I do. Just how in the world did she do that?

I think the biggest difference between her life and mine would be the time that I spend on things that tend to suck me in for hours. Things like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and HGTV. The only time I remember grandma turning the TV on was in the evenings before bed to watch Lawrence Welk or on Sunday evenings for Wild Kingdom and The Wonderful World of Disney. She didn't own a computer so email and social media wasn't a problem. The only phone she had was the one on the wall in the kitchen so she wasn't distracted by a text or a call when she was out in her garden or hanging clothes on the line. She was blissfully disconnected. Yet in so many important ways she was incredibly connected.

It's not that I set out to spend 3 hours on Facebook. I get up, grab a cup of coffee and then sit on the sofa for a bit to start my day. And I figure, since I'm sitting here, I may as well check my email real quick. Which leads to a quick look at Facebook and then a real quick look at Pinterest to see what my friends have pinned. Several hours and a few cups of coffee later, I look at the time, freak out that I've wasted a good part of my morning and then rush around and try to get a few things done, stopping every time my phone tweets to tell me that I have a text or that someone commented on my photo on Facebook. Insanity. Which then leads to this heavy burden of guilt over the things that I keep putting on the back burner (like posting on this blog).

I know that we're already one month into 2015, but I'm making an effort to turn over a new leaf (I know, I know, you've heard it before) taking back my day and taking a lesson from my grandma. I'm going to make an effort to become connected in the ways that she was; warm unhurried conversations with friends and family, digging in the dirt, planting beautiful flowers, cooking fresh meals and having dinner at the table with the TV off and the smart phones set aside. It's a process, I know. The thought of actually going out to work in the yard without my phone in my pocket feels strange to me. And after years of eating in front of the TV it might be a bit of a battle to do the dinner at the table thing. I just can't help but feel that by disconnecting a bit from all the electronics I'll be able to become more connected in the healthy meaningful ways that my grandmother was.

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