Friday 29 August 2014

High Five For Friday!

I can hardly believe that next week is September!  I am actually excited for Fall.  While I love summer, I don't exactly love the super hot temperatures or mosquitoes.  I am looking forward to Labour Day weekend!  Hubby has taken an extra day so we get to enjoy some extra time with him.  He is planning on catching a football game and I am planning on doing some shopping in the city.  Yay!  My next post won't be until Wednesday.  I am going to simply enjoy our family time over the weekend and then get back to my minimalism project and blogging on Wednesday!  Without further ado, here is my High Five For Friday:

1.)  We enjoyed a wonderful weekend with my parents at the cabin, last weekend!  The cabin is truly my happy place!  I get such a sense of peace and calm when I am there.

2.)  A good first week cloth diapering!  ***Warning- Poop talk ahead!***  I have started to cloth diaper my daughter and it is going really well.  I had decided to cloth diaper while I was pregnant.  I was not willing to pay the extra money for the newborn size diapers.  This decision meant that I had to wait until the larger diapers fit my daughter.  So far it has been a great experience!  The cloth diapers are great at containing the poop explosions, so I haven't had any of those this week!

3.)  Rain!  I know that the area farmers probably aren't pumped about this, but I like that it brings down the temperatures.  I really love the smell of rain, as well!

4.)  Shopping day with my Mom!  Mom, Miss. E and I are going shopping today and I am very excited.  I am not shopping for anything exciting (basically groceries), but it will be fun to have a day out with my Mom!

5.)  Fun BBQ for Hubby's workplace!  My husband's workplace held a BBQ this week and spouses/children were invited to attend.  We had a great time!  It was fun to get out and to meet new people.  I got to hear about wedding plans (always fun!), summer vacations and found another fan of my favourite football team (I am usually the odd-man out!).  It was good food and good company!

How was your week?  Link up below to join in on H54F!

 photo H54Fbutton_zps973d26e1.png

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Becoming (Sort of) "Crunchy"

I learned the term "Crunchy" while sitting in the NICU with my daughter.  Two nurses were talking and one of them mentioned her "crunchy" friend.  I was intrigued.  Upon listening (eavesdropping?), I discovered that her friend leaned toward a natural lifestyle.  "Crunchy", as I learned, was a nicer way of saying "granola-loving, hippie type".  I love this term, although I am sure some people may find it a wee bit offensive.

As it turns out, I am (sort of) crunchy!   When it became clear to my husband and I that we were struggling with infertility, I threw myself into research.  I wanted to know what could aid our quest to become pregnant.  I read everything from the superstitious to the downright ridiculous!  I found a lot of wisdom, as well.  I came across a book called The Infertility Cure by Radine Lewis, Ph.D..  The book is based on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).

In reading The Infertility Cure, I learned how everything that we put into and onto our bodies has a huge impact on the overall balance (Qi) of our bodies.  This, in turn, impacts our overall health, including fertility.  Around this time, I began to see an acupuncturist to help aid us in our endeavors.

I changed my diet and began to "eat clean". * Eating clean means to try to eat food that are in their most natural forms.  Fruits, veggies, rice, lean meat, eggs, nuts and seeds are all part of a "clean eating" diet.  I cut out anything that was too processed or far removed from its original state.  I never restricted calories or foods.  The body has to be properly fueled, especially when creating and sustaining new life.

I did a lot of research on what goes onto our skin in our everyday body care and beauty products.  I was shocked to learn that a lot of common ingredients in these products contain "hormone disrupters" and known carcinogens.  The last thing I wanted to do was contribute to our infertility by using any products that contained these ingredients.  I ran through the house and chucked out any products with the bad ingredients.  My husband and I hardly had anything left when I was through with my purge.  None of my makeup, skin care products or cleaning products were free of harmful ingredients.

With my list of harmful ingredients in hand, I slowly restocked our products.  I use baking soda, vinegar and "Nellie's All-Natural One Soap" for cleaning. **  It is a lot cheaper (woo hoo!) and very effective.  I learned to read labels and try my best to avoid the harmful ingredients.  I love the Rocky Mountain Soap Company and ZuZu Cosmetics.** I try to buy organic when I can.  This can be difficult as I live in a rural community, so choices are limited.

I am by no means perfect with everything we eat and use in our home.  Perfection is a goal better left for someone with more ambition than I.  We did, however, find that it made a vast difference in our lives.  Hubby lost 20 lbs without even trying!  I started to feel far more energetic, happy and strong.  Most importantly, we achieved our goal of pregnancy!

Miss. E has arrived and Hubby and I continue to be careful with our lifestyle.  I feel better knowing that I am doing my best to promote my family's health.

Here are some links that I found helpful in adopting a more "natural" lifestyle:

What natural products do you like?  Do organic or natural products have an impact on your life?

*  Please note that I am not a doctor or dietitian.  You should consult your health care provider when making any changes to your diet or exercise routine.

** The products mentioned in this post are products that I personally like to use.  This is simply my opinion.  I did not receive compensation for mentioning them in this post.

Monday 25 August 2014

Minimalism Week #1-A Closet Filled with Coats and Shoes!

I plan to chronicle my journey to minimalism on this blog.  I was grappling with where to start.  With a three month old, my time for minimizing is limited to my daughter's naps, which can be short.  I have decided to go through my home bit by bit.  I won't be doing whole rooms at once, as I don't have the time to commit to that sort of project!

I decided to start with our outdoor closets.  We have two in our home.  The other day my hubby was searching for something in the closet when he turned to me and asked, "Do you really need this many coats?".  It was a question born out of frustration.  I take up more than my fair share of the closet.  Even though I knew he had a point, I got my back up.  I started to defend my different coats, when he asked about my navy blue rain jacket.  I own three rain jackets and this particular one is over 14 years old.  I was in junior high when I got it!  I guess I have a bit of a coat hoarding problem!

Today, I pulled out all of my jackets, coats and shoes.  I lined them up and then began to decide what to keep.  I referred to, a blog where the author does a "capsule wardrobe".  She only keeps two jackets/coats per season so I decided to follow suit.  She keeps nine pairs of shoes per season, however, which is far too many for me!  For the footwear, I kept only what I wear regularly.

Here are all the jackets/coats I found in my closet:

There were three rain jackets (a little redundant, don't ya' think?), two jackets that don't fit anymore, and more than one khaki coat, among others.

I kept my pink pleather jacket and pink rain jacket for the Spring, my jean jacket and khaki toggle coat for the Summer, orange toggle coat and black pleather jacket for the Fall, and my black winter coat and plaid ski jacket for Winter.  I kept one additional coat for camping and playing with the dog.  I don't like to use my "good" coats for camping, as the campfire seems to always throw a spark in my direction!

Here are my "keepers":

I have stored away my Fall and Winter jackets until those seasons arrive.   I will put my Spring/Summer coats in the storage container when I take out the Fall/Winter jackets.

I thought that I had really purged my shoes earlier in the year.  I had donated close to 40 pairs of shoes and I felt really good about that.  I felt like I had done a really good job reducing my shoe collection.  Turns out, there was still a long way to go!  This is why I think that minimalism is really a journey, not a destination.  I truly thought that my shoe collection had been pared down to my regularly worn footwear.  My "regulars" have changed and my "fun" shoes no longer fit my lifestyle.  (I am not graceful enough to carry my baby while walking in four inch glitter heels!)

Here are all the shoes I owned before:

In that collection I had two pairs of rubber boots (I have a thing for rain gear, apparently!), five pairs of flip-flops, several pairs of boots, four pair of heels, several pairs of flats (two that I never wear!) and three pairs of wedges.  It dawned on me that I own a LOT of warm weather footwear for someone who lives in the Great White North!  Winter honestly lasts six months here and I have an abundance of shoes for the two months of Summer that we get!

I forced myself to only keep what I will and can wear.  It kind of pains me to let go of my "pretty" shoes (the glitter heels and gold wedges) but they deserve to be worn.  Shoes aren't meant to rot away in the closet.  I placed all of my unwanted footwear in the donation pile.

This is what I was left with:

I also kept my winter storm boots (good for deep snowbanks and frigid temperatures) and my running shoes.  I didn't show them because they have pretty specific uses and I had no intention of getting rid of them.

It feels so good to have those closets cleaned out!  I know my husband will be happy to find more space in our outdoor closets!  I love getting rid of the items I no longer use or need.  It makes me feel lighter and happier.

I like donating the items that are in good shape to a local second-hand store.  The profits from this store support the local women and children's shelter.  I just want to give a quick word about donating items.  Please make sure that the items you are donating are clean (they should go through the washing machine!) and in good repair.  You don't want to burden the donation places with items that they have to throw in the trash.  I once bought a box of second-hand maternity clothes.  When I got home I found deodorant all over the armpits of some of the shirts.  Ewwww!  Knowing the seller, it didn't bother me too much but I threw the items in the washing machine before I wore them!  Don't be that person!  Take the extra time to wash and clean items before they go to their next home!

Have you gone through any of your closets lately?  Have you been surprised at what's in there?  How do you decide what to keep and what to get rid of?  Let me know!

Friday 22 August 2014

A Return to Blogging & High Five for Friday!

I am back at blogging!  My daughter arrived in May.  She was late and arrived in a rather scary fashion.  After a week and a half in the NICU, she came home with us.  It took some adjusting, so I just forgot about the blog.  Now I am back!  I am also looking to simplify my home and life again.  The amount of "baby stuff" is overwhelming!  Recently, I have been looking at the house and thinking that I could definitely go through it again and purge.  Minimalism is a process for my husband and I.  We just keep scaling back more and more.

I have decided to take part in "High Five for Fridays" as done on Lauren Elizabeth's blog.

 photo H54Fbutton_zps973d26e1.png

The idea is to list five good things about your week!  So here goes!

1)  A few "free" hours to tackle my garden.  My Mom graciously agreed to watch my daughter (almost 3 months old!) while she had her afternoon nap so that I could finally get into my garden.  I planted my garden in a futile attempt to bring on labour at 40 weeks.  I haven't touched it since.  It was chock full of weeds, which I yanked out with fervor.  I got to see the fruits (er... vegetables?)  of my labour.  I have onions, green beans and potatoes to my heart's content.  I also have flowers to enjoy over the rest of the season.  It felt so good to get rid of those weeds!  I was cursing them every time I walked by the window.

2)  Camping!  We enjoyed a wonderful weekend of camping with my husband's family!  It was a ton of fun!  I really enjoyed seeing everyone with our baby girl.  It is nice to know that she is surrounded by people who love her.

3)  Our new fridge.  My husband and I purchased a new fridge.  We love it!  Our old one wasn't big enough.  We have company quite often so it will be nice to have the extra space!

4)  Baby girl smiles!  I love it when Miss. E smiles up at me.  It is seriously good for the soul.  Miss E. is becoming more and more animated as she gets older.  She is pretty free with the smiles these days and I can't get enough.

5)  Time with my hubby.  My hubby has been very busy at work the last few months and has been getting home pretty late.  He had a few extra days off this week and it was awesome to spend time with him!  He is wonderful with Miss E. and I don't mind being off of diaper duty from time to time.

Have a wonderful weekend!