Wednesday, December 31, 2014

How we live without a microwave...

Yes, you read that right!  We don't have a microwave.  About a year ago (and after a strange "zap" our microwave quit working.  "Why don't we just not replace it?!" I said to K.  He easily agreed.  So, we have been without a microwave for a year.

"But Jen," say, "How do you heat up leftovers?"

Well... the same way as we cook them - the oven or the stove. (or sometimes the toaster oven).  And you know what?!  Food and leftovers actually taste better.  They even taste the same as when they were cooked in the first place.

Ever had microwaved leftover chicken? Yeah, gross!  How do we cook sweet potatoes? In the oven.  Yes, it takes a bit longer, but they taste SOOOO much better.  I just try to plan meals better so I am making the most efficient use of my oven (like cooking meat and potatoes and veggies in there all together).

We weren't necessarily concerned about the harmful effects of microwaving food.  It was more just a sense of simplification for us.  Why keep another appliance that takes up valuable counter space if we really don't need it?  We (okay, mostly I) have been trying to make an effort to simplify life and eliminate things we don't need, love, or are extremely useful, so not replacing the microwave seemed like a no brainer to me.

I am working on a plan for de-cluttering and simplifying in the new year and I plan to share it soon.... so stay tuned.....and Happy New Year!!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Workspace - Office Makeover...

I have always been one to pick up my laptop and sit on the couch and work, so I never really needed an "office" area, but I do have a lot of files, etc. so it seemed like a nice idea to try and consolidate them into one location.

Before, this was just an empty corner near our staircase and a play area.  Now that the girls have outgrown their play kitchen it was a good place for me to "set up shop" so to speak and locate our desk and file storage.

Here's what it looked like before:

And here's what it looks like today:

The file cabinets are from Ikea and they store the files for all three businesses and our household files as well.  The bulletin board is where I hang anything I want to ponder.  Behind the blue door is our "art closet" where we keep all of our art supplies that can't live out in my studio.

This is a desk that was handed down to us from my husband's aunt and uncle.  I made it look a little more fun by adding yellow hexagon pulls from Anthropology and some wrapping paper and plexiglass for the top.  I put a few family photos underneath.  I keep my "ongoing" files here as well as my laptop so I can easily grab them and work anywhere.

The art is a notebook cover that I cut off the notebook when it was filled and put it in a frame. The black birds are repurposed from a photo hanger kit from Target.  The chair pad is vintage.

It's nice to have an organized place to put everything... even if I am still sitting on the couch while I type this!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Homemade Bath Salts...

Every year at holiday time I try to make some of our gifts, especially teacher gifts.  In the past I have made -  homemade soap, bath bombs, lip balm and cinnamon ornaments.  This year I made lavender scented bath salt.  Hopefully the teachers can use the time during break to relax from the stresses of school and recover for the new year.  I thought this bath salt might help!

Here's what you need:

1 cup epsom salt (can be purchased in the first aid section of any drug store or grocery store)
1 cup coarse sea salt
6-8 drops of essential oil of your choice (found at most craft stores)
6-8 drops of food coloring

See mixing instructions below.

First: Mix both salts together in a glass or metal bowl.

Then: add food coloring and mix really well.  Sometimes it takes a bit to get the color incorporated throughout.

Once it is all mixed it should look kind of "speckled".

Next: add essential oil and mix well.

When done it looks and smells beautiful...and it can't get easier than that!

I put ours in some recycled jam jars and made cute paper labels for the tops.

I hope the teachers like it and I might even take a bath and use I bit for myself during this stressful season!
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