Learning to live a simpler lifestyle

Hey Everyone!

Lately I have been rather overwhelmed with the constant bombardment of the media and our society propagating the mentality that we need the latest & greatest / biggest & best / needing more all of the time. 

I have noticed it more so living here in the city. 

I’m not saying that having a few nice  / quality things is bad, especially if you work hard to obtain them, and intend for them to last as long as possible. 

I know, since having been back in the city especially it has been a struggle for me, and that I have fallen into the trap of wanting more and new things when what I have works just fine. 

In the last few months, I have really been feeling that living in the city, where the fast paced, “give me what I want, and give it to me now” lifestyle is the norm. 

I miss having to drive more than ten miles to the nearest craft store, and the closest “normal” mall was an hour and half away, where I didn’t do much clothes shopping and wore what I have in my closet. 

I would much rather spend my time tending a garden or canning fresh picked local fruit, or cooking or baking or sitting on the porch or around the campfire working on my knitting, or reading a good book, and falling asleep at the end of the day after having worked hard that day. 

I have definitely noticed lately, that I have a hard time sleeping lately because I am not tired enough. 

I am really trying to learn from history, particularly the pioneers & early settlers of this area as well as from those who lived through the depression. Where you lived more off the land and worked hard for what you have, and when something breaks you fix it. Being able to make what you need, is a skill that has been lost. Being a city girl, it seems like most of the young women I grew up with (who also grew up in the city) really don’t know how to cook and bake from scratch, and are not inclined to. Their version of cooking & baking is opening a box and minimal steps, or better yet having someone else do it for them. 

As I get older, the more I want to live a life that is more about living life to the fullest, the experiences one can having, and doing for myself rather than relying on others to provide it for me (self-sufficiency). I have come to realize that I want to live somewhere with crappy to no cell service, and not have a cell phone, have basic internet (so I can still blog, watch the occasional YouTube video, be able to access email, be able to order Yarn and Perfectly Posh when I need to, as well as my dairy free & gluten free staples), a land line phone and maybe basic cable, to get the local news stations. I would love to garden, growing as much of my own fruits and vegetables as I can, and buying from local sources what is not feasible to grow on the small scale, but want to get to can or make jam/jelly then freeze/can. 

I am already so blessed to have what I have, and know how to do what I know how to do. 

While I am still looking for a pair of hiking boots that fit better than the pair I have, I don’t need 10 pairs of original toms plus numerous pairs of vans. I don’t need a ton of dress shoes. If I have the opportunity to live where I want to live, I could use a pair of good winter boots, a pair of wellies, a good fitting pair of hiking books, and I would be set until the shoes I have wear out. 

If I have the chance to live where I want to live, some work clothes that can get dirty, and can handle wear and tear would be a must, but for now I am set with normal clothes. 

Posted in Adult Life, Adulthood, Adventures, Baking, City Life, Crafts, Culture, Food intolerances, goals, History, Homemaking, Homesteading, Inspiration, Knitting, Life, Life lessons, My Journey, Natural Living, outdoors, shopping, Travel, Unemployment, Urban Homesteading, Winter, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sometimes I have to shake my head

Hey Everyone!

The past few days has been full of cooking, baking, an adventure and now sore muscles. 

Yesterday I went for a hike, and man there was a lot of people out there, you could totally tell the tourists from those who hike on a regular basis. The true tourists were dressy clothes and unsensible footwear, like fashion sandals and white dressy shorts.

There is a time and a place for fashion sandals and dressier clothes, and a State Park with 8.7+ miles of hiking trails, and that is what it is known for is not one of them. 

I am researching hiking boots as I am looking to replace my current pair, as I am not sold on them, and they are partly the problem of the blisters and not being as supportive as I need them to be of my ankles, and therefore my knees and lower back as well. 

I am also working on knitting up boot socks as well, so I have good quality boot socks for going hiking. When I am able to actually go boot shopping I can get a better idea of fit with the socks I will wear since I already have a few pairs of socks done. Here is hoping that the lightweight wool socks will be better at helping prevent blisters on my feet, and help take up the extra room. 

I really do enjoy hiking, and I am still figuring out a lot, that are things each person has to figure out on their own, like what boots fit best and are best for the kind of hiking you are doing. I am definitely wanting to get into better shape, and work my way into more intense hikes. I would also love to get into better shape and get into rock climbing. 

Posted in Adult Life, Adulthood, Adventures, Baking, City Life, Cooking, Crafts, Life lessons | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Longing for Autumn 

Hey Everyone!

Yesterday had been unseasonably cool, and a bit wet at times. 

It has been the perfect day to bake cookies, drink tea, warm some Apple S’mores Scentsy cubes in my Scentsy warmer, work on some knitting, and day dream about autumn and having a home of my own. 

I am still trying to find a job, so that I can do normal, boring adult things, as well as try new recipes and bake new stuff. I am also longing to have a home of my own and my own kitchen again. I do miss having my own kitchen. 

There are so many things I want to try cooking, baking and canning – just not all three to the same food item. I really want to make my own jams, jellies, preserves and syrups. I also want to can fruit and pickles. I want to be able to make more breads and try new main courses and be able to do some entertaining.

I would love to have a freezer full of fresh caught fish (various kinds of salmon, trout, cod, etc), some elk, venison, moose pork (raised on site), locally raised lamb, and chicken (that was raised on site). I know there are animal rights activists out there that are anti-hunting and anti-fishing. To all of them, I would rather have locally hunted/ locally caught meat, that I know where it came from and that it was free range, and wild in its natural habitat . Meat that comes from commercial farms that use hormones, antibiotics and have cruel and inhumane confinement where the animals are living in dirt and manure is poor quality even at best. 

Having had better quality food, as well as the whole fresh air, gorgeous scenery, and the whole less screen time (even if it means crappy internet), would totally be worth giving up the city life for. 

I long for a life of honest hard work, to have an overall better way of life. I want to grow and raise as much of my own food as possible, and what I cannot grow or raise (or feasibly do so on a non commercial level), purchase locally from those who do. 

I actually do enjoy Homemaking, and yes, I would rather be in the kitchen cooking, baking, and canning or out in the garden, weeding and picking fresh produce over sitting at a desk, in an office, any day of the week. 

Now watch, I may have to eat those words, but really, in all honesty, I would rather be a modern (ie have electricity, indoor plumbing, central heat and AC, and a modern kitchen) homesteader, than have a career in corporate America. I like being tired from a long day of physical work. 

Yesterday I had also worked a bit on my current sock that I am knitting up. I finally got the cuff done, which is making progress. That anymore seems to be what takes the longest since I do 1 x 1 ribbing. 

The weather yesterday totally had me wanting to to be autumn already, so it would be cool, overcast and wet almost everyday, or at least sunny with the high around 65, with cool crisp mornings, and a crispness to the air as the leaves are turning to the beautiful autumn colors. I so want to be able to decorate for autumn and be warming scents like Apple S’mores and Pumpkin Roll daily. 

Posted in Adult Life, Adulthood, Autumn, Baking, blogging, City Life, Cooking, Fall, Fall Decorating, goals, Groceries, History, Homemaking, Homesteading, Inspiration, Knitting, Life, Life lessons, Natural Living, outdoors, Unemployment, Urban Homesteading, What's on my Mind Monday, Winter, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

When Your Cousins are Related

Hey Everyone!

I had gone to one of my cousins bridal shower, Thursday evening. While I knew there were going to be several of my cousins from my dad’s side of the family there. I had one of those “oh duh” moments when some family from my Mom’s side of the family showed up, as they are also related to my cousin that is getting married. My Cousin’s (who is getting married) aunt is also my mom’s first cousin and the bride’s mother is my dad’s first cousin and they had married brothers (hence the title “my cousins are related”) Let’s just put it this way, I have a large extended family, and myself being the 4th generation in the church I was raised in, I am pretty much related to a lot of people. So my Cousins bridal shower was a family bridal shower, Everyone there is related to my second cousin. 

It makes it easy sometimes when everyone is my cousin, until it is time to date. It has meant looking in the branch churches and elsewhere for a decent Christian guy, who shares the beliefs, morals and values that I do. 

By blood or marriage I was related to everyone at my cousins bridal shower even though, for most them it’s not close enough to really matter or change anything. 

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It’s Rose Festival Week

Hey Everyone!

The Rose Festival is back in Portland. That means it is also Fleet Week.

The Rose Festival is one of Portland’s annual traditions that has been going on for more than a century. It is one of the big events to kick off the summer season in the City of Roses.

It starts if with City Fair (where all the rides are) and the Starlight Parade on the first Saturday evening. The Starlight Parade has floats and high school bands. The Wednesday during the Rose Festival is the Junior Rose Parade which is made up of elementary and middle school entries (including bands). The final Saturday is when the Rose Festival Queen is crowned (each of the high schools elects a princess who competes for Queen), just before the parade kicks off. The parade includes high school and adult bands, horse and float entires. All the float decorations have to be decorated with natural products (like seeds, nuts, and flowers). It is a huge event that attracts a lot of people to turn out in person to see it, as well as people tuning in and  watching it on TV.

This week, as part of the Rose Festival, it is also Fleet Week, where we have Naval, Coast Guard and Royal Canadian Navy ships come and dock along the water front (on the Willamette River), for a few days and during certain times can be toured.

While I was in Band in Middle School I was in the Junior Rose Parade twice. In 9th grade I was in the Grand Floral Parade (in Marching Band) and my sophomore year I had been in the Starlight Parade. Being in the grand floral Parade was a big deal, and I got to do it as a freshman. My freshman year was the last year the band from my high school (by itself) was invited to be in the Grand Floral Parade.

I had attended the Starlight parade a couple of times while I was in Middle School since my brother was in it. My brother and I were both in the high school bands the year we were in the grand floral parade.

The parades, the ships and city fair (which is like a big fair or carnival), is a really fun way to kick off the summer season and for the kids (especially the band kids), to be ending the school year on.

Posted in Childhood, City Life, Culture, Family, Life, My Journey, Weekend | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

City Living

Hey Everyone!

I am one who does love small town, but as much as you want something, some dreams aren’t supposed to become a reality, and at this point, small town life my be a happy chapter in my younger days.

Like maybe the reason I have not found a job someplace else is because there is a reason I need to stay in Portland, and that there is a job here for me somewhere. I know, that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, it doesn’t make sense to me either, especially since I have spent the last 7 years feeling stuck here, and have not had much success in the job department here.

Some days I can’t imagine staying in the city, other days, there is no other place I would rather place be.

Having food intolerances, and having learned how to manage them while living in the city, would definitely complicate things for living in a small town, as I would constantly be coming to the city to get the Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free baking supplies I have grown accustomed to. Living outside of the metro area, would add the cost of gas to come to the city to go shopping. Over the last few years, I have gotten used to having several Trader Joe’s Stores, as well as New Seasons, Whole Foods, and urban Fred Meyer’s stores all within a 5 mile radius. Not to mention all the yarn and craft stores we have here. We also have my favorite bakery here in the city, as well as several locally owned tea shops and coffee roasters. Starbucks is over rated, especially when you have Dutch Bros, Human Bean, Barista, as well as Stump Town Coffee Roasters. Not to mention the fact that we have Stash Tea, Steven Smith Tea Maker, and the Tao of Tea here in the city as well.

Granted I can find a job, it’s not like I can’t go to beach, whenever I have a free day and want to take off and go. Or going back to where I went to college and seeing the friends I still have there, as it is only an hour an a half away.

Just having the easy access to Gluten Free & Dairy Free food, and having natural grocery stores near by makes living in the city worth it. With that, I would still love to have a large enough backyard to have a garden still.

Posted in Adult Life, Adulthood, blogging, City Life, Life, Natural Living, Urban Homesteading, Work | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Memorial Day Weekend 

Hey Everyone!

It was an eventful yet uneventful weekend. 

Saturday, had been the hottest day of the weekend, and the day I had spent the most time outside. Going out to Sauvie Island and seeing the Bybee – Howell house, I was way to hot, and rather miserable in the heat. 75 degrees Fahrenheit (Roughly 24 degrees Celsius), is my upper limit before I really start not feeling well. 

Having gone out to Sauvie Island on Saturday, I saw this cool looking old farm house, the property which it sits on has been turned into a territorial park, so I was able to stop and check it out. 

The Bybee – Howell House (the old farmhouse you see not log after you come across the Sauvie Island bridge) was built in 1856, and the original owner was one of the first Multnomah County Commissioners. In the back remains what is left of the Orchard that had been planted there at one point. There are plenty of big, old trees that provide much needed shade. There would have also been plenty of room to have a big garden, as well as chickens (layers and ones for food), as well as other farm animals to be raised for food. Other than the traffic going by on the road, it was really peaceful, and it was away from the bulk of the city noise. The birds were chirping, and it really was the kind of area I would love to live. Not necessarily on Sauvie Island, but someplace that isn’t in the middle of the big city, and doesn’t have a ton of traffic. 

Sunday, my mom and I had made rhubarb pie and mixed berry freezer jam.

Monday, I had done some cleaning. The weather was definitely had been cooler than Saturday. 

Today feels like a Monday even though it is Tuesday, because of the long weekend. Today has been rainy and cool, which has amazing. It is not quite 40 degrees cooler than it was on Saturday, and my allergies are doing a lot better today. 

Today has definitely been an indoor knitting while drinking tea and watching movies kind of day. For which I am thankful. 

Posted in Adult Life, Adulthood, Adventures, Baking, City Life, Cooking, Crafts, History, Homemaking, Homesteading, Knitting, Life, My Journey, outdoors, Weekend | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Hot Days and Going for a Drive

Hey Everyone!

Yesterday and today have been roasting hot. Yesterday was 94 degrees and today got to 88. While that isn’t hot for some areas, it is hot for Portland. Fortunately it has been cooling off quickly today. It went from 88 degrees sometime between 3 and 4, to 80 at about 5, and now at 8:30 pm it is sitting at a comfortable 62 degrees. 

This afternoon I needed to get out of the house and to go do something, so I went for a drive. It was so nice to get out of the city, even if it only was for a couple of hours. It was nice to be able to roll down the windows, turn up the radio and drive a two lane windy country road. That is definitely something I miss from having spent a few years living in a small town. 


While I would have loved to have gone to the beach, that was a bit out of a question, since the beach is and hour and a half to two hours away. I do love this part of the country. Well, the Mid & Northern Willamette Valley and the beach (Northern and Central Oregon Coast) anyway. 

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You can put the Country Girl in the City, but……

Hey Everyone!

Anyone else feel like they are living in the wrong era?

Yeah, I definitely feel like I was born about 60 years too late. 

The past few years I have definitely not been thrilled to be living in the city again. I miss the slower pace of small town life, where I didn’t have cable tv, Hulu Plus or Netflix, and had slower internet, that was fast enough to occasionally watch some YouTube and keep up with the basics like email, Facebook, and studying. I love having some tv shows on DVD, to watch in the morning while I eat breakfast or in the evening while I ate dinner. I also miss being busy enough that I didn’t get bored easily. Between having a good book to read or some knitting to work on, and some music to listen to, life was good. 

Playing board games with my friends, or while at the beach, watching the sunset over the ocean, then sitting around a campfire, with a nice cup of tea, making S’mores, and having a good conversation, was the best. 

Living in the city, I have felt that in order to have fun, you have to spend money. Spending money on going out to eat, then to go to a movie or going shopping. Living in a small town, it isn’t that expensive to pay for gas to get from where you live to Main Street (as it is usually 5 – 10 minutes away, and the bigger town in the county was only 9 miles away). It wasn’t hard to run from the town I lived in, to the county seat – 9 miles away to meet up with friends for coffee, or to go to the larger grocery store.

Here in the city, one of my former work locations is about 7.5 miles from where I live, on a good day with light traffic and the lights in my favor take about 30 minutes (on a bad commute day would take a good 45 minutes to an hour). Where I lived in college, to get from where I lived junior and senior year, to the Safeway store that was roughly 10 miles away, took between 15 & 20 minutes depending on the lights in town. Driving 2 lane country roads with a speed limit of 55 outside of city limits was great.

Living in a small town, I spent more time reading books, meeting up with friends for coffee, or having friends over for a movie night, or going on adventures. I did watch some TV on DVD, primarily during meals, but I spent more time doing other things to keep busy, that weren’t just vegging out in front of a screen. Most of my screen time was in the form of sitting on the computer doing homework, or writing papers. 

Granted, now, living on my own, and working, I would still be doing a lot more reading, as well as canning, baking and cooking, and doing some entertaining. I would rather grill up some meat for dinner and have friends over, and in the summer, enjoy a summer evening outside and maybe have a fire in the fire pit, and enjoy having conversations. 

Living a more frugal and purpose driven life is definitely something I am working on. These days, even if you go for dinner and a movie, or even on the frugal end, a matinee movie and a meal, if you include tip and cost of gas or fare for public transit, that is a good $30 blown per person on the cheap end. Where as, even staying in to have a movie night or grilling out, is definitely more frugal. 

It has honestly been about 2 years since the last time I saw a film in the theaters. The last film I saw was Tomorrowland. I had gone up to Seattle for a weekend, and one of my friends and I went out for dinner and then went to the cheap theater and saw tomorrowland. Besides the cost, the reason I prefer not seeing films in the theater, really has been the fact that I would just as soon watch a movie at home, on my comfy couch, in my comfy clothes, without being surrounded by other people. Especially with ITunes rentals, it is reasonable to rent a movie, and watch it on my computer.

To me anyway, there is more to life than wasting money on something that really isn’t meaningful, and only occupies your time for a few short hours and then you are left with really nothing to show for it, and no real lasting memories of it. Time spent with friends, or reading a book are more enjoyable to me. 

Posted in Adult Life, Adulthood, Baking, City Life, Cooking, goals, History, Homemaking, Homesteading, Life lessons, Natural Living, outdoors | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

50 Random Facts

Hey Everyone!

I have been doing this blogging thing for a few years. I started this particular blog back in August of 2014, though I have been blogging on some level since 2011. 

I decided that it was time to do a 100 random facts about me post, for you all to get to know me a little bit better. 

  1. I gave up drinking coffee ☕️ in August of 2014
  2. I love the smell of campfires 🔥  (especially at the beach) 
  3. My favorite place to go is the Beach
  4. My favorite Disney character is Winnie the Pooh
  5. My favorite Disney Princess is Merida
  6. My favorite band / music group is Celtic Thunder (the Original 5 + Neil)
  7. My favorite piece of classical music is Rachmoninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini variation number 18
  8. My favorite film is Somewhere in Time
  9. My favorite color is royal blue
  10. My top travel destination outside of the United States 🇺🇸 is: Scotland 
  11. The state I want to visit the most that I have not visited yet is: Alaska
  12. I like a good cup of tea ☕️ 
  13. I am left handed
  14. In College I majored in Social Science (my focus area was U.S. History)
  15. In college I minored in Literature 
  16. I spent my first 5 terms of college as an early childhood / elementary education major
  17. I love being outdoors 
  18. I enjoy hiking
  19. I was in band in grades 7 – 10
  20. I did choir in 11th grade, as well as several terms while in College
  21. I went to Florida when I was 13 with my family
  22. I attended a Marine Corps boot camp graduation when I was 15
  23. I went to Hawaii when I was 19 with my family
  24. I went to New York on my own when I was 23
  25. I was still an Infant, the first time I went to Canada 🇨🇦 
  26. I love overcast, cool, rainy days
  27. I enjoy knitting
  28. I enjoy reading books
  29. My favorite TV show has been Grimm
  30. I know how to can (aka preservation food in glass jars for later consumption)
  31. The one dairy item I miss the most now that I have to be dairy free is Cheese. Tillamook Cheese 🧀 is the best. 
  32. I enjoy exploring historical sites
  33. My favorite season is autumn 
  34. I love architecture. 
  35. If I am going out to eat, my top choice is typically a Lebanese or Greek restaurant 
  36. I call the Willamette Valley home 
  37. My favorite author is Robin Jones Gunn
  38. My favorite board game is Scrabble 
  39. My favorite animal is the bottle nose dolphin 🐬 
  40. I enjoy watching Period Dramas (Downton Abbey, Lark Rise to Candleford, Dr Quinn Medicine Woman, etc)
  41. My favorite musical is the Sound of Music
  42. My favorite flower 🌺 is Plumeria 
  43. My favorite fruit is: Cherries 🍒 
  44. Favorite dessert: the gluten free vegan lemon lavender poppyseed cupcakes from my favorite bakery
  45. I got to see The Phantom of the Opera when the traveling show was here in Portland 
  46. I went to Public School for K – 12
  47. I was the first of my friends to get my drivers license 
  48. Of all the yarns I have worked with, the Todd and Duncan Cashmere was my favorite.
  49. I worked at a knitting studio for a few months
  50. I love exploring old ghost towns
Posted in Adult Life, Adulthood, Adventures, Baking, Books, Broadway Musical, Childhood, City Life, College, Cooking, Crafts, Culture, Downton Abbey, Favorite TV Shows, Food intolerances, History, Homemaking, Homesteading, Knitting, Life, My Journey, Natural Living, outdoors, Phantom of the Opera, Portland, Scotland, Travel, UK, Urban Homesteading, Work, Yarn | Leave a comment