Taking on Life at Full Speed

Learning from the past to make a brighter future

Enjoying the City  — August 19, 2017

Enjoying the City 

Hey Everyone! 

It is early Saturday morning as I am writing this post. Yesterday (Friday) which ended only about 15 minutes ago for me was a productive day. 

I finished up the pair of socks I was knitting. I knit this particular pair using KnitPicks Palette Yarn in the colors Victorian and Hazelnut. Beings I knit up pairs of socks entirely of these two colors and had some yarn left over, I have been working in combining the left overs of the colors I have already used and making socks from the left over Yarn. 

Yesterday, my mom and I had also gone to my favorite bakery for treats. My favorite bakery is the only gluten free vegan bakery in the city. There are other bakeries in town that do either gluten free or vegan, but Back to Eden is the only one that does both. I hadn’t been in to the bakery for a few months, and since the last time I went in, they have acquired the space that used to be next door, took down a wall, and expanded and done some redecorating. The space that was the original (as I know it to be) is still where you enter the bakery, but now that they have expanded, they have way more space for seating and moving around. I love what they have done with the space. In the old / pre expansion when it got busy, which it would be at times, you would constantly be literally bumping into the other customers and there would be no place to sit. There is now plenty of seating and plenty of room to look at what they have available and order. It’s also like and airy, and definitely a fun place with great food. I know I will miss being so close when ever I am able to move away from the city. 

At the bakery, I had a cardamom vanilla bean cupcake and a triple berry smoothie. It was very delicious. 

After my mom and I had treats at the bakery, we stopped at Fred Meyer to pick up a few items. Fred Meyer has their autumn decorations out. While I love decorating for Christmas, I love decorating for autumn more. Autumn is my favorite season. It is cooling off, yet October can have some of the most beautiful days, with the leaves turning yet it can be sunny and be between 68 – 72 degrees (Fahrenheit) 🍁🍂 and perfect. Itis still warm enough to go out without a jacket on those days, yet isn’t so warm that I am too hot. 

Advertisements
Dairy Free Cherry Garcia — July 1, 2017

Dairy Free Cherry Garcia

Hey Everyone! 

Happy Canada Day! 

I have been Dairy Free (or in the process of going dairy free) for 5.5 years. If you haven’t had to go without a food staple (ie dairy, gluten or eggs), you really can’t relate to missing certain foods because you know that if you eat them, you will be sick. The fact that I have had to completely give up dairy and eggs and not eat much gluten, It has been quite an adjustment. I have yet to find a dairy free cheese or yogurt that has a similar taste and texture to dairy versions. So I have given up trying to find a dairy free yogurt I like, dairy free cheese is just gross, coconut and coconut almond milk are my favorite milk alternatives, the onion and chive dairy free cream cheese spread stuff is tolerable on bagels and in mashed potatoes, and they don’t make a dairy free cottage cheese option. So far the dairy free option that tastes the best is coconut milk ice cream, though I was so excited when I heard that Ben and Jerry’s came out wth a dairy free ice cream option I got excited. It has been years since I have been able to have Ben and Jerry’s. I finally got to enjoy some dairy free Cherry Garcia and not have to worry about being sick afterwards. 

Today we had gone out to a farm stand we are aware of to see about some berries to make jam. They didn’t have any strawberries, but did have some raspberries, blackberries and blueberries. So we picked up some some berries. The farm stand we went to is outside of the city. I always love leaving the city and going out into the country. 

This evening I had gone out to see some people I know who are in town for a convention, it was really nice to see them. After I had seen them, I went for a little drive, a little ways out of town. When I was off the freeway, I had my windows rolled down, breathing the fresh air. I don’t know if it is the type of grass that grows outside of town, or the fact that it is allowed to grow (as that grass I am referring to is the grass that grows along the side of the road and the grass that is used to make hay), and naturally dry out during the summer, but I love the smell of the long grass in the summer. I have noticed that the Beach grass smells different from the valley grass (and I am not talking about weed aka pot aka marijuana, I am talking about literal grass that grows in your lawn, and in fields to make hay for animals). The grass around here in the valley reminds me of driving from the towns I lived in while in college to the town where I attended church at the time. Quite often I would drive those 2 lane country roads in the summer, with the windows rolled down. There were a ton of hay fields in the county. I can’t imagine not being able to smell or taste. 

Having developed food intolerances as an adult, I have come to appreciate my sense even more. While food intolerances are insignificant compared to other disabilities and diseases that deprive people of their senses. 

I know when I was younger (teen years especially) I tried hard to be someone I am not. I felt like I was expected to be this prim, proper young woman who was the stereotypical girl, who did no wrong, who also liked doing my hair, makeup and going shopping. Pretty much a city girl through and through.  At the time I knew it wasn’t me, but I wanted to be accepted and fit in. College was a big game changer for me. It helped me realize that that life wasn’t for me and that it was ok to be a jeans and tee shirt kind of girl, who prefers the country to the city. I still like to dress nicely when I go out and about. The world as I see it has been ever changing and evolving as I have grown and changed over the years. Who I am, no longer hinges on what others think, or some real or perceived expectations of who I am supposed to be. Who I am has been shaped on my own life experience, the good, the bad, and the down right ugly. I have learned that life is more than allowing others to live my life for me. 

Learning to live a simpler lifestyle — June 25, 2017

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. 

50 Random Facts — May 16, 2017

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
Knowing when it is time to Move On — April 25, 2017

Knowing when it is time to Move On

Hey Everyone!

For years really, I have known that where I am, is not where I am supposed to be long term. Now that the job I had had for almost 2.5 years ended, it is really time for me to figure out where to go from here, and where I am supposed to be, and what I am supposed to be doing.

I know for a while I needed to be here, as this was one of the best places in the country to have to learn how to have to be dairy free and gluten free, but now that I am on top of it, and know how to live that way, it is time for me to move on.

I have known that there were no living wage jobs for someone like me here, for  years, the economy here is really IT and manufacturing driven. When you studied History in College, and know that you want to do more to live off the land, and share the knowledge that I have gained about clean eating, healthy living, growing and preserving my own food, that it isn’t going to happen here.

There is so much I want to do with my life, and I can’t be all that I know I can be, and all I am supposed to be when I can’t get a job that I can support myself on. I am one of those people, who don’t understand algebra, let alone calculus, who’s brain struggles to grasp engineering concepts, let alone all the math and science to become an engineer of any sort or go into the health care fields.

The easy simple answer would be to stay, and not put in the effort to leaving, but anything that is worth doing, isn’t easy, and by staying I would not be allowing myself to achieve my full potential, or help others to achieve their’s while I am achieving mine. There is more to life than not being true to who you are, and not pursuing what you love and are really good at. What I am good at, and am really passionate about is not even close to being tapped here. It was through being here, and going through several of the wrong things that I have found what I love, and what I am good at, and with that I must leave and find where I am to thrive, and excel.

Modern Homesteading — April 17, 2017

Modern Homesteading

Hey Everyone!

Over the past several years, I have been becoming more and more interested in Modern homesteading. While I am not one who whats to go completely off grid, I definitely want to get out of the city, and have at least some property, if not a full on farm.

There is a part of me that wants to live some place else, deep down, this part of the country is home, and I know what grows well here, and pretty much everything I want to grow myself or purchase from local farm stands or farm stores/cooperatives can be grown in the Pacific Northwest.

I also want to do a lot more canning/preserving and have plenty of home canned pickles, pears, peaches, applesauce, elderberry jam and syrup, black currant jam, as well as making my own strawberry, raspberry, blackberry and huckleberry freezer jam. There is so much more I also want to preserve, I just haven’t thought of it at the moment. I have the Ball complete book of home preserving, and it is full of many different things I want to at least try doing.

I also want to grow a lot of my own produce, as well as having chickens (for eggs and meat), maybe a few pigs (again for meat), and a couple goats (for “pets” and vegetation management).

I am also interested in using solar power. I know I would have to use some of the regular “on grid” electricity, especially in the winter, but in the summer I hope to use very little if any “on grid” electricity.

I am very much an outdoorsy, work with my hands, live a simpler, more old fashioned way of life kind of person. I can only handle watching so many youtube videos, movies and tv shows, before my brain and body are screaming for me to go outside, and do something.

Over the years of dealing with food intolerances has really been the biggest push toward my desire to live a more natural life. Looking at labels and reading ingredients has been a huge factor in my desire to grow and raise as much of my own food as possible, and what I can’t grow or raise myself, acquire from local farms and orchards. I am also all about cooking and baking from scratch and being a DIY’er. This is why I had created my Simple Homemaking blog and youtube channel. I wanted to document my journey of moving toward living a more natural lifestyle, and living a more natural lifestyle, and sharing it with others who are living a similar lifestyle or who are curious to see what it is all about.

I also do a lot of knitting, and that also ties in with how people used to live, and the DIY lifestyle. I love making winter accessories for myself and others.

In college my favorite subject quickly became American History, more specifically History of the American West and Gender Issues (which was my school’s version of Women’s History). I could relate to a lot of it, since I grew up on the west coast, and my family has lived west of the Mississippi River for several generations. I have ancestors who came out west on the Oregon Trail, one set of my great grandparents lived on at least one homestead if not more than one. So this part of the country, it’s history and way of live is in my blood and a huge part of who I am. It is also a part of history that is quickly being forgotten and lost, as generations don’t see it as relevant and just don’t care. There is a part of me that wants to preserve that history, culture and way of life. I still want to keep some of my modern conveniences like Electricity, modern kitchen appliances, indoor plumbing, and a washer and dryer. I do want to live more off the land and teach the younger generations about how the generations before us lived.

A Simple Day in the City — March 18, 2017

A Simple Day in the City

Hey Everyone! 

Today was kind of a lazy Saturday. I got to sleep in, which was nice. I still feel like I am trying to catch up on sleep. 

I spent a lot of my day knitting. I also got one of my last KnitPicks packages (for the time being) in the mail today. I was super excited when it showed up, as it was the package with the two pattern books I had ordered in it. I had ordered the Highland Knits book and the Little Luxuries Collection book. The little luxuries book is the collection of the patterns shown in the latest KnitPicks catalog. The Highland Knits book is full of patterns based on the knit wear Claire wears throughout much of the first season of Outlander. 

My mom had wanted to go do something this afternoon, after she got back from the grocery, so we went to my favorite bakery, which makes amazing gluten free vegan baked goods. They had a lemon lavender poppyseed mini cake, so we got that to split, then stopped at new seasons on the way home, to pick up some coconut milk coffee flavored ice cream bars. 

Understanding Who I Am — February 21, 2017

Understanding Who I Am

Hey Everyone! 

I finally feel like I have a direction in which my life is supposed to go. 

I believe everything happens for a reason, and for some people discovering their career path and the direction they are supposed to go in life a bit later than others. 

I had a completely different idea of what I wanted to do with my life when I graduated from university almost 7 years ago. The nearly 7 years since I graduated from college have changed me, and helped shape who I am today. My college experience was not entirely useless, it really was the first big step in getting me where I am today. I learned to not let others define me, and that I am capable of doing anything I want to do, whether that is conventional or a bit more unconventional. Life has thrown me the unconventional curve ball. 

If you had asked the 22 year old version of myself, if 7 years later, I am doing what I am doing now, I would have told you no. At that point in time, I could not have ever imagined having gone to New York on my own, or that I couldn’t eat dairy, or that I would be living a more natural lifestyle. If you had told me, I would care more about fashion and taking care of my skin, I would have thought you were crazy. 

We grow and change, and I finally feel like I know the direction I am supposed to be working toward, and the life I am supposed to be living. 

Living a Simpler Life — February 6, 2017

Living a Simpler Life

Hey Everyone!

Over the course of the past few years I have been working to figure out what I am supposed to be doing with my life. As time has gone by, I have been finding myself spending more and more time outdoors, going on adventures and hiking. Since I graduated from college, I have developed food intolerances and sensitivities, which has made food a big deal for me. Knowing where my food comes from and sticking to whole grains, lean proteins, fresh & local fruits and vegetables is my goal.

What I have come to the conclusion is that the city life is not for me, and I want to live a simpler life. A life that is less about having a lot of material goods and more about actually living life and living more off the land, without excess. 

I don’t want to live completely off grid, but I want to take advantage of a simpler life, where I make as much of my own stuff as possible. I also want to take advantage of alternative energy sources such as Solar, Wind and hydro power that are renewable. 

I have also been trying to use more natural products, as I have found that skin care, laundry care, dish care products are so full of synthetic chemicals that cause adverse reactions and have been linked to diseases that were nowhere near as prevalent 65+ years ago. 

To some extent I am going more natural, there are still areas of current mainstream society that I don’t want to go without. I know I would miss having a cellphone, internet, grocery stores (for food that I am unable to grow or raise myself), and my current wardrobe. 

I have loved being out in the woods, campfires, canning fruit, making jam, going to the farms or farm store / co op and buy what I can’t grow or is not time / cost effective to grow small scale from local farms and orchards where they grow what I want on a larger scale. I love supporting local. 

From the time I was young, I have been fascinated by Laura Ingalls Wilder’s life as a girl and young woman growing up and living on the frontier and being a pioneer. 

The college I had attended was in a small town in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of farm, wine and hops country. While I know there are towns even smaller out there, and even further away from the city. This experience, combined with the fact that I chose to spend as much time there as possible. I didn’t want to be one of those college kids who goes away to a school within 100 miles of my parents house, just to go “home” every weekend. I wanted to integrate myself into life there. I chose to stay there most weekends and most summers. It totally became my home. 

Having grown up in the city, and having had to come back after university, I have seen how expensive it really is to live in an urban area, especially on the west coast. It is difficult for a young professional, like myself to find a job I can support myself on and maintain the city lifestyle. 

My dream job is living in a small town to a small city (like under 70k people max), and blogging about living a simpler life, more off the land, where I can spend more time outside when the weather permits. I also want to blog about the homemaking end of things, as well as what I knit up for myself. 

2017 Goals — February 5, 2017

2017 Goals

Hey Everyone!

It’s only February 5th, and I know this year is going to be a year of changes, and I know they are going to be for the better. I know I am being vague right now, but that is all I can say, until I know what is going on and things work out. 

Things I want to make happen this year:

•More Adventures – I am beginning to plan one out of state which I will write about when it happens. The last big adventure I went on was 5.5 years ago when I went to New York.

•I intend to spend more time outside, as the weather gets nicer. 

•I am working on eating a healthier diet, and adhering to clean eating a lot better, as well as figuring out how to be dairy free, gluten free, egg free and clean eating and getting the most for my money. 

•do more to be the happiest, healthiest version of myself

•More personal knitting projects. I have several in the works, and have many more I want to complete. 

•Reading more books – I have one Nicholas Sparks book I am currently reading, another one to read, as well as several (like 6) novels by Gail Tsukiyama, as well as the Outlander series and Game of Thrones series. 

•work on my blogs

I am excited to see what this year has in store for me.