30 September 2014

Living on Less: Portland, Oregon

by Aaron Leitz for The New York Times

Although this article came out last January I have not seen it making the social media rounds yet, so I wanted to share it.

I am so inspired by the living simple movement and finding ways to live in a more green way. This article from the NY Times shares the story of a couple who designed and built their own 704 square foot house despite many people questioning their judgment.

They really do have plenty of space and everything they need although I think it would work best for two adults. With kids I think there might be some wise redesigns here and there and the need for a few hundred more square feet and another bathroom.

I love what they did with the roofs of the home and the small sheds in back as well as yard. Outdoor living space and good storage seem to make this more possible and doable. They found so many smart ways to save on utilities too.

The most amazing part to me is that once they pay off their mortgage, which was planned to happen right about now, their monthly living expenses for the home will be less than $400! That's amazing. Can you imagine living in a house with a yard for $400 a month? Crazy to even try to fathom when living in a city where a 700 square foot apartment will start out at about $2300 without factoring in utilities of any kind.

If I were going to do something like this for my own family I would want/need to do a few things differently. First we'd need bedrooms with doors, preferably an en suite bathroom in the master. Two bathrooms at least, because one just isn't enough sometimes.

I would like more counter space in the kitchen, maybe just an additional island, but theoretically you could have a roll out island than you could be stored under a counter top and pulled out when needed. When you weren't using it, hidden away it would keep the space opened up.

Of course more space also changes all the considerations for heating and cooling as well as more infrastructure costs. One thing I didn't seen in this article is any solar power. I would love to have a solar roof to allow us to get electricity and heated water from the sun's power, especially if we lived here in California.

Okay, how about you? Imagine you are going to build a super pared down house. What would your must-haves be and how small could you go?

29 September 2014

Now Is My Time #37: A Weekend Alone

This is how I'm feeling at the end of this weekend...but also happy, cheerful and thankful. It's not often I get a weekend alone at home, so I made some plans when it looked like it was happening this past weekend. I was having visions of eating bon bons, watching cheesy chick flicks on the couch, wearing pajamas all day. At the same time my brain was percolating with all the things I could get done while the family was away.

Topping the list were The Bug's room needing a complete overhaul and reorganization, going through two boxes of file boxes of paper that needed to be sorted, thrown out or filed, changing the sheets on all the beds and cleaning my bathroom.

I also wanted to take some time to do a creative project of some kind. I have found it such a blessing to do something even for just hour every week to feed my creative soul. We did art with friends last week.

Some weeks I bake or make a new recipe for dinner. A few weeks ago I worked on my new vision board. I have been wanting to make something with wood and I'm not at all sure why, but it's a want right now. But the project I chose was perfect.

I think a Saturday in pajamas watching Hallmark Channel movies or HGTV is a fine pursuit a few times a year. I always find some project to work on and make at least part of a day out of it. I had decided I would work on our 25 Days of Christ box and get it all done in plenty of time for the holidays.

These fantastic countdown to Christmas kits put together by a dear friend of mine are already available here. They sell out quickly EVERY year so it you are interested, get one fast. I'm going to do a full post on 25 Days of Christ later this week so I'll share more then.

I decided to work in concentrated segments. Get one cleaning project done, then relax and watch a movie or a couple of TV episodes. Here's how it actually worked out.

I did eight hours in The Bug's room until about 4:30 am Saturday. I had the energy, knew i could sleep in the next morning and I figured "Oh just keep working." So I did. I rearranged where her clothing is stored, the furniture, and bookshelf items. I hope the new system will work for her. We'll soon find out.

While I worked when I could sit down and sort things, I started to watch season three of Call The Midwife. I have really enjoyed that series although at first I wasn't sure I could handle watching all those baby births. Wowzers.

The next morning I got up and blazed through cleaning my bathroom from top to bottom while listening to inspiring talks online. I tidied up our bedroom and changed the bedding. I cleaned up my work area, speed cleaned the kitchen and was about ready to collapse just as I needed to get into the shower before I met a friend.

I got a little surprise when The Man was able to come home for the weekend. He got in minutes after I left to meet my lovely friend for dinner and attend a church activity for women. You can learn more about that here. The talks were very inspiring. I had one of my very favorite salads for dinner. Great food for the belly AND the soul.

Saturday night late I went on a date to the gym with The Man then we stopped at the grocery store on the way home. Happily he had arrived home with leftovers from a training he went to that day so he had a bag of fantastic sandwiches, chips, cookies and cake. Later we had a picnic in bed and watched a movie.

Not surprisingly I didn't make it through much of the movie. We started watching The Ghost And The Darkness which I had not seen before. All night I was feeling like there were massive lions following me or about to jump out and tear me to shreds. Restful! Haha.

I didn't get to my two boxes of paper that needed sorting. I didn't do any art projects, but I was inspired to do some research and planning for some new art for our home. I may buy some art and make some art. Haven't completely decided yet, but I'm excited to find something that will work with our family vibe.

I take my weekends home alone time seriously -- I make a plan for myself and try to use every moment to my advantage, whether that be in hard work or relaxing. Having The Man come home unexpectedly was a good surprise I'll take any time. And seeing what I had been working on for the weekend he took on a few reorganization and cleaning projects of his own. A win-win!

I still have a couple of boxes of toys & kid junk to go through. That includes sorting two boxes of Legos that are mixed in with other small stuff. Good times. Hopefully I'll finish that up in the next day or so. I also have a bookcase still to go through.

This Monday morning I will take some time for myself to catch up, relax and rest. I'm looking forward to it. Just have to get a kiddo off to school. Oh, Saturday night I had some inspiration about what I want to have for my theme for 2015. It is so simple and so beautiful. I am excited about it and I feel really ready for it. Just saying it to myself gets my energy soaring. I'll share it soon, as soon as my thoughts are more solidified.

So what plans did you carry out this weekend? Any home projects or were you out and about? Have a great week! Thanks for coming by.

26 September 2014

Fun Gifts In The Mail: Smash Books

After a wonderful visit from my sisters last week, one sister sent some fun presents that appeared on our doorstep the day after she left. Have to love Amazon Prime and it's magical way of dropping things on your doorstep mere hours after one orders them.

My sister had told us about Smash Books while she was here and she was so sweet to send a couple to The Bug and I. They are spiral, hardbound scrapbooks where you can gather things you love, little memories and treasures.

To make gathering and saving your paper treasures even easier, each book comes with a pen that has ink on one side and a glue stick on the other end. How smart is that? These books are so beautiful. I love the covers, the colors and the sassy concept.

These are from K & Company who already produce some of the best scrapbooking papers and supplies out there. You can add all sort of fun stickers, tapes and other K & Company accessories to your book. I'm interested in the striped rubber bands I've seen that you can put on the open edge of your book to hold everything together.

There are all kinds of fun printed pages and little envelopes for tucking in bits of tickets and other tiny paper keepsakes. On the Smash Books website you can view this fun video for inspiration and ideas. 

There are so many fun examples of Smash Books online too. Here's a link. After looking at so many creative themes and ideas for these books I'm thinking hard about what I want to dedicate mine to. Too many ideas at the moment. I may need a few more Smash Books.

Thanks dear sister for the fun surprises. I noticed this morning that The Bug has already written her name in her book. I can't wait to see what treasures she stashes or should I say smashes in her book. She already has a few fun treasure books she holds dear to her heart. I know she's going to have fun with this one.

I'd say this is a great idea for Christmas, birthday, graduations gifts or for those days when you just want to say "I'm thinking of you!" Can't wait to make something beautiful with mine.

all images by kalanicut

25 September 2014

Rug Sale At Cost Plus World Market

Saw that Cost Plus World Market is having a big sale on rugs right now. So I thought I'd share a few of my favorites. It seems as if everyone is in need of a good rug for a specific space. Sometimes these quests can last for years. So catching a good one on sale is always a great way to go, especially if you need a large rug.

Rita Ikat: (above) The color and pattern combination here is one to love, orange and blue on a deep red background. Lovely.

Remi Off-placed Kilim Rug: Love the mismatched sides and earthy tones.

Barhari Flat-woven Wool Rug: Like this bright cheery color so very much. This would be sweet to brighten up just about any room. It would be fun in a kitchen nook.

Avira Flat-Woven Rug: Neutral with a lively off-set zigzag is nice. I feel like this would be perfect under a dining table.

Nari Jute Area Rug: So charming. The pattern is gorgeous and the colors simple. This would be a great base for a comfy, cozy space for relaxing.

Check out all the rugs at Cost Plus World Market. Of course they have a great selection of indoor/outdoor rugs and all sorts of great natural fiber, jute rugs too. There is something for any space in the house in a wide range of sizes. This might be the week you find that one rug that you've been searching for for years.

Last minute addition to this post. Saw this on Pinterest. It's a guide from Cost Plus World Market to know your rug materials. This is a handy resource to get a handle on the language of rugs.

24 September 2014

Say Yes To A Day Of Sportfishing

This post falls into the category of saying yes to things I normally probably wouldn't do. Recently I spent a day with my little family sport fishing off the cost of San Diego. It sounded like a fun adventure and something I probably wouldn't seek out doing. But when I had a chance to go with a group, I said yes.

First I have to say thank you to the owners and crew of the Commander, our vessel for the day. They were so nice, always ready to help and thanks to them I never had to bait my own line. I baited my own line for a while when I was a kid, but I find it completely unnecessary now when there's kindly help around, whether it's a squirming worm or six-inch live sardines. Thank you guys for doing my dirty work.

They were so awesome to help when hooks got caught on kelp, the fishing line got tangled up on the rod and they even cast my line for me quite a few times - which I could perfectly well do myself -- but they offered and I said yes. I also have to thank the San Diego Anglers for putting the trip together. They were so kind to provide lunch and snacks and so much additional help with rods and reels. A great group of people.

The first interesting fact I learned about sport fishing is how important high quality bait is. The captain of the boat actually goes out and nets his own bait out of the bait tanks to make sure the quality is good. Bad bait means bad fishing and when your business is helping guests catch fish, your daily catch report and reputation is critical. That was so interesting to me.

Once we got out on the open water it was pretty rough seas. I said the waves were big but my husband taught me we were in a "swell." Lots to learn at sea! There were a few people who got quite seasick on our trip. Thankfully we'd taken our smotion sickness pills and even though we got a bit queasy here and there we did great. I am so glad about that. Seasick and stuck on a boat for an entire day is no fun.

It makes sense now that I've learned some things, but sport fishing happens around kelp beds because that's where all the fish hang out. It makes for losing a lot of hooks and bait when your line gets stuck. But those are easily enough replaced and soon your line is back in the water fishing again.

Once we got to our fishing spot everyone charged towards the fishing rods so I decided it was a great time to sit on the upper deck, eat my lunch, just relax and have some peace and quiet. Heavenly. After a while I joined The Bug and helped her fish with her own pole. She did well but lost several good bites off the end of her line.

There were harbor seals, sea lions and plenty of birds circling our boat and stealing bait all day. Sometimes the birds get hooked on the fishing lines while being a little greedy for free lunch. They would have to be reeled in, have the hook removed, and then the crew would release them back. The Man caught two fish that were just a little too small to keep and had to be released. Then he caught a bird.

After a while The Bug got tired of her lack of success and I inherited her rod and reel. So I decided to fish on my own. Losing bait and bites, the day was coming to a close and I really wanted to put up the rod and reel and just relax for a while. 

Quite a few people had caught fish by this point. There was very little lull in the fish catching all day in fact. Some had put up their polls and were napping below in bunks or on deck in the sun.

After The Man had purchased a small portable cooler & two big bags of ice it seemed a shame to let it go home empty. After several of hours of fishing and a lot of bites none of us had netted a fish we could keep. So I decided to continue trying for a little bit longer.

Minutes later my line was again caught up in the kelp and the captain had come to kindly help me get untangled. I wasn't paying too close attention when suddenly he thrust the pole into my hands and said "Reel! Fast!" I took the pole and started reeling just in time to see a yellow fin tuna on the end of the line. In seconds the captain was grabbing the fish on the end of my line and we were in business!

We had our fish and it was one of the biggest caught that day. They tagged it lucky number 13 and in not too long we were on our way back to the harbor.

While we were sailing back to the docks the crew cleaned fish to each owners specific requests. We went with fillets and went home with two big fillets on ice.

For Sunday dinner last weekend we cooked up the fillets for my sister and The Man. I am not a fish eater so it was great to have guests who would enjoy and help eat up my catch.

I took one bite just so I could say I tasted my first ocean catch. Initially the taste wasn't too bad, but I will confess I hated it and had to go eat a cracker to get the taste out of my mouth immediately. Thankfully it was not a super smelly fish. I'm just not a fish eater. The Man constantly questions how I can be half Polynesian and hate fish. The absurdity of it is not lost on him at all.

We were exhausted by the time we went home. We all fell onto our beds about 5:30 p.m. thinking we'd take a short nap and then get up and get dinner. We all crashed. I woke up sometime around 11 p.m. and when I realized we were all down for the night I just went back to bed. We all slept 13-14 hours that night.

I will attribute some of that to exhaustion from a big, long day at sea, but The Man and I have a sneaky suspicion that it was the seasick pills that really knocked us for a loop. They were supposed to be non-drowsy but in the end we think they really knocked us out. The Man and I both took two pills since we're relatively tall folks. The recommendation was 1-2 pills. We both took 2. Won't do that again.

As for any ill effects of being at sea, I didn't feel any wobbly sea legs at all until the day after. When I went to bed that second night and the third night I immediately felt like the room was rocking quite a bit as soon as I was horizontal in bed. That was a little freaky, but thankfully I was so tired I fell asleep soon both nights.

My first experience sport fishing included rough seas and a long day in the hot sun. But I had a good time and I would do it again for sure. Now that I've done it once I think I know some tricks that would help me haul in a few more fish next time and make the trip even more pleasant in every way. It's good to try new things and I was really glad I tried sport fishing.

All images by kalanicut

23 September 2014

Now Is My Time #36: Evaluation & Planning

It's been almost a year since I first came up with the idea of 2014 being my Now Is My Time year. You can read about how I came to that point here. Now that we are officially into Fall, my thoughts are turning to evaluating how I've done this year and where I want to go next year.

Obviously there are still things to work on in putting myself first priority in my life. Sometimes life just forces me off the top of the priority list, like when there is a small or large family emergency, a looming deadline, or other situation that requires full attention. There are also the days that just aren't as effective as others.

But as I evaluate things overall I see areas where I can still tighten the belt on doing better. In all honesty that is both encouraging and a little frustrating. But that is life. A friend and I were talking about life balance a couple of weeks ago. She said her dad told her, "There is no such thing as life balance." We both found that comforting. Letting go of that feeling we should somehow be able to control life to make it all balance is surely a load off one's shoulders. It's also a recognition of how little control we have over life.

Life pushes and pulls in different areas at different times and to sit hoping someday that our lives are going to look like a perfectly balanced circle, rather than a hoop that is being pushed and pulled in ever-changing ways is surely a waste of hope and energy. Better to accept the lack of balance, learn to prioritize, enjoy the ebb and flow of life's adventures and find peace and joy in every day.

So I am taking some time over the next few weeks to go back and look at how I've done this year. I'm going to make a list of things I can continue to focus on. Then I want to think about where and how I take Now Is My Time to the next level. Where do I want to continue to grow? Where do I need to push myself to grow?

Will I have a mantra next year? Or will I just have a new or expanded goal? These are things I just don't know right now, but I am excited to explore. I have my new vision board to guide me. I have important needs that need to be acted upon. I have goals I must achieve for myself and our family.

After talking with my coach last week, we decided what would help is for me to make a list of my top priorities going forward and then give those my top focus. Sounds so simple and logical doesn't it. But so often in life we aren't living, using our energies or our time towards our top priorities at all.

It's is far too easy to get knocked off target, lose sight of what we really need and want, and just go through the day robotically, living like we're just trying to survive. Sometimes meals, jobs, laundry and getting enough rest take over the true focus of our time and our lives.

It is beautiful though that if we are really focused on living our best lives that somehow everything falls into place and we absolutely have time for the things that are most important to us as well as the other daily life tasks. Some of those tasks do fall off the list or we realized we can change how we've been going along. That is always a joy and a comfort.

So today I wrote down my five top life priorities...actually, as I'm typing this I just thought of another...and another. So right now I have seven. My next step will probably be to better define those seven goals or foci. (I don't get a lot of opportunities to use the plural form of focus, I had to do it, haha.)

I think these seven goals will help me gain a lot of focus and maybe even come up with a mantra for the next year. I'm excited to flesh them out and define them for myself.

Do you start thinking about goals and New Year's Resolutions in the fall? Do you have a list of hopes and dreams you feel driven to accomplish in the next year? How do you go about planning and evaluating your path? I love learning from you. You readers share some great wisdom.

19 September 2014

A Day At Sea: San Diego

Happy Friday friends! To get you in the mood for a relaxing last weekend of summer I thought I would share some photos from a recent day at sea. This is the Point Loma lighthouse in San Diego.

There was no shortage of sea life friends on our day out. There were sea lions galore. Boy are they noisy and a little bit rude the way they push their way around and climb right over the top of each other. As cute as they are, they could certainly use some etiquette lessons. Ha.

Pelicans greedily awaited any opportunity to snag a dropped sardine as the boat loaded live bait. When they have to work and dive for their own food they are quire amazing airmen and fishermen. Such diving talent.

Watching the waterways from shore is beautiful but it takes on a wonderful new perspective when you are out on the water. The familiar old views are fresh and different.

We experienced quite intense swells while we were out. Lots of rocking and rolling. Thank goodness we'd taken our seasick pills before we went out. For the adults the prescribed amount was one to two tablets. At  the end of the day we decided we should have gone with one tablet instead of two. We were so wiped out and drowsy. But none of us got sick -- hooray!

There were a few people who did get pretty sick. Sadly, the first person to go down was the guy who bragged to me doesn't get seasick. I felt bad for him and was glad that no one else had heard him say that to me. His day was over in the first hour of the trip.

It was a fun day, but also a long day. One of the best parts of the trip was arriving back in harbor, near this beautiful little houseboat. After we pulled in, gathered all our things and drove back to our lodging we all fell on our beds for a nap at about six thinking we'd wake up in an hour or so for dinner. Instead we all ended up sleeping until morning. A full 12 hours of sleep after a long, fun day at sea.

I'll have more to share with you next week about our little adventure. Hope you have a terrific weekend and have so fun and get some good rest. My sisters are appearing in town in a few hours, so there is lots to get ready. This is going to be an adventurous and busy weekend. Thanks for coming by.

For those of you in the northern hemisphere, how are you spending this last week of summer? Are there any of you down under who are celebrating the beginning of your warmer days? I'd love to hear what you have planned.

images by kalanicut

17 September 2014

Gorgeous Embroidered And Beaded Textiles

When my husband was out of the country last year he picked up some amazing textiles. While I was doing a total storage reorganization this week (aka heavy lifting pity party) I went through all the textiles he brought home. They were so beautiful I had to stop and take some photos.

I've decided my husband has a future as a buyer for Anthropologie if he ever wants to make a career change. I could see every one of these fabrics on a bed, chair or pillow in an Anthro catalog.

Thinking of ways to incorporate these textiles into our home turned my little head in a totally different direction from my lean and clean, minimalist, modern vibe of late. Suddenly I was seeing curtains in sunny windows, throws on multi-colored layered beds and all the international flair you could pack into one room.

So many rich hues, lots of gorgeous embroidery and intricate patterns. Some of the large pieces would make a gorgeous curtain or bed throw. Others would make a lovely table setting.

This looks like a vibrant coloring page done by a young child. It is a very intricate embroidery. Love the colors and the very thin silk fabric. It was a nice break from all the box moving to stop and really enjoy these for a while. How lucky am I that these are at our house?

Another gorgeous sleeve. The husband certainly has an eye for beautiful things. I am the lucky recipient of his great taste on a regular basis. He's the same guy who bought me a beautiful non-traditional engagement ring and the week after he gave it to me all the bridal magazines were touting the new trend for engagement rings using other colored precious gems instead of diamonds. He did well.

Speaking of Anthropologie here's their latest look book. There is a whole lot to love there. You'll find chandeliers, upholstered chairs, mirrors, sofas, oooh, just lots to love. Enjoy a wander. So that was my share for today. Hope you're having a great day.

16 September 2014

No More Putting Yourself Down As A Mom

This post is in response to conversations I regularly hear and see online by moms who put themselves down. I've done it myself. Even in jest it's not funny. We women spend an inordinate amount of time putting ourselves down and it needs to stop. Sure we all have good days and days that could have been a little better but I don't know any really lame moms.

If your children are fed and clothed and greeted with a smile and a big hug then you are a pretty amazing mom. If you help them with their homework and keep your sanity you're doing a pretty fantastic job.

But you do not have to do everything spectacularly and better than every other woman in the world. You do not have to have elaborate birthday parties and invite the whole neighborhood and then film it and make sure it's seen on a party planning site online for millions to see. I'm exaggerating here but does it help you to see the absurdity of obsessive motherhood behaviors? You don't even have to have a birthday party for Pete's sake! 

Really I'm not joking. I am surprised to realize that some people really think they kids must have a over the top, elaborate birthday party extravaganza with friends EVERY year. It's not a must and some of the happiest birthday kids I've seen are kids whose parents made a special day with just them or just the family and made them the center of attention rather than all of the parent's attention on the perfection of some crazy, over the top cake creation and party favors.

I'm mean c'mon, who is the party for? You and your crafty Pinterest birthday board gathering self or the kiddo???? Kiddos want your full attention way more than they want all the stuff. That is until they can't get your attention and decide to just go for the stuff instead. Then watch out.

You don't have to be Super Mom and in fact the more you try the less your family and friends really likes you. Hello painful truth.

Here's why. When we constantly talk down about ourselves and try to overshoot every mark, whether it's life critical or not, we end up very unhappy, stressed out, and ungrateful for what we have  -- and guess who gets all the fallout for that....your kids and your spouse, your friends, your associates. Everyone around you feels that and it's not fun to be around someone like that.

Stop overreaching for marks that aren't necessary. Stop putting yourself down in front of your kids or to your friends or to strangers for that matter. You are not a lame mom and there's no real win to saying things about yourself like that anywhere.

No more saying, "I'm such a lame mom," or "Great mom, huh?" or "#momfail" or anything that is unkind to you. When we say or write these things I think in reality what we're saying is "I care too much about what other people think of me. I could better spend more time just being me and being happy."

Would you put down your friends like this when you see them having a challenging day or dealing with an unruly kid? Don't you think this would crush your friends to hear things like this from your mouth? Then what is it doing to your sweet heart when you say these things about yourself?

Do you want to hear your kids saying these things about themselves? Do you want them to feel like they are crummy people and later crummy parents all the time? Are we teaching them to overreact with feelings of failure to small things like a burned dinner or forgotten appointment?

Then we have to stop saying them to ourselves, in front of our kids or face to face with anyone. Instead let me challenge you to start saying, "I did well today," or "I did the best I could do with what I had to work with today, that's a win," or "If I loved them enough, it was a successful day."

Often our most mundane days are actually filled with greatness if we will but look through different glasses. Be kind to yourself. Stop saying mean things. Don't set this tone as an example for others or do anything to make it trendy, socially acceptable or a habit for anyone else. You deserve better. You are too good for that kind of talk and your responsibilities are too valuable and wonderful to spend any time tearing yourself down and thus weakening your positive impact.

Having said all this, this does not just apply to moms. It applies to people at all stages of life and every setting. We need to be kinder to ourselves.

I wrote about a similar subject for the I AM ENOUGH project a few years ago. Here's a link to a painful awakening I had learning to be kinder to myself.

image by kalanicut

15 September 2014

Now Is My Time #35: Revisiting Say Yes

I am quickly closing in on the five-year anniversary of kalanicut. Can't even believe I'm saying that. Proud to still be publishing, proud to still be focused on doing quality work and sharing things I hope bring inspiration for light and peace and encouragement to the world.

As I was going through posts from a few years ago I remembered this recipe contest I won. (Pardon the totally weak graphics and experimental font usage. This was the very, very early days and I still had a lot to learn...and still do have a lot to learn!)

What a phenomenal experience that was. I didn't enter at first and the deadline passed. Then they reopened the deadline and I figured it was a sign that I should have just had the courage to do it in the first place. So I went for it and somehow won the entire contest. The prize changed, there ended up not being a trip to Boston or a dinner party photo shoot, but I still was handsomely rewarded. That was one of those moments where I hesitated and then when I said "Yes" incredible things happened.

This reminded me of this fantastic two-part guest post written by my friend Sarah called Yes Month. It is worth a regular revisit for anyone who wants to maintain courage, growth and adventure in their lives. Reading it today could bring all sorts of new adventures into your life.

This got me thinking about whether I am being adventurous enough in my life. I decided to make a list of things I've said yes to lately. Here it is.

1. Said yes to applying to two adventures that make my stomach nervous. One is far away, one is almost too close for comfort. Both are game changers and risks.

2. Said yes to an upcoming deep sea fishing excursion. I have my concerns about seasickness because I've had it in the deep waves of the Pacific and I've been on a boat in California where every tourist except me was throwing up and splayed out on the deck as if they would die. Bad flashbacks. I love the ocean but I don't like that seasick feeling. Am investigating the good "take in advance" drugs NOW.

3. Said yes to a couple of experiences that I thought I had no shot at and I got a lot farther than anticipated, gained a lot of confidence and those spurred me on to being more courageous and trying more new things.

4. Said yes to sitting in the fourth row of WET ZONE at the Shamu show at SeaWorld. I learned that on really hot days they really go for it. Six complete drenching in fifteen minutes. We could not have been any more soaked if we'd jumped into the pool. What an adventure. But I didn't feel hot the rest of the day despite the killer temps.

This experience also helped me make sense of the older woman with the lumpy body who showed up at the show in only a swimsuit. She knew what she was getting into. Haha. Getting through the rest of the day in all wet clothes and shoes was less fun that you might imagine.

5. Said yes to asking for help when I would've done just about anything not to have to ask. Life lessons there, let me tell you. Learning to ask for and accept help when you are a fiercely independent person is not easy. Ah humility.

6. Said yes to more fiercely managing and protecting my life experience. In multiple ways this year I have said yes and no to situations that have helped me better lead my own life. I care less about what others think and say and more about what I know to be true and best for me in my own life. Takes a warrior mentality and a sometimes painful acceptance of personal responsibility.

7. Said yes to asking for what I want. I have a silly "I don't want to bother anyone" problem. One of the great regrets I've had in my life is that I didn't take people up on amazing offers they made to me because I didn't want to bother them. So dumb. This has necessitated me learning, later in life than I should have, to just say and ask for what I really want rather than silencing my desires "for the greater good" aka not bothering people.

(This is so dumb, I realize it, I promise...but it's kind of an oldest kid thing. The immediate needs of the younger kids very often supersede the needs of the older kids. Then the older kids are drafted to become part of the solution to those immediate needs, rather than focusing on their own wants. Ask any oldest child about this one. It's real.)

I have too often said, "Oh whatever you want." and have in fact not learned very well to know and say what I want for fear or upsetting the apple cart and just wanting to keep things running painlessly. That does not always work and is not a skill that should always be employed. Life lesson...when The Man asks me what I want to have for dinner, actually say what I'd like to have for dinner instead of "I don't care, whatever is easiest for everyone."

8. Said yes to staying to dinner with dear friends who live far away after we popped by for a quick hello when we were in town unexpectedly. They insisted, we said yes. We were blessed by our night with them in multiple ways and it was a great resting point after a very long, hot, exhausting day of work. We had no idea how much we needed that time with them until after later. So glad we said yes.

9. Said yes to continuing to blog. The blogging landscape has changed dramatically over the past couple of years. There are lots of lovely people who aren't blogging anymore. Reader behaviors have changed too as have opportunities to monetize a blog.

This gave me a chance to really question why I blog and if it was worth my time to continue. When I evaluated what was really important to me and why I blog I said yes to continuing. I'm so happy I did and that I continue to learn and grow from the experience. I also hope that loyal readers and new readers still find value and inspiration here. That is my goal.

10. Said yes to life. As I get older, I realize more and more that life doesn't get easier, you just have to get stronger. It's such a cliche thing to say but it is so true. Life is a challenge, but putting your best attitude and best foot forward makes tackling it a much more hopeful experience. So this year I say "Wow what a grand and challenging adventure!" instead of "Man, life is hard." One if vastly more inspiring than the other and keeps me going.

What have you said yes to this year? Are there things you haven't quite dared say yes to yet? What's keeping you from it?

11 September 2014

Personalized Headphones Cords: My Beads USA

*This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to the five winners listed below. Thank you so much for entering. It's fantastic to see the interest in MyBeads spreading the past couple of weeks. Winners please email me your mailing address to kalanicut at hotmail dot com.

Hope you have a great time personlizing your headphones! If you get a chance we'd love it if you would post a photo of your finished project on the MyBeadsUSA facebook page. It's so cool to see what everyone comes up with.

1) Lori from Parkhurst Party
2) Jennifer from Jen's Grateful Year
3) Jane from The Borrowed Abode
4) Alina Wilson
5) Shannon from I'm No Domestic Goddess

I am very happy to introduce you to something so fun and cool that I've been excited about the past few months. Meet my personalized headphones using My Beads by My Beads USA. These are beads created to personalize your headphone and charger cords. They have a slit in the side so you can slip them right on your cords.

In full disclosure, I have been working with My Beads USA on marketing. Now let me tell you why My Beads are so cool to me as a user. I've been using them for a few months and they've kinda changed my life...really they have. See #4 and 5!

1) Fun Craft Project: This is a project anyone can do. I just saw a really cool pair of headphones personalized by a four year old this week, so it's fun for all ages. You could decorate them with holiday colors throughout the year.

2) Show Your Personality: With 500 beads in each bag, the color combinations are incredible. See a sample of all the cool cords people have made on Facebook. Randomly places or in an intricate pattern, you can make your own look.

Show them off while sporting your headphones at the gym. Imagine wearing your favorite college or professional team colors at the big game or having your entire sports team sporting their headphones with team pride colors.

3) Protect Your Cord: These beads absorb pressure and keep your cords from getting dirty, pulled excessively and banged up.

4) Easy To Find: Less losing your cord in your bag or around the house. The bright colors make them more noticeable and easier to grab. When you're reaching around in the dark or in the bottom of a bag for the beads they are much easier to recognize than trying to see or feel a little cord.

5) No More Confusion With Identical Cords: If you have a family or roommates with similar cell phones everyone's cords and chargers look the same unless you personalize them. Now that my cords are pink and yellow I haven't had one problem in months with The Man accidentally taking my headphones! This is big. That has been a long-term problem.

6) Best Of All: No More Tangled Cord! Yes it's true, you will never have to waste your valuable life energy untangling your long headphone cords. Again, life changing.

In my mind these are the ultimate stocking stuff for Christmas 2014. They are also great for gift bags or for kids' friend gifts for the holidays.

MyBeadsUSA also has a great fundraising program is you are associated with a school, church or youth group or sports team that has to do fundraisers. The best part is you can return anything you don't sell for a refund.

My Beads are available at MyBeadsUSA.com. You can also follow them on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

The Bug is working on her black and purple headphones this week. If you decorate your headphones or charger with My Beads we'd love to see your creation. Post photos to Twitter and/or Facebook.

I'm going to wrap up this post with a giveaway. We will give away one pair to five people drawn randomly from the comments below. Leave a comment and tell us what colors you would use to decorate your own personalized headphones or what feature most interests you? Drawing ends midnight (PDT) Wednesday September 17, 2014. Good luck.

10 September 2014

Did I Love Enough Today?

Man, has September been a crazy one so far. My head spinneth! I feel like I had have some major event EVERY day since before Labor Day Weekend and August was crazy eventful too.

The past two nights I have been on three hours sleep to 1) head out early or 2) stay up late to finish a big project. Then I have had some business opportunities to attend to and exciting projects to investigate -- and a husband out of town many days and a third grader trying to adjust to a new school year.

That also means me trying to figure out the beyond cryptic homework assignments that come home with almost no really useful instructions. The days are long but I seek out every joyful moment possible.

Some nights after all are asleep and I am walking through the now dark and quiet house, with a somewhat heavy heart, I wonder if I've loved enough that day. With all the things that can keep us "busy" being far, far less important. Did I make a big enough huggy, lovvy, slurpy, kissy scene or was I too caught up on the computer, writing, cooking, cleaning, or talking to someone on the phone.

Did I miss that moment when someone walk away, giving up on getting some needed attention? Was I too sharp at an interruption or an annoyance? Do they know without a doubt how much I love them?

Yesterday The Bug climbed up next to me on our bed to do her homework. I took the opportunity every few minutes to just stroke her hair, cheek, arms and hands. Each time I would touch her she would quietly, while still looking at her homework, say, "You're a great mom. I love you."

What an amazing payoff for taking a few minutes to let her know that I see her, I appreciate her and I love her.

Are there special, tender things you do when you want to make sure your family knows how much you love them? How do you catch yourself, slow down and make the little moments count?

08 September 2014

Now Is My Time #34: The Downfall Of Efficiency

As I was buzzing along last week, doing my daily list of too many things, I started thinking about my love of efficiency -- and then I had a light bulb moment.

I don't know how I got to be so intense about efficiency but I think it may have come from my agrarian family. Work hard, work fast, get it done, don't drag it out. Now, the idea of being efficient is to save time, right? So that should mean I get my work done faster so that I don't have to work for so long, right? I should be getting some time back or more me time or something.

Here was my light bulb moment: If you are working harder and faster to get things done, that does NOT mean you should add more and more work to the list because you have the time. The idea is to get the work done so you have more free/down time.

I am doing myself a disservice. Taking on more work has become more of a punishment for my extra effort to be effective at my daily tasks. So I'm taking on more, tiring myself out more, and it becomes a bit of a never-ending, exhausting cycle. There is always something else to do or more to add to the list...since I have the time. (That doesn't guarantee I have the energy. It probably just means I will feel like I should be doing MORE work and shouldn't be "wasting" valuable time.)

So what exactly was the point of all my drive to be efficient? In essence, it was just serving to wear me out more. Wow. Big realization. I am still pondering all this and trying to find my comfortable middle ground with my drive to be efficient and my ability to say "that's enough."

Being able to be hyper-efficient and take on large amounts of work can be a great trait for short spurts such as when you are moving or an emergency hits. But I don't think one is meant to run on that kind of high intensity all the time.

So I need to slow it down or figure out a way not to run in overdrive most days when third gear is just right for what needs to get done, the speed required and weight of work that needs to be taken on.

So friends, what can you share and teach me here? How do you manage your daily work loads and well-being? When do you say "enough is enough" and stop the whirlwind of your day? And what do you do then?

image via mca

05 September 2014

Labor Day Weekend Recap

I think I'm still recovering from our power packed Labor Day Weekend. What a hangover I had Tuesday morning - not of the alcoholic variety but of the tired variety. The four-day weekend was a little bit "play it by ear" but it worked out better than perfectly.

School was out on Friday so we headed to San Diego on Thursday night. We pulled in about ten and immediately got cozy, had a snack and headed to bed. The Bug has her customary tent set up in our lodging. This works out so well because we can stay up, have lights on and she is sheltered in her dark little cocoon of a tent fast asleep.

Friday morning we got up and headed to Old Town San Diego. We've been there lots of times but we always get requests for a visit to The Mormon Battalion visitor's center. It's such a fun place for children and families and anyone really will enjoy it. It's a great San Diego historical site. We were there for a long time while The Bug played and played. It's easy to make it a nice 45-minute visit. If the kids are interested in the play areas you can easily stretch it to another 45 minutes.

Then we walked all around Old Town and had lunch at an outdoor cafe. It was nice and peaceful, but the food wasn't so amazing or beautiful that I would recommend it excitedly. Friday night we had two appointments to catch, then by the time we got home we were tired out. So we grabbed a sandwich and had a lovely picnic in our room.

Saturday morning we headed to the beach and spend quite a lot of the day there. There was a family with a girl The Bug's age right next to us and they played in the water for hours. Due to the high tides and probably the time of the year, the shallow beach water was filled with seaweed.

It took two full showers to wash all the seaweed off of The Bug and out of her clothes at the end of the day --- and still I was combing bunches of it out of her hair after that. Wow, seaweed is a wicked little beast.

Once we got her cleaned up we headed to the base movie theater and caught the early evening movie. When that got out we headed next door for two lines of Disco Saturday Night Bowling. A big, long, fun day.

That night we headed home to take care of a couple of responsibilities here. Sunday we spent they day catching up on rest. A great nap and walk to the neighborhood park was just the ticket.

Monday was had another whirlwind day. Taking advantage of military family museum programs we visited The Peterson Automotive Museum and then went up the street to The La Brea Tar Pits. I had never been to the Peterson so that was a great first time visit for me.

I was really impressed most by the realization of how much the 20th Century was impacted by the creation of the car. How cities were built changed immensely once cars became plentiful, from the width of city streets to how buildings were built to accommodate cars. This had a huge impact on city life and created the possibility for tract housing to flourish in suburban neighborhoods.

Not only did community life change but it also changed how homes and neighborhoods were created. Adding carports and garages to homes became a major change in the history and evolution in the architecture of single family homes.

It was also interesting to realize how Hollywood and the Automotive industry grew up together and how much they impacted each other. World War II also had a major impact on the development of the automotive industry, post-war, as well. California, while far from Detroit, played a major role in the development of the auto industry in the United States and globally.

We still had a little steam in our engines when we got done at Peterson so we headed a couple of blocks east and made a quick 1-hour visit to the La Brea Tar Pits. This is one of The Bug's favorite places on earth. Since she was tiny she's been calling it "The Dinosaur Museum" even though there are not any dinosaurs there. But there are lots of skeletons of many other extinct but more recent animals. Right in the middle of Los Angeles sits this amazing and world famous fossil find.

At the end of our day we stopped in for a burrito at one of our favorite local haunts before we came home tired and ready for bed after a very fun-filled weekend.

What did you do for the holiday, friends? Rest and relax? Family barbecue? Big travel plans?
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