Happy New Year | 2018 Word of the Year


Happy New Year all! I hope the last month treated you all well, and that you had a wonderful Christmas and New Year's Eve!

I took a little break the last couple of weeks from posting on social media and blogging, and it was kind of nice to take a step back. I took some time to evaluate my business and the past year in general, and to focus on some goals and ideas for 2018.

Last year I chose a word of the year instead of the same old typical resolutions (lose weight, work out more, eat healthier) and I really liked it. I chose the word 'moderation' and I felt like I was able to focus on it and keep applying it all year long, instead of slowly fizzling out a few months in like I usually did. I think that picking one specific idea instead of several more general goals worked well for me.

I ended up focusing more on moderation in my eating than anything else, and I started having some health issues in the spring that really made me have to be more strict with my food. The result was that I lost 17 pounds over the last year (and only gained one during the holidays!) and I've been able to have goodies around and not just completely binge like I would have in the past. It's helped me create more healthy habits and I consider it a success for the year.

This year I decided to continue that practice and as you probably guessed from the photo above, I chose the word 'productive.' I have always been a procrastinator, my entire life. I even wrote a funny post about it several years ago when I first started blogging! I put things off as long as I possibly can, and I've always said that it's because I work better under pressure, but the older I get, the more it just stresses me out.

With the house getting closer to being finished (which means more hands on projects for me), and other goals I have for my business and blog, I know that being more productive is key. So my plan is to create a solid routine for my day to day, and stick to it!

I've been reading up on some articles on how to be a more productive person (I pinned them all to my New Year board), and I've found some good ones that I think will help me in the areas I need to work on.

First and foremost is setting a strict bed- and waking time. I struggle so much with keeping a good sleep schedule! I stay up late and sleep in most days, but the last month I was fighting off a bug and it was worse than usual. No matter how hard I've been trying I just could not get it turned around! But I've been working on it and this week I'm knuckling down and making it happen. 6:30 a.m. is going to be my new best friend!

I also intend on using more time blocks for daily tasks that I do every day. This way I don't get sucked in and distracted on social media, or putter around and bounce from one little task to another when I know all I really need to do is the dishes. This will help me get through my day to day while still allowing me to have time to focus on bigger projects like the house.

I also have switched up my list making. I have a tendency to just pile up my to do list with every little thing, and then I get overwhelmed and only half of it ever gets done (if I'm lucky). One article I read said that a person can really only focus on about three things at a time, and I know I constantly have way more than that on my mind at any given time. So, each day I'm going to prioritize three tasks (besides my daily chores/work) on my list and focus on those. I also created a weekly and monthly list to pull from that has everything I'd like to get done. I'm really excited about this and I'll let you know how it works out :)

So that's my word of the day. I hope this year will be successful and kind to us all! And I'd love to know, do you set resolutions for the year, or choose a word? Or do you just think it's all nonsense? Haha! Let me know!

Happy 2018 everybody, and thanks for stopping by!

Recipe | Low-Carb Peppermint-Mocha Coffee Creamer


Hey all! Here we are, half way through our week again, and only a week and a half from Christmas! 

I wanted to pop on here today and share one of my favorite things about this time of year, and that is the coziest flavor combo there is. Move over pumpkin spice latte, it's peppermint mocha season!

Now don't get me wrong, I love fall and spices and I can get down with the p.s.l. as well as the next girl, but I will take a peppermint mocha over that any day. So when I realized that I had all the makings of a sugar free peppermint mocha creamer, I whipped some up and wrote it down so I could share it all with you! (And for those of you who prefer the real deal, I'll tell you how much sugar to substitute.)

This is probably one of the easiest recipes you'll ever make, and all it is is combine and mix! No cooking involved. 

Ingredients

1 Tbsp cocoa powder
5 tsp stevia blend* (I used organic Pyure)**
1/4 tsp peppermint extract
1/2 tsp vanilla
1-2 tsp warm water
1 1/3 c half n half

*Stevia blend sweeteners are twice as sweet, so if you're using regular sugar, simply double the amount of sweetener in the recipe. In this case you'll use 10 tsp.

**I also want to note that this is very sweet, like most flavored creamers. I wanted it to be sweet enough that I wouldn't have to add anything else to my coffee. If you like things to taste less sweet, feel free to adjust the sweetener to your taste.






Instructions

First, start off by adding all of your powdered ingredients and extracts into your jar or container. Next, add one to two teaspoons of hot water (just from the tap) and mix to combine them all. This creates a smooth liquid and prevents your cocoa powder from getting all lumpy. Also, technically you could use cold water but I find the warm water helps to dissolve the sweetener a little faster. Lastly, add your half-n-half and continue stirring until your sweetener is fully dissolved!





And there you have it, easy peasy! This makes enough to last about a week (or a couple days if you're an addict like myself haha!) so just pop a lid on it and put it in your refrigerator to store. This would also make a great hostess gift, or for any person who loves a good flavored creamer.

For the record, Dane doesn't usually go for flavored creamers, but he was all over this one. When there's more than one of you drinking it, it tends to go fast, so feel free to double the recipe!







I hope you'll try this and let me know what you think! Are you a fan of the peppermint mocha, or do you prefer your coffee a little less froofy? Let me know in the comments below!

As always, thanks for stopping by and have a great rest of your day!

Foraged Christmas Wreath | DIY


Hey guys! Happy Wednesday!

Today I wanted to stop by and share a fun little project/tutorial I did last week. I love fresh Christmas wreaths but I never buy them because they're always so dang expensive. I have a few fake ones that I like and are really pretty, but they don't have that good smell that fresh ones have. Then I realized, duh! I have a forest behind my house and tons of evergreens! So I decided to make my own. I enlisted the help of my little sis to be my photographer/videographer (hey Tiffany!) and I created a tutorial to take you through the process in case you decide to make your own too!




We live in a pretty wooded area, and we have lots of cedars, sugar pines, and douglas firs growing on our property. One of the most fun and easiest steps of this project was gathering what I could from our backyard! But even if you don't have as easy access to trees as I do, there's other ways to go about it.

Maybe you live within driving distance of some woods. In some areas you need a permit to forage and other places it's free. Just call your local county, BLM, or forest service to find out what rules apply where you live. If you go adventuring to forage for your wreaths, just make sure to always tell someone where you're going, and even better, take someone with you too!

I've also heard you can sometimes find Christmas tree vendors that will sell their trimmings for cheap or you could use trimmings off of your own tree if you purchase a real one.




If you do forage for your greenery, just make sure you don't get too crazy. Don't go onto private property without permission, don't take to much off of any one spot on the tree, and leave the place as you found it. I found that I didn't really have to trim much at all off my trees, and I had way more than enough to make mine.





Even if you've never made a wreath before (like me!) it's actually pretty simple once you gather all your supplies. And it's so much cheaper than buying one! I went and spent around $7 on a few supplies and some faux berries (since those were the only thing I didn't have growing naturally here, maybe I need to plant some in the future, hmm?).

The things you'll need for your wreath are:

  • A Wreath frame (I used a 12 in.)
  • Green floral wire
  • Accents (optional: faux berries, ribbon, bows, pinecones)
  • Garden shears
  • Wire cutters (I just used my garden shears) 
  • Greenery trimmings (about 12 inches long) 
  • A Workspace cover (I used kraft paper to keep the pitch off my table)


The first thing you'll need is a frame unless you want it to be more loose and wild, in which case you could try making the wreath just out of your greenery, but I wanted that extra support (plus something to hang it by). I just used a basic metal one that I can re-use every year, but you could also choose a grapevine or other type of frame. You'll also need some floral wire (green to blend in), and any other accents you might want like pine cones, faux berries or ribbon. 

I used my garden shears on my floral wire, which is probably a no-no, but it was so thin I don't think it really hurt them. They do have wire that comes on a roll with a cutter, so that would be a really handy way to go if you didn't want to buy them separately.  

Once you have all of your greenery, all you have to do is start connecting it with your floral wire!




I gathered trimmings that were about 12-18 inches long and then I cut them down into smaller pieces.  They probably ended up being about a third to half that once I cut them up and started combing them into bunches. I would either do all one type or I would use a couple pieces of cedar, and add them to a piece or two of fir and wrap them together at the bottom with wire. 

Next I would use another piece of wire to wrap and secure it to my frame. After I got going I realized it was faster to make up my bunches of greenery and once I had several, add them to the frame. You want to work from top to bottom, layering each consecutive bunch over the bottom of the one before it to cover your wire.




After you work your way around the frame, you want to go back in and fill in any bare or thin spots with smaller bunches. Sometimes I'd used multiple types of greenery together but with smaller pieces and sometimes I would use one individual piece to fill in a small spot.

All you want to do is make sure that you're attaching them in a way that your wire will be hidden by other parts of the wreath. If you use the green wire it blends in pretty well though.


I also recommend picking it up off your workspace periodically so you can see how well everything is attached. I had some parts that wanted to fall a little from the top of the pieces, so I had to wire them on the tops too. That should only be a problem on one little section though, just because of the direction the greenery is going. 



After you have all of your greenery connected, it's time for accents! You can go as simple or elaborate as you want, but I opted for just a few faux berries and a couple of pine cones. My pine cones were almost completely closed up still, but I was able to wrap my wire in between the rows of petals (is that what you would call them?) and then use that same piece of wire to connect them to the wreath. And I wired my berries onto some smaller pieces of greenery then wired them to the frame too.




And you're done! Like I said, this project is so much fun and you can go as basic or ornate as you want to. It's a simple process either way, and it's a pretty quick project that you can do by yourself, or with friends and family. I plan on making it a yearly tradition now, and maybe sometimes I'll make a party out of it and invite all my girls over to make some too!

Hopefully it all made sense with the pictures and instructions, but I have a video too! You can watch me make mine, so it should make the process that much easier if you decide to make one too. 


I've been wanting to start creating some video content for the blog, so I made a youtube channel and I plan on doing more videos in the future if you guys like them! I love to watch videos, so definitely let me know if that's something you'd like to see more of :)

Alright, thanks so much for stopping by today, and I hope you enjoy your wreath making! Please share them with me if you do make them, email me or tag me on Instagram or Facebook because I'd love to see them! Have a great rest of your day friends!

Neat Stuff Friday | 5

This post contains Amazon affiliate links, and I may receive some compensation from purchases made through them.

Happy Friday, and happy December! It's been a long while, but I thought I'd do another neat things Friday with you all today.

Christmas is right around the corner, and I'm starting to feel festive! I still have to finish decorating my little trees but I spent most of my week trying to settle back into routine after being in Idaho for Thanksgiving. Does it take anyone else forever to get back into the swing of things after being out of town?

I've also been brainstorming some fun new projects for blog posts coming up too, and I'm pretty excited for them. There's just something about the Christmas season that gets me feeling all creative and wanting to make all the things!

Next week I'll start sharing those, and I'll also have a house update post too! But in the meantime, here's some neat stuff I'm thinking about this week :)

Neat Stuff

  1. I've been wanting a classic, neutral apron. I'm a mess when I'm in the kitchen, and it might make my clothes last longer if I start wearing one! I really like this half size and this full one. Both so classic, and definitely a kitchen staple I could use!
  2. We opted out of putting in a bathtub in our house, since neither of us are bath takers and we loved the idea of having a larger shower. After reading this article, it seems like we aren't alone in the idea. How about you? Is a bathtub a necessity?
  3. My grandma makes the best, most chewy and delicious ginger-molasses cookies, and not being able to eat much sugar means I can't really enjoy them any more. I tried a modification on this low carb version which turned out pretty good, but I also want to play around with a variation on my grandma's and see what I come up with. I tried one batch that was a fail haha, but I'm going to keep trying!
  4. We get together with Dane's family every year for an annual white elephant Christmas Eve, and this guide of gift ideas is just hilarious! It's giving me ideas for sure ;)
  5. I mentioned on instagram the other day that my parents got me Floret Farm's Cut Flower Garden book, and I'm so excited to grow my flower garden for cutting bouquets next summer. I discovered them in a magazine last spring, and I love that they sell coordinating seed collections that you can grow together to make beautiful, cohesive bouquets. One thing that always kept me from trying was not knowing what kinds of flowers to grow, and they took all the guess work out of it! If you've been wanting to do the same, definitely check them out. I ordered the Dusty Rose collection, and I can't wait to get my seeds in the mail!
  6. Since I'm on more of a low sugar kick, I might also try to re-make this recipe from a couple years ago, but in a lower sugar version. It's Dane's favorite, and I really enjoy it too, and Christmas is my favorite time to make goodies so I think I'm going to have to give it a try.
There you have it, all my neat stuff for the week! I hope you all have a beautiful weekend, and thanks for stopping by!

P.S. - Did you hear I'm doing a giveaway and a sale? 30% off all printable, free shipping on orders over $10, and there's still time to enter to win a free Christmas printable design for  your cards this year! Check out more information here

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