New Beginnings

With the end of another year upon us again (already!), and the beginning of a brand new one peaking around the bend, many of us are looking back on what we’ve accomplished; or in many cases, NOT accomplished;…with disappointment and regret…and what we hope to accomplish in the next twelve months.

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I don’t really understand why we all feel the need to wait until January 1st – but I suppose we see it as a fresh start of sorts; just like when we decide to start a new diet on Mondays.  So I’m just going to go with it – such is life.  Some traditions, however silly, are here to stay.

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A large part of becoming a homesteader, for me (and this is only my personal opinion – you don’t have to agree with me!), is attaining my own personal best when it comes to health.  There are so many issues running in my family, and I know that if any of those are passed down to me, I will have many difficulties in operating a successful homestead. I do not want diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol getting in the way of my dreams.  I don’t want osteoporosis or arthritis preventing me from working the land.  And I certainly don’t want weight problems stopping me from enjoying every single minute of it.

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Yes, weight tends to be the number one resolution on January 1st…or rather, the LOSING of.  And yes, I’ve made that same resolution myself, time and time again, with varying degrees of success, or lack thereof.  I’m not able to guarantee myself a different outcome this time around, but I can guarantee to give myself 100% effort.

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At 36 years old, I realize that these things will become increasingly more difficult, but I’ve never been one to shrink in front of a challenge.  Weight isn’t the only thing I’ll be looking at this year, but rather, overall health.  I want to concentrate on changing the things we put in our bodies – this means changing the way we shop for groceries, and pulling out all the stops when it comes to curbing bad habits (like grabbing this and that on the go!).  I’m going to be putting a lot of emphasis on clean, organic foods.  Whole foods.  Eating the way Mother Nature intended us to, without eliminating an ounce of flavor.  Yes, another challenge, I know.

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I’m also going to concentrate on every other aspect of health… from eyes and teeth, to skin and bones.  The number on the scale is important to me, I’m not going to lie.  But feeling good on the inside is just as important.  And the INSIDE, also means my head.  I’ve had a lot going on lately, and life hasn’t exactly been great in the happiness department.  And my optimal Health Plan will definitely include this.  So from head to toe on the outside, AND on the inside.  I realize this is quite an ambition, but I think ….no, I KNOW I’m up for the challenge!!!

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I will get healthy, so that I can give myself the best possible chance to succeed and reach my dreams and my goals of this dream life of mine!  I will!  I read in someone’s blog, that we need to “manifest” what we want to achieve.  So this is what I choose to manifest.  Optimal Health.

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What do YOU choose for  yourself for 2016???

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A Little R & R…and a Glass of Wine

On a recent much needed visit with my best friend, we decided to keep with tradition and pop into our old haunt…a little courtyard plaza; aptly named “The Courtyard”; that’s reminiscent of a Medieval country village, with board and batten white wash and dark beams, high steep roof peaks, and of course, a courtyard in the centre of it all. In this place is housed a quaint little tea house, and our favorite occult shop, Odyssey.  I had a three year old gift certificate burning a hole in my pocket…actually, it was buried in old emails and it took me about 15 minutes to find it.  But o wanted to see what goodies I could find.

Not my photo – borrowing from Google

  

A couple bumper stickers that stay true to my tree-hugger personality…my very first wand (finally!), a new 2016 Witches calendar …and the piece de resistance: I laid my eyes on Llewellyn’s 2016 Herbal Almanac, and I just had to have it!  Small enough to fit in my handbag, but filled with so much information that it could very easily become my bible!  

In planning my garden for the Spring, a large part of that consists of herbs – for the kitchen, for healing, and for magic.  Only a few pages in, and I’m already hooked!  I’m already dreaming about cultivating barley and looking up where I can buy an old-fashioned flour mill!

  
So tonight, this entry is short, and possibly not as well written or thought out as others…because truthfully, all I want to do is strip off my clothes and climb into bed with a glass of my favorite wine, and enjoy a little R & R by immersing myself in pages that will quickly become worn and dog-eared. 

Sleep sweet everyone.  Bright blessings!

Something’s Missing…

I understand; although I don’t particularly like it;  that it seems to be accepted as the norm that as we grow older, we tend to lose some of the magic and joy the holidays bring us as children.  I’ve been disillusioned by choice for many years, believing that because I had a child, I should be entitled to these feelings.  This was a false entitlement apparently.  And through the past years, my Christmas spirit has rapidly dwindled to the point that this year, I have nothing left at all.  No joy of the season, no anticipation, no anything.  All I feel this year, is complete and utter indifference for the day that’s so quickly approaching.  Indifference, and dread.  And sadness.  I want to feel happy!  I want to be excited for the gatherings and festivities!  I just can’t seem to muster up enough energy to really care!  And I don’t know if I really should be sad, or if I should be afraid.  Is this a product of the continued and grossly increased commercialization of this once sacred time of year?  Or is it rather a product of my own lack of …I don’t even know WHAT it would be a lack of to be honest!  I just keep thinking, there must be something wrong with me!  But then I’ve heard the same sentiment come out of so many mouths around me this year…enough to make me believe that this is not really ‘abnormal’, per-se… but maybe some sort of epidemic!!!

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We can call it Bah-Humbug-Bug…or Scrooge Fever…or Grinch Flu… whatever it is, it seems it’s a wide-spread plague that’s attacked millions of us across the world.  We need a cure… I need a cure!  I want to see sugar plums dancing in my head again, surrounded by fairy dust and jingle bells!   I want to get excited by the thought of twinkling lights on a Christmas tree, and the smell of pine throughout the house, and hot cocoa on Christmas morning!  But it seems everywhere we turn, all we see is “SALE! SALE! SALE!”… I turn on the radio and hear “♪♫ For everything under the tree, there’s Sears ♫♪”, and about a million other commercials.  I don’t even WANT anything wrapped under the tree this year… all I want for Christmas, is the spirit that’s been slowly disappearing and has now completely vanished.  Will someone point me in the right direction???

Ups and Downs

I’ve been sort of MIA for the past 10 days – been trapped, so to speak, inside my own mind.  I get into these funks once in a while…they kind of creep up on me without my knowledge or permission and pounce when I least expect it.  Since I’m normally the happiest and perkiest and most positive person I know (my friends will attest!), this is extra frustrating for me and those around me.  They don’t know how to handle it, because it’s just ‘so not me’…what they don’t know is that in my teens and early 20’s, I was constantly plagued with long bouts of extreme depression…and now once in a blue moon, the sleeping snake rears its ugly head again.  I’m just glad I’ve developed the ability to charm it rather quickly into submission.  I much prefer to be happy.

So I’m pretty sure I’m back, although I feel like there’s so many emotions inside of me right now that I’m going to explode… Extensive amounts of soul searching are required, but otherwise, life is as it was, if not exactly as it should be.

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I knew I was back when my excitement started growing again when thinking of my dreams – I’m smiling again, and not only on the outside.  Tomorrow I will be putting in an early vacation request to my boss, so that I can start planning our first trip out to PEI – I’m making a family affair out of it, but my main focus while out there will be to explore the island and become familiar with the land…and possibly sneaking away once or twice to ‘peruse’ the availability of vacant land.  It’s all find and dandy to pour over  realtor sites for hours on end looking for land for sale…but when there’s no money just yet, and nothing is really set in stone, that remains pretty much an “up in the air” kind of dream.  I want my feet on PEI soil – I want to breath the salty air, and let the red dirt fall through my fingers.

The plan is for early to mid-July 2016…still seems like a long ways away, but if the pattern of time elapsing stays on track; it seems every year goes faster than the last; then July will be here before we know it!  Just thinking about it makes my heart smile!  Now THIS is a feeling I can hold on to!

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Traditionally Traditional

As far back as I can remember, Christmas time filled the house with the scents of holiday baking – cookies, squares and loaves of all sorts, my grandmother’s famous (at least in our family) sugar pie, tourtière; a fabulously traditional French Canadian specialty; Christmas ‘Ragout’; another wonderful French dish made with the tender meat from pig’s feet, and succulent meat balls, in a deliciously rich gravy sauce; sucre à la crème; a delectable sweet treat reminiscent to maple fudge, but even better!   …Oh, and my absolute favorite, Almond Florentine…super simple, yet addictive bars made with graham crackers, slivered almonds, butter and brown sugar.

My grandmother can no longer see, and so the tradition has passed down to my mother in the past years…but I believe it’s about time to take it on in my own household!  My cousin yesterday, mentioned he would start the tradition this year, and he has inspired me to do the same.

Not only will they make my home smell of my childhood – but perhaps they might entice the elusive Spirit of Christmas to find me once again.

I do believe that with very limited funds this year, and an unconditional love between my apron and I, I may bestow the fruit of my labor as Christmas presents to family and friends.  There isn’t anything in the world like a present made with one’s own hands, that truly comes from the heart.  

Also, in years to come (because I’m really running short on time this year), I may be able to turn my love of the wooden spoon into something of a little side ‘job’ during the holidays – in today’s busy world, many people would love to have the goodness of home baked goods, without the floury mess and hours in the kitchen!  A little bit of enterprising imagination may just work wonderfully for a homesteader-in-training!

 

Double Duty

In an attempt to get a whiff of the Christmas Spirit, I picked up some clementines at the grocery store tonight…AKA “little Christmas oranges” in my house!  Not sure if they’ll do the trick, but they sure are delicious!!

Now, this is obviously not an original idea, and it certainly isn’t me who came up with it…but I love it nonetheless.  A couple of years ago, I made a batch – my husband and daughter aren’t crazy about it, but I love it…so they can stuff it!! 🙂  If you do a Pinterest search with “DIY Citrus Vinegar Cleaner”, you’ll basically get about a million posts about the exact same thing.

I didn’t want to throw our peels in the garbage, and since I don’t have my compost bin yet, I had to be creative.  I thought, why not another jar of all-purpose cleaner…a free one at that!?  So using vinegar I already had, and an empty jar of pasta sauce I kept, in went the clementine peels, and a few drops of peppermint essential oil for an added little boost!  And in two weeks, I’ll have a delicious smelling Earth-friendly FREE bottle of cleaner!  …just don’t use it on glass – the essential oil and natural oils from the fruit tend to leave streaks.   …happy cleaning!

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Where Are You Christmas? …a re-post

I wrote this post a few years ago…Christmas 2012, on my old blog.  But in light of my complete and utter lack of spirit of the season this year – more so than other years it seems – I thought it appropriate to re-post instead of re-writing the same words in a different order.

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A memory of so long ago; a warm smile, soft rainbow illumination and the smell of cookies warm from the oven.  Mounds of silver tinsel that you find in the weirdest places, twisting every light on the string to find the culprit bulb that’s keeping half the string in darkness.  Bits of red and green ribbon curled up on the floor, with empty rolls of yellow tinted tape… over-sized glass ornaments with faded images of the virgin mother and her babe.  Dusty figurines forming the nativity scene underneath the lowest color-coded branches, and anticipation of a 5-year old living in a magical world full of wonder and imagination; of elves and Santa and reindeer that can fly.

Big family gatherings, and a big midnight feast as is common in the French Canadian community…. a “réveillon”, with turkey and mashed potatoes with all the fixings, and all those yummy home-made deserts that grandma only makes at Christmas time.  Uncles and Aunts that tend to forget your name for 364 days, suddenly remember you exist and shower you with gifts you’ll never use, but you don’t care, you’re just excited – as only children get –  by the infinite pile of presents and attention; however brief and fake; bestowed upon you.  And then you fall asleep curled up by the Christmas tree, surrounded by a mountain of torn wrapping paper of red and green and white, with bows stuck to your hair and your new doll tucked under your arm…  Memories of joy and the childish reality of Christmas.

And then we grow up….and realize what a mess we’ve made of Christmas.  When did it become about how much you can spend?  About what new bit of unaffordable technology you can stuff in an overpriced stocking bought at Hallmark?  About the piles of scratch tickets stuffed inside generic cards with your barely legible name scrawled at the bottom with a messy ‘x-o’?

How I long for that old feeling… the scent of pine needles and turkey, and the laughter of children as they gather around and watch A Charley Brown Christmas while their parents sip eggnog and Bailey’s and reminisce about the old days.

How I long to look outside on Christmas morning and see a foot of snow covering the world and big fluffy flakes still floating down… a fire burning in the fireplace and the cat dozing under the tree.  Drinking hot cocoa with my family, sitting in our pajamas and fuzzy slippers…  Where has that Christmas gone?  WHY has it gone?

Am I the only one who has trouble finding that feeling again?  Am I the only one who every year says, “maybe this year I’ll find it”, only to be sadly disappointed yet again?

Where are you Christmas?   ….ahh… the memories….

I find myself already yearning for Christmas morning on a land that’s still only in my imagination – where my daughter (and eventually her family) come spend the holidays with us, and the house is filled with warmth and children’s laughter…  I long for the memories we’ll get to make, and hope that with those days will resurface the elusive joyful feelings of Yule.