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A Few of My Favorite Things…

I am not an influencer. I'm just a lady that lives on a farm. My living room floor looks like a shoe store merged with a crumb factory. No one takes out the trash except Chad, we just keep cramming it fuller and fuller and hoping for the best. I have a to-do list for the business that frequently gets overshadowed by a free half hour of play on my favorite game app. And despite my battle cry of "We're not eating out!", the idea of grabbing burgers or tacos lurks dangerously close to the front of my brain.

I'm trying really hard fo improve some of my foibles in order be a "better person", or at least attempting to climb the mountain to be who I really want to be. So I thought I'd take this post and share a few of my favorite things and companies I've found lately and how they have made life a little better and easier for me, or at least have made me feel a little closer to being the me I want to be. Here are a few of my favorite things in life right now.

1. Conquering clutter. I will never be a minimalist, but I have started to enjoy the feeling of "less" in my life lately. I read a book recently called "The Simple Living Handbook" by Lorilee Lippincott who got rid of pretty much everything and moved into an apartment with her family of 4. As I talked about the book while reading it, Jack genuinely started to panic, fearing we would be moving to the city after selling everything on the farm. I assured him I had no interest in that kind of a move, but I definitely know we have way too many things that we don't even use around this joint. So I've slowly been thinning the herd (farm joke). I started with the front closet and don't regret it for a minute. I'm not sure if it's obviously different to anyone else, but I know the difference. We are just in a stage of life now with different needs and many of the things I had crammed in the closet weren't part of our family's "today". So they went away. And now I can find the things I do want. I've cleaned a couple more closets and cabinets and have even made a concerted effort to eat through the excess food in our freezer so I can actually find things. I had 3 bags of lentils. Who eats that many lentils? My favorite cleaning project was Liddy's bedroom. There were so many toys we had for her that I *wished* she would play with, but she never would. She would drag out the stuff she didn't like to find the things she wanted then I would get mad because she had messed up her room again. This was the best clean up job ever. There's no magic to the method - just take things out of the closet or drawer and realistically decide what you will use vs what will just continue to sit around. It's very freeing.

2. Reusable shopping bags. I really want to do good for the Earth and reduce trash, but I've never found a reusable shopping bag I liked. They always just ended up in a heap somewhere, usually not with me when I need them. I was discussing this with a customer and she told me about a style that she liked, so I decided to give them a try. She suggested bags like these. I LOVE them! They are sturdy and easy to store, and I really like that I can use them for lots of things. I often tote things to school in them and when I just need a few things at the store, I just bring a bag and shop into the bag instead of messing with a cart. Liddy has a remarkable memory and always reminds me to bring them when she knows we're going to the store. I've even been amazed by how much you can stick in one of them! The bagger at the grocery store even said they were his favorite bags. These bags make so many people happy.

3. Find the right tools. We have started being crazy researchers before we buy almost anything anymore. I started making sourdough bread for our family earlier in the fall and have been struggling with the cutting of the bread. I had been using a 1980's electric knife that I had inherited from my grandma. It didn't work great anyway, but it was better than my other serrated knife that I tried to use that required immense upper body strength. Then, my electric knife gave up. Totally dead. My sweet husband wanted to get me a new serrated knife for Valentines, so he did some research on the America's Test Kitchen website and found this knife. I tried it out on a loaf the other day and it worked like a DREAM! If you make bread, give this a try.

Another example of great equipment is the apple slicer from Pampered Chef. We got our first one 21 years ago and it still works great. We've bought several from other outlets over the years and they had a very short useful life. I bought Chad 2 more Pampered Chef apple slicers for Christmas (we eat a lot of apples). So I guess I've learned that investing in good things that will last not only saves money in the long run, but it also makes life easier. I've also learned that our love language is apparently kitchen tools. 🤷‍♀️

4. This brings me to my next favorite thing.

Find small businesses that you love and support them. Yes, I know I have a vested interest in this idea. Yes, it might cost a little more. Yes, you will totally get a better product, better customer service and make a business owner so super happy. I have found a shoecompany that I love, Xero shoes. I came across them during a random conversation with Jack's weightlifting coach. I had been having issues with my feet and these shoes have made a huge difference. I now have 5 pairs. 😊 One pair replaced 3 other pairs I had bought off Amazon. My feet feel better and I know that the company is super happy to have me as a customer. This kind of shoe is not for everyone, but it sure helped me out quite a bit.

Chad has also found a company he loves for sweatshirts - Atlantic Rancher. He likes how they source their materials and the quality of their shirts. He has become kind of a connoisseur of sweatshirts over the years. He has bought several of these recently and cleaned out his closets of all the other kinds. This also loops back to the idea of doing good for the Earth. If you buy better things that will last longer, doesn't that keep junk out of our landfills?

5. My last favorite thing in my life right now is cooking ahead. I did some super scary math and realized we'd spent an obscene amount of money eating out last year. The only meals we really remembered were the bad ones, which means we weren't even building family memories while we were blowing our money. So I've been trying really hard to get ahead of myself. It's not meal prep or meal planning, it's just taking advantage of moments to get ahead. For example, when I made taco meat the other day I cooked 2 lbs instead of just 1 and stuck the other pound in the freezer. When I knew we'd get home late from a 4H event, I thawed the meat and made Cilantro Lime rice in the crockpot while we were gone so we could we could have taco bowls when we got home at 8:00. When I made shepherd's pie a few weeks ago, I just made two of them and froze the second. It will be dinner tonight. Look for ways to get ahead of yourself to help you eat at home. I love saving the money and know that we felt so much better eating our late night taco bowls than we would've felt if we'd grabbed a pizza for that time of night. And I had more money to spend on new shoes.

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Feb 20

Krista, I just want to say that I find your blog posts so encouraging! You have such good advice on "life" that are a help to me and I appreciate you, so much! Thank you!


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