Aiming to keep my dirt-dwelling life simple, special and sweet

Good Ideas

Today, I think it would be so great to:
  1. Live on a boat;
  2. Open and run a craft / quilting / home furnishings store so I can enjoy all of the "stuff" but not have to live with it.
I could keep my sewing machine at the shop and quilt during the day and teach other people how to do it. There would be a Keurig machine so others could come in and sip sweet coffee while sewing up something nice.

Remembering is a Beautiful Thing

Last weekend my family and I celebrated 93 years of wonderful life that my grandma lived. We gathered around her resting place which is nestled on top of her husband's (my grandfather's) grave. He died many years before her - 1952 - when she was a young mother. There's something special knowing that they are together again after ALL of the years they spent apart. I'm also very happy that we all (the children, grandchildren, greatgrandchildren, cousins, family and friends) were all there together, with Grandma and Grandpa.

Thanks to Naked Empire for capturing pictures from our day.

I just saw this picture from a traveling lady and it is of a Swiss cemetery. How pretty and wonderful.

5 Fine Ideas for Fall

Similar to the blogger, Randy Taran, I see the fall as a time for new beginnings. Maybe it is because school begins in the fall, and I was one of those children who excitedly perused the aisles of school supplies early in August each year. I still have a passion for paper and pens, and for new beginnings. Change is exciting, to me, and that's why I really enjoyed the piece, Five Steps to Happiness, by Randy T.

Although difficult in practice, I do subscribe to the belief that we are what we think. We can think ourselves anywhere and toward becoming anything we want to be. Any situation can be changed through our thoughts. Again, difficult in practice! Yet the above article by Randy gives some good advice for beginning to change our ways.

A highlight is the quote: "If you chase two rabbits, both will escape". Wow - focus on one thing. Focus on one big goal or just focus on one thing at a time. Although simple, it's really good advice and the perfect way to begin anew this fall.

Black Bean and Mushroom Tortilla Casserole

I found this recipe in Martha Stewart's Everyday magazine, and it is also listed on many blogs (see address below). It is a good, quick, and healthy meal.

Full recipe found at and picture curtosey of:

My husband wanted meat in it (even though I was going for a Meatless Monday), so adding to the directions, I cooked up the mushrooms and beans, browned 1 lb. ground beef, then mixed half of the veggie mix with meat(next time, I will include some taco seasoning in with the beef). I did half veggie and half with meat in the casserole dish.

Served alongside was: homemade guacamole, sour cream, and extra salsa. I also roasted up some corn in the oven with a quick and easy recipe by Gina at Skinny Taste -

Darn Stuff

Is it crazy that my husband's mention of a houseboat for sale - only $19,000 - makes me question my life right now? I find that the constant cleaning, emptying and filling the dishwasher, putting things away, straightening up, and looking in disgust at my backyard of dead grass (even with plenty of watering and care) makes me really  miss the liveaboard life.

I subscribe to and frequently remind myself of Suze Orman's suggestion of three priorities, in order: people, money, things. With the house, it feels like things have taken priority. One has to fill a house with things. Right? It seems that there is always something requiring more money. Then those things need to be put away, cleaned, used, then repeat over and over and over.

I am so incredibly thankful for being able to have the money to have nice things - yet, I do not want my life to be swallowed up by the caring for things. It's people that come first, then money, and then lastly, things.  I am a person, so I realize that if the things are bogging me down, I have to take care of that first. Then save my money, and only deal with things when it is completely neccessary.

As if the universe was using email this morning, I received my weekly Zen Habits article - -
and it has given me some good ideas for taking control of the stuff in my life. The author writes that we need to unautomate our money - put more thought and time into our spending and on what things we are buying and storing. There are a few helpful strategies that I can focus on this week.

I have started this, again, this week. From my checking account, I have withdrawn enough money for two weeks of gas and groceries. Other money has gone toward bills, debt, and savings. This idea originally came from Larry Winget's book, You're Broke Because You Want to Be - He says that groceries should not cost more than $50 per person each week and he also says that each person is responsible for the choices that he or she makes. If one wants to be financially healthy, he or she can - by making choices that reflect that goal.

  • Using a 30-day list for wants. Waiting 30 days to purchase an item can be a drag, but we’ll likely realize how little we really desired it in the first place.

    I feel that my husband and I are very lucky because we can go and get anything that we want. I notice I typed, want. Many of our wants are not neccessarily things we need. Giving ourselves 30 days to think about things might help us to pare down the unneccessary stuff in our life.

  • Purging 2 items for every 1 you bring into your life. Yet another inconvenient (at times) rule-of-thumb that can raise awareness around just how much clutter we bring into our lives.

    My favorite store lately is the Goodwill in a nearby small town. My winter wardrobe has been purchased there, and I am very thankful for the money I have saved because others have taken the time to sort through and donate the things no longer needed. I can return the favor. I'm sure that there are things in my house that I can donate to the Goodwill when I purchase new things )once 30 days has proven that I was in need of them). Donating items will be like sharing, in a way. If things are sitting in a cabinet or closet and I haven't used them in days, weeks or even months, might be better to share with someone who will.

  • Spending with cash over plastic. Going without plastic isn’t easy, but you can’t get much more aware than we spending cold, hard cash.

  • I want to get back to the feeling I had coming home to my boat - relaxation, thankfulness, peace. Right now, it's a continuation of work once I arrive home. I need to reflect on that and make some different choices. My life cannot be about the things I have. It needs to be about the people I love and experiences I have with them. Having the house does help with the people I love - my family can come to visit, we're able to help out a friend by renting a bedroom. Land living isn't all bad but I think I need to make it more of what I want it to be.

    Maybe with some new behaviors, I wouldn't be thinking about buying one more thing - that $19,000 houseboat. I think I'll give myself 30 days to try some new things and think it over.

    Simple Saturday Morning

    This morning I took it easy and slow and indulged in some of my favorite things. 

    Being with dogs.

    Newman's Own K-Cup

    Keurig Machine

    Sweet Skinny Creamer

    Drinking coffee while starting a sweet new book

    Baby Quilt Finished

    Finally, my baby cowgirl quilt is complete. It headed to Tucson yesterday via FedEx. Hopefully the soon-to-be-born baby girl will benefit from snuggling with this quilt for many years to come. I really enjoyed quilting again, especially for such a special occasion. The picture below is the quilt after basting, before putting on the binding (and Edward, my dog, is helping to hold the quilt in place).

     I also learned that seam allowances are things to be respected when sewing. I had many seams that ripped open when the quilt was washing and shrinking. Thanks to the fantastically helpful lady at Joann Fabrics who led me to do some "whip stitching" and the You Tube video tutorial which showed me how to do it (along with some very cosmic music that inspired me).

    Even the husband thinks it turned out well :) 
    This quilt is featured at Show and Tell Saturday:

    Marker Roll

    Using the idea from the crayon roll tutorial (in a previous post), I decided to make a marker roll for a very special artist I know. He is a master drawer of trains, specifically the Thomas variety. I hope he enjoys a Thomas marker roll in which he can hold his skinny tip markers, useful for the track and wheel details he always includes. 

    This craft is featured on Show and Tell Saturday at:
    My marker roll was adapted from the crayon roll tutorial at a great blog, The Pleated Poppy.