Monday, January 26, 2015

Moving in the Right Direction

I was going to wait until Friday when it's officially official but I'm too excited to keep a secret. After weeks of pouring over and driving to potential land plots we are finally closing on the perfect little chunk of property to build our home! 

I took into account a lot of factors when I was shopping for the perfect plot for our home site, I actually wrote down features of every home we've ever lived in (6 total!) and made note of the features I really loved. My goal or idea is to include one aspect of each place into our new home, almost as a way to remind us of how far we came.

This property is so much like our home in the mountains it's absolutely wild! The property has rolling hills, beautiful woods but rather than being 45 minutes from the nearest gas station, were only 8 minutes from town. 

Another one of my stipulations was a good amount of land, not only do we plan on having a small hobby farm for our children to enjoy, but I plan on putting in a mother in law house. So I was totally relieved when I found out it was nearly four acres, with almost no restrictions. 

But the best part? It's on a huge lake!

Plus it has some pretty fabulous rock formations. 

We managed to get it for a steal, and were already in talks with two architects to get the ball rolling on design submissions. My goal is to break ground in the Fall and maybe be in our new home by March. I think by the time I'm done with all of this I will write a book on how little information there is for the average person to build their own home, but I feel like were moving in the right direction. And for now that's good enough for me.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Cozy Up: A Must haves List

With my booking season in full swing, yesterday was the first day I was able to actually take a me day. Which got me thinking about all of my must have items for creating the perfect cozy setting on a cold winter day. 

Cozy Must Have's List: 

1. Lavender Candles -- Setting the mood is everything, from the warm glow to the therapeutic qualities of Lavender this candle is the perfect start for my list. 

2. Cashmere Throws -- If your not wrapped in a cloud of pure softness what's the point of relaxing? These cashmere throws are simply put, ah-mazing.

3.  Cozy Knit Socks -- The thicker the better-- cold toes? Not here. 

4. Peppermint Tea -- Not only is Peppermint tea great for stress relief it's also great for sinus relief, weight loss and has skin clearing benefits. Not to mention it's pretty darn tasty. 

5. Plush Bedding -- Did I mention how important this is? If your not stretched out lounging your doing this whole relaxing thing wrong!

6. Cozying up with a favorite movie or book is key: if you haven't read Can you keep a secret prepare to laugh until your sides hurt. Looking for something a little more serious? Check out the TV series Lost in Austen, one of my go-to movie favorites. 

7. Snuggling is Better with a friend, so grab your fur baby and settle in, today's going to be great!


So tell me, did I miss anything off of your Cozy must have's list? What do you need for the perfect relaxing day? 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Ham & Cheddar Soup

If you've joined me on the spending freeze how are you pantry's looking now that were on day 20? We've pretty much reverted entirely to soups with the remaining items left to use. The other night I made a really yummy Cheddar Ham Soup, that was actually share worthy! 

It doesn't look too bad huh? 

Ham & Cheddar Soup

2 cups water
2 cups potatoes, diced and peeled
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1 med. onion
1 tsp + 1/4 butter ( I used diet butter) 
1/4 flour
2 cups milk
salt and pepper to taste
8 oz. cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups of cubed ham (I used turkey ham!)
1 cup of peas
1 cup of corn


In a large saucepan combine the potatoes and water. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes until tender. 

Meanwhile, saute your carrot and onions in 1 tsp butter and set aside. In another saucepan melt remaining butter and then gradually add flour until smooth. Gradually add the milk, salt and and pepper. Bring to boil and cook stirring constantly for 2 minutes until thickened. Stir in cheese until melted. Stir into un-drained potato mixture, add all remaining ingredients as well as the sauteed onions / carrots. Heat through and serve warm.

Friday, January 16, 2015


Happy Friday everyone! 

I just wanted to give you a quick update on my re-organizing / paring spree has been going. 

Clothes I don't wear anymore? Gone!
Ugly plastic hangers? Gone!

If your anything like me getting rid of certain things has to be gradual. When I first started paring down a year ago I nearly halved my closet and at the time it was good enough. After another year I was able to half those clothes. 

How do your before and afters compare? 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Are you still Hangin' in there?

If you've been following along with me on the LWSL Challenge you should be on day 15. All this week I've been tearing down the house and paring down. Throwing out things I no longer use, or need or just plain forgot about and you know what? The pile is surprising considering I just did this 1 year ago before our move. It's too cold to tackle the garage so I'm taking my time on the house, and really focusing on what needs to stay and go as well as mentally marking the items I'm going to get rid of when we really pare down for the tiny house. 

I've come to really note my problem areas in the house, and how I apparently hoard all things that smell good, ie; candles, lotions, shampoos, you name it I have 60 of it. So I've cut myself off from Yankee candle and Bath and Body works until my stock pile is greatly reduced. 

My closet is another war zone for hoarding, which will be my next target zone for this afternoons cleaning spree. I can't wait to be rid of all of those plastic hangers! How are you doing on the challenge? Have you had any weak moments, any trouble areas your not quite ready to deal with?

Monday, January 12, 2015

A Space of my Own

When your building your own home, (or planning anyways) the design possibilities are pretty endless. Here in the big house I have the lofted room over the garage for my at home studio. Typically this is where I photograph newborns and little ones, especially when the weather outside won't permit outdoor photographs. Having this current studio has brought to light a whole slew of ideas on how I want to improve my next one. Since our compact / tiny home plan only includes 800 feet of living space, there's not a square to spare when it comes to studio / office space for little old me. 

With both of us working from home minus my travelling to photo gigs, I spend a lot of time editing in studio or writing to you lovely readers. So, my solution? Building a small detached studio away from the house. My own little oasis. 

Are you in heaven yet? I am just thinking about it. No more kicking the dog out for appointments, I won't have to constantly keep my door closed off to pets to insure the room is fur free. Ideally I would love to have this space double as a small guest cottage. So likely my version will be a little larger and will include a loft where a bed will be hidden away. 

Another added perk to having a separate at home office is the need for well, separation. I do plan on having children in the next two years, so having a space where I can focus on work and not the sounds of cries sounds ideal. 

 Big changes huh?

Thursday, January 08, 2015

A Final Goal for 2015

If you've been reading this week, you already know that I've shared my 2015 Goals 1 through 4. Today is my 5th and final goal for 2015: Completing my Book / Reading List

Some of my reading list is a bit dry and informative, I do have a few fun books added in. I'm already a big reader and lover / collector of books so this is another goal I am really looking forward to. I plan on sharing my books with you as I work my way down the list, but here are a few that have made my must read list: 

Organic Manifesto by: Maria Rodale
Hobby Farming for Dummies
The Big Book of Small Houses
Do it Herself by: Joanne Liebeler
Nano House
Rock the Shack
Marriage by: AmberDusick
Yes, Please by: Amy Poehler
The Living Landscape
Happy Handmade Home by: A beautiful mess
The Life Changing magic of tidying up Marie Kondo
Bossy Pants by: Tina Fey 

Do you have a must read list for 2015? What made the cut? 


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