Welcome December

Near the beginning of each month we like to pause and take a look at what’s going on in the world around us. Over time, these posts have transformed into a little op-ed about what’s going on with us each month.

We’re only five days into December, and I feel like it’s been here for ever. It must be the Christmas invasion.

December can create such a mix of emotions in us. There’s the obvious joy and celebration of the holidays, but there’s also the hustle and bustle leading up to Christmas and New Years. There’s the cozy feeling of evenings in front of the fire, but also the pent up energy and angst from short days and not enough time spent outside.

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Just reading that probably gave someone the shivers. Sorry.

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Welcome November

Near the beginning of each month we like to pause and take a look at what’s going on in the world around us…. this month, as opposed to most, we seem to be focusing on us.

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Gah!

I’ve been sitting here for 10 minutes trying to start this post. Sarah made an attempt yesterday, but stalled.

We had a little chat, and I know exactly what our problem is – our minds are going in a million different directions. I find that it often happens at this time of year. We’re trying our best to live in the moment, to enjoy these beautifully crisp fall days, plan a delicious meal with fresh farm share produce, and knit by the fire in the evenings with a mug of cider.

BUT!

But then our mind starts to wonder to the holidays. We start scheming up the gifts that we want to make and special traditions that we want to continue. And since we’re spending so much time inside, let’s think about redecorating that corner of the house that’s been ignored. Then we’re stuck in the Pinterest hole… and well, GAH!

The best thing that I can do for myself is to always make sure that I’m doing *something*. I may chip away at gifts one day, do a bit of cleaning and rearranging another, write plenty of lists to keep my thoughts organized, and bit by bit a clear signal of where life is going rises above the noise.

If your November is off to the same start as ours, I hope you’ll take some time today to get mentally organized and set your intentions for your day/week/month. We love to start by looking back at previous Novembers as we think about how to make the most of the month ahead.

Looking Back

Today I noticed that this is our forth November writing Live Seasoned! You can see what we were talking about during 2014 and 2015 by clicking those links.

In 2016 I think we were feeling the weight of the political climate (I’m sorry to even bring it up!). We didn’t write a Welcome post for the month and after the crazy presidential election, we took the rest of the month off! A clear sign that we needed to turn our energy inwards, comforting and quieting our minds and souls. A year later, I still can’t believe the craziness that has unfolded over the past year, but the elections this past Tuesday have me feeling so hopeful.

November is when we first opened our Etsy shop. Which reminds me that we have to post a few of our most recent potions (they are the best yet!). Look for those soon.

Looking Forward

I have to admit that I’m a sucker for the long dark evenings in the house. We’re all about hygge. For me it means an afghan on every couch, cozy slippers, candles, and a warm toddy in my hand. I’m also looking forward to:

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  • hanging our bird feeders. We hang hummingbird feeders in the summer, but we only hang seeds for the birds during the winter months (when the chances of attracting bears is low). We hang black sunflower seeds in a squirrel-proof feeder. We also hang a few suet feeders around the house knowing that suet’s extra energy can really help the birds during the cold months. We have this one with a tail prop (pic above is from Amazon), and we really do see more woodpeckers at it than the other ones. It’s always exciting to see who comes for a visit!

Festivals and Celebrations

As much as we love our time inside, it’s also good to get out and celebrate the season with others. We love visiting markets at this time of year to pick up gifts for the holidays and to get inspired with ideas for future craft and food projects.

  • November 11-12 : Boulder Mountain Handmade – this is a crafts market that supports our local firemen, whose work is so important for those of us living in the Colorado mountains!
  • November 11-12 : B&N Mini Maker Faires – Barnes and Noble stores across the US are holding mini maker faires this weekend. Last year, our local store invited robotics clubs to present their work and set up a maker zone in the store. We had such a great time and am looking forward to this weekend. Throughout the month, there are many Maker Faires going on across the globe (not associated with B&N).
  • Throughout November : The San Francisco, New York, and Austin Renegade Craft Fairs – this has become a global craft and design fair, and it’s a great way to find local artisans. You can also shop their website if you can’t find a market nearby.

If there’s a festival or craft market that you love – leave a note in the comments!

 

 

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Welcome October 2017

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Near the beginning of each month we like to pause and take a look at what’s going on in the world around us, with a particular focus on animal activity, celestial events, and our farmers’ fields.
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Looking Up & Around

Happy October, friends. Autumn is here and so is the full harvest moon! Set aside some time today to gaze up at that big astronomical body. If you’re familiar with monthly moon names, you may be wondering why it’s the harvest moon instead of the hunter moon, which normally falls in October. The harvest moon isn’t confined to September. It is actually the full moon that falls after the autumn equinox, which we celebrated on September 22. The harvest moon fell in October in 2009 and will land there again in 2020, so it’s rare, but definitely not unheard of.

What else is happening this month? As always, but possibly more apparent this month, are all the changes taking place in the woods. I always think of October outdoors as a month of transition. We experience the leaves, nuts, and seeds falling from trees and traveling in the breeze. Mushrooms are springing up after the first fall rains, while flowers are both blooming and going to seed. Bees are still buzzing (and stinging me), while squirrels and chipmunks scurry around securing their own harvest.

This is quite possibly the most comfortable month to be out and about in the woods. Sunshine, cool breezes and barely any bugs make every hike a great one. I’m spending the week working in Asheville, North Carolina, an area that absolutely explodes with leaf peepers, especially on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Tens of thousands of people flock to western North Carolina during October and November to watch the autumn colors slowly emerge starting with higher elevations and trickling down the mountainsides. The elevation range in the Great Smokey Mountains basically ensures that fall color will stick around for at least three weeks each year. There are websites dedicated to tracking the changing fall foliage and it’s impossible to miss the influx of visitors as traffic can be bumper to bumper on the blue ridge and hotel rooms impossible to find.

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Fields and Festivals

It’s that time of year when farmer’s markets in my area transition from two days per week to one. I know, I’m spoiled, but sometimes it’s hard to wake up on a Saturday and when that’s the case, what’s a girl to do? I had to make a quiche this week with store-bought mushrooms, WTF. Joking aside though, I love the market at this time of year. The weather is sunny, but the air is cool. I can sip on cider or tea while strolling by each vendor as I slowly make recipe plans and ingredient decisions. In contrast, during the summer, I’m gulping down iced coffee and wanting to put down my bags, take off my tank top, and pass out from heat exhaustion. No chill.

This is the time of year when those crops that require the full summer growing season are finally ready for harvest. In Chapel Hill, North Carolina, I’m still seeing watermelon and tomatoes along with elderberries, grapes, peppers, and eggplants. Apples, okra, corn, potatoes, pumpkin, and other winter squash are abound as well.

The coolest thing at my market right now though? Soup subscriptions. How freaking neat. Short Winter Soups, a company established by Tova Boehm in 2010, provides each subscriber with a quart of soup every week for eight weeks. The soup ingredients are sourced locally from over a dozen farms. I love this idea and the thought of Tova pouring stirring her heart and soul into delicious soup recipes each week. Growing up, our mom made a lot of soup. Momma Schu’s soups were a staple during family gatherings, soccer games, snowstorms and weekends on the farm. Soccer concession stand fans would actually refer to her as the soup queen. All hail the soup queens among us.

If you’re not feeling the farmer’s market, October is the month to head straight to the fields. Hayrides and pick-your-own patches are some of my fondest fall memories, not just as a kid, but up until a few years ago too. I feel like I’ve traveled the past few falls because I can’t remember the last time I carved a pumpkin or balanced an apple on my head (holy shit that was seven years ago), what a shame! If you need any inspiration for your fall harvest, we have a full pumpkin archive, with a few main dish recipes as well as an apple archive that includes more alcoholic drinks than you could make all weekend. I dare ya.

  • I mentioned watching the leaves change in the Great Smoky Mountains. Ready for your mind to be blown? It’s the most popular national park with over eleven million visitors last year. In.sane.
  • Vermont is also a popular destination for leaf chasers, but really, any forest is bursting with color this month so where ever you are, you don’t have to drive far, tie up your boots and hit the trail.
  • There’s more than just colorful leaves floating around, the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta runs from the 7th-15th. It’s always been a dream of mine to attend and one day I’ll remember to make plans more than forty-eight hours in advance. I believe in me.
  • The Earth Harmony Festival is this weekend (October 7-8). The Earth Harmony Festival celebrates eco-living & sustainability.  It’s held on the country’s largest EcoVillage located in Arizona. Did I mention that it’s practically free?! You gotta go.
  • While September was packed with environmental holidays, October has only a couple official ones, including World Habitat Day, which just passed on Monday. We kinda missed the boat on that one, but it’s not too late to stop and reflect on our basic human right to adequate shelter. Maybe you’d like to do some volunteer work this month in conjunction with homeless shelters as a way to commemorate the day?

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Capturing the Beauty

How do we hang on to enchanting autumn as long as possible? Take some photos! The time lapse of our apple antics is still one of my favorite photo sessions with the Schu sisters. I can still remember how much we giggled when those were taken seven years ago! I like to balance out the silly with the serious though. I think the film portrait of our sister Kristin, shown above, captures her spirit perfectly. Add that it’s taken on the road that leads to our family farm and you have an iconic photo that will surely be shared for generations. As each season passes, I find it more and more important to take photos of family and friends and what better backdrop than a carpet of freshly fallen leaves? Here’s a tutorial on photographing fall and photographing landscapes in general. Even if you fail to preserve fall on film, I hope you capture it in your heart. Cheesy?! IDGAF.

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Welcome July

Near the beginning of each month we like to pause and take a look at what’s going on in the world around us, with a particular focus on animal activity, farmers’ fields, and environmental holidays. *You can find our archive of previous welcomes here (a few months are missing from the archive, we’re bowing our heads in shame).*

Sarah wasn’t lying when she mentioned that July’s her favorite month. And mine too, for all of the same reasons!

In my mind, July is everything summer. It’s cannon balls in swimming pools, muggy nights filled with the sounds of cicadas and the glow of lightning bugs. It’s tomato and mayo sandwiches for lunch, followed by California burgers and corn on the cob (fresh from the garden!) for dinner.

Those are the memories seared into my brain, and I’m hoping to create some of the same for the boys. And on that front I think we’re off to a great start. Right now the boys are coated in sand, sunscreen, and lake water. If that’s not July, then I don’t know what is.

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Welcome June

Near the beginning of each month we like to pause and take a look at what’s going on in the world around us, with a particular focus on animal activity, farmers’ fields, and environmental holidays. *You can find our archive of previous welcomes here (a few months are missing from the archive, we’re bowing our heads in shame).*

Hello, Summer!

Are you feeling the heat? Based upon our Instagram feed, I sense that most of the country had a nice spring and then transitioned into hot weather sometime last month. Not us, we had an unseasonably large snowstorm in late May, which confuses our minds and the garden. Remember last month’s welcome when I was already talking about the crazy weather BEFORE that storm? But anyway, our hot days have arrived, and we’re loving it!

We’re transitioning to more dinners on the deck, more long evenings playing in the dirt, and (of course), more fresh seasonal eats.

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The image above is from the Library of Congress’ online prints and photos collection. I love these old prints. The designs are awesome, and they tell a story about the times. I also love the idea that the government was trying to get us to work together, a particularly common theme for the posters made during WWII, and even outside of war times there were others about taking care of yourself (eating healthy, exercising, etc.) and some about celebrating American heritage. If you’re looking to waste time online the LOC is a great place to do it.

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Welcome April

On the first Wednesday of each month we like to pause and take a look at what’s going on in the world around us.  We’ll highlight some nature and environmental news, give you a bit of inspiration, and ask you to partake in a monthly sustainability initiative with us.

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The month of April really has our spirits soaring. Trees are leafing-out, flowers are blooming, the world around us is coming alive! Are you seeing changes in your yard and neighborhood too? We love this green wave tracker as it helps us to imagine what life is like for each other (since Kate’s in Colorado and I’m in North Carolina) and our loved ones who are sprinkled across the states. If you have a moment, read about becoming a citizen scientist and partake in the green waver tracker yourself! Even if you don’t partake in the green wave tracker, take a moment each and every day to look around whether it’s during your daily dog walk, commute to work, drink on the stoop in the evening; whenever you are outside, notice the tiny changes that nature is constantly undergoing. Notice too that you are constantly transforming, change takes nurturing and time, don’t expect to transform overnight, take a cue from nature and make tiny changes every day.

   Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.             
                                       - Ralph Waldo Emerson

In the News

Science has shown us what we can’t see, There’s Far More to the Galaxy Than Meets the Eye, (just like what lies within you and I 🙂 ) and it’s spectacular! Check it out and make it a mission to see the Milky Way for yourself this year.

What is slow fashion? Well, in a word it’s responsible. Read about the environmentally-sound trend here, and see our monthly goal below!

This article provides a number of beautiful examples of the signs of spring in nature.

 

Small Steps : Shop Your Closet

How did you do with last month’s challenge of cooking more at home? I only ate out once, but don’t pat me on the back toooo hard because I rarely eat out – that’s the life of a frugal freelancer!  Kate shared an on-the-go breakfast option, I let you in on my snacking habits, and we both shared a dinner option: so what will it be? Chicken or sausage? I also shared a simple homemade cold brew coffee recipe – let’s get those coffee to-go cups out of our lives and our landfills! Oh and don’t forget about dessert – banana cream pie & double vanilla cake were on the menu (more than a few times) last month.

For the month of April, we’re continuing our goal of looking inside the home instead of out, but this time in terms of fashion. As the seasons change, we all tend to buy a new frock or five and this time around the sun we’re trying our hardest to shop our closets instead.  Sift through your clothes and find old favorites instead of buying another cheaply made garment.  Are your favorite pair of jeans your next favorite pair of jorts?! Cut ’em up, breathe new life into your threads.  Do your knits need a little polishing? Buy a sweater shaver, I have that exact one and it’s perfect for removing pills from any fabric. Shaving my clothes is actually one of my favorite pastimes – scouts honor.

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Why is shopping within your closet important? Why should we all strive to buy less clothing and say no to trends? First, clothing production uses a lot of water. It takes approximately 1,800 gallons just to produce one pair of jeans and over 700 gallons for a single t-shirt! I have a grand total of three pairs of jeans and I still feel bad about those numbers. Notice I didn’t admit to the number of t-shirts in my closet?

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It is thought that apparel production is the second largest pollutant on earth second only to oil production. Ick. It’s hard to quantify the pollution produced by the clothing industry, but there’s no doubt fast fashion is a detriment to our waterways (it’s estimated that 17-20% of water pollution comes from apparel production) as well as the individuals who work and die in factories overseas. We aren’t writing this post to make you feel immense guilt (I’m feeling it as I research and write though 🙁 ), but we are hoping that you will make conscious decisions when faced with all the cheap, cute clothes you could ever want at America’s mega malls and shopping centers. Just because something is $5 doesn’t mean you need to buy it. I’m totalllllly talking to myself there.

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So what should you do?! How do you stay lookin’ cute if you can’t buy a shirt with pineapples on it? Well, we’re not saying you can’t buy anything new, but this is what we’re asking of you (and us too!).

  • Look within your own closet first. Find your favorites, wear them, love them!
  • Rearrange your drawers. It’ll let you review everything you own, and we’re sure you’re likely to find some old favorites that were hidden under the big pile of mismatched socks. We can’t be the only ones?
  • Breathe new life into old clothes by altering them to fit you better, fixing them up, or dyeing them.
  • Host or attend a clothing swap. They’re damn fun and a great reason to drink wine and chit chat with your friends on a week night.
  • Trade a few items with a friend just for the season. Maybe you’ve adored your best pals scarf or tank from afar. Ask her to make a trade with the promise that you’ll each get your goods back in a month or so.
  • Buy used clothing. There are SO many amazing finds in thrift and vintage stores… just look at that amazing bathing suit!
  • Sew your own! I made the sweetest skirt (shown above) that I’m constantly being complimented on and Kate is plain and simple an overachiever when it comes to knitting her own socks and sweaters. (All three of those sweaters plus the one on little Luc were made by her.)
  • Wear your threads bare. Completely wear out your clothes and feel really accomplished about it – or is that just me?
  • If you do buy, buy responsible. Shop ethical brands and search out slow fashion. Make fashion an investment, not a spur of the moment, I’ll throw you away next season, shopping selection.

I will be one hundo percent honest with you guys, this initiative is hard. It’s deeper than shopping for clothes. For me, it’s about being comfortable in my skin. It’s about letting go of my ego. It’s about dragging myself away from Pinterest and unfollowing fashionistas on Instagram. It’s about deciding to do what is best for my planet instead of hoping people will think I look cute on a Friday night, but you know what? People still think I look cute. People still love me. People still compliment me, because if you have a great group of people around you, they could give two shits about your clothes. They could care less that you’re wearing your favorite dress every time you go out because they care about bigger issues, they dig deeper than the surface, and I challenge YOU to do the same. Please. You are beautiful and your clothes have nothing to do with it.

Bit of Inspiration

 To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you
 something else is the greatest accomplishment.    
                                               -Ralph Waldo Emerson

This quote speaks volumes towards our monthly initiative and what we’re trying to achieve with Live Seasoned and our social media channels in general. There are thousands of peeps who appear to lead the perfect life, but we all know photos are half truths. No one is perfect, no one has it all together all the time, neither you, nor I, and we’re cool with that. We strive to keep it real. We strive to stop the comparisons, the constant wanting for more and the need for perfection. It’s difficult sometimes. We see which images are well received and usually they’re a bit curated or beautified, but we earnestly attempt to present our lives as they stand in the middle of our chaotic homes.

Life is messy and beautiful and so are we.  Make a commitment to yourself to appreciate you as you are today, in this moment. Appreciate yourself sans makeup and beautiful clothes, appreciate your extra five, fifteen or fifty pounds, because those pounds, those nourishing meals, brought you to where you are today.  Appreciate everything that makes you you and like I said at the beginning of this post, if you’re wanting to make a change, take it slow and make sure you’re working on yourself for yourself, not for someone else. And remember, we love you just the way you are. Too much? Too bad, it’s true.

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Welcome March

On the first Wednesday of each month we like to pause and take a look at what’s going on in the world around us.  We’ll highlight some nature and environmental news, give you a bit of inspiration, and ask you to partake in a monthly sustainability initiative with us.

I think Sarah and I are both suffering from a case of seasonal identity crisis, for lack of a better term. We excitedly anticipate spring on every warm day, and yet, aren’t quite ready for winter to end. I think it’s mainly because the year just seems to be passing so quickly and we have so much we want to accomplish, all while snuggling with these little boys that are growing right before our eyes. Are you in the same boat? Do you feel like the year has pulled the rug out from under you? Or are you just ready for spring to arrive in all of its blossoming glory?

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Welcome February

On the first Wednesday of each month we like to pause and take a look at what’s going on in the world around us.  We’ll highlight some nature and environmental news, give you a bit of inspiration, and ask you to partake in a monthly sustainability initiative with us.

With all of the snow that’s falling, there’s no doubt that we’re definitely deep in the middle winter, yet the slowly growing days are making it all bearable. Did you join us during January in trying to reduce your salt/chemical use when clearing the snow? Katie spent a boat-load of time shoveling her Colorado driveway. All of that exercise was fueled by her afternoon milkshake habit!

This month we’re excited to share our new challenge as well as a bit of inspiration and some stories that caught our eye in the news.

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