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A good day to be cozy

And then her heart changed, or at least she understood it; and the winter passed, and the sun shone upon her.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King 

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It is usually this time of the year – in the gray of mid January – when the winter blues begin to chip away at the happy resolve we so bravely donned throughout the holidays.  We were too busy to notice as the days grew shorter, our lives filled with the bustle of holiday planning, stringing lights along gutters, and questing for the perfect gifts for our loved ones.  

 We kid ourselves:

Oh, it’s not that cold.

All the snow makes everything seem brighter!

At least we’re not in Baker Lake!

That will do the trick for a while and the post-holiday euphoria lingers on for a few days, usually with a little dip during that tired, bloated limbo that occurs after Christmas but before New Year’s Eve when no one seems to know what day of the week it is. We perk up again around the 1st or 2nd (depending on how aggressively we rang in the New Year, we may need a whole day of recovery!)

We enter the New Year with high hopes and expectations.  We join gyms, purchase stationary bikes, do cleanses and detoxes.  And maybe we do this for a few days, or a week or so and we’re feeling like I got this! and it seems like that momentum is going strong.  But then by mid January we just… stop.

We start feeling winter

The snow has melted because of that freakish warm spell, but it’s cold again and everything is brown.  And it dawns on us that we could easily have four more months of this.

So what do we do?

Well, we have some options here.  We can be depressed about the weather, or we can embrace the reality of our climate and find ways to make the best of winter.  One of my favorite ways is to be cozy and to enjoy all the aspects of truly hunkering down.  Below are some of my tried and true ways of bringing more cozy, enjoyment, and beauty into my life when the weather outside is dreary.  And I encourage you to snuggle in and find some new ways to enjoy this season!

According to the dictionary the definition of cozy:

  1.  Giving a feeling of comfort, warmth, and relaxation.
  2. A soft covering to keep a teapot, boiled egg, etc., hot.
  3. Give someone a feeling of comfort or complacency.

These are all the things that we can incorporate into our lives (including tea cozies – oh my! especially tea cozies!) One way to give a feeling of warmth and comfort is to create our own light and movement of light in our homes.  Light candles – especially during those late afternoon hours just when dusk is thinking of settling in.  For us in the Midwest, it’s around that 4’o clock hour that often seems the worst – even babies always seem to get colicky around 4 o’clock.  If you are blessed with a fireplace, keep it crackling and glowing.  If your fireplace is the kind you plug in or on a screen – that works, too!  Some music in the background works well – whatever makes you feel happy and uplifted.

Make a pot of tea and curl up with a favorite book (and yes, use that tea cozy!)   A blend of chamomile and lavender can be relaxing and fragrant.  If you don’t have your own wild crafted petals on hand, I have had good luck with Traditional Medicinals Organic Chamomile with Lavender Herbal Tea and enjoy their products.  Lemon Balm can be refreshing, calming, and mood enhancing.  I have a large patch growing in my yard and I make sure to pick and dry enough to get me through the winter months.  Another of my favorites is a tea made from linden flowers.  When I make a cup and inhale the floral steam, the fragrance reminds me of summer and when I close my eyes, I can almost imagine myself lying in a hammock under a blooming linden tree in mid June. 

soup’s on!

To give the feeling of comfort to yourself as well as others, cooking is a wonderful way to fill the house with warmth and comforting aromas.  Don’t know how to cook? (Get ready for a shameless plug!) Sign up for one of my Grocery Store Tour or Cooking Workshops.    Soups are wonderful to make this time of year as well.  The Italians have an expression:  La Zuppa fa sette cose, which in English translates to, Soup does seven things.”  It is said to; quench your thirst, satisfy your hunger, fill your stomach, aid in your digestion, make your teeth sparkle, color your cheeks, and help you sleep.  I would like to add one more to that list: soup warms you up!  I love to browse through cookbooks for recipes.  Get a big pot of something simmering on the stove and you’ve got lunch covered.
Pictured is a bowl of roasted tomato soup with some fresh snap peas for a little crunch. I love to add a scoop of Forbidden Rice to make it a little heartier. A spoonful of nutritional yeast rounds out this warm and satisfying lunch.

My last recommendation to beat the winter blues is to have some Forest Therapy – spend some time outdoors – especially in nature.   The Swedish are fond to say: Det finns inget dåligt väder, bara dålig klädsel. Which translates to:  there is no bad weather only bad clothing.

So get outside and go for a walk or take up a winter sport.  Put on snow pants and a ski mask if you have to.  The fresh air and nature will do you a world of good. Even a short 10 or 15 minute walk on a gray day will give you exposure to sunlight and we know how important sunlight is to our vitamin D production.  One of the most comprehensive studies on the benefits of spending time in nature was released from the researchers from the University of East Anglia.   Additionally, there are countless studies that have show that being in nature can help boost your mood. 

Please share! 

How you do find ways to embrace the season and stay cozy?

Stay informed and follow this blog!

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New Year, new… you?

“There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.” 
― J.R.R. Tolkien

For many of us, we approach the new year with feelings of misgiving and even dread. Some will look back at the “failures” of the previous year: the goals we set, but never achieved, the relationships we meant to reestablish, but never got around to, the hobbies we tried to make time for, but something else always got in the way…. And it doesn’t help that we are constantly bombarded with the question: “What are your New Year’s resolutions?” We feel pressure to come up with an answer that not only shows how (insightful?) (focused?) (dedicated?) we are, yet not set ourselves up for failure (again!) in the year to come.

It’s a lot to think about.

We often hear the term, “New You,” as if there is a little shop at the mall where we can trade in our “Old Yous” to get the deposit back, then leave the store brandishing some whole new persona who looks, feels, acts, thinks, eats differently that we ever did. If we watch TV, every other commercial tells us that we need to join this gym, take this prescription in order to (fill in the blank!), or buy this product in order to become this artificial, fairly tale, version of “ourselves” because there is something inherently wrong with who we are.

And that’s a pretty crummy way to feel.

So how about this? Let’s begin by getting rid of the notion that there has to be something WRONG with who we are. Now this is not to say that we are all perfect and never need to change, grow, or learn. (That would make my job very boring and non-existent!) No matter where we are on our path, we all can benefit from setting realistic goals and striving towards personal development. But this notion that something is WRONG with who we are has so totally infiltrated our culture that we begin to question the validity and value of our SELF. But here’s a thought: Maybe who we are is exactly who we are supposed to be right now. Maybe we don’t need a “New” self, maybe our old self, our original self, our true self is just fine. When we think about the core essence of our being, our soul, if we are comfortable with that word, the very baseline of our nature, what on Earth could be wrong with that?

So as we look forward into 2019, maybe we shouldn’t look so far. Perhaps we can take a few moments to look at who we are, and appreciate ourselves, be gentle with ourselves, and rest in this moment of realization that right now, you are exactly where you are supposed to be.

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The Plan to Health and Wellness

Give yourself the gift of wellness! Invest in Yourself.

Do you need to:

  • Change your diet?
  • Lose Weight?
  • Exercise more?
  • Become more organized?
  • Set goals?
  • Manage stress?
  • Bring more balance into your life?
  • Learn how to healthy meal prep?

Are you ready for a whole life reboot?

Six months. Start to finish. Change your life.

If your life has become unmanageable, and you are serious about making changes in your life, the 6-Month Wellness Plan will guide you along the path towards a total life transformation.

A holistic health and wellness coach assists anyone in working to achieve a variety of goals. Areas of focus often include improving life balance as it applies to family, relationships, health, career, nurturing creativity, and all aspects of personal growth, goal-setting and personal truth discovering. By working with a holistic health and wellness coach, you are committing yourself to achieving your personal best and accomplishing more than you ever thought possible.  

It is possible to become the person you have always wanted to be. 

Sign up for the 6-Month Wellness Plan to kick start your path to wellness.  Six months. Start to finish.  Change your life. During our sessions, you will learn to use the tools and real life practical strategies to help navigate your customized path to wellness.  Together, we will set up your unique SMART goals to help you see and live the results you want.  Whatever life goals you have, we will work to outline the best choices for you so you can live the life you have been longing for. 

What this is:

An individualized plan that takes a holistic approach to wellness. 

During our sessions, we will explore many aspects of wellness, including: physical, mental, and emotional.  The work we do will be on the whole person, helping you to achieve the beauty and balance you deserve in ALL aspects of your life.

 What the 6-Month Plan includes:

  • 4-6 private, hour long coaching sessions per month
  • Personal fitness assessments
  • Custom fitness plan and personal training session
  • Nutritional profile
  • Healthy meal plan development that fits your lifestyle, preference, and skill level
  • Journaling
  • Invitation to client-only workshops and events

 Currently accepting a limited number of new clients. Please contact me to set up an initial interview and free consultation. 

Six months. Start to finish. Change your life.

Today could be the day!

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No More Bird Drama!

After another tragic, broad daylight fox attack, there was only one chicken left!  Poor Betty was liable to sink into a deep depression without a flock to manage and snuggle with at night.  These two are about 3 months old – not quite full grown chickens yet, but not chicks either (although they still “peep”).  The are called “Bedlefelders” which is some kind of cross between a Rhode Island Reds and a Barred Rock – both good birds that I have had the pleasure of keeping.  These birds are also supposed to lay HUGE eggs, though we shall see.  I have not thought of names for them yet.  I hope they will have an easy transition into the “flock.”new

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Goldenrod and Clover

A successful harvesting trip!  Nothing quite says End of Summer like fields of vibrant goldenrod blooming in the prairie.  With over 100 species of goldenrod found all around the world, it is no surprise that these flowers can thrive in a variety of growing conditions.  Unfortunately, this flower often gets a bad rap for “causing allergies,” when it is actually ragweed who is the culprit.  There are actually scientific studies that show the goldenrod actually helps allergy sufferers due to its mild drying and astringent properties

The folklore associated with the Salidago species is as diverse as its biosphere.  Native American tradition long supports the use of these plants for wound healing, and the various healing benefits can be traced to Scotland as well. Other uses have been associated with supporting kidney and liver function.  And nothing quite helps to relieve sore muscles like a massage with an oil infusion of goldenrod flowers.

Finally, for those wishing to incorporate more wild food into their diets, the top several inches of the plants can be snipped off, just before full bloom, and lightly breaded and fried! The flower clusters themselves are a wonderful bit of sunshine yellow to add to salads.  These beautiful flowers will be dried and used for tea and massage cream. goldenrod