Why Minimalism? #JTM

Not related to this blog, but today is my 6 year anniversary of signing up with WordPress and creating this blog! HEYO!! Okay, done celebrating, onto business.

Just like the title, why minimalism? Why would my husband and I decide this was something we wanted to work towards? Like I’ve said in previous blogs about myself and us as a couple, I think so much of what we are working towards today was always buried somewhere inside us. We have only now been given the tools to really embrace the lifestyle we ultimately want. So why do we want to dump everything in our house and move into a tiny house in the middle of no where and live like weirdos? Well, we aren’t quite there yet. And I don’t know if we’ll ever actually be at that point. But we are well on our way to downsizing and living happier with less stuff.

About a month ago we watched “Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things” on Netflix. Man, was it eye opening. It was one of those movies that makes you question everything you’re doing in your life. When I was finished watching the movie, I literally sat and looked around the room taking inventory of all the things I didn’t need. And it isn’t just about not needing things. It’s about not needing things because they don’t bring any value to my life.

I’ve mentioned before that we grew up in the gigantic city of San Diego, where “stuff” is important. I’m not saying that we were super spoiled assholes, but we grew up with a decent amount of stuff. And once we were on our own we were definitely in that mindset that the more stuff we had the better off we were. TV’s in each room, kitchen gadgets, and a new stereo, not because ours was broken but because we wanted one. There’s only thing that lead to, and it wasn’t happiness. It was debt.

Over the years we have been making a lot of changes. First we dumped cable. Then we didn’t unpack the TV for our bedroom. Do you know how nice it is not to have a TV in your bedroom? We also stopped frivolous purchases. We stopped going shopping for the sake of buying something because we were bored. Most of the time we didn’t have money to spend anyway, but we thought buying something new would make us happier. We’ve started to learn how to live off the land. Of course we still go grocery shopping and buy food, but we have chickens so we don’t buy eggs, and we have a super awesome garden started so we will be buying less produce. It’s all part of living happier and living within our means. Oh, did I mention we are also credit card debt free? Yeah, that’s huge.

I am not going to go into all of it just yet, but the next couple posts will be about the purging stage. Dumping the stuff that doesn’t have any meaning to me anymore. The purge is strong! And it feels sooooooo good!!

The Journey Towards Minimalism #JTM

Hey all. I’m starting a new hashtag for future posts.  #JTM will follow any posts I write about my family’s Journey Towards minimalism. First post starts tomorrow. I’ll add these posts to a new page as well.

Babies!! #FarmlifeFriday

Happy Friday, everyone!! I am so excited about all the babies in my farm right now! So far I only have vegetable babies but we are hoping to have some chicken babies, too!!

My garden is looking rather splendid these days! We’ve had some really warm days and a lot of rain last week so everything is nice and happy. I have zucchini, yellow squash, a variety of tomatoes, bell peppers, jalepenos, a “Mexican” pepper that I am hoping isn’t just a fancy name for a jalepeno because I have 4 of those already, cucumbers, artichokes, cabbage, red potatoes, basil, and some lettuce. The coolest part is that I started all of these from seeds! I did all the work. I didn’t buy any of the vegetables in the garden. And look!! Baby squashes already!!! This makes me so happy!!

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I did buy some flowers for the garden. I love marigolds and I have seeds but they take a while to sprout and I wanted the instant gratification. I have some on the outside of my garden as well as throughout the inside, just to add some flare. And I think marigolds will deter some bugs but promote the good ones, like bees!

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I have another cinder block planter on the left side. And a new banana plant. A guy at the local farmers marker was selling those for only $5 a couple weeks ago. How could we pass that up? We also bought a taro plant and 2 elephant ears from him for a whopping $1 each. Did you know they produce a potato-like veggie you can eat? They aren’t just pretty decoration. We’re happy to try something new.

The other babies on the farm could be chicks! We have a broody hen. Broody basically means she wants to lay on eggs and hatch them. Broodiness has been bred out of chickens but sometimes the urge strikes, kinda like baby fever I guess. You can put them in a secluded area without hay or eggs for a while and try to break them out of the habit, but we figured why not see what happens? The worst that can happen is that none of the eggs she’s on are fertilized and then we just try again with other ones. (Yes, we have a rooster, in case you are wondering how the eggs would have been fetilized).

We noticed our girl was not leaving the nesting box. I’m just going to call her THE French girl because Lagertha and Frenchie look identical and I am not sure which one is broody. She would get super pissed when we came to collect eggs and make herself huge and yell at us and peck us whenever we got near her. At first we kept taking the eggs out from underneath her because we weren’t sure we wanted to try to have her hatch any. But after about a week of taking the eggs she wasn’t going to give up. So last night after she went into her coma-like sleepy state, my daughter and I moved her and her eggs to a cozy box in the garage.

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When I first put her in the box the eggs were on the opposite side of where she is, and the darn automatic light was on in the garage, so she decided to eat rather than lay on the eggs. When she was done she was laying where she is now and I went out and put the eggs underneath her. She’s still there now so this is a step in the right direction.

A funny side story, like I said before about not knowing which girl is which, I think I tried earlier in the week to put the other French girl in the hatching box. I brought her and different eggs into the box but she refused to stay in the box. I left her and went to my yoga class and when I came back I couldn’t find her. I was like, “She abandoned the eggs? And disappeared!? What’s happening?” I finally looked UP a bit.

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She found a nice roosting spot on our tool shelf. HAHAHAHA!!! So I put her back with everyone else, and when I did, I looked in the nesting box and found the other French girl (the current broody one). OMG! I told my husband I have to mark them somehow. Maybe a ziptie around their feet.

Anyhoo, so far we’re on day 2 of laying on these eggs. I will have to continue to Google how to candle the eggs to see if they are in fact fertilized. I am no expert at any of this so this is going to be a really fun adventure. Updates as they happen so stay tuned!!

The Most Epic Yoga Transformation

Guys!!! This is going to be awesome! I hope you feel even just a little tiny bit of what I am feeling after accomplishing something in the yoga world today! I am so excited! But I also want to tell you guys how long it took me to get here.

You know when you’re browsing Instagram (and other various sites but a lot on that one), you see people in these super difficult yoga poses and they make it look so easy. You know what you don’t see? YEARS of practice leading up to that point. Yes, some people are more flexible than others and just have a naturally bendy back. Yes, some people have incredible arm strength without lifting weights. But most of them, most of us, have been practicing over, and over, and over, and not always posting the fails or mistakes.

I am guilty of posting all the “good” stuff but I have also posted quite a few fails or work-in-progress photos. So you shouldn’t be too surprised to know that I have put in the work. I have practiced the same poses over and over and thought that there were some I would never be able to do. Let’s look back at one of those.

April 14, 2015. I was hanging out with Isis and doing fun yoga stuff. She had just mastered “flying lizard” and asked me to try it. Look at this train wreck…

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We joked that we should have a safe word in case I got stuck. I used the safe word!!! LOL!! I was so stuck and didn’t even know how I managed to get into this half-eaten pretzel predicament. We even made a collage of she and I to show off our “skills.”

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Since then I have tried this countless times and was never able to get it. A few things…I could never get my bottom foot around my arm and off the floor. I SWORE that my calves must be too big and I’d never get it because I couldn’t wrap my leg around. I also couldn’t ever get my back foot off the ground without my head being on the ground. This takes so much strength in so many places. Even though I was 100% sure I’d never get it, I stuck it out. I kept trying. In the meantime, I also worked on other arm balances to fill the hole of flying lizard.

So here we are. 2 whole years later. That’s a long time. I have been able to stick some other arm balances and so I thought I’d try this again. Well, today was the day. 2 effing years later. Scroll up to look at the fail photo again just so you can really appreciate the transformation…go ahead….I’ll wait….

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Here it is! In all it’s flying glory!

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AHHHHHH!!! I DID IT!!!!! OMG OMG OMG!!!! Seriously!!! I can’t even!!!!

Basically, guys, don’t give up! Practice makes progress!!! Keep going! Practice til your arms fall off!! DON’T STOP!!!

Namaste. 🙂

Ranch De La Chrissy #FarmlifeFriday

It’s about dang time for a new #FarmlifeFriday post. Sheesh! Life starts to catch up and I forget that I want to blog. But I am not complaining. I cannot complain about life.

The chicken coop is DONE!!! I think the last time I blogged about the coop we were just finishing up the building. Now it’s painted and decorated!! I found a warm, not rainy, day in March and painted the entire coop. I decided to do it barn-like, but since we don’t have edges, I made my own. I taped off all the edges, painted the entire thing red, then hand-painted all the white.

Isn’t it adorable? Just like this it’s pretty awesome but I wanted to add some Chrissy flare to it so I added some art. The original coop had a sign that said, “CHICK-INN.” I wanted to keep that but update it. So I added the white around the original red paint, and then made a new sign to go with it. And every Bed and Breakfast needs a tagline. 😉 Also, the B&B sign was made with a piece of wood that had fallen off the “creepy house” next door. #Recycling!!!

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I went on Amazon and bought some cheap tin signs. Then I had this brilliant idea to paint a rooster on an old cookie sheet. I mod podged over the roo so hopefully he will stay nice for a while.

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If I see any other cool signs I might add a couple more, but as of now, it’s doneskies!!

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After I painted one rooster on a cookie sheet, I found a stack of really old and nasty cookie sheets at a thrift store to paint more. I painted one for my friend Heather a couple weeks ago. It’s her bantam rooster name Squiggy.

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Chickens are all doing great. Did I blog about Ragnar passing away? I am not sure if I did. It was an unfortunate accident. He was left out over night and was killed by an owl. It was a terrible loss. #Farmlife 😦 So besides that, all the other chickens are doing great. Everyone is still laying and we’re selling eggs like crazy!!

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My next ranch project was expanding our garden. Operation “Not Buying Produce” has begun. I have been growing seeds in my bedroom since February and just yesterday put 90% of them outside. We started with a garden that was probably 10x20ish. I doubled it. I tilled the grass, added a bedload of compost, then re-tilled everything to get ready to plant.

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I currently have tomatoes (various kinds), cabbage, zucchini, yellow squash, artichokes, cilantro, basil, and peas growing nicely. I also planted a few seeds directly into the ground and those are, lettuce, cucumbers, and broccoli. Still in my room are all my peppers, bells, jalepenos, and another mexican pepper (not exactly sure what that one is) but those aren’t quite ready to be put outside yet. We are well on our way to self-sustained living!! Or at least on our way to make less trips to buy produce and eat right out of the garden.

Have a great weekend!

 

 

“Hope Jewelry”

Chrissy’s Creative Creations is proud to (finally) present, my newest jewelry venture, Hope Jewelry!! YAY!!!

I don’t think I have blogged about the horse ranch at all, so let me give you a bit of story first… Last summer, while teaching yoga, I met a couple girls. One continued coming to class and later invited my family to her sister’s horse ranch for a Hoe Down to promote her non-profit organization. I immediately was excited to just be invited somewhere and possibly have some new friends (Isn’t it hard to make friends as an adult?). We went and had an absolute blast. We are not horse people but my daughter was drawn to them. She immediately ran over to get a ride and got on like a pro. It looked like she had been riding horses all her life. So of course we wanted to find out more. Turns out this program is a FREE program. Did you read that? FREE!! We still don’t know how this is possible but it is. So we got Gwen signed up.

Flash forward, we are now friends with the ranchers and I volunteer there. To be really clear on how “friendly” we are now, I practically live there. I am always finding reasons to go hang out, whether it’s ranch related or just girl-time related. The ranch has become a huge part of our lives. I am not volunteering with the horses but I am volunteering with the “Rancher Program” that focuses on gardening, farm stuff, and crafting for kids, who for various reasons, can’t or don’t want to be around horses. If you want to get a closer look, click this —-> Reining Hope

One day I was asked if I wanted to sell some of my jewelry at the ranch. Of course my answer was yes, but I thought that an even better idea would be to make special jewelry that is tied to the ranch and have the profits go right back to the ranch. That way people can support the ranch but also see my handy work and maybe hire me at another time. “Hope Jewelry” was born.

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I am currently selling earrings, rings, bracelets, and necklaces that all tie into the ranch. Here is a list of what’s for sale with photos (not all items listed have photos. You’ll have to go to my craft page for that)

Earrings: $10. You can choose between earrings that say “HOPE” in hand-bent wire, or dangle earrings with various beads and a horseshoe.

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Rings: $10. All hand-bent, silver plated copper wire, in the shape of the words “Hope” or “RH” (Reining Hope)

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Bracelets: $15. Hand-bent wire to say “Hope”, I ❤ RH, and I ❤ Horses. These are all made with one end of the chain longer to have a dangly horseshoe on the end to add some flare.

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Necklaces: $20. The words are the same as the bracelets but just in necklace form. In addition to the hand-bent wire words, I also made hammered wire horseshoes. I literally hammer the round wire to be flat, wrap the tops with wire, and make them into a charm for a necklace. So far those have been the best seller.

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If you are interested in supporting myself and the ranch and buying any jewelry, hop on over to my craft page and shoot me a message. I’ll have everything listed shortly. Shipping is included in the price, but just know that all remaining profits go right back to Reining Hope.

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Everything on display at the ranch

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Just to continue plugging myself, here’s my other latest wire projects. I have a friend getting married (like, almost right this moment) and she asked me to make her a hanger with her new name, and necklaces for her flower girls.

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Happy Thursday, everyone! Thanks for reading!! ❤

Embracing Change: A Love Story

This post has been brewing for a long time. It all started with a question quite a few months ago; I’ll get to that. I was going to write it yesterday but the day came and went. But here it comes.

Yesterday, my husband and I celebrated 18 years of being “John and Chrissy.” 18 years as a couple. Our story began in 4th grade when we sat next to each other. I moved to a different community for middle school but then came back for high school. The rest is history. We started dating freshman year and have been “us” every since.

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Freshman Year, 1999

A few months ago I went to have a coffee date with a new friend. We were doing the usual “get to know each other” question and answer session. She asked me, referring to my husband and I being together so long, “Have you guys changed a lot?” My immediate response, with a laugh, “Pshhh, no!” I didn’t realize the impact of that question. I have thought of that question almost every day since then.

When I initially asked myself the question again, my reasoning for the NO answer was this: I am still the goof I was in high school. He’s still the muscle that can pick me up and swing me over his shoulder. We still listen to the same music. He still drives and I passenger. We are still together so of course we haven’t changed. But then I continued to ask myself the question over and over since then and I keep realizing, we are totally NOT the same people that we were when we first met, or got married, and we definitely aren’t the same couple after all these years.

The easiest change to see, we are now parents. And even that has changed in the 9 years since we had our daughter. But the other changes might not be as obvious, even to the people who know us best.

The first thing I think of is the way we eat. On our 1 year dating anniversary, John took me out to a super fancy seafood restaurant, not realizing I didn’t eat any sort of seafood. I filled up on bread and ordered a chicken meal. It took me a good 15 years to live that one down. “Remember the time I took you out for fish and you ordered the chicken?” When we were first married I don’t think I ever cooked a vegetable. We ate meat with rice or pasta. We ate out a lot. It wasn’t until about 5 years ago we decided to make changes in our diet. And it wasn’t until just last year that we really decided we were going to clean out our cabinets and start from scratch and start eating clean. Vegetables are now one of our favorite things to eat! And I LOVE seafood!! And I cook wayyyy more often than I ever did; we rarely eat out.

We grew up in southern California. I am not trying to say that there are only two types of people in SoCal, but for this blog there are two types of people; fancy people and hippies. Maybe instead of fancy I could call them lavish. In my opinion, lavish people want a perfect house, the perfect clothes, the perfect tan. Hippies are carefree, they differentiate between wants and needs, and they care more about other people than themselves. I would say we grew up being a healthy mix of those two. We lived in a pretty great neighborhood with all the things we wanted, could go to the beach to get our perfect tans, but were also pretty grounded with good heads on our shoulders and good morals.

When we were first married I think we wanted to be the lavish kids we thought we were. We bought all the things we wanted. We had a tv in each room. We HAD to have cable with HBO. When we could afford to, we spent money on new clothes and new things for the house because we wanted them. And when we had our daughter we wanted her to have all the latest and greatest gadgets because that would be the best for her. We aren’t those people anymore.

We’re the hippies now, 100%. We were slow and steady to make this change. Moving out to the country away from everyone was the first big step. Wanting to live off the land and not have to spend all our money on food when we could grow our own. We realized we wanted to spend more time with each other doing things outside rather than watching tv, so we kept extra tv’s in the moving boxes. We discontinued cable. We had very limited internet (this wasn’t a choice in the beginning but it was a blessing in disguise). We took away our daughter’s tablet (another thing that we didn’t realize was a blessing). We’re in the process of downsizing all of our stuff. We are heading in the minimalist direction, hoping to one day maybe be those weirdos who live in a tiny house with just a bed and a stove on a huge plot of land with chickens and a garden (I’m not kidding, it’s become our dream).

Growing up we weren’t raised religious. We had some church background but nothing that I would say was enough to form us into the people we are today. We still aren’t religious, like Bible religious, but we are both very spiritual. We are constantly learning and sharing ideas with each other that build on our spirituality. It’s something we have grown to share.

And then there’s our relationship. We have always loved each other, no question. And we’ve always been best friends; we GREW up together, how could we not be best friends? But when we were first married, and only 19, we still had growing up to do and things to experience. We did everything together but we still had those moments when we wanted to get away from each other. I was that annoying nagging wife at times. And he was the worker bee that I wanted more attention from. We fought over dumb things, like any new couple, we kept grudges, and would dwell on things we had no control over. Today, we not only love each other more, we LIKE each other more. There’s totally a difference. You can love someone but not enjoy being around them. We enjoy each other. We want to spend time together as much as possible. And we definitely don’t hold grudges. We agree on a lot but when we don’t, we figure it out without being assholes to each other. We laugh A LOT more, me especially when I think we’re fighting over something stupid. We work together. All while still maintaining our independence.

The point of all this is that the answer to the question, “Have you changed?” is most definitely a, “Hell yes, we’ve changed!” And the best part is, we’ve done it together. The second best part is, we are happy. Like, really happy. The happiest we’ve ever been. When talking about us and our lifestyle, hippie-ish, I always tell people that I think this was all in there deep down but it just took a while to really embrace it. Deep down we wanted all this but maybe just didn’t know how to make it happen. And all the roads we’ve taken together were all eventually going to lead us to this point. And now, this is the new starting point down our next road of adventure. Will a lot more change in another 18 years? Who knows. I would guess that we will just further embrace a lot of the things we are moving towards now. And the best part is, we’ll still be doing it together.

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April 13, 2017. 18 years

Accepting Defeat

My avocado seeds didn’t grow.

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It’s been over a month since I gave sprouting an avocado one more go for the bazillionth time.  All I wanted was to see a root or a leaf sprout up. I wasn’t looking for something magnificent.  I wasn’t looking for a tree. Just a sprout. Just to prove to myself that I could indeed grow ANYTHING. But no. Not this.  The ONE thing I can’t grow.  So I’m throwing in the towel. No more attempts at an avocado.

I do think it’s because of mass production breeding sterile seeds. So I’m not holding myself 100% accountable for this failure. But without the right seeds, even an organic one, I don’t see a future for this endeavor.  So I’m done.

R.I.P to my avocado dream.

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Lately, I have had a lot of people ask me for my cauliflower pizza crust recipe. I blogged it a long time ago in my Facebook Notes but I have since made adjustments and perfected it so I thought I would share again. Here goes…

Ingredients:
2 large heads of cauliflower (this will make a square the size of a cookie sheet)
2 large eggs
Italian seasonings
Olive Oil
4 cups mozzarella cheese
Pizza toppings of choice
Cookie sheet
Large mixing bowl

Directions:
-Pre-cook any raw toppings like chicken. Set aside.
-Preheat oven to 450.
-Rice cauliflower and place in a large glass bowl. *To rice the cauliflower either pulse chunks in a food processor, or grate chunks on a cheese grater. I prefer the grater. The end result should look like rice. It’s okay if you have a few bigger pieces.
-Place riced cauliflower in the microwave on high for 6 minutes. DO NOT add any water.
-Once cauliflower is cooked, add eggs, Italian seasonings, and 2 cups (or 2 handfuls) of cheese, and stir until mixed.
-Coat cookie sheet with olive oil
-Pour cauliflower mixture onto the cookie sheet and flatten out.
-Cook crust for approx 15 minutes. Crust will be firm in the middle. Edges may look slightly burned and that’s okay.
-Once crust is done, let sit for 10 minutes while you prep the toppings. Turn oven off.
-Add desired toppings to crust (this includes the other 2 cups of mozzarella cheese)
-BROIL pizza for approx 3 minutes or until cheese is brown and bubbly.
-Cut and serve with a fork.

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I have used this same recipe to make “breadsticks” to dip into marinara or to have as a side with spaghetti, or spaghetti squash if you want to go super low carb.

I have also used this same basic recipe to make cauliflower “tortillas”. You just change the seasonings to Mexican style, add lime juice, and cilantro, skip the cheese, and flip mid way through the baking. I haven’t quite mastered those yet but I haven’t made them as many times as the pizza crust.

Enjoy!!

Overflowing with Joy #NamasteTuesday

A quick post before I go to bed because my heart is seriously swelled up so big!

First on the list, after Thursday’s yoga class one of the ladies asked who was teaching Saturday’s class.  I told her me and she said she’d be sure to come. She came because I was leading.

Second, I  had 6 ladies in my Saturday class! Wooohooo!!! After class, one of my chair regulars was double checking which Thursday’s I’m teaching so she can make sure to come. Again,  she’s coming because of me. 

Third, my first online class with a friend was perfect!  We’re planning to do it every Wednesday!

And last, the super terrific reason I’m overflowing with joy and love…. remember that guy that came to my Saturday class last month?  Well, that was his first yoga class. He was visiting his sister,  a chair regular,  and then headed back home.  The first thing he did back in his hometown was join the Y yoga class! Ahhh!!! So awesome!  But wait,  there’s more. He met a lady in class and they are now dating.  All because he tried my class!! His sister told me that story tonight during class and I about broke down.  I haven’t smiled that big in ages. That story seriously warmed my heart and made me incredibly happy and proud.  That took an insane amount of confidence to join a class and then approach someone in that class. Gah!! So much love!

Good night,  lovelies!! 😚

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