a month of living slowly

onions (and a few weeds) popping up in the garden

Today I found a blog called Slow Living Essentials that hosts a link up opportunity for people to share the ways in which they are making their lives slower and easier. I thought it was a great idea (thanks to a post by Slow Down Slowly), so I am going to join in. Here are the categories that she wants people to talk about:

{NOURISH}: Make and bake as much as possible from scratch. Ditch over-packaged, over-processed convenience foods and opt for ‘real’ food instead. Share favourite links/recipes/tips from the month here.

We cook our meals from scratch – the cooking is half of the fun. We make most of our cookies and desserts. This month I posted recipes for Chocolate Chip Banana Beer Bread, Grand Marnier Fudge (not for the kid’s lunch pails) and some drinks you can make with rhubarb (again, probably not for the kid’s lunch boxes). I also posted about how we’ve changed the groceries that we buy.

{PREPARE}: Stockpile and preserve. Freeze extra meals or excess garden/market produce. Bottle/can, dehydrate or pickle foods to enjoy when they are not in season. Aim to reduce dependency on store-bought items especially those known to contain BPA and other suspect additives. Stocking up on dry goods when prices are low counts too.

As far as preserving goes, I didn’t do much of anything this month. I plan to cut up and freeze some rhubarb once it’s filled in again. I made a large batch of pizza sauce and froze it for our weekly pizza nights. We buy dry goods in bulk. We’ve been discussing getting some chickens, but it hasn’t happened yet.

{REDUCE}: Cut down on household waste by re-using, re-purposing and repairing. A ladder into a strawberry planter? A sheet into a dress? Share ideas and project links here, allowing others to be inspired.

I know we do this – but it’s hard to think of what it is that we do. It’s just normal. I guess we reduce by not buying much. We don’t use paper towels or napkins, we reuse glass jars for food storage, we don’t waste food by freezing vegetables before they are past their prime. We packed up some outgrown kid’s clothes and passed them down to a friend. I noticed my niece wearing a shirt this weekend that both of my girls, their cousin (who is now 20) and my friend’s daughter had worn – and it was still in excellent condition (which is a great argument for buying quality).

{GREEN}: up our lives. Start (or continue!) using homemade cleaners, body products and basic herbal remedies. The options are endless, the savings huge and the health benefits enormous.

Yep, we got that covered. We recycle, we make our own stuff, we fix things that are broken, we use it up, wear it out, make it do. I have a small fascination with essential oils lately – see the Homemade Vapo-Rub, Lip Balm and Rosemary – Mint Body Wash and Shampoo. I also made Lemon Olive Oil Gardener’s Hand Scrub.

{GROW}: Plant/harvest. What’s growing this month? What’s being eaten from the garden? Herbs in a pot, sprouts on a windowsill or an entire fruit/vegetable garden – opt for what fits space and time constraints. Don’t have a backyard? Ask a friendly neighbour or relative for a small patch of theirs in return for some home-grown produce, they may surprise you!

We planted our vegetable garden this month, weeded and mulched our flower beds, planted some annuals in pots to make our deck and front porch look nice and have been eating chives and rhubarb – the first things to pop up out of the ground for us.

{CREATE}: to fill a need or feed the soul. Create for ourselves or for others. Create something as simple as a handmade gift tag or something as extravagant as a fine knit shawl. Share project details and any new skills learnt here.

I made a few beauty/personal care products (listed above) and made some boozy fudge to give away for Mother’s Day gifts.

{DISCOVER}: Feed the mind by reading texts relevant to current interests. Trawl libraries, second-hand shops or local book shops to find titles that fill the need. Share titles/authors of what is being read this month.

We make trips to the library every week. I love mysteries and read one or two a week, plus monthly I read a (usually painfully boring) book for the book club I can’t figure out a way to get out of joined. I also just finished Michael Pollan’s Food Rules and really enjoyed it. It’s a quick read and full of common sense advice for eating healthy and well (I’m still not giving up chocolate).

{ENHANCE}: Community. Possibilities include supporting local growers & producers, help out at a local school/kindergarten, barter or foodswap, joining a playgroup or forming a walking or craft group. Car pooling where possible and biking/walking instead of driving. Even start up a blog if you haven’t already – online communities count too! Or maybe just help out someone trying to cross the street! The rewards for your time are often returned tenfold.

I wrote about buying local food and eating seasonally. We shared rhubarb from our patch, gave away manure and split some bedding plants and gave them to my mother for her garden at her new house (and what I really mean to say is she dug them up and told me about it afterwards – but I was happy about that).

{ENJOY}: Life! Embrace moments with friends and family. Marking the seasons, celebrations and new arrivals are all cause for enjoyment. Share a moment to be remembered from the month here.

We celebrated Mother’s Day at our house, entertained friends, we had some cousins come and visit and enjoyed a night out at the theatre. We even managed to find a few four leaf clovers.
Busy month!

Linked to Frugally Sustainable, Slow Living Essentials, A Delightful Home

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47 thoughts on “a month of living slowly

  1. I really enjoyed reading this post. This is the way I try to live day to day. But I need to make one comment – change your book club! I am in a book group at our library and it’s such a lively little group – so as well as making new friends I’ve discovered new authors.

  2. Thanks for posting this, I’m going to join up. I do most of this anyway, but it;s nice to reflect back and share ideas with others.

  3. Somer says:

    Do you have a favorite brand of essential oils? I don’t see your penpal post…. Did it all work out? Crossing my fingers. 😉

    • Would you believe that I found my email to my penpal (the one that was to sent me the box)in my “drafts” folder. Somehow it never got sent! So she never got my address. I didn’t get anything, but it was my fault entirely. I felt stupid about that. I didn’t discover the unsent email until the end of last week – too late.

    • The brand I use is called Organika – I can’t say its necessarily a favourite – it’s the only kind that I’ve tried, so I have no other reference. I like them, and they are the only kind that the local natural/health food store stocks.

      • Somer says:

        I use a lot of essential oils, so I’m always interested in what other people are using. Your shampoo post totally inspired me to order rosemary, can’t wait til it arrives next week!

  4. introvertedblogger says:

    Thank you very much. I am definitely trying to live slower and smarter.

  5. slowborg says:

    You have it covered! Such a great look back at the month 🙂
    I have just discovered Michael Pollan online, and have been readinga articles of his, but not the book yet, will definitely get onto that.

  6. You always write such fun, informative, and interesting posts, but I am thinking that this is the best, best ever. There’s enough here to keep us all going for the next century–and that is great. Thank you so much.

    Since we just moved, we don’t have my husband’s vegetable garden up and going this season (just 3 tomato plants in pots!), but next year, we’re going to “borrow” the next door neighbor’s unworked plot and share veggies with them. We used to supply friends, neighbors and the local assisted living center with our excess produce. It’s amazing how much food one can produce from a small plot.

  7. oceannah says:

    This is a great post thanks for sharing it. Today is a new month so the timing is perfect. Even though we live the sustainable life, I know there’s always more to learn or thing we haven’t thought of 🙂
    *anna

  8. Sarah says:

    THIS is the way I want to live. I think it’s perfect. I’m so grateful you took the time to post all of this! It’s inspiring, and really has me thinking this morning. Thanks so much for the inspiration!

  9. Great post and great job slowing down, Heidi! It’s a constant struggle to find the right balance of busy-ness and quiet. I sometimes think my kids are better than me!

  10. Shira says:

    Looks like a super intitiative and so good to have a checklist for accountability Heidi! You’ve got a lot to feel very good about indeed and I am always crazy impressed and inspired by you 🙂

  11. […] I am inside this weekend, thanks to Heidi at lightly crunchy, I have found a project to help remind myself of just how far I have come in changing my […]

  12. great post – learned a lot, and am inspired to try more – thanks a lot

  13. This was fun to read… I think I’m a little dizzy. 😉

  14. Kara says:

    Hey!
    Glad you found us over at Slow Essential Living! Your blog is great and I enjoyed clicking on all the links and exploring your world! Michael Pollan has a few good books – all easy to read and not at all dull! Have a look at a movie on line called food Inc – thats another eye opener! Have a great month! – Kara

  15. Christine says:

    Hi there, Lightly Crunchy, it’s great to have you joining in! I’m really intrigued with your homemade vaporub..after making an oil/beeswax hand lotion with lavender ess. oil I had wondered if I could make something similar for chesty colds..am off to see how you went about it.

    It sounds like you’ve got loads of rhubarb on the go and this Grand Marnier fudge of yours does indeed sound very tempting!

    Have a lovely weekend,
    Christine

  16. Great post. (You might have alternately entitled it, “Back to Basics”).

  17. Kate says:

    Loved reading about your month. I’ve also enjoyed reading Michael Pollans books.

  18. Thanks for this post – will look at the other blog – it all looks great!

  19. evi says:

    Hey, I just read that dark chocolate is good for cardiovascular disease and lowering blood pressure!! It’s healthy!!!!
    Your month sounds very prolific and green. Nice to stop by and visit – I do believe I’m going to have to find where your ointments recipes are hidden…… bye!

  20. Andrea says:

    Heidi as I have been reading your blog, you make me very proud. I am very impressed with what you are doing and how you are handling everything life has thrown your way. Maybe I don’t tell you enough just how much I admire you but I do. I have even been trying some of your receipes. Who says their kids can’t teach their parents new things. Keep up the good work. Love you. Mom

  21. Barbara Good says:

    Great post, I love you summary and am now going to go back and check out some of your links. I’m intrigued about the shampoos and things you’ve been making. I’m very prone to migraines when using strong smelling essential oils, so I haven’t touched them for years. Perhaps I should have another go. I also just looked up some Michael Pollan books at the library, will pick some up when I take the girls to story time tomorrow morning. I’m looking forward to following your blog and catching up on some of your older ones.

  22. Nice, well-rounded grouping of “living slowly” values here. I’ve got the square foot garden going, but I can’t quite get away from some of the pre-made foods if I want to keep my creative time and mom time from being taken over by cooking time. When I get prepackaged items, I do try to get the healthier options. We use a lot of Ezekiel bread, though I wish I had time to make more of that kind of thing in-house.

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