Create Your Own Happiness

 “For last year’s words belong to last year’s language. And next year’s words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning.” ― T.S. Eliot

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Out Of The Darkness Overnight Walk

 
Over the course of the past year I have changed jobs, gained a nephew, built a new garden, lost a loved one, walked all night to raise awareness and learned more about myself than I could have planned.

With the new year comes a new list of goals. One thing that I have noticed since I started working two jobs is a huge lack of motivation for the things I used to like to do. As a mental health clinician, the importance of self care is always discussed, but easier said than accomplished. So, in the interest of taking care of myself, this year I have put the following plans in motion:

1. Quit my part time job- DONE! My last day is February 12th. This is going to take a lot of time management stress off my plate, but add some financial stress. This was a huge decision, but ultimately, the positives of resigning outweighed the negatives.

 2. Rediscover my passion for cooking- My husband got me this fantastic book for  Christmas called “Whatever Happened to Sunday Dinner?” By Lisa Caponigri. It has weekly menus for elaborate Italian dinners and I can’t wait to try them out on my friends and family. 

 

3. Don’t fall into the negativity trap- Unfortunately, there are a lot of people where I work who are less than satisfied with their jobs. This has been rubbing off on me and when asked how I am doing, my responses have turned into “It’s going” or “I’m here.” Going forward, I am going to do my best to respond with “It’s good to be alive” as a way of appreciating my circumstances. 

4. More books, less technology- I deleted FaceBook. Enough said.

5. Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner- This sounds simple, but with the nature of my job, I often find myself forgetting to stop long enough to eat meals. This week, there was a day that I went to both jobs and didn’t stop to eat until 6:00pm. Not good. Hopefully with the 2nd job ending, days like that will be few and far between.

I look forward to adding to my list as the year goes on. What is on your list?

❤ S

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A Worthy Cause

So, those of you who have read the few posts I have written know that my passion is mental health and the effect a healthy lifestyle can have on this.

In honor of this, I have signed up for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Out of the Darkness walk. Every year suicide claims more lives than war, murder, and natural disasters combined. According to AFSP close to one million people will make a suicide attempt and more than 40,000 will die by suicide in the U.S. this year. These statistics are troubling, but it is important to know that suicide can be prevented.

If you or anyone you know would like to donate to this cause, please do so by clicking the link below. My goal is $1,000 and every little bit helps.

http://theovernight.donordrive.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=widgets.300x250thermo&participantID=14438

Happy New Year!

Wow! It has been forever since I have written anything. Life has been continuing at a rapid pace and writing was shoved to the side for other endeavors.

I have been pushing forward with ways to improve my connection to the earth as well as my understanding of how this connection affects people’s attitudes and outlooks. Here is what has been happening:

In July, the hubby and I bought a beautiful, very old, “new house.” It was built in 1775 and is on an acre of land nestled in a small neighborhood between two local farms. The access to fresh, local food here is unlike anywhere else I have lived. We are so blessed to be here.

In August, I started a new job as a mental health clinician for a local agency. This job is a stepping stone to licensure as a clinician and finding my way back into the schools as a school counselor. I am learning more than I could have imagined in this job and look forward to finding out what is next.

During the fall months, we focused mostly on cleaning, organizing, and fixing small things in our house. We researched and found a plan for a beautiful dining room table to fit all of our family and friends for the holidays. We started this table in November and finished it just in time for our friends and family to celebrate the holidays with us. It successfully sat 16 people for Christmas dinner!

Here it is. We made two benches to go with it so we can squish in as many people as possible. Hooray!

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Now that the holidays are over, I have started to plan my garden for the spring. My big Christmas present is a shiny new pressure cooker. I am so excited to grow and preserve fresh food for next winter. I just put in my seed order from seedsavers.org. This site is working hard to preserve heirloom plant varieties and I believe in buying plants that produce seeds you can actually use. Many of the new plant varieties are engineered to produce for only one season so consumers have to continue buying seeds or plants each year. Rubbish.

I have a plan for my garden and intend to research greenhouse plans as well as beehives for next year. I am excited to share my adventures with you!

What are your intentions for the new year?

Trying to Buy a House is The Worst

For those of you who don’t know, my husband and I have been deep into the home buying process for about two months now. It is the most stressful, most frustrating process I have ever been through. That includes planning and paying for a wedding last fall! After many disappointments and horrible houses, we have finally found one that we LOVE. We put in an offer and it was accepted last week. Now come all of the hoops to jump through. Bank information, home inspections, appraisals, price estimates… We have had my step mom the paralegal, our friend the contractor, an inspector, and tons of other people look at the ins and outs of everything. IT IS EXHAUSTING.

Did I mention our house was build in 1775?! That was not a typo. It was around before America was official. Oh goodness, is it gorgeous. Stay tuned for the rest of the home buying process. I’ll keep you posted!

For now, here is a sneak peek of our (hopefully!) future kitchen 🙂

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Mozzarella and Ricotta Cheese Recipes

As promised! Here are the two recipes I used for delicious home made cheeses last week. Sorry, the mozzarella recipe is a bit blurry, but you get the idea.

Please note: we used raw milk which is sweet and delicious. If you are going to go this route, do some research and be sure to know your farmer. Not all raw milk is treated the same. If you would rather go the pasteurized route, any whole milk works. Just be sure that it is pasteurized and not “ultra-pasteurized” as the later won’t work as well.

Additionally, I used a kitchen tea towel instead of cheese cloth for the ricotta. It worked well, but took quite a long time to drain.

Happy cheese making!

Recipe courtesy of Culinary Underground

Recipe courtesy of Culinary Underground

Recipe courtesy of Culinary Underground

Recipe courtesy of Culinary Underground

The ricotta recipe is made from the leftover whey after making mozzarella. You can find the recipe I used here:

Ricotta cheese recipe from sbcanning.com

Adventures in cheese making!

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Ok, it’s been WAY too long since my last post. These past few weeks have been a whirlwind, but I wanted to let you all know about a class I took this week.

The husband and I took a class on how to make fresh mozzarella and it was AMAZING! Oh goodness, if you have never tried mozzarella right from the pot, you have a new assignment! It was not only delicious but super easy as well. Only a half hour after we started, Patrick and I were enjoying the Caprese salad pictured above.

Better yet! After making the mozzarella, we took the leftover whey home and I experimented with making fresh ricotta. Although much more time went into draining the ricotta, it was just as simple to make. I’ll try to post both recipes tomorrow!

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I can’t wait to make more! Not only did both cheeses taste fantastic, but just making them was a huge stress reliever. Making cheese seemed to be a task where I was able to be focused on what I was doing and not on the b**** who hung up on me at work AND I got to eat a delicious snack after we were done!

Three cheers for therapeutic cheese making!

Can Being Outdoors Affect Child Development?

Go Play Outside: Can being outdoors enhance brain development/ www.growingwellness.wordpress.comI’ve been doing a lot of research lately on how being outdoors can affect a person’s mood. Along the way, I came across an article from Richard Louv at psychologytoday.com. It discusses the benefits of teaching your child about nature and getting out of the house more often. Louv states: “A growing body of primarily correlative evidence suggests that, even in the densest urban neighborhoods, negative stress, obesity and other health problems are reduced and psychological and physical health improved when children and adults experience more nature in their everyday lives.”

As the number of hours of sitting in front of a tv, computer, or iDevice increase, it seems that mental health across the country is deteriorating. The correlation between being “stuck” indoors and poor mental health is undeniable. It’s time that we as a community begin to get back to our roots and reunite with nature.

I believe that humans have a strong physiological connection to the planet in more ways than we have discovered. As I keep researching, I’ll continue to pass along all of the great info I find.

As my mom used to say: “Alright, enough sitting around in front of this screen,
go play outside!”

Click here to read the full article:
Do Early Outdoor Experiences Help Build Healthier Brains?