so cliche, yet so true

Time is something which can pass s-l-o-w-l-y, like when your waiting in line at the DMV (department of motor vehicles) or fast, like when your on holiday and suddenly (or so it seems) it’s time to get back on the plane…and return to ‘reality’…

Though the past few months (or should I say years?), lightening speed, is a more accurate descriptive for how I feel time passing…how can it be November 18th, 2013 – already? What?

It seems the (now) routine of school, work, play, cooking, dishes, running errands, grocery shopping, paying bills, preparing for winter (or whatever season is upon us), returning phone calls and emails, keeping up with the business, planning for holidays, birthdays, writing, making time for fun…creates the feeling that time is always winning – that there is never ‘enough’… time.

They (who are they anyway?) say when you get ‘older’ time ‘speeds up’ and when you have children you see time passing before your eyes. Children are the physical form of time passing. They are newborns, then babies, then toddlers, then pre-schoolers…there is no denying the passage of time once one has a child – the months fly by as do the years and your child is the daily reminder of this.

Granted one does not need to have a child to realize life is short.

The question for me now is how to juggle doing what I want to do (without feeling guilty) with what I need to do…

I enjoy doing so many things, though time doesn’t always allow…

I need to do so many things, though time doesn’t always allow…

I want to do so many things, yet time doesn’t always allow…

I hope to do so many more things, will time allow?

I recently came across this quote from Marty Rubin,

“Time does not pass, it continues”

So, I’ve decided to try and see life as always continuing and growing (despite feeling like I’m always trying to ‘catch-up’) versus never having enough time…trusting there is (and will be) enough time…simply trying to stay in the present (not always easy)…

Enjoying the moments when time seems to ‘stand still…’

beachHow do you make time for the things you love and the things you must do?

When does time stand still for you?

Share your thoughts in the comments please…

Enjoy.

gardening in Maine, in the rain…

I’m surprised by how well my little backyard garden is doing, despite all the odds against it…

carrots

curly kale

Time constraints, a precocious three year old, fluctuating temperatures, heavy rains, Maine mosquitos (bad for me, not the garden) and the constant threat of insects (particularly slugs and snails right now)… makes gardening this year a bit of a challenge, to say the least. Granted there are always variables out of our control when growing one’s own, though this year, the wet and cooler temperatures are certainly above and beyond the ‘norm’…

borage

While Finn naps, I try to get out there – little by little more seeds are sown, weeds are pulled, additional mulch is laid and insects are picked off one by one…for me the key to having and enjoying my garden is simply getting out there, once a day, even if only for 15 minutes…to keep an eye on things and say ‘hello’. Yes, I do talk to my plants…why not?

lettuce leaves

I want to garden. I want to eat fresh organic greens. I want to pick (and then enjoy) fresh homegrown, veggies! I want super fresh, real food. My current budget won’t allow me to buy locally grown, organic tomatoes, but it does, if I grow them myself, from seed. Lucky for us, I like to garden. And I have space to garden…

one half of garden

Not only do I like to garden, I need to garden. For me, it’s innate. It always has been. I like to eat what I grow. Plus, the taste, is impossible to achieve with store bought vegetables. Nothing is more fresh than ‘just picked.’ Seriously.

freshly picked lettuce and kale

So, I garden.

I start seeds in the late winter/early spring, I compost, I save seeds, I read about companion planting and organic gardening. I teach myself and I learn as I go. Life is all about learning – it’s never ending – and for me, this years garden is teaching (and reminding me) that plants want to grow.

young corn

Every living thing wants to grow – despite set backs and challenges, we all want to and need to grow, vegetables are no different. So if you think you don’t know enough to grow a few plants, think again, they are forgiving (to a point) and they want to please you as much as you want to enjoy them…

green bean beginnings

So why not start a seed and see how it feels…you may just get hooked.

Don’t have a lot of space? Try plating vegetables/flowers in pots. A tomato doesn’t taste any better grown organically in the ground, in the country, in Maine as one grown organically, in a pot, on a fire escape in NYC…homegrown is homegrown, and that is always better than any store bought tomato…the best part of organic homegrown? Monsanto is not involved – at all.

Happy gardening – for yourself, your family and the earth!

enjoy.

simple living

If you’ve been with me for awhile, then you know I love cooking, baking, gardening and the dump!

Yes, the dump.

Well, it’s not actually the dump, it’s actually a transfer station, but I lovingly (though incorrectly) refer to it as the dump. It’s just what I call it.

It’s where I take my trash and recyclables. I’ve lived in a few areas (and states) where residents can choose to use a service or take care of their own trash, meaning, go to the transfer station (dump) themselves.  I’ve always opted for the later. Why?

Well, first off, it’s free, secondly, it’s no big deal for me to take care of myself (and my trash, which, by the way is quite minimal…) and usually, there is an area for ‘free’ items.  It’s an area where residents can leave unwanted, yet good items, for others to take and enjoy…what’s not brilliant about that? My town has such a place.

I call it the ‘freebie barn’. I love it. Lots of residents do. I have found countless items there…toys, shoes, dishes, beach toys, chairs, tables, televisions, radios, rugs, silver ware (real silver), glasses, fabric, grills, telephones, old cameras … the list goes on and on – sometimes I look around my house and think, ‘Wow, I’ve scored so much cool stuff, for free!’ I love the dump.

It’s second hand stuff, without the price tag. Squeamish about second hand? Well, if you’ve ever eaten at a restaurant or slept in a hotel – you’ve experienced, ‘second hand’… get over it.

More areas need this resource. There are too many things being wasted. Lots of people would just love to have what others are ‘throwing away’ – too many good things (and well made things) get ‘tossed’ simply because another tires of it…thankfully, where I live, good things don’t go to waste.

So, the next time your driving down the road and see a table or chair on the side of the road and it’s got great lines, is well built and could use a good clean or a fresh coat of paint – don’t think twice. Pick it up. Fix it up. And enjoy it.

Why not? You’ll not only save yourself some money, (while adding to or changing your living space), but you’ve repurposed a completely good and useful piece of furniture or whatever it may be, that someone else simply tired of...don’t let well made items go to waste. Use them and enjoy them!

Here’s a look at a few things I’ve recently scored for free from my local transfer station…

fisher price elevatorVintage toys are always fun to find. This piece is great. All parts work, the bell dings (without batteries!) while the elevator moves up (and down) and it’s great fun for Finn to push his cars up and down the ramps while allowing ‘passengers’ on and off the elevator.

beach chairsWhen you live near the beach, one can never have too many beach chairs. I love how low these are – perfect for sitting at the waters edge…cocktails anyone?

glassware

I have scored such a variety of glasses from the dump and here’s a few more I’ve added to my never ending collection…one can never have too many glasses either…I love entertaining and having a plethora of glassware to choose from – and if one breaks (which, they inevitably do), I don’t fret…I will always find more…again, cocktails anyone?

his and hisNow, these were a fabulous (and serendipitous) find. Finn has been enamored with mowing the lawn (and we have a BIG lawn to take care of)…though, he’s only 3, so no real mowers, for a long time…though he’s been asking for a toy mower (his own mower)… most are plastic and I didn’t want to buy plastic (there’s too much plastic as it is, without consuming it, new!) so when we found this one (above) – he and I were so happy! He, because he finally had his mower and I, because we’ve recycled it (despite it being plastic), and we will recycle it, again. The red mower in the back, I also picked up! It needed a new spark plug and that’s it – it started right up – $200 mower, free. Love it!

mower + wheelbarrowHere’s the real mower again and the wheelbarrow in the back, was also, you guessed it, free.

tool tray

This (plastic – I know) tool tray we also picked up with these fun tools (below)! I know, more plastic (frightening!), but at least it’s being re-used – even the drills (below) still had (good) batteries in them! What?

tools

Now, I much prefer wooden toys (that is all I choose to buy) so when I spotted all these (below), I had to pick them up! Great additions for play dough play…not only does Finn enjoy working with play dough, but he also enjoys helping me make it! It’s very simple (and fun) to do, see here.

wooden toys

So while second hand may not be for everyone, it is for me.

It’s great for the planet and great for my wallet. You don’t have to spend a lot, to have a lot.

Do you love second hand things as much as I do? If so, I’d love to hear from you!

Share your thoughts, finds and most favorite ‘scores’ below.

enjoy.

white bean cutlets save the day

Thankfully, the official last frost date has passed…though, only two days prior to ‘the’ date, we had a frost warning – what? – it’s May, practically June, what’s with this frost advisory?

I couldn’t believe my ears.

Frost advisory?

‘Are you serious?’, I said, out loud, to no one…but the radio…

My immediate next thought was, ‘Well, if this is true, I better go cover the greens in the garden and get cooking – something to not only warm our tummies, but our sprit as well’, so that’s just what I did.

I decided to make white bean cutlets.

They are a lovely blend of warming herbs, fresh bread (crumbs) and sublime white beans…add to this loveliness, chopped carrots, celery and chives and well, you’ve got cutlet love…

Top it all with mushroom gravy and serve alongside freshly steamed, buttered green beans and you’ve got the perfect solution to the ups and downs of spring in New England.

This dish is both for warming and soothing…just what the body (and mind) needs when facing the reality that in the morning there just may be frost on the ground – despite the fact that June is only 12 days away (well, it was when this was written)!

White Bean Cutlets

adapted from savvyvegetarian

Print this recipe!

Ingredients

1

2 cups white beans rinsed and drained (try preparing yourself from dried)

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 good pinch freshly chopped chives (or two scallions, chopped)

1 celery stalk, finely chopped

2

1 carrot, finely chopped

1/2 tsp. paprika

1/2 tsp. cumin

1/4 tsp. fresh thyme

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

parsely

2 Tbsp. parsley, chopped

1/4 cup flour – not all may be needed – any flour will work

1 cup finely chopped fresh breadcrumbs*

* no breadcrumbs?  No problem, chop and whiz bread pieces/slices with crusts in food processor. No processor? Simply rip and finely chop bread and crusts. No bread? Try this yeast free recipe. 

I’m all about being resourceful… (: One has to be when living milessssss from town

Here’s what you’ll do

1. Heat oil on medium/low in heavy bottomed fry pan.

2. Saute carrot and celery until soft, about 5-8 minutes.

3. Add all herbs and spices, except parsley, to fry pan and saute another 2-4 minutes. Constantly stirring…

4

4. Place cooked and rinsed beans in food processor, add sauteed veggies and spices, parsley, salt, pepper and bread crumbs into processor and combine just until mixed.

5

6

5. Add flour, 1 Tbsp. at a time until mixture is thick enough to form patties. aka, cutlets.

7

6. Form into patties and let chill one hour in fridge.

8

7. Heat oil in fry pan and fry each 6-8 minutes each side, until nicely browned.

10

8. Top with Vegetarian Mushroom Gravy.

9

11

Vegetarian deliciousness served up in a cutlet…feeds not only the body, but the soul as well…

Enjoy

PS. If you omit the milk and butter in the gravy, you’ll have a delicious vegan recipe too!

old shelf – new shelf

We’ve been in need of some shelving for Finn’s reading nook… It’s a very small nook at the top of the stairs (it used to be my office) and while its been his ‘space’ for the past year, it was in need of a little re-do. It needed shelves and it needed white paint on the floor (it had been a dark red not a nice red).

So I re-painted the floors (with floor paint we already had) and then hoped for some type of shelving or bookcase – something to keep books and toys on, while keeping things organized and easily accessible…and as luck happens, I found one. In the wood pile. At the dump. The very next day…

shelf - before

shelf – before

Now, this was certainly no beauty – obviously… Oh no. Typically I wouldn’t even had noticed it, but as I was walking past the wood pile – I thought, “I wonder what a coat of paint will do for that?” Then I thought, “I do need shelving for Finn’s reading nook…” My next thought was, “If it fits in the back of my car, I’m taking it.” And it did.

As I was unloading it and hauling it across the lawn, Michael says, “Wow, that’s nice…” Can you hear the sarcasm…? My immediate response was, “I know, I know – it’s not my style (at all) but just wait and see!”

So I got right to it. I scrubbed it, bleached it, lightly sanded it and then asked Finn to help me paint it and he was so excited to help, that we finished both coats, in one day (don’t worry, we were outside and it was a VOC free paint).

finn painting

finn painting 2

So two coats later and some gingham contact paper ($2.00 for the roll) and we now have a (useful and sturdy) ‘new’ shelf in the space.

shelf - after

shelf – after

Too bad it didn’t fit next to the window, instead of being slightly over the frame…

reading nook

Oh well, things don’t have to be perfect to be lovely…and in the end, it was free, useful and needed.  It didn’t end up in the wood chipper (see here for the other shelf I saved from the wood chipper). I didn’t drive all over looking for the ‘right’ shelving and I’m going to use the rest of the contact paper to re-cover the interior shelves in my pantry; money (and time) well spent I’d say.

contact paper

Added bonus, the shelf is not only useful now, but it could (at some point) be used elsewhere in the house (thinking laundry room), or we could add more shelves to allow for varied storage abilities or even paint the sides with chalkboard paint or magnetic paint and Finn could play away…free, versatile and useful, what’s not to love?

What have you turned into treasure lately?

enjoy

traveling on a budget

I thought it would be timely to post on this topic, as we are away at the moment, visiting with friends, on a distant (and warm) island…though this trip is more like ‘coming home’ (we had lived here before Finn was born) than traveling, but its’ got me thinking about travel…

So much can be said about traveling. There are so many variables to consider – are you traveling for a few weeks or longer? Will you be visiting one country or many? Are you traveling alone, with a friend, or as a family? Are you ok out of your ‘comfort zone? Can you stick to your budget? Are you able to ‘go with the flow’?…

But before deciding to go anywhere (or do anything really) you need to be able to save money. Saving a little each week can quickly add up to big savings. Putting aside $25 per week ($3.57 per day) will add up to $1300 in just one year. Michael and I saved for two years prior to leaving on our big trip years ago…we worked a lot, we worked so much we had no time to spend needlessly…yet, we didn’t see it as a sacrifice, we saw it as a way to accomplish something we really wanted to do – we had a goal and stuck to it. And in the end, all those things we chose not to do, wouldn’t have made a big impact on our overall life, but our travels did. Traveling changes you. It gives you a much larger view of the world. It reminds you – there is so much out there – there is so much to learn…and appreciate.

You can choose to see what it is your ‘giving up’ as a sacrifice or  as an avenue towards the things you really do want. 

We’ve made choices which may not be easy for most, but our choices have allowed us to do things we feel are important, to us.  And now our choices have allowed Finn to enjoy his first travel experience. And that to me is worth so much more than any dinner out could ever give…

hermit crab in shell

cacti

sunset

It also helps having dear friends in beautiful places! Thank you…

What do you wish to save for?

Enjoy.

365 days ago…

I decided to start this blog. I wasn’t sure if people would like what I wrote, or if they would even find me – why would anyone be interested in what I had to say? But enough people suggested I try it, so I did. And I’m so happy I didn’t let fear stand in the way. I chose to take a leap… and get over my fear, and just try – what’s the worse that can happen, right?

Turns out, it has been a wonderful creative outlet for me. So much of my life is my business, Designs Adrift, which I love too – but I’m in the ‘background’. I do all the paperwork, writing and photography (some of the photography), taxes, etc…yet Michael, my partner, is the artist in the end…and his work is beautiful, yet this blog, is mine and mine alone. My time writing, photographing, planning and editing is well spent – it allows time for me, to be me. And the added (and unexpected) bonus is, it’s been a great way to meet other, incredibly talented, like minded individuals! Who knew?

So when my first post was published, I was so excited and shocked to have a like and a comment – on my very first post! How did they find me? Who are they? What? People liked what I wrote? Liked it enough to take the time to write a comment? Wow!!  It made me smile…Thank you Norma, From Wok to Garden, for my first comment – you inspired me to keep going! I’m still kind of figuring out what readers are interested in (and what makes folks comment), but for the most part I just share my life. I’m just being me, really. Camera in hand, sharing what I love…what I cook, how I prepare it, what I’m interested in and how I keep my expense down…my life in rural Maine, on an extremely tight budget, in other words, The Art of Thrift.

Knowing what to buy and when and more importantly, when not to…recognizing quality and craftsmanship; not to buy cheap, but well, or not at all – it makes all the difference (in my opinion)…for the planet and your wallet. I like to encourage second hand buying – it makes so much sense! (and if your still a bit worried about second hand – don’t be – if you’ve eaten in a restaurant or slept in a hotel, then you’ve used second hand items!)

I know how to be thrifty, but I also know when (and how) to spend…even the NYTimes agrees… and while I’ve accomplished some of what I had set out to do, there’s still so much more to share…I’ve posted a lot of recipes, but not a lot of suggestions for travel, groceries shopping, children’s needs, insurance – everyday stuff – but all things in time right? As long as I can find the time to write and photograph (and get to the library to publish – my dial-up access is a real detriment not only our business, but my blogging!!) I will.

I, thank you all for reading and sharing this past year – it’s been fun and a challenge. (A challenge because of my dial-up!!).

And now this, little miss thrift, needs to find the time to get to the library (wifi, remember?) a little more often so she may become a little more tech savvy – fonts, layouts, widgets, settings oh my…this is one arena where being thrifty isn’t necessarily helpful…but being patient is. All things in time, right?

What have you been doing lately that is thrifty?

Have a fabulous weekend and thank you for reading! xoxo

Enjoy.