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The First Day of Winter….Wait, I Mean Spring!

Well, I have to say this sounds familiar. On September 22nd I posted something similar. It does show that it has been a long winter. As of March 2oth, the first day of spring, we have lots of snow and ice everywhere. Here are some pictures to give you an idea.

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That is a lot of snow for the end of March. And while I wouldn’t mind wearing a breezy skirt instead of long johns, or going barefoot instead of heavy boots, and while I would like to take a bike ride where I don’t have to worry about people whipping out on the ice, that is not the case today.  So, on this first day of spring, I will take the advise of the Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh who said “The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it. So I choose to see it!

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Happy first day of spring!  🙂

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Mindfulness…Play Dough Mandalas

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As we continue on our mindfulness journey, we have added another activity to our rotation, play dough mandalas! This mindfulness activity was inspired by Mama Rosemary. Mama Rosemary used flowers and spices but we decided to use rocks and marbles. This was not only a lesson in concentrating on the moment and calming ourselves, it was also a lesson on impermanence. After we made our beautiful mandalas, Liam asked to keep his to display. I told him that this was our play dough and since we like to play with it we would need to take our mandalas apart. I told him we could take pictures so we could always see them. He seemed satisfied with that and after the pictures he calmly took all of the rocks out and then began to play with the play dough. It was a wonderfully calming experience. The kids enjoyed picking out just the right rocks and finding the perfect place for them to go.

I followed the same order as we have for our other mindfulness activities. We started with 3 breathes and our gatha, mindfulness poem.

I am breathing in

I am breathing out

I am happy 

Oh so happy

Next I turned on some relaxing music and handed out the play dough. I told them to to cover their paper plates with play dough. Once their plates were covered I put out a big bin of rocks and marbles. I explained to them that a mandala is a circle pattern that starts in the middle. They each picked one special rock to place in the middle and worked their way out from there. Here are some pictures of our play dough mandalas.

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Namaste

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Project Simplicity….The Kitchen, Almost Done

Well the kitchen is coming along very nicely. After I took all of the cooking/baking/eating objects out of the kitchen and rearranged them, life in the kitchen has been easier. Although the counters still get messy and crowded with things I have noticed it takes less time to get the kitchen straightened up again. Also, when I put things away I am not cramming them into tight spots because everything has a spot of its own. This really has cut down my time cleaning the kitchen and complaining about the cleaning the kitchen in my head 🙂

After getting the first round organizing done, I worked on the recipes flying around my cupboard. I got them all in plastic sleeves and into a binder, why had I not done this before!

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Next I worked on my spices and baking ingredients. I had a lot of dried spices from my garden and farm box from the summer. It was so nice to refill all of my small jars to make these herbs and spices accessible.  I also spent time making some spices mixes and tea mixes. Now the spices and herbs are being used!

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I have also taken out most of my decorations from the kitchen space. I am planning on doing some spring cleaning in the next week, like washing walls, cabinet fronts, baseboards, floors, and windows. By taking all the decorations out it will be quicker to get the scrubbing done.

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I also tackled the junk drawer this week. I had been avoiding it because it is such a mes,s but when I couldn’t close the drawer anymore I new it was time.

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We emptied the whole drawer out on the living room rug and got to work. I realized that there were a lot of things that just needed to get to their spots in a different part of the house. I was putting little things in the drawer to put away later and never really did it.

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Now that the drawer is clean I have a new plan. I have one little can where I can put things that go to another spot in the house. When the can is full I need to empty it, we will see how it goes.

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So the kitchen is looking really good and has become more functional.  The last clutter in the kitchen is under the sink. I will tackle that another day, but until then, I will continue to enjoy my kitchen.

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Enjoy It While You Can

Here in Wisconsin we got another 3 or more inches of snow today. Even this late in the season, I can still enjoy the beauty of gently falling snow. And really, the snow will only be around for a few more weeks. So get out there and enjoy it while you can!

This is our backyard snowhill we have been working on since the beginning of January. It is so big Liam cannot get the sled up on his own. Today we made a second smaller hill for him.

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Justin and Liam working on the new snow hill.
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We also decided to make a little room in the bigger snow hill.

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Warming up in the igloo.

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Delaney took a picture from inside the igloo looking out.

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Killian getting ready to sled down the big hill. We stayed out until 6:45 so this picture is a little dark.

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Happy Snow!

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