April 21, 2017

Friday things

Two Fridays ago was quite windy and rainy here and for most of the day/weekend we had little to no power. We went almost two hours with no power during one heavy bout of heavy winds. The wind got up to about 60 miles an hour at one point and I was worried about our gazebo top and the cherry tree behind our house. It finally calmed down about 3:00 p.m. and we just had rain showers the rest of the day. The weather was a bit confusing though because it would be windy, dark, and raining and 10 minutes later the sun would come out and the wind would be calm. It was off and on like that from about 4:00 a.m. on until the early Sunday evening. We were lucky here in the base of the Cascades because in the Portland area the winds took down power lines and trees. Here at the SNS house we only have some minor damage. A few limbs here and there and some things blown down in the yard, but nothing we couldn't clean up over the course of this past week. Unfortunately, the poor daffodils took quite a beating.

Last Friday was a bit rainy, but nothing major and Easter Sunday was sunny and clear. However, we spend the entire weekend helping some friends move and it too about four days of moving to get them completely shifted over to their new home. Four days isn't too bad, but it was exhausting. Thank goodness we all finally were able to take a much needed break Sunday evening. We all woke up Monday morning with sore muscles and sore backs. Moving-it's a great workout.

Here are the things that made this week great.

1. This moment.

The Mr. and The Bean have been casting into the waters here lately. The Bean has really started taking a liking to fishing, but we always teach a catch and release method with him. He hasn't caught anything as of yet, but his hopes are high.

2. This walkway.

Really liking how these came together. They look really nice in the daylight and at night they give off just enough light to create a glow onto the walkway. 

3. Easter.

With or current shift in being more minimal we kept the Easter "basket" simple. 

We gave The Bean a simple basket with a few organic chocolate eggs and a locally-made peanut butter rabbit. The basket was made of  a biodegradable basket and recycled brown paper for the grass. The Easter Bunny brought him some Annie's snacks, a Seattle Chocolates candy bar, TruJoy Fruit Chews, Eco-Eggs egg coloring and grass-growing kit, the movie Rogue One, and a Garden-in-a-Can - Dill. 

4. This change.

I've kept a blog for The Bean since before he was born and this week he took it over. I started the blog when I found out I was pregnant with him and have had it going now for about 13 years. Having him take over and start blogging makes me so proud. You can follow his blog posts here.

5. These goodies.

Yogi Surprise, never a letdown. 

Mighty Nest sent reusable bamboo utensils for this month's Mighty Fix. The Mr. promptly added them to his lunch box for work each day. And we also added on some Bee's Wrap sandwich wrap to help him keep a zero waste lunch each day. You can get Mighty Nest here.

And I have to mention the gifts I received from Pilot. Since I participated in the Back 2 School VoxBox through Influenster, Pilot decided they wanted to keep the gifts coming. This small package from Pilot contained two sets of pens, a Target gift card, and a postcard that allows you to write a note to your future self. Totally unexpected, but greatly appreciated!

A few other things:

April's book selection:
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Find out more here.

• Guess what, Arkansas! You got a Go Green Box now!

• Minimal Monday recap:

• Waste-Free                           
• Donating                           

April 10, 2017

Minimal Monday: Media

With the news today of yet another school shooting, we can't help but wish we could block out so much media coverage of such a horrific event. Media, including social media, seems to force us to watch things we wouldn't otherwise watch, or listen to on a regular basis. Negativity seems to be thrust into our faces every day and the way they bring it across makes us not want to look away, but we must. In order to properly process this, we must have moments within our own minds to process negativity that happens in our world.

With the word "media" what exactly comes into your mind? Media of news outlets? Social media? Or how about newspapers... Whatever your definition is to the word "media" one thing is for sure, the world seems to be obsessed with it completely.

Everyone goes through their bouts of social media presence, and the SNS household has a pretty active online presence, but when does it become an obsession, a habit, or even an addiction. The problem with social media is that it's so easy to get lost in and Facebook is one of the biggest leaders in keeping people active and obsessed with this trend. There is currently 1.86 billion people logging onto Facebook daily. And not to mention, 1.15 billion people that log onto Facebook every day through some sort of mobile device.(source) It's no wonder with those numbers that our world is so connected to everything that happens around the earth. On one aspect it's easy to argue that it is a great way that keeps us all connected, but there is one thing that a lot of those people are missing completely, and that's the fact that it does keep us ALL connected. Seems to be confusing, but let me explain. A lot of things seen on social media, media outlets, or even on your "friends' posts" may not be how it actually is. A lot of things on social media have been exaggerated to either get people angry, upset, or try to touch some sort of emotional response from the viewer. Facebook is also a place where most people have taken to in order to gain attention, brag, or even stay connected with people that they aren't really "friends" with at all. Think stalking, harassing, or just plain being nosy.

But with all of that negativity toward social media there is a solution. The solution is to not let it control your life that way. Some of the best solutions to limit your time on social media, viewing media on your television, or even hearing it on the radio is to actually limit your exposure to it all. You are the only person that can control those aspects of your life online. Here's how.

• Unfollow and unfriend: Unfollow pages, people, Facebook accounts, Twitter accounts, etc. that don't really interest you. There is no shame in unfollowing companies that don't fully have your backing on whatever they stand for. Unfriend people you aren't really friends with. There is no shame in not being "friends" with someone you don't know and that doesn't know you. And don't add people that you don't want knowing your personal life. Facebook has an option to unfollow someone if you don't want to remove them as a friend, but don't want to see their posts. Side note: If you don't get along with someone in your real life, you probably won't get along with them online either, so keep that in mind. Even 150 friends seems like a lot to me, but you be the judge of your own online friends. The term "friends" has gone way off course in regards to our online status. Read more ways to minimize your online presence through social media.

 • Stop the notifications: Just turn them off completely. You don't need an email, a text message, or even a call when every thing happens with your online presence. Some apps of social media and news media outlets have the option to send you a notification with every-little-thing that takes place and if you have this setup on your phone or computer, get rid of it. The best way to minimize your media exposure it to not get those notifications in the first place.

• Limit television/radio time: Watching television is above all a great time killer. Movies on demand, smart televisions, it's news at our fingertips. The problem with this is the hours and hours of television that seem to overtake our lives. What brings more enrichment to your life, watching television for two hours or spending time outside for two hours? I think we all know the answer. It all comes down to one thing, acting on that knowledge. The best tip is to limit this time and only watch programs that enrich our lives. This doesn't mean completely cut out movies, or news, but be mindful of the programs that grace our eyes and our ears. This goes for newspapers and publications too.

• Lastly, don't forget other items that can cause issues with time. These include Pinterest, online gaming, blogging, Skype, Facetime, eReaders, and even cell phones. We all have the ability to minimize these in our life. The only thing that needs to happen is actually following through with it and set times that you use them. Cutting notifications and time spent on these is a great step in minimizing our time spent with them. Keep in mind that there is nothing wrong with using these sites, devices, or programs, but make sure you are doing it in a healthy way. We all know when we have reached that moment of "too much," just make sure you know your limit.

Minimization is more than just about minimizing stuff, it also has to do with all aspects of your life as a whole. Don't allow other things, or other distraction take away your daily goals in life. Unplug when needed and stay focused on what's important in our lives. You have the right to control your own way of living, so do it!

Best of luck to you and keep on creating a life of less.