Monday, November 2, 2020

Halloween Treat Decorating Party

 

Post and Photos by Rain San Martin. *Photo's including Rain by Winter San Martin.

For many kids the most fun part of making treats is decorating them. I had hosted a few children's Halloween parties and thought a mini-decorating party could be a fun alternative.  Join me as I share my fun and simple steps.

The guests arrived in costume. Our son invited three buddies who were also brothers. They were dressed as Minecraft video game characters, with the youngest brother dressing as Hot-Rod from Transformers. Our daughter was Jack Skellington, her friend Red-Riding hood.

Below are affiliate links to items I use and love. This helps to support this site at no extra cost to you:

Here is a quick glance at the supplies I used, yet you can customize the list:

Rice Krispy Treats.

1 bag of large Pretzel Rods.

1 bag of Tiny Twists Pretzels from Meijer.

1 bag of Oreo's, any flavor you like. Halloween Oreo's with orange icing are a favorite for many. 

Chocolate candy coating as the base for decorating, which includes:

1 container of white chocolate candy coating. 

1 container of milk chocolate candy coating.  

Food coloring.

Coconut oil to smooth out melted chocolate. 

Decorative toppings, including:

A variety of Halloween sprinkles.

Candy eyes.

Cookie decorating icing in black and orange. 

Rice Krispy Treats. To prepare for the Mini Decorating Party I made a double batch of Rice Krispy Treats the previous day.  They were sliced into 2 x 2 squares and stored in an air-tight container. I followed the directions on the back of the cereal box and doubled the recipe. If you've never made them before, nothing is more simple: Butter and marshmallows melted in a pan, mixed into rice crispy cereal. 

Two bags of plain pretzels and pretzel sticks, along with a bag of Oreos were placed aside for decorating the next day.

I melted candy coating chocolate in a stainless-steel mixing bowl over a simmering pot of water. This is a nice alternative to a double boiler. Mixing regularly with a wooden spoon and a few tablespoons of coconut oil, creating a smooth consistency. I then poured the chocolate into two separate bowls, which I added pumpkin orange and monster green food coloring. Adding a touch of red with the orange for a deeper shade.    

Other toppings include:

A variety of Halloween sprinkles. I bought Wilton Halloween Ghost Mix, which was filled with orange and yellow jimmies, and tiny candy ghosts. 

Candy eyes. I bought a large package of Assorted Candy Eyeballs by Wilton, and was shocked at how fast the kids went through the box creating multi-eyed monsters. One Oreo creature had 10 eyes! I suggest setting out a limited amount of this product, so there will be more leftover for other days of spooky fun.

Cookie decorating icing in black and orange. 

Time to decorate!

The kids primarily made Monster Guys with the Rice Krispy Treat squares. Dipping them into green, orange, or chocolate brown candy coated chocolate. Topping them with Wilton candy eyes. Some characters were turned into larger creations entering pretzel sticks for edible arms and legs.

My decorating plate was primarily of small pretzels. I submerged them into the candy coated chocolate, then quickly poured a variety of sprinkles over the salty and sweet treat. These made for a wonderful treat later in the week. I love flipping through a festive Halloween treats and DIY book as I enjoy my chocolate Halloween pretzels!

My husband Sage even dropped in to make a few treats wearing his new Circus Ringmaster Jacket and Top-hat from Spirit Halloween.  Yet on Halloween night he pulled out all of the stops, putting on full makeup!

 

Thanks for joining me for this Halloween Treat Decorating Party. As you can see this sort of gathering could work for many occasions. May you enjoy the rest of the autumn season! 🍂

Rain 

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Halloween Homemaking


 
Article, photography, and YouTube Audio Podcast by Rain San Martin
 
The Halloween season is passionately my favorite time of the year, more so than the holiday itself.  For me October 31st, marks the end of the celebration. The grand finally. And it is the days throughout September and October that I cherish most. These are some of the reasons why: Cool autumn leaves in shades of yellow, orange, red, and brown. Front porches bedecked in pumpkins and mums. Spooky fun decor, with festive lights in orange, yellow, and purple. Inspired Instagram and Pinterest images by fellow content creators, sharing their whimsical treats and spaces. Opportunities to wear my "Boo" scarf with silly ghosts on my belt.

As a keeper of your abode, whether this is part-time or full-time, you can be the seasons Halloween entertainer. Even if you live alone. I'll share with you how I celebrate the entire season of Halloween and give you tips for creating your own fun. So put on your fall apron and lets get to work!

Below are affiliate links to items I use and love. This helps to support this site at no extra cost to you:

Plan and prepare: 

Check out a few Halloween treat and DIY books from you local library. You could also buy a new book for long term reference. My favorite author on the subject is Matthew Mead. Matthew Mead Halloween Tricks and Treats is a classic!

Decide when to decorate and pick a theme.

When the calendar flips to September, I put away the spring-summer decor and transition into the Fall and Halloween spirit. An annual trip to Michaels kicks off the season.

Our year-round Gothic decorations will stay in use however. Rather than changing my decor theme each year, I gravitate towards classics.  A Rustic Vintage Halloween theme has been my go-to style for years. Weaving autumn decorations with spooky whimsical pieces. I create simple vignettes. Few decorations are used as I enjoy a minimalist lifestyle.  I've selected two focal areas, the mantel and the front porch.   

 

The mantel.  

The first thing I took out this year was the brass candelabra. A staple for Victorian Spooky ambience. Last year I purchased a small gilded mirror from a historic neighborhood garage sale. This adds Victorian mystery to our mantle year-round. I DIYed my own spooky fabric making two shades.  Using painters cheesecloth I dipped the shear fabric in black tea bags for an aged cream shade, resembling moth-worn sheets. Next I soaked the left-over white fabric into black clothing dye, creating a gray spiderweb-like effect.  

 

My perched crow sculpture is from Michael's. The Fall Bucket List sign,  was joyfully discovered from Bloom'n Things (now located in Shipshewana, IN). Strung across the mantle is a fun Halloween banner which I created during a video tutorial. Here I cut out uniform (double backed) triangles on brown shipping paper. Next I pasted black card-stock as a back drop, painted on letters, then placed each triangle over the twine.

  
The porch.

The second area I spotlight is the front porch. I make sure to have sprayed off the deck, cleaned the windows, and overhanging near the end of the summer. This makes a clear slate for fall. On a wreath hanger I placed a Treat-Or-Treat sign. This paired well with the Vintage Inspired black cat and jack-o-lantern floor sign bought this year at Michaels. 

Fresh pumpkins are grouped on the porch. Strung orange lights are draped along the perimeter of the door using nails as a guide. Fiery candy corn yellow lights illuminate, just above the steps, creating a mini canopy. This glow greets me each evening I return from a power-walk adventure.   

Optional embellishments.

My husband Sage, and our son Orion made hand-drawn spooky silhouettes using black card stock and white paper. These are placed on windows.  Our kitchen perimeter has a layer of faux autumn leaves garland.  Another black raven is perched on the cabinet tops.


Treats.

Our family has treat-day twice per week. This is when I pull out pantry sweets, which were safely guarded throughout the week. Sometimes I prepare baked goods for the occasion until needed for treat-day. Our children love to help with baking. This season we prepared a double batch of cookie cutter dough, freezing half for another time. These were cut using Wilton Halloween Cookie Cutters in ghosts, pumpkins, and candy corns. To decorate I melted white chocolate candy coating and mixed in food coloring. Sprinkles, candy corns, and decorative icing were also used. 

Here are a few more ways I enjoy Halloween Homemaking, and so can you:

*Have a family pumpkin carving party.  Put on a spooky Halloween playlist.  I'm always curating mine each year. It has a mix of ambient eerie music paired with upbeat tracks.

*Set out a seasonal puzzle.  We cherish our All Hallows Eve puzzle by Dowdle! Our family loves working on this charming Halloween town puzzle every year. I get lost in the intricate details of trick-or- treaters, the pumpkin patch, Jack-o-lanterns, and more! 

*Make a couple of DIYs. The process can be restful, and you can enjoy your accomplishment in the upcoming years. 

*Host a mini-treat decorating party.  Have guests dress in costume.  Set out pre-made treats to decorate with melted chocolate, icing, and sprinkles.  You can do this alone too! Make yourself an autumn themed beverage and have a party for one. Why not? And no, you do not need to do a virtual Zoom meeting for this. Enjoy the peace of being unplugged.

Most of all keep things simple. Never commit to more than you absolutely feel comfortable with. Don't rush. Savor the moments of life.  

You can also listen to this Audio Podcast on my YouTube Channel.  

May you have a Slow Autumn and magical season!

Rain 🎃

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Morning Routine - Fall 2020

Article and YouTube video by Rain San Martin. *Picture of Rain by Winter San Martin.

The Morning Routine is one of the most impactful habits you can implement. Design one that gives you a peaceful start to your day. Include time cushions for interruptions and straightening. Allocate time spent on relaxation, lifetime goals, and cleaning or decluttering your living space. I will share with you my morning routine as it stands Fall of 2020. Upon reading this you may pick-up a few ideas for yourself. It should be noted that I am a full-time Homemaker and a part-time Blogger and YouTube Creator. I also carve out some creative work-time each week as a Classical Gothic Soundscape Composer.    

5:00am - 5:45am.

Awake to a clean home. 6:30am is the latest, if I have a late night. My clothes have been set out the night before during my evening routine making for a smooth start. The house is made ready by turning on the lights, and opening up curtains on the main floor. I boil water in my tea kettle for coffee prepared in the French Press.

Below are affiliate links to items I own and love. This helps to support this site at no extra cost to you:

5:45am

My favorite part of the day is when I sit in the rocking chair and sip a mix of Seattle's Best Coffee Post Alley Blend and Peets coffee Sumatra.  Autumn orange pillar candles flicker on the mantel and a few magazines are enjoyed! Three days per week (plugged-in days) I read my favorite blogs and visit Instagram as well as Pinterest on my iPad.  Note I have started a new habit of unplugging for 30 days each quarter.  This is with the exception of my essential computer household work as well as my creative business blogging & YouTube posts. During this time I consume no media. Two weeks per year I abstain from computer work and email during vacation, being 100% unplugged. 

7:30am

Blog writing or outline-1hour. In the first part of the morning I sit at the dinning room table in our living area facing toward the front porch and mantle. A Thomas Edison desk lamp illuminates my notebook, where I draft content for Vintage Gothic Homemaker.  Alternate mornings are spent transcribing my handwritten content into my Blog Site and sculpting the final draft. 

9:00am

Make breakfast. I switch up the menu a bit each month and season. For our 10 year old son I make Old Fashioned Blueberry Pie oatmeal with blueberries, brown sugar, butter, and a touch of milk. Sometimes I alternate with my original Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal recipe. For my husband, I toast a couple of pieces of Dave's Famous Bread with coconut oil and butter, served with sunny-side up eggs. A bit later I have yellow corn tortillas toasted on the Lodge Iron Skillet, topped with cheese, eggs, cilantro, and a side of salsa. This is followed up by kitchen cleanup immediately. Our 16 year old daughter makes herself a green smoothie. 

10:00am

As a keeper of the home, I consider this element of the morning routine to be the most important: De-clutter or deep-clean! I aim for about one hour each day, which includes daily cleaning rituals.  On particularly busy days I will skip this on occasion. Flexibility is good, yet my aim is overall consistency. This, along with regular straightening and kitchen clean-up, keeps the home company ready. 

If you haven't already I encourage you to create an enjoyable morning routine for yourself, and be sure to check out my companion video on this topic.

Rain 🍂


Friday, September 11, 2020

Halloween & Fall Decorations-Michaels & more-2020

Post, YouTube Video and photography by Rain San Martin

At the end of August, I begin the prep work of setting the fall foundation. The porch is sprayed down. Spring / Summer decor is stowed away. Windows washed to make way for DIY Spooky Silhouettes. Come September 1st, I get autumn fever, which puts a spring in my step! This is when my husband and I do our annual pilgrimage to Michaels for an afternoon date-night.

A Pumpkin Spice Latte & Double Cappuccino at Barnes and Nobles officially kick off the season. With anticipation we walk through the outdoor Jefferson Pointe mall to our Halloween Headquarters. Michaels is bustling with customers excited to pick a few well-made spooky and whimsical pieces from this years freshly stocked treasure trove! Because our home is intentionally uncluttered, and we have a budget, we do not over-buy. This makes the trip more freeing. The isle that struck us was the packed 1940's Farmhouse Vintage-Inspired Halloween decor.  We also got a couple of year-round Gothic staples for our home.

This years, 2020, picks from Michaels include:

*A festive mid-century vintage inspired sign that reads, "When black cats prowl and pumpkins glow may luck be yours on Halloween." Upon a closer look, we observed most of the Halloween decor we purchase for our home was by Michael's private label Ashland. 

*Trick or Treat hanging sign.

*Scarecrow from Michaels, 2020

To top it off we drove to an epic sized Spirit Halloween store! There my husband got a high quality Circus Ringmaster jacket, top hat, and cane. This could easily work for a Neo-Victorian Gothic / Halloweenie Circus look.  

Putting Up Decor

The slate has been cleared and cleaned. A few new seasonal decorations are joyfully purchased. Now is the time to put on my mid-century Retro Halloween apron. The fun colors are in black, orange, and white, in a pattern of owls, cats, Jack-o'-lantern, and moons.  From the basement I pull out the autumn bin, along with fall foliage, and additional pieces stored on the basement shelving. In this years video, you'll see our 10 year-old son Orion and I dive into the decor and discuss each piece.


Our favorite decorations from previous years include: 

*2 Raven sculptures. (Michaels)

*Boo pillow from the Johnny Appleseed Festival.

*Fall Bucket List and Fall Gatherings Sign from Bloom'n Things (now in Shipshewana, IN, seasonally in Glenbrook Square, Fort Wayne, Indiana).


Here are Affiliate links to items I own and mention in my video. This helps to support this site at no extra cost to you:

*Bronze Candelabra
https://amzn.to/2Njf1xY 



*"Scream" by Ty Beanie Boos, which we named "Boo" (Originally bought in Michaels) https://amzn.to/2EeBR6X

*Spooky, Spooky Little Bat (Finger Puppet Board Book, originally purchased inside Barnes and Nobles) https://amzn.to/2mGL7Yg

Black card stock
(for DIY Spooky Silhouettes and back of my DIY Vintage Halloween sign banner)
Darice GX-2200-02, 8.5"x11" (50 Sheets), Black
https://amzn.to/2mzIMyD

 

 


This Vintage Halloween Banner has gone up for the last few years on our mantel. Here is my DIY Vintage Halloween Banner tutorial:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOpQMZK70Yk


May you have a magical fall season!

If you haven't seen it already, you can view my video here.

Rain 🎃

Monday, August 31, 2020

Unplug for 30 days - Digital Detox

Article, image, and YouTube video by Rain San Martin. Photo of Rain taken at Old Crown Coffee Roasters, by Sage San Martin-2020. 

Welcome to the Unplug for 30 Days - Digital Detox Challenge!

Before we get started, I'll address the most obvious hurdle you will have.  For those who use a computer or digital device in your day job, creative side business, or domestic home duties (which may include remote school, online banking, paperwork, important email)  you are still able to participate in this challenge! Simply do your essential tasks which require computing, then follow as much of this digital detox challenge as you desire. We will also look at ways to minimize time online when utilizing the internet.  Of course if you are able to completely abstain from computers over the course of the next 30 days, you will only more deeply experience the benefits of this cleanse. 

Why I unplug 4 days per week and decided to go for a full 30 days. 

Unplugging is a topic I cover regularly, as being unplugged not only aids in simplicity, it more authentically connects us to the Vintage Lifestyle.  I recall a couple of years back when it dawned on me that society is one step away from living fully inside of a computer "Matrix." It's a sight that is now viewed as normal human behavior: Walking down the street with eyes fixed on a smartphone. Many Trans-humanists believe merging with computers is the next stage of human evolution, yet is this truly living? Imagine taking a plant which is designed to receive its ideal nutrients out in the open land with fresh rain water, natural sunlight, and soil was removed and placed in an artificial environment. Would these living conditions be optimum for a plants growth? Are man-made ingredients superior to organically grown natural foods?  

-Below is an Amazon Affiliate link,  which helps to support this blog site at no extra cost to you. 

Another watershed moment for me was the realization that even as a conscientious user of technology with recreational use, I found myself using computers for every possible task. My goal was to stay ahead of the technological times, keeping my skills fresh. Grocery lists were made with digital spreadsheets, letters sent as email (though I formally mailed letters on occasion). Journals written in a digital document. Music written and composed in a DAW, Digital Audio Workstation. Art created in Photoshop. Every aspect of my "productive" work was executed on the computer when possible.  After the iPad was released, and sites such as Pinterest and Social Media were a way of life, I found myself reflecting less. Being completely taken in by the moment, rather than the practice of silent introspection. My long-term memories were beginning to fade, and my ability to concentrate on long-form reading was also impacted. This was affirmed in the book, The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains

Now, rather than asking myself, How can I do this task on the laptop, iPad, or DAW? I ask, can this be done away from the screen? It should be noted that I periodically research relevant computer skills that are on the rise and make sure I stay sharp in this regard. Yet I have learned we can greatly reduce our usage while continuing to be technologically proficient. Not only this, we can be for more intelligent, reaching a greater level of potential when holistically caring for our minds and bodies. Sometimes to go forward, we must go back!

My personal challenge guidelines.

Feel free to adapt this challenge for yourself. Note: If you have a day job or are participating in remote school this is obviously essential computer use! 

I will only use the computer for essential Creative Business work, and domestic tasks on plugged-in computer work days. For me this is Mon / Wed / Fri. Occasionally more days are needed.

My Essential computer use includes:


*Creative Business Work (I Will post to my Blog site and YouTube twice during this time. Recording on a DAW up to 3 days per week. )
*Minimal online shopping as necessary.
*Key home-school assignments.
*Household domestic tasks.
*Online bills.  *Essential email.

No..

*Radio, recorded music, or podcasts.
*Social Media (Unless you must for your job).
*Web surfing.  *Ebooks. digital books. 
*Using Pinterest or internet for recipes.
*Checking news online.
*TV, video, movies.

Life-changing Habit: 

*If you have not already done so, consider switching your smartphone to a basic phone and have texting “blocked” by your phone provider! 

Alternatives:

*Use phone book when possible.
*Go to a live event (if possible..)
*Play a musical instrument.
*Write a physical letter.
*Use a cookbook.
*Write in notebook.
*Read physical magazines and books.
*Exercise outdoors or indoors in silence.
*Do housework and projects in silence, with the sounds of nature outdoors.
*Perform any tactile or creative work in the real world!!!

-May use a digital camera for photography.

The Impact of Being Unplugged

It was in 2015 that I first began to unplug one day per week. Gradually increasing it to four! Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays have been unplugged since 2018. Occasionally I have urgent desk work which requires my attention on these days, yet I remain unplugged from video, social media, music (unless a live performance) and so forth. And yes, I have a basic cell-phone with texting blocked. This lifestyle habit has always been in place. 

I am finding the 30 day digital detox to have a much larger impact. As of this writing, I have only 9 days remaining. My long-term memory is increasingly sharpening. Senses are heightened. I can clearly hear songs replay in my mind. I would consider doing this on a bi-annual or quarterly basis. Doing my essential desk work 3-4 days per week. 

A bonus goal of mine, is a news-fast. This means no newspaper or similar publication.  I do read Whatzup (things to do in Fort Wayne) and Fort Wayne Magazine, yet these are not normal news publications. Recently Whatzup informed me about the 1970s / 1980s Tribute Band, Hairball, which I recently saw perform live at the 13-24 Drive-In of Wabash, Indiana. Amazing fun! A result of abstaining from the news for this extended period of time, has been that I feel more peaceful. The world seems less impacted by the events of 2020. Yet, I am looking forward to checking in with my favorite independent news sites, blogs, and YouTube channels. I'm also happy to view the festive fall Pinterest and Instagram posts once my 30 days is complete. Yet, as be before, I will not be consuming media more than 3 days per week.   

If you haven't already you may view my video on this topic here

Will you be participating in a Digital Detox?  Best of luck!

Rain ⏳

Monday, August 17, 2020

Make Your Home Feel Like a Bed and Breakfast

Article, YouTube audio podcast, and Photos by Rain San Martin
 
I vividly remember the impact of staying at a Bed and Breakfast for the first time in 2007. Wikiup B & B, in Emigrant, Montana was a 45 min. drive from our apartment in Bozeman. With a view of the Emigrant Peak snow capped mountains. Horses roamed the country side. Yet it was the old-fashioned home of yesteryear which provided the greatest respite. Within a grove of aspen trees and cottonwoods stood the 1904 historic farmhouse.  The room in which we stayed was furnished in antiques. Though there was a television, we never turned it on. There stood a full length Victorian style mirror, dresser, and most importantly a sturdy chair in which to journal my reflections. 
 
Breakfast was the highlight of my stay. The pleasant owner prepared fresh coffee to go with the buffet style morning meal, held in the dinning room. There was a view of the vintage kitchen with hanging pots and an old-time gas stove. This was just before the area of mobile devices, so this distraction was mercifully not present.  
 
 
Wikiup Bed and Breakfast - 2007 - photos by Rain San Martin
 
When the stay was complete, I was forever changed. Why couldn't one live like this always, my husband and thought, after celebrating our 5 year wedding anniversary? A couple of years later we bought our home in NorthEast Indiana. One tiny step at a time we've worked toward transforming our 1926 home into a simply furnished Enchanted Cottage, as our style is Rustic Gothic meets Autumn Country Cottage.  Now let's look at the key ways to make your home or place "feel" like a Bed and Breakfast. Please keep in mind, you can choose any theme you wish!

Declutter to Create a Clean Slate

Spend a disciplined amount of time each week on decluttering. Time allotted will-depend on your availability. Note, if it appears you have little time, you can still make tremendous headway if intentional with time-management.  See what activities and commitments you can omit to allot more focus in this area of your life. Clear and clean spaces will make 90% of the restful impact of your Bed & Breakfast inspired abode. Clutter adds visual stress. It may remind you of unfinished projects or detract from your oasis. This is one reason why a freshly opened hotel room feels great.

Quaint Decor - Old-World Style 

Bed and Breakfasts are often characterized as being quaint. Let's take a look at the definition of quaint used in this context, "Pleasantly or strikingly old-fashioned." When looking through a Mackinac Island, Michigan travel guide we can see a couple of common themes when describing various Bed and Breakfasts. 

"Enjoy the true quaintness at Small Point Bed and Breakfast. Relax in the breeze overlooking the straits while you finish your book in a comfy chair. With a hot cup of coffee in hand, marvel at the sunrise on the wrap-around porch"-.SmallPointMackinac.com
 
"One of the oldest Victorian homes on the island built 1884 and carefully preserved by her descendants. Guest rooms individually decorated with authentic antiques creating a tranquil and romantic departure from everyday life!" -ClogHaun.com  (Clog Haun B & B, pronounced CLAW-han)
 
Note: This post contains Amazon Associate affiliate links to a few items we love and own. This helps to support this site at no extra cost to you:
 
You certainly don't need to buy antiques in order to create old-world charm. Today there are vast options of vintage inspired decor. For those in an apartment focus on elements you can change such as furniture, lamps, and picture frames. If you own a home, you have the liberty to customize lighting and faucet fixtures. Door and cabinet handles can be bought in antique bronze, gold, or iron. Edison light bulbs are not only long lasting, they are beautiful to look at. Opt for lower wattage lights and avoid florescent bulbs.  The most practical way to do this is to wait until an item breaks. Next, spend a bit more money on a higher quality retro-style replacement. These include fans, lamps, radios, curtains, cookware, and so forth. 

Deep Cleaning

It's difficult to fully enjoy a vacation getaway if it were dirty. This is yet another reason we may subconsciously feel more at ease when lodging at a Hotel or B & B.  Many full-time or part-time homemakers do spring cleaning all through-out the year rather than spring-time alone. Though some may follow spring cleaning lists on a rotational basis, I myself greatly prefer to focus on the areas of the home that need it most. Daily I have a set period of focused de-cluttering or deep cleaning for about  hour. This time also includes a few daily cleaning rituals. Note, my time spent tidying the kitchen and straightening the home throughout the day are in addition to this work. 

 
 
Relaxing or Romantic Bedroom
 
The bedroom should be the last room you would pick for a home office, television, or storage. This space should aid in restful sleep. It can also be a romantic environment for a husband and wife. Our bedroom has a Romantic Gothic themeA cheerful Vintage Gothic Banner hangs behind our bed with strung lights and a flowing black bohemian scarf. A mini-wall gallery features our photo adventures taken at historic Fort Wayne cemeteries in Victorian guilt frames.
 
Home Repairs / Maintenance
 
A Bed and Breakfast is more likely to stay on top of key repairs. Roofing is replaced as needed every 15-20 years. Painting retouched. Electricians are brought in to repair wiring. Bathtubs re-caulked as needed.  A plumber may need to replace your leaky faucet. If these are put-off for someday when you plan to sell your home, it is known as deferred maintenance. It's wise to do a few repairs each year so you may enjoy your living-space now. You keep costs more palatable by handling a few each year. This may reduce stress and worry. Who knows you may even be content to enjoy your home throughout your golden years! 
 
 
 
Breakfast Relaxation and Recreation: 
 
Now for the "Breakfast" part of making your home feel like a B & B. I shop in bulk, once every two weeks, keeping my pantry full. There is no wasting time spent on extra trips. If I'm out of an item, I write the request on my list.  Create a spot to enjoy a lovely morning meal.  Have physical magazines or large coffee-table books from which to peruse, as you linger over your ideal breakfast. A few meal selections to consider are: coffee, tea, fruit, eggs, toast, frittatas, yogurt parfaits, or homemade granola. One of my personal favorite dishes for breakfast are open-faced breakfast tacos with homemade salsa.
 
Now is the time to make your place feel like a Bed and Breakfast.
 
You don't have to wait for a vacation to experience a peaceful respite. Have working bikes ready for outdoor excursions. This is a common amenity offered at many locations.  Be a tourist in your own town! Most importantly, enjoy the journey of creating your ideal home retreat.
 
You may also listen to this article as an audio podcast on my YouTube channel here.

Rain 🌻

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Slow Living

Article, YouTube audio podcast, and photo's by Rain San Martin.

The Slow Living Movement is a cultural reaction to the hurried, busy, and distracted way of life commonly know in the 21st century. Single tasking, minimal screen time, intentional living, and old-fashioned homemaking are common characteristics of a Slow Living lifestyle.

Note: This post contains an Amazon Associates affiliate link, which helps to support this site at no extra cost to you:

Margin is Key for Slow Living

Rushing from one activity to another may make us feel productive, yet can be a form of hurried busyness. Let's take a look at the definition of Busy Work: “Work that usually appears productive or of intrinsic value but actually only keeps one occupied.” To regain tranquility, reduce stress, and be more efficient in our work, we need ample margin in our time. For example: When going to appointments, aim to arrive early. Drive at a relaxed pace without dangerous texting or smart-phone use. Enjoy the scenery. Roll down your window. Feel the breeze. Notice the ambient sounds of your town or city.

Vintage Lifestyle

Though I didn't realize it at the time, I was initially drawn to the vintage lifestyle because I longed for many benefits shared with those in the Slow Living movement. An unplugged or minimalist-tech way of life, being chief among them. A life free from mobile devices. Allowing ourselves to fully live in the moment, reflect on fond past memories, and make plans for the future.

Working in the Zone

Rather than multitasking, (which is often a rapid switch from one task to another) single tasking is the way to lose oneself in work. Yet it's understood you may have to pause your project at hand for more pressing matters. Listening to music while you work is no longer vital, as you may have thought. Working like a monk in silence allows you to hear the sounds of nature, or even the musical rhythms of city life. Which brings us to another benefit: Deep thinking and contemplative introspection. Removing excess noise and stimuli will allow our brains to "breath". This is where many ideas are born.  We can pray throughout the day. "Be still, and know that I am God." (-Psalm 46:10) Choose the creative process over immediate gratification. Instead of making more purchases, many choose to craft cards, sew a garment, prepare whole foods at home, make a DIY (Do It Yourself) project, or paint their homes interior instead of calling on a hired hand.

Slow Homemaking

There has been a "Slow Homemaking" movement which has emerged in recent times.  The idea is to enjoy the process of making a home. Not to feel hurried and overwhelmed. Work with vigor, yet set your own pace. "She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks." (Proverbs 31:17) Schedule in your rest breaks.  Perhaps you would like to make your home feel like a Bed and Breakfast? Many people feel they must visit a bed and breakfast to get away from a panicked lifestyle. We can dive into decluttering, deep cleaning, and work towards creating a tranquil atmosphere in our homes. These habits will help to build a peaceful oasis.

In her book, Mrs. Sharon White advocates the Slow Homemaking approach, a decade before it's present day craze. The essay titled, The Simplicity of Old Fashioned Homemaking, which is also a blog post, illustrates how there are two approaches to managing the home full-time. One way involves a substantial amount of time entertaining, running in a hurried manner, with a packed schedule.  The other way has margin to breath, and is focused on making a home retreat.

A Meaningful Life

Often those in the Slow Living Movement reflect on their thoughts. Moments are savored. Time is taken to review ones commitments to see which ones could be culled to make space for the most valued rituals, activities, and pursuits.  This is intentional living!

May you enjoy your daily work, and find inspired replenishment in your rest and recreational adventures.

You can also listen to this blog post on my YouTube channel here.

Rain 🌻

Halloween Treat Decorating Party

  Post and Photos by Rain San Martin. *Photo's including Rain by Winter San Martin. For many kids the most fun part of making treats is...