Taming Trash – Day 5

One thing we quickly learned living in our tiny house of 125 square feet was that TRASH is a BIG deal!  Even a little bit of trash can feel like a lot in a tiny space.  I picked up a book on Zero Waste living (Zero Waste Home) that helped me find strategies to A) keep trashing from entering our home to begin with and B) manage trash more efficiently once it did.

Zero Waste living is based on the usual “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” ideas, but also adds “Rot” (compost) and “Refuse” to the list… meaning that we shop in a way that brings less trash in the house and refuse freebies, etc.  Using cloth bags instead of allowing more plastic shopping bags in the house is another example.  Avoiding products that are packaged in plastic, especially single use plastics, and instead choosing recycle-able packaging.  Glass is the best way to store food, so we collected canning jars instead of plastic storage containers.

What are ways you deal with trash effectively?29c45-1a2bcarmen

Donating & Selling – Day 4

Good morning everyone and welcome to day 4 of the Right-Sizing your Kitchen Video Series.  Today we talk about selling, donating, and giving away the things in your home that no longer serve a purpose.  What is the charity in your area that supports a cause that matters to you?  What kinds of donations do they accept?  What other options do you have that are unique to your area and your values?  How can you use your extra stuff to support these missions in your community?  Prepare a few boxes for the things you no longer need and make a plan now to deliver those items to the charity of your choice.  I’d love to hear how it’s going with you, please leave a comment.  29c45-1a2bcarmen

Detox Your Cleaning Cabinet – Day 3

Monday we started by thinking about our own unique WHY? so that we keep our focus, Tuesday we started by choosing our favorite items in our home.  These are the safe items that won’t be downsized.  Today we tackle the cleaning closet.  Since there are so many toxins in the products we use to clean our homes, and since cleaning, downsizing, and organizing go hand in hand… I thought I’d tackle this difficult topic right up front so that we don’t spend the month of January steeping ourselves in toxic chemicals in the effort to clean and organize our environment.  Download the “Think Dirty” app for your phone or iPad and let’s get started with non-toxic alternatives for your home.  Here are a number of recipes that you might find helpful, of course there are a million more available online.  I look for recipes that are frugal, natural and non-toxic, and don’t take up a lot of space in a tiny house.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Recipes mentioned in the video include:

Simple Clean:

1 cup distilled water (use tap water when you intend to use all the solution in 2 weeks)

1 teaspoon rubbing alcohol (to make the water and oil emulsify – may omit)

15 drops of the essential oil or blend of your choice. *Blend recipes below.

Combine in a spray bottle. Shake sprayer, saturate surface, then wipe with dry clean cloth.

All Purpose Cleaner:

1 cup distilled water

2 T to ¼ cup castile soap (Dr. Bronner’s) depending on how soapy you like it.

15 drops of the essential oil or blend of your choice.  *Blend recipes below.

Combine in a spray bottle.

Shake sprayer gently and wipe with a damp cloth, otherwise the castile soap will leave a soapy residue.

Vinegar Cleaner:

1/2 cup distilled water

1/2 cup white distilled vinegar

½ juiced lemon

15 drops of the essential oil or blend of your choice. *Blend recipes below.

Combine in a spray bottle, keep in the refrigerator because of the lemon juice.

(**Vinegar cleaner and citrus oils not for use on stone counter tops.)

Thieves Household Cleaner:

1 teaspoon (1 cap full) Thieves Household Cleaner + two cups of water in a spray bottle. No additional essential oils required. More recipes using Thieves Household Cleaner to make a variety of specific household cleaners are available at Anoint-Ed.com.  It really is the simplest and best non-toxic household cleaner and can be used for a dusting spray, carpet spot cleaner, toilet cleaner, kitchen counter spray, bathroom cleaning spray, daily shower cleaner, grout cleaner, mold remover, garden pest control, pet odor remover, floor cleaner, air freshening spray, stain spray/stain stick in the laundry, and as a bleach replacement. In short, this spray will banish the ICK from every area of your home including exercise equipment, toys, diaper pail, high chair, baseboards, pet areas, furniture, door knobs, walls, tires, luggage, car tires, and car interior.

My Favorite Essential Oil Blend Recipes:

Try a different combination each time.

Garden Fresh: 5 drops Lemon, 5 drops Peppermint, 5 drops Lavender

Woodsy: 5 drops Eucalyptus, 5 drops Idaho Balsam Fir, 5 drops Cedarwood

Bright: 5 drops Lemon, 7 drops lemongrass, 3 drops Patchouli

Minty Fresh: 5 drops Spearmint, 5 drops Peppermint, 3 drops Frankincense

Festive: 6 drops Orange, 4 drops Cinnamon, 5 drops Frankincense

Assignment: Clean out your cleaning closet, download the “Think Dirty” app and throw away any cleaners that score a 7 or higher.  If you need to order non-toxic alternatives, place your order right away and get a jump on green cleaning in the New Year.  As always, leave me a comment and let me know how you’re doing with this video series.  Thanks for watching, I really appreciate it!29c45-1a2bcarmen

Choosing Your Favorites – Day 2

Your assignment for the day is to look around your kitchen and choose your favorite items.  Get everyone in the family in on this.  Choose items that have good memories and stories attached.  Choose items that are beautiful and useful.  Narrow it down to just three items per person in the household.  It may seem like an easy assignment, but it may be harder than you think.  This is where the downsizing begins.29c45-1a2bcarmen

Find Your “Why?” – Day 1

Need a little help downsizing or right-sizing your kitchen?  Follow along with my brand new video series and enjoy a new post each week-day in January, 2018.  As you do the assignment each day, you’ll work your way to a beautiful new kitchen – with or without moving to a new home.  Right-sizing never felt so good!

What’s YOUR “why?”  Let me know in the comments!  I look forward to hearing from you!  29c45-1a2bcarmen

Christmas Layered Mints

I make a number of Christmas treats each year, and this one is so simple and fun, and it’s always so fun to see how people respond.  This year I really stepped it up a notch using a transfer sheet to leave a design on the chocolate, and I’ve also upgraded to Young Living’s Vitality line of essential oils – spearmint and peppermint – and the flavor is fresh, complex, and wonderful.  This is such a fun quick project for the holidays and I hope you try it and let me know how it goes for you.  And as always, thanks for watching, I really appreciate it!29c45-1a2bcarmen

Refrigeration in a Tiny House

I’m back with a video on refrigeration in a tiny house – or in any dwelling that happens to have wheels.  Any time you can unplug your house, that includes unplugging your fridge.  So it may require just a little extra consideration when moving your tiny haven-home around the county or the country.

There’s a little sneak peek of me and the Tiny House Foodie kitchen a few months back before we removed the big monster energy-suck fridge and gave the place a much needed makeover.  It looks better now, don’t you agree?  And the color of my hair is always changing, so you will always be able to tell when I mix up new and old footage!  lol!

fdcd503e4785febee7dee3a6e1bc3d95Keeping foods out of the danger zone in your tiny house is really important so that you don’t get sick.  This applies to cooked foods and proteins such as meat, eggs, and dairy products.  Most other things (aside from a thousand and one plastic salad dressing bottles) don’t require refrigeration – aside from beer and white wine, obvs.

Have you noticed how many tiny house folks are vegan or vegetarian?  I have.  It really is so much easier when traveling especially, to keep those things to a minimum so that you don’t end up throwing away expensive products when you don’t know how long they’ve been in the danger zone, and also so that your health isn’t at risk.  Have you ever looked at a piece of meat and wondered if it is ok or not?  Chances are, it’s fine.  But nobody wants to be wrong about that!

And when you are… that’s when my little friend Digize comes to the rescue!  There have been a number of times when I could tell I was eating something that was not cooked properly, but I didn’t want to offend the host and hostess.  Sometimes you can tell when you bite into a nut or seed that they’ve gone off and the oils are rancid – stop eating immediately!  I’ve even been served some fish that had an ever-so-slight smell… you know the one.  And again… I knew it wasn’t going to sit well, but I did what you do when you love the cook and his or her good intentions.  Sometimes the food doesn’t have to be off for my stomach to freak out over it, just a different cook in a different kitchen with a different set of bacteria.  So I keep a bottle of Digize with me, ESPECIALLY when I’m traveling!  It’s a blend of essential oils formulated for digestive support for those moments when something you ate just wasn’t… right.  More info on the Digize blend of essential oils at Anoint-Ed.com.

In addition, while we are on the topic of cold storage and happy digestion, here’s a handy little chart for cooking various proteins so you get it “done” without turning it into something slightly more flavorful than the neighbor’s driveway. Meat-Temperature-GuideAs always – rules are made to be broken.  Sushi is our very favorite thing and there is a place we love to visit where the Sushi chef has become a friend of ours and he always makes something special and sends it over to our table.  I never know exactly what every component is, I just know the colors, flavors, and textures are divine!  It’s so much fun to see someone who enjoys making food for the flavor and the art of it.IMG_20170312_123415130 I hope you learned something today that will help you as you transition into tiny house living.  Thanks for visiting my blog, I appreciate it.  Stay safe out there and know which risks are worth taking, and keep a bottle of Digize close wherever you roam. 29c45-1a2bcarmen

 

Creativity & Adaptability in Tiny House Living

larger cake photoWelcome to this week’s video on creating great food in small kitchens, I’m delighted that you’ve joined me again!  This week I faced an interesting challenge.  I wanted to make a wedding cake as I have so many times in the past… only I downsized my cake pans and no longer have the professional kitchen to work in!  So how do I make a great cake without all the stuff I think I “NEED!”?  The truth is, what we think we need is often determined by what we are used to having – not on some authentic understanding of NEED.  As soon as you change what you’re used to, that will change what you need.  So going tiny is one of the best ways to find the liberation of not needing so much stuff!

IMG_20171105_122533692Then you get in the middle of a potentially frustrating situation when you no longer have the STUFF… what then?  I no longer have cake pans, so I could either borrow some (which I did) or rent some (it’s an option for some things) or I could find a different and creative approach.  In this case, I baked thin layers of cake on large sheet pans and then trimmed them to the sizes I wanted.  It was lots easier and there are no big pans to store in my Tiny House Foodie kitchen (or my actual 125 square foot tiny house for that matter).  This is just an example of how you can find creative solutions to whatever situations come up in your tiny haven home.  Simply get intentional about being creative and adaptable, and you’ll be fine.

Where there’s a will… there’s a way.

I promise.

29c45-1a2bcarmen

Oh, did you happen to notice in the video where I used Lemon Vitality Essential Oil from Young Living to flavor the icing?  Seriously, that lemon buttercream was the BEST PART of the cake!  If you’re interested in learning more about that and the other Young Living products I use in my tiny home and in the Tiny House Foodie kitchen check out one of my other projects: Anoint-Ed.com.  Good things are happening over there and if you love simplicity, wellness, and value like I do… then you should pop on over and have a look around!  XOXO

Tiny House & Simple Living Jamboree

I’m back from the Tiny House & Simple Living Jamboree in Arlington, Texas, and I had a great time!  I met so many interesting people and I think my speech went ok.  It was such a great adventure and now I want to go to ALL the tiny house festivals!  lol!  Ok, maybe not all of them (yes, all of them).  I am very happy to be back home and do a little introverting!  lol!

Derek DiedricksenI made it to the hotel without any problems and got on the elevator and there was Derek Diedricksen standing there, and he was very charming and funny.  He’s the author of Microshelters: 59 Creative Cabins, Tiny Houses, Tree Houses, and other small structures and I’m sure it’s as witty as he is.

Later I met Jay Shafer, and that was pretty amazing.Jay Shafer  He’s a gentle soul and is the father of the Tiny House movement.  His book, The Small House Book really rocked my world when I read it back in 2011 (it came out in 2010) and I loved his focus on beauty, simplicity, and quality.  All of that totally resonated with me and clearly it resonated with a lot of other folks as well – because look around – the tiny house movement is HERE!  (And it rocks!)

Then I stumbled across Susan Schaefer Bernardo (poet) and Courtney Fletcher (artist) who created The Big Adventures of Tiny House which is the most charming children’s book ever created (except for the other ones they’ve created) and these women were also just as lovely as you’d expect them to be given all the wonder and charm of the books they create.  PLUS they introduced me to the couple who own the tiny haven-home that the tiny house in the book is based on (visually).  What a pleasure it was to meet all of them!  And why didn’t I get a photo?!

Dee Williams

Don’t you love the face she made?  Hilarious!

I was getting pretty bummed by Sunday when it appeared that I was going to catch my flight home without meeting Dee Williams.  I read her book The Big Tiny: A Built-it-Myself Memoir and let me tell you, this woman is fierce!  I reviewed her book on my other blog a while back.  Let’s just say I am a fan!  (I am!)  I knew I would be at the airport when she and Jay Shafer were on the main stage, but that morning when I was wondering around hoping to soak up the last bit of tiny house goodness, I stumbled into her session in one of the smaller side rooms and let me tell you… and that quickly became one of the highlights of the event for me.  Hearing her speak and watching her engage with the audience was such a respectful and life affirming time, I HATED having to scoot out early to go catch my plane.  Still, I was so glad I had been there to catch some of it.  She asked the questions: 1) who/what do you love? 2) how do you want to spend your time? 3) what do you want to have in your hands as you die? (People/stuff) and then I watched as the audience participated with her by telling their own stories.  There was sacred space in that room.

It was also great fun to visit the tiny houses, skoolies, vans, and other creative dwellings around the property, especially the DIY homes, and ask the home owners how their food habits have changed since they started to live tiny.  It was fun to hear that their answers are the same as ours so I think my book is very much on target to help other folks walk through this transition.

If there is going to be a tiny house festival near you – GO! Even if you have to make a real trip out of it.  It was so much fun and I’d do it again in a heartbeat!

Is the Food Processor really a Time Saving Device?

Good morning Tiny House people, thanks for joining me today.  I want to share with you my epic battle with the Food Processor.  I was curious – is a Food Processor really a time saving device?  The process of finding that answer was pretty interesting, and I drew some conclusions from the experience (that are at the end of this video).  Let me know what you think.  I was surprised to find that many of my friends were already on team #knifeandcuttingboard.  Maybe fewer folks use these space-hogging machines than I realized.  Are you going tiny?  Will you take your food processor with you to your tiny home?  Why or why not?  Let me know in the comments.

IMG_2487What did I do with all those chopped carrots, celery, and onion?  I bought a great big organic chicken and made chicken soup with all of it.  Yum!