otrdiena, 2014. gada 21. janvāris

January homework 1- A Simple Year

The first homework on the course should probably be the easiest one, however, this it probably the one I dread..
It is to declutter the CAR.

Travelling every week forht and back to the countryside, bringing over food, things, bedsheets to wash + a toddler (and all the mess that sometimes comes with it), our car is probably the worst place of all of ours. It's less constant clutter though, it's the things that fall out of the bags or stay forgotten somewhere in the trunk.

I asked for the help of my husband to do it, and we did it over the weekend. Joshua is right, it is a very tight space with a well-defined goal: Get from point A to point B. I'd like to add an extension "and to carry things from point A to point B". But those things you carry should be only the ones you need to carry and then you should take all of them out. There's really  no need to have an extra pair of shoes in the trunk or several water bottles that even with our "refusing to drink bottlet water" sometimes get in (and never leave). And coins! And hairpins! And old papers!!  Gosh..

otrdiena, 2014. gada 14. janvāris

January: Clutter. A Simple Year

I already mentioned before that this year I embark on an adventurous journey called  A Simple Year course that is finally here to remind us that things don't bring happiness, and simplicity is what we need most often to really enjoy our lives, sharing time not things with our loved ones.

January is the month I am to deal with the clutter. I have voluntarily but intuitively already dealt with the clutter in my wardrobe, now I'm reading into the course material to apply it to the rest of the rooms and storage spaces.

Inspiration "Golden Hour" from National Geographic

As Joshua from Becoming Minimalist (our mentor) puts it:

"Ultimately, there are 4 steps necessary to remove clutter and embrace a simpler year: 1) be convinced; 2) believe it is possible; 3) remove the excess; and 4) implement new habits to manage clutter. "

And I agree to him! First I have to be convinced that it's best to remove the stuff and to believe that I can do without it. No matter how green I've strived to be, I'm still one of those old fashioned country style of people maybe, who keeps things just in case I need them (again or ever).. It is kind of green not to throw them away, because I hate filling my trash can. On the other hand, maybe there's someone who actually needs the item instead of just keeping it in the drawer..

ceturtdiena, 2014. gada 9. janvāris

Project 333- my new beautiful wardrobe

This is one of the things on my "The List". I have applied to "A Simple Year" course and look forward to receive the first "package" whatever that may be (for sure not some random things and stuff to clutter our home more).

Meanwhile I have decided to engage in one other project which may be a part of this course- Project 333.

The basic idea is this:

  • When: Every three months (It’s never too late to start so join in anytime!)
  • What: 33 items including clothing, accessories, jewelry, outerwear and shoes.
  • What not: these items are not counted as part of the 33 items – wedding ring or another sentimental piece of jewelry that you never take off, underwear, sleep wear, in-home lounge wear,  and workout clothing (you can only wear your workout clothing to workout)
  • How: Choose your 33 items, box up the remainder of your fashion statement, seal it with tape and put it out of sight.
  • What else: consider that you are creating a wardrobe that you can live, work and play in for three months. Remember that this is not a project in suffering. If your clothes don’t fit or are in poor condition, replace them.

At my personal circumstances I find it a little challenging! So, since I am testing this first without almost any guidance, I am sort of creating some room to maneuvre before (and if) it oficially starts within A Simple Year. My situation is that I live in two places, and it would be terribly difficult to carry all the stuff I might need between the places, therefore I have separate closets in each place. So for now I will keep that way and have the set of 33 in each home, and will continue to bring with me nothing but the clothes on me so in none of the places would be overflow of clothing. The city closet is still cluttered, as I have not yet been there since I started this.
An inspiration- what to do with currently empty hangers :)
But the countryside one cleared out pretty nicely! And I also reduced the amount of home or so called in-lounge clothing to only really neccessary amount of pieces-few short and longsleeve shirts, one lounge dress, one pair of leggings and one capri pants for indoor kitchen/ crawling with toddler/ messy works moments and one "garden jeans". Also the amount of home outdoor winter jumpers is very much reduced to only two to be rotated depending on the temperature outside (there's a harsh difference whether it's around 0 or -20).

Since I do both yoga and dancing which takes specific outfits that cannot really be worn anywhere else, I have kind of a double of the workout clothing set- one for yoga only, the other for dance practice only.

I have a little grim perspective for next season, when the outdoor activities will become more dirty and messy, so that the project will not work so well then. But currently I am still up to it, and testing. My closet looks really, really empty!
An inspiration- what to do with currently empty hangers :)

To dress with even less I have also gone through the items that are not included in 33 list- underwear, socks, tights, pyjamas! I have to admit the success I've never seen in my closet before- I've got rid of many items, I've organized away the ones currently not in use or not in season, therefore also reducing the potential of mess coming back to my drawers I hope!

What I have, well not skipped, but 'alternated' is the way I included accessories and jewelry (apart from the pieces I NEVER take off)- the ones still on the list are now moved to my cosmetics purse, but the rest remain in the larger jewelry box that I've made a pact with myself not to open until the rotation time comes. I have found that I don't use as many pieces as I have, some are left in drawers for ages. So I have put few also in a "give-away-box", but still deciding whether I should try to sell them on some ebay-type of lists or give them the way I usually give things away, or donate in second hand charity shops that will bring an extra good karma.. Since I am saving up now for many not-things of my "save money for.." list, I am still in decision process.

The result- I feel lighter myself as my closet has become clear of things I do not wear (these I donated or the really worn out ones have gone to rugs or crafts), of things that are out of season (I hope it will soon be real Latvian winter), and of things that do not fit me anymore.
It really is a wonderful way to reorganize your mind, emotions and overall feeling!

And I actually can't wait I'm having a free evening in city apartment to declutter my closet there too!

Anyone cares to join me?

trešdiena, 2014. gada 8. janvāris

Waste not! Cooking, stoups and juice pulp..

Recently there have been a lot of posts in the blogosphere and around in social media about the idiosyncracy of wasting the food. There are many ways to preserve food that would otherwise for some reason go to waste, and I have my own three favorite ones.

1. Cook from scartch and eat your food with the next meal, take it in a lunchbox to work etc. 

Even though sometimes that one piece of meat that would be too much for me or three spoons of potatoe mash that my toddler didn't disregarded on the plate, or half a bowl of breakfast porrige, etc.- can all look as "there's nothing I can really do with it", so many people waste. Sometimes I find it ok, if that's part of your pets or animals diet, because you have to feed them well anyway. But even if it would go to compost, I have a heavy heart seeing it dumped, let alone, having it to dump there myself.. Or even worse, to put it in "household rubbish" as in city apartment (yes, unfortunately we don't take our compost part back to the countryside anymore).
But it does not have to be so daunting! You can easily incorporate that one piece of meat and three spoons of mash in your lunchbox to work, or a handful of cooked pasta. I know it would be harder to fit it in your family dinner, but it is very easy to add some larger salad or some other food pieces you like to have wonderful lunch at work! And even bits of oatmeal porrige- what to do with some leftower porrige half a bowl? Add some chopped banana or other fruits or berries depending on a season, and you will have even better meal than just full bowl of porrige. And believe me, there's even nothing wrong to have it as lunch at work, in case you eat breakfast at home all together freshly cooked. Yumm!
It is so easy, and all it takes is to remember that leftowers and bits may make your lunch a special meal from your favorite world cuisines!

2. Make a freezer stoup!

When I stumbled upon the stoup I was surprised at the simplicity of such delight, and I was even more surprised how I did not come to think of it myself! I have been putting forgotten half onions, a little "tired" herbs, crunched pieces of celery, only couple potatoes that we have that moment at home in soups or stews.. But this was next level. Now I too have a stoup box in a freezer- everything that we cannot for some reason finish or incorporate in next few meals, goes to in the box. Bits of meat, sausages, cooked vegetables, pasta, single leftover canned tomatoe, etc. There are also some foods excluded from it- usually sauces and foods including milk or cream.
When the box is becoming fuller or you just want to cook something like that- defreeze the box, fry some spices and extra onion and maybe a grated carrot in butter or olive oil in the pot, add the contents of the box (cut in cubes or pieces if neccessary) and some extra meat or vegs if want to, then add tomatoe puree (home made frozen, preserved or store bought), canned or dry cooked beans and some stock if neccessary for more soupy consistence. It is a hearty, filling meal, and particularly nice if you grate some drying cheese bits that sometimes can be found in corners of the fridge. To make it even more special, serve with toasted garlic butter bread!
Another bonus- sometimes we can't find time to cook recipes that include 10 or more ingredients, no matter how we'd like to. Well, this is a way to do it in no time! And you can make the box contents selective to the recipes you like best, like, being inspired by Rachel Ray for one or another nice stoup!

3. Be creative with the juice pulp! 

Juice pulp is not a waste, it can be a wonderful ingredient! I have shared the carrot pancakes (fritters) with you before. But there are so many more ways to use the pulp! In our kitchen, sometimes it goes into muffins or cakes or breads (these are usually things my mother bake), I incorporate them in soups (especially pumpkin and carrot pulp). My favorites are pumpkin soups with Indian spice. It can even be used in cookies! I promisse to share the carrot and seed mix cookie recipe as soon as we bake another batch, because it would not be fair to post it without the picture, but the first batches just disappeared so quickly..
I recently found some more recipes to use juice pulp, and this is the one that inspired me to post this here too: http://mindfulmomma.com/2013/05/easy-juicer-pulp-minestrone-recipe.html , so thank you, Micaela!
Be creative!

ceturtdiena, 2014. gada 2. janvāris

Happy, healthy and green 2014!

Seasons greetings everyone!!!

It's been as hectic as usually here, maybe even little more than usually. Many things are on my schedule- family, work, school, Christmas crafts, yoga, reading, going outdoors, relaxing with a cup of tea, visiting people and many other important ones.

Even if I have come to think that 1st January is really nothing that gets me thinking of anything else but just regular tradition (Latvian traditions used to count a new year from 25th December, but Chinese year of the Horse has not even started yet), I still want to wish everyone something!

I wish everyone happiness. A friend recently reminded me, that there is no year in passage of time that would bring only nice things and merry events. But happy man is the one that receives with gratitude and smile on the face and in heart all he is given. So I wish you happiness in 2014!

I also wish you all good health in all mind, body and spirit! May the Horse bring you strength, endurance, playfulness and harmonious beauty of the nature!

And, of course, I wish you a green year! I do hope that the Green Horse will bring a lot of green ideas, inspirations and works in people all around the world!

This year I am doing something that I have never seriously done before yet- I am setting a list for myself.
9 is a very meaningful number in various traditions- yoga, Latvian pagan tradition (that I hold very dear to my heart) and others. Therefore this year I am setting a list of 3 sections of 9 things "to do" for myself or what I would like to call them better- Inspiring Reminders of what I do and should do, whether they are the principles to live by or exact number of things that must be done in certain time.

I promise to myself that I will


  1. Live honoring Latvian traditions
  2. Live honoring Namaste
  3. Do yoga every day
  4. Meditate every day
  5. Eat more raw every day
  6. Fresh juices and smoothies every day
  7. Sing every day
  8. Read 26 books this year
  9. Receive and make the miracles come to life


  1. Say loving things to my loved ones every day
  2. Inspire myself and others every day
  3. Be more simple and more attached parent
  4. Spend more quality time with my family doing things together instead of along each other
  5. Welcome more new ancient Latvian traditions and wisdom in our lives and home
  6. Teach the love to yoga to my daughter
  7. Dance with my husband
  8. Cook something special for my loved ones once a week
  9. Make home


  1. Reduce the clutter in my life and surroundings
  2. Try myself on Project 333
  3. Learn to live a simple life with help of A Simple Year course
  4. Learn 2 new skills this year
  5. Sit 3 exams for my university this year
  6. Write a blog post every month
  7. Make a craft every month
  8. Make 1/3 of Christmas gifts by October
  9. Grow something unusual this year

Do you have "The list"  this year? I hope mine will serve me as a good reminder of the things that are important to me for the moments I become a little lazy or forget to fill all my cups!