P is for Pike’s Original Maine Garden Hod | Practical and beautiful.

When we bought our home it came with three raised garden beds which of course meant I immediately envisioned summers with endless supplies of fresh herbs, vegetables and wild flowers without truly understanding the time and energy needed to achieve these results. Somehow, even with my lack of gardening skills, we did manage a couple of seasons with a good supply of herbs and wild flowers. We never managed the vegetables beyond a few tomatoes and one or two anemic bean poles.

Even with our limited success, as each new spring approaches I’m ready to dive in again but I’ve accepted that we probably won’t be feeding ourselves anytime soon. So one of my bucket list items for the year was to join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and we’re about to check this one off our list. We bought a half-share of the organic vegetable CSA from Frith Farm in Scarborough.

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O is for October Fields | Finding my zen with clean burning soy candles.

One of my favorite quotes is from Gretchen Rubin, “The days are long, but the years are short.”  I think it’s just a great way to sum up our intensely busy lives and the importance in finding joy in the moments. Some weeks can seem to last forever, but then suddenly you’re into a new season. While I do try to appreciate all the moments, even the ones that are crazy busy, any time I can take a moment to breathe and slow things down is a good one.

One Friday night activity that allows me to slow the pace is staying up late, snuggled under a blanket, binge watching a favorite show on Netflix. To add to this peaceful vibe, I love to turn off all the lights and light one or two candles to add to the atmosphere. Candles really help set a mood and, at least for me, help to quiet down the chaos. We use them a lot at my house.

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L is for LooHoo | Add some fun to your laundry routine with Wool Dryer Balls.

I long ago gave up using dryer sheets. There seemed to be too many environmental reasons as to why they’re not a good choice. Plus, I really never liked the smell. They were too overly fragrant for my taste.

I didn’t substitute anything for them. I dried my clothes without them. This worked fine most of the time, but occasionally static would cause some things to stick together when I would take out my clothes. Nothing big, just a minor nuisance.

I started seeing wool dryer balls popping up about five years ago, but as I wasn’t feeling that negatively impacted by my dryer sheet free laundry routine, I didn’t do follow up until recently when I learned that there was a manufacturer right here in Maine – LooHoo Wool Dryer Balls. Who doesn’t want to support a local company named after Cindy Lou Who of Dr. Seuss fame?

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J is for Jarva Cakes | Delicious things come in small packages.

My daughter recently went through a microwaveable meal in a mug phase. Trust me, it’s a thing. You can google it. My daughter enjoyed finding and pinning mug meal recipes on Pinterest and then testing them out in our microwave. She was doing pizza in a mug fairly consistently for a few weeks. It was intriguing but not really something I thought about again once the phase receded… until Christmas.

As you can probably tell from earlier posts, our Christmas stockings are filled with lots of food treats. This year my husband surprised me with a locally made treat from Jarva Cakes. This woman run business is made up of a mother and her two daughters and was launched about four years ago. They create single serving treats that are so easy to make and instantly cure any sweet cravings you might be having. It’s a prepackaged mug meal.

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I is for Islandport Press | Stories connected to New England.

When my oldest learned to read she became obsessed to the point where I would dread parent-teacher conferences because we knew we would be chastised with stories of her inappropriate reading. I am not sure reading can ever be truly inappropriate, but it impacted her attention in the classroom. If she had two minutes of free time, she read for thirty. It was a problem. Still, how lucky that she could so easily be transported into the world of books and so engrossed that everything around her disappeared.

Stories are important in my house. My youngest didn’t read as much as my oldest, but no one did. Instead, she was enthralled by the other side of stories. She became my writer. She is looking into creative writing programs at college now. It is an exciting time.

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