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New Beginnings Week 3

Welcome to week 3 of New Beginnings January 2023!

28 days of ideas and inspiration to help set goals for the new year.

Together we will begin this new year with an inspired, organized, and grateful spirit.

From little tasks to big undertakings, let's help each other make 2023 a beautifully productive year. By committing to 7 easy to accomplish tasks each week in January (including self care), you will feel revitalized along with the joy of accomplishment.

Each week I will post ideas from the following categories:

Organize | Plan | Clean | Cook (Food) | Care | Beauty | Enjoy

Sooooo, How did week 2 go?

Are you finding creating a list for yourself helps to accomplish goals?

Please share your experience in the comments section below.

Joys, frustrations - I want to hear your thoughts.

Regardless of your experience, keep going, you are half way there!

Ok, Let's jump right into week 3...

Day 15

Repurpose old bedding and towels

Shop the white sales!

Are your (once beautiful) sheets, blankets, and towels looking a little less brilliant becoming dingy, frayed, torn, or worn? Perhaps it is time to consider giving them new purpose in your home.

Ideas for repurposing worn sheets, bedding, and towels:

  • Use sheets as drop cloths for painting and other messy projects.

  • Sheets also work well as a covering for furniture stored in your attic or basement.

  • Save worn towels for drying your family pet after a bath.

  • Cut sheets into 12 inch squares and use them for an array of cleaning tasks in and around your home. After use, simply machine wash and reuse again. For fabrics that fray easily, sew a simple zig zag stitch all around the edges.

  • Donate usable bedding items to your local emergency shelters and pet shelters.

  • If you exercise or practice yoga in your living room (like me), lay an old sheet on top of your rug or carpeting (under the yoga mat, if using) to protect from extra wear and dirt.

  • Make your own dryer sheets using scraps of old bedding and towels and a few drops of essential oil, such as lavender.

Tip: To make a dryer sheet, dampen the cloth with water and wring out thoroughly, add a few drops of lavender essential oil and toss in the dryer with the rest of your clothes.

Now that you have repurposed your bedding and towels, it's time to replenish! January is the month to watch for annual white sales where you can find great discounts on bed and bath items. Shop department stores and online with retailers such as Kohl's, Macy's, Bed Bath & Beyond, Pottery Barn, JC Penny, Bloomingdales, Dillard's, Nordstrom Rack,, Garnet Hill, and Target.

Day 16

Begin planning your spring gardens

It's never to early to start dreaming.

Now is the time to start planning (and dreaming of) your gardens. Spring will be here soon, so little effort in prep and planning goes along way here. Start thinking about spaces: window boxes, flower beds, porch containers, walkway, mailbox area, and so on.... Then find your inspiration by browsing through magazines, garden books, websites, and pinterest.

Ideas to help with planning

  • Create a notebook, either virtual board or create a board old fashioned way using a cork board, paper snippets, drawings, thumb tacks, etc... (my personal favorite)

  • Write down your ideas and wish list.

  • Measure and take photos of the spaces you want to fill.

  • Draw a simple diagram or sketch of your ideas for each area.

  • Make sure your plan includes plant varieties that are suitable for your climate and soil types.

  • keep in mind bloom time, growth height and width, and spacing requirements.

  • Keep a record of what was planted in precious years. What plant varieties worked well, and which plants did not.

Below are photos of our flower boxes on the front of the house. We have six (yes six!) boxes all along the bottom windows. Each year we experiment with different flower varieties to determine which work best for the space, and exposure. After a few years of trial and error, I think I finally have the right mix. Because this side of our house receives so much sun, some plant varieties just did not do well for the whole season. We have had the best luck with "Proven Winners" Superbena (love the variegated varieties shown below, Lavender & white), Supertunias mini version, and superbells.

Have fun imagining your most beautiful gardens yet! I can't wait to see the plans you come up with. Please share them with me :)

Day 17

Polish Wood Furniture

Nourish dry winter wood

No matter where you live, it is important to care for and hydrate your wood furniture (I've learned that lesson the hard way!). For those who experience a cold and wintery climate in January (like we do), keep in mind that home heating can cause wood furniture to become dry and parched. Especially if you have forced air heating. Thankfully there are some measures we can take to prevent and remedy the situation.

  • Use a humidifier in rooms with wood furniture.

  • Polish wood furniture with oil about every 2-3 weeks to help keep it hydrated. I like to use my homemade orange vanilla oil recipe. It leaves wood glowing and the room smells amazing afterwards.

This recipe is from my Green Cleaning e-book (get the entire free e-book here)

3 Tbsp fresh squeezed orange juice (about 1/2 an orange)

1 tsp Lemon juice

1 Tbsp water

1 Tbsp light olive oil

1/8 tsp vanilla extract (alcohol free made with oleoresin)

Squeeze orange and lemon juices into a small bowl and strain with a sieve or cheese cloth. Stir in the water, olive oil, and vanilla extract. Whip mixture until well combined. To use, pour a small amount of the polish onto a clean lint free cloth (such as the re-purposed sheet squares you created on day 15). Apply to wood surfaces and polish in a circular motion until the oil is absorbed and the wood has a soft glow.

This recipe makes one small batch which should be used right away. Make a fresh batch each time you polish.

Note: This recipe works well for my own furniture pieces, but because I am not an expert in all wood finishes, please test first in an inconspicuous area before polishing an entire wood piece). As an alternative to home-made, I also use Howard Orange Oil (see link below).

Day 18

Order organic frozen berries

Stock up your freezer

Now is a great the time to order a bulk supply of fresh frozen organic berries to stock your freezer. This will help get you through the winter months creating healthy smoothies and more... Berries, especially dark berries such as wild blueberries, have an amazing amount of healthful antioxidants and vitamin c to help boost your immune system during cold and flu season.

Smoothie Recipe

Add to your blender:

  • 1/2 cup frozen berries or wild blueberries,

  • 2 pitted medjool dates,

  • 1 banana (fresh or frozen),

  • 1 cup coconut water,

  • 1 Tbsp Dragon Fruit Powder (optional)

  • 1 Tbsp raw honey,

  • 1 tsp vanilla (non alcoholic made with oleoresin),

  • dash of cinnamon (to taste),

  • filtered water to desired consistency.

Blend all ingredients on high until smooth and frothy. Pour into a glass and enjoy!

Tip: Using frozen bananas makes smoothies taste creamier.

Day 19

Care for houseplants

A little TLC goes a long way.

Take some time this week to give houseplants a little extra care.

  • Dry winter air can be hard in certain plant varieties. Misting these plants regularly can help keep leaves hydrated.

  • Consider an appropriate plant food.

  • Re-pot if it shows signs of becoming root bound.

  • Remove any dried leaves.

  • Create new plants by placing slips in a glass of water. In a few weeks roots will begin to sprout and it is ready to be planted in potting soil.

Do you have a hard time growing plants indoors? Try growing mini succulents.... they thrive in most indoor climates and are very easy to care for.

Day 20

Take a winter hike and breathe...

Oxygenate your body.

Get outside for a brisk winter walk at least once a week. If temperatures are very cold, bundle up with extra layers and don't forget your hat and scarf. Take a walk in nature if possible. A peaceful walk in the woods is a perfect way to unwind and clear your mind from daily stresses. Be mindful of your breathing during your walk and consciously take long, slow, deep breaths. Inhale through your nose (feel the cool air enter your lungs) and exhale through your mouth. Remind yourself you are cleansed and renewed with each breath and step.

When extreme snowy weather hits here in the northeast, I don my Sorel Artic Boots (I purchased from Canada) to keep my feet toasty warm and dry during my walks. Seriously, I could not live without them during the winters here. If you would like your own Sorel experience, see the links below.

Day 21

Visit a local museum or art gallery

Explore and learn

Shown: Florence Griswold Museum, Old Lyme, CT

Too often we forget to explore and/or learn about our very own area. I know I am guilty of this! So, I've decided to commit one afternoon per month to visiting a local museum or gallery. One at a time, a check off my bucket list for places I've always meant to visit. In doing so I am finding a new appreciation of where we have planted ourselves, along with finding a deeper connection to others who live (or have lived) here too. From experience, I get the most of this activity by taking my time and lingering through reading everything! I love being swept away in history or an artists vision; time stands still for just a moment.

One more week accomplished!

See you soon and together we will enter into the final week #4.

Hope you had a wonderful week. :)


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