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Friday things (April 28)

Happy Friday. I hope your week has been productive and worthwhile. I've been in recover-mode since last Wednesday and I'm slowly coming back to life, so-to-speak. I witnessed something that has given me a form of PTSD and I'm mentally trying to come back to my own. You can read about this here. As for this week, we had some fun things here and there, and started planning our San Fransico trip in August. I wasn't sure if I still wanted to take the trip after what happened, but I feel, and The Mr. feels it will do a lot of good in the healing process. Of course, August is a ways off, but every bit of positive thoughts right now are helping. The Mr. has been such a rock this week and I can't praise him enough for how well he has been there for me 100%. So here are the things that made this week wonderful.

1. These tulips.

Not to be confused with these tulips, or these, but The Mr. brightened my week by bringing home some of the most beautiful tulips. He paired it with one of my favorite treats of chocolate-covered coffee beans from the local coffee bar.

2. This golf trip.

The Mr. and The Bean took to the golf course to smack a few balls around this week. I opted to stay in the golf cart and enjoy the blanket I was bundled in. With the rain and the wind, it was quite chilly.

3. This march.

We participated in the March for Science in Corvallis this past weekend. It was a great way for us to ride our bikes and help get the message out to he current administration that science is real. 

4. This walk.

The Mr., The Bean, and I really do enjoy our walks and our smaller dog, Hardy, has been coming along with us lately. Unfortunately, the older dog, Baz (he is 16!), he can't seem to keep up like he used to, so we have been leaving him at home when we go. He loves it though because he gets to stay inside near the fireplace while we walk. When we go away from our own neighborhood, say to downtown Eugene, to walk, we take both dogs and do a light stroll instead of a fast-paced walk. 

5. And these.

Might Nest this week sent some Stasher silicone snack bags and my add on this month was the Glad Rags overnight cotton pad. I am pretty excited about both of them and can't wait to have The Mr. give the Stasher bag a try in his lunch box. You can sign up for Might Nest here.

One last note:

This bike.

The Bean finally got a bike upgrade that he's been wanting. He went with a Raleigh Talus in black and red and he is loving it! Paul's Bicycle Way of Life in Eugene, Oregon, put it together for us. We ordered on the Raleigh site and they ship it to the nearest bike dealership that deals in Raleigh and they assemble it for free. The Bean test rode it around the parking lot before we loaded it up and took it home. 

As far as the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) mentioned above, this is something that can't be controlled from happening, or be ignored. If you or someone you know is suffering from PTSD, allow them to talk, and be there for them when they need someone. Someone with PTSD needs to talk and be given the chance to be heard, and know that they are loved. The most crucial time is when they actually open up and want to speak, but most of the time a PTSD sufferer will remain silent and slowly be processing in their own head. The worst part of having PTSD is being so hard on ourselves. PTSD is something in this country that gets overlooked and a lot of people tell the person it is all in their head, but the time to heal that mental thought needs to happen. Don't ignore, criticize, or belittle a person suffering from post-traumatic stress. You will only hinder the healing process. Remember, the emotional toll of a traumatic event can cause all sorts of emotions to come out. Don't be afraid to address each emotion individually. And most of all, don't be ashamed in having PTSD. It is very common and just know, you aren't alone, and you are going to be okay.

Here are a some articles that helped me and hey may help further your recovery too:

Have a great weekend!

Friday things

Two Fridays ago was quite windy and rainy here and for most of the day/weekend we had little to no power. We went almost two hours with no power during one heavy bout of heavy winds. The wind got up to about 60 miles an hour at one point and I was worried about our gazebo top and the cherry tree behind our house. It finally calmed down about 3:00 p.m. and we just had rain showers the rest of the day. The weather was a bit confusing though because it would be windy, dark, and raining and 10 minutes later the sun would come out and the wind would be calm. It was off and on like that from about 4:00 a.m. on until the early Sunday evening. We were lucky here in the base of the Cascades because in the Portland area the winds took down power lines and trees. Here at the SNS house we only have some minor damage. A few limbs here and there and some things blown down in the yard, but nothing we couldn't clean up over the course of this past week. Unfortunately, the poor daffodils took quite a beating.

Last Friday was a bit rainy, but nothing major and Easter Sunday was sunny and clear. However, we spend the entire weekend helping some friends move and it too about four days of moving to get them completely shifted over to their new home. Four days isn't too bad, but it was exhausting. Thank goodness we all finally were able to take a much needed break Sunday evening. We all woke up Monday morning with sore muscles and sore backs. Moving-it's a great workout.

Here are the things that made this week great.

1. This moment.

The Mr. and The Bean have been casting into the waters here lately. The Bean has really started taking a liking to fishing, but we always teach a catch and release method with him. He hasn't caught anything as of yet, but his hopes are high.

2. This walkway.

Really liking how these came together. They look really nice in the daylight and at night they give off just enough light to create a glow onto the walkway. 

3. Easter.

With or current shift in being more minimal we kept the Easter "basket" simple. 

We gave The Bean a simple basket with a few organic chocolate eggs and a locally-made peanut butter rabbit. The basket was made of  a biodegradable basket and recycled brown paper for the grass. The Easter Bunny brought him some Annie's snacks, a Seattle Chocolates candy bar, TruJoy Fruit Chews, Eco-Eggs egg coloring and grass-growing kit, the movie Rogue One, and a Garden-in-a-Can - Dill. 

4. This change.

I've kept a blog for The Bean since before he was born and this week he took it over. I started the blog when I found out I was pregnant with him and have had it going now for about 13 years. Having him take over and start blogging makes me so proud. You can follow his blog posts here.

5. These goodies.

Yogi Surprise, never a letdown. 

Mighty Nest sent reusable bamboo utensils for this month's Mighty Fix. The Mr. promptly added them to his lunch box for work each day. And we also added on some Bee's Wrap sandwich wrap to help him keep a zero waste lunch each day. You can get Mighty Nest here.

And I have to mention the gifts I received from Pilot. Since I participated in the Back 2 School VoxBox through Influenster, Pilot decided they wanted to keep the gifts coming. This small package from Pilot contained two sets of pens, a Target gift card, and a postcard that allows you to write a note to your future self. Totally unexpected, but greatly appreciated!

A few other things:

April's book selection:
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Find out more here.

• Guess what, Arkansas! You got a Go Green Box now!

• Minimal Monday recap:

• Waste-Free                           
• Donating                           

Minimal Monday: Media

With the news today of yet another school shooting, we can't help but wish we could block out so much media coverage of such a horrific event. Media, including social media, seems to force us to watch things we wouldn't otherwise watch, or listen to on a regular basis. Negativity seems to be thrust into our faces every day and the way they bring it across makes us not want to look away, but we must. In order to properly process this, we must have moments within our own minds to process negativity that happens in our world.

With the word "media" what exactly comes into your mind? Media of news outlets? Social media? Or how about newspapers... Whatever your definition is to the word "media" one thing is for sure, the world seems to be obsessed with it completely.

Everyone goes through their bouts of social media presence, and the SNS household has a pretty active online presence, but when does it become an obsession, a habit, or even an addiction. The problem with social media is that it's so easy to get lost in and Facebook is one of the biggest leaders in keeping people active and obsessed with this trend. There is currently 1.86 billion people logging onto Facebook daily. And not to mention, 1.15 billion people that log onto Facebook every day through some sort of mobile device.(source) It's no wonder with those numbers that our world is so connected to everything that happens around the earth. On one aspect it's easy to argue that it is a great way that keeps us all connected, but there is one thing that a lot of those people are missing completely, and that's the fact that it does keep us ALL connected. Seems to be confusing, but let me explain. A lot of things seen on social media, media outlets, or even on your "friends' posts" may not be how it actually is. A lot of things on social media have been exaggerated to either get people angry, upset, or try to touch some sort of emotional response from the viewer. Facebook is also a place where most people have taken to in order to gain attention, brag, or even stay connected with people that they aren't really "friends" with at all. Think stalking, harassing, or just plain being nosy.

But with all of that negativity toward social media there is a solution. The solution is to not let it control your life that way. Some of the best solutions to limit your time on social media, viewing media on your television, or even hearing it on the radio is to actually limit your exposure to it all. You are the only person that can control those aspects of your life online. Here's how.

• Unfollow and unfriend: Unfollow pages, people, Facebook accounts, Twitter accounts, etc. that don't really interest you. There is no shame in unfollowing companies that don't fully have your backing on whatever they stand for. Unfriend people you aren't really friends with. There is no shame in not being "friends" with someone you don't know and that doesn't know you. And don't add people that you don't want knowing your personal life. Facebook has an option to unfollow someone if you don't want to remove them as a friend, but don't want to see their posts. Side note: If you don't get along with someone in your real life, you probably won't get along with them online either, so keep that in mind. Even 150 friends seems like a lot to me, but you be the judge of your own online friends. The term "friends" has gone way off course in regards to our online status. Read more ways to minimize your online presence through social media.

 • Stop the notifications: Just turn them off completely. You don't need an email, a text message, or even a call when every thing happens with your online presence. Some apps of social media and news media outlets have the option to send you a notification with every-little-thing that takes place and if you have this setup on your phone or computer, get rid of it. The best way to minimize your media exposure it to not get those notifications in the first place.

• Limit television/radio time: Watching television is above all a great time killer. Movies on demand, smart televisions, it's news at our fingertips. The problem with this is the hours and hours of television that seem to overtake our lives. What brings more enrichment to your life, watching television for two hours or spending time outside for two hours? I think we all know the answer. It all comes down to one thing, acting on that knowledge. The best tip is to limit this time and only watch programs that enrich our lives. This doesn't mean completely cut out movies, or news, but be mindful of the programs that grace our eyes and our ears. This goes for newspapers and publications too.

• Lastly, don't forget other items that can cause issues with time. These include Pinterest, online gaming, blogging, Skype, Facetime, eReaders, and even cell phones. We all have the ability to minimize these in our life. The only thing that needs to happen is actually following through with it and set times that you use them. Cutting notifications and time spent on these is a great step in minimizing our time spent with them. Keep in mind that there is nothing wrong with using these sites, devices, or programs, but make sure you are doing it in a healthy way. We all know when we have reached that moment of "too much," just make sure you know your limit.

Minimization is more than just about minimizing stuff, it also has to do with all aspects of your life as a whole. Don't allow other things, or other distraction take away your daily goals in life. Unplug when needed and stay focused on what's important in our lives. You have the right to control your own way of living, so do it!

Best of luck to you and keep on creating a life of less.


Minimal Monday: Donating

Man, the feeling of being able to get rid of something and have the thought that it is going to be used by someone else is a great feeling, isn't it? It always makes me smile when I see something I have donated go to good use, or at least, being told it will go to good use. Recently, The Mr. and I loaded up our car roof with two full-sized mattresses that we no longer need, or use, and trucked them over to the St. Vincent de Paul in Albany, Oregon. Funny story real quick, as we were driving it started raining on us and we had to stop halfway there and shove them into the back of the car. The Bean was smashed in the backseat-thank goodness he is skinny and flexible-and The Mr. and I were riding with the back of the mattress pushing us so far into the dash. Back to the donating. We arrived at St. Vincent De Paul and it cost us $20 ($10 per mattress) to donate them. The best part about this donation though, was the fact that they either clean them up to resell right in their own store, or send them to a company in Eugene, Oregon, that will refurbish them and put them up for sale. It's a win for everyone involved, and especially for us because we actually donated them. It gives us peace of mind to know that they aren't just sent to a landfill.

Along with donating to the local charity here, we also recently donated our second vehicle to the Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB-PBS). If you follow me on Instagram you saw my-otherwise sad-goodbye to our beloved Chevrolet Blazer the day it was picked up. Speed's Towing was really understanding and let us take a lot of time letting go. It's weird how we get so many emotions involved in something that doesn't even have feelings for us. I think it was more the memories of The Bean growing up-literally-in this car. Now we have the Compass that he is getting used to, but overall, the memories of him at the age of three sitting next to a Christmas tree that The Mr. chopped down, can't be beat! The great part about the donation is the fact that we get a tax write off once the vehicle sells at auction. It's one more step in becoming more minimal and it was sad to see her leave, but we have really been moving things along here with getting rid of things. It feels great.

We have really been on an upward journey here in in the SNS house in getting to where we want to be with our minimal lifestyle. The annoying thing is, as we have probably donated over $20,000 worth of stuff (seriously!) we still feel like we are swimming in stuff. I hope that there will be an end to our beginning, but right now, we are hopeful that the things we are parting with will help us be able to part with even more over time. Nothing that we have donated so far is missed. It's weird how we feel we need these things and in the end, we just don't. I think it's more of a mental thing that you have to break within yourself. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel here in our home, we just have to keep donating, and getting rid of things. 

We do hope some of our tips during the Minimal Monday has helped you. The best tips we can give for the donating is to make sure and donate to reputable places. St. Vincent de Paul is one of the few donation centers that take used-in good shape-mattresses. Clothing and shoes bins placed throughout our city get a lot of our clothing, and our local food pantry gets some of our old winter clothing and gear. As far as donating to a place that will actually resell your items, it's tricky. Here where we live there is a place called Pay it Forward. We donate a lot of our items to them and we have seen our items on the shelves of the Pay it Forward, so we know they are a reputable company and won't just throw our items in the bin. There's many other places-no matter where you live-that will do just the same. It takes time to put trust into a place and the best thing to do is to ask them. Unfortunately, some donation centers say they are doing good, but will end up tossing a lot of good items into the landfill. Goodwill is one of these companies, so keep that in mind. 
Best of luck to you and keep on creating a life of less.