The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World: A Brief Synopsis

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I’m sitting here with my warm coffee, thankful to have some peace and quiet on this fall morning. It’s my day off at the flower shop, but my day on for blogging. Although my body is quiet my mind is very much churning with ideas. I’ve been doing a lot of recipes lately which is great! But I thought I would take a break from that for a post or two.

I wanted to direct your attention to a book I’ve been reading called Notes from a Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World by Tsh Oxenreider. She has influenced me for a lot of reasons but I think the most influential is that she is a blogger just like me trying to do what she loves for a living. And best yet, she succeeds and provides for her entire family doing what she loves. There are a few major points Tsh touches on that I hope will compel you to live a more mindful life.

Travel

Travel plays a huge role in their family. They have always loved to travel and they didn’t let it stop them when kids came along. With the flexibility their work life brings, they are able to take more frequent trips. Perhaps more compelling is their view of American culture after living in a foreign country. Tsh talks about living in Turkey where milk was delivered to your door and the farmers market was easily accessible by bike. People lived close and were in community, making life much richer. Upon arriving back in the states, they were much more aware of their place in this world. And they were determined to make simplicity commonplace in the states.

Food

I’m never surprised to hear that other countries are doing better than us in the food realm. They have stuck with the age-old idea that local is better and they are thriving for it. It makes life much richer when you can talk to the grower. That is a rare thing these days. In Turkey they had to buy in season. We can buy berries from the supermarket in the winter and the poor kids growing up do not know this isn’t normal. It would do us very well to know where our food comes from, buy in season, and create meaningful meals where people can gather around the table.

Education

I found this one to be the most interesting. I think mainly because a lot of people now (myself included) do not hold to the belief that public education is the only way to go. I remember what it was like in school and I do not believe it was a place that encouraged real creativity. You were rewarded for your grades, seldom because you were creative. Tsh talks about homeschooling and how her kids were finally able to explore themselves, their interests, and the world. In some cases, public school is not going to teach your kids how you want them to be taught, so parents must roll up their sleeves and do it themselves. Homeschooling is obviously not for everyone and she gives examples of what other parents do and how it works for them.

There is so much more I could have talked about but for the sake of brevity I wanted to keep it fairly short (and it’s already too long of a post for my taste). I hope this brief overview gave you something to think about! Or if anything else to read her book! You can find it here on Amazon. I hope we can all find some way to live intentionally in this chaotic world, big or small.

Adele

A Fall Favorite: Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

I believe fall is the most contemplative season. Whether we’re out on a walk or in the kitchen, it seems the world stops for a while so we can admire its beauty. The cold weather beckons for good food and warm company; whether that’s around a fire or a table. I always think about Little Ingalls Widler, back in the pioneer days. The always had a fire going in the kitchen and the family would gather around the table for a warm meal. In the fall and winter, it was crucial that they had enough food stored up. Though we don’t have to worry about that now-a-days, I still think it does one good to step back, take great care in preparing, and savor the company the meal is shared with.

It is an understatement to say Butternut Squash is a fall favorite! I’ve seen it everywhere from Pinterest to Instagram. And would it come as a shock to you to say that I’ve never even tasted it before?! Yep, you heard that right. I’m not a big soup fan, I will admit. But I couldn’t resist when I saw A Daily Something’s recipe. It looked so delectable, from preparation to the bowl. Once more, it wasn’t too complicated that I could give it a first try. Now, this is a very basic recipe but the flavor in this should not be understated. The squash is roasted with garlic and thyme making it a very savory soup. You can always create your own recipe and add things like pine nuts and apples, or add buttermilk or half and half for a thicker soup. But if you’re looking for a basic butternut squash recipe with loads of flavor, this is a great place to start!

cutting the squash

squash

removing the seeds

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roasted butternut squash

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bread

butternut squash soup

 

{Recipe}

Butternut squash

1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped

6 cloves garlic

Olive oil

Fresh thyme

Chicken broth

 

– Preheat oven to 375 –

Start by cutting the butternut squash in half. Scoop out the seeds in the cavity (these can be roasted just like pumpkin seeds!). Place 3 cloves garlic and 2-3 sprigs of thyme in each cavity. Then, drizzle the halves with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Carefully turn the halves over and place on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour. You should be able to stick a fork in it easily if it is done!

Sauté the onions in olive oil over medium heat. Next, add the butternut squash. Turn up the heat a little so the squash can caramelize. Add your chicken stock and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Lastly, use an immersion blender to break up the squash even more. Otherwise you will end up with a very thick consistency. Serve with fresh bread and enjoy!

A day In The Life of a Florist – Flowers of the Good Earth

This little bird is one of many in the shop!

This stage of life I am in right now is so exciting! For once, I am doing something for myself. I wanted to share this journey with you! After 4 years of college and 1 year of banking, I figured out what I want to do (gasp!). I never thought I would get to that point. Actually, I think I knew all along what I wanted to do but I was too busy pleasing every one else.

I quit my job at the bank to enjoy a much slower pace of life. Of course this doesn’t mean I don’t want to work. I just want to work doing something I enjoy. I took a part time job at a flower shop here in town and I am also starting a business with my good friend Sarah. Check us out at Slow Living Blog. So, life is pretty good right now. For the first time I feel like I am on track!

The flower shop is called Flowers of the Good Earth and it is so charming! The inside is so beautiful with arrangements on display everywhere. They keep birds which keep you company with their chirping all day. There are two cats in back (that used to roam the store but because of cleanliness issues, they spend the majority of their time in a back room) and chickens outside that lay eggs which the owners then sell. Outside is all the outdoor plants as well as baskets, chimes, and garden decor. Don’t get me wrong, it can get very busy and hectic. But overall, it is a relaxing place to work. Much better than a bank!

I wanted to show you some pictures of this super charming shop and encourage you all to follow your dreams as well!!

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This is the “backyard.” It’s nice to be able to go outside and work on a nice day!

 

plant nursery
The outdoor nursery. These plants desperately need moved back to the greenhouse because it’s getting cold!!

 

chickens

 

The above picture is probably my favorite part about working here. Not only are there cats and birds to keep us company throughout the day, but chickens right on the property that provide us with eggs as well! Of course they’re not free – $2.50 a dozen. But now, I know where my eggs are coming from. The chickens aren’t cramped together where they step in another chicken’s feces and are so fat they can’t walk. It makes me feel good knowing they are healthy chickens when I go to eat an egg! And the convenience of having eggs right at work can’t be beat!

 

 

eggs
If you can see in this picture, each egg is a little different shade of brown and they are varying sizes. Definitely not store bought!

 

destaminating lilies
When the lilies come in, we have to destaminate them. They are those brown “caps” on the ends there. Once they open up if the caps are left on they create this powdery orange substance on the lily that makes it unattractive.

 

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Orders can pile up here at Flowers of the Good Earth!

 

I bet many people think working at a flower shop would be relaxing and laid back. I know I certainly did. But it can get crazy! At least at Flowers of the Good Earth the to-do list can quickly pile up with orders. Funerals, weddings, prom, etc. We do it all! But when I look at the two owners, I can definitely tell they take pride in their work every day. Sure, it can get busy. But when you are doing something you love and are called to do, it makes it all worth it. Thinking about starting my own business is daunting! But I would rather work at something I love than live out my existence in an office chair!

I hope I gave you some inspiration to do whatever you love. And it’s never too late to make that leap! Please feel free to comment with any of your experiences or inspirations! And, if you ever find yourself in little Lancaster, OH, come on by the shop and say hi!

– Adele

 

Slow Living {In the Kitchen}

Ahh, finally back to the blog. So sorry I’ve been gone, friends. I’ve been pretty busy and preoccupied with other projects! My friend Sarah and I have decided to start a business. Not really sure what it will look like yet, but it will be centered around the idea of living simply – Hey! That’s what my blog is about! More than living simply for ourselves, we want to show others what it looks like and how they too can live a life more in tune with their surroundings. One way to do this is to hold small, intimate gatherings; enjoying company and conversation, and teaching the art of simplicity.

I figured I would show you what I’ve been doing lately. I’ve been into food photography from what I’ve been baking and cooking. There is something so personal about the food we eat. It is our daily sustenance; without it, we die. But in this day and age, we have lost touch with our food. When we grow our food, harvest it, prepare it, and eat it, we have a personal connection and a knowledge of where that food came from. Food photography is about showing the beauty of being in our kitchen, of slow living, and all the messes and imperfections that come along with it. In other words, it’s life.

{Vegetable and Ricotta Pizza}

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{Pumpkin Pie}

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{Apple Galette}

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{Morning Cast-Iron Baked Eggs}

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Simple Home

Last winter my boyfriend Andrew bought a house. His first home, and our first home when we get married. The house was a fixer-upper and took four months until it was livable! Of course I was excited to decorate and implement some of the ideas I had for the house, along with a compost pile and garden (which we haven’t gotten to yet). Here are some before and after pictures! Enjoy!

We got rid of the ugly wood paneling, put in new countertops, and new tile flooring. With plants and a few decorative touches, it already feels more cozy.

My favorite part of the house is the kitchen opening up to the living room. We added a bar area on the living room side of the counter and mason jar lights now hang where the outdated fixture used to be. It all adds to the rustic and simple feel we were going for.

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We ripped up the carpet to find there was hardwood floors underneath! They are in pretty good condition, too! The finishing touch will be a rug for  the living room and kitchen. I want an oriental rug, and I am kind of holding out because rugs are so expensive!

I hope this gave you a general idea of the work we’ve done to the house. I will post more detailed pictures later, but for now I just wanted to show the basics. Obviously, everyone has different styles. I am personally not a fan of the cookie cutter housing developments. To be able to make a house personalized and unique is a gift in itself. If you do it this way, the cheaper and more unique way, you will find your dream house won’t come overnight. But it will be a fun journey adding pieces here and there, tweaking and adjusting to see what you like best.

Stay tuned for my next post where I give you some tips on antiquing!

Cheers!

Adele