a year of living simply: week 20 + my dad’s new book!

Happy Tuesday, friends! Hope your morning is off to a wonderful start!

Before I get into this week’s year of living simply challenge, I want to share with you guys some exciting news: my dad is publishing a new book! Titled Strawberries in Wintertime, it is a collection of essays on life, love, and laughter and has already been compared to Robert Fulghum’s heartwarming classic All I Really Need to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten. Topics include hellos and goodbyes; celebrating “lasts” as well as “firsts”; old, new and rekindled friendships; childhood and fatherhood (and motherhood, too); wedding anniversaries and graduations; the magic of a jar filled with marbles and the beauty of a messy garage. Strawberries in Wintertime is scheduled for release on December 1st, right in time for the holidays. Books make terrific gifts! My dad is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to take pre-orders {and he offers some really cool perks as well, like a Skype “Meet the Author” and the opportunity to have your name in print as a sponsor of the book!}… BUT the campaign ends THIS MONDAY, October 5, and this is your only chance to order an exclusive signed First Edition of the book. So don’t delay! It’s hard to beat a signed, personalized new release hard copy book from a national award-winning writer for just $25!

strawberries in wintertime

If you order a copy, let me know and I’ll put your name in a drawing to win a copy of my collection of short stories, 3 a.m.!

Moving along to our year of living simply challenge

year of living simply

Last week’s challenge was to find a creative way to repurpose or reuse something, instead of throwing it out or recycling it. I tried making granola for the first time {went with this recipe for oatmeal raisin cookie granola, minus the blackstrap molasses and with Justin’s Honey PB because my store didn’t carry the Cinnamon Swirl PB listed in the recipe}…

oatmeal cookie granola

I wanted to make a special treat for my sweetheart because he recently started a new job doing fantastic work and I could not be prouder of him. He is also biking to and from work each day, which means early mornings and the need for a hearty breakfast! So I decided to surprise him with some homemade granola. I upcycled these two metal tea Harney & Sons tea tins to store the granola and keep it nice and fresh.

granola tins

granola tins

Decorated with some twine and handwritten labels, they turned out pretty dang cute!

granola tins with labels

 

This week’s challenge is to wrangle together any gift cards you have lying around, and use at least one of them up! I don’t know about you, but I have at least half a dozen gift cards to various restaurants taking up space in my wallet and glove compartment, some with only a few dollars left on them… but still, a few dollars are a few dollars! It’s time to make a plan and use them up! You could also sell your unused gift cards at websites like Cardpool.

Questions for the day:

  • What did you upcycle this past week?
  • Do you have a tendency to let gift cards sit around unredeemed?

april foodie pen pals reveal

FPP-post

This was my second month participating in Foodie Pen Pals through The Lean Green Bean, one of my favorite blogs! Here’s how it works: you visit The Lean Green Bean and enter your contact info to sign up for the next month of Foodie Pen Pals. Then the amazing Lindsay matches you up with two other bloggers or food lovers: one person to send a foodie package to, and one person who will send a package to you! Then you spend $15 putting together a box of fun, yummy treats for your pen pal, pop it in the mail, and eagerly await the arrival of your own foodie package!

Natalie from In Natalie’s Shoes sent me a package this month. She sent me a box filled with delectable goodies:

foodie pen pals april

  • homemade brownies with Reese’s peanut butter eggs inside
  • dark-chocolate-covered  pretzel slims from Trader Joes {these are addicting!}
  • a jar of cookie butter, also from TJ’s {amazing spread on apples!}
  • honey glazed almonds
  • Special K chocolatey pretzel cereal bars
  • Nature Valley Almond Crunch granola bars

Thanks, Natalie!! This package really brightened my week! I would encourage all of you to check out Natalie’s food/travel/craftiness blog: http://innataliesshoes.wordpress.com/

If this kind of thing sounds fun to you, go sign up for May Foodie Pen Pals at The Lean Green Bean. It only takes two minutes and it is a blast!