Made From Scratch + Giveaway

One of my goals in 2019 is to read more. See other books I've read or listened to here.

I picked up Made From Scratch: Discovering the Pleasure of a Handmade Life by Jenna Woginrich after I found her blog, Cold Antler Farm.


Last year, I went thru a rash of buying books I was interested in on Amazon. I am very torn over this practice. On the whole, I think amazon is a bad thing, but it does make it easy to find many things easily and quickly. I really appreciate that it’s easy to find used books from smaller sellers. This was a book I bought used off of amazon, it’s taken me forever to finish it.

The first of several books from urban farmer, Jenna Woginrich, Made from Scratch follows Jenna while starting her own homestead. With high hopes, and great expectations, she sets out on a unique journey that often is less exciting and more difficult than she imagined. Ultimately she finds a fulfilling life, handmade.

Although this book was informative and interesting, it wasn’t my favorite. I don’t love Woginrich’s voice in this book, part know it all, brash and unapologetic, part entitled, part humbled by experience (but to a much lesser degree). I understand that there will be trials and errors in farming of any kind, but she kills an entire hive of bees, a rabbit and creates other waste with very few pauses to reflect on this aspect of homesteading. It does make sense with the gung-ho attitude in which she dove into this new lifestyle, that her memoir of it is gung-ho as well. Unfortunately, this just did not resinate with me. That being said, there were aspects of this book that I did enjoy! I love and connect with her idea of seeking out used equipment, and household items, that she places great importance on music, handmade food and clothing, solitude and being unafraid and unashamed to try new things, even if you might fail. I recommend it to those who are interested in homesteading, thrifting, and simple living.

Now for something a little different: A giveaway! I didn’t love this book, but one of my readers might!
Since I’m not interested in keeping it in my collection I want to pass it on to one of my readers, coffee rings and all. Head over to my instagram, to the post with Made From Scratch, follow me there, and leave a comment telling me what you’d name your farm/homestead to be entered to win this book.

The giveaway will be open only to those living in the United States and runs Thursday 4/11 to Thursday 4/18 and a winner will be chosen on Friday 4/19. I chose these dates to align with the full moon for this month! Good luck!

2019 Goals | March Recap and April Goals

I had a lot of high hopes for March but not a lot of success. This month was kind of a wash for me. Work was extremely busy and my energy for everything was pretty bottomed out. Not a lot got done in life or work other than the bare minimum. Let’s take a look at my March goals:

Schedule 1 life admin day
I have to schedule this in, and not let anything bump it off the schedule. I have to write a list of everything needs to get done for this day.
I was able to schedule and stick to getting one life admin day done. I really enjoyed it and it felt good to get some annoying tasks done that I have been putting off forever. I definitely want to make a monlthy life admin day part of my monthly routine.

Plan my next 2 trips
Getting away a lot in February was great! I have a feeling March won’t see a lot of travel, but planing some trips that I want to take will be a good compromise.

We certainly didn’t get to take any trips in march, but we also didn’t get to plan out any new trips, either.

Morning walk 3 days a week
I’m gonna keep trying with this goal.

I didn’t quite make this goal, but I did well enough and had it in my head enogh that I think it’s time to move it over to be a daily/weekly/monthly routine.

Get out into the yard 3-4 times
Every year I want to improve our yard, porch, flower beds, etc… and every year I start too late. This year, on nice days, I want to get a head start.

Writing this on the 30th, I doubt this goal will get done but you never know.

Blog 4 times per week
I want to get back in the swing of this after slacking in Feb.

OMG, I fell down on this goal so hard. This is why I haven’t been able to make this a routine. My blogging is still so up and down.

Move my 50+ plants
Every few months, I like to give my plants a little extra care. I like to repot, dust, top up soil, aerate, and move around all my plants. There are a lot of them so this takes some time.

I had no motivation for this so I’m pushing it to April.

Inbox to 500 and maintain
I did good to get rid of the bulk of emails, now it’s about maintaining organization and not letting it get too out of control.

OOooff, after making so much progress on this in past months, I wasn’t able to maintain this at all this month. My inbox is creeping up again!


Make and post 1 youtube video
I’ve made several in the past, but tis is really something I want to get into and incorporate into my creative life.

Plan our next 2 trips
I want to make sure to get away a little in April and May before the Summer season really sets in.

Get out into the yard 3-4 times
There’s a lot of yard work and garden work to do and we are running up against the planting clock.

Get back to blogging 4-5 times per week
Gotta get back in the habit!

Better health 15 days of the month
I want have some breadless days, some vegan days, some exercise and stretching days, etc…. Overall be more mindful of my body and health. (I’ve eaten totally vegan 1 day of the month so far!)

Move my 50+ plants
Rolling this goal over, too.

Inbox to 500 and maintain
Another goal from last month. I’m ready to get back on track with this in April.

I have set the same number of goals this month as last, but it feels like less to me somehow.

What goals have you set for April?

March Plant Update

I had high hopes that I would be out and about for most of March, but the weather was still cold and I was still in hibernation mode. I did get out some and we were able to check out some local plants in March.

Still brown, but this day spring was in the air.

Still brown, but this day spring was in the air.

There was a theme this month.

There was a theme this month.

totally happy to see these babes sprouting out.

totally happy to see these babes sprouting out.

And fully popped!

And fully popped!



What are these? I wish my whole yard was covered in them!

What are these? I wish my whole yard was covered in them!

These strawbs are ready for spring.

These strawbs are ready for spring.

So is our grandma rose.

So is our grandma rose.

And these magnolias. They’ve been trying since January.

And these magnolias. They’ve been trying since January.

Current state of our front bed.

Current state of our front bed.

What do the plants look like where you live?
Was March a good month for your plant observations?
What were you most excited to take note of this month?

March Life Admin Day and GYST List

I’ve mentioned it before but I first found out about Life Admin Days friom MuchelleB on YouTube. This is a day that you schedule where you sit down and get stuff done. It’s a day or part of a day to get those nagging tasks that you keep putting off out of your way. Things that have been on your “to do” list but keep getting put off for another time. Action items that require you to do something you really dislike, like for me, talk on the phone. Your life admin day is a time to knock off as many as these tasks as you can in a set amount of time.

A Lot of people and productivity gurus are now also calling this a GYST Day (get your sh*t together). One of the keys to these methods is to schedule in this time and treat it as work, or any other event you have bc it’s easy to constantly push annoying life tasks aside.

I tried to have a Life Admin Day in February but I kept pushing it back and back! Defeats the whole point, right? This month, I decided to do it early in the month to make sure I got it done. I scheduled the time I wanted to take and put it in my bullet journal as an appointment or task just like I would if I were going to work or writing a blog post.

Here was my list for things to get done:
call for car appointment
pay bills
sort out eye doc bill
sort out urgent care bill
sign up for ez pass
start seed/garden list
clean cat boxes
water plants
lunch with mom


I also wrote myself a physical list outside my BuJo to be able to check everything off, carry around, or move as needed. I love crossing things off any to do list!! I blocked off several hours to get things done and proceeded to do as much as I could! Not all my tasks were admin tasks, some were just weekly or daily things that needed to get done.

As you can see, I didn’t get everything done. Some items got pushed to later in the day, some to the following day, some to the next admin day (or the next one). Although I didn’t get everything done, It felt really good to complete some tasks that had been nagging me to weeks. I definitely plan to have another Life Admin Day, perhaps making it a monthly event.

Have you planned a day like this? If so, was it helpful to keep your life more organized? Do you have any other tricks for this sort of productivity?

Three Days in New Orleans

In the end of February, we took our first (of hopefully many) Johnson Family Travel Vacation to New Orleans!


Our trip started very out very early and very rainy! But it was all worth it to get to NOLA and the sunny 55 degree weather! We headed straight out to the French Quarter, and into the Marigny to find our first meal of the day.

One struggle we encounter this trip was how meat oriented many of the restaurants in New Orleans. The last time we were in the city, my husband and I ate fish, and we found eating out much easier. This trip, each time we looked for a restaurant we had to pass up one or two before we found one that had enough vegetarian or vegan options. This can be frustrating, but we actually had really awesome luck and stumbled on some amazing restaurants!

After delicious vegetarian lunch at Sukho Thai, we headed back thru the quarter and checked into the hotel. We had no idea that the preliminary Mardi Gras festivities would be going on, but we had fun checking out all the tourists and locals enjoying the New Orleans fun. We saw a ton of dogs all dressed up and later learned that we missed the puppy parade by mere minutes!


It was a beautiful day and we relaxed, went in the hotel pool, walked around, spent time with family, people watched, and ended up in Uptown to find dinner later in the evening. Another thing that had changed quite a bit since the first time I was in NOLA, was that we saw far less cabs and far more ubers/lifts. Since neither my husband or I use those services, we spent a lot of time hoping for a cab but instead walking a great distance. It worked in our favor bc we discovered some great places we may not have. We stumbled upon and ate at an amazing hole-in-the-wall Ethiopian place that we will definitely revisit on another trip!


Our hotel was very fancy and accommodating, and we were happy to retire there at the end of the first long and adventurous day.


Day two started with a touristly trip around the city on a double decker bus. It was rainy and cold which was pretty perfect to get toured around and see an overview of the city. After the tour with the family, we split up to explore some things we saw, or had on our lists.

A tip I would have for visiting New Orleans is to remember that a lot of things are closed on Mondays. This is the second trip that I have spent a Monday in NO, and it’s a bit of a challenge to plan things that we wanted to see around the fact that Mondays are kind of a dead day there. It all worked out since we love to just want around and see different neighborhoods which is exactly what we ended up doing.


One of my favorite things about walking around neighborhood in New Orleans (and everywhere!) is seeing cats and other animals. We were not disappointed this trip and even saw this dog talking to two local cats!


After two days we had walked around 7 neighborhoods; Central Business District, The French Quarter, The Marginy, Uptown, The Garden District, East Carrollton, and we ended the second day by walking through the 9th Ward to get drinks with a friend and see live music.


For our final day we headed back to East Carrollton and ate at one of our favorite restaurants in NOLA. Most of our family was able to come and it was nice to have a big meal together before the end of the trip. Then we went to the New Orleans Museum of Art. None of us had ever been to the museum before, so it was nice to see everything together. I’ll talk more about the museum in another post!


Our final stop before traveling to the airport was to go to Cafe Du Monde for beignets! A must do for every visit to New Orleans!

We left the city with a long lists of places and things we want to see next time we are in town!

Have you been to NOLA? If so, what are you go-to spots?


What I Ate 2/20/19

This was a pretty typical of eating for me. And it was a pretty typical day for documenting in that it started off strong, but kinda petered off.


Everyday, always, forever starts off with coffee.


But I’ve also been smitten with ginger tea. So simple, so good! Usually this is just ginger slices in hot water. Sometimes I add honey.


For breakfast/lunch/first meal of the day I had a salad with romaine, homemade crunchy croutons, Quorn chicken nuggets, and store bought caesar dressing. And lots of fresh ground black pepper!
Fake chicken doesn’t always agree with me, but a chicken caesar salad is one of my all time favorite meals and I was craving it! I love getting this brand and type bc it comes only in cardboard (no plastic!) and I can heat just a few nuggs up at a time, so there is less waste. Store bought dressing is one things I want to give up and start making myself, but I haven’t motivated to do it quite yet.


On this day I went grocery shopping and couldn’t resist snacking on some pistachios in the car. We go on various nut kicks and pistachios have been a hot for a while now. I usually by them in a plastic bag, unfortunately. But we take that bag to be recycled at some of our local shops.


Grocery shopping usually leads to unhealthy snacking for me! I have been digging these self-serve mochi lately. No plastic!


My husband prefers the self-serve donuts. If they are around, I’ll take a bite.


As usual, my dinner pics are a little lacking! We had one of our favorite vegan meals this night: tofu, rice, broccoli, peanuts, sesame seeds, and chili garlic sauce. I wish this meal were a little more zero waste, but the tofu and chili garlic sauce only come in plastic near us.

On many nights, I would also eat something sweet at the end of my meals, but since I snacked on so many sweets today I didn’t feel like eating anything else sweet.

I was happy to eat a lot of my favorite foods today but this could have easily been a vegan day of eating, as well. I find myself trying to assess my meals and see where they can become more vegan and more sustainable.

What did you eat today?

February Plant Update

February was a great month for plant observations!! We saw a lot of things, we traveled, we revisited our sacred spaces.

A snowy morning in Cape May, NJ.

A snowy morning in Cape May, NJ.

A foggy morning in Asbury Park, NJ.

A foggy morning in Asbury Park, NJ.

Two of my favorite pine trees.

Two of my favorite pine trees.

A pink morning.

A pink morning.

This plant scares my husband, but look at it’s beautiful blooms!!

This plant scares my husband, but look at it’s beautiful blooms!!

Lovely colors, oxalis never disappoints.

Lovely colors, oxalis never disappoints.

One of the only snowy days so far…

One of the only snowy days so far…

…it looked like it might be a crazy snow day, but it melted quickly.

…it looked like it might be a crazy snow day, but it melted quickly.

And then there was New Orleans.

And then there was New Orleans.

I will never get over Spanish moss.

I will never get over Spanish moss.

I also learned about resurrection moss which grows in NOLA all year, sometimes dying back and they spontaneously growing right back.

I also learned about resurrection moss which grows in NOLA all year, sometimes dying back and they spontaneously growing right back.

It was really great and very odd to visit somewhere were flowers were blooming in Feb.

It was really great and very odd to visit somewhere were flowers were blooming in Feb.

Seeing bees already hard at work was a wonderful sight.

Seeing bees already hard at work was a wonderful sight.

Going somewhere warm with flowers blooming was a great pick me up. Winter is the hardest time for me and seeing some green plants and bright flowers was an awesome inspiration for me. Spring really is right around the corner!

I’m excited to see March’s plants! What was February like where you live or travel?

February in Review

February is always a packed month, but this year it was especially so. We had many celebrations, much work, much fun, visiting and exploration.

feb 2019.png

The very beginning of the month started in Cape May, NJ, for our 6th anniversary. My birthday is also in this month and we spent that at he beach, as well. At the end of February, we took a very special family trip to New Orleans, LA. I also went on a quick jaunt to Ardmore, PA.

feb 2 2019.png

It was super cold this month, with a few weird warm days sprinkled in to keep us on our toes. But #watchercats were out and about in Feb, taking in the sun when possible.

feb 3 2019.png

We tried a few new restaurants, and explored NJ a bit this in February. But we also got to visit old haunts in New Orleans! It was a treat to share some of our favorite spots with family!

February is always kinda of blur, being the shortest and coldest month here. There is the faintest whiff of spring in the air, but I have a feeling March will be another long wintery month. Let’s see!

Bullet Journal Check In: February Clothing Tracker

Starting this year, I was curious to see how often I was wearing each item in my capsule wardrobe. The size of my current bullet journal is perfect to be able to write down each item!

I used a very simple layout, in January, writing down all the items first and filling in when I wore them.


For February, I am writing them down as I wear them. And marking where I repeat items.


As for the wardrobe side of this experiment, so far, I’m very intrigued by the results. Since I have so many pieces in my winter capsule, they only each get worn a few times each month. It has really given me pause about including so many pieces in each capsule. I was also surprised that I really do try to wear just about everything I have included. I was not surprised at what pieces were my go to items that I returned to again and again. I’ll be interested to track the last 1.5 months of this capsule and see what changes in my next capsule wardrobe as a result of this tracker!

As for the bullet journal aspect of this experiment, I haven’t found a tracker layout that I really like. This feels like something I would like to continue for a few more months, at least, but this tracker is pretty boring to fill out. It’s also a little hard to read. I’m sure if I had less items to list, it would look less cluttered, but I’m not convinced that will happen! My BuJo style is very minimal, so I’m not sure what other type of layout I could use. Does anyone have any ideas for me?

Do you tack your wardrobe?