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6 Reasons to Add Greenery to your Surroundings

LifestyleAmanda Walter | Maple Alps6 Comments

I don’t know about you, but I have a black thumb. It seems, however, that with practice, my plant killing tendencies are slowly reversing and turning into plant nurturing ones. Granted, I have not been successful in keeping many plants alive - I am just so forgetful and one of those over thinkers when it comes to keeping them alive! I used to fear for any added pets or children, but it turns out that cats are easier to keep alive than a sweet little succulent plant. Go figure.

My mother and grandmother always had plants, and they were gorgeous, so it’s amazing to me that that knack of keeping small trees and flowers alive did not transfer over to me. Too bad. Guys, I even struggle with keeping fresh basil alive!

I used to cringe when people gave me potted plants as gifts, because I knew that if they ever came back, that plant would not be a thriving thing of beauty. No, it would be shrivelled and black - or worse, the pot would be left and the plant dumped out.

Anyway, now that I have experienced some success in keeping some small plants alive, my eyes have been open to how wonderful having some greenery around can be! I mean, I always knew it was a good thing but I guess I never truly embraced it.

If you’re like me and hesitant to bring home (or accept as gifts!) some greenery, this post is for you!

6 Reasons to Add Greenery to your Surroundings | www.maplealps.com

Improves air quality. By reducing carbon dioxide and increasing humidity. Even NASA had a study on this years ago. Check out this excerpt:

“Both plant leaves and roots are utilized in removing trace levels of toxic vapors from inside tightly sealed buildings. Low levels of chemicals such as carbon monoxide and formaldehyde can be removed from indoor environments by plant leaves alone.” When talking about the relationship between plants and space travelers, NASA notes that plants, "provide nourishment for the body when eaten as food, and they improve the quality of indoor air. Plants take the carbon dioxide from air to produce oxygen that humans can breathe."

Pretty cool!

Creates a mood. Especially when your plant pots are super cute and match your decor. Am I right or am I right?

Fosters creativity. I don’t know about you, but when I’m in a space with natural settings, I feel much more creative. In the Summer I love working on my deck for this very reason. I do some of my best writing outside, and when I can bring the outside in, it fosters my creativity.

Reduces stress. Or is this just me?

Adds life to your surroundings. Plants are living things. Add some literal life to your surroundings by putting some plants out.

Creates appreciation for nature in general. I promise once you start taking care of these, you’ll start appreciating others’ gardens and houseplants more! You may even start recognizing and putting a name to the leaf!

6 Reasons to Add Greenery to your Surroundings | www.maplealps.com

So you’re sold. Now you want to get out and buy all the green things. There are still some things to consider, however. Here are some tips to choose the best houseplants for you:

Consider your plant abilities. Are you like me with a black thumb? Find some easy-to-care-for plants that will take talent to kill. Succulents are a good start. Do some research as to My personal favourite are snake plants, as I can successfully keep them alive, PLUS they are gorgeous.

Consider the size of your home. How much space do you have in your home? Can you handle having a larger plant, or are smaller ones better? Plants need space to get breathing air too! Do you have a lot of windows to let in sunlight, or do you need to get a plant that prefers shade?

Consider the humidity and temperature. Some plants require more humidity than others. If you want a tropical plant, this is definitely something you will want to consider as they need more humidity. Keeping plants that require more humidity away from your heat and air conditioning units is definitely something you’ll want to think about as they dry the air and change the temperature, obviously.

Consider your family and pets. Does your family have any allergies to any of the plants you plan on bringing home? Are the plants toxic to your fur babies? Do your research before bringing home your new plant friend.

Do your research, whatever you decide. Know how to water, fertilize, and care for the plants you bring into your home. Like people, each plant has unique needs for the best care. Most importantly, have fun learning and don’t give up!

 

Do you have houseplants? What kind? Any tips for someone with a black thumb?


 

So You Want to be More Minimalistic

LifestyleAmanda Walter | Maple Alps3 Comments

Minimalism is something I’ve been working at for a few years now. I feel that I’ve always had some kind of craving to have less and to be surrounded and burdened by less. Even when I was much younger, I enjoyed throwing things out and organizing things, but it got to the point where I would get rid of things, but then accumulate more. It got harder and harder to let go of things. As I’ve mentioned in other posts before, it took going abroad for me to realize that I really don’t need stuff. I was perfectly content and well cared for with only 2 suitcases worth of things, and even then I didn’t use every item. Just over a year ago, I finished reading the life-changing magic of tidying up - and it was truly life-changing (I talked about it here). It got me re-energized to declutter and reclaim a full life - which was ironically not full of things!

It came down to choosing what brought me joy. I’ve had several requests to talk about some minimalist living tips, and so I’m sharing the steps that helped me!

So You Want to be More Minimalistic | www.maplealps.com

 

Envision Your Minimalist Life

Why do you want to live a more minimalistic life? What does your minimalist lifestyle look for you? What do you want to do in your everyday life? Write it down and consider it your “why.” Here are some ideas:

  • I will come home to a tidy home so that I have time to relax after work and pursue creative hobbies.

  • I will enjoy a bubble bath in the middle of the week just because.

  • I won't trip over things on the floor anymore.

  • I won't spend hours each weekend cleaning.

  • I will have a clear mind that is a result of a clear living space.

  • I will not be tied to materialistic things.

Write your list. Remember these things as you go through your next steps:

 

Say Goodbye to Your Unnecessary Things

My ultimate decluttering guide will help you best with this. I will direct you there rather than write it all out again. It’s important to let go of stuff that is just stuff. Keep what really brings you joy. The guide goes through all the areas of your house and just helps you get an idea of what you really should simplify. Find it here.

 

 

Quality over Quantity

Even though we are finished (for now) with school, my husband and I still have this poor student mentality. At the beginning, we would always choose what we perceived to be more affordable, just to find that later it would fall apart, or we just really didn’t like it. Seriously, never buy a bookshelf from Walmart. Haha. In the end, it was cheaper to choose the quality items we enjoyed right off the bat. It eliminated buying multiples as well. Quality will last and is worth the initial higher cost.

 

Choose to keep items that bring you joy!

 

Realize the fragility of Life

I know this sounds extremely morbid, but you will probably die someday. Do you really want to spend your days unhappy and surrounded by things that bring your life no joy? I sure don’t. I also don’t want to leave my junk for my children to clean up. I would rather leave a legacy of time they spent with me rather than the things I had.

 

 

Don’t Try to Do it All At Once

Step-by-step, friends! The decluttering process alone can take up to 6 months. You’ll get there if you keep at your convictions and chip away bit by bit.

 

Be Mindful

Think about the value that each of your curated items brings to you. This goes for everything from the physical things you can touch, to the apps on your phone and the emails you sscribe to. Everything should have a purpose and add to your experience. in some capacity. Of course, there will be things you have to keep that aren't necessarily too exciting, but reduce what you can.

 

Some Other Things to Consider Simplifying:

 
declutter deep clean | www.maplealps.com
 

What are some of the ways you embrace a more minimalistic lifestyle?


 

Gathering with Intention and Simplicity

LifestyleAmanda Walter | Maple Alps9 Comments

Growing up, our family had an open door policy. This means that anybody could come and be with us in our home whenever they wanted - and they would be treated like family. Nothing was off limits. Thanksgiving, Christmas, any and every long weekend holiday - anyone could come. This hasn’t changed. Now that I’ve moved away, I still hear about who came to what dinner or spent the night and it always is fun and surprising to hear about.

A year ago or so, we really tried to be intentional about having more people over to our home, but life gets so busy. This is true for anyone. There’s an increasing trend of being so busy with what we do in life, that we tend to neglect those we do life with. It seems that the art of hospitality is getting lost.

 

Related: The Myths and the Calling of True Hospitality

 

Relationships are so important. A few weeks ago on Instagram, I asked you to share some topics you would like to see on the blog. A few people mentioned the theme of hospitality and hosting others. Today I wanted to share with you how to host with intention and simplicity. These are some easy steps we took that worked for us when we decided to be intentional about sharing our home and showing hospitality to others.  I think it’s a very important thing to gather together to encourage one another, so I hope these tips help you as much as they helped us!

Gathering with Intention and Simplicity | Hosting Made Easy | www.maplealps.com

 

 

Write down some names

Write down the names of some people you would like to reach out to. Those you would like to get to know more, those who are going through a hard time and need ministering to, those who come to mind when you sit down to write down names. Pray about and over your list. I want to encourage you not to just think of your friends or those who can invite you back over. This should not be the purpose of your visits.

 

Find a reoccurring day in your schedule that always works for having some company over and start making phone calls.

For us, weekends are almost impossible to have people over, so we chose one day (sometimes two) during the week to have people over. Maybe the weekends work best for your schedule - that’s great. Block that time off and start calling the people on your list. Fill in the slots, week by week (or month by month depending on how often the schedule you set allotted for). We aim for twice a month. 

 

Don’t focus on a fancy meal

Make sure you have asked about food allergies or sensitivities before planning your meal. People will feel most at ease with an easy, light, healthy meal. There is no need to be formal when you are wanting to focus on relationships. The point of this practice is to touch hearts with warmness, not impress them with your cooking skills (though I’m sure yours are great too).

 

Make your home inviting

While every surface does not have to sparkle, your home should be tidy and neat. No one truly likes a dirty place. Light a candle or pick up some fresh blooms from the grocery store (or from your garden). Make sure any table linens you use are clean. You can even use cloth napkins (We do, but that’s because we don’t have any paper ones)! Serve your simple meal in pretty dishes rather than straight from the pot. Little touches like these will make your home even more inviting. Fun tip: if it's warm enough and if you have outdoor furniture and sufficient shade, sitting outside is a great idea!

 

Related: True Hospitality Made Practical: Three Easy Tips

Gathering with Intention and Simplicity | Hosting Made Easy | www.maplealps.com

 

Worry about souls, not table spreads

Make sure your conversation also has a purpose. Be encouraging, not critical. Be kind about everyone you speak of. Listen carefully and be interested in what your guests say. Help them feel at ease during their stay and offer a prayer for them before they leave.

 

Remember that they are there to visit with you, not your house

There is no need to be stuck in the kitchen all day. There is no reason to slave over polishing every corner of your house (or every piece of silverware) for their arrival. Your guests love you and they love your authenticity. They will appreciate the simpleness and ease in which you present your hospitality.

 
Relationships are so important! Gather with intention!
 

Do you gather with intention? Tell me about it below!


 

 

 

Essentials for Your Plant-Based Kitchen

LifestyleAmanda Walter | Maple Alps10 Comments

Everyone has their kitchen staples, and I'm often asked about mine. Today, I am going to share with you 11 things that I could not live without in my kitchen - the things that get used pretty much every single day. On a slight side note: it's really important to make sure you have quality basics in the kitchen. Don't be like me and cheap out on a $30 blender when you absolutely need it every day for smoothies and sauces! It will start flashing lights and smoking, and blenders are not supposed to do that. True story.

This post contains affiliate links

Essentials for your Plant Based Kitchen | www.maplealps.com
 

Glass Containers

I love these glass containers. I pack up my lunch (leftovers, anyone?) in these babies and the next day, I'm ready to go! I like them especially because they are made of glass, and I don't have to worry about the grade of plastic and the possible effect on my food. 

 

Ceramic Electric Kettle

I love my ceramic electric kettle (Get one from Amazon) and use it every single day! The ceramic is just a really nice touch and it saves a bit when it comes to utilities - I had been using a stovetop kettle for a few years, but since I got this guy, I've never looked back!

 

Fun Utensil Holder and Bamboo Utensils

I like to keep my bamboo close since I use it constantly. It helps to have a nice utensil holder home right on hand. I'm very picky about what goes into it - only my bamboo!

 

Related: Organizational Products That Will Keep Your Home in Order

High-Speed Blender and Reusable Straws

Daily smoothies would not be possible without our awesome blender. It gets daily use - and multiple times sometimes! Sauces, soups and smoothies wouldn't be possible without it. We also got these stainless steel straws and we love them - even though they get pretty cold with our smoothies. We've gotten used to it. They come with a brush for easy cleaning!

 

Mixing Bowls and Colander

These mixing bowls are my favourite. They're cute AND useful. I caved and got these stainless steel ones because my ceramic bowls were getting a little heavy for some of the recipes I was whipping up. They have this awesome grip at the bottom which keeps it from sliding around. This colander is a life saver too - vegetables don't get cleaned otherwise (and pasta doesn't get drained). 

 

Bread Box

I love this bread box! Ours is used every day too - and there's homemade bread in there 90% of the time. Bread for breakfast is a true staple over here, so having it easily accessible is a bonus. Besides, it's pretty!


Garlic Rocker

This garlic rocker has literally changed my life. No more annoying and messy garlic press. This one is easy to clean and is sturdy! I've been using it for four years now and I keep telling everyone that it is easily the best money I've ever spent (I got mine from Amazon). 

 

Whisk Set

These whisks are a must-have for all of the sauces and dressings I mix up.  

 
Declutter Guide Download maple Alps
 

What are some of your kitchen essentials?


 
 

Seize the Moment - Choose the Corner: Stay at Home Workout Guide

HealthAmanda Walter | Maple AlpsComment

There are days when your home feels too comfy to leave it, and since gym memberships can be quite costly, sometimes your home seems like the best option for getting your workout done. So, turn your house or apartment into a private and budget-friendly gym with this home workout guide.  Get your yoga mat, put on your workout clothes and get ready to discover easy and fun ways you can get fit and healthy right without ever leaving the comfort of your home.  

Seize the Moment - Choose the Corner: Stay at Home Workout Guide | www.maplealps.com

When You Feel Like Staying In

When you just feel like spending your day inside and not going out in the cold, there are simple and effective indoor workouts you can try. You don’t need much equipment, just a plain yoga mat or an old blanket for some knee and back protection. When it comes to the exercises, aside from basic sit-ups, pushups and crunches, you can also do some stair stepping that will definitely raise your heart rate. If you don’t have stairs in your home, you can still do this exercise with the biggest book you can find or a small chair or bench. You can also add some arm and back exercises with weights or water bottles. Water bottles are quite handy as weights because you can adjust the weight to your fitness level. 

Seize the Moment - Choose the Corner: Stay at Home Workout Guide | www.maplealps.com

When You Feel Like Staying in Bed

If you would do anything to stay a few extra minutes in bed in the morning, we have some good news for you. You don’t even have to get up to do your morning workout! Stay in bed and still get a workout  in with some simple exercises you can do right on your mattress. Choose a few every day (or complete the whole set) and try circuit training. Complete as many reps as you can in 30 seconds, take a 10-second break and get onto the next exercise. These will get your blood pumping and you’ll certainly burn more calories than scrolling through Instagram in bed. 

Seize the Moment - Choose the Corner: Stay at Home Workout Guide | www.maplealps.com

When You Need to Stay In

If you work from home sitting in front of your computer screen for hours and after you’re done, you just want to relax and stretch out on the sofa, you have to know that you’re not doing yourself a favor. Research shows that prolonged sitting is bad for your lungs, heart, back and your mental health. So, if you want to break this cycle and get some exercise while at your desk, embrace deskercising! For your office workouts, you don’t need any special equipment aside from things you can find in your home office, such as books, desks, a chair and yourself. You can do all sorts of exercises like leg raises, chair crunches or table pushups. One great way to get moving in your office is to pace every time you’re on the phone! You’ll stretch your legs and put some extra steps on your Fitbit. Pro tip: either find a good ergonomic chair for your office or get a soft pillow that will protect your back from prolonged sitting.

Seize the Moment - Choose the Corner: Stay at Home Workout Guide | www.maplealps.com

For Those Who Have A Pool

If you’re one of those lucky people with a backyard pool, you basically have the best piece of workout equipment at home: water! Depending on the size of your pool, you can start swimming laps or engage in some water aerobics. These exercises will do wonders for your posture, weight, muscles and your overall health. All you need is some basic swimming pool equipment like goggles and you’re ready to go. 

Seize the Moment - Choose the Corner: Stay at Home Workout Guide | www.maplealps.com

For Those With a Backyard

If you have a backyard, you have a whole new world of workout options (hello, cardio!). Cardio is great for improving your heart health, boosting your metabolism, shedding fat and keeping you fit and toned. So, try organizing a boot camp in your backyard that will leave you absolutely breathless.

As you can see, your level of activity doesn’t depend on the weather, budget or time; you can get good workouts at home. All you need is 15-30 minutes, some basic equipment and the motivation to get moving! 

 

Bio.jpg

Faith is a writer, seeking beauty everywhere she goes and finding it in art, nature, family, and home. Passionate about just living life to the fullest, she’s into home decor and healthy lifestyle, trying to be the best version of herself and make her surroundings match.

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