The Weekly Smile


There’s so many reasons to be grateful, and keep a smile on your face. This week I’ve been  meditating about all the extraordinary places that I’ve seen since I moved to Las Vegas, almost a year ago. Places I probably never would of spent so much time exploring, if I didn’t live here.


Places like Valley of Fire. That had been on my bucket list of places to see for a long time. At some point I probably would of made a point out of visiting, but not likely that I would of visited many times, if I didn’t live nearby. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve visited this past year.


Every visit there is a totally different experience form the previous times. The landscape completely changes, with how the light plays on the red sandstone formations.


…and then there’s the little details, like this flower growing straight out of a cliff. It’s impossible to not smile, seeing life in such an unexpected place.



I feel very humble when I encounter vistas like these. Humble, and grateful. There’s something unearthly, about the sleek, smooth lines, of the sometimes rugged sandstones. As many contradictions as life itself.


Did someone, at some point call this cave his home? Maybe a family lived here? What did they think when they stepped out on “the porch” in the morning? Those are the type of questions my daughter and I discuss, when we explore places like this. What did the people who once lived here live off? Where did they find water?



I hope you enjoyed these photos from my last visit to Valley of Fire (NV.) How is your week so far? My friend Trent have a Weekly Smile post every week, where he share smiles from the past week, and encourage others to do the same. Get the good energy flowing, and share some of the things that make you smile this week 🙂


Ms Zen

Weekend Coffee Share; The Year-Round Solar Green House


Good Morning! How about some ice coffee today? If you want to sit outside, I can highly recommend the cold version. The backyard is lovely, and it’s 85 degrees now at 6am. The house is very cool, and if you prefer hot coffee, or tea we could take a seat at the kitchen table.

Welcome to our weekly coffee date! How are you doing? How is your week? Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)! Grab a cup of coffee and share with us! 

I’m reading a very interesting book, The Year-Round Solar Green House – How to design and build a net-zero energy greenhouse. I’ve had green houses before. They have been unheated, cold frames, or heated by electricity. The greenhouses in this book are different, they are built with a design, and materials, that keeps the plants at an even temperature year round, without electricity. They look almost like sun rooms, that some people have instead of a porch/balcony. I’ve always wanted one of those! Never had one.

I’ve been thinking about building a house with a greenhouse connected, with these designs that would be totally doable. The photos in this book are very tempting! Makes me want to pick up a pen and paper myself, and draw the ultimate house/greenhouse combination. (I’ll probably do just that later today.) I’m still undecided wether I would like my greenhouse to be connected to the house, or a separate building, but the possibilities are there. There’s some things to consider; pests, pollinating insects, dirt coming into the house, condense, and regulating temperature between the house and greenhouse part. There are good systems that you can build, that I believe would work. Imagine having fresh produce growing inside your house year round! That would be so cool! 

The thought of being self sufficient is extremely appealing. I don’t necessarily feel a need to skip all conveniences of having access to what’s available in the stores, but knowing that my family will survive (and thrive) if the access to these conveniences would be cut off, due to some kind of crisis/disaster would give me peace of mind. (When I did live off grid I had a 6 months food supply under my bed.) I’m as far from a worrier as one could get. I do believe in hard work, and being a step ahead. It’s just a good feeling. I’ve experienced many longer power outages, and it can definitely be a challenge, more so when it’s hot, than when it’s cold actually. Have you ever experienced a longer power outage? Or natural disaster? What did you do?

My daughter loves crafting, and I decided to get her a subscription to some cool crafting material. She’ll get one box of material, along with some inspirational instructions every month. This way she gets to try new mediums; clay, different types of paint, and pencils. The first box came earlier this week, and she already spent many hours trying new techniques. She was thrilled. She is not spoiled with material things, and when she does get a gift she is so appreciative. I feel good about that she has something creative to do inside, when the temperatures doesn’t allow for outdoor play.

Thank you for dropping in for coffee today! Can I get you another cup?

I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend. I’m about to head to the grocery store, before it gets too hot outside. I actually went out to run some errands yesterday, but after the first one I had to go back home, I just couldn’t handle the heat. I’m getting an early start today!


Ms Zen



Weekly Smile


My friend Trent have a Weekly Smile post where he share smiles from the past week, and encourage others to do the same. Get the good energy flowing! There’s so many things to be grateful for, small and big things. I’m going to try to post a Weekly Smile in the beginning of every week….well, it’s Thursday today (I said try..) and not in the beginning of the week anymore. I’m slightly behind schedule with my blogging. I figure better late than never, right? 

Blogging is a fun thing for me, and it helps me get my thoughts organized. This week have been good to me. It’s been busy, in a wonderful, productive way at work. I’m a tutor/nanny to two little boys. They are so smart, and they make me smile every day. They are both a couple years from Kindergarten yet, but I bet a weeks salary that they will both read before they start Kindergarten. They soak up the alphabet, new words, and new concepts like little sponges. They are so interested in learning new things. I love discovering their world with them, being there when the light get lit for the first times in their beautiful eyes. That’s my favorite part of my job. Their parents and I, have a similar view when it comes to encouraging little children to be well mannered, kind, and polite, both towards each other, and others. That makes my job even more enjoyable. I’m often exhausted after a day with them. Two active boys can be a handful, but I really enjoy it the majority of the time. 

My photo gallery have been profitable this week. Another big reason to smile, since I am striving towards building an increasing, (semi-)passive stream of income from my gallery.

My garden is growing. I’ve had time to finish several books, including the water saving books that I wrote about in my coffee share last weekend. 

Tomato, tomatoes, tomatoes. The first photo was taken today, exactly a year ago, next to my cherry tomato plants, in my huge Northern California garden. 


My daughter took the second photo (below) today, of my cherry tomato plants that I have now. I planted them in one of my compost bins. Food scraps decomposes really fast in this climate. I ordered some red worms to get a jump start on my compost, and a couple months later I had beautiful compost. I planted these tomatoes right on top of everything. I’ve been adding coffee grounds, on top, on a weekly basis.

Since I now live in the Mojave Desert, container gardening seemed like a good idea. Tomatoes in containers are totally doable, even if the plants are slightly smaller, there’s hundreds of tiny, green tomatoes on the plants. Hopefully there will be a nice harvest within the next month. (I have more plants than the ones pictured.)


What are you growing in your garden? What zone are you in?

I mentioned that I’ve been reading a lot this week. I’m still going through my pile of Lois L’amour books. They are still good, even though I would love the stories to be a little longer. The books always ends to quickly! I’ve been forced to take it much slower than I would like this summer, due to the heat. I’m making the best I can out of the time, and read a lot. Both for fun, and to learn new skills (gardening, homesteading, photography, and work related psychology.) I am enjoying this stillness of summer in its own way.

My daughter is luckily VERY happy to just relax, and be the boss of her own time. I’ve ordered a monthly subscription of crafting material for her. I’m expecting the first box to be here any day. I’m very excited about that. I can’t wait to see her face when she gets it. We’re living a pretty minimalistic lifestyle, and she is not spoiled with material things. She loves crafting, and spends hours every day inventing new things. She needs, and deserves good supplies. This box let you try new mediums every month, and they come with some directions of how the material can be used. I’m convinced that she’s going to love it!

I hope you’re having a fabulous week!


Ms Zen