Sunday, December 18, 2016

Using The Holidays as a Time of Reflection

I've lost focus.

Many things have been cluttering my mind these past couple of months, drowning out the singing of my soul with the loud, threatening noise of chaos. Between the political rift in our country, big global issues, and my own personal struggles, I have felt overwhelmed. It's hard to hear my own inner voice with so much distraction.

Last week was a tough one. I had to have my Jeep towed to the garage. I had been feeling like I finally was crossing over that line of struggle to stand on solid ground financially. But this big blow right before Christmas just depleted my tiny savings account. Christmas is going to be tight this year. On top of that, I have been fighting off a cold virus. I found myself feeling "woa is me". Grouchy is putting it lightly. The Grinch was about to become my best friend.

Luckily, I have Uber to get me to work and good friends who keep me from stewing in my own emotional garbage.

Still, I am off track. I've procrastinated on too many important things, which I tend to do when I get overwhelmed. Things that are big have to's as well as things that bring me joy. And that, as you can guess, only fuels the feeling of overwhelm.

But here's the thing. If you have lost your way as well, know that this time of long nights and family gatherings is a gift if we use it wisely. A chance to return to our path. So let's light a candle to bring light to these long nights, pour a mug of wassail or mulled wine, put on some calm music, and get to work with pen and paper in hand.

Here is how I intend to regain my focus:

1. Acknowledging everything I am grateful for.
2. Taking the time to clear physical clutter from my home.
3. Slowing down and giving myself time to reflect.
4. Revisiting my long term goals to see if they still are relevant.
5. Setting new goals for myself.
6. Simplifying the holidays and focusing on friends and family.
7. Chipping away at the list of things I have been putting off, prioritizing them in order of importance.
8. Taking time for self care.

How do you use the holidays as a time to reflect?

Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Hippy Home One Simple Change Challenge

Whether it's your first time or you are jumping aboard for a second round, come check out the One Simple Change Challenge  on Facebook and improve your health along the way. I will be presenting five weeks of challenges that encourage you to make simple changes for a healthier lifestyle. We begin this week making sure you are drinking enough water daily.  Check into the group as often as you can for support, healthy information, and sharing. Don't forget to post your progress.

The first challenge was a big success, with participants losing weight and feeling healthier by the end of the five weeks. It was so successful, they asked me to do it again! Click on the link below and join us today. We would love to have you.

One Simple Change Challenge

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

How to Make Fresh Oregano Tea for Asthma and Allergy Relief

It seems the only thing I can get to flourish in my garden is oregano. It has taken over half of it and threatens overtaking my thyme. I gave bunches of it away, I need to dry some for later use, but I have mainly been drinking it in a tea.

While people tend to think of oregano strictly as a culinary herb, it's medicinal qualities shouldn't be overlooked. Oregano contains carvacrol, which is antibacterial. It is also full of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory flavonoids. Oregano is nutrient dense. It contains the vitamins A,C, E, K, and B6. It also contains folate, iron, magnesium, calcium, and potassium.

What got me interested in drinking oregano tea was its use to help ease asthma and allergy symptoms.  I suspect I have stress induced asthma. When I run my lungs seem to close down and I start wheezing. It's frustrating, especially since I have been doing Crosstraining. I don't feel like I have been drinking oregano tea long enough to assess how much it has helped me, but I do know I managed to run my first mile about an hour after drinking a batch. That's a big deal for me. I'm going to drink a batch before I go run a 5k this weekend. I'll let you know how I do.

Oregano Tea 

Making a cup couldn't be simpler. Take about three sprigs of fresh oregano, preferably organic, and place in your mug. Pour boiling water over the herb to fill the mug. Cover and steep about 5-8 minutes. Remove oregano sprigs and sweeten with local honey, if desired. Drink two to three cups daily.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Natural Sleep Aids for a Good Night's Sleep

Everyone has had those nights where, for what ever reason, you find yourself wide awake even though you are exhausted. It's an awful feeling, especially knowing that the alarm is going to go off in a short few hours right after you finally slip into a good sleep. Over the counter and prescription sleep aids may help you sleep, but, as with any drug, can leave you with nasty side effects. There are some great natural remedies you can use that are gentler on the body.

 Your sleep environment can play a big part in getting a good night's sleep. Your bedroom should be a peaceful place, free of clutter and electronics. Avoid hopping on your computer or smart phone while you are in bed. Studies have shown that the light from these devices will throw off your body's natural cues to sleep.

Cherries and Bananas 

Cherries are a natural source of melatonin and bananas contain tryptophan, which is converted to melatonin. Bananas also contain magnesium, which aids in relaxing your muscles. While tart Montmorency cherry juice contains the highest melatonin levels, as its name suggests, it can be unpleasant to drink straight. Another alternative is to combine the power of bananas and cherries into a yummy calming smoothie. Combine a half cup almond milk, one banana, a half cup cherries (fresh or frozen), a teaspoon honey, one tablespoon almond butter, and two teaspoons ground flax seeds in a blender and enjoy about an hour before bedtime.

Essential Oils 

Several essential oils are known for their relaxing properties. Lavender oil is at the top of the list. Other oils to use for a good nights sleep include vetiver, bergamot, Roman chamomile, cedar wood, ylang ylang, and sandalwood. I like to put a couple drops of lavender oil in my diffuser at bedtime. You can also dilute the oils with sweet almond oil and apply on your temples, back of your neck, and wrists. Try a mix of oils like lavender and bergamot. The oils can also be added to a warm bath.


When we are under a lot of stress we can lose sleep from an overactive, worried mind. Most of us have experienced nights of restless tossing and turning as we play out different scenarios in our heads. We can't shut off long enough to relax into sleep. We may even give up on sleep altogether. Getting in the habit of meditating can train your brain to quiet down even in times of high stress. You can find many guides on meditation online and at your local library or bookstore.


This important mineral is plays a big part in the proper functioning of the central nervous system. It's needed to keep the GABA neurotransmitters in proper order. GABA receptors calm the nervous system, leading the way to sleep.

Chamomile Tea

Chamomile has long been used as a home remedy to help you sleep. While chamomile tea bags are available, I recommend using fresh organic chamomile flowers, or buying the dried flowers in bulk. Use about 1/4 cup fresh flowers or 2 tablespoons dried and steep in hot water for for five minutes. Add a little honey and milk to taste. The milk will also help you sleep.

If you are allergic to chamomile, or are looking for another herbal tea to help you sleep, both St. John's Wort and Valarian Root teas are also great for helping you fall asleep. 

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Clean Eating: Healthy Apple Crisp

While everyone has started going crazy for pumpkin everything, I am over here waving my arms and shouting, heh, what about the humble apple? To me, apples are as much a part of fall as pumpkins. Apple cider, apple pies, warm applesauce, and, yes, apple crisp. Make mine a la mode, please.

 If you have ever been in an apple orchard in the autumn you will never forget the smell. It's a wonderful, earthy smell you can't experience in a grocery store. Unfortunately, because I live in south Texas, apple orchards don't thrive like they do in the north, so I currently have to rely on grocery store apples. I do make a point of buying organic apples because the conventional ones typically are covered in a lot of pesticides.

 This apple crisp recipe is healthy enough to eat with breakfast, and that's just what the boy and I did this past Tuesday morning. It was adapted from the cookbook, Clean Food, by Terry Walters, and can be made totally gluten free if you use gluten free oats and brown rice flour.

Apple Crisp 

12 apples peeled, cored, and sliced
1/4 cup maple syrup 
2 tsp ground cinnamon 
1/2 cup raisins 
1 Tbsp pastry flour or brown rice flour 

2 cups rolled oats 
1 cup whole wheat flour or brown rice flour 
1/2 cup chopped walnuts 
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon 
1/2 cup melted butter 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place apples in baking dish and fold in syrup, cinnamon, and raisins. Sprinkle on flour and gently fold until well combined. Spread evenly in dish.

In a small bowl, mix oats, flour, nuts, and cinnamon. Whisk syrup and butter together, add to dry ingredients and mix until crumbly. Spread evenly over apple mixture, cover, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove cover and bake an additional 20 minutes, or until apples are soft. Serve warm. 

Serves 8-10

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Common Misconceptions about Minimalism

Minimalism can seem confusing and a bit abstract to those new to the concept. What is minimalism? The very definition of minimalism is fluid, depending on what expert you talk to. To some, it's surrounding yourself with only the things you love. For others, it's a quest to decrease their carbon footprint. For me, it's a combination of things; environmental concerns, a desire for more freedom, and the desire to create a peaceful environment after years of walking on eggshells in a verbally abusive relationship. As I get older, I also realize that I don't want to burden my children with the baggage of a lifetime of my stuff.

Here are some of the misconceptions about minimalism that I have come across that I think need clarification:

Minimalism is only for the middle class and the wealthy.

I'm astounded by the popularity of this belief. People seem to go out of their way to be offended by minimalism, suggesting that it's a form of poverty appropriation. Minimalism, in its fluidity, works at every class level, outside of being homeless. I have lived it. Although it wasn't too difficult for me, grasping on to minimalism kept me from becoming homeless. It doesn't offend me that some wealthy person has decided to downsize in order to leave the rat race and enjoy life more. Why should it? I think it benefits society as a whole.

I shop at thrift stores, sifting through middle class and wealthy cast off's. I have had to put off purchasing new undergarments for myself in order to buy the kid what he needs. By someone's determination, this should make me feel angry. But again, why? The person who donated the Anne Taylor shirt I bought for $2.00 isn't at fault for my situation. Embracing minimalism helps raise people up out of poverty. It is helping me.

You can read more about my thoughts on minimalism and poverty here: Minimalism can help you Break the Chains of Poverty, and here: Why Poor People Making Bad Decisions is a Dangerous Mindset.

Minimalism is About Deprivation 

I think this belief feeds in to the previous belief about poverty and minimalism. Under this misconception, minimalism appears as choosing a life of deprivation, a self induced vow of poverty. But minimalism isn't about deprivation. This belief misses the point entirely. Minimalism is about letting go of the heavy weight that holds you down and embracing what brings you joy. It's about evaluating what you allow in your life and adjusting accordingly.

So many times we hold onto objects with bad memories associated with them or were gifts that weren't really our thing but we don't want to hurt feelings. We fall for the sparkling trappings of the latest gadgets or this season's fashions. We buy storage containers to organize and hide our excessive possessions or drown in clutter because we might need them again someday. Let it go!

Minimalism gives you space to breathe. It's the quiet in a too busy world. Instead of deprivation, you find yourself blessed with the things that matter. Things need care and take up our time. They need carted around when we move and stored when we are settled. Owning only those things that bring us joy or that we find useful ensures we are not wasting our time and energy on stuff that doesn't matter to us.

There is a Magic Number of Items to Own to be Considered a Minimalist 

Like I said before, minimalism is very fluid. It is also very personal. It's less about the number of items you own and more about embracing a concept of joy and beauty. I know without counting that my books alone number much higher than than some minimalists entire possessions. They bring me joy. But I got rid of all the dusty wine glasses that suggested some day I was going to host a rather large dinner party. I kept only enough for a small gathering of friends, which suits my introverted personality better. 

I have a long way to go on this journey. I have been driving around with yard sale leftovers in the back of my Jeep for a month now and I still feel like I have too much stuff that I need to sort through and get rid of. It's an important journey for me, and one I hope will lead to more personal freedom. Your journey is going to be totally different, but that's the beauty of minimalism. You get to define what it means to you. 

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Raising A Free Range Child in the Modern World

This past summer my boys got to enjoy a couple carefree days exploring their grandparents' woods and pond. They spent an entire day undisturbed, building the framework for a hut and sharpening sticks into daggers. I only interfered long enough to make sure they ate. At the end of the day they were dirty, tired, and happy. It was a rare taste of freedom to explore the world on their terms that modern parenting seems void of. I want more of these moments for my boys, for all children.

Fear seems to rule parenting these days. I get it. There are horrible people out there who harm children in unspeakable ways. There are nosy neighbors who call CPS over a child playing alone in the yard, no matter the age of the child. Things can happen, and fast, though statistics show that our fears, for the most part, are anomalies. We are afraid that our kid is going to be the one in a million and we'd have to live with that guilt the rest of our lives. So how can we provide the freedom of exploration to our children within a framework that best protects them?

When my brother and I were growing up, we'd be gone for hours, playing in drainage ditches with the neighbor's children, exploring fields and forests, and climbing trees. It was a wonderful freedom and it taught us a lot about our world. I'm sure it also gave Mom a break. Our explorations are some of my favorite memories as a child. They instilled a sense of independence and a love for the natural world that I still have today. What has changed? Certainly not the risks involved in such free play.

Lenore Skenazy, a leader in the movement to reclaim childhood freedom describes the reasons why children are no longer as free to roam as they once were. She says we live in a hyper media culture where stories about hurt and endangered children quickly grab our attention and play on our fear. We have also become a culture of experts who judge others and the way they parent.

Our society seems to hold the view that children must be protected from all risks of injury. Here's the thing, risk taking, independence, and discovery all lead to increased confidence. Our fear of our children being harmed could be creating fearful children who avoid risk taking and are void of the kind of creative thinking skills needed to succeed as an adult. Overall, children are better at assessing risk than we give them credit for. They are not the fragile, inept little beings we label them as.

 So what can you do in this modern world of limitations, especially if you live in an urban area? First of all, allow your child plenty of unstructured time. Give him or her unsupervised access to things like scraps of wood, a hammer, and some nails. Let an area of your back yard grow wild for exploration and fort building. My seven year old can spend hours playing with the dog or the chickens in the overgrown shrubbery while I am in the house cooking or writing for my blog. Yes, kids need to spend time with their parents, but they need time without us as well. Let them get dirty, scrape their knees from running, climb trees and get stuck, build forts, and sharpen sticks into daggers. Give them room to explore their world on their terms, without an adult standing over them telling them how the world should be. After all, they are tomorrow's problem solvers and if we don't give them the chance to figure smaller things out on their own now, how can we expect them to work out the larger things later?

Monday, September 5, 2016

Join The One Simple Change Challenge

The best way to improve our health and wellbeing is through making small changes and sticking with them. Over five weeks, beginning September 11, I will post a weekly challenge to the Facebook challenge group to help you make those changes. The challenges will be easy changes you can make to improve your health. And, yes, they will be cumulative, meaning you will continue with the previous challenge when you begin the next one. The idea is to incorporate them into your daily activities so they become life long habits. I will also share some of my favorite tips for healthy living.

Accountability and support are the two biggest contributors toward success, so check in daily and let everyone know how you are doing, ask questions, have fun, and support your fellow challengers. Oh, and invite friends!

How can you join? Click here: One Simple Change Challenge

Here is to life long health!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Healthy School Lunches: Part Three: What to Pack

The kid and I already have two weeks of the school year completed. While I am still teaching at the Montessori school, he has made the switch to public school. Even though he is in the minority, he brings his lunch to school. It helps that he has a cool lunch box to carry. He's currently into Minecraft. We found an awesome, if not overpriced, Minecraft themed  backpack, but couldn't find a matching lunch box, so we made one. I bought a plain green lunch box on Amazon and, using a sharpie marker, stenciled a creeper face onto it. Thank goodness creeper faces are simple.

I could save time and maybe even money by purchasing school lunches, but most of the menu choices are foods he wouldn't eat and I want some control over the nutritional value of the food he consumes. Fresh fruit is always included in his lunch. His favorite sandwich is a simple egg salad made with Just Mayo, a little whole grain mustard, and a dash of salt served on organic whole grain bread with romaine lettuce. Often, both of our lunches will revolve around what ever leftovers we have from dinner, but since he doesn't have a way to heat up his food anymore, it needs to be good to eat cold.

 By week two, you can already feel like you have run out of creative ideas for healthy lunches, but there are some great resources to turn to, and as promised, I am sharing some of my favorites below. I'm always on the lookout for healthy and interesting lunch ideas, so if you have your own you'd like to share, I'd love to hear about them.

Kids Activities Blog  has a week's worth of vegetarian lunches easy enough for your child to pack on his own.

What Lisa Cooks is an amazing resource for lunch ideas. She has enough choices to get you through the entire school year. Seriously, she's got you covered.

The Kitchn has upped the ante with adorable sandwich art, so if you want to add some fun to your child's lunch, go check it out.

Back to Her Roots  is geared more towards grownup lunches, but they could easily be down sized for kids. Besides, we need to eat healthy and inspiring lunches, too!

Bonus: An extensive list of printable Lunchbox Jokes and Notes from Kids Activities Blog.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Healthy School Lunches: Part Two: Nutrition Matters

Today I want to share a couple of great videos on nutrition and helping our children make good decisions regarding what they eat. Watch them with your children. My son was especially interested in the first video describing in kid terms the amount of sugar contained in sugary drinks like soda and sports drinks. He was also shocked to learn that his daily cup of apple juice should be cut in half. 

Come back for Part Three of this series, where I will share my sources for healthy school lunch inspiration. Click Here to read Part One.

Contact me for more information about Juice Plus
or visit my website Juice Plus

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Healthy School Lunches : Part One: A Good Start

Where did summer go? I mean, seriously! Last I checked we still had a couple weeks left. But, here we are, at the start of a new school year. With so many things to think about and prepare for that big first day, planning school lunches can seem a bit overwhelming. If you decide to buy lunch for your child, you might enjoy the convenience, but what about the quality? With a little planning, you can pack your child a healthy lunch and have some control over the quality of the food your child eats. I say some because, let's get real, some days your child is going to come home with only a half eaten lunch and complain he/she didn't like something you packed them even though it's something that he/she has eaten before. Unless you won the jackpot and have a kid who always eats what is in front of him/her.

In this three part series, I want to open up a discussion on making sure our kids are eating healthy lunches at school, what that means for them, and point you towards resources like recipes and nutrition blogs to help you plan lunches your child will enjoy.

The following photo has been going around social media. This mom put a lot of time and effort into starting the school year out on a great note. She's organized and ready to go. Her intentions are good. She is happy because she has a month's worth of lunches, minus the sandwich, organized and ready to go for about $30. I think it's awesome. I would like to tell her that.

However, it upsets me that the corporations managing our food system think it's ok to convince mom's that chips and soda are fine to feed our children, let alone the adults. You may say that moms have a choice, and they do, but until we know better, how are we as a society supposed to do better?  For many Americans, health education is a chapter in a textbook in high school health class. As adults we have to educate ourselves in order to sort out the half truths on television commercials.

I don't know this mom's current financial situation, but it's obvious she thinks about keeping her grocery budget to a minimum as well. For many Americans, the bottom line isn't nutritional value, but simply trying to spend as little as possible on food in order to get by. When you are time strapped and struggling to get by, off brand soda and chips seem like an easy answer.

But we need to do better for our children. How are we to expect them to do their best when they are not fueled on highly nutritious food? They need to start their day with a nutritionally balanced breakfast, refuel with a healthy lunch, and end the day with a good dinner. A soda for lunch is going to create a sugar crash in the afternoon, and the child is going to be tired and unable to focus. The long term effects of eating like this regularly can include diabetes and obesity.

I'm by no means a food Nazi. I recognize that I can't always control what my son eats, especially when he is at a friend's house or spending the day with his dad. An occasional treat is ok. But the majority of the food I feed him I purchase based on nutritional value, not cost. I want my bang for the buck to be not how many ounces I can get for a dollar, but that I am spending my money on something of high nutritional value. When you are struggling to cut corners financially it can be tempting to load your cart up with cheap, low nutrient food. But, I promise you that when you change your focus to how much nutritional value you are getting for your dollar you are going to find it is possible to eat healthy without spending lots.

We all want to give our children the best we can, and the truth is we need to do better as a nation with the quality of food we provide them on a daily basis. It starts with educating ourselves first. Then we need to serve as good role models and educate our children so that they are able to make better choices.

Next: What Happens To You (and your child) When You Drink Soda

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Blog Round Up: Spreading the Love

This past week I have had the honor of participating in a blogging challenge hosted by Darren Rowse of Pro Blogger. The challenge not only has helped me with becoming a better blogger, but also introduced me to some fantastic people in the blogging community.

Below, find links to some of my favorite blogs that took part in the challenge. I will be adding on to the list, so be sure to come back in a couple days. Make sure you take the time to go check out these fabulous blogs and leave comments, too, even if it's a quick "I found you through The Hippy Home." We bloggers like that kind of stuff.

I really like the layout of Swiss blogger, Mikula Almann' running blog. I have never considered myself a runner, but I am learning to like it. The Running Mate appeals to long time runners and "newbies" like me.

Darren is an Australian coach and personal trainer. Check out his visuals on how to create the perfect meal.

Hope and Cents

Alayna is a personal finance coach who writes about minimalism and managing your money.

Transitions From War

Mike is a true inspiration for everyone. He writes about overcoming PTSD through competing in triathlons, trail running, and endurance challenges.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

A Conversation on Living Simply

Today's post is going to be short because I want you to do most of the talking. I would love to hear your thoughts on simple living/ minimalism. So, grab a cup of coffee, or tea if you prefer, and pull up a chair, just two old friends chatting on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.

Minimalism and living a simplified life look like different things to each of us. It can depend on where you live, what stage of life you are in, and your expectations. Do you embrace, or are you working towards, living a simple life? What does that look like to you? Urban homesteader, isolated cabin in the woods, mobile tiny house living?

In our fast paced, consumer driven culture minimalism can be very challenging. Especially when you have well meaning family and friends who do not embrace your lifestyle. Special occasions and holidays can be very tricky. How do you face those challenges? How do you avoid buying more stuff you don't need?

Leave your comments below, and I promise to respond to every one of you. If you have any questions regarding minimalism and simple living, I'd love to hear those as well.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

How To Make Homemade Natural Flea Powder

Our dog, Julius has had a horrible time with fleas this year. Evidently, most of the dogs in south Texas have been having the same issue. Our mild winter, combined with a moist spring was the perfect incubator for a flea infestation.

We have been through a lot with Julius. We got him as a little pup. My friend Erin rescued him from a man who was abandoning him outside a closed animal shelter. Yes, I know! As if a puppy was going to stay on the steps of the shelter alone all night until they opened in the morning. So she took him home and posted his little puppy self on Facebook. I had promised little man we'd get a dog, a full grown already trained dog, once school let out. But after meeting the pup and immediately declaring him as Julius, my son was smitten.

He's gone on several adventures with us, including a trip to the beach and camping earlier this summer. He's chewed his way through our house, leaving his mark on most of the furniture and chewing up toys, both his and the boy's. We almost lost him to Parvovirus only about three months after we got him. With the financial help of many friends, we were able to get him the care he needed to survive.

Now, this summer it's the fleas. I felt horrible seeing him scratch in misery. Bathing him helped, but only temporarily. I didn't want to expose him to toxic, cancer causing chemicals, but something had to be done. 

I had heard of using diatomaceous earth to get rid of fleas, but after doing some research, I discovered that adding neem and yarrow powders increased the effectiveness. Diamotaceious earth is ground up fossils of diatoms, or hard shell algae. It pierces the fleas and dries them out. Make sure you buy food grade, so it is safe to use. Neem powder comes from the leaf of the Neem Tree, which is native to India. It works as an insect repellent. Yarrow powder is known for being an anti inflammatory and helps heal the skin. I also add lavender oil, which also helps soothe the skin and has anti inflammatory properties. Apparently, fleas don't like lavender oil, too. 

Be careful when using the powder on your dog, avoiding the  eyes and nose. It can be an irritant if your pet breathes the dust. Also, make sure to treat your yard and anywhere in your home that may be infested. Diatomaceous earth can be sprinkled on carpets and floors. Fine salt also works well. 

You can also use the flea powder on cats, but don't add the lavender oil or any other essential oil. Cats are very sensitive to oils.

Homemade Nontoxic Flea Powder 

  • 1 cup food grade diamotaceious earth 
  • 1/2 cup neem powder 
  • 1/2 cup yarrow powder 
  • 20 drops lavender oil
Mix all the ingredients together in a glass jar with a lid. I use a Ball jar with a punctured lid that I can use to sprinkle the powder on generously. Use once a week as needed.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

GreenWorks 12 AMP 20 Inch 3 in 1 Electric Lawn Mower

Mowing the lawn is one of those chores I put off as long as possible, especially with hot south Texas summers. The ex left behind a stinky old gas mower that lasted for about a year. I'm not very mechanically inclined, so when I looked around for a replacement I wanted something easy to maintain. I also wanted something more environmentally friendly. With those two specifications in mind, and a set budget of less than $200, I began to scour the Internet for advice. I finally settled on the GeenWorks 12 AMP model, which I ordered off of Amazon.

It's always exciting when you receive a big box from Amazon, even if you already know it's contents. This was no exception. It was also the first time I picked out and purchased a lawnmower without a husband, so it also felt like an act of independence.  There was some assembly required, but it was fairly simple and mostly involved attaching the handle.

This particular GreenWorks model has several features that I like. It has large, 10 inch rear tires, which helps with maneuverability and prevents grass from clumping up at the rear. While I usually keep mine set at the same mowing height, it has 7 height adjustment positions. It comes with a rear bag and can be set to mulch, side discharge, or collected in the rear bag. The cutting deck is a sturdy 20 inches made of steel and the 12 AMP motor continues to be powerful enough to put up with my abuse, even after over two years of use. Did I mention that I often procrastinate on mowing the lawn? The back yard can quickly become an overgrown mess when I don't keep up with it. My GreenWorks electric mower has had no problems getting through the mess. The back yard is also full of rocks. I've hit a few and winced, but it hasn't bothered the cutting quality of the mower. 

The biggest hassle with a corded electric mower is, of course, dealing with the cord. If you work your way out from the outlet, you will find it easier to manage. My biggest issue is the side yard. It is a bit of a stretch from any of my outside outlets. I have to have a fairly long cord to reach everything, which really was only a big issue when my dog was going through his puppy chewing phase and chewed up my long extension cord, thankfully when it was unplugged. 

Overall, I am very happy with my GreenWorks lawn mower. I have since purchased a GreenWorks corded electric hedger, which I am also very happy with, and I am looking into purchasing a weed trimmer from them as well. Like I said, wrestling with the cord is the only down side, but it is such a minor issue I definitely recommend this mower for small to medium lawns.