Smart Gardening 101

Gardening Badge, Step 2

Smart gardening means understanding a little bit about why and how plants grow so that we can have more success in the garden. We’re all busy and planting seeds that don’t grow or starting plants that never produce vegetables can feel frustrating. Michigan State University offers an online class called “Smart Gardening 101.” When I learned about the class, I knew it would be perfect for the Gardening Badge and for upping my game in the garden.

We covered the history and many mental and physical benefits of gardening in this post. Below, we’ll share what we learned in MSU’s Smart Gardening 101 class and how you can sign up for the class if you’re interested. It is inexpensive and 100% online, so you can take it from anywhere!

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Gardening History and Benefits

Gardening Badge, Step 1

Springtime inspires many of us to get outside, dig in the dirt, plant some seeds and start gardening. What a great way to spend time in nature. With more people at home with extra time on their hands, there has been a growing interest in gardening!

Join us and learn how many Americans turned to gardening during world wide crises in the past as we explore gardening history. Discover how gardening is good for our mental and physical health. Gather some gardening basics, get the family involved, and in a few short weeks enjoy the literal fruits of your labor!

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Walking Challenge & Mindfulness Walks

Wise Walker Badge, Step 3

To complete Step 3 of the Wise Walker Badge, we committed to walking every day and explored the concept of mindful walking! We are always in for a good challenge. Gretchen Rubin’s Walk 20 in 20 Challenge inspired us to include a daily walk into our lives – no matter the weather. We were also excited to try out mindfulness walks. What a great way to incorporate a little awareness into our daily stroll!

Earlier in this badge, we covered the mental and physical health benefits and took a lesson on walking with good form to avoid injury.

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Walking with “Good Form”

Wise Walker Badge, Step 2

Walking with proper form can help prevent injury and keep you walking well into the future. For Step 2 of the Wise Walker walking badge, we talked with an expert on physical fitness. We learned about the three things to keep in mind to make sure we have “good form” while walking and gathered tips for getting in more steps everyday. We documented our lesson on video so you can come along and learn with us.

If you are interested in the mental and physical health benefits of walking, ideas for walking more often, and fun facts about walking, check out this post from last week.

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Mental & Physical Health Benefits of Walking

Wise Walker Badge, Step 1

Let’s go for a walk, a stroll, a hike, or a wander! Since we’ve all been cooped up at home, a walk has become a welcome respite. A walk is a chance to get some fresh air, see some nature and a few neighbors (from a distance), and feel sunshine on our faces. As you’ll learn below, the true benefits of a walk go much deeper. A walk just might be that “magic pill” that we are all seeking.

Join us as we become “wise walkers” and look into the many physical and mental health benefits of walking as we earn the Wise Walker Badge. Over the next couple weeks we will explore the science behind walking, take a class that teaches walking in good form, and incorporate mindful walking into our lives.

There has not been a better time to embrace this life changing activity that is accessible to nearly all, requires no fancy equipment, and is completely free to participate!

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Wise Walker Badge

I’m on week 6 of social distancing at home. A reprieve from all the indoor time has been a daily walk outdoors. Never have I been so thankful to get out in the fresh air and be somewhere other than inside my house! The weather is turning nicer in Michigan and I feel like I am experiencing spring in a whole new way. Because I spend a lot of time looking out my windows a home, I am feeling closer to nature.

The “Wise Walker” walking badge will encourage us all to get a bit closer to nature. Don’t just walk outside, but walk mindfully and walk often! Join us over the next two weeks as we learn the science and benefits of walking along with a little history and a lot of fun facts. We will share our experience taking a class on Good Form Walking to make sure we are caring for our bodies while we walk, joining a walking challenge to walk 20 minutes a day for a year, and embarking on a few mindful and contemplative walks to commune with nature.

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Joy Projects: Creating Joy at Home

Joy Seeker Badge, Step 3

A joy project is anything you can do to bring more joy into your life. You might paint a wall a fun, vibrant color, put up funky wallpaper, or make paper flowers. The list of potential joy projects is endless and should be tailored to what brings you joy. To complete Step 3 of the Joy Seeker Badge, we brought joy into our own homes through a series of joy projects. Today, we’ll share them with you to hopefully inspire you to do some joy projects of your own.

Designing a Joy Project

In her book, Joyful, Ingrid Fetell Lee offers guidance for developing a joy project. She suggests starting with the elements of joy that you want to capture in your home. Do you want your home to feel more playful? Maybe you want to add an element of celebration or renewal to your home. Energy, abundance, or freedom may also be calling to you. You can read more about the aesthetics of joy here or on Ingrid’s website.

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Joyful Spa Day and DIY Face Masks

Joy Seeker Badge, Step 3

Smell is an important component of feeling joy. When you think about your favorite smells, what comes to mind? Smells that remind you of places you love? Places, people, or events that bring you joy? The smell of almond brings me to my mom’s kitchen, just before the holidays, making a big batch of spritz cookies. The smell of lavender soothes me and makes me feel content. For Step 3 of the Joy Seeker Badge, we are celebrating the joy of smell by creating our own social-distancing-safe spa day complete with DIY face masks made with pantry staples.

Below, we tell you how we set up our spa day and share the recipes for two DIY face masks you can make out of pantry staples. The joyful smells we chose for our face masks were coffee and tea tree.

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Creating a Joyful Home

Joy Seeker Badge, Step 2

The ability to find joy in our surroundings is key for experiencing a happy life. For Step 2 of the Joy Seeker badge, Elizabeth and I wanted to focus our joy seeking on our homes. Lucky for us we found a joyful home online class offered by the JOY guru Ingrid Fetell Lee! Elizabeth and I are both home bodies at heart so the idea of spreading more joy in our home was very appealing, especially as we are spending so much time at home these days! We were excited to learn some joy tips and tricks that could be easily incorporated into our abodes.

Need convincing that joy is worth seeking? Read more about the science of joy, happiness, and gratitude here.

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