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Autumn Craft Roundup: What To Do With All Those Leaves

It’s that time of year again when folks up north start complaining about how the leaves never seem to stop falling. If your like us (and maybe even live in the midwest) put down the rake for a day, and use your spare time to have some fun with the leaves in your yard. Here are some of our favorite crafty projects to keep you creative as the season cools off.

From Nature to Nature – A Leafy Rose

Orange roses don’t come around that often, unless you make your own out of autumn leaves. This project from sisterknowsbest.com is one of the prettiest crafts I’ve ever seen for the fall, and I think you’re going to love it.

Preserve Your Leaves for Weeks to Come

When the leaves turn, and inevitably fall, I find myself wishing I could hang onto some of that beautiful color for longer than just the few great weeks of fall we actually have. Well, this trick from Kiwi Crate will help you preserve your leaves beyond the day when oranges and reds turn to the whites and grays of winter snow.

Make a Decorative Bowl

This craft from Hello Lucky uses a leaf garland you can find at your home goods stores, but you can probably get away with using the technique above to preserve the leaves in your garden if you want to use the real thing, too. I’m a sucker for bowls made of something other that “bowl” material, and this DIY leaf bowl is one of the cutest decorations I’ve seen yet for the fall.

Leaf-Printed Table Cloth

It’s kind of annoying when leaves stain your deck or patio furniture, but have you ever considered using leaves to imprint upon a fall table cloth. This idea from Funtober is a super hip way to DIY your own autumn table decorations and one thing I’m going to try immediately.

Get Ahead on Holiday Prep with Leafy Ornaments

If you like some more natural looking tree ornaments, combine the leaf preservation technique with this one from House of Jade to create some beautiful glittery leaf ornaments, which you can hang on a tree or anywhere around your home.

I hope you enjoyed these fall crafty ideas. What fall crafts do you enjoy doing?

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Trouble relaxing? Try a short yoga routine before bed

If you’re like me, you can do all the things the magazines and blogs tell you to do before going to sleep—put away your screens (or at least turn on a blue light filter), turn down the lights, keep your room cool and clean, etc—but you still sometimes struggle to get to sleep or to say asleep through the night because your mind won’t stop racing.

Enter night-time yoga. Two of the greatest benefits of yoga are calming your mind and relaxing your physical body, making yoga one of the better night-time rituals to consider starting up. Besides, yoga and pajamas tend to mix very well.

There are dozens of recommended routines and poses online, and many are found in the Yoga Deck that was part of a recent trösta box shipment. Here are just a couple places to start your night-time practice:

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Cozy up with a comfy fall recipe

Here at casa trösta, we like to experiment with ways to cook healthy and hearty recipes that make us happy every time we prepare and eat them.

One of our favorite recipes combines our mutual tastes of midwestern cozy with a little Tex-Mex spice to keep this flavorful. We started eating this paleo-friendly Tex Mex casserole when we began going through infertility treatments, since it had all the good ingredients we needed to keep our bodies in check. For people looking for alternate dinner solutions that cut way back on unhealthy carbs and load up the healthy protein and vegetable count, this casserole (recipe here) is for you.

My favorite part of this recipe (and one I’ve screwed up more than enough times) is the sweet potatoes. Kind of like a shredded cheese topper, the shredded sweet potatoes really make this dish pop. When you’re preparing, make sure to shred the potatoes into a bowl and mix with seasoning and oil before topping the dish with them. This will help ensure that the sweet potatoes can become nice a crisp on top of your casserole.

If this sounds like a great treat, pick up the recipe here.

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6 Ways Your Dreams Can Help You in Real Life

Photo Credit: trösta box subscriber, @have_a_day, on Instagram

The positive impacts of dreaming are pretty well documented. But sometimes, it can be hard to really apply any of the principles we read about to our own lives. We’ve collected six benefits of recording your dreams and how they can apply in a situation you may currently be facing.

Improve Your Creativity and Problem Solving 

According to Amy Cope, dreaming is the time when you brain’s creative center goes into hyperdrive. By actively working to record your dreams, you can uncover new creative insights from your own mind that you might not be able to access in a normal day. I don’t think this means that people who feel like they dream more frequently are necessarily more creative than everyone else, but if you’re looking for a creative spark, try recording your dreams for a couple weeks, reviewing your journal, and seeing what pops out.

Increase Your Self-Confidence

DreamMoods.com has a ton of resources related to dreaming, including how to keep a dream journal and tips for recalling your dreams more easily. According to them, recording and remembering your dreams can increase self-knowledge, self-awareness, and even self-confidence. Additionally, they say this can lead to having a more assertive and confident personality (duh)! If you feel your having trouble advocating for yourself or your own self-care, dream journaling could be an avenue to increase your confidence in this area.

Deal With Unprocessed Thoughts and Emotions

According to the Natural Health EZine, psychologists believe that there are connections between what you dream and what goes on in real life. Oftentimes, this means that dreams can unlock emotions or thoughts that may have been repressed during our daily lives. If you have feelings or emotions bottled up during the day, or you feel like it’s been difficult to cope with a recurring situation, collecting your dreams and reviewing your journal may be a good way to being processing some of your more challenging thoughts.

Find the Information You Need to Make Choices

Life Coach Fran Kramer writes that analyzing our dreams and looking especially for patterns can reveal a clear decision path we may not readily notice during the course of our normally distracted days. Choices, especially important ones that are made over a long period of time and involve a lot of cognitive processing, can be difficult to make, especially when it’s difficult to focus on all the pros and cons of the situation. Dreams can unlock what’s going on beneath the surface and reveal the true ways you think about the decision.

Prove How Much You’ve Grown Over Time

Lifehack.org has a great list of reasons why recording your dreams can be of great benefit to your life, but one of the most interesting benefits is that a solid record (e.g., months and months of recorded dreams) can allow you to look back on how much you’ve grown, mentally. Think about if you had started keeping a journal in your early teens. Pretend you’ve written in it every day until today. How much different would what you’ve written be today versus when you were 13 or 14? Seeing this kind of growth can serve as a huge self-confidence booster and perhaps can give you the courage you need to be bold every day.

Start Controlling the Events in Your Dreams

Lucid dreaming isn’t something I’ve studied too much, but when I hear about it, it sounds like fantasy. According to NY Mag, I think this way partly because I’m like most other people who have been socialized to believe that thinking about or talking about my dreams is something I should have “grown out of” as I became and adult. However, the positive impacts of dreaming, especially lucid dreaming, are well documented for both kids and adults. Lucid dreamers can use dreams to help design more meaning in their lives, among other things.

Subscribers: Start making your dream catcher today!

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Eat popcorn, and these other healthy snacks that help you sleep

Welcome to October! If you received a box this month, you’ll notice a yummy little addition—Popart popcorn! But why popcorn?

Well, this month is all about caring for yourself by crafting healthy habits of sleep. Did you know that nonfat popcorn is actually one healthy snack that can help you sleep? According to Shape, the carbs in nonfat popcorn can help deliver tryptophan (think that Thanksgiving Day turkey) to your brain.

So, if you haven’t already (I know, it’s tough), crack open your bag of Popart popcorn and dig into it tonight.

Here are five other food, thanks to Shape, that can also, healthfully, help you create a habit of healthy sleep.

  1. Dried tart cherries (which we wrote about and found an awesome recipe here)
  2. Halibut (a great white fish)
  3. Garbanzo beans (why not make some homemade hummus?)
  4. Honey
  5. Chamomile tea (combine with #4)

Sleep tight!

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4 Reasons Puzzling is a Great Idea Tonight

If you’re like a sizable group of curious folks, I’d bet you enjoy the occasional crossword, Sudoku, or jigsaw puzzle. And if you’re not, there’s good reason to become interested in the practice of “puzzling.”

Mind games get a lot of attention for everything from helping our memories to feeding our brains in a way that could make them healthy over the long-term. While there isn’t a lot of strong science to suggest that regular puzzling can help our brains later into life, some studies do exist, which discuss how mind games can possibly delay the onset of memory loss or Alzheimer’s.

But, even though the jury is still out on the positive long-term effects of playing with puzzles, there are still loads of other reasons why doing a puzzle can be a great thing for you every day. Here are just a few of them:

  1. Puzzles as a grounding exercise: One of the most popularly recommended ways to ground ourselves is by rubbing something smooth (like a river stone or beads) with our thumb or finger. Most jigsaw puzzle pieces are shaped with smooth edges or a smooth finished surface on top, making the small pieces great for conducting short periods of grounding.
  2. Instant, continuous gratification: Unless you’re the kind of person who competes in Sudoku championships, puzzles can take a bit of time to complete. Think about the last jigsaw puzzle you finished on your own. How long did it take? The beauty of this, though, is that puzzles bake in tons of positive feedback as your work your way toward your ultimate goal. Even if you don’t finish, the act of snapping a new piece into place or finding the answer to 6-down may be enough to boost your mood in the moment.
  3. Puzzles can be brain food: There’s a lot of research out there talking about how new mental challenges can strengthen your mind. Even small changes to a routine can have an impact on your brain in a good way. Puzzles can provide some much-needed diversity to our lives, especially when taken on in favor of watching another six episodes of our favorite rerun on Netflix.
  4. Puzzles pair well with other fun things: Jigsaw puzzles especially can be great social challenges. One of my favorite things in the world is having a game night with friends. But, if you’d prefer to take on these challenges solo, it can always be nice to curl up with some relaxing music, a glass of wine, and a 500-piece puzzle.

What are some of the reasons you like (or perhaps don’t like) puzzles?

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Reorganize a room for calm and relaxation

It’s the weekend, and high means there’s no better time to clean up and reorganize. Cleaning up or organizing your things can have a great impact on your positivity and help you feel accomplished. One of my favorite things about a clean bedroom is just how easy it feels to sleep the night after I’ve cleaned.

This week, spend some time rearranging a room in your home so that it can be a calming place for you to decompress after a long or stressful day.

In this article from Bustle, there are several great ideas about how to turn a bedroom into a sanctuary. Here are some starting tips.

  1. Opt for lamps and dimmers for a sense of warmth instead of cold overhead lights.
  2. If you don’t have candles or incense, get some and create an aromatherapy environment. 
  3. Treat yourself to plush and soft items for sheets, comforters, seating, and carpet.
  4. Eliminate electronics.
  5. Find a space for your things and keep it that ways.

What ways have you found to create spaces in your home that encourage calm and relaxation?