Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Yummyday Tuesdays - Not Your Usual Corn Casserole

Jiffy Corn Casserole - Got this one from my recipe club - a favorite during the holidays!




2 Cans Cream Corn
1 Can Kernel Corn, drained
8oz Sour Cream
1 Box of Jiffy Corn Bread
3/4 Butter, melted


Mix corns, dry Jiffy mix and sour cream together. Melt butter in the bottom of the casserole dish (I put it in the oven to melt).


Pour mixture into casserole dish.


Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thinking Thursday - Make your own wedding paper petal tossing cones


These are a great alternative to those expensive tulle bags or gift favor boxes.
After searching multiple websites and a ton of stores trying to find these cute cones, all I could find were ones made of tin or ones that were too expensive. I decided it was easier, much more versitile and MUCH more cost efficient for me to make my own cones. I can change the size, color, even texture of the cones I need to suit each event's theme. I can even run them through the printer to add couples names, dates or little sayings on the inside. Sometimes I add a monogram on the outside too! This is a great project for you and your bridesmaid's to do together. They are also great for holding treats such as popcorn, candy or other sweets for your guests.The trick is to use the correct template for the type of cone you are trying to make.

For Step-By-Step instructions visit




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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Why Worry Wednesday? Tackling Your Towels

Continuing our Simple Life Series on clutter:
Find YOUR method to YOUR madness. Not everyone's work ethic is the same, but if you streamline your common household areas, your entire family will unconsciously work together to keep organized areas, well, organized.
MISSION THREE:
Tackle Your Towels
Let's go to your linen closet. Your assignment is to pare down your towels. Apply the "undie" principle and pull out any towels with holes, tears or stains. Now, pare down to 6 bath towels per family member, 6 washcloths and two hand towels. Put the extra good towels in a bag for donating. The ones that are torn or too stained can be made into shop/cleaning rags, just don't keep too many!

TIP: If you want to cut up bath towels for cleaning rags, wash them after you cut them before you use them. Take it from me, they tend to shed threads and make a terrible mess if you don't. If you keep them whole, mark them with a black Sharpie "OLD" so they don't make their way back into circulation on laundry day. Also, don't keep them in the regular linen closet or you will end up grabbing one when you run out of your regular ones. Designate an area in the laundry room or garage for these rags.

MY STORY: Last year I started completely over and bought all new towels for all five members of my family. Each family member received 6 new towels, 6 new washcloths and 2 new hand towels in their own color to match their bathrooms (if you have children who share a bathroom, still get them different, but coordinating colors). I bought my husband and myself different colors. Finally, I bought 6 new white towels for guest-only towels. If you think it's too expensive to replace all your towels see my tip below for my own wash test and price comparison or replace one bathroom at a time. I replaced all our towels (we are a family of 5) for just around $100!

REASON THIS HELPS YOU WITH YOUR CLUTTER: At first it may not make much sense why you are getting rid of mis-matched towels, but when you see your linen closet full of solid colors instead of pink, brown and yellow ones, it will make you want to keep your linen closets folded and neat. Case in point: my mother is always saying that she hates Martha Stewart and that nobody has the time or patience to try her ideas. I, on the other hand, love to try (the practical) tips she offers. The first major one I tried when we moved into our new house 8 years ago, is pictured below. I took baskets I already owned, bought cheap laundry tags from Hobby Lobby, and set about to organize my linen closet. It has stayed neat and organized ever since!

GREEN TIP: By reducing the number of towels per family member, this simple step will promote your family to hang up and re-use towels, which cuts down laundry loads, detergent use and run-off waste from the wash water.
EXTRA CREDIT: Go ahead and do the same thing with your kitchen towels, sheet sets, blankets, table linens, etc,

TOWEL PURCHASING TIP: I researched, watched sale papers, bought and tried one washcloth in a few different brands to see which ones lasted - kinda my own Good Housekeeping Research Project. After a few washes, the Wal-mart brand ($2.99 for the regular sized towel) actually stood up to the test against the $9.99 Belk Brand and the $5.99 Martha Stewart Brand. I went with the Walmart brand for everyone except the guest bath - which got the higher end Belk Brand. When it's just you and your spouse at home then you can upgrade your brand, but I can tell you with certainty that after one full year - the Walmart brand is still in great condition - and the Belk brand has a couple of picks. If you have children I suggest the Wal-mart brand. They are inexpensive, most cost efficient to replace and hold up well.

Next Wednesday....MISSION FOUR: The dreaded SOCK drawer!




Wednesdays in the Simple Life Series are for YOUR CLUTTER (and yes, it multiplies in my home too). I will let you know what I am doing to make simple changes in my own home to clear out my clutter. I hope you follow along and try some of these steps yourself. Please let me know how you are coming along by leaving comments at the bottom of each post. Tell me what works, what doesn’t, if you are bored – whatever – we are learning and growing together.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Yummyday Tuesday - Stuffed Super Bowl Mushrooms

One Package of Jumbo Mushrooms
8oz. Cream Cheese, softened
One large Package of REAL Bacon Pieces (I use Oscar Mayer)

Use a melon baller or spoon to clean out the mushroom stems.

Mix the cream cheese and bacon well (use your fingers, it works best!)

Fill caps with mixture - Fill 'em full!

Bake on 350 degrees until mushrooms are brown and cheese is soft.

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Monday, January 23, 2012

There's Nothing Like A Clean House...


....unless you ask my mother (who has a board in her kitchen that reads : A Clean House is a Sign of a Mis-spent Childhood.) My obsession with cleaning (and cleaning out) other people’s homes started innocently enough. Mom was having company and needed her house cleaned. Since I am an avid cleaner - I was on the job. I tend to move everything as I clean and so I began to move things around, and out of, her house. My title of “house cleaner” changed to “house cleaner-outer”. Even my grandmother, who is 92, when asked if she wanted me to come dust for her replied, "only if she doesn't throw anything out!" This may be a little over-stated because I would never throw anything out that wasn't mine...I would just reuse, re-purpose, recycle it!



Seriously, my mother wanted help cleaning, organizing and re-decorating her home. She had just bought new furniture and was planning a big party. She new I loved to do those things and she absolutely hated to do them. Not only could she not get started, she didn't know how to start. She now has a beautiful home. Crisp, (mostly) clean and organized. By clearing out her clutter, we also cleared out the stress behind the mess. Now she doesn't have to worry about the piles of books in her bedroom - she can focus on writing her own book.


Fast forward to today - I spent 8 HOURS cleaning a friend's house. No, she's not messy - she’s just like the rest of us - too busy for baseboards. Plus – she has three children, a full time high-stress job AND is going through a divorce. The last thing she could think about was her house.


I LOVE to clean and she called me up for help. There is just something about putting a home back in order that makes me feel wonderful.

Baseboards? Check.
Walls and Doorframes? Check?
Ceiling Fans? Check.
Knickknacks on top the kitchen cabinets? Double Check (they get double checked because they were double-dirty!).


All those little things that nobody really pays attention to but builds up after time.

My friend couldn’t enjoy her “down-time” at home worrying about those dust bunnies under her bed. By helping her get things back on track, I helped her move forward with herself as well. She can work on her life instead of her home. It felt wonderful to hear her say when she walked in her clean home, she felt the world lift off her shoulders – if even just for those few moments – she felt lighter.


Why do we worry about keeping our homes spotless? Germs? First Impressions? Exercise (Nah....). Our homes are an extension of ourselves. When we walk into our homes after a long day out and it's clean and clear of clutter - we can relax and enjoy the rest of the day and not worry about the clutter around us - WE are emotionally uncluttered. How about you? What keeps you weighed down? House clutter? A full garage? An un-weeded garden? Check my Simpler Life Series for more great ways to ..what else? Simplify Your Life!

Leave me a comment on your favorite house cleaning tip....


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thinking Thursday - Simple Green Tips

Thursdays in the Simple Life Series are all about reducing the clutter (mental and physical) you bring into your life in the first place, starting with our “green” tips.  I will let you know what I am doing to make simple changes in my own life. I hope you follow along and try some of these steps yourself. Please let me know how you are coming along by leaving comments at the bottom of each post. Tell me what works, what doesn’t, if you are bored – whatever – we are learning and growing together. Hopefully by the end of this process, you will have a better view of your health, your money, your lifestyle, your dreams, your regrets and use these findings to make steps to improving your life overall.

Light bulbs: If you have not changed over to the recommended ENERGY STAR Compacted Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs), here is a good way to do so. With your trusty notepad, go through EVERY room in your house and count the light bulbs, noting in columns the different sizes you currently use. Include your porch lights, garage areas and even the little light over the kitchen sink. Do not count your bathroom lights as Consumer Reports reports that lights that are constantly turned on and off shorten the life and efficiency of these bulbs. Add how many regular bulbs you need to your list.



Why change? According to www.energystar.gov ENERGY STAR qualified bulbs:

- use about 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and last up to 10 times longer.
- save about $30 or more in electricity costs over each bulb’s lifetime.

- Produce about 75 percent less heat, so they’re safer to operate and can cut energy costs associated with home cooling



Taking your notes, purchase 1) All the CLF bulbs you need, plus 2 extras and 2) the number of regular bulbs you need for burned out ones plus, ONE pack of each of the other sizes you need for back up.


When you get back home, immediately change out to the new bulbs and put the spares in a safe storage area. Recycle all bulbs, even if they are still good.


GREENTIP: According to www.lightbulbrecycle.com , bulbs, just like batteries, should be recycled at your local recycle center, NOT in the trash. One bulb contains enough mercury to poison 6,000 gallon of water enough that is become undrinkable!

EXTRA CREDIT: While you are up there changing the bulbs, unscrew any globes and run them through the dishwasher to clean the dust and grime off. It's quick, easy and will brighten the room (not to mention get the cobwebs outta there!) If the globes don't unscrew, gently wipe them with a damp cloth to remove the grime. Even if you wait to change the bulb until it blows out, make a habit to clean the globe when you change it out.

Batteries - Designate ONE area for batteries, both new and used. You can purchase a "battery station" on eBay or through the Internet, or just keep them in an office supply tray.


Keep all new batteries here, not scattered in 5 different junk drawers. When you replace a battery from your remote, notice if you need to buy more and recycle the old battery.



REASON TO DO THIS: How many times have you stolen the batteries from one remote to put into another? Case Closed.

EXTRA CREDIT: Gather every single remote in your home. Replace each remote's battery with rechargeable batteries and recycle the old ones, even if they are still good. Buy a charger for the batteries and keep it with the new batteries. By using rechargable batteries you help reduce the waste and possible toxic problems caused by single-use ones PLUS you don't have to run to the store every time you need a new battery!

GREEN TIP: Re-use the stryo containers that fruits and veggies come in for your battery recycle bin. They are small and will hold many batteries. According to Earth911.com, batteries should not be placed in the trash, but recycled at your local center. Batteries that end up in landfills and incinerators eventually end up in our environment and/or the food chain, causing serious health risks to humans and animals.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Why Worry Wednesday? Sorting Your...um....Undies

Continuing from last Wednesday's Simple Life Series on Clutter, 
 "If it is broken, torn, damaged, dirty or otherwise in bad shape - don't Duct tape it -get rid of it!"
Mission Two:
Sorting Through Your Undies

Get a notepad and a pencil - no, this is not a test. Go to your underwear drawer (yes, your undies). Pour the entire contents of the drawer on the bed. If you have more than one drawer, pull them all. If you just have piles on the closet floor, pull out all the undies. Get the clean ones out of the laundry basket and, well, let's leave the dirty ones until later......Pull out any that are torn, faded or otherwise in less than perfect condition (yes, even your favorites from your college days) and put those in a TRASH BAG. They are not recyclable (no one wants old undies) so throw them away!

NOTE: This is one of the few times I will ever tell you to throw something away, so get your thrills while you can.

What are you left with? 10 pairs? 5 pairs? None? Good! Even if you have thrown them all away - let me tell you - you needed to! Your spouse will be glad. Your hiney will be glad to be rid of that pair of undies that has the elastic strap that pops your cheeks every time you wear it and, even if you are standing there in a state of shock, you will be glad too. Immediately put the ones you are keeping in one drawer. On your notepad, write how many undies you need to replace. Research shows that one dozen undies is perfect for the average adult. It gives you a fresh pair every morning plus 5 extras for after workouts (you know, one of those "resolutions" you made) and other daily events that cause you to shower or change more than once a day.
Repeat the process for all of your children, even the teenager ones, and try to get your spouse to do the same.
Quick Note: Many times your spouse is the biggest obstacle you face. Don't go through their stuff behind his/her back. If they don't want to do it, ask them if you can do it for them. If they don't want you to, don't pressure. Once they see you in your new undies, they will want to slide into new ones too.

Reminder: Don't cheat and forget about those in the dirty laundry. As soon as they are clean, repeat this process! You are making baby sets to walking towards the bigger piles of stuff, don't slack in the first few steps!

REASON THIS HELPS YOU WITH YOUR CLUTTER: Putting on underwear is something , hopefully, you do every day. By having nice, clean, comfortable undies to start your day - instead of crusty, faded, torn ones - you are shifting another source of negative thinking out of your day. Why search through 50 pairs only to find one that you actually like to wear. Love to wear all your undies! When you love your undies, you will want to take better care of them - keeping them out of the piles of clutter. Hopefully, this love will spill over to ALL the things in your dresser and closet!
EXTRA CREDIT: Ladies, repeat the process with your bras and other lingerie. You deserve it!

Was that hard? Easy? Are you ready go out and go undies shopping or are you still in shock that you just threw away 50 pairs of undies that you've had for 10 years? Believe me when I say that the cost in replacing your undies is small compared to the way you will feel about completing the first step in clearing the clutter.

This series is about SMALL steps. Now, rest from the exertion, reward yourself with new undies, or take your pad and move on to the next step next Wednesday - MISSION THREE: Tackle your towels

Wednesdays in the Simple Life Series are for YOUR CLUTTER (and yes, it multiplies in my home too). I will let you know what I am doing to make simple changes in my own home to clear out my clutter. I hope you follow along and try some of these steps yourself. Please let me know how you are coming along by leaving comments at the bottom of each post. Tell me what works, what doesn’t, if you are bored – whatever – we are learning and growing together.










Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Yummyday Tuesday - Sausage Swirls

Great for hot appetizers or a quick breakfast. You can make these ahead of time and just pop in the oven when ready to serve.

Sausage Swirls - Makes 1 dz.
One roll Hot Ground Pork Sausage
One large roll of Crescent Rolls

Place a piece of parchment paper on a flat cookie sheet. Unroll the Crescent dough onto the paper. Press the dotted lines in the dough together to make one large dough piece. Take the entire package of sausage and press it onto the dough, spreading it evenly with your fingers.

Roll into a log, lengthwise.

Take the parchment paper and wrap around the log.

Place in the fridge until firm enough to slice into 1" pieces.

Bake in oven on 375 degrees until brown.

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Monday, January 16, 2012

Simplifying You - Moving Past "The Past"


Simplifying....YOU

Last Monday we made a list of our blessings, now let’s take a look at ourselves a little deeper.

Let's begin......with the hard stuff - Moving past "The Past"

By dealing with your past FIRST, you can clear your mind and move on to more positive things - like creating a plan of action for your dreams or clearing out your clutter.

No matter what it is that keeps you living in the past - it's just that - the past. Whether it's a bad childhood memory or a personal regret, living it over and over again just keeps you from living in the present.

Today’s assignment is simple: Think about what you regret most in your life. It could be something you've done or something you wish you had done. Then, think about what you could have done to change those regrets; and third, what you can do now to change those regrets into positive things.

For example, I wish that I had spent more time with my grandmother when she was in the nursing home. I was a new mom but I also only lived 15 miles from where she lived. I hated seeing her in her condition, hated to take the baby over there and just didn't take the time. I regret that I didn't put HER before ME. I could have gone more often then, but now she is gone and I cannot change it. What I CAN change is to visit my other grandmother more often and learn to give my time unselfishly. By changing my actions NOW, I can ease the guilt I feel about the past.

A few tips to help you get started: Think big and small when coming up with your regrets. Some will be obvious such as mine, but others may not be at the forefront. Really think about how important each event on the list is TODAY. If you can't change it, learn from it. If you can - then be brave - and change it. If you need to put it away for a stronger day, then do so. Just move away from it. You may feel powerless over your feelings, but that’s what is holding you back. You’ll be surprised, by just narrowing down, admitting that you feel regret and then facing your feelings, how easier it is to move on.

Facing your feelings could mean any of the following:

• Simply writing down specific regrets/actions is a powerful tool. It’s right there, in black and white. Look over you list. Accept the list. Throw the list away and move on.

• If your list is too long and too heavy to deal with all at once, take the list and put it away. Every 30 days, pull it out and read over it again. Have your feelings changed about one of the things? Cross it off your list. Imagine how empowered you will feel when you pull the list out and there is nothing left to cross out. Visualization is a powerful tool.

• Call, write or email the people you’ve hurt or offended. If the event still lingers in your minds, it probably does in theirs too. A simple “I know it happended a long time ago but I am really sorry for________” can work miracles. The offended party is probably ready to put it in the past too. Humility can cleanse the soul. By admitting your faults to those you hurt, without doing so becasue you have to, but just out of your heart, really shows that you mean what you say. Anyone can apologize when confronted. Apologizing from the heart instead out of guilt makes all the difference.

• Maybe something happened in your life that you had no control over. You can’t reason with something or someone else’s actions. You can only take control of your own. Bad things happen. Often, for no reason what so ever – you can’t change these things/people. Take hold of your fears. Reliving terrible events does not change the fact that it happened, it just keeps you from living your own life.

• Realize the things you cannot change and stop feeling guilty. If the person you’ve hurt has passed away or moved away – accept that you cannot personally cleanse your soul to them and move on. You can’t change it. You can’t apologize. You can learn your lesson and move on to be a better person.

• Is your regret something you passed on early in life? Make a list of things you wanted to do when you were younger and place it next to your computer. By putting your dreams in front of you, you are more likely to take actions.

Everyone has regrets. Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone hurts those around them at some point in their lives. You can’t become a recluse because of these actions. Turn them into positive things and see how lighter you feel.

What are things you think you can do to lighten your heavy conscious?


Mondays in the Simple Life Series are for YOU (and me). I will let you know what I am doing to make simple changes in my own life. I hope you follow along and try some of these steps yourself. Please let me know how you are coming along by leaving comments at the bottom of each post. Tell me what works, what doesn’t, if you are bored – whatever – we are learning and growing together. Hopefully by the end of this process, you will have a better view of your health, your money, your lifestyle, your dreams, your regrets and use these findings to make steps to improving your life overall.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Think Thursday - Create Your Own Home Recycle Center

Setting up your home recycle center is easy and inexpensive. With a little planning, you can create a user-friendly center in your home. I use a variety of bins, trash cans and laundry baskets. You can find just about any size bins to fit your space. Before you track to the store, measure your space. (Twice I bought too large of bins and had to return to the store becasue I didn't measure first!) I bought my final bins on sale at Staples for about $4 each and the trash cans at Walmart for $1.99. I also bought three extra large trash cans for the garage for $5 each and two plastic laundry baskets for $2 each. That's a total of $35 for my one-time set up.

Our recycle center is two-fold with the first station in our kitchen:
 
 
In the kitchen, one trash can is actual trash and the other is for recycled cans, bottles and plastic (our county recycle center does not require that these be separated.) The bins are labeled "newspapers," "cardboards" - such as cereal boxes and "color papers" - such as catalogs. I took simple card stock paper (found at Hobby Lobby) and printed out the labels from my home computer and taped them on each bin so the kids could keep it all straight.


On the top of the bins, I have recycled vegetable cartons to hold light bulbs and batteries:
 
 
 
I also have a wall-mounted bin for plastic grocery bags (which I return to the store) and a bag for empty cardboard paper towel and t.p. rolls (which go to the art dept. at Grace's school.) All our magazines are taken to my gym for sharing.
 
When the kitchen bins get full, we transfer the contents downstairs to the second station where I have three large trash cans, with secure lids. Make sure you get the lids to keep bugs and animals out of the cans! The recycled cans, etc go into the trash cans and the newspapers, etc go in a plastic laundry basket with handles. We also have a "donation" box and an area for "yard sale" items.

 About once a month, when the cans are full, we track it to the recycle center in our county. I take the paper stuff to the fire station drop off centers, and the donated items to the shelters.

The kids had a hard time remembering to recycle at first, but now it's a habit! Our actual trash went from an average of one full bag per day to one per WEEK! I kid you not! For a family of five!

 Resolve to do your part this year- even if it just using BOTH sides of a sheet of paper! I'm not one to harp, chant and rave, but I do think a little goes a long way, one family at a time.



Thursdays in the Simple Life Series are all about reducing the clutter (mental and physical) you bring into your life in the first place, starting with our “green” tips. I will let you know what I am doing to make simple changes in my own life. I hope you follow along and try some of these steps yourself. Please let me know how you are coming along by leaving comments at the bottom of each post. Tell me what works, what doesn’t, if you are bored – whatever – we are learning and growing together. Hopefully by the end of this process, you will have a better view of your health, your money, your lifestyle, your dreams, your regrets and use these findings to make steps to improving your life overall.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Why Worry Wednesday - Sorting Your Socks

Sometimes, less is more. Just getting rid of all the "extras" in your home
gives immediate gratification
MISSION FOUR:
The Dreaded Sock Drawer, or floor, or closet!


This is a little tougher than undies, that's why we took a break from the bedroom last week and went to the linen closet. But let's now go back to your dresser. I HATE socks. There are five of us in my household and it used to be such a chore. I'll tell you how I stream-lined our sockcatrastophy in a sec, but first let's start with your sock pile. Just as you did with undies, pull out your sock drawer, dig socks from the closet floor and clean laundry and put them all on your bed. Un-match ones that are together so you can see both socks. Separate each family member's socks into mini-piles. Take out the ones that are torn, have holes, hanging threads, are dirty and dingy. It's time for new socks so don't hold back!

This being said, I DO suggest you keep a couple pairs of good socks that are just stained for yard work socks and children's play socks. Just don't wear them on a daily basis!

TIP: If you must, put the singles in a shoe box and check it after each clean laundry load for matches. After a while you will be able to see which ones truly have lost mates.
If you have more than a dozen pair of athletic socks (for each season), pull out the extras and put in the "donate" bag your extra towels are in. Do the same for your dress socks. Six of each color dress socks are enough. Ladies, get rid of every single pair of hose you own, unless they are unopened. We are starting new! Put up your good stuff and make a note on your pad on how many new socks and hose you can reward yourself with. Do the same thing with your children's socks and in this case, your spouse's socks too.

SOCK PURCHASING TIP: I have two teenage daughters that wear close to the same size socks as I do. To keep us from fighting over socks, I buy each of us socks with a designated toe (or heel) stripe. All of Kelsey's socks, both winter and summer ones, have a pink stripe while Kaylyn's have a purple heel and mine have all gray logos. It takes a little more effort to find socks when buying them, but makes all the difference when sorting and matching them!

REASON THIS HELPS YOU WITH YOUR CLUTTER: Socks are a burden to everyone. Lost mates, embarrassing holes and dingy mis-matched white ones are a terror! And what about those that end up under the couch, behind the dryer and out in the yard (my five-year-old is notorious about this!) It may seem silly, but it adds stress just as your underwear drawer did before you cleaned it out. No one needs 100 pair of socks. Just purging the mess will relieve some of the added clutter.

Extra Points: Over the next few weeks, repeat this process with each type of clothing and accessory you own. Don't try to do the entire closet or dresser at once. You may start gun-ho but you will tire out before you get through the entire pile! Pull every type of one item out. Make a pile for KEEP, MEND/DRY CLEAN, DONATE. Scale back the total amount of clothing and reward yourself with new ones once you are done. Rule of thumb: If you have not worn it in 2 years, get rid of it. This includes shoes, belts, jackets, etc. One way to see if you have worn something is this trick:

TIP: Buy three dozen WHITE hangers. When you wear something and it comes back from the wash or dry cleaners, put it on a white hanger. After a while, you will see the same clothes on white hangers. Anything that is not on a white hanger at the end of the year, needs to go.

Think of it this way - these extra clothes are taking up your space and someone else can use them if you aren't. Take items in good condition to places other than Goodwill. I took over 200 items from my grandmother's closets, including business suits, nightgowns, shoes, slacks and tops, to the women's shelter after she passed. I had over 20 women write to me thanking me for giving them work clothes, nice work clothes that didn't look handed down. Take the items that do need a little help to Goodwill - they will clean and mend them.
So, now we have three things on our list to replace - undies, socks and towels. If you've earned your extra points, you may have a few other items such as kitchen hand towels, sheets, and other clothing items as well.

Next Wednesday - MISSION FIVE - Your Books

 

Wednesdays in the Simple Life Series are for YOUR CLUTTER (and yes, it multiplies in my home too). I will let you know what I am doing to make simple changes in my own home to clear out my clutter. I hope you follow along and try some of these steps yourself. Please let me know how you are coming along by leaving comments at the bottom of each post. Tell me what works, what doesn’t, if you are bored – whatever – we are learning and growing together.





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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Yummyday Tuesdays - Stuffed Zucchini Squash



Stuffed Zucchini Squash - This recipe comes from my wonderful neighbor, Mrs. Barbara Evans. She inherited it from her good friend Ida Lee.


2 Large and 2 Medium Zucchini
2 lb. Hot Sausage
1 Med. Onion, chopped fine
4 cups SHARP Cheddar Cheese
2 Eggs, beaten
Progresso Italian Bread Crumbs
Melted Butter
Boil squash until tender - do NOT over cook or they will fall apart. Cool squash completely. Gently spoon out the insides and place in a bowl. Mash with your hands (great for kids to help with!) Brown the sausage withe onions, drain. Add sausage mixture with the squash, cheese, eggs and all but 1/4 C. of the crumbs. Mix well and fill zucchini rinds. Sprinkle remaining crumbs on top. Bake in the oven 375 degrees until brown on the top.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Counting Your Blessings

Counting What you HAVE as opposed to What you WISH you had.


This has been a tough year for many folks. It's hard to be thankful when things don't seem to be going well, but sometimes we need to step back and re-think about the important things. Is there a roof over our heads? Food in the pantry? Do I have a job? Did the car start this morning? Are my parents healthy?


Instead of counting your "need -tos," "have-tos" and "must-dos," try counting your dreams, your desires and....your blessings. It's much easier to be inspired by what you do have than what you don't have.


I want to take a quick minute to count my own blessings, in hopes to inspire you when collecting your own.


I am blessed with a wonderful family - we are healthy, live close to each other and each household is blessed to be surviving in these uncertain times.


I am blessed to be able to stay at home with my children and watch them grow into beautiful, independent ladies.


I am blessed to be surrounded by a wonderful group of friends - both old and new.

I am blessed to be able to share my own loves, hopes and dreams with others through my blog and website.


I am blessed to have so much support from all of you!

I encourage you to spend this week with family and friends and TELL them how thankful you are to have them all.

Simply yours,


Kendal


Into Each Life A Little Rain Must Fall

I’ve talked about blessings before, but I want to revisit this topic before we move onto writing our Life Audit.


Those of you, who know me personally, know that I am currently experiencing a heartbreaking time. The things that get me through these days are things I have over looked during better times. The smiles and laughter from my youngest daughter as she dances around to Hannah Montana; the nudge from my humongous cat, Sunshine, when he wants some love; fresh hot coffee in the morning; a network of wonderful online friends…it’s all such a blessing to me. I know that once the commotion around here dies down and life goes back to normal, more than likely I will once again forget how these little things mean so much, but for today, I plan on having that coffee and enjoying the music.

Too often, we hang on to our guilt over things we have done (or not done) and look over everything good in our lives. Blessings come in all sizes. From the birth of our children to just being able to get out of bed everyday.


Today's assignment in our Simple Life Series is to make a list of small things that make you feel blessed. Maybe your list will be as simple as a list of things you love. Maybe it’s a list of your past experiences. There are no rules. Tack this list on your bathroom mirror so that when things are going wrong, you can remember that life is not all that bad.


A few things off my list:


The obvious – my children
My warm home full of things I love
My book collection – always there to comfort me
My electric blanket – can’t go wrong with a warm bed when you need a lift
My camera – my eyes to the world
A hot bath, a cold glass of wine, candle light and – silence
A cookbook my grandmother gave me, which is inscribed by my grandfather.


What in your life makes you feel blessed?





Mondays in the Simple Life Series are for YOU (and me). I will let you know what I am doing to make simple changes in my own life. I hope you follow along and try some of these steps yourself. Please let me know how you are coming along by leaving comments at the bottom of each post. Tell me what works, what doesn’t, if you are bored – whatever – we are learning and growing together. Hopefully by the end of this process, you will have a better view of your health, your money, your lifestyle, your dreams, your regrets and use these findings to make steps to improving your life overall.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

It Ain't Easy Being Green

Thursdays in the Simple Life Series are all about reducing the clutter (mental and physical) you bring into your life in the first place, starting with our “green” tips. Below you can find the “Green” schedule. I will let you know what I am doing to make simple changes in my own life. I hope you follow along and try some of these steps yourself. Please let me know how you are coming along by leaving comments at the bottom of each post. Tell me what works, what doesn’t, if you are bored – whatever – we are learning and growing together. Hopefully by the end of this process, you will have a better view of your health, your money, your lifestyle, your dreams, your regrets and use these findings to make steps to improving your life overall.

Kermit may have had it easy, but when it comes to "being green" in the "eco" sense, sometimes it's just plain nasty. Smelly empty milk jugs. Gnats flying around the trash bins. Yucky compost piles. What's the use? You've heard it before - to save our eco-system. Before you hang up your re-usable grocery bag, read through my "Green" series and see how easy it really can be.

Green....What does green mean or signify to you? Does it mean "eco-friendly?" How about fresh spring "green" grass or the ever-eluding "green-backs?" Maybe the word green makes you envision funny little leprechauns and four leaf clovers? Or maybe your "green" thumb starts to itch when warmer weather creeps around? Explore the many ways green is entwined in our daily lives as I encourage you to.....



Be Green - Living a more eco-friendly life - SERIES SCHEDULE

Thursday Jan. 12th – Creating Your Own Home Recycle Center

Thursday Jan. 19th – Great tips for Making Recycling Easier


Thursday Jan. 26th – Review of Garbageland by Elizabeth Royte


Thursday Feb. 2nd – How to get Your Kids’ in the Recycling Habit


Thursday Feb. 9th – How to Get Rid of your Stuff


Thursday Feb. 16th – How to Profit From Recycling


Thursday Feb. 23rd – Businesses with Recyclable Programs


Thursday March 1st – Books – Make Money, Donate, Recycle


Thursday March 8th – Preparing for a Clean House Yard Sale


Thinking Thursdays - What to do with your holiday cards

Recycled Post from December 2009:

RECEIVED HOLIDAY CARDS - Chances are, with this year's economy, you didn't receive as many holiday cards as usual - but what do you do with the ones you did get? St. Jude's Children Ranch accepts used cards until Feb. 28th. The children participate in making the new recycled cards by removing the front and attaching a new back made with recycled paper. The new card is a beautiful, “green” card made by the children and volunteers. The benefits are two-fold: customers receive "green" holiday cards for use and the children receive payment for their work and learn the benefits and importance of "going green".
                                                                   Send your cards to:
                                                             St. Jude's Ranch for Children
                                                                100 St. Jude's Street
                                                           Boulder City, NV 89005-1681



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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Years Are Like New Baby's Clean Bottoms.....

...they sure are cute but can cause quite a stink! And so the New Year is here and I have resolved to de-clutter my house. What  better time than after I pull down the Christmas decor but before I put out my old standbys again.

Wednesdays in the Simple Life Series are for YOUR CLUTTER (and yes, it multiplies in my home too). I will let you know what I am doing to make simple changes in my own home to clear out my clutter. I hope you follow along and try some of these steps yourself. Please let me know how you are coming along by leaving comments at the bottom of each post. Tell me what works, what doesn’t, if you are bored – whatever – we are learning and growing together.

Over the past few years, many "gu-rus" have spouted that a "cluttered home is a cluttered mind" or a "cluttered mind is a cluttered life." I, for one, agree. On the material end, if you have alot of clutter around your home or personal space, it's hard to work, relax, and rest with all that stuff in your way. On the spiritual side, it's hard to work, relax and rest with your mind jumbled with too many thoughts crowding around!
No, this is NOT my house - is it yours? 

We all have stuff. Some of us have more stuff than others, but we all have things that classify as clutter. Clutter is not just the trophies collecting dust on your book shelves or the piles of magazines by your bed you haven't read yet. It is really ANYTHING that is in your personal space that you don't love, don't use, don't want, don't need, have duplicates, or otherwise just need to clear out.

 It could be:

- those boxes of things that you moved from your old house and never unpacked
 - the three weed eaters and four rakes piled on the back porch,
- the dried homecoming corsages from high school you can't part with, or
 - serious clutter like the things you stored from Aunt Alice's house when she passed, 10
   years ago!

Whatever YOUR particular definition of clutter may be, it's time to get it moving - and by moving I don't mean looking through the box and moving it to the back of the closet. Having clutter is like having extra weight on your shoulders. You can't relax when you are surrounded by stuff because all you can think about is "when am I ever going to get to cleaning up this stuff?"

Take heart. I happen to be obsessed with sorting through, organizing or getting rid of clutter. I have come to realize that what works for me doesn't always work for others, but I can give you some starting tips. Take my tips and apply them to your own clutter - they may just stop the mounds from multiplying further!

For a good laugh on how I became crazed on clutter, visit Kendal Kleanz It Out

Later, we will tackle the big stuff head-on, but for starters, let’s review the schedule and how this things works. Each "mission” will have 1) a mission statement 2) an assignment 3) extra quick tips and 4) a brief explanation on why each mission helps you clear the clutter from your personal spaces. I will be personally completing these assignments and posting my triumphs and hope you will post your adventure too.


CLUTTER SERIES SCHEDULE:
                             Wed. Jan, 11th -Mission One: Purging Your Pantry - Consistency is the key.

 Wed. Jan. 18th - Mission Two: Uncovering your "undies" - yes, your underwear! - If it is broken, torn, damaged, dirty or otherwise in bad shape - don't Duct tape it -get rid of it


Wed. Jan. 25th - Mission Three: Tackling your towels - Find YOUR method to YOUR madness.


Wed. Feb. 1st- Mission Four: Sorting the dreaded sock drawer - Sometimes, less is more


Wed. Feb. 8th Mission Five: Books - Reduce, Recycle and Repurpose


Wed. Feb. 15th Mission Six: Magazines and Catalogs - Reduce, Recycle and Repurpose


Wed. Feb. 22nd Mission Seven: Multi-Media - Reduce, Recycle and Repurpose


Wed. Feb. 29th- Mission Eight: De-constructing your dinnerware - Simplicity is a proven clutter reducer


Wed. March 7th- Mission Nine: Home Office Horror - Clearing your clutter helps clear your mind


Wed. March 14th - Mission Ten: Pruning the plants, house plants that is - Small steps make big impacts