De-Clutter: Kitchen Counter

Before

Before

After

After

This weekend I managed to take one small part of my kitchen and clear out the clutter. We desperately need the counter space in my small kitchen and the pile of medicine was taking over valuable real estate in the kitchen. I pulled everything off the counter, cleaned up everything and began to toss. I tossed everything that was outdated (I found something from 2006) and items we will never use. I was hoping to completely clear the counter and get everything into the baskets but its better than it was. I need the hubs to go through everything and maybe toss more.

Baby steps…

Simplify on Saturday

One of my goals for NaBloPoMo is to share with you how I am de-cluttering my life and my house. This is a large task and I am always chipping away at the clutter little by little. I feel like clutter is taking over my life, especially in my house. A few months ago I enlisted Guru Grandma aka MacGyver, aka my mom to help me tackle the master bedroom. She is amazing at clearing out the junk and making a room look open and fresh. We did the master bedroom in one long day. It was too embarrassing to even take before photos but for this challenge I promise I will do it, no matter how bad it is.

If anyone is interested in joining me please post a link to your photos in the comments or just share your experiences. I must admit it always helps to see friends too have piles of clutter.

Gratitude

“Gratitude matters.

A grateful heart is a contented heart. A contented heart is a simple heart. And a simple heart leads to a simplified life.

Gratitude opens the door to simplicity. A person who is grateful for the things they own will care for them, enjoy them, and waste less energy seeking more. They will experience fulfillment in the gifts they already possess rather than looking outside themselves for more.

But we live in a culture that preaches discontent. A consumer culture will always attack gratitude—if they can sow discontent in our lives, they can sell us their new product line or latest version with new improvements.

In contrast, those who can find gratitude in their current existence will be less influenced by those empty promises.”

Joshua Becker at  becomming minimalist

I am inspired to make more of an effort to recognize and record things I am grateful for in my life.

1. family

2. my furry babies

3. pretty good health

4. quiet time with the hubs

5. rainy days off from work

So Far So Good: Day 4 One Plate Challenge

photo (1)I took on the One Plate Challenge four days ago and I am still going strong. It has made a huge difference in the amount of dishes coming into the kitchen. I must admit that I was blaming my husband for the overabundance of dishes but I am partly majorly  to blame. I have a terrible habit of leaving dishes all over the house.

During this challenge I now find myself searching for my green bowl and my blue plate. It made me aware of how lazy I have been about taking care of my own dishes. I have a place  right next to the sink where I am putting my one plate, bowl, cup, and utensils. It is working out nicely, so far so good.

How are you doing with the One Plate Challenge?

 

UPDATE: I stink!! I only made it one week before time got the best of me and I was rushing to eat breakfast or hurrying to grab a lunch and I started grabbing plates and utensils from the cabinet. It is a great challenge and I will try it again sometime soon. Please let me know if you take on this challenge and if you are successful.

The One Plate Challenge

As I was tackling the mound of dishes in our kitchen I started to think about how much time I spend on my day off trying to keep up with cleaning the kitchen. I sometimes do three loads of dishes and still have some left. I know I really shouldn’t complain because we have a dishwasher but the volume of dishes is overwhelming. We have such little counter space that the piling becomes ridiculous. My husband has a habit of stacking plates on our flat top stove and I know one day something bad will happen. Avalanche or fire I am not interested in damage control.

setting

Here I declare that I will use the same plate, the same bowl, the same drinking glass, the same tea-cup, and the same utensils for the next few weeks. Let’s see if I can tame the mountains of dishes in our kitchen.

 

A Day in My Life: To-Do? Done!

Choose five things you would like to change in your life. Magically and instantly they change. What does your life look like now?

1. relationship
2. financial stability
3. fitness level
4. health
5. time to practice flute

I wake up next to my dear husband that gives me a butterfly kiss as he gets up to start his day. We enjoy a nice light breakfast together on our deck overlooking our beautifully wooded back yard. There is no rush as we both work very flexible schedules in jobs that we love. We linger over coffee for him and iced tea for me. Our dogs lie by our feet as we plan our day. The pups have free reign of our vast property that is gated and protected.

Off to work we go. We live in a community that allows us to ride our bikes into town on a safe trail and walk to our jobs, to shopping, and anything else we need. We hop on our bikes and off we go. We lock our bikes in the town park and part ways as we go to our jobs. The hubs is a teacher at the local school and I am the children’s librarian at the local public library.

In our simplified lives we have time to take long walks and our health is so good that I not longer have diabetes and the hubs is off his high blood pressure medicine. We are looking and feeling good for our mid-forties.

Our simplified lives have given me the opportunity to practice my flute. I ride my bike home for lunch and practice my flute after I have a healthy sandwich and salad. I walk the dogs and head back to the library on my bike.

Our house is paid off, we have no credit card debt, we own both of our cars, and our bicycles. We live on a fraction of what we earn and we save 50% of what we make. The hubs is attentive, caring, and talks to me and is the most positive person I know. We are healthy, happy, low stress people and life is good.

Lesson to learn: almost every paragraph has the word simplify in it.

Simplify

From This to That


One of my wishes for starting a garden was a simple one. I want to grow the ingredients to make fresh salsa. Today my wish has come true. The satisfaction is almost as delicious as the salsa. I didn’t measure or use a recipe. This is pretty much what I did.
Garden Salsa
A bunch of cherry tomatoes
1/3 jalapeño
Slice of vidalia onion
Small handful of cilantro
A bit of vinegar
Salt and pepper
Small pinch of sugar
Chop up and enjoy.
The only item not from my garden is the onion.

Strawberry Jelly

I have been wanting to try canning for many years. I recently found a great book about canning called, The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. There are so many things you can preserve from fruit to vegetables to salsa. I decided to try strawberry jelly since it is my favorite.

I used the recipe in the chapter called, Fruit Jellies with Liquid Pectin.

Strawberry Jelly

Makes about seven 8 oz. jars. ( I got 8 jars and probably could have gotten 9 if I would have had the jar prepared.)

3 3/4 C Strawberry juice for jelly
4T lemon juice
7 1/2 C sugar
2 pouches (each 3 oz.) liquid pectin

To make the  3 3/4 C strawberry juice you will need about 11 C of fresh strawberries, carefully cleaned, hulled, and sliced.  Add about 2 C water to the strawberries and bring to a boil in a stainless saucepan. Before the berries begin to boil I used a pastry cutter and a large spoon to smash the berries. Reduce heat, cover lightly, and boil gently stirring constantly until berries are softened, about 5-10 minutes. Transfer strawberries to a strainer with very small holes or use cheesecloth and allow to drip for 2 hours.

When the juice is ready I start to heat the lids and the jars.  They both must be heated to be sanatized. (you don’t need to heat the rings) I heated the lids in a small saucepan and used a magnetic lid lifter to get the hot lids out of the water. It is a very handy tool to have.

Combine strawberries, lemon juice and sugar. Over high heat bring to a full boil, stirring constantly. The boling should not stop when stirring. Add the liquid pectin and stir, while still boiling for 1 minute. Remove from heat and skim foam from top.

Pour liquid into hot jars, wipe rim, center lid, and add ring.

Place jars in canner. Make sure they are all covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes. Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, remove jars, cool and store.

Check the lids after 24 hours to make sure they have been properly sealed. The lid should be concave and you should be able to take off the ring, hold the jar by the lid and the lid should not come off. If  the jar is not sealed properly you can reporcess or put in the refrigerator and use right away.