Monday, September 29, 2014

100 things/cookbook storage

Since freeing up the junk drawer to now use as my mail center, my mail basket became new storage for my cookbooks.

Before:





After:


I scaled back on my cookbook collection and tossed 8 cookbooks!
I did tear out a page or two of recipes I still might try, but the rest were either duplicates or recipes I can easily find on Pinterest.

This yellow basket that I was using was too big, so I'll repurpose it somewhere else. My cookbooks fit perfectly in the smaller basket.


I'm still using my recipe binder (which I love). I keep that and my Pioneer Woman cookbook stacked next to the basket.

The binder is great for holding recipe pages you tear out of magazines, or print off the computer.


I still have that small stack of recipe cards that can't seem to find a home. I should just add a few more pages to my binder and either tape them in or take the time to copy and print out.

I have many binders, but mostly use my recipe binder and daily home binder. Other categories that I have binders for are: printables, travel, and budget/insurances. Binders are just so handy!



Not counting the items from the junk drawer, subtract 8 items from the cookbook clean out, and I'm now down to = 80 items left to get rid of in this 100 Days/100 Things challenge!


Sunday, September 28, 2014

weekend catch-up & menu plan monday

WEEKEND CATCH-UP........

[WORK]
This was my last weekend for 2014 and what an awesome way to end the season. The weather was amazing, I had some of the best guests I've had all summer, and I had a full house on Friday and Saturday nights. Just 2 more days until I close up for another year. It has been a very hard summer, but I am thankful that I was able to keep the 5 room b&b open for business. I worked a few extra hours today, doing some behind the scenes packing up, and will go back in the morning to do a little more packing. I have a couple of guests scheduled to come in on Tuesday afternoon, so I'll finish things up on Wednesday. I always have mixed feelings when the season ends. I'm glad that I can stay at home, but I really love my job, so I have a little adjustment when it ends. (but trust me, I soon get over it!) :O)


[FOOTBALL]
OMG....the Bears vs. the Packers....UGH!! That's all I have to say! :0(

A Packer friend decided to leave us a little gift on the patio.....LOL...Yea, maybe next time!


[MOM]
Mom's recovery is coming along pretty good. She gets her staples out tomorrow, as well as having PT. She is scheduled for 3 more sessions, then hopefully, she and Dad can come home next weekend. They got to see both of the boys this weekend (so jealous!). Nathan's tug was in Salisbury, so they dropped by to see him and met his crew. :O) Then, Logan and Lindsey stopped by to visit with them at the hotel for a few hours. They had been in OBX for a week on vacation and just got home last night. Peter and I are planning to go to see Mom and Dad on Tuesday. I miss them so much!!!


[MINI-VACAY]
Our long weekend in Charlotte is coming up this week!!!! We leave on Friday morning. SO excited!!


[FALL TV]

Big Brother16 ended on Wednesday. This wasn't my favorite season of BB, but I was glad that Derrick won. At least I finally got Peter hooked!!  Love that the new shows are on....especially my favorite Parenthood! Awesome season opener!!


MENU PLAN MONDAY......



I'm skipping all meal planning this week. We will be away on Tuesday, then we leave on Friday and will be away until Monday evening, so we will be eating out of the fridge, freezer, & pantry this week. I'm making this week a no spend week (I've always wanted to try a NO SPEND MONTH- but that will take persuading on Peter's part, plus I think that topic deserves it's own post! More on that later.). Anyhow, I should have enough food on hand to feed us all week...we'll see.

Last week, we did hot cereal for breakfast. We ended up doing two versions all week:

Cream of Wheat w/bananas & nutmeg


Oatmeal w/bananas, brown sugar & walnuts


This week we'll eat a mix of yogurt w/granola, smoothies, and hot cereal (all on hand).

We used up most of the produce last week that my guests brought me.

Monday- soft crabs & lima beans
Tuesday- I made a big pot of Vegetable Beef Soup (we ate it several days for lunch too!)
Wednesday- Baked Macaroni & Cheese and a pot of yellow string beans
Thursday-Scallops sauted in butter, corn on the cob, left-over mac & cheese
Friday- Chicken Fajitas (w/ yellow peppers)
Saturday-Porterhouse Steaks on the grill w/onions & mushrooms, squash sauted w/onions & butter
Sunday- Turkey Hoagies

We ate a few salads this week for lunch and used up the cukes and tomatoes. We also had a baked sweet potato for lunch one day. I cut up and froze the rest of the yellow peppers and will bake the rest of the sweet potatoes and freeze in foil tomorrow for future meals.

On Monday, I plan to use up the rest of the corn in a pot of Corn Chowder.

Let's see how creative I can get this week with meal planning!!

Movie Night: Fort Bliss

For movie night last night, we chose Fort Bliss. WOW! While I'm aware of the sacrifice that our men and women in uniform give to our country, this movie was a reminder that it is much, much more. How often I forget the families, the children, the relationships of these soldiers and how hard it is to really have to choose sometimes between duty to country and duty to family. And where does thinking about your own well-being fit in? This story in particular made me really think about things through a mother's perspective. My heart broke when Maggie came home after 15 months in Afghanistan, only to be completely rejected by her 5 year old son. I can't even imagine how hard it is to be away from your family for so long, missing so much time with your children, and all the while, risking your life for your country. I need to see movies like this to remind me to faithfully  remember and pray for all of the men and women who serve so selflessly.
 
 
~Movie Info~
 
Written, Directed, and Produced by Claudia Myers
Starring: Michelle Monaghan, Ron Livingston, Manolo Cardona, Gbenga Aikinnagbe, Emmanuelle Chriqui, and Pablo Schreiber
 
 Decorated U.S. Army medic and single mother Maggie Swann (Michelle Monaghan) returns home from an extended tour of duty in Afghanistan to discover the bond with her five-year-old son has been broken. As she struggles to reclaim his affection, life after deployment is made more difficult by her persistent memories of Afghanistan. When news of another deployment threatens the fragile balance she has achieved, she must find a way to reconcile her duties as a mother and her obligations as a soldier.
 
 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

get rid of that junk drawer

Why do I have a junk drawer? That drawer that is full of miscellaneous stuff that you have no idea what to do with, those items you think you must keep because you'll need it someday (but never do), those things that you even forget you own, items that don't seem to fall into any category when organizing....stuff....junk!
In my effort to scale down, I decided that after 31 years of marriage, I no longer need a junk drawer in my life. Before, I would have "organized" the junk in the drawer, but yesterday, I emptied out everything and didn't put any of it back. The majority of the drawer was taken up by coke caps....wayyyyyy too many coke caps (I need to enter all those points into my account at mycokerewards.com and earn some "free" stuff).


I once again realize I have a serious diet coke addiction, but I'll address that later.:0(

Other random items in the junk drawer included balloons, a couple of Ace bandages, plastic utensils, mason jars, envelopes, a meat thermometer, and outdated calendars, like 10 years worth of calendars. YIKES! I really have a problem.......

I write lots of stuff on my calendar. Along with your normal birthdays, doctor or mani appointments, I also write things like weather, births and deaths, special things the kids are doing, etc, so my calendar is actually a mini journal. I hate throwing them away, and hold on to them for years (this time 10 years!). I took a big step and threw ALL of them away, but before I did, I spent a little time (well actually an hour or two), going through them month by month, jotting down in my binder, important dates/things that I want to remember.

I decided to now use this deep drawer as my mail center. I moved a few files to this drawer, my binder, daily budget book, envelopes, checks/bank stuff, address labels, coupons/gift cards. I also used a few of the plastic containers I took out of the cabinet yesterday to organize this drawer. In the Crystal Light containers, I put extra tubes of lip balm (I had 10 tubes on hand), extra pens in another, and a misc. one that has nothing in it yet. Much better and the drawer now has a purpose!!! I will probably take a few random items out and keep it strictly for mail/paperwork, but for now, it is much more functional.....and junk free!!






Thursday, September 25, 2014

things to do in charlotte, nc

We are headed to Charlotte next weekend and I am so excited to be going back. On our first visit, we didn't do or see anything other than the football game and have dinner. We loved the feel of Charlotte and saw numerous things we wanted to do if we ever went back again.

- Food

There are tons of great restaurants in Charlotte. We ate at Rock Bottom last trip and loved it! I would definitely go back again, but we are planning to try a few new places. We'll arrive on Friday evening, so we'll need to find something for dinner that night as well as Saturday night, and lunch on Saturday. Sunday is taken care of with breakfast at the hotel and lunch at the stadium.

Peter is looking for the best bbq in Charlotte.


Here are a few places that got good reviews......

BAR-B-Q KING


BILL SPOON'S BARBECUE


MAC'S SPEED SHOP BBQ


SAUCEMAN'S


MIDWOOD SMOKEHOUSE


McKOYS

image
BOONE'S BAR-B-QUE on wheels

and this one (they say some of the best places to eat are little hole in walls....um...ok...)


OLD HICKORY HOUSE RESTAURANT


- Zip lining

This is a must do for me (I mean it's on my bucket list and everything!). I think the best place would be U.S. National Whitewater Center. Even Peter wants to give it a try!! I am beyond excited about the four of us zip lining!!

I suggested white water rafting too while we were at it, but no takers....oh well, maybe next time!


- NASCAR Hall of Fame / Hendrick Motorsports

Peter has been a NASCAR fan forever so this is a must do for him. It looks kind of fun, and I know he will love it, so we'll do at least one of these on Saturday too.


- Freedom Park

Freedom Park got great reviews on things to do/see in Charlotte. If the weather is nice, I thought maybe we could get lunch and take it to the park for a picnic. They also have bikes for rent! :0)

I can tell this is going to be a fun trip (Peter may be thinking otherwise!).

- Carriage Rides

We saw these last trip when we came out of the restaurant, but neither Peter nor Nathan were interested, so no carriage ride. It's funny how two people can change so much in just 4 short years,. They both agreed to do it this time when I was making our to-do list for the trip!



- Bank of America Stadium/ Bears vs. Panthers 10/05/14

I am super excited to be going back to watch another game. Nathan bought sideline tickets, Peter and I went cheap and got tickets in the nose bleed section. Well, they aren't that bad, but they are definitely not sideline seats! I'm just excited to see another game, I don't care where I'm sitting!


countdown to road trip.....1 week!!!!
Let's see what else I can find to do in Charlotte.......

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

100 Things....Clearing Out Clutter



(1) magazines- I threw away/gave away a huge stack of magazines. I don't currently have any subscriptions, but Nathan gets People, SI, and some fitness magazine and Peter gets National Fisherman. Mom passes along to me  copies of BH &G and Coastal Living, which I donated to the b&b reading pile.

(2) towels- I went through our bath towels and made rags (for the b&b) out of several that were worn.

(3) plastic containers- this is a biggie! Seriously, how many of these does one actually need or even use? Definitely not this many!

Before:

After:


I know I still kept too much, but I actually got rid of this much stuff and I am also returning to Mom 4 divided plates w/lids.

I don't use some of the things I put back in the cabinet, so I may cull it over a little more during this 100 day clean out. I do use these small storage containers every week to separate fruit into individual servings, which is working really well.

We are not only eating more fruit, but nothing is going to waste anymore. I hated throwing out spoiled fruit every week! Guilty!
I eventually want to get away from using plastic altogether and use only glass storage containers and jars. Mom is already doing this and uses mason jars and glass Pyrex containers for food storage.  It always takes me longer to get on board. I'm still buying these little plastic individual serving cups....I know...I know....but they are just so handy.

I think I've done pretty good so far though. It just amazes me how much stuff we hold on to. It also helped me see some things that are worn and need replacing. At the top of my list....a new cutting board. I have 2 small, cheap, white ones that I've had forever. I know what I'm using my next Bed, Bath, and Beyond coupon for! Of course, I'll then throw away the two old ones.

I've only tackled 3 categories so far, but have probably gotten rid of at least a dozen items. Just 88 items to go.....it's going to be a long road.....

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

organize vs. simplify vs. minimalist

I've always had it in me somewhere to organize or have things in order. This goes way back to my "must hang all the Barbie outfits on hangers when I put them away" obsession as a little girl. Just imagine throwing everything in the case in a scrambled mess....that could drive me crazy. Over the years, I have gone through many stages, from being very organized to extremely cluttered. Somehow, we have accumulated too much "stuff" in our home and in our lives and trying to keep up with it all is just so overwhelming.

I have mainly tried to focus on organizing, trying to find a place for everything, putting stuff in bins, baskets, and containers (I really do love a pretty basket or bin!), but I am still holding on to too many things that we really never use, or even need. Then, I started focusing more on "simplifying", not only in our home, but in our daily schedule. I stopped feeling guilty about not attending or volunteering for every function. Mom and I even had an epiphany a few Thanksgivings ago. We decided to buy pretty disposable plates {gasp!} instead of using the good dishes. We fretted a bit over it, but realized after dinner when we were all sitting back with coffee and dessert watching the football game, that we REALLY love paper plates! :0)

It's simple things like that that make me happy and free up time to enjoy the more important things in life.

Then, a few months ago, Mom introduced me to the term "minimalist". After researching and reading several blogs on the minimalist lifestyle, I have become very fascinated with some of the ideas and suggestions for living a simpler (more minimal?) life. While I know I will never go to the extreme that some minimalists do (and I'm not criticizing, it is just not fully for me), I do plan to incorporate some of it into my lifestyle.

I am starting with an idea I saw on one of the blogs I follow......

Get rid of things you don't need, use, or want...100 Things in 100 Days. There are exactly 100 days between now and December 31, that is only 1 item a day, and by January 1st, our home will be 100 items lighter.

This is just one of the many steps that I hope to take towards living a more organized, simple, maybe even minimalist life!

Live a richer life with less stuff......