30 Day Simplicity Challenge- Day 12

Does anyone else obsess and stress about the mess (!) between Christmas and the New Year?  During the few days I take off that week, I often go into full-on cleaning mode, clearing out the refrigerator and freezers, tackling the cabinets and pantry and organizing the drawers. Speaking to my Jewish friends, it’s similar to preparing for Passover, searching for “chametz” and “kashering” the appliances.

While I was cleaning out the freezer this year, I kept finding more and more dubious bags of…stuff. Stuff so covered over with ice that it was impossible to make out if it was meat or veggies. Or both. Heart breaking, I threw out tons of food and vowed never to let that happen again.

(Last night I pulled out what I thought was frozen eggplant and it turned out they were roasted hot peppers. SMH.)

My pantry is actually an 18″ wide closet on the side of the refrigerator. Which is great because everything is right there while I’m cooking. Not so great is the fact that it’s 24″ deep, which means stuff gets pushed to the back and forgotten until the week between Christmas and the New Year. I’ve been after MR to build me shelves that can be pulled out and the stuff in the back can be accessed. Remember, ladies, if a man says he will fix it, he will. There is no need to remind him every six months about it.

(My favorite meme. Even MR liked that one.)

I can’t do anything about the black hole in my pantry right now, but I did do something about the black hole residing in the freezers. The door on the pantry cabinet is about four foot high, so I painted a large portion of the inside of that door with black chalkboard paint and noted each shelf and the downstairs freezer and inventoried each and every item in the freezer and marked it down on the blackboard. Now I’m able to see at a glance what we have and can erase and rewrite as we use and add food.

No more wasted food. And it’s easily found when we need it.

I tried to do an inventory on the stock of food in the basement, but I haven’t come up with an efficient way like the blackboard. I tried keeping a book on top of the fridge, but if I don’t see it immediately, I tend to ignore it. The stash downstairs is mostly canned food, bags of sugar and Costco-sized boxes, larger things that won’t fit in the pantry upstairs, but there are things down there that are used pretty often. So I came up with this idea:

DAY 12 of 30:

Make a list of 20 things you use often and put them in the note section of your phone. Whenever you see a sale on any of these things, stock up. 

Here’s mine:

  • Crushed tomatoes
  • Tomato paste
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Sugar
  • Brown Sugar
  • Flour
  • Rice
  • Butter
  • Olive Oil
  • Veg Oil
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Laundry detergent
  • Mozzarella (blocks or shredded or both)
  • Cheddar cheese (blocks or shredded or both)
  • Seltzer
  • Orange juice
  • Chocolate almond milk (freezes better than regular almond milk)
  • Toothpaste
  • Tuna
  • Pasta

Mark on your phone list how many of the items you bought. If you use one, delete it from the number on your list. Keep a running tally even if it’s in the freezer and on the blackboard.  Keep an eye out for coupons for extra savings!

Do you have any other suggestions for pantry staples? What’s in YOUR freezer?

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Updated!

It’s been a really long time since I updated this blog. Some of the pages (at the top) were terribly old and sorely out of date. The WordPress theme was irritating me as well, so I went back to my old theme.

I had a good laugh at my “101 in 1001 days” page. All the things that were important to me at the time! All the things I didn’t do! Yeah, that needed an overhaul as well since I missed the deadline by a year.  Starting date: March 1st, 2016.

“About” has been updated with new family members and the passing of old ones.  😦

“Web Pals” and the gift list to me have been eradicated.  Most of my “pals” don’t post anymore and I seriously don’t need more “stuff”.

I added a few things to my “Bucket List” and “Links I Love”.

(Damn, posted this before I finished!  Blogging on the sly at work, with a three inch bit of screen showing is so not working.)

I haven’t been reading much other than “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and New York Magazine because something happened with my NY Public Library Card.  I’m not allowed to request books and I’m too lazy (and too cold) to walk the five very long blocks over there to straighten it out.  So my “1001 Books to Read Before I Die” has been unchanged.

I’m bringing back “F*CK You Fridays”, because even though my mood is on an even keel lately and once I get past this weekend I should be happy again, there are still some things in this world that piss me off.

And I have about two more weeks of Simplicity Challenge.

Stay tuned, y’all!

 

 

 

 

30 Day Simplicity Challenge- Day 11

February sucks.

February is freaking cold.

February holds constant reminders of those I’ve lost.

For most of my adult life, I’ve hated February. From the contradiction of the LOVE holiday held in the coldest month of the year to the birthday of the person I miss most in my life, the onset of this month always makes me sad.  Add to that the birthday of the OTHER person I miss most plus the day she died, well, I just want to lay in bed and watch bad movies.  All day, every day.

Thankfully, February is the shortest month.  There is that.

We’ve had three snow storms already this month and along with them, snow migraines. The funny thing about my migraines was the higher the snowfall, the less the migraines hurt.  And the cold, fresh clean air definitely helps relieve the symptoms and pain faster, so there is that.

Since I’m already sad, since I’ve been suffering from migraines the last thing I need to see on social media is everyone on vacation during winter break.  We’re prevented from doing anything on this winter break (Mono, working, new puppy). Beena and family drove down to Hilton Head to visit grandma and Dad and Dorothy drove down to Florida to go to Universal (to see Harry Potter World- yeah, he’s turning 80 this year. :/) I’m happy some of my family is getting out but sad that it’s not me, so I’m allowing myself a little wallowing and I’m using the excuse of the 30-day Simplicity Challenge (and Lent) to turn off my social media.

DAY 11 of 30:

Limit your time on social media.  Unplug.

  • I gave up Facebook for Lent.  This served two purposes- I don’t have to see all the wonderful vacations everyone is having and I’ve freed up precious time not posting and liking and commenting. I still have to check messages since MR is selling his coin rings because he hates Facebook, I have to act as intermediary.
  • I deleted the Snapchat app from my phone.  I downloaded the app because Zombiegirl uses it CONSTANTLY and I discovered the trainwreck from one of my hate-read blogs uses it.  I found that I was always on it refreshing to see if Z-girl or ThatWife (not going to link her- not giving her any clicks) posted anything new. I soon realized that Zombiegirl won’t Snapchat at me (or blocked me- even though she denies it) and ThatWife is just insufferable and unbearable to watch.  Deleting this app also saves me precious time and makes me less inclined to punch someone in the face.
  • I’m still using Instagram, but not scrolling through.  Upload and out.
  • Utah just got a Twitter account, and has been posting, but since she actually LIVES WITH US, I can have a conversation with her and find out what she’s been up to.  No need to check Twitter and I don’t tweet so not hard to give that up either.

I took off today and Friday to take Zombiegirl to a few restaurants we’ve never been to for lunch before I head to hobby job in the evening.  I’m calling it my vacation, m’kay?

 

 

 

30 Day Simplicity Challenge- Day 10

DAY 10 of 30:

Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t meet your self-imposed goals.

  • Whether the 30 days of a challenge happen over 40 days or 50, I shall try not to feel bad over the fact that I can’t post every day.  Shit happens, life happens, God throws curve-balls- whatever.  Accept that you’re doing the best you can and celebrate that.

As each day crept by and I didn’t post another challenge, I felt guilty-like I have THOUSANDS of readers that I have to impress, lol.  There have been a few persons liking my posts and I have gained a few followers and I know that there are a few subscribers and I felt like I was letting y’all down.

Then I realized that I DO have a few readers and I have a few subscribers that want to read what I want to say and if they get pissed off that I’m not adhering to the one-a-day challenge religiously, I can tell them, with all humor and love, to piss off!  Seriously, it’s not like this is the Weather Channel and we’re all waiting to see if we’re going to be snowed in another day (we did).  It’s not like it’s the cliff-hanger to the latest medical drama and we didn’t find out if the daughter has a dreaded disease (Zombiegirl contracted Mononucleosis and it’s not fun at our house lately).  It’s not like we’re watching the Superbowl and cheering on our”favorite” team to win (they didn’t).

I’ll survive.  And you’ll certainly survive.  And if we don’t sweat the small stuff (like posting EVERY. SINGLE. DAY on this blog) our lives will be sweeter and simpler, right?

Please agree.  Please?

 

30 Day Simplicity Challenge- Day 9

My husband has a theory.  He claims he knows exactly, within a few hours, when I’m going to get my period.  He claims that when I’m clumsy, when I’m making dinner and I drop things, my period is on the way. If he hears a spoon drop and he yells out, “Period’s coming”.  Methinks he’s the town crier or something.

It’s kind of nice that someone else keeps track of things like that.

It’s laughable when he does it these days, though.  As soon as something hits the floor, he’s informing the world of my impending bleed.  But lately, eight months to be exact, that bleed hasn’t shown up.  I gladly stopped all birth control around that time and thankfully, my period is among the missing.

So last night, when I dropped the fork I was using to flip the burgers, I had an epiphany.

Why am I constantly dropping things?  Why do all my tights and pantyhose have runs up the sides?  Why am I always tripping and sometimes falling?  Why do I spill things and why am I always losing stuff? It’s obviously not all because of my period…

Epiphany? Because I’m always rushing.

Yup.  This is what I came up with- I need to slow the fuck down.  And here goes the challenge for today:

DAY 9 of 30:

Move purposely.  Take care.  Slow down.  Become Grounded.

After I dropped the fork and saw the light, I tried something.  We were having French fries with the burgers and I inevitably, always, certainly drop a fry or three whenever I transfer them to a bowl from the cookie sheet.  Dogs hang out by my feet whenever I scoop up fries because they know.  This time, I took a deep breath and slowly spooned the fries off the cookie sheet into the bowl.  Spoon by spoon, I concentrated and moved with a purpose.  And I didn’t drop one.

This actually gave me joy.

The brain and the hands sometimes work against each other and rushing around makes matters worse.  At the age of 52 (going on 53) have I finally learned I shouldn’t bumble through life?  There is no shame in moving slowly as long as you’re moving with a purpose- and that’s what I was lacking- purpose. So, I will:

  • Try not to reach for things without contemplating what’s in the way (coffee cups, plants, soda cans, yogurt- all things I have knocked over on my desk and at home.)
  • Take care when dressing so nothing gets ripped or poked through.
  • Walk slowly and with care so that I don’t trip over my own feet or the cracks in the sidewalk.
  • Contemplate all movement so nails don’t get broken, fingers don’t get scraped and zippers don’t get stuck.

Think how simple life will be when nothing has to be cleaned up, sewn up, picked up or untangles. This will be a fun experiment with the added bonus of not hearing MR yell from the living room.

30 Day Simplicity Challenge- Day 8

Whoa, sorry, got a little sidetracked there.  Life definitely got in the way these past four days.

I needed a little time away on Friday- it was a grizzly bear of a week and I was feeling sorry for myself that I never get away.  The combination of being blue and having a migraine and having to deal with some stuff then going to the hobby job at night- yeah, it was the perfect mix for a formal day off. But, I have discovered a cure-all for depression and migraines.  SPENDING THE DAY WITH YOUR GRANDSON!

What, you didn’t know I had a grandson?  That’s because I didn’t tell you, at least not on the blog.  If you follow me on Facebook, you certainly know since I post constantly on his cuteness and make his face my profile picture whenever Beena lets me!

Jackson Jon was born July 10th at 3:30pm.  He was 7lbs, 13 oz, 20 inches of adorableness.   He had some problems in the beginning (jaundice, no BF) but he is the type of kid to smile through it all.  Beena and John are great parents and let his grandma (I don’t have an official name yet) take him when she needs her baby fix.

The hobby job called me and informed me I didn’t have to come in because there are too many employee hours and not enough sales.  Okay.  So I got to watch him for a few hours and after he left, I took a long nap.  Not that he is actively walking or talking or anything, I’m just not used to having someone rely on me 100% of the time.  It is so magical being his grandma that even when he sleeps, I don’t put him down.  I can’t help it, he’s my GRANDSON!  Lol!

Saturday saw me in a better mood because we went upstate for a soccer tournament.  Getting out of the house!   Seeing my soccer peeps!  Even though we lost the tourney and Zombiegirl came back bruised, sprained and bleeding it was a good time hanging out and going out to eat with the girls and their parents.

Sunday Zombiegirl and I had all good intentions of giving platelets (me) and blood (her first time) but that went disastrously wrong.  It seems my platelets are low (187) and after donating platelets for years, it was not recommended that I give because apparently, I have enough for myself but not enough to give.  I honestly think they just didn’t want me there for two hours since they were busy.  And the asshat that interviewed Z-girl was just plain rude.  She brought her debit card (with picture) in as ID, but for first time, under-age donors, they wanted something with her birthdate.  This jerk said, “That’s not going to work” and left without another work.  Zombiegirl left with a bad taste for donating and I’m furious that they sent the moron to do the interview on a nervous, somewhat scared kid.

I ended up donating blood, but all day I worried about my platelets being low.  Oh, and the stress of trying to print out Book of Mormon tickets I bought for Utah and KevKev for Christmas (and dealing with three different people on the phone at Ticketmaster) by the time they had to leave- this had me moping around the house all day.

Yesterday was a Work-In-NJ day.  And although the “trash” was taken out and our little CAFM group is happier for it, it still takes a lot out of me to travel there and back and deal with the crap we (I) have to deal with.

So here we are at today, and I’m in a better mood and ready to continue this journey to simplicity…

 DAY 8 of 30:

Find one thing in the house that needs fixing and fix it.

This one thing can be big or little.  For me, it’s the phone holder for the car- I took it out one day and all the springy things popped out and it wouldn’t stay upright.  It’s been sitting on my dresser in pieces and I keep moving it from one place to another.  Before I lose any of the pieces, I’m fixing it and putting it back in the car because I really need to use my phone for GPS and hands-free driving.

Don’t try to rewire the house’s electrical system or replace the washer or dryer.  Find something that has been hanging around and that you can do something about quickly.  Plaster that hole in the wall.  Tighten the leaky faucet.  Glue the sole of your boot so it doesn’t flop around when you walk.  Sew that hole up in the seam of your pants.  Replace that burnt out light bulb.  Take the pants that need hemming to the tailor.  And if you really, really like that broken vase, glue it back together.  If you don’t, then toss it!

(yeah, those are all things I can also do, but I chose the phone holder because seriously, I need that shit to work.)

So to prevent being sidetracked again, I will prepare a few challenges in advance and hopefully we can continue uninterrupted!  Hopefully.