Thursday, 31 January 2013

Simple Living Lesson #8 - Libraries

Hello everyone! Thanks for coming over for a read! Last year I started a journey toward minimalism. I call my version minimalish. I found a great ebook called Simple Living: Thirty Days to Less Stuff and More Life. For those of you clicking by for the first time, I’ve been working through the lessons one week at a time. So far I have dreamed, looked underneath, tried (and failed) at finding quiet, cleared off surfaces, managed my incoming  and outgoing life and just last week examined how I spend my time.

This week’s lesson is called Libraries. The task for this week is to go through my books and dvds and ask myself if I have ever read or watched them, and if I ever will again. Uh-oh. I might have some trouble with this one. I have been pretty good about decluttering the books that I once hoarded. I managed to donate four big boxes of books when I did the first big cleanout for my Scrapbook Room challenge. I don’t have a huge collection of books anymore, but the DVDs are another story altogether.

My husband is a great guy. He is surrounded by girls and frilly pink things in our house. He doesn’t have a man cave anymore, as it has been turned into the dollhouse/dressup clothes room. He doesn’t have a space for guy stuff but… he has a collection. A massive DVD collection, that takes up an entire wall in our craft closet/room. I have begged asked him to pare down the collection to a more manageable selection, but much in the way my girls think their stuffies have feelings, my husband has strong feelings about his DVD collection.

Since we have managed to contain his rather large collection (over 400 dvds!!) to one wall in one room, I guess I can’t really complain about the space they take up. So, I better find another area to lessen my library! Off to the magazine rack, with the stack of parenting, organizing and cooking magazines that I still have not read.

While gathering my stack of unread magazines I tried to think of a way to repurpose them instead of just chucking them into the recycling bin. Then I had an A-Ha! Moment! I have a few pairs of boots falling all over themselves in the garage. I grabbed some elastic bands, rolled my magazines into handy-dandy boot stander uppers!

What do you collect? Do you have a library you could pare down? Next week’s Simple Living Lesson is entitled Money… I fear another tough challenge is coming!!

Monday, 28 January 2013

Menu Plan Monday - Jan 28, 2013

Hello again friends! I am so sorry that I have been a bad blogger! I just can’t seem to get motivated to write posts in the evening when the kiddies go to bed these days! I think it’s the 5:30am wake up call for the gym and spin class that is the cause for my writer’s block.

I’m hoping to try a new make ahead and freeze recipe this week, if I can find the time. I have all of the ingredients ready to go, it’s just a matter of taking the time to make the food!
Hope you all have a great week!

On the Menu This Week:

Monday: Rotisserie BBQ chicken, perogies and veggies
Tuesday: Gingery Pork and Mushroom Lettuce Wraps (from here)
Wednesday: Lasagne Wednesday

Thursday: Chicken Macaroni Bake and Rachel Salad
Friday: Frozen Pizza and Salad
Saturday: Brunch and dinner out!
Sunday: Superbowl Sunday! Chicken and black bean chili

I will be linking my menu plan to Org Junkie’s Menu Plan Monday – Check it out for hundreds of menus and meal ideas!!

Monday, 21 January 2013

Menu Plan Monday - Jan 21, 2013

What a glorious weekend! Our little family had a mountaintop adventure at one of our local ski hills. I hadn’t been up to Grouse Mountain for years, and I had never skied there, so I had no idea how much fun we could have! We took the girls skating on an outdoor pond, and it was bright and sunny and warm – we were skating in just our snow pants and t-shirts!

I had the joy of spending yesterday setting up a new closet organizer. What a gong show. The box says it goes together in 20 minutes. They lie. They lie big time!! Oh well, over the course of the weekend, the hubs managed to purge almost 50% of his clothes! Since he hadn’t thrown out a t-shirt or pair of pyjama pants in about ten years, it was definitely time. He did a great job, and I’m super proud of him!

With all of the excitement of the weekend, I barely had time to set my alarm to get up this morning! So this week’s menu plan is a little disjointed, since I have no idea what ingredients I actually have in my fridge.

On the Menu This Week:

Monday: Chicken macaroni bake
Tuesday: Stuffed Chicken with roasted potatoes and veggies
Wednesday: Lasagne Wednesday
Thursday: Chicken fajitas and cheese tacos for the girls
Friday: Beer battered fish and chips
Saturday: Dinner out!
Sunday: Teriyaki chicken, veggies and stir fry noodles

I will be linking my menu plan to Org Junkie’s Menu Plan Monday – Check it out for hundreds of menus and meal ideas!!

Friday, 18 January 2013

Hot Chocolate Stirring Spoons

Here’s how this post was originally written: It’s almost the end of 2012! Can you believe it! I can’t believe how quickly the year has flown by! The kids only have a few days left of school, so I only have a few days to finish putting together the Christmas presents for their teachers!

Clearly I didn’t find the time to edit photos, and actually create this post until today, but I had a lot of fun putting these together and I think it would be easy to do these as a Valentine’s Day gift for friends or teachers!

On my massive Christmas shopping weekend, I found some adorable hot chocolate canisters at Costco. I picked up three packages and tried to come up with something yummy and homemade to go with them. After perusing my favourite inspirational website  I found the perfect thing! Hot chocolate spoons!

My friend Alana mentioned to me that she used her mini Crockpot to melt the chocolates for her Peanut Butter Balls.
Since I wanted to use more than one type of chocolate, I put a few glass jars into the crockpot, put a couple of inches of water into the pot (being extra careful not to get any water into the jars, it’ll make the chocolate seize up and die) and in 20 minutes, voila! A whole bunch of kinds of chocolate, perfectly melted and ready for dipping!

For my Hot Chocolate Spoons, I gathered up a bunch of ingredients I already had on hand – all I had to buy was the plastic spoons! I used semi-sweet chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, butterscotch chips and milk chocolate chips. 

For the toppings, I used micro-mini marshmallows like these, Christmas coloured sprinkles, Heath bar chips, and mini chocolate chips.

Once the chocolate was all melty and smooth, I got to dipping! The trick with these babies is to swirl the plastic spoon around in the jar until it’s completely covered, then tap the excess chocolate off of the spoon using the inside of the jar. I had a cookie sheet covered in wax paper to use as the resting plac e for the spoons. Once they were dipped, I would sprinkle them with a little bit of goodness. 
My girls liked the look of the white chocolate with Christmas sprinkles and the semi-sweet chips with the micro marshmallows the best! 

I put four of the chocolate spoons into a plastic treat bag, wrapped it with a pretty tie. I put the chocolate spoons with the hot chocolate canister and some super-delicious Toblerone Shortbread and wrapped them up all pretty. I had the girls each write a card to their teachers and they were all ready to go!

It would be so easy to switch these hot chocolate spoons to use them for Valentine's gifts by using hot pink heart shaped sprinkles or even crushed candy canes for red and white color.  I hope you have enjoyed these quick and easy gifts for teachers, neighbours and friends. Sorry that I didn’t get around to posting them until after Christmas!!!

I’m hoping to link this post up to a couple of fun link parties:

A Bowl Full of Lemons

Delightful Order

Think Tank Thursday

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Simple Living Lesson # 7 – Time

Anyone who knows me knows that I L-O-V-E my lists. I create a list every week of our menu, our to-do’s, and our activities. Recently I set up a planner for my little blog, to help me plan posts and what projects I have in the works. If you know me, you probably also know that I am the Queen of Over-Scheduling. I think that I am physically incapable of saying no to people.
photo source
This week’s challenge was examine how I spend my time. I had to examine which relationships I need to spend more time on, and what I could do to make the biggest impact on my time, my happiness and my peace of mind.

Obviously the relationship that means the most to me and makes me the happiest is my relationship with my husband and with my sweet little girls. In order to make sure that we can spend the time we have together doing the things we love, I need to make time for just us.

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to learn how to and actually practice saying no. I find myself booking our weekends full of events and parties and plans. The plans are for fun and exciting family things, but sometimes I feel like it’s just too much packed into two little weekend days. We don’t get enough time to just be ourselves, with each other.

I know that the only thing standing between me and being able to live a simple life is, well, me. Sometimes I need a reminder that time should be spent with those you love, doing things that make us happy. In that vein, I’m planning a day out, just the four of us - a snow day, ice skating on an outdoor, mountaintop pond and some yummy hot chocolate. I can’t wait.

How do you spend your quality time?

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

White Chocolate Macadamia Crinkle Cookies

Hello all! I am back with another of my test recipes that turned out successfully! When we were in Hawaii, we bought a few packages of macadamia nuts to bring home. I knew that I wanted to make cookies with them, and I found the perfect recipe. 
I found the recipe in a Taste of Home specialty cookie magazine. A few tweaks turned this into a pretty delicious batch of cookies, if I do say so myself! I brought a test batch of these cookies to my daughter’s school to let the other moms give me their opinions and they were gone lickety split!

White Chocolate Macadamia Crinkles

1 cup butter, softened
½ cup sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp baking powder
6 ounces baking chocolate, chopped
½ cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts, toasted
½ cup sugar


Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil and toast nuts for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Chop the macadamia nuts as large or small as you wish.
Increase heat in the oven to 400F. 
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Combine the flour and baking powder; gradually add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in chocolate and nuts. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or until easy to handle. 
Roll into 1” balls. Roll each ball into the sugar. Place 2” apart on ungreased cookie sheet; flatten slightly. 
Bake at 400F for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks to cool.


Sunday, 13 January 2013

Menu Plan Monday - Jan 14, 2013

It was a sad day in our house this Sunday... we went through the downs, then the ups and finally the low low downs of the Seattle Seahawks final playoff game of the season. The hubs is a die hard fan and our living room decor even includes Seahawks paraphernalia.

So, after the exciting come from behind game tying touchdown to the uber let down of the final losing score, it's time for the gnomes to go away until next football season. Yay! I get my mantel back!!

To bring some joy to my husband's life, I'm going to make some of his favorite recipes. I am even going to make a roast! I never make roast dinners because I'm not a huge meat and potatoes girl. Oh, the things a girl will do for love.
Monday: Crockpot Pork Roast, yorkshire pudding, mashed potatoes, vegetables in cheese sauce
Tuesday: Parmesan cod and poutine seasoned fries
Wednesday: Pork stirfry with noodles and veggies
Thursday: Stuffed chicken with scalloped potatoes and veggies
Friday: Chicken fajitas
Saturday: Freezer cooking day! Tourtiere for dinner

Sunday: Tortellini with prawns in boursin cream sauce

I'll be linking my menu plan up to Org Junkie's Menu Plan Monday. Check it out for tons of recipes and meal ideas!

2012 Round Up - Best and Most Loved Posts of the Year

I can hardly believe that it’s been almost a year since I decided to start this little blog. Back in Feb 2012 I wanted to participate in I’m An Organizing Junkie’s big organizational challenge. So I started this site and since then have spent many an evening baking, cleaning and organizing, all while taking photos and documenting the fun for all of you to read about it. 
In 2012 I managed to put together 164 blog posts! That seems crazy to me, and some weeks it was crazy! Fun, but a little insane. I’m lucky that my husband works evenings, so I don’t have to feel like I’m ignoring him when I sit under my blanket with HGTV on while blogging on my laptop.

I took a look at which posts were the most popular in 2012, and here is my round up of the most-viewed projects and posts from the past year.

Beef Enchilada Bake
An Organized Command Center
Little Girl Room Organizing
My 29 Day Organizational Success
Dr Pepper Cupcakes
Minimalish Rules
Spring Break Spring Cleaning
Tastes Homemade Box Cake Recipe
End of the Year Teacher Thank You Presents
Chicken Macaroni Bake Freezer Meal
Taming the Hair Ties
Linen Closet Loveliness
What do you think? Are any of these your favorites? 
Here are my favorite posts from the past year:
Secrets of a Happy Marriage
Butter Chicken Lasagne
Half Marathon Highlights
Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes with Fluffy Peanut Butter Frosting
Summer of Fun Chart
Turtle Cupcakes
Pasta with Prawns in Boursin Cream Sauce
Kindergarten Graduation Presents
Super Amazing Totally Irresistible Chocolate Trifle
I hope you all like what you have seen so far from my little corner of the internet! There are many more fun and exciting things to come!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...