Catching Up…Summer Days and Lazy Ways

I don’t know about you, but the month of June flew by for me.  I missed sharing with you here on my blog, but life happens.  It’s certainly nice to come back to my little corner of the world wide web though.  :)  Here’s a bit of what we’ve been up to…please pardon the long post.

retirement peonies: Cozycakes Cottage

It seems we’ve been up to a lot while other days we’re able to laze about and do a whole lot of nothing.  It’s been a good mix.  Munchie finished preschool and will be heading off to pre-k in the fall.  That doesn’t come without some emotions.  Wimpy mama over here.  I’ll distract my overactive tear ducts with a picture of some beautiful peonies Trader Joe’s carried for only 1 day.  1 day!  What a tease.  I grabbed a bunch for my peony-loving mom-in-law and myself.

zero days retirement sign

Speaking of my mom-in-law, we celebrated her retirement from teaching (hurrah!) a couple of weeks ago.  We had a backyard celebration with lots of garden fresh flowers, friends & family, and a yummy street taco bar catered by a taqueria.  I filled the dessert table and printed off the little chalkboard sign below for table décor.  Isn’t it cute?

Now both of my in-laws are retired and are jet-setting to Europe (England, France, Ireland) this summer just as retirees should.  I’m very happy for them and a wee bit jealous.  I have really fond memories of our trip to Europe a couple of years ago.  One day I’ll share a few pictures from that trip when Munchie was merely a 1-year old and I developed an ugly and embarrassing case of heat rash in Russia during a performance of Swan Lake–no one returned to our aisle after intermission.  I suspect it had to do with me scratching madly at myself nonstop.  Good times. :)

mama eggplant

In between play dates, swimming, walks, and crafting (I’ve been crafting!) we took a road trip to visit my family.  My mom and dad have such a gorgeous yard.  That’s a picture of one of my mom’s baby eggplants.  I brought some back with me and have cooked them up just the way she always has for me.  I love the story of how she craved eggplant cooked the same way when she was pregnant with me.  Coincidentally, when I was pregnant with Munchie I craved the exact same recipe.  It comforts me when I’m able to make recipes that connect me to home.  Makes my little homesick being feel a tad bit better.

DSC_0887 garden bench mama pm

My parents have little spots throughout their large backyard for relaxing.  If it hadn’t been 110°, I might’ve planted myself on this bench with a book for a bit.  Not happening.

 winnie and duck tea party

Back at home, Munchie and I have had a few impromptu tea parties.  Even her “friends” have tea.  She doesn’t want to leave anyone out.

duke lounging

And, as I mentioned, there has been much lazing about as demonstrated by Duke.  We call this his Malaise Way.  His “stop looking at me, what, you’ve never seen a person REST before?” look.  One day he’ll find out he’s a dog and that the dog bed on the floor is for HIM and who knows what he’ll do then.  I imagine there’ll be tears and some huffing.

blue onion

Aside from organizing & continually purging items we no longer need (I’m addicted to purging!), I’ve enjoyed reading late into the night, many cups of tea, spending time with dear friends, having cozy date nights at home with my easy-going husband (usually including a good show or movie and ice cream), driving Munchie to and from activities like summer camp and swim lessons, and pretty, but practical gifts like the ones pictured above.  My husband’s grandmother gave me two sets of china recently and I’m just in love with them.  One set is from England and the other from Japan.  In this home, china IS practical.  I’m all for using and enjoying pretty things instead of relegating them to dust catchers.

meakin stack

Here’s a stack of the second set she gave me.  They’re all sitting out on my counters because I want to keep looking at them and can’t bear to shove them away in a cupboard.  So out they’ll sit until I come up with a better way to display them.  A little hutch purchase is likely in my near future.

purple dahlia bouquet

I’m the lucky recipient of many, many flower bouquets each summer, courtesy of my father-in-law.  Among others, he grows a gazillion varieties of dahlias.  I love the pastel ones best–look at that speckled one.  So pretty.  I have bouquets in every room downstairs, but I think I’ll start bringing them into the bedrooms.  A nice sight first thing in the morning.

july 1 calendar

Each morning Munchie flips this little calendar to a new day.  I couldn’t believe it when it said “July 1″ yesterday.  Can you?

kitchen door usa love

Every holiday involves Munchie decorating our kitchen door with window stickers or jellies.  Yesterday she decorated for one of her favorite holidays.  A little patriotism from a 4-year old.  And with that, I wish you all a relaxing and laughter-filled summer.  Hope you’re able to put your feet up a bit and reenergize.  I’ll be back soon with a few recipes and hope you’ll stop by again soon.  ♥

May Clutter-Busting Challenge: Day 13 & 14

clutter-busting-challenge logo

I’m joining Crystal of Money Saving Mom in her May challenge: Clutter-Busting Challenge: Get Rid of Seven Things Every Single Day in May!   Wanna join me?  Here’s what you do…

Each week day in May go through your house and find 7 things you can toss, donate, recycle, sell, or find someone else who can use them.  That’s it.  These can be big or small things, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you actually throw them out, sell them, donate them, recycle them, or find someone else who can use them. But such a simple challenge can reap huge rewards.  I bet many of us will find more than 7 items some days.

Day 14

Happy Monday!  Let the decluttering continue…

I didn’t post an update on Friday so this haul includes Friday.  We also spent some time over the weekend decluttering a few areas of the house including the backyard.  I tossed a bunch of backyard toys that were damaged or that my little one doesn’t play with anymore.  My husband had the urge to purge so he filled 2 bags with clothes (and hinted that perhaps I should address my clothing).  I went through tons of magazines and tossed/recycled many boxes and items taking up space in the garage.  I also purged items from our upright garage freezer.

Feels good!  I have to admit that I don’t want this month to end because I’m loving decluttering!  It’s becoming an illness.

Here’s what I got rid of:

  • 37 magazines
  • 2 bags of men’s clothing (one bag not pictured)
  • Charging station
  • 1 pair baby socks
  • Backyard toys including small wheelbarrow (not pictured)
  • Items past their prime from upright freezer in garage
  • 1 bag of papers for shredding/recycling (not pictured)

Did you do more decluttering?  If you have a blog and would like to share a link to your 7+ items as well, please feel free to do so in the comments.  If you don’t have a blog, please still share in the comments about your progress!  Encouraging one another is a big aspect of this challenge!

More posts in this series:

May Clutter-Busting Challenge: Day 12

clutter-busting-challenge logo

I’m joining Crystal of Money Saving Mom in her May challenge: Clutter-Busting Challenge: Get Rid of Seven Things Every Single Day in May!   Wanna join me?  Here’s what you do…

Each week day in May go through your house and find 7 things you can toss, donate, recycle, sell, or find someone else who can use them.  That’s it.  These can be big or small things, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you actually throw them out, sell them, donate them, recycle them, or find someone else who can use them. But such a simple challenge can reap huge rewards.  I bet many of us will find more than 7 items some days.

declutter day 12

I had a hard time getting motivated to do anything on my to-do list today.  I enjoyed my walk (yes, on the to-do list)…until I got hot after 45 minutes and looped back for home.  But other than that, I was in the mood to do nothing.  Lazy bones syndrome.  I forced myself to tackle a few chores and then I decided to have my little one find a few things she could do without while I cleaned up our coat/hall closet.

Along with another brown grocery bag filled with more papers to recycle, here’s what I got rid of today:

  • 8 magazines/catalogs
  • 1 book that came in a cereal box
  • wires
  • 4 DVDs
  • dried out Purell and Wet Wipes
  • toy animal
  • white (pink) board

Did you do more decluttering?  If you have a blog and would like to share a link to your 7+ items as well, please feel free to do so in the comments.  If you don’t have a blog, please still share in the comments about your progress!  Encouraging one another is a big aspect of this challenge!

More posts in this series:

May Clutter-Busting Challenge: Day 11 & A real friend shows you the inside of her fridge

clutter-busting-challenge logo

I’m joining Crystal of Money Saving Mom in her May challenge: Clutter-Busting Challenge: Get Rid of Seven Things Every Single Day in May!   Wanna join me?  Here’s what you do…

Each week day in May go through your house and find 7 things you can toss, donate, recycle, sell, or find someone else who can use them.  That’s it.  These can be big or small things, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you actually throw them out, sell them, donate them, recycle them, or find someone else who can use them. But such a simple challenge can reap huge rewards.  I bet many of us will find more than 7 items some days.

fridge exterior day 11

You know I’m being honest with ya when I show you my fridge.  Fingerprints and all.  And that’s not all, folks.  I’m going to show you the inside of it.  That’s true friendship.  Doesn’t get much deeper than that. :)

I didn’t get started on clutter-busting until late in the day, but I managed to get my 7+ items.  Whew.  I also tossed a lot of stuff from the fridge, wiped it down, and organized it.  So here’s what the inside of my fridge looks like now (I forgot to take before pics…aren’t the before pics the best???)

right fridge door day 11

The right fridge door.  We pull from this door daily.  Butter, honey, jams, etc.  I tossed a couple jams that had expired.  I hate wasting, but I found a little mold on some marmalade jars. 

left fridge door day 11

The left fridge door.  Though we’ve had this fridge several months now, I haven’t removed that bright yellow label because removing all labels from appliances scares me.  What if I forget what it says?!

main fridge interior day 11

Fridge interior.  Although this probably doesn’t look organized to you, it IS organized just how I like it.  I think most people have a fridge “system” and this is what works for me.  Also, this isn’t a completely honest representation of how my fridge normally looks.  This is what it looks like when I’ve hit just one market for the week.  My shopping schedule was thrown off a bit with a sick little one, but tomorrow I’ll hit up Trader Joe’s so it’ll fill up even more.   Yes, I am Danielle and I love food. 

Do you feel closer to me now?  ;)

declutter pile day 11

Here’s what I got rid of today:

  • 15 magazines
  • 1 broken flag
  • Build-a-Bear Workshop box
  • Expired items from the fridge

Did you do more decluttering?  If you have a blog and would like to share a link to your 7+ items as well, please feel free to do so in the comments.  If you don’t have a blog, please still share in the comments about your progress!  Encouraging one another is a big aspect of this challenge!

More posts in this series:

May Clutter-Busting Challenge: Day 10

clutter-busting-challenge logo

I’m joining Crystal of Money Saving Mom in her May challenge: Clutter-Busting Challenge: Get Rid of Seven Things Every Single Day in May!   Wanna join me?  Here’s what you do…

Each week day in May go through your house and find 7 things you can toss, donate, recycle, sell, or find someone else who can use them.  That’s it.  These can be big or small things, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you actually throw them out, sell them, donate them, recycle them, or find someone else who can use them. But such a simple challenge can reap huge rewards.  I bet many of us will find more than 7 items some days.

day 10

I managed to go through many magazines today even though it pains me to part with them.  I’ll admit it feels wonderful to get them out of the house.  I only have about 1,589 left to go.  I started off looking through my cookbooks, but I only parted with one.  Hey, it’s a start.

Here’s what I got rid of today:

  • 28 magazines
  • 7 pens/markers
  • 1 Betty Crocker journal/cookbook about heart health
  • Organic body scrub that made me itchy
  • 3 packages of pasta–the boxed pasta was organic from Germany which I thought would be great.  Not so.  It breaks into a million pieces when it hits the water and turns to mush.
  • The Trader Joe’s brown bag is filled with papers from the office.  I’m not done in there, but it was progress.

Did you do more decluttering?  If you have a blog and would like to share a link to your 7+ items as well, please feel free to do so in the comments.  If you don’t have a blog, please still share in the comments about your progress!  Encouraging one another is a big aspect of this challenge!

More posts in this series:

May Clutter-Busting Challenge: Day 9

clutter-busting-challenge logo

I’m joining Crystal of Money Saving Mom in her May challenge: Clutter-Busting Challenge: Get Rid of Seven Things Every Single Day in May!   Wanna join me?  Here’s what you do…

Each week day in May go through your house and find 7 things you can toss, donate, recycle, sell, or find someone else who can use them.  That’s it.  These can be big or small things, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you actually throw them out, sell them, donate them, recycle them, or find someone else who can use them. But such a simple challenge can reap huge rewards.  I bet many of us will find more than 7 items some days.

day 11

I’m plugging along with this challenge and feeling the impact daily decluttering has on our home.  Ahhhh, love it!  I didn’t post about days 5 through 8 because last week was hectic and included some very unexpected moments, but I did work on the challenge though I didn’t take pictures.

Here’s what I got rid of today:

  • 4 magazines
  • 3 plastic serving utensils I purchased for a birthday party which I didn’t like even when I bought them.  Go with your gut, D!
  • An often-used, but much abused dress-up tutu that the dog got to yesterday
  • A dull knife with nicks (Hmmm, what did hubby use it for?)
  • Several past-their-prime bath toys
  • The broken handle to a fan
  • Several catalogs, papers, coupons, etc (not pictured)

Did you do more decluttering?  If you have a blog and would like to share a link to your 7+ items as well, please feel free to do so in the comments.  If you don’t have a blog, please still share in the comments about your progress!  Encouraging one another is a big aspect of this challenge!

More posts in this series:

May Clutter-Busting Challenge: Day 2 through 4

clutter-busting-challenge logo

I’m joining Crystal of Money Saving Mom in her May challenge: Clutter-Busting Challenge: Get Rid of Seven Things Every Single Day in May!   Wanna join me?  Here’s what you do…

Each week day in May go through your house and find 7 things you can toss, donate, recycle, sell, or find someone else who can use them.  That’s it.  These can be big or small things, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you actually throw them out, sell them, donate them, recycle them, or find someone else who can use them. But such a simple challenge can reap huge rewards.  I bet many of us will find more than 7 items some days.

day 2 through 4

I’m still in love with this challenge.  I didn’t post on day 2 and 3 so this picture includes days 2-4.  I trashed MANY items so they aren’t included, but the bag is filled with clothes, toys, and kitchen items.  I also recycled about 20 magazines and catalogs.  And I love getting rid of extra electrical items like old phone chargers.  I got rid of more than 7 items each day and  I feel lighter already.

Did you do more decluttering?  If you have a blog and would like to share a link to your 7+ items as well, please feel free to do so in the comments.  If you don’t have a blog, please still share in the comments about your progress!  Encouraging one another is a big aspect of this challenge!

More posts in this series:

May Clutter-Busting Challenge: Day 1

clutter-busting-challenge logo

Happy May!  I have a feeling May is going to be a good month.  Power of positive thinking, right?

To get me going on the right track, I’m joining Crystal of Money Saving Mom in her May challenge: Clutter-Busting Challenge: Get Rid of Seven Things Every Single Day in May! 

*Note: I am a big fan of Crystal, her plan and goals for debt-free living, helpful tools, and  her nonjudgmental, encouraging personality.  She shares her experiences & advice with such grace and understanding.  In addition, her challenges are simple yet beneficial to myself, my family, and my home. 

Wanna join me?  Here’s what you do…

Each day in May you go through your house and find 7 things you can toss, donate, recycle, sell, or find someone else who can use them.  That’s it.  But such a simple challenge can reap huge rewards.  I bet many of us will find more than 7 items some days.

I’m having my husband and little girl join me in the challenge.  They may not take part each day, but they can certainly help many days of the month.  Among other things, it’s a great way to spark continual conversation with my 4-year old about helping those less fortunate than us, recycling, cutting back on waste, being grateful for our many blessings, and keeping our home clutter-free and peaceful.

Each day I’ll share a picture of the 7 items we are booting out of our home.  If you have a blog and would like to share a link to your 7+ items as well, please feel free to do so in the comments.  If you don’t have a blog, please still share in the comments about your progress!  Encouraging one another is a big aspect of this challenge!

I was eager to begin–I ♥ decluttering!  Here are the things I’m purging today:

day 1 pic

We didn’t spend more than a few minutes on collecting items today because we were pushing dinner hour.  So Munchie and I each claimed a spot (I took the kitchen and she took a toy basket) and we took less than five minutes to find our items.  We trashed a few items before I took this picture so our item total was 16 or 17.  Woohoo!  Imagine what we could do in 15 minutes?  Or 30?

Alrighty…your turn!  Do come back and let me know if you find any items to get rid of today.  :)

Our Menu (Week of November 25, 2012)

Sun-dried Tomato Chicken Spaghetti

I’m back to using a menu plan after WEEKS of not having one.  It was a bad idea to not have a plan…a very bad idea.  No way am I going without one during the busy weeks ahead.  This week I’m keeping it easy and will use as many pantry and freezer items as I can.  I have a lot of chicken in the freezer so we will have a bit of chicken overload, but no one has ever complained about multiple chicken days around here.  I dare em… :)

Breakfasts

Note: I often eat a different breakfast than the ones I feed my family.  For example, lately I eat a bit of Greek yogurt with fresh berries, peaches, ground flaxseed, wheat germ, almond milk, and a few other ingredients.  It fills me up and is incredibly nutritious.

Breakfasts

  • Herbed egg-in-a-hole, berries
  • Oatmeal with bananas, dried cherries & flax, smoothies x 2
  • Breakfast casserole, fruit, o.j. x 2
  • Baked apples, berries, tea
  • Spinach Quiche, tea/coffee/juice, fruit salad

Lunches

  • P.b. sandwiches with homemade blackberry jam, peach-banana fruit salad
  • Potato cakes, tomato basil soup
  • Chicken salad sandwiches, berry smoothies
  • Veggie quesadillas, guacamole
  • Munchie’s Choice Snacky lunch: hard-boiled eggs, cheese bites, grapes, pears, crackers
  • Leftovers plus fruit x 2

Dinners

  • Potato corn soup w/bread
  • Baked tacos, guacamole, corn salad
  • Dilly baked salmon, sautéed green beans, whole wheat couscous w/veggies
  • Baked chicken w/gravy, green beans, potatoes, broccoli, and carrots
  • Sesame chicken, short grain brown rice, garlic broccoli, spicy cucumber, sautéed cabbage
  • Sun-dried Tomato Chicken Spaghetti
  • Leftovers Night

Snacks, Desserts, & Fun Extras

  • Fruits & raw veggies, crackers with hummus & cheese, yogurt with fruit

Freezer Cooking & DIY Session:  I don’t do a traditional once-a-month session, but generally choose 2 or 3 recipes. 

*No freezer cooking this week

What’s going down in your kitchen this week?  If you have a menu plan on your blog, leave a link! :)

Our Menu (Week of October 7, 2012)

Apple Filled Pull-Apart Bread

Breakfasts

Note: I often eat a different breakfast than the ones I feed my family.  For example, lately I eat a bit of Greek yogurt with fresh berries, peaches, ground flaxseed, wheat germ, almond milk, and a few other ingredients.  It fills me up and is incredibly nutritious.

Breakfasts

  • Taiwanese breakfast, melon, tea
  • Sunrise berry flax smoothies, toast strips
  • Egg n’ hashbrowns, watermelon, o.j.
  • Apple pull-apart bread, watermelon, tea/juice
  • Herbed egg-in-a-hole, berries
  • Oatmeal with bananas, dried cherries & flax, smoothies x 2

Lunches

  • P.b. sandwiches with homemade blackberry jam, peach-banana fruit salad
  • Avocado cucumber rolls, pears
  • Corn-dog muffins (to use up the all natural dogs we’re using for chili dog dinner–which are GOOD, btw), crudités, apples
  • Autumn lunch for Munchie, healthy milkshake :)
  • Lunch out
  • Leftovers plus fruit x 2

Dinners

  • Dilly baked salmon, sauteed veggie couscous, cauliflower with bell pepper
  • Slow cooker beef stew, rolls (didn’t get to this last week)
  • All-natural uncured chili dogs, dill salad, crudités
  • Homemade potstickers (my mom’s recipe), broccoli & peppers
  • Pizza roll-ups, chopped salad
  • Kogi tacos, cucumber slaw, sauteed cabbage
  • Leftovers Night

Snacks, Desserts, & Fun Extras

  • Fruits & raw veggies, crackers & cheese, yogurt with fruit

Freezer Cooking & DIY Session:  I don’t do a traditional once-a-month session, but generally choose 2 or 3 recipes. 

*No freezer cooking this week

What’s going down in your kitchen this week?  If you have a menu plan on your blog, leave a link! :)