5 a day continued

The 5 a day continues around here and the only problem I've been having is sticking to just 5 a day. I go somewhat nuts when decluttering.  This was one such nutty day.  I deeply decluttered the office which was sorely needed. The bookcase, desk and I can breathe again.  Lots was given to friends and most was donated to Family Services.  I think when I get a massive declutter done I will be able to shift to just 5 a day.

In other news, Alex swapped out the drop leaf desk for this primitive one and I have to say I really really love it.  It's funny because for years whatever piece of furniture I've had in this spot didn't contain any storage.  Then we pulled the dropleaf desk up from under the house and suddenly it was full of stuff.  Now I'm down to one big drawer and a little one and it feels better.  So much of what I crammed in the desk was "just in case" stuff.

This antique pheasant was a christmas gift.  For the record, I have no problem with antique taxidermy. This guy is almost 100 years old and is beautiful and ethically I just have no issues with him in my home.  If you do, I'm sorry about that.

I still have more to declutter.  How about you?  x


5 a day

For those of us struggling to get started on a decluttering journey, why not try 5 a day?  The idea is that every single day you get rid of 5 items of junk in your house.  Often I'm overwhelmed if a task seems too great to get started on so breaking it down to just 5 a day is so doable.  Research shows that clutter stresses us out and our cortisol levels actually raise when we look around and see disarray.

Technically if you did this every day for a year, you'd rid yourself of 1825 items.  My advice would be to start small.  Open a drawer and quickly scan it and remove 5 useless things.  Either put them in the trash or in a box by the front door.  At the end of the week you could have 35 items to take to Goodwill or give to friends. Whatever you do, empty the box so it is ready for the next week.

If you are stuck because like me you fear that you may need the item one day, ask yourself when you last used it.  Is it something you only use at Thanksgiving or Christmas?  Then keep it because you don't want to have to replace it, just put it in a less used drawer. I bet you will find that 5 items a day isn't enough.  I only have 1 closet and a few drawers in my house and there is plenty of crap hiding in them that needs to go so let's get tidy! x


useful and beautiful

Since the first of the year I've been decluttering and organizing the house which is a real joy for me.  It makes me feel so calm.  The only obstacle that gets in the way of this task is the idea that I may need this item someday, and it's often true.  Case in point, last summer I tried several times to sell that Dash and Albert rug on eBay and it never sold.  And here it is 6 months later and I'm using it.

Here's a photo of it back in May of 2012 when I first purchased it. I got a lot of use out of it then and sure enough I put it away in the basement and now it's back in the house.  I do that a lot.  What's your biggest obstacle to getting rid of things?  Is it memories, don't know where to start, or fear that you'll need it one day?

So far so good on the no spending for the month.  I really think this will be an easy month or 2 for me because my birthday, Christmas and anniversary are all within a few weeks of each other.  Summer will be another story. How's it going for you?  x


blog inspiration

Below are some of my favorite blogs I've found.  I'm always looking for new ones to read so if you have a favorite do say so in the comments.  These all have something to do with saving money, stretching money or just living a beautiful life.

Money Boss - I love this blog because JD's theory is that you run your household and finances as if it were a business, essentially making you the CEO of your life.

Money Diaries - This is a fascinating series on Refinery 29.  It chronicles young women living all over the world and how they spend their money.  It's a real eye opener.

Stone Soup - Fabulous recipes on the cheap.  Not all are vegan but seriously easy and delicious.

One Kings Lane Style Guide - Okay so this isn't exactly the best place to spend your time if you are easily tempted but their style guide shows some of the prettiest homes you'll ever lay eyes on. I get a lot of my inspiration here because I see so many of the items they sell at my local junk stores.  Just a nice place to relax, enjoy and get sneak peeks into great homes.

The Prudent Homemaker - Brandy must have a black belt in money saving because she has 8 kids and a gorgeous garden and home and thrives on very little income.  You'll just have to read to see how beautifully and economically they live.

Enjoy...and don't forget to leave me your favorite blogs.



january 2017

Happy new year to you all.  The weather here has been cold and rainy so we've been doing what we can to warm this place up. Every year I think I may sell these Pottery Barn drapes I bought several years ago but every winter I'm so thankful that I didn't. They are heavily lined and help keep us toasty.

I didn't decorate much for Christmas but I still can't bring myself to take away the buckets of greenery in the kitchen.

This is a random seldom seen corner of the kitchen.  That doorway leads to the master bedroom (lol) and bath (lolouder) that was added in 1930.

With all the rain we've gotten, the rose garden has been blooming. Fresh roses in the bedroom in January!

What do you have planned for the new year?  This is my hands down favorite time of year because it just screams possibilities.

Things I'd love to get done this year would include my never ending quest to declutter and simplify my life. Paring down my wardrobe and household goods would be wonderful.  With Alex now operating a v cool vintage store here in town does not help that quest tho.

Also, I've seriously toyed with the idea of a no spend year but don't know if I have that discipline in me any longer.  I know I can do a no spend January. Anyone else in?  Maybe we can go month to month and see where that takes us.  What do you think?  I can post about my weaknesses and you can too in the comments.

Also, also what about our diets???  I totally ate tons of sugar this holiday season.  The temptations were crazy.  I'm so ready to treat my body like the temple it is and clean up this mess.

What's on your list?

Also, also, also...New Year post from last year with a delish soup recipe




The kitchen was feeling a little christmassy this morning so I took a few snaps to share.

I just clipped greenery from the garden and brought it inside and voila, it's Christmas.

We've also pulled the chairs that were in the dining room into the kitchen for more comfort.  So I'm on the lookout for chairs for the dining room.  To be honest I've been searching for chairs for years and have never found exactly what I've wanted.  But I know patience is key to finding the perfect fit and I'm good with that.

Larry went all out and bought me these beautiful lilies from the .99 store.  Are any of you still shopping there?  The deals astound me every week.

Christmas is one week from today.  Take a deep breath.  xo


a kitchen refresh

Hello everyone.  This is my friend Judie's kitchen, or what it looked like just a few weeks ago.  She had turned the house into a rental several years ago and when she decided to move back in, her tenants had vandalized the house.  It's hard to see in this photo but they had stomped on the island and it destroyed the structure so the sink was actually sinking.  Many of the cabinets were ruined as were the countertops.  There was extensive damage throughout the house and Judie was pretty distraught as to how to fix it all. Luckily her insurance came through and she could make all the repairs but she was still a bit lost as to how and where to start and remain on budget.

That's when she invited me into her home to help.  We started with the kitchen.  The decision was made to save the existing cabinets and have them repaired or replaced.

We had them painted in Benjamin Moore's Simply White because I think it's the most beautiful white paint on the market.

The island was rebuilt and it begged to be painted Benjamin Moore's Old Navy.  So we did.

I took this photo yesterday and even though the cabinet pulls are not on yet, you get the gist.

Gorgeous, right?!

I'll do another post soon listing all the finishes, product details and more pictures of the rest of the house as progress is made.  It is going to be so beautiful!  What do you think? xo


my thanksgiving

I've been trying to figure out a way to tell my thanksgiving day story without all the pretty pictures that take me a ton of effort to create.  There are none of those.  But instead I think I'll tell you how my actual day went.

We decided just a few days before thanksgiving that the family would meet at my oldest son's home at 2pm for dinner.  I was relieved to not be hosting this year for a variety of reasons but I felt sorry for them as between the 2 of them they have 5 children and often have 2 more little cousins at their home.  7 kids with both parents working full time no less.  So dinner for 20 or so.

There was the usual dysfunctional cast of characters, including 1 perfectionist (me), a sweet holy roller, an atheist, a critic, 4 world class passive aggressives, 1 control freak (hello, me again), 3 recovering addicts and one still wrestling with recovery. Quite the ensemble.

But you know what?  It was fine.  Weeks of pre-worry which transferred into present day worry was a waste of time as usual.  No one killed anyone, no one judged and no harsh words were spoken. We were all kind to each other and accepted each other exactly where we are in each of our journeys.  The children were adorable. An older married couple kissed for the first time in years, I'm sure because of the lightness of the day. Young couples held hands and we all said grace.  The food was excellent and the house was immaculate but that was never the point. The point always was and will always be love.  xo


butternut squash stuffed mushrooms

Don't let this poor photo fool you into thinking these stuffed mushrooms are not delicious because they are. The sun was setting and this was the best image I could capture.  The recipe for the risotto is right HERE and is super easy.  I just brushed the insides of the cleaned portobello with some garlic infused olive oil and roasted them for about 10-15 minutes at 375.  I overdid it a little and the edges started to burn but they were still delicious.  I then scooped the risotto into each mushroom cap and added some chopped fresh cilantro.  You could add parsley or whatever other fresh herbs you have on hand.  Also some chopped walnuts or pecans would be wonderful.

Are you all ready for Thanksgiving?  I'm not.  I'm not even sure if I'm hosting yet!  No worries tho because if I am I'll just call and place an order for everything with our local gourmet market.  They do a great job.  I'll make these as a side or even a main dish for people like me.  Last year these Wild Rice stuffed Mushrooms were a huge hit.  So fingers crossed everyone will be happy.

I'm working on a side project helping a friend completely remodel/renovate her house.  So far it's coming out amazing and I cannot wait to share with you!



inspiration for trying times

These are trying times in many ways. Financially speaking many people are suffering terribly.  I stumbled upon the Ohio Department of Aging/Story Projects (Stephen Andrew Jones' great state) and have been reading everything I can on the site.  Times may be tough now but wow, compared to the Great Depression they are nothing. Reading these stories really show just how luxurious our lives have become. There's so much to learn from the people who actually lived through the depression and most think they are better people because of it.  It's amazing the generosity that existed then.  I wonder what it would be like now?  In the next week I'll be sharing more of these stories.  Enjoy...

Food, Cooking and Eating During the Great Depression

"Mom could make everything taste good - or maybe we were hungry. Our meals were mostly cornmeal mush, dandelions, sybutcel (another weed), puff balls, wheat from the grainery (with permission), wild rabbit, groundhog and turtle. Vegetables, if we had a garden, were cooked in salt water - no flavorings. We used a lot of tallow in place of lard."
- Wilma Blasiman, age 88, Lake Milton
"Our menu for the week was always the same: pasta, vegetables, beans and on occasion some fish. Sundays were always homemade spaghetti and meatballs. So, when we had 'Wonder' bread and bologna, it was a real treat. That did not happen very often."
- Madge Contin Browning, age 92, Columbus
"My mother and my husband's mother both canned a lot of vegetables and we would pick berries in the summer to can and make jelly. My father used to raise his own vegetable plants in a large hot bed, and after he planted all he wanted he gave away the rest of the plants to our neighbors. We also raised chickens (mostly for eggs) and rabbits. Once in a while, my mother would roast one of the chickens for a Sunday dinner. We had homemade beef noodle soup and vegetables nearly every day for our supper. If we didn't like what was put on the table, we just had to do without."
- Irene Burkhart, age 83, Shadyside
"Almost all of the food we ate came from Mom's huge garden. We also had plenty of fresh milk and eggs. Mom would exchange eggs for a few items from the peddler wagon twice a week. On rare occasions, there would be a few pennies left over and the peddler would bring down the little box of penny candy from the top shelf... In the fall, to provide for her five sons and two daughters, Mom would begin canning. She would fill mason jars with vegetables, meat or fruit, then store the pretty glass jars on the shelves in the dirt cellar underneath our home. There was also two large bins, one for potatoes we had dug and one filled with apples from our orchard. In the city, men formed long lines waiting to buy what they called day-old bread. We grew up with homemade bread and the aroma of freshly baked bread would drift up the open stairway at night."
- Ruth Maloney Cowgill, Marion
"(Mom) became friendly with the grocery store owner, so she would go to the store when he closed and bought any meat that would not keep - there was no freezer. Unsold vegetables that would not keep, he gave to her. So, we had lots of vegetable soup. She would can what she could for later."
- Carolyn Davison, age 86, Columbus
"My husband and I, with our baby daughter, Ruthie, worked for a family in Gustavus. It was a three-generation farm owned by the Waters family. There was a grandfather, son and grandson living in the household. I was the family housekeeper doing all the cleaning, laundry, cooking, baking and canning. I baked bread twice a week. We had no freezer, so everything had to be canned. All veggies and fruits were canned. Meats that were not smoked in the smokehouse were canned also. Meals were always ready at 7 a.m., noon and 6 p.m."
- Josephine DiBell, age 103, Cortland
"My father and several other friends made maple syrup back in the woods by the creek in the sugar bush shed that housed the special equipment needed to keep a fire going under the vats holding the sap collected from the maple trees. We kids were runners with food, etc. for the maple workers. The men put metal tubes in the trees and hung a bucket from them. When they were quite full, they dumped the sap into a large tub on a large sled pulled by the horses. They took the sap to the sugar bush and placed it in vats over the fire to be cooked down several hours before it became wonderful maple syrup. My mother made large fry-pan sized pancakes for us with yummy maple syrup for breakfasts."
- E. Marie Dornbrook, age 87, Parma Heights
"Everyone farmed and raised vegetables to can and eat. If your garden was in a sunny spot and you harvested early, your family shared with others who planted in a cooler spot and harvested later in the season (when they shared with you). Potatoes were buried. Meats were smoked for the winter. We didn't have a freezer and had to preserve food for leaner times."
- Laverne Hillyer Fifer, age 92, Northwood
"No matter where we lived, my father had a huge garden. He also had rabbits and goats. We became vegetarians long before it was in fashion. My brothers worked the garden with my dad."
- Theresa Giallombardo, age 80, Maple Heights
"Food was always a problem, or should I say the lack of food. The kids were always looking for a bit of something. If one kid had an apple to eat, they would surround that one child yelling 'core, core!' Then, one person would get the core of the apple to suck out the final bits of apple and juices that were left. The rest of us just stared and hoped that someday we could have an apple or a core to eat."
- Edna Hanson, age 76, Toledo
"My contribution to the family table was turtle. Coming home from school when I was quite small, I would look for turtle tails along the river or creek bank. I would pull the turtles out of the bank, being very careful not to get my fingers snapped off. I'd take the turtles home and turn them over to my father, and the next night we'd have a delicious supper of turtle meat. Later on, we'd have turtle soup."
- Elizabeth Helber, age 87, Logan
"Our Victory Diner customers varied from young to old. But one woman's plight and desperation stayed with me for life. This little old woman came daily into our diner for months, sat in what we called one of our small (2-seater) front booths, ordered only a cup of hot water. Then she drew out a single tea bag from her satchel-purse, put it into the cup. Finally she emptied our sugar bowl into the cup. She drank that. I suspect that's all she had to eat or drink for most of the day. Her plight and desperation haunts me to this day."
- Alice J. Hornbaker, age 82, Cincinnati
"Mom would walk to the East Market on Mt. Vernon Ave., basket in hand, to seek the best bargains at the vegetable and meat counters within. As she approached the meat counter, she would eye the row of calf heads very critically. These were the cheapest items at the butchers' stand. The way she would prepare it was to embed it in a shallow pan of rice and pop it in the oven. (In leaner times, we had our share of lard sandwiches.) Other meals she cooked were pots of sauerkraut and wieners, lima beans and neck bones, and hamburger patties smothered in a deep pan of thick brown gravy."
- Alex James, age 91, Columbus
"We never bought bread. My mother and grandmother always baked homemade rye bread, so we always had food on the table and extra to help feed our help, and they truly appreciated it in that time and era. We also made our own butter. I recall how many times I had to turn the churn. We also made ice cream in the old fashioned hand-turned ice cream maker."
- Carl Krob, age 82, Bridgeport
"The owner of our farm was Bob Pickens, who had a grocery retail store in Mt. Vernon. From the store, Bob gave us a fifty-pound sack of corn flakes that had gone stale. Mom put them in the oven and warmed them up. This was a good, cheap mix with the acre of soup beans we had planted."
- Wendell Litt, New Concord

Something to think about the next time we are in the grocery store...xo