Tuesday, September 30, 2014

September Goals

A few things got moved to October, out of necessity, and the beginning of October is focused on some heavy projects for school I need to finish. But overall, my goals went very well and I'm feeling good!

Reach out to at least 1 friend by email, phone, or in person daily
Host friends at our home 2x- We entertained friends 3x this month!
Accept at least 1 social invitation from others- several dates made
Stay in close contact with both sides of our family

Dropoff my completed retirement contribution for the year
Finish the final mini home reno project for this year
Cashflow 2 more courses - moved to October
Submit tuition reimbursement forms for completed courses- moved to October
Submit tuition reimbursement forms for upcoming courses- moved to October

Eat healthy this month- we loaded up on fruits and veggies every trip to the grocers!
Run 4 days/week in preparation for my race- only running 2-3 days/wk :(
Read for pleasure each night before bed- most nights at mid-month, fell off this a bit at the end
Attend our annual physicals
Refocus on time with my husband


Continue full-time work
Attend a committee meeting- it was cancelled but I was ready to go!
Thank you card to my coworker who helped me network for school last month- moved to October

Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday Favorites: Fall TV

I just love the new shows on tv in fall!

So, for my first time, I'm linking up to Friday Favorites with Andrea, Narci and Erika.

This month is transitional, as I say goodbye to old favorites, and welcome some new shows into my regular lineup:

1) Farewell BB16

This was a really fun season, especially cause I had pegged Derrick as one of my favorites early on (along with Nichole and Christine!). 

2) Farewell Bachelor in Paradise

I really didn't enjoy this but I watched the whole season. If they ran it again, I probably wouldn't tune in. I really just prefer watching the Bachelor with my girls.

3) Carry on Y&R

This is my favorite soap and I've been watching for over 20 years so I love catching up on this. I normally don't get a chance to watch every day so usually I tune in for a few episodes in a row a couple times each week!

4) Welcome Back Grey's!

Hey there Seattle- welcome back to my weekly rotation. Almost a decade with the doctors already? Time flies. Remember when...

5) Welcome Back Survivor!

Blood v Water is entertaining. I wasn't intrigued by the first episode but I'm willing to stick around for a few more and see if it engages me. At least the first vote went the way I wanted it to. I didn't actually finish the last season because I felt it was dragging.

and last but not least...

6) Hello newcomer... How to get away with murder

I'm not sure how I feel after the premiere but I'm willing to give it a few weeks and see if it grows on me. Cause Shonda is pretty awesome. But if it's no good I may tune in for some Biggest Loser instead this fall although the cast of professional athletes does not appeal to me.

What are you watching this fall?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Deep Clean and Declutter: Week 4

This month, I'm deep cleaning and decluttering at least an hour a week. I spent time recleaning several areas of our house where we welcome guests. And my focus was drawers and closets, with a start in the bathroom since I had cleaned those for guests the past 2 weeks.

10 items I decluttered:
6 bottles of expired sun protection (I honestly don't know WHY I kept them all summer but now that summer is over I feel okay letting them go)
2 board games we have never played since we moved 4 years ago
2 books related to games that we have had for 5+ years and never read
And, as a bonus, a bottle of liquor we brought out for a gathering with friends and will not replace

Once again, probably too easy but it's done and I felt good about getting rid of more clutter and looking at how far I've come in the past 2 years.

As for recleaning, here was my plan:
_x_ vacuum the living room
__ vacuum living room furniture
__ wipe down living and dining room baseboards with bleach wipes to clean them
_x_ sweep the kitchen and dining room
__ sweep the bathroom
__ wipe down the bathroom counters
__ clean guest toilet
__ switch out fall/winter clothes for summer/spring clothes

As you can see, the plan did not get finished. Health-wise I've had a bit of a rough week here as we enter a new phase of treatment to try to get my issues under control and it has left my energy zapped. BUT, the good news is that in addition to 2 more days of work this week I will reattempt my cleaning plan later this week and still try to get it done "this week". I'll let you know Monday before our guests arrive if I was able to whip the house back into ship shape 1 more time this month!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Deep Clean and Declutter: Week 3

MoneysavingMom challenged us to declutter this month.

I already worked on my living room and bedroom and have tossed more than 2 dozen items. This week, I tackle the kitchen.

Insert photo of 3 full garbage bags here (use your imagination but trust me- yuck)

It's scary how easy it was to find 10 items. Does anyone else find they save random foods that were purchased or gifted because it seems so wrong to throw the food out? Then they expire. Including really random food and condiments you apparently NEVER USE in your kitchen? Check this list out:
1) 6 months expired, unopened blue cheese dressing (sadness)
2) 2 years expired, unopened, saffron
3) 2 years expired, unopened, remoulade jars
4) a can of stuffed grape leaves we were gifted but never used
5) a can of expired cranberry sauce
6) 6 months expired, unopened, flavored mayo
7) several bags of almost empty dog treats which I emptied and condensed down to 1 small jar and the box from the protein bars that I noticed had just 1 left so I finished that off, to keep my energy up and propel the decluttering forward
8+9) a jar of pepper jelly that we hadn't finished from months ago which I rinsed and gifted with another empty jar to a friend who uses them
10) 2 plates that my husband had put away in our cabinets weeks ago that actually belong to a friend

Because it was so easy to get rid of things this week I refocused my energy on cleaning the main living areas of our home since we are entertaining 3 times in the next 2 weeks! This task list took about 4 hours and my husband helped by taking on half the kitchen work. While this was not an easy task my house looks (and smells) fantastic which was my goal in taking on this challenge this month!
_x_ cleared countertops and thoroughly wiped them before replacing stuff to them
_x_ returned items to the walk in pantry area so as not to crowd the kitchen
_x_ scrubbed the microwave and stovetop
_x_ swept the kitchen and dining room floors
_x_ swept the guest bathroom
_x_ cleared the guest bathroom counters and wiped them down with wipes
_x_ cleaned the guest bathroom toilet

Next week I hope to do a once-over cleaning of the main areas again (to keep it fresh for guests) and to declutter the closets and clothing drawers. This is a good time of year to switch our clothing out (READ: take down the sundresses and hang up the sweaters). I also use this time of year to really examine each piece of clothing and decide whether I wore it at all since I hung it up and whether I need to keep it or let it go. Does it fit? Is it stained? Is it outdated? Is it too young for me and is it time to let it go? Those are the types of things I consider. 

I usually make my husband carve out a few hours of time to try all of his clothes on and ask him to pare down his tshirt collection as well. So I suspect next week's list will have at least 10 items too... though it's always a challenge to let go of our clothing (especially since I tossed quite a few things away just last week!). But I'm sure we can do it. I also found some things in the bathroom and plan to declutter in there a bit. And if all else fails, that basement always has a few great items to toss.

Do you have tiny closets that require you to reexamine your wardrobe seasonally too?

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Rich In Eggs

A friend with chickens shared her excess eggs with us. As a result, we are rich in eggs. Dozens and dozens of eggs.  Here's what we are cooking with eggs:
-Egg Salad
-Fried Rice with eggs
-Hardboiled eggs in my lunch time salad for added protein
-Eggs over easy/scrambled eggs with toast

Here are 2 more creative uses of the eggs I'm looking forward to trying this week for the first time:
Spaghetti Pie- (from www.oprah.com)
  • 1 pound cooked spaghetti (cooled)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup grated Pecorino
  • 1/2 cup grated Swiss cheese
  • 4 slices American cheese
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil


Mix the cooled spaghetti, eggs and grated cheeses together in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the oil to a large nonstick sauté pan and heat to medium heat. Once hot, add a handful of the spaghetti mixture to the pan and flatten it out to the edges. 

Lay the 4 slices of American cheese and add another layer of the spaghetti mixture on top. Cook for about 5 minutes and flip, cooking for another 5 minutes on the other side until golden brown. 

Turn out onto a cutting board and slice as you would a pizza, and serve.

Tortilla Espaniola- (from allrecipes.com)
1/2 cup olive oil
2 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and cut
into 1/4-inch slices
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, sliced into rings
6 eggs
1 roasted red pepper, drained and cut
into strips
3 ounces Spanish serrano ham, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian
1.Heat 1/2 cup olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add half of the potato slices, and cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 15 to 20 minutes. When done, remove potatoes to a large bowl, leaving oil in the skillet. Cook the remaining potatoes in the oil until tender, then add to the bowl, leaving oil in the skillet. Gently toss potatoes with salt and pepper to taste.
2.Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in onion rings, and gently cook until soft and golden brown, about 15 minutes. Spoon onions onto a plate, and allow to cool while the potatoes finish cooking.
3.Whisk eggs in a large bowl until smooth. Stir in cooled onions, roasted peppers, and serrano ham. Gently fold in cooked potatoes.
4.Heat the skillet with the reserved oil over low heat. Pour in the egg mixture, and gently cook until the sides have started to set and the bottom has turned golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Loosen the tortilla with a spatula if needed, then carefully slide onto a large plate. Turn the skillet upside down and place onto the uncooked side of the tortilla. Turn the skillet right-side-up, and remove the plate. Return the skillet to the stove, and continue cooking until the tortilla has set in the center, about 4 minutes.
5.Slide the tortilla onto a serving plate and allow to cool to room temperature. Cut into six wedges and sprinkle with parsley to serve.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Free Holiday Cards through Tuesday

Go to Shutterfly.

Add 10 holiday cards to your cart (customize them with family names, photos and messages for free!).

Enter code: sneakpeek at checkout.

All you pay is shipping $5.99.

I love this deal and take advantage of it every year if possible!

Happy Holiday Shopping ;)

Deep Clean and Declutter: Week 2

My goal for deep clean this week was the master bedroom.

Yup, it needed a sound cleaning.

_x__ Carpet vacuumed and ready to steam clean (tonight!)
_x__ All clothing off the floor
_x__ All laundry washed, dried and put away (done on Wed, more to do now for next week but that's ok, at least the big laundy basket got tackled this week!)
___ Change the sheets and make a pretty bed (after I steam clean tonight but before bed I promise!)

The closet is a monster in and of itself, so beyond picking up the floor and vacuuming in there I'm saving that to pair with the bathrooms for cleaning next week since I spent an hour cleaning in there this morning and will likely spend another 2 hours steam cleaning tonight.

Here are my current "after" pics:

My other goal is to declutter and this week I aimed to make a giveaway box of 10 items:
1) A holiday candle we wouldn't use
2) A plastic tote we no longer need
3) A car accessory
4+5) Two pair of corduroy pants my husband will not wear
6) A pair of white pants I was gifted but will not wear
7) A swimsuit top that no longer fits (TOO BIG!!!  YES!)
8) A large vacuum and broomful of dirt...ok, those really were thrown away but I'm not counting them in my purge numbers! A small bookmark I plan to gift to a friend soon
9) Three matches to light candles... again, not counting those but I was tempted because I was really digging here at the end... a nightgown I no longer need
10) Another huge stack of books (at least 7) to the "to be sold" pile
*11) a too small dress for me

Additionally, I threw away several grocery bags full of garbage (or 1 large hefty bag) and a few nasty piles of hair, dirt, and grime!

Plus, I tried to be intentional with things we have to use them up before we go out and buy more- including food and drink we shared with friends or made dates to share with friends, a set of disposable flatware that we will use for entertaining this month to keep it easy since we made 3 dinner dates with friends, and holiday candles that I'm trying to be intentional about using up this year since I tend to buy ahead and put them away and sometimes forget to burn them all!