Goal #28 - UPDATE IV

Still ample items from the freezer to make meals from. I may have to extend this challenge!

Menu from this week:
  • Hamburger Steaks (new to me)
  • Slowcooker Mediterranian Chicken Thighs (a favourite)
  • Grilled meat skewers w/ humus, warm pita, salad
  • Ginger Beef & Broccoli
  • Shrimp Provencale
  • Ham Carbonara
Same old same old. Dairy, bread, eggs, veg, fruit. (And a few special veg for the Provencale, namely a fennel bulb and fresh basil.)


Digital Gold Mine

I found a bin of games that the kids never play with anymore, so I posted them online and eight of them are gone already! I hope the new owners enjoy them too.


GOAL #31 - The 'Ultimate'

Background: I love the layered flexibility that cardigans give me. Cozy comfort at my chilly desk, but I can take it off as I warm up bustling around the house. Cardigans are a staple in my work-from-home uniform. I own them in varying lengths, weights and colours.

These week I went out with my sister for lunch downtown and we happened by a wonderful little shop, that happened to have an excellent end-of-season sale rack. Oh the pretty things! After trying on a few items that I rejected because of price, fit or style, I found what may just be the ULTIMATE cardigan!

This particular purchase (that I am wearing right now) has a nice long sleeve length, a great collar, a good overall length, ample front pockets (great for the MP3 player) and is constructed from a nice dark waffle fabric finished with good quality stitching. And it was on the 60% off rack! It has instantly rendered several cardigans in my closet as obsolete!

GOAL#31 - Cull the inferior Cardigans!

Process: Now that this 'perfect'  sweater has come into my life, I will have to try on all the others in the closet and give a quick pruning to my collection.

Verdict: OMG that was a really really hard challenge. I pulled out every cardigan I own, and to my shock and amazement I had TWO DOZEN (24) hanging in my closet! Asking the same questions I always do for clothes:
Does it fit?
Is it flattering?
Is it comfortable?
Has it seen better days?
Does it fit into my current life?

All 24 of them had redeeming qualities! I had to get fierce. Finally I removed FOUR that I either never chose or  - being completely honest - were too frumpy (but those are the softest ones so it was tough). My new, ultimate cardigan displaced 4, not-quite-perfect ones.

So is there any item in your kitchen/closet/garage that is so very perfect that every other similar item pales by comparison? I challenge you to find new homes for the cheap imitations. If it is simply too hard to be left with 'only' one, keep the #2 favourite as a "back up" and see if you can part with anything that disappoints. (I know, I couldn't even get close to that dream with the cardigans, but at least I made an effort and came away with some success.)

So many things - MORE GOALS

There are so many things in houses that are never looked at. Nooks and crannies full of the seldom thought about stuff that we keep "just in case". Think about all the little baskets/bins/decorative boxes tucked around the average person's place that are there to "organize" miscellaneous bits and bobs. And how often - when those bits and bobs are required - can we remember which container they are in? Well I for one only remember where the item is only about 20% of the time, which tells me there are TOO MANY PLACES TO LOOK!

GOALS! Sort through and Eliminate Excess Containers in One Room Each Week.
  • Goal #32 Master Bedroom
  • Goal #33 Livingroom
  • Goal #34 Office/Den
  • Goal #35 Kitchen/Dining
  • Goal #36 Entryway/laundryroom
  • Goal #37 Bathrooms
  • Goal #38 Other bedrooms
  • Goal #39 Linen/Broom closets
I have been through all these bins when I moved a few months ago, but even while I went through them I said the "oh that's where that is" and closed the container up for the move. It's all blurred together now... the red felt hatbox in the bedroom? Or was it the little seagrass basket in the livingroom? Maybe the bright green bin under the sink in the bathroom? The hunt begins, ending with me finding the item... eventually.

The problem is these bins are pretty, they are "organizing solutions", and that is a good thing -- in theory. For most people I think they are really "hiding places"!


Goal #28 - Update III

Pantry challenge is entering week #3 and no suffering or weird foods made yet!
Bonus: I cleaned out the fridge and tossed some expired dressings and 3 forgotten plums.

  • bananas,
  • eggs,
  • cream,
  • milk,
  • bread,
  • fresh ground sirloin beef,
  • bagels,
  • sour cream,
  • deli meats,
  • kale salad mix (new to me and YUMMY!)

Menu from last week:
  • Perogies w/ farmer's sausage
  • Halibut w/ lemon confit sauce on rice
  • Pork tenderloin in a Souvalaki marinade w/ Greek potatoes
  • Rueben Sandwiches
  • Pumpkin Leek Soup
  • Tortellini Alfredo
  • Spaghetti w/ home-made meat tomato sauce
  • Spinach and Mushroom Strata Casserole

Not bad at all! The boys gave funny looks to the strata casserole, but otherwise no complaints.


GOAL #30 - Slack-ing Off

Situations change for everyone, it's a part of life! Maybe it's time to recognize and honour these transitions with a wardrobe revisit! After all, waistlines change, jobs change, fashions change too.

GOAL # 30 - Make sure all my slacks are ones that are loved!

Process: Pull ALL my pants out of the closet. Try every pair on.
Do they still fit?!
Are they flattering/comfortable?
Are they deperately out of fashion?
Are they favourites?
Do they have any real function in my current life?

I know I have culled my "office" slacks before - after all I haven't worked in an office environment in 12 years! And sice I no longer require black slacks everyday, I realistically don't need very many of them, maybe even just 2 pairs right? There were MANY more than that thanks to my sister's fancy work dress code and generous nature. I said "yes" too many times when she was cleaning out her closet. After all she has excellent taste, a very similar body shape and a decent clothes budget. I got real. And the pictures speak for themselves really....

Verdict: 9 pairs of slacks are off to the thrift shop (leaving me with an ample 8 pairs for every occassion I can think of!) I let go of MORE than HALF!!! I also culled 5 pairs of jeans, leaving only my 5 very favourites. HALF of the pants that were in my closet were redundant or uncomfortable!

Getting rid of these extra clothing items also frees me from the guilt of never wearing the fancy brands, or ugly feelings from a bad fit. I feel good about this - and about giving these good quality slacks to charity.
"Office Slacks" Starting Point:
The Donation Pile of Slacks!
The Donation Pile of Jeans!
Much Easier to get the "keepers" from my closet!


Nobody is Perfect

Into my 3rd week of Goal#28's Pantry Challenge I have had a slip up. I bought some canned and dry goods yesterday. (Crackers, Juice, Coconut Milk and Spaghetti Noodles)  I feel bad that my willpower slipped, but I'm not beating myself up about it too long. These are items that I use regularly, then again I know I could have lived without ANY of these things for 2 more weeks - darn sale prices!!


GOAL #29 - Colour me Perfect

I like having my nail polish in a portable container... first of all it's practical to carry where I will be decorating my nails. AND it's like a treasure chest full of sparkling jewels, I get a thrill out of opening it and seeing all the pretty colours.
Since moving and consolidating all like things into one spece (without the excuse of having 2 floors/levels to have things on). I found out all my nail polishes don't fit into my favourite container any more! Though we technically have waaaay more bathroom storage here, I really want to fit them all in the "treasure chest".

GOAL #29: Fit all my nailpolishes into their home container.

Process: Gather them all together and weed out the bad quality polishes, the less-than-flattering colours and the ones I never ever choose to wear. The only way I could remember which ones were good or pretty on me (not just pretty in the bottles) I had to try them all out! By doing this I also figured out which ones stayed tacky too long and which ones had annoying brushes. Then I wore them for a day to see which clashed with my skin tone or wore off too easily.

Verdict: I managed to get rid of 6 colours and now the treasure chest closes easily!

Bye Bye Extra Nail Polishes!


A week ago, I bought a 100% cotton v-neck sweater at the thrift shop thinking it was a "sure thing"  - after all I love cotton garments and v-necks are my favourite cut.

Alas, though comfortable, it turns out the fit is a bit off and the pattern/colour isn't as awesome on me as I would have hoped. In short I will likely choose other sweaters in my closet to wear instead.

In the words of Homer Simpson "Du-oh!"

My normal instinct is to "give it another chance" because I spent good money on it (even thrift store prices is money spent). This time, I made a decisive choice to cut my losses and give it back to the thrift shop as a lesson learned.

That is a monumental moment for me! I wonder how many more of these "mistakes" are lurking un-loved in my closet?

Lesson of the day: Let go of the guilt, and let go of the reminder of the mistake. GET IT OUT OF THE HOUSE!

Goal #28 Update II

It's harder than I thought to resist the pantry items on SALE this week!
But, I have to remind myself... they WILL go on sale again, they WILL go on sale again.

Food shopping this week:
  • Bagels
  • Bread
  • Eggs
  • Milk x2
  • Cream x2
  • Green Peppers
  • Cucumber
  • Bananas
  • Oranges
  • Pears
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Baby Watermelon
  • Applesauce for kid's lunches
  • Juice for kids lunches
  • Chips (for a guilty snack)
  • Cream Cheese

Menu from this week:
  • Tamale Pie (green peppers went into it)
  • Roast Chicken Breast and Mashed Potatoes (w/ frozen corn)
  • Fish fingers and fresh-made potato wedges (w/ fresh cucumber slices)
  • Cream cheese Shrimp Fetticini (w/ frozen brussel sprouts)
  • Chicken Tikka Masala (w/ saag-style spinach)
  • Pork Chops in Creamy Mushroom Sauce (w/ mashed potatoes, frozen veg)
  • Beef Noodle hamburger helper adding mushrooms (w/ fresh brussel sprouts)
Not too bad. Nothing weird on the menu yet. And still lots of options coming from the freezer and pantry. Actually there is barely a dent in my supplies!


Puppy Love

You know that feeling of infatuation, distraction and warm tingly desire that new love brings.... of course you do, we all feel it at one time or another. Sometimes the puppy love is over the silliest things, a new handbag, a sweet pair of shoes, CHOCOLATE. When you see it, you gotta have it and that is when you try to make owning it happen.

My latest technique for letting go of items is asking "Would I buy this again?"

Funny, even if it was something I "had to have" when I got it, even if it was something I totally loved, I have learned to recognize that the love has fizzled, and I might not buy it in my present life. Admitting that the relationship with this thing isn't what it used to be gives me the power to let go.

I loved these things, and for that I'm thankful for the experience of owning it. Finding to courage to say goodbye to such a tiny fraction of a physical souvenir doesn't have to be as difficult as we make it out to be.

The more I let go, the more open I feel.

Instead of leaving the opportunity to think "oh I used to love this" with that pang of sadness of days gone by, or even worse thinking "I spent a lot on that" when it's not being used anymore, I say LET IT GO! Release the guilt and the sad nostalgia.

Today's hit list:
2 small purses I used to adore. Purses I would not buy if I saw them today.


Goal #28 update I

It's a week into Goal #28, and here is the progress

Food items purchased:
Milk, eggs, cream, cottage cheese, fresh fruit, coffee beans

Menu from last week:
Lamb leg roast (this doesn't really count for the goal because my father-in-law came over with it to make us a feast on New Years Day dinner)
Banana bread (from frozen bananas I've had forever)
Pot Roast (beef from freezer)
Beef stew (from leftover pot roast and frozen veg)
Pumpkin Leek Soup (using the pumpkin that was uncut and leftover from Halloween!)
and tonight.... Lasagna (using spinach from freezer)


What have you done for me lately?

Moving forward, I keep finding things to let go. It's getting easier to make decisions! It's all about the questions I have for the things I encounter...

  1. Have I used you this year?
  2. Do I have another one/a better one?
  3. Do you add value to my family's life?
  4. Do I love you?
  5. Will someone else appreciate you more?
  6. Are you easy to replace?

Not all the questions need to be asked to know that the item can leave my home without regret.

Today's items... Disneyland souvenir coffee tins and an empty tea tin that I liked the shape of.


GOAL #28 - Starting the year off right

Welcome to 2013!

In the spirit of tradition, it is time to make resolutions for the upcoming year.

For the purpose of this blog (and my sanity) I will continue to strive for
"A place for everything and everything in it's place"

And to kick things off right...

Goal #28: No freezer or pantry items bought in January!

That's right! It's pantry shopping time! No suffering will be happening as my freezer and pantry are ridiculous at the moment (hense the need to do this).

Process: How it works is that I MUST create meals from foods that I already have in the house. The only exception are the fresh items that are staples (milk, eggs, bread, fruits/veg).

The purpose of this goal is to save a bit of money, use up items that have been forgotten before they expire, and clear space for new opportunities!

I will be posting regularly to let you know how it's going. Today I took inventory of the freezer to see what fun meals can be made this month.


inventory : as of 10 minutes ago!