Saturday, May 28, 2011

Kroger Has More to Recommend It!

I've gotten quite savvy (and my DD thinks this is quite amusing) about online coupons and all sorts of ways to save money at the grocery store. I was so excited to learn that, once I got my change of address filed with Kroger and tied my info to my shopper card, that suddenly I was getting good coupons relating to the things I buy in the mail every couple of weeks or so. Then, I go online to their website, and add coupons they offer there to my card. I don't have to cut anything, I just have to remember to buy the item. And since what I get coupons for are things I buy anyway, eventually I luck out and use them.

So it was kind of fun tonight, to decide I wanted one of their roasted chickens for dinners this weekend. I had a 70 cents off coupon. That chicken makes 4 meals for me. And when I got it home, I immediately portioned it out into those four meals, and took the meat off the carcass. Once that was done? I tossed it into a pot of filtered water...

I've been saving the ends of celery, carrots, peelings from those carrots and any odd veggie leftover I could find in freezer boxes. I had three of them (and only used two for this), but I tossed them in with the carcass, added in some spices, and ended up with the chicken stock you see up there in the photo. I've frozen it.

I wonder how many people actually throw out the bones without stewing them to smitherines?
OH! And one more thing that Kroger has going for it? I earn points with every dollar I buy and those points translate into cents off per gallon of gas at their pumps. Their prices are competitive with the lowest gas chain in town, Sheetz. So for 100 points ($100) I get 10 cents per gallon off on a fill-up...and so on...

(I also save on gasoline running to other stores...dontcha know?)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Reducing Plan

I lost weight, a lot of weight, and now my home needs a reducing plan, too. I have a two-bedroom townhouse – with full basement – and it’s packed to the rafters (ok, not really, as I believe there is an attic, but I haven’t been up and don’t want to go – that’s all the clutterbug needs, is to find more space to fill). I refuse to grant myself permission to expand any further.

Oh, yes, I’m a devoted clutterbug. Over the years, following the voluntary simplicity philosophy I so admire, I’ve had short spells of trying to rid myself of much of my stuff. I’d make a bit of a dent, but that’s all – this decluttering is hard, and it goes against the grain of everything I’ve ever done, who I’ve ever been. Of course, I’m NOT my stuff – or am I? I’m a diehard collector. What have I collected? Hmm…?

1. Stuffed Teddy Bears (they are all boxed up)
2. Ceramic cat figurines (they are all boxed up)
3. Swanky Swigs (I use about 5 of these, but most of mine are boxed up)
4. Rose-strewn china/porcelain decorated pieces (hmm…most are boxed up)
5. Depression glass – no specific pattern and while most of it is unpacked in the pie safe that houses such things, I don’t use them…might as well be boxed up.
6. CDs, 33-rpm vinyl records, cassette tapes (at least there are no 8-tracks)
7. Magazines, books
8. Fabric, yarn (ok the fabric is for my business, but there is a lot that’s not)
9. My mother’s stuff (I didn’t collect it, she did, but when she died, I couldn’t face giving it all up – it was HERS and I’d lost her, so I could keep her stuff – I’m still working on that one)

This time, encouraged by having to open my closets and rid myself of all those FAT clothes (they’re gone, or rather, they’re waiting in a couple of places to be either sold or donated and at the rate I’m going I just had better donate them), I have begun to look at other things carefully. And I’ve discovered I have a long, long way to go.

There are methods to this, of course, and one of them is that you will never be "there," as in, there will always be purging to do. I love the "one-in, one-out" idea but I need to try to do the one-in, two-out, at least till things are under control).

One decision that I’ve reached is that I will not, under any circumstances, allow myself to think that this time of decluttering is in advance of redecorating. I will admit that I might well find things in my “stuff” that I could repurpose to "redo" my space, but at least that won’t be spendy…and I won’t let myself KEEP things just for that purpose (unless I truly love it). Minimalism for me will not necessarily be Spartan. I like "My Grandmother’s Parlor" look. However, since I admit that it’s a PITA to dust and clean in that environment, I’ll keep the style, just cut the clutter and reduce the amount of stuff...

I'm putting myself on a different sort of reducing plan...

Thursday, May 05, 2011

OMG - Something to Aspire To?

I found this over on Laurie's blog today, and once I went to see the video? Well, I just knew I had to share it here...

Can you imagine? I'm actually totally in love with that little space - she's got everything she needs!
(hmm...did you see any way for her to wash her dishes? I didn't - I guess she uses the bathroom sink? Hopefully not paper plates, because of the waste.)

I love the Tiny House Blog and I have this romantic notion that I want to retire and live in a vintage camper (or maybe not such a vintage one, as I'd want a shower/bathroom...) so perhaps an efficiency apartment for most of the time and a vintage camper so I can meet up with the gals over on Sisters On The Fly (but I'm not into fly fishing, and frankly, if you put me on a horse, you'd end up taking me to the hospital in short order...I love horses, and used to love to ride, but my spine can't take the pounding anymore.)

Of course, the truth of the matter is? All of this is pretty obviously my subconscious mind telling me I have to get a handle on the STUFF in my home...weed out, give up and away, organize, pare down, and get serious about minimalism.

(But isn't it interesting how much of this is popping up all over the place these days?)

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Simplicity Itself!

There are times, I wish I could write really small so I could emblazon things that have special meaning to me on a Post-It to carry in my pocket. This is one of those posts...

Monday, May 02, 2011

Why A Nook?

I've mentioned it a time or two I'm going to discuss it a bit in detail. I bought a NOOK!

Frankly, I waffled a long time. I'm an insatiable reader...or I used to be. About 6 years ago, I started knitting again, very seriously. It's truly my passion and when combined with my handbag business and sewing, well, that takes up most of my free time. I did pick up audio books occasionally from the library, but I found that if the reader was good, I stayed focused on the story, but there were way too many readers whose voices simply enabled me to zone out. Well, I'm really not reading a book then, if I can't remember what it's all about, right?

So when the e-readers came out, I was intrigued...not because I could read and sew, that's pretty much impossible, but I can read and knit.

The other major issue with my failing to read was that physically I had problems - holding the books (they've gotten so heavy, even paperbacks are big) and reading (seeing the print...and let's face it, I'm only getting older, the vision is getting worse, and bifocals don't cut it, so I was reading without my glasses and the book had to be 3 inches in front of my face - not very appealing).

Still, I am a library gal. I believe in them, I even don't feel bad if I have to pay a late return fine, because I'm supporting the library! If I don't have to buy a book, that's a good thing.

E-reader creators mostly want you to buy their e-books (altho' there are some good free, or mostly free, options out there, which I'll be exploring soon).

I can knit with my Nook, I can read (there are 5 options of print size!) with my glasses on. The Nook, while a bit heavier than I'd hoped, is fairly easy to hold and read in bed.

My only complaint? I have spent a good deal on e-books. And I'm trying to console myself - with the exception of knitting books, I've not been buying books for the past few years. So...I suppose buying a few now isn't really the end of the world? I've had the Nook a bit over a week, and have finished 3 books.


Sunday, May 01, 2011

Changing My Spots?

Well, I certainly hope least a little bit. Tho' I'll always love leopard! *wink*

Sandra recommended the Miss Minimalist blog in my contest a week or so ago, and I've spent quite a bit of time poking around on her site. Then, after finally buying my Nook last weekend, I downloaded her book, The Joy of Less and have been reading and thinking (I'm not one who just plows thru these types of essays, I savor, and consider, and think about what's worked before and what hasn't.

And in thinking about her steps to take towards minimalism ... towards paring down, sweeping out the clutter and such, I had to factor in the hard commitment I have to two shows in September. My personal decluttering/mind reversal/spot-changing will have to take place around that deadline.

So this weekend, I made some progress:
That is a huge stack of knitting patterns that have been purchased or were offered free online. I had printed everything, some were in plastic sleeves, some were duplicates, and some were just ... well, just there. Now, everything has been gone thru, put into a logical sequence (I didn't have dividers, but that's on the shopping list), and slipped into page protectors...this was a job that confronted me every single time I walked into the knitting room/office, one I just couldn't face. It took about 35-40 minutes total. What was I waiting for?

Then I did this:

Saturday was our second Prescription Drug Take-Back event. I couldn't go last time, but a friend took the few odds and ends I had at the time...still I knew there were more - meds I'd been prescribed and ended up either being unable to take for my own sensitivities, or co-mix issues with other meds I take, or samples that didn't work, and sometimes just a regular drug I'd been taking and suddenly the doc thinks there's something better - you know how this goes, right? Well...the police, in conjunction with the DEA, have these opportunities to bring the drugs in, no questions asked, and you hand them off for proper disposal - not flushing them down the drain or tossing them into the landfill where they contaminate the environment...

I knew I had things in the back of that cabinet that I could drop off at this Take-Back, and I also knew there was a lot of stuff in that overstuffed cabinet that could be pitched. Friday night, I got down in the floor and tossed, left and right - you should have seen the personal care products, toiletries, cosmetics and such that aren't there anymore...(I'm notorious, if I spend money for something, I hang onto it until I either pitch it in sheer disgust (like now) or I use it up...sometimes that's not such a good thing!

And can you tell there's lots of SPACE behind the things at the very front of this cabinet.

Space. Room to breathe...
That's a nice feeling...