Happy New Year…..

Doesn’t September feel like a start to a new year??  It always does to me! The cool breeze is in the year, the kiddos are back in school.  We are living in an environment of growth, physically and mentally as our son starts his last year in Middle School.  I love that feeling of growth and want to continue to experience it myself.   Otherwise, my life feels stagnant.   I set goals every year to help myself to continue to grow. 

This time of year I always reflect on my goals for the current year and what I hope to accomplish in the upcoming year.   I am not a New Years Resolution sort of gal,  my new year starts in September.    Just seems logical as we get back into the routine of school.    And worst yet, when I reflect on my goals in September it gets me in gear to finish them by the end of the year.



2015’s Focus – SIMPLIFY

I try to keep my goals to a minimum, I only have 3 goals in 2015.   My goals for 2015 are as follows:

1.  Simplify My Life – to me this meant decreasing my commitments that kept me out of the house and focus on the  activities that matter to me.   I was just feeling stretch too thin and wasn’t enjoying it.   After many years,  I took a break from my book club.   Spending more time at home, having Sunday dinner with our children each week.  Doing things that really makes me happy.   The simple everyday things have more impact then we realize on our own happiness.    We also simplified our life by decreasing the amount of stuff we own.  This is an on-going project, but we have made a lot of progress.   We have no desire to keep up with the Jones’.  We are becoming more selective as to what is allowed to come into our home.  Our desire is to be DEBT FREE!!!

2. Park in the Garage –  this winter we will park at least one of our four cars in the garage!   We took time off in May and really made a big dent in cleaning the garage.  This weekend I had four boxes left to go through, which are done.   The garage is almost done, I just need to organize a bit and get rid of all the empty bins!!  

3.  Organize my photos –  this one I haven’t made much progress on at all.   By cleaning out the garage and around the house, I believe all photos all photos are all in one place.   I want to get at least one photo book made by the end of the year, so this will be my project I will be spending the rest of fall with. 




2016’s Focus – HEALTH

While most of my goals in 2015 focused on simplifying our life.  I hope in 2016 to focus on my health.   My goals for 2016 are as follows:

1.  Healthier  & Happier – I bought the book  52 Small Changes One Year to a Happier,Healthier You by Brett Blumenthal 2 years ago.   Each year I start the book and only make it through the few changes and then lose momentum.  This year I will make it through all 52 weeks.    By blogging about my experience each week, I hope I will get some of you to follow along with me and keep me accountable.     Plus this will get me blogging more than just my menu each week. 

2.  Writing Project – Complete a writing project I would like to do. This is a crazy idea I got one morning in the shower, which is by the way, the location my best ideas come from!!   I am going to give it a try….I blog, that is writing, right??

3.  Continue to Simplify……


What are your New Year Goals this September???   Join me in getting Healthier and Happier in 2016.  Look for a blog post each Wednesday discussing the new change we can make that week to aide us in being healthier and happier!


Happy  New Year!!


Simple Living in 2014: Dresser

Hello Friends,

How are you doing with your goals for 2014??  I am still plugging away on my January goal of Spring cleaning our bedroom.   As the weeks go by I find myself wanting to spend more time in my bedroom.   It is nearly done and brings me much joy!

Believe it or not, we are still battling the illness that started on Christmas for hubby and I.  Through it all I continue to do a little de-cluttering as my energy level permits.  Today, I take my last dose of prednisone, so I anticipate  a decrease in my productivity.   I am moving pretty slowly due to strained muscles in my ribs due to excess coughing.  But I have been able to keep up with my goals by doing a little bit at a time, slow and steady wins the race.

DRESSER:  Another area that tends to get out of hand quickly, my dresser.  While I love baskets to contain items, they tend to become a dumping ground for me.   I rather throw something in the basket instead of putting it away where it belongs.


AFTER:  This really was an exercise in putting things away where they belong.  Most items in the basket didn’t belong there, I simply neglected to put them away.  



My hubby is a very wonderful and supportive man, but getting rid of things is not easy for him.   I have learned that while I like simple, clean spaces, he likes to keep things that he might need.   It is a careful dance we do, but I never get rid of anything of his without his permission.   This weekend he did help me with the bedroom a bit.   He went through his dresser and closet and decluttered his clothes!   He did a great job and has a lot of space in his dresser now!

Hubby’s donate pile!

Other Tasks crossed off the “to do list” this week:  Scrubbed the walls and floor, washed the curtains and cleaned out the headboard.

As you can see we are nearly done with our bedroom.  We only have the bookcase left to de-clutter and then we are moving on to the Living Room for February!   Looking forward to a good Spring Cleaning of the living room before our our new furniture is delivered.

Hope you are finding ways to Simplify Life in 2014!!  



Simple Living in 2014: Our Bedroom – Corner

Hello Friends,

Illness still plagues our home, but I try to work a little bit here and there on the great bedroom purge.  I want to stay on track with my goal to complete this room by the end of January.   One thing that works well for me is to watch a favorite TV show while  purging our bedroom.   I got quite a bit cleaned up during the first show of the new season of Downton Abbey!

The great bedroom purge continues.   We have this corner between our dressers which quite simply is a dumping ground.  This before picture isn’t as drastic as it was before Christmas.   Imagine this area piled high with boxes and bags of gifts for 11 people.   What a mess!!!

corner before

To get started I removed everything from the corner and sorted it.  I sort into categories of keep, toss, donate and find home.    In cleaning I finding two main reasons for my clutter:

1.  Delayed Decisions –  I might want to keep this item, but I am not sure so I will just hang on to it.  But in the meantime I really don’t have a specific home for it as I might not keep it.   Make the decision on each item and move on!

2.  Didn’t Replace Where Belongs –  I try to keep like things together, but sometime I am just lazy!  I know fireworks go in the basement in the storage area, but I found some in this corner, because I didn’t take the time to put things away.  I am working hard to make the effort to put things where they belong, even if that means going to the basement when I don’t feel like it.

corner after

Finished Corner – still a few things on the white shelf that I am debating their true home.  But it is a good start!



corner findsCleaning Saves you money:   So in cleaning out the corner I found a few things that were helpful.  About a year ago, I lost my extra set of keys for my van.   I had to purchase a new set for about $50.00.  While cleaning out the corner, I found a purse I wasn’t using and the missing keys were in it!   Being disorganized costs me money!!

Also found – two free passes to the movie theater!  So cleaning my corner out netting me about $65.00.   It pays to get organized!!  I think a date to the movies is in order soon.

corner donationAnother Donation Pile finds it’s way to Good Will to bless someone else.

Don’t worry, I am not going to post every area of my house as I declutter it.   I will post a weekly update of my accomplishments.  I will be crossing items off my list as I complete them!   I hope you will join me in simplifying your life in 2014!


Wishing you a wonderful start to 2014 and freedom from clutter!


Simple Living in 2014: Our Bedroom

We live in an older home, built in 1960.  Therefore the rooms and closets are smaller.  Which doesn’t bother me as I really don’t think we need so much stuff.   So this project should assist us to fit comfortably into our home once again.

closet before

Closet Before:   Hubby and I share a very small closet.  Due to the size of the closet, I have to keep my off season clothes in bins in the garage.  I don’t see that changing even with this project.  As you might be able to guess it is not very easy to find matching shoes I want to wear each day.  It is a bit of a dig!

I completed the closet de-clutter in three separate mini tasks.   The shoes were all removed and only the ones I truly needed and love remained.   No more keeping shoes that are not comfortable or hurt my feet.  While it might not sound significant but I reduced my shoes from 26 pairs to 16.

Secondly, clothes – since I had recently switched my clothes around for a new season, I only have a couple of things to donate.   I donated an entire garbage bag of clothes when switching clothes around this fall.

Lastly, closet shelves – reorganized and found permanent home for items.  It is so much easier to maintain a de-cluttered area if you have a specific home for items.

closet after
Closet After:   Do you see that empty space on the shelves???  Empty space is good!!  Only shoes I love and that feel good to wear!!!

Donation Pile:   These items have already found their way to Goodwill by the time I am typing this.   I hope to make a bi-weekly trip to Goodwill to bless others with my excess.


Wishing you a wonderful week and much success with your goals for 2014!!

Baby Steps…..


Simple Living in 2014: Where to Start??

Qoute 1While I stand by my idea of simplifying our lives in 2014, I am trying to figure out where to start??  We have a lot of possessions and if I want to hold and evaluate each one it is going to take forever and it is simply overwhelming.

So I decided that I will dedicate 10 months to the process.  I listed each room of our home and the order in which I want to address them.  I did skip the rooms that are inhabited by my father-in-law, brother-in-law and our niece.  We decided to simplify, they didn’t.   Having all the other areas of the house addressed will make a big difference.

I decided to start with our bedroom as I want our bedroom to be my oasis.  A place where I can go to rejuvenate (take nap, read) and feel the benefits of simple living.

Simplify in 2014 – Game Plan

January –   Our Bedroom
February – Living Room
March –  Our Son’s Bedroom
April –   Dining Room
May –  Kitchen
June –  Bathroom
July –  Garage
August –  Garage
September – Storage Under Steps/Storage Area
October –  Laundry Room
11 & 12 – Enjoy the holiday season!!!

To avoid overwhelm, I need to list things out and see on paper that my idea is doable.  So looking at these 10 months, I feel like this year, I can accomplish this!  I will simplify and de-clutter our home and lives!

In January, I will be working on our bedroom.   So next I focus on that room and decided on paper how I can make this seem manageable.   My goal is to clean/de clutter one area a day in our room.   I made a list breaking down our bedroom into simply daily tasks that would take about 15 to 30 minutes.   Looking at it on paper makes it feel possible, just the motivation I need.



I broke down de-cluttering the bedroom into 21 tasks: – 31 days in January, so I feel confident that I can complete the bedroom in the allotted time.


1.  Closet – shoes
2.  Closet – clothes
3.  Closet – Shelves  (I allowed myself 3 days to complete our very small closet – very manageable)
4.  Paul’s Dresser
5.  Corner
6.  Dresser – Top
7.  Dresser drawers
8.  Wash Curtains
9.  NIght Stand
10.  Sheets Drawer
11.  Pants – Drawer
12.  Head Board
13.  Bookcase – Shelf #1 and Top
14.  Bookcase – Shelf #2
15.  Bookcase -Shelf -#3
16.  Bookcase – Shelf #4
17.  Bookcase – Shelf #5
18.  Bed Drawer 1 – Paul’s
19.  Bed Drawer 2 – Paul’s
20.  Scrub Floor
21.  Wash Walls

KeyThe key to success is to break things down into manageable tasks to avoid feeling overwhelmed.  That feeling of overwhelm will shut down your efforts very quickly if you let it get the best of you.   You can do this!!!!  15 minutes a day = EASY!!

I encourage you to sit down and come up with a realistic plan of what and how you will accomplish your goals in 2014!!  Completing small manageable steps will build your confidence and keep you motivated.

Let’s achieve those goals in 2014!!



New Year – New Goals – New Focus

untitledAnother New Year is upon us and as always my thoughts go to what I want to work on in the new year.  Do you make resolutions??   I dropped the habit of making resolutions a while back, instead making yearly goals.  While goals are similar in nature to resolutions, they allow me to break down what I want to accomplish into smaller steps throughout the year and track my progress.

Goals from past years are still firmly in place within our home.  Once I had the goal that I would menu plan each week to save money and time.   We have faithfully been planning a menu for years, which has saved us money and reduced our stress over the years.  Hopefully menu planning is slowly improving our health as well.   We continue to try to limit the use of processed food and make most things from scratch.

Our attempt to stay away from processed food is also changing our taste.  This year for Christmas Eve as we were starting to come down with a virus of sorts in our home we tried to make the appetizer spread more convenient.  We bought a few boxed appetizers at Sam’s Club to add to our homemade ones to make meal prep a little easier.   The comment heard around the room, “your eggrolls are better”, “Your (insert boxed food item) is better”.  My family rarely likes convenience food anymore.  Except of course my hubby’s preference for Kraft Mac & Cheese vs my homemade Mac & Cheese.

Three years ago my hubby and I set the goal to address our financial life.   We attended Financial Peace University and made a goal to become debt free.   By March of this year we will make last payment on our credit card debt.  We will be free of credit card debt!  WOW!!   We then will conquer our massive student loan debt in pursuit of a simpler, debt free life.  We have faithfully had a weekly budget meeting to discuss our financial goals each week since our first meeting on October 8, 2010.

As you can see, setting a focus goal each year has allowed us to add our goals into our routine and maintain the progress we made.  Goals we set three yeas ago are firmly implanted in our routine and we feel very off balance it we don’t plan a menu or have a weekly budget meeting.

The last few days I have been spending some time thinking about what I would like to improve for our family in 2014??  It finally came to me as I lay in our bedroom battling the illness that has spread through our house since Christmas Day.   Do you love the feeling of being on vacation?   I do, one thing I love is being in a room with very little stuff.   Surfaces in the hotel room are clear of clutter and everything is easy to tidy each day.  It provides me with a sense of peace, relaxation and rejuvenation.

I look around my bedroom and only think, I wish I felt better so I could clean this place up.   I want a simpler life and for me the more simple my life becomes the more content I am in my life.   I love my life, but I would like to spend less time looking for misplaced items, trying to straighten up things we rarely use.  I no longer want my bedroom to be the dumping ground for things without a home.  I want to value relationships and not the maintenance and upkeep of our possessions.

I am not just talking about just de-cluttering our possessions, but de-cluttering our lives as well.  As a working mom, I know the value of my time.  Am I doing things with my time that I am doing out of obligation or wondering what others would think if I quit doing this. Time to de-clutter those things to add more time to bless others.

While our house is fairly organized, it takes time to maintain that.  Our home is not large, but it is the home of many people with many things.   Our household consists of my hubby and I, our youngest son, my brother-in-law, my father-in-law, my niece and her 1 year old son.   We also have a PCA that comes daily to assist my father-in-law each day while we are at work.  So the simpler our life, the easier it is for us all to live together and maintain a home that runs smoothly and doesn’t take all our time to maintain.


So my goal for 2014 …….We’re simplifying in 2014!!  My goal is to pare down our possessions this year and live a simpler life. We will value our relationships and not our possessions.  While I have been attempting to get closer to my definition of simple living each year, 2014 is the year to really focus on this goal!!   I want to have a home full of what I love (nothing else) and inviting!

Wishing you a happy New Year and a simpler life in 2014!