Monday, September 16, 2013

Tea for Twenty

Tonight's post will be succinct. I spent the day getting crafty with my best friend. She drinks tea -- Teavana tea -- which is UH  MAY  ZING!!! I had several cups of the best Oolong tea I've ever tasted. Sipping this delicious tea gave me the idea for tonight's purge...I would go through my ginormous collection of tea (I like to try new things) and get rid of the tea I am never ever ever going to brew and drink...EVER!

Plus, my tea is stored in this weird little corner cupboard in serious need of de-cluttering. So when I got home from my BFF's house I reached into that cupboard and pulled out three boxes of tea I know I'll never drink.

There is a dilemma with this purge, however. I hate to throw the tea away, but I can't think of any place to donate it that wouldn't throw it away :( I may offer it on freecycle after I finish going through it. I figure there is enough tea in there for at least one more day of purging :)

The following teas are banished from the corner cupboard!!

1) Tazo Green Ginger
2) Stash fusion green and white tea
3) Good Earth Chai Tea
4) Bigelow Sweetheart Cinnamon
5) an assortment of miscellaneous single teabags

Thanks for being here :) See you tomorrow!


Sunday Snuck Away From Me!!

Sorry, readers!!

Somehow Sunday night turned into Monday morning without me getting a blog written. I am going to blame it on the time consuming process of putting together an application packet for a substitute position at a semi-local and very rural school district ( a little birdie told me they were short on subs).

Lacking inspiration at this early hour (5:15 a.m.), I am going to find five things in one of my pseudo office drawers. It shouldn't be difficult because I frequently use them as a catch basin for stuff I should probably toss but have some imagined some project they'd be perfect for...

And it's 5:23, and I found eight boring items I can easily part with.

1) the receipt for my daughter's prom dress from last year
2) an expired coupon for Kashi cereal
3) an expired Michael's coupon
4) yearbook info (fliers) from last school year
5) my teacher activity pass from last school year
6) a customs declaration from last Christmas (I participated in an international gift exchange)
7) A small sheet of paper with a random quote on it
8) a piece of plastic that I've been holding on to forever because I know it belongs to something, but I have have no idea what. soon as I toss it, I'll need it :/

Sorry for dropping the ball last night -- blogging was on my to-do list, but somehow the application packet took over my mind and then it was bedtime :)

Thanks for reading, and I'll see you later tonight :)


Saturday, September 14, 2013


I always set my alarm. Even if I am dead tired when I go to bed, I always set my alarm. It may be set for an hour later than normal, but it is always set. Can you guess where I am going with this? You are absolutely correct...I did not set my alarm last night. I was so tired, my logical routine-loving self caved to fatigue and said screw it!! I'll wake up when I am ready to. My husband, however, set his alarm because he was going for a motorcycle ride with a friend and they were leaving at 10:00. I am not sure when his alarm started going off, but I've never known anyone who can hit the snooze button so many times in a row. I have never understood the point of that additional nine minutes, especially when you hit it six or 7 times. Doesn't it seem more logical to just set your alarm for an hour later and GET UP THE FIRST TIME IT GOES OFF???

Getting up late, threw my schedule for a loop. I had forgotten about one of my grandson's preschool soccer games. Let me tell you what -- there is nothing cuter that three and four year-olds attempting to play an organized sport. Plus, I absolutely had to get the yard mowed today because we are supposed to get two weeks of rain starting tomorrow. In my husband's defense, so you don't think he left me in a lurch while he got to play with his friends, I LOVE to do yard work -- mowing, raking, weeding, weed-eating, trimming shrubs, digging, planting, edging, etc. I love it all, and I rarely let anyone do it for me (I am super picky about my yard). Even though I was behind most of the day, there was only two things I didn't get done. I wanted to go to the Goodwill and look for a serving plate for the birthday cake I am making for a friend's birthday on Monday, and my daughter had requested a special dinner ( she'll get it tomorrow) of Tiropitas and Pear-Craisin Salad.

All of this, of course, delayed my search for five items to purge.  Not that it is difficult to find five items...the difficulty lies in me actually being willing to part with them for-ev-er!!! I have been waffling on a big bag of small padded envelopes I have been saving, which leads to a confession...I have subscribed to a rubber stamp of the week for over a year now. They are so cute and inexpensive. $5.79 a week including shipping. They are from a family-owned business in New London, MN by the name of Unity Stamp Company. Do I need any more rubber stamps? Ummm...NO!! However, this is a small treat I allow myself. Do I use them? Unfortunately, not as often as I'd like to but I'm getting better at making time to craft.

Back to the bag of bags. I have yet to re-use one, and they are taking up quite a bit of space in an unattractive way, so it's time for them to go to the recycle bin. I know it probably doesn't seem like a big deal, but I am guessing there are at least 30 small envelopes tucked into a couple of larger ones, which are stuck between some craft supply organizers. Overall, a very cluttered and untidy appearance (in an already crowded space).

Oh, and at the soccer game I picked up a couple of sub jobs in October. My daughter-in-law is a teacher at a local high school (the school I student taught at) and she mentioned that all the English/LA teachers were wondering if I was subbing still or had my own classroom. She reserved me for the two days in October and is going to let the other teachers know I am available to sub :) I like having work booked in advance -- it means I don't have to get up at 5:00 a.m. :)

Thanks for reading, and I'll see you tomorrow! I challenge all of you to find one thing to donate or recycle this weekend! Let me know how it goes :)


Friday, September 13, 2013

Bring on the Weekend!!

I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but being a substitute teacher requires me to get up at 5:00 a.m., log onto the sub website and look/wait for a job to pop up. This is the first full week back to school, so I have been dutifully getting up and checking every morning but not really expecting a job this early in the year. So, I was quite surprised when I heard the tell-tale gong that signifies an open job. Needless to say I jumped on it! I cannot pass up $141.87, no matter how much I want to stay home and bake ;) This was my first time in an elementary school and it was quite fun :) I was beat by the time 3:15 rolled around and the kids flooded noisily out of the room.

When I got home, the couch was practically begging me to stretch out on it and nap for the hour I had until my husband would get home. I resisted, sort of -- I tried to stay sitting up, but I am sure I listed to the left and rested my chin on my chest for a moment or two. If there had been an afghan in close range I would probably be still be sleeping. Luckily for me (and you) there was not! So my husband took pity on me and we went to Taco Time for dinner, my daughter let me color her tattoo in with Sharpies before she went to the movie with her boyfriend, and now I have gotten a pathetic second wind (more like a gasp) and I am blogging as fast as I can!!

Tonight's purge came to me last night -- I always try to think ahead because I don't want to fall behind and miss a day and have to start over...AGAIN!!

I have one small shelf of cookbooks, but there are only a few of the cookbooks I actually use recipes from. I love to look at the pictures, but once the books are back in the cupboard I kind of forget about them. I figured it was time to weed out a few more -- baby steps, Penney, baby steps. I really dislike that it is so hard to part with stuff I don't use regularly!!

Okay, so let's get to the books. I wonder if I will ever be 100% book-free or bookless -- probably not since I have books I need for church.. Oh well, an interesting idea to ponder further.

1) Cuisine at Home (more like a magazine without ads)
2) Hershey's Chocolate Treasury (I haven't really used it more than a few times in the thousand years I've owned it)
3) Cabaret Cuisine ( the local Junior Service League cookbook)
4) The Best of Cooking Light: 125 of our all-time greatest recipes
5) The 250 Best Muffin Recipes by Esther Brody
6) Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2001

Today I have overachieved!! I have parted with six books instead of just five. A miraculous feat indeed :) Oh, here is a picture of my daughter's tattoo, colored by me :)

Sunflowers are her favorite :)

Have a wonderful weekend and thanks for reading :) See you tomorrow!


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Disclaimer: Tonight's Post is NOT...

exciting; not that any other night's post is exciting. However, I'm really working hard on the catchy title thing ;)

As I was getting ready for work this morning, I thought of what today's purge could be. One shelf on a smaller bookcase houses our not so organized bill records. I've only sorted through once in the last six years, so I figured it was due for round two. Jeff and I decided we only needed to keep paid bill receipts for the last six months, so after I found those bills, the rest could go into a plastic bag in the garage until the next free shred day ( or bonfire day!). It took me a couple of hours because I just had to make sure I wasn't throwing anything important away (even though they're just going out to the garage). The shelf looks sooooo much better, and now there is only one messy shelf left. Hmmmm, maybe that will be tomorrow's project :)

All that sorting made my brain hurt! I am ready to call it a night and watch some Futurama :)

Thanks for reading :)


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Insert Catchy Title Here

That's one of the hard parts about blogging daily...coming up with an interesting and relevant title. Since I didn't do anything interesting, I had no inspiration for a title :/

Today was the day I loaded four bags of books into my car and attempted to unload them for cash and/or credit. I was successful. I started online at Bookbyte, who purchased four college textbooks for $140.00. I will get them in the mail on Friday. I then headed to Paperbacks Galore, a new and used bookstore in my town. They took quite a few books in exchange for about $35.00 in credit. Adding this to my previous credits, I now have $93 and some change in credit there. Want to know the irony of this??? Because I am trying to de-clutter and move things out of my house, I don't want to spend the credit -- it seems self-defeating. I explained my dilemma to my hubby, and he suggested I just make sure to trade the book back in as soon as I finish reading it. I plan to save it for Christmas and hopefully find some good books to buy for friends and family.

After leaving Paperbacks Galore, I drove to Squaredog Books, a fairly new used book, music, and movie store. I had to leave the stuff there because they are overloaded with incoming stuff, but I am OK with that because they are out of my house. Also, Squaredog gives cash or credit, which Paperbacks Galore does not.

Whatever they don't take will go to my local library for their book sale. I did some more straightening today and made three more piles. These are very specific piles though. One pile is for my best friend (I found some more Shakespeare stuff that belongs to her), another pile is more a good friend of mine who has lent me books in the past (which I shamefully kept). I will deliver them to her this weekend, when I know she is at work. The last pile will go to my church. One of the books belongs to another church member and one belongs to my church's reading room.

It was exceptionally warm here today (90 degrees), so after running errands I took my newest library book, ice water, and my dog and headed to the backyard to read under the shade of the giant Maple tree. The book I read was The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling). I would give it 4 stars out of 5. I enjoy a good murder mystery :)

The three additional piles that will go away over the next four days are today's purge. Yes, I know, technically I pulled them off the shelf yesterday, but they didn't fit the trade/donate criteria, so I am claiming them as today's purge. Now. however, I am not sure what I am going to get rid of tomorrow. Lucky for me, I can think about it the entire time I am at my cleaning job :)

Thanks for reading :)


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Books, Baking, and Memories

Today was the day I planned to straighten the bookcases out, rearrange things, and tidy up in general. I did those things, but somehow it turned into a four bookcase purge and restructuring. I have a photo evidence of this occurrence -- the thing that blows me away the most is the fact that even after all the books I got rid of (see the two stacks on the floor?) my shelves are still full!!! I am beginning to think that my books are multiplying while I sleep...seems completely logical to me :/ So the two stacks of books more than meet the five-a-day requirement. I am not going to list titles because there are too many!!

I would have finished the job today, but I was distracted by a picture of a cake -- a flourless chocolate cake with chocolate ganache. And because I have a friend having a birthday on Monday, and this would be the perfect birthday cake for her...I needed to make a test cake. This is how the conversation with my daughter went:

Me: You're going to be my Guinea pig tonight.
Sierra: what?!#%!!
Me: I'm trying a new recipe, and you and Jeff are going to be my Guinea pigs.
Sierra: Ooooooooooooooohhhhh! I thought you said we were eating Guinea pigs tonight!!
Me: Yes, and it's your job to find them in the backyard, catch them, butcher them, and prep them for tonight.

I think needs to get her ears checked or something!
Here is a picture of the finished and sampled test cake. No Guinea pigs were harmed in the making of this cake. Click here for the recipe. It is very rich and decadent :)

So on to the "memories" portion of tonight's blog post. The top book on the stack in the front is a cookbook. It is the same cookbook my mother had for many years. I found it at a garage sale and bought it because it was in much better shape than my mother's, and I am sentimental and sappy. I can only think of one recipe in it that I've used, and I actually have that recipe on a 4x6 card in my most important recipes folder ( a re-purposed small photo album).

It was a battle between sentimentality and logic -- in the end logic won and the book is in the purge pile. I've done a lot of thinking about why tangible objects are so important to me as memories, and the only thing I can come up with is that I need to be able to touch something that was theirs to honor their memory -- almost like creating a shrine to honor them. I can think of far better ways to honor my mother, and hanging on to stuff isn't one of them. Plus, I will always have the memories, and they don't take up precious space or require dusting. Honestly, I am a little sad to be getting rid of the cookbook, but it feels like the right thing to do.

Thanks for reading :)