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!


Penney

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. AND...as 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 :)

Penney

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Scatterday

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 :)

Penney

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!

Penney

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 :)

Penney


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 :)

Penney

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 :)

Penney


Monday, September 9, 2013

Strike One!

This morning was my first morning of getting up at 5:00 a.m. to check for sub jobs. Getting up is pretty easy, but it makes for a long day! There weren't any sub jobs, which didn't surprise me considering how early in the school year it is. The upside is I get a lot more done around the house ;)

I met my best friend for coffee today, and I even remembered to take the 5+ Shakespeare books I thought were hers. So I am claiming that as today's purge -- 5 books left the house :) Yay!! The other thing I am super proud of is that I didn't spend a dime while we were out. She treated me to coffee, and I behaved myself in Jo-Ann's -- it was surprisingly easy.

The bad news is that when I entered all my ISBNs into the Powell's website, they rejected all of them :(( Oh well...tomorrow I will try the two local stores and then the library. I am considering doing the paperback swap thing. I will have to research it more; my biggest concern is the postage cost.

Tomorrow I am going to work on rearranging the books on the shelves, and dusting the shelves...they desperately need it. I still have books to get rid of, but I think it will be easier if I tidy up a little bit. Seeing clean space will motivate me to make more clean space.

I'm going to sign off. It's been a long day, and I need to go to bed earlier if I am going to get up earlier.
Thanks for reading; I appreciate the support :)

Penney

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Bookshelf Mish-Mash

My quads are sore from that silly race yesterday! Clearly I need to run more often :)

I'm a list maker -- It helps me focus on what needs to be done, I feel accomplished as I cross things off the list, and it keeps me from forgetting half ( ok, most) of the things I need to get done. Last night I made my to-do list, like I do most every night...then morning came and my motivation and drive had gotten up before me and left town. I got some stuff done, but it felt like a four year old me was arguing with an adult me. It was not pretty!

I always have "blogging" on my list, especially while I try to make it part of my daily routine. There have been a couple of times when I am sitting on the couch losing consciousness and BAM! it comes to me that I haven't found five things or blogged...Yikes!

In fact, just moments ago, I was headed for the couch until I saw my bookcases and remembered my solemn pledge. I am getting pretty good at the five book thing, so it only took me about five minutes. Tomorrow, I will sort through the books I have pulled and determine which of them Powell's will most likely be interested in. The rest I will try to unload at one of the two local used bookstores. Any remaining books will go to the library. Hopefully tomorrow I will be able to share how much credit I earned :)

Anyway, here is tonight's mish-mash:

1) Pals by Mary Engelbreit (I love her artwork so much!!)
2) Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
3) Lighten Up and Live Longer by Sue Baldwin
4) Talk to the Hand by Lynne Truss
5) The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (I have two copies, which is one too many)

Thanks for reading and following; I appreciate the anonymous support :)

Penney


Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Color Run and Shakespeare

I am happy to say I ran 99% of The Color Run today, and I had a fantastic time :) I take the worst selfies on the planet, but I am trying to be less critical of myself so I am going to post it! I especially love my blue moustache; it really gives me character.




Alright, moving right along...let's get to the books! I decided to focus on a shelf at a time, and since I was working on the bottom shelf yesterday I went back to it today. It could easily be called the Shakespeare shelf. Being an English teacher, I love the Bard and I love books about him, compilations of his insults, his female characters, etc. They're great books, but I haven't looked at them since I was an undergrad approximately three years ago.

So here are tonight's titles in no particular order:

1) Uppity Women of Shakespearean Times by Vicki Leon
2) Shakespeare's Insults: Educating Your Wit by Ottchen and Hill
3) Shakespeare's Middle Tragedies: A Collection of Critical Essays edited by David Young
4) Naughty Shakespeare by Michael Macrone
5) The Complete Dictionary of Shakespeare Quotations compiled by D.C. Browning

I also found five Shakespeare books that belong to my best friend. I will bag them up and return them ASAP :)

Thanks for checking in tonight, and I'll see you tomorrow :)

Penney


Friday, September 6, 2013

Five Books, Free Money, and a Race Tomorrow

I worked my cleaning job today -- some people may see cleaning another person's home as menial or degrading, I do not! I am a detail oriented person. I like tasks that allow me to focus on the intricacies of the task. I know you're probably thinking, what's so intricate about house cleaning? And before I started this job I would have asked that same question. In this instance, the answer lies with my wonderful employer! Most people want you to get as much done as you can in the shortest amount of time. My boss does NOT think this way -- she has always told me she prefers quality over quantity. She wants me to spend time getting into the nooks and crannies. Cleaning for her has become a challenge -- what I mean by this is that I challenge myself to find new places where dust might be hiding and accumulating. I am sure it sounds odd, but it is second nature to my analytical mind. I enjoy the challenge. I enjoy the details required to make everything just so. What does this have to do with decluttering my own home? nothing really, other than I always come home from the job energized and motivated to tackle a task in my own home :)

After I got home, I walked to the grocery to get stuff for dinner and a few staples. It's only a couple of blocks, and I always feel better when I walk instead of drive. Another bonus is that I purchase less -- who wants to lug home heavy grocery bags?? Not this lady!

This is where the free money comes in..I FOUND A PENNY ON THE ROAD!! I know it isn't much, but I will never walk past any form of money, unless it was in some gooey, disgusting substance that may or may not be a bodily fluid.

Tomorrow is The Color Run in Portland, Oregon. If you haven't heard of it, click here for more info. I usually only do runs that benefit a charity or worthy cause, but I succumbed to "the happiest race" on the planet in a moment of weakness. It's only 5k, so it won't be a challenge and it sounded like fun to have colored powder thrown at you at each k. At the end of the race I will look like a human rainbow :)

On to tonight's books. Again, it was easy to choose five books. As I picked the book off the shelf, I thought about when and why I bought it. The why usually seemed pretty shallow, which strengthened my resolve but also saddened me. Why would I spend my hard-earned money based on such shallow reasoning -- It's a classic, I should have a copy on my bookshelf...meh! Was I motivated by pretense and vanity? Was I thinking people would be impressed by certain books on my shelf? Did I feel smarter and more scholarly because of the titles I chose? To some degree, I believe there is truth in all of the above questions and that makes me sad :(

Here are tonight's titles:

The Flames of Rome by Paul L. Maier ( autographed, no less!!)
The Crucible by Arthur Miller
Uppity Women of Medieval Times by Vicki Leon
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser

Thanks for wading through my reflective drivel. If I can get someone to take my pic at the race tomorrow, I will post it on the blog :)

See you tomorrow. Have a great weekend; find five things to donate to a thrift store!

Penney

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Off Topic Until the End :)

Days don't get much better than this! I spent the day with my best friend getting crafty. I have a gelli plate, which is used for making monoprints. In my heart, I know I am an artist -- but I let other things eat away at the precious little free time I have and I don't make creating and playing a priority. My best friend is also very creative, so we try to set aside days to get together and make art. I am participating in an art swap this month, so today's art time was spent layering colors and designs, adding stamped images etc. This is one of the prints I made today

Another thing my friend and I share a love of is eating good food. For lunch we made Caprese Salad, fresh fruit, homemade corn muffins, and I brought fresh baked chocolate chip cookies. Alas, I do not have a picture :(

The last thing that made today so good was dinner -- I love to cook! Today is National Cheese Pizza Day, so it was a great excuse to make homemade pizza and try out a new crust recipe. The crust recipe can be found here. It makes two pizzas, which is perfect for us since I am a vegetarian and hubby is a carnivore. Here is a picture of "my" pizza. 

  I topped it with caramelized onions, red bell peppers, olives, mushrooms, fresh mozzarella, cheddar, and Parmesan. It was delicious :) Next time I will raise the oven temp to 500 instead of 450. The crust did not get as brown as I would have liked.

Anyway, good food and good company make for a great day.I hope all of you had one or the other, or ideally, both!

Now onto the real reason for this blog --finding five books was easy today -- I must have been in the right mindset. Each time I grabbed a book, I asked myself, "Why do I have this?  I am sure my library has this? Why haven't I read this ? If I haven't read it, why am I keeping it?" 

Since I made you read about my wonderful day, I am going to cut to the chase and list the books!

1) Adventures  of the Mind from The Saturday Evening Post
2) Black Water by Joyce Carol Oates
3) Message From Forever by Marlo Morgan
4) The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
5) The Education of Henry Adams by Henry Adams (it's an autobiography)

So there you have it -- five books I have had for too too long and not read :(

Thanks for reading; I'll see you tomorrow :)

Penney

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Do You Know What Day It Is?

I bet you thought I was going to say "Hump" Day. Fortunately, I was not. It's actually National Eat an Extra Dessert Day -- no joke.  I didn't celebrate, but I did have more than my fair share of homemade rolls at dinner tonight. My name is Penney, and I love carbs! Luckily, my metabolism allows me to eat pretty much whatever I want.

I'm determined to purge A LOT of books from my bookcase. REASON # 1  -- I don't read them. If I had my own classroom, they'd be there. But I don't, and I don't know when I will so...it's time to liquidate my fiber assets. REASON # 2 -- If Powell's buys enough of them, I will have a nice credit built up for Christmas shopping. My 17 year old son loves to read, so I know I can never go wrong with books :) The bonus is that I can use the credit on new or used books. My local bookstore only allows the credit to be used for purchasing used books. Eventually I want to start my own little free library. It is a cool idea; check it out!

Anyway for the next couple weeks I am going to subject myself to the painful torture of choosing books to kick out of the house :( I think I can manage five a day, but it won't be easy!) I just keep reminding myself I can buy them again when I have a classroom (if I still feel the need).

I will try to list titles every day, so you get a glimpse of my reading tastes :)

Today's book list includes:

The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern
One Moment, One Morning by Sarah Rayner
The Sweet Relief of Missing Children by Sarah Braunstein
The House I loved by Tatiana De Rosnay
Summerland by Elin Hilderbrand

These titles aren't an accurate indicator of my reading tastes. All these books were given to me, and I kept them because they sounded like something I might enjoy...and did I mention they were free?!? The only thing better than free books is free dessert :)

Anyway, after a week of selecting books, I will enter the ISBNs into Powell's website. If they buy them, I pring out a pre-paid shipping label and send them off! The last time I did a serious purge, I had 175.00 in credit! That's a lot of Christmas shopping!!! One thing I do know is that Powell's rarely takes hardcover books and two of these books are hardcover.

Tomorrow is National Cheese Pizza Day which I will be making for dinner (I already have dough rising in the fridge) and I get to spend the day getting crafty with my BFF :) Click on dough if you want the recipe for the pizza crust.

I hope all of you have a wonderful Thursday as well, and I will see you tomorrow night with five more books to release into the wild.

Thanks for reading :)

Penney

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Tough Love is the Answer, but...

is it possible to practice Tough Love on yourself?

I spend so much time being disgusted with myself because I have so much crap stuff, yet I spend an equal amount of time justifying why I should/need to keep all the stuff. As I thought about this absurd paradox, Tough Love popped into my head. I need to be firm rigid when I am purging! It's the only way I will ever get through this project and rid myself of excess belongings. Ha Ha, I wonder if there are "clutter coaches"...maybe after I complete this project I will promote myself as a clutter coach and help other people declutter. On top of the mental wrestling match, it seems more difficult to decide on items to purge :(

Before I get into what I got rid of today, I want to mention a book I am reading. Your Money or Your Life by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin. My copy is from 1992 -- I bought it at a garage sale for .50. I had been reading a copy checked out from my library, but there was no way I could do the exercises within the time constraints of the loan period. I am currently on the exercise associated with chapter 2...keeping a record (for 30 days) of every cent that comes in and goes out. Knowing that I have to write it down helps me work harder at resisting things I might normally not resist -- like coffee from an espresso stand ( my biggest weakness).

Today's purge wasn't too difficult...I had been given a Christmas themed gift box that was cute, but not my style at all. It got added to the bag of rub-ons. I also had a shopping bag full of various ribbons and trims ( more card making supplies). The bag did not have a home, so it got moved around the dining room and drove me decidedly crazy. Tonight I tackled it head-on. I gleaned a small amount of ribbon for my stash and am giving the rest to my local thrift store. I'll probably make that trip tomorrow since I am busy Thursday and Friday. Also, once its out of the house it can longer tempt me ;)

Thanks for reading, and I'll be back tomorrow!

Penney

Monday, September 2, 2013

It's All About Your State of Mind

My suspicion that purging has everything to do with my state of mind has been undeniably confirmed this evening. *sigh* Today was one of those days when there is more to be done than time to do it in. In cases like this, I shrug my shoulders, do what I can, and know the remainder of the work will patiently wait for me. I did get the yard mowed, which makes me very happy ( I love to mow, and I love when my grass is short and tidy). Our yard is quite large -- approximately a half acre -- and most of it is grass. I am working on changing that gradually. This year I added a perennial bed out front and two raised beds in the back. I plan to add six more raised beds by next spring, so I can grow colossal amounts of vegetables!!!

Anyway...back to the state of mind line of thought. We had dinner out tonight in honor of my daughter's 19th birthday. By the time we got home it was 10:00 p.m., and the last thing I wanted to do was scrounge five items to purge. I was able to justify keeping every item I considered, and I was getting cranky with myself. It's only day two and already I am losing the battle. So I stopped my half-hearted attempts and thought about why tonight the selection process seemed so difficult. It didn't take long to figure out that fatigue, the late night, and general laziness on my part were working against the greater good of my project. At this realization I marched myself back over to my bookcase and began perusing my teaching books with a more critical eye and honest heart.

Books are especially difficult for me to part with -- I love having overflowing bookcases -- books are security, intelligence, learning, and passion -- as long as I have books, I have access to these ideas. I always think to myself I should get rid of that book, I haven't touched it since I was in grad school! And then the other voice pipes up you should keep that book because it is a valuable resource and during your teaching career you never know when you might need to reference it. Reality check time...I can count the number of times I have gone back to my teaching books on one hand and have fingers left over.

So, I chose the least current, least relevant to my content area, and least read during my schooling. Voila! I had five books in less than five minutes :)

Purging is an intensely mental and emotional experience which can cause physical discomfort as well. The intensity of feeling causes me to wonder how I got to this place, how material things became so important, and how I might lessen their hold on me.

Good night and thanks for reading :)

Penelope

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Trying Again...

I totally dropped the ball this summer. All my good intentions fell by the wayside as soon as the first rays of warm sunshine graced my backyard and lured me away from my computer. Unfortunately, not blogging has affected my purging -- I didn't realize how the blog was keeping me accountable. Knowing I had readers and followers pushed me to find five things a day to get rid of, and it felt so good every time I took a bag to the thrift store or cleared a surface I hadn't seen for a while. The weather is still gorgeous here (Washington), but the school year is getting ready to start and the clutter is starting to make me a little crazy.

I will subbing day-to-day again this year, so I should be able to keep up on the blog and decluttering. 

Finding and purging five items a day from my house was my own take on the book 365 A Daily Creativity Journal written by Noah Scalin. His blog features other people's 365 projects. The idea is to commit to something for a 365 consecutive days in order to break through self-imposed mental and physical barriers. I wanted my project to be something that would challenge me, but also be rewarding. Although my first attempt lasted less than a month, it was quite rewarding! I was able to share what I no longer wanted and needed with people who had a need or want for it. I still have a few packages to mail out, but it will happen.Today will be my "day 1" of attempt #2. The purpose of the blog is to document the year-long project.

This time I plan to do things a little differently. I will still purge five items a day, but I am no longer going to offer them to my readers and followers, only because postage can be a little outrageous for some things! I am going to try and sell what I can and the rest will go on Freecycle or to my local thrift shops.

Well, with all that drivel out of the way, let me tell what I am purging today! Several months ago, a friend of mine was selling her home and moving into a 5th wheel. She had even more crafting supplies than I do, and needed to seriously downsize her stash. I ended up buying two big plastic bags full of miscellaneous papercrafting goodies.  I finally got around to sorting through the bags and gleaning what I wanted ( I was very restrained!!) and bagging up the remainder to get rid of. I am not a big fan of rub-ons, so that it was I am purging today. A big grocery bag about half-full of new, unused rub-ons and mini-albums! I am going to try my local buy/sell/trade Facebook group first, then maybe Craigslist. I am not trying to make a fortune off of them, but I think it would be interesting to put the money in a separate account and see how much I make in a year.

I hope those of you who read and followed my blog previously, will join me on the second attempt of my creative journey. The encouragement I received last time was greatly appreciated!

Until tomorrow...

Penelope

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Ooops! Yesterday was Monday

Having summers off tends to make all the days blur together. The only thing that helps (somewhat) is that my husband works Monday-Friday. So, I apologize for not blogging yesterday, but I did purge an excess of five items. I have had two reusable grocery bags 3/4 full of scrapbooking magazines sitting in my dining room since February-ish waiting to go to the free shelves at the library. It felt good to lug them into the library and imagine another crafter/scrapbooker having Christmas in July.

The older I get, the more I value my time. If I could get away with not working at all I would, but the federal government wants me to pay them back for my education :/ I am working toward being more frugal -- thinking about my purchases before I make them, making do with what I have instead of making an excuse to buy more, and lots of self-reflection. Consumerism is an easy trap to fall into, and a difficult hole to crawl out of.

As the new school year approaches, my status as a substitute affords me some freedom in my work schedule. Ideally, I'd like to sub three days a week, keep my side job cleaning, and have three days off. Peace of mind is priceless, and I don't feel like I have any when I am working six days a week.

Today's purge is clothing -- I still have too much, and the lack of space in my closet is stressing me out!

So, from my closet and to the local thrift store:

1)  A pencil skirt I wore once
2) A long-sleeved knit pullover purchased secondhand and never worn.
3) A long-sleeved brown patterned button up shirt
4) A long-sleeved white button up shirt
5) A very nice black hooded winter coat that was a hand-me-down from my side job.


See you tomorrow :)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

It's Been a Long Time...

School was out about a month ago, and I wanted to start blogging the day after the last day of school...but it seemed like there was always something pulling me away from my computer :( However, I am finally at a place where I can slow down a bit and begin purging and blogging again. I am especially looking forward to getting back to decluttering five items ( or more to make up for lost time) a day.

I will begin purging again on Monday, July 15, 2013. After all the months of not purging, I feel like I am starting anew and it is not a pleasant feeling. It a sense it feels like I have gone backwards because I am not constantly looking around the house for I can and need to get rid of. I am hoping it will be like riding a bike -- once you have it down, it's not difficult to get back in the seat and get moving :)

I know I still owe some people some things -- I still have the items and the recipient's info and plan to get them mailed out soon.

I hope those of you following my blog can forgive me my long absence and rejoin me on my journey to purge unnecessary stuff from my life and my home!

Penelope

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sweet, Peaceful Sunday

What a glorious day!! I accomplished 11 of the 15 things on my to-do list with a minimal amount of stress :) And...many of you have emailed and commented to tell me of your own successes at decluttering, which warms my heart and keeps me purging.

I never dreamed my project and blog would inspire others. The original pupose of the blog was to keep me accountable to myself. I knew if my project were public (so to speak) I would be more likely to stick with it. Public failure is not an option for me, and I am sure I will be humbled for stating it :/

My purging is having an interesting effect that I did not expect...every time I go on the hunt for stuff to purge I get mad at myself. I am mad that I drug all this stuff home. I am mad that it has some kind of power over me :( I am mad that I can't see a noticeable difference in my home (well, except for the top of the bookcases where the CDs were).

There are times I want to box EVERYTHING up, rent a truck, and haul it away. Start fresh with a clutter free home and not buy a darn thing that isn't necessary!

One of my long-term goals is to get rid of many more books and have empty space in my bookshelves. This will be arduous task and a momentous accomplishment. See, I'm thinking positive, prediciting the accomplishment of this goal.

So onto today's craptastic purge...trust me it's nothing special, lol!

1) A folder full of scholarly articles from one of my grad school classes

2) 5 super short, stubby colored pencils. Yes, I know stubby was redundant, but I wanted to make sure you could visualize just how short these pencils are ;)

3) A rubber band ball about the size of a grapefruit. It was my son's, I doubt he remembers I have it, and I am tired of looking at it!

4) a bunch of magazines I took from the free rack at the library, brought home and put on my coffee table, and haven't touched since then :(

5) Two huge sheets of art paper that had water damage.

I feel like an idiot after I re-read the list of items I am purging! Who keeps stuff like this? Really? I am sure I am a canidate for some sad reality TV show. Let's see...what would it be called? Something like, You Have What In Your House? or You Saved What...for How Many Years? 

Anyway, you know the rest of the spiel...If you see anything you want, which I doubt you will, email me at penelopesamuel@gmail.com. I will gladly ship at my expense :)

Remember...I probably won't post again until next weekend, most likely Sunday. Thursday is my birthday and my daughter purchased my husband and I a night at the beach :) We are leaving Friday after I am done with school and will be back Saturday afternoon :) I cannot wait!!!!!!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

I'm Baaaaaaaack!!!

First...an apology!

I am sorry for my lack of posts this past week and for not giving you advance notice of my temporary desertion.  Getting used to my new schedule, needing to spend a lot of my time prepping lessons for my students, and attending a mandatory training for Special Education teachers took every minute of time and every ounce of energy I possessed! I am grateful for the training and what I learned, but I am glad I will be getting home before 7:30 p.m. this next week! Another blessing is the four day weekend I am halfway through :)

I had some "firsts" this week as well...my first formal observation by the assistant principal and my first faculty meeting (and formal introduction to the rest of the school's teachers). My school's administration is awesome! They have been so supportive of me and my transition into this teaching position. I couldn't ask for better support!

In order to minimize the likelihood of a mental breakdown as a result of trying to do everything...I am going to change my blogging process. I am still going to purge 5 things a day, but I am only going to post once or twice a week. This will most likely happen on the weekends, when I have more free time...or at least the illusion of more free time ;) I will not be posting pictures as often either. I will still list the items I've purged, and I will send them to readers who request them.

Another change I am going to "try" is selling some of the stuff I am purging instead of just giving it away. The only things I won't try to sell are the items I receive from the lady I clean for. I don't think profitting from her generosity would be the right thing to do.

Today's list is really long, but because it is mostly CDs, it's kind of important to list them out! With this blog post, I should be up-to-date on documenting my purges from Monday the 11th through Saturday the 16th.

1) Peter Frampton ~ Frampton Comes Alive II ( 2 CD set)
2) AC/DC ~ Black Ice
3) Vivaldi ~ The Four Seasons
4) Andrew Lloyd Weber's Evita
5) Joss Stone ~ Mind, Body, Soul
6) The Essential Simon & Garfunkel  ( 2 CD set)
7) Hinder ~ Extreme Behavior
8) Modest Mouse ~ Everywhere and His Nasty Parlour Tricks
9) Counting Crows ~ Films About Ghosts The Best Of...
10) Counting Crows ~ This Desert Life
11) Counting Crows ~ August and Everything After
12) Counting Crows ~ Hard Candy
13) Lit ~ A Place in the Sun
14) Mariah Carey ~ Daydream
15) Disturbed ~ Ten Thousand Fists
16) The White Stripes ~ Icky Thump
17) The White Stripes ~ Elephant
18) The White Stripes ~ Get Behind Me Satan
19) Kenny G ~ Breathless
20) Theory of A Deadman ~ Gasoline
21) Dropkick Murphys ~ The Warrior's Code
22) Weezer ~ Maladroit
23) Nature's Creations ~ Relaxing Waters
24) Ray Lynch ~ Deep Breakfast
25) Raining Jane ~ Wyoming Sky and Windows ( 2 songs only)


And that's it for CDs!!!!! but wait there's more...today's purge consists of:

1) a set of 12 Classic Winnie the Pooh self-adhesive bookplates ( I'll give these to my BFF because she loves classic pooh)
2) a random placemat I found while I was cleaning a cupboard
3) a tealight holder -- very pretty, but I have no place for it
4) a burned copy of the Bhagavad Gita ( 700 verse Hindu Scripture)
5) a stack of "Foodday" sections from The Oregonian ( I love to save recipes and never do anything with them...)

Ok, that's 30 items or six days worth of purges. I may post tomorrow because I am just obsessive enough to want my "blog week" to start on Monday *sigh*

If you see something(s) you can't live without, email me at penelopesamuel@gmail.com. I will gladly ship at my expense :)

Thanks for your patience, support, and comments :) They warm my heart!!


Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Sunday Blues

Sunday is my very favorite day of the week because I love going to church. I love the spiritual renewal I am blessed with, and it gives me food for thought for the upcoming week. I am not going to start proselytizing or anything like that, but God, my faith, and my church are the foundation of my daily life.

So why is the title of today's post "Sunday Blues"? Because the weekend never seems long enough to accomplish everything I want/need to do; because I love being with my family and the weekend is the only time we have reasonably large blocks of free time together; because it means I have to get up at 5:00 a.m. for the next four days ;)  I promise I'm not whining! At least I hope that's not how it comes across. It's just that as I get older I value experiences and time well spent, which seem to happen on the weekends :)

Ok, on to tonight's musical offering ;)

1) Teenage Dream ~ Katy Perry

2) Ray of Light ~ Madonna

3) Crazy Love ~ Michael Buble

4) Wingspan: Hits and History ~ Paul McCartney and Wings ( 2 CD set)

5) Pure Moods

Remember...if you see something you can't live without, shoot me an email at penelopesamuel@gmail.com. I will gladly ship at my expense :)

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Trying To Do It All...

I get stressed when I can see all the things that need to be done, but there are so many of them I don't know where to start!

I am obsessively organized. I know exactly where I have to be and when I have to be there. I make lists. I have two planners. I have a routine for weeknights. Actually I have a routine for weekends too. For me a routine is a concrete way of being in control. I do not like feeling out of control. I have some ideas of where that comes from, but I'll leave it for another blog post on a different day. If my routine is upset, it derails me momentarily. I can recoup, but I will still feel "off" for the rest of that day, sometimes longer, depending on how serious the derailment.

I don't think I was always this way, but I couldn't tell you when I changed either. This blog is very important to me -- it signifies a commitment I made to myself and to an idea. Would letting the blog go lessen my daily load? Probably somewhat, but I would also feel like I let myself down. I would kick myself for not working harder to manage my time. There are so many little things that suck precious time from the day -- social media and TV are two that come to mind. I do not watch much TV. I love Jeopardy, and if I am not behind on getting stuff done, I will sit down and watch it. I am on Facebook, but since getting this job I rarely log on.

Sometimes giving something up shows you just how much of a leech it was -- Facebook is a prime example of this. I do not plan to give up the blog, but I do plan to adjust how I look for things to purge. I don't have huge blocks of time to spend looking through things, so I am switching to a grab and go strategy. Thinking less about the item will probably help me purge more things. Given time to think about a certain thing sometimes causes me to put it back and think, "Oh, I can't decide, I'm not sure, I'll put it back until I am sure..." This is not a productive mindset!

The CDs have really saved me this week, and they'll probably keep me going through the middle of next week. I am looking forward to moving onto something else and reclaiming the top of my bookcases!

What's very interesting to me, and eye-opening, is that I do not remember buying most of these CDs. Also, most of them are not on my laptop. So, that tells me I bought them and just stuck them on the top of the bookcase. Why? Who knows! Again, I am reminded to be thoughtful when making purchases, even if the item is secondhand. Do I need it? Where will I put it? Why do I want it? What's its purpose in my life and house?

Ok, onto the music :)

1) Something to Remember ~ Madonna

2) Bringing Down the Horse ~ The Wallflowers

3) Your Little Secret ~ Melissa Ethridge

4) 15 ~ Buckcherry (parental advisory/explicit content)

5) The Beatles Anthology 1 (2 CD set)

I am experiencing technical difficulties in getting pictures from my phone to my computer :( So no pics until I get my tech savvy hubby to fix it :) 

Remember...If you see something you can't live without, please email me at penelopesamuel@gmail.com I will gladly ship at my expense.  Keep in mind with my new job that it may take a week or two :)

Friday, February 8, 2013

Yay! I Get To Go To Bed Soon :)

A full week done feels pretty darn good :) To top it off, my hubby surprised me with dinner out at my favorite restaurant in Vancouver, Washington...Tommy O's Downtown Bistro. Yum. Yum. Yum.

I am so ready for bed! I am going to bust out a quick blog post with a list of tonight's CDs, but no picture until tomorrow, and go to bed.


1) Sugar Ray ~ 14:59

2) Missy Elliot ~ Under Construction

3) Melissa Ethridge ~ Yes I Am

4) Toad the Wet Sprocket ~ Dulcinea

5) Hoobastank ~ The Reason

Remember...If you see something you can't live without, shhoot me an email at penelopesamuel@gmail.com I will gladly ship at my expense :)

Have a great weekend, and if you are in the middle of the awful storm back east...stay safe and warm! My prayers are with you :)

Thursday, February 7, 2013

I have a lot of Music...

As I've been going through these CDs, I've been burning them onto my hard drive. I am a little surprised; I thought I already had most of these burned onto my computer already. It's been fun to revisit all the CDs I've bought over the years, and even listen to a few songs as I add them to my music library :)

Today we had an anti-bullying assembly at our school. I thought the students involved with putting on the assembly did a really good job. I was disappointed, however, by the response of  some of the student body. The level and amount of apathy is disturbing and saddens me. I don't remember my high school peers being like that, but it was 30 years ago...I see this as a teachable moment, an opportunity to (hopefully) open the eyes and hearts of the young adults I work with every day. The theme of the assembly was "Everyone has a story..." and that you should get to know someone before you make assumptions and judge them. I think it is a good lesson and not just for high school students :)

Ok, I'll get of my soapbox and get to purging!

1) Blues Traveler (1990) ~ self-titled I believe

2) LL Cool J ~ Phenomenon

3) Luscious Jackson ~ Fever In Fever Out

4) Lenny Kravitz ~ 5

5) Greg Buchanan ~ Peaceful Meditation

Remember...If you see something you can't live without, shoot me an email at penelopesamuel@gmail.com. I will gladly ship at my expense :)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

I Had Forgotten...

how fast the days go by when I am teaching full-time! Wednesday is done and done! Two more days and I will have my first full week under my belt. It's been an adjustment, but I am getting used to my new schedule and having less time to get the same amount of stuff done. Doing CDs as purge this week has been very helpful. Not having to decide what to get rid of has eased my workload in the evening. My plan for next week is to find 25ish items on Sunday, so all I have to do is take a pic, write a little something, and post it. The thought of finding 25 items in one day is a little daunting, however.  In some respects it feels like cheating, but I really want to stay on track with project...even if it means NOT literally finding five items every day.

I am so grateful to be a morning person! Getting up at 5:00 a.m. is easy for me, and it gives me quiet time to pray and read the weekly bible lesson. I cherish that time in the morning :) It is the only time I have complete peace and quiet when my husband and daughter are home.

My first student loan is due this month. I was worried I was going to have to apply for an underemployed deferment! Fortunately, the long term sub job happened at just the right time!! I should also be able to stash quite a bit of cash to get me through the summer months. One good thing about working all the time is that I never have the time to go shopping, lol!!

Alright, let's get to tonight's CDs, so I can move onto my next chore task.

1) Heartfelt Wishes ~ A compilation of Christmas music from Coldwell-Flaskerud Realty

2) Northern Seascape ~ Jim Wilson ~ A moving musical tapestry featuring piano, uillean pipes, irish flute, guitar, and cello.

3) Fantasia ~ Pavlo ~ I saw him in concert. He plays the guitar and some unusual stringed instruments if I remember correctly. Beautiful music and a beautiful voice.

4) Fred Simon-Teja Bell and Paul McCandless ~ Twilight ~ Jazz

5) Blondie and Pat Benatar ~ Back to Back ~ 5 hits from each artist...and nothing tops disco ;)

Remember, if you see something you can't live without, shoot me an email at penelopesamuel@gmail.com. I will gladly ship at my expense :) Thanks for reading!!



Tuesday, February 5, 2013

What I Learned Today

Last night and tonight I participated in a Right Response Training. I will go again next Monday and Tuesday evening for the rest of training, 14 hours total. It is a requirement for all Special Education teachers. This is going to sound awful, but I was fully prepared to be bored...not because I thought I had nothing to learn. I thought the content and delivery would dry and boring. Boy was I wrong!! I love what I've learned, and I am so grateful to have had this opportunity to learn how to better interact and understand my students.

I especially love that most of what is being taught is proactive -- what to do to avoid escalation, how to build a better relationship with the student, etc. I feel this training would be valuable for Gen Ed teachers as well as Special Ed teachers.

Anyway, on to today's 5 CDs...

1) J.Lo (2001)

2) Sheryl Crow ~ Tuesday Night Music Club

3) Sugar Ray ~ Floored

4) The Very Best of Andrew Lloyd Webber ~ The Broadway Collection

5) The Bodyguard ~ Original Soundtrack Album



Remember...If you see something you can't live without, shoot me an email at penelopesamuel@gmail.com I will gladly ship the item to you at my expense.

Thanks for reading my blog, supporting, and encouraging me :)

Monday, February 4, 2013

Short and Sweet...or Boring. It's All In Your Perspective :)

I have five more CD's as follows:

1) Merry Christmas Disc 1 ~ The Starlite Orchestra and Choir

2) The Ultimate Christmas Album ~ Vol. 4 ~ Various Artists

3) Dr. Demento ~ Holidays in Dementia

4) City of Angels Soundtrack

5) Giving You the Best I Got ~ Anita Baker



Remember - If you see anything you can't live without, shoot me an email at penelopesamuel@gmail.com. I will gladly ship at my expense.  Thanks for reading and tolerating my not so thrilling blog posts ;)

p.s. it's killing me to post such a short, boring blog :(

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Sunday Night!?!? How Did That Happen???

I am going to keep it super short and sweet tonight.  I have a ton of music CDs. They are sitting on top of my bookcase in the living room. It looks cluttered and messy, and it's been bugging me for forever and a day. This week my goal is to go through all the CDs, burn them onto my computer (if they're not already) and then get rid of them. I know my library will take them for their book sale, if none of you, my fabulous readers, are interested in them.

I'm sticking to my five items a day, although I may list more than five if time allows. This is my first full week of teaching, and I have two 3.5 hour trainings after school this week!  I will be busy.

From top to bottom, today's CDs are as follows:

1) Hootie and the Blowfish ~ Cracked Rear Window

2) Anita Baker ~ Rapture

3) Natalie Cole ~ Snowfall on the Sahara

4) Roxette ~ Tourism

5) Ginny Owens ~ If You Want Me To: The Best of Ginny Owens

6) David Minne ~ Pop Sarcastic

7) Aerosmith ~ Nine Lives



The CDs are all in excellent condition and play perfectly. The Aerosmith case is broken.

Remember if you see anything you can't live without, shoot me an email at penelopesamuel@gmail.com. Thanks!!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Sunny Saturday :)

Today was gorgeous!! It was cold in the morning, but the afternoon was warm ( 50ish degrees) and sunny. We are dogsitting my stepson's dog, a lab/retriever mix...although I secretly think he is half wolf, half pony! He is tall and lanky. Anyway the weather was nice enough to let them run around the backyard and play ball. I noticed my Bearded Irises are starting to come up, so I raked the leaves away from them. I AM SO READY FOR SPRING!!!!!!!!!

I got quite a few things on my to-do list done, which always gives me a good feeling. As usual, though, the days was over before I was ready. I wonder if anyone ever finsihes everything on their to-do list? I might, if I didn't have at least 13 things on it every day! Oh well, I 'd rather be busy than not. Tomorrow will be a day of lesson planning since I didn't get to it today.

Last night when I was typing the blog, I was 7/8 asleep. I was sleep-typing, sleep-thinking, etc. It is a miracle my blog post was coherent!! I am starting to feel that way tonight, but at least I am not typing with my forehead...yet.

Today, I worked in my entryway. I have a low bookcase and an antique table, both of which have clutter on them. Shocking, I know, but it's fuel for my project and blog ;) Anyeay, today's purge results from working on decluttering those two spaces. There is no rhyme or reason to the items. It is truly a n=mish-mash.

1) A mosaic style glass tea light burner. I've never used it.

2) An ugly wicker basket -- I sorted the contents and now it's empty :)

3) A large silk Gerber daisy. Orange with a really long stem .

4) A porcelain wall pocket with pansies on it.

5) A  matted pansy print.



Rememeber, if you see anything you can't live without, shoot me an email at penelopesamiuel@gmail.com. I will ship at my expense :)

Friday, February 1, 2013

F-R-I-D-A-Y!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm pretty pooped, and it was a struggle to find five more cookbooks. Honestly, by the time this year is over...I will have a steel resolve. I will be able to withstand any kind of ploy designed to entice me into spending or collecting. I am already so sick of all my crap. Purging every day keeps it in the forefront of my mind. Every time I look at the various cluttered surfaces in my home, I feel a sense of despair. I wonder if a year-long purge will be enough to take care of all the excess material possessions I own.

Don't get the wrong idea, please. I am not a hoarder. I do not have paths instead of hallways. I just have a really small house with too much stuff in it. It is so easy to justify bringing a "good deal" home and into the house. Once that happens you're sunk! The good deal becomes a treasure of immeasurable worth, and the thought of parting with it is tantamount to losing a loved one!

I so do not want to feel that way anymore. It's draining and frustrating. I feel like I've caught some awful disease and it"s incurable --

Alright, my eyelids are sinking like the Titanic and I just about fell outof my chair, so it is time to get the list down.

Five more cookbooks as described below:

1) The Five Seasons Cranberry Cookbook -- No, this is not a cookbook from a restaurant called The Five Seasons that is a step up from The Four Seasons ;) It is a BH&G cookbook with over 275 cranberry recipes.

2) Ice Cream by Mable & Gar Hoffman -- the title says it all.

3) Cooking Essentials -- A Cooking Club of America Publication

4) The Cook's Illustrated Complete Book of Poultry

5) A Mayonnaise cookbook titled, "The French Have A Word For It: Mayonnaise. Catchy title I know. It was originally my mom's, andit has the recipe for my favorite Blue Cheese Dressing. It is the only recipe I use, so I just made a copy of the recipe :)




Thank God for my husband! I am pretty tech savvy, but he always saves the day when I can't figure it out :)

Remember, if you see something you can't live without...shoot me an email at penelopesamuel@gmail.com and I will mail them to you at my expense. With my new job schedule, I will be shipping on Saturdays only :)

Thanks for reading and supporting my project!!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Thrilling Thursday

Today was amazing. My first day as a long-term sub. It may seem odd that I am so excited about a temporary teaching postition, but a long-term sub job is very much like being a contracted teacher. You build a rapport with the students, you plan lessons, do the grading, interact with parents, get an email address, go to department and faculty meetings, accrue vacation and sick leave, and a whole bunch of other cool stuff!

Of course, I realize I am still in the "honeymoon" period. The students behave better, they do their work, and turn it in. I wish it could last forever, but I know it will not. I am grateful for the opportunity to do what I love, even if it is on a temporary basis :)

Okay, on to today's purge. I am still adjusting to my new schedule. I am not getting up any earlier, but I am definitely busier and unable to nap at will, yup. So after I got home from work, I had a snack, threw in some laundry, played words with friends, and then decided to find my purge. It had to be quick and painless. I recently acquired some new cookbooks for free. I decided that I needed to get rid of some of the cookbook's I already own and never use, if I wanted to keep the new cookbooks. So I quickly scanned the shelf and four I haven't used in forever and will probably never use. I also found my old Phi Theta Kappa membership packet from when I joined  five or six years ago.

The cookbook countdown from left to right begins here:

1) The Freezer Cooking Manual from 30 Day Gourmet -- A Month of Meals Made Easy. With the just the three of us, this type of cooking doesn't really work for us.


2)  Frightfully Fun Halloween Recipes. There are tons of fun recipes for kids and parties. I don't think I've ever used a recipe out of it...

3) Cookie Dough Fun. Similar to the Halloween cookbook, except the recipes all call for refrigerated cookie dough. Again, I don't think I've ever used a recipe from it.

4) Frozen Assets: How to Cook For a Day and Eat For a Month.

5) not pictured and not a cook book...my membership packet from Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society of the two year college.

I have a feeling there will bw a couple more days of cookbooks. I am pushing to challenge that mindset of "I might use that someday" which is so insidious and detrimental to my project!

Remember, if you see something you can't live without, I will gladly ship it to at my expense. It may take a little longer with the new job, but it will get there eventually :)


Thanks for reading :) TGTF! See you then....

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

My Last Day of Psuedo Freedom

Tomorrow I start teaching full-time. It is not a permanent position, but it is a long-term sub position starting tomorrow and continuing until the end of the school year. I have met most of my students, and I am looking forward to working with them and getting to know them better.

I am also a little nervous..it is in my nature. I do not like the unknown. I like to know what is going to happen, when it is going to happen, how it is going to happen, etc. I do not like variables, except in math. I know I have the support of the teacher I am replacing as well as the entire Special Ed department. However, in the end, I am doing the lesson planning, teaching, grading, etc. I am so glad my first "week" as the new teacher is only two days :)

Tonight's purge is a whole bunch of one item. Intriguing, right?

Once upon a time, long, long ago, a young woman became obsessed greatly interested in metal cookie cutters and baking sugar cookies. This devoted young woman would make dough, roll it out, cut cookies with her many different cutters, bake and frost them. Her family heaped lavish praise on her as they shoved cookie after cookie into their greedy eager mouths. One day the young woman thought about baking cookies but knew she didn't have enough time for the elaborate sugar cookies she usually baked. She put the cookie cutters in a Georgia Boot Co. shoe box, tucked them in a cupboard under the laundry room sink, and made a batch of drop cookies. The cookie cutters have not seen the light of day since that fateful moment...

Until today! Alas, years of neglect has taken their toll and some of the cookie cutters have died a rusty, corrosion induced death :( Fear not, however! Many cookie cutters survived the dungeon-like conditions under the sink, and only need a good bath to restore them to working order.

The young woman has grown and has no crazy ambitions regarding baking sugar cookies! She is ready to release the healthy cookie cutters into the wild of the thrift store.

So, after that amazing burst of autobiographical creativity, I am sure you have figured out what I am getting rid of today.

So, here is the short ans sweet list of today's purge...

1) Approximately 35 metal cookie cutters of various design, old and newer.

2) Approximately 10 nasty and corroded metal cookie cutters (not pictured) going straight into the recycle bin.
Remember, if you see something you can't live without I will gladly ship it to you :) Please keep in mind with my new schedule, I will not ship as quickly. Also, these cookie cutters are "as is". I am not doing a darn thing to them!

Thanks for reading! See you tomorrow :)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Well...That Was a Good Nap!

Apparently I am out of practice with the get up at 5:00 a.m., work all day, come home and stay awake until bedtime routine...meh!

I didn't teach today, but I did stay at school the entire day (and then some),picked up my picture prints, came home and made dinner, did the dishes, and promptly PASSED OUT for three hours. I remember waking up a couple of times and knowing I should get up, but my body was having no part of that nonsense. So I slept until 9:30.

Tomorrow there is no school because today was the last day of the semester. Tomorrow teachers have a day to grade like maniacs, enter grades into the computer, and prepare for the next semester. No problem (read with heavy sarcasm).

I am so glad I have my three items already picked out, picture taken, and ready to go! Today's offering will go to The Red Hat if no one claims any of the fine treasures. Well, there is actually only one thing that's shippable, so we'll see what happens :)

1) A large 70's green genuine Tupperware storage container without a lid. I am not sure why I kept this...maybe deep in the recesses of my mind I thought I might come across a lid in my thrift store jaunts. Of course with the Tupperware in the cupboard, I forgot I needed a lid. Go figure

2) A largey 70's yellow/gold geuine Tupperware storage container WITH a lid. Woo Hoo!!! I think it was in the cupboard because I didn't like not being able to see what was in the container, but it was genuine Tupperware so I wasn't willing to get rid of it. My logic is not logical (shocking, I know).

3) An old pizza pan that used to belong to my roomie from six years ago. 'Nuff said.

4) A Christmas tin from Dollar Tree or Big Lots. I make a lot of Christmas goodies and share with friends and loved ones. I am sure I was thinking I was saving $1 by hanging onto the tin. Yay, logic...NOT.

5) A stainless steel frothing pitcher for steaming milk for espresso. Again, I haven't had an espresso machine in over 6 years, but I kept the pitcher for unknown but very logical reason...



You know, when I type what I am purging and how long I have had it, I wonder about myself...A LOT. I am so grateful that many of you have written either here or on The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook Page that you have similar struggles with getting rid of things. It is good to know there are "others" like me :)

I am so excited that in two days I will have purged and blogged for a month straight. I will have gotten rid of 155+ items from my home. It's a little mind-boggling. Even though the change in how my home looks is not very noticeable, I know that will not be the case in the coming months.

I am not tooting my own horn, but I am proud of myself. I used to be the person who committed to everything and followed through on nothing. I feel like I am shedding tha skin and it feels wonderful.

Thank you for being a part of my journey, and silently encouraging me to continue! You rock and I appreciate it :) Good night, friends. See you tomorrow.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Gettin'er Done Early!

Since I have a small block of free time and I've already got my five things to purge, I'm going to bust out my blog now! Maybe I will get to bed a little earlier tonight :)

I start my new job Thursday, so I went in today so I could meet some of my students a little ahead of time. I will go tomorrow as well to meet the rest. They seem like a great bunch of students, and I am excited to start teaching them. Most of my classes are small, which is such a blessing. I will have the continued support of the teacher I am taking over for -- she is the new President of the teachers' union and is moving to a half time support position at the school. I am sure I will regale you with teaching stories once I start, and hopefully not bore you to tears.

I have some cookies to deliver to the library and groceries to shop for, so I am going to stop prattling on, and get to the list :)

Today's purge is from the corner cupboard in the he kitchen, and it is the throwaway pile.

1) One half of a bag of smoked Gouda popcorn. It's been hanging out down there for quite a while, and I haven't eat any in bleems so its time to trash it.

2) One half of a bag of tortilla chips. I didn't even know these were down there, so that is a good sign they need to go.

3) Child's Play (the candy assortment). My daughter bought this from her work, and it has been down there FOR.EVER. I am sick of looking at it, so I made the executive decision to throw it away!

4) A sponge/scrubber for the George Foreman grill. The grilled died long, long ago, and the sponge had just been hanging out waiting to be rescued.

5) A 5-cup coffeemaker. I am the only coffee drinker in the house, and I don't drink coffee every day (well I try not to), so a coffeemaker is pointless. I use a pour over filter. This will be going to the thrift store


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

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Supercross Sunday

I'm not a huge Supercross/Motocross fan, but my hubby is. I am a big turn-off-the-TV-and-read-a-book-or-listen-to-music fan :) For him. Supercross is a big deal. He sets a reminder, his little brother comes over, and they watch it together. Today, however, CBS thwarted his carefully laid plans...the golf tournament they were airing prior to Supercross went into extra holes (or whatever they call it), and so they did not air Supercross. Why am I telling you all this? Mainly because I felt my title needed an explanation :)

Today I tackled a corner cupboard in my kitchen that had been driving me crazy for several months. It was full of stuff I used and stuff I didn't use but didn't have abetter spot for. I know, I know...If I don't use it, why was I keeping it? Again, I have no idea. That mindset of, but I might need it someday... Someday rarely comes, and the stuff keeps multiplying in the dark recesses of my cupboards. This purge required the removal of almost everything from the cupboard. As I pulled more and more stuff from the cupboard, I was reminded of Mary Poppin's seemingly bottomless carpetbag. The only difference being that nothing coming out of my cupboard was fun or magical *sigh*

Once I had the contents of the cupboard strewn across my kitchen floor, I divided and conquered (I made piles). A pile for the recycle bin, a pile for the garbage, and a pile for donation. And the best part? Each one of those piles had five items, so I am ahead of the game with three days worth of purges :) This will be helpful with me starting my new job this week! Next week's purges might be straw wrappers, bread ties, dryer lint, empty toilet paper rolls, and hair from the hairbrush...I'm kidding, I hope.

Of the three piles today's purge is the pile going into my curbside recycle bin. Pretty boring stuff, but it is the means to an end. My cupboard is cleaned out, rearranged, and positively spacious. Now if I can only keep from refilling it!

Today's remarkable recyclables are as listed. Please hold your applause until the end ;)

1) A plastic cookie dough fundraiser tub...the cookie dough long gone! 

2) An empty Apex Brownie box. Not sure why this was still under there...maybe to remind not to judge others (like when my daughter/husband left an empty box in the bathroom cupboard and I ranted about it here).

3) An empty Dasani water bottle. yeah.

4) 3 disposable aluminum baking pans. They were not the right size for what I needed, and I haven't been able to figure out another use for them. They are big and take up too much space, so they have to go.

5) The plastic scraper for cleaning a George Foreman grill. My husband had one when we forst moved in together (almost 6 years ago), but it died probably 4 years ago. Maybe I thought we would get a new one someday...nah.
See you tomorrow! I hope your Monday is peaceful, productive, and stress-free :)


Saturday, January 26, 2013

I love Saturdays...usually :)

And this Saturday is no exception. I love what the weekend represents -- freedom from the Monday through Friday grind. Not that I have a grind, but it's nice to have a break from the weekday routine. Weekends have their own routine, which tend to be more flexible. Tonight was one of the local high school's winter ball, so my daughter got off work early to get ready (she's a senior this year). I dropped off books and magazines at the library, checked out a few art books, picked up her boyfriend's boutinierre, made grape salad for my husband to take to his sister and brother-in-law's "winter olympics", and just relaxed :)

I decided for today's purge to continue with the magazines -- I have several stacks all over the house :( I followed similar rules as last time; it had to be pretty current and I had to have a GOOD reason for keeping it! Again, I purged more than I kept. Yay, me!!! I won't post a picture of the magazines, but I do want to post a picture of my daughter and her boyfriend. They are both wonderful young people with kind hearts!

If you must know stats about the magazines...I purged 18 and an old phone book :)

On a sidenote, some people have spoken for items I posted by commenting on the blog. I have responded to those comments, but have not heard anything back. It is much easier to communicate via email, which is why I have asked you to email me at penelopesamuel@gmail.com if you see something you want me to send to you. So if you requested something and haven't heard from me, you should check to see if I have replied to your comment :)

Thanks again for reading! See you tomorrow:)

Friday, January 25, 2013

Fast & Furious Friday

Today was an interesting day. Friday is my regular cleaning day for one of my clients. I have been cleaning for this couple for about 4 years. I park in the same place every single time. Can you see where this is leading? Today, the husband backed into my car as he was leaving for work. I am sharing this because I thought it was funny, and it could have been so much worse! This couple are really great people, and I knew I had nothing to worry about. About two hours after it happened, their company paint and body guy came to the house to check out my car and get all the info he needed to get my car fixed. He has already ordered the new fender and paint, and will fix it next weekend.

Last week the wife had given me three bags of books to trade in for credit at Powell's City of Books in Portland, OR. I trade my books to Powell's online for virtual credit. After I set aside what Powell's wants, I take the remainder to my local book store for trade credit, and the final stop is the library. I donate whatever is left to The Friends of the Library for their bi-annual book sale and the year-round $1 bookshelf. Between Powell's and my local bookstore I now have $58.00 in credit :) My bookshelves are full, so I save the credit for birthday and Christmas gifts...unless they have a book of poetry I "need" to add to my collection.

All this rambling about my day does lead somewhere, I promise :) In December, my father-in-law gave me a bag full of books and magazines that had been his wife's (she passed away in July). They are gardening magazines, Birds & Blooms, a few hardback mysteries, and some gardening books. The sack has been sitting in my foyer for at least a month, silently reproaching me as I swept and vacuumed around it. Tonight I decide to go through it and decide what I could part with. My first step was to categorize them, so they'd be easier to sort through. Then I decided I had to get rid of anything older than 2012 (just about everything in the bag!) At that point, I looked at the cover and asked myself why do I want to keep it? What information is in here that will be useful? How soon will I read it? Where will I put it until I read it? You get the picture. I am proud to say I only kept 6 magazines and 1 book :) The rest will go to the library's reuse, reduce, recycle magazine shelves tomorrow!

I do have a picture, but I am not going to list the magazines and books I purged. There is well over 5 items, and I am very glad to have one less bag of stuff on the floor :)

Thanks for reading my blog and supporting my project! Have a great weekend, and I'll see you tomorrow :)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

On My Knees in the Bathroom...

Did you like the suggestive title? Did you think I was praying to the porcelain god? Well, that's what I was hoping for...

Thankfully, I was not sick, only cleaning off a shelf under the counter :) A rather dusty, dog hair rich shelf -- yuck! I learned something from that shelf and its contents, something that brought joy to my heart.  Are you ready for my most recent epiphany? It only took me five minutes to go through the contents on the shelf, throw away a bunch of containers with 1/2 tsp. of whatever in them, find six things worthy of donating, wipe it down, and return the few items I kept. That five minutes is proof that good things come in small packages, that small steps make a big impact, that five minutes is enough time to accomplish something significant. And the bonus? That shelf no longer looks cluttered, and I can easily find what I need now :)

Honestly, there are some days I do not feel like looking for five things to purge, and when I am purging I get mad! Mad that I have accumulated so much crap that it is easy to find five things I no longer want or need. Every purge solidifies my resolve to not buy anything I don't need because I don't want to have to purge it a week, month, year down the road. I went to Michaels yesterday - I had a gift card with a little bit of money on it, and I wanted to see if they had any Valentine washi tape. I spent less than $20, which is a huge accomplishment for me, and I said no to myself more than I said yes. I can easily justify craft supplies, so again, this was a huge step forward to me :)

Progress is progress, and a quote that I kept close to my heart during my student teaching last year is, "No matter how slow you go, you are still lapping everybody on the couch". I think this applies to more than running. It applies to any effort you make to bring about a positive change in your life.

Okay, on to today's less than exciting purge items :)

1) An almost full container of Bath and Body Works Midnight Pomegranate Body Butter. I do not like the way it feels on my skin.

2) An almost full 4 oz. bottle of their Sweet Pea lotion. It was a gift and the scent is too sweet for me.

3) A wooden grooved cylinder for back rubs. I love a good back rub, but I prefer my sweetie's warm hands :)

4) A plastic knobby thing that I believe is another type of massager. Never used it, never gonna use it.

5) An inflatable bath pillow. I haven't soaked in the tub in a couple of years. I don't know why, but baths lost their appeal a few years ago.

6) A never been used loofah mitt. I prefer the mesh poofs :)

Remember -- If you see something, anything you can't live without, shoot me an email at penelopesamuel@gmail.com. I will gladly ship it to you free of charge :)

Thanks for reading, and thank you for all the congratulatory comments on yesterday's blog post. I am so excited for this opportunity!!! See you tomorrow, friends :)




Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wonderful Wednesday :)

 Today, the principal of the high school I interviewed at last week called and offered me the long-term sub position!!! I, of course, accepted :) It is a full-time English/Language Arts Special Ed position. I am not endorsed in Special Education, but I am endorsed in English/Language Arts. I am so grateful and excited for this opportunity, but I am also a little nervous. A long-term sub position is quite different from day-to-day subbing, but I am confident I will be a great teacher, have fun, and learn as much as my students :) This will definitely affect my blog as well. Until I get my rhythm, my posts will be short and sweet. I am determined to continue purging 5 items a day and blogging about it, but I don't think my posts will be as lengthy. Ha! For some of you that may be a relief ;)

My husband and I went out to dinner tonight with a bunch of his co-workers. We drove separately since he left from work and I was at home. As I was driving home from the restaurant, I was thinking about tonight's purge. "Less is still not enough" was the epiphany that presented itself. As I thought about what that meant in the context of my Five a Day endeavor I realized two things. 1)This project is not conducive to a "deep" purge -- the kind of purging that requires digging, sorting, and making tough decisions. 2) Even though I am pretty much done purging in my room, it doesn't look any less cluttered :( This was quite the slap in the face which led to my next epiphany -- there will be two levels of purging going on from this point. 1)  The purging I do for the blog -- the five items that are readily available to make a decision about. 2) The purging that results from sorting through boxes and stacks of random papers that have resulted from a apathy and an inability to commit.

I was at a loss this evening as I realized I would not be purging from the bedroom. I will be back because I am dissatisfied with my room not looking any different after 22 days of purging.

I decided to tackle one of the bathroom cupboards! They are full of stuff, most of which I have no idea what it is. There will be no pictures or list tonight because I got rid of way more than five things and none of it was worth donating. Ok, maybe a very general list, so I have a written record of what I did :)

1) Another bottle of outdated prescription meds to go to the police station

2) Some outdated cough syrup

3) Too many empty boxes -- who doesn't throw away a box when they take the last item out of it??

4) Several of my daughter's empty make-up bottles and other cosmetic containers.

5) Several empty travel size lotion bottles.

I am happy to say the cupboard is positively spacious now, and I was able to move some things off the counter and into the cupboard :)

Ah progress, I love you so!

Thanks for reading my blog and supporting my project! See you tomorrow :)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tuesday...meh!

Thank you so much for the kind words of support and encouragement in the comments of yesterday's blog post. They really helped lift me out of the funk I was in! And...it gave me the push I needed to dive under my bed (literally and figuratively) and tackle those boxes.

I must say I was pleasantly surprised that were fewer boxes than I remembered :) Tonight I was able to merge the contents of two boxes into one. The next step is to remove all the pictures from the frames and sort them into some semblance of order. I filled a small tub with random paper stuff that will go into the recycle bin as soon as I finish this post. I am claiming said tub of stuff as one of my purge items tonight!

Back in the day when I was a fanatic avid garage saler, I collected a lot of different stuff. I especially liked pansies (still do) and anything with a shabby chic or vintage feel to it. Doilies, yes like your grandmother made and put on the arms of her sofa, were (still are) one of my favorite things to look for at garage  and estate sales. At one point I am sure I had more doilies than a sofa store could use! And, I think there are doilies lurking in the recesses of my garage ( my summer purge). The point of all this is that in my quest under the bed I found some doilies, and they brought back memories, and I clutched them a little tighter as the thought of parting with them increased my angst. But, I am a logical person ( in some instances) and I am focused when the result of being unfocused is guilt and the only other option. I am really hard on myself about really dumb stuff. Maybe that will change over the course of the project. Where was I going with this? Oh yeah, the logic thing. I acknowledged that they had been under my bed for 5 1/2 years...obviously I didn't love them that much.

I guess the point I am trying to make is: if it has been under the bed for 5 1/2 years and it's not pictures, jewelry, guns, you get the idea, it can go bye bye! Maybe I'll come up with a set of questions to ask myself every time I am conflicted about a purge.

Alright, enough drivel! On to the stuff :)

1) A small pink and off white round doily. It has a few small rust stains.

2) A round purple and off white doily. The off white parts curl in a spiral. It's very cool and pretty.

3) A gorgeous round rich dark cream/light brown doily. I cannot describe the color, but it screams vintage,antique. The needlework is beautiful!

4) A round cream and mint green doily. It is a very lacy, spidery pattern. It has some light stains in various places on the cream part.

5) A hand-painted decorative pansy plate. Very pretty, but I have enough pansy stuff.

Remember! If you see something you can't live without, shoot me an email at penelopesamuel@gmail.com. Thanks for reading my blog, and supporting my endeavor. I appreciate it very much!!