Monday, November 8, 2010

Quinoa and Kale with Cannelli Beans

Three Stars (based on 5) --5 being the number in my family, 3 being how many liked/loved this dish.

A recent addition to our recipe files. Here is a dish I served up last night. This was my second time cooking with both of the main ingredients and I think it went well. I decided to combine both of these great superfoods - Kale and Quinoa. The tumeric and ginger which you all know I have plenty of, both add thier great anti-inflamatory properties to this dish.  This was so good that my husband and 10 year old went back for more.

Super easy recipe.


One box of Veg Broth
One clove of Garlic, I used some from farmers market- much better!
One can of organic white beans
One bunch of Kale
A shake of tumeric
A shake or two of powdered Ginger
A shake of Lemon Grass
A shake of allspice

( I simply shake the powdered spices over the broth, while heating it)

Saute garlic in olive oil.
Add broth and spices ---bring to boil
Add 1 cup of quinoa cook until done -it will absorb all the broth when done.
Remove from heat and add one bunch of Kale  well chopped, mix in and recover pot. The heat will "cook " the kale

Enjoy as a main course or side dish.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Paperwork Clutter part two

Having conquered the family message center the other day. I have started to tackle other areas of paper clutter. How much paper clutter do you have in your house? It seems to multiply here.  Bills, coupons, important papers from school and those magazines and books you picked up just meaning to read.  I have been spending most of this week tackling and being tackled by paper clutter. I have to admit PK (that is pre-kid) I was uber organized. Made sure everything was filed away everyday.  But really how much of it do we really need? Paperwork is like laundry there are many ways to manage it. I find daily is best. Everyone has their own way to organize paperwork. Personally I find it works best for me to keep financial and tax documents separate from other papers like photos and kids memorabilia.  There are plenty of organizing blogs and websites out there to help you organize your paperwork and house.  I am not going to recreate the wheel here. Just make you pause and think. How much of this do I really need?  I will recommend disposing of financial and medical documents in a secure manner.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Combating paperwork clutter

my command central

This is a difficult one for me to face. BK - in otherwords before kids, I was uber organized, in many areas,  especially in the paper department. Lately though it has been getting away from me. Today I started small and decided to handle our family command center.  This has been bothering me for a while now. It was full of calendars, coupons, schedules and event notices and important papers I don't want to lose. Now I am a big believer in the family calendar. I can never seem to find one that has big enough blocks for everything. The activities the events, the bill schedules, menu planning. This calendar, a freebie, has been my go to for a couple of years now. It has BIG 1" blocks. But still not quite big enough. Hence the need for the other schedules. 

We have Church schedules, game schedules, school schedules, for the kids and husband.  It is ALL too much. 
So it ALL came down.  To my - well maybe not - suprise, most of the coupons were expired and some of the calendars and schedules were out of date. 
full of schedules and multiple calendars

Steam lined schedules all together with the phone lists

calendar with essential information for NEXT year only NO more last year
 I know that some people prefer electronic calendars but for me keeping track of everyone's schedule it is not official unless is on the master calendar.  I have been sooo inspired I think I will tackled the rest of the paper clutter.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

How to dispose of belongings in a Green Way

So have you decided to join my challenge? Are you reducing your belongings by 20%. Now it is time to talk about how we dispose of those belongings in a green way.

 What exactly does that mean?

It does not mean throwing it all away in the trash.

So you have an assortment of things to leave your house. What are you going to do now?

Let's go back to Bob the Builder.

REDUCE                   REUSE                 RECYCLE


 We are working on reducing by buying consciously. By really focusing on "do we need  this?"; "will it make my life better, easier?"


Since I am trying to get things OUT of my house, at this point in time I am NOT focusing on the REUSE portion, at least personally. However at times that REUSE is simply passing an item on to someone else in the family.  Reusing our items is a frequent occurrence at our house. Often my kids are just as excited by the box that came as they are the contents of the box brought by our friendly UPS man. Ask yourself "How can I reuse this object?" Sheets can be re purposed many ways, they make great tablecloths, curtains, drop clothes while painting, or curtain.  You can use a sheet to recover a chair or build a tent for the kids. Try looking at things from a new point of view. Some of my favorite bud vases are Mason jars or ordinary jars that have not quite made it to the recycle bin yet.


Okay, you are following along with my 20% less challenge. You have a carload of things to recycle. BUT WAIT. What is the best way to recycle all this stuff? One of my favorites is to donate to a worthy cause. Two of my favorites don't sell the items but rather give them out to clients. I like to look for a woman's shelter or an organization that helps people get back on their feet.  Our local Catholic Charities helps people with clothes, toys for Christmas, furniture as well as food. I realize that this is probably one of the easier ways to recycle your belongings. Okay so what do you do if you have cleaned out Grandpa's barn, or the just your storage shed in the back yard? Some cities, will have collection days where they will take anything including batteries, and paint. Some cities will even come pick up the big stuff at your house.  Check with your local cities on this one.

What are some of the more creative ways you have reduced, reused or recycled your belongings?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A thought to ponder

Today this quote came to mind -

The more you have, the more you are occupied. The less you have, the more free you are.”

- Mother Theresa of Calcutta

As I am downsizing our possessions I am trying to decide what to do with them. Sell them at a yard sale, on ebay, craiglist or just give them away. This has been occupying a lot of my time. Too much time it seems.  As I try to take pictures and list things on the various sites.  I am thinking there may be a yardsale in my future.

Monday, October 11, 2010

A morning's work - 20% Less continued

Today I went through the winter coats with the kids.  Turns out they have more than enough.  So we applied the 20% rule.  I asked my daughters to reduce thier coats by 20%.  This was no easy task, as one daughter LOVED all the jackets and coats she had.  I am happy to report that we have reduced the coats in my house by 20% and a donation will be made to Coats for Kids annual drive.

I also tackled the freezer. I LOVE grocery shopping at home. We founds some great chorizo that made a delicous lunch when mixed with brown rice corn, black beans and peppers and onions. I was able to plan dinner for 4 more nights from my stockpile in the freezer. Mind you I do not have a big stand alone freezer. We are simply talking the one on the fridge. I am also talking about "real" food. These are not frozen packaged foods. 
Not bad for a morning's work.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Clutter makes me Sick

Since I am so busy today with School and coaching my son with soccer. I would wirte about why I am decluttering and reducing our belongins. Although I am selling some of the treasurers we no longer need  It is not to earn money myself, but to simplify my life. For me "Less is more" has been a personal motto for a while now. I have always been a fan of the pure lines the Shaker and Arts and Craft style, the simplicity of it and the cleanliness of it. Back when I was pregnant with #1 we bought our lovely farm house and moved in. I took that as an opportunity to reduce the clutter. Well by the time #3 had come along we acqired a whole diferent sort of clutter. It doesn't seem to matter where it comes from it just to multiplies, like those dust bunnies. At times the clutter overwhelms me , not that is not the right word, it overcomes me. I can feel ill from too much stuff. It may not seem cluttered to some but to me it is too much. You see I like my flat surfaces clear, I am not much for trinkets and tchotkies. No coffee table books on my coffee table suits me fine.

Clutter begets clutter begets chaos. You just can't organize clutter. You have to let go of it. Why do we hold on to some things. How many of us have desk drawers or purses full of receipts and slips of paper that once ment something but no have long ago lost thier meaning? We all have our reasons for holding on to things. Sometimes it is because it make us feel better, or holds special memories or we think having something will make us into a better person.  A wise person once said you should possess your possesions not let them possess you. So why do we persist. in keeping  things that weigh us down?

I have decided it is time to let go of those things that weigh my family down, to make room for more in our lives. When we have sooo many things they become a burden a hinderence and we spend out time caring for our possessions instead of living life. We work to afford them. We work to take care of them.  Ask yourself this question: "Do I take my self worth from the value of what I own? Do I measure myself by my possesions?" If the answer is yes then you may want to join in my adventure in reducing possesions by 20%.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Today I decided to attack the spice cupboard. Baking season will soon be upon us and I want to be prepared. Let's face it, it is no fun to be wrist deep in flour or dough and need a certain spice. Especially when you live where I live and have to plan trips to the store a day ahead. (takes that long to get there). So attack I did. Some how the spice cupboard ends up being the location for those things no one else knows where to put.
Like salt shakers. Seriously how many salt shakers do we need for a family of 5?
I can't tell you how many times I have been at the store and bought a spice and find out 2 months latter that I have 3 containers for pumpkin pie spice. We only make pumpkin pie twice a year. How much pumpkin pie spice does a family need? As I was cleaning out the spice cupboard I was taking inventory of what I might night for holiday cooking. Turns out I have enough ginger to make gingerbread cookies for an army.
All those other holiday spices are in good order. I will have to get some Bell's Poultry Seasoning for Thanksgiving. But we are in good shape - if anything a little over stocked. Better start baking

Friday, October 1, 2010

20% less in the desk = a laptop

So we begin our quest. Not much work was done today, but I did get a head start on things yesterday. I tackled my desk. Yes the dreaded desk. I did not get it all cleaned but I made a start. I cleaned out the desk drawers. Good lord. Really did I need software for printers I no longer own. Don't think so. So they are going to the donation box. It was fun to find cd's with lots of pictures of my kiddos on them. To my daughter's surprise, I uncovered an older laptop on the seldom used desk and it works. I think she is vying for it!. I just need to figure out how to get my files off of it and get it a software update. Well I am off to post some things on ebay to sell.

Monday, September 27, 2010

80/20 Rule or Less is More

Recently I was reading about the 80/20 rule. How we only use 20% of our things 80% of the time. Now I have always believed this to be true about clothes and I have at least one child who I know it is true for. They seem to wear the same jeans/shorts every day to school. This particular article implied that this rule fits our entire lives and houses. It seems that we only use 20% of our belongings 80% of the time. Most of us live in houses filled to the gills with things we are not using. Grandma Pebble's china handed down to us, the ruby red Depression glassware collected by our mother and our one vice, books, books, books.

After reading this article I came to a decsion. I have decided to reduce our belongings and acquisitions by 20% in the upcoming month. I hope you will follow me on this journey, and if you feel drawn too, to join me on this journey. I will be selling and donating "excess inventory" as I go along. As an interesting observation I have decided to weigh and track the total that I reduce by. For me reducing the bulk of the items in our house wil be the easy part. I always seem to have a bag going for donations. The challenge will be to purchase less to bring into the house. I am not a big shopper but never the less, the odd thing seems to make it into my carriage at the store. So for October I will try to delay purchasing these so called non neccesities.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Monday Morning Cleaning

Monday mornings are my cleaning day here. But no harsh chemicals for this house. We like to use vinegar and baking soda, essential oils such as tea tree oil, lemon and lavender. Not only is it green but it is economical. Green in my wallet. I love finding new uses for these green products too. Recently I found out that baking soda and Borax may be used safely and effectively in the pool to adjust and maintain ph levels.

What do I have in my cleaning bucket? Microfiber clothes, definately more green than paper towels, refillable spray bottles, filled with a mix of 1/2 water and 1/2 white distilled vinegar 10 drops of tea tree oil and 10 drops of essential oil for fragrance if desired; a squeegie, Oxygen cleaner, for those stubborn spots. And a little bit of elbow grease. Cleaning green is not much different than conventional cleaning. I have been using green cleaning methods around the house for over 15 years.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Welcome to my blog. We are a family of 5 trying to live a greener life. We are hoping to share this journey with you. Some experiences will be successful, some will probally be laughable. We hope to learn something on this journey and we will share it with you. So join us as we make small changes that we hope will add up to big changes in our lives and our childrens' lives.
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