Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Can *You* Do 100 Days of Happy?

I saw this in Facebook today:

Can be happy for 100 days in a row?

It's quite a neat, yet simple, idea. Do you think you'll give it a try? I think I might!


Monday, June 2, 2014

Moving: Time to Be Clutter-Free

For at least a few years now, we have talked about how we'd like to move. The house we are in was supposed to be our "10-year house"; we are a couple months short of having been here 13 years. The interest rates right now are great, house prices steady, so we finally decided, hey, let's see what we can do.

Of course, this means getting the house in order. And to sum that up in one word: Oy.

Fortunately, we haven't found a house to buy that we love yet because the process of decluttering is taking a long time. The amount of stuff that builds up with kids, running an in-home daycare, homeschooling and life over 13 years is quite extensive. Even though we had been giving some stuff away over the years.

FlyLady was a great tool for me in the past. Actually, as I type this, I am reminded that I turned to her the last time we moved, asking for advice! If you are not familiar with FlyLady and would like some help in getting your house organized, clean and just managing it, do check her out. She helped me a great deal! And I go back to certain principles all the time, even though I've never been able to quite hop on board 100% with her approach the way many others have.

Image from http://www.flylady.net

But anyhow, I started doing my decluttering without referring to her. This time, I simply decided I was going to work on a single room, the living room you see as soon as you walk in, until it was "ready", which, it turns out, appears to be somewhat what she recommends. But what is "ready"? I saw I didn't have a clear picture in mind and was slowing down and still seeing how much else there was to do around the house. This just left me feeling a bit discouraged. I changed my mind and adopted her Crisis Cleaning tips to working 45-60 minutes at a time on decluttering. Instead of coming back to the kitchen all the time and taking a break after 3 rounds of 15 minutes of cleaning, I just tackle three different areas, the ones that seem to need it the most, and if I feel up to it, will do a 4th session before stopping for the day (or that part of the day). So far, this is helping me a lot because I'm seeing how key problem areas are improving and it doesn't feel as much anymore that there are so many other rooms "left to do". They're all being worked on and improving. Bit by bit, we're getting clutter-free.

I would post before and after pics, but truly, some of the areas are rather embarrassing and moving is a very good excuse to finally take charge of them. (And I forgot to take a before pic before starting to tackle one of the worst areas...) If you are moving, or just deciding to get your house clutter-free, let me know in the comments! We can share our daily progress and help each other stay motivated. :)

Friday, May 30, 2014

-Free Recipe Friday: Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Ice Cream

I have a delicious dairy-free/vegan/gluten-free recipe for you today! One of the many things people miss when going dairy-free for whatever reason is ice cream. I'm one of those people. I know people who have said they could never go dairy-free because they wouldn't be able to give up ice cream. Let's face it: ice cream is important to many people. There are some delicious non-dairy ice creams available but the better ones come in tiny containers tend to cost more than a typical 3-scoop ice cream cone! Making it yourself cuts back on costs and lets you make exactly what you want with the ingredients you want.

Today's recipe, Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl comes from The Vegan Scoop

1 cup soymilk, divided
2 tbsp arrowroot powder
1 cup soy creamer (my note: Silk makes original and French vanilla; both taste very good in this recipe)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips
1 tbsp vanilla extract (yes, even if you use the French vanilla creamer)
3/4 cup peanut butter (I use regular, store-bought peanut butter with sugar in it)

In a small bowl combine 1/4 cup of the soymilk with arrowroot and set aside.

Mix soy creamer, remaining 3/4 cup soymilk, sugar, cocoa powder and chocolate chips in a saucepan and cook over low heat. (Not too low or it'll take forever!) Once mixture begins to boil, remove from heat and immediately add arrowroot cream. This will cause the liquid to thicken noticeably. Add vanilla extract.

Refrigerate mixture until chilled, approximately 2 to 3 hours. (Elsewhere in the book, he recommends letting it chill overnight.) Freeze according to ytes of freezing, swirl in peanut butter.

Yield: 1 quart


My one piece of advice when making this is to not let the ice cream mix too long after you've added the peanut butter. While you can still taste the peanut butter and the combination of the chocolate and peanut butter is amazing, the peanut butter can end up mixing in very quickly and you lose the swirl. As you can see here:

Don't have an ice cream maker? Check these out. I have the second one and am very pleased with it.


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Laughter: Helps with an Illness-Free Life

I decided I would give you a laugh today. :D

I like looking through local real estate listings. I've been doing it on and off for years. Sometimes there are some pictures that, in the words of Arsenio Hall, are "things that make you go hmmm."

While I haven't seen any local photos on this site I'm sharing, I have seen local photos that matched photos at this site. Not any of the extreme ones, where your mouth drops open and you can't believe that is actually from a real estate listing, but I've seen a lot of bad photos. And just today, I saw some more and it made me think of the following site and since laughter is the best medicine, here you go, with a few samples from the Terrible Real Estate Agent Photographs site:

I've seen some blurry photos like this one today:

I saw a local photo with a kid walking in the room, but not hiding under the bed:

Although fortunately local realtors don't post crazy pictures like this
or this (?!)

Check out the site. Shake your head. Laugh a little. It's good for you. ;)