Monday, May 14, 2012

Monday- Mental DeClutter

I'm going on vacation for the week.....I need some serious R&R. Have a good DECLUTTERED week!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Thursday- Physical DeClutter

9 Sneaky Ways to Get Your
Kids Moving

Getting your kids to exercise shouldn't have to be a struggle. Here are a few ways to get them going without the usual song and dance.
Get Your Kids Moving
Kids are more sedentary than they've ever been, which should come as no surprise since, as a whole, the US population is too. Some causes are obvious: Playing once involved baseball gloves and sweat, and now it involves joysticks.

As a parent, you have a huge influence on how much activity your children get: You're not only a role model but an on-site coach.

But mandating exercise won't always work. "If you say, 'That's it, Billy, you have to sign up for a sport,' there's generally backlash," says Karen Miller-Kovach, chief scientific officer at Weight Watchers International and author of Family Power: Five Simple Rules for a Healthy Weight Home. So it may require craftier tactics.
Below are nine stealth tactics to get kids under 12 to exercise without realizing it.
1. Buy video games that make them sweat
There are games that force children, including Nintendo's Wii Fit system, to move around in order to win. "If you're at the arcade," says Molly Carmel, senior clinical director at the Academyof the Sierras weight-loss boarding school, "think Dance Dance Revolution instead of Tetris."
2. Rotate active chores 
Mowing the lawn, vacuuming, taking out the trash — they all count as activity. Change the assignment board every week so everybody gets to do something new and work different muscles.
3. Make family night about moving around 
Ditch the movies in favor of bowling or miniature golf — exercises that are fun, competitive and can involve the whole family. Bike, hike, run races or play soccer or catch with a football or softball. All of these will help keep them on their feet.
4. Have a step competition 
"Something we've seen be really successful is when everybody in the family wears a pedometer and keeps track of how many steps they've taken over the course of a day," says Carmel. Write each person's daily score on a white board on the refrigerator. "At the end of the week, whoever wins decides the activity for the weekend." Low-end pedometers can be had for less than $10, and as long as everyone has the same model, all should be fair.
5. Walk, walk, walk
Encourage kids to walk to the store, the library, their friend's house. Or anywhere the kids look forward to going. Walk with them. Strolling aimlessly for exercise is an adult quirk in their view, so make the destination count.
6. Give in 
Speaking of putting them on the heel-toe express as much as possible, cave in and get them the puppy they've been asking for. Dogs, after all, need to be walked two or three times a day. Make caring for the pet a condition of bringing Fido home, and you've built in additional daily exercise.
7. Pool resources 
Not every family has the money or a back yard big enough for a pool. To mitigate the temptation to crank up the AC and stay indoors when summer hits, Carmel recommends signing up for the community pool. There, the kids will have so much fun, she says, they won't realize that they're exercising.
8. Be handy 
Buying a badminton or tetherball set can't hurt, but after five minutes any game you suggest can mysteriously be labeled "lame." Instead, strap on a tool belt and ask them to help you install a floodlight. Or a backyard basketball hoop. Or anything else extremely cool. They'll be your happy gofer and proud to take credit with you when the task is finished.
9. Be creative 
There are "very simple things you can do, like set up an obstacle course in the basement," says Miller-Kovach. "Think up ways they can actively play rather than sit in front of the television on a rainy day."

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Wednesday- What's Cooking?

We had a mother/daughter Cupcake Wars at church tonight. It was fun to spend time with the teenage daughter (who most days drives me crazy). Here is what we made tonight!! We were the Galactic Gardners....Princess Leia in a beautiful garden of flowers.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tuesday- Temporal DeClutter

Summer is just around the corner and I can hardly wait. Time to relax and play with the kids. What do you have planned for this summer? Found this great Summer Fun Chart over at, Go print one for your family and declutter your schedule to spend some time with the kids. Make it a summer they won't forget!!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Friday- Financial DeClutter

Learn What the Student Loan Forgiveness Act Could Mean for You

March 21, 2012 RSS Feed Print
On March 8, Congressman Hansen Clarke (D-Mich.) introduced H.R. 4170, the Student Loan Forgiveness Act of 2012
Normally we don't go into the findings of particular pieces of legislation, but the Student Loan Ranger thinks findings like this are refreshing and show Rep. Clarke is living in the reality most of us inhabit, including:

Total outstanding student loan debt officially surpassed total credit card debt in the United States in 2010, and is on track to exceed $1,000,000,000,000 during 2012; 
Excessive student loan debt is impeding economic growth in the United States. Faced with excessive repayment burdens, many individuals are unable to start businesses, invest, or buy homes; 
Because of soaring tuition costs, students often have no choice but to amass significant debt to obtain an education that is widely considered a prerequisite for earning a living wage."
If you want to hear more from Rep. Clarke, you can watch him introduce the bill in the House. But right now we're going to do what the Student Loan Ranger does best: explore the details.
The act would create a new 10/10 Loan Repayment Plan (with new forgiveness provisions), cap interest rates for all federalloans, greatly improve Public Service Loan Forgiveness, and convert some borrowers' private loans to federal loans. That's a lot! Here's more information on four key parts:
1. 10/10 Loan Repayment Plan: Cleverly called 10/10, the plan caps payment amounts at 10 percent of a borrower's discretionary income (the same 10 percent cap as President Obama's Pay As You Earn proposal in terms of payments) and can provide forgiveness in 10 years.
The forgiveness provision kicks in after a borrower makes 120 payments, which must be either payments under the 10/10 plan; payments that were not less than they would have been under the 10/10 plan; or "payments" of $0 during a month the borrower was in deferment due to an economic hardship.
[Learn more about deferment.] 
For borrowers on or after the date of enactment, forgiveness is limited to $45,520 in principal and fees plus the interest accrued on the principal and fees. That's a huge amount!
There is no forgiveness cap for borrowers who predate enactment. And because prior payments can count, many borrowers who have been repaying their loans for 10 years or more could be eligible for complete forgiveness right away.
One of the Student Loan Ranger's reservations about the plan is that it currently requires borrowers to agree to have their payments electronically debited from a bank account, which could penalize low-income borrowers who may not have bank accounts. We're also concerned that requiring borrowers who leave the plan to repay on a standard plan could put some into a catch-22 where they can't afford payments in 10/10 but also can't afford to leave.
Finally, we're hoping that the plan will be open to help all borrowers with federal loans, without having to meet a threshold like the "partial financial hardship" required forIncome-Based Repayment.
2. Capping interest rates for all federal loans: The act would cap the interest rate on federal loans at 3.4 percent. This is great news for borrowers, since the interest rate is set to be 6.8 percent for all federal Stafford loans as of July 1, 2012.
[Find out more about changes to graduate Stafford loans.]
3. Improving Public Service Loan Forgiveness: The act would also provide for Public Service Loan Forgiveness after 60 monthly payments instead of 120. It is impossible for us to overstate how much this would help borrowers who have committed to careers at relatively low-paying public interest jobs, who could actually start saving for their kids' education and perhaps owning their own home half a decade earlier than they anticipated.
4. Refinancing private education loans: Certain eligible borrowers would be able to obtain a Federal Consolidation Loan to discharge private loans (which lack the protections of federal loans). While we have a few questions about the details, such as whether this would be open to borrowers who had to borrow private loans in addition to federal loans, overall, this would be an incredible help to borrowers struggling with private loans.
This is an act that really needs public support if it is going to move out of the House Education and the WorkforceHouse Armed Services, and House Foreign Affairs committees it has been referred to. If you agree with the plan, the Student Loan Ranger urges you to sign the petition and to personally call your Representative and Senators. And use the Twitter function on this post to tell all your friends about the act.
Of course, you can also keep in touch with us via Twitter (use #studentdebthelp) and Facebook. And register for one of our upcoming student debt relief webinars to get the details you need to know on existing student debt relief programs.
Isaac Bowers is a senior program manager in the Communications and Outreach unit, responsible for Equal Justice Works' educational debt relief initiatives. An expert on educational debt relief, Bowers conducts monthly webinars for a wide range of audiences; advises employers, law schools, and professional organizations; and works with Congress and the Department of Education on federal legislation and regulations. Prior to joining Equal Justice Works, he was a fellow at Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger LLP in San Francisco. He received his J.D. from New York University School of Law.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Thursday- Physical DeClutter

Losers' Lentil Salad (Biggest Loser Quick and Easy Cookbook)

This dish makes an excellent side dish at a picnic or barbecue and is a great to-go lunch. It's easy to prepare, especially if you buy pre-steamed lentils, which are available in the refrigerator section of many major grocery storesthese days. Plus, it packs 10 grams of fiber, which means that it will fill you up!
  • 2 cups steamed lentils, chilled
  • 2 cups cubed red bell pepper
  • 1 cup cubed English (or hothouse) cucumber
  • 1 cup red onion, diced
  • 3 tablespoons low-fat, low-sugar, low-sodium balsamic vinaigrette dressing (I used Follow Your Heart Organic Balsamic Vinaigrette Salad Dressing)
  • 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 ounces (1/2 cup) reduced-fat feta cheese crumbles

In a medium mixing bowl, toss the lentils, pepper, cucumber, and onion with the dressing and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Top with the cheese crumbles. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Makes 4 (1 1/2-cup) servings
Per serving: 214 calories, 13 g protein, 33 g carbohydrates (10 g sugar), 4 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 4 mg cholesterol, 10 g fiber, 279 mg sodium

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Wednesday- What's Cooking?

Skinny Chunky Monkey Cookies Recipe:

3 ripe bananas
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla extract 

Preheat oven to 350°F. Mash bananas in a large bowl, then stir in remaining ingredients. Let batter stand for approximately 20 minutes, then drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes. 

Freezing Directions:
Cool completely, then place cookies in a freezer bag. Seal, label, and freeze. 

Nutritional Information (per cookie): 
47 calories; 7.5 g carbs; 1.6 g fat; 1.5 g protein; 1.3 g fiber; 1 WW PointsPlus

Tuesday- Temporal DeClutter

I'm sharing a post I wrote last December.....just wanted to remind myself about what's important!!

Time......How much time do you waste during the day? I got to thinking about this the other day as I found myself spending WAY TOO MUCH time on a project. While I was working on this project, my poor kids were on their own, fed themselves dinner, got their homework done alone...etc. When I finished, I realized I really didn't need to spend that much time on the project to begin with. It could have (should have) been SIMPLIFIED! But, I didn't take the time to figure that out before I started. How many meetings do we go to that could be cut in half? Too much talking about unnecessary things...getting off track, etc. How much time do we waste watching TV or playing on Facebook? After I saw my kids fend for themselves that day, it really got me thinking about how I spend my time. Especially with summer approaching, I think we all need to stop and think about DeCluttering our schedules to make more room for our priorities...for me, it's my FAMILY! What are your priorities? Where can you cut back?

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Friday- Financial DeClutter

  • Keep your savings up and expenses down as you work on being the first to yell, “I’m debt free!”
  • Don’t let your emergency fund go below $1,000.
  • Plan for expenses using the envelope system. You don’t want to have too much month left at the end of your money.
  • Spend, Save and Give through the income and expenses of everyday living.
  • Pay off debt using your debt snowball.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Thursday- Physical DeClutter

The Happiness Diet

Boosting your mood has never been tastier

Foods for a better mood
Photo credit: Kana Okada
What if you discovered that the best place to begin your personal pursuit of happiness is at the end of your fork? Well, prepare to polish your silverware. Emerging research from the fields of neuroscience and nutrition shows that by changing what you eat, you can stabilize your mood, improve your focus, andboost your brain health, all while trimming your tummy.
We call this way of eating the Happiness Diet. And fear not: It's not all carrot sticks and raw broccoli. It includes foods that are rich in nutrients like vitamins A, B12, D, and E, and folate, iodine, magnesium, calcium, iron, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids—your Essential Elements of Happiness.
Food is directly linked to three areas of brain function that create your "happiness ability." The first is your capacity to focus, think, plan, and remember (we call them "foods for thought"). The second is emotional regulation ("foods for good mood"). And third are foods that give you the ability to power through a deadline and control anxiety ("foods for energy").
This was excerpted from The Happiness Diet (Rodale, 2011). Order your copy today!
Happiness Rules
If you want to tap into the mental well-being that comes from the Happiness Diet, follow these basic guidelines.
RULE 1: Reduce the amount of processed food you eat.
Much of it is loaded with sugar, and too much of the sweet stuff actually contributes to the shrinkage of key brain areas involved in mood regulation.
RULE 2: Eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Plant foods contain the minerals, vitamins, and phytonutrients that we call the Essential Elements of Happiness--substances your brain needs for optimal functioning.
RULE 3: Opt for grass-fed meat, whenever possible.
Compared with typical grain-fed meat, grass-fed has more omega-3 fatty acids, an Essential Element of Happiness that promotes formation of new brain connections.
RULE 4: Strive for variety.
The greater the range of whole foods you consume, the broader the range of brain-boosting nutrients your diet will certainly contain—and the sharper, merrier, and more energized your mind will be.

Read more:

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wednesday- What's Cooking?

Time for a YUMMY dessert recipe.....This one looks SO GOOD!! You know you are going to make it and eat it ALL right? ENJOY!

The Best {Raw} Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Recipe

1 stick (1/2 cup or 4 ounces) unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup Greek yogurt or applesauce or peanut butter
*1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda (I know we’re not baking them, it’s for flavor)
3/4 teaspoons salt
1 cup mini semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment (or with a large bowl and a wooden spoon) cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about three minutes in the machine.  Beat in yogurt or applesauce or peanut butter along with the vanilla extract and stir to combine.
Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.  Add all at once to the butter and sugar mixture and stir until incorporated.  Fold in chocolate chips and walnuts.
*(Notes: If you use applesauce or yogurt, you may have to add more flour. I made a batch with applesauce and I had to use 2 cups flour.)
You can use this recipe for any recipe that calls for raw cookie dough.
Joy, from Joy The Baker, dipped her dough in chocolate and froze them. Sounds sooo good!!! (I will be doing this with my next batch!!)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tuesday- Temporal DeClutter

Totally going to make these....I think Homemade cleaning products are the way to go; saves money and is better for the environment. Thanks


I made 14 wipes so I used smaller quantities of the suggested ingredients:
1/2 cup of water
1/8 cup rubbing alcohol
1 T. Dawn dish soap (*author says to only use Dawn)

Mix everything together in a container that has a lid.  (I washed out an old baby wipes container and used it.)  Then add the wipes, put the lid on, and flip the container over so the liquid can be absorbed into the rags.  I had 14 cotton rags (old white undershirts) that absorbed this amount of the liquid mixture perfectly, not too wet, but just moist enough.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Friday- Financial DeClutter

Budgeting doesn't have to be hard.You don't even need to be tied down to the idea of "making a budget." Saving money can be as simple as making a few small changes at home. This infographic shows you easy, convenient ways to save up to $8,800 a year, without ever feeling the pinch of a restrictive budget.
Created by Infographic World

Thursday- Physical DeClutter

Dr. Oz's 7-day workout plan will help tone and tighten your tummy. The exercises change slightly each day to keep your muscles guessing, allowing them to change shape. Tighten your stomach in just 7 days with this fat-busting workout. Definitely doing this!!! 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wednesday- What's Cooking?

This is for you Kimberly!!

Slow Cooker Hawaiian Meatballs Recipe
32 oz. package of precooked, frozen meatballs (you could use turkey meatballs)
13.5 oz can of unsweetened pineapple chunks (put juice aside)
1 large green pepper, diced
1 cup of brown sugar
2 Tbl. cornstarch
2/3 cup of vinegar
2 Tbl. Soy sauce

Place meatballs in crock pot and top with green pepper and drained pineapple chunks.  In a separate bowl, mix reserved pineapple juice, brown sugar, cornstarch, vinegar and soy sauce.  Pour sauce over meatballs, pineapple and green peppers.  Cook on low for 3-4 hours or until heated through.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tuesday- Temporal DeClutter

Over the course of this week let’s get rid of 100 things. I did this over the weekend and it felt SO GOOD to get rid of "JUNK"
Join in.  Grab a garbage bag and make a donation box and hit the house hard.  Don’t mull over this or that, just grab the random useless items that have become a permanent fixture in your house.
Toss things out like old magazines, summer clothes that you never wore, fall clothes you still won’t fit in this year, kitchen gadgets that waste space, random keys & dead batteries from the junk drawer.  Liberate yourself from that ugly candle your mother gave you that you are never going to burn.  Give away that quilt your mother-in-law gave you guilt free to someone who needs it.
Don’t forget to include the kids in this adventure.
Toss things out like that truck with only three wheels, that McDonald’s Happy Meal toy (how do those things find their way in our homes anyhow?), that old National Geographic Kids magazine, and that half ripped art project. Donate things like Baby Einstein videos and any other infant toys your seven year old swears they still play with!  Consider anything that has dust on it from inactivity.
Still not sold on the idea?  Take a lesson on life from a five year old.  Read this insightful article from the blog Organizing Our Way.
In the end a simple home environment allows your child more room for mental growth and creativity. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Monday- Mental DeClutter

Many friends will walk in and out of your life but only TRUE FRIENDS will leave footprints on your heart.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Thursday- Physical DeClutter

Well, I got knocked off my rocker in March. Remember I wanted to do a 30 day workout? Right....I caught a mother of a virus and it knocked me down for 3 weeks. PLUS....I volunteered to help with the Elementary School Play and we performed the last week of March. Needless to say....I need a huge kick in the pants to get going again. So, I'm posting this again to get myself MOTIVATED! June 2nd is coming way too fast........

Wednesday- What's Cooking?

Another YUMMY one for the recipe box....Thanks to my sister Liz!

Salsa Chicken

4 chicken breasts
1 C salsa
1 can cream of chicken
Taco seasoning (3 T or packet)
Cook for 5 hours on high in crock-pot (or low for 8)
Shred chicken
Add 1/2 C sour cream and stir in
Serve over rice

I made double and had left overs. We are gonna have it later this week wrapped in tortillas with cheese etc...

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tuesday- Temporal DeClutter

Spring Cleaning: Tackle Your Cluttered Garage

If de-cluttering your garage is on your spring cleaning list, you're not alone. For many people, the garage becomes a catch-all: the place where suitcases that don't fit in the closet get stashed; the tennis racquets you'll use this summer; toys your kids have outgrown; and who knows what else.

If you're ready to tackle this territory, here are a few tips to help you get started:

• Empty everything out.
Some organizers say the best way to get started is to empty out the garage and sort items in designated areas. You might want to put junk in the driveway for later removal, things to be donated in the back yard, and tools inside. A recent story also recommended making mental notes of what kinds of supplies you'll need to store the items you plan to keep, like plastic bins or tubs..

• Be careful of what you trash.
The organizing experts at the DIY Network pointed out that it is a good idea to check with your city's sanitation department or trash collection company to find out how to dispose of motor oil, solvents and garden chemicals. You should also take special care with any unused paint: Partially used cans of paint that haven't been used in a year should be disposed of according local toxic waste restrictions, reported Good Housekeeping .

• Rub and scrub.
When the space is clear of clutter, clean your garage's cement floor with an old mop or scrub it with a broom. If there are oil spots on the floor, look to your laundry room to remove them. DIY Network suggested putting a laundry pre-spotter on the stain and leave it for 5 to 10 minutes before mopping.

• Get organized.
If you plan on parking your car in the garage, consider using vertical storage solutions to get things off the floor to maximize the space. Heavy-duty hooks can be found at most hardware stores and can be used to hang anything with a handle. If you're using drawers or storage bins, label them. It might be tedious, but it's one way to keep a hodgepodge of items tidy.

Read more:

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


I have been slacking on my blog because I am assistant directing the school play and our performances are THIS WEEK.......hope to be back blogging soon!!! Happy Spring Everyone!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wednesday- What's Cooking?

My sweet, 11 year old son made this for dinner since I've been sick.......LOVE my "little" man!!


1.5-2 lbs ground beef
2 eggs
chopped onion (1/2 to 1 whole onion, depending on what you prefer)
1/4 cup ketchup
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup oatmeal
1 can tomato soup
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp brown sugar

Stif beef, eggs, oatmeal, ketchup, salt and pepper, 1/2 of soup, and 1 T Worcestershire sauce with hands (it really is easier that way). Mold and put into large loaf pan. Stir brown sugar, rest of Worcestershire sauce, and rest of soup and pour over top of loaf. Bake at 350 degrees for 90 minutes.