Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Wednesday- What's Cooking?

Thought I would take a break from posting dinner recipes and share a YUMMY dessert I want to try....thanks again to http://www.sixsistersstuff.com

Cake Batter Blondies Recipe

1 box yellow (or Funfetti!) cake mix
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1/3 – 1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles (if you use a yellow cake mix, add these in)
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
Sprinkles for the top
Frosting (see recipe below)

Directions: Combine the cake mix, oil, and egg in a large bowl. Add the milk slowly – you want the batter to remain as dense as possible. Then mix in the rainbow sprinkles and white chocolate chips. Spray pan (either 8x11" or 9x9" pan) with non-stick cooking spray. Dump batter in pan and spread to the edges. Bake for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees. (They will be a little soft/gooey in the middle- just let them sit for about 20-30 minutes and they will set up. But I guarantee that you will not be able to wait that long.) Frost when cooled (optional . . . these taste amazing without frosting, but I am a serious frosting lover, so I added just a little bit).

1/4 cup margarine or butter, softened
2-3 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar (more or less depending on how thick/runny you like it)
3-4 drops red food coloring to get desired pink color (optional)

Combine all ingredients until well-blended. Spread on top of blondies.

Tuesday- Temporal DeClutter

What type of Clutterer are you?

The Behind-Closed-Doors Clutterer

Home looks pristine and well organized—until you start opening closet doors and are suddenly buried by file folders, moth-eaten coats, broken lamps, old kitchen appliances, paper towels, holiday decorations, and shopping bags full of purchases no one ever got around to returning. The BCD clutterer, Walsh explains, "lives in some flawless future universe instead of creating solutions that work today."

Perfectionists, control freaks, harried working moms, anyone who's time-starved and overbooked; perfectionists. 

The Knowledge Clutterer

Stockpiles every book she has ever read or hopes to read, and/or every issue of Architectural Digest ever published—believing, as Walsh explains, "that if she owns the book, then she somehow owns the knowledge, even if she never reads the book or takes it off the shelf." When she encounters an interesting article online, prints it and stashes it in an overstuffed file folder.

Book club members; enthusiasts of coffee table tomes on interior design; recent college grads wanting to show off their feminist poetry collections.

The Techie Clutterer

Drawers, cabinets, and desk weighed down by a metastasizing tangle of cords, chargers, remotes, and half-full USB drives, many belonging to clunky devices dating to the '90s.

Twenty- and 30-something Apple devotees; eBay enthusiasts; grandparents terrified to pitch the cord that connects their digital camera to their computer.

The Sentimental Clutterer/Family Historian

Hoards baby clothes, kindergarten papier-mâché creations, and grade school report cards belonging to fully grown offspring—wrongly assuming said offspring will someday want them; stores acres of unsorted boxes of deceased relatives' clothing, tchotchkes, and war memorabilia in attic, basement, and closets.

Besotted parents; empty nesters; women of a certain age who have suffered loss and/or who feel a responsibility to preserve family heirlooms and history.

The Bargain Shopper/Coupon Clutterer

Prides herself on clipping coupons and sourcing online promotion codes; keeps her kitchen, bedroom, and garage stocked with three years' worth of paper towels, mixed nuts, and orange Tic Tacs; spends $10 on gas speeding to three different megastores to save $10 on diapers for children not yet born; "is driven by the misguided notion that 'if I own it, I am better off, regardless of what it does to my space, my finances, or my relationships,'" as Walsh puts it.

Stay-at-home moms; retirees; anyone with a membership to Costco or Sam's Club.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Monday- Mental DeClutter

How I am feeling today......

Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday- Financial DeClutter

Suze Orman's America's Money Class 
Final Exam answers!

1. What is the first step Suze says you must do to tackle your debt?
A. Correct: Stand in your truth and confess your total debt.
B. Donate needless items to charity.
C. Sell needless items in a garage sale.

2. What debt does Suze think is the most dangerous debt of all and should be paid off first?
A. Correct: Student Loans 
B. Credit Cards
C. Mortgage

3. What does Suze think is the worst kind of student loan?
A. PLUS loans
B. Correct: Private student loans
D. Balloon loans 

4. What is the lowest FICO score you can have?
A. 760
B. 500
C. Correct: 300 

5. How many months of savings does Suze say you should have in your emergency fund?
A. Correct: Eight 
B. Twelve
C. Eighteen 

6. What is Suze’s favorite retirement plan?
A. IRA Rollover
B. Nondeductible IRA
C. Correct: Roth IRA 

7. What is a 529 Plan? 
A. Correct: College Savings Plan
B. Mortgage Loan
C. Home Foreclosure 

8. What does Suze think is the best way to invest in gold?
A. Buy as much 14K gold jewelry as possible
B. Correct: Invest in Gold Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs)
C. Remove and sell gold fillings 

9. When does Suze say it is okay to co-sign a loan?
A. Correct: You should never co-sign a loan 
B. For a down payment for child's mortgage
C. Anytime, because you won't be held accountable 

10. What is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
A. Permits individuals to reorganize their debts and pay in monthly installments.
B. Allows individuals to always keep their homes and cars. 
C. Correct: Allows individuals to liquidate their debt and it's wiped away. 

11. If you are in serious financial need, why does Suze say you should never take a loan from your 401k?
A. Correct: Because the money in your 401k is protected against bankruptcy.
B. Because you'll owe a 10% penalty.
C. You'll miss out on the growth of your 401k. 

12. What does Suze believe is the best way to leave money to your minor aged children?
A. Name them as beneficiaries in your will.
B. Correct: Names them as beneficiaries in your trust account. 
C. Name your child as the beneficiary on your life insurance plan. 

Read more: http://www.oprah.com/own

Thursday- Physical DeClutter

Choosing the Best Foods for Weight Loss Success

How to choose the right foods and set yourself up for weight-loss success following the Biggest Loser plan

Biggest Loser Diet Plan
The Biggest Loser Diet is a calorie-controlled, carbohydrate-modified, fat-reduced, weight-loss diet geared to help you burn pound after pound of pure fat--and do so without deprivation or loss of energy.
What's more, The Biggest Loser Diet is high in lean protein. Protein has a hunger-controlling effect on the body--which is why higher-protein diets are so effective for weight loss and fat-burning.
While on The Biggest Loser Diet, you have the freedom to eat a wide variety of foods, as long as you stick to mostly whole, natural foods.
"Whole foods" are those that have not been modified from their natural state, or have been modified only a little bit, for example, through cooking. Foods that have been substantially modified are classified as processed foods. Blueberries are a whole food. Blueberry toaster pastries are not.

Why Are 'Whole Foods' Important?

The Biggest Loser Diet guides you to choose foods that are closer to their natural source, particularly fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, because your body processes and uses them much more efficiently to build health.
Whole foods are higher in fiber, which aids in weight loss, both because it is filling and because it helps reduce the number of calories that your body absorbs after a meal.
Further, whole foods are much less fattening than processed foods because they do not contain added sugar or other sweeteners. Nor do they contain added fats or oils.

Calories--They're Back!

So far, we haven't said too much about The Biggest Loser Diet and the "C" word: calories, which are basically the measurement of how much energy a food gives you after you eat it. That energy is used by your body to fuel physical activity, as well as all metabolic processes, from maintaining your heartbeat and growing hair to healing a broken bone and building lean muscle.
Only four components of food supply calories: protein and carbohydrates (4 calories per gram), alcohol (7 calories per gram), and fat (9 calories per gram). Vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, fiber, and water do not supply calories.
Diet-wise, no matter what you've heard, calories really do count, and they count big-time. If you don't eat fewer calories than you burn off, there will be no weight loss. Period. Game over. End of story.

How Many Calories Do You Need?

Your calorie count should never be static; in fact, it's a moving target (members of The Biggest Loser Club are given a daily calorie count based on their progress and weight loss goals). As you lose weight, you'll need to readjust your daily calories downward in order to keep losing at a good pace and break through plateaus, should your weight loss ever seem stalled. Your Biggest Loser online program will make this adjustment for you, and change your meal plans as necessary.
Make sure you keep something in mind: Everyone is different, and we all burn different amounts of calories at different rates. So if you and a partner, friend, or buddy follow The Biggest Loser Diet, one of you might lose weight at a different rate, faster or slower, than the other from week to week.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wednesday- What's Cooking?

This is definitely a recipe I am going to try SOON! Thanks to http://www.sixsistersstuff.com.

Chicken Enchilada Lasagna


  • 3-4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • small zucchinis, diced
  • 8 whole green onions, sliced
  • medium green pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup black olives, sliced
  • 4 cups fresh baby spinach, chopped/shredded
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3-4 cups cooked rotisserie chicken (or any other leftover chicken)
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and draine
  • 1 (16 oz) jar of your favorite salsa (I used mild so it wouldn't be too hot for my kids)
  • 1 bunch of fresh chopped cilantro (optional)
  • 4 cups mild green enchilada sauce (I used two jars of my favorite brand)
  • 16 whole corn tortillas, cut into strips
  • 2 cups grated cheese (I used Monterrey Jack, but cheddar is good too! Just use what you have)
  • Toppings: sour cream, tomatoes, avocados, etc.


In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add zucchini, onions and green peppers and saute until they start to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in olives, spinach, cumin, salt and pepper until spinach starts to wilt. Once spinach is all wilted, remove the skillet from the heat and stir in chicken, beans, salsa and cilantro (if using). This is the filling for the lasagna. Set aside.

Spray a 9x13" baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Spread 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce across the bottom of the dish and place 1 layer of corn tortilla strips over top. Sprinkle some cheese over the top. Spread half of the chicken and veggie filling over the tortillas and cheese. Top with more cheese, more tortilla strips and 1 1/2 cups enchilada sauce. Continue layering the lasagna with more cheese, the last 1/2 of the filling, more cheese, the remaining tortilla strips, 2 cups of enchilada sauce and the last bit of cheese.

Cover the baking dish and bake at 350 F for 30-45 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes before cutting and serving. Top with avocados, sour cream, avocados, tomatoes, cilantro, etc.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tuesday- Temporal DeClutter

Peter Walsh's 7 Secrets of a Master Organizer

The declutterer extraordinaire shares the genius rules that will make your spring cleaning easier than ever.

1. Make Your Rooms Multitask

In a small house, each room can serve more than one purpose, says Walsh. Take his guest room/TV room/office. The couch—a pullout that's perfect for guests—faces a flat-screen TV that Walsh and Greenblatt watch alone on quieter evenings.
To create a cozy home office, Walsh removed the closet doors, installed a desk and shelving, and added venetian blinds from Ikea that he can pull down to hide the workspace when visitors arrive.
Even Walsh's furniture serves more than one function: This ottoman, a handy footrest and coffee table, moonlights as storage for Walsh and Greenblatt's DVD collection, leaving the room's media console clutter-free.

2. Focus Your Fridge

Walsh uses clear plastic trays (Fridge Binz; Organize.com) to separate cheese from condiments from baking supplies. When he's grilling outside, he simply grabs the entire condiments tray (ditto the cheese tray, which he and Greenblatt sample most evenings). Bonus: No need to scrub dried maple syrup from the far corners of his fridge.

3. Use Easy Counter Canisters

To keep the dried lentils, beans, quinoa, flour, and other ingredients he uses for healthy summer meals readily available, Walsh stores them in a set of stainless steel canisters (Organize.com). This way he always knows what he has—and friends can easily pitch in with the cooking.

4. Rethink Your Linen Closet

Warning: Your mind might be blown by Walsh's brilliantly simple linen system. To store his uniform white sheets, he folds fitted sheet, top sheet, and extra pillowcases inside a pillowcase of the same set. Needless to say, he never has to ransack his closet for an elusive match.

5. De-Junk Your Junk Drawer

Instead of being jammed in a kitchen drawer, household necessities like rubber bands, pencils, and glue are stacked in clear, labeled boxes of varying sizes (Zak! Designs canisters; Organize.com) inside a cabinet. This makes things easy for Walsh—and his houseguests—to find.
Walsh's clear containers make it easy to see what needs replacing. Even better, their labels discourage the stashing of miscellany. "They don't allow you to overload your junk drawer with junk," he explains.

6. Establish a Free-Money Box

Inspired by the sheer dollar amount of unused gift cards and rebates he finds stashed in others' homes, Walsh corralled his various coupons, gift certificates, free gym passes, and vouchers into this brightly colored box (Bigso storage box; Organize.com), which he riffles through for relevant bargains each time he goes shopping.

7. Standardize Your Food Storage

To avoid accumulating a drawerful of mismatched plastic containers in ten colors, Walsh uses just one brand of food storage container so lids will always fit (OXO LockTop set; Organize.com). He stacks just a few sizes in a cabinet for easy access. "Most people only really use three or four of these containers anyway," says Walsh. "There's no need to keep hundreds."

Read more: http://www.oprah.com/

Monday, February 20, 2012

Monday- Mental DeClutter

Happy President's Day

I leave you, hoping that the lamp of liberty will burn in your bosoms until there shall no longer be a doubt that all men are created free and equal. -Abraham Lincoln

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sunday- Spiritual Strengthening

Lifting Burdens

Friday- Financial DeClutter


As much as we may not want to contemplate life's "what ifs." the most important way you can truly love your family is to make sure that if anything were to happen to you, they would be okay. And that starts with making sure you have a will and trust in place that spells out everything for them.

If you answer Yes to any of the questions, then you should be establishing a trust.
- Do you have a financial interest in a business?
- Do you have beneficiaries under the age of 25?
- Do you have children with special needs, meaning they will never be able to financially support themselves due to a disability?
- Are you in a second or third marriage?
- Are you on bad terms with any of your heirs?
- Are any family members physically ill or developmentally disabled?
- Is any family member in need of creditor protection?
- Do you own real estate of any value in more than one state?
- Is your estate worth close to $1,000,000?

Money Lesson: Living in the moment doesn't mean you can forget about the future. Financial security often boils down to the simple task of anticipating the consequences of your actions. The goal is to make sure that whatever choices you make today you can handle tomorrow.

Read more: http://www.oprah.com/

Thursday- Physical DeClutter

My mom, sisters (5 of us) and sweet SIL were all here for the weekend to surprise the youngest sister for her 30th birthday with a weekend at a condo in the mountains. We did lots of eating, shopping and relaxing. It was so much fun. I LOVE being with all of them, not to mention 3 of them have cute new babies.

Since out of town, you would think I wouldn't get my workout in, huh? Well, that was not possible when my roommate happened to be the sister who is married to my "long distant BIL trainer". Instead of sleeping in, she woke me up and "encouraged" me to go work out with her in the hotel fitness center. I really wanted to stay in bed with her 5 month old son and cuddle. BUT, it was worth it. I did a good 30 minutes of walking/jogging on the treadmill. It felt good. Thanks sis.....

So, what do you do if you are away from home and your hotel does not have a fitness center. Here are some ideas....

1-Take a brisk walk around the neighborhood or at the local mall. Just make sure you know where you're going and take any necessary safety precautions before venturing into unfamiliar neighborhoods.
2-Some hotels offer trail maps of their property or the surrounding area. You may want to try a running trail or a hike if weather permits.
3-Check to see if your hotel or local merchant offers outdoor bike rentals and a bike route.
4-Try jogging up and down the stairwell inside the hotel.
5-Use the hotel pool to swim laps, or if your hotel has access to a lake or ocean, take advantage of it.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wednesday- What's Cooking?

I made these yummy treats for my sweet Valentine yesterday. They were divine. I found the recipe on http://www.sixsistersstuff.com. They have a TON of yummy recipes.

-1 (9 oz) package of Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies (or Keebler Grasshopper cookies)
-1/2 package (4 oz) cream cheese, softened (I used fat free and it worked great)
-1 (12 oz) bag Guittard's Green Mint Chips (I just found these at the grocery store)*


In a food processor, pulse the Thin Mints a few times, and then blend them down until they are just crumbs. It might be easier to do this in two batches (even if you don't have a food processor, you can still make these. Throw the cookies in a big Ziploc bag and start pounding them with a hammer until you have a lot of fine crumbs).

Next, mix the cream cheese and cookie crumbs together in a bowl until well-mixed. Roll the mixture into 1 inch size balls, and place them on a wax paper covered baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the fridge for about 30 minutes, so the balls are easier to dip in the chocolate and do not fall apart.
Once the truffles have been in the fridge for a while, melt the green mint chips in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave. Heat the chips for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between each heat burst. Repeat until the chips are all melted.

Roll each ball in the melted chips until it is fully covered. I usually use two forks to push the truffle around until it is all covered. Then, using the two forks, carefully pick up the truffle and allow the excess mint chocolate to run off before placing back on the wax paper. Repeat with all the truffles.

Stick the truffles back in the fridge for a couple of minutes or until the mint chocolate is hardened.

If you want to decorate your truffles as I did, melt about 1/2 cup of white chocolate chips (or almond bark or white candy coating-whatever you want) the same way that you melted the mint chips. Spoon the white chocolate in a small Ziplock bag and cut a tiny bit of one corner off the bag. Start small at first, then if you need, make the hole a little larger. Drizzle the white chocolate over the green truffles.

Place back in the fridge until you are ready to devour them.

*If you can't find those green mint chips, these can be made with almond bark or vanilla candy coating. It would also be cute to set aside small amount of cookie crumbs and sprinkle them on top of the truffles. Sprinkles also look cute on these too!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tuesday- Temporal DeClutter

After my lovely post on Socks (not too long ago), my dear sister sent me this idea she found on pinterest! I LOVE pinterest.com. I have searched it day in and day out for the perfect solution to my sock dilemma. By George, I think she found it!!! I am DOING this!! Thank you sis...you have saved my life!

Each member of the family has a mesh lingerie laundry bag, and a hook. They put their dirty socks in the bag each night. Then when it's full, you wash the whole mesh zipped up bag, and give it back! No more sorting through and figuring out which socks are for which person!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Monday- Mental DeClutter

He's not perfect. You aren't either, and the two of you will

 never be perfect. But, if he can make you laugh at least

 once, causes you to think twice, and if he admits to being

 human and making mistakes, hold on to him and give him

 the most you can. He isn't going to quote poetry, he's not

 thinking about you every moment, but he will give you a part

 of him that he knows you could break. Don't hurt him, don't

 change him, and don't expect more than he can give. Don't

 analyze. Smile when he makes you happy, yell when he

 makes you mad, and miss him when he's not there. Love

 hard when there is love to be had. Because perfect guys

 don't exist, but there's always one guy that is perfect for you.

- Bob Marley

Sunday- Spiritual Strengthening

Happy Valentines Day this week!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Wednesday- What's Cooking?

Leaving on a Jet Plane to Disneyland and the Beach with the Family. Be back Blogging on Sunday!!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Tuesday- Temporal DeClutter

We have had our kitchen table for 12 years now and we definitely needed a change. Normally we would consider getting a NEW one......but now that we are living a more simplistic, realistic, de-cluttered life.....why not just repaint it? It still has 4 legs, still stands, still functions as a kitchen table. Why spend money on a new one? Cute hubby did all the work for us. Sanded, primed it and painted it in Chalkboard Paint. The kids LOVE it. And, I do too!! Our time around the kitchen table has been more interesting and FUN!! I actually look forward to fixing dinner and sitting around the table with my Family!

Sorry about the picture....I took it on my phone!

Monday- Mental DeClutter

In this life I'm a woman.
In my next life, I'd like to come back as a bear.
When you're a bear, you get to hibernate.
You do nothing but sleep for six months.
I could deal with that.
Before you hibernate, you're supposed to eat yourself stupid.
I could deal with that, too.
When you're a girl bear, you birth your children (who are the size of walnuts) while you're sleeping and wake to partially grown, cute, cuddly cubs.
I could definitely deal with that.
If you're a mama bear, everyone knows you mean business.
You swat anyone who bothers your cubs.
If your cubs get out of line, you swat them too.
I could deal with that.
If you're a bear, your mate EXPECTS you to wake up growling.
He EXPECTS that you will have hairy legs and excess body fat.
Yup...gonna be a bear.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Friday- Financial DeClutter

Another great week with Suze. I LOVED this great tip on allowance. We revamped our "allowance" system and I think it is working a lot better. Take a look....

Financial Disasters: Should You Give Your Kids an Allowance?

51% of American parents make the mistake of giving their children an allowance. Suze suggests "work pay" as opposed to allowance, which allows children to earn money and trains them to be hard, efficient workers in the future.

Thursday- Physical DeClutter

This week was great.....I'm getting more and more active. On one of my walks with the dog this week I decided to run part of it. I saw a stop sign way down the street and told myself I would run all the way to it without stopping. WHOA....what was I thinking? I pictured all the contestants on the Biggest Loser when they have their first eye opening workout with Jillian or Bob. I was in pain, I wanted to quit, I was thinking of every excuse in the book. Have you been watching the Biggest Loser this season? This is the season of NO EXCUSES. I'm the queen of excuses. SO, I blocked all the excuses out of my mind, did NOT keep looking at that stop sign, and just ran to my music with a smile on my face. It helped, and I made it to the stop sign. But in true Biggest Loser fashion I totally started gagging and dry-heaving. I don't think I have ran that far in 20 years. Sad huh? I texted my trainer (awesome BIL) and told him of my success and he suggested that I do that everyday for the next 3 weeks and see how I feel then? LOVE that idea. Short term goal....not too big that I can't handle a walk/run around the neighborhood everyday. So, NO EXCUSES, I'm doing it!! I'm excited to see where I will be in 3 weeks......

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Wednesday- What's Cooking?

This week I want to try this recipe. I LOVE finding easy, simple dishes to make for my family. I have already made 2 homemade meals this week and I think the kids are confused. Who is this mom and why is she in the kitchen so much? It's been fun looking for new recipes. Too bad my husband works nights.....if he could see me in the kitchen now. HAHA!!

All-In-One Pork Chop Bake

What you Need:
4 bone-in pork chops
1 pouch Shake'N Bake Pork Coating Mix
1 lb. potatoes (about 3 medium), cut into thin wedges
2 Tbsp. Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing
1/2 cup Kraft BarBQ Sauce
1 cup Kraft Mozzarella Shredded Cheese

Make it:
HEAT oven to 400°F.
COAT chops with coating mix as directed on package. Place in foil-lined 13x9-inch pan.
ADD potatoes; drizzle with dressing.
BAKE 30 min. Top each chop with 2 Tbsp. barbecue sauce and 1/4 cup cheese. Bake 5 min. or until cheese is melted.

Recipe Courtesy of http://orgjunkie.com