September 6, 2011

On the plus side of cooler weather, we were able to get outside to do some exterior home work.  It was tough to get out earlier in the summer to do yard work.  We had a lot of rain, some intense heat or, on the days when neither of those occurred, busy schedule.  We pretty much did nothing out there except mow the lawn and it sure shows.  The above photo shows one of our daylilies looking very sad.

Since we know that we will be moving, we need to not only consider paring down our stuff inside of the house, but also keeping up with maintenance duties outside of the house.  With about 5000 sf of yard to take care of, we need to think ahead by preparing now.

We have not yet decided when we will put the house on the market.  Selling the house is not something we want to rush into but we also want to allow enough time to sell it.  We have briefly discussed putting it on the market next year as it could take a year to sell it. If we do actually put it on the market next spring, then we’re not nearly ready so we need to act as if that is our goal.  Getting some of the yard work done now as opposed to doing it in the spring will really help.  There’s nothing we can do with the landscaping outside in the winter so now is the time to make a dent in the agenda. 

Yesterday, we took advantage of the cooler weather.  Lou pressure washed the deck as well as the front walkway. He’ll be staining the deck within the week so it needed a good cleaning with time to dry. I focused on digging out the hostas and daylilies on the side of the house.  There was a decent amount of weeding that needed to be addressed. Since the plants had not been split in a few years and were very overgrown, splitting was taken care of as well. 

Today we have some Freecylers coming for free hostas and daylilies. Yesterday, I confirmed my desire to have very little yard (if none at all) going forward in life. My gardening days may be over as I no longer have a passion for it.


Every Little Bit Helps

September 1, 2011

If you’re thinking that you would like to move within the next 5 years, I highly suggest that you start going through your “stuff” now.  Even if you’re not planning to move, act as if you are and that vision will help you to see what is really worth keeping in life. Once you think of whether or not something is worth packing, lifting, moving, and unpacking it helps to put into perspective what is cluttering your life vs. what is creating value in your life. Start building up efficiency in your home which will help when moving time comes around. I always thought we were efficient with our space and stuff only because we do not have a basement to store things in.  Well, it’s time to admit that the two-car garage we have has not held a car in years because there is no room for cars. 

Looking at the big picture of organizing, downsizing, purging, selling, consolidating and liberating with regards to “stuff”  is without a doubt overwhelming.  If you find yourself lacking time, or enthusiasm to start with what could be a time-consuming project, then start small while envisioning the prize at the end. 

Above is my inspiration photo.  Keeping my eye on the prize helps me to move forward, nearly daily, even with small tasks. While I love Disney World, I also love just hanging out at resorts.  The one shown above is the Marriott World Center in Orlando.  Lou and I both enjoy visiting resorts, taking in the sounds of waterfalls, the smell of a pool, and a fine pool bar.  In our near future, we see ourselves stopping by these resorts for a weekend lunch or an evening cocktail after work.  Inspiration is invaluable!

Focus on one small corner of a room and assess if anything can be done with what is in that corner.  My most recent job was looking inside of a basket that is in the corner of our dining area.  I hadn’t looked in this basket in months so I truly had no idea what was stored in it.  I found all kinds of magazines that I was previously reluctant to get rid of.  Most of the magazines were Martha Stewart Living and Celebrations.  The recipes in Martha Stewart’s magazines usually turn out very tasty so I was holding onto them.  Unfortunately, I had forgotten that they even existed so they had not been used.  This means the magazines were out!  Their information can always be accessed online anyway. As I stated in yesterday’s blog, I used Freecycle to dispose of them.  The basket, however, is staying.  It is a light object to move, I like it, and it provides not only decoration but usefulness as it can be used for light storage.  In the future, I think I’ll use it to store something we use more often such as TV/VCR/Cable remotes or Lou’s guitar stuff.

With this one job that took me about 20 minutes to tackle (including the time it took to decide what to do with the magazines), I feel more efficient and as if I am making progress toward my goal.  I’m also happy that I made someone else happy by giving them free magazines.



August 31, 2011

Can I mention how much I love Freecycle.org? It’s all about reusing, recycling, and keeping stuff out of landfills.

If you have never heard of Freecycle.org, I urge you to take a look at their website and encourage you to sign up if you have “things” that could be of use to other people.  Once on their website, type in your town name to find out if there is a group near you.  Membership is free and is moderated by volunteers.   The main rule is that everything posted must be free.

I have given away magazines, craft supplies, beyond broken laptops and old pillowcases.  I creat a “post” that states what I’m offering and the town I am located in. If someone is interested, I receive an email from that person and we schedule a pick up.  Since the item is being give away with no exchange of money, I can even leave that item outside on my porch (provided the weather is decent).  There is rarely interaction, aside from email, with the person who is picking up what you are giving away so there is not much interference with a schedule.

Today’s items are, once again, magazines.  Two are brand new and others are just those that people may be interested in such as Martha Stewart’s Living, Weight Watchers, or Health.  I have no doubt that someone will want to pick up these magazines by tonight.  I get the satisfaction of providing something that another desires while not taking up valuable space in my recycle bin.

Freecycle is also a good place to go when you are looking for something.  I have seen people looking for (and receiving) a mattress, food processor, restaurant coupon and moving boxes. 

Moving stuff out makes me happy:)


Exploring Florida

August 28, 2011

I’ve always had an infatuation with Florida.  Long before I had a love of Walt Disney World, I had a love of sand, marshes, tall grasses swaying in the wind and crystal clear springs.  Sustaining my love through the years were books on Florida history, traveling A1A, kayaking in the Everglades, and stories of the weirder kitschy spots in the state.

My latest love in books on the Florida topic is Backroads of Florida: Your Guide to Great Day Trips & Weekend Getaways by Paul M. Franklin and Nancy Mikula.  This is THE PERFECT book to guide Lou and I through much of what we hope to explore once we have moved.

For anyone who is looking to spend a vacation meandering around the state or for anyone who lives in Florida and is looking to explore more of their back yard, I highly recommend this book.

It is split up into “routes” that get you off the highways and onto the roads that relay the heartbeat of Florida.  Each route can be done in a day or a weekend and can be full of nature, wonder and kitsch.

Here is an excerpt from exploring Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse to Stuart: “…galleries await in Stuart, whose delightfully restored historic downtown is full of inviting restaurants and shops.  Walk around the town and admire the colorful murals, sparkling fountains, and streetside art.  This is a great place to find lunch or dinner.  Afterward, buy an ice cream cone and walk down Flagler Avenue to visit the old Stuart Feed supply Store, which has been lovingly restored and houses the Stuart Heritage Museum.  After exploring the museum’s unique collection of memorabilia, you can step into the waterfront park beside the museum, pick a bench, and spend some time imagining what this coast might have looked like in 1900, when the shore was lined with fishing boats and pineapple farmers…”

I can’t wait to live in Florida!


Taking Cues from Living

August 28, 2011

The big question always looming, and addressed several times, is “What will we bring with us when we move?”.  With the luxury of time on our side, we can live life and make these assessments as we go.

One of the best investments we made in our home, in my opinion, are the two floor-to-ceiling pantries that were added a couple of years ago.  The key to taking advantage of the benefit that small appliances can bring is by making them easy to access.  With this ease of access we have come to depend on and love some of our small appliances.  Just this weekend, we made two batches of the best ice-cream we ever had.  Another easy decision on the Kitchen-Aid mixer and ice-cream maker since there is no sense in getting rid of the small pleasures in life.

With that in mind, we will need to consider small appliance space for our new home.   These babies (above and below) are making the move! 


Back on the Path

August 28, 2011


Just as there is a Back to School, there is also a Back to Blog for us.  There isn’t a better time to do this than on a lazy 80 degree sunny Sunday afternoon while sitting in the back yard. We haven’t written anything since August 10th mainly because I wasn’t feeling well.  Lou was more focused on taking care of me and errand running than on sorting, purging or selling.  It’s one of the things I love about him since he can drop what can wait and focus on what is important in the moment. By the skin of my teeth, I had just enough good health to hop on a plane last week for a long-planned trip to Arizona.   It was, seriously, by the skin of my teeth as I ate about 20 cough drops in-flight and lost the hearing in my right ear during the descent of the flight.  Luckily, the hearing did return at some point in the middle of the night.

The dry Arizona weather and hot sun was good for my body.  The intensity of my aches and pains decreased during my stay.  Also helping me to feel better were dearly missed good friends, a bottle of Trefethen Cab Sav, a 90 minute massage with Chakra clearing, star-filled skies, morning yoga, glowing rainbows, pink sunsets,  and natural wonderment.  It was easy to let the cares of the world slip away while in Arizona. It is one of those place on Earth where one can easily enter a state of appreciation for creation.

The Arizona trip was another reminder that we are glad to be moving to our happy place.   As Disney fans the destination seems logical for us, however, a choice was definitely made by making Florida our dream destination.  Wherever I’ve gone in the world, I’ve usually exclaimed how much I’d like to live in that place.  I can see myself living in the mountains, in the desert, on a beach, in the woods or a harbor community.  As many times as we tried, as a family, to make our vacation destinations to other locations, those plans were cancelled and we would return to WDW. 

Not blogging stresses me out a little bit and sits in the back of mind since it feels like an indicator of procrastination.   Because of this, I’m glad we’re ready to kick-off a return to making changes in our life as a family as we prepare to move 1181 miles south.

I’ll leave you all with a sunset picture at The Grand Canyon.



Cooking Time

August 10, 2011

It’s 75 degrees out today in Chicagoland.  With this cooler weather and fall just around the corner my desire to cook becomes stronger.  I’m not a great cook or baker, nor an I an avid one, but, I do enjoy it during cooler weather.  Some things turn out good and some turn out just OK.  I do give one heck of an effort to make things from scratch though. One of my recent favorite things to make is Chai.

I love smelling the spices toasting in the oven before they’re added to the milk.

While the spices are steeping in the milk, I create some set-ups in old spice jars. I divide up fennel, cardamom, peppercorns, coriander, cloves and a cinnamon stick. While I was creating the set-ups, I was excited to use up a container of fennel and a container of peppercorns.  That’s two less spices in the cabinet!  I do love watching  inventory of anything get depleted.  It not only creates space but it means that I got my money’s worth by completely using something up. Spices seem to last in the cabinet forever so I don’t often get the enjoyment of seeing one come to an end.

Chai Set-Ups

I wonder if I’ll have the desire to make Chai in Florida?  Maybe in February only?