Tuesday, June 15, 2021

The Mins Game Week 2

 Y'all.  The Mins Game is getting much more difficult, and we're not even halfway through the month.

Based on the fact that no one told me they were playing with me, I figure I'm winning, though, so there's that.

Oh, and I was planning on giving y'all a mini decluttering lesson each week, but tell that to my former self, who did not include a mini lesson in last week's post.  By the way, last week's lesson was supposed to be about the container concept.  Here's an explanation from A Slob Comes Clean, since my former self deprived you of an explanation from me.

For this week's mini lesson, I wanted to talk about how using things up is a completely legitimate way to declutter.  Maybe you bought an ingredient for a recipe that you ended up not making, or you made the recipe but didn't use all of the ingredient.  Maybe you received a free sample of something.  Maybe you have two open jars of salsa in your fridge.  Use it up.  After you use it up, it will be out of your home and out of your life forever.  And that, my friends, is the very definition of decluttering.

Here's how it went this week:

June 8
I decided to start this week working in the living room.  We have had these fitness bands for I do not know how long, and I don't think they have ever been used.  If they have, it was a long time ago.  I did wonder if I would regret getting rid of these, but then I looked up the price on Amazon, and you can get a similar set of bands (but 5, not 4) for under $10.  So I decided to just go ahead and get rid of them, and if I regret it later, I can get some more.  Spoiler alert: I am probably not going to regret it.

Those cars and launchers--I was not going to get rid of them.  It is true that my kiddos are really too old for that kind of thing, but I get a kick out of them, and they're fun to have around.  I decided to test them, to see if they're still as fun as I thought they were.  They were not.  We don't even have a car that fits in the yellow launcher, and the other ones only go about a foot.  They are not, in actuality, fun.  So out they go.  And I even resisted temptation the temptation to count the cars and launchers separately.

June 9
We keep our candles behind some picture frames on our entertainment center.  I kept a couple of candles, but the truth is, we don't really burn candles very much.  Three of these won't light anymore because the wicks are too short, and we don't have (and I'm not certain they make anymore) the scented oil refills for the scented oil thingy.  I don't know.  I just felt like it was time to get rid of these.

June 10
I found this randomness in the remote control basket.  To the trash (and recycling) it goes!

June 11
Yup.  I found more resistance bands in another basket in the living room along with some other random stuff.  Since I had already gotten rid of four, the decision was easy to get rid of these two.  In the kitchen, we had acquired some food that none of us will likely eat (we would eat the wild rice eventually, but we still have about 2 pounds left in an open bag in the cupboard, so we will pass this 1 lb bag on to a food bank).  The tray is the warming tray for our latest electric griddle.  We threw the griddle away last week because its stickiness had become intolerable, but we still had the tray.

June 12
Six skeins of yarn to be passed on to a friend, two decorative flags, two DVDs, and two drawstrings that I don't use.

June 13
A wooden sign, four books to donate, two books to return to schools, a mask, earrings, sample lotion, fingernail stickers, electronics cloth, and hickies.

June 14 
Some paper mask patterns, paperwork pertaining to the child we used to sponsor, mystery shopping receipts from 2018, old coupon inserts, four packages of pencils to be donated to a school. 
Not pictured: three packages of paper napkins, a stack of papers from Bubby's desk top, a stack of papers and trash from Bubby's backpack, a stack of papers and trash from MC's backpack.

So that's 77 items this week, for a total of 105 so far this month.  Not sure if I'm going to last another week.  I'll keep you posted!


Tuesday, June 8, 2021

The Mins Game week 1

Are you playing the Mins Game with me this month? How's it going? Leave a comment below to let me know. Here's how my first week went.

June 1
I ordered these cords to go with my new tablet before the tablet arrived. The Google assured me that these were the right cords. The Google was wrong. So on the first, I dropped these off to be returned. I'm not going to lie--I did consider counting this as 5 items, because that's what it would have been once they were out of the package, but since it was ordered as one item, I resisted that urge.

June 2
If I am able to complete this challenge, it will be because I have kiddos who keep growing out of clothes. On the 2nd, I moved these two shirts to our donation area (I'm saving my daily donations to be taken to the thrift store at the end of the month).

June 3
Three pairs of pants. It's alarming how quickly Bubby grew too tall for these pants.

June 4
Four pairs of pants, including football pants that haven't fit since 2018.

June 5
I raided the lonely sock bin for these.

 June 6
I've been meaning to go through my nail polishes for a while because I had one too many for the container they're in. I had two that were very similar colors, so I got rid of one. Also two cute little brushes, and three broken hair ties.

June 7
I don't use this kind of barrette anymore, so off they go. Even though they don't take up much physical space, they do take up mental space, so it feels good to get these out (I did save a few to declutter on another day).

So that's 28 items out in week one. See you next week!

Monday, June 7, 2021

Menu plan for the week of June 7

 What?  Can you believe it's June already?  And not just June, but a week into June?  School's out, and summer is upon us.  What are you most looking forward to this season?

Here's what's on the menu this week:

Supper:

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Garden update

 Hi friends.  It's time for a garden update.

Last time I talked about the garden, I had just planted cabbage, radishes, and beets outside in pots.  

I have about 12 cabbage plants spread between three pots.  I've been thinning them as they grow, and will end up with one, or at most two, cabbages per pot.  Or, I should say, one, or at most two, cabbage plants per pot.  Who knows if they will actually form heads?  Seems kind of impossible, to be honest.

Both my homegrown radish seeds and the store-bought seeds from a few seasons ago had a good germination rate, and we harvested and ate some the other day.  I reseeded in the empty spots left by the harvested radishes, and will continue to do so as I harvest them, so hopefully we'll have radishes throughout the summer.  Also hopefully, they won't go to seed this year.

We have beets!  One of the weird things about planting beets is that the seeds are actually a cluster of 2-5 seeds inside of a dried fruit.  So when they come up, they come up as multiples which need to be thinned so the roots will have the space necessary to develop.  About half of my beets germinated, so I resowed in the empty spots about a week ago, and a few are already up.

I've got high hopes for the melons this year.  I've got three Sakata's Sweet Melon (pictured above) and seven  Otome Watermelon (pictured below) that I started indoors and transplanted outside a couple of weeks ago.  They have plenty of space, and a trellis to climb, plus they don't take as long to ripen as other melons and watermelons, so maybe, just maybe, this will be the year I successfully grow a watermelon.  Those seven were the last of my watermelon seeds, so if I want to attempt watermelon again after this year, I'll have to purchase starts from the nursery, or buy more seed.  
Or harvest seed from these watermelons.  Keep your fingers crossed!

No, don't keep your fingers crossed, because you might need to do something with those fingers at some point in the next couple of months.  But do cross them in spirit: in solidarity with my watermelon growing dreams.

I planted sunflowers, zinnias (seed I saved from last year), and marigolds (the last of the commercial seed from several years ago, plus some I saved from last year) in the middle garden bed about a week ago.  These might be zinnias.  They're in the spot where I put the zinnia seeds, and they look sorta like zinnia seedlings.  I am really looking forward to a bed full of beautiful flowers.  I also transplanted a cherry tomato from the nursery into one corner of this bed.  

Fewer than half of my sugar daddy snap peas came up, but those that did are looking good.  I have heard that squirrels, or maybe other small rodent-type creatures, will watch where the humans plant peas and then dig them up later to eat.  I did not see any evidence of this, but perhaps the small rodents are clever and covered their tracks.  Small rodents digging up my seeds would certainly account for the poor germination rate we seem to always experience with peas.

I replanted in the blank spots earlier this week.  It'll be nice to have peas ripening in succession rather than all at once, because we love (and I do mean love) sugar snap peas, but even we have our limits, and I don't think we would like them as much preserved.

I decided not to plant potatoes this year, but I think I probably will next year, especially if I can get my hands on a red, white, and blue seed potato mix.  I think red, white, and blue potatoes would be so much fun.

I deployed the butterfly bombs in front of (or behind, depending on your perspective) the chicken coop.  So far, they're still looking like lumps of clay, although there might be seedlings emerging from one of them.  The seeds in the bombs are perennials or self-seeding annuals, so my hope is that the plants will decorate the front (or back) of the coop for years to come, providing food for pollinators and beauty for my eyes.

And that's it.  What's growing in your garden?


Monday, May 31, 2021

The Mins Game: join me in June!

 I was introduced to the Mins Game by The Minimal Mom, but according to her, the concept came from The Minimalists.  The idea is to start at the beginning of a month.  Day 1, declutter one item; day 2, declutter two, all the way up to decluttering 30 items on day 30 (here's the explanation from The Minimalists).  By the end of the month, if the player has been doing it right, they will have decluttered 465 items.  

Sounds like a lot, right?  It is a lot.  I've heard that the average home in the U.S. contains around 300,000 items, so surely you can find 465 you'd be willing to part with over the course of a month, yes?  Maybe?

The reason it's a game is because one is supposed to be competing with others, and whoever gets the farthest without skipping a day wins.  And if everyone gets to the end?  Everyone wins!  Ever since I saw a video where Dawn mentioned the Mins Game, I have wanted to try it, and I hope you'll do it with me.  

If you've been with me for a while (and I think you probably have, since no one reads my blog except family and close friends), you know that I don't tolerate clutter well.  I get rid of so much stuff that it's a wonder I have anything left.  So, you have a good chance of beating me, since I'm not sure I'll be able to find 465 items to get rid of.

I'll do my best each day, and I'll update about once a week to let you know how I'm doing--watch for my posts.

What do you think?  Are you up for a challenge?  Are you willing to play?

We start tomorrow.


Thursday, May 27, 2021

So. About those goals.

 I set some goals for this year.  And then I almost immediately regretted it.  And since then I've been ignoring them entirely.  

It's a bit flummoxing.  I mean, I absolutely rocked my goals last year, finishing 20 goals by the end of June.  And if ever there was a year with a good excuse to give up on goals, it was 2020.  But I didn't give up last year.  And I did give up this year.  Or actually, I didn't give up, I just avoided, which is probably worse.  I am not willing to admit to myself that I made a mistake, so I'm just not.  Not anything.

It is actually not at all confusing or perplexing, y'all.  I am spent.  All of the emotionally energy required to make it through the past 15 months, supporting and loving my family well, has emptied me, and I got nothing left*.  There is no more emotional energy to care about completing goals that I don't actually want to complete.

Anyway, it's not all bad news.  Or even any bad news.  Just news, I guess.  I may or may not complete any or all of my original 2021 goals, and that's ok.  I have given myself permission to not stress about it (which does not mean that I am, in fact, not stressing about it, but whatever.  Baby steps).

Well.  I'm glad I've got that off my chest and out there into the universe.  So how about an update**?

You guys.  I am so close to achieving a Superstar or better rating on all of the Extreme versions in Just Dance 2019 and 2020.  I am one song away.  What?  Who am I?  A superstar, that's who. (That was ironic.  There is no way on this earth that I would actually call myself a superstar.  Ha.  The very thought is preposterous.) 

I'll keep you posted.

Or not.

*****

* Are you as annoyed as I am by how dramatic I'm making it sound?  I mean, it feels dramatic, but also the human system tends toward homeostasis, which means we can become accustomed to anything, so it's not actually all that dramatic.  It just is.

** I believe what you just experienced is known colloquially as whiplash.

Monday, May 24, 2021

Menu plan for the week of May 24

 It feels like a busy week.  That's probably because it is?  Not sure.

One thing you can be sure of: regardless of how busy we become, we will continue to want to eat food.  Here's what's on the menu this week.


Supper:

Other:

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Mediocrely inefficient and unproductive

 I am being spectacularly inefficient and unproductive today.  And before you tell me, oh, everyone needs a rest day every now and then, let me make it clear that I do not need a rest day today.  Not physically, anyway.  Possibly mentally and/or emotionally, based on my inability thus far to do anything other than check email, scroll Instagram, and watch YouTube.  

I take that back.  I did shower today, so there's that.  Oooh.  And I made the bed.  And started and switched a load of laundry (which will now spend approximately 3.8 days in the dryer until I need the dryer again to actually dry clothes, at which time it will be dumped into a laundry basket to wait another 2 to 5 days to be put away.  Wouldn't want to overexert myself).

So ok.  Maybe I'm just being mediocrely inefficient and unproductive today.  Can't even do that right.

It's raining today, which is what I'm blaming my inertia on.  Also the laws of physics.  It is all the fault of the laws of physics.  There was a break in the rain from the time I woke up (probably before then, too, but I wasn't awake, so it doesn't really matter in this context) until around 8 a.m.  I should have gone for a walk this morning after Bubby boarded the bus--I would have been able to get 3+ miles in before the rain started, and I would have set up my day to be a little more ... worthy*?  

Anyway.  If I had actually done something that early in the day, I probably would have continued to do somethings throughout the day.

But no.  I did no such thing, and now I am still doing no such thing, hours later.  And blogging about it.

Well.  I did tell you that blogging is my favorite housework avoidance technique.  And now, I'm off, to continue being mediocrely inefficient and unproductive.

* * * * *

* Where did that come from?  Why does my brain think I'm any less worthy of taking up space in the world on days when I sit around doing nothing than on days when I do countless tasks that I will have to do again within hours, days, or weeks?  Oh, right.  Because in the US, only people who are productive are valued and those who are not, are not.  

Monday, May 17, 2021

Menu plan for the week of May 17

 I found pickles.

Turns out, all I had to do was buy pickles of an alternate variety, and pickles of my preferred variety appeared the next week.  And there were lots of them, too.

So, you know, you're welcome for solving the national pickle crisis.

Here's what's on the menu this week, plus pickles at every meal:

Supper:

Other:

Monday, May 10, 2021

Menu plan for the week of May 10

 We're going through a rough patch for menu planning around here.  The people who live here have stuff going on every evening, some of which takes some of them away at suppertime, and some of which takes me away at supper prep time.  It's ... challenging.  I'm trying to think back to other times when menu planning was a challenge*, and all I can't remember much.  I must have blocked it out because it was so traumatizing. 

So for now, I'm plodding through.  There's only about 3 more weeks of there being an issue every week night.  I think I can hold on until then.  Maybe.

Here's what's on the menu this week:

Supper:
Other:

*I'm referring to times when menu planning was a challenge from an external circumstances standpoint, rather than a brain-power or motivation standpoint (which is pretty much all the time).

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Thoughts on today, May 5th

 It's Cinco de Mayo today.  And we're having Italian beef sandwiches for supper.  Whose poor planning is at fault for this travesty?  I mean, come onEveryone knows we're supposed to eat Mexican food, or at least a poor American imitation of Mexican food, on Cinco de Mayo.  We don't even have guacamole here, friends.

I just don't know if I'm going to be able to go on today, y'all.  Might as well go back to bed and try again tomorrow.

Also, I missed out on an opportunity--the opportunity to have a no-brainer dinner this week.  Instead, I expended precious mental energy planning a not-no-brainer meal for today.  Can I get a do-over?  Please?

Anyway ... AKD is home from school for the summer.  That means we currently have four licensed drivers and three working motor vehicles at our house.  So that's ... if I'm doing the math correctly ... one more driver than vehicle, or, in other words, one fewer vehicle than driver.

We (mostly me? I'm not sure if any of the other drivers thought about it at all) thought it wouldn't be that big of a deal, since one of the drivers works mostly at home, and one of the other drivers strives to stay home as much as possible, but we're already, after just three days, having an issue. Today.

Oh, bother.

Yeah.  We'll figure it out; it's a little inconvenient at the moment, but it's not insurmountable.  

For today, we (the driver who has an appointment and the other driver who has an appointment in the other direction at around the same time) told the driver who was planning on going in to work that he had to work from home today, which he prefers anyway, so all is well.

Oh look.  A baby cabbage.

In other news, I've got baby radishes and cabbages emerging, and maybe baby beets, too?  The sweet melons and watermelons have not yet emerged, and I haven't planted anything else yet because we're not yet past our average last frost date.  But it is good to have a start in the garden...even if the start isn't actually in the garden.

Monday, May 3, 2021

In a pickle ~ and menu plan for the week of May 3

 We ran out of pickles.  We actually ran out of pickles a few months ago, but I didn't put pickles on my grocery list when we ran out.  As a general rule, we don't go through all that many pickles, and also, I believed us to not be out of pickles, because we had two jars of pickles sitting on the shelf that houses our home canned food.

About three weeks ago, I decided I wanted pickles, so I opened one of the jars.  And that's when I discovered that we were, in fact, out of pickles.  They tasted bad.  The tasted so bad, in fact, that I fed them to the compost--not even to the chickens.  Just, you know, for future reference, do not substitute dry herbs when the pickle recipe calls for fresh.  You can thank me later.

So about three weeks ago, I wrote pickles on my grocery list.  And when I went to the grocery store, there were no pickles*.  I didn't think much of it, just made a mental note to carry pickles over to my next grocery list.  And the next time I went to the grocery store, there were also no pickles.  The next week, there were still no pickles.

Three weeks without pickles, y'all.  I mean, I've definitely gone more than three weeks without eating a pickle, but always I have known that I could eat a pickle if I wanted to eat a pickle.  And it seemed strange that every** store would be out of pickles. So I asked the universe (aka the google), "why can I not find pickles?"

And it turns out, there is an actual pickle shortage that people of the universe (aka people on the internet, which is, technically, a part of the universe) have been talking and writing about.  In fact, one of the national fast burger joints delayed the release of a new sandwich because of the pickle shortage.  

Of all the things I thought would never be in short supply, pickles is, well, not at the top of the list, because it's not on the list of all.  Who thinks pickles*** are going to be in short supply?  Anyway, I just thought I should let you know, so that if you do happen to spot pickles, you can stock up.

And I'm crossing my fingers (but not holding my breath) that I'll be able to find some pickles tomorrow.  In the meantime, here's what's on the menu this week:


Supper:
  • Cheese, crackers, and summer sausage, raw veggies
  • Roast chicken, mashed potatoes, broccoli
  • Italian beef sandwiches, buns, green beans
  • Leftovers
  • Hamburgers, buns, green stuff, raw veggies, chips
  • Hot dogs and brats, buns, green stuff, raw veggies, chips
  • Cilantro lime chicken with avocado salsa, salad


Other:


* Of the variety which I wanted to purchase, which was dill slices.  There were bread and butter slices, and dill spears and whole pickles, but no dill slices.  
** Every store that I went to, which included 2 different locations of one grocery store, one other store, and as many local stores as I could think of that would tell me online whether or not they had any pickles.
*** It sounds like it's not actually pickles that are in short supply, but glass jars, which is affecting pickle storage and transport, although why that would affect a fast food chain?  I do not know.  I feel like national restaurant chains do not buy their pickles in glass jars.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

2021 Garden plans

 I planted beets, radish, and cabbage yesterday afternoon.

And then 3 hours later, I was outside, in the rain, checking to see if anything had sprouted yet.

Y'all. Not only is 3 hours not a very long time for seeds to sprout, but it was also around 45°F at the time, which is not warm enough, really, for seeds to sprout.  That deserves a facepalm, yes?  I just can't help myself, though.  There is something magical about an entire plant being contained in a tiny little seed.  And that first sign of growth?  Awe inspiring.

Here's the garden plan for this year.  As a reminder: I have three 4x4 raised beds, three large pots, and two window box rectangular planters.  There are also other places I can plant things around the property, like in front of the chicken coop.  Which might be behind the chicken coop, depending on your perspective.

In the raised bed that is farthest east, I am planning to plant sugar snap peas.  That's it.  Sixteen square feet of sugar snap peas.  I bought a bush variety for this year, so they supposedly won't need trellising.  I may do something crazy and plant another crop after the peas are done.  If that happens, it'll be something like Brussels sprouts or radishes or lettuce.

There used to be strawberries in the raised bed that is in the middle, but I pulled them all out last year because I was fighting a losing battle with little white worms and we weren't ever going to get enough of a harvest from that bed to make caring for the strawberries hand picking all of those little worms worthwhile.  In this bed, I'm planting flowers.  I have some marigold and zinnia seeds that I saved from last year's plants, and some nasturtium and sunflower seeds.  I will probably plant a cherry or grape tomato in this bed as well.

In the raised bed that is farthest west, I am going to plant Sakata's Sweet Melon and  Otome Watermelon.  I started the seeds indoors yesterday.  No growth yet (double face palm).  Y'all.  We came so close to having edible watermelon last year.  I'm trying not to get my hopes up, but of course I am hopeful.  Gardens are all about hope.  I may also plant beets and/or radishes in this bed.  Both of those are small plants that don't take long to mature, so they'll probably be done before the melons start to shade them out.

Also in the garden enclosure, I may plant potatoes in a huge bucket that AKD brought home from work a couple of years ago.  We'll see how I feel about that when it comes time to actually do it.  And also, we'll see what kind of seed potatoes we can come up with.  Lately, we've been eating the grocery store potatoes before they sprout, so that might not work for us this time.

As I mentioned, I planted cabbage, radish, and beets yesterday.  The cabbage is in the three large pots--I planted it mostly because I had the seeds (they were the free seeds included with one of my Baker's Creek orders) and I wanted to see what would happen.  There were no planting guidelines on the packet, so I just threw some seeds in there, and I'll probably have to do some thinning.  I planted radish in one of the window boxes, and golden beets in the other.  Last year was disappointing for both radish and beets--the beets never came up that I could tell, and the radishes ended up going to seed.  Yes, I planted my homemade radish seeds--we'll see what happens.

I have some butterfly bombs that I think I will deploy in front of the chicken coop.  Or maybe I'll try corn there again?  Or sunflowers?  If I do plant something there, I need to protect it from the girls, because they're currently using the area for dust bathing.

And that's all I have planned for now.  I'll keep you posted.  Maybe.  We'll see.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Email subscription changes and menu plan for the week of April 26

Well hello there, friends.

You may have noticed that I did not publish an actual post the next day, nor did I publish a menu plan the following week.  But you probably didn't notice.

Whether you noticed or not, I'm going to tell you why right now.

I got an email from my email subscriber service saying that they were discontinuing the service in July.  Even if you didn't notice the non-next-day post and the non-next-week menu plan, surely you have noticed a, shall we say, content shift in this space.  

My heart's not in it, y'all.  Not anymore.

So when I heard that my email subscribers weren't going to be subscribed any longer, I wondered if maybe it was time to give it up.  I mean, it's not like people who don't know me go looking for my content.  It's not like people who know me go looking for my content, either.  People being emailed when I post new content is kind of important if I want anyone to read what I write. 

But I'm just not ready to give it up yet.  I may be delusional, but I do think that someday I might feel like writing something important and real again.  

So this weekend, I did something that was hard.  I figured out how to migrate my current email subscribers to a new service.  I know, I know: that doesn't sound difficult to some of you, but I find learning about this kind of abstract, can't-see-it, cyber-stuff to be excruciating.  The feeling I get is similar to the one I felt solving AKD's Rubik's cube all those years ago.  I can follow instructions, and the instructions work, but it really bothers me that I don't know how and why it works.

Anyway, I left the old service in place for just this one blog post.  So if you subscribe by email, and you get this one twice, you're good.  You are subscribed to the new service and you don't have to do anything--I will delete the old service, so this should be the only time you get a post twice.  If you subscribe by email and you only get this post once, you probably didn't get migrated to the new system, and you should sign up again using the form on the right under the Popular Posts widget.

It looks like this: 


If you think you're subscribed, but you don't get this post via email, at all, you should also sign up.  And if you don't think you're subscribed, and you don't get this post via email, you should probably also sign up.  So you'll know if I ever publish again.

Anyway, on to this week's menu.

Supper:
  • Nachos
  • Grilled chicken with salad and garlic toast
  • Spaghetti
  • Fend for yourself
  • Pizza, salad
  • Mini corn dogs, raw veggies
  • Chicken tenders, raw veggies
Other:
  • Yes, there will be other things.
  • No, I don't know what they will be.
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