Monday, July 27, 2015

Minimalist Me: The Dark Below

 So, while I had the chance to tap into the Mother-In-Law powers, I took advantage of the Self-Inflicted Smothering idea, and began to work on the abyss that had become my basement.

First of all, this was in my basement. Boxes upon boxes upon boxes. But why? We've been here four years now, and yet I'd not thrown out a single box. I was always hoping that we'd need them to move into a place of our own. And yet, they were covered in webs, and stacked to the rafters. Nuh-uh. That was no way to go. All boxes and bags that had nothing in them went out.

 There were shelves on the front wall of my basement, and since the windows are well insulated, M-I-L decided that's where the canned goods needed to go. As well as some books. And I think a board game. And the Christmas Tree. You know what? It's a really popular wall. But it looks -neat-, and that was the point.

 For the desk I had used for the canned goods before, we decided to put the winter clothes and Christmas ornaments up. Nice and Neat!

I'd have to say that this was the hardest part. All of the clothes from upstairs were now in boxes and bags. But that meant one thing: YARD SALE TIME!

All in all, it was a positive experience, and a serious jump forward to getting rid of the excess, and the clutter. Good luck to ya, Mamas, on your clean-up expeditions. Love ya!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

EMERGENCY DINNER RECIPE: Brought to you by experience!

Hello again, all my Mamas. I'd like to take a moment (and a deep breath) and tell you about the hysterics I went into last night.

You see, I have this habit of going to pieces at dinner time. The one time of day I take great pride in my work, and it usually falls to pieces like cardboard in a puddle. Something usually happens to completely wreck my Kitch-Zen. At 3:30 p.m., I realized I had forgotten to pull out some meat to thaw, and cook with. This is where the panic sets in. We don't go out to eat, like, ever, so ordering a pizza was out of the question. I was also out of coupons for my local Papa Murphy's, so a premade pizza wasn't going to happen, either. The idea of going to the grocery store with a whiny toddler and a hyper seven year old made me want to curl into a ball and cry. I felt like there was nothing I could do...

BUT WAIT! My fridge had the answers, if I only looked deeper! There was chicken breast  left over from my chicken salad!! And salsa! And cheese! AND EVEN TORTILLAS FROM TWO WEEKS AGO! (they don't get stale in the fridge until a month after opening. Tried and tested, Mamas. SMH)

Dear reader, please never try to use the good ol' mixer in the bowl technique for shredding chicken. YOU NEED A CROCK POT OR A STAND MIXER. If not, suffer the wrath of the shredded chicken spray, as seen above.

So, this seasoning right here is a lifesaver. I love love love LOVE it, and have come to use it just about every time I've cooked, with the exception of my Italian themed meals.  Adobo gives a perfect flavor to any meat, and it is found (usually) at your local Wal-Mart, or anywhere else GOYA products are sold. I wanted to include it because I used it to season my chicken breast the night before. Yummers!

Why, hello there, Organic item from ALDIs! This salsa is amazing, full of flavor, and (I think) costs less than Pace Picante salsa from larger retailers. Can I get an A-MEN?! (Or, at least, a pat on the shoulder?) Add about 1/3 cup of salsa to your shredded chicken, honey. 
 So, I didn't take a picture of the shredded cheese because...Well, it's shredded cheese. Choose your own adventure here. My family loves Mozarella, so I buy blocks of Mozz and shred away. If yours loves sharp chedder, Pepper Jack, whatever, then do so. Add about 1/2 cup of your favorite cheese here. Mix it up!

 Aside from the chicken breast, seeing this in my fridge almost made me weep tears of joy. I can make any frikin' taco burrito thing I want, and all because I still have tortillas. 

Add a big ol' spoonful of your mixture to the tortilla.

Fold it up. Wrap it up. Whatever you can do to NOT let the filling fall out. I usually tuck the ends in, because I'm awful at rolling burritos.

Place them on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray (Or olive oil. I dunno how y'all do it.) Spray the burritos a li'l bit, too. Gives 'em a nice crispy brown texture without burning 'em.

Bake these bad boys at a generic 350 degrees for about...Oh, 10 minutes. 


Love ya!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Self-inflicted smothering

That's what your house is, a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get...more stuff! Sometimes you gotta move, gotta get a bigger house. Why? No room for your stuff anymore!" ~George Carlin, 'It's Bad For Ya'

Well, Mister Carlin, you had it all right. It seems like all we do is buy more and more stuff. My husband jokes that we can't go into Wal-Mart without spending $100, and you know what? Sometimes, he's right. Every time I leave the house, I end up spending money somehow! It sucks, because with a modest, two-bedroom house, things can get cramped really fast. Take my bedroom, for example. This is supposed to be my place to rest. My haven. And it's slowly smothering me.


This is the clean laundry I have no room for, despite a closet and large dresser. 

Speaking of closet and dresser, I keep my winter blankets and baby things here, on the top shelf of my closet. It overflows onto my dresser. Yikes.

This is my shoe collection. And my record player. And a computer that has my husband's old business records on it. And the hanging clothes of my closet, half of which I never wear, or are too small.

I was sabotaging my own personal space. My place to reflect and unwind was so jumbled, it was no wonder I couldn't find rest! And so, with the urge to deep clean like Springtime powering me, I decided to tackle my closet.

First, I looked at what was hanging up, and tossed out the clothes I'd held onto since I was nineteen. NINETEEN! I will never be a size 4 again, who was I trying to fool? Bye-Bye snug dresses!

Ok, that wasn't so hard. I could do this!

Second, I looked at the blouses that were hanging there. One of them belonged to my mother, who had left the blouse when she came to visit three years ago. Must not have been important, so out you go! Then my black blouses that were a size...Medium. Medium, really, Em? C'mooooon. 

Alright! Still going strong! And look at all my hangers! 

(I would leave my husband's clothes, since he was the one who would have to face that attachment issue. Suits from his days as a Kirby Vacuum Salesman? That was ten years ago!)

With the hanging area looking nice, I moved on to my dresser. Oh, god. The drawers were crammed FULL of clothes from both winter, and just t-shirts I had acquired over the years. It was time to roll up my proverbial sleeves and tackle this. But I will tell ya, it was hard.

My T-shirts from High School activities, like the theatre productions and state debate awards, these were still in good condition, but far too small. I did not have the same cup size or tummy size in high school as I do now, and so it had to go!
Anything that was torn or damaged immediately went to recycling!

The shirts I kept with memories were:
-My mother's Volunteer Berlin shirt, when we were stationed in Germany.
-My father's 'Warlords' Infantry company shirt.
-My Rocky Horror Picture Show shirt (that I fully intend on turning into a pillow or something) from my first RHPS viewing.
-My Big Bang Theory XL shirt that I wore for pregnancy reasons.
-My Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band shirt, for the same reason as above.

Everything else was gone. Poof. And that was hard.

That, my dear Mamas, is the small pile of clothes I am sending to the consignment store three towns over. It includes clothes that I had for Monster Girl, Beans, and myself. Hopefully, another family will find use for it. Otherwise, to Goodwill it goes!
I will tackle the top shelf and baby clothes on top of my dresser soon enough.
I don't think I could part with my shoes, though. That's the hardest part!
Love ya, Mamas. <3