Friday, April 29, 2011

Teacher Appreciation Week

I don't have any big Teacher Appreciation Week projects going this year.  I let someone else decorate the teacher lounge this year.  Saying "no" feels good.  I am going to do one thing for the lounge, and thought it was an idea worthy of being shared.

I have a lot of magazines, and I do not need them all.  I am going to go through the piles and donate the nice ones to the teacher's lounge.  If I feel nice, I might even put them in a basket.  They enjoy having something to look at during lunch, and I'll be recycling and decluttering at the same time.

Here are some of my past teacher appreciation projects:

Paper Strawberries filled with candy

Friday, April 8, 2011

Beautiful Sideboard

I really was decluttering and dropping things off at the thrift store when I saw this.  I haven't been buying any new stuff, furniture or projects lately.  But if you ask me, is there one piece of furniture you would want to score, my answer would have been this exact piece.  A woman even came across the parking lot and told me she couldn't believe it was sitting there for three days, and when she saw me she hoped I would be the one who would take it home and take good care of it and love it.  That's a sign that the universe wanted me to buy it.
Now I'm motivated to get rid of more stuff in my house, so my special things will shine.  Preferably before the endlessly patient Mr. Jones gets home from work.

Breakfast Smoothie

Today's breakfast ... Kale, frozen blueberries (or banana) and filtered water.  Add some agave if you need more sweet.   Blend, blend, blend.

Kale is a pretty stiff leaf and I find it blends better if I chop it up really well before I put it in the blender.  It's worth it because raw kale is hands-down one of the best things for your body.   Bananas have a strong flavor and they hide the kale tast well.  They are also very sweet and don't need any sweetener.

Mid-morning snack will be a big glass of fresh carrot and green apple juice.  Green apples are another strong flavor, and I never feel like I'm drinking carrot juice.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Simplifying Cups and Utensils

I'm decluttering the kitchen ala The Joy of Less by Francine Kaye, which I shared with you earlier.  Inspired by her use of tumblers instead of 20 different kinds of cups, glasses, wine glasses, margarita glasses, shot glasses, etc., I got rid of the cup crapola (cupola?).
I began with this mess.  Funny how it sneaks up on you.  You start with a nice, new set and end up with this mess.
This is what I have after taking everything out and putting back only what I want to keep.
I love these mugs that came with my Walmart dish set.  I already drink wine out of them.  I don't use wine glasses.
Because I didn't have many glasses that matched, I went to Walmart and bought these glasses for a whopping $8.00 (12 glasses in the set).  Not bad, Walmart.  In a couple weeks, I will go back and fork over another $8.00 for 1 more set.  That way when a few break, I won't start working on another mis-matched set.
The utensil drawer.  Yuck.
And afterward.  You couldn't see these beautiful utensils buried underneath all that clutter, could you?
The plastic organizer is gone because once you take everything out, you will be surprised at how nasty it really looks when it's not lurking in the shadows.
Do you ever find yourself having a difficult time getting rid of things because you could use it, it was part of a set, someone gave it to you, blah, blah, blah?  Well, here's my big tip for you:  Pull it all out and then look at it.  It all looks so much worse and is so much easier to get rid of when you are staring at the mess sitting on the counter in your face.  Better yet, take a picture and then it looks even worse!  Goodbye.
I'm going to admit to you that these are the things I still have a tough time with.  Mugs with my little people.  I know I'm not throwing the actual kid away, but I can't bear to part with them. 

Any advice for me on this one?
Get rid of the nasty ones, keep a couple new ones?
Get rid of it all?
What would you do?

Friday, April 1, 2011

Our Favorite Card Game - It's Addicting

We have a card game obsession at our house.  We Love Nertz.  It all started when my brother and beautiful sister-in-law stayed with us last summer and she taught us how to play.  We couldn't stop.

This is a great game to play with teenagers or older children.  Any number of people can play, but it can be a little slow with just 2 (possible though).
You  need to have a different deck of cards for each player (with a different pattern on the back of each).
I buy my playing cards from the dollar aisle at the craft store.  All the "official" cards cost $4 or $5 per deck.  That's too much for me, and the craft store has cooler patterns (zebra stripe and harlequin)  I keep them on an urn in the middle of the table.
Pardon my ugly pictures here. 

Ok, this is a bit like group Solitare.  To get ready to play, each person places 4 cards face up (the River), makes a pile of 13 cards with the top card face up (the Nertz pile), and the rest are in a pile on the left (the Stream).  The goal of each round is to be the first player to get rid of the Nertz pile.  The player with the highest number of points wins the game.

The photos show a game for 4 people with 4 different decks of cards. 
Everyone starts playing at the same time.  After you get the hang of it, the game can get really fast.

Your goal is to get the cards off the Nertz pile.  You do this by playing them into the River or the Lake.  The cards in the River (like Solitare) are stacked with high cards (top) to low cards (bottom) alternating red and black and can be different suits.  The Lake is where everyone can play off anyone else's cards.  These are piles (like Solitare) starting with the Ace and building on top of that with the next highest card number of the same suit and color.  If you play a card from the Nertz pile, you flip over the next one and try to play it.  You can also move cards from the River into the Lake.

If you get stuck, you go to your Stream pile (like Solitare).  You flip 3 cards from the Stream pile over.  When you can't play any of those, flip 3 more over.
The first player to get rid of their Nertz pile calls out "Nertz" and play stops.  Separate all the cards in the Lake by type of deck so each player can count how many they played into the Lake (don't mix them up with the others).  Each player's points are the total of their cards played into the Lake minus how many cards they had left in the Nertz pile (Stream and River cards are not counted).  The person who called Nertz gets a 10 point bonus.
We usually play to 200 points.  You can play with teams, but I've  never tried that.  If my instructions make absolutely no sense to you, or you would like to read more detailed instructions on how to play, go to the Official Nertz Rulebook at
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