Sunday, February 22, 2015

7 Things Sunday (How I decluttered in 2014) Part 1

Last January I realized I could no longer deal with the exorbitant amount of stuff in my house. Clutter bothers me and stuff lying around gives me anxiety. I can't sit down to work on something unless the surface is clear that I am going to be working on. If there are dishes and pans laying around in the kitchen, I struggle to begin cooking. It drives J nuts because I like to organize and rearrange his stuff, but I can't help it. It irks me.

This is not to say that I am a clean freak and my house is spotless. I'm not and it's not. But excessive stuff bothers me. I have to either physically move away from it or I have to organize it. Depending on how much energy I have helps me decide which one I'm going to do. But let me tell you, throwing things into the trash or the donate box gives me a high! I LOVE TO GET STUFF OUT OF MY SPACE.

So back in January of 2014 I decided to throw out, giveaway or donate 1 thing every day. And to make life simple I decided to do this on Sunday and do "7 Things Sunday,"

The rules for 7 Things Sunday were pretty simple.

  • Find 7 things to throw out, donate or sell. 
  • Straight up trash didn't count, so picking up a water bottle off of the side table earned zero points.
  • Items for donation went into a box that, ideally, went to Angel's Attic on Monday.
  • Items for sale had to be posted for sale that week and if not gone within 3 days were donated.
  • Photos were to be taken and posted to FB for accountability each Sunday.
Honestly, this was probably the only resolution I have ever completely kept. Some weeks were a bit challenging because I wasn't feeling inspired. Some of you may remember "the marble".  I was struggling that week to come up with 7 things and I found a random marble rolling around in my utensil drawer. It went in the donate box quickly.

But most weeks were super easy and I found way more than 7 things. I decided where I was going to focus on and then dug in. Closets, drawers, cabinets, bins, baskets, nook, crannies. Nothing was safe. I did stop taking pictures of everything because I decided that not that many people cared that I removed 7 pairs of hole-y socks from my drawer, but I did it for probably the first two months just to get in the routine.

The amount of stuff I got rid of was staggering! And I haven't missed ANY OF IT!

If you struggle with clutter, this might be a good resolution for you. I know it's basically March, but isn't spring a great time to turn over a new leaf? Grab your phone and go to your calendar app. Go to March 1 and add an event, call it "7 Things Sunday". Set the event time for a time that is good for you that you are usually at home and then set it to repeat every week. Lastly, set the reminder to go off! When you get that notification, you will remember to go find 7 things!

I'm going to continue this series for the next bit telling y'all some decluttering tips that helped me and ways to free up your space so that you can actually live in it. It's amazing what having less stuff surrounding you does for you. You literally feel lighter. Peter Walsh even has a book that talks about this phenomenon called "Lose The Clutter, Lose The Weight,"

Upcoming topics
*Where clutter hides
*Turning clutter into tax deductions
*Dealing with sentimental clutter
*Selling the good stuff
*Digital clutter

Even though it's now 2015, I'm still doing 7 Things Sunday, just not as religiously.  5-6 books and a few bookmarks are heading to Angel's Attic tomorrow along with some random, new makeup I found in the back of my bathroom cabinet. You would think after a year there would be nothing left to declutter, right?! Bwahahahahaha!

If you decide to jump on this bandwagon, post your photos to social media and use #7thingssunday so I can see your hard work!

***Affiliate link*** because I am an Amazon Associate they give me a little thank you gift of a few pennies if you shop through my link. The price is the same for you as if you just went to straight to Amazon. Even if you don't want to buy that book (and really, if you are decluttering buy the Kindle version) use my link and buy something you would normally buy, ok? And then I can write in my YMJ that someone shopped through my link and earned me a penny for my thoughts. :)

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Meal prep Sunday and a recipe!

Let me start by saying that I do not enjoy cooking. It is work and nothing tastes as good as I think it should. I just don't have that magic touch. And if a recipe has more than 5 ingredients my brain fogs over and says, "NO!" So when I meal prep, I'm basically just making sure I have some food sorted into portion sizes ready to go as I run out the door!

Here's what I did this weekend to get ready for the week. First, I went to the store and stocked up on tuna and frozen veggies. No matter what happens (Snowpocalypse 2015?), I can always open a can and nuke a bag of Steamables.

I also like the Starkist Creations seasoned packets. The ranch flavor is YUMMY!
This makes me happy. So much healthy, so convenient!

Next up I cook a boat load of sweet potatoes. J eats about 2 every day and I eat at least 1/2 of one every day, so they are kind of a priority. Scrub them up, wrap in aluminum foil, in the oven for 1 1/2 hours at 400 degrees. We like them really, really, soft.

Then I usually cook a big batch of some kind of protein, like chicken breasts or ground turkey breast. This week was two types of flavored chicken.

One crockpot had 3 pounds of chicken and 2 packages of Ranch dressing mix and the other had 3 pounds of chicken and 2 packages of fajita seasoning. I let them cook overnight on low and then shred them with a fork. After they have cooled, they get packaged into ziploc baggies in 4 ounce portions. 6 pounds of chicken breast will stock your freezer with a lot of 4 ounce portions!

I don't cook much, remember? I don't count any of the above as cooking. But I did make a homemade tomato sauce this weekend that I plan on eating with my chicken and veggies. It turned out pretty good, but I discovered that I don't really like basil. I've always disliked "sweet" pasta sauce, but I didn't know why. Now I know, it's the basil. (I'm kitchen ingredient ignorant). Strange huh, to be 37 and just figure out you don't really like basil. I mean, it's ok. But now that I can pinpoint what it is in a recipe I'm not crazy about, I can avoid it. 

Basil aversion or adoration aside, you will definitely want to try this one! I followed the recipe from A Beautiful Mess to make this sauce and it's pretty easy. If I can do it, anyone can.
 Saute some onions and carrots.

The recipe called for 5 cloves of garlic, but I LOOOOVVEEE garlic so I put about 7 in. Or 8. Or 9. 

Then 2 big cans of San Marzano tomatoes.
 (Here's where the basil sneaks in. It is already in the tomatoes. Next time, no basil!)

Then I added salt, pepper and thyme and let simmer for 40 minutes. The recipe called for 30 minutes, but I wanted it thick. 
It yielded about 5 1/2 cups (significantly less than the two quarts stated, but I did boil it down a lot). I put some of it over my chicken and froze them in individual containers. The rest I portioned out into 1/2 cup servings and froze.

I adjusted the recipe when I was making it (cut the oil used to just 1/8 cup, more garlic, more carrot, etc) from what was written, so my nutrition info came out to be

Per 1/2 cup
Calories 152
Fat 5.3
Carbs 23
Protein 4

It's going to be a nice change to have this in my freezer! 

I know that meal prep seems hard for a lot of people. But I don't cook and I figure it out. If you have a family to cook for and chase after, I understand it is more difficult. The solution then may be you prep for your breakfast, lunch and snacks and then eat with the family for supper. That's better than nothing! The big thing is to have a plan. If you don't plan, you eat whatever is available which 90% of the time is not going to help you reach your goals. 

If it is important, you'll find a way. If it isn't, you'll find an excuse. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Why you need a "Yay Me!" Journal!

We have all heard of daily journals where we write down our thoughts on the things that have happened during the day and we've all probably had one. We've all also heard of gratitude journals where we write down all the things we are thankful for.

Neither of these is what I'm recommending today. 

What I am going to encourage you to do is to start a "Yay Me!" Journal (Remember London Tipton on "The Suite Life? Say it that way. If you have no clue, google it)

This can be a pen and paper journal or just a note on your phone. The format doesn't matter. What matters is that you are going to write down things that happen to you that make you feel AWESOME! Absolutely no negative things. Only positives. 

This week I've been excited about an opportunity that has come up for me to work with some really special people that will also help me accomplish one of my personal 2015 goals. When I got off the phone about this opportunity, I immediately put a reminder in my phone to write about it in my "Yay Me!" journal. 

When I hit a PR on my hang clean this week, it went in my YMJ.

When I got a random text from a former athlete telling me that I was a huge motivator to her in her health and fitness journey, it went in my YMJ. 

Yep, the YMJ is a complete brag book about yourself. Go ahead, be obnoxious. 

Write down that you looked killer in your brand new jeans. Write down that you saved $2.59 at HellMart by using the Savings Catcher. Write down that you DIDN'T eat the free donuts at the office. Write down that you danced on the bar at Coyote Ugly stone cold sober and rocked it. 

Why am I encouraging you to do this? Because we all have days, weeks or even months when the motto of our life is "I SUCK." We feel like crap. Nothing is going right. We are crying all the damn time. Stupid hormones. Bad thoughts. "I'm fat" "I can't do anything right" "I always do dumb stuff" "That workout was horrible"

If you are filling up your YMJ, you can look at it in those gloomy times and realize that you don't really suck. You are actually quite awesome. 

Think of the YMJ as a vitamin that will give you super powers when you are sick. 

Now, here's the science. Dr. John Gottman did a study that revealed it takes about 5 positive comments to balance out one negative comment. 5 to 1 y'all! That means you better be writing a boatload of positives down every chance you can to help overcome those negative thoughts and events that will creep in.

Get a notebook, start now. Here's your first "YMJ" entry.....

 "I read a great blog post today that is going to help me be a much saner person!"

Challenge yourself to write SOMETHING every day. It may be awkward at first to brag about yourself, but get over it. It's for you. No one is going to read it and if they do, hit them on the head with it. 

So go now. Shoo. Get out of here. Go write about how awesome you are! Hey wait, leave me a comment and tell me what you put as your second YMJ entry (Because I already gave you your first!)

FYI, I think this may be my next journal !

***Affiliate link*** because I am an Amazon Associate they give me a little thank you gift of a few pennies if you shop through my link. The price is the same for you as if you just went to straight to Amazon. Even if you don't want to buy a journal (and really, a 99¢ notebook works great) use my link and buy something you would normally buy, ok? And then I can write in my YMJ that someone shopped through my link and earned me a penny for my thoughts. :)