Ok, so this might sound a little weird coming from a person who writes a lot about organizing her stuff and who is trying to make a career of helping others organize their stuff, but I’m just going to have to say it. Why are we spending so much time dealing with our stuff?  Wouldn’t a great solution be to just have less of all that stuff?

Phew. That felt good to say it out loud.  Owning less is something I’ve been mulling over in my head ever since I started looking into professional organizing (which just happened to coincide with me needing to deal with moving all of my stuff to the east coast).  I often see blog posts or pins on pinterests which have a great end result – a room full of things very neatly hidden away and organized.  More and more though, I stop and look at these “after” pictures and wonder if all of those things are helping that person’s life.

Another thing I need to confess is that I am a bit of a shopper and spender, so it’s not like it’s my natural inclination to not own many things.  It’s the opposite, in fact.  I definitely cannot say today that I subscribe to a minimalist lifestyle.  I doubt I’ll ever show up on this blog, sitting in an empty room, but I do wonder what affect owning less would have on my life and why it seems so difficult to get there.

Today I have no finished product or project to share with you – just this initial thought on having less.  As I process this idea more, I’ll share with you.  As always, if you have your own thoughts, please share them with me in the comments.

fullcloset

 

turning30Okay, so having a birthday isn’t exactly a decision I can or cannot make, but I did decide to use this year’s big birthday to reflect back and look forward, so I’m counting it!

I am extremely grateful for what I gained in my twenties.  I made lifelong friends, met and married the best person imaginable, got some education (math is awesome!) and learned lots and lots of pesky life lessons.  And in the last six months I picked up and moved to a brand new city (not for school), which has been rewarding, rejuvenating and one of the hardest things I’ve done.

So…what about the next decade? And the years that follow?  What do I want to accomplish with my life?  In traditional Elizabeth-form, a list:

  • Grow our family.
  • Buy a home.
  • Take vacations.
  • Have a fulfilling work life.

To be honest, I could only look forward so far.  But even as I type up my list here, I think I would be pretty happy if this was my high-level life list.

When I started this blog, one of the purposes was to help me start my own home organizing business.  I told myself I would blog all summer, then come fall take those first steps in starting a new career.  Well it’s September and although its 90 degrees out, September to me equals fall, so its time to take a leap and do something even more challenging than moving across the country.

My first step is to make a list (did you guess that?) – of things I need to do to get this business up and running.  As I check things off the list, I’ll share my successes, missteps, frustration, excitement and all of the other emotions I’m sure will arise along the way.  My blog helps me share my ideas, but also keeps me motivated to accomplish something as huge as starting my own business!

 

 

Did you realize that August is almost over?  August!  Lots of sites and companies are already transitioning to the fall season, but I’m nowhere near ready for that change.  I feel like I’m just getting into the summer groove.  Which is why over the weekend I took a breather.

I am a planner. To a fault, at times.  So this past weekend, I decided to not make a plan.  I put no expectations on myself for the weekend.  And guess what? Nothing terrible happened to me!

The weekend was great.  I relaxed. I knit. I got a coffee (or two).  Plus I accomplished a lot of things I just hadn’t gotten around to yet – a surprising number of things actually. We now have clean floors, a kitchen table, hanging artwork, and a cool new light in the living room.

It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you take a step back, take a breath, and go with the flow.  If you have the chance, try it soon before the weather and season actually changes.

granola“Go To” is a little misleading of a title for this granola recipe because it’s really the only granola recipe I make.  Why fix something that’s not broken, right?  Actually, that is not at all how I think.  I’m always tweaking whatever I do just to make it that.much.more.amazing.  The same goes for this recipe.  I read a bunch of recipes online, made a couple as written, then started tweaking and formulating my own recipe.  The end result is what I find myself making over and over.

I keep the fat and sugar amounts on the lower side because I eat this a lot, especially since I decided to cut out boxed cereal from my morning routine.  One effect of the lower liquid content is a lack of granola clumps.  So, if you like your granola with a bunch of big, crunchy clusters, this may not be your thing.  But, the flavor is still awesome, I promise!  The key here is getting the pecans toasted exactly right.  If you get the color of those guys right, you are in business!

I eat this with yogurt and frozen berries regularly.  Sometimes I switch it up and eat it with milk.  If I’m hungry and at home, sometimes I’ll just grab a couple of handfuls to tide me over.

I’ve broken the ingredient list down into key categories – the oats, the nuts/seeds, some sweetness, spices, optional add ins, and the liquids.  Within each category, you are free to make adjustments to your tastes.  If you don’t like pecans (blasphemy!), don’t use them.  If you only want seeds, go for it.  Pumpkin pie spice or baking spice is an easy substitute for the listed spices (but still add the salt).   Use can use honey instead of maple syrup.  I *highly* recommend leaving the brown sugar in.  It brings the flavor up to another level, in my opinion.

Ingredients

  •  3 cup Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
  • 2 cups nuts and/or seeds
    • 1/2 cup pecan pieces
    • 1/2 cup almonds, roughly chopped
    • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
    • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • Optional Add-Ins
    • Sesame seeds – pour some in your 1/2 or 1 cup measuring cup along with the other nuts
    • 2 tbsp. chia seeds or 1/4 c. ground flax meal
  • Some Sweetness
    • 1/2 cup unsweetened, flaked coconut
    • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • Spices
    • 1 tsp. cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
    • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • Liquids
    • 1/3 c. coconut oil, in liquid state
    • 1/3 c. maple syrup
    • 1 tsp. vanilla

Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together oats, nuts/seeds, optional add-ins, dry sweetness items and spices.
  3. In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together oil, maple syrup and vanilla.
  4. Pour liquid mixture into dry ingredients, stir everything up as best as you can.
  5. Spread the granola into a half sheet baking pan.  Bake for 35-45 minutes, stirring every 12 minutes.  The granola is done when the oats and nuts are gently browned and the mixture is no longer wet.
  6. Let cool and place into air tight container.  As written, this recipe yields just over 7 cups of granola.

I am not exactly the best sleeper.  For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been doing a particularly bad job.  I am able to stay asleep until 2 or 3am, but then I wake up and then spend the next several hours trying to get back to sleep.  Some nights I fall back asleep with no problem, but not lately.  Last night was particularly rough and I don’t know why.  I feel like I’m worried and anxious about something, but I can’t put my finger on what that something actually is.  So around 8am this morning, when I decided to give up on sleeping any more, I got up, poured myself some coffee, and did one thing that is guaranteed to calm me down – I knit.

sundayknittingI’ve been knitting for about 5 years now and while some projects can be infuriating and mentally challenging, some are just plain relaxing.  These project require little (or no) counting, no finagling of stitches, and little to memorize pattern-wise.  These projects are perfect for quiet weekend mornings.  If you zone out while knitting, it’s no big deal – you’re probably still doing the pattern correctly.  If you take a break to find some breakfast, its easy to pick back up where you left off.

What’s guaranteed to help you relax and start your day off right?