Monday, May 16, 2011

Mid-Month Monday

Is there anything more delicious than a tomato sandwich eaten outside in the sunshine, washed down with freshly made iced tea?

Now that it's warmer and sunnier, I'm eating meals outdoors whenever possible. I do wear a coat or sweater in order to enjoy my meal more, but I know more warm and sunny days are on their way.

If you have a patio, sunny front steps, a porch, a nearby park or a back yard, I highly recommend eating outdoors as often as you can.


  • Pay any bills that are due mid-month

  • Look over your calendar for the next two weeks. Any upcoming birthdays, appointments, meetings, doctor visits? Have you booked time for Family Night, time for you to spend with your girl friends, time to spend with just your spouse/partner, quality time with your kids, and some alone time with just you?

  • Any light bulbs that have burned out? Changing them takes just a couple of moments.

  • Are you going into the workweek with clean clothes, clean towels, clean sheets on the beds? If not, time to do laundry tonight!

  • Open your drawer where you keep small kitchen gadgets (cutters, peelers, squeezers, etc). Close your eyes and (carefully, so as not to cut yourself) take one out of the drawer. Ask yourself when is the last time you used this particular gadget. If in the last week or two, great, put it away. If you honestly can't remember using it, now's the time to make a plan to use it, or else immediately put it into your donation bin, ready to give away to charity at your next dropoff. If you can't bear to part with the gadget, make a promise to go to the store tomorrow, buy whatever food that gadget is made to work with, and actually use the gadget tomorrow evening.

TODAY'S PROJECT: Cupboard, Cabinet or Drawer Sorting

A perfect quick weeknight project: Sort out a drawer, a cupboard, or a whole chest if you have time. This is something easy to do after dinner and the kids are in bed, and you can watch TV or listen to music while you work.

As you sort, ask yourself a few questions about each item:

  • When is the last time I used this item?

  • Can I envision a need for this item in the next 2 months?

  • Is the object useful or beautiful?

  • Am I hoarding this object against a nonexistent need?

Get rid of (throw away, donate, recycle) anything you possibly can; but keep things that are lovely or you will use in the next couple months (aside from holiday-related items).

Editing your possessions like this simplifies your life. You have less clutter to stress you out, less items to worry about, and you will more easily be able to find the items you actually need and use.

Organize what's left and put it back neatly in your drawer or cupboard. If you have time, dust the piece of furniture, the dresser drawer or cupboard before you go to bed. You're now the proud owner of yet another piece of well organized home furnishings!

Avery Bombe Chest, at Crate and Barrel

LOVELY BLOGS: The Godless Housewife

If you enjoy reading homemaking and mommy blogs, but aren't comfortable when you run into some that are especially preachy or self righteously religious, here's the blog for you. This Seattle-area mommy/homemaker happens to be an atheist, but doesn't push her views or even mention them outside her "About" page. There's no agenda, just a refreshing lack of preaching.

Her blog focuses on what's really important to her: her baby and husband, family, friends, and the cozy home she works so hard to create.

I bet you'll like her sense of humor, displayed in her posts such as Ten Things That Wake Baby, and Unexpected Houseguests.

Follow along as she enjoys spring, watches her baby learn to walk, experiments in the kitchen during her inventive "International Food Month" and celebrates her life.

LOVELY COSMETICS: Revlon ColorBurst Lipgloss

I just treated myself to Revlon's newest lipgloss, which I'll enjoy wearing this spring. I had a hard time deciding between Strawberry and Rose Pearl, but finally settled on the darker hue of Rose Pearl, which goes with more of my outfits. I just threw out a lipgloss that I remember buying last summer, so it's now old and icky.

ColorBurst Lipgloss, at Revlon

LOVELY FASHION: A Flowery Dress for Spring

Every spring, I buy a new dress to enjoy wearing to various events and celebrations. While I buy dresses now and then, on and off throughout the year, the spring dress shopping trip is always my favorite. It's so fun to pick out something colorful and pretty after a long gray rainy winter of wearing mostly blacks and browns, sweaters and velvet skirts.

Almost every year I end up choosing a pink dress, and this year is no different. I loved this almost-coral dress on the rack, and was nervous in the dressing room hoping it would fit and flatter me. It did! I've since worn it on Mother's Day, out shopping, and to the theater yesterday to see Mary Poppins. Now that I've worn it three times, it's off to the dry cleaners, but I'll have it back in time for next weekend's Sunday afternoon party I'm throwing.

If you can fit it into your budget - not just the money the dress will cost, but the time it will take you to shop for it - see if you can find a spring dress to add to your wardrobe. If your budget is tight, try Ross Dress for Less, Target or Marshalls. Don't buy something just to buy it - wait until you try on something that makes you feel pretty, carefree, and happy when you wear it!

Floral Embroidered Dress, at Macy's

LOVELY FOOD: Spirits Truffles

I'm excited about the new Spirits collection from Moonstruck Chocolates. Part of their Father's Day gift offerings, the truffles are flavored with port wine, whiskey, or cognac. My father doesn't like the taste of alcohol, so I'll have to gift him something else - I'll grab a box of these to serve at my next cocktail party.

Spirits Truffle Collection, at Moonstruck


Dragonfruit: A Fruit with a Future (NY Times)

How to Make Creamy Ice Cream with Just One Ingredient (The Kitchn)

Mad for Macaroons (Martha Stewart)

Make Your Own Veggie Chips (CHOW)

Make Homemade Southern Biscuits (Today Show)

Spring Gardening Calendar (Boston Globe)

Tuscan Pear and Fig Tart (Worth the Whisk)

Vines and Valleys in Oregon: Combining Hiking and Wine Tasting (NY Times)