My Winter “Ten (20) Item Wardrobe” Core Items

Over the next couple of weeks I will post the core outfits in my “Ten (20 : ) Item Wardrobe”.  I can’t say enough about what a positive impact this has had on simplifying my routines and lowering my stress level.  Getting ready is quick, simple and enjoyable, and I feel as if I am presenting my best self each day. A dear friend (Hi Laura) shared one of the Madame Chic books with me and I’ve been hooked ever since.
Ten (20) Item Wardrobe Core Set
  • Navy (my new neutral) Ankle Pant-J. Crew (Jackson Fit) 
  • Polka Dot Top-Loft
  • Navy Suede Ballet “Flat”-J. Crew
  • Pink Crushed Velvet Top-Anthropologie

When I wear the pink top, I accessorize with the long pearls.  I generally wear the bracelet with the polka dot sweater.  The blue suede shoes (are you humming an Elvis tune now?) are the perfect staple but with a little pizazz.



Help, My Spark is losing Joy! It’s time to Declutter the Kitchen

I am a big fan of Marie Kondo and the Konmari method of organizing.  I have to be honest though, I am only halfway there when it comes to my whole house declutter.

I did great through the clothing portion, with the help of Jennifer Scott (The Daily Connoisseur) and her Ten Item Wardrobe and Madame Chic books.  I’ll share my current 20 item wardrobe (not down to 10 yet) in upcoming posts.

Next, I moved on to books.  That was a huge hurdle in my house, as I am a librarian and we (hubby and kids) are all avid readers. But I followed the rule of bringing every book together, considering each and only keeping those that “spark joy”.  I think you would be impressed as I purged a lot.  I have a Little Free Library in my yard, so many titles rotated into that.

That’s when I got a little off track, but in a good way. With the help of my brilliant and creative friend Emily of @yourhome-girl I took out my massive dining room furniture (that was way to bulky for the space) and did an update that makes me smile every time I walk past.

The Next step was CD’s and DVD’s.  we don’t have a large DVD selection but lots of CD’s (the music of my past-think Rod Stewart and The Big Chill) and it just overwhelmed me.  I tried to move on from there but I struggled.

Now, I did continue to declutter closets here and there but got behind as I wasn’t staying true to the original system.  A few weeks ago you might say I was at Def-Com (insert large number here), as this was one of my kitchen cabinets.  I only feel comfortable showing you this picture because we are friends and I feel safe.  No need to look closely.  It is as bad as you think.


So, being so close to a new year, I vowed to do better!  I decided to go off script a little and dive in to the kitchen declutter.  It is truly the heart of our house and I couldn’t go another day with it in such disarray.

My process was one of “direction” rather than item analysis.  I merely started at the most horrendous cabinet and worked my way over and down.  Many people who live in a truly minimal home have completely clear counter tops.  I prefer areas that serve different functions and like to design vignettes that support and “beautify” those areas. This is my baking area.

That horrendous cabinet that I chose to start with houses items used for packing lunches and preparing breakfasts. The first thing I did was throw out, donate and recycle all unused items (how do we accumulate these so quickly?)  Next I gathered all the tools and items needed for these purposes to this corner of the kitchen.

  • bowls
  • small plates
  • mugs
  • coffee maker
  • toaster
  • cereals
  • dried and fresh fruit
  • water bottles and lunch boxes
  • paper sandwich wraps
  • syrup, honey and butter

I did a couple of transitions, putting items into prettier or more efficient containers. As soon as we purchase cereal, we transfer it to glass jars, recycle the boxes and store any excess in the red tin.

Next, considered what I had on hand to store items.  I decided to reuse as much as possible, rather than purchasing new storage solutions.


My tea and cocoa were a mess so I reorganized, using some of my favorite little Pyrex containers and mason jars.



Here is the completed corner.  It includes the upper corner cabinet which contains mostly lunch preparation items. Under that cabinet is a lazy Susan with cereals, syrup, honey and my favorite bowls.  the large red tin.  Our mini Shulux coffee maker is next to a tin containing compostable coffee pods.  The toaster is actually up in the cabinet as we don’t use it as often.  I love that everything is located to help make morning routines more efficient.



In an upcoming post, I’ll share the rest of my decluttering efforts, including my pantry. I hope this inspires you to consider whatever minimizing efforts appeal to you.  I actually feel a sense of relief that at least one routine is simplified.  Now that sparks joy!



What do you do with all those candy canes?

I work in an elementary school so candy canes are everywhere this time of year.  I love peppermint, but one can only eat so much!  So this year I made a plan for those little red and white beauties.  I pulled out our Cuisinart ice cream maker (love this machine) and my recipe from Taste of Home to make a batch of candy cane ice cream!  By itself, peppermint ice cream can be almost…dare I say, medicinal.

So, I also made my favorite “Emergency Blender Cupcakes” from The Weekend Baker by Abigail Johnson Dodge. The rich chocolate and the bright peppermint made for a great combination.

I could do a whole post just on this cookbook.  I am in fact a weekend baker, so I love the clear consistent layout and recipes I can depend on time and time again.


Now, if you are like us and you find yourself with candy canes for days, don’t save them to give out at Halloween (They won’t be appreciated, trust me!) make this delish dessert.

Candy Cane Ice Cream


  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 teaspoons peppermint extract
  • 1/2 cup finely crushed peppermint candy


  • 1. In a large heavy saucepan, heat milk to 175°; stir in honey and salt until combined. Whisk a small amount of the hot mixture into the eggs. Return all to the pan, whisking constantly. Cook and stir over low heat until mixture reaches at least 160° and coats the back of a metal spoon.
  • 2. Remove from the heat. Cool quickly by placing pan in a bowl of ice water; stir for 2 minutes. Stir in whipping cream and extract. Press waxed paper onto surface of custard. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
  • 3. Fill cylinder of ice cream freezer two-thirds full; freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions. Add candy the last 3 minutes of freezing. When ice cream is frozen, transfer to a freezer container; freeze for 2-4 hours before serving.Yield: 1 quart.

Emergency Blender Cupcakes

1 cup flour
1/2 unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup hot water
1/2 cup canola oil
1 large egg
1  1/2 tsp vanilla extract


Heat oven to 375°. Line 12 regular-sized muffin cups with paper or foil liners. Combine flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a blender. Cover with the lid and blend on medium speed until blended. Pour in the water, oil, egg, and vanilla. Cover with the lid and blend on medium-high speed until smooth and well blended, stopping to scrape down the sides once or twice. Pour into lined muffin cups, dividing evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of one cupcake comes out clean, 17–19 minutes. Transfer to rack to cool for about 10 minutes, and then carefully remove the cupcakes from the pan and set them on the rack to cool completely before frosting.


Let me know what you end up doing with all those candy canes.  I’d love to be ready for next year.



Hello Friends

Welcome!  Are you looking forward to 2018 with excited anticipation or do you have reservations?  Hmm, excited or nervous?  Both?  I’ve been planning this Blog for a long time now and feel like 2018 is the year make it a reality. Like many of you I am attempting to live fully, and simply. This is where I hope we can share the journey.

I am a fan of all things related to home and family.  Life is messy though so I am always looking to the wisdom of women who share a passion for making this their best life. If we share lessons learned and shortcuts earned our collective wisdom might just lighten our load.

Thanks for stopping by and considering how I attempt to keep my home and life running (I don’t dare say smoothly) from organizing, parenting, reading, laughing (need to do this a lot), detoxifying, beautifying, gardening, baking  and simplifying.

Please stop by my “About” page to learn more about my point of view.  And, I look forward to learning more about you and gathering together a community of brave, creative, joyful women who take pleasure in savoring every moment of this blessed life.