Sunday, January 31, 2016

Inspire Your Heart With Art Day!

This may be my favorite one yet!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

So Good, So Simple!

Cheesy Garlic Rolls


1 tube crescent rolls
3 Tbsp melted butter
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp oregano
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Following directions on the can, place rolls point side down  and curved on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Combine butter, garlic, and oregano and brush tops of rolls. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan.  Bake 10-12 minutes.  Serve while still warm.


Friday, January 29, 2016

Frugal Friday -- Always Learning

A couple of weeks ago, my favorite used bookstore had a buy one, get one free sale.  My son and I were browsing and I grabbed the following book:

Now I do have to say, when I picked up the book, my son burst out laughing.  He said, "What are you going to do with that? Edit it?"  He thinks he's hilarious...

The truth is, there is always more to learn.  Someone else may use a particular tip that had never crossed my mind!  With sharing frugal tips every Friday, I am constantly on the lookout to share the best tips I can find.

One tip I already found in the book I plan on trying in February.  It is having a "free" month.  Every activity you partake in for the month must be free.  That means watching movies you already own, play games you already have, and enjoy community events that don't cost a dime!  Keep tuned...I'll update you each Friday in February!  Let me know if you are going to try it!


Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Thursday 10

I have to admit...this is starting to get hard!  Even though I still have probably hundreds of items that could is getting more difficult to choose!

This week was decidedly unglamorous but necessary.  I cleaned out my underwear and sock drawers! Don't worry...I won't subject you to pictures on this one!  While not the most exciting chore, it is still one that needs to be completed.  

When cleaning out the drawers, there are a few simple rules to follow.

1.  Does it fit?  Have you gained or lost weight?  If it is the wrong needs to go.

2.  Is it ripped, worn, or torn?  It's outta here!!

3.  Is it dingy or faded?  See ya!!

Just following these simple rules will make the job an easy one.  I bet you will exceed the ten...I did!!


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Simply Nesting

Since starting my simplification change, I have noticed a change in my mindset when it comes to my plans and the purchases I make.

Rather than buying those fabulous boots (trust me...they were fabulous!), my purchases have taken the direction of creating a perfect nest for myself.  I passed on the boots and bought blackout drapes for my bedroom that match my comforter.  Not a large purchase, or even a costly one, but one that makes my bedroom feel warm and cozy.  

Next up?  I am working on the plans for a rag rug to warm the floors.  I just cannot decide whether I want to make it braided or shag!  Yes...notice I did say make it.  Working with my hands and creating something is one of the ways I feed my of the goals of this plan!

How do you nest?  What activities make you feel cozy?  Something to think about!


Tuesday, January 26, 2016


I have discovered that routines are playing a major role in my simplification process.  Doing the same small things every day seem to make my life run easier.

Knowing that certain things are accomplished at certain times or days brings a sense of peace and order.  As those tasks are accomplished, they bring the reward of satisfaction of completion, Knowing that certain things have a specific time frame frees up more time for enjoyable activities.

Having a routine does not mean living in a rut.  Having a routine for daily tasks is being an adult.  It means you have taken responsibility for your possessions, your job, your passions, and your life. That does not mean your routine cannot be and should not be flexible.  The opportunity to spend time with those you love, indulge a passion, or feed your soul should also have a place of priority in your life. That opportunity does, however, have to be weighed against the added stress of knowing necessary items are looming and have not been completed.

Try just a couple of tasks.  Set times each day for them to be completed.  As it becomes a habit, try adding a couple more.  Before you know it, you will have your personalized routine!


Monday, January 25, 2016

The Simple Things

Even living on the Gulf Coast does not keep you completely immune from the cold!  We had a couple of days of freezing weather this weekend and I am so grateful that was all we had!  

Taking the dogs outside on Sunday morning, I noticed something on the cover of my firepit.  The frost had created a pattern that was a clear message to start my day!

Part of the simplification process we have been talking about is finding time for things that feed your soul.  That also means being open to those things that present themselves.  If I had been rushed and stressed, I would not have noticed a simple thing like the smile in the frost.

As you simplify, do not rush getting through the process.  Take time to notice the simple things...and smile!!!


Saturday, January 23, 2016

A Simple Morning Smoothie

This is soooo good!!


2 cups cran-raspberry juice
2 containers raspberry yogurt
1 cup frozen raspberries
1 cup frozen blueberries
8 ice cubes


Add all ingredients to blender, blend 30-45 seconds until smooth.  Pour into a chilled glass.


P.S.  If you are short on time in the morning, make the evening before.  Pour into your to-go cup and refrigerate overnight.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Frugal Friday -- Wikibuy

This week, I have another Chrome extension for you to save you money.  This extension is called Wikibuy.

When you are shopping online and ready to check out your cart, Wikibuy will search the web to find any lower price available.  In addition, it will also check coupons that may lower the cost.

As you sit looking at the items in your cart, you do need a bit of patience!  Wikibuy is still in beta and it can take a few moments for it to complete its search.  But if it saves money, a minute or two is worth it!!

Head over to Wikibuy and check it out!!  Save those pennies!!


Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Thursday 10

This week's Thursday Ten does not have a picture to go with it as it is an ongoing process.

I now have a trashbag sitting in the corner of my kitchen designated for Goodwill.  As I simplify an area, whether as big as a room or as small as a single shelf, items which are leaving the house immediately go into the Goodwill bag.  

As soon as the bag is full, it IMMEDIATELY leaves the house.  While it may not make it to Goodwill until the weekend, the bag stays in the car.  That makes it easier to avoid second thoughts, regrets, and re-examination of items that truly need to go.

For me, the kitchen is the most convenient location.  You may choose the laundry room or even a bedroom.  Find the location for your bag.  Use it as you go through your house.  Remember, this process is a series of steps.  You don't have to load up a truck full of stuff.  One kitchen trash bag at a time will still get the job done.

Why do I donate?  I donate because I believe in helping others.  If these items can be sold in a Goodwill store, that money is used to help others.  That is enough for me.


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Back to Basics

Part of my simplification process has been placing more focus on things I enjoy.  My writing, reading, and love of crafts have all moved up my list of priorities.

Looking at that list, it seems that those activities are all solitary endeavors.  My reading, however, includes a book club.  My craft projects are frequently made for friends, including the very one I am working on right now.  My writing, especially as it concerns this blog, has me interacting with readers both here and on the Facebook fan page.

Those same activities, while they can be social, also allow me to have times of peace and solitude which my soul requires.  All of them can and are solitary acts when I need them to be such.  Being alone is not a bad thing.  Too many of us fill that time with meaningless activities, and people who bring no real joy.  Part of the simplification process is also learning to be at peace and to be still.

Whether in solitude or sharing your passion, do so with joy in your heart.


Tuesday, January 19, 2016


Even though I live on the Gulf Coast, we still get cold days!  Here is a short list of things to do when it is too cold to venture outside!

1.  Rearrange a room.  Start 2016 with a fresh perspective.

2.  Play a game...a real one!!

3.  Clean out your drawers and closets.  Make sure to have a bag handy for items to donate!

4.  Pop popcorn and have movie night.

5.  Read, read, read, READ!!

Okay, I have gotten the list started.  What would you add?


Sunday, January 17, 2016

Saturday, January 16, 2016

A Simple Reward

This week has entailed a lot of lessons and homework in the simplification process.  It's time to reward ourselves with a simple treat!

Easy Blueberry Treats


1 tube refrigerated crescent rolls
1 cup blueberry pie filling
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
2 Tbsp milk


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Unroll the crescent rolls and separate into four squares, placing on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Gently press the perforated seams together.  In each square, spoon a 1/4 cup of the blueberry pie filling.  Fold into a triangle and pinch the edges together to seal.  Bake 12 minutes or until golden.  Combining the sugar and milk, stir until slightly thickened.  Drizzle over the treats and serve while still warm.

P.S.  These also work wonderfully with cherry or apple pie filling as well!!


Friday, January 15, 2016

Frugal Friday -- Simplify

Another resource for learning to simplify is free books available on Kindle.

Go to Amazon and do a search in the Kindle store for "Simplify."  Once you do the basic search, click on the "self-help" category to narrow your search.  When that page loads, choose the "Price Low-High" option.  This will bring the free books to the top of the list.

Remember, the first step is education.  Educating yourself translates to better results.

Get searching!!


Thursday, January 14, 2016

UPDATED -- The Thursday 10

I frequently walk 5k's for charity and have done so for a number of years.  When participating, t-shirts are frequently given to the walkers.  Needless to say, over the years I have collected quite a number of these shirts.  That number grows yet again when you add in the t-shirts from various concerts I have attended.

In early December, I gathered approximately 50 of these shirts together.  Doing some online research, I found a company that makes quilts from these t-shirts.  I followed their instructions and sent off my shirts.  

In doing so, I cleared up much needed space in my bedroom.  I will also have a quilt of my various adventures.  When I am gone, my children will be able to look at the quilt and remember me.  As I see it, this was a win-win solution!

I am waiting, not so patiently, for my quilt to arrive.  When it does, I will update this post.  In the meantime, look around at your things.  I am sure there are more creative ways to re-use and upcycle things you have into memories you can pass on.  Let me know what you come up with!!


I received my quilt!!  Here's a picture of my quilt!

Now I not only got rid of stacks of tshirts...I can wrap myself in memories!


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Emotional Attachments

The most difficult challenge I face in simplifying my life is those items which hold emotional attachments.  And I'm talking a large amount of items!

For example, my wedding dress.  I obviously will never wear it again.  It is a designer sample so I could make a pretty penny reselling it.  Actually, a few months ago, I actually planned on selling the gown.  It has been cleaned and archived and is in perfect condition.  Then in October, my ex-husband passed away.  Emotionally, that immediately froze me in that process.  

In addition, after his passing, I learned he had kept multiple items from our marriage that I knew nothing about.  He had kept multiple pictures of the two of us, anniversary gifts, and even Valentine's cards.  All of these items now reside with me.  While we were divorced, I was his only wife.  He never remarried or even lived with anyone.  Emotionally, I am now in a no-mans land between divorcee and widowhood.  

I am frozen in the simplification process when it comes to any items from my marriage and wedding. I cannot make rational decisions at this time about how to handle these items.  I believe that ability will come with time but, for now, that time is not now.

Do you have emotional items that you keep solely because of the attachment?  Have you been able to let those items go?  If so, share your journey.


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

How To Begin

Beginning the simplification process is the same as beginning any new career, hobby, or adventure. The first step is to educate yourself.

Thankfully, in this age of immediate gratification, multiple resources are available at your fingertips. Just do a search for simplify, minimize, etc. and thousands of articles, blogs, checklists, and personal journeys are available to be perused.  There are blogs dedicated solely to simplifying your life.

While searching, you will also have to option to choose between practical tips and a more zen-like approach.  Whether you are simplifying on a physical or on a metaphysical basis, help abounds on the web.

For myself, I have created a binder containing some of the resources I have found.  As I educate myself, I am highlighting those tips and advice which I find apply to my situation.  Not everyone's story is the same and all tips will not apply to everyone.

Warm up those fingers and let your search begin.  Even if the most you gain from this process is thirty minutes a week, that is thirty minutes now available to be spent with one you love or enjoying an activity you have missed.


Monday, January 11, 2016

Why Simplify?

The reasons to simplify are as diverse and unique as each individual.  For myself, personally, the desire to simplify arises out of a need to feed my soul

I was in bed ill last week.  While I was stuck there for four days, I managed to read six books.  To have that time to read, even though sick, was a luxury and a pleasure.  A goal of simplifying is to make time to read.

I also enjoy beading, jewelry making, needlepoint, etc., etc., etc.  These are all activities that require time set aside for that particular purpose.  By simplifying my life, I free up that time.  It also helps me reduce the physical number of things that I have to take care of and maintain.  This frees up even more time.

As I age, I find that experiences are incredibly more valuable than things.  Time spent with friends and family, doing activities I love, and minimizing the chore list are my priorities in this process. Join me!!


Saturday, January 9, 2016

Warm and Tasty

While I live on the Gulf Coast and rarely have to deal with frigid weather, this soup still hits the spot on chilly days.

Potato Soup


3 medium potatoes, diced and peeled
2 cups water
1 medium onion
1/4 cup cold butter, cubed
1/4 cup all-purpose flour 
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 cups whole milk


Bring potatoes to a boil in water; reduce heat and simmer covered for 20 minutes.  While potatoes are simmering, saute onion in butter until translucent.  Stir in flour and spices until well blended.  Slowly add milk and bring to a boil.  Add potatoes, including cooking liquid.  Heat thoroughly and garnish with shredded cheese.


Friday, January 8, 2016

Frugal Friday: Coupons

While I do not use physical coupons at the store like I should, I am a huge proponent of using online coupon codes.

I've found a new extension for Chrome that automatically finds and tests coupon codes for websites as you check out.

Honey is a Chrome extension.  As you go to check out on a website, Honey will locate all available coupon codes, test each one, and apply any that work for your transaction.  

This saves you time in searching for codes, frustration in trying codes that do not work, and eliminates the possibility of missing that one code you need.

Head over to Honey and install the extension.  Let's save money in 2016!


Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Thursday 10

This week's Thursday 10 is probably closer to 100!!  I did a major closet purge, including shoes!

My home was built in 1947 and has the smallest closets I have ever seen!  I followed the rule of "If you haven't worn it in six months..."  I believe I reduced my clothes by half!  I still have more than I probably need, but as I am required to have a professional wardrobe for my day job, I still need clothes!

Take a good, hard look at your closet.  Use the six-month rule and be honest!  Then load up those bags and head to Goodwill.  Pass the good on to others!


Wednesday, January 6, 2016


Let's resolve right now to get rid of "Should" this year.  For good, forever, never to be said again.

So often, "should" rules our lives.  We should go to that event.  We should do this or that.  We should, we should, we should.

Other than those things that would be illegal or immoral if we did not do them, "should" needs to go. The truth is that most "shoulds" are nothing but expectations we impose on ourselves or those promoted by society...usually to sell a product.  

We should be a size 1.  No...we shouldn't.  Healthy and happy, yes.

We should be able to drive a new car.  No...we shouldn't.  Driving a car that fits in our budget, yes.

We should keep our homes "company-ready" at all times.  No...we shouldn't.  A home that is welcoming and comfortable, yes.

We should be in a relationship.  No...we shouldn't.  If in a healthy relationship, then yes.  If the relationship is abusive, then no.

Those are just a few examples of the "shoulds" that either society or ourselves impose.  This is your life, your year.  You, and you alone, decide what needs to be in your life, your priorities, and the things that bring joy to your soul.


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Taking Time

Yesterday, we discussed removing the toxic and hate-filled people from your life.  Today, I wish to talk a bit about taking time to heal.

Having to let go of a friendship, even one that was not true, hurts.  It causes you to doubt your judgment.  You wonder if you are such a bad judge of character or whether you let your heart lead you where you should not go.

It takes time to heal from the loss.  Not only the loss, it also takes time to heal the damage done to your own self-confidence.  Regaining that confidence and your sense of balance will take time and work.  It will take self-examination and acknowledgement of your own part in the situation.  Were you too trusting?  Did you invite such treatment by accepting it once too often?  Frequently, if you accept the behavior once, people take that as tacit approval of your acquiescence to be treated in that manner.  It is up to you to use this healing time to set your boundaries.

Taking the time to heal, to remove the toxic from your life, and setting boundaries does not mean you have become cold and harsh.  It means that you value yourself and refuse to accept being treated as less.  I believe you are precious...make sure you believe it also.


Monday, January 4, 2016

The First Week

This is the first full week of the new year.  Have you made resolutions?  Or have you made generalized decisions about how you will change your life in the coming months?

One of my generalized decisions is the decision I made to protect myself.  Friends who have lied to me, who have betrayed me, or who have hurt me are no longer welcome in my life.  

Think about some of your Facebook posts.  Did someone react to one in a nasty, hateful manner?  It makes you stop and think.  Have they always felt that way about me?  Did demeaning me give them pleasure?  

When hate boils over into a public forum or overt acts meant to wound or betray, those emotions have been simmering for quite some time.  When such things surface, for your own safety, sanity, and emotional stability; it is wise and prudent to remove the source from your life.

Remember, taking care of yourself is no reason to feel guilty.  You deserve the best!!


Saturday, January 2, 2016

A New Year Recipe

For the brand new year:


A ton of love
Unlimited peace
Heaping self-forgiveness
Just the right amount of fun


Using all ingredients, partake each and every day of 2016.



Jerri's Empty Nest