Tag Archives: Home Front

Recently I wrote a post on planning for this year’s vegetable garden. Gardening has always been a big part of my life. I enjoy planning out my vegetable garden each year, what I will plant and how I will preserve the harvest. For years I have always started my own seeds, often using seeds that I saved from the year before. This year I will be planting mostly flowers. With the house going back on the market and an enthusiastic realtor who seems to be confident that the house will sell in 2017 I am not going to be planting a big vegetable garden.

Instead my time will be spent packing and de-cluttering! I will miss my garden. Now I have eight beautiful raised beds that my husband built for me and I will not completely ignore them. After all we do have to keep up a beautiful appearance for any potential buyer! So I will plant flowers and beans and a zucchini plant perhaps, just enough to provide some fresh vegetable this summer and some cut flowers for the house. I have a neighbor close by that offers beautiful heirloom tomato seedlings so I may just have to plant a couple. It wouldn’t be summer without garden ripe tomatoes!Can't wait until the tomatoes turn red!

Luckily we have a wonderful Farmer’s Market that offers a wonderful variety of locally grown fruits and vegetables. But I will be missing my garden and the wonderful harvest I used to get.vegetables, farm market

The sad reality is that the future owner may not be as into gardening as I am. Perhaps this will be a second home for them and they just won’t have the time to keep up the gardens. It makes me sad to think that way but we’ve moved in the past and each time I have left behind a beautiful garden. One of these moves I hope to move into a home where the previous owner had beautiful gardens and I can take them over. That hasn’t’ been the case yet.Vermont, seed saving

Have you experience leaving a wonderful garden behind due to a move?

Moving across town can be a very different experience from moving across the country. Before making a move from one coast to another there are a few things to consider. Moving is an adventure but you also need a reliable plan. There are several things to consider when planning a move.


By starting now, before we even have a contract on our home we can make the actual moving part of our relocation go smoothly.


First of all we know where we are going. At least we know the general area. We won’t purchase a house until our current house is sold. So in the meantime we look at real estate in the area we want to move to. We talk to those we know in the area and are finding the parts of town that we would like to end up in.Planning a Move


If you’ve been reading my blog you know we are in the process of getting rid of excess stuff. A move across country is based on weight so we want to lighten the load as much as possible. We have items we want to keep, items we want to sell, stuff we want to give away and junk we just need to trash. As we go through our belongings those are the categories we divide the items into. As we pack up the clutter we pack room by room. When we eventually arrive at our destination we want to know which boxes things are in. When we’re looking for the coffee pot we want to know it is in a kitchen box!planning a move


As we sort through our belongings we try to use the one-year rule. If we haven’t used it in a year consider donating it to someone who will use it. There are a few exceptions, such as my grandparent’s turkey platter! We didn’t celebrate the holidays at home this year but I’m planning on packing that platter and taking it with us! It’s all packed and ready to go!moving


While we plan on doing the majority of the packing ourselves there are a few larger items where we will enlist the help of the movers. Professional movers know how to pack and transport a houseful of items with a minimum of breakage and fuss. The larger precious items we will let the professionals pack.planning a move


We don’t know when our move will take place as it depends on when our house will sell. However we continue to pack up the items we really don’t need but want to move. Eventually when we have a move date I will have a schedule. Time can get away from you when you are in the middle of a move, so I will want to stay organized to stay on target. There is a lot to consider when planning a move but if you can stay organized it should all go smoothly and before you know it you will be unpacking in your new home!

The first day of spring has arrived but here in Vermont we can expect cool weather to continue for another month or so. There is still time to enjoy a bowl of hearty black bean and sausage soup. The combination of sweet Italian turkey sausage, jalapeño peppers and fresh cilantro gives this black bean and sausage soup a distinctive flavor. If you have any leftovers they are easily reheated in the microwave or can be frozen for later use. Serve along with a leafy green salad and a loaf of bread and your have a meal!Black Bean soup


Black Bean and Sausage Soup




½ pound sweet Italian turkey sausage

1 tsp olive oil

1 onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced

3 (15.5 oz) cans of black beans, rinsed and drained

4 cups chicken broth, preferably homemade

½ cup chopped fresh cilantro




Spray a large nonstick saucepan with nonstick spray and set over medium low heat. Add the sausage and cook until browned on all sides, about 15 minutes. Transfer the sausage to a plate and when cool enough to handle, cut into ½ inch slices.


Heat the oil over medium heat in the same saucepan then add the onion, garlic and jalapeños. Cook, stirring until tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in the beans and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the flavors have blended, about 8 minutes.


Transfer 2 cups of the bean mixture to a blender or food processor and puree. Stir the puree and the sausage into the soup. Simmer, uncovered, until the soup is heated through, about 5 minutes. Remove form the heat, stir in the cilantro  or sprinkle on top and serve.Black Bean and Sausage SoupIf you have an emersion blender that could also be used to puree the soup.Black Bean and Sausage Soup



We are all looking for ways to improve our lives and achieve success. Sometimes we get stuck in a rut or just don’t know where to begin to achieve the best results in the shortest time. Following are 10 ideas to help you stay focused and improve your professional and personal life:



  • Healthy Breakfast



Begin each day with a healthy breakfast for maximum energy. So many of us skip this very important meal, but if you are serious about being successful, adopting this simple habit will pay dividends in your daily productivity and mental clarity.useful habits



  • Make small goals every day



Pay attention to details to achieve your goals. This will help you to focus on the results of your efforts and see the value of every step of the way. Realizing the purpose of the smaller details makes us appreciate the big picture and directs our purpose for getting there.



  • To-do lists



Make lists of all that you want to accomplish daily. A weekly, monthly and yearly plan are important, but getting into the habit of breaking each day into the steps necessary to reach our goals reminds us of what is most important. It also keeps us accountable to ourselves and makes sure that we allocate each 24-hour period in the most efficient manner. Articulating our goals in written form also allows us to appreciate milestones along the way to achieving the big picture. This is necessary to inspire future actions that will result in the success we crave.



  • Learn how to manage your time



Managing time efficiently is required in addition to making lists. Each day only has 24 hours, so we need to make the most of every moment to get the best results from our precious time. Adopting a habit of proper time management is essential at leveraging each moment.


Implementing good time management makes anything possible, but it requires conscious effort and consistency.



  • Make decisions and stick to them



Be decisive not impulsive if you want to reach your goals. Carefully weighing the advantages and disadvantages of our actions and possible changes allow us to make the most of every opportunity.


Also, take the time to consider things that didn’t go as planned turns our mistakes into learning experiences that will guide us to better decisions in the future.



  • Stick to your goals



Stay committed to your goals and be willing to make the sacrifices necessary to achieve them. The only way to find success is through hard work and staying on track. Many people get easily distracted and give up. Winners know that commitment is the key to success.



  • Budget your money



Budgeting and tracking expenses are key to getting the most of our financial resources so that we have enough money to achieve our goals. Sound financial habits keep us aware of how we are allocating our resources and makes us aware of what we need to do to be able to afford the things we need for success. If done properly, good financial management should result in savings for the future or more money to invest allowing us to do more down the road.useful habits



  • Exercise



Exercise regularly for a better mind and body. This will give you energy, help you sleep better and make you healthier and happier. Too much mental activity is not good.  We also need physical activity to keep us balanced and energetic. Having the best home gym is a step in the right direction as it will remind us of the importance of daily exercise to help us find the success we each deserve.



  • Be positive!



Stay positive to help yourself to overcome challenges. Negativity only drains our energy and thus winners must constantly practice positive self-talk to stay motivated and on track. So don’t get discouraged by small setbacks. Keep reminding yourself of the big picture and the small successes each day and soon these will add up to a winning year!



  • Sleep



Get Enough Sleep to keep your body and mind performing at their best. A regular eight-hour sleep cycle will allow us to process new ideas, focus better during the day and improve our memory and mental capacity. Not getting enough sleep will ensure that we are not at our best and may lead to other problems such as illnesses, depression or accidents which will get in the way of achieving our goals.
In order to achieve success, we all need a plan. This must include healthy habits and good practices. I hope these 10 tips have given you fresh ideas to jumpstart your journey to a better life. We are each the architect of our own destiny. Anything is possible if we imagine it and take the right steps to see it through.


Guest post by Evelyn Kail

If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time you know I’ve been working on de-cluttering our home in preparation for an eventual move. Even if you aren’t preparing for a move spring is a great time to do some spring-cleaning. Do you have clothes cluttering up your closet? Clothes that you’re just hanging on to because of a memory associated with them? Or perhaps it’s a favorite pair of jeans that used to fit and almost fits now but you haven’t worn them for ages. I have numerous things in my closet that I haven’t worn in some time for various reasons. For example a sweater that my mom knit more than 50 years ago! That is so hard for me to throw out but I haven’t worn it in years. Maybe it’s time to donate?


I’ve read about tips like putting your clothes on hangers and then hanging the hangers backwards in your closet. After a year throw out all the clothes that you haven’t touched and the hangers are still backwards! Great idea but I’ve never done it.


Recently a company called Tommy John created this amazing graphic to help you purge your closet of unwanted clothes. Tommy John is a men’s underwear company, but the graphic works equally as well for a woman! If I follow these simple steps I will definitely have fewer clothes hanging in my closet! I love the fact that I can answer a few simple yes and no questions and have a cleaner closet! I definitely hold on to too many clothes.spring cleaning


How is your closet? Do you regularly clean it out and get rid of or donate clothes you don’t wear? I’m not encouraging you to go spend more, but to take the steps to have a manageable wardrobe.






spring cleaning

By the way if you want to save 20% on your first order here is the promo code for my readers: TJ20Spring.

Most of us try to make good use of our money. We try not to over spend, limit our debt and have a saving account. But everyone has to eat. You can’t just cut food out of your budget like you can a cable bill. The issue is how to eat well while saving some money. In other words the question is how to be thrifty in the kitchen?trifty-kitchen


All the advice out there usually boils down to a few essential principles: cook at home, limit your purchases of pre-made convenience foods, and avoid wasting the food you bring home. Yes, there is some comparison shopping involved and yes, there is meal-planning.


No matter the size of your budget or family, you’ll see the difference in your bank account, and possibly your waistline too, if you stick to a home-cooking regimen. Whether you’re just starting to make your lunch or you’re ready to pickle the cucumbers you grew in your backyard garden, you’ll find plenty of culinary inspiration, as well as guidance on how to maximize your thrift in shopping for and preparing your food.thrifty


To get started on your thrift journey save everything. Pack your freezer. Have a bag for vegetable scraps. When it’s full make your own stock. Use the stock to add flavor to sauces, stews and to make soup.thrifty


Leftover that can’t be frozen can be used in other ways. Fry extra potatoes for breakfast. Stir-fry leftover rice with veggies, egg and soy sauce for delicious stir fried rice.Stir and serve hot!


Savings also start with your purchases. Have a good supply of staples on hand so that you will always have some options for meals. Wash and prep your vegetables when you get home, then store correctly so they last and try to use them quickly. It’s also important to be creative with what you have. See what’s in the pantry and freezer. If you have a recipe you want to try, but don’t have exactly the right ingredients, improvise a bit rather than buying more stuff.


Start small and keep going. In no time you will be cooking meals from a well stocked pantry and saving money at the same time as you begin your journey to be thrifty in the kitchen.thrift

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