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  • Blog - Small Notebook
    Simplify Your Stuff Choose the Classics How I Broke a 30 Year Caffeine and Soda Addiction How an Ugly Couch Made My Marriage Better and we organized our undies too Too Many Spares Simplify Your Pairs It s been great to have you here to talk with because I really do believe that we re changing lives one laundry load at a time Without you this blog would be meaningless and to thank you for three good years I want to offer 6 copies of my ebook Simple Blogging I wrote Simple Blogging last year to answer the question I hear so often I love blogging but how do I manage the time that it takes It s a solution for the nights when you think you need to stay up til 2 a m and how to deal with guilt from all those unanswered emails With blogging I ve learned two critical lessons 1 not to place too much importance on what other people say about me whether it be praise or criticism and 2 blogging can take a ton of time if you let it Everything I ve learned so far about how to write a helpful relevant blog in a minimum amount of free time is included in the 17 chapters of Simple Blogging It also features advice from the smart women who are behind these well known blogs Nesting Place The Happiness Project Simple Mom Inspired to Action Owlhaven Made by Rae and Life Your Way You can even read the first chapter for free This blog is brought to you by an old Italian wall socket an adapter to change the small Italian pins to the slightly bigger European size an adapter to switch the European pins to a North American outlet a MacBook power adapter and one yellow flowery couch A huge thanks to you for being here If you would like to win one of the six free copies of Simple Blogging just write a comment on this post before Monday March 7 at 11 00 p m CST Congratulations to Cate Rana Jackie Julianna Heidi and Sheri for winning a copy of Simple Blogging and thanks to all of you who commented on this post with such encouragement I appreciate you so much 399 Comments 10 Ways to Simplify Without Becoming a Minimalist You know how it can feel scary to take the filter off and write whatever is on your heart That was how I felt last week and I was floored by your enthusiastic response Thanks for letting me take a few days to collect my thoughts here again Now we have our rally cry We don t want to be consumed by our stuff We re motivated to reduce and purge and toss Yes a good makeover is what we need but then reality starts to settle in 1 Maybe there is no time for a proper clean out Getting rid of things surely takes time 2 Or maybe

    Original URL path: http://smallnotebook.org/blog/page/55/ (2016-02-10)
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  • Blog - Small Notebook
    by anything less 142 Comments Good Reads the Reigning Monarchy Italian grandmothers are the reigning monarchy here Do you want to know where to buy quality food Watch the old ladies and learn where they shop They are all short and dressed in long coats They talk to me at the bus stops about my children but I don t know what they are saying Non capisco l italiano I don t understand Italian I say No matter they keep talking to me in Italian anyway probably about how beautiful my children are and why did I take them out in this weather My new habit is to listen to an Italian lesson every night after the children are in bed while I wash the dishes Buon giorno I practice over and over trying to roll the r s I just can t do all the swooping hand gestures when I m elbow deep in soapy water Yesterday I took the kids to a playgroup and introduced myself to another expat mom Have we met before she asked I don t think so I ve just been here a week Do you write online I read your blog she said Isn t that wild Suggested reading from around the internet for your weekend and boy have I been holding out on you I have many good bookmarks Fighting the Tyranny of the Urgent at Home Simple Mom Enjoy Things As They Are Remodeling This Life Sometimes Lame Is Better Than Best Inspired to Action You Don t Need an Extra Hour a Day Simplify 101 I m honored to be a regular writer at Alpha Mom and I ve shared these articles at Alpha Mom this month Becoming a Gluten Free Family Making Time for Marriage Too Build a Felt Cupcake this little craft has garnered significant play time What are you up to this weekend 29 Comments A Half Dozen Kitchen Tips I have a short list of kitchen tips that have been really helpful to me lately You probably know them already but since I learned them not too long ago I m going to share them with you here Also see how pretty and orange those egg yolks are I can t believe the difference in things that I appreciate now that I m a grown up Onward to the list 1 The best time to clean out your fridge is before you go shopping for groceries Obvious yes I know so I don t know why I didn t do this before 2 To keep celery fresh trim it and put it in a container full of water in the fridge It will last a long time while it s covered with water 3 If you make chicken stock it s easy here is how I do it keep the onion peel on the onion to lend a richer more appetizing color to the stock 4 You know not to wash your cast iron skillet with

    Original URL path: http://smallnotebook.org/blog/page/56/ (2016-02-10)
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  • Blog - Small Notebook
    I like best is how taking daily photos makes you focus on everyday life Before digital cameras most of my photos were only of special events and so I don t easily remember what happened from one month to the next I guess that s why many of us started blogging Trying to capture those details before they re forgotten If you have a ton of digital photos like I do I ve written before about how to organize digital photos so you can enjoy looking at them on your computer without having to scrapbook them Just a warning it does involve using the delete key Just for fun what were you doing this time last year 19 Comments Small Space Solutions Look Up for New Storage Opportunities The space close to the ceiling is prime for storage It s out of your way and out of your line of sight perfect for things you want to keep but don t use very often We add a top shelf in almost every closet In the kitchen we store bulky items on top of the kitchen cabinets The space wasn t being used for anything else The apartment beige paint above the cabinets looked rather dismal so we covered it with a roll of matte gift wrap from Paper Source to add a shot of cheerful color Take a look around your home and especially look up Where might you discover some new storage spaces 12 Comments Family Interviews for Fun I thought it would fun to sit down and do a little interview with Lane The questions started with a few favorites movie food drink color clothes and place to go Lane s favorite food Snack Love it I also asked What do you like to play What do you

    Original URL path: http://smallnotebook.org/blog/page/146/ (2016-02-10)
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  • Blog - Small Notebook
    a local charity or Goodwill We keep track of the tax deductions which we ve estimated to be worth the same if not more than what we could receive at a garage sale I m not enthusiastic about garage sales If I price something for a quarter and then someone offers me a nickel it makes me wonder why I m sitting out there all day long Other people seem to be garage sale pros and it is worth their time to have one each year Ebay can be good but sometimes it seems more suited for someone who wants a side business instead of selling just an item or two What I ve found Ebay to be really useful for is determining a fair price You can see the actual amount of cash that other people were willing to pay Search for something on Ebay and then click the check box on the side to show Completed Listings It shows recent final sale amounts for that item I ve had good results from using Craigslist especially since the things we ve sold recently have maintained their value Brenda wasn t sold though she was given away for free What about you Do you have better success with Ebay or yard sales Have you sold anything good lately 39 Comments The Most Important Rule for an Organized Clothes Closet Baskets are nice Specialty organizing systems are impressive You can sort clothes by color You can arrange them by category No matter what technique you use for your clothes closet one rule remains the most important Don t crowd your clothes However organized your closet may be if your clothes are jammed in there it won t seem organized at all It will make you want to shut the closet door

    Original URL path: http://smallnotebook.org/blog/page/145/ (2016-02-10)
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  • Blog - Small Notebook
    before we came here which was immensely helpful Our kids are not school age yet which helps to make things simpler For good position We are debt free with savings additional savings than what we set aside for a house and retirement Because we have lived in rented apartments we don t own a lot of furniture and stuff Since we paid cash for both cars we don t have a car payment We sold one car that we had racked up the miles on and stored the other We don t have pets to take care of We have some income apart from full time employment To take care of the first questions that came to mind here is how we managed to find an apartment arranged for passports and looked into visas and obtained health insurance 1 Renting an apartment overseas We searched for furnished rentals on sites like Craigslist Home Away VRBO IHA and Sabbatical Homes Though the listed rates for weekly rentals are usually high we contacted owners directly and asked what their discounted rates would be for a long term stay Since we are making this trip during the spring instead of the summer prices are less and there are more choices We didn t need to move any household goods so we transferred our stuff to a storage unit 2 Passports and visas We needed our passports renewed and new ones for the kids Visas are complicated and I spent an entire day just learning about the process With our US passports we could travel in Italy and any other country in the Schengen agreement for up to 90 days without a visa but we would need one for a longer trip Because of Doug s new job offer we decided to limit our trip to 89 days and avoid visas 3 Health insurance After our employer group health coverage ended I bought short term health insurance for while we lived in the states and international health insurance for our time overseas Both are coverage for accidents and illness They have deductibles exclusions and no preventive care so they cost less than the full coverage we had before Before our full coverage ended I made sure to catch us up on doctor appointments and I got new glasses That s good advice for anyone who is going on a long term trip or not stay current on your health care don t assume you will always have your good health insurance available Tying up loose ends took much more time than I expected I dealt with a lot of paperwork We also spent a lot of time shopping before the trip buying things like shoes for the kids and other things we anticipated needing in the following months while we had the selection I wanted and the currency exchange rate was in our favor Over the next few months I m looking forward to enjoying the fruits of the work that we did in

    Original URL path: http://smallnotebook.org/blog/page/57/ (2016-02-10)
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  • Blog - Small Notebook
    family will serve it over brown rice Simple French Lentil Soup with Bacon is one of thirty wholesome recipes from the cookbook Simple Food for winter affiliate link All the recipes in the book are designed to be simple using a short ingredient list of seasonal foods that you can prepare with just a knife a cutting board and a good pan Also the recipes in this cookbook are grain free so you won t find thirty variations of pasta here I thought it was really good and it covered skills about how to eat seasonally in winter so be sure to check it out What are you eating this winter 36 Comments One Way to a More Effective Day Today I want to share a productivity tip but it never works for me the way it s supposed to The tip is to track how you spend your time throughout the day by writing down what you re doing every fifteen or thirty minutes The idea is that you ll find what you re really spending your time on and identify your time wasters I never do that Any time that I try to keep track of my day I have these amazingly productive days If I have to write everything down then I make a concerted effort to spend my time wisely doing good things I don t want to write down things like Spent an hour shopping for fabric on Etsy and water colors even though I know I ve got plenty of craft supplies waiting for projects I haven t done yet so I why am I adding more ideas to the list or Spent thirty minutes thinking about my hair and wondering if I should get it cut or Spent fifteen minutes standing in the kitchen looking for a snack because I was too lazy to do something about it and cook something No I d really rather not write things like that So on the days that I keep track of my time then I don t waste any of it If computer time is something you lose track of a reader tipped me off to MinutesPlease com It helps you not to stay on a website for longer than you intend And what s the picture of the ice cream about I just thought it looked better than a picture of a time chart or something Question since we re using time effectively what is your favorite way to spend a fifteen minute break Sidenote Last week I wrote about how Dropbox can work as an online storage backup and just a few days later I took both of our MacBooks to the Apple Store for repair As I signed the dotted line to acknowledge the risk of losing our data I felt kind of great What good timing to have everything backed up 57 Comments Dropbox My Online File Cabinet I ve been thinking a lot about how I keep files and

    Original URL path: http://smallnotebook.org/blog/page/58/ (2016-02-10)
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  • Blog - Small Notebook
    Life Let s Be Real from This is My Life Enjoy your weekend and get some rest too Let some things be good enough 24 Comments Simple Home Improvement Projects Anyone Can Do Photo by Ella s Dad We ve been apartment hunting for the last several weeks and some places definitely look better than others We saw one recently I wasn t too thrilled about I told Doug I thought it looked crummy but then he reminded me it s exactly how our current apartment looked when we first moved in Details do matter but they can be easy to fix Here are a few quick projects that can make a big difference in your home Scrape windows and mirrors Use a flat razor blade to scrape off paint over spray or other stuff stuck to the glass Then wipe it clean with glass cleaner Caulk the baseboards A gap between the wall and the baseboard draws your eye down and makes you notice scuffs and dust New caulk makes a home look clean and sealed Learn how to caulk if you haven t tried it Wash the front door In just five minutes you can wipe the dust off your front door with a wet rag so your home will be welcoming when people arrive Remove funky carpet odors Sprinkle baking soda over your carpet and use a broom to sweep it in Let it sit overnight to absorb lingering odors and then vacuum it up the next day Clean gunk from light switches Nobody wants to touch a light switch that has dark buildup on it Use a cotton ball with cleaner or rubbing alcohol to keep it looking good If you need to replace them they are really cheap Brush off buildup from crusty faucets Get an old toothbrush to clean around the edges of sink faucets Touch up the paint Every few months we go around and paint over the scuffs and toddler wall art We got a small container of matching paint by asking the apartment office What other project ideas are simple and effective 26 Comments Sounds of a Peaceful Home Photo by shaycam Do you want a peaceful home What does your home sound like Set the Tone We all know music can create a mood Energetic music can keep us going for exercise or housecleaning Soft music can be nice for relaxing Just like music your tone of voice sets the mood in your home Be very careful about how you speak to your family They deserve the same cheerfulness you give to others so greet your family with a smile Peace Quiet Make quiet moments when you can Noise has the same effect on your body as stress It makes your body produce stress hormones and it raises your blood pressure Be sure to turn off the television and music for a while so you can take a break What Do Your Children Listen To Photo by shankar shiv Little

    Original URL path: http://smallnotebook.org/blog/page/144/ (2016-02-10)
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  • Blog - Small Notebook
    grains like quinoa millet and amaranth We have almond milk rice milk and hemp milk I had never heard of most of these before two years ago When I hear about other people feeling overwhelmed trying to start over and learn how to cook with entirely new methods and missing old comfort food I can relate My cooking now resembles experiments with more failures than success I don t use any of my old recipes I could never have managed without people sharing their knowledge and experience online It s how I figured out Doug s milk intolerance was due to casein and he didn t need the acid reflux medicine the doctor had prescribed It s how I first realized that Lane had a gluten intolerance and she wasn t just small like her doctor thought Even though I m reluctant to make more changes I m cheered that all of the changes are so much healthier Food is personal and tied to so many past memories and feelings I take it in little steps My strategy is to choose food with as few messed with ingredients on the label as possible No one ever says you know I really think it would help you to eat more processed foods A few more personal stories about changing food habits My Journey To Nourishing Food from Nourishing Days Panel How Did You Get Started from The Nourishing Gourmet Have you changed any eating habits recently 43 Comments Why I Love You Valentine A valentine idea for your sweetie The reasons you love them handwritten on a heart shaped card 30 Comments Apartment Adventures When we found out we were expecting our first baby we decided to stay in our one bedroom apartment instead of moving somewhere bigger When we found out we were expecting our second baby it was definitely time to move We still want to live in an apartment because the prices in this city make buying a house not worth it to us We thought briefly about buying a house in the suburbs but they are all so big and we didn t want to have a bunch of new furnishings for the extra space We like living in a small place together We looked for apartments and we found one It was glamorous A high rise building with lots of glass and architectural interest and tons of restaurants and shops surrounding it It would have been perfect if it was about four years ago It was on the top side of our budget but Doug negotiated a third off the rent for a two year commitment Everything seemed to be falling into place It would have been perfect if it was about four years ago We realized later that it wasn t the right place for a toddler and a new baby We wouldn t be able to go out to the restaurants for late suppers Trips to the park would require a long walk down

    Original URL path: http://smallnotebook.org/blog/page/143/ (2016-02-10)
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