Tag Archives: simplicity

The life [simplified] letter

Today, I’m launching a letter series to folks who subscribe. You can subscribe here. I plan to publish the letter more or less on a weekly basis. The letter comes straight to your email inbox. I muse on the changes in my lifestyle since I started down the road to 9-5er recovery. I’ll share with you the ups and downs. My goal is to entertain, inspire, and educate.

If you do subscribe (and a big thank you to you!) I’d love to hear back from you about questions or topics you would like me to write about. Send me an email at Catherine@cvmccann.com.

Cheers, Catherine
Thanks for reading! If you found this information useful, informative or even entertaining, please share. I really appreciate it! Location:Edmonton, AB


cards and gifts you receive

Today is Boxing Day, the traditional post holiday “shop ’til you drop” day for bargains. It’s an opportunity to buy everything that you didn’t get for Christmas. I’m not fond of shopping and to add crowds of bargain hunters into the mix just makes me tired thinking about it. I don’t need “a bargain” that badly.

Here is a different idea. Why don’t you skip the malls and take a few minutes today to write down the names of those who sent you Christmas cards and gifts this year? Gather up all the cards and gift tags. Write down the names on a list in your note book or on your computer along with what you received. Now you have a list you can use for thank you cards and for next year’s Christmas card list or email card list.

If you are really keen, you can also update addresses in your contacts software or address book as needed. I find the easiest way to keep track of those new addresses is to to copy them off the return address on the envelop or print them on the back of the card until you are ready to put them into your contacts system. You can also update your own Christmas card labels or list for next year including your email addresses for your email holiday card list. If you update the list now, it means there is one less thing to do next year.

The last step is to recycle the cards and gift tags by putting them in the recyle bin. Another option is to save the covers of some of the pretty, cute or special cards for use as gift labels next year if you give gifts. As I have mentioned before, I prefer to give donations, experiences and consumables instead of things.

I do have one other idea. Instead of hitting the shopping malls today, perhaps you can give thanks for everything you already have. As I look at the many gifts and privileges I have, I am truly grateful.

Cheers, Catherine, Location:Edmonton, AB

Thanks for reading! If you found this information useful, informative or even entertaining, please share. I really appreciate it!

simple holiday baking

Christmas Eve has arrived here and the weather is unseasonably warm for December. I’m spending a quiet morning reading and as you can see, writing.

Last night I pulled out some baking from the freezer to enjoy over the next few days. I remember how my mom would prepare weeks in advance. She made cookies, pies, candies, and several varieties of squares – actually you name it and she would have made it for Christmas. It was all so enjoyable to eat, but an awful lot of work for mom.

I also bake for Christmas, and other occasions, but my approach is different. I keep it simple. I choose to make one or two items only.

For example, I make pie crust in advance and freeze it so I can make tarts and pies when I want. I also make the pie filling in advance. I have found fillings that freeze well and can be ready when I need them.

This fall, I had apples given to me from a friend’s tree. With one or two days effort, while working in batches, I peeled and cooked up the apples making either apple sauce or pie filling. I’m then rewarded with a freezer full of goodies I can use for baking.

One of my favourite cookies is shortbread.  Scottish shortbread speaks to my Scottish heart. I’m actually one fifth Scottish but I tend to claim whatever ancestry suits me at the time. 🙂

There are several variations of shortbread you can make including rolled shortbread or shortbread placed into a decorative shortbread pan. You can put chopped candied fruit into the dough or put a candied cherry on top of the cookies. Whipped shortbread can also be piped onto cookie sheets using a cookie press if you like.

However, I really do keep it simple. I make a batch of the whipped short bread recipe and just drop the cookie dough with a teaspoon onto cookie sheets and bake. It is easy and delicious.

If you are interested here is my grandmother’s recipe I use. By the way, I’m sure my grandmother did not use a food processor, but I do…

Whipped Shortbread
Makes about 4 dozen cookies

1 lb butter, softened
1½ cup icing sugar
4 cups all purpose flour

Using a food processor, cream together the butter and icing sugar until smooth. Add the flour a cup at a time and pulse until mixed. The dough will get more firm as you add the additional flour. Mix well.

Drop with a teaspoon onto a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit in a preheated oven for about 20 minutes. Watch them carefully so they don’t brown too much.

Cool to cookies on wire racks and then enjoy!

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Cheers, Catherine, Location:Edmonton, AB


Thanks for reading! If you found this information useful, informative or even entertaining, please share. I really appreciate it!

addicted to organizing?

I’m a big fan of organizing. Although my approach now is different than it used to be, I still enjoy the idea of “everything with a place, and everything in its place.”

There is also a certain attraction to the tools of the trade. I love all the different containers and means of sorting things. There seems to be a container for everything. So when did this need to have stuff and then to ensure it is all organized come from?
Continue reading

uncluttering my iPad

Heavens,  you know you are in a new era when you need to unclutter the latest technology. The other day, I went through the headache of updating my OS for all my mobile Apple technology. It was painful. Apparently, I was too keen to do the updates as I had nothing put trouble doing the conversion. Apple’s servers were overloaded which caused problems for users. But I’m stubborn so I kept at it until I managed to get everything updated. Continue reading

my little experiment – follow up

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I was trying a little experiment. The idea was to try to live my life without any goals or any tasks preplanned in advance. Each day I would wake up and just follow my instincts about what needed to be done that day. I got the idea from Leo over at Zen Habits. Continue reading

my little experiment with no goals

This week I’ve been experimenting with a concept. I’ve been trying to get along in my day with no task list or any goals. Now, for a women who has been the queen of lists all her life, this is a big step. Continue reading