Category Archives: home

The life [simplified] letter: Clothes Shopping

The latest edition of the life [simplified] letter: Clothes Shopping published on November 1, 2012 is now available. Enjoy!

The life [simplified] letter is written for my email subscribers. The email letter is my weekly musings on lifestyle design focusing on simplicity and ease where I share my successes and my tribulations. Email subscribers get each edition of the letter four days prior to it being posted here.

Every once in a while, I send little goodies that are only available through the email letter.

If you would like to get your own copy of the letter delivered right to your inbox, please subscribe. It’s free!

Cheers, Catherine   Location: Edmonton, AB, Canada

The life [simplified] letter: The Power of One

The latest edition of the life [simplified] letter: The Power of One published on September 27, 2012 is now available. Enjoy!

The life [simplified] letter is written for my email subscribers. The email letter is my weekly musings on lifestyle design focusing on simplicity and ease where I share my successes and my tribulations. Email subscribers get each edition of the letter four days prior to it being posted here.

Every once in a while, I send little goodies that are only available through the email letter.

If you would like to get your own copy of the letter delivered right to your inbox, please subscribe. It’s free!

Cheers, Catherine   Location: Edmonton, AB, Canada

The life [simplified] letter: The High Price of Stuff

The latest edition of the life [simplified] letter: The High Price of Stuff published on September 20, 2012 is now available. Enjoy!

The life [simplified] letter is written for my email subscribers. The email letter is my weekly musings on lifestyle design focusing on simplicity and ease where I share my successes and my tribulations. Email subscribers get each edition of the letter four days prior to it being posted here.

Every once in a while, I send little goodies that are only available through the email letter.

If you would like to get your own copy of the letter delivered right to your inbox, please subscribe. It’s free!

Cheers, Catherine   Location: Edmonton, AB, Canada

The life [simplified] letter: Spring Cleaning in the Fall

The latest edition of the life [simplified] letter: Spring Cleaning in the Fall published on September 13, 2102 is now available. Enjoy!

The life [simplified] letter is written for my email subscribers. The email letter is my weekly musings on lifestyle design focusing on simplicity and ease where I share my successes and my tribulations. Email subscribers get each edition of the letter four days prior to it being posted here.

Every once in a while, I send little goodies that are only available through the email letter.

If you would like to get your own copy of the letter delivered right to your inbox, please subscribe. It’s free!

Cheers, Catherine   Location: Edmonton, AB, Canada

life [simplified] letter – Unloading the Purse

This week I discuss simplifying the catch all purse.

If you are not a subscriber, I’d encourage you to subscribe and get your own letter delivered right to your inbox each week. You really can’t go wrong. It’s free.

Have a great week!

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

The life [simplified] letter: The Book Collection

The latest edition of the life [simplified] letter: The Book Collection published on August 9, 2012 is now available. Enjoy!

The life [simplified] letter is written for my email subscribers. The email letter is my weekly musings on lifestyle design focusing on simplicity and ease where I share my successes and my tribulations. Email subscribers get each edition of the letter four days prior to it being posted here.

Every once in a while, I send little goodies that are only available through the email letter.

If you would like to get your own copy of the letter delivered right to your inbox, please subscribe. It’s free!

Cheers, Catherine   Location: Edmonton, AB, Canada

Clutter Busting

Since quitting my job, I’ve been tackling projects around my house that never seemed to get done when I worked full time. My intention is to reduce the amount of clutter I have around my house to create a fresh perspective. I also want to simplify my surroundings. I use the following approach.

  • I select just one small area. For example I might start on one cupboard that is full of clutter.
  • I remove everything from inside.
  • I wipe the inside and outside the cupboard to ensure it is clean.
  • I take a moment to decide the purpose of this storage space. This step is important as it will determine what I put back into it. To avoid the problem of labeling the area “a catch all” where items go to get lost, I try to be as specific as I can. For example, I may decide the cupboard will be used to organize storage containers.
  • I sort through the contents that I removed from the cupboard. I return the things that will be stored in there. I ensure that I only return one of each item or only one set of each item. Why only one of each thing? It makes it easier to find an item. Besides I can only use one item at a time. It also makes me more conscientious about looking after what I have. If I only have one, I’ll make sure I put the item back where I found it.
  • Usually, I have a number of left over items that will not go back into the cupboard. I sort through those items and decide their fate. I create a pile to keep, a pile to sell, if the item could be worth some money, and a pile for donation.
  • If I am keeping items, I find a new home for them.
  • If I plan to sell an item, I will try to sell them on eBay, Craigslist, or Kijiji depending on the item.
  • The donation pile gets put into a box labelled for donation. Our city has a wonderful Reuse Centre that takes a large number of items. I will also donate to the Canadian Diabetes Association which will come a pick up used clothes and household items from the house.

After I finish one area, if I feel like it and have time, I move onto the next area to clutter bust. I always feel a sense of accomplishment when I’m finished.

Question: How do you tackle clutter around your home?

Cheers, Catherine, Location: Edmonton, AB

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

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

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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

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

Gifts: Consumables versus Things

A few days ago, I published a post on holiday stress. I suggested that perhaps a truce on gift giving could be called as a way to manage stress around the holidays.

I know that some people still like to give gifts. Yesterday, I suggested that an alternative to giving gifts is making donations in the name of family and friends.

Another alternative gift idea is to give gifts that are meant to be consumed. Some examples could be wine (homemade wine is special), chocolate, homemade cookies or baking, or food gift baskets. Some years I have made up a variety of baking and homemade candies (Almond Roca anyone?) in reusable containers for my friends and family. Sometimes I will include index cards with the recipe for some of my friends who like to bake.

Question: What is your thought on providing consumable gifts in lieu of things during the holidays?

Cheers, Catherine, Location:Edmonton, AB

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