Butternut Squash (veggie) soup

This feel good soup was made to make my family feel better, because we all have a cold. Again!! For the second time in a month.

You wanted it, here it is!!!

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a pot

Pick a pot that will hold a good size soup

Cut 1 onion into 1 inch pieces and stir into the melted butter.

While that cooks, mince up 4 to 5 garlic cloves. You can add more if you wish. Add to the onion and stir. Stir often so the onion and garlic do not burn. I added about 1.5 inches of ginger (fresh) but found it quite strong. So I would add about 1 inch of fresh ginger cut into small pieces, optional.

While those cook on medium heat, Cut 3-4 carrots into 1 inch chunks and add to pot. Stir.

Cut 3 to 4 potatoes (I use white or russet) into 1 inch chucks and add to the pot. Stir.

Wash and cut 2 to 3 celery stalks. Add to the pot and stir.

Peel and chop butternut squash into 1 inch pieces. Add to pot and stir.

You can add all the vegetables at once if you want to prepare them ahead, but I peel and cut and add to the pot as I go.

Once some of the earlier vegetables are almost tender, add enough water to cover all the vegetables. Add 2 vegetable or chicken bouillon cubes.

I added 2 teaspoons of salt, a teaspoon of thyme and a teaspoon of oregano.

Allow to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until all vegetables are tender. This soup goes in the blender so it doesn’t matter if they’re overly tender and start to fall apart.

For this particular recipe I added kale after my soup was cooked. I removed the spine from the kale and chopped it up into bite-size pieces and added it into the soup while it was cooling to wait for the blender.

Once the soup is cooled enough for the blender, blend and reheat if necessary.


10 Things You Can Do to Get More Organized

If you’ve been doing all the things and still struggling to find yourself organized, here is a list of 10 things I’ve compiled to help you begin to get more organized this time around.

Decide there is no other option!  Decide that getting organized takes priority over mundane things like binge watching TV, sleeping too long and other distractions.  They are keeping you from your goals.  At the end of your day, which one decreases your stress?  Sure, binge watching numbs you but getting organized has lasting benefits that will help so you don’t need to distract from the day’s chaos.  Then you can just do it for fun once everything is organized!

Find everything a home!  Sorting, putting things that are alike together and finding a home for them, educating your family WHERE everything is, will help you find things and give everything a place to go.  Tidying up is easier this way.  It may require buying a hook here, a bin there or maybe even a cabinet, but it will help immensely.  Things that you use seasonally or for holidays can be stored out of sight in the garage, basement or storage room.

Photo Credit: Where It Belongs

Make lists!  Seeing a manageable list of things to do each day is very motivating.  THEN reward yourself with that glass of wine, call to a friend or family, or NETFLIX show!  But get your chore done first.  The same way you would teach your kids about responsibility before fun!

Schedule time in!  You’ve heard the saying, what gets scheduled gets done!  It’s true.  Commit a bit of time each day, or a larger chunk of time once a week to get some stuff done that will be good for your mental health.  You take time to go to massages and get your hair done.  This is no different.  It feels good when complete…and it’s good for self-care, with longer lasting effects than a massage!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Delegate!   If your children are old enough to fold their own pile of laundry, get them to do it, imperfect as it is, you are teaching them and delegating so you have less to do!  Maybe it’s that you hire someone to do some of the things that are your least favorite.  Asking a friend to help you while enjoying their company maybe how you can accomplish your goal.  Use the strengths and time of others. The investment in hiring someone to clean, organize or even do your laundry will benefit you in the time and peace categories of your life and are priceless.

Purchase less!  If stuff is your stressor, why add to it!?  We have quickly realized how little stuff we NEED, let me stress, NEED, during this pandemic.   So, buy the necessities, stay away from sale items of things you don’t NEED, and save yourself some money and some stress at the same time.  Less stuff = less tidying up = less stress!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Establish habits that support you! When you take something out, put it back.  When you drop something, pick it up.  Getting into the discipline of doing small things constantly towards your goal, it will be easier.  Habits are formed by making choices repeatedly.  It’s amazing how a room just feels less cluttered having everything off the floor and things put in a place.

Declutter! Eliminate the unused things that are taking up physical and mental space .  It’s easier to stay organized if you only have things you need around your house.  If you pass over things often to get to your used items or favorite items, that is an indication to you that could part with some things.  If you don’t read the newspaper, ask that it isn’t delivered anymore.  If your email is overflowing and is just another to do list that stresses you out, unsubscribe from as many emails as possible. 

Use space efficiently. Look for spaces in your home that are void like using walls and ceiling spaces for the basement areas to store items.  Instead of using all the floor space in a storage room or bedroom for example, see how you can build up a system so you are using more vertical space for storage.  This will give a less cluttered look and make the space more functional. 

Prioritize!!  What is most important to you!?  Your mental health or all the stuff?!  Your peace and serenity or all the stuff?!  A place to relax or all the stuff?!   Sometimes you cannot have the best of both worlds.  Our homes should be the escape from the stress, not the cause of it!!

To stay up to date on all of the tips, ideas and inspiration I share, head over to Instagram or Facebook.

You won’t want to miss the videos, LIVE Q&A sessions and maybe you can be a guest as I to do some spontaneous coaching on how you can declutter your home, life and mind.

To Be Different You Must Do Different

I am literally writing this as I’m walking at 7 AM.  I usually sleep as late as I can, trying to gather all the zzzzzzs.  What made today different?  Why did I set my alarm to get up “early”?  I just went through another bout of mental downness.  It’s very apparent to me that if I want to FEEL different and BE different, I have to DO differently.

Early Morning Walk Photo Credit: Stephanie Cordova

I love early mornings because it signals to me a new day, a new opportunity, a new chance. Our chances are never over and sometimes when I’m feeling down I forget that.  Every day we wake up, every minute that we even contemplate change, that is an opportunity for that change.

While I walk, the word inactivity jumps into my head.  (I love this time to reflect and clear my thoughts, focus on my intentions for the day, and apparently, create blog material).

Inactivity is the seed of mental anguish. Inactivity is the seed of inadequacy and comparability. I know this firsthand.  When I am feeling down it’s usually because I’ve stopped actively pursuing my business, serving my audience, providing great value and content.  And that inactivity is an unsure, unsafe place to live.  It’s a vicious cycle that feeds into mental health.

Take a moment and imagine your greatest dreams, or even a step up from where you are.  Is your house organized?  Do you enjoy time with your children and family?  Are you creative with your hands?  Do you enjoy simple things in life without the stress?  Is your laundry all done on laundry day?

To live differently than you are now, to affect the change into your life that you want for yourself (that dream you just created), here are some steps to making some changes and taking ACTION towards that different life!

  1.  Decide!  Making the decision that being where you are now is not where you want to be.  That is the first step and that decision signals the brain for everything else to follow.
  2. Change something about your routine!  For me it was setting the alarm this morning and starting my day with a walk, then my coffee, then to write this blog.  I’m not surfing Facebook on my phone or scrolling through my emails.   I’m DOING something different in my routine.  I even went out a different door, partly to not wake my family, but mostly it was symbolic.  A different door, and a different routine.  I had to turn the key of the lock on my gate and that was even more symbolic.  Opening the door to new possibilities, saying YES to something different.
  3. Self-talk is everything!  Girl, I am talking to myself here, no pun intended.  We cannot say we don’t have time, or we are not capable.  Our self-talk becomes our reality!  What words can you discard from your vocabulary that are preventing the change you DESIRE!?
  4. Imperfect actions!  Any action is a great thing.  I heard a quote once, “Action creates clarity”.  So if you don’t know what you want or how to do it, just start by doing something, anything.  You’ll discover it is right on your path, or it’s time to tweak the direction by taking another, different action.
  5. Distraction is not moving the needle!  Surfing Facebook, binge watching TV, eating, anything you do that makes you say you don’t have time is not helping you.  Set time aside for those things, intentionally.  But don’t whisper you don’t have time, if you KNOW you have been wasting it on the things that don’t move the needle.  *raises her own hand
  6. Believe in YOU!  You can DO anything you want.   Do you want organization?  Do you want to build your own spice rack?  Just because you haven’t done it before doesn’t mean you cannot start.  Rid yourself of those beliefs that hold you back and TRY!  If you don’t get it, try again!
  7. Don’t make excuses for yourself!  Would you allow others to give you excuses when you ask them to do something?  Probably not, or you would roll your eyes at them.  So, same for yourself, hold yourself to a higher standard today, than you did yesterday.  Even if it’s just a little bit.

Be a little better today than you were YESTERDAY!

And tomorrow, do a little better than today!

Have you felt the desire for change?  What are you going to do today that is different than yesterday?

Struggling with Getting Organized?

Short and sweet today!

Struggling with organizing is very common but most of it is mental blocks.

Be honest with yourself about why you cannot get your head around organizing and prepared to work through some difficult feelings to get you through to the desired outcome.  This is why working with someone is important and beneficial, someone who is objective, non-emotional, non-judgemental and can help challenge you to see around your mental blocks.

If you are keeping things out of guilt but space, time and energy are more important to you, then remember that nobody knowingly wants you to feel guilty.  So if you are holding onto things from an elderly or deceased relative, remember that any guilt you feel from releasing those items are not from that relative.  They wouldn’t have given you something to have negative emotions, most gifts are from love.  So can you lovingly pass those items along to another family member who would love them, use them, or put them in the hands of a stranger (either through donation or selling them) that would make that stranger happy.  Imagine eliminating negative feelings in the world just by moving objects around to people who will love them.

Motivation may also be hard to muster when organizing.  I suggest printing a picture of the room like you want to organize and put it up in that space as a visual reminder of what your end goal is.  When you struggle to get started on organizing, look at the picture and remember baby steps will get you to the end goal of organized, while no steps will get you nowhere, except for your current state of stress and anxiety with your space.

So go tackle a small bit of a bigger project, think about what you are thinking as you do it, so you can accomplish the task and feel good and proud of yourself!


Tips for Organizing Photos and Memories


Full Disclosure: I may receive a commission from any purchases from affiliate links throughout this and all my posts.  While the cost of items is the same for you, the commission does help fund these blogs and ideas, keeping me caffeinated and happy!

I recently had a question about how to sort pictures when it’s an overwhelming amount or emotional to tackle.  The poster got a headache every time she started going through her pictures.

This method of sorting pictures I’m going to talk about today is when you have a bunch of photos loose in a box, or very little organization.

When organizing photos that are loose in a box, you’ll need some envelopes and a pencil to start.

Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

Start with sorting 10 photos at a time.  Celebrate that as a huge win.  Close up your picture box and be done for the day.

Overcoming the overwhelm mental block means accomplishing just a little bit at a time.  If you feel great about your results, determine to tackle a bit more the next day.  But it is important to bite off small chunks at first.   Then let the momentum of accomplishing more and more build until all your pictures are completed.

While you are sorting, keep the photos in labeled envelopes (sorted by event, person or story – up to you) until you know how many of each you have and what kind of system you want.  There are so many great photo saving systems out there.

When you start to open the box (and this goes for all organizing) and anxiety starts to kick in, ask yourself why?  Why is it overwhelming, why is it frustrating?

If it’s overwhelming because of the sheer volume of things to organizing or go through, then that has an easy solution, as I said, start with small portions.  So for pictures, bring the small quantity of pictures to the table or a different area of the house and go through them there, in a fresh clean environment.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels

If there is negative energy and bad memories in the photos, then get rid of those pictures or items.  Do not let negative energy steal your happiness…life is too short for that.  Living with guilt robs you of the present moment.   You never know, by letting go of the negative memories in the form of pictures, new and fabulous things may enter into your life.  I see it happen all the time.  Do not carry negative energy into the next day.

Sometimes I think society through Instagram and Facebook and Pinterest has given us this idea of what our organizing and home should look like.  For us to achieve the same look we admire on social media there’s so much pressure to be and have our homes a certain way.  Sometimes that is not realistic or not even something we really want deep down.   Release the need to follow the joneses for a happier and more fulfilling life.  If accomplishing that Pinterest look is natural and easy for you, then do that for you!   You do you and the rest is just noise.

Enjoy your photos and the process!  It’s nostalgic!

Do you have any favorite photograph organizers?

Party Loot Bags or Something Better?


*I swear – it’s something I do – so be forewarned.  If you don’t like the word sh*t, don’t read on.
**There may be affiliate links that I carefully selected (I don’t want you to buy a bunch of sh*t, as it goes against what I stand for in this blog).  I may be paid commission on any purchases you make through these links.  They help fund my time, energy and thoughts I put into this blog.

How can you have an amazing birthday without giving people more plastic sh*t to throw away and feel guilty about?  Read on!!!

Have you picked up your kids from a party and the loot bag was all the rage – for the drive home and then it was all over the floor of your minivan/SUV and stayed there until the next time you cleaned said vehicle?

Why are we wasting the world’s resources and polluting our beautiful air with manufacturing of disposable plastic crap that doesn’t make it 1 hour outside of the store?

Dollarama toys crap
Plastic crap polluting our Earth!

My daughter is turning 5 this week and I am in the process of deciding what is going to be the thank you gift for the friends – you know, that loot bag.

I try to give meaningful loot bags.  Last year, we gave the girls a gift card to a girly store (Claire’s) and the boys a small set of Lego – both equivalent to $5.  It seems like a lot but a bag full of sh*t kids won’t use that you spend $60-$100 on is a real waste, in my humble but opinionated opinion.

I’m undecided this year.  Until, a friend on Facebook was selling Booster Juice coupons for her son’s soccer team.  $5 gets each kid a regular size smoothie for a fraction of the price – or for them – FREE!!

Why I love this idea:

  • I’m supporting a local kid in his sport
  • I’m not giving another mom a pile of plastic sh*t to clean up, or the kid to clean up (because we know how much kids love to clean up)
  • Every kid loves a smoothie from Booster Juice
  • I don’t have to drive all over picking stuff up – just one stop for thank you cards, one stop for vouchers
  • My child can sign each card and put her personal touch on it

Sure it’s $5 a kid – but have you ever calculated how much you really spend on a loot bag?  I’m going to wager about $4-5 if you wanted to give something “good”.  $2.50-3 if it’s the stuff that goes in the garbage within an hour to 2.

My husband argued that kids love loot bags.  (I love a great discussion to disprove or dispute my point.  I’m influenceable if the story has weight.)  They love all the junk, he said – but do they, REALLY!?

I want to spread the message that stuff doesn’t make us happy.  Having a smoothie date with Mom or Dad, sister or Aunt – that is what life is about.  Memories, laughter and a good healthy smoothie.

Here are some other ideas for “loot bags” or birthday party “thank you”s:

  • Gift Card for $5 to a local toy shop, McDonald’s, Tim Horton’s (or equivalent) in a Thank you Card
  • A candy bouquet – most speciality candy stores will do up a candy themed “loot bag” and you set the price
  • Lego set – the small one that is about the $3-5 range or Lego blind bags (Lego never gets old and doesn’t lose it’s value)
  • Movie pass (a bit more costly but an option)
  • Clip on Ty Babies – great for backpacks, purses and hand-sized “lovies”
  • Book

Here are some ideas for seasonal loot bags:

  • Spring:
    • Packet of seeds inside a watering can
    • Bubbles
    • Chalk
  • Summer:
    • Ice Cream Coupons (McDonald’s, Dairy Queen etc)
    • Pass/Admission to a local outdoor pool or spray park
    • Coupon to a grocery store to get a box of ice creams
  • Autumn/Winter:
    • Cup with hot chocolate and mittens (personalize if you have time)
    • A cake mix to bake with a parent
    • A health bag (Sanitizer that clips on to a backpack with an individual tissue packet, and a lip balm)
    • Admission to an indoor pool, skating rink or indoor playground

There are lots of great ideas so you do not have to give sh*t to kids.  They don’t need more stuff – they need experiences, memories and quality.  They need to bake a cake with a parent, play a game – you get the idea.

Sure some of that stuff ^ is stuff – but it has meaning, I think.

Don’t let society tell you HOW to give!  Be you and set your own pace!

What can you add to this list?


How to Store Small Electrics (and their many attachments)

So many of our small electrics for the kitchen now come with so many attachments. In the following picture, I have a food processor and a Ninja Blender/Food Processor.  (It may seem redundant to have both but the Ninja does not slice or grate like my KitchenAid food processor.) I purchased both at Costco and if you all know Costco, everything comes bigger and better.

 Screen shot 2017-12-21 at 10.26.13 AM

The food processor and blender both come with 13 attachments plus the motor base.  I don’t have a lot of drawers to store them in so I went to a local store and purchased these deep, excellent containers, with handles, perfect for storing these sort of items.  Inside each container I have loosely put all of the attachments.

The generous dimensions of my containers are 10″ wide by 14″ long and 9.5″ high.  Your cupboards may require different containers depending on the size you are working with. Another great idea would be baskets with fabric liners.

NOTE:  keep your manual with the appliance in these bins.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve pulled it out for the reminder on how to care and clean them (do they go in the dishwasher is the usual question), or look up the recipes that they include with them.

Now they fit nicely in my cupboards, one behind the other.  The more frequently used one is in front, of course.  This is one of those deep corner cupboards so pulling out 2 containers to get to my slow cooker is pretty painless.  I set them on the floor without risking the actual attachments getting contaminated with the stuff on the floor.

Screen shot 2017-12-21 at 10.32.29 AM

It keeps everything looking tidy, but most importantly, together and easy to find.


Share your creative ideas for storing small electrics.



iPhone Health App & Medical ID

The Apple iPhone has this amazing app called Health including a Medical ID component that is accessible from your emergency screen.  I discovered it after my FitBit died and I searched my phone for a pedometer to track my steps.

Medical ID Screenshot
Photo captured from Apple Support Website

Maybe I am the only person who didn’t know that before this week, so I had to share just in case there is one other person out there who doesn’t know about the Health app, and more importantly, Medical ID, on Apple iPhones.

Screen shot 2017-11-24 at 11.38.14 PM
Photo captured from Apple Support’s website

If you were in an accident or crisis situation, how would First Responders know who to call, how to administer drugs, and medical care to you in a timely fashion?

Did you know that you can program in your allergic reactions, current medications, emergency contacts (yes, more than one) and more and all this is accessible without needing your pass code?

This is a great way to be ahead of the curve ball, just as you would if you bought insurance.   I encourage you, after you are done reading, to find your phone and plug your information into this very practical, potentially life saving app.

I did a bit of research and while I have an iPhone, you can get apps for other phones such as Android.  I found this link from Google Play to guide the Android users.

Information you can store on the Medical ID app (iPhone):

  • Name
  • Picture
  • Birthdate
  • Medical Conditions & Notes
  • Allergies & Reactions
  • Current Medications
  • Blood Type
  • Organ Donor
  • Weight
  • Height
  • Multiple Emergency Contacts

It seems like a lot of personal information and it is.  I would rather have it and not need it, then need it and not have it.

If you make an emergency call from your phone, the people you have listed as your Emergency Contacts, receive a message as well that you have made an emergency call.

If you are not comfortable with divulging all of the information, I recommend renaming your contacts who are your emergency contacts.  Start their names with ICE, meaning in case of emergency.

If you address book files by first name, then put ICE John (under first name) Smith.  If your address book is filed by last name, it should appear as John ICE Smith.  You can find how it’s filed in your settings, under Contacts.  Don’t forget to double-check your contacts to make sure under the letter “I” you have all your ICE1, ICE2, etc contacts listed.




Are there other things your phone can do to help you be prepared and stay organized (that is a whole other ball of wax isn’t it)?

Comment what your favorite app is, and please SHARE!

Week 1: Minimalist Game Challenge

We have now completed 8 days of the Minimalist Game Challenge and purged a minimum of 36 items.  I say minimum because on some of my days, I have a bag of things that I consider “1 item”, as do others in the challenge.

The lessons are already plentiful.  I realized after day 7, that if I am helping people purge with a challenge, I should probably watch “Minimalism”, the documentary on Netflix.

And I am glad I did because for a long time I have decided not to fall into the consumerism trap, not feel the need to fit in because of what I owned and purchased.  I don’t need the latest iPhone or perfume, brand name clothing appeal less to me than practical clothing, especially because they are all made in the same place.  I have been called cheap because I refuse to buy some things.  Perhaps I am, I would tell myself, and I would feel bad for that negative label.  But after watching Minimalism I accept myself and my beliefs – and to me, that is what matters.

Here is what I am learning so far by completing this challenge!

  1.  I love helping people!  When people comment about their items, or show appreciation for the challenge, I smile inside and out.  Helping people is my life’s purpose.
  2. Things are only things and I accumulate a lot.
  3. I would rather put the money from meaningless things toward my mortgage so when I’m older I have more freedom.  And I’d rather take my kids to the attractions and events in our city and surrounding areas than buying them more toys.  Life experience teaches them so much.  Yes, they need toys.  They need to learn to take care of their belongings, share with their siblings and friends, and use their toys in a number of ways that teach them about life.  But they also need the right number of toys – too much is not the right number.
  4. Be confident in my beliefs and when someone suggests I “need” something or wants to purchase something for our family, be bold enough to respectively decline such gestures.  I appreciate your kindness but I would prefer if you didn’t contribute to the stuff I am so diligently trying to minimize.  Please contribute to our life experience.
  5. Happiness comes by way of connection with people and experiences in the world.  I would rather snuggle a child and read them a book, than play with another plastic toy.  I would rather go to the science center or park than the toy store.
  6. Before purchasing even an organizing tool or bin, ask myself if it is the right product or can I be patience until I find the product that works best for what I need it to do.
  7. Buy the best quality I can afford.  Rather than buying the cheapest product that is going to perhaps fall apart before it’s useful life is over, buy the best quality with a great warranty (that is usually a good indicator of the confidence a company has with it’s products) and have it last for the next person who may use it second-hand when I am finished with it (clothes included).
  8. Cleaning and staying organized is easier with less and having less is freeing!


Are you bored? Don’t go shopping for THINGS and STUFF!

Call someone you love! Humans crave connection with humans – we require it to be happy and healthy.

Love people and use things, because the opposite never works!

Are you overwhelmed by stuff?  

Why not start something today you’ve wanted to do for a long time?