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Now that my carbohydrate laden Thanksgiving is over – my nephew’s girlfriend brought Snickerdoodles (from the Betty Crocker cookbook) – I’m back on my detoxifying food regimen. Just say no to carbs!

Unfortunately, I’ve had a headache for three days now, because of the carb withdrawal. Was it worth it? Probably not. Will I do things differently at Christmas? Probably not.

And, now that bonus days off work are over, I’m back to my decluttering. First, maintenance on the rooms that are pretty good.

Queen Bath: 5 minutes to put away things on the counter. I also had to try this drain unclogging recipe. The bent hanger’s not doing the job. It took two treatments and 30 minutes, but the recipe eventually worked.

Queen bedroom: 20 minutes to mate socks, put clean clothes away, and put away things from night tables.

Kitchen: 25 minutes to load dishwasher and clean up after making pot roast (I couldn’t find a low-carb recipe, so I just threw the roast, low-carb veg, and spices in crock pot). I also made herbed butter for  flavoring vegetables during the upcoming week. Meh, I’m not sure it’s possible to improve on butter. I won’t make that again.

Queen closet: 35 minutes to try on pants and fill 2 donation bags (that’s 224 bags in total). Also, I put away clothes piled on the dresser and reorganized the hanging clothes. I like to organize tops by sleeve length. It may be weird, but it makes things easier to find.

Queen closet (left side).

Queen closet (left side).

Queen closet (right side).

Queen closet (right side).

Queen closet, after.

Queen closet, after.

Queen closet, after.

Queen closet, after.

Oooooh, look, something pretty! I was starting on the living room, but I got distracted by my Stample books. They’re 3-ring binders that I fill with index cards and card samples, one for each stamp set.

Stampin' Up card samples


Beside the 70 or so Stamples I still need to create, I want to make “Emergency Card Kits” for a couple of friends. Each kit has 8 hand made birthday cards, 8 envelopes, and 8 “Forever” postage stamps. That way, whenever they realize they need a card at the last minute, they’re all set.

I just reread that last paragraph, and it occurred to me that I have WAY too many stamp sets. I pulled out 13 sets to sell. Hmmm, I’ll have to go through them again, and get a little more ruthless. But for now, I play.

Stay tuned…

I linked up to Cozy Little House.

And Classy Clutter.

Note to readers: This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using the link (whether it’s the product I recommend or another). Thanks for helping me earn margarita money!



Thanksgiving Memories

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Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends. To all my other friends around the world, happy Thursday.



My most vivid Thanksgiving memory is from when I was around 12 years old. All 10 of us (by that time, No.1 Sis had moved out and gotten married) piled into our big station wagon to make the 3 hour trip to Grandma and Grandpa’s house in Iowa.

Mom and Dad must have gotten up in the middle of the night to start the turkey, which was then transported in the roaster and wrapped in newspaper for insulation. I love turkey now, but after smelling it for 3 hours in a crowded car back then, not so much.

I loved visiting with G’ma and G’pa. I loved the big feast and all of the potatoes and bread and pie. Yes, I’m a carboholic from way back. After dinner, the adults chatted and the kids played cards and board games. No parade. No football.

Eventually we’d convince Grandpa to take out a black marionette he’d carved, and G’pa would make the marionette tap dance to music on the radio. Now I know that’s racist, but back then…

I sneaked piece after piece of pumpkin bread throughout the day. Damn, I still love that stuff!

We stayed until evening and then made the 3 hour drive back. The prime passenger seats in the car, in order of preference, were the front seat between Dad and Mom, the back seat at the windows, and the small cargo area way in the back, where you could lie down and sleep. I got half of the floor of the back seat, in the foot well.

By the time we were nearing home, Mom and Dad were bickering over something, and I was getting very car sick or possibly, too much pumpkin bread sick.

When the car pulled up in the driveway, there was a frantic race for the only bathroom. I lost. I ran to the kitchen sink and threw up. Dad and Mom were there, one on either side of me yelling at each other, “Now look what you’ve done!” “This is all your fault! You’re making the kid sick!”

I cleaned myself up, left them to their argument, and went to bed. All night, visions of pumpkin bread danced in my head.

Today, I’ll go to No.1 Sis’s apartment, where she’s reserved the party room. We’ll have all the foods that we traditionally have, like turkey, mashed potatoes, homemade bread and pumpkin pie. I’m bringing the green bean hotdish, you know, the one with the french fried onions on top. My low-carb regimen not withstanding, I’ll indulge in potatoes and stuffing and hotdish and pie.

There will still be no football and no parade. And definitely no tap dancing marionette. And I’ll try to keep the pumpkin bread consumption within reason.

Stay tuned…

I linked this post to Cozy Little House.

And Classy Clutter.




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Thursday night, Bella Cat flipped my teacup onto the off-white carpet. The hot tea splattered everywhere and the tea bag burst. I cleaned it up as best I could, yelling at her the whole time. Yes, I’m a bad cat-mom. Bella just sat a little distance from me and calmly watched, as if to say, “Are you over your little tantrum yet?” As soon as I stopped yelling, she was back on my lap, purring.

I stopped yelling because I remembered this:

Cats plot revenge.

Cats plot revenge.

On Friday, I saw that the tea definitely stained the carpet. Instead of being a dark brown, raggedy edged splotch, it’s a light brown, perfectly circular stain. Thanks, SpotBot.

Later, I brought my jewelry to No.2 Sis’ Mary Kay open house.


Open house display.

I sold 14 pairs of earrings and 1 necklace. It was a good night!

Saturday, I was totally lazy.

Sunday, I unloaded the jewelry stuff from the car (except the table and chairs in the trunk) and broke down more boxes for the recycling pickup tomorrow. So, I was mostly lazy, with just a little spurt of activity.

The cardboard was 3 bags worth, so that puts my bag count at 222.

I’m looking forward to a three day work week. Happy Thanksgiving!

Stay tuned…



The Spice of Life

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Do you want to know the absolute, number one, most effective way to lose weight? Get rid of all your smaller clothes.

So far I’ve lost 20 pounds on this low-carb regimen. My pants are starting to fall off, so I bought two new pairs of jeans. I need to put at least four pairs of pants into the donation bag. But if getting rid of smaller clothes makes you lose weight, will getting rid of bigger clothes make you gain the weight back? Break into small groups and discuss.

My cooking is really improving though. The three kinds of chicken I cooked last weekend turned out quite good. Here are links to the recipes, in order of my preference:

Heroin Chicken Tenders.

Chicken Fajitas.

Citrus Herb Chicken.

The year before Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, No.2 Sis and I went there for a week-long vacation. We had an awesome time, doing our usual vacation things; touring, eating and shopping. One day we popped into a local restaurant for brunch. They had Eggs Creole on the menu. It sounded like a local version of Eggs Benedict, which I love. I asked the waitress if it was spicy. She said, “Oh no, not at all. Wait a minute, where are you from?” When we told her we were from Minnesota, she gave us a frowny face. “Oh yes, yes. It’s WAY too spicy for you”.

Our reputation for bland, white food precedes us.

So here’s how I made these chicken recipes Minnesota friendly, and perfect for me.

Heroin Chicken Tenders: Cut the amount of paprika in half.

Chicken Fajitas: Cut both the chili powder and cumin in half. Omit the chopped chili peppers.

Citrus Herb Chicken: Omit the McCormick’s Lemon Herb.

There, fixed them for you. Enjoy!

Stay tuned…

Focus on the Living Room…219

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Well, the Republicans won the mid-term elections, so my hoarding instincts have kicked in. I need to be able to survive for the next two years, no matter how f*cked up things get. My shopping list so far:

  1. 104 rolls of toilet paper.
  2. 730 gallons of water.
  3. 104 pounds of bacon.
  4. 730  104  52  6 cans of vegetables.

Just kidding, I don’t expect things to change much. I just need to keep cleaning, decluttering and organizing. Today I’m focusing on the living room.

Out of control!

Out of control!

It was dark outside by the time I took the “after” pictures. This took 1 hour and 20 minutes of focused labor. I’m slow.

Clean living room.

Clean living room.

I really need blinds for the windows. The curtains were whipped up by my BFF “L” as a temporary measure, 11 years ago.

I still have the TV cabinet in the living room, even though the TV isn’t plugged in. I cut the cable service months ago to save money. I love the cabinet, though. She says her name is Beth.

TV cabinet


The dining room is still a mess. I have a layer of card making supplies on the table, and a layer of jewelry making supplies on top of that.

I almost ordered more craft supplies to make these little felt houses for the mantel. Did I really think the dining room table could hold another layer of projects? I stopped myself when I realized I could make the houses out of Christmas scrapping paper instead. AFTER I clean up the card making supplies and the jewelry making supplies.



I filled 1 bag of recycling. I’m up to 219 total, as of today.

Stay tuned…

p.s. I shared this on Classy Clutter.

And on Chic on a Shoestring.

And Cozy Little House.

Monday Lineup

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What is it about Monday mornings? They’re hard enough without having a line of people waiting outside my cell  cubicle country club door before I even get my coat off. And it’s not to compliment me on my work. It’s to point out mistakes I’ve made. When you work on several large projects at a time, mistakes will be made. Okay, mistakes will be made even if I only work on one project at a time. I’m human.

We always get these errors worked out though, usually by Wednesday or so. That gives me a couple of days to make the mistakes that they’ll come to bother me about next week. It’s a system we’ve really polished over the last six-and-a-half years that I’ve been employed by “The Company”.

So after working my full and generous fanny off on Monday and Tuesday, I came home Tuesday night to find I didn’t have a house key. It has a tendency to fall off the key chain, and I guess I didn’t notice it last time. Poor little key, lost in the cold, cruel world. Poor little Laurel, stuck in the cold, cruel garage with no way into the house.

Normally, I would have called my BFF “T”. She cleans my house and still has the original key I gave her 11 years ago. She’s the only person who’s been able to hang onto an original key all these years, including me. But “T” was out of town.

So I called my friend “C”, who cat-sits when I travel. She said she gave my key back to me after my last trip. Do. Not. Remember. That.

And I called No.2 Sis. She said she didn’t have a key. Do. Not. Believe. That.

I thought it was a long shot, but I called my friend “B”, who came over to feed the cat once, a few years ago. She had a key! She lives by work, so I had to go back over to that side of town and pick it up, but she had a key! I finally got into the house about 8:00. Whew.

So today, Wednesday, nobody was waiting for me outside my cell  cubicle the country club. I had a car key and a work key. I made it to work on time, and left on time. And I had a key to get into the house. Aren’t Hump Days such a relief?

As an added bonus, I cooked the Parmesan Chicken I prepared on Sunday and it turned out absolutely yummy. I got the recipe here. They called it Heroin Chicken, because it’s so addicting. My only caveat is you might want to reduce the paprika a little bit. And be sure to scrape the leftover bits from the pan and eat them. That’s where a lot of the heroin butter and Parmesan ends up. Yum, yum, yum.

Stay tuned…






Sunday Inspiration…218

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Bella, the cat, got me up at 8:00 this morning. I got myself some breakfast and then made a list of things I should get done today. 27 things. Oh. My. Goddess.

I sat in my easy chair, whimpering, until noon. This is the effect long lists have on me. I had to call No.2 Sis for support. She told me that even Mary Kay (founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics) said you can only get 6 things done in a day. And Mary Kay was a workaholic, which I am most definitely not.

So I threw a coat over my ever so chic sweat suit and told Bella, “I shall return anon”. Yeah, she has no idea what that means.

1. Go to Chuck and Don’s to pick up cat food. DONE! I even remembered to find my coupons first. Yay!

2. Go to Walgreens to pick up Walgreens type stuff. DONE! And what I needed was on sale. And gave me 3000 points. Oh, joy!

3. Cook. DONE! I’m not sure that should have been one task, because I needed to marinate and freeze 3 kinds of chicken, cook some veg, and make a shrimp salad. If it’s only one, it’s a BIG one.

Chicken: Citrus Herb, Fajitas, Parmesan

Chicken: Citrus Herb, Fajitas, Parmesan

Shrimp Salad. Oops, forgot the slivered almonds.

Shrimp Salad. Oops, forgot the slivered almonds.

4. Lay out clothes for the week.  DONE! Because it’s been so chilly at work, I started with a big shirt, sweater, or jacket and built from there.


Clothes for the week. Oops, forgot the pants.

5. Clean and cut up the cat box. DONE! The lid is broken. It keeps trying sever my arm every time I clean the box, so I had to remove it (the lid, not my arm). A new box is on its way from Amazon.

6. Take out the garbage and recycling. DONE! I won’t count the garbage bags because it was just the usual weekly accumulation. But I recycled 6 bags worth of paper and cardboard.

I also filled up a bag of food to take to work for our annual food drive. So that gives me 7 bags for the week, putting my count at 218. Sweeeeet!

Stay tuned…

p.s. I shared this post on Classy Clutter.

And on Chic on a Shoestring.

And on Cozy Little House.


Focus on the Bedroom…..211

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After my parents’ divorce, Dad got the chaotic little house, and Mom bought a chaotic little trailer. Well, it wasn’t chaotic when she bought it, but after she lived there a while along with me and No.7 Sis, it became pretty chaotic.

No. 7 Sis and I got home from school one day, looked around at the mess, and decided to surprise Mom by cleaning up. We did the dishes, cleaned the kitchen, living room, dining room and bathroom, vacuumed, dusted…we got that crappy little trailer sparkling.

Mom got home, looked around, and toured through the whole trailer without saying a word. Then she came back into the living room where we were waiting and said, “Well, you could have at least made my bed”. What’s the opposite of “motivating”? Whatever it is, that was Mom.

Regarding my bedroom, the bed is rarely made, and clutter seems to pile up quickly. I’ve again used Fabnfree‘s cleaning checklist to focus my effort, this time on the Queen bedroom.

Queen Bedroom: 1 hour 20 minutes

messy bedroom

QB view 1, before.

Wow, that looks wonky. I feel a little seasick.

messy bedroom

QB view 2, before.

messy bedroom

QB view 3, before.

messy bedroom

QB view 4, before.

Okay, it took an hour and 20 minutes. But didn’t it originally take six weeks? And it’s so pretty when it’s clean!


clean bedroom

QB view 1, after.

clean bedroom

QB view 2, after.

The wicker tray in the corner is for when I want to have tea and cruise Pinterest while in bed.

clean bedroom

QB view 3, after.

clean bedroom

QB view 4, after.

Here’s a couple of bonus shots, using some items kept during the garage purge.

nightstand vignette

Kwan Yin.

side table vignette

Yin/yang box

The 7 additional bags that bring my count up to 211 didn’t come from the bedroom. I collected them from the garage before yesterday’s pick-up. 6 bags of recycling, mostly cardboard boxes, and 1 bag of garbage.

Stay tuned…