St. Patrick’s Day Gifts & Stuff!

My Irish Table: Recipes from the Homeland and Restaurant Eve

I know it’s a little early but as distance grandparents, we’ve got to think ahead! We have to have time to get gifts and cards in the mail.

St. Patrick’s Day is one of my family’s favorite holidays! We are part Irish and we love to celebrate our heritage as well as that famous Saint, Patrick.

We have some things that we did every year when the kids were younger and they have continued some of them with their own families. One thing was I always cooked some classic Irish dishes like Shepherd’s Pie and Soda Bread and we’d watch one of our favorite Irish movies! Darby O'Gill And The Little People

 

The Quiet Man

 

Here are a few fun things you can order for your kids and grandkids on Amazon.com to remind them to be proud of their Irish heritage or just to have fun! Order them now and have them shipped before the Day Of Green arrives. And don’t forget to add a box of Lucky Charms cereal or treat bars for more fun!

Just click on the photo to be taken to Amazon!

 

Tee Luv Lucky Charms Raglan Jersey - Lucky The Leprechaun 3/4 Sleeve Shirt

Lucky Charms Gluten Free, Breakfast Cereal, Large Size, 14.9 Oz

Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland

 

 Intimate Boutique Women's St Patrick's Day Irish Long Sleeve Shirt         

DII Cotton Holiday Dish Towels, 18x28" Set of 3, Decorative Oversized Embroidered Kitchen Towels, Perfect Home and Kitchen Gift-St Patrick's Day

Pete the Cat: The Great Leprechaun Chase: Includes 12 St. Patrick's Day Cards, Fold-Out Poster, and Stickers!

 

FIBEROMANCE St Patricks Day Pillow Cover 18x18 Green Clover Farmhouse Happy St Patricks Day Decorations Lucky Decorative Cushion Cover Pillow Case for Sofa Couch Spring Home Decor F108

 

Threadrock Distressed Green Shamrock Unisex Raglan T-Shirt

         

KWUNCCI Celtic Hold Moon Dangle Drop Earrings with Sterling Silver plated Fashion Jewelry for Women/Girls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

.925 Sterling Silver Traditional Claddagh Celtic Ring

Whaline St. Patrick Costume Set Include Sequin and Shamrock Suspenders, Bowtie and Necktie, Adjustable X Back Elastic Suspenders St. Patrick's Day Party Accessory    The Little Celtic Knot Coloring Book: Ireland, Irish Pride & St. Patrick's Day coloring for ages 8+                                7 ate 9 Apparel Boy's St. Patrick's Day Vintage Baseball Tee

 

BANBERRY DESIGNS Shamrock Candle Holder with a LED Candle - Stained Glass Shamrocks and a Flameless Candle - Irish Candle Holder

 

The Farmette Cookbook: Recipes and Adventures from My Life on an Irish Farm

 

Roman Petite Standing Cross Celtic Irish Blessing

St. Patrick's Day Activity Book: A Magical Workbook Full of Lucky Leprechaun Coloring Pages, Dot to Dot, Mazes, Word Search Puzzles and More

Thinking About A Spicy Shelf To Organize Your Spices? Here’s My Experience

the minimalist grandma

My spice cabinet has been getting on my last nerve.

I’ve been in my new house for 6 months now.  I left a wonderful, huge pantry that I designed with a wall of small shelves just for spices. The shelves for spices were the perfect depth for one spice bottle and they were long enough to fit about 20+ bottles across. I could walk in my pantry and see all my spices all at once. It was spice organization heaven. I was spoiled.

Now I have a cabinet by the stove hood.

IMG_4002

It was getting on my nerves because I can’t see what I have at glance. I have to dig around, push stuff out of the way. I hate it. And the spice collection I have is only going to grow, so I need help!

I looked around for organization ideas. I came across this product with the corny name, Spicy Shelf.

There are two Spicy Shelves in this particular box. I guess it’s really one if you stack them like they’ve done in the photo.

The first thing I really liked about this product was you have several size options to choose from. It has the flexibility to quite possibly fit the space you have. In regards to the width, it can be shrunk or stretched to fit your cabinet. There, of course, is a limit and you should check the dimensions to be sure it will fit in the area you need. In regards to height, you have 2 leg heights to choose from. You can attach the longer legs on the bottom shelf and the shorter legs for the top shelf as seen in the photo on the box. Or you can use the leg lengths in any combination to fit your needs. Make sure you think about this because you may have to remove or readjust the existing shelves in your cabinet like I did. And if your existing shelves can’t be adjusted, you need to really check out the dimensions. This is from the Amazon details for this product:

Each Spicy Shelf Deluxe can be adjusted to as narrow as 7.5” to as wide as 17”. The depth of the shelf is 10 3/8”.

You can use one shelf alone, as I did. Or you can stack them like the photo on the box. The legs make it so it can stand alone or you can install it with screws inside your cabinet.

It was easy to put together. The instructions were clear. The feet have rubber pads and it was pretty sturdy so it felt good, not like it was going to break apart at the slightest touch.

The shelves are narrow, the width of a spice bottle, but I did use the second one in my pantry closet for canned goods and it was fine.

After all is said and done, it really didn’t hold as many spice bottles as I would like, but remember I’m spoiled!

IMG_4003

And it didn’t magically transform my little cabinet into a huge pantry like I wished. I still have to move things around to see everything I have. But it’s better than it was!

IMG_4005

Since my goal was to be able to SEE everything I had, I think this is the best product I’ve come across. If you want to be able to stock as many spices and as many canned goods as you can in a given space, this is not what you’re after. You can see in my photos that there’s wasted space. But remember my goal was to SEE it all.

I think it’s a great product and I recommend it! Buy Spicy Shelf on Amazon here!

Peace & Organization,

Jill

Your Dream House

yoann-siloine-532514-unsplash

One of the things I’m going to suggest in my new book, “Minimalist Grandma” is for you to walk through your house with a pad of paper and pen. Stop in each room and dream about what you want in each room. Write down all the things you want to change, update, buy or get rid of to make each room the room of your dreams.

Then for each thing you write down, write down what you’d have to buy to make your dreams come true.

That list will naturally prioritize what you can do based on what you can afford and what you need to save for. It will also give you an idea of how much work it will take and whether you really want to tackle it.

Getting frustrated with your house because it’s too small or it’s not arranged how you wish it was is common. However, going into debt and buying a bigger home is really not the minimalist way. I highly suggest that people try to trim down the number of possessions they own to fit the house they live in. That will go a long way in helping you become content with your home.

I also suggest using the rooms for what they were intended for instead of trying to create multipurpose spaces. Trying to have an office in your bedroom or a craft room in your kitchen often only makes life complicated and confusing. It also makes the rooms look cluttered.

So, get out your pad of paper and pen and walk through your house. Start to dream. Then get real about making a list of what it would take to make the house of your dreams inside the house you live in!

Dream on!

Jill

Backyard Birthday Party!

IMG_3171IMG_3170

IMG_3172

IMG_3152IMG_3147

My daughter-in-law’s birthday party was fun! I told you in a previous post that she had sent me a few photos and said she wanted hot dogs for her birthday. I picked up on the vibe and ran with it. I think she really liked it!

We had gotten a lot of rain which brought cooler temps, so our backyard was rather cold and swampish. The wood got wet, and a few of our guests could not make it, but we managed to “puddle” through, haha!

It was just a small, family get-together but so much fun!

I’d like to give a shout out to my son, Joel Libramento, for taking photos. The top 3 are his work.

Peace,

Jill

When You Ask A Question, Do You Really Want An Answer?

A couple of posts ago I asked, “To move or not to move? That is always the question.”  Well, I got my answer: looks like we’re moving. Where? To Texas, but not in the same place as my kids and grandkids. We’ll be about 4 hours away, and that’s better than 12!

n-120570-unsplash

My answer came in the form of a promotion for my husband. It’s really great! I’m so excited for him – and me.

It’s really one of those God-orchestrated things where you can’t believe how it all works out so nicely. Not to say that there won’t be challenges and difficulties, but you can’t doubt the rightness of it.

All my minimizing, weeding out, and decluttering is so worth it right now! There are things here and there that I’m getting rid of but for the most part, I can say, “This is what is going with us.” And, it’s not much.

I feel like the past two years has been setting me up for this move…

but…

there are still emotions. The untangling of my heart from this place, loosening of my fingers from around memories.

Also, holding my breath to see if my friendships can stand the test of distance. Fearing they won’t, praying that they will.

Change. Yuk!

Adventure. Yay!

If there’s one thing I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older is that conflicting emotions that battle inside of me won’t kill me and after the dust has settled I usually find that they can live together and both be right at the same time.

On a side note: I’m thinking about starting a vlog in conjunction with this blog. Would you like to see me and hear me and let me show you where I’m going? Let me know!

Thanks for being patient with me dear reader!

Peace,

Jill

Natural Light, Fika & the #weekoflagom

IMG_5944

So, I’m still torturing all my Instagram followers with #weekoflagom. And again, I’m not really sorry because I’m sure there are some kindred spirits out there!

There are 2 things that I naturally do which I have found to be a Swedish characteristic and practice. One is a love of natural light and the other is the midmorning and/or afternoon snack.

I’ll confess to you that I really don’t care for the winter. Even though my heritage is Scottish and from what I understand it’s really rainy and cloudy there and one would think that cloudiness wouldn’t be a problem for me, I am actually really affected by lack of sunlight. It makes me depressed and it’s hard to get started when there’s a cloudy day which makes it feel like the morning all day.

So, when you come to my house, you’ll find that if I have curtains at all, they are thrown open all day. My walls are painted light colors in an effort to brighten up my house. And according to the book, the Swedes are all about natural light.

The second thing I have in common with the Swedes is the need for a snack or fika. Fika is actually, “taking a break for coffee and enjoying a small treat.” And most importantly, “It’s a moment to relax and “umgas” – hang out together and catch up with family and friends.” All you need is a snack (usually a cinnamon roll), a hot drink (usually coffee) and take some time to stop, relax and enjoy the small moments in life. What a wonderful idea!

I am having a fikasugen (a strong desire or craving for a fika)!

I need a fika right now!

I am going to have a fikapaus (to stop what you are doing and enjoy a fika)!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Peace,

Jill

Insomnia, Swedes and the #week of lagom

I’ve been posting on Instagram using the hastag #weekoflagom. People are probably getting sick of it by now. But, I’m finding the book and the idea of lagom (the Swedish idea of “not too little, not too much”) to be inline with minimalism and my personal vibe. So, I’ve been throwing up some ideas that I’ve come across on Instagram. And I want to share some ideas here with you.

Swedes are obviously very serious about their sleep. I am finding that sleep eludes me. Some say it’s my age, some say it’s menopause, whatever it is I just can’t get enough sleep. So, I’m reading this book hoping that something will help me. Here are some things according to the book that the Swedes do to help them sleep:

  • Go au naturel – sleep in only underwear or in the nude (Yeah, probably not going to be something I do. I’m a prudish Southerner by birth).
  • Use 2 duvets or comforters instead of one. That way you won’t have to fight if you sleep with a blanket hog. You can be in control of your temperature and comfort. (I kinda like this idea.)
  • Make sure your bedroom is clutter free and clean. Avoid busy patterns. Use calm, comforting colors. (I have already done this in my bedroom and it REALLY helps!)
  • Create darkness – (Not something that I try to do, but probably should.)
  • Prepare yourself for physically and mentally for sleep. Don’t expect to just jump into the bed and fall asleep in seconds. (Well, my husband does that, why can’t I?) Here are some things to do to prepare yourself for bed:
  • Read (Ok, I can do that.)
  • Listen to calm music (Alright, that’s possible.)
  • Knit (Haha! That would make me stress out! It frustrates me that I can’t knit!)
  • Paint (No. I would have to clean up after and I’m trying to relax not create more work for myself.)
  • Cuddle up with family or pets (Yeah, that’s kinda nice.)
  • Take a walk (Maybe, but I find that kinda gets me wound up.)
  • Take a warm bath (Now, that’s my kind of relaxation!)

Attachment-1

Well, no life-changing ideas are jumping out of the pages of the book. Do you have any drug-free cures for insomnia that you can share?

Peace & Sleep,

Jill

To Move Or Not To Move, That Is {always} The Question.

toa-heftiba-274947

In my opinion, one of the greatest challenges of being a person of my age & station (i.e. a distance grandparent) is that will we swim in the brackish waters between the past and future – and there is this EXTREME tension between the two.

My husband and I decided to make our home, right here, in this house I’m sitting in as I write this, 22 years ago. We’ve been in this general area for 33 years, 3 years after we got married. So, basically, we’ve been here our whole married life. We’ve raised our kids here, made memories here, established lifelong friends and careers. We’ve forged trails and worn paths. It’s home.

And that is precious and wonderful to me.

I raised my kids to explore and reach out into the world. I fully expected them to leave and go. But I imagined my husband and I and our home as John Donne describes how he felt his wife was to him, his “fixed foot.”

“Our two souls, therefore, which are one, 
   Though I must go, endure not yet 
A breach, but an expansion, 
   Like gold to airy thinness beat. 
If they be two, they are two so 
   As stiff twin compasses are two; 
Thy soul, the fixed foot, makes no show 
   To move, but doth, if the other do. 
And though it in the center sit, 
   Yet when the other far doth roam, 
It leans and hearkens after it, 
   And grows erect, as that comes home. 
Such wilt thou be to me, who must, 
   Like th’ other foot, obliquely run; 
Thy firmness makes my circle just, 
   And makes me end where I begun.” 
Foolishly, I guess I thought my kids would “end where they begun.” I don’t know why I thought that, I mean, left home and never went back. It was silly for me to think my kids whom I raised and was an example for would be different.
So, here I am, having established this kingdom, a castle, a homeland with my kids and grandkids –  my heart – 800 miles away.
It seems daunting to leave all this history and start building a world again. But the tension often gets so unbearable especially when they are struggling or sick, I want to be at their side to be a help and support.
I know there are options, compromises, I guess you’d call them. I have a friend, a grandparent, who sold their house and bought an RV and is traveling the US. That’s a bold move, to so totally let go of the past. Maybe I’ll get to that point one day.
And I know, as I age, my role as the “fixed foot” will inevitably change. My kids will become the anchor and I will depend on them more. I’m just not ready for that.
So, for the time being, I’m weighing my options, living on FaceTime and becoming very familiar with the 800 miles between us.
But the questions still haunt me: “Will I move?” “If so, when?” “Should it be sooner than later?”
Got any advice, suggestions, my blog friends?
Peace,
Jill

 

I’m Not The Only One! Death Cleaning

simson-petrol-110900

My father-in-law sent me a Washington Post article on “Death Cleaning.” I was so excited to hear that I’m not the only one who thinks it’s important to clear out unwanted things and get your s@#%* in order before you “bite the big one.”

According to Margareta Magnusson I’m about 10 years too early. She suggests starting at 65 years old.

But really, the Swedes embrace the concept of “dostadning” which comes from the Swedish words for death and cleaning. It’s basically what I’ve been talking about: gettting rid of unwanted things so your family doesn’t have to deal with it and getting your affairs in order.

The article quotes Karin Olosfdotter, Swedish Ambassador, who says that her parents are “death cleaning” as well as their friends and she thinks it almost a “biological” thing to do.

It’s funny because I have run across my people in my own age range and most of them are doing it and if not, they want to or are thinking about it. So, I think it could be a biological thing. A lot of people don’t do it because it’s so hard, though.

We should come up with a word for death cleaning here in the US. I think I have. It’s called “getting your s@#* together.”

I’ll have to get Magnusson’s book when it becomes available in the US in January.

I’m glad I’m not alone and this whole throwing out experience wasn’t actually a mental breakdown.

This day after Halloween might be a good time to start “death cleaning.” What do you think?

Peace,

Jill