Then Make it Small.

November 22, 2013 · 5 comments

Have you seen Man of Steel?

No? Go see it.

If you have, you’ll probably remember this scene that wasn’t that vital to the overall plot – yet some resonated with me on a level that is nearly embarrassing. SPOILER ALERT.

It’s the one where little Clark becomes completely overwhelmed and shuts himself into the hall closet at school. When his mother shows up to address the situation, Clark explains, “The world’s too big, Mom.” Her solution? “Then make it small.”

I’ve been feeling a giant desire to make life simpler lately. I yearn to live in a time that I’ve never even existed, before the interwebs and cellphones and this mass push to pay for more things and keep up with the Jones’ – but if we’re being honest, I equally have no desire to ditch my connectivity to the world and go live off the land somewhere in Nowhereville. Sorry, ya’ll, this girl has a smart phone addiction and would probably keel over and die without Google. 😉

But it has manifested in my remembering that this is the only life I get, so I better start building and living the one I want. None of that over-the-top LIVE WITH INTENT and BE AUTHENTIC buzzword stuff here, but just a general reminder that there’s little point wasting energy to maintain negative or flat relationships, put more energy in building positive ones that help me grow into the person I want to be, making time for hobbies that suit my general personality as an introvert without apology or concern for who I might offend with my anti-socialness, to stop spending so much time mentally at war with myself, so on and so forth.

To find ways to worry less – which, if you’ve met me and come face to face with my Over Planner Personality, might be impossible, LOL. I am very much so one of those “All Work and No Play” fools and I’m not even sure why. I don’t like work. I do, however, have a Gold Star Sticker mentality and love the kudos I get for it (and thus, Le Problem). Maybe I measure myself against my productivity, or I feel like I have to somehow make up for all the years I was set on “ALL PLAY” or something, who knows. Either way, I need to remember to HAVE. FUN. IN. LIFE. Because no surprise here, this is all I’ve got and I won’t get to be 30 again tomorrow (well, technically, I will – I’m 30 for 70 more days, but now you’re ruining my clever sentence THAT WAS SO DEEP, damnnit). You get the idea, here, kids. Carpe Diem and all that jazz.

I am slowly trying to just be. Find a calmness in a world of endless rules, ideas, and status quo. A world that pushes for us to do more, be more, have more, MOOOOAR. It’s exhausting, isn’t it?

And, so perfectly timed, the lovely Kerri posted this blog post. My general theme of making my world smaller, so that I can in turn do more of what I want (and be bigger in the areas I actually appreciate), isn’t just blog related — but it is a shockingly fantastic post nonetheless and I uuuuuuurge you to read it.

 

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I love smoothies.

In the sense that I love, and could subsist solely on, smoothies that basically taste like Jamba Juice made them for me.

The problem with Jamba Juice, though I love them, is that they typically put a shizload of sugar in theirs and they are not as closely located to me as my kitchen. And thus, thanks to our little $32.00 Ninja Storm (we got ours at Walmart), I have spent the last week having a smoothie every single day and OMG I ONLY WANNA TALK ABOUT SMOOTHIES.

We actually just ordered a reconditioned VitaMix, but seeing as it ships in “1-900 days” (I kid, I think it said 18-25, but same difference), I busted out our Ninja and decided to see how it would handle leafy greens. Answer? LIKE A CHAMP. Such a champ that if I don’t find I use our VitaMix oodles more or with enough improvement in the first 30 days or whatever the happy guarantee is, it’s going back.

Anyhoot – This one is awesome, and I guarantee you that you can not taste the vegetables. I’m serious. And I know you might be making a face like YOU DON’T KNOW MAN, I TASTE ALL THE VEGETABLES, I disagree on this one. And if you’re still convinced, add another 1/4-1/2 cup of frozen berries and I promise, you’ll feel like you’re finally consuming dessert and nothing more! Tip: I blend the leafy greens and the water first on their own for a few seconds, just to ensure they’re pulverized.

Serving Size: Makes (2) 16-20 ounce smoothies

Calories: Roughly 300-320 per smoothie – plus about 20g protein and oodles o’ fiber!

  • 1 cup (about a fistful) fresh loose spinach
  • 1 cup (about a fistful) fresh, torn apart kale
  • 1 cup sliced up fresh pinenapple
  • 1 peeled orange – really, just peel it with a peeler and leave the white stuff on. You can’t taste it and it’s chock full of nutrients!
  • 1 large banana
  • 1-1.5 cup frozen raspberries (use at least one frozen item if possible, to keep it thick and cold)
  • 1/4 cup water – or more, just decide how thin/thick you want it and you can always add more after!
  • Optional Items Included in Nutrient Count: 1 scoop preferred protein powder, 2 tbsp chia seeds (I put these in everything, it’s a sickness, LOL), 1 tbsp ground almonds (I ground raw almonds in our coffee grinder), 1 tsp melted coconut oil

ENJOY!

 

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One of my 2013 goals was to get better organized when it came to all our vital paperwork, but it took me awhile to decide how I wanted to do that.

I also work for a company that understands how easily and often identity theft can happen, so I’m a naturally cautious person when it comes to lumping sensitive information into one spot. I don’t do things like bank from my iPhone, log all my financial information into one spot on a site like Mint.com, etcetera and so forth!  Thus the idea of a family binder sort of horrified me. What kind of moron puts all that important stuff in one spot?!!?

But after reading this blog post last year, I decided to become that moron. 😉

I really did like the idea of all the important stuff being in one spot that is easily grabbed in the event of an emergency – and wasn’t in a spot commonly checked by home invaders like a filing cabinet – and got to work designing one that worked for my family.

What goes in it?

This is really up to you – what do you want to be able to grab in case of a fire or other emergency? Our binder contains a bit of everything, broken into categories – read below for more details and free print-outs for your own Family Binder! 🙂

Family Section

  • Bio Page for each member – human or pet
  • Life event certificates (birth, death, marriage)
  • Social Security Cards (stored in large business card sheet protector)
  • Important Contacts Sheet: If you want to keep a record of any personal bankers, insurance agents, realtors, babysitters, doctors, specialists, you name it – put it here!

Medical Section

  • Copies of our annual physicals (if you don’t already get these, ask your physician’s office to send you copies of your results each year)
  • Copies of other medical events or testing (for example, my annual allergy testing – but maybe surgical info, heart testing, diabetes info, etc would go here for your family)
  • Medical History Sheets for each family member (GREAT one found here)

Financial/Insurance/Property Section

  • Insurance Information Sheet: Numbers & contact info for things like our car, home, medical, dental, vision, and life insurance policies
  • Financial Information Sheet: Banking accounts, credit cards, debit cards, IRA/401K plans, HRA accounts, etc.
  • Credit Score copies (we order these annually and I suggest you do, too! They’re free!)
  • Copies of life insurance policies
  • Homeowners Insurance Declaration (policy copy)
  • Vehicle Sheet: Each vehicle’s protector contains title, registration, inspection, & insurance copy information
  • House Survey
  • Deed to house

Taxes

Each year of taxes has it’s own pocket (I used these) and I keep seven years of tax records. Why seven? Because although the statute of limitations for the IRS is 3 years, if they’ve determined you’ve under-reported by 25%, they can go up to 7. We don’t under-report, but that is just my “All Hell Breaks Loose” attitude that causes me to over-plan and over-save all the things, lol.

  • Tax return
  • W2 forms
  • Receipts for claims: Tax-deductible donations, energy-saving items, etc.
  • Mortgage Interest statements
  • Property tax statements

Other Information

Other great ideas that may pertain to your family would be copies of any Last Will & Testaments, medical directives, other property information, written home inventories/recipets (always a good idea to pin a photo of high dollar items to receipts for insurance claim purposes), any USB cards you back up family photos onto, home evacuation plans, etc.

Now Keep It Safe

Now that you’ve got your entire life in one binder, it’s severely important you keep this in a place not easily accessible to the wrong hands. This means you’re not keeping this visible on a bookshelf in your home office, it isn’t hanging out in your master bedroom closet, it’s not chilling in your obvious filing cabinet. I’m quite serious. This is where you need to put on your creative thinking cap and find a space that works for you – maybe it’s taped to the underside of a heavy fabric armchair, maybe it’s hidden inside a bland looking toy box in your children’s nursery (children’s bedrooms are one of the least ransacked areas in home invasions). Think hard! Avoid these following high-checked areas – and check out this post from LifeHacker if you need help brainstorming your best spot – and remember that wherever you pick, it also needs to be a place you can access quickly & easily in the event of something like a fire:

  • Master bedrooms & closets
  • Sock drawers/dresser drawers
  • Behind toilet tanks & under mattresses
  • The freezer (unless hideously well hidden)
  • Safes

Now Print It Out & Put It Together!

Our home binder is a mustard + teal theme because THAT IS AWESOME, so my printables are in the same color theme, but I did give you some choices on your covers! 🙂 You can snag the .PSD version if you’ve got Adobe PS and want to type in your last name, or print the blank .PNG file to write yours in if you don’t!

Covers

teal and yellow cover green and navy cover gray and orange cover
.PSD file | PNG file .PSD file | PNG file .PSD file | PNG file

Bio Pages
On each adult bio page, I keep updated photos. I also keep fingerprints. This may sound silly, but this way should the unthinkable ever happen to a loved one, I can give these to the right officials so we can do all that is needed for the situation – especially missing kiddos. On the pet page, as weird as this sounds, I keep a small hair clipping in an airtight ziplock bag (the small kind you can grab at Walmart in the jewelry making section). Why? Because if our pet were to go missing and we wanted to hire scent hounds, they need the pet’s scent and it can’t be from something shared by another pet or the scent hound can’t work. So before our pups get haircuts, we grab a hair snippet for safe-keeping. If you aren’t The Crazy Dog Lady that I clearly am, feel free to skip this – or use a piece of cloth rubbed all over your pets’ fur instead and replace annually. This also isn’t a bad idea for kiddos either. I’d rather seem OCD than wish I’d done it if any family member turned up missing!

adult bio page child bio page pet bio page
.PDF file | .PNG file .PDF file | .PNG file .PDF file | .PNG file

Informational Pages
Print as many as you need – Important Contacts, Financial Information, Insurance Information!

important contacts sheet financial information sheet insurance information sheet
.PDF file | .PNG file .PDF file | .PNG file .PDF file | .PNG file 

Each item goes into a regular sheet protector to keep it safe – and I used Avery Return Address Labels to label each sheet protector or envelope, as highlighted below. This allows me to easily remove items when I need them and remember exactly where they went – and what is missing (for when I create giant paperwork messes…. shh). I also nabbed these binder envelopes to house each tax year so nothing slips loose and other items, such as diamond certification/appraisals on my wedding rings, etc! I originally used Avery Business Card holders for the security cards & other business cards, but they’re a little snug for the SS cards, so I’m probably going to upgrade to these. Examples from our binder below!

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friday confessions

I soaked and cooked dry beans for the first time ever this week. And as sad as that is to say, it kind of made me feel like I was one step away from an ACTUAL FARMER or a woman who CHURNS BUTTER. 😉

I probably sing “Dental Plan” (a la The Simpsons 1992 here) at least once a day. I have for years, I have no idea why, it will not get out of my brain… except I sing it to the tune of other songs. Example? Change Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” to “Lisa needs a DEN-TAL PLAAAN!”

I have been missing oceans and trees and SCENERY and have been viciously daydreaming about moving back to Long Beach CA or maybe to Seattle. Because they’re totally so close together?

I have a new addiction of following fitness chicks on Instagram to the point it is now bordering an obsession. Has this motivated ME to work out more? No. No it has not.

As much as I am one of those people who finds October-February to be THE BEST MONTHS EVER and I would totally put my Christmas crap out on the lawn on November 1st if our HOA would let me, seeing Christmas stuff in the stores already – for the first time ever – is making me sad. Mostly because I have realized how much I loathe the heat here in Dallas and don’t want ANYTHING rushing that from coming back, even if it is my most favorite holiday ever, LOL.

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Summertime in the LBC…

October 17, 2013 · 0 comments

It’s funny how much your hometown can mold you and stay with you forever. I am so “Long Beach” that it hurts, lol. We’ve lived in Texas for almost six years now, but my heart and soul are West Coast like nobody’s business! 😉 And in sheer nostalgic, I’m posting photos of my childhood – all stemming from the Great Long Beach, California (summertime in the LBC…).

So what was it like being raised in the least stuffy Southern California beach city? Growing up, this was my second home – literally. We walked there almost daily.

On a rare clear day when Los Angeles smog wasn’t trying to kill us all, we could stand on the beach and see mountains. This was my home – and I took way greater joy in that Wyland-painted mural than a kid probably should.

I crossed these little bridges between the houses on Naples Islands on several occasions. When my dad got into sailing, he often dressed as Santa in the Christmas Boat Parade.

Every kid went down to Shoreline Village to check out the shops, ride the carousel, and take one too many overpriced photos with their friends in the photo booths.

We’d grab the dogs for an afternoon hike through Palos Verdes – or maybe wander way down to the tide pools to check out sea urchins and star fish (or in the case of my dog, scream at the sea lions from far away).

Maybe you’d waste the day touring the always-creepy Queen Mary. They eventually began doing staged Halloween tours, but all the locals knew it was more creepy on its own, especially the since-drained pool area.

And being 15 minutes from The Happiest Place on Earth was magic in itself.  It opened when my dad was 10 years old, and he caused a ruckus in it from 1955 on. I had a pass since I was a little one, so Disneyland is in my blood. You’ll never find this girl more at peace anywhere else than you would on Main Street USA.

And though Long Beach lacked snow for the winter holidays (though it was about an hour away), it didn’t matter much because we had this and could play pretend.

Or maybe you’d walk down to the marina and have a blast having a slumber party on your dad’s boat while it stayed docked in it’s slip. Maybe you once hung upside down for an entire day as you painstakingly painted the name on the side for him.

And maybe in return, he sailed you and your BFF to Avalon Harbor over on Catalina Island.

And maybe that’s why you find yourself homesick for the ocean, Disneyland, and the wonderful LBC an awful lot. 😉

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