Saturday, December 7, 2019

Night 2 of My 100 Things Challenge

I discarded these.

  • Floral tape (never used)
  • Marbled scrapbook paper (never used)
  • 5 Books (one finished, four unfinished)
  • Drawing tools (never used)
  • Rounded corner cutter (never used)
  • Small watercolor paper (I still have larger pads)
  • Measuring tapes (I still have one)
  • Gorilla glue (old)
I decided to keep the flower press after I took this photo.

That’s eight things tonight, and eleven things on the first night.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Night 1 of My 100 Things Challenge

I introduced the challenge in this post.

52 "Must Keep" + 37 "Want to Keep" + 21 "Guilt Keeps" = 110 Total

So, to get to 100 (or less), here's what I discarded:

  • colored nail polishes (red and purple)
  • 1 sweater (red)
  • 1 work skirt (gray)
  • 1 leggings (gold and black)
  • a lot of jewelry created by my kids
  • 1 ring (wood and metal)
  • 1 pendant (green)
  • 2 pairs of sunglasses (normal and red)
  • 1 coin purse (blue floral)
  • 1 pair of boots (short brown)
  • 1 swimsuit bottom (red)

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

The beginning of my "100 Things" challenge

The What

What is a "100 Things" challenge?

It's where you downsize your personal belongs (not home or shared items) so that you have 100 items in total, or as close to that number as you can get. You can do your counting any way you choose - for example, you could count a pair of socks as one thing, or you could count all of the pairs of socks you own as one thing (a collection or "set"). You can also exempt certain types of things if you want, such as books or tools.

Who else has done it?

Many people, though obviously it appeals to minimalists in particular. Some of them are: Morten Storgaard, Leo Babauta, Dave Bruno (the first to come up with this challenge), Cary Fortin, and Courtney Carver of Project 33.

Where do you start?

I read that a lot of people start by taking an inventory, so that's where I'm starting today, as well as defining what isn't going to count (see above about how you count being up to you).

My Lists

Items I must keep

These are items that are either indispensable, or impossible to replace.
1. underwear (set)
2. hair items (set), e.g. hair ties, bobby pins, brush, comb, shampoo, conditioner
3. skin care items (set), e.g. moisturizer, sunblock
4.-11. work shirts
12.-16. work sweaters
17.-20. work pants
21. new black tall boots
22.-23. work skirts
24.-25. black leggings
26. ring from grandmother
27. my wedding rings (set)
28.-31. casual shirts
32. white winter coat
33. black winter coat
34.-35. black fall vests
36. blanket scarf
37. winter gloves (set)
38. socks (set)
39. winter brown and white cap
40. new bike, helmet, bike rack (set)
41. my tools - Sharpie, white masking tape, scissors, measuring tape, screwdriver, hammer
42. rugs (set)
43. heating pad
44. funeral dress
45.-47. non-funeral dresses
48. sandals
49. flip-flops
50. bracelet from Shweta
51. hot chocolate
52.-53. jeans
54.-55. swimsuits
56. blanket
57. tweezers and tiny mirror
58. pajamas
59. yoga pants
60. sun hat
61. blue wedding shoes
62. red honeymoon dress
63. teal wedding clutch
64. everyday clutch
65. gold silk snap pouch
66. cat figurines (set)
67-68. work jackets
69. green ceramic horse
70. old diary
71. ring from Sheida
72. reindeer from Grandma
73. abstract wood sculpture
74. Italy black purse
75. exercise clothes, i.e. sports bras, shorts, sneakers
76. Crocs
77-78. casual skirts
79-80. shorts

Items I really want to keep

These are items that aren't necessities and that I could probably replace.
1. books I really want to read that I haven't read yet (set)
2. puzzles I really want to do (set)
3. watercolor paints/paintbrushes/paper (set)
4. acrylic paints/paintbrushes
5. brown tall boots
6. black short boots
7. old black tall boots
8. Christmas pin collection (set)
9. white footed bowl
10. colorful transparent boxes
11. mood lights (set), e.g. candles, string lights
12. yellow scarf
13. chopsticks
14. yoga peanut
15. 9-lb. dumbbells
16. cross stitch supplies (set)
17. empty containers from Container Store (set)
18. empty containers from Target (set)
19. old souvenirs
20. kadai
21. Indian spices
23. other dresses
24. necklaces
25. more pants/jeans
26. more shirts
27. one long-sleeve Patriots shirt
28. one short-sleeve Patriots shirt
29. rest of swimsuits
30. decorative pillows
31. deck of cards
32. large mirror
33. yoga mat
34. calligraphy supplies
35. Nats shirt
36. makeup (set)
37. clogs
38. clear nail polish

Items I feel like I can't part with but also don't really want to keep

Some of these are items that cannot be replaced, but all of them are things that I'm keeping because I feel like I should, more than out of a genuine desire to continue to own them.
1. books I've read before and really enjoyed
2. brown short boots
3. gray shell bowl
4. navy blue leggings
5. gold and black leggings
6. long blue winter coat
7. short blue winter coat
8. ski attire, e.g. snow pants, puffy jackets
9. sunglasses (I can't wear them over my eyeglasses)
10. drawing supplies
11. old photos
12. rest of my Patriots shirts
13. hair stylers
14. silver bowl from Grandma
15. candy at my desk (for visitors)
16. other clutches
17. my old artwork
18. portfolio items
19. my wedding dress
20. colored nail polish
21. craft gifts from my kids

Items I can discard

I feel fine about discarding these.
1. old bike
2. other dumbbells
3. Kindle

Items that don't count as items for my challenge

1. all things that aren't solely my possessions, e.g. kitchen items, towels, etc.
2. work laptop, badge, cell phone/charger etc. required for work
3. medical necessities, e.g. period care, eyeglasses, contact lenses, compression socks, heating pad, etc.
4. dental necessities, e.g. toothbrush


And now, in table format, grouped by category.
# Name of Item Category Frequently Used?
1 2 black fall vests Clothing Y
2 2 black leggings Clothing Y
3 2 casual skirts Clothing Y
4 2 shorts Clothing Y
5 2 swimsuits Clothing Y
6 3 casual shirts Clothing Y
7 3 work pants Clothing Y
8 4 work sweaters Clothing Y
9 8 work shirts Clothing Y
10 black winter coat Clothing Y
11 blanket scarf Clothing Y
12 Crocs Clothing Y
13 jeans Clothing Y
14 pajamas Clothing Y
15 sandals Clothing Y
16 socks (set) Clothing Y
17 underwear (set) Clothing Y
18 white winter coat Clothing Y
19 winter gloves (set) Clothing Y
20 2 work jackets Clothing N
21 2 work skirts Clothing N
22 3 non-funeral dresses Clothing N
23 exercise clothes (set) Clothing N
24 flip-flops Clothing N
25 funeral dress Clothing N
26 sun hat Clothing N
27 winter brown and white cap Clothing N
28 yoga pants Clothing N
29 skin care items (set) Consumable Y
30 tweezers and tiny mirror Cosmetics N
31 rugs (set) Furnishings Y
32 blanket Furnishings N
33 my tools Hobbies Y
34 hot chocolate Kitchen Y
35 hair items (set) Other Y
36 everyday clutch Sentimental Y
37 my wedding rings (set) Sentimental Y
38 teal wedding clutch Sentimental Y
39 abstract wood sculpture Sentimental N
40 blue wedding shoes Sentimental N
41 bracelet from Shweta Sentimental N
42 cat figurines (set) Sentimental N
43 gold silk snap pouch Sentimental N
44 green ceramic horse Sentimental N
45 Italy black purse Sentimental N
46 old diary Sentimental N
47 red honeymoon dress Sentimental N
48 reindeer from Grandma Sentimental N
49 ring from grandmother Sentimental N
50 ring from Sheida Sentimental N
51 new black tall boots Shoes Y
52 new bike, helmet, bike rack (set) Sports N

Want to Keep
# Name of Item Category Frequently Used?
1 black short boots Clothing Y
2 brown tall boots Clothing Y
3 clogs Clothing Y
4 more pants/jeans Clothing Y
5 more shirts Clothing Y
6 Nats shirt Clothing Y
7 old black tall boots Clothing Y
8 one long-sleeve Patriots shirt Clothing N
9 one short-sleeve Patriots shirt Clothing N
10 other dresses Clothing N
11 rest of swimsuits Clothing N
12 yellow scarf Clothing N
13 decorative pillows Furnishings Y
14 large mirror Furnishings Y
15 mood lights (set), e.g. candles, string lights Furnishings Y
16 colorful transparent boxes Furnishings N
17 empty containers from Container Store (set) Furnishings N
18 empty containers from Target (set) Furnishings N
19 white footed bowl Furnishings N
20 puzzles I really want to do (set) Hobbies Y
21 acrylic paints/paintbrushes Hobbies N
22 calligraphy supplies Hobbies N
23 cross stitch supplies (set) Hobbies N
24 deck of cards Hobbies N
25 unread books I really want to read (set) Hobbies N
26 watercolor paints/paintbrushes/paper (set) Hobbies N
27 necklaces Jewelry Y
28 Christmas pin collection (set) Jewelry N
29 chopsticks Kitchen N
30 Indian spices Kitchen N
31 kadai pot Kitchen N
32 clear nail polish Other N
33 makeup (set) Other N
34 old souvenirs Sentimental N
35 9-lb. dumbbells Sports N
36 yoga mat Sports N
37 yoga peanut Sports N

Guilt Keeps      
# Name of Item Category Frequently Used?
1 gold and black leggings Clothing Y
2 navy blue leggings Clothing Y
3 short blue winter coat Clothing Y
4 brown short boots Clothing N
5 long blue winter coat Clothing N
6 other clutches Clothing N
7 rest of my Patriots shirts Clothing N
8 ski attire Clothing N
9 books I've read and enjoyed Hobbies N
10 drawing supplies Hobbies N
11 candy at my desk (for visitors) Kitchen Y
12 colored nail polish Other N
13 hair stylers Other N
14 portfolio items Other N
15 sunglasses Other N
16 gray shell bowl Sentimental Y
17 craft gifts from my kids Sentimental N
18 my old artwork Sentimental N
19 my wedding dress Sentimental N
20 old photos Sentimental N
21 silver bowl from Grandma Sentimental N

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Subway Sandwich Hacks to Save Money

Order a footlong sub & spilt it with a buddy.
I already do this.

Order the sub-of-the day.
Image from Freebiemom.
  • Monday is Chicken Teriyaki
  • Tuesday is Oven Roasted Chicken
  • Wednesday is Turkey
  • Thursday is Italian B.M.T.
  • Friday is Tuna
  • Saturday is Black Forest Ham
  • Sunday is Meatball Marinara

Order the lower-cost subs.
The lower-cost subs are:
  • the BLT
  • the Black Forest Ham
  • the Cold Cut Combo
  • the Meatball Marinara
  • the Spicy Italian
  • the Veggie Delight

Note that some of these subs may not be listed on the menu sign boards inside your Subway location. For example, my local Subway doesn't list the BLT. I guess they're trying to streamline how many options their customers see.

This should go without saying, but the converse is also true if you want to save money - don't order the higher-priced subs or the fancy limited time only subs, e.g. Subway's new Pit-Smoked Brisket.

Best I can tell, Subway's sub pricing is based on how much meat is on the sandwich and how "plain" (ordinary) the meat seems. So, a sandwich with three different types of meat is going to be more expensive than one with only one type of meat. And a sub with artisanal pit-smoked brisket is going to be more expensive than regular turkey.

The lower-cost subs at Subway cost about half as much for a 12" sub as Jimmy John's 16" subs. True, it's a smaller sandwich, but I find half of a Subway footlong sub sufficiently filling.

Buy Subway gift cards at a discount.
For example, save 2% with Coupon Granny

Use a paper coupon.
I sometimes get them in the mail.

Join Subway’s rewards program.
See Subway Rewards for more info.

Buy chips and/or sodas at the grocery store instead of at Subway.
I am already doing this too.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Group Kid-Friendly Tie-Dye Shirts Activity

I found these how-to links helpful:

*General steps are to:

  1. Use natural fiber shirts, e.g. white cotton
  2. If shirts are new, pre-wash shirts (at home) to remove sizing
  3. Wet shirts via soaking in warm water ("baby bath water temperature," they say) + ash mixture (comes in tie-dye kits)
    • Wear rubber gloves, because ash is slightly caustic
  4. Wring shirts dry or dry in washing machine's spin cycle
  5. Protect yourself and your work area
    • Use rubber gloves, plastic tablecloth, so many paper towels, and disposable plates
  6. Dye shirts in whatever style you like (I will probably choose the "pie" method but who knows - see links above to find a style you like)
    • Will need rubber bands (at least 5 per shirt)
    • Tip: if you're using yellow, apply yellow first (darker colors will "eat" your yellow if you don't add the yellow first)
  7. Place shirts in individual Ziploc bags for 24 hours
  8. Run shirts under cold water (at home) until water runs clear
  9. Wash shirts separately in washing machine at least once before mingling with general purpose laundry


  • Natural fiber shirts (what I bought for a baby girl, and for a boy)
  • Tie-dye kit (what I bought)
  • Bucket(s) for soaking (note: tie-dye kit should include a small basin)
  • Rubber gloves (what I bought)
  • Plastic tablecloth
  • Paper towels
  • Disposable plates
  • Plastic wrap and beans, if you choose to do polka dots in Step 6
  • Rubber bands
  • Gallon-size Ziploc bags

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

My Enneagram Type

I took a free Enneagram type test from Truity. What's my type? According to the test, 9, 5, 6, or 1. Look at this brilliant pie chart that Truity created.

What this shows is that I am not really a type at all. I'm not bad at guessing my type, I just don't have one. I guess this is somewhat good news since I was worried that I'd clearly be a Type 6 like my father, not that there's anything wrong with that, other than that it would prove my mother right about me worrying too much (I don't).

What to know more about Enneagrams? You can visit The Enneagram Institute for descriptions, although taking their test is not free (and thus not something I personally did).

While I think Enneagrams have helped me to understand the motivations of some people which are not motivations I feel strongly myself (I'm looking at you, Type 4 people, who are my opposites), I'm not placing too much stock in this or any other personality test. I think the people who find a particular personality test most useful are those who fit more clearly into one type for that test. And in doing the test, they gain a better understanding of themselves.

Personally, I'm not really any of the Enneagram types, nor for that matter any one of the "four color" Four Temperaments types (see my results from Open Source Psychometrics Project below).

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Pantry Overhaul

Inspired by a recent video from YouTube lifestyle micro-influencer Sarah Therese, I decided to improve my pantry storage situation in my very small kitchen. This took two trips to The Container Store - the second was to return one item and buy a few more of another.
Step 1: Buy containers.
Step 2: Move everything out of the kitchen cabinets and onto my table, for sorting.
Step 3: Put spices into new containers, when practical, labeling as you go. Label the bottoms with the best-by month / year.
If it doesn't make sense to put it in a new container, don't, e,g. large, very specific steak rubs, or rarely used spices (like mace), or when the manufacturer's container is actually perfect.

When I had more than one container's worth, I labelled to be sure that I wouldn't rush out to buy more when I have a second container of it waiting in the wings.
Step 4: Line up everything waiting to go back into my cabinets.

Step 5: Put the stuff back into the cabinets.

In Kindergarten in Less Than Two Weeks: Serious Kiddo at 5.75 Years Old

A. His Schedule – We cut back on all of our kiddos screen time, but if he wakes up before us, Serious Kiddo is allowed to watch children’s shows until breakfast. He therefore always wakes up before us.

B. His Size – He looks so big and old to me these days, as compared to his younger siblings. Although I think he’s about average for his age.

C. His Personality – He’s sweet with his younger sister. But when asked what he hated, the first thing he thought of was playing with his younger brother, because his younger brother “always messes up what I am doing.”

D. His Favorite Things
  • Colors: Still gold.
  • Shows: He’s been watching an Indian cartoon called ViR the Robot Boy. Recently, at his request, we bought him the new Pikachu movie, which he’d been campaigning for us to buy for a solid week, maybe more.
  • Toys: He likes toys that transform, such as Bakugan, and he still likes Pokemon.
  • Time of Day: Probably still the early morning.
  • Bedding: He doesn’t have a special pillow. He sometimes drags his twin-size stars blanket out to the living room couch (see photo above).
  • Foods: Still as before – he likes sweets, especially chocolate. Some days he says he’s a vegetarian, while on others he’ll eat chicken. I remember not liking meat as a child too. He likes potato chips a lot.
  • Activities: He still likes swimming.
  • Animals: Still as before – dogs and sharks (Bear seems to be the one most interested in our cat).
  • Heroes: He still loves superheroes like Batman and Spiderman, though he still doesn’t have a favorite. He also still likes Thanos, a bad guy.

E. Things He Does Not Like  Not winning. No one likes losing, but Serious Kiddo seems to take it especially hard.

F. What He’s Thinking About – He told me the other day that he’s “like a robot.” I don’t know if that’s the result of him watching ViR, but it did give me pause given that I once said the same thing about myself when I was younger.

G. Surprises – Sometimes his personality seems very similar to my own mom’s personality. Like two peas in a pod. One unfortunate surprise happened recently when we were on vacation at the beach – both boys wanted to buy new toys, a request which we denied. Bear got over it, but Serious Kiddo did not get over it – thoughts of toy purchases consumed him for the entire trip. We had plenty of new toys at home due to Bear’s recent birthday, and we did buy him some shoes and clothes on our trip, so I was doubly surprised by Serious Kiddo’s behavior. I know that in our current neighborhood, we’re one of the families that has the least in the way of money, but I think I need to expose him more to people who have less than he does, both to teach empathy and gratitude. Plus, his behavior spurred me to reduce his screen time (less toy reviews, less ads, more person-to-person interaction within our family instead of starring at a screen silently).

H. Best & Worst Things 
  • The best things: Still he he’s nice to his younger sister. I hope they’ll always remain close.
  • The worst things: When he throws what my partner calls “a moody” and what I’d call him having a persistent bad mood where various things trigger crying.

I. Family and Friends – I feel lucky to live in a neighborhood with so many children. I really love our neighborhood.

J. Parenting or What I’m Doing Differently – Although it’s harder when I’m sick or he’s sick (like now), I have found that with screen time comes more time for us to do simple things together. For example, a couple of nights ago I paid him chore money to help me clean up the play room. We also did a puzzle together for the first time in months. And once we’re no longer sick, I’d like us to start cooking together more frequently.

Entry Closet Mini Refresh

The problems:
  • Broom and mop falling over.
  • Shoes, overflowing from the closet.
The solution:
The implementation:
Before: broom and mop

Before: shoes

Mid-way: partially cleared out


After: ball caps

After: the broom and mop, upright

Monday, August 12, 2019

Rosiebebe is 15 Months Old

At Bear's Birthday Party
A. Her Schedule – She wakes up at about 6:30 a.m., even on the weekends, but she’s willing to hang out in her room until about 7 a.m., when she starts jiggling her door handle.

B. Her Size – I think she has relatively long legs.
  • Weight: 22 lbs. (40th percentile)
  • Height: 31.25 inches (75th percentile)

C. Her Personality – She’s generally really sweet and friendly. She likes hugs and being held. She seems like she’s going to be talkative once she figures out how words work (right now she’s big on grunting and other non-verbal noises to let you know what she wants). She seems like she’s going to be a pretty tenacious individual, as she is quite persistent about going after what she’s decided she wants.

D. Her Favorite Things
  • Colors: Light pink, perhaps, and maybe blue too.
  • Shows: Yo Gabba Gabba.
  • Toys, Play, and Art: She doesn’t do much art, which is one down side of having her in a home-based daycare instead of at a center. She likes her baby dolls. She also wants to be allowed to play with the boys, even if they would rather keep to themselves.
  • Time of Day: Hard to say – any time there are people around – she seems like a people person!
  • Bedding: She has a pink fuzzy blanket and loves sleeping in her toddler bed.
  • Foods: Fruit. This baby (ahem, toddler) loves fruit. She also likes the marshmallows in Lucky Charms cereal. And fruit squeezies (baby food pouches).
  • Activities: We take a Baby & Me swim class together that she seems to like.
  • Animals: She loves feeding our dog from her high chair, even though we’ve tried to discourage this.
  • Heroes: None that I’m aware of.

E. Things She Does Not Like – Being kept up late. She likes to go to sleep at about 7 p.m. Also, being kept in her highchair when she's finished eating, even if the rest of us are still eating - she will let us know she's done by handing us all of her leftover food.

F. What She’s Thinking About – I think she’s a pretty happy child, though I’m not sure what she spends most of her time thinking about.

G. Surprises – How persistent she is at taking a barrette out of her hair. You’d think that having hair clipped out of her face would be preferable to “Struggling Musician” hair in her face, but apparently not.

H. Best & Worst Things –
  • The best things: How everything she does seems like the cutest thing that has ever been done to me. Also, that Bear is now taking an interest in her (Serious Kiddo has always been sweet with her).
  • The worst things: She can get quite loud when she’s unhappy (e.g. when I don’t let her have my cell phone), and this greatly upsets my significant other.

I. Family and Friends – Thankfully, she has a couple of similarly aged little cousins in New England, and one future BFF locally who is about the same age.

J. Parenting or What I’m Doing Differently – These moments when she’s so young are so fleeting and precious – they will be gone before I’m ready, I’m sure. I barely remember Serious Kiddo at this age. I hope that I remain close to my children as they grow up and move out and on to (hopefully) great things.
Size 4 Crocs, the Only Shoes That'll Stay On