Lifemadehappy Efficieny Tip- Flavoured oil

The next time you need to saute something, make some flavoured oil as well.

You can flavour the oil with things that you like. One of my favourites is a garlic, lemongrass oil.

In a pan, I saute up some crushed garlic and lemongrass with a tablespoon of oil on medium heat until golden brown. Then I add about ½ cup of oil to the pan for about 5 minutes.  You should be able to smell the aroma of the garlic and lemongrass.  When it is cool, transfer to a jar and refrigerate.  Leave a bit on the pan and go ahead with sautéing your dish.

You then have some delicious subtly flavoured oil to easily use the next few times.

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Lifemadehappy Efficieny Tip- Chest freezer organization

It has been so difficult to find things in my chest feezer. I had to spend time digging through and removing items before finding what I needed. But I have made things a little easier now by organizing my food items by category and putting them in large cloth reusable grocery bags. I have all my frozen vegetables in one , frozen fruit in another and so on. So now when I need something, I just have to pull out the bag and look for the item I need. I do not lose circulation My fingers appreciate not getting all numb now when looking for something. And the bags can be thrown in the wash whenever necessary.

Lifemadehappy efficiency tips- Breakfast for the week

Feel like having a hearty breakfast, but you do not have time to make it? I make up a batch of steel cut oats and portion it out for two weeks’ worth of breakfasts. Then I freeze the individual containers and move a container to the fridge a couple days before I need to eat it. If you forget, you can always microwave your oatmeal that morning.

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The oatmeal freezers really well. This saves me so much time as I do not really have to prepare my breakfast in the morning. I just add milk and whatever toppings or fruit I have.  This usually includes some nuts, chia, flax and protein powder.

When cooking the oatmeal, I throw in a cinnamon stick into the pot for a nice aroma and flavour.

Lifemadehappy efficiency tips- cloth grocery bags=easy cleanup

I know that there is some controversy about using reusable grocery bags vs plastic bags. But if you do use reusable bags, maybe think about using all your cloth bags when grocery shopping.

Reusable grocery bags need to be cleaned since it is used for meats and other food items. Cloth bags can be tossed into the washing machine and cleaned with no trouble whenever necessary. This is certainly easier that having to wipe down each reusable plastic or polyester grocery bag.

Have too many non-cloth reusable bags, use them as gift bags. Tie some ribbon and you have a environment friendly gift bag. This is especially useful for heavy presents.

Lifemadehappy efficiency tips- Shutter/ Aperture How To

p docI always have trouble remembering how the aperture and shutter speed works when taking pictures with my manual camera. By having this info graphic close by, it serves as a quick refresher when I pull out my camera and makes everything really clear at a glance.

I found this info graphic at –

https://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/picture-show-you-clearly-the-effects-aperture-shutter-speed-and-iso-images.html

https://outoftownblog.com/travel-photography-101-understanding-the-effects-of-aperture-shutter-speed-and-iso-on-images/photography-diagram-photo-by-new-mobile-life/

Diagram: New Mobile Life

 

Decluttering with less emotion

I need to get rid of a lot of unnecessary things in my life in order to keep up with my overall 2018 goal of leading a more efficient life. But sometimes letting go can be really difficult and emotional. So I am working in phases to declutter.

I decided to tackle my soap making supply cabinet this week, but I did find it to be emotionally challenging. I bought a lot of soap supplies a week before my spouse lost his job. This event caused a lot of alterations in our lives including an address change. When I was ready to start making soap again, I could not find the recipes that I had wanted to try prior to buying my supplies. So I had to adapt and use different recipes. But there were a couple of the supplies that I just could not find a use for. So I just held on to it, in case I ever found a use for it. These items were taking up space in my small cabinet

But this time when I made soap, I decided to be focused and get rid of any items that I was not using.

To help me take the emotion out of the task, I asked myself these questions:

  1. What type of soap would I be making? Would I be trying new recipes?
  2. How often would I be making soap this year?
  3. Which soap making items will help me keep to my goal of being efficient?

I do not for see making soap more than 2-3 times a year and I do not plan on making fancy soap. My needs are simple; I only like dye-free soap with only a few different oils and no additives like lavender petals or ground oatmeal. We find that this helps the bathtub stay clean longer.

Realizing my needs made it easier to get rid of all the “extras” that I had but did not use. Now when I want to make soap, it will be easier to pull the items that I need out, and see what I need to purchase without having to rummage through the cupboard.

If my soap making goals ever change, I can then purchase any additional items. But for now, simple is efficient.

I plan to ask myself similar questions when tackling other areas in my life. Being a little more efficient is going to give me some additional time to relax and enjoy life.

Bullet Journaling simplified

My overall 2018 goal is to lead a more efficient life. To me this means getting rid of unnecessary clutter and keeping things simplified so that I have more time to breathe and live.

I was very excited when I heard about bullet journaling late last year. I lovemaking lists, writing down my goals and the things I have learned.

The idea of incorporating a creative element to my lists really appealed to me. However, I found the bullet journal process to be taking up a little more time than I could spare. I want to only keep one journal for the year and not have to keep transferring things from one journal to the next each time the journal ends.

So here is my simplified bullet journal for the year:

I started by listing all my 2018 goals, IMG_20180209_103620which I call my adventure list and placing it in the insight cover of my journal. Having it right at the start of the journal allows me to see it easily every time I open the journal. This keeps me on track with the plan for my year.

The INDEX page is truly a great idea. By numbering each page in the journal, I can write down the page number for each item in the index page. Going to the right page has never been easier.

 

You can list whatever you want to keep track of in your bullet journal and can IMG_20180209_103732decorate it as much or as little as you want. As you can see, I am more on the little side.

How my journal is different from most, is that instead of writing my daily to do list in the journal, I write it on a

IMG_20180209_103853separate piece of paper and then paper clip it to my journal. A lot of times, I write items that are not urgent, and need to be completed in a few days, so I can just move my to do list from one section of the journal to another.

When most items get done, I create a new to do list and add it to my journal after removing the old list. I feel that I save journal pages this way. At the end of the year, I do not need to remember  that on the week of Feb 5, I had to print some documents. This way when I look back at my 2018 journal, I can be reminded of things that were important to me.

If you like writing list and journaling, I definitely suggest trying a bullet journal. It can be very calming and fulfilling to see your goals achieved visually.

6 Practical Travel Tips

My hope when going on vacation is to have a relaxing and stress free trip. But as the saying goes, “Que sera sera, whatever will be, will be”. Wise words, since we can never predict what is around the corner. Coping with each situation that arises is best done in a calm manner.

Here are my six practical holiday tips to make things a little easier for me so that I can deal with anything unexpected and enjoy my holiday more.

  1. Pack an empty water bottle that does not LEAK

It takes forever to get a drink on an airplane when travelling in economy. I fill it up after clearing customs and every time before leaving my room. Being hydrated makes everything easier to handle.

  1. Large scarf

The thickness of the scarf will ultimately be determined by the holiday destination. I am one of those travelers who are always cold in the plane. When travelling economy, there usually are no blankets in sight. In addition to its original purpose, a scarf can also be used as a wrap or a picnic blanket in a pinch.

  1. Food container/ sandwich bags

I always need a snack even when I am out for a short while. There is something decadent about having a snack that I like in close proximity. Containers or sandwich bags allow easy transportation of these snacks. If I pick up something from a grocery store while on vacation, I do not have to lug the whole package of whatever was purchased. Fruit can also be cut up and taken along easily in a container.

  1. First aid kit

In addition to a couple of plasters and the usual pain medications, I include in my first aid kit things that I personally may need based on my unique requirements. My throat can get sore when I indulge on too many goodies, so for me it makes sense to have a couple of lozenges, and for some reason, mosquitoes like me, so some cream to help me stop itching makes the kit. Pack what makes sense to you. You don’t need to take a ton of stuff just stuff that can tide you over until you can get to a drug store.

  1. Portable phone charger

I use my phone for many things including taking pictures on vacation and for navigation. When I am out for the day, my phone battery usually does not last. My small portable phone charger allows me to keep snapping away until I get back to my accommodations.

  1. Eye mask and ear plugs

I have been in rooms that are close to main roads, and instead of using my phone to play me heaving rain sounds, I find having ear plugs really help. I usually find that I notice how noisy the room is only when I am going to sleep. So having the ear plugs with me means I can get that good night of sleep. In addition the earplugs and eye mask are very handy to have when flying in a plane as well when I am trying to sleep. A restful night sleep, makes every holiday more enjoyable and equips me to deal with anything that may arise.

In the bag- my solution to tiny drawers

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I have the tiniest bathroom drawer. And I this is where I have to store all my stuff to get ready in the morning. In order to maximize the space, I put my things in different toiletry bags. These bags fit well in the drawer and help me stay organized. It also makes it easy to find my stuff in the morning, since everything has its place.

Simplicity in the New Year

As the year comes to an end, I have been reflecting on how I would like to spend more of my time in the 2016. One thing for sure is that I do not want to waste time on unnecessary things that do not add to my life. I want to simplify things and focus on what brings meaning to me.

One thing that I wasted a lot of my time on for many years is keeping my container cupboard organized and tidy. Getting my kids to put each item exactly where it needs to go has been a losing battle and it certainly irritates me when I look at the mess that I have to tidy up. I have tried many ways to organize this effectively, but have not been successful.  I do realize that they are not to blame, as my organization plan has not been the best, with the many different containers I have.

The other night I had a great idea- SIMPLIFY. Instead of having tons of different sized containers, just have more of the same sized containers. This way it is easy to get things and put them away. It has taken me quite a while to come to a solution as easy as this.

So from now on, the question I will be asking myself will be “How can I simplify this situation?”

I hope that everyone has a wonderful 2016 filled with many special meaningful moments.

Here is a picture of one of my container shelves. Something as simple as this, brings me great joy.

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