good bye march - hello april

Strawberries with soy yogurt and pecans

Time seems to be flying.  I'm so happy I decided to share with you our desire to pay off our mortgage as aggressively as we can.  It has changed the way I look at everything and kept me focused.  Showing you all the ways I live has made me realize that I may be addicted to having less. I find myself dreaming of ways to make do with less.  Also, someone in the comments mentioned the TV show Hoarders.  I had never seen it before and so I watched it.  Seeing the pain and agony people go through all created by stuff is heartbreaking isn't it?  It seems worse for those who inherited a lot of stuff. They are so emotionally conflicted over it and wind up doing so much damage to themselves and their loved ones.  It's all so tragic.  It just strengthens my resolve to live as lightly as possible.

Creamy Broccoli Soup

2 cups chopped broccoli
1 small potato
1/2 onion
Bring to boil in 4 cups of vegetable stock or water and 2 veggies cubes
Puree and serve

Pasta with mushrooms

Saute 2 cups of sliced mushrooms, season with s and p
Add 1 15oz can chopped tomato
Season with basil and garlic
Toss in spaghetti

Breakfast Parfait

1/4 cup raw oatmeal then layered with fruit and soy yogurt.  I used berries, bananas and oranges

Easy Vegan Lasagna - again

This isn't the most appetizing looking dish but it is delicious.  For those of you who have made the lasagna, this is the same filling just put into a saute pan and browned.  Delish with a side salad.

Fresh salad greens with strawberries and pecans drizzled with Balsamic Vinegar

So for the month of April my focus is going to be to step away from the computer.  I am spending way too much time online and need to recharge.  I'll be around, just less. Please have a wonderful April and thank you so so much for all the love and support you give me.  You truly are the best readers any blog could ever ask for.

Mucho Love,


  1. thank you. ♥

    Go enjoy yourself.

  2. Love it. I will have a post on getting rid of some inherited things very soon! As for spring. Well we have 48 hours straight of snow and have an additional 2 to 3 feet down! This is some April Fool's Joke on someone's part...

  3. Hoarder's is a very sad program and I feel the people are exploited. I hope they at least get some help. You are so right, our possessions keep us emotionally conflicted. IF we can let them go, it is very freeing.

    Your foods look so fresh and delicious! My nearby U-pick-it strawberry farm is open Friday! Strawberry shortcake this weekend!!


  4. I am loving your beautiful all looks and sounds so delicious!
    Enjoy your time away from the computer...we spent several idyllic days unplugged at Point No Point Resort.

  5. Loved your suggestion of project 333-while all my things do fit in one closet, I am going to do the challenge that starts today anyway-it's very Pareto's Rule, isn't it? Happy to see the rain today in San Diego, too. Fingers crossed we'll get some drought relief this spring!

    1. it is indeed. it's so nice to actually wear 80% now regularly instead of the 20. :)

  6. I have the inherited things weighing me down. It's a terrible burden and I do feel guilty about getting rid of them. Plus my husband gives me a hard time about it!! He is a total pack rat.
    Enjoy your computer break...I feel the need for one coming very soon.
    I haven't tried your Lasagne, but need to.
    Happy Spring and Happy April to you. xoxoJennifer

  7. Following for awhile... first time to comment.
    Just wanted to let you know what a wonderful inspiration you and your blog are to me.
    Yesterday after cleaning and decluttering my kitchen cupboards and drawers, I sat down to an egg-less egg salad sandwich and a stroll through your recipe archives. By day's end I was back in the kitchen making your chocolate chip tea bread. Yum and Yum!!
    While I've always thought food tastes better outside, I now know it also looks better out there too. Your photos are gorgeous.
    I could go on an on, but I wouldn't want to increase your time on the computer :). Suffice it to say many of your posts have changed the way I do and think about things in a really good way. Hard to explain, but I always feel good and inspired when I leave here. Thanks for that, Janet and enjoy your time away from the computer. You will be missed, but there's always your archives ;).

  8. I'm going to send my MIL some of your recipes. She found out if she doesn't get her blood sugar under control soon, she'll have to start doing insulin shots...her Dr. told her one way to completely rid herself of any of it is to go Vegan. I'm really hoping she does it! She and my FIL eat out a lot but I'm praying she can find a new way to eat.

    Anytime I watch Hoarders, it drives me into a marathon cleaning session.

  9. OH ...
    get ready.
    i'm going to YELL here.
    oh ajj.
    so fresh.
    the food part is my hardest to simplify and healthify! is that a word? it is now! LOL.
    i'll quit yelling now.
    now i'm going to fix myself that breakfast parfait.
    and for lunch...
    maybe the mushroom and tomato with pasta.
    ok. thank you ajj.

  10. Dear Janet, Hope you have a restful blogging break! Also, if you have time, click over to MrMoneyMustache today, I nearly peed my pants.

  11. Enjoy your computer break! I will spend some time on organizing my cottage, inspired of course by you!

  12. You are so right about the emotional strain on people letting go of stuff. And you are also so right that it feels awesome to let it go!

    Your posts always make me so hungry. Your meals look amazing!

  13. When you return ... will you tell us HOW you are aggressively paying off your mortgage? We need tips, too; your inspiration to live with less has directed me and I am addicted to having less!

    Many Thanks ...

    1. Call your bank and ask what they want. Our bank would take extra payments...$100 here, $400 there, but would not apply it to our mortgage until a full month's payment was in 'misc' posting. So, I just saved up the money until I had a full month's payment, and then sent that in, separate from our regular payment as per the bank.

      I have also read the thought that one is better off saving the money until a large lump sum can be made....for the simple fact that you may get better interest putting the money elsewhere.

      Each bank is different, you need to ask.

    2. our goal is to send as much as we can towards the principal each month. as to how? well, it's by waking up really to the way we were letting money slip through our fingers. paying attention to the little details, saving, saving. not shopping, except for food. being mindful of all our little actions has had an amazing effect on the amount we've been able to save. is that what you mean?

    3. Interest??? . Her mortgage rate is more than any bank is paying in interest: Interest is only 0.05 or 0.40 percent! Even in a money market account, you are lucky to get 2-3 percent interest. Pay off the mortgage, forget interest.

    4. I agree with the second Anonymous commenter. Paying off a mortgage is a great idea. We paid ours off last October. I was 45 at the time. It feels great to have that burden off our shoulders. Now we are able to put all that money in the bank every month. Woohoo! Good luck with your goal, Janet. You'll be so happy you did it.

    5. Right, you have to designate any extra mortgage payments to interest (you have to write a separate check and specifically write "for interest only") so there is no confusion, or else they just assume to put the payment towards another month's payment.

      We are paying off our mortgage early too, but while we are doing this I can't help but think if it may be better to put that money in our retirement accounts instead as they compound over time. Either way, it's steps in the right direction!

    6. Oh Anon @ 9:19am, please do not designate your payment to go to interest. You want this payment to go to principal. You pay down the principal and the interest will take care of itself. Please talk with
      a professional.

    7. Ha! You caught my typo… and that was a big one! I did mean designate to principal!

  14. Oh the computer and phones have been driving me barmy I need to get away from them too, with a blog you are always checking the comments it can be relentless at times.
    Your food all looks so incredible, I am so lazy in the kitchen, 95% of the time I eat raw or fridge food like yoghurts. The toaster gets a work out too in this house.

  15. Gorgeous food, I've just eaten and those photos have made me hungry! Enjoy your free time. x

  16. Thanks again for the inspiration, Janet! It will be interesting reading your thoughts on using the internet less when you post. I have been trying the same thing, but have to be more organized about my internet use.
    Happy Spring!

  17. I got a bee in my bonnet a while ago about paying our mortgage off early and did some research about it. It may not be the best idea (if you have any other debt, of course pay that off first and make sure to keep an "emergency fund"). Depending on what your interest rate is, you may be better off investing the extra money instead. Just something to look into. Good luck...

  18. Enjoy your month away! I plan to be outside as much as possible. It will be wonderful after the long winter. My lovely Ipad gets far more use during the winter months. I love the cyclical rhythm of the four seasons. It keeps things interesting.

  19. All the food looks so good. And I think I just figured out the key to your beautiful photography. You echo the colors in your subject with the colors of your background! I'm sure you just do it by eye without realizing, but I'm happy for such a revelation.
    Enjoy your breakie and happy Easter!

  20. I'm so glad you're sharing your mortgage payoff endeavor too! Do you send in extra payments to principal each month, or do you send in bigger lump sums? We tend to send in lump sums each year, although last year we weren't able to. Hopefully this year will do better in that regard. I would love to know your strategy.

    1. anything extra gets designated towards principal. :)

  21. I love reading your posts and was thrilled when you were posting daily. I will miss that. But I do get that you need a vacation from it. Enjoy the free time.

  22. Don't go away for too long!!!! I look forward to your posts ;)))))

  23. Your food looks so delicious! About two weeks ago I made the lasagna. it we so easy to put together. actually I had some no boil lasagna noodles so used them to make it, so even simpler. could not believe how good it was! when I had the leftovers I looked forward to dinner all day long. also I am looking at the project 333, actually looking at all my "stuff" in a different way these days thanks to you.

  24. Love you too and enjoy your break.

  25. As always, great recipes, great pictures!
    Have a nice April,

  26. Thanks for sharing your life and your lovely recipes with us! I'm sure most of us need to take more time away from the internet, and media in general, and concentrate on living. Enjoy yourself.

  27. These recipes are genius--and yet so simple. I wish I could catch your simplifying bug. I am really trying, but it takes a push to get me going. And "things" seem to come into the house as fast as they go out. Still, with good weather peaking around the corner, the desire to keep decluttering gets stronger.

    I am going to try a vegan week to see if I like it. I am not a big meat eater so it may not be as daunting as it seems to me. Will let you know how it works out. And keep sharing those recipe pictures. They are so inspiring.

  28. H, I really enjoy your blog and love the way you have set up your home, it encourages me to look for a smaller home to purchase (I am in the process of planning to purchase a home after having lived in employer housing for some time) I live alone but sometimes have my children and grandchildren visit and stay overnight. How do you accommodate them?
    How did you make the decision to get rid of all of those thing that were extra to your requirements - the wedding/birthday gifts, collections, inherited items that seem to have some responsibility attached to their ownership? Also thinking of gift giving what do your friends and family give you for birthday and Christmas gifts, do you let them know what you would like?
    kind regards Helen

    1. thank you helen. i've answered all those questions in other old posts but i'll try to answer here. if anyone spends the night here it involves sleeping on a sofa or a blow up bed. :)

      getting rid of things i *thought* i had to keep was a process. when we decided on this small house with v little storage it made it easier. we would have had to rent a storage unit if i hadn't been able to let those things go and we didn't want to do that. i don't think it is my sole responsibility to be the keeper of other peoples memories like hand me downs. i just don't. i personally believe that the value of any item is in the using so something stored away in boxes have no real value to me. i know it sounds kinda cold hearted but it's how i feel. i do have very sentimental things that i own and i try to use them every day. as far as gifts go, i always prefer something that can be consumed. :) hope this helps helen.

    2. Thanks, it helps me :)

  29. When I feel like my house is getting cluttered, I always watch some episodes of Hoarders. That show reminds me of less is more. I love all the recipes you shared here. I'll be trying the breakfast parfait for sure :)

  30. "I may be addicted to having less" ... what a wonderful thing to be addicted to! Thank you for the inspiration. I would love to go vegan but with hungry teen/tween boys in the house I'm not sure if we can do it! Something to work toward, though.

  31. Just found your blog and love it. You have great recipes. I'm your newest follower!

  32. Janet,
    I think you are smart. Having less or learning to reduce things down to the essentials is something we can all learn from. All I want, all I need sure does not mean having it all. Enjoy your time away from the computer (devil) and have fun frolicking in your garden. I know I will miss you, but I know I won't be alone in my corner.
    WE all love you and your spirit for life.
    Have an awesome April.

  33. Janet,
    Although I am not vegan, the photos you post of your recipes look so delicious that I might take the plunge, or at least get my toes wet.

  34. Janet,

    You take the most beautiful photos of food, you make everything look so tasty!

    Enjoy your well deserved time off, will look forward to your return. But don't be gone for too long! :)

    BTW I had a dry spell on Ebay, didn't sell anything for 2 weeks. But then I sold 3 things in 2 days, so business is picking up! My sister scored a Starbuck's City Collectors mug at a garage sale for 1 dollar. She listed it on Ebay and someone bid $60...some of those mugs go for up into the hundreds. Crazy!


  35. Happy April to you, too Janet! Those recipes look delicious!

  36. Janet,

    I am so glad you shared too. With conscious spending we have reduced our food bill, on the east coast by about 10%. We don't have the 99cent stores for food here, but by considering what to spend our money on with food, we have been able to reduce that portion of our budget. Ann

  37. Please at least post photos of the FLOWERS. I have been waiting and waiting. Just post the flowers and lock off the comments - it will be easy.

  38. I didn't see a contact email for you, but I wanted you to know how much you have inspired me. We listed our 2200 sq ft "cottage" and are simplifying and downsizing to a much smaller place. It felt so good to go through the house and rid ourselves of things that are just there, but not purposeful or meaningful to us. Again, thank you for sharing your story!

  39. Thank you for this easy broccoli soup recipe. Everything else looks yummy too!


kindness is never out of style.

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