May 13- about halfway through “Minimal May”

I have been teaching the book Walden to my juniors the past few weeks. If you have never read it, I will sum it up for you. Henry David Thoreau wanted to conduct an experiment see what life was all about. He built a cabin in the woods and lived there for two years. His main themes were that we should slow down, appreciate nature, and not have so many “things.” “Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity. One is enough.”

Every year I teach this book, I am reminded that maybe we (more specifically I) don’t need so much stuff. It has coincided nicely with spring cleaning this year and so I thought I would do a bit of an experiment of my own.

I am calling it “Minimal May.” I am determined to not buy anything for the month of May-no clothes, shoes, beauty products, books, house wares, etc… Instead I am using up what I already have and decluttering things that no longer serve me. Here is a small example

Two nights ago I didn’t have my normal food to pack for my school lunch. I DID have eggs, tortillas, cheese, a banana and a granola bar. So instead of running out to the store to purchase my normal salad, I scrambled the eggs and took them the next day to make Egg tacos for lunch. It worked fine. I saved money and used up food I already had in the house. Last night I ate a frozen pizza that we bought about 4 months ago instead of ordering take out.

Why am I doing this? A few reasons-to save money, to get rid of junk, to use up items I have already spent money on, and to declutter forgotten areas of the house (fridge, cupboards, freezer).

After 13 days of this, I feel great. I have been decluttering my classroom as well and using up things or giving them away to people that will benefit from them.

I will continue to update but right now I am off to use up 3 old bananas, flour and sugar to make some banana bread instead of going out to breakfast.

Happy Minimal May to all of you! To my 111 subscribers and 338 followers-simplify, simplify, simplify!

April, 29, 2023. Don’t underestimate the power of one.

Saving one dollar per day will get you 365.00 by this time next year.

Leaving one bite of food on your plate at every meal could save you 50-100 calories per day.

Taking a one minute walk around your house every day can lead to increased mobility.

Stretching for one minute can increase your flexibility.

Meditating for one minute can help you reduce stress and refocus.

Drinking one fewer pop, cup of coffee, glass of wine, etc…will improve your health.

Increasing the amount of sleep you get per day by one minute (going to bed a minute earlier over time) can help you get more sleep and feel better.

One compliment can turn someone’s day around.

Decluttering a room one item at a time can produce a cleaner and more organized space.

I challenge you to find a tiny task that you can do and just start with one. What would add the most to your life? Would your life be better next year with 365.00 in the bank? Would it be better if you were more mobile? Would it be better if you were healthier/stronger? Would your relationships be better if you complimented the people around you?

Don’t underestimate the power of one tiny action. It could be the start of something big.

THANK YOU to my 111 subscribers and 338 social media followers!

April 16, 2023. When tiny actions come together unexpectedly-it feels like magic.

Daily tiny actions seem unimportant until you experience the magic. The magic occurs suddenly and sometimes unexpectedly. You have saved yourself time, energy, money, etc and you aren’t even sure how you did it because you don’t remember working that hard. So what does the magic look like?

Increasing the steps you take each day so that you to walk 17000 steps around Las Vegas without getting tired.

Cleaning out your car a little bit at a time so that you vacuum it on the day you wash it and you have a completely clean car in less than 15 minutes.

Saving a few dollars a day so that you reach a savings goal that seemed really far off and when the day arrives the money is in the bank.

Tidying up clothes every day after work so that you can clean the spare bedroom in about 10 minutes since everything is already put away.

Grading a few papers each day so you can get through 60 essays in less than a week and your students have feed back and you don’t feel overwhelmed by being an English teacher.

Using the time and energy you have (doing dishes while brewing coffee) so you can come home to a clean kitchen and empty sink.

Everyday magic is all around us and when we use tiny actions each day, the magic seems to appear quickly and out of nowhere.

To my 111 subscribers and 339 followers-THANK YOU! Stay tiny and the magic will find you!

April 2-spring cleaning in a tiny way.

Spring cleaning is awesome. If you live in a cold climate like I do, it is the time of the year when you open the windows, wipe things down, clean and generally “air out the house.” It can be great and it can also be overwhelming. The yard needs tending (the snow has probably left at this point). The garage is a mess because things were “shoved in there” when it was cold and snowing, the house could use a good scrub down, the windows, the floors, the refrigerator, etc… It is a lot.

So start tiny. My first step is going to be a junk drawer. Reevaluate coupons, pens, chopsticks, magnets, scissors, etc and see what I still need to keep.

Then windows (inside) but I am only going to do a few a day to prevent the overwhelm. We have 7 windows upstairs so I will do one per day.

The refrigerator will be on a Saturday since we do our grocery shopping on a Sunday. I will begin the week by checking expiration dates and throwing out expired food.

Eventually I will get to the garage and the yard but starting small in the house is the first step to not get overwhelmed. It also provides satisfaction and keeps me motivated to keep going for a few weeks so that the house gets a “good clean.”

Happy Spring to my 110 subscribers and my 336 subscribers!

March 26, 2023. Find your productive time.

Tiny actions work well for me-hence the book I wrote. However, even tiny actions cant always fight against my “down time.”

I have the majority of my energy in the morning. By the end of the school day, I am kind of like a wet noodle with not much energy. So tiny actions I accomplish in the morning now are

  1. Washing/putting away any dishes from the night before.
  2. Hanging up clothes from the night before.
  3. Tidying up the house/bathroom/bedroom.
  4. Grading papers.
  5. Practicing French.
  6. Cleaning out my car (before I pick up the carpool)
  7. Folding any laundry that I washed.

This may seem like a lot but I usually get ready in the morning and then have about 20 minutes left until I have to be out the door. Before implementing tiny actions, I would simply leave a lot of these tasks for after school/evening. Then, I would get home and be tired and not get anything done. Therefore I learned to maximize my energy in the morning and give myself a break in the afternoon/evening.

Do you know when your “peak energy” occurs? Can you maximize what you do during that time and cut yourself some slack for the rest of the time?

To my 110 subscribers and 336 followers-THANK YOU!

March 5, 2023. “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”

No, my husband did not cheat on me (or do anything else wrong). This saying (for me) is referring to cleaning-specifically a cleaning person. The original saying has roots of expressing that when a woman has been wronged by a man, you better get out of her way because her anger/fury will destroy everything around her.

I am choosing to be a bit less dramatic (and it doesn’t relate to my husband) but I still like the saying and it has pushed me into my current situation, so I thought I would explain.

I dislike cleaning. Cleaning is different than tidying/picking up the house. I enjoy tidying. I also enjoy doing the laundry, organizing, cleaning the toilet, and running the vacuum. I DO NOT enjoy sweeping and mopping floors or cleaning showers. So at the start of 2023, I reworked my budget a bit to include a house cleaner once a month. Here is where the fury comes in. I CAN NOT FIND ANYONE TO CLEAN MY HOUSE!!!!!! (When I get mad, then I turn on turbo mode and figure out how to do it myself-hence, my current situation)

On two different occasions, I have emailed, texted and set up a time with a cleaner. Then, when it comes time to confirm the appointment, they “ghost me.” (ignore me.) At this point, I have two choices-1. I can continue to contact people who may/may not show up or 2. I can pay myself to clean my own house. I have chosen option 2 for the moment.

Some of you are reading this and thinking, “why dont you just clean your house and not pay yourself?” Well, like other things in life, when you are not specific, then things tend to get a little loosie goosie. The money would probably just get worked back into my budget and my house would stay dirty. So here are the tiny steps I have come up with.

  1. I made a spread sheet of all the tasks that I would like a housecleaner to do. (this will also come in handy if I can find a cleaner some day)
  2. I took the amount (plus tip) that I was going to pay someone per month and split it up between the chores.
  3. After I complete that task, I put down the date of completion and transfer the money to a separate account (I am saving up for something specific so the money is adding to that savings)
  4. Yesterday I paid myself $7.00 to sweep and mop my kitchen floor. It was a lot more fun knowing that I was making money by doing it)

As I get older, I realize more and more that you just have to find what works for you and go with it. This is working for me. Some of you may think the idea is crazy and some of you may think it is genius. I LOVE watching the cleaning videos on youtube. I am not that girl. I am NOT going to work all week and then clean on the weekends. This system allows me to do small tasks when I feel up to it, and then get rewarded for them. Other examples are “vacuum the bedrooms, wipe down all the appliances in the kitchen, declutter and clean the kitchen table, sweep the basement floor, dust the upstairs, etc…”

By spreading out the tasks into smaller ones (and giving myself a reward), I have been able to achieve two things I want-a cleaner house and money toward a specific goal (I should be able to accomplish the goal faster now with this additional money.)

To my 108 subscribers and 336 social followers-THANK YOU! What tiny actions do you put into place for cleaning? Are there any tasks you could make smaller in order to get them done quicker, easier? Have an AWESOME week and stay tiny!

2/26/23. Increasing your steps for health, weight loss, and strength.

So I first did Keto a couple of years ago and got amazing results.  I dont know what I have been doing differently this time around but I am not getting those same good results. I have lost only a couple of pounds (which would have probably happened anyway) and so I am changing course. I am going back to my roots of tiny actions instead of bursts.  I wrote my book about tiny actions. I use tiny actions in other areas of my life and so when a burst isnt working (like right now) I have to go back to tiny and see if I can tweak things in order to succeed.  

So the first tiny action is to increase my step count. Luckily I am in a challenge at work that is forcing me to workout 12 times in the month of Feb for 30 min each time.  I have participated 9 times so far and I feel really good about my progress. My 30 min workout is a walk (sometimes its 40) and they have been outside when the weather is decent, treadmill or track at work when the weather is not decent. 

My daily step count is about 8150 for the last 5 weeks (I averaged with the help of my fitbit) so I am increasing my step count by 125 steps a day so that I get to 9000 by Spring Break (first week of April)  I think that will help me be on track to get to 10000 by the end of the school year. Some people balk at the 10000 step goal and say that it doesnt matter and yet a lot of people say it does. I used to know a woman that when she would walk 5 miles a day (about 10000) steps, she was at her healthiest weight.  I also know that last time I was doing the keto/low carb diet, I was averaging closer to 11000 steps a day and sometimes 14000 or more (coaching after school) so if I JUST simply look at step count and add that to the weight loss (if nothing else changes) it should start to improve things.

As always, I will keep you updated on this blog. 

until next time…stay tiny!

THANK YOU to my 106 subscribers and 335 social followers!

2/19/23. Weird dreams with carbohydrates.

I have been eating low carb/keto for the past 5-7 weeks and I was trying the technique in the book “Carb Nite Solution” where you eat what you want one day a week. Well, two things. The first being, I dont think I am really losing much weight so that is disappointing. However, its the second reason that I need to stop/modify what I am doing.

After I eat carbs and dessert (on Saturday nights), I have the WEIRDEST dreams that night while I sleep. Last night, my two cats were in the parking lot of a furniture store. I kept picking them up to bring them home and they werent my cats. They looked similar to my cats but they werent my actual cats. Then, my husband was wandering around the parking lot with no sock on one foot. When I would ask him what he was doing, he would reply with “just trying to get comfortable.” It was sooooooooo weird. Also, I slept 10 hours last night AND fell asleep on the couch watching TV before bed.

I believe this blog should be honest so I am being honest. I am not sure if I am going to continue to follow this program. Here are the things I do know for sure.

  1. I feel better with lower carb eating.
  2. I think it is weird (and unhealthy) that you cant eat fruit on Keto.
  3. I am not sure how sustainable a really strict diet is for me.
  4. If this carb nite is causing weird dreams, what else is it doing to me?
  5. However, It is nice to feel like I have a treat at the end of the week to look forward to.

So where do I go from here? Well, I made low carb lasagna with egg wraps (my new discovery!), I ate eggs for breakfast and I will eat a salad for lunch tomorrow and yogurt for breakfast. So, at this point, I am continuing to eat a lower carb diet. I am also “upping my steps” which I will post about next week.

To my 105 subscribers and 335 social followers…THANK YOU! You give me a reason to keep writing and for that, I am thankful.

February 5, 2023. Do tiny actions matter? If you aren’t sure…

Move your trashcan in your bathroom.

In my bathroom, the extra toilet paper is on one side of my toilet and the trashcan is on the other. The trash can is hard to get to-it is kind of jammed against the wall and not easy to access. I don’t throw away a ton of stuff in there but the occasional cotton swab, tissue, and disposable contact does need to be thrown away.

So I switched it with the toilet paper and guess what? It is SOOOOOOO much easier to access now! The same items are still in the bathroom but they are just in a different spot. It has made my life easier.

What other tiny actions am I taking this week?

I spend 2 minutes each night after dinner sorting through a paper pile to find tax documents so that I can file my taxes.

I move a few dollars a week into a fund for washing my car.

I walk up and down the hallway at school (the long way) so that I get more steps in during the day.

What tiny actions are you focusing on?

THANK YOU TO MY FOLLOWERS! All 104 of you make me smile every day! Stay tiny!

Keto week 3 update-“Carb night solution”

I have been eating a lower carb diet for about 3 weeks now and I feel a lot better. I read a book called the Carb Nite Solution and his whole idea is to eat low carb all week and then have a “high carb” meal on one of the weekend nights. Then you get right back to eating low carb on Sunday morning.

I picked Saturday night and have done this 3 times so far. Results?


First, I have eaten some REALLY good food on these Saturday nights.

Second, the food tastes super rich and delicious (much more so than it used to taste)

Third, it is starting to become fun to pick out my “Saturday night indulgence.” Last night was Steak Frites and Apple Crisp with Vanilla Ice Cream. Super yummy.

I will continue with this because I feel go0d and it is kind of fun right now. One disclaimer-I don’t eat as low carb as he recommends during the week. (He says to stay under 30). I stay under 50.

So what do I eat? Cheese sticks, nuts, caesar salads, Egg burritos with low carb tortillas, chicken, avocados. (Not a ton of variety but I feel pretty good and that was one of my goals for this)

Is it always easy? No. Some nights I am tired and would like to just eat something easy. It is especially hard when you are on the road. I had an Unwich from Jimmy Johns (a sandwich wrapped in lettuce leaves.). It was fine, not great.

However, my body doesn’t hurt as bad as normal so I am hoping that fewer carbs leads to less inflammation. We will continue to see.

To my 102 followers-I AM OVER 100! WOW! THANK YOU!. So which mode are you in right now? Burst mode (like I am with Keto) or tiny action mode? (going to talk about that in my next post.)

Have a great week!