Ways to Celebrate Easter

posted by: Kelly Murphy-Briley

How do you celebrate Easter?  There are many things you can buy. The Dollar Tree has many little things to put in an Easter basket. You can buy all kinds of stuff like nail polish, fake nails, soaps, bottles of perfume and bath wash, bubbles, plastic eggs, candy, stickers,– and the list goes on!

But all that “cheap” stuff from the Dollar Tree or Dollar section items comes at a cost.  Most of it is China-made, and I don’t know how that supports our American economy-which if you haven’t heard- could use some support!

I have another idea…. How about NOT buying Bunny Ears headbands, or plastic grass to go in the basket, or a basket?

  If you have to buy something, just buy one thing, or maybe even create something special for your special somebunny, like a special bracelet, or some earrings. Pick one thing that person would really use.

How about a quality chocolate bar or bag. Something that will help the endangered species, or is fair trade. Yes,  it is more expensive than the cheap chocolate you can buy at the dollar tree, but it is better for you, and actually helps somebunny (or maybe even a tiger)!

Or how about just spending time with your someone doing something he or she enjoys? Whether it is your child or your significant other,  quantity time can lead to quality time.  I have a daughter with whom I spend lots of time, and I find the more we are together, the deeper our conversations go.

Here are some ideas on how to do that:

Go for a hike.

Go for a walk or browse historic or new places.

Have an Easter egg hunt!

Grab a bite to eat.

Go to a movie.

Check out a museum.

Go to a church worship service, or a sunrise service.

Watch a movie together.  (And moms, that means you actually sit down and watch the movie, too, rather than serve everyone popcorn, drinks, etc.  Do buffet style snacking, and let everyone help with food prep, and allow other to serve themselves.)

REMEMBER….YOU are the best Easter present! Your time and love you spread to your family and friends, is the BEST way to celebrate!!!!

Talk about Easter and what it means to you. It is about more than just bunnies, Peeps, and chocolate, and dying eggs or filling eggs with candy to many of us.  Share your childhood memories, with your friends and family about how you celebrated as a kid.

Instead of buying more consumable items, how about leaving your footprint on your kids (not literally) and loved ones, rather than the Earth! Try spending time with them, instead.

This is the perfect opportunity to share about your beliefs and why you celebrate Easter.  For me,  it’s about Jesus‘ sacrifice, and His triumph over death.  And while I am thankful for Him on a daily basis, Easter is a special time or nation as designated to celebrate nationally, so I am going to celebrate!   Whether you share Christian beliefs, or not, it is a great conversation-starter for discussing spirituality.

What do you feel? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments!

 Happy Easter!

My First 5 Things to Do For A Minimalist Move

Posted by: Kelly Murphy-Briley

My minimalist journey has been a slow one, as many of you have read. And just looking in my attic has proven it. 

I found some more teaching stuff which means, I now have 7 boxes of stuff, not just 4, as I had previously thought. And I was so proud of myself! Ugh! 
 I still must go through all the Christmas stuff, which I plan to do tomorrow. Then I have to see what else is lurking up there in the scary attic! 

*If you are a teacher and need some posters, let me know what you need-I bet I can find some to donate to your classroom!

(While it would nice if I were a teacher who only requires the bare minimum to run a great classroom,  I don’t think that is true of me, except when teaching Physical Education. In other areas… not so much. If  I ever find a great  teaching opportunity again, I’ll be happy to share my striving to have “minimal” stuff in a classroom, and how that goes.)

So, since we hope to sell our house, I thought I should brainstorm about the first 5 things to do when the house does sell. (Trying to be positive, here….)

1. Gather boxes  A minimalist, frugal, and green mover would not go buy boxes. That would be silly, Silly!  Instead she/he would go to the liquor store, such as Buster’s on Highland, (in Memphis) and find some great ones with dividers. Call ahead before you go to make sure they have them, since some liquor stores break down their boxes, and put them in the dumpster.

Personally, this is the only time I head to Buster’s-when I need boxes, and they are always super nice. They have a great size selection too! I’ll start with only 4 boxes, because having a house full of boxes stresses me out!  The house becomes too cluttered, and if we were to have a showing, the ‘box collection’ would not be appealing!  From a green and frugal aspect, I can pass by Buster’s regularly, (carpool) so I am not burning extra gas to get there. After all, gas has gone, and may go-up.  

2. Pack Breakables – Some experts suggest packing one room @ a time, which might or might not work for me, but I do plan to pack all breakables together, no matter what room. Who really put’s every item in the same place in every house?  For me, it’s about whatever fits the box, so things don’t  juggle around. It does help to put something cushiony on the bottom, even in glass boxes that have cardboard dividers, I’ll  use rags, old socks, or dish towels. When an entire box is packedI’ll also put a towel on top before I close and tape it.

3. Labeling – It really helps me to label what is in the box, as I pack, so I don’t have to go back (and mess with my awesome wrap job)- to try to remember what it was. I have even taped a label on the item, so that I would know what it is, without unwrapping it, as I look down into the box. 
If you really want to go crazy, you could take a photo of the item, and tape a picture near the label.  That is a bit too time-consuming, in my opinion, but I have sketched a picture of the item, rather than write the word or item.
The last tip I have about labeling is to position the label in the same spot on ever box. So, for example, if I look @ a stack of boxes, as I’m facing  them, I’d be looking at all  the labels, without having to twist boxes around.
Even if your are not moving at the moment, chances are you will be in the future, so this is a great idea for storing stuff in an attic or basement, or just knowing what you have in your boxes!

4. Packing Materials – I won’t pack my blankets until last, because I plan to use them for cushioning furniture, dressers, and mirrors. I might actually splurge and buy some bubble wrap for my dressers, since they are old  (unless someone wants to donate some to me).
 Just remember if you tape bubble paper around furniture-use enough so you can put the tape on the bubble wrap not on the furniture (unless it is fabric) so you don’t take the paint, or polyurethane off of your stuff. 

5. Storage – Once those boxes are packed, where do I store them? I am wondering how feasible storing all the boxes in one room would be , but it would surely help decide cubit feet to figure truck size, by organizing it that way. I doubt this would be helpful when showing a home, though.   

~The rest of my week, I will be working on purging unneeded papers, books, and miscellaneous. I could probably fill a truck with miscellaneous stuff, but I’m moving towards it. 
I’d better get started. 

What about you? Are there 2 things you can purge this week? Any moving tips? Comment about it! 

 I’m still organizing my blob of thoughts, but thanks for reading

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What’s Really Important?

Fallen tree across Oakridge in Memphis

posted by: Kelly Murphy-Briley

Well, this week Memphis has been wrecked with high winds or as I call it, Hurricane Elvis II, and in retrospect, I discovered something…. I know what I would take if I thought my life was in jeopardy. I used to wonder, because I thought…what would I grab?
Well, I figured it out. Not the photos, or jewelry. It is my loved ones. My daughter, my dog Coco, and I were together when the storm hit, and we were mesmerized as we looked out our door. (Then we realized we probably shouldn’t be near glass, during all of this.  As we watched everything swirling around, and heard trees falling, I started praying. “Lord, please not us, not the house, and not the car!  

That’s when I heard trees breaking.. I live in a neighborhood with MATURE trees, so all this is a legitimate concern.  When it was over, and we were fine, I looked out the window and felt very blessed. The top of a huge tree had fallen on our back patio, on top of our new lawn furniture and yet, nothing was broken, no glass, nor the lawn furniture. Even the blue decorative bottle sitting on top of the lawn table was intact, just knocked over!  We lost three dog eared fence planks., and God did us a favor by topping out that worrisome tree branch for us. (Yeah, God!)

Some positive aspects were:

I had my daughter with me so I didn’t have to wonder if she was ok @ school. Call it controlling but if I am gonna die, I’d rather die with my kid!

I meet Jamel, a very nice news anchor from  Channel 13. Our neighborhood got a lot of attention this week, so all the news folks were out in droves. I guess it was on the news but I had no power, so couldn’t use the TV to see it!

I met, and got to shake Mayor Wharton’s hand. (I already liked him and the direction he is leading Memphis, but it was still nice to meet him)
My dog stopped trembling and pacing the floor!

Memphis Light Gas and Water guys were great, but I think I still want to have a few solar panels and solar phone charger! And a gas stove and wood fireplace! I know where I could get plenty of wood!

I got to know my neighbors a bit better too, and that is always “a good thing!” (Thanks, Marvin!)

What can I say about my minimalist power fast? I can only be Laura Ingalls Wilder, for so long, and I am glad it’s over!  I’ll have to think about it, but I will tell you in my next post what I missed the most due to having no electricity. 
Have a great weekend, and thanks for reading! Subscribe, subscribe, subscribe!


  Posted by: Kelly                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Hi Friends!   Happy Spring!  Here in Memphis, the cherry trees are beautiful, (especially the one in our front yard at the end of this post), as are the redbuds, dogwoods, and wisteria. In the next few weeks the azaleas will undoubtedly make Memphis even more lovely, and it is a perfect time of year to be outside-before the mosquitos come out in droves  and try to carry us off!  But with all that excitement and  beauty comes allergies. I just swept my front porch, again, trying to keep all that green stuff off.

  So, I thought I would share my top 5 favorite home remedies to help keep you well, as the weather changes:

*Saline solutionYou can purchase it over the counter@ Target, Wal-Mart, Walgreens, or any place that sells medicine. This is a great way to keep the nasal passages hydrated. It especially helps with that burning sensation I  sometimes feel in my nose when I inhale, because all the pollen in the air bugs me. I also notice air that is too dry makes my nose burn.  But, 2 or 3 sprays up each nostril  3-4 times during the day, or as needed will relief symptoms.  The cost per bottle is usually about 2 bucks. And when you’re done, save your bottle  and mix your own.
Try this:
1 t. baking soda,
1/2 t. salt,
1 cup filtered water.
Shake it up, use a funnel.
Reuse your saline bottle when empty.)
How do I know this helps? After years of visits to Ear Nose and Throat Specialists, and Allergists, and paying them $250 a visit, and them asking me every time if I am “using my saline solution?”  I have experienced the truth in it. And it works for me, so that makes me a bit of an authority on this remedy, anyway.
But, wait, there is a trick to spraying this up your nose-without the feeling of drowning. Here it is!
Spray the solution in your nostrils, pinch both nostrils, wait 2 seconds before you sniff. One, two.  Then sniff on one side of your nostril (while still keeping the other pinched). Now repeat. This will almost always keep that drowning feeling from happening. With this bit of wisdom, you won’t dread using it-thus using it more often and longer. You will now feel better soon, and  I just saved you $250!  Yea!
*Garlic I am a strong supporter of odorless garlic supplements. I have some friends who can eat it raw, but that is not me!  Target, Whole Foods, and other supplement-selling places sell the odorless supplements. If you don’t use the odorless, some people experience garlic burps throughout the day, and I  find that very disturbing. Plus, you will smell!
In his bookAdvanced Treatise in Herbology, Dr. Edward Shook had this to say about the valuable antibiotic properties of garlic:
“The use of garlic in the 1st World War (WW1) as an antiseptic was most sensational. In 1916, the British government asked for tons of the bulbs, offering one shilling a pound for as much as could be produced. A great quantity of it was used for the control of suppuration in wounds. The raw juice was expressed, diluted with water, and put on swabs of sterilized sphagnum moss which was applied to the wounds. Where this treatment was given, it has been proved that there has never been one single case of sepsis or septic results. Consequently, the lives of tens of thousands have been saved by this one miraculous herb.”
This excerpt from The How to Herb Book also talks of the wonder of garlic:  “Garlic is called nature’s antibiotic. It contains allicin, a natural antibiotic. One milligram of allicin has a potency of 15 standard units of penicillin. It is effective against toxic bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Garlic contains more germanium, an anti-cancer agent, than any other herb. In tests with mice and rats, garlic fed groups developed no cancer where no-garlic fed groups developed some cancers. In Russia, garlic was found to retard tumor growth in humans.”
I’m just saying…..It’s not just me!  But, drink a full glass of water when you take your supplements so your stomach won’t feel weird.  AND, if you are taking garlic in lieu of an antibiotic, don’t forget to eat yogurt with nature acidophilus, because it kills all the bacteria, good and bad.

*Yogurt-Make sure you eat at least 1 serving of yogurt daily. And it needs to be the good stuff, with the acidophilus, and any other ‘ilus’es on the end.  The thick Greek yogurt is best, and yes, it’s more expensive, usually about a $1 for a small tub. You will feel as good as the women Jamie Lee Curtis interviews in the Activia commercial, and I will feel as proud as Jamie Lee when it helps you! But, Activia has a lot of sugar in it, so the plain Greek yogurt is better, because you can control the amount of sugar in it by
lightly sweetening.    And, Hello! Too much sugary stuff in it will defeat the purpose of the yogurt. Bacteria feeds on yogurt in your colon, if ya didn’t know. (I want to make my own, and am looking for a recipe to try. If I find it works, I will write about it and let you know.) 


*Spirulina – This is a brilliant supplement, and is great for a sluggish digestive system. If you ever experience irregularity, issues, using this along with yogurt should get your “colon rollin.”  Spirulina will make you feel like the Energizer bunny! Instead of a Mountain Dew, or a cup of coffee, (no, let me rephrase that) in addition to a cup of coffee, try one of these little green pills to rejuvenate your day. One pill of Spirulina has the equivalent of 3-4 servings of veggies. A bottle of 180 (500 mg) cost about $15. How would Spirulina, help me you say? Well, it is microscopic vegetable bacteria, and a green superfood. It increases immunity and longevity, and is a natural antioxidant. Just remember to take only one the first day to see how it affects you. Everyone is different, but the directions on my bottle says 6 tabs a day, but I’d recommend against that until you see how it works for you










*Omega 3 oil- While I love eating fish, not everyone in my family does, so Omega 3 supplements are an option to getting  that “good” oil. Flax or Borage oil supplements would work for this, too. The cost is between $8-14 a bottle.
I wanted to see if I could notice a significant difference, from usage. My daughter became the case study/guinea pig, and after she took one big pill daily, (1000 mg, eaten with a cracker) over a monthly period, we saw an improvement in her skin.  She commented that the back of her triceps were becoming noticeably smooth!
Now, I don’t have to cook odoriferous fish, since we are trying to sell our house!
And that is, as Martha Stewart says, “a good thing!”







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Beautiful Cherry Tree on Oakridge Drive

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