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It's a Rebuilding Year

Ever since quitting my job, I've been restructuring my life.

It's taken time (a lot of time) to figure out how a day without going into an office works. How to focus on what exactly I need to do on my computer (ie. job hunting and writing) instead of going down a twitter or blog wormhole and getting nothing done.

And balancing that time with the small everyday household tasks (laundry, dishes, dishes and dishes) with the larger stuff I want to accomplish. My To-Do lists (minor and major) are miles long. It's all so overwhelming and I find myself at a standstill; where do I even begin?

I've tried some strategies to get myself on a daily schedule or even a weekly one but they don't last more than a few days. My weeks differ so much. We travel, Dave travels, I was sick, the girls are home from school, the weather isn't cooperating, etc. I'm finding that each week is so much different than the last, and that's really unexpected. I figured a schedule would be the easy part.

I find that I'm building on my activities. I like to spend the first hour after the girls leave to flip through email, drink coffee and get computer-related tasks done (like job hunting!). Then, I like to get through the dishes and tidy up the kitchen. By then, it's time to work on the larger projects of the day (maybe) or run errands. Three times a week I hit a noon gym class. And by 4, I'm starting to think about dinner.

I still don't feel like I've got it right or most-productive. Or I'm spending enough time focusing on kids' homework and after-school stuff. So, it's a work in progress. It's certainly not as simple as I first thought it would be.

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Reusable Cotton Rounds

Maybe one of the things I'm digging so much about this plastic-free venture is getting to be a little creative and crafty. It's a fun challenge to figure out the better choices and make them.

When looking through the bathroom for easy swaps, I zeroed in on those little cotton pads I use to remove mascara and swipe on face toner.  Harvesting cotton, pressing it into little disks only for me to use it once and throw it away!? Plus, I'm spending 5€ for a plastic bag of them every few months? I can do better.

A little Pinteresting found a quick step-by-step to make these reusable pads. You can find better direction here, but basically I....

1 - traced circles in color flannel fabric using a water glass.
2 - Pinned three pieces together.
3 - Used a tight zig-zag stitch on my sewing machine to close up the edges.
4 - Last, I trimmed around the edges and repurposed a pickle jar to store them. 

Nothing to it.

I wash them with the kitchen rags on a hot water setting. And I've i…

Three New Plastic-Free Swaps

This week I've been thinking about the plastic-free swaps that are slowly getting added to our home. One thing I read a lot is the misconception that you need to "buy all this new stuff" to go plastic-free. And that's kinda silly. I mean, the idea of buying a lot to become sustainable is a littlecontradictory, right?

Chances are, you have a reusable water bottle and shopping bag rattling around the house, or you can probably ask a family member for one. And you've already created a pretty good swap.

While I DO like shopping, I'm a touch frugal. So, I'm swapping out plastic items that are ready for replacement with more renewable sources as they need to be replaced. Here are the latest three.

First up, replacing our plastic toothbrushes for bamboo. 
While usually I buy Preserve toothbrushes, made of 100% recycled plastic, mostly yogurt cups, I wanted to switch to a sustainable material. Bamboo! This Bam and Boo company offers a 3-month subscription and, mos…

My Tips for Visiting Paris

One of the absolute joys of being an expat living in Paris is that I can be a tourist without the jet lag and limited luggage space for new shoes. It's such a privilege! Having traveled to Paris several times, with and without kids, I have a few tips I can share to make your trip here enjoyable.

Wear good walking shoes. Paris is one of the most walkable cities. You can start at the Notre Dame, walk to the Louvre along the river, and up the Champs-Elysees in one day. Or over to the Palais Garnier. And just strolling through neighborhoods, picking up snacks, desserts, etc., is the reason to come here. It's beautiful. But it can also be hell if your shoes are too tight. I love my grey Nike sneakers or a pair of trusty Birkenstock sandals for when the weather is nice.

To blend in with the local gals, you'll want to pack a scarf. Or two. I love a scarf and always travel with one, because it's a blanket/pillow on a plane, and an extra layer while walking around -- adding jus…