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"Celebrating the art of simple, charming, dollarwise living"

  • Writer's pictureKathryn Bechen

Easy Fall Home Decluttering, Decorating, & Fun Foods Tips

Updated: Jan 26

Kathryn Bechen cooking

Is there anything better in the fall than warm homemade apple dessert?! All that rich coziness, paired with ice cream and your favorite tea or coffee. Oh my! It doesn't have to be complicated to make. You won't find me baking apple pie crust with cute fluted edges! All I did here was oil a 9x13 pan and lay our fave gluten-free tortillas inside with a mixture of diced peeled apples coated in coconut sugar, cinnamon, and drizzled with a little honey. Then I put another layer of tortilla shells on top the apples and covered them with foil and baked until the apples were tender. Fast. Yum! Served with our favorite "nice cream" it was a decadent yet thrifty at-home dessert.

Kathryn Bechen window garden

I'm still enjoying our new "garden window." Here's how we did that project.

Kathryn Bechen cooking

Speaking of at-home cooking, in the fall Steve and I especially love casseroles. We grew up on Midwestern casseroles as a side dish to beef or pork. My Minnesota Grandma called them "hot dishes" and they were often served alongside fish they caught themselves, which is a big Minnesota thing. My favorite casserole is still tuna casserole and here's my latest version, but I don't catch the fish, please note! Safe Catch does that for me. :)


Grease a 9x9 pan and layer the bottom with cooked rice or pasta. Either one works. The next layer is a can of green beans or 1/2 bag frozen broccoli. Then one can tuna, flaked. Then I add some shredded cheese over the tuna. Next I make a sauce of about 1 cup mayo or so mixed with onion/garlic powder and Dash spices vs. salt since Steve can no longer eat salt. Pour that over the rice, beans, and cheese. Top with more cheese and some sliced almonds on top. Bake covered at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Comfort food at its best. Note that you can use Cream of Mushroom or Cream of Celery soup if you wish for the sauce; we don't eat that but I know many do.

BTW, I love my new little casserole dish so much I bought four so I have the equivalent of two 9x13 cake pans and can make multiple dishes at once and then freeze them. That size is also lighter to lift than the 9 x13 size, so good for my senior hands.

Kathryn Bechen thrifty cooking

If you're trying to keep your food budget in check, (who isn't these days!), try fruit water instead of juice or soda or sparkling water. Just put your favorite fresh fruit in a carafe, fill with water, and store it in your fridge. They used to do this at a place we liked to go for lunch in Palm Springs years ago and it was always so refreshing. It's very dry in the Arizona desert where we live now, so we adopted the practice. Also, some dates, nuts, and a couple apple slices make a nice fall snack.

Kathryn Bechen thrifty cooking

Leftover tuna you are trying to use up? We like it on these rice crackers. Some applesauce and an apple slice and it's a nice light lunch or snack. I just add mayo and Dash to my tuna and sometimes add in onion/garlic powder, raisins, diced celery or apple and some sliced almonds for crunch. I am into simple these days!

Kathryn Bechen Steve Bechen decluttering

I mentioned last post that Steve and I are headed into a new venture over the next few months. That means we are decluttering our home top to bottom again and making some decorative spruce-ups. The Hawaiian party shirts went bye-bye!

Thank you to those of you who emailed me good wishes for Steve re: his recent surgery. He actually had two surgeries and he just had his final Dr. appt. and does not need to go back so he's very grateful for his amazing surgeon and my after-care potato soup and smoothies! The doc says he is to no longer salt his food so we are buying stock in Dash seasoning. (Kidding.) We also decided to give up coffee and we changed to herbal teas so we shall see how that goes. My fave brand of tea. And don't you just love this Van Gogh art teapot?!

Kathryn Bechen small closet organizing

I have been downsizing my own closet and retiree wardrobe during the past couple months. One thing I did was to move some things from our bathroom into hanging bags for storage. The benefit is I can see things quickly at a glance and this avoids over or under buying things.

TIP: I use these bags for our homeopathic remedy organizing, essential oils and flower remedy bottles, and these hanging toiletry bags for things like cough drops and syrup, hair accessories, office supplies etc. Doing this is a good use for storage in a small space! They also work great to move residences too, or to travel. Just fold them in half or thirds and put them in a box and tape up the box and when you get to your new home just hang them up! Because they are zippered, you won't have to reorganize when you get to your new home or hotel.

l am transitioning my wardrobe to the FLAX brand both for health and comfort reasons. We shall see how my allergy-prone-skin does with more natural fibers but I am not very into the loose look so this might be a stretch for me. It will challenge me to go outside my clothing comfort zone, pun intended! If you'd like to try their clothing, they are having a huge 75% off sale the end of this month on Nov. 27 so check out their website for details. They also have some things on sale now; I'm going to buy some spring dresses on a nice discount. If you sign up for their mailing list you should get their sale notices.

Note that although FLAX clothes are not inexpensive, they are wonderful quality and last a long time from my past experiences with them 20-some years ago, and at the sale prices, you can't go wrong. I am doing the small capsule wardrobe thing of just a few pieces I can mix and match so that helps on cost for my retiree budget, plus I plan on keeping them a long time. (I ordered aprons!) Also, you can find them used online on places like Ebay, Etsy, ThredUp etc., but I personally don't buy used clothing as if someone has worn perfume and worn them, even if washed, a scent can linger and I can react allergic-wise so I don't risk it. Also note ironing is optional for their linen clothes and since I am not into ironing, that's a plus!

They also have some nice home goods! I bought two aprons that are gorgeous and I love their robes too and the pretty patterns. I plan to use the robes also as long jackets over outfits. Also, their customer service gal was so nice on the phone and guided me through sizing, going over several styles with me for about an hour. Wow!

Natural fiber clothing is best, I think. I tested allergic way back when I was just 24 years old to some of the same chemicals as found in these clothes. (But I never got a million dollars for my suffering; on the contrary I've spent thousands and thousands out of our own pocket on allergy doctors over years and years.)

Kathryn Bechen bedroom organizing and decorating

Part of our decluttering process has been updating our bedroom a little bit while we are at it. We are not done, but here's where we are at. I wrote an article years ago about how to decorate your bedroom like a B&B, (we have stayed in 67 B&Bs in 17 U.S. states so I've observed many of their decor styles), and we still want that "B&B feeling" but in a much more streamlined way these days as we want to be "streamlined seniors" and not managing any more "stuff" than necessary. The floral curtains are coming down soon and the side wall Steve is going to paint Benjamin Moore Soft White using our fave Ecos paint as they do color matches from other brands. It has a touch of peach in it and I think it will make the room feel serene. I ordered new natural linen curtains that filter light so the room won't be as dark. Serene and simpler are the words! A beige tablecloth toned down my pink desktop and we are thinking of painting the whole desk a creamy white. We shall see; it all takes time and energy. Onward!

Kathryn Bechen home office

I have collected quotes for most of my life and a few months ago I sorted them all by topic and wrote them on pretty floral postcards. Four file boxes of them --- in the aqua boxes above. I call it my Quote Garden.

So I leave you today with these lifestyle thoughts from my Quote Garden:

"Waste neither time nor money, but make the best use of both. Without industry and frugality, nothing will do, and with them, everything." --Ben Franklin (I love Ben!)

"There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort." --Jane Austen

"A home-cooked meal offers comfort. Add a well-dressed table to your efforts and the result is a gesture of love." --Christi Carter

"The simplification of anything is always sensational." G.K. Chesterton

Wishing you all a blessed fall,

Kathryn :)

P.S. If you need help decluttering, organizing, and decorating your home on a dollarwise budget, I have several eBooks that can help you with all that. I purposely wrote them in a short tips format to make it easy.


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