1/17/18

January Declutter

Every January, I do a big declutter. I love it. I live for it. 

I get out trash bags and boxes, and I get after the toys, the clothes, the pencil drawer, the bathrooms...everything! I declutter like mad.


This all started 7 years ago when my mom came to visit while she was on a decluttering kick herself. She suggested I get rid of a few toys and a bulky coffee table that was not suited for our house. I was liberated by her suggestion. It had never occurred to me get rid of stuff we didn't care for. The concept of decluttering was a revelation.


Well, I have not been the same since. I'm addicted to decluttering, not irresponsibly, but as needed. Trust me, it's needed. With kids, the stuff pours in like the air we breath - clothes, party favors, birthday gifts, trinkets from school, goody bags from the dentist office, Sunday school papers, rock collections, hand me downs, books, sports equipment. You get the idea.

What's left after the big declutter is a home that feels homey and is full of all the things we love and actually use.

Don't tell my kids I got rid of some children's books this year that were the worst. The results, we read more! When our lovely, curated collection of books is out on the coffee table, it's much more appealing (to both kids and adults) than a bookshelf crammed full of sub par literature that came with a kids meal at Chick-fil-a!

 

 books out temporarily while I sort - most will go back on the shelf

It feels good to have what we love and love what we have.

It's okay to enjoy an item for a time and then part ways.

It feels good to have space. It's easier to clean. It's therapy. It makes for a more beautiful home in my opinion.


My biggest tip and strategy for decluttering is lay it all out there - whatever category you are tackling - and decide what you want to keep. I call this "shop your own stuff." What would you buy again today? What would the ideal be if someone gave you permission to be honest and just keep what you love and use?

Those questions give me freedom and help me decide what should stay and what should go.

What about you? Do you enjoy a good purge? Do you want to declutter but just can't seem to get a grip?

I'd love to continue this conversation. Please ask questions and I will do my best to be active in the comments.

1/10/18

Baby Girl Winter Wardrobe Update

We are having a legit winter over here, and it's awesome. Where we live, it has not been properly cold in two years. Winter is a means to coziness. I'm relishing coats, soups, fires, hot tea!

Even though I welcome winter, the last burst of cold temperatures exposed our wardrobe inadequacies, especially for Caroline. Girl needed some boots! Also, I was kinda embarrassed because everything she was wearing was so small, old, or inappropriate for the weather.

Though I was not planning on buying anything but groceries in January, I found myself click click clicking away on Amazon. I've written about Fiream clothes before and have had a few questions since.

So I thought I'd update: I love them. I find the quality to be good. I'd say they are comparable to Old Navy or Target. I like that all items are 100% cotton. My girls love the fun prints. They do fade over time, but so do the nicer brands of clothing we own like Boden, Gap, and Hannah Andersson. For the many many times I have to wash these clothes, I think they have held up just fine.

And the coat?! How cute. It's reversible.



I often find myself conflicted about children's clothes. One one hand, kids are so hard on clothes I don't want to shell out the cash. On the other hand, this is their one childhood and I want them to dress adorable. This brand has really solves my dilemma.




We are in a much better place with Caroline's clothes, and I did not spend a fortune. Win-win.

Have you tried this brand?
I think their boy stuff is adorable, too.

Links are Amazon affiliate links.

1/4/18

January Goals + Simple Green Smoothie Recipe

I'm not making any resolutions this year, but I do have 2 goals for January

1. No alcohol

2. Drink a green smoothie every day

Here's my favorite recipe for 1 small green smoothie.

1/2 unsweetened almond milk
small handful frozen kale
(Blend these together first. Very important step. It really blends the greens nicely so you don't get any large bits of kale. No thank you.)

add 1/2 cut up banana
some frozen mango, about 5-6 large pieces


Blend and maybe add a tad bit of water if it needs more liquid. That's it!

Podcast: The Lazy Genius Makes a Smoothie
A Drinking Lover's Guide to Temperance 
 

1/2/18

What Worked in 2017

Happy New Year! I adore this season. The serenity and calm of January is glorious to me after the hustle of Christmas.

But before I dive into the new year, I enjoy a look back at what worked the year before. This idea was inspired by Anne Bogal of Modern Mrs. Darcy.

What worked in 2017

1. The fruit bowl. Mid year, I started keeping a huge bowl of apples, bananas, and clementines on the counter. My kids ate so much more fruit as I made these items grocery staples. And it looks pretty, too!


2. Sending throw-away bottled water in school lunches. A pack of bottled water is $2.00 a week and I don''t have to worry about kids keeping up with their water bottles, which was a huge problem at the beginning of the school year. They have plenty to keep up with, especially in winter with coats, hats, etc. For some reason they could not handle the water bottle situation, and they were always losing their nice water bottles.

3. The 10 item wardrobe. I have written about this many times. The 10 item wardrobe is a small collection of clothes that is very well curated and suited to my lifestyle. Using this method I shop less and feel so much more put together. I bought Jennifer Scott's e-course and loved it!

4. Walmart grocery pick up. Need I explain? I saved so much time, money, and energy by picking up my groceries. Sick kids, rowdy kids, too many kids - we just sat in the car and waited for the lovely Walmart employee to load up the car. This service ministers to my soul.

5. Audio books for kids. When school started this fall, there seemed to be no time to read aloud. So I downloaded 19 hours of the Ramona books, and we listened to the entire series just going back and forth to school. It was a big win!

A couple things that did not work in 2017

1. Jeans. I do not feel comfortable in jeans! Is is just me? Do I need to try a new brand or is it all jeans?
My aunt says these are great. Maybe I'll give them a try.

2. Blogging. I just could not keep up a blogging routine. Hope this changes.

What about you? What worked? What didn't?

12/21/17

Teacher Christmas Gift Ideas (File this post away for next year.)

We adore our teachers. I could cry thinking about how dear they are and how much they have loved our kids over the years. I want to celebrate them!

In the past, teacher gifts have sneaked (snuck?) up on me. But not so much now that I have become a little more seasoned school mom. If I could, I would buy every teacher a $100 gift card to their favorite restaurant. But... a few more realistic ideas...

Ideas of things that express our gratitude but also don't junk up their life.

Idea 1: Poinsettias
This is what we gave this year. My friend gave me the idea. I got most of them to our teachers early in the month so they could enjoy them all December long. Bonus: it was done early.

 

Idea 2: A personal gift wrapping party! My friend, Jessica, says this is her go-to gift for teachers. Some pretty wrapping paper, some tape, a nice bar of dark chocolate. Getting some gift wrap on sale for next year is a good idea. I also like the idea of getting some really special, upscale wrapping that is a step up of from Target or Walmart. Etsy has some great options.


Idea 3: This third idea takes some forethought and is a little labor intensive. Make a batch of the Pioneer Woman cinnamon rolls and give some pretty napkins and paper plates to go along with them. Our teachers went crazy for this a few years ago.



Gift cards are always appreciated I'm sure, and I have gone that route many times. But as we have more and more teachers in our life, these ideas are better suited to our budget but still express our big, big love we have for them.

In full disclosure, I did not give gifts to Caroline's teachers. She only goes one day a week. I totally dropped the ball and forgot. Maybe I can show our love for them on New Year's or Valentine's. Which is a reminder that Christmas does not have to be the only time to give a gift.

What's your go-to teacher gift? Ideas?!

12/18/17

TGI...Christmas Break!

Hello out there! Merry Christmas!

Over here we are thrilled, thrilled that it is Christmas break. With school winding down, so do all the parties and hoop la that go with it.

 

I have found the way to enjoy the season is to embrace and love the things we do and be proud of the things that we don't do.

we do...
put up a tree/ decorate the house
go to the amazing music services at church
buy family gifts
buy teacher gifts
watch Christmas movies
make hot chocolate
make the Pioneer Woman's cinnamon rolls
go to Christmas parties


we don't...
go see Santa
make gingerbread houses
do excessive baking/make sugar cookies and decorate with kids #nope
send holiday cards (love receiving! but I don't send)
give neighbor and friend gifts
do a family advent devotional #aintnobodygottimeforthat

 

All this could change one day, but for now this is where the lines fall.

My kids are happy as can be with a cup of hot chocolate, a fire, and a strand of lights in their rooms. Life is stressful, add in all the Christmas extra and its beyond too much. We have to be ruthless as we pick and choose for the sake of our souls!


A few of my Christmas favorites from this year and years past are....

these citrus ornaments made them last year! so pretty

a couple of playlists on Spotify - Christmas Peaceful Piano and Navidad Instrumental
I'm convinced my children behave better when there is instrumental music playing.

a movie - The Apartment - This is not a kids' movie. Actually, it's a little dark and its not exclusively a Christmas movie. But it takes place around Christmas. It won best picture in 1960. If you like old movies, you'll love it. You can rent it on Amazon for $2.99.

hot, peppermint tea - goes great with anything chocolate
chai tea 

thought this was a super helpful gift guide, The Very Best Gift Guide for People You Sort of Know

lastly, a must read.... Christmas Guidance for Moms

What about you? What do you do? What don't you do?

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