3/29/19

Happy Birthday to Me

[I started writing this on my birthday, March 27th, but I'm just now getting around to hitting publish.]

Today, I am 36 years young!

I'm making myself a flourless chocolate cake (it was too die for, btw), and I told my husband that the only thing I want for my birthday is a gift card to the Aveda salon where I get my haircut. He delivered.

I am living my best life, and I am being totally serious. I love spending my days taking care of my family and home. I adore my smart, funny, oh so sweet and ridiculously good looking husband. I do not take my health for granted.

Every Tuesday when I get my Walmart pickup order and fill my car up with gas, I think, "Wow, I have a good life!"

I have all that I need and most of what I want. Not that everything is perfect, far from it. But the good far outweighs the bad.

My theme lately, a phrase that keeps going through my mind is "edit, edit, edit."

Keep the main thing the main thing. "Throw off everything that hinders."

What's most worthy of my time?

God's word/church
people/ family/ relationships
the work I'm called to do/ home

Put the phone down!

I'm thankful. Happy birthday to me!



 P.S. dress - Walmart

1/15/19

#zerofoodwaste Cinnamon Toast

One of my favorite things to make with the ends of the bread is cinnamon toast as an after school snack. I literally used to throw every end piece of bread to our dogs. 

Now we go through way too much bread to justify not doing something with the ends.

So it's cinnamon toast or oven baked French toast.


Not wasting food is a discipline and a learned skill that I have not always been good at. It takes organization, practice, and a willingness to eat leftovers and food that you may not be totally in the mood to eat.


Debtkickinmom has a great meal planning video about not wasting food! I highly recommend it if your are legitimately interested in reducing your food waste and saving money.


Having a regular shopping day helps me avoid waste. Instead of going to the grocery store on a whim when we run out of food, I have a set day that I evaluate the food we have and make a plan. The regular grocery day also helps me learn how much food we go through in a week. I learn our rhythms and routines which is especially helpful when buying produce or any food that spoils quickly.

2 gallons of milk
3 loaves of bread
a bag of apples
1 head of lettuce
8 bananas
3 avocados
1 jar peanut butter
18 eggs

I know these things because I've been keeping track. It makes it shopping easy and I don't over buy.


Of course we all have to throw food out occasionally. We don't have to get it perfect. But it's worth thinking about. 

Thoughts?

.....

an old post on this topic

1/11/19

Winter Faves

We are having some lovely winter weather over here, sunny but cold (my absolute favorite). As I type, I'm sitting by a fire in my slippers in a mostly quiet house smack dab between coffee and cocktail hour. I thought it was a fine time to share some of our best wintry things.

1. Primary puffer coats

The kids got these for Christmas. These coats are so fun! They come in bold colors and are light yet warm. I sized up so they hopefully can wear them next year, too.



2. Budget Bytes chicken and wild rice soup with mushrooms added. This soup is for your body and your soul. My whole family raved about it and I was shocked. I knew at least 1.5 children would hate it. But to my surprise it was a win all around.


3. A good book

Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan




This book is about the relationship between Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis.  Their love story is truly remarkable, and I think this book really does it justice.

4. Relaxing TV

Jerry Seinfields's Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. Stephen and I started watching this for the second time through, and it is straight up therapy for us. If feels good to laugh our cares away after the kids are tucked in bed.


 
5. Revlon Super Lustrous Pearl lipstick in the color red lacquer. This time of year all the color is lost from my face. This orangey-red brightens it up and is a nice contrast to winter colors. It's the perfect bright, but not too bright.



I'm cautious with my recommendations. I like them to be vetted, tried and true things I've used,  bought, watched, read, eaten, tried, or worn.
 ......

What about you? What's your favorite wintry thing this year?

Favorite winter things post 2016

1/4/19

It's a New Year!

Happy New Year!

I hope your Christmas was merry and you are rolling into 2019 with a smile. Our Christmas was in the good-to-great, full of it's usual tensions but in the end the kids were happy. Adults, too.




Truthfully, I grow weary of the holiday and crave normal life by the time December 25th gets here. A friend of mine confessed that she too loves the mundane. "I shine in the boring," she says. Yes, I feel the same!

January, I'm your girl. I'm thrilled to get back to regular meals, cleaning routines, and exercise regimens. There are only so many cinnamon rolls you can enjoy in this life.

This time of year is always fun to look behind and look ahead with some reflection. What worked in 2018? What would I like to work on in 2019?

Let's start with what worked -

1. Theme days + weekly routine

meal plan Monday
to-do Tuesday
catch all Wednesday
busy Thursday
play/relax Friday
prep for rest Saturday
rest Sunday

I have never felt so regularly on top of things as an adult since giving each day of the week a theme!
Especially To-do Tuesday when I handle all administrative duties that I normally put off as long as I can.

2. Running

When my 4th grader signed up for the school's cross country team in September, I took up running to help him train. Much to my surprised I loved it! I found it to be so therapeutic and a great way to just run it out - the stress, the carbs, the general irritations that come with parenting and family life. I try to go 3-4 times a week for a couple of miles at a time. It's the best! I don't dread it at all. In fact, I crave it.

My husband started running, too. We even ran on a vacation. Who are we?!

3. Marco Polo

Marco Polo is a video app that lets you leave video messages for friends. Two of my best collage friends and I got on it this summer and we have messaged each other nearly every day since. It has been the most soul satisfying thing to connect with these dear friends. We talk about literally everything...marriage, parenting, style, parenting style, and our cats! We all have fabulous cats.
 
4. Quitting wine

I'm not saying I will never drink another glass of wine (I love wine), but for the most part I quit wine. Since I was 12 years old I have had on and off migraines. They are hereditary. My grandmother and 2 of my aunts have had a similar life long struggle. I have pin pointed that red wine is a big trigger. So I quit drinking wine and the headaches are GONE. It's funny - I've switched to liquor, enjoying a gin and soda or a bourbon on the rocks. Never felt better. Cheers!

5. Minimalism

I have long been a fan of a good declutter. I read Marie Kondo in 2014. But I would have never claimed minimalism as part of my identity until this year.

In 2018 I was ruthless about not only getting rid of unnecessary things but also about not acquiring new things. I did a 5 month "fast" from buying clothes for myself and I essentially quit shopping except consumable goods or to replace worn out items. I'm looking at you, new sheets. I worked hard on re-wiring my brain and habits. (This deserves its own post.)

With Christmas just behind us, I'm compelled to share that because I was so restrained about not buying things this year, all the Christmas gifts were much more cherished and enjoyed - both the gifts we gave among our immediate family and the ones gifted from extended family as well. Also, we have 2 winter birthdays and instead of being grossed out by more gifts, there is actually room for these new things.

I want to manage my stuff, not have my stuff manage me! This was a breakthrough year for that.

Looking ahead. I don't have a New Year's resolution, but I chose a word for the year.

SLEEP

My whole life I have struggled to be a good sleeper, even in infancy and babyhood. So this year I want to focus on sleep. Everything about life is easier and better when we have rested well. I'm not quite sure if I will master the art of good sleep this year, but by golly I'm going to try! Tips?

What about YOU? What were your successes in 2018? Your ambitions for 2019?

Thanks for hanging around this little ol' site! Love and Happy New Year to each of you!

Amazon Associate Links

12/12/18

We got a Roomba

Actually it's an ILIFE V3s PRO Robotic Vacuum. Same difference. It's a robotic vacuum. My mom generously gave it to us because we have 4 kids, 3 pets, and my 9 year loved "playing" with it so much at her house.


I posted this picture on Instagram and received a handful of questions and a request for a blog post.

Since I'm new to the robotic vacuum scene, I can't speak too much on the issues, but I will say I'm considering walking barefoot through my house after years of never doing so. There's a lot less grit and grime on the floor.

It works! Will it fix all my housekeeping woes? No. But it helps.

The most satisfying thing about it is emptying the compartment that traps all the dirt. It will blow your mind! No way a human can sweep all that up. Also, it goes under things - the beds, the sofa, the chairs. It's pretty sophisticated and rarely gets stuck or has an issue getting over a threshold or rug. It's a win-win-win.

If you're considering getting one, I say go for it.

How does the Roomba compare to the one I have? I think it's known for being quieter. But other than that, the ILIFE V3s PRO is treating me just fine. 

....
 
Hilarious...
This is What Happens When a Roomba Meets a Pile of Dog Poop at 1:30 A.M. 

....

links are Amazon Associate links

12/10/18

Decorating for Christmas - Low Key (Low Cost)

Being completely honest, Christmas blows the budget. Rounding up a few hundred dollars to buy gifts is not such a big deal, but the cumulative effect of decorations, cards, holiday food, babysitters for parties, a December birthday thrown in, and all the unforeseen expenses - it adds up.


Over time we have curated our holiday expenditures and cut the things that are low on the totem pole. BUT if I have the opportunity to dial it back even more, I'm not gonna lie I get a saver's high.

All this to say, I'm pretty proud of my low key (low cost) Christmas decorations this year. It didn't start out that way though. December One I was psyched to go to Target and see what Joanna Gaines had to offer, but when the time came to part with my actual dollars - I thought twice.

I texted my mom and asked if she had any brass candlesticks I could borrow. She did! I had a bee in my bonnet to copy Caroline's mantel with the ivory and gold tones. I love how it turned out!

 

Along with the decor I already had (kids' art, advent calendar, nativity set), I found a huge Pyracantha bush in an empty lot on my street. It took the clippers to it and made a few Christmasy arrangements.

 

Besides the tree, a couple strands of lights, and 2 wreaths for $12.99 total - the rest of my decor was free. Either we already owned it, or I borrowed it, or I simply brought the outside in with my clippings and Christmas tree branches.

 

The hominess of Christmas is my favorite aspect of the season (besides Jesus, of course). It made my heart happy to get resourceful with the decorations instead of swiping my Target card.
Mom life lends itself to a near constant struggle between creating versus consuming. It felt good to create.

 

What about you? Do you love Christmas decorations?  Do you find joy in restraint and taking the more homemade route?

Reminds me of a favorite quote...

The enemy of art is the absence of limitations 
- Orson Wells
.....

A Christmas post I wrote last year

11/21/18

What are you getting your kids for Christmas?

Lately, my kids have been "playing martial arts" - it's what they call it. They pretend fight in our front yard for large portions of the afternoons after school. They also like to sword fight with sticks (yikes! I can't watch).
It's good, clean fun - the kind I read articles about how kids need to play outside more without adult supervision.

Point being, mostly...they don't play with toys. So I am a little stumped as what to get them for Christmas. Sure they have extensive lists, but really the fun is in the list making not receiving ALL the things that just don't hold up.

So...what are you getting your kids for Christmas?

Here's a few suggestions from Christmases past that have been winners, things in which the glory has lasted more that 12 seconds and I'm not chunking in the trash come January.

We have spent hours on our spider swing, adults too!

 


The only toy you really ever need. These are worth every penny. Buy as many as you can afford.

 

Tempera paint sticks
These are so fun. The tempera paint sticks make vivid pictures but without the crazy mess of getting out the paint. Tip: be careful to put the tops back on because they do dry out. 



balance bike
Balance bikes are the best for learning to ride a big bike. Caroline is getting one this year. Shh!


Much to my surprise, this Kidizoom watch was a huge success. My kids received these last Christmas when they were really pushing us for a techy gift. It satisfied their craving for screen time, but it's way less memorizing than an iPad. Way less.
VTech Kidizoom smartwatch




What gifts have been a big win at your house?
What are you getting your kids this year?

Links are Amazon Associate Links
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...