Imperfect People

Imperfect People in love with a perfect God

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Imperfect People - Imperfect People in love with a perfect God

Grace for the GREEN girl

Becoming “green”really and truly is such a journey.  I never considered myself “green” I just liked to do things that were frugal and made sense for our family and for our planet.

When making a purchase or planning a meal it seemed I would always ask myself, “What is the healthiest AND least expensive option?” I was almost a game like I had to be the house maker of the year all the while setting unreachable goals and expectations.

Even when I was out with the kids until 5 pm, grabbing dinner on the way home wasn’t an option because, it cost money, and it’s not healthy.  In turn I would get home with tired, cranky, and hungry children.  It was dinner time so I am left to scramble around the kitchen to see if there is anything I could call dinner for the evening….homemade and healthy of course.

Sometimes it became almost a competition with myself and it has also just become down right exhausting.

Turn page…

Today I find myself in a very REALISTIC season of life.  My girls are no longer babies and I am starting to drastically declutter my life with commitments and STUFF.  All that to say I am more clearly seeing what truly matters and asking myself a new question….“What is the less stressful option?”

Let me tell you girlfriend, This question is a game changer.  If the “BEST” i.e. healthiest and greenest option leaves you stressed out and wanting to go hide in a closet with a box of cookies…then the true BEST option, for this time, is the easiest.

imperfect tree

Here is how that question has changed my life lately:

There are days we have homemade pizza made with homemade dough complete with fresh milled flour and pizza sauce canned from my backyard tomatoes.
And there are days that we have little cesears because it is hot, and ready, and five dollars.

Sometimes dinner guest have dishes and linens because “green girls don’t use disposable dishes”
Sometimes green girls use disposable dishes.  

I reduce and reuse like a champ
But I don’t recycle (I know green girls cardinal sin, but we don’t have curbside and having trash build up in my garage is a stressor I am not willing to try again).

There are seasons when I get bushels of apples to make my own homemade apple-everything
There are seasons when I appreciate the wonderful people that are Mott’s applesauce. 

I made my own deodorant once.
I decided store bought deodorant will help me to keep my friends.

Ocasionally I walk the kids home from school because we live close and it’s more “green”
However most the time I don’t because walking about a mile with 4 kids (my neighbors as well)  7 and younger isn’t always fun and usualy takes forever.

Sometimes I use the food dehydrator to make my own fruit roll-ups
And sometimes I buy the expensive “good for you ones” because they are easier. 

When my kids were babies we would use cloth diapers at home
And not when we were out. (side note to those that cloth diaper 100% of the time,  I vote you deserve a trophy) 

Semi-unrelated: Most of my green friends did natural child birth
I didn’t because there was no trophy.  

Most of the time I make my own cleaners
But nothing gets your whites whiter than good-ole-bleach.

The last time my kids had a cough, I tried all kinds of herbs and teas…
And then I bought robitussin.  

I have been known to repurpose boxes and newspaper as a weed barrier in the garden.  Which makes for less trash.
I also get secretly almost gleeful every time I have another bag full of trash because that is less CRAP in my house. 

I used to make my own yogurt.
I find the grocery store does an excellent good job at this, and for now I don’t want to take that away from them. 

So there you have some GRACE for the green girl.  While I do make green choices where possible.  I also am ok with doing what is EASY when needed too.

How do you give yourself grace with your green choices? 

Hills worth dying on this fall

School has started back for us!  My inner rebel fights a schedule but I secretly love the predictability and routine that school gives us.  The newness of this time of year has stirred in me a desire to commit to a few priorities I want to fiercely protect.

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I always have grand ideas about what is important to our family but I rarely have the backbone or strategy to impliment anything.

Thankfully, one of my BFFS, i.e. soul sister, ie. new blogger gave me the idea during one of our summer pool-dates, i.e wear the kids out dates, i.e counseling sessions.   “Hills worth dying on” she called it.  The few things in the day to day that are worth putting her feet down, worth scheduling around, and worth fighting for.  The few things that are worth protecting for their family.


Taking her inspiration and after much thought, I also came up with a few hills worth dying on that are important to us right now.  This is certainly will look different in different stages of life so for now I will just decide on what’s important for the fall.  And here it is:

1)Family Morning devotion time:
Mornings can be crazy for everybody but we always have at least 15 min while the girls eat breakfast at the table, when we can read them a devotion.  It’s important to start our day off in the right direction, get good conversation going and help give our day some direction.  It’s a Hill worth dying on this fall. We plan to use these two this year (click on the picture for more info):

2)Reclaiming the bod
I have never been much of a fitness buff, but here lately I have gotten into a few classes at the gym and some yoga DVD’s at home that I really REALLY love.  I feel better, I look better, and as they say, “When mama’s happy everybody’s happy.”  So this mama makes working out a hill worth dying on!

3) Turning my phone OFF for 1 hour a day:
I work from home. (If you need T shirts, polos or promo items you should msg me!) It’s great that I can set my own schedule but I also have to guard and protect the times when I’m working and when I’m home even when I’m in the same place.  Turning my phone off for one hour when the girls first get home from school has been REVOLUTIONARY for me.  I have tried just turning it on silent but something about turning it totally off is just magical.  It helps me remember that the most important place for me to be, for that hour, is with them.

4) Weekly alternating date nights: We implemented this a little bit last spring but look forward to scheduling this every week in the fall.

The schedule will be something like this:
Week 1: Mommy Daddy date night
Week 2: Mommy and Little 1 date night/Daddy and little 2 date night
Week 3: Mommy and Daddy date night
Week 4: Mommy and Little 2 date night/Daddy and little 1 date night

And there you have it. That is what we have committed to for the upcoming season.  What about you?  Have you made any new commitments for the new school  year? What are your “hills worth dying on?”

I love to hear your comments!

The Beauty Experiment book review and challenge

The Beauty Experiment is a true story about the simple, honest, and pretty hilarious Phoebe Baker.   After having a baby and re-locating to Hong Kong she first sought refuge in the mall, buying beauty pick-me-ups for comfort. But she soon realized there was something deeper to self worth than a pretty dress and new mascara.  Enter in her year long radical experiment that revealed surprising insights into her marriage, her family and herself. (source) 

The Beauty Experiment

About The Beauty Experiment by Phoebe Baker Hyde: I looked at my reflection and despaired. As an exhausted young mother I felt ugly and saw that a new dress or face cream would never help. I was at risk of passing on a habit of feeling miserable about my looks to my baby girl—if nothing changed.
Soon afterward Phoebe Baker Hyde made a vow: to give up new clothes, makeup, haircuts, and jewelry in hopes of revealing something she had always paid lip service to but never quite believed in—her inner beauty. The Beauty Experiment chronicles Hyde’s quest for self-acceptance in nothing but her own skin. In thoughtful, exquisite prose, Hyde holds up a mirror to all women and shows how perfectionism can keep us from achieving what we really want: happiness, confidence, and serenity.

I was skeptical about this read at first.  I’m a pretty simple girl.  I don’t shop…like ever, I wear cheap makeup, I get my haircut bi-annually.  And I for sure never pay for any fancy nails or beauty treatments.

But apparently I am NOT the majority on this.  The salon industry ALONE makes on average 21 BILLION dollars a year (yes I said BILLIONS) and that doesn’t even include makeup, clothing, jewelry, or even plastic surgery!

Beauty is big business.  And it’s no wonder with the emphasis our culture puts on being…and staying young and beautiful.  Even when our REAL life is full of chasing children, wiping floors, and car pools.  A product promising to make us beautiful sells in a heartbeat!
Her blog provides a beauty wealth calculator where you can figure out how much a year you personally spend on beauty.  Mine was pretty low at $200 but I mean sheesh that is still $200!!

I am certainly not immune to caring what I look like.  I too have an “inner voice” as she calls it telling me that shirt doesn’t look right, I need more concealer and, if only my abs were tighter.

Phoebe embarks in several beauty experiments and chronicles what she learns along the way.  She also challenges her readers to have a beauty experiment of their own by trying out one of the below

Experiment Activities:

1. Identify your major cosmetic crutch and go without it for two weeks, noticing any changes. I think it takes about two weeks to really start feeling positive results, whereas negative ones start in one week!2. When in need of a new garment, go shopping without money and enjoy the “costume box approach” to the world’s malls. Then go back to the same stores a second time and purchase any items you still want/remember. Gauge how your habits and shopping experience shifted.3. Cover all but a small section of the bathroom mirror in your house for a week. Take notes on any changes, particularly interruptions of mental flow.


Inner Voice Activities:

1. Transcribe a recent inner conflict you’ve had as if it were two separate people arguing in dialogue. Label these voices “Me” and “Argumentative Inner Voice.” Then, write out a monologue featuring the AIV riffing on the problem, as if or she could hold forth without limit. Afterward answer a few questions about that inner voice: What is it afraid of? What are it’s survival strategies? What does it want to protect you from?

2. Draw a timeline chronicling the development of this inner voice, adding all the influences that have combined to form it over the years. Start as a tiny girl and go all the way to now. What “injuries” or setbacks has this inner voice suffered?

3. Write a love letter to your inner voice, explaining that you find him or her useful and appreciate the help, but would like to reframe your relationship. Explain how.

It’s amazing how these simple experiments can help open your eyes to what is truly important and loving the real you.
In short I think this is a great read and resonates with women everywhere.

As a mother of two girls I especially love a book emphasizing the beauty underneath our skin.
Phoebe Baker Hyde

About Phoebe Baker Hyde

Phoebe Baker Hyde has written on self, place and culture for The New York TimesThe Los Angeles, and The Wall Street Journal. She holds degrees in Anthropology and English from the University of Pennsylvania and Master of Fine Arts in writing from University of California at Irvine. She currently lectures and teaches in Boston.

Find out more about Phoebe at her website, connect with her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.

Thanks TLC book tours for letting me be a part of this review!

tlc tour host

Probiotics and keeping your kids well. Our experience

I have been so impressed with the amazing power of probiotics in our family in keeping us well.

You may have heard about probiotics in correlation with digestion.  And while it is true that they help regulate your digestive track they do much more than just that.

Yes it’s the good bacteria in yogurt but we take it in a tablet form getting MUCH more of these good guys in our system.  We have been taking a daily probiotic for about a year and a half now and I can’t help but notice…we sure haven’t seen our doctors office in a while!

Probiotics can provide multiple benefits for your immune system. When probiotics are abundant in your body, it’s harder for bacteria that cause illness to get a foothold. Some also keep you healthy by making bacteriocins, which suppress the growth of harmful bacteria.-Dr. Oz

About two years ago our youngest daughter had a double ear infection.  The doctor prescribed an antibiotic and sent us home.

I guess that is standard procedure but I was a little disappointed she was prescribed the SAME antibiotic that gave her a horrible rash only 6 months before that!
When we got home from the doctor I was very hesitant to give her the antibiotic so I did some homework to see if there was anything else I could do first.  What I found was very interesting.

The word “antibiotic” at its root meaning translates “no life” And I’m sure you don’t need me telling you “probiotic” means pro life.  If that weren’t enough to raise a few eyebrows, what about the countless side effects caused by antibiotics including the NEED for a probiotic?? What in the world?

Essentially we all have good and bad bacteria in our bodies.  We need more of the good to fight off the bad.  The good guys and the bad fighting each other in our body (I’m sure that’s how they describe it in the medical textbooks.)



Yes antibiotics have their place, and we haven’t completely sworn them off but  in my humble opinion they are prescribed WAYYYYY too much.  The best defense is a good offense so I decided to try what probiotics could do for our family.

Back to the ear infection story…I ultimatley decided to start giving my daughter a probiotic and treat her ear infection with garlic drops.  Yes garlic drops.  I got the idea from keeper of the home but essentially you just heat olive oil and fresh chopped garlic on the stove until it is warm but not too hot.  Then simply put a few drops in each ear 3 times a day. Her ear infection was completely gone in 24 hours without a drop of the prescribed antibiotic.  I continued the drops for about 3 days and both our girls have had a probiotic pretty much every day since (over 2 years ago).  That was the last time we have had an ear infection OR a sick visit to the doctor.

Did you catch that!!? That means no waiting in a crowded waiting room, no co-pays, no trips to the pharmacy and more time feeling WELL!!


I was so impressed at how quickly the natural remedy worked I was hooked!  I loaded up my “natural medicine cabinet” And have been fascinated with natural remedies since.

The one thing I have learned over anything else is how amazingly beneficial it is to take a daily probiotic.

When the stomach flu hit our school so bad the teacher sent him a note….we had one tummy ache, for one afternoon, and that was it.
When our kids shared drinks with a child who we later realized had “hand foot and mouth disease”…nothing.
When ALL of their friends they play with on a regular basis had the flu, we just had a little runny nose.

I’m not nieve enough to think they make our kids made of steel but I can’t help but notice they sure seem to keep their immunity up!

I recently had what I thought to be the start of a UTI.  I loaded up on probiotics and cranberry juice, two days later, no more symptoms.

If you decide to give it a try I suggest taking them daily not just when you feel sick.  The idea is to keep the immunity wall up instead of trying to build it when you are under attack.

What kind should you get?

We have tried several kinds but I have been the most happy with Kyo-dophilus from (Lucky vitamin is VERY affordable.  I love them for all my hippy remedies).

Kyo-dophilus also comes in several adult options and our kids LOVE the children’s chewable variety.  They call them “marshmallow vitamins” and I even offer them as a treat!  Bribe them with vitamins…that’s what i’m talking about.

I like this kind because, from what I have researched, they seem to remain the most stable and actually make its way down to do it’s job instead of many varieties that can be destroyed as soon as they are injested due to stomach acid and body temperatures.

Every time I hear people talk about getting on antibiotics I want to shout knowing that often there is a better way!

We are so thankful for our daily pro-biotic.  What are your thoughts of pro-biotics?  Have you had any experience good or bad?

I wannabe a weirdo

We are all subject to peer pressure whether we admit it or not.  But when your peers are doing some questionable things its time to go against the grain.  Here is a snapshot of our typical “normal” peer in America:

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, at least 8 million Americans are at least one month behind on their mortgage payments at this point.

Average household debt in the United States has now reached a level of 136% of average household income.  In China, average household debt is only 17% of average household income.

Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid.  Today,one out of every 6 Americans is on Medicaid.

The average US household credit card debt stands at $15,216 

Average mortgage debt: $148,443

Average student loan debt: $32,054 (source)

Of all countries, the United States has the highest rate of obesity. From 13% obesity in 1962, to 35.7% in 2010 (source)

55 percent of all marriages result in divorce. (source)

Research indicates that people who live together prior to getting married are more likely to have marriages that end in divorce. ” The Boston Herald

The average American spends 2.7 hours a day watching TV (source)

“More than ever before, work dominates people’s lives in this country” -Joanne B. Ciulla,

One-third of children age 8 – 17 believe their parent has been always or often worried or stressed out about things during the past month.


If the average “normal” American is financially upside down, unhealthy, overworked, in a bad relationship and stressed out…then I don’t think being normal sounds so fun.

Craig Groschel wrote a book (I highly recommend) called “Weird because normal isn’t working” that states, “when people describe his family as weird, he finds comfort.”  I couldn’t agree more.

The bible tells us: If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. John 15:19

“If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me first”.-Jesus

Living differently sometimes results in criticism.  Going with the crowd can be so easy that being “weird” requires seeking correct guidance and it isn’t always  the easiest route.  I don’t want our family to be a statistic.  I want us to be…well…weird.  

I want to be so WEIRD I save up to buy things and delay gratification instead of buying on credit.

I want to such a WEIRDO that I could stand living with less if it means I can have less stress and more time with my family.

I want to be the WEIRD family that guards the media that comes into our home.

I want to be so WEIRD that I eat food whose ingredients I can pronounce.

I want so be so WEIRD that I take INTENTIONAL time with my husband so we can still be in love years after the, “I do.”

And I want so be criticized for saying NO to something good so I can say YES to something great.

What do you think about all this weird talk.  Are you a weirdo too?

Media Minimization March week 1 what I have learned so far

Our first true test of this whole media minimization came quickly.  The second day of March was on a Saturday.  It was the first Saturday in ages we had NOTHING planed.

Not a birthday party, baby shower, or a single thing on the agenda.  It was FREEZING outside and we are sticking to 7 hours TOTAL of any screen time at all per WEEK.  (click here for why)

Sooooo what’s a family to do?

We got creative.  We went swimming under the dome at the local park, we did puzzles and went for ice cream after dinner.

I was worried the kids would rebel against the whole idea but they kind of like it.  The great thing about kids is their ability to go with the flow.  When the screen time is up, it’s up.  And it’s time to get creative.

For me, I have had a hard time justifying what is “work” and legitimate internet time and what isn’t.  So the rule obeyer in me (she’s very small but still there) decided to give up instagram and any status updates (facebook or twitter) for the month as well.  Those are much more of a sacrifice for me (I miss you instagram) but in sacrifice we grow BIG time.

You know how many people have missed my updates?  Let me count…..Hmmm…..ZERO.  Not only can I live without social media, it can also get along just fine without me.  

Bryan is limiting TV and other media as well.  We have MANY more conversations in the evening without computers or TV’s to compete with.  This whole experiment is way more tolerable together.  We hold each other accountable too.

But it’s not all happy puzzle time and ice cream either .  Media is not all bad.  Here are the cons I have experienced:

1) Status updates are kinda handy.  Anybody know how to fix a fridge?  And if you had to pick one would you choose a trampoline or swing set for your backyard?
(updates I have wanted to post lately)

2) I don’t take near as many pictures.  I never realized it but I was taking pictures mostly for social media purposes.  Please humor me and tell me how cute this little collage is of Ava at the mall the other day.  She was dancing in front of the mirror.


At the end of the day this teeny tiny, hardly mentionable “sacrifice” helps remind me of the millions of people who have so much less than me.

Everyday, several times a day, when I stop myself from thumbing through my phone, I am reminded of HOW MUCH we have.  We are blessed beyond measure.  If limiting media can help remind me to enjoy the HERE and now, be present, and become less distracted…then I am all for it.

How to sell on ebay (the really simple and easy version)

I opened up an eBay account when I was in college.  I still remember my first purchase, a simple silver chain to replace my broken one.  Shortly after, I started selling some of my old formal dresses, accessories, textbooks etc.  Over 900 transactions later (WOW that is nuts)  I guess I have learned a few things about the wonderful world of eBay.   I have been asked more than once how to do it, so I figured why not write a blog post about it!

Being able to sell on eBay opens up a world of opportunity.  If you buy the wrong size and can’t take it back, just sell it on eBay.  If you got two of the same thing..sell it on eBay.  And if you have extra STUFF yet short on cash….eBay it is.  Your payment goes directly to paypal which is accepted almost everywhere online AND you can do a free transfer to your bank account!

If you have a smart phone or iPad there is an eBay app that makes all this even easier.  For many items that still have a bar code (books, dvd’s or items still in box)  You can simply scan the bar code and BAM your item is there.  You simply list the condition and short description and your done.

***WARNING*** Dust collectors on your shelf will start to look more like dollar bills and you won’t hold on to so much “just incase”  because money is much more fun than stuff.  It is an ideal way to de-clutter and get $$$.  Plus it’s way easier than you think…I promise

How to sell on ebay (the really easy and simple version)

How to sell on ebay (the really easy and simple version)

First things first..

1)  Decide what to sell

As their slogan says, “whatever IT is, you can find it on eBay”  so chances are you have PLENTY of stuff to sell.  You actually would be surprised how much.  Here are a few ideas to get your brain going:

-The china you never use

-The name brand serving dish too

-The fancy candle you will never burn

-The designer jeans that are too tight

-The toys in your parents attic

-The purse you don’t like

-The cute clothes the kids outgrew

-The heels that are too painful

-The book you already read

-The gift card you will never use

-DVD’s and video games

-Sorority, fraternity, or club memorabilia

-I have even sold plant bulbs and cuttings!

-And of course the gift that you can’t return

I once sold an Anderson Cooper poster (that I randomly had) for $100!

2) See if it is worth it

Not all items are worth your time and effort to list on eBay.  GENERALLY (especially when it comes to clothing)  If it is not name brand, or brand new, I wouldn’t waste your time.  Used items still have plenty of value (depending on condition) but a used shirt from wall-mart or worn out old shoes…not so much.

The best and simplest way to decide if your item has worth is to look it up on eBay.  From the homepage, just type in the search bar exactly what you would like to sell and see what comes up.

For examples sake, let’s say we have a vera bradley purse we would like to sell. First we would determine what style we have and type in a search

Typing in just “vera bradley” gave me 48,686 results….I’m not kidding.

For examples sake, let’s say we have a vera bradley purse we would like to sell. First we would determine what style we have and type in a search
Typing in just “vera bradley” gave me 48,686 results….I’m not kidding.

Typing “vera bradley purse dogwood(the pattern name)” narrowed it down to 137 listings
Typing “vera bradley purse dogwood caroline (the style name)” narrowed it down to 3 listings

They are listed from $140 to $170 which gives us an idea on where to list our (example) purse.

**It is not uncommon to find items listed for very high amounts but have NO bids. Listing a $100 purse for $400 is fine but it is highly unlikely it will sell. When deciding the price range of your item make sure you notice items that HAVE BIDS. You can also search “sold listings” to see what similar items are worth.

3)Should you get it appraised?
If it is old coins, baseball cards, jewelry or autographs, you might look into getting it appraised.

Before you do anything search your item to be sure it is worth something. My husband had a baseball card collection from when he was a kid. We searched several of the cards we thought would be of value. When we found he had a Ken Griffey Jr rookie card we new we had a gem. The card as is was MAYBE worth $20 BUT if I sent it to Beckett (the baseball card appraisal system) And got a good rating, we were looking at $100+ value. Getting an appraisal is, of course, not free. But you typically make more than your money’s worth IF what you have is of true value.

4) Listing your item:

(a)Assuming you already have an account with eBay, (if not go get one now) Your first step is to click sell, then choose a category. eBay makes this every easy by just typing on what you are selling then providing a list of possible category choices.

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(b)A picture is worth a thousand words: No matter what you are selling you want to make sure you get a good picture. eBay now allows up to 12 pictures uploaded of your item for FREE on each listing. You don’t have to be a professional photographer but don’t just plop your item on the floor and snap a few pics. Consider laying down a pretty backdrop, or if you have access to it, take a picture of your clothing on a mannequin! If nothing else, iron the clothes, get good lighting for your jewelry, and make sure your flash doesn’t shine out your books or DVD’s!

©Describe it like a salesperson: In every listing you have to describe the item you are selling. You must be 100% honest of the condition and wear of your item. Your feedback score and seller rating depend on it. That being said you also need to play your item up a little! What would a potential buyer love about your item? Why should they buy from you? Why are you getting rid of it? If you are selling multiple items will you combine shipping? All this information is helpful in buyers making a decision.

(d) The details: In every listing ebay has several details you must list like measurements, condition, brand, color etc. It is all spelled out right there for you and a good reminder for details you may want to add to your listing.

(e) Name your price: Having a low price will encourage bidding, but I typically set my price just below what I would like to receive for my item. That way if I get just one bid, at least I sold it and if more people bid, then I get more $$!

(f) Decide shipping cost: Anything under 13 ounces (including envelope) can ship first class which is typically $3 or less. Anything larger than that I typically like to weigh first to estimate shipping (all provided on their website). USPS also has several flat rate boxes which takes a lot of the guess work out it if fits it ships! More on shipping below…

5) Ship it

Saaa-wweeet!! Your item sold! Now you have to ship it out!

(a) Package your item up. I save all my boxes and padded envelopes to re-use for this. USPS also offers flat rate boxes, or you can buy 9X12 manilla envelopes pretty inexpensively in a box of 20 or more.

(b) Print your label: From the eBay home page click on “my eBay” From there you can see a list of your sold items. To the right of the item you just sold will be a “print shipping label” option. Click here. You will need a postage scale, food scale or any scale that measures ounces. Fill in the proper info provided by eBay and print your label right from your computer! i just print mine on a piece of paper then tape it to the package but if you want to by label paper than go for it.

Cha-Ching! You just made quick and easy money from stuff you didn’t want anyway!

6) Leave feedback. Don’t forget to list your feedback for the buyer. They should return the favor. The more feedback you have the more buyers trust you.

eBay offers many more details and tools here to help get you started. It is a very user friendly site. Now go sell something!

“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautifu”l. – William Morris

Pre-Christmas De-cluttering

In preparations for the upcoming big day we have been doing some serious de-cluttering around here. It feels so good to know that so much STUFF that was either un-needed or un-loved now has a new home. Making more room for what we do enjoy and making room for new gifts.

It started ilke this:

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And ended like this:

(pictured is the donate pile)

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The “sell” box ended up being the “attic” box. Inspired by the book Simplicity Parenting. I try to keep a limited number on the amount of toys out at a time. I rotate them periodically so they have all “new” toys!

I did however list several items on eBay and came out with about $170!

I just dropped off two additional huge bags of clothes to a local charity that donates to those in need. And had at least 2 big bags of broken toys and extra paperwork that were just straight up trash.

“I thank God for the things I do not own” -Saint Teresa of Avila

Having less clutter means we appreciate what we do have and gives us more space to LIVE.

And it couldn’t come at a better time!

Do you have a designated “de-cluttering” time?  Do you love a clean closet as much as I do?  

A different kind of Advent Calendar

I am pretty excited about this new advent calendar that I scored for $2 thrifting a few weeks ago.

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This is our first experience doing an advent calendar with the girls, and I don’t recall doing one as a kid so I was clueless as to what to put in each day. Internet searches mostly suggested candy which we don’t need and toys which we need even less.

My inner rebel can’t stand doing anything “normal” anyway. So this Christmas we decided to do an advent calendar full of fun activities and lots of ways to GIVE.

Here are a few examples:

1) Write a letter to a soilder (more like draw a picture for our 5 and 3 yr old)

2) Watch a christmas movie

3) Sing a Christmas song at dinner tonight

4) Make a craft for our nursing home friends

5) Deliver our crafts to our nursing home friends

6) Go see Christmas lights

7) Visit the downtown Christmas Celebration

8) Make Christmas Cookies

9) Share some Christmas cookies with a neighbor

10) Read the Christmas story from Luke

11) Act out the Christmas story

12) Put birthday candles in our dinner and sing happy birthday Jesus

13) Read a Christmas book

14) Have a blind taste test with christmas goodies to see which one you like best

15) Write an unexpected thank you note to someone i.e. teacher, janitor or waitress

16)Pick one or your favorite past activities and do it again

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I simply printed out our ideas on card stock and cut with cute scissors (To my perfectionist friends: regular paper and scissors also work just fine, I just had these on hand).

Real life “imperfect” application

  • So far, I am trying to incorporate things we are doing that day ANYWAY. For example on the evening I knew we were headed to the downtown christmas celebration I added that note in that day, or changed it around to fit the correct day.
  • Our crafts are nothing terribly impressive. And we started saving some of their crafts from pre-school to give away at nursing homes as well.
  • I let some events count for more than one day (making cookies one day then sharing the next as an example)
  • Notice how I don’t have 25. The few open days gives me grace to change some around or add to it with upcoming Christmas events. For example on the 23rd our church is helping to feed the hungry which would be a great thing to add. I’m sure we will also have friends over for dinner, a playdate, or Christmas party that will be perfect to add in that day

The main idea was to help us incorporate some intentional time to give back and enjoy the season. The kids look forward to seeing what is next each day!

Do you have an advent calendar? What are some of your creative Christmas traditions?

“Healthy” chocolate chip cookies recipe

Do I have any fellow chocolate chip cookie lovers out there? We make cookies on a regular basis around here. I have toyed with the original nestle toll house recipe and tweaked it just so, to make…in my humble opinion…very tasty, yet good for you cookies! They are not exactly like eating a stick of celery, but as far as cookies go, they are quite healthy.

You may or may not have all of these ingredients on hand. I have discovered myself to be quite the hippy these days with all kinds of crazy ingredients on the shelf. If you don’t have them on hand, maybe this will spark some imagination:

Original recipe:

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

¾ cup granulated sugar

¾ cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs

2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels

My recipe:

2 ¼ cups king arthur unbleached all purpose flour (any unbleached all purpose flour will do)

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1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

¾ cup coconut oil

1 cup sucanat (i get from lucky vitamin)
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1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large (free range) eggs

A few tablespoons of water to reach desired consistency

2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels

The results?

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And our kids like them. So I’‘m happy

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What do you think? Do you have a favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe?