Monday, December 11, 2017

Minimalism at Christmas Time

This is our first Christmas with a minimalist mentality.  I am viewing Christmas and gifts completely differently than I use to.  Here are a few things that have changed since last year.

Shopping for gifts
I use to shop and gather gifts for months leading up to Christmas, because I always hated heading out at the last minute and feeling rushed.  The only thing is when you start way ahead of time gathering stuff you end up with a lot of gifts and sometimes you end up buying things you don't really NEED.

This year I didn't buy anything ahead of time.  On November 30th I went to Target because I needed something for Emmett's school and while I was there I decided that would be a good time to get a few small things for the kids that they really need.

I got Emmett 2 small cars, one medium sized gift and 2 pairs of needed pants.
Calvin got only one thing that was needed and I think I will wrap up some of Emmett's baby toys for him to open.  After all a one year old has no idea if what they are getting is new or used.

Grant and I have never really given each other gifts, but this year we are going on a vacation so that is our gift to ourselves and each other.

Amount of gifts
In the past I always thought we needed to open a ton of gifts, the more the better.  Again you end up getting things just for the sake of having something to open.  I don't want to go through my whole house decluttering just to bring in a bunch of stuff we don't need.  So every gift I bought this year for the kids was something they either need or will help with imaginative play.

Christmas Decorations
Luckily a few weeks ago I went through all of our Christmas decorations and donated all of the stuff I felt we didn't need.

If you are interested you can watch that here.

Last night when I pulled all the boxes out I was so thankful that I had already gone through everything  because it was super easy to decorate.  I knew everything I had, I wanted to use.

Experience More
"Experience is the knowledge or mastery of an event or subject gained through involvement in or exposure to it."

This month we are planning to get out and really enjoy all of the Christmas activities that are going on.  Instead of spending our money on things we will be spending our money on experiences.


This is what 2016 gifts looked like!





Here is an article about why fewer toys will benefit your kid.


Friday, December 8, 2017

Count Down to Christmas Day 8

Everyone is officially sick.  Well at least I am and the kids and a lot of other people I know.  So all day today we have been inside the house.  We went out for about 10 minutes to ride bikes in the front yard, but that was it.  This cold/ flu is the worst!  It feels like its never going to end.  Today we have just been trying to survive ha ha.

Working on some important business!
 The disaster area that is my house right now!
 Lego, arts and crafts and lunch.
 Putting the apron on himself.
 Working on painting
 Some awesome ornaments my mom gave us from her collection.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Vlogmas Day 6 - The Polar Express

We went to Emmett's St. Nikolas Festival last night.  The kids wore their pajamas and rode the Polar Express.  We had a story read to us by an elf and we got to meet Santa!  It was a real humdinger of a night.  After all that excitement we drove around and looked at all the Christmas lights.

On the train and ready to ride!

Polar Express Train
The line to see Santa is never short!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017


 So everyone is starting to get sick, so yesterday and today we are going to just take it easy at home.  Nothing is worse than when you don't feel good, but you are out trying to do stuff.

I finally did something with the oranges ha ha .  I strung them up and added our little cut outs to them.  Its a cute decoration, and the good thing is when Christmas is over it goes in the trash.

 Yesterday we were stuck home so I thought it would be the perfect day to make a snow globe.  I had seen all these cute snow globes on pinterest and they looked super easy to make!  Well it was fun to make and was easy but it didn't turn out!  It looks like water from the bottom of the ocean.  I had a really good laugh when I shook it up and it looked like this.

Oh well at least we had fun!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Vlogmas Day 3 and a Baby Shower!

Yesterday we went to my cousin Kristen's baby shower.  It was such a nice day to have a party outside, the weather was perfect.  Everyone had a great time and she got a ton of diapers!
The theme was beer and babies, which meant that men women and children could come.  Such a great idea!

The center pieces were beautiful! 

Sunday, December 3, 2017


It is so fun to open the advent calendar everyday!  Now that Emmett is 3 almost 4 he really gets excited to see what we are going to get.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Count down to Christmas Day 1

Everyday this month I will be putting up a vlog on you tube to count down to Christmas, so why not do a post as well.

I was planning on having the kids help me decorate, but they are a little too young still.  Last night I got out all of the Christmas decorations and set all of them out on the shelves, leaving it unfinished so Emmett can help with some of it.

We started the morning out with our Lego advent calendar from Grandma and Papa and our count down chain we made.  The count down to Christmas is so much fun with kids.  We went to the library and checked out lots of books about Christmas so we can  get into the festive mood.

I tried making dehydrated oranges to make it smell good and look festive.  They are pretty but they don't really smell like anything.  I will still string them up and see how long they last.

 Only 23 Days left to go...

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Thanksgiving 2017

This year we had Thanksgiving at our house.  Normally we go to my parents' or someone else will invite us all over, but we decided with all the chaos of having 2 little kids we were better staying home.  It was really nice because we didn't have to impress anyone or have the stress of having the dinner all come together at a certain time.  Thank goodness my mom was over to help with everything!  Actually if she wasn't over I would have just made a normal dinner and called it a night lol.

This year was our first year having a plant based Thanksgiving and to be honest it wasn't much different than our normal one, all the side dishes are the same, we just didn't use butter.  We tried a Gardien brand holiday roast turkey with stuffing and to be completely honest I loved it and had no idea I wasn't eating turkey.  So that was a major win!

Anyhow the regular insanity of making a huge meal was there, but we didn't feel tired and sick after!
We even had apple pie from Costco (bet you didn't know that it is plant based/vegan).

 The best banana bread ever!  Recipe from Oh She Glows.


Friday, November 17, 2017

Costco at Christmas Time

There is something about going to Costco during Christmas time that is hard for me.  We do a lot of our food shopping there since it is so much cheaper, but when we walk around now they have all of the toys out and the Christmas decorations.  Of course the kids want all the toys they see so that is always hard, luckily I have convinced Emmett that he has to wait for Santa to bring all of his gifts.

But for me, I see all the decorations and clothes and part of me just wants to buy stuff haha. I think its ingrained in my brain that at the holidays we buy buy buy.  So I have been just telling myself you don't need any of that stuff and I have been imagining where it would go in my house and that is what really stops me from buying ha ha.  Its still fun to see all the Christmas decor and get into the Christmas spirit.  In a few days I will be pulling all my decorations out and decorating our house.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Date Night at the Irvine Spectrum

Last Saturday we were super thankful that my mom was willing to watch our kids so we could have a night out.  We don't go out much just the 2 of us, but when we do we always have so much fun.

We were laughing so hard when we saw a cat on a leash.  It brought back a memory for me when I was a teenager on a trip to Paris and this street person had a cat and dog laying in a bed cuddling together dressed like babies.  That image has stuck in my head forever because it was so weird to me.
People were crowding around this cat on a leash saying "how adorable", all I was thinking was how weird! 

We went to the Cheese Cake Factory because last Christmas we were given a gift certificate that we wanted to use.  We had some drinks and some delicious guacamole and chips.  We also shared the vegan Cobb salad and it was pretty good!

The Irvine Spectrum is fully decked out for Christmas with twinkle lights and even ice skating! ( a little early for Christmas for me, but the stores have to sell stuff!)  This is a fun place to walk around and enjoy the night.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Minimalism 3 Months

We have been minimizing our lives for 3 months now!  Its very interesting how my mind has shifted in the way I think about everything.  Now when we run out of something I think, lets see if we can live without it, or I look up a reusable ECO friendly alternative.

Emmett has currently grown out of a lot of winter clothes, which will be saved for Calvin, but instead of running out and buying a bunch of replacement items I am going to see if we can get by on what he has for a while.  After a month I will reassess if we need to buy him more clothes.  If this was a few months ago I would have already bought him a ton of clothes without even knowing if he really needs more.

I have only been to target twice in the last month and both times I only had 2 or 3 items to buy and I stuck to those items and didn't buy a thing more.  I actually walked around the store thinking, look at all this stuff I don't need.  Calvin broke a lamp so I had to find a replacement, I was able to rig something up for $3.99.  (I will link the video I made about it below.)

I have gone through the entire house and completed our initial declutter, but as time goes on I have been going through again and really asking myself what we really need to keep.  I love the Konmari theory of only keeping what inspires you, but for me that doesn't work that great because clothes don't inspire me.  So what I am doing is if I put something on and change out of it for any reason I set it aside and think about it.  Then I will try to wear the item again and if I keep not wearing it for whatever reason I donate it.  Sometimes clothes fit well, but for some reason we just don't wear it time and time again.  When this keeps happening I am now donating that item.

We have been to a few birthday parties since adopting minimalism and I have resorted to giving money for a gift.  That way the person can buy what they really really want or need.  Also I am not wasting money and the environment on wrapping.  I had my birthday the other day and we went out to dinner which was a great gift from my family.   I didn't get anything from Grant and I was happy with that because he never knows what to get me anyways.  My mom got me a few things that she knew I needed and wanted (wash cloths and a tablecloth).  The holidays are coming up and I will only be buying the kids what they really need and maybe one toy.  I know they won't know the difference between 3 toys and 50 toys.

The proof is in the pudding, as they say!  We have saved over $300 a month so far by not buying junk.  I think about what I stopped buying and I can't really pin point exactly what I cut out, but I don't buy anything but food and necessities.  We have also been eating all our meals at home, which has saved money and been much healthier.  With this savings we will be going to New Zealand to visit friends and family in a few months.  Giving ourselves an experience over things!




Friday, November 3, 2017


Our Halloween festivities started with Emmett's school, Fun - O - Ween.  We dressed in our costumes and took part in all of the fun and games that were available.  I had volunteered to do the face painting so that is what I did.  It was a lot of fun and thank goodness every face I painted turned out pretty good.  I was worried some kid might scream " I hate it " haha ha, but luckily every kid loved it.

Grant said there was a line of kids waiting for me when there were other face painters that were open. Yay!

On Halloween we dressed up and went trick or treating around our little neighborhood.  There were about 4 houses giving out candy, which was plenty for a 3 year old and 1 year old.  We then watched the Dodgers win the game! (the next night we watched them lose)

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