Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter

This short video is a not-so-typical Easter video and is so beautiful.  Take a few minutes and enjoy! 

Have a lovely Easter!


Friday, April 18, 2014

What is this Minimalism Thing?

Earlier this week my husband and I attended a lecture and book reading in the city.  It was held at the coolest little independent book store.  Seriously, I could have spent hours roaming that place.  It had so much charm and character.

We were there to hear The Minimalists and Courtney Carver speak.  It was interesting, enlightening, and oh so enjoyable to listen and share in their pontificating.

The Minimalists have a fascinating story.  Both had corporate jobs with six figure salaries when they realized how miserable they were trying to impress with fancy cars, expensive drink tabs and busy schedules.   They were tired of the cycle: work, home, dinner, TV, repeat and live for the weekend.  They quit their jobs and had a packing party.  They literally packed up one of their apartment on a Saturday as though he were moving.  Over the next three weeks he only unpacked things as he needed them.  At the end of three weeks everything that was left in the boxes was donated.

So what is this minimalism thing?

I'm certainly no expert.  It's only been a year since I first became interested and it's only been over the last 6 months that I've really dug deep into this philosophy.  Since then I've read blogs and books galore on the topic.  Minimalism is different things to different people.  Minimalism for my husband and I (parents to 4 children) looks much different than it would for a young, childless single man like Colin Wright.  He literally travels the world with all of his 51 possessions on his back--an extreme example.   

Minimalism is an overall life philosophy.

I would say most minimalists:
  • Want to have possessions they need and that bring them joy.  But not too many.
  • Want to have a less busy schedule to explore and pursue passions. 
  • Want to have less stuff to manage and clean.  
  • Want their things to get well used.
  • Focus on quality over quantity.
  • Focus on doing over having.   
  • Are concerned about how their actions impact the earth.  
  • Strive to live debt-free (I don't want you thinking we paid cash for our house now, we definitely have a mortgage!) 
  • Desire to be healthy.
  • Want time.  
  • Care little about "keeping up with the Joneses."   
Minimalism is not:
  • A religion
  • About self-deprivation
  • Does not have specific rules
In the beginning I often thought, "I'll never be a real minimalist because I'll never own 51 things."  But through my reading I learned you don't have to own only 51 things to be a minimalist.  My mentality has aligned with many of the philosophies of minimalism for years, I just didn't know minimalism existed.  I didn't know there was a name I could assign to my thoughts that would quickly sum them up.   


Back to the reading.

During the Q & A a woman in the audience said, "I work about 10 days a month.  I find that this really ticks people off.  Have you ever had that experience?"  She went on to say that people tell her she should be working long hours so that she can retire and do what she wants then.  Her reply was, "Why can't I live the life I want to now.  Why must I wait?"

It was a very interesting thing to contemplate.

For her, minimalism is working less and using that time to pursue her passions.

Some minimalists don't have the Internet at home.

Some minimalists don't have couches.

Some minimalists don't have televisions.

Some minimalists don't own cupcake pans or coffee makers and would prefer to go out for a cupcake or coffee instead of making them at home.

Some minimalists don't own cars.

Some minimalists choose not to update their gadgets with the latest and greatest in technology.      

The specifics of minimalism is different to different people.  Minimalism is also different depending on your stage of life.  Minimalism to me with my four young children in the home is much different than I anticipate it will be when they've all flown the coop. 

Other great points that stood out to me at the reading were:
  • You can't change the people around you, but you can change the people around you.  (If that doesn't make sense, think on it for awhile.)  
  • Love people and use things, not the other way around. 
  • Stop with the "I'll be happy when..."

Next week I'll post more about our minimalism journey and decluttering process.  Many of you who follow along on Facebook have seen some of the progress.  If you'd like to see these updates and follow along too, click HERE.   

Even more on minimalism: 

And now for the disclaimer:
You don't have to be a minimalist and I don't think you are lame if you aren't.  Absolutely no judgement here.  I think I'm pretty open minded to different viewpoints and ways of life--and I bet you are too.  I find it fascinating to explore new ideas and opinions, so that's what I'm doing here--sharing a viewpoint that might be totally new or unusual to you.  Maybe you'll think it's interesting.  Maybe you'll think it's lame.  Maybe you'll decide to become a minimalist.  Maybe you'll go shopping for your 47th pair of fingernail clippers today.  Whatever floats your boat, folks.   

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Highlight Reel

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to attend a homeschool discussion with some gal pals.  We found ourselves in the basement of a local homeschooling mom who has 20 years homeschooling experience under her belt.  She's actually been one of the main people to get many of the current homeschooling laws passed in Utah.  She is blazing the way for us younger moms that are just starting our journey.

She was telling us about her 20 year old who has graduated from college and has a teaching job and about her 13 year old who is working on his Bachelor's degree and taking computer programming with the 17 year olds and all the other wonderful things they've achieved and accomplished.  One could easily get discouraged, overwhelmed and feel inferior listening to all these amazing things in a 2 hour lecture, but then she said, "This is the highlight reel.  You aren't privy to our hard days, the tears, the struggles, the doubt.  You're getting a brief summary of the successes, of the outcome and not the details of the journey."

I found her words to be very powerful.

And so it is with a post like this.

This is a highlight reel of our life over the last 4 weeks.

Keep her words in mind. 

Of most importance, was my haircut, of course.  (Just kidding, the most important thing is our first broken bone at the end of the post.)  My dear friend, Megan, cut 21 inches off.  It's been 5 years since I've had a haircut in any way.  (I do mean any way, that means even a trim!)  That's my cute little niece there who was fascinated with my hair.  It's going to Locks of Love...soon!   

We spent a day at the zoo.  The giraffes are my favorite.  I'm so glad we were there with friends so my friend could take the kids in to see the reptiles.  I don't do reptiles.  Period. 

We've been grateful to have all sorts of date nights. 

We've gone out for Indian food.  Oh. my. delicious.   

And Thai food.

And Hawaiian food.

And Samoan food.

Lest you think all we do on dates is eat...

We went on a sunset hike.  The sunset was absolutely magnificent.  I loved sitting up on that mountain gazing at the lights and the bright sky. 

And there was also a trip to the temple.   We have 5 LDS temples within 30 minutes of our home.  This is the temple we attended. (credit)  And there was a trip to the movie theater tucked in there somewhere to see The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. 

I was able to sneak away to the library a couple of times for some rejuvenation. 

We delivered our Meals on Wheels route.  We deliver two times a month and is likely the best hours of our month.  The kids and I feel blessed for this opportunity.  

I finished sewing this quilt in the nick of time.  It was a gift to my mom for her birthday.  I finished it at about 2:00 a.m. the morning I gave it to her!  

I refinished this bench for my dining table.  I am so pleased with how it turned out.  
My heart melted when I witnessed Bud get out a wrench and proceed to connect training wheels to Hawk's bike and kindly attempt to teach Hawk how to peddle.  

My husband had a mission reunion.  Young Mormon boys are expected to go on a mission around age 18 (but they can still go up to age 25).  He was sent to Melbourne Australia.  We attended a dinner and program one night and then a couple of days later we had Sunday lunch with a few of his closest friends from his mission--one of whom came all the way from Sydney.  Our children had a great time playing together and I made fast friends with the wives.  I feel like we made a lifelong connection.

It is so fun to see these pictures from his mission days!

We got two quick visits from my parents on their way to and from vacation.  It is always wonderful to see them.  They are pretty awesome grandparents as you can see! 

We got our Resurrection Garden planted. 

It seems to have grown a bit out of control!

And then there's this girl who is just too much fun.  I really like her.  :)

And Mowgli saved enough money to open a savings account. ($25)  The banker was pretty much awesome and treated Mowgli like he was the one in charge.  It was such a great learning experience.

Now for that broken bone...

About 10:00 one morning as I was sitting on the sofa helping Bud with his piano lesson, Hawk fell from a bar stool and screamed a scream I've never heard.  I knew immediately something was wrong.  I tried to console him and failed.  I offered him a drink of water to see if he would calm down if he was distracted.  I handed him a large glass so that he would have to use two hands to hold it and I noticed his left arm was shaking.  I loaded the kids up and went immediately to InstaCare.  After a couple of hours there and 6 x-rays (a broken elbow) we were referred to another hospital.  Hospital #2 referred us to the children's hospital all the way downtown in the city.  We needed to see a pediatric orthopedic surgeon to determine if his break would require surgery.  We were relieved that surgery was not necessary. 

He was in a splint and sling for 8 days.  

Then he got a cast which he thought was cool for about 2 hours and then he asked to take it off.  Only three more weeks to go! 

That's all folks.  Give yourself a pat on the back if you made it through! 


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Kids in the Kitchen: Peanut Butter No Bake Cookies

Welcome to another edition of Kids in the Kitchen!
This is a series showing the recipes my seven year old son is learning to make along with his photography.  He is working his way through ten recipes.  Once he has learned to make all ten recipes unassisted and has taken photos of each item, he will make them into a simple recipe book using an online program like

Today's recipe is: Peanut Butter No-Bake Cookies

2 cups sugar
4 tablespoons cocoa
1 stick butter
1/2 cup milk
1 cup peanut butter
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 cups oatmeal
  1. Combine sugar, cocoa, butter and milk in a sauce pan, bring to a boil and boil for one minute.  
  2. Remove from heat and add peanut butter, vanilla and oatmeal.  
  3. Form cookies onto waxed paper or aluminum foil.  
  4. Let set. 

Here's his shot for his recipe book:

Previous Kids in the Kitchen posts:

These cookies are super quick, a great go-to recipe and 100% delish.  


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Christ-Centered Easter Activities

Last Easter my kiddos and I had a terrific time doing all sorts of Easter activities and crafts that were focused on Christ.  I thought I'd round them all up for you.

We got our Resurrection Garden planted earlier this week and I'm looking forward to many more activities with my crew!

Any text that is in red, is a link to more information.

I hope you will find something useful in this post for your family. 

Celebrate Holy Week and Palm Sunday
(No link to this activity)
Last year we began recognizing Holy Week, in addition to Easter Sunday.  Each day we read what is known about Christ's life from that day.  On Palm Sunday, we made palm leaves using green construction paper.  I read the story of Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem.  You can print THIS illustration to show as you tell the story.  THIS short bible video is a great one to view.  Have the children wave their palm leaves and then use the palm leaves to decorate the dinner table.   

Additional bible videos can be found HERE.  I would suggest viewing them in advance as you may find some of the content too mature for your little ones.

All you need for this experiment is a glass of water, food coloring and some bleach.

Additional Resources:

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