How We’re Doing Christmas This Year

Our journey towards a more minimalist lifestyle doesn’t exclude the holidays. We usually celebrate with gifts under the artificial tree, my husband and I looking on as the kids open lots of new toys from us, family, and, of course, Santa. However this year there’s no tree — it stopped working last year so we pitched it. Even if we wanted a tree there’s no space as we’re renovating our basement and all of those things are upstairs. Clearing out the basement gave me the opportunity to evaluate what we want to keep, sell, or giveaway. It also helped me think about how Christmas giving would go this year.

Then I found this on Pinterest:

4 gift rule

Awesome, right? I love how simple this makes gift giving for the holidays and even birthdays. It gives a handful of gifts that are intentional, useful, educational, and wanted. Following this rule, plus purging the old toys, clothes, and books definitely meets our minimalist standards. This also inspired me to start a new tradition of giving the kids a new backpack (each Christmas if needed) that will contain some, if not all, of their gifts. Zero waste gift giving for the win!

Since the boys don’t read my blog (yet!), I’ll spill the beans on what they’re getting this year.

  • They both get Kindles and reading tents.
  • My oldest will get a few books from the Not for Parents series, a Minecraft game for the Xbox One, and undergarments.
  • My youngest will get a dinosaur book, dinosaur figures, and some undergarments.

As for gifts from family and friends, I send an email annually giving gift suggestions for the boys. This year I asked for experience-based gifts or gift cards, and gave over 10 options that are free, inexpensive, and local. I used to feel weird about asking for specific gifts, but I’ve found that it makes it easier for family and friends to get exactly what the boys would like. From the list, the boys (and the rest of the family) will receive our zoo, MI Science Center, and Henry Ford/Greenfield Village annual memberships as gifts. Believe me, those alone are some of the best gifts to get! We stay at those places throughout the year. Even though there’s no tree and not tons of gifts, I think this will be one of the most memorable Christmas’ to date.

Happy holidays from our family to yours!

Early Nights, Early Mornings

I’ve been waking up at 6 AM for the past few weeks, and while it’s been helpful, it hasn’t given me the early morning quiet, alone time I need. That’s probably because, for some reason, my oldest sun seems to have radar that is triggered by my getting up at 6 AM. He thinks that when I’m up, he needs to be. Ummmm… no. So, today I naturally woke up at 5 AM today and have had a whole hour, let me repeat A WHOLE HOUR, in peace and quiet by myself. This I could get used to.

To do this I had to go to sleep early, like at 9 PM. These days it’s not too hard because with being pregnant I’m pretty much ready to go to bed around 7 PM, but as every mama knows, that probably isn’t reasonable most days. For now, I’m going to aim for a 9 PM bedtime and 5 AM wake time, daily. Of course, to do this some things may not get done at night and I’m going to have to be OK with doing what I can and letting go of the rest. My soul needs this daily quiet time. With the new baby coming and things changing over the next two years, I need a consistent way to tap into me without taking too much time away from my family. I will make this work!

My plan is to wake, shower, read something inspirational, light a candle, put on some music (in my ear buds of course), make some tea, and write. Eventually I’d like to add in a workout. As for today though, besides thinking I heard the boys wake up 50 times, I actually did all of the things I mentioned, minus the workout. Heavenly, I tell you. I think I may be onto something here, mamas.

How do you find time for yourself daily? Share with me.

My Favorite Family-Focused Podcasts and YouTube Channels


This post has been a long time coming, y’all. I’ve meant to write it for months now, but just hadn’t gotten around to it until now. I’m a BIG fan of podcasts and YouTube vloggers, family-focused ones in particular. I just love to see how other families spend their days, and I especially love to learn of other mama’s journies through motherhood. These podcasts and vloggers cover a wide range of topics I’m very interested in at the moment, such as pregnancy, marriage, homeschooling, budgeting, natural living … you know family stuff.

Here are my living lists of  favorite podcasters and vloggers for your listening and viewing pleasure.


I was late to the party when it came to podcasts (I didn’t start listening to them until last year), but I’ve made up for it by indulging my passion for learning on-the-go. Earlier this year, I posted some business-focused podcast I listen to, which are still awesome, by the way. Today, I’m shifting gears and sharing the family-focused podcasts I listen to quite frequently. I listen to them through my iPhone’s Podcast app, but they’re all available through the different hosts websites, as well.

Everything Stay at Home Mom

The Happy Home Podcast

Savvy Homeschool Moms Podcast

One Extraordinary Marriage

Mandi Ehman Podcast

Pea in the Podcast

Love to Homeschool Podcast
YouTube Channels

This list is one that continues to grow and is a constant source of entertainment and knowledge. There are some awesome vloggers out there, y’all. Check out some of my favorite here.

Do you listen to podcasts? Who are your favorite vloggers? Share them in the comments!

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