Wednesday Want – Treadmill

Winter makes me lazy.

I loved going out for walks and runs and even did exercise videos throughout the summer, but now I’m basically a couch potato. The cold just makes me want to curl up on the couch with a big quilt and watch a movie while crocheting.

It’s hard to be motivated to move when I’m cold. I realize that moving will warm me up, but that’s a hurtle I’m not often able to overcome.

Even during the summer, when I was out running or walking daily, there were often times when Alex was out working all day (or night) and I was itching for a run, but was stuck at home alone with 3 kids. I longed for a treadmill so that I could get my exercise in without worrying about childcare.

Now that it’s cold outside I have absolutely no desire to go outside. I don’t want to exercise when it’s cold. We live in a basement apartment and it’s cold inside too. I just don’t want to move. I want to have a nice hot bath, but that’s not very good for burning calories or getting my heart pumping. Depending on how hot the water is it will make me sweat, though. Does that count?

The warm days we’ve been having have reminded me that, once upon a time, I liked going outside. I once liked to run and walk and move. But then winter comes back and I turn into a potato again.

I know that exercising is so great for my mood and general outlook on life. I need alone time and exercise is a great way to get it. So, even with my lazy, couch potato ways, there have been times this winter that I’ve craved the mood-lifting alone time that going for a walk provides, but circumstances (weather, being a mother…whatever) have prevented me from doing so. Now I want a treadmill again, so that I have no excuses.

Of course, I can’t afford a treadmill and there’s really no place to put one in my apartment. Pfft. Details.


After a quick Google search, the NordicTrack Commercial 1750 is the “Best Buy”.I’m officially putting this on my birthday wish list.

*Full disclosure: I went for a lovely, childless walk through the forest with a friend this morning and it was very enjoyable. We’ve been trying to get together for weeks and it finally happened. I still want a treadmill though*


Tidying Up

Today I was planning to let you in on all the awesome, inexpensive gifts I gave to the kids for Christmas, but since I finished reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up I’ve been completely absorbed with decluttering the apartment.

So far I’ve sorted through my clothes, accessories, books, papers, makeup, skin-care products, Christmas decorations, and taken down the Christmas tree!

I am already feeling so much lighter, emotionally. Sorting through everything and only keeping the things that spark joy has been amazingly cathartic. I have probably thrown away about a garbage bag full of junk and I have 3 garbage bags of my clothes, a box of books, 2 bags of Alex’s clothes and other random stuff, which will all be donated, and a small pile of items that I will try to sell… and I’ve barely started!

Here are some before and after pictures of my closet and one of my drawers…

I’m not actually done the closet yet. I still need to sort through my craft supplies and memorabilia before I can finish organizing it.

…and here are some piles I sorted through this weekend.

My clothes, the kids’ shoes, my accessories, and papers being sorted.

Now I need to finish sorting through the bathroom drawers. These are exciting times, people!

Wednesday Want-Time

I have always been in a state of discontent with my living space. As long as I can remember I have been frustrated with the amount of clutter in my apartment and the messiness of my room as I was growing up. I’m always complaining about the mess to the point that my own voice irritates me while I comment on the mess, yet again. (I’m actually not sure how much of the complaining is out loud and how much is in my head. Either way, it’s annoying)

So, I have resolved to change that and stop the horrible cycle of tidy, messy, complainy, tidy, messy, complainy…

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to read the book “the life-changing magic of tidying up: the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing” and to follow through with the plan outlined in the book.

I had planned to use my Christmas money to buy it, but my sister popped by unexpectedly with the book yesterday, which she is borrowing from her coworker. I now need to have read and absorbed all the information in the book by next Tuesday, when I need to return it.

Luckily, it’s an easy read because I’m not the fastest reader. I’m already at page 132 in this 204 page book and I am so excited to “put my house in order”, as the book puts it.

Unfortunately, the author states that going through this process of cleaning/tidying ‘quickly’ takes about half year. I don’t want it to take six months to get my apartment tidy, so today all I want is time to thoroughly clean out my home. I want child-free decluttering time.


All I need is coffee in my hand and this would be perfect for instagram!

This morning I will finish the book in my old slippers while I gaze upon my Christmas tree, which Miss P refuses to let us take down. Sure, she’s only 3.5, but she has been heart-wrenchingly sad every time she’s caught me taking down Christmas decorations and I can’t decide if I should take the tree down while she’s sleeping (and spring it on her) or try to convince her to help (so that she is eased in to the idea that the tree is gone). If I can’t do a simple thing like take down the tree with her home, how am I supposed to sort through and get rid of bags of clothes, toys, books and games with her around?

I’ll deal with that later. For now, I read.

I’m Baaaaack

I took a little bloggy break during the holidays (and beyond). I did this for a few reasons. 1- I was getting really confused about money and spending while I was buying Christmas gifts.
2-I didn’t have the energy to write anything out (especially my confusion about buying and receiving gifts) over the Christmas break.
3-I received some (constructive?) criticism about my blog that I had to work through mentally.

But, I am back on the wagon and ready to share my fears, frustrations, DIY’s and victories with you. (You know that Sesame Street song *One of These things is not Like the Others*? That song just ran though my head as I made that list)

I am now realizing how easy the first half of this school year was for our family. Alex and I earned enough money through random jobs that we were able to easily tread water, financially. As I look at the next few months and I am doing my best not to go into panic mode. Alex has 1 speaking gig booked in February and I have had a few Norwex orders, but that’s it. That’s all.

We do have money, which we’ve been saving for a house (for TEN YEARS!), and that’s what we’re living off of right now, but it makes me a wee bit sick to my stomach every time I transfer another load of money into our checking account to pay for our stupid phones or stupid insurance or stupid food. Actually, I’m really thankful for that money and that we have it to survive. It will help us keep our heads above water at least. I’m just trying not to worry about having no savings left by the time Alex or I are employed again.

All done with the money talk.

Christmas was great. I came up with some great gifts for the kids that cost nothing, which I’ll tell you about another day. New Year’s Eve was a relaxing night at home where I cut Miss B’s hair (finally!). More on that next week too.

This semester looks like it’s going to be a rough one for me. I’ll keep you posted.

A little something pretty that I would like to make some day

Advent Calendar Struggles

Every year we count down the days to Christmas with our advent calendars. I have a weakness for wreaths, garlands, nativity sets and advent calendars. I always have to practice self control when it comes to these items because our apartment isn’t that big and we only have so many doors, horizontal surfaces and walls on which to display these lovely little items.

One of my first advent calendars is a twofer. It’s a garland AND an advent calendar. Brilliant! I found this post online years ago and it had a free pattern! Unfortunately, I’m not a knitter, so I showed my sister the pattern, knowing that she knits, and she said she’d make it for me if I bought the yarn. So, that is what happened.

I especially love this advent calendar because it is candy-free. Each day we put a note in the mitten with a Christmas activity. The notes say things like “Bake Christmas Cookies”, “Make a Christmas Craft”, “Visit Santa”, “Put Up the Christmas Tree”, etc. I love it because it makes the activities we would already be doing (putting up the tree) more eventful and inspires us to celebrate each day with activities that I wouldn’t normally do (going to the Santa Claus Parade or baking cookies).

The thing is, every year I buy things like new decorations for the kids’ rooms, craft kits to make, wooden ornaments for painting and new clothes, which are all included in the advent calendar notes and it has been especially difficult not spending money on our Christmas activities this year.

One of our Christmas traditions is visiting Santa. So, we visited, spent $20 on the pictures, and then I felt wee bit dead inside. He was a great Santa though. Tiny P wore her dragon costume (cause she’s awesome like that) and Santa played it up so well, pretending to be scared of her. He was really great. The price tag on the pictures hurts my soul though.

The thing I’ve been struggling with most is Christmas crafts. I love heading to Michael’s for new craft supplies and have convinced myself a few times that buying new kits and ornaments is totally fine since it’s for Christmas. But, alas, sound judgement kicks in and I realize that there are tonnes of cute, free crafts we can make. Thank you, Pinterest!

We’ve already made these cute little bottle cap snowmen, although the kids’ ornaments didn’t turn out quite like the examples.

I have plans to make some of these as well.

I have to keep reminding myself that I don’t need any more crafting supplies. I have lots. Stay away from Michaels. I don’t need any more crafting supplies. I have lots. Stay away from Michaels. Over and over and over again. So far it has worked.

Only 12 more days till Christmas! Maybe I’ll get a Michaels gift certificate 🙂

Wednesday Want-Disney Vacation

All Day I Dream About Disney.

Well, maybe not all day, but I think about Disney World daily. It’s sad, but true.

We took a family vacation to The Happiest Place on Earth almost 2 years ago and I’ve been longing to return ever since. We left our youngest at home with my parents because she was only 19 months old at the time. She still napped every day and wouldn’t have been able to go on any of the rides; someone would have had to wait while everyone went on the ride and then taken turns. Plus, she would have been forced to sit in her stroller all day because I panic at the thought of losing her in that crazy crowd. So my mom graciously offered to keep my sweet P with her while we took the Bigs to meet Mickey. We knew we’d have to plan another trip, so that Miss P could experience the magic too and now I’m anxiously awaiting that day.

I yearn for Disney. I long for Disney. I dream of Disney. I choose to believe that we love Disney more than anyone else who has ever visited. It’s a very special place to our family and I can’t wait until all 5 of us can experience it together.


I Went Christmas Shopping

Yesterday I did something that made me excited, nervous and a little bit uncomfortable. I went Christmas shopping.

I was kid-free for the school day (thanks to my mom, who spent the day with my 3-year-old) and I decided to do the little bit of shopping I needed to do while I was by myself.

I usually stock up on Christmas presents throughout the year, so I already had a small stash of gifts for the kids before I decided to stop spending money in September. I had PJs and books for the girls and none for the boy, so I had to buy some for him to make everything even. Plus, Alex’s birthday is in December and I wanted get a little something so that he has a gift to open that day too.

I spent the morning crocheting at my friend’s house (because we’re cool like that), then headed to the mall for the afternoon. I was planning to go to a couple of second-hand stores first, but was feeling anxious about how much time I had before school let out for the day, so I skipped those. I justified that decision by assuming they wouldn’t have the specific items I was looking for anyway.

Once I got to the mall I realize that it was lunchtime and I hadn’t brought any food. So, I went to a couple stores to check out books then quickly made my decision, bought a book, then headed to the food court. I bought myself a healthy, delicious sandwich, which cost almost $8! For a sandwich! I really need to plan ahead with my meals because that is ridiculous. Also, that’s a total cheat. Part of my challenge is to pack meals so I don’t overspend when I go out. This is the first time this has happened and I was really disappointed with myself.

My Egg-vocado sandwich. Mmmmm.

After buying PJs for my boy I went to look for Christmas and birthday presents for Alex. I wasn’t too successful with that. Unfortunately, I’ll have to do a bit more shopping. I wanted to be done in one day. I don’t like feeling like I’m bending the rules. If I have to keep shopping and looking for the things I want to get Alex, I can see myself falling off the wagon and completely splurging on something stupid and justifying it by saying it’s for Christmas.

Buying presents for other people seems like cheating to me too, but I go back and forth about it. My husband and kids shouldn’t be deprived just because I decided I don’t want to spend money, but I also want us all to be learning how to appreciate what we already have.

After the kids went to bed last night I pulled out everything I have for them for Christmas and I was disappointed to see how small the piles are and that they are still very unbalanced. I think I should get a few things to make them more even, but I’m struggling to justify it. I think I might brave the mall again another day, but I haven’t decided yet. I’m very indecisive. Obviously.

Wednesday Want-Lego Advent Calendars

While Alex was at Costco a couple of months ago he picked up the Lego City advent calendar for our kids. It cost $30 and this was a big splurge, but I didn’t stop him. I had seen them before, but we’d never bought them for our kids, even though I really wanted to.

It made me really excited that our kids would have this fun, new advent calendar to open this year, but for some stupid reason, I wanted more. I want the Lego Friends and Lego Start Wars advent calendars too. That way each of my kids could open their own little door and build their own little lego scene. Everyone would be so happy. There would be no arguing over who gets to open the lego calendar or who gets to build the mini figure for the day! Now they have to take turns and share. I guess that’s okay too.

Seriously though, I have to hold myself back from checking to see if there are any left in stores. Have I mentioned that I’m a sucker for sets and collections? I want one of everything!

There aren’t even that many prices in the calendar and they’re probably not worth the money, but I want them anyway.



Status Report 1/4

Tomorrow marks 3 months of no spending for me. That’s a quarter of the way through this challenge! I’m kind of surprised both by how easy and how difficult it has been to refrain from spending money during the past 3 months and I feel like I’m learning so much about myself as I go.

I know that this challenge has been easier for me because Alex and I don’t have consistent income right now. He has had a few speaking engagements and I’ve been crocheting, taking random Norwex orders and I worked at the polls on election day, but that’s it. It’s (a bit) easier not to spend money when I know it will be coming from our house savings, which I’ve been working on for 10 years. If Alex had a full-time job it would be a lot more difficult choosing not to buy anything.

I’ve been really good at sticking to the rules, other than a few little blips. I mindlessly bought a $0.75 pencil sharpener once. That doesn’t seem like much, but I was disappointed by how easy it was to pick it up and buy it. I also bought 2 of balls of yarn for headbands and didn’t end up needing them, but I kept them anyway. So, all in all I’ve been doing pretty well.

I have been trying to figure out what I would normally be buying. I would usually have spent loads of money in 3 months, but I can’t really figure out what I used to buy. I’m sure we would have spent more on eating out, school clothes for the kids and crafty things at Michaels, but I know there’s more that I would have been buying. Whatever it is that I would usually be buying obviously isn’t that important because I really don’t feeling like I’m lacking in the “stuff” department. In fact, I still have a surplus of stuff. I’m working on it though.

As I think of things I want, I make a mental list for September. When this is all over I don’t want to go back to my mindless spending like I did before, but I know that I will have to buy things sometimes. I want to make mindful choices when it comes to spending. When September rolls around I really want to utilize second-hand stores. I bought 2 pairs of “new” shoes for Miss B last week and they both were from a consignment store in town. It’s easy buying for kids though: go to their size section in the store, choose clothes. But for me, it’s such a pain! Nothing fits and I can’t try on the same thing in multiple sizes. Oh well, I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it…next year.

I’ve basically decided that I will spend significantly more and less on clothes (and other things) next year. I will do my best to shop at second-hand stores (spending less) and what I can’t get there I will research and buy Fair Trade and well made (spending more).

Now we’re heading into the Christmas season and that presents a whole new set of challenges. The journey continues…

I Don’t Buy Cleaning Products

I was reading a post on Facebook recently where people were listing how much they spend on groceries and cleaning products each month. First of all, I was shocked at how much people spend on groceries (I am not looking forward to the grocery bills when my kids are teenagers) and secondly, I forgot that people buy cleaning products regularly.

That sounds weird. Let me explain.


Three years ago, I attended a party for a direct sales company called Norwex, which I had never heard of before. One of my friends agreed to host a party because her friend had just signed up with the company. I went, even though I had no idea what the company sold, because I had a 6-month-old at home and I took every opportunity to get out of the house and talk with other adults.

By the end of the afternoon I was sold on all of their products, had a list as long as my arm of things I want to buy and signed up to host a party of my own, so that I could earn free product.

In case you’ve never heard of Norwex, here you go:
Norwex sells environmentally-friendly cleaning products that work more effectively and efficiently than regular cleaning products while being cost effective. They sell a lot of microfiber products, which can be laundered and reused and have a 2-year warranty. They also have an array of enzyme-based cleaners and many other products to further their mission of “Improving quality of life by radically reducing chemicals in our homes.”

Long story short: a few months later I signed up to be a Norwex Consultant.

Other than buying a few of the new products when they came out in September, I really haven’t bought cleaning products for myself in well over a year. I always tell customers that this will save 90% in cleaning costs, but I didn’t really appreciated it until we no longer had an income.

I used to do a lot of parties and earned pretty great money from each one and I actually enjoyed teaching people about the products and seeing their excitement about cleaning (I know: unbelieveable. But it happened at every party). But this season is one where I really want to focus on the things that are helping our family to grow together and I found that being a consultant pulled me away from my home when I needed to be there most. Plus, I only really signed up to get the 35% discount on my long Norwex Want List. I actually never thought I would do more than a few parties, but business was good and people kept booking parties, so I went with it.

Now, I take random orders and I’ll do parties if someone books one, but I’m not pushing to grow a business. I’m not an entrepreneur. I’m just someone who really likes Norwex…and saving money…and the enviroment…and spending less time cleaning.

**While this is not the intended purpose of this post, if you would like to place an order, host a party or have any questions about Norwex, I would be more than happy to help**