Tuesday 31 January 2017

January- Goals and The No Spend Year

I can't believe that the first month of 2017 is in the books.  This year is already flying by!  I have been working at implementing steps in order to reach my goals for this year.  I thought I would give you an update on how things are going.

Goal #1- Complete a No-Spend Year

This month went really well.  It was interesting for me to begin to identify my "triggers".  I like to buy a lot of "little" things, which all add up.  It was easiest for me to only go into a store if I needed something specific.  Otherwise, I avoided stores completely.  I replaced my mascara and face powder, but I stuck to my guidelines.  My face powder had run out in December and the mascara was old and clumpy.  We did buy a house this month, but we didn't count that in the no-spend year.  1 month down, 11 to go!

I took some proactive steps to help limit my desire to shop.  I unsubscribed from Texture (my online magazine subscription), I unsubscribed from emails and I began telling the people in my life that I intend to do a no-spend year.  All of these steps should help support me in the coming months.

Goal #2- Establish a Self-Care Routine

I made the most headway on this particular goal.  My Hubby and I decided that one evening per weekend would be devoted to alone time and one night per weekend would be for our date night.  We have these evenings planned for after Miss. E is in bed for the night, as family time is a priority for us (see Goal # 3).

I love having planned time to myself on the weekend.  I have fallen into a great routine on those evenings.  I generally have a bath with candles lit in the bathroom.  I do a hair mask with the deep conditioner that I have and a face mask with skin products that I already own.  I spend the rest of the evening watching YouTube videos, listening to podcasts, reading or watching a movie.  It is a refreshing routine and I am glad we implemented it.

I downloaded an app to help me track my water consumption and I have reached my goal most days this month.  I am still struggling with keeping up with my vitamins and I haven't strength trained as much as I would have liked.  These are things that I will work to improve in February.

Goal #3- Say Yes to Family Time

This goal has been going well.  We have not made plans on work days, we said no to a birthday party of an acquaintance (the guilt on that particular no is still nagging me, but I know it was the best decision for our family) and we booked our 2 family holidays for the summer.  It is hard to say no to certain things, but Miss. E is really enjoying the family time that we are carving out.

Goal #4- Start School in September

I have done absolutely nothing to help myself reach this goal.  Oops.

Goal #5- Learn more about traditional prayers and begin incorporating them into my prayer life.

I have done a lot of reading this month and have learned a lot of history behind the prayers in my church.  I have started to incorporate these prayers into my prayer life and so far I am enjoying the dimension it has brought to my faith.

Goal #6- Establish a routine for the blog and stick to the blog's vision.

This goal is coming slowly.  I have been trying to determine where I want to narrow my focus.  There has been a lot of brainstorming and indecision.  I think this goal will come along as the year goes on.

I feel like the year is off to a good start.  I am enjoying the changes I have made and I am looking forward to working on my goals more in the coming month!  How are your New Year's Resolutions going?

Friday 27 January 2017

High Five For Friday- 27.01.17

Hello!  I haven't done a High Five For Friday post for 2 weeks so I am going to recap the top 5 moments of the past 2 weeks!

1.)  I had a great visit with a good friend and her kids.  Miss. E and my friend's kids played so well together.  She and I got a good visit in.  It was wonderful and I really cherish the time that I get to spend with close friends.

2.)  We spent the weekend in Hubby's hometown.  We saw both of his Grandmothers, his Godmother, his friend and his family. We had a lot of fun!  My in-laws happily babysit Miss. E for us while Hubby and I went on a lunch date.  It was really nice to see everyone and to steal away a little time for ourselves, as well.

3.)  Miss. E has become quite the helper lately.  She loves to fold washcloths and wipe down furniture for me.  I can only hope that she retains a sliver of this enthusiasm when she is older!

4.)  The promotions for the new Beauty and the Beast movie have begun!  Eeeeeeeeeek!!!!!!!!!!!  I am so excited.  Belle is my favourite Disney princess (bookworms, unite!) and I can not wait to see Emma Watson in the role!

5.)  It was Bell Lets Talk day in Canada on January 25.  It is a day that aims to promote awareness about mental illness, while raising money for mental health programs in Canada.  It is a really important initiative.  It is imperative that mental health conversations become normalized and that the stigma of mental health issues is eliminated.  Mental health is as important as physical health.  If you or someone you love is struggling, please seek help.  For more information, please visit the Canadian Mental Health Association or Bell Let's Talk.

Family walk to the library.

Have a fabulous weekend!  If you want to read some great posts from some great bloggers, check out the link below!

Wednesday 25 January 2017

Simple Wardrobe

I purged my closet again (!) at the end of the year.  I looked through the clothes that I owned and tried to only keep what I actually value and wear.  I managed to take another large garbage bag of clothes out of my closet.  I know that I will not be purchasing clothing this year, so it was much easier to decide which items got to stay.

It never ceases to floor me that I am able to get rid of so many items out of my closet.  Seriously.  What possesses me to purchase those items?  The Capsule Wardrobes were a great tool to help curb my shopping, but they didn't ever completely prevent me from adding new items to my wardrobe, which is what I need at this stage of my life.  I need to stop the influx of "stuff" that seems to invade my life (and closet).

I carefully went through my closet and split my clothes into 4 categories: Fall/Winter, Spring/Summer, "All Season", and Workout/Lounge.  In total, I kept 111 items in my closet.  In the Winter/Fall category I kept 35 items.  I have 45 items in my Spring/Summer category and 16 in the Workout/Lounge category.  My "All Season" category houses 15 items that I seem to wear repeatedly.

I am happy with my wardrobe.  It feels lighter and very "me".  I like splitting into 2 "seasons" instead of 4.  I also like the flexibility of the "all season" items.  I am looking forward to my no-spend year.  I am excited to see how I can make my wardrobe work for me.  I wonder if I will get rid of more items or if I will want to hang onto what I have, knowing that I can't purchase anything new.

My ultimate goal would be to pare down my wardrobe much further and to really love every item in my closet.  It would be fun to partake in a 10 x 10 challenge or something like it.  I am excited to see what this year brings and I hope you will read along with me!

Wednesday 18 January 2017

Weekly Housekeeping Schedule

I went back to work part time this year and we moved into a new home.  The home we moved into was a rental and a good 500 square feet larger than the home that we owned.  The extra square footage combined with my work schedule was driving me crazy.  It felt like all I did was clean on my time off.  I hated that.  I devised a cleaning schedule and so far it has worked really well.  I only clean a little bit at a time, which amounts to 20-30 minutes each day. We are moving next month to a smaller home again, so I doubt this schedule will translate to our new home.  I will likely need to tweak it to fit the needs of our next house.  Here is a look at my current schedule:

-wipe counters, back-splash and appliances
-wash down table and chairs
-vacuum and wash floors
-go through "Brain in a Binder" (an idea from Karen Ehman)

-dust rooms
-change sheets on bed
-clean bathroom, wash floor, change hand towels

-wash floors
-wipe down washer and dryer

-change sheets
-clean bathroom, wash floors, change towels

-menu plan
-grocery shop
-wash Teddy and blanket

I do a load of laundry daily and try to do a few extra loads on my days off.  I also water my plants once a week, usually on Sunday.  The structure of the cleaning schedule helps keep me on track but also allows me to shuffle things around if need be.

Friday 13 January 2017

High Five For Friday- 13.01.17

Hello Friends!  This has been quite an exciting, yucky and busy week in our neck of the woods.  Seriously... I am not sure how we crammed it all into just 7 days!  Here are the 5 highlights from my week: (with only one photo because it really was a busy week!)

1.)  Last Friday night, I took to my self-care routine.  Miss. E had a nasty stomach bug and I had spent 3 days and 2 nights taking care of her.  Hubby took over Friday night which meant that I had the evening free to myself.  I soaked in the tub and read a book.  I used a hair mask and a face mask that I had in the house (nope- I didn't break the no-spend rule!).  It was so relaxing and I felt so good afterward!

2.)  As I said above, Miss. E had a stomach bug which wasn't much fun.  She was feeling more like herself on Saturday afternoon, which was great!

3.)  I purged 5 photo albums worth of pictures.  It might sound harsh, but pretty much all of those pictures were scenic views, wild animals (that dot in the distance is actually a huge moose!), doubles that I ordered that no one wanted or blurry photos.  It felt so good to clean out my photo collection.  I also purged a few more items including C.D.s, DVDs, and old yearbooks.

4.)  It was a pretty good week at work.  We had a nice flow of patients and my equipment didn't break down.

5.)  We bought a house!  After much discussion, we have decided to stay in our small town for the next number of years.  We both have work here, there is family close by and we are both craving more stability after last year. We found a house just before Christmas and we lifted conditions this week.  We are so excited!  We get possession halfway through February.  In case you were wondering, I am not counting this as a strike against my No-Spend Year.  Ha ha!  It is a family purchase and one that we have been talking about for some time.  I will, however, be sticking to my "no household decor" rule.  We will have some minor fixes and repairs to do, but I won't be purchasing any new pictures or furniture.

How was your week?  Join in H54F with the lovely ladies below and tell us all about it!

Tuesday 10 January 2017

My No Spend Year- Explanation and Rules

I was trying to decide on my resolutions as 2016 drew to a close.  Hubby and I talk a lot about what is important to us and what our goals are.  A recurring theme is a move towards more minimalism in our lives.  I was perusing blogs about minimalism in December and I came across Cait Flanders' blog and read about her no-spend year(s).  I was super intrigued and after some consideration, I decided to pursue a no-spend year.

I had a miscarriage last year and we had some big changes.  My husband found a new job and the plan was to move to a new city.  We bounced between 2 towns for months and our family lived apart for some of that time.  We sold our house and soon after found out that my Husband had been laid off from his job.  Hubby and I ended up taking our old jobs back and renting a home in the same town that we had been trying to leave.  

Last year felt super chaotic and during that chaos I shopped.  I wouldn't say that I was crazy or a shopaholic, but I was definitely using more than my fair share of the budget on items that we didn't need.  I bought a ton of clothes and home decor items with little regard for our household budget.  It was a poor reaction to my stress.  I have decided that I need to learn better coping skills for overwhelming times.  The no-spend year will force me to do that, as my fallback coping method (shopping) will no longer be available to me.

To be clear, this no-spend year is for myself only.  I am not requiring my Hubby to stop shopping nor am I going to stop purchasing items for my daughter.  I will, however, focus on only purchasing needs for my daughter and not allowing myself to go crazy spending on her.

I am going to break down my rules, approved shopping list and banned shopping list for you below.  I am truly looking forward to the year and I hope that I learn a great deal throughout it.  I also hope that I am able to save money, as well!


1.) I can purchase need items.  I am not restricting the purchase of medications, groceries, feminine products or anything else that I may need.  I will be mindful of my purchases and I will make sure that I don't already own the item before I purchase it.

2.) I can replace toiletry items as they run out.  If I need more shampoo, foundation or toothpaste, I will buy those items.  The previous item has to have run out or be spoiled.  I can not purchase any new makeup/toiletry items.

3.)  I can purchase items with my Christmas money.  I received $140 for Christmas and I am allowing myself to spend that money however I want.  I am only allowing that money, however, so once it is gone I don't get anymore spending money for the year.  My goal is to still have that money at the end of 2017.

Approved Shopping List:

-gifts for others

-dress/outfit for my 30th birthday party

-needed items for my 30th birthday party

-experiences (dates with Hubby, zoo visits, pool passes, etc.)

-lattes (I have to drive over an hour to get a latte so I only ever get them when I am in the city.  I am going to allow myself to continue to have them when I am in the city.)

-the game of Scrabble for Hubby and my date nights at home

-hair appointments 

Banned Shopping List:



-books & magazines

-household decor items


-new beauty products

-anything that isn't "needed"

Have you ever completed a no-spend month or year?  How was it?  Any tips for me?  I would love to hear from you!

Friday 6 January 2017

High Five For Friday- 06.01.2017

Wow!  The first High Five For Friday of 2017!  I haven't done one of these in a long time so I thought that I would do a holiday recap in photos.  Here we go!

1.)  Christmas Eve:

We spent Christmas Eve with my family.  It was nice to have dinner with everyone and get to spend time together.  Miss. E had a blast!  She had everyone running around the house playing "monsters" and she played all of the adults out!

2.)  Christmas Day/ Boxing Day

My in-laws arrived late Christmas Eve (technically, early Christmas Day).  Miss. E opened her gifts from Santa in the morning.  She received a tool set and a hard hat.  She is always stealing Daddy's tools so Santa figured plastic ones would be safer!  She was thrilled and set to fixing everything around the house.

3.)  She fixed her barn (a gift from her Grandparents) several times.  Ha ha!  The animals were grateful.

4.)  New Year's Eve (Family Style)

We spent New Year's Eve together at home.  I did a little organizing (of course!) and then we settled into some fun activities.  We ate some treats (cheese and crackers, chips and baking).  Hubby and I enjoyed a little bubbly and Miss. E enjoyed an apple juice.  We played Paw Patrol Bingo, which was fun and watched Fuller House on Netflix.  We did a few of those Netflix countdowns with Miss. E and used our homemade noismakers (Yogurt containers filled with macaroni).  Miss. E loved every minute!  She especially loved yelling "Happy New Year!!!".  It was the perfect way to end the year.

5.  New Year's Eve (after Miss. E went to bed)

After Miss. E was tucked in, Hubby and I continued our Fuller House marathon.  At midnight we toasted to 2017 and watched fireworks out of our kitchen window (perks of living in a small town, I guess).  We don't know who did the fireworks, but they really went all out!  After the fireworks, we read through the gratitude jar.  It was a lovely, and emotional, way to look back on 2016.  Some of the 'gratitude' slips were about being pregnant and that was hard to read, knowing that we miscarried.  There were many happy moments in 2016 and many things to be grateful for.  It was nice to be reminded that there was a huge amount of good throughout the past year.  

Happy New Year, friends!  If you want to join in the link up, just click the link below!  Have a great weekend!

Tuesday 3 January 2017

2017 Resolutions

I love the "clean slate" that the New Year brings.  I know that it is largely symbolic, but I still crave the fresh beginning.  I always make resolutions and I do a pretty good job at keeping them.  I wrote out my resolutions on New Year's Eve and I want to share them with you here.  Here are my resolutions:

1.)  Complete a no-spend year. 

 After the emotional turmoil of 2016, I discovered that I am a complete and total emotional shopper.  While I yearn to work towards minimalism, it seems that my default is to shop when I am overwhelmed.  This causes more clutter and chaos, which leads to more stress.  It also kills my budget.   I found Cait Flanders' blog and I was inspired to complete a no-spend year.  I have an approved shopping list and a banned items list.  I look forward to learning better coping skills (ie. no shopping) and saving money!  I will explain my no-spend year in more detail in an upcoming post.

2.)  Practice better self-care by establishing a self-care routine.

Part of learning better coping skills is practicing proper self-care.  Those little things that we do to take care of ourselves seem to go out the window in a crisis.  I am working to establish a self care routine so that I feel healthy and strong.  I have written out a routine that will likely need tweaking throughout the year.  I hope that the proper self-care will support me through my no-spend year.

3.)  Say yes to family time.

With both my husband and I working, our time spent together as a family is precious and deserves to be treated as such.  The transition to "working Mom" from a (mostly) stay-at-home Mom has been challenging.  I have felt pushed to continue activities that are difficult to do now that I am working.  We have made new rules to help us establish family time as a priority.  We have decided that we can not make plans on work nights.  Our routine is especially important on these nights, as is our quality time together.  We have also decided to say no to any plans that interrupt our family time.  This means that it is okay to say no to invitations that fall on the days that we want to spend together as a family (even if we are just staying at home together).  We are also going to make an effort to schedule fun quality time and vacations for our family.

4.)  Start school in September.  

I have decided to take my business diploma and plan to start in September.   I want to take the diploma entirely by distance learning, as we don't have any post-secondary institutions nearby.  I am currently researching the schools and any prerequisites that may be required.  I am excited to expand my education!

5.)  Learn more about traditional prayers and begin incorporating them in my prayer life.  

I want to continue to grow my prayer life.  I have decided to learn some more traditional prayers and incorporate them into my prayer life.  I also plan to spend more time reading the Bible and learning more about Scripture. 

6.) Establish a routine for the blog and stick to the blog's vision.

This is the resolution that I failed miserably at last year.  I am going to try again.  I am hoping that this year is less tumultuous.  Even if it does have chaotic moments (which it will), I hope that the routine and vision for the blog will help me to stay on track. 

Do you have any New Year's Resolutions?  What are your goals for 2017?  I would love to hear all about them!