Our summer: We laughed, we celebrated, we swam, we camp-fired, we vacationed, we gardened, we LIVED.

I knew this summer would go fast, they always do. And with my twin sister’s wedding mid-June, a new house to settle into, a garden to tend to, and a much anticipated vacation without kids (our first ever!)…my heart is full as I reflect on it.

And I can truly say without hesitation, having our home pared down to just the necessities made the summer months feel

Today we bought our dream home.

It still feels a little surreal actually.

Being a farm girl from Minnesota, my dream home is probably slightly different than most, but when we were handed the keys to this little white farm house on 11 acres, I was overjoyed.

You see, I’ve driven by this property my whole life. Located just down the road from my parent’s farm, I always admired the tidy yard and red barns.

But, with the price of farm land soaring in our area, we didn’t think we’d actually be able to buy a farm.

Should I even bother making a New Year’s resolution this year? 3 resolutions worth making

I’m guessing when it comes to making and keeping New Year’s resolutions, we’re in the same boat: we’ve failed at more than we’ve achieved…and at the moment, I can’t actually think of any that I’ve actually kept…for more than one week.

And most often I would say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. So let’s not set ourselves up for failure yet again and just skip over this silly resolution tradition.

Except for this: If you’re also like me, there are things in your life that need to change, and if not now, then when?

I’ve decided not to tell people what to get our kids this year.

I’ve decided not to tell people what to get our kids for Christmas this year.

This comes after a few year stretch of asking and hinting to our family to get the kids “experiences” or things that they can do, you know, something practical. It is a common topic right now around gift giving, and it definitely isn’t wrong or bad.

How we save time & money with wholesale chicken (& you can, too!)

**Note: Chicken is currently on sale for $1.69/lb., this generally happens once or twice per year, but if you are interested, you may need to order soon, it can sell out!**

Our littlest guy has been sick since Thursday night. You know the kind where every hour you’re debating if you should take him in or not?

No, he’s getting better…oh good, he’s sitting on the floor playing…now he’s back in my lap…oh good, he wants to eat again…nope, it just came back up.

The day I unexpectedly became a stay at home mom

I came across this article on Becoming Minimalist the other day: The Completely Achievable Path to Becoming a One-Income Family

It reminded me of my own story of becoming a stay at home mom. It’s been over three years now, so I have probably begun to take it for granted, but here is how it began:

I had gone to work like every other day, but mid morning I was called into my general manager’s office and asked not to return the next day.

The details no longer matter, but needless to say I was stunned, and worried about what the future would hold.

Simplifying Toys: The time (& sanity) saving trick for sorting all of your kids’ toys in an hour

We all know we should purge our kids' toys--but it is ALOT of work! Here is a trick to get it all done in an hour!

Look familiar? (To me the funniest part is my husband’s dirty clothes on the right mixed in with everything else!)

For me, one of the most daunting minimizing tasks was simplifying and purging the kids toys. With four kids it felt like there were toys everywhere…we tried to keep them contained to the family room, but inevitably they would get drug into the kitchen, and my office and into their bedrooms…and we moms only have so much energy to correct our kids in a day, so that rule was often neglected.

But when I finally decided enough was enough, I came up with a battle plan: I was going to decide which type of toys we were keeping and EVERYTHING else went.

Simplifying Toys: Which ones made the cut

Children’s toys can be one of the most daunting areas of simplifying life.

Our kids love each and every one (just ask them!), we’ve invested good money into them, and almost certainly, as soon as we get rid of any they ask where it is and break down because it was their favorite.

Sigh.

But…it has to be done, because we all know that they don’t actually need as many toys as they have and the clutter is causing stress in our homes.

Simplifying Christmas: Give more gift cards

My goal this year is to really enjoy the Christmas season with my family. Our kids are 6,4, 2 and 1 right now, so Christmas is a BLAST with them. They love every aspect of it: the lights, the cookies, the Christmas program and special Christmas service, Christmas movies, Christmas crafts, the gatherings, and of course the gifts.

It is so fun to celebrate this season with them.

So I’ve tried to take inventory of what distracts me from truly enjoying this time of year, and most of it revolves around gift giving.

Finding great gifts takes time, energy, and MONEY.

So here is my plan of attack this Christmas season: