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    House and Home, Minimalism

    Simplified Mom: 40 Bags in 40 Days

    This is a minimalist dream - get rid of 40 bags of things in 40 days! But let’s be real that’s a lot of stuff! So this is my 40 bags in 40 days remix.

    I am starting off a little late this year, but lucky for me I have two boxes in the garage full and ready to go to giveaway, so doesn’t that make me ahead of the game?

     

    What is 40 bags in 40 days? 40 Bags in 40 Days was a tradition that coincided with lent. It is the idea that instead of “giving up” something for lent you will donate 40 bags of items. 

    Why do I love this idea so much? I’m a minimalist at heart. I dream of living in a clutter free world! I love the idea of living with just necessities and getting rid of the distractions around us.

    How does it work? Simple, your goal is to fill 40 bags, one bag for each day until Easter. 

    Follow my simple steps on how you can achieve this and be sure to check out the hashtag #40bagsin40days to see the progress of others. If you decide to follow along and participate, Post your picture of your progress using that hashtag! I would love to see what you clear out of your house! 

    • Create a list of all the areas in your home, thinks small! You may not have time to accomplish your entire room in one day, but if you break it down you can! 

      Example: closet bottom, closet top, drawer 1, drawer 2, drawer 3, drawer 4, under bed, top of dresser, dresses, shoes, pants, jewelry, belts…  You see you can easily break it up in little sections to not overwhelm yourself. 

    • After you have each location set pull out the calendar. For each day, write in the place that you will declutter or clean out. That way you are committing yourself to the task and making time to complete it.  If you have a big event on a certain day then only schedule in a small task.
    • Get to work - place boxes in your garage for giveaway, trash and sell. The goal is 40 bags, but realistically you may not have 40 bags in your house. I know that I don’t because this is something I do almost monthly. 
    • 40 days and 40 bags ends on Easter. I like to take the day after Easter to deliver all my items to where they need to go. Don’t forget to take a photo on the last day of all you have accomplished and pat yourself on the back - not only did you rid yourself of all these things, but you also will be able to help someone by donating these items.

    ** If you have the time instead of simply taking these items to Goodwilll you could sort them and take them to places that can use them right away rather then sell them. I like to split the men and women items and take them to the shelters and take the food to a local church. Ask around and find out where you can take items in your town that will be of more use. 

    Is this something you are going to try this year? It’s not too late to start today! Every little bit helps. Last year I did it for 10 days and I still made a huge impact. Let me know in the comments below if you plan on participating this year and what you hope to get out of it.

    If you’re interested in reading more, subscribe here to get my FREE DECLUTTER WORKSHEET. This is a step by step plan to help you declutter your home in one week. 

    House and Home, Minimalism, Must-haves

    Valentines For the Minimalist

    This post contains affiliate links. I make a small percentage when u click and purchase from that link.

    Candy, stuffed animals and roses, are just a few of the classic Valentine gifts. But let’s be real, are those gifts that we really need or will even use?  I love Valentine's day, mostly because my first date with my husband was 10 years ago on Valentine's day. Every year we still try to outdo one another and surprise each other with something. This year I decided to throw together a list of our favorite gifts over the years and why we love them. They aren’t all romantic, but they are the type of gifts that keep on giving throughout the year and some that just make us feel special! 

    Vitamix We love our Vitamix and get endless amounts of use out of it.  It starts in the morning when my husband blends up his coffee, protein powder and cream to make the perfect cup of joe. We use it throughout the day to make protein shakes, smoothies, popsicles mixes, sauces. The list literally goes on and on. In my opinion this is the gift that just keeps on giving. You can find our favorite here

    Coffee Maker My husband and his many coffee makers. The minimalist in me is cringing because he owns around 3-5 but this is what makes us happy. My husband and I like to think of ourselves as coffee connoisseurs. I dream of having a lovely little coffee machine that will make mornings, afternoons, pick me ups sooo much easier. (hint*hint*) My husband on the other hand enjoys spending time on his cup and making each one special.

    Griddle Starting to see a theme here? We love making pancakes and only recently did my husband start thinking about a griddle . I know we will have endless days of pancake mornings. So this year (shhhh don't’ tell him) he may be getting his pancake griddle

    A Class Such a wonderful gift for someone trying a new hobby! Recently my husband signed me up for a photography class and it was so incredibly sweet. He planned it for days when he could be home from work to watch the kids. I am so excited to grab my coffee, notebook and learn in peace. There are so many fun classes! Pottery, dance, workout. Trying something new is always fun and exciting. I love the idea of signing up for a class together too. That way you ensure you have at least one date night a week. 

    Membership/Subscription Along with classes, it’s fun to have a new membership somewhere. Maybe that yoga class you have been dying to try or a membership to amazon prime! Or a subscription to a curated box with treats each month! There are so many possibilities. You can sign up for a prime membership here

    Flowers This goes against what I said earlier BUT flowers make me happy. They bring me warmth and joy. So yours may not be flowers but something that brings your significant other joy. 

    Gift Cards Something you know everyone loves! It is simple, easy to get and can be used alone or with someone. My husband loves going to lunch at work and stopping for a cup of coffee so I know he will love this! 

    Get away together Plan a getaway, include all the details so they don’t have to  worry about a single part of it! Plan the babysitter, meals, activities. This one requires a little more thought but can be so incredibly sweet! 

    Romantic dinner at home-Sometimes there is nothing more special than staying home and getting cozy. Plan to have the kids to stay at grandmas! Make your favorite dinner and some yummy cocktails. 

    What are your favorite Valentines gifts? Share in the comments below! 

    House and Home, Recipe, Uncategorized

    Starbucks Copycat Vanilla Scones

    This post contains affiliate links. I make a small percentage when u click and purchase from that link.

    My toddler has been whining more and more lately about wanting to go to Starbucks. Wait hold on…my toddler?! Yup you heard that right. He loves Starbucks more than me and his love for scones has become quite the negative influence on my own eating habits because when he doesn’t finish his scones, who ends up eating them? ME!!!


    His favorite thing at Starbucks are the Petite Vanilla Scones. He always requests two for him and one for his sister. He holds his pudgy little fingers up and shows me two fingers on one hand and one on the other. How can I resist? Whenever we are on the way to see friends he asks if we can stop and get them for him and his friend. 

    There are two simple reasons that I despise these little scones.

    They are incredibly expensive.  Even when you order one you get greeted with the “you get a discount if you buy three”. These little babies are not cheap.

    They are not nutritionally good for you at all. Lots of sugar and obviously carbs. It’s a waste of food and something my little guy just does’t need. 

    Today was a rainy day, and I decided we were going to stay inside today. This coupled with my New Years goals fresh in my mind, I couldn’t imagine making a trip to Starbucks without ordering something delicious for myself too. I decided why not make the scones ourselves and let the kids have fun with it? We made do with the ingredients we had in our kitchen and they turned out divine. Such a scrumptious little treat and I think my little guy liked them better than the real thing. The best part about these scones - they are gluten free, dairy free and PALEO! So they are healthy in small doses.

     A few notes..

    We didn't have baking powder so I created a substitute. For 1 teaspoon of baking powder, combine 1 tsp of baking soda and 1/2 tsp of lemon juice. 

    The dough is supposed to be thick! Keep mixing and it will form. 



    What's your favorite guilty snack?  We would love to try to make a copycat for you! 

    House and Home, Recipe

    Instant Pot Chicken Fajitas

    This post contains affiliate links. I make small percentage when ​u click and purchase from that link.

    I feel like I am so late on the Instant Pot train! We bought our Instant Pot last year and so far I have only used it to make hard-boiled eggs, steam veggies and make chicken super quick. We had yet to try anything fancy in it. Why? I have no clue. It’s practically the best invention since the microwave and you can have warm delicious food almost at the snap of your fingers. 


    I knew I had to try something different and exciting for dinner, but after opening our fridge I quickly realized we were limited on ingredients.  It was pouring rain out and the last place I was going was the market. I pulled out our sad looking onion, still good under a couple layers and 2 red peppers that were almost past their due date. My first thought was to chuck them and order take out, but with a little more digging in the freezer I found some frozen chicken. Hmmm.. FAJITAS! I knew it! I had been craving Mexican food all week and this was just the ticket.

    This is my healthy version of fajitas but are they really that bad for you anyways?! It’s so incredibly simple you will laugh that you hadn’t thought of it yourself.

    Instant Pot Chicken Fajitas 

    Cut chicken into long strips and place in Instant Pot. Add spices or taco seasoning packet and mix. Slice pepper and onion and place on top of chicken. Add 1/2 cup of water and quickly mix everything. Place lid on and make sure the vent is closed. Set manual timer for 30 minutes. 

    Once time is up let the instant pot vent for 10 minutes or if you’re in a hurry go ahead and release it. 

    I placed fajita mix onto of rice and added some fresh tomatoes and avocado! ENJOY! 

    New to the Instant Pot? Looking for some other great dinner ideas? Check out these yummy and simple recipes! 

    The Instant Pot has quickly become one of our favorite tools to use in the kitchen.  We use it for boiled eggs, oatmeal, dinner and everything in between. What is your favorite thing to make in the Instant Pot? Let me know what we should try next in the comments below! 

    House and Home, Recipe

    Healthy Chocolate Haystacks

    My son has a serious sweet tooth. It’s probably due to the fact that during my pregnancy with him any and all things chocolate went straight into my mouth. Since Christmas we have been trying to cut back on sugar. I have been searching for recipes that still taste yummy, but have less sugar and maybe, just maybe have some hidden health benefits. 

    I was recently introduced to Cacao powder. Smells like chocolate and tastes like chocolate, but is full of good things! Cacao is the purest form of chocolate which sets it apart from Cocoa, and it is considered a superfood. It is packed full of antioxidants, calcium and magnesium. It is the ultimate sleep and happiness nutrient. 

    To check out more of its wonderful benefits check out this great post here. 

    Austin’s all time favorite thing to eat is cookies so we decided to make some super simple Healthy Chocolate Haystack Cookies. The best thing about these cookies is they require no baking, which I alway seem to mess up! 

    The Ingredients you will need: raw Cacao powder, peanut butter, honey, ripple or almond milk, coconut oil, vanilla extract, salt and rolled oats

    You will notice the recipe calls for Ripple milk. We love ripple milk. Ripple milk is made from pea protein. For us, it is a great substitute for regular milk because it isn’t as thick as almond or coconut milk. It also contains tons of protein, zero sugar and lots of good nutrients. We use it in our cereal, baking and cooking. It makes for an awesome dairy supplement as well. 

    Let me know what you think of this new recipe and what your favorite “healthy” desserts are! 

    House and Home, Recipe

    Homemade Fruit & Nut Bars

    “Happiness is homemade”. This new year is all about health, happiness and embracing togetherness in the kitchen. My kids especially love mixing and eating our newest creations. This recipe is all about replacing unhealthy, sugary snacks that you buy at the market with outrageous price tags with healthy alternatives that you probably already have in your cupboards. I am not one to throw taste and satisfaction completely out the window for a healthy treat, but I am always striving to feed my kids healthier foods on a daily basis. Foods they love, energize them and get their little hands working in the kitchen.


    I can’t take full credit for our homemade healthy fruit and nut bars. My husband was the one who made them with the kids and prepared them. I was sick in bed fighting off the first cold of the New Year. I could hear him in the kitchen giggling with the kids as they spilled things on the floor and dirtied bowl after bowl, cup after cup and spoon after spoon, knowing quite well that the mess would be there for me when I rolled out of bed. But what good is a house if it goes unused? Something I am trying to get more patient at is the idea that a house without the temporary mess is really not a house at all. I believe it’s all how we manage the mess and our possessions that helps us stay sane. So as I hear them dropping each and every little thing on the the floor I can’t help but smile. 

    These Fruit and Nut bars have become one of my favorite things. They are so delicious, slightly sweet and very filling. They are the perfect snack time treat. Our kids love them, we love them and they disappear quick. The best part is you can create so many different variations. 

    What are your favorite homemade bar recipes? Let me know in the comments below! 

    House and Home, Minimalism, Uncategorized

    How to Enjoy Christmas as a Minimalist

    With Christmas eve upon us and the anxiety of last minute baking and gifting setting in. I thought what better time then now to work on my minimalist lifestyle. I am so lucky that I am constantly surrounded by “things” but the clutter gets overwhelming at times. I find clearing out clutter has allowed me to be more carefree and relaxed. My home is slowly becoming one that I dream of and my husband has stepped up too and helped me with this transition.

    I found that the best way to stay true to my minimalist lifestyle during the Holidays is to simply let things go. There are so many thoughts going through my mind that I often forget to truly enjoy the meaning of Christmas.  I have been blessed with the most fun loving family around. I look forward to seeing each and everyone of them every year. So this is a promise to myself to let things go and to enjoy the moments that I get with them. To remember that minimalism isn’t just about clearing out items, but also about clearing your mind. 

    • Don’t add to your “things” - My rule -One item comes in the house and three must go out! Amazon has made this incredibly easy to follow by sending me loads of boxes. You order 5 small items and get 5 large boxes? Each time I get a box I set it up in the garage and slowly fill it with Knick knacks. If you fill a box you can go online and they will print you a free slip to mail it to the closest goodwill. How easy is that?!
    • Let Routines Go - We work and work and work to get the kids on the most perfect routine and we try so hard to stick to those routines. During the holiday I have learned to let those routines slip.  Our kids want to stay up and spend time with everyone and they can’t nap because they are having too much fun in the snow. These memories won’t be here forever. Pretty soon they will be grown up. So this year we’re throwing routines out the window and adding to the memory book instead.
    • Stop Trying to do it All - Along with routines we are trying to squeeze in the maximum amount of  events and visits to friends that we can. We end up carting around cranky crying kids all the while tying to please everyone. This year the schedules are focused on the kids. If they need to rest and pop in a movie then we will do that. Having fun isn’t so fun if everyone is having a  fit. Happy kids = Happy parents! 
    • Eat Healthy, but don’t Make that the Focus - Each year I set this big ultimatum for myself. I always fail. It seems more realistic to enjoy the flavors of the Holidays, but don’t eliminate them. I am excited about this approach mostly because it means I won’t be kicking myself if I indulge in some of my favorite Holiday foods. 
    • Prep - This has been the number one way I have been able to cut back and feel more relaxed. If I plan ahead with snacks and things we may need then I spend less and we have more time for memories! Of course things don't always go as planned, but it is always better to be over prepped then under, especially with toddlers! 

    I am excited to have a clearer mindset as Christmas approaches.I have already started to let things go and just simply be me. Be in the moment and with those I love. Wishing all of you a carefree and magical Holiday!

    How do you plan to take on minimalism in this new year?