8 Clutterfree Memory Making Christmas Gift Ideas

I love this season of Christmas! I love all the excitement, the decor, the community, the food….all of it. But being totally honest with you…..I don’t love all the stuff. And the excessive need to feel like I have to spend money and that I have to buy more.

The last few years, I’ve tried to cut back on the amount of gifts I buy my kids and it still seems like it was too much. The kids were over unwrapping presents before they were even done and without a doubt they would find the 1-2 things they loved the most, and the rest of the toys or gifts would go piled up in the corner untouched. It felt so wasteful.

But I wanted something more….

I think what I love most about Christmas is the time with my family…the traditions we’ve made. We bought an advent calendar that we put little activities to do in each day for the month of December. Each day we do something different. It ranges from making paper snowflakes to going to the live reenactment of Jerusalem to buying a gift for someone in need and giving it away. THESE are the things I love about this holiday season. The moments together that we will treasure forever.

So I wanted to share with you some ideas…if you are like me…..so over the clutter, cleaning up the toys a few days after Christmas If you are ready to trade the frantic anxiousness of buying for everyone on your list, and scrambling to get a gift for the random person that gave you one that you didn’t get a gift for first….for doing something different. You want to FEEL this season and love spending time with your family.To relax, sing carols, sip on cocoa, and watch your children’s face light up with wonder and awe…..And to give the very best to your family? That very best thing is YOU!

So slow down…put the shopping on hold and find some ways to love your family differently this holiday season. Here are a few gift ideas that go beyond the culture of buying

  • A weekend getaway
  • A membership to the zoo, the amusement park, museum, rock climbing gym, or whatever
  • Tickets to a concert, play or theatre
  • The gift of experience with activities such as horseback riding lessons, music lessons, swim classes, art classes
  • Passes to national or state parks
  • Kids Night In Box Subscription
  • A trip to the spa (even young girls would love getting a mani and pedi with you)
  • Paint your own pottery night

I guess overall….it’s about embracing the spirit of gratitude and giving more than receiving. But instead of giving tangible gifts….it’s giving the gift of your time. That is THE most valuable gift you can give.

11 Rocking Gift Ideas for the Fitness Lover in your Life

Yup, Christmas is right around the corner. And it’s coming with full force. Being a mama and a fitness lover, and also on a path to semi-minimalism, I want any gifts I give or recommend to be FULLY functional and useful. But it’s also fun to have a little pizzazz!

Copy of Gift Ideas

  1. Hydroflask A good water bottle is essential! We need so much water in a day and if we LOVE what we’re drinking from, we’ll drink way more! Straws are always my favorite!
  2. New Workout Clothes I’m simple and frugal most the time but I love getting a pair of nice new leggings, sports bra, or tank. And lululemon and athleta both have amazing workout wear!
  3. Colored & Coated Barbell  I mean really? These weights just make me want to go lift!
  4. Beachbody on Demand This is THE way to go for fitness and sanity for a mom with young kids. No worries about child care and moms can not only feel better physically, gain more energy, but also create some space for a little self care.
  5. Yoga Mat One thing I’ve learned is that, yoga mats can get dirty, stinky and a little beat up over time. Getting a fresh new one is always fun!
  6. Recover and Energize Performance Supplements This pair of supplements gives me both energy without the jitters of caffeine and helps my muscles recover after a difficult workout. Like, when I know I’ve pushed it hard, I ALWAYS drink Recover!
  7. Foam Roller I didn’t get this tool at first. But when effectively used….oh man! It can stretch out the myofascia and muscles and help you recover and push harder!
  8. Shakeology Ok….this IS my secret weapon for curbing cravings. It’s more than a protein drink and is intended to fill your body with dense superfoods nutrition so that you can get more out of your workouts and well, just life in general.
  9. Resistance Loops and Bands These are simple, easy, light weight, and SUPER effective! They are super great for the traveling fitness fan as well as anyone just wanting to step up their game!
  10. Massage or Pedicure: This always goes a long way with any fitness lover!
  11.  Doterra Deep Blue This stuff feels like icy hot but it’s made with essential oils! It soothes those deep achy muscles like nothing else! And the smell is just blissful!And whenever shopping online, make sure you use EBATES. Not only do you get cash back but they’ll search for any coupon codes for you. It’s super awesome!

    What would be on your wishlist?

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    Affiliate Disclosure: I’m a huge believer in transparency and authenticity and so I am disclosing that I’ve included certain products and links to those products on this site that I will earn an affiliate commission for any purchases you make. These commissions help enable me to provide more and expand my services for you! So thanks for your support! 

Perfect Gifts for the Mom with Young Kids

Alrighty, we all know that moms usually aren’t the focus of Christmas. We love to give to our kids and others around us. But we love to feel valued too! These have been some of my FAVORITE things this last year and think any mom with young kids in your life will love these gifts this Christmas.

Copy of Copy of Gift Ideas

  1. Instant Pot I never thought I’d need this. It was just one extra kitchen tool. But I was sooo wrong. It has replaced so many other kitchen tools (crockpot, rice cooker, yogurt maker, etc) that it has actually resulted in less clutter and ease. And let’s be real, we all need some easy meals (hence why we love using the crockpot). But have you ever noticed that sometimes crockpot meals just meld together and turn to mush?? When I use the pressure cooking setting on my Instant Pot, it doesn’t turn out that way. But you still get the melt off the bone sort of juiciness.
  2. Roomba Vacuum There have been mixed reviews regarding a robot vacuum because it does take some extra prep work (i.e. making sure no cords or toys are on the floor). BUT with 2 dogs and 3 kids, there is NO way I can keep up with the floor as often as it needs.  So while it may not be 100% effective, I can run it multiple times a day and tackle the ongoing floor mess without having to sweep non-stop.
  3. Bravva Mop Same goes for this one. This has become sort of a nightly routine.  Kids go to bed, toys are off the floor and away, and I turn the mop on and let it do it’s thing.  Then it frees me up to do things I want to do.  Every so often I still love to go through manually and do a mop job with my manual mop but this is so easy to keep up with.
  4. Canon Rebel Let’s be real….I love photos! And Mixbook often gets lots of my business printing up those photos into beautiful photobooks. I love my Canon 6D and loved the versatility (and pricepoint) of the rebel when I first started capturing moments. And our kids grow sooooo fast, we want to capture those moments.
  5. Date Night This is totally new to me but I’m super excited about it. My  first date night is on it’s way to me. It can be so hard for couples to get a night out, or even plan a date night in. So you can make it a priority by having those dates delivered right to you on a monthly basis. They have a Kids Night in and Faith Night in too!
  6. Beachbody on Demand This is THE way to go for fitness and sanity for a mom with young kids. No worries about child care and moms can not only feel better physically, gain more energy, but also create some space for a little self care.
  7. Massage or Pedicure: This always goes a long way with a mom of young kids! Especially if they don’t have to arrange childcare to go!
  8. Brazen or The Miracle Morning or Present over Perfect have been 2 of the most life changing books for me!
  9. Lipsense This stuff is AH-mazing! It’s lipstick that stays on all day long. It makes any mom feel dressed up and yet still totally kiss and snuggle proof.
  10. Wine Club I’m not a huge alcohol drinker but I do love relaxing with my hubs after the kids are in bed and drinking a nice glass of wine. (Discount for Black Friday weekend is 4 pack for price of 2!)
  11. Amazon PRIME OMG! I’m guessing every mom already has this but if she doesn’t it has been such a lifesaver for me. So many times I’ve ordered diapers or diaper cream or whatever and had it at my door the next day without having to load 3 kids in the car. It’s been especially helpful when we get sick and I try to not leave the house. (And the link gets you a discount on the monthly membership…like $5.99 for qualifying members).
  12. Kindle Paperwhite I admit this is one that I do not have but being that I love reading and spend so much money on books I would totally get this one!

And whenever shopping online, make sure you use EBATES. Not only do you get cash back but they’ll search for any coupon codes for you. It’s super awesome!

What would be on your wishlist?

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Affiliate Disclosure: I’m a huge believer in transparency and authenticity and so I am disclosing that I’ve included certain products and links to those products on this site that I will earn an affiliate commission for any purchases you make. These commissions help enable me to provide more and expand my services for you! So thanks for your support! 

 

How Do We Not Teach About Santa Clause?

santaI grew up pretending in Santa but all the while knowing what the true meaning of Christmas was…the birth of Christ Jesus.  We still had the joys of traditions such as putting cookies out for Santa and opening stockings on Christmas morning.  We never had the great reveal that the figure we’d believed in for so long was false.  I have to give props to my parents for such a great balance.

As my daughter is now 2.5 years old, I feel she’s starting to comprehend significantly more than before and thus how I manage this balance has come into question this year.

First and foremost, I want my relationship with my daughter to be built on a foundation of trust and knowledge.  When she asks me questions, regardless of what they are, I want to answer her honestly in the most age appropriate way as possible.  This concept has had a lot of thought lately due to the fact that I’m pregnant and I would love to have her present for the birth.  We talk about body parts in their anatomical names, describe body functions honestly, etc. I want her to be prepared for what to expect when the baby is born and for her to understand that it is a natural process, as well as breastfeeding and many other taboo things, and that it isn’t something to be ashamed of and label with other words. Wow, I just got off on a small tangent….trust and knowledge! That’s what I’m striving for.  This will go so far as the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy and such.  I want her to have the fun of pretending but all the while knowing the truth about the holiday or event.

Honestly, Christmas is one of my favorite times of year.  I think the real reason is the emphasis on giving to others (which I wish were more a part of my constant mentality throughout the year), spending time with family, and celebrating the real reason both those two are important, the birth of Christ.

Thus, Jesus and the nativity story has been my emphasis. We spend a lot of time talking about Jesus and the story of his birth.

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I created a felt nativity set for her last year and my grandma gave her a Little People Nativity set.  We still participate in fun things like the Elf on the Shelf and I plan on putting cookies and milk out for Santa.  However, with both, I intend to let her know that it’s just mom and dad pretending.

elf

Our elf, Sprinkles, isn’t intended to scare our children into acting in a particular way or behaving in order to get toys.  It’s the fun of waking and seeing where and what the elf is going to be doing the next morning.  We haven’t even really talked about the elf leaving to go report to Santa. We still take pictures with Santa each year if the opportunity arises, but we haven’t encouraged her to ask for gifts from Santa.  We want her to know, the gifts she receives are from the people in her life that love and care from her.  Just as I emphasize the nativity, I will tell her Santa and all are pretend.

advent

We’re attempting to teach her gratefulness (building off of last month in which people are most thankful one day and then running people over for sales for more stuff on Black Friday–whole other topic there). We have the things we have, the life and family we have because of Jesus.  I have wanted to participate in an activity Advent calendar for the last few years (I found this one at Target this year and really like it), with emphasis on being together as a family.   Yesterday, our activity was to buy a gift for someone who may need it.

sleep train

We decided to donate a toy to the Sleep Train’s Toy Drive for Foster Children.  We prepared our daughter with such statements as Jesus gave us all and so we share and bless others that may not have or be in need.  Amazingly she got it and talked about it the whole way to the store.  When we were walking up and down the toy store,  I thought for sure it was going to turn into a battle to give the toy up as she’d continually state “I want that” as we walked up and down.  We let her choose a toy, which even upped the ante a bit too.  She was so excited to be carrying this dog in a purse through the store.  But when she walked into Sleep Train, she carried it right over, put it in the basket and told the man it was for kids that may not have toys. Wow! That’s the heart I want to cultivate and the reason for this season.  I want her to be able to be grateful for the gifts she’s received at Christmas, knowing who they came from and the sacrifices people made to give them to her, rather than an imaginary figure whom she can’t really demonstrate gratitude.  Next year, I plan to have more items in our calendar with the intention of teaching her Jesus’ character rather than just spending time together as a family.

Granted this is my first attempt at raising children.  I can’t claim to have it all figured out but I hope that I’m making at least an honest attempt at raising a daughter with a relationship of honesty and knowledge, and instilling a heart of gratefulness and giving in a season when so many focus on the receipt of gifts.

I discovered Truth in the Tinsel as a part of my search recently.  It might be something I’ll plan to do next year when I’m prepared a little more in advance. Has anyone used it?