Wednesday, January 4, 2017


Did anyone catch the "Lord of the Rings" reference in the title?  Hehe...

It is all the rage to distain "stuff" and live a life of minimalism these days.  If you follow any parenting or lifestyle related content on social media you will regularly see articles and blog posts about how families "got rid" of most of what they own so they could life "mindfully", people who took all their kids toys away except for Legos and a few dress up costumes and watched their creativity flourish, fashionable ladies who have strict capsule wardrobes with set numbers of garments for each season and underwear drawers with a few items in neutral colors only artfully placed in little dividers and people who have elaborate toy rotation shelves in their basements where their kids "check out" what they want and then return it before they can have something else and keep all toys out of sight.  The overall point is that having a lot of crap and toys and clothes around the house causes more work because you are always cleaning, organizing and sorting it and you miss out on better things in life.  Christmas and the barrage of consumerism that comes with it really brings out these types of articles and I have read accounts of families not allowing their kids to receive toys and only giving them "family craft" supplies so they can do things together and giving kids "coupon books" for trips to museums and time spent reading books or building with legos and blocks they already owned together (give me a break.  For real, I love reading but if my Christmas gift as a kid was a chance to read a book with my mom I would have been a sad little kid...)  And all of these posts come with self congratulatory mentions about bringing the unwanted and discarded items to charity.  Seriously, can anyone just donate or give or volunteer in a way they feel good about without telling everyone about it? 

OK, I often find that when people criticize something it is because that thing makes them insecure somehow and I have often admitted my struggle with messes, lack of space, and inability to stay on top of junk pileups around the house.  Does anyone remember my clear top of the fridge and counter resolution from last year?  Well...I would post a photo but it's too embarrassing even for me.  I try and try to minimalize. I have parted with things (I'm talking about you, bar mugs from college) that I really would have liked to keep.  The truth is that I often feel bad about having no room to store one more thing in a cupboard or closet and I am embarrassed about how the house looks.  Part of it definitely has to do with us not having a designated toy room but still...the kids have rooms but everything just ends up being dragged out to wherever I am hanging out.   Last fall I probably hauled five garbage bags, mostly of clothing, to a friend's rummage sale. I recently reconfigured the cupboards in the kitchen and laundry room and ended up with two diaper boxes of junk, ranging from old curtain panels from Walmart that hung in a college apartment to a filtered water pitcher we haven't used for years since we got a fridge with an ice maker.  Over the weekend I found myself cleaning under the kitchen sink and ended with a garbage bag full of empty grocery bags, old sponges and obsolete cleaning products.  I also cleaned my drawers and have a garbage bag full of old socks, t-shirts and tank tops that are only fit for the trash.  But it doesn't's never enough.  It never feels like it even makes a difference.  This house is jam packed with crap. 

But...I still can't make myself be annoyed by Christmas.  We have a generous group of family members and we shopped for the kids ourselves and I only returned one toy because it was something we already had in the older version from when the older kids were babies.  I love picking out gifts for (most) people ( dad...Justin...) and I love to see kids opening their new toys.  And, although I know this is tied to my greater issue of being the anti-minimalist, I have no issue with receiving gifts for myself either.  And I got some GOOD ones this year, let me tell you!

First of all, I had no idea what Justin bought me.  I gave him one idea and I wouldn't have expected anything more.  I was pretty confused when Ben blabbed one day, "I helped Dad wrap your present!  It has a cat on it but I can't tell you what it is!"  Well, OK...Interesting.  It turned out to be a Petcube.  A Putcube is a little camera that you place in common area of your house and you can watch what your pet is doing on your phone.

Image result for petcube

The version I now possess allows you to talk to your pet and play laser pointer with it.  Every time we are away from home for a weekend or a trip I wonder how Allan is doing and now I can call him to the living room and see him, all in one piece and safe!  Also, we have been using it to spy on each other which is a bit weird but I, for one, have nothing to hide!

Continuing with the cat theme, back in October or November I was at my parents' house and I went shopping while my mom stayed with the kids.  While strolling through Macy's I stopped when I saw these dishes from the Martha Stuart Collection. 

You are probably thinking, " dishes..."  Well, lay off because the one bowl is actually owls but yes, they are cat dishes.  They stood out to me because the cat looks like Rascal, my beloved childhood cat who was a (mostly) outdoor farm cat who was neutered along with his brother.  Rascal lived to the age of fifteen and Buttons, the brother, lived to be nine.  These ages are rare for outdoor cats. Buttons would occasionally disappear for a few weeks at a time but he always returned.  Rascal never went anywhere.  He was just a lazy, neutered male cat who used to help the mother cats around the farm with their litters of kittens.   

Oh, the "boys"...hanging out in the tractor after discovering a broken door...of course they found the most comfortable and warm seat on the farm!

So now I have two bowls and two cups which perfectly fit the largest preset on the Keurig.  My mom got them and apparently they were picked over.  I checked online at Macy's and they are gone except for the owls.  There was also a dog print.  I guess everyone loves Rascal!  Hopefully Martha listens to her consumers and realizes we love animals!  Martha, if you come across this you should consider orange striped cats for your next collection!

Moving on, still continuing with the cat theme, is my new locket. 

I told Justin I would like a locket and he delivered an engraved on with an "M" on it.  It already featured pictures of my babies:

Oh, I will always love that oddball baby picture of Allan at the shelter!

Well, this is getting long.  I wanted to write about my new Fitbit but I think I will have a post for it on its own along with some New Years' related thoughts on health and fitness.  Wait for it...

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