Archive - March 2017

1
» REVIEW: Monster ClarityHD On-Ear Bluetooth Headphones
2
» DIY: Our Kitchen Renovation
3
» Zoom-Zoom in the 2017 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring AWD
4
» Chattanooga: 3-Day Family Vacation
5
» DIY: Sliding Barn Door
6
» I choose yes
7
» A year of less

» REVIEW: Monster ClarityHD On-Ear Bluetooth Headphones

Because my iPhone 7 doesn’t have a headphone jack (and I’ve already lost the lightning adapter), I began looking for a set of Bluetooth headphones that I can not only listen to music on but also take calls with. Monster is a trusted brand, which led me to their ClarityHD Bluetooth Headphones. I opted for the On-Ear style because I felt they would be more comfortable wearing for longer lengths of time. So far, I’m loving these things. I have tried a variety of music ranging from Ben Rector to some great workout playlists on Spotify and the sound has been great for all types of music.

Set up

Out of the box, the ClarityHD is ready to go. You may need to charge it, which takes two hours for a full charge of 20 hours of wireless playback time. The ClarityHD on-ears are ready to pair via Bluetooth as soon as they’re turned on. And I was right, after wearing these for a couple of hours, I didn’t feel they were putting too much pressure on my head at all.

Of course you can play, pause, control the volume on your iPhone or computer but you can also use the touchpad on the right-hand side of the headphones, just above the earcup. For example, turn volume up or down by swiping up and down. This touchpad feature is really easy and convenient to use — no fumbling with your phone or buttons. To play or pause, make one tap on the touch pad. It definitely feels awkward at first but after a week or so the controls became a lot more natural to me.

Conclusion

The ClarityHD On Ear Headphones are among the most comfortable and lightweight headphones I have tried, making them a great for everyday and travel use. I’m planning a trip to Uganda this summer and already know the compact folding design will come in handy (I do wish these came with a case). Having a 3.5 mm audio jack option if my battery dies is nice to have, too. For more daily work-from-home use, I’ve taken advantage of the built-in microphone for taking calls many times. They’re very comfortable, and the overall design is basic and discreet, which is a good thing.

Monster website

» DIY: Our Kitchen Renovation

Our home has been such a work in progress. When we moved in we knew we were going to change everything but would need to do it slowly and of course… cheaply. When I walked into our home with my realtor/friend I told her to put the offer in within just a few minutes. I could see huge potential and I could see this becoming our home. Forgive the poor quality of the before photos! I didn’t have my iPhone 7 back then, ya’ll!

Before the renovation the kitchen was cut off from the entire house. It was still a large kitchen but it isolated me or whoever was in there from the rest of the home. I dreamed of a large, open space that contained a dining, sitting and kitchen area. The structure of our home posed some issues here. We didn’t have a large budget to work with and the wall separating the dining and kitchen was load bearing and also had the weight of stairs mixed in. Removing that or opening it up would be thousands upon thousands. No thank you. Every day I looked at the kitchen from different angles. I even asked contractor friends. I still got the answer… you’re talking about a lot of money hereIf you look below you’ll see the kitchen on the day we moved in. Shiny black, but solid wood, cabinets, a space waiting for a fridge and decent quartz counter tops. Oh. And red walls. Which probably looked stellar with someone else’s decor… but not mine. AND that soffit above the cabinets. Dry wall and soffit as far as the eye can see. The wall on the right (where the fridge goes) is the wall that divided the kitchen from the next room, picture #2. This room was a den/living area with faux wood beams and fireplace and lots of track lighting. This room was so dark despite the two sets of French doors.

Before:

The wall before coming down

 

The den on the opposite side of the kitchen wall

 

The opposite side of the kitchen. This leads into the bonus room and the dining room. The dining is where you spy the bit of chair rail. This is now my office and sitting area with a nice big couch.

One day as I was standing in the kitchen, it hit me. Why fixate on the location of the dining room? We could take the wall down between the den and the kitchen and create the open area we wanted! This wall was not load bearing. Additionally, because I had no budget for an actual new kitchen… why not move and repurpose all the existing cabinets? They were in good shape and very solid. Of course all these ideas hit me AFTER I did my mini $250 renovation. Thankfully I only lost the tile on wall I was planning to take down. You can read about that little detour here.

So here’s what we did in a nutshell. And yes, we did call in some professionals as well as doing a lot ourselves. There were some shady things going on with the electrical before we called in the professionals. It’s always lovely when you find out that the contractors that did the upstairs bathrooms renovations (before we bought the house) cut through the floor beams and just left them. PTL we didn’t end up with a shower or bathtub in the middle of our kitchen! We had our fair share of HGTV phone call moments and things to fix that cost more than we were expecting. Lesson #1 in home remodeling… always over-budget because you will uncover crazy things when the walls start coming down.

What we did:

– Removed wall separating den and kitchen, created column to encase plumbing pipes after wall removal, added hardwood floor where wall stood previously,

– Added additional can lighting to replace track lighting in den, removed gross faux beams

– Painted red brick on fire place, painted EVERYTHING

– Removed and rearranged cabinets, make an island from a portion of the cabinets, found contrasting granite at scrap granite yard

– Refinished ALL wood floors in house (they were a different color in each room),

– Painted cabinets, installed backsplash, converted electric range to gas. We also added extra moulding to the top of the cabinets. They looked strange after removing the soffit and that really helped dress them up.

– Removed soffit above cabinets, repaired drywall 1,000 times

– Added cabinetry for microwave area

After:

And here we are today. The column marks where the wall once was. We opted to encase the plumbing with a column rather than spending thousands and thousands trying to move it. It was a budget win, and I like the detail. We also added a light switch and outlets which is very handy with the island. We added bead board to an existing cabinet, pulled from the old wall, and the island with seating for 5-6 was born. Someday, the black ovens will completely die and I’ll get new stainless ones… but not today.

Here is another angle from this perspective. I love the clean lines of sight. I love that we can gather here. I love that a painting from Ethiopia and baskets from Uganda all found their way into a space that boasts Farm House above the door. I love that those stools were $40 at Home Goods as well. LOVE a bargain. Ya’ll do too right??

Now here we are, looking from the opposite end. I didn’t remove my fridge crap for you guys. Wanted to be mostly real. Although there is usually a bit more crumbs and dog toys or whatever to be found on the floor. What I love about this view is the budget chair and table. The distressed(ish) blue chairs are leftover from a previous table set. The upholstered chairs were $60 each on World Market’s end of year sale. The farm house table with metal top was a shocking $175 at World Market’s end of year sale. I am cheap to the core, so I pick up things and build my style over time. I sometimes pick something up and don’t figure out how to use it for a good two years.

There is a lot of walking (or running) space in this room. It’s really airy and now that it’s not brown you can really feel all the natural light. I painted the fireplace in this room because the original brick was not a pretty red. Otherwise I would have kept it original. The shelving unit was brownish mustard poop and now it has a shiplap treatment and is a nice, snowy white. And it houses little treasures from Africa, Haiti, China, South Carolina and wherever else we’ve ended up.

This view highlights the working room I have in the kitchen. I can now have lots of people (kids) busting around in here with me. No problem. The open cabinetry area holds a microwave… and currently all of our water bottles. I try not to fuss with stuff like that and just give easy access for the kids to make their water bottle each day for school and sports. The rugs are simple and can be thrown in the wash on a weekly basis.

Here you can catch a glimpse of the bonus room, which we recently finished with a shiplap treatment. It took me awhile to agree to this… but man, I just love it so much. There is also a sliding door that divides the rooms, it’s featured in this post. I told you I wanted to keep it real, do you like the mad stack of water bottle mess down there? And oh man, that black stove hood and double oven. Not pleasing to the eye… but they work right? Someday…

There you have it! We went from this:

To this:

And we did it without incurring any additional debt. We saved a bit, we made decent choices and reused a lot of what we had. Why spend a ton of money on a renovation when in 10 years someone is going to move into this house and blog about how they had to paint over all my light grey and add a wall because why would someone ever want such an open house (lol). It’s all relative friends. Enjoy your home, make it yours… and don’t break the bank.

» Zoom-Zoom in the 2017 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring AWD

Another work trip to D.C. means another opportunity I get to drive something other than the mom minivan. The 2017 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring AWD is a crossover vehicle with great handling that provides a smooth and quiet ride that also allows the driver to seamlessly control the extras while driving. Everything inside is thought out and nicely within reach or a voice command away. In fact, one of the most used feature for me was the voice command that allowed me to call my family as we are out and about. In addition, the CX-3 Grand Touring comes equipped with a Bose Surround Sound system which made any conversation sound good. With seven speakers and a lot of kick, music lovers will also rejoice.

The adaptive front lighting system is very useful for nighttime. I’m having a harder time seeing at night when driving so having a vehicle that properly illuminates the road is a necessity. The LED adaptive front lighting system means the lights on the vehicle turn with you as you turn through corners and curves allowing you to better see what lies before you. This is such a great feature to have whether you live in the big city or the country.

Conclusion

Overall, the Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring is a great sporty subcompact crossover that is comfortable with an interior that has a nice layout.  It’s a good looking vehicle that has strong performance with Sport Mode and great fuel economy rated at 34 HW MPG. Plus, I prefer hatchback vehicles since they typically allow more options to store oversized items.

 

 

 

 

 

Special thanks to Mazda USA for allowing us to test drive the 2017 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring AWD. As always, these opinions are my own.

» Chattanooga: 3-Day Family Vacation

Spring Break is the most common topic in our home right now and I’m sure it’s making the rounds in your house as well! One of our favorite Spring Break destinations is Chattanooga, Tennessee.  In fact, Chattanooga made the list on Thrillist.com of America’s 8 Most Overlooked Small Cities.

Chattanooga is a short two-hour drive from the Nashville area. The perfect distance for a weekend getaway or a Spring Break adventure. There is plenty to do for adults and kids alike so it’s always an easy choice for us. Additionally, Chattanooga never seems to be overcrowded and that’s a huge plus for us as we navigate a city with kids in tow.

Day 1, Afternoon

The Chattanoogan Hotel

The Chattanoogan Hotel has some great Spring Break packages that you need to check out here. The location is ideal; within walking distance of many local restaurants and shops, as well as the free shuttle that will take you to the main downtown attractions. Upon arrival, Elliott and I hopped out to check in and gather our room keys. We were immediately greeted by friendly staff and a warm fire as we entered the spacious lobby. After check-in we explored the hotel a bit and then headed up to our guest rooms. We noticed the local art in the hallways along the way and appreciated the non-standard decor. The kids appreciated the presence of Pokemon as they were allowed a bit of time to catch them all.

Our room was spacious and clean. I always appreciate coffee in the room but especially love that the Chattanoogan provides a Keurig and a few k-cups. This ensures that I can have a quality cup of coffee the moment the kids wake up. The beds are also very comfortable at the Chattanoogan. The double rooms provide two queen beds rather than two full beds. This is something I no longer take for granted after a few recent stays at other hotels.

After settling in we immediately headed to the indoor pool for a quick swim. We love the pool at the Chattanoogan because it’s just the right depth for a slew of young kids. It makes it so much easier to keep them safe. The view of the mountains from the pool area is a nice addition as well! There is plenty of room to sit inside the pool area and there is an additional outdoor veranda with tables for warm evenings.

There is a hot tub and sauna for mom and dad as well!

Day 1, Night

One of our favorite things about Chattanooga is the Shuttle! The Shuttle is free, clean and easy to catch. It’s also a great way to give our suburban kids a taste of public transportation. On our first night we took the shuttle across the bridge to eat at Good DogAnd we are so glad we did!

Good Dog serves hot dogs (including meatless varieties) in countless, delicious ways.  Additionally they provide stacks of books, games and fun coloring utensils. The kids really enjoyed their meal and not a crumb was left over. Once our meal was complete we took the walking bridge back over to the downtown area. After the walk the kids had enough room to enjoy some Rita’s frozen custard and Italian Ice.  We enjoyed walking around a bit more as we finished off our treats and headed back to the hotel for a bit more swimming.

Day 2, Morning


We started our day with the breakfast buffet at Broad Street Grill, inside the The Chattanoogan. There was plenty of fresh fruit and hot breakfast items for the kids to choose from. They also had a nice assortment of Greek yogurts and cereals. Calvin and I each enjoyed egg-white omelets made-to-order from the chef as well. We noticed that several other families were dining in the large restaurant area and felt right at home. The service here is also amazing and reflective of the hotel in general. Lola smashed a strawberry into her shirt and our kind waiter brought soda water to fight the stain within a moment. Extra touches like this make dining with kids so much easier!

Day 2, Afternoon

Creative Discovery Museum

We have visited many many children’s museum’s over the years. And I’ve got to say even I was running around with wonder in the Creative Discovery Museum. They had everything from dinosaurs and fossils to painting and music rooms. And nothing was off-limits! The kids spent almost and hour building robots and sewing and hammering in the Make-it area. The staff was friendly and helpful, even teaching Charlotte how to knot the end of her thread.

There was also a neat outdoor area on the rooftop that displayed live bees (safely) and allowed the kids to use their muscles to push, pull, turn and move all kids of things. This was a great outlet for them and I think they just might have been a little tired after this adventure. We could have easily spent 5-6 hours here but we headed out after 4 hours.

After the long visit at the kids’ museum, we decided to walk a few blocks for Thai food at Thai Smile. The food was good but the service was a little too slow for us, especially with hungry kids. It turned out to be a beautiful day so we took the walking bridge to the Coolidge park area. Our kids enjoyed riding the $1 Carousel (yes you read that right!) and climbing all over the animals that make up the outdoor fountain.


We also brought a football and played catch while we soaked up the sun. It was a beautiful day. While this was going on I popped over to an antique store that backs up to Coolidge park. It’s so nice to have so many different things accessible in a small area. After eating lots of heavy food we also needed a little pick-me-up so I grabbed fresh juices for everyone at Pure Vida which was also easily accessible from the park and carousel area. After we had our fill of green juices and vitamin C we checked out the little stores in the area. This area is considered the art district so there was a lot of inspiration for our little artists.

Additional considerations: The park was busy with kids playing soccer and college students playing Spike Ball (no dogs allowed FYI). There are plenty of little shops around including the legendary Clumpies Ice Cream that overlooks the park area, make sure you pick up some treats there.

Day 2, Evening

We were all pretty worn out by the evening and pizza was sounding really good after being out all day so we decided to grab a bite at Mellow Mushroom, which is right next to the shuttle stop back to the hotel. You simply cannot go wrong with Mellow Mushroom! We love that we can choose two entirely different pizzas for each half of the pizza because I opt for vegetarian options and the rest of the family definitely does not. The service was great and the pizza was better! We also checked out High Point climbing gym, which was next door, and decided to return for a climb the next day.

Day 3, Morning

High Point Climbing

We visited the downtown location of High Point Climbing. It’s a beautiful facility that even allows you to climb on the outside of the building. There is 30,000 sq. feet of climbing surface to enjoy including a really fun kids zone. The staff was very friendly and encouraging to our kids who didn’t have a lot of climbing experience. They definitely instilled a love for climbing in them in just a short amount of time! As you all know, our daughter Lola is blind. But this didn’t stop her! We could barely get her off the wall to leave when it was time to go. We always enjoy allowing our kids to push forward and challenge themselves.

The kids zone was a great place to start for Elliott (9), Lola (9) and Charlotte (7) but they quickly advanced to the bouldering area and some of the intermediate level climbing areas in the main gym. Liam, who is 5, had plenty to challenge him in the kids zone and stayed there until the very end. He did do one beginner level wall in the main gym right before leaving and was quite proud of himself.

High point provided everything we needed to climb for the day and the day-pass price was very reasonable. They do discount the day pass for the last 2 hours in the day if you prefer to climb for a shorter amount of time and save a bit of money. Overall this was an incredibly fun and empowering addition to our Chattanooga vacation. The kids can’t wait to climb again!

Summary

We loved staying at The Chattanoogan Hotel and hope it won’t be our last time. It was a luxury hotel experience with friendly staff. We didn’t feel crazy trying to keep up with all of our kids in the pool due to the layout and shallow water. The focus on local foods and art made the experience uniquely personal and inviting. Lastly, the location enabled us to hit all the city hot-spots without ever getting in our car. We will continue to keep Chattanooga on our short list for long weekend. We can’t wait to visit again and experience even more Chattanooga attractions such as Rock City and Lake Winnie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer: The folks at The Chattanoogan Hotel, and Creative Discovery Museum kindly accommodated us for this review. As always, the opinions are my own.

» DIY: Sliding Barn Door

Our bonus room renovation project has been a long time coming. It was the room where we stacked stuff, kept the dog kennel and even stored our recycling containers. When friends came to visit I generally tried to keep them far away from the dreaded bonus room. In an effort to lighten up this room we recently added shiplap and painted it white. This move started a series of additional improvements to the room and I’m happy to report we are super close to an entire room reveal. The latest addition to the room, today’s feature, is a sea-glass colored sliding barn door. Here’s how we did it!

Part 1- Building the door

This is the second sliding barn door in our house. This time around, we searched Google and Pinterest for design ideas and got quite overwhelmed with the options. Our good friend Andrew, gave us a simple base plan and promised we’d love it. So we took his word and started with a 1/2″ birch plywood (4′ x 8′) sheet cut to the door size we needed. From there we were able to customize the finishes on the door easily. The instructions from National Hardware’s sliding barn door kit (more on the actual kit below) guide you on what that final size needs to be. We bought additional 1″ x 6″ pieces of various lengths for our trim. Yes, I know. My sketches are clearly amazing, I’ll make sure to start signing them like Joanna Gaines. Certainly someone will make a published book out of them one day.

Building the door was a very smooth process. I laid the birch plywood board out in the living room, I chose to work inside due to the chilly weather, and measured to determine what cuts I would need for the frame. This went quickly and I then used a combination of liquid nails and screws to attached the framing to the birch plywood. The dogs were, as usual, very curious and tried to lend a paw through the process.

I then attached the diagonal cross board, after measuring the placement area, with wood screws and a bit of liquid nails for good measure. After the boards were screwed in I immediately began to apply the first coat of paint. I chose an economical chalk paint by valspar for this project and I was really impressed by the quality compared to my typical Annie Sloan choice. The seaglass color was absolutely perfect!


Once the first coat was dry I took a hammer, crow bar and other various items and basically beat the junk out of the pretty door I just created. I really didn’t want a shiny new door in this room and I searched half of Nashville looking for something old. Unfortunately the size we needed just couldn’t be found. So I improvised and got a work-out while I “distressed” the door. After the door was good and beat up I mixed a gray and brown stain with Annie Sloan wax and rubbed the door down. This added a gritty look and highlighted the dinged-up areas nicely.


Part 2- Installation

Installation was fairly painless. National Hardware provided a great kit with instructions for this project. It includes the track, rollers and stopper hardware necessary for a quick and easy installation. They also offer a door handle and pull that we did end up using. The templates included take the guess work out of drilling the holes into the door.

I painted a header (National Hardware recommends a 1×6) to install into the new shiplap. The track for the rolling hardware is screwed into this beam. This provides a stylistic touch and security to the door system. Make sure you have your level for this step as you don’t want a door that slides open or shut on it’s own. Calvin and I took turns managing kids and working on installation. As you can see the kids kept busy in the kitchen with snacks and mess-making while we worked.


Once the beam is up, the track is bolted securely into the beam. The beam and track went up easily and the door slid effortlessly onto the track.

Conclusion

If you’ve been wanting to do this project but unsure of the cost and difficulty level, you have nothing to worry about. Building the door is easy (do all your measuring and math before you leave the house) and with two people, installation was a breeze. I don’t have any other hardware kits to compare against but the National Hardware system had clear instructions and the pieces were all sorted and labeled nicely. For two people, I would say this project would take about 3 hours, including the door creation. This doesn’t include the paint drying and the interruptions from kids who are constantly hungry and wanting to help hammer and drill things. Total cost for this project is $255

Our Material List (based on 39″x83″ door opening):

(1) 4′ x 8′ cabinet grade board
(2) 1″ x 6″ in. 10′ board
(3) 72 in 2×6 header board
(20) wood screws (for door)
(20) drywall screws (f0r header)
1- can of valspar chalk paint
Liquid Nails for Wood
Paint brushes and old t-shirts for stain/paint
National Hardware Satin Nickel Sliding Barn Door Kit
Door Materials: $85
Hardware: $170

Tools That Will Help:

Drill
Saw (we used a table saw)
Hammer and Crowbar (for distressing)
Socket Wrench
Drill Bits

 

 

 

Disclaimer: The folks at National Hardware kindly provided the sliding barn door hardware for this review. As always, the opinions are my own.

» I choose yes

We’ve had some hard weeks recently. These little pockets of difficulty manifest themselves throughout the year and somehow we never expect it. It’s like falling down the stairs. Everything is going great and then your foot misses a step and it’s all downhill from there.

I’m speaking about trauma and parenting a child with an extensive past that we don’t fully understand.

In the middle of this recent bout with hard stuff I reflected deeply on the way we chose to form our family. I asked myself “would I still choose this, given the chance to do it all over again.” I gave that thought a couple days to process as I fielded calls and emails from the school and sat with my child while she did everything in her power to skip her assigned reading that evening. My answer came slowly, but resolutely, YES I would choose this all over again.

I would choose this again because she is my child. Three years ago I stood in a dimly lit Chinese office building, I dipped my hand in red ink and pressed my palm onto a balmy piece of paper inscribed with words promising to mother the scared little girl perched in my lap. And with great ceremony Calvin and I took her hand, pressed it into the same red ink and pushed her palm down onto the paper and she promised to trust us.

I didn’t meet her until 5 1/2 years of her life had been spent without me. And I’ve spent the past 3 years trying desperately to make up for that lost time. It’s slow and it’s painful and we take 9 steps back before we take 2 forward but she’s my child. No one in this entire world is more fit to love her than Calvin and I. No hands are more equipped to guide her back when she veers off course. No heart is more broken when watching her struggle. Of all the parents in the world she got us and we got her. Yes, we chose to pursue her. We saw a picture and read a story and chose to find her. But I can’t believe in chance. Just as my biological children formed in my womb, my children from across the ocean formed in my heart. They were always there, it just took me longer to find them. This is not said to romanticize a process that begins with loss and brokenness. This is said to affirm that there was no wavering in this matter for me. My children are my children. And their battles and struggles are now mine.

So yes, a million times yes. My girl… I will always say yes to you.

Margaret Wise Brown said it best in her book The Runaway Bunny

Once there was a little bunny who wanted to run away.
So he said to his mother, “I am running away.”
“If you run away,” said his mother, “I will run after you.
For you are my little bunny.”

“If you run after me,” said the little bunny,
“I will become a fish in a trout stream
and I will swim away from you.”

“If you become a fish in a trout stream,” said his mother,
“I will become a fisherman and I will fish for you.”

This stinkin’ little bunny continues to propose a million ways to escape his mommy. But mommies are smart and we are fierce. And no matter where our children go or how far they push away we are one step behind.

Every day I choose to mother. I limp to to the field some days, but I keep showing up.

Your situation may not look like mine. But whatever it may be I encourage you to keep showing up, keep fighting for your kids and finding them wherever they go. They are waiting and watching. They are testing and pushing your limits. Show them what a momma’s love looks like. Broken, imperfect and messy… but it’s there saying yes… every single day.

 

» A year of less

We recently committed to a year of less. Specifically a year of NO tangible, hold-them-in-your-hand gifts. This includes Easter baskets, car trip surprises, birthday presents and YES Christmas presents too. It’s not happening in this house this year. The why of this decision has many forms. First of all, our lives have become very indulgent. I recently read a book about Abraham Lincoln with my daughter. She delighted as she read about his sister Sarah’s first toy… a corncob doll she made herself. Would our children treasure such a thing today? Probably not. Toys today leave little to the imagination. Imagine the depths little Sarah went to with that single corncob doll made by her own two hands. In Uganda, Haiti and Ethiopia I’ve seen children completely content with homemade wagons and cardboard boxes or stacks of smooth stones. Our initial reaction is sadness… but just watch the joy and ingenuity in their method of play for a moment and wipe that sadness away.

Secondly, we have toys. We have stem toys and mounds of Legos. We have paints and clay and paper. We have a swings and a trampoline. And most importantly we have bikes and sticks and mud and dogs to play with. We have everything they need and want.

Lastly, we want to invest in experiences this year rather than things. I would prefer to spend money on travel or helping others. I would prefer to heighten the quality of the time I spend with my children and create more room for memories. And really it comes down to the simple fact: enough is enough. When I spend more time managing clutter and crap in my house than I do with my children that’s a problem. This feels like a giant, deep breath of crisp cool air to my weary soul. It’s like painting the whole house white and just sitting in the middle of a blank slate. It’s a good start to good things… that aren’t actual things.

We let the kids in on our plans earlier this week. They weren’t terribly shocked, but they were definitely ready to help plan our experiences for the year! There isn’t a grand plan that I can lay out for you. We are simply going to plan experiences for the events that we would typically purchase presents for. Intentional substitution of time for stuff. This may range from visiting Six Flags to riding bikes at a park and grabbing ice cream. This plan can be tailored to fit your budget, lifestyle and interests.

So here’s to a year of less stuff and more togetherness. Anyone else?

All Content © Erica Ho, Goodbye Normal