Get Moving

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I have come to realize something about myself, working out is not my thing. I do LOVE the idea of it. I dream of having a runners high and having great strength with arms to prove it. If you have been around this blog for any amount of time I am sure you have read my always well meaning goals of “this being my fitness year”, every single year. I don’t like to be cold, I don’t like to be too hot, I don’t like not breathing. Recently I had a minor procedure on a mole that came back with less favorable results. The Mr tagged along when I had to get my stitches removed from my shoulder and she mentioned that I may need to lay off working out my upper body for a bit in fear of the wound opening back up. The Mr couldn’t help but laugh and exclaimed the truth of it all, being that I am the least active person he knows. At first he got the side glance, but then I quickly knew he was just stating a fact and me wearing work out gear does not indeed mean that I do work out. He has lived by my side for the last 15 years and seen my attempts to work out and my abruptly stopping. Directly from that appointment we went to the store and I bought myself a apple watch. I bought it to get away from my phone more, but it quickly did more than that. I realized that computer work days left me with taking less than a thousand steps a day. On a day that I thought I was being pretty active I found to have barely 3,000 steps. Did you know for a healthy lifestyle an average person needs approximately 10,000 steps a day? The Mr gave me a told you so look, when I “discovered” what he already knew. I know for a fact that I have to move more if I expect my body to work in the near future. This in turn made me think about ways I can achieve said goal. This time I did not aim high by claiming to want to sign up for a 5k, I did not enroll in cross fit classes that I know my body can not handle for long, what I did do was make realistic intentions for myself. I am hoping by starting realistically it will lead to that addiction to move like so many have, but for now I will be sensible with my abilities and have step contests with my daughter.

My intention is to walk 3 days a week:

  • I listen to a good podcast or two and walk a minimum of 30 minutes 3 days a week

  • Too cold? I go to our local mall and walk with the folks that have me by a decade or two without shame

  • Too hot? Haven’t gotten there yet, but assume my local mall walking will still apply

  • Gorgeous day? I will take it outside and make it a family walk

  • Want to catch up with a friend and I know they are decently active? Instead of meeting for coffee how about we walk and talk.

  • Stairs have become my best friend

Do you enjoy working out? Born that way or self made? I really do need to know.

*dress by everlane

Budgets: we all have them


Money, I find it to be a taboo subject for some, but it is something that all folks need to be aware of at any level of income. My parents never discussed money in front of us as children. I only knew when we could and could not afford certain things. I worked since I was 14 and every paycheck was gone before the next arrived. When I went to college I got a credit card in order to keep up with fellow classmates, but never thought much of having to pay it back and found myself only worried about making minimum payments. I then got married right out of school and quickly became pregnant with a pregnancy that rocked my world leaving the Mr’s nominal paycheck at the time for everyday needs. We quickly figured out neither of us have ever worked with budgets and lived paycheck to paycheck. A few years into marriage we knew things had to change, I took the reins and read every book I could find and finally found Dave Ramsey as a method that could work for us. We had one car for a couple of years as maintaining two old clunkers wasn’t feasible. We each had a cash budget and our meals were less than special. During that time we never felt the need for more and fell into a steady pattern. It was a sweet time for us even during the exhaustion of having two babies and the rush of the beginning years of an ever expanding church plant that we were part of. Then in 2008 we knew it was time to make some residual income where we could. That’s when we fell in love with photography and blogging. Wedding photography and blogging soon began to match my husbands salary. We felt rich to say the least and was doing it all as a side business. Regrettably, we also began to spend that way too. We were young and full of energy. We bought a house we technically should have never purchased, finally purged all the hand me down furniture we owned, and I felt the need to buy more in order to have more blog content. We then went through a huge audit where we discovered photography was not a service, but considered a product. We owed tons in back sales tax. We were then working none stop just to make ends meet once again. We went back to the Dave Ramsey method and have stuck with it pretty much since. My husbands salary has gone up over the years and photography and blogging has become less of a need for survival and more an outlet of passion. We don’t make much with either any longer, but it does afford us a good vacation or two a year. Finically, we were making it happen but as we have gotten older we have new goals in mind. Like a retirement plan that we haven’t quite poured into like we should, home renovations that I know won’t be feasible once the kiddos start driving in the next few years, and let’s not get started on college. In order to make these goals happen we knew we needed to shift our finances again. To see where some extra money could open up to make our dreams into reality. Thankfully our time doing Dave Ramsey has set us into a pattern of living debt free minus our house and one car payment. We have spent time saving and our emergency fund hasn’t had to be dipped into in years. All last years freelance income was set aside for medical bills for little man and we forged any big vacation plans. We are in a good place to jump ahead and make things happen without too much financial stress, but still need to be wise on how to bring our goals into existence without going above and beyond what we bring home monthly.

A few practical steps we have taken to plan for our financial goals ~

  • We do the Dave Ramsey method

    • we know where each dollar goes {I have used this budget planner for years now}

      • this means I took every bill that we pay and wrote it down. Yes, that includes the target card bills that normally don’t count. I also found myself surprised at the dollar amount that snuck in there the last few years in little ways.

      • We are presently reviewing what can be cut and where we can save. Asking ourselves questions such as can we cut our food budget down some? Can we do away with cable again? Do we really use that gym membership enough to justify the expenditure?

      • Our intention is to see if we can find enough money, by simply cutting back to help us get to our next planned saving goal

  • I opened saving accounts for both our children

    • I put a certain amount away every month. Sometimes it’s larger, but the minimum is set. My hope is that it will alleviate some of the bigger expenditures we will have for them in the future.

    • I realized having a spending goal with their name on it helps remind me that planning for their future, and in turn ours, is an intentional one and not just me hoping there will be enough in our regular savings to cover it when that times come.

    • Ellie likes to add to hers with birthday and holiday cash gifts

    • Little Kellen has no idea his even exists, because I know he will want to spend it on nonsense and won’t quite understand the concept of this is for his future.

  • For home renovation goals

    • I put together a “needs” list and “dream” list

      • Need - remove dead trees before they fall on the house

      • dream - give the kitchen a major face lift

    • I am putting numbers to the lists and see what is feasible or not. I then alter my expectations to see where it would fit comfortably in our budget. This also puts my patience to the test, as I know the timing of it all may not work out like I always hope.

    • I always see what I can do myself. Such as for the laundry closet I knew electrical and plumbing needed to be hired out, but we could handle the painting, woodwork and wallpapering.

I know most of you probably have your own finances well planned out, but those who don’t and those who are entering adulthood I encourage you to make a realistic financial plan that allows you to stay our of debt. Most importantly always to remember to include your dreams. At 23 we always had hopes of traveling well, eating well, and not live paycheck to paycheck. Fast forward, and now we can see our hard work and planning has opened the doors to such things even if they seem so simple now. We achieved our dream lifestyle by working hard and planning well even when we had to overcome setbacks. Today our dreams are a little larger in scale and we hope our past diligence will again pay off for the future.

“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?” ~ Luke 14:28

How it worked for me: Mari Kondo method

More of Ellie’s Room  here

More of Ellie’s Room here

I used to live with a maximalism mind set. Having an aesthetic of excess and living by the “more is more” philosophy. I loved to layer, shift and change my surrounding areas and wardrobe as I saw fit at that given moment. I shopped, collected, and gathered in way that I thought brought me joy, until one day it simply didn’t. Way back in 2014 the home we lived in flooded while we were away. We were in the process of moving and the realtor who came to our house found water gushing out. My sweet papa jumped into action and worked with our insurance company to save what they could. Once we returned home and saw the damage I did not feel a moment of remorse or sadness, but of relief. Most of the things that we deemed important were already packed away and shifted to the only area of our home that did not flood. Between loosing a good chunk of what we owned, having our home repaired, and having to move into a much smaller home without closet space set me free from the “stuff” that overtook us. What was salvageable, but could not fit into our new rental we gave to all the folks that that were putting our home back together layer by layer. In the end I would say we only kept about a 1/2 of what we owned some by choice and some by circumstance. Once we settled into our new home I quickly realized that we still had too much. That was when Mari Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, came out. It quickly became a best seller and was making its way around the blogging world. I read it and then read it again. I started the process she speaks so highly of minus some of the steps I found a little fluffy at the time. I donated and sold what I could. That included all the things that did not have a place or have a direct need. My clothing that once barely fit into a walk in closet was paired down to two ikea Pax closets. All the things that used to float around our home all got paired into places that made sense. Gift wrapping all went into a rubbermaid that fit under our bed, all electronic wires lived in a basket so not one ever disappeared again, the kids toys that were actually kept were grouped and labeled into bins making playing and picking up easier. I felt like I was starting to finally feel free of the need for more stuff. Fast forward a couple of years and we bought our current home, ready to make roots in the community that became dear to us. As I packed I continued to purge. When we moved in, I continued to purge. My two pax’s filled with clothing dwindled down to a mere two feet of space in our closet. We have empty cupboards and empty closets now. I no longer had to buy items to organize better, because with less stuff their was more space. The things in our attic consist only of Christmas decor and luggage minus a few electronic boxes kept for warranty purposes. Do I now live a minimalist life style, no way! What it did create in me, is that I no longer fill my home with things just for the sake of it. I now am conscious of my purchases and ask myself if this new item really would improve my life in any way or is it just because I happen to be in the mood to shop. Have I faltered from this method, of course. The brilliant thing is though that since every item has a spot we know exactly where it goes and makes family cleaning time go so much faster. There is no “mom, where does this go” or “mom, where is this” any longer. There are days when rooms become a mess and we don’t have the time to put it all away, but it no longer becomes a snowball effect of piles of useless things. I am feeling a spur to do the whole Mari Kondo method once again after watching her new Netflix show. What I once deemed as fluff such as thanking my discarded items now makes more sense after hearing her sweet self explain it. I know there are areas that can be purged once again. The kitchen for one, as I am sure there must be some expired items that made the way to the back of the cabinet and I am certain we no longer need so many casserole dishes as our way of eating has shifted greatly the last few years. I also know my son’s art supplies have gotten out of control as has his drawers. This is somewhere that I need to shift the method into one that works for him. I believe we will try separating his items into school clothes and sports clothes to see if that helps. What I do know it that Ellie would get a standing ovation for the way she has kept her drawers over the last couple of years. Mari Kondo’s method really did work for us and has helped me keep on top of the chaos that holding onto all the extra brought me. I have found having less options in my closet, only keeping the beauty and home products that we actually use, and so on has really benefited us for the long run. In the words of Ellie while out shopping for clothes after a growth spurt, “mom, I now have what I need and what I will actually wear so we can stop now.”

A few of my favorite Mari Kondo tidying methods ~

  • take everything out of every closet and drawer

    • this really helped me see what I have and what I do and do not actually use

    • it was eye opening the first time and lead me to be more intentional with my future buys

  • only keep what sparks joy

    • this freed me from holding onto things, just because. I now am grateful to let things go. As I now know there may be someone who “sparks joy” with the item I no longer was hoarding away.

  • make it a family project

    • having the kids participate in their own rooms really got them thinking on what they need and don’t need any longer. Now during purge days, as they out grow clothing and play things, I can hand them a bag or bin and they do it themselves. The most surprising thing is that they actually look forward to planned purge days!

    • Some areas I do the method myself, but when it comes to putting the kept items into place I have the kids help me. This way they know where the designated spot is and I am sure that the new place works for the whole family.

  • imaging my ideal lifestyle

    • One of our family values is that our door is always open. Using this method means even if the house is in what I deem a disarray it is rarely so much so that I would not second guess an unexpected knock on the door. Although, I don’t mind a text so I can be sure to not have my pj’s on still.

    • Another desire is that our home is full of peace. Having a tidy home does not equal peace in any form, but having a tidy home brings peace of mind to me and in turn leads to a more peaceful environment for us all.

    • We love to travel, but the getting there process was always so hard. Now everyone knows what they have and what they use daily so packing and unpacking is a cinch. Without excess it makes decision making quick and effective.

    • Another value is to love people through inviting those in for a family meal. We host often and love it. Through this method we stopped buying food in bulk as we saw that in the end we were wasting so much. Now we shop once a week for what we will need and this in turn makes our family meals more intentional for not only us, but the others we invite in. For us intentional meals often do not equate fancy or time consuming. Sometimes a quick pot of chili with corn muffins is all that is needed, in the end it’s the conversation around the table that makes the night sweet.

Have you tried the Mari Kondo method? Have any take aways that really help? I would love to hear.

Want to know more about her process…


The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing {for me reading sticks with my soul more so than a show}

Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up {the practical side of the first book with how to’s such as how we fold t-shirts}

The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up: A Magical Story {her newest book that I haven’t read as of yet, seems like it could be a fun quick read though}


Tidying Up with Mari Kondo


Kon Mari {her website and blog}