Category Archives: Family/Kids

I killed my 333 Wardrobe!

Photo by Emily May

Photo by Emily May

Okay, so, maybe not as dramatic as that. But I committed a cardinal sin. I broke the “You can only wear your workout clothing to workout” rule. And not just by waiting too long to take a shower and running to the store in my gym clothes.

I bought gym clothes to wear as “real” clothes.

There’s a really long story you can read about how and why this happened below if you want to, but what I really have been thinking about is how engrained impulse buying is in our culture, in my life, and how easy it is to fall back into. It’s like binge watching television, you have to actively shut it off. I have been actively not impulse buying clothes for three years now, ever since I learned that I owned 27 pairs of jeans and most of my co-workers owned 5 or less. It was like an addiction I had to break, and it was hard. (The super cute $10 dresses at Target didn’t help at all.)

This year, especially, I’ve been trying to be really conscious of what I buy not only for myself, but also for the kids. It needs to be high quality (relatively in the kids’ case), something that fits well and will for a while, and there needs to be a solid reason to need one more shirt or pants or whatever it is. It’s been going pretty darn well, actually, but it’s a struggle. Every day I have the option to buy something nice but not necessary.

I grew up in a small town, we didn’t get to go to the store more than once every week or two, if I didn’t buy what I wanted when I saw it I might well not get the chance again. But that’s not the case now, nor has it been for the last 17 years. I’ve lived in major metropolitan areas for the last 15, I can go to the store every day if I want (sometimes whether or not I want.) But this impulse to buy buy buy, whether the item is exactly what we need or not, is the reason we have such an abundance of self-storage garages (and television shows), closets bursting at the seams, and overflowing landfills.

Have any of you successfully shut off the buying impulse? How’d you do it?

 


 

The long story of how I got the shorts that I didn’t need:

First of all, in my defense:

  • It was hot. Like, hot for Minnesota, anyway.
  • I don’t own a single pair of shorts. They look terrible on my legs.
  • I was tired.
  • Even the “real” shorts I tried on looked terrible on my legs.
  • We were going camping.
  • The shorts I bought were so comfortable!
  • I was tired.
  • They were on sale for really, really cheap ($6.)

I bought two pairs of “capri leggings” from Gap Fit—a black pair and a blue pair— and I’ve been wearing them with t-shirts, calling it an outfit. I know I don’t look terrible, but I certainly don’t look great. I don’t wear them in public much, I don’t feel good about my body in them. They were not a good purchase for me (other than being so comfortable!)

I had actually been doing really well all year with the control over impulse clothing buys, but I definitely see how I fall down this rabbit hole:

My favorite jeans died. When I went to replace them, I found the company (again, Gap) had changed the design of them significantly, so I ended up with a different style. They were on sale, along with a bunch of other stuff. There is a serious lack of nice shirts in my closet, but there was nothing I really loved, so I refrained. Then, while taking the kids to mall for shoes, I went into this store I’d been wanting to check out for a while, found and fell in love with a shirt on clearance: by one get one for $1 clearance. But, the kids were done and I didn’t have time to look for another piece, so I left with nothing. That shirt haunted me though, it was perfect: so comfortable, so flattering, so casual yet dressy…so I went back to the mall a few nights later sans kids. I spent over an hour looking through the store’s clearance (and trying on many, many items) before I finally found what I was looking for. I got two great shirts for a great price. But the jeans and the trying on had sparked the bug, and I was tired of wearing jeans when it was hot out, so I started looking for shorts. The whole think-before-you buy barrier was down, especially because I already had to make a trip back to the mall because I didn’t buy the first time. So I just did it. I bought them.

I’m going to give myself a pass on this, say lesson learned, and relegate these to the “lounge wear” category.

Cooking w/ Kids

My kids love muffins. And donuts. I mean, who wouldn’t. Carbs and sugar, sugar and carbs…yum! I’ve been long substituting whole wheat flour for white, apple sauce for oil/butter. But the sugar solution has been elusive. I’ve used honey, but that’s still sugar. Today, though, inspired by the methods Katie uses in her recipes, I made fat free, sugar free, whole wheat banana bread muffins. Instead of the 1 1/2 cups of sugar (seriously!) that the recipe called for, I used 4 ground up dates and a squirt (probably about 15 drops) of liquid stevia. It worked. The muffins are wonderful, and I had a lot of fun making them with the kids.

What I’m Reading: The Night Circus


I just closed The Night Circus. I loved it, and I think you should go out and buy it. Yes, you. I got my copy from the library, but I will be buying it. It’s a book to savor, with so much beautiful imagery you will want to read it again and again. And then read it to your kids.

When they are children, Celia and Marco are bound to a challenge that neither of them understands. Their teachers give no information, only that they will know when it has begun. It is a test of endurance and understanding of manipulating reality and disguising it as magic. The venue is Le Cirque des Rêves, an intricate dream world of tents and performers traveling and appearing if by magic, and only open at night.

I was able to catch a reading by Erin Morgenstern when she was in Nashville a few months ago, but wasn’t able to fully appreciate the discussion of the book as I hadn’t read it yet. Erin is an artist first, writing was something she tried on the side. She said that when she writes she sees the scenes like movies in her head and tries to capture that on paper. She did an excellent job.

This book took me a long time to read– a few weeks. Normally, I read books in matter of days. But her prose is beautiful, filled with just the right amount of flourishes that I had to slow down and let it fully sink in, but it never pulled me out of the story.

Magnetic Paint?

Click photo to be taken to original

I’ve just learned that Magnetic Paint exists. Anyone ever used it? I guess it’s technically primer, so a lot of people paint over it with Chalkboard Paint. I love this idea for my kitchen. I want to do magnetic spice tins, I was going to just get a sheet of metal to hang them on, but this would work better. And I could make a weekly meal calendar, shopping list, etc., if the whole wall was a chalk board.

So??? Help me out! I guess it takes several coats, so it’s not super duper easy, but according to some reviews, it’s worth it. Yes? No?

This week on etsy: organization

Who wouldn’t want a bookcase like this:

Funky Entertainment Center from KidsCreationBeds

We’ve been spending a fair amount of time cleaning and organizing lately. I’ve made three trips to The Container Store without making a purchase. While I am a sucker for bins and drawers and anything to make things appear cleaner than they are, their stuff feels almost clinical to me. I want color and feeling!

Etsy is full of amazing organizational ideas. Check out some of my favorites in this week’s treasury. I’m especially excited about the meal planner hooks. That is absolutely genius.

Favorite Internet resources for teaching kids

Sight Words Worksheet

One of the best things about the Internet is all of the free teaching tools. This morning I found this incredible handwriting practice program via a friend’s board on Pinterest. It’s free and there is nothing to download.

This site has a plethora of fabulous free teaching resource links. Additionally, if you follow her blog/facebook/twitter/newsletter, she posts several amazing deals each day that don’t require extreme couponing craziness to partake in.

What are your favorite resources on the web?

Learning to read

Do you remember learning to read? Yeah, me neither. Lily’s learning right now. Let me tell you: IT. IS. HARD. She knows what sounds letters make. She knows what sounds they make when you put them together. She knows what letters are what. What she doesn’t seem to be getting yet is the visual “that is a word because the letters are all together” part of reading. And I don’t know how to teach it to her other than just keep working on it.

The funny part of all of it is, she’s much more okay with the process than I am. She doesn’t get frustrated or upset. She can go right back to coloring or playing, whatever. No problem. She’ll get it.

I’m trying to take a lesson from her. I’m not nearly so patient when I’m learning something new.