img_3289Children have a natural affinity for rituals. They brighten at all of the precious moments of a birthday, not just the moment the presents are opened. They enjoy eating by candle light and my girls love setting their table with cloth napkins and pretty china they picked out. Children model rituals in their play. Tea parties are an intricate example of the practice of ritual. There are many social graces that come into play with a tea party. Who serves whom, where to sit, how and when to say please and thank you. Nearly every day at school, I see children on the playground at school playing “family.” They get together and decide who is the mom, big sister, baby, etc. They also play school regularly. It always makes me hope I’ve given my girls a good model of what “playing family” looks like.

When I ask friends about traditions growing up, they all ever so clearly recall the things their families always did- went to the lake every summer, had blueberry muffins on Saturday mornings, drank tea while opening presents on Christmas morning. These traditions and rituals are a part of us. What we do with our children in these childhood years will be with them for all of their lives.

I have been a little petrified about the idea of making traditions from scratch. I want to have them but I’m a little late to the planning party sometimes when it comes to big birthdays, holidays and the like. I read in the book, “Simplicity Parenting,” that having a predictable day of the week where you eat… say soup is also helpful. So I’ve sat down and tried to make lists of the “official traditions” that I want. These ideas are probably gathering dust somewhere. While I am newly inspired to find more ways to bring beautiful rituals into our lives, I’ve also purchased this little beauty.


How to Celebrate Everything” has me over the moon excited about the fun my kids and I are in for as we start celebrating our every day lives together. I highly recommend it. (I was not paid for this btw.)

Here’s the short list for what traditions we already have and ones I’d like to add:

  1. Saturday Morning Oatmeal- Charlotte and I adore making food together and we’ve taken to  making oatmeal on Saturday mornings. We are now looking into the many ways we can “write our own recipes” in life and using oatmeal as a jumping off point.
  2. Friday Pizza and Movie Night- Friday is a special day for either Pizza at home or a night out with friends. It’s also our movie night.
  3. Fall and Thankfulness- I LOVE thanksgiving and the beauty and cool weather of fall. I also teach year-round thankfulness so it’s great to have a holiday that I can spend loving them, cooking with them and talking about being thankful for all the beauty our lives have to offer. I have a few side dishes that are go-to’s that I’ll have Charlotte and Josephine start to help me cook this year.
  4. Christmas crafts, cookies and wrapping paper- We make cookies every year, create fun crafts and a few years ago, we started making and decorating our own wrapping paper with craft paper and stamps but this year, I’d like to up our game.
  5. Spring camping trip- Being a teacher, I’d like to take a trip with my girls every spring break starting this year. (Fingers crossed!) Maybe drive to California and camp there.

Other hopes and dreams:

  1. Birthday banner and crown made for the occasion.
  2. A more steamlined meal plan.
  3. Monthly outings.
  4. More nature.
  5. Saying a thankfulness prayer before meals.
  6. Making their halloween costumes
  7. One designated cozy spot for reading every night. (We currently are all over the place)



When It All Came Down Around Me

D is for Doozy

Divorce is a doozy, but somehow we made it through still good friends and supportive of each other in countless ways. The warning you hear sometimes is about your finances. We were never huge savers when together but C was in charge of the money and I tried not to spend too much of it. And often I would hear the words, “we are on the credit card” because we’d run out of money. This happened before we went bankrupt and eliminated $40,000 of debt, none of which were my $60,000 in student loans. We then got new credit cards afterwards (do people never learn?) and slowly the balances crept up.

Post divorce, the debt I had personally collected was my own and the balances were not tiny. Then there was my personal student loan debt. And so I started out on my own, not really having a system in place, no real budget. I paid my bills, mostly on time, most of the time and started to feel the stress crawling it’s way up my neck. A few weeks ago, I tried to use my credit card and was denied because my auto-payment no longer covered the minimum balance. I then had a panic attack on the way to work when I realized I had no control of what was happening to me financially.

So there I was. A new car with an unknown fortune still owed, $60,000 in student loan debt, $6,000 in credit card debt, $3000 owed to my teacher training program and all this on an assistant teachers salary and child support.  No wonder I had a panic attack.

Ground zero.

This bring us to the bottom right? Where the hell to start? Well here’s the thing. I love simplicity. I love simple living. I love making food from scratch and making the most of what I have. I love living for long baths, playing with my kids and reading books from the library. So where did I go so far wrong?

The good.

Here’s the good. I already downsized from $1400/mo rent to $890. I reduced my health insurance payment from $200 to $80. I reduced my internet from $60 to $30. But these were things that were pretty easy for me. I was still driving through P.Terrys and Starbucks on the regular.


I feel that many of us share this feeling of entitlement. We are entitled to an iphone, nice car, big space to live in, good quality coffee, organic food from nicer stores (my children need it!)… I loved simplicity but I also loved lattes. I had also spent a long time not looking at real alternatives. I reduced my Starbucks order from $4 to $2.87 instead of NOT going there.


And this weekend, I had my aha moment.  At the end of this long financial journey, at the bottom of this deep hole, after everything in pandora’s box emerged, I found that last sliver. I found hope. I found my fuel for this fire. I really started using mint (that had been there untouched all along) to look at how much I spent on eating out last month ($150.) I actually figured out how much I owe on my car and then took my beautiful, very expensive car to carmax to see if there was a more affordable option there for me. Turns out I owe $3000 more than they offered me for my car, so I’ll have to figure that one out in a few months. I had a friend take a look at my finances and we made a whole spreadsheet with income and expenses. I went to the grocery store and bought simple ingredients for half a week of groceries for $12. Did you know dried beans are $0.88 for a 1lb bag which is 10 servings?? And a 1lb or brown rice is under a dollar too. THEN! I went home and my kids helped me chop veggies for our healthy dinner and we ate together, not at a drive-thru. Hot damn, this was amazing. And hilarious. and made me feel pretty dumb.

Head, meet sand

There was a time where I thought if I didn’t look at it, it wasn’t there. Object permanence is something most 6 months olds figure out. Why I didn’t know it at 30 is beyond me. So I finally took my head out of that sandy place and reached out to my Facebook friends and got a few good references, Dave Ramsey and Mr. Money Mustache. I started reading, listening to anything involving debt reduction and found so much good.

So simplicity.

So simplicity. My blog is called “The Little Things” because that is truly what I believe makes you happy. It’s the relationships you build. The love you give, the small pleasures in creating something yourself. So if you need me, I’ll be cooking or baking, taking pictures,drinking tea, or taking a walk with my kids. If I need something, I’ll be at my favorite thrift stores. And I’ll be here. Writing about my successes and my failures, hoping you take this journey with me.

Good Morning Sunshine: Stress-free Morning Routine

My morning routine

Good morning. I’ve missed you. I am sitting in a beautiful room in Colorado waiting for my 2 month life of learning to begin. I’ve traveled up here to start the process of certifying to be a early childhood Montessori teacher. It’s been a lifelong dream and I am over the moon that I get to live that dream this summer. And so today, I’m constructing my day, routine and life anew. It’s a fresh start. And with that, I’ve truly wanted more order in the way I greet my day. I want to utilize the power of a calm, meaningful morning. There’s a lot of buzz in the productivity world about morning routines and, I’ve been reading avout them for years, finally I have combined my sources to discover my own. Here’s what my mornings in my dreams.

ideally look like.

5:30 Wake, give thanks and drink water.

5:45 Meditation and Yoga (10 vinyasa flow sequences)

6:00 Make tea and prep smoothies and plan my day: Moleskin and pencil at dining room table.

List 3 things that brought me joy from the day before, 3 essential tasks of the day and 3 future dreams. Write anything else on my mind.

6:15-6:45 wake children with hugs and love and everyone gets ready for the day

6:45-7:00 blend and pack smoothies in togo cups.

7:15 Out the door to start our day!

The Power of Red

THE POWER OF REDA woman with bright red lipstick, a man with a wide deep red tie, a cherry red vespa zooming past you, a field of red poppies- the color red simply says pay attention. It’s the color of love, lust and passion- flushed cheeks and rosy lips. It’s the color of blood, our life force. Shades of it look good on all skin types and colors, all races. It can be a bit of a frightening color because we may not be used to being noticed. We may not be comfortable with being in the spotlight. But we should be, at least sometimes. Red is power and we need a power boost sometimes. Maybe a first date for some, or a job interview. Maybe a swimsuit. Don’t run from the color, explore it. Try on different shades, different items. You’ll find the right red, the right color to pull from when you need it. And you’ll be happy to have it.

Fall Closet Cleanse: Five Steps to Getting Your Closet Ready for Cooler Weather

Fall Closet Cleaning

Here in Austin, the summer heat is very slowly waning. I can see colder weather on the horizon and for that, I am thankful. Which is why it is time to get our fall closet cleaning over with. Then, when we skip with glee to purchase our new fall items come october, we will have a wonderful tidy space waiting for us.

Those of us in other, more sane climates may have already started the process of pulling out your warmer clothes. Let’s not talk about it 😉


      1. Out with the old, in with the new:


      Take your summer items out and bring in the transitional pieces. If you’re climate had chilly nights already, or close, feel free to bring more fall and winter items in.

2. Sweater revamp:
-Remove ANY sweater that is not flattering on you. If you think all sweaters are unflattering, call me. I’ll rock your world with awesome sexy sweaters.
-Check remaining sweaters for quality. Donate any that have seen their share of winters. If your all time favorite swester has a little pilling, take a disposable razor and very gently shave them off. Or buy a sweater shaver. They are nifty but not necessary.

3. Winter scarf love:
-Sort and purge any scarves that no longer for your sense of style including any gifts your never going to wear.
-Diy or buy a scarf hanger: These babies keep both summer and winter scarves off the floor and snag free and you can choose your favorite. They come in all shapes and sizes. From branches with leaves to butterflies, to a cedar hanger that helps repel moths.


    4. Coat review:
    -Check for moth damage, stains, fit and style
    -Repair if needed. Donate unwanted coats.
    -Buy one new coat or jacket. This item will be worn so regularly throughout the season, surely you can add one to your collection or replace a tired coat or jacket.

    5. Fall shoe rehab:
    -Pull out all boots, booties and shoeties and check for style. Are they still current? Scuffed? Need new heels?
    -Take any favorites needing a little TLC to a shoe repair shopto reheel, resolve, get new laces, etc.
    -Buy or DIY some boot shapers: Boot shapers keep your favorite boots in perfect condition all year. Come fall, they also sit neatly in your closet. Most boot shapers, like these from BBB also have a hook so you can hang them if so desired. You know what else works wonders? Wine bottles. Yep, you’re welcome.

    Photo credit bed bath and beyond.