Friday things

Less than 10 days until Christmas. We are so ready for it here in our house! We've been getting rid of the old to prepare for the new in the start of the new year. It's still a mission every day to get rid of things that aren't necessary. I can't even begin to tell you how much happier we have been downsizing our possessions. It's incredible how overwhelmed you can feel with stuff burying you. I just watched the documentary, "Minimalist" by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus. It is an amazing insight on how much stuff people think they need. It's a great way to put your life back on track on buying the things you really do need and not buying the things you really don't need. With Christmas quickly approaching, I do hope you take a minute to watch it and remember what's important. It isn't stuff. "Love people and use stuff. Because the opposite never works." -Ryan Nicodemus

The Mr. and I went through our Christmas boxes and determined which things we could do without. We still feel that we could downsize even more, but for now, I think this is a great start.

The Bean loves to take things to donate. He is always buried in the backseat with all of the boxes and bags. It always makes me chuckle seeing him shoved in between all of the stuff.

Here are the things that made this week great!

1. Togetherness

Along with reducing our household down we have also been spending more time together outside of the house. For awhile there, all three of us had become sluggish on going out and about-other than grocery shopping. The Mr. and I felt it was time to chin up and let's do more together. Of course, The Bean loves doing anything and everything with us, so it was only a matter of planning and following through. This past week we took a walk downtown and popped into the downtown diner to have some dinner and listen to live music. This restaurant is known for having some great live blues and folk bands play.

2. Subscriptions

This week Honest Beauty and The Honest Company essentials bundles came. I am in the process of downsizing a lot and these subscriptions keep me on track with household and beauty needs. 

Also, Yogi Surprise boxes came on Tuesday and Wednesday. I actually get extremely excited when I receive these in the mail each month. December's boxes had such great products this month and I can't wait to try the 4th & Heart Ghee Butter this weekend. Grab a subscription to these boxes here and get on the list for the first of the year.

3. Butternut Squash

I made my first homemade butternut squash soup and it was delicious. The recipe I used was sort of on the fly, but it worked out great. Below is the recipe if you want to give this winter soup a try.

1 Three to Four pound butternut squash, peeled and diced into small cubes.
2 tbs. butter
1 Small white onion, peeled and diced.
6 cups water
Salt and Pepper
1 tsp. garlic salt

In a small stock pot melt butter and add diced onion. Cook until the onion is transparent and add the water. Bring to a boil and add diced butternut squash. Reduce heat to medium and boil for 30 minutes uncovered. Remove from heat and using a slotted spoon, add the cooked squash and onions to a blender. Slowly pour in liquid and blend until smooth. Pour soup back into stock pot and add salt and pepper-to taste. Add the garlic salt and serve hot.

4. Kitten

Allow me to introduce you to Eleven. The Bean has named the stray kitten and for now she has a home. She has grown on us, so I don't think she will be going anywhere soon.

5. Clock

We needed a clock and so I definitely found us a good one. It's such a great item and for now it serves as the clock in our front living room. The Mr. and The Bean actually depend on it when they wake up in the morning and we've all gotten in the habit of glancing at it as we go out the door. So I've justified the purchase so far. 

We've been getting some snow here lately. Here's a little glimpse of the Valley right now.

Have a great weekend!

Friday things

"Friday things" has seeped over into Saturday, but that's okay. Here we are with "Friday things" on a Saturday evening. The Mr., The Bean, and I took a little walk through town to the local movie theater here and watched a movie. We also ate at a local restaurant, stopped and did some shopping at a local business, and purchased some chocolate from a local candy maker. As we walked back home I felt really good to know that everything we did tonight was all local. It's a good feeling when you know you can always find time to give back to your own community in some way, even if it is on a Saturday night stroll through town.

On another note, can you even believe it's almost Christmas? We have roughly 15 days until, and The Mr. and I have spent this week decorating a bit here and there for the big day. With our minimal journey we have literally gone from three large plastic tote storage containers down to one small one (below).

I feel I could cut the Christmas fat a bit more, but I won't know exactly what to part with until we go to take things down. We really enjoy decorating for Christmas, but I thoroughly enjoy things that don't have to be stored. Things like, living wreaths, a living tree, living garland, berries, popcorn, etc. You get the point. So we will have to see what else will make the "giveaway-cut" when the time comes to pack it all away.

We'll see...
Here are the things that made this week great!

1. Snow

We got a little sprinkling of snow this past week. It stuck to our roof and on the roads and sidewalk for a bit, but melted off quite quickly once the sun came up completely. We are in for some more snow soon this following week and The Bean and I are hoping it sticks around for awhile.

2. Lights

We took a walk to the local Christmas light display here in town. The city lights the tree up and local businesses contribute lights throughout the park to bring a festive turn to the area. 

3. Kitten

Speaking of walks, this kitten was found on one of our recent walks and it was running in and out of traffic. She must have been abandoned and left to find her own way. The poor thing was looking at every car that drove by us and it broke my heart for her. Having a soft spot for lost pets we picked it up and went door to door asking if anyone had lost her. Several knocks, and "nos," later she is now here with us. We weren't planning on keeping her, but she grew on us and now has become part of our household. Our 16-year-old Persian Siamese isn't too open to her right now, but we are sure she will come around soon. The Bean has named her "Eleven" from "Stranger Things." Seems fitting for her so far.

4. Tree

We snagged a winner of a tree this year. We were on the hunt for a tall, skinny one, but not too thin. I think we found the perfect fit for us! It measured about eight-feet tall and almost nine-feet when the star gets settled on top.

I always enjoy going to get our yearly Christmas tree. It's such fun finding the perfect one, loading it on the car, and driving home with it. Just how it should be!

We have it up right now, but I have been hesitating to decorate it. I am just enjoying how simple it looks without having anything on it. That will change this weekend though.

Side note, if you follow me on Instagram I shared a video of how the Christmas tree business is booming in Oregon. There is a video here of how helicopters are used to rig the trees from the field and loaded onto waiting trucks to be send all over. It's quite amazing really. This image above is from Silver Mountain Tree Farms here in the Valley.

5. Positive Health Wellness

If you're looking for tips, information, or just general knowledge of health and wellness check out Positive Health Wellness. The site is packed full of informative information to help you stay on the right track with your health and wellness.

Have a great weekend!

Friday things

It's Friday night. Exactly a week after the biggest shopping day of the year. I only took part in Friday shopping after Thanksgiving once. I was after childrens' shirts at a department store and it was crowded with women, men, and even kids reaching and grabbing. Those shirts ended up costing me more than they were worth-I got kicked in the shin and even elbowed in the eye while trying to make my way through the crowd of angry and loud shoppers. I got what I came for, but ended up leaving the store limping and scared. That was eight years ago and I will never again be part of that hustle and bustle. After that Friday I started realizing that the way people act and the way they shop wasn't for me at all. So much yelling and hostility toward each other, after the day we are supposed to be thankful. Makes no sense to me. The Mr. and I have made a few purchases lately through Amazon Prime. We got rid of cable a few months back and have taking advantage of the Prime benefits. Our Christmas/gift shopping is a bit different this year. We have been on a mission to purge a lot of our things and in turn, some of the things we are getting rid of are still great items. Our minimal journey is getting to be a wonderful decision. Keep in mind when you do your shopping for Christmas, just because a store is having a sale doesn't mean you have to go shopping.

As I mentioned the Friday before last-I meant to update last Friday, but time got away from me, my brother and sister-in-law flew in to be with us for Thanksgiving. Their plane was delayed in Dallas before flying into Portland, and we got caught up in holiday traffic on the interstate, so it was quite an adventure to and from the airport. Of course, they have been here before, so this wasn't their first time coming into Portland to see us, but this was the first time someone has been here during the holidays, They flew out on Tuesday-November 29-and even though it's been two days since they left, it still feels weird that they aren't here. We are slowly getting back into our old routine, but the house is quiet. I can't wait to share more about their visit on the blog soon, but for the time being, here are a "few" things that made my week awesome.

1. This reminder

With the holiday season here and a lot of us forgetting what's important, remind yourself to step back, think about where you should be.  And remember to keep your spending down during this time if you're on a minimal journey with us.

2. These Mightynest fixes

I can not say enough about Mightynest. I love getting their Mighty Fix once a month! These dish cloths have been one of my favorite items. I love how strong they are and how great they feel when I wash dishes (we hand wash in this house, no dishwasher). These cloths were actually the September Mighty Fix. October is below and I am eager to see what December has in store.

You can sign up for Mighty Nest's Mighty Fix here.

3. This squash

I've been cooking experimenting with different types of squash lately and this spaghetti squash was my first. We enjoyed it cooked with a bit of Alfredo sauce and baked chicken added. It was delicious! The recipe I used is below.

cut squash in half from stem to bottom
remove the seeds taking care not to remove too much of the inside
drizzle with olive oil 
sprinkle with sea salt and pepper
lay cut side down on a parchment lined baking sheet
bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes
remove from oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes
using a fork scrape down the sides of the squash slowly
place "noodles" in a separate bowl
drain excess liquid and they are ready to use

We've been using leftover turkey, too! I am on a mission to not have any Thanksgiving waste this year. Turkey Soup is next!

That's it! You can use them for just about anything that calls for noodles. They are a great alternative to regular spaghetti noodles and they are low in fat and in calories. Enjoy!

This week is only three things, but I promise next Friday things will be back on track, so come back soon!

Have a great weekend!