Book Review: The Art Of Making Memories

While searching the shelves at the library, I came across The Art of Making Memories by Meik Wiking and was immediately intrigued. I don’t attach memories to objects so recalling happy moments from my past occur through sights, sounds, tastes, smells, and touch. The book incorporated various studies and experiences to show that memories are most vivid when we are fully present and actively using all of our senses. I found the book to be an interesting and enjoyable read.

Overview

  • Humor is laced throughout the book and made me giggle out loud on a few occasions.
  • The ideas are presented in short sections and are broken up by happy memory tips, which made for a quick, easy read.
  • Techniques are included to help the reader create happy memories as well as recall happy memories from the past.
  • Happy memories are shared by people from all over the world. Each one is relatable and helps remind us how as people, despite our differences, are in some ways all the same.

Did you read The Art of Making Memories? What did you think?


Cups and Mugs Clutter Challenge

One of the most difficult parts of decluttering is just getting started. That is why I decided to create some mini-challenges to help you start the process and gain momentum. You can even help hold yourself accountable by joining in on the conversation in the comment section and letting us know when you complete each task. I’ll be here to help if you run into any problems and to cheer on your successes! Let’s get started!


This Week’s Challenge

Cups and Mugs

Approximate length of time to complete: 20 minutes

Step 1: Getting ready

Pull all of your cups and mugs out of your cabinet. Remove any other items that have found their way into this space as well. Using a little soap and warm water, wipe the empty cabinet space. Step back and enjoy how clean and uncluttered the shelves look!

Step 2: Evaluate the items that you removed

  • Consider the number of people in your household. If you don’t use disposable products, also consider how many guests you typically entertain at one time.
  • Check for chipped, stained, or faded cups and mugs to be discarded or donated.
  • Donate any gifted cups or mugs you don’t care for.
  • Check your stash of freebies. Do you keep all the refillable cups you get from sporting events, zoos, or amusement parks? Instead of keeping these mementos buried in your kitchen cabinets unused, repurpose them! You can use plastic cups as a cutlery holder for parties, to start seeds, or to organize craft supplies or other small items.
  • Relocate items that don’t belong with your cups and mugs.

Step 3: Return the items

You should be left with your favorite items to put away. As you put away your cups and mugs, group them by size and primary use. 

Step 4: Make a plan

Look over the collection of items that you removed to be thrown away, donated, or repurposed. Make a plan so you don’t accumulate the same items again. Maybe you need to challenge yourself not to buy any more coffee mugs unless one needs to be replaced. Perhaps you need to stop bringing home the small plastic cups your kids get when you eat out. Whatever it is, write it down or tell your family members. Do whatever you need to do to hold yourself accountable.

Congratulations! You did it!


If you completed this clutter challenge and you would like to share your thoughts, questions, or tips you have discovered, leave a comment. 

If you missed the last challenge you can find it here.


September Happiness Highlights

*One of my 2021 goals was to keep a Happiness Highlights journal. I plan on sharing some of my happy moments each month to hold myself accountable. I hope they help you pause and recognize all the great small things that are happening in your life.*


My Happiness Highlights:

  • Spending time with my nieces to celebrate their birthdays. 
  • Making some extra money selling items at a consignment sale. 
  • Helping to coach my oldest daughter’s field hockey team.
  • Watching my youngest two daughters take their yoga class.
  • Cuddling with my dog, Lex. 
  • Finding a simplified system for my planner that keeps my calendar, goals, and tracking in one place.

Moving forward, I’m going to dedicate a section of all of my happiness highlights posts to allow YOU to share some of your happiness highlights as well. If you would like to join in on the happiness, simply send me 5 to 7 of your recent happiness highlights. I will include them along with a link back to your site in a future post.


Your Happiness Highlights

This month I’m happy to be able to share Michelle’s Happiness Highlights. If you aren’t familiar with Boomer Eco Crusader, she has an awesome blog that includes practical eco-friendly tips and a fun decluttering challenge series. Read her Happiness Highlights below and then check out her blog!

  • My daughter got a new job and she doesn’t have to work night shift any more.
  • Making good progress with my decluttering challenge.
  • The safe arrival of our new great-niece.
  • An abundance of fresh tomatoes from my garden this year.
  • Seeing a blue heron at the pond and snapping a picture before he flew away.
  • Exploring lots of new local walking trails this summer.
  • My mom came over for a visit on the weekend. It’s the first time she has been here in a year.

I hope you had a great month as well. I look forward to hearing about your happiness highlights.

Be Happy!


Top and Outside of the Refrigerator Clutter Challenge

One of the most difficult parts of decluttering is just getting started. That is why I decided to create some mini-challenges to help you start the process and gain momentum. You can even help hold yourself accountable by joining in on the conversation in the comment section and letting us know when you complete each task. I’ll be here to help if you run into any problems and to cheer on your successes! Let’s get started!


This Week’s Challenge

Top and Outside of the Refrigerator

Approximate length of time to complete: 10-20 minutes

Step 1: Getting ready

Clear everything off of the top and outside of your refrigerator. Using a little soap and warm water, wash the top, front, and sides of your refrigerator. Be sure to clean the handles as well as the water dispenser tray if you have one.  Step back and enjoy how clean and uncluttered your refrigerator looks!

Step 2: Evaluate the items that you removed

  • Recycle obsolete coupons, schedules, and lists.
  • Throw out broken magnets.
  • Consider donating some magnets if you have a bunch.
  • Put old photos or art projects into albums or scan them to save digitally if you want to keep them.
  • If there are things on your refrigerator that you didn’t know were there, dispose of them or find a new home for them where they will be relevant. 
  • Avoid buying bulk items or oversized boxes if they don’t fit in your pantry.

Step 3: Return the items

As you return the items to the top or outside of your refrigerator, be intentional about where you put things so they don’t get overlooked. Remember to keep only a few things on your refrigerator. Most items would be better suited to keep in a different spot because the more overcrowded your refrigerator, the more likely that things will get lost in the chaos. 

Step 4: Make a plan

After you are finished with your project, take a minute to think about when you can revisit this area. The refrigerator tends to be a magnet for various types of paperwork and it will only be a matter of time for it to return to its cluttered state if you don’t maintain it. I keep a monthly whiteboard calendar on my refrigerator, so for me, it makes sense to do a quick refrigerator tidy-up at the end of each month when I update my calendar. For you, it may make more sense to maintain it a different way. The important part is having a plan. 

Congratulations! You did it!


If you completed this clutter challenge and you would like to share your thoughts, questions, or tips you have discovered, leave a comment.


Mystery Blogger Award

A few weeks ago Heidi nominated me for the Mystery Bloggy Award. Thank you, Heidi! Check out Heidi’s blog here. The mystery blogger award was created by Okoto Enigma as a way to help people discover new blogs. I love this idea because the best blogs I have discovered were all found through the suggestion of another blogger.


Mystery Blogger Award Rules

  1. Put the award image on your blog.
  2. List the rules.
  3. Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  4. Mention the creator of the award, Okoto Enigma, and link her blog.
  5. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.
  6. Answer the 5 questions from the blogger who nominated you.
  7. Share a link to your best post(s).
  8. Nominate 10 – 20 people.
  9. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question.
  10. Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog.

3 Things About Me

  • I play pickleball at least three times a week.
  • I love to do yard work.
  • I enjoy making charts and tracking information.

The 5 Questions Questions From Heidi

  1. What languages can you speak?
    • I don’t speak any other language fluently but I know a little Spanish, French, and sign language.
  2. Which of Snow White’s seven dwarfs best describes you? (Bashful, Doc, Dopey, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Sneezy)
    • Happy! I’m content doing just about anything.
  3. What is one food combination that you like to eat that other people might think is strange?
    • Hmm, this is a tough one. I don’t think I eat anything strange. 🙂 Some people do comment about my dessert choices though. I normally add as much chocolate and peanut butter as I can.
  4. What is your favorite thing about your pet(s)?
    • My dog, Lex, has been amazing with my kids. From the time each of them were born he knew how important they were to me and he loved them. As infants, he would lay with them anytime I had them on a blanket on the floor and he never bothered with their toys. As they got older he would let them climb on him and inspect his mouth. Now the girls like to read to him and I can always find him close to where they are playing.
  5. What Summer Olympic Sport is your favorite?
    • I normally don’t watch much TV so I typically don’t catch much of the Olympics. If I do turn it on, I watch swimming.

My Best Posts

My Nominations

If you’re up for it…

Living with Intention

Blessings by Me

Deets by Deej

Boomer Eco Crusader

Stories Behind the Mask

Tips from Sharvi

Words from the Dirt Road

Olivia Lucie Blake

My Questions for You

  1. What’s your favorite thing to do outside?
  2. What was the last good book you read?
  3. What was your favorite thing to play when you were a kid?
  4. What are you planning on doing for your next vacation?
  5. What is your favorite part about blogging?

I hope this post helped you learn a little more about me! I also hope it helped you find some more great bloggers. Thanks again Heidi!


My Don’t Want List

Earlier this month I read a great post by Joshua Becker from Becoming Minimalist. It was called, Expand Your Don’t Want List. The article stresses the importance of being happy with what you have. Right away I started to think about what I would put on my don’t want list. I took a few minutes and jotted down the first things that came to mind. Here is what I came up with.


My Don’t Want List

I don’t want a big house; my family of 5 is comfortable in our 1200 sq ft home.

I don’t want clothing that needs to be dry cleaned; I prefer not to have an extra chore.

I don’t want a CD/DVD collection; I can borrow what I need from our local library.

I don’t want decorative pillows; they just seem to be in the way.

I don’t want appliances with fancy features; simple is easier to maintain.

I don’t want low-quality items; I prefer items that last.

I don’t want items stored in my attic; I want my things to be accessible.

I don’t want multiple TVs; my family rarely watches TV, and if we do, it is together.

I don’t want an assortment of beauty products; the basics keep me clean.

I don’t want a crowded living room; I want a spacious area to entertain guests.

I don’t want a closet stuffed with clothes, pens that don’t work, more than one purse, a smartwatch, a virtual assistant, more shoes, or expensive jewelry.

I could go on and on but I won’t; I’d rather go outside and do some yard work.


What’s on your don’t want list?


20 Ways To Live More Simply

It may be time to simplify your lifestyle if you feel like your house is always a mess, you feel worn out and overcommitted, or if you feel like you constantly need upgrades for the things you own.

A more simplified lifestyle allows you to live in the present, find joy in the simple things, and have more time for the people and things that mean the most to you.


If living more simply sounds appealing to you, check out the suggestions below and apply them to your life.

  1. Be intentional when you shop. Spend less. Reduce the number of things that you bring into your home.
  2. Eliminate clutter. Duplicates. Things you don’t use. Broken items that have no plans to be fixed.
  3. Take control of your time. Only commit to events and people who align with what is important to you. 
  4. Reduce your technology use. 
  5. Spend more time outside.
  6. Simplify your morning routine.
  7. Make self-care a priority.
  8. Minimize time on social media.
  9. Exercise.
  10. Embrace free time.
  11. Choose eco-friendly options.
  12. Do a little light cleaning each day.
  13. Practice yoga or meditate.
  14. Clean with baking soda, vinegar, and water.
  15. Keep a donation box and make decluttering a part of your lifestyle, not just a task to be completed periodically.
  16. Keep multifunctional items and avoid one-use gadgets.
  17. Shop local.
  18. Unsubscribe from store flyers and emails.
  19. Volunteer.
  20. Don’t compare yourself to others. Be you!

Life is only as complicated as you make it. Simplify as much as you can and enjoy your life.


End Of Summer Happiness Highlights

*One of my 2021 goals was to keep a Happiness Highlights journal. I plan on sharing some of my happy moments each month to hold myself accountable. I hope they help you pause and recognize all the great small things that are happening in your life.*


Summer is coming to an end and the school year is about to begin. I had a great summer camping, swimming, biking, and spending time with my family. This past month flew by, but there was still plenty of time for happiness.

My Happiness Highlights:

  • Successfully nursing a house plant back to health after returning home from vacation.
  • Attempting and succeeding with a new yoga pose. Side crow.
  • Finally finishing the book I was reading, Walking the Amazon by Ed Stafford.
  • Spending time with my nieces and helping them find what they needed for the new school year.
  • Coming home to find a gift of some cleaning supplies from my neighbor.

Moving forward, I’m going to dedicate a section of all of my happiness highlights posts to allow YOU to share some of your happiness highlights as well. If you would like to join in on the happiness, simply send me 5 to 7 of your recent happiness highlights. I will include them along with a link back to your site in a future post.


Your Happiness Highlights

The first set of my reader’s Happiness Highlights comes from Kelsie over at Living With Intention. She describes her site as a journey intentionally being authentic and present. Read her Happiness Highlights below and then check out her blog!

  • My sweet kitty snuggling with me and purring.
  • A warm cup of coffee in the morning to get me going.
  • My body’s physical ability to allow me to practice yoga daily.
  • Practicing deep breathing exercises and being present inside my body.
  • My deeply rooted desire to practice self care.
  • Building deep emotional connections with old and new friends.
  • Stepping out of my comfort zone and challenging myself to try new things and meet new people.

I look forward to hearing about your happiness highlights.

Be Happy!

8 Month Review Of Practicing Daily Yoga

One of my new year’s resolutions was to add yoga to my daily routine. The decision for this was made to help me gain control over my thoughts. I could never have imagined how quickly I would see results. In addition, I was surprised by all of the extra benefits I hadn’t considered. I’m thankful I added yoga to my daily routine. The rewards have been amazing!


Benefits I Have Experienced

I am calmer and more relaxed.

One of the first things that I noticed after adding yoga to my daily routine was how much calmer and relaxed I felt.  At first, I experienced the feeling immediately following a yoga session. However, it didn’t take long for the feeling to become a constant. I began to notice that I wasn’t becoming irritated at things that would have bothered me in the past. Overall, I was much more patient and understanding. Recently, I went to my yearly doctor’s appointment and my doctor commented on how low my blood pressure was and attributed it to practicing yoga.

My body is more defined and healthier.

Before I added yoga to my daily routine, I felt comfortable in my body but I was lacking the strength and toned muscles that I once had. At 34-years-old and the mom of three young children, I think I developed the mindset that what I had was as good as it was going to get. Within a few months of practicing yoga, I was pleasantly surprised to see my arms, legs, and abs becoming more defined again. In addition, I lost a few pounds, increased my flexibility, and I gained some confidence that I didn’t even know I was missing.

I choose to be happy.

Before yoga, my thoughts could control me and dictate my moods. Now, I have more control over my thoughts. I don’t deny myself sad or angry feelings but I don’t dwell in negative thoughts. I am now able to redirect my thoughts and keep my mood positive. As a result, I have also noticed a major improvement in my quality of sleep.


Adding yoga to my daily routine was a game-changer for me. It will be something that I will keep in my life indefinitely.


Do you practice yoga? What are your favorite benefits?


If you enjoyed this post you might also like:

Declutter Your Mind With Yoga

Tips To Successfully Add Yoga To Your Routine


Minimize Back-To-School Shopping And Trade Wasting Money For Family Fun

School is starting up again soon, so that means you have probably been seeing back-to-school sales going on the last few weeks. All the new school supplies and new clothes look appealing and the deals may seem irresistible, but before you go out for your back-to-school shopping, check out the tips below so you don’t end up with back-to-school clutter.


Back-To-School Shopping Tips

*Do these things with the help of your kid(s).*

  1. Inventory the students’ clothes, shoes, and school supplies before you head out shopping. You’ll be less likely to buy that T-shirt if you can glance down at your list and see that your kid already has 15 of them.
  2. After taking inventory of what the student has, make a list of the things they are missing. Be sure to only include things that are needed for school and not things that are wanted.
  3. Clean out the bookbag from last year and throw it in the washing machine if you are able. Your kid can use the same one again or trade bookbags with a sibling or friend.
  4. Tear out used pages in last year’s notebooks and use decorative tape to make the cover look new.
  5. Sharpen pencils you already have and check pens, markers, and highlighters to make sure they are still working. Most households have enough of these that you can completely skip buying new ones for the school year.

If you have normally gone back-to-school shopping with your kids in the past and you plan on a more minimalistic approach this year, expect some complaining. You can reward your kids for taking a minimalist approach by using some of the money you save and letting them pick a fun activity for your family to do together before school starts.

Ideas For Rewards

Plan a picnic at the lake

Go to a drive-in movie

Visit an amusement park


Plan Ahead For Next Year

Think of ways to make the back-to-school season fun without the focus being on shopping. 

  • Make a list of awesome summer activities you want to do before school starts and check them off together.
  • Plan a “packing lunch menu” with your kids so they can help select the food they will bring for lunch.
  • Host an end-of-summer picnic.

What are some things that your household is planning on reusing for school this year? Does your family do anything to make the back-to-school season fun without the focus on buying things?