New Year: Minimalism Game

I like the idea of calling this a game rather than a challenge. Each day we’re going to give, sell, or throw away an increasing number of THINGS. After all the gifts from well-meaning relatives, our home is once-again run over with toys, mementos, and just junk.The game is this: On the first: I’ll post on Facebook 1 thing I’m going to get rid of. On the second, 2, on the third, 3 things, etc. Some things I may post for sale on the local boards, but either way it has to be OUT OF THE HOUSE by midnight. No exceptions.

I enjoyed The Life Changing Magic of Tidying up, and it helped me get my wardrobe under control. But I ran into problems with all the potentially useful things, being raised with the motto “Waste not, want not.” But our home is not the sanctuary of serenity I’d like it to be. And now that I’m working from home, all the clutter is driving me slightly insane.

So please join me, challenge your family, spouse, or friend likewise to declutter their lives. I don’t know anyone here in the US who doesn’t have 500 items the can be rid of, and maybe find a little everyday zen.



Green eggs and not ham

Loved making these individual frittatas for the holidays. Easy to snack on rather than a ful-sit down breakfast, and great as leftovers.


3 Cups kale (or other leafy green)

1/2 Red onion, diced

3 green onions

6 large eggs (or 4 jumbo)

1 Tb butter

Salt and pepper to taste

Salsa or guacamole for garnish


Preheat oven 350.

Melt butter over medium heat in a skillet or griddle. 

Sautée diced red onion until translucent and sweet.

Blend the kale in a blender. (I like to pull it off the stems.)
Add the eggs, salt, and pepper. Blend just a moment to mix together.

Pour into baking cups, add onions, top with chives. 

Bake 20 minutes. (I had to rotate halfway through, because our oven cooks really unevenly.)

It should make 12 mini vegetarian muffins. Top with salsa or homemade guacamole. 

You can also add a sprinkle of cheese if you like or bacon or sausage if you eat meat. (Be sure to cook the meat first.)

Our preschool doesn’t allow any nuts, so this is a good protein, meat-free option for lunches. 

What we told our kids about Santa

Elf on a shelf is creepy as fudge to me. I’ve tried to cultivate in my children a belief that Mommy not only knows everything that happens, but that she can do anything. 

So the belief that Santa needs an informant to report back on their behavior, undermines my carefully laid out plan. Daddy travels a lot, so Mommy is love and discipline. If we had to wait six days for consequences, little pterodactyl would never learn anything.

I don’t want my kids accusing me of lying years down the road when they discover Santa isn’t real and we’ve been creating an elaborate illusion.

So we told our kids that the Santa collecting money or talking to kids is a representative of the spirit of Christmas. The same as when we deliver meals on wheels to seniors, those Santas are out there bringing joy to children and necessities to families. The beginning of winter is a time to help take care of others.

We collected his old toys, which are hardly worn, because he has so many, to give to other kids. We make gifts for daddy and grandma, because they will like to have copies of his handprints and, and volunteer to help people who don’t have all the things we take for granted.

She’s a baby, she doesn’t have a Christmas List

Declutter. Kondo Marie method. Encouraging imagination. Anti-consumerism. 

However you describe it, we don’t need more kids toys! And my in laws don’t get it. 

We do the four things list (something you want, need, wear, read). And last year received support from most of our family. But this year in discussing my toddler’s wish list, my mother in law exclaimed, “But what about Piper?!”

Um, she’s 8 months old. Except for food and a clean diaper, what exactly do you think she needs?! She has clothes: this time of year it’s almost exclusively Jammies day and night, and things to chew on. She has a living room full of her big brother’s toys to crawl to, what more could she need?

Online rant over. 

Ways to keep your house from being overrun with toys this holiday season

  1. Remind the grandparents and other generous people who love your kid that you are trying to raise your kids in a less materialistic way.
  2. We limit our gifts to the kids to: Something you wear (like a new set of pjs) something you need, Something you want (like 1 requested toy), and something you need.
  3. Collect the toys not played with and donate to a local charity or hand me down to other friends. We asked our toddler to help us fill Santa’s bag to give toys to other kids. Our little pterodactyl was only too happy to help us pack up some of his toys to give away… Really his sister’s toys, but the living room floor is somewhat clearer.
  4. If the kids don’t like those toys they receive, give them away right away. There’s no reason to keep things that take up space. And whenever those well-meaning friends or family members give you something not on your list, especially if it makes noise, be sure to bring it to the next gathering. The louder, messier, and more annoying, the more time they will consider your requests next gift giving time.

Spaghetti Squash with Romesco Sauce

A romesco sauce is a traditional Spanish spread with roasted peppers, tomatoes, and almonds. This is my take on it after finding an all tomato recipe in the Whole 30 cookbook. I like it best with two peppers, and the almonds give it a buttery flavor that fills you up.

1 Spaghetti Squash
2 Tb Butter or olive oil
1/2 Cup Slivered Almonds (or grind roughly regular almonds until appx quarters)
1 Small Sweet Onion
3-4 Cloves Garlic
1 tsp Chili Powder
1 tsp Paprika
2 Red Peppers, diced
2 Tb Olive Oil
1 1/2 tsp Red Wine Vinegar
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper


Spaghetti Squash:

Preheat oven to 350.

Hack the spaghetti squash open. I’d recommend leveraging the knife, splintering the shell rather than sawing it open.

Scrape out the seeds and strings.


Spritz with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Place face down and bake for 1 hour while making the sauce.

If it’s smaller, check it starting at 40 minutes.

Using a fork, scrape the edges of the spaghetti squash making a pasta like medium. If it doesn’t easily separate from the shell, it needs to bake more.

Romesco Sauce:

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.

Add the slivered almonds and toast for 3 minutes.

Add the onion and cook until translucent.


Add the garlic and cook until aromatic, about 1 minute.

Add the chili powder and paprika and stir in.

Finally, add the red peppers, mix into the ingredients, and saute, until the red peppers are warmed through, about 2 minutes.


Add the rest of the ingredients and blend on low speed until the sauce is smooth, but not all liquid. (I like it a little on the chunky side.)


This will make more than necessary for one spaghetti squash, but will last for a couple of days in the fridge. I like it cold as a salad dressing, dip for veggies, or even like a tapenade on toasted baguettes.

Nutrition Facts
Servings 4.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 251
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 16 g 25 %
Saturated Fat 5 g 23 %
Monounsaturated Fat 16 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 5 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 8 mg 3 %
Sodium 621 mg 26 %
Potassium 616 mg 18 %
Total Carbohydrate 22 g 7 %
Dietary Fiber 6 g 24 %
Sugars 10 g
Protein 4 g 8 %
Vitamin A 54 %
Vitamin C 137 %
Calcium 14 %
Iron 14 %

4 Stages of Sleeping while traveling with toddler

  1. Train the recently cribbed infant and toddler to sleep[ in the same room. This involves about a week of crying, waking up of each other and general gnashing of teeth.
  2. Applaud yourselves when the toddler chooses to sleep in the closet and dog bed.
  3. Go to grandma’s house convinced all will be well. The first night when they’re about to fall asleep anyway. Bring wine, because hint: it won’t.
  4. After 3 hours of your toddler kicking you in the kidney and kissing your husband awake, waking up the baby to play, go sleep in the van by yourself. That 5 AM wake-up feeding will come early. You’ll need a small reservoir of peace to do it again tomorrow. (Naptime may not go any better.)