The Most Epic Birthday Ever

Yes I just got a year older but no this post is not about me. While I did have a pretty epic birthday and a lot of amazing presents and time with my peeps..it really got me thinking. πŸ€” You see, my birthday kicks off the rest of my family’s birthdays and also a plethora of invites from the kids friends. We are officially in “birthday season”.

Trying to live my best life as a frugal minimalist wannabe..well..it becomes difficult. I LOVE giving presents and also LOVE me a good party and I’m kind of fond of planning for my kids. My parties are usually the “I’m just going to keep it low key this year but this just means I will panic last minute and buy literally everything they sell at Party City and then my kid and his friends gets extra because I feel guilty for not getting more in the first place”. And then all sorts of other things go into my buying decisions, such as the fact that Caleb is turning five this month and then he’s moving out and forgetting all about me the month after. 😭 So I want to make it memorable, and things can escalate rather quickly when you throw some totally irrational feelings into the cart with you at Party City. πŸŽ‰ 🎈This year he wants to take a few friends to the trampoline park and back to our place for pizza and to show off his IPad games. 🀣

So I’m looking for an open (and hater free) discussion on birthdays or parties. Surprisingly I don’t really have any memories of parties or gifts growing up, so wondering if that will be my kids one day. Will they even know the blood, sweat and tears that goes into blowing up dollar store balloons laced with poison ☠️ because mommy couldn’t spend the extra πŸ’΅ for the poison free ones? Will they remember that $50 toy that they have already forgotten about by the next day after the sugar rush wears off?

Curious..what is the MOST epic party you remember or have thrown? I also have recently seen a lot of articles on goody bags..are you pro candy and crappy toys in a cute container or could do without? What is appropriate to spend on gifts? Also looking for the other end of the spectrum and for the most memorable or epic free or frugal birthday party ideas.

Spring Break on the cheap

There’s something about loading up your family in the car with all of their crap for several hours of being forced to bond..that always seems like a great idea at first πŸ’‘. Then you hit the open road and realize quickly that everyone is more interested in giving their electronics attention, or siblings arguing over the smallest things like a foot being in the others “space”, and then it quickly turns from word fights to actual physical harm against one another πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ.

Despite your better judgement, you load up that car year after year in hopes of that one sweet little “I love you mom and thank you for taking us on this trip. It was so much fun” that makes you forget all the fights and meltdowns, and makes it all worth it. Or getting to climb through crazy tunnels or seeing a baby elephant 🐘 up close.

St Louis did NOT disappoint and I highly recommend making the trip. It allowed for a safe amount of time together in the car and there are so many FREE things for a family to do..that well..it just makes my little frugal heart happy πŸ˜†. We only had to fill up the tank once, packed all of our own food/drinks, and stayed in a very affordable AirBNB. So total expenses for our 3 day trip was around $475 for five of us. We did have an amazing dinner out with some good friends who were sweet enough to pick up the tab, and bought some 50 cent donuts one morning, but made our own meals the rest of the time.

Here’s a breakdown of other activities and what they cost:

AirBNB-$200

Gas-$50

1) Zoo-FREE (we did get suckered into $15 parking when there was free parking right along the road we didn’t know about. Don’t be a sucker like us..park for free)

2) Arch-FREE (it costs to go up in the arch, but we didn’t want to wait the two hours and then it was sold out the other days we were in town. Sore subject in our house right now. πŸ™„)

3) Indoor Swimming at local community center-$41 (this was something my youngest requested and we all had a blast so well worth it)

4) City Museum-$92 and WORTH EVERY PENNY. If you haven’t been..kids or not..this place is worth a visit. There are tunnels, crafting, ten story slides and more tunnels and caves. Might want to pack some knee pads and Tylenol if you’re old rickety body isn’t used to all that. 🀣 I lost my family for a good hour and decided that painting is my new favorite thing and created a “masterpiece” that rivaled my wine and paint pictures I’ve made in the past.

5) St Louis Art Museum-FREE and not sure if it was cool or not. Caleb and I stayed in the car for a quick cat nap while Matt took the girls in…his review..it was just alright. But I’m sure if you’re into art it would be a good stop to make.

6) Science City-FREE but I did have to pay $10 to park. This place is always a great time and we loved making our own parachutes and testing them and sails. We also got to put together our own dinosaur skeleton and Matt got to geek out on old gaming systems while boring the kids with his childhood memories. πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ It’s always fun walking over traffic and running radar on the speeders below.

7) IMOS-$25 and I totally would pay triple that to get that St Louis style thin crust mushroom pizza that my family has deprived me of for over ten years now. They are monsters that for some reason don’t like mushrooms or thin crust πŸ•.

8) Odessa Creamery-$42 and this was for some giant ice cream cones while we stretched our legs on the way back..and we also paid for the family behind us to honor K4C day🍦.

So go and make some memories with your family while they have no choice but to spend time with you..and let’s be honest..much like childbirth..we will likely only store the good family vacation memories for the long term. πŸ˜‰

What are some of your favorite road trip destinations or cheap trip ideas?

My top 5 reasons for πŸ§˜β€β™€οΈ

I used to have this belief that yogis were all zen af tea sipping vegans (nothing against the zen af tea sipping vegans out there). I also thought yogis could turn themselves into a human pretzel upon demand πŸ₯¨ and liked to show off the crazy things they could do, all while judging you for your life choices, that processed food you were eating, and your inability to turn into said pretzel. Let’s be honest..I was super intimidated and turns out I was the judgy one πŸ’β€β™€οΈ.

I have to add a quick depressing back story to explain how I became a yogi. My journey began after not one, not two, but three separate and very traumatic “events” in my life that took a major toll on me emotionally and physically. I will spare you the details, but especially after the third one in my late twenties, I was in a very dark space and time in my life and there were days when I didn’t even think I could (or didn’t even want to) get out of bed. There are probably people I know reading this and thinking that they had no idea this went on in my life. I think it’s important for people to understand that a lot of people out there are fighting a silent or invisible battle every day with mental health or physical disorders that “look fine” or are great at putting on an act for those closest to them. I was desperate for change after each of my traumas, and unfortunately had found some unhealthy coping mechanisms. 😬

Luckily, I got suckered into a Groupon with a friend at a local yoga studio about 8 years ago. I did that first two month trial and was immediately hooked. My reasons were rather shallow at first..I saw all these hot yoga bodies and wanted one, wanted to do some cool pretzel poses, and I also liked yoga pants and owned several that had never seen a day of yoga before. 🀣

Over the years, a lot of things in my life have changed, but Yoga has been a constant and my love has grown and my journey continues to challenge me every day.

It’s not always easy, but here’s the top 5 reasons why I stick with it:

1) STRENGTH-this is not the physical aspect..that’s great and all, but mentally I feel stronger than ever. Yoga is a feeling for me, and it’s one that is truly hard to describe and I’m sure that feeling is different in each yogi. This feeling isn’t an overnight thing..it took me years to get it.

2) COMMUNITY-I have met so many people along my journey and the support they offer to everyone is amazing. I was way off in my initial stereotyping of all yogis, and so glad I live in a place where there is a big yoga community where everyone is welcome.

3) CONVENIENCE-you can literally do yoga almost anywhere at any time..home, at your desk at work, outside, at a studio, etc. I have done yoga on a beach, on a mountain, in a parking lot, my driveway, a training room at work, and a hotel room just to name a few. All you need is a mat, and if you don’t have one, you can still do yoga right on the floor with no equipment needed.

4) FREEISH-there are a lot of resources out there, including classes on YouTube, apps for your phone, or check your local studios for free events or community based donations, or a good deal they are running. I throw on a Yoga with Adrienne video at work during lunchtime with coworkers a few times a week. I love Saturday morning at my local studio (check out Core Balance Yoga Center if you’re near me in KC), and Spring-Fall always has a lot of free outdoor yoga options that I take full advantage of.

5) SELF LOVE-I love my body and all the things it’s capable of, and will always do my best to take care of it. I have said it before, but if you are fortunate enough to physically be able to do yoga, then do it..seriously..so many people would love to be in your shoes. I also do NOT feel guilty one bit for saying that I COME FIRST. My family needs me to take care of myself, and in return, I can take better care of them.

If you do yoga, what are your reasons? If you haven’t tried yoga before, what are your reasons? Have an open mind (no flexibility needed) and give it a try and hopefully I will see you on the mat.

Maybe you will become zen af or learn a cool pose or two in the process.πŸ§˜β€β™€οΈ

-Namaste

For your viewing pleasure..a few of my favorite yoga memories over the years 😍

24/7

Time to get busy on this blog post for you lovely folks (please reread this sentence at the end of this post and take a second to laugh at how clever my writing really is..really)

What time is it where you are? What are you doing right now? What have you already done? Who were you with? Geez Mindy, why the interrogation? Well, I’m relying on you to answer the age old question..where DID the time go?

I will be your guide on this quest. My name is Mindy, and I’m recovering from the “I’m too busy” lifestyle, and I am also definitely a huge work in progress in that arena. So please don’t get the impression I have this all figured out, because I am as far from perfection as it gets.

What I do have going for me is the realization of a few very important things. 1) Time is literally one of the most valuable things you will ever have. 2) You are the one in control of your time and how you choose to spend it. 3) None of us know how much time we really have, and the way you spend your time today can positively or negatively affect your future. 4) Most of us forget the three things I just mentioned, or at minimum, we take them for granted.

When we are running around “busy” all the time, we are likely missing out on other things happening right under our nose.

Society seems to embrace the busy lifestyle and makes it seem like this is the norm. If you haven’t figured this out about me yet, I am all about challenging these norms and taking a different path. I’m also all about being intentional with my time and finding ways to spend it that align with my values. For example, I value my mental and physical wellbeing, so ya damn right that Yoga is going to bring me value and therefore is a great use of my time.

Let’s stop making it seem like it is success to constantly be busy and running from one activity to the next without a chance to even breathe. A lot of us have kids watching and learning from our example, and a lot of these same kids are the reason we think we have to rush around every day.

I challenge you to examine how you view your time and answer the question..where did your time go? Start by grabbing your paper and pen and just keeping track. Much like the figuring out your budget and money, it starts by writing it down. Take 2 or 3 days and write down what you did with EVERY SINGLE MINUTE. Do you like what you see? If so, great..keep budgeting your time just as you are.

If not, where can you take back your time? What is that one thing you would do “if you just had the time?” Remember, YOU are the one in control of your time and how you choose to spend it. So thank you for choosing to spend a few of your 1,440 minutes today reading my post. πŸ˜‰