2014 Review- Counting the Wins and Planning for the Future

Tanner Christmas Card 2014

Our 2014 Christmas Postcard (yet to be sent out…)**

Happy New Year!! For some reason, I’ve been particularly excited to reflect on 2014– to list my “wins,” remember the setbacks, but not dwell on them, and to dream about and plan for an awesome 2015.  2014 was easily the least eventful year of our marriage so far– no moving, no job changes, no graduations, babies born, or major surgeries.  So it seems a little strange that a whole year has passed.  But despite the lack of excitement, there were still a lot of good things happening at the Tanner house.  Here’s a review of some of our “wins” for the year.

-Home improvements– painting kitchen cabinets, tiling kitchen backsplash. (A slower year, but some big projects under our belt nonetheless).

-Success at teaching/choreography– I choreographed a piece about my experience in the hospital waiting room that was especially well received, taught and choreographed for a newer studio in Boise, a modern studio in downtown Boise, as well as for Eagle High School.

-We threw a few simple, fun parties– Will’s bike and hike birthday as well as a potluck social after October General Conference.

-We had some excellent adventures around Colorado– A visit to the Great Sand Dunes in May (One of our favorite trips of all time!), Mt. Princeton Hot Springs and Buena Vista, a snowshoeing trip with First Descents to the Shrine Mountain Inn near Vail, camping at Ruedi Reservoir near Aspen, and cutting down our own Christmas tree near Buffalo Creek were all highlights.

-We hiked and biked as much as possible– We’re proud that these are becoming a normal part of Will’s life.

-We had a successful financial year– budgeting, couponing, and hard core thrift were some of our proud points.

-We celebrated our 6th Anniversary– We took a short weekend stay-cation in Denver while Will hung out with his B and Papa, (my parents), in Boise.

-We started a few new ventures: a new blog- (you’re here!), and a new Airstream.  Neither have been a huge success… but both required some serious gumption and hard work to get started, even if they aren’t going anywhere fast at the moment.

-And lastly, we’re pregnant!  We were excited to learn in late August that we’re expecting Baby #2 in early May 2015.  The excitement was quickly followed with crippling illness– boo pregnancy!  But after 3-4 months of ick (that resulted in some form of seasonal/hormonal depression for a bit) I’m more than happy to be feeling a bit normal again.

We have talked extensively about what we want for 2015 and have boiled it all down to a few main points.  We’re not really calling them resolutions, but rather things we want to focus on throughout the year.

1- Simplicity:  We want to eliminate the non-necessities and organize all the necessities.  We want this to apply to the objects we own as well as the way we spend our time.  We want to be better about planning ahead to make sure our priorities are met before anything else.

2-Live life intentionally, keeping in mind that every choice we make is teaching our child(ren) a lesson about what is important in life.

 

Of course, there are a lot of specifics we have planned out as well, but it all boils down to those two things: Simplicity and Intentional Living/Parenting.  How was your 2014?  Do you count “wins” and ignore the failures, like I tend to do?  And what are you choosing to focus on this year?  Happy 2015!

 

**Our Christmas Card was designed by TheBritishRule on Etsy.  She did a fabulous job!

Biking Around Town

We’ve been biking as much as possible around here.  It saves money on gas, allows for a little (sometimes a lot!) of exercise, and helps us to slow down a bit and enjoy the world around us instead of speeding by with our windows rolled up.  There’s so much to miss!

Kelsey bike to church

 

I also love how riding a bike can suddenly turn a routine errand into an adventure, especially with Will in tow.  Will started preschool a few weeks ago and I’ve made an effort to ride at least once or twice a week to his school.  It’s two miles away with a fair number of hills, so it’s been quite the workout as well.  Last Tuesday I biked to and from school for drop-off and pick-up (8+ miles), plus a family bike ride to the park (1.5 miles), and a late night trip to the store (less than 1 mile).  It felt pretty awesome– like a cross between Wonder Woman, Soccer Mom, and Lance Armstrong.

We’ve been talking about becoming a one-car family.  Our town isn’t as bike friendly as we would like in terms of proximity to our hot spots, but it’s not too bad either.  Grant’s work is 6 miles away, the dance studio is 5 miles, and most of our errands can be found within that radius.  However, that would require me to give up my “Shrimp,” the 2000 VW Golf I’ve driven since I was 15… not so sure about that.  For now, we’re satisfied with biking as much as possible while keeping the two cars.  Maybe one day, we’ll be bold enough to take the plunge.

What’s your favorite way to get around?  Do you look for opportunities to do errands sans-car?

Will’s Bike and Hike Birthday Party

We wanted to throw a party for Will’s 3rd birthday, but weren’t willing to put in the effort we did for his Sock Monkey 1st Birthday.  So we invited friends over to decorate “vehicles,” (bikes, strollers, and wagons), and headed off on a bike and hike.

IMG_1909 Decoration station: balloons, streamers and ribbons!

IMG_1911 This little guy is seriously a carbon copy of his Mama!

IMG_1927 Special balloons (that may or may not have caused a strider bike crash) for the birthday boy.

IMG_1930 The most festive jaywalkers our street has ever seen.

IMG_1950 We biked for one mile to the trailhead.  Will lasted about halfway on his balance bike and then hopped into Mama’s trailer.

IMG_1958 We handed out homemade popsicles (sleeves purchased here) at the trailhead and made our way up.

IMG_1985 Man, it was gorgeous.  This lookout spot, called The Compass, is only 1.5 miles from our house. We’ve hiked it as a family and I’ve gone running up there as well (okay… slow jogging…).

IMG_1988 We hung out up there for a half hour or so, finishing off the popsicles, chatting and playing, then loaded up with glow sticks and headed home.  It was perfect.

IMG_2000 I’m pretty much convinced that there’s no other way to throw a party.  I didn’t have to clean my house, feed a bunch of people, or make cutesy party decorations.  Plus, we got in a little exercise.  First year of a grand tradition?  Perhaps.

IMG_1992 Happy Birthday Little Man!

IMG_2008

The Airstream Befores

We’ve been getting a ton of people asking us about the 1966 Sovereign Airstream. Everyone wants to see what it looked like in its unaltered condition. These my friends are the BEFOREs:

Airstream Street Side

Here is the beast parked in front of our home right after we bought it (street side view). Behold its 30′ glory!

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Couponing: Yay or Nay?

coupons
Photo Credit to Stockmonkeys.com

We are cheapskates… there, I said it!  But really, the main thing is that we believe in eliminating unnecessary spending.   Car loans?  Unnecessary spending.   Cable?   Unnecessary spending.  Gym Membership?… You get the picture.  It’s not that these things don’t hold value– to some people they are more than worth the cost.  But for our family at this time, with the goals we are trying to fund, they just aren’t worth the loss.  (Especially because they are recurring costs, Boo.)

We’ve eliminated many of those unnecessary categories from our monthly budget, but the grocery category is something else altogether.  We obviously can’t eliminate our monthly grocery budget completely, but we’ve been trying to lower it as much as possible.  (In 2013, our monthly food budget ranged from $150 to over $500!  Yowza!)

The grocery shopping and cooking is mostly my (Kelsey’s) responsibility.  A few of ways we keep costs down at the grocery store include weekly meal planning (a great success when it actually happens, about 50% of the time), planning grocery trips ahead of time and sticking to the list, shopping the clearance section as much as possible, and buying sale items en masse and freezing them.

But recently, I’ve embarked on a more involved method for saving cash at the register: Couponing!

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We Bought an Airstream

1966 airstream sovereign land yacht

Photo credit to Nesting Gypsy

Meet our (currently nameless) 1966 Airstream Sovereign Land Yacht!  Isn’t it dreamy?  Our lovely little home on wheels came to us from Boulder… from Minnesota… from Arizona… and originally from California we think.  The trailer came with documents from each of those states and it has been fun imagining the fun, full life it has had in the 50 years since its tires hit the pavement.  (Technically, not its current tires…)

We’ve been researching and scouring Craigslist for over a year in search of the right RV or travel trailer for our family.  Our current dream, (because as I’ve learned, dreams are constantly changing and evolving), is to take a sabbatical and live full-time in the airstream for a while.  In the last few years, the idea of paring down our “stuff” and beefing up our life experiences has really appealed to us.  We love our home and friends where we currently live, but we also dream of running away and becoming eternal nomads.  We’ve had an awakening of sorts, and don’t want to overlook truly living in order to simply make a living.

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