Inspired by Finn Review

I’m excited to share this review from a company I’ve followed for many years, Inspired by Finn! Keep reading to find a generous coupon code just for us.

Disclaimer: I received free product in exchange for my honest and completely original review. All thoughts expressed are uniquely mine. 

First, a flash back to my early days as a mom:

When I first saw an amber necklace on a sweet chubby toddler I was instantly curious. It seemed a little odd for a baby to be wearing a necklace and I wondered if it were truly safe. I then began reading up on Amber Necklaces and discovered they were much more than a baby “fashion statement” but could help ease the discomfort associated with teething. At that point, I began shopping around for a necklace to try and found many references to a small online store called Inspired by Finn.

After I ordered three necklaces, one for each of my toddler girls and one for myself, I had a chance to check out the quality personally. After seeing them in person, I felt comfortable about the safety. In fact, after years of use we did have one necklace break and it did so when pressure was applied, without a single bead coming loose, just as it should. In other words, there was no risk of strangulation because it broke easily and there was no risk of choking because not a single bead came free from the necklace. I was really impressed!

A note about safety: I’m still not a fan of jewelry on sleeping babies because, let’s face it, I’m super paranoid. I like the idea of double wrapping the necklace around an ankle and covering it with footie pjs if you want the therapeutic benefits during sleeping time. 

Being sensitive to metal jewelry, I found the amber necklace wonderfully comfortable, light-weight and pretty. I enjoyed the soft natural glow but I didn’t really expect further benefits. But one day I realized that my neck was beginning to hurt and it occurred to me that I had forgotten to wear my necklace. It turned out that the succinic acid WAS taking the edge off my constant aching neck. Once I got it back on, the pain was dulled again. (Yes, I really need to see a chiropractor).

Here’s what the website has to say about the amber necklaces:

“This amazing substance is an all-natural analgesic and anti-inflammatory used for centuries as a remedy for many ailments.  Baltic amber (also known as succinite) has some of the highest concentrations of succinic acid found in nature, which is what makes Baltic amber so special and gives it its healing potential. “

Look how super cute my twins were with their necklaces! They wore them everywhere. Oh I can hardly believe how big they are now!

Recently, I was interested in trying a couple of other pieces from Inspired by Finn so I contacted them and they were super generous to send me this necklace. Thank you Inspired by Finn!

My 11 year old daughter has been dealing with stomach issues for nearly 6 months now. It started with what seemed like a stomach bug and evolved into daily discomfort. Her symptoms are bloating, pain, nausea and she also has a great deal of anxiety. She has been diagnosed with Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) and is being treated by our holistic doctor with herbal treatments and diet change.  Although we have seen improvement, she still suffers from discomfort each day so I was so excited to give this a try. Click here to check out the features of this necklace that is designed to help with digestive issues. She put it right on and first of all, I have to say it is SO pretty. I love the natural, beachy look and  the necklace is light and comfortable.

She has worn it every day for a little over a week. It’s really hard to know for sure if it is working but I feel strongly that gut issues need to be treated with all the artillery you can find. For us, it made sense to combine herbal medicine, essential oils, diet change, chiropractic care, emotional support and lifestyle adjustments. We are hoping that this necklace will be another tool in our toolkit for treating her many symptoms. I know that she likes wearing the necklace, it’s cute and it certainly isn’t hurting her! I am thankful we gave it a try.

Finally, I’m happy to say I have a coupon code to share with my readers! Use code “CHASING” at Inspired by Finn for 25% off your entire purchase. I know I am going to be buying some other necklaces soon.

Disclaimer: I received free product in exchange for my honest and completely original review. All thoughts expressed are uniquely mine. 

Product Review: the Sash Bag!

I’m so glad to be writing this much over-due blog post, because I have a new product recommendation that I can’t wait to share!  Spoiler Alert: The Sash Bag was something I had been wanting to try for a few months and now that I have used it daily for over a month I am completely in LOVE with it. Yes, this is going to go in my top all time favorite products ever; I would rate it right up there with my Instant Pot and Marpac sound machines. These are things I can’t live without now that I’ve experienced them. If I am marooned on a desert island, you’ll find me with my sound machine, my Instant Pot and my Sash bag. True story.

First, let me share why handbags have given me so much trouble in the past. I carry a lot of tension in my neck and back, in fact X-rays show my right shoulder is always tensed up which is exacerbated by carrying handbags, backpacks and, for a couple years, the most well-stocked twin-prepped diaper bag in the South Eastern United States. (Carrying those twins simultaneously no doubt also contributed to the abuse of my neck and back. How I wish I knew about baby-wearing at that time).  I lived with neck pain for so long that it became normal and I didn’t even think that the bags I was carrying were contributing to the problem.


Then one day while I was wasting time on Facebook, I came across an ad for the Sash Bag and I was intrigued. To make a long story short, I now have THREE Sash Bags and I can’t imagine ever carrying another bag. (Now, I know what you are thinking, why do I need three? The answer is that I do not need three. I only need one but one was a prize from a contest, one was my big Christmas gift, and the third was a spontaneous and sweet gift from my husband. Can’t complain about that!). I know my review is getting long (what can I say, I love talking/writing) but keep reading, at the end I am going to share a coupon code so that you can save on the Sash Bag!

So let’s get into the actual review of the Sash bag. Each sash bag has an adjustable strap, RFID protection and a total of six roomy sections (the main pockets have pockets within them). There are also six card-slots (I double my cards up) so that you can completely eliminate the need for a wallet all together. At first I was apprehensive of this idea, but I absolutely love not having a wallet. Everything I need is right there and it definitely takes a load off my shoulders! The Sash comes in cloth and leather versions (and even a cool leather/cloth reversible version). Each one is made in India and the lambskin leather is directly sourced from the meat-industry there. The leather feels amazingly-soft and buttery. The three I own are the reversible black and brown leather, the Onyx leather and the turquoise/grey reversible cloth bag. Oh my stars, I love them all but I am so glad I splurged for the leather for my first bag. It’s slightly lighter than the cloth, has a little more give and truly feels like a second skin. I am not exaggerating to say that I forget I am wearing it sometimes. I walk in my house and start cooking only to realize I still have my bag on. You guys think I am joking….I am NOT joking! The design of the bag fits your body perfectly, stacks the weight ergonomically  and you just forget that you are wearing it at all. That’s a far cry from the bags I used to carry….I would drop those things like hot potatoes as soon as I walked through my front door!

As a mom, there have been times I had to leave my purse in a potentially risky public situation in order to chase after a toddler or deal with a parenting crisis. I bet you have done that too! Or you turn away from your cart and keep darting glances back to make sure no one is trying to swipe your purse, because who wants to carry a clunky handbag while dealing with grocery shopping? These are situations that don’t happen with the Sash bag. I already have to keep my eyes on three children and I don’t need my bag to be another distraction and burden in my life! Thank you Nichole MacDonald (creator of the Sash bag) for making something so life-changing for women!

Other bad habits I no longer do: put my purse on the back of a restaurant chair, put my purse on the floor in a bathroom, put my purse on the passenger seat of the car (I just keep it on while driving), put my purse in the seat of a grocery cart, put my purse on the counter while I am teaching. Suddenly, my life away from home just feels much more simple! Also the Sash Bag makes traveling unbelievably easy! (I’m not a traveler, but there is also room for your passport!).

Bottom-line of this long-winded post: I love my Sash Bags! I am also excited to be a part of the Sash Ambassador program which means I can share a coupon code with my readers. Use this code LPRESCOTT at to save 10% on your entire purchase! (This will help me earn “sash cash” as well, so thank you in advance!) If you have any questions about the Sash Bag, let me know!

This post contains affiliate links. 




My favorite DIY beauty product EVER!

If you know me, you know that my “beauty routine” is super minimalist and I really use only a handful of products. Today I’m going to show you how to make one of my very favorites, and it will take you like five minutes! This is the PERFECT product for holiday gift-giving and is one of the best multi-use items in my stash!

Please note this post contains affiliate links. Today I’m introducing you to Plant Therapy, my favorite Essential Oils Company with great quality standards, careful safety guidelines, unbeatable prices and free, fast shipping each and every time!

Click here for Plant Therapy Essential Oils! 

This sugar scrub is smooth and smells AHHHMAZING. I’ve made this recipe for years but recently discovered a couple tips that make this product even better. You can use any essential oils that you want, but I’ve used Peppermint Oil in the past because of it’s fantastic, invigorating scent. Click here to buy Peppermint Oil, Lavender & Lemon Oil from Plant Therapy. Today I’m using Immune Aid to give my family a little extra immune support during this particular season! Click here to buy this fantastic organic blend for only $9.95 with free shipping!

DIY Essential Oils Sugar Scrub

1 Cup Sugar

1-2 Cups Coconut Oil*

5-10 drops of your favorite Essential Oils

Equipment: Hand or stand mixer, Stainless Steel bowl and spoon, Silicone Squeeze Bottles. (These bottles are what have taken this DIY recipe from a nice handmade product to my very favorite travel-friendly, shower-friendly, convenient product that I can carry anywhere. You can squeeze the sugar scrub right out easily and it works just perfectly. Great for shower, purse, etc. Right now they are only $10 for a 3 pack….awesome deal!)

Step One: Pour your Coconut Oil into a bowl and beat with your mixer for about 5 minutes until it’s smooth and fluffy. (This is what keeps your finished product from separating and gives you the lovely, store-bought beauty product feel!)

Step Two: Next stir in your sugar until combined.

Step Three: Finally, add your essential oils and blend on low until combined (about 15 seconds should do the trick).

Step Four: You’re done! Add your sugar scrub to a shallow, wide glass jar like this or the silicone travel tubes.
Hint, it’s not super easy to add the scrub to the tubes. One sort of easy way is to use a ziplock bag to squeeze it in (cutting off the corner like an icing bag). Just take your time and you will LOVE how easy it is to squeeze the scrub out once you’re done!*

Note: This recipe filled up all three tubes and left at least 3 oz left over

This sugar scrub is awesome for hands, feet and face! I love to keep some by the kitchen sink, in the shower and of course for travel. It’s also the first thing I grab after chopping onions or garlic and I even like to use it on my legs before shaving to prevent ingrown hairs and get a smooth shave. My hubby actually loves this product too! Enjoy!

*IMPORTANT NOTE: Although I have made this recipes tons of times, I have only used the silicone tubes twice. The first time, it worked perfectly but I have just realized that I’m having trouble squeezing out the scrub this time. My suggestion is to increase the amount of coconut oil to get a thinner consistency, particularly at a colder time of year. A squirt of fractionated coconut oil or even olive oil might help make your scrub more squeezable also!

Deal Alert: Instant Pot 7-in-1 $69.99 Today Only!

This post contains affiliate links!

Today only, the 6 quart 7-in-1 Instant Pot is only $69.99! I didn’t expect to see this price again between now and Black Friday!

I’ve mentioned the Instant Pot about 57 times on this blog, but my point still stands: It’s the best investment I’ve made in a kitchen appliance ever. So much so, that I’ve just purchased a second Instant Pot so that I can have the yogurt option and use both IPs side by side. There are times when I want to make rice in one, meat in the other or simply batch cook a few things at a time. I thought about getting an 8 qt, but ultimately I knew I would appreciate having two interchangeable inner pots more than a bigger size. I can’t wait to make yogurt!

Last night about 4pm, I started having that creeping, dinner-panic because Sundays are usually not planned on our meal planner. We had already eaten out twice over the weekend, and I hadn’t gone grocery shopping so I knew I needed to pull something out of basically nothing.

I opened the pantry and found potatoes and onions that were really nearly at the end of their usefulness. From the fridge I pulled out carrots and celery that certainly weren’t at the peak of freshness. I added some chicken broth, some milk, some garlic and some spices. I sauted the veggies, then added everything else and turned the Instant Pot to manual for 5 minutes. Writing this paragraph basically took longer than making this soup. For the official recipe for leftover-busting Loaded Potato Soup, click here. I didn’t have the broccoli, but, like most of my recipes, this is incredibly forgiving and flexible. It ended up being the perfect October 1st soup, and it saved a whole bunch from being totally wasted!

That’s one of many examples of how the Instant Pot saves dinner, time and again! Click here to get your Instant Pot.

*This post contains affiliate links*

Minimalism Guide by Leah Prescott

Well, I’m struggling to find time to blog ya’ll! If I could just finish any of the MANY posts I have in progress I’d have some great content going on but I just can’t seem to find the time to do any serious writing.

I wanted to make a quick list of my minimalism links just to help keep my content organized. I know there are much better ways of doing this, but with my limited technical skills, we’re going to stick with a simple list! Here are all the blog posts I’ve written on minimalism from most recent to least, including posts I’ve written for other blogs. Although a lot of my other topics mention or link back to minimalism, these are the ones that are truly focused on minimalism topics. Enjoy!

Chasing Santee Minimalism Posts

When You’re Struggling to Minimalize

What am I even doing here? Minimalism in the Trenches

#Mom Goals and Re-learning

Happy New Year: A Minimalist Reflection

The Nightmare Before Christmas

What’s in the Amazon Cart and Mini-Minimalism Victories

Attacking the Attic, Sentimental Items & Joshua Becker

Simplify Your Life Series: Part 1)  Eliminate Excess, Part 2) Assess Needs, Part 3)  Attack Problem Areas

Lessons as a New Minimalist

Minimalism, Menus & Buying in Bulk

Minimalism Journey Ramblings

What if God Wants Less from Me?

Bargain Babe Minimalism Posts

Minimalism Journey & the Lesson I Learned from Lip  Balm

7 Small Ways to Tweak Your Life & Get Instant Pay-offs (This one is more about intentional living, but still very relevant to the minimalist lifestyle)

Have you Heard about Hygge? Get Ready to get Cozy! 

Ring in a Tidy New Year: Post Holiday Declutter Guide!

Minimalist Challenge: No Shop December

Minimalist Gifts for Kids

A Beginner’s Guide to Building a Capsule Wardrobe

Minimalism Month: A 30 Day Pain-free De-clutter Guide!

Dipping a Toe into Minimalism: 7 Simple Ways to Try Minimalism Today

A Shopaholic Learns to Seek Minimalism Part 1

A Shopaholic Learns to Seek Minimalism Part 2

Other Places on the Web

A Spark of Joy is Not Enough

Five Tips for Fighting Family Entitlement This Christmas

9 Easy Ways to Jump Start Your Minimalism Journey

Minimalism: Discovering My Maternal Optimism

How Making My Bed Changed My Summer

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

SoCal Curls Hairtie Review And Giveaway!

Welcome to ChasingSantee’s very first giveaway courtesy of SoCal Curls.

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience!

I love unique, natural, and American made products and SoCal Curls Hairtie is one of my favorite hair discoveries, EVER! Why? It’s heat-free, takes about 90 seconds of effort, and is portable, light-weight & comfortable to wear (also, only $18.99, which is a steal!).  For those who know me, I really don’t want to spend time on my hair, makeup, clothing or general morning routine. But I want to look nice, is that too much to ask? NO IT ISN’T! Here’s how you can get simple beachy curls, without pulling out the damaging (and pricey!) hot styling tools! Woot!

Scroll down for a coupon code that will score you 20% off and FREE SHIPPING!

Step 1: Heat it (microwave: 30 seconds)

Step 2: Wrap it (click here for a video!)

Step 3: Unwrap it (I’m sure ya’ll can figure this out!)

Step 4: Do all the things you need to do in life! Who has time to waste getting ready with everything else you have on your plate!

Click here to see my tips for using SoCal Curls Hairtie with Short Hair!

How it works: I started with second day hair that was a little damp from the shower (not washed, just went along on my head for the ride).  I simply microwaved the band for 30 seconds, wrapped my hair around the tie using these instructions, gave it a light spritz of hair spray and left it in for about 30 minutes. Voila! Beachy waves!

Ready to buy? If you’d like to buy directly from, I’ve got fantastic news! We have a special coupon code just for you that will give you 20% off and FREE SHIPPING! Click here and use code: chasingsantee to take advantage of this awesome offer!

How to customize your curls: Just like any styling tool, there’s a learning curve to using SoCal Curls and, obviously, everyone has a different head of hair. You can customize your results by tweaking the time (even 15 minutes gets some nice waves in my hair), wrapping your hair damp v. dry or using different products like gel, hair spray, or sea salt spray (here’s my favorite- Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Sea Salt Spray).  Also, you can never go wrong with a spritz of dry shampoo for extra grip (here’s my favorite- Aveeno Dry Shampoo). You will also get different results depending on if you wrap the hair straight up and over the hairtie, or twist as you wrap. Just give it a few tries to find out what works the best for your hair! It might take a bit of experimentation but imagine the time you will save in the long run.

Now, on to the giveaway! I can barely contain my excitement!

What are you giving away?
We are giving away one SoCal Curls Hairtie in Pinup Blue, valued at $18.99. Thank you so much SoCal Curls for making this giveaway possible!

Who Can Enter this sweepstakes?
You must be over 18 years of age and live in the US to be eligible for this giveaway

How do I enter?
Enter below starting on August 1, 2017! The contest will close at the end of the day on August 7, 2017!

How will the winner be chosen?
We will be selecting the winner via Rafflecopter.

How will the winner be notified?
Winner will be announced via Facebook, so be sure to like our page! We will ship your prize within 3-5 business days of receiving your shipping info. Good luck!

Anything else I should know?
Yep, the fine-print stuff: No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Odds of winning determined by eligible entries.

Disclaimer: I received a free product from SoCal Curls in exchange for my honest review. These are all my own thoughts just as if I were talking to a friend about the product. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Favorite Summer Shoes! FitFlops!

This post is going to be short & sweet, but I just wanted to quickly share these shoes that I LOVE.

Over the last year or so I’ve realized that I have plantar fasciitis and it’s so annoying! Shoes that I’ve loved in the past are totally not working any more. The strange thing about PF pain, is that even shoes that feel comfy when I’m wearing them, wind up causing pain later on. Even stranger, oftentimes my feet start hurting more when I am sitting or laying down then they did when I walked around all day. If you have pain in your heel, or pain that is worse when you are off your feet like I just described, you might have PF. Something easy you can do to alleviate the pain is to freeze a bottle of water and roll it under your foot. It works!

I have tried so many shoes lately and most of them have failed the test, but these FitFlops have quickly become my feet’s BFFs. I love how they feel when I walk, sit, stand and even later when I lay down to go to bed, my feet don’t hurt! It’s amazing!

Click here for the FitFlop Flare Slides!

There are so many styles to choose from and I can’t wait to replace more of my shoes with FitFlops! Click here for their entire collection on Amazon.

In case you didn’t realize, Fitflops makes more than just flip flops! There are some really cute flats and clogs also that I would love to get for Fall. Have you found shoes that help your Plantar Fasciitis? Please let me know what works for you!

This post contains affiliate links. 

All the BEST deals for Amazon Prime Day!

The following post contains affiliate links. 

Hi everyone!

Even though most of you know I’m more of a Minimalist these days, I still consider deal hunting one of my favorite sports. When I do make purchases, I want them to be the best items at the best possible prices! I’ve spent a couple hours checking out most of the deals available today for Prime Day, and I’m here to share the best I have found, so keep reading for the deal scoop!

8 Quart Instant Pot $89.99

Ya’ll know that I looooove my Instant Pot and this model is bigger and better than mine! $89.99 is absolutely the best price on record and I doubt we will see it again until (maybe) Black Friday. If you are remotely interested in an Instant Pot, now is your chance!

Great Shoes for the whole Family!

There are some awesome shoe deals available for the entire family! Click here for athletic and outdoor shoes up to 50% off! Check out the selection, including great brands like Keen, New Balance, Adidas, Saucony, Skechers, Teva and more!

Jeans for the Whole Family!

Even though I tend to buy a lot of our jeans at the thrift stores, these deals are awesome and start at only $3.87! Brands include True Religion, Lucky Jeans, Levis, Lees and my very favorite brand, Not Your Daughter’s Jeans (NYDJ). Get stocked up for the back to school season, before the shopping rush is on!

There are so many deals today that I truly don’t have time to list them, but I suggest clicking through and taking a look for yourself! 

When you’re struggling to minimalize

I received an email from a reader (yes, I am excited. It’s my first legit email from a reader) who was struggling with making minimalist changes after reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. She asked if I had any advice, and here is my response to her.

Keep on with “less”

Don’t give up! It’s a process, I’m not there yet by any stretch and I’m still sometimes tempted to shop or make regrettable purchases. (Frankly, I’ve been tempted quite a bit this summer). Still, the mindset shift is what has been most life changing for us. The results will continue to come, slowly but surely.

Everyone is different, your goals will be different and your reasons for decluttering (or hoarding/over-shopping, etc) are different also. So you need to evaluate your reading materials based on your goals. Marie Kondo is my least favorite of all the minimalism books I have read. It wasn’t worthless by any stretch but I have come to think she is not a true minimalist at all and her main tenant (spark of joy) truly didn’t work for me.

A Spark of Change

I had to come to realize that the joy I needed to seek was completely apart from any material possessions. Obsessing over “stuff” and which item is more perfect for my needs was my MO, even though it went completely against my core belief system and values. Once I realized that my daily lifestyle and how I was spending my time didn’t jive with my deepest heartfelt convictions, was when I got truly serious about making a change. The More of Less by Joshua Becker is my favorite book on this topic. It’s incredibly life-changing, v. Marie Kondo being house-changing, if that makes sense. Totally different perspectives.  Here is his website if you’d prefer some quick-read articles with the same gentle encouragement. He’s wonderful.

Faith & Minimalism

Ultimately, my faith in God is one of the reasons I have become so passionate about this topic. I want to spend my time on things that have eternal value v. temporal possessions that will become dust sooner or later. And part of this struggle for me is my personality. I find myself easily overwhelmed and distracted. The clutter, the stuff, the responsibility of unneeded possessions was weighing heavily on me. And my entire family was feeling the strain.

Aggressive Progress

For weeks I would complete purging and decluttering projects every single day. Even when I was busy, I’d go through a drawer while dinner was on the stove or clean out a closet as I dealt with the laundry. When my son was in the bath I’d attack the bathroom drawers and cabinets. While watching TV I’d sort through bins of toys. Every spare moment I would devote to pursuit of the final goal. Which incidentally I have yet to reach: I want to be able to take a photo of each space in my home, every tiny nook, and share it on social media. I want to know that I have recently evaluated every possession and deemed it worthy of keeping. That’s quite a proposal for me, a messy shopaholic with poor organization skills. And I’m not there yet, but I’m way, way closer.


The more possessions I unload and the more deals I pass by, the lighter these burdens feel. The more I find myself able to focus on the things that I am passionate about. For the first time, I feel like I am capable of basic household maintenance on the daily. It’s working. My counters are clear and my mind is less chaotic. I can’t think of a single drawback that I have encountered other than a few awkward conversations when I try to explain why deals don’t thrill me the way they used to.

Maintaining a Minimalist Mindset

The typical consumer mindset has been fed by years and years of commercialism and profit-driven societal-standards. Changing this perspective requires some persistence and intentionality. It helps me to continue to watch vloggers, follow groups and websites and constantly check out more books on the topic of minimalism, simplicity, hygge, slowing down, faith, and similar topics that fall into this group I’m placing myself into. It’s a pursuit that doesn’t really end. There’s more we each have to learn.

I feel I’ve gotten off on a tangent, and I apologize but your message sparked reminders for me of why I’m happy with my direction and where I came from. I don’t want to be the girl who is always stopping by the thrift store or stalking the clearance shelves. I am not that girl anymore! Good luck on your minimalist journey! No matter how you approach it, I’m convinced you will be happier as a result.


What am I even doing here? Minimalism in the trenches.

Good morning! I wanted to quickly give an update on what I’ve been doing lately and where the blog is going. We have just wrapped up our homeschooling year and are looking forward to summer! It’s already hot as blue blazes around here, so I admit there has already been a good bit of water play and swimming which has been a welcome relief. We still have some math to complete over the summer but my two girls are now officially 5th graders and my wild little man is going to be in 5K. I can’t believe it! Each year of homeschooling has brought new challenges and I admit sometimes I do not feel equipped to do this job. However, for the time being I feel like this is where we are supposed to be. It’s hard but I’m so grateful for the opportunity.

When I rebranded the blog last year, I was uncertain of my direction. I was still focusing on deal alerts and was only in the first stages of what has become a big life change of simplifying, editing, and re-focusing. When I chose the name, I chose something that has deep significance to me, but I had no idea what a perfect choice it would turn out to be. Once I realized I wanted to pursue minimalism, it all started to click into place. Santee was absolutely and by far the most minimalist and simple place I’ve called home and it was the most peaceful oasis I have ever found. I love that my direction and blog home have merged into a very concise journey of simplicity and minimalism.

However, as often as minimalism is the focus of my posts, I want to make one thing very clear. Minimalism is merely a tool that I am using to reach my goals. Minimalism is not the end-game, not by a long shot. I talk and share about minimalism because cutting out the excess in my life has allowed me to have freedom and better focus on what is very important to me. My goal is to love God and love others. To seek His will for my life. To raise my children in the knowledge of Christ. To build a marriage based on a common goal of obedience to our Savior. So every tip, life hack, 10 ten list, or recipe I share is only a tiny effort to make more room in my life for what really matters.  And that’s what I want for my readers as well.

Psalm 73:25-26

25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.

Thanks for being here! I hope you stick around; it’s going to be a great summer!

#momgoals and re-learning

We are taught as kids that we should have high lofty goals for our careers and futures. We are encouraged to “reach for the stars”. You can be anything you want to be and do anything you want to do! If you work hard you can succeed. Awesome, right? The American dream is still alive today!

Yet once we start a family, we are bombarded with a completely different message:
“Find a new comfort zone.”
“Survival mode is normal, and lasts for 18 years.”
“Lower your standards.”
“Your house will never be clean again”
“If you’re sleep-deprived, nutrient-robbed and have no time to yourself, you are doing it right”.

Part of being a parent is realizing that it may not be possible to reach your goals (or that the ultimate goal of nurturing a family is more important than some personal goals we may have). A lot of my “progress” as a mom for the first few years was basically making peace with lowering my own standards. (I am a natural perfectionist and I do struggle with pride). After all, moms can’t have it all (indeed, no one can). Houses will be messy, bedtimes will be late, meals will be torture. That’s what we learn as a mom.

What if all of that is a distortion of the truth?

First, let’s look back on America’s generations before us, say pre-WW2 and earlier. How was parenting different back then? I’m sure there were lots of differences but just a couple stand out immediately to me. First, there was a supportive family structure in place for most young families. Parents were more likely to be living close to Aunts, Uncles, and Grandparents. It was normal and accepted that the “village” would help in child-rearing. Not to mention, most parents were simply not spread as thin between career and family.

Secondly, consumerism hadn’t taken hold of our culture. Instead of being bombarded with empty advertisements and sometimes dangerous “health” tips from a corrupt pharmaceutical industry, parents would get advice, for the most part, from the previous generation and raise their children accordingly. I can only assume there was less guilt and pressure for the most part…was the neighbor silently judging you over your fence as pervasive as the ever-present “mom wars” are today? I imagine not.

Now, I have to say right here that I understand that the above is dramatically over-simplified. I try not to look back on America’s history with rose-colored glasses, although I do sometimes feel envious of the simplicity of the past. I do know that social patterns are far more nuanced than I am describing and I have not researched these statements. Still, I think the two points stand: for the most part, there was a closer extended family unit and individuals were not bombarded with commercial messages and a corporate agenda to the extent we are now.  So how does that affect the way we approach our lives as parents?

I used to think I wasn’t exactly affected by commercialism. Because I never picked up the phone to order from an infomercial, I didn’t subscribe to popular magazines, and I wasn’t likely to buy the latest thing from the mall. It’s only since I have started to work toward minimalism that I realized I was affected by commercialism in a far more subtle way.

I truly and sometimes literally bought the idea that MORE was better and that success was defined by a large house, plenty of amenities, disposable income, and carefree consumerism. This is hard to admit,  because my own family has always been frugal and thrifty and in so many ways challenged the status quo. For me this dichotomy translated into a bargain-hunting version of shopaholic lifestyle. So I would try to emulate the lifestyle of excess in a second-hand, clearance rack, bargain basement way. It worked pretty well, I was able to find most of the latest and greatest at a fraction of retail. But I missed the fact that I was still buying the lie. 

More stuff doesn’t make us happier. It didn’t make me happier and it won’t make you happier. For most of us, more stuff, better stuff, nicer stuff and upgraded stuff does not make our existence easier or life burdens easier to bear. It simply adds more chaos, noise, and confusion to an already complicated existence. And it perpetuates this dangerous lie to our children that collections and accumulation leads to a better life. I am working hard to end this deception in our home and I know our lives will be better for it.

Are you ready to make a change? Read more about our journey to Minimalism. 

The Ultimate Guide to Rock-Painting

Welcome to the world of rock painting! My family is new to this hobby but we are happy to share what we’ve learned so far and hope you will comment with any ideas or products you’ve had success with!

First of all, if you haven’t heard much about rock painting or wonder what exactly we are talking about, check out this week’s article from Martha Stewart!

If you’ve followed my blog at all, you know I am pursuing minimalism with a passion, and consequently I’m pretty choosy about starting new hobbies or collections. Rock painting fits PERFECTLY into the minimalism lifestyle. The best part of this hobby is that the art is shared instead of hoarded, and each rock is created to be a blessing to the community. I love that!

So let’s get to the specifics of rock painting, are you ready? Here is what you will need:

Rocks: “River Rocks” are usually what you want, because the surface will be nice and smooth to apply paint or markers. The Dollar Tree sells small bags of smooth black rocks that work well and are an easy way to start out. I’m looking for a good local source currently. These rocks on Amazon look like a good price for the weight. 

Paint: Most acrylic paint should work fine for painting rocks. We used whatever we have on hand for solid colors including craft paint, spray paint and leftover paint samples from the hardware store. My daughters can free-hand well with fine paintbrushes; but for someone like me, (who is artistically challenged) I needed something more user friendly. Which is why we ordered markers…

Markers: These markers by Uni-Posca are AMAZING for rocks! The color is so vibrant, the tip perfect for fine details and it’s pretty quick drying as well. The colors even layer well, with just a brief drying in between. This makes it easy to draw and write on even the smallest rocks.

Rock ID tag: If you are part of our Facebook page, you will want to tag your rock so that it can be shared and re-shared. Click here to download the labels for free! (For smaller rocks these will need to be trimmed to size).

Sealing Spray: The most important step is to waterproof your rocks before you leave them out in the weather. There are lots of clear spray products that will work for this, such as Mod Podge Spray or Krylon Clear Coat Spray. A few light coats should do the trick. You will be ready to hide just as soon as these have dried!

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. 


Welcome to Chasing Santee, a blog about the sweet and simple things in life. Santee is my childhood happy place and I want this blog to be my happy place on the internet. I will be sharing homeschool insights, family favorites, household hints, simple recipes and an abundance of bargains. If you like to laugh, shop, eat, read, write or teach you will love it here!