Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Happy Camping!

We completed The Boxcar Children. You know you are onto something good, when the kids beg you to read another chapter!! The Boxcar Children were able to acquire all of their basic needs.

This topic of focusing on the basic needs also reminds me of camping. The kids learn that food and water come from somewhere. Not just opening the refrigerator door or turning on the faucet. Same with clothing and shelter. You must acquire a house to live in and we do not all have the same type of dwelling.

With camping, we started out as tent campers. We continued tent camping for many years. When our 2nd child arrived, we moved up to a pop up camper. Then a travel trailer. It really helps explain the point that water comes from somewhere, not just the faucet. They know we have to "hook up." They understand at times, they may turn on the faucet and no water comes out as we are not hooked up yet. The kids also understand that there are other options to cooking - on the stove, microwave, grill or open fire. They also realize you need money to buy food and to purchase a home.

Happy camping! You are teaching your children valuable lessons and great family fellowship, team building and working together!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Back to Basics

Let's go back to the basics. Each and every one of us has 4 basic needs:
1. Food
2. Water
3. Shelter
4. Clothing
I also add #5. Love. =)

So each day, how many of us are thinking about these 5 basic needs? Not many of us. If we are living comfortably, we take these 5 basic needs for granted. When I think of simplifying my life, I go back to the basics.

Yesterday, my children and I went to the library. We love the library! We borrowed the first book in the series The Boxcar Children. I remember reading and loving this series as a child. As I was reading this book aloud to them, I realized this is a great book to talk about and explain our basic needs to the kids. So that's what I started doing. The kids are really enjoying the book. We are halfway through it already. The Boxcar Children are acquiring their basic needs. They are also good problem solvers! I highly recommend this book.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Eating Out - Is There a Simple Way?

Eating out. We are an eating out Nation! For me this is easy on simplifying. I am a Mom with 2 small children. Eating out with the kids is not fun.
Pros -
I have to keep the kids entertained while we are waiting for food.
Even if we go to the bathroom right before going out, each child usually still needs to make at least one trip. It's usually after my food arrives too! =)
Cons -
I don't have to cook.
I don't have to clean up.
We do save money by not eating out as well.
What I prefer to do is order in when we want a "treat" or a night off. That works wonders for me. It usually still saves money as well. We have had one or two favorite restaurants in our area who do offer pick up. That's a real treat for us!
Another simpler option is a buffet. There is a large variety for everyone in the family. Usually there is no wait, just go up and get your food. We have tried this option with success, however I still have the bathroom trips!
Now if I was out on a date with my hubby, my feelings may be different. It would probably be simpler to eat out. That way I wouldn't have to cook, clean, take anyone potty or cut up anyone's food! =)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Shopping with the Kids

Simplifying my life has for the most part saved me money. That was an added bonus....or maybe the two work together hand in hand. When I first started simplifying, my children were young and we were on one income. I decided to stay home and raise my children. I evolved to become a Work at Home Mom and a Home Manager!

When my children were really young, we did not go out a lot. I hear other Moms talk about taking the kids out shopping. Shopping really never "worked" for us, at least not on a regular basis. Every once in a while I would meet my Mom halfway with my baby or later with my kids. We'd have lunch and have an errand to run at a store afterwards. That's about it.

So staying out of the stores or malls has saved us money. If I'm not there, the kids can't ask for it and I can't spend any money. Tip I heard long ago, if you are trying to save money, stay out of the stores!

At this point in time, we go shopping once a week. We food shop and pick up any other things we may need at that same store. Is this saving me money? It is for me. It's saving me money and time; it's definitely simplifying things for me. I rarely comparison shop though now. So I may be losing money there. I think in the long run you have to look at what is best for you. Simplifying and saving time are priorities for me

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Minimize Paper

Paper, paper, paper! It's always there and it ends up coming into the house. It's bought or mailed and I end up with endless paper! One of the things I've done to simplify is I've gone as paperless as I'm comfortable. I no longer subscribe to the newspaper, I view it online. I've also opted to receive as many bills as I can online. Automatic payments for certain bills is also an option. I've also opted out of many company offers. So the amount of paper marketing I am receiving in the mail is much less. I'm conscious about the amount of paper I am bringing in to my home now. You will really notice a difference when you do this.....there will be a lot less mail! =)

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Camping - Keeping Life Simple

Aaah, I love camping! It reminds me of what is most important in life - my family. It also reminds me of our basic needs and how those are met. I don't really "miss" much while I'm camping with my family. I have everything I need. I find I focus on the things that really matter in life. It helps me simplify and focus on what is important - spending time together.

Is there such a thing as multi-tasking while camping? =) I don't think I've ever had a need to do so!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Living the Simple Life with One Car?

Our family currently has a vehicle under repair. It had much more extensive damage than we originally thought. It has taken a week for the insurance adjuster to come out, look at it and give an estimate. Now it's spent an additional week at the dealership awaiting the part. As of this morning, the part hadn't arrived yet.

Thinking over this situation today, is there anyway to have simplified this process? I am informed by the dealership service advisor - the adjuster approved a used part for the repair. The delay has been receiving that part. So we could have simplified the process by paying more (about $1000 more), receiving the factory part and the repair being completed by now. Or do we continue to just wait and see how much longer this process will take?

I was thinking over this situation today, then I realized the simple life part. I am not in need of this vehicle at this time. It is not really holding me back, not having it. I am still able to do most of the day to day things I do without it. Had I not simplified my life, this may have been a big issue for me. As it is, I have. I have very few activities on the schedule and those activities are local. Simple living in day to day life is working for me.

Monday, August 6, 2007


When I decided to simplify, I searched for and in the library. I didn't come up with very many. Wasn't anyone else looking to simplify? I finally found Flylady. You can visit her at She is amazing! Her website is absolutely free. If you check on her site at this time of year, she has a section on Back-to-school and getting organized for students and teachers. I love that she includes almost everyone in her teachings. It's not just for teachers but also students.

Two big principles I took away from her website are "blessing others" and use of the timer. By "blessing others" I really took a look at what was in my house and what I actually needed and used. The other things, I got rid of and "blessed" someone else with them. It was very liberating! I also took things out of drawers or closets and USED them. If I couldn't find a use for it, it blessed someone else. No more saving things for special occasions.

The second principle is the use of the timer. What a great concept! In our multi-tasking nation, we are not use to focusing on one activity but doing three things at once. I love the timer! I realized it help me de-mulit-task (is that a word?) and focus on one thing at a time! It also helped me realize how much time it actually takes to do something - a task or a chore. So say I set the timer for 15 minutes and my daughter and I clean up her room. It's amazing to both of us when we finished in 7 minutes. Wow, that's all it took! It's such a simple concept and that's why I like it!

I don't want life to pass by me while I am multi-tasking. I want to take time to focus on one thing and enjoy it. I am finding it takes less time that way and I am happier!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

My Journey

My journey for a simple life began about three years ago. I had two small children. I felt the need to simplify. I wanted to downsize what I owned and minimize what came into the house. I wanted to streamline my life, get rid of the clutter and focus on what is most important to me. This may have included my physical life - our small home was getting crowded, but it quickly spilled over into other areas of my life - finances and activities. Does everyone get to this point at some time in his or her life?