Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Enough

I think that the first time I ever considered simplifying was after reading an article about looking around and seeing that what you have is "enough". Many of us have enough stuff. The closets are full, cupboards are bursting and surfaces are cluttered. We are constantly looking for new and better ways to organize and decrease clutter. This article went through how to analyze your home through a different perspective. How many pairs of black pants does one person really need and of the ones that are "needed" how many actually get worn. The one fundamental argument is that we all purchase most items on a whim because we are told to. From the moment we walk into a store everything from the music and lightening to the product placement and ads are aimed at making us buy certain items. This argument stuck with me as I read the article. I kept going over in my head how true it is. I started looking at these tactics and made up my mind not to fall for them anymore. I resolved to buy only what I needed in amounts that I knew I would use. All purchases would be planned ahead of time reducing the spur of the moment splurges. These changes have been happening in our household for awhile now and have become routine. Since starting the most recent changes in our home I began to look and other areas that I could apply these principles to. I have evaluated working outside the home numerous times and I think that I have finally reached a happy medium. I work enough to pay for the extra things that come up such as sports for the kids but I am home enough to really play the role in their lives that I want. I enjoy working and doing a job that at the end of the day makes me feel really good but work is not my life.


Since jumping into a simpler lifestyle head first I have put so much stress on getting things done, done well and on time. If laundry is not folded and away I start to feel myself feeling bad. I have found myself uninspired when cooking dinner because some nights make all our food from scratch seems so impractical when the children reach their "witching hour" and I reach my breaking point. Some days it seems so silly for me to force all of this extra work on not only myself but the entire family when I could just buy bread that is perfect rather than eat our latest experiment or just hang out at night and watch TV rather than plan gardens and learn to crochet. Again tonight I found myself thinking back on the whole idea of having enough. Maybe it doesn't only apply to the amount of items coming in and taking up space in our home. So now I am applying that idea to our new lifestyle. I can only do what I can in one day. I want to spend enough time with my children to really enjoy them and watch them grow. I want to hear about their day and the things that they care about. Sharing time with them learning new experiences that they can look back on with fondness is also really important. I want to work with my husband as a team to make our home our greatest accomplishment.


I also hope to stop being so harsh about the house. We are in a state of transition where we are venturing away from the only lifestyle we have ever known. I have never made bread or laundry soap before. I have never started our entire garden from seeds before either. Sometimes the things that we are doing have a big learning curve and take so much more time than the way we have previously done them. I need to to find the satisfaction in the journey we are taking rather than in a destination that doesn't exist for us yet. The laundry can pile up, the dinners can be a bit boring once in awhile and the blanket that I planned to crochet may just be big enough to cover a doll but we are learning together. We are sharing experiences. Taking time to laugh at our blunders and celebrate the little successes will only make these experiences more enjoyable. Some days we will accomplish great feats (potty training completely?) and others like today I will just have to be satisfied with accomplishing just enough.

Monday, April 22, 2013

New Challenges


We have been homemaking bread and it has been a blissful bonding experience. Okay, in my daydreams it has been blissful. In reality it has been more like C offering to stir and pour while I squint at the recipe, look at the bowl, look at the ingredients, then back at the recipe hoping that I got everything right. We have done it a couple of times now and we have learned one very important lesson. You need to knead. Not just a little bit and not just until your arms hurt but until the the job is done and your bread has really come together. I know you can also make bread that does not require kneading but working the dough is what makes bread making so much fun. Home made bread has been one of the first steps towards our simplified lifestyle where we provide for ourselves, make what we can, and spend more time with each other.   


However, this whole simple life thing is turning out to be not very simple. There is a lot of learning required plus things that used to just happen now require extra effort and time. It is kind of cool though have my daughter so excited to help out and she thinks that I am magic as the dough rises. The rest of the family is equally excited about bread making. The dog is running around the kitchen covered with flour and the three year old is alternating between brushing flour on to the floor/dog and shoving handfuls into his mouth. So while bread making might not always go as smoothly as I have planned it is still over all a great experience. Now if only I could decide that I am going to start making bread before I sweep and mop the floor rather than after.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

So it begins



 We are starting out on our path to a simple life. What does that mean exactly? I am not sure yet. For some people it means vegetable gardens and raising chickens. We have had a garden for several years now but chickens are beyond me at this point in my life. I don't know where this journey to a simple life will take us. I guess that is what is so special about simplifying, no two paths will ever be the same. Our main goals are to enjoy family more, this means all the family, the ones that are close by and those that we rarely see. I also want my children to be involved in our home so that they can know how much they are needed and how capable they are. I want to place less value on the things we surround ourselves with. We have always owned the newest and coolest things, while it has made us happy I am sure we could enjoy each other just as much without all of this stuff. The last thing I want to tackle is eating better. I would like to purify our diet by eating more whole and raw foods. Eliminating processed foods from our diet shouldn't be too difficult as we already have a pretty healthy diet and rely on these types of foods rarely. I think that this will be enough for us to work on for now. I want to make this a fun eye opening challenge, not an insurmountable challenge.