Friday, July 14, 2017

July Daybook

For Today

Looking out my's raining. It's also cold for a July day. 

I am thinking...about the road trip/camping trip we will be taking at the end of the summer with my older kids. We are having a planning meeting this weekend. 

I am thankful...for my home, for my family and friends, that my children are happy and healthy, and that God is for me!

One of my favorite hearing my children laugh. Sophie is upstairs with her friend Hannah this morning, and they have been laughing and laughing! Christian has a great laugh, too! He often bursts out laughing over something he's reading, watching, or just thinking about.  

I am creating...cloth napkins! I had this material and I occasionally used it as a table cloth.  We've stopped buying napkins and paper towels, so I made these!

I am wearing...jeans and a T-shirt. I had on shorts and a cute sleeveless shirt because I thought we might go to the lake again today, but it's going to rain all day. 

I am reading ...
Hard Times in Paradise: An American Family's Struggle to Carve Out a Homestead in California's Redwood Mountains by David and Micki Colfax (They also wrote Homeschooling for Excellence -the first homeschooling book I read), No Impact Man by Colin Beavan, and Zero Waste Home: The ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your waste by Bea Johnson

I am hoping...that the dance we have been practicing for church goes well.  I'm sure it will!  I'm excited that we will be performing in a few weeks!  

I am learning...that I can live with less, and that buying things won't ever make me happier. I'm also learning a lot about our plastic problem, and that I can make a difference by simply bringing my own water bottle and using reusable cloth bags at stores. 

In my kitchen...I have joined a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm, and we get fresh vegetables every other week. This week we have been snacking on sugar snap peas and cucumbers. Last night I used swiss chard ( which I had never had before), summer squash, and basil in a zucchini frittata. It was so yummy! Sophie and her friend Hannah loved it!

In the school room...Christian only has the final test to do and then he will be finished with his VLACS creative writing class. Then only a couple weeks left of Advanced Algebra and 11th grade will be completed!  

In my garden...we have jalapeno peppers, tomatoes, cilantro,  sugar snap peas, cucumber, lettuce, one onion (the others didn't make it), and oregano.

A moment from my day

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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

A Zero Waste Lifestyle

Many years ago I watched a documentary called Bag It, and for a while I tried to minimize my use of disposable plastics.  But it didn't last long. Soon those cloth bags got left behind when I went to the grocery store, and I eventually forgot about using them.
And  I am embarrassed to say that I have not always recycled. I remember when our town started requiring us to recycle-I  still didn't most of the time. And when all of my children lived at home (there were 7 of us all together) we took out a bag of trash everyday! Even with three of us in the house now we were taking a bag to the dumpster every other day. This is crazy!

Over the last number of months I have become a minimalist. The next natural progression is to lesson my trash. I have been so impressed with the people who promote a Zero Waste lifestyle. I want to be like them! I feel like I have finally woken up, and while I don't think our family will have "zero" waste, we are working towards having much less waste.

Here are some of the things we are doing:

  • buying from the bulk bins at a local co-op using mason jars and small cloth bags
  • bringing cloth bags to the grocery store and farmers market
  • composting with our community gardeners
  • recycling
  • not using plastic water bottles
  • using cloth napkins and towels instead of napkins and paper towels 

Friday, May 5, 2017

No Spending 6 Week Challenge

I made a decision halfway through last month that I wasn't going to spend any extra money. I have enough each month, but just enough, and I haven't been saving any. We are hoping to go on a road trip this summer, and we need money for that.  My other reason for not wanting to spend money is that I don't want extra stuff coming into our home. I want to use what we have-and be thankful for it!

It just so happens that some friends and I started a Bible study on the book of Daniel. We all decided to give up something, like expensive foods, sweets, or extra spending, for 6 weeks. So, now I have accountability!  I've been doing well, although I did buy a large ice coffee yesterday.  Giving up my ice coffee in the afternoon is the hardest!  So, now I'm making a pot of coffee in the morning and putting it in the refrigerator. Then in the afternoon, I can have ice coffee without spending extra money!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Meaningful Things

There are some things in our lives that have special meaning. When we see them remind us of a wonderful times with friends and family. These Pathway Readers do that for me. I have had them since Andrew was in kindergarten, and all five of my kids used them when learning to read.  They have stories about close families and life on a farm. We would snuggle on the couch and take turns reading every other page.

I would not have even considered getting rid of my Pathway Readers-until about a week ago. I had already gone through all of my books deciding what to sell and what to give away, and these were definitely staying!  But as I have gone back through the areas of my home that I've already cleaned out, I'm still finding things that I really don't need!   I don't want to sell them, but I'll give them to a family who will enjoy them as much as we did.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Steps on this Journey to Minimalism

For years I have struggled with clutter and keeping an orderly home. Nowadays the house stays clean, and I can have guests over at the drop of a hat. Finally! But how did I get here?

First thing in the morning I put anything away anything left out from the night before.
I love waking up to a clean house!  For the last couple years, my routine has been as soon as I come downstairs, while the coffee is brewing, I put away the few items that the kids might have left out. Next I fill the sink with sudsy water for the breakfast dishes and any glasses from the night before. After breakfast everything gets cleaned up and put away, then we are ready for homeschooling.

The kids wash most of the dishes they use.
Two household jobs that I have always done for our family are hand washing dishes and mopping floors. Now Christian does all the mopping, and Sophie washes dishes sometimes. But a few months back I asked the kids to wash their own dishes right after they eat. I've been doing this, too. They don't always do it, but they do it enough that it has cut my dish washing time in half.  I keep a small dish drainer on one side of the sink and when I'm in the kitchen I quickly put away the few dishes in it. This has helped so much!

I gave away all our books that we can get at the library. 
I have a weakness for books, but I rarely read a book twice, so they just sit on the shelf.  I used to to have two large bookcases chock full of books-plus boxes of homeschooling books that weren't being used.  Now I only have a few books, and the kids have a number of books they own kept in their rooms.  All of  the extra homeschooling books and educational materials are going to a curriculum sale next week!  Our librarian has told me that they can get almost any book I want through inter-library loan.

I went through every closet and drawer in our house and gave away or threw away all duplicates, or things we don't need or use. 
Even though my house is kept clean, the closets and drawers were messy most of the time. Filled to the brim with duplicates of everyday items and stuff we weren't using or didn't need.  I went through everything! This took me about two weeks. I also organized and put all like items together.

I organized the Fridge
This is what inspired me to go through every area of my home. There was no rhyme or reason to where our food was placed in the refrigerator. I asked Sophie to label on post-it-notes things like eggs, meat, veggies, breads, milk and juice, and leftovers.  It only took a few days for us to put things in the right spot. Now leftovers are being eaten!

Every item has a home.
I didn't think this would ever happen. It was because we owned way too much stuff! The answer was just getting rid of it!  Now I can easily find anything in our home. And I know what we have, because we don't have too much.

Saying no when friends want to give us things, and not buying new things.
This is a new one, and it's a challenge!  Today after church a friend wanted to give me a couple pairs of shorts for Sophie. She does need shorts, but I new she wouldn't like them. Normally, I would have taken them anyway, and they would have sat in my closet for a while. I was strong and I said, "No thank you".  One day this week we went to our neighbor's play, and there was  also a book fair going on. Sophie really wanted a book, but I said, "No, we can get it at the library".

I have the kids put their things away after using.
This is taking some time, and I still put things away from them.  I'm trying to be more aware and remind them to do it. I know we'll get there.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Some Other Things We've Been Doing

We have been doing other things besides decluttering and organizing.

Sophie is working on her bullet journal.  Next to her you can see the 1000 piece puzzle we are putting together.

                                                                  I made an apron!

             We visited friends out in the country. Their animals greeted us as we got out of the car!

Christian learned Power Point this week.  He got an A+ on a project  he worked on for Theater, Cinema & Film  class!

Sophie made two pies for the pie auction at church. 

Friday, April 28, 2017

Finding Even More Things to Go Through

This is my second week after adopting a minimalist lifestyle.  It is so freeing to get rid of the things we don't need anymore, that we will never use again, and to realize that I don't have to hold onto things forever. I can let them go!

                              I thought I was done, but I'm still finding papers to go through.

I threw away this pile of papers after going through my file box. Some of it I've kept since the early 90's! I organized the papers I am keeping. I took pictures of some special letters from friends and family before tossing. I did keep some cute cards that the kids made me when they were little.

I found this attachment for my sewing machine. It had never been out of the box, and I've had it for 17 years! I tossed it, because I know I'll never use it.

Here is a knot-a-quilt craft project that sophie and I started 6 years ago. I know we'll never finish it. And she was fine getting rid of it.

I really think I've finished going through everything now. We'll see what happens next!