Friday, January 23, 2009

Creating Simplicity in my Heart and Home: Day One

“…freedom from anxiety is one of the inward evidences of seeking first the kingdom of God.”
“May God give you- and me- the courage, the wisdom, the strength always to hold the kingdom of God as the number one priority of our lives. To do so is to live in simplicity.”Celebration of Discipline (p. 87)

Creating Simplicity in my heart and home
~ Going through ideas/Beginning changes (some of these changes we have already been making, I/we will just step it up a notch!)

1) Simplify my household notebook(s)- put them into two (instead of 4).
· One main one- it includes calendar, daily planner, menu planning, shopping, finances, research and info, gardening, Bible study, personal (cycle chart, continuing ed printouts, etc), homemade items recipes (food staples, cleaners, and personal care products), etc. Second one- contains kids’ stuff (Bible study, activities, immunization charts, homemade baby food, etc.)
· Get rid of anything that is causing more stress; make the daily usage easy and simple.
· I have created new menu planning pages that make it simple, and will help us save money (a daily theme for dinner, and lists of different items for breakfast will always be in the section… then, I will use that to create my weekly meals, which will all be written on one sheet).
· My daily planner is now all on one sheet (to do lists, meals for the day, food log, etc).
· My shopping list (with prices) are on one sheet, and I now have a written price book written on plain paper instead of a spreadsheet. Spreadsheets are too complicated!! This way, I can just update as I go. I will also start carrying around a tiny notebook to write down new prices as I find them (while I’m doing my normal shopping).

2) This morning, I went through and got rid of TONS of toys and other baby/toddler items (I kept ones that are actually necessary, and purged the rest). I sold some to a re-sale shop, and the rest I will give away. I have always believed that the best toys are BOOKS, shape sorters, wooden blocks and legos, paper and crayons, paint, play dough, items to do imaginary play, educational games, etc. We just somehow kept accumulating toys!!! The newest thought is that if they are bulky/plastic, and make too much noise, they aren’t for our family!! Soon, I will go through Karis’ clothes and organize them. I will keep a lot of them for future kids (and to let my friend borrow since almost all of Ethan’s clothes have come from her!), but I will get rid of ones that I never liked, or just any extra that I don’t think we will use. Kids need more clothes than adults because of accidents, getting dirty, etc, but they don’t need 25 pairs of pants or shorts!

3) Next, I will be going through my clothes and Robert will go through his. We both have a lot of clothes that either don’t fit, or we never wear. My closet is full of clothes, yet I somehow still end up wearing the same ones over and over. That says a lot about how much I DON’T need the majority of the clothes in my closet!!! It will be good to give clothes away that we don’t need, to people who truly need them. It is just wasteful to have them since we’re not using them. I will let you know how this goes when we get to it.

4) I am also slowly weeding out personal care products, and replacing them with homemade or natural products. I have recently found that personal care products do not have to pass a safety test for the FDA to approve them. A great website is full of information on your daily used products. Most of them are full of toxic chemicals. It will also cost less to make our own because we can make a lot of them with just a few items (coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, castile soap, corn starch, essential oils, etc). I have already been making our cleaning products and detergents, and I LOVE it. I will be posting recipes for the personal care items as I begin making them. I have a lot of recipes printed out from some websites, but I want to test them before I post them!! Some of these include toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, hand soap, deodorant, and lotion. I’m excited to try them!! Like always, I will probably change them a little to make them work the best for us.The two best items to have around are castile soap (I LOVE Dr. Bronner’s Baby Mild Liquid soap) and coconut oil. I am just now learning of all the uses and benefits of coconut oil.

5) Meals will get more simple and be focused on nutrition and value. I will be doing breakfasts that are focused on nutrition and simplicity as well. Examples are soaked oatmeal, homemade granola and yogurt, whole wheat pancakes, breakfast tacos, granola bars, etc. Lunches will either be leftovers, a sandwich, or in the dining hall. Snacks will be fruits/veggies, homemade crackers, Annie’s crackers (probably the only convenience food I will buy!), etc.
I will be planning dinner meals according to a daily theme. I will be cutting out many meat meals, and replacing them with other forms of protein that are less expensive (mostly beans and lentils). My themes include: breakfast night, soup and salad, beans/lentils with rice or maybe fish, special dinner night (this will probably be the most expensive), casserole/crock pot meal. There will be a few nights (usually 2) that we will eat in the dining hall, and any other meals will be leftovers.

6) I plan to have a baking day one day a week. I will make 2 loaves of bread, leave one out, and freeze the other one. When we get a deep freeze, I will begin doing this for the month. Currently, that would not be realistic because we don’t have the room in our freezer! I will also begin slowly making meals double so that we can freeze a whole batch! But, again, that will have to wait until we get a deep freeze. This will help save time and make life more simple!! We are going to slowly accumulate Pyrex glass storage containers. These are the best and healthiest way to store!!
I will also be making our own tortillas, crackers, granola and bars, etc. (I have been doing this already, but will do more of it!!). This saves money, and is healthier!! Yes, it takes more time, but it’s worth it. Karis likes to help do these things too, so it’s a bonus!!
We are going to be putting a garden in soon!! Organic produce that we don’t have to pay for!! It will also be great family time, a learning experience for Karis, and a way to be somewhat self sufficient. I would love to be able to be self sufficient one day!!!

7) Robert and I plan to have at least one more child, but maybe more. We have learned, after having Ethan, that there are only a few items that are completely NECESSARY for babies. For us, that includes clothing, diapers, a couple of blankets (especially the kind for swaddling), burp rags (we use the Gerber pre-folds sold at Target or Walmart), bottles (not always even necessary), a breast pump, sling/carrier, crib, and a few crib sheets. Anything else is just extra. We also have a bouncer and exersaucer, but they really aren’t necessary, we just already have them and love them! A stroller is also nice to have (and we have a new double stroller thanks to the Sansom’s!!!). But, again, these items aren’t NECESSARY. I love that we won’t have to buy anything for a new baby except for maybe a few more cloth diapers (if we have another before Ethan is potty trained, which is likely)!!! We have everything that we need! So, the only expense will be to pay the midwife, and that expense is worth it!!!

8) One of the things that used to have a grip on me were the NEED to eat out all the time, and the NEED to drink sodas (mainly Dr. P). I was recently freed from those “needs,” and it’s awesome. We have spent maybe $15 all month on eating out, and those were unexpected situations. It’s nice to eat at home (or in the dining hall J), and not even feeling the desire to eat out anymore. I have one soda every other week or so. It’s just a treat now. I don’t feel a need for this either!! A few months ago, I never would have thought that I could give up these “needs.” Praise Jesus for freeing me from these addictions!!

9) I am making a point to be outside more. My goal is to go outside every day (unless it’s REALLY cold); go for a walk (with our new double stroller, thanks to the Sansom’s!), go to the playground, play in the sandbox, work on the garden, etc. We live on such beautiful property; we need to enjoy it more!! We desire to enjoy God’s creation more!! It’s also free, and helps free me from depression/anxiety.

10) Robert and I have already been working on this, but something that we are currently, slowly being freed from is the bondage of debt. It will take us several more years, but we are at least in the process and we see the light at the end of the tunnel!! We haven’t had even one credit card for almost a year, and it feels good. We used to always use our credit card, whether we “needed” to or not. We would keep one for “emergencies,” then things would turn into “emergencies” that weren’t really emergencies!! So, one night, I decided to cut it up, and we haven’t turned back!! That was a huge source of anxiety for me, and it has really helped to get rid of it!! I was putting my faith and trust in a piece of plastic instead of in my Savior who is the ultimate provider!! God has provided for every need; we have never gone without.

(Many ideas that I have, have come from This is a WONDERFUL site!)

1 comment:

The Man Crew said...

Wow...I am in awe of your wisdom! I have been learning these things SLOWLY over the past several years and you are light years ahead of me, that's so not fair! I am not as far along on the self-sufficency as you, but I am making my way down that road. I am so proud of you cutting unecessesary things out of your home and your life! We miss you over at cafemom, but I SOOO respect your integrity! I'll keep following your blog..thanks for sharing your insight with us!