Tag Archives: voluntary simplicity

Minimalist Motivation 

screen-shot-2017-02-05-at-4-22-45-pmWell, hello!  I thought I would put fingers to iPad after a long hiatus because I’ve been thinking about my “saver” roots after watching an interesting documentary on Netflix called “Minimalism: A Documentary about the Important Things.”

I’ve been enjoying it on the treadmill at night.  The premise is that we have one shot at this life, as far as we know, and spending it acquiring, tending, and shopping for things is not a very satisfying way to spend our days here.  The show also brings in some KonMari ideas… it’s not that one needs to have nothing, but what we do have should bring joy and function to our daily lives.

The movie is relevant to me because I seem to have less and less time to tend to our house and belongings, so having less and being able to find things seems appealing.  I would love to know that my closet and my daughter’s only contains clothes we will wear and enjoy wearing.

We both went through our closets this weekend … nothing as extensive as Marie Kondo’s method of touching everything you own … but it feels good to pass along what we can and to be able to find what we need.  Trust me, more work is needed!  I choose to look at this as ‘baby steps when I can’ rather than a massive project tearing apart the house.  My work schedule and kid schedule just doesn’t allow for something like that right now.

Today I need to jot down what we are taking to Goodwill for tax purposes (one of my least favorite jobs!) and I will drop them off tomorrow when I run DD to dance class.

Have you seen this documentary?  Do any parts of minimalism feel relevant to you?

 

 

 

 

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Wisdom from Tasha

IMG_7247“Nowadays, people are so jeezled up.  If they took some chamomile tea and spent more time rocking on the porch in the evening listening to the liquid song of the hermit thrush, they might enjoy life more.”  – Tasha Tudor

I came across the quote from Tasha Tudor when researching corgi dogs (dangerous thinking I know)!  Corgis appear in most of her books and artwork.  The quote was the perfect sentiment at the perfect time for me.  It’s been a S-L-O-W week at home, with people still recovering from illnesses, leaving me the only one still awake at 8:30 p.m.  I’ve been reading my old issues of Victoria magazine, taking time to enjoy all of the beautiful photos and gracious living articles.

My little garden frog.

My little garden frog.


I needed to slow down, too.

I haven’t really found a good balance between home and work since switching jobs, and having my family resting so much made me realize what I high gear I am operating in.  

I want to take a bigger step back into my “core business” of family-food-home and one step back from the demands of work.  Thoughts, working moms?

According to Tasha, chamomile tea is required! 

 

Budgets: When The Wheels Fall Off

It’s been quite the week.  We went to the grocery store EIGHT times!  The reason for the craziness has been illness.  It went something like: Kid gets a cold, Parent 1 then gets a cold; kid develops horrendous GI virus a few days later (middle of the night, of course) while Parent 1 now has painful cough.  Parent 2 then gets horrendous GI virus, but worse than Kid!

It’s been a week of buying Pedialyte, Kleenex — anywhere, any price —  and overpriced bottles of 7-Up at the check out because of fatigue.  It was too far to walk the whole store!

It’s rare for me to do laundry outside time-of-use-rates, but all bets are off this week.

noexif_IMG_4633_privateOne small victory, and I mean very small… I made rhubarb muffins from last year’s rhubarb.  I also won a really neat picnic bag and two pounds of Starbucks “limited edition” coffee during teacher appreciation week.

My other accomplishment this week was decluttering some of the English home magazines I tend to not want to let go of.  My mom is going to England soon so maybe a fresh supply will come my way.  It was a good feeling to take care of a pile while I was keeping sick people company on the couch.

I hope we are through our rough patch and next week will be easier.  I plan to come up with some mild, light dinners for the coming week to ease everyone back into eating, and our Flylady zone is the Kitchen for next week.  With a little luck, we can get our grocery shopping back to normal!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lovely No Spend Day

I swear I went to the grocery store every day last week for Kleenex and juice.  We’re shaking off a cold virus and it feels good to return to some normalcy.

noexif_IMG_4630_privateI had a no-spend, no-drive day today.  Walked daughter to school, walked to work.  The extra time I saved not running around on errands after work gave me time to harvest some rhubarb, one of the perks of living in a cold climate.

A favorite recipe is Rhubarb muffins.  The recipe I use if on the Creative Savv blog.  The recipe is wonderful because it isn’t too high in saturated fat.  If I make a rhubarb pie or cake I am going to be the one eating most of it.  If you can swing the touch of almond extract in the recipe, you will find it gives great “bakery” flavor!

noexif_IMG_4633_private

 

This afternoon I am continuing to plan a grocery stock up trip to take advantage of the Memorial Day pricing on summer staples.  This is the time to grab graham crackers, marshmallows, ketchup, hot dogs, chips, pickles, and meats for the grill.  My coupons are in disarray so I need to cull through those as well.

I have got to make use of a potpourri of canned beans in the freezer.  Does anyone have a favorite chili recipe that uses beans and not too much meat?  Crock Pot would be great.  Feel free to link in comments!

Our tulip tree

Our tulip tree

 

 

Caviar Dreams, Star-Kist Budget?

Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous

Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This summer the New York Times ran an article called ‘For Would-Be Retirees, A Million-Dollar Illusion.’  The gist of the article was that increasing inflation and low returns on bonds can create a situation for retirees where they could run through a $ 1 million dollar nest egg before they die.   A million ain’t what it once was!  I’m not near retirement and I don’t have a nest egg that size,  but I found the end of the article to be very thought-provoking:

“When you are in your 50s… you can try to save as much as you can and try not to get accustomed to a lifestyle that you won’t be able to afford later on”

If a retiree is drawing conservatively from a $1 million portfolio and taking Social Security, that might look like $61,000 per year.  Nice, sure, but not the kind of cash that will have Robin Leach calling you to be on “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous”.   Cranking up the “lifestyle” too high during your working years and you might find retirement to be a rude awakening.  If you are used to saving, and living a comfortable yet not opulent lifestyle, your retirement income might feel a whole lot like what you have been used to.

It seems one of the big barriers to creating wealth (aside from debt) is what goes on in our own heads.  Or, as the article implies, what lifestyle we think we deserve to be living.  It might sound like:  Someone with my income wouldn’t drive a used car… I have a full-time job, so if I want Starbucks, I am darn well going to have it…. My family doesn’t ‘do’ leftovers… All my neighbors have a cleaning service…    I think that we already live a fairly modest lifestyle, with the exception of vacations.  This summer, though, a number of bloggers have opened my eyes to some areas where I have been unaware of my own lifestyle beliefs.  If you haven’t met them yet, check out Creative Savv and The Prudent Homemaker.  They are both showing me ways to create a healthy, frugal and less wasteful lifestyle … and I’m tuning out my inner brat who demands “Champagne wishes and Caviar Dreams.”  Now I am off to pick (more) zucchini for dinner tonight, inspired to save a little more towards the things that really matter to me.

Have you ever given yourself a lifestyle adjustment?

Day 2, ‘Appreciate and Maintain What You Have Week’ and I am loving it!Daylilly

So far . . .

I put away the 8 different sunscreens on the bathroom sink, left one out for convenience, and found a spot for a garden lilly.

The Lego Friends’ Village has been relocated!  A handful of legless and armless Disney figures have also found a place to hang out other than my living room floor.

My daughter and I had lunch and “tea time” on the front porch both days.  We used my Emma Bridgewater tinware and made a regular lunch a little more fancy.

Garden Lunch

My husband has been having breakfast in our sunroom the past few days, enjoying the views of vegetable garden, flowers and trees. It’s a great feeling to use all of the rooms in your house and not be paying for more space than you need.

Sometimes when I slow down a little, it helps me feel more energetic and creative.  I sent a few emails out and a neighborhood “Ghost in the Graveyard” (tag) game will be underway tonight. Look out XBOX, here comes an ‘old school’ game.

JamieOliverI reduced the tower of magazines under the living room end table, and moved my cherished Jamie Oliver magazines to the bookshelf.    It looks so wide open now!

Most of our dinner tonight will be free.  I had to switch up my meal plan after receiving free items from a friend going out of town.  We are having frittata with kale, green onions, and potato; sourdough bread, and citrus fruit and apple salad.

Living simply is not about living in poverty or self-inflicted deprivation. It’s about living an examined life where one has determined what is truly important and enough … and then just let go of all the rest. – Duane Elgin

 

A Simple Holiday

I am celebrating a new holiday today — and no Hallmark card is required.  I’m calling this ‘Appreciate and Maintain What You Have’ week.  I’m in the mindset to:

Stopping to smell the roses....

Stopping to smell the roses….

  • Stay home
  • Eat the food we have at home
  • Clean counters of the things we aren’t using
  • Bring some zinnias in from the garden to beautify our space
  • Sort items under the end tables and move the few magazines I am keeping to the bookshelf

Some of my feelings this week have their roots in Voluntary Simplicity.  Instead of looking for more and different why not start by working with the bounty that is already here, and already paid for?  The other part of my feelings can be summed up as ‘Will someone please put away the Lego Friends’ City that has taken over my living room for the past week?!?!’

I’ll let you know how this goes!  I hope wherever you are you are enjoying peaceful surroundings.