Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Wardrobe Wednesday-Park Time

The weather has warmed up a bit so we made a point of hitting the park this week.  My clothes have to be functional, but I also want to look like I have put some effort in.  In Fall, I am all about plaid and layers. I actually had one other outfit to show you, but Miss. Em had other plans.  #momlife




What are your favourite Fall Wardrobe staples?

Monday, 15 October 2018

Simplify Fall 2018- Playroom

Toys.  My children have so many toys.  It is baffling.  They are given toys (by generous and loving family members and friends) for every holiday and occasion.  While I know the intent is good, it just adds up to too much stuff.  I try to go through their things as often as possible.  I donate any  unused toys that are in good repair.  I also "rest" toys throughout the year.  When my daughter becomes sick of something that she normally loves, I put it away.  When I bring it out again in a month, she is generally thrilled to play with it again.  If she isn't, the toy is donated to someone who will use it.

My before picture isn't too disastrous looking.  What you aren't seeing is the MASSIVE fort that my husband built with my daughter.  She has been squirreling toys away in her "house" and things had gotten out of hand.


After:


I dismantled the fort and dug out all of my daughter's treasures.  I rested a box of toys, donated several items, and then rearranged the playroom a bit.  

TIPS:

  • If you have young children, don't involve them in the process.  Every toy is their favourite (even if they haven't played with it in 6 months) and they will keep removing toys from your neatly sorted piles.  Ask me how I know...
  • If it is broken or severely maimed, let it go.
  • If you aren't sure if your child will actually miss a toy, hide it for a little while.  If they don't ask for it in a few weeks, donate it.
  • Less is more.  My daughter plays well when there is less to choose from.  Choice can be overwhelming for children.  If they have too much to choose from they will likely tear apart the playroom without actually getting into imaginative play.
  • Toys need a designated home.  Our kids don't keep toys in their rooms.  We have designated the living room for baby toys and the playroom for all of the other toys.  When items have a home, they can be easily returned to it when playtime is over.


Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Fall Capsule Wardrobe 2018

I love fall and I love the clothes that go with it.  I had fun planning this capsule.  I have lost most of my "baby" weight and a lot of my favourite items fit me again. (Yay!)  This capsule is quite a bit smaller than many of my other capsules, but I think that is because I really know what I feel good wearing in the fall.  This year it has been snowing on and off.  It started in September.  I will use my winter boots and runners interchangeably, depending on the weather.

My wardrobe has 26 items.

4 bottoms:


12 tops:


2 jackets, 1 vest, 1 shawl, 4 scarves




3 pairs of shoes



I am excited to start working with a smaller wardrobe again and I am excited to wear some of my old favourites!  Happy Wednesday, friends!

Monday, 1 October 2018

Simplify Fall 2018- Pantry Clean Out and Inventory

I try to clean my pantry every few months.  I clear everything out, check dates and take inventory.  I also do this in my cold room (where I store some dry goods) and my freezers.  It is a great way to take stock of what you have, what needs to be used and what you may have too much of.

In Progess:


After:



Tips:
  • Remove absolutely everything.  You may be surprised at what you might find.  My hubby will sometimes move items in the pantry to the top shelf.  I never know what is up there.  This time, I found a large bag of chocolate chips that I thought I had forgotten to buy.  
  • Vacuum and wipe the shelves so they are clean.
  • Read the best before dates and decide what needs to hit the trash.
  • Store like items together.  (I feel like a broken record with that line.)
  •  Evaluate your inventory and try to base your meal planning around what you already own.  It will save you money.

How often do take inventory of your pantry?


Monday, 24 September 2018

Simplify Fall 2018- Kid's Clothes

My oldest daughter has quite the wardrobe.  Between gifts and hand-me-downs, she has a lot of clothing.  I rarely have to go out to purchase much for her, which is such a blessing.  Her wardrobe does get out of control, however.  She loves digging through her drawers and leaving things in disarray.  She has recently developed the habit of putting dirty clothes back in drawers, so that is fun...

I generally clean out my daughter's closet and dresser seasonally and every time she has a growth spurt.  It is Fall which means that it is time to pack away her summer duds and go through her warm weather clothes.  I sorted through all of her clothes and took out anything that was too small, stained or that she refuses to wear.  She has always had strong opinions when it comes to her clothes.

I kept a few of the items for Miss. Em to grow into, I passed a few clothes to a friend's daughter and I threw away the stained pieces.  I was very honest with myself when it came to what my daughter would actually wear.  I would much rather someone else get use out of an item than have it sit in her dresser for ages.

Before:



Items removed from closet and dresser:


After:








Tips for Going Through Your Child's Clothing:


  • Depending on your child's age (my daughter is 4), you may want to do this without your child present.  I find it much easier to take away clothes that are too small or are in poor shape without Miss. E declaring how much she loves it.  
  • Sort clothing into a donation (or hand-me-down) box, a garbage bag or put it straight back into the closet/dresser.  This will make it easier to get items to reach their final destination and you won't get mixed up.  If something needs repairs, try to get to it as soon as possible so that it can be put away.
  • Be realistic.  My daughter had the cutest pair of polka dot jeans in her dresser.  They were a gift.  She hates them.  She flat out refused to wear denim at this stage of her life.  It's leggings or sweat pants only.  I think that they are adorable but they are simply cluttering her drawers.  I put them in a box of clothes that I am hoping Miss. Em will wear when she is older.
  • Don't save too much.  We attach memories to things.  We remember the lovely wedding that our child wore that dress to or the sweet day at the pumpkin patch.  We don't need to save the clothes to save the memories, however.  I do set aside the odd item for my daughters to have when they are grown up, but I try to keep that amount reasonably small.  I also find that time helps me detach from the item so if something is difficult to let go, set it aside and re-evaluate in few months time.

Monday, 17 September 2018

Simplify Fall 2018- Schedule




You really can't talk about pursuing simplicity without speaking about how you spend your time.  In my pursuit of a simpler lifestyle, nothing has been more challenging to me than balancing my schedule.  I want to participate in my community and support my children's interests while also maintaining healthy boundaries.  It is a tough thing to figure out.

A simple schedule will look different to everyone.  We are all built with varying energy levels, health issues and personalities.  I have never been a high energy person.  I am an introvert.  I am happiest at home with my family.  I rarely feel the urge to socialize and I often don't enjoy social situations.  I find most interactions to be draining.  That being said, we are built as social creatures.  We all need community and need to belong.  I have two young children, which means that I rarely sleep enough.  I try to keep all of this in mind when adding anything to my schedule.

I like to volunteer my time to help my community.  I currently sit on our local Daycare board and Library board.  I have been asked to join other organizations but my answer is currently no.  I have learned that I need to limit my commitments so I don't become overwhelmed.  I used to have a really difficult time saying no to anything.  I actually took a full year and called it my year of "no".  During that time, I got rid of the commitments that I could and I refused to take on anything new.  This was a little bit radical but it did teach me that I don't have to do everything.  Other people will step up if you don't.  I like to help out but I had to stop feeling like I had to help out with every cause around me.

My oldest daughter is in playschool this year.  My husband and I have decided that we are not able to participate in activities on school nights.  Our daughter has to be in bed on time and it can be a real struggle if we don't adhere to her schedule.  We make the occasional exception to this rule, but the event has to be of great importance.  My daughter is also at the age where she can begin to join activities.  We have decided to allow her one activity this year.  She is still so young and we feel that her free play time is important.  We don't want to schedule her every minute.

I enjoy my friends and play dates, but I am careful to really look at my calendar before agreeing to anything.  We use our non school days for appointments and visiting friends.  I do my best to limit us to one visit or appointment per day.  Our family thrives when we have a lot of down time built in.  This may vary for you.  If you are extroverted, you may find socialization to be energizing.  You may look to schedule at least one visit with friends per day, if not more.  This is totally okay.

It is much easier to examine your schedule if you can be honest about what works for you and your family.  We don't need to push our kids to be in each and every activity so that they can be 'successful'.  On the other hand, you may have extremely high energy children who thrive when they have scheduled activities.  Our schedules, like every other area of our life, are individual.  What works for you may not work for your neighbour.  We must not feel pressured to fill our time in a way that makes us stressed or unhappy.


Friday, 14 September 2018

Frugal Friday- Eating At Home

Eating at restaurants is so expensive.  Hubby and I don't often dine out unless we are in a different city.  This year we are working to reach some personal financial goals so we have decided to try to eliminate as much excess and possible.  This includes ordering take out when we are too tired to cook.  

I don't mind cooking most of the time.  Some nights, however, it is the last thing I want to do.  Meal planning is a great tool to use to help with this problem.  I plan my meals weekly based on what we have and what is on sale.  Meal planning once a week alleviates having to figure out what to make for supper at the last minute.  It also helps eliminate waste because you are able to plan ahead and use your leftovers effectively.  Recently I came up with 'formula' for meal planning and it has helped immensely. I know what our schedule looks like most of the time so I have based my formula on that.  When it doesn't work, I simply switch the days around.  

Sunday- Roast beef or roast chicken
Monday- Meal using leftover roast meat.
Tuesday- Pasta
Wednesday- Salmon
Thursday- Chicken or Pork
Friday- Frozen Meal
Saturday- Breakfast for Supper

I have been doing "Frozen Fridays" for a little while now and I love it.  I know that I just have to grab a freezer meal out and pop it in the oven.  I love not having to do any prep, while still saving money by eating at home.  

What are your tips for meal planning?