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?

Monday, 10 September 2018

Simplify Fall 2018- Kitchen

Summertime is always filled with fun activities and experiences.  During this time, however, I tend to neglect my home.  Things get shoved into the wrong cupboards, clutter (ugh) piles up and I choose to ignore it until Fall reappears.  The first room on my home simplifying project was my kitchen.  We have lived in our home for a year and a half and I have started to notice things that were not working well in the kitchen. 

Our kitchen is quite small and the cupboard space that it has is poorly set up.  I bought some cupboard shelves from the Dollar Tree in hopes of utilizing my tiny space better.  It actually worked.  I didn't think to take any before pictures (oops!) so you will have to trust me when I say it was slightly chaotic.

I moved all the dishes to one cupboard.  It makes sense to keep like things together.  I also created a 'baby' shelf for my daughter's soothers, teethers and baby food containers.  I cleared a whole cupboard shelf in my kitchen to serve as a command center.  I am really excited about this and hope that it helps me stay on top of things.  I added some stacking bins to the cupboard under the sink to utilize space and corral rags.  I removed a few items that we don't use and placed them in the donation box.  Paring down is always an ongoing process. 

Kitchen Organization Tips:

Keep like things together.  Our cupboards do not make this easy.  The small cupboard shelves made it possible for us to have our dishes in one place. 

Have a place for papers.  I don't know about you, but my counter seems to attract papers and random items.  I created my command center shelf in order to combat this.  I want to get in the habit of dealing with papers right away so they don't pile up.

Give things a home, especially small items.  I use tupperware containers and stacking bins for this purpose.  Small items, such as soothers and teethers need a home or they will just float around in your cupboards.  If you don't give things a home they end up scattered.

Friday, 7 September 2018

Simplify Fall 2018

Fall has returned.  I am the person who gets a thrill when the cool breezes begin and the leaves begin to change colour.  Fall feels like a new beginning to me.  I am not a summer person.  The heat leaves me feeling gross and I dislike the pressure to try and cram in as much "summer fun" as I can into two months.  I far prefer the cool, crisp days and the return of routine.  I am looking forward to attacking my schedule and home with vigor.

This Fall I have decided to focus on paring down our home (a never-ending process!)  and our schedule.  My hope is that by choosing to be intentional I can help my family and I can continue to embrace simple living and all that it has to offer.

I am going to share my progress in a series called Simplify Fall 2018 that I will run on Mondays in September and October.  I will post on my Instagram using the hashtag #simplifyfall2018 .  I hope you will follow along and perhaps even join me in my quest to pursue simple living.

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Back to Blogging

I have missed blogging.  I have missed having a space of my own to write.  I have missed the interaction that I had with readers and other bloggers.  I have decided to return to my space.  I need this for me and that is something I want to get better at doing.  Creating boundaries and time for myself.

I think it was good to step away from this space when I did.  I needed some time to breathe and decide if this blog was actually a good use of my time.  I have come to the conclusion that it is.  Like a lot of mothers, most of what I do is for my family.  This is important to me.  I also need some "me" time and this blog gave me that.  I love to write, organize and pursue simplicity.  While I don't claim to be great at any of those things, I do think that blogging allowed for my interests to come together.  Peaceful Simple Life encourages me to make time for the things that I enjoy, which is something that has been lacking over the last few months.

I do hope that I am still on your radar and that you will start reading along with my pursuits.  Thank you for your patience.  I am so happy to be back!

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Good bye for now.

After some thought and consideration, I have made the decision to deactivate my blog and corresponding Instagram account.  I am not able to spend much time in this space anymore and it has been a small source of stress for me.  Our life is filled with many wonderful things and for that I am grateful.  I need to back away and focus on my real life right now.  Thank you for your readership.  I will cherish the friendships that I have made through this blog.  I will continue to read and follow your blogs.  Thank you for visiting my space, I truly appreciate it.

Friday, 15 June 2018

Frugal Friday- Travel Edition

It is that time of year.  Everyone is hitting the road.  The weather is beautiful and we want to soak up all the fun that summer has to offer.  Travelling can be expensive (especially with sky-rocketing gas prices!) so I wanted to share some money-saving tips that my family uses.

Oh my heart.  She is so little here!

1.)  Pack your lunch.  I know.  I know.  Fast food is easier.  It is also more expensive and can make you sick.  (Car sick with kiddos?  No thank you.)  We try to pack our meals in a cooler and eat on the road.  This saves us time (my 4 year old can make a fast food meal last over an hour!) and money.  Eating at restaurants (fast food or otherwise) isn't cheap.  My oldest daughter loves "road lunch".  I pack a cooler with sandwiches, cut up fruit, cheese, crackers and a fun dessert.  She loves it!  I always make sure to bring her a small dish or bowl to eat out of.  We also fill our reusable water jugs at home and bring along a small camping water jug to refill them.  I have brought my own coffee in a thermos, as well, although Hubby and I sometimes get fancy coffee when we travel.  We don't have that option where we live.

2.)  Set your cruise control at the speed limit.  Yup.  We are those people.  We drive the speed limit and not above.  It is easier on your vehicle, your tires and it is so good for your fuel mileage.  Trust me.  Gas isn't cheap anymore.  Speeding tickets aren't either.

3.)  Find free rest stops on your way.  On really long trips we try to stop at a park or a rest stop that has free (clean!) bathrooms.  I really hate using gas station bathrooms if I am not buying anything so I really look to avoid this scenario.  Parks are great, because they often have bathroom facilities nearby and the kiddos can stretch their legs.  We also bring along a potty for our oldest daughter because sometimes the next stop is just too far for her.

4.)  Double check your list.  Before I leave on a trip I make really extensive lists.  It probably looks a little cray-cray but it helps me get organized.  Go over your list and really try to plan for the most likely scenarios.  This will help make sure that you don't forget something important like underwear or Tylenol.  It will also save you the headache of trying to purchase something you forgot.  I am not suggesting you pack your whole house, just make sure you write a list of all the things you need.  Don't trust your memory to store it all.

5.) Save money when you do eat out at a restaurantJuice and pop (or as my American friends would say, soda) cost quite a bit of money and can really escalate the cost of a meal out at a restaurant.  We just drink water, unless it is included in the cost of the meal.  We also don't always purchase a separate meal for our daughter.  She is 4 and is often so wrapped up in the noise and buzz of the restaurant, that she forgets to eat her meal.  We like to discuss what we are getting and as long as one of us has a meal that she will eat, we share with her.  Restaurant meals have massive portions and there is always enough food to go around!

What are the ways you like to save money on while traveling?  I would love to hear all about them!