Spring is finally here! I could not be more excited. Let's just say that I am not a huge fan of winter, so when spring rolls around, I know that I have made it through my least favorite part of the year. Now I am dreaming of Popsicles, trips to the zoo and playing in the sprinkler. Of course, our first day of spring started with some "classic" pictures with the Easter Bunny while visiting baby farm animals.
Today I had to be humble and ask my kids to forgive me. As much as we strive to be present and intentional as parents, we are, I am, in fact human. Our family has been under a lot of stress the past couple of weeks. We are rehabbing our house and getting it ready to sell and we also got some news about our foster son possibly leaving our home. On top of that we have all been sick. I am off of our normal routines and running on empty. I have not been the parent I want to be or usually am. This week made me realize that I must parent with humility. I asked my kids to forgive me and my 5 year old said, "Of course I forgive you" and excitedly went on to show me his bug home he made out of mud. If only we could all forgive that easily.
The truth is, with all of the advice I put on this blog, and that I really do try and follow; with all of the ways we simplify to live a fuller life, we are still human. We mess up, we get off track, and we let down the people we love most. One of the biggest lessons for me is humility in parenting. Sometimes the grown ups mess up and sometimes the kids learn to forgive, or teach us about forgiveness.
Parenting, just like simplicity or minimalism as I discuss in this blog, or just about everything else is a journey. It is not always easy and there will be moments of failure, but it grows us and changes us and is beautiful. It is a journey that I am happy to be on and glad that I am raising children who can accept my "sorry" and my "I don't know" and my imperfections as well as my love for them. I am thankful that they can teach me lessons each day, sometimes more than I can teach them, and that I can see in them the person I want to be.
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All kinds of companies that offer mail order subscriptions for their products are popping up. I know, companies like these have been around forever. As a little girl, I remember getting one that offered a pack of cards with animal facts that you put into a special binder. I LOVED it. I would get so excited to check the mail and receive my beloved cards. I guess that feeling never wore off, because I still love getting mail-order deliveries. Nowadays, however, companies are coming up with some truly fantastic, beautifully designed (and packaged) products that I just cannot get enough of. Now, the minimalist in me must choose carefully. I do not want to order more stuff that I do not need, and I do want to be intentional with what I purchase. That said, here are a few mail order companies that are pretty cool and fit into my current simple living lifestyle.
By now you have probably seen this being advertised on social media. I have wanted to sign up from day one. As an art teacher, I believe kids should create and build with their hands. Kiwi Crate offers fun crafts, science projects and more delivered to your door each month. The packaging is super cute, and they include everything your child needs to create the projects. We finally ordered ours and received our first box yesterday. I am so impressed with the content and quality. Here's how it fits my simple living lifestyle:
1.) I spend more quality time with my son. I get as excited as he does to sit down together and do the projects. We have had so much fun working together and playing together. I cannot wait for school to get out so we can finish the project we started this morning. Hey, I'm still a kid at heart; aren't we all?
2.) We make fewer trips to the craft store. There are so many great craft projects to do with your kids, but I am tired of bringing more craft supplies into the house for each project. We end up with leftover material that piles up, and that is the opposite of what we want for our home. I love that with Kiwi Crate, we get only the supplies we need without having to make more trips to the craft store to be tempted by glitter and fancy paper.
3.) We have fewer toys. Because we now receive a Kiwi Crate each month, my son has been willing to part with some of his other toys to make room for this new addition. Although we still want to keep art supplies in the house, this also allows us to purge at least a few things that we will not use as often now that we have a monthly subscription.
All in all, we love Kiwi Crate and really see the value in adding it to our lifestyle.
We just signed up for this program, and my husband and I are really excited about it. My husband is bald and clean shaves his head pretty often. He has to use good razors to do this, and they have to be replaced regularly. I like to steal his razors because they are so nice and work so much better than mine. There comes a point every other month or so when he runs out of razors, and I have to add it to my list and go to a store that I never shop at to pick them up. They are not cheap either. So when I learned about the Dollar Shave Club, I knew it would work for us. For only $6 a month, we can have a pack of really nice razors delivered to our door. Yes! My husband will never run out of razors again, and if there is one left over at the end of the month, I can snag it! (Shhh. Our secret.) They offer other nice products as well that I am sure we will test out in the future. This fits with our minimalist lifestyle because ...
1.) It saves a trip to a store that we do not normally shop in. Reason enough for me.
2.) It's an intentional purchase. We really try to spend our money intentionally on things we believe in. I really like the Dollar Shave Club from their products and genius ideas behind their packaging and marketing. I want to support a company that brings a little something extra.
3.) It saves money. The razors are really reasonably priced. We chose the middle grade razor, and it only costs $6 a month for four razors -- and that includes shipping. That is cheaper than the razors we have been buying, and it saves me a trip. Win/win.
Be sure to check out the Dollar Shave Club on Mashable!
The Honest Co.
I am so excited that I found The Honest Co. Their products are so beautiful and gentle on baby and the planet. Their designer diapers are so cute and perfect for summer days when babies are free to run around in just a diaper. Now they can do so in style! But this is much more than a diaper company. They have organic formula, bath products and more! They even have gift sets, which are so beautiful and perfect to welcome a new baby. I am in love! Here's how these products fit into our lifestyle:
1.) It's intentional spending. Not to sound redundant, but the great thing about minimalism and simple living is that you buy less so you can buy quality items. This means that we can shop more intentionally and support companies and products that we believe in. The Honest Co. makes products that are free of chemicals and dyes, which makes them safe for all babies including those with skin sensitivities, and their products are also safer on the environment. Their packaging is sweet and elegant, which I love because I want things in my house that bring both beauty and utility. Because of these qualities, products from The Honest Co. also make really nice gifts.
2.) Membership is free. They do ask you to sign up for a membership, but it is totally free and allows you to shop all of their products without making a commitment.
3.) They are products that we would buy anyway. If you have a baby, you probably already purchase things like baby bath wash, wipes, diapers and possibly formula. Therefore, this is more about choosing to spend your money on products you really love and less about adding additional products to your home.
I love the concept of Raddish Kids. You sign up for a monthly subscription and receive a box full of recipes cards, skill cards, activities, dinner conversation starters and more to make mealtime into a family activity. The recipes are made for kids to read and understand, and the skill cards help them learn basic cooking techniques. Our family has not yet signed up for this one, but I do see a lot of value in it. It does bring a lot of "stuff" into our home each month that we would then need to store, but since it is mostly cards, we could keep them all in a single binder. Here are the reasons I think it fits into simplicity with kids:
1.) It's experience based. I love that this subscription leads to an experience. It gives kids the ability to learn skills in the kitchen and experience cooking first hand. This is such a practical skill that is being taught in a fun and exciting way. I also love that the experience is contributing to the family as a whole. The kids are actually helping to cook family meals.
2.) It encourages quality family time. Cooking together is a great way to bond as a family, and I love the way Raddish Kids gets the whole family together for not only the meal preparation but also for a quality family meal. They provide activities and conversation starters to help.
3.) It's a time saver. I suppose you could get your kids in the kitchen to help cook without a monthly subscription, but meal planning is a lot of work and I am not great at it. I love that Raddish Kids does the meal planning for you by sending great recipe ideas, and they even email you a shopping list before your box comes. They even have different themes to make it even more fun. This alone saves me tons of time. As long as you are saving all of the recipe cards, you can rotate them and have monthly meal plans before you know it.
Another day stuck inside. Snow is covering the ground in a thick, white blanket, but inside we are dreaming of summer! It is finally March, the last month of this cold and dreary madness, and soon enough the sun will shine and we will be eating popsicles by the pool. Today, however, we will have to create a summer treat to hold us over until those warm July afternoons.
So we decided to make parfaits! This is such an easy project that my 5-year-old made the whole thing (almost) by himself.
You will need:
Greek yogurt (any kind you like)
1/2 cup fresh or frozen strawberries
1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
Vanilla Wafers, Animal Crackers or Graham Crackers
1.) Have your kiddo smash a handful of the crackers or wafers with a wooden spoon or in a plastic bag with a rolling pin.
2.) Prepare the strawberries. If using fresh, cut them into slices. If frozen, microwave for 30 seconds just to defrost them a bit.
3.) Prepare the blueberries. If fresh, then they are ready to go. If frozen, defrost in microwave for 30 seconds.
4.) Layer the ingredients into a clear glass. Put the strawberries at the bottom, then yogurt, blueberries, and finally the crushed vanilla wafers (or other crackers). Enjoy!
My husband and I have always spent our time together after the kids go to bed. Normally this would consist of curling up to watch our favorite shows. We were tired from the day, and we were giving each other the last bit of our energy. Honestly, it wasn't very high-quality time. We noticed:
-We were watching TV more out of habit than for enjoyment.
-We were not engaging in much conversation because we were worn out.
-We felt like we were wasting a lot of time in the evening and not getting much out of it.
So we decided to switch things up. Instead of trying to spend time together at night, we started going to bed early and waking up early. We knew we are both more productive and engaged after a good night's sleep. Plus, we wanted time in the morning to have coffee together and get showered and dressed before the kids get up. It was such a great switch!
5:20- First alarm goes off. (Yes, I need two alarms.)
5:30- Second alarm goes off, and we actually get out of bed.
5:40-6:00- We do a little morning yoga. My husband decided to participate in my yoga routine, which has been really fun.
6:00-6:30- Take shower/get dressed.
6:30-7:00- Coffee/devotional/prepare for the day.
7:00- Kids get up.
Ah, such an amazing way to start the day. We love doing something active together each morning, and it's nice to have a slow start. As the weather warms up, we can even enjoy our coffee outside as the sun is coming up.
A few tips for making the switch:
- Prepare the night before. Have school lunches made, grind coffee at night, and set out clothes.
-Go the bed early. Make sure you are getting a good night's sleep.
-Start small. If 5:30 seems way too early, just try getting up 15 or 20 minutes earlier. Once you form that habit, you might want to try even earlier. Do what works for you and your partner.
It also helps to have an amazing breakfast planned. Nothing like getting out of bed for some yummy (and healthy) pancakes! Make them, or at least prep them, the night before.
I can't wait to try these Greek Yogurt and Honey Banana Bread Pancakes by Bakerbynature.
This post contains affiliate links. I only use affiliate links for things I believe in and think will help you. Thanks for your support.
Your morning has so much potential. A nice, big breakfast, a steaming cup of coffee, morning yoga, meditation, reading with the kids before school, snuggling in bed with the cat. Whatever you fill your morning with, there is no need to waste time standing in front of your closet wishing a personal stylist would pop out and tell you what to wear. No one wants to change outfits four times before digging through baskets of laundry for that one perfect pair of jeans you know you have buried somewhere in the mounds of clothes you will fold someday soon. Oh, and remember all of those trendy outfits you bought on sale that are still hanging up with tags on? I know, wrong season for those. Yes, this is how mornings go for a lot of us. So much time wasted just getting dressed. I know this is how it used to be for me, too.
I wanted to be able to shower and get dressed in a half hour.
That goal sounded impossible. It always took me an hour. Always. By the time I showered, picked out just the right outfit, did my hair and, of course, makeup, it always took an hour. But as I began to simplify the rest of my life, I knew that I needed to simplify my wardrobe as well.
A simpler wardrobe led to having:
Ultimately this has led to:
After simplifying my dress and makeup routines, I can now be fully showered and dressed in a half hour!
I do try to pick out my clothes at night (just a quick mental idea of what I will wear), and my makeup consists of foundation, eyeliner, mascara and lipstick. My hair is short, so I let it air dry while I enjoy breakfast and add a little product before I leave the house.
No more trying on multiple outfits, going through clothes that might not fit right, and trying on all of my shoes and accessories every time I get dressed. Fewer choices makes getting dressed simple, and I know I will look good in each outfit because I have already tested them while putting together my wardrobe.
A great way to create a wardrobe is by putting together capsules. A capsule is simply a group of items that you will use for a set amount of time. For example, I have a winter capsule and a summer capsule. I do not do fall and spring because I just layer the same clothes from my two capsules. Here is my winter capsule, minus the outfit I am wearing (which is a pair of jeans and a button-up shirt) and minus 2 pairs of pajama pants and 1 pair of leggings.
If you would like to learn more about capsule wardrobes or dressing with less, please check out Project 333 with Courtney Carver. She is super helpful and has designed an amazing program with everything you need to succeed!
I highly recommend her Dress With Less Microcourse, which will provide you with full lists and tons of resources and tips for getting started with designing your own capsule wardrobe.
Dressing with less has changed so much for me, and I know it will for you.
Leave a comment with your dress-with-less experience. I would love to hear your story.