Monthly Review and Goals

April and May just flew by.  April goals of gratitude and slowing down were mostly met.  And then came May, and allergic reactions, and then more and more allergic reactions.

Basketball is not progressing as well as I had hoped, defeat became too frequent, and we are learning hard but important lessons from it.  Lessons like work hard, even though no one else seems to need to.  We are seeing improvement, but the amount put in is so much. We are  learning most things come with a sacrifice.

Gratitude is now a habit.  When things get tough, I usually remember to be thankful for the things I used to take for granted.  Most of my days are now filled with praise of the good God has given us.  I credit the gratitude habit to slowing down, figuring out what I really enjoy and od course prayer.

The finance research is finally sinking in.  I am reading finance/frugal  blogs daily.

Clothes were mended.  Six dollar tops and a pair of clearance pants were purchased at Target and Walmart for my birthday.  Quick meals along with different meals were made.  Eating out is mostly rare and for emergencies or a rare treat, though we still eat at Sam’s Club 1-2 times a week.  Book, toy and home purchases are rare.

We continue to save for emergencies and retirement housing. Again, slowing down, figuring what is most important to us, gratitude and reading finance blogs, helped me spend wisely.  We were able to enjoy a movie, dinner out a few times and a plane trip to visit family to celebrate a 50th Anniversary.

Homeschooling and education research continues, with high school (and then college) approaching after this coming school year.  The information is slowly sinking in.

June and July goals will be organizing and decluttering the house and paperwork and preparing for the next school year which begins in early August this year.    We will go to the  doctor’s and the dentist’s.   The finance and homeschool research will continue.  Basketball will continue.  The seventh grader will be taking the Stanford-10 test again in mid-June.

We will probably go to the movies again, and also go to the community pool a few times.  The 2nd grader will continue to spend his time on the Kerbal Space Program video game, building rockets, in addition to comics, Legos and music.  The 7th grader continues with his video games, books, comics, music and YouTube. We will take our yearly vacation in September as usual.  Legoland is the latest plan.  I would like to do more, like tennis and theater classes, but I am delaying them until we are more organized/decluttered.  I have read the importance of being organized for better finances/earnings so I plan on comitting to that first.

How did you do with last months goals?  What are your goals for this summer?


Simple Ways We Saved

Didn’t buy ankle boots and tees and tops except for a $5 tee at Sam’s.  Instead I mended sweaters and made do with the shoes I already had.  I will need shoes and tees eventually, but will wait for lower prices.

Didn’t buy new phonics and math homeschool workbooks even though though we finished the ones we had.  Instead I borrowed Ordinary Parents Guide to reading from the library and used the Singapore Math 2b books I found that my older son barely used.  We were using Math in Focus 1b, but he seems to be doing fine.  I will have to see what additional topics we need to cover.

Minimized grocery shopping to rice milk, eggs, etc.  Instead we are using up what we already have, even if it means more work or less of our favorite quick foods.

Have been drinking tea we already have instead of coffee, and staying away from sugar, mostly to try to increase my energy.

Reading other blogs and simplifying things has helped greatly in being able to do these things.  Simplifying and mending/taking care of my clothes, books, and food and reading  blogs that made do with what they already had, decreased  our clothing, books and food purchases.  

Reading blogs featuring debt/mortgage payoffs has motivated me more to find ways to do without while still feeling content.  I think that after simplifying a little,  my mind was more clear and I was able to attempt to stay healthy physically and mentally.  I think that better health will help with being creative with resources and being content.

How about you?  What has helped you save?

Simple Wardrobe

Like our home, our clothing has an important function also.  It can allows us to feel confident and comfortable doing necessary and important tasks required to reach our goals.

A good basic wardrobe can be created without spending too much money.  Like home decor it helps to have a vision.   Categorizing what you already have is the next step.  Then finding out what looks good on you comes next.  Being creative with what you have helps to save money. Lastly, de-cluttering may be required.

As a homeschooling mom and wife,  this consisted of categorizing items into form fitting versus looser fitting clothing, and v-necks versus crewnecks.  As my current wardrobe was limited and I didn’t want to spend much on new pieces, I found that mixing the types could save me money while still looking nice.  I separated the more professional items from the casual items.   I found good combinations for my nicer, form fitted items and saved them to wear for my husband’s work functions, eating out, and holidays.

My basic daily winter wardrobe consists mostly of 1 form fitting and 2 loose cardigans, two fitted sweaters, v-neck and crew neck tees, 2 form fitting and 2 looser fitting light and medium colored jeans.  A warm hoodie replaces the cardigans or goes over the sweaters for sports events.

The more professional wardrobe mostly consists of two jackets, three fine guage or form fitting cardigans,  one mock turtleneck, one ‘dressier’ crewneck T and one ‘dressier’ scooped neck T, 2 button-down shirts, 2 A-line skirts ,2 pencil skirts and a pair of black pants.

The colors are basically black, with some some brown, red ,plum and pink for the cardigans, jackets and sweaters.  The tees are basically plum, red, tan,navy and black.  The skirts are black and tan, 2 are patterned.

Some of the items are worn and need replacing soon,  but they aren’t sooo bad that it can’t wait. Some of the clothes went into the chores/wear around the house pile.  My next purchase will be v-neck beige tops since I think it seems versatile and will enhance my wardrobe the most.

What has helped you save in creating a simple but good wardrobe?










Simple Decorating

Home is where we make plans, accomplish goals, rest, re-energize, spend time with those we love.   So it is important that our home is functional, energizing yet restful.

Creating a vision for our home helps.   Looking at decor sites, magazines, books will help you discover what you want for your rooms.

Then comes decluttering what doesn’t fit with your plans.  And after that putting into place what is required for your ‘new’ home.

Sometimes it requires some rearranging of furniture  and decor items.  Sometimes it requires digging up old pillows and bedding.

For example, because we had to replace our dining room chairs and found a new sofa cover, our home was feeling like a thrown together apartment. I rearranged the bookcases and stereo in the dining room and added a bowl from another room.  Now it matches the rest of the house more.

What simple decorating ideas have worked for you?









De-Cluttering vs Repurposing

Instead of de-cluttering,  we are  keeping certain things we will not use, with the plan of repurposing them.   We are trying to decrease spending, so repurposing what we have makes sense.  Yes, it will take up space and time, but that should be offset by the money we will save.

We have already de-cluttered  large toys and books, so we have some space to keep the clothing/sheets we want to repurpose.  The sewing machine is set up in  corner, ready to go.

Some projects are using an old sheet to mend a broken dust ruffle,sewing rags, kids shorts/pajamas, and stuffed animals from old clothes, and mending clothes.

Are there any items you are repurposing instead of tossing?





Faith and Simple Living

A simple life of faith is not easy.  We are to find most of our joy because of our faith.  Joy from possessions?  Only if they are used for good.

It has required a lot of thought and growth.  And as a result things become clearer.  New motivators are discovered, such as decluttering to give my kids order and to eventually offer hospitality.

How has faith positively affected your search of simple living?


Simple Living and The Amish

They are human and I can’t put them on a pedestal as I had hoped, but I have a lot to learn from them.  Their practices vary but community, but their strong work ethic, importance of community and family, practices of equality, spirit of cooperation instead of competition, and their non-material ideals all appeal to me.

Family and community gatherings and support, efforts towards equality such as same clothes and buggies, minimal focus on material things, together they lead to simpler living.

Will they be able to continue their ways as the world continues to change?  Will we be able to use some of their ways, or are most of them impossible considering today’s circumstances?

I think it’s worth a try.  Board games, shooting baskets,reading, good simple food, nature and conversation for entertainment.  Simple clothes, home decor, toys, etc.  Spending time with others that share  common beliefs/ideals.  Are the things we give up worth it?  I think so.

What simple things do you like that the Amish do?