A Simple Valentine’s Day

Our simple Valentine’s Day celebration consisted of a favorite dinner at home and inexpensive but pretty flowers. We did allow ourselves extra cookies and drinks that we normally try to limit.  We are planning to eat out to celebrate when we aren’t so busy so we can enjoy it more.

The 2nd grader exchanged valentine’s at their Classical Conversatios homeschool class.  We just gave out candy, though I wanted to make a simple heart to go with it.  (He ended up wanting to work on his weekly class presentation more than usual this week, so we spent our time on that instead of the cards.)

We didn’t do crafts or baking even though I wanted to.  We did use the occasion to give my 7th grader a lesson on planning affordable dates  even though he won’t have to think of it for a long time.  I stressed the importance of coming up with things they both would enjoy.

How was your Valentine’s day?

 

Simple Family Life

In our Classical Conversations’s homeschool group they do family presentations, where they share about their family.

When they do these presentations, I usually think, wow, why aren’t we doing those things.  There are so many activities we could be doing.

Since we’ve always signed up late, we haven’t done any family presentations.  But it has been on my mind.  I have also read of creating a family shield, which also sounds good. In addition to creating unity, taking the time to reflect on your family’s characteristics can lead to appreciation, contentment and gratitude.  It can make it clearer what is missing and what kind of family we want to become.

While I haven’t taken the time to write one up, I have some ideas.

Our family consists of…both kids participating in recreational basketball, a husband that loves watching sports, a mom and a tween that are bookworms,  kids that love video games big time, and also love utube and Netflix,  Star Wars and Disney Parks/Universal Studio fans (mostly), a curious kid that loves Legos , a tween that enjoys technology and big words, kids that enjoy riddles,comics, and beating me badly in basketball.

We all enjoy eating out inexpensively or cooking on  the weekends, though our taste in food varies. We enjoy seeing our out of state families and friends once a year, and we have enjoyed science museums on our past trips.  Although my  husband enjoys rock concerts, we haven’t because of the kids.

Pretty boring and basic, I know.  But that’s who we are.  We could do more, do different things, but would it be better for us? Some of it would, some of it wouldn’t.  I would really like more time on good literature with the 2nd grader.  I would like the 7th grader to spend more time on being creative.  The 2nd grader might enjoy theater and piano lessons, but he doesn’t want to give up basketball and I don’t want him to be that busy.

I would like exposing them to different activities and interests but they are not interested, though some of the activities are beyond my husband’s and my knowledge (like hunting). Some of them we don’t do because we have allergies.  And some of them, like computer camps, do not seem worth the expense with our budget, so we will have to get creative with that.

Have you reflected on your family’s activities and characteristics?  Have you found doing it helpful in planning and increasing contentment and gratitude?

 

 

Ways We Saved

These past few weeks I..

Read parts of finance ebooks from the library.

Worked a little on taxes, bills and paperwork.

Decluttered some books and organized toys.

Only bought $6 youth shorts (Sam’s Club) and didn’t buy any other clothes or homeschool books, just used what we had.

Packed snacks instead of using the vending machines.

Added sides and variety to dinner to decrease eating out more.

Researched simplified homeschooling online.

Some joys were…

Eating simple comfort foods like soups, muffins and hot tea.

Appreciating my family’s presence and their company.

Enjoyed the company of the moms at our homeschool group.

It helped to to eat better, sleep more and stop to enjoy nature from our backyard.  Reading some blogs on frugal living helped inspire me, along with the finance books.   I organized toys and decluttered books so I could have some order and not feel so weighed down.

Having some routine, reviewing the day, and asking myself if this is how I want to be, helped.  And stopping the negative thoughts and replacing them with  “it’s not so bad” or gratitude helped.  Once we say no to things, gratitude comes easier.  And if it’s his will, I think asking God for help, helps a lot.

How are you doing with your saving? What simple joys have left you feeling satisfied?

Motherhood

Motherhood is constant.  It doesn’t stop when you need a break.  And while we are not always in control we do have influence.  Do we react with denial/inattention during those times we badly need a break?  I know I do.

Sometimes it works, and inattention at the moment was the best, but most times it is not ideal.

Do I really need a break, or do I just need to stop my negative thoughts and just do what I know I should be doing?  Do I  do my best to take care of myself by getting enough sleep, eating healthy, cutting back on the unnecessary, and getting support, so I can react well?  I know, it’s easier said than done, but we can give it our best.

I am realizing just how big a responsibility motherhood is.  But I am realizing it comes with joys just as big, if we’re paying attention.

What has helped you the most in managing the constant demands of motherhood?

 

Faith First

I admit it.  It hasn’t been easy to keep my faith first.  It’s lately stayed in the background.

Saving money to be a good steward was easy.  Simplifying my wardrobe and home decor to be a good steward was fairly easy.  Home decor was planned to create an environment that would make it easier to draw closer to God.

But then it became harder.  I spent too much time on a putting together a  pleasing  wardrobe.  And then there is the joy I get from my wardrobe.

I guess it’s just one of the many things I need to work on.  So while I do find joy on things like that, I will make a point to find joy in God instead.   Concerning my wardrobe, I will aim only to be neat and presentable (which I was not ready for until now).

As I work towards my goals, I need to remember they should not be my goals first.  I should seek his goals first.

That doesn’t mean I don’t research and plan and work hard.  It means I pray about it, listen and read the Bible first, then do what I can.  And what I can’t do reasonably, I leave to God.

What areas do you struggle with when you reconcile your faith to your goals?

 

 

 

 

 

Simple Joys

Yesterday I made time to slow down and enjoy…

A simple favorite meal…

A slow song in my head….

The excitement of and a discussion with my youngest child….

I plan on making time, enjoying, savoring and being grateful for three simple joys of mine everyday, to live out a “well-lived” life. 

Simple joys are different for everyone, so it’s necessary to figure what brings the most joy to ourselves. They can even be something like wearing a favorite bracelet or greatly admiring something you saw. They are the  good simple things, when everything in front of us is bad.  

What simple things mean/matter the most to you? What simple things do you greatly and deeply enjoy? 

A Life Well-Lived

It varies for everyone and it may also vary throughout one’s life.

In the past it has meant enjoying family and friends, traveling, having a good job,  purchasing a house,  serving others,and numerous other things.

But lately my goals have been for security and  that requires sacrifice. For me, gratitude seems the answer to fill that gap.  Gratitude can give me a life well-lived.  Gratitude allows me joy in my family, in the kindness of friends, in a tasty meal, in  a piece of art or music.  They differ for everyone, but they are the little things we easily overlook every day. If we don’t overlook them, take time to enjoy them,anđ are grateful for them, then I think my  life will have been well-lived.

What about you? How are you living life well, while aiming for your goals?

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?

Not So Simple New Year

Happy New Year!  This new year I am striving towards kindness.  I am learning that it is much easier said than done.

Lately it has been harder for me to be kind.  Before, injustices were easily overlooked, because of kindness. I don’t know the cause for the change, and it really doesn’t matter. What is important is that I face this head on.  My faith requires it.

And so I focus on kindness and suffering while I remind myself that I am receiving God’s blessing and in the end the least shall be first and the first shall be last.

How about you?  What are you working on this new year?