Friday, August 27, 2010

Finding time with Family!

With my parents here from Oklahoma the last 3 days and our son and his family living here in Lincoln we had no problem finding something to do but to spend time together as a family!  What a wonderful three days I had!  It was very, very rewarding and I am very blessed! 

I absolutely loved that the TV was only turned on once for about 30 minutes and that was to check out the weather situation.  With our son being such a wonderful cook and loving to come up with his own recipes, I bought the food for everyone and handed it to him to work his magic!  What YUMMY magic it turned out to be, the food was awesome, Matt!  His, Sous Chef, Miranda, did a great job as well!  My hats off to you both!  Since we were able to eat meals together cooked at our son's home we didn't have to spend the outrageous amount of money it takes to go out to eat!  Also, with being at their home we were able to spend quality time with our grandsons which made great-grandma and grandpa very happy and proud!

Our son, also, entertained them with his high tech phone showing them all the different apps that came on it, especially Google Maps, he found their farm, which blew both of them away!  I love seeing the high tech phone and what it can do but until the day comes when everything is done on that phone (or iPad, or whatever is in when it happens) I will never own one.  It would take up to much of my time trying to figure it all out and then wanting to play with it all the time...something that is not for me!

The boys, Evan and Camden, enjoyed climbing trees, showing off their favorite monkey pose and Evan, 5,  loved showing his great-grandparents his 3rd grade reading ability!  Totally blew them away again!  Camden, 3, loved giving them funny looks when they would ask him silly questions!  I took pictures galore when I had the camera, when I didn't have the camera, Evan or Camden had it and was taking pictures and videos of all our events, which are so wonderful and they loved watching the videos over and over again on my camera even without any sound!  Simple entertainment!

My parents took us all out to eat the last night they were here to Cracker Barrel and Miranda and I and the boys loved looking at all the old toys, Camden loved the old spinning 'Top' and the 'Pop Goes the Weasel' toy (except in this case it was a elephant), I played with him and he would just laugh and laugh.  Evan loved playing with the Magic 8 ball and loved to ask it questions to see what the ball would say and he would get so excited when the ball answered a question right according to him!  It was fun to watch him read the answers but funnier were the questions he asked!  I think I know of 3 things that will be bought for an upcoming birthday and Christmas gift.  You know the most awesome thing was that neither of them asked or begged for any of us to buy them something!  Which totally blew me and my mom away!  They have been taught that you do not ask for anything and I love that their parents have instilled that in them!  For that they will be rewarded and not in gifts but in what they have been taught!  What a great gift their parents gave them and it was free, the learning the child receives and he or she knowing it and embracing it is truly wonderful!  Now, this might not be true in every store, but with the experience that I have seen it is more often than not.

Many pictures were taken, again, outside in the rocking chairs as we rocked away our full bellies and let our food settle.  Then we headed back to their home to get the little munchkins ready for bed before they told great-grandma and grandpa goodbye, then they were fast asleep.  I think a trip to the farm in Oklahoma with those boys is in order, I just hope that we are able to do it before the snow starts falling so they can play outside and enjoy farm living!

I want to thank my parents for coming and spending the time with us all!  We had the best time reminiscing over names of people we went to church with and old neighbors we had back in our home town of Hays, Kansas and where we lived when I was little in Great Bend, Kansas.  Also, remembering my grandparents and great-grandparents and the fun times we had when I was a kid!  It was a wonderful day!!

Probably the most funniest parts for me was the fact that I got them to stay in their jammies until 4:00 pm that day when we were just sitting around relaxing, talking and showing them pictures on the computer.  They have NEVER done that unless they were sick, and they enjoyed it, it was a first for them and they made sure to tell my sisters about it!  So, mom and dad, when you call and I say I am still in my jammies just know that I am having a blast remembering the time you was here and did it with me!!  Much love to all my family, Rich, Mom and Dad, Matt, Miranda, Evan and Camden!!  We really missed my sisters, Becky and Penny, and their families and hope that we will all be together soon!  Simple living is getting closer and closer and I am enjoying every minute of it!

Family is always first in my books!  Family entertainment is free and full of blessings!

Enjoy the simple life,

Friday, August 20, 2010

Reducing Debt is key!

“I believe that examining the hidden impacts of all the Stuff in our lives is a way to unplug, which is the first step toward changing things.” ~Annie Leonard, The Story of Stuff

Well, we've only just begun!  Canceled our DVR and went down to basic cable...YAY!!  This one made me very happy because I am not a TV fan as it is.  I asked my husband if we can cancel cable all together and he said in time we are taking baby steps!  So baby steps it is and I know at the end it will be so wonderful to save the extra money for something great to do like take a trip to Hawaii!  I just saw on one of my high school classmates facebook page that she and her family went to Hawaii.  I thanked her for posting the pictures and said that, that was probably the closest I will ever get to Hawaii but now that I think about it with all the money we can save after reducing and getting rid of our debt, we could go to Hawaii or anywhere, how AWESOME is that!!  Thank you, Dana, for posting those pictures and making me want that dream even more!!

We are also getting rid of one cell phone and taking our plan down to just a basic plan of 400 minutes.  I had thought I would try the MagicJack phone and see if that would work ( another wonderful idea from a classmate of mine) and so I got it the 1st of April and it works great!!  I love it, it runs through your computer and it only cost me for the magicjack adapter and for the two years of service only $46.90 and that includes $1.00 for insurance in case your dog was to chew it up or something to happen to the adapter and that is for unlimited calls to anywhere in the USA.  Plus, it does have a 911 service and it has our address and if we move we just change on address, wonderful!  Then, I can sign up for a 5 year plan for $59.99 that is ONLY $12.00 a year for phone service for unlimited calling...that is a deal to me!  I would say to get rid of the cell phones all together but I do like having it when we do have to make trips for the fact of Roadside Rescue that Sprint offers for $5.00 a month, I can call them when ever I have a flat or I have spun off the road in the snow to have a tow truck come to me for nothing more than what I am paying Sprint.  It has more than paid for itself already!  So Rich and I will share the cell phone and use the MagicJack land line the rest of the time.  Ca-Ching, Ca-Ching...more money in our bank account, that is what I like to hear!!

Our grandsons and daughter-in-law, Miranda, came over this afternoon and we walked through the house and went through the STUFF that we are getting rid of to see if they wanted any of it and I was glad to see a few things go out the door with them, it made them happy and it made me ecstatic, and am looking forward to more stuff going out via my son and his family or to someone else!

So, now to figure out what we can cut next or get along fine without!  I am thinking the portable dishwasher...I can certainly wash and dry dishes myself along with Rich.  They didn't have dishwashers back in the day, when LIFE WAS SIMPLE, and we didn't have this one when we moved in here, I bought it off of craigslist but do we really NEED it??  I am thinking not!  That will be the next picture going on craigslist, along with a corner desk, baker's rack, 2 TV's, Kirby vacuum, Curio cabinet plus many other things, that is only the tip of the ice burg...Yes, this is quite fun and I am enjoying it very much!  Getting rid of STUFF + Reducing debt = Trip to Hawaii = One very happy lady!! ;o)

Have a wonderful weekend!


Thursday, August 19, 2010

100 Thing Challenge...Is it Extreme or Not?

I don't believe it is extreme, in my opinion, I think it is a awesome idea and I look forward to the challenge!  To me it is going to be very refreshing to have this stuff gone that just sits here day after day, month after month and some things for years and never be touched or used or even looked at...IT HAS TO GO!  Some of our family and friends thinks we are nuts for thinking this way, but we will see what happens when we get to the end of the road.

Meanwhile...Getting Rid of Stuff!  Wow, that is a big statement right there!  Some people have said to me if I de-clutter my home I will have nothing left...really!?  Who knows, maybe that is true but not in our case!  I am sure there would be plenty that you would want to end up keeping and thus would the decision be if it would go on your 100 Thing Challenge List, that is 100 (personal) Thing List for each of us and then we have yet to come up with a number of how many household items we will only keep.  Stay tuned for that number!

This is very exciting and I absolutely embrace the whole concept wholeheartedly!  Dave Bruno came up with the idea of the 100 Thing Challenge and has a very interesting blog.  Here is the goal of the challenge...

The goal of the 100 Thing Challenge is to break free from the confining habits of American-style consumerism. A lot of people around the world feel "stuck in stuff." They feel like their closets and garages are too full of things that don't really make their lives much better. But how to get unstuck?

Reduce (get rid of some of your stuff)

Refuse (to get more new stuff)

Rejigger (your priorities)

I totally believe that living without abundance of personal possessions for an extended period of time is the first step we ought to take in order to realize that we don't need ever-more stuff. If you do this -- if you will give up your stuff for a while -- I am sure you'll never go back. You'll spend the rest of your life creating a more valuable life, instead of wasting your money and time on stuff. You will be glad. And best of all, the people around you will be blessed by your efforts to prioritize more meaningful pursuits.

You can read his rules but we are going to make our own rules that works for us based on the idea he has and from many others who are doing this challenge as well.  Rich and I are in the first stages of inventorying our stuff, as in large furnishings and kitchen items, and deciding on what we can keep and what can go.  My parents are coming this weekend so we aren't going to wild about it right now, but some things have been posted on Craigslist to hopefully sell.  Since neither of us have jobs right now, we need to sell as much as we can, to get us through the next couple of months and hopefully through and past Christmas.  I am planning on having a garage sale in September with my daughter-in-law, Miranda, but first her and our son, Matt, will be coming over and getting what they might need and want from our stuff.  I don't want to bog them down with STUFF since I am hoping that they learn from what we are doing and don't just have stuff to have stuff, you know what I mean.  Shedding stuff is the key! 

Here is the link to Dave's blog and the 100 Thing Challenge.  Let me know if you decide to take this challenge with me and how it is going for you, I would be really interested in keeping in touch with you.

On your mark, get set...GO...start de-cluttering!


Books I recommend for beginning your Simple Living!!

It is hard to not think about all the wonderful and exciting things we are wanting to do and get ready for.  Getting rid of STUFF!  I want to share with you several books that I have checked out and absolutely love.

These are ebooks and will need to be purchased and read online:

Simply Car-Free, How to Pedal Toward Financial Freedom and a Healthier Life
By: Tammy Strobel

I wrote Simply Car-free to help people achieve their goals of saving money, improving their health, and living a simpler lifestyle. Reducing our dependence on cars clarified our priorities and showed us that anything is possible.

The Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life   
By: Leo Babauta

What is a Minimalist Life?  It is one that is stripped of the unnecessary, to make room for that which gives you joy.  It's a removal of clutter in all its forms, Leaving you with freedom, peace and lightness.

Inside-Out Simplicity  
By: Joshua Becker
“…many people go through life having no clear sense of their true values. Instead, their desires are molded by the culture and the advertisements that bombard upon them each day. As a result, they find no consistency in life. No unity. Their desires change as fast as the culture and they are quickly swept off their feet by the newest fashion, the most recent technology, or the latest diet fad.”

How can people move past consumerism and find more unity in their lives?

One of Tammy Strobel's book is FREE to download:
Minimalist Health  
By: Tammy Strobel 

You only get one body and mind. If you don’t take care of both, it’s hard to create amazing art or get involved in your community. I hope this manifesto will help you improve your health and inspire you to change the world.

Enjoy reading,


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Let the Journey begin!

Is it possible to be happier with less stuff?  I am sure it is, as I have seen it posted on many blogs about Simple Living.  Everyone says how much happier they are with less stuff in their lives.  But is it or will it be true in my case?  I pray and hope so!  I am very excited about this journey and have been trying to get my husband, Rich, excited about it as well, but with no luck.  Who would be excited about going through many boxes and totes and doing away with STUFF, personal stuff, your kids stuff, your parents stuff, just plain stuff.  We all have stuff in our it too much can we do away with to have a simple life and be happy?

I know Rich is or was not excited about de-cluttering our stuff until I sent him 2 links in an email two nights ago about doing that, de-cluttering your life, your home, your personal belongings.  I have been looking forward to doing this for quite some time and have purged some in the past but not to the degree that I am thinking of now.  This will be a big challenge for Rich and I.  Since having teenagers was the most biggest challenge we've had as of yet, this will be the one in our Empty Nest years.

Not only are we going to downsize in belongings but we are going to see if it truly brings us happiness!  That is my goal is to be happy and carefree...everyone wants to be happy, I know, but do you think that getting rid of STUFF in your life will bring you more happiness?  I am hoping so!

So, now to pass on to you, my friends and family, the two links that started this ball rolling for Rich and I two days ago, August 16, 2010.  One is an article from the New York Times featuring Tammy Strobel and her husband Logan Smith, both 31, and living in Portland Oregon and how they started their journey to living simple and being happier.  They even sold their cars...not sure about that one for us?!?!  We'll see!

The second link I sent to Rich was Tammy Strobel's blog called RowdyKittens.  After he had read both the article and some of Tammy's blog he immediately came into the office to get a paper and pen and began writing down the names of books to go to the library to check out the following day.

Oh, the excitement continues as we read the books and blogs and learn how these other people are working on downsizing their stuff and their journey through it and how we can make it a wonderful and adventurous journey for us.  Join me as I blog everyday with, hopefully, the excitement of things and stuff disappearing out of our home and out of our lives for good.  Lightening the load for me personally and for my mind.  De-Clutter your home, de-clutter your mind.  Will you join me!