• SIMPLE LIVING

    An Intentional Life

    Over the last couple of years I’ve been thinking a lot on what it means to live an intentional life.

    And, truth be told, it’s changed over the years.

    I don’t think living an intentional life includes a set in stone list of dos and don’ts.

    To me, very simply put, an intentional life means living life on purpose.

    It means thinking about why I do what I do and pausing before agreeing to do more.

    It means trying to live in the now instead of in the future (or past).

    It means thinking about what is important to me and making those my priorities.

    It means living the life God has given me to the fullest.

    It means pausing before buying little wants.

    It means using my talents instead of wishing I had the talents of another.

    It means noticing the little moments in the day.

    It means thinking about the food that I bring into my home and put into my body.

    It means putting my money towards what matters to me.

    It means all that and so much more!

     

    Live An Intentional Life - Collect Moments, Not Things

     

    I think the above quote sums up the idea of living an intentional life perfectly.

    Collect Moments
    Not Things

    It’s a great reminder for me, and I’ve currently got it set as my phone screensaver as a daily reminder. Now that I think about it, maybe I should tape that quote onto my credit card . . .

    It’s this whole idea of living an intentional life that has led me to create this site. I want my life to be one of intention and I would like to help others who want that as well.

    I have lots of plans for this site (as always) and I can’t wait to share them with you! The best things you can do to make sure you stay in the loop is sign up for the newsletter.

    Now, if living an intentional life sounds good to you, continue on, I’ve got a few ideas to get you started!

     

    How to Add More Intention into Your Days - Live An Intentional Life

     

    WAYS TO ADD MORE INTENTION INTO YOUR DAYS

    To help you start living an intentional life I’ve created a free mini workbook that will help you go through the following steps, make sure you grab it here:




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    1. FIGURE OUT YOUR PRIORITIES

    The first part to living an intentional life is figuring out your values and priorities. Take time to write down the things in your life that are the most important to you. Be specific and include relationships, goals, hobbies, etc.

    2. WRITE DOWN YOUR ATTENTION/INTENTION SUCKERS

    Seriously think about what things suck away your intention. Is it possible for you to be intentional with your children if you are scrolling Facebook while they are talking to you? Social media is often a big one but I’m willing to bet there are a lot of other things as well, be honest and write them down. And then set boundaries for yourself on how and when you can do/use these things so they don’t control your life and take away your intention.

    3. CREATE MARGIN

    Make sure to include some margin in your days, especially if you are a highly sensitive person or are raising a highly sensitive child. Having days that are too busy with back to back appointments can be stressful and the farthest thing from intentional. I like to go a step further for our introverted family and make sure we can have at least one day a week where we don’t have to go anywhere and aren’t having anyone over.

    4. WEED OUT THE EXCESS

    Getting rid of the excess and only keeping the useful has been something I’ve been striving for in the last few years, every now and then I slip and forget and my life gets too cluttered, both with stuff and with commitments. Getting rid of excess leaves more room for intention.

     

    Notice the Little Things - How to Add More Intention Into Your Days

     

    5. NOTICE THE LITTLE THINGS

    When you’ve done the things above it makes it easier to notice the little things. We can’t notice the little things when we don’t know what our priorities are, or we are wasting our time doing pointless tasks, or our days are so busy we don’t have time to notice, or there is clutter everywhere.

    Life is better when we slow down, it’s amazing how a little thing like a stuffed monkey tucked into a bed can bring a smile to my face and snapping a photograph of it can make that smile happen again and again. There are many moments like that in the day, we just need to have the space and willingness to find them.

    There you have it, just a few steps to get you started living an intentional life. If you haven’t yet, be sure to download the free mini workbook that goes with this post:




    check to verify you want to receive the newsletter & freebies

     

    I am excited to be writing over in this space, it’s a great reminder for me to bring intention into my everyday.

    I would love for you to sign up for the newsletter and if you haven’t already read the start/about page please do so, it will give you an idea of what else will be coming here in the future.

     

  • HOMESCHOOL,  SIMPLE LIVING

    The Best Homeschool Art Supplies for a Minimalist Homeschool

    I enjoy working on creative projects and probably because they see me creating all the time they are constantly wanting to work on something too.

    My art supply wishlist is miles long, I’m always hearing about fun new supplies. But even though I’d like to have all the art supplies I do try to keep our art supplies to a minimum, after all, I have the desire to be a minimalist homeschooler.

    Today I wanted to share our seven favorite art supplies, these are currently must-haves in our homeschool art cart.

    The Seven Best Homeschool Art Supplies - great for minimalist homeschooling

    THE BEST HOMESCHOOL ART SUPPLIES
    FOR A MINIMALIST HOMESCHOOL

    SKETCHBOOKS

    While we’ve almost always used sketchbooks for our art, I did make the realization a few weeks ago, after I had been cleaning up dozens of pieces of paper that sketchbooks are so great at reducing the paper clutter that so often occurs in our house.

    When it comes to sketchbooks I would suggest trying out a variety of different sizes and styles and seeing what works best for your family. The ones we use right now are fairly large and work well for at home but wouldn’t be so great for taking on a trip.

    The Seven Best Homeschool Art Supplies - great for minimalist homeschooling

    WATERCOLORS

    We have a couple of different watercolor sets, while I’ve only really been using watercolors for the past year they’ve really become one of my favorite art supplies. Raeca uses these watercolors and I use these ones.

    ACRYLIC PAINTS

    Okay, truthfully, I have a love/hate relationship with acrylic paints and kids. I don’t like that they don’t wash out of clothes and I always try to remember to get the kids to put old clothes on before they use them, but you really can’t beat the color vibrancy and variations for such cheap bottles.

    PAINT BRUSHES

    Any old paint brush works in my books, I have tried cheap ones and expensive ones and found that it can be hit or miss either way. I’ve tried cheap ones that worked great (and some that didn’t) and expensive ones that were awful (and some that were great). I obviously don’t have a specific recommendation here but when you find some you like, buy a few!

    COLORED PENCILS

    I used to think pencil crayons (that’s what we call colored pencils up here in Canada) were all the same, until I tried some Prismacolors. Turns out there is such a thing as really good quality colored pencils, and they are worth the extra money.

    OIL PASTELS

    Okay, so I wouldn’t say that every family has to have oil pastels but they are a lot of fun and are so unique I had to include them on this list. They are kinda like crayons in a tiny way but so much more vibrant.

    The Seven Best Homeschool Art Supplies - great for minimalist homeschooling

    BLACK SHARPIES

    We use a lot of black Sharpies in our sketchbooks, the extra fine ones are our favorites.

    And there you have it! What I would consider the best art supplies to have for any homeschool. Admittedly, we have more than this but I am actually working on reducing the number of supplies we have and if I got it down to only these seven items we could still do a lot of creating.

  • HOMESCHOOL,  SIMPLE LIVING

    Decluttering Books – Minimalist Homeschooling

    In case you’ve missed it, we love books around here. I think the idea of being able to justify buying a bunch of books may have sparked my initial interest in homeschooling.

    I love seeing what other homeschooling families are up to, especially the novels and picture books they are reading as well as the encyclopedias and resource books they use. But it hit me lately that there are a number of books I’ve acquired because I like the idea of doing what other homeschooling families are doing but we will never actually use them in our homeschool.

    I follow a lot of Charlotte Mason homeschooling families on social media and love how their days look, just full of learning from living books and lots of nature study and so I’ve bought a lot of the books those families use and recommend.

    Then last week I finally realized/admitted to myself that even though I love a lot of the idea of a Charlotte Mason education, it really just doesn’t suit our (or my) personality, I am definitely more on the side of a/n eclectic/digital/unschooling homeschooler.

    With this realization also came the epiphany that I’ve purchased many books to suit the homeschool in my head but that’s not the homeschool we are living.

    Much to my amazement, once I realized this it was easy for me to pick out the books that I was holding on to with good intentions but we would never actually use.

    I’m guessing there are others out there just like me that have books they could get rid of if they were honest with themselves.

    Tip on Decluttering Books for a more Simplified, Minimalist Homeschool

    THREE QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF
    WHEN DECIDING WHICH BOOKS TO DECLUTTER

    HAVE WE EVER USED IT?

    Now, there is nothing wrong with buying books in advance for a year or two down the road if you find a good deal, but take some time to look at each of the books that are on your shelf right now and are suitable to the ages of your homeschooling children. Are there books there that you have never used? Um, I definitely had some books in this category that I let go.

    Read to Me Digital Books with Epic

    DOES THIS BOOK FIT WITH OUR TYPE OF HOMESCHOOLING?

    One of the books that I got rid of was The Handbook of Nature Study, one that I have heard so many good things about and have looked up multiple ways to use but when I was honest with myself I realized we are much better off being unschooled when it comes to nature study and just studying things that come up naturally. We still have some good resources in this area like Nature Anatomy and The Practical Naturalist and local bird books that we can refer to when we have questions.

    IS THERE AN ONLINE RESOURCE THAT CAN REPLACE THIS BOOK?

    I really appreciate the digital age and how it can help me cut back on physical clutter. I had a couple of fairy tale anthologies that I got rid of and have some Kindle books that have replaced them instead. We do still have a couple of workbooks but I think I will shortly be replacing our math workbook with Khan Academy. In addition, I also like having Epic to help reduce our picture and chapter books.

    Using these three questions I’ve been able to get rid of a number of books in our house that were just taking up space instead of being useful. And having less books (and stuff) helps reduce the amount of cleaning we need to do (score!).

    How about you, do you have any books you’ve been hoarding that you can get rid of?

  • SIMPLE LIVING

    My No Spend Month – Lessons Learned And What I Spent Money On

     

    I love the idea of valuing experiences with the people I love more than valuing stuff and things but while I would say that, my personal spending has always showed that my actions do not back up my words.

    I have a lot of weaknesses when it comes to spending: dollar stores, stationary, art and craft supplies, books, thrift stores . . . all stuff that doesn’t cost much in the moment but when you start adding the purchases up it can get fairly expensive.

    So, a little over a month ago I decided to put myself on a spending freeze.

    The freeze was on my own personal spending, obviously this doesn’t count groceries and other expenditures that are necessary.

    My goals for the freeze were:

    • to stop bringing clutter into the home
    • to purge and de-own stuff while I was on the freeze so there would be less items in the house after it was over
    • to save money so I could have money to choose experiences over stuff
    • to re-train my brain to not just buy a bunch of little stuff and to actually think about the things I purchase

    So, I sent out on my no spend month and guess what?

    I spent money.

    A No Spend Month

    WHAT I SPENT MONEY ON

    Okay, so it wasn’t completely a no spend month, but it was pretty close. I bought two things: 1) a family year-long membership to a local museum and 2) I pre-ordered this book.

    Here’s where I justify my purchases: the museum membership is completely in line with what I’ve been working towards; it was because I wasn’t spending that I had enough money to purchase it this month. The membership allows us to get actually have museum experiences together as a family. I’m really glad I got this. As for the book that I ordered, it is by one of my current favorite authors. I actually pre-ordered the Kindle book so it won’t take up any physical space and I like to support people that are producing content I like.

     

    LESSONS I LEARNED DURING MY NO SPEND MONTH

    I actually learned a few things during my no spend month. Most of them are kind of common sense but there is a difference between knowing something and actually doing it.

    Lesson #1: If you don’t want to spend money, don’t go to the store

    Not mind blowing, right? But because my biggest spending problem was a number of little items, they were impulse purchases when I was at the store picking up other stuff, or when I was there “just to look”. So, if I didn’t go to the store that helped curb a lot of small purchases.

    Lesson #2: Start a wishlist with items you want and wait a few weeks before buying them

    During the month I kept a list of things I wanted to buy, it started out as a way to not forget what I wanted but after a few weeks I realized I didn’t want most of the items anyway. If it’s something that stays on the list for awhile (a few weeks or a few months) I find it’s generally something worth purchasing.

    Lesson #3: Saving is also a rush

    I totally get a rush when I shop, admittedly online shopping is one of my favorites; I get a rush when I initially purchase the item and another rush when it gets delivered at my door. But, as the number on my savings/travel fund slowly inches higher and higher I’m realizing it gives me the same rush – win win!

    Lesson #4: Make a specific plan for your money

    If you generally know what you are saving for, make a specific plan for it. I knew I wanted to travel but then Jared found some cheap flights and when we had a specific destination in mind it makes the purpose of saving more real, even though we won’t be going anywhere until next winter. Now it’s easier to save a little here and there. My thought process goes like this: “I could buy this shirt or I could save the money and pay for a lunch on our trip instead.” Usually saving for later wins out.

    That was my no spend month in a nutshell!

    Are you a saver or a spender? Have you ever done a no spend month?
    Do you have any good saving tips for me?

  • SIMPLE LIVING,  WELLNESS

    Things I No Longer Buy – Resulting in Cheaper, Greener Living

     

    Two sidenotes before we begin:
    One: This post is going to sound like it was sponsored by Norwex, it’s not. I just seriously love their stuff. I’ve actually thought about selling their products because I’m constantly raving about them but for right now I’ll just continue sounding like a spokesperson for the company.
    Two: I wrote a post with this title two years ago but a number of things have changed so instead of just updating the old post I decided to write a completely new one.

    Over the last five years or so I’ve really been making an effort to live a life of less, I don’t think I initially thought of the environmental benefits but they really go hand in hand.

    This is a list of things I no longer buy, some we simply do without and others I’ve bought items that will last longer and be more environmentally friendly in their place instead.

    As like most of life, this is a work in progress. Ultimately I’d like to be a good steward of what God has given us, I’d like to buy less so we can bless others, have less so we can spend more time together as a family (instead of always cleaning up our clutter) and I’d like to choose experiences over stuff.

  • SIMPLE LIVING

    I Took My Kids’ Toys Away – And Here’s What Happened

    Tired of cleaning up toys all the time and being overwhelmed by the clutter? Check out my free mini-course: Clutter Free Home.

     


     

    A few weeks ago I was sick of constantly picking up toys (or asking the kids to pick up toys) so I made the decision to put their toys away and see what would happen.

    I may be considered a bit of an extremist – my methods usually fall under the all or nothing categories.

    So, in the morning I told the kids we would be putting their toys in the storage room for a little while, this wasn’t said out of anger or anything, I just explained that I was feeling frustrated and overwhelmed with all the toy clutter and asked if they were sick of cleaning up all the time (they were).

    I Took My Kids' Toys Away - and here's what happened. Simple living and minimalism with kids.

     

    To soften the blow I said they could each pick five small toys to keep out, of course Raeca somehow talked me into upping it to six toys each (she’s got some decent arguing skills that girl). She mostly chose stuffed animals for her six items and Ephraim had a couple stuffed animals and toy planes for his.

    Then we started packing the rest of the toys away. Ephraim helped me, Raeca was a little too sad to; she was adamant she was going to be bored without any toys.

    Once they were put away the kids played nicely for the rest of the day.

    Minimalism – 1
    Toy Clutter – 0

    I Took My Kids' Toys Away - and here's what happened

     

    This was on a Friday and I told Raeca they could get some toys back on Monday. Ephraim consistently asked for his Playmobil toys every day between so on Monday I gave them the bin of Playmobil toys.

    A couple of days later they were asking for their Lego back . . . first, let me just say, I have a love hate relationship with Lego. I get that there are some awesome benefits but I kind of want to Kragle everything so I don’t end up picking up little random pieces all over the house.

    The benefits won out, they got the Lego back.

    Two and a half weeks later that’s where we are currently at.

     

    I Took My Kids' Toys Away - and here's what happened

     

    There are multiple large bins in our storage room filled with toys they haven’t asked to play with.

    They will sometimes ask for some random toy and I say “maybe later” or “maybe tomorrow” and they eventually forget and move on. In my mind, if they can’t remember they wanted to play with it obviously they didn’t care to play with it too badly.

    Without all the toys to spread throughout the house cleaning has been a lot easier and quicker and they kids have been playing just as well as they when they had all the toys out.

    I suspect you may have some questions, I’ll try my best to answer some of them . . .

    So what have they been playing (with)?

    My kids, like all kids, are so much more creative when they have less pre-made toys at their disposal. They use opened cereal boxes as skateboards, they build forts, Rae has started hand sewing felt play food, they play house, they read books, they build forts, they’ve made a castle and accessories out of cardboard and popsicle sticks with their dad, and they are still playing with their Playmobil and Lego.

    Contrary to what Raeca originally thought, they have not been bored.

    I don’t think it is my job as a parent to always play with my kids*, I like them to be able to play alone and together for the most part but I also know that asking them to give up a bunch of their stuff does create a learning curve and I intentionally took some time to do some things with them when the toys were first put away.

    *This is not to say that I don’t do stuff with my kids because we do a lot of reading, crafting, playing games and other stuff together, just that I don’t play imaginative games with them much.

     

    I Took My Kids' Toys Away - and here's what happened

     

    They’ve spent hours playing with the cardboard castle (with popsicle stick drawbridge) and popsicle stick trebuchet. Some how this has been more entertaining than their toy castle.

    Will they get their toys back?

    Hmm, yes and no. If they specifically want a toy for more than a brief two seconds I will get it out for them, but likely they will need to trade it for something they currently have out. I don’t want my house to get overrun with toys. If there are things that haven’t been asked for in a long time they may eventually end up making their way to the donation bin.

    Are you going to do this yourself?

    I don’t think it is fair to ask my kids to give up their toys and not go through the same thing myself so I have been purging a lot and have been greatly reducing my amount of craft and hobby supplies as well as books. I’ve been getting rid of books that I have either read and won’t read again or ones that I have never read and have finally admitted to myself that I never will (that means Homer’s The Iliad and The Odyssey will stop sitting on myself making me look smarter than I really am).

    I kinda like this idea but is there a less extreme way to do this?

    Sure is! Instead of doing something like this all in one day you could totally do this over the course of a few weeks. It would just take a few minutes each day to put away some toys your kids don’t play with very often. See if they even notice! Just keep going until it feels like a good amount of toys for your family.

    Minimalism with kids is something that a person needs to keep on top of, you can’t just put a bunch of toys away once and expect to be done with it. There will be constant culling as new items get added into your home.

    Ultimately, having less toys (and stuff) in our home is really good for our family right now and I am hoping to continue with the amount of toys that we have out right now and to keep reducing my own items around the house.

     

    Tired of cleaning up toys all the time and being overwhelmed by the clutter? Check out my free mini-course:Clutter Free Home.

    Clutter Free Home - a free online workshop on how to eliminate clutter in your home that kids accumulate

  • SIMPLE LIVING

    What Minimalism Means to Our Family

     

    If you’ve been following me for any length of time you would know that minimalism is something I have been slowly working to over the last few years. I’ve noticed that a house filled with clutter overwhelms me, I can’t focus on anything else when my house is in a disarray.

    Having less stuff in my house helps me be able to breathe deeper, relax more fully and be able to enjoy my family more. I’ve even noticed it being helpful with my children, who don’t realize it yet but also get overwhelmed by the burden of too much.

    If there is one thing I’ve learned in the last few years it’s that if you want to live a more minimalist life you need to stay on top of it. I definitely let it slide in the last two years and certain areas definitely got more out of control than I like.

    So what exactly is minimalism?

    To be honest, minimalism looks different to different people, and can’t look different to you depending on the stage of life you are in and the priorities you have in life.

    Minimalism can be taken to the extreme where you don’t own anything extra (you have one cup, one plate, one fork, etc per person) and you live out of a backpack or it can be something quite different. I wanted to take some time and share what minimalism means to me in this stage in life, partly in case people are curious and partly for me to look back on on those days when I have forgotten.

    What Minimalism Means to Our Family

    Minimalism means everything has a place.

    If everything has it’s place that means there should be no room for clutter. This has been a hard lesson for me, a former pack rat, and is something I am working on with my like-minded daughter.

    Minimalism means being able to easily host others.

    For us minimalism will never include only owning one plate per person because we have the desire to have gatherings of people in our home. Our mug and tea collection are fairly large, our table is oversized for our family of four, we live in a house instead of a condo, etc. but having a minimalist home means things stay mostly neat and it’s really easy to have people drop by without worrying about the state of our house or having to tidy up for hours on end.

    Minimalism means having the resources and time to do what we love.

    I enjoy traveling and experiencing the vast world that God has created. Having less, and therefore buying less, we have/will have more money to spend on the things we actually want to do.

    Minimalism means having less.

    While for many people this is solely what minimalism is, for me, it’s just a piece of the puzzle. Minimalism isn’t all about owning the fewest possessions, but it will mean choosing not to buy things you want and living with less in some areas of life. For me that means not buying all the stationary and craft supplies that I want, having minimal home decor and having a few items in my closet that I love.

    Minimalism means living intentionally.

    Ultimately, minimalism means living a life of intention instead of going with the flow and living “the American dream”. Minimalism means questioning why you are purchasing items and why you make the decisions you do.

    This is the first part in a new minimalism series that I am really excited to share here.

    If you have any questions about minimalism or want to share your story I’d love for you to leave a comment below!

  • HOMESCHOOL,  SIMPLE LIVING

    Simplifying Our Homeschool Schedule – Minimalist Homeschooling

    In the beginning of December I started to realize our homeschool schedule was not working very well for us.

    I would plan our day and rarely would we get to it all. It wasn’t because I was planning a whole lot in the day, but every time I mentioned what we were going to do next it would be met with groaning (with the exception of poetry tea time, that is always met with cheers). Math, which Raeca has always enjoyed, became something she dreaded.

    I hated that they were hating it so it was time to switch things up. (Major pro to homeschooling: flexibility!)

    At one point I came across this blog post on a minimalist homeschool schedule, I don’t even know if I was looking for scheduling ideas or how exactly I got there but as soon as I read it I knew it was something I wanted to try.

    Our Simplified Weekly Homeschool Schedule - minimalist homeschooling

    Previously we had a bit of a daily routine: Bible, math, language arts and then either science, geography or history (depending on the day) and then squeezing in art and a few other subjects here and there. It was very much the schedule of a school, and not a schedule for us.

    A few weeks before Christmas we decided to start our new weekly schedule and we all just loved it.

    Using the idea from Salt and Sea we try to do something each day for the head, heart and hands.

    The “head” is usually the academic part, the “heart” is something Bible related; memory verse or character development and the “hands” include art, handiwork and music.

    Our Simplified Weekly Homeschool Schedule - minimalist homeschooling

    We are still moving things around a little bit but right now our week looks like this:

    MONDAY

    I intentionally made Monday a bit of a relaxing day so we can ease into the week and do any catch up (like cleaning) from the weekend.

    main lesson: language (Spanish and sign language)
    heart: scripture writing and memory verse
    handiwork: art journal
    * bread making in the morning

    TUESDAY

    main lesson: math
    heart: memory verse
    handiwork: our choice
    * our church community group in the evening so often it’s a cleaning/baking afternoon

    WEDNESDAY

    main lesson: science or history (alternating weeks)
    heart: memory verse & character study
    handiwork: our choice
    * poetry tea time

    THURSDAY

    main lesson: language arts
    heart: memory verse
    handiwork: our choice
    * fencing class

    FRIDAY

    free day/catch up/errands/swimming

    Our Simplified Weekly Homeschool Schedule - minimalist homeschooling

    Most days our handiwork is whatever we feel like doing that day. Monday’s will generally be art journals as we begin our new memory verse for the week we will usually write it down and paint around it.

    Other handiwork we will be working on:

    • music (piano & recorder)
    • knitting
    • embroidery
    • weaving
    • card making
    • candle making
    • painting
    • sewing
    • jewelry making
    • games

    As I mentioned before, math was usually Raeca’s big complaint, every day she would whine that she didn’t want to do math (even though she enjoys it). But now she knows that Tuesday’s are (official) math days and even though we actually end up doing more math in one day than we used to get done in a week she doesn’t complain any more. (And I just don’t tell her all the other math stuff that we do throughout the week without her even noticing.)

    With our previous schedule our last subject of the day always ended up getting cut short but now, since we are pretty much only doing one subject a day there is always time for it!

    I am sure this kind of schedule won’t work for everyone and it might not even work for us in the future but right now it is working extremely well.

    What kind of schedule works for your homeschool and family?

  • HOMESCHOOL,  SIMPLE LIVING

    Homeschooling on a Budget

    I love all things school supplies.

    I think it actually might have been part of the reason I became a teacher in the first place.

    Notebooks, pens, workbooks, organizational supplies, art supplies, planners . . . you name it.

    But because I know that school supplies are a weakness of mine I do often hesitate before making purchases, especially big ones like curriculum and some of the bigger ticket items.

    I try to fight my desire to buy all the things and keep our homeschooling expenses as low as possible. Today I wanted to share a few ways I like to do that.

    Homeschooling on a Budget - how we do it!

    HOMESCHOOLING
    ON A BUDGET

    LIBRARY

    We definitely take advantage of our local library. Not only are we checking out physical books left and right but we also check out movies and e-audiobooks. We also like to go to the weekly story/craft time (though Raeca is almost too old for it). The library is a great way for us to preview books I’d like to buy and is great for reference books that we just need for a short while.

    If I could only have one resource as a homeschooler my library card would definitely be it.

    As Ann Voskamp said:

    I really believe that a curious mother and a library card can offer a stellar education.

    MEMBERSHIPS

    Purchasing a membership to a place you will frequent is a great way to get the most for your money. We have an annual swim pass which we use about three times a month, we only had to go swimming three times to equal the cost of the pass, which we’ve definitely done, and now it’s like we get to swim for free.

    I’m contemplating purchasing a zoo pass for us in the summer and am also looking into a few other membership options.

    FREE DAYS & EVENTS

    We like to take advantage of different free days, our local zoo has one a year that we usually try to go to and we try to keep our eyes and ears open to other free events.

    STOCK UP ON SUPPLIES

    School supplies are always the cheapest in the season just before and right after school starts, it’s a great time to stock up on paper, notebooks, art supplies and other school supplies.

    KEEP IT SIMPLE

    Ultimately we keep costs low by keeping our homeschool simple. We have not yet purchased a curriculum, preferring to piece together our own, we use a lot of cheap composition notebooks for our everyday work (like Ephraim’s preschool journal), and we keep most of our studies literature based.

    INCORPORATE AS GIFTS

    When we do need to purchase something I always try to think if there is a way we can incorporate it into a gift for one of the kids’ birthdays or for Christmas. This is great for different art and craft supplies, science kits, books and passes or memberships.

    How do you stick to a budget when homeschooling?

  • SIMPLE LIVING

    Simple Living and The Hustle

    Initially, those two terms seem contradictory to me: simple living & the hustle. And while it is true that they can coexist, they can even be complimentary.

    I don’t have a personal official definition of simple living, but other people do:

    • Tsh Oxenreider calls it “living holistically with your life’s purpose”
    • Joshua Becker says for him it is, “the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of everything that distracts us”

    I really like both of these definitions.

    One thing to note: both of these definitions assume you know what you value most and/or what your purpose is in life. Even though I love talking about life purpose I don’t think I really found out what mine was until recently (with the knowledge that it can, and probably will, change with different seasons of life).

    I’ve done some hustling in the past, like the time I got my 4-year education degree in 2.5 years. There was a lot of hustle in those 2.5 years but we knew life was going to be busy whether it was 2.5 years or 4, so why not get it done sooner?

    Living simply can actually help in periods of hustle.

    If you have less stuff, you need to clean and organize less which means more time for the hustle. If you have a schedule that is pretty simple and sparse, guess what? More time for hustle. Less buying of stuff? More money to invest in the hustle.

    I think hustle has gotten a bit of a bad rap. In my mind, if you are hustling towards your dreams or purpose, that is usually a good hustle.

    When I’m hustling towards something I enjoy, I generally enjoy most of the process (there will always be some things that aren’t fun but getting through those tasks often takes us to the enjoyable part) so hustle isn’t a bad thing, it can be an positive time which ends up taking me closer towards the life I want to live.

    You can even flip it around, the hustle can often show you areas of your life where you need to live more simply. When you start to hustle, take a look at the stuff you drop first, certain relationships, activities you were involved in, commitments you had, if those are the first things to go, do you really want them in your life to begin with?

    The hustle is good at pointing out areas that you can simplify.

    The hustle has taught me that my main priorities right now are God, my family and reaching out to and living in my community. Not that I don’t care about other things, but they are easier to put aside during times of hustle and when this phase of hustling is done I’ll need to ask myself if I truly want to add back in everything I dropped, or would I be better off without certain things?

    I’m in a (self-imposed) season of hustle again and do you know what? It feels good.

    It feels like I am getting closer to the life I want to live.

    It feels like I am doing the work that God wants me to.

    And my choices to live a simpler life are helping me have the time to hustle.

    Do you think simple living and the hustle can coexist and benefit each other?
    Are you in a season of hustle right now?

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