Sunday, December 7, 2014

Second Month for Simplify-Your-Life Challenge

Oh boy I think maybe I feel more shy about my kitchen; more then any other room in the house. I share this with you as inspiration! I am as excited to see the after pictures just as much as you might be ;). I think the kitchen often gets out of hand because I am in it all day long. We can summer produce, make home remedies which take weeks to brew, ferment foods which take days, bake bread, bone broth and make all our own mixes. This small kitchen works hard to say the least. So even though we do a lot in this space as a family we have room to shed that which does not serve us well. I am not a fan of one function tools so as we perfect our methods we find new ways to use what we have and to invest in the very best when we do replace something. I can not think of anything more frustrating in the kitchen then to be working on a recipe and your tools either don't work the way they claim them to or they can't hold up to regular use. 

Goals for this room- 
  1. get rid of anything that is no longer serving a purpose(like the swifer and the baby walker) 
  2. clean, repair and paint anything that needs attention(the wood stove, the cabinets, the woodwork)
  3. clean off fridge and come up with a mobile office
  4. clean out any food items that are expired, condense any duplicates, and give every food item a home in the fridge or cabinet
    My fridge is crazy I know. After a summer of farm gatherings we seem to collect extra condiments. Broth needs to go to the freezer and many leftovers need to be eaten up. Our fridge usually holds two-three weeks worth of eggs and produce at any given time. Three large jars of ferments are at the end of their life and unlabeled half jars of canned goods need to be used up. The freezer needs bins to hold items in an organized manner so everything gets used. Half used bags of fruit and veggies need to be combined. 
    So for the month of December we will eat from the fridge, freezer and pantry to help reduce the clutter and use up items before we buy more. We aren't hosting any meals or events for Christmas so this simplifies our month. So what room are you working on? How are you going to start your new year? What goals are you setting for yourself to simplifier your life? 

Someday maybe we will add a cabinet above fridge to hold our dehydrator and lunch bags.

I have to come up with a way to function without a home office so I will need to invent a mobile office and a home for it so I can keep up with everything. 

At the moment my dishwasher serves as a giant dish rack! On the weekends I often do batch cooking of snacks, soups or salads so we are ready for the week.... that sometimes makes many dishes. 

I use cloth often but my husband requires paper towels... he says for dog messes, throw-up and other times you want to throw it away :(

I think this is the craziest part of our kitchen, ah!

Friday, December 5, 2014

End of First Month for Simplify-Your-Life Challenge

    So we are at the end of the first month of the challenge... how did you do? Did many things leave your home? Are you feeling a little lighter?
    So we picked our living room/homeschool room/office to tackle first. Goals- to reduce what we had in that room to the items we really truly use, make sure no item was in that room that didn't function for that room and to repair or paint. So how did we do? Over 200 books were removed to be sold at the next book sale to raise money for next years curriculum and this also gave us room to spread out Elijah's toys. He was getting into all the items on lower shelves so now that we gave him all the lower shelves he leaves the books alone.  The whole room was cleaned, artwork changed out and got the husband to commit to a ceiling fan. Sadly he was too busy with work to change that out but at least one was picked out to be installed when he has time. The one wall you don't see in this room where my computer sits on top of a bookshelf will change as well. Made a deal with my daughter to buy her broken laptop in January so that I will then turn around and fix it so I can get rid of my imac. The printer sitting on our rolling file cart will go into a closet in our laundry/mud room when we work on that later this winter. Then the items on the window sills will go back to living on top of the bookcase. So all in all a lot got done and removed to make this room function much better. I know those bookshelves don't look minimalist but they do hold curriculum for K-12, my school work, craft books, lab supplies, musical instruments, toys, cookbooks, garden/homestead books, and all school supplies.
Actually got rid of 8 more books from the top shelf. Plus the flash cards made their way back to the bin. 

As Elijah gets older we will change his toys out but still trying to keep it easy for him to clean up

The cozy couch where we snuggle up as a family to read, listen to music or watch a movie.  The ottoman hides a few games and we store a bin of animals and a bin of blocks underneath on the shelf for when Eli gets older. 

A light snow helps us feel like we are nesting as we clean out and clean up!

A Homemade First Birthday

    It might sound funny but life got simpler with our third child. Not in the sense that life is easier with a teen, a tween and a toddler but in the sense that we are wiser then the first two times so we don't succumb to the pressure to buy or take in loads of toys. We also don't feel the pressure to go crazy with the birthday details. I do love to give gifts though but I hope that they are practical enough to be used or quality enough to be given away to someone else who would appreciate them. Here are photos of Elijah's first birthday. Simple gifts, simple food and simple traditions for my sweet baby.
Raw wood toys waiting to be finished
My 2 older children helped me to sand them and then paint them with liquid watercolors and finally seal them with a bees wax polish. 

A homemade bunting to decorate, fresh seasonal fruits and veggies to make the table festive. 

yummy seasonal foods

First taste of cake- Gluten free carrot cake with cream cheese frosting

A german tradition to light the candle in a birthday ring. 
The unfinished wooden toys were purchased on at Clicky Clack. The bunting/garland idea came from the book The Creative Family by Amanda Blake Soule. What traditions do you cherish in your family? How do you keep it simple?