My Vision and “All Or Something”

Yesterday, I relaxed all morning (drinking coffee of course), then I worked in the house all afternoon.  The kids and I cleaned the whole house, I did some laundry, and I organized my office. I also made an amazing vision … Continue reading

Simple Living

Simple Living

Over the years, due to my mental illness, I have had to simplify my life so much.

I have tried working so many times and can’t; I’ve tried homeschooling (many times) and can’t.

These cause severe anxiety, panic attacks, and depression.  Also, with my bipolar 2, I never know if I’m going to be able to function from one moment to the next.  I haven’t been stable for more than a month at a time for years.

Because of this, I am working towards getting disability.  I have a hearing soon and I’m using a lawyer.

Simple Schedule and Routine

Recently, I decided to get rid of a lot of things and truly simplify.  I organized well in order to keep things easy to keep up with.  I take one day at a time.  I try not to over-plan because I know that that usually means anxiety.

The only things on my plate are:

  • Time with family (though the kids are gone from 6:30 till 4:30 every day, so that means I’m alone a lot)
  • Self care
  • Bible study (personal daily and women’s once a week) and Church (a few times a month)
  • AA (twice a week, at one hour each time)
  • Counseling (sometimes) and kids’ counseling (every other week)
  • Coffee with friends (when I can handle it)
  • Cleaning (I have a daily routine that I keep up with so things don’t get out of control)
  • Cook/make simple meals
  • A few small hobbies as I can handle it (mostly blogging and baking)

That’s it.

Our kids also have very simple lives.

  • Chores (daily they make their bed, fold and put away laundry, and clean up their rooms and living room if they leave things there)
  • School (of course, they are gone a long time every day for school)
  • Homework (very little… reading for 20-30 minutes and math and/or spelling)
  • Play (they spend a lot of time outside and with friends)
  • Play games and read
  • Counseling
  • Church
  • Electronics, limited

Karis does choir (one hour a week), and Ethan does some mountain biking (a few races a year).  No large amount of time doing sports or other extra curricular activities.  This isn’t for everyone, but it’s best for our family.

Simple Planning

I basically just sit down with my Happy Planner the night before or the morning of and plan my day.  It tends to be a lot of the same each day and I’m good with that.  Other than that, I go by my daily/weekly routine.

Simple Eating

We typically eat a lot of the same things consistently.  I try to mix it up sometimes, but pretty much every meal I do is simple.  I use my instant pot a lot, and I usually make meals that don’t take very long.

I have a weekly routine to do some food prep so that things are simple through the week.  I fill my veggie tray to pull out for lunches and sometimes for dinners.  I sometimes make homemade Greek yogurt, but this time around I just bought some.

I try to buy some things that are convenience to be easy to use/eat.  For example, I buy already cut broccoli and baby carrots.  I buy some granola bars and peanut butter crackers.  I LOVE buying pre-boiled and peeled boiled eggs (I hate boiling and peeling them).  The boys just grab a bag and eat a few for snacks. And I eat them at lunches often.  Sometimes I buy pre-made salads but they are much more expensive than buying leaf lettuce.  So sometimes I buy leaf lettuce, tear/cut it, and add some bagged spinach to it.  I have taken a break from salads for a while, though.

I meal plan each week so that we all know what we will be eating.  It helps keep the guess work out of it, and I am able to do any prep ahead of time (like thawing meat, etc).

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We also eat in the dining hall when we can because it’s free, and I don’t have to cook and clean up.  Sometimes I can’t handle being in a loud dining hall, but I’m getting to where I can these days.

The Little Things

I try really hard to enjoy the little things each day.  I have learned to be content with what we have and where we are in life.  I am at peace with where we live and know that this is life from now on (unless God has us move on, but I highly doubt it to be honest).  I light candles every day, and start out with a good cup of coffee.  I have been slowly decorating our home (on a tight budget) because I want to enjoy being here.  Having coffee with friends has helped me to grow closer to others here and it has given me a ministry (other than AA).  I enjoy getting up in the morning now and watching the sun rise.

I love hiking and am so glad that we have the hiking trails right outside our door.  We live on 1400 acres.  We try to take family hikes on weekends as we can.  It doesn’t always work out.  This is basically the only form of exercise that I like :-).

Our Home

I love our home.  It’s not very big (about 1300 sq ft), but it’s perfect for us.  The boys share a room, Karis has her own room (that is so fun and perfect for her), and our bedroom has a comfy love seat in it (that I got for $30 from a Thrift Store).  I have an amazing “bonus room” with my office area, a couple of shelves with books, a chair with side table and books, my guitar (that my brother gave me and I want to learn how to play), curtains (that were $20 for 4 panels), a fun rug ($30 on Amazon), and a bunch of art that I already had or got for $1 at Dollar Tree.  It’s my favorite room in the house.  I also have a succulent plant on the windowsill by my desk :-).

Our living room is so great.  The tree wall was here when we moved in.

I spent a lot of time working on the kids’ rooms recently and it’s so much easier to keep clean.

I love our kitchen and our food storage.  It makes me happy.  I spend a lot of time in there.

This is the view from our back windows/back porch.

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My office and bedroom are my sanctuary.  I just love them.

I just love life and feel at peace with where we are.  I am also excited about our future and what that looks like.

Pursuing What Sets My Soul on Fire (Jesus)

Being in a constant state of worship and adoration, service, gratitude, prayer, and confession are what set my heart on fire. Unfortunately my life has been just one struggle after another and my spirit has gotten lost in all of … Continue reading

More Organization and Update

This weekend and yesterday I worked a little more on my bonus room.  It is where I want it for now :-).  I want to eventually do some painting in there but it’s fine at the moment.  It’s cozy and practical all in one.  I spent a total of $39 on the room.  Curtains ($20, Walmart), desk lamp ($6, Family Dollar), curtain rods ($8, Family Dollar), and prints ($5, Dollar Tree)

I also changed a few things around in my bedroom and moved some canvases from my room to Karis’ room because it fits better in there.

I want to get some curtains for my bedroom :-).  One thing at a time.

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On another note…

Robert shot another deer last week.  So we have gotten about 70lbs of axis venison in the past couple of months.  Of course, we have gone through it pretty fast :-). We currently have 26lbs of ground, 3 roasts (10lbs worth), a package of tenderloin (about a pound), 3 large backstraps (at least 9lbs worth), and 4lbs of stew meat.

I love my food storage :-).

 

I am worn out.  I have been going, going, going for weeks now and the night before last I only got 3 1/2 hours of sleep.  Today I slept a lot.  I hate sleeping during the day.  I’m so worried that I’m going to be depressed again.  I try to fight it.  But sometimes I just can’t.  So I allowed myself to rest today.  I’m hoping I sleep well tonight and that tomorrow is better.

I just cannot go back to sleeping all day every day.

I’m a little worried that maybe I’ve been hypomanic and that I’m headed back down again.  But I cannot base anything on one bad day.  So tomorrow I will try to get up early again (when they kids get up) and see how I do!

I am still struggling to come up with things to write about.  I have a beautiful space now to write in, and I just stare at my computer.  I want to type up a bunch of my recipes, write about my journey/story, talk about sobriety, discuss mental illness, friendship, loving who I am, self care, etc and I just can’t seem to get started!  I guess I’ll try again tomorrow!

What are some things that you would like to see more of?  That might help give me some inspiration/motivation!

Mom’s Master Binder + Happy Planner

My household notebook has been kind of disorganized since I started homeschooling again and since I’ve been using my Happy Planner.  I have decided to make both of them work well for me.

I found a free “Mom’s Master Binder” pack and used it to make my household notebook work for homeschooling as well as just regular household stuff that I created.  I also bought a cheap grade book pack on Teachers Pay Teachers.  I use a google doc table that I made for lesson plans.  I don’t keep them in my binder.  I print one off for Karis to use, and I share the document with her so she can click on links (mostly for Khan Academy lessons).

I didn’t make this and I can’t find a link.  I have it saved and I just print as needed.  I’m sure it would be really easy to make on your own.

Weekly Routine

Master Grocery List

This is just the print out of my Google Calendar.

Homeschool Grade Book

This is the program that I’m doing with my dietitian.

These folders have various things in them from coupons to letters to counseling things.

I use my Happy Planner for “to-dos,” self care, and meals for the day. I’ll also use it to plan meals for the week.

Let me know if you want any of this!  I have some templates that I made as well as the ones I found online.  I would be glad to share!

A Sunday Well Spent Brings a Week of Content

We were planning to go to church today but we all overslept.  We had major storms last night and didn’t sleep great, then it was dark till late so it seemed earlier than it was.  Robert usually wakes up early so we never set alarms on Sundays.  I guess we should have.  Oh well.

We started the day with worship online (Preston Trail Community Church).  That was great.

Then, I was watching videos on how to teach Karis’ writing and had a thought.  What if the boys would be willing to join back together and share a room again?

Since I started homeschooling again I have had to use a corner of my room for a school area.

I desperately wanted a school room and an office again.

I was pleasantly surprised, and they were excited about it!  So we got to work and joined their two rooms and made school room/office again!

It took us hours to weed through Ethan’s room and closet.  It was a disaster.  He always made it seem clean, but there was junk everywhere under his bed and in his closet.

So now their room/closet is organized!


This is our school room/office!

We also did some organizing in Karis’ room since we took the desk back out of her room.  She cleaned out from under her bed and the corner which was all FULL of trash and junk.  We haven’t touched her closet yet because it will take a full day to organize it’s so full of junk.

Then I got some veggies ready for the week and made protein banana muffins.

We ended the day together watching Rogue One and eating “finger foods.”

I would say today was productive, and I’m very happy with how things turned out.  I will sleep good tonight!

My Happy Planner

I have heard of these for a long time, but it wasn’t until I saw a picture from a friend on Instagram that I decided to bite the bullet and buy one.  I also bought a home planner insert to go with it!  This is pretty much replacing my household notebook.  That has turned into a personal notebook (AA stuff, medical paperwork, etc) plus homeschooling (lesson plans and Teacher Edition pages).

The monthly calendar contains appointments, events, and meals for the month.

I’m going to have to adjust how I’ve been doing this since I received the home planner.  I will probably make this all about self care!

This planner covers everything that I need for being organized.

Weekend Prep AND Self-care Sunday

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  • Cut veggies for lunches and dinners (celery, broccoli, bell pepper, zucchini, squash, acorn squash, sweet potatoes, mushrooms… russet potatoes can’t be cut early)
  • Boiled eggs
  • Thawed meat
  • Pan-seared and sliced chicken breast for salads this week
  • Made high protein steel cut oats (Steel cut oats, water, raw sugar, and egg whites)
  • Prepped lunches (cottage cheese in containers, bagged up veggies, bagged up Triscuits, bagged up deli meat and cheese, bagged up chicken slices)
  • I will make homemade Greek yogurt tomorrow-Tuesday

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The kids cleaned up the living room, made their beds, cleaned up their rooms, cleaned the bathrooms, and cleaned the floors.  Ethan washed and dried laundry, and they each folded and put away their own.

Here is before:

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Here is after:

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This week I will spend some time organizing the pantry/fridges/freezers.  I have an abundance of food.  We won’t need to buy much for the next month or more!  Just dairy and produce!  No spend month post coming up!

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You wouldn’t think that prep and self care would go together, but I have found that self-care for me sometimes means a clean house and everything prepped for the week.  Also, lately I haven’t been eating much at all because I didn’t have food prepped.  So I will eat this week because I have it prepped.

These are ways I took care of myself:

  • Slept till I woke up naturally (still kind of early… 7:15)
  • Had coffee and just relaxed for a long time (didn’t start prepping and cleaning till near lunch time)
  • Lit candles to smell while I prepped 🙂
  • Listened to old music (some of it reminded me of Joey)

What are you doing to prep and/or take care of yourself today?

Raising a Self-Disciplined Child

For the past several weeks/month I have been doing a lot of things for the kids including making their beds; cleaning their rooms (ish); washing, drying, folding, and putting away their laundry; and loading the dishwasher.  I do all of this because I’m home and it seems easier for me to take care of everything (especially since they aren’t home much).

Robert and I have been talking and he is worried that I’m enabling them by doing so much for them, and he’s right.

I got this book at the library yesterday; I just started reading it and I’m already motivated!

Raising a Self-Disciplined Child: Help Your Child Become More Responsible, Confident, and Resilient.

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Today I decided to update their chore charts and start sticker charts for chores.  For every sticker they will receive $0.20.  So they will receive $1-2 a week.  Their chore charts reflect what needs to be done, but some chores won’t be done every day.  They will not receive money for homework.  It’s just on there because they like to be able to check things off :-).

I hope to teach them some money management through this.  I don’t want them to grow up like me and spend every cent that they have.  I want to teach them to save, give, and spend what’s left.  Ethan takes after me in many ways, including how he spends money (but he chooses to do extra chores often to have more money).  Karis and Levi don’t really spend.

This is our updated multi-purpose “hub.”  It has our meal planning, events calendar (for the month), chore charts, and sticker charts.  Below it are baskets.  One is for backpacks and one is for library books and it has my lunch box in it.

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I imagine that I’ll learn a lot more as I read.  Ultimately, I have good kids.  They have their days, but when I ask them to do something they don’t argue (well most of the time).  They have good behavior at school.  They are polite.  They include kids that need to be included.  They work hard.  They eat what’s given to them (sometimes they try to get out of it, but they do it).  They do their homework without a fight.  They read more than they have to.

I just want to teach them to be more responsible.

It’ll be good!

In the evenings we have a routine.  They shower (every other day).  We read out of a book (right now we’re reading Wayside Stories) and we sing and pray.  I plan to start reading a Bible book that I got when I was homeschooling called Who Is God? (And Can I Really Know Him?).  I had given it to a neighbor and she’s not using it, so I decided to start it again.

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Life is good.  I’m feeling completely at peace about the final decisions we have made for the kids.  I love the school, the teachers, the kids, and the parents.  I love that they have the opportunities that they do because they go to school there.  I love that they get free meals :-).  I love that they don’t have a ton of homework.  I love that they are thriving!  I went to the school yesterday for their choir and am just so impressed with everything!  The library is amazing.  We made the right decision.  Now I can just learn to live every day here inviting people over, making meals for people, and taking good care of myself!