Sunday, January 5, 2014

Making Things Simple

2014 dawned with a lot of people thinking about how to make this year different, easier, more simplified. No, life will never be the breeze through days of our childhood again. There are children to raise (and teach), houses to take care of, bills to pay, and jobs to do. Everyone seems to have activities outside of the home now a days and so once you get your normal day finished often we're still running ourselves ragged long into the evening. Fast food dinners have replaced homemade sit down dinner with families all over this country. It's time to get back to the basics and make things more simple in our lives.

So, when I set my goal this year (to read more about that go here ) about loosing weight I sat down and tried to think of some ways I could make the concept easier. Weight wasn't ever an issue for me when I was younger, but age and pregnancies combined with a somewhat static lifestyle for a few years packed on a lot of pounds unnoticed. At my heaviest I wore a size 22. I've battled for years to take this weight off and now I can fit into a size 10 jean and an 8 dress. I'd like to be in a size 8 jean as well by the end of this year. It was a goal I had last year that I failed to meet. I checked my actual weight (something I never do) and looked at my body critically. My stomach is what's holding me back from those jeans. 

But, I already cook 99% of our meals at home. I don't snack often, I barely ever have desert, I have cut chocolate (oh, how I miss thee) out of my life almost completely, and I've added in a lot more physical movement into my life. I really didn't know just how to make things work to trim that extra 20 or so pounds off of my body. 

While scrolling through my news feed one evening on Facebook, chatting with a few friends on my personal page, I noticed a picture of two jars. One said, "Pounds to go" and one said, "Pounds lost". I had to share it. And while out shopping this weekend I purchased two vases (from the thrift store) and some green marbles (from the dollar store). Both the vases and marbles can be used for something else when I'm finished with them. I chose not to paint the words on them for the simple fact that one of the vases looks like it has a round belly and the other looks slimmer though not skinny. I placed thirty marbles into the vase with the round belly. Each pound I loose (yes, I suppose now I must weigh myself more often) will move a marble to the slimmer vase.

I could have gotten smaller vases but these ones appealed to me. It also doesn't show that I've so much weight to loose and makes it appear more manageable. My husband liked the idea and so we put the rest of the marbles in a small jar for him that we already had on hand. For each pound he looses he'll put a marble into the slimmer vase as well. At the end of the year we'll be able to see just how many pounds we've both lost.

While I'm still not sure exactly what I'll need to do to peal these last pounds off I know that I will make it. I have a visual representation of my goal and incentive to get there. I'll be looking for some new things I can do this year to slim down those few last inches. Maybe, just maybe, I'll have a few more ideas by this time next week.

I've done a few things to try to simplify things around the house as well. I really get frustrated with the seemingly non stop question of, "Are the dishes in the dishwasher clean or dirty?" I ask it, Daddy asks it, and each of the campers have asked it at least a few times a week. I had a few pieces of the white magnetic scraps left over from the heat vent cover I'd bought a few months back (yes, I know I still need to show how to make the dry erase alphabet magnets) and I had an idea. I took those last two scraps and wrote "clean" on one and "dirty" on the other. The idea is that if the dishes in the dishwasher are dirty the "dirty" magnet goes on it, if they're clean the "clean" magnet goes on it.
So far this is working. It makes it easier to tell at a glance before we open the dishwasher to grab a glass. I made the magnets two different colors so that our non-reader could easily tell by color if the dishes inside were clean or not. We haven't had one question since I made these at the end of last week! Life is already more peaceful.

The other thing that I've done is gone to The Confident Mom site and downloaded her free organizer for household work. I print off a sheet a week, she made a year's worth and it's perfect in my opinion, and check things off as I or someone else in the house gets them done. She also has a set of blank ones that you fill in yourself. I simply cross off the items that don't apply to my house at the beginning of the week, like anything to do with a second floor on the house or a second car. It's actually set up almost like my weekly cleaning plan of several years ago was, but I find this more convenient to use as there's things on there that normally I would forget. This has simplified my days like you wouldn't believe! No longer am I fretting about what I haven't gotten finished in the housework each day. I simply look at this list in the morning to see what I need to do and keep it where I can look at it throughout the day. In the evening before bed I double check to make sure I did everything on the list. I don't do it all at once either, I fit each small item to check off into whatever else we're doing that day.

She only has two things listed on Sundays to do: plan your weekly meals and review the family weekly calender. I already do these things on Sundays so it's one of my favorite things that these are on there. It means that even if it slips my memory one glance at this sheet will remind me to do it. She also has things listed like "get moving", self care, and personal time. Things I need to be reminded to do in my life as the children, husband, household, and pets usually get my attention before I'll take ten minutes to myself. I've been doing well taking time for myself each evening for a few months now, but we all know on those busy days when life is going 100 miles an hour we usually forget to take care of ourselves.

So, thus far, these are a few things I am doing to simplify life. So far these things are working for me. Of course there's more I can do and these things are just the tip of the iceberg, but for this moment I am happy that I'm taking these steps to make life more simple in my home.

Find us on Facebook here or subscribe to the blog for tips on homeschooling, book reviews, how to get your children helping out in the kitchen, and to see many pictures of the cute kiddos, plus much more!


  1. I am a neighbor on the Life: Simplified project.
    I hope you don't get instantly annoyed, but I think you are beating yourself over something that really does not matter in the least.
    A size 8 jeans instead of just dress size! Honestly, I found your post heartbreaking. That fact that you completely changed your life style and eating habits dropping from a size 22 to 10 is wonderful and I am sure improved your life and joy. You said it yourself- "I really do not know how to makes things work to trim off the pounds" If you hit that wall, but are eating healthy, being active and have no glaring and dangerous health problems these "last few pounds" quite possible could be an unhealthy obsession (and we all get them) and a tactic to take away your contentment and joy. Do you really believe one size smaller in jeans will improve your life for the better? Isn't size 6 just as tantalizing? I know what I am talking about from personal experience so please don't write me off as a complete over-opinionated witch yet. Maybe all those shiny marbles reminding you that you have not done quite well enough is just what is needed in your life right now. I don't know. I can just sense that age old whisper of "a little more, little more" as I read your words, looked at that empty jar that "did not have a round belly but slimmer". If you want to delete my comment, that's okay. I usually only leave encouraging comments since God knows we all need as much as that as we can get, but I just had to express to what struck me more forcibly in this post.
    If you are a believer in personal close God, please consider praying if this is a healthy goal in your life.
    With humble apologies if I offended you.

    1. Leah, I was not offended. I suffered anorexia when I was younger and I know the temptation of just one more size all too well. The problem I face is that those few leftover pounds are causing back and knee issue to remain. They're all located mostly in my stomach and chest. These are reasons that I now am looking at the size 8 jean. I don't want to get smaller than that or I will be tempted to shrink to nothing again which was not healthy. I know how to loose the weight in an unhealthy way but that's not what I'm after. The doctor would rather I loose about 20 pounds in the hopes that it will help my back, knees, and energy levels. Also I battle cholesterol off and on. I appreciate your warning and I don't take it lightly. I know that you were worried about upsetting me. I never want to get below a size 8, I was a size 0 (and smaller in children's) when I was in my late teens and early 20s. I never want to go through that again. Scales scare me because they who numbers. I don't like examining the shape of my body because some old habits feel like they're coming back. In this instance I am using the marbles to show the pounds but if I haven't "moved" all the marbles by the time I get into a size 8 I'll stop working at loosing weight. My husband knows my past and he keeps an eye on me as well. I speak to my children often about the dangers of being both too thin and too heavy for health reasons. It is something that although I KNOW better now I still sometimes battle with over 15 years later. And sometime this month I intend to blog about my battles.
      Again, you did not offend me. I've prayed hard on this matter and so has my husband. We've spoken to our priest and my doctor. I may have hit the wall for now but I won't kill myself over reaching that goal. If I loose only a pound every six months I'll consider things to be working. My goal is to loose the weight by the end of the year but if I don't that's OK too.
      Chrystal :-)
      God, bless you for your concern.

  2. Sounds like you are off to a good start for making a simpler life! Keep up the good work!! Thanks for sharing via Life: Simplified Project.

  3. I'm glad I stopped by, I like the idea of the marbles, I'm quite overweight and this is a simple pretty idea that appeals to me.
    I really appreciate the honesty & concern in the comments and your reply- it is so loving

    1. I can't take credit for the marbles idea since I saw it first on Facebook. But I liked the simplicity of it as well. :-)

      Thank you for stopping by. I try to be honest in everything that I do. Sometimes it's not easy, but it's always worth it.