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For the 17th book in the 52 Books in 52 Weeks challenge, I chose Give It Up! My Year of Learning to Live Better with Less by Mary Carlomagno.  As I was looking for books on simplifying one’s life on the library’s catalog system, I came across this one.  It sounded intriguing, so I thought it would make for an interesting read.

Give it Up! is one woman’s quest to rid herself of material excess whereby she also sheds light on some of the emotional excess she carries. The twelve things she gives up include:  alcohol, shopping, elevators, newspapers, cell phones, dining out, television, taxis, coffee, cursing, chocolate, and multi-tasking.

Many of the items she writes about have absolutely no relevance to my life. (Giving up cursing…really!? This is a sacrifice?  It wouldn’t be any sacrifice on my part since my language and writing isn’t peppered with swear words.)  Other items simply reflect the excess and privilege in our society. 

I was hoping that for at least one or more of these things (like alcohol or excessive shopping), that the author wouldn’t be so eager to resume activities that weren’t of any benefit to her life.  For example, she reschedules get-to-gethers and activities with her friends in subsequent months so she can go back to drinking and purchasing clothing she doesn’t need. (She said many of her clothes still had the tags on them which implies over-consumption and waste.)

However, it seemed as if – for many of these items she was giving up – that she was counting down the days when she could resume her previous behavior with very little insight into why she needed to continue using that item or behaving in such a manner.  Her eagerness to return to her vices each subsequent month made the book rather disappointing.

The chapter on elevators yielded an interesting awareness by the author, though.  After climbing and descending ten flights of stairs daily to go to her job in New York, she was in good shape and comfortable using the stairs when the events on September 11th happened.  “My preparedness and awareness were a source of some confidence for me on that fateful day.”

The author continued, “…I learned…to be aware of your surroundings and that, unfortunately, an emergency plan is a necessary part of everyday life.”

Under the cursing chapter, she mentioned a website called Wordsmith.  As she explains, “Each day wordsmith would send a new unfamiliar word to round out my vocabulary that I immediately applied, to the annoyance of those around me.”  By clicking on the link above, you can add yourself to the free mailing list. 

One thing that stood out in the chapter about multi-tasking was the statement, “Time is a luxury and doing one thing at a time does not keep pace with our busy lifestyles, which demand doing more.  But if we do more, more inefficiently, what has been really accomplished?” 

This is a good reminder no matter what stage of life or where you’re multi-tasking – whether in the office or an at-home business; your personal life (listening to someone talk while doing something else); while you’re volunteering; trying to juggle homeschooling while raising a family; or even crafting and trying to do another task.  Something is going to suffer…or not be done as best it can.  Someone won’t receive the attention they deserve. 

Give It Up! is not the best literary work I’ve read.  However, there were some interesting points made in the book.  Perhaps Give It Up! would be a more relevant and meaningful book if someone were having some challenges with the same issues or items.

If the majority of the items that the author wrote about don’t have personal relevance, I would skip the book.  There are other books about voluntary simplicity and/or modifying one’s life to be stronger and more effective that are a better use of one’s time.

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This week I continued working on the 30 Days to Simpler Life Project. Each day, Fairy Tale Mama at Enchanted Schoolhouse posts an activity from the book 30 Days to a Simpler Life.

The projects so far have been ones I’ve wanted to do, but haven’t made the time for…or ones that weren’t on my list of things to do, but have been good to do in an effort to de-clutter and simplify my life. I have completed Weeks 1-3 (Days 1-21), but am working on Week 4 (Days 22-28) since I was in Duluth (Minnesota) for several days during this time period.

Here are the actions for the past week…and the final two days of the project:

Day #29 – Find Out What Works – Today fill out the checklist below. Decide if you’re okay or need help in the following areas. It will help you see at a glance what works and what doesn’t in your life. Make a copy of this list and keep it in a place where you will refer to it again (your bulletin board or date book). Add additional categories as they occur to you. (30 Days to a Simpler Life, p. 180-182)

My answers to the questions are in bold typeface to the right.

Closet

Love and wear clothes exclusively Help (would be nice to have a couple of new items for spring and summer and one dress or dress-up outfit since I don’t have one)
Closet organized OK
Accessories managed OK
Stockings/socks OK
Belts OK
Scarves OK
Shoes OK
Jewelry Help (would like to have a way to hang up my earrings, bracelets, and necklaces so I can see them)

Clothing Systems

Dry-cleaning system OK (rarely need to get anything dry-cleaned)
Laundry system Help (need a new washer and dryer since the current one is about 15 years old and on its last leg)
Out of season system Help (organizing winter coats, boots, accessories)
Recycling System OK
Linen closet Help (would like to go through blankets and pillows once more)

Kitchen

Counters cleared Help (Would like more counter space and am debating about keeping the terrariums which take up too much space; and re-locating the cacti and aloe vera plants)
Storage organized Help (still need to go through some cupboards)
Love and Use items exclusively Help (could donate some dishes and other kitchen items)
Meal Planning System OK
Grocery Shopping System Help (want to do a master grocery list that I can check off for the grocery store I go to the most)
Entertaining Menus and Setup OK (I never “entertain” or host parties on a regular basis)

Home Office

Mail Handling OK
Desktop Papers OK
Office Supplies OK
Bill-Paying System OK (but would love to have no bills to pay!)
Filing System OK
  Current (Personal and Homeschool) OK
  Important Documents Help (am working on putting all current statements for bank accounts, insurance, etc. in a 3-ring binder so it’s easy to find)
  Estate planning OK (in safe deposit box and my desk)
  Tax records Help (all are done; just need to put everything together in one spot)
  Home improvement records OK
  Insurances OK
  Archives OK
Stationery and stamps OK
Gift wrapping Help (am trying to get away from gift wrap and use fabric bags and ribbons instead; need to better organize this)
Photos Help (still removing pictures from old non-archival quality albums and putting them in boxes)
Subscriptions OK
Travel files and planning OK (though I wish I was traveling more)

Kids

Kids’ rooms
  Closet Help (still working on both of the girls’ closets – want to make a lower bar to hang Olivia’s clothes on so she can reach them; get rid of a lot of items I don’t need in Olivia’s closet; and finish cleaning Sophia’s closet which also has spare bedding, photo albums, and children’s games)
  Desk OK (helped the girls go through their desks in the fall/winter)
  Storage OK (though it would be nice if Olivia had a bit more storage in her room)
Kids’ papers and mementos OK
Babysitter information current Help (am almost done with this)

House Maintenance

Supplies organized Help (there are some areas in the home that I still want to organize)
Daily Routine Help (if more hours were added to the day I could get everything done)
Weekly Routine Help (if I can’t have more hours…maybe an extra person or two to help)
Seasonal Routine Help (would like to have the proper tools and equipment…and perhaps the extra person and time…to do seasonal jobs and upkeep)

Garage Help (the hobby shed and barn both could use more cleaning – though a major de-cluttering/purging was done in August 2010 and the first week of September 2010)

General

House sitter information current Help (I need to write instructions for the dogs, cats, and horses as well as what needs to be done with the house if I’m gone)

Recycling system for useless stuff OK (have been donating bags of items that are no longer needed and are still in good condition to the local thrift shop.  Whatever isn’t in good condition is either recycled or thrown away.)

Day #30 – Your task for today is to call three friends and ask, “What are some ways you have simplified your life?” (30 Days to a Simpler Life, p. 183)

I asked this question on Facebook and received the following answers:

The best thing I ever did was let go of being right. (Rod B.)

There is a documentatory that just came out.  I don’t watch Oprah, but she was on when I turned on the t.v. yesterday. She was interviewing a man who is a famous movie director (some of Jim Carey’s films, etc.).  This film is called “I AM.”  He downsized and simplified; and he tells of the happiness he has found. Quoted St. Augustine: “Take what God has given you….take what you need …the rest is for others.”  Love this because materialism is the is at the root of many of our problems today!! (Dorothy P.)

I don’t fold socks. What a waste of time. Some evenings when I know I will be working late, I’ll throw a roast in the crock pot in the morning. Other nights, we will have cereal. Why beat myself up over not spending hours in the kitchen cooking after coming home tired. I also label my bathroom closet shelves. Toothpaste/toothbrushes, Soaps, Lotions, Medical, Cottonballs/Q-Tips, Beauty supplies, Nail polish, Extra makeup, etc… (Brenda M.)

I made a “template” of the grocery store I most often visit, listing items available in each aisle (essentially the same as the signs above each aisle) including specific things I usually buy. I made copies of this and keep it magneted to the side of my fridge so that making grocery lists is quicker and my shopping trip times have been cut in half, I can zip through the store super fast and don’t get distracted by extraneous items. It also makes using coupons easier.  (Kathrine N.)

“I have done laundry, instead of every day, three days a week. I do not like socks either [in reference to Brenda M.’s comment above].” (Annette J-G.) 

What wonderful advice!  I’m so happy that I did this via Facebook versus calling people because the responses are ones that are all things that I need to hear and apply to my life.

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This week I continued working on the 30 Days to Simpler Life project. Each day, Fairy Tale Mama at Enchanted Schoolhouse posts an activity from the book 30 Days to a Simpler Life.  

The projects so far have been ones I’ve wanted to do, but haven’t made the time for…or ones that weren’t on my list of things to do, but have been good to do in an effort to de-clutter and simplify my life. 

Some of the actions for Week #4 are ones that I need more time to do and will do them once homeschooling is done for the school year.  These are all the activities for Week #4 and what I accomplished:

Day #22 – Keep Track of Your Valuables – Today, create a Valuables Binder for art, jewelry, silverware, and collections of anything you value and worry about losing to fire and theft. Detailed instructions follow. (30 Days to a Simpler Life, p. 143)


Here are some of the suggestions (in short) that the authors make for keeping track of your valuables:


1. List them and put the list in a binder.
2. Photograph or videotape your valuables. Date the video.
3. Include the receipts.
4. Put any appraisals or authentication documents in your binder.
5. Store your valuables binder in a safe place.

This is a project that I’m going to have to come back to at a later date.  This involves more work than one day.  I’ve wanted to do something like this for a long time now.  Once I wrap up homeschooling for this school year and have a short break, that will be the time I can tackle this project.

Day #23 – Give Vanishing Gifts – Today, tackle your wrapping paper, ribbons, gift bags, and gift tags/cards. Save a few of your favorite rolls of paper, some matching ribbon, and some gift enclosure cards. Give away your extraneous wrapping supplies (give a few rolls to the kids). If you cannot bear to give away beautiful wrapping paper, store the excess out of sight. Simplicity is about using up what you have — and keeping things flowing through your life. (30 Days to a Simpler Life, p. 147)

Over the past couple of years, I have slowly used up wrapping paper and ribbons; and I have very few bows left.  For each birthday and holiday, I’ve been making re-usable gift bags from fabric.  The first year when I make the  bags, it’s a bit labor-intensive.  However, with each subsequent year of use, it’s been a wonderful time saver.

Sophia's Birthday - Fabric Gift Bags
Fabric bags I made for Sophia’s birthday.
Her favorite colors are pink and purple.

I also have made hand-embroidered bags from wool felt and beads.  These are a bit time-consuming to make, but they will last many years.  If they take care of the bags, they will have them when they leave home and start their own families.  Perhaps they can be passed onto their children.

Embroidered Valentine's Day Bags
Hand-embroidered and beaded bags I made
for Valentine’s Day for the girls.

Day #24 – Create Hassle-Free Holidays – Make a list of the holidays you celebrate annually. Besides each entry, write down what each holiday means to you. For example, Thanksgiving may mean organizing a big potluck dinner for friends who don’t have anyplace else to go.
 
Next, make another list of holidays with columns entitled “Joyful Activities” and “Stressful Activities.” Fill in the blanks. For example, a joyful Christmas activity might be “Sending cards,” whereas a stressful activity might be “Finding perfect gifts for household help.” Once the list is made, vow to maximize joy and minimize stress. (30 Days to a Simpler Life, p. 152)

Many of the joyful activities for the holidays centers around food and making food that ties in with the holidays. 

Hearts at an Angle
Homemade candy hearts.
St. Lucia Dinner
St. Lucia dinner.  The girls and I made St. Lucia buns and Swedish meatballs. 
The buns are ones that we have been making for many years now. 
The Swedish meatball recipe was a new one we tried in 2010.

I also find joy in helping the girls with their costumes for Halloween.  Often they want their hair done, so they have their hair up in curlers (the kind they have to wear overnight) or hot rollers; and get the final touch with the curling iron. 

The Girls in Halloween Costumes
All dressed up in 2007 for Halloween. 
Olivia was a fairy and Sophia was a princess.

I’m not one who enjoys huge crowds.  However, the girls had an opportunity to ride horses on the Fourth of July in a small town parade.  Since they were in the parade prep area, there were quieter places to sit which was nice.  There weren’t the crowds in that area…and the view was unobstructed.

Sophia Returning to Parade
Sophia riding in the 4th of July parade in 2010.

One of the ways we celebrate New Year’s Day is by going to a Chinese restaurant.  This tradition was started in the early 1990s in San Francisco where there seemed to be a huge number of Chinese restaurants.  It is continued to this day, and enjoyed by us all. 

The girls dressed up in their Chinese dresses in 2008.  These were purchased in China (where they were adopted from) in 2001 and 2003.  I brought back a variety of dresses in increasingly larger sizes so they could have special dresses to wear each year.

Casey, Sophia, and Olivia on 1-1
Sophia and Olivia with Casey before we headed out to a Chinese restaurant
for the annual New Year’s Day dinner.

As I looked the holidays for the year, I realized that for several of them, we don’t do anything special to celebrate them (e.g., Memorial Day, Labor Day).  It might be nice to find a free activity in the community and do that, or have a picnic or go on a short day-trip to a place that we haven’t gone before. 

For me, things that are stressful center around large crowds and public chaos – big events, parades, and even children’s services at the church where the girls sing.  Maybe I’m just getting old, but I seem to prefer quiet, peaceful gatherings…or ones that I can go to early to avoid crowds. 

At least I know what I find stressful and can try to avoid activities that I know will be too loud or where there are too many people crammed in too tight of an area.

Day #25 – Enjoy Your Photos and Mementos – Today, round up all of your photos and put them in one place. That’s all you have to do. Make a commitment to buy some photo boxes in the near future. With these boxes, you will be able to sort your photos. (30 Days to a Simpler Life, p. 156)

I have started to remove photographs from old photo albums (the kind that are pre-archival quality) and place the photographs in achival-quality boxes. I’ve been working on and off on this project for a couple of months now since I have quite a few albums to go through.

I use to operate a children’s camp and found that I had taken a tremendous amount of photographs of the program.  Some of the photographs were sent to funders, but I kept many of them and put them in albums.  I kept some of the photos that had pictures of the girls, farm animals (sheep, chickens, horses), or were personally meaningful to me. 

As I’m going through the photographs, I’m not keeping all of them.  For some photos, I’m sending them to people (friends and family) who I think may enjoy them.  For example, if their child participated in the camp program, they might enjoy seeing a photo of their child at camp when they were much younger.
 
Day #26 – Pare Down Your Garage – A garage is not a junk bin. It’s an important base of operations, like your kitchen and home office. Today, sort your garage items into categories—tools, paint, gardening, recreational, barbecue, and so on. As you sort, ask yourself:

1. Do I use it—or think I should? If not, toss it.


2. When I want to do a project, is this item ready to use? Am I willing to keep it cleaned and repaired? If not, toss it.


3. Do I have enough space for this and is it well located? If not, toss it or move it.


After you have sorted and tossed, make a list of organizers that will streamline your garage. (30 Days to a Simpler Life, p. 164)

I don’t have a garage, so the closest thing that’s like garage that’s here is the hobby shed and barn.

Egg Hunt - By a White Wooden Door
Outside of the hobby shed.
Back in late-August and early-September 2010, I spent a lot of time cleaning out the shed and getting rid of a lot of items that were no longer good, usuable, or had been damaged by being in a non-temperature-controlled building.

I had been storing clothing for the girls that they could grow into as well as holiday items in the hobby shed.  Unfortunately, some of the things that had been in there for multiple seasons (mostly clothing, some blankets, and pillows) now smelled like mildew which wasn’t good.  Because the smell was so strong, the items now were garbage. 

As the dumpster was slowly filling, it was a very sick feeling to see not only items that were once good that were ruined because of inadequate storage space, but I thought about the money that was wasted that I would never get back.  It was a financial loss…and not a positive impact on the environment by any stretch of the imagination.

When it gets warmer, I plan to re-visit organizing and further de-cluttering the hobby shed.  It is more than a day’s work; and more appropriate to do later in the spring or summer.  At the same time, I will clean out the barn and shed again.  After this round, things should be much better.

Day #27 – Make Landscaping Easier – A successful landscape is one that you thoroughly enjoy and is easy to maintain.  Use plants that require little maintenance.  Ask the nursery for three of the most successful plants in your region.  Make these plants the mainstay of your garden.  (30 Days to a Simpler Life, p. 169)

Pink Peony
Peony.

I’ve been gradually adding more perennials and wildflowers over the years.  Some have done well, while others haven’t and were a waste of money. 

Bleeding Hearts
Bleeding hearts.

The ones that seem to do the best here are hostas, ferns, siberian irises, lupines, peonies, hydrageneas, bleeding hearts, lilies, and some roses.

Lily in Garden
Lilies.

Day #28 – Get Physical – Make an appointment on your calendar to exercise three to four times a week for an hour, or daily for 30 minutes. This is a manageable amount of time for most people. With a simple routine, you won’t have to think about when to exercise—it’s prescheduled! (30 Days to a Simpler Life, p. 175)

Now that the weather is better, we can begin riding our bikes again which is fun.  Olivia is still learning how to ride a bike, so I have a modified bike hooked up to mine until she can ride on her own and keep up with Sophia and me. 

Olivia and I on the 1st Ride of the Season
Olivia and me riding our bikes.
Sophia on the 1st Bike Ride of the Season
Sophia riding her bike.

I also typed a physical education chart in which each of us can mark off when we do some form of exercise for the day.  It can be bike riding, working with the horses, taking the dogs for a walk, going on a nature walk, or playing in the backyard.  The key for us is variety and fun more so than an extreme workout.

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For Project Simplify’s Hot Spot #5, participants could select a project or area in their home on which they wanted to focus their energy.  For this final challenge, I wanted to go through 3 1/2 shelves on my office bookshelf as well as two shelves in my office closet that had books and curricula that I have used or anticipated using in the future.

Before:  Books and curricula for homeschooling
on my office bookshelf.  They are not organized by subject
on these shelves which makes it challenging to find anything.
I began sorting through the books in my office closet because I had already done some grouping by subject before this school year began.  The top shelf (at my eye level) is history (from ancient civilizations to modern times). 
On the next shelf down, I began putting reading, writing, and poetry on the left side; and science and nature study on the right side. 
The lowest level had physical education, social studies, geography (world and U.S.), character education, sign language, government, art, music, handwriting/penmanship, and math.
Three shelves in my office closet that I was
starting to remove items from and
then group according to subject.

I removed all the books and curricula from the wooden bookshelf and integrated them with the resources on the closet shelving.  Now, the science shelf (for example) has books arranged alphabetically by topic (e.g., bats, birds, frogs, nature journaling).

It was a pleasant surprise to find curricula that I purchased in past years at homeschooling conferences that the girls weren’t quite ready to use yet.  This upcoming year, there are some excellent resources that I can use.

After:  Cookbooks are now on the top two shelves
(depending on the book size).  Also on the second shelf
are books with topics I need/want to reference during the upcoming year.
The third shelf is all related to reading, literature, poetry, and writing.

Conversely, I realized that even though I have the Five in a Row curriculum series, I am missing some of the children’s books that are needed to do the series.  I wrote a list of books I’ll need to purchase, and now can look for them at the used book section of the homeschooling conference.  I have not used the series, but it seems like an excellent fit with Olivia’s learning style and interests. 

Also, I am happy to have the KONOS trio of books together now so I can use them again during the upcoming year.

After – Closet shelves.  Top shelf:  All history.
Middle Shelf: All science.
Third Shelf:  Geography (world and U.S.), social studies,
character education, critical thinking, and math.
Bottom Shelf:  A variety of other subjects
in addition to art and music.

I have never taken as much time as I have this year to prepare for a homeschool conference.  Knowing what resources I have on hand will greatly reduce the amount of money that I spend at this year’s conference.  My goal is to use what I have on hand for the majority of next year’s school year; and only get the curricula needed for the level/grade that Sophia and Olivia are at with each subject.      

Not only am I more organized and know what resources I have available, but I have three grocery bags of books and curricula that I can sell at an upcoming curriculum fair in May, one bag of garbage, and one bag of recycling that are now out of my office. 

After I was done, there was an entire empty shelf on the bookshelf, so I transferred all my cookbooks from the kitchen into my office.  In this way, I gained a shelf in the kitchen where I can transfer food from another cupboard (where the dishes are) to one that is only for food.  Things are starting to come together better now which is so nice!

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The girls continued with the 52 Weeks of Giving challenge by volunteering and doing a variety of different activities. 
First, they brought the newspapers they cut for the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.  The WRC will use the newspapers that are cut to a specific size to line the cages for the orphaned and injured animals that they will start receiving in April.
Sophia and Olivia outside the Wildlife Resource Center with
two bags of cut newspapers.

The girls and one of the WRC staff inside the building.
The walls had interesting pictures of the WRC’s work
with helping animals.
On Sunday, Olivia sang in the children’s choir at church.  Sophia was not feeling well (after being sick for many days), so she was unable to sing at the service.
Olivia in the front row singing (she’s the one to the far right).

Another way the girls helped was at home when the new refrigerator was delivered.  Since the items in the refrigerator could not be unloaded until the last minute, they helped unload all the food as well as clean off the sides and front of the refrigerator that had their artwork and magnets.

Refrigerator before the girls unloaded it.

It was nice to go through each of the items on the counter and only put the food back that we would eat and that was good for us. This effort was part of Project Simplify which was a five-week project that tackled some of the more challenging areas of one’s home.

The new refrigerator in much better shape!

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Hot Spot #4 for Project Simplify’s five-week challenge was focused on the pantry and refrigerator.  Since I did some major cleaning and organizing of the cupboards for the 30 Day Vegan workshop, I chose to focus on the refrigerator for this challenge.

This challenge came at a perfect time.  I had some gift cards that I had been saving, and now could get a new appliance with them.

It was time to get rid of the 12-year old refrigerator that no longer had the bins for fruits and vegetables, the shelf propped up with a knife, and the shelves on the door held on with duct tape.  Although it was still working, it was not an energy-efficient appliance. 

The challenge with finding a new refrigerator is that I have 28″ of space available.  The door leading to the kitchen is only 29″ wide and the space in the kitchen for the refrigerator is 28″ wide.  There are not many refrigerator/freezers out there that are so narrow.  It is quite limiting.  In fact, there was only one model that fit into the space. 

The morning that the refrigerator/freezer was being delivered, I took one last look at the one I used for over 12 years:

Very crowded and disorganized refrigerator.
Notice the missing bins, shelf being held up with a knife,
and the shelves being held with duct tape.
It’s time for a new refrigerator!
The freezer with absolutely no
organizational system.
The freezer shelves in the
old refrigerator/freezer.

I transferred all items from the freezer to the large freezer in the mudroom.  All the magnets, artwork, and photographs came off the sides of the refrigerator.  Some of the business magnets or ones that had seen better days immediately went into the trash.

When the delivery men arrived, I unloaded all the items from the refrigerator.  They set up the refrigerator/freezer and took the old one away. 

As I began putting items into the new refrigerator, I checked all expiration dates to make sure items were still okay to use.  Anything that hadn’t been used in awhile (on the door shelves), I threw away the contents and soaked the bottles to get the labels off. (I reuse the glass bottles to hold homemade dressings and food I buy in bulk at the co-op.  I’m trying to get away from using plastic, but it’s a slow process making that transition.)

I picked some items from the big freezer to put into the new freezer – like juices; butter (dairy free and regular); a variety of frozen vegetables; frozen fruit that the girls and I picked during the summer and froze; a couple packages of meat; and a few containers that have food that can be re-heated (e.g., stuffed peppers). 

Here’s what the refrigerator and freezer look like now:

The new refrigerator/freezer with
only the items that I’m going to use. 

It is so much easier to find things now, and only the items that I’m going to use are in the refrigerator and freezer.  It’s been a few days now since I did this, and it has been wonderful to have a fully-functional and working refrigerator/freezer. 

When I’m making 21 meals a week (breakfast, lunch, and dinner since the girls are homeschooled and we eat all our meals at home…unless we are helping my parents and they want to take us out for lunch), having an appliance that works and is in good order is nice.  It makes meal preparation so much more enjoyable!  Truly, it is simple things like this that make me happy.

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With the tornado and thunderstorm season right around the corner, I wanted to be a bit more prepared this year. Homestead Revival is hosting a weekly Preparedness Challenge.  During Week 3, I ordered some books from the library about planning ahead and self-sufficiency. 

One of the books that I read and was very impressed with is called Just in Case – How to Be Self-Sufficient When the Unexpected Happens by Kathy Harrison.  The book is packed with so many helpful tips and ideas for any individual or family to apply to their life/lives. 

One of the first ideas she presents is to assess your home’s safety.  There are only a few questions, but they are ones that are so important to take the time to answer.

The other idea that I thought is a good one is creating a Preparedness Notebook.  Below are the key points that the author makes in the book.

My goal is to get the Preparedness Notebook done this weekend; and determine if there are any improvements that need to be made to the home to make it safer. 

To make your own card catalog cards, go HERE.

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