Archive for the ‘simplicity’ Category

I was looking at the Handbook of Nature Study website, and came across Outdoor Hour Challenge #10 –

Throughout this post, three different typefaces are used:
– Bold – are words from the Handbook of Nature Study website.
– Italics – are words from the book titled Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock.
– Regular – are my own words.

The website said, “Picnics don’t need to be fancy. Wrap up a sandwich in a cloth napkin, grab a piece of fruit, and some water and you are set. Venture outside even if it is only to your own yard to sit on a blanket and enjoy your lunch. Afterwards you can make time for a short period of nature study.”

So, that’s what we did today…on my 45th birthday. 

1. The challenge is to have a picnic. No need to go far or to even have a picnic table. Food always tastes better outside and if you don’t want to commit to a whole lunch, why not just a snack?

“…When the weather is warm, why not eat breakfast and lunch outside?
…Besides the benefit of an added hour or two of fresh air,
meals eaten outside are often delightful, and
there’s nothing like happiness to convert food and drink
into healthy blood and bodies.”
~~ Charlotte Mason, Outdoor Life, page 43

We ended up having a light dinner and dessert outside on the little deck.  The girls brought out pillows and blankets to sit on. 

Olivia and Sophia having dinner on the deck.

After dinner, we enjoyed French silk pie.  Sophia wanted to put candles on the pie.  They were lit in the home and mudroom, but slowly went out one by one by the time the pie got to me.  “You can still make a wish, and pretend to blow out the candles!”

Sophia bringing out the French silk pie.

Pretending to blow out the candles I said, “Oh, wow!  Look at that!  I got them all out! The best I’ve ever done!”
After you eat, sit and listen to the sounds of nature.

“Given the power of nature to calm and soothe us in our hurried lives,
it also would be interesting to study how a family’s connection to nature
influences the general quality of family relationships.
Speaking from personal experience,
my own family’s relationships have been nourished over the years
through shared experiences in nature-
from sharing our toddler’s wonder upon turning over a rock and
discovering a magnificent bug the size of a mouse,
to paddling our old canoe down a nearby creek
during the children’s school years,
to hiking the mountains.”
~~Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods
We listened to nature before we ate and at times while we were eating.  The birds were singing (especially the wrens who have a nest near the deck), the swallows were flying around the backyard and then under the eaves of the barn, and the wind was blowing lightly.  It was a beautiful night to have a picnic.

The pine tree next to the deck and back of the house.
It is now taller than the house.

We spent some time looking at the vegetable/herb garden, flower garden, strawberries, and clover – all of which are subjects of other nature studies that we have done/are in the process of doing during the upcoming day or so.

The first tiger lily of the season bloomed on the 29th of June…my birthday.

2. After your picnic, spend 10-15 minutes observing your surroundings. Add anything new to your list of items observed in your focus area that you are keeping in your nature journal. Make note of any additional research that needs to be done for things your child is interested in. Make a journal entry if you wish.

We didn’t spend time after the picnic outside because the mosquitos were getting progressively worse.  The girls get rather significant reactions to mosquito bites, so it was better to go inside at that point.

The girls are interested in the tiny toads that they have been finding.  At 1/4″ long, they are very small; in fact, the smallest we’ve ever seen here.


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For the 26th week of the 52 Books in 52 Weeks challenge, I chose All That Matters by Jan Goldstein.  I enjoyed this book; and read it in a couple of days.  Although it was rather predictable, it was a very moving story of the relationship between a granddaughter and grandmother. 

The story centers around a 23 year old suicidal woman (Jennifer) who finds happiness and purpose in life with the help of her grandmother, a Holocaust survivor.

At the beginning of the book, Jennifer thinks there is little to live for: her mother is dead, her Hollywood-producer father is busy with his picturesque new family, and her boyfriend has dropped her. She attempts to take her life, but ends up being released into the care of her grandmother, Gittel “Gabby” Zuckerman.

Gabby takes Jennifer back with her to New York with the hope of helping Jennifer.  It is not so much Jennifer’s story that is fascinating, but rather Gabby’s story of surviving the Holocaust that is the most engaging part of the book.

As the author notes at the beginning of the book, “When I was a young boy my father’s first cousin, Fania Ingber, shared with me the story of how she survived the Nazis: hiding in the forest as a young girl and later in the attic of a righteous woman for two years.  Those details help form the character of Gabby.  Through her I humbly pay tribute to all the survivors, the Fanias of the world, each with his or her own indomitable spirit.”

Keeping this in mind, when Gabby finally shares her story with Jennifer during a trip they take to Maine, it is captivating to read – even if it’s fiction.  Gabby said that after witnessing her parents and sister murdered by the Nazis that she didn’t have the will to live.  She was found wandering in the open by a woman who had frequented her father’s shop (he was a tailor). 

The woman (Mrs. Pulaski) screamed at her, “‘Foolish girl, don’t you see it is not for you to throw away what your family was so desperate to have? You must choose life. You must live for those who had no choice.”

She described how she hid in Mrs. Pulaski’s attic: “During the day I would cling to the slanted walls.  This way my feet would not touch down on the floorboard.” (This was important because Mrs. Pulaski was a seamstress who had customers who came to her home and any noise from the attic might alert others that she was hiding someone…a crime punishable by death.)

Gabby continued, “Hanging on, I would feel my knuckles turn white with pain. Many times they became so numb I could not feel them again for several hours.”  She lived this way for a very long time as a teenager, and eventually broke down crying one night as Mrs. Pulaski comforted her. 

Mrs. Pulaski said, “There are times when it seems everything good in life has been taken from us…Now is such a time.  But I promise you, little one, if you open your eyes, your heart, you will find there are still gifts waiting for you each day.”

She encouraged Gabby to try to find at least one good thing each day – a dream, a bright yellow butterfly sunning itself, a glimpse of sunlight through the crack in the roof, a memory of her mother’s cooking, the sound of rain, and so forth.

After sharing her story with Jennifer, Gabby told her, “There is a gift waiting for you each day…If you’re willing to see it, hear it, even feel it, it’s there.” 

It was on the trip to Maine that this story was shared.  In addition, Gabby and Jennifer visited several places that sounded interesting including the Norman Rockwell Museum. 

There were paintings there that were based on a speech given by President Franklin Roosevelt outlining the Four Freedoms to which every human being was entitled:
-> Freedom from want
-> Freedom of worship
-> Freedom of speech and expression
-> Freedom from fear

As I read (and re-read) these Four Freedoms, I thought of the last book I read (Another Place at the Table) which focused on the United States’ foster care system, and the challenges that the children in it have faced in their young lives.  I thought that some of these core freedoms – freedom from fear, wants, speech/expression – were violated in many of the cases shared in that book. 

All That Matters is also the second book that I’ve recently read that encouraged one of the main characters to keep a journal.  Gabby gave Jennifer a journal and said, “The pages are empty. They wait for you to fill them, to tell about the gifts you will find each day….

“Maybe, when you are going through a difficult time – and such days are part of the challenge we get to face in living – you will take out this book and read what you have already written.  It will remind you that while there is darkness, you also have good, beauty, light, and rich memories to cling to.”

Gabby writes a message to Jennifer in her journal: “To my greatest gift, my granddaughter – Listen for me in your heart, that is where I choose now to live…for that is my heaven. Love, Nana.”

All That Matters is a story about the will to survive – on several different levels and with different characters.  It is a good reminder that each person has their own challenges…and, sometimes, the difficulties we face are small compared to ones others have had to deal with in their lives. 

The book also serves to underscore the importance of looking for at least one thing each day that is a gift…something positive that helps you get through the day.

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The girls are getting ready for showing projects and doing a demonstration at the County Fair this year.  Sophia’s demonstration is about different ways that herbs can be used.  She will show that one of the ways herbs are used is with personal care products. 

In preparation for her demonstration, we made homemade herbal shampoo using herbs from our garden as well as dried herbs and flowers from the co-op.  All the herbs and flowers are organically grown. 


You’ll need:

• Basic plain shampoo or castile soap (we used Dr. Bronner’s Unscented Baby Soap – liquid form)
• Glycerin
• Your favorite herbs (fresh or dried)
• An empty bottle (about 20 ounces – we used 16 ounces and had some extra shampoo leftover)

For the herbs, you will need either:
1/4-1/2 cup of dried herbs
1/2-2/3 cup fresh herbs

You can also add a few tablespoons of dried citrus zest to the mixture as well.

The amount you use depends on how strong you like your herbal shampoo to smell. Some herbs have a stronger smell than others do, so you might need just a small amount of one herb while needing a larger amount of another.

Sophia measuring fresh rosemary.

Note:  For one batch of shampoo, we used 1/4 cup dried lavender and 1/4 cup dried rose buds.  For the other shampoo, we used 1/3 cup fresh rosemary and 1/3 cup fresh mint. 


Mix the herbs with 2 cups of water in a pot on the stove and heat without boiling for about 5 minutes, then turn off the heat. Let the herbs steep for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stirring lavender and rose buds.


You can either strain the herbs from the water, and move on to the next step, or you can put the water and herb mixture in a blender to reduce the size of the chunks of herbs and leave them in your shampoo. It is all a matter of preference. (I strained the herbs and flowers from the water.  A few pieces snuck into the water, but not many.)

Straining the water from the rosemary and mint
after steeping the herbs for 30 minutes.


Add 1 cup of basic unscented shampoo or castile soap to the scented water and stir or whisk gently.

Stirring castile soap into the scented water.


Add 1 cup of glycerin to the mixture and stir or whisk well.

Pouring glycerine into shampoo.


Pour your homemade herbal shampoo into a bottle and enjoy!

Sophia pouring shampoo into a bottle
while I hold the funnel.
The lavender-rose shampoo turned out much darker than the rosemary-mint shampoo.  Both smell equally strong, so there doesn’t seem to be a difference whether we used dry or fresh herbs. 
However, there is something to be said for being able to go to your garden and pick what you want your shampoo to smell like…without all the chemicals that store-bought shampoos have in them.

The girls worked together to
fill Olivia’s bottle of shampoo.

The girls are so excited to use the shampoo, and each likes the scent of shampoo that they made.

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In the September 15, 2009, issue of Woman’s Day, there were some ideas for cleaning for less money.  Some of the ideas included:

Air Freshener:  Put some drops of essential oil in a saucepan of water.  Just boil a little and then let simmer for a bit.  The aroma will go through the house.

Pan of water and three essential oils.

I combined ten drops each of three essential oils:  mandarin, ravensara, and bergamot.  After bringing the water to almost a boil, I simmered for about a half an hour.  The house smelled wonderful.  What I liked about this is that there were no chemicals or artifical smells…only water and essential oils.

Water with essential oils simmering on the stove.

Window and Glass Cleaner:  Put 1 part ammonia, 3 parts water, and a dot of dishwashing soap in a spray bottle.

Although this may be a frugal household cleaner, the ammonia (even in its 1:3 ratio) is not something I want to use in my home. 

According to New York’s Department of Health, “Ammonia is irritating and corrosive….Inhalation of lower concentrations can cause coughing, and nose and throat irritation.  Children exposed to the same concentrations of ammonia vapor as adults may receive a larger dose because they have greater lung surface area-to-body weight ratios and increased minute volumes-to-weight ratios.

“In addition, they may be exposed to higher concentrations than adults in the same location because of their shorter height and the higher concentrations of ammonia vapor initially found near the ground.

“Exposure to low concentrations of ammonia in air or solution may produce rapid skin or eye irritation.”

So, I looked for an alternative natural window and mirror cleaner, and found several that use vinegar as a base instead. 

Ingredients for Homemade Window Cleaner:
Vinegar, Essential Oils, Water, and Empty Spray Bottle.

Combining these recipes, I came up with my own for cleaning windows and mirrors:

1/2 cup of vinegar
12 drops rosemary essential oil
12 drops peppermint essential oil

Pour 1/2 cup of vinegar into a spray bottle and fill it within a couple of inches from the top with water. Add the essential oils.  Place the top on the bottle and gently shake it. 

To use, spray it on the surface (window or mirror). Rub it with a lint-free rag.  (Note: Test a small area of your mirror or window before cleaning the entire surface.)

Initially, I didn’t shake the essential oils to distribute them throughout the bottle, so the only thing that was spraying onto the windows was vinegar.  Needless to say, it wasn’t a pleasant smell. 

I shook the bottle a bit, and then sprayed it on a window.  What a difference!  The smell of peppermint and rosemary filled the area I was working in.  It was such a refreshing change from the lavender-scented window cleaner I’ve been using. Even though it’s an all-natural cleaner, it is nice to have a different scent that I like when I clean the home.

Clean windows…without any chemicals!

The last product I made wasn’t in Woman’s Day, it was one that I saw on the internet that I wanted to try.  It’s for homemade laundry detergent. 

Ingredients for homemade laundry soap.

1 bar of Fels Naptha Soap
1 cup Washing Soda (this is not baking soda…washing soda is found in the laundry aisle)
1 cup Borax

Finely grate the bar of Fels Naptha Soap so that you have two cups total. 

Grating Fels Naptha Sopa.

Mix the ingredients well and store in an airtight plastic container.  Use two tablespoons per full load.

Homemade laundry soap.

There’s another homemade laundry detergent that I’m going to make that doesn’t use Fels Naptha Soap, that is more eco-friendly.  This recipe comes from HERE; and makes approximately five cups: 

2 cups (finely) grated castile soap (e.g., Dr. Bronner’s lavender)
1 cup borax
1 cup baking soda
1 cup washing soda
10 drops lavender essential oil (or blend of essential oils of your choice)

Mix all the ingredients together. Store in airtight container like a mason jar or glass canister. Start with about 1/8 a cup per load and go from there. You may need to give the jar a shake or a stir once in a while to prevent the soap flakes from settling to the bottom. Recipe doubles well.

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This week I chose The Art of Simplicity by Candy Paull for my 21st book to read in the 52 Books in 52 Weeks challenge. 

I ordered this book from the library after seeing it on a recommended reading list that was distributed at a homeschool conference workshop about simplifying one’s life.  In addition to The Art of Simplicity, I ordered several other books that have the same overall theme. 

In comparison to the other books, The Art of Simplicity has a wealth of quotes from a variety of individuals.  There is limited writing by the author, though what is written is interesting and insightful. 

The author invites the reader to “…come explore the potential and magnificent power that has been buried beneath the clutter and confusion for so long.  Enter into the freedom of simplicity.”

I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things of life
which are the real ones after all.
Laura Ingalls Wilder

She encourages the reader to shift one’s focus:  “When you are tempted to focus too much attention on what you don’t have, a make a conscious decision to shift your focus to what you already have, and decide to appreciate it and enjoy it more fully and completely.”

The Art of Simplicity provides a thoughtful and, perhaps, different definition of simplicity than what other books about the same topic suggest.  “Simplicity is found in the common objects and objectives of each day.  It is in the choices to create inner stillness through meditation and prayer, clearing clutter in both inner and outer life, choosing positive rather than negative thoughts, handling money and resources wisely, and making that which is most meaningful to you a priority.”

The author continues to describe what simplicity is: “Whether it is in clothing that expresses your styles and values, or a home that provides a nurturing atmosphere, or meaningful work that satisfies your creative soul and helps others, or loving relationships that balance giving and receiving, or creating a more sustainable and just society, true simplicity integrates our gifts, talents, and choices with the deep needs of the world.”

Since The Art of Simplicity has so many quotes that I want to share with my daughters (who may not fully appreciate them now when they are in elementary school, but certainly could when they are older). I thought it would make a good starting point for copywork, transcription, and dictation lessons during the upcoming homeschooling year. (The website Simply Charlotte Mason has some guidelines for each grade with regard to this subject.)

What I like about this book is that it gives the motivation to simplify one’s life not with a list of “To Do” items, but rather with quotes that are inspiring and create the desire to change.  As the author concludes in the last chapter of The Art of Simplicity, “…the choices and attitudes that make life simpler and easier are ones of character and integrity. 

“Because you choose to cultivate character, honor your responsibilities, and believe in your own potential for good, you become a blessing to everyone around you.  You become a channel for good in the world, fulfilling your potential and your calling in ways that expand ever outward.”

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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.


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)


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’ 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)


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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