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Weekend Wrap-up. Inspired Reads

So, the hubby is still hobbling around on crutches and we’re still waiting for test results to determine if surgery is needed to fix his foot.  In the meantime, life has returned to a sense of normalcy. Graduation plans are underway for our oldest, who is finishing up the last of her classes despite a […]

Simplifying Life in The Kitchen: Simple Mason Spice Jars

Spice rack with logo

I love finding ways to simplify my life, but I especially love finding ways to simplify in the kitchen.  I’ll freely admit that I’m not a big fan of cooking, but the fact that my family needs to eat every day keeps me cooking away.  Other than using my “Meal Planning” tool, having a well ordered kitchen helps get dinner on the table quickly.

So when I find something that simplifies the meal-making process, I can’t be any happier.

In our current home, I have just a few bottom kitchen cabinets and then open shelving above the counter.  Since I didn’t want my spices disappearing in a bottom cabinet, I knew I would need to place them on the open shelving above the counter.

Now, while I am all about keeping things simple, I don’t think that means we have to forgo the aesthetics of our home.  I think we can still have purposeful things in our home and yet beauty to balance them out.

I honestly didn’t want to be looking at all my various sized spice jars and containers.  Some were in plastic bottles, others in boxes, and yet more in small Tupperware containers. That works fine for a closed cabinet, but with open shelving it just looks like a chaotic mess.

So when I stumbled on these Mason Jar Spice Lids, I knew I had found a solution to the jumbled mess of spice bottles that were lining my open shelves.  I love that the top piece pops up and locks in place, allowing you to shake out the amount of spice needed.  If you need a bit more, simply screw the top off and use a measuring spoon to easily access the contents.

Spice lid with logo

The best part about these lids?  They are made to fit a standard mouth Mason canning jar.  If you haven’t guessed already, I love Mason Jars! We use them for canning, drinking glasses, and to hold everything from dried goods to toothbrushes in the bathroom.  And now here is another great way to use something I already had on hand and would look really cool sitting on a shelf.

For my purposes, I used three sizes but my favorite size is the Mason 8 oz jelly jar.

Lid and jar w logoI then ordered self-laminating writable stickers to place on the spice jars.  What I love about these labels is that when I empty a jar I can easily wash it without losing the label and having to redo them over and over.

Other jars with logoThey are also great for labeling other things as well – such as my gallon glass jars that hold flour, sugar and brown sugar.

Now all my spices are lined up on the bottom shelf right above the stove.  When it’s time to make a meal or bake up some goodies, all I have to do is check the label and grab the spice I need right from the shelf.  And of course, there is no guessing when I’m running low because the amount of spice left is clearly visible.

There are so many reasons I love my new spice jars, including the fact that they look great and give a homey and pleasing look to my kitchen.  That’s a win-win in my book. 

If you want an all-in-one option – check out the Ball Herb Jars.  You get the jar and lids all in one.  I found it was a bit more expensive that way, but it is a tad more convenient.

~Victoria

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3 Ways to Instill Thankfulness In Our Children

Instill Thankfulness in child w logoOur oldest daughter was just shy of two years old.  We sat in my in-laws living room watching her amidst all the boxes, wrapping and bows.   It was so much fun to see her having so much fun.

The last present was deposited into her chubby little arms.  Her lips puckered pensively, trying to figure out where to open the package first.  With one swift pull she ripped paper down the side.   And there it was.  A beautiful toy, shiny in all it’s newness.

She stared briefly up at us, back down to her new toy, and then this word……...More? 

I was baffled.  The child had everything her little heart could want.  Piled around her were toys, clothes, coloring books and videos.

When she realized that “more” was not forthcoming she expressed herself as any child wanting more, does.   She leaned back and pitched an absolute fit!  Tears, snot, arms and legs were flying everywhere.  It was not a pretty site. (Excerpt From “Simplifying Christmas: 4 Tips To Simple Giving.”) 

After that year we decided a new strategy was in order.  Not only in our gift giving but in the lessons we were (or were not) teaching our daughter.  While a fit at two years old is never pretty, I certainly did not want to imagine the same fit at 12.

But it’s not just about teaching our children to be thankful at Thanksgiving time or grateful at Christmas time.  It’s about teaching and instilling a spirit of Thankfulness all year long.

So how do we practically do that?

 

barn childHere are three key ways we have worked with our children over the years to help instill a spirit of thankfulness.

  1.  Model Thankfulness – If we want our children to be thankful then we must model thankfulness.  Find opportunities throughout the day and week to express things YOU are thankful for.  It doesn’t have to be big things, even the smallest expression of thankfulness can be powerful.
  2. Give Opportunities to Express Thankfulness – Give your children opportunities to express thankfulness.  We do this in several ways:
    • Taking turns around the table to share one thing we are thankful for from our day.
    • While riding in the car asking them to share one thing they are thankful for from their day at school/co-op – Maybe a project went well or a friend encouraged them in some way.
    • Asking them WHO they are thankful for and why – this helps take the focus off themselves and helps them begin to think of others and the world around them.
  3. Serve Others-  Sometimes the greatest lessons in thankfulness is serving others.  Something powerful happens when we teach our children to look past themselves and care for those around them, especially those who are going through a difficult or challenging season.  Here are some things we have done as a family:
    • Make a meal for a family or individual walking through a difficult time and delivering it to their home.
    • Volunteer at your local soup kitchen or food pantry.

coffeeThere are many ways to help instill thankfulness in our children but ultimately it comes down to us as parents and caregivers.  We must lead the way consistently by modeling, giving opportunities and teaching our children to serve others around them.

As we gather this week around the table, let’s commit to making Thanksgiving more than one day on the calendar.  Let’s commit to making it an every day celebration of Thankfulness.

~Victoria

Now it’s your turn – What is One thing you are thankful for? Why? 

From Couch Potato To Spartan Racer: An Update

Coach Potato to Spartan Racer Update SimplifiedLife.netIt’s been 3 1/2 months since I first wrote about my decision to finally become intentional about my health.

In my initial post –  “Couch Potato To Spartan Racer”  – I talked rather candidly about where I was in my current health journey and my plan to move myself from Coach Potato to Spartan Racer.

Now, I’ll be straight up honest that I’m still not sure if I will make the Spartan Race in August that my brother initially challenged me too.  I know how important it is to be adequately prepared for such a race and as much as I would like to be ready, this body is not quite there yet.   But if not this one, then I’ll keep working away until I do get there, even if that means next year or the next.  Maybe it will be a whole different race.  For me it’s not so much about the race, but about the journey on the way there.

As I shared in my initial post, I was a high school athlete.  I loved running and being a part of a team.  But then high school ended.

Soon came marriage and four children – all incredible blessings in my life.  Age started creeping in on me, along with some health struggles and an strong addiction to Mt. Dew.

Why it took me so long to start getting healthy it’s hard to say, but I always had a reason to not get started.  I’ve spun all the excuses – Not enough time, not enough resources, it’s raining, it’s too hot, it’s windy, I’m too tired, so-n-so needs me, I can’t, frankly I just don’t want to…..the list can go on for a million miles. Read more

5 Tips for Creating Simple Dinners

5 tips for creating simple dinners simplifiedlife.net

This week join me in welcoming Tasia Boland of Batavias Best Bargains to the Simplified Life.  Tasia has been a guest blogger for me in the past and has had some great tips to share about leading a simplified life.  Her post Lessons In Simplifying: When Less Becomes More really resonated with our readers as she shared her personal story of learning to live with less.  

So without further adieu, let’s hear from Tasia as she shares some great tips with us for creating Simple Dinners.

time for dinner already SimplifiedLife.net

 

Have you ever felt like your grocery shopping has started to take over your budget?  It seems that no matter how hard you try, there’s not enough cash available at the end of the list?

Or maybe your catching all the listed items on sale using your coupons but still wondering if you can spend less?

I have good news for you.  The answer is Yes! Read more

When Simplifying Life Isn’t Simple & 4 Ways To Jumpstart The Process

When Simplifying Life Isn't Simple & 4 Ways To Jumpstart The Process

Ironic isn’t it?  The fact that getting our lives to a simplified state is not exactly simple.  Often, it’s anything but simple. It can feel complicated, messy and overwhelming.

A few weeks ago I received a comment from a reader , responding to the post about our family living in my parents basement temporarily during our transition.  After editing out his colorful use of language, the comment came out something like this: “How in the world is that simple? Moving from one home, becoming landlords, disrupting the parents life and then moving into another house. Seriously! How is that simple?” 

I couldn’t agree more wholeheartedly!  The process of simplifying our lives is not simple.  Actually, it’s the complete opposite.  It’s hard work, physically, emotionally and even spiritually. Read more