Posted in Mental Health, minimalism, saving money

My Inner Hoarder can’t Let Go

Yesterday I was prepping for guests, making the bed, and as I put the pale sage fitted sheet on the queen bed I noticed how worn out the fabric was looking.  (That was right after I found that not one, not two, but three of our pillow cases had tiny holes in them. )Screen Shot 2019-08-12 at 5.41.09 AM.png

All of our sheet sets are probably 10 years old, gotten when we married.  Not only were they just worn from age, but this particular fitted sheet had a color-removed stain on it.  (I’d say bleach but I don’t use bleach).

Hmmm, not quite something you’d be delighted to sleep on if you were a guest, eh?  So I swiped the sheet back off and took it up to my hubby, and asked if we should just keep these for use on our own bed.  After all, people can still sleep on a stain, right?  Isn’t it wasteful to throw it away?  Then my hubby asked, “Being wasteful to toss it? Or…Hoarding?”

I kind of wanted him to say, “Eh, no big deal, we can use them on our bed.  It’s good to have second set of flannel sheets anyhow!”  That would have made it easy.  I could have put them away and been content.  But no.  He had to point out that it was decision time.

 He’s the original minimalist in our family, y’all.  Like when I met him he had an entire house and no furniture other than dining table, computer/office chairs, and an air mattress.  So his “what we need” opinion is whack, right?!

Guys, it’s like I have a bag lady on one shoulder and a monk on another or some such ridiculousness going on in my head.  Bag Lady says “Don’t waste anything!” and Monk says, “You need little to be happy.”  And their opposing viewpoints make it so not-zen in my noggin!

So while my little shoulder peeps were arguing, I dug out my circular cutter and cutting mat and made a deal with myself.  I could not bring myself to throwing the sheet away.  It’s not good enough to donate, but I still felt it was useful, ya know?! So I struck a bargain.  I could spare myself the guilt (yes, that is what I experience) of throwing away something useful if I made it into something else useful–disposable cleaning rags.

(Because I could throw them away after cleaning the bathroom and not feel guilty.  Somehow vastly different if I threw the sheet away bit by bit rather than all at once.)  But ONLY IF I cut the sheet into rags RIGHT AWAY. Clutter is delayed decisions! (I’ve learned a few things in my time. Thanks, Clutter Fairy on Youtube!)

So zip zoom, that rotary cutter took 5 minutes.  (I would NOT have agreed to this deal if I had to use fabric scissors–too tedious, and would likely have been tucking the sheets in a far corner of a drawer, telling myself they will be useful as painting drop cloths, and forgetting about them.)

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So I shoved those new disposable bathroom rags in the sink cabinet and went back to realize…Dang.  There’s that top sheet.  Ugh.  I do NOT want to cut another whole queen sized sheet.  But I couldn’t toss it, so I wadded it up in my vintage Hoarder Mary Poppins’  Bag of Delayed Obligations (filled with “fix-it-eventually-maybe-because-I-can’t-bring-myself-to-toss-it items).  I love the bag but hate looking in it.  It is always full.  Because I’m a hoarder of stuff that’s “still useful” but not nice enough to give away or donate.

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Anybody know how to make me less attached to stuff like this?  Send help.  And new sheets, please.  (Just kidding, I do like shopping. But they are expensive aren’t they?  Have you noticed you have to get at least 400 thread count for them to last well?  Ten years is a good run, eh?)

*Disclaimer: Amazon affiliate links are sometimes used in my posts to share products I love and think you may also enjoy. That means at no extra cost to you, I may earn a commission from any purchases you make through the links, and that helps support my blog and is much appreciated.

 

Posted in Mental Health, minimalism, Uncategorized

Reading, Decluttering, and Craft Rooms make me Happy…Eve Schaub Combines them All!

Did you pick up Marie Kondo’s book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, only to toss it on your pile of stuff and think “That Konmarie method’s not for me”? Don’t let life and your mess overwhelm you.  Chill out, read THIS book instead, and get motivated because you’re not alone!

You’re not the only messy missy out there, and we can conquer our clutter together!  I get it! If you’re a “saver” (or admitted borderline hoarder, possibly) like me and Eve Schaub, the author of one of my favorite books which I highlight in this video, it can be an uphill battle…because we have LOTS of stuff. (Ok, maybe our hill is a MOUNTAIN of stuff!) Feel the camaraderie–savers unite! Let’s fight the battle of the bulging closed-door room!

You can find this awesome book , Year of No Clutter—a Memoir by Eve Schaub
at (*affiliate links to follow–see disclosure below) https://amzn.to/31eQZai .

Nothing can stop us now!  And maybe one day we’ll consider minimalism…

* Disclosure: My site contains affiliate links, which means at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission that will help support this channel if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the link. I share the links though for your ease and to offer resources that I personally found beneficial in my life and goals, and would love for you to have a similar positive experience with them.

Posted in Day in the life of a mom, DIY, Mental Health, minimalism, Uncategorized

How Minimalism Helped my Mind

Overwhelmed.  Distracted.  Discontent with status quo. Disgusted with myself and my inability to get organized. All that is how I felt a few years ago in the depth of my anxiety and discouragement with where my life was.  It just couldn’t stay that way.  I couldn’t stay that way.

I contemplated getting a professional organizer.  That would hurt the budget bigtime.  So I decided to start thinking like an organizer.  I started watching Lori Marrero videos on youtube.  Then I discovered Clutterbug, Clutter Fairy, and A Slob Comes Clean.  (That last one made me go, Nony the Slob is SO ME!).  I realized you can’t keep organizing if your space is too small for your stuff.

Enter Minimalism.  I dove in, and this was the last holdout: my craft room.  The room I’d close the door to when guests came over.  The room for a good portion of the time I couldn’t even walk in.  The dumping ground for completed project supplies and the graveyard for creative dreams I couldn’t achieve because I cringed at the idea of going in there.

My craft room was the place first place that made me want to get organized and declutter, and yet it was the last place I conquered in my home because I felt SO OVERWHELMED by it!

Check out my journey and how Minimalism helped this momma’s mind!

Posted in Day in the life of a mom, Mental Health, minimalism

If You’re a Mom Struggling with Depression, Fatigue or Other Chronic Health Issues, you’re NOT Alone!

In a perfect world, motherhood would exempt a person from health struggles that really affect functioning.  It’s hard enough to face your own struggles, then on top of that see how your family is affected by them too.  For the past few weeks I’ve been pretty wiped out.  I went back to having practically zero energy, achiness, and lower than usual mood.  I have to combat the fear that I will stay stuck in barely surviving-mode.  I can only guess what took me down was a combo of hormones out of whack again, eating some mystery ingredient(s?) that my body didn’t agree with, and a lot of rain.  It can cause a lot of anxiety to feel like you need to fix this NOW and get your family thriving again.  That pressure just makes things worse if you let it linger.

What do I do when I get a big health setback?  I generally

  1. Give myself room to rest.  I let my spouse know what’s going on with me mentally and physically, and I don’t push myself to be super-woman.  I make sure we have gluten free frozen pizza for my kids, or some other fast meal options I don’t have to do much to plan or prepare for.
    Along those lines, I dismiss any timetable pressure.  As much as possible, don’t let that calendar boss you around and stress you out when you’re struggling!  Health and family are more important than losing my mind trying to muster energy I don’t have to accomplish goals that honestly won’t improve my or my family’s life a ton in this season, and others can live without the outcome.  I’ll enjoy setting and accomplishing bigger goals again when they’re flowing from creative energy instead of forcing it during a time of depletion.
  2. Try to walk [the dog] a mile each morning.  If I start the morning walking [the dog] first thing, then I know I’ve gotten serotonin and dopamine going…and it chills out my anxious dog Kody, as well.   I find even on my lowest energy days, I can make a mile walk happen, even if I have to nap later that morning.
  3. Occasionally, if I can’t get out of a funk, I go get a Haircut (or update it myself at home). Psychology might point to how controlling one’s environment, or in my case, haircut, can make a person feel better about the things they can’t control.  But personally, I think the bigger deal is feeling more put-together and polished with a defined haircut–a boost in morale I guess.  I guess some would call this the “treat yourself” method.  Some do shopping therapy, but as a minimalist, this suits me better and I don’t get overwhelmed by more stuff in my house. 6OgmxgZZRBa41JPx0G6gaQ_thumb_3ee8
  4.   Find one thing to improve in my life or perspective. I’m talking about figuring something out that brightens your living environment or makes life easier on a body.  On a long health-journey, you can get so worn out with trudging through the challenges that it is essential to figure out stress reduction and energy-conservation methods.

    Some friends (even those without health struggles, but who are trying to reduce stress and be less irritable mothers, etc) hire a house cleaner, for instance.  I opted to get a little robot vacuum * to clean our laminate wood floors and low-pile carpets, since they can go under the couch and get all the sand a dirt my kids and dog track in from out back.

    This can apply to your health condition specifically as well.  Some reduce stress through massage therapy and other means like acupuncture.  One exciting possibility for me is getting my varicose veins fixed after getting ultrasounds showing I have venous reflux, or blood flowing backward.  (Yes, I am in my 30s and have varicose veins.  They happened after my 2nd pregnancy).  Improved blood flow should increase energy levels and even mental health.

    Getting positive input
    to keep my head above water is crucial.  Some options I like are listening to audible books like Lysa TerKeurst’s  It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way or an encouraging podcast like Risen Motherhood .

    As part of my rest and recover plan, and also for putting myself in a good headspace, I ditched the dishes and laundry and took the kids to a relaxing county park beach during their free admission week.  I thank God for providing that option to me!  The sound of waves and sand on my feet, and a sunny week to recharge did wonders for me.  It was easy to smile with the sun warming my back, the water cooling my toes, pretty shells and tiny crabs to inspire awe at the world once again.  IMG_5421.JPG
    I hope you know whatever you’re facing, there is hope for tomorrow.  Blessings to you, friend.

    *Disclosure: Some links may be affliate links, simply meaning at no cost to you I may earn a commission which will support my blog if you click and make a purchase.

Posted in Day in the life of a mom, DIY, Featured Inspiration, Kids Activity Ideas, minimalism, painting, Ponderings about life, Quick Project, sensory processing disorder

Is Boredom why Your Kids are Squabbling this Summer?

How’s your summer going, parents?  Staying sane and happy? It’s been a bit over a week since we got back from vacation, and I am still trying to get the laundry under control…But at least it’s off the couch today! When a mom’s got work to do, there’s nothing so irksome as squabbling kiddos, eh?!

As I try to be productive and get the house back in order, I’ve noticed that to minimize interruptions due to my kids’ arguments, I’ve got to nip their boredom in the bud! I’ll clarify that I believe there is a positive state similar to boredom, which is space for the mind to wander, get lost in imagination, and enjoy not having to do anything at all.  Having opportunity for that can be a very good thing because it leaves space for contentment without busyness.

The problem comes when you get restless and brooding boredom, that tension between pent-up energy and no appealing outlet for it, that often leads to inappropriate expressions.  So, your kids are home from school with you and you want to harness that energy constructively, without resorting to mesmerizing them with screens all day, right? What can you do to banish boredom?

My best boredom-busting tip and survival secret as a mom has been planning OUTSIDE TIME! Maybe it’s that the sensory diet is so rich–ambient noises of birds, the feel of the breeze, the colors and smells of flowers, etc., that seems to soothe tempestuous little people.  In fact, when my kids are in an emotional storm, I often give them an option to head out back to calm down…and it has yet to stop working.

Here’s a list of 4 easy ways you can beat boredom and add some outdoor magic to your summer days:

1.  Paint outside like a master (this is especially ideal for mommas who cringe at the idea of the mess that craft/paint projects can bring with them).  Have the kiddos wear old clothes and head outside with some finger paints and put up some big blank art pages (or recycle by using some newspaper or cardboard) on your fence or shed. (Make sure it’s washable of course.) 

 

 
2.  Picnic on your porch or in your backyard. Simple smoothies, watermelon or popsicle/ other snacks count, too. We do this frequently and my kids suggest it themselves often.  I love my covered patio swing because even when I’m worn out, my kids and I can go enjoy some shade and sit together as I rest with a cup of tea in my hands! They usually finish their snack up and scamper off to play nearby while I recharge.

3.  Schedule some Park time We keep revisiting a peaceful sandy spot near a river. It has a swing which appeals to my daughter, and my son loves digging in the sand or catching minnows with his über fun telescopic net!  You could combine #1 and park time for even more cool-mom points! It’s pretty easy to throw together sandwiches and carrot sticks plus yogurt tubes for al fresco fare. 

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4.  People, learn about your local historic landmarks! It’s fun!! My family loves history and actually going to historic spots really makes the books about long-past time periods come alive.  (BTW, no need for a gym membership in 1735.  Those buckets are HEAVY!)

 

Yesterday we found a free event called the Lavender Festival at Hancock’s Resolution, a farm established in 1733 that even included beekeeping education with a working apiary.  (Did you know a queen bee can lay up to 1,000 eggs if needed, and that the workers determine the sex of new bees by what they feed the queen?!)

 


But, if it’s a rainy day, remember you have indoor options too!  You got this! Go forth and carpe diem!

*I’ve used affiliate links for your convenience should you be interested in obtaining something I mentioned.  Commissions as an Amazon Affiliate member help me out as I provide free content for your enjoyment!  Thanks for stopping by!

Posted in Featured Inspiration, Mental Health, Quick Project, sensory processing disorder, Uncategorized

Summer Break: Parents, Don’t let it Break You!

Parents, need ideas to keep kiddos occupied so you don’t go insane…without micromanaging their every move this summer?  AND without them being glued to screens?  I’ll be honest…I was kind of dreading summer, until I remembered I’m in charge of the way things go, and if I determine to plan a fun summer, I’ll most likely get it!  Our family vacation will provide a change of scenery (and checking out dinosaur bones!) but after that, I know I will come back to our everyday reality, and when I do, I’m prepared!  I’ll share what we’re up to as we go along!

The key isn’t to smash a billion activities into the weeks during summer.  That will add stress (to mom, especially), even if you are keeping everybody occupied.  The solution is providing opportunities for self-led play, discovery, and creativity.  And I feel really lucky that my daughter received an ideal birthday gift for montessori-type fun just in time for summer!

This kinetic sand gets my vote for most amount of active playtime in one sitting!  So far, they’ve been playing with it more than any other toy or activity opportunity in our house.  This week since we’ve been back from our trip to Ohio over Memorial day (when we weathered a tornado), it’s been out by my kids’ own volition three days in a row, over an hour each day at a time, and for several hours yesterday morning! And it’s already been out this morning again!

My kids are 5 an 6, but I think it would be a hit for younger and older kids as well! I even like playing with it because it doesn’t leave a weird feeling on my hands like play dough can. 

It’s easy to sweep up if some falls on the floor (but if I’d thought to have them use a rimmed tray that wouldn’t have happened), no drying and gunking things up!  (In fact, another part of occupying themselves has been customizing it with glitter…and you know how glitter gets everywhere…and setting them loose with a cordless hand vac like this one:

Which of course with a lot of praise about their skill and thoroughness makes for a proud, happy kiddo…and mom.)  Check out the full kinetic sand assortment on Amazon if you want to see the different varieties…dino digs, sand castles, Paw Patrol, etc.!)

#Summerbreak #summeractivity #notbored

(*For your convenience, I’ve used affiliate links to the products on Amazon. Saves you time finding the product I’ve talked about, no extra cost if you purchase the item, and helps support me in creating more content!  Thanks so much!)

Posted in Gluten Free, healthy diet, recipe, saving money

Post-Easter Instant Pot Ham and Bean Soup

I bought my Instant Pot  in Nov. 2016…I have used it about every day, multiple times a day, and can’t imagine my gluten-free life without it!!  It reduces my stress levels involving food prep significantly, especially since my diet has had to evolve so greatly.

This is one of my son’s favorite soups, which he calls “camping soup” ever since we read about what cowboys ate back in the day.  Recently I became aware that onions and garlic really upset my stomach (possibly due to chronic SIBO issues) and I had to start removing that from my cooking.  While beans are not Low FODMAP in general, they do not bother my stomach when I’ve soaked them overnight.

(We’ve also been using these digestive enzyme capsules for myself and my husband, and for the kids chewable digestive enzymes , and nobody felt bad or gassy after eating.  With chronic fatigue and high stress overall in our family, I felt it necessary to use digestive enzymes for a time until we’re seeing improvement.  After all, the saying “You are what you eat” is not so accurate; it’s more like, “You are what you absorb.”  Malabsorption issues (leaky gut) can do a number on your health no matter what organic, healthy stuff you’re eating.  If you’re not digesting well, nothing else goes well, at least in my experience.)

I keep shredded or sliced celery and carrots in the freezer for easy meal prep. This turned out so tasty that my son, who is learning a lot of new vocabulary, told me “Congratulations for how well this turned out.” hahaa

IP Ham and Bean Camping Soup

1 lb.  soaked beans (I used red beans, white beans or other are good too)
1 lb ham or ham bone with meat
2 c. shredded carrots
1/2 c. diced celery/celery leaves
2 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. smoked paprika (optional, but adds depth of flavor)
2 qt.s broth or filtered water, up to the fill line on the IP
3/4 c sliced fresh chives (or 1 Tbsp dried)
shake or two of cherrywood smoked sea salt
pepper to taste

1. Combine the above ingredients in the instant pot.
2.  Set IP to manual for 25 minutes, and release pressure naturally, or 30 minutes and release when it beeps.

( These are affiliate links. I hope to save you time searching for something I mention that you may find helpful, too.  If you make a purchase there is no extra cost to you, but it provides me with a small commission as an Amazon Associates member that helps me as I continue providing content for you! Thanks for your support!)

Posted in autism spectrum disorder, Mental Health, sensory processing disorder

Pursuing Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnosis

When you realize that coping has not improved beyond a certain point for your child, and meltdowns that stress the whole family exhaustingly occur daily, it is heartbreaking not to have an immediate solution.  I’ve read book upon book hoping to find the key to ease my son’s struggle with spectrum and SPD/OCD behaviors.  There has been amazing growth in my understanding of how his brain works, which helps immensely in parenting, but I’ve realized that isn’t enough.  He needs more help than I can give him. 

So several months ago I decided to pursue a diagnosis for autism spectrum disorder.  We did the intake process for Kennedy-Krieger Institute for Autism Research and resources.  They called to say the wait list was 11 months out.  I don’t feel like our family has 11 months.  We’re struggling too much.  The constant stress is causing marital friction because we have no energy left for each other anymore.

A few months ago I called about 15 practitioners’ offices to see if they could help us reach a diagnosis.  I got ahold of a live person for about two of those calls.  They couldn’t help.  Maybe three called me back.  That’s when I got him signed up for Kennedy Krieger.   Waited to find out when we could have him assessed there.  After I heard about the wait time, I kept calling other places.  Thought I had a good option lined up, but they double booked, and I felt like that may not be a good sign, and called another 15 places.  Most called back and said they do not do diagnostics for children.

The ones who do work with kids and called back said the wait list is a few months out.  Because there are that many families struggling with spectrum disorders.  And it’s a hard journey.  It’s lonely.  The main caretaker gets burnt out.  The spouse gets burnt out because the one who stays at home is burnt out.

Not everyone understands.  You feel unsupported by those you would like support from but who question your intuition and the whole idea of autism.  If your kid does not present like Rain Man, your kid surely does not have autism, they think!  I want to tell them, “Guys, it’s a processing difference, and it’s a spectrum.  They can need little support and appear like other kids in classroom on the surface, but come home and have no more energy to hold it all together, and then let their frustration out where they feel safest.  Or they can need a lot of support and be nonverbal.  But both kinds of kids and their families can be in a lot of emotional distress because life is so hard with this disorder.”

But I don’t really have to be understood or to explain it at all to them. My job is to advocate for my child and get him and our family the care we need to do more than just survive.  And right now, it stinks big time, but I guess it’s just waiting for the nearest appointment date even if it feels too far away.  

 

 

Posted in Day in the life of a mom, Mental Health, sensory processing disorder

My Favorite SPD Books and Resources for Families

When my son began having disproportionately large meltdowns around the age of two over how things felt and big emotions, and in turn I was struggling to parent him well, figuring out how his mind works really helped me.  I read all these books and they helped me piece together the puzzle of my precious, smart, but inflexible and easily frustrated child.  I hope you can find encouragement and enlightenment in them as well! But first, check out this helpful checklist of common symptoms of SPD in age-specific groupings: https://www.understood.org/en/learning-attention-issues/child-learning-disabilities/sensory-processing-issues/sensory-processing-issues-what-youre-seeing

( These are affiliate links. As an Amazon Associates member, I hope to save you time searching for something I mention that you may find helpful, too.  If you make a purchase there is no extra cost to you, but it provides me with a small commission that helps me as I continue providing content for you! Thanks for your support!)