Life as a Lumber: what we have been up to

Whew! What a busy week! I shared our fall wreath last year and then I didn’t share anything else. Meant to, but time got away fro me. So instead, I’m going to share what we have been up to…before I get back at it this week.

Us, at Mosaic. We enjoyed a concert this weekend with our kiddos.

Work is keeping both adult members of our household super busy. If you are new here, I’m a teacher and my husband is a fire marshal. In our spare time (haha), we do woodwork and play at learning how to hobby farm.

We went with our church’s children’s ministry to Boo at the Zoo, a trick or treat and Halloween celebration at the NC Zoo. The kids really enjoyed it.

If you follow us on Instagram and Facebook, you have already seen some of these. We have really just been trying to slow down and make some memories since the girls are growing fast.

Tomorrow, we will be spending time worshipping at church and catching up on some house and farm work. Bless you all- thanks for sticking with us!

Five things to do for a smoother start to the school year

School is just around the corner. As a teacher, I feel like we only just left school for the summer. As a parent, I am looking forward to the kids getting their routine back. While we are busy squeezing the last little drop out of summer, I have begun to think about what we can do to make our back-to-school transition go more smoothly.

1. Organize your children’s closets

Does your kid’s closet currently resemble an avalanche? If so, that’s really going to stress you out when you’re trying to get everyone dressed but their closets are insane.

Just grab a sheet of plywood, a saw, a drill, and some wood screws and build yourself a closet organizer.

2. Teach your children to prepare the night before

Pack your lunches, lay out your clothes, and get your book bag ready the night before. There’s no point in scrambling to find what you need in the mornings. This will only stress you out and make you feel rushed.

3. Establish bedtime routines and after school routines about three weeks before school starts

Photo by August de Richelieu on Pexels.com

Don’t wait until the week before school starts to begin going to bed early. Make sure kids know what you expect them to do when they first get home from school and what times are bath time and bed time. We start working on this a month to three weeks before school starts to get it ingrained. We also use a checklist similar to this one to help:

Source: Pinterest

4. Go back-to-school shopping early!

If you wait until the last minute, items may be sold out. Get your back to school shopping done sooner rather than later and you won’t have to worry. Also, if you forget something, there is plenty of time to get it.

5. Take some time off

Rest. Don’t jam pack your schedule the last few weeks before school. Take one to two weeks to relax and prepare for school to start back. Spend time together and just enjoy one another. For the days are long, but the years are short. Someday, back to school time will be a distant memory.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Simplify: tips for a happier and healthier life

Simplify: tips for a happier and healthier life

Simplify tips

At my house, we have really been thinking about simplifying areas of our lives, but what lately, I keep coming back to one recurring thought. What about simplifying our lives in general? There are so many things we do that add stress to our lives, and we don’t even realize it.

Before we changed the name and niche of this blog to Lumber in my Minivan, it was called “Organized and Simplified.” Most of the time, my life is anything BUT simplified. I am the world’s worst for trying to do too much, and it’s something I need to work on.

In addition to maintaining this blog, I also work full time, raise two lovely but lively little girls, and schlep my kids to dance class three nights a week, as they are competitive dancers. Add their schoolwork to the mix, along with keeping house and church, and, well…you get the picture.

In order to simplify my life, I am doing some things differently. I am far from done experimenting, and I am definitely open to suggestions. Please feel free to comment below and add any more tips- I’d love to hear from you!!

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  1. Know your priorities, and choose them wisely.

I am guilty of often trying to do too much in one day. I often try to do so much, that quantity takes over quality, and I end up doing a lot of things, but not necessarily doing them WELL. If you’re like me, I get stressed out by a lengthy to-do list. Just because you have a lot to do, doesn’t mean you need to do it all at once, or even in the same day. Give yourself permission not to be perfect. It’s OK- no one else is, either.

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2. Read more, watch TV less

I am trying to make an effort to read more than I have been. I love reading, but I usually have no time for it, until summer or spring break. I have been taking at least 15 minutes a night to read something, and a few minutes during lunch to read my daily devotional.

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3. Less phones!

Hooo boy, is this an area that I need to work on!! My family has been making a concentrated effort to put down the cell phones and just be present. Turn off your social media notifications, and allow yourself only a little cell phone time each day.  Being constantly tied to your phone stresses you out and makes it difficult to concentrate on other things.

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4. Declutter your spaces by getting rid of what you don’t need.

A cluttered space is stressful and makes it hard to relax. A light, airy, decluttered space is a space where you can get comfortable and relax.

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5. Focus on the present, not the future

Focus on what you’re doing right now, and what you need right now. Don’t worry too much about the future, as you can’t do anything to change the future. Worry about the future when it gets here. For now, enjoy where you are.

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6. Don’t overcommit- you can say no, and you should say no. No one can do everything- it is perfectly OK to turn down tasks if you feel overwhelmed.

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7. Don’t multitask- singletask when ever you can, to sharpen focus and effectiveness. Trying to focus on too much at once is like a computer browser with too many open tabs. Your brain runs more slowly and less effectively when you are trying to do too much at once. Focus singularly and you can focus more easily.

 

I hope you have enjoyed these tips for simplifying your life. Please comment below to share any additional tips you might have.

 

Have a great weekend!

The Benefits of Living with Less…and why you should purge your house right now!

The Benefits of Living with Less…and why you should purge your house right now!

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RIGHT Now. Drop everything and PURGE YOUR HOME NOW! No, I’m kidding. Sort of.

I know you read a lot about purging your home on my blog. Some of you are probably fans of living with less already, while others of you are scratching your heads and wondering how much more stuff I can get rid of and blog about it. #istillhavetoomuchstuff

I am currently in the midst of a whole house purge, but we will talk more about that later.

The truth is, living with less has a lot of benefits. Some are health benefits, some are financial benefits, and some are so good they don’t fit into any category. I’d like to share a few of those with you today, as well as some great advice for purging your home that I’ve collected over the years.

1. Living with less can be beneficial to your mental and physical health

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  • Living with too much causes your house to feel cluttered. A cluttered house feels chaotic, and makes it hard for you to relax and destress. Continued stress affects your mental state, as well as your physical health.  An organized and clean home evokes a peaceful feeling, and who doesn’t want to feel at peace in their own home?
  • This one is especially true if you have kids. More stuff=fewer places to put things away. Stuff that is left out in the floor becomes a trip hazard. Show of hands: who else has fallen over items left in the floor, or stepped on some hard plastic toy with your bare feet? (Lego moms, can I get an “amen?” )

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2. Living with less makes your home feel and appear cleaner

  • Living with too much makes it harder to find places to put things away. Having nowhere to put things causes your home to look and feel cluttered (see above).
  • A cluttered house also seems dirty even if it really isn’t. Having less stuff and less clutter makes your house look and feel cleaner.

 

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3. Living with less saves time

How does living with less save time? It means that you spend less time looking for things. It’s been said that the average person spends four years of their life looking for things that they are missing. Not being able to find your missing items makes you stressed.  Having less stuff means that you don’t have to sort through so much when you need something.

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5. Living with less saves you money

How is this? Well, when you make a conscious effort to live with less, you are much more intentional with your spending. Additionally, who here has ever bought something, only to realize you already had that same item at home? Living with less makes it easier to distinguish what you need- therefore keeping you from spending money on something you already have.

 

There are many benefits to having an organized and simplified home, with less stuff. Start with one room at a time and keep only what you need- donate, recycle or throw away the rest. I know many people who wish their home was less cluttered, but I don’t know anyone who wishes their home was MORE cluttered. Start today and you’ll soon see the benefits.

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Coming soon: Characteristics of an organized home

Grocery shopping with Instacart: A Simplified Experience

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I don’t know about you guys, but I absolutely hate grocery shopping. I make a list, I go to the store, and somehow I come home an hour later and find out that I managed to forget some of my most important purchases.

Grrrrr.

And how many of you have tried to grocery shop with your toddler or preschooler, only to have them get restless/fuss about wanting things/make the trip take twice as long? Shopping with little children can be super stressful, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

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Don’t let the sweet face fool you- she has a black belt in temper-tantrum throwing.

There’s this fantastic app called Instacart and it makes shopping with kids super easy. In fact it makes shopping easy in general.

All you have to do is this:

  1. just log onto the Instacart site or download the app.
  2. choose your local participating store,
  3. shop for your groceries,
  4. and submit your order.

That’s seriously it! I promise!

You may choose to have your groceries delivered, or you may pick them up. The store will even bring them out and load them up for you!

You don’t even have to leave the vehicle…or unbuckle your little one from their carseat. It’s amazing.

Now, everyone please pop on over to the Instacart site and check it out! It’s a game changer!

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