The Real Simply Living Challenge

Sunday, August 31, 2014

I don't know what is inspiring me to live so much more simpler now. Perhaps it is the stuff taking up space, perhaps it is the beautiful Instagram feeds that I ogle over every day with simple homes and lifestyles, or perhaps I'm just looking for some sort of change. 

In the past two years I have gotten rid of numerous (like 8) large trash bags of clothes, purses, shoes, etc... I recently got rid of quite a bit of home decor type items at a garage sale, simply because I just didn't need it. Don't get me wrong --- I LOVE clothes. I really do love fashion and trendy clothes, and I'm a sucker for Target's home decor section. However, it is just stuff

Stuff takes up space. Stuff accumulates and creates chaos. Stuff hinders our view of life. Toys litter the living room, closets are packed so tight that pretty, timeless items are forgotten and pantries are stocked full of boxed items that real food starts to become lost in the mix. Televisions and iPads take the place of crafts, learning and outside play. Talking toys take the place of wooden trains. 

It's just stuff; that's what I keep trying to tell myself anyway. 

It's no secret that I don't live in a big, fancy house. We'll be moving into our first home in a year or so and I don't feel like taking crap with me. I want a life of simplicity. However, even I often struggle with getting rid of those things we treasure so much. You know what I'm talking about... that pair of shoes we haven't worn in three years but think we'll wear one day. Or the cable that costs a fortune, but we don't want to part with. Or the miscellaneous items around our home that was wedding presents or that we declare to be "sentimental" when in fact, it really isn't. I struggle with this and I can assure you that while I'm trying to simplify things, I'll ALWAYS have room for progress. 

I am SO guilty of getting wrapped up in my phone, my computer and the TV. Part of it is because of my "job" as a blogger and writer, but I could easily back off more. While I do fun activities with my child, there's even wayyyyy more that I want to do but don't always gather the "energy" to get the materials and create it. Why? Because I'm consumed with other things. Because stuff is in the way (and because I'm often sleep deprived). 

So I challenge you to join me in my Instagram challenge (or you can do it on Facebook) by posting a photo a day from September 1-30 that shows one thing you're doing to live life more simply. Whether it is giving away clothes, organizing your pantry, reading a book, doing yoga, waking before the kids, cooking real food or doing a craft with your kids, I don't care. It's what is simple, natural and beautiful to you. It's all about YOU trying to improve YOU, your home and your lifestyle for your family. 

Use hashtag #realsimplylivingchallenge 

I look forward to seeing your photos and can't wait to begin with you all. Follow me on Instagram and Facebook and spread the news with your friends! Or simply do this challenge yourself without sharing it. This is simply for fun and for change. Thank you for joining me! 

Living life simply, naturally and beautifully. 

The Honest Company

Dear Mom, (A Letter to Explain Myself)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Remember when I was super clingy and whiny recently? Ignoring all of my toys?
You held me, you kissed me, you even tried to wear me for as long as I'd let you,
but you still had no clue what was wrong with me.
You let out many exasperated breaths as you tried to cook dinner and do housework.
Those little voices told you "she just wants to be held, and I can't hold her all day."
And then, then the next day you discovered a tooth was ready to pop through.
Then you knew - you knew that that was why I wasn't myself.

Mama do you remember when last week I was once again clingy and whiny?
When you just kept saying "I don't know what's wrong, baby."
And then you sat there on the sofa with me cuddling to realize that I was running a low fever.
It was just a teething fever, so it was nothing to be alarmed about.
But then it all made sense to you and you instantly felt bad for not knowing.
I got plenty more cuddles and hugs...and I even heard you whisper you were sorry.
Its okay mom, you didn't know and I know you had to cook dinner and fold clothes.

The Benefits of Skin to Skin Contact With Your Baby

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Imagine a world where a baby is born and handed off to nurses and doctors immediately, not because of a particular emergency, but rather because that's just how things happen. Imagine the minutes that pass by before your baby is in your arms. Perhaps they are already squeaky clean; perhaps they've already been given a shot and perhaps your arms weren't the first ones they felt secure in. You didn't get that skin to skin contact with your baby. That moment of bliss.

Unfortunately sometimes, most often past times, that may have been the case. And even more unfortunately sometimes this has to be the case in the event of early labor, certain c sections, medical issues and so on. Or perhaps you as a mother did not know that you had a right to say what would happen immediately after your baby is pulled out of your, you know what. Skin to skin contact is becoming an increasingly popular term in the world of pregnant bellies and labor rooms. It's becoming the "thing to do" and one of the most important things that you can request to do.

What is skin to skin contact?
Skin to skin contact is simply the request and action of having your brand spanking new baby placed on your bare chest (or abdomen) immediately after their arrival. I'm talking immediately after they are pulled straight out of your, you know what. As strange as this may sound considering your baby isn't going to be squeaky clean and will be covered in all of the wonderful things that protect them during the pregnancy, somehow that just doesn't even matter. Somehow all of that "stuff" just doesn't bother you. Truthfully, you don't even notice it. And that sweet, beautiful baby lies there on your bare chest with a blanket covering the two of you for what feels like the absolute most precious moments of your life.

Toddler Breakfast

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

I have to give credit for the above recipe to a blogger friend, Emily!
 Make sure to check out Emily's blog, and say hello!

So I know that breakfast is a very important meal, but unless it is a full course breakfast, it has never been my favorite meal. I don't like cereal and really never have; cinnamon rolls are old news and sometimes I'm just too lazy to make fresh oatmeal (except for in those first few months breastfeeding -- I ate that UP). 

There are probably a ton of nifty breakfast ideas out there that include fun bacon, sausage and egg recipes. There may be some awesome pancake recipes for kids and there may also be yummy granola mixes. Well, I haven't gotten that far yet into experimenting with fun breakfast foods. 

Here is a look at some of the things my toddler eats. We always do three things to fill up her three section plates and to provide her with a few options. While I strive for a healthy, minimally processed diet, I'm nowhere near perfect. Most all of our fruits are organic and the mixes that I buy for anything if I don't make it on my own are the most natural mixes I can find. We strive for minimal ingredients on boxes all with words that we can recognize and no preservatives or artificial flavors. 

Please note that this menu is based off of a kid who eats a good bit, but not large portions and who is also not a fan of eggs yet!

Day 1:
Blueberry Pancake Bites (mix your pancake batter with fresh berries, bake at 350 in a mini muffin pan for 6-8 mins)
Fresh Kiwi Pieces
Fresh Blueberries

Day 2:
Wheat Toast with butter (preferably organic or non dairy)
Fresh Strawberries
Yogurt for dipping/eating or Scrambled Eggs

Day 3:
Regular pancakes with no syrup
Fresh Peaches
Fresh Blueberries

Day 4:
Wheat Toast with strawberry cream cheese (very little - this is a treat)
Fresh Grapes or Scrambled Eggs
Fresh Kiwi

Teaching Toddler: Color Sorting

Monday, August 25, 2014

This was perhaps slightly ambitious for us, but it was still fun to do. To be honest sometimes I'm not quite sure what is too ambitious, but as I complete an activity with her I can usually tell what works and what doesn't work. 

It's not too typical for a 15 month old to know colors (at least from the babies I know). They are just starting to learn things like "ball" and "nose." However you do have to start at one point or another with colors, letters and numbers. 

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