You Just Made 2440 Meals Without Breaking A Sweat

The comments section is, in my opinion, the best part of blogging.

I have learned so much from all of you. After detailing how we’ve simplified or gotten by with less stuff, I am often given the gift of the “next level” to aim for or a useful tip on how to simplify or save even more.

Last week it was on my fridge post. While I love an empty fridge, I had no idea it was making my fridge run inefficiently and impacting our electricity bill. Several of you pointed this out – thank you.

Now, as we work our way through the meals I batch cook on Sundays, I clean out the empty Pyrex containers, fill them with water, and put them back in the fridge. Excited to see what this does for our electricity usage.

We raised $305 for Feeding America! 278 comments on the post and then another 27 on Facebook that I added to the total. 2440 meals for families struggling with hunger. Thank you many times over for commenting and urging others to leave a comment to help those in need.

I have a big goal to share with you.

It’s one of those life list goals: I want my family to donate 10% of our gross income to charity.

We are not there yet but I hope that at some point in the next 8-10 years we will be. That seems like a long way off but slow and steady, right?

The Ultimate Homemaking eBook Bundle Sale

This sale has now closed.

Note: I don’t usually post specifically about e-book sales but a big one starts today that has some some great books, including mine, in it. If you’re interested read on. If not, I’ll have some new posts up later this week.

For 6 days only, from April 29th to May 4th, more than 75 widely-known bloggers and authors in the homemaking sphere have joined together to offer 97 of their most popular eBooks and eCourses, valued at just over $600, for the incredibly low price of $29.97!

The list of titles included in this sale is long. Very, very long. You can see all of them here.

It’s a bit overwhelming to look through all these books titles so I created a short guide below with my favorites.  It’s a real mix of books; everything from simplifying and freezer recipes to building a better wardrobe, and even a better sex life, are listed.

If you read just these 16 books from the sale you would still be saving 75% off the regular price. Read more and you’ll save even more.

Books I already own and recommend from the Ultimate Homemaking eBook Sale:

The No Brainer Wardrobe by Hayley @ The No Brainer Wardrobe ($7.99) Bought this book three weeks ago and can’t stop talking about it. Concise, real and manageable information and techniques for building a capsule wardrobe that looks great on you and fits your budget. I’ll be writing more about this book in the next few weeks as I tackle my postpartum wardrobe.

Reuse, Refresh, Repurpose by Kristen @ The Frugal Girl ($3.99) Great ideas for using up old t-shirts for the non-sewer like myself. Less waste feels great!

Simple Blogging: Less Computer Time, Better Blogging by Rachel @ Small Notebook ($8.00) I reviewed this book before and will say it again: a must read if you want to blog regularly, continue to enjoy the blogging process and not spend hours and hours at the computer. Ticking towards my three year blogiversary and I still enjoy this space, the community and the chance to stay motivated and inspired on my journey to less stuff. Not sure I could say that, or that I would still be blogging, if I hadn’t used some of the recommendations detailed in this book.

Simply Summer by Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama ($7.95) Simple, fresh and healthy recipes for summer that will inspire you. Modern Alternative Mama is a great website for whole food recipes and holistic and natural health remedies.

One Bite at a Time: 52 Projects for Making Life Simpler by Tsh @ Simple Mom ($5.00) Simplifying projects that really help. Love how this book is formatted so you can tick off the projects. Some of the projects weren’t for me – no back yard for a garden – but most of the projects are things I do or want to do. Excellent motivation in this book for creating routines for the home.

How to Have Your Cake and Eat It, Too by Mandi @ Life Your Way ($12.00) From my boss Mandi at Life Your Way. Great read for the work from home or entrepreneurial parent that wants to balance home life and work life.

Simple Living by Lorilee @ Loving Simple Living ($2.99) Lorilee shares her family’s downsizing journey in this very heartfelt and personal memoir style book.

The Minimalist Mom’s Guide to Baby’s First Year by Rachel @ The Minimalist Mom ($5.00) Blush. Of course I have to recommend my own book.

And more that I am looking forward to reading…

31 Days to Great Sex by Sheila @ To Love, Honor and Vacuum ($4.99) Well, I’m intrigued – aren’t you?

Money Saving Mom’s Guide to Freezer Cooking by Crystal @ Money Saving Mom ($3.99) Hoping there are good storage tips and also recipes that can be adapted to be grain and dairy free.

Real Food Kids: In the Kitchen plus 1 month access to select Real Food Kids eCourse videos by Wardeh @ GNOWFGLINS and Jami @ Eat Nourishing ($20.00) I know I need to get my three year-old more involved with food preparation. Hope to get some ideas from this book.

iPhone Photography: The Visual Guide by Alli @ Alli Worthington($9.97) I don’t own an iPhone but I do have an iPod that has a camera. I would love some tips on taking better photos with it. You know, beyond making sure the lens is free from lint.

100-pound Loser by Jessica @ Muthering Heights ($4.99) Confession: if there is a Shape magazine in the waiting room I go directly to the weight loss stories.

From Debtor to Better by Barry @ From Debtor to Better ($10.00) Ok Barry, keep me on the path. We’ve paid off A LOT of debt but I know we could easily slide back someday. Hope to learn more about how to stay debt free.

10 Steps to Organized Paper by Lisa @ Lisa$5.00) Paper is my nemesis! Looking forward to more tips to keep our file pile under control.

First Bites by Hilary @ Accidentally Green ($9.99) Nice refresher for when we start baby lead weaning with Wil.

Need some time to think it over? The sale runs until midnight EST on Saturday May 4th.

If you’re ready to purchase The Ultimate Homemaking eBook Bundle click “Buy Now”


Didn’t Buy It: A Double Stroller

Here’s an admission from a car-free family: our three year-old prefers the bus, or a car, to walking.

I thought that not having a car would turn our oldest into a fantastic walker. Alas, this is not so.

Taxi rides are met with delight. There are tears when we have to get off of a bus. He loves vehicles and any mode of transportation that is built with metal. Bikes! Diggers! Cars! Bus! Truck! Train!

The only exception to his apathy towards travel on foot: he’ll walk and wander for miles on a beach or through a forest.

As a car-free family we rely on walking to get us around most of the time.

I had some concerns that not owning a double stroller would make it untenable for me to get out with the two boys this winter. Of course, I took my own advice and waited to see if we could get by using our single stroller and letting the older child sit in the foot well when needed. Note: the BOB single strollers are not meant to have two children in them. Use this method at your own risk.

Happy to report we made it. The baby spent most of the winter in a carrier and I often got around by bus and on foot with no stroller at all. Spring is slowly showing her face here in the Isle of Man and our oldest child is now starting to use his scooter as transportation.

So glad I waited to see if I really needed something before buying it. A simple thing but so often in the past I would buy something before the need actually arose. I would buy things not because I needed them at that moment but because I was scared I would need them in the near future.

And then I would buy them, not really use them, but be too scared to part with them because there was still a chance, a small chance, I might use it some day.

Not surprising that it took me three months of intense work to pare down our possessions.

Anyone else have a successful “glad I didn’t buy it” moment recently?

P.S. THANK YOU for the comments and thoughts on my post on Tuesday. We’ve raised over $200 for Feeding America and there is still time to raise more. I will leave the comments open through Sunday evening and close them in the wee hours of Monday morning.

Why I Love An Empty Fridge

On Saturday evening we were down to one avocado, half a pack of bacon and three boiled eggs.

Photo evidence of the empty state of our refrigerator is above.

Dinner, a curry I had made and frozen two weeks prior, was warming on the stove. The grocery delivery was expected at any moment.

I felt victorious at the lack of fresh food in our home. An empty fridge is a win for my house.

Bare shelves mean that I have planned meals well, have had little to no food waste and that, should I be inclined, I can easily and quickly clean our refrigerator.

That last one was previously a terrible task in my books. Empty everything out? Half full carton of milk, leftovers, crusty curry sauce bottles and past due grapes on the counter. Gah. Too much time and inconvenience. And scary if you’re one to let things linger beyond their expiry date.

But since I’ve worked on simplifying, and owning less, I have realized how helpful meal planning is. And I’ve fine tuned my grocery shopping so we use all of our perishables up by the time our weekly grocery delivery arrives (exceptions: longer life perishables like butter and condiments).

This small effort means less stress at meal times and less waste. Win, win, win.

Now, I am feeling a bit guilty extolling the virtues of the empty fridge when it is a terrible reality for a lot of people.

So, for every comment on this post I will donate $1 to Feeding America up to a maximum donation of $500. Sending some love to my American readers on this one.

Did I mention we put money aside for giving every month? Part of our budget. Yes, we are great people to hit up if you are in a charity walk-athon.

So tell me, and help us put up to 4000 meals on the table for those that are hungry, do you let your refrigerator go to empty? Why or why not?

Are You Feeling Laundry Overwhelm?

My mother bought me a laundry basket when she was visiting at the beginning of the year.

It was for the baby’s clothes. She also bought us: an outfit for each boy, a potato masher, a spatula, a basket, guest towels. I don’t think she reads this blog…

The laundry basket broke soon after it’s arrival. Maybe it was a sign.

Our laundry collection had become a real chore. And by chore I mean five minutes of work that I repeatedly put off. Five minutes that nagged at me as a I walked from the living room of our apartment to the back bedrooms several times a day.

My husband and I shared a hamper and our oldest had his own hamper in his room. We have two hampers near the washing machine that I sorted our lights and darks into.

Because we hang everything to dry, and we cloth diaper, and we don’t have large wardrobes, I have to run laundry at least once a day. Which means I was collecting laundry every other day to make sure I had a full load of lights or darks to run.

I needed an easier way to collect laundry. Or I needed to delegate the collection task.

I think I did both.

We now just have two laundry hampers for family clothing. One for lights and one for darks. They are stored in the kitchen near our washing machine (these Europeans are crazy!). I have a large wet bag that holds kitchen laundry and cloth diapers are contained in a pail.

The kids usually get changed in the living room so it’s easy enough to put their clothing in the communal laundry hampers. My husband and I ferry our own laundry from our room to the baskets as we need to.

Next up: we get rid of the baskets entirely and just put laundry directly into the washing machine.

Just kidding. Sort of. I think we should trial it when the kids are a bit older.

This new system works. It’s easier for me. It’s less work for me. The laundress of the family is happy.

Please note: this new system has not miraculously stopped us from having laundry on the bedroom floor.

Laundry is the never ending chore. Anyone else have a system that makes laundry collection easier for their family?

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