Eliminating The Unnecessary……..2000 Things In 38 Weeks

Decluttering my life is something important to me.  Over the last few months I’ve been working on myself a lot and other things like decluttering my house for example have been pushed aside.  Yes, I’m admitting I’m not super woman & cant do a hundred things at once.  But this weekend while I was cleaning, I began really looking at my house and  realized that I really need to do a deep cleaning of our home.  That there are numerous things throughout my home (inside & out) that we don’t use, add no value, & just simply take up space.   It’s time I get back on the decluttering wagon.
Of course, this isn’t going to happen overnight but from now till the end of 2016 I’m making it my mission to get rid of 2000 things in our home.  If you think about it, it’s kinda of interesting that I would have 2000 things clogging up our lives, taking up space & adding no value,  which in the end will take up my time that could have been spent doing something enjoyable, doing something that added value to my life, & or spending it with the important people in my life.  It’s kinda of embarrassing.   But I’m not even close to being a hoarder.  I can’t imagine so people’s home & how many things that are taking over their lives.  It’s crazy when you think about it.  Now think about your home & your situation?  How many things (big or small) could you live without?

Now 2000 may sound like a lot but if you break it down, it really isn’t.  2000 things @ 38 weeks equals 52.63 items per each week.  If you divide that by 7 it’s only 7.51 things a day I need to get rid of.  Piece of cake, right?!
And because I’m all about sharing, I’m going to share my progress with all of you.  I’ll even break it down to let you know what I’m doing with the things for example: where  I’m getting rid of my things like selling it, donating, or simply throwing it away.  That way I can honestly share what I do with my things, which I hope inspires others to join in with me. And I want to show people how easy or hard it is to make money from what we have in our house.  Any money I make from decluttering, I’ve decided to put towards my credit card, hoping to have it paid off by the end of the year with only using the money I make from this endeavor.

Week #1-
1. bag of stuffed animals the girlies no longer loveput in yard sale pile (April 30th we are doing a school wide yard sale that we can rent spaces from.  I’m doing it with my daughter so it’ll only be $7.50 for a space)
2. two shirts that no longer fit my boys- put in yard sale pile 
3. 5 brand new texture paints I’ve been holding on to for a yr now- put in yard sale pile
4. 3 pairs of skinny jeans that I’ve been saving for when I lose all my weight- put in yard sale pile ( if I ever get to my goal, I’ll just buy myself some new jeans.  Holding on to my skinny clothes hurts my weight loss journey more than it motivates me)
5. 5 pairs of shoes- donated to goodwill
6. 2 cake pans I haven’t used in 2 yrs-put in yard sale pile
7. 2 Furby booms- Sold super quick on Craigslist….made $10
8. rug remnants- trying to sell on Craigslist

This week’s breakdown is:
*3 items on Craigslist (2 sold & 1 waiting to be sold) making me $10 so far
*5 items donated to Goodwill
*12 items + bag of stuffed animals (about 20 in bag) for our yard sale on April 30th
totaling: 20 items & $10 in cash for 30 mins of work

FYI-If you look at my list, each item has numerous items in it.  I didn’t see the need to count things individually like doing 8 stuffed animals as my week’s goal.  If I did that to begin with, I’d take even longer than I am to declutter my house, & I’d lose steam.  But you can do whatever suits you.  It’s all about our own unique goal, perspective, & how fast or slow you want the process to go.  For me, by the end of the year I’m hoping to have more than 2000 items gone.

How about you?  What have you gotten rid of lately?  How’s the decluttering going?  Have you pushed it aside like I did?  If so why don’t you join me & share your progress each week with me.  I would love to hear your thoughts, see your progress, &/or ways you can make money from it.  

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Sew Crafty Angel,

Letting Go Of The “What Ifs” That’s Cluttering Your Life

Around this time last year, I shared about how my journey of simple living led me to more places than I ever thought.  One of those places was mindfulness or mindful living.  Here’s an excerpt of that post:

Mindfulness is a term I came across when I started my journey of living a simpler life.  Mindfulness pretty much is to Live in the now, live in the moment.  But a better description is:  “Mindfulness is the practice of becoming more fully aware of the present moment–non-judgmentally and completely–rather than dwelling in the past or projecting into the future. It generally involves a heightened awareness of sensory stimuli (really noticing your breathing, feeling the sensations of your body, etc.) and being “in the now.” While mindfulness has origins in Eastern philosophy and Buddhism, there is no necessary religious component to mindfulness — anyone, with any belief system, can enjoy the benefitof mindfulness,”  taken from About Health
Once, I began researching mindfulness, I started incorporating it, into my daily life.  Some of the ways I am more mindful are:”  ~Read more here.

It’s it funny how I think of similar things during the same time each year.  Being mindful is important to me, but over the last few months, I’ve really pushed it aside.  Instead of living in the present, I’ve been living in the land of what if.  You know what I’m talking about: what if I need this down the road, what if I lose all the weight & need my skinny clothes, what if it comes in handy for something I’m going to be doing someday.
We all have these at some point or another.  But for me, it seems I have been holding on to more than I’m getting rid of.  Yesterday I was looking at the clothing I had in storage, my skinny clothes.  I know I may never reach that point again, so why are these clothes still here I wondered.  Every time I look at them, they make me a little sad, I haven’t reached my goal.  It’s been 2 yrs and I’m not where I thought I would be.  But when these are out of sight, I’m happy of the progress I’ve made & how I’m changing my lifestyle, not just dieting.  But it takes time for this change to happen.  That’s when I realized how dangerous it can be holding on to possessions for some possible use in the future.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be making it a point to eliminate my what ifs.   I’ll be making a conscience effort to go through my life & whatever I’ve been holding on to for a use in the future, I will donate or sell them.  These things are just lingering, taking up space, cramping my family, & not adding an value to my life.  In fact, they add more stress to me than it would if I would eliminate them.
Do you have a cause of the what ifs?  Why do you keep them around?
Love to hear your thoughts on this

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The Jenny Evolution,


“God put us here on this carnival ride, we close our eyes never knowing where it will take us next.” ~ Carrie Underwood

2014-04-19 18.39.51-1_2_tonemapped

Isn’t that the truth!?!?

Thinking back just 10 years, it’s amazing how much things have changed, how much I have grown, and where my journey has taken me.  10 years ago, I was a 24 years old, a single mom of 3 with a fiancee, living in a small shack in the middle of nowhere, one crappy car, had no TV or internet or telephone, and  didn’t have any money-actually owed more than I earned by far.  At that one moment, I thought life was hopeless.  I didn’t think that my journey would get any better than it was.  It was a harder time in my life.  Now, looking back, I really wished I had more faith, faith in myself, god, and my soon to be husband.

My life now isn’t what I pictured it would be, it’s better.  After years of hard work from both my husband and I, we are now reaping in the rewards.  We now own our own home, I am super happy being home with my children, we have a yard that is all our own, hubby doesn’t have any more creditors, both of our credit scores went way up, we own 2 cars so I don’t have to share with him anymore, we have extra fun things like a camper and kayaks, and my hubby has a better job, one in which he won an award for and got a promotion.  Because of this, we are so much happier, happier than I ever thought possible.

I have grown so much, I have found my passion for photography & writing, and I have done a few things I never ever seen myself doing like canning, farmer’s markets (as a vendor), making & trying different recipes, diy things and other homesteading ideas, started my family and artist blog, I was asked to create my own workshop & teach it, I was asked to do a 5 week group to share my frugal ideas and to show others that anyone can get healthy on any budget, and discovered my passion for writing.  And As of the last few months, I have embraced minimalism, and starting my journey with that.  I am a completely different person than I was, with different goals and ideas.  Now I couldn’t imagine anything else.  Each of our journeys are so amazing, since each are filled with joyful and sad memories, ups and downs, twists and turns.  If you look back at yourself 10 years ago, I am sure you will see how much you have grown.  So, all those moments, where you wonder how important your daily tasks really are, how you are making a contribution.  Don’t count those moments but take a step back and look at how far you have come.

Is your life now, the way you pictured it would be 10 years ago?  Or have things completely changed for you?

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Create With Joy, Sincerely Paula,

Expectation Shift

Lowing my expectations towards others has been uplifting & freeing.  It took me 35 years to do this, but once I did, it added a new chapter in my happiness book.  I no longer expect people to live up to my expectations because they don’t share the same expectations I have.  How can I hold them accountable based on what I want them to do?
We can either accept the people in our lives for who they are or find yourself being disappointed time & time again.  I have a friend that I absolutely love, that I see every few months.  She’s amazing, funny, & I love being around her.   I would be completely sad if she wasn’t in my life.  But she’s flaky & unreliable.  And I’m completely fine with that, since that is who she is.  Once I accepted her for who she is, my feelings of disappointment faded.  Everyone has strengths & weaknesses, learn the strengths of the people in your life and build on that.  Building a foundation on someone’s weaknesses leaves cracks & eventually your foundation will crumble.
Next time someone disappoints, angers, or makes you sad, check within to see if it’s because of the expectations you have of them.  Try lowering them & see how that changes your relationship & feelings towards that person.  I noticed that doing this has helped me cut out drama, stress, negativity, & resentment.
After reading numerous blogs, there are a lot of people who don’t believe this.  So this question is for all of you, does lowering your expectation towards other and increasing your positive expectation for yourself bring you more happiness? Why or why not?

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Create With Joy, A Life In Balance, Strangers & Pilgrims on Earth, Cornerstone Confessions, The Enchanted Rose,


13 Ways To Embrace Winter By Keeping It Simple

I’ve never really been a winter person even if I’ve lived in New England a good portion of my life.  Each year, I never look forwards to winter, the cold weather, & all that it brings.  But this year, I was determined to make the most out of winter, embracing everything it has to offer instead of being depressed, stuck indoors, waiting for the spring to arrive.  I know I’m not alone, there are others who don’t enjoy winter.  So here’s some of the things that have made this winter actually quite enjoyable.  It may not be my most favorite season, but it definitely not a time to dread anymore.  Here’s a few ways I’ve embraced winter.

1. Get the right gear
“There is no bad weather, only bad clothing.” ~Swedish Saying
Having the right gear is EVERYTHING.  How can you enjoy the colder months is your freezing?  You don’t need to spend a fortune, just make sure you have good gloves, hat, neck wrap, & warm boots.  Oh and wearing two pairs of pants on really cold days helps a lot.

2. Change your mindset  

Attitude is everything.  Start finding little ways you enjoy about winter and go from there.

3. Admire the beauty of the season
Have you been out looking around, it’s quite beautiful out.  The snow & ice offers such fantastic props for images.  Next time your out, start really looking around, seeing all the beauty that’s around you.

4. Make your home cozy & enjoy the comforts
Fires, candles, essential oil diffusers etc. helps make you house cozy.  Who wouldn’t want to be home if it’s nice & cozy.  Enjoy the comforts of food, warm drinks, reading, snuggling etc.

5. Have a winter bonfire
Who doesn’t love a good bonfire?  Bonfires aren’t just for spring & summer, winter ones can be just as fun.

7. Snuggle up with a good book
Got some reading to catch up on, now is the perfect time.  Make yourself a nice warm drink, snuggle with your favorite blanket and get your reading on.

8. Have a game night
We love game nights at our house.  Wintertime is a great time to have these more often, as we are always looking of ways to have fun with all 5 kiddos, but it’s hard since the ages they are 16-6.  Games is a perfect way for us all to have family time.

9. Exercise @ least 1x per day
No, you don’t need to go crazy or anything, just get out and walk.  I love walking now, so that’s what I will do till spring, then I’m hoping to fix my bike and start biking again.  My stomach can’t handle running, so I don’t ever think I would do that.  Just do whatever you can at least 1x per day.

10. Get outdoors as often as you can……..staying indoors is depressing
Getting out in the fresh air will do you wonders.  Stop barricading yourself in, get out, & embrace the cold.

11. Activities & hobbies ie. snowshoeing, sledding, crafts etc.
Finding something to get up moving, is always great.  Why not make it something fun.  Take up new activities or do something you already love.  It’ll make winter so much more enjoyable.

12. Eat as healthy as possible
The way we eat will affect the way we feel.  Fill your body with foods that it will thank you later for.

13. Host an outdoor party or pot luck
Parties of any kind are fun.  Why not host one at your house?  It can be as simple as you want, just gather a few people together to enjoy each other’s company.

Are you a fan of winter?

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Katherine’s Corner, Create With Joy,  A Life In Balance

What Do You Really Need To Be Happy?

” Real happiness requires less than you think.’ ~Be More With 

What do we really need to be happy?  This has changed over the years, as I grew & matured.
10 years ago it was:
*having designer clothing for us all
*having an overly cluttered house with things that added no value to our lives
*having tons of snacks unhealthy or not
*having two cars
*making money was our #1 goal, which we put above everything else
*having things to impress others
*having as big of a place as we can
*diet coke

And here’s what’s important to me today:  
*family time
*making alone time for each of my kids (having 5 is hard sometimes)
*developing better relationships with food….eating healthy
*exercising in any way I can
*volunteer at all 3 schools whenever possible
*exploring different hobbies
*developing my photography skills & accepting jobs that will fit into my schedule
*being home for the children each day
*taking care of myself

You can definitely see the shift when compared to one another.
What do you really need to make you happy?   Think back 10 yrs or so, how has this list changed?  

Why I’m Keeping It Real In The Blogging World

“Keeping it simple, helps to keep it real.”

I’ve got a secret to tell you……..I’m not perfect & I’m completely fine with that.  Sometimes I’m like a tornado creating clutter where ever I go.  Sometimes I’m lazy because I just don’t want to do anything.  Sometimes I’m creative thinking up these wonderful plans.  Sometimes I wear my emotions on my face which can get me into trouble.  Sometimes I’m beautiful & it shines through while other times my ugliness takes over.   But no matter what, I’m always 100% me.
When I created my blog, I wanted to talk about my journey towards simplifying my life.  In order to do this, I told myself I always have to keep it real.
There are a lot of blogs out there that are just amazing.  Everything is perfect….their recipes, diy, images, writings etc. You can tell they spend a lot of time & money working on their blog.  I think it’s absolutely fantastic and wish them the best of luck with their endeavors.  I want them to know that their blogs are just beautiful.  But that isn’t how I am and it’s not something I’m able or wanting to do right now.
My blog is far from perfect, but it’s completely me.  If you read my posts, you can get an idea of who I am.  My photos are far from perfect, I write like I talk,  i’m scatterbrained having numerous thoughts running around all the time, I don’t create elaborate dishes instead I prefer simple delicious dishes, my diy aren’t aren’t something that would be on the cover of home & garden magazine but rather something doable for those thrifty shoppers, I don’t spend a lot of money on things I share on my blog,  but the things I do and say are things that is obtainable & doable to the everyone.
When your on here, what you see is what you get.  I keep it real because how could I simplify & live a simpler life if I’m not being real.  How could I write about simplicity when I’m out shopping for dishes to make my recipe look nice?  Instead, I work with what I’ve got.  To me the imperfections is what my blog beautiful.  And that’s why I’m keeping it real in the blogging world.

Do you feel your blog is a reflection of who you are?  Does it reflect where you are in your life right now?



Weight Loss Motivation

“Every accomplishment starts with our decision to try.”
Developing healthier habits is the key to weight stability.  You can lose all the weight you want, but if you don’t know or have the will to maintain what you lost, it will come right back, usually adding than you lost.  This is the on-going weight loss cycle many of us go through.
I’ve been complaining I needed to lose weight for numerous reason.  But because of my past history with my illness, which you can read here, it’s been difficult.  I would diet for a bit and exercise when I could and then I would slowly slip back into old habits.  Sometimes it would be the pain that made me regress or the lack of will.  Whatever the reason, this year I made a promise to myself to be different.  I knew that in order to lose weight I had to stop looking solely at the numbers and look into developing healthy habits.
On Monday, I joined 1200 others in Skinny Mom’s 21 day shred.  I joined up knowing that I wouldn’t be able to follow it exactly.  But I knew this was a starting point for me, kick starting my way into healthier habits.
Over the course of this week, I accidentally found that by combining a hobby of mine with exercising & dieting it has encouraged & motivated me more, which in turn will help me to develop these into every day habits.
Use today for an example:
Each time I go walking, I take images of what I come across, if something strikes my fancy.  Just this morning I was walking with Rosco and found some neat looking ice.  Since I’m doing a personal 365 photography project “Beautiful Journey” where I take a photo a day of a small beautiful or special moment in my day.
The image above will remind me how I haven’t given up and how I’m making weight loss fun.  It doesn’t have to be something  stressful, something to dread.  Making it enjoyable, something you look forwards too will only encourage you to keep on going.
I love how I can combine something I’m passionate about, something I love doing with something I’m trying to change all while developing healthier habits.

What have you discovered that has helped you develop healthier habits?  Are you on a weight loss journey too?  If so, what has helped you stayed motivated?

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Create With Joy, Lou Lou Girls, Sew Crafty Angel

Changing It Up: 12 Affirmations & Word for 2016

The last few years instead of resolutions I’ve done word of the year. This is where I pick a word that I want to work towards, sort of a theme for the upcoming year. It worked great and I seemed to achieved most of my goals, without realizing it. This year however, I decided to change it up a bit. Instead of doing just a word or resolutions, i’m doing affirmations.  Then I’ll pick my word of the year based on my affirmations.
A year or so ago, I talked about my motivational journal and how it helped me when I needed it. I loved creating it & adding to it whenever I was down or needed a pick me up.  Over this past year, I’ve pushed it aside and it’s time to revisit it & making a new one.  I think it’s so important to do one each year, since our lives change so much within that short period of time.
affirmation 1
This year more than any other, I’m in need of encouragement & support from within, which isn’t always there. I’m way too harsh on myself; i’m my biggest critic instead of being my best friend. I don’t give myself credit when I do something great or things work out as I wanted.  Nor do I give myself grace for when I make mistakes, learning new lessons.  I want to concentrate on encouraging & supporting myself more through positive ways, changing my self talk and how I truly see myself.   And I’ll begin this journey with my 12 affirmations for 2016.

  1. Being unique is a blessing, one that I embrace with open arms
  2. Life is what you put into it; make it fun & rewarding it becomes so
  3. I will inspire others through my creativity & unique spirit
  4. I choose to be the source of strength & encouragement for those I love
  5. I’m limited only by a vision of what is possible
  6. I fully embrace who I am today
  7. I choose to focus on solutions rather than the problem
  8. Find beauty from within to find it in others
  9. Positivity is my guiding light through the darkest times
  10. Every night I choose to let go of the day’s mistakes or regrets
  11. I will slow down each day & embrace the little moments, not
  12. On dark days, I will have to create my own sunshine

affirmation 2
Do you see a theme with my affirmations?  If I had to choose a word based on the above 12 my word for 2016 would be ENCOURAGEMENT.

Are you making resolutions?  Or picking a word?  Or affirmations? Or do you do something different?  What are your goals or where do you see yourself going in the upcoming year?

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Create With Joy, Oh My Heartsie Girl, My Turn For Us, Sincerely Paula

Nurturing Special Connections

Have you ever had a child that loved a certain stuffed animal or blanket?  Having a special connection with it, always carrying it around, & they feel lost without it?
My little Alyssa has that connection, that special bond with her piggy.  This year they both celebrated their 8th birthday together.
She loves her piggy as much as she loves anyone, which is evident by his appearance.  As a baby she would rub the tag to soothe herself, which I thought was totally cute.  She rubbed it so much over the years, she literally rubbed it off.
Now some parents may not agree with letting their child forge a connection, a bond with an inanimate object, but I couldn’t disagree with them more.  I myself, had a special yellow blanket that started out queen sized but ended washcloth size, which makes me laugh because I over loved that blanket.  Over the years, it gave me comfort and made me feel safe, whenever I needed it.  I could throw my blanket over myself, which let me escape the harsh realities of my world.
Nurturing my little ones bond with her piggy is something I’ve always done.  It was bought out of love from my husband to his special little princess, on the day she was born.  Over the years, piggy has become part of her, which is turn makes him part of our family.  What’s wrong with that?

Does you child have a special toy, stuffed animal, or blanket?  Did you have one growing up?

Sharing with: Create With Joy, A Fresh Start On A Budget,