Wheat Free? Not Me! Here’s Why…

Wheat Free? Not Me! Here’s Why…

Two, very-long weeks after we started, our family’s wheat-free experiment has come to an end. The goal was to increase our quality of life – to be healthier, more alert and fit. So yes, those things might have occurred. But at what cost? Call me a quitter. Call me a failure. But I have my reasons… We don’t have to – None of us are Celiacs. Although I can’t deny that wheat does affect our bodies in other ways, there is no physically violent reaction to it that forces us to stay away from it. I don’t like being in the kitchen for most of my day – Going wheat-free requires an awful lot of work. I don’t mind cooking, but I don’t love it enough to do it four hours a day. Yes, there are great recipes to be found but each requires a lot of preparation. I not only had to cook a full-on supper every night (no easy nights like pancakes) but I also had to cook at lunch time every day too. There is no plopping a loaf of bread on the table and having the kids make their own sandwich. Lunches had to be prepared meat, salads and other sides. We like to eat out – One thing about being a minimalist means finding a few things you really enjoy and focussing on them. Our family really enjoys eating out – not at fancy sit-down restaurants, but at take-out places where you bring your food down to the river and enjoy the scenery while you laugh and eat and enjoy each other. Sure, there...
How To Achieve Balance In Your Life

How To Achieve Balance In Your Life

We all know when our lives are out of balance. We can feel it in our bones and see it in our stress levels. This past month, I’ve let myself get out of balance again. I can be on the ball with the homeschooling schedule, but  be behind on my office work.  I can have days where I get lots of work done, but then my daughter feels neglected. I can remember to eat healthy and exercise, but… okay, I haven’t remembered to eat healthy and exercise lately. Sigh. It happens to all of us. So what can we do about it? How do we get in balance? Here are some tips: Define what needs to balance -Remember that we are not just physical beings. We have a spiritual side, an emotional side, and an intellectual side. Remember to include all these areas when trying to balance. For me, a balanced life includes time with God, time with my family and friends, homeschooling, office work, writing, housekeeping, eating healthy and exercising. Take some time right now to make a list of your own priorities. Take a second look at your list – How long is it? You can’t balance 30 apples on a scale that is meant to hold 20. Don’t be afraid to cut some things out. Minimalism runs deeper than just getting rid of your things. Bring it to God – This could easily be the first point. Commit your lives to Him and let Him lead you. He will show you what needs to be balanced and what needs to go. Start Your Mornings Right –...
Why Netflix Is Costing You More Than You Think

Why Netflix Is Costing You More Than You Think

Gone are the days of $5 movie rentals. With Netflix, you can get unlimited access to a number of movies each month for just under $10. What a deal! What a steal! Or is it? Netflix may be costing you a lot more than you think. A few months ago, I was trying to find a certain foreign show on the internet only to discover it was not viewable from my country. Then I remembered Netflix. Sure enough, they had the show. Since our family has never signed up for it, we could get a trial month for free. Perfect! I could watch the show I wanted and then cancel. Except Netflix doesn’t want you to cancel. They are banking on the fact that you won’t cancel once you sample their wares (isn’t that what drug dealers do?) and they are usually right. But they didn’t get me. A couple days after I watched my show, I browsed through the other offerings Netflix has. The reality donned on me. I no longer have to go to a video rental store – the video rental store is right in my house! And therein lies the problem. Here is what I discovered about Netflix, and why it costs more than you think: It’s Too Accessible – There are all kinds of movies I would never rent from a video store, and now I’ve invited them all into my home.  There are genres and topics that go against my faith… and if I sign up for Netflix, I’m paying to have them delivered directly to me (whether I watch them or not)....
Why You Have So Much Stuff (And What To Do About It)

Why You Have So Much Stuff (And What To Do About It)

Okay, I admit it. Most of my blog posts are essentially ‘fluff’. I can write and write about minimalism and how to cut back on your things, but the truth is, unless we get to the heart of the matter, not much will change. Why do we have so much stuff? I’ve thought of a few, real, soul-searching reasons: We’re Covering Pain – Feeling depressed? Go out and buy something. Worrying too much? Watch TV to forget about reality. Like overeating, shopping can cause a momentary high that we use as a way to cope with life. It’s a temporary means of escape. But like a drug, it’s addictive. It only lasts a moment and we’ll always have to go back for more. Finding Willpower is Too Hard – It’s no secret that our society teaches self-indulgence. We know we are bombarded with thousands of images a day taunting us to buy things. We know companies spend millions on finding ways to make their product appeal to us and convince us to buy. And with so much else going on in our lives, it’s easier to just give in and accumulate stuff than it is to work at building the willpower not to. No One Taught Us Differently – In the 1930s, people stretched every item and every dollar. There was no waste and people survived with very little just to make it through the Depression. Many generations have passed since then. Having parents who taught us how to be frugal and wise with our money is a thing of the past. Add in ease of access to credit...
8 Ways Decluttering Reduces Stress

8 Ways Decluttering Reduces Stress

Does the thought of decluttering cause you stress? What if you knew the result would do just the opposite? Here are eight stress-reducing results of decluttering: 1. You’ll Spend Less Time Cleaning – Owning less stuff means you have less stuff to clean up, dust around, put away and organize. This means it will take you less time to clean your home and you’ll have less stress about finding time to get it done. 2. It’s Freeing  – Decluttering your stuff also declutters your mind at the same time. Decluttering causes you to think about what is really important and let go of the unnecessary. This thought pattern can’t help but flow over from being about your stuff, to being about your life and your thoughts. 3. You’ll Have Fewer Choices to Make – Owning less will make it easier to find something to wear, something to read, or something to watch. Even though these are fairly simple decisions, it’s amazing how they can add to daily stress. 4. You’ll Get More Time – Owning less means having less to maintain. Less cleaning (#1), less maintaining, less shopping and less working to pay for it all. This all gives you more time to spend with family, with God, exercising, being outside and enjoying life. 5. You’ll Save Money – The more you have the more you need, and likewise, the less you have the less you need. Three cars means three cars to keep maintained and repaired. Four bedrooms instead of two means extra square footage to clean, fill with furniture, and pay a mortgage (or rent) on. Plus,...