Simple Country Wisdom

Country Living has a lovely book called Simple Country Wisdom, 501 Old-Fashioned Ideas to Simplify Your Life, by Susan Waggoner.

I've been using this gem of a book for several years now and refer to it even more than Home Comforts. It has beautiful pictures, and easy to read pages with lots of headings so you can easily peruse it to find the details of what you "kinda remember reading."  You know, "didn't I read about something that deodorizes closets?"  Oh yes, go to All About Closets, and notice that you starred the last paragraph regarding how to refresh cedar wood blocks.  Now I remember!

The book has 4 sections:  The Home that Welcomes; Behind the Scenes; In the Kitchen; and Harmony.

The Home that Welcomes discusses what makes a welcoming home, clutter control, and what meets the eye (colors, textures, painting, decorating, senses), along with beautiful and inspiring pictures.  The pictures are one of my favorite parts of this book - I actually like most of them - they aren't pictures of mansion homes, but comfy "cottage-like" homes.

Behind the Scenes discusses the elements of clean (how to clean, windows, and trouble spots), and the tao of laundry (washing, drying, line-drying, and ironing).

In the Kitchen touches on organization, cleaning, caring for dishes and appliances, her favorite food tips run 20 pages, and "better living through baking" with lots of tips.

Harmony includes a chapter called In the Garden and one on A Greener Life. 

I am currently trying to go through this book chapter by chapter implementing what I am reading.  It isn't "too-much."  It's thoughtful, inspiring, and do-able.  I'm finding it very helpful and thought you might, too!

(I do not make money on any book I recommend.)


Living on One Income

photo credit

We had to cut 60% of our budget in order for me to stay home.

I had started a list of all I did in this post, but it was soooo long, that I eventually took the 240+ steps I took while living on one income and becoming debt-free, all while homeschooling our child, and expounded on them in my book How to Thrive on One Income

The blessings of living on one income are so worth the effort!

Know that you must be agreed that you being home is more important than a higher income.  If your husband is resentful you will encounter problems (or if you really want to work, then you will sabotage yourself at home).  You can have a trial time as well – he might not believe you can cut expenses.  But you can!  Joni McCoy of MiserlyMoms.com has a wonderful audio tape telling her story that is incredibly inspiring.

You must know WHY it is important for you to be home.  Finding Your Way Home, which I talk about in its own post (here), is an excellent resource.

The first step is always to determine how much your job actually costs you – taxes, childcare, clothing, gas, parking, mileage, lunches, dinners, office parties, “I deserve it” treats, medical costs for not being able to stay at home caring for your family, guilt gifts…

The rest of the steps can be found here.

There used to be a website called Lainesletters.  She had a post called Home Economics: Fifty Ways we Paid Off Our House on One Income.  Her DH never made more than $29k, and he had no vacation or sick time, so if you think it is impossible, here is yet another woman who made it work. We also did the things Laine talks about.  Yay for Lori Alexander!  She re-typed Laine's Letter here.

Plan to take care of your child, home, and husband, and watch him take care of you!  Happy wife, happy life!

(Look at these pictures - attitude matters, no matter what kind of house you are living in!)


How to Keep Your House Neat

Elosie Wilkin "We Help Mommy"
Clean in ORDER.  That means, you pick the most important room in the house to YOU, and start there.  You never deviate from the path (otherwise you get sidetracked). It works really well because it is thorough

Example:  I start with our bedroom.  I make the bed, take clothes to laundry baskets, straighten dresser tops and books.  If it is a cleaning day or changing sheets day, I do it. 

Then I move on to the next room clockwise. 

If I find something that does not belong in the bedroom I take it to that room, and just place it down anywhere.  I don’t decide to feed the cat, or wash dishes, or sort laundry or wrap a gift or…
I simply place it down and go back to the room I’m working in. 

This ensures that: all the clothes from each room in the house ends up in the laundry basket before I sort and begin the wash; all dishes are in the kitchen; all trash cans emptied; all toys are in the playroom; etc.  To me there is nothing more frustrating than finishing the whites and then finding socks or towels in every other room because I didn’t go IN ORDER and started the laundry too soon.

But!  If I’m in the living room and something needs to go into a bedroom that I have already straightened, then when I go into a completed room I PUT IT AWAY immediately.  No lying it on the bed.

This has worked really well for me except in the area of dishes.  Sometimes I just need to get a load going before I clean in order; otherwise, I may not have clean counters to make dinner on!

Choose which room motivates you to keep going. 

I chose the bedroom because if I need a break that is where I rest and read.  I really like my bedspread and pillows, so it is easy for me to WANT my bed made, plus, when the whole house is a mess it becomes a sanctuary I can run to to get motivated again.

The more you do this, the easier every day becomes because your things have homes and you can find them when you need to, plus the house stays cleaner longer.

Go home, and take care of what you have.  Provide places for all your things! ~Mother Ann, Shaker Founder


Waking Up With the Sun

Eloise Wilkin
In paying attention to the sunrise/sunset calendar I printed from sunrisesunset.com, I realized that January 1st is the perfect month to begin getting up earlier! 

Every day, set your alarm for the same time the sun rises.

January 1 - 14:  You have two whole weeks to get used to arising at 6:58!

January 15-18:  Arise one minute earlier:  6:57
January 19-21:  Another minute:  6:56
January 22-23:  6:55
January 24-25:  6:54
January 26-27:  6:53
January 28:       6:52
January 29-30:  6:51
January 31:       6:50

You've painlessly begun your quest to get up with the sun!

Half of you are thinking "I WISH I could sleep in that long" but the other half is praying that God will help them as they attempt to arise earlier.

You can always set your alarm for 5-10 minutes earlier than the sun so that you can be outside when it arises.  I've come to love the pre-dawn hour.  Speaking of which - the sun is rising!  Out I go for my walk.  Read How to Wake-Up 45 Minutes Earlier, here
God bless you through the coming year in your quest to live the life God intends for you.