Living Simply Can Easily Become Complicated
March 20, 2012 Homemaking
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It all started when I wanted to find a recipe for homemade chocolate pudding.  I did what any savvy mom would do, and I went to pinterest.

mistake #1.

After a few hours (yes, I’m pretty sure it was hoursplural – the house was quiet, everyone was in bed, it had been a long day, and pinterest was my stiff drink to polish off the night.  don’t even roll your eyes. If you’re on pinterest, you know exactlywhatI’mtalkingabout!) So, after a few hours of, ahem, searching for a pudding recipe, I found some CUTE wall decor for my girls’ bedroom, landscaping ideas, a new paint color for the living room, a new way to organize my spice rack (which works wonderfully, by the way) tips for composting for my summer veggie garden and a latte recipe.

which I tried this morning and it’s a keeper. the latte, that is.

Just no pudding recipe.

I say all of this hoping that there are other souls that sympathize with my pinterest addiction to reinforce an issue that we have been discussing here on the blog lately – and that is Decision Management.  Meaning that I am inundated with options on every side in regards to healthy eating, green cleaners, Traditional Food recipes, homeschooling books and homesteading ideas.

Therefore, even the simple act of making a decision becomes complicated…and sometime we just need a breather!

Gretchen’s article last week was exactly what I needed to bring things back into balance, and I can’t tell you how many conversations my hotty hubby and I have had in the last week about SIMPLIFYING.

For those of us that are JUST starting out in the “natural” direction, it can be crippling!  There are organic tips and tricks ALL OVER the internet and it becomes WAY too much to think about after awhile…which, ironically enough, defeats the purpose of “living simply”.

I grew up watching Little House on The Prairie (10am every morning during the summer, you can betcha I was tuned in) and there are days (like this morning…) that I envision running away to the proverbial Prairie and locking myself away with a fruit cellar and a milk cow, in search of a slower pace and the simplicity of self-sustainability.


I realized, after watching a rerun of Little House on the Prairie with my daughters (don’t worry, Pa made it out of the coal mine alive – he always does!) that simplicity is different to each person, and this is one area that has to be quite personal, because my simplicity will look totally different than Laura Ingalls’ (yes, for obvious reasons) and totally different than YOURS.

Although my family’s transition into Traditional, non-processed foods, natural living and holistic health is a process, there are a few things that I’ve come to grips with…

Simplicity for ME is NOT:

Making bread from scratch every week.  I wish that it was and I’m working on it. However, in the midst of homeschooling, church commitments, and running 2 small businesses from home, somethings gotta give and it’s usually my relationship with my bread machine.

Eating fermented or cultured foods at every meal.  We try, but sometimes it just doesn’t happen.

Never buying disposable diapers. Confession:  My son is wearing a disposable diaper right now. phew. There I said it.  We cloth diaper 98% of the time, even when we travel.  However, we had a particularly busy week and this mama was tired.  So when I walked through the grocery store and I saw that plastic package, I did it.  And I’m ok with that, because my diapers are in the wash right now.

Raising chickens.  Trust me, I’ve looked into it.  But then I’ve also had a reality check. we travel – a lot.  there are some things (like having chickens) that don’t fit into this season of our lives.

Having a milk cow like Ma Ingalls. See #4.

However, there are places in our lives where we HAVE been able to simplify and prioritize, and it’s glorious

We homeschool.  Yep, we are THAT family that has decided to educate their children from home.  It is most definitely not for everyone, and I don’t expect everyone to do it.  But it just FITS us…there’s no better way to describe it.

I make meals from scratch.  Well, usually.  (Except for tonight when Rusty ordered Chinese takeout at 9:30.  You know you’ve done it too. )  We have tried to make our nutrition and our budget a priority, and making our meals at home has simplified our grocery bill and its forced us to get creative (and learn contentment…!).

We eat meals together.  This sounds simple – and it really can be, but it’s one of the hardest SIMPLE things to do.  However, it’s worth the sacrifice and it’s made us treasure our family time.

I (try to!) limit computer time.  Blogging makes this tricky, but it’s possible and the payoff is huge.  My 3-dimensional life is A LOT more fulfilling than my cyber one.  Silly to think about, but it’s amazing how our “quest for knowledge” online to learn one more “trick of the organic-trade” can steal away the precious time in front of us.

I dabble in home remedies and natural cleaners.  Not because I’m overly concerned about being “green” but because I know that they’re safer, cheaper and simpler.  There was a learning curve here, but one that was worth the pay off, and it made me, as a mom, an active and engaged participant in the health of my family.

And there you have it.  There are other areas that I want to “simplify” and I’ll be blogging about those in the future.  But this is where I am right now. today.  I can easily get discouraged when I read other blogs and scroll through instagram to see perfectly kept homes, freshly baked bread, homegrown veggies from a massive garden…and not to mention their 5 perfectly dressed and well behaved children…that are probably freshly bathed.

As mamas, we need to find OUR OWN level of “simplicity” and work it!

There are a myriad of ways in which I’d love to simplify our lives, but we aren’t there…YET.  The key is not getting discouraged and not giving up; remembering that my level of simplicity is really complicated and unrealistic for others, and vice versa.

Living Simply is not a goal, but a process; a living, breathing way of life that changes with the seasons.

How have you “simplified things”?




This post was linked to Fat Tuesdays at Real Food Forager, Traditional Tuesdays at Cooking TF, Women Living Well Wednesdays at Women Living Well, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways at Frugally Sustainable, Real Food Wednesdays at Kelly the Kitchen Kop, Your Green Resource at Live Renewed,  Simple Lives Thursday at GNOWFGLINS, Fresh Bites Friday at Real Food Whole Health, Frugal Friday at Life As Mom, Fight Back Fridays at Food Renegade, Monday Mania at Healthy Home Economist, Real Food 101 at Ruth’s Real Food, The Homestead Barn Hop at The Prairie Homestead, Sunday School Blog Carnival at Butter Believer, Mentoring Mamas at Simply Living For Him, Better Mom Mondays at The Better Mom, Seasonal Celebrations at The Natural Mother’s Network

"27" Comments
  1. so glad I found your blog!! My heart resonates with your post, each time I read them!! When we started our traditional foods journey, I did everything…but I’ve learned over the past year that it’s not possible to do it all and still have time for the other important things in life…so I too am learning that balancing act! Thanks for sharing!!

  2. Kristina, I’m so glad you found us! It really is a balancing act and we CAN’T do it all…and unfortunately I usually see that as a “challenge” and not a statement of fact! I’m learning what the most important parts are and then letting go of the rest so that I can still enjoy life -and maintain my sanity! All the best! – kelsi

  3. I am so glad I found your blog. I love it.

    On my Delightful Desserts Pinterest board I have 2 chocolate pudding, 1 chocolate custard and 1 pots de creme recipes. You can go there directly and won’t have to waste time!

  4. Don’t you know that not bathing your kids frequently is way more simple as well as green? 😉

  5. I used to be “into” all sorts of TV shows. But I got “out” of them… I used to watch 2 or 3 hours of TV a day. Now I bet I watch 2 or 3 hours a week. Its amazing what turning that darn box off can do!

  6. I am right there with you. All the stuff we read about what we should eat, how we should prepare it, etc, it gets so overwhelming! I’m able to do a lot of things right now… because I only have one kid. 😉
    Oh, and he’s wearing Huggies at the moment as well. Because I forgot to wash diapers last night. 😛

  7. Do you still need a pudding recipe? I have my Great-Grandmother’s. It is the standard cornstarch/milk type.

  8. Great post! I love how you honor the small steps that people are making. Your blog is very encouraging.

  9. Thanks for this post, I found it really resonated with me. Like lots of people, when I found out about real food, I wanted to dive straight in and do it all “right” straight away but then found I was spending so much time reading about the right ways to do stuff that I didn’t have time!! So now I am trying to simplify, work out what I can and can’t find the time for, and pat myself on the back for the things I *am* doing right rather than beating myself up for those things I am not doing!

    So glad to have found your blog 😉

  10. I nearly could have written this or something like it.. I won’t bake bread either.. Given fresh preservative free bread for nothing each week accounts for that, and whilst I could cloth nappy 3 kids full time day after day I sometimes grab that plasticy easiness too.. I don’t even enter near fermented or cultured foods.. My cabbage juice experience was enough for that one!! But we DO have copious amounts of chickens and ducks.. They give fresh eggs though they are a homeschool lifestyle choice and all I have to do is crack the eggs into the bowl and cool them 😉 kids & hubby do the rest so why complain?! Lol
    Your so right.. Simple living looks different for every family.. But I do love gleaning new and different insights from others 😉

  11. Love this post to pieces. Really. No one is doing it all. If they say they are then they are either 1)not doing them the same way we define doing them or 2) lying or 3)headed for a serious case of burnout.

  12. Such an encouraging post! And it’s true: simplicity looks different for all of us.

    (found you via the Green Resource link up)

  13. I love this post. Although I have read others like it they usually make me feel guilty after reading them for caring too much about something that the writer does not. I love that you make it about choices. Thank you for that. It is very refreshing and a great reminder!

  14. I love this. I know exactly what you mean! I feel that if I’m making good choices 80% of the time (like cooking instead of eating out) I’m doing okay.

  15. Mel’s kitchen has a pudding recipe too.

    No excuses, life is about prioritizing. Thanks for the great post on the balancing act.

  16. I can relate to this post completely. I am a work in progress and definitely in a much better place then I was a few years ago. My daughter isn’t school age yet, but I have been seriously considering home schooling for both her and my daughter on the way once we get to that point. I just need to figure out how I can financially quit my job first (the hubs is back in school now and hopefully we can work that out when he is finished). Anyway, I too can get discouraged when reading other blogs and seeing how they are where I wish I was, but its a personal journey for everyone and we need to take more pride and what we have accomplished already.

  17. Very see.”Hey! It’s OK to not do everything ‘right’.” One person’s right may not be another’s….

    You give room for individual needs and ‘seasons’.

  18. What a great post, Kelsie! And good for you! Recognizing your limitations (there is no superwoman – she’s a myth, an urban legend) will remove that weight of pressure that many carry around with them! Jesus said His yoke was easy and His burden light, not a millstone of obligations tied around our neck. Any expectations of such are usually put their by ourselves (after hours on Pinterest which I’ve been known to do as well on more than one occasion! Hey, what can I say… I’m a visual gal and I love that eye candy, not to mention the cerebral connections it makes.)

    Can I just further encourage you by adding that my own journey in homesteading has spanned 13 years so far? I think many come over to my blog and get the impression that I pulled all this together in a matter of weeks/months. And most forget I have three daughters (19-9 years) who help a L.O.T. with cooking, cleaning, etc., so I can’t say I do it all myself. Nope, we’re more like a team.

    On the other hand, the more you do something, the more it comes to you naturally, almost like second nature (like riding a bike – you don’t have to think about it anymore). When that happens, I often move to learning something else. The good news is, my daughters only know these “homesteading” things as “normal” and “how it’s done”. They have grown up knowing these things from the beginning (or most of them, but we learn many together). It will be one of my great joys as a mom to see them practice these things much earlier and easier than I did!

    So be encourage… a “simple life” may take more time than we initially think to develop, but it’s not an urban legend!

  19. Love your post (and can so empathize about pinterest!) It’s so hard when you want to do it all, and have to make the right decisions for you and the family when it comes to prioritizing.

    LIke the above comment, I always tell myself that there are ‘seasons’ to life and while I would love to make cheese at home (sooo fun and cool), with a 2 year old, a part-time job, and home business, I just don’t have the time to devote to it. Same with the bread too- I buy from a local family bakery as the next best thing.

    For diapers- I just can’t fathom disposables, but my compromise is a diaper service. Super easy, and I never run out 🙂

  20. “Living Simply is not a goal, but a process; a living, breathing way of life that changes with the seasons.” – I love that! Just the word “simplify” touches something in me, the rushed bumbling mother who always seems to be 10 steps behind. I long for simplicity. Thanks for sharing these incredibly doable tips!
    Found you at The Better Mom, thanks for linking!

  21. Enjoyed your post as this is something we all struggle with. God is so gracious and loves us too much too be concerned with these things we sometimes count as so “necessary”. while we do in fact live a very natural lifestyle i always remind myself the verse from Micah 6:8 ” And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God” That sums up the REQUIREMENTS pretty well 🙂
    Oh whenever i know the internet will bog me down whilst searching for a recipe i just whip out my Better Homes and Gardens or something like that. You can always find the basics and modify for better nutrition and wholesome ingredients!

  22. Kelsi- i certainly couldn’t have put this better and I completely resonate with what you are saying here. Simplifying is an on-going, living process which reflects who we are, our family’s needs, the culture and financial circumstances we find ourselves in. Thank you so much for sharing this with us on Natural Mothers Network’s Seasonal Celebration.I am really honoured!
    Warmly, Rebecca x

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