Take it down a notch

Minimalization.

So much needed in my life right now.

I’ve been so overwhelmed with trying to keep up. My house, my kid’s school, my stay at home kid, events, friends, acquaintances, the Kardashians, TIME.

There’s so much going on, but how much of it actually involves ME, MY FAMILY, MY LIFE?

I had a text conversation with a couple friends the other day, and one mentioned something nobody had told me about. So I questioned it and was told that it was shared on Facebook.

I’d previously deactivated my Facebook. Mainly because it’s something else to keep up with. How many of these people are actually part of my real life? A handful or 2 at most. While I would love to know what everyone is up to, I don’t have the time to sit around and catch up on people by scrolling all day and I’ve GOT to break that habit.
If there something I should know, I assume a different avenue will be used to let ME know. Not just letting the world of Facebook know and leaving it up to chance or expectation for a certain person to see. If not, it wasn’t meant for me to know.
Let me tell you, just by doing this I have already felt relief.

My house. I’ve got to get rid of all the things. This has been stressing me so much lately. The kids have too much crap so they can’t focus on what to play with. It ends up being a treasure hunt that results in all of the toys all over the floor instead of their toy bins. I’m planning on keeping only a select amount of things. Move EVERY toy to the game room. Get them out of the house!!
Papers?? What do you do with all of your papers? There are literally papers everywhere…

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I cleaned the house for 7 hours on Sunday.
7 HOURS! I got rid of a lot of shit.
This was just from the living, dining, and master bedroom.
I made my husband go through his closet, stuff he doesn’t wear anymore. Get rid of it, because what happens is he’ll go to wear it, put it on, it doesn’t fit, it goes on the floor in the laundry pile and it’s in a never ending loop of being laundered when it’s never been dirtied. I made him get rid of all the socks with holes that he puts on and takes off when he sees the hole and throws on the floor. Same with underwear. I had gone through my closet a while back when i did my capsule wardrobe so I only had a few things to remove from my closet.
Drawers! I threw away a lot of drawer stuff. Old undies, shirts that were being held on to for “around the house/yard work/crafting/sleep” why would I need 124633674787 of those? I don’t. Get rid of it!
We now have 2 EMPTY drawers!
I have space to put away laundry now!!

I went through the laundry piles, to see what is too small, doesn’t get worn, etc. this cut down on the laundry I have to catch up on.
No more toys in mommy and daddy’s room. Maybe we can finally get to the point of having a nice grown up bedroom.
This stresses me out, too. Like why don’t we have a nice bedroom? I’ve got to get to work on that once I’m done with the whole house.

Toys!!! I got rid of a TON of toys. All the little bullshit that comes with other toys, accessories, barbie shoes (let’s be real, there was only 1 of each shoe anyway after a day of having them). Baby toys that the kids don’t play with or are just not on their levels anymore, stuffed animals, stuff that is always left everywhere, blocks that were in the living room when they belong in my daughters room. Tired of asking for them to be picked up, tossed em. We now have 2 HALF FULL shelf bins and a basket for the living room stuffed animals. Praise the lord!
The next day was my daughter’s room, more crap gone. Clothes in the giveaway pile, old socks that don’t fit or have lost their matches, I’m over waiting on them to show back up again. Really, why was I even expecting them to come back from lost sock land??

I still have a long way to go, but my friend walking in and saying “the house looks GOOD, girl!” Was exactly what I needed to hear.

I didn’t start any of this from reading a book or following a plan, I started because it’s one less thing to lose my shit over, and I have been way too stressed out lately.

A cluttered home=a cluttered life. I just can’t do it anymore.

To those of you who always have a clean home, I assume you don’t have as much crap as we do. I’m gonna say you got rid of all your shit when you moved into your home so you didn’t have to do this… it makes me feel better to assume that.

Recently we’ve been talking about finding out what our home value is now, selling (if we would make a profit), and downsizing. Pay off everything. Have a smaller mortgage so we can travel and do things we want to without worrying about being on one income.

Happiness vs. Suffering

I’ve got to work on the happiness…

Declutter. Not just my home but my life.

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Becky Phillips

You can find more of my writings at Workingwifemommalife.wordpress.com

 

Teach your kids to pick the perfect Peach (or Blueberry) The best pick your own around!

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Have you ever gone fruit picking? The U-Pick (enter yummy fruit here) is unbelievable here in the Lithia area. Oranges in the winter, Strawberries in the spring, then blueberries and peaches as we head into summer. Living in Florida has some great perks! Do your kids run up and down the rows of fruit with screams of laughter?

 

Peaches

Last year I took my kids to pick peaches and blueberries at two local farms. What a fun time we had! The U Pick (Do you say U Pick, U-pick, You Pick or pick your own?) peaches at Florida Sweeties U Pick Peaches were also the bees knees. So sweet and juicy. It was hard to stop the kids from filling their bellies with such yummy goodness and get them to fill the buckets to take home. Keeping a pocket full of baby wipes was a must! They were so darn juicy!

 

To pick the perfect peach you just use your touch. You want it to be firm to the touch, not rock hard and not squishy. Just a slight give to the flesh! There were lots of low hanging fruit within perfect picking distance for any age!

 

Blueberries

The next morning I woke up and ushered the kids out the door to grab some U Pick blueberries over at Frosty Blue Blueberry Farm here in Lithia.MGS-2815_May 07, 2017_133

The berries are so big and sweet we couldn’t resist eating our fill as we picked. My little one kept saying “just one” over and over as she would pop another juicy berry in her mouth. We picked our fill of over 7lbs in just a short amount of time and headed home full to the brim with fruit.

To pick the perfect berry look for that perfect bluish purple color and you can’t go wrong! If you go early in the morning to beat the heat, plan on getting damp with morning dew. The dew is worth it compared to the midday sun for sure! Evenings are a perfect time too now that the days are long (and think gorgeous golden hour light).

 

A few must haves for fruit picking in Florida

  • Sunscreen is a definite, plus a hat and sunglasses if the kids will tolerate them
  • Sneakers and socks are always good since they will be running through the high grass and the fire ant mounds are everywhere. This is Florida and no matter how hard you try, those buggers are just hard to get rid of.
  • Bring water, You might be picking for an hour or better depending how much you eat versus how much goes into your bucket!
  • You don’t need to bring buckets unless stated at that particular place. Most places provide buckets at no charge and then bag them for you to bring them home.
  • The kids will eat more than their fair share which means sweet sticky goodness all over their faces if they are anything like my kids. Wet wipes go without saying as a mom 😉

The Dessert

What is better than freshly picked fruit? Homemade dessert with said fresh picked fruit!

I knew that cobbler being one of my favorite quick and yummy things to make would be a perfect way to use some of that sweet goodness. I immediately put the kids to work helping in the kitchen to make this incredible dairy free peach and blueberry cobbler. Pair this with some yummy Ben and Jerrys 7 layer coconut ice cream (dairy free as well) and it is a match made in heaven!

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Tell me your favorite fresh fruit dessert in the comments!! I need new ideas for this year’s haul! 

 

Mom and Daughter Selfie

The momma behind Momma Got Soul Photo and Films, Tampa Bay Family Photographer. I am a wife. I am a mother. I am an artistic storyteller. I stay up late, try to sleep late, and drink lots of coffee and beer (usually in that order, but not always). I grew up in sunny (which means really hot) central Florida, never go to the beach or Disney, but try to hike in the woods as much as I can. I remember a time when I said I would never photograph people, now that’s all I do. I think it started with wanting to explore the world and capture that to share with people. Now I just want to tell people that the real stuff outweighs the fake crap every time -Kelly

Airplane Travel With Kids

We recently took our two kids on their first cross-country airplane ride- 4 hours and 20 minutes in the air!!

Here are some of the things I packed to help keep them busy and help us keep our sanity!

Play-Doh

Don’t get me wrong, I hate Play-Doh as much as the next mom, but I packed a snack-sized Ziplok with three small containers of it as well as some toothpicks so my kids could make cacti with them (we were going to Arizona).

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Felt

I cut out some green felt (also in a cactus shape) and put some velcro on the back of some buttons for them to play with.

Playmats

I created two playmate for my kids. One was Disney Cars theme and I had the Hot Wheels type cars to go with it.

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The other one was a desert scene and I bought a tube of animals to go with it.

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Legos

These got played with more in our hotel but I bought the Disney Cars Legos also.

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Shapes

I brought our shapes in a Ziplock as well and while we were waiting for our plane to board, we created flowers, cacti and suns.

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Coloring books

For adults too! I got us special Arizona coloring books as well as ones from the dollar store. We brought markers and colored pencils.

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Pillows/ blankets/ pajamas

In other words, COMFY!

Magnetic Tic-Tac-Toe

Velvet Art Posters

iPads!!!!!

Seriously, a lifesaver. Loaded up with movies and games.

Snacks

We had applesauce pouches, bags of chips, granola bars, lollipops, pretzels, Teddy Grahams, raisins, mini muffins, animal crackers, gummies, Pringles, etc.

Water bottles

We got the ones with the straw that snap close so we didn’t have to worry about any spills.

Hope these tips help!

Happy flying!

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Jennifer Silverstein is a SAHM of two infuriating girls, one husband, one dog, six chickens and a tortoise. She lives on 6 acres in Plant City and her hobbies include: Disney, hiking & camping, running, gardening and reading. She loves tacos, tea time and the beach. Her bucket list includes holding a baby cow. Follow along at http://www.growingupsilverstein.com.

My world famous secret recipe for Strawberry Jam

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March.

March is now over, our days are longer which means later bedtimes, whiny kids and even grumpier parents. Making the adjustment is often hard around here. While the kids and I don’t have to get up to an alarm clock, the hubby still does and 3:45a comes even earlier when it doesn’t get dark until after 8pm.

In Florida, March is also synonymous with strawberries. You will start to see them everywhere. Every corner will have a stand of someone selling flats, the u-pick places are all over and the Strawberry Festival is celebrated with all things fried, colored lights and retired country stars.

Strawberry season means one big thing in my house, jam time. Every year I try to put away about 12 pints of strawberry jam to give as gifts, make pb&j’s with or just eat with a spoon straight out of the jar. I’m not sure which I love better strawberry or muscadine!

I always have fantasy filled dreams of the kids and I singing in the kitchen canning jam together, but really my anxiety kicks them out about the time I start to put the strawberries on the stove. Sometimes I can’t think and mom at the same time. Besides they usually help with the hard part of squishing the berries. This year was no different!


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/261487132″>60 Second Film Project {March}</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user49150923″>Momma G Soul</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Wanna know my family secret recipe for making jam?

First, you need a giant pot to process your jars for shelf keeping OR lots of freezer space for freezer jam! There are some handy accessories for hot jars like a jar handler, a long-stemmed magnet and a wide mouth funnel that fits the jars perfectly. All easily found in the canning aisle at Walmart!

I start with 2 flats of strawberries of which half of one is promptly eaten while it’s still sitting on the counter. The rest has the tops cut off and the berries cut into chunks. They are then well hidden in the outside fridge to keep them from grubbing little kid hands.

Next, wash in hot soapy water (or rinse on high in the dishwasher) 24 half pint mason jars. I always try to have extra on hand just in case. I usually dunk the lids in the boiling water right before canning starts to clean them.

You will need a 5lb sack of sugar and I always try to use the surejell low sugar pectin. SureJell has always worked the best for me. You need one box per 12 half pint jars in general.

Mash your fruit for jam or use the fruit processor on your kitchen aid for jelly. I like the bits, so I just use my hands or a potato masher to squeeze the berries.

Then just follow the directions in the package. It’s really pretty darn easy. A few lessons I have learned. Read the directions twice. Measure everything out in advance, stir, stir, keep stirring, and don’t walk away.

Then if you are a Pinterest Mom you can put pretty labels on your jam and give them away in nice baskets to your friends. If you are like me I might write the date on the top and an S to indicate strawberry, but I still give them away to friends. Either way they taste the same! Please let me know in the comments if you try to make our own jam this year or if you have any questions!

Mom and Daughter Selfie

The momma behind Momma Got Soul Photo and Films, Tampa Bay Family Photographer. I am a wife. I am a mother. I am a storyteller. I stay up late, try to sleep late, and drink lots of coffee and beer (usually in that order, but not always). I grew up in sunny (which means really hot) central Florida, never go to the beach or Disney, but try to hike in the woods as much as I can. I remember a time when I said I would never photograph people, now that’s all I do. I think it started with wanting to explore the world and capture that to share with people. Now I want to capture people to share with the world. -Kelly