A Year in Review

It has been one year since I began my blog and decided I would review my journey to see how it has progressed. Last year my goal was to simplify my life and I know this has happened. I have never felt more content and fulfilled as I feel right now. No, life hasn’t gotten easier – our budget strings are pulled so tight they are ready to break, but I still feel more relaxed and ‘almost’ stress free. It has been a challenging year and fun at the same time. At least fun for me. I love learning new things, trying new things, and creating.

One year ago I decided that to begin this ‘Simply Basic’ life I would: Make a Plan, Reduce Clutter, Cook From Scratch, Ditch the Disposables.

I ‘plan’ all the time. I don’t have a written plan, but my mental plan of where I wanted to go changed direction a bit and has been very enlightening.

Reducing the clutter has evolved on it’s own. When you don’t shop or buy ‘stuff’ the clutter seems to go away! I did clean out closets and drawers (both kitchen and bath) and donated a lot of unused ‘stuff’. For the items I couldn’t part with but rarely used I put in a box and have decided that if I don’t use any of the things in the box within 6 months they would get donated also. So far I have only gotten into the kitchen box ONCE so I see the rest of the box going away soon!

Cooking from scratch has evolved a bit. Instead of last year’s plan to make ‘ready made mixes’, I have embraced the “Real Food” way of food preparation. It still is cooking from scratch, but on a different level. This past year I have learned that Kombucha and Kefir (both milk and water) are so delicious and a major health food, along with fermenting vegetables: cabbage into sauerkraut, beet kvass, salsa, gingered carrots. The kefir and vegetables provide probiotic, healthy bacterias that are good for our gut and liver. I have learned about healthy fats – coconut oil, lard, butter – and how good they are for us (and NO they DO NOT raise your cholesterol). I began rendering my own lard from grass-fed pork. I successfully started and grow my own sourdough starter and have made many successful things with the sourdough: english muffins, tortillas, pancakes.  I have played with making our own cheese, but currently the cost of the raw milk doesn’t make this an option right now. I really want to raise a couple of goats. This way we could have our milk  (I already have the eggs), so why not? The list could go on, but these are the highlights. My husband says our kitchen is like a science experiment. You never know what will be growing or brewing at any given moment.

Ditch the Disposables has been pretty easy. I rarely use paper towels, but just can’t totally eliminate them, but one roll lasts for months now and most get thrown into the compost bin and not the trash. We use cloth napkins and lots of dish towels, but they are simple to wash so they aren’t a big deal.  I still use plastic, zipper type bags but I wash and reuse them several times before they go to the recycling. I have been making my own household cleaners, shampoo, deodorant, and most recently soap, so this has eliminated unnecessary packaging waste. The homemade, personal care items have been really fun to make and I am so pleased with the results. I will post about these items another time.

So, all in all, I have come a long way. The journey isn’t over, it has just begun. Oh yes, the final item on the list from last year, Stop Procrastinating…..this is still a work in progress ; )  .

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